The Realest

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Entertaining with the Perfect Holiday Recipes and Hostess Dresses | The Realest

Each month we take a lady we admire and give her the model treatment in our photo shoot, The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and makeup artist; she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style. Then we all head out on location for a professional shoot that showcases this month’s featured dress looks.

It’s that time of year when you gather you and yours to spread good cheer. In homes and restaurants around the globe, families and friends will come together to clink glasses and raise forks full of food. While we were thinking about what dishes we’d serve this season, we decided to consult restaurateur Sarah Penn. Sarah happens to own two of the loveliest and coziest restaurants in Seattle—perfect venues for intimate, festive mixers with kin.

Sarah Penn, The Realest

We visited Sarah at her two locations, Pair and Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor, where she shared scrumptious recipes with us and offered her suggestions for celebratory wine pairings, all while modeling five dresses perfect for hosting or attending a holiday party. Get her easy recipes for smoked salmon blini and potato leek gratin (you need these), and a peek at the dresses in her restaurants’ warm interiors.

Sarah Penn, The RealestChiara Boni La Petite Robe Stellina peplum jersey sheath dress | Loren Hope Clara crystal bracelet | Panacea crystal & tassel bracelet

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ALL POSTS Interviews Style

Sabering Champagne and the Power of Lipstick and Lingerie | The Realest

Each month we take a lady we admire and give her the model treatment in our photo shoot, The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and makeup artist; she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style. Then we all head out on location for a professional shoot that showcases this month’s cocktail and party looks.

Jessica Tousignant at Sun Liquor, The RealestAdrianna Papell beaded crop top and tulle midi skirt | Topshop ball stop hinge bangle and mirror statement ring | Charles David Ivette sandal | Glint lattice beaded minaudière 

Sun Liquor’s Jessica Tousignant can teach you something about spirits, style and enjoying life. In fact, she taught us how to saber a Champagne bottle and mix a Spanish G&T—more on that later. The sales and marketing professional for Seattle-based boutique distillery Sun Liquor has the enviable job of evangelizing the company’s quality gins, vodkas and rums around the globe. Naturally, that brings her in contact with many fascinating industry folks, among whom she easily holds court, at international bars and restaurants.

We had the chance to talk with the energetic traveler and food-and-drink enthusiast over an equally effervescent cocktail. Here’s what she told us about her personal style, beverage predilections and what to do in Cuba, her most recent, favorite destination.

Jessica Tousignant at Sun Liquor, The RealestTell us about what you do at Sun Liquor. 

I’m the vice president of sales. In short, I’m in charge of everything related to sales and education, and I have a hand in marketing as well. I find and establish new markets and support existing ones, which means that I’m out travelling all over the place for roughly half of every year. It’s a quickly growing company, so I really wear a lot of hats, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A lot of people think I party for a living, but really it’s a lot of behind-the-scenes heavy lifting in order to make that part possible.

What and where are the liquors currently available for purchase? 

We have a lot! Everything we make is organic. We have UNXLD Vodka, Hedge Trimmer Gin, Gun Club Gin, Silver and aged agricole (cane juice) style rums, as well as a line of bitters and our eggnog, which has an astounding cult following. We also have a few special releases coming up that everyone should keep their eyes peeled for: we got our hands on some of the raw honey that comes from the beehives kept on the rooftop of the Fairmont Olympic hotel—very exciting! Nationally, everything can be found at Total Wine & More, and also on all Alaska Airlines flights.

GRAB A DRINK WITH US: READ MORE

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ALL POSTS Interviews Style

Champagne, Cranberry Salsa and Entertaining in an LBD | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we take a lady we admire and give her the model treatment in our photo shoot, The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and makeup artist; she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style. Then we all head out on location for a professional shoot that showcases the looks in our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Sheena Kalso, The Invisible Hostess

Adelyn Rae strapless jumpsuit | Topshop velvet choker | similar style flat: KENDALL + KYLIE Sage ghillie flat

When October rolls around, the holiday party invitations start rolling in. So we turned to Sheena Kalso of The Invisible Hostess for pointers on surviving the busy entertaining season in style. Not only did she give us excellent advice—and a killer recipe for cranberry salsa—but she also showed us how to rock a little black dress (or jumper) with serious panache. As we goofed around while photographing her at the funky party venue WithinSodo, we learned that part of being a great hostess is knowing how to relax and be available. Sheena’s fun-loving temperament makes her a natural. Here’s what else she told us.

