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MaKe me pretty: Mary Kate’s best summer beauty tricks at home

Summer is all about easy makeup and undone hair, but vamping it up for night is still important. Fashion-world darling Mary Kate Olsen is the queen of Boho-Beachy Chic. I’ve searched through the MK beauty archives from the past few years and assembled some of her best summer makeup looks here; let’s discuss how to recreate them at home.

Smoky eyes & messy tresses:

This is a great look for date night, especially following a beach day. First things first: apply a light and airy tinted moisturizer all over your face, doubling up under the eyes for a dewy glow everywhere. I like E.L.F. tinted moisturizer with SPF, eyeslipsface.com, $1.

To achieve these bold, smoky eyes, line top and bottom lids first with an iridescent charcoal liner like Stila smudge stick waterproof liner in silver dollar (sephora.com, ON SALE from $22 for $5). Follow this base with a heavy-handed line of black liquid (try Smashbox liquid liner pen, beauty.com, $20) on top and bottom. For best results, I suggest false strip lashes like MAC’s Natural Length lashes (maccosmetics.com, $14), but if you prefer to go au natural, three coats of Maybelline Volum Express mascara in Very Black (beauty.com, $6.79) will do the trick. To achieve MK’s creamy beige lip, try a rich gloss like Estee Lauder’s High Gloss in Honey (esteelauder.com, $16).

For the hair, just take your beach-worn, sun-soaked tresses and enhance their natural look. A quick spritz of Sedu Beach Body spray (sedu.com, ON SALE from $18 for $9.99) will give you the added texture you need. Then, assemble the front half of your hair into a classic Alice-in-Wonderland, teasing out strands with the end of your comb for a perfectly messed up look.

Barbie makeup & loose waves:

Glowing eyes and soft, wavy locks could not be sexier. Start with loose copper shadow applied softly to lids (try Kat Von D true romance loose shadow in Rapture, exclusively at sephora.com, 16). Follow by using a finer brush to apply the same shadow thinly along the lower lash line. A dab of dark (even black) shadow like CoverGirl’s Eye Enhancers in shimmering onyx (drugstore.com, $3.19) in the outside creases will intensify the look for night. Follow with a heavy line of black (Revlon ColorStay eye liner, amazon.com, $8) to top lid and light line along the bottom lid, two coats of your Volum Express mascara, and you’re done. Try a nearly-nude pink gloss on your lips, like Lancome Color Fever gloss in Frosted Petal, lancome.com, $26. Try a dab of cream blusher on your cheeks and you’re good to go! I like Nars’ cream blush in Enchanted, narscosmetics.com, $26.

The hair could not be easier. Part your clean or day-old hair down the center. If you have natural waves, all you need is a quick spritz of Neil George perfect hold hairspray (neilgeorgesalon.com, $22). Straight hair can be easily adjusted to fit this style. First, wet it down with an all-over spritz of water from a spray bottle. Once damp, separate small sections and work into loose braids (about five braids per side). Set your blow dryer on its lowest setting and hold at arm’s length from the hair, softly drying it while plaited. Once it’s nearly dry, mist quickly with your hair spray, set style with one more blast from your dryer, then undo braids. Softly unravel with finger tips and allow your sweet waves to flow as they might!

Bronze glow & a braided crown:

I love this fresh, fun approach to summer beauty, and you can achieve it no matter what your skintone and hair type/length. The makeup is minimal and requires nothing more than a quick coat of foundation one shade darker than your natural color. Blend in along neck and hairline by mixing some light face cream in. You can get fancy with this by creating a 50-50 ration of cream and color in the cap of your moisturizer, stirring until even and then applying with a makeup brush. Or, if you’re an on-the-go girl, just mix the two directly on your cheeks until they look flawless. A solid duo: Clinique Even Better makeup ($24.50) and Youth Surge moisturizer ($49.50), clinique.com for both. No need for anything on your eyes except for your Revlon ColorStay black liner on top and bottom and a coat of Volum Express. Leave lips bare or try a hint of subtle gloss like MAC tinted lipglass in C-Thru, maccosmetics.com, $14.50. Add a hint of illuminating liquid on the apples of cheeks and just below the outside corner of your brows. I love Soleil Tan de Chanel sheer illuminating fluid in Sunkissed, chanel.com, $48.

Your braided crown is going to take some work, but don’t be discouraged! Whatever your natural texture, part down the middle and pull a few thin chunks from the front away from the rest of your hair. Then divide the rest of your hair into two sections, one on either side. Starting at the nape of your neck, create a loose braid on one side, pulling hair up instead of down as you go. Wrap braid on top of your head and place it where a headband would go. Cement with bobby pins. Repeat on the other side, laying second braid directly next to first braid. Pin everything again. Tug gently to pull out a few tendrils. Spray all over with your hairspray of choice. Step out into the world and don’t be surprised when everyone compliments your cool ‘do!

