Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Urbanite's Menagerie

Recently I've been buying a lot of house warming presents for friends, and there is a definite trend cropping up in design stores towards animal-and- insect-inspired objects for the urban home. These ironically translated yearnings for the natural world can be seen in objects as tiny as a bud vase with a painted dragon fly, to large couch pillows featuring photo realistic wolves and owls. I haven't gotten on the menagerie band wagon quite yet, but I've been scoping out some options for when I move into my new pad in September. This canvas Pigeon Tote by Marlow & Sons, featuring the quintessential example of NYC fauna, will be perfect for toting groceries from Chelsea Market and will look chic hung on the doorknob of my closet when not in use. Harry Allen's Pig Bank in hot pink is totally bizarre, and while I feel it might be too edgy for my taste, has a modern sculptural appeal and a shock value that make it definitely worth a second look as a design piece. Lastly, this "diorama"-style accordian Aquarium Card is whimsical, has a wonderful antique quality, and will look beautiful displayed prominently on my desk.


photo credit tote: http://www.marlowandsons.com
photo credit pig bank: http://www.designpublic.com
photo credit aquarium card: http://www.curiosityshoppeonline.com

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Iced Tea Toner


Feed your face with Aqua Dessa's Lychee Tea Refresher Facial Toner. I've been a fan of Inko's thirst quenching and healthy White Lychee Iced Tea for awhile and was thrilled when I stumbled upon this toner. Aqua Dessa's hydrating antioxidant rich toner, containing a blend of Lychee Tea, Green Tea, and Mandarin Red Tea among other natural ingredients, is perfect for erasing the aftermath of hot-weather-makeup-meltdown and oil slicks. It has a scent reminiscent of Raspberry Snapple and has a nice light consistency. Store it in the fridge for an extra zing. Apply a small amount of toner to a cotton ball and swipe over your skin for an instant pore-tightening effect.


photo credit iced tea: http://www.healthywhitetea.com/flowers_lychee
photo credit toner: http://www.aquadessa.com
photo credit fruit: http://www.lycheesonline.com/photos/SweetHeartLycheeFruit.jpg

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Found It: The Perfect Bikini

The aquatic design spectacle
the
Floating
Pool Lady is back
this summer,
and
she is currently stationed at Barretto Point Park in Hunts Point in the Bronx. The only thing separating you from her 7 lanes of turquoise water is a short ride on the 6 train. Of course you'll need the proper attire and accessories for your day trip. This Forget Me Knot bikini by Zimmermann is possibly the most perfect bikini ever. Also, it's finally on sale at Elizabeth Charles' website. It fits like a dream and is girly in an understated way with a miniature floral pattern on a black background. Details like tiny heart beads on the ends of the string ties are flirty and feminine. You'll also need some goggles for underwater people watching. This chic jelly pair by ClubSwim comes in bright colors reminiscent of Pez and will keep your peepers protected from the chlorine. Last of all, don't forget to stay hydrated. New Activate futuristic vitamin waters come in delicious flavors. Their ingenious design keeps the vitamins separate from the H2O until you're ready to drink, preserving their potency and ensuring that you'll be able to go that extra lap.

photo credit bikini: http://www.elizabeth-charles.com/1000.html
photo credit vitamin water: http://shop.activatedrinks.com
photo credit goggles: http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/7023.htm
photo credit pool: http://www.floatingpoollady.org

Monday, July 28, 2008

Parisian Chic: Channeling The Gamine Look



The designer boutiques are filled with fall clothing, but it's still too hot to even think about purchasing a wool blazer or opaque tights. Meanwhile, the sale racks are filled with candy colored minis and paisley sarongs, the last remnants of summer style. What's a girl to do when she's caught between fashion seasons? Tired of the brightly colored floral sun-dresses in my closet and on the sale racks, I went on the hunt for something a little more understated and modern that would also serve as a transitional piece from late summer to early fall. I found these summer dresses, Cameo Chair Earrings, and adorable canvas ballet flats that have a tough urban chic appeal, like something you would see a fashion forward French woman wearing while strolling around Montmartre. Though the fabrics and cuts of the dresses are airy enough for hot summer days, when paired with a cashmere cardigan and tights they will also be perfectly appropriate for crisp fall weather.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cocktail Time: Summer Scorcher Beauty



Mix yourself a White Peach Bellini with prosecco and Cipriani Bellini Mix, and get set for the start of the hottest month of summer with these cocktail inspired beauty products:

1.) Chantecaille's Lip Gloss in Bellini with SPF 15: This hydrating gloss is the color of a Venetian sunset and is perfect for girls that want a luscious Claudia Cardinale-esque pout. The ripe peachy-pink hue will keep your lips looking naturally lush and will simultaneously protect them from the sun's harmful rays.

