How to Recover Like a Champ

Well, we’ve covered prepping for the cold and prepping for a party. But what of the next morning?  The days of 11am class (sleeping until 10:45) are loooong over; PTOs are precious and cannot be wasted on a hangover. It’s imperative to get up and make every effort to look and feel human. Easier said, right? Here are my lifesavers.

In the immortal words of Queen B, “I woke up like this.”

Start by crawling out of bed and throwing your eye cream & face cream into the fridge and a spoon into the freezer. (Does the black and white filter make it look like there is actual food in my fridge?)

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Wash your face thoroughly if you didn’t last night and throw on a mask. My favorite right now is Liz Earle’s Brightening Treatment Mask. It gets rid of that slightly seasick look and you instantly FEEL better. If you’re of the male persuasion and you think you’ll look silly with a mask, you will. Everyone does. But no one can see you in your own bathroom, so who’s silly now?

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Rinse off the mask with a clean cloth and grab your spoon and creams. Apply your eye cream with the chilled spoon; it’s great for de-puffing and it feels fantastic. You don’t even need eye cream if you don’t have it. Just try not to injure yourself if your hand-eye coordination is still a little shaky.

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Your face cream should pack a real punch without being overly thick, so look for something with hyaluronic acid. I’ve definitely said it before but I’m obsessed with Hada Labo Tokyo’s Skin Plumping Gel Cream. For me, it makes the difference between “You look tired,” and “You wake up, flawless.”

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You should be feeling a lot better at this point. Like, one coffee away from answering the phone in a non-raspy voice. If you have ten extra minutes, take your exfoliating to the shower. I’ve loved dry brushing for a long time- believe it or not, it’s a good energy boost. Like a cold shower but more pleasant. So, that can be before or after your shower, how about during?

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I don’t want to sound dramatic but I used ExfoliKate Body for the first time last week and it was life changing. It was 25 degrees out and I was so enamored with how my skin felt, I could’ve walked outside in my towel. Can a chemical exfoliant make you lose five pounds? It felt like it.

IMG_1058LIFE CHANGING.

You’re welcome for the hangover cure, the Beyonce and Christmas colors.

Now go get your party on.

Have a wonderful and happy holiday season!

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Still Pretending We are in A Holiday Movie

Rudolph the Wine Nosed Reindeer

It’s no surprise that a convivial glass of eggnog makes for a ruddy complexion. The upside here is that if you anticipate tossing a few back, you can implement some makeup tricks that will leave you as flawless as Jovie. (I’m in love! I’m in love! And I don’t care who knows it!)

I’m inviting you into my living room for a teeny video tutorial but if you don’t feel like watching, here are the basics:

1.) Use a highlighter. For the same reason as yesterday’s oil. Glowy cheekbones cannot be overstated.

2.) Keep the eye clean. Neutral shadows and neat eyeliner. Nothing looks worse at 11:30pm than glitter eye shadow that has migrated elsewhere.

3.) Don’t use blush. The indoor heating, a possible mistletoe encounter and yes, a few glasses of “cheer”, all bring a pink tinge to your face. No need to match it to your nails.

4.) Go with a strong lip. It’s festive and looks amazing in pictures. Just make sure you use something like a lip pencil that has staying power!

IMG_1035Next up: Too Much Holiday Party? Morning-After Tips

The Part Where We Pretend We are in A Holiday Movie

Just take a moment and picture your favorite holiday film. When faced with falling snow and festive spirits, my favorite characters are never anything but prettily flushed and usually looking spectacular in some sort of candlelight. And well… what are the holidays without some sort of aspirational physical goal?

If you will, I’ve pinpointed three situations that do their best to bring down us mere mortals and gathered my best tips to bring out the Kiera Knightley and Jude Law in us all. I’ve broken them up into 3 parts, here is part one:

 Let it Snow! Let it Sn….eughh WHERE ARE ALL THE TAXIS?

I’ve been on Montana prairies in the dead of winter and I promise you, Times Square in a storm can be just as vicious. If you are planning to do any kind of outdoor holiday event, you’re a more adventurous person than I am and you’re going to need to prepare. The key here is to Build a Barrier on your Face. Treat your face the way you treat the rest of your body and layer up! Start with a clean face (best if gently buffed with a cloth during cleaning.) Lightly tap on some eye cream and then massage in your normal moisturizer. Right now I’m using Hada Labo Tokyo’s Skin Plumping Gel Cream (fun fact: it uses Super Hyaluronic Acid, which holds up to 1,000 times it’s weight in water on the surface of the skin.) Then, give everything a minute or two to soak in and take a thicker cream (I like Liz Earle’s Skin Repair Moisturizer) and massage it into the places where the wind is going to hit hardest: cheeks, neck and corners of nose and mouth. Finally, take a great face oil, like Kate Somerville’s Dilo Oil, warm a few drops in your hands and pat it into your face, paying special attention to cheekbones just because it’s impossible to look dried out with glowy cheekbones. If you’re afraid of face oil, do your research and pick one that doesn’t produce sebum, the oil that causes breakouts. You can follow this with your normal makeup routine- more layers aren’t going to hurt. Just make sure to wash thoroughly when you are home and warm! 