Vixen lips & ringlets:

This is Old Hollywood all the way, and it’s a great transitionary look that will take you from late summer into early fall. Keep the makeup minimal on your face–no need for blush or bronzer. But remember, red lips can emphasize redness elsewhere on the face; if you have any blemishes, cover them up thoroughly with a heavy-duty concealer like Paula Dorf’s Magic Stick (beauty.com, $22). For the eyes, you can use your Kat von D copper shadow, but smear on some extra near your tear ducts to make the eye area appear larger. Follow with a quick smudge of charcoal shadow (Sephora Collection colorful mono shadow in Hit the Road, sephora.com, ON SALE from $12 for $3). A quick sweep of mascara will finish off your eyes.

Red lips are a little tricky. You need to make sure you’re starting with a moisturized pout so as not to allow for caking. I recommend exfoliating your lips by simply wetting your toothbrush and giving them a gentle scrub before applying any color. You can achieve a punchy red lip a few different ways, but my favorite for summer is a sheer, gloss-like stick to keep from appearing too heavy. Feel free to try a few different shades before you select yours–corals, blue-reds, cherry-reds–they’re all in style. I am a die-hard Chanel girl when it comes to red lips. Their Rouge Allure sticks are delightfully light, but hold their color stronger than any gloss will. My favorite is is Coquette, a classic, flirty red that works for every girl. Have fun playing at the Chanel counter, though. At $32, these sticks are a splurge, but well worth the investment. Chanel.com.

The hair is somewhat involved but with a little patience, you’ll get there. People say that dirty hair is easier to style, but I find that nothing beats a shiny curl. I suggest washing hair and allowing it to air dry without any additional product. Then, create a deep side part to allow some hair to cover your eye. If you have long bangs, leave them alone and let them fall as they might. If not, you can create a faux bang look with this across-the-forehead sweep and tuck it behind opposite hair to get it to stay on that side. Now for the curls! Lovely wringlets like these are easier to create than you might suspect. Try a clipless curling iron (Jose Eber’s gets my vote and it comes in a ton of cute patterns and colors, josecurl.com, $250) to eliminate dents. Working from the back to front, select small sections, hold curling iron upside down, wrap hair around shaft and hold for four or five seconds. Spritz each curl with a hardcore hairspray like ULTA ultimate hold hairpray, ulta.com, $8.99. Once you’ve created your luxe curls, flip your head upside down and spray underneath. You’re ready to go! And if the curls fall, keep smiling. After all, the best beauty is real beauty.

Remember MK’s beauty rules:

Trying too hard is never the best move, always choose hair and makeup that feels comfortable and pretty to you, regardless of season. And most importantly, have fun!

No more tears

Cry babies and big girls alike, we all have our rough nights. Sometimes, the morning after what my mother calls a “good cry,” your eyes will appear puffy, bloodshot, and tired. This is something I’ve battled for years (yes, my friends say I’m a wee bit oversensitive!) and I’ve developed a fool-proof system that will work no matter how many tears you’ve shed.


The moment you’ve calmed down, take two standard teaspoons from your cutlery drawer and fill to brim with redness removal drops (I like Rohto V, drug stores, $5). Gently place in the freezer. Leave there overnight. In the morning, retrieve your frozen drop spoons, lie on the couch, and apply to closed eyes until drops begin to melt. This process removes redness, soothes iritation, and helps to reduce swelling in the eye area.


I am all about the Clinique All About Eyes serum de-puffing eye roller. The product feels cool on your skin, tightening and brightening the eye area as you roll it on. This is a must for post-cry eyes, but you should buy it anyway, as it feels great every day. Clinique.com, $26


The best way to correct contouring issues the morning after is to try a light concealer that won’t cake, but will truly hide dark circles and the shadows caused by swollen skin. I recommend using two different concealers to get the right balance. Diorskin nude concealer makes a perfect concealing base (dior.com, $29); follow with Maybelline Fit Me concealer for a dewy finish. Maybelline.com, $6.49.


Dark shadow makes eyes look bigger which is usually great, but when you are puffy you want to minimize this effect. Try a heavy coat of nude shadow to take out any remaining pink tones in the lid area and make sure you avoid shimmer. This palette from Bobbi Brown has a perfect nude shade for moments like this… and plenty of cool darks for later in the day when you’re ready to amp it up. Sephora.com, $60


Photo credit: elle.com

You’ve opened up the eye area with a pale, matte shadow. Now it’s time to give your peepers a somewhat-done appearance, so you can avoid the “What’s wrong?!” reaction from your friends and colleagues, and appear somewhat made up. Line the upper lid with a solid pencil liner, starting thin at the tear ducts and winging out at the tips slightly thicker to make eyes pop, and follow up with two coats of thickening mascara on top and bottom lashes. I like CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus self-sharpening liner black onyx (beauty.com, $5.79) and CARGO TexasLash mascara, ulta.com, $20.

