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The First Lady’s go-to makeup guru shares his own beauty must-haves. By Diana Elbasha

Photograph courtesy of Carl Ray.

When it comes to beauty, no one in Washington has a more impressive résumé than Carl Ray. Best known for his official gig as personal makeup artist to Michelle Obama, Ray has worked for the Four Seasons’ luxe George Salon for more than a decade. He’s attracted powerful fans over the years—Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, Paula Abdul, Kerry Washington, and Jordan’s Queen Noor are just a few of his A-list clients—and his work has graced the pages of fashion glossies (Vogue, Allure, Elle) and the runways of bridal and couture shows. So what products does the beauty guru turn to when it comes to his own skin? Read on for five of his must-haves.

1) Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon Lip Balm

“I’m a lip balm addict; I’ve tried them all, and I change brands and formulas often. But this is one of my favorite lip conditioners—I love the feel, the taste, and the scent.” $3 at Ulta.

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Posted at 05:13 PM/ET, 04/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Mark your calendar for April 21 through 27—and book fast. By Diana Elbasha
Treat yourself to a $50 massage during Spa Week—you deserve it. Photograph via Shutterstock.

No one knows stress like Washington—and sometimes, all you really need at the end of a long week or a day full of meetings is a relaxing, secluded hour or two at the spa. Crave the Zen but cringe at the $200-plus price tag? We feel you. Luckily, thanks to Spa Week, you can get the pampering you deserve at a fraction of the cost. The annual event brings together area spas, salons, and wellness centers for seven days of discounted offerings, from hot stone massages to skin-clearing facials to blowouts. The best part? Many of the services are capped at $50. Below is a list of ten luxurious ways you can treat yourself next week—but don’t wait, as appointments fill up at warp speed. You can thank us later.

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Posted at 02:17 PM/ET, 04/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
See-worthy swimsuits in the season’s hottest colors and fits. By Irina Grechko
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.


1. Eres “Puzzle” one-piece, $415 at Sylene (4407 S. Park Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-654-4200)

2. Cat-eye sunglasses in dark tortoise, $175 at Tory Burch (1211 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-1410)

3. Blush Blends Sun-tastic SPF 45 protector, $50 at Blush Med Institute (4915 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-312-6728)

Click through our slideshow to see more.

This article appears in the April 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 09:44 AM/ET, 04/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This way for stylish bloggers, cute puppies, and to-die-for shoes. By Diana Elbasha

The Old Town accessories shop Bishop Boutique is known to go all out when it comes to lookbooks—previous works have featured beautifully elaborate sets and local bloggers in place of models. This season, the store took a new approach to to its catalog by partnering with a handful of nearby businesses—retail and otherwise—to create a joint lookbook that the team has dubbed the Cobblestone Runway.

Named after Old Town’s charming, signature streets, the lookbook brings together a talented mix of local forces: Styled by SpicyCandyDC’s Carlis Sanchez and primped by the Sugar House Day Spa, Rachel of My Fair Vanity, Tammy of A Loyal Love, Wendy of Old Town Home, and Bryarly of Everything That Flickers are the stars of the book, modeling not just Bishop’s latest goods (such as bubblegum-pink pumps and bright baubles) but also those of nearby Zoe Boutique. A partnership with the Dog Park and Operation Paws for Homes brought in some cute companions, and neighboring Jackson 20, Hotel Monoco, and the Morrison House Hotel hosted the photo shoots. Take a peek at some of the book’s best shots below, and head to Bishop’s blog to see the full version.

All photographs by Susannah of Alumbra Photography.

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Posted at 01:16 PM/ET, 04/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The upcoming collection might be the best designer collaboration yet. By Diana Elbasha
Alexander Wang (left), and his spring 2014 runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Photos by Anton Oparin /

For better or worse, designer Alexander Wang is notorious for nailing the art of surprise. His presence at fashion-packed Coachella this weekend was no exception: Attendees received invites to a party he was hosting, without any clear indication of the cause for the celebration—but as soon as the words “Alexander Wang x H&M” were projected onto the walls of the Indio Performing Arts Center, the reason became clear. H&M confirmed the news a day later: The beloved designer is creating a fall collection for the wallet-friendly retailer.

