Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal: GIVEAWAY.

There are some amazing people out there doing amazing things.  Ashley is one of those people.  With a familiar case of wanderlust and adventure, this lovely lady spent eight months traveling the world and exploring all it had to offer.  During her travels, she went to Nepal where she was introduced to the Women's Skill Development Organization (WSDO) and was taken by the people and their work. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/48191647]

This organization in a non-profit celebrating the country's beautiful traditional handicrafts, providing training to underprivileged women in order to help them learn to become self-reliant.  They learn how to perfect their crafts and key business skills that will help them sell their products and thus better their quality of life.  Ashley fell in love with this group and decided to set-up her own business to help and spread the word.  Bringing products made by the women of WSDO, Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal carries these handmade goods for a wider audience.

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From totes to make-up bags, wine carriers to passport bags, Ashley has a wonderful collection of goods at very reasonable prices that help make a difference as much as satisfy some retail therapy.  She has been kind enough to offer Thrill of the Chaise readers to win a large tote bag and matching make-up bag!  They are durable, fair trade and really stunning works of art with a lot of heart.

For your chance to win, 'like' Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal on Facebook here and leave a comment below with your name and contact information.  A winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, May 13th!  Explore the entire collection here...some perfect Mother's Day gifts there, if you ask me...

(All images c/o Hand Woven...With Love From Nepal)

GUESS Watches Timeless Beauty: Make-Up Edition.

If you follow me on them social medias, you may have noticed that I took a last minute trip over to my true love, London, to manage a video shoot for GUESS Watches.  With the help of a couple of my very best friends (one behind the camera and one in front), along with a pretty stunning team of hair, make-up, photography and blogger greats, we created a three part series that we lovingly call Timeless Beauty.  For this edition, we created three different make-up looks inspired by our new collections of GUESS Watches and set out to teach YOU how to recreate the looks on your own! First up, inspired by our denim and blue collection, the denim smoky eye with Emma:


Next, get that perfect rocker chic look complete with glamorous chain detail watch with Natasha:


Last, but certainly not least, is our rose gold collection brought into a day to night look with Chloe:



Thank you so much to the entire team who made the shoot so amazing!  Especially make-up artist Mariam Jensen and videographer Mike Osaer, who dedicated a hella lot of time to help me out and made the shoot nothing but tons of fun.  And keep an eye out...we shot the next installment of Timeless Beauty last week in NYC and it's pretty cool indeed!

Devil In The Couture Details.

As I am getting amped up for NYFW this weekend (where you should follow me backstage at the Ruffian show on Saturday morning on ALL the social medias), I would be amiss if I didn't mention the incredible Spring Couture shows we saw over the past few weeks.  Instead of talking about the looks themselves, I wanted to pick out some of my favorite details from the shows...because isn't that REALLY what couture is all about?  (It is, don't argue me.) First up in trusty ol' Chanel who nailed pastels as per usual.  Leave it to Lord Lagerfeld to sneak in something a bit youthful and also questionable in the form of sneakers.  But screw it, I would wear these kicks in a heartbeat.  And if Karl told me to wear them with a tulle skirt, I would be all 'anything you say, you're magic'.

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Raf Simons...you Dior designing gentleman who I wish I was my friend...you are able to use texture like it ain't nothin' and then it becomes EVERYTHING.  It was slightly reminiscent of everyone's favorite merry-go-round centered Vuitton show but stood completely on its own.  The use of artwork and the balance of pastel and deep navy is basically what I wish my wardrobe and life looked like.

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Giambattista Valli kinda killed it when it came to the embroidery and embellishment game.  The color palette was baller.  The accessories were equally as baller.  And dammit I wish I had the money/excuses to wear all of this.

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Schiaparelli came flying in like the slightly more refined but still just as batty sister of Vivienne Westwood.  And it's impossible to not love that.

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And everyone's favorite Valentino went fashion balls out with fabrications.  That lace, those feathers, the embroidery and, oh look, adorable lion prints!  Gothic ballerina on safari.  Well, that's a dream I never thought I would have and now can't stop thinking about...

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(All images c/o Style.com)

Karen Walker Sunglasses Are Everything.

