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How to Host a Modern, Fun Afternoon Tea Party

By  January 28, 2015

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Tea parties are cute. Tea parties are fancy. Tea parties are a great occasion to get dressed up for. Please note, were not discussing the political variety. This is a guide to a time honored afternoon tradition that centers around celebration, delicious delicacies, chic dresses, festive decor and of course, tea. The history of the afternoon tea party can be traced directly to British culture. There’s high tea (which tends to be a heavier affair), and then there’s “low tea” or afternoon tea. According to this in depth history of the celebration by What’s Cooking America, the latter practice dates back to the 19th Century, when the Duchess of Bedford created an afternoon meal at around 5 pm, centering around small cakes, sandwiches and tea with friends. The practice has only grown with popularity through the ages.

I grew up in Trinidad with a mom who loves British history and culture. Every year – especially around the holidays – my mom would host afternoon tea with her best girlfriends. I grew up loving the ceremony of it all, and I grew up always wanting to have tea parties of my own. Tea parties aren’t stuffy affairs (or they don’t HAVE to be). They don’t have to be old fashioned, either. You can throw a fresh, fun, festive afternoon tea for your friends that channels the old and celebrates the new. Here are my top tea party tips!

1. Create a balanced tea party menu. Think “two parts sweet, one part savory.” Traditionally popular tea party items include scones, petit fours, tiny sandwiches and savory pastries like meat pies. Caribbean afternoon tea might include something a bit more spicy, like empanadas or Venezuelan style arepas. For a modern twist, consider crostini, bruschetta, flatbread or mini sliders made with gourmet ingredients as your savory items, and for sweet, think about macarons, cupcakes, cake pops, or mini pies.

2. Not everyone drinks tea, so plan accordingly. Coffee is also super popular at American get togethers (although nobody has an afternoon coffee party). Modern afternoon tea parties have been known to include light cocktails or non alcoholic punch, so consider making champagne cocktails or a pitcher of mojitos.

3. When it comes to decor, think dainty but not necessarily delicate. The days of having to serve afternoon tea on dainty china is over. Feel free to mix and match your own colorful dishes, or purchase cute plastic plates with matching or coordinating napkins.

4. Consider your guest list carefully. You want to curate a group that’s lively and conversational, friends who you know will get along and new folks who you’d like to get to know better.

5. Have a variety of teas and milks and sweetener options at the ready. Nowadays, so many of us are lactose intolerant! Having a little soy milk, almond milk or rice milk available can help your guests with allergies. For dietary concerns, having honey, agave, stevia and brown sugar on hand can cover all the bases.

6. What kind of tea to serve? Have a variety! Think of when you order tea at a fancy restaurant and they bring you that fabulous box of tea with all of those options. There’s typically a black breakfast kind of tea, a green tea variety or two, something fruit based, something mint, and a light floral like jasmine or chrysanthemum. Follow that guideline to develop a well-rounded tea selection of your own.

Contributing Editor, Patrice Grell Yursik is the creator of Afrobella.com, one of the first blogs to celebrate the beauty of natural hair and ladies of all skin tones and sizes. Affectionately called the Godmother of Brown Beauty Blogging, Patrice takes her readers inside unique beauty, fashion and cultural experiences.

Get an Early Taste of Summer With Esacda

By  January 28, 2015

Before the big blizzard this week, we got a sneak preview of summer thanks to Escada. We said goodbye to the Big Apple to say hello to Turks & Caicos – the source of inspiration for the brand’s latest limited edition fragrance, Turquoise Summer. During an immersion dinner, we were able to truly taste the notes pulled for the scent, including an incredible cocktail infused with raspberries (a key note in the scent) that we plan to recreate for any upcoming soirees once the city finally thaws out.  In the meantime, you can shake up this spirit and let it provide a sweet summer escape.

Turquoise Summer

escada-turquoise-summer-cocktail
¼ oz. Raspebery Stoli
¼ oz. Pomegranate Juice
½ oz. Cointreau
½ oz. Mango Juice
1 oz. Stoli Vodka
½ oz. Curaçao
Lime

Begin by pouring raspberry Stoli and pomegranate juice into a martini glass. Add the Cointreau, mango juice, and lime to a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake and strain over a bar spoon into the martini glass to allow the layer to float over the pomegranate juice mixture. Then, combine the Curaçao and vodka in a cocktail shaker over ice before shaking and straining over the mango juice using a bar spoon to avoid mixing.

The Nomadic Life: Miami, Florida

By  January 27, 2015

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If you have talked to us more than once (and really, once may have done it), you know that we freaking love Miami. Like want to marry it and then renew our vows twice a year love it.  There is never a bad time to go, but we are partial to January. What better place to rock that whole “new year, new you” glow? Not to mention, it’s cold outside everywhere else.

Roam: Wynwood Arts District
This rehabilitated area is home to many art galleries, shops and restaurants just waiting to be Instagrammed. If you are in town on the second Saturday of the month, be sure to partake in “Second Saturdays,” an art walk filled with music, food and lots of art. Kind like Art Basal only it’s not.

Shop: The Webster
This hotel turned 3-story luxury concept boutique is located in the heart of Miami and houses the best high-end fashion in the city. You’ll probably have to kiss your rent goodbye to buy a Balenciaga suitcase.  But hey, worst case scenario you could sleep in it.

Stay: The Edition Hotel
The place has everything. A relaxation room with aromatherapy inhalation in the spa, five innovative bars and restaurants – including a patisserie and a “multi-dimensional entertainment hub” coined The Basement, fit with a micro-club, ice-rink and bowling alley. And that is just about 5% of why it is amazing. Yo, when can we move in?

tomboy kc bioTOMBOY KC is a fashion and lifestyle blog written by actress Katie Cassidy and pint-sized real-life friend, Lynsey Eaton. Focused on personal style that is, well, personal, TKC is a place for smart and opinionated (read: sarcastic) women to join together and accumulate stilettos while collectively wearing their sneakers…everywhere. Self proclaimed nomads, when the girls aren’t traveling for work or buying two of everything (one apiece, you see), you can find them sitting on Lynsey’s couch eating pizza and drinking champagne in men’s pajamas while waxing poetic about the present state of culottes. Feel free to come on over.

5 Ways to Fall Back into Your Healthy Habits

By  January 21, 2015

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Have you ever experienced that feeling when everything in life is just kicking your butt? It happens to the best of us and sometimes when life happens, the bad habits start piling up. Workouts become few and far between, home cooked meals turn into takeout, and 8-hours of sleep just isn’t in the cards. The best thing you can do is to turn your slump into a motivator for success. Here are 5 easy ways to fall back in those healthy habits that keep you happy.

1. Shake Up Your Workout
I’ll speak for myself but when I do the same type of fitness routine for a long period of time I tend to get bored. Search Yelp or Groupon for new fitness programs in your area and give them a whirl. Who knows, you may find a new workout that motivates you.

2. Eat Up
Food is fun (cooking it, eating it) but food can also be stressful when life has already served you a full plate. Whenever I get too busy to cook instead of turning to take out, I turn to healthy meal delivery services like Paleta. Each morning they deliver a cooler with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desert. The whole bag of food is around 1200 calories and has all the nutrients I need to keep fit.

3. Catch Some Zzz’s
When the bags under your eyes aren’t Chanel, it might be time to change your sleeping schedule. Try going to be a half-hour earlier each night and wake up just 30 minutes earlier. Getting in that extra hour will make a huge difference in your day.

4. Get Some New Gear
I’ll use anything as an excuse to shop but purchasing a few new things for my fitness wardrobe has really helped me get inspired to get back in the gym.

5. The Buddy System
Sometimes you need a little help from your friends. Grab a fitness accountability buddy or someone to do your fall workouts with. One of my co-workers is my fitness buddy. We head straight to the gym right after work. We also carpool so one of us can’t drive home instead of the gym!

Lauren Messiah, is a Los Angeles based stylist and the creator of LaurenMessiah.com, a blog about designer deals, the hottest trends, and Lauren’s life as a fashion stylist.Lauren styles some of Hollywood’s most successful women in entertainment, celebrities, fashion editorials, and national ad campaigns. Lauren has been featured in Marie Claire, Vogue Italia, Grazia, WWD, OK! Magazine and Health Magazine.

NousDECOR's Techie Take on Decorating

By  January 16, 2015

nousedecorYou can shop for a whole new wardrobe while running errands, book a trip across the world while you’re out and about, and even buy a home on the go, so redecorating a room from the palm of your hand should be a given. And now it is, with the launch of NousDECOR’s iOS app, one of the first to bring the “same look, different price” functionality right to your phone.

NousDECOR has already been building a following through its “moodboard-to-real-life” based interactive website, where visitors recreate professionally designed rooms using the same or similar decorative pieces from around the web. In addition to Chief Designer Mark Cutler, several high profile designers have uploaded their images on the site and created moodboards, including Philip Gorrivan, Gillian Lefkowitz, Adam Hunter, and Philip Nimmo.

We Glam girls are always finding inspiration on our daily adventures, which makes this decor and design app especially useful. Simply take a photo of the piece you’re lusting after, enter a few details about the product, and then run a quick search for similar items at various price points right there on your phone. NousDECOR will search for similar styles across the company’s library of more than eight million items from savvy, fashion-forward retailers including Crate & Barrel, Cost Plus World Market, and Target, boutique retailers such as Serena & Lily, flash sale sites like One Kings Lane and vintage sources including 1stDibs and eBay.

Here’s a secret to leave you with–it’s a fun app to play with even if you’re not actually in the market to redo your haute haven. It’s a convenient way to channel your own inner-creative, while gaining inspiration from others– all with, of course, the touch of a button.

The Golden Globes Cocktail You Need to Sip Like the Stars

By  January 09, 2015

The official kick-off to awards season starts January 11 with the Golden Globes. As Hollywood’s best and brightest gather together to find out who will take home the coveted statue, all will be sipping on one cocktail. The Moët Bijou Rouge, featuring the official champagne of the ceremony, will be on hand to raise a glass to all of the evenings winners and even ensure a few hijinks that we’ll all be chatting about on Monday. If you’re hosting a viewing party of your own, you can shake up the same spirits as the stars will on Sunday. Cheers!

Moët Bijou Rouge by Elettra Wiedemann

golden-globes-MOËT-BIJOU-Rouge
1 oz. Gin
1/4 oz. Dry Curacao
3/8 oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Brandied cherry garnish (with a touch of the brandied cherry syrup)
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

Combine Gin, Curacao, Sweet Vermouth and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker. Stir very well with ice, and strain into a coupe glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial and garnish with brandied cherry.

The Nomadic Life: Beaver Creek, Colorado

By  January 09, 2015

nomatic-life-beaver-creek

If you are thinking of traveling this winter, Beaver Creek is the place you’ve been dreaming about, even if you didn’t know it. It is the kind of place that makes you feel like you’re in a European ski village – no passport required. You can shop, relax, peruse the quaint village, ski, and then Apres-Ski, all while enjoying twinkly lights and drinking hot cocoa in the snow.  If you decide to make us very jealous and venture there for the winter season, please do these things for us:

Eat: Blue Moose Pizza
It is homey, cozy and casual and the pizza is greasy, just the way we like it.

Apres-ski: Buffalos at the Ritz-Carlton
A chic spot that also hosts a nightly marshmallow roast. When can we move in?

Shop: Gorsuch
In case you were asleep while you packed or the airport so thoughtfully sent your luggage to Maui, Gorsuch has you covered. Feel free to bring us something back.

TOMBOY KC is a fashion and lifestyle blog written by actress Katie Cassidy and pint-sized real-life friend, Lynsey Eaton. Focused on personal style that is, well, personal, TKC is a place for smart and opinionated (read: sarcastic) women to join together and accumulate stilettos while collectively wearing their sneakers…everywhere. Self proclaimed nomads, when the girls aren’t traveling for work or buying two of everything (one apiece, you see), you can find them sitting on Lynsey’s couch eating pizza and drinking champagne in men’s pajamas while waxing poetic about the present state of culottes. Feel free to come on over.

Current Obsession: A Post-Holiday Detox

By  January 08, 2015

The holidays are such a happy time but we can’t ignore that they often do a number on our bodies. Overeating, eating the wrong things, and skipping the gym in favor of nights cozied on the couch all add up after awhile. By time January rolls around, most of us are actually ready to get back on track – and we should definitely listen to our bodies when they tell us that. Whenever I start to feel sluggish or tired, and like I need something to revive my health again, I turn to a detox. Of course, that can mean many different things, but I have a few favorite methods.

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You don’t necessarily need to go on a crazy-strict lemon-water only cleanse to flush the toxins from your system after the holidays. But to make it worthwhile and effective, I do turn to lemon as one of the main ingredients. I like to mix a cup of hot water with lemon, ginger root, and a dash of cayenne pepper. A bit of Manuka honey sweetens it while adding antibacterial and inflammatory properties. These drink  ingredients aid in digestion and promote a healthy immune system, which is much needed in the middle of winter!

Aside from detoxifying drinks, there are countless ways to incorporate healthy food that also helps flush toxins from your body. Some examples include apples (which have fiber and glucaric acid for sweeping out toxins), garlic, and citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit. While some people go on a fruits-and-veggies-only type of detox diet in the new year, you can simply incorporate these as ingredients into other healthy dishes for extra help in cleansing. It’s definitely something worth sticking to year round, too!

Since the holidays can mean a major lack of sleep, it’s vital to get back on a normal, healthier sleep schedule. From back-to-back travel to cramming before school or work gets out, all those days off usually mean working twice as hard to get to the finish line. Even though I’m traveling most of January, I want to start off the year by ensuring I rest when I need it. If you feel the same, try a sleep app like Sleep Cycle to monitor and review your sleep patterns, and make sure to unplug for a bit before bed so you can log 6-8 quality hours of sleep each night. Then you’ll be ready to greet the day – and year – when the time comes.

MP Headshot 2 finalMichelle Phan is a young digital pioneer, who trail-blazed her way in the world of fashion; beauty on YouTube. With a growing global community of over 6 million, Michelle’s videos have been viewed more than 1 billion times, making her one of the most watched talents in the digital space. She is an award-winning content creator who produces, directs, stars in and edits all of her own work, and has released over 800 videos since 2007. Her unprecedented, signature video style clean, artful, and expertly edited, with clear, easy-to-follow titles and voiceover instruction helped solidify her position as the #1 Beauty Guru and the 3rd most subscribed female on YouTube.

Current Obsession: Hot Tea for Cold Weather

By  January 05, 2015

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When the temperatures drop, there is nothing more comforting to me than a good, hot tea. I drink tea year around because it promotes health, soothes and calms, and can give me energy or help me relax depending on what my body needs. And in winter, there are even more reasons to love tea, from fighting colds to warming up and even boosting your mood. Here’s a handy guide to find the perfect hot tea for cold weather:

To Calm: Smooth flavors and pleasing aromas are key to finding a warm beverage to relax and unwind with. The essential oils of both chamomile and lavender are often used to de-stress and even aid in sleep. Studies have shown that even smelling lavender can slow your nervous system down, promoting feelings of relaxation and encouraging sleep. A cup of calming tea can ease anxious feelings too. However, it’s important to find a scent and taste that works for you – if you don’t enjoy the scent of lavender, for example, it may have the opposite effect!

Combat a Cold: When trying to prevent or fight off a cold, look for teas that contain high amounts of antioxidants and immune boosting properties. Green tea gives you a great dosage of powerful antioxidants, while ginger tea is traditionally used for aiding digestion, soothing an upset stomach, and general pain relief. Adding lemon to your ginger (or lemon on its own) is a great way to get in more vitamin C during the winter months to help fight off colds.

Warm You Up: A hot beverage warms the body on the outside, but warming teas specifically warm your body up on the inside, too. In traditional Chinese medicine, warming teas are made of spices that actually offer a warming sensation, while giving your metabolism a boost. Try ginger or chai tea or create your own warming tea by adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Beat the Winter Blues: In addition to the benefits I’ve listed above, some teas can help boost your mood. If the calming scents of chamomile and lavender aren’t quite enough to treat feelings of depression, these may help: Some studies suggest turmeric as a natural antidepressant (as well as anti-flammatory and anti-cancer benefits), so turmeric tea is a good choice when looking for a mood booster. Ginseng has also been known to aid in the production of serotonin, which is essential for maintaining your mood.

MP Headshot 2 finalMichelle Phan is a young digital pioneer, who trail-blazed her way in the world of fashion; beauty on YouTube. With a growing global community of over 6 million, Michelle’s videos have been viewed more than 1 billion times, making her one of the most watched talents in the digital space. She is an award-winning content creator who produces, directs, stars in and edits all of her own work, and has released over 800 videos since 2007. Her unprecedented, signature video style clean, artful, and expertly edited, with clear, easy-to-follow titles and voiceover instruction helped solidify her position as the #1 Beauty Guru and the 3rd most subscribed female on YouTube.

The Best Bubbly Cocktails to Toast to 2015

By  December 30, 2014

2015 is upon us, and it’s time to raise a glass and toast to an epic New Year! The bubbly is sure to flow freely during the festivities, but it doesn’t need to be boring. We’ve found a few fresh recipes to shake up your spirits and those of your guests no matter where you get the party started. Cheers!

Pinnacle New Year’s Sparkler

Pinnacle-Sparkler
1½ oz. Pinnacle Pomegranate Vodka
4 oz. Chilled Champagne
Splash of Grenadine

Pour champagne into a champagne glass and top with vodka.

Elderflower Fizz

Elderflower-Fizz

1 oz. Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
1 oz. St. Germain Liqueur
1/2 oz. Lime
Garnish with small mint sprig
Brut Champagne

Place gin, liqueur and lime juice into a cocktail mixing glass. Shake ingredients with ice. Strain into Champagne glass and top with champagne.

Berry Bubbly

BerryBubbly

1 ½ oz. CIROC Red Berry
½ oz. Simple Syrup
½ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
Top with Champagne

Combine first three ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with a strawberry wedge.

Lavish Spritzer

Lavish-spritzer

1 oz. Belvedere Vodka
1 oz. Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach*
1 oz. lemon sour **
2-3 oz. Chandon Rose
Garnish: Orange slice + 2 raspberries
*Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach can be substituted with Cordon Rouge & still delicious.
** Lemon sour: 1 part lemon juice to 1 part simple syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Squeeze in the charred orange half and drop in the drink. Roll contents and serve.

Cloud 9 by Mark Drew of Critical Mass 

cloud-9-cocktail

2 oz. Raspberry Infused NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin*
1/2 oz. Fresh lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
Dash Peychaud Bitters
Top with Champagne

Shake all ingredients (excluding the champagne) together in a cocktail shaker, strain into an highball glass over cubed ice. Top up with champagne and stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lemon zest or a couple of raspberries.

*For the Raspberry-Infused Gin: Place a small container of raspberries into a mason jar add 1 bottle of Nolet’s leave to steep for two weeks.

Pomegranate Sparkler

pomegranate-sparkler

1 tsp. fresh pomegranate seeds
3 oz. VOGA Prosecco
½ oz. Pomegranate Juice

Scoop 1 teaspoon of fresh pomegranate seeds into a champagne glass. Pour in pomegranate juice. Top with VOGA Prosecco.

Cupcake Berry Holiday Cocktail

holiday-berry-cocktail

holiday-berry-cocktail
½ c. sugar
1 c. fresh cranberries
1 oz. ruby red grapefruit vodka
2 oz. Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco
1 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. black currant juice

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, dissolve sugar into 1 1/2 cups water. Add cranberries and simmer for 5 minutes, or until softened. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain, discard liquid, and place cranberries on a tray in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Chill vodka, Prosecco, and juices, then mix in a champagne glass. Garnish with skewer of 4 or 5 frozen candied cranberries. Reserve the rest for another drink.

Rum is the New Champagne Daiquiri
RUMISNEWCHAMPG
1½ oz. Caliche Rum
½ oz. Simple Syrup
½ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Top with Brut Champagne (or Dry Sparkling Wine)

Shake first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a flute glass and top with brut champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.