Category Archives: New York City

Behind the Scenes with Estée Lauder’s Global Premier Makeup Artist

I recently gushed in the Toledo City Paper that I really enjoyed meeting Blair Patterson, Estée Lauder’s global premier makeup artist.  He helped me get “camera-ready” for my Vanity Fair photo shoot at the Gallery Met in New York City.  “As he expertly applied product to my face, we intermittently talked of our careers and love lives in between him bestowing absolute gems of advice regarding applying makeup and my apparent calling to move to The City,” I said in this previous post of my time with Blair.

Here are some of those gems of advice from behind the scenes:

  • Start with a flawless and even complexion.  It’s the necessary foundation to begin creating any look.  If you don’t naturally have perfect skin, then use moisturizer, foundation and concealer to make your face appear perfect.
  • To hide under eye circles, use a good eye cream.  “Moisturizing the eye area will help free up the trapped blood under the surface of the skin that causes the circles,” said Blair.  Then use a concealer that has a pearl pigment or a little shimmer to reflect light off the surface of the area.  He used Estée Lauder Ideal Light “Brush-on” Illuminator under my eyes, which is one of his favorite products.
  • Use a darker foundation on the skin below your cheekbone to contour your cheeks.  Blair used Estée Lauder Double Wear Light “Stay-in-Place” Makeup with SPF 10 in Intensity 1 above my cheekbone and Intensity 3 below.
  • Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and slightly upward and back under your eye.  Blair used Estée Lauder Pure Color Blush in Exotic Pink on my cheeks.
  • When applying powder, don’t drag the brush over your skin, but tap it.
  • To highlight eyes, but not shrink small eyes like mine, Blair recommends dotting eyeliner in between the eye lashes of the lower lashline.
  • Fill in eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil or eye shadow that is a shade lighter, unless you have fair eyebrows.  Then use a shade that is shade darker.
  • Apply a bit of powder or bronzer to your neck to even out skin tone and minimize the difference between your made up face and nearly bare neck.
  • For makeup to be camera-ready, wait 15 minutes so that it has time to mix with your skin’s oils and appear natural.  When short on time, Blair suggests dabbing a very small amount of the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum onto skin to add luminescence.

Here is a list of Blair Patterson’s Top 10 favorite Estée Lauder products:

  1. Double Wear Light Foundation
  2. Ideal light Concealer
  3. Bronze Goddess Bronzer
  4. Day Wear Plus Tinted Moisturizer
  5. Double Wear Eye Liners (all colors)
  6. Tiramisu Pure Color Lipstick
  7. Passion Fruit Pure Color Lipstick
  8. Advanced Night Repair Serum
  9. Blue Dahlia Eye Shadow Palette
  10. Sumptuous Mascara in Black

For more tips from Blair Patterson visit here for a 2 hour makeup session with and here for a Q&A with

All dolled up, thanks to Blair



Filed under Beauty & Makeup, Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, New York City

In local news… Toledo woman in Vanity Fair

It’s quite incredible what a little press release can do!  Last week was a whirlwind of excitement surrounding the release of the June edition of Vanity Fair.  Below are the local news outlets that so generously featured me in their media.  Thank you again for letting me share my experience winning the Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair Camera-Ready Style Contest!

Toledo Blade by Roneisha Mullen 5/5/12

WTOL CBS Channel 11 with Mojgan Sherkat 5/8/12
(Click image for video)

Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune 5/9/12

WNWO NBC Channel 24 with China Sellers 5/9/12

Leave a comment

Filed under Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Toledo

Gaga for Carlos Luna

I just squealed when I saw Lady Gaga at MTV Studios in a Carlos Luna dress from his Fall 2012 collection!  “Why?” you may ask…  I attended the debut of this very collection in February at the NOLCHA Fashion Week!  I posted about his show here, where I described it as “simple and sexy meet the unexpected.”

