Burning Love: Nicole Richie on Her Candle Obsession (and New Home Fragrance Line)

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Nicole Richie’s new House of Harlow 1960 Home Fragrance Collection gives the celebrity designer an entré into a new world, beyond clothes and accessories. But she clearly went into it with as much forethought and personal insight as she puts into everything for her House of Harlow brand, which, she says, is “a world of no rules, of dreams, and music.” We got some backstory from Richie about her fragrant new venture (and its familial connections):

Your empire is expanding fast — how did you decide to move into fragrance? Are there other categories you’re interested in pursuing? Stepping into the world of home has been a passion of mine since the day I started this brand. I designed my home. Candles set the tone of a home; they warm up a room and fill the room with a mood.

Tell us about the process of developing fragrances. Where did you begin? Did you have specific scent references you brought to the team? Developing a fragrance is very personal. I had to go back to the root of House of Harlow and what it stands for. House of Harlow celebrates individuality. It is a world of no rules, of dreams, and music. I wanted each scent to send you to the place of feeling free. Like Baby when she finally did the lift in Dirty Dancing.

What are some of your favorite scent memories? My mother has been pairing and mixing oils, options, and perfumes since I was a little girl. I always remember the way she smelled.

Are you big on using candles to set specific moods? How do you use them in your home? My home has candles in every room, and I burn them every day. Candles give the room movement and warmth.

Candles are such a go-to gift…do you plan to give your House of Harlow ones this season? DUH! Nothing screams “Im thinking of you” like a gift with my name on it.

What is the best holiday gift you’ve ever gotten? given?  I still use a real camera. I love a tangible photo. My husband got me a photo printer last year and I love it.

What’s on your holiday wish list this year? I’m in a minimal head space right now. I’m focused on appreciating all that I have. That being said, I wouldn’t return a diamond … HOT DAMN!

What are your favorite family holiday traditions? How do you welcome the season? We go big for the holidays. We start decorating the house on October 1st for Halloween, and it’s nonstop for the rest of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are big for us; we do every tradition you could think of.

Your personal style has really evolved…how would you define it these days?  It’s hard for me to define my style because I am me. My experience is that I have been playing with different looks since I was a little girl. I went through a Punky Brewster stage, a grunge stage, but this is the fun part about fashion. You don’t have to make rules for yourself. Your point of view changes, and your eye changes. You can appreciate things you didn’t in the past. From colors to construction, fashion is a constant evolution, and if used the right way, can be your biggest tool in helping you express yourself.

Has motherhood changed your approach to fashion? Has designing? I’ve always been led by comfort, so that has not changed. I still love to experiment, and probably always will.

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We Love a Hot Ride: Why Jetson Bikes Stand Out

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Vespa, move aside; slide over, Segway, and Citibike, take a back seat. Make way for these cute, colorful bikes from Jetson Electric. Here, founder Josh Sultan talks about pedal power and being one of Oprah’s Favorite Things:

It’s got more than good looks. “What we’re learning every day is that people are looking for alternative modes of transportation, whether it’s a skateboard, a folding bike, a beach cruiser, or a scooter,” says creator Josh Sultan, who had a background in wholesale manufacturing and product development for the likes of Nike, Levi’s, and electronics firms. “ I’d see Vespas and then Chinese food delivery guys with these beat-up electrical bikes covered in duct tape, and I thought, What if it could marry the two? That’s how it came to life,” he says. “Most electric bikes are kind of ugly,” he says, “with the battery hanging off the back.” His goal was a sleek design. “It looks like a regular bike. Basically, we hide the battery inside the frame of the bike so nobody knows you’re riding an electric bike.” That is, until you zoom on by…

It’s just like riding a bike—but better.  …at a reasonable speed, of course. “Our bikes max out at 20 miles per hour,” says Stetson, who tootles around Manhattan on his array of electric vehicles (including a mountain bike that’s “a beast,” he says). That makes him, at least, feel a lot safer in traffic than he did going 40 to 60 mph on the Vespa he used to own. Rather than being gas-powered, Jetson bikes have a rechargeable battery making them a green choice—it has functional pedals. “A lot of customers use them for fitness, because they’re heavier than regular bikes. They’ll pedal for a half mile, then use the electric,” which operates via a throttle on the handlebars. Because it’s considered a bicycle, not a motor vehicle, there’s no special license, registration, or insurance required. “It’s also half the width of the Vespa, and much easier to control strength-wise. Then there’s the price difference.” Jetsons ship to your house fully assembled. “We want you to open up the box, jump on, and ride,” Sultan says.

