C.Blau Handbags


In my opinion, lipstick makes an outfit.  It can make a bold statement or simply take a backseat to showcase a dramatic eye.  Either way you prefer it, lipstick is a chance to step out and try something new!  If you are not used to wearing lipstick, it may feel like playing dress up and you may feel slightly self-conscious at first.  Especially if you are trying out a bright lipstick for the first time.  The key is to find the right shade for your coloring and a good dose of confidence.

I wear bright lipstick with a white tee shirt.  and jeans.  and heels.  It creates a look that it current, fresh, and stands out without trying so hard.  The key is to keep your other makeup simple and fresh and clean.  Think of it in terms of opposites.  If you do a bright lip, keep your eye makeup and blush simple.  If you want to vamp up the eyeliner, choose a simple soft pink or tan/nude lipstick.

With all the choices out there, where does a girl begin in finding her right shade?  You can thank Sephora.  This cosmetics chain enables you to try as many as you want before purchasing.  If you are someone who doesn't enjoy the hunt of shopping, I have put together a list of my personal favorites.  I often get asked what lipstick I am wearing, (you will too) so I've put together a photo gallery of my favorites.

#1-  HEAT WAVE by Nars.  I love the deep pigment, texture and just about everything about this lipstick.  I think orangy-reds are much easier to wear than true reds.  They feel more modern and less stuffy.

#2- SCHAP by Nars.  This is a great blue-pink lipstick.  I love wearing this with a classic navy and white stripe tee.  This looks very similar to what my bridesmaids wore (it looked AMAZING with their burnt-orange gowns--see below for pic)

#3- BE MINE by Victoria's Secret.  Yes, you can buy lipstick at VS, and yes, I think it's a great quality.  This is a pretty, everyday warm pink lipstick.

#4- FASHION'S NIGHT POUT by Revlon.  I think it's very hard to find the perfect tan/nude.  It can't be too close to your lip color or you end up looking like a ghost, but too far from your lip color and you defeat the whole purpose of a "nude".  This is perfect for a smoky eye.

#5-CANDY PINK by Revlon.  This is a great blue-pink lipstick.  See how it looks cooler than #3?  That is why it's called a blue-pink.

Ok.  So now that you've all been inspired to go out and buy some new lipstick, you might be asking how do I apply it so that I don't end up looking like a clown.  Easy.  I think the key is to build layers of color and make sure that it is saturated enough to not flake off on your teeth.

Step 1.  Apply color straight from the tube.  I've never been one to use fancy lip brushes.  I think this enables you to get the best color saturation.

Step 2.  Use your (clean) finger to ensure you've covered your entire lip.  Make sure you get to the outer edges, without going over.  Don't be so concerned with getting a perfect line... this helps prevent you from looking like you're wearing your grandmothers lipliner.

Step 3.  Blot with a tissue.  This prevents it from looking too heavy.  Now you're ready to repeat another layer of lipstick.  This will ensure that it will last a long time.  Obviously, with a deeper shade you will need to reapply more often than with a light color.

I promise, once you take the plunge and try a bright lipstick (even for practice for only an hour) you will feel that your whole face has been brightened.  It's a great way to jump into spring.  So treat yourself, and happy lipstick shopping!

March 01, 2014

dinner party

A few weeks ago we hosted a dinner party for a group of friends.  The idea is a "supper club", where once a month someone from the group has everyone over for dinner.  With busy jobs and some of our friends with kids, this is a perfect opportunity to catch up with each other and relax over a good meal.  

I thought it would be interesting to share some photos of the table setting and the main course.  I love setting up a table.  It's a blank canvas in which you can create any mood or feeling.  It's like setting a stage.  I have always preferred to start with what kind of mood I want to create, as opposed to a theme.  Is it a casual meal?  What time of day will you be eating?  Is it for a group of women or will there be couples? This all plays into the choices of plates, flowers or candles (or no candles).  

