Monday, May 6, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things ...

LORAC - TANtalizer® Body Bronzing Luminizer

It's been too long ... my bad. I'm entering into my two insane months, where everyone has a birthday or a recital, or an anniversary. I need a project plan just to get through the end of June, and a chef, a wife and a professional organizer. Throw in a personal trainer too. Yeah, that works.

That said, I am dying to share my latest favorites with you all ... in a way they are making my life easier, those little multi-tasking marvels that can make a pleasant difference in the life of someone with too little time.

Sugar Rose balm by Fresh. Yes, I used to make fun of this product (as much as I loved Fresh). It's lip balm... in a metal tube ... for like $20. Crazy.  Well scrap that. I received a trial size somewhere along the line and finally gave it a shot. Oh wow, it's really worth the hype. Smooth like butter with a little bit of shine and a perfect dose of healthy color that makes you look more pulled together than you really are. In a rush? Dab a little on your cheeks. Spf 15. Enough said. Totally worthy of your makeup shortlist. I'd bring it with me if I was trapped on a desert island. For sure.

Nail Glow by Dior. Another tiny little miracle worker. This polish looks like a clear bright pink in the bottle but imparts a lovely sheer glow while somehow making the White part of your fingernails look whiter. A bit like a French mani but muuuuuuch classier. The best part is that you can do it yourself, and it's really hard to screw up the application. Yes it's ~$20 a bottle but if you're paying $12 for a crappy manicure at a salon that lasts 3 days before imploding, you break even pretty quickly. I am totally in love.

Tantalizer by Lorac. This is my secret weapon. A crazy looking liquid bronzer that's intimidating as all get out (until you learn how to apply it). I add a pea size amount to plain lotion and apply to my legs, especially in the early spring when they're so pale that could likely blind innocent bystanders with their glow. It cuts the glare in the loveliest of ways. ** Don't use it if you're going to be wearing a lot of white, it does rub off a tiny bit. Other than that you're golden ... really.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dress for Success

Dress - Uniqlo... $29.90

In keeping with all of the 'secrets' I've been sharing lately (my requisite under-eye concealer, my sneak peek at the gorgeous new Stella and Dot bags), I'm sharing another one... I hate dresses. No I don't hate dresses on everyone, just me. I wish I could get over the loathing, in fact I was once the dress' #1 fan but two kids and one scary-high-waisted realization later, I'm a hater. Forgive me.

You see, my waist is nearly in my armpits and I sport a decent mom pooch (4 years later).  This, my friends, is a lethal combination. Deadly. And don't get me wrong, I don't hate my body, I just really dislike that particular combination. I suppose I could work harder on the pooch bit but the waist thing, that's just God given.

So back to dresses. I avoid them. Like the plague I own maybe 2 that I will wear occasionally and feel relatively cute / stylish in and they're pretty much the same style... like the one from Uniqlo posted above. Fitted skirt, slightly blousy top, bit of elastic around the middle. I find this style fairly flattering on anyone with my 1-2 punch of midsection design challenges. Yes, yes, the wrap dress is always getting the love and heralded as 'universally flattering.' I called BS on that one a while ago... it may work for most but not for high waisted mamas, at least not this one.

So if you've been skittish for any of the reasons like I mentioned above, I'd give this style a try. I even belt mine (!!!!!), and it's the only time I ever belt anything (see armpit- high waist reference above). With this particular style, you can create the illusion of a lower waist simply by belting the dress a bit lower. The best part, I always get compliments. Maybe it's simply because people are shocked to see me in a dress or maybe it's because it actually looks great. I'll chose to believe the latter.

Oh, and one more thing, I think I'm going to get it in orange. ;-)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eye Q

Psst... i have a secret. I wear undereye concealer ... every day. EVERY day. Really. Including Saturdays and Sundays.  I am blessed with fairly youthful pale freckeled skin (good!) that is super transluscent under my eyes and my eyelids (not good) and tends to make me look far more tired and wiped out than I really am ... which is hard because I'm pretty wiped out tehse days. I also have major envy for my sister-in-laws olive skin which looks to me like that of a 15 year old kid. But I digress...

Anyway, I've been feeling lately that my whole  makup routine was not working. What might have made me look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 35 is soooo not cutting the mustard lately. And while my goal has been to just make a trip to my favorite makeup lady (Kyle at Circles) for a little freshening up, my schedule lately has just not allowed this to happen. Surprise.

So what is my point? I have one, I promise. Over the weekend I did a quick trip to Brooklyn to visit my brother and his family. My eldest and I spent Saturday morning just as we used to, with egg and cheese sandwiches on the playground of the neighborhood school. I spotted an old aquaintenance who just happens to be a professional makeup artist. I may or may not have pounced on him, imploring him to tell me just how I can make my sunken / dark 40 year old eyes look less so. And I'm so grateful for the advice he shared.

His rules are this - always wear black mascara, regardless of skin or eye color since black creates a more dramatic contrast witht the whites of the eyes. Always curl the lashes to open the eyes (confession, I've never EVER done this). Don't forget to define the brow,  and lastly, wear a little bit of cream / liquid blush over regular powder blush in order to give the skin a more dewy look (as opposed to dry and old).

So there you have it. I suppose I could have covered those suggestions in 20 words or less, but the Irish in me needed to tell a more drawn out story. The pale, purple under-eye Irish  who will now scout out the best black mascara. Ok.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hey Joe

It feels like ages since I've done a proper post. Things are wild and wooly... I feel like am running a million miles an hour with my hair on fire right now and might need to take a day off just to nap (and get a pedicure and maybe find a better under eye concealer).

