Paying Tribute: Marella Agnelli

I woke up this morning with Mr. B informing me that Marella Agnelli passed away today at her home in Turin, Italy. She was 91. Marella came from an aristocratic family; her mother was a whiskey heiress from Peoria, Illinois who married into Italian nobility. Marella married Gianni Agnelli, late Fiat president, in 1953 and they stayed together until his death in 2003.  They had two children, although her son died tragically of suicide in 2000. She had a sophisticated look and was referred to by Truman Capote as one of his “swans”, the nickname he gave to some of his inner circle, wealthy and stylish women friends that also included Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Lee Radziwill, C. Z. Guest, and Gloria Guinness. The nickname was appropriate since she was known for her elongated and slender neck. Marella was also a former Condé Nast photographer and editor. She designed textiles and published books, including “The Last Swan”,  an autobiography published in 2014 that was co-authored with her niece, Marella Caracciolo Chia. Marella and her husband were avid art collectors and she served as the honorary president of the Pinacoteca Giovanni and Marella Agnelli in Turin, which Mr. B and I visited during our trip to Italy this past fall. 

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For more about the stylish life of the Agnelli’s, check out my prior post here. You can also read a 2014 article written by her niece in T Magazine that provides a comprehensive overview of Marella’s life. 

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1966 Black and White Ball

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GIOVANNI AGNELLI WITH HIS WIFE MARELLA WALKING IN THEIR GARDEN, TURIN, ITALY - 1984

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How to Wear Black During the Summer

There’s an art to putting together a great ensemble and some may say wearing black is the lazy’s persons way out of styling a great outfit – that it’s not very creative. If you’re someone who subscribes to that train of thought then I’m letting you know right now that we will have to agree to disagree. Black is timeless and classic; it’s always chic. Yes, it is fail-safe, and when done right it can make you look like a million bucks. Case in point…The Duchess of Sussex looked fabulous in this cropped leg black Givenchy pantsuit during her recent trip to Ireland.

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No matter what season it is, you’ll always find me wearing black. Summer is no exception. It’s a “color” that most people avoid when the temperatures rise, but there is definitely a stylish way to wear black during the summer without looking like you’ve committed a fashion faux pas. Here’s my secret:

A fail-safe way to pull off black successfully during the summer is to pair it with crisp, bright white.

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If you are looking to update your summer style then here are a few pieces you might want to consider adding to your Summer 18 wardrobe. For your added convenience, I selected pieces at every price point so there is something for everyone.

I hate to be negative but I can’t write talk about summer style without mentioning one of the things that I despise the most about Southern California. I really dislike how overly casual we’ve become. I live by the beach and I’d like to think that people tend to dress even more casual here than other parts of the state but it’s just not so. Casual doesn’t give someone an excuse to be downright sloppy because it really sends a message that someone just doesn’t care. I get the fact that summer is about comfort but with little extra effort there’s a way to pull off a stylish, yet very comfortable look and this top is a great example of that. I like its woman’s cut and feminine sleeve detail. It’s a great alternative to a classic T with a great striped pattern. Plus, it looks fabulous teamed up with a pair of white pants. It’s an outfit that I would call “snappy casual”. It gets my seal of approval for casual wear. black white stripes_reviving charm

When I was in Italy last year everyone was wearing culottes and wide leg pants. Eventually, styles make their way to the U.S. and I love this look from & Other Stories. It’s a look that can easily transition from day to night just by swapping out the flats for heels and adding some bold accessories (statement necklace, anyone?). A crisp white blouse is timeless and the pants look stylish, yet comfortable.

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Drawstring waist blouse.

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Barely there earrings are great for day or night. I especially like that these black onyx studs and studs with the circular gold element can actually be worn all year round. summer style stud earrings_reviving charm

A simple dress like this one can keep you cool all summer long. Pair it with the sandals below for a great daytime look. black dress summer style_reviving charm 1

Summer is about a great pair of sandals and I fell head over heels with this tassel sandal the very moment I laid eyes on it.  summer style tassel sandal_reviving charm

I really wish my hair was longer because there are so many cute hair accessories I would buy. I love this cute chain link hair clip. It’s currently on sale for only 8 bucks (originally $25).