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Next up: Holiday Party Makeup that Lasts!

As If We Are Discussing Skincare Over A Glass of Wine

I’ve been on something of a skincare advice kick lately. I’ve had a bunch of friends ask for advice, sometimes after, you know, a few drinks. (Here’s looking at you, male readers!)  Obviously, I love it. I am the queen of unsolicited advice so when someone actually asks for my thoughts, I am all over it.

So, speaking of unsolicited, here I am with the big two elements I talk about with everyone, no matter their skin type.

Firstly, I’m going to talk about cleaning. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. I had a few nights last week where I just washed my face with my hands (not a cloth) and then one where I didn’t wash it at all and I saw the texture of my skin get bumpy, and a few spots popping out every day. As soon as I recognized what was happening, all it took was two nights of thorough cleansing with a cloth before my skin was perfectly back to normal. I’ve included a short video below that shows you exactly how I wash my face. I made it earlier this year, when I was still testing out the La Roche Posay thermal spring water. I generally don’t use it before washing my face now, but it didn’t hurt. The two cleansers, in order of use, are Avene Cleansing Foam and CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. I use lukewarm water and a clean washcloth, rinsing it several times. I just use the washcloth to rinse, I never do the splashing motion, and I massage the cleanser in the direction of my ears, for optimal toxin drainage. Also, I don’t wash my face in the morning, especially if I’ve used Alpha H the night before. I used a specific eye makeup remover and press it down for a few seconds to release the makeup so I don’t have to pull on my eyelids.

Secondly, my favorite products. This video is a bit of a rough cut but I want you to get an idea of what the products look like. I made this video last winter so I only had the CeraVe cleanser, but I would recommend you get only that anyway.  I think I’ve talked a little bit about the Liquid Gold products. They are hyped online as “overnight facials.” In the most general terms, they use glycolic acid, among other ingredients, to produce a gentle chemical exfoliant. Of the two products I use regularly, the Liquid Gold (white bottle) has less ingredients but seems more potent. The Intensive Night Repair Serum leaves a bit of a residue, but they both honestly work incredibly well. I attribute the Liquid Gold line to me being able to leave the house without a drop of makeup and still feel like I look glowy and healthy. I would recommend it for anyone in their 20s who consistently struggles with their skin. Anyone younger, there are probably other options that are less expensive and will work just as well. The La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo is exactly what I say it is, the best blemish correcting product I have ever come across. It’s slightly expensive but I would recommend that anyone who is prone to the occasional breakout have it on hand.

I hope this is helpful and I welcome ANY and all questions. I really love talking about skincare and have a few standard emails that I send out to friends who have skincare questions with my favorite products and videos to check out.

Thanks for reading!

xx-G

Freeeeeeeeeeeeee AT LAST

Fall is just starting to creep into the air by way of the most amazing blue sky and a slight chill in the morning and evening. It’s so refreshing. I already have ten fall outfits in mind, don’t you?

And speaking of things that make me really happy, my sister snagged me this fantastic gift bag from Clinique this weekend. I’m not always a huge fan of the gift bags; sometimes it’s not worth the extra money, but I am a die hard Estee Lauder Christmas box fan and this bright little Clinique number has my vote as well.

Why does it get my vote? In other words, what makes a free gift bag “worth” buying your lipstick or concealer or lotion from that particular counter? Well, first of all, the bag is really cute. I love the colors; they’re perfect for the summer/fall transition. As a makeup bag, it is large and durable. As a carry-all to dump your keys, wallet and Advil in for the bleary walk to Saturday morning brunch, it’s even better.

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As for what’s in it, this may be the most practical, usable gift bag I have ever gotten. Makeup remover, eyeliner, mascara, eye cream (thankfully because mine was running out!), two nice brushes, an eyeshadow compact with three useful colors and one fun one aaand (take a breath) the famous Chubby Stick in a wearable neutral.

