YOUR STYLE, YOUR SUPERPOWER
Check out some of the designs for sale at JC Penny inspired by Season 16 winner Kentaro Kameyama's winning collection:
Upon entering the Palace Theater, there was a blue carpet with a step and repeat behind it. Press lined up to get photographs of celebrities’ arrivals. Most of the writers, producers, and composers of the show attended, including renowned songwriter Sara Bareilles, Yolanda Adams, and Jonathan Coulton. Also in attendance were Jill Kargman (Odd Mom Out); Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan; X-Men; Spotlight); Carolee Carmello (The Addams Family and Tuck Everlasting on Broadway); Lora Lee Gayer (Holiday Inn on Broadway); Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live); Joe Tippett (Waitress on Broadway); and Tom Kenny (the original voice of Spongebob!).
After the show, it was time to attend the VIP after party at the Ziegfeld Ballroom. There was a blue carpet that lead guests upstairs to a huge event space lit up in the same hue. Giant pink jellyfish hung from the ceiling, Spongebob Squarepants pillows decorated the couches, and an enormous light-up pineapple stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by the bar. Even the drinks were served out of pineapple shaped glasses!
The food at the party was Spongebob themed, of course. Besides an interesting selection of “Krusty Krab Pizzas” (gorgonzola & fig, grilled spring vegetable, and neapolitan style margherita!), there was a huge sushi bar! If that wasn’t enough, the “Bikini Bottom Tuscan Table” served lemon-garlic shrimp, beef & parmesan meatballs, cacio e pepe rigatoni, and chicken parmesan sliders (just like they serve at The Krusty Krab!).
For dessert, guests had the opportunity to indulge in a yellow cupcake with an edible Spongebob face on top and a star shaped cookie frosted to look like Patrick. There were also pineapple-shaped cake pops and assorted tropical pastries. Can you say, “delish?”
Bergdorf Goodman--a high-end department store on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue--served as the venue for the event on the evening of December 18th (the day after my birthday!). It was held in the Good Dish Cafe on the beauty level of the store; the space was brightly lit, to ensure that the photos (taken throughout the event by Heidi Green Photography) would be perfect for the 'gram, of course. Fashion sketches of me--by Chic Sketch--were hung throughout the room, as well as posters with the blog’s logo.
I first found out about Chic Sketch, an app that creates quick sketches of your outfit of the day, at an after-party during New York Fashion Week a few years ago. I quickly fell in love with the detail and precision that was put into each drawing in such a short amount of time, and knew that they would be the perfect company to entertain guests at my blog launch. An artist came to the event to sketch each person in a mere five minutes and then sent the image to his or her email once it was complete. Attendees even got to take home a 4 x 6 printout of their #ootd!
In the other corner of the room, we set up a raffle that would be announced towards the end of the party. Each person filled out a ballot, hopeful to win prizes from some of my fave brands. Some of the loot included a box of Sugarfina candies, Dr. Jart face masks, tees from Olive and Bette's, an eyeshadow palette from Too Faced, Prada Candy Gloss Perfume, and a Rebecca Minkoff Velvet Crossbody Bag (the grand prize!).
Throughout the event, waiters circled the room, carrying trays of “Carrie-tinis” to hand out to guests. The custom pink mocktail, created by Bergdorf’s to match the color palate of my blog, was bubbly and delicious. Here's the recipe:
(makes one large pitcher)
1 (12-oz.) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
4 cups white cranberry juice cocktail
4 cups lemon-lime soft drink, chilled
Raspberries for garnish
As for the food, Bergdorf's prepared gourmet hors-d'oeuvres for guests to nibble on: mini burger bites, truffle grilled cheese bites, and new potato bites, topped with cheddar, chives, and créme fraiche.
As the party started to draw to a close, it was time for the cakes (yes, I mean cakes, plural!) to be revealed. Cakes Jagla created a beautiful fashion-inspired cake with all of my favorite high-end designer labels (Gucci! Chanel!) on it. There were even shopping bags from Hermes and Bergdorf Goodman that were sculpted out of fondant, as well as a life-size, edible high heel shoe as a topper! The inside of the cake was equally as incredible: the bottom tier was vanilla with chocolate frosting and raspberry puree while the top layer was vanilla with vanilla buttercream.