While watching the Carlos Luna show, I particularly liked the dress that Lady Gaga just wore.  Of it I said in the aforementioned post, “Another remarkable item is a short red dress with flowing skirt featuring leather harness-like detail.  The bondage accessory has gained popularit y in recent years by appearing on stars like Sienna Miller, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus.  This sexual statement piece looks rather demure on such a pretty dress.  The black straps and shoulder pads add just enough spice that I’d like to try it.”

Above is the photo I took at the Carlos Luna Fall 2012 show

This must be a milestone for me to be able to say, “I saw it first!”  But imagine how thrilled Carlos Luna is right now!  His phone, email, Facebook, website… must be blowing up.  Congratulations, Carlos Luna.  You have arrived!

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity Style, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Nolcha Fashion Week

In the pages of Vanity Fair, a dream come true

While I was in New York on behalf of the Camera-Ready Style Contest I had a photo shoot with a Vanity Fair photographer and an Estée Lauder makeup artist in Gallery Met. When I arrived at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center at 10 a.m. on Monday, February 13, the Carolina Herrera show was about to begin in the theatre next door. My Mom was secretly taking pride in the surprise that we were actually on time. (I’m not “Fashionably Kate” for just the funny implication of the expression. I am always late, no matter how much I try.) Ben, who helped coordinate the contest for Vanity Fair, and Casey from The Met greeted me at the door. Both are young, ambitious and in love with the city – my kind of people. I met Colleen from Estée Lauder, whose 8 ½ months pregnant belly preceded her warm smile. As executive director of advertising, she helped create the contest along with Susan and Sarvi of Vanity Fair, who were unable to make it to the shoot.



The day I left New York, Susan and Colleen treated my Mom and I to breakfast overlooking the ice skating rink in the Rock Center Café at Rockefeller Center. We chatted about their background and lives in the city and the skaters on The Rink, including a woman dancing with a scarf and a brave boyfriend proving his love with one hand gripping the rink’s wall. The café reinforced why breakfast is my favorite meal of the day as the conversation grew more enticing. I listened closely to every word exchanged about the world of advertising in New York City, how Ben has proved himself as a go-getter and how they chose me as the winner of the contest. It was a tantalizing glimpse of a life I dream of and a bittersweet end to my trip.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

The Makeup

Back at the shoot, Colleen gestured to a black cube measuring over 2’x2’x2’ and said that it was my makeup kit that I won from Estée Lauder. I laughed and thought, “No, really where is my makeup?” If you know me, you know I love my makeup. But she wasn’t joking. The makeup company decided to give me the same kit that is sent with each Estée Lauder makeup artist when they’re working on location, such as a fashion show or photo shoot. It has 90 lipsticks. Ninety! I’ve been slowly trying and savoring each lip color, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara… Yes, I said I love my makeup!

The magnificent Estée Lauder kit 

Using this magnificent kit to doll me up for the shoot was Blair Patterson, Estée Lauder global premier makeup artist. As he expertly applied product to my face, we intermittently talked of our careers and love lives in between him bestowing absolute gems of advice regarding applying makeup and my apparent calling to move to The City. He was by far one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I met. He told me he thinks this is the universe telling me to move to New York. I’m convinced. During our brief email correspondence after my trip, he continued the encouragement: “Your passion and interest in this industry is all it takes to make it big, it’s all any of us had and more important all The Anna Wintours of the world have ever had too. Connections get you in the door, loving what you do keeps you in the room.” Sold.

We also talked of his celebrity clients including the spokeswomen of Estée Lauder (he adores Elizabeth Hurley), Oprah Winfrey and Paula Deen. One of his most favorite people to work with is the famous Southern cook, Paula Deen. He said he was responsible for waking her up in the morning and during those early hours she’d coax him into watching the morning news and dozing a bit longer in bed before getting in trouble with the production staff. “Exactly what you see is what you get,” Blair said of Ms. Deen, confirming her genuine yet sugary sweet manner.

Blair Patterson & I

The Photographer

In the meantime, Hannah Thomson, who does event photography for Vanity Fair, arrived and began snapping candid shots. Vanity Fair is known for hosting some of Hollywood’s most glamorous annual parties, including celebrations for the Academy Awards, Tribeca Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. At parties like these, and other A-list events, Ms. Thomson has taken photos of Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Tom and Gisele, Gwen and Gavin and Agyness Deyn, to name a few.

