Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Best Dressed on the Red Carpet: Oscars

Jennifer Lawrence, who won Best Actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook,
wears a  Christian Dior couture gown.

Charlize Theron in Christian Dior Couture and Anne Hathaway in Prada

Jessica Chastain in a custom Armani Prive gown and Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen

Naomi Watts in Armani Prive and Zoe Saldana in Alexis Mabille

Image Credits: Zimbio

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Your Guide for the 2013 Oscars

Award season comes to an end tomorrow night with the one of the biggest nights of the year in the entertainment industry: the Oscars.  Aside from who's wearing what on the red carpet, 2012's biggest films will be competing for the beloved Oscar awards.  Additionally, there will be musical performances from Adele, who will sing Skyfall, Barbara Streisand, who will be performing at the Oscars for the first time in 36 years. As a tribute to recent movie musicals, stars of popular films like Chicago, Les Miserables, and Dreamgirls  will be singing. Among those performing are Jennifer Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, and Anne Hathaway.  It is expected to be a spectacular night in Hollywood.  

To make it easier on you while watching tomorrow night, whether you'll be attending a viewing party or just watching the awards comfortably at home, we've put together a list of the nominees for the biggest awards of the night.  And, don't worry, we will have red carpet looks posted on our social networking accounts as the evening progresses tomorrow night so be sure to check in over there.  

Best Picture

Life of Pi

Les Miserables

Silver Linings Playbook

Django Unchained

Zero Dark Thirty




Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Denzel Washington in Flight

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts in The Impossible

Best Director
Amour- Michael Haneke
Beasts of the Southern Wild- Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi- Ang Lee
Silver Linings Playbook- David O. Russell
Lincoln- Steven Spielberg

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin in Argo
Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in The Master
Sally Field in Lincoln
Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

For a complete list, please visit the official website of the 2013 Oscars (click here).

For Image Credits, please click on the each movie still.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Marc Jacobs' Diet Coke Cans

"Diet coke is an icon, and I love an icon."- Marc Jacobs

To celebrate Diet Coke's 30th Anniversary, Marc Jacobs, who recently became the new Creative Director for Diet Coke, has designed limited edition cans.  Each of the three cans represents a decade: the 80's, the 90's, and the aughts, and are all part of the campaign titled "Sparkling together for 30 years." 

These diet coke cans will only be sold in Europe beginning in March, but we want to know what your thoughts are. Would you buy these as a keepsake or do you think they are silly? We think they're brilliant.  

Image Credit:  Coca Cola

Throwback Thursday: Herbal Essences Brings Back Original Packaging

by Sarah

Brace yourselves. We have major beauty news for you.  

Raise your hand if you had a love affair with Herbal Essences during the 90's.  When I was in middle & high school, I thought that Herbal Essences was the most luxurious shampoo I'd ever seen, as did most American women.  One day in 2006, it vanished, however, and Herbal Essences came out with entirely different, very child-oriented, packaging and scents.  Women, everywhere, could only dream about the original scent. Even if you had the money to buy expensive shampoos, there was something about the nostalgia.  

Luckily for us, Herbal Essences' sales have dropped and in an effort to fix that, they are bringing back the classic packaging, along with the provocative commercials that went along with it in campaign titled, "Say Yes Again". The "Smooth and Shine" Collection is a revamped version of the classic packaging; it is silicone free. 

All that we have to say is... finally! This time around, Nicole Scherzinger is acting as the celebrity ambassador and she's reviving the empowered woman who preferred shampooing her hair with Herbal Essences over anything else.  Nicole says of the commercial, which aired just recently during the 2013 Grammys, that it is "definitely the 2013 version." 

Image Credit: Herbal Essences

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

5 Reasons Why We Can't Stop Obsessing Over Beyonce's Documentary

by Sarah

Okay, admit it.  You think Beyonce Knowles is a billion times more cool after Life is But A Dream aired on HBO over the weekend.  I know I do.  Who teared up a little when she said, "There's no drumroll or trumpet that goes off when you make the biggest decisions in your life. Sometimes you don't even know you've made them"? Who teared up more than once? 

