Happy Monday!

I am thrilled to be blogging again. To relaunch my blog and to kick off a fabulous week ahead, I am offering 20% OFF of all online purchases at KARENEGREN.COM! I have so many exciting things to share with you in the coming months, including a glimpse into my experience at New York Fashion Week, meeting Lauren Bush Lauren, and my involvement in the Voss Foundation’s Women To Women project. I will also be offering exclusive promotions for my loyal blog readers, so please check back often for updates!

Please use coupon code ‘Style20′ upon check out. Happy shopping!

xx KE

Ambassador Magazine’s Red Seal Awards Reception

Every year Ambassador Magazine polls the “Best Of” in Detroit, and then announces its winners at a gala reception.

This year’s reception took place in the beautiful automobile showroom of Cauley Ferrari and was filled with models, artists, photographers, fashion directors, media personalities, automotive executives, and plenty of Detroit’s finest. It was so exciting, and I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to this fabulous and fun event.

The amazing thing about this event is that it effortlessly mixes such a diverse group of people and is a true representation of Ambassador’s devout readers.

Karen Egren, Dennis Archer, Jr., and Constantina

During the evening, I met both the publishers of the magazine;  Dennis Archer, Jr. and Denise Ilitch. I was thrilled that both commented on my jewelry collection and how pleased they were to have featured me and my collection in the recent issue of the magazine.  At some point during the hectic and crowded evening, my talent agent arranged a photo with both of us and Dennis.

I was also excited to meet so many of Detroit’s local media personalities and fashion directors. Chuck Bennett, who is the society writer for the Detroit News, Iris Perez who is a special features reporter for Fox 2 News, and Cheryl Hall who is the fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue- just to name a few.

Iris Perez, Karen Egren, and Constantina

Amongst the amazing music, great food, and endless cocktails for all to enjoy, I found myself answering questions about my jewelry collection to everyone I was introduced to. Such a gracious and wonderful audience, and such a wonderful evening!!

I’m looking forward to continuing to be a part of the Ambassador image and brand, and can’t wait for next year’s reception!

Copper Jewels

When Huguette Clark passed away last year two weeks before her 105th birthday, nobody could have even guessed the wonders of this copper heiress’s jewelry collection. She disappeared from high society in the 1930s and lived in hospitals for decades.

Now the curtain opens on the Clark collection as it will be auctioned next month at Christie’s in New York. There are definite showstoppers. These pieces were made by some of the best jewelry houses in the world including Cartier, Dreicer & Co, and Tiffany.

One star is a cushion-cut, purplish-pink 9-carat diamond mounted in a Belle Époque setting by Dreicer & Co. It’s expected to fetch between $6-8 million.

My personal favorite is a pair of pearl and emerald  Cartier earrings.

It seems that emeralds were a favorite of Huguette Clark. The Romans had dedicated emeralds to the goddess Venus, so perhaps Clark hoped its love and wisdom properties rubbed off on her? One of the following three Cartier bracelets is a beautiful use of emeralds in an Art Deco design. They again are used in a charm bracelet, along with sapphires and rubies.

Each one of Clark’s pieces is showstopper, but you can achieve the same effect today in a way that is much easier on the pocketbook. Whenever I pick out jewelry for my clients, I aim for achieving showstopping elegance. Here are some of my more recent finds that I feel accomplishes my goal:

Silver and Crystal Charm Earrings ($35)

Pave Diamond Crescent Pendant Necklace ($400)

Gold Vermeil and Cubic Zirconium Stacking Rings – Set of Three ($245)

A Lesson from the Legendary Trish McEvoy

I love flying into New York on a sunny, gorgeous day and feel a particular rush when I see The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  It always reminds me that anything is possible.  When the iconic Brooklyn Bridge comes into view, I can’t stop thinking of the amazing Alfred Stieglitz photographs taken of it long ago.

