Hello, Reco! I’m loving this new app for book lovers like me on the go

Need to find a book to read that you'll actually love? Hello, Reco! #HelloReco

Need to find a book to read that you’ll actually love? Hello, Reco!
#HelloReco

On Monday, I’m headed out on a 16-day trip with stops in 4 different cities…and I need good books to read.

If you’ve traveled at all this summer – or, at all, EVER – you can relate.

And, if you’re a regular reader or social media follower, there are 3 things you know I need to make me happy at the end of the day:

  • A glass of rich, red wine with dinner
  • A long, hot bath at the end of the day to wash the stress away, and
  • A good book I can read in the tub and fall asleep to in bed, still holding the book in my hand as I drift off to dreamland.

My new favorite app, Reco, helps me with that last requirement for happiness…especially when my calendar is jam-packed with travel! Created by book lovers for book lovers, Reco holds the belief that the “best book recommendations come from people you trust.”

(*Editor’s note: pronounced like “RECOmmendation”)

Reco has taken the recommendations of your favorite literary-fan friends and monthly book club fellows, and found a place for them all on the interweb, and most conveniently…on your phone.

I downloaded the app, loved it, and then contacted the co-founder of Reco – and EVP and strategy officer at Indigo – Krishna Nikhil to learn more about how they came up with this genius idea for the book lovers of the world, like me.

DAWN:            Krishna, as a book lover, I LOVE Reco! It is SO my jam. What inspired you to come up with it? I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!

NIKHIL:            Well, thank you! You know, the inspiration for us was really things that we’ve been hearing both as book sellers and from our customers: that there is really nothing better than receiving a recommendation for a book a friend has loved. That makes you want to read it, and then maybe after you read it, you also want to share that recommendation with someone else. And, personalized recommendation unquestionably makes the best book reading experience, and everyone acknowledges it, yet we all spend a little bit too much time, you know, browsing online and reading reviews from strangers or looking at bestseller lists. So, we wanted to find a way to really bring personalized book recommendations to people in an improved way so that people could just read better books all the time.

DAWN:            Well, I love that. And what was your background? How did you decide “I’m going to do an app for this?”

NIKHIL:            This – like so many startups – really began as something on the side. My full time role at Indigo is as our head book merchant. So I’ve got a team of book buyers. We’re the ones who pick the books that we’re going to feature, and do all of the things to make our bookstore amazing. And during the many conversations that we’ve had as a team and with our customers, we saw this opportunity to create something special.

DAWN:            Which is so important, because I think we know with apps, people –. We joke that if your app isn’t engaging, then you’re going to get apathy. So, putting the “app” in apathy.

NIKHIL:            I like that word! Our app is really about taking the stress away from your life and just being really easy to use and visually pleasing.

DAWN:            Okay, let’s get personal. What is your first memory of a reading experience with a book – a reading experience that still really resonates with you to this day?

NIKHIL:            The one that still stands out to this day is the Hardy Boys series. You know, I had an older brother as well, – like Frank and Joe Hardy – and I sort of always likened myself to the younger Hardy Boy. And, there was just a bit of competing with my brother to see who would get through these books and the entire series as quickly as possible. So, that still stands out to this day for me.

DAWN:            I so get that. Nancy Drew for girls like me! Now. What 5 books have inspired you that you think everyone should read – or at least have on their bookshelf? But, um, preferably reading!

NIKHIL:            These lists are so personal. On my list I have To Kill a Mockingbird (just an incredible all-time great classic), and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (a beautiful lyrical story that I feel like I can read every year). There’s a beautiful quote from that book – “It’s the possibility of a dream coming true that makes life interesting.” And you know, that’s a quote from that book that just stays with me. Another one that is very relevant to me is the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson – just a powerful story of a genius level creator that is so relevant for our time and anyone who inspires to be an entrepreneur. A more recent favorite Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. I think so much of reading is about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and I think that in that book he puts you into the black male experience in the U.S. better than I think anyone has, and it’s so relevant to so much of what is happening right now. And then the final one – this one is a bit of a Canadian choice – but it’s The Orenda by Joseph Boyden – it’s a really visceral, powerful story about the founding of Canada. Takes place sort of in the 1700s/1800s and it’s told from multiple perspectives – not just the European voice but also the native Canadian one as well. And, “Orenda” means

DAWN:            Oooh. I love me some magic. What character from a book you most identify with?

NIKHIL:            That is a really hard one. Whenever I sort of read a spy novel, I try to identify with those characters, but I think – realistically – Aziz Ansari, in his book Modern Romance. I feel like there’s an Aziz Ansari inside of me wanting to break out.

DAWN:            What was the best gift you have received in book form?

