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Style Portrait: Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge 

In honor of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge's (Kate to the rest of us) birthday - I wanted to put together a collection of the reasons I think she is a natural style icon.  From casual walks in the woods to the most fancy state affairs, Kate has shown herself to be stylish, modern and sophisticated.  Truthfully, she hasn't put a foot wrong.  

As someone who was a huge fan of Diana, The Princess of Wales and followed her life & style - I have a soft spot in my heart for the royals.  When William & Kate announced their engagement the real frenzy began.  Is there a women on earth more photographed? I don't think so.  And, just as her late mother-in-law each & every style move she makes is photographed & analyzed.  

There aren't many people that can pull off the woods & wellies look as effortlessly as Kate.  

Casual Kate is just as put together as you might see her for a formal occasion.  Including her ability to rock a cowboy hat as she did during the royal couples trip to Canada. 

Kate's style is flawless in her "work wardrobe".  Whether she's visiting charity, royal events or the wedding of friends - Kate has the dress / hat thing down to perfection.  The most amazing things is The Duchess is regularly snapped recycling her favourite looks for public events. And she doesn't care how long it's been since she was last photographed in an ensemble, she's been known to re-wear clothes just days after they were first seen. Thifty Thrifty! 

Bring on the fascinators!

Kate was properly recognised for her ability to rock headwear - trilbys, fascinators, pillboxes, you name it Kate can wear it - by being named as Hat Person of the Year 2012. 

Great sonnets could be written about the lustrous wonder of Kate's hair, but I'm  going to summarise my feelings for this style icon's locks in one word: exquisite. 

We squealed with joy when we got our first glimpse of Kate in her utterly divine Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding gown. It was an image seen by billions and she did us proud. With the dress, Kate wore a Cartier tiara, which she borrowed from the Queen, made by the top jewelers in 1936. Perfection. 

 Nobody does a red-carpet event like The Duchess.  She can rock bright colors, sparkles, lace .... anything! 

"Kate Middleton has been brilliant for British fashion and great for the whole economy. She is a breath of fresh air and has encouraged people to experiment and combine high fashion with high street fashion. There is no one else who has an effect like Kate. It has really brought British fashion to the forefront again. She's a really nice girl as well." - Alice Temperley {renowed British Fashion Designer & favorite of Kate's} 


But, at the end of the day --- what's really important is that these two appear to be incredibly happy together.  The addition of Baby George only adds to The Duchesses beauty & style.  



New Year: Happy Trails 2013 

So, it's the end of the year. Time to reflect & take stock.... 

2013 has been a really difficult year for me.  Maybe one of the worst of my life.  I have battled health issues which bled over into my work life.  Not a whole lot has gone right.  So, as I wrap up 2013 I can't say I am sad to see it leave.  More like, "don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out..."

But, the thing about life is that tomorrow is always a new day & happily, Wednesday is a NEW YEAR

I have high hopes for 2014.  Not just because I have no where to go but up ---- but, because I'm slowly on the mend (actually, doing much better) and I have some job things brewing.  As I look forward, I think I might try and drop some of the dark cloud & really find some positivity.  

Now, I am not one for resolutions..... I never keep them.  But, I am all for a clean slate & wanting to make some changes. 

via the atelier

I found this graphic & really liked a lot of what it was saying.  And, while they are not necessarily "resolutions" it's something to strive for.  Something to achieve.  

Now, I am not a party girl.  I never go out on NYE.  This year is no exception -- I have been dead sick with a cold for 5 days and it's still kicking my butt.  BUT, if you are - I hope you are safe & have a blast. 

So - make sure you have your best dress & sparkly shoes all ready. 

Have a sip of bubbly for me (I'm allergic to alcohol). 


But, the most important thing is that I wish you all a healthy, wealthy & wise 2014.  

See you on the flip side!!! 


Picture of the Day: To You & Yours

Sending you all good tidings of peace & joy.....  enjoy your holidays, my friends! 

via apartment therapy


Spotlight: Darling Magazine 

I have a recent addition to my ever growing list of magazine crushes.  I know -- it's really long.  But, the thing is - there are JUST SO MANY amazing publications out there.  How can I not be swayed? 

Today's feature is on Darling Magazine.  This beautiful & creative magazine is a real gem.  I was lucky enough to find a copy at my local Anthropologie & now I am a huge fan.  

So, what is Darling? 

