Put Your Makeup to Work

MAKE-UPIs your makeup working for you? Mine is, but it’s taken a while to get here. And I’m sure as the years go by, my routine will continue to evolve and improve. In any case, here are some quick fixes for the frazzled summer beauty. Whether you’re headed to the office, barbecue, or beach, an easy face is a pretty face this season. Here are the tricks:

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Today’s five-minute face was applied in the parking lot at Starbucks.

A strong brow shapes your face and lessens the need for a ton of makeup elsewhere. My brows are pretty sparse, so I start every morning with a quick fill-in using this pencil, or this one. I don’t get my brows waxed because everyone is always tempted to make them too skinny; instead I pluck for maintenance once every ten days or so. To keep them looking full and defined, I apply pencil in a quick, sweeping motion to imitate the direction and length of brow hairs. Filling in too solidly can leave you looking drag queen-ish. Once your brows are done, the summer face is ready to show through. Let your bronzer do double-duty by applying it all over your eyelids in lieu of shadow. Then brush it across each cheek once, in an upward motion. If you use bb cream or foundation, put it on after your bronzer, letting skin appear to glow from within. I like to just blot an extra dab of my foundation on undereye circles and blemishes to cut the extra time of concealer.

Almost done!

A great eye for day that takes you right to happy hour is easy. You have your bronzer-shadow situation down, making your eyes really pop but so naturally. Now take a narrow black pencil and trace along the lash line top and bottom. Two sweeps of Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara and a pop of lip color later, you’re ready to face the day.

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Stepping it up for evening is so easy. Just add a dab of shimmery white eye shadow at the outer edge of your tear ducts, line the inside of your under lids, and put a sweep of gloss on top of your lipstick. Done!

Maximize Your Options

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Definitely not for the office, but is this gorgeous or what? Love the cut-out back of the top and incredible draping on the hem of the skirt. Photo from lookbook.nu

In an effort to make the brutal Texas heat work for me this summer, especially while I’m working, I decided I needed to figure out the whole maxi thing. I’ve said it multiple times but I’ll mention once more: in general I find the maxi dress does not get the respect it deserves. Yours might be very cute from the front, but if you aren’t carefully selecting your undergarments and checking the ahem-rear view in the mirror before you leave the house, you might just be looking, well, less than fabulous from behind.

Paranoia aside, I decided it was time. My short dresses make me really happy but about a third of them are inappropriate to wear to the office, and once in the AC, I’m often cold. The maxi seems a great compromise, though not one to be over-utilized. I hereby vow to “max” it out at two per week.

I hit up the clearance section at Urban and scooped up three for 10 to 20 bucks apiece. I figured if I hated them, I could part with them at this price better than the $150 of the one I’d been lusting after at Bloomie’s. (Side note: Yes, this blogger has a serious addiction to Bloomingdales and she blames it on her mother. In Texas, a lack of the traditional department store matters not, because there is a Bloomie’s outlet about five miles from her home. This causes about 89.7% of the arguments she has with her fiance).

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Hunzy loved this one because unlike a lot of maxis, it shows the bod.

I rocked Josh’s favorite of the three, a form-fitting gray number with white splatter-paint print, to brunch on Sunday. Sitting outside in the 97 degree heat and eating eggs in a maxi made me want to run into the middle of the street and strip it off while guzzling a gallon of ice-cold Diet Coke. That will not be happening again.

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This tie dye number is extra loose and comfy; I wore it to our ballroom dance class on Sunday so Josh and I can get used to not stepping all over my dress on the big day!

And then Monday morning, I donned a soft chiffon style with a racerback and sweeping skirt to the office. I paired it with those gold bow sandals that seem to work their way into nearly every outfit these days. Not only was I comfy and cool on the walk from my car to the building, and vice versa, but in the frigid AC of the office, I did not need a cardigan. Bonus points go to the maxi for the fact that I did not have to shave my legs. But in case you were wondering, I not only laundered all of my nude thongs and strapless bras on Sunday night, I also inspected my rear-view in every mirror in our apartment before venturing out. A girl’s got to consider herself from every angle, after all.

