Photo Shoot for Earth, Wind & Style

Wow, what a day!  Such a great experience being on the set of my very first professional fashion shoot for my business, Earth, Wind & Style, on Saturday.  I’d been looking forward to getting some fun pictures of the convertible boots on offer in my webstore and the day was a huge success!  I thought I would share some pictures with you.

Our outdoor set

So great to be in the company of friend and professional photographer, Tina Graham, and to see her in action on my photo shoot.  She really knows her stuff and given that supplies are somewhat limited where we are located in Miri, she was particularly impressive with her improvisation and quick thinking with both lighting and set direction.

photo shoot make up by Nicola Ingram

Nicola Ingram working her make up magic on one of the models

Cosmetology Scotland owner and friend, Nicola Ingram, worked her magic on the make-up for the shoot and faced her own set of challenges while attending to models affected by the hot and humid mid-day heat, but she was a pro and the girls looked fantastic! Needless to say, we were all really pleased to move inside to the air conditioning!

photo session for Earth Wind & Style

Tina Graham and team working their photography magic!

Leonard the Lighting Assistant and lender of the photography studio cum exercise training studio

photo session models having fun

The gorgeous models having a laugh. It’s hard to look fierce!

And (one of!) the end products.  I absolutely love this shot!!!

Cat fight for the boots!

‘The’ shot!

Halloween Costumes

Halloween.  Scary times!  Scary mostly because I can never seem to come up with a good costume when I need one (halloween isn’t just for kids, afterall!).  Figuring some of you are also in the same boat, I’ve done some research.  Here are a few frightful, ingenious, easy or inventive costumes:

Love this clever jellyfish costume idea.

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Matt Lauer dressed as Paris Hilton.  Cropped skirt, barely there top, blonde wig, oversized purse and a small pooch.  Done.  And the likeness is a little frightening, I have to say!

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Pregnant?  Why not dress as a Mummy?  Jessica Simpson pulled this off really well.  Love the frizzed out hair.

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Perhaps not as topical as at it would have been for last year’s Halloween, but Kathy Lee Gifford and Hota Kotb’s Princess Beatrice & Eugenie costumes made me laugh!

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Super simple, Nicky Hilton does Halloween as Holly Golightly. Grab a short black shift dress, throw on some pearls, some 60-inspired shades, drop earrings and you’re away.  If you can find yourself a cigarette holder and long black gloves, even better!

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Some other ideas I’ve come across:

Fashion Victim: open your closet and dig out the oldest and most out-of-date stuff you can find.  Mix it all together for a crazy mish-mash.  Come on, I know you’ve got some good & horrifying bits in that closet of yours.  Or someone you know does!

Ugly Betty: Heavy rimmed glasses.  Bad hair and fashion. Look complete.

Gold Digger: Cover yourself with gold clothing, shoes, hat, etc., and layer on the gold jewellery and carry a shovel or wear a gold miner’s hard hat.  I’m leaning towards this costume myself this year.

For the Men.  Mark Zuckerberg: jeans and a hoodie and a facebook logo.

Where’s Waldo: Red and white striped shirt, black hat, a camera and big, black-rimmed glasses.

Quaterback: Yup, you guessed it, stick one or more quarters to your back! or…

Quarter Pounder: Take a quarter and a hammer with you to the party!  Thank you to Coupon Sherpa for some of these ideas.

What will you be wearing this Halloween?  Will you go the easy route or throw your heart and soul into planning and making your costume?  Tell me all about it in the comment section below.

Interior Designers’ personal style vs. fashion sense

I’ve always been fascinated by what Interior Designers wear; if their wardrobe reflects their design style, if it’s trendy or classic, colourful or monochromatic, etc. (even more fascinating to me are those in the design world who don’t seem to have the ability to dress well, yet are able to create the most gorgeous spaces.  But I’ll leave that for another post).  So today I bring you a comparison between some well known interior designers and the way they style themselves…

First up, girl-next-door Sarah Richardson:

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Sarah tends to wear casual, classic items with a bit of a funky touch to them, which definitely reflects her love of vintage inspiration and the use of second-hand finds in her interior design style, though I think her interiors generally tend to be more formal than the way she usually dresses (this picture being from her relaxed cottage interior and therefore the counterpart to her usual jeans attire).

