YOUR STYLE, YOUR SUPERPOWER
This past week, I joined ambassadors of travel from all-inclusive resorts, hotels, cruises, golf excursions, private jets, airlines, health retreats, and yacht charters for Luxe Wanderlust: A Hamptons Luxury Travel Event, where I learn about all the opulent travel destinations they had to offer.
The expo took place at Bridgehampton’s Topping Rose House, an 1842 Greek Revival-style mansion with a contemporary annex. The space was encircled by wine brand booths, vacation companies, and even a DJ that spun tunes throughout the course of the event.
Light bites were served as well, from spring rolls to bulgogi pork with apples, pears, and ginger to edamame/hummus/cucumber bites. There was also a large selection of sushi from Zen for guests to indulge in: asparagus rolls; vegetable rolls with asparagus and cucumber, topped with avocado; cucumber rolls; kampyo rolls; shiitake rolls; and inar-marinated tofu skin wrapped in sushi rice.
Luxe Wanderlust tapped into their philanthropic side through their giveaway: a stay at Viceroy Los Cabos along with a gift basket was raffled off with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Retreat Inc. for Domestic Violence. In addition to the trip, the prize included a S.Y. Starlight Charter, Dinner at Maui Jim, sunglasses, a bottle of Sag Harbor Rum, a Sailor Made gift card, a dinner at Brooklyn Chop House, a stay for two at the American Beech Hotel in Greenport, a $250 valued haircut and styling with celebrity hairstylist Dion Moore of The Plaza and Warren Tricomi, a Turks & Caicos Islands luggage tag, a St. Barth Tourism scuba bag, beach fragrances, Morgan Taylor Lacquer, Sinful Shine nail polish, Revitin CoQ10 toothpaste, a $100 gift certificate to Med Spa Manhattan, Monster Drink, Honest Tea, Zico, a Forto Coffee shot, and Lucky Jack Coffee.
Additionally, attendees were sent home with complimentary gift bags of their own that included a $200 gift certificate to a catering service, a beach ball, a coffee shot, and a myriad of books that make for great end-of-summer reading.
Four hours of learning about luxurious retreats, taking in delicious eats, and networking with fellow travelers? Nothing to complain about here!
Carrie: I am so excited to learn more about the journey that got you where you are now. How did you first get into singing?
Rebecca: Oh man, it feels like I’ve been singing forever. I started performing and dancing when I was three-years-old, and once I started, I really never stopped. I was singing in school productions and recitals every year growing up, but it wasn’t until I was ten-years-old that I joined a musical theatre performance group in my town. That same year, I also started taking singing lessons, so it became a huge part of my life.
Carrie: What about music is most special to you?
Rebecca: There are soooo many elements that make it special to me. Music gives me a feeling of liberation and pure joy that is like nothing else. I think the truest version of myself comes out in moments on stage when I let myself feel all of that. I love to see that from the other side as well. Being able to witness other artists lose themselves to the music while I’m dancing in the audience is just as beautiful to me!
Carrie: Let’s talk a bit about “Friday.” Were you under a lot of stress when the song went viral or was it exciting to you?
Rebecca: I’d say both--it varied by the second. I got to do things that I never dared to dream of because of “Friday.” I worked with Katy Perry, went to the Grammy’s, and even won a Teen Choice Award. But at the same time, there were so many moments where I was stressed and completely overwhelmed.
Carrie: I’m guessing that a lot of the stress stemmed from the hate messages that were coming your way. How did you deal with the cyberbullies?
Rebecca: It was not easy at all. One of the most difficult parts of the whole situation was that I was only 13-years-old. I was just barely scratching the surface when it came to starting to discover what made me ‘me.’ People’s words affected me because of that, no matter how hard I tried to act like I was unbothered. But the more time passed, the more I was able to process everything, and I’ve been able to heal.
Carrie: The fact that you were so brave in the midst of adversity is truly inspiring. What advice can you give to teens who are currently being cyberbullied like you were?
Rebecca: It’s much easier said than done, but I think it’s so important to talk to an adult you trust. Bottling up pain can weigh down on you and make you feel like you are so alone, which just feels awful. Just know that asking for help doesn’t make you a burden on anyone else.
Carrie: It’s amazing how you were able to rise above the negativity and put yourself out there again this year on The Four: Battle for Stardom. Why did you decide you wanted to be on the show?
Rebecca: I have worked hard on making a lot of personal progress over the years, but I remained frustrated because people still saw me as “the ‘Friday’ girl.” The Four fell naturally into my life and I couldn’t shake how excited I was about the opportunity to showcase who I am now and how I’ve grown.
Carrie: What was the most challenging part about being a contestant?
Rebecca: Besides long hours, all I can say is, for anyone who plans on competing on a show like that, bring blankets, gloves, scarves...anything to keep warm! TV studios are kept so cold because of all of the people and lights!
Carrie: I can imagine! After you performed, what was the most valuable pieces of advice that the panel of judges gave you?
Rebecca: I think one of my biggest takeaways was seeing that there is no reason to ever hold anything back when you are given an opportunity to make an impression. Be you and be shameless, because that will be something people will remember.