NIKHIL:            For me, it was very recently getting to meet Phil Knight – the founder of Nike – who just wrote his memoir, autobiography, Shoe Dog. It is just such an incredible story about the founding journey of Nike –and, not the glitz and glamor part of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi – but more about the, you know, a founder with a dream of inspiring more people to run and be athletes, and started this sneaker company from nothing. Getting to meet the man in real life and seeing what a humble, incredible person he is and having an inscribed copy of that book is a treasure

reading it then.

DAWN:            What is the best rec you’ve received through Reco as of now?

NIKHIL:            I think you can sometimes have these moments where you don’t realize there are these great books out there that your friends are reading and you want to be part of that conversation – and that’s done so well in other mediums. When you think about the Netflix effect — they release House of Cards [and] every single person is watching and talking about House of Cards. I can’t think of many books where that effect is the same. It’s true when a new Harry Potter book launches, its true when a Game of Thrones book launches. But it’s true of such a small number of books. And what I find Reco is creating in my own social network is a bit of that effect of all of my friends want to be reading the same book at the same time. Like we all went through this recently with a book called The Girls by Emma Cline. Not a book that I would actually normally gravitate to, but I saw so many Recos.

DAWN:            With your busy life, how do you make time to read?

NIKHIL:            I think more people need to read for entertainment and for a broad set of reasons versus a lot of people – and I think this is even more true of men – feel like, “Well, when I’m reading I’m going to read a business book or a biography.” People don’t sort of get into various genres and types of books in order to truly enjoy the reading experience, versus it sometimes feeling like work. During the week it is that last thing I do. It’s okay, I’ve gotten everything I need to get done and now I can enjoy this book for – it could be an hour, it could be 15 minutes – before going to sleep. But then there’s also that vacation reading experience where you’re sitting by a pool or on the beach and you just get to kind of soak in the book for a much longer period of time. It might be the one where you’re working but you’re on a plane and you have that time between take-off that you can read. So, for me there are so many different special moments with books that I think it’s amazing. I actually think books are probably the last place we can go to truly unplug and disconnect and as much as what we created is a mobile app and we want people using it on their iPhone, I also just value so much that moment with a book where you’re a bit distraction-free.

DAWN:            Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s very true. I always say to readers and social media followers that, you know, some people say “I don’t have time to read” and I’m like well, what I do, even if its 10 minutes, I think it’s important to have a ritual with a book. And I personally can’t read on Kindle. I have to have books because if not I will drop it in the tub as I’m taking a bath.

NIKHIL:            Well, what all the research is telling us is that reading real physical books is better for you in that you retain the plot better, you sleep better when you read a physical book versus an e-book. I think there was just a study I saw today that reading extends your life by two years, and it was a Yale study. There’s also so much on the importance of literary that how it has both health and sleep benefits. All those things.

DAWN:            Something to remember, something to remember! Fun question: If you could go back in a time machine, what advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

NIKHIL:            I’m pretty sure my 15-year-old self would not take any advice from me. I think it would just be follow your passion. I think I’ve had lots of different things that I’ve done in my career and education. You know, I started my education as an engineer. That wasn’t really passion-driven. That was, you know, new immigrant to Canada, my parents basically said you’re doing something science and tech. And so engineering it was. But, you know, I also think the journey is what is important and all of those things that I’ve done to date are kind of what got me here. Yeah. Follow your passion. And then it’s about really looking ahead to the amazing possibilities.

DAWN:            Oh, absolutely. How would you like to see people using Reco?

NIKHIL:            What we have found is that the most important thing at the start is to follow a few people. It’s a little like Facebook or Instagram where if you’re not following a good number of people then you’re not getting interesting enough Recos into your feed. And so what you’ll see right when you join is a list of people who we think are making some of the best all-around recommendations, and then also some people that are handpicked for you based on what you selected as your interests are. So if you selected when you join up, “I’m interested in celebrities, self-help and art” then the app will show you users who share those interests so you can follow them. So, right out off the bat if you follow eight to ten people your experience on Reco is for sure going to be better; you’re going to get some really interesting books in your feed, and then you can decide whether you want to add more people or unfollow some. So, that’s the number one thing. The second one is to put some recos out in the world and there’s two ways to do that. One is to say you love this book, share it with a short little blurb, and the other way is to create a list. So, we’ve had a lot of people creating the five best books to read this summer. It’s another way to get onto the platform and share and engage and, you know, it is like any social media platform. You get out of it what you put into it.

DAWN:             It has been SO good dining and dishing with you, Krishna. And, well, I’d better go…because it looks like I’ve got some reading to do!

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Reco. While products or compensation were provided, the words and opinions are all my own. I never post about something I don’t believe in 100%. That’s just not who I am. Thank you, Reco, for letting me – an avid book lover – try out and promote your joy of reading-inspiring app.

