Romantic Occasion: Engagement Photos

Hi, Romantics – Liz here.  When it comes to engagement portraits, Kate and William had it right.  Of course, we all can’t book Mario Testino, but there are a few things to keep in mind for yours:

1. Keep your outfits simple, and somewhat coordinated.  This is not a good time to break out the orange and purple Hawaiian shirt while the other wears blue and white nautical stripes!  I’d recommend black, white, and solid colors, with basic lines.  Ruffles and busy collars will detract from your overall look!  Remember, this is about you two (and, ahem, your ring).

2. When it comes to makeup, I’d recommend going with a professional makeup artist.  They know how to compensate for things like flashes and outdoor lighting.  If you want to do it yourself, put on a bit more than you normally would, once again keeping colors simple.  Bright orange bleeding outside your lip line?  No!

3. Posing!  I know it can feel awkward, but have some fun with it!  No need to be a contortionist at this point.  Practice in the mirror beforehand to see which way to turn your head.  Or, practice with the phone on your camera (gotta love technology).  Tip:  don’t tilt your head too far back or the camera will shoot straight up your nose… not pretty on anyone!  Keep your shoulders straight.  A good way to show off your new ring is to gently hug your new fiancée and rest your hand softly on their arm.

4. If you want to shoot your portrait outside, don’t do it between 10am and to 2pm.  The sun will be overhead, creating raccoon shadows on your eyes.  Cloudy days can sometimes be a good thing, be cause the clouds naturally diffuse the light.

5. Browse images online and send ones you love to the photographer so you can be on the same page before the shoot.  Communicate well!

6. Have fun and don’t stress.  If a photo is bad, it will get deleted and never see the light of day, so don’t worry about it.  Move on and get your money shot!

Until next time…

Romantic City: Mihoko’s 21 Grams

For a Romantic evening out, Mihoko’s 21 Grams cannot be topped!

* all images taken from their website *
While most NYC restaurants are designed with their business lunch/dinner clients in mind, I cannot tell you the absolute delight I felt walking into Mihoko’s 21 Grams.  The atmosphere screams, “Forget about work and let’s party in the most exclusive way!”  The decor sets the stage entirely for romance with pastel damask, white tablecloths, and flirtatious Louis XVI accents placed all over the rooms in unique ways.
When describing this room, I say that from the waist down it screams formal, three star french dining.  The tables are sectioned off by wooden screens, paneled with various colors of pastel damask.  The white table cloths are adorned with perfectly placed settings, beautiful cutlery, and elegant china.
 The walls tell a different story, though!  This large, Flatiron loft space is divided into three sections by a large bar in the center.  The walls are embellished with staggered heights of  Rococo paintings, mixed with wooden-framed, garland motif mirrors. The mirrors are consistent with those removed from old Parisian apartments.  They’re all featured whimsically, at playful, staggering heights.
I have to mention the basement bar – OMG!!!  It is papered with life size, black and white photo wallpaper of the walls of Versailles!  The furnishings encourage cozy talks and intimate conversation… so romantic!
The cocktail list is over the moon in uniqueness, featuring inspired combinations of the most delicious ingredients.  Both the food and cocktails are reflective of Mihoko’s (a well known Ballerina in Japan) love of all things French and Japanese.  Therefore, cocktail, dinner and dessert menus are enhanced with Japanese ingredients prepared in modern French ways.
That said, aside from the sushi menu they offer, the food appeared to be mostly modern French to me.
Unless you are coming here for drinks (which I highly recommend) or  dining here for just cocktails and sushi, I think this is more of a special occasion restaurant.  That said, hurry!  Find a special occasion to celebrate and make this your first, most romantic destination!  It’s gorgeous, playful and completely cool all at the same time.
Did I mention the interior designer is Bruno Borrione, a Philippe Stark prodigy?
Love, Marisa

Romantic Sparkle: What is Micro Pave?

Good afternoon Romantics… Liz here.

What IS this micro pave stuff anyway?  You hear us go on and on about it on our website and Facebook page :::cough, shameless plug, cough::: so I’m here to clear it up for you!

Pave [pav-ey; Fr. pa-vey] is the art of moving metal around stones. (think, “paved” with diamonds!) Micro pave is creating a surface of diamonds – like traditional pave – but set under a microscope for absolute precision.   Simply put, micro pave is the tiny diamonds that go around the big diamond (or gemstone) as pictured here. Our designer, Douglas Elliott‘s skull ring is entirely covered in micro pave, including under the eye sockets!

Why do we take such pride in ours?  Our micro pave settings are made completely by hand, not from a mold.  Our platinum is hand rolled, and holes are hand drilled for each tiny diamond. It’s very labor intensive work that few can do well.  Come visit us and we’ll break out the magnifiers to show you…ours is flawless!

I’m personally smitten with micro pave around colored stones, like this pear shaped emerald.  Marisa doesn’t know it yet but someday she will buy me an emerald cut green sapphire in a micro pave setting 😉

Until next time…

Romantic City: Financial District

On our 11th year after September 11th

I remember every detail of this day as if it were yesterday and actually feel that this should be a national holiday, where we close our business and stay home and grieve for those who did not survive this horrific moment in our American history. When this day comes each year, I am so filled with sadness that I can’t imagine anyone who feels like working and going on with normal day to day activities. That said, I am not sure that those fallen would agree. I think the idea that we would grieve and feel the least bit defeated would simply feed into what the terrorist philosophy wanted. So in all due respect, I have come up with a bitter sweet day or evening of activities which will allow you to honor those you knew, loved or feel compassion for, while, living life and enjoying the beauty that NYC has to offer.

My favorite way to begin the day or evening would be to make arrangements to dine at the restaurant cafe of The World Center Hotel. (for hotel guests primarily, and not completely open to the public, however, they said they can make concessions). Their cafe view over looks the World Trade Center site and will inspire you with the progress made over the last 11 years. You have full view of the magnificent fountains in the foot print of the towers as well as the landscaping, the newer buildings and the updates on the large towers going up. When Liz and I dined there we thought it fun and appropriate to go fully American with Chicken Wings and Sliders which were very special and absolutely delicious! They have a full menu of salads and main courses, as well!  And the cocktails are a bargain and beautifully prepared.

Next store is the W Hotel Downtown, in the event you chose to have drinks before or after. The W is a great place to visit. Other ideas we have are to take a stroll over to Trinity Church, and head over the elevated walk way to the World Financial Center, through the back, to the patio and boating dock. The view is magnificent, and shows off the powerful vibe of NYC architecture in the most awe striking way.

We were disappointed to find that the bar at the top of the Ritz Carlton Downtown is now only available for weddings and private parties, but the concierge recommended to check out the roof top bar at the New Conrad Hotel. I must say, the view did not compare to The Ritz, and the cocktails were pricy but it was a lovely, intimate space, perfect for privacy and romance, with still an incredible view.

May you and your loved ones cherish this day, remember the fallen and make the most of each day we are here to enjoy our gorgeous city. A city perfect for the everyday romantic!

Love, Marisa

Romantic Occasion: Paris Proposal {day}

Hi Romantics, today I’m excited to be sharing two of my favorite things with you: Paris and proposals. Paris is on the top of a long list of many cities for proposing to one’s loved one, and many of our customers ask me for advice on planning their proposal. Having spent a great deal of time in Paris, I’ve come up several romantic ideas. For this first post, I thought I’d start out with a daytime option (which your hidden photographer will thank you for).

I propose that you propose to your lover in one of the many beautiful garden areas of the Palais Royal. Whether your tastes lean toward the modern sculptures or classical gardens, the surroundings of Palais Royal set the mood of infinite romance. A symbol of longevity, the 17th century architecture will become a part of the history you share now and in the future.

image via: glamourapartments.org

To celebrate in proper romantic style, whisk her just a few steps away to lunch and champagne at Le Grand Vefour. The 18th century Cinderella carriage in the entry will immediately make your lover feel like the royalty you think they are. The food is delicious (Michelin 3 star), but the hand painted interior backdrop will create such a romantic atmosphere that you’ll want to freeze the moment forever… and you will, as a landmark of your life story.

image via: port-magazine.com

I hope this is helpful! This is only one of many ideas I have for romance in Paris, so please keep your eyes peeled for more in these upcoming weeks. Be sure to share this with the men in your life – you never know who might be in need proposal ideas soon! 😉

Love, Marisa