Here are five reasons why we loved the documentary: 

1. She's real. I love when she says, "It's none of your business" about things you hear from the paparazzi, like what outfit her child is wearing. Our culture is so obsessed with celebrities and reality television that we forget that what they do actually isn't any of our business. Plus, Bey admits to feeling pressure, feeling sad, and feeling scared.  Everything she says is so easy to relate to, no matter what walk of life you're in, that she feels like your big sister.  

2. She says she believes in God and she actually acts like it in public. In the documentary, she speaks up passionately about God, family, and life lessons. She talks about how powerful prayer is and how God is very real- and it makes you want to cry. Beyonce has never been in the media for anything other than her work; you literally never hear anything negative about her.  So many celebrities out there say they are spiritually enlightened (and who are we to judge, really), but are getting arrested, doing drugs, and setting horrible examples.  Beyonce has always remained on top of her game and has always been put together, despite difficult things no one even knew she was going through.  She is even always polite and humble when performing- remember the Super Bowl? 

3. She has talent. When she sings in the documentary, its chilling. Especially, the song she wrote about her unfortunate miscarriage.  

4. She stands up for women (and inspires them).  Okay, I know she's famous for the singing, "Who run the world? Girls!"- but, seriously, she is so passionate about working hard that it makes you respect her so much more when she admits it's harder to be a woman.  Just the other day, I wanted to write a blog about how men have an easier time in life because women have to work to get noticed and our bodies go through more things than a man's body ever will.  Both sexes work hard at work, but women are responsible for creating life, too? She even says, "I felt like God was letting me assist in a miracle", in reference to giving birth to daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. 

Plus, I love when Beyonce says, "I love my husband, but there is nothing like talking to a woman who gets you." Not to sound like a feminist, but women need to talk to other women. It's part of who we are. 

5. I mean, the MTV Awards were one of the biggest pop culture moments, ever.  Duh.  Taking a peek inside of Jay-Z and Bey's marriage was too sweet, especially seeing how happy they both were after the famous MTV Awards announcement.  Also, seeing Blue Ivy at the end looking bored with the cameras, made Blue Ivy just as cool as her mama.  

Bonus Reason: After watching the documentary, you truly get the impression that Beyonce didn't share her personal life for money. Lord knows, she probably has enough.  It seems like she did it because she is one of the most famous women in the world and she wanted to share some life lessons with her female fans. It was admirable that she didn't turn this into a huge production like Katy Perry and Justin Bieber (who put their documentaries into theaters), she simply put it on television. 

Image Credit: HBO

Monday, February 18, 2013

Healthy Living Spotlight: Urban Remedy's 3-Day Juice Cleanse

Juice cleanses are extremely popular right now, with celebs endorsing “green juice” every chance they get via social networking accounts and talk of “fresh green juice” in every magazine. While most people are up for trying fresh juice, even purchasing a juicer for their home, others are weary of juice cleanses. Also, by now, everyone has heard of the documentary, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” 

Juicing offers a variety of health benefits and there seems to be a benefit for everyone to be able to relate to. Everyone wants to lose a few pounds, have glowing, clear skin, and even prevent disease by ridding the body of toxins, and these cleanses claim to do just that...and improve your mind. While most people are up for trying fresh juice, even purchasing a juicer for their home, others are weary of juice cleanses.  The thought of drinking only juice and water for three days (some people even do ten days) sounds intimidating and almost a little insane. Most people wonder, "Don't I need to eat real food in order to be healthy?"

To give you all a true idea of what a juice cleanse is really like, Rose and I decided to try a 3-day cleanse from Urban Remedy in January.  

The Skinny on Urban Remedy

Urban Remedy was created by Neka Pasquale, a certified Traditional Chinese Nutritionist, acupuncturist, and healer,
who believes that food should be medicine.  

