Saturday, November 30, 2013

READing Your Style: The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need

Going back to The 10 Rules to Live By which I focused on last year in December, my focus on Astrology this year in December piggybacks on the notion that by understanding our true selves, we can work towards allowing our strengths to flourish, as well as understand our problem areas associated with our personality type. The behavioral psychologist, Carl Jung, who pioneered the concept of the 16 personallty types for the The 10 Rules to Live By is said to have believed in the concept of astrological influence having said this: "We are born at a given moment, in a given place, and like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born." All this month I have been doing research to bring to #IMFblog on the science of Astrology. When I suggested in my last Serious Style post, Too Fat, Too Thin - Will We Ever Be Content?, that looking at a profile of your Sun sign might be a eye opening method of self-discovery, I decided to do a little investigating on my own to support the validity of my suggestion. With all the speculation surrounding Astrology, and because it has been substantially unsupported by scientific research, I wanted to find the reasons why it is that Astrological claims can be so accurate in accordance to the questions we have about our lives. Why is it that a lot of people find their personality traits to match the profiles of their astrological Sun sign? All this past month I have been reading, 'The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need' by Joanna Martine Woolfolk, to tap the origins of Astrology and find out what makes Astrology valid. Historically, for over 5000 years, Astrology is one of the oldest living sciences, and was highly regarded in ancient civilizations. Ancient astrologers charted the movement of planets and stars, and made predictions about eclipses, upheavals, famine, and fortune, and Astrology was inextricably linked to religion. The patterns that the stars form in the heavens were given names and worshiped as gods. With all twelve signs of the zodiac put together, we are able to see a picture of human beings - our bodies, minds, and emotions, and of all the surrounding world in which we live. Hundreds of years before the time of Christ, Greek philosophers formulated the theory of Man in Microcosm,  in that the human is the miniature version of the cosmos, and by charting the heavens at the time of your birth, Astrology can serve as a stairway leading into your deeper self. Many people will read the profile of their Sun sign and say, "This does not describe me accurately, " and dismiss Astrology, but knowing what your Sun sign is just a piece of the puzzle. There are other factors at work that account for the differences we have in our personality compared to whatever Sun sign we are associated with. Woolfolk's book tells you all you should know about the whole topic of astrology in which you will learn about Sun signs, Moon signs, Ascendants, Planets, and Houses, and how these factors interact to shape your life. What I aim to do in this coming month is focus on the story of Astrology by highlighting the legend behind each sign. To me, this understanding will help you to understand the origins of your planetary influences in your life and figure why our zodiac profile describes the personalty traits that are strongest within our individual selves. Like I said before, understanding our Sun sign is a small piece of understanding the whole of ourselves, and Woolfolk's book gives a better understanding of how to understand ourselves through the jigsaw that is Astrology. In my fashion, the legend behind each sign could be used as clever inspiration to use as representative of our personality in our everyday looks.

German Vogue and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS teamed up to produce a series of images for a 2013 Horoscope Calendar

For a clearer understanding of the ways which you can represent your zodiac through your fashion is through the Swarovski Elements Horoscope Calendar. Swarovski Elements is a brand of the Swarovski franchise that specializes in providing creative talents in the world of fashion, jewelry, accessories, interior design and lighting with the latest on-trend crystal innovations. Swarovski represents one of the best in jewelry design, and this holiday season, with the trend I am seeing in elaborate jewelry design, their Horoscope Calendar images make perfect visual focus for this upcoming zodiac series. For the past few years, they have partnered with German Vogue to create a series of images for the coming years Horoscope Calendar. In my fashion, the images shot by an amazing photographer, Lado Alexi, are breathtaking! Above you will see the Vogue Covers for each month in 2013, but to represent the coming posts for this series I chose to feature his work from the 2012 calendar to depict each of the signs I will highlight this month. Check out the video below to see the making of the 2012 calendar, and then take a look at the Making of 2013 Calendar to stay up to date on this campaign. I am sure the 2014 calendar is currently in the making. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

READing Your Style: Scent on a Journey (Part 2)

In my fashion, perfumery is a beautiful craft, and after watching the 2nd installment of BBC's Perfume series, 'Bottling a Memory', one is able to understand the esoteric art of creating fragrances. What I find so interesting about perfumers is that their craft involves having a deep understanding of something that is essentially invisible. Can you imagine having so acute a sense of smell that you can memorize, distinguish, and understand how to mix raw materials that have the power to evoke euphoric memories? Think about it, when we smell something good, you have a break for a moment, and unconsciously our minds record what that scent made us feel like. Perfumers understand that relationship, and that emotional connection between scent and memory. 

