Wednesday, December 29, 2010

{Passionate for Perfume}

Since the times of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, the art of making perfumes has continued to be further refined...sometimes for better and for worse. Perfume is very interesting to me; I once read in a magazine that you should think of perfume as a musical metaphor: top, middle & base notes. As I remember it, the initial scent from the application are the top notes which quickly fade. When the main body of the perfume starts to mask the initial scent, you experience the middle notes, followed by the remaining rich scent which make up the base notes. Who wouldn't remember something so quirky? Perfume can be a fickle thing; on the one hand, when worn properly, it can give us a pleasant smell but, when abused, can be obtrusive to our nasal passages. For some, perfume represents individuality; it is a trademark of a person's daily beauty routine. For others, perfume is irritable or simply non-useful, as the applied scent doesn't linger long enough to be desired. In my opinion, the wearing of perfume is an expression in & of itself; a scent represents an attitude, whether it be bold, sensual, carefree, etc. Perfume can be a powerful mechanism; at a moment's notice, its scent can flood a person with memories, images & emotions that render them defenseless for an instant in time. As Christian Dior put it: "A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting."

A Few of My Favorites:

Favorite of Summer 2010

Favorite of Fall/Winter 2010

Just got for Spring 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

{To Travel -or- Not To Travel}

My answer will always be to travel. Whether it is to somewhere nearby in the U.S. or abroad, my spirit for adventure is fervent and strong. My very first trip abroad was at the age of 12 to France, Austria, Switzerland & Germany.

Paris, France

Technically, you could say it was originally Canada that was my first trip, but who's really considering that abroad as a U.S. citizen? From then I've grown wings...and why not? Drinking Guinness in a real Irish pub, snorkeling with fish in the Caribbean, drinking red wine in Italy, visiting friends in England, working in an orphanage in Mexico, finding a secret ice-cream shop in Amsterdam, dancing with strangers-turned-friends in Madrid, and so on and so forth.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

I believe that the human experience (at least for me) is made up of witnessing God's creation, his people, their cultures and ways of life that may be foreign to me as a traveler. This is simply beautiful. To live outside the to open your mind, challenge your beliefs and gain perspective. I understand it isn't always easy to travel: lack of money, time and/or a partner to take with you for company. So change that. Save the money, make the time, find the right person to take with you (or go alone!) and do A LOT of research.

Sevilla, EspaƱa

Know where your passion to travel lies, set your budget wisely, study the destination & the opportunities there and GO! Life is short, so seize the moment. If your dreams include traveling, don't sit back and make excuses for why you can't...make positive assertions for why you can. You'll never have to tell me twice.

Firenze, Italia

Even this girly girl strapped on a 25 pound backpack with everything I needed for a 31 day backpacking adventure and made it work. I've quickly discovered that you don't need a five-star hotel to enjoy yourself; some of my favorite memories are now from partaking in the hostel experience...who's really ever too old for bunk beds?

(for those of you who can't fathom me backpacking...)

Interested in reading about that 31 day backpacking trip? Just go to It starts at the end, so just rewind and get ready for 10 fun-filled blog posts!

All images courtesy of © 2010 Chateau de Victoria

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I just want to give a huge thank you to everyone who has viewed my blog! You rock! It is awesome to have friends & family constantly tell me they enjoy reading my posts! I also want to give a 'shout out' to my viewers in Canada, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Macedonia, Russia, Switzerland & Sri Lanka! What started out as a questionable idea has turned into quite a hobby of mine...and perhaps will turn into something more :-) If you have a blogger account, click on the follow button or subscribe to my blog to get email updates! Feel free to leave comments and/or opinions at any time! I truly appreciate all of your support.

Merci Gracias Danke Spasiba Stuh-tee Cheers

Visit to Bruges, Belgium in 2009

All images courtesy of © 2010 Chateau de Victoria

Monday, December 13, 2010

{Skin Deep}

I am guilty of having abused the tanning bed in high school and in my early college years. It all stems back to the desire to 'look good' for prom, graduation, a trip to the beach and so on. The 'unlimited month of tanning' specials seemed worth it...but now that I have had one minor surgery I can tell you a different story. There is no doubt that tanning is addicting: the nice warm bed or stand-up booth, the gradually darker skin tone, the smell of oils on your body...until your doctor tells you you're at high risk for skin cancer.

Research Your Area For A Spray Tan Artist!

