We all have holiday parties to get ready for, but who actually has the time to do it? I found the perfect dream team at  Mario Russo. This lovable duo, Tavi DelaRosa and Violet Furxhi can take you from plain Jane to gorgeous diva in no time! I got to the salon at 11:00am and sat in Tavi’s chair.

 

He focuses his attention on the eyes because that is what people are drawn to.  When discussing what was hot for holiday parties, Tavi said silvers, golds, and color with shimmer. He asked me what colors I liked and if I preferred smoky eye or natural eye. Of course I am drawn to smoky eye, it’s my signature look, and I feel like it’s a nod to my dear friend Marilyn Riseman. She was the doyenne of smoky eye. Tavi likes to build your whole look based on what you decide on for your eyes. We decided on blues because that would bring out my brown eyes.

**A little trick that I learned from Tavi is to use a cool blow dryer and diffuse it with your hand to help set the eyelash glue faster and stronger. Voila! I was done and makeup ready!

I wore a cute, plaid, button down shirt that I got from Intermix at the #msfitforsociety for Tedy’s Team event, because the last time I came in for an updo, I had a turtleneck on, which we all know is a no-no for updos because who can get the thing over their head without messing up their hair?

Monstercat AcensionFractal has been a favorite of mine after continually catching my ear with his electro house tracks via Monstercat Records. Itvara takes the number one spot in my book. It’s a great track for both the underground and mainstream music listeners to enjoy. Why? The beat is effortless and the breathy lyrics are a great addition to the euphoric atmosphere of the track. It gives you that authentic electro house sound with a mainstream twist; the lyrics. What makes my heart really flutter is the ebb and flow of buzzing synthesizers mixed with funky guitar twangs. The sounds are very different and blend beautifully together. Itvara is a magical electric creation that takes you into a floaty bass-happy playground. It’s always fun to get a little weird…Fractal should bring out your best parent-dancing moves on the floor and get your tush moving on the treadmill at the gym with this track. Give it a listen below – you can even download it for free, legally if you really like it. I love Monstercat!

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Womens-Coats-With-High-Collars-13

With the Winter Solstice upon us this Sunday, the cold is officially here to stay. There are plenty of options for winter layers to satisfy everyone’s taste. Bundle up and stay warm with these trends.

COCOON COATS:

Kate Spade

This is really a time-honored style that’s currently on trend. Go with the classic wool or change it up with novelty yarns such as mélange boucle. 3/4” sleeves are key. This shape fits nicely with the boyfriend & menswear inspired look.  But if you aren’t interested in androgyny, the look is easily feminized with pumps and the right accessories. Just think Audrey Hepburn.

PRINTS:

J.Crew

The popular prints are bold flowers and plaid. Florals are reinvented each season and plaid is a staple for winter, you just don’t always see them as jackets. You can go head to toe in prints this season if you are feeling daring.

TEXTURES:

Elizabeth and James

 

Combining different materials and textures makes for my favorite outfits. It’s even better when they are combined in one piece. My favorite purchase this season is my Vera Wang Faux Leather Sleeve Asymmetrical Down Coat (available online at Nordstrom). I’m very picky about polyurethane, but this is the closest I have seen to replicating genuine leather. The big collar is made of boucle yarns offering warmth and drama. It is a refreshing step away from your typical down jacket.

DRAMATIC COLLARS:

MINK-PINK - Dramatic Collar

This looks plays nicely with all of the trends. It can add an element of surprise to a classic cocoon or push the envelope on a printed jacket. Sherpa collars are intro to the Boho spring 2015 trend.

PARKAS:

Top Shop

This look is everywhere and can be found in a range of price points.  You will see it a lot in the army green color that has been popular for outwear for the last few seasons.  The body colors are dark and basic with a variety of fur collars and hoods.

