Style Ease // Clarks

After a thirty-minute gaze at my summer shoe collection I noticed that I have many of the same styles: summer wedges, summer heels, ahem ... summer wedges, summer flats, and so on. Okay, it was about twenty minutes or so, but thirty sounds and seems more appropriate. It felt like thirty minutes too.

Listen, shifting boxes in one's closet takes a lot of time. I needed almost one and a half cups of tea. Not to mention coming across an old handbag or two in the process. Yes, now I remember, it was thirty minutes. I was on a mission--a, "Find new summer sandals, stat!" type of mission but, preferably, non-printed.

I needed something versatile that also reflected my style. An obvious deduction: my personal style precluded that I wasn't quite a Birkenstock lady nor was I a typical mule wearer. So, I decided that this shoe was a clear safety net that united both of the risk-taking aforementioned styles. I know, I know, that's not exactly fashionably living on the edge, is it?

I have not tried any of Clarks sandals before, only their boots, so I was impressed with this style from Bells Shoes. To be honest, the insole comfort is really the winning element. Although, I loved the gold metallic accent as well--the test was a day trip of walking in these beauties. They passed.

I'm certain these leather sandals will be an easy style addition to several summer ensembles, but also a great option to dress up or down (think more of a casual sophisticate meets "tomboy-chic," rather). In any event, did they do the job of comfort and style for my weekend alternative shoe? Yes.

Of course, on this particular weekend I was pretty much only brunching with friends, buying new frames for artwork, and relaxing the entire time (as if I literally had all the time in the world), and not battling fashion sales crowds. You know "we, the fashion darlings" of the world save these for special times like that. There's nothing like a proper spike 'eh?

Jokes, aside, I'm not chucking my heels and wedges, but I am pleased that I selected a new style to love. Because, I'm sorry ladies, I tried it … I'm just not the traditional flip-flops type of gal. Wait. Maybe, if they had studs, metal soles, or silk fabric intertwined in the thong somewhere I would consider them. Hmm ... okay, don't quote me on that, let me get back to you. Yes, let me get back to you.
The goods: Clarks Zena in Mae-Brown and gold-c/o Bells Shoes, Printed dress-H&M, Denim jacket-Calvin Klein (charity shop), Hat-Urban Outfitters, Earrings-Art market, Striped bag-F21, Necklace-last seen here.

 Above: 1--Zena Sandal, 2-Ranae Estelle, 3-Coral Reef, 4-Dalhart Sorbet, 5-CLA Hotel Bustle
What do you think of these sandals? Have you tried Clarks shoes?


Style Files: Calypso Case

Selecting tech devices for your lifestyle is just as important as choosing the right accessories to go along with them. And, in a world chock-full of options, sometimes a minimal but straightforward design is all that you need.   

I'm back again with a review of CalypsoCrystal's designs. You may remember the luxury brand from one of the features from my Smart Traveller series. 
Luxury leather tech accessories
This design is the MacBook Case and comes in a colour variety the fashion world would call blush, tangerine, olive, and midnight.  Inspired by regions around the world, CalypsoCrystal chose the following colour names instead:  Zurich Night, Paris Glory, Sydney Morning, and Atlanta Mist (as seen here). 

This case is the Atlanta Mist, a warm dusty pink colour with a glossy finish. It's actually a preferred colour for me since I wanted something neutral but sophisticated. Fortunately, as an added bonus, this size case fits both my Mac and PC laptops, so I can use this interchangeably with my mobile workstation and personal computer.  

Just like all of their other accessories, this style exemplifies refinement within the seams, albeit acquiring it will make your Burberry wallet a little bit lighter. However, as any tech-savvy devotee will note, quality luxe pieces, handcrafted with the utmost attention to detail, usually do. Durable longevity? Check.   
Calypso Crystal CalypsoCase  

The Style:
This version of the CalypsoCase is a massive upgrade with a cleverly useful element: a wide tab on the front that allows your laptop to be lifted without having to dig deep into the case with your hands—certainly helpful for those of us who wear statement rings and delicate hand jewellery. The magnetic tab can be easily pulled and slides comfortably back into its designated slit on the front of the case so that you can swiftly upload photos online or check those important e-mails. 

The case itself is very different from my usual leather messenger-esque style laptop bag but a great sophisticated alternative, especially for meetings. It's much like a large sleek clutch for on-the-go access to your MacBook. It's café-approved and airport-friendly, which is pretty much a large part of my weeks these days.  
First-class benefits: 
All of CalypsoCrystal's pieces are exclusive (only 500 are made in each design) and come with a certificate of authenticity. Each piece is handmade from premium Italian leather by masterful artisans with a specialty in crafting precision leather goods. 
I love the brand's attention to the customer, which comes with a personal touch. Each item is gift wrapped with a custom note, and booklet. Now that I am a seasoned customer, it's great to see that the company still holds true to their branding and maintains excellent customer service as well. 

What do you think of CalypsoCrystal's opulent designs?  What do you carry your laptop in?

The goods: CalypsoCase in Atlalnta Mist c/oCalypsoCrystal  
€ 249 , all opinions expressed in this article are my own. *Learn more about their process in handcrafting leather accessories here. 