But chances are I'm not alone, and must sally forth in my duties to share the latest and greatest in style finds and ideas with my fellow stretched-too-thin sisters.  So to that end, I was really thrilled to see last week's JCPenney circular in the paper. They're now carrying another super cheap, super cute foreign (ok, Canadian) brand called Joe Fresh that I first discovered last year in NYC. Most pieces are well under $50 and everything is right on trend  - peasant tops, colorful jeans and pants, bright tees and plenty of stripes. I'm especially digging the striped dresses and the chiffon tops (the latter being oh so useful for obfuscating my 2-kid midsection).  In short, it's definitely worth taking a look, especially since the nearest freestanding Joe Fresh store is 150 miles south in NYC.

So between their whole Sephora-in-the-store thing, hiring the fabulous Ellen as their spokeswoman and not taking much crap from ultra conservative groups, I'm totally down with the JCP right now.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Elizabeth Bracelet
Elizabeth bracelet by Stella and Dot ... Check!
I'm going to get a tiny bit political here, and probably a little bit verklempt and then I'm going to tell you all to go and get your shop on. Ok. Full disclosure.
We're all feeling the pain of public education budget cuts. My own district faces a 6 million dollar gap this year. It sucks. But at the end of the day, most parents in my district are able to advocate for our kids and get them what they need, at whatever the cost.

Not so for many inner-city schools in our area and in our state. Absentee parents, overcrowding, dwindling resources, poverty. How can this be solved? One answer is Chess. Yes, chess. The game your parents tried to teach you as a kid ... that Chess. How? In short it helps kids succeed by teaching them how to think (vs. what to think)... how to analyze their choices and mistakes and how to fix them.

So what? What does this have to do with style and shopping? Well, I am a HUGE fan of a couple of chess teams in Brooklyn... the Chess Ninjas of PS 139 (that's elementary school in city-speak) and the National Championship team at IS 318 (a middle school that keeps winning the national high school championships). My niece and nephews attend these schools and are members of these teams.

Facing budget cuts, program cuts, and serious odds, these teams hope to travel to the National Chess Championships in Nashville, TN later this spring. I'd like to do my part in helping them get there so created a Stella and Dot trunkshow where all proceeds will be donated to the Ninjas at PS 139.

No ugly wrapping paper, no crappy chocolate or tchotchkes .. just amazing accessories that you can purchase guilt-free, knowing that you are helping an amazing cause (and some amazingly talented kids). And everyone who shops between now and March 31st will be entered to win additional freebies from Stella and Dot. Earrings? Check. Bracelets? Check. Scarves? Check.

So what are you waiting for? Mother's day is coming .. Easter baskets need 'a-filling ... graduations... bat mitzvas've got some work to do!  Click this link to start shopping.

And of course, I will report back with the grand total of the donation and pictures of the adorable wee chess masters so that you can pat yourself on the back and say "nice job."   

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ooh la la... Ze Scarf!

In like a lion, out like a lamb. That's what they say about March. It's still winter (bleh) but spring is peeking around the corner. Also known as the time of year when most of us get sick as $hit of just about everything in our closets and long to break out the spring threads even though it's way too soon. Way.  Perhaps this is one reason why I love scarves. No, not big fuzzy cashmere scarves (although those serve their purpose well), I'm talking about soft silky, flowy, brightly colored, funky printed fashion-y (gah!) scarves.

I clearly remember a trip to Paris when I was about 23 and I was totally mesmerized by how French women could look so much more stylish than anyone else, in the most basic of clothing. All black... and a scarf. Jeans and a basic boatneck tee... and a scarf. You get the idea.  Right now I am loving two scarves I purchased from Stella and Dot... they're HUGE and seemingly unwieldy things but twisted and wrapped right, they really do have the power to transform the most basic of outfits. How do you do this, you ask? Here are two great resources to help even the most uncoordinated among us:

Refinery 29 - how to wear the same scarf 5 ways.
Stella and Dot's adorable scarf tying video... and you can dance to it!

So as winter slowly starts its crawl back north and we're all challenged by how to transition our looks from winter to spring, we can all repeat my new favorite mantra: .... and a scarf.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mr. Green Jeans

Recently Katie from Capital District Fun expressed her extreme displeasure with the whole printed and brightly colored jeans trend. I’ll admit that I do remember the first time (or maybe the last time) printed / floral denim was the rage in the mid 1980s. I didn’t love it then (7th grade was not a memorable year and I was about twice as large as my stick-skinny classmates who hadn’t yet hit puberty). I’m not wild about it now either (maybe it's just the extreme negative association, who knows).
That said, I really do love the colored denim trend and think it can be a great way to play with a passing fad and add a little color to your wardrobe without going too far out on a limb. They’re also available at all price points so it’s easy to do without committing too much $ too. Gap and Loft are good places to start. Target womens’ (not juniors) might also be worth a look. I tend to avoid Old Navy denim like the plague because most of it is truly cut for juniors and the rise is way too low for most people above age 21. Pair with a neutral (black? Grey?) and flats and you’ve nailed one of the cutest and easiest looks for Spring 2013. If you want to get a little more funky, add a striped / patterned top and bright accessories. Either approach works depending on your comfort level.

Intrigued? Let me know and I'll send you some more specific suggestion of styles to try!