Spring is a great time to give your closet a fresh look, go get a new haircut, treat yourself to fresh smoothies and discover new beauty products and brands.
With this in mind, I set out to the heart of Chelsea with an open mind. I wasn’t disappointed. I learned so much about Elev8. I obtained a lot of fresh insight into the luxury beauty industry.
You’re probably already aware that more beauty brands are becoming socially and environmentally conscious and attempting to bridge luxury and sustainability. This means that we can enjoy a luxury experience that often provides health benefits while minimizing environmental impact.
I hauled home numerous samples. Here my top five picks.
Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths
Most of us are not aware that daily we use so many personal products that cause damage to our environment. Kaia cloths are a true game changer! Not only are free of alcohol, synthetic fragrance, parabens and sulfates, more importantly, they are 100% biodegradable.
Soigné Nail Polish
Soigné is more than just a luxury brand with elegant packaging. Its formula contains no harmful carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals that may be found in many personal products). And they are up to 85% plant sourced.
Flynn & King Natural Skin Care Soap
This company uses a cold process to produce its soaps. This creates an incredible lather to allow a truly luxurious bathing experience. I’ve tried quite a few brands that make organic soaps and I’ve noticed that most of them do not lather well. I found out during the event that some soaps use a hot process technique, which is more efficient, yet decreases lathering and nutrient levels. So, if you want to try an incredibly natural soap without sacrificing luxury, check out Flynn & King soaps.
Mālayā Organics Hair Oil
What an amazing experience! This company offers aroma therapeutic hair oil, which repairs dry hair and doubles as a styling product to give hair shine. It’s 100% natural. This product is rich with a number of organic oils. Curious to know which kinds? They use coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil, hemp oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil and many more. No genetically modified, hydrogenated products here! Mālayā Organics Hair Oil is perfect to nurture and revitalize my stressed hair, keep it less vulnerable to breakages and frizz.
S.W. Organic Lip Balm
This just became my best friend. It fits easily in my purse and has a great peppermint flavor that I absolutely love. More importantly, the Brooklyn-based company that produces it uses natural ingredients that are certified organic, fair trade, or sourced from family farms.
What is new and fresh in your shopping list?
Versatile, flattering, cozy and chic. I can’t say enough about this Japanese traditional garment that’s making a comeback. In fact, it’s become a staple of almost every well-known fast fashion chain. Yet, what do most people really know about this garment’s history?
This piece, which has so many distinctive features (form, motif, design, fabric and accessories), has an amazing story behind it. The Japanese, following their normal tendency to adopt, adapt, adept, started wearing the orient fashion in the eighth century. Traditionally, they were made from a single fabric bolt. By the 20th century, most Japanese citizens wore Western clothing. Today, kimono manufacturing is on the edge of crisis. Reduction of the kimono market, and the aging of artisans, and lack of their successors are slowly diminishing the once vibrant art.
Hiromi Asai, whose collection “Spirit Of The Earth” captivated me during NYFW, and my genuine curiosity for Japanese culture, inspires me to incorporate the traditional kimono into my wardrobe. Just like the little black dress or white shirt, I believe this should become a staple for all women. Hiromi Asai’s silk kimonos were a breath of fresh air at NYFW. I particularly loved the ones that featured pastel colors and minimal prints. The robe-like, relaxed look was absolutely stunning.
Fond of fine jewelry? Or just looking for your first piece?
In either case, I’d like to offer some useful terms to help you as you scour the marketplace.
Most fine jewelry is connected to historical meaning, symbols or function.
So, in addition to knowing jewelry basics regarding precious metals (14K, 24K, platinum, palladium, etc.), it’s important to learn design terms and history before you invest in a precious piece. This is especially true if you are shopping for fine jewelry for the first time.
Honestly, I pick up something new daily. Sometimes my customers teach me things. Usually, I’m delving deep into research. There’s always something new to discover!
Below are a few terms that will have you talking like a pro.
