I aimed to make this New York Fashion Week special, with something that'll make a unique and lasting experience.
While planning our trip, Kyle and I found a beautiful apartment for our stay in the coveted West Village, our dream neighborhood when we find ourselves in bi-coastal lives. Living in a cozy apartment with a three-story walk-up would become our first real New Yorker experience outside of a hotel. I was in love with our place; one look at its graceful interior inspired me to share this place with a few of my friends. Soon, this idea turned into planning a full-blown event, because so many ideas were pouring in and I wanted to go big or stay home. New York Fashion Week is an exciting time during the year not only because of its big-production runway shows and sightings of supermodels and Bill Cunningham, but also because of its place in reuniting friends, old and new, from all over the world, for a super good time. I knew this apartment would be a special place for providing a warm retreat for good conversations and relaxation. Because of the apartment's elegant and chic New England decor and my obsession with tea, I thought a stylish afternoon tea would make the perfect theme. This is the first time ever in my life that I've put together an event, so it was an exciting yet daunting task that I knew would require any help possible. Trust me when I say, planning a destination party can get super tricky! To help me put together the main components of the party, hashtagged #HoneyNFriends, I reached out to my favorite brands that I know would make this party a fabulous affair.
As a loyal patron and drinker of Art of Tea, a premium tea producer straight out of Los Angeles, I of course asked them to be the star of the tea party. And I mean I'm loyal. I carry their loose leaf teas and a couple of tea satchels in my purse and just ask for hot water at cafes and restaurants (yeah I'm that kind of person, but it's worth it). Anyway, for the afternoon tea, we selected three delicious blends for serving: Earl Grey Creme, Eisai's Choice Sencha, and Chocolate Monkey. Each blend was presented in a square wooden sake box for our friends to breathe and sample their aromas. It's one of the best ways to effectively pick a tea you'd favor. Plus, each blend was then placed on separate platters coordinated with its own dessert tasting to bring out its unique flavors. Throughout the party, Earl Grey Creme and Chocolate Monkey were the crowd favorites! Oh, and a little side note: I completely forgot to buy cream and honey and all the little tea add-ons, but everyone loved the teas plain and as is, which shows how enjoyable their teas are!
Now, you can't do a proper afternoon tea without pretty little sweets. Minamoto Kitchoan is a luxurious Japanese confectionary brand with locations all over the world, including one right in my backyard at Fashion Island, Newport Beach - it's where I discovered their vast selection of whimsical, high-end "wagashi", or japanese confectionaries often served with tea. Made with natural ingredients like unrefined sugar, their desserts are never too sweet and they're perfect for healthier lifestyles. Every little bite of their Tsuya cakes and mochis is a moment of heaven! Like I mentioned earlier, I paired each tea with their own wagashi tasting to enhance the flavors of the tea as well as the dessert. The Chocolate Monkey tea had notes of silk chocolate and ripe bananas, so it was paired with Minamoto Kitchoan's light and crispy Langue De Chat chocolate cookies and decadent chocolate bon-bons that include rich flavors such as rose and passion fruit (their rose extract is actually from the king's palace in Versailles, France!). Eisai's Choice Sencha, a traditional japanese green tea, was accompanied with Fukuwatashi Senbei (vanilla) and Maccha Senbei (green tea), which are crunchy crackers filled with light vanilla or green tea cream, and Ayashirabe, a mini pound cake filled with velvety white bean paste. Lastly, the Earl Grey Creme's decadent creme brulee-like top note tasted perfectly in combination with soft and lightly sweet Hakutou Mochi, a delicate white peach flavor, and a rich Chocolate Mochi that I could munch on for forever. Our friends also each went home with a Tsuya, a comforting snack of pancake filled with red beans for on-the-go protein and sweet cravings. Everyone raved about the desserts and although I thought I had ordered plenty for the party, every last piece was gone before I even had a chance to taste them all myself! They're a huge hit and I'm already planning my next visit to Minamoto Kitchoan in Newport Beach to stock my pantry.