I can't even.  Let it be said that I don't need new sunglasses.  I don't need new oversized sunglasses especially.  But thanks, Karen Walker, you have me wanting them soooo bad.  My love affair really started when I saw the Karen Walker campaign that featured some fabulous ladies of a certain age that I quite passionately want to morph into...especially that sassy little number with the sparkly shades and braid in her hair.  See below.  (And visit the amazing blog Advanced Style where all these gorgeous models are featured daily.) Orbit in Crystal Turquoise

Space Bug in Crystal Turquoise

Blue Moon in Black

Atomic in Peach

Northern Lights in Crazy Tort

Eclipse in Black

Intergalactic in Crystal Pink

So may I please have all of these?  (Especially those last ones.)  Thanks ever so much.

(All images c/o Karen Walker)

Etsy Monday: Just Cottons.

This weekend, my best friend came to visit me in my new city, where we not only got up to a lot of trouble (and a few lobster rolls) but also had the chance to talk about how perfect her wedding was, since it was the first time we had seen each other since.  You can see some of my Instagram reporting from the big weekend here.  One of my favorite shots was of all the bridesmaids getting ready in the beautiful, colorful floral robes the bride had gifted to each of us the night before the big day.

The bride and all her maids.

How perfect, right?!  We have had so many compliments on the robes and are also so in love with them (we all wear them on a regular basis now), that I wanted to share the beautiful Etsy shop, Just Cottons, where you can get these beauties!  Owner Chetna very sweetly highlights bridal parties in a lot of her images (of which we are one now!) but I just cannot say enough about what a lovely gift these robes are individually as much as they are stunning an idea for a bridal party.  Or any girly party, for that matter!  Check out the entire Just Cottons shop on Etsy here.

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(Images c/o Just Cottons)

Bling It On! With Hpnotiq: Win A Beauty Gift Certificate.

Bling It On Glam Hpnotiq Logo Version 3

Now, I know it's not just me that loves a great cocktail on a warm summer evening.  Fancy a 'Hpno-Rita'? Add 2oz. of Hpnotiq with about 1oz. of white tequila. Garnish with a dash of lime and/or pineapple.  Yum, job done.  But you gotta look fly while sippin' on this bad boy.

Hpnotiq GlamLouder Bling It On! Bottle Image

From now until July 28th 2013, Hpnotiq wants you to show them how you GLAM LOUDER with their Bling It On challenge to win fab prizes! During the remaining 2-week challenges you can submit photos in different categories to win - including the glammest makeup and overall look. Entries can be pictures you snap yourself or images you find online.  Here are the glamorous prizes that are still up for grabs: A $1,000 gift card to Sephora or Ulta, and a handbag of your choice valued at up to $1000.

For this round, they’re choosing 4 lucky winners to win a $1000 beauty gift certificate to Sephora or ULTA!!! If you’re one of the 4 winners, you’ll also be able to compete in the final round for a chance to win the grand prize trip for you and three friends to go shopping with a celebrity Los Angeles! Even better - the grand prize winner will star in a professional photo shoot for the chance to be in a real Hpnotiq Ad!  While I may be a bit bored of fashion darling Ms. Cara, I chose this for MY fav glam look...unusual but damn cool.  And blue liner is a nice little nod to the bevvie above.

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For this challenge Hpnotiq wants you to show them your very best head-turning, eye-catching makeup style!  And if you have any beauty tips...make sure to share them!  You can enter as many times as you want! Snap a pic of your own, or find a pic online. To enter visit http://9nl.it/irby/, visit Hpnotiq’s Facebook page or follow @Hpnotiq on twitter and tweet them your picture using the hashtag #GLAMLOUDER.

Full contest rules can be found here.

This post was sponsored by Hpnotiq.

Insta-Wedding-Gram.

Oh heyyyyyy!  Well, I am back and have very nearly recovered from one of the most memorable weekends (extended weekend...4 day extravaganza...whatever you like) of my life.  First of all, I'm in love with Vermont.  I wasn't so much in love with the 6.5 hours it took me to get there but if that is the route you take to pure gorgeousness and the nicest people in the world, game on.  Things did start getting very confusing when I realized I was so far north that I was picking up French-Canadian radio stations...  

If this is the view from the parking lot of The Round Barn, you can only imagine what the rest of the place looked like...and I apologize I didn't think to actually get more shots of that.

From the first night fireside hang out to the rehearsal dinner at the lovely Pitcher Inn to the big day itself at The Round Barn, everything was thoughtful, fun and full of love.  I won't get all mushy about all the very special moments had over the weekend but I did want to share it all through my eyes (or phone, rather).

Welcome Bag in my room upon arrival, complete with beer, cheese, crackers and maple candies that are sure to send you on a 4-day sugar high.

'Guard dog' at The Round Barn who was very old and happy to get some of my attention...but also inexplicably soaking wet.

