lighten up

how to go from brunette to blonde lighten up



I kind of just woke up one day recently and decided I wanted to be a blonde. I’m not sure what sparked the change, really–maybe the increasingly nice weather we’re having has me game for a lighter shade, or maybe it would just be a really fun way to mix things up.


I’ve never been someone who is particularly anal about my hair–I love mixing things up haircut-wise (I even tried bangs once!), and I’ve had color here and there–mostly deep reds, burgundy shades and dark dark brown. One think I am scared of? Bleach. On. My. Hair.


And it’s not an unwarranted fear. Just ask 8th grade me, who thought it was a good idea to put in Sun-In while at soccer camp one summer (while my hair was in a pony tail, mind you), leaving me with two bright orange skunk streaks down the center of my head. Traumatizing, to say the least. Ever since then, I’ve been very (very very) wary of any sort of bleach coming in contact with my hair. After telling a few in-the-know friends about my quest for blonde (or OK, more accurately, blonde-ish) hair, I gathered up my guts and made an appointment with a trusted colorist-of-a-friend at John Frida. I go tonight and I’m so so excited.


For all you fellow brunettes looking to lighten your hair up: balayage is absolutely the way to go. There’s virtually no way you can go super light in one color process session (unless you want crazy-damaged hair), so balayage is a great way to ease your hair into its new life. Not only is it less expensive than traditional highlights (a definitely plus for a broke 20-something like me), but it looks so natural. Essentially highlights that have been “painted” or “swept” on, balayage color can be customized to achieve that enviable sun-kissed, just back from St. Barths look that so many off-duty models and celebs are rocking these days. A bonus for me: I’ve lost a lot of hair recently due to health issues, and balayage hair can help give the illusion that your hair is thicker because the color adds dimension. I’ll take it.


I’ll be heading to the salon tonight with the above hair inspiration–specifically, that second shot down on the right. I can’t wait to show you how it turns out!


DIY moisturizing hair mask (from your kitchen!)

DIY moisturizing hair mask DIY moisturizing hair mask (from your kitchen!)


I’ve put my hair through its fair share of rough patches. I heat style it on the reg, I’ve dyed it on occasion–I even sprung for a Coppola Keratin treatment last summer (which I loved the results of, but in the end it was too $$ and too damaging to continue doing). While it’s in pretty good shape considering, there’s always room for improvement. And one of my favorite ways to usher in shinier, stronger strands? Hair masks.


DIY hair mask ingredients DIY moisturizing hair mask (from your kitchen!)


I have a slew of masks stashed in my closet that definitely get the job done (one of my favorites is this vanilla-scented repairing elixier from Fekkai), but when I can, I like to turn to the natural ingredients I have in my kitchen to mix something up. A winning combo lately? Avocado, coconut oil, coconut milk and olive oil. Get ready from some seriously hydrated hair.



DIY hair mask application DIY moisturizing hair mask (from your kitchen!)


Let me break down why this little combo gets things done: first up, you’ve got the avocado, which is moisturizing and can aid in treating hair loss (something I’ve had a big problem with over the past year or so). Then you have the coconut oil, which can penetrate the hair cortex to improve hair’s strength and flexibility. Then you throw in the coconut milk, which contains vitamin E and fats that promote growth. Finish it off with olive oil, which sits on the top of the hair follicle and adds a ton of shine and smoothness, and you’ve pretty much hit the holy grail.


DIY hair mask DIY moisturizing hair mask (from your kitchen!)



To apply, you’re going to want to first blend 1/2 an avocado in a food processor, eliminating as many of the chunks and making it as smooth as you can. Once that’s done, mix it together with 1/8 cup of olive oil, 1/8 cup of coconut oil and 1/4 cup coconut milk (if your hair is longer than mine, you can feel free to add a little extra of everything, just try and keep the consistency the same so it doesn’t drip off your hair). Coat onto dry, brushed hair starting at the roots and distribute evenly with the help of a wide toothed comb. Once your entire head has been coated evenly, twist it up and clip it, allowing the mask to sit on your hair for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with shampoo and condition as you normally would, then style away!




p.s. My robe is from Plum Pretty Sugar in Pink Love Poppy!


video: a 6-minute makeup routine


I have a video for you today! Recently, I’ve gotten hooked on all sorts of makeup videos (ones from Lisa Eldridge are my favorite–if you haven’t heard of her, check her out!), and I thought it might be fun to try my hand at one of my own. Obviously I’m no pro like Lisa, but I love seeing what kinds of products and routines other women have, so I’m sharing a very basic, 6-minute natural look with you today for the times when you just need to get out the door looking presentable (and if you can’t see it above, you can find it on YouTube here)!


