Monday, December 10, 2012

By Moonlight

"...the moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun longs for something dark and deep."
Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Lemme Upgrade 'Ya!"

         Beyonce is truth. Besides singing about the joys of being a single lady and putting your cheating ex-man's stuff to the left, to the left (duh!), Queen B also croons about helping to upgrade her man's style. Not quite sure what I'm talking about? Let me refresh your memory:

         The holidays will soon be upon us, and what would be a better time to upgrade your better half, friend, family member, or other (friend with benefits, cat sitter, psychic healer, personal shopper...the list goes on) with newer, more glamorous beauty products? The bottom line is that people rarely buy ridiculously luxe beauty products for themselves, which make them the PERFECT gift/stocking stuffer/greasing the wheels present. I made sure this list was [basically] unisex to further ease your shopping woes.

Carmex is a classic. The waxy texture, camphor-y smell, and pot-style application are nostalgic for me, as I not only used it as lip balm, but to keep my chronic childhood bloody noses at bay, glamorous, I know. But the bottom line is that Carmex is like, a dollar. It would be offensive if you gave it to anyone as a gift, since you are basically implying that they have dry lips. So upgrade to this teeny pot of camphor-spiked balm from British mainstay Dr. Harris & Co. While it has that same tingling effect, it has a lovely violet scent that won't seem even slightly medicinal. And even though it is an upgrade, it's still totally affordable, so it is the perfect Secret Santa gift.

Head N' Shoulders  ------> Phillip Kingsley
Dandruff has never been, and will never be (at least I hope so), sexy. But at least Phillip Kingsley's powerful and beautifully-scented shampoos keep your shower from looking like that of a pityriasis capitis (yes, that is the scientific name for dandruff) sufferer. Head N' Shoulders is basically the showerside equivalent of wearing socks with Birkenstocks: just not cute. So help your ailing friend by giving them a bottle of shampoo that doesn't scream "I have dandruff" when you go into their bathroom and snoop on their grooming products (admit it, you totally check out the medicine cabinet too).

Irish Spring ------> Lush Shower Gels
Drugstore shower gels basically suck. Honestly, the men's selection is much better than the women's, at least the scents are somewhat classic. If you are a girl, your choices are as follows: Pretty Pretty Princess Bubblegum Candy Cane Crack shower gel, Sexy Hot Lady Spicy Fake Musky Vanilla shower gel, and my personal favorite, the knock-off Bath and Body Works selection that are even more false-scented than the original. Really, it is possible. Treat your pal to something that they actually want to use. Are they a chocolate lover? Gift them Sonic Death Monkey. Are they a chronic insomniac or an RPatz fan? Send Twilight. Sweet as the bee's knees? It's Raining Men (I'd recommend not giving this to a straight male unless it happens to be a gag gift). Pricey, but all perfect. Plus, you are encouraging them to be clean, which is like, a gift to all that come into contact with them.

Secret ------> Donna Karan Cashmere Mist
You are not the only person who ever wondered why in the world perfume companies make anti-perspirants of their scents. Yes, 99% of them fail to cover any sort of odor. But in that small 1% is a product that is especially beloved by the gay male population of New York: Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. This stuff seriously works. It keeps armpits from getting outrageously sweaty, prevents foul scents, and doesn't stain clothing. Waaaaay more fabulous than Dove or Secret, and I can basically guarantee that your friend does not already own it because really, who buys $20 deodorant for themselves.

Bath & Body Works Antibacterial Soap ------> Aesop
I'm pretty sure the only holiday gift that teachers receive is anti-bacterial handsoap from Bath & Body Works, and sometimes, if they are reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally lucky, a matching hand cream. Do people assume teachers have chronically dirty and simultaneously dry hands? Regardless, I think they've had enough of the "Pink Symphony" and "Poodles in Paradise" scents. In fact, they probably have a lifetime supply if they've been teaching for more than five minutes. Do them a favor and upgrade them to Aesop's sophisticated, simple, and regal-smelling hand soap. Men using your powder room will not by put-off by the graphic packaging or the lavender scent. Most importantly, those teachers will no longer suffer from filthy dry hands as it is supremely moisturizing and germ-eliminating.

