[The Scene] Le Mervetty Brings Decadence and Ballerinas to Beverly Hills

“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet” – Constanze

[The Scene] Le Mervetty Brings Decadence and Ballerinas to Beverly Hills

Bonjour mes amours!

Last Thursday, I was invited to a tasting at one of the cutest, little pastry shops I’ve ever seen! Le Mervetty – located at 319 N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills (just one block over from my office) – specializes in creamy “Le Mervetty” desserts made of mouth-watering meringue layers and toppings such as chocolate whipped cream, Belgian dark chocolate shavings and caramelized praline feuilletines – but the awesomeness doesn’t stop there!

The decor inside of the store is like walking into a little girl’s fantasy world! Everything is pink, white, frilly and feminine – and there is a gorgeous pink chandelier hanging from the ceiling that further enhances the shop’s beauty and decadence. Once my friend, Crystal, and I arrived, we were treated to a sample of the Praline Mervetty (which was amazing btw), but what really really blew my mind were the cute, teenaged ballerinas dancing just outside the storefront.


Posing with Kit Wallace, Founder of Blue Eyed Entertainment

As the story goes, the owner of Le Mervetty had always dreamed of becoming a ballerina, so it makes sense that these beautiful, young creatures would be gracefully posing and leaping about – and bringing the storefront to life :)

Overall, I had an amazing time and I must extend a sincere thank you to Kit Wallace and her team at Blue Eyed Entertainment for inviting me to join them!

*Editor’s Note: All pictures without the Love & Biscotti watermark are courtesy of Blue Eyed Entertainment. Visit their Facebook for more pictures: http://www.facebook.com/BlueEyedEntertainment

 

Vanity Fair’s #LiftTOUR + Dress For Success Partnership

Bonjour amours,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Vanity Fair’s exclusive #LiftTOUR Blogger Event at the Kohl’s in Westchester – and I had an amazing time learning about all wonderful things the brand is doing with Dress For Success. As someone who is very active in the community and in philanthropy, I was both honored and excited to be invited to participate in such an amazing cause. You see, when I went in for my bra fitting – not only did I receive a complimentary “Beautifully Smooth Secret Lace Underwire” bra – but I also got to donate a brand-new bra (with a personal message of inspiration) to Dress For Success Worldwide-West (the Dress for Success L.A. affiliate)!

About the “Bras Across America: Vanity Fair Lingerie #LiftTOUR:”

The partnership between Vanity Fair and Dress for Success is a product of Vanity Fair’s recent Women Who Do initiative – a powerfully uplifting campaign dedicated to praising and celebrating the everyday triumphs of women everywhere while highlighting the brand’s long-standing commitment to producing quality, luxurious lingerie. The campaign aims to create a movement where women always feel supported and lifted in their daily lives and are inspired to celebrate the collective power and perseverance of women everywhere.

Dress for Success – an organization dedicated to promoting the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, career development tools and a network of support – noticed a need for more intimate apparel to provide its clients. Vanity Fair, the nearly one-hundred-year-old lingerie brand saw a welcome opportunity to lend its expertise, resources and extensive product offering to help replenish the lingerie of the nonprofit organization.

“We are thrilled to partner with Vanity Fair and encourage local residents to visit the LiftTOUR for the opportunity give their very own lift to other women in our community,” said Reena De Asis, Director of Operations, Dress for Success Worldwide-West. “Each bra that is donated from these fittings will allow a Los Angeles-area woman to feel supported in more ways than one on her journey to professional prosperity and self-sufficiency.”


 

Today (Thursday, August 14th), the #LiftTour will be at the following location:

Sears
22100 Hawthorne Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90503
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Or, if you can’t stop by this one, check Vanity Fair’s website for the full schedule:
http://shop.vanityfairlingerie.com/info/LiftTOUR

[Style] 70’s State of Mind

“Always trust those searching for The Truth, never those who have found it.” – Jordan Maxwell

Photography by Yuting Qing

Outfit Details:

Top: Forever 21
Print Pants: Hot & Delicious
Sandals: Isola (Nordstrom)
Lipstick: “Indie Flick” by NYX

[Style] SHE-Leopards Come Out At Night

“Trust no friend without faults, and love a woman, but no angel.” – Doris Lessing



Clothing Details:

Leopard-Print Jumper: IIF, Vintage
Shoes: Call It Spring
Purse: Vintage
Earrings: Sole Society

[Recipe] Spicy Shrimp + Sausage Cheddar Grits!