In addition to going through the products in the video, I’m also highlighting them below, with a little mini-review of each. These are the products I use every day, and have been for months in most cases, so if you have any questions at all about them, just let me know (p.s. they’ll be in the order they’re seen in the video)!



Josie Maran Argan Oil Matchmaker Foundation video: a 6 minute makeup routine


Josie Maran’s Argan Oil Matchmaker Foundation is the stuff of dreams. No really, I swear. If, like me, you’re the kind of person who can’t stand to feel like your skin isn’t breathing and just want light coverage, then this foundation is perfect for you. The shade adjusts to suit your skin tone perfectly and it’s moisturizing without being oily.



smashbox high definition concealer video: a 6 minute makeup routine


Smashbox’s High Definition Concealer gives really smooth, seamless coverage. While you can also use it under your eyes, I stick to using it just on blemishes, and I find that it stays put all day with little need to reapply. If you’re into something a little thicker, I also recommend Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage, which I’ve used with great luck as well!


benefit erase paste video: a 6 minute makeup routine


I don’t care if you’ve gotten 3 hours of sleep, Benefit’s Erase Paste will make it look like 12. I use it on the days where I haven’t slept well or had a little too much fun the night before. It’s very thick, so only a little dab on the pad of your ring finger will do. I like to prep my eyes first with Clinique’s All About Eyes under eye cream to keep them moisturized and wrinkle-free.


Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo video: a 6 minute makeup routine


Anastasia’s Brow Powder Duo is where the brows of your dreams have been hiding all this time. I used to used a waxy pencil to shape my eyebrows, but my life was changed (Is that weird to say about eyebrow powder? Probably.) when I bought this duo at Sephora. I shape my brows lightly with an angled brush, mixing the two shades, until they reach bold-but-natural nirvana.


benefit watts up video: a 6 minute makeup routine


I actually got Benefit’s Watt’s Up! highlighter back in a Birchbox when I had one, and I’m still not finished with the sample size (but will totally buy the big guy once I am). The thing I love about this champagne-colored highlighter is how soft it is. Just enough to bring an understated highlight to your cheek and brow bones, not enough to look like you went sparkle happy at a six-year-old’s birthday party.



RMS beauty lip2cheek video: a 6 minute makeup routine



Like with all RMS Beauty products, this Lip2Cheek tinted pot is organic and all-natural (something I’m really starting to gravitate towards in my beauty products). This tint is super pigmented and leaves you with a pretty, soft glow to your cheeks–kind of like you’ve just spend the day boating off the coast of Greece (or uh…at least what I imagine that might look like). Either way, super pretty, super good for you and the environment. Win win.



Lipstick queen lipstick in hello sailor video: a 6 minute makeup routine



Scary looking, right? Trust me, you only look like you have hypothermia for a few seconds, then the scary blue of Lipstick Queen’s Hello Sailor Lipstick changes into a sheer berry that really mimics a natural (yet slightly pigmented) lip. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on this, and people are always shocked to see what it really looks like in the tube. Kinda like show-and-tell.



viktor rolf flowerbomb video: a 6 minute makeup routine


I definitely consider perfume to be part of my makeup routine–something about spritzing it or rolling it on at the end just makes the process feel complete. Allow me to introduce you to my signature scent: Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf. Or at least, what I think is fair to say is my signature scent considering I wear it every day and a friend once told me the smell comforted her because it always reminded her of me (all together now: awww). It’s floraly when you first put it on (hence the name) but quickly turns vanilla-y on me, which is exactly the type of scent I love. Very understated and not overpowering.



my routine for fresh, glowing skin

fresh skin beauty routine my routine for fresh, glowing skin



I’ve always had a problem with consistency concerning my skincare routine. I run into two problems–either I don’t stick to an actual skincare schedule (aka, I’m lazy and sometimes will forget to wash my face before bed) or I get so eager to try out new products I get through work that I mix it up too much for my skin to ever get used to any sort of routine.


