a product message image
{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade

Page 1

HORS D’OEUVRE Contributors: Who’s who in this issue From the Desk of the Editor: That holiday feelin’ Things We Love: What we’re crushin’ on Behind the Scenes: Where we went for this issue


BEAUTY & WELLNESS {Beauty} Trick to Try: Keep your paws perky in the cold The Skinny on Health: Lisa Eberly loves this winter workout wear

ARTS & LEISURE Made: The perfect homemade giftable for your boozy DIY pals Puppy Diaries: Puppy shame? Poo poo!



You+Me: Sporty and sexy, the Alexander Wang for H&M collection is here! Share Your Where: Adventures in the Italian Alps Share Your Wear: Gift Guide Edition! All the thoughtful goodies you need for everyone on your list A Closshey Christmas: Charleene Closshey can do it all: act, sing, compose. And she did it all in her upcoming film, An Evergreen Christmas

Always end with something sweet

CAROLINE A. WONG Editor-in-Chief

BRANDON GAMBLE Creative Director

FASHION AND FEATURES Fashion and Beauty Editor BREANA POWELL Features Editor AMANDA CHI Features Writer LINDY TOLBERT



ART Photography Director ALEXANDER HERMAN Assistant Photographer HAIL NOWAK West Coast Editor ANNA FRYXELL UK Editor JENNA ANDERSON

Fashion and Beauty Editor Breana Powell took a behindthe-scenes approach with this issue, photographing the “You+Me” shoot and curating beauty tools for the gift guide!

Photography Director Alexander Herman traveled to Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar to shoot cover girl Charleene Closshey for this issue. He recently spent a month in Michigan shooting a feature film to be released next year.

When asked if she wears shapewear on a regular basis, West Coast Editor Anna Fryxell says, “Nahhh.” But this issue, Fryxell spoke with shapewear brand Jewel Toned about its under-asouter garment revolution, so maybe Fryxell has changed her mind!

Brandon Gamble runs Tastevin’s New York office and is beyond happy that he can break out his winter boots and scarves, despite the Arctic Blast. ‘S-no fun without snow!


Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015




2014 15

Features writer Lindy Tolbert got a dose of sparkle for Dec/ Jan, chatting with the chief designer of MAKKO jewelry about our shining selections for this year’s gift guide! Tolbert’s favorite MAKKO piece is the spike necklace seen on cover girl Charleene Closshey!

Emily Van Guilder does it again with this latest project for her “Made” column. The Arts and Leisure Editor is a practiced DIY-er and has filled her Dallas home with pieces she’s made for her Tastevin readers.

Cover photo by Alexander Herman


from the desk of the

EDITOR As a teensy middle school kid, I was a uniform-wearing parochial-school attender, so when winter rolled around, it was ingrained in me that the swell of mall jingles and the sudden appearance of sparkling icicle lights weren’t the real reasons for the season. Nowadays I know that not everyone prescribes a religious-based Christmas, but whatever your inspiration for celebration (be it faith, family, or just hot chocolate), there is a central idea to the holidays that make them so darn nostalgic for so many of us: love. Sure, there’s a commercialized aspect to the 50% off sales and BOGO deals and let’s not even talk about what happened to me on Black Friday this year. But ultimately, the winter holidays encourage us to come together, whether with friends or family or both, and that should encourage even the most anti-shopping scrooges amongst us to get a little tickle in the heart zone. So let’s not knock the holidays and let’s not knock our reasons for celebrating. Maybe for you it’s baby Jesus or a big menorah or maybe for you it’s just showing your love in gift form (we’ve got you covered with this issue’s “Share Your Wear” gift guide!). It means something different to each of us. But the root of it all is love and expressions of love, and that’s not a half-bad reason for the season at all.

@tastevinmag 4

Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

Things We Love Brandon Gamble Creative Director CB2 Molten Drip Objects


“I previously highlighted brass accent pieces in the May issue of Tastevin, and the trend continues with this set of CB2 Molten Drip Objects [$80]. They’re handcast, incredibly unique, and only available for a limited time — so get yours today!


Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

The Tastevin editors share their monthly obsessions.

Caroline A. Wong Editor-in-Chief Glacier Smoothie products “My mom made this little discovery on one of her Alaskan cruises, and I’m so glad she brought back some to share. Glacier Smoothie makes its patented, boutique-looking soaps out of silt culled from glaciers! The sea pickle soap [$9] is a fresh, fun scent, but my absolute favorite is the lip and body salve [$6]. It’s perfect for smooth winter lips!”

Emily Van Guilder Arts & Leisure Editor BCBG Blue Suede Pumps “Maybe it’s just because of the Elvis song, but I’ve always wanted to say that I owned a pair of blue suede shoes. The fact that these d’orsay heels from BCBG [$90] make a bold fashion statement to spice up the work day is just an added bonus!”


Jewelry Accessories






Behind the Scenes

The Tastevin team traveled to Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar hotel to photograph actress and composer Charleene Closshey for the December/January cover. Closshey met the team in the lobby, fresh off a whirlwind year that saw her Broadway debut in Once as well as her score composition for her latest film, An Evergreen Christmas, which she also co-produced. Not only did Closshey have her violins on set, she also brought a furry friend...her cat, Daphne! After sitting down with the editor-in-chief to discuss the film, Closshey wrapped up in some cozy sweaters as photographer Alexander Herman played with dramatic lighting to illuminate the Evergreen star! An Evergreen Christmas is available now on Amazon and iTunes. On December 21, Netflix users will also be able to catch Closshey in the film!

