Dining with Divas Black Tie Awards Gala

Dining with Divas

Over the weekend, I attended the Black Tie Awards Gala by Dining with Divas to kick off Mother’s Day weekend at the home of Carolyn Smith, the beautiful mother of Actor, Will Smith. His sister Ellen, is a warm hearted, loving, philanthropic woman who has dedicated her life to giving back especially to mothers. Every year Carolyn’s mansion is the location for Ellen’s Dining with Divas events. When I spoke to Ellen on Saturday I was so moved and touched by her dedication, my eyes began to swell with tears. She explained to me that once she gave birth to her child she found herself contemplating the “what ifs” of life. One of which was, “what if I was in a shelter?” All mothers should be celebrated even if they do not have the means. This year the Black Tie Awards benefited women and their families in transition from homeless shelters and domestic violence and abuse shelters.

Ellen Smith founded Dining with Divas with the purpose of giving back through the community through events that pamper, educate, entertain, and empower. Since 2004, Ellen has made it her mission to use her resources to create a “one stop shop” for moms and children to share a wonderful day together including exciting musical performances, guest appearances, delicious food, and family fun. The “Mother’s Day Signature” event has welcomed and entertained hundreds of attendees over the years and is a joyous occasion that is looked forward to all year round.

Ellen Smith

Cory, Carolyn, Ellen, Kyle Smith

Carolyn Smith Mansion

Carolyn Smith Mansion

Carolyn Smith Mansion

Carolyn Smith Mansion

The honorees of the night and award recipients included, Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment at Comcast Corporation, Grammy nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan, Communications Professional Dyana Williams and one part of the R & B Soul group Kindred, Aja Grayon.

Dining with Divas

Dyana Williams, Charisse Lillie, Ellen Smith, Aja Grayon, and Jazmine Sullivan

Ellen has donated her time to Laurel House and for the past twelve years she has opened The Mansion to mothers who may not ordinarily be able to celebrate Mother’s Day. The Mother’s Day Fashion Show and Brunch event (held the following day) provides poolside massages and vendors to make sure that all moms are celebrated and pampered no matter their situation.

Ellen Smith

Betsey Kilkenny

Betsy Kilkenny, Director of Fund Development at Laurel House

I met some truly special people at this event including Nikki Bagby, Outreach Supervisor Medicaid/CHIP/Healthy at United Healthcare. Nikki has been attending Ellen’s events for years. Instantly, I knew she was a kind soul, one that I felt happy just meeting. Also, as this is a lifestyle website, I would be remiss if I did not mention Nikki’s hair and makeup, which was absolutely stunning!

Nikki Bagby

Nikki Bagby

I wore a cap sleeve Calvin Klein black gown with Nina heels. My makeup was simple and bronzed as I applied Laguna Beach bronzer (coming soon) and Liquid Shimmer by Laini Cosmetics. My lipstick was bold and bright. Wearing Funny Face by NARS.

Ashley Basla

Ashley Basla

Ashley Basla

Please visit the Dining with Divas website to see how you can contribute to the inspirational efforts of this organization.

Gilded eyes

Ashley in Sisley

I hope everyone celebrating had a wonderful Christmas! In just a few short days is another holiday, that you all know I dread…New Years. It is usually a frigid day followed by an even chillier night, ungodly crowds, and a time of reflection on all that you have accomplished and sadly, all that you have not.

On a lighter note, however, I do have some tips for a beautiful makeup look no matter how you spend your evening. Last month, I featured products from Sisley-Paris, one of which was the shimmering Phyto-Ombre Glow Eyeshadow in gold. Each one of the four colors would be the perfect choice for the holiday. The shadow applies smoothly and evenly leaving a wake of pearlescent sparkle. In the photo above, I am wearing the gold over my entire eyelid and socket. I lined my top lashes with the liquid liner side of NYX two-timer in black. My bottom lashes are lined with a bronzed copper, Skorpios Shadow pencil from NARS. The focus of this look are the eyes. Keep lips simple in a nude, rose, neutral color. I am wearing the Sophia Loren lipstick by Dolce & Gabbana.

Mansur Gavriel SS16

Mansur Gavriel’s new spring accessories collection from NYFW included gorgeous mules in bold colors. These fabulous spring accessories were displayed in a fictional department store with both “Shop Girls” and “Clients.” James Boehmer, Director of Global Artistry for NARS stayed with the motif of the shoes and created a look inspired by the 50’s and 60’s.

