Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Red Carpet 2011: cupcakeMAG's Best Dressed!

{Reese Witherspoon}
You can't go wrong with Giorgio Armani Privé mixed with $1 million worth of Neil Lane diamond and emerald jewelry. Her voluminous retro updo made her look like a grown-up Barbie. We LOVE it! 

{Sandra Bullock}
The scarlet Vera Wang gown was simply stunning paired with a crimson VBH clutch and Harry Winston earrings & bangle. 

{Mila Kunis}
The lavendar lace Elie Saab Haute Couture gown with Neil Lane diamonds topped our faves. 

{Jennifer Lawrence}
The newbie to the Oscars shows us that sometimes less is more. She swooned us with her bright red Calvin Klen Collection, elegant Chopard earrings and bangle, Juditch Leiber clutch and Jimmy Choo sandals. Perfection! 

{Michelle Williams}
In true vintage style, the white Chanel Haute Couture gown paired with Harry Winston diamon earrings and ring turned heads on the red carpet. 

{Anne Hathaway}
We loved this vintage Valentino Haure Couture taffeta gown with a beautiful floral applique train. She tops it off perfectly with a scarlet red lip and Tiffany & Co. 

{Cate Blanchett}
Perfectly structured! In an eleabroately beaded Givenchy Haute Couture gown with yellow beaded accents and Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry -- she looks her best. We also love her fresh chic bob! 

Tell us: Who was on your best dressed list?

Friday, February 25, 2011

cupcakeMAG LOVES Gussy plus a GIVEAWAY!

When we first connected with Maggie the super talented brain behind the beauties of Gussy Sews - it was love at first sight! She whipped us up a custom laptop bag (also used as a diaper bag, tote, and well, for anything we can!) ruffle and all along with the sweetest little clutch that we can't stop wearing. We were immediately smitten with Gussy Sews. It was pure handmade perfection and we couldn't stop swoonin' over our little collection. We are beyond thrilled to share Gussy Sews with you and know you will LOVE them just as much as we do! Read our chat with the lovely owner and designer behind the pretty bags and accessories. And guess what? Thanks to Gussy you are getting a chance to win $100 to start you own Gussy collection! Oh and did we mention - we LOVE her blog. It is seriously a daily read so bookmark it now!

{1} Who is Gussy?

Gussy is a girl that has learned SO MUCH in so little. Two years ago, in January of 2009, my husband and I both lost our jobs. We were living in Michigan at the time and were married just 7 months prior. In a {wonderful} whirlwind we moved 12 hours from our home state to Minneapolis, MN, and somewhere in between moving to Minnesota I quit the job we moved here for to sew full time on Gussy Sews. But there's more to me than just sewing and sharing my journey on my blog. I love to have a good chat. I love to hug, I love to be around people. I love to cuddle our pup, Bauer, and I love to drink Coca-Cola!

{The girl behind the ruffles, Maggie Whitley otherwise known as Gussy & her work space}

{2} What inspired Gussy Sews?

In November of 2008, Zack and I were newly married and also living in a new city in Michigan. Zack was working a job that often meant late-nights or weekend work (TV commercial production). I couldn't stand the thought of watching TV when he was still working, and I had recently found Etsy... so I decided I was going to each myself how to sew. I went to the public library and (honestly) checked out 30 books. I soon became BFFs with YouTube (hello! it is hard to learn how to thread a sewing machine when you're looking at a black & white photo). From there I was sewing things that I would want to use (totes, zipped pouches) and over the last 2 years I'm seeing that sharing & encouraging are two things I love. These two things are what really inspire me :)

{Gussy's Favorite Item! The Yellow Woodgrain Tote Bag, $78}

{3} What is your favorite item currently in your shop?

This is easy! The yellow woodgrain tote bag. LOVE IT!

{we LOVE headbands especially the pink/red floral headband, $14.50}
{4} How do you choose your fabric?

I'm really drawn to colorful, fun, sassy prints :)

{ruffles & houndstooth, it doesn't get much better then that!, Medium Zipped Pouch, $18.50}

{5} When did your love affair with sewing begin?

I threaded my very first sewing machine in November of 2008. The affair officially started in March of 2009 when I branded my products as Gussy.

{6} What is up next for you?

Actually, I'd like someone to fill ME in. I never, ever thought I'd live out-of-state from family, let alone be the owner/designer of a business. For years I was a gal of security -- I always wanted to know what was going on, but so much changed once we lost our jobs. I realized fast that I'm really not in control, God is. And honestly, it's all been amazing. All the tough stuff has made me so much more wise, and all the uncertainty was never uncertain to Him. I'm very thankful.


