LA Style Fashion Week – Day 3

By Photo Contributor Dwayne Jenkins

Check out some of last Thursday’s best highlights from Style Fashion Week! Featuring designers Ophelia Song, Coco Johnsen, Tatiana Shabelnik, and Latrosdectus Lingerie!

[Bon Appétit] Doughnut Plant – Chelsea, NYC

“New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts.” – David Lynch

Last month while I was in New York for Fashion Week, I managed to set aside some personal time to hang out with friends and explore the city. I’m known amongst my friends to have a notorious sweet tooth, so when my friend Chavonne suggested we meet up at Doughnut Plant in Chelsea, I was all for it.

Known for its creative flavors, “Jelly-Filled Square Doughnut”™, passed-down family doughnut recipe, and glazes which incorporate fresh seasonal fruit and roasted nuts, Doughnut Plant has become one of New York’s most popular doughnut destinations. Personally, what I loved the most was not only the doughnuts (review further down), but the venue’s interior design and customer service as well.

I’m a sucker for color (and open spaces which incorporate lots of of natural light), and Doughnut Plant’s Chelsea location merges both of these qualities very well. The walls are pristine white, and hanging on the walls are colorful doughnut pillows that look just as delicious as the real doughnuts taste. There isn’t a lot of seating space inside, and it was crazy packed, but I got the feeling that it’s more of a stop-and-go spot anyway, with most people taking their treats and beverages to go.

While I was talking to the cashier and trying to figure out which doughnut to order, somehow the topic of my visiting New York for the first time (and my being from California) popped up, and I discovered that the cashier was also a Cali native. He was really excited to see someone from his home city (Long Beach), and ended up hooking me up with two of Doughnut Plant’s most popular doughnuts – on top of the doughnut and coffee that I purchased. It’s genuine interactions like that which make experiences in new places memorable, and I think it was really cool of the cashier to be so nice to a girl in a new city. Thank you cashier, and forgive me for not remembering your name! That’s what I call amazing customer service!

As far as the doughnuts, each doughnut at Doughnut Plant is eggs, preservative, trans fat, and artificial ingredient/ color free (which I can certainly appreciate), and the flavors I selected that day were:

• Tres Leches — a sweet “three milks” cake, delivered in Doughnut Plant’s round cake doughnut
• Crème Brûlée — a “Doughseed” treat, which is one of Doughnut Plant’s mini, round filled doughnuts
• Honey with Bee Pollen — another “Doughseed” treat filled with honey


(Left to Right: Crème Brûlée, Honey with Bee Pollen, and Tres Leches)

The coffee I ordered was simple (black), which of course, I doctored up with Splenda, and all of the doughnuts were fresh and tasty. Out of the three, I would probably say I liked the Crème Brûlée the best, which makes sense since Doughnut Plant boasts of being “the creator of the world’s first Crème Brûlée doughnut” – thus making it their specialty. The freshness of each doughnut cannot be stressed enough, and each literally melted in my mouth.

From atmosphere to customer service, to product, I can say that Doughnut Plant definitely has all of their bases covered, and it will definitely be on my list of staples to revisit the next time I’m in NYC.

Bella’s Bon Appétit Rating: 10/10

Doughnut Plant, Hotel Chelsea

220 W 23rd St
New York, NY 10011
7th Ave & 8th Ave in Chelsea
Website: http://www.DoughnutPlant.com/

[SAVE THE DATE] Receiving a “Warrior Makeover” on March 4th by Hidden Warriors During OC Fashion Week!

As many of you may already know, when I was 19, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – a Life-changing event of epic proportions (and of which, only five percent survive). For the next year and a half, my Life was spent undergoing (and recovering) from two surgeries, and as a result, I suffered from depression, and a number of self-esteem and body image issues that I have since learned to deal with.


