31 December 2011

Face Area

My makeup routine begins simply with maintaining healthy skin.  In addition to staying hydrated with Brita filtered water, Proactiv has played a major role in my beauty routine for the last 10 years.  Of course everyone experiences occasions when his/her skin is less than satisfactory and I am no exception. Overall I am very pleased with my ‘less is more approach’ to makeup. There was once a time when I loathed foundation.  I couldn’t stand the idea nor the practice of rubbing a paint-like substance onto my face.  The whole ordeal just reminded me of finger painting gone wrong.  Then I discovered foundation also came in mineral form. Now I am pretty loyal to L'Oreal Paris Bare Naturale. I could never understand why some women feel it necessary to cram many shades of eye shadow onto eyelids.  Theoretically more time in front of the vanity is suppose to make a woman more beautiful but that is not always the case.  The amount of eye makeup one applies is not supposed to directly correspond with the monumentality of the social occasion at hand. A groomed eyebrow, lightly lined eye and brushed lashes are the three key components of a natural looking eye area – something to keep in mind for the approaching social season. When it comes to tinted or painted lips, I have yet to find a flattering shade but when I finally do lip liner will not be present in any part of that equation. Thus far simple Chapstick has never steered me wrong.
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A selection of the daily lineup (right to left): Line Express in soft black, Define-A-Line in brownish black, XXL Curl Power in very black – all by Maybelline New York atop page 322 of Martha Stewart Weddings Winter 2012.


M.J.W.

22 December 2011

Pass the Clutch

Small purses do not often fall into my favor. A bag’s ability to hold my Starbucks thermos, PINK water bottle, SLR camera, current reading material and Archie Grand notebook of writings still in progress is the determining factor in a pending purse purchase. Lately I have been reluctant to separate from my many necessities. Due to my requested presence at holiday festivities, I was forced to confront the notion of traveling light and insecurities of venturing out of doors with what I like to call a less than substantial bag. Recently I have been very keen to elevate the clutch’s status from standard evening item to stunning daytime staple. When holiday season concludes and work routines commence, pretty golden clutch must take a back seat to Kate Spade carryall while I manage entrepreneurial endeavors, only to materialize after 5 pm.
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M.J.W.

19 December 2011

3 Days Till Winter In the Northern Hemisphere

A month after acquiring my first camel sweater, wool pilling proved bothersome. Unable in recent years to find a decently priced sweater comb, I attempted several self-made household remedies for pilling removal.  I first combed the material in a downward motion using a small-toothed hair comb earning the neutral piece marks of improvement.  Then I attempted to trim off the pilling cloud using small scissors.  I was sure that this remedy combined with a thorough lint brush rolling would be more than adequate but unfortunately only scored 4 on a 1-5 scale.  When friend V.W. shared his secrets on sweater care, I was taken aback when he revealed that a cheap handheld razor was all that was needed.  He couldn’t have been more correct and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic about sweater’s stellar condition.

M.J.W.

10 December 2011

The Undeserving Gain of the P.J.

I had no idea that it had become acceptable to wear pajama pants out of doors.  Designers such as Celine, Louis Vuitton and Suno, have been contributing to the rise of the pajama pant as well as the wearing of the pajama set (top and bottom). Fashion magazine editors have been hailing the pajama set paired with lounge-slipper-inspired shoes as sidewalk worthy.  When this was revealed to me, my facial expression adjusted to a scowl reflective of my view on this budding trend.  Excuse me if I opt not to present myself to the public looking like a certain mogul who makes his living by publishing questionable magazine photographs of women with bunny ears. Alternatively, slim fitting sweatpants will do - of course spruced up with pearls, button-up and perhaps a blazer and/or sweater for venturing outside but never with “juicy” or any other brand name splattered across the behind.
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M.J.W.

