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Friday, February 18, 2011

What's In A Name?

There has long been a debate amongst fashionistas and non fashionistas regarding the quality of goods and the brands they are associated with. Does brand name equal better quality?

What do you guys think?

For me, there is a lot of truth in that statement. Whether it is a car, a handbag, or a camera people look to purchase from trusted brands. In this case, I want to examine fashion relative to this notion of "what's in a name."

Why are consumers more inclined to like something based solely on the brand? I think a lot of it has to do with history. Some of the biggest brands out there have been around for centuries. Take for instance Swiss based luxury watch, jewelry, and accessories company Chopard. It has been around since 1860! I mean that alone impresses me. Any company who could withstand the test of time through weathering economies, wars, depression, social and political changes has got a fan in me. They have some of the most amazing pieces of retail art I have ever seen, and to wear a piece from such a renowned company is definitely an attraction in itself. But when you are paying tens of thousands of dollars, the quality should be premium and it should last you a lifetime.

Same thing goes for a classic Chanel tweed jacket. When you're spending $10,000 on it, it's not only because it's the name, but because it is a classic piece that can reinvent your wardrobe season after season, lasting you maybe 15 or more years. And while brand name handbags and shoes are also expected to last longer than the average pair of Payless Shoes, that too comes with a hefty price tag. They are hand made by trained artisans of Italy, France, and Spain.

Now I'm not saying every brand name item is worth the hype or the praise, that's why you have to do your research before you buy anything these days. That's what the internet is for. There are so many replicas out there that you have to know exactly what you are buying and from whom. And as with anything, designers can have a bad batch shipped out for retail, that you can't predict, but at least you can get your money back from your retailer. So before considering buying a brand name item over a non brand name, I would first consider your budget and options, and do some research before making your final decision.

As for me, I can't afford to buy everything brand name, so I try to pick out the best items at the price point I want to spend, and if I feel like splurging, that's a whole other story.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring Face, Are You Ready?

The other day I attended a seminar for Revive skincare and I must share with you the effectiveness of this wonderful line. Spring is just around the corner, and just like the seasons, our skin goes through cycles as well. Young skin regenerates every 28 days, while older skin can take a lot longer to re-grow cells, therefore it is vital that every woman has a good regiment to support their skin's needs. Most of us aren't born with flawless skin genes, we have to work on it, like everything else.

I have been a devout Revive client since my co-workers turned me on to their products in 2008. The line was launched in 1997 by Dr. Gregory Brown, a well-known plastic surgeon with over 20 years experience. What's amazing about Dr. Brown is that he discovered a bioengineered molecule called EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) that helps the skin of burn victims regenerate dramatically faster. This discovery won the Nobel prize in 1984. So using this same EGF molecule, he started this skincare line years later.

There is a product in this line for everyone. But the 5 products you should start with are:
1) Moisturizing Renewal Cream ($165)- the original product that was created by Dr. Brown which gives an instant glow to the skin when used. This product is your night time cream, after you have cleansed and tone your face.

2) Sensitif Cellular Repair Cream with SPF 15($195)-this is your day time cream and provides protection against free-radicals with a light SPF coverage.

3)Moisturizing Renewal Eye Cream ($130)- this product is brand new and will be launched in March. I am super excited to try to affordable eye cream because I have used two of their other great eye creams ( Le Yeux Presse, and Intensite Les Yeux) which are both significantly more expensive.

4) Cleanser Gentil Gelee ($65)- a great foaming gel cleanser that removes makeup and impurities but does not dry out your skin. This is for all skin types and one of my favorite cleansers I've ever tried.

5) Fermitif Neck Renewal Cream with SPF 15 ($130)- I highly suggest getting this product because even if you are young and have not thought about your neck area and decolletage, you need to start using neck cream now, to prevent wrinkles and sagging in the future. The most unattractive thing on an older woman's face is a beautiful face, and a sun damaged wrinkly neck.

This should be your day to day regiment. I really do believe in this product because I have seen it work for my skin. Of course everyone's skin is different, but this line has products for sensitive, acne prone, oily and dry skin...pretty much everything. You should go to your nearest store and ask for a few samples to try out, at leas two week's worth so you can see if there is a difference in your skin.

They have 3 other products that are amazing:
1) Masque de Glaise ($145)- this masque is so effective. It tightens and brightens your skin instantly. I have it on right now!

2)Microdermabrasion Renewal System ($250)- The BEST face scrub I've found. The grains are small, but really gets deep down under your pores and it comes with a calming gel cream to apply after your scrub. I do this once a week.

3) masque des Yeux ($185)- Another great product that reduces fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness. After a long night of fun I apply this in the morning for about 30 minutes to get the life back in my eye area. This difference you can see instantly.

I really do feel like someone paid me to write about this line, but I believe in these products and is currently using all of it and want to share with you what wonderful products they are. When thinking about your Spring wardrobe, don't forget that a fresh face can make you look youthful and new.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Need A Lift?

Let me show you how to wedge it up!

I left Paris this past weekend feeling more inspired than ever about how fashion can be a beautiful form of art, and how I can see myself as a painter with my own canvas. Daily, my job is to create, define, and inspire people to look their best. Solely because when people look their best, they exude an air of confidence that can positively effect their performance. At least that is my ideology.

This Spring a few trends stand out above the rest: coral (shades of pale orange to bright pinks), bohemian dressing (maxi dresses, wide leg/bell bottom pants, peasant blouses), floral prints, and long necklaces.

Wedges and Espadrilles are the best compliments to these great trends. They make everyone taller and leaner, they're more comfortable than most shoe styles, and they come in a variety of heights, designs, and colors. Designers this season have done a great job at giving consumers a wide array of choices to choose from. They are a must for this season to complete your outfit to look fresh and on trend. Plus they come in every price point!

These featured wedges are some of my favorites. You can be sure that I will be adding one of these styles to my wardrobe early this season. I am so ready for Spring and sunshine!
Lanvin- Neiman Marcus: $1280
Lanvin- Neiman Marcus: $1240

Edmundo Castillo: Saks Fifth Avenue: $495

Valentino- Neiman Marcus: $1095

Yves St. Laurent- Barneys: $695 Miu Miu- Barneys: $560
Fendi- Saks Fifth Avenue: $670
Alexander Wang: Saks Fifth Avenue: $550

Friday, February 4, 2011

K is for Karl.

Lagerfeld that is.

Many activities in Paris over the past week have been about experiencing the things I can't experience in the states. So today we started off a little late because I was up super late the night before. So a little drowsy and with sore feet, Meesh and I took off to explore Paris on our second to last day. Everything that we have experienced thus far have been truly Parisian, and today we were hoping it wouldn't be any different.

One place I wanted to visit while in town was recommended to me by my friend Kathryn L. She said a must see is 7L, Karl Lagerfeld's bookstore. I didn't know he had a bookstore, but excited to explore since I love KL and anything Chanel. Strolling down Rue de Lille across from the Musee de Orsay wasn't anything out of the ordinary. At the end of the street to the right was the small bookstore. Of course I had Meesh take a photo of me in front of the shop. She leaned against a Rolls Royce(without realizing it) to get the whole store front in the photo for me. Haha.

We entered the book store, looked around, and there were two young Italian girls browsing the books, 3 workers, and Meesh and I looking lost in the midst of the thousands of pages of fashion and art. Even though the store was small, there seemed to be a hallway leading into the back area with more books, so I headed back there and called out to Meesh to come along. In the hallway hung a portrait of KL, and I quickly tried to take a photo of it. When a gentleman there saw me, he said I couldn't take a photo and that the back room was for private use.

So I walked back to the front and was extremely disappointed that I couldn't take a photo of Karl on the wall. So back to browsing the fashion books I went, intrigued by all the cool coffee table books they had and pondering wether or not I can fit one more souvenir into my carry-on. Meesh turned to me and whispered "OMG it's him!" Which caught me completely off-guard. As I turned, I saw a wax like figure at the corner of my eye. Dressed in a black tuxedo, white shirt, black tie, and sunglasses. I gasped! OMG it was KARL LAGERFELD himself!

