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Build a Beautiful Life With Niche Tea

My regular readers know that I’m all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And one of the best and easiest ways to promote wellness, increase hydration, and support your holistic health is by drinking tea regularly. I’ve become such a tea aficionado after learning the many benefits of these key ingredients and discovering the absolutely delicious taste of Niche Tea.

With innovative flavors ranging from their rose petal-infused Skin blend to oolong-melded Body mix, Niche Tea makes feeling beautiful, vibrant, and energized a breeze.

A Little About Niche

Officially the Niche Company, Niche Tea began as the brainchild of Amanda Miles Ricketts. While Amanda was always a tea lover, she began noticing herbs’ anti-aging and beauty-enhancing effects after she hit the age of thirty. Hoping to hone in on this age-defying effect, she began self-educating, learning all she could about how to increase the effectiveness of tea’s natural powers.

The result of the tea expertise that Amanda cultivated through years of research was a collection of six original tea blends focused on supplementing nutrition and supporting beauty from the inside out. Amanda learned exactly which herbs supported different beauty and health functions and combined them to make a truly gorgeous and delicious product.

Which Flavor to Choose?

Niche now offers six flavors that specifically address different aspects of wellness and beauty. While drinking tea is incredibly healthy in and of itself, these key blends make it even easier to focus on those aspects of your self-image that you would like to improve, whether it’s losing a few pounds, eliminating bags under your eyes, or flushing out your digestive system.

Their six wellness-enhancing teas include:

Skin: Drawing upon the anti-aging and antioxidant properties of white tea, this delicious blend is sweetened and enhanced with hints of hibiscus, dandelion leaves, red clover, rose petals, and elderberries.

Mind: This blend enables you to energize and revitalize mentally with yerba mate, a natural source of mental stimulation and vigor, popular across many Spanish-speaking countries. This flavor also includes hints of cocoa shells, cinnamon, lemongrass, lime leaves, and gota kola, dynamic elements that both stir the mind and tempt the taste buds.

Cleanse: Perfect for those switching over to tea from coffee, this blend of digestion-supporting peppermint, cleansing pu-erh tea, licorice root, ginger root, fennel seeds, and cardamom will clear out your system, leaving you feeling healthy and refreshed. It’s also a great treat for your body after a hard night of partying!

Body: This flavor is designed around the weight loss properties of oolong, a traditional and popular Chinese tea that helps boost the metabolism. Added in are ginger root and aniseed, which work to combat indigestion, and hints of hibiscus, apple, rosehip, cleavers, juniper berries, and orange peel.

Hair: Known for stimulating hair growth and supporting scalp health, peppermint has long been a favorite of beauty experts. This tea harnesses the power of peppermint while also bringing in elements of green tea, nettle leaves, schizandra berries, apple pieces, sage, and chili to keep your hair as thick, luscious, and strong as it is long.

Sleep: Recognizing the effect that a good night’s sleep has on our overall health, Niche has added this relaxing blend of soporific herbs, including rooibos, lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower, rose petals, and lavender. I highly recommend sipping on this tea in the evening while burning your favorite luxury candle to decompress after a long day.

Make a Statement With Your Tea

It doesn’t hurt that each of these teas comes in a gorgeous cylindrical container that looks absolutely stunning next to any of the other blends—meaning that you can buy all six, line them up on your counter, and enjoy the colorful pop that these accent pieces add to your kitchen.

Best of all? I absolutely love that these teas are all natural and packed in pre-measured triangular sachets with the perfect mixture of tea leaves. I can rest assured that I’m getting the highest quality and most nutrient-rich herbs and spices available!

Try Niche Tea today and add an effective and delicious practice to your beauty ritual.

 

ENTERTAINING Featured Lifestyle

Designing A Festive Easter Table Setting

Spring is in full bloom, and I’m loving the fresh air, the scent of blossoming flowers, and the colorful foliage of this vibrant season. Another thing I love about this time of year is Easter—it’s the perfect opportunity to gather family and friends and celebrate.

As with any occasion, no celebration would be complete without a fabulous table setting to set the tone for the event. In anticipation of Easter Sunday this coming weekend, I’ve brought together a few of my favorite table elements to provide a little inspiration for those of you planning to entertain this Easter.

In keeping with the spring spirit, I designed a fun and youthful table for the enjoyment of adults and children alike—and I even incorporated some of the pastel color palette that I shared last week!

Much of the symbolism that we associate with Easter focuses on birth, rebirth, and babies. Think of decorated eggs, blooming flowers, fresh grass, and of course the cute little bunnies themselves.

