SheKnows.com Designer’s-Eye View Exclusive Interview

Last month, I was the subject of SheKnows.com’s “Designer’s Eye View” feature, on the site’s Decorating Diva blog. As part of the feature, I offered up five tips for decorating your home. Click HERE to check out what I have to say, including advice on how to truly open up your space, how to improve the atmosphere of a room with the proper lighting, and how to select the perfect accent pieces. While you’re there, make sure to check out the rest of the great home decor and improvement stories and tips on the site — it’s a must-read! Thank you to Jessica and everyone else at SheKnows.com!

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Chic Spring Nail Polish Shades

Although I’ve already extolled the praises of pre-wedding spa days, if you don’t have the time to block out an entire day dedicated to self-pampering, scheduling a mani/pedi is an excellent (time-efficient) way to unwind. It can also be a great way to bond with your bridal party! Now that it’s finally getting nicer outside, it’s a perfect time to experiment with bright, cheery nail polishes — nudes, deep reds and sheer shades need not apply! When it comes to nail polish, Chanel is the holy grail; Peter Philps, the global creative director for Chanel Makeup, is considered a tastemaker in the beauty world. Every color that he concocts for Chanel’s runway shows flies off the shelves and inspires plenty of knockoffs. For spring and summer, Philips created several pretty polishes that I just need to share with you!

First and foremost is Riva, a shade that first debuted at Chanel’s Cruise Collection 2010-2011. This pastel baby blue polish is a breezy breath of fresh air!

chanel riva nail polish spring summer 2011 resort cruise baby blue pastel manicure fashion peter philips

Next is the standout color from the summer collection: Mimosa. A vibrant yellow, this particular color might be divisive among those of you who are more puritanical when it comes to your pedicures. However, this shade is a surefire way to inject a little sunshine into your life, and it’s surprisingly flattering against all skin tones!

chanel mimosa nail polish spring summer 2011 bright yellow manicure fashion peter philips

Finally, there’s Morning Rose, a pink polish with a subtle swirl of gold glitter. True to its name, the shade is a warm rose, and I’m confident that it will be a spring/summer favorite! Just perfect for a spring bride.

chanel morning rose nail polish spring summer 2011 pink and gold shimmer manicure fashion peter philips

Which of these colors are your favorite? Do you prefer the classic Morning Rose, or would you dare to wear Mimosa or Riva?

Geeky Cool Photo Props

Here’s a familiar scenario: It’s Monday morning and you log onto your Facebook account to see the pictures your friends have posted from the weekend, and there they are…photos of your friends arm-in-arm, perfectly posed, perfectly smiling, perfectly dressed, perfectly booooring!  Adding creativity and a little fun to any party is what will make it memorable. With summer just around the corner, pretty soon you’ll be invited to barbecues, graduation parties and pool parties galore; when attending these warm-weather festivities, bring along these Geeky Cool Photo Props — they are sure to be a hit. With an array of exaggerated red lips, handlebar mustaches, bowties and faux glasses to choose from, these pieces are a simple and fun way to add some personality to your photos. Sure, the perfectly posed pictures are nice in a frame over the fireplace. However, the ones you’ll look at over and over again with a smile are sure to be the ones of your great-grandmother holding a mustache above her lip!geeky cool photo props etsy 2011 lips glasses mustaches bowties party favors pictures

geeky cool photo props etsy 2011 lips glasses mustaches bowties party favors pictures

The Vodka Gimlet: A Splendid Spring Spirit!

cocktails glass interior design 2011 parties gatherings drinks vodka gimlet liquor

Spring has finally sprung, and what better way to celebrate than with cocktails? So, put away your snow shovels and break out the vodka for a new twist on an old drink: the vodka gimlet! I know what you’re thinking — gimlets are something 75-year-old women in mink stoles drink, but this modern take on it will prove stylish, simple to make and delicious.

 

Traditionally, the gimlet is made with either vodka or gin, simple syrup and lime juice, served with a lime garnish. My version is less sweet and I would imagine, a few less calories.

