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

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!

Try Something New: Accidental Ombre

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drew is the queen of ombre hair. this look is easily achievable with a half to full head of tone-right highlights.

Ombre hair is definitely not new. It’s been a Drew Barrymore fixture for well over a year, and long before her, there were models, actresses, and chic mommies the world over rocking this style. Remember season 4 of Sex & The City? You see my point.

But the funny thing with ombre hair is that it’s finally reached the masses, and it’s doing so valiantly and with ease. A recent commercial for boxed hairdye confirms it; the world’s gone ombre, and you are next. But here’s a question. Why purchase a box of ombre hairdye when you can achieve the look in a much easier way?

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jessica’s is more subtle and only requires a few foils. if you’re new to the trend, i’d try this route first.

Giselle’s stylist has been placing her highlights two to three inches from the roots for years, creating a naturally sunkissed look. On your next appointment, ask for the same. If you normally go super-light with the highlights but are naturally dark, consider warming them up a bit so the contrast is not so stark. If you color your own hair at home, a highlight kit works just as well. Have a friend do the back so you aren’t wonky-looking, but again, space each one south of the root.

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gisele’s is divine. just go ahead and bring this photo to your stylist– you’ll leave happy, no questions asked.

If you want a bolder look, you still don’t have to purchase that silly, ombre-specific kit. Instead, purchase a box of the color of your choice (red works, black is cool for a reverse ombre, the possibilities are endless!) and just don’t dye all the way to the roots. Pick a point where you want the fade to happen and apply color specifically south of that line. If you want to blur it a little for a funky look, use a smaller touch of dye in sporadic bursts above that line, then wash out as you normally would. Ta-da!

So, here’s my naturally, accidentally ombre story. I have not had my hair colored since August, and I have to admit, it looks fabulous. I am constantly getting compliments and questions. “How did you get that ombre hair?” Well, I got blond highlights nine months ago and then got lazy and let them grow out.

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here’s my hair the day after i had it highlighted in august…

I’ll have a few more done next week and then not touch it again till the fall, so I have this lovely ombre alive for the wedding. Really, girls, this look can be as easy as laziness and a budget. Your best bet for on-trend ombre hair is to skip your next couple appointments.

Freedom!

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…and here it is nine months later!

The DL on the BB

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A friend of mine asked for some info on the BB cream craze, and she knew I was her girl. Whatever the beauty trend, no matter how fleeting or how bizarre, I always take my chances. After all, we only live once. And beauty happens to be my favorite extra-curricular. So I didn’t just buy one BB cream and test it out, as you can imagine. Instead, I sunk my pores in deep and have plenty to say about the journey.

There are some skin products that I categorically will not cheap-out on. For example, face oils which have found widespread popularity in the past few years, remain a favorite. But I will only use Linda Rodin Olio Lusso, and for makeup removing purposes, MAC. However, with BB cream I have officially decided that my favorite is a drugstore find.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 cream is simply spectacular. So, let’s start with the purpose of a BB, or Beauty Balm. What’s it all about? These magical creams aim to heal your toughest skin woes, to even skintone while moisturizing and creating an airbrushed look. Many use them as a base for other makeup; those who require minimal coverage can swipe it on and skip the foundation.

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I like the Maybelline variety because it offers enough pigment that you can truly use it and hit the road. If you have a particularly bad blemish, just add concealer there. This one also offers SPF 30 (girls: if you are not already doing this, you must wear sunscreen on your face everyday. You will thank me later). Maybelline BB hydrates, smoothes, and neutralizes the color of your skin for a balmier look day to night. I recommend going one shade darker than you think you need, and blending into your neck as well so you have an all-over enhanced look.

However, I’m not done looking. I was at the Korean market recently with Josh, picking up tofu and sticky rice. Of course he found me at the makeup counter, purchasing a particularly dramatic set of false lashes and a kohl pen. As the girl slipped my items into a paper bag, she also picked up a sample offering to show me. “Would you like to try a Korean BB cream?”

Um. Did you have to ask?

Try Something New: Skip the Oil

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A moment away from the clothes and the lipsticks today, my friends. As many of you know, Josh and I have been on a pre-wedding diet for the past three months and it’s been tough but we are getting there. I’ve lost 12 of the 15 I had hoped for, and I might throw a couple more in just for fun. This weight-loss is due in part to five days a week of working out, but also a lifestyle change in terms of what we put in our mouths.

