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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

shopping in paris shade

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.

LN show house

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.

fashion femme: starlet style

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Allow me to introduce the lovely Liz. Everyone knows her as my “twin” because we’ve so often been confused for each other by strangers. We passed for sisters more convincingly when our hair was the same color, but we do share an odd resemblance for having no shared genes. And as we also share an adoration for classic films, it seemed only a matter of time before we replicated our favorite starlets’ styles. So, the twin and I piled up our hair, threw on some lipstick and headed to Chandler Hill Winery, all dolled up like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

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Marilyn’s doppelganger and I share a passion for writing. So, we whipped out our notebooks to jot a few notes, over wine and apple slices with brie.

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These pictures (cleverly, I might add) don’t show the bustling crowds at a winery on a beautiful weekend. Every now and again, we’d catch some onlookers, or even the occasional photo bomber. It seems even a male model came out of the woodwork and decided to join us for a bit.

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And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a little beauty advice from the screen queens themselves…

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she’ll conquer the world.” Marilyn Monroe.

“Happy girls are the prettiest.” Audrey Hepburn.

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Till next time…

muse moments

Summer is finally in full swing, here in the Midwest… Despite weeks & weeks of rain, the sunshine is out in full force & the dog days of summer are finally happening. We’ve been enjoying the hot days with pool parties & city events. Here’s some of the highlights from our summer adventures:

lemon wedge jello shots

Our friends recently held a housewarming, & this little addition to the shindig was a wild success! Our lovely hostess made these wickedly delicious lemon jello shots.

geek chic workout tank

I’ve been getting into good habits as of late, from walking to the local grocery store, & grabbing lunch for the week, to doing 50 burpees five out of the seven days. This geek chic tank top has been one of my go-to items for workout gear.

Jaws cupcake

Saint Louis Art Museum hosts movie nights one month each summer on its gorgeous front yard. Jaws was this week’s feature. The classic thriller by Steven Spielberg is as entertaining as ever. Food trucks line the hill before showtime, offering tempting cuisine, including this completely edible themed cupcake.

braided ponytail

I’m updating a classic hairstyle with a braided ponytail. I love the versatility of long hair, but when the heat is in the hundreds, an updo is the only way to go!

classic movie night

My darling friend, Liz, & I enjoyed a day of classic movies, starring Marilyn Monroe. The twinning hashtag refers to the fact that Liz (of no relation to me) just so happens to look exactly like moi. As we happen to share a few things in common, including our looks, we happily refer to each other as twins. We poured some pink champagne, nibbled on French Dip Croissants, & popped in great films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot. Feel free to share some of your summer adventures with me in the comments below. & remember, only 4 days left to enter in my giveaway contest for a free dance lesson!