Everybody likes them. “My first customer was a surgeon at NYU Medical Center,” says Josh Sultan. “We have bankers, college students… even Oprah,” who showcased them on her “Oprah’s Favorite Things” telecast in 2012 before they were even for sale to the public. She was such a fan she had a bunch of them shipped to her home in Hawaii, which led to a little misunderstanding. “Everyone in my family knew I was working with her. And it’s 9 p.m. in my kitchen and I get a phone call—from an anonymous number,” says Josh Sultan. “I hear somebody on the line saying, ‘Hi Josh, it’s Oprah Winfrey…” I said, “Sure it is, Oprah. Kiss my ass.” And I hung up. She called back and said, ‘Please tell me you didn’t just hang up on me. Nobody hangs up on me, Josh.’”

You can color-coordinate them with your phone case or your shoes. “We offer the bikes in 12 different colors,” says Sultan. “These days people have the ability to personalize their life. You can match literally anything you own to something else you own. What I wanted to offer was—if you are someone who likes lime green or orange, I wanted to be there to support you.”

 

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Dominique Ansel’s “Glittery Champagne Granita”: Get the Recipe Here

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When a master pastry chef like Dominique Ansel makes an exclusive recipe, you take out your pencils and jot it down *IMMEDIATELY*. That’s just what he did for us at Gilt (and, by association, for you). Without further ado, here’s the recipe for his “Glittery Champagne Granita.” It’ll reawaken your palate (and improve your life in general), during the upcoming holidays and well beyond:

 

“Glittery” Champagne Granita

Serves 10-12

 

350g water

350g granulated sugar

1 bottle of Brut Rosé Champagne

2 sheets of 24-karat gold leaf

Heavy cream (to serve)

 

  1. Over a pot on low heat, combine the water and sugar and whisk until all the sugar melts (make sure the water doesn’t boil).
  2. To the syrup, add one entire bottle of champagne.
  3. Carefully remove two pieces of the gold leaf and mix into the water until it breaks up into tiny flecks.
  4. Pour the mixture onto a shallow casserole pan and place it over ice to chill briefly before transferring it to the freezer.
  5. With a fork, scrape the top of the granita every 20 minutes or so and repeat 4-5 times for a light and airy granita.
  6. To serve, whip up your designed amount of whipped cream until it reaches soft peaks.
  7. Lightly “fluff” the granita by scraping it with a fork. Scoop the granita into a champagne flute and top with a dollop of whipped cream.
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Curioos: The New Face of Digital Art

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What is digital art? No, it’s not one of those trendy finger tattoos. It’s art that uses digital technology (such as computers) as an essential part of its creation or presentation. Curioos.com (pronounced “curious”) is a curated website focusing on these works, and it all grew out of the fan Tumblr blog of Matt Valoatto, Founder/CEO and Chief Curator of the site. We asked him how he got plugged in to the digital art world.

What made you interested in this type of art? Just like me, all of these digital artists grew up grew up in an era of digital media—comic books, video games, TV, the internet. You can find something from all of the above in the art. I’m a computer engineer and business school graduate. From my teenage years, I was very fond of photography, digital art, and digital media. I realized I could mix my three passions—computers, business, and art.

What sets Curioos apart from other digital art businesses? The focus for us is not just to sell. It started as just blog to promote digital artists, and it grew so fast—we very quickly got hundreds of thousands of followers, so we decided to do a website. At first it was not a marketplace, then in early 2012 we thought about monetizing it and helping the artists earn money for their work. We do numbered series of prints. This is very important for the artist to know he’s working with us on a long-term basis.

How do you find your artists? We have almost 2,000 artists, from 90 countries. From day one, our main focus was on curating. All the artists we have are invited. They get one invitation a month to extend to other artists. We monitor blogs and websites. And I moved to New York City from Paris (where we opened our first workshop—near Pere Lachaise Cemetery) two years ago because it’s the best place in the world to meet the digital artists of tomorrow—there are many graphic designers, ad agencies with a lot of artists, and art world entrepreneurs.

Why do you think this type of art is growing in popularity? In my opinion, it’s the new Pop Art. It’s also affordable to make—you can buy a laptop and graphic design software. It’s not just for the elite. And we are really connecting in real time the generation of artists with the same generation of collectors. It’s very important for them to find in the art they buy some symbols of their generation. It’s a big revolution in art—in real-time. Plus, social networks and social media can connect the artists and their fans, the new generation of collectors. Maybe digital art can have the same explosion that street art had like ten years ago.

– Maria Ricapito

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