The Ladybug Chronicles Turns 3!

The Ladybug Chronicles - 3rd Anniversary 03One of the best days of the year has once again arrived: today is The Ladybug Chronicles’ third birthday!

It’s so hard for us to imagine that it has been three years, yet we cannot remember what life was like before!

The Ladybug Chronicles - 3rd Anniversary 01It is not an easy job: it takes a lot of time, passion, dedication and effort, but we are here and we’re still enjoying it as we did on day one. And to be honest, even more. But there’s only one reason for this- you Lovebugs, you are the best readers ever!

Thank you for your continued support over the years and for bringing your friends and family to our little vintage world! We’ve met new friends, traveled around the world, started new exciting adventures and collaborations, but… we aren’t satisfied!!!

The Ladybug Chronicles - 3rd Anniversary 02The best is yet to come: we have a lot of pictures to take and even more words to write.

Thank you for staying with us.

The Ladybug Chronicles

Soul Sunday with KNAGUI: Three is the Magic Number

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On the eve of The Ladybug Chronicles’ third anniversary, I found myself a bit nostalgic.  So I connected my HD and began to sift through photos I’d taken of the Boss Lady.  I was filled with warm memories and smiles, remembering the conversations that brought this blog to life and the things we’ve both learned on this journey.

While doing this, I realized I’d done something that my beloved Ladybug has done on several occasions: found photos that were intended to be posted that were left dormant in some lost folder.  I’ll share three…
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This first outfit has four pieces.  First the coat, it was a gift that was presented just because I liked it.  We found it at a vintage shop when we visited Milano to search for an apartment.  I didn’t get it that day, but all of us in the store agreed it was made for me.  I mean, look at those details!!!  Inside there’s a stamp signifying it was in service in 1960. It’s a piece from the Orobica division of the Alpina Monterosa which were stationed in South Tyrol west. Later that year I was surprised with it.  I wore it all tour last year and sadly lost one of my stars, but it’s still one of my prized pieces.

Then there are these AMAZING vintage frames which I believe were her first gift to me. I love them so much that I only wear them occasionally.  Under the coat I’m wearing a sweater with an asymmetrical zipper I picked up at Sisley in Sicily in January 2013.  We liked it so much and said, if it fits (because I nearly never find anything that fits me in Italy), I had to buy it. Well, there it is.
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The third piece is this Missoni bow tie. And I topped it off with this vintage cap she got me at Humana Vintage in Milano after passing on one that I really wanted, but couldn’t find again. I think all the pieces fit together so well that day. BTW, these photos were taken by The Ladybug.

The Ladybug Chronicles - SSwK Aug2014 06The second outfit brings in a pair of pants you’ve seen before.  I got them when we went to NYC.  Here, I put them with a shirt we found in a store in Sorrento that I had to add to my collection of T-Shirts; I love the vintage patch on the sleeve.  I added this vintage Dolce & Gabbana denim bag that I picked up at BIVIO in Milano this past winter.  And I just noticed that my sunglasses are also D&G. Funny! …Swatch Watch…The Ladybug Chronicles - SSwK Aug2014 07
Last but certainly not least, I had to take a photo for the 20th anniversary of being a brother in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.  My line brothers and I are putting things together to celebrate our crossing the sands on the S.S. Seven Apes of Rage through Theta Alpha Chapter, Fall 1994.  For the photo, I pulled a knit tie that I got from my grandfather’s collection after he passed away.  I took this one and wore it to his funeral.  It was from Montgomery Ward.  It means a lot to me.
The Ladybug Chronicles - SSwK Aug2014 05So there you have it…  I hope you enjoyed it.

Happy Early Anniversary, TLC.  I love being a part of this great entity.

See you “next” Sunday.

 

The Ladybug Goes Americana at The Vintage Roots Festival in Inzago

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It’s somewhat strange to think that one of the most famous Americana festivals outside of the U.S. is in Italy; moreover, that it’s held just a few kilometers away from Milan. It was the 6th edition, but this year I decided to splash my way on a rainy Sunday to experience my first Vintage Roots Festival in Inzago.

To be honest, I really can’t believe it took me so long to finally visit, seeing I’m such a fanatic of the ’50s, but this year I finally made it and I realized why people love it so much. First of all; the atmosphere is retro charged- you breathe rock’n’roll at every corner of the city center! It is hard to create this kind of ambiance, but I think that these few days of music, dancing and entertainment are really among the best I have ever attended in Italy.

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The Ladybug Chronicles - Vintage Roots Festival 2014 01

And they really do their best with amazing music sets and live concerts, a real pinup contest, vintage cars and motorbikes, dancing nights and dancing classes (rockabilly, jive and boogie woogie), live shows and a lovely market where you can re-live ’30s, ’40s and ’50s America.

