fashion femme: midsummer blues

Found myself in sunny Cali recently…and apparently, I brought the heatwave with me. While L.A. baked and locals felt like they were melting into puddles, I soaked up the sunshine, having just left behind 100-degree temperatures and a city drenched in humidity. The only thing to do? Throw on a breezy navy blue dress and take to the town.

Stepping out in Downtown L.A. (DTLA), the hi-lo dress, cinched at the sides with textured black stripes, proved the perfect recipe for the blazing sunny day, which I spent gallivanting from art museums to foodie markets. More on my recent visit to The Broad and Eggslut coming up soon! You can catch a sneak peek on my Insta page right now.


Find similar navy dress here and here. Central Perk available at Warner Bros. Studios. Sunglasses from France, available here. Fringe leather earrings from paperdolls boutique. Tribeca bar necklace C/O Collections by Joya.

hot spots: wine dinner at Balaban’s

Are you familiar with the name Chateau Montelena? If not, allow me to introduce you to this world-class winery. As portrayed in the film Bottle Shock, starring Alan Rickman and Chris Pine, Chateau Montelena put California wine on the map by winning a blind taste test in Paris, which came to be known as the “Judgment of Paris.”


Vintage dress. Find similar here and here. Find similar clutch here.
Necklace C/O of Collections by Joya.

Balaban’s, a restaurant and wine shop in the St. Louis area, hosted a wine dinner in honor of the 40th anniversary¬† of Chateau Montelena’s famous win. My husband and I were invited to celebrate that impressive victory with a 5-course wine dinner.

The first course included pan roasted skate wing, with flash fried oyster and toasted farrow, and was paired with the 2014 sauvignon blanc. For the second course, we nibbled on pan seared ahi tuna and sipped on the 2013 chardonnay. The third course — by far, the most interesting — consisted of an Australian camel tenderloin in a black truffle demi glaze, paired with the 2013 zinfandel. (You can find that pictured below at top left.) Next up, we enjoyed a crispy duck breast in spicy plum chutney and the 2007 cabernet sauvignon. And to finish off our fantastic dining experience, we gobbled on chocolate pecan pie and toasted with the 2009 cabernet sauvignon.

From start to finish, the meal was mouthwatering and the wine truly divine. I’m partial to dry whites, but with cab sauvs so smooth, how was I not to be won over? It was a true delight to be invited to celebrate this spectacular winery’s monumental success. If you want an adventurous dining experience, make reservations for the next wine dinner hosted by Balaban’s.

Get a sneak peek of my most recent destination in the style post coming up next.

world wanderer: Swede dreams

Surrounded by beautiful woods, Stockholm entrances with sleek style and a dose of Old World charm. Built on a series of islands, bridges connect the land masses of Sweden’s capital. Take an adventure with me to this beautiful Scandinavian country.

IMG_9921

Find new meaning to serving a cocktail “on the rocks” at Icebar by IceHotel Stockholm.

IMG_0124

Discover the inspiration for Game of Thrones at The Royal Palace. Curious to know the real story behind “the red wedding?” I bet you are…

IMG_9966

Unearth history aboard a 330-plus year-old warship at Vasamuseet.

IMG_0021

Commune with the wolves at Skansen.

IMG_0247

“Drop in” on the royal family at Drottningholm Palace.

IMG_0075

Discover a seaside escape on one of the many islands that makes up the Stockholm Archipelago.

IMG_9902

Welcome to Stockholm, Sweden.

Stop in soon for a closer look at each of these wondrous sites and a taste of Scandinavian culture. Up next, my latest dining adventure… You’ll never guess what exotic meat I sampled!

muse moments

Inspiration has been a beautiful beacon of light to me this year as I continue to write on my novel daily. Here’s hoping passion comes and grips you at least once in your life. The trick, I’ve found, is to grab it right back — and never let it go. For those of you who’ve found it and those still searching, here is a dose of muse-worthy moments to keep you going on your quest for a passion-filled existence:


A dessert so naturally sweet it makes your tooth ache just looking at it. One of the many samplings found at the decadent dessert buffet courtesy of Saint Louis Club.

History that speaks to the soul. Immerse yourself in this gorgeous house of blues at National Blues Museum in St. Louis. And while you’re there, be sure to snap an Instagram-worthy shot of you onstage with Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds. Tag @nationalbluesmuseum and see if the museum regrams your image like they did mine!

An off-the-shoulder merlot dress with golden accents (as modeled by my fabulous “twin,” Liz Simone) makes for the perfect number to wear to a vintage couture fashion show.

Aglow in emerald green outside of Four Seasons of Fashion, the St. Louis’ Symphony’s debut vintage couture fashion show. An unconventional runway show, the combination of designer gowns and beautiful music from the Grammy-award winning orchestra easily cultivated creativity. Crystal adornment courtesy of Collections by Joya.

What don’t I adore about a place that encourages you to pop open a bottle of wine and create art? Painting With a Twist afforded me just that opportunity. I celebrated Mother’s Day with my wonderful mom-in-law by painting daisies on a vibrant background. Her version, on the left, more closely resembles the original painting we modeled ours after while mine was an anstract version, for sure. Wishing my mom, who resides on the other side of the state, could’ve been there to celebrate with us!

