#GetTheLook : Emma Watson at Valentino Fall Couture 2014

Lace, leather and red hot heels — Emma Watson wows us once again with an ensemble that is oh-so on point. A black lace Valentino bralette and matching skirt offered just the right amount of sexiness and feminine sophistication — sheer lace subtly showed off a bit of leg, while the high waisted skirt allowed for just a glimpse of toned midriff. A single long drop earring (this trend is going to explode) and black leather jacket  tied it all together to give the look a modern, rocker-chic edge. Subtle, natural make-up keeps the look from appearing too over-the-top.

Here’s how to get Emma’s edgy look:

emma watson valentino | notesfromthebackrow.comemma watson valentino |notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Lace bralette, $44, Topshop.com, Topshop; 2. Sheer lace skirt, $198, Aliceandolivia.com, Alice and Olivia; 3. Leather jacket, $250, Mango.com, Mango; 4. Red pumps, $175, Nordstrom.com, Michael Kors; 5. Tassel earrings, $15, ASOS.com, ASOS; 6. Minaudiere, $295, Bloomingdales.com, Badgley Mischka

#FashionJob: Outfits I Love Spotted In and Around The Office

I work with a pretty stylish set of women. So it’s no surprise that there have been many, many times where I’ve caught myself stealing glances of so and so’s outfit and thinking, “Where did she get that?” To celebrate their style, I’ve decided to start a weekly post dedicated to the stylish ensembles I’ve seen around the office.

To kick things off, I’ve chosen a sophisticated yet super simple look spotted on one of our style editors. Not only does it look amazing on, it’s so easy to pull off and it’s comprised of basic pieces that can be worn again and again.

office outfit | notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Striped Top, $36, RiverIsland.com, River Island; 2. Chandelier Earrings, $88, Oscardelarenta.com, Oscar de la Renta; 3. Gold Ring, $1,950, AnnaSheffield.com, Anna Sheffield; 4. Lether Satchel Bag, $2,490, YSL.com, Yves Saint Laurent; 5. Black Skirt, $60, HouseofFraser.co.uk, Pieces; 6. Ankle Strap Sandal, $325, Nordstrom.com, Michael Kors

Smorgasburg | Brooklyn | Notes From The Back Row Blog

Smorgasburg – Brooklyn, New York

If you ever happen to be in New York City on a Saturday or Sunday during the summer, you should definitely take the time to hop across the East River over to Brooklyn and indulge in the culinary delights of the hip borough’s weekly food market, Smorgasburg. Every weekend hoards of people flock to the Williamsburg waterfront and Pier 5 at Brooklyn Bridge Park to sample an array of inspired, handmade bites from over 50 vendors covering almost every style of food you can imagine. And this isn’t your typical food market — Smorgasburg’s highly curated collection of merchants are pushing the limits on street food, putting their own unique twist on everything from tacos and hot dogs to Puerto Rican Mofongo and Vietnamese summer rolls.

Come hungry. You’re going to want to do some serious tent-hopping. And with most prices hanging well below $12 a dish — you can. Lines may be long (this is an understatement for the Williamsburg location), but they’re definitely worth the wait.

Warning: Smorgasburg will test your decision-making abilities.If you’re super indecisive like me, check out what everyone else is eating and go from there. I suggest making the rounds of the park to put together a plan of attack before diving in to your first dish to combat food envy.  Or bring along a couple friends to maximize your tasting potential.

Keep in mind — most food stalls are cash only — so make sure to have plenty on hand.

Smorgasburg | Brooklyn | Notes From The Back Row Blog

Here are a few things I tried:

Best Summer – Super fresh Vietnemese spring rolls with unexpected flavors like smoked brisket. Out of this world. For $7 I got two rolls – the Hewsten roll (smoked brisket, red & napa cabbage, bbq mayo and fresh herbs) and the Rooster (chicken, sriracha, red & napa cabbage, cilantro and scallions). This has to be my favorite vendor by far. The rolls are stuffed with incredibly fresh ingredients and the flavors are perfectly balanced — plus that peanut sauce is amazing.

Smorgasburg | Brooklyn | Notes From The Back Row Blog

Asia Dog – Hot dogs are not typically my food of choice but one look at Asia Dog’s menu and I was sold. You won’t find a chili cheese dog here — Asia Dog gets its name from the Asian-infused toppings they use to dress up their dogs. Each topping incorporates flavors  found in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and more, like the the “Ito” (Japanese curry and kimchi apples) and the “Sidney” (Thai style relish with mango, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, crushed peanuts and fish sauce). And there’s something for everyone. In additional to classic beef dogs, you can also choose from chicken, veggie or organic beef dogs. I tested out the “Vinh,”a banh mi style dog topped with carrot, cilantro, daikon, jalapeño and cucumber. And while I’d choose a classic banh mi over this ballpark version any day, I have to admit, it was pretty good. The ingredients were fresh and the spicy aioli and jalapeños gave the dog a nice kick. And at $5, it’s a pretty good deal. I’ll definitely be back.

