Wynter Entertaining: How To Create The Ultimate Cheese Board

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Charcuterie and cheese platter built on a large mirror! Fab idea!:

Whether you’re hosting or simply attending I bet nearly every one of us will face some sort of party or potluck during the holidays, and I’m here to solve your what the HECK do I bring to this thing? dilemma.

Because I can’t be the only person who starts sweating at the thought of what to serve guests as an appetizer for a party, can I? Even with the hundreds of recipes I have here on IGE and dozens of dishes I’ve made in the past, inevitably my mind will go blank and I’ll start a new search every time I’m tasked with making or bringing a dish to share. Suddenly none of my ideas are good enough, they won’t jive with the particular crowd, I can’t remember what I made the last time that people liked, etc. It’s a whole ordeal.

That said, want to know what IS good enough, what jives with ALL crowds, and what EVERYONE will like? A Cheese Platter for Entertaining! 

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Whenever my girlfriends and I get together we always make a cheese platter to eat while we chat and catch up. Different types of cheese accented with fruits, meats, and other goodies are perfect for nibbling on without interrupting conversation, sparking conversation, and hello, they all pair well with wine. I’m just saying.

That said, these are the same reasons why cheese platters work great for parties! Mix and mingle with guests while snagging a snack as you pass by the cheese platter. Talk about which bites you like best, and be the hostess with the mostess while you refill everyone’s wine glasses in between tastes.

Best of all, cheese platters are a cinch to make. Forget the cook books, forget the oven – I bought all the supplies for this cheese platter at the regular grocery store (no specialty cheese shop required!) and assembled it using my no-fail, 3x3x3 cheese platter formula in about 10 minutes. Moreover, cheese platters are FUN to assemble. I’m not very creative when it comes to design, but playing with food – especially when it’s simple, fresh, and colorful – is a blast in my opinion.

I keep telling Ben I need a hobby and I think that sentence just proved it!

Anyway, I’m sharing eight of my best tips and tricks for assembling your own cheese platter for a holiday party, girlfriend get together, office potluck – whatevah. Follow these tips for how to make a cheese platter for entertaining, and reap the cheesy rewards!

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

1. How much and what to buy

To figure out how much cheese you’ll need to buy, plan on 3-4oz of cheese per person. No matter how many people you’ll be serving, include at least three different types of cheese on the platter. I like to include a soft cheese, like brie or camembert, a semi-hard cheese like an aged cheddar, fontina, or smoked gouda, and a hard cheese like parmigiano reggiano (make sure you’re getting real parmigiano reggiano – it should have the name stamped on the rind.) Blue cheese is popular to include on a cheese platter but I find people either love it or hate it, and unless it’s a big party, or you know your guests love blue cheese, I personally wouldn’t spend the extra money.

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

Honestly, don’t get hung up on getting one cheese from each category – you simply want a variety of textures and flavors of cheese for your guests to choose from. Providing a few lighter options like wedges of The Laughing Cow Cheese to savor is always appreciated, too. Get a couple you know you like, then maybe one you want to try. It’ll be fabulous!

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

2. Follow the formula

For a well-rounded cheese platter, follow my 3x3x3 cheese platter formula: include at least three types of cheese on the platter, three savory extras, and three sweet extras – plus crackers, of course (I used Breton gluten-free crackers.) Here are some of my favorites:

Savory extras: marinated olives, raw nuts, smoked nuts, prosciutto, salami, bread sticks, artichoke hearts. Check the olive bar and bulk bins for good deals on olives and nuts.

Sweet extras: fruit (any kind but especially grapes, berries, apricots, and fresh figs,) dried fruit, jam (my favorite is fig jam,) honey.

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

3. Seek help

New to the cheese world, or know what flavors you like but aren’t sure which cheese fits the bill? ASK FOR HELP. The people at the cheese counter at my grocery store love helping me pick out new cheeses. They’re the experts and can describe the flavor and texture profiles better than anyone. Furthermore, they can cut wedges of cheese from the big wheels in whatever size you want so you don’t buy too much for the crowd you’ll be serving.

Regular grocery stores have come a long way in their cheese offerings, and nowadays rival any specialty grocery store (at least around here.) A specialty cheese shop is a real treat to visit and shop from, but if your budget is important, check out your regular grocery store first.