Casey, Ben & Hannah Thomson

After Blair finished applying the Estée Lauder makeup my Mom said my skin looked luminiscent, as if it was glowing. When I took a closer look in the mirror I exhaled my bated breath. It was subtly sexy and different than my usual but oh, so me. I loved it! Blair used teal and violet eye shadows that tinted my eyelids a smoky blue. My lips were a soft berry hue. My skin, flawless.

The Wardrobe

I changed into the ensemble that I agonized over for months: a sleek black jumpsuit from a consignment shop in Saint Petersburg, Florida, similar to the Yves Saint Laurent one cover model Gwenyth Paltrow wore in March’s Harper’s Bazaar. I paired the daring one-piece with my Manolo Blahnik “Godichefac” sandals that I got for a steal at Century 21 last September. Mr. Blahnik customized this same style in white for Kate Moss’ wedding last July. To complete the look I wore statement-making gold earrings from TopShop, which I had discovered two days before.

I had curled my hair myself. Thank goodness for a good hair day.

I was ready for my photo shoot with Vanity Fair. It felt like a dream but I concentrated on staying present, reveling in every moment. I felt beautiful and important.

On Tuesday, May 8, 2012 the photos from this shoot will be published in the June issue of Vanity Fair and online on Vanity Fair Agenda. I have the kind and inspiring people at Vanity Fair and Estée Lauder to thank for that. If you happen to grab a copy, flip to the “Agenda” pages to see a dream come true from a girl of Toledo, Ohio.

Saving the best for last

I want to thank my Mom for our trip and the entire experience.  I imagine that by the several references to her in my posts, it is apparent how important she is to me.  But I’d like to say that without her, this incredible experience would not have even happened.  She is the one who suggested I enter the contest.  She made our trip to New York City special, fun and memorable.  Because of her, the whole experience is one I will treasure for the rest of my life.  Thank you, Mom.

“Happiness is only real when shared.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity Style, Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, New York City, Wedding

Soham Dave Spring 2012: India Refashioned

The essence of the Soham Dave brand embraces hand-crafted clothing, the natural environment, the heritage of India and women who live there today.  While I was in New York during fashion week, I was fortunately invited to the Soham Dave fashion show at the Empire Hotel Roof Lounge.  I first encountered the brand at Nolcha Fashion Week in September of 2011, where I met Alexis, a sweet Ohioan who handles their publicity.  My mother and I attended the presentation set high above the city in the crowded Fireside bar.  Luckily, there was a roof top patio with a window view, which we spilled into once the standing room only allowed no view of the makeshift runway.  While the show added glamour to the eco-friendly collection, it wasn’t until the models mingled with the audience afterward when I could see the fine craftsmanship of the fabrics.

The story behind the fabrics of Soham Dave is what makes the collection so special.  Soham Dave, the designer, was born in Gujarat, India in 1979.  While studying Global Fashion Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, he met Nimet Degirmencioglu.  Soham, as the namesake creative designer, and Nimet, as the brand ambassador and executive of business development, launched their first collection in 2011.  The green brand employs women artisans in India, traditional eco-friendly production techniques, biodegradable fabrics, recycled materials and natural dyes.  Not only does Soham Dave practice fair trade, meaning all workers are paid a fair wage, the company teaches workers about entrepreneurship to create sustainable lives.  By applying traditional Indian skills, including hand embroidery, hand block printing and hand weaving, to contemporary silhouettes, Soham Dave fuses “the old and the new, classic and contemporary, and ancient organic and urban lifestyles.”

Soham Dave also launched a collection of handbags and handmade jewelry, which some pieces are made from scraps of fabric left over from the clothing line.

Soham takes inspiration from nature and Indian tradition.  The motivation behind the latest collection is “Bandhani.”  Bandhani is a method of dying fabric by pinching and tying very tiny pieces of the fabric in a particular design.  After its dyed, the tied thread is unraveled to reveal small square-shaped dots, crinkled creases of fabric and vivid colors.