21 November 2011

Camel Comeback

This season I am employing the color camel to balance warm autumn reds, oranges, greens and leopard. Thus it is the perfect shade of tannish brown to transition whites, brights and neons during early fall or unseasonable warm winter weather. Although brights have manifested themselves in all sorts of outerwear essentials, a camel coat is by far more versatile, which is of the utmost importance for classic girls on a budget. A sweater in this earthy neutral is a bit more atypical than a bottom of the same color and serves as encouragement to dabble in skirts and pants ranging in colors of fallen leaves.

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M.J.W.

17 November 2011

Formality is Seldom Optional

President of the United States Barack Obama and Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard hosted a joint press conference in Canberra’s Parliament House earlier this week. My attention was diverted away from talks to strengthen American and Australian military ties to contemplate why Mr. President would refer to Ms. Gillard by her first name on multiple occasions. Maybe a bout of superciliousness was to blame that perhaps went pardoned by Prime Minister Gillard, who herself failed to curtsy to Queen Elizabeth upon her arrival in Canberra at the middle of last month. Seldom is formality optional. Ladies if you cannot curtsy properly now is as good of a time as ever to learn. Only Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce is exempt from etiquette lessons. For everyone else consult an etiquette expert, manual or at least the video below.

Manners are always fashionable. One of my favorite authors Jerramy Fine shares why.

M.J.W.

14 November 2011

Dusk at Harvard Square

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M.J.W.

27 October 2011

The Importance of Stationary

I have great respect for the written word.  One of the greatest luxuries I give myself is free time to read.  I have kept every single card ever received.   Occasionally I sit in the middle of my bedroom floor and dump them all into a large pile.  I pull each one from its individual envelope and reminisce about times and relatives past.  In an age where exchange of words has become most impersonal, postage has risen and many people do not correspond via handwritten means, I feel quite loved when I find myself the recipient of a handwritten note/letter/card.

Many messages such as “thank you”, “congratulations”, “hello”, and especially an apology appear much sweeter if penned on personal stationary.  Furthermore a handwritten message by nature can be kept for years and accessed at the recipient’s will.  I am quite content when I find my letters to dear ones proudly hung on refrigerators or perched on dressing tables, serving as a small token of my endearment.
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M.J.W.

Wall of an Anglophile

The best part of Jack Wills is hanging on the walls.
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M.J.W.

18 October 2011

Time For Timex

More than occasionally I leave the house without my cell phone, either because I simply forgot it or because I don’t care enough about it to remember to pack it. I am not fond of talking on the phone in public for hours at a time. And I find people who feel the need to yap for an hour’s train ride about his/her personal life quite rude. I don’t need to know the latest details about the humongous argument you and your boyfriend/girlfriend are having. I especially don’t need to witness an all-out phone war first hand. The best and most useful feature on a cell phone is the time.

On days when I am separated from my phone, I do not miss it because I am unable to text or run my mouth. Instead, I long for constant access of the time in order to run my life on schedule. The last time I had a watch that I could call mine was over a decade and a half ago. So it is quite monumental that I was recently united with Mr. Timex with interchangeable straps in northern Massachusetts.

Never again will I have to ask someone for the time in public and stand awkwardly while he/she shows me his/her watch face, expecting me to read the analogue time through sun glare or reflections of passersby. Nor will I have to hold my phone in my hand for an entire commute. I perhaps won’t even have to put up with complete strangers asking me to use my phone “…real quick” because they need to make a phone call. I can just sit and read my book, mind my business, and hope others do the same, while keeping up with Mr. Time the old fashioned way.

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M.J.W.

12 October 2011

Une écharpe

The dropping temperature and increasing wind chill signal the strong presence of autumn and advancing of winter.  Scarves in cashmere as well as wool have become as necessary as lip gloss for me this second week of October.  I often find that spring and summer weather are too hot to warrant the wearing of a scarf.  Thus autumn and winter are ideal seasons in which to layer one or even two scarves around one’s neck, especially when partaking in outdoor activities in the brisk weather such as apple picking, pumpkin gathering and haunted house loitering.  Lately I have also become extraordinarily aware of the numerous manners in which to fashion a scarf due in part to this video by Wendy Nguyen, which I first found posted on LnnK's blog titled Full of It. Isn’t it clever!