UPDATE (August 7, 2014): Due to scheduling conflicts, I may not be posting recipes every Wednesday as initially promised but I will be posting at least one per month. However to make things easier, when I do have a new recipe, I will post it on Wednesdays so check back sporadically! :)

Bonjour mes amours! I am pleased to announce that my good friend – the lovely Sheridan Street from WordOnThe-Street.com – and I have teamed up to bring you a delicious new foodie series!

In a new, joint blog venture called “Recipe Wednesdays,” every Wednesday, Ms. Street and I will premiere a tasty new recipe – as well as step-by-step instructions and pictures and/ or video on how you can make these scrumptious creations yourself!

For our first roll out, we decided to give you something a little spicy and collaborated to give you a taste of southern Louisiana-style cooking in a quick, simple dish that we named “Spicy Shrimp + Sausage Cheddar Grits.” Bon appétit!

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4 Guests)

1lb of large unshelled Shrimp
1 Chicken Sausage
Assorted sweet/ spicy Peppers
1/3 red onion
Spices: Cajun Spice, Crushed Red Pepper, Minced Garlic, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper and anything else flavorful or spicy you want to add
Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese
Dry Grits (we don’t recommend instant but that’s all we had!)
1/2 Stick of Butter

Directions:

1. Chop up your peppers and onions julienne style (long skinny pieces).

2. Unshell shrimp but leaving the tail on.

3. Cut the sausage in diagonal 1/2 in slices.

4. In a large deep skillet, place a quarter size amount of olive oil, all of the red onions and the sausage slices inside at medium high heat. This is to brown the sausage and release the savory onion flavor by grilling them.

5. Add the peppers and the spices

6. Once the mix is cooking together and the spices are mixed in well with the stir fry, add in the shrimp and reduce heat to low (shrimp take about 5-10 minutes to cook so turn them down while you prepare your grits).

7. In a medium pot bring 3 cups of water and 4 cups of grits to a boil on medium heat. Add in the cheese blends by adding a handful of both with some black pepper, keep stirring until the cheese is no longer visible.

8. Plate in a bowl to retain the consistency of the grits. Serve the grits filling up half of the bowl. In the middle of the grits place the onions, peppers, and sausage. With tongs, grab the shrimp and plate as many as you want surrounding the sausage and veggies cluster for a 5 star presentation! Enjoy!

For more recipes and pop-culture news, visit www.WordOnThe-Street.com and stay tuned for more great recipes to come! ;)

Spring + Summer ’15 Trends: Dark Floral x NYFW x Diamondere

“Black is a color that is man-made. It’s a projection of the brain. It’s a mind color. It’s intangible. It’s practical. And it works 24 hours a day.” – Massimo Vignell

Bonjour mes amours! It’s still summer here in California – if there’s even a such thing as “seasons” in L.A. since it feels like summer all year long – but nevertheless, once August arrives, I always relinquish my beach and volleyball dreams and welcome in visions of falling leaves, hot cocoa and beautifully, layered clothes.

Diamondere

However, Fall isn’t my favorite season just for the change in weather and the ability to stylishly bundle up. No, you know what else Fall brings? New York Fashion Week! *girly scream* Every year, I watch as all of my friends and fellow blogger-fashionistas race off to the best front-row shows, and mingle and hobnob with the fashion elite, and in my mind, I always cue the “Part of Your World” song from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” You know the one…

*sings* “I wanna be where the people are, I wanna see, wanna see them dancin’…
When’s it my turn? Wouldn’t I love, love to explore… Wish I could be, part of that world”

Le sigh, I transgress… Buuuut, I transgress with a smile! You see, this year, Diamondere – rhyme, totally unintended ;) – is hosting a trend-forecasting contest to send one lovely blogginista (possibly me) to New York Fashion Week! Oh, what’s the challenge you ask? Ta ha ha. Well, we chosen bloggers have been tasked with creating an inspiration board using four of our favorite Diamondere pieces and the runway trends that we predict will be hot for Spring/Summer 2015 – and then describing why we believe in our chosen looks and how Diamondere embodies and embellishes them. And that’s not all, you (the reader) can WIN ALSO! Diamondere will be choosing a follower to win a $2,500 giveaway! So head on over to Diamondere’s Facebook and vote for me via “LIKING” my inspiration board!

