Black on Black on Black

IMG_5494
One can never go wrong when wearing a little black dress. An LBD should definitely be a main staple in every woman’s closet. It’s versatile – you can dress it up or down, summer or winter, and you can wear it with a pop of color too. I haven’t worn this DVF number yet so I am excited to rock it to dinner tonight. I am having dinner with family and friends at an amazing Greek restaurant, Milos. Because I’m half Greek, when I find authentic Greek food in Manhattan, it makes me a very happy gal. Calamari for me tonight, please! 
IMG_5492
IMG_5495
IMG_5491

Music Thursday ~ No.3

Earlier this evening, I had drinks and a quick bite with an old friend whom I haven’t seen in years. It was so fun catching up, chit chatting and hanging out like old times. She’s a very successful entrepreneur and it was amazing hearing about how she’s been able to grow her business (by triple) just this past year. She’s also a fellow blogger so I loved picking her brain on how she got started and how she evolved in the blogosphere. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by such talented, successful, amazing people. From artists to designers to wall streeters, it’s truly inspiring how much young talent surrounds me.

Speaking of young talent, who else is in love with Ed Sheeran? I just can’t get enough of this cutie patootie red head. This song + acoustic version = to die for. Hope you love it as much as I do and Happy Thursday!

Recap

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
2.24.15 was an amazing day. I truly had the best.time.ever and discovered that maybe 25 won’t be so bad after all. Mother/Daughter day went even better than I had imagined. Our first stop at 11:00 am was Maison Kayser for breakfast (a french bakery/restaurant). We had fresh croissants, warm baguettes, scrambled eggs and hot skim cappuccinos.
IMG_5398
After our carb-load, we walked over to Skin Spa where we spent most of the afternoon getting pampered – facial, massage, you name it. I was pleasently surprised with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot that we sipped on throughout our pampering session. That was the cherry on top of the afternoon. 
IMG_5412
 A day at the spa reminded me that I should really take care of myself once in a while. No wrinkles for me, please! 
IMG_5408
After we finished our spa treatments, we walked down Fifth Avenue and stopped by some of our favorite stores. Zara was at the top of my list this time around.. The day went by so fast we hardly realized it was time to head home to get all dolled up for our night out. I was so excited to dine on a fancy shmancy meal and happy that my brother would be joining us too. I’ve been to Le Bilboquet a few times and even though it can be a bit stuffy, the tuna tartar, foie gras and steak frites are just to die for.

IMG_5434
24 was great but 25 will be even better!

Birthday Day In the City

IMG_5381
Today is the big day. It’s the big 2-5 day! I took 24 hours off from work so that I can spend the day with my mom getting pampered. We have a whole French ladies day planned; breakfast at Maison Kayser, a massage, a facial, lunch at Bergdorfs and of course a little bit of shopping (she is definitely spoiling me). I am very excited to have an amazing time with her and I am so lucky that she has everything all planned out. Tonight, we have dinner reservations at Le Bilboquet and I can just taste the french food already – my brother will be joining us as well! It is SO cold out today so it was a bit tricky pulling a warm/cute birthday outfit together, but this shall do for a girls day in the city.
IMG_5383
IMG_5382
IMG_5385
IMG_5387

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

DSC_0063
Dark chocolate and strawberries make a deadly combination. I love both ingredients and I will argue that dark chocolate is indeed good for you! The other night, I wanted to make something chocolatey that would satisfy my craving but would only take me a few minutes to prepare. Since I love fruity desserts, chocolate covered strawberries sounded perfect. I bought a box of delicious, large, sweet strawberries and got started  – take a look!
DSC_0038
Ingredients:

  • 2 chocolate tablets of Valrhona 71% cocoa (the best chocolate)
  • 1 crate of large strawberries
  • ¼ stick of butter

1. Combine butter and chocolate pieces into a double boiler. Stir until mixed together

DSC_0040
2. Dip strawberries into chocolate and place on parchment paper
DSC_0055
3. Place chocolate covered strawberries in fridge until chocolate is hardIMG_5227Bon Appetite – enjoy!

And the Oscar Goes To…

Tonight is OSCAR night! If you had a chance to read my Grammy Awards post, then you know I am a big fan of watching award shows and eating treats all at the same time. Tonight, I am sitting back and snacking/cocktailing with a few friends while we watch all of the beautiful red carpet fashion as well as the actual ceremony of course.

