The Thread Fashion Blog Style, beauty and daily inspiration from Nordstrom Wed, 27 May 2015 14:56:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Get This Street Style Look Wed, 27 May 2015 12:00:19 +0000 We can’t get enough of Crystal Nicodemus’s eye, so we’re bringing her Fashion Week street style posts to the mix all year long. Get inspired by the industry’s best dressed, and then … make their look your own!


Shop similar styles:
Blue Tunics | Red Clutches | White Maxi Skirts

Shop our Editors’ Picks to re-create this look:

Eileen Fisher Tunic | kate spade Clutch | Michael Kors Maxi Skirt

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What to Wear in Chelsea with Gilles Assor of Robert Clergerie Tue, 26 May 2015 12:41:58 +0000 Although you wouldn’t figure him to be any older than, oh, say, your favorite older brother, Gilles Assor, U.S. head of the super-chic heritage footwear brand Robert Clergerie, has been around—in the best way. If you’re lucky enough to spend an afternoon hearing about his career in fashion, you’ll get an earful. From Galliano-era Dior to Jean Paul Gaultier’s JPG line (“before streetwear was streetwear”) to Paco Rabanne (“Balmain now is Paco Rabanne back then”) to the first time Birkenstocks were cool (and sanctioned by the Parisian boutique Colette), from Barbara Bui to Margiela to Marc Jacobs in the era of baby discos at the Palais de Tokyo, Assor’s narrative résumé is just plain killer. If he weren’t so sweet and fun, he’d be pretty darn intimidating.

And as much as he knows about fashion (in case that isn’t clear yet, it’s A LOT), he’s also a pretty good resource for all things Chelsea. He’s lived in New York’s art gallery–studded neighborhood for four years, and the Robert Clergerie showroom, Assor’s “office,” has been in the Chelsea Arts Tower for two.

We were lucky enough to while away a few hours there with this fine Frenchman a few weeks ago. He snuck us up to the rooftop event space, The Glasshouses, and pointed out the sites from on high: the seemingly singular one-story building where Donna Karan is said to be hosting her next runway show, the Frying Pan, the condos with drive-in, elevator-up garages (!). “Realtors around here are now buying the sky,” he said in his spot-on, deadpan way. We left it at that—except for the following download on galleries, cocktails, coffee and, naturally, summer’s best shoes. (And some other stuff too.)

What to wear while walking around in Chelsea: The Robert Clergerie Teba or the Robert Clergerie Frazziaj.

Coolest piece of architecture in the neighborhood: The IAC Building.

Best gallery block: Twenty-fourth between 10th and 11th; Gagosian was just showing the new work of Richard Prince during Frieze—amazing!

Best time to visit the Clergerie showroom at 545 West 25th: June 2 through June 16,m between 9 to 10:30 in the morning, because the brand is partnering with Joe Coffee to give out freshly brewed fuel. While you won’t be able to get up to the actual showroom unless you’re on official business, all are welcome to stop by for a cup of Joe.


Shop: Robert Clergerie Teba woven raffia sneaker in black and natural (also available in natural)



Best place to get lunch in the neighborhood: Cookshop.

Best place to get dinner: Americano Hotel—but on the roof only!

Best hotel: The High Line.


Shop: Robert Clergerie Frazziaj platform sandal in horsehair (also available in black and black and natural woven raffia)

Best bar in the neighborhood: Bathtub Gin and Gallow Green, but also only on the rooftop.

Best club: Marquee for the sound, but it depends on the lineup.

Most amazing man in fashion so far: Pierre Cardin, he is such a gentleman. I told him that the first time I ever heard his name was in Back to the Future [the French version]—Marty McFly is wearing Pierre Cardin and it becomes one of his nicknames.

Best approach to navigating the fashion industry: Have fun and do crazy stuff.

Daily uniform: I have 25 of the same black Margiela sweater, and when I’m not wearing Robert Clergerie for men, I wear Nikes. I have 125 pairs—I’m not a collector though. I’m going to wear them all; I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Shop: Robert Clergerie

—Laura Cassidy

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Your AstroTwins Weekly Horoscope for May 25-29 Mon, 25 May 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Life has plenty of variables. Wouldn’t it be radical if  the future was a knowable thing? Well hold on, because it just got a lot more knowable-able. We’re psyched to help you cue up and dial in your week via these new weekday/weekend horoscopes from Olivia Kim’s favorite astrologers, the AstroTwins.


It’s clean up time! The week begins with a harmonizing quarter moon on Monday, May 25. This one falls in efficiency expert Virgo’s realm, helping us set up savvy systems and lifehacks. Dismount the unicorn and deal with reality—before life gets egregiously messy or out of control. The devil is in the details, but so is a chorus of angels. By fine-tuning “the little things,” we can take our efforts from “meh” to “magical.” This quarter moon advises us to be more selective with ingredients we choose for cooking up our recipes for success. Are they sustainably sourced, consciously crafted, and manufactured with care and integrity? Invest a little more on quality this week, even if that means simplifying other aspects of the plan to keep the budget in balance. On the flip side, some of us have fallen prey to debilitating perfectionism. This quarter moon calms the obsessing and reminds us that it’s okay to make some mistakes along the way. That’s what the learning process is all about.

On Wednesday, expressive Mercury meets up with firebrand Mars—and in articulate Gemini, no less. Who wants to join the Debate Club? Everyone will have a strong opinion. Lively discussions are always fun, but keep it out of the Snark Zone. In Gemini, this pair of planets can fall prey to gossip or even some Mean Girl manipulations. Please…don’t go there. On a brighter note, there could be some truly dynamic duos born on Wednesday. Already part of a brilliant tag team? Put your joint efforts on display!

Neptune, Master Of Illusions, could make the extended weekend a little bit dodgy. On Friday, he’ll form a tricky square (90-degree angle) to messenger Mercury in Gemini, fogging up our thinking processes. This square makes it hard to see the big picture. Details may be obscured or even purposefully omitted from conversations. Rule of thumb: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The second showdown comes on Sunday as the Gemini Sun forms the same tangled angle to Neptune. With these two planets rumbling, we can fall prey to delusions of grandeur. But rather than strutting around like naked emperors, we’re more likely to think of ourselves as saviors, white knights, and “the only one who understands” a tortured soul. That need to be needed can lead us to make sacrifices we’ll later regret, ones that can create resentment or a codependent entanglement that’s hard to escape from. Help…air! But the squares can be healing, too. Neptune governs our subconscious while Mercury and the Sun rule our self-expression. We may finally screw up the courage to talk about our deepest fears or reveal our buried brilliance!

Sorry, Aries: Talking about better health isn’t the same as actually doing something to improve it. The good news is, Monday’s galvanizing quarter moon in Virgo fires up your sixth house of wellness and fitness. Put down the remote, slip into your workout clothes and lace up your trainers—or unfurl your yoga mat. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is and spring into action! Don’t dive into the deep end, though. Considering your sign’s propensity for beginning things but not following through, it’s almost required that you start nice and easy so you’ll be motivated to stay the course and slowly ramp it up. Invest in appropriate new gear, purchase a pass to a yoga studio or see if your gym offers a complimentary training session to mix up your routine. While you love a challenge, you’ll only burn out if you try to do too much too soon. Quarter moons are about taking a moderate, balanced approach. So, whether in the gym or the kitchen, avoid anything extreme (i.e., no half-marathon training or Master Cleanse diet). Because the sixth house also rules organization, this is a great time to clean and declutter your home, especially your work area. Can any of your systems use a little upgrade? Consider going paperless—and shredding documents you no longer need. If this sort of project overwhelms you, hire an organizer to come in and do the whole thing for you, creating streamlined systems you can maintain yourself.

On Wednesday, communication planet Mercury syncs up with emphatic Mars in verbose Gemini and your expressive third house. Your mind—and mouth—will be going 150mph, making this is a great day to create, innovate and formulate ideas. But since concepts may be a bit unpolished, hold off on actually pitching or presenting them until you’ve had a chance to get some distance and objectively review them. Similarly, your communication style will be passionate and forceful—great for pushing through an agenda and winning new ardent supports, but you could rub some folks the wrong way. In conversations, remember to let other people speak their minds.

Over the weekend, foggy Neptune jams the signals, potentially making dialog challenging. When analytical Mercury moves into a destabilizing square to Neptune on Friday, you may struggle to think things through clearly, or information you need might not be forthcoming (or accurate). On Sunday, the Sun creates the same angle to Neptune, and relationships you thought were solid may turn to Jell-O. Proceed with caution during this transit involving the zodiac’s great trickster, as things are not what they seem. Don’t jump into the role of rescuer; the heady buzz it brings will only last a minute and is likely to be replaced by annoyance when the person you “saved” becomes dependent on your advice and support. Ew.

You work hard for your money, Aquarius, but is your money working hard for you? Monday’s quarter moon in your eighth house of joint ventures could turn a pipe dream into reality. This lunar phase is about taking concrete action and putting your moola where your mouth is. Ask friends for a recommendation for a savvy financial adviser who can make your funds grow while you sleep. Have that strategic conversation with potential partners to discuss options and next steps. If it’s not a business but a home of your own that you desire, the same rules apply: Do the long-range thinking, then put plans in place to get you there slowly but surely—or perhaps not so slowly! Because quarter moons spur us to action, do whatever it takes to support your vision. If you have to give up restaurant meals for a year (or restrict to once per week) or take the car off the road and take public transportation (or cycle) to work, so be it. The eighth house also rules emotional investments, so be prepared for your personal life to get a little more intense. A newish relationship could deepen quickly and turn exclusive. But rather than come at it from a position of insecurity, focus on how much richer your life could be as a twosome (the whole being MUCH greater than the sum of its parts). Just be careful not to paint TOO rosy a picture. All partnerships come with challenges, and you need to accept that you are not likely to be the one and only exception in the history of dating. Remember: Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so give yourselves a little space to miss each other. Master the element of surprise by doing sweet (and sexy) things when your partner least expects it.

That will only get easier on Wednesday, when verbal Mercury hooks up with lusty Mars in your fifth house of romance, passion and drama. Keep your love interest on his or her toes by being wildly unpredictable. Single? Your seductive vibe is high, so dress the part, hit the town, and flirt with a hottie or four! If amour isn’t what’s on your mind, indulge your inner actor or rock star—or just tear up the dance floor. In fact, ANY creative self-expression will mitigate a potential temper flare-up and tame the savage Aquarius. Make art, not war!

On Friday, your appetite might not be for burgers and beer but out-and-out luxury, Aquarius. Fun if you can afford it, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet, leave your credit cards at home and put yourself on a “cash diet.” Rational Mercury in your hedonistic fifth house might not be able to overcome a tense square from boundary-less Neptune in your second house of finances. And even though Mercury moves forward on Sunday, the Sun takes it place, eradicating your willpower. Can’t resist a splurge? Make sure you know the store’s return policy before you swipe your Visa. With hazy Neptune in the frame, buyer’s remorse could kick in the minute you hang that graphic art print on the wall and realize that you could have made the same thing by yourself in Photoshop.

Cat got your tongue, Crab? Or is there something you’ve been dying to say to someone but, every time you start to, you get seized by anxiety? Monday’s motivating quarter moon in resourceful Virgo powers up your third house of communication and gives you the confidence to speak your peace. (Or at least the understanding that the longer you put it off, the harder it will get.) So hold your nose, dive in and get the dialogue going. Don’t lead with the heaviest part of your message. Use la Luna’s thought-clarifying powers to find the perfect entry point that will allow you to deliver your message without putting the other party on the defensive. This is an excellent day for writers, or would-be authors, to get your work out there, even if it’s just an impassioned posting to your social network. If partnerships have been off-kilter lately, this moon can bring some restorative, cooperative vibes. Sit down for a heart-to-heart and make a point of giving each other a safe space to express yourselves. That means one person talking at a time with no interrupting. You might even try the mirroring technique. Before you reflexively respond, repeat back what the other person said to confirm that you heard them correctly. So validating!

Wednesday’s alignment of thoughtful Mercury and aggro Mars in your subconscious twelfth house could overwhelm you, possibly cranking up a deep-seated victim mentality. Don’t succumb to the stress and lose sight of your own huge power source! Unexpressed emotions are the likely culprit. If you’re beating yourself up with negative small talk or clinging to a grudge, the day’s cosmic energy will support your efforts to have a healing talk, write an angry letter (that you’ll never send and only burn ceremonially) or have the first of a few sessions with a therapist.

An objective sounding board will come in handy on Friday, when foggy Neptune clashes with usually analytical Mercury in your twelfth house, with the possible effect of fuzzing out your thinking and making you a little paranoid. Something may indeed be amiss, but before you turn a molehill into a mountain, get the facts. Things may not be as they appear. This holds true on Sunday as well, when Mercury travels out of the square, but the expressive Sun moves into it. Are somebody’s promises sounding a little too good to be true? Or are YOU making ones that you can’t keep? Don’t take anything at face value. Hey, maybe these pie-in-the-sky fantasies CAN come true, but don’t forget to discuss logistics. When you’re enraptured by a vision or excited about an idea, the next step would be to map out the tangible steps needed to bring it to life. Don’t forget about making a budget!

Decisions, decisions. Your M.O. is to weigh your options, do long-range planning and take only calculated risks. But Monday’s balancing quarter moon in Virgo and your expansive ninth house can widen your focus. Quarter moons help you take concrete action (which, we know, is like talking dirty to a Capricorn). Surfing travel blogs won’t cut it now. It’s time to do your research then hit Book Now for that dream trip to Maui or the Maldives. The ninth house also rules entrepreneurial efforts, so if you’ve been thinking about launching your own business, talk to a lawyer or register for the necessary certification course. Just take SOME tangible action to prove to the universe that you’re serious about your dreams and ready for some cosmic co-piloting. Conversely, if you’ve been traveling constantly or in nonstop motion, bring balance by slowing down and solidifying your connections to the folks who are holding down the fort. Even when you’re on the road, you can keep the home fires stoked with weekly Skype calls.

On Wednesday, download some new apps to ratchet your wellbeing up a notch. Rational Mercury and motivational Mars sync up in your sixth house of health and fitness, making this the perfect time to utilize some high-tech tools in your quest for self-improvement. Of course, it starts and ends with wholesome eating and daily movement, but since technology can give you such accurate feedback, don’t write it off as a fad. While you’re at it, if you haven’t seen your doctor or had blood work or scans done in a while, make an appointment now. By making sure you’re in tiptop shape, you can keep yourself operating at peak levels.

Friday, Mercury moves into a signal-jamming square with hazy Neptune in your sixth house of precision. Good luck trying to get the facts or clearly communicate your needs. Even making a simple decision will be way harder than you ever could have thought possible! Give yourself an advantage by doing one thing at a time and minimizing distractions (sorry, Facebook; you’ll have to wait till the weekend). Then, with a clear mind and switched-off phone, tackle your to-do list with renewed vigor. On Sunday, Mercury moves out of the square, but the Sun takes its place—which can do a number on your sense of self. Catch yourself giving more weight to other people’s opinions than to your own. Your sign can’t help but care about your reputation, but be aware of projecting self-doubts or imagining criticism. Have you been a little too willing to make sacrifices for friends or family only to wind up resenting having done so? Spend time on your own on Sunday and find your center. As long as you’re being your hard-working, ethical self, who cares if your colors run a little outside the lines?

Monday’s quarter moon in efficient Virgo and your domestic fourth house can help restore equilibrium in your home life. Whether in your personal affairs or physical abode, you’ll reap what you sow now, so put a little extra care and love into everything you do. Even small things are consequential, so take time to tidy up and beautify with small objects that make you feel good when you see them. If you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, try a little Feng Shui to get your chi flowing again. Take a peek at a bagua map, then move objects around to shift the energy wherever it’s needed: in the corner representing your career, money or relationship. Maybe those purses and suitcases in your love corner has something to do with the baggage-laden dates you’ve pulled in lately, or your own ability to stay put in a relationship? You’ve got nothing to lose by moving things around, and maybe placing a more romantically symbolic object there. The fourth house governs family, so if you’re seeking a fresh start or want to connect on a deeper level, pick up the phone. Don’t wait for them to buzz ya—that might never happen. The quarter moon will help you forgive, forget and move on.

Wednesday, a mashup between assertive Mars and your ruling planet, communicative Mercury, in Gemini gives you a competitive edge. Of course, if it’s the spotlight you seek, you may have to claw your way into it (sweetly, of course). You’ve got the mental ability, and Mars serves to supersize it. Innovative ideas are your stock in trade, so don’t tamp them down, even if others seem taken aback by them. (Remember: You’re the superstar, and they’re just trying to play catch-up.)

On Friday, don’t back down from your position, even if you feel alone defending it. YOU know it’ll work, but with befuddling Neptune sending a disruptive beam to your articulate ruling planet, your message could get lost in translation. Even if you manage to get it through, a direct answer might not be forthcoming. Give it your best shot, follow up appropriately, but stay detached from the outcome (at least for a few more days). On Sunday, elusive Neptune strikes again, this time jamming the airwaves with a confusing square to the expressive Sun. Just when you thought it was safe to ease off the throttle, kick back and enjoy the waning hours of your weekend, you could get sucked into the role of the “responsible one.” To avoid that situation, don’t make plans with people you know to be needy or a hot mess. They’ll just be true to character, and you’ll wind up resenting them for dumping their issues on you. No matter whom you’re interacting with, if the conversation starts to veer into the “rescue me” territory, heed the warning signs and make it clear that you will NOT go there. On a related note: Stay off your work email or you could get drawn into a project that could—and should—wait until Monday.

Ready, set, organize! Of course no fun-loving Leo wants to take time out of her action-filled week to park herself at the computer and manage funds, pay bills, balance the checkbook and make sure the terms of the insurance policy are in order. And yet these things have to get done. Monday’s quarter moon in systematic Virgo and your second house of real-life responsibilities and finances could help motivate you to take care of business. And what sweet relief you’ll feel once you’re finished. Bear in mind that you don’t have to do everything ASAP, Leo—just making a serious dent in that pile of bills will be more than significant. La luna can also help raise your financial IQ. How much do you really know about investments like stocks, bonds, IRA’s and mutual funds? Chances are your money could be working a lot harder for you than it currently is. Check out sites like The Daily Worth or pick up a Suze Orman book to master the basics. The name of the game is compounding interest, so the earlier you start, the more your money will grow. Even if you only have a little cash to work with now, it’s worth your time and effort to find a financial pro to advise you. Consider automated deductions: You won’t miss what you never see!

On Wednesday, a mashup between social Mercury and go-getter Mars in your eleventh house of group activities could spur a direction-altering collaboration. When you join forces with truly original thinkers, the possibilities are infinite. It might not be smooth sailing out of the gate, however. Mars has the tendency to cause dissention and stir up competition. Circumvent conflict from the get-go by opening the floor up to lively debate and reminding everyone that this is what the early phases of the creative process is all about.

On Friday, obfuscating Neptune in your mysterious eighth house sends a distorting signal to communicator Mercury. Take gossip with a grain of salt, regardless of how straight-up the source might seem. Conversely, don’t tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to everyone you meet. Trust your gut as to whom you can confide in. If something feels off, dial it WAY back. On Sunday, you could feel pressured to take sides when the Sun in your teamwork zone shifts into the same tricky square with Neptune. As much as you want to remain Switzerland-neutral, that position could leave a loved one feeling as if s/he had no allies. Be wary of getting involved in groups that seem to flock together over drama. Their ups and downs might seem exciting—at first—but will ultimately prove toxic to your happiness. Stick with your tried-and-true “high-vibes” group, even if you sometimes feel they’re a teeny bit woo-woo.

You know that when one door closes another opens, but do you realize that you’ll never achieve actual closure if you only stick one toe out of the door? Monday’s quarter moon in Virgo can bring balance and energy to your twelfth house of endings. This could be what it takes to help you find the emotional courage to say goodbye to a behavior or relationship that no longer serves you. You’ve moved on in your life, Libra; now it’s time for your feelings and behaviors to catch up. But because this is a quarter moon, don’t be rash about slamming said door shut. You need to process things so they don’t come back bigger and scarier than ever. Plus, there may be some wiggle room to renegotiate unworkable terms. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying, and perhaps a whole lot to gain. If you’re still struggling to move on, book a few therapy sessions or work with a coach or shaman. The goal is to release the pain caused by this situation, so remind yourself that carrying it around only prolongs the agony.

On Wednesday, thoughtful Mercury and ambitious Mars sync up in your ninth house of adventure and expansion, blowing the lid off your perception of normalcy. As disorienting as it can be to be shoved outside your comfort zone, this is the only way you’ll truly grow, Libra. You may love the status quo, but you’re ready for some new ideas and inspiration. Start with the areas ruled by the ninth house: exploring different philosophies, booking an exotic trip or just saying yes to an unpredictable (if calculated) risk. Cross-cultural connections simmer with spice and inspiration. Socialize with people who are seemingly different than you (on the surface, at least). You’ll have more in common than you realize, but your disparate life experiences can synthesize into a sweet medley that’s unlike anything the world has seen before.

Friday, the devil is in the details, but your vision is so wide-angle, you can barely make out the big picture (let alone the annoying nuances). Matters aren’t helped by a tricky square between analytical Mercury and foggy Neptune in your systematic sixth house. Every time you try to focus, your mind wanders like a hungry dog. Rather than trying to force a square peg into a round hole, skip the hard-core research and development and put your inventive right brain to work. Next week, when this transit passes, you can revisit the numbers-crunching and go on a fact-finding mission. Unfortunately, even though Mercury moves on, the Sun takes its place on Sunday and settles into the same uneasy angle with deceptive Neptune. Have you become attached to an image of yourself as a compassionate or spiritual person to such a degree that you can no longer see your own shadow? Without darkness there can be no light, Libra. This transit, while confusing, can help you become more authentic about your feelings instead of sweeping the negative ones—like anger, resentment or envy—under the rug. It’s only when you can admit to feeling unhappy, frustrated or worn out that you can begin to actually DO something about it.