Another showstopper: the rainbow tye dye cakes from Baked by Melissa. The company, which is known for their bite-size cupcakes, recently branched out to create full-sized cakes using the recipe for their tie-dye flavor (a customer favorite). It was made with three layers of Electric Vanilla Tie-Dye Cake, vanilla buttercream icing, and tie-dye cake crumble topping. It perfectly radiated the positive spirit that I want to share in my posts.
Before guests made their way out, I handed each person a VIP goody bag to take home. Guests eagerly tore open the pink bags with my logo on them to reveal the incredible sponsored goodies. There were stretch bands from Theraband; purple velvet hair-ties from Kitsch; makeup from Ulta Beauty and Too Faced; lip gloss from Sephora; gummy bears from Sugarfina; and a pink fuzzy pen to match the one in my blog’s logo. Each gift perfectly captured the essence of my blog.
The evening was truly one to remember, and I was so thrilled to be able to hear people’s opinions on what I've written so far. This is just the beginning of Carrie’s Chronicles, and I hope that you stay along for this new, exciting ride!
There’s something truly special about receiving a monthly beauty subscription box in the mail.
A sense of wonder and excitement washes over you as you dig into a case of the newest, innovative beauty products. Whether they are filled with face masks, hand soaps, or a sample of a new designer lipstick, these boxes are the perfect gift for Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s, and guaranteed to deliver holiday cheer all year long.
My Ten Fave Beauty Subscription Boxes:
1. Fab Fit Fun: as an affiliate for the brand, I always look forward to receiving their incredible full-size beauty products in a big pink box! They throw in wellness items such as duffel bags and yoga products as well. ($49.99 per seasonal box; www.fabfitfun.com)
2. Play! By Sephora: the ultimate monthly package for beauty lovers, filled with five deluxe samples (no drugstore brands!) curated by Sephora experts. ($10 per month; https://m.sephora.com/play)
3. Allure Beauty Box: a subscription box exclusively selected by Allure experts, it is filled with both full-size and travel products with an estimated $50-$90 value! Another plus: each package contains a mini-mag with tips, shortcuts, and step by steps for how to use the products. ($15 per month; https://beautybox.allure.com/?source=GGL_ALB_google_sem_mobile)
4. Piibu: personalized Korean face masks delivered to your doorstep every month? Count me in! The variety of face masks allows you to explore and fall in love with new products. ($18 per month for one year; www.piibu.com)
5. Vegan Cuts: feeling the urge to try something new? This monthly subscription box contains four to seven cruelty-free beauty products ranging from unique cosmetics to luxurious skincare. ($18.50 per month; https://vegancuts.com/beautybox)
6. Birchbox: a personalized subscription box that delivers five samples tailored to your skin, beauty preferences, and style? This is exactly why the brand is so popular among celebs like Rumer Willis and Jaime King. ($10 per month; www.birchbox.com)
7. Lip Monthly: a true lip product lover’s dream! Customers receive full-sized deluxe goodies every month, whether it’s a lip gloss, stick, balm, or stain. ($12.95 per month; www.lipmonthly.com)
8. Ipsy: try out five new beauty products every month from some of your favorite brands, including ColourPop, Too Faced, Tarte, and Smashbox. ($10 per month + free shipping; www.ipsy.com)
9. Glossybox: now this is gonna look good on your feed! Each Glossybox is filled with six makeup, hair, and skin care products (including three full-size items worth $86!). No wonder it's a favorite among social media influencers! Besides, receiving a pretty pale pink box with a perfectly tied black bow every month can’t hurt. ($21 per month; www.glossybox.com)
10. Fortune Cookie Soap Box: each package contains a mix of full-size and deluxe sample size soaps. And the best part is...each box is themed! Some past themes include Princesses vs. Villains, 12 Days of Christmas, and Friendsgiving—so cute! ($28 per month; https://www.fortunecookiesoap.com/products/fcs-of-the-month-club-1)
As an NYC foodie, I’m constantly searching for the most Instagrammable dining spots, whether it’s because of the outdoor views or the indoor ambiance. Here I put together 10 of my top Instagram worthy restaurants (in no particular order) that will have your friends calling you #goals for days.