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I believe this can be yours with a $30 purchase. Enjoy this beautiful DAY!!

How to Be Helpful and Pretty

A few weeks ago, I had the complete joy of watching one of my older cousins marry his incredibly lovely fiancee (wife!) during a cozy, drizzling beach wedding. They wrote their own vows and said them with family and friends grouped around them…deffffinitely a tearjerker. Anyway, it was a bangin’ party and they are very lucky to have each other.

photo-33Congrats to the beautiful couple!

Something that was really fun for me additionally, was that my aunt (mother of the groom) asked me to do her makeup! So, I thought I’d do a few little tips on how to get yourself and someone else ready. In a perfect world, you’d be up bright and early, get a good workout in, do your own makeup and spend some time on your hair and then pack yourself off to spread some cheer in the form of brow pencils.

In anooother kind of world, you would get to your parent’s house so late the night before that you sleep in, spend the morning getting a mani pedi and then pre-game the wedding with out of town cousins over lunch, leaving you exactly -10 minutes to get yourself ready and get out the door to the groom headquarters. So here are a few tips for navigating the amateur makeup artist path on the go:

Tip One: Do a Trial Run. You don’t want to try something new or mess up on the wedding day, plain and simple. You might also get to spend some quality time with otherwise wedding occupied individuals, which is always a plus.

Tip Two: Pack an organized and effective bag whenever you have the time, even if it’s two days before. Your trial run will help you whittle down the products and tools that you need. You don’t want to leave this to a hurried last minute and forget something important!

Tip Three: Do a little research. I’m the first person to say that my best makeup work will always be on my own face because I know it so well, have experimented on it for so long. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t help someone else achieve a beautiful look- you just need to put a tad more effort in. If your individual has older skin, different texture or different skin tone than you, it’s a good idea to look up the techniques and colors that will work best on them. That being said, if you have enough products and experience to be offering help in the first place, you probably have enough colors in your kit to make it work. Since my mom’s sister was the lovely model, I took small samples of all my mom’s foundations and concealers because they were going to be way closer than mine.

Tip Four: If you are running late and you haven’t had time to do your own hair or makeup, throw a little heat via a hot tool or hair dryer onto your hair and pin it up into old school pin curls. Spray it with something light and wrap it in a scarf to keep it in place. When you’re ready to do your hair, take it out and it will either have a nice shape or it won’t. If it does, you’re all set and if it doesn’t, throw a couple of small braids in and bring it up into a high bun. As for your face, take three minutes and layer moisturizer, wait a minute, primer, wait a minute and finally, a nice even coat of foundation. Do a quick conceal on under eyes and blemishes. You already have a bag packed full of products so you will be fine when it comes time to do everything else.

Tip Five: Ask your model to stick a metal spoon in the freezer and when you get there, apply her eye cream with the frozen spoon. It provides an immediate lifting and tightening effect and feels great. You can also stick a cotton ball in a cup of coffee and dab some of that gooood caffeine on. Same deal. Maybe feels a little less nice.

*My aunt’s photographer took a bunch of pictures of the getting-ready process so if those ever surface, I will share them on here. Happy Weekend!

Five Things I Have and You Need

I was inspired by the lovely Maria of Kitchen/Closet/Heart and her post on getting ready for Fashion Week to talk about a few of my must-have products for life. For living life in a comfortable way. For the purpose of not being the girl who is limping around because of heel blisters and also has  a milk foam stain on her blouse AND bad hair. Like, pick one.

1.)    Band-Aid Friction Block Stick

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I once spent the entire first month of an internship in London’s swanky Financial District (City, for the Brits) walking around with surgical sized bandages on my heels in a really misguided attempt to pad my feet for the 10 block commute that I clearly needed to do in heels. Eventually my feet toughened up (or my shoes softened up) and I stopped getting weird looks in the elevator for my “accessories.” This first year of work was no better. I KILLED my feet with a few days of ill-placed new shoe straps and spent the better part of an hour scouring DSW for a shoe that basically touched my foot nowhere. I eventually landed on an extremely soft Steve Madden flat that was perfect for all my blisters but did nothing in the way of padding my foot for the cement. Oh man, this has turned into such a long boring story. Sorry, guys. BUY THIS PRODUCT. I have been using it religiously since I had to phase out stockings, somewhere around March and I haven’t had a single blister or cut. I’ve even applied it mid-commute to a spot I missed that was getting irritated by some broken raffia (hygienic) and it was perfect by the time I got home! I have broken in approximately 5 new shoes with this baby and even a pair of Jack Rogers flats that I thought were going to be the death of me. It might not change your life but it also might. You’re welcome.

