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The First Affair What It’s Like Sleeping with the President

Claire Thomas

More Than Your Average TV Foodie

Mega-songster and Warrior Designer

Drugstore Aversion

Get Over Your Fear of the Makeup Aisle

HORS D’OEUVRE Masthead Contributors Letters On Set From the Desk of the Editor


BEAUTY & WELLNESS {Beauty} Trick to Try: Scared of drugstore foundation? We make it easy for you to choose your shade. Say Spaaahh: Do your downward dog in style at these Gurney Inn retreats.

ARTS & LEISURE 9 Tips to Fabulous Flea Market Shopping: Don’t let the crowds bug you. Flea markets can be the best way to find that special piece! Pages: The authors of The Nanny Diaries dish on their latest sexy release, The First Affair. Good Eats: It’s a cookie craze! What makes us gush over these gooey wonders? Made: Your earrings need a home! We show you an easy way to make on

Poetry: Anje’le Alston wows.



Luminaries: Claire Thomas is a powerhouse creative with a foodie tendency. Check out our chat with the ABC star! You&Me: Catherine Malandrino’s Paris-inspired collection for Kohl’s is missing that je ne sais quoi. Share Your Where: Eurotrip! What to do when you don’t know what to do with your life. Share Your Wear: Reykjavík takes America by storm! The latest Icelandic fashion can be found at LastaShop. A Rose by Any Other Name: It’s Ke$ha! The singer-songwriter-rapperdesigner takes a break from her tour to chat with us about her jewelry line with Charles Albert.

Always end with something sweet

CAROLINE A. WONG Editor-in-Chief

BRANDON GAMBLE Creative Director




ART Photographer ALEXANDER HERMAN Assistant Photographer HAIL NOWAK West Coast Editor ROSIE RYAN UK Editor JENNA ANDERSON

Hail Nowak is a Los Angeles-based photographer and expertly commanded the “Luminaries” shoot with Claire Thomas and Fashion Editor Breana Powell. She may or may not have joined them for cake after the shoot!


November 2013

Breana Powell got glittery this month, sitting down with jewelry designer Charles Albert and cover girl, Ke$ha! She also got to have her cake and eat it too—literally. Powell ate some cake with ABC’s foodie star Claire Thomas for this month’s “Luminaries” spotlight.


Arts and Leisure Editor Mollie McKenzie gets artsy and leisurely this month, writing “9 Tips to Fabulous Flea Market Shopping.” Her favorite flea market find is a vintage wooden reading bench that she got at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

Tastevin Magazine November 2013

Yum! Maria Eubanks delves into the nostalgia of baking, taking over this issue’s “Good Eats” column. Her favorite type of cookie? Find out in her article, “Cookie Craze.”

Alexander Herman is a Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker. He headed up this issue’s “You & Me” shoot, bossing around Tastevin’s editorin-chief (She says, “Don’t get used to it!”) while photographing her near Rodeo Drive.

Features writer Lindy Tolbert is taking Europe by storm on a whirlwind three-month adventure. Check out how she got started on her crazy Eurotrip in this month’s “Share Your Where.”

Brandon Gamble commands Tastevin’s New York office. His go-to Thanksgiving dish is a hearty dose of breakfast food with some turkey pepperoni thrown in. Don’t judge. Anje’le Alston is a young poet with big ideas. The times when she feels most inspired to write are when “the world humbles me with its daily melodies and beauties and forces me to step on the breaks. It is in those sweet but futile moments that I’m forced to take pause, and I am inspired to write.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is there something you’d like to see in the pages of an upcoming issue of Tastevin? Are you an awesome fashion designer or an up and coming musician looking for exposure? We want to hear from you! Send your thoughts on the November issue (and any other thoughts you might have!) to or go to and fill out the form on the Contact page. All submissions become the property of Tastevin Magazine and may be edited, published, or otherwise used in any medium. And if you think you have what it takes to write a column for our magazine, show us what you’ve got! Send your resume along with three column proposals and a writing sample to for consideration.



Tastevin Magazine November 2013

On Set This month’s “Luminaries” highlight is Claire Thomas, star of ABC’s Food for Thought with Claire Thomas. Tastevin photographer Hail Nowak and Fashion Editor Breana Powell joined Thomas at her home to take photos, talk food, and eat cake! On Set Photos by Breana Powell Cameras all around! Powell took photos of Nowak taking photos of Thomas taking photos of some delicious food prepared by Thomas for the shoot. Yes, there was some cake-eating on set. Don’t be too jealous. You can’t tell from her laidback demeanor, but Thomas is a super busy creative powerhouse. Read Powell’s interview with the star in the Fashion & Features section to find out more about everything Thomas has already accomplished!


from the desk of the


Feeling hot and dangerous? If you’re one of us, then roll with us and don some jewelry from the Kesha Rose line launched by singer-songwriter-rapper Ke$ha in partnership with famed designer Charles Albert. Seriously, Ke$ha is unstoppable. The megastar and fashion icon shares her inspiration for the innovative collaboration choice—i.e. NOT perfume—with our editor Breana Powell in this month’s cover story, “A Rose by Any Other Name” on page 66, for which Albert also divulges some of his insight on working with the star and the work that went into creating the line. So if you find yourself in a situation where glitter isn’t appropriate (but let’s be real—glitter is always appropriate), try some penis earrings instead!                        On a personal note: Last month, many of the Tastevin staff lost a dear friend, Jennie Yang. The beautiful woman was a pillar of strength and an unrivaled light in the darkest of times, even while battling cancer. She had planned to write an article for us about her journey, but we never finished discussing the details. Jennie was a hero to me in more ways than one, and we would like to dedicate this Thanksgiving issue to her as gratitude for all of the amazing moments we were able to share with such a phenomenal person. Rest well, my friend.


Tastevin Magazine November 2013

Say Spaaahh Gurney’s Inn has the latest for yogis to get away.

