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I love a good cocktail just as much as the next person, but the perceived complexity of creating a drink that looks and tastes like one I’d get at a mixology bar often deters me from fixing myself one at home. It turns out, though, you don’t need an arsenal of strainers, mixers, and muddlers to make a solid libation, as I learned from Theo Lieberman, head bartender of the speakeasy-esque Milk & Honey. 
Lieberman specializes in creating delicious cocktails with seamlessly combined flavors (M&H’s extensive menu is divided into a whopping eight cocktail categories). Watching him make drinks is akin to watching Doc Brown hover over a lab experiment. While there are some recipes I can barely wrap my head around, one, the Reyka New Maid, seemed easy enough for me to try on my own. All it takes is five ingredients and some ice cubes. No shaking or stirring necessary. 
Check out the easy how-to below:
Reyka New Maid
2 oz. Reyna Vodka
3/4 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. lime juice
3 slices of cucumber
Small handful of mint
Combine ingredients over ice, garnish with mint sprig and 3 cucumber wheels for presentation. 
— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant
Photo credit: Reyka Vodka

I love a good cocktail just as much as the next person, but the perceived complexity of creating a drink that looks and tastes like one I’d get at a mixology bar often deters me from fixing myself one at home. It turns out, though, you don’t need an arsenal of strainers, mixers, and muddlers to make a solid libation, as I learned from Theo Lieberman, head bartender of the speakeasy-esque Milk & Honey

Lieberman specializes in creating delicious cocktails with seamlessly combined flavors (M&H’s extensive menu is divided into a whopping eight cocktail categories). Watching him make drinks is akin to watching Doc Brown hover over a lab experiment. While there are some recipes I can barely wrap my head around, one, the Reyka New Maid, seemed easy enough for me to try on my own. All it takes is five ingredients and some ice cubes. No shaking or stirring necessary. 

Check out the easy how-to below:

Reyka New Maid

2 oz. Reyna Vodka

3/4 oz. simple syrup

1 oz. lime juice

3 slices of cucumber

Small handful of mint

Combine ingredients over ice, garnish with mint sprig and 3 cucumber wheels for presentation. 

— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant

Photo credit: Reyka Vodka

A few weeks ago, Sarah Balch and I paid a visit to the Swarovski showroom in New York City, where we learned about the art of decking out your manicure in crystals and exactly which options to use. Being as nail-obsessed as I am, I was already excited to check out all of their offerings, and once we arrived at the offices, I was floored—the whole place was even more sparkly than I imagined.
All of the gemstones, jewelry, and crystallized accessories were stunning, but the gorgeous chandelier in the center of the room was one item in particular both Sarah and I couldn’t take our eyes off of. I only wish I could have one just like it in my own apartment, that is, if my apartment wasn’t a tiny studio about the size of that entire light fixture…
— Marianne Mychaskiw, InStyle.com Assistant Beauty Editor
Photo credit: Sarah Balch for InStyle.com

A few weeks ago, Sarah Balch and I paid a visit to the Swarovski showroom in New York City, where we learned about the art of decking out your manicure in crystals and exactly which options to use. Being as nail-obsessed as I am, I was already excited to check out all of their offerings, and once we arrived at the offices, I was floored—the whole place was even more sparkly than I imagined.

All of the gemstones, jewelry, and crystallized accessories were stunning, but the gorgeous chandelier in the center of the room was one item in particular both Sarah and I couldn’t take our eyes off of. I only wish I could have one just like it in my own apartment, that is, if my apartment wasn’t a tiny studio about the size of that entire light fixture…