Bonus Beyonce-inspired video (and one of my all-time favorite Youtube vids):

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Side of Paradise

"What a wonderful song, she thought-everything was wonderful tonight, most of all this romantic scene in the den with their hands clinging and the inevitable looming charmingly close. The future vista of her life seemed an unending succession of scenes like this: under moonlight and pale starlight, and in the backs of warm limousines and in low cosy roadsters stopped under sheltering trees-only the boy might change, and this one was so nice." 
  F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

Friday, November 9, 2012

Latest Obsessions: November Edition

         True life: I’m in love with lace-up heels. Ever since seeing the Alaia pair from several years ago on the feet of every street style star from New York to Paris, I’ve coveted some for myself. Unfortunately, the Alaias are nowhere to be found on Ebay, and other brands iterations are just not as cute. Thankfully (well, thanks to the fashion gods), I discovered Aquazzura’s resort shoe collection in both November’s Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar. Available at Saks and Shop Bop, this expensive but not outrageous shoe line is just what I’ve been looking for. Some of the best lace-ups I’ve seen. Now, just to save my money and patiently wait for resort to hit stores…
        I’ve been lusting after Jennifer Fisher’s jewelry for years, her make-your-own charm necklaces and slightly morbid charms are unique and perfect for everyday wear. Now that she is a CFDA/Vogue fashion fund finalist, I expect her pieces to be popping up at stores all over. While I save up for the perfect charm necklace, spider bangles, and several of her super cool rings, (probably for the next few years), check out her pieces at her appointment-only SoHo boutique or Barney’s Co-Op stores nationwide.

        I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I’m obsessed with dry shampoo. High to low, I’ve tried them all. Just a few days ago, unpacking my mammoth beauty product collection into my new bathroom shelving, I unearthed this gem. While I later found out its quite pricey ($32 a can), it is easily one of the best I’ve used. It’s a spray powder that mattifies, and really stretches your blowout for a few extra days. Sachajuan is a Swedish brand that is carried at salons, I recently saw their products and Fox + Boy Salon on Mulberry Street when I got a hair cut.

         I believe in beauty destiny. What does that mean you, ask? Well, if I read about a certain product in multiple publications, see it on Youtube, have it pop up on Facebook and on some of my favorite blogs, then I am meant to own it. The latest product to find its way into my hands via “beauty destiny”? Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain in Gothic, which is not even a new launch so if I’m reading so much about it, it must be amazing. And it is.  After storming the Duane Reade across the street and finally finding the only Gothic stain on the furthest reaches of the shelf, I’d say I worked hard for it, too. This dual-sided lip marker in a deep cherry red is ideal on its own for a Snow-Whiteish stain (with just a touch of mascara and dewy skin to modernize), or layered underneath a deeper red lipstick to extend lasting power and darken the tone.
My Custom Bedding
I saved the best for last. When I was in Delhi in April, I went to an amazing fabric bazaar and went a littttttle crazy. Well, not that crazy if you consider I spent under $100 and got stunning wedding sari fabric that would go for far more here. As I was frantically buying it, I came up with a plan: I would make it into bedding. Mostly since I don't have any fabulous events coming up to wear custom made gowns to (that would have been nice). So, I found a woman who created a duvet cover and some pillows for me. There are still a few more coming, but I'm so happy with how they turned out!

 I'm now on Tumblr. Check it out here: 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Leather Jacket (or Two)

       For years, I've lusted after leather jackets. Unfortunately, as I hope you are aware if you are reading this, the good ones can get expensive. Quite a chunk of change for a college student. And also almost impractical as it is bound to end up with sticky beer spilled on it by clumsy males and the odor of chain smokers that stand outside the bar.

       This year, I've decided to tone down my shopping, and only buy classics. What does that mean? I'll spend more money on something that isn't a one-season wonder. Things I can pull out in two years and not hate. It's not to say that I haven't purchased a few trendy items, but they've been from stores like Zara, so if I wear them once and the next Prada knock-off is all the rage, it's okay.

         I figured a leather jacket was one of those classics. I mean, I have been trying them on since high school. Well, leave it to me to buy not one, but two leather jackets. I am currently still trying to justify why I bought two.
         The first is made by Mackage, a company that makes gorgeous coats. I've had one for years that has held up beautifully. They just get jackets. I'm so happy I bought this. It's the perfect color of beat up deep indigo (instead of black), and goes with absolutely everything. It's buttery soft, not overly cropped, and well...perfect.
         The second? The sale guy. BUT I didn't just buy it because it was on sale (a mistake I'm ashamed to say I've made): it was honestly attracting me before I even saw the price. Made by eternally-perfect brand Theory, it's a deep hunter green and black motorcycle-style jacket with quilted sleeves. Perfect to give something a little too girly some edge.