1. Pietro Nolita
This all pink restaurant is something straight out of Barbie’s world. Delicious Italian cuisine aside, it has pink napkins, pink merchandise, a mural made out of pink hearts outside of the restaurant, and even pink wallpaper that says “Love Me” inside of the bathroom! Forget about dreaming in black and white--this restaurant will have your dreaming in pink for days.
2. Sushi Roxx
This trendy spot in Midtown turns your dinner into a complete show. The waiters take breaks in between taking orders to sing karaoke and perform incredible dance numbers. Not to mention, there’s a super cute graphic wallpaper outside of the bathroom to take photos in front of.
Located downtown on Bowery Street, this restaurant is filled with sculptures and wallpapers that will have you running around the restaurant taking pictures before you sit down to eat your meal! My favorite spot to grab some snaps is in front of the upside down purple bunny sculpture at the front entrance, and on the black and white graffiti staircase. But when you do get a chance to sit down, make sure to try the S’mores with graham cracker ice cream for dessert.
4. The View Restaurant and Lounge
This restaurant is known as a “revolving rooftop eatery!” That’s right: while you eat, the two-level space located on the 47th and 48th floors of the Marriott Marquis Hotel actually slowly rotates so you can take in different views of the city. So while you’re scarfing down your delectable Atlantic Salmon or NY Premium Strip Steak, make sure to take some stunning pictures in front of the variety of panoramic views.
Located on top of the Museum of Arts and Design, this artsy spot has a lovely colorful interior, not to mention, stunning views of the famous Columbus Circle. Make sure to arrive in an equally vibrant outfit in order to match the restaurant’s vibe and get the perfect Instagram shot.
6. Pizza Beach
This Upper East Side restaurant will give you serious retro vibes. With locations on the Upper and Lower East Side, its bright, colorful interior--featuring white-washed walls, bright red accents, and vintage surfboards--will make you feel like you are taking a quick break after a swim in the Florida Keys, even if it’s Winter time! The outside of the Upper East Side location also has an incredible mural with the silhouette of a man riding an old fashioned bicycle that is totally Instagram worthy.
7. Nomo Kitchen
Situated in Soho (convenient for great shopping!) head on over to this restaurant and dine among an array of leafy greens beneath a dramatic glass ceiling. The highlight? A huge, multicolored graffiti heart wall that boosts your mood instantaneously.
8. Planet Hollywood
This is the perfect dining destination for celebrity and movie enthusiasts: it has costumes and memorabilia from some of your favorite films and Broadway shows. The overall vibe, with planes from different films hanging from the ceiling, is laid back and totally cool. Just make sure to use flash in your pics, since the restaurant is all indoors.
9. Cha Cha Matcha
This restaurant is a matcha lover’s dream! But besides the delicious matcha beverages and delectable soft serve, the tropical vibes (indoor palm trees?!) and insane “Cha Cha” mural will transport you right to paradise.
Located in Soho, this trendy fisherman-inspired spot serves fresh, delicious seafood and is a must-see when in NYC. It has a white-washed interior with pops of green in certain areas, as well as a gorgeous rainbow graffiti heart mural outside with the phrase “Love is Love.”
With all of these incredible picture spots on your feed, I promise that your likes and comments will be rolling in in no time!
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An indescribable magic surrounds the Big Apple during the holidays. You sense it in the gorgeous strings of Christmas lights suspended along the NYC streets, the giant sparkling tree at Rockefeller Center, and the ice skaters whizzing around the rink at Bryant Park. But the extravagant displays produced for the city’s department store windows are what capture the magic perfectly. Each store or design house has something unique to offer when it comes to theme and execution, making it almost impossible to pick a favorite. Read on to hear about the most spectacular holiday windows, and if you can, see them in person before they’re taken down shortly after New Year’s!
