TABLE TOP TREATS

By Marina MonroeBOOKSCoffee table books can be a chic and whimsical treat!

Living room decor is an often neglected aspect of hostessing that should be immediately remedied. Cluttered coffee tables are a personal pet peeve, an unwanted glimpse into the less than instagram-impeccable veneer that masks such imperfections. Plus, coffee table books are fun! Genuinely enjoyable bits of reading for your guest to sneak with increasing interest while you’re bustling about making sure everything is presentable. Invest in a little glamor and wit for your most used space, and you will be a hostess with the mostest in no time.

Photo: Maps via Anthropologie; Oscar de la Renta:The Style, Inspiration, and Life of Oscar de la Renta via Barnes and Nobles; The French Cat via Anthropologie; books background via uncertaintimes.tumblr.com.

SLINKY SILK CAMIS

By Marina MonroeCAMISilk camisoles lend sultry style to every Season.

Silk camisoles are a luxurious wardrobe staple for every elegant femme. Immensely flexible, always accessible, and infinitely customizable, a classic silk cami will prove it’s worth countless times. There’s something delicious- and dare I say, a little sexy- about gliding into a light, smooth, skin skimming top. Plus, silk camis translate well into any Season, so if you’re looking to invest in a piece that wears just as well during Fall, you’ve found the holy grail in a silk camisole. Gossamer sheer fabrics are incredibly on trend right now, so you’ll mix classic good taste with fashion forward aesthetics. Contrast silk’s soft femininity with a tough top off, such as a dark leather moto jacket or heavy mesh metal chains.

Source: Eileen Fisher Vintage Racerback Silk Camisole $198 via Nordstroms.com; Silk Floral Cami by Boutique via Topshop.com; J.Crew Silk cami via J.Crew.com.

HARLEQUIN HEROINES

By Marina MonroeMACMAC’s limited edition A Novel Romance collection aims to feign that falling in love flush.

MAC’s latest creative collection concoction tempts you to fall in love with luscious shades. Particular standouts include sensual yet sophisticated eyeshadow quads composed of doe-eyed damsel in distress neutrals (especially Electric Cool Eye Shadow in Pure Flash), metallic blues, intense greens (Sex & The Oyster is stunning)), and cool, blackened purples that lend your lids that siren smolder. Powder Blush in Animal Instincts is a cheery cinnamon bronze blush that manages to be both rosy and warm without overpowering your cheekbones. My ultimate favorites of the A Novel Romance Collection would have to be the lip colors, specifically lipstick in shades of rich pink and purple that exude romantic vibes to any prince who might be walking by.

Source: MAC A Novel Romance Collection, all via MAC.com

BEFOREVER AMERICAN GIRL

American Girl launched their BeForever collection today at American Girl Place at The Grove! This new collection features dolls that are back from the archives with new coordinating styles, accessories and designs inspired by their historical eras and stories.

Each character features a story series that explores the doll’s era so your girl can discover how all girls share the same hopes and dreams.

We got a sneak peek at the collection this morning. Check out our photos below.

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For more information about the BeForever collection visit www.americangirl.com or American Girl Place at The Grove.

LEATHER MIDI SKIRTS

By Marina MonroeLEATHERMIDIA ladylike and lightweight way to wear leather.

Lightweight leather can be found everywhere from the runways of Elie Tahari and Yigal Azrouël, to the sidewalk you’re strutting on. This kind leather is perfect to keep your favorite fabric on your body without dying of a heat stroke. Leather doesn’t just have to be on a jacket, it can be worn in all types of ways now. Some of the most popular is in a mid length skirt. This feminine style paired with the edginess of leather is what makes this one of the hot items of the season. Paired with an equally hot leather crop top and you’re prepared and to walk down you’re own runway.

Source: Tildon Faux Leather Flared Midi Skirt via Nordstrom; Zara Leather Skirt via Zara; Coach Leather Midi skirt via Coach.

EYES EVERYWHERE

By Marina MonroeEYESSee no evil in optical apparel.

The seemingly endless ascent of Street Style Iconography and our subsequent personal need to dress like STREET STYLE stars has led to an added emphasis on statement pieces. Statement pieces are items no one you know has, and spark praise by strangers and friends alike whenever worn in public. Standard statement pieces feature slogans, pops of ultra bright color, studs, spikes, or a distinctive pattern or print. So what’s the next statement piece to snap up before everyone else? EYES. Evil eyes have been cool since The Odyssey, but never trendier than this upcoming Fall of 2014. Fom winking eyes to neon-colored eyes to Egyptian-inspired eyes, eye prints of every kind are popping up on everything from dresses to purses. Designers like Pierre Hardy, Charlotte Olympia, and Kenzo are slapping statement eyes on their upcoming RTW Collections.

