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Ladurée: Parisian Chic with Global Appeal

There’s no shortage of elegant pastry boutiques in Paris. It is the patisserie—or pastry shop—capital of the world, after all! The city of light boasts hundreds of gorgeous displays that vie for visitors’ attention—and the contents of our purses—as we make our way around this chic, sweet-toothed metropolis.

While there are literally hundreds of pastry shops worth enjoying in Paris, from the cute and cheeky to the magnificent and grandiose, few have the history and status of Ladurée. Its jaw-droppingly gorgeous shopfront, opulent European interior, and flavorful macarons that rightfully draw visitors from around the world. Only those with serious willpower will be able to walk past it without sampling something!

For the majority of us—myself included—who can’t resist its allure, Ladurée will have you pushing open the door and stepping into that confectionary cloud of sweetness before you even know what’s happening.

Ladurée

Ladurée – Two Centuries of Excellence

The French word for “the duration,” Ladurée has become a Parisian institution since opening its doors as a bakery in 1862. This is not a small thing in a city full of century-old shops and restaurants! I feel like the name, a tribute to the founder, also offers a testament to the timelessness of these breathtaking, delicious treats. They truly bring lucky visitors a taste to remember for “the duration” of their lives.

After a devastating fire in 1871, the owner seized the opportunity to reinvent the storefront as a luxurious patisserie. No expense was spared during the refurbishment. Even celebrated French painter Jules Chéret was commissioned to update the spectacular interior. True to his reputation, Chéret transformed the remains of the humble bakery into the stunningly lavish destination café that it is today.

Ladurée embodies a magnificence that has far outlasted the Belle Époque. It is the beautiful era of peace, optimism, and artistic creation in France—during which it was born.

Ladurée outlasted not only a fire, but also the harshness of two world wars. This is a huge testament to the quality of its confections and gloriously decadent dining space. Despite many changes to the foundations of Paris, Ladurée remains THE pastry boutique of choice for Parisians and visitors alike.

Ladurée

More Than Macarons

The reputations of Parisian pastry shops can be made or broken based on the quality of their macarons. These circular little meringues usually have a buttercream or ganache filling. They are usually presented in delicate, pastel colors reminiscent of the opulent rococo era.

As the patisserie of the Parisian elites, Ladurée offers some of the finest macarons anywhere in the world. When you walk into Ladurée’s shop, you’ll immediately notice these gorgeous treats filling the display cases. The pastry shop bakes a mouth-watering variety of flavors. Some of the flavors include pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, mint chocolate, citron, and raspberry. Plus, all of this deliciousness comes in an adorable pink, polka-dot gift box.

You’re also likely to spot a huge array of other incredible delicacies—from mille-feuille to éclairs. Like the macarons, all of these scrumptious treats are available in elegant gift boxes. They are perfect to take home for a dinner party. You can even gift these beautiful macarons to a friend or lover, or keep to indulge in alone.

To be honest, as much as I love gifting, I usually can’t make it a single night without breaking into to my delectable box of Ladurée macarons!

Ladurée

A Parisian Taste for Global Audiences

Ladurée is such a special experience. The company eventually realized that it simply wasn’t fair to limit their pastries to Paris. That’s why this delicious brand now offers boutiques all over the world, bringing Parisian pastry expertise and design to a global audience.

In London, there are four Ladurée boutiques, each with a wonderfully unique design. Across the pond, in New York, there’s a pretty courtyard café in SoHo and a beautifully appointed counter and seating area in Madison. Both are hugely popular with locals and tourists! Each Ladurée boutique is different, while still remaining true to its Parisian roots with interiors designed by renowned experts in visual marketing.

The Ladurée reputation is so profound that its brand crosses language, cultures, and distances to bring madeleines and macarons to confectionery connoisseurs around the world. From the Middle East and Asia to Canada and South America, it seems there isn’t one corner of the globe that isn’t lucky enough to be touched by the exquisite flavor of this one-of-a-kind pastry shop.

Ladurée Ladurée truly offers the full package—history, elegance, and tasty decadence.

For the flavor, view, and amazing experience, take my advice and find your nearest Ladurée store today. I promise you won’t regret it!

Lifestyle TECH TALK

Planoly: An Easy-to-Use, Glamorous Tool for Instagram

As a busy blogger and business leader, Instagram has become a fun, essential platform for me to stay connected to my growing community. As much as I love creating a tablescape, there’s absolutely nothing as thrilling as receiving all of your wonderful suggestions, compliments, and comments on my designs!

