Attention: Summer Bride Must Have!

The days leading up to the big day can cause stress to the delicate area under your eyes. You’re finalizing arrangements, checking over the guests RSVP’s, and forever looking for that “one last thing”. Skyn Iceland has created firming and cooling pads to firm, depuff, and tone under your eyes. They are the perfect pre makeup treatment and they work in just 10 minutes!

I was able to try these eye gels out for myself; and yes you should too! The Summer Bride would be hard pressed to find a product that works as efficiently as Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels for a quick “pick me up”.  Hydrolized elastin restores tone and firms while ginkgo biloba extract help improve bloodflow and reduce puffiness. You can feel these pads working as you’re wearing them.

They come in a package of eight so you may want to make use of them during those final weeks before the big day. And though he won’t admit it, your groom will love them too!

For even better results use the eye gels during the week before the big day and follow up with the Icelandic Relief Eye Cream. It gives you a continuous cooling feeling while keeping up the fight against puffiness. I will be keeping the pair handy!

 

Checkout http://www.SkynIceland.com for more information.

 

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World Bride Reviews: Christine Valmy Salon and Ms Lora Jackson

Spa getaways have become the new fad for bridal parties and groomsmen alike over the past decade. For many, it’s the stress of planning a wedding that makes them so necessary. Nothing erases worry and makes us feel more pampered, more pristine and more prepared to take on the big day than a spa treatment. Across the country, health retreats and salons have sprouted up to accommodate parties both large and small.

For the brides who don’t have the time to leave the city and do a spa getaway until after the honeymoon, I’ve done a bit of investigating for you. If you’re still searching for a unique way to reward yourself, your bridal party of your fiancé, you should consider the Christine Valmy School. Last week, the lovely Lora Jackson was kind enough to show me around the facility and showcase the wonderful services offered there.

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The trailblazing esthetician school, located downtown on 5th Avenue, offers a wide variety of services, from hydrating facials to anti-age treatments and a variety of skin treatments. It was the first of its kind in the United States and also the first to produce a line of natural, biogenic skincare essentials that treat skin with natural plant extracts, formulated perfectly for various skin types, tones and troubles. While I received a hydrating facial, which I would totally recommend, the estheticians here also offer anti-aging treatments, massages, makeup application and nail services.

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20140821_124848Like the other talented students, Ms Jackson, at the top of her class, lives by the motto “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” She loves “watching the skin come alive” and her technique, thanks to the hands-on approach of the school, has prepared her well to offer up her services upon graduation. Look out for her in the next few months, when she will be traveling and offering her services to groups or individuals ranging in character from facials to waxing, nails and makeup.

The school is able to accommodate your entire party in their studio. When scheduling your individual or bridal appointment, Ms Jackson suggests reserving an evening slot, where you can receive your service in the glow of the Empire State Building and New York’s beautiful skyline.

A quick aside— I’d also suggest picking up a few products to go in case you need a last minute touch up before the ceremony. Grab the exclusive products such as Lotion X, unique to Christine Valmy, that helps fight breakouts and releases toxins. My favorite was the Pore Soothing Mask, which was very relaxing and cooling, and would be perfect with a glass of wine or champagne.

Mothers of Style: Inspiration From the Emmys Red Carpet

From the huge sweep of Breaking Bad to the heart wrenching Robin Williams tribute, the Emmys were full of beautiful moments. While the show is great for TV aficionados, it is also perfect for fashion spotting. If you haven’t already, be sure to scan all the fabulous photos of the stars and their stunning couture.

Of course with bridal fashion on the mind, I was taken by how many dresses were perfect for the Mother of the Bride. Depending on the bride’s length of leash, there are a number of beautiful outfits to fit the day that can exemplify your style as well. Where better than to find inspiration for your MOB or MOG dress than on a red carpet?

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All the Red: From coral and crayon, firehouse red, shades of ruby took the stage
Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji // Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Carolina Herrera

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Old Hollywood: Also a popular trend on the runway, and easily convertible to wedding day fashion

Katherine Heigl in John Hayles // Kierman Shipka in Antonio Berardi

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Bright Lights: Bold hues, depending on the bride’s cue
Kerry Washington in Prada  // Kate Walsh in Stephane Rolland

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Whites: Matching the bride has become more popular in recent years

Angela Bassett in Elisabetta Franchi // Lucy Liu in Zac Posen

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Keeping it Classic: Navy has been the color of choice for MOB/G’s for years

Natasha Lyonne in Opening Ceremony // Viola Davis in Escada

G.E.A.R up for a Groom’s Grooming Lesson

HIS Model-3

 

“Hair, teeth, hands, and feet,” was his response, “that’s all I have to work with!” The question: What is in that little bag you have in the bathroom?