For the past four or so months, I’ve been really struggling with my skin and I couldn’t figure out why. I was suffering from bouts of acne, a trait I thought I left behind in high school, as well as skin that was lackluster and devoid of that healthy “glow” that’s so coveted. I knew I needed to stop trying to torture my skin into submission (I was exfoliating twice a day in the hopes of making my breakouts disappear, which is a big no-no) and develop a routine for myself, so for the past month and a half all my beauty brain space has been dedicated to that–and I think I’ve finally nailed it. The products I’ve included below are what I’ve been using every morning, evening and Wednesday/Sunday (for the masks and such)–these creams and oils, combined with lots and lots of water, have left my skin looking much more fresh faced than I was a few months ago. Do I still get a random breakout? Of course–but things are definitely a bit more glow-y around here! Here’s what has been working for me:


The Morning Lineup:


daytime beauty routine my routine for fresh, glowing skin



Murad Essential C CleanserI’ll be the first to admit this is more than I ever thought I’d pay for a face wash, but the amount of change I’ve seen since starting to use this a few months ago is outrageous. It has a nice bright, citrus-y scent that is a great wakeup during my morning shower, is packed with moisturizers and is specially formulated to counteract daily pollutants and free radicals, something that’s super important in the filth that can sometimes be New York City living. Bonus: it lasts forever–I know everyone says that kind of thing to justify expensive products, but I promise it’s true. I’ve already had it for almost three months and I’m not even 1/8th of the way through…and that’s using it daily!


Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day SerumI’ve been looking to jump into the natural skincare game for a while now, so when a friend sent me some Drunk Elephant Skincare products to try, I was super excited. The daytime serum, which is infused with fruit enzymes and anti-aging ingredients, is definitely one of the favorites in my vanity right now. Can you believe that at almost 25 years old, I’ve never used anti-aging products? I know, probably pretty dumb of me. I guess I just never trusted what they were promising, but I’ve definitely noticed younger looking skin after weeks of using this serum.


Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Face OilIf you’re anything like me, you’ve probably thought of face oils only as a very expensive way to ensure yourself a breakout, right? I was terrified of skin oil in the past, even though everyone told me not to be. Once I sat down and learned the benefits of it, it was still hard for me to find a face oil that didn’t turn me into a pre-teen again. Truthfully, one of my problems the past few months is that my face has been starved for moisture. Using this oil, or a Josie Maran one (which I’ll talk about a bit later) has made me realize just how parched my skin was. I combo this with the day serum and can usually go without makeup to work (but I don’t know if that’s really saying much, since I typically don’t wear a ton of makeup anyways).


Kate Somerville 24-Hour Pimple PunisherYes, using a product called the “pimple punisher” is exactly as gratifying as you’re imagining it to be. I just picture this little cream kicking any blemish’s ass when I dab it on, and that’s just what it does–the stick has an “a.m.” side, which is clear, and a “p.m.” side, which is more of a milky white. I notice that if I spot treat a pimple with this in the morning, it will usually shrink down in 12 to 24 hours. One gripe: the “a.m.” clear cream makes the spot on your skin a bit shiny and obvious, so you still have to layer on a bit of concealor to cover it up.


Clinique All About Eyes CreamI call this little guy a miracle in a jar, and I’ve been reccommending it to friends for years. It truly is the best under eye cream on the market, in my opinion. I dab this on with my ring finger (need to be delicate!) in the mornings when I get out of the shower to give it a bit of time to soak in, and at night after washing up (you’ll see it in the photo below, too). It completely eliminates puffiness and reduces the appearance of dark circles–vital for those weeks where I’ve clocked long nights at the office or behind the computer blogging.




The Nighttime VIPs:


nighttime beauty routine my routine for fresh, glowing skin



Murad Clarifying Cleanser and Murad Acne Clearing SolutionAs far as I’m concerned, Murad products are the gold standard when it comes to acne skincare. Their acne-specific cleanser is the perfect wash for my face after I’ve spent the day wearing makeup, accumulating grime and probably putting my hands on my face one too many times. I try to make a point to only use the cleanser at night, since in the morning, there isn’t much “grime” on my face and it can be a bit drying if used too often. The acne clearing solution is a great all-over lotion if my skin is having a particularly rough few days. It significantly reduces the appearance of existing blemishes, and stops new ones in their tracks. Again, it can be a bit drying, so if I’m only experiencing one or two problem areas, I’ll try and contain my lotion application to just those spots.


S.W. Basics Toner: I truly feel like toner is the most commonly overlooked step in a nighttime beauty routine. A good toner, like the all-natural version I have from S.W. Basics, a Brooklyn-based skincare company, can help to remove any lingering makeup or dirt post-wash, even skin tone (so you can say bye bye to those dark spots your old blemishes left behind) and balance the ph of your skin, leaving you less oily. This is a step I’m learning I should never skip!