Friday Friendspiration: Jolie Williams Augustine

Friday Friendspiration is all about living a life you love, within the life you have been given.

Today’s Friday Friendspirer, Jolie Williams Augustine, does just that.

Friday Friendspiration with Jolie Augustine

Friday Friendspiration with Jolie Augustine

This is Jolie girl to me: the totally COOLEST girl ever. See, I met Jolie when I was in 5th grade, and she was dating my big brother, at the end of their senior year. When you’re 11 – well, let’s be honest – anyone older is cooler than you. So, when I moved out to LA in 2000, and discovered that Jolie lived out here, I was eager to see if her “coolness” had, well, kept.

It had.

I have been friends with Jolie for over 15 years now – going from a puppy-like girl, just wanting to impress her (as one of my big brother’s old girlfriends), to a fellow woman who admires this beautiful (editor’s note: Jolie would never refer to herself as “beautiful,” but I think it’s fine time she accepts the truth), fun, free-spirited, thoughtful, generous, music-loving, and, yes – COOL – woman, who lives in this same crazy world of Los Angeles that I do.

Jolie and me…at a show, no doubt. I wanna say this was Counting Crows? Wallflowers?

Jolie and me…at a show, no doubt. I wanna say this was Counting Crows? Wallflowers?

A teacher, she has taught me so much – not in a classroom – but through heartfelt conversations, musings over mimosas, and dozens of hours spent boogeying down to our favorite bands. That’s probably my favorite thing about Jolie: she’s always up to dance with you at a show, like all good Texan girls should be.

I’m so privileged to be on this journey together with her.

That’s Jolie girl in my words.

But, this is Jolie girl in her own words.

May her love of life, giving heart, spontaneous spirit – and perpetual willingness to dance – sing some music into your life, today.

***

The Friendspirer: Jolie Williams Augustine

Creating space. I live in Los Angeles, and have been teaching in public schools for 20 years, and recently took a two-year break for various reasons. I am very good at “keeping with the program” and life threw me some curve balls these past 2 years. The loss of my parents left a weirdly-shaped hole in my heart. I recently saw these words: “Instead of asking why they left, now ask, what beauty will I create in the space they no longer occupy?” Whoa. Parents take up a very significant space. So with them being gone and taking time off, life has felt a bit unnerving – and very peaceful – but also has made me ask myself “what do I want to do with this time – and, essentially – my life?” This answer is a work in progress, as we all are.

The world according to Jolie

The world according to Jolie

On the “glamour” of teaching. I have enjoyed the lifestyle teaching has given me, which includes: watching teenagers feel awkward, making them laugh…and listening to them, making music playlists (see link to her playlist gift to you at bottom), and playing music in class, read and discuss literature and most importantly, yes, time for travel and breaks. Working with teenagers is far from glamorous, and there is no room for ego or perfection. Parents and teachers know this and I have decided that working with young people, although humbling, is also a profound gift, and the rewards are subtle but many. One of these is pictured below. A former student wrote this about me 5 years after I had her as a student. I am not sure she was in my class the entire year but it’s nice to know she connected to me and the class. She is now majoring in Literature and Medicine!

 

* A former student wrote this about me 5 years after I had her as a student. I am not sure she was in my class the entire year but it's nice to know she connected to me and the class. She is now majoring in Literature and Medicine!

* A former student wrote this about me 5 years after I had her as a student. I am not sure she was in my class the entire year but it’s nice to know she connected to me and the class. She is now majoring in Literature and Medicine!

On wanderlust: cool things will follow. I have bit of a wanderlust and thankfully, my husband of 17 years tolerates my wishes to go somewhere or come along and make it an adventure. Yes, I love hotels and massages but I would much rather go somewhere where I don’t know where to go, maybe the people don’t speak english and cool things will follow. It know that most people my age do have tremendous responsibilities but some have lost the willingness (and maybe have fear?) to try something new, go somewhere different or meet new people. Thankfully, I have a small group of friends who do enjoy going to music festivals. YES, the average age is 15 at these festivals, but there is something exciting for me in seeing new music OUTDOORS, walking around and watching all the people. Most people my age cringe at the thought. I guess my friends and I have found a way to keep it simple, be comfortable, stay hydrated! and still get our groove on.

