Monday, April 30, 2012

Did Someone Say Cocktails & Crafts?

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In a perfect world, I would retire to a beach house in Montauk and drink Champagne cocktails all day while doing crafts and designing my home. But mama still needs to pay the bills, so we'll have to table that - for now.

However, it doesn't mean we can't enjoy a night of it! Okay, we won't be at the beach, BUT we will be at the best bookstore in New York City, with the fabulous author and interior designer Janet Lee! You in?

Here are the details and the fancy schmancy press release:


An evening of bubbly cocktail demos and sparkling design DIY’s

With Cara Alwill Leyba,
Founder and Executive Editor of The Champagne Diaries

And Janet Lee,
Small Space Decorator and Author of Living in a Nutshell

Like a match made in heaven, Cara and Janet, who met and clicked in a book writing class, will combine their talent and enthusiasm for living an effervescent life. As a writer and life coach, Cara sees champagne as a metaphor for celebrating every day, flaws and all, reminding us to embrace the little luxuries that life has to offer…no matter the budget. Janet takes the same approach with design in her newly released book, Living in a Nutshell (Harper Design; $25), blog and finding affordable ways to add a little more glamour and dazzle in a small space, flaunting rather than hiding flaws in a room and focusing on what you have…not what you don’t.

Perfect for the season, Cara will demonstrate how to mix, shake and pour the perfect Champagne Mojito, courtesy of Le Grand Courtâge, while she shares her personal stories of trials, breakthroughs and triumphs.

If you ever wondered what to do with those gorgeous champagne corks---Janet will show you how to transform them into decorative paper tassels with pages from vintage books and velvet ribbon.  Everyone will make one while they sip on their bubbly and learn design secrets from the author.  It’s the perfect way to create and craft at the perfect bookstore, The BookMark Shoppe in Brooklyn!

And if that weren’t enough, one lucky winner will bring home an exclusive project designed for the Living in a Nutshell book.

WHERE:         The BookMark Shoppe
                         8415 3rd Avenue
                         Brooklyn, NY 11209
                         (718) 833-5115

WHEN:            May 3rd, 2012   
                         7:00-9:00 pm

GOODIES:      We'll have free gift bags (valued at $25) filled with Command Brand products for everyone  who buys a book on the night of the event. Janet Lee will personally sign all books.   


PRESS:           Please contact Stephanie Scott to schedule any interviews:

About Cara Alwill Leyba

Cara Alwill Leyba is a writer, lifestylist and wellness coach from NYC who empowers women to live their most effervescent life and celebrate themselves. Her blog, The Champagne Diaries, has a following of nearly 6,000 loyal readers and has been featured in Glamour, Shape, Cafe Mom, Daily Mail UK, MSN Australia, AOL UK Lifestyle, and a host of other publications worldwide. Cara encourages women to design the lives they desire and deserve, and swears that every woman can live a "Champagne life," no matter how busy she is or how tight her budget. Cara is currently working on her first book based on the popularity and extensive feedback from fans of her blog. She also regularly appears on the “Ask Dr. Fritz” radio show on WWRL New York, where she helps host Dr. Fritz answer questions from callers about love, career, family, relationships and more. When she’s not popping bubbly and penning her Champagne diaries, Cara spends her days leading a digital advertising team at MTV Networks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

About Janet Lee

An Emmy Award-winning television show producer, Janet has styled and produced for leading home decorators, entrepreneurs, and designers such as Martha Stewart, B. Smith, and Thom Filicia. She spent ten years as a senior producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show, working closely with style legends like Nate Berkus. Since 2008, she has been writing a popular small space design blog, Named one of the top go-to sites for affordable modern design by the San Francisco Chronicle in 2009, Janet shares her experience from the decorating front lines having lived in a dozen different pocket-sized apartments over the past 20 years: “I’m a serial small space nester with a unique vantage point…Each apartment I’ve lived in—with its laundry list of list of lighting and structural flaws—has become a personal decorating lab where I’ve created and road-tested my ideas.”  Her book, Living in a Nutshell: Posh and Portable Decor with Harper Collins was released March 2012.  She lives in New York City.     
Media Contact:  Stephanie Scott
646.389.5569 /

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Daze

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photo via pinterest

Today has been the most perfect spring day we've had in New York City so far this season. A slightly cool breeze blowing around the petals from cherry blossom trees, a piercing blue sky perfectly etched with marshmallow white clouds, hot pink tulips in bloom. It feels exactly like a Friday in spring should feel; exciting, hopeful and vibrant. Everyone's appetite is whet for the weekend (not to mention a big fat glass - or bottle - of wine).

So naturally, I had to get out and enjoy it. Despite the fact that I work in Times Square, aka the devil's armpit, I am just blocks away from beautiful Bryant Park which is not only where Ryan and I got engaged, but where disgruntled midtown suits get away to take in nature and forget the fact that their job totally sucks.

I made my way to Hale and Hearty to grab my salad (beets, walnuts, carrots, broccoli, onions and feta cheese - yum!) and then set out to hunt down a table in the park. Finding a table during lunch hour in a beautiful park in this city is next to impossible, especially on a day like today, but I was determined. Within minutes I scoped out my space, laid out my lunch spread, pumped up my iPod, and entered nirvana.