M.J.W.

11 October 2011

House of The Seven Gables

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M.J.W.

22 September 2011

Tee For Cocktails

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M.J.W.

21 September 2011

In the Name of Fashion

You may have noticed several pop culture tee shirts bearing the words “Don’t Feed the Models” across the front, which draw attention perhaps in a not so sympathizing way to the pressure put on models to keep weight to the bare minimum. But in an age where many customers are misled to assume that the acquirement of designer goods automatically makes the purchaser fashionable, eating disorders are targeting the average consumer. In her article titled Going To Extremes, which was published in the September 2009 issue of Marie Claire, Abigail Haworth argues that while recession in the United States may force fashionistas to budget around the latest designer merchandise, starving in the name of fashion is a step too far. “In March [2009], [Keiko] Onishi, collapsed after starving herself in order to save money to buy a limited-edition Gucci bracelet watch,” writes Haworth. Onishi’s plans to save money by eating watery miso soup for more than a week were interrupted by a trip to a hospital in Tokyo, where it was discovered the then-25-year-old suffered from malnutrition and dehydration.

Despite the fact that as of 2009, Japan was swimming in the depths of the worst recession in 6 decades, it “account[ed] for 40 percent of all luxury-goods sales worldwide; in Tokyo, around half of women in
their 20s own[ed] a Louis Vuitton product.” Haworth consults Fiona Wilson, Asia-based editor of the magazine Monocle, who explains purchasing of designer goods is a means in which many women show off their fashion sense, especially in a country in which most young women live with their parents and do not own a house or car.

While unhealthy budgeting habits that list food as a last priority may be taking Japan by storm, I am convinced that the sacrificing of food for goods is a problem facing many young women hailing from the East and West alike. I have seen more than one Western women in her 20s skip more than a meal or two in order to buy clothes and shoes on several occasions. The underlying problem besides the obvious need for women to sort out their priorities is ignorance of what style truly means. Style is a celebration of the individual and is best exercised when dressing for oneself. There are few things more unstylish than everyone owning the same bag, Louis Vuitton or not.


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Jewels Are Not a Substitution For Breakfast 

M.J.W.

15 September 2011

30 Rock

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M.J.W.

14 September 2011

Rise of the Button-Up

Up until recently the tee shirt has been my most-worn and most-loved staple, rivaled only by my collection of tank tops and leggings. Being presented with so many different variations of tee shirt, I often wore one a day, ignoring any other type of shirt for months at a time. Crew, v and scoop neck tees were almost always hung and rarely ever folded. I could not have anticipated their relocation to dresser drawers and closet shelves to make room for the button-up. Prior to the button-up invading my wardrobe, you would have only seen me dressed in a collared shirt for special occasions like choir performances or field trips to government buildings (like when I met the mayor of Ayr in 2004).

It was my entering the workforce for the first time that drew me to the grandeur of the collared shirt, with its stand-alone power and instant polish; no blazer required. From that moment on my thoughts turned to Italy; I recalled seeing so many Italian fashion bloggers and style icons dressed in this type of shirt. I had always admired the simple but cohesive look of Italian women and asked Mihaela Gurau of Overseeing Fashion just how to fit in on the Italian fashion scene. “Italians are really interested in having a simple, but extremely refined look,” she shared. “So try to use neutral colors, which follow your body lines. I recommend you…wear silk, cotton or linen (the last one is perfect for a relaxed Summer outfit),” Mika advised.

The button-up seemed to perfectly fill step one in this equation that yielded a simple, refined look; thus I was immediately drawn to its classic silhouette. There is something about a collared shirt that appeals to me. Perhaps it is its ability to be popped upwards in one preppy swoop or its functional nature, which allows me to place numerous neck ornaments under it, like a string of pearls or a silk scarf. Its talent for rendering me business savvy, dignified, feminine and fashionable proves it reliant and a bit mysterious with each passing day.


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M.J.W.