Is that fence you’ve been parked on giving you splinters yet, Pisces? Monday’s action-oriented quarter moon in efficient Virgo fires up your seventh house of relationships and shoves you off that railing. This could involve any kind of partnership, from launching a new job-search app to agreeing to an exclusive dating arrangement. No more spinning your wheels: It’s do-or-die time. That said, if you’re feeling pressured to get more serious about a particular connection and your heart is flashing a yellow light of caution, do NOT hit the accelerator. Pump the brakes; test the waters. Make sure there’s enough flow built in to preserve your personal freedom. If the other party expects you to be on call 24/7, eventually you’re going to feel like a fish caught in a net. In a professional setting, before you go all in, is there a way to work together on a trial basis to see how your energies and work styles mesh? How does the other person handle stress? Criticism? Are they willing to put in the hours required to make this thing not only achieve liftoff, but to SOAR?

Wednesday’s stars can make you crave—or run from—family interactions. Expressive Mercury teams up with forthright Mars in your fourth house of domesticity and roots. While you sometimes appease to keep the peace, it’s essential that you speak honestly now, and when it comes to your own needs, communicate them directly. If a loved one is making you loco, don’t suffer in silence. Say something! This is also true for roommates or guests who overstay their welcome. Be more assertive about your boundaries and don’t worry about being “mean.” You’ll only snap later if you let the resentment build up.

On Friday, you may have no choice but to deal with a family issue. Even if you’ve been going to great lengths to stay out of a disagreement, you might be sucked into one. With communicative Mercury in the fourth house taking a nerve-wracking hit from deceptive Neptune in your sign, nothing’s going to come out right, so hit “ignore” on those family calls and get thee to the day spa. First, give your inner circle a heads-up that, for anything other than a true emergency, you’re off duty. Familial drama continues through the weekend, coming to a head on Sunday, when someone pulls out all the stops and plays into your Piscean compassion. Keep your emotional satellite tower activated and ready to tune in to a female friend or relative’s diva-like manipulations. While this person might be in a legit crisis and you want to be there for her, remember that the best support is the kind that empowers rather than enables the other person. Help her think through her options, but make HER come up with possible solutions. The answers people devise for themselves are the ones that tend to stick, after all. Then, politely, excuse yourself and then go join the gang for brunch.

Next stop: the corner office! Monday’s motivating quarter moon in Virgo fires up your tenth house of career ambitions and helps you tune out the distractions that pull you off-course. Even if you’re not quite ready to assume the top position, you can start plotting your ascent. Take your first giant stride toward a long-term goal now. Then, just climb and you’ll know what your next step is—and the one after that and the one after THAT. As you ascend, remember to only look UP. If you need some help with your brand, getting your name out there or polishing your image, tap a pro or business coach. The tenth house also rules men so if your connection with an important guy in your life has fallen into a bit of rut, devote some quality time to the relationship this week. Whether it’s a business or romantic partnership, if you can’t iron out your differences or bring the love back, call in an objective third party to mediate. Sometimes men have a tough time expressing their emotions, and a neutral person could facilitate the process in a way you can’t. If nothing else, let this guy get everything off his chest, sans quick-fire interruptions from you. Let him get it all out and you’ll understand what he is actually driving at here. (And it’s NOT what you previously thought.)

On Wednesday, analytical Mercury and go-getter Mars join forces in your seventh house of relationships. Where someone couldn’t—or wouldn’t—budge just two days ago, suddenly he’s open to discussing ideas or new ways of interacting. Don’t spoil the moment with “I told you so’s” or trying to get an upper hand. And, since Mars can bring competition, be prepared to agree to disagree. Overall, make a point of really listening to other people’s opinions (not just paying lip service). Ya never know, Sag: You might actually learn something. You have carte blanche to be bolder about initiating relationships midweek, too. Make a daring romantic proposition or send off a proposal to a company or client you’d like to team up with.

Friday’s perplexing square between rational Mercury in your interpersonal corner and fuzzy Neptune in your emotional fourth house could make it challenging to get your point across. Or it could whip up a sandstorm of guilt that forces you to swallow your truth because you’re afraid you’ll hurt someone’s feelings. But consider this: While hiding the truth might spare someone else’s feelings, YOU could end up resentful. Your feelings count, too, so honor them to the same degree you regard others’. Come Sunday, Mercury will have moved on—hallelujah!—but the Sun takes its place in the same tangled angle with Neptune. This can make it next to impossible to accurately read the tea leaves. There’s no denying the heart, which wants what it wants, Archer, but how can you tell if the object of your affections is on the same wavelength? Relying on an unspoken allure or trying to intuit what someone else is feeling is a recipe for disaster (and pain). Coming out and asking under a Neptune transit probably won’t be helpful, either. Our suggestion: Try to enjoy the suspense, and wait another day or two to make any decisions.

Who you, a joiner? You’re more likely to be found sitting on the sidelines, making the wittiest (if not the snarkiest) observations about those on the playing field. But on Monday, when a balancing quarter moon in Virgo lights up your community-minded eleventh house, you might be inspired to become an active member of a mastermind group or to become a seriously strategic socializer. As business guru Jim Rohn says, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time around. The takeaway: Choose your company wisely and make sure everyone on the team is contributing equitably. The eleventh house also rules technology, making social networking a no-brainer. This goes for all aspects of your digital life—from your devices and software to your actual online presence. Try to get a sense of yourself the way strangers would see you. Are your photos recent and inviting? Are your posts interesting; do you respond to other people’s? And is there anything that could potentially be embarrassing or inappropriate for professional connections? Don’t shy away from promoting worthy accomplishments and updating your dating site snaps.

On Wednesday, lusty Mars and open-minded Mercury hook up in your intimate eighth house, adding a few new shades of gray to your repertoire. You’re not a Scorpio for nothing: Go ahead and fire off a few sultry sexts or initiate a candid convo about your unfulfilled desires. With Mercury in the picture, the name of the game is clear communication. The messenger planet also sends a reminder that the brain is indeed the largest sexual organ. Just TALKING about what you might do between the sheets (or listening to friends’ candid confessions) could get you all hot and bothered.

No matter how directly you’re expressing yourself, on Friday your message could be muddled, thanks to a perplexing square between Mercury and deceptive Neptune. MAYBE someone is flirting with you—or maybe they’re confused themselves. And when you think you’re being straightforward in your response, they get even more ambiguous. Don’t fall for a charmer who can’t back up the bold talk. On the flip side, don’t overlook a quiet but smoldering hottie. The quiet ones will surprise you. By Sunday, Neptune may have you pulling your hair out, when he sends another signal-jamming frequency to the Sun. If you thought the line between love and lust was confusing before…oh, man. Hold off on making one of your signature Scorpio seduction moves until you are 100 percent certain that the other party shares your idea of what this dalliance actually is. One of you could be thinking one-night-stand while the other is shopping for matching monogrammed towels. Yikes! If you’re in a relationship, watch out for unspoken assumptions about your partner that could undermine happiness. Approach your S.O. with “beginner’s mind,” that is, with the same curiosity and open-mindedness you brought to your first date. You could discover a whole new dimension to your soul mate!

Your romantic life gets a shot in the arm on Monday, when an energizing quarter moon in Virgo powers up your fifth house of amour. If you and Cupid haven’t been on speaking terms lately, la Luna thrusts you back into his bow’s crosshairs. Single? This harmonizing phase helps you put yourself out there again, with a renewed enthusiasm for the dating game. Attached but in a romantic rut? Do something wildly unpredictable to catch your sweetie off-guard in the most seductive way: reservations at the trendy new resto or tickets to see your favorite local band performing live. Use this balancing moon to objectively examine how you “do” relationships. If you’re light on intimacy but heavy on drama, hit reset. Let your S.O. finish what he or she has to say before you rush to react or give feedback. You may realize that you were reading the situation all wrong. If nothing else, listening without interruption will show you care, and earn you a similar courtesy in return. This Virgo moon could also nudge you into spotlight. Memo to Bulls who’ve been dimming their light to let others shine: Come out, come out wherever you are! Humble brags will go over better than a chorus line-style debut.

On Wednesday, you may get sucked into an uncomfortable conversation about money. While this can be stressful, it could also be illuminating—not to mention necessary. If you’ve been sweeping an unpleasant issue under the carpet or sticking your head in the sand about a potential financial crisis, today’s alignment of expressive Mercury and direct Mars in your second house of money and possessions can give you a reality check. Necessity truly is the mother of invention, and being in a tough situation could inspire a brilliant solution. Interviewing for a new job, promotion or salary review? Go head and shamelessly self-promote. They’ll never know your abilities if you don’t tell them.

This weekend, leaning on friends could feel like planting your feet in quicksand. Social Mercury and the Sun in your second house of security accentuate your need for the kind of emotional anchoring that friendship brings. Unfortunately, trickster Neptune is in a tense angle to them and could undermine your best efforts. When you crave support or just a companionable wingman, your true-blue crew is nowhere to be found. But before you start the pity party, find out what’s really going on. Could it be that they’re just involved in their own Friday night dramas and distractions and this has nothing to do with you? While you always probably tag along, is that really what you want? Take a pass on the annoying internal politics and stay in and enjoy your own favorite foods and flicks in the comfort of your own home. And if someone tries to lure you into the theatrics, stay stubborn—and strong like Bull!

Come out of hiding, Virgo! Monday’s quarter moon in your sign can help you overcome your shyness or modesty—or fear of being seen for all you are. If you’re used to being a team player but have been thinking about launching a solo venture, this lunar energy could provide just the kick in the pants you need. One word of advice: You still have to take it upon yourself to get noticed. Agents, producers and investors are not likely to stop you on the street or beat a path to your door. So under this moon, fire off an inquiry email, ask a friend for a personal referral or hire someone to do some social media promotion for you. While this quarter moon fosters independence, it’s worth asking yourself whether you might be doing a little too much by your lonesome. Pay attention to which of your regular tasks are turning into joyless time-sucks. Those are the first things you should think about delegating or outsourcing—or letting go of altogether. If you don’t have the funds to pay a pro, consider the barter system as a means of funding this. Maybe one of your friends loves to cook as much as you enjoy doing laundry. A little trade-off could be a fun experiment. What’s the big deal of tossing a few extra loads in the wash for her if it means enjoying home-cooked dinners that only need to be heated up before you enjoy?

On Wednesday, work takes center stage, as your ruling planet, analytical Mercury, joins forces with irresistible Mars in your tenth house of career and public image. This could bring the recognition you’ve earned and have been patiently waiting for. You hate to toot your own horn, but this IS a big deal and deserves to be broadcast (at least a bit). Compile an online bio page for your LinkedIn profile that quantifies your accomplishments and describes how your personal efforts have increased profits or helped your company.

Come the weekend, you’ll be ready to chill out—and perfect timing. A disruptive square from quixotic Neptune throws Mercury off his goal-focused game. The very people you need to help you advance may prove uncooperative or unreliable. Rally Team Virgo as best you can, but accept the fact that some things are beyond even your control. On Sunday, Mercury moves away from Neptune, but the expressive Sun moves into its same edgy angle, making you feel a little insecure about a certain partnership. You may feel pressure to prove yourself to a colleague by working through the weekend. But here’s a rule of thumb worth remembering: If you have to sacrifice an important plan or your commitment to self-care, you’re on the wrong path. Denying your highest values for someone else is a never-ending trap.

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Housemade Cheeseburger with Peppercorn Aioli and Balsamic Roasted Red Onions | What’s Cooking Fri, 22 May 2015 21:07:48 +0000 Your search for the best burger for a Memorial Day or summer barbecue is over. At least mine is. This cheeseburger, served at our Bar Verde locations, is perfect for upping anyone’s gourmet grilling game. The simple-to-make aioli is spiked with peppercorns and nutty roasted garlic. (Our roasted garlic recipe couldn’t be easier to make this flavor a staple in your pantry–buying bulk cloves means no annoying peeling or messy squeezing required!) I had enough aioli left over to use as dipping sauce for french fries, which my dinner guests and I were all pretty happy about. I.e., it’s really good.

Nordstrom Bistro Gourmet Hamburger Recipe with Roasted Garlic Peppercorn Aioli and Roasted Red Onions in Balsamic Vinegar. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Topping it all, the bite of red onions gets tamed and their sweetness enhanced by being roasted with some balsamic vinegar, thyme and honey (as in our Skirt Steak with Romesco Sauce recipe). Both of these toppings can be made ahead–ideal for both entertaining and bringing them along with you to a picnic BBQ.

Nordstrom Bistro Gourmet Hamburger Recipe with Roasted Garlic Peppercorn Aioli and Roasted Red Onions in Balsamic Vinegar. Photo by Jeff Powell.

At our restaurants, as in this recipe, they grind beef in house for their hamburgers. It produces superior flavor. Plus, you know exactly what is and isn’t going into your ground beef (like some un-called-for pancetta I threw in this recipe; I think cured pork is always called for). If you don’t have a grinder, meat can be also be ground by pulsing (after a stiffening chill in the freezer) in a food processor in 2-3 batches. If using store-bought, try to purchase the freshest, premium ground beef whenever possible.

Housemade Cheeseburgers
with Balsamic Roasted Red Onions and Peppercorn Aioli

From Nordstrom Bar Verde
(Serves 8)

Easy Roasted Garlic and Peppercorn Aioil Recipe from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Peppercorn and Roasted Garlic Aioli
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Puree
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
3/4 teaspoon black peppercorn, freshly ground
3/4 teaspoon green peppercorn, freshly ground
3/4 teaspoon pink peppercorn, freshly ground
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Easy Roasted Garlic and Peppercorn Aioil Recipe from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell.

1. In a large mixing bowl, add mayonnaise, fresh garlic, roasted garlic puree, lemon juice and whole grain mustard.

2. Whisk the ingredients together until well combined.

3. Grind the black, green and pink peppercorns in a spice grinder or pepper mill until slightly coarse.

4. Add all of the peppercorns to the aioli mixture, adjust seasoning with salt if necessary.

5. Cover and refrigerate until needed. The aioli can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Balsamic Roasted Red Onions recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Balsamic Roasted Onions
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 large red onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Roasted Red Onions recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, honey, oil and thyme together. Arrange the onion slices on the prepared baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and evenly pour the vinegar mixture over the sliced onions.

3. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and the vinegar mixture has thickened, about 30 minutes.

4. Let cool on the baking sheet. Transfer the onions and pan juices to a bowl. The onions can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Best kinds of beef and how to grind meat for hamburgers at home from Nordstrom.

Home-Ground Hamburger
2 pounds beef chuck roll
1 pound beef brisket
1 pound sirloin beef

Best kinds of beef and how to grind meat for hamburgers at home from Nordstrom.

1. Cut the beef into long strips or cubes that are small enough to fit in the grinder tube. Arrange in a even layer on a sheet pan and freeze for about an hour until stiffened.

3. Put the strips through the meat grinder using the plunger. Alternate between meat cuts to ensure every patty contains the correct ratio.

4. In a large bowl or sheet pan, mix the first grind with your hands. For improved texture, return meat to grinder for a second grind.

5. Lightly form softball sized rounds into 7-ounce patties that are 4 1/2 inches across. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Best kinds of beef and how to grind meat for hamburgers at home from Nordstrom.

Cheeseburger Grilling and Assembly
7-ounce burger patties
Brioche rolls
Peppercorn Aioli
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, sliced 1/8-inch thick
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Balsamic Roasted Red Onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning

How to grill hamburger ground at home.

1. Prepare a medium-heat two-zone fire in a charcoal grill (read our expert tips for mastering your charcoal grill) or preheat a gas grill on medium.

2. Season both sides of each patty with salt and pepper. Clean and lightly brush grill grate with vegetable oil. Place patties directly over fire and cook on first side 3-4 minutes until brown. To maximize juiciness, avoid pressing on the patties. Move burgers to indirect heat zone if flare-ups occur. Flip burgers and cook on second side until brown and desired doneness is achieved (another 3–7 minutes–for medium rare to well done, respectively).

3. Transfer burgers to a clean plate, top with a slice of cheese and let rest, loosely tented with foil, while toasting the buns on the grill (2–3 minutes).

4. Generously spread Peppercorn Aioli onto top and bottom halves of each bun. Season sliced tomato with a pinch of salt and place onto bottom bun. Layer burger patty on top of tomato, followed by a few Balsamic Roasted Red Onion rings (a drizzle of their juice, if desired) and close the burger with the top bun.

Nordstrom Bistro Gourmet Hamburger Recipe with Roasted Garlic Peppercorn Aioli and Roasted Red Onions in Balsamic Vinegar. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Find more recipes to try in our What’s Cooking series and Nordstrom Cookbooks. Have a favorite dish or beverage from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

–Jeff Powell

Nordstrom Bistro Gourmet Hamburger Recipe with Roasted Garlic Peppercorn Aioli and Roasted Red Onions in Balsamic Vinegar. Photo by Jeff Powell.

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Araya Nicks: Model of the Moment and Rising Singer | Listen Up! Fri, 22 May 2015 15:50:36 +0000 SID1503093383_013

Where have you seen Araya Nicks before?

Perhaps you know the SoCal stunner as the face of Nordstrom’s summer shorts campaign. Or maybe you remember her wearing electrodes on her head and negotiating a vine-covered labyrinth in Chris Brown’s “Don’t Wake Me Up” music video?

Here’s a new context in which to view her: solo recording artist.

Nicks is currently working on her own album as a vocalist, and we’ve been turning up on the bus ride to work lately to her cut “One Good Reason.” Check that out below–and get the low-down on her favorite jams, movies and travel bucket list.

Five songs you’d include on a playlist titled “Music for Modeling”:
“Do You Remember” by Jarryd James
“Goddess” by Banks
“Realla” by Tokimonsta ft. Anderson Paak
“Sober” by Childish Gambino
“I Know” by Big Sean (ft. Jhené Aiko)

Five songs you’d include on a playlist titled “Music for a Friday Night”:
“7/11″ by Beyonce
“Know Yourself” by Drake
“Where Are U Now” by Skrillex & Diplo (Feat. Justin Bieber)
“Off the Ground” by Anderson Paak
“King Kunta” by Kendrick Lamar

Five artists or bands you’d love to play a show with:
Tori Kelly
Sam Smith
Erik Hassle

Three people whose style you admire:
Julie Sarinana (Sincerelyjules)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Blake Lively

Three things that are on your grocery store list right now:
pita & hummus
dried mango
chocolate malted crunch ice cream

Three movies you could watch over and over again:
Tristan & Isolde
Dumb & Dumber

Five people you’d like to be stranded on a desert island with:
Theo James
Tom Hardy
my dog (he’s human)

Three cities you’d love to visit in the next year:
Miami, Florida
Barcelona, Spain
Paris, France

Follow: Araya Nicks on Instagram | Araya Nicks on Twitter

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Your AstroTwins Weekend Horoscope for May 23 & 24 Fri, 22 May 2015 12:00:42 +0000

Par-tay! On Saturday, you’re in an ebullient mood, as the moon is conjunct feel-good Jupiter in Leo, your fifth house of celebration and self-expression. Treat pals to a delicious brunch, as your generous side is revved up. In matters of the heart, coupled Rams could feel like the luckiest sign around…and ready for a grand romantic adventure. Single Aries could feel especially optimistic, which might even translate to a real-time, spontaneous rendezvous. In case you haven’t gotten the festive picture, tonight is no time to play the homebody. Glam up and go paint the town! On Sunday, the elation continues, as the moon in Leo, your fifth house of passion, forms a supportive trine to innovator Uranus in Aries. Perhaps you get a lightening-bolt download or creative inspiration, which prompts you to spend hours in the studio or sharing your newfound excitement with a smart, artistic pal. In general, spontaneity is your existential fuel. Pals could pop by for an impromptu brunch, or maybe you bump into someone on the street and you’re transported to a rollicking afternoon of unexpected delights. Hooray for your glittering life!

Happier at home? The weekend starts on an upbeat note, as the moon is conjunct ebullient Jupiter in Leo, your fourth house of domesticity, family and self-care. Even if the tulips are blooming and everyone is outside, you’ll want to be feathering your nest (and your garden if you have one). Perhaps you’ll kick off the day with a fresh ricotta and shitake mushroom omelet, or spend time redecorating your living room. Even something as mundane as tending to your laundry can satisfy your spirit. Hit a specialty food shop (geeking out about marcona almond sea salt) and then plan a special, artisanal dinner party for your closest peeps. Or, take care of yourself with an Epsom salt bath and time-stopping novel. On Sunday, you could enjoy a surprise drop-in visit (or a lively video chat) with loved ones, thanks to the moon in Leo, your cozy fourth house, forming a supportive trine to spontaneous Uranus. Perhaps you’ll have an enlightening convo with a family member. Or maybe, when reflecting on where you came from, you’ll have a life-changing epiphany as you’re weeding your flowerbed. Just when you think you have things figured out, the winds of change take you by pleasant storm. Expect the unexpected!

Think big! On Saturday, you’re in an intellectually hungry mood, as the moon meets up with abundant Jupiter in Leo, your communication house. Your conversations could not only span subjects, spiritual traditions and scholarly disciplines, but you’re also in the mood for some laughs. The stand-up comics among you should slay your audiences (and the same goes for the “sit-down comics” as one of our bar-hopping Gemini friends calls himself). Spend time writing in your journal, or getting a fresh perspective on an old idea—your views are exceptionally optimistic. On Sunday, the happy vibes continue as the moon in Leo, your idea-driven third house, forms a supportive trine to excitable Uranus in Aries. Maybe you’ll take a spontaneous road trip with a pal, or perhaps you’ll get a sudden epiphany on how to change the world. There’s no limit to your idealistic visions, especially if you get lively, stimulating input. Allow yourself time to daydream a bit. On a day like this, when your head is in the clouds, amazing things can happen.