Tell us about your job and company, The Invisible Hostess.

Sheena Kalso, The Invisible Hostess

I started The Invisible Hostess in 2006 to help the average party hostess enjoy her event.  Shortly after launching, I was asked if I coordinated weddings. My excitement for domestic hospitality seamlessly translated to weddings. After 10 years, The Invisible Hostess has won a record amount of local planning awards in Seattle. I’m really proud to say we executed 250 events in 2015 with a staff of 50.

With the 10-year anniversary, I reflected on what made me get out of bed every morning and what kept me fulfilled—as one will with any milestone in one’s life. This year I decided to streamline operations by offering wedding coordination only and to focus on my next adventure, mentoring college grads as The Wedding Mentor.

REAL PARTY ADVICE AND MORE LBD LOOKS

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Food & Drink Style

Dirty Martinis, Gold Mules and Better Living with Heather Christo | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Blogger, chef and cookbook author, Heather Christo models for Nordstrom with family.

Meet Heather Christo, a classically trained French chef, erstwhile high-end caterer, two-time cookbook author, popular food blogger and enviably polished mother of two. When she and her children were diagnosed with a slew of collective food allergies, Heather (not without a heavy sigh) threw out the butter and eggs and set about using her professional experience to create new dishes that were safe for her family but just as delicious–if not more so–as the food they were accustomed to.

Along the way, she documented her experience on her blog and poured it all into her recently released one-of-a-kind book, Pure Delicious–full of helpful information and tasty recipes she developed that are free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, peanut, shellfish and cane sugar. No small feat! Find out how she does it (she’s sharing recipes!), read about her style and see her modeling some of our favorite dresses while being an impeccable hostess in her beautiful home and garden.

Heather Christo models an Eliza J fit and flare dress for Nordstrom.On work and play: Well, I really have several jobs and divide my time between them.

1. My blog, HeatherChristo.com, where I publish five days a week and do everything from the recipe development to the food styling–including photography, postproduction and writing.

2. My company, Heathermade, which is currently sold in select Costcos and hitting retail this fall. We make fresh, vegan baked goods that are certified gluten-, soy-, nut- and peanut-free.

3. My book. A year ago I would have been focused on editing it, but now I am focused on the promotion of it. So I’m doing press trips, book signings and (my favorite) public speaking about our family experience with the power of food as medicine.

And … Ha! I don’t think I am getting in nearly enough play time! But I try to enjoy any and all time that we get to spend as a family–even if it is just going on a walk on the weekend or all sitting down to dinner together. We also have great friends, and my husband and I love to go out for drinks or entertain at home.

SEE ALL THE LOOKS FROM OUR PHOTO SHOOT WITH HEATHER

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ALL POSTS Style

Managing Vibes, Raspberry Rompers and the Best Songs to Play at a Wedding | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Meet Jojo: super smart and super cool, she’s a mother of two who met her husband in the local hip-hop scene. Turning their love of the culture and music into a business, they founded Bamboo Beats—a wedding and events DJ service that’s dedicated to mastering the art of DJing. They must be doing it right since Bamboo Beats was just named Best Reception DJ for 2016 by Seattle Bride Magazine. Congrats, you guys!

We met up with Jojo at one of her event-space haunts, the funky Fremont Foundry, and got right down to hanging out and trying on a handful of our party dresses. Read on to learn more about Jojo’s style, her favorite wedding songs to play right now and our favorite styles from the day.