Mind you the book store was tiny, and he was two feet away from me. I could smell his scent, and heard his intriguing voice (which was the reason why Meesh turned to see who was speaking in the first place). Mouth dropped and eyes wide open, I was completely star struck and in utter shock. All I could think to do was to hide myself in the nook of books. While Meesh was widely smiling at him. I had my hand over my mouth, stared at the 4 bodyguards and was dying of shock. The bodyguards looked at me in awe themselves. While the two Italian girls acted like God didn't just appear in front of them.

Even as I am writing this I cannot put my mind around what occurred today. Never in my life did I imagine ever being that up close and personal with the most well known designer in the world. He waved at us as he walked to the private back room. I was still in complete shock and couldn't get out of my nook. I stood there for another two minutes frozen in time, thinking I could possibly be daydreaming, or drunk, or delusional from the long days and late nights we've had.

But no! I was in the same room breathing the same air as Karl Lagerfeld, and Meesh was there to be my witness. Of course you don't ask to take a picture with God, but you know he exists, and today I was blessed. Blessed to be there at the right moment, at the right time, took the right metro, and didn't get lost.

He looked like a statue, I just can't explain it. He looked exactly like he does in magazines and photographs. For 77, he looked prim, proper, and elegantly sophisticated. I guess you can't ask for any less of a man who has reinvented fashion and is a world ICON.

I doubt I will ever get to be that close to him again in my whole life, so today was an EPIC day. The ultimate icing on the cake of an awesome trip to Paris. Tomorrow is our last day, so we're going to try and take it all in, the nuisances, the surprises, the unexpected twists and turns.

C'est la vie!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Beaune and Pommard- Wine country.

Today we visited Beaune and Pommard which is about 40 minutes from Dijon. Although the towns dates back to around the Middle Ages like Dijon, it is much more compact. Both towns are world famous for their vineyards and wine, some of the best in the world come from this region. We were able to visit Ba's cousin's winery (Domaine Lahaye) to check out the wine cellars and taste some wonderful wines. I have never been to such a winery before, it was built in the 15th century and has been added on since then and is still expanding.

Before we went to the winery we visited Ba and Eric's grandparent's home and had a gallette that Ba made with them. She is so talented, just like Thip. They make wonderful desserts! We also finally had our first crepes in France in Beaune. The menu was all in French, so Meesh and I just pointed to one that we thought might be what we thought it was. Mine turned out to be nothing like I had thought. It was a crepe filled with raspberry sorbet, meringue, and berry sauce. Meesh had a chocolate and whip cream crepe. Both were so yummy we ate it all, even though it was before lunch time. I also finally had coq a vin, but was not impressed by the way the restaurant made it. I will have to try it again in Paris if we have time.

I enjoyed checking out the Hostel Dieu (which I thought was Dien..haha.) It served as a hospice for the poor and needy. Nicolas Rolin, chancellor to the Duke of Burgundy, and his wife founded the hospice in 1443 and most of the original conditions are kept as is. The well in the front of the building provided water for the whole hospital. Meesh and I both threw a coin in to make a wish. Inside they made their own medication and the same jars are still kept in the cabinets. The medical tools used were also there as well as the 50 beds for the patients has never been expanded. It was such an interesting experience to see a charitable hospice of the Middle Ages. The most beautiful 17th century painting by artist Rogier van der Weyden called "The Last Judgement" depicts heaven and hell and the disciples praying to Jesus to forgive them. It used to hang on top of the altar where the sick was cared for, and they were only allowed to visit the painting once a week to pray and seek guidance. The remains of Guigone de Salins, Rolin's wife, is buried under the altar.

It was another truly amazing historical day. Tomorrow we head back to Paris for more exploring, eating, and adventures. Until then...