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Monday’s dress, Pins and Needles Breezy chiffon maxi from Urban, on sale from $69 for 19$… hurry, they are running out of sizes! urbanoutfitters.com

Erin Fetherston Sample Sale: NYC

If you are a lover of feminine details, exquisite structure, and clothes that are comfortable and eye-catching at once, it’s time you discover Erin Fetherston. But if your seasonal clothing budget is lacking and you’re in serious need of easy-chic, you’re in luck. The Erin Fetherston sample sale, one of my personal faves, is happening this week in NYC and the pieces are to die for. These incredible designs from recent collections and the archives are priced up to 80% off retail. Your friends will be jealous. Trust.

Examples? How about a stunning ice blue cocktail dress that’s perfect for wedding season, complete with bow-back and pockets. Formerly $375 and now $100…-1 -2I’m also ridiculously excited about this rhinestone encrusted boyfriend cardi, originally $325 and now a mere $50.-3Ladies, that’s just the beginning. Vintage inspiration samples are starting at $30 and there is so much more to gush over and fill up that shopping bag.

Deets:
225 West Broadway between White and Franklin Street, street level entrance.
Thursday June 27th from 12pm-8pm
Friday June 28th from 12pm-8pm
Saturday June 29th 10am-3pm
Transport/Contact:
Take the 1 train to the Franklin Street stop or the A,C,E to Canal Street
Tel. 212-643-7537, http://www.erinfetherston.com

Easy Tip: Book Art

bookshelfAre you a book worm? A magazine fanatic? An avid journal scribe? If you’ve got a ton of books lying around taking up space, I suggest a quick fix. If you don’t have a great bookshelf, you can build one like this with the help of a friend or parent, some white scrap wood, and a rainy afternoon. Otherwise, IKEA has nice options. Think white, simple, structurally sound. Then place all your books together by color, creating a unified look and an impressive piece of wall art, at once.

As you see above, I also strung flower-shaped Christmas lights and added picture frames and a vase for a mixed media feel.

Fight the Frizz

A friend recently asked me if I had any newly minted advice on frizzy hair. Well! I had wrongly assumed that Texas, while hot, would be less humid than New York. Any difference is marginal at best; in fact, the Keratin smoothing treatment that I had done last August failed me after living in Dallas for a mere two weeks. Yikes!

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Here’s a little office selfie for you, taken an hour or so after yoga. I just brushed it and added another spritz of shine spray. Voila!

My first word to the wise is that you should not wash your hair every day. Doing so dries it out, making you more susceptible to frizz. Also, day-two hair utilizes more of its natural oils, meaning you have a built-in defense. Keep hair from looking greasy by flipping your head upside down and brushing vigorously from roots to tips with a boar bristle brush. Then, apply a small amount of dry shampoo or baby powder to the roots, working it through with your fingertips or a comb. Still not happy? Headbands are still in, girl. Get some.

Now, for the products…

My strange hair has no true identity; it is sometimes close to curly, most often a mess of waves, and occasionally quite straight–right out of the shower. So, I have some options on how I style it, and I like to mix things up depending on my mood, outfit, etc.

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15% off now at fragrancenet.com

If you prefer to wear your hair straight and need an absolutely frizz-free look, the best product suite I’ve used is Kerastase. While pricey, this powerhouse shampoo and conditioner really tame your locks into submission, leaving you with hair that’s soft, easy to blow-dry straight, and without a halo of frizz for up to three days. A less expensive option is L’Oreal’s Ever Sleek, and at a mere $6.99 each for shampoo and conditioner, this is a golden steal. Whatever your shampoo of choice, reach for a de-frizz styling product like Moroccan oil Frizz Controlor Organix nourishing coconut oil. Apply generously to towel-tousled locks, let it soak in for up to five minutes, then blow-dry with a paddle brush.

hbz-BEACHY-WAVES-Rosie-Huntington-Whiteley-053012-deFor wavy hair that would make Brigitte Bardot jeal, reach for wave-specific products from the shower to the shelf. I love Sally Hersberger‘s wavy hair shampoo and conditioner, and they’re each only about ten or eleven dollars a bottle. Use your de-frizz spray of choice and let your hair air-dry for ten or fifteen minutes. Then section it off and blow out with a medium-sized round brush. If you’re not getting enough beachy waves, you can try what I like to call the Twist. Separate your hair as if you were going to make pigtails, pull one side straight out from your head, and twist it tightly around itself. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat on the other side. Flip hair upside down, spray with long-hold hairspray, and flip it back up for gorgeous waves like those pictured above.