The beautiful and talented Kelly Hoppen:

Kelly Hoppen style

Kelly Hoppen interior

I think Kelly’s slinky, retro outfit perfectly reflects the sexy, vintage style of her living room design.  That hit of yellow in the space mirrors the vibrancy of her dress. And that gorgeous hanging chair is the living room’s chandelier earrings like those peeking out of her wild curls.  Kelly definitely likes to add an element of surprise to her often monochromatic interiors and appears to replicate that in her clothing as well.

Fellow Canadian Candice Olsen:

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Candace Olsen Kitchen design

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Candice has a way of making a room really captivating, adding layers and using pieces that will see you through years of enjoyment without requiring an update.  She dresses similarly, always adding an interesting element and mixing her timeless pieces with something that pops, in this case her top.

The super smily Nate Berkus:

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Nate Berkus hallway design

Nate’s personal style preference appears to be a smart-casual look – sports jacket or shirt and tie – quite tailored and classic, yet comfortable.  His interiors definitely have a masculine touch with tailored elements and there is often something that makes you smile about them too, so that reflects his personality.

What do you think?  Is the interior style of these designers comparable to their taste in clothing?  Tell me what you think in the comments section below.

London calling

I’ve been lucky enough to travel through London many times in my life and one of my favourite things about it is that no matter how many times I’ve been here, there is always something new to see.

I got myself to Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill for the first time ever. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! Such a great vibe. An amazing number of shops and stalls selling vintage treasures. I was in my element.

I spied this vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk in one amazing antique shop. Guess how much this baby cost…

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Some of my other firsts were visiting the The Tate. Tate Modern & Tate Britain museums are located across the river from each other, but there’s a very convenient ferry trip on the Thames between the two for £5.50 per person. Plan to have a lovely lunch at the Tate Modern overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I’d tried and failed on previous visits to London to see Westminster Abbey, but this time I managed not only to get inside its beautiful Gothic doors, but also to enjoy the incredible acoustics while joining in evensong. We exited the abbey to the amazing sound of its church bells.

Lastly, I had my first visit to Fortnam & Mason and had afternoon tea in their ground floor restaurant. It just had to be done, though I plan to be more hungry next time I go so I can partake in the full fancy offering (though there are more tea offerings in their 4th floor tea restaurant).

I’ve left London now and am travelling a bit and visiting with my Mom, in-laws and friends around the UK, but I’ll be back to see some more of London’s many sights!

Have you been to London? What were your favourite sights?

New York Fashion Week Street Style

There’s been so much buzz about New York Fashion Week and all of the fashion houses’ presentations, but there is a continuing interest in street style and how it inspires trends and design.  I’ve always been fascinated by what people wear and how they put a look together to represent themselves to the world. Below are some of the best street style pics I came across from New York Fashion Week.

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Rachel Zoe

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Are you inspired by any of these looks?  Or do the designers do more to inspire you?  Tell me what you think in the comments section.

Fur for Fall

Fur is back!  And while everyone in the fashion world seems to be talking about New York’s Fashion week in which Spring/Summer 2013 is being shown, I can’t help myself!  I’m still getting into the fall spirit.  There’s a lot of fur happening this season, in coats, jackets, dresses and in some fabulous accessories.

Love this coat in the season’s hot oxblood colour!

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And Valentino’s stunning wrap in this season’s deep teal.

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Fendi’s adds fur to the collection with this springbok dress.

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Full length fur appears on Zac Posen’s runway:

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And Mugler goes a bit 80’s with this shoulder-padded fur ensemble.

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This DKNY coat is one of my favourites with the high cowl neck and flat edging.

