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Kentucky Derby Party – Part I

After a brief hiatus from the blog, I’ve returned to bring you all the juicy details from this weekend’s Kentucky Derby Party. This post will focus on fashion and images from the party, and in a second post, I’ll provide all the recipes and party tips.

The first Saturday in May brings with it one of the most venerated moments in sports history – the Kentucky Derby.  A member of the esteemed Triple Crown of horse racing (a trifecta completed by the Preakness and Belmont), this race has pomp, circumstance, and tradition for all to enjoy.

This year, I decided to embrace Southern charm and Southern cooking and host a party befitting the race.

First, the hat. Before even sending the invitations, I knew that finding the hat was essential. Luckily, within mere minutes browsing through Etsy, I found a the perfect designer, Eye Heart Me. I fell in love with her creations, and ultimately settled on an ivory and black fascinator that would not only go with any dress I chose to wear, but could be worn for other events in the future. When it arrived in the mail, I was not disappointed. Carefully wrapped and even more beautiful than the photos, the precision and detail of this artisan were clear. It was also very comfortable and easy to wear on the day of the party, and, despite all my hostessing shenanigans, it stayed perfectly in place all day.

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Eye Heart Me fascinator (side view)

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Eye Heart Me fascinator (front view)

 

Mint Juleps, cheddar grits, fried chicken, pimento cheese sandwiches, and sweet tea rounded out the day:

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First guest = first mint julep taste tester. Results = success!

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Cake Topper charges to the finish line!

 

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The take-home treat – a classic blondie (my go-to recipe), wrapped and monogrammed

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Perfection. Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken. Only in Harlem, NYC.

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Feta and Watermelon Bites

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Be-hatted and be-dazzled

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Mint juleps and mini cheddar grits. Are you hungry yet?

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Classic Southern – Laurie Osteen’s Coconut Cake

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Run, baby, run!

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And a little bubbly to finish things off

 

Get the full menu and recipes here.

xoxo.

Green Your Morning Routine

Hello lovelies!

Kiki here, and I’m so excited to be sharing this post with you today! Mimzy does a fabulous job on this blog and I was so excited and honored to be asked to post on one of my favorite topics… green smoothies!

I hear you rolling your eyes out there and I understand your struggles! I have tried many, many combinations of green smoothies– some which have, quite honestly, tasted like grass. Others have been too fibrous. Some too thin. Some too sweet. But the benefits of drinking a green smoothie in the morning (hello radiant glow and vibrant energy!) kept me trying and refining recipes until I got it just right. Trust me on this one and give it a try!

Without further ado, let’s get started! Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks
(if you are using an organic cucumber, you can keep the skin on, but it does make the smoothie more fibrous)
1 handful of washed baby spinach
1-2 leaves of washed romaine lettuce
1 handful of pea shoots (these should be easy to find near the lettuce in your grocery store!)
1 inch of fresh, peeled ginger
1 banana or 1/2 avocado (both options are delicious!)
1-2 TBS lemon juice
a few chunks of frozen pineapple (or mango works great too!)
2 cups of liquid– I use 1 cup water and 1 cup coconut water (just be sure to use unflavored so you can avoid extra and unnecessary sugars!)
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Throw it all into a blender (I have a Breville and LOVE it) and mix it up! This will make enough for two smoothies. You could save one for later or share with a friend!

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In addition, I like to add a few extras to boost the nutritional content of my morning smoothie. Below I will show you what I add and why I use it. Feel free to add any or all of these to your smoothie for some added benefits!

Extras:
Chia Seeds (1 TBS) Chia Seeds are loaded with omegas, fiber, and antioxidants. They will help you feel more full!
Flax Seed Meal (1 TBS) Flax Seeds are also chocked full of healthy omega-3’s and fiber!
Camu Powder (1/2 tsp) Camu is chock-full of Vitamin C! You don’t need much here– 1 tsp boasts over 1000% of the daily allowance. No need to worry, your body will rid itself of any extra Vitamin C that you don’t need.
Hemp Seeds (1 TBS) Hemp is full of protein as well as vitamin E and healthy omegas.
Spirulina (1 tsp) This blue-green algae is full of vitamins B, C, D, A, and E. Its benefits also include potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.
Maca Powder (1 tsp) Maca has the benefit of vitamins B, C, and E and also increases energy! Who doesn’t need that? Another possible benefit is that it could help clear up skin and can help balance your mood.
smoothie add ins
(Hemp Seeds not pictured)
Enjoy! Until next time….

xo
Kiki

Friday Favorite: Living Libations Best Skin Ever

This week, I’d like to mention a remarkable product produced by a lovely Canadian husband and wife.

