♠ Blue Velvet ♠

Friday, January 30, 2015

I hate to be redundant with another post inspired by Miss Del Rey, but as she falls perfectly under the #darkwhimsical aesthetic, I couldn’t help myself. That, and I really am obsessed with the blue velvet texture and color of this cardigan kimono I got from Topshop over Christmas. Like LDR, I guess you could say I’ve been feeling pretty moody these dayslots of reflecting, lots of stress, and lots of preparations before my big move out west. I may be returning home, but it’s bittersweet to know I am leaving my familial home (my parents) in Missouri. Here’s to the means to an end (cough, said moodiness) and the start of new beginnings.
I tend to go big or go home. Blue velvet is so rich a color/texture that I unsurprisingly chose the former... its depth is complemented well by rich textures and patterns, from lace to brocade to floral vines. Even my hair nods to lingerie-chic; I purposefully kept it tousled for a bed-head kinda vibe. I've always been a fan of lace accents; this outfit called for a subtle albeit "threatening" trifecta of lace-on-lace-on-lace. I've had no problem getting out of bed, but my mind is preoccupied with dreams, books, and secrets best kept under the covers (...or book covers...or diary covers). 
Makeup-wise, I went for dark lips and "bedroom" eyes.
I used Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencil  Lavender under the Nyx Wicked Lippie in "Cold-Hearted."
On the lids and lower lids I used "Lap Dance" and "Unmentionables" from Too Faced Naked Palette.
I used Benefit's High Beam on the brows and cheekbones (a new favorite!)
Nails are Marc Jacobs Enamored Nail Lacquer in Blue Velvet (oh waddaya know?)

Kimono, Topshop Petite
Shoes, Bottega Veneta
xo  SFB

❄ Winter Workwear with a Touch of Whimsy ❄

Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter isn’t quite my cuppa tea. Not that I’m saying no to the tea, but I guess I prefer my tea iced... (Coffee on the other hand I will always love hot, first thing in the morning, please & thank you.) With resolutions, returns to work/school/normal life after the holidays, and of course the COLD, January can be a pretty tough month. It’s certainly not my favorite, but I figured I might as well add some whimsy to the “darkness” we associate with the limited hours of winter sunshine. #Darkwhimsical? Maybe.
This outfit screams "January" in the way it screams "work"...which I am SO ready for (cough, how many job applications have I filled out in the past few weeks?)...get ready, LA!
The hand-embroidered snowflake necklace (mentioned here as well) complements the lace in the camisole well and is almost camouflaged into it behind the blazer. I don't love the snow, but I might as well have some fun with it, right? And I injected said whimsy into workwear (another topic that connotes "lack of sunshine/"being holed up"), so I killed two birds (WORK woes & WINTER woes) with 1 stone snowflake.

Pin (earring): kate spade new york.
Camisole, Gap
Snowflake Necklace, Ruby Francis Rags @ Parsimonia.
Skirt, Wasteland LA.
Boots, Bottega Veneta
Belt, H & M.
Earrings, Vintage.
Makeup-wise, I went for a berry-wine lip (Stila) & brown-lidded eyes for a low-key look that is akin to a berry branch amidst the icicles. It's not currently snowing, but winter is certainly here to stay for a while longer in St Louis.
xo  SFB

Photo Friday: ♘ Frol Burimskiy's Instagram ♘

Friday, January 23, 2015

By now you know I am not merely interested in Russia-I am indeed a Russophile. My love for Russia extends from its prehistoric past (Siberian tigers/shamans/Lake Baikal, anyone?) to modern social media. Enter: ultra-femme, ultra-fashionable, and ultra-Russian designer & courturier Ulyana Sergeenko. Enter next: her right-hand man and business partner, Frol Burimskiy. Final entry: Frol Burimskiy’s Instagram.

While Russian models have been fashion royalty since the 90s, modern fashion design and curatorial talent of Russian origin have started to take the street style limelight in more recent years. Deemed the Russian Fashion Pack or the Fashion Mafia, the Russians have taken the western-based fashion industry by storm since the late 2000s, locationally and stylistically. Editors like Miroslava Duma and Anya Ziorova, designers like Vika Gazinskaya and Elena Perminova, even public political figures (and fashion statement-makers) like Ksenia Sobchak and Pussy Riot, have created their own street style revolution (no pun intended). Ulyana Sergeenko sprung onto the fashion scene in 2011 when a street style photograph of her went viral; she has also established herself as an extremely talented, detail-oriented, and theatrical designer. She showed her first couture collection in July 2012 Paris uninvited; that's how much of a show-stopper she is. 

