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Category Archives: dress

Fashion Dare: Rock Winter White

As I’ve documented on here before, I am all about breaking the fashion rules. Nothing looks chicer than a woman confidently going against convention. And winter white is no exception—when worn well after labor day, it just looks cool. Right now everything is dark and drab: from the cloudy skies to the black boots on my feet, and I found myself longing for a little shock of bright white! Enter the winter white mani:



I am amazed at the effect these white nails had on me all last week. The bright white on my fingertips just feels so fresh and exciting and lovely! I cheated a little, and went not for a solid white but a lace pattern over a pearly cream, but I couldn’t be happier with the result. And at-home-manicure-phobes, fear not! These are Essie stickers—from filing to finish, this whole look took just 6 minutes to complete.

Also, as you can see, I’m currently loving the midi-ring trend. The rings in the pics are both from Forever 21.


Will you be rocking any winter white soon?



New Face Favorites

Over the summer, I abandoned the retinol product I was using because it caused my (already sun-sensitive) skin to break out in nasty, painful hives.


Notice the fan I’m wielding above? That’s because it was over 100 degrees in the Tuscan countryside. I was slathering on SPF during the day, and straight argan oil at night to heal my parched skin. Anti-aging was my last concern.

Come fall, I was dreading reintroducing retinol to my nighttime routine–my skin takes about six weeks to adjust to retinol use and in the interim is dry, flaky, and red, which is a very common (but temporary!) side effect in the initial weeks of usage.

Enter what can only be called The Miracle Product: Roc Retional Sensitive Skin Night Cream.

I’ve already gone through 3 tubes of this. Obsessed. This is, without a doubt, the gentlest retinol product I have ever used (and I’ve tried a ton). I noticed a major improvement in my skin’s texture, particularly on my chin and around my mouth. It is also starting to diminish those dreaded fine lines on my forehead! From the get-go I’ve been able to use this every night without any annoying side effects–just soft, clear skin. Win!
I usually stick to just concealer throughout the winter as my super pale skin is difficult to color-match with foundation, but I have a new holy grail face product:
Rimmel Match Perfection foundation. It claims to have “Smart-Tone Technology to mimic your exact skin tone and texture.” I have to say, I am using 101, classic ivory, which looks far too dark/yellow in the bottle, but miraculously blends so beautifully and is truly invisible on the skin.
There are supposedly light reflective particles in the formula, but I can’t detect them at all. That being said, it does have a dewy finish–perfect for winter skin! The texture is just dreamy, like a very absorbent lotion, and has a gorgeous, fresh scent. It has SPF 18 in it, but I can’t detect it at all–no smell or stinging around the eyes. I use just my fingers to blend this in, but I think a makeup sponge would work well, too. My one tiny complaint is that it could really use a pump–it’s so runny I’ve had more than few “oops!” moments…
Although it feels extremely light on the skin, it is definitely a medium coverage and buildable up to a full coverage. It has decent staying power, too. Here it is on my skin at the end of the day (I apologize for the awful cellphone camera selfie, I leave before the sun is up and return after it has set for the day, so for decent light I had to snap these at work!):
What skincare products are you loving right now?

Summer: Season of the Bottle Tans

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Here’s the thing: the sun is bad for you. It causes skin cancer, premature skin aging, wrinkles, sun spots, freckles, and sunburns just aren’t attractive:


All that being said, I love the look of a golden glow. Doesn’t everyone prefer the look of sun-kissed skin?A faux tan is THE best way to sport a darker complexion, for all the reasons listed above and these added benefits: it evens out your skin tone, so you need less foundation/concealer; it takes about 10 pounds off your appearance; it leaves your skin moisturized as opposed to the drying effects of the sun. It’s 2013, time to step into the shade and slap on a good sunless tanning product.

My natural skin tone is a true ivory:


Notice that I am a whole shade lighter/pinker than my dear friend Katie, who is herself a fair-skinned beauty. In order to look NOT albino, I have to rely on sunless tanning lotion:


After just a couple of applications, I’m nearly as tan as my gorgeously olive-skinned bff, Jessica! I have tried at least 50 different products, and all of them are pretty comparable. What I have figured out is that for my skin type/texture (dry and prone to rough spots), lotions are far better at providing an even tan than a mousse, and my bare hands are more favorable than a mitt/gloves. In general, the drugstore products are every bit as good as the high-end and department store offerings, mostly because they all use the exact same ingredient: DHA. NONE of them smell good, no matter the claim on the bottle; after 6 hours or so, they all make you smell like a beer-soaked piece of moldy bread…As awful as that sounds, I promise you it’s better than skin cancer.

I also prefer to switch up the brand every couple of uses to avoid becoming too orangey or too muddy, as nearly all products tend to lean one way or the other. Here is my current collection:


Why is there a white wash cloth pictured? Because nothing exfoliates better than a good ol’ fashioned wash cloth! Most exfoliating scrubs leave behind a residue, which is like kryptonite for DHA–it can’t penetrate the skin if there is an oily barrier. Of all of these, my two favorite are probably the Palmer’s cocoa butter for it’s initial chocolatey scent and beautifully even tan, and the L’Oreal sublime bronze for it’s super natural looking brown color.

