Monthly Archives

October 2016


Sugarloaf Craft Festival

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Last weekend I attended the Sugarloaf Craft Festival in Somerset NJ. The two day event features 250 artisans who hand make jewelry, clothing, home goods and other crafts and arts. Small business owners from around the world come to sell their merchandise at this festival that originated in 1976. I enjoyed seeing all the hand made creativity in one space.

La Shot Photography by David Maynard was one craftsman I enjoyed getting to talk to. He specializes in photography of entrances, gardens, castles, land and seascapes. We spoke of our travels and our mutual appreciation of Italy. As he photographs doors I encouraged him to make his way to Madrid. He and his family have traveled to Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, Wales, Greece, and 37 states in the US for his photography. I was taken with his photograph because at first glance they look like paintings. Originally studied to be an accountant he decided to pursue photography after is mom gave him a camera for Christmas. As a self taught photographer he began printing in a dark room then switched to printing Giclee’s on canvas. The use of the print and archival inks allow for high intensity color depth. He finishes the process by protecting each print with a UV protective finish which fights fading. David offers mounting in scoop wood frames or gallery wraps of each of his pictures. La Shot Photography is located at 1013 Delaware Rd., Buffalo NY.

The picture I purchased “View from St. Marks” in Venice, Italy. La Shot business cards.

Bar Harbor Goldsmiths from Virginia had unique wire and beaded jewelry.The company was created by Marilyn Handel a Bowen and Reiki Practitioner. I always have a hard time finding jewelry that fits me perfectly. I have a very small wrist and size five fingers so when I find pieces that are my size I have to buy them. That is exactly what I found at the Bar Harbor Goldsmiths booth. The wire wrapping of their pieces is delicate and thin as opposed to thick wire that can be uncomfortable. Handel’s partner Mr.Hans helped me find a piece that fit me perfectly. Bar Harbor Goldsmiths sells both wholesale and retail with locations in Mt. Desert, Maine and Bowling Green, Virginia.

I loved talking to Kelley Bowers creator of Angels of HeART. Painting and creating art is what she studied at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Her work has been displayed in many museums, shows and stores on the east coast. She created Angels of Hearts after a personal tragedy. Her boyfriend’s sister was murdered and became a highly televised case. As the days and months passed she continually saw feathers floating and images of them in the form of tattoos and merchandise. She believed the feathers were a sign that her loved one was still present. All of the feathers and spiritual signs inspired her to create Angels of HeART. Each angel wing sculpture is hand made by Kelley.The process includes cutting the wood and sculpting the wings first. She then paints, glazes and adds a crystal to each sculpture that can be personalized with a painted message. Her artwork has not only helped her heal but makes a strong connection to people who have been through tragedies or believe in angels. When my mother and I saw her art work we were instantly touched as our spiritual beliefs and personal life experiences have led us to believe in angels. Kelley was gracious in letting us admire her work in silence as she is accustomed to seeing people become emotional at the sight of her artwork. Kelley Bowers not only creates art but long lasting connections with her buyers through the significance each piece has for them. When you speak to Kelley you can see how much she loves making her art and how she wants to help others heal. As each piece is customized and made by her I will be sure to share a picture of the one we ordered here and on social media when I receive it. Although she makes her artwork here in New Jersey her pieces are sold throughout the U.S. Angels of heart

Next stop in the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival is Oaks, PA on November 4th, 5th and 6th, Sugar Loaf. Let me know if you attend the festival and what art you enjoyed learning about.



Media PA and Reconsidered Home

Last week I made my way to the PA/Delaware border. I stayed in the town of Media, PA Americas first fair trade town. When you buy fair trade products you support the workers, farmers or crafters that made them. Proceeds of these sales can go to a variety of programs like training for farmers and crafters to grow and protect their small business. People who  buy fair trade ensure that small businesses survive and are not pushed out by big  conglomerates. You are also making environmentally and socially positive purchases as they help end child slavery, poverty, pollution and vast array of problems facing the globe.

Not sure what I would find I was ready to explore the town. A small town with a big city feel I enjoyed the vast amount of different cultures via shops and restaurants. Being of lover of antiques and thrift shopping I hoped to find a shop that had items not found elsewhere. There were many of these shops although I fell in love with one in particular. Reconsidered Home is a furniture and antique shop that sells items from around the globe. Particularly beautiful are the restored pieces with a mid-century modern Danish, Scandinavian or American design.


Natalie Rettinger started the company in 2011 after she bought her mid-century home and was inspired by the asthetic of that era. She pays attention to detail as she personally selects the pieces that are sold. With many pieces coming from auctions, estate sales and  consigners selling their antiques you are bound to find something that reminds you of the past. Europe’s opulent history is seen in the furniture that was brought back by soldiers and passed down through generations. The glass and gold accents used as a leading trend  in the past now fits in great as a stand out piece in a modern home. Prices vary from $7  and up as you can find pieces made by local artisans or modern design innovator Russell Wright. Natalie finds many unique pieces of art and architecture scouring wholesale and overstock. She also offers her decorating and design expertise to clients looking to redecorate.