Page in a book about love that were in each of our rooms.  Also, story of my life.

Gifts for the Maids.

And an extra special gift for little miss Maid of Honor (moi).  A necklace by *** of dyed, vintage lace.

I slept with the bride the night before the wedding while the groom took my room.  And we were treated to coffee in bed by the very thoughtful mothers.

Best buddies getting ready (in the adorable robes the bride gifted to all of us).

Our bouquets of my favorite flowers, peonies.

The bride and all her maids.

My favorite dress in my closet now.

Progressively getting dressed...

At the reception (come on, would have been totally inappropriate for me to be Instagramming while at the ceremony...right?)

Beautiful Bride.

Bourbon Bacon Caramel Popcorn for afters.

Now after these images were all taken, we did an awful lot of dancing and drinking and then some more drinking at the 'after party'.  At said after party, I was approached by the groom and bride's brother to participate in something called a 'shot ski'.  Which sounded much more adorable before an actual ski with shot glasses attached to it was put in my face.  Needless to say, I smelled of whisky for 2 days straight and was woken up the morning after the wedding by the groom delivering two Advil to my face.  So no.  You don't get to see any of the pictures I attempted to capture there.  Nor the video in the van ride home that I took because I thought everyone was singing 'We Will Rock You' (they weren't, the radio was).  And I will tell you that, yes, eating wedding cake with my hands in the living room of the inn when we got back was equal parts totally awesome and totally gross.  All in all, a success.  Oh, and this happened at one point:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z851ZDGhMI]

A huge congrats to Allie and John!  Eat all the pasta Italy has to offer in my honor.  Many thanks.

c/o Hendrickson Photography

Rockin' Resort 2014.

Resort collections are a strange breed.  They always seem to come out of nowhere just as I feel like I've fully recovered from Fashion Week and then leave me in a different kind of retail therapy desperation.  Not only do I want the clothes and want them NOW, I also feel the overwhelming need to go on a holiday.  For someone who, yes, has just been to Mexico and spent three weeks in London, I still feel like I need a holiday.  Mexico was more of a family reunion with margaritas and London wasn't exactly tropical.  I want to put my feet in the sand, sip on a cocktail and watch the world go by.  In fabulous clothes.  So I wanted to share some of my favorite looks from the Resort 2014 collections.  In related news, I will be turning 30 one month from today and have yet to make any plans.  But a well-dressed, last-minute trip somewhere doesn't seem like the worst idea ever.  Who's in?

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Chanel is always a funny one for me.  I'd love a bit more Chanel in my life.  Or rather, I'd like any Chanel in my life.  But the Chanel Resort collections are always a slow starter for me.  There were some real nods back to the traditional Coco Chanel looks but completed with some real punk elements.  Karl always has a vision...it just takes some of us a bit longer to properly see it.  Curse us little minions and our unimaginative brains.  (Speaking of Chanel, have you entered to win a beautiful Chanel print or any other of your choice in our latest giveaway?!  Enter here.)

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The new and improved Christian Dior uses color in some pretty incredible ways.  The fabrications and silhouettes alone make me excited to be a girl.  And for someone who has to go into any shopping trip specifically saying to myself 'do NOT buy another article of black clothing', this collection makes me want to make everything BUT black.  Throw one of those navy blue jackets my way, will ya, Raf?

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I've always been a bit terrified of Cavalli.  All his collections always just seem like a poor man's tacky Versace.  So with this resort collection, it was really nice to see a softer side to Just Cavalli.  Leopard print did sneak in there but even that seems more delicate than usual.  Anyway, it's cool.  Real cool.

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Moschino Cheap & Chic is always endlessly adorable.  And this collection is no exception.  Bows and lace are always present.  But this time, there seems to be a throwback to my adolescence when daisies and tie-dye were having a real comeback.  Well keep coming back.  I'm loving it.  (Done the right way, of course.)

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Oscar de la Renta.  I don't even know what to say.  This man never fails to dazzle.  I love you.  I have always loved you.  I will always love you.  Marry me.

(All images c/o Style.com)

The Bumble Effect.