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Some healthy (if not pricey) competition in the fur handbag category also appeared on many runways for Fall Winter.

Christin Louboutin offers a handbag in the same springbok pelt as those in our shop.

Fur handbag

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This Proenza Schouler ‘Bambi bag’ could be yours for just over $4,600 (my first car wasn’t worth this much!).

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Patrizia Pepe has a few fur accessories in her line for this season as well.

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And some of our very own Earth, Wind & Style fur beauties:

Our Wildebeest Cross Body handbag.

wildebeest handbag

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And our lovely springbok clutch bag.

Springbok clutch

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Fur is, of course, still controversial in some circles and with good reason.  There are some terrible practices happening in the fur world.  Earth Wind and Style purchase our products from a company whose skins are sourced only from reputable suppliers in South Africa.  They keep the protection of the species in mind.  The animals are not raised only for their furs.

Fur is also fabulous in interiors.  It adds great texture giving a home or office a real richness and added interest.

Erin Gates adds just a touch of fur in the sheepskins she throws over her office chairs.

Fur interior decor

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I love this masculine room with sexy fur bed cover.  Gorgeous and takes this otherwise neutral scheme to a whole other level.

fur bed cover

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Reupholstering chairs in a cow hide or skin will always create a unique custom look, as no two skins will ever be the same.

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Then there’s always the cowhide rug.  In this space, it helps to anchor the white furniture and adds depth to the space.

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How do you feel about fur products?  Will you buy fur? If not, will you wear vintage fur garments? Are you thinking about the fall trends with all the buzz happening about spring summer in New York? Tell me what you think in the comments section below.

Asian influence this Fall Winter

I love to see a little Asian-inspired fashion on the runway while being surrounded by the influence of Asia.  This season Chinese and Japanese cultures are dominating and there are so many amazing fabrics and patterns to play with and bring into a wardrobe.  Golds and rich colours epitomise Oriental clothing and interiors and there is no lack of either this season.

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This dress comes to life with its pale green colour and Asian fabric with that gorgeous sheen.

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The iconic Japanese Crane makes it’s appearance on the above Van Noten coat.

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Both the style and the fabric in this Proenza Shouler dress mimic their eastern influences.

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Great kimono-inspired belt and rich colours in the above Zac Posen runway look.

Asian style has been popular in interiors for a long while and I’m sure it’s because of its versatility.  There are so many varying looks you can incorporate into the home to add a little of Asia to it:

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Aside from the very obvious silhouettes above the beside tables, the oriental influence can be found in the pattern and colour of the throw pillows and the in headboard whose shape is reminiscent of the contour of Japanese architecture.

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The room above gives a nod to Asia with the chinoiserie panels behind the bedside tables as well as with the bright blue Fu Dogs.  Also note the Indonesian-style ikat pattern on the throw pillows.

Of course this gorgeous table is of Asian decent, but it’s the other touches here that firmly establish this vignette in Oriental style; the boxes and Buddha statue, the gold-leaf horse, and the artwork in the glossy bright sea-blue.

Will you work the Asian influence into your home or wardrobe?  If so, how?

Retro Fashion Tunes

Some oldies, but goodies about the beloved fashion world.

What are your favourite songs about the industry?

Oxblood for Fall 2012

Everywhere I look for fall it’s all about the oxblood.  The colour sits warmly between red and brown and is a close relative to burgundy.  It’s such a rich colour that it just spells cosy!  Imagine oxblood paired with gray, black, red, orange, navy.  It goes well with so many other Fall/Winter colours that it will no doubt be a great wardrobe staple.

Oxblood Haider Ackerman

 

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Gorgeous tone-on-tone pairing in the above Haider Ackerman design.

oxblood Alexander McQueen

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I love the hit of red with the oxblood coat, above, and the various layers of the tone in the shot below.

Oxblood colour palette

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And of course the runways translates to interiors:

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Pure saturation in the picture above creates a luxurious design scheme.  Rich textures and layers keep it interesting.

