Designer Spotlight | Ulla Johnson

Despite fashion’s focus on minimalism, I’ve always considered myself to be more of a maximalist. I’ll take vivid prints, intricate lace and ornate beading over streamlined silhouettes and neutral hues any day of the week. One designer who never fails to make me swoon over their unabashedly luxurious collections is Ulla Johnson. Founded in 2000, this Brooklyn-based babe’s eponymous label has since earned itself a huge celebrity-studded following and tons of recognition from the fashion industry’s elite. With a strong focus on handmade touches and artisanal craftsmanship, each collection is characterized by breathtaking fabrics, natural fibers, lush textures and opulent embroidery. Ulla’s designs look as though they could come directly from the pages of a storybook, filled with kings, queens and castles guarded by dragons. These pieces cost a pretty penny but when you look at the artful craftsmanship, you will agree that they are worth every penny. After all, how can you put a price on a fairytale?

MY PICKS


1 // Mara Top in Poppy


2 // Claude Dress in Crimson


3 // Donna Dress in Copper


4 // Nadine Pullover in Oatmeal


5 // Carolina Blouse in Blanc


6 // Marion Dress in Olive


7 // Evelyn Skirt in Army


8 // Teresa Jacket in Rose


9 // Ceri Trouser in Army


10 // Frances Overcoat in Bone

xoxo,

Alicia

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Mean Mr. Mustard 

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Without a doubt, my favorite season for fashion is fall. The layers, the chunky knits, the boots – I love it all. But most of all, I love the colours. Moody merlot, inky cobalt, burnt orange and earthy olive are a few hues that I love to wear this time of year. But my favorite fall shade? Mustard. Bright and bold with a 70s feel, this condiment-inspired colour adds a playful twist to everything from loafers and trousers to sweaters, handbags and even nail polish. Wallflowers, don’t immediately shun this shade – even though this is a loud hue, it works well as a neutral, so don’t be afraid to mix it with other strong colours such as plum, red or bright blue. Don’t be shy! Say it with me – more mustard please! Scroll on for a few of my must-have mustard pieces.

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MUSTARD PICKS

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1 // Reinhard Plank – Norma Felt Hat

2 // Chairish – Grey & Mustard Silk Velvet Pillows

3 // Tory Burch – Colette Skirt

4 // David Tutera – 14k Gold Over Silver Citrine & Cubic Zirconia Flower Ring

5 // Chicwish – Comfy Day Diary Cable Knit Cardigan in Mustard

6 // Dorothy Perkins – Quiz Mustard Yellow Crochet Frill Sleeve Top

7 // Butter London – Nail Lacquer in Cheeky Chops

8 // Samoe – Band Watch in Mustard Yellow

9 // Chanel – Timeless Mini Agenda Cover

10 // Valentino by Mario Valentino – Mustard Yasmine Studded Crossbody Bag

11 // Gucci – 2017 Marmont Fringe Suede Loafer

xoxo,

Alicia

Fragrance Friday | Fancy by Jessica Simpson

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Fancy by Jessica Simpson

NOTES | Pear, Apricot, Red Berries, Gardenia, Jasmine, Almond, Caramel, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber

VIBE | Romantic, Cozy, Cuddly, Feminine, Comforting

If perfumers had the ability to bottle up the exact essence of caramel drizzled creme brûlée, you would get Fancy by Jessica Simpson (her debut scent). It’s unabashedly sweet and decadent, and it’s exactly the kind of cuddly, cozy fragrance I want to wear on a chilly autumn day.

This gourmand treat opens with sweet pear, syrupy apricot and sugary red berries. The top notes may be purely fruity, but the rich, dessert-like notes in the base are already rising up at this point. My first impression of Fancy, when I initially sprayed it on, was that it was very, very sweet but not youthful. It doesn’t smell like the candied, cheap body sprays that young teens wear. It’s rich and creamy, and wraps around you like a soft cashmere sweater. It just radiates warmth and soft femininity.

As the fragrance evolves into the heart, the most prominent notes that give Fancy its main characteristics come into play. Voluptuous jasmine and gardenia are the only two flowers in the scent but they are barely detectable. They just add an underlying sexiness, an almost animalic quality that compliments the creamy caramel and sugared almonds perfectly. It’s in the heart of the fragrance where Fancy is truly at its best. At this point, I can hardly stop sniffing my wrist. Seriously, I could happily drown in Fancy.