The first store I visited was Barney’s, located between 60th and 61st Street on Madison Avenue. This year's windows were inspired by the Haas Brothers, a popular L.A.-based design duo known for their signature playful innovation. Barney's also transformed their windows into a social media campaign that is aimed to spread diversity and inclusion this Winter. Every time someone hashtags their window photo “#HAASRULES,” on social media, the Barneys New York Foundation donates $5 to the Children’s Defense Fund, an organization dedicated to ensuring children’s safety, health, opportunity, and overall well-being. How cool is that?! And get this: Barney’s has raised thousands already thanks to the pics people hashtagged on Instagram!
I made sure to snap all the standout details in the windows: the vibrantly beaded futuristic figures, the colorful giant mushrooms, the sparkling lava rocks, and the Haas character “Rainbow Baggins,” a rainbow striped zebra! All were inspired by "animation and the imaginative universe" making this year's Barney's display truly out of this world!
The next destination I visited was Bloomingdale’s, located between 59th and 60th Street on Lexington Avenue. The theme of their windows was based on the new movie musical The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. The movie is based on the colorful showman, P.T. Barnum, founder of Barnum and Bailey Circus, and the windows do not fail to capture his spirit. Each display showcases the essence of the circus, from the vibrant red and silver sequins to the literal circus acts posed on mannequins both in the windows and inside the store (acrobats, contortionists, dancers, knife throwers, jugglers, bearded ladies…).
The fashion exhibited was especially extraordinary, featuring a dazzling array of glittery glass gems by Allison Eden Studios. My favorite looks were the perfectly tailored red and gold military jacket, an aerialist’s flame-inspired two piece set, and a pair of velvet pants with subtle ruffle detailing down the side. The store also decided to give onlookers an interactive experience to remember: an animatronic fortune teller (ala Zoltaire) that displays a digital fortune, and a camera button that puts a photo of your face on a ticket poster and incorporates it into the display! Eager for more? Come to Bloomies and join the circus!
The next stop, which I later determined was my favorite, was Bergdorf’s. Located between 57th and 58th Street on 5th Avenue, the high-end department store presented an array of innovative windows with a Big Apple theme. The title of their 125th anniversary windows was, “To New York With Love.” I was immediately struck by the creativity and breathtaking fashion inspired by NYC's cultural institutions--the execution and attention was absolutely exquisite.
One of the highlights for me was the window celebrating the American Museum of Natural History with Swarovski crystal-covered dinosaurs and a woman in a glittering silver gown. If that wasn't dazzling enough, the window inspired by the Museum of Moving Image spotlighted an ombré gown that utilized black feathers descending into white fabric...pure genius. As for the actual background of the displays, the one dedicated to the famed New York Philharmonic took my amazement to a whole new level. It featured red neon lights in the shapes of different instruments, such as a piano, trumpet, or violin, with a woman in red conducting. The Bergdorf displays truly hit no wrong notes!
Tiffany & Co.—one of NYC’s most renown luxury jewelry stores located on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue—doesn't have the largest window displays, but they are still exquisite. Both in the windows and inside of the store, they showcase silver, miniaturized robot-like figures that are working to produce Tiffany's jewelry, either carrying it on their backs or using tools to construct the pieces and pack them off in little blue boxes. Each window is filled with millions of dollars in diamonds--it doesn’t take hard work to know how incredible that is!
My last visit was to Saks Fifth Avenue to see the story of Snow White retold through numerous window displays. The posh department store—located between 49th and 50th Street on 5th Avenue—chose to celebrate the well-known Disney film just in time for its 80th anniversary. The result: a visually detailed collection of displays (titled “Once Upon a Holiday”) with a creative use of animatronics (my favorite was the elderly beggar woman who spun around to reveal her true self, the Evil Queen). What was truly special about Saks’ exhibition was what appeared in the windows around the corner: there were several custom ensembles designed for a modern day Snow-White. The high end designs—set against forest backgrounds that perfectly capture the spirit of the film—were created by some of the most prominent names in fashion, including Alberta Ferretti, Naeem Khan, Monique Lhuillier, and Marchesa. My favorite design was the red and black puffer coat by Dolce & Gabbana; it was the perfect way to combine high-fashion, winter style, and Disney's Snow White.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop waiting for your prince to come and head on over to visit the amazing NYC Holiday window displays! And if you can’t make it to the Big Apple, I hope you find my photos to be the fairest of them all ;-)
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Some of the department stores made collections and are selling pieces that relate to their window displays! Check out some of my faves below.