2.) Brazil Beauty Products' Caipirinha Exfoliating Body Scrub: Based on the traditional Brazilian drink made with white rum, lime, and sugar, this invigorating body smoother contains many of the same ingredients as the cocktail. It will leave your skin smooth and gleaming and is perfect for a pre-self-tan exfoliation, so that you can hit the beach with confidence.

3.) Demeter's Gin & Tonic Fragrance: Whether you favor Hendrick's or Bombay Sapphire, this refreshing unisex splash is the perfect remedy for the hot weather blues. Spritz the light yet bracing scent onto pulse points, and you'll feel cooler instantly. It's especially nice to wear this fragrance on an alfresco dinner date on a hot August night.

photo credit exfoliator: http://www.brazilbeautyproducts.com
photo credit lip gloss: http://www.eluxury.com
photo credit poster: (http://www.thevintageposter.com). Anonymous Artists, Badoit, ca. 1940's, ad for mineral water.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

All That Glitters


When I was little I owned the film "The Wizard of Oz" and would frequently watch it despite how scary the Wicked Witch was. My two favorite things about the film were Glenda The Good Witch's sequined pink costume and Dorothy's ruby slippers. Recently I have had my eye on Christian Louboutin's Glitter Pump. I like to think of them as the adult version of the ruby slipper. The two things that are holding me back from making the actual purchase are the exorbitant price tag and the fact that I can't really walk in heels. However, I found a pair of earrings on the Greenwich Village boutique Otte's website, and I think they will perfectly satisfy my craving for something glittery and chic without breaking the bank. These DanniJo studs are eye-catchingly stunning and a lot more practical than stiletto heels. Paired with a LBD, they will infuse your outfit with an instant shot of glamour as you strut down the yellow brick road.

note: click on the pictures to enlarge them to see how spectacularly glittery they are.

photo credit ruby slippers: http://thewizardofoz.warnerbros.com
photo credit Louboutin pumps: http://www.neimanmarcus.com
photo credit earrings: http://otteny.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Afternoon Tea


At the Ritz Carlton in Montreal there is a beautiful garden in back of the hotel with a duck pond, where I had the most relaxing and luxurious afternoon tea. If you can't make it to Montreal, there's nothing more civilized than hosting a proper afternoon tea in your home. Invite all of your closest girlfriends and set out a beautiful spread of cakes and scones with jam and clotted cream, triangular tea sandwiches with traditional fillings, and a large pot of your favorite kind of tea. Of course, to make it truly memorable you'll need the proper accessories for the party. Hermes makes the most exquisitely patterned tea pots and porcelain cups that will truly elevate your tea drinking experience. For the perfect party favors to end your tea, give each of your friends a miniature handmade Scented Cupcake Charm from Tiny Cravings. These delicate dollhouse-sized cakes adorned with realistic fruit and icing come packaged in a chic brown and pink striped box tied with a pink satin ribbon.

photo credit cupcake charms: http://www.tinycravings.com
photo credit teapot: http://usa.hermes.com
photo credit garden: http://www.ritzmontreal.com

All-Purpose Beauty Bar


There's something insanely appealing about multi-tasking beauty products that are also organic. Moon Valley's Lotion Bar with Calendula and Comfrey comes in an appealing minimalist tin, and it is made of completely natural ingredients. I especially like the idea that I can use this Lotion Bar, something of a misnomer because it's actually more like a rich balm, on everything from chapped lips to blisters from stilettos. However, my favorite thing to do with this bar is to rub it on my cuticles before bed. I wake up with soft and beautiful nails that look as though I've just gotten a manicure at a high-end spa. The best thing about this product is the strangely addictive and comforting scent that reminds me of my childhood, categorized on the website as lemony vanilla, but more accurately described as Play-Doh.

photo credit Lotion Bar: http://www.balmworks.com
photo credit Play-Doh: http://www.amazon.com

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brush With Style: Designer Toothpaste


My friends often joke that I'm a lot like Sally in "When Harry Met Sally," because I am so particular when I order in a restaurant, and I frequently ask for sauce or salad dressing "on the side." Subsequently, my favorite part of getting a drink at Starbucks is that I get to customize it exactly to my liking. It's one of the only places where I don't feel uncomfortable being insanely picky about every single detail of my beverage. When I recently learned about Breath Palette's line of naturally derived toothpastes I was totally ecstatic about the idea that I could customize them with a flavor from a long list of exotic choices like Yogurt, Rose, and White Peach. I quickly realized that I would have to upgrade my toothbrush as well if I really wanted to make the whole toothbrushing experience as luxurious as possible. I'm considering this sleek beauty by Paul Smith or this minimalist black and white curvilinear Scuba Brush by Radius. Both are total objets d'art and will certainly make any bathroom a whole lot chicer.