Jolie, getting her groove on

Jolie, getting her groove on

Keeping creatively inspired & California love. I have found that meeting new people, going to new places, and getting out of my comfort zone has kept me creatively inspired. I find new restaurants, music, books and places that I may never have found before. I don’t get wrapped up in details of things (maybe, that’s not a good thing?) but I know that especially today, people have appreciated my commitment to having fun and getting things done. I tend to make music playlists for people I have just met and will take up an offer for a visit. I love showing people around the city and California. Visits to a Korean spa,hiking, eating our way to Joshua Tree, Boyle Heights, the beach and Idylwild are all on the itinerary.  All the stressing and freaking out about the small things get you nowhere. Read any book by Cheryl Strayed, Anne Lamott, Jenny Lawson, Mary Karr, or Joan Didion and you will know this is true. Throw in David Sedaris, Sherman Alexie and Augusten Burroughs and you have my humorous life teachers.

 

Jolie and her "little sis" from Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters

Jolie and her “little sis” from Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters

Little sisters and homeboys. I spent the past year volunteering at Homeboy Industries, a gang rehabilitation organization, as a GED teacher and it reaffirmed my passion for teaching and connecting with people. I’ve lived in LA for 20 years and I have grown to really love and appreciate the good and bad of LA. It is very easy to separate oneself in LA based on neighborhoods and jobs but I have found the beauty being with people who make up a very significant part of LA and California and are generally overlooked. I have also been a part of the Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program for 7 years. I  met my  ‘little sis” when she was 11. It has been challenging at times to know how to help but sometimes I just need to know a visit to a bookstore, museum, a walk or getting ice-cream with someone can be just the thing needed. 

Jolie at 15, who probably wouldn't have listened to 44-year-old Jolie…but should.

Jolie at 15, who probably wouldn’t have listened to 44-year-old Jolie…but should.

Dear 15 Me. I know that when I was 15-years-old (see evidence above), I probably wouldn’t have listened to advice from my 44-year-old self. I was having too much fun thinking of boys and listening to Duran Duran. But I would share:

1. Be kind to the kids people make fun of.

2. Live in a a foreign country once in your life.

3. You’ll find a boyfriend. Don’t worry.

4. Salads are actually good. Put down the Doritos.

5. Keep having fun even when you get older.

***Editor’s Note:
Jolie’s gift to you. 
Our first friendspirer to offer a gift to our readers, Jolie wanted to share her “Feel It” Spotify playlist with you all, HERE. As someone who has been introduced to numerous bands and countless songs by this music aficionado, I can say that it truly is a gift…so OPEN IT UP !

For you!! Jolie's "Feel It" playlist on Spotify

For you!! Jolie’s “Feel It” playlist on Spotify

Thanks for the friendspiration, Jolie. If we inspire one person today, we have done our job.

Jolie and Rosie

Jolie and Rosie

xoxo,
Dawn

 

Friday Friendspiration: Alexandra Anderson Conrad

I talk a lot about these things:

Living a life you love.

Finding your bliss.

Pursuing your passion.

Carving out time for creativity.

Today’s Friday Friendspiration honoree is actually doing all of that.

In fact, this whole new column of Friday Friendspiration was INSPIRED by her.

Her name is Alexandra Anderson Conrad.

Friday Friendspiration: Alexandra Anderson Conrad

Friday Friendspiration: Alexandra Anderson Conrad

Back in April, I remember us sitting on a picnic bench at our friend Katie’s baby shower, and Alex telling me that she was inspired by the creative life I lead, and how she’d like to live a more creative life, as well. She was a new mom, a physician anesthesiologist, and she just wanted to expand her creative outlets a little. So, I think I told her about one of my favorite books, The Artist’s Way, and I sent her a little good energy.

Well, the story didn’t end there.

On Instagram, I started seeing her post more and more of her drawings of her creative little creatures. And, then when the new year began, I saw that she had started an Instagram account, @MCcreatures, reserved as an online home for her creatures and artistic expression.

Well, hello there, @MCCreatures!

Well, hello there, @MCCreatures!

I was floored.

She did it. And, not just because of something I said, but it turns out that Alex’s creative spirit is surrounded by creative people, and there is nothing better for a creative soul than that.

Here’s the takeaway: If Alex can do it, leading a busy life as a career woman, healer, mom and wife, so can you.

Alex: The doctor in action. Scrubs and all.

Alex: The doctor in action. Scrubs and all.

Here’s a little Friday Friendspiration for you, to help you do just that.

The Friendspirer: Alexandra Anderson Conrad

A little about your life: I live in Los Angeles with my husband, our sweet dog, and our one year old son. My husband is a musician and editor, so I am constantly exposed to his creative process and support. My baby and dog are rad too.

A bit about your career: I am a physician anesthesiologist. For the most part I love my career because it fits some very different aspects of my personality. It gives me my adrenaline fix, it allows me to be SUPER organized and precise, it allows me to connect with people and provide comfort, it lets me really get into a zone and focus, and my hair never has to look good (because it never does).  I am empathetic to a fault, which makes me good at what I do but it also makes it pretty difficult emotionally. I also have anxiety that I can channel well with this line of work- you want your anesthesiologist to worry about and be prepared for anything! Worrying about others lets me escape my so-called problems. It always gives me perspective.