{Beauty} Treat Your Tips

Trick to Try

By Colette Choi


I love winter. I love wearing coats and scarves and boots and leggings. I love bundling up! I do not, however, wear gloves (it’s a texting thing), and with all the hot water washing and biting cold air, my hands definitely take a beating every season, especially when it comes to my nails. The constant havoc renders my mitts brittle and sad. To prep for a refreshing mani, I have a great trick for you to try! First, deep clean. Soak your tips in a mixture of half warm water and half white-wine vinegar for a few minutes. My super insider tip? A quick dip in denture cleaner brightens up any yellowing from dark lacquer (I’m looking at you, fall’s oxblood manis!). It may seem weird to go in the drugstore and buy denture cleaner, so you can just steal a bit from Granny and no one will be the wiser! After your cleanse, exfoliate with a housemade blend of olive oil and sugar, just a bit of each in a 50/50 ratio. Massage it into your hands for a few minutes before rinsing clean. When you’re doing your own mani, you need at least 20 minutes to let the polish set, so cue up a How I Met Your Mother marathon and RELAX! As you go through the winter season, be sure to keep a tube of hand salve in your bag and use liberally. Trust me, with these tips, your tips will be in tip-top shape for the holidays!


by Lisa Eberly

12 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


ou guys—I did a serious workout clothes style haul at Target. I am big on really comfy workout clothes that can also double as stylish and flattering, especially since I usually have to wear them after my workout too! I am totally crazy about these tops and yoga pants. As in, living in them from now on. I really needed some new winter yoga gear so I got this pink top, sweater, and yoga pants. The pink top is soooo comfy considering how cute it is. It doesn’t pull or constrict in any weird places, so it’s perfect for hot yoga. I love the tri blend too! When you’re looking for a cute yoga top, be sure to stretch and do poses in the dressing room so you can test your mobility in it. Remember, the top has to be functional as much as it has to be cute! The sweater is best for outdoor runs but is also great for not-so-hot yoga. The sweater isn’t super heavy and is breathable enough to really get your sweat on while still keeping warm. Look for natural, breathable fabrics like cotton and bamboo. I also wanted to try out some new yoga pants since mine haven’t been holding up well recently. I got my first pair of C9 by Champion pants and am in love. The little detail on the

side makes them great for both workouts and for wearing under a sweater and boots! Sahhhhh cute. They’re the perfect stretchy-flattering combo and will help you totally rock the casual chic look. Anywho—I’m officially obsessed. New workout gear—and cute workout gear—will totally motivate you to keep up your fitness routine through the chillier months (read as: through the holiday eating months). I love these new additions to my workout wardrobe. Share yours with me via Twitter @xoxoTSOH and be sure to check out more of my fitness finds at www.TheSkinnyOnHealth.com!

Reservations: 3 2 3 . 4 6 7 . 7 9 9 1 6350 HOLLYWOOD BLVD @BESOHOLLYWOOD


16 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


e d a M

Dirty Hot Cocoa

by Emily Van Guilder

Gift-giving during the holiday season is no easy task. You want to show people that you care, but you also don’t want to deplete your savings in the process. My best advice is to make as many craft gifts as possible. They’re affordable, easy to complete, homemade, thoughtful, and pretty much perfect for anyone. For this project, as long as the intended receiver likes chocolate and booze, you’re good to go!

Supplies Needed: Mason jar(s) Paint (color of your own choosing) Flat sponge brush Stencils or stencil tape Holiday-themed fabric Twine/ribbon Cocoa mix Marshmallows Baileys Irish Cream (50 mL bottles)

Decorating the Mason Jar: I used stenciling tape and painted just the bottom of my jars to give them a dip dyed look. If you plan on using other stencils, make sure that they’re sticky and that you apply them to a flat portion of your mason jar. Use of the flat sponge brush is essential when working with stencils. Also, try to avoid painting with sweeping motions, otherwise you could get paint underneath the stencil and ruin your perfect edges. Slow and steady wins the race.

Once the paint has dried, fill a little less than half of your jar with cocoa mix and the rest with marshmallows. Cut large circles out of your themed fabric and tie them onto the top of each of your mason jars with either some ribbon or twine. You can tie your small bottle of Baileys directly to the Mason jar or just tie another, individual bow around each.

Puppy Diaries

by Erica Mau

18 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


Each issue, Erica Mau tracks the antics and hijinks of little puppy Teddy Rex the Westie. It’s a hard world for a puppy mom—but a cute one!

ife for Teddy seems pretty simple from my perspective. He does a handful of things…all variations of eating, sleeping, playing, or relieving himself. But, while ever-so-simple in Ted’s world, his actions really are a part of my own life, which makes it infinitely more complicated. Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis? Well, I’m talking about the time T-Rex took a pee pee in the elevator of my apartment building—a normal bodily function for him, but an embarrassing mess for me. Or, when he took a big dump in our shared apartment garage, a big dump that I scraped up with spare pieces of cardboard from my car trunk—again, typical daily activity for the Tedster, but stinky chaos for me. Obviously, the worst is when others are present. Like say, per chance, you’re walking your dog to the vet and he takes a huge poo in front of a homeless man out front (who is very much awake), and you have no poo bags and are stuck in a lose/lose/lose situation. Not that it happened to me and Ted or anything, though. You know. T. Rexasaur has taught me that embarrassment is a funny thing. For those of us living within American society, it creates extremely obvious physical reactions—the flushed cheeks, the sweaty palms, churning stomach. And all of this based on purely societal norms. Here’s the thing, though…dogs? Not the same! Learning to live with vicarious embarrassment is part of being a dog owner. Still, I can’t say that coming to this realization has made dealing with the shame and mortification caused by Teddy any easier. I think my boyfriend would tell you the same. Let me elaborate... One fine weekend, we decided to go to the dog-friendly mall. It was such an exciting field trip—we strapped Tedders in his harness, clipped on the leash, and headed out. It was like the scene from The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her motley crew hold hands and skip down the yellow brick road. Teddy Ruxpin’s tail waggled with gusto as we walked past the stores.