Darling isn't just a magazine, it's a movement.  Our print magazine is a guidebook to lead you through the seasons of the year and your life.  We exist to encourage and empower women and be a voice of love.  - Darling Magazine 

That mission is what they believe makes their publication different.  Darling's intention is positive female empowerment - but, not with battle cries & fire torches.  

A truly stunning visual piece - there is also a great deal of content & so much editorial.  Their website is another treasure of imagery, articles, features and truly highlights the riches they bring to their quarterly publication. 

With areas of interest such as dreamer, hostess, confidant, stylist, explorer, etc..... there is something for every imagination.  

One of my particular favorites is the hostess section, filled with amazing cooking, gathering & entertaining features.  Yet somehow - this isn't a girls guide to sparkles & shine.  This is more about the sharing of an experience and the value of friendship.   

The talented & wide variety of writers & photographers the publication / site use are really amazing.  As I have been reading the previously publications & archived features I feel like this gem needs to be shared with a larger audience.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.  

Sources: Image via Darling Magazine / Darling Website 

Darling Magazine on Pinterest 

Copies of the magazine can be found online (in their store) or via retail.  See their stocklist for details. 


A Scandinavian Christmas 

Happy Holidays Friends.... I hope you are having a lovely start to the holiday season {whatever holiday it is that you celebrate}.  For me, it's pretty quiet so far - but, one of the things I have been fascinated with is the idea of a 'Scandinavian' style Christmas.  I have always had such a fondness & interest in the countries of Scandinavian countries {Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland}.  The traditions and themes of the Christmas holiday season are so beautiful & creative.  I really love them. 

One of the biggest themes is red & white, nature, simplicity and family.  How perfect. 

Two of my favorite books on the subject are Scandinavian Christmas by Trine Hahnemann and Handmade Scandinavian Christmas: Everything You Need For A Simple Homemade Christmas by Hege Barnholt are filled with amazing ideas & inspiration.  Lovely books, truly.  

Traditions in these countries have individual beliefs and their own unique ways of celebrating the holidays. The celebration of Christmas in Scandinavia incorporates old Christmas traditions with connections that predate Christian influence. As these northern countries become their darkest near the winter solstice, the Christmas holiday also signifies brighter days ahead.

Even in these very modern countries the celebration is rather traditional – the gathering of friends and family for seasonal food and drink, with an assortment of presents for the children.

The holiday season slowly builds itself throughout the entire month of December. As the days grow darker approaching the solstice, Lucia candles appear in the windows of many houses and offices as part of the St. Lucia festival of lights, found primarily in Sweden. Celebrated on December 13, this holiday gathers together children, selecting one girl with a crown of candles as the city or neighborhood Lucia. The children proceed in a Lucia train singing carols and Christmas songs. 

The food available in Scandinavia over Christmas varies by country, but is generally based on various types of seasonally available meat, fish and vegetables. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, there’s plenty of pepparkakor (gingerbread) to be seen at local grocery stores and bakeries. At the julbord on Christmas Day, Finns and Swedes will often serve some type of Christmas ham, along with pickled herring, cod, potato casseroles, and vegetables. In Denmark and Norway it’s not uncommon to see pork and lamb rib along with cod and herring. For dessert, rice pudding is often served with a single almond hidden in a bowl – the receiver of which can make a wish for the following year.

The day before Christmas, Julafton, serves as the primary day when presents are handed out, and a large dinner is served at the Christmas dinner table, the Julbord.

Children will leave out porridge or milk the night before for Tomte (Sweden) or Nisse (Denmark and Norway), small elves who leave presents underneath the Christmas tree. These small elves will typically live in barns or attics, hiding away and taking care of animals and business about the house, while also helping to distribute gifts during the holiday season. A single Jultomten or Julmannen, similarly dressed to Santa Claus in red and white, might also possibly appear to hand out gifts directly to the children. As the night winds down, the group might sing carols and continue to drink many of the traditional seasonal beverages.

With the main festivities over the night before, Christmas Day is used as a time to relax after the night before. 

Personally, my favorite elements are the beautiful - yet, very simple decorations and ornaments.  The use of a simple color palette and natural / earthy materials is such a nice change to the over glittery & shiny Christmas that you find in America.  There is something to be said for bring back some of the simplicity of the holidays.  What do you think?  Could you imagine decorating your holiday house in such a matter?

Happy Holidays!!

{Credits: All imagery sources can be found here