I like to think of the spring as the chance for a clean slate—the opportunity to pick up any discarded New Years’ resolutions and set goals to last for the rest of the year. Something about all of the rain and baby animals just makes it seem as though anything is possible! To set the stage for this mentality of renewal, I started my tablescape with a plain but elegant white tablecloth. This neutral hue also complements the light color palette of the season, making it a perfect fit.

When was the last time you tried dyeing some hard-boiled eggs? I thought, why not give in to the youthfulness of the season by trying out this practice again? As an adult, you can bring a skilled artistic eye to egg painting that renders gorgeous designs. Plus, it’s a lot of fun dyeing the eggs! I like to use a bit less dye or submerge my eggs for less time to color them in pastel shades perfect for a spring-themed table setting.

As another symbol of spring, any budding blossom makes a fabulous statement for an Easter tablescape. Just follow your heart—or nose—to your favorite flower and let your intuition be your guide. You might even choose some especially dark or bright flowers to accent your table, adding a pop of color that provides a gorgeous “wow” factor. Plus, the scent offered by these blooms is absolutely divine!

To finish my table setting, I love bringing in some of my favorite china. I decided to offset the pastels with a chic gold flourish from the gold-embossed London plates from the Lionel Richie Home Collection. This design doesn’t overpower the other color elements but seems to make them shine, if possible, even more brightly. I suggest pairing this china set with some small verdant elements that reflect the life of the season, such as a few deep green leaves and a sprig of flowers.

To complete the occasion, bring in a cocktail that matches the table in both flavor and design. I particularly enjoy pink, so I suggest pairing some peach Bellini with a sweet rosé—serving these in some gorgeous crystal wine glasses allows the color to further complement the tablescape. Spring is the time to take in some of the sweeter liquors, which are especially appreciated when served chilled on a hot day.

Just remember to go with the feel of the season. Think pastel colors (with a few darker accents here and there!), warmth, and rebirth (eggs, baby animals). Take in a few minutes of delicious sunlight and let the renewal and warmth of spring inspire you to design a tablescape that’s just right for the Easter season.

Featured Lifestyle

Spring Color Palette: Pastels

Spring is finally here! If you’re like me, you likely couldn’t wait to break out your warm weather clothes—some fun and flirty spring fashions to celebrate the end of winter. I absolutely love spring colors and I’m far from alone—many luxury designers began introducing their spring 2017 collections as early as fall of last year!

With this pastel palette (featuring Pantone hues), you’ll be ready to slay with hues that celebrate the season, bring out your natural colors, and complement the spring blooms, whether you’re at home or on the go.

Island Paradise

Living in LA, I feel like I wake up in paradise every morning! Yet, even I have fun bringing the wonder and tranquility of the islands into my home as the weather warms up during the spring. For me, island paradise flawlessly captures the color of the Caribbean sky, evoking an idyllic, dreamy feeling.

Popularized this spring by designers such as Escada and Barbara Bui, island paradise is perfect for handbags, flowy dresses of wispy fabrics, and making a home feel both welcoming and tropical. A deeply relaxing color, I love bringing island paradise into my restrooms to create a restful home spa experience. Make this space even more serene by incorporating the tropical grapefruit and passionfruit-scented Beverly Hills luxury candle from the Estate Collection.

 Orchid Smoke

For a fresh and feminine hue, consider the gorgeous orchid smoke, widely featured in Zac Posen and Balenciaga’s 2017 collections. This muted pinkish-purple shade offers a flirty and romantic alternative to lilac or violet, drawing upon the natural marvel of this equally beautiful blossom. Plus, as a darker pastel, this tone can be great for those who may have trouble finding spring shades that work with their coloring.

I usually wear orchid smoke as an accent color, especially for strappy shoes, sweaters, and even eye shadow. To bring the splendor of a floral garden into your home, use this shade in your sitting room or bedroom—orchid smoke is a great color for accent pillows! Then, add the equally breathtaking fragrance of orchids to your experience of the season by burning the lemon, bergamot, and orchid-scented Manhattan luxury candle.

 Fresh Salmon

I’ll admit, I used to think that I hated salmon. But that was before I learned of its many variations. Fresh salmon, as a slightly more pink salmon hue, just makes this shade feel so much more romantic! There’s something deeply sophisticated, almost Parisian about the color. It reminds me of the soft roses that line the Jardin des Plantes, just a short walk away from a small zoo in the 5th arrondissement.

Brought to the attention of the fashion world this spring by Maison Margiela and Givenchy, fresh salmon can add some femininity to your work wardrobe without making it feel too girly. This color makes for a chic blouse or skirt, perfect for the career woman eager to climb the corporate ladder! I also love this color in my dining room and office, offering a feminine touch that won’t make the guy in your life feel too overwhelmed. Bring an extra hint of French elegance to your space with the fig, cypress, and eucalyptus blend of St. Tropez.