1. I like a lot of creamer in my coffee (hello, hazelnut)

2. I will never skydive.

3. I have a tattoo on my right wrist -- it's a Japanese symbol for joy. I got it when I was 18 ;)

4. I don't like shell fish.

5. I don't like to get up early.

6. I love to be cozy on the couch with tea and good friends/family.

7. When I was younger, I loved to read so much I'd often read 3-4 books at a time ;)

8. My mom gave me the nickname Gussy after Gussy the Goose from Charlotte's Web. (Something about the goose having a lot to say, and so do I...?)

9. I have a dual-major in Journalism (editorial) & Art (photography) and am so thankful to use this DAILY.

10. I have a fear of not being prepared, of forgetting things. I think this is why I over think so much :)

{All Things Gussy}

Well thanks to Gussy you can win $100 to get your shop on with Gussy Sews! Read on the enter now!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Exclusive Interview with The FABULOUS gals behind Layla Grayce plus $150 Giveaway!

Wendy Estes and Tiffany Harris have one thing in common - the passion for Layla Grayce. Wendy, a mother to 4 children, including twin 3 year old girls understands how to multi-task and what busy working moms need. She knows all about selecting the best items for babies and children. Wendy is seriously super-mom balancing her career and family life. Wendy is one of the sweetest gals we know - just so genuine. 

{Wendy & her twin girls
Tiffany is their resident design buff and wow, she is just great at what she does. With degrees and education as an interior designer, certified color consultant and a current American Society of Interior Designers member -- she is pure perfection. Just recently Tiffany reconnected with her high school sweetie and married. Tiffany is constantly assisting customers with decorating suggestions and purchasing and has an amazing eye for great design. Just wait until you see her house! 

Read on to get all the details on their amazing company they have built together and how you can win a $150 gift certificate to one of our favorite shops, Layla Grayce. 

{a beautiful collection from Aidan Gray}
{What inspired you to start this amazing shop, Layla Grayce? Did you ever imagine it to grow so quickly? What inspires your picks on the site?}

Tiffany: Layla Grayce was built on passion and adoration to create beautiful surroundings.  We had access to some incredible furniture lines and realized there was a hole in the market because you couldn’t find them anywhere. Women have such busy lives and so little time to search out what they are looking for; we knew we could create an aesthetically pleasing virtual store where you could shop for yourself, mother, child or friend all with the click of a button.   

No, we never imagined we would be as big as we are today, nor did we ever set out to be.  We often laugh at our humble beginnings, but looking back, growth was an inevitable result due to the drive and delight we both have to continue to push ourselves and always strive to improve Layla Grayce. 

Inspiration is found everywhere we go and we are constantly adding new products by pushing the limits to be current and still traditionally classic.  The constant search for new products is infectious when we travel together.  Thankfully, our aesthetic is almost identical even living across the country from one another.  

{the perfect pink rainbow pettitskirt dress}
{Wendy, you are a mom which automatically means you are a multi-tasker, especially with a growing biz! What advice or tips do you have for other moms out there doing the same?}

This is true. I’ve grown in to a multi-tasker, not a multi-slacker although in my next life I pick multi-slacker. Advice I give moms in business is toss the idea of balance out the window. Business needs you more one day, kids really need you the next so in my opinion balance is leaning left, then leaning right to compensate. If you’ve chosen to run a business and have children, I know it’s easier said than done but try to let go of “guilty mom,” you’ll be happier and so will those around you.

Second, try to be as efficient as possible. That starts with getting organized. A secret for managing my marketing/ web/ pr team remotely is Google. I run about 10 calendars that are shared with my team such as a blog, new product additions, social media, newsletter, press & web maintenance schedules. Employees can login to their Google account view changes, make changes and add notes and all changes are viewed real time. We’re also heavy users of Google’s document sharing. If you can be efficient by keeping organized, it should lower stress levels which trickles down to the kids.

{Layla Grayce has endless amazing things - a beautiful shop with beautiful things! This may be hard but do you have any personal favorites?}

Tiffany: Well, thank you!  Layla Grayce has over 7,500 products and some are available in multiple colors, so there is a lot to choose from.  It is so difficult to narrow down the favorites because everything was a “favorite” at one point, or else we wouldn’t have added it to our collection.  Currently, our favorites are: 

Wendy and I both gave cell phone cases to everyone we know this year for Christmas. Stylish, functional and who doesn’t love personalization! 