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or two nights for $799 per person and (with $400 credit for spa and salon treatments). Indulge in world-renowned services such as the head-to-toe Ocean Radiance Treatment, Montauk Stone Therapy, Sea Water Herbal Bath, Algae Body Polish and Organic Seaweed Facial. The getaway includes ocean view accommodations, breakfast and dinner, use of the one-of-a-kind Seawater Spa facilities, complimentary beach walk on the private beach, and a selection of the latest rejuvenating services including body treatments, massages, facials, classes, and more. Treat yourself to something sweet and relax before or after the holidays!

To book Yoga & Spa Retreat or Seawater Spa Getaway, call 631-668-2345. Gurney’s Inn Resort & Spa is located at 290 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, New York.


Invigorate and revive your mind, body and soul as you soak in the restorative powers of the sea and recharge at the annual Yoga & Spa Retreat. On November 22-24, Gurney’s Inn will host a powerful and relaxing weekend designed for both curious beginners and experienced yogis. The blissful retreat is available for just $400 per person and includes ocean view accommodations for two nights, breakfast and dinner daily, use of the Seawater Spa facilities, several yoga classes, and dancing each night. Or, check out the Seawater Spa Getaway. When looking for the ultimate spa experience, Gurney’s Inn offers the only Seawater Spa in the continental United States that features signature Thalassa therapies and uses ocean water in an Olympic-size, indoor heated pool. From now through December 31, you can score one night for $449 per person (with $245 credit for spa and salon treatments)



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{Beauty} By Colette Choi

Trick to Try

I get it. We can’t all be beauty mavens. But take it from me: You don’t have to get all defensive just because you’re not perfect at making yourself up. Just live a little, learn a little. The next time you find yourself in the drugstore aisle freaking out because you don’t know what shade of liquid foundation you need (“‘Sand Beige,’ ‘Medium Beige,’ ‘True Beige’—umm, my skin’s not beige??!”), don’t just give up and say you’re “better than those frivolous extras anyway” before heading home. Makeup can totally transform not only the way you see yourself, but the way others see you. Presentation is important professionally, if not also personally. And the first step is a great base foundation.

The trick to try this month makes foundation shopping at drugstores easy. So you don’t have a personal makeup artist on hand to match your skin tone? No worries. The best thing to do is to pick a shade that you think matches you best, Shade “A.” It really could be a guessing game, because the next step is to pick the next darker shade available on the shelf next to it—let’s call that Shade “B.” Buy BOTH these bottles! Bring them home where you can try them in natural light. Start with Shade A. If you think Shade A is too light, darken it with a drop of Shade B. Mix your new shade together either on a makeup palette or back of your hand for a custom creation perfect for your skin tone. If you think Shade A is too dark, return Shade B and either 1) buy a shade lighter than Shade A and use the same drop and mix method mentioned or 2) mix in a drop of sunscreen to get both sun protection and a lighter foundation shade!

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There you go. Easy peasy. Now stop freaking out about going to the drugstore. 17

9 Tips to Fabulous Flea Market Shopping

This is just an example of the many unique items you can find at a flea market. Who wouldn’t want this Tim Burton-esque statue?

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Southern Californian native Mollie McKenzie scours the world-famous Rose Bowl Flea Market to bring you the best tips for an awesome time hunting for those awesome vintage finds.


or Angelenos, there are two landmark fashion havens, Rodeo Drive on the Westside and the Rose Bowl Flea Market in the east. And while the palm-lined, tourist filled street of Rodeo Drive might be the stomping ground for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, for us lesser mortals, there is the fashionista’s paradise, the Rose Bowl Flea Market. At the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, on the second Sunday of every month, from 9 am to 4:30 pm, vintage lovers, bargain hunters, and shopaholics alike can be found exploring the never ending maze of booths featuring everything from highend designer labels and home furnishings to secondhand vintage clothes and rare knickknacks. Admission is $8 for the general public, and yes, that may seem silly to spend money just to get into the flea market, but it is most certainly worth it. Any flea market, not just the Rose Bowl Flea Market (though I am partial to it), is the perfect place to find affordable, yet trendy furniture and home décor that is not from IKEA in addition to one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry. Tackling a flea market, especially the Rose Bowl Flea Market, can be an overwhelming—though certainly enjoyable—undertaking at times. But never fear! Once you’ve studied up the nine tips below, you will not only be able to conquer any flea market, but you will also have bags and carts full of fantastic finds. Maybe bring a truck while you’re at it!


First thing’s first. Set a budget! Though there

is an ATM, I suggest taking out cash before you arrive. Most booths are cash-only, which is actually a blessing in disguise and can force you stick to your pre-set budget. But for those who don’t feel safe carrying around a wad of cash, quite a few stands are starting to accept credit cards, especially those selling more expensive wares.


The Rose Bowl Flea Market includes more than 2,500 vendors and 2 million items of interest—trust me when I say you will not be able to see everything from between the hours of 9 am, when the gates open, to 4:30 pm, when everyone starts to pack up. If there were ever such a thing as an enormous thrift store, this would be it. So it is imperative that you make a general list, if not on paper, then in your head, of everything you wish to take a look at, and/or purchase. If you aren’t looking for anything in particular, flea markets are the perfect place to window shop, people watch, and get creative ideas for your next DIY project.


A flea market is not a fashion show, although I’m pretty sure the hipsters of Los Angeles would disagree (as would Tastevin’s editorin-chief, who showed up in heels). Just be prepared to get dirty. Most flea markets, including the Rose Bowl Flea Market, are held outside, typically on grass, gravel, or dirt. The last time I went, I wore sandals, and by the end of the day, my feet were black with dirt. I highly recommend leaving your de21

signer heels in the closet and opt for your most comfortable pair of shoes. Wear layers as cloud cover can be unpredictable. Also, since most clothing booths do NOT include makeshift fitting rooms, I suggest wearing a tank top as one of your layers, as well as shorts or form fitting pants. This will make

thrilled to share tips as well as discuss their inspiration. Many vendors have been selling their wares for years and are experts in their field, which certainly makes for interesting conversations. It can also help when you’re negotiating prices. Most vendors are more willing to give a good deal to someone with whom they get along.