Photographer: Dwayne Jenkins, Styling by Me

However, this post is not about my experience with cancer (though if you’re curious, you can read more *here*), it’s about an innovative non-profit organization organization called “Hidden Warriors,” which “[works cooperatively with avant-garde makeup artists, stylists, costume creators, yoga and meditation instructors, occupational therapists, and other creative volunteers and organizations, to provide free “warrior makeovers” to women who have been affected by cancer.] These makeover experiences are designed to increase self-esteem and confidence, reduce stress, and empower women in the fight for their lives.”


One of Hidden Warriors’ “Warrior Makeovers”

I am very pleased to announce that I was selected by Hidden Warriors to receive a “Warrior Makeover” which will take place on a glass catwalk during OC Fashion Week on March 4, 2015!!

Not only will I walk down a runway with my fellow cancer-surviving lady warriors, but this event will give me a chance to continue to inspire other cancer survivors (and those currently battling cancer) to embrace their beauty, strengths, and passions, and prove that Life after cancer can be beautiful beyond imagination.

To be a part of something that validates and uplifts cancer survivors in such a moving, and beautifully, creative way is an absolute honor, and I hope that you all will join us during OC Fashion Week as I grace the Avant-Garde glass catwalk!

The event will take place at AnQi Gourmet Bistro & Noodle Bar in Costa Mesa (at the South Coast Plaza), and the show starts at 10pm.

Watch the Hidden Warriors promotional video below:

Editor’s Note: Heartfelt thanks to Hidden Warriors’ creator Marlene Sarli for having such an amazing spirit and vision, and for including me in on it! I can’t wait to let my “Hidden Warrior” inside, shine on the outside!

To purchase a ticket to the event or for more information on OC Fashion Week, visit:
http://www.ocfashionweek.com/

The Hidden Warriors Mission:
By using multiple therapeutic modalities, Hidden Warriors aims to increase self-esteem in and empower women who have been affected by cancer. We will create an experiential and transformative adventure which will tap into the Hidden Warriors they already are.

With help from professional make-up artists, photographers, designers, yoga instructors, occupational therapists, headdress makers and other creatives, we will use various headdresses and face paint to tap into their Hidden Warrior powers. We will photograph and document the process of transforming their mood and body language. These photographs will then be presented at a series of gallery shows and published in book form and ultimately into a short documentary. We will be scaling the project to the New York City and tri-state areas, then nation-wide, and eventually worldwide. This therapy has the potential to benefit many groups of people, including victims of domestic violence, children in foster care, people suffering with low self-esteem, anxiety and/or depression, etc. It is limitless!

http://hiddenwarriors.org/

Follow Hidden Warriors on Social Media!
Twitter + Instagram + Facebook

[Mon Poetry] Quest. For. You.

Wrote this on a red eye and I wasn’t even flying. I was merely… in a warm cocoon (with only the warmest of thoughts) and Donny Hathaway playing in the background on repeat…


Artwork Credit: “Sunlight” by Joan Semmel

“Quest. For. You.” – © Brittany “Bella” Graham (02.24.15)

Chills tingling down each of my bones,
Consequence of your baritone
Warmer than the warmest earth tone,
You’re like a blazing fire, waiting and burning for me when I get home

Curled up in one another when we’re alone,
I disappear into you and become your clone
Match my heat with yours, rock on all fours,
On the floor, by the door, sweat, heat, simmer, and pour…more

Caress like a ghost that haunts all day long,
Float on a melody like a Donny Hathaway song
I remember the kiss, remember the eclipse,
Remember your lips, and remember the bliss…of softly being awakened like this

And right before everything went black,
And my nails left angry, red marks across your back
You whispered in my ear, “Relax.” Relax…
Slow, deliberate climax…and now I can’t recover…from that

Is he? Is he? Is he?
More than a mirage…at the end of the sea?
Can he? Can he? Can he?
Save me, saturate, and satisfy me?
Pacify… and the only one who can mollify…this appetite

Quest for you. I have been…questing. for. you.

