Forbidden Fruit

red-lips

With Halloween behind us, wintry glam is here to stay. One of my favorite trends for the season is a glossy red lip. Don’t be shy. I’ve done the testing for you–all you have to do pucker up.

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A creamy formula on the pinker side of the red spectrum — MAC’s Sheen Supreme lipglass in Gwi-Yo-Mi is divine. $20, maccosmetics.com

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For the lipstick girl who prefers highly pigmented colors, this stick from NARS is perfection. Add a clear gloss over it for megawatt shine. Lipstick in Heat Wave, $26, beauty.com

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In a hurry? Tube gloss is for you. DuWop Venom Gloss in Tulip also creates a fuller look for super-luscious lips. $18, beauty.com

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Try Something New: Bye Bye Blackheads

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we love keeping easy-to-use beauty products on-hand for weekend adventures, like our anniversary staycation in dallas this july.

Summer does a number on my skin. You, too? And the frequency with which you wash your face is something that needs to be carefully planned. Over-washing or excessive exfoliating can end up leaving you even more blackhead- and pimple-prone than before. Sigh!

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But if you’ve got those pesky black spots and need a quick fix, this beauty blogger highly recommends a blackhead removing wipe. Joey New York offers a fantastic addition to their blackhead-geared line of products. And it doesn’t get any easier than a wipe you can take on-the-go. Infused with Young Green Coconut Water that’s packed with potent antioxidants and essential minerals, these soothing wipes store easily in your purse or beach bag and help improve the look of your skin. You’ll find a decrease in the appearance of blackheads, tightening of your pores, skin hydration and even makeup removal in one awesome sweep.

clearskinI highly recommend the entire line of skin aids from Joey New York, and these are a great place to start. You can purchase a pack for only $18 here or here

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!

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!

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.

Liptastic

pink-lipstickMy maid of honor and best friend ever was visiting me this weekend and she made a serious life change in Dallas. A true creature of routine, she favors one sweep of mascara, a narrow bit of brown liner top and bottom, cover-up when needed, and a deep rose or nearly-naked lip. Every day.

Pookie is absolutely beautiful and doesn’t need a drop of makeup to turn heads. However, as you beauty junkies know, it isn’t about need but want. Similarly to yours truly, she has turned a corner recently and has arrived at a point of confidence wherein she craves change in the routine. And while my instinct was to force her into purchasing a mint green eye shadow or metallic liquid liner, we instead went armed to Walgreens on a mission: fresh pink lips for summer.

Emily-Blunt-Baby-pink-lipstickFor her job at an elite girl’s boarding school in Connecticut, Pookie has to err on the safer side with cosmetics. No blue toe polish, wild neons on the lips, etc. But we did commit to getting her a few fresh lip shades that will brighten things up for the change of seasons and take her from the office to cocktails with her husband.

"He's Just Not That Into You" World Premiere - ArrivalsI recommended Revlon, as I’ve let you all know that they are my hands-down favorite in drugstore lip options. She settled on a creamy strawberry lipstick, bold pink stain, and airy, peony-hued gloss in the end. Sometimes a few new options can give you a totally different outlook. I could sense her joy as she applied that bright pink lip in the car on our way to the airport. So, this was not the weekend on which she was destined to find her way into a color-me-bright eye shadow palette. But her new lipstick is pink and pretty and makes her feel beautiful. How much more inspired could anyone want to be?

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Easy Tip: Smooth Your Lip

imagesWell, yes, this advice works well on both lips, but for rhyming purposes I left it singular above. Apologies. In any case, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is finding her post-winter lips in disarray. The forced air heating and constant licking may be things of the past, but my lips take a long time to heal and also become sensitive in sunlight, so it’s an uphill battle getting them soft this time of year.

In my former life as a major lipgloss junkie, my constant reapplication made for a generally smooth situation. But these days I tend to favor lipstick that will hold its color for hours, letting me feel pretty through the morning and then again in the afternoon with little thought or effort. I only really wear lipgloss for a night on the town when I want to look extra juicy and don’t mind putting on a new coat after every cocktail. But lipstick, especially of the matte variety, can look cakey and not its best if you’re starting with a dry base. Here come the solutions:

I’ve shared this hint before, but exfoliating your lips is so easy. Just take a toothbrush, wet the bristles in warm water and brush your lips. Pat dry with a hand towel and smooth on some Karmex, Rosebud salve, or another moisturizing treatment. Do this twenty minutes before you leave the house. Then, on your way out the door, apply two coats of lipstick and you’re good to go.