Fashion is something we used to do years ago and we decided to bring it back this past year to offer something more for our women’s department.  Ella Moss for women and a little boutique line called Decaf Plush for kids are among our favorites. 

- Aden and Anais eco-friendly bamboo swaddling wraps are one of the hottest gifts on the market for new moms.  I don’t have kids, but they are so soft, I actually wear them as a scarf!  

{Looking at the site, you must have quite the sense of style. How would you describe your own personal style?}

Wendy: One of the things I love most about this business is the consistent exposure to beautiful products and design trends yet no trend can replace a high-quality, well-designed classic piece.  Over time, I’ve learned restraint in design and in my home. I favor minimal, yet impactful accessories and symmetry of space. I prefer classics in fashion or my home décor in key, core pieces embellished with modern, colorful accessories.

Tiffany: Both of our homes are the official testing ground for Layla Grayce products.  If it isn’t good enough for us, then it certainly isn’t good enough for our customers.  Presently, I am in the process of finishing an 8 month remodel on my home and I can proudly say it now reflects our Layla Grayce look.  The key furniture pieces are covered in natural linen with sea glass blue accents and crisp white linen bedding.  A few antiques added into the mix and a chandelier made from an old wine barrel hang in our entry to add character.  

{Take a peek inside Tiffany's home. A few little antique shell bottles on an Oly studio antiqued mirrored top coffee table. A dome chair in the entry and a dining chair with wallpaper above. Oly Studio is a new collection recently added to Layla Grayce.  The Serena Drum Chandelier was a must for Tiffany's dining room.}

{Tiffany shares her personal decorating tips with cupcakeMAG}

1) We are big believers in buying what you love and investing in pieces that can grow with your ever changing taste.  It’s easy to inexpensively update classic pieces with the color palettes that express your style of the moment.   

2) A home is meant to be lived in.  Scratches and dents on furniture are proof of the love that surrounds us.  Embrace the imperfect. 

3)  Express yourself.  Take risks. Mix and match new and old pieces.  Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed with the idea of redoing everything all it once and then never begin to create your own beautiful surroundings.   

Tiffany tell us, "I'm currently obsessed with wallpaper. It’s like dressing your walls with your favorite fashion prints.  This one is a shot of a ceiling and a modern fan with acrylic blades so it doesn’t distract from the wallpaper print. Also, a little antique 60’s dress form that I keep in my office usually dressed with pearls and scarves for fun."

Let's get to know these FABulous gals a little more! Wendy & Tiffany tell us a few things you may not know.


1) Avid sports fan. MMA (  &, Dodgers, Lakers and most importantly my 10 year old son’s football team, the 2 yr undefeated metro-Atlanta champions. Go Eagles!

2) Can’t remember a joke. Can’t tell a joke. But, can laugh at them & most importantly admire those who can.

3) A Scrabble scrapper and especially liking the Scrabble app recently loaded on my ipad.

4) I work fast and drive even faster. Look out Atlanta.

5) Recipe collector. I believe good cooking comes down to 2 things, experience combined w/ an insane recipe. I enjoy reading Cook’s Illustrated and several foodie blogs.


1.) Love Ugg boots on a cold morning at the beach.

2.) Current obsession – wallpaper.  I have it in five rooms in my own home and still want more.  We plan to add our favorites to Layla Grayce soon!

3.) Dislike the word “hate”.  I wish it could be deleted from the dictionary. Being late.  Seeing others be disrespectful to our elders.

4.) Pet peeve? Texting or talking loudly on cell phone at a nice restaurant.   

5.) Sports fan of LA Kings ice hockey and Formula 1 Car Racing.

Did you just fall in LOVE all over again? We are sure Layla Grayce just swoons you right in! So what are you waiting for? Enter to win $150 to Layla Grayce! Read on to enter now. 

{All Things Layla Grayce}

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Oh So Pretty Le Papier Studio -- our chat with the brilliant mind behind it, Vana Chupp -- GIVEAWAY too!

{Photograph by Edyta Szyszlo}
It was quite some time ago, we don't really know how but we are so thankful for coming across Le Papier Studio. We were beyond thrilled to get to know the pretty amazing owner and designer, Vana Chupp. We must say, she is quite inspiring. Not only is she running a business, blog, and family well now, you can add author to the list! Silhoutte Art, Papers, Instructions, and Patterns for Making Modern Heirlooms from Chronicle Books is yet another masterpiece by Vana. She simply is just brilliant and we truly adore her so very much. Read on to see how Le Papier Studio begin and how YOU can win a signed copy of her book and $50 gift certificate to her beautiful shop. 