Your arms and shoulders are going to very tired if you plan to carry around your purchases all day. You can certainly make a trip to drop everything off at your car, but most free parking spots are a nice, long walk from the gate of the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I suggest bringing a tote bag or backpack for your smaller purchases, and for your larger ones, a cart, or dolly can be very helpful at times. If you are planning to buy furniture, you don’t need to lug around your new dining room table the entire day. Most vendors will hold onto your item until the end of the day, and once you are finished shopping, you can bring your car around to the side of the entrance and pick up your purchase.


trying on clothes easier and help in finding a more accurate size.


This is definitely the most important tip for anyone visiting a flea market. I’ve never left a flea market and not heard an interesting story from some vendor. It’s the perfect place to learn some history and talk fashion with up-and-coming designers, who are always

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Flea markets are NOT farmer markets—this is not the place to find a healthy organic meal. So be wary when you eat that greasy pizza, bite into that jumbo beer brat, or devour that carne asada burrito. While it is wise to take a break and revive yourself with nourishment after a hard day of shopping, these food booths are not the cleanest. One friend watched as a pizza vendor handled a cell phone, cash, and the cooked food with the same gloved hand. This same friend also got sick later that day, whether by coincidence or not. I like to bring along snacks when I go to the flea market, mostly because I want to save all my money for shopping. But nonetheless, you have been warned.


Bring your own bottle—of water, that is. As is said above, I prefer to spend all my money on shopping, not shell out $10 for a bottle of water. No matter what the weather is like, it is very important to stay hydrated, especially when you are walking around all day.


Imagine you’re at a night market in Bangkok or at the famed Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. Flea markets offer shoppers the rare and special chance to barter and, if you’re good, to get an amazing deal on a unique treasure or unusual find on top of a priceless experience. Now bartering, for most, is a learned and valuable skill. But like everything you learn, it takes practice—and what better place to practice than at the flea market! Most vendors are willing to negotiate, especially toward the end of the day because they don’t want to pack up everything and lug it home again. The last hour to half-hour of a flea market is the best time to catch that last minute bargain. But be careful: If you really have your eye on something, it may be gone before the end of the day, so don’t wait if you’re sure you have to have it.

admission for $10 per person from 8-9 am. While the Rose Bowl Flea Market might be the mother of all flea markets, most cities and towns hold some type of market at least once a month, if not every week. The Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market in New York is another Tastevin favorite. So look up what’s happening in your area, and with these easy tips, you won’t miss out!


Flea markets are often loud, dirty, smelly, and definitely crowded. Just walking down an aisle can feel like trying to paddle upstream. But don’t fight it! Just flow with it. The Rose Bowl Flea Market is one of the most popular flea markets—so popular, in fact, that people from all over California travel to Pasadena each month to attend. And that’s part of its beauty. If you easily get claustrophobic, plan to go early. The Rose Bowl Flea Market has VIP admission from 5-7 am for $20 per person and express 23

ur Guil o Y : ty S E

ial nt

P A G 24 Tastevin Magazine November 2013

oes Presi d e dG

r u e s R a e e l a P

by Rosie Ryan


t’s hardly a secret that many of our presidents have had one or two (or three or more) marital indiscretions. The most famous of them all being Monica Lewinski, the infamous White House intern who had “sexual relations” with former president Bill Clinton. Given the type of career-ending notoriety that Miss Lewinski faced after her affair went very, very public, it’s obvious that a sexual relationship with a president is risky business. So you can imagine that a story about such a relationship is bound to be juicy. In brief, The First Affair is about Jamie McAlister who gets an internship at the White House just in time for the government to shut

down. This propels Jamie and the other unpaid interns to fill the roles of the paid government workers, which ultimately leads her to a sexy late night encounter with the president, Gregory Rutland. Jamie very quickly finds it impossible to keep their affair a secret and confides in her closest friends—but she unfortunately tells the wrong person and word gets out. The rest of the novel deals with the political and emotional fallout after the truth is exposed. I had the lucky opportunity to pick the brains behind the story, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. As with their united authorial front, the pair chose to respond to my questions as a cohesive unit. Oh, did I mention that these

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ladies are also the geniuses behind The Nanny Diaries? The idea for any of McLaughlin and Kraus’s novels always tends to spring from questions and the curiosity to pursue those answers. “We’ve long been obsessed with these larger-than-life sexual political scandals and were dying to tell one from the woman’s point of view. Who is the young woman who would get seduced into this kind of relationship? What kind of man risks his entire career and historical standing? What are the demons running both of them?” These questions alone can make the imagination run wild, but it also really makes you think about actual presidential mistresses. The ones that McLaughlin and Kraus looked to in particular were obviously Miss Lewinski, but they also looked at Mimi Alford, the teen mistress of John F. Kennedy, and Marilyn Monroe. “We did a lot of research on the underlying pathologies for a woman who has an affair with a married man. We were very interested in her back story. We love exploring and unearthing family secrets.” I, for one, am always a fan of a scandalous back story in literature. Besides understanding the character specifically, however, McLaughlin and Kraus really delve into the difficult and destructive burden that comes with a secret of this proportion. It’s this development that makes it hard to dislike Jamie, despite how difficult it can be to sympathize with those who dally in extramarital affairs. While she does act foolishly and selfishly, Jamie wins you over, and you just want her to be happy at the end of the day. Affair aside, I began reading this novel just as the most recent government shutdown was happening. So the story was very—almost freakishly—relevant. When I asked them how they did it, their response was: “We’re psychic.

