Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Main Street, St. Helena


These photos were taken in my old college town of St. Helena, in the Napa Valley during alumni weekend. To say there was a bit of a heatwave that day would be an understatement (check out my dewy skin!). St. Helena holds so many cherished memories for me; Taylor's Refresher (now "Gott's) and their delicious mango milkshakes, Footcandy and their designer shoes that I always dreamed of someday wearing, and Giugni's, the sandwich shop of the gods. 

It is always a joy returning to the Napa Valley. There is no other place in all of Northern California that feels more like home to me. I love the Calistoga / St. Helena / Angwin area. In the spring the valley is bursting with life - it's like a grand duchess who has been asleep all winter is finally awake and ready to show off all her riches; Fields come alive in yellow and purple flowers, Highway 12 is once again lined with trees in bloom, and the vineyard rows create a fan pattern as they are driven past.

During my visit I somehow managed to match the valley in all its greenery. I only own three green items, and the only missing one from this outfit is a Kelly green cardigan that my mother purchased for me years ago. It isn't a color that I wear (or even think of) too often. Much like purple, green simply isn't one of those colors that I naturally gravitate towards. However it was my Cobb Hill Shoes that inspired this outfit; The bits of lime green detail sparked the idea of wearing green from head to toe. Of course, breaking up the shades of green and mixing the fabrics prevented the outfit from feeling over-saturated. As for the shoes I couldn't have asked for a better pair: they are light as air, breathe well in humidity, and are oh so comfortable.

I worked two jobs my last year in college: at the Safeway bakery, and at The Culinary Institute as a hostess and barista. And - for those of you who know how this blog got started, you will remember that I was also taking two internships and 18 units of classes! I was busy. But I graduated with Honors, and two degrees, so I am proud. 

Perhaps one of the most satisfying moments of the weekend was finding one of my old financial officers and being able to thank him. He had helped me attend my Honors summer session in Paris, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without him. That summer was a pivotal point in my life, and it's one of my most cherished memories. Paris has since taught me many lessons, but mainly it has taught me the art of seduction. I don't think Paris would mean what it does to me today if it hadn't been for that summer class.

There is a saying that says "don't look back - you're not going that way". However I think every once in a while it is important to pause, and to give thanks for how far I have come. Some memories truly aren't to be forgotten, and certainly not those who helped me get to where I am today.

Photos: Sam Delaware








Monday, April 18, 2016

On the Go

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There is something to be said for the simplicity of wardrobe staples: I know I have mentioned it several times already, but this spring I have made it my mission to un-complicate my closet. In today's post I'm featuring items that truly never go out of style: the 'little' black dress, a great denim jacket, the bucket bag, and a pair of nude sandals. The paisley print bandana keeps things feeling very "now" and on trend, which in itself is ironic because the bandana is also a classic. But that's what makes fashion fun, isn't it? It's never immune to irony, and it's completely self-aware. Example: the ever annual spring floral trend. Of course it isn't ground breaking, yet every season the flower trend is cut in a fresh new way. Who among us has ever said "no, I don't need another floral print dress/blouse" when the season has presented the opportunity? Exactly! 

However a not-so noticeable irony (at least not until you begin your search) is the hunt for the wardrobe staples themselves. Have you ever noticed how challenging it can be to find a basic, crisp, white button down blouse? No fancy pen pocket, no over-done statement collar, no embroidery, no sheer fabric...just a white cotton button down basic. The fashion industry is so aware the classic basic, that they keep trying to update it in fresh new ways. So much so that it can be a task to simply find a true original! It's all part of the fun though, isn't it? I secretly love opening 17 tabs while shopping online, trying to find the perfect basic. However, today's outfit took no such efforts. All of these items were chosen instinctively, without a second thought. 

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Dress: Bandy Melville // Jacket: Ralph Lauren // bag: DKNY // Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana // Sandals: c/o Cobb Hill Shoes in the 'Taylor'
Photography: Sosatography

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme Spring Review

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It's no secret by now that the matte lipstick trend has been in full swing for quite some time now; Kylie Jenner it seems has single-handedly propelled the trend into epic proportions. (And speaking of which, have you seen her new shimmer mattes?)

I was invited to review the new spring colors from the Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme collection, and I am so excited to own these. However before proceeding, I feel that I should be completely honest about something; I'm not a matte lipstick fan. As a matter of fact, I've never been a fan of any matte makeup; I like things on my face to appear youthful, dewy, and dare I say that word that everyone hates...moist. That being said, these matte cremes have made me a cautious believer.