25 August 2011

Power Suit

The term power suit usually brings to mind an outfit with a sleek silhouette and when completed with black stilettos commands the attention of any boardroom. When speaking to an audience I usually opt for a full pleated skirt, which is what I feel most powerful in. While I often imagine new ways to style my sleek little black dress, which I first debuted at winter formal during my third year at uni, the full skirt brings me more into my element. But for the record, I would definitely throw a Dior Bar suit right in the middle of my weekly pre-planned workwear lineup. 
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The Skirt Beneath
M.J.W.

22 August 2011

Shade Shopping

I always paint my nails myself as well as those of friends.  I am dreadfully particular about nail color, which is why I only own about five shades.  When I visit Sephora or other overwhelming beauty product shopping destinations, I am confronted with no less than 100 options – and that is just nail lacquer alone.  Oftentimes instead of emerging from nail polish heaven with one color, I exit empty handed because an hour was simply not enough time for me to fall in love with a shade.  There is the fast drying nail polish, great for those who have no time and insist on touching up a manicure on the morning commute.  There is polish that appears to crack like pavement but not peel. For the girl who always has her hand in someone else’s face (perhaps you’re a bully or maybe a bit sassy and you like to give the talk to the hand gesture), there is polish infused with fragrance that smells delightful after nails have dried. 


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M.J.W.

26 July 2011

Never View a British Event with American Commentary

I obtained the Royal Wedding footage complete with BBC commentary the moment it was available for purchase. Unfortunately the gift I received for tuning into ABC, while viewing the event live was horrid American commentary.  Three months later, the only thing I remember Barbara Walters saying was how thin Katherine looked and just how small her waist was.  In contrast BBC showered its viewers with noteworthy facts such as the “veil..held in place by the queen’s Halo Tiara.. has been loaned to her especially for this day by the queen; made by Cartier.”  As Katherine entered Westminster and prepared to grace the isle to Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s I Was Glad, it was revealed that the gown was indeed ivory and white satin gazar. 

The media has been making such an uproar about the Duchess of Cambridge’s weight or in this case, lack of it. Don’t get me wrong, they also comment on what she is wearing as well.  However, the issue of her weight is not an issue at all; just say she looks gorgeous and move on.  Criticizing someone for something that is no one’s business is impolite. But no one ever said the media had impeccable manners.



M.J.W.

19 July 2011

Airport Style

It was on my first flight from LA to Sydney that I learned (the hard way) never to wear sneakers on a 14-hour plane ride. I had opted for a Lakai pair designed by Mike Carroll (yes, I went through an extreme sports phase) and although I received many compliments from passersby, they should have stayed in my luggage until landing. I thoroughly enjoy traveling. I love lingering in the airport, buying magazines while on the go and the feeling of finally being reunited with my clothing and my DVF luggage after a long journey. But the airport can be a battleground for a host of things gone wrong: lost luggage, misplaced tickets and now even threats of terror. Airport style should not be on the list of things to worry about. Extreme comfort should be the number one priority when dressing for a long journey but this is no excuse to sacrifice style.

Five simple, comfortable wardrobe options for the traveling girl include:



Leggings 
All too often I see women wearing leggings the wrong way.  If they are not opaque I don't want to see them. Pairing leggings with flats is always chic, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.  A tunic or slouchy tee that covers the bum should be worn on top. Feel free to add a scarf, bug-eye sunglasses and cardigan or lightweight jacket to finish this ensemble.  

Maxi dress 
Chic flip flops and aviators compliment this staple piece and will surely channel your inner Miami fashionista.  A lightweight military jacket or jean jacket will render this look "flight ready." 
  
Jeans with a Hint of Stretch 
I never wear jeans that are 100 percent cotton.  I always need a little bit of stretch for comfort.  If you opt to wear jeans while traveling, make sure they are the softest and most comfortable pair you own. Wear with a chic button down and flats or flip flops. Add a lightweight jacket or vest for warmth. 

Slim Fitting or Trouser Fit Khakis 
Khakis should not only be worn for work purposes. Enhance this staple with boat shoes and a striped sweater. Or you may instead don a striped tank paired with a bold colored cardigan. 

