Back in the Act

If you thought this sweet little blog was dying, you were not alone. I, too, had my doubts. With so much more interest in the bridal blog and a slew of deadlines upon me (not to mention, you know, getting married) it’s been a crazy fall.

But now that my brand-new husband and I are settled in our new home just outside Washington, DC, and I am no longer working full-time… it’s back.

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Many things have changed, but you know… Dolce still hangs out in boxes.

Sparkles and Fun has been my little running diary, starting in the always-cold apartment on 100th street where I used to type away into the wee hours after working a full day (more than a full day) as a publicist. It’s been an outlet for exciting news on the fashion and beauty fronts, and even some of my adventures in cooking. (I’ve gotten better, Mom. I swear!). I am just not willing to give up on the glitter! Moving forward we will be stepping it up. Stay tuned for plenty of sparkles, and lots more fun.

For the Mamas (and Nannies) of NYC

Do you have a curious kid on your hands? The world is an incredible place, and there is so much to learn. If your little one has ever asked you why the sky is blue or any related question, respect his or her inquiring mind and get some answers this weekend.

-2I always did science or history camps as a kid, and learning about the world around us made me one happy camper. This Saturday, Loomstate is bringing the children of New York a fun-filled afternoon where they’ll meet new people, do experiments, and learn about the earth under the direction of Loomstate’s Director of Sustainability. All this in the sunshine at Central Park!

Make sure to RSVP for your tike ASAP, because space is limited. Have fun! And send me a photo of those DIY construction paper heaters, too.

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.

On Summer Skin & Other Things

Thrilled about the onset of summer? You’re not alone. But while you look forward to tan legs extending out of short shorts, gelato dripping down the sides of a cone, and brunches that last hours while the easy breeze floats on by, your skin is entering panic mode. Let’s be kind and take a listen.

Sunscreen is important all year round, but especially from June to September. If you’re beach-bound, you must also remember that hazardous rays reflect off the sand and back onto your pretty face, meaning you have wrinkle-enhancers coming at you from multiple angles. Get yours prepped and protected with some of my favorite products:

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$55, chanel.com

If there’s ever an excuse to splurge on product, the health of your skin is a great choice. I adore CHANEL’s UV Essential Broad Spectrum SPF 50 for the face. This powerhouse product blends in smooth and creamy for an instantly moisturizing feel. It goes on to protect your face from the dangerous rays of the sun all day long. Also serving as a protectant against free radicals and pollution, this oil-free, lightweight sunscreen is an excellent choice for city girls. My face sees it every morning, first thing, all summer long.

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Moisture Surge CC cream, $35, clinique.com

Shellacking on the makeup is another opportunity to improve the health and tone of your skin. But try lightening up and ditching your heavy winter foundation as the temperature rises. If you haven’t settled on a BB or CC cream yet, now is the time to experiment. Ask the cosmetics girls at the counter for testers; most brands are pushing these right now and should have samples for you to try. The idea is to find a product that helps improve your skintone while delivering minimal coverage and a healing effect. I’m really into this Moisture Surge CC cream from Clinique right now.

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starting at $84, esteelauder.com

Got a burn? Don’t fret, my pretty. Every girl messes up sometimes. My oft-tested and 100%-approved method for healing skin post-sun is Estee Lauder Advanced Repair Night Serum. You should be using this product anyway; I have recommended it to countless women who all report back with glowing reviews–and skin to match. I’ve been known to slather on this product periodically throughout the day when suffering from a sunburn, and it works actual miracles. Trust.

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a true obsession of mine… $9.50, kiehls.com

Complement your gorgeous summer skin with a fresh lip color or shiny balm. Remember that the skin on your lips is susceptible to damage and burns just like elsewhere on your face; invest in a good product with SPF to keep your pout perfect.

PS. Your summer complexion is a canvas for all the exciting makeup trends you’ve been dying to try. But remember you can look just as gorg by keeping things simple. My favorite thing about summer is the freedom that comes with deciding whether to amp up the volume on my eye makeup or keep it really clean and natural with just a coat of mascara. Have fun! And make sure that beautiful tan is faux.

Making a House a Home

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this stage was rough on everyone!