For this particular evening, I wanted the table to feel earthy and green and slightly masculine.  I wanted the juxtaposition of our fine wedding china (I fully believe in using what you have, not hide it away) with our colorful, cobalt blue octopus plates. Yes, they have a giant octopus on the plate and I got them from Anthropologie.  I added a lot of clear glass votives and gold striped shot glasses (which I turned into candle votives for this occasion).  Small, green orange juice glasses I picked up in Morocco for about $.50 became small vases for groups of gardenia that I snipped from outside.  I scattered these glasses across the table to add some uniformity.   A tall, spindly yellow plant sits in the center.  I planted it in a heavy stone planter to contrast all the glass.

Ideally, I find that when serving a large group of people the best main course is something that you can put in the oven for however long and then just take out when you're ready to serve.  Keep the dishes that take a lot of prep work after cooking for when you have a few people over, or family and they don't mind chipping in.  It also doesn't hurt to find a delicious recipe that looks beautiful! I found this recipe from Tyler Florence: Family Meal .  It's a beef braciola with a layer of toasted bread crumbs, garlic and parsley with fresh mozzarella, roasted red pepper and anchovies all rolled up and tied with twine.  You roast it alongside tomatoes, garlic, onions and lots of fresh thyme.  This becomes the gravy when the beef is done roasting. 

The one regret of the evening was that I didn't take any pictures of us enjoying the dinner!  After all, what's the point of having a lovely table and delicious food if you don't relish the people you're with!

March 01, 2014


Since moving to Florida from NYC three years ago, you could say I've embraced the climate and space for a garden,  My husband would use the word obsessed.  I've always felt that you should appreciate the positive of any situation you're in, because, no matter where you live, there are always good and bad.  While NYC had the most amazing boutiques, restaurants, culture and just about anything you wanted.......it couldn't provide a garden in our tiny, 350 sq/ft apartment.  While we did have views from the top floor of our apartment (see below) there was no space for anything LIVING (except for us, our 2 cats and dog).

Let's do a complete 180 and enter Naples, Florida.  We live in the Tropics.....literally.  Our growing zone is 10, and if you're unfamiliar with what that means (as most normal people would be) it defines what plants can sustain your weather.  Mostly it details what plants can survive how many days of frost your area gets.  Since we get maybe 3 days of light frost a year, the plants we can grow are very tropical.  Below is an picture taken from the beach......we can ride our bicycles to witness this every night.

This brings me to explain my latest fascination:  the Hibiscus. I have loved colors since I was a little girl.  I would gladly accompany my mom to Hechinger's (a MD based home-improvement store) to peruse and collect the colorful wallpaper samples.  They have since gone bankrupt, and as far as I know, home improvement stores don't allow you to collect samples....... probably because after my collection they realized it wasn't financially sound.  But I digress.  The point is, that if you appreciate color you will love the Hibiscus.  It actually can change color from the time the blossom opens to the end of the day.  After arriving home one evening, I thought a separate bloom had opened since I left for work, only to realize the flower color had changed drastically from coral to canary-yellow.  We have the luxury of planting these outside, but if you live up north I think you can bring them in during the winter.  Cajun Hibiscus is a collection of some the most stunning varieties.  The first Hibiscus pictured has a double bloom.  The bottom Hibiscus is a single bloom and the first plant I bought.

Obviously, Naples doesn't have the excitement and electricity that NYC has.  In my opinion, no other city can compare.  But what I do have, is a little plot of land that I call my own, and my hands, to cultivate it.

March 01, 2014


Everyone deserves a quite respite at the end of the day.  A space to unwind, refresh and just breathe.  For me, this area is usually somewhere outside.  While I would be just as happy to find solitude barefoot under a shady tree, I decided to put together a more sophisticated (yet totally relaxed) getaway on our back patio.  I love the idea of a daybed.  It functions as a sofa, but can transfix to a lofty place of slumber if the mood strikes.  

I found this daybed at World Market.  I was really impressed with the ease of the design and feel like it looks way more expensive than it really is.  Add a few large euro pillows and a throw and you’re ready for a reading OR sleeping spot.  The curtains are also from World Market, although I think they were intended to be used as table cloths.  I added drapery clips to be able to move the curtains easily, depending on the location of the sun.  

I decided to add some shade/part-sun loving greenery to soften to look.  A large fig tree in the corner balances out the draping ferns and begonias.   A hawiian sunset vine creeps up the side wall.  We’ll see where it decides to go once it reaches the top!

Can you find Olive?

March 01, 2014