My take on Soham Dave:

My favorite pieces from the latest collection are the indigo Bandhani empire top and tan Ajrak printed dresses.  From the online shop, I really like the white Safed Khadi dress, white Khadi wrap and beaded necklace on a metal chain.  Another favorite is the Streetline Indigo dress that is Ajrak printed, which was recently purchased by Emma Watson from the Co-op 28 Boutique in Los Angeles.

I’m a fan of Soham Dave because it’s eco-friendly and socially conscious, which is oh, so hot, especially right now.  But I’m eager to see the creators develop those selling points and elaborate on their designs.  I imagine this line becoming super popular with the green folk, organic eaters, vegetarians, vegans, humanitarians, boho chicks and wannabe hippies as long as they embrace that off kilter lifestyle and love of clothing that’s comfy and practical, yet sexy.  Now is the time to thrive on the bohemian/hippie/earth lovin’ style.  I look forward to the addition of more natural dye colors, contemporary prints and sophisticated shapes.

What you need to know about Soham Dave:

  • Every item is handmade by women artisans from remote villages in India
  • All items are made from biodegradable fabrics, recycled materials and natural dyes using environmentally safe production techniques, making this collection 100% eco-friendly
  • The collection currently includes jewelry, handbags and clothing, mostly summery dresses
  • The cost of clothing items range from $80 to $350
  • Based in New York City, Soham Dave is available at boutiques throughout the city and in Cleveland and Philadelphia

Where can you shop Soham Dave:

  • Online here
  • Evie Lou: 2153 Professor Ave., Cleveland, OH; 216-696-6675
  • Also in New York City, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia…

The Show:

The Scene:


Filed under Emma Watson, Fashion, Jewelry, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Nolcha Fashion Week

Fashion Week at the Hudson Hotel, New York, NY

“Urban adventure, daredevil design, and true affordability meet in Hudson, the ultimate lifestyle hotel for the 21st century. Located in midtown, just steps from Central Park, Columbus Circle and the theater district, Hudson is a brilliant reflection of the boldness and diversity of the city, while simultaneously representing the next generation of Cheap Chic – stylish, democratic, young at heart and utterly cool.”


My mother and I stayed at the Hudson Hotel  in New York City during fashion week in February, thanks to the Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair Camera-Ready Style Contest.  The discreet entrance at 356 West 58th Street understated the escalator illuminated in chartreuse just inside leading to the dramatic lobby.  Ivy climbed its forty-foot brick walls shading the blue glow of the ceiling from which hung a great crystal chandelier with images of colorful light bulbs.  The outdoor private park appeared inviting with oversized greenery and garden furniture but was unfortunately closed for winter.  Around the corner by the elevators was the famed ‘Semi-automatic” vending machine which dispenses sunglasses, bracelets, condoms and other accessories for a good time.

At night the lobby hosted good times enjoyed by small groups who overflowed from the Hudson Bar; library, aka bar at night; and hall, aka dining area/bar.  Essentially, in the evenings the whole floor turned into a swanky, dimly lit hangout for the young, or young at heart, who could endure the $18 glasses of wine.  Mom and I sat down there one night on a leather couch while I typed and enjoyed just one glass of wine and she read and glimpsed at the passersby.  She noted a person who seemed to be a man dressed as a woman, who she recognized the next day at Lincoln Center outside of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week wearing the exact same clothing.  He/she must have had a late night at the Hudson.

The fashionable continued to visit the Hudson throughout fashion week.  One day I saw Kellan Lutz, famous for portraying Emmett Cullen in the Twilight Saga, walk past me into my hotel.  After finagling our friendly doorman we discovered that he was there to attend the Loden Dager fashion show in the basement, called Good Units.  Another time there was a photo shoot going on in Hudson Bar.  Later I learned that the hotspot has been featured on such chic and shoepornographic shows as Gossip Girl and Sex and the City.

