Formally Informal






Velvet is a fabric that I do not wear enough. I wore a ton of velvet when I was a kid, in the form of frilly, itchy flower girl dresses and headbands but haven’t worn it much since. In the last few months, velvet has recently seen a resurgence in popularity and this luxe fabric has transcended from being strictly used for formal attire to something that can be worn casually as well. Think velvet smoking slippers, cropped tops, and shorts. The line between high-end and low-end is blurring and I love the idea of adding a bit of opulence to an otherwise humdrum ‘jeans and tee’ ensemble. Velvet is a surprisingly versatile fabric and can be edgy or prim and proper depending on the way it is styled. If you’re not quite ready to fully adopt this trend but want to give it a try, accessories are a great place to start. I bought a pair of black velvet loafers recently and they make every outfit feel a little more special and luxe. With that in mind, here are a few of my favourite velvet pieces that I can’t wait to add to my own wardrobe. 


VELVET BUYS

1 // Pretty Little Thing – Tasmine Blue Velvet Choker Bralet 

2 // Mango – Velvet Top

3 // Jon Josef – Gentry Black Velvet Smoking Loafer

4 // Rose Gal – V Neck Velvet Tunic Dress

5 // Emilio Pucci – Velvet Shorts

6 // Kc Jager – Jenner Velvet Shoulder Bag

7 // River Island – Green Velvet Deep Frill Bardot Crop Top

8 // Steve Madden – Carrsonv Pink Velvet Ankle Strap Heels 

Xoxo,

Alicia

Six Swimsuits That Are Bringing Sexy Back 


I haven’t worn a one piece swimsuit since I was 12 years old. As soon as I entered my teen years it was bikinis only for me and until recently I associated one pieces with my awkward, gangly, elementary years. One piece bathing suits are having a major moment right now though, with major designers (Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Mara Hoffman) and celebrities like Taylor Swift bringing them back into the spotlight. My rule with fashion has always been ‘never say never’ and while I used to think of one pieces as frumpy and hopelessly uncool, I am now ready to hop on this trend train. So with that in mind, here are six swimsuits that prove you don’t need to show a lot of skin to be sexy in the surf.

1 // Lisa Marie Fernandez – Sabine Polka Dot Ruffled Strapless One Piece Swimsuit

This retro piece instantly won my heart. It has a 50s vibe that I love and the sweet heart neckline is super flattering. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a black and white colour palette.

2 // Oasis – Tropical Print One Piece Swimsuit

Tropical prints are everywhere right now and they have a tacky tourist feel that is so wrong that it’s right. That being said, the water colour motif classes it up a little and the soft shades would look amazing with a sunkissed glow. Finally, the plunging neckline adds just the right amount of sex appeal. 

3 // Lilliput & Felix – Amaranthus Hot Coral Swimsuit 

This may just be my favourite swimsuit of the bunch. Where do I even begin with this one? The high, ruched neckline looks as though it could be on an evening gown. The gorgeous coral hue compliments all skin tones and the itsy-bitsy cutout just under the bust lends a flirtatious sexiness to the piece that still manages to be elegant. I feel like Audrey Hepburn AND Marilyn Monroe would like this swimsuit. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and sultry.

4 // Rose Gal – Yellow Off The Shoulder Ruffle One Piece Swimsuit

Open any fashion magazine or scroll through any blog and it will be immediately apparent that the off-the-shoulder look is trending hard right now. I’ve always loved that look, even when my dad would tease me and ask me if I thought I was starring in Flashdance. The ruffle at the top of the swimsuit adds some ladylike sweetness while the loud lemon hue screams for attention. I feel like a lot of people are afraid to wear yellow, but it can be very flattering and it totally pops against a tan. 

5 // Mara Hoffman – Classic One Piece Meridian White Swimsuit

This sporty piece reminds me of something that a competitive swimmer would wear while practicing laps around the pool. The silhouette is streamline and free of fuss, but the pastel graphic print adds some nostalgic 80s charm that makes it striking and unique.

6 // Rose Gal – Ruffle One Piece Swimsuit in Black (Plus Size)

I’m just going to go ahead and channel my inner Archie Andrews (I’m rediscovering my love for the iconic comic series because of my new TV addiction Riverdale) and say va-va-voom to this one shoulder stunner. If Veronica Lodge was a swimsuit, she would be this one. This black number provides some extra coverage for voluptuous figures which I love. I have a smaller bust with curvy hips so it can be hard to find a swimsuit that ticks all of the boxes. This piece absolutely does and it has a classic feel that is timeless and elegant. Also, the ruffle at the bust and the tiny bows at the hips are a cute little touch and draw attention to all the right places. In love. 

How do you feel about one piece swimsuits? Do you have a favourite? Let me know your thoughts!