 Double Cream

As with any season, no spring wardrobe would be complete without a muted but attractive neutral, a great accompaniment to any of these other colors. For spring 2017, the color seems to be the delightful and buttery hue of double cream. Think of it as the sprig of edelweiss complementing a fabulously vibrant bouquet.

Making a splash in Prada and Ralph Lauren’s spring 2017 collections, double cream works well with brighter colors—if you’re wearing a dazzling skirt or dress, try accenting it with a double cream belt or top. While this color works anywhere in the home, I absolutely adore double cream linens, such as sheets, table cloths, and towels. Add an additional element of sweetness and freshness to complement your crisp double cream linens with the peach, edelweiss, and bellflower scent of Swiss Alps.

Enjoy the Warmer Weather With Spring’s Hottest Colors

While some of us may want to redecorate our home with each passing season, just by incorporating a few elements with these fresh and verdant colors, you can celebrate change without wearing yourself out. Make the arrival of spring your excuse to add a few fun elements to your home and your wardrobe. It is the season of rebirth, after all!

Note: To make it easy for readers to find the right color, Pantone names were used throughout this article.

 

Featured Lifestyle

Alfred Tea Room

It’s no secret that everyone in LA needs their caffeine fix—the city seems to literally run on coffee and tea. So, when one is trying to decide on a favorite café in this town, the thousands of choices can be a little daunting!

That’s why I was thrilled to discover Alfred Tea Room, which just opened last year and is essentially the café of my dreams—it’s delicious, gorgeous, welcoming, and in the perfect locale! I love that it’s all about tea, coffee’s healthier cousin. Nestled in the heart of Melrose Place, this lovely tea shop—of the same ownership as Alfred Coffee—provides the perfect atmosphere for blogging inspiration and a much-needed break from work.

My Cup of Tea

While a lot of the city has become almost obsessed with coffee, the health benefits of tea make it so much more appealing to me. And, if you never thought you were a tea drinker, check out Alfred’s extensive menu. With everything from boba to loose leaf to blended drinks, Alfred is sure to make some concoction that tickles your taste buds.

If you don’t know where to start, try my absolute favorite: their chai latte (it’s simply to die for)!

Pink Perfection

One of my favorite parts of this café, maybe even more so than their delicious drinks, is the gorgeous pink (some might call it ‘blush’) and black décor. It reminds me of that classic pink Chanel suit with black lapel worn by Jackie Kennedy. The colors just feel so simultaneously glamorous and fashionable.

Plus, there are so many additional sweet elements throughout the café, such as amusing puns (“I love you so matcha”), mirrors, gentle lighting, and—best of all—fresh flowers!

A Shopper’s Retreat

I absolutely love popping in here to rest my feet after a long day. (I can’t do Melrose without at least swinging by Violet Grey and popping in at The Apartment by The Line)—the location simply couldn’t be better! It feels like a secret garden hidden in the middle of the big city, with fresh tea leaves, blooming flowers, and a soothing atmosphere.

Their gift area even offers little pieces of this heaven to take home. I love their cute logo and fun motto (“Tea, yes. You, maybe.”) so much that I find more and more of these adorable mugs adding a splash of color to my kitchen!

West Hollywood’s Hidden Gem

The next time you’re hitting the shops, stop by this hidden gem to take in the delicious blend of tea and fresh flowers. Then check out their fancy pink tea menu, daily specials, and classic items to treat yourself to an unparalleled cup of tea.

 

Featured Lifestyle

Switzerland, City by City: 48 Hours in Zurich

Although I feel like a child of the world in many ways, Switzerland will always have a special place in my heart. After all, there’s no place like my home city of Zurich to learn about Switzerland’s rich cultural history, eat like a queen, and get in some shopping while you’re at it!

While one could literally spend a lifetime exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer, I’ve put together the perfect itinerary for a busy but fun 48 hours in Zurich—filled with all of my favorite spots!

There’s no better place to begin your acquaintance with Zurich than the chic Bahnhofstrasse fashion district (more on that later!)—complete with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior. Treat yourself after your shopping spree at one of these delightful restaurants: Rive Gauche in the heart of the city, George Bar & Grill sailing high above the rooftops, and Hiltl vegetarian restaurant in Sihlstrasse—famous for being the longest-running vegetarian restaurant in the world. Finish off your whirlwind 48 hours with coffee and macarons at the decadent Spruengli.

There’s plenty more to see and explore in this luxurious city—voted one of the wealthiest and happiest places in all of Europe! In between the top spots listed above, take your pick of the entertaining activities below to make the most of your two days in Zurich.

