"You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you." - Song of Solomon 4:7

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pops of Color on a Friday Night

Pops of color

Oscar de la Renta shift dress, $2,490
Jessica Simpson high heels, $79
3 1 Phillip Lim locking bag, $425
Timex watch, $60

Great for going out, this outfit is attention-grabbing in all the right ways. Gold totally functions as a (satisfyingly sparkly) neutral, and with it you're free to accessorize as you please. This is a great dress to wear for a night out on the town or for any dinner parties you may be attending during the holiday season. Any past readers probably know how devoted I am to nude heels, and the Jessica Simpson pair shown here is nicely reasonably priced. As the title suggests, the pops of color give the outfit youthful character. With this preppy navy blue/pink combination, you will almost never go wrong. The bag is simple, structured, and luxe - and Timex always does a great job of providing classic and on-trend watches at superb prices. So cute!
Happy socializing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Flowers for Algernon

Recently I read Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, and I decided to venture into book reviews. This is my first review and I hope you enjoy reading it.
I really like this book. As soon as I started reading it I knew it would become one of my favorites. The concept of the story is that a new, secret medical procedure is performed on an intellectually challenged man named Charlie Gordon. This procedure's purpose is to increase intelligence, and has been tested on animals (although no humans) before. The chief test subject of this operation, besides Charlie, is Algernon, a lab mouse. Algernon's results have been the most stunning, and Charlie's progress soon begins to mirror the mouse's. Told in a series of progress reports from Charlie's point of view, Flowers for Algernon does a spectacular job of examining human intellect, emotion, and the connection between the two. One of the best ways I can describe it is as a "thinking book." By that phrase I mean the entire time I was reading Flowers for Algernon, I was thinking and thinking about many different things. To me, some of the most striking subjects touched are human empathy, sympathy, humanity, and love. For instance, as Charlie's intelligence increases, he begins resenting how Professor Nemur, one of the men involved in the procedure Charlie underwent, refers to himself as a sort of "maker" of Charlie. Nemur comes across as thinking Charlie was not human before he was intelligent. We also explore Charlie's past, and his struggles as a mentally disabled person. Some of the things people did to Charlie in order to amuse themselves and make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings were extremely upsetting. These instances forced me, as a person, to examine myself and think, "What am I doing to help others? How am I showing love to those who need it?" Of course, the other topics are touched with just as much detail and deft skill as Charlie's humanity is. As the story moves forward, Algernon's behavior becomes disturbing, and his intelligence begins to decrease. With Charlie realizing his time as a bona fide genius is possibly shorter than he originally thought, the reader witnesses a journey to a destination they, at one point, realize cannot be avoided by the novel's main character. Flowers for Algernon is a gorgeous depiction of people and their travels through life.

Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.

Please feel free to tell me your opinion on this review, since it's my very first one! Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cozy Cognac - Cognac Boots, Three Ways (Part One)

Cozy Cognac

Ralph Lauren Black Label cable knit sweater, $400
Abercrombie & Fitch skinny jeans, $78
Fendi boots, $1,100
Cashmere scarve, £395

If you're anything like me, you definitely take huge advantage of the fact that fall/winter is boot season. One of the most treasured boots out there is the riding boot. In order to showcase their versatility, over the next few weeks I'll feature three different outfits based around cognac riding boots. This first outfit is a comfy look perfect for when you want to look good without trying too hard. A yummy cable-knit sweater embellished with a printed scarf personifies cozy chic. Normally, I don't recommend wearing skinny jeans, but they're great for avoiding bulk when tucked into boots. I've yet to try stirrups like these (have any of you?), but I have a feeling they work pretty well too. Happy Sunday, and have a lovely week, darlings! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

To Autumn

To Autumn

Marc by Marc Jacobs longsleeve shirt, $200
Boutique by Jaeger mini skirt, £60
Qupid leopard flat, $26
Mary Portas Radley cross body handbag, £159
Fallon white pearl necklace, $265 

A femininely prim (but still really fun!) look for fall. One of my favorite things about autumn is the beautiful changing of the leaves, which I think the tones in this outfit represent really well. In case you haven't noticed, leopard shoes have been huge these past few weeks/months, and the ones I feature here are a nice, inexpensive option. Since the outfit is so simple, I think they helped to add interest, along with the statement pearls. A nice, buttery leather bag in cognac is the perfect finishing touch. 