We ate dinner gleefully, passing our eager pup veggies under the table. This was the life! Then came the beginning of the end. I dragged my boys to the Container Store (because, who doesn’t love the Container Store?). I asked the clerk if dogs were allowed inside, then brought Teddy along. Can you spot any mistakes here? I’m counting three. As I browsed, happy and content, through endless rows of containers, I suddenly heard a frantic whisper. “Erica…Erica!!” Standing, petrified, in the middle of the Container Store, was my boyfriend and my dog…and my dog’s large pile of doo doo. In retrospect, the scene couldn’t have been any funnier. In a blissful state of delight, recently relieved, the Ted Man stood next to my boyfriend, panting with his tongue out, ready for the next adventure. Then there was my boyfriend, not sure whether to stand there, run, or die, face bright red, eyes open wide. And when I say the middle of the store, I mean the middle. Really, Ted, you


couldn’t have chosen a discreet corner or unfrequented aisle? Fortunately, I had a poo-bag in my purse, and I promptly picked up the mess and ran out of the store. Make eye contact with no one. Stop for nothing! And I’m ashamed to admit it, but we left a stain on that Container Store rug (sorry, guys…I promise I will support your salaries through all my Container Store purchases from now on. Online purchases, of course). My boyfriend and I are still scarred. I will probably feel humiliated each and every time I walk past the Container Store. And the mall. Seriously. Teddy Rex, on the other hand? Doubt he remembers ever stepping foot in the store, or the mall, let alone where he’s taken any of his poos. He’s a dog. That’s what he does! So to all you future pet owners: let this be your warning. Buy a pair of big boy pants along with your pup. Because, shit happens.

20 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


Every issue, Caroline A. Wong joins you in the chase for the most coveted designer collaborations. It’s you and me. Photos by Breana Powell

24 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

n a world of samples, previews, and lookbooks, I didn’t really have to rough it with the masses outside the Beverly Center in the wee hours between November 5th and 6th. I didn’t really have to plan my outfit, thinking about battling the crisp, almost-winter pre-dawn of Los Angeles (while also taking into consideration the mobility necessary to aggressively wade through the crowd to just-grab-that-last-jacket). And I didn’t really have to beg my friend Jessica (you saw her modeling in last issue’s Nanette Lepore look and in this spread too!) to bring me a Starbucks chai latte while temporarily envy-eyeing the sleeping-bag-clad Wang-worshippers ahead of me in line (well, at least I don’t have to carry a sleeping bag into the store!). No, I really didn’t have to trek out early for the Alexander Wang x H&M collection, but I did.


26 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

In typical Alexander Wang fashion, there was a lot of hype for his collection and a lot of edgy, not-reallyseen-before hype at that. Think music video gone viral hype. Think Missy Elliott freak-on, parkour-style acrobatic, scantily Wang-clad Rihanna level hype. Geez, just think Alexander Wang hype. By the ripe age of 30, the San Francisco native had launched his own line before he could even rent a car, won $20,000 from the CFDA to expand his burgeoning business, launched two more lines, and risen up as Balenciaga’s mind-blowing creative director, all while taunting high fashion’s buttoned-up notion with revolutionary

Brooklyn runways (before that became mainstream) and unapologetically urban designs. Wang is truly the cool-girl’s designer, and if you’re only choosing one reason to be proud to be an American, Wang could be that reason.

Wang’s collaboration with H&M is fully developed, with a men’s line and a‎ plethora of accessories ranging from sleek yoga mats and architectural shot glasses to full-blown boxing gloves. “I wanted this collection to be something that would really be exciting for everyone,” says Wang. The partnership reeks of Wang’s signature urban aesthetic with an activewear-warrior twist. Wang confesses, “The idea of activewear and performance wear has always been something that’s very close to me and my inspiration process.” In a world where casual chic has transmuted from a sea of Juicy Couture track suits to the leggings-as-pants phenomenon, this collection finds its happy and healthy home.

27 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

Looks featured throughout. On Jessica, left: “Choose Your Player” tee, $35; scuba-look pants, $70; boots, $250; duffel, $130, all Alexander Wang x H&M, hm.com. Nike+ FuelBand SE gold, $149, nike.com. Earrings; watch, model’s own. On Caroline, right: Contrails jacket, Marika Tek, $60, marika.com. Reflective leggings, Alexander Wang x H&M, $60, hm.com. Black “Rino” pumps, gx by Gwen Stefani, $90, shoedazzle.com.

I’m struck by the collection’s echo-like parallel to Trish Summerville’s Capitol Couture collection for Net-a-Porter. Well, the Wang line does have its Hunger Games-esque undertones with the active component and fighter gear. All the better for me since, a year later, I’m still jonesing for the Capitol Couture looks. You can find the closest link in the two collections’ leggings. As far as Wang’s line goes, like most of H&M’s collaborations, it runs small, but the quality is sound. No fear of ripped seams here! So shimmy into that fitted dress. You know you want to. When it comes to leggings as non-workout gear, play up the performance side with a track jacket but give it a twist with pointy toe heels or booties. With some dangly earrings, the ensemble will be more intentional and not give off that “I just came from the gym” vibe (unless you’re Taylor Swift...no one can beat Swift’s post-gym ensembles). Still feel too fitness for you? Swap the track jacket with a crisp white blazer and throw on a silk cami underneath. So, was the wait worth it? Was the hype overdone? Yes and no. I’m not sure how many more times I’ll want to line up outside a mall before six in the morning. It felt a bit like I had waited to see some exclusive concert by some edgy underground artist but, upon emerging from the venue, had somehow missed the entire show by sitting at the bar. But hey, at least I left with a $60-pair of “band” leggings!