6bf0abfc07793ca4a0a4f47d7aa68aeaWant it curlier still? Meet my friend the WAND. My friend Lindsay turned me on to this incredible device and I’ve since let my mom and other friends in on the secret. A clipless curling iron does the work of making those gorgeous waves you love, without the risk of looking Shirley Temple-ish in the least. I like to wrap one-inch sections around the second-to-smallest barrel and then piece them through with my fingertips and some smoothing balm like BioSilk’s top-rated option, pictured below.

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$14, folica.com

No matter the desired volume of your tresses, top off every look with a spritz (or three!) of shine spray. This will reflect light, making your hair look shiny and giving a polished texture that acts as an extra safeguard against the dreaded frizz factor.

Outfit Ideas: A Black Dress in Summer

There’s nothing I love more than a sweet black dress with black tights and low heels on a crisp fall day. But with the onset of summer, I’ve been all about pastels, florals, neons and whites. However, last week’s Target visit led me to purchase this unnecessary but adorable, little black dress. Its white metallic pattern and Peter Pan collar made it simply irresistible. And while it’s an easy sell for any cocktail party, black doesn’t necessarily work in a day dress this time of year. Wait four months to rock this one before 5pm? No way!

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Please excuse the lack of makeup; I do mine in the car on the way to work.

Tuesday morning, I pulled it on and actually liked the way it looked with bare legs. First envisioning flats, I soon decided that sandals were wrong and my go-to Ferragamo’s made the look too “cool-weather.” Alas! Out came the cork-bottomed peep-toe Cole Haan’s I scored recently, followed by some dangling silver earrings and a pop of red lipstick. (Maybelline Color Sensational in Neon Red, if you’re curious).

redThe look earned multiple compliments and definitely made me feel secure that the little black dress can, in fact, do double-duty for day…even under the Texan sun.

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Cole Haan Mariela pump, on sale now for $169 at zappos.com

 

New Obsession: Ettika Bracelets

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There’s my bestie and me two summers ago with our silly band-filled stacks. This summer, let’s step our game up, ladies!

Stacking bracelets, especially mixed media varieties full of sparkles and rope and other pretty things, are a standing favorite of mine. The more colorful, the better. If you’ve ever had a yearning to re-enter childhood for a while, just so you could stack your wrists up with symbols of friendship, now is your moment, with a grown-up twist. Ettika jewelry is durable but graceful, on-trend but classic. The only problem you’ll have as you scroll through their lovely site, is how to choose what you want.

I’ll likely devote an entire post on Born… to their exquisite bridal collection with an emphasis on the headpieces, but felt that Sparkles really needed a blast of these summery wrap bracelets today. Without further adieu, here come the favorites:

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Blend pretty pastels with badass spikes on this Rock Wrap bracelet in Disco Queen, $88, ettika.com

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Worn alone or in a stack, these satin cord woven chain bracelets are the punchy pop of color every outfit could use. $38, ettika.com

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A vast selection of friendship bracelets has you and your girls covered. I love that these incorporate rhinestones for extra shine. $40, ettika.com

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Everything’s coming up roses with this “Holiday Sparkle Stack” bursting with blooms and other girly details. $326, ettika.com

Scents of Summer

Are you obsessed with fragrance? This girl has about thirty active bottles of perfume and growing. I’m always into sniffing and subsequently procuring the latest scent, but hold firm to my standard favorites, like Creed’s Love in White and Spring Flowers, Space NK’s Santalrosa, and Miss Dior Cherie.

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This is my main collection that sits atop my dresser. Then there are vintage bottles that live in the closet, the emergency options in my gym bag and cubicle at work, and so on.

Sensing a pattern? That’s likely because this blogger is seriously into anything on the fresh blooms spectrum. From powdery florals to solid roses and headier blends, I’ve loved the scent of flowers since the days when I used to steal upstairs to my mom’s vanity for a secret spritz of 1000 by Jean Patou.