I realize there are few sunless tanning products available that work without turning you into an oompa loompa but at the same time, take a step back and realize that if you're an avid tanner, you may already be a Snooki look-alike. The test to whether you tan too much is easy: just look at your Facebook pictures. If you are multiple shades darker than those next to you (in both the summer and winter months) and you are a natural whitey, chances are high this is actually not an attractive thing. Your body is (and always will be) more beautiful undamaged; I only wish I had learned this lesson a lot earlier.

I will always love a good natural tan (and I'm sure my days of possible sunburn aren't over yet) but I never want to be caught by the sun again without a good sunscreen on. After almost two years of banning myself from the tanning bed, I can honestly say that the time & money I spent wasn't worth it. The tan always fades but the damage never will.

Treasure Your Skin Before It's Too Late!

No matter how light or dark your skin is, sun damage causes your skin to lose its elasticity, wrinkle, change color, and, in the worst scenario, threaten your life. Save your potentially natural tanning days (you'll still get a tan with spf 50 on!) for when you are snorkeling in the Bahamas or surfing in Hawaii, because we all know a fake baker when we see one...and it isn't a good thing.

All Images via Google

Saturday, December 11, 2010

{Missed That Memo}

Jeggings. Why would anyone want to wear a pair of fake jeans that look like they've been sprayed on? That was my initial reaction to the new fad of 2010. When I first saw an ad about jeggings, they looked a lot like this:

Image via Google
Conan O'Brien

Pre-judgement left me biased and sans jeggings...which I thought was a good thing. Until my recent birthday happened. After fawning over two pairs of beauties in the form of boots, I quickly discovered that my favorite skinny jeans might not cut it anymore. With the one pair of boots coming up mid-calf and quite roomy around the ankles and the other pair coming up to my knee and hugging my leg quite nicely, the jeans ended up either too 'bunchy' or too thick to wear with my new kicks. Fashion Faux Pas. What else popped into my head except for the impossible idea of going straight to the mall and buying a pair of dark jeggings? After trying on my first pair I was sold. Comfortable, stretchy, accent my shape and are mistaken for jeans? Clearly, not all jeggings look alike:

While I am no longer a hater of the jegging I will say two words of possible improvement: higher waistline. The low-riding jean is more often a better idea than a practice for us girls with an actual figure. It tends to be an annoyance when the pants begin to ride lower than anyone in the room its owner prefers.

And so begins my search for a more improved pair of jeggings...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

{Lovely Lacquer}

For the first time in my 23 years of existence, I have long, strong, beautiful nails. My experience with nails is simple: it started with biting them in my younger years to picking them during my long haul of wearing braces (this is an instance when my resourcefulness was not helpful) to just nipping at them when I was bored. However, on my recent trip to the Grand Canyon & Las Vegas this past fall, I was so busy going from one adventure to the next, I simply didn't have time to even glance at my nails...until the end of the trip. When I finally noticed my awful stubs had lovely white tips, I grabbed my sweetheart (and with much enthusiasm) yelled LOOK! I have always envied my grandmother's gorgeous nails (in the best way possible) and the way she has taken care of them all of these years. Now, after kicking my bad habit for good, I have finally reached a point where my nails feel strong enough to indulge in some of winter's fabulous nail lacquers: think metallic, natural, or deep red. The past always finds its way back to the present, and this season metallic nail color has come back in full force. Not an 80's fan? Natural tones like greige (a mix between gray/brown/beige) are being made popular by fashion labels like Chanel on the runways. In the end, one can always rely on a deep, rich red color to pull off a great look...long and stubby nails alike.

Monday, December 6, 2010

{Have A Holly Jolly Christmas}

As a native of the Baltimore/DC area, the Christmas holiday brings a wave of events for people of all maturity levels. This past weekend, I didn't hesitate to get in on the $1 admission to the Baltimore Science Center (if you thought 'Newton's Corner' was fun as a child, you have no idea how much more fun it is now!). After letting my playful side run wild, I stopped by Fells Point's Olde Tyme Christmas to participate in the eggnog contest between the shops and restaurants (Slainte Irish Pub, you got my vote!). Despite the cold, there are some activities just too good to pass up. For those of you looking for great ideas in Baltimore, check out Christmas on 34th Street for a light display you will never forget or enjoy the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Spectacular. This weekend, Annapolis' East Port Yacht Club will host its Parade of Lights with boat owners flaunting their Christmas decor. In D.C., be sure to see the National Christmas Tree and ZooLights 2010 at the National Zoo. There are many affairs to be a part of this holiday season (and free too!!) so keep an eye out, bundle up, and don't forget a thermos of hot chocolate :-)