— Marianne Mychaskiw, InStyle.com Assistant Beauty Editor

Photo credit: Sarah Balch for InStyle.com

Where We Went: Charles James Exhibit at The Met
Field trips aren’t just for kids! Last Friday, InStyle staffers migrated uptown to the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to peruse the much-buzzed-about Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit (open until August 10, 2014), which, for those who don’t know, is the inaugural showcase of the newly revamped Costume Institute (and, of course, the thematic tie-in for this year’s Met Gala). 
While making our way through the melange of highly sculptural ball gowns designed by the 20th-century Anglo-American couturier (the exhibit included 65 of his most noteworthy designs), we became fixated on the digitized animations and x-rays that accompanied each piece, explaining the dress construction via virtual demonstration. The perfect fusion of past and present!
— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant
Pictured:Back row, from left: Eric Wilson (Fashion News Director), Erik Jackson (Executive Editor), Donna Bulseco (Assistant Managing Editor), Cindy Weber Cleary (Fashion Director), Claire Stern (Editorial Assistant), Alyssa Hoersten (Assistant Art Director), Angelique Serrano (Beauty Director), Noora Raj (Associate Communications Director), Lavinel Savu (Assistant Managing Editor)
Front row, from left: Natalie McCrea (International Manager), DeLora Jones Blake (Chief of Reporters), Jennifer Ferrise (Assistant Editor)

Where We Went: Charles James Exhibit at The Met

Field trips aren’t just for kids! Last Friday, InStyle staffers migrated uptown to the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC to peruse the much-buzzed-about Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit (open until August 10, 2014), which, for those who don’t know, is the inaugural showcase of the newly revamped Costume Institute (and, of course, the thematic tie-in for this year’s Met Gala). 

While making our way through the melange of highly sculptural ball gowns designed by the 20th-century Anglo-American couturier (the exhibit included 65 of his most noteworthy designs), we became fixated on the digitized animations and x-rays that accompanied each piece, explaining the dress construction via virtual demonstration. The perfect fusion of past and present!

— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant

Pictured:
Back row, from left: Eric Wilson (Fashion News Director), Erik Jackson (Executive Editor), Donna Bulseco (Assistant Managing Editor), Cindy Weber Cleary (Fashion Director), Claire Stern (Editorial Assistant), Alyssa Hoersten (Assistant Art Director), Angelique Serrano (Beauty Director), Noora Raj (Associate Communications Director), Lavinel Savu (Assistant Managing Editor)

Front row, from left: Natalie McCrea (International Manager), DeLora Jones Blake (Chief of Reporters), Jennifer Ferrise (Assistant Editor)

Cocktails and Clothes at the home of BCBG’s Max and Lubov Azria

"Welcome to mi casa!" exclaimed Lubov Azria, gesturing around the lush backyard of “Maison Du Soleil," the L.A. home she shares with husband Max Azria. "But please excuse my terrible Spanish," she laughed. 

The occasion, which coincides with the firms 25th birthday, was a cocktail fete and fashion show of the BCBG Max Azria and Herve Leger 2015 Resort collections, and to beat the summer heat, attendees were given fans that read: “Be Chic Be Gorgeous.”

While guests (like Keke Palmer, Jamie Chung, and Bellamy Young) sipped signature cocktails and munched on fish tacos, Lubov gave a lively running commentary as models pranced around the pool in Tunisian-inspired caftans, cropped embroidered jackets, floaty handkerchief dresses and harem pants.

"Max has always just wanted to make women feel beautiful," nodded Lubov toward her husband, who watched appreciatively with their daughter Agnes (who later sang two original songs for the crowd).

As guests parted into the sunset, they were fittingly gifted with mirrored aviator shades and hats, as well as pastel shades of Zoya nail polish and an Herve Leger fragrance.  

— Glynis Costin, West Coast Bureau Chief

Behind the Scenes: InStyle’s Ice Cream Shoot
 
I love ice cream. I’m the kind of person who would enjoy a scoop in 20-degree weather, outdoors, wrapped in a parka. And that’s why having to test frozen desserts during the arctic month of February for our July issue was a piece of cake for this pastry chef-turned-editor.

Throughout the month of February, our team tested dishes from the pages of the new book Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, written by the James Beard award-winning author, Jeni Britton Bauer, who’s also the founder of the hugely successful parlor Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio.

Fast forward several weeks, dozens of pints, and an obscene amount of calories later, our team was finally able to settle on five beautiful, scrumptious, easy-to-make ice cream-based dishes, including these fruit sugar-dough ice cream-toppers  (think of them as fruit pie-cookie hybrids) and this classic looking tart, which is—surprise!—filled with a creamy, vanilla ice cream in lieu of a typical custard pudding.

If you’re feeling artsy, you can slice and arrange fruity pieces to create a patterns or letters—they will look and taste just as delectable as a casual mound of mixed berries.  
 