 

Prada sequin open top tote

Prada sequin open top tote

So you’re on your way to a hot holiday party, a black tie bash, an intimate house party or maybe one of those big drafty ballroom fundraisers and you know you’ll be freezing once inside because even though it’s winter you are wearing sleeveless. Meanwhile outside it’s either blizzard-like, or a wintry mix of sleet and ice, combined with a muddy mish-mash of turf and ice-balls to maneuver under foot. In other words, you need to bring a few extra clothing and footwear options with you but all you have is that canvas L.L. Bean bag and it’s really not all that festive and besides, it’s still carrying traces of last summer’s beach sand, which, quite frankly, is depressing since you don’t want a reminder of what you will not see for another six months. That’s the problem, now here’s the solution – a zippered sequined tote bag. The zipper keeps things dry, it’s got party-ready presentation and believe it or not, the sequins deflect water. Get one large enough to carry a warm cashmere pashmina, an extra pair of shoes and then your boots once you’ve made the switch, your evening handbag and whatever assorted items you might need. Carry it with you all night or store it with coat-check once you’ve made the shoe switch. Call it the evening big bag theory. Find sequined totes at Wal-Mart, on line at TheFind, DanceSupply - ranging from $10.00 to $59.00. Then of course there’s Prada for $1350.00.

On Thursday December 11th, I attended Michael DePaulo’s launch party for his new clothing line MDP. The best and the brightest in fashion gathered on the second floor of The Tannery at Curated by the Tannery. Michael is a dear friend and business partner of mine so I was happy to oblige when he asked me to wear one of his new designs at the fete.

Michael’s choice for my look of the night: A black, white and charcoal color blocked dress.

Michael’s choice for my look of the night: A black, white and charcoal color blocked dress.

A favorite of mine was an hourglass color block dress with short sleeves available in short and long lengths. The color blocking has a way of slimming the figure. I also liked how DePaulo delved into bright colors with this collection, as in this green and blue peplum dress.

A bright fuchsia pantsuit had a Chanel feel to it, and I loved the cigarette length and cut of the pants, but wasn’t too keen how the jacket came together in the front. His best success seemed to be when he stuck to the blacks, charcoals and whites.

These events are always fun for me because I get to catch up a bit with my girlfriends and hostesses Linda Henry, investor and muse to Michael De Paulo, and Adriana Hassan, wife of Tarek Hassan, who owns The Tannery.

Other guests included JB Dowd, Tiffany Dowd of LuxeTiffany and Eric Jausseran of the French Consulate.

There was no shortage of Latina designers, as swimsuit creator Sinesia Karol was also in the house to support Michael. The beautiful Erica Almeida of Maggie Inc. modeled MDP fashions too, and gave us a peek into how gorgeous each and every one of the designs can be on a perfect body. However, personally, I think I sold more dresses wearing the charcoal, black and white dress because, though the guests were all very fit, their bodies were more like mine than Erica’s! The MDP spring 2015 collection is available immediately at The Tannery.

Alex ClareThere’s that one song that you’ve heard, that stays in your head. It starts off with a little synth and eventually warps full speed into dubstep that makes even Skrillex think twice. The lyrics make you want to cry but at the same time fills you with joy. “It feels like I am just too close to love you,” a British voice sings as the baseline drops. The song is “Too Close,” and the voice is British singer-songwriter Alex Clare, from South East London, UK. “Too Close” hit #4 on the UK charts and the US at #68 in March 2012 with his album, “The Lateness Of The Hour.” Also making the greatest appearance in a commercial for Internet Explorer 9 in the US. TV shows have placed this song in almost every possible spot, which was a huge wake up call for Clare.

Signed to Island Records UK and Universal Republic Records in the US, Clare has really made a name for himself. If you’ve never seen him live and up close, here is your chance. He will be at the House of Blues Boston on Monday December 22, 2014. Bringing you the upbeat tempo that cheers you up for the holiday spirit.

 

In medieval times, knights fought the battle between good and evil, light and darkness, right and wrong…today, some young, modern-day knights are facing an even tougher battle.

CALLIE THE CONQUEROR

Callie Herschfield is a tiny wisp of a thing, standing less than five feet tall and weighing only 80 pounds. The 14 year old from Scituate has a soft voice and sweet smile, but don’t let this fool you; she is one tough young lady.

“She’s a warrior,” said Donna Green.

Callie’s “warrior” status isn’t because she’s dressed a little bad-ass this day in a black Aerosmith T-shirt, jeans and black boots, or because she’s wearing funky, oversized aviator sunglasses. It isn’t even because she casually strapped on a helmet and climbed on a big — really big — motorcycle with her dad Ken.

