Lifestyle, and a Pop of Colour

I recently had a perfect little weekend outing quickly turn into an equally marvellous, but unexpected gathering. After brunch, I was out doing a bit of shopping and we had a family friend call to see what we were up to. He had an extended layover, so we invited him for an impromptu late lunch/early dinner.

Most of my friends and family know that I am always making additional stops along the way for spur of the moment visits, whether it's me coming from a business trip or because of extended flight delays. So it was fitting, since I am used to spontaneous meet-ups. This was also an ideal moment to take a snapshot of some recent purchases, including this Monki dress and colour blocked brogues, both on a major sale.  

I used Cortana to see where the nearest bakery was, so that I could hurriedly pickup a French baguette. Then, I wanted to search for something patterned, so I found this houndstooth scarf to pair with my grey, black, and pink colour palette.

This cute printed Paris tote was on sale at Kohl’s, and it is now a favourite little shopping accessory. It’s also quite larger than it looks. A bottle of wine, fresh baked bread, and a few gourmet condiments (olive tapenade, and Crème fraîche) was all that we needed to accompany the rest of the meal, which was smoked salmon and veggies.

I wanted to pretend that it was summer, but I just couldn’t, so I layered this dress with denim printed leggings. Although … this dress will surely be nice to wear alone in warmer climates—I will obviously add it to my “versatile pieces to treasure” closet.

Do you ever deviate away from your plans for impromptu moments?
 Above: taken with Lumia 635
The goods: Skater dress-Monki via Asos, Houndstooth scarf-Chinese Laundry, Two-tone brogues-Burlington Coat Factory, Clutch bag and Paris canvas shopper-Kohl’s, Printed denim legging-Marshalls. Nokia Lumia 635-c/o Nokia. *This post is sponsored by Microsoft, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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1Dress: Custom Style For Less

If you’re looking for sophisticated dress styles that are glamourous with a bespoke aesthetic, then you just might want to check out 1dressv.de.

Since 2007 1dress has been providing elegant dresses for women globally. They even offer dresses for little girls as well. There are dress styles for just about every occasion, including evening and formal events, cocktail hour, and especially wedding celebrations. I recently spoke with the company, and browsed the site to see their offerings, as well as find out what has made the brand so notable for the past seven years.

Firstly, they have an incredible amount of style options in dresses—you simply select your dress to order and choose from a wide range in diverse fabrics and colours. There are more than four-thousand styles all tailored for your preferred needs. There is also online help if needed.
Aside from attending the opera, there are only a handful of events that I go to annually, where I need an elaborate dress or evening gown to wear. And, I am usually quite selective in balancing colour vs. embellishments, so it was nice to see their variety, not only in colours, but dress lengths, and sparkled trimmings. Custom evening gowns like these would typically cost close to a fortune, but I found several styles on 1dress.de that would cost less than half the price of a handmade gown with intricate work. 

Typically, extremely low prices affirms that somewhere in the equation, there will be a lesser quality in product, but 1dress.de is the exact opposite. In fact, 1dress.de prides themselves in providing high quality garments and customer service with excellence. The assurance of making the customer happy whilst dressing them in style is the added bonus that sets 1dress.de apart from many other brands.

Here are some of my favourite styles.
 
Do you have a special event to attend? If not, then pretend that you do—what style of dress would you wear to an evening gala?

1Dress.de is an online shop based in Germany, and ships internationally. To shop, visit www.1dress.de *This is a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed are my own. Images: courtesy of 1dress, and edited by Fashion Tales.

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Frightfully Fabulous Edibles

You might already be geared up for Halloween, but just in case you’re not, I wanted to give you several part suggestions. And, just because it’s Halloween doesn't mean that you can’t party in style. There are loads of ways to be festive in a non-traditional way and even have a laugh in-between.

Here are some inspiring Halloween ideas and links that I loved, including fun cocktails to create for your Halloween party. If you’re in the mood for healthier options, you may want to try this!
(Above) A-Strawberry Ghosts, B-Bloody Vodka Cranberry or Vampire Kiss Cocktail, C-Morgue-A-rita cocktail, D-Ghoulish Breadsticks

 (Above) Risotto de potimarron et fourme d’Ambert
 (above) Big Mouths made of marshmallows, peanut butter, and apple slices.
(Above) Taco dip

What are your plans for Halloween?