Money moment? On Saturday, you’re feeling optimistic about a financial matter, as the moon meets up with expansive Jupiter in Leo, your stability-minded second house. You could get a hunch about a new side gig, or even job, in conversation with someone at your local coffee shop. Or maybe you’ll finally see the value of your professional contributions. With your heightened self-confidence, you may decide to ask for a raise next week. In the mood to #treatyoself? Even if you give into a splurge urge, Lady Luck is on your side, helping you refill those coffers soon enough. On Sunday, the swell of enthusiasm continues, as the moon in Leo, your grounded second house, forms a supportive trine to free-spirited Uranus. You could get an email or phone call from an authority figure (maybe a former boss, even?) out of the blue. Or, you could find yourself volunteering to mentor a younger person, in a turn of events you hadn’t foreseen. Ultimately, a little spontaneity in the moment can give you fuel for more security down the line. When it comes to your financial prospects, it’s time to take a risk already!

Ambassador Leo? On Saturday, the moon is conjunct worldly Jupiter in Leo, your first house of self and identity, bringing out your generous, inclusive side. Everyone will be drawn to you, from the barista at your local coffee shop to strangers you meet at a social gathering. Others sense your inherent tolerance and willingness to embrace “difference” (whatever that may mean in your orb). Overall, this is an extremely lucky influence, so go ahead and roll the dice. It doesn’t so much matter what you do…you just have a strong hunch it’s going to be grand. On Sunday, the high-minded vibes continue, as the moon in Leo, your autonomous first house, forms a supportive trine to spontaneous Uranus. If ever there were a day to break from routine, this is it. You don’t mind being the “random” who pops in on a pal. Or maybe you get inspired to book a flight to Croatia. Exercising your independence (and maybe even your eccentricity) brings you emotional satisfaction. This is not a day to plan every minute. Go with the flow, and listen to your out-of-the-blue hunches.

Is that fairy dust floating around you, Virgo? On Saturday, it might feel like you’re living in your own personal glittery snow globe, as the moon meets up with optimistic Jupiter in Leo, your twelfth house of spirituality and the subconscious. Watch out for synchronicities and “signs,” but don’t just marvel at them. If you write them down, you may be able to glean a bigger-picture meaning and grasp some helpful direction. Seize this rare opportunity for your control-loving sign to just go with the flow. On Sunday, you could glean some sudden insight into a tender emotional issue, as the moon in Leo, your twelfth house of the psyche, forms a supportive trine to innovative Uranus in Aries. Your powers of perception run deep and fast (so be forewarned that you might have a hard time being around people with negative energy). If you’ve been nursing an old hurt, you could get a sudden hit about its soul message, i.e. a past betrayal forced you to confront your limiting beliefs and embrace your own worth. Under this compassionate influence, everything really IS a gift.

Gather your tribe! On Saturday, the moon meets up with gregarious Jupiter in Leo, your eleventh house of platonic connections and social action. This is a great day to rally your peeps and spend a meandering, unstructured day moving from brunch to so-and-so’s living room, making hilarious jokes and intelligent connections. With friends, you’re feeling generous, eager to share your warmth and open-hearted connection. A particular alliance could bring you good fortune, e.g. a pal makes a significant intro that opens up new vistas. Keep looking on the sunny side of life, Libra. On Sunday, the atmosphere takes a balanced, harmonious turn, as the moon in Leo, your egalitarian eleventh house, forms a supportive trine to people-loving Uranus in your relationship zone. Perhaps you and a partner decide to spend the afternoon on an impromptu volunteer mission or meeting a new crew at Sunday afternoon pub trivia. Whatever the development, you’re eager to invite some fresh blood into your twosome (and this includes professional partnerships, too). Avoid boredom by sparking high-minded convos about, say, how drones can revolutionize retail or innovations in potable drinking water. Link up with a razor-sharp, creative mind, and, well, anything is possible.

Go on, rest on your laurels, Scorpio. On Saturday, you could be feeling uber-confident and lucky on the career front, thanks to the moon meeting up with abundant Jupiter in Leo, your ambitious tenth house. Maybe you get five-star news about a promotion, or an exciting new leadership position—or you kick off the weekend with a career coup to celebrate. Perhaps you have a serendipitous run-in with a VIP…and it leads to greater opportunities. When it comes to structure and your five-year plan, you’re feeling especially optimistic, too. The results will surely be a mix of your sweat equity and positive expectations. On Sunday, the upbeat vibe continues, as the moon in Leo, your tenth house of fame, forms a supportive trine to innovator Uranus in your health house. You could get an out-of-the-blue epiphany about how to revolutionize your daily routine. Or maybe you decide to mix things up on the wellness front, trying out a Crossfit or Zumba class. If you can have fun AND sweat, all the better. Mostly, though, you’re in the mood for a change. Even a small switch from, say, unsweetened almond milk to hemp milk in your coffee could feel exciting—especially if it helps your digestion. Look to the smaller details for a real-life revolution.

Up all night to get lucky? On Saturday, you’re in the mood to take a leap of faith, thanks to the moon in Leo forming a conjunction with abundant Jupiter in Leo, your ninth house of good fortune. It’s hard to say: do your chances of hitting the jackpot increase because of coincidence, or because you have a positive expectation of hitting it big? It could be both, but under this influence, it doesn’t really matter—you simply know that this next chapter of your life is gonna be awesome. Take a risk, Archer! On Sunday, the party vibes continue, as the moon in Leo, your ninth house of adventure, forms a supportive trine to rollicking Uranus. Before you even finish your morning coffee, you could be thinking about your next travel destination: kite surfing on the shores of the Bosphorous? If you happen to be on vacation already, you could meet a sexy suitor (bonus points if you’re seduced by a sultry accent!). Both coupled and solo Archers could feel like it’s time to spread those gossamer wings. Too much confinement, especially within a romance, will make you climb the walls. (What’s new?) Combat ennui by doing something spontaneous: go eat brunch in a part of town you never visit, or go sketch in your local park. Ah, fresh air!

On Saturday, your powers of attraction, especially in intimate and financial matters, are high, thanks to the moon meeting up with lucky Jupiter in Leo, your magnetic eighth house. With the object of your affection, take the emotional temperature first; even if you’re talking about something like paying joint bills, there’s a subtext or unspoken vibe you should pay attention to as well. Turn that lens inward, too. Your earthy sign can be overly focused on the practical, but that would be a missed opportunity here. Envision the things you want, e.g. being surprised by your honey with flowers, getting news about a new, high-paying gig, making a lifetime commitment, etc. Revel in how good THAT feels, and then simply relax into the happy, expansive mood. On Sunday, the light atmosphere continues, as the moon in Leo, your eighth house of shared wealth, forms a supportive trine to innovator Uranus in your domestic zone. Perhaps you and a romantic (or business) partner decide to purchase real estate together (or sell an existing property). This or another security-inducing development could come clear out of the blue, so be prepared to be “surprised by joy,” as author C.S. Lewis put it. Or, the delight could come in an unexpected proposal, perhaps to cohabitate with your sweetheart or take the next step in a relationship. Your emotions are your guide, Capricorn. Whether it’s family planning, quality time or a passionate Sunday afternoon romp, your walls are coming down. Let them.

Travel for two? On Saturday, the moon meets up with adventurous Jupiter in Leo, your seventh house of one-on-one relationships, sparking your shared wanderlust. Even if you don’t jet to Napa for some impromptu wine tasting, a key partnership is undergoing a significant growth period—and it feels fantastic. Your normally independent sign could happily sacrifice some of your autonomy for the benefit of true companionship, especially in personal relationships. Solo Water Bearers will be thinking along the same lines, and could even stumble across someone who’s a lot more than a one-night stand (but still a ton of fun). On Sunday, your excitement continues, thanks to the moon in Leo, your seventh house of partnerships, forming a supportive trine to unpredictable Uranus in Aries. Your spouse or a close friend could surprise you by striking up a thought-provoking conversation out the blue. Maybe you’re having brunch at your local eatery and you start chatting up a cutie who either introduces you to your next love, or becomes your next amour. Deep down, you’re craving some emotional excitement…so, in whatever form it takes, embrace the serendipity!

Healthy escapes? On Saturday, you could find yourself dreaming about a wellness getaway, as the moon is conjunct travel-loving Jupiter in Leo, your sixth house of vitality. Your whole existence expands via healthy pursuits, so even if you can’t ship off on a yoga retreat, try running, spin class and stocking up on your vitamins. Bonus points if you can combine a workout with cultural education, e.g. you take an Aikido class or do the latest Bulgarian bag craze. Your excitement is infectious, so don’t be surprised if you inspire your pals to join in on the enlivening fun…the more, the merrier! On Sunday, you’re taken by the upbeat mood, as the moon in Leo, your efficient sixth house, forms a supportive trine to free-spirited Uranus in your zone of routines. You might get a surprise hand in a cleanup effort, e.g. your sister or a pal pops by to help you do some of the heavy lifting in a decluttering mission. Or maybe you get an out-of-the-blue idea to revolutionize your daily habits, so that you have more time, more wellness and more sanity, too. Whatever transpires will have a tangible, practical effect on your efforts to purify your environment. Break out the Windex and white sheets!

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Totally Awesome to the Max | Throwback Thursday Thu, 21 May 2015 20:07:50 +0000 early-80s-fashion-throw-back-thursday-nordstrom-catalog-2Let’s take a peek into the mind of this sassy young trendster from our fall 1983 catalog. What’s going on this year in her early ’80s world that she might be thinking about? The mall, for sure–and her Walkman. Spandau Ballet and The Police. Trapper Keepers covered with scratch ’n sniff stickers. Her bitchin’ Patrick Nagel poster. Potato chips that came in a box and the invention of the McNugget. Flashdance and Risky Business. Being barfed out by various, grody things. The two Coreys and/or Christie Brinkley. The A-Team and Cheers. Accessorizing with Lip Smackers. M.A.S.H. and cootie catchers.

She could also be thinking about the socioeconomic implications of the lingering Cold War and on her way to a successful career as a rocket scientist. Whatever it may be, we know this much is true: 1) after 32 years, you’re definitely going to find something to laugh at about your younger self; and, 2) those gold aviators and red Converse high-tops are still totally rad.

—Jeff Powell

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These Special Edition Liberty London x Nikes Aren’t Going to Last Long Thu, 21 May 2015 17:00:32 +0000 Call them the shoes of the moment—especially because that’s about as long as they’ll be available.

The Air Max Thea – Liberty of London Merlin and the Tennis Classic Ultra – Liberty of London Merlin are two of the most hyped of all current styles; why, none other than Hypebeast called Thea the “intersection of the past and present” and “truly unique.”

We just call them aces.

The Merlin graphic is a throwback to 1972 when the print- and pattern-happy Brits at Liberty first put it on silk scarves; Nike took it and ran with it in both apparel and footwear, yielding a collection that recalls Warhol, Haring, and Basquiat‘s gritty pop art as well as late-80s hip-hop.

Can’t you just feel that first wave of blinged-out bomber jackets and Versace, Versace, Versace? Check out the Liberty Windrunner.

Shop: Nike Women Pop-In@Nordstrom

 Follow Olivia Kim on Instagram | Olivia Kim on Tumblr

—Laura Cassidy

]]> 0 Pedro Garcia Nordstrom Road Trip Thu, 21 May 2015 12:17:51 +0000 Earlier this spring, Pedro Garcia brand ambassador Andreas Kurz set off for a tour of Nordstrom stores where he would meet with fans of the made-in-Spain line and help them customize new looks from a special bespoke selection of four styles and five colors. We asked Kurz to take pictures and keep notes from his travels because, hey—it’s the next best thing to tagging along.


San Juan, Puerto Rico

One cool thing about how they style their Pedro Garcias at our brand-new Puerto Rico store:
Kurz: They’re very girly here in San Juan; they really love their heels.

Three words to describe the style of the city:
Vibrant, tropical, colorful.

The sky on the day of the event was …
Couldn’t have been nicer, Caribbean-blue skies!

Best meal, bite or beverage in San Juan:
I had a tomato, watermelon, papaya salad with goat cheese and fresh sprouts—accompanied by a great rosé—at the restaurant at my hotel that was so fresh and delicious. The new Bazille restaurant inside the Nordstrom store wasn’t only great—with outdoor seating on the second floor, where I had my favorite risotto with green asparagus and shrimp—there was actually a long line to get in. No wonder: the food and service are fab!

Best thing about your hotel:
The Condado Vanderbilt was just divine. Great location right on the water, tasteful room, and perfect and friendly service with delicious food … all one needs!



Tampa, Florida

One cool thing you learned about Tampa:
This was my first visit. Don’t ever underestimate places you have never been to!

Three words to describe the style of the city:
Surprising, buzzing, young.



Best thing about your hotel:
The Renaissance Hotel is actually at the mall, so for late arrivers and early starters it’s unbeatable.

You’ll find your way back to Tampa because …
I’m really curious to figure out why I didn’t have this terrific city on my map before, so I will have to go back and stay for some days!


Houston, Texas

One cool thing about how they style their Pedro Garcias in Texas:
Skinny pants go with every kind of heel.

Three phrases to describe the style of the city:
Laid-back chic, colors mixed with black, comfortable high heels.

The sky on the day of the event was …
It went from being totally overcast to windy, from big clouds and rain to short sunny intervals.

Best meal, bite or beverage in Houston:
Uchi: Hands down the best Japanese ever! The entire menu is a hit.


Scottsdale, Arizona
One cool thing about how they style their Pedro Garcias in Scottsdale:
They have a pair for every occasion!

Best thing about your hotel:
The FireSky Resort has a really great setup, rather quiet with spacious rooms.

You’ll find your way back to Scottsdale because …
They’ve got a mall in the desert! There are no real high rises around Scottsdale, and I love the clear skies and the mountain views.

Corte Madera, California

One cool thing about how they style their Pedro Garcias in this area:
It’s all about comfort.

One idea to describe the style of the city:
Reeeeaally relaxed stay-at-home mums.

The sky on the day of the event was …
A beautiful blue, very crisp.

You’ll find your way back to Corte Madera because …
The clear air is so refreshing, and so is everyone’s easygoing attitude. They’re close to San Francisco, but the area has a country feel. Lots of wineries, but you feel the ocean is near as well. A great location.


Newport Beach, California

One cool thing about how they style their Pedro Garcias at the Fashion Island Nordstrom:
It’s all about sandals!

Best meal, bite or beverage in Newport Beach:
There are a handful of great choices in the mall: Great Maple, Cucina Enoteca, Roy’s and R+D Kitchen. Gulfstream near the Pacific Coast Highway is really good also.

Best thing about your hotel:
I had a great room with an ocean view at the Marriott Hotel and Spa.

You’ll find your way back to Newport because …
Everything: the weather, views, people, food…

All images courtesy Andreas Kurz and Pedro Garcia.


Shop: Pedro Garcia

Find out about store events at the Nordstrom near you.

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New York vs. Paris with Designer Joseph Altuzarra Wed, 20 May 2015 16:09:54 +0000 We’re used to hearing about how designers are caught between seasons; at any given time they’re sketching for one time of year, selecting models to walk a runway for another, and getting sales and marketing reports for a third. But some designers live in between geographic locations as well. For example Joseph Altuzarra. The designer was born in Paris, worked with Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler in America, and then Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy in France before striking out on his own and settling down—and getting married—in New York City.

Image by Simon Cave, courtesy Joseph Altuzarra

Of course, who could choose just one city or the other—and why would they want to? There’s a time and place for everything, and we had the designer tell us exactly what that means for him. Keep reading for city-specific thoughts on baked goods, the ballet (he studied and performed for many years), perfect looks from his spring collection (but of course!)and more.

Spring in Paris or fall in New York? Fall in New York
Paris at midnight or a New York sunrise? New York sunrise
A croissant in Paris or a bagel in New York? Croissant in Paris; La Pâtisserie des Rêves is a favorite
Most iconic Paris landmark? Musée d’Orsay
Coolest new New York hangout? The Polo Bar

Ballet as a participant or ballet from primo balcony seats? If I had my way, definitely as a participant
Opera National de Paris or New York City Ballet? Opera National de Paris
All-time favorite ballet dancer: Sylvie Guillem
All-time favorite ballet composer: Tchaikovsky
All-time favorite ballet choreographer: Marius Petipa, who choreographed classics from Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker to Swan Lake.

The last book that blew your mind: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
The book you’d save from a burning building: The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst
The writer most worthy of eternal canonization: Proust
The book you’re hoping to read this summer: Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
Literature on a digital device or literature inside a hard cover? Hardcover

Current season pick for a weekend day in Paris: The Radley sweater from pre-fall is an easy piece that works with your everyday wardrobe, and for mixing and matching while traveling.
Current season pick for a week day in New York:  The Merrie blazer and Devon skirt, worn together or as a separates; these pieces are perfect for day-to-night on a week day.

Shop: Joseph Altuzarra

—Laura Cassidy

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What to Wear to Work When You’re a Makeup Artist Tue, 19 May 2015 12:24:20 +0000 Makeup artists, hair and wardrobe stylists, and to some degree photographers, creative directors, producers and other crew members are in a tricky position: When you’re readying someone else for the public eye, it’s not necessarily your time to shine. But still… When you’re in the business of aesthetics and design, you’re expected to be an expert at looking good. For example, let’s say it’s your job to beautify Christina Aguilera before she performs during the Super Bowl. Yeah, that happened. And Venice Beach-based celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles managed to pull it off with effortless style.

Wearing: Helmut Lang top, NYDJ pants, Rachel Zoe sandals
Image courtesy Andrew Stiles

We asked this natural beauty, total pro and mom-of-one to tell us all about being California cool amongst the coolest of the cool in this installment of our brand-new interview series designed to inspire and inform that daily conundrum, What to wear to work?

Born and raised: Born in San Francisco, raised in Northern California

Occupation: Celebrity makeup artist (clients include Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Nicole Richie, Nikki Reed and Elizabeth Banks) and founder of Reed Clarke, a curated beauty retail site.

Okay, but how would you describe what you do? I make pretty people pretty.

Early training: I worked with Pat McGrath for a few years in the mid-nineties. It was a remarkable experience. She is a true genius and I loved watching the purity of her ideas translated into makeup looks. She has changed the way beauty is perceived.

Please brag about the really cool people you’ve worked with over the years: Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, David Bowie and Madonna to name a few.

Wearing: Genetic denim, Madewell sandals
Image courtesy Andrew Stiles

Describe your personal style: I’m pretty easygoing. I have to say that since I moved out to LA, my style has definitely become more casual. I almost never wear heels any more and I don’t dress up quite the same way. Because my job is really physical and messy, I try to look cute but not too fussy. Ultimately it’s about freedom of movement and if I can’t do my job because I’m wearing a skirt and boots, then that’s a hindrance.

Describe your approach to “dressing professionally”: I tend to wear a lot of Helmut Lang. Their clothes are really cool and effortless but still look really pulled together, which I love. I also find them quite timeless and can wear them season after season. I also love a vintage dress. Mostly sheath dresses or more of a shapeless, unstructured kind of dress. That way I can still hustle around, putting moisturizer on legs or move around on location, stepping over wires and equipment. Sets are cluttered spaces!

For me, my uniform is a pair of jeans, pants or leggings, a cute shirt, a pair of sandals and a cardigan. If I’m warm and cozy up top then I am a happy girl.

Best compliment you’ve received on something you’ve worn to work: One time when I was doing Nicole Richie’s makeup, I was wearing a dress that I had bought in Cambodia. She told me that she loved my dress. That was very satisfying! Nicole is a total fashion icon and a very cool and chic dresser. It was a compliment that stuck with me, for sure!

The perfect day on set would include catered lunch from: Kitchen Mouse. They are amazing caterers in LA. Most of the food they make is vegan and it is incredibly delicious. Even the most steadfast carnivores love their food.

Wearing: Helmut Lang pants, Balenciaga shoes
Image courtesy Andrew Stiles

The perfect post-set/post-job cocktails, dinner or happy hour experience would be: Well, if I have the time I like to swing by Moon Juice on Rose Avenue in Venice and grab a pressed juice before work (they also have a handful of great skincare products). Or Gjusta on Sunset and Hampton for an amazing egg sandwich. Seriously, it’s the best egg sandwich you’ve ever had—smoked kale, hot sauce, organic eggs, housemade English muffins. After work I usually rush home to my family, but if I’m going out to meet people for dinner, I love Petty Cash tacos on Beverly (great margaritas and kale and cauliflower nachos) or Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican place on Melrose that has just incredible food.

Follow: Fiona Stiles’ Blog | Fiona Stiles on Instagram

Shop: Outfit ideas

—Laura Cassidy

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Seattle International Foundation x Nordstrom: What Elaine Raymond Learned in Bolivia and Beyond with the Seattle Ambassador Program Mon, 18 May 2015 19:12:51 +0000 In partnership with the Seattle International Foundation (SIF) and as part of the Seattle Ambassador program, Nordstrom’s Elaine Raymond traveled to Bolivia last month to work with Etta Projects, one of the nonprofits supported by the foundation. Here, she shares her adventure.

As a marketing specialist at Nordstrom with a heart for world travel, I understand SIF’s motivation to raise awareness of the work being done to alleviate global poverty. And as a Seattleite, I was interested in an organization that gives people access to clean water. Here in the Northwest, we’re surrounded by it. The rain, the Sound, the lakes—but also with clean drinking water from every tap, faucet and hose. It’s easy to forget this isn’t the case everywhere in the world.


Hiking through a village on Isla del Sol. The island is located on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Image courtesy Chris Megargee.

In addition to clean water initiatives, Etta Projects has sanitation improvement projects and a health promoters program. Simply put, the majority of their work involves getting safe living practicalities, health care and education to families. As often happens when you set out to help others, I ended up learning a lot about myself and the world in the process.

Here are the three things that resonated most.

1. It’s important to ask questions about “development.”
Development work just for the sake of it isn’t always good or welcome. It’s important to ask if the help is wanted. How will it impact the way of life? Will the improvements be sustainable? It’s critical to be cautious and curious before jumping to conclusions, to ask questions and observe the communities you wish to serve. How can we know if we’re doing the right thing? It’s a tricky question with probably an even more complex answer—an answer I don’t have, but something worth thinking about.

Fortunately, I saw very positive examples of this with Etta Projects. They are clearly wanted in the communities where they work. They have the support of the residents and the local government. Their relationships are personal and loving, and their work is culturally responsible and sustainable. EP does not install their projects and simply move on; rather, they become integrated into the community.