It’s true. We actually slipped Boehner a twenty to shut the government down just so we could be on trend. In all seriousness, we have wanted to write this story for so long, but it felt safe writing it now because as far as improprieties go, we couldn’t imagine a president less likely to make that kind of mistake than Obama.” In addition to doing character research, the ladies also put time in to understanding the current political environment. “We both have close friends inside the beltway who very kindly made introductions to people who were even kinder to speak off the record to us. Some of it was so juicy [that] we couldn’t even use it because people would think it was implausible!” Besides the actual story, I also found it interesting that McLaughlin and Kraus write as a team. Luckily, they explained how they do it. “There is definitely a spooky, separated-atbirth component to our collaboration in that we have never—literally from Day One writing The Nanny Diaries—had to edit to make our voices match. We spend several weeks outlining the core elements of the story—primary and periphery characters, A and B plots, and time frame. We then divvy this outline up, and we each write every other chapter, odds or evens. Once we have this first draft we sit together and go over it line by line on the computer, on paper, and frequently out loud, until it is ready to go to print. And of course, our editor gets to weigh in at multiple junctures along the way.” In summary, if you’re in the mood for a guilty pleasure read, then The First Affair is just the ticket. This is the kind of book you can take on a relaxing tropical vacation or curl up with on the couch with a nice cup of tea. But you might not want to bring it with you the next time you’re interning at the White House. 27

ookie raze By Maria Eubanks

It’s 7:00 PM. You’re just The Evolution of the Cookie getting home from a long day of Many restaurants attempt work; you take a deep breath to to provide customers with a settle your mind, freeing your- “home away from home” feel self from the day’s hustles and through serving freshly baked bustles. Moments later, you cookies. One restaurant in take steps towards your cho- particular, BJ’s Restaurant & sen sanctuary. As you open the Brewery, has gained increasdoor, you are engulfed by an ing popularity for serving the overwhelming aroma of choco- infamous “pizookie.” The pilate chip cookies, forcing you to zookie is a play off of its wellrelease a deep sigh. Home sweet known deep dish style pizzas, home. functioning as a fusion between a personal pizza and a cookie. Made to order in a variety of flavors and sizes, this warm, meltin-your-mouth deep dish cookie arrives at your table with a cool scoop of ice cream on top. My personal favorite is the half Oreo, half white chocolate chip

macadamia, with three scoops of vanilla and their special Oreo cream on top. Try it out on your next visit; it’s a cookie you won’t forget.

Make Your Own Pizookie The best part about cookies is their availability. Simple and easy to bake, they always make for a good time. I vividly remember the first time my friends and I made our homemade version of the legendary BJ’s pizookie. Whether it be for a study group or a midnight birthday celebration, homemade pizookies always provide just the right amount of satisfaction. Materials Needed 1 pie pan 1 roll of your favorite cookie dough 1 gallon of your favorite ice cream nonstick cooking spray

Recipe 1. Preheat your oven according to the cookie dough instructions 2. Spray the pie pan with nonstick cooking spray to prevent dough from sticking 3. Spread the entire roll of cookie dough across the whole pie pan 4. Bake cookie dough for the specified amount of time

5. Allow to cool until lukewarm 6. Place a generous scoop of your favorite ice cream in the center

7. Grab a couple spoons, share;

A Walk Down Memory Lane

For many, the smell and the act of eating chocolate chip cookies brings back memories of childhood and good times with family and friends. I asked my Twitter followers, “What does the smell of cookies remind you of and why do you think cookies never get ‘old’ to you?”

“They give me instant happiness! I would like to be buried in cookies when I die.” “They remind me of my childhood when I would make cookies for my friends’ birthdays.” @melluhh

“They are just timeless. Also now there are just so many kinds of cookies these days that you just can’t get bored.” @melluhh

“Reminds me of holiday goodness, of childhood innocence baking on Sunday afternoons. Everything doughy and the world is just fine.” “The smell of cookies reminds me of home.”


“The holidays, my first memory with a dessert. A cookie was my first heart warming dessert lol.” @DomTrey5

From the memories to the availability to the endless variety of cookies that are now available, there are numerous reasons why this “Cookie Craze” won’t be coming to an end anytime soon. @riaxrawr


by Danielle Robbins

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e d a M

Custom Earring Holder One of my biggest frustrations is finding a place to keep all of my earrings that doesn’t lead to a mess at the bottom of a drawer or a mishmash of pieces in a big bowl. I’ve used other earring holders before, but none of them create an easy way to hold my stud earrings. So I took it upon myself to find a cute and easy solution to my biggest frustration. What you need: a frame, piece of corkboard, X-Acto knife, a self-healing cutting board or mat, pins, and a ruler (optional).

Remove the glass and mat board from the picture frame. Place the glass from the frame on top of the cork, and following the edge of the glass with an X-Acto knife, cut out a piece of cork the same size as the glass. If you would prefer to measure and cut out the piece you can do that as well (it is more precise, but takes longer—I chose to live on the edge).


II Place the piece of cork you cut out inside the frame and place the backing on securely.

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Use the pins to secure stud earrings to the cork by slipping the pin through the backing and sticking them into the cork. You can also push studs directly into the cork, but be sure to prepare a hole first with a pushpin so that you don’t bend your studs.



Fleeting Genuine Smile By Anje’le Alston

Nervously twirling the phone between fingers It is a new crowd More fleeting friendships to create Cheeks burning from awkward smiles Take a seat on the edge Watch the pit near Clamoring against the still of the night The incendiary battles with the cool Its spark struggling to maintain the light But the night wins out

The soft winds float with stealth Perfectly prepared curls thankful For the burden of smoke they will not take home Cervical spine takes a languorous twist Notice the ripples of the wash moving in rhythm Steady in the distance As buoys lie atop Like the shrill of a bird met by a bullet Sizzle, pop, and snap Shocking the senses of the unsuspecting All attentions focused Retinas burned with jumping light Cookie cutter and sea shaped A burst of play only to burn up In a cloud of smoke shadows Foreign tongues resume tossing words Like chalky marshmallows Held loosely on sticks

Eyes captured by the flickering red and blue Racing across the horizon Into downtown immersed In a halo of smog and wild nights All amidst the blue bold bright Sphere hanging high Reflecting off the bay With its steady cadence of ripples Like the beat of the fireworks That gave this night importance And forced the awkward smiles To give way to a real one

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Claire Thomas, star of ABC’s Food for Thought with Claire Thomas and food blogger for The Kitchy Kitchen, is more than just a culinary star—she’s an all-around creative powerhouse. Breana Powell sits down with Thomas to get the scoop on what it’s like to handle all the success—and to have a piece of cake or two! Photographs by Hail Nowak


