Supima Design Competition: Unique emerging talent

Photo by: JP Yim/Getty Images for Supima

Photo by: JP Yim/Getty Images for Supima

Photo by: JP Yim/Getty Images for Supima

A few weeks ago, Supima Design Competition invited me to its 12th annual show at Pier59 Studios. Supima, which produces America’s luxury cotton, partnered with 8 leading design schools. Together, they selected the top graduating seniors from each of these schools as finalists for the show. The designer mentor for the competition was Bibhu Mohapatra. The contest expected these finalists to find creative ways to showcase Supima cotton. The show started with a brief interview with Buxton Midyette, VP of Marketing and Promotions at Supima. Then, it took a peak at each finalist’s background and vision. So much incredible talent in this show!

The Supima Design Competition then moved on to a collection by Gina (Zinan) Guo from Drexel University. Her sustainable collection is inspired by the Great Barrier Reef and features sculpture and engineered printing and coral bleaching. My favorite look was a Supima Twill Digital Printed Jumpsuit with Paillette Embroidery.

Next, Andrew Kwon from Parsons School of Design showcased his collection, which is inspired by his father. It’s a mix of elegance, modernity, and mystery. My favorite look was a red Supima jersey gown with floral motifs and train.

The 3rd finalist was Ishwari Vijh from FIT whose collection is inspired by her own previous work over the past few years. She focuses on separation and loss of reality. I loved her red and blue Supima Denim oversized coat with a plaid pattern.

The fourth finalist was Yoohyeon Kim from SCAD who was inspired by the Herero people in Namibia. Her collection unveils intrinsic beauty and uniqueness. My favorite look was a Supima halter coat dress with round sleeves and a blue floral digital print.

The fifth finalist was Isabel Hajian from RISD whose collection was inspired by kids playing dress up. Her collection is whimsical and mysterious. I loved her Supima jersey princess dress that had a cascading skirt and vine-like sleeves.

The sixth finalist was Linh La from Academy of Art University who drew inspiration from the works of artist/fiber sculptor Judith Scott. Her collection features embellishments and artistic fabrications. My favorite look was a floral white Supima twill a-line dress with side pleated panels and yarn embellishment.

The seventh finalist was Illene Martoseno from FIDM whose collection was inspired by taking  fabric beyond its limits. Her collection has a three-dimensional quality to it. I loved her orange and blue ombre Supima jersey twisted top and skirt with boning detail.

The eighth finalist was Shuxian Kong from Kent State University who drew inspiration from her childhood. She features a lot of graphic prints and paneling. My favorite look was a mixed print Supima shirting gown with looping panels and train.

The decision making process looked tough with so many creative designs, but the judges picked a winner. Gina (Zinan) Guo won for her original coral bleaching designs a $150,000 cash prize. What an incredible competion! Congrats to all of the finalists of the Supima Design Competition!


Indie Beauty Expo: The ultimate arena for independent beauty brands

Last month, I checked out the Indie Beauty Expo at Pier 94. Indie Beauty Expo is a 2-day event that showcases independent beauty brands, supporting their growth and success in the marketplace. It also featured panels on timely topics such as indie beauty packaging and social media. Over 240 brands exhibited their products at the event. Some of these brands included Codex Beauty, PYT, Lucky, Blessed Moon, REALHER, Cleo&Coco, IBY Beauty, and SPARITUALIST, and more. I love how the majority of the exhibiting brands use natural, clean ingredients.

There were so many incredible brands to check out, but let me fill you on my highlights from the event. Crystal Clean Skincare has developed a revolutionary wand that reduces wrinkles and instantly brightens your skin. Lucky Chick has the most vibrant lipsticks and liquid eyeshadows to express your personality. Clove Hallow has a wide range of concealers and foundations for every skin tones. Solara is a non-toxic mineral sun care line that rejuvenates your skin. I Woke Up Like This is a Korean skincare line that’s cruelty-free and designed for millennials who want healthy flawless skin. Cleo&Coco makes magnesium and charcoal activated natural deodorants and dusting power & dry shampoos.

Wow, I learned so much about clean beauty at the Indie Beauty Expo. It’s shocking how many synthetic ingredients are in certain beauty products. Now, I’m definitely more mindful of product ingredients. Looking forward to next year’s Indie Beauty Expo!

A hat that expresses itself: Tenth Street Hats

A hat has the power to perfectly complement an outfit and make a unique statement. So hearing about Tenth Street Hats made my day! This company started in 1921 and got its name from its original warehouse on 10th Street and Broadway in Oakland, California.  Tenth Street Hats is all about stylish hats for men and women made from the highest quality materials. Each hat is made by expert milliners that take pride in their craftsmanship to produce one-of-a-kind pieces.  The company offers so many different styles such as boaters, fedoras, and safaris. Whatever your style is, you’re sure to find a hat from their collection that you’ll love.