Breakfast on the Limmat River

Take in the local scene and the gorgeous Swiss sunrise at an open-air restaurant along the Limmat River. Then, enjoy a sweet treat from one of the many food carts along this striking and breezy river. The bustling pedestrians and bikers combined with the Limmat’s fresh breezes are the perfect welcome to Zurich!

While I highly recommend one of the Limmat River cruises if you’re in town for more than a couple days, walking the length of this river and along Lake Zurich—which feeds the Limmat—can make for a rich experience and a perfect taste of this city’s wonders.

Build an Unbreakable Love at the Muhlesteg Bridge

There’s no time like late morning to revel in love—your early morning sleepiness has dissipated and the day still feels fresh, new, and full of possibilities. After your river stroll, cross the deeply romantic Muhlesteg Bridge with your beloved, one of several love-lock bridges found across Europe. While this bridge serves the practical purpose of taking you to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping district, it gives you the perfect excuse to celebrate your romance along the way!

Bring a padlock with you to act as a symbol of your love. Together, walk this bridge before offering a sweet kiss to one another and the lock before affixing it to the railing. Then toss away the key (in a waste bin please!) to symbolize your love’s eternal nature.

Shop the Luxurious Bahnhofstrasse Promenade

There’s nothing like a little shopping to bring a smile to my face—especially when traveling! I love opening my suitcase after a trip abroad to discover the lovely pieces that I brought home with me. Each item carries with it the memories of the location I visited!

Bahnhofstrasse, the Swiss German word for “station street,” provides the ultimate shopping experience in Zurich with everything from well-known luxury brands to chic local boutiques.

Plus, did I mention that Bahnhofstrasse is both gorgeous and pedestrian friendly? With numerous benches and parks, the promenade provides a welcoming and awe-inspiring outdoor environment. I recommend starting at the Laderach Chocolatiers on Banhofplatz and following the promenade all the way to Tiffany and Co. on Borsenstrasse—a mere 1 kilometer stroll with a well-deserved lunch detour in Altstadt (Old Town).

Rejuvenate in Altstadt

German for “old town,” Altstadt and its architecture date back to before the middle ages—this small area encompassed the entire city up until the late 1800s. With winding streets, local shops, and street side cafés filled with international delights and local delicacies alike, Altstadt offers a Swiss heritage site replete with national and global significance.

Enjoy classic Swiss cuisine at one of the area’s many restaurants before taking in the historic buildings, graveyards, hills, and fountains. Visit St. Peter’s Church to see the largest clock face in the whole of Europe—installed in 1366—before returning to Bahnhofstrasse to continue your fabulous shopping spree.

Grossmunster Church

Local legend says that the breathtakingly beautiful Grossmunster Church was founded when Charlemagne came upon the graves of Saints Felix and Regula. This Romanesque architectural marvel, erected in 1100 AD, is just a short walk across Munsterbrock Bridge from Bahnhofstrasse.

With astounding twin towers, Grossmunster may be the most recognizable feature in all of Zurich—its ancient peaks tower above the skyline, embodying the timeless grandeur of this historic city. Wander the church grounds to find architectural delights in every nook and cranny before stopping in at one of the local eateries, popular among University of Zurich students, for a quick bite.

The Kunsthaus Zurich Art Gallery

Featuring art by such internationally-acclaimed painters as Monet, Chagall, and Picasso, as well as hundreds of local artists, the Kunsthaus Zurich is the foremost art collection in Switzerland and one of the most renowned in all of Europe. Whether you enjoy ancient or contemporary works, or any art period in between, the Kunsthaus is sure to blow you away.

Conveniently located next to a Zurich tram system stop, this gallery is also extremely accessible. Take in the museum’s grand exterior, designed by famed architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel, before entering. Then, once you’ve explored every exhibit, simply hop on the tram to return to your hotel after a long day of walking and wonder. You may even choose to dine at the elegant and gourmet Kunsthaus Restaurant!

For Art Lovers 

For those of you who are art lovers like me, be sure to also check out Galerie Peter Kilchmann and the Rietberg Museum—and drop into the Starkart Art Gallery in the evening for some amazing contemporary urban art exhibitions. You could fill an entire day just with art!

Plus, if you just happen to be visiting in the fall, consider coordinating your trip with the Contemporary Art Fair Zurich, a stunning display of contemporary art which typically takes place over a weekend in September or October.

Stay for a Day or a Lifetime

While I recommend taking at least a week to roam all of my gorgeous Zurich, this lovely city can also make for a truly romantic (and very busy!) 48 hours. It offers a wonderful glimpse into the whole of Switzerland with highlights in art, history, and cuisine. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Featured Lifestyle Travel

Hottest Travel Destinations

While I love travelling, sometimes figuring out the best place to go to reignite my passion and satisfy my fashion cravings can be difficult. After all, we literally have the whole world to wade through!