After spending a mere hour with Claire Thomas, I’m daydreaming about being invited to one of her dinner parties. I’m certain that there would be good food, good wine, and Claire— presumably decked out in a stylish ensemble, as she is when she opens the door to greet me (her dress is vintage, she shares)—charming her guests with endless conversations about old movies, books, and anecdotes from her jampacked, daily adventures. It also doesn’t hurt that her home is the ideal location to host such

an event—each room has its own vibe, a perfect union of contemporary and classic, of rugged and chic. Art adorns the walls, the kitchen has a massive island (the biggest I’ve ever seen), and the living room, accessorized with a wall filled with books tucked into shelves, looks out over a sweeping deck and backyard. Party central indeed. At the beginning of our photo shoot at her home, Claire, with her background in design, food, and directing, seems a bit unsure about one of the shots that our photographer wants to get. But she graciously takes on the challenge, mapping it out and then posing for us. After the

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pictures are taken, Claire offers us a piece of the cake that she has made that day, removing it from the platter on the table where she typically photographs her food. I pause for a second before I say anything, and Claire jokes that she knows that hesitation—that’s the hesitation of someone who wants a piece! As soon as I take a bite, I’m a goner. It’s heavenly—moist, rich, and full of sweet, buttery flavor. When we sit down in her comfy living room to chat, I’m already sold on Claire Thomas as food extraordinaire. But when she opens her mouth, she confirms that she really is a do-it-all, dedicated creative marvel as well. Claire’s career tale begins with The Kitchy Kitchen, a food blog. Bored by her job as an assistant in Hollywood, Claire says she started the blog “as a fun thing to do creatively. I just needed an outlet, and my mom saw how into food I was getting.” But Claire—a selfproclaimed nerd who fell in love with cooking through food history—wanted to take the proper steps to prepare for her new project. “I did research [on blogs] and practiced and picked up a camera and learned how to do food photography and did recipe testing not realizing that the internet doesn’t care. No one’s there to watch you fail.” She laughs. “It’s one of those things where I could have failed in silence, and it would have been an embarrassing relic of my past. But I took it very seriously.” Her hard work and preparation proved effectual because the blog took off. Soon, Claire was getting work as a food stylist and food photographer in LA. She also worked as a personal chef and a food writer for The Huffington Post. And then she started making videos, which catapulted her into even greater success.

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“ You can get stuck in these aesthetic ideas, so it’s fun to break out of that.”

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She eventually snagged her own cooking show called Food for Thought with Claire Thomas (she has fans worldwide), and her video work on The Kitchy Kitchen led to a career in commercial directing. Claire reveals that growing up as a “production kid,” she grew up, “flipping through cookbooks and looking at food photography,” which stirred in her a love for the visualization of food. The videos began after a friend agreed to help her shoot a video in exchange for food. She shot and edited the footage, added some music, and crafted the first food video on her blog, which would be followed by many. She would think of ways to take a recipe and “distill it down to thirty or forty five seconds” through video in an “exciting and entertaining [way] to watch, but still informative.” An executive of Green Dot Films (the company that now represents Claire) asked if he could distribute her video work to some agencies to generate some feedback. Claire, with nothing to lose, agreed. Six weeks later, she was directing her first McDonald’s commercial. Two years later, she says, “I’ve probably directed like 25 or 26 TV spots.” Now Claire is branching off yet again. “I finally shot my first thing for Head and Shoulders, so I’m moving into beauty and lifestyle, which is awesome.” She smiles excitedly when she says that she looks forward to moving into “more storytelling and connecting with people.” She then passionately describes her love for old movies, uncovering a unique comparison between directors of old B-movies and current TV commercial directors: “Commercials seemed to have replaced what B-movies used to be. Now commercials are where up-and-coming directors can hone their skills, learn how to work with a crew and actors, job after job, and get better and better, so when the opportunity for filmmaking comes up, they’re ready for it. That’s what B-movies used to be. You do like a Tarzan movie and then you get a drama.” Claire explains how she, herself, is exercising her skills through commercial directing. “I love working in a short format because it presents these detail-oriented challenges.” Giggling and reaching for her phone,

she says that she wants to read a tweet that she recently posted, which reads as follows: “Actual sentence from an email I sent today: ‘Talking about cheese in the abstract can only go so far.’” And during a recent McDonald’s commercial shoot in Paris, she explains that tomatoes were discussed so much, and in so many forms, that she calls it “tomato gate,” with another laugh. What Claire ultimately wants to capture through her work are images that feel “absolutely beautiful but at the same time, [are] natural and authentic, and you feel connected to [them].” After making us laugh again, this time with a story about a commercial shoot where a DP was swaying the camera to match the drizzling chocolate (“like in a Godiva spot with opera music”), the TV host, blogger, and director concludes that many times “you can get stuck in these aesthetic ideas, so it’s fun to break out of that.” Claire’s new video series, for example, breaks out of traditional food video tutorials. After frustrated fans bemoaned on social media about the tendency for food video tutorials to be too long, Claire delivered her “10 Second Living” videos, where she sticks to the most important details of a cooking procedure. “It’s fun to delve into techniques I didn’t get to examine on [Food for Thought] or that I reference on the blog,” she says. An example video? “10 Second Living: How to poach an egg.” So what’s new and upcoming on the Claire Thomas radar? For one, her blog has become an all-inclusive website. Claire continues to have a way with words when she describes the upgrade: “I knew my content [needed] a better home. It needed something better than the studio apartment with the kitchenette. It needed the two-bedroom!” She goes on: “It’s like a one stop shop. In that one space, you can find all of my recipe and original photography content, my lifestyle blogs, my director’s reel and video work as well. You can find the recipes from Food for Thought. You can find information on my cookbook.” The Kitchy Kitchen cookbook launches into stores in 2014. Claire, who also shot the photographs for the book,


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wanted to write it as someone explaining recipes to a peer, not as some distanced expert. She promises recipes reminiscent of the ones on her site—“American food with a twist and all very fresh and simple, but that still looks impressive.” Whereas Claire is used to working in two-week increments, “A cookbook is like a two-year endeavor,” she says, “It’s like giving birth to an elephant, not even a baby. It’s been in your belly for eighteen months!” She unveils that writing a cookbook has been a desire of hers for five

years—back when she used to mess up mac and cheese. “I loved food, but I had no idea what I was doing.” Oh how the times have changed. er and then you can handle a raw veggies platter and hummus. One othink of having a party for, let’s say, ten people, one girlfriend assistant is perfect. Twenty people, two girlfriends as assistants are perfect. So that means you have one buddy who, while you’re mixing drinks, is answering the door. While you’re saying goodbye to everyone, she’s moving the first round