Xoxo,

Alicia

frau-tonis-veilchen

Fragrance Friday | Frau Tonis Veilchen

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Veilchen by Frau Tonis Parfum

NOTES | Violet, Raspberry, Licorice

VIBE | Vintage, Elegant, Sultry, Flirtatious, Eccentric, Mysterious

This dusky scent is nearly 100 years old and smells unlike anything else. The signature scent of 1920s goddess Marlene Dietrich, it has a vintage vibe that is utterly unusual, exotic, and mysterious. It’s what I would imagine a femme fatale in a film noir would wear. While it’s officially been classified as a floral, it’s hard to put my finger on what it actually smells like. It’s a little bit sweet but it’s not a juicy fruity or dessert-like gourmand. It’s powdery with a suggestion of spice but it doesn’t smell like a warm, enveloping oriental. Like the vixen in black and white movie, it’s complex and difficult to define.

I first discovered Veilchen when I was in Berlin a year ago. My boyfriend and I were exploring without any particular direction and I happily wandered right towards Frau Tonis, a German perfume house that has been crafting olfactory confections for a century. The fragrance-obsessed addict that I am, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to leave with a perfume. I ended up leaving with three (Veilchen, the airy floral Linde Berlin, and the aldehydic Akazie, both of which I will review in the future). As soon as I smelled Veilchen I was in love. Seriously, I practically swooned. To me it captured the way I felt about Berlin. It was at once vintage and dark yet modern and vibrant. And when the sales associate told me it was Marlene Dietrich’s favorite perfume, the deal was pretty much sealed. Because it’s so different than any other perfume, I knew that every time I wore it that it would take me back to the beautiful, historic streets of Berlin. Although I don’t wear it all the time (I want to savour it), every time I put it on, it transports me to that shop when I first smelled it.

There are only three notes in Veilchen, which is surprising because it really does smell intricate and extravagant. Violets, licorice, and raspberry are the three magic ingredients that combine to create this beautiful fragrance. After discovering that those were the three notes, it made sense because the overall aroma does smell powdery (like violets), sweet (like raspberry), and spicy (like licorice). The perfume is seamlessly blended though and it is hard to distinguish each note.

Veilchen is not a fragrance that I wear everyday (it’s too special for that and it’s difficult for me to order it) but it easily could be. Even though it smells exotic and sultry, it’s still soft and stays close to the skin, making it a good choice for daily wear. It’s especially beautiful when worn in the evening or during a romantic encounter – I feel that is what Veilchen was created especially for. It’s seasonless and luxe enough to be worn to formal occasions, such as a wedding. Like all timeless classics, Veilchen is gorgeous no matter what the occasion is.

Overall, this is a stunning, complex fragrance that centres around violet with a kiss of raspberry and licorice. If you’re looking for a perfume that is dark and sweet with a powdery, vintage elegance, then you must try Veilchen. Besides, who wouldn’t want to smell like Marlene Dietrich?

xoxo,

Alicia

april-beauty-picks

April Beauty Picks

So I really had quite the opportunity to discover new beauty products this month. Why? I lost my entire bag of makeup in a cab on the way home from my friend’s house. Cue the violins. So after I had a good little cry (kidding, not kidding) I had to go out and stock up on all new beauty essentials. The silver lining of my taxi tragedy was that I found a few gems that I absolutely love. From a mascara that can withstand sweat, rain, tears, and naps, to a luxe serum that has pearls in it, these are my five favorite beauty finds of the month.


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1 // Artistry – Ideal Radiance Illuminating Essence

First things first, this serum is a freaking godsend. My cousin Marina actually introduced me to Artistry when she began selling the line and I instantly became intrigued by its quality and cult-like following (Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez are fans). It was difficult to choose which products I wanted to buy, but I ended up settling on this one. My skin is pretty clear but I have always been prone to blotchiness and dullness. With antioxidant packed ingredients like acerola cherry and skin-soothing pearl protein and flower essences, this oil free serum has already made my complexion brighter and my skin tone more even and fresh looking. It’s a splurge at $133 but I think it’s worth every penny.

2 // CoverGirl – LashBlast 24HR Mascara

If there is one thing I never leave the house without, it’s a few coats of mascara on my lashes. My biggest pet peeve however, is when it flakes under my eyes and I look like a raccoon at the end of the day. This is one of the few mascaras I have found that looks as fresh at 7 pm as it did when I applied it at 7 am. It makes my lashes full, long, and lush and doesn’t flake at all. The only flaw? It’s a bitch to take off. I find coconut oil does the trick though, and it’s a small price to pay for fresh, fluttery lashes all day long.

3 // Revlon – Kiss Balm in Berry Burst

I’m more of a lipstick gal than a balm girl, but this tinted formula is kind of like a hybrid between the two. It’s super hydrating and leaved a pretty wash of colour on my lips that brightens my whole face. It’s also SPF 20 which is an extra bonus. I love this for when I don’t want to have a dramatically bold lip but I still want a little colour.