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These barely-there sandals in satin from Rosetta Getty caught my eye. rosetta getty sandals_reviving charm

Here’s a more affordable option in suede. summer fashion_sandal_reviving charm

Cropped wide-leg jumpsuit.

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Faux wrap jumpsuit.

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To complete the look above you’ll need a great heel. How about this one from Stewart Weitzman?

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This one is almost identical to the Stewart Weitzman version but is a more affordable option. 

Or how about this one with the knotted bow? summer style fashion shoes_reviving charm 2

I was recently in the market for a new black tote bag. Bally is one of my go-to brands and I love that this tote also comes with a detachable pochette. It’s pricey but a classic will last forever.

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If you are looking for a less expensive option, this classic leather tote from Cuyana is a great choice, plus they will even monogram it for you. I love supporting California businesses and Cuyana is a favorite.

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I own a lot of shell blouses from Ann Taylor and the Swiss Dot Ruffle Neck Shell is one I’m planning to purchase. It’s currently on sale at half off by using code: TOPITOFF

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Canvas and leather belt.

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This off the shoulder crepe dress is perfect for a summer evening event when you need to dress things up a bit. It’s an extremely affordable option at only $149 at Nordstrom so you won’t feel guilty if you only wear it a couple of times during the season. By the way, the highly anticipated Nordstrom sale has already started for cardholders but starts July 20 for everyone else.

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These black and gold hoop earrings are a winning combination but they are also available in orange in case you want to add a little color into your life.

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This straw wristlet could easily become my best friend this summer. I love its unusual, modern shape.

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Polka dots are having a moment and I like this dot print chiffon dress. This pattern is also offered in a pretty blouse style. summer style polka dot_reviving charm

I like investing in classic pieces. And when it comes to shoes, they can last a lifetime if they are well taken care of. These Roger Vivier flats may be pricey but they are a great option if you are looking to add a investment piece to your wardrobe. They are shown here in suede but they also come in leather. Other colors are also available.

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ln Fall 2017 Rihanna collaborated with the luxury brand powerhouse LVMH to release Fenty Beauty. I’ve been using the translucent Invisimatte Blotting Powder since the day it was released and I can’t imagine living without it. In fact, I always keep two on hand: one for home and one to keep in my bag. It comes with a touchup sponge that works fine for me when I’m on the go but you can also purchase the mini touchup brush that is magnetic and conveniently sticks to the compact like two peas in a pod. This isn’t a beauty post but the black and white packaging fits right in with the theme of this post. Plus, who doesn’t want a good tip on how to reduce shine during the summer?

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Summer is all about great swimwear and this bathing suit is appropriately named Showstopper. I love the ultra stylish design but if you’re going to wear this then be prepared for some unusual tan lines unless you decide to remove the detachable shoulder and back strap.

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Black sunglasses are my trademark fashion accessory so I couldn’t write about summer style without offering up a ccouple of sunglass suggestions. I’m not sure I’ll ever embrace the complete cat-eye frame that I’ve seen lately, but this one from Gucci is so very subtle that I could probably pull it off. gucci cat eye sunglasses_reviving charm

If you like the look of a thick frame, how about this stylish, yet less expensive option?nordstrom sunglasses

Summer evenings can get a bit cool, particularly here at the beach, and I like wearing a scarf like this one to keep the chill at bay. It’s a good alternative to a sweater. summer style scarf_reviving charm

Eugenia Kim hats are nothing new and they tend to pop up all over the internet during the summer. I personally like this one that says “Dream On”. However, what is new this season is that fact that you can now customize a hat with your very own personalized message. What would yours say? 

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Boring but important info: This post contains affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any more to purchase the items in this post but I will be rewarded for your purchases. If you have any questions about this, please contact me. Thank you for supporting Reviving Charm.