        Boy oh boy am I excited to wear these. Of course, there was a Noreaster this week and I instead had to rock my absolutely stunningly stylish (sense the sarcasm), but super warm bulky parka. But the weather never listens to my fashion preferences.

        Now, onto some inspirational leather jacket photos. Styling!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Braving the Storm

Well, I did it.
I managed to survive in Manhattan last week, pilgrim/camping style. I never thought I'd use Oribe shampoo (and NO CONDITIONER!! the horror) in my kitchen sink. But I just couldn't bare a cold shower...

I also managed to walk approximately 30 miles throughout the island of Manhattan, stay in a 5-star hotel, and generally, toughen up.

However, many were not as lucky as me. Hurricane Sandy was an absolutely devastating event, and a real wake up call for many people. Always keep matches, candles, canned food, a flash light, playing cards, apples to apples, and most of all, faith, in one of your cabinets.

My friend Madeline sent me this email and I encourage you to donate.

"My friend, Megan, is from the Rockaways and was hit hard by the hurricane.  She's from a large family and many of them lost their homes entirely.  My family and I spent the weekend in the Rockaways and saw first hand how far-reaching the help is needed.  People are mostly fending for themselves without the help of FEMA and the Red Cross. If you have anything you're willing to donate please use the link below.  100% of donations will go directly toward families in need in Broad Channel, Rockaway, and Breezy Point."

Peace and Safety,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SOS: Save Our Skin

           It’s that time of year again – the air is brisker, the coats are essential, and unfortunately, your skin is suffering. Well, mine is at least. As soon as that snap of cold hits, I suddenly transform into something quite similar to a snake – the skin on my cheeks and forehead is so dry it begins to flake, my lips crack, my hands ache from dryness, and my body is as soft as sandpaper. Lovely, right? Thankfully, in my years of beauty product obsession, I have found some incredible healers that prevent the dramatic molting from occurring.
Contrary to the look of this slightly spooky black and white photo, oils are not to be feared.
          I have very dry, sensitive skin, but I get an oily t-zone. In a humid climate, such as India or NYC, my skin does fairly well in the spring and summer – it appears moisturized, and even has a slight glow. In a dry climate, like California, or basically anywhere during the fall and winter, I look like I’ve aged more than a few years. Thankfully, I’ve found a magic combination that seems to keep my skin supple and healthy-looking rather than dehydrated and parched. I only cleanse at nighttime in the shower – I first remove my makeup (pre-shower) with Amore Pacific Cleansing Oil, which is a splurge and a half but absolutely amazing, and afterwards, cleanse with Mario Badescu’s Acne Facial Cleanser. I finish my routine by mixing several drops of tarte’s pure maracuja oil with Sanre Organic’s Siesta Sunset face cream, which contains avocado and seabuckthorn oils. I religiously wear eye cream (currently tarte’s C-brighter maracuja eye treatment) for its “preventative aging” properties. I wake up with the soft, redness-free and dewy skin that I have always dreamed of. In the morning, instead of cleansing, which I find dries me out immensely, I simply tone with Thayer’s Rose Petal Toner, to get rid of oilies on my t-zone, and smooth on a light layer of whatever day cream I’m using; at the moment it is Mario Badescu’s A.H.A. and Ceramide Moisturizer. I follow with my makeup application. If I happen to get a breakout, I spot treat, rather than using an all-over acne serum, which I find dries me out. I use the classic Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. The lesson here? To “winterize” your favorite cream, add facial oil, like the aforementioned tarte product. Don’t believe the common misconception that oil will break you out. In fact, it will help acne. Facial cleansing oils (R.I.P. Shu in America) are some of my favorite products to try on the planet.
Are my lips chapped?!
          Lip balm is essential for everyone – men, women, and children. I probably have enough to supply them all. I think my lips are the first thing to feel the cold, as they go from kissable (or so I’d like to think) to pathetically dry in a matter of minutes in the brisk air. I can’t deny my love for classic Spearmint Chapstick, but if you want something a little more special, and much more pricey, By Terry and Sara Happ both make incredible products that smell divine. If it’s color I’m after and I will be walking for miles on the chilly streets and braving the windy gusts in Manhattan, I go for tarte’s LipSurgences, since I’m partial to matte lips if I wear a bright and basically every other matte dries me out to the max. Lively, a deep bright pink shade, flatters seriously everyone. The peppermint scent and tingle of these is quite addicting as well.