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

4. Let the cheese rest

Let the cheeses rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes before serving as it tastes totally different at room temperature vs cold. Also think about letting guests slice their own semi-hard cheese vs pre-slicing it, as cheese slices can dry out around the edges if left to sit for too long. Hard cheeses like parmesan are ok to crumble a bit to show guests how to enjoy it.

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

5. Raid your kitchen

Keep costs down by using what you’ve already got at home on your cheese platter. Raid your fridge and pantry for olives, crackers, dried fruit, and nuts.

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

6. Label, label, label

Make sure each cheese is labeled to indicate what kind it is, and include a separate knife for each cheese. Blue cheese swirled with brie? No thanks. I found these cute chalkboard labels in the Target $1 aisle!

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

7. Simple is best

Don’t stress about having the perfect-looking cheese platter. I think the most inviting ones have casually-arranged ingredients on a clean, wooden cutting board. You don’t have to put all the fruit in one corner and all the meats in another corner either. Separate items to fill in the cracks, and to make sure everyone can get a little bit of everything no matter where they’re standing around the board.

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

8. Have fun!

Call me crazy but thinking about making and serving a cheese platter literally puts a smile on my face. I just love that there’s something for everyone and it’s so fun to try new and different cheese. Furthermore, for me, it’s less stressful to assemble a fun and colorful cheese platter than cook or bake something for a holiday party when I don’t know about guests’ dietary restrictions, having to time cooking with their arrival, etc.

And, while cheese platters are a hit at holiday parties, they’re also great for dinner every once in awhile. Sometimes Ben and I will assemble whatever cheese and meats we’ve got in the fridge, grab a bottle of red, and call it a day. Either way, you can’t lose!

How To Make a Cheese Platter For Entertaining #holidays #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

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Wynter Society: WHCD 2017

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Katie Couric, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and Chrissy Teigen at the White House Correspondent's Dinner in 2015

The last President to skip the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981—he was recovering from an assassination attempt (just outside the Washington Hilton, where the dinner is held these days). But Reagan, in office only a few months, called in to the dinner and cracked a few jokes. The last President before Reagan who demurred was the one-termer whom Reagan beat, Jimmy Carter. The last before him was 1.5-termer Richard Nixon, who detested the press, had many enemies, real and imagined, and was soon to be impeached and resign. Which brings us to Donald Trump.

The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner (WHCD) and associated parties—and it seems like there were once dozens—have been a top priority for many in Washington for too long to remember. It’s become the glitzy arena in which major journalism brands entertain their biggest advertisers in hopes that they just might get to catch the eye of the President of the United States—or even pick up George Clooney’s dropped dinner napkin.

George W. and Laura Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2008, and the Obamas in 2009.​

THE BUSHES AT THE WHCD IN 2008, AND THE OBAMAS IN 2009.
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Journalists of all stripes, not just the ones in the gilded cage of the White House beat, are along for the ride, as are lobbyists and flaks whose public affairs firms get clients to help pay for it all. Some high-profile correspondents are said to be rustling around for next year’s celebrity guests even as as this year’s tables are being cleared. And down the ranks, media types seeking invitations to parties they might not even attend descends to bloodsport levels. Or at least levels of indignity most would rather forget.

Sounds like a stage tailored for our first reality-TV-forged, Twitter-obsessed president. In fact, some say the WHCD created President Trump when Barack Obama pissed him off by using his speech at the 2011 dinner to mock Trump to his face as a nouveau riche birther.

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Yet Trump’s now the first POTUS in over a generation to decline (via Twitter, of course) the standing invitation to roast and be roasted. Perhaps he will call or write in, and we heard he was sending Vice President Mike Pence—before White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced they would boycott the dinner, “standing in solidarity” with Trump’s avoidance strategy.

Might “solidarity” be designed to make one think more of Lech Walesa than Richard Nixon?

Might language like “solidarity” be designed to make one think more of Lech Walesa than Richard Nixon? Nah, it’s probably just to leave no doubt that the us-against-them implication is no longer subtext—it’s explicit, and has trickled down to the staff. (Solidarity should also end rumors that Trumplettes Ivanka, Eric, Don Jr., and Tiffany might throw a complementary or competing party.)