First, take your martini glasses, and rim them with lime juice and granulated sugar. (I love this Kate Spade Park Place Martini Set for serving guests in style!)

kate spade glasses cocktails martini glass interior design 2011 parties gatherings drinks gimlet

Next, mix:

2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz seltzer
A pinch of granulated sugar (or to taste)

For mixed drinks, my favorite vodka to use is Svedka. It’s affordable, easy to find and it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

Finally, fill cocktail shaker with ice and ingredients, shake vigorously and strain into glass.

This is also a great drink to make on the rocks by the pitcher.  On hot days, fill your ice trays with lime and seltzer instead of water and when they melt, they won’t water down your drinks.

Enjoy!

The Perfect Gift for Your Bridal Party

apple iPod nano touch screen gift personalize engrave music mp3 bridesmaids groomsmen wedding party

Recently, I worked with Kristie, a bride who knew just what she wanted — from the décor to the dress to the menu, she had it all figured out. However, the one thing she just could not decide on was what to get her bridesmaids. I find this to be a common problem with many of my brides; they search high and low for a gift that would make all of their bridesmaids happy, while also sufficiently conveying their gratitude. Well, to solve this conundrum, I suggest gifting your girls with an iPod! Who doesn’t love music? And with various models at price points ranging from $49 to $249, this gift can suit any bride’s budget. My personal favorite is the newly redesigned iPod nano. It features a touch screen and comes in an array of colors — for those wondering, Kristie chose the light blue to match her wedding color scheme. The best part is that you can even custom engrave the back with a special message, like your wedding date, a simple “Thank You” or even the bride and groom’s name, for that added personal touch. Speaking of the groom, Kristie’s husband Thom decided to purchase the iPod for his groomsmen as well!

To check out the specs on the iPod nano (along with Apple’s many other offerings), click here!

Quick Tip: Walk it Out!

The final few weeks leading up to a bride’s wedding can be tense. Too many times to count, I have witnessed my clients stress, panic and become completely consumed in perfecting every last detail. Unfortunately, this often comes at the expense of taking time for themselves, their friends and most importantly, connecting with their fiancés. I have the perfect solution: take a walk together! Yes, it sounds simple, but it’s something most of us forget to do. The Brooklyn Bridge, rich with history, is a surprisingly wonderful place to walk. With a walk path that stretches from downtown Brooklyn to NYC, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up. With little to distract you, aside from the scenic views, it is unexpectedly romantic. Stash a camera in your pocket, or if you’d rather unleash your inner artiste, bring a few sheets of white paper and colored pencils – halfway over the bridge you can trace etchings, which make for a lovely keepsake. Best of all, with restaurants on both the Brooklyn and Manhattan side, you can end the walk with dinner and a glass of wine to toast the two of you! Here is a picture of my clients, Maria and Vincent, during their recent walk over the Brooklyn Bridge:
Married couple 2011 kissing brooklyn bridge newlyweds wedding new york michael russo events
“Thanks Michael for the great advice! Vincent and I had a wonderful time reconnecting. I have lived in Brooklyn for years and it is something I have never done! I’m so glad I listened to you!”

Married couple 2011 kissing brooklyn bridge newlyweds wedding new york michael russo events

Quick Tip: Halloween Hurricanes

I am a firm believer in the idea that the slightest tweaks and touches can often make a substantial difference. Take, for instance, these three tall glass display hurricanes:

To add some flair during the Halloween season, I placed candles in each of the hurricanes and overlaid them with different novelty fishnet stockings. (Yes, even the one in the center is a type of stocking!)

To hold the stockings in place, I secured the top of each hurricane with double-sided tape. Then, as a finishing touch, I tied ribbons around the hurricanes, making sure to also apply ribbon around the rims (to obscure the double-sided tape). I chose to tie the ribbons in a different manner on the left and right hurricanes, to keep things visually interesting. Et voilà — this little design trick is quite a Halloween treat!