Party Hosting Tips from Claire Thomas With the holidays coming up, it’s almost time to throw some parties. But—not everyone’s a pro, especially newly minted, post college adults. (As Claire puts it: “The transition from red cups to champagne glasses is a really rough one. The thing is when you’re in your 20s, you’re poor.”) This is what Claire has to say to first-time (and even veteran) hosts: “Two biggest things about hosting a party: knowing yourself and communicating properly. If you have hardcore anxiety about cooking, do not cook. Make your party start at 8:30 or later. No one will expect there to be food. If you make your party at 6 pm, people are going to want to eat because you’re putting your party in the middle of the dinner hour. Set your party later and then you can handle a raw veggies platter and hummus. One of your girlfriends can bring cheese and another can bring dessert because everyone loves dessert and it can be inexpensive to make because you’re just looking at eggs, flour, and butter. Know your skill set and make that your strength. “Communicating. I can’t tell you how many times when I’m hosting and someone says, ‘Can I help?’ and I say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ when I should have just said yes! When you think of

having a party for, let’s say, ten people, one girlfriend assistant is perfect. Twenty people, two girlfriends as assistants are perfect. So that means you have one buddy who, while you’re mixing drinks, is answering the door. While you’re saying goodbye to everyone, she’s moving the first round [of dishes] to the dishwasher. You tag team. And having that point person there ensures that you’re not going to be exhausted with a giant sink of dishes. You have someone to expedite the process. If you have a roommate, that makes it even easier. You’re co-hosting, and you’re helping each other out. You can plan the party better. You can give yourself time to get ready and put that last coat of mascara on and you’re not running around like a chicken with your head cut off. And, if you do want to cook, cook something that you’ve cooked before. It’s not the time to be like, ‘Soufflé!’ Make the thing you know how to make, like the butter cake, or your mom’s brownies, whatever you’re good at! Do not feel that peer pressure to be Martha. Keep it simple. Keep it to what you know and you’ll have a great time. When I was younger, I would host parties and have a terrible time. I would never ask for help and would always bite off more than I could chew. Do not make my mistakes.”

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Ooh la la! Catherine Malandrino lends her je ne sais quoi to Kohl’s latest designer collaboration. But can the collection lend you the same French flair? Caroline A. Wong investigates. Photos by Alexander Herman

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o be honest, I hated living in Paris. I spent nearly two months there one summer living in an apartment with some friends and growing fat on foie gras and cheap wine, but aside from the great company and great eats, my stay in the City of Lights was a hell ride. Once while I was in Paris, I stepped into a Sandro shop and perused the men’s section, looking for a shirt for my boyfriend at the time who was particularly fond of cufflinks. The store clerk came over and said in French-accented English, “You know this is the men’s section, right?” Apparently I just oozed American… but I put on a big smile and responded, “Yes, I’m looking for a shirt for my boyfriend. Do you have any with French cuffs?” He scrunched his nose and I could almost hear his internal “poo-poo” at my request. “Ehh, in Paris, we do not wear the French cuffs. We think they are very cheap.” Umm.

Laser-cut faux leather top, Catherine Malandrino for Kohl’s DesigNation, $60. Leggings, New York & Company. Thighhigh boots, Beau+Ashe, $70. Clutch, Gap.

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They’re French cuffs. Anyway, the guy continued, “You are better off looking in another store.” So I haven’t always had the best of experiences with Parisian fashion, but I am quite a fan of Ms. Malandrino’s and was rather giddy that she would be launching a collection with Kohl’s. You know I’m a sucker for designers on the cheap. But again, it was my fate to be disappointed by the French fashion gods. Frenchborn Malandrino has that classic Parisian elegance mixed with a little grungy edge, and her pieces for Kohl’s incorporate that aesthetic and photograph well. The lookbook is fantastic! But the in-person quality is beyond horrendous, and I haven’t been more disappointed in a collection. The faux leather pieces come at a high price point for a collaboration, but from a glance online, you would think a laser-cut faux leather top—from Malandrino, no less—would be worth the $60. In the words of my French friend: Ehh, no, we think they are very cheap. One staffer saw the samples and immediately called them “poorly made Halloween costumes.” I can’t help but agree.

Laser-Cut Faux Leather Top

Also known as “Halloween Costume #1,” this top had great potential and no delivery. The intricacy proved too difficult for Kohl’s to mass produce, and the fabric quality is no better than a thick garbage bag. Steer clear. But if you were to imagine a betterquality top that you own at home, a great way to style boxier cuts is with a slim pant or legging. Here I opted for an edgy look with thigh-high boots and a metallic clutch, but I would also pair a faux leather top with a frilly pastel maxi skirt for a great contrast. I like to keep the jewelry to a minimum to let the disparity in textures shine. Scroll jacquard sweater, Catherine Malandrino for Kohl’s DesigNation, $70. Jean shorts, Wallflower Denim. Studded toe pumps, Michael Michael Kors. Eiffel Tower Le Pliage tote, Longchamp, $160. Gold and black studded rose bracelets, Forever 21.


Scroll Jacquard Sweater

I actually really liked this piece, both in person and in pictures. It’s thick and warm and perfect for an autumn evening. To set off the very French feel (it really is just one step away from being a striped shirt) and the coziness of a big sweater, go with distressed jean shorts. Heels keep it from veering sloppy, and a big casual bag is a fun way to round off the outfit. The only downside of this sweater is that the white will shed lint all over the black sleeves before you dry clean. Easy fix. While this is one piece from the collaboration that I enjoyed, I would warn you to steer clear of this collection. Sorry, Ms. Malandrino.