 I chose the Avignon, a mixed wool felt fedora that’s navy with a maroon trim. It’s my favorite hat because the fit is perfect and it adds a classy touch to whichever outfit I wear. The Avignon is bold yet understated. It feels soft yet sturdy enough to keep its shape forever. Moreover, I feel like this hat has been custom made for me- that’s how perfect it is! I always get complimented when I wear it and people are so curious to know where it’s from. There you have it – Tenth Street Hats makes amazing pieces that will always leave lasting impressions!

Ice Cream Floats for the win: Eggloo x Brooklyn Crafted

Photo by: Eggloo Ice Cream

If you love ice cream floats and aren’t ready to give up your summer, stop by Eggloo Ice Cream Shop in Chinatown! Why? Because Eggloo has partnered up with Brooklyn-based craft beverage brand, Brooklyn Crafted to deliver a refreshing, Insta-worthy float. The float has 3 scoops of Eggloo ice cream covered in Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Another cool thing about the floats is that you can choose from Berry Summer, Strawberry Feels, and OG Vanilla. The float just launched yesterday coinciding with National Float Day. No matter which flavor you choose, you’re bound to have a delicious treat!

 I tried the OG Vanilla float yesterday and I loved it! First of all, the combination of the spicy ginger beer flavor with the vanilla ice cream flavor is perfectly refreshing. Secondly, I like how the float comes with a can of Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beer Extra Spicy. It definitely has a spicy, welcoming kick. In addition, the whipped cream and yellow sprinkles are a nice touch.  In other words, it’s really a delectable sweet creation!

You can get these limited-time ice cream floats through August 31st, and you’ll have a chance to get $1 off from August 19th-31st. All you have to do is present Eggloo’s Instagram post that’s going live on August 19th. Therefore, you should totally try one of the floats. What a tasty, exciting collaboration!

Hamptons in the summer: A spotlight on stand out events

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the Hamptons and attended some wonderful events. The first event was a Wimbeldon party hosted by Hedge New York, a women’s and men’s apparel brand for tennis and golf. The collections were beautiful featuring pocket detailing and the softest silk. Think classic fit polos and feminine, functional skirts and dresses. Hedge also collaborated with SOLDOUT NYC! on a few vintage-style, sporty t-shirts. I met Hedge’s co-founders Antonia DiPaulo and Megan Ouderkirk at the event along with their children. They were all wearing Hedge apparel perfectly. These women have such a creative and inspirational vision!

Next, I attended Amanda Selwyn Theatre’s Green Afternoon VII in East Hampton. Amanda Selwyn Theatre, founded in 2000, creates original and dynamic theatre. The annual celebration benefits the growth of Amanda Selwyn Theatre. It featured impressive interactive performances in an outdoor garden and unique art installations. It also showcased an excerpt of the dance company’s recent world premiere Crossroads. The dancers were incredible and you could really see their passion for the art. Amanda has a creative and inspiring vision for her company and I loved how the dancers combined athleticism, grace, and emotion in their performances. What an innovative idea!

 The last event I attended in the Hamptons that weekend was SOFO’s 30th Anniversary Benefit. South Fork Natural History Museum (SOFO) is an acclaimed museum with nature exhibits and over 270 educational programs. These programs focus on nature conservation, sustainable energy, wellness, marine science, and more. The benefit was chaired by Eric Goode, Liev Schrieber, and Susan & David Rockefeller. It honored Dr. Demian Chapman, Trammel S. Crow, and Greg Manocherian. The benefit also featured a cocktail reception, a buffet, live auction, and music by In The Groove Band. Guests could also take Rolls-Royce Motor Car test drives during the event. Such a thrilling celebration for a worthy, sustainable cause!


A dinner event to remember: Diner en Blanc 2019

Photo by: Konrad Brattke Photography

By: Konrad Brattke Photography

Jonathan Cilia Faro

Kenita Miller, Sydney James Harcourt, and Desi Oakley
Photo by: Konrad Brattke Photography

Photo by: Eric Vitale

By: Eric Vitale

Photo by: Eric Vitale

Photo by: Eric Vitale

By: Jane Kratochvil

Photo by: Jane Kratochvil

A dinner event always excites me! Last Wednesday, Diner en Blanc invited me to its 9th annual event in New York at Nelson Rockefeller Park. Over 5500 guests attended this dinner event dressed in stylish white outfits and sporting creative white table displays. The event’s sponsors included: Citi Entertainment, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Sofitel, President Cheese, and Taittinger Champagne. The evening featured several performances both from opera and Broadway stars. Jonathan Cilia Faro sang a few operatic tunes; Sydney James Harcourt sang “Wait for It” from Hamilton; Kenita Miller sang “Defying Gravity” from Wicked; and Desi Oakley sang “She Used To Be Mine” from Waitress. The Broadway stars came together for a grand finale sing-along of “New York, New York.” Everyone was dancing and singing joyfully. Sadly, the weather forced the event to end earlier, but the entertainment and memories were incredible.