Residents of Isla del Sol. Approximately 4,000 people live on the island. Image courtesy Chris Megargee.

2. Clean water and sanitation go hand in hand.
When I started this program, I thought of clean water and sanitation (or bathrooms) as two distinct issues. I was interested in clean water, but wasn’t totally comfortable with the (dirty) topic of sanitation. After spending time in the communities, I now know the two cannot easily be separated. Before EP’s arrival, the “bathroom” was a hole in the ground in the backyard. During the rainy season, these pits would flood and contaminate drinking water. To solve this, EP helps build eco-latrines. The latrines are raised off the ground to prevent flooding and, when used correctly, produce safe organic compost. The second piece of the puzzle is safe running water. The communities’ new water systems provide clean drinking water, a safe alternative to hand pumps, contaminated wells or other potentially harmful water sources.


Visiting Bolivian community La Reforma. This clean water system was installed with the help of Etta Projects. Image courtesy Chris Megargee.

3. In a “machismo” society, women’s entrepreneurship is key.
In addition to seeing how Etta Projects’ health promoter programs were empowering women, I also had the opportunity to meet female entrepreneurs from the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas program (WEAmericas). This program is funded with the goal of increasing women’s economic participation and addressing common key barriers faced by small businesses. At the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, I visited with women whose businesses ranged from making alpaca scarves to high-end jewelry, each employing between eight and 600 females.

Despite the variations between the businesses, there was a common thread: the desire to support local women by providing jobs. These business owners are successful entrepreneurs, but their motivation is more than just money. They see value in helping their community by creating opportunities for fellow Bolivian women. After spending only a short time in Bolivia, I saw that the need for this work is clear.

One young woman, Valessa, owns a small jewelry business. She currently has one shop, but her ultimate goal is to sell to the United States. However, exportation is one of the biggest obstacles these entrepreneurs face. Bolivia–U.S. relations, a lack of trade agreements and variations in exportation regulations complicate this. Programs like WEAmericas are designed to help female small-business owners navigate these challenges.


Workshop of Bolivia-based company Nanay, which employs approximately 600 local women and exports around the world. Image courtesy Chris Megargee.

Reflecting on my trip got me thinking about my way of life back in Seattle. In rural Bolivia, priorities are different. Life can be tough, but it’s relatively simple. Concerns are for health and well-being instead of deadlines and traffic. During the trip, author Bill Powers explained to us the social movement “vivir bien.” The concept is to live well but stop striving once you have what you need. Cut out the extras. It’s not asking you to live in poverty, just comfortably. Have what you need; nothing more, nothing less. For me, this likely isn’t a switch I could flip, but rather a conscious effort to be aware of the choices I make—and to choose with care.

—Elaine Raymond

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Street Style | Get This Look Mon, 18 May 2015 15:00:38 +0000 We can’t get enough of Crystal Nicodemus’s eye, so we’re bringing her Fashion Week street style posts to the mix all year long. Get inspired by the industry’s best dressed, and then … make their look your own!


Shop similar styles:
Cable Knit Sweaters | Colorful Handbags | Denim Skirts

Shop our Editors’ Picks to re-create this look:

Belstaff Textured Sweater | Mark Cross Trunk Crossbody | Stella McCartney Denim Skirt

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Your AstroTwins Weekly Horoscope for May 18-22 Mon, 18 May 2015 12:00:55 +0000 Life has plenty of variables. Wouldn’t it be radical if  the future was a knowable thing? Well hold on, because it just got a lot more knowable-able. We’re psyched to help you cue up and dial in your week via these new weekday/weekend horoscopes from Olivia Kim’s favorite astrologers, the AstroTwins.


Say what? This Monday, May 18 messenger Mercury turns retrograde for the second time in 2015. This one could be a double whammy as it takes place in expressive Gemini—the sign it actually rules. Watch those words! The scrambled signals, crossed wires and general chaos that come with Mercury retrograde territory could be stronger than ever between now and June 11. Gemini governs our peer groups: friends, siblings, colleagues and neighbors. Be extra mindful with these peeps in particular. A comfortable as we may feel blurting out unfiltered thoughts around them, being too laid back may lead to insensitivity and barely forgivable gaffes. But familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt. Over the next three weeks, our closest relationships can actually improve when we approach them with what the Buddhists refer to as beginner’s mind. Treat the people you know best as if you’re meeting for the first time. Engage with curiosity and drop all assumptions. You’ll be amazed by what you discover.

Mercury retrogrades have a funny way of bringing back people from the past. Get the gang—or the band—back together for a reunion tour. And protect those digital devices! Technical snafus tend to happen during the messenger planet’s backspin, like water spilling onto a laptop or a mobile phone dropping on the sidewalk and cracking. Keep the cap on your kombucha while computing and get a bumper style case. Back up and password protect sensitive data, too. With Mercury retrograde in gossip-loving Gemini, be extra careful about what you put in writing. A snarky text or email could go right to the recipient of the barb or (glug) the entire office if you aren’t careful. Yikes!

On Thursday, May 21 the Sun blazes into Gemini until June 21, occupying a place alongside both Mercury AND red-hot Mars, which has been in the sign of the twins since May 11. Hello, spring fever! With the Sun and passionate Mars synced up in flirty Gemini, we’ll all be feeling naughty and playful. Mercury retrograde could rouse memories of an old flame, but this might just mean inviting trouble back into our lives. Resist the urge to text that sexy-but-toxic ex! Platonic partnerships get a lively boost from the Sun’s Tour d’Gemini making this a fabulous time to network with new people and explore synergies. Stick to short-term alliances to test the waters. Variety is the spice of life during Gemini season.

While we’ll all be feeling “in the moment” (or a little stuck in the past), Friday’s stars turn our attention to the future. That day, the Gemini Sun opposes structured Saturn in Sagittarius, the sign of optimism and long-range dreams. Pause to do some planning: Are expended efforts truly taking us in the right direction? We might experience a few slowdowns and ego checks near the weekend. Fortunately, the Sun-Saturn opposition gives us a chance to recalibrate and get back on a productive path. This could involve travel or education. Sign up for those global conferences or spend the weekend plowing through a tutorial to bring skills up to snuff. Stern Saturn wants us to follow protocol, too. At the very least, master the rules before breaking them!

Choose your words wisely, Aries. Their power becomes very clear this Monday, May 18 when messenger Mercury turns retrograde (backward) for three weeks in Gemini and your third house of communication. During this time, your reverence for language might come via a lesson, thanks to back-spinning Mercury’s propensity for miscommunications. No one has stronger opinions than a fired up Ram, for sure. But that doesn’t mean you can rant and rave indiscriminately and not expect to deal with some fallout. Never mind that the PC police are off-duty while Mercury is retro: Check yourself before you wreck your reputation with an ill-fated Tweet or inappropriate critique of someone who has the power to make your life miserable! But just because you bite your tongue doesn’t mean you have to hold it. With a little extra tact, you can speak your truth without worrying that your message will be lost in translation. Channel some energy into a writing or research project. With Mercury in reverse, you could dig up some real gems or source materials that no one else on the continent has discovered. And since the third house also rules friendship, flip through Facebook and your phone logs. This is the perfect time to reconnect to an old friend or neighbor from your former ‘hood. If you’ve been distant or estranged from a sibling, extend an olive branch. You might just work things out before Mercury corrects its course on June 11.

On Thursday, the Sun joins both Mercury and passionate Mars (your ruling planet) in Gemini until June 21. Hello, social butterfly! Your wings start a-flapping once this trifecta ramps up, so get out and find your kindred spirits. Fortunately, you won’t have to wander too far from home to find your tribe. Gemini governs the local scene, and this cosmic trio makes you a hit in your own ‘hood. Check the neighborhood listings; scan the flyers tacked to bulletin boards and telephone poles. A treasure trove of opportunity may be sitting in your own backyard. And if there isn’t, how about you get the party started yourself, Aries? A neighborhood business might be overjoyed to host a weekly event that you organize. And whip off those aviators when you’re wandering to the corner store or picking up your lunchtime takeout so you can actually make eye contact with people. You don’t always realize how intimidating you can be, Ram. (But how many times have friends confessed: “I didn’t think you liked me when we first met.”) Make a point of being more inviting, especially since the Sun is synced up with aggressive Mars. This combo can make you a live wire AND the life of the party if you use it proactively. Since Gemini is the sign of the twins, you could find your other half: a business partner, creative collaborator, wingman, or road dog to accompany you to summer soirees, music festivals and more. Despite Mercury’s backspin, you’ll have the gift of gab between now and June 21. Use it to start a buzz on your own behalf. Promote your latest offerings via social media or spread the word about a project or cause that’s dear to your heart. Got an idea for a blog, mobile app, or a feature-film screenplay? Warm up those typing fingers, Aries: Gemini Time is perfect for getting those words and ideas out of your head and into development. But wait until Mercury turns direct on June 11 to launch it to the public, if possible.

Although there’s a flurry of activity close to home, don’t forget to look beyond your corner of the world, too. On Friday, the Sun will oppose stable Saturn in Sagittarius and your ninth house of travel and long-distance connections. A friend in a far-flung locale could reach out with a proposal; or, you might realize it’s been a little too long since the two of you talked. Spend the weekend mapping out some big picture goals; there’s little sense of going through the motions each day if you aren’t inspired by a higher vision. Take off for an overnight on Friday — or a full-on weekend getaway. A change of scenery will help you return to home base refreshed and bubbling with new ideas.

Grab your life vest. The Sea Of Love could get a little choppy this week, Aquarius! On Monday, May 18 messenger Mercury turns retrograde in Gemini and your fifth house of love. You say tomato; they hear “tomahhhto.” Caramba! Lovers’ quarrels could break out at a moment’s notice between now and June 11. Even if you don’t start the fight, your own temper may be quick to fire, escalating the drama. Deep. Breaths. If you’re wondering if you’re overreacting over the next three weeks, alas, the answer is probably yes. Mercury retrogrades are known to stir up the past and this one could bring an AWOL ex out of the woodwork. Or, you could find yourself fantasizing about “the one that got away.” Hindsight isn’t always 20/20—not when Mercury’s in reverse. While it’s nice to ruminate on the good old days, don’t forget what split you up the last go round. And if you do reconnect, let the jury be out until at least June 11. You need to see that a change has truly been implemented before you can determine if a sequel would be a smart move.

On Thursday, the sun joins Mercury and go-getter Mars in Gemini until June 21, igniting a creative and romantic renaissance. You’ll have an easier time moving on from those memories after Thursday as this solar-powered phase makes you more proactive than reflective. Single Water Bearers, get your OkCupid profile posted and do some right swiping. Make a point of dressing up more often, flaunting your eclectic Aquarian style. As lusty Mars will be synced up with the Sun, there could be a sexy spring awakening for you, no matter what your romantic status. Meow! Gemini governs your fifth house of self-expression, making you quite the showstopper. Perform, present and promote! Red-hot Mars gives you even more charisma and you’ll have them at hello. The only hitch is Mercury retrograde, which may scramble signals. By all means, put yourself out there, Aquarius, but save your edgier moves for after June 11 because they could be misinterpreted. If you have the urge to revamp your style, stick to Pinterest boards until Mercury turns direct. You could regret inking, piercing, snipping or coloring anything over the coming three weeks. But do your research because, mid-June, your closet could get a cool and colorful upgrade.

On Friday, the Sun faces off with strict Saturn in Sagittarius and your eleventh house of community. A group that you’re a part of could start to feel a bit too stifling—especially if you have to play by someone else’s rules. Keep that rebellious streak in check though. If you’re going to make an exit, let it be a gracious one. Lone wolf Aquarians could feel the ache for community on Friday. No, you might not fit in with the mainstream crowd—you’re far too nuanced for that—spend the weekend exploring scenes that speak to your quirky eccentricity, intellect and desire to create positive social change. There ARE others out there like you. While you can find them online, push yourself to create IRL friendships. Facetime doesn’t replace actual face time, Aquarius, where you can gather and share energy.

Whoa, Cancer. Life could feel as surreal as a Dali painting this Monday, May 18 when mental Mercury turns retrograde (backward) in Gemini, your ethereal twelfth house. With the planet of communication sending scrambled signals to your subconscious, the line between fantasy and reality could seriously blur. Don’t fight it! Instead, dive into “the artist’s way,” or literally pick up the eponymous workbook by author Julia Cameron. An imaginative project that’s been simmering in your idea bank could come to life in beautiful brushstrokes, crashing chords, or flowery phrases. Retrogrades rule the past, and the twelfth house governs healing. Echoes of an old hurt or betrayal could reverberate again. Turns out you weren’t “so over it,” like you’ve been insisting. Swaddle yourself in sacred support for the next three weeks. Remember Winston Churchill’s famous saying: When you’re going through hell, keep going. Persistence is required to get to the true source of this pain (and again, creativity is super cathartic, too). Avoid the temptation to engage with the perpetrating party right now. Although forgiveness may be imminent, give yourself time to feel all your own emotions now—without having to stand on higher ground. Work with a therapist, healer, or spiritual guide who specializes in shadow work. You just can’t paint sunshine over the storm clouds, Cancer—not if you actually want to move beyond this drama.

Some help for this mission arrives on Thursday when the Sun joins both Mercury and passion-planet Mars in Gemini and your transitional twelfth house until June 21. Don ye now those rubber gloves! This is the final phase of your annual zodiac cycle; a time best used for clearing away the cobwebs from your past year so you can start your birthday season on a fresh note this June 21. For some Crabs, this could be interpreted literally. If your house is strewn with sentimental objects that are past their due date (or need some organizing), let the decluttering commence! Bag up those misbegotten retail therapy splurges or the items that still have the tags on them two years after purchase. Gift the more valuable pieces to loved ones who will use and appreciate them. With Mars’ motivating wind at your back, you could power clean your basement, storage unit and garage before the summer solstice! Emotionally, you may realize that you need better boundaries. You don’t have to put up an impenetrable shell though, Cancer. Just get honest about where you require more space and “me” time. Without time to retreat into your own world, you can feel seriously exhausted by people. Meditate, journal and reflect about what your needs are. Then, when you feel you can express them lovingly, let your peeps know the deal. Are you ready to release a toxic relationship? There’s no time better than the present. If someone devastated you, sitting down together won’t bring closure. Instead, write an uncensored letter to pour your heart out. Then, have a ceremonial burning, dropping the paper into a fire pit instead of the mailbox. The muse will be close at hand for the coming four weeks, too: Keep a notebook on your nightstand. Divinely inspired ideas could strike while you sleep!

With all this esoteric, emotional energy you’re flowing through, it might be easy to neglect your body. On Friday, the Sun gets checked by structure-hound Saturn in Sagittarius and your sixth house of healthy routines. Moving that stuck energy out of your psyche is great; now, how about sending it out of your body? Make sure your weekend plans include some fun physical activity. Go for a hike or long bike ride; take regular dance breaks (may we suggest Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” as your anthem?). Food can be a Cancer’s favorite mood stabilizer: When the going gets tough, the tough go for cronuts! Alas, those sugary indulgences, as well as the flowery cocktails, can just cause a crash when you’re dealing with so much. Devote the weekend to detoxing: Sip juice, each fresh salads, head to the spa for a soak and a schvitz in the sauna. Your lit-from-within glow will be back in no time!

Details, details! You could find yourself scrambling to stay on top of them all, as Mercury turns retrograde for three weeks this Monday, May 18. Until June 11, the messenger planet will retreat through Gemini and your sixth house of routines, forcing you to reconfigure the way you operate on a daily basis. Frustrating? Yeah. But consider this a blessing in disguise. You’ll save so much time and energy by upping your efficiency game, Capricorn. Pause to parse through those piles and put savvier systems in place. For example, would it be faster to dress for work if you put together outfits on hangers? When you cook dinner, toss a little extra into the pan so you can bring the leftovers along for your next-day’s lunch. Give every item you own a dedicated home on a shelf, in a drawer or a box. This will make cleaning up a much faster process. And maybe it’s time to outsource a few of those time-sucking tasks that distract you from handling the work that brings a healthy ROI. But brace yourself: An assistant you relied on for support could flake during Mercury retrograde. Don’t go into superhero mode and just pick up the slack yourself. Hold people accountable for pulling their weight, and if they can’t step up, search for a better fit. (Read: Someone with integrity.) Since retrogrades point us to the past, the replacement might be a reliable soul you worked with back in the day.

On Thursday, the Sun beams in with support for your productivity mission. Until June 21, el sol joins the Gemini party, traveling alongside Mercury and go-getter Mars. Hello massive motivation! Your famous Capricorn work ethic is back with a vengeance, and you’ll be eager to generate results once again. Your can-do spirit is your secret weapon now, so use that positive energy to impress the movers and shakers. Hop on LinkedIn and reconnect to colleagues from your past. One of them may even have a job offer or another moneymaking opportunity to send your way. Green is the new black for this monthlong spell—as in organic kale smoothies, eco-chic products, and sound financial budgeting. For the past month, you’ve had the Sun in your festive fifth house, so your hedonistic side has probably trumped your inner health nut. Hop back on the wellness wagon, finding pleasure in preparing food with nourishing ingredients and moving your body more often. Take those workouts al fresco and get a good dose of that warm, spring air in between computer time. You might even keep free weights by your desk—or an insanely beneficial (and totally cheap) foam roller, which can break up scar tissue, improve circulation AND your range of motion.

On Friday, keep a flashlight handy. You’ll need it to shine on the monsters under your bed. That day, stern Saturn will make its annual opposition to the Sun. Because of Saturn’s position in your twelfth house of subconscious thoughts, their annual face-off may stir up a few buried fears. Your mood could take a plunge near the weekend so cancel plans with people whom you consider needy or stressful. Gather with supportive, compassionate listeners instead; ones who also have good heads on their shoulders. You’ll need to talk your worries through with friends who can help you come up with simple, smart solutions—not catastrophizers who heap fuel onto the fire. An old nemesis or frenemy could also return, stirring the pot. Arm yourself with empirical facts and enlist an advocate, like a lawyer or HR director, if you need to fight back. This is not the time for text-to-text combat. Getting emotional will give this annoying person ammunition. While ignoring this person completely won’t be possible, disengage and enforce a strong boundary. Remember that “No” is a complete sentence.

Who do you think you are, Gemini…really? Ever since your ruling planet Mercury came home to Gemini on April 30, you’ve been exploring new facets of your identity. Something inside of you wants to evolve. You feel eager to embrace a new and expanded sense of self. But in your desire for change, were you a little too quick to throw out the baby with the bathwater? This Monday, May 18 Mercury flips into retrograde mode until June 11, bringing some retro flashbacks. While you might not LOVE the past you are leaving behind, it’s still a part of your personal history. Own it, Gemini, because like it or not, it helped you become the person you are today. In the words of Joseph Campbell, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” On the other hand, if you find yourself clinging to the past, Mercury’s retreat can help you tie up the loose ends that are keeping you stuck there. This Joseph Campbell quote may be more apropos for Geminis who feel fearful about stepping into their destiny: “We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” With Mercury retrograde for three weeks, you may find it difficult to express yourself with your usual quick and witty candor. Allow yourself moments to reflect, observe and not feel forced to respond. This phrase could be a lifesaver: “Let me get back to you on that.”

Finding unfiltered Gemini becomes a whole lot easier on Thursday, when the Sun beams into your sign until June 21. Happy birth month to you! The Festival of Gemini officially begins, a time to hit the refresh button on your internal browser. Situations that have been a constant struggle become too heavy to hold on to. Letting go—or at least releasing the need to force a particular outcome—will be surprisingly easy. Although Mercury retrograde is making you introspective, you’ll be a lot more extroverted during this four-week phase. Get out and explore the wide world outside of your door. Sate your hunger for fresh experiences, new friends—all while honoring the desire to spend time alone and be more independent at times, too.

As you cast a wider net, don’t forget the people who have your back. On Friday, the Gemini Sun will directly oppose cautious Saturn in Sagittarius and your seventh house of relationships. One of your quiet supporters could make some noise as s/he may be feeling neglected or overlooked. Do some damage control earlier in the week and be sure to express gratitude and appreciation to the unsung heroes in your circle. In other relationships, however, you may be feeling a bit stifled, even overpowered. With boundary-hound Saturn in the frame, it could be YOU who is putting up the stop sign and letting these pushy people know to back the @#$% up. The Sun-Saturn opposition helps you find balance between your role as a solo star and your participation in a dynamic duo. You CAN have the best of both worlds, Gemini, as long as you communicate clearly and lovingly.

Reunited and it feels so good? This Monday, May 18 social Mercury turns retrograde for three weeks in Gemini and your eleventh house of community. Get ready for some blasts from the past, Leo. People you haven’t thought about for years could pop back up on your radar. Get the old gang (or, yes, the band) back together. Consider rejoining an organization that once held a special place in your heart. Between now and June 11 you’ll definitely be yearning for the company of people who knew you back in the day. But, Leo, watch your tendency to make your reunion plans too elaborate. Mercury retrograde is known for causing snafus in scheduling and transportation. Sure a spa weekend might sound great on paper but it might be easier to just have a laid back barbecue in your own backyard. The eleventh house is the tech sector of the chart—and it also governs electrical devices. Consider yourself warned, Leo: Be extra mindful with your gadgets. Slurp down that smoothie or soup a safe distance from your laptop. Check the plugs on your vintage lamps or older appliances. It might be time to get them re-wired or shop for an updated model. Just make sure there’s a good warranty if you make the buy before June 11.

