Tuesday, December 22, 2015
I wanted to convey the mix of disco glam, 80s vibe and the coolness of the short haircuts seen on the runway but in a simple way, using only a few colors and not too many details.
(You can check out the full collection here.)
I chose this drawing because I needed some pink and feathers to lift up my mood today: I have been so busy in the last couple of weeks that I haven't been able to do a single sketch, I miss drawing so much :(
But tomorrow I'm flying to my Italian hometown to spend Christmas with the family and I'll use all my free time to paint, inks and watercolors are already packed ;)
This week you can follow my work on Instagram, I'll be back on the blog on 29th December!
Happy Christmas holidays!
Monday, December 14, 2015
There are bloggers that go even beyond that.
Somehow their website is so impregnated with their beautiful world and their genuine style that it becomes something web-trascendent.
Like, it's not even a blog anymore.
It's the essence of a lifestyle, a dream, an inspiration all together. It's the intoxicating mixed feeling of relating to them and at the same time aspiring to be like them.
For a long time I thought Garance Doré was the one and only I could put in this category of super-bloggers.
But a couple of years ago I discovered the blog of Mimi Thorisson, Manger, and I had to change my mind.
Basically, Mimi's website is a food blog (THE food blog, I'd say) but as you scroll through the pages you realize that it's actually much more than that.
Mimi is a Chinese-French beauty living in a countryside castle in Médoc, France, with her husband and a lot of kids and dogs (I honestly don't remember how many... but a lot).
Her blog documents visits to the local markets, walks in the beautiful French woods and rustic but somehow elegant fireplace-lit dinners.
The beautiful photos in her blog, by her Icelandic husband Oddur Thorisson, are able to make you actually smell the cheese platters and the duck sizzling in the pan and anticipate the taste of a gorgeous glass of champagne.
The recipes of Mimi are the quintessence of French food: seasonal, genuine and full of taste with a reminiscence of grandma's comfort Sunday food and the elegance of a Parisian bistrot.
And French style: Mimi enchants us with a very simple and chic beauty. You'll see her either in Repetto flats or Hunter boots, wearing a simple black dress with grace. Never blow-dried hair, never too much make-up.
I've been wanting to make a portrait of her almost since my very first visit to her blog, but my long illustration hiatus and that kind of feeling that "I'll never be able to render her beauty and the mood around her" blocked me until today.
And her wonderful world in the countryside of Médoc didn't intoxicate me alone: she became so famous with her blog that she has her own cooking show (La table de Mimi, on French TV) and first cookbook (A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse) and has appeared on countless magazine, websites and TV features.
But now I've talked enough, head over to her blog (and her Instagram @mimithor) and see for yourself.
You'll be so hypnotized by her style and the beautiful photos of her food that you'll find yourself drooling at the screen without even noticing ;)
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I went there in Summer for work and while most of my two weeks on American soil were spent in the not-so-glamourous New Jersey suburbs, I had the chance to pay a brief visit to New York city, one of my uber-favourites cities in the world (but who doesn't love NYC??), where I filled my eyes and heart with the buzzing beauty of this amazing metropolis and drained my credit card completely.
What I didn't know is that I would come back to Europe with an amazing beauty discovery, my new favourite hair product, the best dry shampoo ever conceived: the R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo.
The main reasons are three:
1) even if it was JUST a dry shampoo, it's by far the best. Reason? It doesn't leave a white powdery stain on your hair. Really, I know you don't believe me, but it doesn't. And it doesn't make your hair sticky and heavy at all. The mist that comes out of the spray can is so thin and diffused that it looks like you're not putting anything on your hair if it wasn't for the...
2) ... scent. The scent is simply AMAZING. Ok, I love the coconut et similia kind of smells and tastes, but I think anyone would love this. It smells like a tropical beach... you're lying on the white sand, drinking from a coconut (with the paper umbrella and the pink flamingo straw and everything), listening to some stoned Kurt Vile tunes and everything is bright, relaxed and tastes like holidays.
That kind of smell.
And this is pretty impressive when you consider that most of the dry shampoos on the market smell like a mixture of plastic, organic solvents and antibiotic syrup (at least the ones I've tried).
3) It's not just a dry shampoo. I actually also use it on my clean hair because it makes it better. Really.
Your usual dry shampoo is: "crap I just got up and I am already late I can't wash my hair, no way, so how am I gonna fix this mess? Oh right, let's put some dry shampoo on and hide this disaster in a top knot".
This is: "Oh look I just dried my hair but I need some extra volume, let's spray some R+Co" and "this hairdo looks amazing but I need some extra fluffiness, let's add a spray of R+Co" and "I have a date and I need to smell like a heavenly goddess from head to toe, let's take care of the head with the R+Co" and "sh*t, the day-3-hair. Let's turn back time with the R+Co and make it a day 2".
Stuff like that.
Hair as fluffy as this. Yeah.
AND the best thing is that I don't need to fly to New York to have it (I seriously came back from my trip with the suitcase full of R+Co bottles. R+Co bottles are to Al as the packs of spaghetti are to Italian migrants moving abroad) because apparently they're starting to distribute in Europe.