When you place an order for a 3-day cleanse, the juice arrives at your doorstep and they come with a four day expiration date, so you can either start the cleanse the day you receive it or the day after, if the juices arrive mid-day. You get 6 juices per day and you are to begin with your first juice at 7am and then drink a juice every two hours. Urban Remedy suggests starting the day off with a glass of lemon water.  Along with the juice, you are encouraged to drink plenty of water in between juices to quench hunger. Trust us, you are going to be chugging water and surprisingly enough, water is going to be your biggest friend.

Cost $$
The juice cleanse is about $60 per day and when you’re getting six juices per day, that figures into $10 per juice.  While this price may seem high and you can certainly juice at home, hear us out as to why we believe it is a good investment. First of all, you don’t juice cleanses all the time.  You probably do them four times a year, max (and this is for a health fanatic).  Also, you are more likely to complete the cleanse if you don’t have to make the juice yourself.  If you have ever made your own fresh juice, you know it’s an ordeal.  You have to go to the grocery store, clean all of your produce, peel it, chop it, juice for a good ten minutes, and lastly, you have to clean your juicer out immediately or else the juice remains harden and it becomes the biggest bitch ever to clean.  Having fresh juice prepared for you is SO convenient and when you don’t have to prepare it, you are ten times more likely to not succomb and eat real food. Whenever you aren’t eating for three days, this is a major reason why having everything shipped to you at once is key.  

Another great reason to invest in a juice cleanse is because you learn about juice and what fruits and vegetables go together well when juicing.  You can use this knowledge to make juices in your own home.  When cleansing, you develop a relationship with juice that debunks the idea that you have to eat a lot of food to stay energized and healthy, which you carry with you. (You might read that sentence and laugh a little, but if you give juice cleansing a chance, you’ll agree with it, no matter who you are.) Once you develop a relationship with juice, you take it more seriously when making a cup of green juice in the morning.  

The Signature Cleanse
Juice 1: Brainiac- celery, parsley, cucumber, spinach, and lemon.
Juice 2: Time Machine- acai with fresh lemon juice, cayenne, ionized water, and stevia.
Juice 3: Flush- cucumber, ginger, lemon, mint, and a touch of apple.
Juice 4: After Party- beet root, carrot, ginger, apple, and lemon.
Juice 5: Warrior- chia seeds, raspberries, and stevia.
Juice 6: Relax- sprouted cashew milk with vanilla and cinnamon.

The [Signature] Cleanse/ Sarah's Thoughts
The morning I began the cleanse, I felt depressed because I felt like I was giving up something I’d spent every single day of my life thus far with: food.  It feels strange to wake up and not make coffee, or not have a hot meal after work.  Those feelings aside, the first juice of the cleanse from Urban Remedy was a green juice- you essentially dive right in-which contained celery, cucumber, parsley, spinach, and lemon. It’s a very earthy taste, but surprisingly enough (and this is one of the most remarkable parts of juice cleansing), you don’t feel a ravenous amount of hunger after drinking it.  You might miss your normal routine, but you’ll find that each juice gives your body what it needs. I have to admit, the first juice isn't the best tasting juice of the cleanse, but it gets better as the day goes by. By the second day, I was in a much better mood. The third day, however, I was anxious to be able to eat the next day.

The only side effect I struggled with was headaches.  I am SO addicted to caffeine from coffee that it was hard to take three days off, even though it was beneficial.  I was very tired, as well.  I didn’t feel like working out with only juice in my body so I usually went to sleep very early each night.

Anytime that I felt like I couldn’t make last until the next juice, I would chug water. A ton of water- I loved Trader Joe's electrolyte water or Smart Water. That seemed to help with the whole not-eating-thing and again, this desire to chug water was probably great for my body (instead of my usual coffee-at-any-time-of-day habit.)

The first day was the hardest- as you begin to remember all of the fun times you shared with your favorite restaurants or cooking in the kitchen, but your mind becomes more alive and your skin does brighten up.  It is great to take a break from some of the foods we put into our bodies and really experience how our minds are when we aren't filling our bodies with crap.  Plus, each juice is crammed with nutrients and vitamins so every time you drink one, your body livens up a little bit more. 

