The White House Christmas Tree


First Lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, along with Bo and Sunny, welcome the arrival of the official White House Christmas tree at the North Portico of the White House. The tree arrived by a horse-drawn wagon. November 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia, Bo, and Sunny greeted the 18.5-foot-tall Douglas Fir yesterday, along with the Botek family -- who grew the impressive evergreen on the Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Leighton, Pennsylvania.

American tree farmers from around the country have been presenting the White House with an official Christmas tree since 1966. And for Chris Botek, the White House tree is becoming a bit of a family tradition. His parents, Francis and Margaret, won the White House Christmas Tree competition in 2006.

The tree will be decorated and ready for viewing in the Blue Room on December 3, when the First Lady will welcome military families to the White House to get a first look at the holiday decorations. As in years past, many of this year's decorations will honor military families for their service to our country.

In Review: Snowdon: A Life in View


© SNOWDON: A Life in View by Antony Armstrong Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, Rizzoli New York, 2014.
I absolutely love the work of the 1st Earl of Snowdon, so it was a real joy to take a look at his new publication, A Life In View. Curated by the legendary photographer himself, and his youngest daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal, Snowdon: A Life in View looks back on an exceptional life through a selection of 175 iconic full-colour and black-and-white fashion photographs and portraits taken throughout his expansive and influential career. The book also features articles and texts by friends and colleagues of Snowdon who have written about different aspects of his work: Alexandra Shulman on being his editor at British Vogue, Suzy Menkes on his work for Issey Miyake in the 1980s, A.A. Gill on his documentary work, Grace Coddington on being his model and editor, and Lisa Immordino Vreeland on his correspondence with Diana Vreeland. 

Princess Margaret, 1959. Photograph by Snowdon / Courtesy of Trunk Archive
At the start of his photography career in the early 1950s Snowdon focused on theater, fashion, and society subjects, and began a six-decade career with British Vogue. In 1960, he married Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, in the first globally televised Royal wedding.  In the early 1960's Snowdon worked with The Sunday Times magazine on a range of documentary subjects from mental health to loneliness, and in 1965 Private View was published—an extensive and beautiful book on the London art scene which has now become a cult classic. 

Nureyev/Fontaine in Sunday Times Magazine, 1961. Courtesy of Snowdon.
Over his prolific career Snowdon has photographed a vast range of cultural figures like Cecil Beaton, Charlie Chaplin, David Bowie, Marlene Dietrich, Bridget Riley, David Hockney, Serge Gainsbourg, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jack Nicholson that are featured in the book, amongst many others. In addition to iconic portraits, and legendary fashion images, archival material in the book includes previously unpublished Polaroids, private scrapbooks, and letters. As his daughter, and collaborator on this book, Frances von Hofmannsthal, states; “This book of stories and photographs only makes up a small fraction of my father’s work. The idea is not that it be a complete view, but a very personal one, put together with affection and curiosity, with a love and a lifetime of familiarity.”

Diana Vreeland. Photograph by Snowdon / Courtesy of Trunk Archive.
If you're in London make sure you go along to a special Snowdon exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.  Snowdon has given 130 original prints including many of his iconic images to the National Portrait Gallery, and this gift is being celebrated by a display of his photographs curated by Helen Trompeteler, the National Portrait Gallery’s Assistant Curator of Photographs.

The exhibition runs until the 21 Jun 2015, with free admission. To find out more about the exhibition click here. 

Marlene Dietrich, Cafe de Paris, 1956. Photograph by Snowdon / Courtesy of Trunk Archive.

Fine Beauty: Gilchrist & Soames


Gilchrist & Soames stands as one of the most renowned and respected spa, bath and body brands in the world, and for over thirty years, Gilchrist & Soames’ fine products have been found in the most prestigious hotels, spas, and resorts throughout the world. The company blends rich English formulations, botanical ingredients and unique aromas from around the world to create truly memorable hair, bath, and body products.