The Freedom Tower with the cranes atop it is so dynamic. I always love seeing how much progress is made. Of course, the piece de resistance is always the New York city skyline which continues to fascinate me time after time.  Never has a city provided such endless attraction for me.

Once again, I enjoyed an amazing evening at the loft of make-up extraordinaire Trish McEvoy. Her talent is exceptional and her charisma is so undeniably attractive. Upon entering her fabulous loft, which by the way is designed in black and white – my favorite colors, we were greeted with drinks and appetizers.

Her team made us feel so pampered that it was a pleasure to be their guests. It is always a special occasion to see Trish McEvoy (center) and her dynamic team in action. Very special thanks as well to Tamara Dominguez, Manager & Head Make-up Artist (right).

We were able to receive the ultimate make up lesson from the legendary Trish McEvoy.  It is not every day that one receives makeup instruction from such a renowned makeup artist in her beautifully appointed loft.

The combination of the scent and the glow from beautiful candles created a warm and inviting atmosphere.  First, we had our faces cleansed with Trish McEvoy Even Skin® Beta Hydroxy Pads which are sensational and then primed with Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster® Cream that has SPF 15 sun protection.

To highlight our eyes, we started by priming our eyes with Eye Base Essentials in Nude.  It truly provides a wonderful canvas for eye makeup.  We then had lashes applied by Grace and she did an amazing job. Grace also applies lash extensions at the studio on Fifth Avenue.

We went on to learn step by step to create an amazing and easy to apply make up for ourselves.  We received a gorgeous beige quilted large make up bag filled with Trish’s unbeatable make up brushes, which comes in a beautiful case.

The brushes are also incredible. For example, I can no longer go without the #50 Slanted Eyeliner brush. It’s perfect for creating the of-the-moment cat eye. The brush does all the work! To top that off, I think Trish’s rose gold eye shadow is also a must; the texture is perfect to apply.

Overall, I had a wonderful time. Thanks again to Trish, Tamara, and Grace for the lesson. These women are true artists!

If you want to create the perfect look, Trish McEvoy’s Effortless Beauty Ready-To-Wear Makeup Planner® in the Pretty Collection is a must-buy this spring. It includes everything you need.

For a make-up lesson, seasonal update or application by Tamara Dominguez, please make an appointment by calling the Dr. Ronald Sherman/Trish McEvoy Skincare center at 212.758.7790.

Breaking for Spring

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.” - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

It’s official. The groundhound never saw its shadow. Spring has arrived, and with it, it’s time to shake off the winter, pack your bags, and head to a beach.

What a perfect time to try a fresh, new, colorful look! Check out these gorgeous accessories ready to compliment any beach look:

Semi Precious Labradorite Stones Blended with Sterling Hand Set  Cubic Zirconium ($400)

Orange Marquis Crystal and Teardrop Earrings ($30)

Wire Wrapped Charm Necklace ($240)

Ambassador’s Accessory Fashionista

My recent interview and special feature that now appears in the current issue of Ambassador Magazine was such an exciting project for me. What the reader sees is the finished product, but the process was so creative and bustling that I wanted to share that day on my blog.

When Ambassador gave us the green light for the article and photo shoot, we had less than 24 hours to get everything in place.  We were shooting the very next day, so we were all full of adrenaline!!

Ambassador sent photographer Andrew Potter and journalist Andrea Walker to my atelier for the shoot. Two of their very best, as you can see from the exquisite photography and the wonderful writing in the piece. The day started with my assistant meticulously displaying my jewelry collection all through the studio and recording the specifics of the pieces that I had selected to be featured AND to also add to the bridal section of the magazine.

Perfect Bridal Accessory featured in Ambassador Magazine - Light Gray Pearl and Crystal Nugget Silk Cord Bracelet ($188)

The day continued in somewhat of a controlled chaos, but so full of the creative “behind the scenes elements” that go into a fashion shoot that most of us are not privy to. While Andrew was moving furniture and adjusting his lighting, I sat down with Andrea to be interviewed in the next room.