You can also find people like the lovely Chiara, the make-up artist and hairstylist behind Chicas Locas, who will make sure you get a perfect vintage style… like I did! I had my hair done by her and I loved the waves so much. I also added a red orchid that I bought on Ebay longtime ago!

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I wore an ’80s does ’50s polka dot dress that I bought in an incredible second hand/thrift store in Ljubljana called Gvant: this was one of my best finds at the time. This shop, though really complicated to find and quite far from the city center, was amazing.  I found many interesting pieces there at ridiculous prices! One of my great finds was this beautiful dress (I paid about 15 euros for) that was kinda made for me!

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I am also wearing my beautiful navy bag from Un Altro Giro di Giostra, an amazing vintage shop in Reggio Emilia, and a vintage belt.

Last but not least, it was the first appearance for my newly purchased Swedish Hasbeens, which just landed in Italy from their pop-up store in London! They are incredibly comfy and stylish I can’t take them off my feet!!

Oh… and she is my girl crush of the day!

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The Ladybug Blesses the Union of Craft Love: The Alliance of Make Thrift London and Handmade by You

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I think it was last December when I received an email from my lovely friend Daisy giving me a lot of news about her life: love, work, family, many things were going on, and I was thrilled about how she took her life in her hands and made things happen.

If you don’t know who Daisy is let me tell you: I love this girl for many reasons that I won’t list here, but one of them is her artistic side: Daisy is indeed the beautiful director of Make Thrift London and she is a wonderful handcrafter. I’ve seen many of her creations and I have always been amazed by her fantasy and talent. This is the reason why I got very excited when she told me that she was going to join Alice, the girl behind Handmade by You, whom I already knew as a talented crafter and events’ planner.

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You can find them at Alfies Antiques Market in their adorable studio where their art and talent is exposed everywhere! And this is exactly what I did on my first day in London.

The studio represents the girls very well: there is creativity, talent, smart recycling and upcycling, vintage, antiques, London are everywhere.  Still, you also feel at home because they’ve recreated a warm atmosphere where you can drink a tea while shopping or sewing or creating at one of their workshops, or craft parties (as they call them)!  And here’s the kicker; Alice and Daisy don’t only sell what they create, they also organize different kinds of workshops to teach us how to be better crafters; for example on the night that I arrived I missed a very interesting make up lesson on how to make a perfect eye-line.  But they’ve also done presentations on how to create elderflower cordial and how to make a mini-protest banner!

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From millinery to cooking, from sewing to makeup, from jewels to homeware- it is fun to start learning how to craft! Also a craft party is a great idea for hen parties (bachelorette parties), birthdays, baby showers and every social event where you want to do something different, fun and useful!

I loved this place and I was amazed by its warmth… but I know that the magic of it comes from the magic of its wonderful hosts and their awesome smile and passion!

Visit their site www.handmade-by-you.co.uk to know more about them and their recurring craft parties.

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The Ladybug Answers London’s Call Again: 2nd Stop – Columbia Road Flower Market, Saint Paul Cathedral, Retro Fish’n’Chips and Lots More…

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My second day in London was as busy and full of events as the day before, but at the same time- just as fun and interesting.

Daisy and I woke up early to spend the morning in a beautiful place that I had never visited before: the Columbia Road Flower market. The market itself is so colored and fun and full of wonderful flowers and plants that made me think that even I could have a green thumb! (yes, I am a plant killer!)

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But it is not only the market: the lovely shops all along the market and in the surrounding area are to die-for! Furniture, crafts, accessories, clothing, home-ware… we were all excited about each of them, and leaving was not an easy option because of how great our attraction was to the colors and the unicity of most of them!

It was also a nice place to spot some cute Londoners’ Sunday outfits, and listen to some vintage music sang by these three lovely ladies!

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It’s wasn’t until lunchtime we decided to leave the market and head to a place that we saw last year, around Old Spitalfields, but couldn’t taste because it was going to close: I am talking about the one and only original Poppies Fish and Chips on Hanbury Street where you can have delicious fish and chips, served by lovely retro waitresses dressed in Collectif in a typical ’40’s-’50s post war London ambiance with an original vintage juke-box! It is a bit full all the time, but this time we managed to get a place!

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After a good lunch, our afternoon continued with lots of shopping and visiting around: from Saint Paul’s cathedral to Swedish Hasbeens popup store in Boxpark Shoreditch (where I finally bought these beauties), to more vintage shopping in Shoreditch and charity shops in West Hampstead.

For the day I wore an Aztec print ASOS dress, with Strategia studded boots, Max&Co messenger bag and a unique handmade yellow turban from my dearest, Sine Modus girls!

Goodbye London… I miss you already!