I tried out some products from the BeeKind and Essentiel Elements San Francisco ranges recently and I was in heaven! 

Full of honey and certified organic extracts of red clover, calendula, lemongrass and chamomile, BeeKind provides a soothing experience. I tried the Shower Gel and Body Lotion and a skincare bar which is gentle enough to use on the face.

The Essentiel Elements San Francisco collection will make a stylish addition to your bathroom, and it offers therapeutic grade formulations infused with essential oils. The refreshing mint and rosemary aromas make this the perfect product to wake up with! 

Gilchrist & Soames have some great products available for the festive season, and you'll find something for every individual on your list. Make sure you pop over to their website and check it out! 

*Gilchrist & Soames provided me with the products mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own.*

Fashion Spotlight: Katherine Jetter


Katherine Jetter
I love looking at gorgeous pieces of jewellery so I'm really glad I've found the designs from Katherine Jetter!

Gemologist and fine jewelry designer Katherine Jetter has made it her personal mission to restore the Australian opal to its rightful place, in the limelight and in the hearts and minds of fine jewelry aficionados everywhere. Distinguishing her work through years of experience, Jetter incorporates the iridescent gemstone of her homeland into stunning one-of-a-kind pieces, paired with other precious stones. Whether working with opals or other bespoke rare gemstones, such as her latest collection of pink diamonds, Jetter moves beyond the classic arrangements, creating sophisticated and fashion-forward pieces.

She comes by her passion naturally. Born in Melbourne, Australia to a Greek-Australian mother and a German father, she spent much of her youth in England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, and now resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Creative from an early age, young Katherine was awarded the top International Baccalaureate Art Prize for the Northern Hemisphere (2001) while attending SevenOaks School in Kent, UK. Her parents applauded her accomplishment with a small striking blue opal from her homeland for which she created a simple elegant ring setting.  This petite stone started her appreciation of the Australian opal and planted a seed.  She went on to acquire a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from University College of London and work in finance at JP Morgan, eventually returning to her roots and her first love, the rare gemstones of her homeland.

Jetter then studied at the renowned Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and became certified as a graduate gemologist and jewelry designer, going on to work for De Beers and other high-end jewelers in Europe and America. The first piece she created after launching Katherine Jetter Ltd. in 2008 was her signature Flower Ring, which she entered into the Couture Design Awards (considered “the Oscars” of the fine jewelry industry). Her nomination there as Best New Designer, led to her line being picked up by Neiman Marcus, who now serves as her exclusive U.S. department store, accompanied by select high-end independent jewelry shops, as well as fine jewelry stores in Russia and China. Since then, the Katherine Jetter collection has grown every year by an astounding 100 percent.

Jetter continues to make time to study the gemology behind the stone. Known as the ambassador of Australian opal in the U.S. Jetter has been going into opal mines since she was 18, earning the trust of the miners to protect the integrity of their treasures.  She has thus been granted unprecedented access to some of the most remarkable opals to come out of Australian mines in recent years including a 306-carat black opal, The Royal One, valued at $3 million. The opal is not just Australia’s national gemstone, she says, it is also an essential part of the collective culture, history and identity of her country.

Jetter has her sights on another spectacular Australian gemstone – as seen with her new Argyle Couture Pink Diamond Collection. Only 12 to 20 pink diamonds one carat or above come out of the Argyle mine each year and it is projected to be completely mined out by 2020, further increasing the stone’s value. Jetter’s designs for this haute couture collection are truly collectors’ items with prices starting just below $100,000.

Indeed Jetter’s jewelry resides in a very unique space.  By incorporating rare gemstones into innovative fine jewelry designs, her work invokes a sophistication that appeals to a discerning clientele.  As this young designer at 31 years of age continues to grow, only time will tell what’s next on her radar of rare, natural stones.

Check out some of the beautiful pieces below:

Clockwise: Aquamarine and Bronze earrings, Lava Bead and Opal Necklace, North Star Studs, Femme Fatale Opal Ring.