To smooth the transition from afternoon tea into night, I brought in every kind of my recent choice brand, Chloe Wine Collection. I discovered them while perusing the wine aisles in Vons for a spontaneous bottle of red; Chloe's simply elegant label captured my eye and sealed the deal. And for a curious impropmtu buy, their Red Blend was found to be extraordinarily good. The timeless beauty of their collection was sublime for our party aesthetic and Chloe's sophisticated look flawlessly resonates with those of style and fashion - perhaps its the eponymous name or their stylish black bow. Our friends and I were obsessed with their beautiful and aromatic bottles of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Red Blend. You have to try them, so check them out at your local BevMo or wine store (or find the nearest location here).
The lovely tabletop accessories were all found from Lulu & Georgia, an inspiring online store of cute and stylish interior decor. I loved having little gold accents, such as the antique mirror trays, foiled Kate Spade napkins, and the adorable giraffe and antelope statuettes, that elegantly embellished the strong white and neutral palette of the apartment. The artichoke statue also became a great centerpiece that brought together the tabletop to the rest of the apartment. A multitude of Voluspa candles added to the warm ambiance with decadent scents like Baltic Amber (my personal favorite), Santiago Huckleberry, Goji & Tarocco Orange, and French Cade Lavender. Their embossed glass containers and printed tin covers are such gorgeous details that make a statement in itself. Friends loved taking some of these pretty babies home.
Since fashion people love fashion (naturally), I thought it'd be fun to share two brands I love to go to for jewelry and clothes. To add a lot of sparkle to the ambiance, Kyle and I displayed a beautiful, curated collection of Chloe + Isabel jewelry throughout the apartment and every piece fit into the decor so seamlessly. Some of my favorite pieces included the Sedona Statement Necklace and the Heirloom Tortoise Link Bracelet (guess which one I'll be styling soon!). The ladies loved playing with the jewels and trying them on as they sip tea. And just so the ladies can be prepared for my next tea party, Ruche & Threadsence sent some of their prettiest tea dresses and outfits from their latest arrivals to try on and take home. This floral babydoll dress and vibrant pink and coral dress from Ruche are adorable and I'm jealous of my friends who'll be wearing them this Spring. And for pool parties at Coachella, these floral dresses here and here from Threadsence would be so fitting. Ruche and Threadsence are also Orange County-based, so I have to show love to my OC neighbors! If you're in the OC, they have a super convenient pick-up option when you order from their site.
A couple of other brands I'm obsessed with also contributed amazing product for the gift bag that my friends took home: Sonix phone cases, Sultra and Schwarzkopf hair tools, and Elan Veda essential beauty oils. Sonix is by far the prettiest designer of phone cases out there - their prints are unique, colorful, and ultra-feminine. The one I'm wearing is this elegant Dahlia case, but one of my newer favorites is the Jasmine because it's so fun for Spring! For my hair care, I currently rotate between the Sultra Volumizing Dryer Brush and Schwarkopf Pro-Flat Iron after I dry my hair with the Schwarzkopf Mini Giant (this little guy is a travel life-saver!). So each of the ladies got a fabulous tool for good Fashion Week hair days. And lastly, as a long-time user of natural oils for skincare, I was excited to share Elan Veda's Skin Renue serum made from natural and organic oils for refreshed, moisturized skin, which is a must-have during this harsh winter environment.
I must give a huge THANK YOU to each of my sponsors who helped make my first #HoneyNFriends get-together a beautiful and successful one! The party went on so effortlessly and I had an incredible time hosting everyone in our New York home like family. I am so grateful for having such wonderful friends in my life who support me and who are just plain awesome people. Thank you to these aaaamazing friends for coming to #HoneyNFriends at New York Fashion Week and making it fun and memorable with great conversations and big laughs: Kristen, Jess T, Kier, Jessica R, Tommy, Elaine, Taye, Rey, Alyssa, Roxy, Ruby, Eugenie, Coco, Paola, Thania, Linh, and many more new and old friends! Of course, I couldn't have done a single thing without the help of my loving boo, Kyle.