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here’s me in paris this past weekend with just a swipe of revlon super lustrous lipstick in primrose, my ultimate favorite.

For ultra-moisturizing, non-glossy color options, scope out the slew of lip products new to your nearest makeup counter or drugstore aisle. I really like Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable balm stain in Darling, a lovely lavender. Maybelline Baby Lips is a great option, too. If you’re up for a splurge, I recommend the entire line of Chanel Rouge Allure lipsticks, which are creamy and rich. The pigment lasts hours without drying your lips in the slightest, and men adore this look. For an affordable stick, the one I’m wearing in the photo above is another Revlon product, Super Lustrous lipstick in Primrose. It happens to be my beau’s fave.revlon

For extreme cases, you can’t go wrong with Vaseline or Aquafor morning and night. Just make sure not to let it spread out to your upper lip or chin while sleeping, as the excess oil can cause pimples. Now, go out and find somebody to kiss!VPJ

Rock Candy

art-lips-candy-candy-lips-girl-Favim.com-492480Recently, some girlfriends of mine were chatting about their respective makeup ruts. I get it. As much as I love cosmetics, I, too have been known to fall into rhythms from time to time. One famous phase included a face adorned with the exact same products in the exact same hues every single day for over a year. Clinique acne solutions foundation, the obligatory under eye and pimple concealer, brown eye shadow by MAC or Estée Lauder, black Lancôme eyeliner, black Diorshow mascara, pink gloss from one of the above brands. And done.
prom-makeup-for-blue-eyesBut as I’ve gotten older and a little more adventurous with my beauty routine, I truly enjoy mixing it up. Of course there are some standards (many from the list above) that always work and can come to the rescue in a pinch, but these days I am loving experimenting with unexpected colors. Anything that reminds you of a piece of candy you loved as a kid will do. So, what do you think? Ready to have some fun? Here’s how to do it, without looking or feeling even the slightest bit ridiculous.
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Eyes are gorgeous with mint, purple, even the adventurous orange. You might also be delighted to know that blue eye shadow is not, in fact, reserved for drag queens and beauty queens. These days, rocking a blue shadowed eye is as easy as two swipes or can be as fun as layers of metallics and solids. Greens are also nice; I am quite addicted to the minty color you see above, NARS Cream eyeshadow in Carioca, $24. Build a base with your pale blue or green of choice and skip liner for day. At night, add soft gray pencil against the lash line for more definition. Finish up with gobs of black mascara. You will get compliments. Many. Trust.
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Lips should appear kissable at all times. This does not imply that they should actually be kissable at all times. Perhaps for you this means an opaque hot pink that stops men dead in their tracks but might feel quite dry on contact. Maybe it’s a juicy, ombré gloss that would get all over the mouth and chin of your kissing partner, but hey, we are just trying to look hot here. Who cares if it ends up in a hot mess post-makeout sesh? This is precisely why a lady stashes at least two lip options in her bag at all times.
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Cheeks are more versatile than you might think. If you love bronzer, try a burnt sienna for stronger color this season. If you’re open to blush, come join in on the fun. A punchy peony like Bobbi Brown’s, $25, above, is divine on any skin tone. Hot pink might seem scary in the palette but a sweep on each cheek gives instant glam. Try a powder or a stick, applying a small amount at first and layering until you achieve your desired effect.
bottle_serviceNails are the easiest way to introduce color. Anything goes these days, and throwing a few fun hues together always works. Is there a color you’d love to wear in clothing but have always felt is not your best? Orange, bright purple, hot pink? Here’s your moment.
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Nail polish is the universal beauty product and a great way to experiment. Essie’s spring colors are fabulous! Try a pungent peach on all nails but your pinkies, making one of them cerulean and the other fuchsia. Do a DIY French with lavender topped off in lime. And so on. Delicious fingernails remain a fresh and fun way to accessorize your outfit. Let’s play!
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How to Pull a Lauren Conrad

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do we think LC gave herself this blue-crushworthy ombre mani? maybe!!

I read somewhere that Lauren Conrad (AKA, L.C., to the MTV crowd) paints her nails every single night. What? I scoffed. What kind of a spoiled princess has that kind of time? But as my nails started to experience an unfortunate amount of damage from repeated gel manicures (Hi, my name is Jenny and I am addicted to shellac.), I realized that maybe the girl was on to something.

