Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Look of the Day: Literally Black + Blue

winter fashion, rayban sunglasses, fleur d'elise, classic vans

I don't know about you, but my brain always goes to the most obvious cliche when I'm thinking up post titles. I had originally dismissed the over-used reference to the colors I was wearing, but then fate struck me down. Also, literally. I fell, not once, but twice yesterday. I was totally convinced that I had a brain tumor and was loosing the ability to walk, but I'm pretty sure it can be blamed on unfortunate sidewalk cracks and curbs that are way, way too high for a "pedestrian friendly" outdoor shopping center.

fleur d'elise, blazer, forever21, blonde pixie cut, minimalist

The first time I fell, I just sat on the sidewalk until I recovered. My ankle was a little sore, but nothing too bad. Well, the right one (second ankle I injured) currently has a lump the size of a golf ball. I'm worried it's actually really sprained, but hoping the R.I.C.E. will speed up recovery.
short hair for girls, blonde, red lips, harrods, fleur d'elise, classic, seattle
 In happier news, I got a remote for my camera, so I got to do a lot of moving around for these photos :)

fleur d'elise, blazer, forever21, blonde pixie cut, minimalist, harrods, shopper tote

Vintage pompom hat - H&M blazer - H&M shirt - Forever21 pants - Classic Vans - Harrods shopper tote - Vintage Coach Mini Willis - RayBan sunglasses

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Shoes!

shoes, designer, in style, maison martin margiela, glitter, fleur d'elise
Let me just start with how happy I am. There's still little things in my life that need to be perfected, but compared to the health problems I've had over the past 2 years, those little imperfections are nothing. I've mentioned it in a few posts, but I suffer from dumb feet. More specifically, I've got something called sesamoiditis, which is a chronic inflammation in a small bone in the ball of the foot. It's amazing how much heart ache and pain can come from a bone the size of a kidney bean. Anyway, this time I really think it is finally calming down! I never thought I'd say it, but my sesamoiditis is healing!

shoes, wedges, maison martin margiela, glitter, fleur d'elise, catie beatty
So, I've been buying more shoes, because I can finally actually wear them! I still need to be careful, and I wear ugly tennis shoes on most days, but I'm fine with that, because I'd rather be pain-free. These Maison Martin Margiela wedges aren't the most comfortable shoes, but I can actually walk in them! I found them on eBay for a third of their original cost at H&M. Sturdy, leather-soled, and gorgeous; all you need in a shoe.

shoes, wedges, maison martin margiela, glitter, fleur d'elise, catie beatty

leather, boat shoes, dexter, made in the usa, fleur d'elise, catie beatty, vintage
I was pretty happy to find these leather boat shoes by Dexter at Deseret Industries in Shoreline. They fit my custom orthotics, which is splendid, because they cost a lot (like as much as a pair of designer shoes) and I'm supposed to use them all the time. The shoes were made in the USA, which may not matter as much for used things, but still can mean that they're higher quality.

The leather is perfectly broken in, so I won't have to suffer through breaking it in myself. I feel pretty cool wearing them with my cropped black BDGs and no socks, haha. Next step: Red Wing boots... oh no, I'm turning into my husband.

sandals, vintage, etsy, retro, fleur d'elise
Like I mentioned in this post, I bought three pairs of vintage sandals at an estate sale in West Seattle. My plan was to sell two of them, but the black version of the ones pictured above had some damage I didn't see when I bought them. These gold and beige ones are for sale in my Etsy shop, though. They look great on and are pretty comfortable. The faceted plastic jewels were what caught my eye. They're so over the top. The woman who used to own them had 5 pairs! All in different colors. I hope I can find someone who loved them as much as she did.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 Tips for Better Blogging

tips and tricks

Many of these tips you've already heard, like "host a giveaway to draw an audience" or "Use Twitter to promote". The problem you may have run into though, is many times you don't know how to draw the traffic to your giveaway or where to find linkies, lists of useful tags, etc. Here, I've compiled a short list of my favorite tools and resources. I hope it's useful!

1. Improve your Page Rank
You know that famous blogger that has a thousand comments? Well, don't skip leaving your two cents! Leave a nice comment and make sure to include a link to your blog. More than likely, the famous blogger has a higher Page Rank than you, and leaving your link can actually help improve your page rank!

