What does rocking a red lip mean to me?

Verily Magazine approached me a few weeks ago with the question: "What does rocking a red lip really mean to you?".

I love how red lips add extra sparkle to any outfit. When I'm dressing down for casual comfort, bold red lips add an unexpected pop to my look.

It's so easy to toss a red lipstick in my gym bag. You never know when an unexpected meeting might pop up after exercising. Even in sweats I can look stylish with the help of my ruby red!

My Grandma Beth always loved to rock a red lip. When I was little, I'd go through her makeup (including her lipsticks!) and try them out.  I admired how she wore red lipstick, bold golden earrings and, of course, Chanel N°5.

Grandma Beth was the inspiration for my work in fashion. Every time I wear red lipstick I think of Grandma. I'm so grateful to have her precious memory.

I have Grandma Beth to thank for my love of color, fashion and styling. She inspired me to help others find their own bold, beautiful and unique looks.

Grandma displayed her own colorful style with pride. Not a day goes by I don't miss her laugh, witty banter or famous mashed potatoes. (Believe me, her meals were legendary!)

Every time I pick up my red lipstick, grandma memories come back to me. I remember shopping together and listening to classical music in her cruising Cadillac. I can still picture her visits. When she walked into any room she just seemed to radiate a special brightness.

Grandma Beth is still here with me in many ways, especially when I wear red lipstick. 

Like Grandma Beth before me, I'll keep rockin' the red!

LUX* South Ari Atoll

Aerial video of LUX* South Ari Atoll, created by Aaron Craig

Do you have a place in your mind where you go to escape it all? For me, that place is LUX* South Ari Atoll Resort in The Maldives. Aaron and I experienced a little slice of heaven when we stayed at LUX last November.

LUX* South Ari Atoll is located on the Island of Dhidhoofinolhu, just south of India. You land on the capitol island of Malé in The Maldives and take a seaplane to your private resort island.

We've never taken a seaplane before, so I was a bit nervous. No problem! LUX*’s chic waiting area gave me time to relax a little bit after 23 hours of travel. Our seaplane arrived and off we went!

The seaplane experience was great! I loved seeing the beautiful colors of the ocean from the air - the most wonderful shades of blue in the world!

I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw the island for the first time. From the moment we got off the plane the staff welcomed us with open arms.

The first thing I noticed about LUX* was how laid back everything is. The whole resort gave off a very relaxing, beachy vibe. Natural driftwood and white furniture seamlessly blended with the topical setting.

LUX* has 193 private villas that sit right on a crystal clear lagoon along two miles of soft sandy beach. We stayed in the Romantic Pool Water Villa. Beyond dreamy!

The villa rested atop the sparkling Indian Ocean. Steps took us right into the water from our patio! The villa also had a private infinity pool, which melted into the ocean view. It was great for a late night dip.

The interior of our room was bright and super functional. Our huge shower seemed like the size of many NYC apartments! Haha! We loved coming back, rinsing off and relaxing after days full of adventure.

LUX* has a vast array of fun activities you can do during your stay. Diving, snorkeling, and boating of all kinds are offered. In fact, LUX* even has a 5-Star PADI Dive Centre. It's a diver’s dream on the gorgeous blue ocean!

We had the opportunity to swim with whale sharks and sea turtles. Swimming with these magnificent creatures was an experience we'll never forget. We also loved snorkeling and exploring the vibrant coral reefs around the island.

One day Aaron took me on a wave runner. What a thrill ride! I loved having the wind and water splash my face! Exhilarating!

We loved to chill by LUX*’s many beautiful infinity pools throughout the island (Often with a fresh piña colada in hand!).  Speaking of relaxing, we also took advantage of LUX*’s serene LUX* Me Spa where we had the best massages of our lives. The spa floor was open so we could see all the beautiful topical fish swimming by. What a unique experience!

I loved all the oils and essences they used so much, I couldn’t help but buy almost all of them. I use them as much as I can stateside. The scents bring back such beautiful memories.

Now - on to my favorite part of every vacation: the food!! LUX* South Ari Atoll has seven restaurants and five bars. We loved getting the distinctive taste of each place.

East Market was our favorite spot for breakfast. Just imagine having every breakfast item you crave available in one spot: the delicious buffet at East Market. They have everything from eggs to donuts to Dim Sum, to fresh smoothies, and everything in between. I'm still dreaming about their passion fruit donuts!!!

Our lunch spot, which soon became our favorite restaurant on the island, was Beach Rouge, a bright and airy restaurant right on the beach. We loved sipping piña coladas while watching the waves crash. Our favorite dish was, hands down, the daily fresh catch. I loved getting to try native fish from the Indian Ocean.

After a nice lunch, we'd walk for hours exploring the island. One of our favorite discoveries was THE ICE-CREAM BIKE. The rider on this cute little bike peruses the island passing out free ice-cream to people with a sweet tooth! Needless to say, I loved crossing paths with the ice cream bicycle. There’s nothing like exploring a private island with an ice-cream cone in your hand.

