One thing I never thought I would find on my 'if I could turn back time' list (not a list of regrets, more a list of things I would like to relish once again!) would have been 'wedding planning'.
And yet one of my very first daily stops in Bloggerland is with a chic young lady named Lena Leson who is at the helm of 'A Crimson Kiss', a blog chockful of breath-taking wedding inspiration. Not that the fab images of stunning venues, charming favors and gorgeous dresses aren't enough to keep me crushing on the lovely Lena but this lady leads one cool life to boot. Mondays are a fav of mine when she shares all the delights that made up her weekend and I definitely couldn't start my weekend without a dose of cocktail inspiration (courtesy of her wonderfully talented beau, John) she offers up on Fridays. (I'd also be lying if I didn't mention being blown away by the beyond fabulous shots she posts of the most stunning shoes I have ever come across!)
Whether marriage and wedding days are on your horizon or not, Lena Leson and A Crimson Kiss are names you should get to know!
How do you describe your personal style: I recently fell in love with Tomboy Style, and the idea of seven archetypes–I'm the preppy tomboy, without question. My mother is a dressmaker who taught me to be choosy about fabric and fit, but she still chuckles at all the gingham in my closet and the pearls in my jewelry box.
Style Icon(s): Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Modern day style crush: Emily Blunt, Olivia Palermo and Charlotte Casigrahi are always impeccably dressed.
Go-to outfit: Dark denim, button-down shirt, shrunken blazer, ballet flats, pearl studs
Accessory you can’t live without: A trio of twisted gold bangles–the first was a gift from my nanny, Fanny to my mother after a trip home to Columbia, the 20 karat gold dented from hours of wear, the second, a nearly identical bangle my mother gave me for my 18th birthday (so I would stop wearing hers!), and the third was given to me by Fanny at the same 18th birthday party–it's made up of yellow, white and rose gold and I like to think that it represents my two wonderful mothers and myself. And my engagement ring–also rose gold!
Current weekend uniform: Is it terrible to say pajamas? Truthfully, I spend most of the weekend in my fiance's Brooks Brothers pajamas, yoga clothes, or jeans and more button-downs!
Signature scent: Bulgari's Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert–I discovered it at Milan's Four Seasons at the age of 14, and I haven't worn another scent since!
Most coveted item in your wardrobe: As a classically trained opera singer, I have some pretty fantastic dresses and gowns–my favorites are a red and white polka dot Diane von Furstenberg silk wrap dress and a black one-shoulder silk crepe Armani gown. I also adore the silver fox fur hat I bought once winter in Vienna, and the Issac Mizrahi gray bouclé coat with a fox fur collar that matches it perfectly, found in a little consignment shop a world away for a song. But the one item that gets the most compliments is a cognac leather satchel I bought in Spain one summer that John carries every day!
Must-have beauty/grooming essential: Decleor oils–my facialist and my mother introduced them to me in high school (a pattern, perhaps?) and I've been devoted to the Ylang Ylang serum since. It's moisturizing without actually making your skin oily, and the smell is divine.
Best beauty/grooming advice you have ever heard: I despised my freckles growing up, and tried all sorts of things, including the whitening creams popular in Asia, to make them fade. At some point, someone told me to stop trying to cover them up–I think it's the best beauty advice any of us could hope to get. You'll never be able to cover up the things that make you unique, so embrace them!
You can never have too many: Glasses of water, good meals, ballet flats
Style “Don’t”/Pet Peeve: The toe seam of a stocking sticking out of a peep toe shoe, black tights one size too small, mini skirts with tight tops or lots of cleavage–every look needs a sense of balance.
Favourite style era: 1950s-early 60s; the silhouettes suit my shape!
Trend you could do without: 90s-inspired floral prints–I overdosed on Laura Ashley the first time around.
What will never go out of style: Impeccable fit, quality fabric, cashmere and confidence
East coast or West coast: I live in San Francisco, but my heart's still on the East Coast.
Currently obsessed with: AMC's The Killing, my new Macbook Pro, Burt's Bees lemon cuticle cream, Rosebud strawberry lip balm, Kir royales, planning a summer vacation, hunting down every last Tocca Agadir candle
Favorite night out: Too many tikki cocktails with friends, or a quiet dinner at one of our favorite little restaurants with my sweetheart
Favorite city/vacation destination: I adore Brazil, Salvador de Bahia in particular, but my favorite vacation destination is Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of Cancún.
Never travel without: Moisturizer, a big bottle of water, a few new books and an extra pair of panties and a t-shirt in your purse or carry on–no one ever loses their luggage on purpose, but you can be prepared!
Favorite websites: Style Me Pretty, New York Times, Liqurious, The Kitchn, Netflix
Favorite film: Funny Face, The Life Aquatic, and I adore a good documentary on almost any subject.
Favorite quote: "Being powerful is like being a lady–if you have to tell people you are, you aren't." Margaret Thatcher
Always searching for the perfect: Little black dress, bottle of everyday red wine
Greatest extravagance hanging in your closet/wardrobe: A pair of aprés-ski black fur boots and a mink capelet with a Peter Pan collar–you never need the warmth of fur in San Francisco (and I don't dare risk bodily harm wearing them!), so they're just lovely objects waiting for an appropriate venue!
Never leave home without: Sunscreen
Signature cocktail: Daiquiri No. 1–rum, lime juice and simple syrup, shaken and strained!
Go-to gift: A bottle of liquor they haven't tried but I'm certain they'll love–and the recipe for our favorite cocktail made with it
On my iPod: Opera–mostly French; Classic rock–the Eagles, Led Zepplin, David Bowie, CCR, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix; Folk–Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, and lots of Latin American music–my favorites are Marisa Monte and Bebel Gilberto.
Currently reading: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Ultimate luxury splurge: Two weeks someplace far away–without internet
Describe your home in one word: Clean–I found one of the few men in the world who enjoys scrubbing our kitchen floors.
Dream dinner guest: Woody Allen (although John might cringe), President and Secretary Clinton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Sergei Prokofiev, Beverly Sills, Mado Robin–quite a party!
What inspires you: Learning a beautiful art song with John at the guitar, my mother's strength, F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise
It wouldn’t be ‘my’ party without: John shaking up cocktails and everyone devouring the cheddar first. No one will ever eat as much of the brie or manchego or Humboldt Fog as they will the cheddar, especially if it's really delicious.
Life would be grand if I could start every day: With a cup of Harney & Sons Paris tea, two buttery French biscuits and the newspaper in bed with my sweetheart.
If I could bring back one thing it would be: Graciousness–taking your hat off indoors, helping a stranger or opening a door
Stranded on a desert island, what 5 things could you not live without: Rum (you're on an island, after all!), a Kindle stocked with old favorites and new reads, sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat
Why Don’t You...: Pack a picnic and spend the day celebrating spring's arrival!
7. Isla Mujeres, Mexico 8. TOCCA 'Agadir' Candle
9. RULES OF CIVILITY 10. BURT'S BEES Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme
9. RULES OF CIVILITY 10. BURT'S BEES Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme