Friday, July 30, 2010

Fashionspiration: O... First Lady

This week has been crazy busy, there has been lots of visitors to see and spend time with, and it has been lovely. So, I apologize for the slow week of blogging and hope to have plenty of delicious travel photos for you soon on the most recent Italian Adventure of mine. In the meantime, why not channel your inner Jackie O, walk a life of luxury in your pearls and pillbox hat, and swoon all those you pass by.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Travel Confession #14

I love meeting friends along the travel road. It makes for such a fun adventure to bump into strangers and spark up a friendship. My last trip was to Italy was just that. On the flight from Paris to Pisa I bumped in to two Americans backpacking through Europe and we ended up spending our two days in Pisa together. While in line for Vespa Rentals, we bumped into a Lithuanian Basketball player who attended college in Virginia...small world. So the four of us took an Italian adventure via Vespas down the Tuscany Coast and went swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Best European Adventure EVER.

{weheartit, Flickr, me}

What is your best European Adventure?

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Way I See It


Isn't it fun how you can travel and discover that this new culture has a beautiful custom you would love to adapt as your own? Or you can meet someone halfway around the world that shares a friend with you or went to your small college? These are things I love, finding the beauty in people and learning how expansively small our world can really be.

How about you lovelies?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Links a la Mode - The Embellished Life Made the Cut!

Another week with The Embellished Life on Links a la mode!
This is great...I could get use to it.

links a la mode

More than a Fashion Blogger

Edited by: Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista

Whatever your thoughts are about fashion bloggers, this week's links a'la mode reads were quite evocative. Hardly does an article leave me questioning my own thoughts or ideals, especially when talking fashion. I may be moved to buy, but deeper? (sans any type of societal injustice) These bloggers brought more to the table, as Vogue Gone Rogue did with her declaration of the coexistence of feminism and fashion. Yet, I was proud to be an entrepreneur after glimpsing into the world of a bridal consultants leap into fashion design.In a world where a new fashion blog is born everyday and everyone is a critic. Confessions of a Fashion Editor interviews an outspoken blogger critic while Guacamole & Toast ponders if we should even care what others say. Whether you read because of the pretty pictures, fun reads, or fashion tips, know your authors are more than fashion bloggers.

  • 365 Fashion Rehab- The Cost/Quality Conundrum. Three tops in three different price ranges: How do you really know if the quality of a garment matches its price tag?
  • A La Modest- Thrifting Down the Mainstream: "With this new wave rave for vintage, even Goodwill is raising their prices because the more affluent kids are ransacking their racks for one-of-a-kind retro rompers and sixties sandals."
  • Bachmans Sparrow- Transform your basic tanks into beautiful, statement pieces with just a little lace. Check it out in my easy DIY tutorial!
  • Bobbins And Bombshells: Who's That Behind Those Foster Grants? Part fashion history part give away!
  • Confessions of a Fashion Editor- Nati Hell, of 'Fashion Bloggers Why?!' Answers Back
  • Cuffington- The Tale of the Tape- A chance encounter with an old handmade mix tape cover (crafted nine years ago from a page torn from an issue of W) takes me back to the very moment when I truly became interested in fashion, and what fashion was capable of.
  • Denim Debutante: Paula's Denim Dear John Letter
  • Eva Lu- Tame those Bangs! 3 ways to keep your hair looking pretty while cycling through the city.
  • Fashionizehaus- Style vs. Fashion: Tips on Developing the Fomer
  • French Leaving- Lovely Clusters of Beige: A collage of selected Etsy/Lovely Clusters picks of beige items.
  • Hello Beauty Blog- Bobbi gets a little rock 'n roll with her latest collection, Denim & Rose.
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers: When Words Attack Bloggers
  • Living Embellished- Unmask Italia: Learn of the wonders that lay in the Venetian Masks
  • Miss Jones and Me- Binary Opposition: Applying the device to my life and my wardrobe
  • Parker and Muse- Balancing my day job as a bridal consultant/photo editor with starting a fashion line: The economics of pursuing my passion.
  • Style it You- Condé Nast recently rejected Mario Epaya's proposal for Vogue Africa. Will fashion ever embrace diversity in beauty?
  • The Curvy Fashionista- Christian Siriano for Payless for Fall 2010: From Runway to Realway?
  • The Haute Hoosier- Supermodels are Dead: Introducing the Catwalk Queens You've Never Heard Of- A round up of some of today's hottest catwalk queens.
  • The Vintages Contemplations on caring about public opinion and considering the potential success of the typical blog - one with a blogger who is not particularly glamorous, rich, or thrifty, only average, as most of us are.
  • Guacamole & Toast When the day is going bad just hop on your bike and ride out into the sunset. Your worry's will melt away as the sun sets! Let the wind blow all the cares away! And do it in style of course!
  • Vogue gone Rogue- A closer take on feminism and fashion.