Makeup used for the Shop Girls:

Velvet Matte Skin Tint (New for Spring 2016; for now try Radiant Creamy Concealer and Pressed Powder)
Mansur Gavriel
Mansur Gavriel
Makeup used for the Clients:
Velvet Matte Skin Tint (New for Spring 2016; for now try Radiant Creamy Concealer and Pressed Powder)
Impassioned Blush (New for Spring 2016; for now try Sex Appeal Blush)
Rosecliff Lipstick on eyelids (New for Spring 2016; for now try Cruising Lipstick)
Matte Eyeshadow (shades Blondie, Bali, Bengali and Coconut Grove depending on hair color)
Rosecliff and Banned Red Lipstick (New for Spring 2016; for now try Cruising Lipstick)
Mansur Gavriel
Mansur Gavriel

Alexander Wang SS16

Last week, Alexander Wang debuted his SS16 collection during NYFW. His collection was reminiscent of 90’s streetwear- mixed media, utilitarian, sporty pieces.

The makeup look was achieved by lead artist, Diane Kendal for NARS Cosmetics. Applied to the models faces was Luminous Moisture Cream, to achieve bright, glowing skin.

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexader Wang


Fall makeup looks

Fall is my favorite season. The weather is sunny and brisk, perfect for wearing cozy layers. The air is fragrant with dried leaves and wood burning. Pumpkin spice, cinnamon, apples, Halloween! The only part that makes me sad about this fabulous season is the fact that it is way too short. This year the farmer’s almanac is predicting serious snow so I am going to enjoy every minute of Autumn, starting with the beauty and fashion. I put together some makeup looks for you that I think are fantastic for the season and throughout winter.

Red lips all year round is my signature look. Choosing the right color for the season is important. Try wearing deeper shades in the colder months. In this look I primed my face with Camera Ready Primer at Laini Cosmetics. Contoured my face with Contour Palette light from Laini Cosmetics. Eye brows were defined with The Brows Have It palette by Laini Cosmetics. I used Maybelline Lash Sensational in Blackest Black mascara. For eyeshadow, I chose Maybelline The Nudes Palette and lined the top of my lids with NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Skorpios and then smudged it into the lid. My cheeks needed some shimmer so I applied Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in Pink Mosaic. As for my favorite part…the red lips. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo completes this look.

Red lipstick

Deep berry lipstick look. I am a huge fan of plum shades for fall. In high school one of my favorite lipsticks was Vamp from Chanel, which has since been discontinued (insert sad face). My skin is very fair and on any given day I have dark circles. If your face is fair like mine it is important to thoroughly cover those circles. I applied Clinique Airbrush concealer, which is lightweight and full coverage. Also, keep in mind that your cheeks should have slightly more color to avoid looking gothic. I added Mineral Fusion Berry Glow 3-in-1 color stick to my cheeks to create a deeper color. For my eyes, I applied Mineral Fusion Eyeshadow Trio in Density to complement the dark lipstick with a lighter violet. The lipstick I chose was NYX Matte Lipstick in Siren.

Plum lipstick

The metallic bronzed look that can be worn all year round. Last month, I posted a video tutorial using Laini Cosmetics products. This look is gorgeous for Autumn, adding a little glam using rich metallic shades. Here is the link to my video tutorial.

Laini Cosmetics

Finally, the 90’s inspired brown lipstick look. Traditionally, if my lips are very bold, I tend to keep my eyes simple. I chose Bare Minerals Eyeshadow duo in The 15 Minutes, a gorgeous burgundy shade was applied to my eye socket and the light pink was applied all over my lid. I am wearing an older lipstick from YSL Rouge Pur Couture 34. Similar lipstick shade here. Keep in mind that I built on each one of the layers of makeup. I kept the contour, blush, and mascara the same for each look.


Let me know what you think! Which look will you try this season?

Fall 2015 Color Collection from NARS

NARS Fall 2015 Color Collection Pack Shot - high res

The fall collection from NARS will be available July 15th at NARSCosmetics.com and NARS boutiques. This collection includes eight velvet shadow sticks, two duel intensity eyeshadows, two lips glosses, one lipstick, and one blush in gorgeous shades ranging from rich earth tones to pale nudes.