From 61st Street to 76th Street on Madison Avenue, I was witness to a fashion lover’s dream come true: an outdoor exhibition of innovative outfits that would seem impossible to achieve--except that I have the pictures to prove it! They were all created out of what what one would call “unconventional materials.” Similar to the challenges that Project Runway tasks its designers with, BFA students from the School of Visual Arts were asked to create 14 three- dimensional high fashion looks out of anything but fabric in a mere two weeks. I loved seeing what the young designers came up with, and I had fun playing judge (eat your heart out, Heidi Klum)! The avant-garde designs were works of art that turned the streets of New York City into a museum with no admission fee. I spent an hour walking in the cold so I could enjoy the fashion and photograph the looks--here are the designs, in order of my favorites (note: the installations were removed on November 15th).
1. The Pencil Shoes: This was my favorite design out of all of the ones I saw--a work of pure genius. The creativity factor was through the roof, as Zhuoyuan Li used 288 pencils (enough to write 12.9 million words!) to create the ultimate pair of stiletto heels. The icing on the cake was the lining of the pump, completely covered in erasers.
2. The Silverware Flapper Dress: Oh, if only we could travel back to the 1920s, everyone would be dying to wear Filipa Mota’s design. This showstopper was made out of silverware, approximately enough for 491 people to dine! Mota paid close attention to the details of her look, masterfully executing a circular “fork purse” and “spoon locket necklace” to add to her ensemble--not to mention a bustier made from a pair of serving ladels!
3. The Tea Bag Raincoat: Chris Choe managed to take inexpensive tea bags and turn them into a posh piece of fashion. Even though this raincoat could fill 1,400 cups of tea in the rain, I could definitely see it on couture runways.
4. The Packing Peanut Pajamas: This risky twist on sleepwear created by Gabriela Ong really paid off. Using 1,569 white packing peanuts and 50 pink packing peanuts (1.5 cubic feet of packing material!), she created a masterpiece that was perfectly arranged and looked completely cozy.
5. The Keyboard Tuxedo: Since it was one of the only looks with an androgynous twist, I was immediately interested in finding out more about it. Upon closer inspection, I was astonished by the fact that black and white keys were craftily placed to create the look of a tuxedo jacket ensemble. Even the bow tie was made out of keys! Another plus: 45 recycled keyboards were used for the suit jacket. Truly a work of brilliance by Cindy Setiadi.
6. The Penny Mini Dress: This piece was made out of 42.9 lbs of pennies, enough to make 12,500 wishes in a fountain. Mert Avadya did a fantastic job of punching holes in each penny in order to thread them them together with coils. Priceless high fashion.
7. The Wheat Suit: Inspired by Van Gogh, Jacob Cotov used over 900 wheat stalks to create a high collared shirt and pants ensemble. Although I felt the wheat could have been manipulated more in the pants, the shirt made up for it with its intricate swirls. The wheat woven together looked like a mosaic that could hang in a prestigious museum.
8. The Tree Bark Gown: Bobby Cao’s dress really resonated with me; the simplicity of its beige color could have been boring, but the innovative bodice elevated it. The way that Cao placed the bark in varying directions shows the work of a true artist. He was not afraid to use a difficult material to sculpt his design...and a whole lot of it (4.5 running yards of bark)!
9. The Telephone Glasses: Michele Clark took a risk by only choosing to create an accessory. However, her creativity in manipulating an old-school telephone is commendable. To create her specs, she used one phone receiver, an earpiece, two phone cords, and 24 number keys. I especially loved how she used a cord to replicate a nosepiece and designed a choker out of keys to go with the glasses.