That bag contained a hairbrush, a toothbrush, tweezers, and a straight razor. To my surprise it also contained nail clippers and a nail file. “Have you ever received a manicure?”  “No.” Needless to say, this man was happy that his girlfriend became a manicurist.

Since becoming a manicurist I have given many men their first “manEcure” and pedicure. Surprisingly, all of them seemed amazed at how much they enjoy the service, the improvement of their hands and feet, and the desire to make the services part of their regular maintenance. A gentleman’s manicure and pedicure makes a man feel good. Men don’t have to only enjoy a haircut and shave anymore. Even if they like the idea of having nice hands and feet, men are more likely to slack on the upkeep so I suggest they keep a few items handy for between services. G.E.A.R by Tweezerman has a great “Essential Grooming Kit” that is perfect for men. It has almost everything I suggest to my male clients to keep in the bathroom drawer. The kit contains a heavy-duty nail clipper and their new multi use tool that can be used for filing so there are no more jagged nails! You can also use the tool for cleaning under the nails, which should be done regularly for sanitary reasons. The same tool can be used to push back cuticles which will keep nails looking neat and clean. All of this is best done after a shower so that nails and cuticles are softer and easier to manage, and takes maybe 10-15 minutes per week. The kit also contains facial hair scissors so keeping mustaches and eyebrows neat between shaves and visits to the barber is at your fingertips. It may even let you extend the time between shaves.

 

The other thing the man should do is keep a pumice stone in the boudoir. G.E.A.R also has a double sided stone for rough and soft exfoliations: Perfect to fight those stereotypes of men having rough/dry feet and hopefully bring on some foot massage exchange!

For regular evening application I suggest getting a cuticle cream or oil such as Cuti-Cocktail or Cuti-Quench by Sparitual which can be used around finger and toe nails, and a great lip balm like Facial Fuel No Shine Moisturizing Lip Balm by Kiehl’s is great for kissable…I mean manly lips.

 

 

 

GEAR Essentials Kit

 

Cartagena, Colombia: A Gem on the Caribbean

You’re standing atop a hundreds of years old stone wall, looking out over waves of the Caribbean Sea crashing into the beach. The city is relaxed, cosmopolitan, and tropical. It is a foodie’s, and a history buff’s, paradise. Low key and luxurious. Very old and very new.

What it isn’t is a drug war zone, but that’s what people might think when you tell them you’re going to Cartagena, Colombia. Blame it on lingering news images from the 80s. While Colombia has rebounded generally, people in Cartagena told me their city was never quite like that.

I spent 5 fantastic days in mid July in Cartagena. It’s full name is Cartagena de Indias, Cartagena of the Indies, and that accounts for why I felt like I was right at home among the Caribbean people my West Indian family came from – because I was.  The city has a dual personality, split between an old town – La Ciudad Antigua – defined by 16th- century fortress walls and a new city, soaring up from a peninsula with highrise hotels and apartment buildings. Construction is booming on the peninsula, with several new hotels going up.

The night I arrived, a wedding party was being held on one of the galleons that are docked in the Las Ánimas Bay. Fireworks from the reception lit up the sky.

Fireworks over Cartagena

Fireworks over Cartagena

 

Cartagena is on the rise as a destination wedding location, but note that if you are not Colombian, your civil and legal marriage would have to take place in your home country. Still, Cartagena opens its doors to you – even the nearly 500-year-old Castillo San Felipe fort that overlooks the city is available as a venue for your special celebration.

Dancers, Castillo San Felipe fort

Dancers, Castillo San Felipe fort

 

Same sex marriage is legal in Colombia, so a same-sex couple should expect a welcoming environment for their wedding festivities. The Cartagena Chamber of Commerce will be launching a program to help couples plan weddings in their city in the coming months.

You and your party would certainly be well-fed. The food in Cartagena is delightful. Given its Caribbean location, I was on a mission to eat as much fried fish and ceviche as I could. I tried both at several restaurants. My favorite fried fish was served at Pizza & Pasta in the Old City. For the bargain price of around 11,000 pesos (about $6 USD), not only was I served an entrée of fried fish, rice, salad, and lentils, but the meal was preceded with a banana and a delicious bowl of ajiaco, a soup with beef, chicken, corn, and other veggies. I washed it all down with agua de panela, a light, refreshing, not too sweet drink made from sugar.

My favorite ceviche restaurant was the aptly named La Cevichería, also in the Old City. I tried a sampler of various flavors of ceviche, made of shrimp, fish, and octopus, as an appetizer, and had a wonderful paella for my entrée. La Cevichería, despite being nestled among high-end hotels, was incredibly inexpensive.