Drunk Elephant T.L.C Night SerumTruth be told, I never used to put anything on (besides a salicylic acid cream) my skin before bed time. Like a lot of other women, I overlooked the fact that the 8 hours (ahem, or 7 or 6…) of sleep we get a night is the time where our skin has the biggest opportunity to rejuvinate itself. This night serum from Drunk Elephant goes to work with a bunch of alpha hydroxy acids (fancy speak for little resurfacing tools) to slough away dull, dead skin and reveal the fresh complexion below. I honestly sometimes wake up looking like I just got a facial. You probably don’t believe me, but it’s so true!



There When You Need ‘Em Groupies:


beauty skin savers my routine for fresh, glowing skin



Josie Maran Argan Oil CleanserSometimes, when I’m feeling in need of a little pampering, I’ll wash with this argan oil cleanser. It smells amazing, and leaves my skin super soft!


Kate Somerville ExfoliKateAll I can say is, thank god Sephora includes this little tube in their “you know you wanna buy it” display section leading up to the cashier. I picked up the small version (I believe it’s $17 dollars?) on a whim one day because I had heard good things, and immediately became hooked. I usually do this quick mask (you only leave it on for 2-5 minutes) once a week to breath a little fresh life into my complexion. I haven’t really felt the need to buy the full-sized much more expensive version yet, because really the little guy works just fine for me. I end up going through a tube every four or so months.


Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal MaskAnother mask I’ll do probably once a week (usually on a Sunday night). The thick black mask digs deep to remove a whole bunch of gunk and blackhead-forming crap from your pores–plus, it’s really fun to put the mask on, send funny pictures via text and try and scare your roommates. Not that I do that…


Kate Somerville EradiKateWarning: this product actually smells horrible. I wouldn’t recommend it for the nights when you’re looking to impress someone special, but if you’re alone and don’t mind smelling a bit of sulfur while you nix those ugly, blotchy, red blemishes (especially the ones that are really deep and painful), then this is the product for you. If you dot enough on your face (using a Q-tip dipped into the jar), you usually look like you’re treating chicken pox.


Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPFMother Nature hasn’t provided me with much of an opportunity to try out this sunscreen yet, but I’m keeping it on-hand for when the warmer weather hits and I’m looking for an all-natural sunscreen that will protect and heal my skin without any of the irritants that I seem to be extra sensitive to (I always break out in rashes when it comes to sunscreen). I’ve also found that Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen works great on sensitive skin!






top image, kristina soljo for yen magazine 


**Please note, I was given the Drunk Elephant products to try out, but I truly fell in love with the line and have been using them constantly. I recommend them whole heartedly, along with everything else here!

your valentine’s day look, simplified

8122d9be609b2d4ab45da898555281b1 your valentines day look, simplified



If you could narrow in on the days in a women’s life where she wants to look especially pretty, Valentine’s Day is probably one of them. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, there’s just something about the holiday (at least, I think) that makes you go extra-feminine, extra-girlie and extra-pretty for a few days.

I’m definitely not one of those people who thinks you should dress or look a certain way for a guy (like wearing your hair only the way he likes it, etc.), but I do feel like it’s very easy to go over-the-top on Valentine’s Day (or any other date night really). Red lips, red nails, fake lashes, lots of bronzer! Next thing you know, your guy thinks he’s cheating on you because he’s at a romantic dinner across from someone he barely even recognizes. This Valentine’s Day, keep it soft, pretty–and most importantly, you. Here’s how:


valentines day makeup inspiration your valentines day look, simplified

What’s that saying? Keep it simple, stupid? Well yeah, do that. Let’s face it, your guy isn’t going to notice if you spent four hours highlighting and contouring in the mirror (unless you’re late for your dinner reservation), so skip the hoopla for the evening and save it for a night out with the girls. Your date wants to take you out, not you and your entire Sephora collection, so any makeup you use should stubtly play up your best features. I love starting with a highlighting primer, like Make’s version, for a little bit of a glow. Bring some dimension to your face (and call attention to your gorgeous eyes) with a little brow action and some mascara (Eyeko’s version is seriously amazing…I always get compliments on my lashes when I wear it!). I’d even make a case for a bit of a cat-eye with a felt-tip liner…just nothing too crazy (think more Emma Stone, less Alexa Chung). Finish things off with a bright cheek and pretty lip (Laura Mercier makes the best lipsticks–so hydrating!).