Jo-Jo-12

Jo-Jo-15-2

On work and play: I own a well-known wedding DJ service with my husband, Isaac, called Bamboo Beats! We started our business in 2005, shortly after we planned our own wedding. Isaac is the DJ and I am the self-proclaimed “Vibe Manager.” Basically, I handle all the bookings, marketing, social media and customer service. For fun, we have a great time keeping up with our two sons who are 3 and 6 years old. They keep us busy with playtime, swimming and lots of excursions. When I have a chance, I love catching artists at Jazz Alley or the Triple Door.

SEE ALL OUR FAVORITE LOOKS FROM OUR DAY WITH JOJO

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Style

NYC, Flamenco Dancing, Skateboards and Summer Dresses | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Summer dresses at Nordstrom.

Summer dresses at Nordstrom.This month we packed up our dresses and headed to New York City to hang out with the incomparable Angela Sumner. Confident, smart and full of a million and one ideas, it’s no wonder why Angela is a video director at Refinery29. You may be familiar with one of her many projects, Short Cuts by R29—a megapopular video series made up of forever helpful beauty tips and how-tos. Playful and always up for an adventure, Angela let us into her West Village apartment (and closet!).

Angela’s wardrobe totally reflects who she is: fast thinking, sassy, quirky, playful and a go-getter with a no-nonsense approach to life. And let’s just say she’s not basic. Her wardrobe is chock-a-block full of wonderful, well-curated items—an amazing collection of shoes (think Gucci, Wang, Choo), vibrant printed outerwear, classic menswear-inspired jackets, tailored pieces and beautiful heirloom jewelry from her grandma.

Our stylist Tamala put together five outfits ready for anything a New York summer has in store. It was easy to work with Angela to find those key pieces that kept her looks minimal, but true to who she is.

SEE OUR ENTIRE SHOOT WITH ANGELA AND MORE SUMMER DRESSES

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Beauty Style

Beauty Tips From an Expert, Glamping and Summer Sundresses (with Pockets!) | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Floral fit and flare tea length dress from Eliza J.

Floral fit and flare tea length dress from Eliza J.

Go ahead and just try to keep up with Tiffany Lowry. As a freelance hair and makeup artist, Tiffany juggles running between beautifying clients at her chair in a downtown spa, dishing out her encyclopedic beauty knowledge on TV, traveling as the image director for a cable sports network and oh, you know, just working on the imminent launch of her very own app—plus being a mom. We have no idea how she managed to take a day away from it all to get gorgeous in some of our favorite summer day dresses, but we’re so glad she did. You couldn’t ask to hangout with a more energetic, enthusiastic and on-top-of-her-game human being—a woman with an irrepressible spirit who clearly loves what she does. Every single person in our crew that day came away with genius tips and beauty product recommendations; we can’t wait for that app!

SEE ALL THE LOOKS FROM OUR DAY WITH TIFFANY

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Style

Yoga, Star Wars Leggings and Ready-for-Anything Springtime Dresses | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Dresses for spring from Nordstrom.

Meet Cheyenne: easygoing and sincere with a sharp sense of humor and an enthusiasm for trying new things—like spending the day letting us get her into a whole rack of clothes. Fierce when it comes to friends and family (and fun), Cheyenne is a yoga instructor, single mom—the coolest mom—and exactly the type of woman you want at your girls’ night.

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know that you tend to leave feeling pretty calm, a little more centered and like you’ve even had fun doing something that was good for you. That’s pretty much how it felt after spending the day with Cheyenne. Her bright energy was the perfect foil for our any-occasion-ready spring dresses.

Spring dress styling ideas from casual to cocktail, at Nordstrom.
MAXI DRESSES
Orange leather moto jacket and envelope clutch from Nordstrom.

On work and play: I’ve been working as a full-time caregiver to an awesome 95-year-old woman for six years. I also teach Yoga Sculpt and Advanced Yoga at CorePower Yoga. Come check me out!