Back in Black at “& Other Stories”

Last year I was very happy when “& Other Stories opened at my local mall, South Coast Plaza. Coming from Europe, they don’t have many U.S. Stores and this is only one of three locations in California (the first CA location is in Beverly Hills and the other is now in Glendale). This shop has turned into one of my favorites. They provide great, affordable pieces that can easily transition from day to night and there really is something for every woman. It’s a great one-stop shop in that they offer clothing, shoes, accessories, beauty products, and gift/stationery items all under one roof. I had to stop at the mall yesterday but had just enough time to snap this picture for you (yikes…the Christmas decorations are already out) and quickly wander through the store. I didn’t have time to try anything on so I’ll be making another trip back to pick up a few things I have my eye on. Naturally, most of my selections are in black which is what most of my wardrobe consists of.

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I fell in love with the smock sleeve blouse. The ruffled detail at the base of the sleeve adds a touch of whimsy and style while still being perfectly appropriate for work. I’m definitely going back for this one. smock blouse & other stories_reviving charm blog

I should have purchased the Grain Leather Hobo Purse when I saw it in the store the last time I was there. It’s sold out in my local store but it is still available online. It comes with a detachable shoulder strap which is nice for versatility.grain leather hobo purse Other Stories _Reviving Charm

Velvet is having a moment and I will definitely be purchasing this short sleeve velvet top.  I had an identical top (from another company) years ago and I absolutely loved it. If you want to add a splash of color to your wardrobe it also comes in lavender.black velvet blouse_& other stories_reviving char

When it comes to earrings, my “go-to” style is a pair of studs but this pair of flat, textured brass earrings was something that caught my eye. These are classic but modern all at the same time.

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I adore this frilled layered dress paired with a pair of striped leather ankle-strap pumps for a fun look. layered frill dress_& other stories_reviving charm

I love the striped shoe above but a solid color would really come in handy. The suede ankle strap pump comes in a total of 5 different colors but the black and burgundy caught my attention at the store. I might have to get both! 

I have several pairs of ankle boots that are investment pieces that I wear year to year. If you are looking for your own pair of ankle boots the Leather Chelsea Boots is an affordable option. chelsea leather black boots_& Other Stories_Reviving Charm

I like things that are versatile and I can easily see this turtleneck dress work with skinny pants, leggings, or tights. I wonder what was going on during this photo shoot. The model looks scared, doesn’t she?

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I pulled the Ruffle Sleeves Blouse in red off the rack yesterday at the store and fell in love with the color. I had no idea until now that it also comes in black.  Selecting a color might be a tough decision.

Jewelry is a great way to add a dash of color to a black outfit and this set of two gemstone rings is perfect for the season. set of rings_& other stories_reviving charm

When we were in Italy recently everyone was wearing wide leg, flowy pants with almost any pair of shoe imaginable. I like that comfort is back and these crepe fabric trousers can be dressed up or worn more casually. This would be a great pant for the holiday season when I eat one too many pieces of pumpkin pie. wide leg pants Reviving Charm

Speaking of the holidays, it’s the perfect time to add a fun accessory to your hair. If I had long hair I would love to use the round crystal hair clip (left). The glass clip (right) is perfect for adding a little something sparkly to shorter hair like mine.

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If you decide to check out & Other Stories to do a little shopping of your own, be sure to sign up for their newsletter for an extra 10% off. Plus, they offer free shipping over $150 for online orders and they will send you a free sample of one of their body products with each order.

19 Years (Diciannove Anni)

Today as we continue our travels through Italy, Mr. B and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary in Bologna, Italy. (How time flies!). We had a destination wedding long before it ever became popular and before settling on Seattle as the location, we actually considered Italy. At the time, the process of getting married in Italy seemed like a complicated one so we sought an alternate location. I don’t regret a thing about our wedding but I can’t help wonder what our wedding would have been like had we planned our nuptials abroad. Perhaps, it would have been something like the three-day wedding event in Venice, Italy that interior designer Emily Jackson and her husband, Robert, CFO and Vice President of Acquisitions at Zarvona Energy planned for an intimate group of twelve. Be sure to read the play-by-play of the wedding festivities featured on Harper’s Bazaar. You will learn that Venice wasn’t the couple’s first choice as a wedding location either. Their original wedding venue was Celerie Kemble’s Dominican Republic estate, but due to Zika an alternate venue was selected. I have to say that, speaking from experience, sometimes Plan B turns out to be the best choice after all.