photo credit blue brush: http://www.paulsmith.co.uk
photo credit scuba brushes: http://www.radiustoothbrush.com
photo credit toothpaste: http://www.breathpalette.com

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Inflatable Art: Jeff Koons & Balloons


The irreverent and always spectacular Jeff Koons currently has a show up on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum. Radiant in the glaring sunlight, his monumental works that would be most at home next to an aqua Hockney-esque California swimming pool, are at once a dichotomy of opposites: familiar and unfamiliar, original and unoriginal, conceivable and inconceivable. I've always been specifically attracted to the Pop-Art-whimsy of his inflatables and balloon sculptures, because in these works he has succeeded in transforming the temporary object into a permanent icon of mass culture, while still retaining a sense of the object's ephemeral nature. Subsequently, when I stumbled upon the multi-colored large-scale balloon sculptures created by the blow-up artists at Tribeca outpost Balloon Saloon, I immediately thought of the work of Koons. The Balloon Saloon's unique helium bouquets and decorations, many of which feature a colorful cast of television characters and superheroes, are awe-inspiringly creative, fun, and surprising. However, their appeal and value also lies in the knowledge that they will eventually deflate, making them a special (albeit fleeting) emblem of a cause for celebration.

photo credit bunny: Jeff Koons, Inflatable Flower and Bunny (Tall White, Pink Bunny), vinyl and mirrors, 1979. (http://www.jeffkoons.com)
photo credit dog: Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Yellow), High chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 1994-2000. (http://www.metmuseum.org)
photo credit balloon "Animation" bouquet: http://www.balloonsaloon.com/birthdays.html
photo credit balloon "Ice Cream" column: http://www.balloonsallon.com/columns.html

Friday, July 18, 2008

NY Mag Goodies For Ladies & Gents


I've recently become obsessed with New York Magazine's website, and I'm especially smitten with their beauty and shopping sections. Ladies, if you haven't checked out the thoroughly addictive Shop-A-Matic yet, I'll start you off with one appropriately devoted to Beach Items. I am totally loving the psychedelic Moroccan Swim Tube by DesignRoom Group and the Revolotion body bronzing moisturizer with sunscreen by DuWop. Gentlemen, I haven't forgotten about you. See if your shaving cream of choice scores high marks in NY Mag's unofficial survey.


photo credit for both images: http://www.nymag.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nouveau Soap Suds


Washing your hands is usually a mundane chore, but Claus Porto's hand soaps dramatically elevate the pleasure derived from this everyday activity. The soaps are not only visually stunning, they also creates a luxurious smelling lather. My favorite soap is the Melodia (Melon). It comes packaged in plastic bottle decorated with an Art Nouveau design. The scent smells exactly like a ripe honeydew melon, and it is perfectly refreshing for summer. If you are looking for a great gift check out Claus Porto's new Fantasia Collection of bar soaps. Each package decorated with exquisite vintage prints (click on the picture to enlarge it), ranging from a 1920's era couple dancing the tango to a scene from Carnaval, is sure to delight even the most discerning beauty maven.

photo credit hand soap: http://www.lafcony.com
photo credit bar soaps: http://www.clausporto.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Eye-Catching Prints: The Designs of Tsumori Chisato



The Japanese fashion designer Tsumori Chisato worked with Issey Miyake before starting her own line of flirty dresses, diaphanous skirts, and multi-faceted tops with an emphasis on fabric and construction. Her loose-fitting dresses, many of which are fashioned from exquisitely patterned whisper-thin fabrics, are wearable works of art. The folkloric prints are reminiscent of the whimsy that underlies the fashion brand Oilily, and feature unique tailoring that recalls the work of Miuccia Prada. While many of Chisato's garments are extremely detailed and intricate, others have a purposefully unfinished quality about them that alludes to the actual process of creation. Though her clothing usually comes at a high price, I've located an outlet website that offers a huge array of her garments at a MAJOR discount. We're talking $500 sun-dresses marked down to $130. Three of my favorite looks are shown, but take the time to look through the selection on the website, because there are so many other beautiful pieces that you'll want in your own closet.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Big Apple



Cezanne ( I haven't figured out how to include the accent yet so please excuse the lack thereof) utilized the apple as his subject in order to demonstrate his painterly technique of rendering three dimensional objects in space, employing principles of shifting perspective and color planes. Apparently he was so enamored with his subject that he even had a set of wax apples that he painted from to avoid the whole rotting aspect of working with real fruit. Like Cezanne I am also intrigued by the possibilities of the apple, but unlike him my interest lies not in the aesthetic possibilities of the fruit but in its scent. I especially love the smell of Granny Smith apples, and while I know they are traditionally associated with fall, I find the lightness of the scent particularly appropriate for the hottest days of summer. In homage to the apple I have compiled a list of my three favorite apple-scented products:
1.) DKNY Be Delicious Perfume has been around for awhile, but I've recently rediscovered it in my perfume collection. It smells exactly like a crisp apple and isn't cloyingly sweet like a lot of fruity summer scents. Plus the glass container shaped like an apple is so appealing.
2.)
Fresh Appleseed Brightening Exfoliant: This super-strength-scrubber smells luxurious and will leave your pores gleaming, as though you've just gotten a treatment at a high-end spa.
3.)Kol Design Picnic Therapeutic Bath Salts: Add these salts to a tub full of warm water after a long day at work for a relaxing and detoxifying experience. The salts contain notes of green apple and fresh grass, and the experience will make you feel as though you are lounging on a red and white checkered blanket under a clear blue sky.