{1} Tell us about Le Papier Studio.

Inspired by the elegant French expression for paper - Le Papier Studio crafts custom silhouette artistry with a modern, inspired twist on the time-honored technique of silhouettes. 

Le Papier Studio has moved well beyond the figure - applying contemporary, creatively skilled silhouette forms to chic items for home and personal intentions including linen pillows, personal stationery, elegant invitations, journals, art prints , jewelry etc. Its specialty lies not only in Le Papier Studio's fresh application of a classic silhouette, but its unique, artful interpretation of shape, shadow, profile, line and figure. Le Papier Studio has made silhouettes entirely relevant, utterly playful and totally creative.
Le Papier Studio is turning out exceptional contemporary heirlooms and providing an imaginative updated way to chronicle a family's life. Often more impactful than a revealing photograph, a silhouette leaves more to the imagination. Le Papier Studio brings silhouettes to live, capturing movement, freezing special moments in time, evoking emotion and presenting a nostalgic depiction to enjoy for years to come.

{Silhoutte Art By Vana Chupp}
{2} Your first book has hit shelves, Silhouette Art, how exciting was writing the book? What was your favorite part about this project?

Writing a book and seeing it in the shelves across the country has  been an amazing experience! Silhouette Art was put together with the amateur crafter in mind. Written in a tutorial way, it is the perfect book kit to give as a gift to your family or that crafty friend of yours looking for something creative to put together. 
The favorite part in writing the book was definitely seeing the very first draft and trying to proof read it for one final time. I couldn't get over how cool the overall format was. Chronicle Books did an amazing job guiding me through all the aspect of putting together Silhouette Art - keeping in mind my style and design sensibility. 

{All-Time Best Seller: Personalized Art Prints}
{Vana's Fave: Laser Cut Silhoutte Cuff}
{3} Do you have a favorite item? What is your best seller?

My newest favorite item is the Laser Cut Silhouette Cuff - it is such a unique product born from our collaboration with the very talented Laurel Denise. Our best seller (all 3 years we've been in business) has been our Personalized Art Prints.

{Vana's super-cute studio that we are just dying over. See more here.}
{4} Where do you pull your inspiration from?

A question I get asked all the time and I always answer the same way - everything around me. My son especially is a huge inspiration. My craft was born this his birth. As I document his milestone's by capturing his personality, emotion, playfulness and essence, I continue to use silhouettes to tell my own life story. It's a love story - continuing to blossom with him as my muse:) 

{we LOVE the Silhoutte Plate}
{5} When you aren't hard at work, what can we find you doing?

When I am not working, you will find me curled up in couch reading a book, or loving up my boys. I also love cooking and I was told I am pretty darn good at it:)

{Silhoutte Family Tree}
{6} What is up next for Le Papier Studio?

2010 was a year of big changes for Le Papier Studio and 2011 is the year of seeing all that was planned come to life. I am very excited and can't wait to share it all with you!

{All Things Le Papier Studio}

elegant silhouette creations

Read on to win a signed copy of Vana's book, Silhoutte Art 
and a $50 Gift Certificate to Le Papier Studio! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who's HAIR do you LOVE?

Do you ever rip a picture out of a magazine when you see an amazing celeb hairstyle? Or save a picture on your computer to bring it to your stylist at your next appointment? I find myself doing this ALL THE TIME for outfits, bags, but a lot of time is hair styles, cut, and colors. Celebs always have phenomenal looking locks and my stylist knows exactly who I want to look like hair-wise when I go to the salon. 

Here are my all time favorites....

{Lauren Conrad} Every ounce of her style is amazing, and her hair always looks impeccable. That long wavy beachy look is my absolute favorite.  

{Jennifer Aniston} Do I say more? She is perfection.  

{Katy Perry}This girl is flawless. And I have been loving her simple classic dark curls lately!  

{Jennifer Love Hewitt} In my opinion, some of the best flowing locks in Hollywood.  

{Tori Spelling} Love her hair long or short, but she really rocks the inverted bob! 

{Carrie Underwood} Just a blonde beauty! 

{Jillian Harris} Love her soft and wavy look. I have brought a picture of her to my stylist before and although my hair is not nearly as thick as her I was hoping she could replicate something!  

There are a bunch of bloggers who just have the best hair ever! {Chloe Conspiracy} always looks fab, {Just Dandy} has her poof down! And {Pretty in Pink Megan} is trying out the ombre look and is totally rockin it!  