On Thursday, the Sun heads into Gemini until June 21, joining both Mercury and excitable Mars in your teamwork and technology zone. As fond as your feelings may be for old friends, you’ll also be eager to add some new members to your entourage. Do you feel like you haven’t quite found your tribe yet? With the Sun and Mars synced up you’ll have plenty of energy for the search. Wander around and check out new scenes without rushing to become an official member. Intellectual, arty and avant-garde activities will captivate you now. At work, you’ve been large and in charge for the past month. After Thursday it will feel rather lonely at the top. Turn those solo missions into collaborative ventures. Ceding control can be tough, but you’ll be inspired by the input you receive from others. Got an idea for an app, invention, website or e-store? Geek is chic while the Sun cruises through this part of your chart. Map it out, crunch the numbers, even call the developers if you’re ready for a beta model. The only caveat: Mercury retrograde is not an ideal time for launching any digital ventures. Do your research now so you can start production or go public with your plans after June 11. Want to boost your salary? Learning a new piece of software could bump you to a higher income bracket. And if you’re looking for love, do log in to a dating site. Your “clickthrough rate” is through the roof for the next four weeks. If you’re in a relationship, group activities bring some much-needed levity to your bond. Host a barbecue with your sweetie, or maybe join that kickball league as a couple.

Lest you worry that you’ll lose any starpower, Friday’s forecast will reassure you that you won’t get lost in the crowd. That day, the Sun opposes prestigious Saturn in Sagittarius and your fifth house of fame. Your hard work could pay off near this day, or your talents could finally be recognized. Don’t be shy about promoting what you have to offer, Leo. Just make sure to consider what’s in it for THEM. When you spell out the benefits to other people, you’ll easily attract fans.

Um, did you just say that out loud? Oh, Libra. This Monday, May 18 expressive Mercury turns retrograde in Gemini and your candid ninth house until June 11. For a change, you’re anything but diplomatic —a relief to people who are frustrated by your insistence on being “Switzerland” and refusing to take a strong stance on an issue. The trouble is, your truth bombs could detonate at the wrong time or cause conflicts that you didn’t intend. And your temper, which rarely makes an appearance, could be quite fiery over the next three weeks. So maybe you shouldn’t get rid of that inner diplomat altogether, Libra. You can still disagree or vocalize a firm opinion without crushing people in the process. At times it will simply be enough to say “No.” rather than explaining the reason why you are opting out of a certain activity. The ninth house is the global jetsetting zone and a travel plan may be stalled or complicated by the retrograde. Triple-confirm reservations and dig up your passport early to make sure it hasn’t expired. Make a packing list and be 100 percent sure that your ID is in your wallet before you Uber it to the airport. It might be best to reschedule this journey for mid-June, or at least simplify an aspect of the itinerary. Since retrogrades rule the past, this wouldn’t be a bad time to revisit a locale that holds special meaning in your heart. Bonus points if you get to connect to an old friend, lover, or long-lost relative during the journey.

On Tuesday, the Sun zips into Gemini and your expansive ninth house until June 21, joining Mercury and passionate Mars. That quest for greener pastures is simply unavoidable now. And it could lead you to far-flung corners of the world over the next four weeks—Mercury retrograde be damned. If you’re not literally making a pilgrimage, you may travel in the figurative sense. Explore personal growth workshops, meditation groups, and all forms of experiential education. Send your inner glamazon on vacation, too, and let the boho babe in you take the wheel. Spending time in nature revives your soul. Think: picnics in the parks, hammock time, and even a camping/glamping trip with a small group of friends. Long-distance relationships percolate with potential, thanks to lusty Mars’ influence. If you feel the click with a hottie in another port, don’t let the miles stand between you. This could be the start of a beautiful adventure, whether for romance, a creative collaboration, or a business alliance. Speaking of which, the entrepreneurial gears will be turning faster while the Sun is in Gemini. If you have an idea for a professional venture, or a publishing project (also the ninth house’s domain), start spec-ing it out. Seeing the facts and figures laid out before you will help you determine how doable it is. Some risk WILL be involved, but Mercury’s retreat cautions against plowing ahead on a wing and a prayer. If you love your 9-5, adopt an “intrapreneurial” spirit. In other words, get a new initiative rolling within the company you work for. Your optimism alone is enough to sell the people in corporate on backing your big plans. But be warned: Alhough you’re luckier than usual when the Sun is in your ninth house, there’s a tendency to overshoot the mark or overload yourself with responsibility. Make sure your plan is solid before you press the launch button.

On Friday, the indie-spirited Sun gets checked by stern Saturn, which is parked in your third house of partnerships. In your zeal to expand and explore, did you leave a key ally in the lurch? This might be a friend, coworker, neighbor…even a sibling. Even if it’s not appropriate to bring them along for the ride, it’s important to communicate so they know you aren’t abandoning them completely. Have you made promises to pair up that you’re now regretting? It’s a Libra’s prerogative to change his or her mind—and back out if they must. But do so in a way that leaves the least amount of collateral damage. Bridges don’t have to be burned, but you might have to pony up a consolation prize in order to keep the goodwill flowing.

Food is fuel; food is medicine. This week’s stars bring a reminder that you are what you eat. On Monday, May 18 Mercury turns retrograde in Gemini and your fourth house of nourishment until June 11. Start paying attention to what’s on your plate. You might even track it in an app or food journal. Notice how you feel after each meal: energized, sluggish, wired? There’s a definite connection between food and mood, Pisces, and you will start to notice patterns. You might even try a detoxifying elimination diet for the next three weeks, reducing (or removing) inflammation-causing foods like dairy, wheat, meat, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Deprivation never works, so stock up on decadent-yet-healthy recipes like these delicious selections from Oh She Glows. Mercury retrograde is always a time to handle those “re” activities: revising, refining, revamping. With your domestic fourth house in the crosshairs, your home situation could also be up for review. Are you truly happy where you live? It might be time to shop around for a new place to hang your hat—although we recommend waiting until Mercury turns direct on June 11 before you sign any leases or plant a For Sale sign on your lawn. And while this isn’t an optimal time to decorate, get those Pinterest boards going if you simply need to spruce up your space or make it more functional for yourself. This IS a good time to rearrange your space, Pisces. Take a peek at a feng shui bagua map and see what’s holding court in each corner of your quarters. You might just decide to swap your bedroom with your home office if you’ve been toiling away in your love corner and sleeping in your career corner.

On Thursday, the Sun beams into Gemini until June 21, joining both Mercury and energizer Mars in your fourth house of food, family and foundations. Hello, sentimental vibes! Draw a tighter radius around your inner circle. You’ll crave cozy connections now, with people you really trust to open up to. Reconnect with relatives and female friends whom you’ve been too busy to see. You might even plan a reunion—but don’t feel obligated to invite any crazymakers to the party. With Mercury retrograde, minor squabbles could boil into big time battles. Better they should be miffed about being excluded than allowed to spoil your good times. The fourth house is the feminine realm making women your star allies for the coming four weeks. Team up on a business project, plan an event together or help each other promote your latest offerings by buzzing on social media for one another. A sister act could be quite successful. Just be sure to delineate duties clearly to avoid stepping on each other’s espadrilles.

While home will be your favorite sanctuary this week, alas, you can’t ignore the calling of your career. On Friday, the Sun makes its annual opposition to stern Saturn, which is parked in Sagittarius and your tenth house of ambition. Pull yourself out of repose because you might just have some catch-up work to do. And we’re not talking about shopping for pink Himalayan bath salts, picking out temporary wallpaper or experimenting with gluten-free barbecue marinades. Check in with colleagues and clients before the workweek wraps. Simply letting them know that you’re around and available will keep your important professional relationships on track. You might need to nurture some of these connections, so consider meeting a contact for brunch over the weekend, or putting a power lunch on the books for Friday to touch base in a more laid back way.

Exactly how dynamic are those duos you’re a part of, Sagittarius? Ever since expressive Mercury moved into Gemini on April 30, you’ve been hungry to bond, connect and partner up. But in your eagerness to share the love, have you sacrificed too much of yourself? This Monday, May 18 Mercury slips into a three-week retrograde, giving you a chance to retrace your steps. Warning: Your first impulse might be to get angry. “How could people take advantage of my kindness like that?” you blaze. You’re a fire sign, after all, and your temper can be rather notorious. But rather than playing the victim, be proactive. Bring your needs and desires into the open instead of waiting for other people to return your generosity in kind. Where is the magic missing for you? What shared experiences do you desire and what would you actually like a little less of? Mercury retrogrades give us a chance to recalibrate our communication style—and dive into deeper discussions than we’ve been willing to have in the past. Oh, and couples’ therapy always helps. Just. Go.

In business alliances, review contracts, too. You might need to renegotiate terms or hash out an addendum that reflects the evolution of your partnership. It’s not advisable to sign documents with Mercury in reverse, but sometimes that’s just plain unavoidable. Have them carefully reviewed by an attorney before you put any ink on it. People from the past tend to resurface during Mercury’s backspins, and the messenger planet’s retreat through your relationship house could call in some old flames. Brace yourself: A text from an ex could rile you up this week; or, you might find yourself daydreaming about “the one that got away.” Contacting past loves can be rather dicey during Mercury retro. While it might seem like a good way to get closure or even revive a spark, judgment can be skewed. Before you thumbtype a response, get real: Are you inviting trouble back into your life…maybe feeling a little bored? Unless it was simply bad timing that kept you apart, it might be wise to leave the past in the past.

On Thursday, the Sun joins the Gemini party, sailing alongside both Mercury and driven Mars until June 21. Retrograde, schmetrograde. Dwelling on the past is so NOT the Sagittarius way. If you’re ready to move on—either with a new partner or with a new attitude about an existing relationship—you’ll feel inspired to do so. With the Sun and red-hot Mars conjoined, this could be a deliciously sexy time for coupled Archers—and a naughty exploration for the single arrow slingers out there. The seventh house rules the law and this solar-powered phase brings a charge of good luck for legal matters and contract negotiations. Intriguing offers may come in; just heed the Mercury retrograde warning label before rushing to commit.

With all these amazing, dramatic, and intriguing interpersonal developments, you might forget to tend to your personal goals. But on Friday, stern Saturn—which is on a three-year tour through Sagittarius—will directly oppose the Gemini Sun, forcing you to focus on Numero Uno. Carve out some alone time for yourself over the weekend to pursue your independent interests. You need a break from entertaining other people or letting them slow you down when you want to go on one of your speedy, frenetic discovery missions. Your boundaries could clarify as you reconnect to yourself. Before the weekend is through, you’ll know just what to say to the person who has been stepping over the line.

Is a kiss really just a kiss? A glance just a glance? This Monday, May 18 expressive Mercury turns retrograde (backward) in Gemini and your seductive—and danger-loving—eighth house. Caution: Signals can scramble in the game of amour between now and June 11. Temptation’s trail may beckon you away from those safe, stable arms. Oh, Scorpio! You’re going to have to implement a little more self-control over the coming three weeks if you don’t want to spiral into obsessive mode. Mercury’s retreat could find you ruminating over an old flame—one who may have scored much higher in bedroom performance than relationship etiquette. You might just wake to a text from an ex one morning this week (or even in the wee hours of the night, booty call style). Would a response mean inviting trouble back into your life? If so, hit delete, STAT. But if it was just bad timing that caused a relationship to end, Mercury retrograde IS a good time to reconnect. You never know, Scorpio, a sexy sequel could be in store. If you’re in a relationship, the next few weeks could get intense. Having the messenger planet do backstrokes in such murky waters could bring out your jealous streak—and your inner Sherlock. Don’t even toy with snooping or Google stalking, Scorpio. That’s just a slippery slope for you. And that breach of trust will damage a relationship even if your partner never finds out you opened up their Gmail account. If your relationship is rocky, head to couple’s therapy or schedule time for a private conversation when you’re both relaxed and able to focus on the discussion. You simply can’t gloss over problems for the coming three weeks, but your willingness to dive in will be greater—and that’s how you’ll REALLY get past the stumbling blocks.

On Thursday, the forecast brightens considerably as the Sun slinks alongside Mercury and lusty Mars in Gemini and your erotic, exotic eighth house until June 21. Meow, hottie! You’re totally in your element for the next four weeks, since the eighth house is naturally associated with Scorpio (the eighth sign of the zodiac). Even if Mercury retrograde makes you hung up on people from the past, the Sun-Mars merger keeps you keenly focused on new possibilities. Pull some Sacred Seduction tools from savvy siren Kitty Cavalier’s arsenal to help you along the journey. You’re a master at arousing energy in people, whether you’re doing it through sensuality or simply creating an atmosphere of beauty. Refresh your lingerie drawer, burn scented candles, feather your boudoir. Moving your body will amp up your mojo now, too. Maybe it’s time to finally take that Burlesque 101 or S Factor workshop. (Then again, you might already be teaching it, knowing you.) And while you’re feeling foxier than a retro Pam Grier, relationships take on a more serious and intimate tone. Nothing short of a mind-body-soul connection will do, so save your final rose for someone who can bring that trinity. If you’re already spoken for, talks will turn to permabonding. Join forces in a lasting way, like co-signing a lease, getting engaged, or renewing your vows. Financially, the eighth house governs your wealth. Now’s the time to start exploring passive income streams, earning cash through royalties, rental properties, affiliate sales, or other investments that can bring you money in your sleep.

But there’s little point of making more money if you burn it as fast as you earn it. This Friday, hard-nosed Saturn opposes the Sun, advising you to tighten up your belt instead of buying yet another skull-embellished McQueen cincher from Net-A-Porter. Set up auto-transfers to your savings and investment accounts to make the process seamless. Wait, you don’t have such accounts? Schedule an appointment with a financial planner or even a money coach who can help you get your hard-earned funds in order.

Work smarter not harder, Taurus. From Monday, May 18 until June 11, Mercury will be retrograde in your second house of productivity and financial foundations. Just going through the motions is not going to cut it now. Pause to refine your processes. Are you handling tasks with the greatest efficiency, or are you constantly redoubling your efforts? What could you “templatize,” Taurus, or even train someone else to do for you? For example, if you find yourself writing the same email over and over, turn it into a form letter that you can copy, paste and tweak. Once you create a system, you can pass it on to another person—or just get through this repetitive task at optimal speed. Mercury governs communication so check in with your colleagues: Are you working together as cooperatively as you possibly can? What support do they need from you (and vice versa) to get the job done right? Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say. With Mercury in reverse, you’ll have to be more mindful about your money. Splurging without planning could leave you in the red. A forgotten bill could resurface over the next three weeks, or an unexpected repair may be necessary for your car or a tool that you use for work each day. Keep extra funds tucked away for that “just in case” account. And if you don’t wind up using them, you can treat yo’ self mid-June. An austerity plan doesn’t have to spell deprivation. Get creative and resourceful by shopping in your own closet then repurposing, upcycling and spinning some DIY magic. Your own “junk” could turn out to be the spring season’s treasure with a little paint, flair and polish, like this funky wood pallet planter. Hello shoestring budget garden upgrade!

On Thursday, sweep up the cake crumbs and pour out the flat champagne. Your birthday season is officially over (sniff) as the Sun exits Taurus and moves on to Gemini and your grounded second house. El sol will travel alongside Mercury and go-getter Mars until June 21, helping you get your feet back on solid ground again. While it’s never fun to end the celebrations, you’re ready to bring some order to your court again. Pop on the project manager’s hat: Which of those brilliant ideas that you dreamed up during your birthday time are actually tangible? Crunch the numbers, map out the timelines, and figure out what people power is required to pull it all off. With a little practical magic, some of these dreams will be quite doable. Getting your budget in order will be easier after Thursday, too. Enlist a financial planner to show you the ropes, or check out Girls Just Wanna Have Funds and get started on your own. If it’s time for an upgrade, you don’t have to autopilot to the bargain bin: Consider investing in practical luxury. An object that stands the test of time—and brings you joy with its pleasing design each day—might be a sounder purchase. Just remember this rule: Form follows function. It must be as useful as it is beautiful to make it worth the cash. Start a special savings account just for this. On a personal note, bring more earthy sensuality to your life. Step out for fresh air breaks, organize picnics and hikes, skip the movies and go for romantic walks instead.

On Friday, stern Saturn faces off with the Sun—a once a year occurrence that can leave you feeling burdened or stifled. This year, the face-off takes place in your financial zones, bringing shared resources into the spotlight. Is someone draining your resources or failing to pull their weight in a partnership? Speak up and find ways to even the score. You don’t have to divide everything 50/50. Maybe one of you contributes cash while the other shoulders more responsibilities around the house. On the flip side, would you benefit from pairing up with someone on a project or by sharing supplies? The Sun-Saturn opposition helps you surrender that stubborn Taurus pride and reach out to a potential partner-in-crime. Emotionally, you may be unhappy with the pace of a relationship near the weekend. Perhaps it’s getting a little too intense for your liking and you want to slow it down. Maybe you’re frustrated by the crawling pace of this connection and want to step it up with some seductive moves. Don’t play guessing games here. Find out what your partner actually wants and then decide if it’s something you care to give. Be vocal about your desires, too, and avoid being so black and white! Communicate clearly and you can find a gentle compromise.

Eyes on the prize? Check! The ambitious gears have been turning ever since your cosmic ruler Mercury moved into Gemini and your career zone on April 30. But this week there could be a few slowdowns. On Monday, May 18 Mercury turns retrograde for three weeks, giving you a chance to review your professional direction. Between now and June 11, rethink your strategy for getting ahead: Are you overloading yourself with responsibility and zapping your free time? Make sure you aren’t sentencing yourself to a workaholic summer. Do you need to polish up your skill set or give yourself a more realistic timeline for production? Rather than relying on gut checks and guesswork, map out an actual project plan, a budget, or a timeline. Empirical data will speak for itself. Warning: Clashes with both men and management could crop up with Mercury in reverse. Speak up for yourself, but be careful not to burn any bridges. It takes two to tango, Virgo. If you curled into a submissive stance, you can’t get mad at your colleagues for “dominating” you. Work on being more assertive and doing some independent problem solving BEFORE you reach out for help. If someone makes a power grab over the next three weeks, DO stick up for yourself. As much as you loathe confrontation, having a direct conversation will yield much better results than sending an email or forming a coup. In all communications, be thoughtful and polite. Embedding blame into an air-clearing convo can easily backfire. You want to eat caviar, Virgo, not crow.

On Thursday, the Sun joins the Gemini party, sailing alongside Mercury and passionate Mars until June 21. Despite the slowdowns of Mercury retrograde, there ain’t no stopping you now! The collaboration of the Sun and Mars will pour rocket fuel into your tanks. People will see you as an authority now. Glide gracefully into the leadership roles that feel natural and enjoyable — but don’t get sucked into any out of guilt or misplaced obligation. Someone will inevitably take charge, but it doesn’t always have to be you. Gemini rules your tenth house, which is the masculine realm of the chart. With these three heavenly bodies camped out there until June 21, make more time for the men in your life. Hanging with the fellas will be truly enjoyable. Embrace your inner gamine with some borrowed-from-the-boys style selections. Just wait until Mercury turns direct on June 11 before deciding whether or not to lop your long locks into a pixie. Are a few daddy issues still percolating in your psyche? No matter what role your father played in your life, he set the template for how you relate to the XY chromosomes on the planet. Investigate that relationship and how it colors your approach to communicating with guys. There may be a little grieving to do…if only a sadness about not being “daddy’s little girl” anymore. What’s important is that you gain awareness of your own knee-jerk tendencies so that you can slow down and make better choices when dealing with dudes.

Don’t forget your girls! On Friday, the Sun will directly oppose Saturn in Sagittarius and your feminine, domestic fourth house. A woman in your life could use some extra support—and this could take up a bit of time over the weekend. Are you missing your mom, sister, or a close female friend? Pack a weekender bag or get the spare bedroom ready. A slumber party-style reunion will help bring you back to your center. Household issues that you’ve been too busy to deal with could become Mission: Critical. Getting the Virgo base camp in order is a must, as you need a restful sanctuary to retreat to after your demanding days at the office. Devote time over the weekend to cleaning, organizing, and restocking. And if you have to hire an assistant to help (or bribe friends with Pinot and pizza), so be it.

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Sheila E. on Latin Jazz, Krush Groove and Not Needing Outside Validation | Listen Up! Fri, 15 May 2015 17:00:02 +0000

Video portrait by Elizabeth Rudge | makeup by Jenny Verador | hair by Eric Wennberg

Legendary drummer, bandleader and fiercely proud Bay Area native Sheila E. was the hardest of hardcore divas in the 1980s. It broke her down. Now she uses music to build people up.

Back when she ran with Prince and his crew, the timbale expert enforced 12-hour rehearsals for her band and gave commands, not suggestions. She had hits (“The Glamorous Life,” “A Love Bizarre”) and built a lasting work ethic into countless musicians, like Raphael Saadiq who joined her cohort when he was 14. She also became a cold, unfeeling person. She details the transformation in her book The Beat of My Own Drum.

Now that’s all behind her and she’s found the love of music again. You can hear it in her album Icon from 2014 and see it in her music-therapy foundation Elevate Hope. We caught up with her while she was coaching a bunch of young players in Seattle for More Music at the Moore Theatre, teaching them to find their own voices.

We did not talk to her about Prince. We did talk about her dad, Latin jazz heavyweight Pete Escovedo; her godfather, Tito Puente; Krush Groove, the classic hip-hop movie she co-starred in with Run-DMC; and the fact that it took her leaving her family cocoon of supportive musicians to learn about the sexist notion that women shouldn’t play the drums.

Shop: T by Alexander Wang jacket | rag & bone dress


We asked Sheila to sign our records, and she wrote on them in her own way…backward


I didn’t know there was a gender attached to playing drums or percussion because that’s not how I was raised. I wasn’t told, ‘You can’t play those drums or touch those drums’ until I got outside of the home and started traveling and working with other artists.


Did I get the props that I deserved? It’s not that it’s the props. I’m not looking for people to say I’m good or great. Or I’m a good drummer. Or ‘she’s good for a girl’ or whatever. I don’t look for the props. It’s how I feel about myself that’s important. That’s the hard thing. We end up going to this place where we depend on social media, we depend on other people to validate us. That shouldn’t be the case. And so it’s not validation. All I want people to understand is me being a person and a woman is a gift, and to respect me. I want respect. And I deserve respect.


Seriously, it was weird how fluidly and quickly she was able to write in reverse


When I became Sheila E. in the ’80s, I had a record deal and I figured this is going to be my time to shine. And I went for it. When I see some of the youth acting out, I get it. I’ve been there. I was at a place where I was saying, ‘Let me see how naked I can get.’