Jewelry being handed off to fit certain backgrounds while being photographed, my assistant running back  and forth to assist Andrew with jewelry, Andrea writing and listening carefully while I talked about my own creative process and my collection, and my agent Constantina directing traffic, checking my hair and make-up,  and helping Andrew move the furniture into the perfect lighting for my own photographic session. Every detail you could imagine was looked at under a microscope!!

When I see the Ambassador article I think back on the creative process of that day and what it takes to make all the pieces fit together. It was amazing, and so much fun!!

I loved all of it. The process, the photography, the article, and the end result. Hopefully you will too. Want to see where you can pick up the latest issue of Ambassador Magazine? Click HERE to find out.

Pritzker Goes Local in China

The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials.” - Confucius

Recently the Pritzker Prize was awarded to Hangzhou-based Wang Shu, a Chinese architect with a low-profile internationally. Wang has only designed buildings in China. But his clear, loud, architectural voice resonates globally.

Environment: His design approach is innovative and uses recycled materials salvaged from razed buildings. Although it does not mirror the sleek style of rapidly growing Chinese cities, Wang transforms salvaged materials into “powerful forms that are ruggedly contemporary and steer clear of saccharine readings of the past.”

Ningbo History Museum

One of the  best examples of this inspiration is the Ningbo History Museum. The building looks like an ancient, carved geological form.

Ningbo History Museum

Wang Shu was inspired by the nearly mountains, and says, “In the Chinese tradition, whenever nature has been dramatically damaged, people tend to recreate it in artificial forms to satisfy their desire to be closer to nature.”

Wang Shu in front of Academy of Art Hangzhou

Urbanization: Wang Shu and his wife Lu Wenyu, who Wang feels also deserved the Pritzker honor, takes a critical view of the architecture profession’s part in the demolition and destruction of large urban areas.

To reflect this belief, Shu and Wenyu named their firm Amateur Architecture Studio. Wang wanted to emphasize the spontaneous and experimental aspects of his work instead of being official and monumental.

Library, Wenzheng College

Freedom: And despite his acclaim, Wang intimately gets involved in all his projects but relenquishes absolute control to his craftsmen. In China, where architects are burning the candle at both ends trying to design everything and control the project, Wang wants his craftsmen to work freely.

“I find that when the craftsmen can’t follow my drawings exactly, that’s when amazing things happen,” says Wang. How does he know this? Wang himself worked for almost a decade on construction crews and learning the craft. As his career continue to flourish, I’m excited by his point of view.

Architecture’s Influence on Jewelry: As an art, jewelry can also take inspiration from architecture. Both art forms take direction from their surroundings, architecture from the location, jewelry from the human form. Barbara Maas, author of “Architecture in Jewelry,” says both arts require an eye for scale and proportion.

The architecture aesthetic that comes structure and fluidity is particularly beautiful in jewelry. Keeping an eye open for these, here are some pieces that I feature in my collection:

Gold and Hematite Disc Earrings ($25)

Gold Intertwined Oval and Disc Shaped Hoops ($30)

Black Crystal Bracelet ($58)

All Roads Lead to Austin

With the host city’s unofficial motto being “Keep Austin Weird,” the Texas capital is a fantastic host to one of the largest and best music (and all-around arts) festivals in the country – South by Southwest (SXSW). Every venue that could host an event is booked.

SXSW Music brings in nearly 12,000 registrants. Going into SXSW, some acts are already scheduled like legendary headliner Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, who will be performing March 15th, but the festival is also known for its twists.

This year, the location of Springsteen’s concert is “intimate” but unknown. Tickets are available only by raffle. Who will win a golden ticket? Springsteen’s latest album Wrecking Ball is brilliant and already a critic darling. Let the buzz continue to grow! Click HERE to watch the “Wrecking Ball” video.