Matte products tend to dehydrate skin/lips and will show any and every imperfection, especially dry skin. Therefore it is imperative to make sure your lips are properly buffed and moisturized before applying a matte lipstick! However as I discovered, matte lip colors do have their benefits as well; one, they make your lips appear fuller. Two, have you ever attempted to wear lip gloss on a windy day? That reason alone is valid enough to give matte lip color a try!

For my review I was sent three colors: Devotion, Sweetheart, and Flame. All three have this amazing vanilla-butterscotch-cake scent to them, which I love. I know that some don't always appreciate when lip products have an overly strong scent, but this one fades while the product dries. All colors were very densely pigmented, and all photos are of one application. Overall, I really enjoyed these lip colors. I have found that I feel comfortable wearing them as long as I moisturize my lips before applying the product, and that my lips really "pop" against a dewy makeup look. Read my review of each color below and then tell me your thoughts!

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Devotion is described as a deep, true red (with blue undertones). It's vegan, and my favorite, as I am a sucker for any good red lip color. I like the idea of a matte red lip color being worn in spring/summer. To me it is both unexpected, and classic at the same time.

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Sweetheart is described as a bright fuchsia, and bright it is! You could signal alien lifeforms from outer space with this color, and that it totally fine by me. Visit me aliens...I have so much to share. I am especially excited about this color for spring, because I see it going so well with casual denim pieces and crisp white linen for day, and working well in the evening with a chic black and white ensemble. This color is also vegan. 

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Flame is described as an orange red, and really, there's no better way to describe the color. It's bright, vibrant, and out of the three, this one went on the most even as far as color pigmentation. In person it's mesmerizing to look at; truly a beautiful color. It's a one that my high school self would have gravitated towards, and would have proudly rocked any day of the week. This..is not listed as vegan. 

Tips for wearing matte lip color: 
  • Moisturize your lips before applying. A good balm that is beeswax based would be great for this. Perhaps apply to your lips at the beginning of your makeup routine, and blot off before applying your Milani Amore Matte Creme lip color
  • Allow for dry time. Matte lip colors need time to 'set'. So while they may apply easily, and may perhaps seem a little bit watery in consistency, remember that they do need a little extra time to set and become matte. I.E.: don't rub your lips together until the lip color is set!
  • The Milani Amore Mattes all leave a beautiful stain on the lips when they wear off. And while it certainly looks beautiful, just remember to be extra careful when applying the color!
  • Coconut oil will be your best friend when it comes to removing your matte lip color.
Online, these retail for $9, or you can purchase them at Walgreens, or anywhere that Milani cosmetics are sold. Have you tried these? I saw that they have some nude colors as well, which I bet would be beautiful all year round.  

Happy Thursday!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Casual Days

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I first discovered this fountain mural on Instagram; which I will admit was a little surreal because I frequent this park all the time, and hadn't noticed the change! If this art looks familiar, it's because Bud Snow and her work has been featured on A Mused previously. Her murals are all over town; they can be seen from the Highway 12 overpass, outside of Atlas coffee, and in Julliard park. 

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There are two types of people in the world when it comes to leggings: those that wear leggings as pants, and those who insist that it is never ok to wear them as such. As for me, I think I've formulated my own personal rule; as long as the crotch-seam and my derriere are covered, I believe it's perfectly acceptable to wear leggins as pants. My argument is that most denim companies nowadays sell jeans that are essentially leggings already: with 2% spandex or more, and created to be worn tight, skinny jeans basically look like a glorified legging. Plus, leggings are comfortable, and tend to not get baggy in the knees like jeans do (and baggy-in-the-knee jeans never look cute!). I like that my Spanx leggings (last seen here) add a bit of cool edge to my look. 

My sweater is a long time favorite of mine, designed and created by my friend Kathryn McCarron. I own 3 or 4 pieces of hers, and they are on constant rotation. They make getting dressed so effortless, and always give off a relaxed, effortlessly chic vibe. Plus, any time I can leave the house in a soft knitted material, leggings, comfortable shoes, and still wear a touch of lace and look put together/presentable, is a major win my book!

OluKai, a brand that I have featured previously on A Mused, was kind enough to send a pair of Pehuea slip-ons for spring/summer. I love the color! They're super comfortable and soft, and the color is bright enough to add interest to a simple outfit. Again, I'm keeping things classic and effortless this spring, and these Pehuea slides fit the bill perfectly. 

Happy Monday loves! Be sure to check back this Thursday for a spring makeup feature! 

Photography: Sosatography