Carrie: Following the show, you were also given another incredible opportunity to travel to Bermuda on a trip sponsored by Revolve. What was that like?
Rebecca: Bermuda was absolutely beautiful--now I can check it off my bucket list! It was a crazy week filled with fun activities and beautiful places; sometimes it was almost hard to believe that everything was actually real. Everyone on the island was so friendly and I miss it so much already!
Carrie: What are your future plans?
Rebecca: I’m back in the studio and writing, writing, writing! I’m so excited for what’s next because I’m going to up the ante from what I’ve released before. Other than music, I’ve also been able to live out another love of mine recently: acting! I’ve been fortunate enough to film a few movies this year which will be out soon. I can’t wait for my fans to be able to see them!
Carrie: I certainly can’t wait! As we wrap up the interview, what advice can you offer people who aspire to be singers like you?
Rebecca: Just go for it! Start writing and keep working on expanding your craft. There is no cap on how far you can grow as a musician, and trust me it really is all about the journey. It’s totally normal to write or sing something and then hate it a week later, but don’t let that discourage you. Let that be your motivation to keep going!
One of the first brand booths I visited was a company called Kiss Your Cravings Goodbye, and their mission statement was downright genius. Formulated with essential oils and rare plant extracts, their lip moisturizers are crafted in order to prevent one’s temptation to reach for junk food. After you apply the product (the no-sin cinnamon one was my fave), the lip conditioner helps shift your focus toward reaching for water rather than your typical sugar cravings. #GameChanging…
Next, I stopped by Planted In Beauty, a company I was already familiar with from POPSUGAR Playground. I was thrilled to receive a container of my favorite product from their line: the Detox Exfoliant. Made with pineapple, raspberry, and root extract of Great Burdock, the natural exfoliator removes dulling surface cells without stripping the skin of its essential nutrients. I usually follow the cleanse with their ultra-hydrating Nourish + Protect Antioxidant Natural Moisturizer to leave my skin looking extra radiant.
The Shady Sun provided me with another skin superhero: their Charcoal Coconut Shady Polish, which scrubs away dead skin cells while releasing a burst of nourishing oils. Plus, the high protein content in the scrub’s fractionated coconut oil is proven to have long-lasting, moisturizing effects on your skin. Time to get scrubbing!
As a dancer, I am constantly looking for a product to soothe sore muscles after a lengthy workout sesh. At the Expo, Muscle Rehab presented me with the perfect solution: Bath Soak for Athletes. The USP Epsom Salt and arnica extract in the product work wonders in easing achey spots--not to mention, they helped relieve my tired feet after a long day of walking around at the event.
Frizz has always been an issue when it comes to styling my hair, so I was thrilled to have received an Ikoo E-Styler Hair Straightening Brush. The product is made with 37 high quality individual ceramic plates to ensure that heat is evenly applied during the brushing process. There are also five different hair setting options to adjust to your strands’ individual needs, no matter what texture they are. Sounds like my morning hairstyling routine just got a whole lot shorter…
I was truly astonished by the number of beauty brands that had well-thought-out, creative, and visually stunning products to offer at this year’s Indie Beauty Expo. Although star-studded Beautycon still reigns superior in my mind, last week’s indie beauty festival surely came in a close second.
FOREO, a renowned Swedish multinational beauty brand, is pushing the limits of beauty with their new UFO (“Ur Future Obsession”) smart mask device. The Bluetooth-activated, travel-size product--which launched in U.S. retail stores in early August--is compatible with seven activated sheet masks, with the intention of delivering a spa-level facial in as little as 90 seconds.
The sheet masks attached to the UFO device are each developed in Korea, the global center of high-quality skin care. Korean experts make each mask from soft microfiber material and infuse the product with the purest ingredients to benefit the skin. Unlike most sheet masks that are sold in America, the ones made for the UFO are free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, silicons, disodium EDTA, mineral oil, and other damaging chemicals. Additionally, the UFO uses six forms of technology in order to take skin regime to the next level. Gone are the days where one needs to wait 20-30 minutes for a messy sheet mask to work its magic on the skin.
The price ($279 for a full-size UFO and $179 for a mini) is relatively reasonable as well, considering the advanced technology that the device uses. As the CEO of FOREO Paul Peros puts it, the UFO “We are giving women their time back, eradicating the need for expensive spa treatments, offering everyday convenience and ease through the app-enabled functions and essentially, bringing a top beauty regime and results to an easy, at-home, luxurious experience for everyone.”
The device uses hyper-infusion technology, T-SonicTM pulsations, and cryotherapy to give skin maximum benefits in a methodical manner. But the UFO’s LED light therapy treatments, which use three different colors, are also a key feature of the product. The red LED erases signs of aging and stimulates collagen production, the green LED brightens dull complexions and evens skin tones, and the blue LED kills acne-causing bacteria and stimulates blood circulation. Additionally, the treatments for the sheet masks inserted--including the daytime “Make my Day” and nighttime “Call It A Night” ones--are pre-programmed in the device so that each can deliver the specific advantages they promise through a series of pulsations and temperature changes.