Cue our uncontrollable excitement for what could be among the best of the (arguably overdone) retailer-designer partnerships: Wang, whom H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch calls “one of the most important voices in fashion today,” is poised to bring a coveted edginess to fast fashion that is so often missing at the young-professional-friendly price tag. The label’s high-end aesthetic, channeled through sleek silhouettes and a neutral palette, exhibits the type of stylish minimalism that looks equally at home in the office as on a night out on 14th Street: Think white button-down blouses, knee-length skirts, and structured jackets, all with such trendy upgrades as perforation and asymmetric cuts. Less girly prep; more sophisticated edge.

The collection hits stores November 6—and lucky for us, DC’s three new H&M locations (in Chevy ChaseGeorgetown, and soon downtown) will make shopping the line much easier than collections past. We’ll update with more details about the partnership as they’re revealed.

See also: 
How to Shop a Target Collaboration Like a Pro

Posted at 11:40 AM/ET, 04/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to the week's most stylish events. By Diana Elbasha
This weekend, you can shop Bahar Jewelry (left) at Wink and Rebecca Minkoff handbags at Urban Chic. Photographs via Instagram and Anton Oparin /

Rebecca Minkoff Trunk Show at Urban Chic

The beloved local boutique kicks off the season with a Rebecca Minkoff trunk show, showcasing the girly brand’s signature Mini Mac handbags and other accessories at a 15-percent discount. There’ll also be Champagne, sweet treats, and gifts with purchase. 10 to 7 Thursday through Saturday. 1626 Wisconsin Ave., NW.

Topshop at Nordstrom Launch Party

It’s no question that DC is a fan of the cool British retailer Topshop. Emulating the shop-in-shop concept in Pentagon City, the brand heads to Nordstrom Tysons Corner this weekend, and celebrates launch with an in-store event. Get styled by fashion pros, enter to win a $250 shopping spree, and score a free lip balm with any Topshop purchase. Saturday 10 to 4. 8075 Tysons Corner Center, McLean.

“Speggtacular” at the Pink Palm

In celebration of the upcoming Easter holiday, this preppy retailer is having an egg hunt of its own: All day Saturday, customers can drop by the store’s Old Town location to pick up an Easter egg containing a special coupon for the day. Saturday 10 to 6. 1127 King St., Alexandria.

Dior Makeup Event at Lord & Taylor

Drop by a makeup counter at Lord & Taylor Tysons to make an appointment for its beauty event this weekend, featuring makeup artists from Dior. Slots are available for consultations with the experts on spring beauty trends. Saturday 10 to 9:30. 1961 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean.

Bahar Jewelry Trunk Show

Curated by native Washingtonian Bahar Snowden Caulfield, this statement jewelry brand unveils new products from new New York- and Turkey-based vendors on the fifth of each month. Get an up-close look at this month’s vibrant collection—otherwise only sold online—when it pops up at Wink this weekend. The best part? All items are $30 or less. Saturday 1 to 5. 3109 M St., NW.

Posted at 11:32 AM/ET, 04/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
En route to style-packed Coachella, the blogging duo teaches us how to pull off the free-spirited look. By Diana Elbasha

The weather is warm (finally!), outdoor venues are opening, and music fans are gearing up for Sweetlife and Firefly—it’s officially festival season. Which event hosts the best musical talent is up for debate—but when it comes to fashion, the indisputable frontrunner is Coachella.

Recognized by such high-fashion authorities as VogueHarper’s Bazaar, and the Man Repeller as a hub for the best of bohemian style, the California-based festival is as much about the clothing as it is about the music, and is attended each year by countless impeccably dressed A-listers. DC-based sisters Natalie and Erika Pinto, the authors of local style blog The Fashionably Broke, are headed to this year’s star-studded event, which kicks off Friday. In preparation for the festive weekend, they’ve rounded up days’ worth of outfits that nail the breezy vibe. Read on for some of their looks and their tips for achieving the easygoing look.