Real or fake, stylists or not these ladies know how to rock their hair! They always look very polished, put together, and flat out amazing, even in paparazzi pictures that catch them at their worst.  

Tell us: Who is your hair idol? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sisters & Cupcakes: The Perfect Combo, Chatting with star sisters of TLC's DC Cupcake! Plus win a DOZEN cupcakes!

FABulous sisters, Sophie and Katherine run one of the most successful cupcake bakeries in Washington, DC known as "Georgetown Cupcake." Trading their corporate jobs for a sweeter gig - their passion for baking the best cupcakes around. The line is constantly out the door and around the corner as cupcake lovers stand in line for the perfect cupcake. And yes, we mean perfect! The cupcake menu is drool worthy with flavors like PB Fudge, Lemon Blossom, Mint Cookies & Cream and oh my goodness, we could go on for days. They are by far, the most delicious cupcakes we have ever had and believe us when we say - we have had a lot of cupcakes! But, it isn't just about the cupcakes - these ladies are just as sweet! Read our one on one chat with the best bakers in town! Oh, and don't worry - they ship!

1.) Georgetown is such an amazing place! One of my favorites - the people, the places and of course, the cupcakes! What inspired Georgetown Cupcake?

Our grandmother was a huge influence on us growing up and taught us everything we know about baking. We loved baking with her, and we always dreamed of opening a bakery together some day. Finally, three years ago, we said “Let’s do it” because if we don’t do it now, we never will. So we both quit our jobs and took the plunge and opened Georgetown Cupcake on Valentine’s Day 2008.

2.) Being sisters, do you find it hard to work together?

We actually find it easier because we can be completely honest with each other and get into very heated “sister” fights and neither of us takes it personally. You can’t fight with other co-workers like you can with your sister. We don’t need to worry about hurting each other’s feelings — we tell it like it is! Then, even if we get into an intense argument with each other, ten minutes later, we’ll be grabbing lunch together.

3.) Do you have a favorite cupcake? If so, why?

Katherine: My favorite flavor is a toss up between Peanut Butter Fudge and Salted Caramel. I’m a sucker for salty-sweet!

Sophie: My favorite flavor is Chocolate reminds me of Nutella...which I was obsessed with when I was younger!!

4.) What do we have to look forward to going into Season 2 of DC Cupcakes?

Lots of fun stuff! Our cupcake sculptures get bigger and way more difficult. During the season, we do everything from making a wedding dress out of cupcakes, to making glow-in-the-dark cupcakes, to baking in the Pentagon, to almost getting arrested!! Also, there is a big surprise in the season finale!!

5.) Besides cupcakes - do you have any other favorite recipes or things you love to bake?

We love to bake fresh bread. We both love the smell of freshly baked bread!!

6.) Have you ever thought about writing a book?

We are working on our first book right now – which will be coming out by next November! We are super excited to be able to share all of our childhood memories and our cupcake recipes with our fans!

Katherine – Ten Things About Me

When I fly, I always choose the middle seat. I’m terrified of flying and when I sit in between two people, I feel safe!

I collect Essie nail polishes in every single shade of pink.

My favorite movie is “Bride Wars”. I’ve seen it 12 times!

I’m terrified of going to the dentist. I actually jumped out of the chair once and left in the middle of a procedure!

My favorite flowers are pink peonies.

My favorite band is The Killers. I could listen to their albums all day long and not get sick of them!

I’m named after our grandmother, who taught us how to bake.

I love cleaning! I’m a total neat freak...except for my closet which is a total disaster!

My favorite food is Greek. I’m addicted to Greek olives!

My favorite cereal is Peanut Butter Puffins.

Sophie – Ten Things About Me

I’m left-handed.

I love French Vanilla coffee. I can’t function without it!

I never wear my glasses because I can never find them.

My favorite shampoo is Oribe. I love love love the smell!

I hate trying on clothes when shopping. I always make Katherine try them on for me, then buy a size smaller!

My favorite TV show was Arrested Development.

I’m named after our great-grandmother.

I live across the street from Katherine.

I love almond milk.

I’m paranoid of swimming in open water. I only swim in pools.

Are you ready to win a dozen of the most delish cupcakes you will ever lay your teeth into? Read on to enter to win a dozen FABulous cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake!
Make sure you tune in to the season 2 premiere of DC Cupcakes this Friday, Feb. 25th
on TLC at 10pm. Set your TiVo now!

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