This html link code works in most comment fields

2. Expand your tag vocabulary
I use Google Keywords tool to make sure I'm using the most efficient tags and labels in each post.

3. Giveaways Linkies
You might already know this, but giveaways can really help to get your blog noticed. Sometimes it's tricky getting the word out about the giveaway, though. I've had really good luck with linkies hosted by sites like Tight Wad in Utah and, if you're giving something away that's from an Etsy shop, you should definitely submit your link to the Etsy Giveaway Blog.

4. Edit your photos. For free!
You don't have to spend hours or even splash out the big bucks for PhotoShop. Just little tweaks like upping the contrast or adjusting the colors can make a huge difference. I use Pixlr.com, which is amazing. It's easier than Gimp and has way more feature than the editor in Windows Photo Gallery.

5. Tweet efficiently
Maybe I'm just bad at Twitter, but I'm always kind of at a loss as to what hastags to use to promote blog tweets. I'm getting better at, but when I have a Twitter block, I use this list of hashtags for fashion bloggers from Natasha over at One Woman's Style Evolution.

If you found these tips helpful, you might also want to read this post about promoting your fashion blog.

Monday, February 18, 2013

In Photos: A Tea Party

tea party, diy, baking, villeroy and boch, cupcakes, fleur d'elise, cupcakes

Fleur d'Elise has been very busy! I have been baking and crafting all week, and now my tea party is over and the post-party blues have set in. At least they're mild, because, well, I'm not 5 anymore and I know there will be more parties. It was so lovely having all of my friends over. It's a lot of work, but I think I quite like entertaining. I had an excuse to use my Villeroy & Boch set (appropriately named "Petite Fleur") and an excuse to make loads of delicious deserts!

Here's what I made:
Raspberry-flavored Mexican Wedding Cookies 
Blood Orange Cupcakes
Cardamom-Pear Cupcakes

For the cupcakes, I used a buttermilk recipe, which I cannot find. This Martha Stewart recipe is pretty good, though. I used the juice and the zest from a blood orange to flavor both the cake and the frosting, and just reduced the vanilla extract so it wouldn't make things too runny. As for the Cardamom-Pear cupcakes, I chopped up a pear and added it & ground cardamom to the batter, then used apple jelly, cinnamon, & cardamom to flavor the frosting. (If you would like more detailed directions or measurements, just ask!)

tea party ideas
My mom brought delicious scones and homemade pickled vegetables. My friends & family brought green tea short bread, little cucumber sandwiches, Almond Rocha, and those delicious thin cookies that are mostly toffee and chocolate.

diy party favors
 I found the body balm recipe via Pinterest and am crazy about it! The ones I made for favors are little hearts (made in a chocolate mold). I also made bigger ones for Christmas presents that got rave reviews, so I figured they'd make fun party favors. I put them in little chevron print bags (that you can buy here) and then sealed them with a heart. I completely forgot I owned these stickers, so I ended up cutting out hearts from lick-&-stick kraft paper. Oh well, gotta use it for something.

tea party, diy, baking, cupcakes, fleur d'elise, cream cheese frosting, blood orange
I went all out and bought a piping bag and a number 7 tip for frosting cupcakes. Thanks to the helpful ladies at Home Cake Decorating Supply Co. in the Roosevelt neighborhood, I could not have asked for more perfect cupcakes. The party was a great excuse to spend like an hour browsing at Home Cake. It's been around since 1960 and has pretty much anything you could ever need for baking and making candies. My favorite is the rack of flavorings. They have just about every flavor you could think of (well, ones that would taste good in cakes & candies, anyway) I also really love all the kitschy little cake toppers they have, like dear and bumble bees.

fine china, villeroy and boch, petite fleur, cream and sugar, tea, party
I've already prattled on quite a bit, but I want to tell you about my china set! It's actually the same pattern that my mom chose when she married my dad 30 years ago. Mine, like many of my treasures, was found at an estate sale for a pittance. It's an odd set, possibly factory seconds, but I couldn't be happier with it. Those 15 cups of various sizes really came in handy at the tea party! Villeroy and Boch will always have a special place in my heart. It's even one of the things my husband and I bonded over before we started dating: both our families owned sets from the factory outlet and his mom gave me jam spoons that match my set.

