I feel as though I have been having a lot of (mainly irrational) worries lately - don't we all. Anyhow, I recently invested in some worry dolls, a childhood favorite of mine that I just rediscovered, and while these definitely help - buy some for anyone you love, they are adorable and according to Guatemalan lore you whisper your worries to them and put them under your pillow at night to banish the worry by morning - I needed something a little more intense. I love the concept. However, my worrying has apparently been causing some weird frown lines to develop between my eyes - only causing additional worries. Murad Sleep Reform Serum to the rescue! This silky serum has a cocktail of ingredients like melatonin, peptides, and anti-oxidants (basically the equivalent of worry dolls for your frown lines - genius!)
Lately, I've been (to put it mildly) freezing!! It's been quite winter-wonderlandish in NYC these last few days. It puts me in the mood to ice skate or do some other form of winter sport that requires little exertion. However, I've been spending the better part of the last few days working from home and at night especially it's been chilly in the apartment. Here are a few urban-warming tips for those who are sans fireplace. I'm currently desiring the Malm Fireplace, but right now that's just a pipe dream (no pun intended).
1.) This tea with tumeric and ginger is the perfect cozy evening drink, and the spice tumeric has been lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties.
2.) The Malm Fireplace is definitely an investment piece but it could very well change your life - atleast for this season.
My mother and her best friend are about to attend their high school reunion, and while both of them are entirely vixenish in everyday life (my mother wears purple movie-star sunglasses and drapey pashminas to walk to work and her bf rocks elegant pearl earrings with high cheekbones that would make Audrey Hepburn jealous), they are ramping up the glamour for the important day. So here are a few of my favorite beauty tips that they can add to their own beauty arsenal so they look blissfully beautiful on reunion day:
1.) The Week Before: Before any important event I like to drink two cups of Sea Buckthorn Green Tea a day for a week leading up to it (it's a German beauty secret that revs up your metabolism, clears your skin, and gives you energy to go to the gym at the end of the day). Get some at Whole Foods (The Republic of Tea makes an excellent one).
2.) A Few Days Before: Get your skin glowing with one of my favorite skincare products that delivers quick results. Kyoku for men facial moisturizer with SPF 15 uses the power of sake to transform your skin immediately so that it feels like velvet (Odin in the West Village sells this line). Use this in place of your regular day cream for a few days prior to the event to stay fresh and dewy.
3.) The Day of: Wear a really memorable scent (people will be hugging and kissing you a lot so it's important that you smell divine). Tokyo Milk's French Kiss (composed of mandarin, tuberose and fresh gardenia) is so incredibly wonderful in a youthfully sweet, demure, yet enthralling way that I had to have it at Anthropology immediately after I spritzed it on my wrist. It smells like the scentual equivalent of a diaphanous ballerina tutu.
Photo Credit images: cup from Anthropologie (at anthropologie.com) and Sea Buckthorn Tea Republic of Tea (www.4allvitamins.com).
I have to admit that I hate applying sunblock with a passion. It feels tacky, it leaves an awful white cast (thanks to Titanium Dioxide), and it adds an extra 5 minutes to my getting ready routine. But it's one of those things that you really can't avoid, particularly when it's 90 degrees in New York, and you know that you'll probably get burnt just waiting for the crosstown bus. However, I've discovered two sunscreens this summer that really make the whole applying-sunblock routine not so bad, even pleasant. The first one on my list is Burt's Bees SPF 30. It's not greasy yet still moisturizing, chemical free, has a nice subtle scent, and it isn't chalky (it's actually a little yellowish out of the tube but blends in invisibly and somehow even managed to even out a streaky looking self tan on my legs). My second favorite is Tocca SPF 30+ towelettes that are actually scented with the blood orange fragrance Stella (so glamorous). I carry these in my purse and apply them when I feel that a reapplication of sunscreen is necessary. They are so easy to use (I was actually able to put on sunscreen in Starbucks yesterday without feeling like a complete weirdo). Share your favorite sunblocks in the comments section, and don't forget to reapply!
Every time that Mother's Day rolls around, I get a little anxious, because finding an amazing gift for my mother that is unique (i.e. something's she's never seen or heard of before) can be a daunting task. She's extremely well versed in every new book or beauty product that's been recently released, and since those are the two categories of gift that I usually stick with when buying something for her, I quickly realized this year that I would have to be even more creative than usual. Along with an unusual watermelon liquor that sounded like the perfect summer aperitif, I ended up purchasing Wen Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner for her (I'd seen it on an infomercial and it sounded kind of amazing- you use it like a shampoo). My mother's never been a big fan of her hair texture, so she's always on the hunt for something to give her that swingy, shiny Mary-Tyler-Moore look that we all covet. This cleanser has literally changed the texture of her hair; it's incredibly shiny, bouncy, and well very Mary. The elusive search for the chimerical hair product has finally ended, and mom's hair looks fabulous, better than ever.