White House Week


This week, the President delivered a landmark speech on immigration reform. The President is taken executive action to fix and build a system that will crack down on illegal immigration at the border; prioritize the deportation of felons, not families; and increase accountability so that more than 4 million undocumented immigrants have the opportunity to pay taxes and play by the rules.

Check out the behind the scenes video below:

And watch the speech here:

For more information on immigration reform including stats and infographics click here.

Fashion Spotlight: Angela Roi


I recently discovered Angela Roi, a fantastically stylish handbag brand that gives back! For every handbag purchased, Angela Roi donates by color to support an important charitable cause. The brand is also striving to revolutionise the industry by creating boutique-quality bags at a competitive price, with an aesthetic that is classic with a modern touch made from vegan leather and durable fabric.

Check out some of my favourite styles below!

Comfort Zones


It's true- great things never come from staying in your comfort zone. Sure it can be scary to step out and try to do something different, or to reach that ultimate out of this world goal- but you won't get there unless you take a chance and try!

Working in the US is the greatest thing to have happened to me by stepping out of my comfort zone, and I'm reaping the benefits today. I've met some of my closest friends by going to events that I wouldn't have usually attended, and I've worked with some great people thanks to doing things differently.

I'd love to know how stepping out of your comfort zone has changed your life- for better, or for worse! Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

AERIN Beauty adds new products!


AERIN Beauty is adding two new products to its line- and they're both something that you'll want!

A limited edition Fragrance Coffret set featuring seven fragrances is the perfect Christmas gift- for a friend, or as a treat for yourself!

Available in December, AERIN is releasing a Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara to create dramatic and thick lashes.

Find out more by visiting AERIN. 

The Tory Burch Gift Guide


I love this time of year and always get excited when the gift guides for my favourite stores are released. Tory Burch is no exception, and there's a bunch of awesome gifts and treats for everyone on your list! This year, Burch has been inspired by all things color, and it fits perfectly with the release of her new book 'In Color.'

Here are my top picks for the season:

London Jaunt


Weekend trips are always the best, and last Sunday's day in London was no exception. We wanted to see the poppies installation at the Tower of London, and despite the crowds, it was moving to see such an emotive piece of art. 

The rest of the day was spent in retail therapy heaven, otherwise known as Tory Burch, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods. Check out some photos of my trip below! 

Gorgeous windows at Tory Burch celebrating the release of the designer's new 'In Color' book.

The ultimate home away from home.

Who wouldn't want a sparkly tweed jacket from J.Crew?!

Front door inspiration!

Time Style


I'm a sucker for watches, and love looking at vintage models. Invaluable is a great online auction website with many vintage watch brands available to purchase.

I love Cartier watches for the old school glamour and functionality, and this Yellow Gold Octagon Gold is really striking. I'd wear this with a cool and comfy off duty outfit comprising of Banana Republic's colorblock ponte legging, an asymmetrical zip sweater, low suede pull on boots and a collection herringbone coat with a striking beaded collar all from J.Crew!

If you're looking to purchase a vintage watch for a loved one, or even perhaps to treat yourself take a look at what's on offer over at Invaluable.

*I did not receive any financial sum from Invaluable for this post.*

The Harris Tweed Collection for Griffin


For me, tech accessories are equally as important as the tech item itself! I love this new Harris Tweed collection for Griffin, which contains a bag and five accessories for Apple devices.

The Harris Tweed fabric is found only in the islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, and the collection is made from this distinctive fabric and leather.

Available to purchase are a bag for both MacBook Air and Pro models, a Turn Folio for iPad Air and Mini, a dual layer case for iPhone 5 and 5s and a tweed wallet for iPhone 5 and 5s. Just in time for Christmas, the collection is perfect for both the gals and guys!

Shop the full collection here.