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oxblood sofa

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The pop of colour in this deep red sofa, above, catches the eye in this otherwise neutral space.

How will you use oxblood this fall?  Will you wear it or bring it into your home or both?

Fulfilling Big-City Ambitions in Kuala Lumpur

Normally when my husband and I travel to new places, we spend most of our time seeing the sights and visiting the cultural attractions that particular location has to offer.  We also do a lot of eating and tasting of local food (eating seems to have become one of our biggest passions).  So on our first trip to Kuala Lumpur – a comparatively larger city than the one in which we are currently living – after living in Malaysia for almost 10 months, we did fully succeeded in fulfilling our requirement for eating.  And any shopping-itch I had was most definitely scratched!

Miri has an unquestionable mall-culture, but nothing prepared me for the malls to be found in Kuala Lumpur (KL, now that we are acquainted).  It is almost mind-boggling the enormity of the shopping centres in KL!  Really, I found them almost overwhelming (perhaps because it has been many, many months since I stepped foot into a western-sized mall.  I’m so deprived!).  We don’t suffer at all here in Miri, but we are somewhat limited in choice when it comes to both food and clothing, particularly of western origin or style. The sheer volume of options may have been what made me a little unsteady in the gigantic KL malls.  But, I recovered for the good of my wardrobe and persevered in exploring the interior of several shopping centres.

KLCC Shopping Mall at the bottom of the Petronas Towers

If you are into Haute Couture, KL is the place for you!  At KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) shopping centre, located at the bottom of the Petronas Towers, you will be able to shop a good many of the well known fashion houses, such as Prada, Armani and Versace, as well as mainstream brands such as Zara and Top Shop.  If you tire of shopping, you can go to the movie theatre, aquarium or to the music hall. Or go up the impressive Petronas Towers for a 360 degree view of the entire city from 360 meters (almost 1200′) above ground.

Petronas Towers at KLCC

My ant’s-eye view of the Petronas Towers

The Pavilion shopping paradise boasts a ‘Couture Pavilion’ within its 1.37 million square foot (!) space, which also encompasses high street fashion, as well as plenty of eating options in its ‘Gourmet Emporium’ and at its sidewalk-style restaurants.  Or you can choose to cruise Tokyo Street or go for a relaxing session at one of the available spas.

If you are more in the market for a deal, Jalan Petaling may be more your speed.  Here you can get a knock-off just about anything, but be warned – they look like knock-offs!  You will have to dig deep and ask the right people to pull out the more masterly copies if they have them. They most certainly aren’t on display.  Regardless of your purchasing requirements, it’s a colourful street and worthy of a stroll through if you are in the Chinatown area.

Jalan Petaling, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

Jalan Petaling in KL’s Chinatown

Foodie (husband) wanted to hit a good cook shop that had been recommended to us by friends, so we made our way out to Bangsar Shopping Centre one afternoon, which was a little out of the way, but it was worth it – it was an epicurean dream!  Never mind the cook shop, as we walked in, we were confronted with the most glorious food store I think we have ever seen.  Jasons Food Hall has it all and then some.  My favourite section was the oil and vinegar section where we were poured a taste out of the cask of our choice, which may contain one of a couple of dozen or more amazing olive, pumpkin seed, or nut oils or aged and flavoured balsamic vinegars.  Our purchase was then decanted into a lovely glass bottle of our preference by a smiling staff member and sent home with us.  We need something like this place in Miri!

Oil and vinegar section at Jasons Food Hall, KL

The glorious selection of oils & vinegars at Jasons Food Hall

So we failed miserably on the sight-seeing in KL (though we did go up the Petronas Towers, honest!) due to our need to devour big city offerings after being on the island for such a long stretch, but we know we’ll be back and cultural sights will definitely be on our list of things to do next time. After we eat and shop, of course!