Staying on top of all that content and making sure that I post high-quality material can be tricky, though. I know that my followers deserve the best. Without a doubt, I always strive to deliver timely and consistent content.

That’s why I’ve started using some social media tools to help me manage my platforms. I can now post regularly, upload high-quality content, and respond to your fabulous ideas as quickly as possible. When it comes to my design-focused lifestyle posts, I can always rely on the beauty and simplicity of Planoly for managing my Instagram account! I’ve put together a quick overview of this useful app to highlight some of its key features that I use on the regular.

Planoly

Focus on the Visual With Planoly

One of the reasons I really love Planoly is that, when scheduling out posts to publish, I can easily visualize how all of my Instagram posts will look together.

As a design and travel addict, I care about how each individual image will appear on your screens. I also like to know how all of my posts look next to one another. I like to think of my Instagram posts as both individual portraits and significant parts of the larger gallery that is my Instagram page.

With Planoly, I can literally drag the different scheduled images around on my screen. This way, each piece complements the ones beside it. It even allows me to see all of the different images from my Instagram history together. Also, it ensures that every piece is aesthetically delightful and on point.

Planoly

Connecting with My Community Using Planoly

Planoly makes it easy for me to stay connected with my Dream.Design.Discover community. All this without having to continuously check back on old posts to view comments. Moreover, I now get all my comments in one centralized “inbox” that I can access from my desktop or smartphone. This makes it easy to keep a conversation going and be as responsive as possible to my followers!

This commenting feature even lets me star specific discussions so that I can easily find them later. If someone recommends a fabulous designer swimsuit in December, I can quickly find it again in June without scrolling for ages.

Best of all, Planoly catches typos, offering an extra level of screening to catch any embarrassing mistakes.

Easy-to-Understand Visitor Data

Planoly does a great job simplifying the stats we want to know and making them easily digestible. From “most liked” and “most commented” to “likes received,” Planoly summarizes user data using the standard social media lingo that we’re already accustomed to.

These simple stats help me better understand which posts my community members absolutely love, which ones make them want to engage with me, and which ones weren’t a big hit. Perfect information for planning future posts!

Instagram Like a (Social Media) Boss

Of course, I can also curate and repost other users’ content that I absolutely love! Another bonus? Planoly is one of the least expensive Instagram management tools available.

Planoly makes it easy for everyone to make their Instagram accounts shine. Even those users who aren’t that tech-savvy will find it simple to use!

Try it out free for 15 days (free trial) and let me know what you think.

Lifestyle

Feel Fabulous: Aromatherapy

If you’re like me, you don’t need a special occasion to put flame to your favorite luxury candles. Any time is a perfect time to surround yourself with such luscious fragrances. It’s absolutely perfect to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy every once in a while!

As a travel, fragrance, and beauty enthusiast, I wanted to go beyond just providing amazing scents when creating my own candle line, The Estate Collection. I love a beautiful and evocative aroma just as much as the next girl. But, as a practitioner of aromatherapy, I also wanted to make one-of-a-kind fragrances that were beneficial to one’s overall health.

Not sure which aromatherapy candle you need in your life?

Learn more about the benefits of The Estate Collection luxury candles in this brief overview of some of their aromatherapy applications.

Look Your Best with Beverly Hills

As a transplant to L.A., I’ve learned first-hand that many of its residents are focused on tending to their health. As a result, this has a transformative effect on both one’s body and mind.

This lifestyle comes down to caring for your overall wellness and implementing healthy behaviors that make you more beautiful from the inside out.

Inspired by the health focus of this city, my Beverly Hills candle offers a scent that helps each fragrance enthusiast look their best while attending to their bodies naturally. Key notes of grapefruit inspire healthy weight loss through decreased sugar cravings, less water retention, and whole-body cleansing. Passion fruit provides a serious boost to skin health with its anti-aging, sun protection, rejuvenating, and hydrating properties.

Beverly Hills makes feeling your best a breeze. Light this candle as you prepare for the day. It will help you experience your best intentions coming forward, helping you feel gorgeous, inside and out.

aromatherapy

Create Your Aromatherapy Masterpiece with Manhattan

As a creative spirit, I know that coming up with original, charming ideas can take a lot of hard work and inspiration. We all have moments when, for whatever reason, we just can’t get motivated. No matter how beautiful the weather is outside or how uplifting the music on the radio!

That’s why I worked hard to package the muse that is Central Park in my Manhattan candle. Inhaling this candle is like taking a trip to one of my favorite cities on earth without any worry about time or travel fees. It’s a flawless cure for even the worst case of writer’s block.