I’ve always loved doing my own nails. I find it both cathartic and fun. If it’s a busy night and I have to slap some polish on quickly, I go for nudes or creams that won’t show mistakes too easily. If it’s game day and we’re camped out in front of the TV, like last weekend, I’ll go full-on with a five-step mani including a glitter fade comprised of crafting supplies. That one was a hit!

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hint: try glitter. it makes things look so much cleaner.

Now, I still don’t do them every night, but I’m at the point of about every-other. My polish collection is honestly disgusting. It started with a bottle of Chanel my mom gave me when I went off to college and it’s amassed into an entire (large) shelf in our bathroom armoire. And onto the kitchen counter. And a scattering on the side table by the couch. And then there’s the red and the pink I keep in my gym bag just in case.

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i ADORE this essie from last spring, bikini so teeny. looks great every time!

Experimenting with your nails is fun and easy. It’s just like accessorizing in any other way, but it’s pretty damn cheap. So, how do you make them look amazing at home, a la L.C.? Practice is important. The more frequently you do your own nails, the better you’ll become. But here are some of my personal tips for achieving a salon-quality mani on your couch. Or, if you’re like me, in the middle of your living room floor:

1. Moisturize. Just like your skin, your nails crave moisture. Before applying any polish, wash your hands and then dab some eye cream onto each nail. I know it sounds nuts, but I use eye cream for everything. It’s rich and full of nutrients that your nails will soak right up.

2. Invest in a proper base and top coat. The base coat keeps your actual nails protected from the pigment and dyes in the colors you apply. It also evens out the surface of your nail, preventing a bumpy look. A top coat is important for preventing chips and creating a uniformed aesthetic. I like Essie’s Good to Go; it’s super-shiny and dries in a flash, leaving your nails shiny as glass in a few minutes flat.

3. Make like a nail girl–shape, buff and shine! It takes a little extra time, but when you do your own nails, you can’t skip these steps. Filing is great, but get yourself a 6-in-1 or at least a 4-in-1 so you can also shape, smooth, buff and get those nails to a shine! These are easy to find for under five bucks at any drug store.

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this took a while (and some craft glue, not pictured) but was worth it.

4. Take your time. Paint slowly, and allow a full five minutes to pass between applying each coat. The more time you give yourself to apply the polish, the better it will look. And the longer each coat dries, the less likely you’ll be to smudge it later.

5. Have fun! Nail trends run the gamut these days from flair nails and glitter to ombre, rainbow brites and nudes. Whatever you fancy in a magazine, give it a whirl at home. You might just be surprised by your own chic talons… and I guarantee, your friends will be thinking, “What kind of spoiled princess has that kind of time?”

Well, you do, now. Because you decided to make it for yourself.

A Better Cream

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I have a troubling wrinkle developing in the middle of my forehead. It is neither ever-present nor completely deniable. Depending on stress, fatigue, headaches, and my beauty routine, it can be anywhere from the fainted recess not visible to any eye but mine–to a full-on crater (I’m exaggerating a little, but still) right in the middle of my forehead.

My brother was experiencing a similar situation with his own forehead, though he was pleased to unveil his incredibly tight new skin this past Christmas. Ever since then, it has continued to firm up, the lines melting away. Granted, the kid is 25, and he didn’t need much help. But this one line was bugging him, so he jumped on the Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica train and hasn’t leapt off since.

kiehlsWhen I saw how amazingly taut his skin looked, I immediately ran to Neiman Marcus and got myself a pot. I opted for the lighter version due to my combination skin, that’s prone to breakouts. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the month since I’ve started using this product. The unique blend of ingredients in this powerful potion are recommended for beauties of all ages; just start using it (applying in an upward motion, as Noah taught me) and watch the magic unfold.

This past weekend, I was in New York and opted to use his instead of packing mine (even though the jar is not over 3.4 oz., I’ve had my precious stuff dumped so many times before at airport security, I’m very leery of traveling with it now).

Surprisingly, the emerging pimples I had at the beginning of the weekend are completely at bay, even less threatening than they were on Saturday morning. And my skin looks markedly tighter and dewier–just from four days with the thicker formula. I’m amazed! In my several years of testing and trying every product on the market, I can honestly say I’ve never seen this dramatic a difference in such a short time. I’ll definitely finish up my bottle of the lighter formula, but will be moving to the more potent stuff for my next one.

I strongly suggest that you and your forehead wrinkle, or whatever else plagues you, head over to your nearest department store or the Kiehl’s online shop and stock up. Trust me, your skin will be very happy with this decision.