Monday, December 4, 2017

NJ Blogger Brunch at Halcyon

I'm a big fan of being in environments that are inspiring.  I truly feel that your setting impacts your feelings, your mood, your productivity.  Halcyon Brasserie, a seafood restaurant in Montclair, NJ, has an aura of elegance and class and you can't help but feel inspired once you're inside.  From the large beautiful works of artistic photography that adorn the walls to the ostrich leather covered booths, its tasteful and elegant.  That's the looks alone.  I haven't even covered the food.

I was able to host a NJ Blogger Brunch where we had a sampling of their brunch menu.  Don't be fooled though by the word sampling.  The food came in bite sized portions perfectly placed on platters served by their friendly staff.  The food kept on coming and coming from cheese crudites in a tomato bisque, to bite sized french toast bites, to bacon wrapped dates soaked in a maple syrup.  Oh and my favorite were the mini breakfast taco's with just the right amount of spice.  I'm officially craving it now that I'm thinking about it.  The food seemed endless.

The drink menu was just as fun.  All of our guests were welcomed with fresh squeezed orange juice mimosas.  Then we moved onto a Greyhound, which is  fresh ruby red grapefruit and vodka, oyster gazpacho shooters with prosecco, and the favorite of all  - mainly because we are social media mavens and love a good subject for our instastories, was Halcyon's deconstructed Bloody Mary Tower.  That was a huge hit.

The event was intimate so the owner of Halcyon, Ileana, was able to meet everyone and chat and explain the history of her beautiful restaurant and talk about some of its recent accolades.  We all ate, and mixed and mingled by their gorgeous bar area.  The event was photographed by Davin of Davin Tes Photography and some of the girls even got to shoot with him outside for some good street style shots. 
Afterwards we all moved upstairs to Halcyon's lounge area.  This room is stunning.  It has its own separate bar, one whole wall is covered in windows letting in the beautiful natural lighting with scenes from pretty Montclair below.  I really wish I knew of this space earlier when I was looking for venues for baby showers, baptisms, bridal showers, everything!!  But at least now I know where to go when I need a beautiful intimate space.

While Ana planned a fun foodie experience for the girls downstairs, I really wanted to plan a fun fashion and style experience for the girls upstairs since we all share a mutual love for fashion afterall.   We all sat around and listened to powerhouse female business owner, Jessica, of Aris Couture Boutique, talk about upcoming trends for the winter and holiday season.  She talked about her jump into entrepreneurship and how by initially falling, she was able to pick herself up, get stronger and build her successful business.  Her boutique is in Montclair so its the perfect stop after a good meal at Halcyon.  I think the sentiment that Jessica shared that resonated with everyone was to not be nervous about reaching out to retailers.  Just do it.  They are looking for help marketing just as much as we, as social media influencers, are.  It would be mutually beneficial for all.  It was just so powerful to hear that from someone on the otherside of the business and I think left a lasting impression on the girls.  After her talk everyone started asking questions and talking about their experiences reaching out to other boutiques and it was exactly what I envisioned this event to be - everyone gathering around sharing ideas and stories, growing from one another, helping each other.  You don't get this kind of camaraderie virtually.  

Afterwards the girls were able to play dress up for a bit for fun pictures or just for fun with clothes from Aris Couture Boutique, they were able to experience our Signature Red Lip Bar by makeup artist, Gina Margaret, and they were able to play with some fun baubles with Christine at our Bling Bar by the Cayetano Legacy Collection.

All of the girls left with HUGE gift bags full of goodies from our sponsors.  I mean they had so much stuff the bag was on the verge of ripping it was that full.  A huge thank you to our biggest sponsor,  Measurable Difference. They gave the girls large matte lipstick collections, hair texturizer, coconut milk face wash, large eyeshadow palettes and so much more.  The girls got cute #bossbabe cards and gifts from Cayetano Legacy Collection, coupons and a raffle to Aris Couture boutique and Halcyon and a waterbottle to a new activewear boutique opening in December, Sweat and Strut.
Thank you to my girlfriend, Cheryl for helping the girls fill their bags with all the goodies.

Thank you so much to our sponsors, to Davin and Joyce for the amazing photographs, to Ileana for the wonderful experience and food at Halcyon and especially to my boss babes that came to the event.  Its nice to have a community of influencers here in the NJ area that support each other.  I was so happy we could all get together.  Cheers to many more collaborations and get togethers.