 I am almost as picky with body creams as I am with my foundation. There are only a handful of products that I’ve found that actually bestow immense moisture, don’t cause sensitive skin breakouts and flare-ups, and do not offend my nasal passage to the highest degree. Kiehls Crème de Corps Body Butter is my ultimate, but the high price tag can be a bit off-putting, so in a penny-pinching move,  Aveeno’s Skin Relief Moisture Repair Cream does the trick.
While this hair looks awesome in editorials, the same cannot be said for it in real life.
         Friends, I’ve recently discovered a miracle for my seriously fried hair. What is it, you ask? Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner. I’m fairly certain it is not intended for my lame white girl hair, but boy does it penetrate and leave my strands soft and silky. Preceded by Oribe Moisture Shampoo and followed by one pump of Kerastase Elixir Ultime, I can actually see light bounce off my hair, which is a feat that I have been unable to complete since going blonde.
Obviously, I glow this much, if not more
          Last but not least, a product that helps you fake it (til you make it): RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer. Formulated without any harmful chemicals and choc full of coconut oil, this super organic highlighter is a god-send for skin that has been pelted by the elements. Worn on the tops of cheekbones, beneath the brow bone, on the cupid’s bow of the lips and the tip of the nose, people will never guess you’ve basically been suffering from pneumonia since October 1st hit. It’s not obviously shimmery, either, so guys, feel free to apply and get compliments.  
It goes without saying that a healthy diet will help your skin as well. Right now I'm loving Green Monsters - Spinach/banana/cocoa/flax/protein smoothies that I make daily in my beloved Vitamix and look quite putrid but taste delicious and are full of nutrients to heal you from the inside out.
P.S.: I would have done a proper product photoshoot for this, but I have been beyond busy between moving, work, and school. I'm quite pleased with the shelving I've installed in my bathroom. Here are some instagram photos; official shots to follow soon.

Friday, September 21, 2012


“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” 
- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Site Alert: Beauty Cirque

          I want to introduce everyone to a new online beauty shopping site - Beauty Cirque. Selling only natural, eco-friendly products, Beauty Cirque was born out of a desire to present independent beauty brands with great ingredients and stories to a larger consumer audience. The new site was kind enough to send me a few products to try!

          I'm basically obsessed with the shower gel they sent me, Juara Candlenut Hydrating Shower Gel. It smells like a softer cocoa butter, and left my legs so hydrated (probably because it is free of moisture-stripping sulfates) that I didn't need body lotion when I shaved with it this morning in a hurry, after deciding to wear a skirt at the last minute.

          The product selection at the moment is small, but there are plenty of tempting products. I'm especially intrigued by One Love Organics Chia Whip face wash, since I eat chia seeds in my oatmeal every morning and would love to see if they do as much good for my face as they do for my digestion.

          You can get the same products I tried in this fun sample box. Enjoy checking out the site!

Carine Roitfeld for MAC

           I have a horrible secret to admit: I don’t buy makeup. Well, I haven’t for the past few years. Interning at magazines, I got to take home so many new and amazing products that weren’t shot, and obviously, at tarte, I get whatever I may need. My kit is fully stocked and my drawers are overflowing. So something has to REALLY catch my eye for me to go out and buy it. And what was that something? Carine Roitfeld for MAC.
          Oh, Carine Roitfeld. The fabled former editor of French Vogue, she now has her own magazine, CR Fashion Book (with Kate Upton [!!] onthe cover  “mothering” baby chicks), and basically is the authority on all things cool – not just breasts and cigarettes. Her partner, Christian Restoin, started Equipment (a SoHo boutique is coming within the next month), so essentially, everything this woman gets involved with has an air of understated, I’m-not-trying-at-all perfection.
Perfect hair, perfect coat
          While Roitfeld’s style is obviously flawless, her beauty look is also of  note. I’m actually contemplating copying her current hairstyle (a sharp, shoulder grazing style with subtle shading to the ends), and in the meantime, actually copying her makeup. Her eyes are always shaded with matte, warm shades and lined to smoldering perfection with liner, almost like she slept in the makeup, but better. The rest of her face is softly contoured and finished with a sheer nude lip.

          As a former MAC whore (I used to buy every item from every limited edition collection), I now barely keep up with their releases, but somehow stumbled upon news of Carine’s collection just last week. And on a walk through the West Village, at the world’s tiniest MAC store on Bleecker Street, I took the plunge, buying both the lipstick and the Desert Camouflage Palette.

The Verdict?

