Blue & Beige Beginnings

Blue & Beige Beginnings
Using the colors in the rug of bright and light blue, mauve, light teal, and sand, put together a very upbeat and welcoming space. Copper goes very well in such a space to add a bit of shine!

Redefine GRAY DAY

Redefine GRAY DAY

Over 50 appropriate fashion! Skinny pants in a great paisley print, a long over-blouse of layers that add movement without bulk, and a long light gray cardigan with front detailing for extra interest. This all goes together for a wonderful look with pale gray mules and a multi-colored clutch. Some red jewelry adds a pop of color!

"Time is a concept that humans created." Yoko Ono

"Time is a concept that humans created." Yoko Ono

An outfit designed for the active woman over 50 who still wants style in her wardrobe! Start out with khakis and a denim shirt untucked. Top that with an oversized sweater in a khaki color combo and add a scarf in a bright blue to bring movement and color close to your face. Put on a shiny pair of bright blue flats and some blue and gold earrings. Toss on a cream or khaki colored jacket and grab you beige handbag - you're ready for a day of museums or shopping or lunching with the girls or your daughter and grandchildren. And you'll look great doing it!

Too many older women do the matchy-matchy and end up beige from head to toe. Consequently they blend in with the wood work. If you take a look at some of them, they seem to have faded. They really have, too! As a woman ages, her skin lightens, as does her hair. So many women fall into that mistake of wearing beige. As you lighten, add a bit more color, especially up near your face. Add a bright scarf, a sparkling set of earrings or a pretty necklace. A bit more blush on the cheeks can help as well. But now that you're lighter, better check that what you have is still the correct shade for you. Motion and color near the face will catch the eye and you won't disappear into the woodwork!

Golden Glow

Golden Glow

Black and gray with slashes of gold make a stunning combination for anytime! For the woman over 50, the cut of the loose overblouse is particularly flattering in the case that she may want to hide a less than perfect waist line or tummy. Don't wear stilettos anymore? Change them out for a pair of metallic pewter ballet flats for more comfort

Chills & Thrills

The Great War is over and Britain works to recover from the horror and trauma which nearly ripped it apart. Wounded warriors - both the physically maimed and the mentally scarred - return and try to take up a life that they have changed too much to acclimate into once more. Women fight to find their equilibrium after the bars which restricted them from work fell, and the new definition of womanhood remains blurred in the eyes of an unsettled society. The nation bands together in the wake of the loss of nearly a generation of its young men.

Amidst all of this, a lone spirit cries out in rage...

Sarah Piper takes a job as assistant to a man who researches ghosts, and when she is sent into the barn where Maddy Clare is said to dwell beyond death she is faced with a challenge unlike any other.

A nobody with no past that anyone is aware of, Maddy came to work as a maid. A life that held no fame and little consequence to anyone it seems, ended suddenly with a length of rope in a barn. Her body lies buried in the village churchyard ... but her vengeful hate remains very much alive.

For some reason, Maddy is receptive to Sarah and seems to be leading her towards some unknown goal. With the help of the handsome former soldier, Matthew Ryder, Sarah discovers clues that lead her towards the truth of Maddy's end. But the path to this truth is a dangerous one. It becomes clear there is someone out there who has something to do with Maddy's death, and he will not shrink from harming those who seek to find him.

