Find of the day: Alice & Olivia dress

This bright, splashy, Alice & Olivia dress almost didn’t come home with me. It’s an unusual combination of pattern and colors for me but I was swayed because it’s silk and I loved the cut. It has a higher, elasticized waist and a draped, low-cut back so it’s incredibly flattering, but best of all, it was a steal for just $50, marked down from $330. How do you say no to that? I’ve already worn it to a late summer wedding and plan to dress it down with a cardigan, tights and boots this fall.

The busy color scheme initially gave me pause, but admittedly makes it SO easy to mix and match blazers, cardigans and accessories so I can already see what a workhorse this dress is going to be. It’s good to break out of your comfort zone one in a while so I’m happy with this purchase.

August Beauty Routine Wrap-up

My beauty routine has been pretty simple to wrap up the summer: Focus on skin care, some Moroccan Oil in my hair for air drying, and a pop of pink-y color on lips or cheeks. Despite slathering sunscreen like it’s my job, I’m pretty tan so I’ve been skipping foundation and just smearing on this Josie Maran Argan Oil cheek tint stick, $22, alone or on top of a little of Benefit’s “Posie Tint,” $30. I do a little mascara (not pictured because I literally use anything; the trick of it is in the application technique and the curling, I swear) and head out the door. Easy!

As I approach 30, I’ve tried to be a little more vigilant about an anti-aging regimen. I’m convinced that the lack of deep forehead lines is due to tri-weekly Retin-A use for the past few years, but I’m always on the lookout for new goods.

During a Friends & Family sale in early July, I picked up Kiehl’s “Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate,” $77. I can happily report it works incredibly, applied nightly. If you try, heed this: A little goes a long way! Don’t pump the dispenser all the way down like I habitually do or you’ll find yourself spreading product onto your neck, chest, back of your hands, and occasionally — your partner! (If they don’t object to a little beautification, that is.)

Another goody my terribly oily, summer-distressed skin is loving is the Cinq Mondes Spa Phyto-Peeling Lotion (toner). The fruit acids (AHAs) and Glycolic Acid are key. My pored have never looked tighter or cleaner. Obsessed.

Tips and Tricks

eye liner aplication tips and tricksOne of the greatest annoyances for me when I’m doing precise makeup applications like an at-home mani or liquid eye liner is cleaning up the smudges. It usually involves stopping to search for q-tips and vaseline since I don’t have a go-to eye makeup remover anymore or over-applying to cover it up.

Recently though, I discovered the simplest, most straightforward trick for dealing with smudges that I feel silly even sharing. But if it was a revelation for me, maybe it will be for you as well.

How to remove eye makeup or nail polish smudges easily:
Lick the tip of your finger and gently scrape. The key is the lick! I’m serious. A dry finger sets the smudge, but if you can get errant eye liner or polish with a wet finger or tip of your finger nail, you can skip the q-tip and makeup/polish remover. Works great in a pinch.

Just use it already

josie-maran-argan-color-stick-petal-pinkWe all have products (and clothes) that languish in our makeup bags and closets that for one reason or another we just don’t pick up on a regular basis. Often, I’m trying to conserve it for a special occassion. Then I rediscover it months later, totally forgotten. So my new motto is: Just use it already!

One of my favorite buried “discoveries” is this Josie Maran Argan Cheek Tint Stick, $22, in petal pink. It works on cheeks and lips and is so moisturizing. Usually I avoid that with my oily skin, but it works for me. The color is incredible on tan skin and it works as the most wonderful blush base for me to do my powder blush (Benefit’s Coralista) on top. (This is a little trick I picked up from my wedding makeup artist and Kate Middleton employs it beautifully.) The end result is a beautiful, multi-faceted blush look with major staying power.




Mood boards: How I avoid impulse buys

modern classic apartment style//sources here

I think it’s accurate to say that I really, really love beautiful things. They don’t have to be expensive things— just beautiful. And preferably, soft. My closet and home are the the two spaces where this preference manifests itself most intensely. Still, in spite of the insane amount of time I spend reading, learning, and thinking about decor, clothing, and style, I don’t have the best sense when it comes to editing impulse buys. I have a hard time passing up a bargain, which is why places like Marshall’s, Target, and  Home Goods are dangerous for me.

desk accessories                                  //a few recent gems from Target and Francesca’s

In an effort to force my focus, I often make something called a “mood board.” I typically do them in stages, starting broadly with magazine tear outs and pins to get an overview of what is catching my eye. Next, I like to bring an edited selection of favorites into Photoshop where I’ll then ruthlessly cull. The board above started with about 3x as many images! It’s usually quite easy to see the odd ball choices among a lot of similar ones, which helps me the next time I’m out shopping for something like a duvet cover, for example. Finally, since I wanted to create a “future home decor mood board” I included a color palette that I sampled directly from the images.