Sundress 
Add a little sophistication to your sundress by throwing a blazer into the mix. Chic flat sandals such as gladiators (not the kind that fasten all the way up the leg) are a smart finishing touch.




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Wishing you all safe and stylish travels this season and lots of Joy.

09 July 2011

Australia Mine

Today is the seventh anniversary of my first trip to Australia. My how the years pass quickly. 

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M.J.W.

04 July 2011

American Blues

America, Happy Independence Day. If you would have asked me a year ago if I'd be interested in sporting a head to toe denim look, I would have said "no".
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M.J.W.

02 July 2011

Twitter Deems me Follow Worthy

Leave your Twitter name in the comments. Welcome July!
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M.J.W.

28 June 2011

Cheerleader Heaven

I first became obsessed with bows as a cheerleader in university.  That was also when I began to affix them to my luggage, backpacks and handbags.
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M.J.W.

Mind Your Manners

My mother and I have been flipping through John Morgan’s Debrett’s New Guide to Etiquette & Modern Manners.  
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Here are some of our favorite excerpts:

“A bride’s going-away outfit, like her wedding dress, must not disappoint,” (Morgan 68).

“The wedding ring is the most important wedding present,” (68).

“Dress for a wedding is never stipulated on the invitation, but is passed by word of mouth and follows the lead of the bride’s parents.  At traditional church weddings in Britain, it is still expected that men wear a black morning coat (grey is somewhat less acceptable than previously), with striped or checkered grey wool trousers and waistcoat which can be either double- or single-breasted and in plain or patterned cloth,” (67).

“Wing collars have no place at a wedding, and are quite inappropriate,” (67).

“Rules about departure before The Queen are less stringent than at one time, when to stir before the Sovereign left was positively unforgivable.  Nowadays, should there be good and sensible reason for going early, it is acceptable, if not in good manners, to ask the household politely in advance,” (136).

No formal dinner is complete without the passing of the port…it is always passed to the left.  Should you miss the port on its relentless clockwise progression…then it is bad form to ask for the decanter to be returned to you, as is would mean – horror of horrors – that it would need to travel the wrong way.  Instead, pass your empty glass to the left until it catches up with the decanter, where it is filled by the diner currently in possession of it,” (144).

“Written invitation (never refer to them as ‘invites’) remain the form for many social occasions,” (148).

“Of all spoken solecisms, toilet remains the worst crime. Lavatory and loo are the acceptable alternatives.  Second prize goes to lounge, which is always inappropriate. Drawing room or sitting room are preferred. In these rooms you might find comfortable sofas but not comfy couches or settees,” (185).

“Whereas personal cards are an increasing rarity, business cards proliferate like wire hangers in a wardrobe,” (311).

“Some individuals, particularly workaholics, appear to make little distinction between the business lunch and dinner,” (315).

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Donna Ball’s Keys to the Castle has become one of my favorite reads.  The author sweeps readers away to the French Loire Valley and lodges him/her in a castle in desperate need of restoration.  Ball’s opulent details keep me coming back.  “Far beyond the crystal chandelier, the domed ceiling was painted a Renaissance blue, its panels edged in gold.  The white marble floor beneath her feet shone like glass,” (Ball 54).

How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World will resound with classy 21st century women everywhere.  With chapter titles like Keep  Your Chin Up and Your Skirt Down, Dress to Impress and Let Him Come Calling, Jordan Christy addresses why no respectable man would bring a desperate, sloppy, stupid girl home to mama. “Through hard work and high standards, we can become class acts that outshine the cheap stars,” (Christy 14).

“One of the fastest ways to gain (or loose) respect is with your image.  Think about it: when Mariah Carey tries to squeeze everything into that double-zero miniskirt from seventh grade, words like classy and admirable don’t usually spring to mind.  But when Jessica Alba dons an elegant, floor-length golden number that successfully covers all controversial body parts at the Academy Awards, she positively commands attention,” (18).