To use the UFO, first download the FOREO app, available on both Androids and Apple devices. Next, hold the on/off button on the UFO for three seconds to connect it to the app through Bluetooth. A full white light appears when the UFO is paired. Then, follow the instructions on the app to clip the mask into place and scan its barcode. The corresponding treatment will immediately sync to the UFO. Once the setup is complete, gently glide the UFO across a cleansed face and massage the formula into the skin in circular motions. Once the pulsations slow down and the device turns off, the treatment is complete. Any remaining essence should be rubbed into the skin and then followed by a moisturizer of choice. It is also very important to run the UFO under running water and dispose of the mask when done to maintain good hygiene.
With the new UFO device, people no longer need to designate time out of their busy schedules for self-care. FOREO makes it possible for users to keep up with an excellent beauty regime without spending hours at a spa each week. “We’re taking the latest professional beauty technologies available--treatments that can cost thousands of dollars--and incorporating them into one UFO device to unleash the full potential of our face mask and give beauty enthusiasts a luxurious and sensual sheet mask experience in the comfort of their home,” said Peros. Looks like your perfect skin isn’t light-years away after all...
You can purchase FOREO’s UFO device at https://www.foreo.com/ufo.
Just in time for back-to-school, Bloomingdale’s is partnering with anti-bullying organization Kind Campaign on a capsule collection of tees to stand up against female-induced bullying. The line--which donates 10% of its sales to Kind Campaign--specifically focuses on “girl-against-girl crime,” since the way girls verbally ostracize each other in a school setting can be far more severe.
The collection of tees features designs for women, men, and kids, crafted by popular empowerment brands Girl Dangerous and Kid Dangerous. There are eight shirts total in the line that are priced reasonably (under $50), each featuring important messages such as “Find Your Kind,” “Kind Campaign,” and “Cool to be Kind.”
Additionally, Bloomingdale’s locations worldwide will include “pledge walls” that boast the same type of positive phrases, slogans, and doodles, with the final murals ultimately being donated to local schools. The department store is also hosting a “Fashionable Fundraiser” where students can practice inclusion at a bracelet making station or learn more about becoming a Kind Ambassador in their own school community. During this time, customers will be given the opportunity to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar, with the difference in change donated to Kind Campaign.
Bullying is an issue that won’t ever fully be solved--but perhaps Bloomingdale’s approach in wearing our hearts across our tees is a step in the right direction.
Go to https://www.bloomingdales.com/buy/girl-dangerous or visit your local Bloomingdale's to shop the new collection.
Although last night's awards show was filled with heartfelt acceptance speeches, wow-wrothy performances, and lots of "roasting" (hi, Tiffany Haddish!), the real star of the show was the parade of fashionable looks that preceded the handout of "moon people." Just in case you missed the pre-show, below you will find my top ten favorite looks (in no particular order) that celebs sported on the hot pink carpet.
1. Millie Bobby Brown
2. sofia carson
3. Shay Mitchell
4. jennifer lopez
5. karlie kloss
6. cardi b
With ten nominations at last night's show (of which she received three wins), the Bodak Yellow singer knew she had to make a statement on the pink carpet that spoke just as loud as her popular music. Her plunging, magenta Nicolas Jerab gown--accessorized with Loraine Schwartz jewelry--did just that.
7. kylie jenner
8. camila cabello
9. jasmine sanders
10. madison beer
Carrie: Pre-Bachelor, how did you first develop your passion for makeup?
Gina: It kind of happened by accident. I always loved doing other people’s makeup when I was younger. I would always make my friends and family suffer through my makeovers.
Carrie: But it’s clear that your skills have drastically improved, since you’re now the official makeup artist for The Bachelorette! How did you first become associated with the franchise?
Gina: I used to work with Chris Harrison [the host of all Bachelor shows] at the TVG Network. While we were there, he auditioned to be a host for The Bachelor and when he got the job, he took me on the show as his personal makeup artist. I didn’t work the first season but I’ve worked from the second season on for the past 17 years now. For the first few years, I would do Chris and whoever the Bachelor was, but then I eventually started doing the Bachelorette.
Carrie: How has your relationship with The Bachelorette franchise progressed over the years?
Gina: Throughout the years, I’ve probably worked on every Bachelorette, whether it was for the show itself or for a special episode. The first Bachelorette I did makeup on for her show was DeAnna Pappas. In the beginning, I didn’t travel with the Bachelorette or do her makeup for her dates---she had to do that on her own. But for the past ten years, I have traveled everywhere with each Bachelorette and done her makeup everyday we shot an episode, both for her dates and for the rose ceremonies.
Carrie: What was it like working with Becca Kufrin, the most recent Bachelorette?
Gina: Becca is the sweetest. She is always smiling and fun to be around, which is exactly how she is portrayed on screen.
Carrie: Was there a particularly funny moment you two shared on set?
Gina: Honestly, there wasn’t one specific moment. We always had fun when she was in the makeup chair!
Carrie: How would you describe her makeup style?
Gina: Fresh and clean, although we did glam her up at times.
Carrie: Over the years, how have you kept the Bachelorette’s lipstick from smudging when they kiss different men?
