Happy Monday beautiful people :]

I have been scrolling through net-a-porter.com for some style inspiration and I came across the fabulous ALTUZARRA and noticed that many of their recent items feature patterns of plaid, animal printes, and many other interesting detail. I had to share my thoughts on the items of their new collection as the pattern mixture seems to be quite well styled and gives a retro feel in a good way.

I have recently purchased a snake skin printed skirt from Altuzarra and since then I noticed how they interpret patterns very visibly and boldly on their clothing items; similarly, I witnessed a few of their accessories - shoes in particular - with similar bold prints.

Plaid prints were very dominant, and I like the way they styled them together - as seen on the images below where a plaid skirt is paired with plaid shirt, and still looking fabulously fashionable. Also, they minimized the plaid effect by adding a shear top to go over the shirt. I am utterly impressed with the styling below.

As I have mentioned earlier, shoes and accessories also had their fair share of patterned fabric and materials, such as the shoes shown below which have several beads and embellishments, as well as a unique snake skin material as the dominating factor of the design.

I also noticed the use of fringe in their designs which I absolutely adored! If you know me, you'd probably know that I am always in love with fringe for spring. I am impressed by the use of fringe on shoes though, which is something I did not see often previously. I also love the interpretation of fringe on one side of blazers (as seen below)

And patterns continue to dominate in their designs:

All items displayed on this post can be found on net-a-porter.com; 

Please note that this is not a sponsored post

Balsam Style Picks: ALTUZARRA pattern mix

Image source: http://www.kingice.com/media/wysiwyg/Celebrity/tungsten-rings.jpg

Over the ages, men and women have worn rings for many reasons but more so as a symbol of marriage between two people. In some traditions and cultures, the importance of the ring has grown to be more than the worth of the metal used.

The Irish people, for example, have the tradition of engraving Celtic scripts on the rings and this gives them a lot of meaning. In fact most cultures have symbols that they usually engrave on rings to symbolize love, commitment and marriage. With all this symbolism and importance accorded to rings, it is no wonder that many different metals and alloys have been used make rings.
Below are some of the more common metals used to fashion rings;


Tungsten is stylish, fashionable, popular and quite affordable yet classy looking, shiny and extremely durable. The metal is also quite easy to maintain. In fact if you go back and read the first two sentences of this paragraph, you will find that most men aspire to be described as such. What a perfect match, right?

When choosing a tungsten ring however, you have to choose a ring that fits perfectly or is just a size larger because, once you make your choice of size; the ring cannot be resized ever again, again like with the description of men, a tungsten ring is not a one-size fits all kind of ring. The ring has to fit the finger exactly. Examiner.com story on tungsten rings illustrates some of the great benefits of tungsten rings.

Tungsten is also used as an alloy metal and is combined to give the metal even better characteristics as a metal used to make rings. Tungsten carbide for example becomes resistant to any scratches.


Ceramic is another material that is becoming popular in the making of men’s wedding rings. The material is very durable, and yet affordable. If you are wondering what if ceramic was combined with tungsten? Well, it has, and the outcome is just as lovely. Ceramic and tungsten wedding bands maximize on the rings style and durability.


Gold is one of the more traditional metals used to fashion rings. Contrary to what most people think, higher carat gold is not as durable as lower carat gold. Lower carat gold is more durable because it is alloyed with other metals to make it more durable. If you won’t get your ring into rough and rugged situations where it may get scratched, then gold may be a good choice for you.


Silver just like gold is not a very durable metal; it can be very shiny but needs a lot of work to keep it that way. If you are willing to replace the ring often, then silver may be the choice for you.

Other metals commonly used as wedding rings are platinum and titanium. If you want to do more research on tungsten and other metals and metal alloys used to fashion men’s rings, you could find more information in the latest guide on tungsten rings.

Why Tungsten Rings Are the Best Choice for Metal Rings for Men

"I'm not lonely, and I think that has a lot to do with what's on my bedside table rather than what's in my bed."

I have always believed that one can tell significant amount of information about a person just by looking at her/his bedside table. What is it that you keep so close to your reach when the night descends?  

Many of you probably noticed that I find it extremely difficult to write about myself, as I am always a fan of reinventing myself into the better. I find it extremely hard to define my personality as it is constantly growing up; however, I do find it important that my readers know me more as a person and who I am and what I like to do, therefore I want to begin a series of posts that I would do occasionally, under the title 'Get to know Balsam'. Yes, I am starting by letting you guys into my very personal space very close to me: my bedside table. I believe you can find out so much about me if you get an insight of what I keep close to my side, on a daily basis.

