Must-have candle: Tocca’s ‘Colette’

IMG_1485 My love for candles comes from my mom. I grew up on trips to the mall that always involved a stop by Yankee Candle, and in a home that had a different scent everyday – macintosh apples, cinnamon vanilla, fresh-cut roses, orange sherbert.

As an adult, I love coming home and opening my bedroom door to be greeted by the whiff of a fresh fragrance, lingering from a candle I lit the day before. Even better, a well-packaged candle also makes a stylish nightstand, bathroom counter or desk accessory.

Lately I’ve been particularly loving this Tocca mini candle, adorably categorized as a candelina. This scent – incense, musky vanilla and amber – is named after Parisian novelist Colette. The fragrance smells like a mix of freshly laundered clothing and warm, home-baked vanilla cookies. The mini candles, priced reasonably at $20, burn for 30 hours. I have been burning mine almost every day the past month because it just smells so good. I am sad to say the wax is almost gone, but there is an upside: the minimal but elegant packaging is so gorgeous that I fully intend to wash and keep it after to house pencils or lipgloss.

New nightlife spot in Miami: Adoré

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Left: Duck Sauce performs during opening week. Right: My boyfriend and I enjoying the Duck Sauce performance.

With a world-class nightclub scene, newcomers have a lot to live up to in South Beach. Adoré proved itself on its first night open. Resident DJ Morgan Page was the opening headliner when the club opened its doors last Tuesday. The next night, Manufactured Superstars took the stage. The rest of the week’s lineup included acts like Duck Sauce and Arty. Pretty impressive for its first four days open.

I stopped by the club on Thursday to watch Duck Sauce perform and sip on champagne from the club’s second-floor lounge area with private booths and cozy couches.

But I was most entranced by the décor – Adoré is a seriously beautiful space. Designed to resemble a cathedral, the ambience is gothic romantic meets industrial. The bar is illuminated by oxblood-colored candles and chandeliers made out of gold and silver chains draw the eye upward. DJ performances include stunning light displays and videos on a massive LED screen behind the stage. Booths encircle the dance floor (which means, ladies, if you wear uncomfortable shoes there will always be a place to give your feet a rest before you return to dancing.).

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Adoré at a glance:

  • Owner Cy Waits first made a name for himself opening clubs like Tryst and XS in Vegas. He hopes to bring that Sin City energy to Miami.
  • Morgan Page is the resident DJ for 2014; his performance dates will be announced soon.
  • If you go, please use the bathroom. It’s stunning. On top of that, the bathroom stalls have wipes kept in a warm container – proving Adoré will go to all lengths to make attendees comfortable.
  • The club stocks phone chargers for those late nights when your battery just doesn’t want to last anymore.
  • The booths contain a secret lockbox to store personal belongings – which means there’s no need to be hindered by a handbag on the dance floor.
  • The club’s specialty cocktail is the Pomadoré Martini, with Pama Liquor, Peach Ciroc, fresh-squeezed lemon and cotton candy
  • Cover charges typically start at $20/females and $40/males, but may be more depending on the evening’s performing talent.

Adoré is located at 2000 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, Fla.

Photos 1-3 courtesy of Adoré Nightclub and Carma PR.

 

Makeup Brush Guide

Screen shot 2014-03-21 at 11.58.11 AM As much as I love makeup, brushes have always been a bit of a mystery to me. Which ones should you buy? How do you use them? I think I’ll take a five-piece brush kit and call it a day, thanks.

So for a recent issue of our magazines, I decided to suck it up and decode brushes once and for all. After lots of research, I learned which brushes are essential for any makeup routine and how to use them. Then I read tons of reviews to hunt down the best brand for each brush. I have tried and love each of these brushes and can testify for each of them.

1. Kabuki Brush – this brush’s dense bristles can be used to blend powders flawlessly.
My pick: Chantecaille “Zebra” Kabuki Brush, $69; chantecaille.com

2. Foundation Brush – Use to evenly apply liquid or cream foundation.
My pick: Giorgio Armani Blender Brush, $49; giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com

3. Concealer Brush – Apply concealer with precision.
My pick: MAKE Expert Concealer Brush #3, $24; weseebeauty.com

4. Fan Brush – Diffuse color and lightly dust bronzer or shimmer on.
My pick: Make Up For Ever #134 Powder Fan Brush, $48; makeupforever.com (Note: I am ob-sessed with Make Up For Ever’s artisan brush line.)

