Friday, April 29, 2011

The Roc's in the Building!

I was just made aware that one of my favorite rappers, performers, and style moguls Jay-Z, is active in the blog community!  This is great news, not just because music and writing are two of my biggest passions, but because like my blog and many others, it revolves around more than just one topic.  Jay-Z is a Renaissance Man of sorts, combining his love of sports, music and fashion in his everyday life with businesses like the New Jersey Nets, Rockafella Records and Rocawear.  He is a man of many vices, and with a constant spotlight on him and iconic wife Beyonce, it is about time that he make his thoughts, opinions and passions public with his enormous fanbase.  

A collection of all of his favorite things, topics covered in Life + Times include art, technology, sports, music, fashion and leisure.  Although sitting around and writing about his new toys & obsessions is not one of his core competencies, I think I speak for all fans when I say it's about time he gave himself the freedom to do so... give the guy some credit, dude has been putting in work for quite a while.  Jay has been on top of the east coast rap game since Biggie's death back in the 90's, and has proven to be one of the most widely accepted, original, versatile rappers in the game.  He has written, produced and rapped his way to the top, and adapting to new measures of creative expression is commendable, especially for such an OG.  Go get 'em Jigga!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Coachella Hangover

Ahhh the infamous Coachella Hangover.  For three non-stop partying / music listening / crowd moshing / field dancing / sun scorching days, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world pour into the Coachella Valley for what has been dubbed "the most epic festival in the world".  It should come to no surprise then, that after such a monumental weekend, it has taken me a week to produce the post...

Well, I will admit this was the biggest year I have ever been a part of.  Aside from the usual high temperatures, A-list headliners and stellar celebrity sightings, this was the first Coachella I attended all 3 days and actually made it out during daylight hours instead of hovering inside from the sweltering heat.  Not to blend in with previous years, Coachella 2011 featured some unusual heavy hitters most would deem more appropriate for festivals like Lollapalooza or Rock the Bells (or their own over-priced headlining tour).  Below, I will give my take on the event and give you a summary of which performances rocked, which fell short of the bar, and give a nice look book for some Coachella street styles I found to be fabulous.

Friday Day One

Gold Medal:  Cut Copy
Silver Medal:  Tie between Robyn and Ms. Lauryn Hill
Bronze Medal:  Kings of Leon
Honorable Mention:  Skrillex, Cold War Kids, Black Keys and Chemical Brothers

Friday was a big day for the Sahara Tent, boasting big names like Afrojack, A-trak, Sander Kleinenberg, and Skrillex; luckily I have seen most of them so I was able to focus on some new stuff.  First of all, BIG honorable mention to the Black Keys, whom I had to miss only for the supreme victory that was Cut Copy's performance.  I am a huge Keys fan, but when it comes to celebrating birthdays (we had one), bringnig together old friends from all over (we had 2 out of towners joining us), and wanting to shake some booty, Cut Copy was by far the best decision of the day.  Not far behind them were the vocals of vixens Robyn and Lauryn Hill.  Lauryn Hill was during the sunset and featured some throwbacks from The Mis-education of Lauryn Hill, as well as some Fugee's tracks I was hoping she would perform.  Robyn was energetic, commanding and original, she completely captivated an enormous crowd (most of which I found surprising to be young-middle aged men that new more of her songs than I did).  Kings of Leon rounded out the winners with an epic rock performance with exceptional video montages featured on the big screens.  RADICAL!  Other Honorable Mentions:  Skrillex I heard you were off the charts!  But I just saw you at Voyeur in San Diego so I had to pass you up.  Cold War Kids looked amazing from far out views, and we were lucky enough to catch a couple songs en route to Cut Copy.  Chemical Brothers, if it weren't for your crazy sounds, the walk through the campsite (in the wrong direction) may have killed me.

