Fashion blogger Annabelle Fleur of Viva Luxury not only looks like a Russian doll (flawless perfection from head to toe) but is also, truly, without a doubt one of the sweetest people I've ever met.
The girl has legs for miles, a sense of style that speaks volumes and a heart of gold. I was blown away when Saynt discovered her site two years ago and sincerely charmed by our first conversation (even though I am always biased to favor a girl from the Motherland).
I sit down with the Latvian beauty to discuss marriage, her personal style philosophy, and her beauty regiment.
FashionIndie: How do you maintain balance in your life between your job, your blog, and your family?
Annabelle Fleur: Perhaps I am lucky, but I never really had to balance any the above. My colleagues and my family are extremely proud and supportive of me, for which I am eternally grateful.
FI: You totally look like a model, have you ever wanted to go into that part of the industry?
AF: Thank you very much for the compliment, but no, I never wanted to be a model. My dream ever since I was little, was and still is to be a designer. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to work and collaborate with a wonderful shoe designer. Seeing my ideas come to life made my dream even more real and I think solidified my decision to pursue fashion design.
FI: What made you start your blog? What is your ultimate goal for your site?
AF: I think the main reason I started a fashion blog was so that I can connect with people who are as passionate about fashion as I am and of course to express myself creatively. So, naturally my outmost goal is to reach more readers, to continue to grow, both personally and professionally and of course to always have fun. After all, if it's not enjoyable, it's not worth doing:)
FI: Where do you see yourself in 5 years, personally and professionally?
AF: Funny, I never felt complete until I started my fashion blog. Once I did, I realized that fashion is what I love and working in fashion industry is the only thing that makes me happy and fulfilled. So, without a doubt when I look into the future, I know I would like to continue to work in the fashion industry and also to realize my dream of designing shoe and jewelry collections. Personally, I've been very fortunate to have met a person who is truly my other half, who understands and completes me like no one else would. So, whatever the future holds for us, whether it is expanding our family, traveling the world or living in a different country, I am excited to experience these changes with Emil, my husband.
FI: You're married yet we never see your man on your blog, what is your reasoning behind that?
AF: I actually get this question a lot. And the answer is quite simple, really. When I chose to start a fashion blog, I knew I had to give up a certain degree of privacy, which I am completely ok with. Emil on the other hand prefers to stay behind-the-scenes, and I absolutely respect his decision.
FI: How do you differ from all the other bloggers out there?
AF: Good question! I think personal sense of style is influenced heavily by ones collective experiences. So, in my opinion everyone has a unique sense of style. I certainly draw inspiration from my life experiences, and specifically places where I lived. I was born in Latvia which, I think accounts for my preference for bright colors and feminine styles. Moving to Canada when I was 14 and living there for a few years explains my weakness for layering, when it's 13 degrees fahrenheit outside, you really cant put enough on:) Finally moving to California, I think added a certain care-free, easy going touch to my style.
FI: We've seen your blog evolve from just personal style content to lifestyle, why the change?
AF: I think this change was completely organic. As time went on, I simply got more comfortable and more open to sharing different aspects of my life. I also came to realize that lifestyle content is a great way to let my readers get to know me better on a more personal level and perhaps to introduce them to some of my interests outside of fashion. Currently, I am working on adding even more lifestyle related content to my blog, so stay tuned:)
FI: Name 5 spots in LA that you frequently visit or can't live without?
AF: Urth Caffe Santa Monica is the best organic cafe in LA, I think everyone has to try the Bavarian fruit tart and Urth Italia espresso. I've been coming to Urth Caffe at least once a week for the past 6 years, and it looks like it's going to be a life-long commitment :-)
Sky Bar at the Mondrian hotel is one of my favorite bars in LA. Amazing drinks, great music, beautiful decor and panoramic views - what else can a girl ask for! I recommend trying the Guava Punch, one of my favorite cocktails ever!
Intermix Boutique at the Malibu Country Mart is one of my favorite places to shop. They always have an amazing selection of Rag and Bone, Proenza Schouler and A.L.C. to name a few. I am also a big fan of their jewelry selection, current favorites include Lisa Freede stretch bracelets and Vita Fede titan rings.
Barneys New York in Beverly Hills has the best selection of designer shoes, including my beloved Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim. Definitely my first stop whenever I am in the mood for some serious shoe shopping, which happens quite often, since I am a bit of a shoeaholic.
Mystery and Imagination bookstore in Glendale is one of my favorite places to be on a Saturday morning. If you are a science fiction fan and looking for hard-to-find or out-of-print books, you should definitely check out this store!
FI: What are your fave brands? Who would you love to collaborate with?
AF: A have a few, but Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim are my particular favorites. Clean, simple lines, and impeccable quality is pretty much a summation of everything I believe fashion should be. A collaboration with either one of those brands is certainly pretty high up on my wish list.
FI: Tell us about your beauty routine, what products do you use on your face and in your hair?
AF: I believe good skin and hair start from within, so I eat right, exercise regularly and take loads of vitamins every day. In terms of skin care, I recently got hooked on Clarins, my particular favorite at the moment is Beauty Flash Balm. I apply it all over my face every night and wake up next morning looking like I had a month-long vacation. Seriously, I've never seen anything like that before. This one is definitely coming with me to Fashion Week! Another new favorite is the Immortelle Precious Eye Balm by L'Occitane, which works great to erase the evidence of late nights and lack of sleep. And most of the time, I definitely need help with both!
I've been using Fresh products for my hair for about 5 years, that is of course until one of my favorite shampoos got discontinued about 8 months ago. Since I am not one of those lucky people who can wash their hair with right about anything, I went through a fairly dark period hopelessly trying to find something to replace my lost favorite. But my luck finally changed at the end of this Summer when I discovered the new Curls line from Paul Mitchell. Right now I'm using Spring Loaded Detangling Shampoo and Full Circle Leave-In Treatment, which leave my hair silky, manageable and completely frizz free.