Taking style as my guide, I’ve put together a list of six fashion-forward cities that are travel musts for 2017. These six hot destinations offer some of the most beautiful, artistic, and fashionable places on the globe—I’ve already booked my tickets!

Ibiza, Spain

Those who’ve heard Mike Posner’s hit single, “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” know that things can get wild at this gorgeous tourist attraction and party city. While Ibiza is well deserving of this reputation, there is far more to do in this historic town than simply drink and dance. Popular among beautiful people from the world over, this island city is known for its breezy bohemian fashion in addition to being a world heritage site featuring architecture that dates back as early as the 7th century BC.

Sip at a classic Mai Tai and browse the shops—don’t miss Charo Ruiz, Ibiza’s most famous fashion brand—to discover the perfect boho chic ensemble for a night partying under the stars. Plus, the Ibiza Fashion Festival returns this June 9-11!

Tokyo, Japan

Even if you aren’t the “big city” type, Tokyo’s many districts offer a smaller community feel in the midst of this sprawling metropolis. As one of the largest metropolitan regions in the world, Tokyo’s diverse neighborhoods are a dream for any fashion diva! Take in Harajuku street fashion, enjoy a martini at one of the jazz clubs near Tokyo Tower, visit the upscale shopping district of Odaiba, or have a ball at Shibuya’s entertainment district. Chances are that you’ll find plenty of inspiration and more than one on-trend piece to add to your wardrobe while visiting this magnificent city, famous for its street fashion!

The biggest celebration of Japanese style is Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo, coming up this October and featuring the latest in Tokyo street style and top Japanese designers!

Havana, Cuba

One of the more fabulous effects of the U.S. improved relations with Cuba is that the breathtaking capitol of Havana is now open for all tourists to visit! Stepping onto the streets of Havana feels like stepping back in time, with colorful buildings and vintage 1950s automobiles all around. The perfect environment for rocking a pin-up aesthetic, I love drinking a virgin-mojito and waiting for an impromptu street party to begin!

For a day of romance and sightseeing, check out the architecture and history of Habana Vieja (Old Havana), with one of the area’s many walking tours. Or visit the Museum of Rum for a taste of the island’s most popular libation. Who knows, you just might stumble upon a clothing shop offering some killer vintage finds!

To see and be seen in what is perhaps THE hottest travel destination this year, book your ticket for the 19th Habano Cigar Festival, running Feb. 27-March 3.

Hollywood, California, USA

Repopularized with the success of 2016’s La La Land, Hollywood remains as fresh and vibrant as ever. Whether you visit the sets of some of America’s most iconic films, enjoy a scenic hike above the cityscape (Runyon Canyon and Los Leones Trail are two of my frequent haunts), or enjoy a delish meal at one of the city’s posh restaurants (Gwen and Norah are hot right now!), there’s truly something for everyone. I might be a little biased since I call L.A. home these days, but there’s no denying that it’s a trendy city when it comes to the fashion game.

Don’t miss the luxe Rodeo Drive shopping district for VIP treatment from the top luxury brands, and stroll along Melrose Place for access to some of the chicest fashion houses—Marni, Isabel Marant, and Zimmerman among them! While you’re in West Hollywood, be sure to stop by my favorite little coffee shop, Alfred Coffee & Kitchen. After the sun sets, enjoy drinks at one of L.A.’s iconic music venues. Plus, the city’s fashion district is a wonderland of wholesale finds featuring the latest designs at manufacturer prices.

You don’t have to be a movie star to feel like one amidst the glitz and glam of Hollywood!

Melbourne, Australia

Established largely during the 1850s gold rush, Melbourne remains as vibrant as ever with an influential flair for fashion that is quickly catching on the world over. Make sure to check out the the hottest Australian brands this year, from Ellery to Dion Lee and Jac and Jack—shop them and other top Aussie designers at the Bourke Street Mall or High Street Armadale. Visit the majestic Block Arcade in Collins Street to see some of the most beautiful mosaic floors and 19th century architectural details the world has to offer. Fitzroy is also a must-see: an up-and-coming neighborhood known for street art, dive bars, and fabulous music venues.

And, if you want to catch the largest consumer fashion festival in the world, grab tickets for this year’s Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF), which runs March 1-19, before they sell out!

Tangier, Morocco

Known colloquially as the “door to Africa,” Tangier boasts a rich and complex history dating back millennia. Featuring posh beachfront resorts and mountain views, Tangier has all the beauty of the natural world, as well as some of our favorite urban luxuries. After spending a morning basking by the Mediterranean Sea, get in some amazing shopping and discover great deals on everything from custom-made handbags to ceramic tableware—the stunning Moroccan rugs are my favorite!