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer

I love this eye liner for the same reason that I love CoverGirl’s Lashblast 24HR Mascara. It. Lasts. All. Day. Long. I truly hate when my eye makeup smudges and this highly pigmented gem never fades. Unlike the mascara, this is super easy to wash off. It glides on easily and can make my eyes look subtly defined or sultry and dramatic. It’s pricey at $33, but I love, love, love it.

5 // Artistry Essentials – Pore Cleansing Masque

My favorite thing to do after work is as follows: light a few candles, switch on Netflix, apply this mask. My face always feels a bit greasy at the end of the day and this deep cleansing mask is perfect for soaking up excess oil. With mineral clay, brightening ginseng, and nourishing copper and zinc, this reaches deep into my pores to pull out dirt, debris, and sebum. It also tingles in a very satisfying way that makes me feel like it’s really working. I use this two or three times a week depending on what my skin needs, and it leaves my complexion soft, smooth, and matte. It also doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, but as always, you should always spot test a mask before slathering it all over your face.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

t-me-do-ice-cream

Designer Spotlight | Eat Me Do

Foodies, rejoice! This Aussie line of quirky clothes celebrates all things delicious, with each collection centering around, you guessed it, food. Designer Lara Ivachev first launched her brand in June of 2012, with the goal of creating a line of clothing that was unabashedly playful and eccentric. Discarding the idea that clothing should be classic and understated, Lara believes getting dressed should be as fun as it was when we were children playing dress up in our mother’s clothes. Flashy prints, loud, in-your-face colours, and pop-art inspired motifs are this brand’s mainstays, along with accessories and jewelry modeled after your favorite childhood snacks. Just a warning, the gummy bear, and sour worm earrings look so much like the real thing, you’ll have to remind yourself not to eat them! With each collection, Lara manages to connect the dots between food and fashion. This concept feels SO right now, with many popular Instagram feeds showcasing food photographs that are as meticulously and creatively styled as Vogue editorial spreads. In today’s social media-driven age, you will be hard pressed to find a restaurant where someone isn’t taking multiple shots of their meal before they allow themselves to indulge. Eat Me Do takes this concept of food as an accessory and runs with it, creating mouthwatering confections that combine avante garde style with a culturally aware sense of humor. From fashion to food, this lighthearted brand ties these two worlds together, celebrating above all, pleasure, beauty, and fun. Tasty.

lara-ivachev

Designer Lara Ivachev.

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EAT ME DO PICKS

1 // Rainbow Breakfast Skirt

2 // Sunny Side Up Dress

3 // Baked Bean Clutch

4 // Sour Worm Earring

5 // Tiny Teddy Brooch

6 // Ice Scream Dress

7 // Mini Gummy Bear Earrings

8 // Krilling It! Clutch

xoxo,

Alicia

Sorbet For Days

It’s officially a new season, so it’s time to hit refresh on your winter wardrobe. I don’t know about any of you, but I am dying to replace winter’s dreary palette of grey, navy, and black with sweet sorbet shades that evoke thoughts of delicious treats and carefree days spent in the sun. From pale mint and cotton candy pink to lemon chiffon, pretty pastels are this season’s style indulgence. If the runway shows of haute designers like Emilio Pucci, Bottega Veneta, and Valentino are anything to go by, it’s clear that Spring 2017 will be saturated with candy-inspired colours and lady-like details. And after what felt like an eternity of rain jackets, heavy sweaters, and somber hues, I am more than ready to binge.

sorbet-style-pastel-fashion

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1 // Lack Of Color – Sunset Palms Fedora

2 // Sydney Evan – Small Ice Cream Cone Pink Sapphire & 14K Yellow Gold Single Stud Earring

3 // Casadei – Minorca Leather Pumps

4 // Double Woven Sea Grass Pom Pom Belly Basket

5 // Crown & Glory – Not a Lotta Rosie Headband

6 // Cosabella – Sweet Treats Dots Bralette

7 // Deborah Lippmann – Pastel Set (Chasing Pavements, Lilac Wine, Peaches and Cream)

8 // Le Specs – Flashy Matte Cat-Eye Sunglasses

9 // George – Ice Cream Sequin Jumper

10 // Na’ara – Teen Ice Cream Color Skirt

xoxo,

Alicia

Au Naturel

I have a ton of beauty products littering my life, ahem, vanity. Despite this fact, every now and then I like to put my Martha Stewart pants on and mix up my own skin elixirs using time tested natural ingredients, most of which can be found in my kitchen. What’s great about making one’s own beauty products, aside from it being a lot of fun, is that you can decide exactly what goes in it. This means that there will be no nasty preservatives or cheap, irritating ingredients coming in contact with your skin (mineral oil is the WORST and is in so many store bought moisturizers). You can also customize your potions to better suit your skin type, whether you have ultra sensitive skin or your complexion is a little more on the oily side. Below are four of my go-to beauty DIYs. They can all be made in five minutes out of four ingredients or less. So slice up some cucumber for your eyes, light a scented candle, and pamper yourself with an at home spa day.

matcha-rose-yogurt-face-mask

1 // Matcha Rose Face Mask

Matcha (finely ground green tea) is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that your skin loves. Rosewater is a natural humectant (draws moisture into the skin, keeping it hydrated) and has anti-aging and antibacterial properties that keeps your skin soft, supple, and youthful. Plain yogurt is incredibly soothing and helps to hydrate your skin while calming redness. This mask is very gentle and excellent for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. I like to do a mask like this two or three times a week to keep it in tip-top shape.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until the mask turns a pale green and is a creamy consistency. Spread it evenly over your face and leave on for 15 minutes before removing with a warm washcloth. Rinse your face with cold water and apply a light moisturizer to lock in the hydrating effects of the mask. Easy peasy.

honey-lemon-sugar-scrub

2 // Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub

Honey has natural antibacterial and moisturizing properties, making it an excellent ingredient for fighting both acne and dry, flaky skin (combination complexions, this is your holy grail). Brown sugar softens skin and sloughs away blockages and dead cells, while olive oil deeply hydrates. Lemon juice is great for balancing oil production while brightening dull, tired skin. This scrub can be used on the face and the body. If your skin is sensitive, ease up on the lemon juice as it can be irritating for temperamental complexions. This is great for deep cleansing the skin, keeping it looking glowy and radiant. Because of the astringent lemon juice and scrubby sugar, I would not use this scrub more frequently than once or twice a week.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Enough olive oil to get a fluffy consistency

Combine ingredients in a bowl until you get a fluffy, snow-like consistency. Customize the mixture depending on your skin type – if your skin is dry, add more honey and olive oil, if your skin is oily, add extra lemon juice. Apply the mixture to your skin in gentle, circular motions. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Apply a light lotion to make your skin even more soft. Your face will feel like a baby’s tush, no joke.

balancing-witch-hazel-lavender-chamomille-toner

3 // Balancing Witch Hazel Toner

Toner is an important, but all too often skipped step in most people’s beauty regimes. This simple version only has three ingredients but powerfully cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Witch hazel, a potent natural material in many clarifying skincare products, helps to kill acne-causing bacteria while balancing oil production. Lavender soothes the skin while acting as a mild astringent, and chamomile tea calms redness and irritation. Use this toner before bed to prep your skin for your moisturizer. Get ready to say ‘bye felicia’ to your pimples.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of witch hazel
  • 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1/2 cup of chamomile tea (brewed and cooled)

Mix all of the ingredients well and strain into an air-tight bottle. Keep your toner stored in the fridge to keep it fresh – plus keeping it cold adds to the tingly-clean sensation you will feel when you use it. After cleansing, apply it to your face with a cotton ball. Don’t rinse it off and allow it to sink it before applying your moisturizer. This is my favorite toner and I find it really helps to ward off pimples, even during shark week when my hormones make me breakout like cray.

coconut-argan-hair-mask

4 // Coconut Argan Hair Mask

If you have dry or curly hair like mine, this deeply hydrating mask is a god-send. Even if you don’t, it will help to keep your stresses glossy and softer than a baby bunny. I’ll tell you right now, the consistency is gross and it doesn’t smell great. I hate the smell of raw egg, but it is incredibly nourishing and helps to smooth the hair follicles while strengthening your strands and preventing breakages. Coconut and argan oil are also fantastic lightweight moisturizers that penetrate deeply into each strand, keeping your hair hydrated and unbelievable shiny. I use this mask once or twice a month (although I could stand to use it more) and it totally bans frizz, keeping my mane smooth and silky. I am also very prone to split-ends and this mask really prevents my strands from breaking, meaning that my hair stays a lot healthier in between hair cuts. It is worth braving the slightly unpleasant smell, and after you wash it out you will be rewarded with gorgeous, mermaid hair. You simply have to suck it up and let your hair soak it up.

Things You’ll Need

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp argan oil
  • 1 egg

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave so that it is a liquid consistency. Whisk it together with a whole egg and the argan oil and apply to your hair, focusing especially on the ends. Wrap your head in a shower cap (or towel if that’s all you have) and let the mask soak in for 30 mins to an hour. Afterwards, wash the mask out of your hair and shampoo and condition as you normally would. After using this mask, I like to apply leave in conditioner to enhance its hydrating effects. That being said, you don’t need to, and if your hair is oily you would be better off skipping it. Let your hair air dry and resist the urge to make everyone around you touch your silky soft hair.

What did you think of these DIYs? Do you have any all natural beauty recipes you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia