Category Archives: Lifestyle

Decoding Dom Pérignon

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Visiting the El Bulli Foundation is like visiting an alternate reality where utopias of learning and discovery exist and are the highest forms of human achievement. The objective is discovery, understanding the nature of food, how it is prepared and experienced. Ferran Adrià has a passion for this discovery and, after 25 years as head chef at El Bulli, he is devoting himself and his team to cataloging haute cuisine and creative expression in general.

The foundation’s walls are the inside of Adrià’s mind come to life – rooms with drawings and research pinned to foam board, books on all subjects, and a staff of artists and researchers delving into all of it. Ferran asks us questions meant to twist our expectations of food – is champagne still a drink if it’s served in a bowl and you eat it with a spoon? His mind and career has been keenly pursuing these questions for a quarter century.

Dom Perignon‘s Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy was at the foundation as well, discussing a new three year partnership between the esteemed wine makers and the El Bulli foundation with the hopes to “decode champagne”. We visited the new Dom Perignon wing within the foundation and discussed their process of blending that yields a vintage to meet their standards. For them, tasting and decoding is a constant task, as they are tracking the changing characteristics of their wine and, in a macro sense, they look at the similarities and differences between many releases of Dom Perignon, dating back to 1921. On a wall in one room of the foundation we see colored strings connecting Dom Perignon releases, creating a stunning visual way to trace the complex flavors of their champagne expressions over time.

When I asked Richard what Dom Perignon hoped to achieve by having one of the greatest creative minds decode their champagne over the course of three years, he said it was impossible to know on this journey of discovery…

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I had no creative personality before I was working in the kitchen. I think this is a good example for how important it is to do what you really like to be able to be creative. 

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I’m here for a reason. It is the same reason I was in the restaurant for. To look for the limits. But there are no limits. Life isn’t long enough. It can take years and years and our brains aren’t clever enough to understand it all… However clever you are, there will always be something you don’t understand.

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Why? Friendship! I believe that all good projects on earth start with the heart of the individuals. When you look at the success story of several things, it’s always about individuals. Somebody once told me, there is a stage in friendship where you get to come up with projects… Love would be kids, and friendship would be projects.

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If you have not created the Big Bang, everything is an evolution, everything. The creative result – because creativity is just the capacity to create – depends on many things.

 

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Decoding Dom Pérignon at elBulli Foundation

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Ultimately, one way to explain what we are doing – one of the ways, not the way – is to reflect on the creative process and creativity. If we look at Don Perignon, it leads us to this reflection … If we are talking about the creative process, creativity it is our common language.

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There is a big part which has to do with the experience. In your life you have lived Don Perignon in many ways. You have to decide which one is the best for you… Apparently wine is always something what comes together with the food, secondly. I understand that there might be moments when you go to a restaurant and it is just the way it is. But with Richard we wanted to created an experimental experience where Don Perignon could become the sun, surrounded by the food.

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“We wanted to created an experimental experience where Don Perignon could become the sun, surrounded by the food.”

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Creativity is going to the soul of Don Perignon…from the ground of the soul. It is very poetic.  But life can be lived in a poetic way, even though you might be a practical person – because at the end you need to be practical – but you have to ask yourself why. There is a part in this project,  trying to reach the soul in a certain way. Richard already has done this many times in his life. He is already doing it when he creates Don Perignon – but in another way.

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Every person lives the experience in a different way. If you have never drunk champagne before, if you have never drunk Don Perignon – the experience is history for you. It is a different story for a person who never drunk champagne in his life to drink a glass of champagne than for a person who drinks champagne every day. If you only drink Don Perignon it’s another story again. And if you drink different vintages of Don Perignon – again.

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A Girlfriend’s Soirée

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This past week Ecco Domani launched a special collaboration with fashion designer Zac Posen who created a limited edition bottle design for their classic Pinot Grigio. I’ve been a huge fan of Zac Posen from the runway shows to the red carpet so we really wanted to do something special to celebrate the launch of this inspired partnership and the release of a wine bottle exclusively dressed in Zac.

Kelly put together an intimate girlfriend’s soirée at the whimsical BG restaurant designed by Kelly Wearstler (remember when I stayed at her Malibu mansion?!) overlooking Central Park and the gorgeous Plaza Hotel. Since we are talking about one of the most glamorous gown designers in the world, Kelly dressed us all in Zac Posen bringing such an air of fantasy and delight to the whole gathering.