          Tropical Mist Lipstick looked like the typical “goes well with smokey eyes opaque nude” upon first glance – something I have iteration after iteration of in my kit…from MAC’s famous Myth to Revlon’s ColorBurst inSoft Nude (an AMAZING budget pick) to Lancome’s Color Design in Pale Lip. Upon swatching, however, I realized this one is different. With its luster texture, it is super sheer and just gives lips a hint of pale peach color and shine, instead of wiping out the lips a la [new mama] Snooki. It would pair beautifully with almost any look, especially those with a deeper eye.

          Desert Camouflage is the perfect palette to create a matte, warm smokey eye and contoured cheek, much like Carine’s go-to look. The colors – Sahara Dust, Cactus Thorn, Desert, and Carbon – are all super neutral, allowing you to create a subtle day time look that can be kicked up a notch for evening by smoking it out a little. I’m also loving the cremeblend blush that is on the bottom of the palette, Sand Storm, as an eyeshadow as well as a contour color, putting a little on the lower lids for dimension and some sexy mystery. It’s also essential to mention that the layout and look of the palette is subtle and minimalist, making it a super-chic addition to any bathroom counter.

        It is safe to say that I am utterly obsessed with this palette and will be using it until I run out of the colors. While in-store, I also picked up the Dark Side lipstick, an amplified crème that is ideal for that gothic-y beauty look I’m loving for fall. AND, I think I’m going back for the Azealia Banks lipstick in Yung Repunxel, a super-deep purple that you can sheer out to create a berry stain. So unfortunately, I may be a MAC addict, once again.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A PSA: Vote tarte!

If you didn't already know, I am now working as the marketing coordinator for tarte cosmetics. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean I am biased towards the brand or anything, and I will of course, still be sharing my love of all different products all different brands. That being said, I have been a fan of tarte for a long time and I'm vocal about the products I love! tarte is up for an incredible SIX (!!) QVC Customer Choice Beauty Awards this year! Please help share your love of tarte and spread your knowlege of these amazing products by voting. Click either on the image or here!

Paraben-Free kisses!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Freshman Faux Pas

          Fall is in the air (okay, not really, but just go with it) and that means one thing: school is about to start! While here in New York City we have yet to feel any sort of a fall breeze, students have certainly descended upon the city, quite visibly in their Jeffrey Campbell Litas for Fashions Night Out. For many freshman, it is their first time living away from home, and that means many new experiences to be had. Since freshman year was actually not all that long ago for me, yet seems like moons and moons ago, I feel only semi-qualified to dispense advice, but here it goes – my top tips for college freshman.

Crystal Renn in French Vogue
However, a similar feeding frenzy may be seen in the wee hours of weekend nights at colleges across America. 
Eat (and Drink) Healthy – If there is one thing you can do freshman year in college, it is to eat healthy. While your metabolism can probably still handle overly-doughy pizza and daily bacon cheeseburgers in the cafeteria, you will be setting yourself up for failure in the long run. Choose the salad, sushi, and hot meal stations instead of the quick, junky fixes. Drink water instead of soda. ALWAYS eat breakfast – keep instant steel cut oatmeal, Think Thin bars, Kind Bars (the new low sugar ginger or dark chocolate pecan are my personal faves) and eggs/egg whites (if you have a microwave) on hand in your dorm room. When you have 8:00am classes, breakfast is always a good idea, and will get your brain working far faster. Snacks like nuts, jerky, hummus, nut butters, fruits, veggies, and whole-grain organic snacks are great to keep in your fridge, and make a great late-night alternative to that greasy pizza that everyone seems to end up devouring by the pie. For nights out, obviously avoiding alcohol is the best way to skip the calories, but if you want a drink, mix unflavored (most flavors = 89378729829 grams of sugar) liquors (vodka, rum) mixed with plain soda water or if you have to, diet soda. There are even stevia-sweetened cocktail mixers sold all over the place now. Those Skinny Girl drinks? Not much skinnier, so don't be fooled - they have approximately the same calories per gram as regular alcohol, so don't start drinking them under the impression that they are guilt-free. Wine is also a good choice, but keep in mind that the sugar content may give you quite the hangover the next day.  Even a light beer is not too bad if you can stick to just one or two. The worst possible offender is that mysterious “jungle juice” that you will see in abundance in red Gatorade coolers at parties for the next four years. A mixture of Sprite, red Kool-Aid, vodka, rum, beer, and tequila doesn’t sound delicious, it sounds like a horrible hangover.