Gina: You can’t really prevent it, but it helps if you start with more natural colors. I like to use liner all over the lips and a matte lipstick on top. Lip Stains work as well. Some brands that I would recommend for a Bachelorette-like pout are Armani, Too Faced, and BITE Beauty.
Carrie: When it comes to the Bachelorette’s eye makeup, how do you keep it from running after a sob sesh?
Gina: I use a lot of creams and water resistant products. I like those types of products from Kevyn Aucoin, Nars, and Make Up For Ever.
Carrie: What was your greatest challenge when doing Becca’s makeup on set this season?
Gina: Humidity and water were probably the most challenging aspects. It’s hard to keep makeup on and looking fresh under those conditions. But the fact that we used creams and waterproof mascara--even when she went swimming in the ocean or layed out in the sun--made it hold up great. The trick of keeping makeup on while dealing with those elements is not to touch your face, and if you have to, just blot.
Carrie: What’s one beauty product that a Bachelorette must wear at all times under those conditions?
Gina: If I had to pick just one, I’d say sunscreen.
Carrie: What is the best piece of advice you have given to a Bachelorette in the past?
Gina: To have a good skincare routine. It’s a must. Makeup doesn’t matter if your skin isn’t balanced.
Carrie: What are your future plans?
Gina: I would love to continue with the Bachelor franchise, since I’ve pretty much been there since the beginning.
Carrie: With all the impressive work you’ve done on the show the past 17 years, I’m sure you’ll be involved with the franchise until the end.
When I saw Yujia Hu’s unique sushi masterpieces, I was immediately drawn in. He combines two of my favorite things--fashion and seafood--in order to sculpt Dolce & Gabbana heels, Nike high-tops, Gucci loafers, and other pieces of clothing & accessories. So how does the Milan-based artist create such masterpieces?
Hu did not start off making such fashionable creations. About a year ago, he started experimenting with rice, sashimi, and nori in his family’s sushi restaurant and attempted to mold NBA players, movie characters, and rappers. His original intention was to use his works of art to promote his family’s restaurant on social media. Little did he know that eventually, he would obtain over 40,000 Instagram followers on his page “@theonigiriart.” He has earned nods from numerous celebrities, including Riccardo Tisci, the former creative director of Givenchy who recently re-’grammed the portrait that Hu created for him. Fall Out Boy, a popular American rock band, even contacted him to sculpt their own onigiri portraits!
Hu’s current works of art--usually of shoes--are truly one of a kind. He has molded nori and tuna Gucci loafers, ankle-strap Jimmy Choos made of salmon, Fendi boots sculpted out of nori, and more. Hu incorporates salmon into the majority of his creations, as it has a unique texture and pops when one views it on social media. Although he is constantly challenged by replicating the details of each character he makes (whether it’s an eyebrow, beard, earring, or tattoo), Hu is not afraid to take it on. At this level of determination, I know I’ll be seeing his collaboration with Gucci in no time.
Picture this: you’re standing on a hot pink carpet with celebs zooming past you faster than you can say “selfie.” Every so often, you get to interview stars and ask them all of your looming questions. Then, you move to another room, where you actually get to relax on couches and talk to today’s top TV actors and singers as you bond over hors d'oeuvres. At the end of the night, you even get to tell some of these celebrities what you’re passionate about...and they listen. This sums up my experience at the 2018 Teen Choice Awards, in other words, where I fulfilled my teenage dreams.
I was honored to have been given the opportunity by Girls’ Life Magazine to do an Instagram takeover from the red carpet at this year’s event. I got to talk to celebs about their past collaborations, future plans, and most importantly, why teenagers are the pioneers who will lead us into a better world. But in the midst of all this, I also queried celebs about topics that are exclusive to Carrie’s Chronicles. Read below to see what your favorite singers, actresses, influencers, and more had to say.
How has your personal style evolved over the years?
“I think when I was younger, I was super scared to go out of the box and try new things. But now that I’m getting older, I get to try new outfits and experiment more. My clothes are very comfy but stylish at the same time. I’m very girly but I love comfort...that’s my style.” --Maddie Ziegler, Dancer (Winner: Choice Dancer)
“My style has definitely evolved over the years. It’s been so many different things, and I feel like it’s always changing. My style used to be way crazier--I wore much more jewelry back then. Now I’ve kind of toned it down...but not really. I mean, I’ve got a butterfly on my dress tonight.” --Kandee Johnson, Beauty Influencer
“Honestly, my style has just gotten more sparkly...and squishy. I mean, look at my skirt: I’ve got squishies.” --Jojo Siwa, Singer and Former Dance Moms Star
“It’s definitely a lot better now. We used to not dress well at all. We’ve definitely had a glow-up. We’re more on trend with our fashion nowadays.” --The Merrell Twins, Identical Twin YouTubers and Singers (nominated for Choice Muser and Choice Female Web Star)
“My personal style has evolved a lot throughout the years, especially my makeup--it’s definitely gotten better. I also wear a lot more hoodies now, which I didn’t used to wear. I love me a hoodie.” --Loren Gray, YouTuber and Musical.ly Star (nominated for Choice Muser)
“My personal style...I mean, in the beginning, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I remember my mom or my stylist showed me something and I said, ‘Okay, that’s cool!’ just because. Now, finally, I know what I’m doing. I know what I like and what I don’t like.” --Asher Angel, Singer and Actor from Andi Mack
“I would say my personal style has evolved a lot. My style is very unique now. I like to stay on trend but I also stay true to myself.” --Storm Reid, Actress from A Wrinkle in Time (nominated for Choice Movie Actress: Fantasy and Choice Fantasy Movie)
“My personal style has evolved tremendously over the years. I went from wearing Chuck Taylors to wearing Jordans to wearing matching heels and sets that look goooood. My style is bangin’ right now.” --Evvie McKinney, Winner of Season 1 of The Four: Battle for Stardom and Featured Performer at the show
“It has evolved exponentially, actually. I just got stylists and they have been amazing and made a huge impact on my style.” --Hannah Stocking, YouTuber and Model
If you were stranded on a desert island, what one item would you bring with you?