Before you head home, you just might want to stop off in Marakesh for a visit to some of the top Moroccan designers, including Bakchic and Kaftan Queen!

 

Travel With Style 

While I like to bring fashion with me wherever I go, there’s absolutely nothing better than building up my wardrobe from inspiration received while travelling abroad. By glimpsing all of the wonder that the world has to offer, we learn about new colors, fabrics, and styles that can help boost our fashion to a whole new level.

Take your fashionista spirit with you as you enjoy the delights that these six destinations have to offer!

Featured Lifestyle

Setting the Mood

There’s nothing like some lovely company over a sweet delicacy to cap off the perfect Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. With the right china, a perfect dessert combination, and a few glasses of chilled champagne, your table can set the mood for a wonderful evening rich in romance. I’m excited to share the perfect love-themed dessert setting to enjoy with your beloved this February 14th—all it takes is a few treats and some luxe table elements!

Start off with some classic flavor combinations—the light sweetness of colorful macarons leads into a luscious chocolate cheesecake, finished off with chocolate-dipped strawberries, the perfect aphrodisiac! Don’t forget to toast to your romance with a few glasses of champagne and some gorgeous flowers that scent the air between you, dressed in an elegant vase.

While the company and the dessert will make the night special, the right décor helps set the perfect intimate ambiance. That’s why I chose to complement these delectable sweets with gorgeous dinner plates from the fabulous Lionel Richie Home Collection—the LOVE theme is the perfect embodiment of the everlasting flame that burns between you and your beloved. If you’re an L.A. local, you’re in luck—Geary’s Beverly Hills just happens to carry this ornate plate set, along with the entire Lionel Richie Home Collection!

This sweet, playful “love” plating conjures up memories of countless moments spent together, evocative of Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE statues the world over. Looking at these plates, I’m reminded of stopping to admire Indiana’s iconic statue at 55th and 6th Ave in Midtown Manhattan. If you’re like me and you love to travel, these lovely dishes might even spark a memory from a romantic trip to Tokyo, London, or any number of destinations across the globe.

Indulge in some sweetness this February 14th by re-creating this exquisite dessert setting for your lover—it has all the makings of an unforgettable Valentine’s Day!

 

Lifestyle

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

While Valentine’s Day tends to put more pressure on men in relationships, the truth is our gents like to be pampered just as much as we do! After all, if Valentine’s Day is the one day a year when we really go out of our way to make our lovers feel special, then valentine gift-giving should go both ways in a relationship.

This year, make the man in your life feel like a sophisticated and tech-savvy gentleman with these gifts inspired by five different guy types. Whether he’s channeling his inner international man of mystery, working hard to get that muscled physique, or flaunting his modern style, these gifts will ensure that your partner feels sexy and adored.

The Jetsetter

For the mysterious and worldly gentleman, try a gift that exudes internationalism, intelligence, and style. The Estate Collection’s St. Tropez luxury candle will make him feel like he’s in the middle of a speedboat chase in the South of France with you at his side. With notes of cypress, eucalyptus, and patchouli, St. Tropez offers the manliest of scents. Pair it with Tom Ford’s Marko sunglasses and your man will be poised to take you jet-setting across the globe!

The Debonair Gent

Smooth, charming, and talented, the debonair gent loves only one thing more than the dame at his side: a smooth pour of whiskey in a cool, solid glass. A set of iconic crooner Lionel Richie’s Home Collection Black Onyx Rocks glasses and a bottle of top-shelf whiskey is the perfect gift to show your man how much he lights your fire. Snuggle up on the couch, pour him a tumbler of his favorite libation, and enjoy a romantic evening together!

The Outdoorsman

Tech-savvy and not afraid of getting his hands dirty, the outdoorsman is the rugged survivalist we wouldn’t mind being stranded on a desert island with! While your guy may not be a professional adventurer, he’s sure to appreciate techy gadgets he can play with in the great outdoors. Celebrate his adventurous streak with a recreational hobby drone, perfect for taking aerial videos, whether he’s close to home or trekking through the Australian outback.

The Metropolitan Metrosexual

If your man sports a classy, metro style and is constantly on the move, choose a gift that complements his busy lifestyle. Chances are your metro man simply doesn’t have the time to spare when it comes to finding his wallet and keys. For a sleek techy solution that will keep him on trend, try Tile with the Bellroy Leather Note Sleeve Wallet, which can easily fit in the pocket of even the tightest pair of pants. Tile offers small Bluetooth trackers that attach to one’s keys, wallet, remote control, and other easily lost items. Simply download the app on a smartphone and computer, and your guy will never be slowed down by misplaced items again!

