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…


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.










Rachel Zoe


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!


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


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


Full length fur appears on Zac Posen’s runway:


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


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


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


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


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


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

Our Wildebeest Cross Body handbag.

wildebeest handbag


And our lovely springbok clutch bag.

Springbok clutch


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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



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:

source via pinterest

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.


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



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

oxblood Alexander McQueen



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



And of course the runways translates to interiors:


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


oxblood sofa


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?

The Courage to Be Uncool

I love this post I read on Care2 by guest blogger Lissa Rankin several months ago about The Courage to Be Uncool.  It is so honest and relatable that I couldn’t help but instantly like her for saying it so well.  And so I asked permission to share it here.  She agreed and so I share with all of you…

The Courage to Be Uncool, by Lissa Rankin

I have never been one of the cool kids, mostly because I was never willing to adapt to the ever-evolving shapeshifter that is “coolness” at the expense of being who I really am.

Yet, even now, I notice the pressure to play it cool and the battle that goes on in my own psyche. Particularly in my line of work, many in my professional peer group are supremely cool.  They wear the right toe-crunching, sexy, stylin’ shoes and coif their hair just so.  They slip in under the velvet rope at the VIP lounges, while sipping on the right trendy cocktails.  The way they write and the things they blog about and how they communicate and who they hang out with and the very air of how they present themselves – on stage and in life – is just so damn cool.

I’m not prone to making comparisons, but it’s enough to make even the most secure girl feel uncool in her comfy brown Teva Mary Janes with her hair in a ponytail.

Being A Chameleon

Ten years ago, I was on for all of three days and met not only my current husband but also this really cool guy who used to work at Studio 54, who was so hot I could hardly breathe around him.  I really liked cool, hot dude, but my antennae went up when cool, hot dude said to me on our first date, “I’m like a chameleon.  I can adapt myself to any situation so I fit right in.”

While this skill sounded handy – even enviable on one level – I found myself feeling distrustful.  Not until that moment did I realize that I wanted to be with the kind of man who was himself all the time, whether he was at the White House, at the Oscars, at a soup kitchen, at the company Christmas party, at church, at home with his family, or hanging at the local pub with the guys.  Any guy who could adapt himself to be cool, whether he was hanging with supermodels or preschool kids, didn’t ring quite true for me.

So as attractive as I found cool, hot dude, I wound up choosing to be with Matt, who is the same down-to-earth, unpretentious, goofy, adorable, essentially uncool Matt, whether he’s watching my daughter’s Waldorf school play, hanging in the green room with me at the Hay House conference, hosting Easter for the neighbors with me, or eating lunch at French Laundry in Napa Valley, where they made him wear one of the stodgy blue coats with gold buttons they reserve for the uncool guys who show up not knowing it’s jacket-only.

When Cool Becomes A Mask

I have nothing against cool people. In fact, I have great admiration for those who are authentically cool – they just embody cool naturally and you can tell it’s not an act at all.

I am not one of those people – and never will be.  I want to rub their heads and hope a little of it rubs off on me. So far, it hasn’t worked because that’s just not me.

But I suspect naturally cool people are rare. The rest are all trying to hit the bullseye of a constantly moving target of coolness, which means staying on top of trends, comparing yourself to others, sacrificing what you really love for what you think others love, and essentially selling your soul for the price of admission into the cool zone.

It’s a heavy price to pay.

Cool can become a mask that covers up the real you, hopefully replacing the real you with someone others consider more socially acceptable. Cool can become your cover, and as long as you’re cool enough, you might spend the rest of your life protecting the real you from ever getting seen – and possibly rejected.

I Am Not Cool…

I don’t wear the right shoes. I wear the ones that feel good.

I hang out with the people I love, not the people who might improve my social status.

If I care about someone, I don’t play games. I tell them, even when I know it makes me look uncool, and even when I’m not sure if the affection is reciprocated.

I say what I think, not what I think others want me to say.

I vote for who I respect, not who others think I should vote for.

I sometimes meditate cross-legged and closed-eyed in public, even though I know it makes me look like a hippie freak from California (I am).

I’ve had the same Jennifer Aniston haircut from her early Friends days for almost two decades because it looks good on me. I’d probably still have a Farrah Fawcett haircut and a perm if it had ever looked good on me (it didn’t.)

I sometimes order the duck when I’m eating out with vegans.