Current Reads and Wishlist


With the nights drawing in, there's nothing better to sit with a cup of something warm and a great book.

Here's what I'm currently reading:

Personal History by Katharine Graham: Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, this fascinating memoir gives us a glimpse into Graham's life and work. I'm currently on the section on Watergate and I'm hooked!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: The Goldfinch seems to have been read or is being read by everyone at the moment. It's worth the hype!

And these are the books I can't wait to read! Hopefully I'll get them for Christmas!

How To Be Parisian: Wherever You Are: This book deconstructs the French woman's view on culture, fashion and attitude. Every girl needs some French style in their life!

I'll Drink to That: Get up close with Betty Halbreich, the famous personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman. The Bergdorf documentary is the perfect accompaniment!

The Women I Wanted To Be: DvF shares with us her journey of being one of fashion's most accomplished businesswoman, and of course, the story of the famous wrap dress!

What are you currently reading? Share with me your suggestions in the comments! 

JFK Library marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall


President Kennedy addresses the gathered crowd at the Rudolph Wilde Platz, June 26, 1963. Credit: PFC Wolf, 69th Signal Co/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 
Today marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. I had yet to be born, but this event, and the visit of President Kennedy in 1963 are two of the most prominent that changed the world for my generation, and those that followed.

To mark this anniversary, the JFK Library has released archival materials marking President Kennedy's visit to West Berlin in 1963. The Soviet and East German governments had erected the wall only two years before President Kennedy’s visit to shut off the flow of East Germans fleeing to the freedom of the west. President Kennedy called the wall, “an offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and dividing a people who wish to be joined together.”

Through the efforts of Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, the President’s sister, the German government donated a section of the Berlin Wall to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

The 3.5 ton, 12-foot concrete slab of the Berlin Wall on display at the Kennedy Library and Museum. Credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Links of the Week


White House Week


This week at the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama answered questions on education as part of the Reach Higher initiative. Watch the Q&A below.

On Thursday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing for his heroic acts of bravery while serving as an artillery commander during the Civil War.

On July 3, 1863, Lieutenant Cushing went above and beyond the call of duty when fighting against Confederate forces. Even after being struck twice, he refused to abandon his command. As a result, his gallant efforts helped open wide gaps in the Confederate Army's line of command.

The Medal of Honor is typically awarded within a few years of the action, but as the President noted, “sometimes even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the passage of time.” At today's ceremony, the President was joined by more than two dozen of Lieutenant Cushing's family members. Helen Loring Ensign, a cousin twice removed of the Lieutenant, accepted the award on his behalf.

Check out the video West Wing Week below!

Fashion Focus: Lareymondie


I'm a sucker for a great loafer, and I was really excited to cross paths with the team at Lareymondie recently.

The idea of Maylis de Lacoste Lareymondie, the brand is elegant and contemporary, with its shoes made some of the finest leathers and bespoke techniques.

Maylis explains why she started to design bespoke riding boots and loafers, and which women inspire her in her work.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

I was born and raised in France, into a family with a rich history that can be traced back hundreds of years and is steeped in culture and tradition. As a child, I had a passion for equestrian pursuits, and I fell in love with my riding boots. Moving to New York eight years ago, I took on this city’s unique character, as everyone who moves here does: We live life to the fullest, every minute of every day. And of course I worked in finance, which is furiously competitive and forward-looking. You’ll find all of those elements in my company’s offerings and my personal leadership philosophy—I seek to merge beauty with contemporary taste, find people who share my passion for elegance, and keep a sharp focus on what’s needed to succeed on our own terms.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Lareymondie?

Think what it must be like to work in private equity in the financial capital of the world, and multiply that by 10. It’s always intense—you’re surrounded by skilled professionals at the top of their game. As you come through that fire, you learn a lot about yourself. Over time, I’ve learned to manage the stress and the risks, recognize my weaknesses, and add to my strengths. By any measure, my time in that world has made me a much better businesswoman.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Lareymondie?