Share your muse-worthy moments via Instagram and Twitter by tagging @amandasluxelife and #MuseMoments.

this one’s for the lovers

Some of you may know this about me already, but for those who don’t, I got my start as a professional writer with a dating column. I gave the column up once I became a staff writer at a local magazine. Every now and again though, my previous work comes up (and usually prompts the question, “Can you offer me some dating advice?”). So, it seems only fitting to take a look back at some of my most memorable advice for the truly committed, the just getting started and even those who are playing it solo this Valentine’s Day.

5 Signs You’ve Met a Real Life Prince Charming

bf665f103b179ba71db50b248bc34e53

The 4 Worst Ways to Say “I Love You”

1a61cc539e91386ab4790f72acfd2c18

Superheroes and Dating Disasters

cc191e22cd9d58ea0225342cbd7d5b03

Why Being Single Can Be for the Best

a2a334cc0247fb535a9491c994acbd5a

How to Move From Friends to Lovers

597fa9e5f678ab0c78d55a6cbc454c6b

The Long-distance Relationship: How to Make Your Love Last

33d6a5a53b6bcc24eb81046aa6a6fa7b

The DOs and DON’Ts of Having a Friendship with Benefits

1d7e08ea5595381f43c68b81b3812e28

Bad Boy Blues

2e67139b0396be7c11b4b52bad525b2a

Amanda Boudoir 087 (2)

Share your plans or hit me up for dating tips in the comments section below.

Enjoy your holiday, lovers!

XO,

Amanda

Photos of Amanda Dahl C/O of Essence Photography by Martha

muse moments: 2016 new year resolutions

Maybe you’re not a big believer in the cliched New Year’s resolutions, but there is value to recognizing your aspirations and designing a plan to better yourself. At the end of 2015, I looked back on last year’s resolutions for myself and felt a strong sense of accomplishment. Chances are you already tell yourself you’re going to get better at this thing or another. Turn that thought into a mantra this year and find a way to challenge yourself in the best way possible. After all, baby steps can lead to big changes in a year’s time. Here are my 2016 resolutions… Maybe you’ll find an ounce of inspiration in them:

 4741c7717e0774399d621565660e5db4

This is the part where I apologize to you, loyal readers, for my hiatus from LIVE THE LUXE LIFE. Since mid Fall, I’ve filled my free time with writing pages and pages on my novel. Inspiration hit me like a mad fever, as often happens when you’re a writer… But this delirium still has me in its grasp. I think I’ve finally figured out how to subdue my procrastination and stay dedicated to the craft from which I derive all my passion. And for that, I do not apologize. So, here’s looking at you, 2016. This may just be the year I near completion (or possibly even finish) my first book.

IMG_0245

 

You know that friend who always pulls the camera phone out any time you go out? Uh huh, that’s me. Y’know, the one you rely on for your next profile pic or trip down memory lane. As my friends and family can tell you though, I’ve gotten real bad this year about posting those photos in a decent time span. (I haven’t uploaded photos from as far back as summer yet, oops.) I’m starting fresh this year and aiming to upload photos within a week of an event. Won’t my friends and family be relieved?

 

99abf3b4a885e15f5fa716f9cab5a26d

 

We’ve become the perpetual hosts for any holiday shindig as you can see here and here. It has been a true pleasure…and a heck of a lot of work. This past year, we’ve spent more time cleaning up after these events than actually enjoying them. So, we’re pulling back the reins a bit. We still love entertaining and plan to do so in the future. House parties though are happening at a much more manageable size; and big numbers will be moved to an outside venue. Not our zoo, not our monkeys…that’s what I’m always sayin’.

 

52d24b6365d823c4b92a27be77984291

 

Most importantly, I must strive to find the good in the world. With terrorism and gun violence running rampant, it’s difficult to stay optimistic and keep faith in humanity. But there is good to be found in this world. Look at the people taking in refugees. Look at the homes that opened their doors to harbor strangers during the Paris attack, or the countries around the world that lit up their landmarks with the colors of the French flag. Yes, there is evil all around us. Let us shed light on that evil and stand in solidarity against it.

headliner image c/o Essence Photography by Martha

fashion femme: layer me pretty

IMG_0363Autumn is by far my favorite season. Between leaves changing into glorious colors, pumpkins and weather that doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to melt right out of my skin, what’s not to adore? Yet fall is a tricky month for figuring one’s wardrobe. Temperatures shift like moods, from freezing in the morning to (dare I say?) warm by afternoon.
How do you plan what to wear that will adapt from one situation to the next? Layers, of course.

IMG_0358

For this look, pair a lightweight long-sleeved top with a heavy-knit short-sleeved cardi a la Forever 21 (find similar here). Dark skinnies match everything effortlessly. (So, get yourself a pair–stat!) The ripped details of this pair matched all too well with the textured top from Victoria’s Secret. Top off with a casual fedora (find similar here) and a pair of show-stopping boots (find similar here). To complete the ensemble, layer a couple of necklaces. Find this fantastic crystal pendant necklace at Joya. This local jewelry designer has a panache for incorporating natural elements with delicate designs. Want another reason to check them out? Proceeds from each purchase goes to charities for women. Plus, the hand-crafted jewelries and accessories are created by artisan communities from around the world. Find out more for yourself by browsing the curated fall collection.

IMG_0355

Thanks to Collections by Joya for sponsoring this post! Stop in soon for a peek at St. Louis Fashion Week and a new hot spot addition.

IMG_0393