…and kiss those sad eyes goodbye!

Contemplation & couture

Came across this lovely shot from a past issue of Vogue while tooling around online for cool images for an upcoming post. Wish I could jump inside of this photo and be Kirsten, just lounging in a beautiful floral sundress with lush green grass all around.

Thank you Vogue

You glow, girl

My family and friends have teased me for years about my borderline tanorexia. One college summer, I had an unlimited tanning pass and laid in one of those scary beds every day. I knew it was crazy and unhealthy, but was utterly addicted to the high that comes with brown skin. These days, I get my sun the natural way, very gradually and with plenty of SPF. This is still a bad move, and I’m weaning myself with Neutrogena bronze glow moisturizer and Clarins self-tanner for the face.

But what a pale face it is! Uber-paranoid about wrinkles, I always slather 25 or higher on my face before leaving the house, even in the dead of winter. But at high summer when the temperature is through the roof and my body has a nice glow, the face looks white and sad without a little help. I’ve used every bronzer there is–often to a fault. Even into Oompa-loompaville. I have found that the key is to make your bronzer look as natural as possible–as if you’ve spent some time in the sun, rather than an all-over attack of brown powder. I’ve established my hierarchy of favorites in the bronzing department and want to share them with you! Two of the below land squarely in the “splurge” category, but they’re worth every penny. Get glowing!

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Pretty pants

As a little girl in the early-to-mid 90’s, I sported some seriously off-the-charts denim. Stonewashed miniskirts, hot pink pencil leg jeans, and plenty of hair bows made of the stuff. In tenth grade, bright denim made its way back on the scene for about 30 seconds, and I jumped at the moment. I purchased one teal and one magenta pair of denim capris from the Gap and really felt I was on the pulse.

But today’s colored jeans take things to the next level. Celebs have been flaunting them for months, but it’s not just the pricy brands offering fun options. You can rock your colored/patterned/otherwise pretty jeans now and keep it up this fall too. Here is some of what’s out there for taking. Feel free to channel your inner diva and buy a pair that you might never have considered before, but think about your existing wardrobe when you buy your flashy denim. Only purchase a pair that you can actually wear a few different ways with the items you already own. Otherwise, your pretty pants will be very sad, hanging in the closet untouched.

What is Sparkles & Fun… Part Two?

Last November I started a very sweet little blog, Sparkles & Fun, where I’ve been ruminating on life, love, makeup and clothes and ever since. Thanks to the support of those around me, I have decided to up the ante, so to speak. Welcome to the new Sparkles & Fun. Check back daily for more!

xxx Jensy

Curly You

The oppressive heat and jaw-dropping humidity are enough to throw any girl into a tailspin (or a high pony, at least), but what about those of us with curls? It can take at least two products, one hour, and two high-heat tools to achieve a straight look in this weather, and once you step outside, frizz is a sure bet. My friend Steph has the most lovely natural curls, and for months I watched as she straightened them or tossed the whole head of hair into a high bun. Recently, my curly girly has embraced what’s rightfully hers, and all of Manhattan takes notice as she struts down the street.

Steph’s words of advice for filling out fine curls: avoid gel. Especially in summer heat, gel can weigh hair down, giving it an unappealing, stringy look. Steph uses two drug store purchases–first a palmful of “Big Sexy Curls” mousse throughout, followed by a quick blowdry on low with a diffuser, and finally an all-over spritz of “Big Sexy Hair” volumizing hairspray. Done!

Total styling time: 10 minutes. Impact: Unforgettable.

My girl with her curls, out on the town mid-summer

Island View

Talk about Bermuda shorts.
Love this look!
Readers, I have deserted you. I was on a brief, much-needed vacation in Bermuda with my mom and younger brother and the WiFi was spotty at best. We have returned with tans and a smattering of natural highlights. We dined on beef carpaccio, super-fresh salads, roasted tomatoes, and gluten-free spaghetti in a variety of seaside preparations. We snapped photos, sipped swizzles (the signature drink of Bermuda), and made dear friends with the entire staff at our glorious resort. And though we didn’t shop, not for a single stitch, we were all affected by the lax, island fashions and summer-sweet casual approach to dressing on the beautiful island of Bermuda. Black knee socks paired with yellow shorts and a blazer, anyone?
Little bro lightens up by pairing his navy blazer with a white v-neck
My sister-in-law bought me this headscarf at a Calypso sample sale
two years ago and I never felt cool enough to wear it until yesterday.
Mama pairs her black Magaschoni slip dress with heavy liner, straight hair,
and a high-low mix of jewelry including diamonds, plastic beads, and a fuscia enamel bangle.
Scored these on sale for a mere 5 bucks at Urban pre-trip