29 29

30 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

Share Your Where The Italian Alps

By Amanda Chi

Temperatures are dropping and the sun seems to vanish at 4:30pm. You all know what that means: winter is coming. And despite not being able to help myself from using the obvious Game of Thrones reference, winter can be an amazing season if you take advantage of the pristine weather. I took the season’s chilly opportunity to hit the slopes in the Italian Alps, ski resorthopping and sightseeing. My skication was based in Isolaccia, a small town that’s just a three-hour drive from the Milan airport. Renting and driving a car seemed simple enough until we got to the mountains and were driving on the long, winding, and icy roads. A word of advice to inexperienced snow drivers: double check that your car rental company gives you snow tires and that you know how to put on snow chains! After pulling over on the side of the icy road to put on the chains, we realized after an hour of fiddling with them that our rental car was a front-wheel drive rather than a rear-wheel drive. Cue the looks of confusion, frustration, and sadness when we realized we had to redo everything. Although our approach was learn-on-the-go, we somehow survived the drive and made it to our cozy flat. The wonderful thing about small towns is how cheap everything seems to be, especially when it comes to food. Having studied Italian in college, I’m incredibly biased and partial to the amazing food Italy has to offer. From restaurants to the nearby supermercato and butchery, everything is high quality and affordable. One night we even ordered a kilo of lamb leg to roast at home, while another night we indulged ourselves in a restaurant where a three-course meal cost only 20 euros per person. If you ever head to northern Italy and find yourself wanting tax-free goods, head to Livigno, a city that’s a 40-minute drive from Isolaccia and a 20-minute drive from the Swiss border. Just know that if you visit Livigno, it’s only one bottle of alcohol


per person per day unless you can sneak it past the security checkpoints as you leave the city. Traveling with four guys, as I was, you’ll find yourself in the company of a constant stream of food, fun, and booze. Throw in a little Cards Against Humanity and you’ll completely forget the fact that you have no wi-fi, data, or cell reception for a week. Isolaccia is certainly small and filled with locals, but its lovely and quaint feeling makes it all the more special and authentic. The local ski resorts cost about 15 euros for the day, and renting both ski and snowboard gear for a week only cost me 70 euros! You don’t see the flock of tourists in Isolaccia until you drive to the larger town of Bormio, a larger ski resort

People always seem to think of Switzerland when they think of the Alps, but the Italian Alps have just as much charm, merit, and hidden gems.

with much more advanced slopes at higher altitudes. There you’ll see ski-competitions and snowboarders flying through the air doing tricks. I took the lift up to the 3,012-meter peak and soaked in the breathtaking alpine view while drinking a mug of Italian hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. Indulgent? Maybe. Worth it? Absolutely. Skiing and snowboarding for a week in northern Italy was the perfect winter holiday, but it also came with its risks. Spending half the week skiing and half the week venturing out for the first time on a snowboard, I got my money’s worth from rental but certainly my fair share of derriere bruises. To add more—and more serious—injuries to the count, one of my friends took a wrong turn down a steep hill and tore a ligament in his knee. While the ski patrol brought him down the hill strapped to a rescue sled, it was up to us to find a nearby hospital. Searching for a hospital that would treat his in-

jury was an adventure in itself since the nearest one was a half hour drive from our ski resort. Making our way through obscure towns and small villages, we arrived at a hospital situated atop one of the mountains. Walking through the doors, I was reminded of an eerie thriller movie set in an asylum with its off-white walls and flickering fluorescent lights. Patients were mostly elderly, which added to the ambience of the hospital. But since there are so many ski resorts in the neighboring towns, they knew how to treat ski-injuries immediately. With xrays, needles, and a cast completed, our friend accompanied us out of the hospital in a couple of hours. We may have lost a day of skiing to venturing through the Alps for a hospital, but we finished our skication with a bang, visiting a natural hot spring. A bit of a local secret, the hot springs are tucked away from the main road, a journey that requires a small trek over a small river, through icy paths, and over narrow ledges. The hot spring we visited can fit about eight people comfortably and is situated right next to an icy river. After a fulfilling day of skiing, we stripped down to swim trunks and slowly sank into the hot water. The challenge, however, was jumping from the hot spring to the icy river and submerging your entire body for a full ten seconds before screaming bloody murder. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains with a clear view of the Milky Way above, it was the perfect and relaxing ending to a brutal week of first-time snowboarding. People always seem to think of Switzerland when they think of the Alps, but the Italian Alps have just as much charm, merit, and hidden gems. I find it best to set up your home base in a small town and to rent a car. It’s a great opportunity to experience both the local and the more popular towns and ski resorts. After an unforgettable week of friends, food, and a fantastic natural hot spring, I highly recommend making your way to northern Italy for your next winter holiday.

32 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


Share Your Wear



by Lindy Tolbert


Makiko Tokuyama dreamed of being a successful business person since she was a teenager, but she never really imagined herself as a jewelry designer. It wasn’t until she moved from Japan to the U.S. after high school that jewelry design even entered her mind as a possibility.

Though she struggled at first with obtaining a visa, acclimating to a new culture, and learning a new language, ideas for designs utilizing kanji—Japanese symbols representing words and ideas—soon began to form. The concept, Makiko decided, would be that the kanji and gemstones incorporated into each piece would give the wearer special energy. Special combinations of symbols, or yoji-juku-go, would also be worked into several designs.