valentines day hair inspiration your valentines day look, simplified

Now, let’s talk hair! You know that very audible hairspray “crunch”? Yeah…we don’t want that. Besides making sure you don’t have a heavy hand with the spray nozzle, focus on whipping up a ‘do that makes you feel pretty without the high-maintenance every half hour mirror check. I love going for loose waves–they’re pretty and romantic while staying out of that “too dolled up” category. I love starting with Fekkai’s Coiff heat protectant before I blow dry (plus it smells amazing), then I focus on creating loose, pretty waves with my Jose Eber wand (you’ll want to wrap hair with a lot of space in between the spirals on the barrel–that will ensure more of a wave, less of a ringlet). After finger combing my hair to give it an intentionally messy look, I finish with a combo of Living Proof hairspray and Bumble and Bumble’s thickening spray at the roots. Oh! And don’t forget perfume–that always makes me feel prettier and pulled together. Lately, I’m loving Issey Miyake’s “Florale” scent.



valentines day fashion inspiration your valentines day look, simplified


Finally, the best part–the clothes! I love the idea of a pretty, girlie dress for a special Valentine’s Day date (with your guy, or your girlfriends!). Liz’s Red Valentino frock is amazing (I mean, pretty much my dream dress), and hits the perfect note between just-fancy-enough while still young and fun. You could go with a pale pink like this Tory Burch to stay holiday-themed, or opt for a sexy black cut out number.  I love the pretty blue lace on this Alice and Olivia dress, the pattern on this Peter Pilotto for Target one, and the Olivia Pope-ness of this black and white one (doesn’t it remind you of the dress from this scene?).






top image via

how to look like a human again after you’ve been sick

beauty tips after youve been sick how to look like a human again after youve been sick



It’s funny–I feel like I don’t realize how good it feels to be healthy until I’ve been sick for a week, and finally start to get to the other side of it. The same goes for my beauty routine, or lack there of, when I’m feeling sick. The night before I returned to work late last week, I took a quick look in the mirror and was positively disturbed by what I saw–dry skin, a flakey nose, a sallow complexion. You name it, I was rocking it…and not in a good way.  I knew a little TLC was seriously in order if I was going to ever look like a functioning human being again. Here, how to whip yourself back into shape post-sickness:


pack in moisture how to look like a human again after youve been sick


From L to R: Hope in a Jar | bareMinerals Nourishing Cream | Origins GinZing Moisturizer

You know that drained feeling you have after spending a few days sick in bed? Your skin feels the same way. I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, I tend to neglect my skin pretty badly–I stray from my scrub/wash/moisturize routine, and the results totally prove it. In order to get a little bit of the glow back, I’ve been packing in the moisture whenever I can–this means morning and night like usual, but also a bit mid-day while I’m at the office. Hey, with all this crazy dry, cold weather, it can’t hurt, right? All three of these are products I’ve tried and loved, but definitely go for the Origins if you need a little pick-me-up…the smell is so refreshing!



blush how to look like a human again after youve been sick

From L to R: Bobbi Brown Blush | Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Creme Color | Sonia Kashuk Blush


I instantly feel alive and, I don’t know, peppier (?) once I put on some blush. Everyone knows that a flush makes you look healthier, so it’s a vital step in your make-me-look-healthy beauty routine. Post-sickness, brighter is better when it comes to blush. Pick a bright poppy or coral to bring a little life to your face and have people saying, “You look so much better!”


cover up how to look like a human again after youve been sick

From L to R: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer | Clinique Redness Solutions Targeted Concealer | Clinique Continuous Coverage

Ugh, the red spots. They come out in masses whenever I’m sick, and they’re often joined by other really cute things, like a dry, flakey nose. A moisture-packed cover up is the number one thing I reach for in times like these. If you’re dealing with serious redness issues, that Clinique stick up there is your new best friend–it adds yellow corrective color to tone down the red and cover up any tissue-induced coloring.



distract how to look like a human again after youve been sick

From L to R: Owl and Cat Bobby Pins |  Madewell Striped Scarf | Jewel Headband


I’m big on distractions. If I’m feeling crappy, I’ll put on a bright sweater or a bold scarf and hope that it’ll distract from however I’m feeling (and distract other people from how I may be sniffing or coughing). Put on some sparkly hair accessories (how cute is that owl bobby pin?), a cozy scarf or your favorite shirt–I guarantee you’ll be feeling better in no time.





steal her style: felicity jones

felicity jones style steal her style: felicity jones



For me, there’s just something about British style–it’s cool but aloof, casual but thought out…it’s quintisentially British, and just something us lowly Americans can’t fake, no matter how hard we try. And Felicity Jones? Well, Felicity Jones is one of my favorites from across the pond.