Drawing upon the alluring fragrances of Central Park in spring, this candle will inspire your creativity to help your brilliance shine. With spiritually-uplifting and concentration-promoting lemon and bergamot, this candle is the perfect complement to a cup of black tea or coffee. Each of these fragrances promote natural wakefulness even in the early morning hours or late at night. They are just perfect for whenever inspiration strikes!

Plus, bergamot helps support overall physical health. It can make it easier for you to get back to work after a fantastic night spent on the town doing “research.” Manhattan is an ideal aroma for New York natives and would-be tourists alike.

aromatherapy

Heal Naturally with St. Tropez

It used to be that whenever someone was feeling under the weather, doctors would prescribe a prolonged trip to a warmer climate. It would typically be southern California, the tropics, or the luscious French Riviera.

Today, there continues to be something so rejuvenating about spending time in a temperate climate. Its summerlike weather keeps me constantly motivated to face any challenge that comes my way!

Science claims that there are benefits of warmer temperatures for healing aches and supporting respiratory health. Surprising or not, warmer fragrances have these same healing attributes. For healing wounds, treating cramps, removing toxins, healing stress, and supporting respiratory health, there is nothing like the power of cypress. Combined with the antiseptic qualities, mental uplift, and overall holistic benefits of eucalyptus, plus the sweet freshness of fig, this pairing makes my St. Tropez candle a must-have for natural, quick healing.

With the strike of a match, you’ll be transported to the beaches of the French Riviera. This is one of the places where your troubles will melt away.

aromatherapy

Take a Trip to the Spa with Swiss Alps

I may be a little biased as a Swiss native, but there’s absolutely nothing like a trip to the Swiss Alps. It offers an all-around enriching experience! Maybe it’s something about the mountain air, the gorgeous views, or the many outdoor activities available. But, spending time in these natural wonders really is magical.

To bring this experience to people around the globe, I created my Swiss Alps candle—essentially a “spa in a box.” With essence of peach to relieve anxiety and support nervous system health, edelweiss to promote physical health including pain reduction and digestive relief, and bellflower to stave off long-term illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and allergies, this fragrance offers all of the health benefits you could want in one delicious scent.

The hint of bellflower is even said to help with throat and voice issues. This means that the Swiss Alps candle will literally have you singing again in no time!

Wellness for the Body and Soul

My signature The Estate Collection candles will immediately please your scent glands when lit. They also offer benefits that extend far beyond your nose. By regularly enjoying these carefully-crafted, aromatherapeutic fragrances, you’ll notice that you begin to feel more beautiful, creative, healthful, and relaxed, no matter what tasks you have before you. Aromatherapy can be the cure for your body and soul!

Enjoy your favorite The Estate Collection fragrance knowing that you aren’t just treating your nose. It’s a special treat for your entire body and mind to a whole lot of goodness!

Photos: Central Park, Tea, Bergamont, Swiss Alps, Spa

ENTERTAINING Lifestyle

Summer Sungazing: Hosting a Solar Eclipse Garden Party on August 21!

This summer sees one of the rarest and most beautiful gifts that nature has to offer: the total solar eclipse.

A solar eclipse happens when the sun is blocked off by the moon. As a result, it creates what looks like a ring of fire in the sky. Full solar eclipses aren’t that common, especially ones that are as close to Earth as this August’s eclipse will be. The next eclipse that will be this close and full won’t take place until 2024!

This August 21st offers us a fabulous opportunity to gather with friends and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Moreover, we’ll be able to revel in the wonders of the sky and the celestial bodies above.

Make your garden party almost as memorable as the eclipse itself with these fun and classic solar eclipse viewing tips. Put on your sunglasses and invite everyone over for a once-in-a-decade party!

Tip #1: For Locations, There’s No Place Like Home 

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to jet our guests off to one of the country’s best eclipse viewing sites. Some of those are offered in the Midwestern United States. That said, there are plenty of options for viewing the eclipse from the comfort of our own homes.

For the best experience, I recommend complementing a low-key backyard viewing with the official NASA telecast on standby. Just make sure you check out this handy eclipse timing map. It will help you schedule your event around the time that the view of the eclipse will make its way to your home base.

solar eclipse garden party

Tip #2: Build on the Theme

While the first ideas that come to mind when planning a space-themed party might revolve around ten-year-olds’ birthdays, I find that if I focus on the beauty of the eclipse itself, I can create a fun and classy eclipse-themed party perfect for the outdoors.