Overall, my skin looked great after and I felt happier about life, but I did not lose any weight from the cleanse.

The [Signature] Cleanse/ Rose's Thoughts

A juice cleanse is no easy task. Thanks to the folks over at Urban Remedy, we were able to try an all natural juice cleanse.

The first day of my cleanse I started out strong; the first juice tasted like salad. The flavors of the juices were natural and earthy, which I appreciated-- nature needs no sweeteners! It was hard for me to cut out coffee, but I did. The first day I had headaches, which was really hard to deal with. But day 2 and 3 I was totally fine. I did have cravings to eat which were hard to battle, but the fact that there are 6 juices per day made it easy. Every time I felt hungry it was usually time for the next juice. The last juices of the day were something to look forward to. The very last juice is called "Relax", which contains sprouted cashew milk with vanilla and cinnamon, and tastes like real dessert.

As far as revelations go, Id say that anything you've been trying to avoid with yourself, leave it to a few days of hunger to bring them up. This juice cleanse provided me with mental clarity. Fasting has long been known to provide the mind with time to reflect and be introspective on oneself. This is definitely something to do if you are trying to come to a decision about something and don't know where to go. Its hard sometimes in our daily lives to think clearly and have peace of mind with all of the chemicals in the food we eat and media distractions, but when you aren't eating and you are only drinking juice, these things come easy to you. You will not only cleanse your body of toxins, but you will purge the things you've been locking away mentally! Overall, this was a wonderful experience and I'm grateful for it!

For more information on Urban Remedy or to purchase a juice cleanse, please visit www.urbanremedy.com. Note: Rose and I did the Signature 3-day cleanse, which you can read more about and purchase here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Interview With Luca Sbrizzi About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Moulin Rouge® - The Ballet

Luca Sbrizzi and Christine Schwaner rehearse for Moulin Rouge®-The Ballet
Photo Credit: Aimee DiAndrea
Can't make it to Paris this Valentine's Day? The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is bringing the magic of Paris to you with Moulin Rouge®- The Ballet.  

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Moulin Rouge® opens today (the show runs Feb 14-17) and we are so excited to share an interview we did with Luca Sbrizzi, who plays Matthew.  Luca, a soloist with PBT, was gracious enough to share how excited the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is for this special Valentine's Day weekend performance, promised to deliver an enchanting evening.  If you haven't purchased your tickets yet, you can visit their website here.  

Moulin Rouge is such an iconic film- what has it been like working with such a famous story? Is there any extra excitement in the air?
Luca Sbrizzi: Working on Moulin Rouge® - The Ballet has been a truly amazing experience. Although the story of the ballet is different than the movie, there are still many things that are similar, such as an epic love story and famous characters like Zidler, the owner of the Moulin Rouge®, and artist Toulouse-Lautrec.  Everybody has been really excited about this production since last year, when Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre announced that we were going to perform this. As we get closer and closer to production, our excitement continues to grow. 

Explain your character a little bit.
Luca Sbrizzi: I'm dancing Matthew. Matthew is a very naive and innocent young painter, who arrives in Paris during the Belle Époque (Beautiful Era). In the first act, Matthew is full of excitement and energy. Matthew is very romantic and he falls in love with Nathalie, a young girl that goes from being a launderette to becoming a featured dancer at the Moulin Rouge®. Like most love stories, Matthew and Nathalie's is a complicated one. As the ballet progresses you really see Matthew mature as he fights for his love.

Zidler (the owner of the Moulin Rouge®), becomes obsessed with Nathalie, but she is in love with Matthew.   Of course, Matthew is left heartbroken and confused. After drinking absinthe and encountering the green fairies, he decides to go get Nathalie back at the Moulin Rouge®. So, with the help of his friend and mentor Toulouse, Matthew  gets back in the cabaret disguised as a waiter. At the show that evening, Matthew finds Nathalie and they try to escape through the mayhem of the Cancan. Zidler discovers them together and becomes enraged, stopping the show. He intends to kill Matthew, but Nathalie is mortally wounded instead. Matthew holds Nathalie as she takes her last breath. 