All of her collections since have never ceased to amaze me. Nor has her exquisite style. She is often photographed with Frol for a range of media from street style photography blogs to print magazines. Her talent is certainly captured in Frol's Instagram feed

From his travels with Ulyana to visually stunning stimuli for future collections to Russian traditions, Frol's Insta is brimming with curated gems. It's one of the few Instagrams I actually enjoy looking at without feeling like I'm missing out or comparing myself to others: Frol's feed inspires and thrills me the same way a fat kid goes ham in a candy shop. I thereby give you some of my top picks over the past few months of Insta-feed, with a focus on men's fashion. Men's Fashion Week kicked off this week in Paris, and considering that I currently (temporarily) work at a men's suit shop, I might as well pay attention. Thanks, Frol- I stalk admire your Instagram a lot. 

Some stunning princely outfits in Russian fairytale winter landscapes:

I call this compilation: "Flight":

Intricate details of the Russian and Soviet aesthetics:

"Posh Frol" and his adventures with Ulyana: 

Last but not least, he understands the cuter things in life 

Bottom left is Ulyana as a little girl, exclusively publicized on social media
I am particularly drawn to Ulyana Sergeenko as a person because her design aesthetic speaks to the legacy of both tsarist, Soviet, and modern-day Russian culture. She uses a lot of design inspiration that is virtually unknown to western eyes, locked away for decades by the interestingly-designed clasps of the Iron Curtain. Frol's Instagram says a lot about the history of the Russian aesthetic. The Russian aesthetic reaches far and wide, from St Petersburg across the Caucasus all the way to Siberia. It embodies the minute details that Russian people cherish in the objects and tasks of everyday life to the depth and complexity of the "Russian soul." Often this comes across as the #darkwhimsical aesthetic, might I add. Frol's Instagram is genius branding in action that keeps the Ulyana Sergeenko brand true to its origins...even on social media.
xo  SFB

┅ "Lazy" Low-Carb Tiramisu ┅

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tiramisu may be a little offbeat from my (mostly Russian) culinary aims of Russian Dressing, but I guess I’ve been watching a few too many mafia shows recently. That, and I figured tiramisu was the perfect dessert dish I could make to use up a mildly impulsive buy from Trader Joe’s. I’ve been eyeing this chocolate mascarpone for a while, and at 1 carb per tbsp, I figured it’s not a bad Keto purchase. Here’s my extremely lazy (yet still delicious) take on Keto tiramisu.

 (Inspired by this recipe)
You will need:
8 tbsp Trader Joe's Tbsp cocoa mascarpone
1 egg
1 Power Crunch Vanilla bar (also available at Trader Joe's)
2.5 tbsp sweetener (I used Truvia)
small cup of coffee

Brew the coffee. My family has a Nespresso, a device I have been enamored with since I first came across them in Switzerland. I know I'll be successful in life if I have a Nespresso maker by age 26...cheers to career-driven coffee dreams.  
Separate egg yolk from the egg white. Put egg yolk into large bowl and whip with mascarpone. 
Set about 1 tsp from the already allotted (2.5 tbsp) sweetener aside and stir into brewed coffee.
Pour the rest of the sweetener into the yolk/mascarpone mixture and whip all together.
Whip egg white on its own and eventually add in. 
 Get ready for some dunkin'
Make sure that the PowerCrunch bar (it has a wafer cookie consistency) is cut up.
Dip each cut-up "cookie" into the coffee, let soak for 3-5 seconds, and place into bowl. 
 Cover wafer with 1-2 tbsp of whipped mixture.
 Pile wafers/mixture until you run out. 
 Cover with plastic wrap for 4+ hours. 
This tiramisu is a nice treat to have. I ate it in 3 separate sittings, as it is VERY rich. 
In total, this recipe yields:
750 calories (250 calories per serving, if divided into thirds)
16 carbs (approximately 5 carbs per serving)
66 g fat (22 g/serving)
28 g protein (9 g/serving)

After I made this, I couldn't help but feel I wanted some more Italian inspiration in my life. While St Louis's history traces farthest back to its French & German heritage, its Italian heritage shouldn't be forgotten. St Louis is famous for its "toasted ravs" (see here), and The Hill (pretty much STL's own Little Italy) is known for some of the best restaurants in the city. The Hill also has some pretty unique architecture and ambience. 
Not technically in line with my focus on Russia, but The Hill is certainly an unexpected taste of the Lou. 
xo  SFB

▣ Nail Art # 1: Maquillage du Malevich ▣

Friday, January 16, 2015

When one thinks of Soviet design, I would guess several images come to mind. The hammer & sickle, fur hats (I know I can’t resist), and maybe even the graphic design ubiquitous with Cold War propaganda. With this last image in mind, enter: Kazimir Malevich.