Insta-Living Vol. VII: dashing favourites

Since so much has happened over the course of two months, I wanted to share a few highlights from March and April. These are lifestyle moments, including some succulent cuisine, fun eco-inspiration, and fresh cut blooms because who doesn't love those?  

I have been obsessed with these blush palettes lately by BH Cosmetics (Thanks to Jackie for the suggestion), and then I finally took weekend to do a cleaning of some of mcosmetic brushes.

With the adjustment in seasonal climates I try to update my workout routine, and always make an an attempt at revising and updating the designated playlist as well. But, l have also recently put together creative playlists for other occasions: be it drawing, post-reading, or just relaxing. I have been captivated by these unique covers by The 1975, and Foxes. I've been listening to loads of extra music too since we had friends in town, and I managed to get back to sewing and painting this month. (Bravo, to me!)  
  (Above) Neutral manicure days, Fresh blooms of tulips, A daytime snapshot before Easter, Homemade truffle pizza with a handmade herb crust (family recipe), Giving the brushes a cleaning, Nike Roshe trainers, Fell in love with this House of Harlot bangle via Rocksbox (you can still get a free month with code 'TMBFF'), Fun upcoming new project, Baking a lentil cake, We made handmade sushi in a cooking class by a chef friend, New favourite: mini notebooks, My #ootd: weekend edition.

Amber Run is another band to give a listen to. Amber Run's, "I Found" is hauntingly beautiful, and if you remember this post, and loved London Grammar, then you might like them as well. They're currently on tour in the UK. Check them out if you can, their certainly worthy of attending a live show. 

Shame on me for just stumbling across this next rendition. I literally shushed the mister, then played the video twice within a few moments upon my discovery of this cover. Foxes managed to cover Pharrell's hit song, "Happy" in an otherworldly and artful way. 

If you know her (Louisa Rose Allen's) voice already, then you will understand how magical it is. There's also a clever treat at the end with her version of Massive Attack's, "Teardrop." Sure, "Happy" is far different from the original, which is why I like covers like this--I appreciate it when an artist makes it their own instead of doing an exact copy. 

The 1975 turned Clean Bandit's, "Rather Be" into a relaxing touch of café sips and nudges of gentle jazz, which made me love their version.   

Check other music inspired posts here.

How has your April been so far? Are there any concerts you're looking forward to, or any brilliant hauls you've had recently? 


Refreshing Kale Salad

Spring has certainly shown itself recently, and I've been able to eat lunch outside for several days in a row with my trusty scarf by my side, of course. A favourite dish that I love to make for warmer weather is an easy kale and mint salad. 

In recent years, I've added in other delicious ingredients that's quite popular at our summer gatherings now. Here's my kale salad with lemon, fresh rye croutons, and a little refreshing twist. 

There are so many ways to enjoy kale. How do you eat kale?

Buzzfeed Food - Food blogger Kale Salad

bunch fresh kale (med./lg.), about 350 g to 400 g (finely chopped) 
120 ml extra virgin olive oil 
1 large pinch garlic powder 
1 tbsp. tahini
1 garlic clove (sliced) 
lemon (freshly squeezed) 
 lemon zest for garnishing 
6-8 fresh mint leaves (finely chopped) 
4 sprigs fresh coriander (finely chopped) 
1 avocado (chopped in cubes) 
3 tbsp. crispy onions  
1 tomato (chopped) 
4 anchovy fillets (ea. sliced in half) 
1 tbsp. Hungarian paprika 
2 tbsp. crushed pecans 
chèvre cheese crumbles (optional) 
 kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

  1. In a large bowl, add kale, olive oil, and lemon juice from fresh lemon.  
  1. Using your hands, massage and coat kale for a few minutes, this will help make the kale softer. (Otherwise, you can braise the kale if you don't like it completely raw). Next, add tahini, and all of your herbs and spices 
  1. Slowly mix in cut anchovies, tomatoes, garlic slices, and pecans with a spoon 
  1. Add lemon zest, and slightly drizzle olive oil on top of salad if needed.  
  1. Lastly, add in the avocado, and top salad with crispy onions, and chèvre (optional). 
  1. Toss slightly before plating, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  
  1. Serve chilled or room temperature. 

*Extras: I made rye croutons from fresh rye bread by toasting two slices in a pan with light olive oil (same pan from cooking the garlic), then cut in squares. Add to salad just before serving.  

Prep:  10 min. or less. Cut and remove stalks from kale. Wash fresh kale thoroughly, then drain off excess water, and pat dry with paper towel. Chop kale in very small pieces before proceeding to step one (I used a mix of Lacinato and Organic curly kale). Next, chop all of your fresh herbs that need to be finely chopped. 
In a pan, slightly toast pecans. Set aside. Then, in a pan with olive oil sauté garlic slices. Set both aside for step 3. 

Time20-25 min. or less. Yield: serves 2-4, depending on serving as a side or main dish.

*Great additions to this dish 
Although this kale salad is good enough to eat as a main dishhave also served this salad as a side with pan fried sprats, grilled prawns, or with olive oil and lemon marinated green peppers and portobello mushrooms (sliced and put on like a kabob). All lightly seasoned with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic. This makes for a heartier portion. 

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