My Top 10 do’s & don’t’s in KL

  1. Don’t get in a cab unless they agree to run the meter.  Fares are really inexpensive, but will fluctuate greatly without the meter running.
  2. Don’t shop on Saturday afternoon unless you like hordes of crowds!  I mean hordes.
  3. Do shop during Ramadan. Discounts galore including great prices on hotels.  Remember Ramadan moves during the year, so check dates if you are planning a shopping trip to KL.
  4. Do check out Jalan Alor (aka Jalan Kejora) for cheap & cheerful local food with great street ambience in the evenings.
  5. Do visit neighbouring Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang for higher-end ‘expat’ food, bars & whiskey bars, etc
  6. Do check out Central Market (aka the wet market) on Jalan Hang Kasturi in Little India for Southeast Asian handicrafts, art & textiles and for a break from the heat – it’s air conditioned.
  7. Don’t overlook hotel dining. In SE Asia these may be some of your best meals!
  8. Do book your tickets to go up the Petronas Towers, then head into KLCC shopping mall while you wait for your scheduled time (time slots may sell out, so arrive early if you would like to choose when to go).  Do a bit of shopping or have lunch while you wait. You can store your bags for free after you go through security and before you go up the towers.
  9. Do be cognisant of your attire if you travel during Ramadan.  It’s respectful to cover your shoulders at the very least.
  10. Do buy a ‘myrapid’ transit card. They are only available at the ticket kiosk at KL Sentral station, but can be topped up anywhere.  For RM12, you will get a RM10 credit, which allows you to travel on the LRT (Light Rail Transit) and Monorail systems allowing you easy access to most key areas of the city.

My top dining experiences in KL (well researched by my very foodie husband & myself despite how it looks by their close proximity!  Listed in no particular order): 

  • Hanare Restaurant – This is Japanese food at its best.  We have a serious lack of good Japanese restaurants where we live and had been salivating days before our arrival in KL for some of the good stuff (so much so that we ate at three sushi restaurants while in KL!).  Hanare offers a fresh sheet of sushi that has been flown in from Japan that morning (which doesn’t remotely support my low carbon footprint beliefs, but it was a special occasion – it was sushi!). It was delicious, fresh, amazing.  And the Wagyu beef is something everyone should try once in their lives.  Incredible!  In the Doubletree Hotel building on the corner of Jalan Ampang & Jalan Tun Razak (Ampang Park LRT station).
  • Ciccio Ristorante – Ahhhh, Ciccio!  Glorious meatballs, fab Tuscan red by the glass and excellent service.  I only wish I had gone to this restaurant with a better appetite! I’ll be back.  Found on Changkat Bukit Bintang.  Book a table or be very sorry.
  • Makan Kitchen – If you want a taste of the multiple cuisines available in Malaysia in a  more upmarket atmosphere than found on Jalan Alor, try Doubletree Hotel’s all-you-can-eat buffet on Saturdays and Sundays. For RM48++ (plus, plus equals taxes and service charge) you can sample excellent Malay, Indian and Chinese food. Corner of Jalan Ampang & Jalan Tun Razak (Ampang Park LRT station).
  • Tanzini on the 28th floor of the G-Tower Hotel offers very successful Italian Asian fusion cuisine with gorgeous views.  This Canadian girl was very impressed with the scallop dish.  I love a good scallop! After dinner head to the basement of the hotel to catch the excellent three-man cover-band (Fridays only) or hit the 30th floor View Bar for a night cap overlooking the Petronas Towers. On the kitty-corner of Jalan Ampang & Jalan Tun Razak from the Double Tree Hotel (Ampang Park LRT station).
  • Frangipani – definitely not the least expensive restaurant we dined in, but worth the money if you have the budget.  Great wine list and delicious French cuisine in a really lovely setting.  Start your night on the outdoor patio with a glass of bubbly and some oysters.  Yum!  Located on Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang.

Where are your favourite spots to travel, eat and shop?  Do you try local food when you’re away from home or do you stick with what you know?