“It would probably be a very cold water bottle because I love water when it’s hot out.” --Anthony Gonzalez, Actor from Coco (Winner: Choice Fantasy Movie Actor and Choice Fantasy Movie)
“Cases of water! You need water to survive.” --Xolo Maridueña, Actor from Cobra Kai (nominated for Choice Summer TV Star and Choice Summer TV Show)
“I would probably bring a boat.” --Parker Bates, Actor from This is Us (nominated for Choice Drama TV Show)
“I hate to say it, but the one item I would bring would be my cell phone.” --Landry Bender, Actress from Fuller House (nominated for Choice Comedy TV Show)
“Chapstick. Can’t live without that!” --Hannah Stocking, YouTuber and Model
How do you stay grounded in today’s entertainment industry?
“I always have my family there to keep me grounded. They’re very supportive so I don’t think I’d be here without them.” --Anthony Gonzalez, Actor from Coco (Winner: Choice Fantasy Movie Actor and Choice Fantasy Movie)
“My mom. She doesn’t mess around when it comes to being cocky. I try to stay humble and recognize that nobody owes me anything. I make sure to have that on my mind all the time.” --Xolo Maridueña, Actor from Cobra Kai (nominated for Choice Summer TV Star and Choice Summer TV Show)
“I stay grounded by making sure I take breaks when working for long hours. I also make sure that I always have time for the spa.” --Hannah Stocking, YouTuber and Model
“Jesus is my everything. When you start with your heart and you know where you came from and you’re walking in God’s purpose, you can never hit a wrong corner. You can never duck a dodge too hard because He is always with you. That’s something that I always have to remind myself. I wake up in the morning reading Devotions so that my spirit can be right for the day. God is good. When you know that he is good and that he will provide a way for you, you got it. You have nothing in life to worry about. Let the naysayers say what they want to say about you. When God has given you a gift and a dream and a purpose, go forward with it. Don’t let nobody stop you from doing what God has you on this Earth to do...because nobody know that but you. So make sure that you stay true to yourself. In Jesus’ name...amen.” --Evvie McKinney, Winner of Season 1 of The Four: Battle for Stardom and Featured Performer at the show
celebrities supporting Carrie's chronicles at the show:
you can watch my instagram story takeover for girls' life magazine below:
It feels so good to use high-quality beauty products. You know what feels even better? Using high-quality beauty products that leave a greater impact on the community. Abhati—a beauty brand whose mission is to change the world one product at a time—does just that. Although their line of products is not currently sold at major retail stores such as Sephora or Ulta, the brand is still, what CEO Anju Rapal calls, “small but mighty.”
Abhati’s hair, body, and skin care items are made with sustainably and ethically sourced ingredients from India and Switzerland--that way, the collection "works for consumer and maker alike," as Vanity Fair puts it. The blends are even inspired by Indian heritage and harness the healing power of the plants of Ayurveda and Swiss botanic science.
Abhati is known for its Yaumna Shampoo and Mahaka Conditioner, which feature Indian gooseberry--full of antioxidants--and Himalayan Cherry Oil. Abhati’s Kaylana Rare Oil is also one of their standout products: it is “manufactured from 100% unrefined, unprocessed, raw and certified organic whole plant ingredients” that are harvested by farmers in India. The oil is also filled with fresh organic roses grown on the foothills of the Himalaya.
Furthermore, each product from the line that is sold sends a girl in India to school for a week--as of now, 37,000 young women and counting! Abhati believes in empowering the next generation so that they feel confident in their future. By giving children the gift of education, the brand proves that beauty is much more than just something that enhances our exterior. It radiates from the inside; remember that next time you’re buying a new lip gloss.
shop my blog:
Visit https://abhatisuisse.com to learn more about the brand.
Renowned sneaker brand Vans is upping their shoe game with the recent launch of their Vans X Van Gogh Collection inspired by the iconic 17th Century Dutch painter. In collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum, the line features some of the artist’s most famous works in the form of t-shirts, sweatshirts, sneakers, bomber jackets, hats, and backpacks.