Carving out time for creativity: I have always had a desire to create; to be a part of that big dialogue. My creativity was pretty squashed for many years with studying, emotional ups and downs, and bad relationships. I also have to compartmentalize a whole lot of feelings and thoughts, as well as creativity, in order to function emotionally as a doctor. I’m easing back into it. I am able to use my creativity in my interactions with patients and colleagues under intense circumstances. I have recently come to recognize this as a creative process.

Creative support and inspiration: As far as making things, it really started up when I was pregnant with my son (now 12 months). I felt this enormous pressure to work things out and achieve some clarity while shaping a human. I also needed to relieve my stress and anxiety about the pregnancy (I am a worrier) and satisfy a new level of creative energy. It felt very important to me to reconnect with my creative voice and artistic side before becoming a mother. I wanted to get back in touch with my wonder and weirdness, for him. I want to be able to meet him in the world of fantasy and play. So I started drawing. I started making stamps and prints. I started painting. I started writing. My husband has been really supportive and encouraging on my little reentry. He always reminds me to just enjoy the process, as I tend to fixate on goals and judge myself. He always has words of wisdom with regard to the creative process that help me to relax a little and just let things happen, instead of spiraling out trying to figure out what my end game is or whether I am wasting my time.

What's NOT a waste of time? THIS guy.

What’s NOT a waste of time? THIS guy.

Your creations: I have gotten really into drawing little creatures. It started when I was pregnant, wanting to make cool black and white art for my baby’s nursery. Then I sort of realized that I was putting my anxiety and whatever else into these little critters. I have a lot of stored emotions from both my job and motherhood, and it’s good to get them out in a positive way.

Creative discipline: I try to just draw one thing a day, or write one thing a day. If it sucks, I just try to see it as an off day. I try to ask myself if it made me feel better. I also love Instagram, because it’s true that a picture (and a brief caption) are worth a thousand words. It’s a good creative outlet when pressed for time!

What goes on inside that mind? Guess you'll just have to check out Alex's Instagram account, @MCCreatures, to find out!

What goes on inside that mind? Guess you’ll just have to check out Alex’s Instagram account, @MCCreatures, to find out!

Alex’s 5 Friendspiration Revelations: I am inspired by everything! The tricky thing for me is allowing myself to be inspired instead of envious or discouraged. I constantly have to remind myself is there is room for everyone’s creative contributions, even mine.

1) I was really inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic Podcast episode with Brene Brown, especially when they talked about how unused creativity is not benign. Wow is that ever true. I also love listening to Ira Glass talk about The Gap. That is very encouraging!

2) I am tremendously inspired by my amazing husband who is so diligently creative it’s disgusting. Also, as an editor he has such a knack for story and getting to the important stuff. I’ve learned so much from his process, and his advice.

3) I am endlessly inspired by my amazing friends. I have really lucked out in that department. The women I know just blow my mind. Everyone is so open, supportive, hilarious, calming and brilliant. Where do I even begin? There are physicians, actors, writers, musicians, photographers, parents and just all around incredible humans. I have managed to surround myself with really genuinely great people.

4) I am inspired by my son!!!! Watching a baby’s mind be blown by the minutiae of the world is absolutely wonderful. I want to be on his level. Read the piece by Jason Lautenschleger about “How to Create Like A Baby”! That sums it up.

5) I love to be weird, aka, normal. I love to normalize being normal, especially in the glossy perfection of social media. I love to be real and connect with people. I think that is a big driving force. If I can reach one person with a silly drawing I made when I was freaking out about something, that is some real healing.

Alex being weird, aka, normal.

Alex being weird, aka, normal.

Thanks for the friendspiration, Alex. If we inspire one person today, we have done our job.

*Follow, and watch Alex’s creative journey, at @MCCreatures on Instagram, where you’ll see more little guys like this one.

Check out @MCCreatures for more of these guys!

Check out @MCCreatures for more of these guys!

xoxo,
Dawn

Life’s Not Always Peachy Keen: A Little Social Media Truth Talk

Life’s not always peachy keen…even on days when there are peach muffins for breakfast.

Life's not always peachy keen…even when there are peach muffins for breakfast. Let's get real, folks.

Life’s not always peachy keen…even when there are peach muffins for breakfast. Let’s get real, folks.

Life is made up of lots of little crumbs — some sweet and delicious, and some just too tough to digest.
Yesterday I posted that I was having a tough morning and was baking to deal with it. I was hurting for someone I love, about something that is out of my control. I was overwhelmed with messages of love, concern, care and support from friends and everyone I love. Thank you all.
But that’s not why I posted that.