As Sarah and Matthew draw nearer to the answer Maddy drives them to find, they are drawn closer to each other. He bears scars both on his body and his soul, but Sarah finds him to be beautiful regardless. Their steps approach a violent, twisted revelation, and the stakes grow ever higher as they come to mean more to one another.

~~~

Talk about chills -- Maddy is one scary girl! Rather than depending on the inescapable gloom and terror of a traditional horror story, Simone St. James has crafted a wonderful blend of historical, mystery, thriller, ghost story, and romance. To make it really gripping, she spikes those horror scenes with a deft hand at spine-tingling creepiness. True devotees of the horror genre would probably consider this light and fluffy -- fine by me! It's an engrossing story that takes on, in a minor way, the awareness and history of PTSD (this seems to be a recurring theme in her books).

Something that deserves a special mention, I think, is Sarah's relationship with Matthew. It is very unhealthy when things start out for them. They don't play nice in the sandbox with each other, and then that first intimate encounter they have is almost as disturbing as one of Maddy's temper tantrums. He uses her. It's like he's taking a shot of whiskey to still the shakes -- a realistic circumstance for someone dealing with PTSD perhaps. But for the sake of the story, if they'd parted ways and never seen one another again after that it would have just been downright wrong! Thankfully they're stuck in close company on the job, and Sarah is determined not to let things rest as they are. What started out so warped becomes much more genuine, though even by the end of the book they have things to sort out. It's a very authentic relationship, and the way it develops through the course of the book is powerful.

I devoured this story, and loved every chill and every thrill. I can't wait to see St. James develop further as an author, and my hopes are flying high that she'll have a prolific career. Bravo!


~~~
 Keep your eyes peeled for The Other Side of Midnight, coming April 7th, 2015!!

A Little French Flair

A Little French Flair

All summer long we saw fashion pictures of boyfriend jeans and striped tops. Now we're seeing the same striped tops with dark pencil skirts! Wear it untucked or tuck it in and add a wide belt to draw attention to your waist!

All last year we saw large, very large and overwhelmingly large handbags for women. This year the fashion industry has decided we need small handbags. We are also seeing totes for women in leather.

I've mentioned several times that statement coats are the trend to be seen in this fall and winter. Don't overlook the poncho! They are showing up in woven and knitted fabrics so far this fall and they fall everywhere from the hips to the ankle and every length in between.
Hats are definitely a continuing trend for the fall and winter seasons. Felt hats have returned with a vengeance, so of course, you will see some of everything. Including berets, both felt and knit.

Inspired by Haute Hair

Inspired by Haute Hair

This was designed around a scenario for a contest. The hairdresser this was designed for had the following preferences: bold, unique, ornate and was creative. So I painted her walls a medium greige and her woodwork a paler greige. She has dark hardwood floors. I added a plush, bold rug to establish the color palette. I added the purple velvet love seat with pillows in the colors from the rug for comfort for herself and when she entertains. I used a large silver and smoked glass coffee table with boldly colored glassware. The glassware leaves plenty of room for dishes of finger food and drinks for when she entertains. I used both a floor lamp and ceiling lighting to be able to control areas according to mood and need. The watercolor on the wall appeals to her creative, playful side. When she entertains, she always uses more than one set of dinnerware so that she can set a prettier table, and she always uses pretty table linens. The gift on the table is from a very happy long-time customer.

With apartment living usually being a space crunch, most apartment dwellers don't accumulate a lot of knick-knacks. For someone who likes ornate  things, trying to have ornate furnishings might be difficult. A lot of ornate furnishings are large and would fill up a tight apartment space too fast or too much. So I reserved the fancy details for dinnerware and crystal. This way, the client can mix and match table linens to her heart's content, add flowers and other inexpensive decor as well as mix and match her china. Using inexpensive chargers and/or alternating plain and decorated plates can create some very interesting place settings. Play around with what you have and take pictures of what you like so that the next time you entertain you'll know just what you want your table to look like!

Pink Petit Fours

Pink Petit Fours

Statement coats are going to be a big part of this fall and winter's fashion look. This one carries the look of the whole outfit head to toe!

Correction: Actually TODAY, September 23, 2014 is the first day of fall. Not yesterday as my post stated. Sorry!

In the Library

In the Library

The combination of deep turquoise and the lighter green yellow and coral makes for a rich partial rainbow and a rich palette in any room, but in a library especially!