The Fit Guy

A true fitness aficionado, the fit guy works hard to make sure he looks good just for you! Whether a weight trainer, martial arts enthusiast, or runner, this guy loves staying active and keeping it tight. With so much time spent working out, a signature scent will enhance the allure of his amazing bod even more. Make him feel sexy all day long with the iconic Givenchy π (Pi) Cologne. This deeply masculine, sensual fragrance will make your man feel as irresistible as you find him, even while he’s completing a triathlon!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Make this Valentine’s Day an unforgettable one with these fun, sexy, and sophisticated gifts for him. Whether your lover is more of the athletic type, a man of mystery, a debonair gentleman, or just plain sexy, these gifts will let him know that you appreciate him just as he is.

Photo: Runner

Featured Lifestyle

The Year of the Rooster: Celebrating Chinese New Year, LA Style

Last Saturday on January 28, Chinese New Year came fire-cracking in—cymbals clashing, brightly scaled dragons roving the streets, and the most vivid explosions of all shades red and yellow. Traditionally, these celebrations last up to three weeks, and welcoming in 2017 means that we’re celebrating the year of the proud, crimson-combed rooster.

I’m excited to share some fun facts about Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster with you—and some savvy locals-only tips (shhhh) for how to continue to ring in the Chinese New Year, LA-style!

What exactly is Chinese New Year?

Historically, China followed its own calendar—different than the one developed by the West. The Chinese calendar dates back to around the 14th century BC, making it much, much older than the Gregorian calendar used in the U.S. and most of the world. And although the modern-day Chinese no longer use the traditional Chinese calendar, it still holds cultural significance and determines the dates of celebrations like Chinese New Year. Read on for more interesting nuggets about this celebratory time of year!

The Myth of Nian and the Birth of Chinese New Year

Legend has it that many centuries ago a great monster called Nian, or “Year” in English, ravaged a small village in China towards the end of the winter months when food was scarce, feasting on the people who lived there. One day, a brave old man visited the village, decorated himself with bright red paper, armed himself with firecrackers, and went to brave the beast. Everyone else in the village thought he was a lunatic and a fool.

But the loud noises and the color red drove Nian away, much to the villagers’ surprise! Every year thereafter at this time of year, the villagers would festoon everything in red and set firecrackers hissing and screaming the air. Nian never returned, and the yearly ritual eventually turned into a celebration observed throughout China—and around the world.

What is the Chinese Zodiac?

The Chinese Zodiac features twelve animals, one for every year in the lunar calendar, making up a twelve-year cycle. The ancient tale of The Great Race tells of a dozen animals who all set out to cross a stream. The quickest one to make it across was the Rat. Then came the Ox, Tiger, and Rabbit. Next, the Dragon flew over, followed by the Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and, finally, the Pig. They all tried different ways of getting across the stream, with some of them helping each other or lingering along the way. The order that the animals made it across determined the order of what is now known as the Chinese Zodiac.

So, if you were born in the following years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, then the Rooster is your Chinese Zodiac sign. But remember that your birth year needs to be based on the Chinese, or lunar, calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. The lunar year generally starts between January 21 and February 20 of each year, depending on the moon cycle and whether it’s a leap year or not—check out this guide for more details on how it works!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the year of your animal may be filled with bad luck, so be careful about your decisions and actions during that time (hint: it might not be the best year to make any dramatic changes in your life)!

What are the Qualities of the Rooster?   

According to the Chinese Zodiac, those of you lucky enough to be born in a Rooster Year are hardworking and honest people who are confident in your abilities, love to talk, and enjoy spending time with others.

But because in Chinese culture every year is not only associated with an animal, but also an element, if you’ve just had a little one or know of someone who has, then he or she is a Fire Rooster. And if you were born in 1957, you’re a Fire Rooster also!

In addition to the qualities of the Rooster I’ve already mentioned, a Fire Rooster is even more active, motivated, and successful, but with a fiery temper to accompany those traits, and a zeal for his or her own ideas. Watch out, new parents!!!

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year in LA Style

If you’re anything like me, you’ll take any excuse to celebrate! Let’s talk about some great spots in L.A. to dazzle and be dazzled in celebration of the Chinese New Year. These are some of my personal L.A.-local favs!If you’re a lover of the arts, the galleries along Chung King Road in Chinatown, off the 110 Freeway by the Hill Street exit, feature a fabulous variety of styles and pieces. This narrow street is mostly quiet by day, but these galleries have been known to throw some unforgettable parties for the art aficionado crowd by night. From the Charlie James Gallery to the Red Pipe Gallery to Automata, your creative side is sure to be sparked by these innovative spaces!

Another one of my frequent haunts is the Chinese American Museum, located at 425 N Los Angeles St. The museum is housed in the oldest structure of L.A.’s original Chinatown, and does a lovely job curating and preserving the rich heritage of Chinese Americans.