Here’s the regiment: exfoliate in the shower, paying extra close attention to inner wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. After you are thoroughly dry, massage in the lotion as you would any moisturizer, using sparingly on wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. Wash your palms with warm, soapy water, taking care not to splash. Using your damp washcloth from the shower, gently swipe off some product from wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, AND your hairline. Let the product soak in for a few minutes. Use this awkward time standing naked in your bathroom to organize and clean out your medicine cabinet, read a magazine, or paint your toe nails. When the lotion is mostly absorbed, put on your pj’s and go to bed. Why should you never use tanning products during the day? Well, in addition to the whole moldy-bread smelly thing, any moisture will wreak havoc on your tan. It’s too difficult to completely avoid sweating/washing your hands/coffee spills/rain during the day, so just don’t go there.

Need one more awful sunburn to inspire you to break out a sunhat and buy a bottle tan? Here’s a picture of my darling boyfriend yesterday, fried extra crispy:



Fashion Dare

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Want to know a guaranteed way to come across as a chic fashionista? Break “the rules”–pair black with brown! Rock head-to-toe white in winter! Mix stripes with polka dots!


I paired a polka-dotted collared shirt with this striped sweater, which is pretty tame as far as rule breaking goes. This is like the jay-walking of fashion crimes. But unexpected none the less!


Would you ever pair stripes with polka dots!?



Enter the Center Part….

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For years I’ve been rocking a side part, a look that works for my face shape (chipmunk round) and for my awful cowlick smack in the middle of my forehead. But lately I’ve switched things up, parting my hair messily down the center:



I like how it makes my long blunt bob feel a bit Gwyneth Paltrow-esque, and somehow I think it makes me look a little rocker chic, especially with the waaaaay overgrown roots.


Gwyneth Paltrow

If you squint, stand back about 50 feet or so, and move your head really fast side-to-side, you can see the resemblance….


Would you try a center part?


Face Favorites + Everyday Makeup Routine

We are officially entering the doldrums of winter, a time when your face needs a little extra TLC. I’ve turned to these two Ah-mazing products:

1. Nivea Active Purifying Mask:


This is without a doubt the gentlest exfoliant I’ve ever used. This bright blue mask sat on my face for over 30 minutes, and while it did set a bit, it never dried or cracked the way some mud-type masks do. When I rinsed this with lukewarm water, I was amazed to see my skin looking like a freakin’ face commercial! Usually any type of “purifying” or “deep cleaning” masks leaves my super-sensitive skin red and angry, but not this one. My skin felt seriously clean and soft after using this. I will definitely repurchase and add this to my weekly routine! HIGHLY recommended!

2. L’oreal Paris Revitalift Total Repair 10 Night Cream


The beauty biz has been buzzing about this product for some time, having won several awards for its effectiveness in a series of independent tests in the spring of last year. I finally picked this up at the beginning of December, and started using a tiny amount every-other night (under Josie Maran’s Argan oil). I have finally worked up to using it every night, and WOW is it amazing. My face feels plump in the morning, and no, not just from the nutella-stuffed french toast thank you very much. This stuff is seriously hydrating, but also is chock-full of gentle exfoliants so you wake up to glowing skin. Love.

3. (From left to right) L’oreal Paris Color Riche Les Ombres Eyeshadow Quad in Beige Trench; Maybelline New York Expert Wear Blush in Sweet Cinnamon (one of my all time favorite cheek colors); Revlon Eyelash Curler; Rimmel Lonon Wake Me Up Concealer in Ivory; Make Up Forever Full Cover Waterproof Extreme Camouflage Cream in 1; L’oreal Paris Mega Volume Collagen 24 hr Mascara; Maybelline Eyebrow Pencil in Light Blonde; Prestige Eyeliner Pencil in Black; M.Cosmetics Powder Brush


I’ve updated my make-up routine, editing out foundation. I go through phases (typically in the middle of winter and again in the middle of summer) when foundation just doesn’t work for me. I’m too pale to color-match and I get paranoid about flaking, so I just stick to concealer. The Rimmel concealer goes on under my eyes, on my chin, and on my cheeks–everywhere I need to even out my skin tone. The heavy duty Makeup For Ever concealer is only used on serious spots–the broken capillaries I have scattered around my face, the sides of my nose that are rudolph-red from constant nose blowing, and on any blemishes that pop up.

The black liner is only used on my water-line on my upper lid, and dotted throughout my lower lashes in lieu of mascara. The blush is one of the prettiest colors ever–a deep burnt rose, bordering on tawny, with microscopic gold flecks, it is the perfect way to get sun-kissed color in the dead of winter. I apply it with the fluffy brush above to bring a healthy wash of color to my cheecks and temples.

Photo 9

Have you updated your routine this winter?



Currently Loving…

…pairing black + brown. It always comes across both casual but expensive, like riding horses or weekending in the Berkshires. Check out how I’m bringing this color combo into my life, completely manure-free:





1. JC Penny fair isle sweater 2. JC Penny sweater dress 3. Longchamp bag 4. The chicest rain boots of all time, purchased in Spain for 20 euros!  5. Aldo wallet/ Kiss nail stickers

Do you wear black and brown together?