The items in the 16 piece-collection either highlight one of Van Gogh’s four classic paintings or a letter he wrote to his brother Theo. In honor of their new partnership, Vans decided to update their classic slip-on sneaker by producing it in new prints such as “Skull True White,” “Letters Turtledove,” and “Sunflowers Pure White,” inspired by the early artist’s “Sunflowers” and “Skull” paintings, as well as his handwritten note. The line also features the Sunflower Boyfriends Tee, the Autumn Blossom Bomber, the Skull Hoodie, and even an oversized tee with the painter’s famous self-portrait on it. Each piece perfectly captures the essence of Van Gogh’s work with eerily accurate brushstrokes and exquisite details.
As if the clothing itself isn’t beautiful enough, the meaning behind the collection is just as impactful. The Van Gogh Museum is donating a portion of the profits from the sales of the collection to the preservation of the painter’s legacy and art collection. This way, art lovers worldwide can continue to admire his work and allow it to inspire them for years to come. Although it’s practically impossible to obtain a Van Gogh painting for your bedroom to empower you daily, a closet full of style statement pieces from the Vans X Van Gogh Collection is equally effective.
You can purchase the Vans X Van Gogh Collection at https://www.vans.com/shop/van-gogh.
Carrie: Stephanie, I admire how you sing with such a strong devotion to your craft. Has music always been your passion?
Stephanie: Yes. My grandfather introduced me to music at a young age, and from that moment on, I started to fall in love with it. It’s as if I always knew that I wanted to make music for the rest of my life.
Carrie: What about music is so special to you?
Stephanie: I love the fact that I can connect with people’s hearts and make them feel something special through my music, no matter where they come from.
Carrie: How does your native country of Guatemala impact the spirit of your songs?
Stephanie: In Guatemala, everyone is a hustler and hard-worker--people are filled with energy and light. I always try to project those values in the music I write by coming up with rhythms that make people happy. I also try to include empowering messages covered in love stories through my songs.
Carrie: What, specifically, is the message you are trying to get across through your music?
Stephanie: I want to make people feel good when they listen to my music. The songs should inspire them to do what they love and pursue their dreams--after all, we only live once.
Carrie: Why did you decide to bring your music from Guatemala to America?
Stephanie: I’ve always dreamed of becoming an international artist and touring the world with my music. Guatemala is a very small country that lacks a music industry, so even if you have talent, it’s very difficult to make it big as an artist. Bringing my music to America and opening doors for me here will not only bring me one step closer to my dream, but it will inspire other people in small countries to dream big. I want to prove to them that there are opportunities out there if you are willing to work hard and fight for them.
Carrie: You certainly received a huge opportunity recently when you became one of the original seat holders on The Four: Battle for Stardom. How did you come to be on the show?
Stephanie: It was a big surprise for me. I got a call from the production team saying that they loved what I was doing as an independent Latin artist. They believed that going on the show would be an incredible opportunity for me to take my music to America. I was very excited when I found out so I decided to audition. I sent a couple of videos singing my original songs acapella, then I had to audition for the executives through Skype. Finally, they flew me to Los Angeles for the final audition in front of the music team and all the executive producers. That same day, I found out that I was going to be an original member of “The Four.”
Carrie: That’s incredible! Which judge did you connect with the most during your time on the show?
Stephanie: I connected immediately with [Sean] Diddy [Combs]. He gave me a standing ovation for my first performance and always had amazing feedback for me. I respect him a lot for everything he’s done in his career, so it was incredible to see that he liked what I’m doing as an artist. Also, even though Fergie is the host and not a judge, I really connected with her as well. She hugged me and said the most beautiful words to me backstage when I left the show.
Carrie: What was the best piece of advice you received from the panel of judges?
Stephanie: They told me not to perform any song that I don’t feel 100% connected to. In the end, the most important thing is to always stay true to yourself, because that’s what will make the audience connect with you the most.
Carrie: Now, as someone who loves fashion, I am really curious to find out how you picked out your outfits for the show. Did you work with stylists?
Stephanie: Being a member of “The Four” gives you access to work with an incredible styling crew that helps you decide what to wear for interviews and for the show. All of the outfits they picked were amazing and super fun to wear. For the comeback episode, though, I had to make my own outfit, since I wasn’t a member of “The Four” anymore. I decided to ask my grandmother for help and we designed and created a cool outfit. But getting it done on time was certainly an adventure...lol.
Carrie: How did it feel to be a part of the comeback episode?
Stephanie: It felt amazing to hear that so many people from around the world voted for me to come back on the show. Being the only Latina called back, I knew that it was going to be tough. I needed to challenge an R&B artist in front of an audience that is not familiar with my genre of music. But I decided that no matter what, I was going to perform with all my heart for the people that supported and believed in me from the beginning.
Carrie: Do you have any regrets from that episode?
Stephanie: Honestly, I don’t regret anything about my performance. I gave it my all and I think the audience really felt my passion through that song.
Carrie: What’s coming up next for your career?