So this year’s event has become a fancy symbol of Trump’s contempt for, and codependency with, the press, whom he so often dismisses as peddlers of “fake news” and who are, in his words, the “enemy of the American people.” (Though his announcement that he wouldn’t be attending was oddly polite: “Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” he tweeted.)

A picture of Donald Trump appeared on a screen as Barack Obama told a joke during the White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington in 2012.​​

A PICTURE OF DONALD TRUMP APPEARED ON A SCREEN AS BARACK OBAMA TOLD A JOKE DURING THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ DINNER IN WASHINGTON IN 2012. GETTY

Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents Association, announced this most recent development and spoke of his dismay over this new, unhappy turn in the “natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic.” At the dinner this year, he vowed, “we will celebrate the First Amendment… and look forward to acknowledging the important work of our terrific members and awarding scholarships to students who represent the next generation of our profession.”

To many critics of “Nerd Prom,” as the WHCD has been called in recent years, this sober new direction isn’t all bad. Yes, the dinner is yet another battle in the president’s war on the press, but it was also a bloated relic in some need of some serious realignment. “This thing was a ticking time bomb,” one seasoned White House TV correspondent told me. “For years there were so many problems with the dinner—the Kim Kardashian factor, etc. Sooner or later a President was going to bail.” (It should be noted that the New York Times pulled out years ago.)

Yet there’s a hesitancy to let a thus-far troubled, hostile Presidency undermine a tradition that, however self-indulgent, has meaning and relevance. “This is a southern town, governed by protocols and decorum,” said Kelley McCormick, a long-time Washington public affairs consultant. “There is a certain reluctance to give up one of last bastions of bipartisanship, of coming together.”

Yes, the WHCD got ridiculous, but it also brought often-reluctant Presidents before their umpires to salute the First Amendment out loud, with witnesses. Then there’s also the prospect of lost revenue all around. The usual event sponsors, who in previous years would want to curry favor with both the President and the press, are “in a tight spot,” says one WHCD player. “You don’t have the gravitational pull you usually have, with much of Hollywood eschewing Trump and the president himself declining. And if you do show up, who are you showing up for? Is it opposition or support for the White House?”

There were so many problems with the dinner. Sooner or later a President was going to bail.

Speaking of opposition, the weekend has in some ways gotten more interesting this year with the addition of parties planned in support of the press or antipathy to a volatile president. A Samantha Bee event is a prime example. “We were gonna get the hell out of town, but the counter programming has been so interesting that now we’re thinking about staying,” said Rodell Mollineau, a Democratic PR consultant.

Which snaps us back to the all-important subject of the parties. As I mentioned above, it’s not just one night—the WHCD represents an entire social ecosystem. And this year, a couple of the alpha predators have disappeared. First was the early and very public cancellation of the Vanity Fair-Bloomberg party, which in the past was at the French Ambassador’s residence and attended almost exclusively by entertainment stars and top government officials (and very few White House correspondents). Bloomberg was going to go it alone after VF backed out, but then followed suit.

​Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Michael Bloomberg

JARED KUSHNER, IVANKA TRUMP, AND MICHAEL BLOOMBERG ATTEND THE BLOOMBERG & VANITY FAIR COCKTAIL RECEPTION FOLLOWING THE 2015 WHCD.
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Since that news, it’s been harder to find out who’s buying tables at the dinner—and what key parties are happening—than it was to figure out who’d met with the Russian ambassador.

The next big ticket to disappear was the TimePeople party. This event once promised A-listers an impressive swag bag loaded with everything from Nespresso machines to pricey hair products, say. (In recent years, it has downscaled to items like branded notebooks, water bottles and ball-point pens.) Several sources told me that a major factor in this cancellation was that Toyota withdrew its sponsorship. Though not aimed at Trump, Toyota’s move at least symbolically represents sponsors’ confusion as many neither want to appear to support Trump, nor oppose him. Time (full disclosure: I enjoyed five years as national security correspondent at the newsweekly) and Toyota wouldn’t discuss details. A Time spokesperson emailed confirming the cancellation and say, in part: “As usual, Time will be participating in the WHCA dinner. People will be making a donation to the WHCA in lieu of tables at the dinner.”