What else to do while in town? The Old City is the place for historical and cultural explorations. The Gold Museum showcased the intricate and beautiful jewelry of the ancient indigenous people of Colombia. Next to the Church of San Pedro Claver sits a museum dedicated to his memory, housed in the house where he lived and worked. San Pedro Claver was the patron saint of slaves, who fought a dedicated fight throughout his life for the rights of enslaved people. The Church has beautiful courtyards, an impressive collection of religious art, and – during my visit – was showcasing a collection of Afro-Haitian art. I took a private walking tour of the Church and the Old City, which I highly recommend, and learned about Cartagena’s history as a major port during the time of Spain’s conquest of the Americas.  The Old City is also host to public events such as concerts and festivals throughout the year.

 

Concert in front of San Pedro Claver Church

Concert in front of San Pedro Claver Church

 

Colombia is known for the quality of its emeralds and gold jewelry, so come prepared to shop, as well.

Far more beautiful than the city beaches are those in the Islas del Rosario off the coast. It takes about an hour to reach the islands by ferry from the Cartagena city pier, and a round trip visit package including lunch is easy to book from tour operators throughout the city. The water is clearer and the sand is softer than that of the beaches in the city, so a trip to the Islas del Rosario is a must during any trip to Cartagena.

If you enjoy nightlife, the bars and nightclubs are located in Getsemaní, an older area of town located right next to the walled city. Whether you enjoy spending late nights dancing and drinking or not, make the time to catch a Chiva party bus. For 30,000-40,000 pesos ($15-$20 USD), you will be treated to a live band playing rumba music, a tour of greatest hits, tour of city monuments (which look all that much more intriguing in the moonlight), and unlimited mixed drinks. The liquor served is what is called the national rum, but unlike other rums it is made with anise and has a distinctive flavor. Most chivas get going around 8pm, and will take you to a nightclub if that’s your thing at around 11:00pm – or return you to your hotel if it’s not.

In fact, it was from my seat on a chiva that I witnessed the wedding that punctuated the night sky with fireworks.

Cartagena was high on my bucket list of places to see.  But I found that it wasn’t just a place to check off my list and then move on.  I cannot wait for my next trip to this beautiful city.

 

Going Local: Wedding Favors for the New York Wedding

Hosting a wedding in New York City can be an exciting and creative affair. The city has so much to offer: from rooftop weddings overlooking the Hudson to more intimate affairs in a hotel library or Central Park. With an infinite number of venues, caterers, planners, and designers, the opportunities are endless.

There is also the fear for some that it has been done before. If you choose the Big City for your wedding, there are many ways to make it unique and personal despite NewYork’s enormity. Specially curated wedding favors have been highlights of the occasion for celebrities, and what better way to showcase the emerging local culture, and stay away from the kitschy, touristy trumps than by gifting local New York products.

Here’s a list of perfect favors to give your guests, something they’ll actually want to keep.

1. Edibles.

I was inspired by Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz’s adorable sugar cookie gifts: Perfect for any season and able to match any theme. When in New York, I suggest Eleni’s cookies. Founder and Baker in Chief Eleni began in media and editorials, but, realizing her passion for baking, switched careers and I’m so glad she did. Since 1997, she’s been creating personalized treats available locally and nationwide.

For another sweet treat, check out Anarchy Jams in Brooklyn. Anarchy produces eight varieties of fresh, local spreadable edibles using old and new techniques. Founder and CEO Laena McCarthy grew up making traditional jams with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.

And of course, it wouldn’t be summer in New York without Sigmund’s Pretzels, a New York institution at bars and late night scenes. Opened in 2009 in the East Village, they expanded in later years to a wholesale bakery, now found across the city at various venues. Get one kind or a variety and package them with a cute tag.

2. Cultural Fancies.

Jason Priestley and Naomi Lowde gifted Fortnum & Mason teas to exhibit her family’s English heritage. For gifts from local artists and craftsmen, I suggest checking out A Wincy Glass ’N Design based in Westbury, New York. Artist and owner Wincilla Edwards was propelled into the industry by her life-long love of drawing and painting, and her hand-painted champagne and wine glasses are a classy gift.

Similarly, Riles & Co. based in the East Village, NYC, creates hand-poured, all-natural soy candles with a vintage flair. Started in January 2014, by Cristina Toff, these candles make adorable gifts.

A happy alternative? TheLittleRagamuffin’s Cold Process Custom Soaps, based in Altamont, New York. All of their soaps are made the old fashioned way using the cold process method and a combination of natural and organic vegetable oils as well as organic herbs from their farm. With customizable (and oh-so-sweet) labels, you can get a bit creative as well.

Lastly, I’d suggest checking out Matchbox Wedding Favors from TeaandBecky. Their personalized wedding favor matchboxes are beautifully foil stamped with a phrase and are double sided with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date. Customizable to your own wedding colors, there are many options to choose from.