Using the solar eclipse as my inspiration, this August 21st I plan to use reds and yellows against a gold and white backdrop for my color palette. I’ll bring in some fabulous gold elements from our highly matchable Lionel Richie Home Collection to represent stars. I’ll also add a few pops of color with red and yellow candles to symbolize the sun.

Let your imagination guide you. And, remember that when it comes to decorations, a little color goes a long way. Plus, the sky will provide the perfect backdrop for your lovely summer gathering. Keep in mind that since most of us in the U.S. will be enjoying the event in the late morning or early afternoon, some daytime-friendly décor is in order! 

solar eclipse garden party

Tip #3: Bring in a Mix of Fun and Traditional Treats

Because an event like this is so rare, I like to take the opportunity to really splurge in terms of my meal planning. While I usually try to serve healthy meals, this time I plan to go decadent and offer an array of dessert and drink options.

For some fun space-themed cocktails, I’ll prepare a sweet tequila sunrise (tequila, orange juice, and grenadine). The other one will be the Sinatra-inspired Fly Me to the Moon (Bootlegger, egg white, grenadine, absinthe, and lemon juice).

In case it’s a bit too early for your guests to indulge, I always put together a mimosa bar for brunch and morning garden parties. This gives people the option to enjoy a light splash of champagne. Or, they can create their own fun mix of orange and other juices, sans the liquor.

For snacks, try some traditional Chinese mooncakes and Taiwanese suncakes. They’re both easy to make and delicious. Plus, they’re said to bring both love and luck to anyone who eats them! You can also bust out your Fourth of July cookie cutters to make some star-shaped cookies, Jell-O, or watermelon for other fun, simple treats.

solar eclipse garden party

Tip #4: Stay Safe During Solar Eclipse Garden Party

While many of us may have been a bit careless as kids, watching a solar eclipse without proper eye protection can be extremely damaging to our vision. I always take care to protect my eyes from the sun’s harsh rays on normal days. However, looking straight up at the sun requires a whole other level of protection! The good news is that you can prepare some simple eclipse viewers to protect your eyes. Check out these easy instructions for DIY card projectors.

Solar Eclipse Garden Party – A Once-a-Decade Event

With the next solar eclipse almost a decade away, an August 21st solar eclipse garden party can be a great way to fully enjoy the event and share it with your loved ones. Celebrate this gorgeous natural sight with some of these fun tips. Plus, make this occasion one to remember for decades to come!

ENTERTAINING Featured Lifestyle

Celebrating the Lionel Richie Home Collection

Lionel Richie Home Collection

We were thrilled to host an event at the always fabulous GEARYS Beverly Hills to celebrate the many milestones of the Lionel Richie Home Collection . We had such a wonderful crowd at this momentous event and are truly grateful to all of the attendees.

The most captivating part was the table settings throughout the store highlighting the collection’s elegant international flair. Many of the pieces from this fabulous line were on display, including the London charger, Riviera dinner plate, and Manhattan red wine glass. Also, the tablescapes perfectly showcased the adaptable, stunning, and classic nature of the collection. It elegantly blends traditional sophistication with innovative pairings and accents to deliver stunning home décor.

From sample table designs, to fresh flowers casting a subtle yet enticing fragrance, to delicious refreshments, to the gorgeous backdrop of GEARYS itself, the special evening delighted every one of the senses. It was such an honor to share this beloved brand with so many friends, old and new! All in all, celebrating the Lionel Richie Home Collection was an absolute success!

Lastly, to glimpse more of the festivities yourself, check out the video below. And if you’re an L.A. local, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the collection in person at GEARYS!

Featured FOOD Lifestyle

The Perfect Simple Summer Salad

With the summer heat beating down, it can be hard not to give in to those cravings for a sweet icy treat like fresh-made ice cream. The good news is, with a sweet summer salad like this, you can satisfy your cravings without the added calories!

Sweet, Refreshing, and Healthy

One of my go-to recipes that is absolutely perfect for the hot weather and a healthy lifestyle is this perfect and super easy-to-make summer salad. The strawberries and dried cranberries make it taste sweet without adding too much sugar, while the cool butter lettuce and homemade balsamic vinaigrette offer a chill that feels fabulous after a day of swimming or sunbathing. In addition, add some grilled chicken for a little protein, and you’ve got the perfect summer lunch!

summer salad

Ingredients (Salad):

  • 3 cups butter lettuce
  • 1 ½ cups grilled chicken, sliced
  • 2 ½ cups fresh sliced strawberries
  • ¼ cup fresh goat cheese
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • Homemade balsamic vinaigrette (to taste)

Ingredients (Vinaigrette):

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. fresh minced garlic
  • 1 pinch Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme)

summer salad

The Perfect Salad to Share!