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Toyota’s Aaron Fowles also politely dodged, emailing: “We are a sponsor of People, not the White House Correspondents’ Party. We are not saying anything about whether or not we would have sponsored the party, gladly or not, as you have tried to imply. Just like any other sponsored program, the company/entity you sponsor presents an arrange of activities that are included in the sponsorship, and sometimes those things change.”

Also not happening is Friday’s “Funny or Die” party, for years an exclusive, star-studded event with no selfies allowed, unless initiated by the stars themselves, which usually meant one star taking selfies with another (Damian Lewis, anyone?). We hear the comedy outfit is ditching the event in favor of a college stunt like holding a potato sack race on the Georgetown University campus.

But all is not lost. Some parties have survived the purge, most if not all invite-only, of course, and some with high security. One confirmed event on Friday will be the party following the Creative Coalition’s WHCD-timed 19th annual Congressional Arts Day. A few Hollywood types may show up to advocate for federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts—timely, since Trump just proposed eliminating the NEA—and arts in schools.

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“We have a whole campaign under the hashtag #RightToBearArts,” says Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk. Bronk said she expects to be adding Fortune 500 executives to the lobbying mix. They will then hold a gala for a mere 100 people at “a fantastic restaurant in DC that cares bout the arts.” Sponsors from $1,000 to $75,000 are still welcome and Bronk says she’d love to have Trump join that list “if he wants to learn about the efficacy of federal funding for the arts.” The event lists some of the few stars who have said they will be around that weekend, such as Tim Daly of Madam Secretary and Tim Simmons and Matt Walsh of Veep.

And Capitol File magazine is again joining forces with British Ambassador and Lady Darroch to host a posh, multi-sponsor Friday party at the Ambassador’s Residence, next to the Vice President’s House on the Naval Observatory grounds. “We look forward to celebrating journalism, the media and the White House Correspondents’ Association’s initiative towards scholarships,” Capitol File publisher Meredith Merrill emails. Voto Latino, too, will host its annual “Our Voices” cocktail reception at the Hay Adams’ rooftop overlooking the White House.

There is a certain reluctance to give up one of last bastions of bipartisanship, of coming together.

Also on Friday, longtime Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell will be hosting the White House Correspondents Jam. It will be sans the New Yorker band, since the magazine is among those pointedly skipping the weekend this year. But expected bands include folks from the Wall Street Journal and CNBC as well as Carl Hulse of the New York Times and his Nativemakers. The party for 350, mostly journalists, at Hamilton Live is headlined by Billy Bob Thornton’s band, the Boxmasters. (Full disclosure No. 2: My band, Suspicious Package, including Pulitzer-winning Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles on drums and vocals, is also in the lineup.)

Moving to Saturday, Serious insiders can breathe a sigh of relief, as sources say the legendary Tammy Haddad Saturday brunch is a go. It will seek to raise awareness of veteran-run Dog Tag Bakery and to somehow honor journalists. For the untutored, Haddad was CNN and later MSNBC’s VP for Washington and produced some legendary talk shows like “Larry King Live” and “Hardball,” and is a credited consultant to HBO’s “Veep.” She’s a macher in D.C., and a devotee of WHCD, maintaining a web site that tracks the event.

Tammy Haddad, Kate Upton, and Graydon Carter

TAMMY HADDAD, KATE UPTON, AND GRAYDON CARTER ATTEND THE BLOOMBERG & VANITY FAIR COCKTAIL RECEPTION FOLLOWING THE 2012 WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ ASSOCIATION DINNER AT THE RESIDENCE OF THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR.
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Partially overlapping Tammy’s brunch is Saturday’s other leading event, Samantha Bee’s black-tie “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” pre-party, being thrown at 1 pm Saturday. At 3, Bee will tape a special before this same audience at Daughters of the Revolution Constitution Hall. The Bee party invite promises “Bottomless Cocktails and Assloads of Fancy Fingerfoods.” Bee gala tables are still available by the way (buyers subject to Bee’s approval) for $10,000. As is so often the case at WHCD, the even tougher ticket will be the after party, hosted by TBS, where the just-taped show will be screened. (Bee’s agency, Hollywood heavyweight UTA, will host a Friday party as well.)