What has been the most exciting/challenging part of playing this character?
Luca Sbrizzi: I think the most exciting and challenging part of playing Matthew is the wide spectrum of emotions that the character takes you through. 

During first act it's all about love. That young, unstoppable, fresh love, where you can't get enough of each other. Every moment is unique and magical and everything seems perfect. But then in second act Zidler, led by jealousy, threatens to kill Matthew so Nathalie leaves with him in an attempt to save Matthew from harm. Matthew is heartbroken and desperate. His love left him. After he wakes up from a night of drinking, he decides that he can't live without her, so he tries to get her back. He feels encouraged and hopeful, until Zidler mistakenly shoots Nathalie instead of him. So by the end, Matthew is tragically devastated. His love is gone forever.

Of course the most challenging aspect is being able to convey to the audience this journey of emotions. I found that personal experiences help me tremendously. While I dance, I try to bring memories back of similar situations. This way my heart gets in the right place.

What can we expect from Moulin Rouge® - The Ballet? Any special twists from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater?
Luca Sbrizzi: You can expect an unforgettable night of entertainment. Music, lights, scenery, costumes and, of course, dance come together in this extraordinary production.

The music is from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the Moulin Rouge® burst onto the Paris cabaret scene, creating an authentic musical backdrop for the ballet. You‟ll no doubt recognize some, such as Clair de Lune, La Vie en Rose, or the Can-Can.  The lighting helps create richly different worlds, from the glamorous cabaret to a romantic evening at the Eiffel Tower. The sets are also really fantastic. They include archways, staircases, and, of course, the classic Moulin Rouge® wind-mill. The costumes are colorful and elaborate, and you'll experience a variety of dances, from the famous cancan, to an Argentinian Tango, to classical and neoclassical steps.

Anything you hope the audience takes away from your performance?
Luca Sbrizzi: More than anything I hope that the audience will be able to experience the emotional journey that the main characters go through. I also hope that they leave this performance excited for what Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has to offer next.

Can we expect to be blown away from the costumes (similar to the movie)? 
Luca Sbrizzi: Absolutely!!!  The costumes make the world come alive. With clear inspiration from Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings, the dancers wear vibrant dresses with frilly under skirts, and the men look sharp in tuxedos with tails and top hats. The ballet boasts over 70 elaborate and colorful costumes. It really feels like all the dancers may as well have stepped directly out of the paintings. 

Since the show opens on Valentine’s Day, we have to ask you- in your opinion, what is the perfect Valentine’s Day date (other than a special trip Downtown for Moulin Rouge®, of course)? 
Luca Sbrizzi: Well, you said it yourself. You can't get much more romantic than going to the ballet on Valentine's Day. But in general I like to keep it simple; good food, good wine and the person you love sounds perfect to me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Beauty Spotlight: Benefit Brow Bar

by Sarah

On Saturday, I took a trip to Ulta with my sister, Rose, and decided to try out the Benefit Brow Bar for the first time.  For the past three years or so, I've had my eyebrows threaded, which I love, but like anything salon-related, it is so incredibly hard to find the right person to touch your brows. There is nothing more traumatizing than to sit down and pay money to have your eyebrows done, only to look in a mirror afterward and see that your eyebrows have been butchered. I love Benefit makeup, so I honestly don't know why I have never tried it before, but I cannot stop raving about it.

For $20, you get your brows mapped out (and you can approve), waxed, and they even complete the look with concealer (to hide the redness) and fill in your brows with color. To top it off, everyone is pleasant. I am in love with my results and while $20 may be a bit high, if you can afford it, I highly suggest you to visit the brow bar.  I have gone to many places and spent about $15 only to have my brows look exactly the same as when I went into the salon or as I mentioned above, absolutely butchered. 

The next time you feel like pampering yourself or have a big day coming up, visit the Benefit Brow Bar at any Ulta store. Visit ulta.com for store locations.

Photo Credit: Ulta

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