Boots with Skirts and Dresses – Essential Winter Looks

It’s no secret that I’m a boot girl (probably why I ended up selling boots!). Love them.  Can’t get enough of them. And I’m still trying to convince my husband that a girl can never have too many pairs of boots!  They go with everything, but one of my favourite combos is mixing boots with skirts and dresses.  They are a perfect pairing for fall/winter and can be made to look as fresh or as classic as you like…

I may be biased, but this is one of my favourite looks using a pair of boots from my own web store.

convertible boots with dress

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little white dress and boots

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Even Kate Middleton is a fan of the boots & dress look.

kate middleton dress and boots

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And Heidi Klum.

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And I love this look:

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What do you think about this look?  Is it a favourite of yours too?

Style Icon Sophia Loren

Movie actress and beauty icon, Sophia Loren came a long way from her humble beginnings in Italy to her status as a household name around the world. Describing herself as strange looking when she was a child, she later said, “I think the quality of sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips.” Well, there’s no question she had something special oozing from her pores, but she also had all those other attributes as well!

Reportedly 38-24-38 measurements, Sophia Loren is the epitome of the hourglass figure. Sophia Loren 1960's

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Always beautifully dressed (and most often with her assets on full display!), Loren was undoubtedly a style icon.

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Quite a transition from being scrawny as a child, Sophia Loren blames spaghetti for her figure!

sophia loren evening gown

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sophia loren style and beauty icon

Sophia Loren looked her most beautiful with that great big smile.

sophia loren drinks champagne

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Sophia Loren at 64.  I hope I look that good at her age!

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Even in her 70’s Sophia Loren is still wowing in curve-hugging, cleavage-bearing dresses.

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There are plenty of rumours about whether or not Ms. Loren has undergone plastic surgery to keep herself looking good.  Either way, she is still as gorgeous as any of us could wish to be and still able to proudly bare her beautiful figure.  She claims, “You have to be born a sex symbol. You don’t become one. If you’re born with it, you’ll have it even when you’re 100 years old.”  Do you think she’s right?

Do you think Sophia Loren is a style icon?

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!

Animal Welfare in Miri

I’ve had an interesting day today that had nothing whatsoever to do with fashion or interiors or my business of selling boots and handbags.  It had mostly to do with another effort I am involved with here in Malaysia.  PAWS – Piasau Animal Welfare Support.  And some of my day was heart-breaking and some was surprisingly gratifying.

Animals hold a special place in most cultures and countries. Whether that place be one of respect or one of disdain, they inhabit that place often without much thought given by us humans.  We accept it as a matter of conditioning based on how we were raised and how we were taught animals should fit into our lives.

There is a diverse mix of cultures where I live in Malaysia; Chinese, Malay, as well as local tribal populations and a large expatriate community.  It’s not surprising we all have different ideas about how animals should be treated and respected.

But today was all about mutual respect, no matter where we were from, no matter what our background.

Photo by Tina Graham

Peanut, one of our PAWS kitties

Today I had to take a sick PAWS kitten to the vet. She was really unwell, unable to use her legs, couldn’t hold her head up, crying in pain.  I thought we were going to have to put her down and we still may.  I stood there with the Muslim vet and cried over the decision.  He was visibly moved by the emotion I was displaying, and he cradled her with such love and care, as we discussed the best thing to do.

In the next room was a Malay man with one of the pet cats he had adopted through PAWS.  We think she had been hit by a car and was paralysed from the waist down.  Another agonising decision had to be made between he and the vet.  He was distraught and so sad about his cherished pet.

On a brighter note, earlier in the day I had joined a group of local college students who put together a fundraiser on behalf of the PAWS.  These were students from all of the many Malaysian cultures. The fundraiser was centred around coffee break and lunch time food sales at IBS College and I arrived after they had set up.  I was really impressed with how they had organised themselves and how excited they were to help me sell the PAWS merchandise to all the students in addition to what they were already doing.

College students shopping for PAWS products

I was amazed at how many wallets opened and what little these starving students could spare was spent on a PAWS t-shirt or mug or just put directly into the donation box.  People signed up to volunteer (something we are always grateful for as we never have enough volunteers!), and they asked about adopting.

I’ve had a stream of messages this afternoon from people asking to adopt animals.  They are looking for a new addition to their families.

And so I’ve decided today that it doesn’t matter which culture or which part of the world you are from, it seems to me if you are an animal lover you are a big-hearted person. If only all the world’s cultures had as much respect for each other as these local cultures have for our animals.

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?