Maybe it’s because she’s the star of one of my favorite movies (Like Crazy) or maybe it’s because she has a really cool accent–either way, I’m totally smitten with Felicity’s style. Her red carpet appearances may be few and far between, but with several big-name flicks coming out this year (including a little-known franchise film called Spider Man), that’s sure to change. Here, a few of my favorite looks so far–she’s definitely one to keep your eye on!


felicity jones casual outfit steal her style: felicity jones


Coat, Net-a-Porter | Sunnies, KamaliKulture | Boots, Nine West | Black jeans, 7 For All Mankind | Cross-body bag, Michael Kors



felicity jones outfit steal her style: felicity jones

Yellow cardigan, Equipment | Floral blouse, Mango | Teal peplum skirt, Marni | Bow heels, ModCloth


felicity jones beauty look steal her style: felicity jones


Face oil, Fresh | Tinted moisturizer, Stila | Lipstick, Clinique | Eyeliner, Sephora | Blush, Benefit | Shine pomade, The DryBar | Thickening Spray, Bumble and Bumble (I’m obsessed with this stuff!) | Eyeshadow palette, BareMinerals 




life changing beauty hacks

life changing beauty hacks life changing beauty hacks



Alright, I’ll cop to it–no beauty hack I tell you will actually change your life (unless I figure out some magical way to wake up looking like a Victoria’s Secret model, in which case I may keep that to myself for a while…), but these are pretty darn good. I’ve always been beauty obsessed, but I also love ease. I want to try the new products and latest treatments as much as the next girl, but I think it’s important to have tried-and-true tricks in your back pocket that make every day beauty prep a cinch. Unless I’m going out, I don’t have much time to primp in the morning, and unless I’m winning the lottery (which hasn’t happened in a while), I don’t have much $$ to waste. Enter: a few of my favorite beauty tricks and hacks. They’ll have you looking at kitchen products in a new light, making the most of your current favorites and getting just a bit resourceful!


beauty hacks1 life changing beauty hacks



YOUR EYELASH CURLER Take heat to it! Sure, it works fine with your basic three steady pulses (root, middle, ends), but adding a bit of heat can really make the most of it. A quick blast of the blow dryer will increase the temp of the metal, leaving you with lashes that curl easier and stay curled longer. Caution: if you touch your eyelid skin with the hot metal, it will hurt. And then you might jump. And then you might pull out your lashes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


BABY TOOTHBRUSH Ladies, meet your new secret weapon. Couple it with your favorite strong hold hairspray to tame those annoying wispies at your hairline. Wet it and gently slough off dry skin from your lips during the harsh winter months. Buff the dirt out from underneath your nails pre at-home mani (Obviously don’t do this and your lips with the same brush. Ew). SO. MANY. OPTIONS.


SATIN PILLOW CASE Ditch that old cotton thing and just get yourself a satin one, princess. It will prevent breakage as you sleep, and allow you to max-out your blow out an extra two or three days (just be sure to sleep with your hair in a high pony secured by a scrunchie!). I imagine this is what it feels like to be royalty (don’t let it go to your head).


beauty hacks 2 life changing beauty hacks



CLEAR POLISH We all know clear polish can make even the most chewed up nails look presentable, but it can also stop a nylon run in its tracks, keep that fab costume jewelry from turning your finger or neck green and relieve bug bite itches. Needless to say, keep it around!


APPLE CIDER VINEGAR I’m a huge fan of kitchen-to-bathroom beauty hacks, and this is one of my favorites. Apple cider vinegar is an amazing purifier for your hair–mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water and rinse through your strands to remove product residue and gunk, leaving it super shiny. Go one step further and use it on your skin as well…it’ll act as a natural toner (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) and reduce the look of blemishes.


VASELINE Ah, the wonder drug…er, product. Seriously, there’s nothing this baby can’t do. Rub it on rough cuticles to soften them or on parts of your feet that get the most friction when you’re breaking in new shoes. Add it to a bit of crushed powdered blush to create a lasts-for-hours pigment, on your cheek bones for a dew-y highlighted look or on lips to dull an overly-bright lipstick. Really, it does it all.


beauty hacks 3 life changing beauty hacks



FINE SEA SALT To me, there’s nothing more important than a good scrub–it instantly refreshes my skin and makes it glow, especially when it starts to dull in this drab winter weather. My favorite easy combo? Virgin coconut oil and fine sea salt while I’m in the shower, done and done. Plus: five simple scrubs I created for Self Magazine.