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Posted at 04:44 PM/ET, 04/10/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus: a look at six local boutiques on wheels. By Diana Elbasha

You’re already familiar with the food trucks that line DC’s busiest streets each day, offering a convenient source for time-crunched professionals and bringing new lunch options to suburban workers who may otherwise not have access to the city-based vendors. Inspired by this success, local boutique owners have begun to apply the same concept to clothing and accessories.

A growing number of Washington-based entrepreneurs are exploring these flexible, cost-saving “mobile boutiques,” loading their inventories of jewelry, handbags, dresses, and more onto trucks that stop in high-traffic neighborhoods throughout town. (Some powerhouse labels such as Warby Parker have also embraced the concept.) Haven’t spotted one yet? Here are six boutiques on wheels to look out for.

Nollypop Mobile Boutique

The exterior of this handpainted, robin’s-egg-blue camper perfectly reflects the vibe of the inventory within. Nollypop, which travels throughout Northern Virginia, specializes in locally handmade pieces such as jewelry, scarves, and stationery. The boutique can be booked for events, is known to pop up at local charity fundraisers and open houses, and often holds sales and happy hours of its own.

Best way to track it: Facebook.

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Posted at 11:43 AM/ET, 04/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to the week’s most stylish events. By Diana Elbasha
Shop Lauren Cecchi’s colorful line of handbags at her trunk show at Zoe this weekend. Photograph courtesy of Zoe Boutique.

Cherry Blossom Benefit at Brooks Brothers

Stop by Brooks Brothers’ Georgetown location after work Tuesday for a cherry-blossom-themed celebration. Enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a 15-percent discount on any purchase; 10 percent of earnings from the evening will be donated to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. RSVP to Tuesday 6 to 8. 3077 M St., NW. 

On the Verge Soiree at Cusp

“E,” the author of the local fashion blog District of Chic, cohosts a stylish party with Refinery29 at Cusp this week. Dubbed On the Verge, the event showcases spring trends with a pink carpet, martinis, a beauty bar, sweet treats, and shopping. RSVP online. Wednesday 7 to 9. 3030 M St., NW. 

Shoshanna Trunk Show at Urban Chic

For the eighth year in a row, Urban Chic hosts the girly apparel brand Shoshanna for a spring trunk show on Thursday. Enjoy 20 percent off all purchases from the label’s spring collection while sipping Champagne and enjoying small bites. Thursday 10 to 8. 1626 Wisconsin Ave., NW. 

Boutiques Give Back in Old Town

The Old Town Boutique District joins Alexandria’s Spring 2 Action campaign, a 24-hour period of giving that benefits local nonprofits. By mentioning the campaign in person at any of the town’s boutiques (including Bellacara, Coco Blanca, the Shoe Hive, and more), 20 percent of your purchase automatically goes toward the initiative. All day Wednesday. Old Town Boutique District, Alexandria. 

Lauren Cecchi Trunk Show at Zoe

Round out your spring shopping with a new handbag this weekend at Zoe, where designer Lauren Cecchi hosts a trunk show. The New York-based pursemaker is known for her girly, brightly colored handbags and clutches. Saturday 11 to 5. 130 S. Union St., Alexandria. 

Potomac Mills Super Sale

Enjoy steep discounts at such popular factory stores as Bloomingdale’s Outlet, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and True Religion at Potomac Mills’ annual spring super sale, which lasts all weekend. Saturday 10 to 9 and Sunday 11 to 6. 2700 Potomac Mills Cir., Woodbridge.

Posted at 08:49 AM/ET, 04/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Our favorite of-the-moment lacquers for all budgets and tastes. By Diana Elbasha
Spring beauty is all about color. Image via Shutterstock.

You’ve already begun switching out your cold-weather frocks for brighter, lighter pieces—and now it’s time for a seasonal beauty refresh. Gone are the snowy days that brought out our darkest reds, plums, and blacks, and ahead are (fingers crossed!) sunshine and sandal weather—meaning it’s time for a pedicure, stat. Not sure what shade to choose? Read on to see 20 nail colors in the season’s most popular hues, inspired by everything spring-related, from the beach to the runways.

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Posted at 03:07 PM/ET, 04/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()