A silver tiered tray lined in macarons, fresh fruit, meringues and Zac Posen’s own recipe for “My Little Violet Darlings” from the Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook was the center piece to the soirée table. I loved how Kelly brought a formality to the wine by putting it in a silver deco wine bucket on a stand next to the table keeping the Pinot Grigio cool in-between pours.

Why not throw your own soirée – with delicate delights, crisp and bright white wine and look out for the sparkling design of Zac Posen for Ecco Domani to add one last flourishing touch to your own summer parties.

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Above- Zac Posen’s limited edition bottle design for Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio chills in a silver deco ice bucket.

Below- The table dressed with a three tier serving tray, Devonia large and small serving plates with matching hand gilded wine glasses, and Alain St. Joanis flatware. I love surrounding a table and room in fresh flowers, these Diane James arrangements are actually silk and no one knew the difference!

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Appreciate the Ones You Love

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Pandora Jewelry is all about appreciating the ones that you love and when they approached me about gifting charms to someone in my life I immediately thought of two of my best friends, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, who have impacted my life greatly over the years.

History

We first met back in 2010 at a little coffee shop on the Upper West Side and they told me about their dreams of starting an emerging designers platform called Of a Kind. Not only did I come to learn these were two of the most intelligent, visionary women I have ever met, I would also find out that bonds between women are so important and powerful not only in our personal friendship but in the bond these two share.

We shot together, we shared the original Ann Street Studio in the financial district together, I photographed Erica’s wedding (something I never do – but for her, anything), unofficially Claire’s and even all the way down to Texas for SXSW. We’ve laughed and cried, swapped beauty tips and fashion tricks, and seen each other though relationships and moves, business ups and downs, and endless conversations about that future of our lives. I even bought one of Claire’s Grandmother’s paintings!

10 Things

This is all very personal, so what do you need to know? First off, aside from being women entrepreneurs in New York City (BRAVO!) they write THE BEST NEWSLETTER ON THE INTERNET. It’s called “10 Things” and comes out once a week. I’ve literally been on photo-shoots where art directors have stopped the shoot because “10 things” that week just arrived in their inbox and they needed to “know what’s in the know”. It’s full of everything from the best chickpea kale salad recipe of the week to where to rolodex your go-to restaurants and the best new beauty products in the industry.

On being friends

Being the good friends they are they are always up for my antics. I’ve shown up to shoots with my hair in rollers, or that time I got bangs (MISTAKE) or my bachelorette party at the 21 club somehow got very fuzzy towards the end. I got them to join snapchat, which proudly I will state on the record it is now the main form in which we communicate. Then, they were brave enough to have me on their radio / podcast show (an extension of “10 things”) knowing the loose canon I am.

Growing together

It’s a funny thing to take a step back after five years of growing together, growing businesses, growing friendships, growing relationships, and put that into powerful words such as “loyalty“, “heath“, “creativity“, “courage” and think about what these two inspiring women mean to me on a greater scale. To go back to the beginning when I was emerging in the digital space, they were two of my biggest champions and I realized with this project I have never taken the time to tell them how special I think THEY are.

As they have been my champions I hope, in my own weird way, I have been theirs. I’m happy Pandora offered this opportunity for me to tell them how much they mean to me, something I don’t think we regularly take the time enough to do. I gifted them each 6 Pandora Essence Collection charms that to me, represent which each of these women are… and isn’t it nice sometimes to have someone say, “Hey, you’re special for these reasons and here’s why….”

See below for a window into the soul of two friendships I couldn’t have made it through life in New York without and I encourage you to do the same with ones in your own that mean a special something to you.

 

Claire Mazur

Here are the charms I felt most represented what I appreciate so much about Claire and admire:

Courage- her ability to start her own company and the courage to get it out there to anyone she could talk to

Strength- always problem solving solutions instead of letting them bring her down

Generosity- I’ve received so many special gifts from Claire for birthdays or Christmas to even thank you flowers for shoots, her thoughtfulness and generosity is so wonderful.

Health- Claire runs everyday and makes the most healthy food at home with recipes that appear constantly in “10 things” and makes me want to make healthier choices in my own life.

Passion- She has such a vision and ideas for business and then comes at them with so much passion and energy you can’t help but get behind her in whatever next thing she dreams up.