Photography credit - all photos in this post: Davin Tes Photography

xoxo, Karen

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Girl Tribe

Last weekend I finally had the chance to connect (in real life) with so many amazing girls from NJ.  Connecting Hudson Creatives is a group formed by Ana and Anyelis as a way for NJ creatives to get together to meet, brainstorm, vent, and just a way for creative entrepreneurs to not feel so isolated in such a "social" world.  I was able to see some old friends and definitely meet some new.
Their Blender event was held at the Showroom in Hoboken, NJ which is a newly renovated area that was the perfect size for the event.

We were greeted with tasty bites and mimosas from Salt + Seed.  Some of the vendors there were Moon Child, Pura Body Scrubs, Via Nero, Artfinity and Beyond, Wicked Wire and Wox, Soul Happy Boutique.  Everything was well curated but of course I couldn't resist some good accessories so I walked away with a dainty piece from Moon Child that I actually haven't taken off since I got it. It's a pretty sterling silver necklace with a moon charm.  I loved how it looked but I got it for 2 reasons.  1) Alessa's middle name is Luna which is moon in Spanish.  2) Its a reminder to follow your dreams.

It was such a fun, intimate gathering and I was honored to be invited since I'm still getting my feet wet in the NJ creative scene.

Huge thank you again, Ana and Anyelis, for having me and cheers to more meet-ups and collaborations.   All my NJ/NY friends be sure to follow Connecting Hudson Creatives and hope to see you at a future gathering.

xoxo, Karen

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall's biggest trend: embellished purses

Its no secret that I'm obsessed with embellishments and all things shiny. So the fact that embellishments are still in and in a major way has me on cloud 9. Not only are accessories a cheap and effective way to update your wardrobe but they are a way to truly make a statement with your outfit. I have scoured the internet for the prettiest handbags with pearls, studs, embroideries, appliques, and all the bells and whistles you can think of and here are some great options of varying price points to look at for the fall/winter season.

Street style just isn't as impactful this season without that handbag with a special twist.

image via here.

Here are some great options I found.  I want them all!!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Day with Maggy

 New York City, the city of a thousand dreams, the city of Carrie Bradshaw and the lifestyle every girl dreams of. I can't believe I stayed away for 10 years! I love every time i go into the city. I was floored when Maggy London, the designer known for their beautiful dresses, asked me to spend #aDaywithMaggy. I was able to visit their showroom and see their up and coming designs for both their Maggy London and London Times lines. The sight of rolls and rolls of luxe fabrics that filled their rooms from the floor to the ceilings to origami mini models of their designs, it was literally a dream. I come from a production background so I could totally appreciate the luxury of having an in house sample room.

After the tour and chatting with their fun e-commerce and PR team (shout out to Via, Shannon, Rachel, Hannah, Karen) we made our way to Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. There I got to shoot 3 looks - 3 dresses from their petite line. All of these dresses were different looks yet all hugged my curves in the right areas. Dresses are always tough for me because I'm bottom heavy and not as large on top. With these A-line silhouettes they were so flattering. It was fun styling them for fall. All of these dresses pack well too! I carried them into the city and they were wrinkle free which is a plus in my book.

Imagine the excitement of walking to the edge of Bryant Park where half the shot is calmness with greenery and trees and the other half is craziness with yellow taxis and cars zooming past. It was the quintessential shot that everyone dreams of getting - huge skyscrapers in the background with bonus points for catching a yellow cab in the back. Me, a micro influencer getting photographed by a clothing brand, with a legit camera instead of the Iphone 7 plus that my Instagram hubby uses, complete with a huge round reflector. Like - what??

This was a low key shoot with their team but for me - what a dream! I had to change outfits and looked for a restroom inside the public library. When i went in, of course my head-space went straight to visions of Carrie Bradshaw in her Vivienne Westwood dress with huge blue feathers adorning her head, dropping the cell phone as Mr. Big told her he needed reassurance. Ahh! The interior was so surreal with a grand staircase, beautiful windows letting in just the right amount of sunlight, arched doorways and vaulted ceilings. I was on cloud 9.

I kept thinking to myself - how lucky am I????? I'm back home. I'm back in the city i love. I'm doing what I love, creating content, and working with my first love of fashion. And they chose me to shoot!! It all goes to show, that you just need to keep working on what you love, trusting the process, and trusting that your hard work will pay off in the end. I'm a big believer that your settings play a big factor in your attitude and your happiness so surround yourself with inspiring things and beings. 

Thank you so much Maggy London for working with me on 2 projects and for giving me the chance to enjoy NYC from the other side of the lens. What a treat for someone who's slowly figuring out their path. #blessed

 xoxo, Karen