Epicure, Insider's ObsessionsCozy in a Cup

One of the sweetest and most romantic gifts my husband has ever gotten me is a luxurious tea pot and loose tea he ordered by calling a Paris boutique. This was just after we had to cancel our babymoon to Paris because of high-risk issues, so I was crushed and missing our last romantic getaway. I was so surprised and in tears when I opened the gift (could’ve been the hormones!), and still think of that time when I use my teapot. During this month of love, I still treasure French tea as a perfect gift, as it brings a moment of calm amidst a busy day laced with a bit of luxury. I have always adored Palais des Thés teas for their exquisite fine leaves and unique curated blends. Their green teas are particularly flavorful yet delicate, each blend with its own personality. Near to my heart is Fleur de Geisha, a refined green tea flavored by cherry blossoms inspired by the Japanese Hanami tradition of cherry blossom viewing. It captures the hope of spring in a cozy cup as we wait for temperatures to rise. Although I prefer the pure tea, a teaspoon of honey turns this into a treat and soothes the throat when needed like no other.

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FoodIn a Nutshell

The tastiest way I know to be healthy and still feel like you’ve eaten a treat is to enjoy a Nutshell bar. Instead of mass-produced conglomerations of strange-sounding ingredients, these organic, vegan, and gluten-free bars delight the tastebuds. I feel energized and healthy after partaking and my conscience is clear, knowing I’m feeding my body great fuel. You can actually taste that the bars have been freshly made, akin to baked goods you’d pick up at a local bakery or farmers’ market. With lovingly crafted flavors like Dark Chocolate Cranberry, Peanut Butter & Banana and Java, it’s hard to make a decision in the morning. Luckily, it’s impossible to go wrong and new combinations are being carefully developed for the future (a little bird mentioned Turmeric & Mango…). The founder of this boutique company has a background in nature and is fueled by a passion for beautiful flavor while maintaining high levels of nutrition for activity. If you’re reading from New York, Connecticut, Jersey, or North Carolina, you may be lucky enough to find these at your neighborhood joint. For the rest of the country, boxes of 6 or 12 are available to ship and are good for six weeks (I’d recommend storing in the fridge until they’re ready to be devoured). Even the packaging is compostable to be environmentally conscious. Happy munching!

Beauty, MakeupTalika Eyebrows

Full, luscious eyebrows are all the rage right now from the runway to instagram. I love Cara Delevigne’s bold brows which define her look and increase her fierceness, if that’s possible. Even if overtweezing or aggressive waxing is a part of your eyebrow history as it is mine, there’s hope in Talika’s Eyebrow Lipsocils Ink. The multi-talented brow application works as a pigmented filler as well as an eyebrow growth serum and regenerating treatment. The tip is perfectly designed for precision with a fine bevel which I use to feather out from my main brow line. It does show up pretty dark, so I suggest conservative experimentation the first couple times. Over the course of about a month, my brows are healthier and fuller, all with just applying a daily dose of filler which I would do anyway!

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Beauty, MakeupAntonym Organic Beauty

From organic food to natural skin care, it can be overwhelming trying to find healthy but effective products. It seems we can’t even drink water nowadays without pondering alkalinity, reverse osmosis, and source! I’m on an ongoing quest to curate high-performance cosmetics that don’t compromise pigmentation and staying power but are friendly to skin and health. Antonym is a brand known for runway-worthy color collections while using quality organic ingredients formulated without animal testing. It’s eco-friendly with fabulous bamboo packaging, which makes toting my favorite quad eyeshadows light and easy. Some of my favorite style icons, Kate Mara, Ashley Green and Keira Knightely have worn Antonym for red carpet looks. The blendable color combinations of the quads are versatile enough to work on variable skin tones. I happen to love To the Moon and Black for a dramatic sizzling eye, so perfect for a night at a newly opened restaurant. While the colors brought me out of my comfort zone a bit, they were easy to manipulate and apply and the intensity stayed fresh through post-prandial drinks too!

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BeautyNew Year, New Line

Perhaps the best kept beauty secret of 2018 so far is Elcie, a luxurious and comprehensive line of makeup by talented makeup artist Lilit Caradanian. I’m sharing a few of my favorites from the collection which have had the greatest impact on my daily routine and are a delight to use!

My favorite product from the line is the Hydra Enhancer, an alkaline facial mist which elegantly captures the heavenly scent of Jasmine. I love keeping it at my desk as a quick spritz will liven up and restore moisture to my skin, while refreshing my senses. This moisture blast is particularly important to battle the effects of the extremely dry air that indoor heating produces. The Hydra Enhancer is also perfect under makeup and periodically in order to help makeup set and stay put. Antioxidants fight free radicals to slow aging, and anti-bacterial properties keep blemishes at bay. The mist absorbs quickly and feels feather-light. My little secret of this enhancer has also served me well: after an evening including a few cocktails, I spritz generously just before falling into slumber and then immediately after waking to restore moisture and nutrients to skin, and it looks like I got ten hours of sleep!