Like a fairytale, Fancy is a romantic fragrance that ends as beautifully as it began. Staying true to the cuddly, gourmand nature of the scent, the three notes that are left on your skin are vanilla, amber and sandalwood. It’s slightly spicy, milky and sexy. It’s soft and delicate and is only strong enough to smell when leaning in for a hug. My boyfriend loves when I wear Fancy. Honestly, he rarely notices the perfumes I wear, so the fact that he actually verbalizes that he likes this scent, says it all. If you enjoy sweet, dessert-like scents and orientals, or are looking for a romantic scent for a date, then give Fancy a try. It’s super cheap (I got my 50ml bottle for $25) but stands up to more expensive designer juices. It’s one of my favorite fall scents and if you love vanilla, you are going to be obsessed with this yummy perfume.

Have you smelled Fancy before? What’s your favorite fall scent?

xoxo,

Alicia

September Beauty Picks


I, like so many others, have always been mesmerized by french ladies’ effortless yet completely elegant approach to beauty. Slightly messy hair, ruby red lips and creamy lit within skin seems to be the parisien go-to formula – at least in my mind. So while I take a few other cues from french culture in terms of my diet and attitude (eat until satisfied and no more, drink water and feel no guilt about indulging in a glass of wine with dinner and a bit of chocolate for dessert), my focus in my beauty routine is on hydrated, healthy skin, shiny yet slightly unkempt hair and sultry red lips. So far it has been serving me well and I think it will serve you too! So behold, my five favorite french-inspired beauty products that have become staples for me. Enjoy!

1 // Skoah – Hydradew Mask

Fruit is good for your body, so you just know that it’s good for your face! Hyaluronic acid, sea kelp, algae and vegetable extracts help to deeply hydrate your skin, leaving your complexion soft as a baby’s bottom and healthy. Plus it smells like grapes and feels super light and refreshing!

2 // Pixi – Glow Tonic

I’ll admit, I used to pretty skeptical about toners but this silky elixir has me in love. Ginseng and aloe vera help to brighten and soothe the skin while glycolic acid purifies and helps to remove toxins from deep inside your pores. Simply dip a cotton ball in this magic potion and cleanse any remaining makeup, dirt and oil off your face after you use your regular face wash.

3 // French Girl – Hair Rose Revive Oil

Deeply moisturize unruly tresses with this richly hydrating, but still non-greasy, hair oil. Argan oil is rich in nourishing fatty acids, while rosehip, hemp and tamanu oils condition the scalp, which is often the source of hair troubles. The rich floral scent of rosemary and rose geranium is stress-relieving and has properties that help to repair damaged hair. Basically, it does it all and you need it now. Not to be bossy.

4 // NARS – Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red

There’s nothing like a swipe of red lipstick to make me feel polished and pretty. Even if my skin is misbehaving and my hair is frizzy (thank you cold weather), a ruby red pout makes me feel like Katharine Hepburn. This shade feels retro and powerful. I love wearing it to work, in the evenings. Any old time. Red is my go-to come fall and winter and this formula (although expensive) is hydrating, and lasts for ages.

5 // Benefit Cosmetics – Dandelion Box ‘O’ Powder Blush

Perfecting that no-makeup-makeup look is a bit tricky but this illuminating blush from Benefit makes it a bit easier. It’s a very subtle shade – a rosy ballet slipper pink – and has just enough shimmer to make your skin look refreshed and bright without that clown effect that a lot of blushes give. It’s a cult-favorite for a reason and is a godsend when you haven’t had enough sleep and need to look like a human being.

What are your favorite beauty product right now? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Falling For Fall | 6 Cozy Autumn Candles

I’m a scent-aholic and so one of my favorite things about fall is filling my home with cozy smelling candles inspired by the delicious aromas of autumn. Candles, and scents in general, can do wonders for creating a specific atmosphere and mood. For example, if I want to relax and unwind, I might light a candle scented with vanilla, woods or lavender. If I want to feel cozy and creative, I’ll light smokier scents with apple, tobacco, cinnamon or caramel. Whether it’s the perfume you wear or the candles you light, scent is such a personal, intimate thing and everyone has their own preferences and opinions on what makes a perfect fall candle. Some prefer sweet pumpkin spice latte scents, while others like candles that mimic the smells of nature – fallen leaves and dewy apple orchards. Whatever your preferences, I am positive that one of these delectable fall candles will tickle your fancy. Here’s to all of the warm and fuzzy feelings and delicious smells that fall brings!