I have seen a handful of movies that are nominated but I know I will need to put many more on my must see list after tonight’s show. Take a look at the snacks & bites my friends and I put together for the big night! And of course we are going to have Petee’s Pie for dessert too……..oscars

{Image Via}

We started with Mama K’s Artichoke Dip which was excellent…

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14oz) can progressing artichoke heart .. Or other brand
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 round  bread to set it in

Directions:

  1. Drain artichoke and squeeze all the juice out
  2. Put all ingredients except lemon juice in a bowl and mix with hand mixer or blender
  3. Add lemon juice on top
  4. Cut open the bread and pull inside our the bread out in order to make a bowl dip
  5. Pour mixture into hole
  6. Bake 350 degrees for 20 mn or less until top slightly browned
  7. Serve with crackers

IMG_5327
We also snacked on Paula Deen’s Crab Dip which was absolutely delicious as an app.
IMG_5328
After the watching all of the fashion walk down the red carpet, we dined on my friend Alisen’s unbelievable turkey burgers with brie, cranberries and fresh rosemary.
IMG_5338
We sipped on cocktails throughout the night (orange/peach/mango juice with champagne and a drop of St. Germaine) and tallied up our oscar ballot predictions (winner get’s a bottle of champagne)! And voila – how to have a great Oscar’s Night!

SHORT

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetToday I feel like a NEW woman! I cut off a huge chunk of my hair and boosted up the color with fun, blonde, polished highlights. I absolutely loveeeee it! I’m a creature of habit and once I find something I love, I tend to stick with it. My hairdresser Pascal, has been cutting my hair for over five years. I have followed him to every salon in the city because I won’t let anyone else touch my hair ( again, creature of habit). He is unbelievable and knows exactly how to style my curly/wavy hair.

He recently started working at a new salon, Roman K Salon, on Fifth Avenue. This is where he introduced me to the very talented colorist, Courtney Joy. Courtney and I really hit it off the first time we met at the salon. She’s fun, bubbly, and she always knows what’s ‘in’. I walked into the salon this morning and asked the duo for a FUN, NEW change. They went right to work and did JUST that..!IMG_5301IMG_5299As Courtney worked on my balyage ( more to come on what that means) we chatted and gossiped about what’s been recently going on in our lives. With a nice glass of Pinot, magazines and good company I hardly noticed all the work that was going on to get my hair as perfect as it turned out. 

IMG_5280
Courtney and Pascal are such a wealth of knowledge and they have endless beauty techniques. I always find myself asking both of them a lot of questions so I thought it would be fun to do a mini Pascal & Courtney interview. They were kind enough to let me share their answers up on the blog – see below!

1. What current trends are you seeing?

Pascal: Everybody is going shorter. We are taking off extensions because people want something natural but sexy. Clients want something fresh, wavy, beachy, bohemian and polished.

Courtney: Ombre is on its way out. I’m seeing more of a sun kissed highlight rather than the over processed bleached ends. Now it’s more graduated and the highlights are being brought higher up on the hair yet still not a traditional highlight. Clients are asking me to keep the ends lighter and have it faded from a dark to light starting higher up.

2. If someone were low maintenance, what sort of color/cut should they get?

Pascal:  There is no such thing as a low maintenance haircut. Getting a good cut should be part of your beauty routine. You ( anyone) should go to a hair salon every seven weeks. Everyone should look polished and should invest in a good cut. Taking good care of your hair really goes a long way and it should be second nature, like washing your face!

Courtney: You should not get any permanent hair color. A demi permanent, a gloss, just a few highlights (not directly to the root), is a perfect way to add some dimension to the hair without committing to the color permanently. But it’ important to note that not everybody is able to have a low maintenance color; grey hair is a good example and if you wanted to go from being naturally dark to super blonde that’s another example.

3. What are the best products to use for someone to maintain their color?

Courtney: I recommend for cooler blondes or cooler brunettes Shimmer Lights Shampoo from Clairol and the Shu Uemura Cool Blonde Purple conditioner. For warmer tones I recommend the Shu Uemura Golden Conditioner and always a Sulfate free Shampoo.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

4. What’s the deal with gloss?

Courtney: Gloss does many things depending how it’s being used and how it’s formulated. It can simply add shine, tone, condition, and in some cases adjust the natural color of the hair. I definitely recommend it, it seals the color & it keeps the longevity of the tone. There are different glosses out there – some for red heads, brunets, blonds etc.

 5. What’s the difference between foil highlights and balyage technique?

Courtney: Foil highlighting is more of an old school technique whereas balyage is considered hair painting. It’s a French technique and allows for more creative freedom & custom placement. With foil highlights you are creating a pattern through the hair whereas with balyage you can create a skinnier root of highlight and a chunkier end allowing it to be more natural in the root area and poppy on the ends. The head is round and foil is square so you’ll never get the foil to the root. It doesn’t follow the shape of the hair whereas balyage I can get into the little parts of the hair.