Share Your Where Eurotrip

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By Lindy Tolbert


Today ends my first full week of a three month trip I’ve taken to travel around Europe. I should start from the beginning. Until about a week and a half ago, I was working at a job with an atrocious commute and that I simply didn’t enjoy. The people were nice, but the company had a lot of problems and it wasn’t my calling. I knew this almost from the beginning, but I stayed at the job because it offered security. “Money,” I told myself. “It’s for the money. I’ll be here three months. Then I’ll find something else.” I stayed there a year. Imagine it—a year of your life wasted away on something you didn’t like or want to do. I can’t describe the mental anguish this caused the Creative in me. My days were spent consoling myself about money woes, and my nights were dedicated to spending the money I WAS earning on frivolous things to distract myself. But one day things changed. One day, I called my dad. “Dad,” I said tearfully into the phone, the way any young girl blessed with such a first world problem as “unhappiness” would. “Dad, my year anniversary at this job is coming up. A YEAR! What do I do? I want to quit. But I have a car payment! I have bills! I can’t just quit!” My father listened to me on the phone and was quiet for a bit. “I think you should go to Europe.” “...what?” “Go to Europe. How much money do you have?” I told him. He replied, “So not a lot—but doable. Backpack. Leave behind enough for your car payment, budget out how much you spend a week, and just go for as long as it will last you.” “But I can’t just pick up and leave! I mean I have friends going to Europe, but...” “Meet up with your friends. When will they be there?” “End of September.” “Well, if Europe is something you want to do, you have three weeks to plan a three month trip.” I quit my job, got a plane ticket, and planned a travel route. I first flew in to England for three days, and I just spent four in

Paris and Versailles. I’m currently on an overnight train to Munich. In the week I’ve been here, I’ve already learned some really valuable lessons:

1 Maximum planning for maximum flexibil-

ity. Not everything will go seamlessly, no matter how much you plan. Be flexible, and for transportation, be early.

2 Give yourself permission to not see everysinglethingever. If you need a break, take a break. You’ll thank yourself.


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3 Allow at least four days to see a city.

4 BUY SHOE INSERTS. The more padding,

the better. As for clothes, it’s all about layering. 5) All that walking IS good for you, but is only effective if you don’t eat four croissants in the same day.


Pickpockets and muggers are definitely a thing. Always watch your bags, and don’t put yourself in dangerous situations. Even a street full of people isn’t always safe.

6 Be careful with foreign transaction fees!

7 Get traveler’s insurance. You never know.

8 My mom has always told me, “Tours are a list of places I don’t want to go.” Visit the tourist attractions, but don’t spend all of your time there. There’s so much more to a city than that. English writer Gilbert K. Chesterton said, “The traveler sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see.” Don’t make a list of what to experience before you even get to experience it. 9 Money disappears fast here. If you’re on a budget, keep to it, and watch your spending closely. Those daily coffees add up. If you’re not on a budget, awesome! But don’t rub it in everyone’s face, and don’t flaunt your money in the open—it makes you a target.

respectively), and once people saw I was trying, they were lovely and incredibly helpful. Even if they didn’t speak English, we used the universal language of charades and a smile to figure it out. So as long as you don’t play the Ugly American, they won’t play the Rude French. Bonjour for now!

Editor’s note: The fact that we have to address the “Ugly American, Rude French” issue is indication enough. If you’re planning a whirlwind adventure like Features Writer Lindy Tolbert, definitely take her tip: A smile and a phrase book will get you a long way. If, on the other hand, you’re planning to spend months on end in Europe, DEFINITELY learn more than a handful of phrases. When you’re in a country for a few days, you’ll likely be in more popular areas frequented by foreign visitors, and locals will be more open to interacting with “universal charades.” With a few months’ time to spare, however, you’ll want to explore local haunts where the environment can be a little less friendly to foreigners, whether you try to tackle the language or not. If you can’t go with a guide or friend that speaks the language, you need to absolutely learn the number system so you can at least understand what you’re paying and can prevent swindlers taking advantage of vacationers. Be smart. Be safe. Have fun!

And lastly, people here are not nearly as mean as everyone says they are. Before I came to France, I heard horror stories about how rude the French were. But I didn’t encounter an unpleasant person once in my stay there. A smile goes a long way—don’t let people tell you otherwise. A lot of people speak English, but they want to know you’re trying to learn French at least a little. I learned a few conversational words in French (Bonjour, bonsoir, ça va, parlez-vous anglais, and merci beaucoup, 57

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Share Your Wear LastaShop


Tastevin Magazine What is the inspiration behind

LastaShop? Helga Olafsson As a native Icelander, I am par tial to Icelandic design and Icelandic fashion. I am an experienced traveler and truly appreciate experiencing new countries and cultures. In all of my travels, I have never seen the unique designs, patterns, and styles that are available in Iceland, and I wanted the ability to showcase that. TM Have you always been a fashionable person or did it develop later? HO I was in the music and entertainment business for twenty-five years and was constantly exposed to fashion. So really, I was always interacting very closely with the fashion world. I think

Caroline A. Wong sits down with LastaShop’s CEO Helga Olafsson to chat Reykjavík fashion and bringing Iceland to America.

on some level I always knew I would move into working with fashion and clothes exclusively. TM Moving into fashion, how did you want to make LastaShop different from other e-retailers out there? HO I had so much feedback from friends all over the world who wanted to have easy access to Icelandic fashion. Every design on the site is [exclusive] to the designers on the shop. We wanted everyone to know that when they shop Lasta, they are getting a true piece of unique Icelandic design with exclusivity you won’t find anywhere else. TM What is so different about the Reykjavík fashion scene? HO I think more than anything it is the density 61

