Product Review: Astier de Villatte Candles

9.29 adv allOne of my favorite indulgences is a great candle. They can personalize any room and they come at any budget. One of my very best friends and college roommates, Cassady, first ignited my craze because she would always light candles in our small shared sorority room and it felt like we were in our own little world. Then, when I was an assistant buyer at Barneys I was exposed to luxury brands and developed my own nose. It was there that I discovered my favorite candle brand, Astier de Villatte. ADV is foremost a ceramics shop from Paris with the most delicate, dreamy ceramics. A couple of summers back I visited an antique shop that carried the line called Galerie Salon, located in the St. Germain-Des-Pres neighborhood, and would definitely recommend making a stop to any kitchen wares lover.9.29 adv galeriesalon1But ADV’s gateway drug are their candles. The scents come in either hand-blown glass or ceramics. The names come from cities around the world that the designers have traveled and that inspire them. My favorite is Roquebrune, “Dominating the sea, a ‘perched village’ of Provence crowned with its Carolinian castle. Wandering, lost amongst the narrow, paved streets. Resting in the shadows of Roman arches, bathed in the thousand and one aromas of The South: enigmatic wild sage, spearmint, coriander, rock rose, and bitter orange, with its decisive accent of citrus.” In the US they’re available in a handful of places like ABC Home & Carpet and Aedes. (Disclaimer: ADV candles may be habit forming.)

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-Nikki

Andy Warhol: Shadows

The much anticipated Andy Warhol: Shadows exhibit opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art this week. I know Warhol for his pop art, namely the Campbell’s Soup and Marilyn Monroe series; however, I saw a new side to Warhol in this exhibit. Shadows wowed me not only because it was a different (darker, more abstract) side of Warhol, but also because of the gallery aesthetic.

The MOCA did a fantastic job laying out the exhibit in a huge hall to give you the sense of how vast this series is. This 102 part series was inspired by photographs of shadows taken from Warhol’s New York City studio.  The alternate images are positive and negative imprints of the photographs recreated in different colors.  One review described Shadows as “a purposefully made image of nothing” which I think is kind of poetic. It was also noted that “There is almost nothing on them. Yet they seem to be pictures of something.” Confused yet? See the pictures below.
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A close-up of  the black ‘peak’ on red background displayed next to the pink ‘cap’ on black background.

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-Sheena

Book List: Not That Kind of Girl

9.26 lenaI am so excited to get my hands on Lena Dunham’s eagerly anticipated first book, Not That Kind of Girl. Lena came into the scene with Girls and quickly asserted herself as a brash, bold and precise observer of our generation. I know the term “feminism” is such a loaded, complicated term for women in their 20’s, early 30’s, but Lena is somehow such a clear example to me of what a feminist is. She makes no excuses for her self expression, whether through her oft-written about nudity on her show, or her unfiltered Instagram feed. If she is our generation’s Nora Ephron, we are some lucky bitches.

-Nikki

Heavenly Dries Pixies in Paris

9.26 dries 7Photo courtesy of Style.com

I look forward to Paris Fashion Week for 1 big reason: Dries Van Noten. The Belgian designer does luxe bohemian like no one else. His collections are surprising, full of life and fantasy. This particular collection merged surf with embroidery, calf fur with Indian-inspired fabrics, and of course his hippie/boho vibe signature was woven throughout.

Style.com hailed, “The sheer beauty of Dries Van Noten’s Spring collection was inspired by John Everett Millais’ Ophelia, the Pre-Raphaelite image that launched a million hippie fantasies. In the painting, Ophelia floats dreamily in a magical woodland setting. Van Noten re-created the mood with dusky golden lighting and a mossy forest floor—actually a carpet specially created by the Argentinean artist Alexandra Kehayoglou.”

It was nothing short of breathtaking.

9.26 dries 9.26 dries part 6 9.26 dries part 5 9.26 dries part 4 9.26 dries part 3 9.26 dries part 2Photos via Vogue Paris

-Nikki

Alex and Ani (+) Energy

In honor of my birthday month, I want to write about one of my favorite products as of late. I’ve known about the classic, charmed Alex and Ani bracelets for a while, but I came across their (+) Energy line of bracelets on a recent shopping adventure.

