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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!

Featured Lifestyle

48 Hours in Hong Kong: The Pearl of the Orient

A home away from home, Hong Kong is one of my favorite places to spend a few days. Whenever I get the chance to enjoy a layover here, I take the opportunity! I feel like it would take a lifetime to see all that this beautiful region has to offer.

The next time you’re heading off to Beijing, Tokyo, or anywhere else in the region, try to schedule in a few days in Hong Kong. You’ll be able to learn why this destination has become known as the “Pearl of the Orient.”

48 Hours in Hong Kong

Stay in the Heart of Hong Kong

Given the short amount of time you have in Hong Kong, I recommend staying in a hotel as close to the city center as possible. Some of my absolute favorites in terms of luxury and service include the Four Seasons and the Mandarin Oriental.

The Four Seasons boasts a well-earned international reputation, an amazing view of Victoria Harbor, and spa services to die for. On the other hand, the Mandarin Oriental offers a more local brand of sophistication. As Mandarin Oriental’s flagship location, it features a world-class spa and a fabulous view of the downtown skyscrapers.

Admittedly, whichever hotel I stay in, I love to indulge in a massage to ease the stresses of travel. I always do it before enjoying a healthy breakfast to start my day off reinvigorated.

48 Hours in Hong Kong

Take a Stroll Down Cat Street

Don’t let the name fool you! Iconic Upper Lascar Row, better known as Cat Street, is actually a shopping district.  It specializes in antiques of all kinds, from the kitsch to the classic. If you happen to be a lover of antiques, you may find something as unique as a Qing vase or Ming furniture. After all, this shopping neighborhood has been in existence for 100 years, and some amazing items have yet to sell!

At the end of the street, simply turn right onto Hollywood Road to discovery the majestic Man Mo Temple. It was created as a tribute to Man, the god of literature, and Mo, the god of martial arts. While the exterior complex looks as urbanized as the rest of the city, the temple itself features a breathtaking design dating back to the mid-19th century.

48 Hours in Hong Kong

Nurture Your Artistic Eye

Stop in at Gagosian to take in some amazing contemporary art. There are amazing works by such innovators as Urs Fischer, Howard Hodgkin, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Walter De Mari. With galleries all over the world, Gagosian has become a well-known name in the visual arts. But, this Hong Kong-based location offers a delicious glimpse into local flavor with many artists inspired by regional events and locales.

Just across the street is the fabulous Hanart TZ Gallery, founded by Hong Kong native Tsong-zung “Johnson” Chang. With an Asia-specific art practice dating back decades, Chang’s eye for the visionary and breathtaking ensures a gallery experience completely unique to Hong Kong. For example, Past exhibitions have included works by Luis Chan, Chimmedorj, Chen Beixin, and Xu Longsen.

48 Hours in Hong Kong

Dine in Style

For a visual experience almost as gorgeous as the pieces at Hanart and Gagosian galleries, enjoy a delectable dinner at the exquisite SEVVA. Each of their meals is a work of art in itself, with a beautiful taste experience to match. Plus, after all that walking, you’ll have earned one of their signature caramel crunch cakes!

For breakfast, brunch, or lunch, head to the nearby China Tang for sumptuous Chinese cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. Moreover, for those of us who just want to sample every item on the menu, I highly recommend an early afternoon meal of dim sum. It’s a beutiful series of bite-sized portions offering a whole array of delicacies.

Perfect for a dinner gathering with friends, or just some late-night drinks, is Cipriani Hong Kong. Undoubtedly, it’s the city’s answer to innovative Italian food and cocktails. Be sure to arrive with an empty stomach to savor every delicious bite of their huge multi-course meals. 48 hours in Hong Kong is just enough to try some of the most iconic Chinese meals!

Remember for a Lifetime 

Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world. To be honest, it seems like every place I visit in the region boasts a gorgeous mixture of natural beauty, urbanity, and authentic Chinese culture. For example, the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden allows visitors willing to venture a bit farther north the opportunity to interact with exotic birds. This happens in a classic Chinese garden setting, all within the atmosphere of a busy shopping area.

With 48 hours in Hong Kong, you have just enough time to revel in the wonders of the Pearl of the Orient. Let me know about your adventures!

Featured Lifestyle

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. Read on to find out how to build a beautiful life with Niche tea.

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. Primarily, they focused on supplementing nutrition and supporting beauty from the inside out. Moreover, Amanda learned exactly which herbs supported different beauty and health functions. Later on, she combined them to make a truly gorgeous and delicious product.

Build a Beautiful Life With Niche Tea

Which Niche Tea Flavor to Choose?

Niche now offers six flavors that specifically address different aspects of wellness and beauty. Drinking tea is incredibly healthy in and of itself. These key blends make it easier to focus on 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.

Build a Beautiful Life With Niche TeaMind: This blend enables you to energize and revitalize mentally with yerba mate. It’s a natural source of mental stimulation and vigor, popular across many Spanish-speaking countries. This flavor includes hints of cocoa shells, cinnamon, lemongrass,  and lime leaves. Gota kola, dynamic elements both stir the mind and tempt the taste buds.

Cleanse: It is 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. As a result, it will leave you feeling refreshed. Such a great treat for your body after a hard night of partying!

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

Build a Beautiful Life With Niche Tea

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

Sleep: Recognizing the benefits of a good night’s sleep, Niche has added this relaxing blend of soporific herbs. For example, they include rooibos, lemon balm, chamomile, passionflower, rose petals, and lavender. Furthermore, 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 Niche Tea

It doesn’t hurt that each of these teas comes in a gorgeous cylindrical container. Frankly, I must admit that it looks absolutely stunning next to any of the other blends. This means that you can buy all six and line them up on your counter. This way, you can 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 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. Designing a festive Easter table setting can be a fun activity for the entire family!

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 Easter table setting 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. In addition, I even incorporated some of the pastel color palette that I shared last week!

Easter Table Setting

Most Important Easter Table Setting Elements

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. It’s 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.

Easter Table SettingWhen 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. These are 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 provides a gorgeous “wow” factor. Plus, the scent offered by these blooms is absolutely divine!

Easter Table Setting

Fun China Sets and Fancy Cocktails

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. Good choices are 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. Designing a festive Easter table setting is nothing but fun and entertaining!

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