Every love story is beautiful, but ours, my darling, is my favorite…

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Audrey Hepburn: The Personal Collection at Auction

I will always consider Audrey Hepburn a fashion icon known for her flawless style. When I learned that she purchased Capezio’s (remember those?) in multiples and in every color it made me realize that she was a woman after my own heart. I love the versatility (and comfort) of the ballet flat and it is a staple in my own wardrobe. In conjunction with Christie’s, her children are auctioning off close to 500 items owned by their mother which include scripts, correspondence, pictures, fashion accessories, and clothing. The online bidding sale is already underway through October 3. The live auction will be held in London beginning on September 27. I am highlighting a few things that will be available but sure to view the live auction catalog for a fun read and a glimpse of what else is yet to come.

It is with great joy that we seek to share her spirit, through this sale…”.  –Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn Ferrer, Audrey Hepburn’s sons

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A Cartier powder compact circa 1950’s.audrey hepburn auction Reviving Charm 9

An engraved gold Tiffany & Co. bangle bracelet gifted from Steven Spielberg in the late 1980’s.audrey hepburn bracelet auction Reviving CharmAudrey Hepburn’s working manuscript for her defining role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s for Paramount Studios, circa 1961.audrey hepburn auction picture Reviving Charmaudrey hepburn auction_Reviving Charmaudrey hepburn auction Reviving Charm 4

1980’s Burberry trench coat.audrey hepburn burberry trencch coat auction Reviving CharmIn 1964, Audrey Hepburn attended an awards ceremony in Rome with her husband, Mel Ferrer, wearing a two-piece black satin cocktail gown also available through the auction.audrey hepburn auction Reviving Charm 5Audrey was photographed wearing this black satin cocktail dress in 1968 while dancing with her fiance Andrea Dotti. The feathers on this remind me of my favorite hat in my own collection that I mentioned here. audrey hepburn auction Reviving Charm 7

Welcoming Fall Max Mara Style

My two favorite souvenirs from travels in years past have been beautiful coats from Max Mara, my favorite Italian fashion brand. We don’t have much need for thick heavy coats in California but with fall and winter being my favorite times of the year, I can never resist buying a new coat. Given that today is the first day of fall, I had to share pictures from the current issue of Harper’s Bazaar featuring a few beautiful coats from Max Mara. The model is Grace Gummer who is the daughter of the Meryl Streep and Don Gummer. Grace teamed up with Max Mara to do a photo shoot to celebrate Women in Film, a nonprofit organization that promotes equal opportunities for women in the entertainment industry. According to Harper’s Bazaar “Grace is an actress who combines a strong talent with a playfulness, originality, and intelligence that’s also expressed through her style”. I bet we’ll be seeing much more of Grace. In the meantime, I have to make sure I check out the latest from Max Mara before heading back home to the States.

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Enduring Style: Gucci Horsebit Loafers

With the blazing heat we’ve had in Southern California it’s almost hard to imagine that Fall is just around the corner. But the upcoming change of season has me already thinking about Fall fashion. I don’t do many fashion related posts (do you want the same, more or less?) but I love the classics and when it comes to enduring style, nothing beats a pair of Gucci Horsebit Loafers. They are perfect for any season, unless you’re like me and bought a pair in suede. They suit both men and women and can be easily transitioned from day to night. It is an extremely versatile shoe; I know no other than can look great both in the boardroom and at the beach. It’s a shoe that’s been around for over 60 years and has achieved iconic status. In fact, Gucci held an exhibit at their museum in Florence, Italy (now temporarily closed) in 2013 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Gucci loafer. It even has a place at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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There is variation on a theme from time to time (I still can’t get over the mule or slipper styles…not a fan) but the classic 1953 Gucci Horsebit Loafer is a wardrobe staple. A quality shoe that is something worth investing in since they can provide you with a lifetime of wear.

