Paris Vacation


I've recently returned from a short break in Paris - it was great to revisit the city and its many glorious sights, as well as doing a little spot of retail therapy!

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen some of my photos, but here are some of them again!

Kate Spade for Gap Kids


Ok, so I'm not a child but I am really excited about the Kate Spade and Jack Spade line of limited edition items for Gap Kids!

Available online and in-store, there are some super cute items that I also wish had been made for grown-ups!

And these are suitable for the grown-ups!

Top Picks in the J Crew Sale


There are some great bargains to be had in the J Crew sale! Check out some of my top tips below and be sure to check out the full list!

Grace of Monaco


Biopics are one of my favourite types of films, so I was really looking forward to watching Grace of Monaco. Starring Nicole Kidman, the film focuses on Grace Kelly's crisis of marriage and identity as Princess of Monaco during the dispute with President Charles de Gaulle in 1962. It also reveals her struggle whilst considering a return to acting in Hitchcock's 'Marnie.'

Whilst the film was interesting, it was at times slow, and it has not been received well by Kelly's children, who criticised the script as 'glamourised and historically inaccurate.' Kidman was good in this role, and the scenery, set decoration and costumes were brilliant. It was also great to see Robert Lindsay reprise his role as Aristotle Onassis, and see many 'legends' of the era brought to life on the screen.

The film is worth a watch, and got me to dig out my books about Grace Kelly! (She was so glamorous!) Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to her role as a style icon!

White House Week


President Barack Obama convenes a meeting with cabinet agencies coordinating the government's Ebola response, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct.15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This week, the White House released news on how we can all help to stop spread the threat of Ebola. Amongst the measures are signing up to be a medical volunteer- find out more here.

Travel Packing


I'm currently on a mini break in Paris! Yay! The one thing that I really dislike about travelling is packing. I loathe it! Whilst I haven't taken as much luggage in the photo above, travelling light is definitely an issue for me!

What are your top tips for efficient travel packing? Share them with me in the comments below!

Fall Food


Every other pin on Pinterest right now seems to show yummy fall food! Pumpkin this, pumpkin that (not that I'm complaining!)

Here are some recipes that I can't wait to try out!

Easy Mini Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter
Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers

Do you have any favourite fall recipes? Share the link in the comments! 

In Review: Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography


Cover/ Patrick Demarchelier, 2014
Louis Vuitton is one of my favourite fashion houses and Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography provides a fascinating look at the photography associated with the designer and the brand.

Since the 1920s, the images of Louis Vuitton—both advertising and editorial—have proven mesmerizing to the client, changing the way travel, fashion, art, and culture is viewed by individuals across the world. The elegant Charlotte Gainsbourg graces the cover, whilst individuals including Gisele, Cara Delevingne and Madonna can be found inside.

Flashback/ William Klein, 1958
This exceptional album features over two hundred images by the most important modern and contemporary photographers including David Bailey, Henry Clarke, Patrick Demarchelier, Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, David Sims, Bert Stern, Juergen Teller, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber, with images from iconic Vuitton advertising campaigns, and magazine editorials from publications including  Vogue, L’Officiel, Numéro, V, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, W, Egoïste, Love, and Pop.

This book perfectly chronicles the house's style, history and fashion and it is an essential read for fans of the fashion house, photography and art.

Fashion Editorial/ Robert Bellamy, 2000
Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography can be purchased here. I was sent a copy of this book to review.

Flasback/ Maria Vittoria Backhaus, 1985

White House Week


This week, the First Lady sat down for her first ever Vine and Twitter Q&A! Check out what happened in the Storify below.

President Obama traveled to Joint Base Andrews, just outside of Washington, D.C., to attend a meeting with military leaders from more than 20 partner nations in the coalition to degrade and destroy ISIL. You can watch his remarks below.

The President also updated the country about the comprehensive strategy to tackle Ebola. You can read more about this here.

Fall Ideas


Fall is finally here, and I'm captivated by the autumn colours, flavours and fashion! If you're looking for fall fashion, decorating or food inspiration why not check out my Pinterest board and follow for a myriad of great pins!

Follow Laura-Emily Dunn's board Fall on Pinterest.