I am under no delusion to think that I am anything but a very lucky girl.  Though I am not the type to make decisions completely on a whim (ask anyone I know about how much I appreciate a plan or anyone I work with how reliant I am on post-its), I have taken some chances through the years that could have ended up in disaster.  One of these potential mistakes was quitting my career after 7 years and going back to school to study fashion.  Despite having spent some time working with a trend forecasting agency and taking a short course at Central St. Martin's, my only real insight into the industry was a pretty rotten day 'shadowing' an editor at Seventeen Magazine when I was fifteen (read as; organizing shoes by color, archiving magazines by date and not ever actually figuring out what it was my host did). The point of this ramble is that I was terrified that what I came across in the fashion industry may actually be something as horrible as that single day I had and then I really would have made a huge mistake.  But as it turns out, my luck stuck with me and I have spent the last 18 months working with not only the best of the best, but the kindest of the kindest.  I am really banging on a lot for a post that's about a haircut...apologies.

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My point is, I met the Ruffian boys.  I get to work with the Ruffians and I also get to be friends with them...which means I get to see first-hand how well they look after the people around them.  To preface, I am very particular about my hair.  If you ever think I would even trim it myself, you're out of your damn mind.  And I spent a lot of time routinely spending a lot of money to get a really sad haircut.  So when I emailed the boys to see if they had any suggestion on someone they would trust with my lovely locks, the response was 'Of course! Leave it with us!'  And a couple of days later, I was booked into New York City's downtown Bumble & Bumble salon.  Where I had one of the greatest hair experiences of my life.

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As someone who gets nervous about spending the money on a high-end treatment, I wanted to share my experience so if any of you are humming and hawing...I may be able to help.  First things first, a lot of care was taken to place me with the perfect stylist for my needs.  As I was up for anything, the best I could give about what I wanted was explaining that I have spent most of my adult life trying to morph into a French woman from the 1960s.  And that was all it took...Bumble knew exactly who I should see.  Now, let me say that walking into the Bumble salon in the Meatpacking district is an experience all in itself.  Taking the elevator up, it is impossible to expect that when the doors open, you'll be greeted by a massive warehouse style room with floor to ceiling windows showing off just how beautiful the city is.  There is a fantastic shop with all the Bumble products you could ever want, a small cafe, a series of very cool couches where I sat sipping on mint tea taking in the entire experience.

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My stylist Tashina greeted me and I knew I was going to adore her.  It's a beautifully relaxed environment filled with people who you know just love being there.  Tashina listened carefully to my hair woes and quickly offered up a remedy.  And to my surprise, she didn't say 'let's chop it all off' but wanted to create a slightly more fabulous version of me.  She walked me through the process, the products, gave me tips and tricks on how to get my hair to behave when it simply refuses and really just spoke to me like we were old friends...which it felt like we were.  She said that hearing my 60s French inspiration got her really excited because she is going through a real phase of that as well, that she had spent the weekend hunting for records with her dad where they had stumbled across a stunning, baby-faced Cher on one.  We were meant to be.

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The result of my entire experience was one of a real focus on me as a client, a true passion for the craft and all-around proof of what true pampering and luxury not only are but how much they can mean.  Spending a little extra money for the level of treatment and incredible attention paid at Bumble & Bumble is more than worth it.  So go, treat yourself!  A huge thank you to Ruffian and to Bumble & Bumble for taking such good care of me!

(All images c/o Bumble & Bumble.  Please note, though my haircut was offered to me free of charge, all opinions and the decision to write this post are all my own.)

Met Ball 2013: Punk - Chaos to Couture.

I don't tend to review red carpet fashions but there was something so ridiculously cool about last nights Met Ball, celebrating its new exhibit, Punk: Chaos to Couture.  In complete honesty, I was ready to really hate what I saw when I woke up this morning to all the fashions that took the stage as I slept here in London...otherwise known as the spiritual home of punk.  Yes, all these stars have very knowledgable stylists but I was prepared to see something similar to the MTV Video Music Awards where lots of vanilla stars look at it as a chance to be 'cool' and a little 'rock and roll'.  But holy s**t.  WELL DONE, TEAM. Sarah Jessica Parker rocking Giles Deacon, complete with velvet tartan thigh-high boots, braids and mohawk headpiece.  I mean, come on.  She's amazing.

Allison Williams in a perfectly bizarre Altuzarra gown.

Not one to ever care much for Anne Hathaway, I have to admit, girl rocked it with new hair and Valentino. As you do.

It seemed as though some people missed the memo on the theme of the night and just got far too dolled up, but there were some real winners for me and for reasons I would never expect.  Aside from Madonna who went balls to the wall with her get-up, there was a brilliant manifestation of punk in the most fashionable ways last night...and in some of the most unexpected ways.  Hair and make-up sealed the deal for many of the stars but in-your-face studs, bold silhouettes and, in the cases of the real punks (i.e. Her Majesty Vivienne Westwood), it was all about the understatement.