Just a few things I learned from creating this one:

1. I really like some combination of white and black kitchen
2. Utilitarian, industrial-looking light fixtures are my thing
3. It’s all about the barrel lamp shade
4. Fabric covered head boards are my jam
5. Sideboards and coffee tables are wood/metal mix
6. Bold color or graphic pattern accessories like rugs and pillows are the only place I like whimsy in my decor

So this is basically how I like to focus myself and avoid impulse buys. It also works great for mapping out event design too. I use them regularly to plan parties, and even created one for my wedding in 2012. Hope you found some of this useful!

Thought for the Day

motivationI feel like I spend so much time “planning”. So much so that sometimes I get so caught up in it that I never begin. Of course it’s overwhelming, even terrifying to set out on an unknown path, particularly one you’re not even 100% confident is the correct one, but that is where I think faith comes in. Now to be clear, I don’t necesarily mean faith in god. I think it’s kind of a cop out to say that. I’m talking about faith in yourself. Faith that you have the power within yourself to course correct and make it work if it turns out that it actually isn’t the right direction. But you need to start the process by making that first decisive step. To begin!

Have more by owning less – closet revelation

high fashion closet Lately I’ve been obsessing over perfectly broken-in, soft, threadbare t-shirts. I think it’s because of something The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman, wrote about wanting a pair of his gloves to have that beautifully aged, worn look. His paramour Garance Dore said simply, then wear them. Stop always buying new stuff and wear what you already have.

It  resonated. I think because I recently completed a wardrobe overhaul and cleared out everything but my favorite pieces. And also because I’m endlessly searching to define my personal style, and tend to constantly search for the next new “find”. And I’m no better dressed for it. Worse, I’m overwhelmed by my closet and feel like I never have anything to wear.

But now? I’ve realized that I have more by having less. I can’t wait to get dressed each morning. It’s incredible.

Weekly Inspiration

1. Every so often, you need an occasion for a really glamorous smoky eye.
2. The prettiest, girliest inspiration board.
3. A little reminder to focus on the positive, not the negative.
4. Camo + gold accessories + stripes + aviators: new summer uniform.
5. My next mani inspiration.
6. Beautifully styled objets d’art.
7. Wisdom from Kate Spade – my idol.
8. Bright pink keeps catching my eye, time to add some for summer.
9. Finally got around to this bag-framing project for the bedroom.

How to apply a cheek stain or tint

benefit-benetint-rose-tinted-lip-and-cheek-stain-d-20130301160432927~526432It’s not a rule, but generally your makeup routine should change with the seasons. Anticipating a hot and humid summer in New England, this means I typically swap out my heavier, more moisturizing or longer-lasting winter makeup for sheer, oil-free products like tints right around now.

As you may have guessed, it’s trickier to make summer makeup last—it’s impossible to be 100% sweat-proof.  And I’m not going to tote a ton of touch-up products around with me which is why I love stains and tints for summer. But they aren’t the easiest things to apply.

A few tips:

– Exfoliate skin first to help the product go on more smoothly
– Moisturize thoroughly
– While skin is still moist, apply stain
– Plan to apply your tint after your foundation, but before the rest of your makeup. If you over-apply, you can easily wash your face and start again
– Apply stain to just two fingers at first, then dab together with the other hand’s two fingers before applying to skin. Never apply a stain directly to skin to avoid stain marks on your face. You could also use a makeup sponge but I think that is too much effort. Leave other fingers bare to help blending.
– I like to start gently tapping product on at my forehead, out to temples, just under cheekbones  (for bronzers) or cheeks (for blushes), a quick soft swipe over the nose and chin and you’re done
– Remember to rinse fingers immediately after
– If you over-apply and don’t have time to re-do everything, apply a little foundation to mask it and set with powder. Try again next time.
– Practice. Applying these isn’t easy, but once you master them, you’ll be obsessed because they last

Try it: Teal Liner

stella-mccartney-spring-2013I’m going to go ahead and just say that beauty trends drive me insane. Your look and how you present yourself shouldn’t be dictated by anything except what makes you look and feel your best.  I tend to look at seasonal trends as an opportunity to be inspired and reassess my usual beauty routine—it doesn’t mean I jump and go buy copper shadow so I’m on trend for summer.

Literal translation from the runway is often difficult too, but every once in a while something comes down the runway that catches my eye, like this teal liner look from Stella McCartney for spring 2013. Pared with a near-bare face, nude lips, and simple hair, it’s polished, but fun. Perfect for a girl’s night.

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