As a so-called social media influencer I think it’s our responsibility to not treat social media as a Christmas card that just shows us at our best and our happiest. That’s not real, and that’s not life. We all have down days and we all have problems and moments we struggle with. I think it’s important to show what we do to cope with the hard times as honestly as we capture how we celebrate the good times. By being honest with our social media, and showing both the highs and the lows, I hope our friends and followers can see who we truly are, and hopefully know they’re not alone when they experience those darker days.
Hopefully, they’re reminded that lightness always follows the darkness, and they will be okay.

Primping with…Molly Sims: Going Big with The Everyday Supermodel

Years ago, I met a mother when I worked at Woo Skincare & Cosmetics in Nashville. This woman was gorgeous and funny and looked a little familiar to me and just raved about her daughter. That mother’s daughter? The everyday supermodel herself, Molly Sims.

The beautiful Molly Sims whose tips in her new book, The Everyday Supermodel, are as golden as her locks *Photo by Jeff Vespa/Contour by Getty Images

So when I had the chance to chat with Molly (now a mom herself) at the launch of her new book The Everyday Supermodel — I had to share this story. The very things I saw in Molly’s mom that cemented that memory in my mind are the same things that make Molly the beautiful (inside and out), fun, smart, hilarious, and generous woman that she is today. While I had the chance, I got Molly to spill her favorite spots, products, advice, tips from her book, and the food she won’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

With the unsinkable Molly Sims

Since we just chatted about your mama, let’s start with this. What is the best advice she ever gave you?
Dare to be different. Don’t be afraid of change and mix things [up] and always try different things.

As a native southern girl who now calls Los Angeles home, what are some of your favorite spots in LA right now?
I love Sweet Lady Jane because I love my cake, I love those brownies, and I love their salted chocolate chip cookies. I love Gjelina in Venice. It’s great! And I’m dying to try Connie and Ted’s and Maude and The Nice Guy. I’m taking a bunch of girls to The Nice Guy tomorrow. And I love Drybar! I wish I could have invented it. You feel better about yourself after spending $40. And I love their Triple Sec dry shampoo because it’s more than a dry shampoo.

Speaking of beauty products, what are Molly’s makeup musts?
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge cream blush in Pale Pink and Milk Chocolate — don’t ask me why, but it works. Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, the new white one, mixed with a little Wonder Glow from Charlotte Tilbury.

I love Charlotte Tilbury!
I love her! I love her Magic Cream. Also, NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Santa Monica Blvd (a white eyeliner for the inner rim), Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Raven — the best stay-on lipcolor ever, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette — the highlighter is amazing. Almond Oil, I live by! I love Laura Mercier pressed translucent powder, Jouer Cosmetics Crème Eyeshadow in Cashmere on the eye and I love doing lipsticks on the eyes to make it dewy. Love the Crystal pink really light shimmer powder from MAC that you can only dab a little bit on and I love the Tom Ford Eye Quad in Golden Mink.

Catching up with Molly at Drybar with Georgetown Cupcakes

What are a few of your favorite tips from your new book?
1. You will drink more water if you use a straw.
2. Pack your necklaces safely for travel by looping the necklaces through a straw to prevent tangling.
3. Layer clothing and jewelry.
4. Invest in core wardrobe pieces.
5. One day a week, eat plant-based.
6. Get dressed up even if you have nowhere to go. Look good to feel good.
7. Be the best you you can be. Challenge yourself. Respect yourself. Go big or go home!

Tell us your theme song. Don’t be shy.
(singing) R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

What do you want your kids to be when they’re grown up?
I want my kids to be empathetic. It can be innate, but I want my children to be empathetic. I know it sounds weird, but I want my kids to have compassion and empathy and know how lucky they are.

What’s a food that you absolutely can’t live without?
Biscuits! Chicken and dumplins’. I’m very southern – I’ve never met a bread basket I didn’t like, but I mean, I can’t.

What’s the food you won’t touch?
Lamb.

And your cocktail of choice?
Margarita.

I hear you. You’ve gotta try Mi Cocina in Dallas. Best margaritas on this here planet. What do you look like on a mundane Monday with no events to attend?
Hair pulled back in a ballerina bun with a boyfriend jacket, a tank, a pair of jeans, and flats.

What would you like your kids to say about you when they grow up?
That I was a great mom and that they love me. And they still call me!

If you could go back in time and give advice to 13-year-old you, what would you tell her?
Go big or go home.

Sounds like Molly’s mantra if you ask me. And one that’s served her pretty darned well. Kids, take note.

P.S. My favorite takeaway from meeting Molly? She was mindful enough to blow on the Sharpie marker message of every single autograph she did, making sure it was dry and it didn’t smudge. You can’t teach that kind of thoughtfulness, folks.