I loved hip-hop, from Krush Groove and before. It’s an art form. You have to be gifted to write hip-hop. And you have to live it. It’s like Latin jazz. I’m a Latin jazz artist. That’s the foundation of who I am. Hip-hop is a culture, it’s who you are. I just don’t like the curse words and degrading women. But that’s not just hip-hop, that’s everywhere.

Raphael Saadiq

I remember when Raphael Saadiq auditioned to be in my band in 1984. It changed his life. We were in Oakland. All my musicians come from Oakland because I’m from Oakland and I love the Bay. His non-stage name is Ray Wiggins, and he had a couple musicians with him and one of the guys in the band came straight out of church. And I remember saying, ‘Let’s play something by Sly Stone.’ And the keyboard player said, ‘What’s Sly Stone?’ I’m like, ‘What? You’re from the Bay Area!’ So they auditioned, worked really hard and made it. Ray still thanks me for teaching him what it meant to be in a band and run rehearsals. When I eventually had to let my band go, which was hard for me, I took three members and the other three formed Tony! Toni! Toné!, so it was a blessing in a way.


At 15, that’s when I became a professional musician. That’s when I was playing with Billy Cobham, George Duke, Herbie Hancock. When I look at kids now who are 15, I realize how young that really is. It’s insane. But these artists allowed me to express myself and find out who I was and who I could be in their band. Like my dad: 18-piece band, signed to CBS with Clive Davis. Huge. So to start in that band, and then go to Billy Cobham to George Duke to Herbie, it just kept escalating.

Tito Puente

Earlier on, the music that influenced me from Tito was from when I was five years old until ten. All his early LPs. My dad played LPs all day every day. I was listening and learning, playing along with the solos. That’s the soundtrack to my youth.

Latin Jazz

Start with my dad, Pete Escovedo, and Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria. Those are the classics. But for me, it all comes back to my dad.

–Andrew Matson

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Two-Minute Core Workouts with Our Zella PRO Fri, 15 May 2015 12:00:33 +0000 Easy_Core_Workout_During_Commercial_Break_2

How does Pure Barre instructor and Zella PRO Missy DeWalt trick herself into fitting a little more ab work into her day? She makes TV commercials work for her. The average break lasts two minutes. In an hour-long show, that’s 12 full minutes you could be toning and strengthening that core. If there’s time to zone, there’s time to tone! Sorry. That was awful. But Missy’s tips are rock solid. Here are three exercises she personally mixes in while vegging out to her favorite shows.


Forearm Plank: This is an awesome exercise, because it fires up the whole body and requires minimal space. When you do this, you need to focus on pulling your abs up and in–almost trying to take any arch out of your lower back. I like to tell people to imagine a cup of hot coffee on their back! Holding this position for 30 seconds is good. 90 seconds is better. It’s something you can build up to. You also need to make sure you keep your gaze in front of your fingers to keep your neck inline with your spine.


Seated Crunch: Instead of lying down and lifting up your whole upper body (which can strain the neck), do crunches in a seated position with feet hip-width apart and parallel. Then roll back and down, stopping at the waistline. Key points: keep your feet pressed to the ground. If they lift, then work this exercise from a higher position. You want to pull your navel in, and then move back and up in one-inch increments. Focus on letting the core lift the body. Your hands should be behind your thighs, crossed at the chest or you can release them for an extra challenge. Inhale as you lower; exhale as you lift.


Leg Lifts: This final move is for the lower abs–these are the hardest to tone. Lie on your back and pull your navel down so that the natural arch comes out of your back. Lift your legs toward the ceiling. You can point or flex your toes (the tricky part is getting your legs straight), and press your arms down beside you. Now, lift your tailbone toward the ceiling, or you can keep your tailbone to the floor while you lower and lift your legs, keeping them as straight as possible. Lower the legs only as far as you can without compromising form (back arching or neck straining).

Missy’s final note: Do one of these exercises for as long as you can hold it during each break. By the end of a one-hour show, you should be able to have done each of them twice.

Easy Core Commercial Break Workout

Gear up with Missy’s picks from our Zella summer line.

–Jeff Powell

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Your AstroTwins Weekend Horoscope for May 16 & 17 Fri, 15 May 2015 12:00:05 +0000

Embrace your sentimental side, Aries. This Saturday, the sensitive moon forms a sweet trine to compassionate Neptune in the emotional sectors of your chart. Bonding with your nearest and dearest could be oh-so satisfying—especially if it’s done on your turf. Rally your closest friends or family together for a potluck or game night. This cosmic confab might also inspire you to zhush your space with special touches, like framing old photos or showcasing an antique piece that belonged to your beloved grandmother. On Sunday, money matters take center stage as the annual Taurus new moon lights up your grounded second house. Revamp your budget to minimize spending and maximize savings. Time to move up the ladder, Ram? Identify a promotion or raise you want as your own, and map out an action plan to get there. This lunar light could also bring an intriguing offer your way in the next week, so make sure your resume is up-to-date and your elevator pitch perfected. As the second house rules all things sensual, don’t be afraid to explore investment purchases, like original art or a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture—something that will bring you years of pleasure.

Let the good times roll! On Saturday, harmonious Venus forms a sweet trine to dreamy Neptune in the social sectors of your chart. Carve out a good chunk of the day for your pals, from lingering over brunch to exploring spring festivals. What may start out as a small group could quickly morph into a swelling crowd of merry-makers—which will suit you just fine! The interwebs also hold much promise for building bonds. Surfing social media, online dating, or chatting in forums could lead to synergistic connections. Click and ye shall find! On Sunday, the annual new moon in your sign fills the skies, launching your own personal New Year. This lunar light marks the beginning of a six-month cycle, so take a bit of time to become clear on what you’d like to accomplish. Get the manifestation ball rolling now, and watch your dreams become reality by the corresponding full moon on October 27.

While the weekend is upon us, Saturday’s stars draw your attention to your professional life and long-term trajectory. Harmony-loving Venus occupies your finance house, and forms a sweet trine to creative Neptune in your career sector. This cosmic confab gives you an extra sprinkling of manifestation magic, so start figuring out a path that pads your bank account and aligns with your highest self. You might even be inspired to donate your time and skills to a cause you care about. Let the positive karma flow! Saturday is also a great day to socialize with a purpose, perhaps by taking a client out for brunch or bouncing around ideas at a new pub in town. On Sunday, the annual Taurus new moon transits your twelfth house of completions. As this lunar light launches a brand-new six-month cycle, you can view it as a transition from one situation to another. Make space in your world for a new adventure or three. Tip: it might take some time for these fresh paths to evolve. Patience, Gemini, patience.

Live loud, live proud, Cancer! This Saturday, magnetic Venus in your sign forms a sweet trine to dreamy Neptune in your candid ninth house, setting the scene for following your passion. Push yourself to take a risk, from sharing what’s in your heart with you-know-who to putting your creative gifts on display. The ninth house tends to bring expansion, so the urge to travel could strike, as could a desire to explore new subjects. You’re like a sponge for new ideas, the ideal state of mind to welcome an epiphany. Your quest for knowledge might even help you view a past painful experience through a different lens—one that encourages healing. Embrace forgiveness and move forward with less baggage. On Sunday, collaboration becomes the focus, as the annual new moon in Taurus lights up your eleventh house of friendships. Synergistic connections could turn into a formidable team, either IRL or online. Even if you’ve found your tribe, welcoming new souls into your world is always enriching. Ready, set, connect!

Ah, sweet surrender. This Saturday, a sweet angle between romance planet Venus and dreamy Neptune in the intimate sectors of your chart helps open your heart. You’re a natural leader, Leo, but you’re now happy to let someone else fill those shoes. Give-and-take features prominently throughout the day with someone close to you, be it your S.O., a relative, or a BFF. You might be on the receiving end of an intense emotional outpouring or confession. Not only will it be liberating for the other person, it might even be healing for you, too. Being compassionate and empathetic comes naturally for you, and even more so this Saturday. Just be sure to “clear” your energetic field after any heavy discussions, so you don’t inadvertently carry any negative residue with you. On Sunday, the annual new moon in Taurus turns your attention to your career and long-term goals. Over the next week, an exciting opportunity could emerge that propels you up the ladder. If you’ve already set your sights on an ambitious goal, make “slow and steady” your mantra. This new moon launches a six-month cycle, so you’ll need to pace yourself. Make it a priority to get in good with the decision-makers and bigwigs. You could find yourself rubbing padded shoulders in the VIP lounge by the corresponding full moon on October 27.

That discerning eye of yours can get you into trouble sometimes, Virgo. It’s in your nature to hone in on the shortcomings of others—and yourself. While we know that you’re a natural fixer, others might view you as critical instead. This Saturday though, the stars help you show the world a different, more tolerant side. This shift comes courtesy of harmony-loving Venus in your idealistic eleventh house forming a sweet angle to dreamy Neptune in your interpersonal sector. In fact, you’re now most comfortable seeing others through a rose-colored tint, helping them recognize their greatest gifts. Continue riding this optimistic wave into Sunday, as the annual new moon in Taurus and your expansive ninth house fills the skies. You’ve got grand ideas, and you’re keen to share them with a wider audience. This new moon sanctions larger-than-life goals, so don’t shy away from planning that exotic trip, returning to school, or even launching your own startup. Begin mapping out a plan of action, and you can realize these lofty aims by the corresponding full moon on October 27.

You’re at your happiest with a balance of order and spontaneity, and Saturday’s stars are here to help. A supportive trine between indulgent Venus and holistic Neptune in the health sectors of your chart encourages you to incorporate pleasure into your wellness plan. If you want to get on track with nutrition, how about signing up for weekend retreat in the country? Instead of opting for the cheapest gym membership out there, invest a few extra dollars per month to join that high-end yoga studio and spa. If you want these positive changes to stick, make choices that ensure you’ll enjoy yourself at the same time. Soul-level bonding is the theme on Sunday, courtesy of the annual new moon in Taurus, your intimate eighth house. From pregnancy to cohabitation to joint business deals, the seeds you plant today could blossom by the corresponding full moon on October 27. This lunar light also shines its beams on long-term financial planning. Explore different ways to make money in your sleep, perhaps via real estate or another sort of investment. Also investigate saving some funds by pooling resources. Potlucks, carpools, and community gardens—get creative and create a win-win!

Expand your search radius, Scorpio. This Saturday, romantic Venus hovers in your adventurous ninth house and forms a harmonious angle to dreamy Neptune in your passion zone. Variety is the spice of your love life this weekend, so don’t get hung up on any so-called differences. Be it contrasting cultures or varying values, what’s really important on Saturday is the kismet connection between you. If you’re already attached, synergistic sparks could fly with a creative collaborator in another corner of the world. Make time in your day to seek out inspiration, from the latest in fringe theater to the hottest TED talks online. On Sunday, the annual new moon in Taurus illuminates your partnership sector, urging you to work the power of two. Joining forces with another—in either romance or business—can bring rich rewards over the next six months. Wonder Twin powers, activate!

Your cocoon is calling, Sagittarius. If you made party-hardy plans for this weekend, Saturday’s stars urge you to bow and bond with your closest peeps. Loving Venus in your eighth house of intimacy forms a sweet angle to dreamy Neptune in your home and family sector. You might find yourself bringing your latest beau to meet la familia, or you could snuggle up with your longtime sweetie. With Venus occupying the erotic part of your chart, things could get scorching behind closed doors. If you don’t have any prospects in the running, Saturday is perfect to get some quality time in with a close friend, your clan, or even just yourself. If catching up on Homeland, finishing that novel, and sneaking in a siesta sounds appealing, follow your bliss. Sunday’s stars come with a shot of green juice. The annual new moon in Taurus activates your sixth house of healthy living, beginning a six-month quest for vitality. Regardless of where you fall on the fitness scale, the cosmos give you license to begin anew. Set some realistic goals that nurture and soothe your body. In other words, steer clear of the no-pain-no-gain mentality. Don’t deprive yourself, and expand your diet so that it includes more organic and local fare. As the sixth house also governs organization, you’ve got cosmic clearance to dive into that decluttering mission or home reno project.

Shine on! On Saturday, the moon hovers in your partnership sector while forming a potent trine to dreamy Neptune in your communication house. If you’re in a relationship, it’s power-couple time, Capricorn! This magnetic cosmic combo makes you and your plus-one simply irresistible. Single? Take extra time to adorn yourself, as there’s a chance you could meet a prospect with potential. The chemistry will be palpable, and might even feel fated. Ooh la la! A platonic pal could also prove to be an excellent collaborator. Take that seed of an idea and bat around the possibilities together—it could be the beginning of a beautiful endeavor. On Sunday, the annual new moon in Taurus illuminates your passionate fifth house. Single or taken, get crystal-clear on what you’d like to manifest in your love life, and welcome these changes into your world by October 27, the corresponding full moon. Got babymaking on the brain? Sunday’s the day to get busy, Cap. Alternatively, you could take an unformed idea and nurture it into something significant.

Saturday’s planets remind you that clutter takes up physical AND psychic space. The skies feature a supportive angle between harmonious Venus in your organization sector and Neptune in your money and possessions house. This cosmic combo prods you to create order in your immediate surroundings as a first step to improving other areas of your life. Living in disarray keeps you from facing more significant issues, like faltering finances or a rocky relationship. Take time on Saturday to engage in a clean-up mission of sorts, perhaps by doing your taxes or packing away mementos from old lovers. With each task you tackle, you’ll gain the confidence and clarity to confront those important matters at hand. On Sunday, the annual Taurus new moon activates your fourth house of home and family, putting domestic matters front and center. This lunar light helps you turn to a fresh page with loved ones, especially women. Reserve a few hours for some quality one-on-one time with her. Self-nurturing should also figure prominently into your day. Cook nutritious meals for yourself, steer clear of screens, or soak in a long, hot bubble bath. This new moon might also motivate you to think about renovating or even moving. Start doing your homework, Aquarius.

Ah, sweet amour! This Saturday, the moon hovers in your fifth house of romance while forming a sweet angle to your planetary guardian Neptune, which is lingering in your sign. This cosmic confab makes it easy to dissolve your defenses in the name of making an intense connection, either with your S.O. or a fresh prospect. Your inner coquette or Casanova needs some airtime, so bat those lashes and flirt to your heart’s content. Since the fifth house also rules creativity, you could be motivated to throw yourself into an inspired project. And don’t be shy about assuming your place in the limelight either. An adoring public awaits, Pisces, so put your talents on display! On Sunday, the annual Taurus new moon electrifies your expressive third house, paving a path directly to the podium. You have valuable ideas and insights to share, and they deserve to reach a wider audience. Be it writing, teaching, or podcasting, find a platform to spread your message. The third house also rules dynamic duos, and you could have a serendipitous conversation with a like-minded person, setting the scene for a potent collaboration over the next six months. Ready, set, brainstorm!

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Seattle International Film Festival: 3 Filmmakers Not to Miss Thu, 14 May 2015 19:00:28 +0000 HandmadeWithLoveInFrance_Still18-blogHandmade with Love in France: A love note to the artisans of the independent Parisian ateliers dedicated to haute couture. Photo: courtesy SIFF.

Each May, a host of directors, actors and film buffs from around the world descend upon Seattle, taking over the city’s theaters as part of SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival. For 25 days, more than 450 shorts, features and documentaries are shown from more than 80 countries, highlighting a multitude of genres from the best comedies to innovative art-house films.

The festival has featured new and established talent from around the world for more than 40 years, including three of our favorites from this year’s lineup: the tale of a Ugandan teen navigating the bike gangs and backstreets of bustling Kampala, an intimate portrait of the independent haute couture ateliers in Paris and their uncertain future, and a culinary road trip with the staff of one of the world’s most notable restaurants.


HandmadeWithLoveInFrance_Still06-blogHandmade with Love in France: The workshop of Bruno Légeron, whose family has been creating silk flowers and plumes for designers since 1880. Photo: courtesy SIFF.

Handmade with Love in France (Le Temps Suspendu) is a thoughtful look into a small but dwindling group of Parisian artisans who craft intricate handmade pieces for the likes of Chanel, Dior, Kenzo and other designer brands—from elaborate pleats to silk flowers and the wooden hat blocks created to make custom couture hats.

“They’re passionate about their work and their struggle,” explains director Julie Georgia Bernard. “They’re independent and don’t work for any company, or group, or brand—all of them were given from mother to daughter, father to son, and have been around for years.”

Gérard Lognon’s pleat-making workshop has been in existence for four generations since his great-grandmother worked under Napoléon III. Each family member has passed along the same techniques that have been used since the 17th century and continue to be used today—most recently, to create pleats for Chanel.

“That one is very important to me,” Bernard says. “He has no one to take over since he has no children.”

Without a successor or enough business, the independent ateliers are more likely to be taken over by a luxury brand, Bernard explained. Chanel and Dior have already bought several, including a recent purchase of one that specializes in embroidery.

“Their skills will be saved because the luxury brands need to have these in their couture collections and cannot let them die, but when you go inside these dusty little shops where the skills were transferred from great grandfather to father to son, there is something alive in these ateliers that isn’t alive anymore in these big groups,” she says. “These guys are so passionate and amazing and fun. They show a very specific way of being French—very Parisian, and I could tell they were getting old and that someday they wouldn’t be around anymore. I want people to remember them.”

CookingUpATribute_Still06-blogCooking Up a Tribute: Indulge on a tour gastronomique with the owners and staff of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Photo: courtesy SIFF.

Cooking Up a Tribute follows the Roca brothers, owners of the renowned Catalonian restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, as they take their entire staff on tour through the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Peru to explore local food traditions and invent new dishes inspired by the regional ingredients, recipes and cultures.

“It’s a film about discovering what is the real reach of each country,” explains Luis González, codirector of the documentary. “Cuisine is not just a recipe. In Peru, it’s a political issue—cuisine is used as a national movement. Kids in Peru don’t want to be football players, they want to be chefs. When we were shooting, people would say ‘If you see Gastón Acurio [Peru’s most famous chef], tell him he needs to run for president.'”

The documentary presents a unique take on the power of food, traveling through Houston, Dallas, Mexico City, Monterrey, Bogota and Lima to capture the local flavor of each area.

“You learn so much with these guys—they’re amazing. They used different approaches to the recipes they’re doing, like sense of humor or memory,” González explains. “They try to understand the memories of the places, like what the Mexicans used to eat when they were kids and how to represent a memory with taste and smell.”

One of the biggest challenges González and co-director Andrea Gómez faced when making the film was trying to represent the sensations involved with an exhilarating culinary experience.

“People need to understand what’s on the table but you only have images—you can’t smell or taste, so we had to reinforce the images with the soundtrack to try to convey everything,” González says.

The other challenge was keeping up with the Roca brothers in the kitchen. “They go so fast and they have this idea of ‘Done is better than perfect.'”

BodaBodaThieves-blogThe Boda Boda Thieves: a wild ride through the backstreets of Kampala, Uganda’s bustling capital. Photo: courtesy SIFF.

In his fictional story based in Kampala, Ugandan director Donald Mugisha delves into the East African subculture of boda bodas (bicycle and motorbike taxis) and organized crime, and explores the tension between materialism and idealism faced by Ugandan youth.

The Boda Boda Thieves examines what we called the ME phenomenon versus the WE phenomenon. The greatest percentage of Africa’s population is youth and many struggle to choose ‘materialism’ (me) over ‘humanism/idealism’ (we),” Mugisha explains.

After his father’s bike is stolen, 18-year-old Abel must navigate the gangs of Kampala and his own moral terrain as he decides how to get back the bike his family relies on. With a recent influx of migrants from rural Ugandan villages and an increasing divide between rich and poor, the congested city is rife with contradictions.

“Kampala is very cosmopolitan, with people from all the neighboring countries like Congo, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi calling it home. The privileged and the less privileged work in the same companies and live side by side, so it’s not uncommon to find a mansion sitting right next to a ghetto,” Mugisha says.

As a filmmaker, Mugisha likes to focus on social issues. He says the film was inspired in part by Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 film The Bicycle Thief:

“Me and my colleague James Tayler were watching The Bicycle Thief right after we had completed one of our films and we realized how many similarities post-war Italy had with Africa now—more specifically, in the resilience of the people, and in our case, it’s the resilience of the African youth.”

SIFF runs May 14 through June 7.

-Deidre Crawford

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Herschel Supply Company Studio Collection Wed, 13 May 2015 17:45:33 +0000 herschel_studio_small

Have you peeped the Herschel Supply Company Studio Collection? These matte black & white bags are fresh, functional and weirdly addictive to touch: they’re made from rubbery tarpaulin which is both soft and hardcore.

Shop: Herschel backpack | duffel | tote bag | pouch | travel kit | all Herschel

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Ballerina Carla Körbes Is a Pop-In Power Girl Wed, 13 May 2015 12:14:10 +0000 At age 11, Carla Körbes saw Swan Lake and knew what she was born to do. Since 2006, the ballerina has been a principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet; she’s retiring this June at age 33 to begin a new adventure. We met with Körbes most serendipitously as she was picking up her Jesús Peiró wedding gown from the Nordstrom Wedding Suite. The shimmering silk dress with an embellished waist was as elegant as the Brazilian dancer herself, who spoke with us about pursuing and achieving goals with a little help from her girlfriends. And a Pilates class here and there.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carla Körbes; image by Angela Sterling

The Thread: What’s your preferred workout?
Körbes: You know, actually there’s nothing that compares to ballet. When we are off-season, I do Pilates, go to the gym, do treadmill, elliptical, my ab exercises, I do some yoga. But nothing will put you in the same shape as ballet classes. And I will take my pointe shoes to Brazil when I go home. During the World Cup I would watch the games with my pointe shoes on.

What’s your favorite class or studio?
When I’m in season, I’m pretty much at PNB. They have a Pilates studio in the back; I take classes with Margie Thompson. Shout-out to Michele Miller at Shift Movement and Healing Arts, too. She’s incredible, Pilates-wise. She has such a good eye, she’ll kill you. It’s amazing.