5. Blush Brush – The dome-shaped head is used to define cheekbones.
My pick:
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush, $50; narscosmetics.com

6. Lid Brush – Apply cream or powder eye shadow all over the lid.
My pick: By Terry Eyelid Color Brush: Precision 2, $45; barneys.com

7. Shadow Blending Brush – Diffuse excess eye shadow, blend edges and lines, or highlight.
My pick: Make Up Forever #242 Blender Brush, Large, $30; makeupforever.com

8. Lip Brush – Apply lip color, blend shades or line lips.
My pick: Laura Mercier lip colour brush, $24; lauramercier.com

This entry was posted in beauty.

A Crush on LUSH

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Going into a LUSH boutique is dangerous. For me, anyway. I can’t remember the last time I walked into a store and thought so many times, I need that. While covering the Palm Beach Gardens shop recently for The Palm Beacher, I spent three hours touring the store. Yes, three hours. Some of that time was spent taking photos, and technically my tour included interviewing the boutique manager, but I seriously thought I’d never leave.

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A trip to LUSH feels more like walking through supermarket aisles than a beauty shop. There are scoops of smoothie-esque masks sitting in bowls perched on ice. There are blocks of soap on shelves, ready to be cut, weighed and sold by the pound. There are bath bombs in the colors of macarons. And then there’s the scent, which hovers between the scent of a sugary ice cream shop and a fragrant candle boutique. With so many products to explore, it’s easy to see how a trip here could last hours longer than one to the supermarket.

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The Best Ingredients

LUSH uses the most pure, fresh ingredients – organic fruits and veggies and as few synthetics and preservatives as possible. For this reason, every LUSH product has an expiration date, some even as early as 2-3 weeks after packaging. Online, don’t miss LUSHopedia, a guide from A-Z of the ingredients LUSH uses in its products, from beeswax to almond milk to basil oil.

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Eco-Friendly Philosophy

The brand has thought of everything – from packaging (either done minimally or with recycled and recyclable materials) to efficient transportation and water usage. The brand also does not test on animals or buy products from companies who do.

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The Most Luxurious Baths, Ever

In addition to its non-foaming soaps, body washes, shampoos and conditioners, LUSH has a fresh take on bubble baths. Its “bath bombs” are colorful spheres loaded with fragrant essential oils, flower petals and moisturizing butters. When dropped in water, they fizz like Champagne and transform the water into a creamy, frothy, colorful bath. Choose from flavors like honey, avocado, lemongrass, toffee and more. The store also sells bath melts and bubble bars.

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Men Can Get Gorgeous, Too

Almost all products at LUSH are unisex, but a good amount were also created specifically for men, including stimulating products for thinning hair, fragrances, shaving and post-shaving cream, toothpaste, sweat-absorbing body powder and more.

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Something for Everyone – Literally

LUSH has products for pregnant moms, customers afflicted with eczema, and a bath line for kids called “Fun” that looks and feels like Play-Doh. It also sells toothpastes, deodorants and henna hair dyes.

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Giving Back

LUSH has several products that support charities, but its most notable is perhaps the Charity Pot, a body lotion that has generated more than $4 million in donations for 350 grassroots charities in 30 countries. A total of 100 percent of the proceeds from the lotion go toward charity – LUSH does not make any profits from it at all.  The “Fun” line supports charities in Fukushima, Japan, that create safe places for children to play outside.

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 Price range

$2 to $250, depending on weight and size.

OK, I may have pinned some things to my beauty board and at one point my wishlist too… so I am happy to report I got this natural deodorant and this lip scrub for Christmas.

New Year’s in South Florida: 9 Ideas

Photo of the Westin Spa courtesy of the Westin

Photo of the Heavenly Spa courtesy of the Westin

Not sure where to ring in the new year? Try one of these hot spots to bring in 2014:

Dine: 

Red, The Steakhouse: three-course pre-fixe dinner for $99, $139 with wine pairing; redtheseakhkouse.com

Josef’s Table: make reservations for a pre-fixe, five-course tasting menu with different champagne pairings for each course, plus a champagne toast at midnigt; $39.95/person; josefstable.net

Bogart’s Bar & Grille: special New Year’s Eve menu features Grilled New York strip steak, Maine lobster paella, or salmon a la plancha with sides or salads; bogartsofboca.com

NYY Steak: special New Year’s Eve menu includes smoked lobster salad, a 40-day-aged, 40-ounce porterhouse or  pan-seared black cod with sides, and its signature volcano dessert; from $80 to $200 for the full meal; nyysteak.com

Relax: 

Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa’s Heavenly Spa: offering two special New Year’s treatments, Little Black Dress body treatment (50 minutes, $135 plus service charge) and Holiday Renewal Facial (20 minutes, $90 plus service charge); diplomatresort.com/heavenly-spa

W Fort Lauderdale’s bliss spa: try a New Year’s renewal treatment – the Blisslabs active 99.0 facial is a 75-minute 10-step multi-layer anti-aging facial; $275; wfortlauderdalehotel.com

Photo of the Living Room courtesy of the W Fort Lauderdale

Photo of the Living Room courtesy of the W Fort Lauderdale

Entertain:

W Fort Lauderdale’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball: open bar from 8 p.m. to midnight at Living Room and Whiskey Blue with DJs Kevin Graham and Richie Rich; tickets from $100 to $150, or $400/VIP group of six; FLLNIGHTLIFE.com

Fort Lauderdale Improv: spend New Year’s Eve with Ralphie May; $30; shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.; ftl.improv.com.