Tonight someone on the bus told me to "stop frowning nothing's that bad." Though that might be true this unnecessarily cheerful person didn't accidentally nearly lock herself out of her office last night (with her purse still inside), get accosted by two religious converters for a total of 3 blocks in midtown early in the morning, accidentally order two of the same book from amazon.com, and realize in a panic that she has a total of 2 days to decide if she is going to dramatically change career paths. To top it off I got caught in the rain this evening without an umbrella. The only cure for this kind of day is listening to the song Santiago (it weirdly reminds me of a Peter Paul and Mary song that always used to cheer me up as a child) and using a really cool umbrella tonight when I have to go back out in the rain. Who could feel unhappy carrying this?
There's something about the Vivre website (purveyor of uber-luxury goods) that is at once astonishing and captivating. When I initially perused the offerings I found myself shocked and simultaneously horrified at the prices (upwards of $1,000 for a clutch and $75 for what appeared to be an ordinary flip-flop). However, once I allowed my imagination to take over, the website window-shopping experience was a lot more palatable (enjoyable and addictive in fact). I envisioned myself in a huge modernist abode in London leading the kind of life where one needs a bejeweled Judith Leiber clutch for every occasion and has over-sized Taschen tomes adorning the coffee-table (tres chic). The type of life where a silver champagne straw, a lifetime supply of Fiji water, and fluffy shocking-pink rocking horse are de rigueur (and yes you can purchase all of these on the website). However, Vivre is not just for the frivilously rich- they do carry some affordable luxuries that can satisfy a Chelsea girl's desire for a spot of glitz and glamour. This citrine and gold lip plumper, these exquisite earrings, and these pastel-colored slippers are perfect antidotes to a long work week and even better rewards for a hard day's work.
Two things that I am officially terrified of are Botox (I'm not a fan of injecting toxins into my face) and snakes (I can't even see one in the Central Park Zoo behind glass). Once my friend brought me a petrified snake's head as a gift from his far-away travels, and I nearly fainted when I opened the box. So, when I read this article in the Daily Mail about a new product from Rodial (the famed brand behind my favorite facial cleanser and face wipes) I was immediately scared and slightly intrigued. Apparently, according to the article Glamoxy Snake Serum as it's frighteningly called has a "neuro-peptide" that approximates the effect of a snake's venom when it bites (to achieve a Botox-like-look minus the toxin-injection fear factor). While my fear of slithery creatures makes me a little wary, my fear of permanently-etched forehead wrinkles is an even scarier thought. Therefore, I'm pretty excited to try this, especially since it only takes "90 seconds" to work according to the article (I'm all about instant gratification beauty products). Would you use a product called Glamoxy Snake Serum? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
I think the single skin issue that ages women the most has to be dark circles. When I don't sleep well I wake up looking like a different person. There has been a lot of discussion and debate among beauty gurus and clinicians regarding whether or not these dark circles can actually be corrected. Current theories for their origin range from blood leaking from capillaries underneath the skin (creating that bruised purple look) to unlucky genes. The resounding argument was that if these circles are indeed genetic then they cannot be fixed, in short you have to live with them. I was convinced that any attempt at eradicating them would be futile, so I invested in the best concealers and eye-creams in the hopes that I could stave off wrinkles. However, then I bought Hylexin, and now my opinion has changed remarkably. Not only has it significantly lightened my genetically-induced as well as sleep-deprivation-induced dark circles but it has also made my eye area look brighter overall. I still use concealer (Revlon Age Defying Spa) but it's definitely not as necessary as it used to be and people have stopped asking me if I'm tired.
If Samantha Stevens on Bewitched had a signature fragrance it would definitely be Lisa Hoffman's Japanese Agarwood. This scent comes in 4 different variations to wear for different occasions and at different times of day, perfect for the busy modern woman/witch. There is something comforting and infinitely wearable about the underlying scent (perfect for Samantha's PTA meetings at Tabitha's school) and general suburban housewifery, yet there is also an intriguing mysterious side to Agarwood that lends the wearer an enigmatic quality that can't quite be pinned down. Though the scent is described as a mixture of "Italian Bergamot, Spiced Ginger Accord, and Warm Amber," an underlying hint of exoticism really makes this fragrance unique and intoxicating. I can just imagine Samantha enjoying a prim and proper dinner with the Tates, and then at a moment's notice (or the wiggle of a nose) sitting down at a table in Morocco for cocktails with the eccentric Endora.