[NYFW] Michael Costello Fall/ Winter 2015

I’ve been to two other Michael Costello shows before, and trust me when I say he never disappoints! While in New York for Fashion Week, I had the pleasure of having a seat at Costello’s Fall/ Winter 2015 show, and was completely blown away by all of the designs showcased.

Peek-a-boo silhouettes and drapery softly accentuating womanly curves were the main focus, but I couldn’t help but notice the hair of the female models. Parted down the middle in front, and sectioned in two ponytails – one a high chignon and the other a low pony – in back, what resulted was a sexy twist to the traditional partial updo.

loveandbiscotti_chrisbrown_Karrueche_Christinamilian_michaelcostello_nyfw
Chris Brown, Karrueche and Christina Milian also attended. Image courtesy of Rap Up.

There was one dress in particular (which I managed to capture on video) that reminded me of the iconic, plunge dress worn by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the film “Scarface.”

Being that I’m a huge fan of the movie, this dress has been ingrained in my mind ever since I saw it. Check out my Instagram video below, and then compare to the picture of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. See the resemblance?


Did Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio’s character in “Scarface” inspire some of Costello’s F/W 2015 designs? Watch the video below.

@MichaelCostello's #NYFW show was everything right now! Coverage on #LoveAndBiscotti.com soon! 😍

A video posted by Brittany Bella Graham (@msbellagraham) on

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Last, but not least, I have to comment on the selection of songs used in the show. As soon as I heard Nicki Minaj and Jessi Ware’s song “The Crying Game,” I immediately fell in love with it! I’m a big music fan so as soon as the show was over, I Googled the lyrics so I could figure out what song it was, and I’ve been listening to it (on repeat) ever since. Oh, and did I mention that Costello closed out the show with the song – and got a standing ovation when he walked out? Absolutely perfect! Bravo, Michael!

xo,
Bell

Desigual Fall’15 NYFW Coverage + Exclusive Giveaway!

Bonjour cosmopolitans!

Please excuse my recent lack of posts. I’ve been in New York attending Fashion Week (NYFW), and I’m just now getting a chance to relay all of my wonderful adventures! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen a glimpse of the magic (and madness) that took place at Lincoln Center (the official site of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week), but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer opulence and surreality of Desigual – my first NYFW show!

The front row was spiked with celebrities, and amongst the talented rooster of models, super beauties Adriana Lima and Winnie Harlow were also featured sashaying down the runway. I ended up with both a great seat, and a special surprise gift courtesy of Desigual!

In fact, I had such an amazing time attending my first show that I’m giving all of you a chance to share in my excitement and WIN your own surprise Desigual NYFW gift courtesy of Love & Biscotti! Scroll down further in the post to find out details about how you can win!


Find out how to win this special Desigual package below!


Me after the show!

WIN THIS SPECIAL DESIGUAL NYFW PACKAGE!!

As mentioned above, I am giving all of you the opportunity to win this adorable Desigual package containing a beautiful scarf from their 2015 collection! All you have to do is follow the directions below! There are TWO WAYS TO ENTER:

First Entry Option:

1) Follow me on Twitter: @MsBellaGraham and @LoveAndBiscotti (must follow both)
2) Follow Desigual on Twitter: @Desigual
3) Tweet both accounts and include the hashtag #LoveBiscottiDesigual
4) Your profile must be public, as I cannot see private profiles or tweets

Second Entry Option:

1) Follow me on Instagram: @MsBellaGraham
2) Follow Desigual on Instagram: @Desigual
3) Repost the contest image (located below) on your account and include the hashtag #LoveBiscottiDesigual
4) Your profile must be public

loveandbiscotti_desigual_contest

For an additional third entry, follow/ sbscribe to Love & Biscotti (via the “Follow” button to the right, and leave a comment under this blog post!

That’s it! I’ll draw a random winner on Friday, March 27, 2015! Good luck!

xo, Bella!

[CONTEST] Win a 2 Night Stay at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas!

UPDATE 02. 10. 15:
I am very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2-night stay at the historic Driskill Hotel is @sarahmarilu!! The winner was drawn via a random number generator on the Internet. Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy your stay!

To everyone to entered the contest, stay tuned! I’ve got more exciting contests to announce soon! xoxo

—-
Bonjour cosmopolitans!

Its officially the month of love, and this February – to celebrate my love for travel and exploring wonderful, new places – I’ve partnered with the historic Driskill Hotel to offer one of my readers a complimentary two night stay in one of the most romantic hotels in Austin, Texas!

According to The Guardian, who lists the Driskill Hotel as one of the “Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Austin,” the intimate hotel is “[one of Austin’s oldest historic landmarks – known for its opulent marble lobby and leathered lounge – and ghostly guests are rumoured to haunt its halls!

The romantically lit bar, with signature and seasonal craft cocktails such as the ‘Batini’ (a vodka concoction made with hibiscus which was named the official cocktail of Austin in 2010), is the epitome of old-world style, and lined with stately portraits.

Rooms range in size from converted former staff quarters to skyline-view suites; or, if you’re feeling fancy, there’s the famed LBJ Presidential Suite, designed for dignitaries but often occupied by A-listers.

The hotel’s 6th Street-facing patios are perfect for people-watching and, when the sun goes down, you’re literally steps from the city’s famed entertainment strip.”

Needless to say, with all of its southern comfort and sophisticated charm, the Driskill Hotel is the perfect rendezvous for you and your significant other!

For Your Chance to Win a 2 Night Stay in the Driskill Hotel’s “Vintage Guest Bedroom,” Follow These Rules. There are TWO WAYS TO ENTER:

First Entry Option:

1) Follow me on Instagram: @MsBellaGraham
2) Follow the Driskill Hotel on Instagram: @TheDriskill
3) Repost the contest image (located below) on your account and include the hashtag #LoveBiscottiDriskill, as well as the reason you want to win.
4) Your profile must be public

Second Entry Option:

1) Follow me on Twitter: @MsBellaGraham and @LoveAndBiscotti (must follow both)
2) Follow the Driskill Hotel on Twitter: @TheDriskill
3) Tweet why you would love to win a stay at the Driskill, and include the hashtag #LoveBiscottiDriskill
4) Your profile must be public, as I cannot see private profiles or tweets

You can enter the contest on Instagram, or Twitter, or both. Those who enter on both social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram), will receive two entries, doubling their chance to win!

For a third additional entry, leave a comment under this blog post! That makes a total of three entries you can earn! Why not increase your chances?! Note: You must enter either through Twitter or Instagram first to qualify for an additional entry via the blog.

The contest ends in exactly one week on Monday, February 9th! I will draw a random winner at 11:59 pm PST.

For full details, and disclaimers, scroll to the bottom of this post. Good luck!

Contest Image for Instagram:

Additional Details + Disclaimers:

*Hotel stay must be redeemed before March 15, 2015
*Blackout dates apply. Not valid during SxSw

[Sunday Meditation] Making Selfish Decisions For Good Reasons

#BellaSundayMeditation: “Making Selfish Decisions For Good Reasons”

You will always break yourself trying to be the alternate versions that others are willing to accept. That person doesn’t exist, and neither will you, when changing who you are – and what’s important to you – start to fade, away

The best part about accrued maturity, and knowledge of self, is the simple acceptance of “self.” The people attracted and destined to be in your Life will merge naturally, and without your having to adapt to anything – including them.

I don’t mind acknowledging this necessary selfishness within myself. I’m selfish with my time, my privacy, and even with others’ access to me, because if you don’t set a limit, people will never stop taking. To me, selfishness is just another form of self-respect. Love yourself too much to tolerate bad behavior.

Namaste