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: Which of Molly’s tips will you be trying?

Ladies Who Lunch: Kissing Up with Italia Ricci of Chasing Life

What? Ladies Who Lunch Interview with Italia Ricci
When? August 14, 2014

Where? At the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at the Walgreen’s Hollywood Flagship Store

Who? Italia Ricci of ABC Family’s Chasing Life

Not only did I get to see my old friend, Fergie again (looking glamorous per usual) at the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at Walgreen’s a few weeks ago, but I also had the pleasure of getting to sit down and visit with a new friend, Italia Ricci of ABC Family’s Chasing Life as she donned her pretty pink in honor of the big event.

Fergie and Italia Ricci at the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at Walgreen's in Hollywood

Channeling Jackie O and laughing with her then-boyfriend, now fiancé (!!!) Robbie Amell  (of CW’s The Flash), I learned about her no-nonsense style, her color in a box (for real) and her intense gratitude for her fans. And let me tell you, the kissing going on outside wasn’t the only romance in the air. These guys are c-u-u-u-u-u-t-e! See for yourself.

DM: Well, hey Italia! Ok. Let’s start with the basics. When people ask you what you do for a living, what do you say?

Italia: I pretend.

DM: Got any nicknames ya wanna share?

Italia: Mom I get from a lot of my friends because I’m a mom. My boyfriend calls me Fatty because I eat like I’m a 9-year-old boy.

DM: I love it. What do you always carry in your purse?

Italia: I carry everything. Literally, if you were stranded on a desert island, you would want my purse. If someone’s like, “I’ve got a stain!” Don’t worry. Italia’s got Shout wipes. Shout wipes are very important. I’ve got a little leather bag with every single emergency pharmaceutical you would ever need. Antihistamine. Aspirin.

DM: So you ARE a mom. You really are.

Italia: Oh yeah. I’ve got the little bags in a giant tote – I’ve got my pharmacy one with like band-aids and everything you’d ever need – even blister covers! Then I’ve got the little sewing one with like tweezers and ear plugs, in case you need it. Eye drops. I literally have everything.

DM: Do you have makeup anywhere in there?

Italia: I mean, I didn’t do this today but I really only wear lipgloss and maybe mascara. But as a little kid, I was always obsessed with Wet n Wild clear lipgloss that tasted like watermelon. It was my very favorite.

DM: What is the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?

Italia: Less is more.

Italia effortlessly walking through the crowd at the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at Walgreen's

DM: Do you have any daily rituals – or, as I call them “daily delights,” that just make the day a little happier?

Italia: Respond to fan mail. Every day.

DM: What’s the worst beauty sin you ever committed?

Italia: Oh GOD. I tried that mayonnaise hair mask once. It didn’t go over well for me. But I do dye my hair out of a box. I did it with Frost and Glow this week Just the blonde one – the highlighting kit. Everyone was like, “Don’t do this. It’s a mistake.” I had the cap on and was like Wheeee! Everybody can do it. It’s like $12.

DM: What beauty products can you not live without?

Italia: Toothpaste. Sunscreen. And a round brush.

DM: I like the no-nonsense…and certainly not in my house. Don’t see that very often in this town. What’s your typical workout routine?

Italia: I occasionally work out. I do Cardio Barre. It’s amazing. I feel like a dancer. You don’t realize what a difference it’s making in your body until you’re looking in the mirror and you’re like, “Hey, butt, heyyyy-yyy.”

Italia’s boyfriend, Robbie Amell, interjects: And we walk everywhere.

Italia: And, welcome my boyfriend, Robbie Amell. He’s on Flash on the CW.”

DM: Now, that’s a supportive girlfriend! Giving you a promo during her interview. Niiiiiice. What do you wish you could tell 13-year-old you?

Robbie (laughing): If you could see a picture of 13-year-old her….

Italia: Take the dreadlocks out and stop practicing witchcraft.

DM: Seriously? I think there’s a story there. But that’s for another time. What would 13-year-old you think of your life now?

Robbie (laughing): No way!!

Italia: That will NEVER be my life. I wish that could happen! Yeah, “no way” is a good one.

Italia Fergie and the retro-clad models at the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at Walgreen's, benefitting the American Cancer Society

DM: And, lastly, what would your theme song be?

Italia: Perfect Day by Hoku.

 

***

Ladies Who Lunch: Dawn McCoy of BeautyFrosting and Italia Ricci of ABC Family's Chasing Life

xoxo,
BF

BF Asks: What question do you WISH I’d ask Italia? 