I know I got a fantastic workout when I feel:
Happy. Whenever I really work out, I always feel really happy afterwards. And I think people say the hardest thing is to get to the gym, right? But after the gym, most people feel uplifted. Energetic.

Favorite way to exercise or be active when you’re alone:
I do this combination of Pilates, yoga and meditation. I think because I’ve worked out hard-core since I was 15 and taken so many different kinds of trainings, I just kinda know what works for my body. My favorite thing is to get in the studio in the morning by myself and put music on and do my own routine.

Favorite workout soundtrack:
It depends on my mood. I was putting on early Shakira this week, and it just puts me in a good mood. Especially Latin music makes me really happy.

Carla Körbes taking her curtain call after a performance of Diamonds, choreographed by George Balanchine at the George Balanchine Trust; image by Angela Sterling

What do the words “girl power” mean to you?
I think equality is so important for people, but women are so strong. Being in a ballet company and looking at what the girls have to go through versus the guys, you really see how much more women have to put up with. Pointe shoes, hair, makeup, our tutus. We look at the boys who get there 30 minutes before the show, and we’re there 2 hours before the show getting ready. So I think overall women are very powerful and go through a lot. Men are very powerful too, but it just doesn’t compare.

What’s the last mind-blowingly kind thing someone did for you?
People do mind-blowing things for me all the time. Every day I’m surprised by people I know, how nice they are. I travel a lot, and I met a woman named Denise out of nowhere, and now she takes my dog all the time when I’m away. Bella adores Denise. I’m so lucky.

What motivates you to be successful, whatever “success” means to you right now?
I never see life as a “success” really. What motivates me is really that I love what I do. My partner Karel and I were very tired last weekend and we had two shows, which is very hard when doing something like Swan Lake. We were looking at each other like, “We can’t do this.” But then the music starts and you’re feeling, “It’s not so bad!” So doing what I love is really motivating. That’s why retiring is gonna be so difficult. I’m not sure if I can find something like this again. Which is fine—I’ve been lucky, and I can do something else. And I’ll see.

Who inspires you to challenge yourself and be more + more radical?
Everyone around me. Dancers, my coaches. I think we can all learn from each other. And that’s why I think competition, it’s okay at a certain level, but it’s not that productive. Because the moment you really look at people, they’ll inspire you to either do something better or try what they were doing, or disagree with what they’re doing and then do it how you think.

Do you have a favorite quote, something that inspires and motivates you?
What’s the quote, “Dance like there’s no tomorrow”? I do like to live like there’s no tomorrow. I was in rehearsal the other day and my coach who I’ve worked with for 10 years says, “Wow, emotionally you’re so ready!” Usually you put the steps on and then you work on the character. But Karel and I were just living it. And it’s like Monday morning. I was like, “Elaine, I might not make it to the stage! This might be it!” But it’s the truth. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. So if I don’t make it to the stage, I’ve lived that Odette/Odile now! If I don’t make it tomorrow, I had a blast today.

Read more about our 30 Days of Radical Power MovesPop-In Power Girls

Follow Carla’s Swan Song on Tumblr

Shop: Nike Women Pop-In@Nordstrom

—Rachel Shimp

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What to Wear to a Summer Wedding: Guest Dresses Decoded Tue, 12 May 2015 19:00:08 +0000 It’s wedding season! Decoding those invites and deciding on what wedding-guest dress to wear can be a confusing task at times, so we asked Nordstrom buyer Ashley Woodworth to help us out. She breaks it down in terms that are totally easy to understand, and we’ve provided a range of dress ideas to simplify your decision-making process and get you ready to raise a glass of bubbly and toast to a lifetime of love.

What-to-wear-to-a-summer-weddingNYDJ print dress | Manolo Blahnik pump | Hobo frame clutch


This is an obvious but fun one to dress for!

Maxi Dresses: My first thought is a beautiful, flowy maxi, either printed or in a great solid pop color.

A Little Lace: Also pretty would be a crochet or cotton lace style (less serious than cocktail lace). I also love the idea of some of the new halter trapeze shapes we’re seeing, still dressy but short and easy for the beach—bonus that those styles look great with wedges or flat sandals in case you want to change shoes after you get off the beach.

Bold Prints: Depending on the location, you could also do a cool tribal-print shift, turquoise or stone jewelry and gladiator sandals. I’m thinking of Mexico here…


Floral Laundry by Shelli Segal gown | Eliza J geometric-print maxi dress | Maggy London pleated a-line dress

SHOP: Wedding-Guest Dresses for the Beach


This could be any venue from a patio or tent at a country club to outdoors in a rustic location or on the grounds of a winery.

Prints: My first thought is floral and feminine or stripes—definitely less serious. This is the type of event where color is festive and fun.

Shoes: I always think of what shoes are right for the occasion and location when I’m choosing a type of dress. For daytime or outdoors, you might do a metallic flat sandal or an espadrille wedge. The more casual cottons, printed fit-and-flares and even a pop color eyelet dress are just right for those shoes.

Comfort: The other thing to think about is comfort (you won’t look great if you’re sweating, can’t walk on grass or have a tricky dress that looks good in photos but not so much when walking the event grounds). This is where breathable, fit-and-flare or A-line and short dresses are also perfect choices.


Alice + Olivia two-tone dress | M Missoni zigzag-stripe dress | Kaya & Sloane strapless dress

SHOP: Daytime Wedding-Guest Dresses


This is more your semiformal ceremony followed by a hotel or restaurant ballroom reception.

The Dress: I use the filter of “cocktail dress that is seasonally appropriate” for these types of weddings. So if it’s July, cocktail might be a pretty lace style in a beautiful color, whereas in October a great LBD or fun metallic jacquard dress would be equally appropriate.

The Details: For summer versions of cocktail I tend to think of more “special” details: embellished necklines or belts, more novelty fabrics and definitely lace, either all over or trims. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice color to be dressed up enough, just thinking of a more elevated look than a daytime or more casual affair.

The Shoes: This is where your fun colored or metallic sandals can be a great complement to your look. Just make sure you can still be comfortable enough to hit the dance floor!


Ted Baker London print tunic dress | Diane von Furstenberg sheath dress | BB Dakota navy lace dress

SHOP: Semiformal Wedding-Guest Dresses


If you like getting dressed to the nines, this is a fabulous opportunity to do so.

Black Tie: While most people think of long dresses, you can also opt for a really beautiful short cocktail dress with elevated details. Think shine, sequins, embellished neck, etc. Elevate a short dress with a beaded clutch and strappy sandals.

Avoid: Stay away from flirty printed styles that would work better for daytime/afternoon. Think more evening here.

Black: Still totally appropriate in the summer for a formal event. If you’re worried about looking too dark, a pop of pink lip, a colored shoe or a metallic clutch can keep it less “holiday” feeling.

Maxi as Gown: A dressy maxi (think chiffon or silk) can work well as a summer gown. Metallic accents keep it formal. Go with your hair up and you’ll be perfect “summer black tie.”

A final piece of advice: While the invite is important, so is making it feel seasonally appropriate. If I know other people going to the wedding (as you usually will if it’s a friend in your circle), I will ask the other girls what they are thinking. It’s a good gauge of how other guests interpreted the invite. Another trick is to find the wedding venue online to get a sense of how it looks; I’ll do this to see where on the dressed-up scale the venue falls if I don’t know anyone else on the guest list.


3.1 Phillip Lim two-tone dress | Elizabeth and James black maxi dress | Adrianna Papell beaded pastel gown

SHOP: Black-Tie Wedding-Guest Dresses

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The Amelia: Blackberry, Vodka, St. Germain & Lemon Cocktail Recipe | What’s Cooking Mon, 11 May 2015 19:00:59 +0000 The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

The Amelia cocktail served at our Nordstrom bars has a lot of great things going for it. It’s well balanced. It has handcrafted appeal and derives maximum flavor from just a small handful of ingredients. It’s also dangerously delicious and refined while being easy enough to prepare at home. This variation on the classic Aviation cocktail–said to be named after Amelia Earhart–is going to the top of my shortlist of adult beverages for entertaining (see our Smoke and Heat Cocktail recipe with Mezcal for another topping that list).

Ingredients: the Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

In the Amelia, ripe, muddled blackberries lend a seductive color and texture, while St. Germain elderflower liqueur heightens the flavors of summer. Freshly squeezed lemon juice cuts through any overt sweetness with just the right amount of tang. Served up, I chose the vintage look of a coupe cocktail glass, but–as presented at our bars–a classic martini glass equally shows off the beauty of this beverage. Pro tip: as called for in the recipe, try to use superfine (caster) sugar for the glass-rim garnish. Unlike more coarse, granulated sugar, the finely processed crystals feel velvety and melt instantly on contact with your lips.

Ingredients: the Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

The Amelia
From our Nordstrom Bars

Ingredients (Per cocktail)
5 fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 ounce Grey Goose Vodka
1 ounce St. Germain
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
ice to fill

mint sprig
superfine sugar

Ingredients: the Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

1. Chill martini glass by filling it with ice and topping off with water.

Muddling: The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle blackberries and sugar until broken down and juicy.

3. Add vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice and one scoop of ice.

4. Cap and shake vigorously 20 times.

The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

5. Discard ice and water in now-chilled martini glass. Swipe lemon around half the rim of glass. Roll moistened area in superfine sugar to garnish.

The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

6. Double strain the mixture by pouring into martini glass over a fine mesh sieve.

7. To release the mint aroma, smack mint sprig (hold in one hand and gently hit it against your other hand), and float it on top of cocktail to garnish.

The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Download the Amelia blackberry cocktail recipe to print, and find more recipes to try in our What’s Cooking series and Nordstrom Cookbooks. Have a favorite dish or beverage from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

SHOP: Barware

The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.
The Amelia: Blackberry, Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain and Lemon Cocktail Recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

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Designer Pre-Fall ’15: the Five Best Trends Mon, 11 May 2015 17:00:21 +0000 One could argue that the highest art of seasonal dressing is found during the transformative periods; those breezy weeks between sun-laden summer and full-on fall (and later, as the days grow longer, those days when winter draws to an end and spring busts out all over). This year’s pre-fall collections have finally arrived, and we’re sharing some of the best transitional pieces complete with commentary from venerable designers and the wise sages over at our designer buying office. There’s nothing quite like updated classics, a little retro fever and impeccable craftsmanship to put a little high-gloss on the in-between zone.

Pre-fall means pre-order, so ready your fingers for those irresistible buttons and check out our complete guide to Pre-Fall ’15.

The Flare-Leg Pant

Akris Punto flare-leg pants; pre-fall 2015. “This silhouette illustrates the modern spirit and style of artistic muses.”

—Akris Punto Creative Director Albert Kriemler

Shop: Akris punto pants


The Haute Flat

Pink Valentino rockstud ballet flats pre-fall 2015.“The pink/poudre combination lends a feminine touch to this rocker-chic style so she can get ladylike in a summery babydoll dress or streetwise with skinny fall denim.”

—Nordstrom Designer Buying Office

Shop: Valentino flats

The Small Saddlebag

Chloe drew leopard print saddlebag pre-fall 2015.“Mini bags have taken the handbag world by storm. This chic piece is totally transformative—casual or dressy, it just depends on how you style it.”

—Nordstrom Designer Buying Office

Shop: Chloé bag

The Modern Peacoat

Proenza Schouler peacoat pre-fall 2015.“The Proenza Schouler woman appreciates craft, quality and the creative spirit.”

–Proenza Schouler Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez

Shop: Proenza Schouler coat

The Monster Backpack

Fendi monster backpack; pre-fall 2015.“This backpack is everything fashion should be: fun, quirky and a conversation piece.”

—Nordstrom Designer Buying Office

Shop: Fendi backpack


 Shop: Women’s designer fashion

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Your AstroTwins Weekly Horoscope for May 11-17 Mon, 11 May 2015 12:00:10 +0000 Life has plenty of variables. Wouldn’t it be radical if  the future was a knowable thing? Well hold on, because it just got a lot more knowable-able. We’re psyched to help you cue up and dial in your week via these new weekday/weekend horoscopes from Olivia Kim’s favorite astrologers, the AstroTwins.


Make it a double! This Monday, May 11 passionate Mars zips into Gemini for six weeks, setting the stage for prosperous partnerships. Gemini is the sign of the twins after all. The search for our kindred spirits could be an exhilarating one between now and June 24. But what looks like The One, walks like The One and even talks the talk of The One may not actually live up to its promise. Mars can make us quite impatient. When the urge to merge strikes, test the waters with a short-term collab first to see where the rubber meets the road. Variety is the spice of life when Mars is in Gemini, so there’s actually no rush to commit at all. Why not taste the sampler platter before deciding on a favorite dish? Gemini is the communication sign and debates could be quite lively now. We’ll have to be careful not to make any promises that we can’t keep though—even if it IS Mars in Gemini’s right to change his mind. Like, hourly!

On Friday, cautious, conservative Saturn will sit directly opposite Mars, bringing some checks and balances. As much as we’re all enjoying the moment, if we’re wasting resources or burning bridges, there could be trouble in paradise. Saturn is in high-vibing Sagittarius, the sign of truth. What sparkled like a diamond earlier in the week might just be genuine cubic zirconium after all. Call forth your inner Jacob The Jeweler and put new ideas through a genuine appraisal process.

The weekend starts off on a dreamy note as romantic Venus writes a Cinderella story with fantasy-fueled Neptune. Our hearts will be open, our compassion strong. But will it really be a happily-ever-after? Both of these planets love to wear the rose-colored lunettes, so the verdict will probably be out until next week (or longer). It’s easy to absorb other people’s emotions when Venus and Neptune are trined: Shield your field…or plan to douse yourself in sage smoke and a sea salt soak if you get tangled up in other people’s cords. On Sunday, the new moon in Taurus helps us get our feet back on solid ground. Deal with the everyday details of life: budgeting, cleaning up your space, getting your schedule in order. Taurus rules our financial foundations and new moons open up a six-month cycle of manifestation. Map out some cash-positive goals that you’d like to pursue before 2015 is through. Then, get into action!

You’ll have them at “hello” this Monday, Ram! While the cat seldom gets your tongue, you’ll be out-and-out charismatic when your cosmic ruler, warrior Mars, bursts into Gemini on Monday and revs up your communication corner until June 24. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to get your message out there or launch a new project, this is it. Go ahead, jump up on a soapbox: It’s not propaganda when everyone wants to hear what you have to say. Let your passion guide you—just stay on guard for the kind of aggressiveness or confrontational behavior Mars is known for. There’s nothing wrong with a lively debate—provided everyone is in the mood for it. Because the third house also rules siblings, neighbors and colleagues, an idea for a joint venture or creative collaboration could take off at a gallop now. You may be the zodiac’s rugged individualist, but you’re not an island. Pairing up with a potent partner can help you leap into a new league and expand. To avoid stepping on toes, though, clearly delineate your respective roles. If you are going to kick off a new initiative, try to get it done before Friday, when taskmaster Saturn moves into a restrictive opposition with self-assured Mars. You’ll still have the drive, but because Saturn has a tendency to slam on the brakes when you least expect it, make sure you don’t oversell yourself. By all means instill a sense of confidence in potential clients, but stop short of promising them the moon. Give them the sales pitch, but then let the results speak for themselves.

On Saturday, the stars take you in a totally different direction, forming a heart-opening trine between sentimental Venus in your domesticity corner and super-sensitive Neptune in your compassionate twelfth house. If you’re holding a grudge against a relative, set an intention to forgive and (try to) forget. If you can take the high road, you’ll be the big winner, because spending time with family and dear friends will be super rewarding. Host a dinner party or invite your crew over for movie night. Venus is the planet of beauty, so if your home feels like a college dorm or just a tad outdated, you’ve got cosmic support to do some long-overdue renovations or spiffing-up. You don’t have to break the bank to turn Chez Aries into a warm sanctuary. Think accent walls (with temporary wallpaper or chalkboard paint even), colorful throw pillows and vases. Sunday’s new moon in Taurus illuminates your second house of work and money, getting you revved up to earn for the next six months. Set a goal and resolve to work steadily toward it. Do your part in the “success equals luck plus preparedness” equation by tweaking your resume and honing your elevator pitch. And be sure to always dress for success. This could be just the excuse you need for a weekly hair or nail appointment!

Hello, celebutante! The week starts off on a high note, as lusty Mars invades your fifth house of passion, fame and glamour. Your flirting skills will be in fine form, so be careful where you aim those mink eyelashes. Winks are fine, but avoid jumping into the deep end of the dating pool—or any waters you can’t easily wade out of. Keep some of that mojo to yourself, though, by making the most of this artistic time. You’ve got more creativity in your pinky than most folks have in their whole bodies. Gag any semblance of an inner critic and go to work on your own art, whether it’s painting, performance or trapeze. Explore the edges without worrying about other people’s reactions (as IF, Aquarius!). Practice your catwalk: You might wind up on the red carpet. Mars gives you permission to shamelessly self-promote your latest ideas or developments. Book the gig for your band, persuade a gallery to hang your art, or launch a social media campaign to start a buzz. Focus on win-wins. It’s not just about getting attention, as you well know, but also about having something stellar to offer people. The reciprocal nature of promotion becomes crystal clear on Friday, when structured Saturn in your group-activities sector opposes freewheeling Mars. Time to pay whatever dues are owed, or step up to an obligation you thought you could get out of. But don’t relinquish too much sovereignty, Aquarius. Friends may be eager to offer their unsolicited opinions, but whereas you’ve appreciated their input in the past, now you’re happier making your own decisions. Establish clear boundaries, but remember: If you DO ask for their honest critique, you owe it them to seriously consider it.

On Saturday, lucky Venus in your sixth house of hard work and service glides into a harmonious angle with dreamy Neptune in your second house of finances. When these two compassionate planets sync up where money’s involved, unexpectedly good things often happen. You could tap into a new revenue stream by doing something that makes your heart sing. (Or a volunteer gig could offer you a paying position.) Prepare for the change energetically by getting your physical space in order. You may discover that, by clearing out your inbox, filing six months’ of paperwork or doing a deep spring clean, you shift into a more mindful headspace that helps you tackle larger life issues. On Sunday, the annual new moon in Taurus spotlights your fourth house of family and roots. New moons bring opportunities for change: What do you want to release or bring into your life on this front? Is there anyone you need to mend a fence with? Approach gently, and she’ll probably be receptive.

However tempted you are to keep up your breakneck pace, on Monday, things will change when spitfire Mars comes in for a six-week landing in Gemini and your twelfth house of healing and closure. Attempting to burn the midnight oil could cause you to crash, so heed the wisdom of this restful Mars cycle. If you can’t opt out of all obligations, at least slow down and schedule in restorative breaks. Stepping back offers insight into how you allow yourself to give too much. Assertive Mars can help you become more insistent about respecting your boundaries. It’s easy for sensitive you to pick up other people’s energy and emotions and get weighted down. Yet Mars offers a chance to break free from the enabler role and allow your loved ones to solve their own problems without you. Since the twelfth house also rules the subconscious, Mars could act like an agitator, possibly disrupting your sleep—all the more reason to unplug and power down at least an hour before bedtime. This means the computer, TV…AND phone. Use that golden hour to read, meditate, listen to music or write in your journal. On Friday, Mars moves into a challenging opposition with sober Saturn in your sixth house of organization and systems. Check your facts and don’t jump to conclusions. Oppositions can lead us to believe people are against us, but that’s (usually) just a projection. Assuming someone has a secret agenda could make reconciliation tricky. You won’t resolve anything on this day, so focus on the sixth house’s other domain: self-care. Instead of firing off accusatory emails, get thee to a spa or boot camp class, where you can sweat out your frustration!

Things start looking up again on Saturday, when charismatic Venus in Cancer forms a sweet trine with boundary-less Neptune in your expansive ninth house. Tired of keeping your emotions bottled up inside? Let ’em out! The stars encourage risk-taking this weekend, whether that’s writing a confessional blog post or revealing your feelings to a would-be partner. The ninth house governs travel, so a fantasy trip—or global domination—is actually within your reach. Education is another great way to widen your horizons, so go ahead and hit “register now” for that workshop or webinar you’ve been mulling over. The visionary vibe continues into Sunday, with the Taurus new moon bringing growth opportunities in your sphere of groups and networking. A budding friendship could help you realize a long-held dream that you’ve never been able to pull off single-handedly. Since the eleventh house rules technology, this incredible meeting of the minds could be a virtual one. And for Crabs doing laps in the dating pool, it’s prime time for updating your online profile or uploading some sultry new photos.

Got healing? On Monday, go-getter Mars blasts into Gemini and turns your attention to—sorry, Cap, not work and money, but health and wellness. For the next six weeks, you’ll be on a search and destroy mission to eradicate any bad habits you’ve acquired in the past year (or, ahem, decade) that prevent you from being your best and fittest you. But be kind and gentle, Cap. Smoking, binge eating or drinking—even negative self-talk—have their roots in something deeper. To dismantle them in a lasting way, you need to get a handle on what’s driving this behavior. You may need to work with a therapist or coach to unravel these mysteries, but the journey will be more than worth it! You CAN start making behavioral changes this week: adding in daily movement, replacing snack food with whole foods, and drinking more clean water. Don’t forget quiet time! We double dare you to spend 24 hours unplugged. All work and no self-care could lead to a serious case of burnout, so book a spa appointment, get your hair and nails done, and relax in fine fashion. One word of warning: While Mars definitely has an “on” switch, it can be hard to turn off, which brings stress. This is where the compassion comes in. Take things at your own pace—as long as you continue to move in the right direction, you will eventually reach your goal. Since the sixth house also rules your daily work routine, your job could become equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. You may realize that you need to outsource elements of your career you no longer have time for. If you’re still paying your dues, a great way to get an espadrille in the door is by volunteering at your dream company. Watching the pros in action can offer priceless lessons.

On Friday, Mars moves into a challenging opposition with restrictive Saturn, which is parked in your twelfth house of rest and may not be in the mood to expend ANY energy. If tackling a decluttering project or hitting the cardio machines was on your list, scale back your expectations. Pushing too hard could result in an injury, just as a major clean-up job could unearth an artifact that unleashes painful memories. The name of the game: extreme moderation.