Appreciation- I have a lot of appreciation for Claire, the way she championed my own career in the beginning while giving me the consistent opportunity to shoot for Of a Kind.

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Erica Cerulo

Here are the charms I felt most represented what I appreciate so much about Erica and admire:

Patience- It takes a lot of patience to start a company with your best friend. In a great balance to Claire’s energy- Erica’s patience keeps it all running smoothly.

Loyalty- I’ve never met someone with as much loyalty in her friendships and relationships. With Erica, you know you have a loyal friend on your side

Trust- I always know I can confide in Erica with anything going on in my life and work.

Creativity- Erica is one of the most talented writers online and in print. She contributes regularly to magazines and is one of the reasons the editorial side to Of a Kind is so amusing to read. Also, her email responses are spot on.

Stability- She never really has ups and downs, she has great emotional stability and mental strength.

Dignity- You’ll never see Erica acting poorly, drinking too much, treating someone badly. She has such a grace and dignity to herself I find wonderfully admirable.

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Claire & Erica

Pandora_Claire_Erica_ofakind__03Claire & Erica’s makeup was provided by Chelsa Crowley for Stowaway Cosmetics

Claire wears a top by Theory, shorts by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Loeffler Randall shoes, Morgan Parish for Of a Kind handbag, Tamaki Niime scarf and Ray Ban sunnies

Erica wears a dress by Jonathan Simkhai, Alice & Olivia shoes, Madewell jean jacket, Atelier Delphine for Of a Kind handbag and Raen sunnies

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Thanks to PANDORA Universe for making this possible.

PANDORA Facebook || PANDORA Instagram || PANDORA Twitter || PANDORA Pinterest

 

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L.A. Lady

NYDJ Summer 2015 photographed in Los Angeles, California

I was recently introduced to one of the most successful jean brands in the country, NYDJ. The relationship started when they sent me a pair of jeans to try out, which have now become my go-to photoshoot pants not only for their comfort but the fact they stretch slightly, making moving more functional and my job easier. I also like the fact they are slightly high-waisted and when she complimented me on the fit I knew there was something here.

Furthering the relationship, NYDJ sent me on a west coast adventure around Southern California with a suitcase full of their new summer looks to try on and wear out. For a week I lived in NYDJ and here is what I have to say – not only do the clothes travel well, they are easy to dress up or dress down making the unexpected travel plans manageable while still appearing completely put together on the outside and incredibly comfortable on the inside. What you don’t see is how they manage to do that. On the inside of the dresses they have a built in second layer that is similar to shape-wear, but not uncomfortable or constricting. It makes a flattering support system that keeps everything smooth and pretty while still allowing you to move, eat, sit and play with ease. It actually gave me more confidence while wearing dresses that showed off my natural figure.

I’ll be honest, this was a brutal winter in New York causing me at one point to actually take a cab four blocks home because I was too cold to carry on. This, in contrast to the endless snapchats of L.A. friends wearing tank tops and having backyard pizza parties in mid-February, was just cruel. I was happy to get out of New York which still seems to be slowly awakening into spring. I wanted to be surrounded by a color other than gray and something to do other than work 28 hours a day. Funny enough, I’m not the only one that feels this way. While in L.A. I woke up to a handful of texts, emails, tweets, snaps saying “did you read this!?”,  with a link to a New York Times article on just the sentiment I was living. It also didn’t help the case for New York that we were able to borrow a Jaguar F-Type convertible and spent the entire week with the top down, wind in our hair, and that sweet smell of honeysuckle wafting by.

Here are some of my favorite NYDJ summer looks and the great discoveries to be had along that gorgeous California coast….

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Above and below- watching the sunset in a Jaguar F-Type convertible in the canyons in NYDJ’s Rosella Stretch Crepe Drape Dress, Phillips House earrings, and Phillips House “Love Always” bracelet before heading to dinner at Giorgio Baldi

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We chose to stay in Santa Monica, just a few blocks from the ocean, at the Palihouse which we loved. Below, leaving in NYDJ’s Maia Jumpsuit (FAVORITE), Maiyet gold bangle, Schutz Juliana heels and Kotur clutch to meet friends at Jones Hollywood for a cocktail and then live show of our NYC friend that happened to be out in L.A. Matt Sucich.

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