One easy tip if you are trying to lose weight, or at least be more conscious, is to chill with the oil. It sounds so simple and obvious, but I think a lot of us, in an attempt at being “healthy,” use olive oil way more copiously than we should. Are you making a turkey meat sauce? Good on you! Don’t cook the ground meat in a pan that you line in olive oil, though. A spritz or two of Pam will save you up to 200 useless calories there.

Are you making a salad dressing from scratch? Even better. The “fat-free” and other dietetic choices at the supermarket are loaded with sodium and chemicals. You can make a much tastier version in three minutes flat with red wine vinegar, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, a spoonful of good mustard and garlic. Pour in a drop of oil at the end instead of using it as your base. There’s a very low-cal and yummy dressing that can be used not only on salad but with a bun-less, lean burger in lieu of traditional condiments, and beyond.

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make turkey meat sauce with the leanest ground turkey you can find. sautee in its own juice till no longer pink, drain excess fat. pour in a jar of organic red sauce made without sugar. season with garlic, rosemary and a touch of red wine.

Whipping up a sautee of vegetables? Yum! Consider steaming them first, to retain all the flavor and get them thoroughly cooked. Flash them in the pan for a mere moment to get that browning effect you desire, but without allowing them to sit in the oil, soaking it up and devoiding their nutritional value.

I will continue to post ideas and tips on how we’re making it happen in this newly skinny household. And please be advised, I have absolutely no nutritious training nor do I recommend you start any kind of a diet without the supervision of your physician. I am just a blogger with a wedding on the horizon and a closet full of dresses that missed me for the past six months.

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super healthy and yummy side dish or to use under red sauce in place of pasta! steamed brussels sprouts strained once cooked then left to simmer in a tiny bit of water with garlic salt.

Try Something New: Neon Makeup

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I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t neon sort-of, or almost- over? Isn’t neon a thing of the past two summers that we occasionally, inappropriately, spot on a scarf or rain boot in the dead of winter and cringe? Well, kind of. Neon has had major bursts of popularity over the past few seasons and while you may want to store your over-the-top neon orange or pink, gold hardware-detailed satchels for a June beach day, there are still threads of the trend that work. And they work right now. My favorite, of course, related to makeup.

If you are tired of the sorry old smoky eye that everyone has been talking about and trying to achieve since I was in high school (which was, ahem, a while ago), it’s time to open your pretty peepers to something new and bold. A thin (or thick!) line of neon on the eyes or a pop of neon shadow can bring your look to the next level, even if your outfit is head-to-toe black, a simple white dress, or an otherwise blank canvas.

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Neon nails also do the trick but I prefer a neon flair nail against white, cream, navy, or pastel on the other fingers to keep things classy. And then, there is my new favorite… the neon lip!

geradium2__84106_zoomYes, girls, you are hearing (reading) my lips correctly. One of my personal favorite funky makeup brands, Lime Crime, has just come out with their officially brightest lip color to date. It’s called Geradium and it’s a neon coral that really pops. I swear, you need nothing else on your face if you rock this color. Plus, it’s just your lips, so your style statement won’t be so bold as to offend, even in an office environment.

What makeup trends are you most looking forward to — and mostly planning to avoid — this spring?

Try Something New: Mix & Match for Spring

January’s Lucky mag is filled with surprising mix-and-match outfit ideas that are utterly to die for. From wild stripes with bright florals to stars and polka dots with a drapey neon cardigan thrown on top, this glitter girl was majorly inspired. It’s definitely still the dead of winter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t brighten things up a little, am I wrong? Today I’m sporting a lot of black: high-waisted BDG leggings from Urban, Ferragamo low-heeled rain boots, and a long cashmere cardi from Juicy Couture. My pop of color is in the form of a bright, ocean-blue lace dress from Free People that I nabbed on sale at Bloomie’s over the holidays. Compliment count: 3 so far. Not bad!
image photoThe blue creates a surprising burst of color and looks great next to my new gray Alexander Wang bag (thanks Joshy!) but now that I’ve braved a cold wintry day in my cheerful spring dress, it’s time for more fun. It’s time for tweeds with flowers and stars with dots and stripes. I’m ready! Are you? Here are some ideas:

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Yes! She’s got it. These minxy striped leggings and black floral tee are perfect. At this time of year, you’d need to add a leather bomber. But yes. This is it!

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Her H&M floral bomber is a surprising addition to the white and black polka-dotted frock. Bobby socks and peeptoe booties round out the look.

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She’s got it all. A bright top, plaid blazer, striped pencil skirt, statement necklace and wild shoes. Too much for you? Try just the top and a plaid blazer. Too cold? Add navy tights! Cute.