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The Ladybug’s Quiet Desire: Reviving the Dream of Perfect Pinup Eyes with Benefit Cosmetics

The Ladybug Chronicles - B-Liner 02After more than two years of vintage blogging, of pinup dreams and retro outfits it is time for me to confess a sad truth. Aside from my successful red lipstick I have failed at my attempts to look like a pin up… for years!

Yes, my ugly truth is that I consider myself a failed pinup.

I am awful at making lustful waves or victory rolls with my hair, and I am even worse when it comes to makeup. I can’t make a cat-eye line, and every time I try to put on an eye-liner- I end up looking more like someone who forgot to remove it the night before, slept in it and had to quickly run out of the house before consulting the mirror.

Indeed, it’s that bad… How can I fulfill my pinup dreams with this eye-line nightmare?

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I’m not sure, but believe me… I will not be defeated. I will keep refining my techniques- practicing my victory rolls and eye-liner lines; still, sometimes you just need help! And that’s where Benefit Cosmetics, with their natural penchant for retro style, came in and thought of me and of all the failed pinups when it launched the “They’re Real” line for perfect eyes not long ago. I started using their “beyond mascara” a year ago after buying it in the States and (even if I have natural voluminous and curled eyelashes) I found it gave me a more dramatic effect. The long-wearing formula that avoids smudging and drying out also helped me gain more volume and well separated lashes. I can use it every day and was sure that after a whole day of work the mascara would still be up and with exact same effect that I had in the morning. No need to say that it is my new mascara!

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Even more surprising is the incredibly innovative They’re Real push-up gel liner pen: I say surprising because I didn’t expect that it could give new life to my failed pinup dream! Yes; because of this incredible pen, the “ugly eye line killer” is now a light-weight professional! Can you imagine that I now do my eyes in few minutes while I am rushing to work in the morning? I know, it sounds crazy but it’s true. [My valley girl impression] Like; the mascara, like, it doesn’t smudge, budge or dry out (which was my main problem with the other eye-liners that I tried in the past), and it is, like, so easy to use! Jokes aside; for me, it’s the product of the year!

Now with them both being waterproof products, let me add one me beauty to the mix: the They’re Real Remover that lifts away the long-wearing products with a gentle formula that won’t make your eyes red or wet.

This is the result, what do you think? Maybe I can revive my old pinup dreams after all,  because… They’re Real!!

(Find out more at http://www.benefitcosmetics.com)

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The Ladybug Chronicles - B-Liner 01

 

The Ladybug Answers London’s Call Again: 1st Stop, Pop Up Vintage Fair at Old Spitalfields Market

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 05My trip to London is now a regular date on my agenda. London has always been one of my top destinations, but now I have a lot more reasons to go there every chance I can. Aside from my very well known long love affair with the city, I’ve been blessed with beloved friends Daisy, Salina and Maxine who live there and I really need to see them as often as possible. We always have great times together and we always complain of how little time that we have every time we meet. Plus many things have happened in their lives lately, AND – let me tell you – they know the best vintage shops and coolest places in town!The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 02

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 01After a quick tour at Alfies Vintage Market (one of the most famous antiques markets in town) where I had the chance to see Daisy’s new space (we’ll talk about that again soon) and a quick stop at Deborah Woolf Vintage (beautiful shop where I found a beautiful African dress and a lovely charming owner), and after a beautiful flower headpiece for 2.5 pounds from the one and only poppydaisy.com in Old Spitalfield- Daisy and I finally got ready for the Meeting. We decided to head to Old Spitalfields Market where our lovely Maxine was all busy with one of the dates for the Pop Up Vintage Fairs, which I consider my favorite fair in London… and I must not be the only one because for the second year in a row they’ve won the The Vintage Guide to London’s Best Vintage Fair Award.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 03The Vintage stallers join here with the market’s regular staller for a multi colored and sparkling party where you can find handcraft, vintage, antiques in a beautiful frame of lovely shops and restaurants (like Collectif…. that was up for a sample sale that day!).The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 09

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 07The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 10We had a great lunch and some cupcakes and we spent a lot of time chatting with the sellers and enjoying the market with my adorable friends.

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 08When the market closed, Daisy and I moved to Dalston, at the Dalston Street Feast, a beautiful night market where we enjoyed the best food from all over the world, beer, laughter and gin! We finished the night at a lovely bar full of vintage and antiques surprises in Dalston called Farr’s School of Dancing- WOW!

The Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 04For the day I wore a vintage red dress from Humana Vintage, studded boots from Strategia, messenger bag from Max&Co and my beautiful flower garland from poppydaisy.comThe Ladybug Chronicles - Pop Up Vintage 2 06

The Ladybug’s A Bronze Star: Tips for a Perfectly Tanned Summer

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I know, magazines and the internet are full of tanning tips right now, but now it’s my turn to buzz about it because: a) I’ve just realized that I’ve never posted about it, and b) I have a couple of products to show you that work for real. How do I know? Well, because they’ve just been Ladybug tested and are TLC approved!