ELASTIC RIBBON TIES Every girl wants that shampoo commercial moment–you know, you flip your hair and flowers and unicorns fly out and the whole room smells amazing. Well, from my experience, that rarely happens. Especially if, like me, you use heating tools which can give your hair that awful almost-but-not-quite-burnt smell. One of my favorite ways to bring fragrance to my hair is using ribbon hair ties and a few quick spritzes of fragrance. Spraying perfume on your hair directly can be drying, so I’ve found that spraying it on the elastics is a great way to lightly scent it. I usually spray my elastic (or sometimes roll my roller ball over it), put my hair up into a high bun while doing my makeup and getting dressed and then once I take it down, it’s “infused” with a fragrance that lasts the day.


BABY POWDER Baby powder is great to mop up grease at your roots (especially if you’re a blonde, or a light brunette) but did you know it can score you thicker lashes as well? Curl your lashes like normal, then apply one single coat of mascara to them. Roll an extra dry wand (like the kind you find at the sample tables in Sephora), in a bit of baby powder and dust onto your lashes, then apply another coat of mascara–it will stick to the powder and create mega-thick lashes (just be careful if you have contacts!) that could totally pass for falsies in a pinch.



four lipstick shades you can totally rock this fall

fall 2013 lipstick guide four lipstick shades you can totally rock this fall


For me, fall and winter are lipstick season. It’s kind of a lost cause for me in the summer–the bright neon pinks are fun and all, but I’m pretty low-matinence when I’m on vacation/hitting the beach/generally not a sickly looking person. But fall and winter? I need a lot of help–I mean, the days are filled with about 4 hours of sunlight and I’m shivering half the time. Can you blame me for wanting to feel like a lady?


This fall, I’m all about four basic shades; nude, red, burgundy and orange. I’ve been putting in the hours (…at Sephora) testing out various tubes to narrow in on a few new favorites, which I’m sharing here. My two lipstick rules of thumb? Don’t have those lips be chapped and make sure your teeth are shiny and white. Now let’s have some fun.


romantic nude lipstick four lipstick shades you can totally rock this fall

From L to R: BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Trail Blazer | NARS Satin Lipstick in  Honolulu Honey | NYX Matte Lipstick in Nude | YSL Rouge Volupte Silky Radiant Lipstick in Nude Beige 


Nude is a new thing for me these days. I’ve always liked the look of natural lips, but they seemed very one-dimensional. Enter nude lipstick, which allows you to throw on a little color without going too bold or out there. For me, nude lips totally complete a soft and romantic date night look–a simple face and just a touch of color on the lips (and nothing that will make a boyfriend or potential suitor not want to kiss you). I like to reach for a nude shade that has a bit of shine or gloss to it–it keeps you from looking like you rubbed crushed Pepto-Bismol chews all over your lips.



bold burgundy lipstick four lipstick shades you can totally rock this fall

Clockwise from L to R: NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Rouge Tribal | Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick in Rosary | Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Black Metal Dahlia | Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color in Deepest Cherry


Ah, burgundy lips–the favorite of red wine fans everywhere. These ultra-bold stained lips definitely have to be my favorite of the season. They’re moody, a bit gutsy and super sexy when done right. You can choose to play them up with a tough leather jacket, or allow them to juxtapose an especially feminine dress for a night out with the girls (bonus: you get to drink all the Pinot Nior you want because it won’t ruin your makeup!). It’s best to keep the rest of your face fairly bare–you want to let the lips take center stage on this one.


sassy red lipsstick four lipstick shades you can totally rock this fall

From L to R: Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Cosmopolitan | Tarte Cosmetics Glamazon Pur Performance 12-hour Lipstick in Fierce | Rimmell London Lasting Finish Lipstick in Kate #1 | NARS Lipstick in Shanghai Express 


If there are two things every woman should have, it’s a signature drink that gets them feeling free and a signature lipstick that makes them feel like a million bucks–for me, that’s a whiskey ginger and a saucy red pout, please and thank you. I’m pretty sure it’s one of those trends that boys just don’t get and girls feel amazing in, and so be it. Something magical happens when a woman rocks red lipstick–she’s more confident, in-control and willing to get noticed. Always pair your favorite shade with a liner to keep it from bleeding, and check your teeth–a red smudge will have you looking more like a nerd than the sex goddess you are.


daring orange lipstick four lipstick shades you can totally rock this fall

From L to R: Revlon Mood Drops Lipstick in 24K Orange | Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Orange | MAC Lipstick in Morange | Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Muse