But the magic of SXSW is for new or lesser-known bands or singers to rock from local to national stardom. More recent well-known “discoveries” are John Mayer and James Blunt.

One example from last year is Foster the People and their hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” which became a Top 10 hit and went triple platinum. Click HERE to watch.

This year there’s already a lot of buzz around The Sheepdogs, who were the first unsigned band to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Following that catapulting event, they were signed by Atlantic Records and having their full-length album produced by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. If you’re into country music, check out Jonny Corndawg.

However, my absolute must-see, must-hear pick is Tom Morello when he performs under the name “The Nightwatchman.” He is the legendary, Grammy-winning guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. His sound as “The Nightwatchman” is softer, acoustic, and inspirational. Curious? Listen to “One Man Revolution” HERE.

For now, all roads lead to Austin and South by Southwest. It’s been a must-go for music lovers, and after the festival expanded to include SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events, it’s also a must-go for all-around artists and art-lovers.

Model Looks Run in the Family

This past week in Paris Charlotte Casiraghi, one of the youngest members of Monaco’s ruling family – the Grimaldis, was introduced as the new model and spokeswoman for Gucci.

As part of the announcement, Gucci creative director Frida Giannini said, “Over the last two years I have had the pleasure and privilege to get to know Charlotte through our shared passion for horses. She not only embodies the beauty and the grace of the equestrian, but is also a wonderful ambassador for the sport.

Undoubtedly Charlotte is Grace Kelly’s granddaughter, and the two share more than genes. They have a classic, simple yet elegant sense of style.

Their style is one any woman can emulate and shine in. Inspired? I am.

From my new arrivals, my Multi Strand Gray Crystal Necklace or Diamond and Pearl Bracelet could suit either Grimaldi beauty.

Multi Strand Gray Crystal Necklace ($60)

Diamond and Pearl Bracelet ($400)

However, if you have a special event, the Oscars, a state banquet, or perhaps something more low-key like a romantic dinner overlooking the Mediterranean, may I suggest my Sophisticate cocktail?

Regardless of the piece or pieces you go wish, I’m sure these will help you pull any look together with a great deal of royal elegance.

Subway Curiosity Never Killed the Cat

I’m back in the Big Apple to check out the latest jewelry trends. Inevitably any New York trip leads to riding the subway.

And how many millions of us ride the subway every day? We divert our eyes, mess with our smartphone or see if you get any signal, or listen to music. When an announcement comes on, we may sigh or get annoyed at a delay. But have you ever wondered who is telling you this?

NY Times’ writers David Dunlap and Michael Kolomatsky decided to ask. So who is the voice of the NYC Subway?

Answer: Bernie Wagenblast

He’s famous in the transportation world. Not only does he provide the voice of the subway, but he can also be heard on the AirTrain Newark, AirTrain JFK, and for certain systems of the Newark Liberty International Airport. If you tune to a radio station working with Shadow Traffic, Wagenblast also provides the traffic report to the NYC area.

Recently the NY Times invited readers to submit fantasy subway announcements for Wagenblast to say. There are several funny entries.

Ladies and gentlemen, cheap headphones are no excuse for inflicting your bad musical taste on fellow passengers.”

Mr. Potter, your train awaits at Platform 9 and three-quarters.

Attention passengers. I can’t help but notice that there are 2 beguiling people on this train, who I think would make quite an attractive couple.But I can’t help but notice that they are a bit shy. Won’t somebody introduce them?

What would you love to hear on your next subway ride? Let me know!

If you’re curious, click HERE for the link to the NY Times article.

In any case, stay curious everybody. A couple years of ago, the Washington Post convinced virtuoso Joshua Bell to perform on the Washington DC subway as part of a cultural experiment. Most people just walked by, while he played one of the hardest violin pieces ever. The article written about the experience won a Pulitzer. In New York, you never know what you’ll come across.

Watch Joshua Bell perform on the subway HERE.