College-aged male favorite, the beloved Kate Upton, looks far sexier in this understated suit than in her typical overly-sexed up garb (although the aforementioned male population may beg to differ).
Pick One Tight Item of Clothing to Wear at a Time – College is often the first time you can wear something, well, basically almost nothing, without your parents telling you to immediately change into grandma’s floor-length night gown for a bit more modesty. But that doesn’t mean you should go all out – wearing uber-short, skin-tight, strapless dresses for nights at the local dive-bar. While it may seem like the only way to catch males attention, the truth is that they actually see far too many girls dressed a la Kardashian, and although my theory is not confirmed by straight males (yet), I think a girl showing a hint of leg or a flash of collar bone may actually be far more appealing and mysterious. While American Apparel may be kept in business by the girls who buy backless, just-below-the-butt mini dresses; you don’t have to be one of them. Show off one feature at a time  - perhaps it is your toned legs, your fabulous cleavage, or your muscular arms – and you’ll be far more intriguing than those who have it all on display. A perfect pairing is a curve-hugging mini with a looser blouse tucked in, paired with fabulous heels and of course, an empowered attitude.
Even if you are fortunate enough to own these frou-frou meets space age Alexander Wangs, please, please, please don't ever wear them to a grungy bar.  
Invest in “Bar Shoes” – Leave the Christian Louboutins (although I hope to god that at 18 you don’t yet own a pair) or any shoes you care about at home where they are safe from the evils of the dive bar scene. Freshman year is often the first time people have ever had a drink, which, in a few words, means lots and lots of spills. Expect your shoes to get trashed (hopefully, you won’t also be trashed).  Find a pair of comfortable, simple heels that you don’t mind getting a little dirty and are easy to clean. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have seen girls walking through the city barefoot (!!) because their feet hurt. Also, here is a novel idea: rock flats or sneakers. We are seeing loafers and platform sneakers everywhere now, and they look just as fashionable with skinny jeans as do those ankle-spraining spike stilettos. Plus, you’ll ACTUALLY be able to dance.
You don't actually HAVE to sleep in your makeup to get this look - smudge your fresh liner with a q-tip instead and spare your skin.
Always Wash your Face – Please, please, please. If there is one beauty lesson I try to bestow upon each and every person I know, it is to religiously take your makeup off before you fall asleep. Heck, I can’t even take a short nap in mascara.  I don’t think there is anything more disturbing than foundation and black mascara on a formerly clean pillowcase. While there is some sex appeal involved in second-day liner, the pimples are irreversible, so get that same look by smudging your fresh eye pencil instead. I religiously remove my makeup, and actually take pleasure in the routine. My favorite remover of all time is Kryolan’s Abschmike (yes, I have no idea what that means in German either). It is basically a tub of grease that gets absolutely everything (and I mean everything) off, and doesn’t irritate eyes. I actually bought it because I once saw a backstage shot of Pat McGrath’s kit and this was in the picture, so I was intrigued. The 11 oz. tub has lasted me the past five years, so it is basically dirt cheap per use. If you prefer non-greasy removers, Lancome and Vichy both make excellent ones that won’t sting eyes. If you often find yourself too exhausted, keep a pack of makeup wipes, like my favorites, Comodynes, or even baby wipes by your bed, and a cheap bottle of moisturizer, like Cetaphil, to slather on afterwards. Your skin (and pillowcase) will thank you the next day.
Typography by Matt Lyon 
Enjoy It – Freshman year was the best year I had in college. It was so easy to meet people – all you had to do to strike up a conversation was, “what dorm do you live in?” – and there was a real sense of community among classmates. It is also a time of self-discovery, where you can take a broad range of classes to find out what really interests you. Perhaps you never would have known you had an interest in Byzantine Art or the philosophy of Aristotle had you not taken a random course – a chance course could be the key to finding your destiny, as lame as that sounds. Meet as many different types of people as you can, and do as many out-of-the-box activities as possible, too. It’s a time for learning, not just in classes, but also about the world itself. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Food for Thought

Oscar Wilde: fashion and beauty icon? Definently.

"There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it."

- Oscar Wilde

Friday, August 31, 2012

Change: The Only Constant

Image via Pinterest

           If there is anything I’ve learned in the 21 years of my life, it is that the only thing constant in life is change. One minute you think you have everything planned to a T, and suddenly, your plans go up in smoke and everything does a 180.

           I just arrived from San Francisco to NYC two Saturdays ago, and I just signed the lease on my first apartment – in SoHo, one of my favorite parts of Manhattan. Along with the move came the start of a new job, as marketing coordinator, at tarte cosmetics, where I will help to plan in-store promotional events and company video shoots, work on makeup artist education and training, and help with marketing copy. It is a perfect position for me because it takes both my writing skills and makeup artistry into account, allowing me to help create facecharts and looks to correspond with upcoming products, while giving me the security you have in an office environment as opposed to freelancing. So to say that I have been busy is an understatement.