Soon, her concept took off, and now she regularly accessorizes big name celebrities and has made a booming business for herself. We sat down with the big name jewelry maker to get her take on her growing company and the nature of hard work. Tastevin Magazine How did MAKKO come to fruition? Makiko Tokuyama MAKKO was created to in spire people and support those who work hard to attain their goals…I never thought I would become a jewelry designer when I was younger, but through my journey in life, I felt like it was a natural fit because new designs kept popping into my mind.

What inspired the incorporation of kanji in the designs? MT I was born and raised in Japan, but I came to the U.S. right after high school, so I’ve seen both cultures. I wanted to bring the two cultures together. Kanji has a long and fascinating history, and I believe it has many mystical qualities. When I came to this country and discovered the many new things in America, I felt excited and almost reborn, so I’m hoping I can instill that feeling to people here when they see the kanji in MAKKO jewelry. TM

TM How do you think the kanji affects the person wearing the jewelry? MT You might hear good advice that you should remember, but somewhere down the line, you forget it. But if you wear that advice or message, then it’ll remind you, it’ll be with you all the time. For example, you want to live life by ‘always going forward,’ but life has a way of getting in the way and making you forget that message. Well, if you were wearing it, and you see it everyday and it’s on your body, it just may inspire you to never give up and keep going forward. TM

What kind of energy do gemstones give the jewelry wearer? MT Nobody knows exactly what sorts of powers these gemstones hold, but throughout history, they have been known to harness nat-

36 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


The Mother Gift

ural energy and bring good luck. I do feel gemstones have the power of affecting your mood, in the same way a walk in the park does. These gemstones have been formed and embedded deep in the earth for many years, so who really knows what sort of powers they hold. TM What are your favorite aspects in your collections? MT I love the beauty and simplicity of a diamond. It has no base color, but is the hardest stone. For kanji, I like [the symbol for] ‘love’ because I think love is the most important thing in this world. For yoji-juku-go, I like ‘always go forward,’ it inspires me and fits my personality.” TM MT

Who is your favorite celebrity to adorn? Angelina Jolie. I think she is very strong and independent woman. She is also kindhearted as she supports many people and children. I think it’s a very difficult thing to actually do what she is doing. TM

Aside from your love of jewelry, is there

anything else you’d like to be doing in your career as well? MT Eventually, I would love to make small accessory goods such as wallets and purses, but outside of the fashion industry, I would like to support unfortunate children. I would love to see my stores all over the world and [have] MAKKO to keep growing as much as it can. I wanted to prove to myself that even if you don’t have much to begin with, if you work hard, you can become successful. I would be so happy if I could inspire anyone, through my life story or MAKKO, that hard work can lead to realizing your dreams. Gold wrap bangle, $228; spike earrings, from $98, all MAKKO, makkojewelry.com

The Hostess Gift


Looking for the absolute PERFECT (and unique) hostess gift for all your holiday parties? We’ve found it for you. No, seriously. Designed to counter the severe lack of environmentally-conscious home fragrance products, these eco-friendly candles by RAW Naturals, with their edgy wood wicks and subtle out-of-the-box scents, will have heads turning and people gathering in the light of that flattering golden glow...all thanks to you! We sat down Arvin Pirijanian, founder of Modern Candle, to find out what sparked the RAW Naturals line.

Tastevin Magazine Why was the natural aspect of fragrance important to you? Arvin Pirijanian [In] this day and age, so much senseless harm has been done to our earth. I wanted to produce a product I could burn in my home without worrying about what toxins my future kids would be inhaling. So many companies are using harmful waxes, such as refined paraffin wax. Most people aren’t educated about the negative effects of [those] refined waxes [and how they] diffuse fumes that are not healthy for the human body. If I can make an eco-conscious product [so] that no one has to think twice about feeling comfortable in their home, that is all I can ask. TM AP


So what makes RAW Naturals candles better? Our candles are synthetics-free and GMO-free. No petrochemicals nor parabens. We use only pure essential oils and the finest organic ingredients, like

by Caroline A. Wong

100% vegetable wax, so you don’t get black soot and toxins when you burn it. The candle wax is biodegradable and made from a renewable resource. The glass is even 100% recyclable, and we wrap them in packaging made from 100% recycled, recyclable material and printed with water-based ink.

TM The scents are so evocative, from Ambrosia Fig to Peppermint Basil to Chai Latte. Why did you go with these unusual candle fragrances? AP Our inspiration comes from the earth. We took these beautiful, refreshing, comforting scents we all grew up loving and put our RAW spin on them. We love to use fragrances that are based on foods, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. TM

The wood wick is one of the coolest things about these candles. It creates this exciting line of fire in the middle of the wax. What’s the story behind that? AP The wood wick helps create a great, even burning candle while making a crackling noise that resembles a [fire in a] fireplace. The ambiance makes for the best night in. You get an overall sensory experience, from the tearshaped dancing flame to the nostalgic sound to the warm scent. Natural wood-wick candles, $24-48, RAW Naturals, raw-naturals.com

The Sister Gift

by Breana Powell


Are you dying to take someone from basic to bombshell? Just kidding, but seriously...gift someone with an absolute hair styling necessity! From Sultra, a brand sold in Sephora and Nordstrom, comes two curling wands that will completely transform dry, damaged (or even color treated) locks into sexy hair with volume that even Beyonce would envy.

These curling irons are also bundled with a complimentary styling glove, iron pad, and a two-year warranty. And if she’s planning on taking a holiday trip after you so graciously gift her with one of these curlers, they’re made with ...universal voltage!