Learn how to make them in the “Ice Cream Classics Made Cooler” story on page 191 in our July 2014 issue, available now on newsstands and for digital download.

— Anne Kim, InStyle Assistant Editor

Photo credits: Mike Vorrasi and Anne Kim

Look Who We Met: Recording Artist Lykke Li
On tour to promote her recently released album, “I Never Learn,” Swedish-born singer-songwriter Lykke Li made a stop at the newly opened Empire Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to seats at the sold-out show (which was amazing, by the way), we scored an intimate meet-and-greet with the star backstage in her dressing room.
The first thing we noticed when we walked into the cozy room was her swoon-worthy ensemble, complete with shoes she designed herself. We were thrilled to find out that some of her designs will soon be available to the public—the star is collaborating with fashion brand & Other Stories for a collection that will launch in the fall. We got to preview a few of the pieces up close, and later saw them in their full glory on-stage while she performed new tracks, like “No Rest For The Wicked,” and old hits, such as “Little Bit.”
While this was her last stop in the U.S. before heading off to Europe, she’ll return stateside in August for music festivals Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. 
— Tessa Trudeau, Editorial Assistant, InStyle LA office

Look Who We Met: Recording Artist Lykke Li

On tour to promote her recently released album, “I Never Learn,” Swedish-born singer-songwriter Lykke Li made a stop at the newly opened Empire Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to seats at the sold-out show (which was amazing, by the way), we scored an intimate meet-and-greet with the star backstage in her dressing room.

The first thing we noticed when we walked into the cozy room was her swoon-worthy ensemble, complete with shoes she designed herself. We were thrilled to find out that some of her designs will soon be available to the public—the star is collaborating with fashion brand & Other Stories for a collection that will launch in the fall. We got to preview a few of the pieces up close, and later saw them in their full glory on-stage while she performed new tracks, like “No Rest For The Wicked,” and old hits, such as “Little Bit.”

While this was her last stop in the U.S. before heading off to Europe, she’ll return stateside in August for music festivals Lollapalooza and Outside Lands.

— Tessa Trudeau, Editorial Assistant, InStyle LA office

Where We Went: Dannijo’s Showroom
I’ve visited my fair share of showrooms, and not to play favorites, but Dannijo hands-down has one of the most unique spaces I’ve ever seen. The exposed brick loft functions as both an office and display area, and it looks like the lavish Soho living room you never had. Framed oil paintings and old Dannijo fashion spreads line the walls, and on various shelves around the space lie mannequin heads bedecked with Dannijo’s current collections. 
Danielle and Jodie Snyder, the sister design duo and co-founders of the brand, designed the space themselves. “We like to be inspired by where we work,” Jodie told me during my visit. “It’s an extension of us and our aesthetic.” The most eye-catching part for me were the mannequins stationed in the back of the studio adorned with layers of jewels. The Snyder’s call them “Dannijo fembots.” If Austin Powers ever makes a comeback…
— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant

Where We Went: Dannijo’s Showroom

I’ve visited my fair share of showrooms, and not to play favorites, but Dannijo hands-down has one of the most unique spaces I’ve ever seen. The exposed brick loft functions as both an office and display area, and it looks like the lavish Soho living room you never had. Framed oil paintings and old Dannijo fashion spreads line the walls, and on various shelves around the space lie mannequin heads bedecked with Dannijo’s current collections. 

Danielle and Jodie Snyder, the sister design duo and co-founders of the brand, designed the space themselves. “We like to be inspired by where we work,” Jodie told me during my visit. “It’s an extension of us and our aesthetic.” The most eye-catching part for me were the mannequins stationed in the back of the studio adorned with layers of jewels. The Snyder’s call them “Dannijo fembots.” If Austin Powers ever makes a comeback…

— Claire Stern, InStyle Editorial Assistant

Behind the Scenes: Jennifer Lopez’s April Cover Shoot

The pages of our annual April “Color Issue” never fail to amaze with rainbow-bright delights, and there’s no one as colorful or as vibrant (or beautiful!) as JLo. As such, we did our due diligence and packed for the shoot with luggage teeming with brilliant dresses (including one art-inspired Chanel creation), bold clutches and dazzling jewels.