The understated spike belt on Cameron Diaz's Stella McCartney gown make me love this look.

I'm bored of Ms. Cara but digging the entire ensemble, Burberry, studs and heavy eye make-up...job done.

Before we get knocked over the head with her Great Gatsby looks, Carey Mulligan showed that less is a beautiful amount of more in Balenciaga.

Emily Blunt took a beautiful Carolina Herrara gown and made it badass with bright pink eyeshadow, spike earrings and very well-done faux-hawk.

Ginnifer Goodwin balanced her good and bad girl wearing a surprising Tory Burch dress with even more surprising (but well executed) bold eyes.

Hailee Steinfeld was the perfect amount of punk for her age with edgy hair and make-up paired with a sweet (and safety pin covered) dress from Donna Karan Atelier.

I wasn't sure about this look on Katy Perry straight off the Dolce & Gabbana runway but it's grown on me.  Work it.

Probably the most controversial move of the night but also my favorite.  Nicole Richie killed it with haunting white hair.  And then killed it again in Topshop.

Sienna Miller, I almost didn't recognize you. Thank you for respecting my theory that a leather jacket over any formal look is cool.  And so does Burberry, apparently.

 

(All images c/o Getty Images)

Smoky Eyes & A GIVEAWAY.

First things first, I actually had to consult the dictionary on how to appropriately spell 'smoky'.  Just wanted to get that out of the way.  Being accurate can be a seriously humbling experience. With wedding season starting to rear its beautiful head and the weather making us all feel a bit more social (honestly, it can be hard to get moving in such bitter cold), hair and make-up for such occasions is taking center stage.  The smoky eye is always the most popular look but also the one that strikes the most fear into the hearts of all of us ladies and fancy gentlemen.  So when make-up company BA Star sent me one of their shadow palettes, I knew it was game on.  For all of us.  So check out the video below on how to create the ever so beautiful smoky eye.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9HX-0oqqs8]

Need a little more help?  I am giving away this beautiful Natural Shadow Palette from BA Star!  This palette contains three mineral shadows in bronze, cocoa and nude, as well as two gel glitters in gold and crystal.

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All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post with your name and email address by the end of the day this Friday, April 19th!  For an extra entry, 'like' Thrill of the Chaise on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter and let me know (with your Twitter handle) in your comment.

Check out all the palettes here and get super excited because BA Star is also giving Thrill of the Chaise readers a whopping 50% discount on their orders with the code: BBSMOKY.  Awesome.  Go nuts.

(Giveaway made possible by BrandBacker)

Etsy Monday: Which Goose.

There is no denying it.  The wedding season has arrived.  I have literally just arrived home after a bachelorette party weekend and hopefully delivered on my Maid of Honor responsibilities, which I think mostly consist of making sure the bride is drinking and happy, followed by making sure the bride's hangover is not so bad that she boots me from the wedding.  In two weeks, I'll be on a plane to London, parents in tow, for the wedding of one of dearest friends to the love of his life (check out how I helped set-up the proposal extravaganza here).  And by the end of June, I will be donning my insanely gorgeous BHLDN dress for the nuptials of the aforementioned mildly hungover, but happy bride. Flower Crown

I'm getting off track and I'm not making this sound half as romantic as I should.  Right.  Weddings mean pretty things.  And Which Goose makes some of the prettiest.  Flower crowns, pretty accessories, delicate delights.  The lovely Emily even makes custom work, which I am sure is to dieeeeee for.  And it makes my heart swell even more that she has announced she is closing up shop for a couple of months because SHE is getting married.  Which I really hope she shares pictures of...because I bet it is going to be ridiculously adorable.

Ivory Flower Crown

'Paradise' Hair Clip

Tea Cup Ringbearer Pillow

Bridal Clutch

First Bloom Tiara

So if you have a wedding to go to, a wedding to be in or a wedding all your own...check out Which Goose.  Because I am telling you now, your wedding should look exactly like Emily's creations.

Willow Groomsmen Boutonnieres

Pink Party Hat

Bridal Wrist Corsage

Ivory Hair Bow

(All images c/o Which Goose)

Ruffian Nail Lacquer Collection With Birchbox: Dream Team.