Bombshell curling irons, $130 each, Sultra, sultra.com

40 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


What’s special about these curling wands (available in 3/4-inch, 1-inch, and 1.5-inch barrels) is that they actually mend your hair as you style. Sultra’s exclusive ThermaTru™ ceramic technology creates far infrared rays that protect the hair, smoothing the cuticle and locking in your look. And if your giftee isn’t a pro at curling her hair, not to worry. All she has to do is wrap her hair around the clipless barrel, hold, release, and repeat! There is no annoying clip that will leave crease lines in hair. (We’ve all seen ‘em. Not cute.)

41 41

The Best Friend Gift by Caroline A. Wong


From the moment my college roommate brought home her first Elliott Lucca bag, I knew I needed to jump on the bandwagon. Years later, the Elliott Lucca brand still exudes that must-have vibe. We sat down with the brand’s designer Cindy Saada to get to the root of Elliott Lucca’s cool girl aesthetic. Tastevin Magazine

Who is the Elliott Lucca girl? She’s effortlessly chic, loves fashion, and [enjoys] dressing up, complementing her bag, shoes, and jewelry accessories [with her choices]. She’s well informed of the trends and knows all the brands but is also looking for a little something different and special. She is looking for functionality as well as accessories that can take her from day to night.

Cindy Saada


Obviously, you know your girl well! What sets Elliott Lucca apart from other brands and makes it something that your girl would select? CS We are all about texture and proprietary hardware. We give our own spin to current trends with designs and details special to the DNA of the Elliott Lucca brand We are also about function. Our bags need to be versatile to [fit] all the situations our customer would be in. That all said, what is the must-have Elliott Lucca bag for fall? CS For sure the Maia Medium Tote in the woven ombre. It has nice, minimal design with chic texture and is easy to use. Also, the Iara Tote. It’s chic with soft leather and [has] our new, easy, sleek metal tab closure with our monogram embossed on it. Maia medium tote, $200; Iara tote, $230, both Elliott Lucca, elliottlucca.com 42 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015



For all you trendsetters out there, Elliott Lucca designer Cindy Saada forecasts these details for Spring 2015, so scope out these styles now! Innovative woven techniques: Our new Jimbaran weave is open and multilayered. Abstract florals: Our new digitally-printed Artisan Wild Flower is an allover print on leather, inspired by hybrid fantasy florals. The active trend’s perforation: Ours is a micro perf for an allover texture. Exoticism, from travel to exotic leathers: Our Moroccan perf is intricately designed and has a feminine, lacy feel to it, while our new Striped Exotic is a modern take on exoticism, inspired by the pattern of coral snakes. Our Scalloped emboss is micro geo pattern that looks reminiscent of a snakeskin texture.



The For Yourself Gift: Shapewear That’s On a Mission

by Anna Fryxell

Tastevin Magazine What was it that made you decide to go into the shapewear business? What was the “ah ha!” moment? Rachael McCrary I was talking to my friends about their shapewear and noticed they were never really happy with it. Or, more accurately, they were never happy with the experience of it. It’s almost always uncomfortable and it can make women feel bad about their bodies, like there’s something wrong with them for even needing to wear the garments. So there’s this underlying sense of shame associated with traditional nude-colored shapewear. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s something women are always happy and excited about— cosmetics and beauty products. In some ways, shapewear and cosmetics align—they can both be used as enhancements to help women feel more comfortable and confident. The moment that clicked for me, I knew my goal was to create something new that took the shame of shapewear out of the world. So I created Jewel Toned.

46 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


Ask any woman if she’s ever worn shapewear and the odds are she has—anyone who hasn’t is seriously missing out. That’s because celebrities, supermodels, and us mere mortals alike all praise it for its magical abilities to make clothes fit and look better. Now, usually shapewear is meant to be completely hidden. On the odd occasion that it becomes visible, intense embarrassment normally ensues for the wearer. However, that’s not the case with Jewel Toned shapewear because it’s shapewear that’s meant to be seen. We talked with founder Rachael McCrary to find out how she’s changing the shapewear game.

47 47 47


TM You’ve been in the intimates line of work for a long time. Can you tell us about that journey? RM I’ve always had an appreciation for the female form. My first job was actually designing and hand-sewing custom mini dresses for private clients when I was sixteen. I went to college at FIDM in San Francisco, then lived in New York for thirteen years developing innovative intimate apparel products for pretty much every major retailer you’d find at any mall in America. I became obsessed with the details—trims, laces, fasteners, measurements, and fit. After living in a bra manufacturing facility in Hong Kong, I gained valuable insight on tiny tweaks that can be made for optimal fit. I’ve spent over a decade talking to women about their likes and dislikes about lingerie and wanted to create a line of intimates that’s easy to buy online, and wear and love every day. TM

You really seem to take into account the concerns of women of all different body types and that shows on your website. All of the pieces are pictured on a few different body shapes. Why that decision? RM Women of all sizes wear shapewear, from tiny celebrities on the red carpet to the regular and plus size women who want to take it up a notch for a big

presentation or hot date. However, you don’t typically see women of all sizes in ads for traditional shapewear. We celebrate all body types and wanted our range—and the images we put in our ads and on our website—to reflect that. TM RM

Who is the “Jewel Toned” girl? The woman who wears Jewel Toned definitely has confidence. She knows what she likes and doesn’t mind having all eyes on her every now and then. Still, she values comfort and has probably invested in the perfect sweatshirt that she wears at least a few times a week. She’s also driven, likes to travel, and of course has great taste. Since she’s busy, we like to think we’re making getting ready easier and more fun for her.