  • Bon Weekend Mes Cheries!!

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Fashion 101: History of Handbags

    Whether you know them as purses, pocketbooks, totes, or sac-a-mains, the handbag is an item lusted after by women worldwide. Born out of necessity in the Middle Ages, handbags have come a long way to the glitz and glam of the designer purses of today. When I traveled to Amsterdam the one thing I was very excited about seeing was the Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassen Museum Hendrikje in Dutch).

    Clothing did not always come packing with handy little pockets for loose change and cell phones, as surprising as you may find it. The oldest remains of bags for personal items that have been found date back to the late Middle Ages, where men and women wore belts with hanging bags, much like external detachable pockets. By the 17th century they had evolved to hanging bags with long cords attached to the belt. For the wealthy they were a luxury good complete with ornate bead work and often used as the gift wrapping for the actual gift of money or jewels.


    A variety of games were a hobby of the people of the courts in the latter 16th century England. Your money, chips, and cards would be carried in this bag waiting to provide entertainment. This stiff round base to provide upright support at the table was often decorated with the family coat of arms, and not knowing the stylish game of the moment would have been very frowned upon.


    A traditional wedding gift to the bride from the groom in Italy, France, and some parts of England. Named after the French town of Limoges, famous for its special bridal bags in the 17th to 18th centuries. These flat oval purses would range in the design from the groom's coat of arms to enamal depictions of the bride and groom or saints. Traditionally money would be placed inside as well, such as 13 coins, signifying Christ and the 12 disciples. I'm glad we now get more than 13 cents from our grooms on our wedding day!

    Remember, the late 18th century was a time when every worthy woman was expected to bide her time on fine needlework. This work bag became a constant ally to those women, as they worked away over tea together. Typically of white satin with a drawstring top, most women would have embroidered any extra embellishment themselves.


    From the late 18th century to the early 20th stocking purses were commonly used. A long knitted or crocheted tube was folded in the middle where it had its opening with 2 rings. You could place items in either side which were often decorated differently to distinguish one side from the other and the small rings would slide over to secure the closure.


    In the 18th century straw was a very common material for fashionable bags that was split, ironed flat and mounted onto wood, leather, cardboard, or cloth. Through the heating of the straw embellishments, there could be added granules of gold or stains of color to vary the style. Leather emerged with the need for a more durable bag due to the increasing frequency of train travel. Unique materials such as ivory were used in the 19th century to the first quarter of the 20th century for ornate carvings continuing the art and fashion of handbags.

    Weaving in and out of popularity in the last 200 years, beaded bags can be truly looked upon as a work of art. Often made from about 50,000 beads and handstrung in a strict order to form the pattern, it would take an experienced knitter two full working weeks to complete one bag. Many were crafted from Bohemian or Bavarian glass beads in Czeckoslovakia and Germany, but these bags also came from France, Italy, and Austria. In the early 20th century they began being paired with silver framing for closures but by the 1930's beaded bags began losing their demand.

    The silver frame bags started being fashionable to Dutch women in the last quarter of the 17th century and was typically placed under the apron and hooked to the belt or skirt. Because silver was a precious resource, these bags were often passed down from mother to daughter. Accompanying the silver framework would be fabrics of velvet, damask, silk, and leather. The knitted bead bags also began pairing with the silver frames at the start of the 19th century. With the arrival of the 20th century, handbags had staked their permanent claim in the wardrobes of women and therefore a silver chain was added to the metal frame for easy handling.

    By the end of the 19th century, there became more and more experimentation with new materials, and also easier methods of some favored techniques. Metal mesh bags formed by the joining of many tiny silver metal rings were popular in the late 1800's. Germany and the US were major producers. A production innovation by American company Whiting & Davis made it possible to mass produce the popular style Disden Mesh affordably. The colored patterns on the metal were huge in the 20's and 30's prevailing with the art deco style.


    Materials like marcasite, a mineral pyrite began being experimented in different cuts similar to diamonds to adorn the purses. Leather began disersifying as people experimented with the uses of many varieties. Luxury goods may have included options of snake, crocodile, toad, ostrich, armadillo, lizard and even shark! With the continuous advancing of technology the arrival of plastics in the United States in the 1950's also sparked a micro trend of plastic bags, desired for their sturdy form and new translucent quality.