Pottery Barn's City and State Shop


Whenever I travel I love to take home something that will remind me of where I've been. Pottery Barn's new City and State collection has cute trinkets from London, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Texas- there's something for everyone!

These are my favourites:

Fashion Spotlight: Joyce Young


Joyce Young
Joyce Young is the owner and designer of the brands Joyce Young By Storm, Joyce Young Collections and Tartan Spirit. She specialises in elegant, individually-tailored designs for brides and mothers-of-the-bride. Her couture, ready-to-wear, and Tartan Spirit collections emphasize sophistication, beauty and contemporary Scottish fashion respectively.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Joyce Young By Storm?
By Storm has been established for 21 years. I could write a book on the highs and lows. Business is one big roller coaster. You have to be brave and determined and hang on in there when the scary bits come along.

No business is ever plain sailing but all the challenges give you experience and empathy with others which gives you "longer legs for bigger strides" (well only in a manner of speaking mine are actually pretty short !) As my brother once said to me "if it doesn't kill you it's good for you!"

The biggest highlight has to be being awarded an OBE for services to textiles. That was so unexpected and such a great honour.  Opening the new store in London has been the second highlight this year. There have been lots of highlights sometimes they come along quite unexpectedly and that's what keeps us going when the challenges come along. Happy customers, thank you letters and photographs are constant highlights.

What advice can you offer to women who want to start their own business?
Research your market thoroughly. It's so important to understand the competition and know what your point of difference is. Ask yourself if you are prepared to work very long hours, give up holidays, go without a pay to make your business a success. Make sure you have a business plan even if you don't need to secure finance. Thinking it all out and doing the projections is vital. A good idea alone isn't enough.

Ingredients for success are talent, confidence, determination and a hard work ethic. A good support team of friends and family is a big help when starting a new venture.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
No one person can do everything. Everything happens through good teamwork each person being a cog in the wheel. Good communication is everything.  I see the director as being like a good conductor. The business is the orchestra and with a good conductor beautiful music comes out.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Not the right person to ask. I run a business no one said I was perfect! My husband Maurice and I run the business together. We literally live and breathe it 24/7.  Our business and social life are mixed together. We can do this as our families are grown up and we can make our own times we don't have to rush home for anybody. However now we have grandchildren we need to free up some time to spend more time with them. Working on it!

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Having children. Until men have babies there will never really be true equality. I think women tend to be riddled with guilt. If you are a business type when you are at home with babies and children you feel you should be working and if you are at work you feel guilty leaving the children at nursery or with nannies. It's still usually the mum that the school phones if there is a problem.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I don't really have any business mentors. When  I was a designer at Bairdwear the company subscribed to a programme Towards Excellence by Lou Tice.  It was all about personal and business development and I embraced it wholeheartedly. It came along at the right time for me. That was a bit of a life changer. I became more confident all round. I later followed Jack Black and enjoyed his personal development programmes for Mindstore. When I think about it in actual fact my husband it my mentor.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Aung San Suu Kyi  the Burmese politician and chairperson of the National League for democracy who remained under house arrest in Burma  for 15 years. She has never given up fighting for her beliefs through the injustice of being imprisoned in her home but through everything she keeps her femininity and composure.

What do you want Joyce Young By Storm to accomplish in the next year?
Having just opened a beautiful new shop in Belsize park in North London  we are now embarking on moving our Glasgow shop (the lease is over after 21 years and the landlord wanted to put the rent up by 75%) to the unit that we have beside our factory.

We will have to completely renovate the inside and decorate to a high standard. It makes sense to have the shop and factory together but there will be considerable disruption until all the work is complete.  This will give us a lot of extra space. Therefore next year will be all about promoting our new stores in Glasgow and London.

Joyce Young

Links of the Week


This week I've been reading...

The ultimate guide to novels at preppy colleges- how many of these have you read?

From Alicia Florrick to Olivia Pope, learn some great style tricks from some of our favourite TV characters!

Vogue gives us a behind-the-scenes look into Secretary John Kerry's high-stakes year.

The Waldorf Astoria has been sold!

Outerwear at Tory Burch


The temperatures are finally dropping- hooray! I'm a Fall/Winter girl at heart, and there's nothing like a gorgeous, cozy coat to cheer me up.