So here's the jam.  I'm very lucky to get to spend a lot of time over at Ruffian HQ and couldn't have been more excited when they told me they were going to be collaborating with beauty sample subscription badasses, Birchbox, on a nail polish line.  Designers Brian and Claude have taken the runways by storm and created some of the most memorable manicures New York Fashion Week has ever seen (check this year's out here)...pair that with their incredible eye for color and, BOOM, welcome to an incredible set of nail lacquers. But that's not the best part.  Birchbox and Ruffian are letting YOU decide which colors will make the cut!  There are five different shades and Facebook friends of Birchbox can vote on the top three that will be put into production in time for New York Fashion Week this September.  The colors are:

'The voluptuous blue and purple velvety petals of the African Violet inspired the Delirium of this color.'

'Inspired by the thoroughbred beauty of the red fox; Fox Hunt’s savage richness will make everyday upper crust.'

'Soft, tender and strong; Lady Alabaster emerges from the quarry solid as stone.'

'Nothing is more inspiring than the color of money, and Hedge Fund is impossible to counterfeit.'

'Her beauty is rock solid, yet as soft as mink. Venus in Fur will channel every girl’s inner Greek goddess.'

Make sure to head over to the Birchbox Facebook page to vote for your favorites!  And consider this a gentle nudge to get a good word in for 'Hedge Fund'...it's a stunning color and someone you may know (me!) may have named it.  Check out Ruffian on Facebook too and check out my behind the scenes report of their latest collection from NYFW here.

*cough* Hedge Fund *cough*  But seriously, what are your favorites?!

Tumble & Fall.

After being stuck so long looking at spreadsheets and data reports and other such delightful treats while working in marketing, when I finally decided to leave my job to go explore what it was that inspired me and head back to fashion school (where they demand you use your creative brain), I started to obsess over imagery.  Maybe it was because I was finally taking the time to look at things and how I reacted to them or how they made me feel without feeling the need to explain it to someone later on.  I didn't NEED to analyze anything unless I really wanted to.  Or I could take something at surface and not have to concern myself with anything other than the visual. Needless to say, this means that I get pretty hopped up on the sillies when it comes to sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, which both play to my increasingly short attention span and need to see a lot all at once.  So I wanted to invite you to join me in all of these mediums.  I like to share things that grab my attention...that's what this blog is really all about...and I would like to invite you to let me!  So check me out up on these places:

Thrill of the Chaise Tumblr is a place where I am getting to be a lot more visual than I tend to be on this blog.  I love to write.  I love to communicate through the written word.  But there are moments when I just want to speak through images.  So check out the Tumblr and see what's getting me inspired.

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I started The Coquette Costume while I was in Paris this past summer studying with Parsons.  We were each assigned a topic and mine was lingerie!  My first proper interview in London was for Agent Provocateur and I spent my entire freshman year at college writing a report on Madonna and her sexuality (based mostly around her 'Sex' book and her Truth or Dare tour), so it was ever so fitting.  I've always seen lingerie as something beautiful, delicate and a bit of a treasure that women can keep as secret as they please.  Now, that being said, there is a lot of filth on Tumblr so a word to the wise...if you search 'lingerie', be warned.  Maybe just visit The Coquette Costume to get the good stuff.

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Don't forget that Thrill of the Chaise is all up on Facebook!  Hang out with us there.

Lovely Lush: My Skin Savior.

Augh, I'm sorry but I have to tell you how much it pained me to write 'savior' and not 'saviour' in the title of this post.  I spent seven years perfecting my British English spellings and ended up falling head over heels in love with them.  Now all my American English spellings look harsh and cold and way less fancy.  But in an attempt to keep my trans-Atlantic nuances to a minimum in fear of morphing into Madonna or Mark Ronson (sorry, Mark, but your accent is so irritating), I am trying to remain firmly on the (American) ground I'm currently standing on and not use the pretentious line of 'well, I DID actually live in London for seven years, darling' (said in the poshest English accent I can muster).  Also, the pictures in this post are random and we need to just accept it...you're not getting pictures of my face right now, no amount of make-up could make me look any less exhausted.

WINTER SKIN CARE.  That's what we are actually talking about.  Dammit.  Ok, I am bringing it up.  I never had much of an issue with my skin in the colder months until I moved back to the States.  I feel like this is a two-fold problem.  First, the cold in the UK is damp (i.e. there is the hope of some moisture).  In the US, it's dry and stings and burns.  Getting hit by even a light breeze can feel like a million (overstatement) band aids being ripped off.  Second issue...what the hell is up with this weather?!  It's 60F one day and 2F the next.  I would use numerous curse words to effectively explain this generally but I kinda feel like Lush is a brand which deserves more respect than that.