When we were in the mood for sushi, we headed over to the restaurant Umami, which offered all the sushi and sashimi you could want. Plus, The Maldives' largest selection of sakes and Japanese whiskeys. Let’s just say -- we had many a great night there.

LUX* had all cuisines covered. If you know anything about me, you know I have a soft spot for Italian food. The Allegria Restaurant was wonderful. I loved watching the chefs cook our pasta in the open format kitchen. One time, they prepared Aaron an entire fish which looked like it could feed an entire family! They had to cart it out! That was a moment we won’t soon forget. And since we opted for the all-inclusive option during our stay... Aaron added a pepperoni pizza to go with our fish. I mean, why not? 

LUX* understands we sometimes need to make a little phone call to family. They have set up a British-style phone booth in the middle of the island which allows you to call anywhere in the world for FREE. Whenever I felt like talking to my parents, I'd just pick up the phone and call Illinois. It was such a comforting feeling to know family was just a phone call away!

Aaron and I are huge HUGE coffee fans. We were pleasantly surprised to find LUX* roasts their own coffee! The process was truly fascinating to watch. I had never personally seen how much precision and craftsmanship goes into handcrafting each batch. The most beautiful part of the process was the smile on each person’s face as they worked. We were happy to take a bag of coffee home. Unfortunately, it went quickly. It looks like we'll have to plan another trip!

The thing I love most about LUX* South Ari Atoll is their spirit of giving back to the Maldives community.  They understand there is a rich history in The Maldives which must be protected, both culturally and ecologically. LUX* is constantly striving to make sure their presence helps make The Maldives and the world a better place.

-- What a pleasure to discover this oasis!  I can’t think of a location I could more highly recommend than a tropical stay at LUX* South Ari Atoll in The Maldives!

Weekend Inspirations no.4

A recipe. Can't wait to revisit this healthy pizza recipe again REAL SOON. Three cheers for healthy indulgences!

A destination. Really want to hit this destination in 2017. We will see!

A article. Saw Martin Scorsese's Silence and can't get it out of my mind. Best movie I have seen in years. More in this article.

A hairstyle. Because we all need some extra Zzz's + pretty hair to boot! Bam: Overnight hair tutorials. 

A house. In love with this chic and cozy barn house. 

A quote. A quote from an amazing women I had a lot of respect for who passed away this week. 

A video. This video gives me major high school reminiscing vibes. Death Cab for Cutie is still so good. 

A cute something. This bulldog puppy video! Oh my gosh! 

tropical feels...

Rain rain...go away already! This week in NYC has been a rainy ole' bugger. Of course this really puts quite a damper on the walk to the gym in the morning....but I pushed on. Haha...even though I wasn't always the most chipper bunny in gym class. This week has me dreaming of salty air, late night swims in the Gulf of Mexico and all kinds of BBQ. Beach life is a good life. Am I right, bro?!

A lot of people think I came from California to the East Coast. Maybe my long blonde locks or easy going ways confuse me for a Cali gal, but, alas, I am a Midwestern farmer's daughter through and through. Hmmm...reminds me of a popular Beach Boys song. Listen here if you need a reference. 

I saw a glimmer of hope today when a ray of sunshine finally decided to peek itself from behind the clouds. Hooray sun! You were missed by New Yorkers of all kinds. Hopefully when you decide to come out for real during summer my pizza-fied body will be more bikini-worthy (not that it really matters to me, I'm always ready for a bikini-haha). Pizza body or not, sweet sunshine is always a great idea. Hope you guys had a great week! 

Around Our Apartment No.3

L1160162.jpg

I just ate a few donuts and now I fully understand why donuts don't qualify as a lunch item-haha. Even though my stomach may be bothering me, I wanted to share a few shots around our little Brooklyn apartment on this dreary New York City Friday. 

This week overall has been a chill one. I'm thankful for these kinds of weeks. The kind for catching up with coffee, extra snuggles and maybe-just maybe-one more episode of America's Next Top Model (my fave guilty pleasure show). You have to admit, Tyra Banks is fierrrrrce!!!!

I have enjoyed developing new rituals this year as well as bringing back old ones (cough* working out...*cough). This year is a year for appreciating your neighbor, smiling at strangers, and for remembering we are all in this together. Through sorrow, anger, joy and heartaches. We need each other. I hope you guys all had a beautiful week. Enjoy your weekend--maybe even with a donut...or two.

Ceri Hoover Fashion Film

Since starting Being Elliott and my styling career, I've always tried to be an advocate for local designers. When I purchase locally, I imagine all the care which went into each stitch. 

Ceri Hoover is one of the designers I really admire. She hails out of Nashville, Tennessee. Ceri truly puts so much thought into each one of her unique and beautiful leather handbags. Her designs stand out from the crowd.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to direct a fashion film showcasing Ceri's Fall/Winter Handbag collection.