Callie is a warrior because she kicked cancer’s butt — at a place called Magical Moon Farm.

THE FARM

magicalmoon4

Magical Moon is a 160-year-old farm on five acres of land in Marshfield. Quite literally, it is a magical place where wind chimes echo down the stone path to the butterfly garden and fairy figurines peak out from among the flowers.  It’s where massive sunflowers tower over the chicken coop and a lone peacock deigns to live among the many hens and roosters there.

magicalmoon3Adding to the mystical scene, towards the back of the farm, up a small incline are twelve brightly colored chairs in a semi-circle in front of a fire pit. The wooden chairs have high backs reminiscent of medieval times – sort of a Knights of the Round Table, but through a child’s eyes.

The property was once a sea captain’s home, then a boarding home, before becoming an auction house, but in it’s latest adaptation, the farm, with its organic gardens and whimsical air, is a haven for children facing cancer; a place where they can feel strong, empowered, and not alone. 

 

GREEN ACRES

magical1Donna Green, famed illustrator of an edition of the children’s book classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, bought the property 15 years ago. She was looking for a big barn in which to store her books, what she found when she first saw the place was a huge four-story barn and an even bigger vision of what she must do with the property.

“The property had an essence when I first came here,” she said.  “I saw it completely done with orchards and gardens, animals and fun things for kids to do. I envisioned children learning about healthy ways to become survivors of life-threatening diseases and conditions.”

Her vision was to bring sick children here and give them something else to focus on: gardening, writing, music, good food, the arts and learning ways to survive.

She would also invite the child to take on a mission, a project to make the world a better place. The project would help the child focus on something other than chemo, radiation and hair loss. The goal: knighthood and finding their inner strength.

So, Green began digging, and planting and growing: sunflowers here, tomatoes there, and a child’s spirit in the center of it all…beginning with Alison.magical2

ALISON THE AWESOME

Alison was the child of one of Green’s friends, and the first “knight” of Magical Moon Farm. She was 19 years old and battling leukemia.

“She was a beautiful artist,” said Green. “She felt like my own daughter, I felt like my own soul was inside of her.”

Alison was the inspiration for a beautiful butterfly garden on the farm. Her picture stands at the gate, in her memory. Alison the Awesome became an Angel Knight in 2008.

CALLIE THE CONQUEROR?

“I wasn’t really into it, I didn’t care. I was…not really happy.”

Not exactly a magical reaction to the farm, but an honest one on the part of a sick kid. Callie, then 10 years old, was in the midst of chemotherapy, had no hair and was brought to a farm where she didn’t know anyone.

Slowly, she became part of it. She started working with Green on painting the things she loved. She adored sea life and Green sent her to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod to go below with scientists and learn about endangered sea life. Callie got to feed a sea turtle and that was the subject of her first painting.  Since that time she’s painted numerous others. She always gravitated to the animals at the farm. “She has a way with animals that is magical,” said Green.

“I would just go there and there would be other people to hang out with, other kids who would make you feel better,” said Callie. “Some of them were sick, some of them were just there. Everyone knows what’s going on but they’re all here to support you.”

Callie’s dad Ken noticed a big transformation in his daughter after she started going to Magical Moon.

“She was young and quiet, (then) I think she got more confident,” he said.

And that is why Callie and her family support Magical Moon Farm, by riding a motorcycle.

THE RIDE

magical5On a hot Sunday afternoon, too hot for the end of September, 200 bikers gathered in an Elks Lodge parking lot in Weymouth to take part in a special ride to raise money for the Magical Moon Foundation. Despite 80-degree temperatures, many wore jeans and leather. Black was the popular color and multiple tattoos the norm. On the outside, this looked like one tough crowd, on the inside though, it was all mush. The ride took them past the magical farm they were supporting, where the children waited on the side of the road to cheer them.

Green said the kids at her farm often times feel like misfit toys. “Bikers can be misfit toys too,” said Green. “These big, tough bikers in leather had tears in their eyes.”