Saturday Day Two

Gold Medal:  Mumford & Sons
Silver Medal:  Steve Angello
Bronze Medal:  Paul Van Dyk
Honorable Mention:  Arcade Fire, Empire of the Sun, Scissor Sisters

Day two was much shorter than the others, as we made time for the OASIS Pool Party in the afternoon, which was crawling with great outfits and some serious celebs.  Although electronic music is my MO, the Gold Medal winner Saturday was by far Mumford & Sons for their stellar performance.  Steve Angello was undoubtedly the best I saw in the Sahara Tent, earning him the Silver, and Paul Van Dyk got defaulted to Bronze since I missed all the others :(  Arcade Fire left the crowd to part the venue with giant glow in the dark balloons and Scissor Sisters I caught a quick glimpse of, and boy did it sound fun!

Sunday Day Three *CHAMPION DAY*

Gold Medal:  Tie between Kanye West and Chromeo
Silver Medal: Tie between The Strokes and Nas & Damien Marley
Bronze Medal: Three way tie between Jimmy Eat World, Wiz Kalifa and Ellie Goulding
Honorable Mention:  Duran Duran

Sunday was by far the best lineup, and hottest day of the festival.  Although trying to bounce between shows is a tough task any day of the festival, this day was the toughest because they had the most variety.  And like any day of a festival of this magnitude, sacrifices were made but I was ultimately happy with my decisions.  The Honorable Mentions were a whirlwind of walking, and although I didn't get to see any of their full sets, all three acts had equal significance to me so I was happy to see any of them at all.  Jimmy Eat World took me back to high school, playing nostalgic tracks from their Bleed American and Clarity albums.  Ellie Goulding's voice was so pretty it was like a gust of cool breeze in the desert heat.  Wiz Kalifa we walked in on, and really pumped the crowd up for Nas & Damien shortly after.  Nas & Damien really worked the main stage and put on a super sick show, especially given it was during the prime heat of the day.  Tracks like "If I Ruled the World", "Fu-gee-la" (round 2, after Lauryn Hill's Friday rendition) and "Road to Zion" were among the set list.  After a quick dose of Sven Vath, we made our way to the Outdoor Theater for some Chromeo dancing, and it was off the charts.  The dry desert winds were gusting in the night and Chromeo's lights, sequined jacket and dance moves really set the mood quite nicely.  Not to mention he brought special guests Vampire Weekend and surprise guest/little brother A-Trak on stage to bop on the drums for a finale!!  Just after the halfway mark of Chromeo, we migrated to The Strokes at the main stage and although we were battered and beaten by this time, I danced my little tootsies to death to more nostalgic tracks from their Last Night album, as well as newer tracks like "You Only Live Once" and "Reptillia".  The only thing that could top off a day filled with techno, hip hop and indie rock was none other than the cherry on top... Kanye West (no pun intended, his red suit was Maraschino fresh)!  Although it was disappointing that his rumored special guests never made it on stage (ahem ahem Katy & Rihanna), Bon Iver made a lovely appearance for his two songs featured on Kanye's new album.  Celebrity let down aside, Kanye's set ranged from his College Dropout days, through his newest hits like "ET", "All of the Lights" and "Monster".  The whole crowd was dancing, his moments where he spoke were well thought out (and infrequent, thankfully), and the evening came to a close with A Toast to the Douchebags.  Perfect Ending!!

Besides the music, the parties, weather and fashion are enough to draw a crowd in a remote location such as Indio.  Fashion being my forte, I have included below some pics of friends, strangers and socialites who really dressed their best for the fest.

Sister G

Love this look

A little dressy for my festival style, but hot nonetheless

Drew Barrymore

Ms. Lauryn Hill in Jil Sanders

xoxo, yours truly

A Girl Can Dream...

I don't know if its all the flowers blooming or couples coming out of winter hibernation, but I have had weddings on the brain all week!  I recently wrote a post for Trendy Blair featuring Anthropologie's new wedding collection BHLDN, and that's when the obsession began.  I already love cakes and flowers, so divulging into the beautiful world of weddings was not hard.  And in the spirit of the magnificent Royal Wedding that is upon us, I figured I would indulge in some wedding cake window shopping to prepare for the royal event!