Source: Printed eye dress with back zip via Zara.com; Wendy Nichol embroidered “Eye of Horus” bullet bag via Barneys; Nila Anthony beaded eye clutch via Nordstrom; Flirting Slipper via ChiaraFerragniCollection.com

HOW TO DRINK BEER

By Matt Vega, Bar Verde at The Grove

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Sitting in the dimly lit lounge at Warren’s Blackboard in Studio City, my eyes are immediately drawn to a Sticky Toffee Pudding on the dessert menu.  When executed correctly, there aren’t many desserts that make me a happier person.  While waiting for the dessert to arrive, I glance over their beverage selection to find something that might just make the experience I’m about to have even better.  I decide on one of my favorites, North Coast Brewing’s “Old Rasputin”.

Words cannot describe when both a beer and a culinary creation come together in just perfect harmony.  The sweet moist caramel and spice flavors of that Sticky Toffee Pudding and the slightly bitter coffee and nutty notes in the Old Rasputin created the Holy Grail of beer pairing.

There are an infinite amount of these life changing experiences that can be had if you are up for the adventure.  Here are three tips to get you on the right track.

1.Drink Beer
With the number of quality craft beers on the market right now, this should be an enjoyable process.  What you are looking for is to expand and increase the sensitivity of your palate.  There is a world of subtle nuances in craft beer that you will only begin to appreciate once you have tasted enough beers to recognize them

2. To Compliment or Contrast?
There are two basic ways I like to go about pairing beer.  If you have a dish that has some notes in it that are subtle, you can look to enhance these notes by choosing a beer that has similar or complimentary flavors.  On the other hand, much like in the case of the Sticky Toffee Pudding, if you have a dish that is dominantly a particular flavor palate, you should go with something that will add contrast and balance.  Think preparing a dish.  If you accidentally made something to acidic, you can add sugar to balance it out and create an amazing final product.

3. Slow Your Roll
With the way our society influences us, we are so accustomed to constantly being on the go.  Rushing from one task to the next has become second nature and an almost unavoidable practice.  When you sit down to enjoy a meal, take your time.  Chances are the chef and the brewer poured their heart and soul into what you are planning to devour in 35 seconds. Give it the time and respect to really savor and appreciate what is going on.  You might just fall in love with every bite and sip.

This Thursday, join Bar Verde for Craft Beer Tasting. Enjoy California craft beers paired with a special menu created by Chefs Travis Chase and Rhian Peterman.  Four courses, small plates and 4 oz craft beer paired with each course. For more information and to view the menu online, click here.

OPEN TOE BOOTIES

By Marina MonroeBOOTIEThe shoe trend that takes you from Summer to Fall.

I’m sorry to say that your sandals days are numbered. Don’t delve into denial: August is LA’s last super Summer month, and those lazy warm days will soon fade into crisp Fall. Smooth transition from Season to Season is all about preparation, and one sure fire way to face Fall fashionably is acquiring a gorgeous pair of open toe booties. The open toes allow you to show off that fresh pedicure and save your feet from stifling heat, while still fitting in with Autumn’s layered and long wardrobe. Plus, open toe booties are available in a myriad of prices points, colors, materials, and patterns, so there’s sure to be one that will make you swoon!

Source: Proenza Schouler Ankle Bootie via Nordstrom; Vince Open-Toe Booties via Nordstrom; Barneys Open-Toe Bootie via Barneys.

MARVELOUS MAILLOTS

By Marina MonroeMAILLOTSFrom Marilyn Monroe to Sophia Loren, the most elegant women of past and present favor one-piece swimwear.

No one loves a bikini quite like a California girl, but honor and credit must be given to the eternal one piece. It has never gone out of fashion. It will never go out of fashion. Maillots are immune to Fashion’s flighty tastes because they elongate and silhouette a woman’s body in a way bikinis never will. Fashionistas know this. Socialites know this. And celebrities definitely know about the maillot’s marvelous virtues. Even Rihanna, notorious for skimpy attire and provocative style, was spotted just last month in a maillot. And you know what? She never looked sexier. Maillots might be the one style secret shared by Farrah Fawcett AND Elizabeth Taylor AND my mother. So snatch yours now, before Summer ends and you’re left without that majestic and deeply sexy instapic of you claud with effortless sophistication in a majestic maillot.

Source: Aloha Deep Frill Swimsuit via TopShop; Seafolly Coastline Boyleg Maillot via Anthropologie; Oh My Love Exclusive to ASOS High Neck Swimsuit via Asos.com.

GILDED GRAPHIC EYELIDS

By Marina MonroeGOLDDouble the impact of your classic cat eye with a color saturated lid lining.

Here’s some makeup math: what does a thick black cat eye plus striking streak of metallic eyeshadow equal? A powerful pop of glamour. I was inspired by makeup models at Badgley Mischka wore for Fall 2014, who rocking the almost-optical makeup illusion. When the models eyes were open, it seemed like a standard black cat eye. But as soon as a model blinked, they deliver a powerful flash of gold. This combination is more than flattering, it’s traffic (or at least man) stopping. Let’s give our trusty smoky eye a break and gilding my eyes in gold and ebony.

Source: MAC Cosmetics Fluidline in Blacktrack & MAC Cosmetics A Novel Romance Fluidline Pencil in Atomic Ore via Style.com; MAC Eyeshadow in Goldmine via Mac.