Things look brighter on Saturday, when sensual Venus in your relationship corner canoodles with dreamy Neptune in your third house of communication. Let the pillow talk begin! On Sunday, the romance factor shoots through the roof, thanks to the annual new moon in Taurus and your fifth house of passion and creativity. Let your partner know how you feel and what you desire. Single? Set clear romantic intentions and watch them unfold over the next six months.

There’s no stopping you on Monday, when mighty Mars beams into your sign, crowning you zodiac royalty! This majestic event only happens every other year—and lasts just a few months—so maximize your mojo. It’s an excellent time to get a passion project off the ground or to dive into a think tank to develop a unique idea. Change is in the air, Gemini, and you’re one of the few signs who genuinely embrace it. If you’ve been craving a fresh start, possibly in a new city, get ready to take a giant leap of faith. Mars brings the confidence to fearlessly try new things—even radically different ones. Is your relationship stalled, or are you tired of checking the “single” status box? The red planet can help you shake off anything that feels flat or uninspired, including a snoozefest of a partnership. Just pay attention to how you’re coming off with aggro Mars in your sign. Confidence inspires people to put their trust in you, but too much assertiveness could backfire. Let your talents speak for themselves and make sure you can walk your talk. You may bump up against some resistance on Friday, when Mars locks horns with conservative Saturn in your relationship house. You won’t allow people to hold you back, though, and woe to any friend, colleague or partner who tries to. Before you jump to conclusions that someone is trying to evict you from Gemini Cloud 9, hear them out: Saturn is restrictive, but sometimes even that tough taskmaster has some valid points. In your key relationships, put the other person’s needs on a par with your own. You may not reach a perfect consensus—and trying to could slow down the process—but making presumptuous decisions will surely cost you their goodwill.

Saturday starts the weekend, but it’ll be hard to prevent your thoughts from wandering to your career and your future. But don’t put pressure on yourself to come up with a fixed game plan. You’re under the influence of a harmonious trine between two creative planets: Venus, in your money sector, and visionary Neptune in your professional tenth house. Allow yourself to dream, scheme and think about what makes you the happiest. You’re in high manifestation mode, and it’s times like these that people bust out of ruts and come up with totally new and revelatory ideas. The goal, of course, is to find work that’s profitable, pumps you full of passion AND gives your life a purpose. When you’re ready to come out and play, don’t hesitate to mix business with pleasure—perhaps meeting a potential client or collaborator for a mid-day latte. Sunday brings the year’s only new moon in Taurus, accentuating your twelfth house of closure and healing. If there’s something (or someone) you need to let go of, honor it and what you’ve learned, then release it, remembering that closing one door is often the prerequisite to opening another.

Teamwork makes the dream work, Leo! And with feisty Mars jetting through Gemini and your eleventh house of groups, future wishes, and technology from Monday until June 24, your highest goals are within reach. Here’s where it gets a little tricky, though: Your sign is the natural leader of the zodiac. You’re comfortable calling the plays and managing the squad. Yet the eleventh house is about collaboration and consensus, a place where democracy rules. The next six weeks offer a crash course in becoming an enlightened despot. Of course you want to move ahead on this project—Mars is pouring rocket fuel in your morning cappuccino, but you have to allow others to do their thing. Make sure all the jobs are clearly delineated and that everyone has personal responsibility, then lead by example. The good news is that exciting new partners and talent will find their way to you. On Friday, too much group activity could put a damper on your romantic life. Restrained Saturn in your passionate fifth house forms a testy opposition to Mars, and you, the most faithful of signs, might have your loyalties tested. You have clear boundaries between “friend” and “lover,” but it’s possible that your sweet S.O. is being visited by the green-eyed monster. You can’t charm your way out of this, Leo. You need to put your long-suffering honey first and tell your pals to carry on without you. Single? Examine your M.O.—Are you protecting your heart by keeping yourself distracted with your platonic pals? Or swiping left on even potentially intriguing faces? You play a greater role in your single status than you might be copping to.

On Saturday, when a dreamy trine between love planet Venus and romantic Neptune lights up your passion sector, all that could change in a heartbeat. This transit turns you into a mushball and opens you up to a different way of interacting. Do you love to be control? Duh! But this weekend you’re content to hop into the passenger’s seat and let someone else have a turn at the wheel. With Neptune in your house of secrets and mysteries, your partner or a close friend could be in confessing mode or need to unburden themselves of a heavy emotional weight. Stay fully present and resist any tendency to judge. Just hold space for this person and listen with rapt attention and compassion. Since you don’t want to let their dense emotions seep into YOU, when it’s over, do something to “clear” yourself, such as smudging yourself with sage or soaking in an Epsom salt bath. On Sunday, the Taurus new moon lands in your tenth house of career, structure and long-term goals. Over the coming six months, your professional trajectory could take off in a new direction. But proceed slowly: Slow and steady will get you there and keep you there, since new moons can take up to six months to unfold.

Keep that passport handy, Libra: Distant lands are calling! On Monday, irrepressible Mars jets into Gemini and fires up your travel engines. The next six weeks offer one opportunity after another to expand your horizons by getting away, learning new skills (or languages) and meeting stimulating people. You don’t need to download novels about adventurer: You’ll be living your own “Wild” experience! Don’t overthink details of the itinerary or the packing list. Confident Mars has it covered and can help you navigate the kinds of unknowns that have kept you from hitting your greatest stride. Forget your so-called comfort zone. Mars, especially when he’s orbiting your ninth house, is restless, active and adventurous, so even when you aren’t zipping off on intercontinental junkets, you will likely be in motion—of the hyperactive variety. Shake off the excess energy by making exercise a priority in your schedule and getting outdoors for as much of it as you can. Just because you graduated grade school doesn’t mean you can’t use the local playground for workout equipment. Or combine your love of socializing with your need for cardio blasts by joining a hiking club or meetup. On Friday you may have to pull back on the reins as unbridled Mars moves into a challenging opposition with conservative Saturn in your communications corner. Think long and hard before you speak, Libra, because even diplomatic you could have a sudden onset of Manolo-in-mouth disease. You are normally the picture of discretion, but outspoken Mars in your candid ninth house knows no bounds. If your feelings are getting the best of you, spill it all in an email to the object of your wrath. Re-read it once—then hit Save or Delete—just not Send. When you go back to the letter this weekend, you’ll be grateful you didn’t commit a “crime of passion.” You can’t unring a bell, and you certainly won’t be able to easily make amends with someone you all but verbally battered.

Things get back on an even keel on Saturday when your charming ruler Venus forms a harmonious trine with idealistic Neptune in the most ambitious and health-conscious sectors of your chart. It’s not just about getting stronger or fitter; with this transit, you need to do it in fine style! You’ll be drawn to food that’s as delicious as it is healthy, your workout or yoga practice will need to be in serene surroundings—and don’t underestimate the impact a major decluttering or Feng Shui-inspired project will have on your productivity AND mental health! The inside-out transformation continues on Sunday, when the new moon in Taurus accentuates activities in your eighth house of intimacy and shared resources. Be purposeful in your actions, Libra. New moons can take up to six months to unfold, and Saturday’s events could ultimately lead to an engagement, a joint business venture or a pregnancy!

Home is your sanctuary and possibly your battlefield starting Monday, when intensifier Mars bounds into restless Gemini and your domestic fourth house. From now until June 24, things could get rather animated in your aquarium, Pisces. The last time you saw activity like this on the home front (or with la famiglia) was when the red planet paid a visit two years ago. Passions could run high, arguments could break out, competition or jealousy could rear their green-eyed heads—or you could plot a big change, like a renovation or even a move. If you’re contemplating the latter, bear in mind that Mercury turns retrograde next Monday, May 18, so either stick to quickie upgrades you can start this week, or plan to spend three weeks doing research, like pricing and sourcing materials or making a kick-ass Pinterest board. Whatever you do, because of Mars’ potentially combative nature, it’s important to discuss all your proposals with relatives or roomies, who might not appreciate your making executive decisions without their input. If one of you feels the need for new house rules, broach the subject respectfully and give the other person a chance to express his or her own views. On Friday, things could grow tense, thanks to an opposition between Mars and restrictive Saturn in your career corner. Issues at home could distract you from your work, or a timing conflict could force you to make a difficult choice. Of course you want to take care of your loved ones, but institute clear boundaries if they’re preventing you from being able to do your job.

But all that could become a distant memory by Saturday, when sensual Venus in your romantic fifth house forms a harmonious trine to your co-ruler, impressionistic Neptune in your sign. The vibe is sweet and flowing: a perfect day to drop your guard and connect with people on a profound level. Venus brings out your natural seductiveness as well as your creativity. Don’t waste one minute of this juicy energy on mundane activities! Immerse yourself in art, nature or deepening your emotional bonds with close friends or your amour du jour. Don’t censor yourself, Pisces: Rest assured that what comes out of you will be expressed perfectly. Sunday marks the only Taurus new moon of the year—this time in your third house of communication. This is why trusting yourself is so important: You’ve got a message to deliver (or at least the germ of one). Take to the social networks by blogging, teaching or perhaps producing your first webinar. Sure you’ll be a little apprehensive, but that’s a sign that you’re on the verge of something BIG. Share your ideas with friends and savvy colleagues. A serendipitous conversation could spark an exciting collaboration in the coming six months.

Listen up, o’ independent one! You love being a solo act, but two becomes your new lucky number on Monday, when go-getter Mars beams into Gemini and lights a bonfire in your seventh house of relationships until June 24. All manner of twosomes are highlighted, whether for business or romance. You won’t even have to work hard to attract the perfect partner. Just be your witty, open-minded, fun-loving self, and let candidates know the line forms to your right. While you’re basking in the attention, don’t feel pressured to become an official “we” until YOU are ready to say “oui.” You’re the sultan(ess) of spontaneity, but impulsive Mars can make you a little TOO eager to pull the trigger. Keep things moving forward—just make sure everyone feels comfortable at every twist and turn! Of course, you may not have total control over the rate of acceleration on Friday, when stalwart Saturn grabs the wheel and pumps the brakes (his trademark move). While this Mars-Saturn opposition may be frustrating at first, you could wind up thanking your stars for an excuse to slow the process down. Mars is bringing swarms of people into your hive, yet as much as you’re enjoying the popularity, it’s possible that you’re also feeling overwhelmed. But where FOMO might prevent you from saying no, restrictive Saturn could actually be helpful in safeguarding your sacred alone time. Give precedence to your own projects and let others know you’ll get back to them after you’ve gotten back to YOU. And then attend to everything you’ve been putting off, like working out, preparing healthy meals and tackling that mile-long to-do list.

Be focused and productive, because on Saturday, warmhearted Venus in your intimate eighth house locks into a harmonious trine with idealistic Neptune in your domestic fourth house. The gym and juicer will have to wait: What’s front and center on your mind is leaning in with your nearest and dearest—relatives and your sweet S.O. If there’s no family nearby or anyone to snuggle with on the sofa, you can still enjoy closeness. Invite a friend over for some bonding time, or do something in town you’ve always said you’d get around to “someday.” Sunday, lace up those trainers or pull on your Lulus: The annual new moon in Taurus revs up your sixth house of health and fitness. This isn’t a 24-hour call to action: New moons’ influence lasts a full six months. Don’t judge yourself, Archer. Even if you’ve been a twice-baked couch potato, this new chapter is yours for the taking. Just don’t try to go from zero to weekend warrior in sixty seconds. Create realistic goals, and steer clear of eating programs that sound like fad diets (i.e., no bone-broth diet for you!). Better to make small, sustainable changes and start new habits that actually have a chance of becoming part of your lifestyle. Remember, Sag: A lifetime of wellness is a marathon, not a sprint.

Sex, lies, videotape… and that’s just for starters, Scorp! Things are about to get even hotter on Monday, when your co-ruler, passionate Mars, grooves into Gemini and shakes up your intense and erotic eighth house. You’ll enjoy coloring outside the lines, but fifty shades of gray may not be enough. No one has to remind a Scorpio never to take things at face value and always peer beneath the surface, but for the next six weeks, you should think like a chess master. The stakes are high, and you can’t afford to make any mistakes. Whether you’re negotiating a business deal, researching a major investment or seducing the object of your lust, you’re playing for keeps. Even so, impulsive Mars can make you susceptible to strong winds of emotion, so keep an eye out for jealousy, paranoia and competitiveness—three of Mars’ more unsavory traits. On the romantic front, follow your impulse when the urge to merge strikes—but slowly! You could apply a little too much pressure if you aren’t careful. Be tantalizing and irresistible (which might necessitate a shopping trip to Agent Provocateur). Watch your step on Friday, when hot-to-trot Mars hits a string of red lights, courtesy of cautious Saturn, holding court in your second house of security. You may FEEL ready and rarin’ to go, but that old taskmaster senses danger and could pull the emergency brake. You may experience this as self-doubt or flagging confidence, but look even deeper. There’s a message here, and it’s worth finding (and heeding): This one-day opposition presents an opportunity to hit pause and examine the power dynamics in your partnership or a questionable aspect in a potential investment. Dig beneath the surface level appeal and see where something may be off or out of balance. Or perhaps you’re just rushing things when a little more patience is warranted?

Things lighten up considerably on Saturday, when outgoing Venus in your adventurous ninth house syncs up with idealistic Neptune in your romance sphere. Suddenly you’re feeling the love again—or maybe someone new stumbles into your path (someone with a sexy accent!). Harmonizing Venus can make differences seem appealing rather than insurmountable, so give a chance to someone who’s not your usual type. He or she may say tomahto and you say orangutan, but if this person makes your heart go pitter-patter, what difference does it make? If romance isn’t on your radar screen, Saturday’s sweet planetary lineup could reel in a creative collaborator, or you might serendipitously hit upon a perfect new outlet for your talents. Sunday’s new moon in Taurus shines the spotlight on your partnership house. So even if you think you’re better off as a solo act than part of a duet, the universe might have a surprise in store for you over the coming six months. Get ready, Scorp—dynamic duos await!

You’ve been watching the horizon, waiting for your ship to come sailing in ever since you started hosting high-octane Mars on March 31. On Monday the red planet blasts into Gemini and your second house of work and money, so hang on to your skipper’s hat. All those brilliant ideas you’ve already hatched could hit pay dirt between now and June 24. Now’s the time to do all the practical foundation-laying: Crunch the numbers, come up with a realistic timeline and do whatever it takes to get this idea seaworthy. The cosmic motivator can drive you to work harder and get your own financial life into shape. You may find yourself under additional pressure, though (gee, thanks, Mars). As deadlines get shorter, the hours could grow longer, so take extra-good care of yourself and make sure you’re up for the task. You’ll have to stay on your A-game, as the competition could reach fever pitch. But it’ll all be worth it in the long run, when you land that raise or impressive promotion. Build some flexibility into the plan, however, because on Friday, a sticky opposition between Mars and restrictive Saturn can throw a wrench into your long-term financial planning. It’s a case of hitting the accelerator while applying the brakes. Mars is revving up your fiscal zone, but he doesn’t discriminate between earning and spending. On the other hand, Saturn in your wealth sector is the voice of reason, exhorting you to use your funds prudently. So if a shiny, pricy item catches your eye—or a pal whispers in your ear about a “slam dunk” financial investment—think very long and hard before parting with your Benjamins. Ditto for friends in need. Thanks to your Taurean generosity, they might mistake you for a human ATM, so be careful lending (or borrowing) under this transit. If you must, make sure the terms are clearly indicated.

It’s time to kick back and celebrate on Saturday, when outgoing Venus and Neptune form a sweet trine in your social sectors. You definitely want to clear the decks and create large swaths of time to spend with your buds. Set a few extra places at the table: As you stroll down Memory Lane, the headcount may expand. Since Neptune’s in your eleventh house, which rules group activities AND technology, don’t limit encounters to face-to-face meetings. Point, click, and ye shall find! Keep the good vibes rolling into Sunday, which marks the only Taurus new moon of 2015. Think of this as your cosmic New Year: a time to kick off exciting new developments, which will unfold in the coming six months. Tap your sign’s legendary determination, and by the time of the Taurus full moon on October 27, your dreams could come to fruition.

Ready, set, goal! On Monday, motivational Mars blasts into Gemini and fires up your tenth house of lofty professional ambitions until June 24. The red planet only pops ‘round every two years, and when he does, it’s a brilliant opportunity to gallop after your highest goals. “Practical you” isn’t likely to quit your day job and hit the comedy circuit, of course, or try to eek out a living selling your art on street corners, but you should plan to go the extra mile in every work-related thing you do, from pitches and presentations to wooing your dream clients. A word of warning: Feisty Mars can froth up competition and tension, so be prepared to put in long hours or dazzle on a tight deadline. Bosses and clients could become more demanding than usual, so keep your equanimity by reminding yourself that it’s probably a “them” thing, not a “you” thing. Since the tenth house also rules the masculine, your relationship with a man could heat up for business OR pleasure. That lusty, creative energy will be flowing, and you could feel like a pair of daredevils on a sexy tear—or like masters of the universe conquering your corner of the industry like twin Trumps! On Friday, go-getter Mars moves into a tense opposition with cautious Saturn, who’s parked in your fourth house of domesticity. Even if you’re going gangbusters at work, smoke signals from home and family make it inescapably clear that your nearest and dearest need more attention from their favorite Virgo. Your work is important to you, but this is a good moment to take a hard look at whether you’re actually putting in more effort than is necessary. If you find yourself in the typical Virgo role of “first responder,” step back and let someone else field the SOS call. Feeling drained? If your career–personal life balance is out of whack, you probably have some recalibration to do. And dig beneath the surface: Could it be that you’re intentionally distracting yourself with work to avoiding dealing with a family matter?

On Saturday, your inner critic (who’s quite “out”) is actually gagged and silenced! How wonderful to see others, and yourself, in the most favorable light—whole and perfect! This charming new approach to life comes gift-wrapped and courtesy of a sweet trine between rosy-hued Venus in your social sector and idealistic Neptune in your seventh house of relationships. But that’s not all: This accepting viewpoint shines even brighter on Sunday, when a new moon in Taurus accentuates your ninth house of travel, expansion and optimism. Suddenly it’s not enough to merely FEEL the love; la luna wants you to share it with the world. In fact, any global vision is supported now, so take a leap of faith, flap those wings and soar!

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Maggie Gyllenhaal and Poppy Delevingne’s Met Gala Makeup by Charlotte Tilbury | Get The Look Fri, 08 May 2015 22:38:48 +0000  In which we share these tips from makeup artist to the stars Charlotte Tilbury to help you recreate some of the fiercest looks seen at this week’s Met Ball.



Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal attended the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing an amazing Roland Mouret gown that needed little embellishment. Together with her team, Charlotte created a simple yet sultry beauty look, topped off with a bold red lip.


Here’s how to re-create Maggie’s makeup look:

1. Maggie’s skin was prepped with the Goddess Skin Clay Mask, Magic Cream and WonderGlow Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash Primer for a perfect canvas. Her complexion was perfected with Light Wonder Youth-Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation in 4 and 5. Then The Retoucher Conceal & Treat Stick in 2 and 3 were used to conceal any imperfections. Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Shade 2 was then swept over Maggie’s cheekbones.
2. Maggie’s eyebrows were sculpted with the Brow Lift in Grace K.
3. Eyes to Mesmerise in Jean and Marie Antoinette and The Golden Goddess Luxury Palette were used on Maggie’s eyelids for a sophisticated, creamy look. To lengthen her lashes, the Full Fat Lashes Mascara was used.
4. Filmstar Bronze & Glow was used to sculpt and highlight Maggie’s face, with a focus on her temples and cheeks which were accentuated with Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson Colour of Youth Lip & Cheek Glow.
5. On Maggie’s lips, the artist used Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red (available July 29th).
6. Supermodel Body was applied to Maggie’s limbs to create the illusion of longer legs and arms, with a hint of shimmer.


Fashion muse Poppy Delevingne turned heads at the Met Gala wearing a Marchesa gown embellished with red poppies, and complemented it with makeup by Charlotte Tilbury’s lead artistry team. Poppy’s beauty look was modern and glamourous with a nude lip and dramatic Dolce Vita eye to play up her multi-dimensional gown and plunging neckline.


Here is how to re-create Poppy’s makeup look:

1. First, Poppy’s skin was prepped with the Goddess Skin Clay Mask, Charlotte’s Magic Cream and WonderGlow–flawless red carpet skin essentials that Charlotte calls “The Gift of Goddess Skin.”
2. Her complexion was perfected with a mixture of Light Wonder Youth-Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation in 3 Fair and 5 Medium and Air Brush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder in 2 Medium to correct any discoloration and imperfections.
3. Next, her brows were sculpted with the Brow Lift Three-Way Shape, Lift and Shade Tool in Grace K.
4. Poppy’s dramatic eyes were created by first using the Bronzed Garnet Colour Chameleon as a base colour all over the lid.
5. Using The Dolce Vita Luxury Eyeshadow Palette, the Prime shade was dusted under the brows. Then, the Enhance shade was applied to the crease, and the Smoke shade was applied at the lash line and lightly underneath the eye.
6. Poppy’s eyes were defined with in Rock ‘N’ Kohl Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil in Barbarella Brown along the lash line and water line of the eyes.
7. Then, the Pop shade of The Dolce Vita Luxury Eyeshadow Palette was applied to the lids for amped-up glamour.
8. Lashes were defined and amplified with Full Fat Lashes Mascara.
9. Filmstar Bronze & Glow was used with the Powder & Sculpt Brush to sculpt and highlight Poppy’s facial framework, and her cheeks which were accentuated with Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blush in Ecstasy.
10. Poppy’s lips were lined with Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk and filled in with K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Penelope Pink and Lip Lustre Luxe Colour-Lasting Lip Lacquer in Seduction.
11. To complete Poppy’s look, Supermodel Body Slimmer Shimmer: Shape, Hydrate & Glow was applied all over her body for a radiant glow.

Shop all: Charlotte Tilbury makeup

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