With my roots on my mothers side in Georgia, I have always loved the idea of a country wedding.  Not country like Betty Crocker, but country couture.  Think mustard yellows, soft pinks and creamy ivories.  Mason jars and hanging lanterns; handcrafted country linens; bird houses and picket fences.  On My Sweet and Saucy, among the different masterpieces, I found these two variations of gorgeous country wedding cakes that I could only imagine among the scenarios in my mind.  This charming cake is so simple yet the details really fit perfectly into a chic, country style wedding.  The mustard yellow damask detail at the top and golden pearls around the base are an elegent touch to a rch creamy cake with subtle patterns and wide tiers. The wooden base really is the deal maker for me, giving it a unique rustic detail.

This Victorian beauty is so dainty and delicate with the pink and cream accents of rosettes and pearls.  The details are so intricate that I would not even serve this cake, I would have to make a cupcake recipe for the guests and save the cake forever!!

Contemporary weddings are also dreamy, perhaps a reception in a loft with a view after an intimate ceremony, with hosted champagne and dessert on the patio and martinis and jazz music warming the inside.  This cake from Mark Joseph Cakes in NYC features beautiful textured icing with a light shimmer and a smooth matte monogramed tier in the middle.  

For the perfect mix of contemporary and country, a cake that would be the focal point of any reception, is this beauty created by Wildflowers by Lori.  Serving the brides of the northeast, Wildflowers makes elegant cakes for traditional weddings.  This cake uses a subtle classic, the calla lily, as its key flower.  This modern twist on a traditional cake is perfect for a shabby chic wedding at a site with lush botanical garden.

If you can't wait for the Royal Wedding, there are hours of prep work to be viewed on TLC depicting the love stories of both the modern day and old school princes and princesses.  Friday @ 5:00 am the Royal Wedding will be aired on cable for all the world to see.  Tune in to indulge in the international spectacle with me!

Papa's Garden

I am always looking for new hobbies, as I get bored easily.  With dad planting a summer vegetable garden, and my love of flowers, I have been contemplating getting involved with an outdoor hobby, perhaps gardening or planting.  Well, in my search for info on the stylish sponges I discussed in my last post, I stumbled upon on article on planting and keeping succulents, which I found extremely eye catching.  Let me explain...

When I was a little girl and we still lived in LA, my parents always took me to my Nonny and Papa's because when grandparents are local, what choice does one have?  I frequented swimming in the pool, blowing bubbles in the grass, and cruising through the grove with my Grandpa to admire his blossoming orchard and large cactus collection.  Over the years, my Papa had a variety of hobbies including training pigeons, building birdhouses, and grooming his cactus garden - which soon became paramount to the others.  

Throughout the course of my childhood, he had collected many succulents, ranging from pear and flower blooming cacti to aloe vera plants laden with lizards.  He had a habit of personifying his plants, giving them various accessories to accentuate their respective personalities.  The tall furry looking ones donned old bi-focals and bow ties, while the short stout one's rocked fishing hats and Raybans.  The older looking cacti wore blue blocker's like Papa, and the flowering one's were planted in vintage decorative pots on pedestals around the perimeter of the grove.  Cacti, usually considered boring to many, have always been a wonderous species in my memory bank.  Up until the day he passed away, my Papa grew his collections to eventually include HUNDREDS of succulents, including a small garden for me.

So, fast forward back to this sunny afternoon at work, when I find this random article.  Imagine my surprise to not only find another person in the online blogging community who admired succulents, but also to find this article by happenstance just before summer and the ontaking of new hobbies.  Although the garden he groomed before his passing still stands, rugged and dying in my grandparents backyard, I don't think it would be far fetched for me to start my own little mini garden of succulents not only to give myself an escape from day to day work and responsibility, but also to honor my Papa and the green thumb he passed down to me.  

With my grandfathers wisdom always in my heart and mind, and my desire to find a hobby outside during the summer months, this might be the perfect time to start my own cactus collection.