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Beauty, MakeupDior Addict Lip Glow

This new year feels… slightly frigid, but full of hope for longer days, new beginnings, and a fresh outlook. Dior Addict Lip Glow is a sheer, lightly pigmented line which gives lips a healthy fresh sheen and a hint of color. I’m in love with the concept of showing natural beauty by highlighting rather than covering. Protection and nourishment should be at the heart of makeup, as it’s only as good as what’s underneath! I apply a couple coats of the lip glow which glides on like butter. Lips are instantly moisturized and take on a uniform pink tint which looks polished and healthy. Although the lip glow hints at spring, it’s particularly soothing right now with the bitter wind chapping lips like no other. Three finishes are available depending on what look you’re going for: dewy, holographic, and matte. The Holographic finish is new to the line, which has a subtle iridescent finish to enhance lips, and for me it has an optical plumping effect as well. The new Matte is still very comfortable but with a more velvety look. My favorite color is the divine lilac, which shows up as a subtle tone which isn’t too pink on my naturally rosy lips. I really appreciate the long-lasting effects of the glow, as I’m always on the go and don’t have time to reapply every few minutes.

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Gift Guides, Insider's ObsessionsDinosaurs Rule!

If you’re looking for the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for the person who’s impossible to buy for, allow me to share with you my latest obsession. Sill Life, a boutique company created by Holley Simmons based in DC, offers creative bespoke terrariums ready to beautify any space. My favorites are the gilded dinosaurs which are fun and fabulous, each one with its own quirks and carrying a cactus on its back. My pet golden boy T-Rex is ferociously guarding the tree and gifts, and he is fun as a conversation starter and centerpiece. The dinosaur itself is made of sturdy but slightly flexible material, so it won’t break into a million pieces if little paws get ahold of him. I also particularly appreciate that the cacti are living organisms but don’t need a lot of attention. The dinosaurs now ship nationwide and are ready to go! TDO had a virtual sit down with the cool and creative force behind these creations to ask some burning questions and glean some inside info, so read on.

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Mom & KidsStocking Goodies

The French-based children’s studios OMY and nailmatic’s new releases are so much fun, especially when there’s a little extra magic in the air for kids this time of year. I happen to love stocking stuffers, because of the sheer joy little packages can bring. For a real treat for a first-time manicure, nailmatic co-designed with OMY to deliver a line of whimsical and festive polishes for kids, which wash off with just soap and water! The water-based nail polishes are especially formulated for children. None of the harsh chemicals appear in these peppy bottles, so mom can breathe easier! My daughter has endless fun doing manicures and showing off her nails to anyone who will look, and I love that the polishes are non-staining and safe. READ MORE

HairHair Edit: Leonor Greyl

One of my funniest memories from grade school is fighting my hair in the mornings, trying to get it to stand down with water, hairspray, or even scissors! Many years and bottles of product later, I’ve learned to tame it with a hairdryer and some choice treatments. But every winter, my hair keeps me on my toes as it seems to just know that I need it looking its best for holiday parties. With the brittleness of the cold air and static causing hair to lift off, I found that using Leonor Greyl’s Masque Fleurs de Jasmin refines and conditions without weighing it down with tacky residue. Post-conditioning, I have a healthy shine and silky hair which is easily brushed (aka less breakage) and styled. I love the smell as the Jasmine fills the steamy shower, turning it into a spa treatment at home. The masque is applied to towel-dried hair and left for 10-15 minutes. I actually use a shower cap after the masque is applied, stay in the shower, and do a thorough body scrub and shave so I’m ready to go by the time the treatment is done. A quick rinse, and hair retains nourishing ingredients like Acacia collage, amino acids and vetegal oils. Et voila, my hair is ready to party!

Gift GuidesSkin Miracles from Eve Lom

I always love getting a jumpstart on the holidays so I can avoid the stress of last-minute gifts and actually enjoy family and food! We’ve scoured all the eye-catching beauty offerings this season, and I’m obsessed with Eve Lom’s Restorative Moisture Ritual which packages up healthy and beautiful skin in a festive box. Full size products are included to really give skin a chance to respond and benefit from a consistent regimen. This is the perfect luxe gift for the one who deserves some pampering with truly skin-changing products. My skin is a happy testament to the wonders of Eve Lom’s moisture ritual, as I’ve found myself absentmindedly touching my face and startled back to reality with newfound firm and youthful skin!

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