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.

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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….

  NYDJ Summer 2015 photographed in Los Angeles, California

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

  NYDJ Summer 2015 photographed in Los Angeles, California NYDJ Summer 2015 photographed in Los Angeles, California

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.

  NYDJ Summer 2015 photographed in Los Angeles, California     NYDJ Summer 2015 photographed in Los Angeles, California Continue reading…

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Backyard Pizza Party!

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I met Gaby a few years ago on a trip through Chile and then later we were travel companions again through Brazil. We bonded over Pisco Soursred lips, and avocados (Gaby is VERY serious about them). I taught her the term “on brand” as a way to get in or out of any situation, and she taught me that slutty brownies are the greatest thing on Earth. Gaby is that west coast girl I fantasize I could be- healthy, fit, tan, on it, bikes everywhere, doesn’t drink eight cups of coffee a day like I do, and makes the most amazing food on the internets.

When she found out we were heading west to LA this week she called up her best friends and creative soul mates: food photographer Matt Armendariz and food & prop stylist Adam Pearson and threw together a backyard pizza party in our honor. Knowing that Ecco Domani pairs well with pizza parties, Kevin and I brought over a mirage of wines by Ecco Domani to pair with the different style pizzas from the red Merlot to the Pinot Grigio and ended the night sipping on the sweet prosecco by the outdoor fire.

Being a New Yorker, anytime I get to go to someone’s freestanding home is thrilling, and this backyard setup was one of the best I’ve ever been to. Matt and Adam have been working together for 10 years as a photography & styling duo for multiple cookbooks and industry giants such as the Food Network and in the new media world for places like Gaby’s site. Aside from curating a beautiful historic 1920′s Long Beach Home, running a successful studio that banks on editorial style and natural light, they were also married seven years ago on the first day same sex marriage became legal in California.

Cooking, eating, and hanging out with three major foodies comes with a bounty of tips and new recipes to update your traditional pizza. Pizza is one of mine and Kevin’s favorite at-home meals which typically occurs on Sunday night paired with a bottle of red wine and Game of Thrones. Of course it would be different taking this pizza party out west with old friends and new. Matt and Adam set up a pizza topping station where you could customize your own pie while we all hung out, caught up on our world travels, enjoying that perfect LA weather with our California sun kissed skin.

It’s nice to be reminded that the best things in life are shared memories with friends over good food and great wine. I hope this inspires you to have your own pizza party with friends or family and try out one of the recipes below and, of course, any pizza can only made better with a bottle of Ecco Domani.

 {PS- I brought one of my old Polaroid cameras some impossible film to take some instant party pics, the kind you can hold on to and rediscover one day in an old shoe box. You’ll see some of the moments developed below!} 

Scroll down for new recipe ideas and pizza cooking tips Adam & Gaby!

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For your pizza party, arrange jars of a variety of ingredients for guests to mix and match their favorite flavors and try to add some surprises such as roasted corn, jalapeño, green onions and soy-rizo (soy version of chorizo!).

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We always make our own dough, it’s so easy and makes the whole pizza process even more fun. Gaby’s recipe for homemade pizza doughContinue reading…

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MET Gala 2015

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Once again I had the privilege to cover the red carpet with the Met Museum‘s social media team capturing what is the coined “the party of the year” for the museum’s new fashion exhibition China Through the Looking Glass. From gowns that took  two years to create, to ones that appear completely see-though, it was one breathtaking moment after the next and I’m happy to share with you images from the front lines, captured using my iPhone 6, of my favorite Met Gala 2015 moments….

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