Callie the Conqueror rode tall and proud behind her father on that very big bike. She rode to celebrate four years cancer free and also for the other kids at Magical Moon Farm, facing what she faced and hoping to beat it too.

Green has lost some of her knights; you can see the sadness deep in her eyes, but instead of focusing on the sorrow, Green turns it around and teaches her knights-in-training to be strong and to be survivors.

“I focus on the positive, that’s what I tell the children, ‘Focus on the positive, detach from negativity and turn every challenge into an opportunity,’” said Green.

“Yes, it’s difficult, but it’s all about living — it’s not about dying.”

Learn more about The Magical Moon Farm

By The GunIf you’re crazy about mob movies (think “The Departed”) then this is a must see.  Opening this past weekend, the crime drama “By The Gun” centers around Nick Tortano, played by Ben Barnes, an Italian-American in Boston trying to make his way up the ranks of the Italian mob. After years of admiration, Nick finally proves his worth to head honcho “Sal” played by Harvey Keitel, but quickly becomes involved with a member of the local mafia causing major conflict between the two sides.  And what crime drama doesn’t have a love interest?  Leighton Meester puts on her best Boston accent as she plays the heart Nick’s after.

You’ll recognize other characters in the film, as Boston natives include Kenny Wormald, who plays Nick’s brother and Slaine, a Boston rapper who also appeared in “The Town” and “Gone Baby Gone” and plays Nick’s best friend.

I was ready to cringe at the Boston accents Hollywood actors attempt to mimic, but I was surprised and happy to admit the accents were pretty good. This isn’t your typical Boston movie – you won’t be seeing the Boston skyline or references to the Red Sox, but what you will get is a glimpse into the streets of Boston’s historic North End.  The movie contains nudity, violence and heavy language, earning that R rating.

“By the Gun” was written and produced by Boston’s own Emilio Mauro.  This is his first feature film and being from Boston I’m sure friends’ and family are beyond proud of his accomplishment.  By The Gun is out today so be sure to check it out!

 

Kennedy & Louie  BelloLouie Bello is one of those names.  “Louie Bello, I know I know that guy!”  Well, before long you will all know his name and his music.  Louie has been nominated for the Boston Music Awards 2014 for Pop/R&B artist of the year and Best Ongoing Residency, he’s got em lined up every Wednesday night at said residency at Abby Lane, and he wears a fedora like a champ.  This full time teacher and family guy will knock you over with his incredible soul and his extraordinary heart.  Let’s ride Shotgun with Louie!

Dish It Up | Jen RoyleLast night Jen Royle appeared on ABC prime time television to cook her way onto the hit show The Taste, a kind of “Voice” format where the judges love you or leave you.  Jen and Steve Dish It Up on the food combo that got their thumbs up and what it was like to drop everything and head to LA.

The question is…does she make it to the next round?

 

Light Fixture PlantersI came up with this when I was working on restoring the exterior of a home in Newton, more specifically the front door and the garage door. The sconces around the doors were original to the home, which was built in the 1940’s, so they were a bit worn out and on the smaller side. I held onto them for quite some time before I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I was dismantling the actual light socket and the fixture was standing upright that I thought this could make a unique planter for an indoor house plant or succulent.

A before shot of the fixtures

The reason I decided to share this idea with you is because the sconces and flush-mount seen here are quite common, and almost always thrown out when replaced. There really isn’t much need for old fixtures that are somewhat blah, but when turned into planters, boring outdated fixtures are now a conversation piece.

This project is simple, your materials are inexpensive and you just need a few things besides some elbow grease.

 

 

MATERIALS:

STEEL WOOL

Match the grade of the steel wool with how much you’d like the fixture to look worn – the higher the grade, the more course it is. I went with grade 0 to lightly buff off some of the paint and reveal the metal underneath.

WD40

For any areas that are extremely rusty.

TERRACOTTA POT

Find the right size for your fixture, preferably one WITHOUT drainage – assume your fixture is not waterproof. Water plants sparingly that do not have a drainage hole. I recommend a succulent, they do not need a great amount of water.

PAINT REMOVER (OPTIONAL)

The copper fixture needed remover, once I started scrubbing with the steel wool and realized there was copper under the black paint I wanted to reveal more of the copper finish.