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The horsebit loafer has lived many lives since its creation 60 years ago, earning itself an important place as a wardrobe staple for both men and women alike. The double-ring and bar motif taken from equestrian hardware remains an icon linking Gucci’s unique history with its modern-day attitude. — Frida Giannini, former Gucci Creative Director

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Sunday Spa Day Skincare Guide

In a previous post, I mentioned how my recent facial therapist commented on how good my skin was looking. She thought for sure I never wore makeup. After that particular post, one of my readers asked that I share my skincare routine. I am always happy to oblige. favorite skincare products

I do a lot of research on skincare products and try many before adding something into my regular routine. The products I use have come about through a lot of trial and error. And when it comes to skincare, what works for one person might not work for the next. However, the first important step in achieving great skin is cleansing day and night. Here are my go-to products…

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  1. Clarisonic Smart Profile: This is very gentle for your face and it is amazing how much smoother your skin feels after using it. I always use it during my weekly Sunday Spa Day, and occasionally once during the week. There are a variety of attachments available making this a very versatile tool (see no. 2 below).
  2. Clarisonic Head-to-Toe Smart Brush Head Collection: The four attachments are for use with the Clarisonic Smart Profile. There is an attachment for use on the face, body, and two for the feet (a brush and a buffing disc). I especially like using it on my elbows and legs to keep skin smooth. It also does a good job of softening any rough patches on my elbows.
  3. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser: This has been my daily cleanser for quite some time. It is a gentle foaming cleanser that has a cult following. I use it daily and it never dries out my skin. It also has a nice light fragrance and a little goes a long way.
  4. Shiseido Facial Cotton: I use these in conjunction with my eye makeup remover and toner. They are very thick and soft. Unlike other cotton pads, these do not fall apart. I’ve never wanted to use anything else after switching to these. They come in a pack of 40 or 165. I buy the large pack so I don’t have to worry about running out. I even pack them with me when I travel.
  5. Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover: I’m actually surprised at how much I like several of Sephora’s products. This gets all my eye make up off easily while hydrating my skin. The affordable price is a plus.
  6. Son & Park Beauty Water: It’s a toner and cleanser all in one. I’ll be honest, with a name like Beauty Water, I was skeptical about this product at first. But I’ve been using this for several months now and I can’t live without it. I use it after washing my face and taking all eye makeup off. After using this, you’ll be surprised to see that even after you washed your face there can still be trace amounts of makeup left behind.

Doing a mask or exfoliating treatment is the most fun part of my Sunday Spa Day skin care routine. There are two basic kinds of masks: sheet masks, those that are literally a thin sheet of fiber infused with serums and/or gels; and the traditional gel, cream, and clay masks that have to be brushed directly onto the face. I’ve tried many and continue to try new products, but these are the ones I currently use and always default to. masks and exfoliants

  1. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel: This is another product with a cult following and I can understand why. I use this product each morning and it softens and brightens my skin. I use the extra strength formula but if you have sensitive skin then I suggest you use the Gentle Daily Peel for Sensitive Skin.
  2. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate:  This intense exfoliating treatment is known as the “Hollywood 2-Minute Facial”.  I use this exactly as directed and it leaves my skin soft and helps even out skin tone. I once left this product on longer than recommended and ended up with what looked like burn marks on my cheeks so I wouldn’t recommend this product if you have sensitive skin. I use this once a week or once every couple of weeks depending on the condition of my skin. It does leave my skin with some redness so I only use this at night. However, I follow up with another product that takes care of that (see no. 5 below).
  3. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask:  I love this overnight mask to deal with dry skin. After cleansing at night, I apply this and it works wonders while I sleep. If you wanted to try this before committing to a full-size product, then purchase the sample pod that provides about two uses.
  4. Eborian Precision Mask Applicator: This was the best purchase ever! If you are serious about using face masks, then this tool is a must. The silicone applicator helps to evenly apply your mask without creating a mess and wasting a lot of product. It also keeps things more hygienic by keeping your fingers out of your jars of product.
  5. Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask Extreme Detoxifying Hydrator: I usually use this following the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate to help eliminate redness. I keep this in the refrigerator to keep it nice and cool so it feels good on the skin. During the summer it is great to use on its own because the coolness feels so refreshing.
  6. Fresh Rose Face Mask. This is a gentle hydrating gel mask that I like to use regularly because it doesn’t over-hydrate my skin. It is infused with bits of rose petals and has a nice rose fragrance, so if you don’t like roses then this is not for you.