Smorgasburg | Brooklyn | Notes From The Back Row Blog

Gather – For something a bit lighter, head over to Gather. Their kale salad is a must-try with almonds, cherries and a zingy citrus vinaigrette. Not feeling the leafy greens? They also offer up a variety of sandwiches, soups and sweets.

Dough - The people at Dough don’t mess around. These are the king of all doughnuts. They’ve got the perfect texture, managing to be light and airy without lacking substance, and are topped with mouthwatering glazes like dulce de leche with toasted almonds and mixed berry. The lemon poppy is my personal fave, but I wouldn’t say no to salted caramel, hibiscus or coconut cream. Yum!

Smorgasburg | Brooklyn | Notes From The Back Row Blog

Noodle Lane – I was intrigued by the dozens of people walking around with bowls of delicious-looking egg noodles piled high  with fresh toppings like julienned cucumber, chopped scallions and chilies flakes. After a bit of searching, I finally found the source — Noodle Lane — and decided to give it a go. Dan Dan noodles is their most popular dish (egg noodles with a savory sauce and chili oil, sautéed minced pork, Sichuan preserved vegetable, bean sprouts and scallions), but I decided to go with the Spicy Peanut noodles instead. I immediately wished I had gone with the Dan Dan. The noodles themselves were really good (smooth and chewy) and the veggies were fresh, but the sauce was over powering. I was expecting a fair amount of heat (I ordered them hot) cut with a hint of sweetness from a light peanut sauce, but the sauce was more like a peanut butter sauce you use to top off a sundae. It over-powered the chili oil and really cut the heat — the noodles weren’t spicy at all. I would consider going back to try the Dan Dan, but I recommend avoiding the peanut noodles.

Takumi Taco – Takumi Taco takes Mexican-inspired street food and gives it a Japanese twist. Spicy tuna, miso chicken, short rib, tofu, crispy shrimp and Japanese curry beef are mixed with a variety of sauces, herbs and vegetables, finished off with black sesame seeds and radish and served in traditional corn tortillas or crispy gyoza shells. The spicy tuna is a must-try. The fish is incredibly fresh and the sauce (though there’s a lot of it) is flavorful, refreshing and the heat factor is on point. Fresh-squeezed lime juice adds the perfect amount of acidity to tie together all of the flavors and the gyoza shell offers just the right amount of crunch. Don’t leave Smorgasburg without giving Takumi Taco a try.

Smorgasburg | Brooklyn | Notes From The Back Row Blog

 

#INSPIRED : Venice Pink

The warm weather and sunshine have been making it almost impossible difficult to focus at work, especially after coming back from a long weekend. I look out the window and all I can think about is lounging on a beach in Maine , floating down a river in Dordogne or riding my bike along the Canal du Midi in Toulouse instead of sitting here glued to my open-space-cubicle-esque thing on the 25th floor in Lower Manhattan.

To get through my pre-vacation funk, I’m taking a mental vacay to Venice. I may not be able to hop on a plane to Italy, but I can snag a little piece of Venetian-inspired heaven with these bright pieces.

#Inspired: Venice Pink | Notes From the Back Row

 

 

1. Floral Jacquard Dress, $162, ASOS Salon, ASOS.com; 2. Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée, $22, Josie Maran, Sephora.com; 3. Cutout Flat, $40, Modcloth, Modcloth.com; 4. MacBeth Orangey-Coral Nail Lacquer, $15, Butter London, Sephora.com; 5. Crossbody Bag, $280, Kate Spade, Zappos.com; 6. Ile de Panthers Tote, $317, Longchamp, AvenueK.com; 7. Ambroise Slippers, $230, Chatelles Paris, Mychatelles.com; 8. Pink Ombre Shirt, $158, Frank & Eileen, Farfetch.com; 9. Floral Pencil Skirt, $42, River Island, ASOS.com; 10. Carroll Park Penelope Satchel, Kate Spade New York, KateSpade.com; 11. French 65 Nectar Pink Heels, $180, Whistles, ASOS.com; 12. Rose Boudoir Lip Color, $28.50, Lancôme, Sephora.com; 13. Slingback Flats, $25, Topshop, Topshop.com; 14. Paisley Shirt, $266, Etro, Farfetch.com; 15. Skull Clutch, Alexander McQueen, AlexanderMcQueen.com; 16. Floral Mini Dress, $1,850, Erdem, Net-A-Porter, Net-a-porter.com; 17. 2Jours Bag, $2,350, Fendi, MarissaCollections.com 

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Best of Resort 2015

When Resort rolls around in the retail world, there are usually a few things that we’ve all come to expect — red, white, blue and stripes. You can always find great staple pieces, but for me, I want something a little more interesting and edgy. Enter Resort 2015 with its blue and white tie-dyed trenches, bold colorful stripes, boxy shapes and statement-making prints. Forget everything you know about resort collections of the past — designers have started to recognize the importance of cruise collections for their customers, who see them as a way to update their wardrobes mid-winter before the release of the spring collections. For us, this means more diverse collections that stand on their own right, rather than boring pieces that will barely hold our interest until Spring. So get excited!

Here are some of my favorite looks from the Resort 2015 runways.