Off to Work We Go

Off to Work We Go

Today is the first day of fall and the days are certainly getting cooler. Slacks are a great option for the working woman on these cold mornings! Slacks and a sleeveless shell may do you in some offices, or you can toss a lightweight leather blazer over the top for some added warmth and a scarf for some motion and color! Your commute will certainly be cold without another layer, so toss on a warm wool jacket that coordinates marvelously with the whole ensemble. Shoes, handbag and even your briefcase will go with this outfit! Add a little sparkle at your ears to shine throughout the day!

A Walk Through the Park

A Walk Through the Park#

Don't you just love the feel of a pretty dress with a swingy skirt that moves as you walk?! Add some bright pumps and all eyes will be on you during your walk in the park!
Fashion Trend: Leather tote

The Season for Sharing & Caring

The Season for Sharing & Caring

I do believe he's thinking of the Sharing part right about now!
Digital art by me!

Jaunty in Black and Blue!

Jaunty in Black and Blue!

Boyfriend Jeans! Already broken in, soft, and wearable!

A Lovely Purple Haze

A Lovely Purple Haze

Fashion Trend: Boyfriend Jeans! Wear them with anything! Dress them up or dress them down! They hit the fashion scene a couple of seasons ago and women found them so comfortable, that they won't let them go!
Psssst! If you don't have a boyfriend you can borrow/steal them from, you can buy them almost anywhere for almost any price!

happiness

happiness

Digital art by me!

Pussyfootin'!

Pussyfootin'

A dress made to show that you are a woman, minimal but lovely jewelry and a fantastic pair of heels! That's pussyfootin'! Wrap up warm in one of this season's lovely oversized coats and grab your bag! We're off for a good time!

Where It All Began...

David Eddings and his wife Leigh (even though her name isn't on the covers for most of the books, it should be!) are authors who hold a special place in my heart. I love the world they created in The Belgariad, and the sense of whimsy written into each and every character to cross the page. The flaws and outright loopholes in their books just don't matter to me, whereas they would drive me mad as a hatter in stories by other authors. They crafted a profound tale of heroism, salvation, and the good fight against evil, but in a way that doesn't take things too seriously. Humor, fun, and the bonds of friendship and love are foremost elements of the books David & Leigh gave us. The legacy they left behind is something I treasure. And this book is where it all began...

Garion enjoyed what might be termed an idyllic childhood, but for the lurking presence of the man without a shadow. Facing the routine challenges of growing from child to teen, he was always aware of something beneath the surface of his mundane life. When something happens and his Aunt Pol and an old storyteller called Wolf take him away from the safety of the farm, Garion knows everything has changed. For a young man, though, it all seems like a grand adventure of the sort Mister Wolf has always delighted him with. The one problem, really, is that no one will tell him what has happened!

From the pastoral peace of Sendaria to the icy heart of old Aloria, Garion's journey comes to have a more personal meaning than he could ever have imagined. What are these tales of a great sorcerer named Belgarath and his sorceress daughter, Polgara -- and why does everyone seem to associate those legendary figures with Mister Wolf and his Aunt Pol? He realizes that things aren't as they have seemed all of his life ... and perhaps he isn't what he has always believed himself to be either.