FEET/FELT PADS

Use these for the base of the fixture, since you’ve flipped the fixture upside down, most likely it will now have sharp edges.

The final product

The final product

NOTES

Only one pane of glass was put back into the planter on the left because the succulent chosen will eventually grow and wrap around the sides.

I chose to fill the copper planter with rocks for a nice contrast with the copper and to cover the terracotta pots inside.

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christine mcsherry
The woman you will read about here is a mother with a mission – to save her son’s life. Since Christine McSherry’s son Jett was diagnosed with Duchenne, a form of Muscular Dystrophy that primarily affects boys, she was told that the fatal, degenerative disease was something she couldn’t do anything about. To which this former nurse said: “That’s not true.” Christine has become a champion for new treatments and therapies that have extended the lives of her son and countless others. She launched the Jett Foundation (JettFoundation.org), knocked on countless doors, used every opportunity, and lobbied governments here and in Europe to bring drugs to the market sooner. Christine recently “competed” against four other area women in “Charity Warriors,” which was created by our styleboston colleague Christy Cashman and her producing partner Mary Chiochios through their charitywarriors.org portal. Christine raised $129,337 and won the $10,000 prize. (All of the money raised by each woman was directed toward her designated charity.) We thought we’d check in with Christine, a true Charity Warrior, on “Giving Tuesday,” the philanthropic end to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping run.

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Fashion Democracy Winner

A packed house at G-Star RAW Boston on Newbury Street to vote on Instagram for their favorite FW14 styles in an interactive fashion event produced by DressCode Boston.

The social engagement featured a style competition curated by the contenders: Alex Weaver, Managing Editor at BostInno, Georgina Castellucci, Content Curator at Notes on Lifestyle, Alexander Ingram, Blogger at A Boston Blazer, Ola Munia, Image Consultant at Styles by Ola, Edlira, Stylist at That Style Movement, Vane ssa Lundy Blogger at Vanavainvintage.com, Ferns Francois, Model at Maggie Inc. and Janee Lookerse Lifestyle Blogger at Yellow Bird Yellow Beard.

Two days before the event, the models gathered at PhillipoStyle in Boston South for an epic photo shoot, which wouldn’t be revealed until the show. The images were uploaded to @gstarboston Instagram, simultaneously, as each model revealed their Fall and Winter styles to the in-store crowd. The attendees and online followers cast their votes with each “Like” of the image of their favorite looks. Congratulations to Ola Munia for winning the competition.

After the final walk, the party continued and so did the Instagramming. Event guests browsed through the store racks, enjoying cocktails by Deep Eddy Vodka, and the music of DJ Alexander Padei. Meanwhile, the models gathered on the back stairway and roof of the building for another live photo shoot.

The event showcased G-Star RAW through a range of styles to which all Bostonians can relate. From preppy, military-inspired, biker looks to bohemian styles, DressCode Boston wanted to articulate the brand’s lifestyle and inspiration of “core denim range with a sophisticated tailored line that emphasizes proportion, craftsmanship and detailing.” Mission accomplished. 

 

Home to Sri Lanka’s ‘big three’, elephant, leopard and sloth bear, Yala is the island’s second largest national park, where big skies and big crowds come as part of the package, and patience is a virtue.

elephant family bathing

One teenager sneaks up on another, rears up and ducks his companion clean under the water. His victim spins round and pushes his tormentor, who loses his footing and disappears momentarily under the surface. A female lazily flicks her trunk, administering an admonishing cuff round the ear. Chastened, the boisterous youths take their rough-housing to the other side of the wewa, or tank – a manmade water-hole that serves as an oasis in the arid, thorny scrub of the park. On the water’s edge a baby – no more than six months old – trembles visibly, bracing herself. Her mother gives her a gentle nudge and she nervously takes to the shallow water. Watching elephants at play, it is hard not to anthropomorphize. Their joy is palpable as they lounge and frolic in the cooling waters, trumpeting and spraying water over each others’ backs. It is a joy that often manifests in what looks suspiciously like a broad grin. All the usual family dynamics are present; characters are strong and easy to identify. Of course, witnessing elephants bathe is itself a rare treat and one to cherish.

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they say each one is individual.

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