Passion Nightclub: Open bar from 10 p.m. to midnight; $50/person, $80/couple; passionnightclub.com

Holiday Style: 3 Ways

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1) Haider Ackermann Felpato cotton shirt; $688; matchesfashion.com 2) By Malene Birger Blondy textured knitted sweater; $395; bymalenebirger.com 3) J Brand Aidan mid-rise boyfriend jeans; $240; matchesfashion.com 4) Paige Novick Gold Kiki Bling Ring; $290; paigenovick.com 5) Adidas by Stella McCartney Trochilus Boost printed sneakers; $200; NET-A-PORTER.COM

  3350_022_c_iPad2 1) Tibi Serpentine long draped dress; $495; tibi.com 2) Chanel Mascara Gel Irisé Sparkling Mascara Top Coat; $30; chanel.com 3) Alexander McQueen De Manta Clutch (Nappa Cachmere); $525; matchesfashion.com 4) Alexander McQueen Embellished velvet waist belt; $995; alexandermcqueen.com 5) Saint Laurent Janis Leather Medallion Sandals; $1,195; saks.com

3350_022_c_iPad3  1) LOVER Lace-trimmed silk top; $550; net-a-porter.com 2) Tibi Paint Splatter Full Skirts; $650; tibi.com 3) Aquazzura Amazon Calf Leather Lace-Up Heels in green; $645; madisonlosangeles.comOne of the best parts of my job as a magazine editor is all the fun interviews I get to do with celebrities and fashion/jewelry designers.
This season, I’ve been collaborating with Tibi founder Amy Smilovic for our style section. Amy curates an exclusive selection of her favorite style finds for us each month at the magazine, and we piece everything together. I loved these holiday looks she selected – whether you’re looking to dress formally, semi-formally, or uber-casually, there is a look here for you.Happy holidays!
This entry was posted in style.

Holiday Wine Pairings

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I have this bad habit when it comes to wine. I always order the same varietal, no matter what I’m eating. I know what I like, and it’s riesling, OK? But one of my goals for the new year is to learn more about wine and wine pairings. While working on a recent issue of Gold Coast, I interviewed Andrew Lampasone, owner of Wine Watch boutique and creator of “What I Drank Yesterday” YouTube series, to create the infographic above.  In addition to the pairing suggestions, he also offered these tips:

  • Foods that are hard to pair with wine: “Asparagus, artichokes and brussel sprouts will make almost any wine hard to pair,” Lampasone says. He recommends avoiding using them in wine-pairing dishes.
  • “If it’s a large group of people, keep it very vanilla-chocolate-strawberry,” he says, suggesting a simple wine like merlot. “Don’t go too eclectic on them.”
  • As a general rule when pairing desserts with wine, the food should not be sweeter than the wine.

Happy holidays!

Talk to the Hand: Perfect Polish & Ring Pairings

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1. Deborah Lippmann Laughin’ To The Bank; $17 // Lucifer Vir Honestus ring; $6,580
2. Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer: The Metallics in Rose Gold; $20 // Raymond Lee Jewelers ring; $7,995
3. Deborah Lippmann Limited Edition Va Va Voom; $19 // Anshumita ring; $15,500
4. Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Stone Jungle; $18 // Tamara Comolli ring; $15,940
5. Dolce & Gabbana Intense Nail Lacquer in Ruby; $24 // Lancome Vernis in Love in Neige Argent Noel; $15 // Gilan ring; $19,600
6. Guerlain La Laque Couleur in 861 Sulfurous; $23 // EFFY Jewelry ring; $4,800

When I was in fifth grade, I did my science project on nail polish. I saved my allowance, convinced my mom to drive me to the drugstore and bought a bottle of nail polish in several different brands. Nothing too high-end – I mean, we’re talking like, Bonne Bell here. But I applied the polishes, did a few trials and set out to find which brand of nail polish lasted longest. I know, I know – not exactly a heavy-hitting project. At age 11 I already knew I wasn’t going to be a scientist, anyway. But I was detail-oriented and had an appreciation for all things artsy (plus, I was a goody-good who always wanted good grades), so the end result was actually pretty good-looking for a project about nail polish.
Things have changed quite a bit since then, and though my interest in nail polish waned over the years, over the past several months it has come back with a vengeance. I am addicted to nail polish – painting my nails has become this comforting task to me. And I don’t want just one shade of red or one shade of gray – I need an oxblood and a cranberry, and a heather gray and a steel gray. So when I saw something similar to this layout on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to localize and adapt it for the magazines I work for. The featured shades I’ve tried and loved, plus a bonus – ring pairings for all those holiday cocktail parties.
This entry was posted in beauty.