Mostly, I would describe my time off the clock as a quiet night in watching a movie and cooking. But I’ve started to make a bucket list of ways to experience the city, even though I’m a Seattle native. I also like traveling around town with my son looking for new places to eat, finding time in my crazy schedule for family and friends, yoga and riding my bike (Purple Beast).

I also probably spend too much time figuring out ways to make something not so healthy sound healthy to myself. Like, dark chocolate–covered almonds: almonds have good protein and dark chocolate has antioxidants. There! Sounds healthy … right?!

Adelyn Rae chiffon maxi dress | IRO moto jacket | Steve Madden sandals | gorjana midi rings

Orange envelope clutch from Nordstrom.

Spring dress styling ideas from casual to cocktail, at Nordstrom.

SEE HOW WE STYLE SPRINGTIME DRESSES FOR EVERY OCCASION AND MORE ABOUT CHEYENNE

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Style

Cakes, Spring Silhouettes and a Maltese Named Ginger with Kate Sigel | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

Spring 2016 dress trends: the shirtdress. Nordstrom blogs spent the day trying on some of our favorite dress silhouettes with our real-woman model and real-life baker, Kate Sigel.

Having been up since 3AM (her normal wake-up time) and having spent hours at it before our photo shoot even began, Kate was still infectiously all smiles right through the end. It probably doesn’t hurt that her work-life revolves around making beautiful cakes and pastries all day. As the founder and owner of a specialty cake business, Sweet Tooth Cake Company, as well as executive pastry chef for the Huxley Wallace Collective restaurant group, Kate’s a busy woman! Fueled by more than just sugary confections, Kate is smart, passionate and inspired by anyone who shares the same ability to get so excited by whatever it is she or he loves doing.

We spent our day with Kate getting her into some of our favorite dresses for spring at her family friends’ gorgeous home on the waterfront. She was kind enough to bring us a vanilla cake to decorate with the most delicious grapefruit curd (!) between the layers all topped with vanilla-orange Italian meringue buttercream frosting (!!). We definitely all congratulated ourselves with a slice after wrapping up the shoot—which we made sure included at least one scene featuring the resident pup, a Maltese named Ginger, who probably ended up getting just as much attention that day from the crew as our seriously delightful model.

SHIRTDRESSES

Kate-2

Spring 2016 dress trends: the shirtdress by Eliza J. Nordstrom blogs spent the day trying on some of our favorite dress silhouettes with our real-woman model and real-life baker, Kate Sigel.A day in the life: There really isn’t a “normal” day for me, but that’s a big part of what I like about what I do. I talk to clients for my cake business, come up with ideas for what they’re looking for and how to make it as custom and special as possible, then work on cakes. For the most part I can get into a rhythm with baking and making buttercreams and fillings, but my favorite part is the decorating.

It’s so much fun for me to see this idea or concept get translated from just an idea to a 3D, tangible thing. I don’t always sketch out ideas, as I like to be able to tweak the design a little bit as I’m working to make the best possible end result, so even I don’t know exactly what a cake will look like until it’s finished.

Clients often tell me, ‘I can’t wait to see the cake!’ And internally, I’m thinking, “I know, me too!”

Eliza J striped shirtdress | Baublebar snowball wrap ring | Heeled sandals with fringe

SEE OUR ENTIRE SHOOT WITH KATE AND ALL THE SPRING DRESSES

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Beauty Makeup

Fresh, Natural Makeup for Night | The Realest, Beauty Edition

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For our most recent installment of The Realest, our real-woman model Caitlin Braam showed us around her office—a brewery and cidery where she is president of both companies.

We spent the day photographing her around her workplace and outfitting her with new dresses to try for spring. Since we had a hair and makeup artist on hand as well as a photographer, we thought we’d share how to get her fresh, minimalist and perfect-for-spring makeup look. Bonus: artist Jamyrlyn Mallory takes it from day to night with a pop-of-color lip and just the right amount of bronzer and contour from the new NARS Hot Sand Collection. Pretty. Easy.

GET JAMYRLYN’S MAKEUP TIPS AND HOW-TO STEPS

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