Try Something New: Bad girl lace

I adore lace. We knew this, right? I especially love a white lace sundress on a hot summer’s day. The utter sweetness is what keeps me coming back for more. But this spring I did something totally out of character. Well, sort of.

I was at H&M, one of my favorite “I-need-to-buy-something-but-can’t-afford-to-buy-anything” spots. Sometimes at the end of a rough day I give myself a $30 limit and go into a cheap store to buy something cool as a little pick-me-up. I figure it’s the same that two cocktails would cost me, but without the calories. Bing!

Anyway, I spotted a long-sleeved white sheath dress on the rack and raced toward it. Slimming! Short! Gorgeous! $19! Closer inspection? The lace wasn’t just fluttering with flowers and butterflies. Were those…SKULLS?

Hm…

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Close-up on the material. Do you LOVE this??

I am a sweet girl, a soft-spoken girl who is known for Peter Pan collars, pink denim, and Ferragamo shoes with bows on the front. Lace made of skulls? Could I do this?

Not only did I do it, I became obsessed. Somehow when wearing this sweet-gone-naughty dress, I feel an extra little swagger in my step. Maybe I have edge after all! Well, at least the dress does. When I wore it with my brother recently, he died over the fact that from far away, my dress was girly innocence at its best. From close up, it was bad girl material.

Since purchasing my skull-clad lace, I’ve started to pay attention to the trend. There are examples over all the place! Below are some ideas if you’re up for the challenge. Email me your photos! I want to see you in your cute naughty lace.

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Black skull lace tank, $88, urbanoutfitters.com

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Baby pink hair clip with white skull lace, $5.50 by MmPresents on etsy.com

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Alexander McQueen skull lace overlay t-shirt, ON SALE for $417, saks.com

Try Something New: Coral lips

Pinks and reds and nudes are lovely, but donning a coral lip is sure to turn heads and up your swagger factor instantly. I love playing with all different lipstick colors; this season I’m finding that coral is a fun, trendy color that works on all skintones and with a multitude of outfits.

Daytime darling:

Try a matte coral lipstick by day with basically bare eyes–just a coat or two of mascara will do! This look is daytime casual but super-pretty and can easily work with jeans and a T or a sweet sundress.

Dressy date night:

Wanna wow on your first (or hundredth) date with Mr. Right? Keep his eyes glued to your face (and his mind on kissing you) with a glossy neon-coral pout like Leona Lewis’s.

Full-on glamour:

Attending a wedding or other glammed-up summer soiree? Make like January Jones with an eye-catching, vintage-esque creamy coral lipstick and winged black eyeliner. Gorgeous!

Try Something New: Lovely Lavender Lips

Lipstick is such an interesting thing. You can step out of your comfort zone, switching from your everyday color to something new and get tons of attention from people at work and home. You can also keep it moving day to day and play with all the spring colors. Doing this creates a fluid relationship with the project of lip adornment. I like to experiment and I own probably around 80 lipsticks and glosses, but there’s no need for you to become as lip-happy as I am; my poor boyfriend had to build a bookshelf in our laundry room to house the overflow that doesn’t fit in my cosmetics cabinet. You can keep it a little more streamlined by picking one or two fun and fresh new colors to try each season.

Shocking lavender lips are sexy for nighttime glam.

Which brings me to lavender. It’s such a beautiful color and one that many people might not dream of putting on their lips. I fondly remember an old makeup friend; for the longest time my ultimate favorite lipstick was Chanel’s “Violette.” This luxe, creamy stick was an ever-so-slightly pearlescent lavender with just enough pink in it to remain ladylike and enchanting. It was so beautiful. I was fifteen years old and I wore it every day of sophomore year until it was a sad little flattened shell of its former glory. Then I begged Mom for another stick and after that one died, we discovered that it had been discontinued. We were both horrified and saddened and have been wandering around the beauty counters ever since looking for something that matches Violette’s charms. To no avail.

Make like a Rihanna and try a glossy, pink-toned purple for day.

This season, a shocking ten years after the disappearance of Violette, pastel is major again and violet lips are showing up all over the place. I felt determined to find my old flame in new packaging, and I think I got pretty damn close. The new Duane Reade is a remodeled wonder filled with beauty goods for giddy girls, and I unearthed a $7 lipstick there last week and have received rave reviews. This creamy, long-last lipstick delivers plenty of shine and manages a purple pout without bluish tones. I’m obsessed and I think you might be too. And, since it’s super cheap, you won’t have to cry if this is one of those makeup trend moments that just isn’t your fave.

Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butter in Gumdrop will make you feel like a model.