The biggest challenge has been to find bootmakers who can combine traditional couture techniques with contemporary needs and tastes. I obviously understand the realities, speed and mass production being valued over quality. On the flip side, the highlight has been finding that there is a real market for true quality. We offer two distinct lines, Lareymondie Couture and Lareymondie Luxury, and the single most important element they have in common is the absolute focus on customization. Our customers get to decide the leather, the patina, the trims, the embossing and so on, in essence designing their own shoe while ensuring top quality. Most women genuinely appreciate that level of control.

What advice can you offer to women who want to start their own business?

Don’t take short cuts and be ready for unexpected bumps along the way. That said, stay true to your vision—it’s the only path to success.  

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?

Mixing patience with confidence—it’s tough, but when you figure out where the balance is for you, it all gets easier.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

In New York it’s almost impossible to separate work and life—every minute seems to consume both. But once you’ve figured out what’s most important to you, you’ll find the time for both. For me working out, doing yoga, running, going in the countryside is a great way to resource myself.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

I’ve had incredibly important mentors in my own life, and I’ve tried to play that role with younger associates and employees. The thing to remember about mentors is that you feel their greatest influence far down the road. Mentors solve problem in the short term, but the lessons you learn and the wisdom you acquire affects every aspect of your life. I tell everyone I met, get a mentor, be a mentor.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?

I’ve always admired women who make their own way in the world: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and fashion icon and musician Carla Bruni, among many others. They’re all very different, yet they all make their mark in very positive ways.

What do you want Lareymondie to accomplish in the next year?

My primary goal for 2015 is to establish Lareymondie as an important startup that’s here to stay. Eventually, of course, I would like it to become the most prominent French footwear brand.


October through Instagram


My new Lego buddy | Zara and Brooks Brothers to liven up workwear | Tory Burch in Color | Vineyard Vines Shep shirt keeping me warm! | Great Si perfume advertising | Laduree macarons | Stickers for my business | Buddy Values | Halloween details on a Hugo Boss shirt

In Review: Marella Agnelli, The Last Swan


Henry Clarke/Vogue © Condé Nast Publications
Marella Agnelli is perhaps one of the greatest tastemakers, and The Last Swan chronicles her life through many personal memoirs and anedoctes, as well as providing an unprecedented tour through many of her glorious homes and gardens.

Marella and Gianni at the Black and White Ball,1966, Ray Scott Morrison
Nicknamed “The Swan” by Richard Avedon when he photographed her iconic portraits in 1953, Marella Agnelli  was not only one of the great beauties of the last century, but also the most elegant and cultured of that exclusive club which famously included Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness, Slim Keith and C.Z. Guest among others.

Villa Frescot by Oberto Gili
Born the Neapolitan princess Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto, she became Marella Agnelli in 1953 upon her marriage to Gianni Agnelli, the Fiat industrialist. However, the innate style for which she is internationally revered  dates back to her New York internship with photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, and her time as a Vogue contributor in the 1950s and 60s, when she also appeared in its pages. One of the most photographed women of jet-set society, Marella was captured not only by Avedon, but Irving Penn, Henry Clarke, Horst, and Robert Doisneau.

Marella at Villa Bona, 1969, Ugo Mulas.
I've always been particularly interested in Agnelli's relationship with Jacqueline Kennedy, and it is great to see this addressed in the book. Simply put, this book is perfect for any individual interested in fashion, high society and glorious homes, and it deserves a place in your library!

Purchase The Last Swan here.
Villa Frescot by Oberto Gili

Party Dressing at Tory Burch


If you're stuck for ideas on party dressing this season, check out Tory Burch for some fantastic ideas! From maxi dresses, jumpsuits and skinny jeans, there's a perfect piece for every woman!

Pictured above are the Meryl Gown, Glenna mid-heel pumps and the Marion quilted metallic purse
One Beat Designs Mlekoshi playground