painting credit: Paul Cezanne, The Basket of Apples, ca. 1893.
photo credit Picnic Bath Salts: http://www.newlondonpharmcy.com
photo credit DKNY perfume: http://www.dkny.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Best Wrinkle Eradicator (under $100)


A few months ago I noticed that I had developed two deep wrinkles on my forehead. I think that dermatologists refer to them as "expression lines," which sounds harmless enough. However, I am still determined to eradicate them as soon as possible and preferably before my 25th birthday this August. There are a plethora of expensive department store creams out there, some costing upwards of $500, but I have chosen to spend under $100. My nightly routine after cleansing and applying eye cream now includes an application of Annemarie Borlind Orange Blossom Energizer followed by Face Stockholm's Orange Cream. The Energizer is made by naturalistic German skincare brand Annemarie Borlind and is a well guarded beauty secret among the international model set. It contains delicate plant and flower oils, and it comes in a small glass bottle that you shake in order to combine the ingredients before applying. Face Stockholm's Orange Cream is loaded with orange oil and Vitamin C, and it exfoliates and moisturizes your skin simultaneously. I dot the Orange Blossom Energizer onto my forehead wrinkles with my index finger and rub it in only slightly. Next, I apply the Orange Cream on top in the same manner. This combination of products produces outstanding results. The wrinkles are virtually gone after three weeks of nightly applications, and I look younger already.

note: Annemarie Borlind's Orange Blossom Energizer is available at most Whole Food's Whole Body Stores in the New York City Area.

photo credit Orange Blossom Energizer: http://www.shopstyle.com
photo credit Orange Cream: http://www.facestockholm.com

Friday, July 11, 2008

Homebody


When I lived in Philadelphia I always loved going to the colorful and spacious shop Petulia's Folly and browsing their well-edited selection of designer clothing. Now that I'm in NYC I frequently turn to their website when I need a new dress for a party or a delicate gold necklace to go with it. I've recently started browsing the Home Furnishings section of the website to get inspiration for livening up my own Chelsea pad and for housewarming gifts for friends and family. Some standouts include these exquisite marble bowls from India, this periwinkle pillow with a modern print, this decorative pineapple plate, and this charming stuffed peacock constructed from vintage fabrics.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sew Excited


Like many other twenty-something aspiring fashionistas, I can't wait for the season premiere of Project Runway on July 16th. Adding to my anticipation, Stylista premieres this fall on the WB. I can tell that there will be a lot of good quality tv watching/
procrastination
in my near future.
In honor of the impending fashion shows, I've been on the lookout for clothing and accessories that allude to the creative process. Recently, I stumbled upon this graphic sewing machine tee (overly made up hipster model not included) and amazing miniature silver scissor pendant. Both are perfect gifts for yourself or any aspiring designer you may know, not to mention a great gift for any FIT grad.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Diamonds & Intrigue


Last night I watched Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The splashy technicolor mystery combined two of my favorite things: diamonds and intrigue. It also got me wondering, in true beauty blogger fashion, what Grace Kelly's favorite products were. After some research I learned that Creed created a perfume for Kelly to wear on her wedding day that Prince Rainier had specially commissioned for her. The perfume is called Fleurissimo and contains light notes of tuberose, Bulgarian rose, violet, and Florentine iris. The scent conjures up images of Kelly fastening her diamond necklace as she prepares for a glamorous night out on the French Riviera, the picture of elegance and grace. Considering the circumstances behind its creation, this perfume would be a perfect engagement present for a best girlfriend on the eve of her wedding day.


photo credit bottle: http://www.hamptonct.com/index.cgi?pid=17&r=gb
photo credit Grace Kelly: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/77/039_69583~Cary-Grant-Grace-Kelly-Posters.
jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Cary-Grant-Grace-Kelly-Posters_i307450_.htm&h=450&w=367&sz=34&hl=en&start=45&um
=1&tbnid=zxIhV2Nb9dJ5zM:&tbnh=127&tbnw=104&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dgrace%2Bkelly%2B%26start%3D40%26ndsp%3D20%26um%3
D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN