Friday, December 17, 2010

Glam it up for a Haute Night in NYC!

There’s no place in the world like New York City. It’s the place where dreams come true and nightlife is haute! On my recent trip, I had several events to attend in the course of just 72 hours. Therefore, finding a perfect balance between glam and cocktail chic meant one thing—assemble a mini glam squad!

Every glam squad needs a hair stylist… so I turned to “Glam God” Karli Harvey in Atlanta. She gave my super straight bob curls that I’ve never had before. When it came to makeup… I went to the Mac store where the artist paired a sultry eye with neutral lips.

Finally, What should I wear to my first event? A dress that’s haute (check)… once I ran the color choice by Style Strategist Tonya Seavers Evans, it was a tribute to gold metallic.

My girl Maureen Martin from Rock The Look helped me play with accessories like jewelry and wraps to finish off a polished look allowing a fun night in the city!

How do you achieve your glam look?

Haute Style Strategy: Rock the Jewel-Tones!

As the holiday season gets into full swing, I decided to forgo the traditional red and rock jewel tones. I’ve been working with style consultant on abandoning my black for colors that pop next to my complexion. She’s got me wearing all kinds of hues like purple, gold, navy and loving it!

She suggests that I always focus on shape and silhouette because once you get that down it’s easy to select figure flattering garments according to your body type. Since my body type is more hour glass… it’s important that I select great fitting garments with emphasis on a cinched waist. But it’s not easy working with curves! I’m always conscious as the style consultant suggests of the image and message that I’m conveying through fashion.

She suggests the following when selecting your HAUTE look:

-Understand your body type

-Blend out to create an effective image

-The power of color

Don’t be afraid to step out in color and embrace your curves… it’s all about body type not your size that keeps you looking HAUTE!

What are your style secrets?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Haute Hair: My Inner Grace Kelly

Beauty icon Princess Grace Kelly exuded glamour, style and elegance. So it’s no wonder why I’ve always been a fan and decided to channel my inner Kelly with a modern day version of her shoulder-length bob.
To start, you’ll need a simple, just below the shoulder bob that flatters you. In fact, the Kelly style suits most girls with round or long faces.

To get my version of the Princess Grace look… I washed my hair with a keratin shampoo and moisturizing conditioner like Global Keratin’s Juvexin.

I generally blow dry my hair out straight using a rounded brush, lifting from the base to add volume using Oscar Blandi’s Volumizing Spray at the root. It’s easier for me because I have a keratin treatment that protects against frizz and keeps my hair silky straight.

The next step, flat iron to smooth and use medium size rollers turning them under or pin curl your hair over night to get bouncing curls. When you’re satisfied with your curls simply brush your hair enough to style. I also part my hair on the left side just like Kelly.

To finish, I generally use Pureology’s Antifade complex to maintain the shine of my colored-treated hair.

Who is your favorite Hollywood icon?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth 2010

The Fifth Annual L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth program recognized ten extraordinary women on December 9th in New York City. All of the honorees are committed to making a beautiful difference in the lives of others. Each woman honored, through her example, made all of us proud.

L’Oreal Paris is making a $5,000 donation to the charitable cause of each 2010 Woman of Worth Honoree. The beauty brand is also making another $5,000 donation in the name of each honoree to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. In addition, one of the honorees, Taryn Davis, The American Widow Project also received a $25,000 donation to her cause thanks to a public online vote.

Throughout the evening, I was amazed and grateful for all of the women recognized for their courage and empathy for other people… motivating and inspiring all of us to find some way on our own to improve the world. This night really brought home the message that we’re all worth it and that’s why we were in that space on that day to support and honor each other.

I remember actress Viola Davis saying that there are two days in every person’s life that we remember the most… the day that we were born and the day we discover our purpose. I was also inspired by Actress and L’Oreal Spokesmodel Kerry Washington who said that she never dreamed of being a beauty spokesmodel, but she grew up in a home where she was told that anything is possible.

Again, it was an amazing night on the 44th floor of the Hearst Magazines offices with the New York City skyline right behind us.

To learn more visit http://womenofworth.com/home/home.aspx

Because you’re worth it… how will you make a difference in the world?

Appearing in the photos: Haute Travels Creator Marian Anderson with Karen T. Fondu, President L'Oreal Paris, Actress Viola Davis and Actress Kerry Washington

Slide Show http://www.slide.com/r/vl1JnxMc3j8EFjTzSjhR4o1P0gV9uYYg?fbr=1

Haute Arrival in the NYC!

If you’re a Haute Travels girl headed to New York City remember to travel in style… schedule car service! It’s actually about the same price compared to most taxi rides, but you’ll appreciate a town car compared to the yellow taxi. You’ll also enjoy a smoother, more comfortable ride as you pull up at your fabulous hotel or friends’ house for the weekend looking like you own the moment.

Coastal Car Service provided transportation for me to a recent event in New York City. The drivers were very friendly, efficient and professional. I loved the vehicles and I felt taken care of… I left the driving through the busy Manhattan city streets to them and simply sat back to enjoy the ride and bright lights of the big apple. When I arrived at my destination, I stepped out in Haute Travels style.

What’s your haute travel tip for New York City?

Haute Product to Defy The Aging Process

Let’s face it—we’re all aging! But we don’t want to look like it. And that’s why I’m loving Priori Age Defying Body Cream because it repairs, rebuilds and smooths the appearance of visible signs of aging. It’s formulated with antioxidants to protect and prevent future damage to the skin. It also protects the cell from oxidative stress, provides the environment for cells to repair themselves while leaving the skin firm and toned. But the best part, it offers amazing moisture for the skin. I think that I’ll add my complimentary sample to my travel tote!

Retail price $120.00

Which products are you using to defy the aging process

Haute Stuff for My Travel Bag!

If you’re looking for clean, smooth and even-toned skin try Ambi’s Essential Gentle Cleanser. As a woman of color, I understand the challenges of flawless skin. But I also look for products that are not harmful because I have sensitive skin. I love the Ambi Essential Gentle Cleanser because it deep cleans my skin without leaving it too dry. I often suffer from dry skin as a result of the weather change so I’m forever looking for a travel-ready product that will keep me glowing on the go!
Haute Tip: I also use Ambi Essentials Daily Moisturizer when I’m traveling to sunny haute spots… it comes with spf 15 protector.
What are you using on your face?

Karli Harvey’s Haute Hairstyles

When it comes to hair… there’s nobody in Atlanta like Karli Harvey, also known as “the Glam God!” This fashionista, stylist and all-around haute girl knew just what to do when I wanted ‘L’Oreal Paris Cocktail Party” hair. She took one look at my hair and decided to give me soft, sexy, bedroom curls with bounce!

Harvey isn’t a stranger to making women look haute… she’s been turning heads since she was a teen with her amazing hairstyles. She says that she loves helping women achieve a look that makes them feel “confident and beautiful.”

When I arrived at U Salon in Buckhead (with less than 24 hours before my L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Awards Dinner in New York City) Harvey went right to work. She started by washing and conditioning my hair that had fallen victim to changing seasons. Blow drying, curling and styling followed an intense conditioning leaving my hair fresh, shiny and full of body! Let’s just say once she handed me the mirror, I fell in love.

As Harvey would say, “Looking good is not a want but a necessity!” So true and so HAUTE!

To learn more contact Karli Harvey at U Salon (404) 814-1402

What’s your favorite hairstyle?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Haute Spot: Ceiba del Mar

Secretly tucked away near the small Puerto Morelos fishing village along the Gulf of Mexico is the charming resort, Ceiba del Mar, housed in the heart of the Mayan Riviera.
 On a recent trip to Mexico, I made my way to this secret paradise that’s quiet and unassuming and known only to insiders seeking a path to wellness. Set against a backdrop of the tranquil blue waters of the sea and the lush tropical jungle is a beautiful Holistic and Aromatherapy Spa that offers a refuge for those like me who seek to restore balance in their lives.

A short meditative walk with
flowing ponds along the path to the sea was the perfect complement to a beautiful spa retreat. The powdery white sands and warm waters from the sea offered a sort of “meeting of the minds” making way to a space that creates harmony, encourages creativity and self-improvement through ancient Mayan rituals… just think of a wellness-inspired cultural exchange.

A 90 minute massage was just the beginning in efforts to restore my mind and body to a pure and natural state free of toxins and impurities that invade our bodies over many years. My therapist used ten different essential oils customized specifically for me in preparation for the Balsamic Mayan Massage. The oils were slowly dropped long the vertebrae of my back like “tiny rain drops” before hot stones were used to help the oils penetrate the skin. The benefits of this relaxing massage were immediate—no stress or negative thoughts to invade my consciousness. When my session was over, my therapist signaled with a soft ringing of a bell to awaken my soul.

Upon returning to the spa, my path was filled with birds singing and gentle breezes with the warmth of the sun kissing my skin. Now that my mind was relaxed, it was time for a full-body detox like nothing you’ve ever heard of before. My therapist hooked me up to a machine that discovered things about my body and mind that I never knew. It found impurities and possible diseases waiting to strike. Little did I know that pesticides can live in the body for many as 30 years, I’m told. Once my therapist reviewed my report, I was asked to return for a footbath detox. The moment that my feet were immersed in the water my body began to eliminate fat from my liver and impurities from other organs. It was mind-blowing!

During this journey to relax, rejuvenate and repair my mind, body and soul, I felt cared for at Ceiba del Mar, which allowed me to surrender to the process. The rest of my stay included yoga on the beach and dining at the resorts amazing restaurants while the sun began to set. If you crave exclusivity and seclusion… this is the spot for you.

To learn more visit http://ceibadelmar.com/english/spa01.htm

Are you inspired by my story to plot your own path to wellness?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HAUTE Lashes for Instant Glam!

A little lash and flutter can transform your holiday look into instant glam. Remember the Hollywood starlets of the 1960’s? Lashes, hair, haute gowns—the girly girl look? Well, it’s back and now you can have the same dramatic effect with individual lash enhancements that make your lashes look thicker, fuller and longer in minutes. To pull off the “look,” it’s all about personality!

To get my haute look, I consulted Master Eyelash Stylist, Eryn Renee; she added individual lashes underneath my lash line creating instant “Wow!” It took less than an hour to apply, but the results are HAUTE. The lashes can last up to two weeks. But for best results avoid getting your lashes wet within the first 48 hours. 

Haute Tip: If the lash can touch your eyebrow, it’s too long.

Are you a lash girl?

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Haute Thoughts to Live By

I’m PASSIONATE about travel, writing, life, ART, design, my loves, my friends and family. I DREAM bigger because I don’t know how not to. PASSION makes me crazy but there really isn’t any other way for me to LIVE. I attract those into my life who are on the same path of fulfillment, passion, DESTINY and giving. My IMAGINATION is my greatest teacher. My VISION for my life pales in comparison to the one the universe has for me. I take risks because that’s how I GROW. I learn from my mentors, life and career coaches that I am more POWERFUL than I know. I pass on my lessons to others because it’s the price I pay for SUCCESS. I know that the people who INSPIRE and motivate me to take risks are really offering me a clue as to what my DESTINY has in store. I am a friend of COURAGE so that I can live my own TRUTH. I believe that FATE is taking me where I’m suppose to be. I’m the peace and comfort that someone else seeks. When he CHALLENGED me to do something ambitious… I never hesitated; I just started thinking. I live my life without limits because there’s no end to what my mind envisions for me. VISION is powerful that’s why my future looks so bright! My thoughts are filled with HAPPINESS, Excitement, JOY, Gratitude and LOVE! I am MANIFESTING my future by taking ACTION now. I focus on what I want because it EXPANDS, feeds and sustains me. This is the script for my life… what an amazing story!

What are thoughts that you live by?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Haute Kim Kardashian Lip by Eryn Renee!

The Kim Kardashian lip is the haute new way to pucker up. Kardashian reportedly wears Mac’s “Angel” and Nar’s “Turkish Delight” to achieve her pinky lips. When I wanted to achieve a similar lip, I consulted Atlanta-based celebrity makeup artist and esthetician Eryn Renee, known for her application of extreme and individual lashes.
 
Eryn Renee used various shades of nude with a medium brown lip liner to achieve my Kardashian-inspired lips. Focusing on a three-dimensional contrast, she applied Mac’s “Siss” as my base and “Myth” on the inside of the lip. To get this look, it took less than a minute.

She also added individual lashes to draw attention to a darker eye, but stopped short of giving me the Kardashian signature smoky eye… we’re saving that for another post.

Haute Tip: Use Two Faced Lip Insurance to keep the lipstick in place.

Do you love the Kim Kardashian nude lip?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our New Haute Spot!

Sometimes it’s good to break away with one of your great girlfriends just to chat, laugh and repeat! One of my favorite things to do is meet a friend for a brainstorm or “Mastermind” session as Monique puts it to talk about projects, passions or ideas. Since we’re both independent business women, we understand that your network impacts your “net worth.”  Therefore, we headed to a haute spot in Atlanta called Sip… The Experience, an urban lifestyle and coffee lounge in the Lindberg area. It’s fresh, fly and hip and just the place for a meetup or Haute Travels Blog Chat. So over a cup of designer coffee and caramel cake, we created the concept for a Haute Travels event! So stay tuned!
Where's your favorite haute spot to meetup with a friend?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The New BMW 5-Series is HAUTE!

There’s no doubt that BMW is the ultimate driving machine. I joined a select group of who’s who in Atlanta for a ride and drive event at the $12 million BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina courtesy of BMW and UpTown Magazine.

We hit the tracks in teams of two and tested each of the new offerings by BMW for 2011. The crowd favorite by far—the new 5 Series. The updated model is a little larger, but some would say smaller visually. The 3.0-liter twin power turbocharged 535i is not for the girls who like to steer but rather those who like to drive. The car offers smooth acceleration with the power to match.

After testing the new 535i on a series of obstacles courses where the rubber really meets the road… the BMW was nothing short of impressive. I will never drive my 5 series the same again. The handling, breaking and sheer power of the 535i is HAUTE! I was impressed and wanted to upgrade all at the same time.

The new 535i has an adequate amount of torque that takes on just about any road condition. The new 5-Series comes with two automatic transmissions, but an optional eight-speed and $500 sport automatic with paddle shifters is also available. You can also change gears with the six-speed manual shifter.

The new version also features an “updated drive and overhauled infotainment system,” along with driver aids like Park Assist… allowing you to parallel park with ease. The car looks great and easily recognized as the best sports sedan in its class when it comes to how it handles on the road. Again, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance!

For the girls who love to sit behind the wheel of a car that says, I’m all that…this one is for you.

The suggested retail price $49,600.00

What's your ultimate driving machine?

Paris is HAUTE!

What’s on my mind today—Paris! I find that I’m waking up everyday thinking about the City of Light. So that tells me one thing… it’s time to go back. But this time, I have something new in mind as I plan my next escape to a place that’s often felt like home. I’ve spent a great deal of time in the most fashionable and creative city on the planet over the years. Yes, it really is all that.
 
Now that I’ve adapted this global view of the world and how I fit into it, I’ve decided to host a group of fashionable, intelligent, travel-loving women who believe in giving back. So I’m planning a trip that will involve a fashion twist with a visit to local charities… along with social gatherings that bring together black designers, fashion photographers and other members of the Paris’ who’s who among professionals of color or not of color, just cool people… many happen to be my friends.

My wish for this exclusive, yet personal trip—that every girl gets to see Paris as I’ve seen it. A place that allows you to explore your creativity, talk about world events with people from other cultures and challenges you to do something that you’ve never done before. It’s also a place that will inspire you to take a risk and follow what’s in your heart. No matter how many times I visit Paris, I always come away with something even more amazing than before.

So I’ll spend the next few months planning this amazing experience with my friends so that it accomplishes all that I have in mind. And thanks to a friend from London who inspired me to do something ambitious.. by simply saying "I hope you do it!" But make no mistake, it will be HAUTE and Trés Chic!

Are you ready for Paris?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haute Topic! What's on My Mind?

When it comes to travel… it’s my thing. And with that comes the opportunity to visit various destinations, properties, restaurants and spas as a guest. Generally, I’m expected to capture a story and tell others about my experience. I write a lot and often I contribute articles without compensation because I love what I do.

When I decided to pick a spot for a girlfriends brunch story idea… I decided to reach out to Concentrics and highlight one of their restaurants in Virginia Highland. So I invited a group of professional women to join me at Murphy’s on Sunday. Little did we know that what could have been a great experience was about to become a rude awakening.

When I arrived at Murphy’s half the party was there and another woman ran late because of “mommy stuff.” But never-the-less we expected a great afternoon of networking and chatting about ways to support one another’s passions and businesses. During the course of our visit there were some things that the restaurant could have done better, improved upon. But I didn’t focus on that… so I thanked Concentrics for inviting me in to sample the brunch.

To my surprise, I received an email from Concentrics accusing the group of not leaving a tip, staying too long and being late. I was not happy about it… so I called them on it. Ironically, the email didn’t mention the long wait to get our order placed, the dish coming out with a raw egg that I made clear I cannot eat or the fact that one of the girls was overcharged by $55 and called to inquire about it, but received a less than professional response from a manager.

Not only was the information wrong about arrival, tipping and length of stay without taking into account our wait, but it was the way they delivered the information. There was no courtesy call to get our side of the story and no sensitivity to an email that “plays into stereotypes about black women” because you accused us of not tipping even though it’s optional. Perhaps, I shouldn’t expect someone who isn’t a woman of color to get that… but there’s always hope.

It’s unfortunate that in 2010, we still have issues that arise out of stereotypes that cause hurt and bring insults when it could have been avoided by simply picking up the phone and talking to me or us. Now, after the fact, the head of the company wants to talk. As my followers, you tell me what we should talk about?

I appreciate the women who were not at Murphy’s, but understand that when you judge one group of black women—you judge us all. And I am so happy to have a network of girlfriends who support me… even if they were not there. We all have shared experiences that remind us of who others think we are without getting the facts straight; we understand the pain that it causes.

Therefore, until I receive a complete and sincere apology, I will not return to another Concentrics restaurant. I ask that those of you who feel the same way… share your story and refrain from patronizing businesses that stir this kind of raw emotion without putting forth an effort to make it right. Concentrics and Murphy’s have an opportunity to show us that we matter, that we are welcome to enjoy a pleasant experience and walk away with a good taste in our mouths instead of something sour.

I’m not the kind of writer who just goes along to get a meal, but rather one with conviction, courage and passion. I’m just one writer with one voice, but collectively we can make a difference.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Haute Couture Handmade Hats

French Hat Maker Lou Mistraou creates couture hats made by hand in Provence, France for the girls who understand how to wear—haute headgear. He could be the last of the “most prestigious” hat makers in the region dating back five generations in the area of La Rochelle. Therefore, to acquire a Mistraou was a dream come true for me.

Stepping out on a whim, Mistraou created a hat that would battle the violent icy air that often comes with extremely cold winter months like those in Provence. He created “the Mistral,” a hat much like the people in Provence, “whimsical and impetuous.” Thus was born Lou Mistraou, named after the wind that has inspired it. Mistraou says, “The mistral cultivates paradoxes, but one thing is for sure, when the wind starts blowing, you better protect yourself!”

As a woman who travels the globe, I understand the need to stay warm and fashionable at the same time during extremely cold winters like those in the Midwest. I absolutely love the vibrancy of my Mistral… it may not be for the Atlanta scene, but it’s going to be a hit in Paris, Chicago and London!

The unprecedented design is high on fashion and quality offering detail that only comes with the knowledge of assembling each hand selected piece.

Perhaps the best part about wearing this hat—the way it makes you feel! “Sometimes described as a scourge, it is also praised because it sweeps away the clouds and brings back the sun.”

To learn more visit http://www.loumistraou.com/shop/

Can you rock the Mistral hat?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Haute Hair Transformation

Fall has officially arrived and there’s no time like the present for a beauty transformation. I decided to make my dark chestnut colored hair pop with color. So I headed to William David Salon in Buckhead and put my tresses in the hands of Celebrity Hair Stylist and Owner Bill Murphy. Yes, that Bill Murphy! He’s worked with some of the most beautiful women in the world from Victoria’s Secret fashion show super models to celebrities from every corner of the globe.

When I arrived at the salon, Murphy and his team spent a lot of time examining my hair, lifestyle and personality. After making a few suggestions, we agreed on tobacco colored hair with a splash of red and copper low lights.
 
Murphy introduced me to the Italian product line called Davines. I was pleasantly surprised at the rich color options and absolutely loved the outcome following a wash and deep conditioning. The product is amazing and my hair even smelled as good as it looked.
 
Murphy is also a master at the “zigzag” highlights, after all he created it! He doesn’t just brush the color onto the hair in a straight line, but rather he blends it onto the strands so that it flows throughout with incredible movement and shine. My hair has never looked better.
Once my color was applied, I was whisked to the style room where Zeno flatten it out… and thanks to a keratin boost, my hair was frizz-free. I opted for a long bang and fullness rather than super straight hair. The end-result—healthy, shiny hair with lots of body!
 But that wasn’t all… Eryn Renee added individual lashes to make my eyes come alive along with a brow threading and makeup. As they say” beauty is how you feel inside and out—reflected in your eyes.”

I absolutely love the team at William David Salon… they made my complimentary transformation into fall HAUTE!

Are you ready for a fall transformation?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Haute New Fashion Café at Zurich Airport

The Zurich Airport has a newly opened Fashion Café Bar that’s so “En Vogue!” Fashionistas traveling globally can enjoy coffee and snacks while flying through Switzerland. “Trendy, classic and sexy are just a few words that describe this haute spot located in the center of the airport’s shopping zone. The stylish new concept is a hit with visitors who are bored with the same old thing after all style is so important even down to the food that we eat. You simply must stop in to sample the canapé for an around the clock treat and first class service. You can also start your jet-setting day with homemade cream cheese and petit sandwiches or a blue berry muffin along with specialty coffees offering a robust blend right before takeoff!

What do you think of the Fashion Café?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Become a HAUTE Travels Girl and Meet Good Black MEN!

Think about vacationing on some exotic beach and Mr. Wonderful walks into your life. It can happen because it’s happen to me while traveling to some of the world’s haute spots. I hear women say all the time that they can’t find a good black man. Well, that’s a myth. Ironically, as much as I’m out and about in the city, I rarely meet men that capture my attention. But once I grab my passport, toss my carryon over my shoulder and head to some place far away from home—something happens.

Being a single girl in the city has its pros and cons… you’re on 24/7. No matter where you go it’s like being on display… think hair, nails, and wardrobe. Now, living in Atlanta has an entirely different spin… everybody needs a publicist, makeup artist and stylist! No, you don’t have to be a celebrity here to have a glam squad; you just have to think that you’re someone famous. But what really gets my girls from Chicago and New York laughing is the fact that these southern beauties announce members of their beauty team in public. In other parts of the world, that’s always kept a secret!
 
So once I land in some sizzling haute spot with my sun-kissed skin, refreshing personality and smile, “something happens.” I shed the glam side and keep it natural. As a result, black men notice me; they approach me, talk to me and want to get to know a little more about the American girl that’s sitting poolside with an air of confidence and a little bit of mystery to go along with her tropical drink. Sure, they notice my other assets after all a Haute Travels girl has learned to embrace her curves… I’m lovin them! And we all know that no matter where you meet black men, they love the versatility and uniqueness of our ample thighs, round bottoms and full lips, especially the bottom lip. I hear when you poke it out; it’s a sign of confidence. But you didn’t hear that from me.


When you follow your passion—the universe lines up in complete agreement and you open your heart and mind to something new  allowing amazing things and people to come into your life. I can tell you from personal experience that this can happen. Remember the law of attraction? You get back what you put out… it’s never been more true.

By now you’re wondering what are my secrets… it’s simple. I just focus on being authentic, pleasant and drama-free. I‘m not looking for anything or anyone, I’m just living my passion and truth. I’ve come to learn that men like women who are independent, but who allow them to do the chasing. They like happy, active women because that’s attractive to them.

You should also have a set of standards that smart, mature women live by. Don’t compromise integrity because men will test you just to see if you’re “that girl.” Focus on being the best person that you can be whether single or not and love and friendship will find you no matter where you are in the world.

Have you met someone special while traveling?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dreamgirls is HAUTE!

The hit musical Dreamgirls comes alive on stage at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. The story line is much the same as we’ve seen on Broadway and the big screen so no surprises there, but the talent in this young cast is amazing. Former American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado, plays “Deena Jones” and delivers a good performance, but it’s the unforgettable Moya Angela who plays “Effie White” that brings the crowd to its feet when she sings “that” song made famous by Jennifer Holiday and helped deliver an Academy Award to Jennifer Hudson for her performance in the movie Dreamgirls!

The story begins at the famed Apollo Theatre in New York City in the 1960's when the girls leave their hometown of Chicago for the “concrete jungle” where their big dreams inspire them to take a risk! But their luck was just beginning when they meet the self-serving, underhanded and wicked “Curtis Taylor” played by Chaz Lamar Shepherd who takes them from an unknown group to Jimmy Early backup singers before letting them shine on their own to become international superstars. “All you have to do is dream” as the title song suggests offers the audience an amazing odyssey inspired by music and travel throughout the musical taking these Midwest girls to Paris and beyond.

As with any girl group, there was a little fighting going on amidst the gorgeous gowns, wigs, love affairs and egos. But by the end of the story, the girls make their way around the world only to return home to find that life isn’t always about fame and fortune but how you treat people along the way. Each of the girls start a journey of self-discovery and begin “Changing” from girls who just wanted to sing to powerful women taking control of their lives... becoming better than they were, while staring in the second act of life. In the end, the power of friendship leads them back to what really matters… as they say “there’s no place like home” and the love of true friends to help you get there.

I love the Dreamgirls story and found this musical to be both entertaining and surprisingly funny. Actors Chestor Gregory (James “Thunder” Early) and Adrienne Warren (Lorrell Robinson) also gave the crowd something to clap about with memorable lines and soul-stirring performances. This is definitely one to check out before its limited engagement in the ATL is over. The show runs through October 17th, 2010 in Atlanta but may come to a town near you as part of a national tour so check your local listings.

A line from one of my favorite songs from Dreamgirls
“Every man has his own special dream and that dream is just about to come true… life’s not as bad as it may seem if you open your eyes to what’s in front of you. All you got to do is DREAM!”

What do you dream about?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pampered in Paris is HAUTE!

Beauty rituals to the French are like yoga classes to American girls. Recently, I was sent a cute little book, Pampered in Paris, A Guide to The Best Spas, Salons and Beauty Boutiques in Paris by Kim Levesque from The Little Bookroom. As I thumb through this little pocket guide, the beauty of Paris comes alive with each stunning photo. When I came upon page 128, a smile crossed my face because I remember my afternoon of spa rituals at Spa Cinq Mondes housed in the posh square de L’Opera-Louis-Jouvet in the 9th arr. My day began with a beautiful Japanese bath in a wooden tub with rose petals dropped at my feet followed by a French facial.

If you’re thinking about getting pampered in Paris pick up this little book for the best of the best. It profiles fifty of the most exquisite spas and salons in the City of Light. Levesque also offers her tips on the best treatments along with a glossary of useful terms. You’ll also learn what to expect when visiting these French glam spots. Just think nail salons are all over the U.S. but in Paris, good luck finding one. The French girls know that you must make appointments because walk-ins, well that’s so American. Madam understands being “lathered and creamed, exfoliated and scrubbed to an inch of her life” is what life is all about in France.

“Pampered in Paris: A Guide to the Best Spas, Salons and Beauty Books” (The Little Bookroom, New York; available for $16.95 at littlebookroom.com)

Are you ready to be pampered in Paris?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Haute Stuff! The Friendship Stone

There are people who enter your life that you may never have seen coming. But yet, there’s something special about them and you realize in an instant that your life will never be the same because your paths crossed.

Nothing in life is certain… therefore, I believe in nurturing relationships that matter to me. So when I came across the friendship stone, I was intrigued. It’s a gift that, like the bond of friendship, is never-ending. Each stone is unique, the perfect gift of gratitude and appreciation.
 
The stone allows you to connect by giving it to a special friend… connecting the power of two. Perhaps, it’s the gesture of giving this one-of-a-kind gem to someone else that makes it so powerful.

The journey of the Friendship Stone starts when one of the rocks begins an unexpected odyssey of friendship and giving. The stone is intended to spread goodwill and the power of positive thinking. Just the simple act of friendship has the power to touch many lives.

I was given two stones as a gift and I’ll pass one of them onto a friend who inspires me to dream bigger. I hope that when my friend looks at that stone it will provide a level of comfort that would come from me if only I were there… offering a friendship promise that makes one’s heart smile.

A Note About Giving Back: 10% of the sales from the Friendship Stone go back to the villages in South Africa where the stones are sourced to help the people improve their lives.

To learn more about The Friendship Stone visit http://www.thefriendshipstone.com/

Do you have a keepsake that makes your heart smile?

Smartwater Unveils HAUTE New Bottle

Smartwater unveils their haute new glass bottle to the ATL. I was invited to their Atlanta launch party last month… it was simply chic—rooftop setting at Ventanas with a skyline view of our HAUTE southern city.

Hot Atlantans from fashion designers, magazine publishers to Haute Travels girls were on hand to celebrate Smartwater’s glass bottle debut. The new bottle is so chic and smart; it really does take premium water to another level. However, I couldn’t help but wonder in addition to Jennifer Aniston as a spokesmodel, why not add a HAUTE African American or that sexy British guy to the list? Just think somebody tall, dark and handsome with global appeal... who asks, "Do you believe in love at first sip?"

During the event, guests enjoyed cocktails, hors d'oeuvres & a special performance by Alpha Rev… along with a little cotton candy. But one of the event highlights, a painter who created a beautiful image of the new glass bottle—So HAUTE!

The zero-calorie, vapor-distilled water is packed with electrolytes and offers a crisp taste. Smartwater reportedly is the all-time favorite among Americans when it comes to premium bottled water in this country.

What do you think of Smartwater’s new glass bottle?

"Masterchef " Finalist Tracy Nailor's Haute Dishes

You may know Tracy Nailor as a finalist from Fox TV’s “Masterchef” with Gordon Ramsay. Nailor, a Pediatrician and Atlanta resident is not only a great cook, but she’s so much fun! Last night, my good friend Monique and I were invited by the Concentrics Restaurants group to dinner at the posh, Midtown haute spot Room at Twelve for a sample of Nailor’s creative dishes. We started off with crab cakes before moving onto the smothered chicken over rice. You can say it’s home-style comfort food that makes you want hug your plate.

During dinner, Nailor gave a cooking demo on how to make her Caramelized Banana Napoleon. It was pretty tasty, particularly if you like a modern twist on banana pudding. She’s full of terrific recipes that make you remember your southern roots... so when Monique and I show up for Thanksgiving dinner, she shouldn’t be surprised! You can find Nailor’s recipes and others in the Masterchef Season 1 cookbook!

What’s your favorite comfort food dish?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sugarcoat Nails it with HAUTE Escape to Fiji Pedicure

My nails were in need of a mini vacation so I headed over to Sugarcoat in Buckhead. Upon check-in, I parked my toes at a pedicure station and my nail tech Rhonda started the boarding call for my escape to Fiji pedicure! My travel weary feet soaked in a soothing coconut foot bath, while she began to shape and file my nails. An intoxicating foot massage followed along with warm stones placed between my toes. Soon my perfectly pampered toes were glowing with a haute pink nail color by OPI.

This beauty bar is a cute HAUTE spot for a girlfriend meetup or an hour of sweet relief.

To learn more visit http://www.sugarcoatbeauty.com/

What makes a great nail bar?

Haute Stuff! Stephanie Johnson Travel Bags

My good friend Patti Davis turned me onto Stephanie Johnson’s travel bags and accessories… it’s a West Coast celebrity obsession kind of thing. But the girls are also rocking them in the NYC. And now, it’s girls like me in the ATL who’ll work the bags and accessories into our HAUTE TRAVELS world!

Johnson’s collection of travel accessories range from makeup bags, totes and jewelry pouches ideal for brushes, lip gloss, compacts, hair accessories and your gems. She’s thought of everything in her collections that resonate with your resident Travelistas who want to stay organized on-the-go and fashionable at the same time.
I found the collections interesting because of the way Johnson plays on travel as a lifestyle. The collections are named after some of the hottest destinations in the world, like Vegas, Shanghai, Madrid and my fave Monte Carlo!

There’s something for everybody’s taste and alter ego… just think when I’m feeling jet-set and thinking about the South of France, I’ll pull out my complimentary Monte Carlo Susan Jewelry Roll case and pair it with my Gidget Compact Brush Case that fits into my carryon or city tote. The sparkling gold accents add a bit of excitement to my day and keep me on point. Some compartments even pop out allowing you to carry on its own or in a smaller handbag. It’s SO HAUTE!

To learn more visit http://www.stephaniejohnson.com/

Don’t you love a great travel bag and accessories?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Haute Jewelry Designer John Wind Inspired by Fashion and Travel

Passion for Jewelry Designer and Founder of Maximal Art John Wind is like the melody to a perfect love song. His handmade pieces are a unique mix of vintage and modern, but yet there’s something endearing about them that tells a story of a period reflecting “soul, personality and narrative.” Acquiring his jewelry is like uncovering a past relationship that one never knew existed. “I like that fact that you’re adopting an instant ancestor,” says Wind.

It appears his artwork was more organic than planned but never-the-less, it became an obsession. “I won a scholarship to the Slade School of Art in London. It was in the early 80’s and I got swept up in the club world. It was all about fashion, to the point of costume, (think Culture Club and The Thompson Twins), and making crazy flea-market jewelry assemblages to wear was just part of the deal,” explains Wind.

But it wasn’t until he met another jewelry designer, Andrew Logan, in London that his foray into jewelry making was born. “Logan really inspired me with giant brooches made of broken mirror bits and brooches set into some kind of putty,” says Wind. “As an art student, I really thought of my brooches as little sculptures.”

Over the years, the line has evolved to include a variety of accessories. “Brooches have given way to earrings, then necklaces, bracelets and charms,” he adds. But just where does he get his inspiration? “We listen to our customers and stay aware of fashion trends.”

Wind’s relationship with his jewelry is personal, protective, but profound. However, the woman who wears his art is described as independent and fun. “She likes to accessorize, loves vintage jewelry but is still a modern woman.”

Just when you thought that you knew what inspired Wind, he offers another twist. “Travel has everything to do with my creative expression. I am so inspired by the “Grand Tours” of the past, where gentlemen brought home souvenirs from Ancient Rome or Egypt. My designs are almost an homage to or souvenir of a place. My all-time favorites are London, Paris and Palm Beach,” exclaims Wind.

Fans of the line can expect more charms and silver-toned collections that will surely turn up in the private boudoir of the girl with a style that’s all her own.

The Maximal Art collection can be found in more than 1,000 stores worldwide. To learn more visit http://maximalart.com/index.shtml

Don't you love it when jewelry speaks to you?

Disclaimer: I received two necklaces as samples from John Wind's Maximal Art Collection.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Passion is HAUTE!

I absolutely love photography; it means “writing with light.” This photo captures the essence of who I am… I love it! It’s always interesting to me to learn a little about what a photographer sees when he or she captures your image. In this photo, I was completely natural, no makeup, sweating in the Curacao heat, all flaws exposed and my hair was a mess. But somehow my photographer captured something more. He saw something different as reflected in this shot. He said the light was hitting me well and became inspired by the idea of capturing his vision. Nothing here was rehearsed it was spur of the moment which generally reveals those raw moments that are haute. In my opinion, it’s the way that you capture life. There’s nothing more intoxicating.

What do you think about this shot by my celebrity photographer?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fashion Designer Mychael Knight's Haute New Dress!

Atlanta-based Fashion Designer Mychael Knight debuts Two², his haute new signature dress that can be worn four ways! I love designers who think about the everyday woman and her needs. After all, we can’t work an avant-garde look every day.

The former Bravo TV Project Runway standout and finalist from season three has always had a knack for understanding his clients’ needs. But this year, he decided to stitch something new. Knight wanted to experiment a little more. He admits that he needed a little “couture” cleansing allowing him to start fresh by stepping away from the Project Runway image with a blank slate.

“For four years, I’ve been thinking about a cool duality that’s chic and sophisticated,” explains Knight. So he designed a dress that allows for multiple fashion options. It’s Knight’s mark on the fashion world just like the wrap dress for Designer Diane von Furstenberg.

The Two² dress takes you from day to night… even to the pool. It comes in three color options, black/white, black/nude, black/red in sizes small to extra large in an easy jersey, lycra fabric. “There’s nothing more inspiring than designing around shapes and curves”, adds Knight. “I want women to be able to live in my clothes.”

Think about this… you’re a jet-setter; you arrive in Miami wearing the black and white dress. You dash off to lunch in your little white dress with the zipper in the back. Afterwards, it’s time for a little poolside relaxation, so you turn the dress to the front and unzip it with your swimsuit underneath. It’s now your cover-up. When it’s time to paint the town… switch it to basic black, change the neckline, flip it so now the zipper is in the back and add your bling! “I like to design for women who like to live life because they have their own vibe and movement.”

I predict fashionistas will quickly grab Knight’s new “It” dress because it’s travel-ready… one dress, four options for 24-hour HAUTEness!

Two² can be purchased online at www.mychaelknight.com for just $79.99!

Do you like dual function clothes?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mocha Moon Introduces Haute Travel Bags!

A haute travel tote and makeup case by Mocha Moon makes travel easier. The croc embossed mocha colored Lori tote and Perez organizer with removable pouches is lightweight and holds all of your beauty essentials. It’s a chic alternative to the boring plastic sandwich bags that most people use to carry their makeup. Creator Lori Louis designed the functional travel bags to meet the needs of today’s travelista! “Our goal is to help you feel organized and empowered.”

I love the rich mocha color set that I won at a drawing on Sunday! And I can’t wait to put the bag to my travel test when I head back to Mexico for a yoga retreat at Ceibe del Mar in November. The bags also come in other colors so you can purchase one for all of your travel seasons!

To learn more about Mocha Moon visit http://www.mochamoon.com/

What do you think about Mocha Moon?
 
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