I always love to keep the books that I am currently reading by my side table. I am enjoying the company of Dan brown's 'Inferno' and Eric Ries's 'The Lean Startup'. I usually read before sleeping and when I wake up in the morning. I like to always dedicate 30 minutes of reading before sleeping, and the same when I wake up. I find this way a good way to sleep and wake up productively, which is why I always set up my alarm 30 minutes prior the time i'd actually like to get up from my bed.

I also keep my favorite accessories hung on this glamorous figurine I have purchased from Bordeaux, France. It holds memories, looks fabulous and makes me accessories easy to access.

Finally, one of my favorite spots in my room is my left hand sidetable which holds so many memories. I placed several figurines which I have collected from many of the countries that I have visited in the two last recent years. I love to look at them when I wake up and think of new places to visit.

Similarly, keeping photographs of family and friends helps me maintain a warm and homey environment, especially when I am living away from home.

Overall, I love fashion, reading and travel and that is very visible from what you can find on my bedside tables.

What's on yours?

Get to know Balsam: What I keep on my bedside tables

Image source: http://makeuptipsdiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/cc-cream.jpg

A while ago, I have written a post - which is one of the highest anticipated posts I have ever written, as I have received a lot of questions about it since then - on the difference between BB cream and Foundation (You can read it here if you are interested). Up to this day, I still have confused faces when I speak differently of the BB cream and foundation, and now that there are many more new beauty products raging into the market (such as the CC cream and DD cream) as a beauty blogger, I feel obliged to explain the difference between each. I will start today by giving a brief explanation of what a CC cream is, what is it supposed to do, and where you can find it ... ending with my personal favorite recommendations.

What is a CC cream?

CC cream - or Color control cream / Color correcting cream / Complexion correcting cream - is a beauty marketing name used for a product which promises to reduce the appearance of skin redness or sallowness or to improve uneven skin tone. It has been first popular - just like the BB cream - in Asia, specifically in South Korea. It has been gaining popularity throughout the rest of the world in recent months.

Why use a CC cream?

Many would ask what is the difference between a BB cream and a CC cream; the answer to that is easy. CC creams help to address redness issues, while BB creams act as a lighter alternative to foundation - some with healing abilities to scars as well. If you have redness on some parts of your skin and you wish for a more toned complexion, then opt for a CC cream.

Where to find CC creams?

CC creams are not becoming more and more popular with high-end brands, such as Chanel. I have never personally tried their CC cream but heard a good amount of positive feedback for it. You can practically find CC creams with many brands (see image above for examples).

Balsam Picks

I have not tried many CC creams, however I am familiar with the Etude House CC cream which I believe is a South Korean cosmetic brand. My sister uses it, and I have tried it previously and absolutely liked it. It works as it promises and fixes uneven skin tone well for daily use.

Image source: http://blog.korea.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/etudehouse_ccream.jpg

Balsam Beauty Picks: What is a CC Cream?

"Homecoming unites the past and the present"

Reunion and homecoming is is an event which holds crucial importance to many, because it has the ability to bring together old friendships, a chance to cherish memories, and to connect the past with the present time. What you wear to homecoming could be influenced by several factors, such as - obviously - your personality and own personal taste, what your date is wearing, as well as your body type. 

I put together a few ideas for homecoming that you can choose from and thus filter out your options, in cases of confusion. The amount of Homecoming dresses which you can choose from are limitless, which is exactly why I decided to write this post.

Choose the right cut / length

One of the first things that you have to decide on is the cut of the dress or the silhouette that would fit your body type. There are plenty of online website that give you an indication of which dress type fits your body most, all you have to do is google it :) - please let me know if you want me to write on it, i'd gladly do it. Additionally, the length will depend on several factors such as what your date is wearing, the venue and also how comfortable you are with the different dress lengths.

Choose color, pattern & fabric wisely

This again has to be discussed with your date, as you wouldn't want to differ too much from him. Also you have to check with your date so that the level of 'how glamorous' your dress is will match that of your date's. I am currently in love with Black Homecoming dresses ; they are trending for homecoming this year :)

All dresses shown above are available here
A simple black dress goes with everything your date would wear, and also you can get as creative as you'd like with accessories, hair and makeup.

Pay attention to comfort

I know that in fashion comfort is probably the least important topic, however when it comes to enjoying such event like homecoming dance, you must make sure that you are feeling comfortable in your outfit because you will need that comfort in order to socialize with your friends and be able to enjoy the night to the fullest! The fabric of the dress will influence the comfort level, also the accessories - such as the shoes you choose - will tremendously affect your comfort levels. Choose them wisely. You will also need something that you can dance in.

Tips on What to wear for Homecoming?

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