We may have just left Halloween in the dust, but orange is totally still at the cool kids table (likewise, I could say that “orange is the new black” but that wouldn’t make much sense, save the fact that I like that show and they film on my street sometimes). It’s one of those shades that’s super tough to rock, but when done the right way, it’s totally off the charts. Plus, it’s a great bold and daring pop of style for those dull winter months. Think of it as red’s younger, more brash and cooler stepsister–you can pretty much wear it with whatever you’d pair red with, and you should look for a shade that has hints of red in it (not yellow) to keep it fresh and sophisticated. Go too far, and you might start getting some unwanted looks.







moisture 101: save your skin this fall [+ a giveaway]

fall skin tips moisture 101: save your skin this fall [+ a giveaway]


I’ve been genetically gifted with many things: a lack of outrageous phobias (no claustrophobia or acrophobia here, thank you), my Dad’s green eyes, my Mom’s freckles, a complete lack of singing talent (because I mean, phew–being a singing prodigy would just be too much work). One thing I did not hit the genetic lottery on? My skin. It is d-r-y. Like, I look like a snake shedding it’s top layer of skin, dry. I’ve always turned into a molter once cold weather hits–true story: growing up, my mom used to slather me with some sort of gross smelling cream made for cow udders (I know, I’m surprised I’m not in therapy). Lucky for me, there are so many products out there now that help save a girl during the months of October to well, March? Here are a few favorites (and be sure to stick around ’til the end for a fun giveaway!):


moisture101 moisture 101: save your skin this fall [+ a giveaway]


1. Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment: You guys–this stuff is my savior. I slather it on every night (or, OK–when I remember) and let it work magic. Sure, it makes me stick to my sheets a little bit, but isn’t that a small price to pay for moisturized skin? Because I’m just going to come out and say it–I get really dry in awkward places, like my armpits, and this ointment solves all that. It’s made sans dyes or fragrance, so it doesn’t give me a headache and has an intensive formula that whips my flaky skin into shape in just a few nights. Throw it on your feet with some fuzzy socks and you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of dry, cracked soles in yoga–or around your cuticle if you’re like me and like to pick at them when they’re dry (terrible habit, I know). On the recommendation of a makeup pro who came into my office, I’ve also started dabbing a small amount on the circles under my eyes mid-day for a quick refresh. I swear it’s making a difference!


2. Sabon Body Scrub in Patchouli Lavender Vanilla: This is one of my desert island products without a doubt. First, it smells like small smiling children and heaven all rolled into one (in fact, all the scents are good, this just happens to be my favorite). Second, it’s gentle enough that it doesn’t irritate my skin, but still scrubs off all that gross dead stuff. The lingering body oil sticks around to keep my skin smelling fresh to death and packed with moisture throughout the day. Win.


3. Aquaphor Lip Repair: Ah, Aquaphor Lip Repair, where would I be without you? Certainly not in Sephora picking out pretty lipsticks, because my lips were in terrible shape before you came along. I’ve been slathering this stuff on like an addict lately, and it’s the first time I’ve noticed a huge difference in my lips. Sorry to talk profusely about them, but they’re smooth and not flaky or chapped. The best part? Lipsticks actually look good on healthy lips. Aquaphor, I thank you–and so does my Sephora rewards point card.


4. Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion: I have a very hard time finding moisturizers that don’t me break out like a pre-pubescent teen. I’ll usually use them for a week or two and then slowly see signs of irritation. Not with this Clinique lotion, though–I’ve been going on three months strong with this baby. It makes me feel all glowy in the a.m., and I can’t help but love the happy yellow color. A must for anyone with sensitive skin–this baby is my holy grail (cue Jay and Justin).


5. Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil: I snagged this at a beauty sale at work on a whim a few months ago–and truthfully, I’ve only used it for the past three-ish weeks. But those three weeks have been the best of my life. Ok, exaggeration, but really I look like I’ve gotten a manicure a least three times in that time period (and I haven’t actually gotten a single one–on a budge). It keeps your nails strong and healthy and your cuticles moisturized.


6. Josie Maran Argan Hot Oil Treatment: Josie Maran can do no wrong in my book, but these little pods are her shinning achievement–they save my hair like no other. Summer damage combined with fall’s dry air can leave me with straw-like strands, but a weekly treatment of her argan oil fixes that right up. The coolest part? It actually heats up in your hands, and feels like a mini trip to the hair salon. I’m all for at-home indulging.


And now for the extra fun part. Aquaphor is giving away products and a $50 Visa gift card to one lucky reader–simply enter below for the chance to banish your dry-skin woes adieu!





a Rafflecopter giveaway


please note: aquaphor provided me with products to review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own–I honestly and truly really freakin’ love this stuff. as always, thank you for supporting the products and companies that make this blog possible!