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Style Files // Layered Leaves

As promised, I wanted to show you a few more goodies that I found from the H&M sale, amongst others. There’s also special pink Monki number coming up somewhere in the other shopping haul.

I bought this dress for seven dollars, as well as the studded belt! Even though the dress was in the summer section, I am making it a garment for all seasons. It’s travel-friendly, and will transform easily from summer to fall with a jacket and Tee layered with tights for colder months. I wore it both ways, and I scored this feather necklace and hunter green tights for three dollars plus an unexpected additional twenty percent discount ... I quickly paid and asked no questions!

My “Big Ticket Item” as I mentioned before will be very useful throughout the season—in this entire outfit, it was the khaki snood. The colour is neutral and it’s an excellent knit piece for me to pile on top of just about everything else for winter.
I am finding that with all of the technology that we have with Smartphones sometimes it's a bit much, but then there are most where it can really save you. Since I am an avid online shopper, I used another new app that I came across called, Price Watch. It works well for price comparing, and it caters to online shoppers, especially if you love Amazon. Although, I am not thinking about holiday shopping quite yet, I scanned barcodes with it as I shopped for other things, and used price comparisons for a variety of items.  
 (L-image, R-image)

This outfit was inspired by the unequivocal liveliness of autumn colours particularly found in gourds, the hues of pumpkins and squash, the changing of forest leaves, and the setting sun splashed across the night sky. What do you think of my harvest fashion blend?

Have a wonderful weekend! What are your plans? 
I will likely try to visit a couple of vintage stores, and search for fabric (with a French aesthetic) to make a valance.  
The goods: Nokia Lumia 635-Courtesy of Nokia. Printed dress, Snood, Studded belt, and Jewellery-H&M, Boots-Target, Clutch-last seen here, Jacket-Marshalls. *This post is sponsored by Microsoft, but all opinions expressed are my own. 

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Weekender: Moto-Chic

Stylebylumia Nokia Challenge
This past weekend I felt that I had struck every sale that I could—if only I weren't too meticulous in selecting patterns or styles, then it would have been even better. You may have seen a few items that I scored during my shopping venture here, but I have heaps of other pieces that I bought and cannot wait to wear.

Even before my shopping excursion, I had been in search of another moto-jacket, preferably in hunter green or cobalt with leather panels. Although, I didn't find a hunter green version, I did stumble upon this army green and faux leather jacket at Marshalls. This was actually the only big-ticket item (BTI) that I bought for the entire trip, (I like to have at least one BTI when shopping), considering being budget-friendly. Every BTI that I own is a piece that be carried into multiple seasons. It's always versatile, and for me, these pieces are generally outerwear or footwear.

Each item that I purchased was on sale, and my favourite piece other than the jacket was this Cynthia Rowley Tee for a tenner. Only two items that I bought on the entire shopping venture was just under thirty dollars. I had to double check the quality of the jacket since I am a savvy jacket collector, as it must meet my fashion inspection, as well as my arm length standards. Well, it did!

I also managed to score big at H&M in their organic cotton section as well as a few more autumn pieces, including jewellery, a snood, and a great spring printed dress that I am transforming for the season. All from three to seven dollars. I will share more details about those later, so do check out the updates via Instagram and Twitter.
Nokia Lumia Stylebylumia styleblogger
Finally, after messing about with the Lumia, I made it custom to my lifestyle, because setting up your favourite fashion layout and other applications takes time, not to mention the music section on any mobile device is a whole other entity. 

I found a couple of great apps that I am enjoying at the moment; one is called Smart Budget. This helps you to keep track of how much you are spending, whether it's at a grocer or local department store—a simple and safe way of budgeting without having to be logged into your bank account. You can even graph out how much you've saved and spent daily and monthly.

Have you tried any new shopping apps? What are your favourites?
The goods: Nokia Lumia 635-c/o Nokia. Faux leather moto-jacket, Marbled Tee-Cynthia Rowley, and Moto-pants-Marshalls, Lace-up boots-Target. *This post is sponsored by Microsoft, all opinions expressed are my own. 

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Work and Play: The Artful Sessions

I had a month to relax and visit friends and loved ones. Even though it was partly work on some days, I did manage to remember to take mobile images of some leisurely moments.

Without inundating you with three hundred photos of food and copious amounts of beautiful clouds amid vibrant and dusky hues, I thought it would be best to consolidate it all. Of course, there will still be plenty of sky footage to view because I am a smidgen obsessed with them, remember? But, perhaps I will leave that to the Instagram uploads.