          If you aren’t yet familiar with tarte cosmetics, you should get in-the-know now. Started by Maureen Kelly in her one-bedroom NYC apartment not too long ago, the brand has an amazing line of “high performance naturals” – products that are free of many of the harmful preservatives, irritants, and other icky things we see in many cosmetics lines. Many of the products are vegan and all are cruelty free. tarte’s products are fun and trendy, but they also seriously work. The company has won a plethora of beauty awards from Allure, Elle, and many other publications.

          I covered my favorite tarte products in the past, but I want to introduce a new fall launch that I absolutely adore: the Call of the Wild palette and eye liner, only available at Ulta. Not only is the black and leopard packaging super-chic, but the eye shadows inside really work. Most are bronzy neutrals, but I love the navy shade – “roar” – which is an unexpected pairing with the shimmering burgundy, “wild”.

          I’m so, so excited to start working seriously for a line that I love, and while this fall will be plenty busy, I can’t wait for the chaos! I find that I am the type of person that does much better on a regular schedule. Between tarte, my last few credits in college, enjoying what New York has to offer, and of course, blogging, I may suffer from a severe lack of sleep but I’m fairly certain it will all be worth it.   

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pre-Fall Favorites

          I’m sick of summer. More specifically, summer in New York. Yes, beach days are great, but the city in the sweltering heat is quite unmanageable. You leave your home looking what you think is wonderful and by the time you are at work, makeup is smudged and sweat-through, hair is frizzy, and you’ve sweat through your white dress. If fall started tomorrow, I’d be quite alright. I’ve amassed quite a large inventory of fall clothing, all of which I am unable to wear, and it just stares at me, dejected, in my closet. The poor sweaters, coats, and boots!

This fall, there are a couple of things I’m obsessed with style-wise (and beauty-wise, of course).

British Racing Green
Image found on Pinterest
           I’ve always been a fan of all the greens - lime, chartreuse, kelly, and most of all, hunter. For fall, shades of green are everywhere, and I’m a fan. My main goal is to get my hands on a deep green leather bag, preferably this one by YSL. You can wear the color with everything you normally would pair black with, which makes an outfit new and exciting. Another way to wear the color is in clothing, and Aritzia’s house brand T.Babaton makes the perfect button-down (only available at Aritzia stores), a steal at $110 compared to the classic Equipment blouses.
          A deep green cat eye is an unexpected, yet subtle twist on a classic – Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Liner in Ivy Shimmer Ink and an angled brush is ideal for this. Or line the inner rim of your lower lashes with MAC’s Technakohl Liner in Jade Way, for a louder look.


Deep, Dark Lips
From Oyster Magazine via Le Fashion
          As I’ve gone gradually blonder over the past  two years, I’ve tried to go “darker” in my accessory and makeup choices, to prevent myself from looking too bubblegum. Blonde hair needs to be toughened up. I recently picked up these earrings from Topshop, which are almost like a faux gauge, but simple spike studs also do the trick to go bold.
          For makeup, the easier way to go from Barbiesque to something more Daria (the 90’s tv show, obviously) is a dark, plum-tinged matte lip. With clean skin, a touch of highlighter, and just mascara on the eyes, this look is modern and edgy. Don’t be afraid to rock it if you happen to be brunette or redhead, but be sure to prevent it from going too gothic by pairing it with hyper -feminine ruffles or lace.
          My pick for this look is Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, which I picked up at the gorgeous Nars boutique on Bleecker Street this weekend. A subtler, sheerer option is Tarte's Lipsurgence Lip Luster in Moody.
         I’m just waiting for the first leaf to fall before I pull this soon-to-be-staple out of my makeup archives.

Stubbs & Wootton
Super-heroine shoes

          Ah, smoking slippers – the new ballet flat. This shoe shape is everywhere, from Steve Madden to Christian Louboutin. But my pick for the slipper of the season is the quintessentially preppy classic, Stubbs & Wootton. These embroidered loafers come in every style of embroidery imaginable, from yacht-clubby crests, to a more punky version featuring one shoe with a devil wing and the other with an angel wing.

          While they are certainly not cheap, starting at $330 per pair, these shoes are timeless. Even my grandmother rocks them! J.Crew currently has an exclusive collection, and Stubbs & Wootton also several boutiques in preppy mainstays: Madison Avenue, Palm Beach, and East Hampton, where you can get a glimpse of the entire collection and choose a loafer that truly fits your personality.