“For those who plan on skipping” the actual WHCD—solidarity, anyone?—Buzzfeed, whose reporting has been a target of some of Trump’s particularly vibrant rages, is staging a “Red White & Banned” party at Brixton, a popular U Street bar. Promising “free booze for a free press,” this invite features grainy lines of type that is mostly blacked out — not unlike the Freedom of Information Act releases that Buzzfeed senior investigative reporter Jason Leopold is known for producing.

​The invitation for Buzzfeed's "Red, White & Banned" party.

COURTESY OF TIMOTHY BURGER

Which brings us to Sunday, the day after, which on WHCD weekend is not a day of rest. For the A-list there is the garden party at Politico owner (and banking and TV-station heir) Robert Allbritton’s Georgetown home. The house, by the way, is a virtual impressionist art museum, with security befitting the Louvre—but unlike the Louvre, no selfies inside the house, please. (Last year, the tented, delicious affair featured a fake tree so convincing it had some of us marveling at the custom tent fitted around a real tree.) It’s painstakingly planned to surprise guests with an international theme every year. Last year was a quite evocative France. Will this year be… Russia? “Nyet,” says a spokesman.

“We’ve always viewed the dinner, and more broadly the weekend, as an opportunity to bring people together, which we enjoy doing,” the Politico honcho’s wife, Elena Allbritton, told me via the spokesman. “Regardless of what happens with the dinner, Robert and I wanted to continue to host the brunch to provide a friendly, relaxed, and agenda-free space that allows guests to escape for a few hours.”

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Then there is CNN’s aptly-named Sunday Hangover Brunch, location TBA, which will be the place to be for most actual journalists. Reuters, the newswire whose White House correspondent just happens to be White House Correspondents Association president Jeff Mason, is also holding its usual brunch, sources say. Mason would not discuss it. (For that matter, amid the touchiness of this year’s event, Mason gave me the Heisman on all of my questions, such as expected attendance, how many of the $3,000 tables have been sold and the closely-watched question of how many news outlets that hadn’t won tables in the past have been allotted them this year.)

But we do know CNN bought the maximum number of allowed tables to the actual dinner, and is hosting journalism students from five D.C.-area journalism schools for the dinner and its brunch. “We feel there is no better way to underscore our commitment to the health and longevity of a free press than to celebrate its future. We stand with the WHCA 100 percent and look forward to being a part of an evening dedicated to funding scholarships and honoring great journalism,” said Matt Dornic, CNN vice president for communications.

Vanna White and  Sylvester Stallone at the WHCD in 1988. ​​

VANNA WHITE AND SYLVESTER STALLONE AT THE WHCD IN 1988.
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One more thing. The A, A-minus, and B+ list can breathe a provisional sigh of relief upon learning that MSNBC appears to be holding its traditional late-night afterparty. But it won’t be at the spectacular location that accommodated it in recent years, the U.S. Institute of Peace. (“I can share that we’re not rented for that time period,” said Lisa Frazier, USIP’s events contact.)

The Institute of Peace, incidentally, will have to rent out its atrium a whole lot more if Trump gets his way. The new President zeroed the $35.3 million agency out in his proposed 2018 budget.

Makeup Mondays: Contouring For Beginners

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#ShareIG BEFORE+AFTER / The last time I posted one of these, a certain Facebook page (with 1.8m likes) posted it with the caption "This is why men have trust issues". If any person thinks that this is how people look before makeup/photoshop/lighting, they got another thing comin'. All your favorite celebrities, MUA's, etc. - they have a bare face too. And it's just as beautiful as their made up face. So whether you rock a full face of makeup, or go natural, remember to respect everyone ...:

No one likes feeling left out. This goes beyond FOMO. When you find out you haven’t been invited to join the club (so to speak), seeds of doubt set in and you question whether you’re missing a certain je ne sais quois. Hrrrmph. Well, that’s how many of us feel about the contouring craze.

It seems that just about every makeup-loving gal has been granted VIP access to the contouring club, where elusive women have mastered the art of chiseling, putting those Renaissance painters to shame. (We still heart you, Caravaggio.) The rest of us, however, end up feeling like pariahs who have yet to pick up a contouring palette. Heck, even locating your cheekbones can be a challenge, let alone refining your chiaroscuro.

We would never want anyone to miss out on a good soiree, so we called in the big guns. We asked celebrity makeup artists Sir John and Ashley Rebecca to dish on the do’s and don’ts of contouring. Their tips below make this seemingly difficult makeup technique within reach.