I'm checking the progress on their Instagram praying that they come to Belgium soon, but they are already selling in Italy and you can be sure that I'm going to find some hair goodies to bring back from my Christmas family visit in Florence (there we go with another full suitcase).
Go and have a look at their products (I also have the Outer Space hairspray, which is also pretty amazing, in the travel size) and if you try any let me know what you think!
I seriously can't wait to try also other products of their line (for example the shampoos) and you can be sure that if I am as amazed as I am now with this one I'll come back for another review. Yeah.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
I love Aquazzura.
There is something in their shoes that is just perfectly balanced. I think I've never seen a shoe designer able to infuse this perfect mix of femininity, modernity, elegance and sexiness in every single design of pumps and flats.
I don't know if it's the shape of the shoe itself, or the way the lace-up detail adds a special touch but I find myself drooling on almost every single model.
I will probably never be able to afford a pair but luckily the flattering and edgy vibe was quickly picked up by the fashion world a couple of years ago and the web is now over-flooded with cheaper alternatives in a similar style. It will never be the same, it will never be that perfect balance, but oh well, it's just for while we wait to become rich ;)
In the meanwhile, I might get this pair at Zara soon.
What about you? Do you like Aquazzura? And did you follow the lace-up pump and flat trend too?
Thursday, December 3, 2015
I have been desperately looking for some time to write a blog post in the last days after my holidays, but time is incredibly short lately.
The adorable Belgian highway network is so crammed these days that my usual commute takes 4 hours a day (FOUR.HOURS.SERIOUSLY) instead of 2. Moreover, the managers of the project I'm working on had the brilliant idea of making me a team leader, so now the job is even busier than usual (goodbye lunch break blogging).
Needles to say, I try to save every single free minute to
I would like to talk about so many things... How I
It really saddens me that the world will have to live without these gems of journalism for a while.
But I thought hey, I'm still drawing a lot! Why shouldn't I at least post my drawings? That really takes two seconds.
I still publish everything on Instagram but this blog is still my visual diary so why not posting everything here as well?
So in the coming days then I'll be posting my drawings, without too much text, random fashion illustration really, waiting to have the time to write and deliver the beauty/fashion post that will make the history of the WWW.
The first drawing of this series was inspired by a headband I saw on Zara. I really liked the atmosphere of the picture and off I went with brush and ink.
Hope you like it!
Monday, November 16, 2015
I thought I wouldn't say a word about what happened in Paris on Friday.
Honestly, I didn't think there was much to say. Just silence and respect.
And I couldn't talk about it. I didn't have an opinion about it. I was just feeling sad, and sick.
I spent my Sunday trying to process it all on my couch, with my cat on my lap and a heavy feeling of inertia.
Shell shocked, I thought that there was nothing meaningful enough that could be said in a moment like this.
But then I made the big mistake of opening Facebook.
And there they were, the Social Media Columnists.
Everyone and their mother has their opinion, their lesson, their sentence.
The right wing-minded people who shout slogans of death against all Muslims and refugees, in their ungrammatical and almost primitive language, and want all EU borders to be closed.
The wannabe-priests who mistook Facebook for a church where to give their sermon of good Christians.
The left wing, pseudo-intellectuals with their very predictable lessons on who you should be sorry for: "Thousands of people are dying in wars every day in the world, but you feel sorry for just 129 who died in Paris because it's part of the Western culture". Or that are publishing very well-argumented dissertations on how this is a lesson we deserved, how it's normal that it happened because of the wrong political choices of France.
Of all these, the latter kind of Social Media Columnists are the ones that are making me angry the most.
Maybe because it's the "group" that often shares my thoughts and ideology, the one that I usually relate the most to.
It makes me feel sick now.
And angry, especially because I wanted silence and now I am among the ones who are talking. It pisses me off how much I'm letting them get to me.
But I just need to let it out now, and I want to do it on my blog because I just need to let my anger out in my own personal place.
I know that if someone will read this they might not like it. I don't care.
To this kind of Social Media Columnists I just want to say one thing: just SHUT UP.
Why does everything always has to become a political debate? Why does such an atrocity has to become a tool to show to
Why does, in your point of view, feeling bad for Paris exclude feeling bad for everyone else?
We have the right to feel sad and we have the right to mourn who we want.
We have the right to be shocked.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Every make-up addict has her own quasi-OCD beauty obsessions.
I know girls who have drawers full of lipstick and lipglosses and still have to find the "perfect shade", others who do their nails perfectly every two days and own a closet full of nail polishes, others have every possible formulation of foundation from every brand (think of: "I've got the one for when it's hot outside, the one for dry and cold weather, I have the high-coverage for evenings and the water-based formula for the days in which I like my skin... Oh and the compact ones... actually I only got the Shiseido and the Lancôme but I totally have to try the new Chanel!").
For me it's mascara (oh and blush. That's another huge one, I'll talk about it soon).
