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Authored by luxury lifestyle blogger Franki Durbin. Celebrating the very best life has to offer.

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April 16, 2014

Spotless...

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Oh, happy day! Joe's makes white skinny ankle jeans that repel spots and stains. Yes, yes, yes!! {shop them here}

April 14, 2014

Elevate...

Balloons

Think happy... be happy.

Dreaming of Sicily...

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Something in my mind is brewing. New goals, new plans, new endeavors. Among those concrete goals is a mind-blowing family trip abroad. It's time we get these girls on the move, and I can think of no better place to have said minds blown than Italy.

My Sicilian husband will be happy to know that I'm interested to visit his family's homeland. It doesn't hurt that Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean (my favorite region on this glorious globe of ours) and (in my quest to appeal his scholarly inclinations) boasts a rich history, colorful culture and (lucky me) gorgeous views.

Where to stay? I've got that covered. Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo on the eastern coast of Sicily strikes me as the perfect spot to unpack our bags for a few nights. Terraces overlooking Mount Etna, delicious al fresco meals made from locally grown ingredients, rooms with sweeping ocean views, a pool just waiting to be enjoyed... it is a virtual feast for the eyes. It's a recipe for restoration, invigoration and cultural education.

Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo now on my "must" list for the trip I'm presently plotting and planning. Stay tuned as I map out the rest of the trip in upcoming posts.

April 13, 2014

Recharge...

Breezy-Bloomfall-Pant-Set-Plum-Pretty-Sugar-for-BHLDN1 Bubble
Bubble
Bubble

When the Mr. travels I have developed a few rituals. Namely, I clean the house from top to bottom (which is saying something, since I'm already borderline OCD and keep a very neat & tidy home) and then I move on to the girly pampering portion of my ritual: I indulge. At-home spa treatments, scented candles, bubble baths, fresh pedicures, bouquets of flowers, replacing all bedding from top to bottom, music turned up loud and generally letting the full-on girly goodness of my being come out to play.

I don't consciously think I'm being less girly when Mr. venti is home, but there's a discernible shift when it's just us girls at home and he's no longer in his office upstairs. We are more silly, our music is much louder, we are unabashedly playful and we are definitely all in for pampering ourselves. Here are a few of my personal favorite items for a slumber party that really recharges mind, body and soul. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

RECHARGING ESSENTIALS

{via . . . .}

April 11, 2014

Villa...

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A Tuscan estate with magical gardens and a pedigreed history worthy of note. Who, you ask, is responsible for this Villa Centinale property? You can credit Ned and Marina Lambton, the Earl and Countess of Durham, for infusing the property with that certain "how do I score an invite" version of laid-back luxe. Designed by Carlo Fontana for a nephew of Pope Alexander VII, the house was restored by architect Bolko von Schweinichen and interior designer Camilla Guinness. Needless to say, the stucco, the barrel tile roof and the pool (oh, the pool!) make my knees buckle. What an impossibly inviting retreat. Leaving us all to ponder... exactly how does one score an invite? {via AD}

Buon Weekend...

Happy

Oh Friday, I'm so very happy to see you again! My calendar may tell me it's only been seven days since our last meeting, but my heart tells me it's been too long. Here's to the next few days feeling like a reward well deserved! {via}

April 10, 2014

Slow Morning...

Morning
My routine, almost without fail: wake up. Slip out of bed. Blog & do client work for about 30minutes while I sip my coffee. Then it's on to yoga, showering and getting ready for the day. Some days I'm bounding out of bed ready to take on life, others require a second cup of Tibetan bulletproof coffee to get going. Today is the latter. I hope the sleep is wiping from your eyes more easily than mine today! ;)

April 09, 2014

Exceptional...

Skirt
Skirt
Skirt

Make today extraordinary! {via ...}

April 08, 2014

Happy Place...

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B3_by Bess Friday
B3_by Bess Friday
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Sunlit modern office meets super glam closet. Cue angels singing. {via}

April 07, 2014

Right to Choos...