Mizuki Jewelry
Image via Fragments
          If you haven’t noticed, tiny pendants of crosses, owls, hamsa hands, stars, and everything in-between, are all the rage right now. Featured on the necks of every girl from Brooklyn to Birmingham, they are a fun way to give a glimpse of your personality and tastes. As an April baby, I am partial to diamonds, and when I discovered Mizuki pendants (particularly the moon symbol necklace; yes, sometimes I want to channel Practical Magic), at one of my favorite boutiques, Red Bird, in Berkeley, CA (a must-see for anyone in the Bay Area: they have a perfectly-curated collection of clothing, jewelry, and accessories, that is unmatched anywhere), I was in love. While the moon pendant I am lusting over is a little (read: a lot) out of my price range right now, a girl can dream, right?
          Black diamonds mixed with gold are less bling-bling, but just as luxe, as the typical platinum and crystal combo. A peek at Mizuki’s website reveals the stunning assortment of pendants, charms, and chains they offer, which are also available at Neiman Marcus stores nationwide. This is not just a fall pick, but a forever pick, the ideal (albeit pricey) gift for a friend, parent, or sibling.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunburns 101

Picture from Pinterest
        Sunburns, are, without a doubt, the biggest fun-killer of summer. Your lovely beach vacation almost instantly turns to torture when that lobster-like tone appears. And, while religious sunblock application (my pick is Josie Maran) is the best preventative measure, sometimes, let's face it, we can be stupid with the sun.
          One of those especially stupid moments was me, yesterday, laying out, sunblockless (THE HORROR!!) for one hour in my yard. 2PM on a California summer Sunday, I did not think I'd get burnt. Yet here I am, having to avoid my religiously-attended Bar Method class for fear that I might frighten people with my degree of redness. Thankfully, it does not hurt to much, but boy am I pink. And the most attractive part? A strange diagonal line down my neck that is not burnt.

So, what is a girl to do?

Here are my top tips for dealing with sunburn.

1. Brew some strong Lipton or PG Tip's black tea (I'd say four bags for 8 oz. of water). Wait for it to cool, and then dip a washcloth in the blackened brew and wring out the excess. Pat the washcloth all over your burn. The tannin in tea will help relieve the burn, and some even say that it will have the redness gone in 24 hours. Repeat every few hours.

2. Mixing pure lavender essential oil with an aloe vera-spiked lotion (or what I'm using, Sibu Beauty's Sea Buckthorn Body Cream) will help calm the sting of the burn. Lavender is an anti-inflammatory.

3. My favorite fix? The amazing Solar Recovery Spray, which I've mentioned here several times. It really does the trick in healing and preventing burns from forming. Unfortunately, the Whole Foods in CA doesn't carry it, so I was left with the previously-mentioned remedies. 

4. Aloe. The real, pure stuff, not the electric green, alcohol-tinged gel that just makes it worse. Sticking it in the fridge before application will make a great after-sun refresher, even if you aren't burned. It can get sticky though, which is why I prefer other methods.

Anyone have any secret cures for sunburn? I'd love to find out about them!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It Was All Done in Vain

          Behold the vanity – the heart and soul of every girl’s bedroom, bathroom, or closet. This is the place where us females (and some guys, too!) take themselves from tired to glam, from simple to stunning, or from ho-hum to ravishing. It’s not to say that we don’t look smashing without the addition of makeup, but there is something about the application of a little powder and rouge that makes you feel much more ready to face the big, beautiful world.

          Upon my arrival in the bay area in June, my mom surprised me with this fun vanity she won in an auction at the Alameda Antiques Faire and painted. The mirror is also from the auction, and you may remember the Virgin Mother pictures from my antiquing post back in January. The rest of the items have come together over the past few months. The lamps are from Target, the jewels on top are from my vintage collection, the silver box was part of a Godiva gift set, and the rest of the accessories are vintage from various little antique/flea markets all over.
          When seated upon the white, frilly stool, I get a rush of joy: it’s my favorite time of day – makeup time. I keep most of my cosmetics, hair accessories, and nail polishes in the drawers (the pulls are from Anthropologie) but allow my brushes and prettiest cosmetics to sit on top. It is a delight to have such a wonderful space for daily “beautification”, and I think it will become the site of filming for future Youtube tutorials.

          Oh, and sorry about the looooooong absence! Essentially, I had very little to blog about, as my life at the moment is quite a makeupless non-event. Thankfully, things are getting back in gear, and I will share some updates as soon as I can!