tea party, diy, baking, villeroy and boch, cupcakes, fleur d'elise
My amazingly talented and patient mother made the felted tea cozy you see to your left. She made it in my favorite color and with my favorite flowers :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

DIY: Valentine's Day

diy, decorations, handmade, hearts, valentine's day, fleur d'elise

I love this holiday. It's always a wonderful excuse to buy candy for people, make cards, and just generally shower loved ones with little gifts and affection.

I've been pretty busy this time around, and have V-Day plans that extend into the weekend!

diy, handmade, watercolor, fleur d'elise
I made a card for my husband and bought him some chocolate covered marshmallows at Trader Joe's. I'll also make a dinner of some sort, but have yet to decide on the menu.

I've been cleaning and crafting all week in preparation for a small tea party I'm hosting on Saturday. It will only be the second time I've invited more than 4 people over to my apartment for this sort of thing. We didn't have a couch for a while, so it was hard to sit too many guests. Well, now I've got a couch and a clean apartment, so bring it on! 

decorations, diy, hearts
Here's an easy DIY decorating idea:
I used vintage magazines, wrapping paper, and flocked vinyl to create various hearts. Then I just simply taped them to the wall above where I'll be setting up the tea. They're so cute, I'm tempted to leave them up forever...

Cupcakes and Mexican wedding cakes are in the works, and I may also make this biscuit recipe from last year. I attempted to make hard candy jewels for favors, but my goodness, is candy making tricky! Not sure I have the energy to try a 5th batch :-/

Well, hope you all have a wonderful day full of romance and chocolate!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adventures in West Seattle

croissant, bakery nouveau, seattle, west seattle, local, cafe, latte
So after my amazing facial on Saturday, I decided to explore West Seattle a little bit. I've been out there maybe a handful of times. It seems too far away. I live in North Seattle, pretty much in the same neighborhood my dad grew up in, so family, my job, are all right here. Needless to say, the paths I travel don't vary all that often.  Up Aurora to my Dad's; down Aurora to my nanny job; up 85th to the grocery store; down 80th to my in-laws; you know what I'm talking about. Even when you live in the city, you get set in your ways. 
That makes driving out to West Seattle like driving to a foreign country. I kept having reactions kind of like the ones I have in England; "Oh look, they have Cupcake Royale, just like back home!" and starting sentences with "I'm not from here..." 

clementine's, shoes, west seattle, boutique, local, shopping
One of my all-time favorite past times is exploring cities, so I was completely content wandering up and down California Ave. I was feeling pretty confident, too, so I introduced myself, as a blogger, to Linda, the owner of Clementine's Shoes. She was very friendly, and unlike another shop owner I encountered, totally open to me taking a couple shots for the blog. If I hadn't bought like 5 pairs of shoes this week (all used), I would have totally bought these adorable persimmon flatforms by FS/NY. Luckily, they're new in for Spring, so they might be there for a little while.

clementine's, shoes, west seattle, boutique, local, shopping

Bakery Nouveau came highly recommended by both Djaouida, my esthetician, and Linda at Clementine's, so I had to stop in for lunch. I had a veggie sandwich, and, like always, fell victim to the siren scent of the Pain au Chocolat. It was pretty good. Maybe a little on the sweet side, and not as good as Le Panier's, but still delicious. Maybe I should start a blog where I just review Pains au Chocolat. I would probably have to stop fashion blogging, though, due to the inevitable weight gain.

short hair, fleur d'elise, vintage, seattle, wrapping paper, labels
Turns out they have estate sales over in West Seattle, too, so I made the trek down the hill a few blocks from California Ave. to peruse the goods. Surprisingly, I had my third day in a row of thrifting luck and found some great things, all for under $20! I bought 3 pairs of vintage sandals, some neat old red bordered labels, assorted vintage papers, a hat, a cardigan, and a silk Dior blouse with a Peter Pan collar. Quite the haul! I should also mention that the person the things originally belonged to had more kitten-heeled sandals than anyone should ever have. She had 5 different version of one pair... which I bought 2 of. I'm planning on selling them, though!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Djaouida Skincare