When Josh and I first moved to Texas, we had a lot to do in a short amount of time. The apartment we’d selected was gorgeous, on the twelfth floor of a highrise in Uptown Dallas, with stunning city views and plenty of space to spread out. But he started work right away and I was working from home, lost in a sea of boxes. I had no local friends, no one to talk to between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm, and nothing to do but unpack. And clean. And cook. And unpack some more.

In addition to the pounds that gathered around my waist (thanks to My Fitness Pal and daily yoga, they’ve disappeared), I never really felt we got it right with the house. For all Joshy’s efforts at hanging our beloved art on the walls, and the sweet dining table and chairs we purchased, things never came together. By the time he returned from a day at the office, we were both tired and just wanted to spend time relaxing together. Eventually, things got organized, but there remain bits and bobs in boxes from one corner to the next that never found a place to stay.

Then, we started hunting for a house and all bets were off. I suddenly didn’t care as much about getting things in order in our current home. After all, I’m planning a wedding, working full-time, and we have a puppy in addition to our sweet cat. It’s chaos in this apartment!

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an open space for storing cosmetics has made me a very happy beauty blogger indeed. however, i would prefer something lower and easier to maintain. adding that to the list for the new place!

When we got home from Paris Sunday night, we both felt it right away. The disorganization we’ve been living with for the past few months feel unnatural and frustrating to both of us. Despite my efforts at cleaning (remember this post?) the tasks are never fully accomplished and we both would rather just snuggle up with Law & Order an a 100-calorie ice cream bar and chill at the end of the day.

So, new goals. Because this is a home, but it needs some help. We’ve hired a new cleaning service to come once every two weeks and do what my mother calls the “deep clean.” I hereby promise to do more laundry and to fold that laundry, and then put it away soon afterward. And I will do my very best to keep paperwork filed and knickknacks up off the floor and in their allotted places.

And tonight, as Josh experiences his first evening of bachelor party festivities in a foreign land, and I await tomorrow’s arrival of my Pookalina Ballerina, I will be organizing the closet. Arranging my new treasures from last week’s trip to Paris, lining up my swimwear in rainbow order, and so on.

When we move to the new apartment next month, a storage unit will be necessary. I can’t unload anymore important items now — last year’s purge is still too recent. But I will make more of an effort for the house that we will live in as man and wife, and if he chooses to start picking up his dirty socks off the floor, that will also be grand.

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our brooklyn apartment, which we still own, is lovely. small, but filled with character.

Life Changes, Big and Small

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if we keep this up, our house is going to look like THIS when we have children….

Sometimes, you look around and realize everything is changing. This is a good thing, a terrifying thing, and one of those things about growing up that you just can’t change. I am getting married in five months and I have been waiting for this time to come since I was a little girl. Yet, with it comes complicated things like moving across the country for your fiance’s work, learning how to put someone else’s needs before your own, adopting a second animal when you already felt guilty about not spending enough time with the first… and, of course, figuring out how to clean for two.

Josh has often accused me of being a “fashion hoarder.” And to that end, I must admit to my horror after we fled Brooklyn with him telling me to bring “just the essentials!”, when I discovered a large box of vintage cell phones had snuck its way into his packing list. What?!

Josh and I both have major OCD. But the funny thing about compulsive cleaning and organization is that when you are so busy that you can’t handle it the way you want to, many are unable to do anything at all. Thus, you find yourself coming home from a pleasant Tuesday at work and looking around your apartment in horror.

How did this happen?

There are dirty clothes on the floor in most of our rooms, clean ones folded and stacked from here to the ceiling in the living room. There is a constant stream of dishes going in and out of the dishwasher and yet always a stray glass by the computer, fork under the coffee table, and so on.

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Between focusing on my career, nurturing my relationship with my wonderful husband-to-be, making new friends in a new city, and of course holding on dearly to those from home, things have gotten a bit hectic. But today is the day to turn a (minor) life problem into a (major) life change.

Am I ever going to be the perfect housewife who leaves not a single surface undusted and whose family comes home to individually personalized cubby holes with their monograms at the top and a color-coded system below? Um, no. But maybe one day I’ll be able to afford to hire someone to come in and do that for me. (Hey, a girl can dream.)

When I was a little girl, and then a teenager, and then a college student, and then a starving editorial assistant living in Manhattan… I would have these major revelations about my personal messiness and go on massive cleaning binges. At the end, there would be bags of items to give away, and everything left was lined up in rainbow order, labeled and put away. My mom or dad would always say, “This looks great! Now, are you going to keep it this way???”