>> Inspiration Board (Click to Make Bigger)!!

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I’m not really a “trendy” person – as I believe that it is better to be stylish than “trendy” because all trends eventually end – but I normally pull “inspiration” from Life in general. The art world, music, my social community (people-watching is so fun, isn’t it), film, world happenings, society… They’re all inspiration for fashion and I think Shalom Harlow said it best:

“You don’t learn style from watching people on a runway. Fashion happens every morning when you wake up.”

Dark Florals + “Thrift Store”:

With that in mind, I think Dark Florals are going to be a hit next Spring. What I love about them is they can be worn year-round, and unlike lighter-colored floral patterns, they easily transition from day to night – meaning you can go straight from work to dancing and cocktails ;) For this particular trend, I drew inspiration from the fine arts by way of an amazing Russian artist named Jenya Vyguzov who created the mixed media floral collage. The dark floral trend is particularly intriguing to me because its feminine yet sexy – and many of these type of pieces can be found at Thrift Stores (which I heavily frequent) and which I also think will be a huge “look” next year.

Artisanal:

Furthermore, according to Fashion Snoops, the “Artisanal” look (lace, fringe, embroidery, suede) is also going to be big. Now, as I said earlier, I don’t usually co-sign trends but I’m inclined to agree with this prediction simply because most of these type of pieces are retro or vintage-inspired. Therefore, if its “vintage-inspired,” that means that the real thing is probably out there at a thrift store somewhere and you can probably find a higher-quality (and higher value) original version of the current theme. Besides, being a lover of lace, fringe and embroidery, I already have a lot of these “pieces” in my closet anyway.

*Fashion Blogger Tip: Good-quality, staple “pieces” (in my opinion) are always better to buy than “trendy” ones. You can wear them again and again, mix-and-match them with various items and they never get “outdated.” You what they say… Classic is timeless.

>> How Diamondere Embodies:

I choose all of the following Diamondere pieces to embody the Dark Floral, Artisanal and Thrift Store trends because of their unique “cuts,” design and color. All of them – color wise – are “on trend” with my chosen Spring/ Summer 2015 choices, and not only that, the cuts of each piece remind me of the vintage era. For instance, the Lehana Round Yellow Diamond Earrings are cut to resemble a flower, which is very “Artisanal,” yet very “Thrift Store” as it invokes the mood of the 60’s and 70’s. They all would also look very sexy yet classy against black. Continue reading

[Spirituality] The God Quest – “The Five-Percenters: Protectors of Hip-Hop”

Dear Readers,

As promised, I am uploading all of the old articles from my “The God Quest” column (originally housed on the now extinct, TheWellVersed.com) onto Love & Biscotti – and this piece is the second editorial in the series; originally published in 2012.

All pieces in “The God Quest” series (including this one) will be filed under the “Spirituality” section.

If you missed my past post, “The Beginning,” which explains what exactly “The God Quest” is, then click *here*

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Jay-Z wearing a pendant with the Five Percent Nation emblem

>>> The Five-Percenters: Protectors of Hip-Hop

“Whatever happened to the Gods and the Earths/ They thirst for a pot of gold, God worth his birth/ Knowledge is worth more than diamonds/ When the mind is shining, surprise us/ Gods Earths and 85ers…” –Poor Righteous Teachers, “Gods Earths and 85ers”


 
Aside from the occasional mention by artists whom many would classify as “conscious,” political or underground, I think its safe to assume that in 2012, the average Hip-Hop listener is neither regularly exposed nor well versed on the impact and influence the Five Percent Nation (a religious movement also known as the “Nation of Gods and Earths”) has had on the development of Hip-Hop. For the most part, this historical slight is largely due to the fact that despite many highly visible Five Percenter artists such as Wu-Tang Clan, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Erykah Badu and Brand Nubian, no real effort was made by scholars, historians or music journalists to document the Five Percent Nation’s participation, contributions and legacies established during Hip-Hop’s “Golden Era.” Of course, there are exceptions – Felicia M. Miyakawa wrote an entire book on the topic (i.e. “Five Percenter Rap: God Hop’s Music, Message, and Black Muslim Mission”) and KRS-One’s “The Gospel of Hip Hop: The First Instrument” mentioned Five Percenters as well – but given that the Nation of Gods and Earths (N.G.E.) was established in 1964, two books and a handful of articles doesn’t come close to the amount of coverage that’s warranted.