Here’s a delightful roundup of my end of the summer thumbnails, and few other mobile snapshots of weekly activities from my preceding holiday. Including museum time, architecture and gourmet edibles, which I barely captured because we inhaled most of the food before remembering to document. But, I'm sure you all have been there one time or another. 

I hope you enjoy this artful brew!

I fell in love with much of the artwork at the deYoung-Legion of Honour museum. There was loads to view. This particular exhibition included marvellous French Neoclassical interior architecture in The Salon Doré of the Hôtel de La Trémoille, Henri Matisse's, Matisse and the Artist Book, and The Poetry of Parmigianino's "Schiava Turca," and Masters of Fire: The Copper Age in the Holy Land during the (Chalcolithic period) Copper Stone Age ca. 5500–3500 BC.
Above: intricate golden details; the conservation and restoration was done for the entire Hotel installation. View the video and more information about the complete move here. Lastly, I couldn't resist the photo beside the statue out front of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, which was first conceived circa 1880–1881 as a depiction of the poet Dante. The first over-life-size augmentation was displayed at the Salon of 1904.
Neptune Fountain-Schloss Schönbrunn taken in Vienna, This wooden hand-carved elephant from Ghana was a new family piece gifted to me to add to our home, Visiting the Clock Tower of Prague, Another trip to Österreich (Austria) in Linz near my sister's Hall, An inside photo taken of the Hotel exhibit with much reflective light.
 
A random in-flight sky snapshot, Listening to now: Young Summer album is pretty great. Her voice is really lovely, somewhat soothing indie-pop-esque, which made for a good in-between music mix on the plane, Our family crawfish seafood feast waiting for us upon arrival and it was incredibly delicious, A weeknight easy dinner of spicy cod/fish tacos.

More paintings from the museum, An early morning desert hike, The chandelier in the Salon Doré, Enjoying a night out at a Moroccan restaurant (alarming flash attack), Gourmet snacks with a truffle cheese platter of indulgence (tasted heavenly), Inside details of our Moroccan dining with silk threads, and mosaic art, Nightscape colours from the sky on an evening drive to the hotel, Weekend fairgrounds and sitting up high in the sky on a ride at the carnival with my nephew.

Gallery: beautiful tea station with embellished artwork on display, Home cooked dinner preparations with roasted brussels sprouts (and a mushroom risotto side), Californian palm trees, An in-flight farewell snapshot.

Well, I've adjusted settling back into waking up early. I'll likely be focussed on getting back to my normal workout routine, because I also had too many incredible curries, succulent seafood pastas, and fresh baked bread. However, life is about enjoying it, and I have no regrets!

What did you enjoy most this summer? 

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Weekend: Tech, Style, and Prep

Happy Friday! After a long week, I am ready to start the weekend. Additionally, another reason to be excited is that I got back in time to take part in the Nokia style challenge along with many others. I will be using the Lumia 635, Cortana device that Nokia provided me with to check out what it offers, as well as see how it helps me during my shopping excursion.

I must admit, I have two Smartphones, one which I use strictly for work, but neither of them are Windows phones, so I was definitely interested in this challenge because the Lumia comes with Windows 8.1. That alone is a feature that I was most looking forward to using on-the-go with the Microsoft Office applications.

Nokia Lumia 635 StyledbyLumia challenge
(Above: getting acquainted with the phone and about to book more travelling dates).

I am starting to play with the phone more, and getting everything in order, so all will soon be sorted. The One Note and One Drive is lending itself to be very useful at the moment, especially for task lists, schedules, and work documents. 

But, so far, honestly the only thing that I am truly missing primarily is the crispness of my current Smartphone cameras. Although this offers auto focus and panorama features, if you have an iPhone, then you will notice a difference, as the Lumia 635 has 5 Megapixels with no LED flash. However, I did test it out, and it seems to take decent close-up shots.

Well, there’s much to analyse and sift through, and I am gleefully downloading Apps as I type. I’ll have loads to share throughout this venture, so stay tuned …

Be sure to follow my journey, and other fellow fashionistas as we find budget-friendly styles in the Nokia #StyledbyLumia three-week challenge. I will be updating my findings mostly via Twitter, and Instagram, but occasionally here on the blog as well.

This weekend we'll be hosting a big dinner, so I will be squeezing in shopping at some point in-between. Looking forward to showing you more in these next few weeks.

