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.

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.

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

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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…

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

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Commune with the wolves at Skansen.

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

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

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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.

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:

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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.

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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?

 

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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’.

 

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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

muse moments

Happy hump-day, ladies and gents! My favorite season is upon us…even if the weather can’t make up it’s mind to follow suit. It might be warm enough during the day to sport bare legs, but I’ll still be rocking my boots. Bring on the autumn colors, the changing trees, the pumpkin carving, the hot chocolate…and of course, Halloween. As we prepare for the magical holiday and our annual costume party, here’s some muse moments to keep you inspired:

luggageEver since our last European excursion, the husband and I have needed a suitcase upgrade. We seriously put our previous set through its paces. Our next set would need a hard casing to withstand jumping from train to train and racing to catch a jet. Also, a pattern or bold color certainly would prove useful to spot our suitcase on an airport’s conveyor belt. So when I came across this beauty on wheels, it was impossible to resist. Got it home and we discovered it nearly matches my photo taken at the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. This suitcase is setting the bar pretty high, don’t you think?

belt

I’ve been pulling this belt out of my closet a lot recently. I adore the beaded texture and wooden clasp. Plus, it’s a reminder of our adventurous time in Florida last summer, where I discovered this luxe tribal adornment.

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The bright pinks commonly associated with spring are going to prove fierce with your winter wardrobe. I’m looking forward to pairing this rich color, Shopping in Paris by Pink Holiday, with a monochromatic look. Find it here.

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Got my fill of decadent design at the LN Show House, where 12 rooms of a local mansion were completely transformed by local designers. Some of my favorite spaces included the mod pool house, decked out in eye-catching art like this full-wall distorted portrait in black-and-white; as well as the library with a thick wool rug that felt like walking on a cloud, and a statement green ceiling that made the room feel like an inverse of the outdoors.

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Tell me what’s got you dreaming as of late, & be sure to visit back soon for my latest hot spot addition.

world wanderer: architectural gems in Chicago

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At the turn of the 20th century, the term skyscraper finally was coined. Chicago led the way in architectural design, creating the modern skyline. Now, it is hard to call to mind a city without imagining its soaring high buildings and industrial landscape. So, when we swung by Chicago for a psychology conference, I tried to capture the magnetism of these formidable buildings known as skyscrapers…along with a few other eye-catching urban designs.

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Greg, pictured at top, stands looking out on the deck of the Shedd Aquarium. While waiting in the tremendously long line (this place is wildly popular), I caught the aquatic details in the building’s ceiling tiles and light, as seen below.

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The Palmer House Hilton is a decadent ode to love. Potter Palmer originally built the hotel for his bride, Bertha. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed it completely, but that didn’t stop him from rebuilding in grander style, and creating one of the world’s most luxurious hotels.

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Marked by the steel globe, the famed Willis Tower, commonly referred to as the Sears Tower (it changed names with new owners), was built in 1973. It surpassed the World Trade Center’s twin towers in height, and held the title of tallest building in the world for a quarter-century. Now, it ranks as the second highest building in the United States and No. 13 in the world.

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Hope you all missed me as much as I missed you!
From a weekender’s guide to Chicago to Scandinavian culture and a list of Stockholm’s must-see sites, I promise my upcoming posts are worth the wait. Safe travels, dear readers!

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hot spots: Majestic Dance Studio in St. Louis + GIVEAWAY

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Hips sashaying…temperatures rising…laughter falling from your lips…
I get swept away in the moment when dancing. The pure elation I feel when I’ve found my rhythm isn’t something everybody understands. But you can.

Dancing may intimidate you, make you feel insecure. But think of the satisfaction that could be yours, if you give yourself the chance to learn. Majestic Dance Studio invites couples to come experience the thrill of dancing without the fear of failing. Let yourself feel the pulsating beat, & find your own rhythm in a dance group class.
Find the GIVEAWAY details at the end of this post.

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Photos courtesy of Adriana Almeida.

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Shimmy your way down to Majestic Studios for a new way to spend a night on the town, whether it be a nontraditional date night or a chance to try something new with friends.

Partners line up across from each other, & owner Alex Borodko takes you step by step, simplifying the sensational moves of the salsa & bachata. When you finally pair again with your partner, the movements combine easily to create a beautiful number sure to impress.

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Immediate photos above courtesy of Adriana Almeida.

Even if you don’t have a partner, the professionals are on hand to step in. Each offers a quick tip to improve your rhythm, from slowing down a spin & where to hold your arms to perfecting the hip swing. The rigorous workout is broken up with performances by the talented teachers. Josef Scherer & Loraine Ebel swept across the dance floor with an elegant ballroom dance. Alex paired with Angie Brooks in a lively International Latin to entertain us. We sat back, nibbled on a few snacks, & poured glass after glass of wine, enjoying the entertainment. The evening went by all too quickly, but the workout was refreshing–& I found that pure intoxication a night of dancing can give.

Keep on reading for the GIVEAWAY details…

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Thanks to Majestic Dance Studio for inviting me and a few of my fellow bloggers to experience a group dance class for ourselves. The experience was one-of-a-kind, & now I can offer it to one of you!
Winner has been announced. Thanks for participating!

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Congratulations to the lucky winner!

Photo below courtesy of Adriana Almeida.

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*Thank you to Majestic Dance Studio for sponsoring this post.