This past Sunday I chatted with my dad and offhandedly remarked that I planned to set aside some time to truly organize this walk-in closet, get Joshy’s man cave spic and span, and step up my kitchen game so that one half of the counter was no longer cluttered with paperwork we’ve accumulated since August. His response?

“That sounds great! Now, are you going to keep it that way???”

Let’s see!

PS – I will post before and afters; stay tuned.

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a lofty, yet wonderful, goal.

Some Chill Sweaters

Dallas weather has been in the 80’s but this morning as I stepped onto my balcony to enjoy a coffee break, there was a marked chill in the air. And I loved it! I’ve been pouring over all the fashion mags lately and am enticed by inventive sweaters in bold hues, fun patterns, and surprising shapes. Here are some that every girl has to try this fall:

Green Goddess

Emerald is important this fall. Try it in a chunky knit sweater paired with black mini skirt and knee-high boots or socks with brogues for NYC style on any budget.

You can make this work look by pairing items you already have in your closet with a sweater like this plush crew-neck option from Vince, $320, bloomingdales.com.

Animal Tracks

An oversized moose-print sweater paired with leggings, red shoes and a fedora is a go-anywhere look that’s easy to throw together in minutes.

You can work in red and a pattern with this oversized cheetah-inspired sweater from MINKPINK, $80, urbanoutfitters.com.

Star Quality

A black-and-white celestial sweater is grown up yet playful, and pairs well with colored denim or cords. How cute does she look?

I found a crazy-affordable star-print sweater that you must purchase today. Wear with jeans, leggings, even a pleated mini. Love this find from Bisou Bisou, $25, jcpenney.com.

BBQ, Dallas-Style

We were invited to a barbecue at Joshy’s boss’s house on Saturday evening. Of course he wanted me to dress “casually” but I have long since stopped taking his outfit advice. Let’s face it, my love. You like me in jeans. The rest of the world expects a lady to dress.

I finished the look with pink and cream Ferragamo pumps and tortoise shell Ray-Ban wayfarers, which I felt a fitting contrast. Do you love the cab in the background? Like New York City, but smaller, calmer, and just a tad warmer….

I nabbed this ladylike yellow number with very subtle lacy-floral print at H&M over the weekend for a sale price of $15. Also featured here. I might go back and buy it in pink too, because you can’t beat that price. And though it has a very 60’s cut and feel and cute zipper detail at the back, it’s made of soft, breathable cotton that is a welcomed treasured down here in the Texas heat.

Turns out, I made the right choice. The other women at the party were all in dresses, including the boss’s wife who looked lovely in a Giorgio Armani-esque gray silk patterned dress and simple gold jewelry from –where else? — Tiffany & Co.

Welcome to the glamorous South, you little Brooklyn girl. Time to work it!

Everything’s Bigger (or Tighter) in Texas!

It’s the first full weekday in my new town of Dallas. I’m thrilled, I’m warm, I’m a little tired, and mostly I’m just excited about the fashion. Joshy and I went out to dinner with some (new) friends on Saturday night. I decided to rock my neon pink jeans because I didn’t know how AC-ed the restaurant would be. Let’s just say this. I am NEVER wearing jeans on a Saturday night in Texas again. I looked cute, but everyone else looked cuter.

No, showing this much butt cheek is not unacceptable down here. Well, as long as your butt looks like hers!

It wasn’t just about the big hair (that I am loving, and trying to emulate in my own small way.) There is also a major need to show your bod down here, and I’m into it. All the girls had on super-tight, short dresses, or dangerously low-cut rompers, or very loud ruffly dresses and sky-high heels. And perfect coifs, fake lashes, the works. It’s so fabulous.

Floral stretch mini’s are a major part of the regional charm. i could get down with that!

A typical day dress is feminine with a good shape. And makeup and hair are important at all hours here.

And while I’m not planning to give up my boho sensibilities, I feel totally cool about playing into the local trends and pushing my limits a little. Of course, my abs need some work before I can bare all in a body-con mini, but hey… when you have a pool at your apartment building, don’t you kind of have to start thinking about your abs anyway?

Ok, so when I start looking like this (thanks to the bridal diet, it might happen!), I will rock the body con dresses at night.