This is a world that is full of life, color, history, and magic. It is the first chapter of an epic hero's tale that will eventually span two continents, involve the embattled wills of ancient gods, and prove to be the culmination of the hopes and suffering of countless generations.

~~~

I first read this book and the rest of the Belgariad and Malloreon back in high school. I remember that I fell in love with Garion, was in stitches over Silk's banter, and adored the whole company who sets out to fulfill the demands of prophesy -- except for Ce'Nedra. I hate Ce'Nedra. I passionately despise Ce'Nedra. She's a bratty little *itch who deserves a spanking and eternal time out in her room! She never grows up, and I cannot comprehend why everyone in the story finds her so cute and lovable. I would happily rip her darling red curls out of her scalp and punt her right out of the story with a baseball bat if I could.

End of rant (sorry if you haven't read the story yet -- she'll show up in Book 2).

Anyway, this book is a wonderful beginning to the cycle of the Belgariad & Malloreon that, if you adore it as much as I do, you will read your way through endlessly throughout your life. Here in Pawn of Prophesy we witness the first innocent steps of the boy who will one day become the focus of a millennia-old struggle between two titanic forces, and decide the fate of a world. We get hints of it here and there, especially in that last scene with King Anheg, but the Eddings' don't lay their full hand on the table by any means. Bravo!


Oh! And let me just add that the new e-book covers are beautifully done! Personally, I prefer the originals, but the revamp was done very well. :-)

Eclectic Indulgence in B&W

Eclectic Indulgence in B&W

Indulge your eclectic side in black and white! The two "colors" are the unifying aspect for items that may not quite match! No other colors to distract, so that abstract painting and velvet loveseat and handpainted table all work well together! Let black and white be your unifying palette!

Camo, Denim & Leather

Camo, Denim & Leather

Three trends that have proven their staying power! Camo comes back this season in even more items. Not just as a trendy item, but as a wardrobe staple. Denim is always with us and we see it getting used in more refined ways. Leather has been with us so long, we don't even think of it anymore. But totes and shoes are showing up in lovely leathers this season. So maybe this is the season to add to your wardrobe staples!

Fall is for layering!

Fall is for layering!

Fall is definitely for layering! An oxford shirt, a pullover sweater, a woolen wrap and if the day warms up, you can take one or two of them off as needed and still look great!

Just a Few Bold Touches

Just a Few Bold Touches

A seemingly soft color palette of green and beige, until you add some rich, bold touches of ruby to enliven the space! That makes it red and green, but it's definitely not Christmas!

Shades of...

Shades of...

Monochromatic can work in any room as long as you vary the shades and tints as well as your textures! Visual texture is important to the design and enjoyment of any room! And it's fun to live with! Imagine a rich brocade chair, a smooth satin pillow and a soft chenille throw. All that is a feast for the sense of touch! So create a feast for your eyes with textures that show as well! Shining hard wood floors with rich rugs in areas. Brocade fabrics on furniture, shining tables, glistening glassware, shimmering silk, the sheen of satin, the nubbiness of woven throws. Feast this season!

Autumn Winds Will Blow

Autumn Winds Will Blow

Wrap up warmly in one of this season's great statement coats! Underneath it all, show your colors! Beautiful fall colors from bright to dark and rich!

Red, Until they all come home...

Red, Until they all come home...

A lot of organizations still wear red on Fridays to honor the U.S. soldiers still on foreign soil, and will until they are all brought home. If you are an American who enjoys your freedom, thank a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine or Veteran for their service.

Wilderness Walk

Wilderness Walk

When going off the beaten path, dress correctly and be prepared for anything! But while you might borrow the Boy Scout motto, you don't have to look like a Boy Scout! Skinny khaki jeans, cafe-au-lait silk blouse, wool sweater cut for comfort topped by a lovely olive jacket cut for comfort and style! Throw a scarf around your neck, sunnies on your face, a handy pocketed bag on your shoulder and your favorite hat on your head! You are ready for nature!

In the Pink!

In the Pink!

Little girls look so sweet in pink! And big girls do too! This sweater dress is made to snuggle into! Add fabulous magenta heels for snap, a lovely bag to compliment the dress, wrap up more in a copy soft gray wrap coat and top it with a soft pink beret. Add just a dash of glitz with smashing earrings! No one will confuse you with the little girls in this outfit!