I had the opportunity to chat with one of this year’s organizers for Diner en  Blanc, Christine Tripoli. We discussed what goes into planning the dinner event, what her favorite aspect of the dinner event is, what it unique to this year’s location, and more:

Lesley Reider: This is the 3rd Diner en Blanc that you’ve worked on. How are you continuing to both maintain and build the relationship?

Christine Tripoli: We’re always trying to do the best job we can do in New York City which is a challenging location for any event producer. We work really hard to make sure that all the details are taken care of and that we retain the elegance and goals of the event and that we add special touches wherever we can.

LR: Who else is working with you as co-organizers?

CT: We’re the same group that did it in 2016 and 2018. Peter Coleman and myself, based in New York, and Lynda and Kaitlin Davis are the other co-hosts, based out of DC. We work really well together.

LR: Were their challenges in securing this year’s venue? How far in advance did you and the team work out the logistics?

CT: As soon as the event is over, we start thinking about the following year. We’re lucky to be working with a wonderful host. We try to nail down the venue details at least 6 months out, and we do production 3-4 months out to make sure everything runs smoothly the day of.

LR: Will there be a chef on site as there has been in previous years?

CT: We do have a curated meal through our culinary partner, Great Performances, who has worked on this event for 6 years. They’ve done a beautiful menu for us. We’re really proud of it. We’re really happy with what the chefs came up with. They know what people want. The food is fresh and plentiful, and can be served conveniently at the tables.

LR: What kinds of interactive entertainment can be expected this year?

CT: We always have interactive roaming artists that make great photo opps. We have several photo booths with our partners Sofitel and Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. We have a fantastic stage show this year. We’re doing a tribute to Broadway. Some amazing names are performing big Broadway numbers. We have an incredible operatic tenor who will be coming on board, Jonathan Cilia Faro. We have some really great entertainment this year, including one of the top dinner bands, the Marc Humble Quartet. Our DJ is fabulous, and so I think from the moment people get there until the moment they leave, they’re going to be delighted.

LR: What’s your favorite aspect of the event?

CT: My favorite aspect hands-down is the fact that people from all walks of life, from all boroughs, and all adult ages come to this event. It’s a microcosm of New York City. Each person takes time, effort, and care to pick beautiful outfits and to set their tables beautifully. Every person that comes to the event really cares about the event. In the event world, it’s really unique that the guests play such a large part in the overall feeling and excitement for the event. It’s a beautiful diversity of New York City. Every year it’s a beautiful range of people coming together for one night to celebrate something joyfully without politics or issues. We’re here together to celebrate New York and a beautiful night.

LR: What do you feel will stand out this year from previous years?

CT: There’s something that we haven’t planned for that’s unique to the location that is really stunningly beautiful when it happens. What we’re doing in terms of the site itself is beautiful, and we feel that it’ll push us over the top in terms of ambience and feeling. (A New York City Fireboat generated incredible water sprays in the Hudson River!)

Once again, Diner en Blanc outdid itself and delivered an amazing evening filled with bonding, dancing, singing, eating, and all around celebrating. The location was wonderful despite the weather and the night was truly unforgettable. Thank you Diner en Blanc for including me and continuing this beautiful tradition!


FounderMade Discovery East Show: Inspiring consumer brands


Last month, FounderMade Discovery East Show took place at Spring Studios. FounderMade is a platform and conference series that’s focused on inspiring and promoting innovative entrepreneurs. The show included panel discussions, keynotes and fireside chats with the most recognized names in consumer brands. The conference centers on the beauty, wellness, and food spaces. It also featured a lounge with over 100 brands: Tohi, Nuut, Sovangy, Squeak, PLNT Blend, Dioxyme, Eboost, The Laundress, and Joolies California Superfruit. I also saw Aquis Prime, Know Foods, Halo Sport, Green Roads, and Higher Mind.  Rawmantic, Simple Kneads, Lemon Perfect, Gerig Beauty, Helmm, Intoxicating Beauty, Kusshi, Cle Cosmetics, Codex Beauty, Scentuals, Plus CBDOil, Scentered, Energy Bits, Defunkify, Rosebud, Kin, and so many other brands were also there.