What are your plans for the weekend?
Nokia Fashion blogger Lumia style challenge
(Above this image taken with the Lumia).
*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and part of Microsoft Lumia Device Test group, and I was compensated to test and review the Lumia 635. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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Style Files: Office Casual

Now, that I am finally back from my extended end of the summer holiday (which I will share a few pics soon), I had no time to post my other previous looks, so here's one.

This one was in the mix from my casual office attire. It was a bit of an off day, alongside dealing with an allergy attack, so I put on the eye frames and this comfortable outfit. I've had these trousers for a long time, and I believe they were purchased during a Christmas sale years back, when I was visiting my sister.

This week has been a tad crazy because I had a couple of unexpected meetings—all went well, but I find myself incredibly drained … that or I am still in resort mode.
I wore a navy and cream striped jumper with chocolate brown trousers, because I loved the combination paired with the yellow ribbing at the hemline of the top. The bold red outlined sleeves was the main attraction for me, so this was one of those times that I felt that I really needn't many accessories at all.

The notion of taking this look to a very Parisian theme was too easy, given the red and blue stripes. Instead, I chose to style it in a much less chic, but comfortable way. Although, for a casual day at the office, it seemed entirely appropriate.

How is your week going so far?
 
The goods: Handbag-Vintage, Double parrot striped sweater, Spike fringe necklace-C/o Oasap, Trousers-New York and Company, Leather boots-Franco Sarto, Tank underneath-H&M. 

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The Little Alchemist: Seasons of Beauty

Whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, there’s always a reason to take care of your skin. If you remember my initial introduction of the Australian beauty brand, The Little Alchemist and review of their products, then you know that I am a true supporter of this company. For this beauty segment, I wanted to put the spotlight on several other products that are suitable for any season. These are for every skin type, regardless if you have sensitive or dry skin.

The entirely ethical and cruelty-free beauty brand backs up everything that it produces. And, the brilliant packaging is 100% recycled, and makes it enticing to uncover what (eco-luxury) treats awaits for you. From the clinical researched evidence to the transparent listing of ingredients used, there’s much to fancy about the business as a whole.  

I have been using natural beauty products since I was a little girl, but in recent years, I've been trying to make a supreme effort even more in my daily beauty regimen. When the season transitions into cooler months, I tend to be most concerned about hydrating my skin. There are also distinguishing benefits from using natural products on the skin, and you can typically start to see and feel a difference right away, even in the first week, in my opinion. 
Above are a few of my favourites that I’d recommend to try from the start. I would add one of the serums that I used here in the mix as well. Below, I’ve included some items that I used recently—the Ultra C Radiance Serum is utterly amazing! It’s a rosehip oil based serum with vitamin C, and chia seed. Additionally, it’s high in antioxidants to help encourage an even skin tone.
I am still unreservedly a fan of the Kyella (Bulgarian rose) Hydrating Mist, as it gives my skin a refreshing feeling throughout the day. The Papaya Cleansing Milk was a new product for me—it’s very mild, and has a nice silky and creamy, yet smooth texture. It glides on easy like a lotion, and has a charming fragrance with lime and geranium. Shea butter and camellia oil are active components too, which gave richness to my skin and it felt soft and revitalised without an overpowering fragrance. It was definitely a refreshing switch from my usual cleanser. I’d also suggest using this in rotation along with your regular (once a week) exfoliating cleanser.

The Rose and Pink Lotus perfume (I am now a huge fan of rose scents) has such a lovely aroma. I was sold on the Jasmine perfume, but this comes in quite as a close second. This perfume is calming, feminine, romantic, and sweet smelling. Its ingredients includes: acai, gogi berry, and wheatgrass.

It works well as a delicate layering property with your natural moisturiser or worn alone for day or night. I wore it most on summer evenings for an uplifting mood enhancement, which makes sense as the sacred Lotus flower has naturally scented botanical traits anyway, as well as symbolise devout enlightenment.1

What do you use on your skin for cooler months? What item would you try from The Little Alchemist? 

The goods: Ultra C Radiance Serum, Papaya (Geranium and Lime) CleansingMilk, and Rose & Pink Lotus Natural Perfume Courtesy of The Little Alchemist. *All opinions expressed in this post are my own.Lotus reference here. All images: Fashion Tales, other images courtesy of The Little alchemist, edited by Fashion Tales.

To shop their natural products visit www.thelittlealchemist.com.au

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