Remember, that it’s not a good idea to over-exfoliate or you will end up with micro tears on your skin. Take a cue from the condition of your skin to see what works best for you.

skin care guide for acne

No matter how well you take care of your skin, there will be times when a blemish or two will occur. Luckily, there are a few products that seem to work well for me.

  1. Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment: This is my go-to product when I need to pull the big guns out. You would think that as an adult you wouldn’t have to deal with acne but on rare occasion, I will get a stubborn blemish. In those cases, I apply a little bit of the EradiKate with a Q-tip and leave on overnight. By morning, 9 out of 10 times the blemish will be gone or hardly noticeable. I found this stuff to be very potent and can dry out my skin if overused.
  2. Clinique Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum: I like that this is serum is gentle enough but effective, to use regularly. I use this 1 or 2 times a week at night or occasionally under makeup during the day to prevent blemishes from occurring. I like to think of it as preventative maintenance. I haven’t seen any improvement as a “line correcting” product, but it may be due to the fact that I don’t use it regularly.  
  3. EradiKate Daily Cleanser: Although technically a cleanser, I am lumping this product in with the other treatment products. Like the Clinique product above, I use this for preventative maintenance and only use it a couple of times per month. It contains sulfur so it has a strange scent but I overlook that since it is an effective acne face wash.

This is what I like to call Step 1 in my beauty routine. Step 2 is layering essences and serums. Step 3 is moisturizing and Step 4 is (finally) makeup application.

I hope you enjoyed my guide to better-looking skin. Beautiful skin requires commitment and although cleansing and treating is an important part of skincare don’t forget to drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your skin.

Style: The Summer Must Have

Have you noticed that I haven’t done a fashion post in quite a while? Let’s talk handbags, shall we? The “it” bag this spring and summer has been the straw or wicker handbag or tote. Something typically utilitarian has elevated into something so very summery chic.

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Straw handbags are definitely having a moment and with summer in full swing, there’s no better time to share a couple of straw handbags from my own collection. straw summer handbags Reviving Charm

I purchased the large rectangular straw bag over 25 years ago for literally a couple of bucks. Based on the pattern of the cloth interior lining, the bag dates to the 1950’s. It was in impeccable condition when I purchased it and is still in a very “like new” condition. Sometimes I like to adorn its handles with a favorite scarf. This one happens to be a lightweight summer scarf that I purchased in Paris, a trip I took when I turned 21 (many moons ago!). However, sometimes the larger, rectangular bag is impractical and something smaller is much more appropriate. That’s where the clutch will come in handy. I just purchased it this weekend on our trip to La Jolla. It was an affordable souvenir at only $30. At such an inexpensive price point, I won’t feel guilty for using it just a few times during the summer. So how about you….do you have any straw bags in your collection? If not, it’s not too late to pick one up to enjoy the rest of the season. Happy Summer!

Tuesday Tip No. 7: Decorating with Vintage Hats

I have always been a hat loving gal. My first (and only) trip to Paris was when I was 21 years old. I treated myself to a beautifully constructed straw hat that I still wear whenever the opportunity strikes, which is very rare in California.  It was a wonderful souvenir from the City of Lights. But one of my craziest hats is a large-brimmed hat adorned with oversized black feathers all around. It was custom made by Ruth Garland-Dewson, a well-known milliner formerly in San Francisco (often referred to as the milliner to the stars) for a formal Christmas Party Mr. B and I attended many years ago. Unfortunately, Ruth passed away several years ago and her small shop on Fillmore Street has since closed but her legend lives on!

I adore hats but given that I live in Southern California I don’t have the need to wear one often since the dress code here seems to get more casual by the minute. But you don’t necessarily have to be a hat wearing person to appreciate their construction, style and design. In fact, this picture from Victoria Magazine shows us that a hat collection can be a funky, whimsical decorative element when put on display in mass. In such a large grouping they become artwork for your walls.tuesday tip no 7 via Reviving Charm

“Luxurious, flirty and at times a bit sexy.  We’re out to prove a great hat can change your day.”  – Plaza Suite Hats
tuesday tip no 7 hats via Reviving Charm

Wearing a hat versus not wearing a hat is the difference between looking adequate and looking your best.  –Martha Sliter