Stephanie: I just finished recording my new single, a powerful Latin song that I wrote after I left the show in the second episode. I’ll be shooting the music video in Los Angeles very soon, and I can’t wait to release it and share it with the world. I’m also starting to plan a potential tour in the U.S. and some places in Latin America to meet all my fans and perform live for them. Stay tuned on my social media for more info!
Make sure to follow Stephanie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @zelayasteph. You can also check out her songs on her YouTube VEVO channel “Stephanie Zelaya VEVO,” on Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer.
Photo Credit: Mono Delespacio and The Four
Whether you are an NYC native or taking a vacay to the Big Apple, there’s no denying the incredible, innovative desserts that the city houses. From Soho to the Upper East Side, restaurants and sweet shops are constantly working on new creations that will have you digging in before you can say “selfie.” Okay, I take that back--you may want a picture of these gorgeous treats for the 'gram prior to taking a bite...here are the top 15 most creative desserts in Manhattan (in no particular order):
1. The Sugar Factory: World Famous King Kong Sundae
Made with 24 scoops of ice cream, this sundae--which serves 12 people--is the ultimate ice cream lover’s dream. It is covered with hot fudge, caramel and strawberry sauce, sliced bananas, toasted marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chip cookies, crushed waffle cones, gummi bears, white chocolate strawberry shavings, and toasted walnuts. Oh, and it also has whipped cream, giant lollipops, and sparklers on top.
2. Black Tap: The Cake Shake
Although this restaurant has a variety of what they call “crazy shakes,” this one is the wildest by far. The cake batter shake has a vanilla frosted rim with rainbow sprinkles, topped with a funfetti cake slice, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles, and a cherry. No wonder they only have a limited quantity per day!
3. Soft Swerve: The “Broadway” Ice Cream Special
The vibrant purple-colored ice cream is due to its ube purple yam flavor (trust me, it tastes way better than it sounds)! The treat is also topped with fruity pebbles and marshmallows. Feeling extra special? You can place your treat in either a black chocolate or red classic cone.
4. Catch: “Hit Me” Chocolate Cake
Chocolate lovers rejoice with this four-level tower made out of liquid “Klondike,” roasted white chocolate ice cream, a brownie, and Devil’s Food cake. The best part: when you hit the top layer with your spoon, it oozes melted chocolate.
5. Taiyaki NYC: Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream in a Fish-Shaped Cone
Adios, old-fashioned crunchy cones. Taiyaki’s fish-shaped Japanese waffle cone is your newest obsession. It’s chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, blending perfectly with their delicious matcha soft serve. For a limited time, the store will also be serving a strawberry-vanilla swirl in a unicorn shaped cone!
6. Flour Shop: Rainbow Explosion Cake
Classic rainbow-layered cakes have been taken to a whole other level. When you cut into Flour Shop’s vanilla-frosted concoction, it explodes rainbow sprinkles! The cake also comes in three different sizes--mini, midi, and maxi--so that you can buy a personal cake or one to share with friends!
7. Cookie Dō: “Gimme S’More” Cookie Dough
Don’t get me wrong, each flavor of this sweet shop’s edible cookie dough is unique and delectable in their own way, but there’s something special about this specific flavor. Dō’s take on the classic s’more mixes toasted mini marshmallows, crushed Hershey bars, and crumbled graham crackers with signature chocolate chip cookie dough. You can either eat your dough out of a wafer cone or mix it into an ice cream sundae!
8. Serendipity: Frozen Hot Chocolate
Every innovative dessert menu needs a classic. Serendipity has become a household name, all thanks to its extraordinary frozen hot chocolate. The dessert-drink, topped with a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate shavings, is the perfect cheat day treat.
9. Philippe: Cotton Candy Baked Alaska
When this dessert is rolled to your table, initially, it looks like a mountain of cotton candy. But once the waiter lights it on fire, it melts down to reveal a delicious Baked Alaska underneath. The dessert is made with strawberry and vanilla bean ice cream (to match the color of the cotton candy) and is surrounded by roasted strawberries. Pink, pretty, and perfect!
10. Union Fare: Red Velvet Croissant
The bakery does a sweet take on a classic croissant by producing them in traditional cake flavors and stuffing them with custard. Although the bakery’s other flavors of croissants are delicious (birthday cake, matcha green tea, creme brulee, cookies n’ cream), the red velvet one is the most notable. The treat is stuffed with cream cheese custard and topped with red velvet icing and cake crumbles. Feel free to indulge for breakfast too, since it’s still a croissant after all.
11. Max Brenner: Chocolate Chunks Pizza
Pizza for dessert? Heck yes! The slices are decorated with melted milk and white chocolate chunks, and customers are given choice of two toppings: crunchy hazelnut bits, bananas, peanut butter, or roasted marshmallows. You can even order your pizza all the toppings listed above for some extra cash...because why not?
12. Dominique Ansel: Chocolate Chip Cookie Shot
Don’t worry if you’re not of age...this is actually a shot of cold-infused Tahitian vanilla milk served in an edible chocolate chip cookie “glass.” Before you run over there this second, remember that they only serve the treat after 3 pm!