Let me just begin with how soft my skin is! It's incredible! Feels like velvet, but not in a fuzzy way. 
review, skincare, facials, seattle, natural

I suppose I should explain things a little better. Today I had the pleasure of meeting Djaouida, a tall, charming esthetician with huge brown eyes and, you guessed it, perfect skin. I also had the pleasure of getting my very first facial. I wasn't totally sure my skin could handle all that cleansing and scrubbing and masking, but Djaouida knows what she's doing! I'm hooked! My skin looks and feels amazing and it was one of the most relaxing 75 minutes I've had in a long time. The facial also included an arm and hand massage, which was the clincher for me. Honestly, include some sort of massage and I'll do just about anything. (Dental fillings with a free neck massage? I'm there!) 

Lately, I've been having some minor problems with my skin. It just seems more reactive and I see rashes more frequently. I was a little worried about this, so I scheduled a European facial, which was listed on the site as suitable for sensitive skin. Turns out I made the right choice, as the European is perfect for customizing. All the other facials come with predetermined lotions, masks, etc., but the European can be tweaked for any skin type. The fact that Djaouida uses all natural products also helped dispel any worries about reacting to perfumes or harsh chemicals.

How gorgeous does my skin look now??
skincare, make up, seattle, blonde, short hair, fleur d'elise

Along with the European Facial, Djaouida also offers more decadent facials. I had to keep reminding myself when I was choosing a facial that "Catie, you don't get to eat these. They're just facials."

Click for more info!
Moroccan: Featuring pomegranate, yogurt & honey
Pumpkin: Detoxify & renew with pumpkin & clay
Hawaiian: Featuring coconut & tropical fruits
Goddess: All I have to say is CHOCOLATE

Definitely worth the drive out to West Seattle!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Look of the Day: Floral blazer + handmade scarf

Fleur d'Elise: Handmade scarf and an American Apparel Leotard
 My sister made me this gorgeous circle scarf a couple Christmases ago. She is such a knitting whiz. I think this scarf took her like 3 days "because she had to do homework, too."

floral blazer, leotard, Fleur d'elise, American Apparel
 As much as I love the scarf, I'm ready for Spring. Layers are too much work.

Fleur d'Elise: Handmade scarf and an American Apparel Leotard
Today, I'm off to get my first facial! I'm very excited and can't wait to see what kind of magic they can work at Skin Care Djaouida in West Seattle. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Vivilli floral blazer - American Apparel leotard - thrifted maxi skirt - vintage leather satchel - Forever21 heart glasses (similar) - circle scarf handmade by my sister - thrifted leather belt - Cooperative wedges (similar

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Look of the Day: Rooftop Pleats

Fleur d'Elise, blonde, short hair, in style, Seattle, floral maxi dress
 I don't usually talk about my "day job" much, but for this post, I guess it's necessary. I'm just too excited. I'm a property manager (not the exciting part), and I manage the apartments I live in. The building is 60+ years old, so it has its quirks. Anyway, the door that leads to the roof of the building next-door has been unusable for quite sometime; painted shut I imagine. However, after half a century of exposure to the elements, it was starting to rot through. We finally replaced it this week. I've been dreaming of one day having roof access so I can have a little roof top garden and now it looks like I got my wish! Conveniently, I also manage the building the door opens onto, so I don't even need to ask permission!

Fleur d'Elise, blonde, short hair, in style, Seattle, floral maxi dress
Another great thing is that we'll have easy access to the roof on the 4th of July. It's not the best view of the Space Needle, but you can definitely see downtown and all the fireworks! Also, we'll be saved from making the awkward and terrifying climb from the neighbor's yard. 

Fleur d'Elise, blonde, short hair, in style, Seattle, floral maxi dress
You might be seeing a lot of pictures of me up here. It's private and has natural light times infinity. 

