I’m not one to put up a giant Noble fir in my living room, or deck the halls with tiny twinkling lights. I’m lucky if I can get out holiday cards in time.
But I’m no scrooge. I like the holidays. The party clothes, the extra sparkly accessories, the wrapping paper and colorful satin ribbon. And this year, my home decor nod to the festivities will come in the form of Crabtree & Evelyn’s Windsor Forest fragranced candle. The medley of Fraser fir, balsam, spruce and English holly is reminiscent of holidays past, and makes home feel a little more cozy.
That and an eggnog latte, and I’m set.
I have to admit, one good thing that’s come out of this recession is the return to a sense of responsibility and awareness. And I’m not just talking fiscally, though I am glad conspicuous and excessive consumption is finally considered not just passe but in poor taste. (Good riddance Paris Hilton-itis!) The down economy has really driven home, for me anyway, the need to conserve the environment, for healthy spending (and saving) habits, and to give back to the community, whether local or global.
It’s in that spirit that I’ll be doing a lot of my gifting this year with the environment and the less fortunate in mind. These gift ideas help you do that … and also drop some major hints to recipient friends and family who may not have quite gotten the message yet.
Reusable totes are a dime a dozen these days, but now that grocery stores are actually giving you credit for using them, there’s no better time to stock up. I love Emily Sugihara’s Baggu ripstop nylon totes. The hip, aerodynamic shape comes in every imaginable color, in a whole slew of sizes, and they start at just $3.
Feelin’ blah? Give your pale winter face a boost with washes of glossy bronze and gold. It all started with the glossy lids seen on Chanel’s resort runway models.
With the holidays coming up, I’m feeling all the bronzey-rose-gold seen on the spring runways. Get in on this trend now. It’ll take you through spring.
All month we’ll be bringing you our favorite gift ideas for the holidays. Of course, our all-time favorite gifts are those that are easy on the wallet. So here, a list of some great gifts for under $50.
Warm hands, warm heart … and a pop of feminine color to update any winter ensemble.
Finally, something vintage, something personal. I’ve always loved lockets — there’s something so intimate, so historical about them. Kerry Kwan creates pieces that are vintage-inspired yet quite modern for her Tryst jewelry line.
‘Tis the season to let your shine shine. The same way red and green all of a sudden look really good together, the holidays are a time when oversized rhinestones and crystals, rather than looking gauche, look just right.
Whatever you’re wearing this holiday season — a glowing gown, a LBD, even a plaid shirt — glam it up with some ice. Oversized, clustered, or in glorious Technicolor. Right now, more is more.
And of course, no outfit would be complete without an ice-laden shoe. And at this price, who can’t afford to stand out?
If bold gold is more your thing, a heavy metal bib necklace adds interest to almost any outfit.
Tresor pink tourmaline bib necklace in 18k gold, $2,000, 866-99-TRESOR.
Luichiny “Passa Fy” shoe, $95, www.bronx-shoes.com.
Sean Chin-Sue knew he had found his calling when he did his sister’s hair for her wedding. “I realized that I enjoyed it so much I wanted to make a career out of it,” says the hairstylist who grew up in Jamaica West Indies.
So Sean, who is of Jamaican, Indian, Chinese and Scottish descent, did his training at Pipino Buccheri (the artistic directors for Vidal Sassoon), before joining Stephen Knoll, Peter Coppola, and now at Pierre Michel in Manhattan.
With style icons ranging from Brad Pitt to Lenny Kravitz, from Jennifer Lopez to Lady GaGa, Sean says he loves working on women’s hair “because they are always interesting and always evolving with the way they look and feel.”
His favorite look on women right now? “Layered looks that are feathery and light with a non-serious look to them,” he says. “Just a free, easy to style look.”
Here, Sean answers some reader questions.
Q. My hair is very fine and straight and sometimes when I try to curl my hair, the curls fall out after an hour. What products or techniques should I use to maintain the bounce? — Michelle
Sean Chin-Sue answers: Use Phyto Volume Actif and a styling agent such as Phyto Look. Style as usual, but apply hot air from dryer a little longer to the places you need volume. Use a curling iron or hot rollers to add even more volume and then give a cold shot of air from a blowdryer after you remove rollers.
Q. What’s an easy holiday hairdo I can do at home but that will also make me look young and fresh (no stuffy updo’s please)? — C.P.
Sean Chin-Sue answers: Take a small section of the front of hair (e.g., the bangs or where bangs would be), and leave that section loose. Then take the rest of your hair and make a really high ponytail close to the crown — almost high enough so it looks as though the ponytail is popping out of the top of your head. After the ponytail is secured, take that front section of hair and brush it back to side (whichever side you like, or try to go for the side that your natural part falls on). Bring that section up and around the ponytail base, securing it with a bobby pin. A simple and stylish hairstyle in seconds!
Sean’s last bit of advice for Asian American girls:
“Challenge yourself to try a style that you would not think would be possible for you.”
To make an appointment with Sean, call 212-755-9500 or go to www.PierreMichelSalon.com.
That’s my best friend, Sandra Oh. You know. The brilliant, award-winning superstar actress on one of ABC’s biggest hits, “Grey’s Anatomy.”