13. Dominique Ansel: Frozen S’Mores
This bakery is whipping up innovative desserts like crazy! Their interesting take on s’mores they create is a frozen marshmallow wrapped around Tahitian vanilla ice cream with chocolate wafer crisps. It’s even served on a smoked willow wood branch and torched to order! That way, you can bring campfire vibes to the city year round.
14. Cupcake Market NYC: KKAY Face Cookie
You’ve seen Kim Kardashian everywhere from the television screen to iPhones apps to book covers. Now she’s made her way onto one of America’s favorite desserts: the cookie. However, this large (7’’ by 7’’) sugar cookie--hand-decorated with royal icing--depicts Kim with tears pouring out of her eyes, inspired by her famous crying meme.
15. New Territories: Unicorn Parade Milkshake
Unicorns have been everywhere lately, inspiring beauty products, clothing, and now food! New Territories’ take on the trend is in the form of a sweet drink made with artisan vanilla bean ice cream, marshmallows, pocky, whipped cream, and fruity pebbles dust. But the sprinkles on the rim of the jar that it’s served in are the icing on the cake. Or I guess in this case, the sprinkles on the milkshake...
I wanted to bring attention to a trend that’s quietly taking the fashion world by storm...tassels! The ornament that originally served as a weaving knot in garments to prevent unraveling is now a style statement that everyone (including celebs like Chrissy Teigen and Gigi Hadid) are eager to try. Tassels are not just a collection of loosely hanging threads that dangle from a graduation cap. They can be made of materials such as leather or pearls, produced in a variety of colors, and implemented into a large selection of clothing and accessories such as bags, t-shirts, and even pants! Below are my top five ways to try out tassels that even Gigi would approve.
1. Tassel Pants: Shock the world by sporting the unexpected and earn major style points in the process.
2. Tassel Shirts: Your way to accomplish a flirty, feminine vibe with a boho twist.
3. Tassel Bags: Funky...flirty...iconic.
4. Tassel Shoes: Who says you can’t bring the fun to your feet?!
5. Tassel Earrings: Frequently worn by celebs (i.e. Pink, Julianne Hough...see more below) on red carpets, these accessories are guaranteed to instill star quality.
Carrie: So why did you initially decide to submit for The Bachelor?
Astrid: My friend--who had been watching the show for years--actually submitted me. The first season I watched was Jojo’s in order to familiarize myself with the franchise as I was going through casting.
Carrie: You must have been so excited after seeing the amazing places that contestants traveled to. What was your favorite place to visit while you were on the show?
Astrid: Unfortunately, the only place I got to travel to was Wisconsin. As a Florida resident, I was freezing the whole time, and I can't say scooping cow poop was a great experience...I doubt I'll ever return.
Carrie: At least you had great friends by your side! Who was your closest friend during your time on the show?
Astrid: My closest friend in the house was definitely Kristina [Schulman]. Initially, our mutual love for wine brought us together and from there, we quickly became inseparable. To this day, I still talk to her, as well as Rachel [Lindsay], Alexis [Waters], Raven [Nicole Gates], Danielle [Lombardi], Jasmine [Goode], and Sarah [Vendal] on a daily basis.
Carrie: Sounds like you formed a great girl squad! You all went on a bunch of fun group dates together, too. Which was your fave?
Astrid: My favorite group date I went on was the track and field date--Carl Lewis and other Olympic athletes were there! It was so much fun competing in different competitions and Carl was a blast to be around. I think the girls had more fun hanging out with him and each other than they did with Nick on that date!
Carrie: What’s your opinion of Nick at this point in time?
Astrid: Although he’s not my type, I think Nick is a pretty interesting person. He was easy to hold a conversation with and I can see how his dorky personality could be appealing to some. I'm not sure that any of the girls in the house would have been a long-term match for him, though.
Carrie: Overall, what do you think was the biggest lesson you learned as a contestant?
Astrid: I think the biggest lesson I learned was that I need to make more time for myself rather than constantly trying to help other people. I spent so much time giving advice to other girls and trying to help them figure out their relationships that I didn't focus enough on my relationship with Nick. This is something I do in real life as well, but I am starting to get better at putting myself first.
Carrie: What have you been up to since the show ended?
Astrid: Following the show, I went back to my job as a patient care coordinator for Dr. Soler, a plastic surgeon in Tampa. I am getting to travel a lot more now due to the show and the many opportunities it has brought me. But for the most part, life has gone back to normal, with the exception of me now being a die-hard Bachelor fan.
Carrie: I guess that’s what engaging in such an addictive franchise does to you! Lastly, I was wondering since you’re a public figure now, how do you plan on using your celebrity as a positive platform?
Astrid: One of the things I am most passionate about is helping children with terminal illnesses. My stepdad is a pediatric oncologist and through his work, I have been able to volunteer for a camp in California called Dream Street for nine years now. Since being on the show, I have tried to plug this special foundation whenever possible to help raise money. I have also helped out with events for the Children's Cancer Center here in Tampa, which has a similar mission to Dream Street.
Carrie: It’s so amazing to hear how you took your fame and turned it into something that could help raise awareness for great causes. You have truly inspired me and I’m sure your kindness will positively influence readers as well.