Duel Intensity eyeshadow

Duel Intensity eyeshadow

Chelsea Girls lip gloss

Babydoll lip gloss

NARS Fall 2015 Color Collection - Tribulation Blush

NARS Fall Collection

NARS will also release a gifting collection featuring two palettes, the Hardwired Eye Kit with six shadows, eyeliner, and travel size contour brush.

NARS hardwired eye kit

The limited edition Matte/Shimmer eyeshadow palette includes eight eyeshadows and mini eyeliner. Both will be available at NARSCosmetics.com and NARS boutiques on July 15, 2015 and at department and specialty stores August 1, 2015.

NARS eye palette

Black ensemble


Another day, another maxi. I love a good tank dress. It is unbelievably comfortable and very lightweight, making it the perfect choice for these hot days. I wore this outfit to see Jurassic World over the weekend. I can remember waiting for the the first film, Jurassic Park to come out on VHS and running home from school to watch it. I was terrified, those raptors, that blood curdling roar of the T.rex, that poor goat! For those of us who saw the entire franchise it is a no brainer to see the latest stand alone Jurassic World. I enjoyed it tremendously- it paid homage to the originals and still offered a fresh perspective.

Anyway back to my look. I chose to wear my Candie’s platforms with this black tank top dress, however this dress would be perfect with a pair of slip on sneakers as well.

maxi dress

Maxi dress

As for accessories, I am wearing multiple bracelets, a Kara Ross bangle, an Alex and Ani bangle, and a gold bangle that I received as a gift from my godmother years ago.



I chose red as my makeup look- a classic duo with an all black outfit. I am wearing vegan and cruelty free, Crimson Clay red polish and Future Red from NARS limited edition Guy Bourdin collection. A similar color would be the Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Color in Red Amour.

Summer lipsticks

I have assembled some of my favorite lipsticks for summer. These pink, peach, coral, and berry shades are perfect with sun kissed skin and vibrant clothing shades.

3 in 1 stick by Mineral Fusion in both Terra Cotta and Berry Glow. This product is multi- purpose and creates a beautiful sheen of color- soft and long lasting.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is a non drying lipstick that is smooth and creamy. I love two particular shades in this collection, a classic blue base red called Dragon Girl and a red orange called Red Square.

Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Runaway Color is incredibly rich in texture and luxurious. The color is a vibrant peachy coral and incredibly long lasting.

Clarins Multi-Blush in Grenadine can be used as blush or lipstick. It is a powdery soft finish with a bright rose color.

Nyx cosmetics has a wonderful selection of Matte Lipstick that is still very silky and hydrating. Street Cred is a beautiful raspberry coral.



Emily Blunt 2015 Met Ball Gala

Emily Blunt wore a stunning blue modified mandarin gown with an embroidered royal blue cape by Prada.


Jenn Streicher NARS Cosmetics makeup artist wanted Emily to look radiant with minimum makeup and applied NARS luminous weightless foundation. The standout, however is the lipstick shade that Jenn chose, a rich berry from the audacious collection.



Baby blue dress combo

Typically by this time of year my closet is already filled with spring outfits. My winter clothes are packed away and/or donated and I am flitting around in cute dresses. Unfortunately, this year is a bummer. It is still gloomy and cold. At this rate we will completely bypass spring all together straight to summer. Anyway, I cannot model the spring clothes because let’s face it I am not feeling pneumonia, I decided to add another post with an outfit suggestion. Eventually, fingers crossed, east coast we will be wearing our favorite spring dresses.

This baby Blue dress by Topshop is first up. The dress has a deep v front and back, a slit up the back, falls just over the knee, and the best part, drumroll please…pockets!

Keep it simple with this dress. It has enough detail to catch the eye, but also has very minimal lines and does not need an embellished shoe. Peep toe mules are the way to go. Black is too harsh for a spring look with this pastel dress. Opt for the brown leather color from Nine West.

You can find real treasures on Etsy. Case in point this vintage aqua rhinestone collar necklace by SacredCake designer Jennifer Valentine. The dress is so low cut that a necklace will fill in some of the stark design.

As for makeup. Keep skin looking dewy by applying a creme blush like Creme Cheek Colour in Rosebud by Laura Mercier. Eyes can be bare with just mascara. Blue and red are a fabulous combo so be bold and try wearing an orange red color by Nars in Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, Red Square.

What do you think?