June 28, 2013

Honeymoon: Rome

Rome was full of history and beautiful architecture. Our last stop was complete with sightseeing; the Pope even spoke in St. Peter's Square while we were there (unfortunately we didn't find out about this until we got back to our hotel and saw the live feed!). While in the city, we met up with some friends who were in town and hung out at an American bar, full of all the college students studying and traveling there.
We made a lifetime of memories in the two weeks we were in Italy and I couldn't have imagined a better honeymoon! If you haven't been, I highly, highly recommend!!

Arch of Titus
Quattro Fontane
Trevi Fountain
Vatican stairwell

June 27, 2013

Guest Post: Happy Birthday Vera Wang!

Today figure skater turned fashion mogul Vera Wang turns 64. A figure skater from the age of six, Vera was the New York born daughter of Chinese immigrants to the United States. She was educated at such prestigious institutions as the Chapin School, University of Paris, and Sarah Lawrence College. After competing in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1968 and an Olympic tryout, Vera began to make her way in the fashion industry.

Disappointed in the selection of bridal gowns available while planning her wedding, Wang sketched her own and hired a tailor to put together the $10,000 gown. Opening her first shop in 1990 she started by selling high-end bridal gowns by other designers, but continued to work on her own designs. After receiving international acclaim in 1994 for the costume worn by figure skater Nancy Kerrigan during the Olympics, Wang has gone on to design the wedding gowns of dozens of celebrities. Wang's design expertise isn't solely in the bridal section, however, and notables such as Michelle Obama have been seen wearing her evening wear collections.

Having expanded with stores in New York, London, Paris, Seoul, and Sydney the Vera Wang line now encompasses fragrances, jewelry, home decor, and shoes. Truly a force to be reckoned with, her keen eye for trends has led a steady rise in acclaim over the last twenty years. Featured in numerous television shows as herself, and having done the wardrobe for several movies, Vera Wang is a name known worldwide. After releasing a book entitled Vera Wang on Weddings she was awarded the prestigious title of Womenswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA) in 2001. A few years later she received the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from Savannah College of Art and Design. The awards didn't stop there, for her contributions to the figure skating scene she was inducted into Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009 and given extra acclaim for her fashion contributions to the sport.

Despite separating from her longtime husband Arthur Becker in 2012, and unfounded rumors surrounding her involvement with upcoming figure skater Evan Lysacek, whom she was mentoring, Vera's star has continued to shine. Far from the meteoric rise to fame so often seen in so public an industry, Vera Wang's success is entirely due to equal helpings of business savvy, keen fashion sense, and a seemingly instinctive knack for navigating the whims of the fashion conscious. This year, as Wang turns 64, we honor her contributions to the industry and wish her many more years of success. Happy birthday, Vera Wang!

About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a culture and lifestyle blogger for DirectTV who frequently explores the areas of fashion and design. He enjoys exploring the diverse world of fashion in addition to other cultural topics. He lives in the north side of Chicago with his bowtie wearing rabbit Mr. Bunny.

Honeymoon: Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre was hands down the most picturesque place I've ever been to! From the quaint little towns to the panoramic ocean views, I seriously needed to pinch myself to make sure it was real. Unfortunately, only 2 of the 4 trails were open to hike through (due to weather damage), but we were so enamored by just those two, we've already discussed a trip back! The pictures truly do not do this amazing region justice, but here is how we captured the charming towns.

Ocean scape
Outside a resort, on the hike
Lemonade/limoncello stand
At the train station - don't you wish all train stations were this beautiful?!

June 26, 2013

Honeymoon: Montecarlo/Pisa

One of the most adventurous parts of our honeymoon was renting a car and driving from Florence to Montecarlo. Let's put it this way, next time, I'll hire a driver! However, once I got over the fear of my hubby driving like a maniac on autostrade, it was a beautiful ride through the Tuscan countryside.

Our beautiful farmhouse, Borga la Torre
Tenuta del Buonamico
Barrels of wine
Lunch spread, after our wine and olive oil tasting
Obligatory photo of the Leaning Tower

June 25, 2013

Honeymoon: Florence

Our first day in Florence it didn't just rain, it poured. As miserable as it was, we were still able to view some of the most amazing architecture I've ever seen, and it also forced me to purchase the Burberry rain boots I had been wanting forever. Luckily it cleared up by the evening and we were able to have drinks on the rooftop at Hotel Continentale and enjoy the amazing view of the city.

Bell Tower
Amazing street artist!
Wine shop floor

June 24, 2013

Honeymoon: Venice

Venice was my favorite city (followed closely by Cinque Terre); I absolutely loved getting lost in all the little streets! Note: San Marco square floods, and when you hear sirens going off throughout the town, that's what it means. We were having too much fun and didn't bother to ask anyone what they meant, so we ended up taking off our shoes and walking through the flooded square...hey, this is what memories are made of right?

View from our balcony
Grand Canal, during our gondola ride
Andy Warhol at the Guggenheim museum
Venetian glass factory
Italian windowsills

June 18, 2013

Roll Your Stress Away

Whenever I get stressed at work, I have a vile of aromatherapy oil that I take out, close my eyes, breathe in deeply and imagine I'm at a spa. As silly as it may sound, it seriously works. Now it seems I should have patented this idea and came up with a witty name, because that's the basis of this product. The directions state that you roll a bit on each palm, cup your hands over your face and inhale. I highly recommend to any and all who have stress in their lives!

June 17, 2013

Kate Spade Saturday: Window Shop

Kate Spade is seriously taking shopping to another level. The company's new capsule collection, Saturday, is now available at four locations in NYC through a window shop, 24/7. You order through the touch screen storefront and your goods are delivered within the hour. 30 items are available, with new products added each Saturday, of course.

June 14, 2013

Custom Ferragamos

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Vara, Salvatore Ferragamo is offering customers the opportunity to design their own. Choose from 22 different colors for the body, bow and heel. Then select gold, silver or rose gold hardware to complete the shoe. From Princess Diana to Olivia Palermo, the Vara is a classic in its own right.

June 11, 2013

SJP Shoes

I think we are all collectively thinking, finally!!! Who wouldn't want Carrie Bradshaw to design shoes?! Sarah Jessica Parker has partnered with Manolo Blahnik CEO, George Malkemus to create a line of shoes (and bags and trenches). Prices will range from $200-$300 and be exclusive to Nordstrom in early 2014.

“We’re putting new colors together that people don’t typically do, just beautiful combinations that you wish existed in your closet,” says Parker.

June 10, 2013

Vera Wang

After coming back from our honeymoon, it was a nice to see that my wedding gown designer had won a lifetime achievement award! Her work truly is amazing and I just stared in awe at my dress once I had it on. The detailing and never ending layers of organza, it was simply breathtaking! The fact that every piece is hand cut, blows my mind. In a world where everything is made my machines, I love that my gown was made by hand. While our photos are not back from our main photographer yet, my sister's husband captured some great images!