We have to know: what was the piece that started it all? RM The Major Mini Dress. I took everything I’d ever wanted out of a shapewear piece and created the prototype. Next, I shared it with my friends and got more feedback about what their dream dress shaper should be able to do. Several rounds later we had the Major Mini. It’s our best seller, in part for its classic appeal and also for its verTM

48 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


satility. It’s the perfect little black dress shaper that smooths and supports. We’ve seen so many women wear this out as their dress—pairing with killer heels and amazing jewelry. One woman even told us someone asked her if she was wearing vintage Dolce & Gabbana! TM

To make shapewear that can look as good as a high-end brand is quite the accomplishment. What are some of the challenges with creating shapewear that can also be worn on its own? RM Education is the biggest challenge. Jewel Toned is such a unique new concept that a lot of people glance at our page and think we’re a line of bodycon dresses, which in some ways, is good. But if they place an order thinking they’re getting a party dress, they’re missing a huge part of what makes Jewel Toned unique. There’s so much more to our garments like being customizable and having a built-in bra. We want people to be familiar with the concept of shapewear that’s meant to be seen. That’s why we have [the hashtag] #CYOS— or ‘create your own style’—across all our social platforms. It’s a call to action to our customers, asking them to show us the amazing styles they’ve created with their Jewel Toned. We use the hashtag to find great outfits, then share them with our customer base on our Instagram and Pinterest. That way our audience can see the potential in their Jewel Toned pieces. Whether they wear it as support under another dress, style it as part of a layered outfit, or wear it on its own—there’s no right or wrong. You can make your own rules with Jewel Toned. Major Mini Dress, $44; Out All Night Mini Skirt, $33; Street Smart Bike Short, $21, all Jewel Toned, shopjeweltoned.com

50 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

{An Evergreen Closshey} If you don’t know the meaning of doing it all, then you haven’t met Charleene Closshey. Closshey acts, produces, plays the violin, composes scores, and graces the stage with her cheerful blonde waves and sweetly discerning eyes. Just two months away from wrapping up her Broadway debut in Once, Closshey sat down with Caroline A. Wong to discuss her latest project: starring in the holiday film An Evergreen Christmas alongside Naomi Judd. From writing last-minute music to facing childhood bullies to being a cat lady, Closshey does it all and tells us all! By Caroline A. Wong Photos by Alexander Herman

52 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

Worn throughout: Tribal cardigan, Forever 21, $25, forever21.com. Major Mini Dress, Jewel Toned, $44, shopjeweltoned.com. Spike necklace, $118; gold wrap bracelet, $228, both MAKKO, makkojewelry.com. Ring, Closshey’s own.

54 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

Closshey cozies into a chair in her room at the Fairmont Miramar, wearing a look for the photo shoot we plan to begin the next hour and smiling over at her cat, Daphne, curled on the bed beside us. A small plate of cat food is on the dresser, a dog bed sits beside the patio door, and more clothes brought for the shoot are strewn on the coverlet. The room, much like Closshey, seems to be doing everything at once. “They brought a dog bed,” Closshey laughs, presumably referring to the well-intentioned hotel staff. Daphne, however, has obviously chosen a more preferably perch and only occasionally blinks over at us from her fluffy dent by Closshey’s pillow. Dog bed aside, Closshey dives right in to talking about her latest film. “[It’s] called An Evergreen Christmas and it’s available everywhere online—iTunes, Amazon—and then exclusively in Walmart stores. It was such a fun film to make.” Not to mention, starring alongside entertainment veterans like Naomi Judd and Robert Loggia left an impression. “Man, that guy can deliver a line! I think, as a young actor, to have an opportunity to work with someone who’s just… beyond words…is quite an opportunity and a blessing. And then to work with Naomi Judd! Like, country music legend! That was pretty cool too.” An Evergreen Christmas follows the story of Evie Lee, raised on a Christmas tree farm in a small town until leaving for Los Angeles to pursue her music dreams. When her father passes away, she returns to her hometown to save the farm and face the expectations of the people from her past. “She’s hiding the fact that her life really isn’t nearly as cool as what everybody else thinks,” says Closshey of her character. “So through her coming back to this small town and being [a] fish out of the water—but sort of really belonging—but total fish out of water, she rediscovers her voice. We’re always trying to find out who we are, and it’s that exploration.”




I had three weeks, my computer, a microphone, my violin, and a 24-key keyboard, which is ridiculous! It was my first time scoring a feature.

56 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


As a musician that grew up in a small town in Florida, Closshey seems—on the surface—to parallel her character Evie. “I think we have a lot of similar skill sets,” Closshey allows. “From the outside looking in, people might say, ‘Oh, that sounds just like you ‘cause you’re from a small town and now you’re not.’ That’s pretty much where the similarities stop.” She considers their differences. “I think she’s a lot more passive than I am,” Closshey laughs. “Evie, at least in the context of the film, she really wouldn’t necessarily stand up for herself, and I think I’m a little bit bolder.” This gets her laughing again. “I think that’s why I enjoyed it that much more, because of the seemingly similar spaces that we should have existed in but don’t.” Closshey truly got to stretch her musician chops in the film. Not only did she act as a musician on screen, she also composed the score. “That was kind of a totally random experience,” Closshey admits. “I originally wasn’t slated to compose, and last minute… it kind of became a necessity.” She gestures at her laptop on the desk, saying, “I had three weeks and my computer, a microphone, my violin, and a 24-key keyboard, which is about this big—” Here, she makes a tiny gesture. “—which is ridiculous! It was my first time scoring a feature. I had worked on shorts in the past [but a fulllength film] is a totally different beast.” Luckily, she had support. “Everybody was amazing, surrounding me with love. I mean, even on the final day of mixing, I was still composing one of the songs because we kept coming back and saying, ‘It’s not exactly right.’ It was a really integral scene where Pops is recounting this really intimate scene about his son and their story when they were able to connect. And that can’t be wrong, you know?” She laughs. 58 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015