I love Lush.  And it's been saving my life (er, skin) during this unpredictable, mean and *enter curse word here* weather.  Since I generally have nice skin, which has gone bad, and then gone nice again thanks to Lush, I thought it would be disservice if I didn't share.

Shu Cleansing Oil: I've written about this product before because I am FULL-ON obsessed.  You can read about it here.  I use this product first because it gently takes off all my make-up (even my eyeliner which is more or less a miracle).  And it's an oil which means it helps to add some moisture back into my skin.

Let the good times roll

Let The Good Times Roll from Lush: This limited-edition scrub (yeah, it's for the holiday season only so I'd run to your local Lush to see if they have any left) is made up of maize, polenta, popcorn and a dash of cinnamon.  So it's super gentle and refined and also smells like DA BUSINESS!  I wish everything smelled this delicious.  It just takes a little bit to rub into your hands with water and then scrub your face.

Oatifix from Lush:  This mask is the bee's knees.  It's basically oats and bananas which will make it almost disappointing you are only meant to leave it on for a measly 10 minutes.  But damn.  This s**t works.  It leaves your skin incredibly smooth and ever so soft.

oatifix

If I'm honest, I'm kind of a loser with moisturizers.  It's the age-old dilemma of knowing I need to take it seriously but without being able to justify a huge expense.  The never-ending quest for the skin care holy grail, a well priced moisturizer that really works.  But what I've got going on right now seems to be doing the job without breaking the bank.  When I need an extra moisture boost, I put a little Weleda Skin Food up on my face and follow-up with my normal moisturizer Murad Hydro Dynamic Ultimate Moisturizer.  If it took me ages to learn one thing, it's that when you need a moisturizer for very dry skin, the thickest creams aren't always the best.  It's not about how heavy it is but about how well it penetrates into your skin.  You're welcome for that little gem.

One other little tip...get facials at a local aesthetic science/cosmetology school.  If you're someone like me who can't afford to go to a salon often to get a facial, this is a great way to go about it.  Students need to practice so might as well be on you!  Treatments are heavily discounted and you also get to listen as someone learns about your skin specifically.  So you can understand your own skin a bit more while giving it a bit of a treat!

The New Marilyn. And A MAC Giveaway!

I am very excited to announce that I have signed onto an incredible project called The New Marilyn and wanted to share it all with you, giving you the chance to participate too!  'The New Marilyn' is a film in production about the legendary Marilyn Monroe that is giving fans the chance to participate and interact with the creation of the final product.  Cool, right? [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OhdD5n405I]

We are running a contest called 'Are You The New Marilyn?' giving anyone who has ever dreamt of playing the star the chance to audition for a role in the film.  With over 100 entries so far (you can still enter until November 30th) and tens of thousands of votes already placed, the top 10 voted Marilyns by February 28th will be invited to audition.  You can browse entries and vote on both Instagram (@thenewmarilyn) and on Facebook.

And even better...while we are working on putting the finishing touches on some great videos we shot while I was in London, The New Marilyn is giving away a gift set from the very limited-edition MAC x Marilyn Monroe collection!  The set includes a Marilyn Monroe nail polish, eyeliner and blush from this exclusive line.  Enter here!

Women In High Heels: Olympic Sport?

I am the self-proclaimed queen of shoes that look amazing but don't usually make sense.  What I mean is that I have a lot of beautiful heels in my closet but I struggle to keep many of them on for very long unless I am taking cabs everywhere and doing a lot of 'look at how fabulous I look when I'm sitting'.  Wearing high heels is a workout.  Every part of your lower body is engaged when you are in impossible looking shoes and your foot is bent in a completely unnatural way.  But DAMMIT don't they look awesome?!

For someone with such an archive of ridiculous footwear, it is hard to believe that I have never invested in shoe inserts to help make the situation a bit more bearable.  TA DAAAAA!  Foot Petals!  The name is cute.  The products look quite sweet.  And they actually give my paws the love that they deserve.  I was over the moon when Foot Petals chose me as an official 'woman in high heels' and let me try out some of their new products.  Shoe cushions and I are new best friends.

I'm happy to play guinea pig to anything that might help my fellow female, high heel-wearing fashionistas out there so here's the happs.  Foot Petals, the brand known for their fabulous and fashionable shoe inserts and shoe cushions just launched two new revolutionary products to bring comfort to women in high heels.