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Nordstrom.com, $350

But with the onset of summer, a girl’s got to keep in mind that bees and other bugs love sweet, floral fragrances. For the office, I can stick with my go-to’s. But on bbq days or early-evening outdoor dinner dates, I’m planning to get a new scent this season. Since a very strong musk is too much for me, and I don’t adore citrus fruity blends, I’m looking into earthy and vanilla-heavy options like these:

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Perhaps traditionally considered a more fall-like scent, this woody Nutmeg & Ginger selection from Jo Malone requires a mere spritz or two to transform your essence from sweet to sultry. $60-$110, jomalone.com.

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I got hooked on Santa Maria Novella’s “Tobacco” when I was an assistant at WSJ. This delicious fragrance features vanilla and amber in a light and sexy mix. Bonus: men can wear it, too!

And of course it goes without saying that the fragrance I really want to buy now fits my nose perfectly: the sweet and sultry Candy by PRADA. Not happening until the fall!

Outfit Ideas: Meet the Heat

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Photo courtesy of blog.denimtherapy.com

It is scorching in Texas! We’ve been in the high 90’s all week. And while this Long Island-born tanorexic has never shied away from warm weather, there’s a major difference between hanging poolside in a minimal amount of fabric and having to put on an actual outfit, go to an office, and be a professional person. Eek!

Breezy summer dresses are fun but we need to make sure our hemlines aren’t too short. I’ve seen some pretty interesting looks going on lately in the corporate cafeteria. If you’ve got the legs and the confidence and want to rock a micro-mini skirt to work, girl, go for it. But I am just a tad too buttoned-up in the personality department to wear the same thing to the office that I would at a barbecue. Call me provincial if you must.

How to survive the summer heat and still look stylish? I’m learning by experience and am certainly no expert yet. While those New York summers blazed, and the subway was truly unbearable, I’ve never lived in a place that reaches 110 with any frequency. Here’s what I’ve picked up from the chic locals:

1. Open-toed shoes are a must, but keep them classy. Flip flops have no place in your office, so leave them at the door. But sleek sandals with plenty of room to breathe will keep your look professional and comfortable at once. I recently nabbed these BCBG numbers at the Bloomie’s outlet and I’m obsessed:

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Harry never misses an opportunity to jump into the photo…

2. Cotton. Cotton. Cotton is your very best friend. It breathes, it forgives you if you sweat, and it cleans easily in the washing machine for frequent wear. One of my current go-to’s is a Joe Fresh trapeze dress from JCPenney that’s white with navy stripes and does not hug the body at all. Perfect for the scorching temps and totally cute with a low pump and red lipstick. I also like to dress it up with a punchy pair of platforms.

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Now on clearance for only $13.99, jcpenney.com.

3. We’ve spoken about maxis and the fact that I don’t like them. Well, if politicians can change their stances seasonally, I see no reason why this fashion blogger can’t. And so I will now reveal that I am developing a rather massive crush on the maxi. I still believe that one must always turn around and check out her toosh in the mirror before leaving the house in her maxi–many of them are made of such clingy fabric, you can see everything on the rear-end. Yikes. But a nice sturdy material and great fit? Perfect for summer heat at the office and can be professionalized instantly with the right accessories.

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This is a great fit in a maxi for a more casual work environment. If your dress code is stiffer, pair with a black cardi or cropped blazer and heels. Still more comfortable than sweating in a poly blend fitted number! Aqua, $88, bloomingdales.com

Here are some more inspirational photos of summer looks that work at the office. Share yours with me, too!

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Try Something New: Knuckle Rings

Jewelry has taken so many exciting turns down the catwalk in recent seasons, from earrings that are more like ear-cuffs to glorious metal mixing, pearl-encrusted hair ornaments (consider that jewelry for your tresses!) and beyond. This morning, in the 90-degree heat, my poor fingers were a little swollen, but I had a strong desire to wear one of my grandmother’s gold rings. This chunky masterpiece was scooped up on one of the last trips she ever took with my grandfather to Italy, and its sentimental value is even greater than its monetary one.

ringSolution? I wore the ring higher up, right below my knuckle. When the finger is straight, the knuckle is totally covered. Kind of a cool look! There was no puffing or strain, and it was easy to spend all day typing (hey, that’s what we writers do!) without a second thought. I received a ton of compliments, too. Any tricks you love for reinventing your fave jewelry items? I want to hear!