For me, I can look at a dress, or bag, or shoe that has no label, and distinguish by its details and construction who and where the dress was made. Like International Vogue Editor-at-Large, Hamish Bowles, I can look at a dress and say what region a dress was made, or whether it was made in the 18th century London, or America during the Edwardian Period. Perfumers make similar distinctions between the way things smell. The few chosen students who are selected by the school of the global leader in the fragrance industry, Givaudan, have to memorize over 500 raw materials and learn how to mix them by dissecting the chemical elements and core contents of a blend of scent notes. Using their noses, they have to figure what elements will translate into something that  can be worn, and smell alluring on the human body. Essentially, with fragrances, people want to experience "transport"; transport to what in our minds is most beautiful with out any visual stimulation. Transport to a beautiful memory. Knowing what aroma chemicals exist to create a scent of lasting impression requires a poetic sensibility towards chemistry, and the imaginative nostalgia of the human experience. They are what is needed to inspire the memories of the future. Continuing from the 1st Part of READing Your Style: Scent on a Journey taken from the November 2013 issue of InStyle, the next type of fragrances they teach us about are spicy scents.


Earthy Woods OR Vanilla OR Deep Incense

*Earthy Woods


Bottega Veneta 'Eau Légère
Musk, oak moss, and pink pepper craete a robust base, though a whiff of light gardenia emerges too.

Krigler Oud
Sumptuous 75213
Woody notes mix with amber, cinnamon, and vanilla, producing a sensual fragrance that could easily be worn by a man or a woman.

Christian Dior Gris Montaigne
The aroma of moss and patchouli brings warmth to the skin; jasmine and rose add a feminine touch.



Intense by Dolce &Gabbana
A delicious confection of fig and vanilla that remains sophisticated thanks to orange flower and tuberose. 

Guerlain Shalimar Ode à la Vanille
Delectable caramel, cocoa, and vanilla are balanced by floral jasmine and earthy iris.

Diptyque Eau Duelle
Grounded by intense amber and spices, the vanilla doesn't smell a bit cloying.

*Deep Incense


-If you DO like the scent of flowers:

Terry de Gunzburg Ombre Mercure
Iris, jasmine, and rose, play as big a role here as patchouli and vanilla.

-If you DON'T prefer the scent of flowers:

Tom Ford Sahara Noir
The combo of frankincense and wood accords makes for an unforgettably exotic experience.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bit-O-Inspiro 43

In my fashion, images are fast replacing words as our primary language. They define our ideas of beauty, truth and history. In our age the photographer is king, not the philosopher. I would love to hear what you think about that?

Monday, November 4, 2013

READing Your Style: Scent on a Journey (Part 1)

The Holiday Season is approaching and, in my fashion, if you are anyone smart, you would be thinking of Christmas gifts now instead of waiting til the last few days before the big day (like I always do). Lately an aspect of style which has caught my fancy more than ever before is the use of fragrances. The model that I used for last month's Editor's Letter for October, Sophia, is a dear friend of mine, and her acute sense of smell, and obsession for fragrances is an ongoing topic with her. If you recall this year's Valentine's Day post, you will remember I spoke a little about how scents played a significant role in courting women, and sending certain messages to others. In my fashion, smell is an interesting sense when you really think about it. It's such a subliminal sense, but what most of us don't happen to realize is that perfume is liquid luxury. Smells affect our emotions by evoking memories, and when someone gets a whiff of your perfume, it leaves an extra impression in their mind. Perfumes help to remind us of romance, sex, happiness, and beauty, and in my fashion, the wearer, no matter what they look like, will always leave some hint of intrigue. Its all about the image one has of you after you have left the room, in my fashion. Think about the picture that famed perfumer, Jean-Paul Guerlain, paints for us in Part 1 of the below BBC Documentary, Perfumes: From Scent to Sale: 

"The most beautiful girl in the world: she takes off her dress, she takes off her make-up, and what's left? The charm of her voice and her perfume. A woman can be ugly at daytime and wonderful at nighttime."

I will be covering the three part documentary series in next 2 parts of this series, but in the above video you can learn some interesting facts about perfuming and the intricate business of bottling liquid luxury. Jean-Paul Guerlain, while having made a racist comment in an interview in October of 2010, and having been found guilty of in French Courts for committing a threat to “public order”, his families legacy for being one of the world's oldest perfume houses since 1828, The House of Guerlain is a great point of reference for learning about the beautiful craft of perfuming. While going to Bed, Bath, and Body Works is always a good option for buying gifts for friends, co-workers, and family members we may not know too much about, to receive a specially made fragrance from a high fashion designer puts the icing on the cake for our more intimate relationships with our moms, girlfriends, boyfriends, dads, and close friends. I found a wonderful guide in InStyle Magazine's November 2013 issue called, "Scent on a Journey", which offers some great comparisons of the perfumes out on the market. In my fashion, if you are unaware of how to think about buying a perfume and what a more discerning reason of why you are going to buy a perfume, either for yourself or someone else, the article asks some great questions in flow chart format to use when you are going to a store spritzing those little pieces of paper trying to find just the right scent. Continue visiting #IMFblog throughout November to find out how to distinguish between the floral, spicy, and fresh scents out in the market. 