The Cost of Courage

A lie is where it all began. Kitty isn't a nurse, she doesn't have extensive experience with mental patients, and she doesn't have the faintest idea how to measure dosages or administer injections. But she's given herself these qualifications in order to gain employment at an out-of-the-way hospital for soldiers back from the Great War who suffer from mental weakness, vapidity, and outright breakage. A daunting challenge, but Kitty refuses to back away. When odd, unexplainable happenings occur in the dark halls of Portis House during her night shifts and an atmosphere of malevolence grips the house and its residents in an oppressive choke-hold, she is forced to consider what she's really let herself in for.

No simple ghost story, St. James takes on the ever-controversial understanding and treatment of PTSD patients in a time when the perceived mental "illness" was viewed as madness. Men who had given almost everything to safeguard their home, people, and way of life returned to find their experiences had left them unable to reenter society as though nothing had occurred. Conditioned to the demands, horrors, and degradations of the battlefield -- a battlefield strange to Europe up to that point, as a mechanized nightmare -- life could never be as it had been before.

When Kitty ignores her orders and enters the room of a patient whose identity is meant to be unknown to all but the Matron and her most trusted nurse, she is faced with one of the "dirty little secrets" of WWI's aftermath. Jack Yates was the poster boy of the British effort to conquer the Western Front. Hailed as a hero, a true man's man, and the ideal of Allied courage, what could be more shocking for Kitty than to come face-to-face with him dressed in the sad pajamas of a mental patient?

Forced to come to terms with the reality of PTSD (before it was known as such) while the shadowy menace holding the house in thrall becomes more restless, Kitty finds herself caught between a viscous predator and its prey. Because the demonic ghost of Portis House has carried a disdain of cowardice with it into death -- and as the courage of the former soldiers is questioned by their very presence, they become the focus of the building fury.

Kitty has a willing partner in Jack, who finds in helping her the chance to pull himself out of the living death he had locked himself in. As they look for clues and learn the history of the house's former owners, dodging Matron and the orderlies every step of the way, a painful tale is revealed and more than one tormented soul begs to be set free. Can a hatred so powerful ever be laid to rest?

With strong characterization, a fine eye for the details which spread shivers up and down readers' spines, and a nice little touch of romance, St. James has crafted another excellent ghost story. Her heroine is plucky, not afraid to get her hands dirty, and prepared to take on the rules when she knows they do more harm than good. Balanced at her side is a man who had lost track of that which had made him a hero. And never forget the host of former warriors oppressed by the unfair, but misunderstood stigma against their suffering, who rise to the occasion and prove that PTSD does not mean courage and honor are dead. I loved every minute of it. Bravo!

Dragon Rising

Dragon Rising

Digital art by me!

Play of Purples

Play of Purples

Love purple, but just can't bring yourself to do a whole room in it? Use it to accent a corner for reading and create your own little nook!

Last Blush of Summer

Last Blush of Summer

Stretch your summer colors a bit and look fresh and bright! Layers are the thing for this season with its warmer days and cooler evenings, so use them to layer your colors, too!

WHITE after Labor Day?

WHITE after Labor Day?
Yup! It's all in how you do it! A white skirt, with all the right fall colors, gives a snap of freshness to a look!

Summers Last Hurrah!

Summers Last Hurrah!

Lunch with a special someone? This wonderfully feminine dress wrapped in a fabulous off-the-shoulder lipstick red leather jacket and sky-high lipstick red patent pumps will do the trick! Add a lady-like white and black handbag and you will knock his socks off!

Orange for Monday!

Orange for Monday!

Start your week off with a real statement: Orange for Monday!

Quite a Sight!

Quite a Sight!

Nothing makes a woman feel more like a lady than the swish of a pretty dress, the the slip of silk stockings and the click of pretty heels!

Every picture tells a story...

Every picture tells a story...

Digital art by me!

Check...and Mate!

Check...and Mate!

Inky dark so dark it's almost black - midnight blue with long draped fringe and blue and white striped trim swooping around the curving hem - Just what you need to show of your curves along with sky-high silver stilettos and a sparkly blue evening clutch!

A Chance at Redemption