You'll Love Succulents If: You're a lazy gardener. These plants are hardy and durable. They don't require a large space to grow, so they're great for container gardens and hanging baskets. Plus, their roots are shallow so little soil or potting mix is required for planting or transplanting making them easy for children and beginning gardeners to care for.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Make your Spring Cleaning FIERCE!

Ever since my first taste of independence in college, I have always been fascinated with styling my home.  Novelty items like vintage toasters and Warhol soup cans line my kitchen, and a mix of photography and pop art litter my walls.  No stranger to styling, Project Runway winner Christian Siriano shares my views on living fashionably.

Like fellow designers Isaac Mizrahi, Diane Von Furstenburg, and Cynthia Rowley, Siriano has brought his knack for design into the home.  His new line of O-Cel-O sponges has the ultimate appeal to neat freaks and fashionistas alike.  “The African, Indian and Asian influences of my 2011 Spring collection served as the inspiration for my sponge designs,” said Christian Siriano. "Both patterns are meant to captivate the consumer's eye through the simplicity of a sponge mixed with great style." ShelterPop recently interviewed the famed designer on his move toward household fashions, check out what he had to say:

ShelterPop: So tell us. Why sponges?

Christian Siriano: I'm really into home, and I love this moment of fashion in your kitchen. I figured, sponges could look a little bit cuter... and not so grimy. It's a different type of project -- more of a graphic design experiment for me. Something not so serious!

How do you make housework fun?

Christian Siriano: Like I said, I'm a clean freak. I get really into it. All I need is good music. 

ShelterPop: Whats on your cleaning playlist? 

Christian Siriano: Ohmigod, it could be anything. Anything from Britney and Christina to old Toni Braxton. And my boyfriend loves Tori Amos so sometimes it can be a little intense. Oh! And we'll even have a bit of classical depending on what's going on.

Whether it's daily dishes or shower scrubbing, I can definitely get down with these fierce sponges!  Check out the O-Cel-O website to gets your gloves on some of your own :)

Kanye Causes Seizures?

In my quest for inducing Coachella flashbacks at work this week, artists like Chromeo, The Strokes and Kanye West have been in heavy rotation on my headphones.  Wanting to get a bit of visual action, I have also - in general - been searching more music videos (since MTV no longer airs MusicTeleVision...) and stumbled across one of my fave songs from the weekend, "All of the Lights".

This song already is a fave of mine because it reminds me of Vegas, festivals, basically all the great things in life.  Seeing it performed live among a sea of 80,000 made it even more special.  Not to be outdone, this video is really the cherry on top.  In addition to it being laden with heavy beats and bright lights, I found it very peculiar/comical/sketchy that the video is preluded with a Warning to people with Epilepsy that states:

This video has been identified
by Epilepsy Action to potentially
trigger seizures for people with
Photosensitive Epilepsy.
Viewer discretion is advised.

I knew digesting Kanye could cause symptoms such as cockiness, nausea and swag-itis, but seizures?  Jesus!  Maybe its all that Rhianna cleavage stopping hearts - go girl!

Calling all Detectives! DKNY Easter Egg Hunt Yields $1000 Shopping Spree Prize!

Since my last article on the digital efforts of fashion brands, many designer labels and national retailers have been using social media and cutting edge coupon sites to create hot deals and generate buzz.  With spring in the air and the turn of the seasons prompting lots of sales, DKNY has come up with a festive way to increase their social media presence as well as encourage consumers to get a head start on their summer shopping.

The single day promotion will take place in both the company's New York and London stores, with two prizes each for $1000 shopping sprees.  "The company is tweeting clues to help followers find chocolate Easter eggs and other treats hidden throughout the store" states Mashable's article on the scavenger hunt promo.  DKNY has been posting clues on their Twitter account, prompting users to visit both stores and upload photos via twitter @dkny once they discover the candy coated goodies.  One clue, “I’m a kitten but I don’t purr,” led one shopper to a chocolate bunny rabbit resting on a pair of black kitten heels in DKNY’s London store.  