I can’t believe this is my first post on the subject, especially after the beautiful deep tanning I got last summer (which honestly stayed with me through the bulk of the winter).  So this year after sharing the gold and silver highlights about my holiday in Corsica, I’ve decided to share my not-so serendipitous bronze gift with you! A gift that continues to please me because after a month I am still tanned, healthy and ready for my next sun kiss sessions!

I am Sicilian, so you can imagine how important a tan is for us. We strive for the best golden tan every summer! And in my long tanning experience I tried almost every single brand and product: oils, creams, gels, sprays, milks… everything! My skin may seem dark, but it is quite fair-er and it burns quite easily this is why I ALWAYS use a quite high protection (especially for my face) and use different products for different parts of my body and different moments of my tanning process.

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The Ladybug Chronicles - Tanning 03

After long research and testing I came up with two primary brands for my summer routine: Collistar and Lancaster.  I start summer with a spf 30 velvety body milk from Lancaster: I use it for the first week, at least. It prevents burns, but leaves my skin soft and hydrated. It is water resistant, but I apply it after bathing.  When I feel more comfortable (especially on my legs, arms and back) I start using Collistar’s Supertanning Magic Oil-Gel, with a lower protection (spf 10) but a wonderful texture: it makes the deep tanning process quicker and leaves you with a golden soft skin. Even if it is a bit dark, it doesn’t stain your beloved bikini (I “tested” that too… when it spilled on my white swimsuit, but didn’t leave any trace!).

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As for my face I always use a high protection, specifically: Collistar Face Tanner spf 30 anti-age.  I use this no matter the tanning stage I’m in (at the beginning or after weeks of tanning) because I want my face to be protected and without those annoying dark marks. This is a product that I have used for years and I am very pleased with the effect. Even if it may take a bit longer for my face to tan, who cares, when you have protected and glowing skin throughout the summer (and winter of course!)?

And when you are perfectly tanned and you don’t want to let it go after a few showers when you are back in town, then you MUST use this wonderful Tan Prolonger and Maximizer from Lancaster: you can use it every day after showering because it also hydrates your dry skin and exalts your natural tan activating the long-lasting effect.

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So if you haven’t chosen your tanning products for the upcoming holidays at the beach, take into consideration my beauty tips! Ah… and for my hair, as U2 used to sing, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” But I will let you know when I finally do! So for now I will rock harder with an even shorter rocker cut for when I go back home… the moment that I really consider to be the end of summer!

The Ladybug’s Completely Effortless Holiday Outfits #2

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This is the second effortless outfit that I wore during my holiday in Corsica, in particular during a night trip to Bonifacio, one of the most amazing places that I’ve ever visited.

I took a boat trip there during the day and I decided to go back for a night to visit this beautiful town and have a perfect Corsican dinner at A Cantina Doria.

I wore a red and white Mango striped sweater and Topshop black harem pants.

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As you can see, I didn’t even bring a bag with me: I only had my Marc by Marc Jacobs straw bag for the beach and my Vivienne Westwood navy canvas bag (which was Nike goodie bag for the last We Own the Night in Milan).

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Again, I added my favorite Birkenstock Ibiza, my first buy once I landed in Bastia (I arrived early in the morning so I had to wait until the other shops opened!).  By the way… don’t pay attention to my white creamy feet: they got sunburned during the day and I had to put loads of calendula cream on them!!

I am also wearing again my coral lipstick is from Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up.

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The Ladybug’s Completely Effortless Holiday Outfit #1

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Even while on holiday I have a few rules: no heels (well, almost), no watch, as little of phone as possible and absolutely comfortable outfits.

I need to feel free, to not care about what I wear or do and this last holiday in Corsica represented it perfectly: we walked around in flip-flops, no make-up during the entire day and we also absolutely went for effortless outfits during the night.

I decided to show you two of them.

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The first one I wore during a night out in Porto Vecchio (where I had an Amazing Corsican dinner at A Cantina di l’Orriu). I wore my Acne Studio green jumper (sweater for my American readers) because the nights were still a little chilly and a beautiful multi-colored vintage long skirt (probably from the late ’60s early ’70s) that I bought in a small but lovely shop in Milan in the Motoquartiere (Live in Vintage).

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I added a brown pouch from The Beauty Shop (yes, this is how effortless I am on holiday) and the most controverted shoes of this summer, a pair of Birkenstock (the model is Ibiza) that I bought when landed in Bastia at their shop.  This is my second pair of Birkenstocks and, hate it or love it, they are the BEST shoes for walking a lot (they’ve saved my life more than once!).

The beautiful coral lipstick is Marc by Marc Jacobs make-up.

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