On the other hand, another reason the N.G.E. could be lacking in publicity is that is the Five Percent Nation is simply a culture shrouded “in the know.” Although its not overtly mysterious, according to many Five Percenters, like a secret fraternity or sorority “code,” you really have to be “in it” to know and if you’re not, being ignorant to certain things can easily classify you as an outsider. Therefore, in the spirit of expanding my “God Quest”, I decided to “build” with a few Five Percenters and see if they would share some of their esoteric “knowledge” and teachings. I wanted to learn not only about the history of the N.G.E. and some of their main ideologies, but about the unique role they played in the “building” of rap music.

Thankfully, Sunez Allah, a Five Percenter and former editor/ writer for The Source, XXL, and VIBE Magazine was gracious enough to share his knowledge and experience. Not only that, he connected me with Allah B, who is what the N.G.E. refer to as an “Older God”, as well as the current director of the Allah School in Mecca (the N.G.E.’s official headquarters). Sunez is also a co-author of the book, “Knowledge of Self: A Collection of Wisdom on the Science of Everything in Life” and a teacher at the Allah School in Mecca.

However, before I get into our interview, it might be best to clarify a few of the basic principles and beliefs of the N.G.E. so that you’ll be aware of the context of our conversation.

Continue reading

[Poetry + Style] Slowly Rocked Into Slumber

“Careful, the morning, lest it wake from slumber the city half-encumbered by the morning mist…” – John Geddes

LoveAndBiscotti_LJIFFF_Beach_GreenDress2

I had originally intended for this to be a “Style” post, showcasing a particular outfit that I wore, but as I was sifting through the pictures, I realized that I didn’t really have all the necessary pictures. No close-up of the shoes, no detailed shots of the jewelry and no varying angles and shots of the dress…

And so I was left to ponder, “What am I to do with a few pretty pictures and an incomplete post?” Well mes amours, I shall bless you with these images and something more: a poem that I wrote years ago but never publicly shared. In this way, I guess this is my first merger of fashion and poetry – and since the two are both so near to my heart, perhaps it was intended to be. I believe that in some way, these images capture certain fragments of the essence I was trying to convey in the poem…  and so I’ll leave you to enjoy. Au revoir!

LoveAndBiscotti_LJIFFF_Beach_GreenDress1

“Slowly Rocked Into Slumber” – © Brittany “Bella” Graham (2010)

Slowly rocked into slumber
By gentle words the sweeping wind carries into my bedchamber,
I hear echoes from distant lands, far away…
Soothing softly, reassuring there’s no danger,

Somehow telepathic
I close my eyes and see a stranger,
He opens up his arms to me,
And I cling to his frame like clothes on a hanger,

Somehow knowing
On reverse winds blowing,
Our destiny is intertwined,
On the intersecting paths we’re going,

Connection far, connection wide,
Across mountains and oceans
Somewhere you reside,

Rushing, racing
Towards the date two halves collide,
To make one whole,
And reach completion of our lives,

Vague is the face,
We’ll know each other by recognition in the eyes,
Somewhere is love,
Un-encountered, yet bound by ties,

You are… Somewhere in a city unknown,
I’m calling out to the wind
Please bring my lover home,

I sigh…such sweet anticipation of a future embrace,
The wind caresses my cheek, then suddenly vanishes…
Rushing out my window without a trace

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[Style] A Vintage, Pastel Dream – #LJIFFF

Bonjour mes amours! This past weekend, I had the wonderful pleasure of attending the 5th annual La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival (LJIFFF) – and not only was it as beautiful as it had been the year before, it was even more special because this time I had the pleasure of being a part of it.

Not only did my Jacq & Bella partner, Jackie Chambers and I, curate and produce the Blogger & Media Lounge, but we also had the amazing opportunity of presenting our own panel, “Success in Social Media!” It was a glorious and fun weekend and I can’t wait to show off all of my amazing outfit changes! :) This first look is what I wore to present the panel during the first day (Thursday, July 24th) of the festival.

Details:

Dress: JT Petites (Vintage)
Earrings: Love Soundz Jewelry
Bracelets: Forever 21 and Fashion Trend
Sandals: Isola (Nordstrom)
Stackable Rings: H&M
Lipstick: Audrey (Matte) by NYX

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