First, let me forewarn that I do not generally gravitate toward the “all-natural” beauty product market. For skincare, I would rather buy more expensive products from reputable brands several times a year than have a whole arsenal of half-used drugstore wannabes. Clarins and La Mer are two of my favorite splurges (to be reviewed at a later date).

I had never heard of Living Libations until I saw it on my best friend’s Instagram feed in January. Since I know she has super-sensitive skin and struggles to find the right products, I was instantly curious. Also, as a vegan, she has devoted considerable research into the organic and natural beauty market.

I logged onto the website and literally spent hours reading descriptions and reviews for the wealth of the company’s available products. Everyone was raving! I ended up with six items in my cart, but ultimately narrowed it down to the most popular product – “Best Skin Ever” skin oil in Seabuckthorn (they have other fragrances like Rose, but I figured I’d start with the original).

I try to avoid buying unnecessary products (or products that I can’t return). No one wants to be forced to throw something away or be reminded of their folly seeing it their medicine cabinet on a daily basis.

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As someone with naturally oily skin, I was fairly skeptical of the whole skin oil craze. Why do I need more oil on my face? However, after using this product, I was convinced. The oil naturally attracts and removes oil and dirt from your face, leaving behind a natural glow (never slick or greasy). It’s also a great moisturizer. I used it for a few weeks, then brought it home for my mom to try. She was so impressed that I sent her a bottle of her own.

Heed her advice: “Once you find something that works, don’t switch. Beauty products are generally best when you develop consistency and use them over the long term.” I think Best Skin Ever is a new long-term love!

My usage:
AM: Wet face. Put 3-4 drops of Best Skin Ever on the corner of a damp facecloth, and massage over skin in circular motions to exfoliate and cleanse. Rinse and dry face, then continue with normal beauty routine (moisturizer, sunscreen, etc).
AM & PM: Add 1-2 drops of Best Skin Ever to moisturizer and blend into skin. Let the happy glow commence!

Pros:
Every ingredient is good for your skin.
The fragrance is light and beautiful.
At $30.00, Best Skin Ever is at a similar price point to those found at Sephora (Josie Maran, Tarte, etc.).

Cons:
A little pricey to ship internationally. But since you are only using a few drops per day, the bottle lasts for a while. I now order multiple bottles and split them with my mom – problem solved!

(I definitely meant to post this on Friday, but it never made it out of my draft folder. Oops!)

xoxo

Hairstyle From Three Angles: Crown Braid Ponytail

 

 

A little hair inspiration to start the new work week…

One day several weeks ago (pre-haircut), I opted for a tidy but interesting hairstyle at the office. (Is it just me or do braids have a summery vibe? Perhaps it was wishful thinking!)

Regardless, this was a fun way to liven up a basic outfit, and perfect if you are growing out bangs or layers, so I thought I would share.

Step one: side part a two-inch section of hair.

Step two: french braid the section, guiding it around the crown until you pass your right ear, then switch to a regular braid all the way to the bottom. Tie off with a mini-elastic.

Step three: make a ponytail with the rest of your hair.

Step fourLoop the braid around the ponytail to cover the elastic.  Secure the end of the braid with a hair-toned bobby pin under the ponytail.

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Voila! Not too hard if you have medium to long hair and can do the french braid. I might try it out with one or two small, standard braids.

Have a happy start to the week!

xoxo,
Mimzy

Lights, Camera, Oscar Party Menu

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Even though I’m not having my usual Oscar soiree this year, I thought it would be fun to dream up a quick dinner menu for tonight’s festivities.

This super-easy menu will leave plenty of time for critiquing all the looks on the red carpet:

Oscar menu 2014

I’ve purposefully left the amounts relatively adjustable, so you can use this menu regardless of your party size.

First, pour a glass of champagne. Now you can start cooking.