    As you know, nowadays what you carry on your arm can make a world of difference while walking your city streets. Women give nicknames to their purses and may even stick small dogs inside of them. In 1724 George Frederic Strass created the imitation diamond that became imenseley popular by Coco Chanel in bags of the 1920's and 30's. In 1896 the Louis Vuitton Luggage House created its famous canvas bag with the LV logo and designer bags have never been the same. In the 50's celebrities began having quite an influence on this industry. Whether it was the quilted Chanel, the Hermes Birkin (created for English actress Jane Birkin) or Jessica Simpson's decked out Louis, if a celebrity covets a bag, rest assured it will become the next 'it' bag.

    (These bags pictured above were displayed in a special Swarovski room. I loved this room, and my girlfriends deemed this last black bag, "Me in Bag Form" apparantly ruffles, zippers, studs, and lots of fun sparkle are my fashion qualities...I can't say I was surprised)!

    For men, the arrival of pockets gradually dismissed the handbag as an item of interest and excluding the briefcase and some gaming bags, this thriving market is now predominantly run by women. As every season rolls around, new colors, materials, and styles create a glimmer in the eyes of many lovely women, and so the story continues.


    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Etsy Front Page!

    I was very surprised yesterday when I received a message yesterday on my Etsy photography shop. The Trim Goddess created a wonderful Treasury called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as an homage to Sweden and the wonderful book (& series) by Stieg Larsson. I was very honored to have my photo of a little street in Stockholm, Road Less Traveled, included in the mix. Well yesterday that wonderful treasury made it to the Front Page of Etsy! This is the first front page honor for either of my shops and I am super excited!

    There is lots more to discover at
    darlings so browse around and remember to stay tuned for more!

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Pourquoi Pas?

    Why not go out on a limb today and do that crazy fun agenda you've been putting off for more responsible things? Remember that every day is a gift and that you don't make memories from pushing paper. Take a chance and let down your hair for a little bit, you're likely to enjoy yourself!


    What will you do darlings?

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Missing America

    Spend anytime away from home and you will begin to make a mental list of things you miss from it. Some come quickly, like a glass of sweet tea filled with ice, others aren't so obvious until later, such as simple things like notebooks that are lined for writing...not grid paper. But it is unavoidable to miss things that you used to rely on. So for you amusment and general knowledge, in no particular order, here is what I have missed from the good ol' US of A this past year.

    What have you missed while living somewhere else?

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Happy Bloggoversary

    In the midst of an exciting Italian adventure, I completely bypassed the 1st birthday of The lovely Embellished Life! I must say that a year has absolutely flown by, as they always promise to do, and it has been quite a whirlwind. My original intent for this blog was to just update on my travels for family and friends and share my musings on has become oh so much more than that. This blog has given me an outlet for joy, inspiration, pain, growth, and a community of support. I have made new friends and loved learning about all of you along the way.


    "I see life as an art. As the artist of my own life, each day another brush stroke is made on the canvas which will one day be called "My Life." If I am to live with the end it mind, everyday that I am blessed to live and breath is an opportunity to create the life I envision for myself. I want my life to be one of beauty, peace, style, and grace -- an utterly fulfilling life that inspires me as well as those that I love. It begins by creating a clear vision and then daily making choices, both large and small, that move me in the direction of my dreams." - JacquelineRose

    Thank you all for staying Embellished
    I cherish you dearly


    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Fashion 101: Unmask Italia

    I have just finished an amazing tour of Italy, full of great food, fun culture, and friendly people. Italy was so great in fact that I really didn't want to leave, but alas every trip sadly comes to a close, but now we get to recap the wonder! One of my favorite things I found was an amazing artisan's gallery for Venetian Masks. Many of the market vendors had plastic masks to buy for cheap but my friends and I stumbled into a gold mine of dreamlike wonderment.

    Being raised as the Princess, I always dreamed of being swept away by a mysterious handsome prince at a masked ball, and I must I admit I do still dream of one day attending a masked ball of my own, even as rare as they do occur nowadays.

    Allow me to introduce Alice Masks by Agostino Dessi. Arriving in Florence for his studies he fell in love with the artistic Florence and set up his shop by 1979 creating masks inspired by the "Comedia dell'Arte" and the Venetian paintings of the 18th century. Alice Masks is truly like falling down the rabbit hole as you find a whimsical creation at any place your eye might rest. Hanging from the ceiling, resting in vintage trunks, and sitting on stands in the process of being created this atelier is truly an experience in itself.

    Since 1997 Dessi's daughter has been running Mask Making Workshops for all who are interested in the art. Venetian masks are more than a fantasy world but a rich history of Italian culture. Masks have been made from every imaginable material workable by hand from paper, feathers and leather, to even straw, reed, wood, and bone. Even in the advanced technologies of today's synthetic fibers most original techniques are still utilized today.

