flowers, please!

It may not be spring yet, but flowers are on my mind.  Whether you’re giving them as a gift or you’re buying them for yourself, a house can feel very empty without some fresh and beautiful flowers.  They automatically brighten up a room. I have found a few flower shops in various cities around the country that have bouquets I absolutely love.

purple tulips will always be my favorite
from Fellan Florist in New York City
from Fancy Flowers in Houston, Texas
from Tic-Tock in Los Angeles, California
from Marcel Florist in Chicago, Illinois
from Winston Flowers in Boston, Massachusetts 
from Seasons Flowers in Miami, Florida
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an essential piece of furniture

Vanities are a key element in one’s bedroom or bathroom.  It’s my favorite piece of furniture and I think doing one’s makeup is not complete unless you’re doing it at a vanity.  From traditional styles to modern to vintage and many options in between, there is definitely one that will suit your interior design personality and needs. Some of my personal favorites below.

from West Elm
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dress me up

I have found my new favorite dresses.  Somehow I just more recently found out about the incredible clothing line, Ali Ro, even though it has been around since 2007. If you’re looking for dresses that fall into the categories of stylish, contemporary, on-trend yet sophisticated, this would be the perfect line for you, as well. I already picked out some styles that I’d like to add to my wardrobe immediately.

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makeup artistry at its finest

Women LOVE makeup.  It’s something that many can’t get enough of.  I know people that could spend an entire day at the various makeup counters in a store, learning about new products and testing them. Yes, an entire day. A favorite pastime of many is getting their makeup done – whether it be for an event, a wedding, or even just for fun on a Saturday afternoon.  Michelle Coursey, NYC based celebrity and editorial makeup artist, has given me a deeper look into the world of makeup.

makeup counter at Barneys New York

 
I first asked her what the most commonly asked questions were that she has gotten in her career.
 
1. How many brushes do I need? She said 6-7 solid brushes. One’s finger and a Q-Tip can only do so much. You need a good eye brush (even 3 or 4), a blush brush, bronzer brush, lip brush, and a good concealer brush.
 

 
makeup brushes from Trish McEvoy
 
2. Do I need to use an eyelash curler? She said YES, unless you are the 1% of women who have naturally curled lashes (she has only seen this 2 or 3 times in her career). You need to use a lash curler, and even if you don’t want to wear mascara one day, still curl your eyelashes.
 

 
lash curler from Revlon
 
3. How do I choose the right foundation or concealer? Do I have to wear it? She said it’s very helpful (unless, again, you are part of the small percentage who have perfect and amazing skin). At the very least, use concealer (it covers up redness or under eye circles). There are so many options out there for different textures, weights, colors. Find the perfect one. It can be a process of elimination. As well, most drug stores and makeoup counters have good return policies if you end up not liking it so much.
 

 
a beautifully ‘concealed’ face, makeup done by Michelle
Copyright David Byun 2011
 
I then asked her what the big makeup trends for the spring are.
 
She said strong eyeliner, strong brows (thick, filled in with pencil or eyeshadow, if need be), a bright pop of color on the eyes (blue streak of eyeliner, a shade of orange eyeshadow, for example). It’s fun and fresh. And, finally, metallic and glittery eyes (more extreme on the runway, of course). Be careful with this one; it should be done in moderation.
 

 
bright eyeshadow from MAC
 
I  asked what her favorite makeup items are and what are the essentials that every girl should have in their makeup drawer.
 
 
She said one has to have a good concealer, mascara, and blush – those 3 things are most important. If you walk out of the house, at the least, put on those 3 items.
 
Her favorite concealer is Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage.
 
She loves mascara and actually can’t get enough of it. She loves Maybelline Falsies. When she wears this one, she constantly gets asked if she’s wearing false eyelashes. She loves drugstore mascaras.
 
For blush – she feels women underestimate the power of a little bit of color on the cheeks. It livens up the face, makes you look younger and prettier. She said, of course, powder is easier than cream, but any kind that has enough pigment is good. She loves Nars and MAC for blush. A good blush is important and it can last a long time.
 
For foundation she likes Teint Miracle by Lancome. It’s a really good foundation, light to medium coverage, and creates a natural glow. When she wears it she gets compliments on her skin every time.  It’s worth the investment!
 
On a final note, Michelle said that in her career she’s noticed that women can be scared of makeup and of looking too done up. While this is understandable, she said to not be scared. Makeup should be so much fun! Do what you’re comfortable with.
 
