Beauty + Fashion:
Foundations of Style
“Style isn’t just about how you look but how you carry yourself through life.”
Someone recently quoted me sharing this statement, which had me thinking about how you define your own style – or how you need not define it because you live it, you are it, and it translates across all you do. What are the pillars of your style? What are the cornerstones that are so innate, you do not even need to think about them? These elements unknowingly define you. They can play out in how you dress, how you design your home, how you cook and your makeup choices. They are how you present yourself to the world outwardly, yet they are not necessarily for others, but for yourself.
I cannot help but feel that once you have this core understanding of yourself, you can riff, add, layer…get creative. You can try different flavors on for size, so to speak, but always on top of your truest self. This rings true for how I create a meal and I could not be more attuned to this than I am right now. I am deep in the throes of recipe development for my first cookbook, so my style of cooking is very much under my own microscope. I have noticed how I return to certain flavor profiles and how much I count on a few quality ingredients. A good olive oil is like the Holy Grail – it is the foundation for all of the building blocks of flavor. But fresh herbs, a touch of heat and an abundance of acid also play a significant role in my repertoire. That is my base, and sometimes that is more than enough. But at other times, I yearn to get frisky, playing with exotic flavors or Middle Eastern spices like a dusting of za’atar or a hit of bright sumac. Our mood, our creativity, our surroundings, our agenda – they all play a role in our style.
I recently had the opportunity to collaborate again with Estée Lauder for Estée Stories. As we discussed a direction for the piece and the food I would create, we touched on this idea of core style. In this fast-paced city and digital- and social-infused life we are all living, it’s vital to be able to count on something. I am constantly balancing so many multi-faceted creative endeavors that bring jam-packed days, from photo shoots to recipe testing to helping my son with his homework, followed by events on some nights. Every day is a little bit different. But for the most part, I’m going from morning ’til evening, which without a doubt requires me to have my game face on, both literally and figuratively. As much as I rely on a few key components in my cooking, the same is true of my beauty routine. I have a signature look that I rarely stray from – the bangs, a clean, matte, fresh face, a rosy cheek or a red lip, but never both. These are my rules and I stick to them.
And so, this was the seed of our idea: having essential tools you can count on, whether as the foundation of a standout meal or as an approach to beauty. With Estée Lauder’s #1 foundation, Double Wear, as the, well, foundation, I experimented on Estée Stories.
Together with their masterful makeup team, I started to play – a little shimmer here and there, matte for a weekend look, a dewy finish to add radiance when I need a pick-me-up and a rosy cheek as I created this swoony fattoush spring salad. In a way, that dusting of sumac for unexpected brightness and the shimmer on my cheekbones don’t feel so different after all.