OK, fine, so maybe she’s not my best friend. In fact, that photo was taken literally two minutes after I met her for the first time. But from the look of the photo, we could be best friends. Sigh. I only wish. She was soooo cool. And soooo gorgeous.
So what’s the story behind the photo? Well, some of you may know that Audrey Magazine was started by our publisher, James Ryu, back in 2003. What you may not know is that James started a different magazine, KoreAm Journal, which celebrates the Korean American experience, back in 1990.
Well, every year KoreAm Journal throws a big gala event called “Unforgettable,” and this year it truly was.
Not only did mega Korean and Korean American stars come out last Saturday to show their support for the premier Korean American magazine now in its 20th year of publication, but KoreAm also handed out achievement awards to some Korean Americans who’ve made an impact this year. Included among this year’s honorees were actor Ken Jeong of NBC’s newest hit “Community,” former publisher of “Us Weekly” Janice Min, and actor Daniel Dae Kim of ABC’s mega-hit “Lost.”
Yes, it was a night of the warm and fuzzies for the community. But for me personally, it was extra special because I had the excuse of having to update Audrey’s Blog every waking moment. Which meant, of course, that I had to stalk every celebrity in the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Like Sandra.
But it wasn’t just Sandra I stalked. No, no … what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t stalk every name worth mentioning? No, I also got photos of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”‘s Justin Chon (he was at the premiere earlier that week):
… as well as honoree Daniel Dae Kim, who showed off his musical skills on the London stage this past summer in “The King and I”:
… and of course, an Audrey fan favorite (our readers are absolutely in love with him) and starring in the new action flick “Ninja Assassin,” actor Sung Kang:
Actor C.S. Lee of “Dexter” (one of my favorite shows) was there, sans wife (he just got married):
And of course the ever-lovely Di Quon, whom we’ve featured several times in Audrey. I didn’t recognize her because she had just gotten bangs that day at the salon — doesn’t she look great?
News flash: Di just finished up shooting the Adam Sandler film “Grown Ups.” It was amazing hearing her stories about working with such a talented cast which included Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock, among others.
Last, but certainly not least, I would be remiss to Audrey readers if I attended a function and did not at least try to get Daniel Henney in our pages.
The Korean American model-turned-actor who shot to stardom in Korea starring in Korean dramas, is now a regular on CBS’s “Three Rivers.” Look for him in Audrey Magazine soon!
And congratulations to Andrew Oh and his cast and crew for winning The KoreAm Drama Fo’ Yo Mama video contest. Andrew is a filmmaker on the rise and you can be sure we’ll be following his career very closely. Check out the hilarious short called “Gochu” here:
What has American style devolved into? Reality “stars” at every photo op? Celebrities — not models — on fashion magazine covers? Lady Gaga? (Granted, I love her daring.)
I, for one, am thrilled that Michelle Obama is bringing some serious style, elegance and grace back to America. And her choice of a custom-made gilded Naeem Khan with sterling silver paillettes (40 people reportedly worked on the handmade creation) once again did us all proud.
Designer Naeem Khan has been showing at New York Fashion Week for years (he started out as an assistant to Halston before he opened his eponymous fashion house six years ago), and now the 50-year-old Indian American designer will likely join the ranks of “Most Wanted” along with other Asian American designers who, thanks to the FLOTUS, has become a part of the American fashion vernacular (Jason Wu, Thakoon).
Some other looks from Naeem Khan’s Fall 2009 line that Michelle Obama would look spectacular in:
Of course, there are plenty of other fabulous Asian American designers that Mrs. O would look amazing in. What I wouldn’t do if I could dress the First Lady …
For tea at the White House:
For date night with the POTUS:
For official state visits abroad:
While kickin’ it at her herb garden or hanging with Sasha and Malia:
And just for kicks, since the First Lady is a fan of separates, I like the color and detailing on this cardigan by Koi Suwannagate …
… paired with this shimmery tulip skirt by United Bamboo.
(The necklace would be a nice touch, too.)
Sigh. If only …
If you didn’t know by now, green is back.
It started with the palest jade nails and jade jewelry on Chanel’s Autumn/Winter 2009/2010 runway.
Then the black nail polish obsession morphed into a penchant for all shades green, from blackened emerald to opaque mint.
And if the Spring 2010 runways are any indication, the color so commonly associated with everything from envy to environmental consciousness is officially back on its own merits: As pure, unadulterated color.
Still model of the moment, Liu Wen wore head to toe peacock green on the Yves Saint Laurent runway, made cooler with pewter accents.
At 3.1 Phillip Lim, the hue of choice was a chartreuse-y lime, done up in satin and made edgy with sheer black.
Can’t do head to toe? Add a touch in your accessories, like the printed scarf and deep emerald earrings on Liu Wen on the Marni runway. (Looks so good with gold — still going strong for spring!)
Treat green like a neutral. Just a touch of olive at Jonathan Saunders adds edge to clean lines. Tao Okamoto in Jonathan Saunders.
The freshest way to wear green is mixed with a shade — any shade — of blue. Emma Pei in a brilliant emerald green Lela Rose dress.
Get in on this trend now. Accessories are the easiest way to go green; they’ll add a pop to your fall wardrobe, or a twinge of envy for the holidays.