2.)    Tide To Go Stain Eraser

I am a person who can wear a white outfit and not attract spills like a red wine magnet but I am also notorious, on a normal day, for ending up with chocolate somewhere on my clothes. Well, it was worse when I drove to work. It’s still not great. These Tide pads are great. They are one use which is a little painful for the waste-not in me but they work so well and fit so easily into anyyyy bag (or bra).

3.)    TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo and Tangle Teezer

photo-33My sister used to RIP the shit out of her hair with a normal hairbrush. Mostly just impatience combined with  maybe less than stellar conditioning and it was actually painful to listen to. Finally, for Christmas I got her an amazing, hand-curated (by moi) hair basket, out of which she uses one thing: The Tangle Teezer. It’s a phenomenal invention and we are all converted. Do I need to explain the dry shampoo? Much to my mother’s horror, I do not wash my hair every (other) day. Four times a week is average to above average, depending on where I am. I think my hair grows faster because of it. It also holds curls and styles better because it’s  not so dry. But I use this on a regular basis and also to pump up root volume on days when my hair is done nicely.

4.)    Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

So I got a manicure this weekend and the nail aesthetician was genuinely surprised by/concerned with the broken cuticle/actual cut on my thumb. Upon her third time examining it, I tittered and said something like “ohmygod my cuticles get so dry in the summer. It’s so weird!” when I wanted to say, “GET OVER IT, SUE, AND SLAP ON SOME CUTICLE OIL.” Maybe I’m misplacing my sore-thumb rage. In any case, this stays in my bag in the hopes I find it while searching for my headphones and use some so my cuticles won’t be so angry.

5.)    Dark chocolate

What? I didn’t say they were all beauty products. I like to always have some in my bag and also, to keep a bowl in my apartment and sprinkle some Dark Hershey’s Kisses into my friend’s clutches while they use the bathroom. Actually, funny story: One of my favorite people in the entire world came over to pre-game her birthday celebration and I used the opportunity to buy an assortment of cupcakes and chocolate, as if other people besides the two of us were going to be eating everything (there were no other people eating the cupcakes, in case you were wondering.) I also took the opportunity to offload a large handful of chocolate coins that we had laying around…into her purse…”for when we get hungry later.” Well, fast forward to later and we are bopping around The Standard Beer Garden with a big group and in order to access the downstairs bathrooms, you get these little coins that you have to then return when you want to go back upstairs. Amie was at the end of the line returning her coin and when she hadn’t reappeared for five minutes, someone had to go back and find her. Turns out, she dropped the coin in her bag and was spending the five minutes filling up the bouncer’s hand with chocolate coins while she tried to find the real one. He wasn’t as amused as the rest of us.

Bliss on a Monday

Sometimes, I spend my entire workday looking forward to arriving back to my apartment, at which point I will sing loudly along to Regina Spektor while I watch Orange is the New Black for the 1100th time and fine-tune (write) a blog post.

This weekend was actually pretty low-key, which means I got a good solid chunk of time to rest and not wear makeup, which always makes my skin look great on Monday. HOWEVER, I know all too well the feeling of an eventful weekend that drained every drop of moisture and nutrition from my body and skin. There’s lots of ways to combat the remnants of those G&Ts, but one of my favorites is a good, luxurious face or eye mask. You can make one yourself, but I usually have tons of samples lying around.

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One of the most refreshing ones that I’ve used is bliss triple oxygen energizing mask. It’s actually fun because it goes on as on orange gel and immediately starts to tingle and transform into a fluffy white foam. It smells fresh and citrusy and once you rinse it off, your face feels  rejuvenated. Now all you need is a big glass of juice and maybe a salad (but probably a chicken sandwich and fries.)

Photo on 2013-06-07 at 18.04

Monday is over, people! Whew.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Alright, my beautiful girls, this is going to be a bit of a ramble but it includes some fun stories and semi-embarassing photos so I think it’s worth the scan.

Beauty is $$$$$. And after rent and cable (curse you, Time Warner!), I have maybe half a dollar sign to spend on beauty, and by beauty I mean skincare because that’s priority.

Unless you have some endless reserve of cash for lookin’ pretty, shit. adds. up. (Sorry, Mom.)

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends for help. Hair trimming (or cutting and dyeing if you’re adventurous), eyebrows, nails, makeup, etc- none of this has to be done in a salon if you are careful and smart about it/ if your friend has a steady hand.