Woman with contouring makeup on her face

Tip #1: Mix Textures

L’Oréal Paris makeup artist Sir John says two textures are always better than one. This way you avoid that oily, clogging feeling from all-cream formulas as well as the cakey, cracked effect of all-powder products.  “I like to sculpt the face with deeper foundation.This helps keep the look natural and works on everyone,” he explains. “Then, set with a powder. Powder will lock everything into place. L’Oréal Paris makes an amazing Infallible Pro-Contour Palette that has both a contour color and highlight color.

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Tip #2: Try this SPF Hack

Don’t feel like playing Picasso with your makeup? No problem, says Sir John. “When you go to the beach, apply SPF 20 all over your face and apply a thin line of SPF 70 down the nose and in the dip of the cupid’s bow. Then, after being in the sun, I recommend washing your face with a Clarisonic brush to remove the sunscreen. After you cleanse, you will notice a natural contour effect.”

And while, we’re on the topic of SPF, try this other contouring trick on for size. “Most people don’t know SPF is actually one of the best highlighters. Pat a little SPF onto the cheekbones just as you would a normal highlighter,” says Sir John.

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Tip #3: Don’t Overdo It

We’ve all seen the overdone contouring tutorials—ahem, clown makeup—that leave us feeling dazed and confused. Well, according to Sir John, this extreme version of shaping your face is not the future … or his style. With contouring, it’s always best to go for a wearable, day-to-day look. “Use your darker foundation color to start to contour near your earlobe and bring it down,” he explains. “Taper away as you bring the shading forward to the front of your face. As a general rule of thumb, you never want to see the contour lines from head on. You should only see the definition from the side and this helps create a subtle look.”

Tip #4:  One Contour Does Not Fit All

While we’re on the topic of keeping the contouring natural, let’s discuss what natural means for you. Not all faces are the same shape and size, so why would each face follow the same contouring technique? You could end up with shadows in places that need to be highlighted and highlights in placed that need shadowing.

New York-based makeup artist Ashley Rebecca stresses the importance of contouring for your unique face shape. Want some quick and dirty tricks on how and where to contour your face shape?  Rebecca spills her pro tips here:

  • Heart shape: “Contour along the sides of your forehead near the hairline, underneath your cheekbones and in the hollows of your cheek area.”
  • Oblong shape: “Contour right at the top of the forehead area and on each side of the jaw, blending toward the chin.”
  • Oval shape: “Only contour underneath your cheekbones to make them appear more prominent.”
  • Round shape: “Contour on the sides of your forehead, underneath your cheekbones and along the  jawline.”
  • Square shape: “Contour on the sides of your forehead and below the cheekbones pointing down toward the chin.”
  • Diamond shape: “Contour the lower cheekbones, toward the chin area only.”

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Oh, and if we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: The #1 rule of contouring is blend, blend, blend. Now that’s an order!

**

Tell us what you thought of Sir John’s SPF hack in the comments below, and create the look at home with these sunscreens.

GET THE LOOK: CLARISONIC Mia 2 Facial Sonic Cleansing BrushLA ROCHE-POSAY Anthelios 60 SunscreenL’ORÉAL PARIS RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion Moisturizer SPF 20

Source: Pinterest

Aerin Lauder: Beauty At Home

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As everyone knows I am planning a relocation to South Florida and in doing that, I’ve been planning how I will decorate my new home. So, I went searching for inspiration and found a book to read when I came across Beauty At Home by Aerin Lauder. Truthfully, I was really only familiar with Aerin Lauder by name in association with her family’s beauty company Estée Lauder. This book is filled with beautiful pictures of Aerin’s New York and Hampton’s homes along with personal reflections and details from Aerin regarding her design process and childhood. She has a great eye for detail and a talent for adding personal touches in a glamorous yet unstuffy way.  My favourite room by far is the dining room in her New York apartment.  How cool is that zebra print table cloth against the deep purple walls, cool bright white artwork, stunning chandelier and the gold backed chairs – I am totally obsessed with this room! My other favourites include her beautiful dressing room and the living room in her Hampton’s home.  If you are looking for a new coffee table book to add to your collection, I highly recommend this one! Besides, I must support a fellow Aspenite.