Reconsidered Home helps other small businesses by showcasing local artist through popup shops once a month. October 8th they hosted Rally Caller by artist Sarah Kaizar and circa 78 designs by Rachel Breeden. Rally Caller focuses on eco responsible prints and illustrations of endangered species while circa78 seventies inspired home goods and pop art fit right into the store.

Vegan Tan leather plycraft chair and ottoman, Set of Four Umanoff Leon Patio Chairs

1961 Blaupunkt German Radio.                Russian Embossed plate

If you are ever in Media, PA  a 30 min ride from Philly stop by Reconsidered Home on 15 East State Street. Hours: Wednesday- Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm. You can also checkout their website

Hans Olsen sofa                                            Natalie and I

I hope you enjoyed learning about this great small town and business as much as I did.






BeautyCon NYC 2016

For the first time ever I attended Beautycon NYC. I was excited to experience the festival and learn what it had to offer. I looked forward to getting many free items and learning what was new in the beauty industry. I also looked forward to certain booths, some that exceeded my expectations and some that left me wanting more. Here are some highlights of my time.


Now I love NYX, their prices are great and the quality of their makeup matches. I love their Lingerie Liquid Lipsticks, Liquid Suede’s and Soft Matte Lip Creams. I was anticipating to see an array of lippies, newly released items or inventory not on the market yet. The festival would’ve been a great place to showcase their new Liquid Suede Vault or advertise and incorporate their  NYX<3’s LA Eyeshadow Collection. This is also the one booth I would’ve spent my money shopping in but I did not see items for sale. I did enjoy how the makeup artist applied a touch up. She did a great job bronzing me and worked around my picture taking and instastory recording. I’m still a huge fan but I anticipate more next BeautyCon.

Absolute New York

I had never shopped Absolute New York so I was intrigued to see what they had to offer and learn about the brand. The no lose games made the long line worth the wait. Their Plinko styled game made me instantly happy as I love The Price is Right.  The prize I won was an After Glow Illuminating 3D Liquid Highlighter. While their roulette spin won me a full size Intense Lip Polish that smells great. This is a hybrid of lipstick like pigment and lacquer finish of a gloss.


QVC exceeded my expectations with the amount of great brands at their booth. Familiar brands such as Mally Beauty, Julep, Laura Geller and Madam CJ Walker were present. While brands I knew less about Vita Liberata and NudeStick showcased great items. Mally Beauty gave out multiple full sized More is More mascara. Julep featured a manicure station and gave out their beloved 5 free and vegan nail polish. The free item I am most excited to try is the Julep All Natural Facial Konjac Sponge. My biggest skin issue is blackheads and I’m always trying new products that can scrub them out and I look forward to doing so with the sponge. They also featured and gave samples of the Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil. Laura Geller had very informative makeup artists who taught me more about the baked technique. Their blush is baked for 24 hours on terracotta tiles and infused with antioxidants. They gave touch up’s and handed out free full sized Baked Color True Blush in the shade Maui. Madam CJ Walker featured products such as their Curl Define Milk, Silkening Blow Out Crème and Wonderful Scalp Exfoliator. Vita Liberata gave free deluxe samples of the luxury organic phenomenal 2-3 week Tan. Nudestix featured a Get the Look workshop and a chance to win a Nudestix shopping spree. I also managed to win a full size Philosophy Lemon Custard Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bubble Bath in a game.

My Haul

Asian beauty made its presence known with varies beauty companies. Soko Glam the leaders in Korean beauty and skincare advice featured a game in which I won a goodie bag filled with Korean beauty and skincare products.  The products included were the Blossom JeJu’s Pink Camellia Sommbi 2 Step Marine Collagen+Lifting Essence Petal Mask. A two step process first of which is a pouch of Camellia seed oil. The oil has antioxidants and moisturizers known for protecting the skin from aging free radicals. The Honey Nutrition+Vitalizing Beauty Planner Mask by Manefit is applied after cleansing and toning. The mask containing honey extract is applied for 10-20 mins giving your skin energy and vitality. Cosrx a winner of beauty awards featured their Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence known for repairing skin and improving elasticity. They also have a BHA Blackhead Power Liquid a salicylate acid that I am looking forward to trying. Glow Recipe handed out pocket guides to the K-Beauty Routine with samples of their cleansing and toning water packs. The use of snail continued with Benton Snail Bee Essence and cleansing foam.