1 // Bath and Body Works – Leaves

NOTES: Red Apple, Golden Nectar, Clove Spice

Leaves from Bath and Body Works is an autumn classic and is one of the candles that I repurchase year after year. It’s sweet and spicy but still fresh, reminiscent of a brisk but sunny fall day spent crunching through fallen leaves in a tranquil park. It’s utterly pleasant and a fail-safe crowd pleaser. I’ve yet to meet a soul that didn’t adore Leaves!


2 // Byredo – Treehouse

NOTES: Bamboo, Pimento, Hay, Labdanum, Myrrh, Leather

If you lean towards green, outdoorsy scents, you are sure to fall head over heels for this refreshing candle. It reminds me of fragrant pine needles, dew-laden grass and fallen leaves. Oh, and apparently it’s Taylor Swift’s favorite!


3 // Max Benjamin – Coffee and Cardamom

NOTES: Coffee, Cardamom, Patchouli, Rose and Vanilla

Is there anything more mouthwatering than the smell of hot coffee in the morning? Only if it’s laced with exotic cardamom, voluptuous rose and creamy vanilla. This sensual candle is exactly what I want to light when I want to cuddle up on the couch with my boyfriend. The definition of cozy.


4 // Nectar Republic – Autumn Pear

NOTES: Fresh Pear, Caramel, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Vanilla

If bakery-inspired scents are your jam, then look no further than this drool-worthy candle. With nuances of juicy pear and creamy caramel and cinnamon, it smells exactly like a poached pear tart. Light this bad boy and everyone will be wondering what delectable confection you’ve been baking.


5 // Frostbite Studios – Sherlock’s Study

NOTES: Pipe Tobacco, Cherrywood, Fresh Rain

Channel your inner recluse detective and enjoy the mysterious aromas of smokey pipe tobacco and cherrywood. A clean rain accord brings a slight freshness to the candle that reminds me of days spent in a musty study, reading with tea in front of a rain spattered window. It’s very unique and completely sets itself apart from other atypical fall scents.


6 // Often Wander – Apple, Ginger & Sandalwood

NOTES: Apple, Ginger and Sandalwood (obvs)

When it comes to fall scents, the smell of apple and ginger is a classic. This sweet and spicy combination reminds me of a juicy wedge of apple pie, but without all of the guilt and calories. It’s also made with clean-burning soy wax which lasts a lot longer than other waxes, so you can enjoy this delicious candle for ages and ages!

Do you have a favorite fall candle? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

xoxo,

Alicia

6 Fall Trends I Want To Wear Right Now

Although I love summertime and all of its joys (lazy beach days, nights spent on patios with rose and girlfriends, sunsets with sorbet), I can’t help longing for cool autumn days and the cozy clothes that go with them. As the temperature is still hovering at 30 degrees (Celsius), I am not quite ready to give up my slip dresses, sandals and shorts, but in my head I’m wearing chunky sweaters, slouchy boots and blanket scarves. For any of you who are getting ready to shop for their autumn wardrobe essentials, take a quick gander at these six drool-worthy fall trends. As soon as the leaves change colour and the temperature drops a few degrees, I swear that I’m wearing them all. Possibly even at the same time.


1 // CHUNKY SWEATERS WITH HANDMADE DETAILS

Come fall, there’s no better way to keep toasty than with an oversized grandpa sweater, preferably knit out of chunky yarns. Handmade details and bold, colourful patterns give this trend a nostalgic feel that is a gorgeous blend of quirky and sophisticated. Plus it’s surprisingly versatile. Throw one over a silk slip dress for a night out or pair it with broken in boyfriend jeans for a laid back weekend look.


2 // KITTEN HEEL SHOES

I have always been a fan of kitten heels and I am so glad they’ve made a comeback this fall. Why? They’re the perfect compromise between a pair of flats and sky high pumps. They are effortlessly chic in a Parisian girl sort of way and can be worn everywhere, from the office to a midday lunch with your in-laws. Sweet yet sexy, comfy yet polished. It ticks all of the boxes a shoe should.


3 // RAW EDGE CROPPED DENIM

Sure, we all need a few polished pairs of jeans in our wardrobes, but every now and then it’s time to live on the edge – the raw edge. Unfinished hems are one of fall’s biggest trends and whether you like them cropped, flared or skinny, they instantly lend a cool girl, ‘I didn’t even try’ vibe to any outfit. Add a blanket scarf, floppy hat and a pair of slouchy boots and you’ve got the perfect autumn ensemble.