    Masks have been worn for centuries and centuries whether for the scaring of prey, a facade of courage for soldiers, or to simply guard anonymity for a lax in social rules. The first record of Venetian masks as we know them today dates back to the beginning of the Venetian Carnivale which stems from the Latin words Carne & Vale meaning Farewell to Meat. This carnival is the origin of Mardi Gras where people would celebrate together in excess right before a fast for 40 days. It is believed that Carnivale began around the 12th century and the use of the Venetian Masks dates back to the 13th century. A mask can take a million different forms with unending options for shape and material. The Bauta is the name for the full faced mask, and the Columbine is the half mask that rest around the eyes only.

    {thank you wikipedia,, and of course for the history lesson}

    I know my Venetian Mask was the best souvenir I've bought for myself, possibly anywhere. Now I will just have to find a reason to wear it, I'm thinking Halloween! You must check out for a view of Dessi's collection and prepare yourself to be swept away.

    Have you ever attended a masked ball mes cheries?

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Fashionspiration: Roman Holiday

    I am officially in love with Italy. My trip to Tuscany has left me dreaming of good wine, rich history, and loving people. I was fortunate to snag in my very own Vespa adventure and I have to say, this is something that should really catch on in the States darlings! Vespas are AWESOME. Leaving Pisa and whisking down the coast to catch some Mediterranean waves was the perfect way to escape the dreadful heat and dance away a lovely Italian afternoon. And what could make it lovelier? Why a perfect scooter ensemble of course!

    What would you wear on your Vespa mes cheries?

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Breakfast Italia

    I am now officially back from my Italian Adventure and darlings, let me just say, I did not want to leave. Italy is wonderful and I cannot wait to make another trip back! I took time each morning for an Italian breakfast that looked like this. Very similar to a French breakfast except the Italians have injected their croissants with a shot of Nutella. Good stuff. Well, technically the Italians also drink little espressos but the American in me needs a bigger coffee to start the day, so Americano it was!

    I will be posting my travel photos soon enough, I will begin to sift through them all today, but stay tuned because if you have ever hoped to see Pisa, Florence, Vatican City, or Rome, you will be in for a treat!

    Ciao Darlings!

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Travel Confession #13

    I love visiting a place I have dreamed of all my life. I don't think I will ever forget my very first trip to Paris. That first time our metro popped up out of the ground only to smack us in the face with an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower. All I could do was gasp and stare, it hit me, I had finally made it to the place of my dreams! And even though the Parisian streets are no longer lined with gold for me, I do still love that city, and can't get tired of the old romantic beauty of the City of Lights.


    Now I am on my way back from yet another dream trip; Italy. I have had my own Roman Holiday and am super stoked about it. Now I don't only dream, but have actually been in all the places Audrey Hepburn discovered in her breakout film. Amazing. It is surreal to see things, that as an art major, I studied intently. Michaelangelo's David and Pieta, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps....aahh amazing!

    See you soon mes cheries!

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Backless Dreams

    My favorite fashion pieces almost always have detailed backs. I love the element of surprise when you think oh what a nice dress and then the woman turns around and leaves you speechless in stylish beauty. That element of surprise will always leave me drooling. Also if you think about it in dating terms it really is the best last impression. Nothing is sexier than a naked back adorned by a beautiful garment walking away; its the ultimate "Call me" move, with great results.


    What's your element of surprise mes cheries?

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Travel Confession #12

    I love the feeling of scratching notches off my travel checklist. Yes this means I have a list of places I want to go and the absolute greatest thing about this year has been the opportunity to make a huge dent in my lifelong dreams: See the Planet! I cannot imagine never wanting to explore. There are just too many great places to see to stay in one place!


    So today I set off for Pisa, Florence and then Rome and I will be on Cloud 9 respectively.

    Where is your Cloud 9 located?

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Traveling Today

    I'm off on an excited adventure with my best friend today mes cheries! We're starting in Paris and then off to visit the amazing wonders of Italia!


    This is her first time in Europe and both of our first times seeing Italy! After only seeing her once in the past 10 months I am stoked to travel the continent with her for a week. Italy watch out!

    What is your favorite place in Italy darlings?

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Fashionspiration: Fireworks & Fun

    July is a time for hot dogs, coca cola, and good old American fun. Grab your friends and light up the grill and make this 4th of July your best Independence Day yet darlings! I have just the outfit to get you there.

    How are you celebrating Independence?

    Copyright Rigmarole

    Art is a product of original thought, creative compilation, and lots of blood, sweat, and please, please do not copy the content posted on this blog without permission.

    Many photos are the property of Jessica Kelly Photography although not all are ghost marked, please do not use content unless an appropriate hyperlink back is created. And please shoot me an email... I like to spread the content love as a community.

    I have tried to credit any outside content pulled as best I can. If you see anything miss credited please feel free to let me know so that I can fix that!
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