Lets Talk Fashion with British Bridal Designer – Kosibah’s Yemi Osunkoya

Even though it was almost 8 years ago, I remember vividly the excitement I felt when I decided to look for my dream wedding dress. The plan was to buy something off the rack, an elegant statement piece, one that people would ooh and aah and one that would take my groom’s breath away upon first sight. However, my dress was designed and made just for me, my first haute couture experience.

Shall we fast-forward 8 years as I walk into Kosibah to meet with the owner Yemi Osunkoya. Yemi is an impressive man, tall and charming yet eloquent in his approach. As he guides me through his journey, his labor of love shines through when he describes to me his journey of how he came to be one of the foremost British black haute couture bridal designers, still standing for 23 years. I ask if there is any significance with the name Kosibah. It turns out to be a derivation of his mother’s name. She was born on a Sunday and named Cosiba; he changed the spelling to make it a little more user friendly yet different and Kosibah was born.

'Odile''Odette'

Image courtesy of Damien Lovegrove                            Image courtesy of Alakija Studios

I wanted to know more about this important designer, so I delved into his background and how he came to be a designer. He explains that the compromise he made with his parents when he told them he wanted to be a designer it would be for that reason he would go to university. “If I could have gone to university to study fashion design in Nigeria, I would have done so, but there wasn’t any university offering fashion design courses at that time. So I decided to study textile design because I thought fashion and textiles go hand in hand and it could always come in useful afterwards. So when I came to England, I didn’t want to go through another 4 years of fashion school; I just wanted to learn how to sew, how to draft a pattern, how to cut fabric and other practical skills relevant to creating clothes because I could already design and was pretty good at sketching out my design ideas.” In London he attended a private fashion school called the Paris Academy School of Fashion. It’s closed now, but there he was taught old-school couture: “where you take 26 very precise body measurements from your client, you then develop a body block, from the body block you make a pattern draft and then you do a fitting on your client with a mockup/prototype of the garment you are making in toile; there’s usually some slight fitting issues that are flagged up at this stage because everyone’s body is different so I don’t deal in dress sizes, I deal in body measurements for each individual.”

'Ekatarina'

Image courtesy of Kosibah

After starting his business in casual wear, he very quickly realized his methods of production were not viable and would be both too expensive and labor intensive. His business organically evolved into bridal and special occasion wear because of the way he wanted to make his dresses. “I can create whatever my client wants. The unifying factor in all my dresses is the figure enhancing aspect of them, so regardless of whether I’m using kente, or I’m using ankara or I’m using lace, or I’m using duchess satin, it’s the same couture process I use but it’s all client led.”

Kosibah Real Bride Hadiza
Image courtesy of  Kosibah

Ladies, finally a designer that cares about women with curves! Yemi goes on to explain, “they obviously come to me because they’ve seen something I’ve done. I sit down with them, I look at them physically to see what would fit because that’s my basic ethos. I ask myself what can I do for this person in front of me to flatter them and make them look their best? Sometimes we minimize certain body areas and sometimes we enhance other body parts.” As a woman with curves, I begin to smile and Yemi smiles back in acknowledgment that I like his style!

Kente-Oke BridesmaidMother of the Bride Lady Boateng and Yemi
Images courtesy of Kosibah

Dressing his bride is a service he offers because after working for months on a dress, he wants to see the dress in the right setting and wants to ensure it looks exactly the way he designed the piece. A client who he met through Instagram flew him to Abuja to the wedding to dress her. Ladies, you can bring the designer to you! Yemi is not only a 21st century designer but he is engaged with social media and recognizes how powerful a marketing tool it is for his product. He understands the power of Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, “learning the etiquette of the social platforms he uses” he now has clients he would not have met under normal circumstances.

Kosibah Real Bride TemiKosibah Real Bride Chinyelu I

Images courtesy of Kosibah

I asked Yemi whom would he consider as his ideal client. He explains, “she is a full-figured woman because anybody that is a size 14 or under, people might just assume she’s got great body.” A full-figured woman that wears one of his dresses should expect a significant amount of body sculpting in order to make more of an impact. If you’re not sample sized, it might be more difficult to just get something off the peg which is where getting something bespoke might be your priority. Because of “the quality of the fabric, embellishments that I use in my dresses and the line and the silhouette of the finished gown, I want it to always scream class and grace.” I ask him if he could dress any bride, or create a bespoke dress, who or what would that be? Yemi immediately responds, “if Oprah ever decides that she wants to marry Stedman, she should come and knock on my door, and I will create the most amazing dress for her because she has the perfect figure I’d like to get my hands … ’cause she has an hourglass figure.” I smile and tell him we’ll have to get that message across the pond to Oprah.

Check out Yemi at the following:

http://www.kosibah.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/YemiKosibah
http://www.twitter.com/yemikosibah
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/yemiosunkoya
http://www.yemikosibah.com

 

Michelle Lowe is the travel editor for World Bride Magazine and is based in London, UK.