Below, the poem "To Autumn" by John Keats (this post's namesake). Enjoy! 

 To Autumn

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,        
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease, 
  For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

  Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
  Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
  Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
  Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
  Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

  Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
  And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
  Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
  Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
  The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


P.S. I got the text of the poem here. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dapper and Demure

Dapper and Demure

D G pink cardigan, £97
Lanvin zipper pants, $468
Rupert Sanderson slip on shoes, $277
Judith Leiber sequin clutch, £1,375
MICHAEL Michael Kors ball watch, $250

One wardrobe essential I've been beginning to appreciate more and more is skinny black pants. The quintessentially "Audrey" basics are appropriate for a plethora of occasions and may be paired with nearly anything. The look above is quite sharp and features a simple femininity that is decidedly polished. Crisp lines draw the eye to the focal point of the look - a bold, conservatively sexy top in a universally flattering and lively hue.

And below, a brief history of the slim black pant featuring Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face," courtesy of the Gap:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sunday Morning Prep

Sunday Morning Prep

J Crew plaid long sleeve shirt, $72
Maje short pleated skirt, $240
Sperry loafer, $98
Dooney Bourke logo tote bag, $168
Knot jewelry, $89
Old Navy Girls Cable-Knit Sweater Vests, $17

A cute, simple look that's presentable without being over the top or too stuffed-up. What I like most about it is that each and every piece is timeless and a great investment. I like to have fun with my clothes, and I think the gingham and plaid print mixing, as well as the varying textures and fabrics,  lighten the mood of the outfit a bit and give it a summer-in-October feel. I've been admiring this sterling silver James Avery cuff bracelet for a while, and since it's fairly reasonably priced, am considering taking the plunge. It's simple, yet detailed; casual, yet elegant. Another bonus of this outfit: cable-knit, which is one of my favorite things associated with fall - how about you?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fresh Fall

Fresh Fall

Moschino Cheap Chic cotton blazer, $394
J Brand straight leg jeans, $165
Marc by marc jacobs handbag, £100
Fornash, $55
Fornash, $25

A cute, simple look appropriate for fall. This classic blazer-jeans combination is the perfect example of a casual yet put together outfit. Military inspired elements in the jacket add some interest while the tote adds a great pop of color in a punchy and autumnal orange. The jewelry is by Fornash, which I discovered a while ago and have been really excited about ever since. All of their stuff is super cute, preppy, current, and well-priced. Plus, don't the earrings add a very Van Cleef touch? Luxe. 

Happy fall, everybody!  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tell Me About Yourself Award - Thank You, Joyce!

Hey everyone! This blog, "Pretty Keen, by Kate" and I have recently been honored with our first award- the Tell Me About Yourself Award.
A very special thank you is due to Joyce of Joyful Outfits

The rules of the award are: 
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
2. Write 7 random things about yourself.
3. Spread the love to 15 more bloggers.

Here are seven random things about me: 
1. My favorite color is pink. 
2. My favorite music artist is Sarah Hart Pearsons. 
3. I like Prince Harry. 
4. When I watch TV, I like watching iCarly. 
5. Katharine Hepburn is (at least partially) my namesake. 
6. I'm very big on bargain shopping. 
7. I'm a strong supporter of "the natural look" when it comes to makeup. 

15 Bloggers I love (in no particular order): 
7. SHE

I am so happy to be a recipient of this award and would like to thank my lovely readers (you) for showing me so much support.