6. What’s your secret weapon? What’s the one product you couldn’t go without?

Pascal: Kerastase has really good products to use before blow drying or straightening hair. I always use a protective serum of some kind to ensure the hair doesn’t burn or dry up.

Courtney: Dry Shampoo. It helps keep the hair in good condition because you’re not washing everyday. It keeps the longevity of the hair color. Kerastase dry shampoo is my go to.

IMG_5281

Follow Courtney on instagram @blondegonetitanium and Pascal @pascalgny to check out more of their talented work!

Now I am off to enjoy the new me and hit the NYC snowy town on this Saturday night!

Music Thursday ~ No.2

It’s almost the freakin’ weekend, wahoo! Full disclosure, I have a pretty eclectic taste in music so the Music Thursday series will probably be all over the place in terms of genre. The Rihanna/Kanye/Paul song last week was perfect because it suited the exact poppy mood I was in at that moment in time. That’s usually how it works for me, my mood dictates the music I listen to.

This week, I wanted to share this new band I’ve very recently discovered, Run River North. They are an indie folk band and all six of them are extremely talented. I really like this particular song and it’s been on repeat this week. Something about it is catchy and soothing, I’m sure they are amaze live. Enjoy & let me know what you think!

To fête or not to fête

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
My birthday is less than a week away and to be honest I am not totally thrilled about turning 25. I bought a pretty neutral dress to celebrate because I’m feeling a little meh about the whole thing. Is this where I am supposed to be at 25? I thought I was going to be running the world by now or something! Beyonce told me so.. Okay, okay, I may be exaggerating just a tad bit but way back when I was 20 and thought “where do I see myself 5 years from now” I am not quite sure if this is the quarter century year old Natasha I would have described. But then again maybe my “life plan” was too cliche and unrealistic…

On a positive & much lighter note, I do have to admit that I am proud of myself and all that I have accomplished in my early 20’s. I up and moved to the big bad city of NY after graduating, I can financially support myself, I’ve made new friends & learned that it’s not possible to keep all old friendships, I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve fallen in love, I’ve forgiven, I’ve come to the realization that it’s okay to be selfish, and most importantly I am more confident now than I’ve ever been before.

I will officially be in my mid-20s in just a few days and I need to hold my head up high and embrace this new adventure. I need to be okay with not having everything figured out and just try to relax. It won’t matter how I end up celebrating this big birthday because as long as I am surrounded by my family and closest friends, I know it will be great. Here’s to turning 25 and to celebrating another year of growing, learning, embracing, and just relaxing.

Mini – Boulettes En Sauce

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset
Whenever I go home for a weekend, my mom & I love to pop open some champagne, read through recipes from her extensive cookbook collection, and pick out a meal that we can really enjoy making together. We always make sure to choose a meal that will satisfy our moods at that moment in time. It’s our “thing” to cook together & I would’t have it any other way.

Mini-Boulettes aka. meatballs have always been my go to comfort food and when prepared with the right sauce and sides (we chose rice & carrots), it is oh so yum. We picked out this recipe from an older french cookbook and it was pretty perfect for our family night in. Paired with a nice glass of red wine, the Mini-Boulettes En Sauce were truly the best.

Meat Ingredients:

  • ½ cube of vegetable bouillon
  • 75 grams of breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoons of Maizena
  • 1 egg
  • 1 chopped small onion
  • Salt/ Pepper
  • 400 grams of minced meat
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 pinch of oregano

 Preparation for the meat:

  1. Dissolve the vegetable bouillon in 50 ml of hot water. Mix flour and bread crumbs separately. Add the bouillon to the flour mixture and let it rest for ten minutes. Incorporate the chopped onion, egg, salt & pepper. Add minced meat and mix it all together with your hands.
  2. Make mini rounded boulettes with your hands and fry on pan with butter.
    IMG_5222
    Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 chopped turnip
  • 1 chopped celery stick
  • 50 ml of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of tomatoe paste

Preparation for the sauce:

  1. Boil 300 ML of water and add the bouillon cube. Once the cube is melted in the water, add all of the chopped vegetables. Cook for 15 minutes. Pour mixture in a blender and puree the mixture. Put the puree in a pan. Separately mix the heavy cream and the flour in a bowl. Add the heavy cream mixture to the puree mixture. If the sauce is too thick, you may add some bouillon water or a little bit of plain water. Add tomato paste.
  2. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
    IMG_5209
    Once everything is ready, nicely plate it, sprinkle some parsley atop,  and you’re all set!