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When I first moved to New York I knew nothing about high fashion or living an elevated lifestyle. At that time the idea of Tastemakers didn’t exist and like many 19-year-olds my sartorial sense was unsure. I certainly didn’t have the financial means to splurge on designer clothing, eat at fancy restaurants, or buy refined pieces for my home.
Most of my time was spent walking along St. Marks Place. I bought my jeans at Trash and Vaudeville and thrifted vintage clothing from Cheap Jacks, which at the time was actually still cheap. Dinner usually meant ramen noodles or if I was feeling particularly indulgent, the occasional meal at Café Dojo near NYU. I rarely went above 23rd street except to buy my first pair of $100 shoes at Macy’s, which was a HUGE deal for me.
One of my first cosmetic indulgences (another huge deal) was a much swooned after Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick that my older and more elegant friend turned me onto. I had to trek all the way uptown to Bergdorf Goodman, which was an entirely new, very refined and intimidating part of the city for me. I had really dry skin – still do – and though I didn’t really wear much makeup this Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick was decadent and so creamy that when I applied it under my eyes it felt like I wasn’t wearing anything yet brightened my face. I was instantly hooked and have been using it ever since – that was well over twelve years ago!
Buying that foundation stick was a rite of passage in a way – metaphorically dipping my toes into the fantastical world of fashion and beauty that felt unattainable and inspirational all at the same time.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, my early adventures in NYC planted the seeds for what was to be EyeSwoon – the idea of questing for something special and swooning over design, fashion, food, and beauty. It’s funny how even the most insignificant moments can leave their mark, informing who you’ll become and what you end up being passionate about.
That passion informs the way I dress, the way I design a space, even the way I approach makeup and beauty. I really enjoy juxtaposing styles – high with low, sophisticated with edgy, masculine with feminine – creating layers and playing with textures. This idea of juxtaposing and layering simple yet bold elements also carries over into my cooking. In a strange way that’s the common thread that runs through all these seemingly disparate aspects of my life.
Take for example my makeup approach: I always begin by creating a clean smooth base with my tried and true Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick and then add a bright, bold red lip for a pop of color. The same steps can be applied to the frittata I just made: I start with the simplicity of an egg then add local seasonal veggies and a bright and bold fresh herb to amp it up.
I look at my life and the series of choices I’ve made – my homes, my family, my style, my beauty regimen, EyeSwoon – and hope that I am always able to stay true to who I am and that in the end that truth is what ties it all together. Through it all I hope to never lose that wide-eyed excitement I had spinning through the doors of Bergdorf Goodman for the very first time and that the swooning never stops.