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of talent. Iceland has such a high percentage of creative people. Even people who have corporate day jobs feel the need to have creative outlets. It is just such an inspirational place. Iceland also has a unique positioning between New York and Europe, which gives a luxury influence to the design and fashion. I think that when it really comes down to it, Iceland is geographically unique, and because of this, people are inspired to create cutting edge and amazing designs. TM Is it hard selecting designers from such a large pool of creative people? HO We select designers based on talent and how true that design is to the uniqueness and quality of Icelandic fashion. We research the materials and textiles that are used in the designs and verify that they are of the highest quality possible. All of the collections we offer possess a combination of easy-to-wear fashions and statement pieces, so every woman can find a piece within a particular brand that’s right for her. It’s this combination that makes LastaShop special, even among Icelandic fashion shops, and what makes a particular Icelandic designer right for our customer. TM How do you think European fashion differs from American fashion? HO I think there is a huge difference in many ways. In general, I think Europe is a bit edgier than American fashion—in Europe we love hard lines, and striking silhouettes, and also tend to gravitate towards a darker or more muted color palette. Of course, there are notable exceptions. In contrast, American fashion tends to be brighter and more colorful, with a greater emphasis on feminine details. TM What is a must-have piece every woman should have, no matter whether she lives in Iceland or America? HO I think that a comfortable jumpsuit is a musthave piece for every woman’s wardrobe. The beauty of jumpsuits is in their versatility. You can dress up a jumpsuit for a night on the town with the right accessories, and you can take that same jumpsuit and dress it down for a relaxed look. There is so much versatility in one piece, and that is what makes it a must. Plus, there are

jumpsuits for every body type. We have two fantastic jumpsuits on LastaShop that would make fantastic pieces in any woman’s closet: Kali Diva Jumpsuit and the Ziska Hanna Jumpsuit. TM Are those your favorite pieces available through LastaShop? HO I would have to say that my favorite piece is the Ziska Runa top. I love it because of its versatility but also because it is an exclusive piece from designer Harpa Einarsdottir.  I can wear it to literally any occasion—casual or formal. I absolutely love it! TM So what’s next for LastaShop? Are there plans for expansion? HO Yes. We have so many exciting things coming up. We are moving into pop-up stores and are


currently adding some great new designers to the site. We will also be looking to expand our collections to include designs from other European countries as well. We are so excited about exposing the world to Icelandic fashion and design and introducing such incredible design talent to anyone who is interested in quality, chic, and cutting edge fashion. Shop Icelandic fashion at

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A Rose By Any Other Name

By Breana Powell

Photos by Alexander Herman Makeup by Scheana Marie Styling by Caroline A. Wong


This page: Jaclyn Smith (worn through- 2013 68 Sweater, Tastevin Magazine November out). Previous spread: Sweater, Banana Republic.


e$ha is known for her infectious songs, wild ways, and love for glitter. And now jewelry designing can be added to the list! “Ke$ha Rose,” the superstar’s collaborative line with jewelry designer Charles Albert, delivers dynamite, stand-out pieces that stay true to the Ke$ha spirit. Nowadays, it seems as if celebs gravitate more toward perfume than jewelry lines. So why did Ke$ha decide to branch off into the latter? “I always want to be true to my own style, and jewelry is something I obviously wear ALL the time. I have so much of it and so many different ideas for how I want it to look, so designing it was a natural next move for me,” she says. Designer Charles Albert adds, “[Jewelry] is an essential part of fashion. It makes people feel good when [they] wear something that is cool and unusual.” In the course of two days, Charles Albert and Ke$ha had churned out several designs for the collection. Besides a commendable work ethic, the two clearly have creative energies must have been in sync. “We’re not really known for doing small and dainty pieces that you can’t see,” says Albert. Ke$ha, appreciative of the designer’s bold pieces, confesses, “I have been wearing Charles Albert for a few years now, and I’m obsessed with their jewelry. It’s so fun and massive and makes such a wild statement. I didn’t know Charles himself until we started working together, but once we did, I realized how amazing this partnership would be because of how similar our vision and aesthetic are.” And while it can be easy for stars to slap their name onto a product or brand without much contribution, Ke$ha was very involved in the design process. Albert states, “She really was very hands-on of picking through and discussing the kinds of things she wanted to see in the line.” Ke$ha, illustrating this enthusiasm, says, “Going to their office was like a crazy playground for me—so many fun stones and colors and weird objects. We just sat around and played with all of it for a few days and ended up with a sick collection of pieces in the end. I could not be more excited.” Inspiration for the line was drawn from several influences. Albert describes the line as Ke$ha’s “own personal flair and style. [The line tries] to appeal to what her fans expect of her as well.” Ke$ha goes deeper in de-


scribing her source of jewelry inventiveness: “After my tour ended last year, I spent a few months just traveling around the world with a backpack, and that was SO inspiring. I took so many influences from all of those places and all of those experiences, and my album [released last year] is called ‘Warrior’ so of

course there are ‘Warrior’-inspired pieces too!” The styles of other musicians also motivated her. “I am forever inspired by my favorite rock stars and their looks, like Iggy, Alice Cooper, David Bownie, the Stones. Classic rock & roll style.” And Albert shares that the decision to name the line “Ke$ha Rose” was in celebration of the singer’s family name— Rose is the middle name that she shares with her mother, and the first name of her grandmother. In terms of specific design materials, Ke$ha, who loves the way in which Albert uses many natural stones in his designs (she’s a big fan of his obsidian pieces), made sure to include some in the collaboration. “My line contains pieces of moldavite because it’s supposed to open your third eye,” she says. Her favorite stone from the line? “I can’t choose just one! I love turquoise because it’s the quintessential rock & roll accessory, I love the color, and it makes me happy!” But moldavite can’t stay out of the conversation—“[It’s] also a favorite because it enhances your psychic powers,” says the musician. Bikini bottoms, Xhilaration And maybe those psychic powers are telling Ke$ha not to slow down because 70 Tastevin Magazine November 2013

she continues to flex her creative prowess in a ton of other projects. She says, “I love what I do and I love seeing how my fans react when I put new stuff out. It makes me so happy that it’s easy.” Besides working on another jewelry collection with Albert (who, when we last spoke, was just days away from flying out to Nashville to meet with the singer again to discuss their new collection), Ke$ha shares, “I’m working on faux fur, a documentary, and a book—plus even more I can’t talk about yet. I’ll sleep when I’m dead!”


“Going to the Charles Albert office was like a crazy playground for me—so many fun stones and colors and weird objects.”

AVAILABLE NOW! Get it on the iTunes store or at

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In Memory of Jennie Yang Here in an old photo, right, with our editor-in-chief, Jennie was a light and inspiration and her legacy lives on.


Profile for Tastevin Mag

Tastevin Magazine November 2013  

A Fashion and Lifestyle Tasting Menu

Tastevin Magazine November 2013  

A Fashion and Lifestyle Tasting Menu