HappyValentine'sDay readers! I've missed you! Valentine's Day is all about celebrating love, so regardless of whether or not you are in a relationship, buy atleast one bunch of fluffy pink carnations today and enjoy a box of expensive chocolates.
Below is a list of my favorite Valentine's-Day-beauty items to ensure that you look beautiful this evening.
1.)Organix Passionfruit Guava Shampoo: This sulfate and paraben free formula (that includes orange blossom honey for shine) actually smells amazingly like fresh guava and leaves your tresses luminous. Plus, the bottle is the most gorgeous shade of raspberry and is entirely eco-friendly. Because of how delicious this shampoo smells, I've actually been on the hunt for fresh guava juice for two days now (a seemingly impossible task in the dead of winter).
2.) Pom Nectarine Juice: Since I couldn't find the guava juice, I've settled on a midday addiction to this incredibly delicious and healthful juice with a taste reminiscent of of farm-stand nectarines in summer. Not only does it give me a much needed energy boost in the afternoon, but it also makes my skin look brighter and clearer (it must be all those anti-oxidants). Pick up a bottle at Gardener's Eden in Chelsea.
3.) Bulgari Emulsion De Lumiere: Everyone looks their best by candlelight, but if you really want that healthy rested glow to last all evening, then apply this silky cream to your face before applying makeup (be sure to forego powder that can cancel out the luminous effect). The texture is fabulous (in-between a moisturizer and a serum), and it gives your skin a just-got-in-out-of-the-cold glow (completely beautiful and natural).*
I'm kind of convinced that the only color that I'm going to want to wear on my nails this spring will be a pale yellow with plenty of white in it to render it wearable and chic. There's something so delicate and subtle about the Rescue shade "Square Pants" that reminds me of whipped lemon-chiffon pie. It will look perfect with all the diaphanous fabrics of the season.
I can't cook (though I do love watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network), I hate to clean, and I don't own an ironing board. I think that it's safe to assume that I will never even approximate Donna Reed or Carol Brady. However, I absolutely despise wrinkled clothing, so when I saw an infomercial for the "Mister Steamy" today during a commercial break from Jersey Shore, I realized that I've found the perfect present to give myself on Valentine's Day. Mister Steamy is a bright yellow spiky ball that resembles a Medieval torture device, and when you put it in the dryer it supposedly fluffs and de-wrinkles your garments. Maybe people will even think that I actually own an iron!!
I went to the American Lives exhibition at the Met today, which included one of my favorite nineteenth-century genre paintings entitled The Flower Girl by Charles Cromwell Ingham. The flowers that spills out of the girl's basket are rendered with such intense and vibrant hues and delicate brushwork that they appear nearly life-like, as though one could bend down and smell the cheerful bouquet. On a related note, I decided after the exhibition that I needed to fulfill my unrequited floral olfactory need with a stop at the new Madison Avenue boutique of renowned French parfumer Frederic Malle. The shop is refined (60's modern) in an elegant Parisian manner that manages to remain entirely unpretentious, and the staff is gracious, knowledgeable, and has a playful attitude towards scent that is quite inspiring. After smelling glass bell jars perfumed with a variety of luxurious florals, I settled on the 1er Mai candle (housed in fire-engine-red glass) that smells exactly like lily of the valley. There is something about the scent of fresh flowers that is so appealing and really changes one's whole mood, and there's honestly nothing more romantic.
photo credit: http://www.metmuseum.org. Charles Cromwell Ingham, The Flower Girl, 1846. oil on canvas.
When I was 5 years old I had the most beautiful ringlets that my mother would adorn with large silk bows. Years of damage and heat-styling have taken a toll on the texture of my hair to the point that it became straight and kind of limp. Since I now have very long hair for the first time since I was five years old, I'm beginning to realize that I need to resort to drastic measures if I want my hair to bear any kind of resemblance to its former glory. Santa Maria Novella's Honey Intensive Cream is the only conditioner that gives me beautiful youthful hair without split ends. I haven't even had to trim my hair in 6 months (it's that good). My mother tried it, and it changed the texture of her hair as well (from coarse and frizzy to smooth and sleek). If you really want your hair to feel like velvety Rapunzel locks, shampoo with Vanilla Silk Shampoo from Organix (get it at your local drugstore), then leave in the Honey Cream for twenty minutes before rinsing (doing the final rinse under cold water), and be the heroine in your very own beauty fairytale.