Through the product showcase and panels, I learned about some growing trends. CBD continues to play a role in the wellness arena with brands such as Plus CBDOil, Higher Wellness, and Dixie Brands. Dates are also on the rise as they’re high in antioxidants and fibers; Joolies has whole and pitted dates and a date syrup. Super elixirs can deliver incredible results such as focus, elevated mood, and energy; Halo Sport, Lemon Perfect, Tohi, and Kin are some of the beverages offering these benefits. I enjoyed networking with all of these brands. The innovative thinking behind their products is impressive. Looking forward to next year’s FounderMade Discovery East Show!



2019 Summer Fancy Food Show: A specialty gourmet extravagana

Late last month, I attended the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show, which took place at the Javits Center.  Thousands of exhibitors from over 50 countries shared their unique products. This year, Germany was the show’s partner country. I talked to brand teams from Cheddies, Gus Soda, Regatta, Gerrit’s Bakery, La Vucciria, TruFru, and Pretzel Pete. I also learned about The Republic of Tea, John Kelly Chocolates, Beanfields, flow, Maltana, Töst, Petal, and Covered Bridge. It was wonderful seeing products from Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Turkey, France, Greece, Italy, USA, and so many other countries. The show featured 3 days of educational seminars, sampling tables, new product exhibits, and the sofi awards.

I loved seeing and discovering new brands at the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show. I also enjoyed interacting with brands that I’ve seen in previous years. It’s always tough to see everything, but I definitely enjoyed the flavorful experience. I got to try so many products that I had never had before that ranged from unique potato chips and high protein cheese crackers to botanical sparkling water. All of the brand teams were super informative, attentive, and friendly. Here’s to another successful Summer Fancy Food Show with a variety of innovative and memorable brands!

Teeth Whitening in the spotlight: GLO Lit

With Stacey Levine and Dr. Jonathan B. Levine

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the launch event for GLO Lit, an innovative at-home teeth whitening system from GLO Science. It uses proprietary Guided Light Optics with LED light and warming heat to effectively and painlessly deliver fast results, without sensitivity. The Bluetooth-enabled device pairs with the GLO Whitening App for seamless teeth whitening. With the app, you can easily customize and track your 1-week or 2-week treatments. You can also set up daily reminders to ensure you continue the treatments. GLO Lit will make your smile five times whiter in just a week. You only have to apply 3 automatically timed 8-minute whitening applications a day. In addition, the GLO vials are safe and easy to apply with precision brush tip applicators.

At the event, GLO Science co-founders celebrity dentist and oral health expert Dr. Jonathan B. Levine and prestige beauty expert Stacey Levine shared their insights on the system. They make an incredible couple that’s all about family, great oral health, confidence, and getting to make a positive global impact. They’re both intelligent entrepreneurs who know that giving back is life-changing. 10% of GLO Lit profits are donated to provide free dental care to at-need communities around the world through the GLO Good Foundation. So your smile can make a huge difference on a global level for others!

I myself started using GLO Lit and love it. I am definitely impressed with the results I’m seeing. It’s so easy to use! I love getting the daily reminders that motivate me to continue with the treatments. Since I have a busy lifestyle, I like how I can do other things while I have the applications in. I’ve been using it for close to a week. As a result, I already notice that my teeth are a few shades whiter. In addition, I haven’t experienced any sensitivity, as the system promises. In other words, I can honestly say that GLO Lit is improving my smile.

The GLO Lit Teeth Whitening Device retails at $149 and is available online at and Here’s to stress-free whitening and charitable endeavors!

Vodka like you’ve never tasted: Upstate Vodka

All photos courtesy of Sauvage

Vodka is usually made from grains or potatoes, but I recently discovered an interesting new one that has a completely different base. It’s called Upstate Vodka, produced by Sauvage, and it’s created with apples from Upstate New York. The flavor is quite unique with a bit of a sweet taste at the beginning and then a smooth finish. It’s not an apple-flavored vodka, but you get a hint of apples when you first sip it. Afterwards, the overall flavor gets more complex. Upstate Vodka is made in small batches and has high quality standards. It is 45% Alch/Vol and it’s 90 Proof. The bottle is available in 750ml, 375ml and 50ml sizes.

While you can enjoy the spirit on its own, I see it pairing well with club soda, cranberry juice, cider, or anything sweet. The all-natural vodka is definitely in an innovative category. It has been recognized with some prestigious awards such as the Gold Medal 2019 SIP Awards and the Gold Medal 2019 Denver International Spirits Competition. You can find Upstate Vodka in a variety of places in the New York metropolitan area: It’s also available online at Cabrini Wines & Spirits. The product is quite refreshing, and full of zest. Cheers to new discoveries!