Born in 1879 in Kiev, Malevich was renowned for his geometric designs, simplistic color schemes, and for being the harbinger of the Suprematist art movement around the time of World War I. Other than producing his highly conceptual and avant-garde paintings, Malevich was a theoretician whose artistic prominence arose concurrently with Communism. I am such a fan of his work that his “Black Circle” work is actually the background of Russian Dressing.

I decided to use him as nail art inspiration. Using his simplistic color schemes, basic geometry, and painterly graphic design, his Suprematist Composition (1915) was my work of choice. Notice the textured composition on the black shapes. I even added this textured effect to my manicure!

I’m currently reading Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, which is pretty much a picture book, but most products in the book (concentrating from the 1930s-80s) took inspiration from Malevich.

I used the classic OPI "OPI Red"; OPI "Alpine Snow"; and Maybelline Color Show in "Onyx Rush."

I layered the red on first. 

I'll be completely honest; I was a bit sloppy with the overall application, but stay tuned as this "sloppiness" surprisingly worked to my advantage.
I added the white polish next, making sure to leave a strip of red outline that would peek out. 
Finally I added the black over the red and white layers. 

...And here's where I start to get especially sloppy (yet effective).
I did this application pretty late at night as I watched Netflix. I had planned on watching an extensive amount of TV, but it ended up being an early night for me. I didn't fall asleep with wet nails, but they certainly weren't dry. 
Alas, I woke up, and my nails had an almost "crackly" (not "crackled"/"shattered" like this as the effects were subtler than that) texture...EXACTLY like Malevich's "Suprematist Composition # 1" that had inspired my nails in the first place. I guess it was a lazy, or should I say sleepy, job well done. 

This is the first in my new Nail Art series, so expect more nail art in posts to come! 

And here are a few more of my Malevich favorites:

xo  SFB

⇭ Russian Brew-lette ⇭

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

While I’ve never been much of a beer girl, I’m never one to pass up a free opportunity. The opportunity in question was the VIP Anheuser Busch Tour (which is actually not free, but my parents DID pay for it). My parents had some family friends visiting this past weekend, and having done the tour before, they figured it was quintessential St Louis. Indeed it is-Anheuser Busch (now the publicly traded AB Sun InBev) produces TONS of commercial beers, from Budweiser to ShockTop to Stella Artois to Michelob, etc. St Louis is definitely a beer town, which may not be quite my thing, but it never hurts to try something new.

It’s been very cold recently and I decided to take some weather-induced sartorial inspiration from no place other than Russia. Anheuser Busch may scream “America” (from a beer-heavy German heritage, might I add) but that didn’t stop my style from saluting Moscow. I wouldn’t say I suffered for fashion, as I kept plenty warm, but I guess it is a Cold War on the clothes front.
I decided to recycle my younger sister's old Hollister Co vest from 5 years ago...I have a white Communist hat (and pin) from 9 years ago when I visited St Petersburg...I kept the hat on and swapped the pin with the Hollister seagull logo...easy coverup. 
I actually went full throttle with the Russian theme and added a seal necklace (seals also happen to be my favorite animal). I don't live in the Arctic, but it sure feels like it right now with this freezing weather we've been having. 

Makeup-wise, I went red (lips), white-gold lids, and blue eyeliner (on the bottom lids). Communism emphasizes the red and gold, but the Russian Federation has the same color scheme as the American flag, waddaya know.  
I actually took the overarching inspiration for this look from one of my typical sources, Reddit. Those ladies rocked it though, am I right? 
Accessories included what I like to call my "shooting star" earrings & my handy-dandy L.L. Bean Duck Boots that got lots of wear in college. 
I'm moving to California in a few weeks, so I'll be bidding farewell to most of this gear very soon. 

Vest, Hollister Co
Long-sleeve Tshirt, Gap
Leggings, Modcloth.
Necklace, Kemper Museum Kansas City. 
Earrings, Urban Outfitters.
Hat + Pin, St Petersburg Tourist Trap. 
Socks, Urban Outfitters
Boots, L.L. Bean.

For beer enthusiasts, I would liken the Anheuser Busch Headquarters to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factorypretty cool. Paying the fee for VIP (as opposed to the free general tours) is worth it because you get access to behind-the-scenes processes, you get to keep an Anheuser Busch hat (notice the goggles, hat, and umbrella I rocked with my outfit), and you get a refreshing refrigerator FULL of beer at the end of your tour free of chargeabout that, I might have hoarded 3 beers in my purse that I took home with me.
It's hard to beat the cold weather, but a cold brew sure doesn't hurt. 
xo  SFB