Fleur d'Elise, blonde, short hair, in style, Seattle, floral maxi dress

Floral maxi dress - Diesel denim vest (similar) - H&M jacket - J.Crew cashmere hat - Bamboo platforms (similar) - vintage Coach purse - thrifted sunglasses (similar)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Look of the Day: Casualize

Fleur d'Elise, Seattle, casual style, short blonde hair
I usually reserve my fur for fancy events, but it's time I put it to good use and start wearing it with more outfits. It's an easy way to add an extra layer of warmth without adding more winter bulk.

Fleur d'Elise, Seattle, casual style, short blonde hair
So! Good news! I found my wedding ring!! I had put it in with the rest of my jewelry I had packed on the trip. Genius, right? I don't remember doing it at all, though, because it was like 4am when we got up to catch our flight. I'm so happy it wasn't left on the plane. It's not huge, it didn't cost a year's sallary, but it's my ring and there isn't another one like it, so I'm glad to have it back. (There's a picture of it in this post)

Fleur d'Elise, Seattle, casual style, short blonde hair
I love this little tote bag. I found it at a pet/gift store that was switching to online-only. I think I paid $3 for it.

Fleur d'Elise, Seattle, casual style, short blonde hair

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Thrifted maxi skirt (similar) - American Apparel hoodie - American Apparel leotard - vintage fur - tote bag featuring pugs (locally made) - Classic Vans - Forever21 frames (similar) - GAP denim jacket (similar)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finally, an Etsy shop! And a giveaway!

Sooo... I just opened my first Etsy shop! I've been thinking about it forever (like so many other people, I'm sure) and I just decided to take the plunge. At the moment, I'm only selling custom stationary sets, but I have semi-baked plans to sell vintage/thrifted clothing and accessories, as well.

stationary, paper, envelopes, fleur d'elise, handmade
 The stationary sets are one-of-a-kind and made to order. I will personally custom-assemble each set with the recipients favorite colors and likes in mind. Think of me as your personal stationary stylist!

The sets in these pictures were Christmas gifts for two of my close friends. I had a lot of fun putting them together and personalizing the letterhead. It's work, but it's fun work :) 

Click here if you're interested in learning more about them or would like to order a set.

stationary, paper, envelopes, fleur d'elise, handmade


The Prize:
One lucky reader will win a smaller version of my stationary sets, personalized with their favorite colors. 

The Rules:

1. LIKE the Fleur d'Elise Facebook (required)
2. Leave a comment telling me what 2 colors are you favorite (required)
3. Promote this giveaway via Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, or your blog (required)
4. Make sure to complete each step on the Rafflecopter to get credit for your entries!

U.S. ONLY. Sorry!!

You can earn extra entries each time you promote this giveaway! And 2 extra points if you favorite  my Etsy shop!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Look of the Day: Trevor

Filson, Levi's, menswear, Fleur d'Elise, levis filson, jacket
 Still working up the guts to take street style photos of people I'm not related or married to.

Filson, Levi's, menswear, Fleur d'Elise, jacket, luggage
My husband is easy to shoot, though, because he doesn't get at all nervous. 

Filson, Levi's, menswear, Fleur d'Elise, luggage
So much Filson! I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that my husband is much better dressed than I am. He looks so good in his Levis Filson collaboration trucker jacket, that he bought two.

Filson, Levi's, menswear, Fleur d'Elise

On a side note, somewhat related to this post, I have had a pretty awful week. I'm not one to lose things, especially important things, but I managed to unconsciously empty my pockets on the plane ride between Houston and Denver. When we landed in Seattle, I realized my phone was gone. By the time we parked in front of our apartment, I had discovered that my license was missing. Thankfully, they were both together and the airlines called my husband to tell him they'd found them (I think they figured the number listed as "Love of My Life" was someone pretty important). Well, to add insult to injury, when I was going through my purse today, I realized my wedding ring wasn't in its usual place. Yup, I lost my wedding ring and we haven't even been married 2 years. I'll be honest, I've cried quite a bit this week, but this is the real kicker. I left a message with the airlines and sent them an email, but I don't know if I'll ever find my ring. Something that small, and made of gold doesn't always find it's way home. If someone dishonest found it, they won't be too pleased with the resale value. As pretty as it is, it's mainly of sentimental value. I couldn't care less about my phone and license, those are easily replaced. A second ring just isn't the same, though. Please, universe, I would like it back.

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