 

 

Wet n Wild More Kisses Event at Walgreen’s Hollywood

A few weeks ago, I had one heckuva crazy busy day – 2 interviews and seven events in one single day! Yep. Crazy. But I’m so happy that to start that crazy day off, I got to attend the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at the Walgreen’s flagship store here in Hollywood.

Fergie and me at the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at Walgreen's in Hollywood, benefitting American Cancer Society - the official sponsor of birthdays

It was a celebration to promote the partnership of Wet n Wild and Walgreens as the official sponsors of the “More Kisses” campaign to benefit the American Cancer Society, the official sponsor of birthdays.

25 cents of every sale of Wet n Wild’s Think Pink lipstick (pictured below) will be contributed to this inspiring cause.

Wet n Wild Think Pink lipstick

Using the iconic portrait, “Kissing The War Goodbye,” featuring an image of a nurse and sailor kissing outside the Walgreens location in Times Square as inspiration, the event repeatedly recreated that iconic kiss by inviting all guests in attendance to kiss their loved ones outside the Hollywood Walgreens.

At the Wet n Wild More Kisses event at the Walgreen's Hollywood flagship store. 25 cents of every sale of their Think Pink lipstick will be donated to the American Cancer Society

Wet n Wild’s global beauty ambassador, Fergie, acted as the Grand Marshal of the Kiss, counting down the event amongst guests, press, and celebrity friends. It was like New Years in August!

Fergie at the Wet n Wild More Kisses event

Not only did I get to see my old friend, Fergie again (looking glamorous per usual) but I also had the pleasure of getting to sit down and visit with a new friend, Italia Ricci of ABC Family’s Chasing Life as she donned her pretty pink in honor of the big event.
 Check out the next post for the interview with Italia!
BF Asks: Ummm…how cute is that photo booth?!

Discussing my “Game-Changing Miracle Products” on New Beauty Magazine’s TeaTime Chat today!

Hi beauties!

There are a bevy of beauty tips in this 30-minute long hangout! Check it out and get the scoop on 8 (!!) of my favorite beauty products. From glowing skin to defined eyes to a perfectly polished pout, I had a lot to say. And the other beauty experts had some INVALUABLE tips that I’m still reeling from. Like what, you ask? The best way to get Beach Waves!

Check it out here and let me know your thoughts below!

xoxo,
Dawn

Makeup Monday: Bobbi Brown Beauty at New York Fashion Week

Oh fashion week, how you woo me!
For most of my fabulous & fashionable friends, New York Fashion Week is a time to discover all the fashion they will be coveting for the upcoming season.

But, for me, it’s all about the BEAUTY!!!

I am particularly smitten with this look created by, natural beauty goddess, Bobbi Brown  for the Holmes & Yang Fall 2013 collection. It just makes sense that Bobbi would be their go-to goddess of gorgeousness as Katie Holmes is the official face of Bobbi Brown cosmetics! And this look is oh-so-Katie!

Bobbi Brown's look at Holmes & Yang Fall 2013, New York Fashion Week

Inspired by the 1940’s Katharine Hepburn, it features a jammy, just-bitten raspberry lip, a strong brow, a clean, natural, polished eye and – of course – Bobbi’s signature flawless complexion.

Here’s what Bobbi says inspired her:

“Holmes & Yang loves a 1940’s look, ala a young Katharine Hepburn. Dewy faces and feminine raspberry stained lips provide a nice balance against the masculine textures of the collection.” – Bobbi Brown

And here’s what designer, Jeanne Yang, has to say about it: “The makeup look was created with the modern woman in mind; she might be running around town, but at the end of the day, she looks fresh, feels great, and exudes polished beauty.” – Jeanne Yang

And…here’s how you can get this gorgeous look at home! Love that!!

Bobbi Brown Face Chart, NYFW Holmes & Yang 2013 Runway

Skin: Hydrating Face Cream ($55), Hydrating Eye Cream ($49)

Face: Luminous Moisturizing Foundation ($47), Creamy Concealer Kit ($33), Sheer Finish Pressed Powder ($36)

Eyes: Bobbi & Katie Palette ($68), Espresso Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($23), Extreme Party Mascara ($25)

Cheeks: Antigua Illuminating Bronzing Powder ($38)

Lips: Raspberry Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks ($25)

p.s. I LOOOOOVE Bobbi’s pot rouge! So sweet & easy for a quick, running-out-the-door cheek & lip!

 

xoxo,

BF

Red Carpet Style Alert: Julianne Hough at tonight’s People’s Choice Awards 2013

Loving Julianne Hough’s style & glamour on the red carpet at tonight’s People’s Choice Awards?

 

 

Thanks to her makeup artist, Molly Stern, YOU can get her same gorgeous look here to rock for your red carpet event!

 

 

Don’t say we never helped you get ready!

 

xoxo,

BF

 


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