 

 

The Timeless Little Black Dress (LBD)

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Audrey Hepburn on the 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' set, 1961.:

Look into your closet. What’s in there that you’d never take out — never throw away in a million years? Chances are it’s a few select items: a vintage handbag your mother gave you, your favorite jeans, and a little black dress. The little black dress (aka LBD) may be an essential part of any woman’s wardrobe now, but it certainly hasn’t always been that way.

Roberto Torretta “And the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes.” Exodus 19:10:

Before the 1920s, wearing the color black was strictly reserved for times of mourning. It was considered distasteful to wear it otherwise, because mourning dresses were symbolic. During the Victorian era, a grieving widow was expected to wear black for at least two years.

Reese Witherspoon | Valentino | LBD | Fashion:

All of this changed at the will of a woman named Coco Chanel. In 1926, Chanel published a simple, short black dress in Vogue. The magazine called this dress “Chanel’s Ford,” because like the Model T, it was accessible to women of all social classes. Vogue said the dress was “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.”

Zuhair Murad. Elegant evening dress:

The LBD remained popular throughout the great depression because of its simple elegance — you didn’t need to spend a lot of money to keep yourself looking put together. They were popular in Hollywood during the Technicolor craze, because a black dress wouldn’t clash with the other colors on the screen as a brighter dress might.

Ralph Lauren:

It maintained its popularity during World War II, due to the rationing of textiles. It also became a sort of uniform for the droves of women heading to the workplace.

hot!:

During the postwar conservative era of the 1950s and early 60s, the little black dress took a bit of a social hit. Though still worn, it was seen as a little dangerous — that the woman wearing it wasn’t quite so pure as the conservative woman in powder blue. THe 1960s gave it a bit of a revival, with the younger mod generation looking for all new lengths — hello mini skirt! — while the older more conservative set looked to classic sheaths, like the one worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Miranda Kerr | Louis Vuitton Paris Fashion Week:

The little black dress has, for the most part, maintained its popularity through the decades since Chanel brought it into our lives in 1926. Though it’s had its stylistic variations — from the mod mini dress of the ’60s and big shoulders and peplum of the ’80s to the grunge in the ’90s, the motivation behind the dress has remained largely the same. A little black dress makes a woman feel beautiful and glamorous. It’s a long-lasting, versatile and affordable to a large market of women, and is certainly here to stay.

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Wynter How To: Style Yourself Like Carolyn Bessette Kennedy

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John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette leaving their New York City apartment in 1996.

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Dress: Atea Oceanie, plandevillenyc.com Coat:  J. Crew, jcrew.com Shoes: Sarah Flint, sarahflint.com

John F Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette arrive at the Whitney Museum Gala in 1997. GETTY

Skirt: The Row, net-a-porter.com Top: H&M, hm.com Clutch: Aerin, aerin.com Shoes: Ann Mashburn, annmashburn.com

John F. Kennedy Jr. and wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy return to their New York City apartment on March 9, 1999 after an evening out. GETTY

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Blouse: Ann Mashburn, annmashburn.com Skirt: Ellery, plandevillenyc.com Clutch: The Row, net-a-porter.com Shoes: Jimmy Choo, nordstrom.com

John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Besette-Kennedy at the Robin Hood Foundation benefit in 1998. GETTY

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Jacket: Escada, escada.com Skirt: Giacobbe, plandevillenyc.com Shoes: Aquazurra, neimanmarcus.com

Maria Shriver and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy at the 1998 Fire & Ice Ball in Los Angeles. GETTY

Gown: Gabriela Hearst, gabrielahearst.com Clutch: Mansur Gavriel, theline.com

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and husband JFK Jr. out for a walk in 1996. GETTY

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Sunglasses: Cutler and Gross, cutlerandgross.comBlazer: Blaze Milano, matchesfashion.com Jeans: Frame Denim, frame-store.com Scarf: MDS Stripes, mdsstripes.com Shoes: Prada, neimanmarcus.com

John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy at the Municipal Art Society Gala in 1998.

Dress: Dolce&Gabbana, modaoperandi.com Clutch: Hunting Season, modaoperandi.com  Shoes: Manolo Blahnik, bergdorfgoodman.com