Make the feta drizzle: 1/2 cup feta cheese, 2T fat free plain Greek yogurt, drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and 2 tsp fresh dill. (Add a tablespoon or two of water if it isn’t loose enough, but remember that the cheese will melt a little when its warm). Blend in a food processor until creamy, then transfer to a small saucepan to warm on low, low heat. 

Set out the dipping oil (olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil, parmesan cheese – mixed gently) and sliced baguette.

Plate the arugula.

Sear the steak (depending on thickness/preference): Rub room temp steak with salt & pepper & olive oil. Heat your pan for about 4 minutes. Place the steak in the hot pan and let it cook undisturbed about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Plate the steak on the arugula; drizzle with warm feta sauce.

Pour another glass of champagne.

Cheers! Enjoy the Oscars!

xoxo,
Mimzy

For the Love of Art

Today, I’ll focus on the art of dressing stylishly for two radically different back-to-back events. This concept is actually the inspiration for the name Boardroom to BallroomIn my case, I generally go from the office to something more glamorous without any time to go home to change.

The Boardroom tends to come with its own dress code, whereas the Ballroom, by its very nature, offers us a chance to try a more elevated, experimental, or fun style. 

This week, my secret is layers.

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In the morning, pre-Boardoom

I bought this fantastic Tinley Road maroon jumpsuit at Piperlime about a month ago, during one of their secret sales. I fell in love immediately and put it in my closet to await the perfect event.

I didn’t have to wait long. A group of NYC artists, (including Cole Blumstein, whose phenomenal work I’ve purchased in the past) collaborate for a show at the downtown Burger Joint every few months, and invited me to attend on Wednesday. As soon as I heard, I knew my jumpsuit was perfect.

Jumpsuits and conservative offices are not BFFs  So for work, I paired it with a standard, buttoned black suit jacket and basic heels. Nothing flashy.

For the art show, I added a bit of extra eyeliner, the gold moto jacket I’ve featured before, and black peeptoe booties.

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Pretending to admire artwork in my own apartment

Shop the look (click the image to visit link):

red jumpsuit-vince camuto womens vneck faux wrap jumpsuit            red jumpsuit-31 phillip lim sleeveless lightweight jumpsuit
Vince Camuto $52      3.1 Phillip Lim on sale $372

gold moto jacket-trina turk metallic moto jacket         gold moto jacket-j brand ready to wear aiah metallic leather moto jacket
Trink Turk $428       J Brand $1195

black ruffle boot-nine west womens morolee bootie  black ruffle boot-sergio rossi ruffled suede and mesh ankle boots
Nine West  $51.00             Sergio Rossi on sale $424

Share your style conundrums in the comments section! I’d love to hear.

xoxo,
Mimzy

The Right Time for Red

Happy Valentine’s Day! I thought a post on red lipstick would be particularly appropriate today…

For at least three years now, women’s fashion magazines have been telling us that deep shades of lipstick are having a moment. As a pasty office worker, I love the way a bright lip pops my face and my outfit. But, I’ve come to realize that a conservative office full of men is not really the place to experiment with lipstick. They tolerate pinks, nudes, and basically any shade of gloss.

Berry, fushia, red…there’s a time, place, and occasion to wear them appropriately. For me, one of these is my volunteer post at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Really, if you can’t be a little experimental with your makeup amongst the Warhols and Lichtensteins, where can you?

For the truly deep shade of red I decided to rock last Saturday, the rest of one’s makeup should be glowy and fresh. I skipped any undereye-liner in favor of a single black gel line on top, paired with a light mauve shadow and black mascara (also, upper lashes only). The lipstick got several comments at the museum, and necessitated me pulling the tube out of my bag several times for passersby.

For those who want to know: Lipstick: Stila Stay All Day in Beso, Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked3 palette, Face: BareMinerals Pure Transformation Night Treatment in Light (yes, I wear it during the day) and Nars Blush in Orgasm. Earrings: Stella & Dot (similar). Top: Catherine Malandrino (similar). Trying to get a proper representation of my makeup and hair resulted in me taking far too many photos – here’s a sample of the silliness:

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I hope you will find your moment to try this powerful statement of femininity. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

xoxo,
Mimzy

Not-So-Extreme Makeover

It’s makeover day here at Boardroom To Ballroom!  One of my favorite days when it comes around every few months – haircut and highlight day! The winter months are dragging on, and a fresh crop is definitely in order.