L’Oreal, Redkin, Pixie, Flower, Soap&Glory

L’Oreal gave full sized Voluminous Liquid Liner Noir and Voluminous Feline mascara. Girls got in line for Redkin’s braid bar and came away with colorful shimmering braids. I came away with a free makeup bag with a few of their samples. Their Mess Around 10 Disrupting Cream Paste adds texture while you style your hair. Pillow Proof blow dry express treatment primer reduces drying time. It also nourishes, hydrates and preps your hair for a blow out. And the final touch needed to any hair style the Control Addict 28 extra high hold hairspray was also included. From Pixie I got a mesmerizing mineral palette in Amethyst Aura and eyeliner in Onyx from Drew Barrymore’s makeup line Flower. Soap and Glory’s tingling Pillow Plum lip gloss in Pinkwell was the freebie I snagged from their station that featured makeovers.

Beauty and fashion celebrities attended and took pictures with fans. I loved meeting Influenster’s cofounder and president Elizabeth Scherle who was kind enough to take a selfie with me. I was also excited to see Joe Zee, Kelly Rowland and Bethany Mota who gave encouraging words of wisdom to aspiring YouTube beauty vloggers. Although fashion is where my passion and where my expertise lies I enjoyed learning about all the beauty products on the market and seeing how it unites everyone. I look forward to the next Beautycon as in my opinion the amount of free products I came away with paid for my  ticket and transportation there.

Let me know in the comments or social media if you attended and what you loved about Beautycon NYC 2016.









Baldinini Grand Opening

September 27th I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of Baldinini’s first US flagship at the Short Hills mall in Short Hills, New Jersey. The Italian accessory and shoe brand has been styling the people of Italy for over 100 years. The brand created by Gimmi Baldinini’s grandfather began in San Mauro Pascoli in the region of Emilia-Romania Italy in 1910. The family continues to grow the shoe brand that produces only 140,000 shoes a year. Allowing for their customers to own a limited amount of unique and custom shoes and accessories.

The sleek and minimalistic store is a clean pallet for the intricately designed shoes and attire that stand out to the customer. The brands house colors of chocolate and cream are carried throughout the boutique showcasing the colorful shoes and fur coats. The store carries men’s and women’s shoes, outerwear and travel accessories. Currently on display in the store is the women’s Gimme Baldinini  fall/winter capsule collection. The bags of this collection include patchwork while the shoes have spiral constructed heels. The collection features shoes and handbags ranging from $606-$1,668.

The handmade shoes and purses include items made from leather, suede, calf hair, fox, mink and satin. Their woman’s collection consist of  enamled heels, metal accents, black lacquered leather soles and metal plates. Online currently their heels are 50% off running from $168-$313. Their current men’s rock collection is inspired by England and it’s musical rock history. Scuba and rubber bottoms make what looks like a heavy boot extremely lightweight. All shoes are made in Italy except their espadrilles which are made in Spain as they always should be. As European sizes always run small their women’s shoes sizes run from 5- 11 1/2 while mens run from 6- 13 1/2.

Press Pics

Outerwear includes coats, jackets and parkas ranging from $977-$2,347. Fabrics used to make the outerwear consist of down, nylon, leather and wool, as well as sheepskin, gabardine, lamb, high tech wicking fabrics with removable hoods. The combination of mixed fabrics allows for flexibility and warmth while wearing them. Women’s sizes run from 00-14 while mens runs from 32-46. Baldinini men’s and women’s watches are Swiss made of steel and leather. The watches that range from $432-$1145 have accents of crystals and gems and water proof abilities.Their unisex travel pieces include lightweight monogramed polycarbonate trolley luggage. Travel bags include calfskin weave prints, neoprene and durable netting. The backpacks, briefcases and shoulder bags of leather and saffiano calfskin all rang from $241-$932. The brands house fragrance of which I fell in love with comes in candle and diffuser forms ranging from $56-$101. The scent’s comforting notes of bergamont, mint and rosemary filled the boutique.

The Baldinini headquarters in San Mauro Pascoli is where the company does all administrative, product design and manufacturing. All steps needed in making and selling their products are done in their headquarters.  Raw materials are made into models and product design and test control are proceeded through Baldinini. They also hold display and commercial areas for buyers who come from around the world. Their showroom in Milan in the square of via Bigli 4 showcases two floors of products for buyers. All creation and production is done by Baldinini ensuring that their vision and quality is to their standards.

The brand that has been featured in Vogue Italia has 120 stand alone stores in Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong and the Middle East. Furthermore the brand has more than 100 flagship stores around the world. Baldinini which does 5% of its business in the US is growing throughout the rest of the 2016 year and continuing in 2017 by opening more stores in New York City and Miami.

Baldinini is continuing a tradition of handmade shoes, outerwear and accessories that can only be seen in a family run company. The 250 craftsman and workers within the company ensure that the Baldinini name is preserved with exquisite materials high quality  craftsmanship and selective production.

I hope I was able to teach you a bit about this great Italian company. Let me know in the comments section or on social media if you have been able to visit the store and what you think.


Although I was invited to the opening all opinions are mine as well as pictures except the press pics which were given to me for my blog use by the company.