Photos: Style.com

#STYLED: Independence Inspiration

It’s Independence Eve! So to get you in the patriotic spirit, I’ve rounded up some stylish red, white and blue accessories that are sure to keep you looking super chic no matter how you choose to celebrate.

4th of July Accessories | Notes From the Back Row

 

1. White Leather Backpack, Grafea, $324, ASOS.com; 2. Striped Bikini, Heidi Klein, $266, Matchesfashion.com; 3. White Sunglasses, Le Specs, $80, LeSpecs.us; 4. White Leather Espadrilles, Club Monaco, $150, ClubMonaco.com; 5. White Buckle Booties, Loeffler Randall, $198 (sale), LoefflerRandall.com; 6. Floral Print Trainers, Vans x Liberty London, $60, Vans.com; 7. Blue Specked Sunglasses, Thierry Lasry, ThierryLasry.com; 8. Tie-dye Ankle-Wrap Sandals, J. Crew, $148; JCrew.com; 9. Red, White and Blue Drop Earrings, Bauble Bar, Baublebar.com; 10. Flamingo Tanksuit, Princesse TamTam, $159, Madewell.com; 11. Gem Zip-Top Clutch, Accessorize, $59, Accessorize.com; 12. Red Cat Eye Sunglasses, Alexander McQueen, $355, Bloomingdales.com; 13. Wedge Sandal, Kate Spade, $99 (sale), Nordstrom.com; 14. Fold-Over Zip Wristlet, Henri Bendel, $64 (sale), HenriBendel.com; 15. Tile Print Lonline Bikini, Topshop, $72, Topshop.com

#BeautyCV: Talking Beauty with Alessandra Pope

Beauty CV | Alessandra Pope | Notes From The Back Row

I caught up with Alessandra Pope, International Marketing Director of MODO Consulting in Madrid, Spain and author of the blog Native of the North, to talk all things beauty. For this globe-trotting beauty, keeping her look natural and low-key is essential for her busy lifestyle. Read on for her beauty must-haves and super simple make-up routine.

What’s in your make-up bag?  I use very few products, but the ones I have on hand are: NATYSAL Rosehip BBCream; YVES ROCHER bronzer powder; Sephora lash plumper ultra black; Sephora Crayon Contour Eye Pencil – Waterproof; The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Moisture SPF 15.

What is your daily hair and beauty regime?  Nonexistent. I shower, then apply make-up quickly before running out of the door — usually with wet hair. My hair dries straight and no matter what I try to do with it, it’s pointless . . . so the bun, high pony or down are my go to do’s. 

What is your signature day-to-day look? Simple. Most days I just put on mascara and don’t bother with the rest and I  am ready to go.

Which products can’t you live without?  I would say a moisturizer with SPF . . . but other than that, nothing really. I feel comfortable with or without make-up, but I suppose my mascara always makes me feel a little bit better! 

What’s the best beauty advice anyone’s ever given you? Moisturize.

What would you never put on your face? Liquid foundations. They’re like a mask. I simply use BB Cream on red spots or for the bags under my eyes. But I NEVER put it all over face as if it’s a layer of skin.

What is your go-to look for a night out? A bold, traditional red lipstick.

What are your thoughts on plastic surgery and other procedures? I’ve had surgery on my nose. I had a large bump shaved down when I was 18 years old.  I think that if you’re doing it for you, it’s the right thing to do. But it should never be because anybody else wants you to do it or you think you’ll make others happy. Several of my friends weren’t happy I got my “nose-job” but hey, it was for me at the end of the day and nobody else so I remain happy with my decision.

Who’s your beauty icon? Nobody.

What are your beauty sins?  I don’t always take my make-up at night before going to bed.

Any memorable beauty disasters? Maybe it’s because I don’t really care, but nope!

Must-have beauty product for summer? Moisturizer with SPF. Protect that skin!

 

Check out Alessandra’s blog Native of the North where she’ll give you the lowdown on cities across the globe with all the best tips and must-see places from the people who know it best: the locals.

#Styled: Lemon Love

Nothing says summer quite like a punchy print. This citrusy skort makes me think of dreamy afternoons strolling through the cobblestone streets of a small town on the Amalfi Coast, sipping limoncello and basking in the warm Italian sun.

Style Inspiration | Lemon Love | Notes From The Back Row

 

1. Straw Fedora, $34.30, ASOS, ASOS.com; 2. Boxy Panel Shirt, $34, New Look, NewLook.com; 3. Pandora Clutch, $1,095, Charlotte Olympia, Farfetch.com; 4. Lemon Print Skort, $68, Topshop, Topshop.com; 5. White & Silver Sandals, $49.95, Faith, ASOS.com

Sip On This: My Favorite Summer Cocktails

Wine is without a doubt is my drink of choice; nothing really beats a full-bodied red on a crisp fall evening or a bright rosé  on a hot summer night. But with the abundance of fresh fruits and herbs available during summer I can’t resist the occasional cocktail, especially when it’s made with muddled berries or herb-infused simple syrup. I’ve rounded up some of my favourite mixes (plus a few I’m dying to try!) to get you in the mood for summer. Click each image for the full recipe.