1. Lariat necklace
The lariat, a long chain reminiscent of rope, is often worn draped multiple times around the neck. Sometimes this necklace incorporates a loop at one or both ends. This way, it may be worn like a lasso. Or it may be worn doubled over with the ends passed through the loop formed in the middle.
instagram user @kseniadesigns
2. Byzantine chain
This metal link chain design incorporates a rope-like texture and intriguing textural features.
instagram user @pamasberry
3. Mesopotamian Seal pendant
The earliest civilizations used seals. In archaeology and art history, they had great significance. In ancient Mesopotamia, craftsmen carved or engraved cylinder seals in stone or other materials. These could be rolled along to create an impression on clay. They could be repeated indefinitely. The ancients used them as labels on consignments of trade goods, or for other purposes. They were normally hollow and worn on a string or chain around the neck.
Some featured finely carved images with no writing, while others had both.
4. Locket. A locket is a small object that opens to reveal a space, which holds items, usually a photograph. Often, a locket comes as pendant or sometimes is part of a charm bracelet.
5. Claddagh ring. This traditional Irish ring is rich in symbolism. The hands represent friendship. The heart is associated with love. The crown signifies loyalty.
instagram user @irisdombrage
6. Figaro chain. This link chain incorporates a pattern of two or three small, circular links with one elongated oval link. The most distinguished figaro chains are manufactured in Italy.
instagram user @itspatriciamorales
7. Toggle clasp. This two-piece clasp has a bar which fits into a loop. The bar passes through the ring to secure the piece.
8. Trade beads. Old glass beads, mostly made around Venice 200 to 400 years ago, are used for trade in Africa and the Orient. In previous centuries, these colorful beads were often used in exchange for slaves, ivory, gold and other items.
instagram user @katopopstudio
9. Mother of pearl or nacre. Some mollusks produce an organic-inorganic composite material as an inner shell layer. It also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong and resilient.
instagram user @erina808
10. Tension set rings. I personally love this type of gemstone setting. Other settings have prongs that hold the stone. They may have a bezel or other mounting. Tension setting uses compression. The metal setting is actually spring-loaded to exert pressure onto the gemstone, and tiny etchings/grooves are added to the metal in order to create a shelf for the gemstone’s edges to rest. The gemstone appears to be floating in the air with nothing holding it in place.
I hope you all had an amazing holiday celebration with your friends, colleagues, families and loved ones. And I hope you all keeping warm and cozy in this cold, blustery weather!
Consider staying warm and refreshing your taste buds with shōchū, a Japanese distilled beverage. Women and businessmen are promoting this hot trend. Low calorie, it will amaze you with its great taste and healthful properties.
I don’t know about you, but my work schedule is demanding. I often work weekends. So, when I have a day off, I like to enjoy it to the fullest. Last Monday was one of those days. I was thrilled to be invited to the Japanese Vodka (Shōchū) Tasting and Wagyu Pairing event in the West Village.
I absolutely love that area of the city with its abundance of unique, small boutiques and stores offering exquisite products. Beautiful Tibet Inc., for example, is a great store. It offers quite a rich selection of artesian jewelry, exotic incense products and many other Tibetan finds.
Cube-cut garnet necklace with beads and adjustable toggle clasps, dangling chandelier earrings and essence sticks were just a few of the things that caught my eye.
Shopping and attending the event were great ways to recharge in the middle of a brutal winter.
It was so cold that day that I ran from one boutique to another. It was like marathon training! Besides sampling 10 varieties of shōchū, I met interesting people and learned about Japanese customs. It was fascinating to watch an incredible traditional Japanese brush calligraphy (shodō) performance.
You might be interested to learn that, in Japan, shōchū is consumed 1.5 times more than sake.
It’s understandable since it’s low calorie, sugarless and packed with nutritional properties.
More importantly, this drink does not include impurities. Therefore, it does not cause hangovers.
Aokage, the shōchū made of barley, is a good place to start. I loved its incredibly smooth, burned flavor of barley and lasting cacao aroma aftertaste.
Fight the winter cold and share experiences together with shōchū!