Tory Burch has some fab ones this season- here are my favourites!

White House Week


This week at the White House, the Administration released a fascinating infographic about the Millennial generation.

Vice President Biden travelled to Joplin, Missouri to celebrate the reopening of Joplin High School following the devastating tornado that destroyed it in 2011.

Vice President Biden also stopped by the L.A. Baking Company in Los Angeles to talk with Ron Ballesteros and other local business owners about the importance of raising the minimum wage.

This week, the First Lady held a Fashion Workshop at the White House to encourage and inspire young designers and artists. You can read more about the workshop here.

Fashion Spotlight: Q&A with Nancy Johnson, Founder of Tengri


For Nancy Johnston visiting Mongolia and living with nomadic families in a remote and rugged part of the world was a lifelong dream. Aged 16 whilst browsing through a volunteering brochure, she discovered Mongolia and the opportunity to sign up for community based project work in the region. At the time she was too young to sign up, but that early dream has since evolved 20 years later into Tengri, an eco-friendly fashion brand with a mission to challenge businesses to become fairshare, and ulti-mately empower the people of Mongolia to invest business profits where they need it most. 

Tengri, which officially launched on 18th June this year, is a luxury fashion brand that specialises in garments made up of 100% natural, undyed, hand-combed Mongolian yak wool, a fabric that is eco-friendly and sustainable - as soft as cashmere and warmer than merino wool. Tengri is on a mission to redefine knitwear as contemporary and edgy. 

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Even in my mother’s womb, I was in a world of conflict – I was the first in my family born outside Asia as a result of the Vietnam war. I was raised in a poor immigrant family where we slept off a wooden floor for the first three years of my life because we couldn’t afford furniture. As part of a minority family living in a deprived Los Angeles neighbourhood full of violence, we were victims of regular bullying and racism. My parents, siblings and extended family didn’t speak any English until I started going to school. So I’ve had to continuously rise to take on new challenges to become the person I am today.

During these formative years I sought to understand more – I wanted solutions to create a better world. Rather than be hardened as a victim of circumstance, or to grow up with anger and hate in my heart, I chose to be soft and seek to understand and exercise compassion. I studied social work and wanted to help people and communities improve their circumstances and situations.

It was also during these early years that I developed a love of sports and ran my first marathon. My passion for endurance sports led to outdoor hobbies such as rock climbing, mountaineering and cycling. I cycled the length of Vietnam through some challenging mountains, covering 1,900km in just 17 days. My personal circumstances, formative years of character-building and love of outdoor endurance sports gave me the courage to travel to Mongolia and the tenacity and strength to start Tengri and be the type of person who can fearless tackle an issue with endurance and perseverance, while also being sensitive and considerate of other cultures and the environment around me.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure as the founder of Tengri? 
Working in the non-profit and health and social care sector for more than 15 years has taught me it’s possible to translate values and purpose – and use that to power an organisation. It’s given me the right experience to use my own passions to fuel the set-up of a socially minded business and collective movement.

Social contribution has always been my guiding compass to most of my decisions in employment and the experiences I’ve had. These experiences have been invaluable in setting up Tengri as more than just a fashion label. As a collective, it’s a planet-, animal- and people-centric business, powered by passion and collaborative working. Our purpose is to preserve the Mongolian landscape and support the nomadic herders’ way of life, which is threatened by rapid industrialisation and land degradation.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Tengri?
The key highlights have always involved the people I’ve met, the people with whom I work, and building enduring relationships. Everyone who has been a part of Tengri is inspiring and amazingly talented and it’s a privilege to work with a great team of people. The travel and experiences that come with it are a bonus.

There are many challenges. Every step in setting up a business, particularly one that is built on relying on dialogue and collaboration with nomadic Mongolian yak herders, is just the start of that challenge, given the language, technological, cultural and time differences. Also, I have no formal business or fashion training. Every day is a steep learning curve and I feel pretty crazy for launching a fashion label that’s also a collective movement.

Why do you think eco fashion is so important?
Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth – people and animals should not be harmed in the making of it. We believe being eco-friendly goes beyond minimizing any adverse effects on the environment. It’s about working with suppliers to improve the entire ecosystem and educating customers so they can make better choices based on alternative options.