Flip through the gallery above to get a behind-the-scenes feel of the cover shoot, and then head on over to InStyle.com to read about the atmosphere, which songs JLo danced to, and more.

Behind the Scenes: What It Was Like to Interview Britney Spears for the January Issue
I’m the Fashion Features Editor at InStyle and in addition to assigning and editing cover stories and fashion features, I sometimes get to write them. This was the case with Britney, who I have long admired since I was an editor at Teen People in the early 2000s. Here’s a step-by-step account of our interview that didn’t make it into the story:
1. As I walked up the dance rehearsal space, I could hear “Toxic” blaring. It’s one of my personal favorites and immediately took me back to her famous MTV snake performance. If I wasn’t nervous before about interviewing a cultural icon, I was then.
2. I was greeted by a very nice and slight guy who manned the door the whole time I was there. He basically acted as a bouncer, checking people in and out, but didn’t have as hulky or intimidating a presence as I would have thought someone in that role should have.
3. I hung out the lobby for a while waiting, listening to the rehearsal in the neighboring room, but it would get really crowded at times with handlers and business associates. It was also extremely hot in the space. Eventually I migrated to an empty locker room area that was a tad cooler.
4. At one point I saw the show’s producer, Baz Halpin, walk by and I asked to speak with him about the production. He told me about the snow and rain elements of the show and the number of dancers. He’s also worked with Pink and Katy Perry.
5. Shortly after I spoke to Baz and after about three spins of the chorus of Stronger, dancers started pouring out of the back room/rehearsal space. I heard someone mention something about lunch and then, sooner than I thought she appeared. In the midst of the scrum, Britney walked by. Her publicist ushered me into an adjacent office and we shook hands just like you would in a very professional greeting (firm handshake, mutual eye contact, polite pleasantries).
6. I didn’t include the shoes in the write-up of what she wore: totally cute hot pink Nike sneakers.
7. The next few minutes were really hectic as there was a tiny fridge in the office and the dancers were popping in and out to grab their lunches while someone else stood on a chair to affix thick black velvet fabric to the single window in the space (to keep out the lenses). Britney, who had taken a seat across from me, was just chilling. Even though she had obviously just been working out hard (and in that heat), her skin looked flawless.8. During the interview, she was funny, open, warm, and down to earth. Sure she was guarded about certain topics—relationships—but very open about other topics, like her disdain for how society puts too much pressure on women to look thin. In fact, one of my favorite quotes that didn’t make it in and that I think reflects her matured sense of self and her emerging perspective on the important things in life, is this one: “If you have a point in your life in which you are 15 pounds overweight, it’s okay. It’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.”
—Isabel Gonzalez Whitaker
The January issue of InStyle is on newsstands now. Read an excerpt of the cover story on InStyle.com.
Photo credit: Alex Reside for InStyle.com

Behind the Scenes: What It Was Like to Interview Britney Spears for the January Issue

I’m the Fashion Features Editor at InStyle and in addition to assigning and editing cover stories and fashion features, I sometimes get to write them. This was the case with Britney, who I have long admired since I was an editor at Teen People in the early 2000s. Here’s a step-by-step account of our interview that didn’t make it into the story:

1. As I walked up the dance rehearsal space, I could hear “Toxic” blaring. It’s one of my personal favorites and immediately took me back to her famous MTV snake performance. If I wasn’t nervous before about interviewing a cultural icon, I was then.

2. I was greeted by a very nice and slight guy who manned the door the whole time I was there. He basically acted as a bouncer, checking people in and out, but didn’t have as hulky or intimidating a presence as I would have thought someone in that role should have.

3. I hung out the lobby for a while waiting, listening to the rehearsal in the neighboring room, but it would get really crowded at times with handlers and business associates. It was also extremely hot in the space. Eventually I migrated to an empty locker room area that was a tad cooler.

4. At one point I saw the show’s producer, Baz Halpin, walk by and I asked to speak with him about the production. He told me about the snow and rain elements of the show and the number of dancers. He’s also worked with Pink and Katy Perry.