For my trip’s itinerary the hotel was in the perfect location.  Just a few blocks from the Ailey Studios, where the NOLCHA Fashion Week took stage and four from Lincoln Center and the Met, where I had the photo shoot with Vanity Fair.  It was also two blocks from Central Park and a very short subway ride to the newest Century 21 location, my favorite designer discount haven.

My stay there was pretty perfect too although it really didn’t matter where I stayed.  Just being in Manhattan is thrilling enough.  Being in Midtown was the cherry on top.  The Hudson’s website describes our double room as “A generous space perfect for double accommodation, this room offers the finest amenities and exotic accents that evoke the romance of transatlantic travel. Every detail reflects the brilliant vision of Philippe Starck, including his reinterpretation of a classic U.S. Navy ship chair, found only at the Hudson. Colorful bedside lamps hand-painted by renowned artist Francesco Clemente lend a mystical air.”  I agree.

But if I were being particular I would mention that I could not call out on the room phone, I couldn’t open the door the first few times every time I tried and I could not see very well in the rooms, especially at night.  I get that dim lighting works in the bar areas but not so much when you’re trying to apply makeup or pair clothing.  I read reviews that the rooms were small but we thought ours was adequate.  We didn’t spend much time in the room anyway.  However, I wondered how comfortable my 6’4″ boyfriend would be on the European-style mattresses.  I’d also like to note the fantastic mini bath products by Malin + Goetz, the Manhattan-based apothecary.  My mom loved them so much she asked room service (by cell phone) to bring more, then swiped even more off the housekeeping cart.  They smelled so fresh and clean.  I still carry the vitamin B5 body moisturizer in my purse and  I’m looking to reorder online for someone special’s birthday.  (No, not you, mom!  Just keep reading…)

Thankfully, the hotel is currently undergoing a major renovation, which would resolve all of my complaints.  New phones, mattresses, a smart card lock system, upgraded room lighting and illuminated mirrors will be available this fall.  I do hope to stay at the chic “cheap” hotel again.   I’d like to visit the bar and mingle with the New York socialites.  But I may refill my wine glass in my room.  Until then, New York…

Photos courtesy of myself and Hudson Hotel

Leave a comment

Filed under Estée Lauder and Vanity Fair's Camera Ready Style Contest, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Nolcha Fashion Week

Teresa Rosati Fall 2012: Prim & Party

Teresa Rosati’s diverse collection of formal dresses is a little prim and a little party.  The internationally renowned Polish designer showed her latest assembly of cocktail and evening dresses at Nolcha Fashion Week, which I had the pleasure of attending in February.  The opening number was a short champagne-colored dress with a bubble skirt adorned with a single black lace sleeve.  Paired with a glass of champagne, this tasteful dress is just right for a cocktail party.  With the next look, the party style changed dramatically.  The embellished padded shoulders and metallic fabric remind me of a 1980s music video with a synthesized beat and too much fog, but in a fun, throwback way.

The third dress further mixes moods by pairing bronze brocade with purple sequins, while the last dress combines the current trend of photographic prints with old Hollywood.  This show-stopping gown, covered with black and white pictures of Marilyn Monroe, garnered oohs and ahhs from the audience.  While I’m loving the fun print, I can’t imagine where I’d wear it to in my midwest home.  However, Molly Sims wore a similar dress by Dolce & Gabbana to the 2009 Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards in New York City.  I can also picture it on Katy Perry, Lindsay Lohan or Rihanna.   Another trendy showstopper is the sheer teal gown with pleats and a collar embellished with feathers and shiny appliques.  Sheer fabric, especially skirts, are very popular at the moment.

One of my favorite pieces of Rosati’s collection is the dress with a pale rose skirt and intricate black floral single-sleeved bodice.  I’m probably drawn to its full tulle skirt and shimmering lace because of its resemblance to a ballerina.  The flowing red gown with a deep v-neck, embellished waist and high slit is also a darling.  Notice it’s decorated zipper along the nude back.  Of all the details I adore these embellishments, the glittering material of the navy and gray dresses and the delicate lace.

Photos courtesy of myself and Teresa Rosati

Leave a comment

Filed under Fashion, New York City, New York Fashion Week, Nolcha Fashion Week