I was drawn to the sapphire charm initially because it is my birthstone and I felt it was a meaningful piece of arm candy. Different from their gold or silver charmed bracelets, the (+) Energy line brings a subtle pop of color while remaining delicate enough for daily wear. I even learned that these bracelets are ‘infused with positive energy!’ Take what you will from that, but I think these bracelets are super adorable.

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“Known as the stone of destiny, September’s sapphire is a symbol of optimism and serenity. Wear sapphire to clear your mind of clutter and to embrace fate”

Cheers to a clearer, wiser, more tranquil year!

-Sheena

Product Review: Eve Lom

I obsess over skin care – likely because I have sensitive skin – but over the last few years I have developed a real passion for researching skin care products and ingredients. I enjoy trying new products – among my favorites to try are under-eye creams, cleansers, and tinted moisturizers. I don’t have a preference between drug store brands versus high end; there are great products everywhere, but it’s all about the ingredients. I found this gem at Sephora.

Eve Lom products have come highly recommended (from Nikki, too!); it just took me a while to try one. I started out with the deluxe Morning Time Cleanser which is special because of its thick, balmy consistency. I was hesitant about applying a balm on my skin. I thought it might leave an oily residue that would clog my pores like others I’ve tried.

Let me describe to you my obsession with this product. The ingredients are what I find unique. I haven’t used any other exfoliator that has Papaya Fruit Enzyme. And this happens to be the gentlest exfoliating product I’ve ever tried. After just one month of using this product, I feel like my skin is looking less dull and feeling more elastic.

The instructions say to warm a small amount in your fingers before applying the product to your dry face. As soon as you squeeze it onto your fingertips, you get a hint of the rich herbal smell. Warning – the smell is strong when you first try it. It took me two washes before I liked it. When you massage the balm onto your face, it is like you are at a spa – refreshing and relaxing. The balm warms up and literally melts onto your skin. It’s such a harmonious process that I want to clean my face with Morning Time Cleanser more often than just in the morning time! Leave the balm on for 2-3 minutes and enjoy the smell (plus it feels super hydrating). Once you rinse your face, your skin will feel as soft as butter and will be glowing. I love the way my skin feels in the morning after using this – sometimes I just slather on some spf and go. It’s as easy as that.

Tip: This product will be great in the winter when it is dry, esp in NYC.

This 1.6oz bottle was $22 at Sephora and it has lasted me over a month. I am swearing by Eve Lom right now.

photo (5)-Sheena

Come over for dinner – it’s Pizza Night!

My family makes homemade pizza ON.THE.REG. We can’t get enough. It is super tasty and practically guilt free since you know everything going in/on the pie. Well, homemade is only half true. But shhh, I’m sharing my family recipe. We prefer the Trader Joe’s dough, Trader Joe’s sauce, Trader Joe’s cheese and just for kicks, Trader Joe’s veggies, too!

You can choose between the herb crust, whole wheat, and white. Tonight, we got one of each.

These are the few simple steps to our tasty meal.

  1. Spice it up. Add plenty oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to the sauce. For me, the spicier the better. I add more than enough C.R.P.photo (4)
  2. Flour flour flour. Sprinkle flour onto the counter (today, we put foil down) and knead the dough. It is best if the dough is left in room temperature for a bit to make it easier to knead. Once it starts behaving, i.e. laying flat without curling back up, you are ready to transfer it to the pizza pan. Be sure to do one final round of stretching it out to the ends once the dough is on the pan. We like it to be thinly spread before it bakes.IMG_6284
  3. Par Bake. Bake the dough at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it is mostly baked, to get it crispy. Tip – if you poke a few holes in the dough with a fork, it keeps it from bubbling. We talk about getting a pizza stone all the time but we really don’t need one with the way our dough comes out. After the par bake, add a sprinkle of olive oil down on the dough to keep it moist.IMG_0578
  4. Sauce it up & Top it up. Leave some extra sauce on the side for the crusts if you don’t spread it all the way out. Add ample veggies and cheese. Veggie pizza in our house always includes jalapenos, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Today, the bell peppers are minced for some reason. And for cheese (the most important part), we use two different types. Sprinkle some Quattro Formaggi from TJ’s and their shredded mozzarella onto each pie.
    photo 1 (10)Here you can see how the dough curled up a bit.
  5. photo 2 (9)Bake. Broil. Eat. It only takes about 10 more minutes to bake and a quick 1 minute broil to get the crust extra crispy and the cheese golden brown. photo 3 (9)Enjoy!

-Sheena