If you’re bringing this salad to share with friends, I recommend slicing the strawberries and goat cheese ahead of time and packing them in separate Tupperware containers along with the dried cranberries and chicken. Additionally, leave the vinaigrette on the side until the last moment, in a salad dressing shaker if you have one.

When you arrive at your event, simply pile on the strawberries, goat cheese, chicken, and cranberries before mixing, adding the vinaigrette, and mixing again. Waiting to prep until just before you dig in ensures that none of the ingredients get too soggy and the salad stays perfectly fresh for you and your companions.

Keeping Cool in the Hot Summer Months 

There are so many possible variations for this salad, so I’d love to hear what you come up with! What are your favorite salads to serve (and eat!) during the hotter months? Share in the comments below. And stay cool!

ENTERTAINING Lifestyle

Chic Mother’s Day Gifts for the Leading Ladies in Your Life

Mother’s Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate the leading ladies in your life. Whether it’s your mom, mother-in-law, significant other, best friend, or even the mom to your adorable pets! Honestly, I find myself taking any excuse to make the people in my life feel loved and pampered. That said, May 14th offers the perfect opportunity to reconnect with family, friends, and other loved ones.

To help make those special mothers in your life feel especially valued, try one or more of the Chic Mother’s Day Gifts below. Or take the day to celebrate yourself—after all, who wouldn’t love these amazing presents?!

The Fabulous Homemaker

Let’s get real—most “stay at home” moms tend to have more jobs than the rest of us. From taking care of the kids to cooking, cleaning, or even telecommuting, they do it all. Whatever reason keeps her at home, chances are she could use something beautiful to make her feel appreciated.

Now’s the time to lay the groundwork. If you don’t yet know her favorite flowers, start asking some subtle questions to figure it out. Then find a fabulous local florist and place your order far in advance (just to be safe). Make the bouquet as fabulous as she is by asking them to deliver it in the gorgeous Lionel Richie Home Collection Manhattan Vase (most high-quality flower shops are happy to accommodate!). Add a set of LOVE plates, also from the LRH collection, and set a gorgeous table for a decadent brunch celebrating your favorite lady!

Chic Mother’s Day Gifts

The Life of the Party

Many mamas also enjoy the night out, even if they do spend most of their days cooped up at home or stuck in an office. For the lady who loves to work hard and play harder, there’s nothing better than some gorgeous glassware. These hand-blown crystal Champagne Flutes from Tiffany and Co. would definitely make a perfect gift.

Pair this exquisite china with some Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Sparkling Wine and a pitcher of fresh-squeezed orange juice. And, this mom can enjoy her own “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” whenever she desires. After all, what’s better to recover from a night of partying than a light mimosa (or two) to take the edge off?

Chic Mother’s Day Gifts

The Hostess Supreme

Whether planning showers, hosting dinner parties, or leading her ladies’ book club, the hostess supreme is always in need of some good stationery. So, why not gift her some extraordinary stationery that’s equally as beautiful as she is? I absolutely love this Engraved Koi Fish Heavyweight Card with Painted Edge stationery set from Crane. This set of cards is both sturdy and lovely, the perfect combination for a lady in charge.

Chic Mother’s Day GiftsMake writing all of those invitations by hand a little easier for her by adding an elegant Ivory Fountain Pen from Waterman Paris. The smooth flow will make it gentler on her hand, ensuring she can write all of those thank you letters effortlessly. The stunning design will add even more beauty to her life.

The Garden Lover

For those ladies who can’t get enough of the beauty and tranquility of a gorgeous rose garden, what could be better than an exquisite, long-lasting Parisian-inspired floral arrangement from Venus et Fleur?! Their stunning Eternity roses can stay fresh for an entire year. Moreover, the Parisian-style keepsake hatbox they arrive in are perfect to store away beloved mementos for years to come.

The Career Woman

Offer the ultimate de-stressing experience to the dedicated career woman in your life with The Estate Collection’s Manhattan luxury candle. With hints of lemon, bergamot, jasmine, and orchid, you’ll be offering her not just a gorgeous decorative item, but a truly uplifting fragrance as well.

Complement her new spa experience with 12 months of Bellocq luxury tea. As a result, you may notice that she goes from overworked and exhausted to relaxed and serene!

Celebrate the Leading Ladies in Your Life

Make this May 14th the day you let the ladies in your life know how much you care for them. They will most certainly appreciate some of these Chic Mother’s Day Gifts! Happy Mother’s Day!

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