I had a lot of fun making this video. I couldn't have done it without an amazing team. Joy, Jaleeca and Jessica:  Thanks so much for helping make this video look beyond what I expected and bringing it into totally dreamy territory.

Also, thanks, Aaron Craig, for capturing my vision with the excellence and beautiful cinematography you apply to everything.

Now...here's to a finished project! I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed making it. 

Hello 2017.

It's the new year. This one snuck up on me. I have to admit, I'm tired already.

A lot of sadness happened last year, paired with a lot of great things, too. There were tears and smiles. Sometimes a great belly laugh was thrown in as well. 

As much as I'm excited to get this year rolling, something inside me is telling me to stop. Rest. Take a breath.

As I get older, I've learned that pausing and appreciating moments can help us grow so much. We notice little nuances we didn't see before. Smell the roses. Pet the dog. Walk the beach. Listen to the snow.

Right now I'm sitting on a beach looking out into an unknown horizon. I'm not sure what's in store for me this year.

It's scary. Scary things can be exciting though. Whatever happens, I want to treasure these quiet, unplugged, imagination-filled moments.

I think if this year is filled with these moments, it will be a pretty rad year.

Happy new year, guys! 

Gingerbread Cookies For Christmas

I love baking during the holidays. There is nothing better than whipping up some warm and comforting treats for your loved ones to enjoy. I’m finally home for Christmas. I love taking time to bake special sweets. 

Time alone in the kitchen allows me to reflect on how much of a blessing this year has been. We’ve made a lot of memories, so I am baking a memory today: Gingerbread Cookies.  

My sisters and I always decorated gingerbread for Christmas. This is why I’m so excited to partner with KitchenAid to share a yummy classic Gingerbread Cookie recipe today. 

I used the KitchenAid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer to smoothly mix my ingredients. The Kitchen Aid made this recipe easy! The powerful blending allowed me to put a healthy spin on a Christmas Classic.

This recipe was modified from The Kitchen Mccable recipe. 

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup pitted dates

2 cups almond flour

1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoon cinnamon  

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon Allspice

1 pinch of salt

2 teaspoons un-sulfured molasses 

¼ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Icing:

2 cups confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons milk

 

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Mix the almond flower, shredded coconut, coconut oil, spices, molasses, vanilla, and maple syrup until it looks like dough. In a separate food processor, grind up the dates until they reach a smooth consistency, then transfer to the Kitchen Aid with all of the other ingredients.  Mix until a smooth dough forms. To make the dough easy to cut into shapes, place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to a thickness of ¼ inch. Freeze dough for 10 minutes or until firm. Remove dough from the freezer and cut out shapes.

Bake the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until crispy. 

To make the icing, mix confectioners sugar and light corn syrup with milk. Mix until smooth. Use an icing bag to ice the cookies any way you want. We don’t have an icing bag, so I just cut a corner out of a plastic bag and enjoyed the process! Enjoy your cookies! 

being cook: Spicy Sweet Potato Chili

L1120403.JPG

Baby it's cold outside! Finally! I feel like it took ages for it to get cold in NYC this year. I mean....I'm definitely not complaining, but there hasn't even been a decent snow. Winter has shown up this week.

When it's cold outside, I love to bundle up and make a yummy, comforting chili. I'm so excited to partner with Lagostina to share my Spicy Sweet Potato Chili Recipe today! This is just the ticket for those cold days when you want to tune into Netflix and chill (in a warm way!) and eat something extra yummy. Recipe below.

But wait! There's more! You can win this gorgeous Lagostina Stewpot! Find out how to enter via my Instagram right here.

This pot makes cooking stews and soups so easy. It's stainless-steel and specially designed for simmering dishes. It's curved bottom prevents sticking and flared sides facilitate mixing and water absorption.

The double-walled design retains moisture and heat, so the Lagostina Stewpot is ideal for oven-to-table serving. It's also perfect for making risotto, too. (I'm have to try that out!) The stewpot is so attractive...which is always a bonus in my book. It's a nice addition to your table.

I hope you stay warm during this beautiful season. Christmas is coming oh so soon!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground free-range beef

1 medium onion, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 large sweet potato cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups low sodium beef broth

3 chipotle peppers in adobo

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 tsp. smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup chopped kale

Toppings:

chopped avocado

fresh jalapeños

mozzarella cheese

 

DIRECTIONS:

In a separate pan, heat oil olive on stove top and cook beef until slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In your stewpot, sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic. Let sit for 2 minutes, then add red and yellow pepper. Let cool for three minutes. Add sweet potatoes, beef broth, fire roasted tomatoes, beef and spices.

Cook for 20 minutes (or until sweet potatoes are fork tender). Next, add frozen corn, chopped kale and chipotle in the adobo. Incorporate everything well and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve hot and top it off with some of the yummy toppings listed above.

Enjoy!