I wear clothes that are five seasons old and completely out of style, just because I still love them.

The guy who just waxed my skis raised an eyebrow because my skis aren’t parabolic enough to look like I bought them in the last decade (I didn’t), but they’re also not vintage enough to be cool on Retro Ski Day.

I yell “WHEEEE!!!!” when I’m skiing down the hill in my uncool skis just because it feels so good.

I do cartwheels on the beach when I’m way too old to do cartwheels.

I don’t buy my daughter’s birthday cake at the cool bakery where the cool mamas go.

I don’t get invited to the cool parties in my hometown.

I don’t have the perfect comeback when someone insults me. I just look openly hurt because I am.

I don’t look cool when I cry, which is often.

I sometimes snort when I laugh hard, which is often.

But Uncool Can Be Cool

I may not be cool, but I’ve kept the promise I made to myself six years ago to be unapologetically ME – 100% of the time – and in my opinion, that’s pretty dang cool. Personally, I love people who let their freak flag fly, even when it flies against the norm. For me, it just doesn’t get any cooler.

Being uncooly cool isn’t always easy. Often, I feel tempted to pretend to be cooler than I am so I won’t feel like such a misfit or wind up hurt. Like everyone else, I want to be loved and accepted. I long to belong.

But not at the price of selling out who I am and replacing the real me with some plastic version constantly recreated to fit today’s elusive cool factor (which you can guarantee is different than yesterday’s).

I finally realized that it takes real courage to be unapologetically uncool – and that there’s really nothing cooler in my book than someone brave enough to be who they really are, even when it flies in the face of everything popular culture commands you to be.

Come Out Of The Closet

If you’re one of those naturally cool people who just radiates coolness when you’re being completely authentic, more power to ya! High five (or is that uncool?)

But if you’re more like me – uncool and cool with it – will you please raise your hand? Come out of the closet, my love. Let us see your real face. Tell us how uncool you are – and be unapologetic about it. Forget that – be flippin’ PROUD of your uncoolness – because it takes courage to be uncool – and there’s nothing sexier than that.

Proud to be uncool,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and health care revolutionary.  Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you to Lissa Rankin for letting me share her post.

I admire Lissa’s uncoolness; that she is ‘cool with being uncool’!  What do you think about our constant desire to be cool and our constant fear of being uncool?  Do you wear a ‘cool mask’ or are you ‘uncool and cool with it’?

Christian Dior Fall Winter 2013

I am completely in love with some of the classic elements that appear on the Christian Dior Fall/Winter 2013 catwalk!  Raf Simons added cigarette pants; three-quarter length coat sleeves worn with long gloves; cinched-in high-waistlines; a hint at the peplum, and full skirts among other things.  I’m a sucker for vintage-inspired style and this is it at its best!

My favourite dress in the collection is this gorgeous salmon pink gown with sheer skirt and fitted bodice that absolutely leapt off the runway in contrast to the rest of the colour palette in the line.  I particularly like the juxtaposition (big word, I know!) of the high-necked, long-sleeved top and the sheer skirt.  Beautiful!


What do you think about the Christian Dior Fall/Winter collection?

Transgender Models

A highly debated topic perhaps since For Your Eyes Only Bond Girl Caroline (Tula) Cossey made headlines in the 1980’s when she was outed for being a transgender model and actress, the press has stirred it up again recently since the formerly-male Jenna Talackova competed in the Miss Universe Canada Pageant. I’m curious how people really feel about transgender models now.

Former Bond Girl & Playboy model, Caroline Tula Cossey

Are we worried about the sex of the person who is advertising clothing?  Does it matter that a beautiful man looks fantastic promoting women’s fashion – or that the person used to be a man?  And what about the latest headlines about the transgender model competing in Miss Universe Canada Pageant?  Is it inappropriate or ground-breaking?

Model Lea T (second from right) in Givenchy 2010 ad campaign.


Transsexual Isis King fronts American Apparel’s Gay Pride campaign


Male model Andre Pejic walks the catwalk in a Rosa Clara wedding gown


Jenna Talackova competed in the Miss Universe Canada Pageant in May 2012


These models are beautiful, there’s no doubt.  Is it wrong that they appear on magazine covers and in advertising?  Would it be less of a problem for society to accept them if we didn’t know they used to be men?  What do you think?