“I love what Eleanor Roosevelt said about lighting one small candle rather than cursing the darkness.  The truth is, it’s easy to sit around and criticize Paris, Britney, and Lindsay all day, but until we get out and make a change ourselves, complaining won’t do us, or anyone else, a bit of good,” (195).

M.J.W.

22 June 2011

Disney Blues

As a child, I loved exploring home improvement stores.  I still do.  There are so many colors. I came across these paint sample cards by Disney.  With paint names like Bother Free Blue, Star Command Blue and Blue Adventure, I couldn't resist. 
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M.J.W.

16 June 2011

Style My Shirtdress

I have never worn a shirtdress without any accessories.  This style of dress may be stunning when worn sans accessories, by a leggy supermodel, especially when extended to ankle length.  However I prefer to add a few extra elements to this easily adaptable classic piece.

I cinch nearly all of my dresses at the waist with a belt, sometime to prevent the illusion of a circus tent that can be caused by a voluminous skirt.  I find that pairing a shirtdress with a classic leather belt (preferably a shade on the brown spectrum) prompts me to envision past POLO Ralph Lauren collections.  Wearing a polo shirt under the dress to obtain a double collar is also very POLO appropriate.

For a more contemporary juxtaposition, a skirt may be worn over the shirtdress and may be adjusted to either hide or conceal the bottom hem of the dress, according to the wearer's preference. I do recommend that when layering a skirt upon the bottom half of a shirtdress that the wearer opt for a dress of shorter length so as not to be weighed down by yards of skirt.

Revert the shirtdress back to its original stomping grounds by wearing it as a long shirt or tunic.  It may be hiked up and tucked into shorts or even a pair of jeans in a variety of ways. I prefer to gather the dress at the bottom and tuck one side into a frayed pair of jean shorts.


M.J.W.

15 June 2011

Grand Salon of the Château de Draveil


M.J.W.

10 June 2011

Please Don't Steal: A Follow Up

On May 23, 2011 I published a post entitled Please Don’t Steal, addressing the fact that some of my photos were circulated around the internet without being linked back to my website.  I am pleased to announce that since then, the content has been linked back to this blog. Thank you gypsysoul.  Here is one more Love Letter especially for you. 



M.J.W.

06 June 2011

Bows at the Baggage Claim

Bows are one of my favorite decorating details.  Any excuse to don one on my person is an acceptable one.  Lately I’ve been incorporating them into my wardrobe by affixing pink ribbon to my handbags to give them an updated look.   Of course my DVF luggage was not left out of the equation.  Travel safely this summer (or winter if you are in Australia).



M.J.W.

01 June 2011

Welcome June





M.J.W.

31 May 2011

Taste of Cincinnati

The Taste of Cincinnati is the longest running culinary arts festival in the U.S. Beginning in 1979, the celebration is held annually on Memorial Day weekend and boast participation of more than 40 restaurants, which serve food from booths lining six city blocks on Fifth Street in the Downtown section of Cincinnati, Ohio.  My favorite vendor was an English pub, which serves the Best Fish & Chips.




M.J.W.

25 May 2011

Stripes of Green




M.J.W.

23 May 2011

Please Don't Steal

One of the things that makes a blog appealing is its original content.  It is really a shame when an artist/writer is not given credit for his/her work.  But I do believe in Karma! I ask that when you take content from this blog please make sure that you cite it by linking the website. These photographs, unless otherwise specified belong to me.  In particular I am flattered that you all (gypsysoul, loststrangerforunddnd, myflawshavegoodintentions, BenteochorestainascoltoRandomitusclevercreativecuriouscaringcrazymariangelagstoxicpain)  adore Love Letters Via Tiffany & Co. but remember that I and my second shooter A.C. are responsible for these images. Link them back to aussie-blue.com if you decide to repost them or if you have already done so and have not cited this website. 


M.J.W.

19 May 2011

Love Letters Via Tiffany & Co.








Photographs were shot on location at Tiffany's.

M.J.W.

18 May 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's




Photographs were shot on location at Tiffany's.
M.J.W.

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