Finally, no celebration is complete without some fabulous food. Luckily, L.A. is home to some of the best Chinese restaurants in the country. Yang Chow is a beloved fixture in the heart of Chinatown that’s proven its mastery of Chinese cuisine over the decades. And for some amazing dim sum, don’t miss Lunasia—it’s well worth the trek to Alhambra!

I hope you enjoy the scenery and soak up the history of Chinese Americans’ deep roots in L.A. Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!

Photos: New Land MagazinePaolo Camera, Maridethsisco.com, Time Out

DYI Lifestyle

New Year, Better You: Beauty Tips for 2017

New Year, Better You: My Beauty Tips for 2017

 

As the New Year rolls in, many of us are determined to make some changes towards “a better me.” Just like every new year, we tend to overwhelm ourselves with mammoth-sized goals and ridiculous timelines. No wonder we stumble and fall! Although setting big goals and having timelines is a great idea, success sometimes lies in the finer details.

 

This year, it’s all about incorporating small changes into your lifestyle. I prefer to make small changes that won’t bring that feeling of dread when it’s time to put them into practice (or that feeling of guilt when you don’t do them). That way, you’re more likely to stick to them.

 

Living the chic life should be as effortless and simple as possible. With my beauty tips for 2017, you’ll soon be looking and feeling luminous – without a second thought!

 

Looking and Feeling Your Best

 

  1. Take a Page Out of Sleeping Beauty’s Book

 

I don’t know about you, but any list that encourages me to get more sleep has my complete attention. Life can get busy, and with so many things on your plate, it’s easy to fall behind on your beauty sleep. This can leave you with dull, puffy skin, and it can also make the dark circles under your eyes even worse.

 

Did you know that your skin repairs itself at night? So while you’re getting some good quality sleep, your skin is doing some amazing things – and you don’t have to lift a finger! Not only does your skin improve, but your entire body has time to recover, leaving you looking and feeling rejuvenated in the morning. Sleeping beauty was definitely on to something…

 

Additionally, I encourage you to pamper your skin. Invest in good quality sunscreen, cleansers, moisturizers, and serums that will leave you feeling like the queen you are. Simple morning and nighttime skincare routines will save you lots of money in the long run and will help you stay naturally flawless for years to come. #iwokeuplikethis

  1. Stay Hydrated

 

Water truly is life. When you increase your water intake, your skin cells will stay hydrated – this helps keep wrinkles away and makes your skin more radiant! So this year, resolve to drink more water. No matter where I am, I always make sure that there’s a glass – or bottle – of water nearby.

 

Make yourself a simple promise: keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Your skin will thank you for it.

  1. Eat Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You

 

Beauty begins on the inside. This doesn’t just mean personality; what you feed your body has a direct impact on the health of your skin. Provide your body with the nutrients it needs and watch as your hair, skin, and overall health changes before your eyes.

 

Start by making small, healthy changes like cutting your sugar intake, adding more fruits and veggies, or swapping a few cups of coffee for green tea. Once you see the results of these small changes, you might just be inspired to take it a step further. Aim to be healthier overall rather than focusing on losing a couple of pounds.

  1. Make Exercise Fun

 

The truth is, exercising can be a drag. Which is probably why many of us stop making our workout times right around when February hits. That’s why one of my beauty tips for 2017 is to find a way to make exercise fun for you.

 

Do you enjoy dancing? Join a dance class. If you love the water, start swimming. Exercise is great for your mood, overall health, and your skin! Find a form of exercise you enjoy and it’ll feel less like a chore.

  1. Fill Your Bucket

 

This beauty tip is all about working on your self-confidence. Beauty and self-confidence go hand in hand. If you want to look and feel luminous in 2017, this is probably the best place to start (it probably should have been at the top of this list). All the makeup in the world isn’t going to help if you don’t feel beautiful.

 

So how do you fill your bucket? Start by complimenting yourself every day – praise both a physical feature and an aspect of your personality. For example, “I have beautiful brown eyes and I’m an honest person.”

 

Make the effort to engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself; congratulate yourself on a job well done; listen to music. Whatever it is that makes you feel more confident – do it!

New Year, Better You: It’s the Little Things

 

Living a chic lifestyle is all about attitude. It starts with you. Once you feel good about yourself, that energy will radiate outward, manifesting itself in all aspects of your life. It will definitely be noticed by those around you. My beauty tips for 2017 may seem small, but they’re each designed to show you that achieving small goals will give you that boost of confidence you need to conquer the bigger ones.

 

What are some of your beauty tips for 2017? Comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

 

Here’s to a better you!

Photos and Graphics: Naadine Koi