Holiday Gift Guide

I’m really proud of the work our whole magazine team did on the gift guide for the December issue of Gold Coast. We worked hard to make it special – Nila and I spent hours – days, even – combing through gift ideas to find some of the most unique and functional products possible. Everything on the list is something one or both of us would either buy as a gift or for ourselves.

Photo by Jason Nuttle

Gifts for the Gourmand. Photo by Jason Nuttle

After we selected the products we wanted to feature, we sorted them into categories – him, her, home, gourmand, tech and stocking stuffers. We then reached out to the companies with product requests so we could shoot the items in-house. Coordinating shipment and delivery of more than 60 products was no small feat. Then, we assisted our photographer Jason on a full-day shoot of the items.

Though I never expected a story titled something as lighthearted as “holiday gift guide” to be one of the harder stories I’ve worked on, I have to say seeing the end result is so gratifying. Here’s a little sneak peek at some photos Jason shot, and be sure to check out the full gift guide, with 109 seriously awesome ideas to start your holiday shopping.

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Gifts for the Techy. Photo by Jason Nuttle.

Gifts for Her (someone buy me that pink and black Loren Hope necklace, please). Photo by Jason Nuttle.

Gifts for Her (someone buy me that pink and black Loren Hope necklace, please). Photo by Jason Nuttle.

Gifts for Him. Photo by Jason Nuttle.

Gifts for Him. Photo by Jason Nuttle.

Holiday Gift Idea: FruitFlowers

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I have never really been into flowers. Don’t get me wrong – I do get excited when I get an unexpected bouquet in the mail for my birthday or as a thank you present. And, of course I’ll take a picture and post it straight to Instagram, obviously. But there are plenty of less expensive things I’d take over a flower bouquet. Chocolate, for one. Cupcakes. Why don’t you just take me out for dessert? OK, the truth: I’m just not that good at keeping flowers alive.

But when I heard about FruitFlowers, a company that delivers made-to-order edible fruit bouquets to the Tri-County area, that was a different story.

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The company cuts fresh fruit into the shapes of flowers and arranges the pieces bouquet-style in a vase. The individual “flowers” are attached to skewer “stems,” so you can pull out whichever fruit you like and eat it off the stick. There are 102 different arrangements available for purchase online, with sizes ranging from a couple servings to 100 servings. The brand’s signature basket, which I’ve pictured here, contains about 10-12 portions of fruit.

I received an arrangement for review this weekend. It had pineapple, melon, honeydew, strawberries, kiwi and grapes, but baskets with blueberries, oranges, apples and more are also available. Some baskets even come with chocolate- or white-chocolated-dipped fruits. I got wind that an arrangement containing chocolate-dipped bananas will be available soon, too. (Um, I want it already.)

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I was so impressed with the company’s attention to detail and how beautifully cut each piece of fruit is. Each piece of fruit is carefully selected from farmers markets and wholesale vendors – only the freshest pieces make it to delivery. At the Fort Lauderdale location, approximately three people put together each bouquet, assembly-line style. I was fascinated to learn that the workers are such pros it only takes about 15 minutes to put each arrangement together. It would take me hours to make something that beautiful!

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I was especially impressed with the design of the strawberries, which are meant to represent blooming flowers, sliced open ever-so-slightly at the top. A marshmallow is nestled inside the berry, and a kiwi and grape at the base act as the leaves and stem. I have the hardest time finding non-bruised strawberries when I shop, but each strawberry in my basket was a flawless red. The berries were some of the largest strawberries I’ve seen.

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If you are ordering a basket, a few things you should know:

  • The company is still taking deliveries for Thanksgiving, so if you’ve been looking for an ideas for Thursday… you’re welcome.
  • Prices are reasonable; most bouquets seem to fall in the $50 to $100 range.
  • Because the fruits are perishable, baskets are delivered in-person by a FruitFlowers rep during the day. If a recipient isn’t home to accept the arrangement, the company can leave it with a neighbor or contact the recipient to schedule a better delivery time.
  • My basket was delivered from Fort Lauderdale, which has a fleet of five refrigerated vans that travel between Homestead and Jupiter daily. But, as I understand it, there are franchise locations all over the country, so if you don’t live in South Florida, you may still be able to get a fruit bouquet delivered to you.

Photos by Adam Alvarez.