4 // VELVET ACCESSORIES

Despite what you may think, velvet isn’t just reserved for flower girls and 80s prom dresses. This luxe fabric is having a revolution and is appearing on everything from boots and bags to bows and chokers. I love to wear velvet accessories with more casual, distressed pieces – say a leather jacket and ripped jeans. It’s glamourous, feminine and over the top – in the best way.


5 // SLOUCHY BOOTS

The slouchy boot is the shoe of the season. Laid back and sexy, they go with everything. When worn with a flowy flowery dress they are boho chic. Pair em with leather trousers and a slouchy sweater and they have a rocker-babe vibe. I don’t know about you but I plan to buy one in a multitude of colours and fabrics – leather, suede, velvet, you name it.


6 // SILKY ‘DRESSY’ BLOUSES

Dressy ‘going out’ blouses are coming back in full force. You know what I mean. Those satiny, beaded, pattern tops that we all used to pair with jean and heels when going out for a date or clubbing with the girls. The best thing about these pieces is their utter simplicity. Throw on a pretty top, pull on a pair of jeans (mid-rise, high-rise, low-rise – there are no rules this season) and slip into a pair of ankle boots and you’ve got the perfect, effortlessly stylish OOTD. Lazy ladies like me, rejoice!

What fall trend is your favorite? Let me know what you think in the comments! I’m so excited for fall I can’t even handle it.

xoxo,

Alicia

What to Wear to The Farmer’s Market

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Today I was walking to school (I am gradually finishing my Marketing Management degree, one evening class at a time), and I couldn’t help but be enthralled by the beauty of today (not to be cheesy). It was sunny but cold, which is my favorite kind of weather, and all of the trees that surrounded the campus were coloured with patches of red, gold, orange, and yellow. There is something about fall that really puts me in a good mood, regardless of what else is going on in my life. I am really looking forward to fall fully setting in and I fully intend to spend every minute soaking up the joys of the season. What does that mean for me? A trip to the farmer’s market. Nothing says ‘fall has arrived’ more than perusing aisles of fresh produce and spices before returning home to make a cozy dinner (something in the crockpot for sure) filled with fresh, in-season ingredients. Now, what to wear to the market? Something comfy and casual with a bohemian feel. Shopping amongst aisles of dirty vegetables doesn’t call for anything expensive or high-maintenance (nothing that needs to be dry-cleaned), but I am a firm believer in dressing up for every occasion. Is it necessary? No. But it makes life a lot more fun. You look good, you feel good, you know what I’m saying? Here’s what I would wear.

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1 // Hat – Halogen Floppy Wool Hat

A floppy hat is pretty much a fall wardrobe necessity. I love this rich cranberry colour, which is a refreshing switch from classic black or brown, but still works as a neutral. It also adds a sense of mystery and romance to even the simplest of ensembles.

2 // Dress – Retro Floral Chiffon Maxi Dress

Sure, jeans and a tee would be more appropriate for the farmer’s market, but a floaty maxi dress is just so pretty and looks rustically chic when paired with a pair of distressed leather ankle-booties.

3 // Scarf – No Chill Chunky Knit Infinity Scarf

It’s that awkward time of year where it’s not necessarily cold enough for a jacket, but not warm enough to forego all outerwear. Enter, this ultra-cozy chunky scarf. I love infinity scarves because they are so easy to just toss on when running out of the door.

4 // Tote – Totes Y’all Vanderbilt Tote

This bag is a bit expensive for a market bag, I’ll admit it, but I instantly fell in love with the slogan. Why? I say ‘totes’ so frequently that it is both shocking and embarrassing. Logically, I wouldn’t really recommending spending so much money on a bag that will likely just get dirty, but I am also impractical and ridiculous, and I love it. It is also roomy and durable enough to carry all of your essentials. Say no to plastic bags in style.

5 // Boots – H Shoes by Hudson Leather Brogue Chelsea Boots

Comfy yet cute, the flat ankle boot is a must this time of year. I have never been the type of girl to wear runners or slip-ons and so I pretty much live in ankle boots in the fall. They also lend a ‘fall’ vibe to dresses that would normally be reserved for summer.

6 // Vest – Levi’s Sleeveless Jacket

Keep warm AND show off your outfit with this kitschy vest from Levi’s. This blue denim number has a vintage charm that is very on-trend, and the shearling is just the right touch to set off the floral print of the dress. I love vests and intend to add a whole bunch to my wardrobe this season.

7 // Earrings – Lucifer Vir Honestus Maple Wood Disc Earrings

I am not usually one to wear wooden jewelry but I loved this minimalist style. It’s sleek and elegant with a bohemian feel that works so well for fall. Love.

xoxo,

Alicia