Choos

It's no secret that my favorite brand of footwear is Jimmy Choo. You can keep your Louboutins and McQueens, I'll stick to my go to brand for summer wedges and sky high heels. If you think of the brand only as a resource for wedding footwear and dancing after dark, you've been missing out on the best wedges on the market. Tamara Mellon's former empire produces some of the most magical (and surprisingly comfortable) platform wedges on the market. Five inch cork heels are basically the new black, so you might as well get on board (on cork?) with the look.

My brand crush stems from the sheer diversity available in each collection and the reliably cushioned sole of the wedges. Once you know your size and preferred style you can easily shop online - a Venti must! For spring/summer wedges you can go as high as you like or as low as you prefer. You might opt for colorful shoes the color of candy or metallics that lend glamour to your daytime look. Think these pretty shoes must be put back in the closet after dark? Think again. Lace adorned options and crackled finish lustrous lend softness and romance to this super comfortable heel.

Variety is the spice of life, and shoes are no exception to this rule. The options featured here will take you from morning coffee to client meeting and out the door for date night without skipping a beat. Exercise your right to Choos, girls ;)

A FEW VENTI FAVORITES

Subtle...

Hint of Pink
Hint
Wearst
Wearst
Wearst
Wearst
Wearst

My Monday is off like a whisper. Overcast skies, a relatively quiet house and a very easy agenda for the day. May your work week begin with  warm smile and an "I love you" to those that you love. Make today special for yourself and those around you.

{via . . . . . . . . }

April 06, 2014

Tangerine Dream...

Melon

Yes, please!!! Spied them here. Very few sizes left in this yummy coral color. But, if you're willing to go for nude or aqua or black they might just have the size you seek. The raffia, suede, animal print and metal accent combo is making me swoon for these very unique heels. (Note: nude and aqua are both an extra 20% off!)

Blanco...

White Down
Down
Down
Down
Down

Sometimes head to toe white is just so right for the mood. Spring is a time of editing and wiping away the "blah" of winter. Flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. What better way to live in the moment than in a simple white column of color? I'm probably jumping ahead of the season here, but I'm already eager to pull out my eyelet dresses and white cotton shifts and ivory maxi dresses. The sweet simplicity of the look is very appealing and instantly glamorous.

So how do you bridge this look prior do opening day at rooftop pools across the nation? Layers, of course. Layers with and a slightly more tailored look will do the trick. Separates are a wonderful way to accomplish this, and make sartorial sense considering the ulpreditable nature of spring weather. Rompers are also a key to the puzzle. They show a little leg but benefit from sleeves or jacket-ready silhouettes.

The key is to affect a look of relaxed glamour - the result is neither Easter Sunday "best whites" nor hammock-ready summer linens. Think: easy silhouettes with fancy little details. Elegant cuts and billowy shapes. Embroidered rompers. Button-front blouses and faux wrap dresses. Open cardigans layered over pretty camisoles.

I can assure you this, investments in pretty white and off-white pieces will never be a wardrobe regret. These versatile neutrals will be pulled out and enjoyed again and again. Here are a few of my favorites:

SPECTACULAR SEPARATES

ONE-PIECE WONDERS

{via 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 }

April 05, 2014

Buon Weekend...

Weekend

Hello, much needed weekend! I'm feeling giddy about it, much like this amazing photo above. While I sip tea and forget about the days behind us I'm rounding up some of my favorite posts spotted this week. Enjoy!

In case you missed it, I dish on my favorite beauty products and my process for using each one. It's a must read for my fellow skin care enthuiasts & product junkies

Emily wows us again with her culinary prowess... this time she indulges in French Toast fingers

Mara rocks the most fabulous little skirt suit, but it's her pink & gold shoes that have me swooning

The most perfect wavy bob ever is showcased here

Song of Style kills it with a fetching colorblock coat 

Sincerely Jules delights us with instagram moments from Paris and it's just as amazing as it sounds

Sea of Shoes works magic with a pretty pink midi skirt and a baby blue clutch in floral petals, but it's her vintage angora sweater that steals the show 

Wendy is working my favorite trend... a delicate bubble dress made in the most dreamy blush silk 

And finally... Refinery29 rounds up must-have beauty products you may never have heard of before (but suddenly won't want to live without)

Enjoy the weekend, loves! 

April 04, 2014

Short & Sweet...

White
White
White
White
Spring is here, lovely readers. It's time to break out of your comfort zone and train your legs to be ready for showtime. Might I suggest a few of these vinyasa flow yoga sessions? They have transformative powers when done daily. Not only will it strengthen and lengthen your physique, you'll find that it makes you proud to show off your legs. And as we all can attest, confidence is the most gorgeous thing a girl can own. Happy Friday to you all!

{via 1 // 2 // 3 // 4}

SHOP THE POST

Neoprene Circle Skirt // Ballad Swing Skirt // Long Weekend Romper // Skirted Shorts // Watercolor Mirage Dress

April 03, 2014

Breathe In...

Liner
As a reminder as much to myself as you... this is a just a little nudge to encourage you to make your day special somehow... some way. Perhaps extra thick liner is your thing, or perhaps super glossy lips or even just a decadent cappuccino... whatever it is, own it, enjoy it and don't even think of skipping it. Life is short... seize it.

Transition to Spring...

Blushed_deux
Spring... is it  here yet or isn't it? In Dallas it is hot & humid one moment and windy and chilly the next. I've decided that it's time to stop thinking about the forecast (which is never, ever correct) and focus instead on my transitional look for the season. For me, this means an airy chiffon blouse designed to blow with the wind (while still affording a bit of arm coverage) paired with skinny ankle-length jeans (AG is my go-to brand of choice - always!) and accessories that are ladylike and timeless. It's a mix of roughed up denim & girly pieces that I love. Add oversized rose gold sunglasses (and perhaps an umbrella if there's room in your tote) and you're out the door braced for whatever mother nature tosses your way.

SHOP THE LOOK

Fendi Tote // AG Distressed Denim // YSL Tribute // Gorjana Necklace // Embroidered Chiffon Blouse // Tom Ford Sunglasses

April 02, 2014

Secret Weapons: Lashes, Liner & Luminous Skin...

Lashes
Allure comes down to a series of L words... lashes, liner, lips, locks & luminous skin. While it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of product available, a girl has to learn which product she can count on. Thankfully a willingness to experiment and a desire to try, try again has resulted in many repeat buys in my beauty cabinet. There are a number of products I consider "essentials" in my primping routine. Make no mistake, good products do matter and price often comes into play. Like all of us, I pay frequent homage to Neimans or Nordstrom for the beauty counters. Yet it might surprise you to learn that a few of my favorites are of the drugstore variety. Yes, yes... it's true! I thought I'd share a few of my high-low favorites. Perhaps you'll fall in love with them as well. Questions? Just ask! 

PREPPING THE CANVAS

These are my go-to items for adding moisture and evening out skin tone. Most of the products I use lend themselves to leaving my skin hydrated and smooth while protecting it from the elements. Kate Somerville Quench is my serum of choice. I smooth it on my face right after I shower to retain moisture & give my skin that oh-so-desirable glow. 

Next, I use a blend of Prevage Body (yes... body!) and Clarins UV Plus on my face and decolletage. In winter months I sometimes use Bliss Youth as We Know It, but for most of the year it's Prevage all the way. About that UV Plus: Never ever skip your UV coverage! This tiny little bottle is my favorite way to protect my skin from the ravages of the sun. A little bit goes a long way and it never burns or makes my eyes water. I've tried what feels like EVERY brand on the market and this is the only one I buy again and again.

Next comes the coverage. I don't wear foundation, but I swear by Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. It evens out skin tone and the shade "Nude" is essentially my skin, only better. Periodically, I've tried other products (Dior & Chanel each have super-lightweight foundations I've dabbled in) but I can't imagine using anything other than this wonder product. I've used this for about 6 or 7 years and it is essential to my "get ready & get glowing" routine. While everyone seems crazy about powder, I'm a "dewy" finish girl and this doesn't give me the dry look of foundation. Plus, it is weightless. No caked mess here. 

This seems like a lot, but remember you are using whisper thin layers of the products. And never fret, the word "moisturizer" in the Laura Mercier is a bit of a misnomer. For me, it lends very little hydration and solely offers a hint of skin tone smoothing color. 

If I'm feeling particularly dry, I'll dot on Origins Plantscription Eye at the outisde corners of my eye area. However, I'm beginning to think this should be done without fail daily. Prevention is the best cure!

{Savvy tip: Nordstrom exclusively carries a larger size of both the Clarins UV Plus and Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. For this reason I am very loyal to my local beauty counter. These larger items are not always visible online, but are so worth a few extra dollars for almost double the product.}

CREATING THE MASTERPIECE

Now on to the color! First step: The YSL concealer pen. Another MUST! Love it, love it, love it. A dot at the inner eye, a dot at the outer eye and then I look for any other tiny places that need a bit of a boost. Some days require a LOT more than others, but this super sheer product never looks visible to others. It is 8 hours of sleep in a little gold pen. Helloooooo, awesome! 

Next up, my BFF: NARS blush in Orgasm. Don't bother with any other brand or color. This one is "the" shade for all of us. Add to apples of your cheeks and move on. 

Next... eyes! I love my YSL palette #19. It is neutral but feminine. I use YSL waterproof black liner daily for that sexy winged look. It does not move! Tip: Sharpen it daily for best results. Finish with Loreal Voluminous Mascara in black (of, course) for a look worthy of a photo shoot. Swipe some Tom Ford gloss in Pink Sugar across your lips and you're all set for the day.

The look is "made up" but not heavy. My emphasis is always on glowing skin, glossy lips and lined eyes. It is classic and chic without looking caked or heavy. You look positively radiant.

Face 

BEHIND THE SCENES BEAUTY

Of course there are other characters in the cast that work behind the scenes to keep my skin glowing. If you're not on board yet with Clairsonic, you should be. Cleaning that debris from your pores and keeping the skin safely exfoliated is the first step in any good beauty routine. I am always looking for safe, gentle ways to exfoliate without overstressing the skin.

My trusty pink Clairsonic does the job beautifully! Weekly, however, I love to step it up with a Kate Somerville combo: Exfolikate (an enzyme based product) and Kate Clinic-to-Go pads. This two step process leaves my skin smooth as "buttah" and ready for any topical products to sink in and do their job.

What, you ask, do I apply? The ladies at Neiman Marcus call it "Cinderella Cream" and I have to agree. Omorovicza's Plumping Cream is very pricey, but worth investing in and using judiciously. I am able to extend the use of my jar to about 8-12 months depending upon how sparingly I apply it. It is a weekly treatment (or so they say), but I've had months where I lived in it! 

Whether you're battling bumps or crinkles, ROC retinol is gentle enough and one of the most effective (and least expensive) cure there is available. I really ought to use it more religiously, but I tend to forget this wonder product. I'm sure there will come a day when I'm more committed to my anti-aging routine. When I am... these little tubes will be stockpiled! Tools


So there you have it... these are the bulk of my secret beauty weapons. I love, love, love to talk about beauty products and techniques... so if you have questions about any of these products or my methods, please ask. I mean it when I tell you I've tried brands - both high and low. In the end I've arrived at what works for me today. What about you? What do you use? Do any of these appear in your makeup drawer? I'd love to hear it!

April 01, 2014

Shining...

Sequin
One look in my dress collection and it's easy to see I have a weakness for pretty things. This incredible sequin mini dress would be a welcome addition to a small but growing assemblage of frilly frocks. Pair with nude platform sandals (hello, always reliable Jimmy Choo!) a bevy of bangles, simple hoop earrings, a glistening oil on your legs and favorite perfume before skipping out the door for an evening of fun.

SHOP THE LOOK


Cassandra Dress // Jimmy Choo Vamp Platform Sandals // Bangle Set // Lana Upside Down Hoops // Coco Mademoiselle // Bobbi Brown Body Oil

Barely There...

Barely there nudes are not to be confused with pastels or peach. These are what I call super neutrals that rise above the trends and are wise long term fashion investments. And let's not overlook their innate feminine appeal. Add a little blushing nude to your look for an instant injection of va-va-voom.

SHOP THE LOOK

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