Check out Michelle’s website Michelle Coursey and her Facebook page here.
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not your average sneakers

Now, I was never a big sneaker fan. I always went by the notion that sneakers should only be worn if working out or doing some sort of physical activity (and I still believe that’s true). However, there are a few types that I think are perfectly fine to wear out and about (and by ‘out and about’ I mean a casual Saturday walking around the city, not to a nice dinner). And, of course, with an appropriate outfit (skinny jeans, casual tee, maybe some layering, cute scarf, accessories…). The below styles give a different meaning to ‘sneakers.’

from Bensimon
from Superga
from Converse
from Warrior
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weekend review

Friday. Finally. I’ve compiled some items that are going to be extremely crucial for my weekend.

incredible snow boots from Pajar
(for those in climates experiencing the snow this weekend)
delicious wine from the vineyard we visited last weekend
this dress or one very similar for my birthday party
bright red nails
from essie
reading material (and many more…)


What are your weekend essentials?  Have a fabulous one!
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here comes the sun

I know it’s been a bit chilly lately (for most of us), but one accessory that can and will always be worn year round is sunglasses, of course.  No matter how cold it may get, the sun still comes out, and sunglasses are essential for oh so many reasons. One’s sunglasses collection should consist of all colors and sizes. Don’t stick to the same pair everyday; switch things up. My current favorites below.

(my personal favorite…always)
from CUSP
from Intermix
from Shopbop 
from Nordstrom
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mmmm….macarons

The most beautiful (and delicious) pastry out there right now has got to be the Parisien Macaron.  For those that know what I’m talking about, I know you agree. For those that don’t, you have really got to jump on this bandwagon immediately.  The yummiest macarons I’ve ever had have come from Vendôme. Taryn Garcia, the Executive Pastry Chef + Owner, was sweet enough to answer some questions for me on her incredible business and her delicious pastries.

 
 
From Prosecco to Plaid: Has your passion always been baking?
Taryn Garcia: I think passion for me has come from many influences that have arrived at different times in my life. I’ve always loved cooking and baking. I grew up around great cooks, like my mom and grandmother. My grandmother is French and loved baking cakes and cookies. There was always something sweet to eat around the house.
 
 
 
P to P: How did Vendôme come about?
TG: Vendôme Pâtisserie: Haute Parisien Macarons started on a wing and a prayer. My husband and I flew to Paris for me to look into various pastry arts programs. ESCF Ferrandi the school I ended up attending recommended going to Pierre Herme. We went and fell in love with the macarons. They were amazing. I knew that macarons would be a hit in New York and also knew the only place they could be learned how to master was in Paris. So we moved abroad and I embarked on the most intensive training of my life! My Chef Professor was formally a pastry chef at the Hotel Ritz so his expectations of us were high to say the least.
 
 
 
P to P: What is your favorite macaron flavor that you make?
TG: It’s always changing, I love so many flavors! I have a very seasonally inspired palate, so right now I’m loving the blood orange macaron. If I had to pick a constant favorite I’d say Dark Chocolate with Pearls. I adore all things crunchy.
 
 
 
P to P: What is the most popular?
TG: It varies from person to person. Some people are more classically inclined and want Tahitian Vanilla and Chocolate, while others are more adventurous and will choose Black Perigord Truffle with Roasted Chestnuts or Campari with Pamplemousse (pink grapefruit).
 
 
 
P to P: Where can people purchase your delicious and beautiful macarons?
TG: I actually don’t sell the macarons on my website. They don’t ship well and are best eaten fresh. I have a POP-UP Pâtisserie that I host every weekend in Brooklyn and we’re also in Saks Fifth Avenue on the 8th floor at Charbonnel and Walker.
 
 
 
P to P: What did you do before Vendôme?
TG: Prior to my career as a Pastry Chef and starting Vendôme, I worked in television at the Food Network as an Associate Producer and Food Stylist on Barefoot Contessa and Healthy Appetite. It was really fun. Ina Garten, she too had changed career paths; I found her a great inspiration plus she’s incredibly intelligent, witty and a wonderful cook.
 
 
 
P to P: What is something about yourself that no one would ever guess?
TG: Wow, that’s an interesting question. I pray, which isn’t to say I’m spiritual; it’s just that I need it and find that when I do it helps make the day a bit easier.
 
 
 
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blazers at any price point

Blazers are one of those staple items you must have in your closet.  It can be thrown on with almost any outfit and add something extra to what you’re already wearing.  Throw it over dark skinny jeans, a white tank and some fun jewelry, and it instantly dresses it up.  Throw it over a cute summer dress and now it’s a cute spring or fall dress. There are so many ways to wear a blazer and if I had a bigger closet I would probably dedicate one entire section to this necessary article of clothing.

under $50
under $100
under $200
under $300
under $400
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under $100 and it's personal

Something I absolutely adore these days is from the website Valsey and Me. They sell sets of mini personalized soaps, which come in a variety of scents (my personal favorite being Milk, Almond, & Honey), colors, and boxes.  They don’t need to just be a gift (although they are an affordable and incredible one); I’m going to be buying a set for myself.

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