The body of an infamous beauty found in the gardens. A host of suspicious haute ton scandalized and looking for who is to blame for such an outrage. The son of the most respected inquiry agent in the British Isles determined to bring justice to bear. And a young widow only recently - and dubiously - acquitted of macabre behavior during her marriage to an anatomist. The suspect is an obvious one.

Lady Kiera Darby faced public scorn, and very nearly legal scrutiny, when it was revealed she had assisted her late husband in his endeavor to compile an illustrated compendium of human anatomy. Known for her artistic talent, it became common knowledge that Lady Darby had not only observed and recorded the ghoulish explorations, but possibly also selected the "victims" for Sir Anthony's table. She has been branded "unnatural" and unfit for good society ... but the sensational image of a Bathory-esque murderess could not be further from the truth.

A victim of social condemnation that falls all-too-easily on the most vulnerable, Kiera hides a twisted and disturbing truth. What would persuade a young woman to participate in human dissection in a time when well-bred females were considered too delicate for the more grisly facts of life and death? Why would an artist whose gift it is to find and reveal the spark of life in her subjects turn her talents towards a grimmer source of inspiration? Things are not as they appear and the truth - as it is revealed piece by heartbreaking piece - proves more tragic than the wildest of society's imaginings.

All of this forms the background for the sudden and mysterious death of a famous socialite at a party held at the country estate of Kiera's brother-in-law. Who is there to blame when a seemingly senseless and brutal murder occurs and one of the first on the scene is a notorious pariah? Kiera faces scrutiny and the possibility of the path to the gallows once more.

Investigating the murder is none other than Sebastian Gage, son and heir of the highly-regarded Captain Lord Gage, whose success as an inquiry agent is beyond dispute. Though she finds little in this man to recommend him - a spoiled rake known for his affairs -- Kiera finds him to be her best hope of finding the true killer and saving her from finally being claimed by the hatred and mistrust which stalks her. Uneasy allies, together Kiera and Gage develop a surprisingly balanced partnership that proves more effective then either could have imagined.

When all is at risk, you find yourself prepared to face uncertainties and terrors beyond what you might otherwise be able to endure. For Kiera, everything is at stake, and every twist and turn of this devilish mystery forces her to the brink. She knows that everything will be lost if she fails, but will be surprised by what there is to gain with success...

This was a wonderful story that I can't believe I held off reading for so long! The characters were exquisitely wrought - Kiera is such a fascinating woman and Gage reveals layers to a more complicated personality than she had at first assumed. This partnership is one of the strongest I've ever read, and the warm hints of something more beneath the surface are tantalizingly well-written. Not only do they find equality of the minds, but kindred souls capable of accepting and understanding the respective scars they bear.

The mystery itself is wickedly clever, and engenders a fabulous tension throughout the story. Scenes reminiscent of Gothic horror provide a fitting thrill and make matters more urgent. The who and the why are revealed in time, but this story is clearly all about the journey rather than the destination. Woven in are period details, social mores, personal drama, and a chance for some measure of redemption -- which never should have been needed. I couldn't get enough of it. Bravo!

Just a glimpse of Paris

Just a glimpse of Paris

A lovely combination of soft and dark colors give a room personality and flair!

Special Memories...

Special Memories...

Fall Trend: Denim seems to be the Eternal Fashion Trend! Distressed Boyfriend Jeans Continue to be up to the minute. Try them with an over-sized chiffon tee and scarf. Add barely there stilettos and a smashing bag! Sunnies and a bit of sparkle add the glamour to make memories to last!

{meow addiction}

{meow addiction}

Home Decor with an eye to feline comfort! And if you really want to provide feline comfort in a BIG WAY, visit this fabulous site that I just discovered www.snootypets.com and provide comfort for your pets with a Vegas flair!

Chic Cheri!

Chic Cheri!

Accessories that will go with almost anything in your closet!

Sometimes, I just have to ROAR!

Sometimes, I just have to ROAR!

Strut your stuff! Blue and black are a great combo to add a bit of leopard to and make it ROAR!

Imitation is a form of flattery.

Imitation is a form of flattery.

We all love those gorgeous big beasts that roam the jungles! So copy their lovely colors and patterns with beautiful fakes! Add pops of color to those fun fakes and you've got your own gorgeous look!