Listen, not that we need to do what the models are doing, buuuut Into the Gloss model interviews will tell you that many of these ladies prefer the DIY beauty route, because it’s easiest when you’re traveling all the time and you have control over what is going on your face and hair. And, ok, if Miranda Kerr does her eyebrows at home, well, it doesn’t give me the urge to run out and seek Anastasia.

Here are a couple of photo stories to illustrate to you that this is a working model and it saves you SO much money, as proven by my life experience. In conclusion: GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS.

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This is one of my good friends from college- I was living with her twin sister for my senior year- who apart from being a beautiful person, is a brilliant hairdresser and killer at doing other people’s makeup. Basically, you’d have to hate her if she wasn’t so damn sweet. Anyway, it quickly became a pre-going out routine for her to come over after class, we’d whip up some classy blender drinks and she would do my makeup while I spent 2 hours narrowing down which black tank top to wear. I learned so many good tips from her and when I had to do my own makeup, I was disgruntled. Anywaaay, fast forward to me moving back to NYC, having an event to go to and calling this amazing lady, who showed up with hair tools and makeup (see below), a killer attitude and the skills to make me look waaaay better than I could ever make myself look. I’m not saying that any of your friend will be as accommodating and talented as mine, but if you do have someone who wields a mean eyeshadow brush, a bottle of Skinnygirl Margarita goes a long way, ookkkk?

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Hotel Room Turned Salon. You fancy, huh??

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This is me as a stand-in hairdresser for my darling friend Kelsey. We were living in Portland, OR on teeny tiny budgets so we did what we could do look groomed and pretty. Fortunately for both of us, Kelsey’s hair didn’t take a large (or even medium) amount of skill to look nice. I am a lot of things but patient and good at hair, I am not. Although I did take my job seriously and put in some good research via YouTube so basically I knocked it out of the park and should open my own salon. photo

 

This is my friend Danielle. She happens to have a grandmother who is a genius beautician as well as eyebrows that defy any kind of normal fairness rules. Like, just pretend you pencilled them in for my sake, okay? No one should have eyebrows that are that nice naturally. She also happens to be a very talented actress (see her Pepsi commercial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlSxA5mF7-Y&feature=player_embedded), which is why this picture is actually a still from the addicting app 8mm. Anyway, I digress. She came over this weekend to hang out for a bit, I asked her opinion on my eyebrows and she offered to do them. I flatly refused (I’d been growing them out for months and planning to go to Sonia in NYC at the whopping cost of $80 when I’d saved enough) but then I thought of all the other things I could use the $80 for and relented. Low and behold, she was incredibly thoughtful and careful about it and she did a beeaauutiful job. Last time I ever go to an eyebrow salon and I mean that!

You may not think you have friends that will be helpful here but take a second look around! Your co-worker with the amazing eyeshadow may be totally into helping you out pre-work Christmas party. Your neighbor two doors down who works in a hair salon may be amenable to giving you a trim for a bottle of wine and a Real Housewives viewing party. You’ll never know until you ask.

How do you use your friends for/ help them with beauty fixes? The ramblier the answer, the better I like it. Happy Monday y’all!

Hot Hair

And by hot, I do mean temperature wise. This post is going to be helpful if you use the NYC subway to commute, but I’m sure it will work if you spend 20 or more minutes in the heat on your way home/out.

Hair is not my forte, so trust me, if I have a hair tip, it will be minimal effort and maximum results.

This is my jam when it’s BLAZING hot outside. It presents the impression that I take time to do my hair.

Just before you leave work, pin your hair into two buns in the back of your head, like so:

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Here’s how I pin these: I pull my hair back loosely and twist it into a bun shape. Then, I take a closed bobby pin and jam it in halfway at a 90 degree angle away from the bottom of the bun. Once it is in halfway, I do kind of a scooping motion and push it into the center of the bun at the complete opposite angle. You should feel this grip the hair and you will only need four or five pins for the bun to be completely secure. The pins will also leave no marks or bends in the hair if they are in this way. Is this too confusing a description? If someone would prefer a video, I’m happy to do that. Let me know!

So, you’re leaving work. You stop in the bathroom, pin your hair up and go. Throw a little hairspray if you have it. Now, when you get where you are going, pop into the bathroom and unpin your hair and shake it out. It should look something like this: IMG_2122

In this picture story, I ended up having a little more time than I thought so I went home, went HAM with my thermal spring water spray and sat in front of the air conditioner until I had to unpin my hair and go.

The fun part of all of this is that while you are miserably sweating on the subway, you can just imagine your hair heating up into gentle curls that you will toss around while you sip down a frosty mojito.