My lashes are pretty short and straight and kinda blonde-ish (well more like light brown-ish, but still), so finding a mascara able to
Mascara was the first make-up I bought when I was 13, and I still remember sneaking in my aunt's bathroom and trying on her Helena Rubinstein mascara, a real treasure unreachable with my pocket money at the time.
I had already two big favourites, the Zoom lash from MAC and the Diorshow from Dior, when I discovered an amazing one: the Lash Sensational from Maybelline.
This mascara ticks all the boxes: it curves up the lashes and it makes them extra long and thick. The first time I put it on, a WOW! came out loud from my mouth (and I was on the train, I'm the best at making a fool of myself in public places).
And the most amazing thing is that it stays put ALL DAY. Once I went to bed with it because I forgot to remove it (ooops) and the day after it was still there! Without smudging! And the best part: it doesn't cost more than 13 euros (depends where you buy it, I think it's between 10 and 13 euros).
I was so excited that I ended up not only drawing the tube itself (still need some training with product drawing I'm afraid...) but also making the illustration above, with biiiiig faaaaat black lashes.
(the middle image is just the color testing I do while I draw, but I liked this one so much that I scanned it: it looks like pink rain!).
Do you have any make-up obsessions? And what are your favourite products at the moment?
I never get tired of trying new stuff so if you've found something amazing that you would totally suggest let me know in the comments below ;)
Friday, November 6, 2015
Lately I feel so ugly that every time someone is coming in my office to ask me a question I feel the urge to hide under my desk.
My head lives in a constant bad-hair-day, I have horrible circles under my eyes and it looks like every pore on my face has decided to explode in a horrible pimple. And of course I've got nothing to wear.
But my boyfriend still tells me that I'm beautiful, my friends still make compliments on my style and a colleague of mine told me I had a nice make-up a few days ago.
I might not be at my best, but apparently I am not so horrible. So why do I keep seeing a monster in the mirror?
I know why.
It's because I'm affected by the same illness that (almost) every girl I know has: it's called chronic insecurity.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Léa Seydoux portrait
In theory, you could really make a portrait with astonishing similarities in 2 or 3 lines or brush strokes. Ever seen the work of David Downton? He's the master of portraits.
It's all a matter of catching the right particular that makes that face unique.
And nope, I can't.
I start correcting and correcting the sketch so many times in order to make it better and I end up with a face that doesn't even resemble the original anymore.
Which is pretty frustrating when all friends ask you a portrait for their birthday or Christmas and you have to say "I don't think I can, you know, I'm pretty shitty at portraiting people" and they think it's an excuse because you don't want to do it or because they think you think they're ugly (aaaah women and their insecurities) and in the end they just hate you. Pffff.
But there are girls, famous girls I mean, that I really admire and sometimes I find myself fantasizing about how I would draw them. Which colors would I choose? Which pose? And which mood would I try to convey?
Thursday, October 29, 2015
I bought this polka dot shirt a few days ago and I liked it so much that I wanted to draw it.
And... That is actually everything I have to say today.
It feels a bit weird for me to post a picture without much text in the post, so I wanted to come up with an interesting story to share but nothing came to my mind. I mean, what interesting story can ever be linked to the purchase of a shirt... So then I thought "Oh come on Al, just post the damn drawing and that's it! You don't have to always be so wordy you know... Just get it over with".
So here's the drawing.I hope you like it :)
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The dress is a Dior Couture (by Mr. FashionGenius Raf Simmons) as worn by Emma Watson at the Golden Globes 2014
Saturn in opposition to Taurus.
That's what was about to happen in the year 2012. And Saturn is a slow bitch so it would stay in opposition to my sign for around two years. So the horoscope said.
Revolutions, tragedies and a gloomy mood like a perennial pre-menstrual syndrome were about to happen.
But you know, I'm a scientist I don't believe in the horoscope.
No, OK, wait.
I'm a scientist but I am also a woman, and my late 20s/early 30s are so full of estrogens storms that I am becoming a gynic stereotype: sometimes I say things that could easily be taken straight from a mediocre someecard and my life for quite a while looked like Bridget Jones meets Sex and The City v2.0.
And I read the horoscope.
I am a faithful follower of the monthly-Susan Miller/weekly-Rob Brezsny religion.
But in secret. Because a molecular biologist is supposed to believe in proteins, genomes and experimentally-verified facts (preferably supported by sound statistics), not in some pseudo-science telling you that planets and stars are deciding your destiny... So don't tell anyone.
But let's go back to 2012.
I was secretly fearing the soon-to-come rage of Saturn on my stable, quite happy life.
I had a boyfriend for 10 years, we were starting to have the marriage&kids (full package) kind of talks. I was doing my PhD in Medicine (which wasn't going that well at the time but still, it worked out in the end) in Ghent, Belgium, which is a city I deeply love. I had a fashion blog, "The Red Dot", and sharing my illustrations and pictures with my readers was giving me extreme pleasure and satisfaction.
Art was a part of me, drawing was a very important side of my identity.
And then the bomb exploded.