In Mongolia, the intensive grazing of cashmere goats has degraded much of the pastures, threatening the long-term livelihoods of nomadic herders as well as the landscape. Our concept of eco-friendliness involves long-term thinking about the ecology, economy, and people of Mongolia. We want to improve the wider ecosystem through a sustainable, virtuous and socially minded business model while also producing beautifully designed garments made with quality British craftsmanship.  We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to use their purchasing power to do good and show other businesses that eco fashion should be the norm, not an alternative option.

What advice can you offer to women who want to start their own business? 
Go into it with conviction and just do it, no matter how big or small that first step.  Starting a business takes a lot of hard work, sheer grit and long hours. You need to have the confidence and conviction that this is what you ‘need’ to do and ‘want’ to do – just to take that first step.  Where there is a will, there is a way.

How do you maintain a work/life balance? 
I’m really lucky that my life has created and dictated my work, so I don’t struggle too much with work/life balance because the two are quite integrated. In reality and in practice, it is difficult to separate the two, so I don’t try to fight it, but I do take time for myself and the ones I care for.

My work involves travel, which I love. I also love to socialise and catch up with people over a good meal. My business is powered by an extended network of trusted and reliable friends and colleagues. We conduct a lot of business over brunch, lunch or dinner with our partners and other friends. My personal interests and passions are the things that have fuelled Tengri from day one, so I am not planning on changing that. I find balance in my day-to-day life by taking time for me, such as regular yoga sessions and catching up with friends and family.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace? 
I think the biggest issue is leadership. There are not enough people in leadership roles who exercise that power to create a culture within the organisation that encourages professional growth for women. I think women are still hitting a glass ceiling, but I also think they are also hitting brick walls – barriers that stop them making lateral progress.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I’ve had many mentors in various guises throughout my life. Having a mentor in my personal and professional life has allowed me to recognise things I didn’t know I had in me personally, nurture them and open doors to opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be made available to me professionally. My mentors have pointed me in the right direction, and in some cases, given me the know-how to fulfil and achieve my goals and ambitions. I would highly recommend mentorship when starting a business. A good mentor provides invaluable support and advice, and be someone to lean on emotionally – starting a business can be an isolating experience.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why? 
Aung San Suu Kyi, for never compromising and not being afraid to fight for what is right.
Rosa Parks, for not giving up her seat on the bus.
Angelina Jolie, for her humanitarian efforts and challenging the status quo of what celebrity Hollywood status can do and achieve.
Karren Brady, for being the ‘first lady’ in football, very much a male-dominated sport and business.

What do you want Tengri to accomplish in the next year?
The aspiration is for Tengri to have a healthy online presence, generating global sales directly with people who want to purchase beautifully designed, all-natural and undyed Mongolian yak wool clothing made from the best of British craftsmanship.  We also hope to work with a few online retailers and stockists for Tengri products.

By the end of next year, I’d like to have both a UK and Mongolian workforce that’s supported by the consumer purchasing power, and ultimately preserve the Mongolian nomadic way of life.

Michelle Obama's Fashion Workshop


The First Lady held the highly anticipated Fashion Workshop at the White House yesterday. Guests including Anna Wintour, Jenna Lyons, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung all attended the event which aimed to provide give a 'leg up' for 150 aspiring fashion designers, stylists, writers and entrepreneurs.

Mrs Obama wore a sleeveless navy racerback dress designed by FIT student Natalya Koval, winter of a fashion contest. A colour blocked sleeved dress designed by Chelsea Chen, another FIT student was displayed on the stage.

Life Lately


It's been a whirlwind of meetings, lists and deadlines for me over the past few weeks! In between all the work and late nights, I have managed to do some fun things!

Starbucks breakfast dates 
Planning my Paris itinerary 
Meeting potential new clients
Restyling my room (photos to come in a future post!)
Getting hooked on How To Get Away With Murder
Taking the plunge and trying a PSL 
Getting excited for the new Owl City songs!

What have you been up to over the past few weeks?

Behind the Scenes at the White House: August 2014


Here are some more great photos detailing the work of the President and the Administration. They were taken in August 2014 and you can see more of the reel here.

The White House
One Beat Designs Mlekoshi playground