Cozy Country Cute

While living it up in the Green Mountain State, I wanted to look as relaxed as I felt. After all, Vacation days are few and far between when you have a day job, a freelance career, and a ton of other responsibilities. However, even while keeping the beauty routine low-maintenance, it was important to me that I looked cute in photos. The solution was a minimalistic approach with a focus on the details: hair, eyes, lips.

When you're rocking a wave, little fly-aways hardly matter. On Day Two, I pinned the front over towards the side to hide any grease.

Hair

We arrived at the lovely Waitsfield Inn and marveled over the sweet owners, spacious downstairs hangout room, and beautifully snug room where we’d be staying for the next four days. As Joshy inquired about the WiFi login info, I was already in the bathroom, assessing the dim lighting and lack of blow dryer. Uh oh. My usual go-to for a long weekend is to wash and straighten my hair once (or maybe twice) and experiment along the way with ponies, braids, or headbands. And dry shampoo. My approach when I leave my flatiron in Brooklyn and the inn has no offerings? Wash at night, and let the curls go wild.

Black waterproof liner is enough to make my eyes pop out in a wash of wintry white!

Eyes

I got my lashes touched up at Courtney Akai a couple weeks ago. They look utterly perfect, and don’t require any makeup if you’re on the run. I recommend these for any girl who likes a lot of drama, or wants a no-fuss morning routine without sacrificing the pretty factor. A little black liner on bottom is all you need for a sexy night look when you have these extensions!

This peony pink lipstick is a pretty choice for day or evening.

Lips

We all know I love a pop of pink on the lips. I wore a different pink or peach lipstick every day and tons of Kiehl’s No. 1 to keep my lips from chapping in the cold/snow/rain/sun. Bing!

Snowlove

Had the most delicious four days in Vermont with Joshy. From a glorious Middlebury campus visit to watching a football game in a dive bar, then stumbling home drunk in the snow, it’s amazing how some things change, and others stay the same. Photos and stories and musings to come, but for now–a word. Happy.

Photo borrowed from indiekidsmakemecry.blogspot.com

PS. Check out my recent piece on ski bunny beauty here. What do you think?

Drugstore Digging

Duane Reade is having a major cosmetics sale right now. Or, at least, the Duane Reade on 46th and 2nd is. Here’s the thing; drugstore cosmetics are always affordable, but when they slice ’em down to 50% off, it’s seriously time to roll up the sleeves of your winter coat and figure out which new shades of lipstick you need to try. In any case, the sale got me thinking about drugstore beauty. It’s a sad fact that the La Mer and Bulgari creams, the Kiehl’s masques and the Dior mascaras cannot be harbored in bulk anymore. They are specialty splurges I treat myself to once or *maybe* twice a year, and the majority of what I’m refilling the cabinets with is unfortunately quite cheap.

Think you can't be this on-trend with cheap makeup? Think again.

But is it really all that unfortunate? When you look around at all the beautiful women in this city, the mind starts to ponder. Sure, most of us have a really special lipgloss in our treasure chest, or swear by a certain serum that, at $100 (or more) a bottle, cannot be outdone. But for the most part, aren’t many of us existing almost exclusively on affordable products? In other words, I think I’ll be just fine… for now.

*All products below can be purchased at drugstore.com; all photos courtesy of drugstore.com.

Best Remedy for Chapped Lips:

Whether you prefer the classic beeswax or honey flavor, this 100% natural balm will heal your pout in days. And at $2.99, it's a total steal.

 Best At-Home Manicure:

This LED-activated OTC gel polish will last for weeks and every single one has a fun name like "Thank You Thank You" or "Paparazzied." Red Carpet Manicure polish, $9.99.

Best Name-Brand Hair Product Line:

Sally Hershberger is as famous as she is for a reason. Her product line is just as genius as she is. I like this wavy hair shampoo and conditioner; it keeps my waves fluffy and loose, without the frizz factor. $9.99.

Best Expensive-Looking Lip Product:

Maybelline ColorSensational Lipstick is rich, reflective, and long-lasting. I love the pinks and reds, of course! $7.49.

Hands-Down Best Mascara (Even when compared with Dior!):

I've always been faithful to Volum' Express--the Falsies version is like that, only better. $6.59.

Best Cheap-o Makeup Tool:

This eye shadow brush works like a charm, and is only $1.49! Unbelievable.

And, as for that sexy photo above… all it takes is this:

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Covet, $18, beauty.com.

L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber lashes kit, $12.76, drugstore.com.

Yes to Carrots C Me Shine lip gloss in Nude, $6.49, drugstore.com.

Essie nail polish in Trophy Wife, $8, essie.com.

Yes!!

New Obsession: ASOS

My friend and fellow editor-turned-PR-girl-turned-back-to-editor Monique has a deep obsession with shopping, as do I. When we were working together last year, one of us would often find the other spending short breaks online shopping. More often than not, we were placing coveted items in imaginary carts (our colleague Steph did a lot of this too!). Weak twenty-something budgets and cautionary words from our mothers about bills to be paid kept us from completing too many purchases.

But one day, Monique was on a quest for the perfect dress to wear to a friend’s upcoming wedding. She turned her screen around to share with us what she was up to. My partner in crime (and in shopping) was incredibly proud of her discovery, a floor-length champagne-hued evening gown that managed to be: a) affordable, b) chic, and c) black-tie appropriate. It was the holy grail of eveningwear, a triple threat none of us had ever imagined actually existed. She was on asos.com. I was immediately hooked.

Things have changed over the past few months, and my choice to quit PR and focus on the materialization of dreams has meant a (hopefully) temporary pay cut that cancels out most shopping opportunities. That said, I do scope out asos.com from time to time to see what kind of super-hot duds they’re offering. Upon discovering this week that they are offering complimentary 4-day shipping to the US, I decided to take a peek, and have once again fallen in love. And fallen hard.

My current obsessions include:

It doesn't get much brighter than this candy stripe dress with cut-out sides. $81.81.

Seriously on sale for only $39, the collar, the lace and the sweet sleeves make me weak in the knees.

Elegant and dainty at the same time, a sweater with lace all-over. $100.

Resolutions for a New Me

Do you all feel the pressure? It’s the first week of the new year and it’s time to assess what mistakes we’ve made and figure out how to make better choices in 2012. My personal resolutions follow a new and different trend this year than last. Before, I was very concerned with eating in a healthier way, drinking plenty of water, and spending more time listening than speaking. I’m glad I made those decisions at this time last year, and they’ve certainly paid off. I’ve lost some weight, am feeling generally healthier, and have forged new friendships with amazing people due to my adherence to the listening plan.

But this year–can I say this??–it’s more about me. I am ready to embrace the things about myself that I want to improve for personal gain. I hate to really admit this in a public space, but I have (finally) realized after a slew of downs (yes, there were ups, but mostly there were downs in 2011), that I need to commit to myself or no one else will. It is time to kick that novel into high gear and get it done. It is time to moisturize every single night without making a single excuse. It is time to preserve myself even if it means cutting out people who are not there for the right reasons.

On New Year’s Eve and in the days before, I spoke to many people who were absolutely certain that this year is going to better than the last. Socially, economically, personally. Whichever motivations fuel you, you should follow them. You should believe wholeheartedly that this is your year. I know that this is my year, and I am going to do whatever it takes to shine. Not for anyone else, but for the girl in the mirror. It’s time for me to make me proud. I hope you all are working diligently on your own dreams, and remembering that you owe yourself the best that you have. If you build it, they will come. Let’s build it. This is our year.