If your happy place is smack-dab in the middle of a blossoming garden, look below to pick your next bouquet.


White Flowers OR Roses OR Fruits and Flowers

*White Flowers


-If you DO want people to know your fragrance:


Boucheron Place Vendôme
As sparkling (with pink peppercorn, jasmine, and orange blossom) as the City of Light itself

Estée Lauder Modern Muse
Jasmine and tuberose smell elegant with a delicious dose of vanilla.

-If you DON'T want people to know your fragrance:                                                                                    


Issey Miyake L'eau D'issey Absolue
It's light yet addictive with subtle freesia, lotus flower, and a hint of heady tuberose.

Lolita Lempicka Elle L'aime
Bergamot, lime, and neroli put a yummy spin on the soft pairing of jasmine and ylang ylang.



-If you DO enjoy rosy blends:

Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb Explosion
Peppercorn and saffron enrich the aroma of Turkish and Moroccan roses.

-If you DON'T enjoy rosy blends:                        

Marni Rose
The rich, rosy fragrance deepens on the skin thanks to spicy cardamom and patchouli. 

Kenzo Flower in the Air
It's subtle, like a breeze blowing over blooming rose bushes. 

Clé de Peau Beauté Rose Synactif
Creamy notes of musk and white woods make this delicate yet warm.

*Fruits and Flowers: 


-If you DO like a hint of spice in your perfume:

 Fendi L'Acquarossa
Juicy tangerine and plum brighten the heart of magnolia and rose, through the woody patchouli-spiked base comes through too.

-If you DON'T like a hint of spice in your perfume:      
Jimmy Choo Exotic
Blackcurrant, passion flower, and raspberry are charmingly sweet but not dessert-like.

Friday, November 1, 2013

EDITOR'S LETTER: November 2013

Do you believe in Astrology?

Based on my last Serious Style post, "Too Fat, Too Thin - Will We Ever Be Content", I was inspired to learn more about Astrology, and what we can gather about ourselves from the meanings of our astrological signs. From my research so far, what I have found about the subject of Astrology is that it is an ancient belief system that spans farther than the simple Horoscopes we entertain ourselves with from newspapers and magazines. British astrophysicist, Dr. Percy Seymour, has postulated that planetary influence operates through a form of magnetism which humans are sensitive, and that the nervous systems of humans and animals act as aerials to detect the vibrations of the Earth's fields. Plainly put, when one looks into ancient mythology, based on the certain characteristics of the planets observed by ancient astronomers 5000 years ago beginning in Mesopotamia, the planets actually influence our personalities and how we operate on Earth. For example, Jupiter is associated with leadership, success, and optimism. Mercury influences intellect, communication, and the winds. Mars is associated with aggression, wars, and anger. Venus deals with matters of love and romance. Pluto is associated with the underworld, death, and endings. Saturn rules our sense of duty and responsibility. Uranus is believed to be a planet of surprise, while Neptune is believed  to be a planet that deals in disillusionment. 

Do you find your Sun Sign to be an accurate description of yourself?

Based on Dr. Seymour's belief in planetary magnetism and influence, it is thought that the planets have ways of governing how we act on Earth, and their influence can be attributed to the individual growth, success, and failures of people, animals, buildings, and even entire countries. How this relates to style intrigued me because astrology suggests that our personalities are the result of when, where, and what time we were born, and where in the solar system the planets were positioned in space at that time. Astrology also suggests that we can pretty much map out the likely events to come in our lives based on that information, which in my fashion, is quite mind boggling, considering this is a science that has been highly regarded in the past and used quite successfully by our ancestors, but not so much anymore in our modern society. I find it fascinating that when I read profiles of my Sun Sign, Pisces, I discover that it describes me quite accurately in most occasions, and I sometimes learn things about myself that I would probably learn and understand about myself much later in life. I find that understanding our Sun Signs may unlock the answers to how we can better deal with our lives. So this month, I plan on elaborating on this subject so we can come to a clearer understanding of how an emphasis in astrological beliefs may help to enhance our style, and the ways of living for ourselves. 

Do you believe that the stars may define who we are?

I find the story of how the The Three Wise Men found Jesus fascinating, because they are said to have been astronomers who understood a prediction of the birth of a new king by working out the time and place of the birth of this king from their astrological observations. They discovered that through a rare association of planets in the solar system, there would be a child of Jewish origin who would be born and grow up to become King of the Jews, which turned out to be Jesus of Nazareth. Considering we are approaching Christmas, and the Holiday Season, I found this topic most appropriate to delve into as, in my fashion, there might be something to be said about Astrology being a viable way of understanding our own purposes in life more clearly. Astrology offers insight and help with problems in our personal lives, hence horoscopes, but astrologers use Natal Charts which a more detailed and specific explanation of the individual in question. I plan on elaborating how The Stars Define Us, and how Astrology can be an x-ray into a person's nature in these coming months. Let the Holiday Season begin!