Although the promotion is only good today, don't be discouraged if you can't fly to New York or London by the seat of your pants.  Those who can’t participate on the ground are invited to guess where the eggs might be located based on the tweeted clues.  So get out your investigative skills my little detectives because you could be the lucky winner of a fat shopping spree today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Goodbye Blue Box, Hello Pinc Box

For decades, the coveted little blue box from Tiffany & Co. has been a symbol of generosity and love.  Yes, sterling silver, 14k gold and diamonds are all lavish ways to say you care, but for those with more sensitive scenario's, high end jewelry isn't always a girls best friend.  Well Tiffany, step aside because there's a new box in town! 

Pinc Box was launched a few years back by two women based out of New York after learning that one of their friends was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Although there are many beauty, household and fashion items on the market who donate a portion of proceeds to breast cancer programs or charities, what was missing was a gift that you could buy solely for the purpose of comforting and soothing the soul of someone diagnosed with cancer.  After taking account of the needs and limitations of a patient or survivor, Pinc Box was born!

The Pinc Box is a thoughtful, elegant gift set which includes custom made products to suit the needs of those affected by cancer.  I don't simply mean pink packaging and glitter and unicorns, I am talking about details typically overlooked.  For instance, instead of filling the Pinc Box with a shimmering pink rose scented lotion - what one would think would be a fitting gift - the founders of Pinc Box have created a custom fragrance free hand and body lotion to moisturize and sooth the skin without irritating it with busy dyes and scents.  Breast cancer patients that have gone through chemotherapy are extremely sensitive to smell, making it hard for those who have been through chemo to enjoy sweet, floral or oriental frangrances (citrus is one exception, hence the Citrus Scented Aromatherpy candle also included in the gift set).  This product, along with the rest that comprise the Pinc Box, are all made with lots of love and thoughtfulness, with only the recipient in mind.  The similarities shared by both the blue box and the pinc box are meant to reflect quality and luxury, and to provide a sense of love and consideration.  The difference between the two boxes is, the Pinc Box caters to the specific needs of a patient or survivor, unlike a majority of products that benefit the fight against breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a vicious disease that just so happens to run in my family, so a gift like this means a lot to me and my loved ones.  Being able to give a gift to someone in need of comfort and care is priceless.  And on top of all the benefits of what comes inside the box, 10% of proceeds of the Pinc Box go towards Breast cancer charity, so it is truly a win/win for both the maker and the recipient.

If you are looking for a unique gift like this for someone you love, skip Tiffany's old school silver ribbon necklace in a blue box and go for the one-of-a-kind, unforgettable gift of a Pinc Box!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Death Cab on the Moon

Tonight, for the first time in music video history, a band has performed their video live in one single shot.  At 7pm EST- only 6 hours ago -Death Cab for Cutie streamed their performance of and concept behind their new single "You Are A Tourist” as it was happening.  The song is the new single off of its seventh album Code and Keys, due out May 31 on Atlantic Records.

When asked about the production of this epic video, frontman Ben Gibbard said, "It'd be like trying ask a 5-year-old kid to explain their trip to Disneyland. It's sensory overload."  

All this exciting stuff comes right after the band announced their new tour, kicking off in Toronto on May 18th.  The Codes and Keys tour includes a few nights performing with Coachella headliner Bright Eyes for three dates in the Pacific Northwest.

Lego my Fergie

I don't usually watch the Kids Choice Awards, but if more celebrities had as much fun dressing up as Fergie, maybe I would consider it.  This week at the Nickelodeon red carpet awards ceremony, the front woman for the Black Eyed Peas rocked a skin-tight, candy-colored Dolce&Gabbana dress that looked so good you could eat it (same goes for the cotton candy pumps).  And not to be outdone by a Katy Perry outfit or a GaGa masterpiece, the Duchess followed up her red carpet look with a dress made COMPLETELY OUT OF LEGOS during the BEP performance!  Yes, all legos.  Although it sounds like a disaster, like her "evening gown", the color arrangements and patterns really worked well and carried the perfect playful prettiness fit for the Kids Choice Awards.  Fergalicious!