Her latest film aside, Closshey is filled with holiday spirit. “Oh Lord, I love Christmas! It is ridiculous!” she exclaims. “I start listening to Christmas the day after Labor Day. The Tuesday after Labor Day, to me, is fair game. Halloween starts the holidays and then you go into Thanksgiving and then, of course, Christmas!” You can practically see the Christmas spirit bubbling out of her. “Whenever I wrap the gifts, [my family] always laugh at me because my edges are completely perfect. I make my own bows with wire ribbon. No two packages ever look the same because that just doesn’t happen. It’s not allowed.” Here, Closshey leans forward in her seat, getting serious for a moment. “I’m an only child, and I came from a family that’s really close. But I’ve been away so much over the past ten

I enjoyed it that much more, because of the seemingly similar spaces that we should have existed in but don’t


years that I just crave coming together and having that family time and connecting with people and helping everybody feel special and warm and really making good memories because, you know, at the end of the day, it’s all we’ve got.” Being an only child colored more than just Closshey’s holiday experiences. Growing up in a secluded area with neighbors few and far between, she devised her own forms of entertainment. “I really developed, like, a strong sense of imagination, just picturing myself in these different circumstances and acting out things with myself in the backyard.” Closshey coupled her imagined scenarios with her music development. “I started playing piano when I was two, so music has always been in my life. And it’s been a source

of solace in a lot of times too. When I was growing up, I was the fat kid, and I was the fat kid for a very long time. And there were a lot of, umm, you know…kids can be mean. There were fifteen years where I lived in a lot of challenge and struggle, and I didn’t know who I was. And when you hear you’re fat and ugly and you’re not going to amount to anything, but you keenly are aware of what’s going on around you, I think you develop a different sense of self because of that.” Acting helped serve as Closshey’s form of distraction from her childhood foes, but she sees it as much more than just an escape. “I think it actually helped me build my confidence as to who I actually am, not whom somebody else says, but whom I say. It allowed me to redefine myself. And music allowed me to express that.” Years later now, with an impressive acting résumé and a carved-out sense of self, Closshey doesn’t feel the need to confront the people from her past. “We were all nasty, snotty-nosed kids, and we’ve all had our days. But it’s interesting to see how people’s interactions and perspectives of me have shifted. I think, in general, when we’re nice, it’s easier for people to be nice to you too. And, in many ways, I probably didn’t set myself up for that earlier. Hopefully I do a better job now!” Now that Closshey has worked with Loggia and Judd, the next dream costar on her list is Voldemort. “Wow. I’ve always wanted to work with Ralph Fiennes. There’s something about his acting and the characters that he creates—you see this interesting dichotomy of someone trying to move forward but still being held back by this something.” She gestures with her hands in the air, as though she can push and pull the words out of the air. “In every character, it’s always something different. You have this creative, artistic tension that I think is just brilliant.” You likely won’t see Closshey in a one-woman show anytime soon. Closshey guesses that her love for working with costars comes from her musician side. “When you’re all in a

60 Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015

band, you all have to get up there, and you’re jamming together. That music’s only going to sound as good as you allow it to. [But] you don’t always get that in acting because it’s very easy for it to be self-important, or self-indulgent, because it’s a singular character that you’re creating.” Closshey admired her fellow Evergreen Christmas costar Jake Sandvig, who plays Chez, for touching upon that live-action vibe. “He’s the total fish out of water, just the goofy guy in the film. He was in Easy A. Everything about his timing is perfect. But his energy! When he’s with you, he’s with you and you know it and you feel it. I love to create with people like that.” So what’s next for the actress-composerproducer? “I’m working on an EP in Nashville with Naomi Judd’s producer. And also, [I’ve] got a film that will be coming out, but I can’t disclose [the details] yet. It’s with a very wellknown writer and director, and…it’ll be fun!” Closshey squirms a bit in her seat. You can feel the tension of her wanting to share her secret. “Forthcoming!” she sings. “I’ll be back on Broadway wrapping up the Once show final showing. That’s January 4th. Just everything culminating at the beginning of the year. Out with the old and in with the new!”




by Caroline A. Wong

“No,” you say, “there couldn’t possibly be anything better than a hot cocoa-fueled Property Brothers marathon. No, nothing in this world could come close...except for a marathon of Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers!” Well, guess again, you home-reno fiends! HGTV’s rock star brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott, partnered with St. Baldrick’s Foundation in the fight against childhood cancers, and the result is the super giftable Scott Giving line. From Drew-approved pocket squares to simple takes on the activewear trend in the form of lightweight hoodies and tanks, you’ll find something for everyone. Grab the gorgeous bluebird scarf for your fashion-minded boss and the bamboo mug for your eco-obsessed neighbor. As you check off names on your holiday list, add up all the ways you’re contributing to cancer research, with anywhere from $1 to $6 donated for each gift you snag. Cancer is a cause near and dear to the Tastevin family’s heart, even more near and dear than the Property Brothers themselves, so this is truly a fun and festive way to give to the cause and give to your friends. The only thing missing is some plaid a la Jonathan’s many shirts. For that, we’ll just have to stick with our marathons.


Shop the collection at www.ScottGiving.com!

63 63

Profile for Tastevin Mag

Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015  

A Fashion and Lifestyle Tasting Menu

Tastevin Magazine December / January 2015  

A Fashion and Lifestyle Tasting Menu