As I chomped away on my salad, I felt such a sense of peace. I was thrilled to be in that exact moment. I wasn't thinking of this morning, or tonight. I was present. Fully, completely, and totally present. It got me thinking about something my ex once told my mother. I can't even remember what it was, but she had gotten something that made her really happy. Something small and insignificant to most - but to her it was everything. "I feel so bad for you, the littlest things make you happy," he scoffed. She turned to him and said, "Actually, that makes me very, very lucky."

And I have to give it to my mother, she raised my brother and I on her own, so the "little things" were all we had. I wasn't raised in a big house with fancy cars. In fact, the public bus was our family car. We didn't have much, but my mother never, ever let us feel like we went without. In my eyes, we had everything - an amazing family, endless support, more laughter than you could ever imagine, and each other.

So this afternoon, as I sat in the park, falling in love with the afternoon, I thought about what a blessing it is to appreciate the small stuff. The gorgeous sunshine, a delicious salad, a happy and satisfying life. Because when you really think about it, none of that is small stuff, at all.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

32 Candles

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Here's something nobody tells you when you hit your 30's: friendships fade. And they fade fast.

If you would have asked me five years ago what I'd be doing as I approached my 32nd birthday, I'd probably describe some elaborate party, complete with tiaras, balloons and cupcakes galore. I'd have meticulously plotted my outfit, and probably have two back ups in place should my mood, or the weather, change. Stilettos would be involved, the higher the better. Every last detail would be planned out, I'd be obsessively talking to my girlfriends about how excited we all were for the upcoming soiree. The next mornings, photos would flood every social media outlet as phone calls flew back and forth between the girls over morning coffee. Hilarious recaps would fill our morning, and we'd talk about how we couldn't wait to do it again.

Yet here I sit, turning 32, and all I'm interested in is a quiet, wine-filled dinner with my husband and possibly a day without work, school or the monotony of the day that seems to creep in so obnoxiously - phone calls, emails, bills. I just want a day to feel at peace.

I've been feeling a bit off lately when it comes to navigating the world of female friendships, and my birthday is what has really shed light on it. Things change as we grow and take our new places on the stage of life. Things are different. We're all moving in various directions; some with husbands, some with babies, some with exciting careers and others with none of that. I find that I've stayed close with a few girlfriends despite whatever life has thrown our way. We make time to talk and see each other because we genuinely want to. But for the others, it's almost as if there is an unspoken feeling that things are not that same...and it's alright.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. The same way I'm not really sure where I'm going with these friendships. I guess time will tell. Maybe we don't need a tribe of friends as we get older. Maybe we just need to few solid ones to have our back and be there for us when it counts most.

Friday, April 13, 2012

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I couldn't love this more.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Healthy is The New Skinny! Check Out My Article on Mind Body Green

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First of all I have to say - I am truly honored to contribute to Mind Body Green. If you read this blog regularly, you'll see how often I refer to their articles. They are a wellness wonderland. Chock full of inspiration, education and motivation (the three keys to success!)

Today they featured an article I wrote called "Healthy is The New Skinny: How I Learned to Love Myself and My Body." This is a topic I hold very close to my heart, and I truly hope that someone reads it and feels comforted. I surely wish I had read something like this 10 years ago when I found myself in the midst of a downward spiral. Luckily I pulled out of it and today, I am better, stronger, and happier than I have ever been. Changing the way you think and eat is one of the most challenging things you can do, but in the end the reward is so worth it.

So check it out ladies, and let me know what you think! And here's to your health and happiness!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pin It Now! Whether you're celebrating Easter, Passover, or just celebrating LIFE, I'd like to wish every one of you a very *sparkling* weekend! Cheers!

photo courtesty of

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stay Happy! How We Mirror Moods

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Did you ever wake up, feeling rested and relaxed, ready to take on the world, and then BAM. You see your overly dramatic co-worker, who starts ranting about how stressed out she is, or the "energy vampire" in your life calls (you know the one I'm talking about) and you regret ever answering the phone. You suddenly feel exhausted, irritated, and downright miserable. You've just been mood-bombed.

Now let's flip the script. Ever have one of those days when it literally feels like the walls are crumbling around you? You know, the days you actually burst into tears on public transportation, or at your desk at work? Yeah, we've all been there. But then it happens. It's almost magical. You meet someone, or hear someone speak, who moves you. They literally get into your bones. It's electrifying. This person is so positive, so vibrant, and so upbeat that it feels like you just got a happiness injection.

Moods are contagious. Just like a cold. When you see someone do something, your brain has these little neurons that automatically mirror what's going on around you. So let's say you're feeling the funk, and someone comes flying into your house telling this great story, smiling and roaring with laughter. Chances are, you're gonna crack a smile. And it's gonna feel good. Same goes for someone who starts crying and frowning in front of you. Without even realizing it, you will start to frown too.

So the next time that energy vampire calls, or that nagging co-worker wants to go to lunch, think about it. Is that a disease you want to catch?

Here's to your happiness!