Finding a salon is always hard, no matter where you live. Here in NYC, I used to find the celebrity hairstylist factor to be pretty enticing. I bounced around to a few salons, usually being shocked by the price and not overly giddy about the results. Then, I went through a Gilt Groupe phase, where I purchased cuts or highlights for a lower price. This I found problematic for a few reasons:

1. Salons were generally not the most established or were struggling for new clients
2. During the run of the coupon, the salon was packed and the staff was exhausted
3. You can’t pick your stylist. Luck of the draw.
4. Stylists who volunteer for the lower rate tend to have less experience

For all the reasons listed above, the experience can be absolutely amazing or downright dismal.

Then, one day in 2012, I met my perfect hairstylist match. I happened to be leaving for a trip and needed a last minute trim that was close to my office. I made an appointment at the Paul Labrecque salon (located inside the Reebok Sports Club) on 67th and Columbus, and was placed into the careful hands of Jovany. He has a gift for both color and cut (which, in today’s world of separate specialties, I do not take lightly). He is thoughtful and quiet, but is always ready with a laugh or a story if you feel like chatting.

The “before” was taken early Wednesday morning. I’m wearing a dress by Tucker for Target, pants by Express, belt by Banana Republic. (Side note on this outfit: I am still a huge fan of the dress-over-pants trend that really isn’t a trend anymore, for the simple fact that it allows me to wear dresses to work that would otherwise be too scandalously short. Plus, I love the slimming effect of tone-on-tone dressing – navy in this case.)

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During: 

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Wednesday evening, after cut and highlights:

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Happy as a clam and delighted with my new look.  Thanks again, Jovany!

xoxo,
Mimzy

Jeans day

Thanks to a few text messages and e-mails, I realized that I never provided the resolution to my denim dilemma of last week.

Funny enough, I dressed that morning (jeans on the bottom, but preppy Blair Waldorf on top), and got to the subway only to find that it was skipping my stop all together! I spoke with my boss, and ended up working at home (as did a majority of the other staff). Saved by the snow! I happily worked at my kitchen table in my lovely jeans day outfit.

Headband: JCrew, Jacket: Cartonnier, Scarf: Urban Outfitters

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To recreate this look, try the following:

Headband

Tasha 'Single' Crystal Headband

Jacket ( #1 is on sale right now at Anthropologie. I just might have to buy it.):

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Scarf: (also coveting the on-sale Henri Bendel (example #3)

  

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Happy future jeans days to all of you! Dressing down takes a bit of thought, but when executed well, can be a lot of fun.

xoxo,
Mimzy

The Denim Dilemma

Am I the only person in the style-challenged U.S. office environment that gets stressed over a jeans day?

For some time, I ignored these days. I pretended that I forgot. I pretended not to like pants. I even pretended I didn’t own jeans. 

Then, a previous workplace linked jeans day to a charity contribution, i.e. “Donate $20 and you get to wear jeans!” Everyone wearing jeans had obviously been wonderful, magnanimous, and generous, while those not wearing jeans were automatically judged as cheap, or worse, un-philanthropic. My ego rose to the occasion, and I started writing checks and wearing jeans.

With yet another impending snow and sleet storm to ice our way through tomorrow’s morning commute, my company announced that tomorrow will be a “dress down day.”

I’m new at the company, so I poured over the CIO’s e-mail, hoping to find some parameters or guidance. Alas, the only missive (and I quote) was, “No torn jeans.”  Great. I scanned the pages of my current magazine on the subway home, hoping for inspiration. No such luck, I was reading Self, and everyone seemed to be wearing Lululemon.

You’ll have to tune in tomorrow to find out how I decided to tackle “dress down day” at the office…

Until then:

Today’s outfit was an example of my favorite work attire (skirt, black & white with pops of color): Skirt: H&M, Button-down: Joe Fresh; Blouse: unknown

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This outfit is pretty easy to recreate, as I’m sure you already have a black pencil skirt and white button-down in your closet. If not, I’ve linked above to the precise pieces I’m wearing.  The vest-like blouse is another matter – it is sheer and the tag has long since been removed.  But, here are three super-cute similars:

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Have a great night!

xoxo,

Mimzy