Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Daily Beauty: Coco Chanel

How we know her: who doesn't know her as the formidable fashion brand? However, we might have forgotten as a woman, she was a pioneering force in the fashion world, as well as a philanthropist. Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, she brought us the LBD, Chanel No. 5 (my mom's personal favorite), and menswear-inspired suits.

Road to success: her mother died of tuberculosis, her father left the family and she was an orphan for six years. It was at the orphanage where she learned to sew. At 18, when she left the orphanage, she was affiliated with the circus and made her rounds in bars as a cabaret singer. It was during this time where she picked up the nickname 'Coco'. She then met a businessman who helped open her first boutique, and the rest is history.

Why she's beautiful: for all of life's challenges, she persisted in trying to find her way. She didn't let her early 'failures' as a singer and dancer stop her from success. She insisted that a woman's style, not fashion, is what will make a woman stand out and feel beautiful.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lady Gaga Chrome Ad

I don't know why, but this commercial chokes me up a little bit. All the people she touches and inspires, it's a beautiful thing. Whether you like her music or not, her message is a good one: love yourself and know that you're a beautiful person. I especially like the guy on the rooftop, shimmying in his business suit. Unexpected wackiness.

I'll have a little longer post on her inspirations later, but for now, here's the video. And happy Friday and Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Denmark Family Reunion

I've been so busy with launching my site and sponsoring the Ayana Designs necklace giveaway at Couture Carrie (have you entered yet?), that I haven't had time to post pics and write about my trip to Denmark. So I'll start today with the Scheibel family reunion, and talk a little about Copenhagen in a later post.

The Scheibels live in a small town called Naestved, about one hour away from Copenhagen. I think when photographers travel to Denmark to shoot images for postcards, they go here to capture the landscapes. It's a beautiful town, very idyllic, and the frequent rain they get makes everything so lush and green. When it's not raining, it's gorgeous (but I love the rain, so I didn't mind the afternoon rain showers at all). And we were lucky enough to be there during the season when it stays light until about 10pm.

Kim's family had one small get-together with family for coffee, and a larger one the next day for an early dinner. Lucky for me, almost everyone speaks fluent English in Denmark. I would love to learn Danish one day, but I think I'll brush up on my Korean first (one of the many items on my to-do list!).

Here are some pics of the beautiful landscape and Kim's charming family. And next week, our trip into the city of Copenhagen.

Walking Sanne and Sebastian's dog, Buster.

A viking burial mound:

Beautiful forest within walking distance:

Kim's brother Jesper and his son William:

Kim's cousins children:

Getting ready for the next reunion:

Kim and his sister, Sanne:

Kim's cousin:

The hostess, Kim's mother:

The uncle and his wife, and Sanne:

Me and Kim and Sanne's boyfriend, Sebastian:

Kim's dad relaxing after the reunion:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

AyanaDesigns.com Website Has Launched!

I've been busy - making jewelry, visiting Denmark, and building my website, AyanaDesigns.com. And with some help from a brilliant programmer (my husband), my site officially launches today.

And to celebrate the launch, we're sponsoring a giveaway on CoutureCarrie.com. The lucky winner will get their choice from the five necklaces below. Just leave a relevant comment on CoutureCarrie.com, and for an additional entry, 'like' my Facebook page.

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Denmark Bound

I've written about Danish design before, now I'm going back to visit Denmark today, specifically Copenhagen and Naestved, for a week or so. In addition to the design, some of the things I'm looking forward to:

The Danish landscape - there are parts of the country that look just like postcards, complete with windmills:
photo: Pia Sommersted

The Danish food - all sorts of fish, from pickled to smoked. The last time I was there, we went to this great fish monger, and ordered tons of smoked white fish. Delicious!

And of course, the Danish people. If I can stereotype for a moment, the Danes are generally incredibly smart and generous. There's good reason they're usually regarded as 'the happiest people in the world'. And the ones that I've met all seem to have know each other their entire lives. These are people that have their priorities right. Here's Kim and some of his childhood friends. We're at Anna's summer house, which I guess is not a luxury just for the rich over there. Ah, the benefits of socialism!

And when I return, my site will be launched. Lots of things to look forward to.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I love my mom. She, along with my father, uprooted our comfortable lives in Korea and moved away from everything they knew to another country in an effort to give their children a better life. And btw, our lives were perfectly fine in Korea. We had a big house, cars, took fancy vacations, they had good jobs. Not to mention all their friends and family. They gave all that up because they thought it might be better for us out here. Pretty courageous and a pretty big sacrifice.

So, was it worth it? Well, I sit here in my very comfortable house, listening to Pandora on my iPhone, working on launching my jewelry website, a business that might not have been so easy to start in Korea. My husband is working in his office and my dog Pucci is snoozing in the sun, occasionally waking up to growl at some imagined threat.  It hasn't been all roses, but I'd say it was well worth it. Thanks Mom and Dad, for everything you've done for us, and Happy Mother's Day to all Mothers! Some pics below of Mom.

Mom on her wedding day, looking lovely. Love her choice of the 3-strand pearl necklace :)

Mom working. She was featured in an article in the Korean newspaper for being a hot secretary, or something (I'm paraphrasing):

Mom and her best friend:


Me and Mom chillin' (she gave me a bowl cut, but I still love her):

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Michelle Obama Wears Halston and Statement Silver Jewelry

Until Michelle Obama, we haven't really had a fashionable First Lady in the White House since Nancy Reagan and Jacqueline Kennedy. And I wasn't really old enough or born yet to appreciate the styles of Nancy and Jacqueline, so I'm really delighted that I have Michelle to appreciate.

Michelle's love of fashion is no secret. She loves to mix and match designers, she wears vintage, and she's not afraid of the statement necklace. And while she favors designers like Thakoon and Jason Wu, she also help put more affordable brands like J.Crew and White House/Black Market on the map as a fashionable alternative for the budget-conscious.

Last night at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, she wore a chocolate, deep-V neck Halston dress, which may or may not be vintage. She mixed in a stack of bracelets with layered necklaces and matching earrings. I love her Marilyn-esque wavy do and her smoky eyes. And while I might have taken off one of the accessories, like the necklace or the earrings, she looked absolutely gorgeous!

(AP Photo)