5. Shortly after I spoke to Baz and after about three spins of the chorus of Stronger, dancers started pouring out of the back room/rehearsal space. I heard someone mention something about lunch and then, sooner than I thought she appeared. In the midst of the scrum, Britney walked by. Her publicist ushered me into an adjacent office and we shook hands just like you would in a very professional greeting (firm handshake, mutual eye contact, polite pleasantries).

6. I didn’t include the shoes in the write-up of what she wore: totally cute hot pink Nike sneakers.

7. The next few minutes were really hectic as there was a tiny fridge in the office and the dancers were popping in and out to grab their lunches while someone else stood on a chair to affix thick black velvet fabric to the single window in the space (to keep out the lenses). Britney, who had taken a seat across from me, was just chilling. Even though she had obviously just been working out hard (and in that heat), her skin looked flawless.

8. During the interview, she was funny, open, warm, and down to earth. Sure she was guarded about certain topics—relationships—but very open about other topics, like her disdain for how society puts too much pressure on women to look thin. In fact, one of my favorite quotes that didn’t make it in and that I think reflects her matured sense of self and her emerging perspective on the important things in life, is this one: “If you have a point in your life in which you are 15 pounds overweight, it’s okay. It’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.”

—Isabel Gonzalez Whitaker

The January issue of InStyle is on newsstands now. Read an excerpt of the cover story on InStyle.com.

Photo credit: Alex Reside for InStyle.com

Behind the Scenes: Getting the Victoria’s Secret Angel Treatment
"This year’s annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show featuredsome incredible show-stopping moments (per always), including Behati Prinsloo sashaying down the runway in floor-length feathered angel wings while fiancé Adam Levine gave her a standing ovation, Karlie Kloss donning a nude sequined bodysuit, and Taylor Swift serenading the crowd in a sparkling mini-dress.
But there’s more than one way to look like a Victoria’s Secret model without having to sport lingerie in front of a crowd (phew). We challenged Victoria’s Secret makeup artist Colleen Creighton, who created the sexy, dewy makeup on this year’s Angels backstage, to recreate the look on us.
Colleen, equipped with a suitcase full of products, set up shop in my office yesterday morning and got to work, transforming me from tired and pale to glowing and runway-ready.To recreate the sultry brown eyes, rosy bronzed cheeks and balmy nude pout seen on Candice Swanepoel and the other Angels, Colleen began with a tinted moisturizer base, followed by dark, sexy eye makeup, dark chocolate eyeliner and several coats of mascara (the most important part, in my opinion!). Then she completed with look with a shimmery blush and bronzer, and sealed it with a kiss—in the form of an VS Makeup Color Drama lipstick in Melt.” — Kim Peiffer, Senior Fashion News Editor, InStyle.comGet the look—check InStyle.com for a step-by-step tutorial and see Kim’s transformation video!
Photo credit: Alex Reside for InStyle.com

Behind the Scenes: Getting the Victoria’s Secret Angel Treatment

"This year’s annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show featured
some incredible show-stopping moments (per always), including Behati Prinsloo sashaying down the runway in floor-length feathered angel wings while fiancé Adam Levine gave her a standing ovation, Karlie Kloss donning a nude sequined bodysuit, and Taylor Swift serenading the crowd in a sparkling mini-dress.

But there’s more than one way to look like a Victoria’s Secret model without having to sport lingerie in front of a crowd (phew). We challenged Victoria’s Secret makeup artist Colleen Creighton, who created the sexy, dewy makeup on this year’s Angels backstage, to recreate the look on us.

Colleen, equipped with a suitcase full of products, set up shop in my office yesterday morning and got to work, transforming me from tired and pale to glowing and runway-ready.

To recreate the sultry brown eyes, rosy bronzed cheeks and balmy nude pout seen on Candice Swanepoel and the other Angels, Colleen began with a tinted moisturizer base, followed by dark, sexy eye makeup, dark chocolate eyeliner and several coats of mascara (the most important part, in my opinion!). Then she completed with look with a shimmery blush and bronzer, and sealed it with a kiss—in the form of an VS Makeup Color Drama lipstick in Melt.” — Kim Peiffer, Senior Fashion News Editor, InStyle.com

Get the look—check InStyle.com for a step-by-step tutorial and see Kim’s transformation video!

Photo credit: Alex Reside for InStyle.com