10. The Keychain Dress: Although Tae Gyung Kang’s mix of silver and gold was beautiful, I wish that the designer would have made the look on the mannequin more wearable. Glancing at the outfit, it’s hard to picture a real person being able to pull it off without an undergarment to cover strategic places. However, I appreciate the touch of pearls she added to the neckline, as well as the hard work she put into it (she used 1,800 keychains and 98 keys!).
11. The Shoelace Sneakers: I was impressed by how Nakyung Youn wove a shoe solely out of 55 shoelaces, creating a unique textile. Youn did a fine job linking the laces together, but I wish that the work would have been a bit cleaner--there were a few gaps and holes which I wasn’t sure were intentional. If there was more time to work on this project, I’m sure that the shoes would have been extraordinary, since the innovation was clearly there.
12. The Slinky Gown: Olivia Wilson did not shy away from creating an avant-garde design...made out of 109 Slinkies! There were many aspects of the design that I loved, from the variation of Slinky colors, to the shape of the low v-neck, to the Slinky cuffs on the shirt’s sleeves. However, I noticed that she used black fabric to hold her look together, which is unfortunate since it downplayed the unconventional element.
13. The Clock Hands Fan: I was impressed by how Lillian Park lined up the clock’s inner workings to create an accessory. On the other hand, I wish that she would have added a little something extra to really push the envelope--the design felt very straight-forward and not surprising.
14. The Can Dress: Although using 187 food cans (enough preserved goods to feed one person for six months!) was a very creative idea, I wish that Michelle Clark would have put a little more thought into making her design. The bodice did not seem very wearable, and I would have liked to see more variety of color in look altogether. Perhaps if she spray painted some of cans, the design would have come to life.
15. The Computer Armor: Although I appreciate James Tsang’s hard work in creating a suit of armor out of 225 Ram Chips (equivalent to 75 computers), his look was not my favorite—it felt a bit costumey. Again, I would have appreciated something more wearable.
16. The Earplugs Dress: I could tell that Julian Fama’s dress, made out of 2,538 foam earplugs, took a lot of work to create. But I wish he would have used a variety of colors instead of one vibrant peach hue. Also, if you look closely, you see that there is green fabric peeking through the earplugs. I wish he manipulated the earplugs on the mannequin instead of on top of a conventional material.
17. The Two-Piece Gumball Set: The 518 gumballs in Yicen Hou’s look were playful and vibrant, but there was little manipulation of his unconventional materials. The gumballs were simply stuffed into plastic pouches. My suggestion would have been to smash the gumballs for a more interesting design. If only, if only...
18. The Polaroid Dress: This dress does look wearable, but that’s probably because the majority of the design is fashioned out of black fabric. Isha Sanghvi’s 175 polaroids of flowers created a beautiful collage effect on the skirt, but they were just placed on there, not cut or transformed. Also, the polaroid necklace did not do the design justice--it looked clunky and unnecessary.
19. The Monopoly Suit: Matt Iacovelli’s suit--made out of 13 game pieces and 41 houses and hotels--had the potential to be a showstopper. But I was extremely underwhelmed by the lack of unconventional material. The game pieces were placed on the button down shirt underneath, which you could hardly see. The look was also mostly painted fabric, and when you did see a Monopoly house, it was simply glued on, not transformed. At least the silver game pieces as cufflinks were a clever touch.
20. The Darts Dress: The dress--made by Anaya Behera--was made out of 267 darts, enough for 33 games! However, it did not look like much effort was put into creating the design. Although the use of color was refreshing, the darts looked simply stuck on a little black dress; the creativity was lacking.
21. The Paint Dress (?): Notice the question mark...it’s because I’m not quite sure what this design is. It kind of looks like a cool sculpting of Elmer’s glue...except this is a fashion design challenge. If you took away the mannequin and just held up the outfit, I’m not sure that anyone would be able to recognize Fernando Alvarenga’s four gallons of smooth cast as as a mini dress.
My overall verdict: Each Individual design had something unique and expressive about it that made onlookers--including myself--stop and stare (there were no real bad looks!). I tried to give my honest opinion on each, and I hope you enjoy the photos I snapped, as these designs are some of the most innovative that I have ever seen. I commend the SVA students for daring to be bold with no regrets.
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