Miracle on 34th Street - Baltimore

Annapolis Christmas Lights Boat Parade

National Christmas Tree

ZooLights DC

All images via Google

Saturday, December 4, 2010

{Stuff Your Stocking For Less}

Patience. It really isn't one of my virtues. However, I am working on it. Especially when it comes to shopping. Between coupons, discounts and continuous sales there is really no reason to pay full price for everything I want need. Do you pay full price for every grocery item you purchase? Your car? Your house and everything it it? Exactly. That is just absurd. Now, in order to avoid being a hyprocrite, I'll admit that there are things that cross my line of vision that I am willing to pay full price for (within reason). Sometimes there are things worth having sooner than later, but with a little bit of research and the willingness to wait for a better'd be surprised at how much more you can get for your green. With the holidays (and your credit score) in mind, get more for less! Here are some gift giving ideas all under $50 at!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

{A Bright(er) Sight}

Is it just me, or is the wardrobe color range in the cold months a collage of white, grey & black? When the warmth of summer leaves us, I often find that we tend to stick to the grayscale. Well, I don't mind being a part of this trend as long as I bring a little something more to the table. For example: a bright eyeliner or scarf. Now, I am a lover of all things natural when it comes to makeup (I am still apologizing to my skin for my teenage abuse). I stick to a light powder, mostly shades of brown for my eyes and pink glosses for my lips. However, why not spice up a grey pantsuit or little black dress with a bright eyeliner? A gold, teal or baby purple can add a subtle hint of color that is delicate yet bold. As for the scarf, there is nothing I love more than adding a bright addition to my office attire; today, my American Apparel turquoise wrap is just what I needed on such a cold, rainy day.

Image via Google
MAC Glitter Eyeliner Set (2009)

Get Creative!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

{Just A Broadway Baby}

It's officially evening in New York City. You've just finished a delicious meal at Bubba Gump Shrimp & Co. and are partaking in all of the pop and circumstance of Times Square. The crowds, the bright lights, the flashing cameras and noisy cabs...and you haven't even made it to your show yet. You find your way through the hustle and bustle of this intriguing city when you spot it: the theatre entrance. Before you know it, you step into a whole new world of theatrical sensation. Like being caught up in a whirlwind, you're swept off into a new dimension of art that even the guy next to you can't get over.

Image via Google

If you haven't experienced Broadway yet, you need to understand 3 things: 1) it's about time you do, 2) you can get up to 50% off ticket prices here, and 3) you can make it all happen on a cheaper budget than you think. I've grown up going to Broadway shows and have done the whole shabang: from having a limo escort to an evening show to catching a matinee after wondering the city all day to testing out an off-broadway production. I've even had the luxury of sprinting across town in a dress with my dinner in hand to see Wicked (thanks to our bus being late); the show made up for it though, ten-fold. Research the shows, choose your seats wisely, set a budget for your trip and make it happen! Tip: for half the cost of staying in downtown Manhatten, you can stay a 15-20 minute (direct-to-Port Authority) bus ride over the Jersey line at a hotel that offers a stop out front. Sounding better and better? If you're going to do NYC in all of its glory...give my regards to Broadway.

 A Few Favorites:

Monday, November 22, 2010

{Candid Clutch}

"What's in your wallet?" That's not the typical question that comes to my mind. Rather, "where did you get that fantastic wallet?!" I am a lover of handbags and accessories, but I love a good wallet that can stand alone. On my last trip to London, I visited Harrods (visited is the key word here, because unless you have hundreds of dollars to drop on a're going to be practicing the art of window shopping my friend) and spotted a glorious apple red wallet. Now, this Marc Jacobs beauty wasn't affordable to me at the time (being a broke college student) but that wallet never did leave my memory. A year later, I was out shopping in Georgetown with my girlfriend and voila! There was my single red wallet smiling back at me with a price tag that read "Listen lady, I've waited all of this time for you to buy me and now that I'm at a price you can't beat you better believe I'm going home with you today." In my opinion, a wallet that serves as the perfect accent to your handbag and as a magnetic clutch all on its own is one worth having.

This holiday, I've got my eye on wallets that sparkle and shine...