Have a habit of being a bit rough and tumble with your kicks?  Me too.  The first new product solves the annoying problem of when your stiletto heels get scuffed or scratched. Foot Petals is launching Stiletto Shieldz, a clear plastic shield that adheres to your high heeled shoes (works on leather, synthetics, wood, etc.) and will protect your high heels from scuffs while appearing invisible to the eye. The Stiletto Shieldz for high heels retails for $6.95 and is sold at www.footpetals.com and department stores, including Nordstrom.

 

The second new Foot Petals product adds comfort to trouble spots in high heeled shoes and is called Pressure Pointz.  Pressure Pointz are small shoe cushions that women in high heels can stick in a specific spot of their shoes to create a defense layer between their shoe and skin to avoid blisters and uncomfortable rubbing.  Many women in high heels currently use band-aids or tape to try to solve this problem, but Pressure Pointz is a more permanent and practical solution that also provides more comfort than at home solutions.  Pressure Pointz for stiletto heels retail for $6.95 and are available at www.footpetals.com and in department stores, including Nordstrom.  These would have come in a real treat in Paris...so much time wasted with sore, awful looking feet because I refused to 'break in' my footwear before my trip.

Listen, we have to look after our lovely little feet as much as we do our expensive shoes so make sure to try out these new products but also take a peek at the rest of the Foot Petals products.  It'll change your fashionable life!

(This is a sponsored post but all opinions on the product are my own.)

GIVEAWAY: Paris vs. New York

I fell in love with the work of Vahram Muratyan the first time I saw it...

I wrote about Vahram's work here and little did I know that a book was in the works to properly showcase his amazing collection of Paris vs. New York artwork.  After spending the past month in Paris (and awaiting my return to New York), I wanted to say thank you all of you out there in the world who visit Thrill of the Chaise and make this blog such a pleasure to write...and how better to do that then give away a copy of Vahram's incredible and adorable book, 'Paris vs. New York'  :)

So here's all you have to do to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post with your email address (so I can contact you if you win, not for anything creepy) by the end of the day on Tuesday, August 21st.  This is open to international readers so everyone gets the chance to win.

2. For extra entries, 'like' the new Thrill of the Chaise page on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter.  Make sure to let me know your name and Twitter handle in your comment!

Good luck and thanks so much for visiting Thrill of the Chaise!

A Note On French Beauty.

The French are beautiful.  An irritatingly, naturally beautiful species that seems to exist with little to no fuss regarding their primping regime.  While the rest of us around the world seem to need the minimum of an hour to get ourselves ready in the morning in order to deem our appearance 'appropriate', the French just seem to roll out of bed, shake their hair about a bit and then walk straight out the door and somehow look superhuman. Maybe this is much deeper than a beauty regime (I can't for the life of me figure out how the French stay hydrated...seems like nothing but coffee, wine and very tiny glasses of water) and a greater question about an overall way of being but honestly, I don't have the brain power to even begin to contemplate that at the moment.  But what I can tell you is that they take beauty very seriously and that involves the care in which goes into oneself and much less about the care taken to disguise what we really look like.

My whole point is really quite superficial after such a psychological view of beauty.  French pharmacies are mind-blowing.  Yup.  That's basically what I've been trying to say.  You see, when I myself, an American who loves to shop and goes into some kind of brilliant daze when entering a Sephora, think of a pharmacy, I think of something a bit low brow.  Aisles of everything you never knew you needed and don't actually need at all.  Cheap fixes to whatever ailments you may have with some half-assed beauty products thrown in.

BUT NAY.  NOT IN FRANCE.  If you are a fan of CVS or Duane Reade, it is my job to tell you right now that you better get the f**k out of dodge.  French pharmacies do, in fact, sell you things to help you with your health issues but if you think you're just going to pop in and get some cheap face wash on your way home from work, the answer is 'hell no'.  Skincare especially is incredibly important to the French and that shows here.  Some of the finest brands you can find are lining the shelves and employees are on hand to make sure you are buying what you need and not something to just do the job.

I went into my local pharmacy today to get some shave gel (look elsewhere, they won't have it) and ended up with a moisturizer and lip balm that have already turned me into a new person.  Honestly, my other lip balm has been no help to me whatsoever in a time of need for the last few days and one application of the new guy and BOOM, my pout is back and ten times better than before.  An extra note, yes, you will be spending more money than you usually would at a pharmacy but it is still reasonable for the products you are getting and they will be totally worth the price of admission.  The only bother is...where will I find my very French products back on American soil?!