Blog Archives

Everyday Essentials: Must-Have Neutrals

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Everyday makeup that makes your daily routine quick and effortless begins with neutral eyes.

Neutral Eyeshadows do not have to be boring. Sure they can contour and accentuate the eyes for a natural-look. But they can also enhance any smokey eye, hide flaws and/or be used to contour and highlight the face, fill-in brows and brighten the under-eye.

Here are a few of my must-haves:

MAC – Brule

Chanel – Lotus

Urban Decay – Naked

MAC – Uninterrupted

NARS – Bali

Bobbi Brown – Grey

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Nail Jelly: American Apparel Sheer Nail Lacquer

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American Apparel’s “Sheer” Nail Lacquer collection offers six beautifully bold glosses named after beloved California beaches. While the shades are uber vivid, they are sheer enough to layer, mix and match.

Moonlight Beach: royal blue

Redondo Beach: sky blue

Pacific Beach: turquoise

Zuma Beach: green/chartreuse

Manhattan Beach: fiery coral

Summerland Beach: light peach

The formula is thin but very pigmented. In about three coats – you can get full coverage. However, I love the one-two coats for a sheer jelly-like effect and sheer wash of color. Drying time is quick with a glossy finish. The formula has an average lifespan… a couple days – but chips are easily corrected with a brush-over as this polish is great for layering.

The new sheer lacquers are cruelty-free and available in retail American Apparel stores or online here.

Five Favorites: Wedge Espadrille Sandals

ImageThe wedge espadrille is the perfect compliment to summer. Comfortable and versatile, these sandals provide the hight needed paired with comfort. The rope detailing couples well with casual and dressy styles and remains durable year after year. Available in different styles and colors, the platform wedges will flatter all summer long. Here are a five favorites for summer:

Topshop: Whispered Sandal – $84.00

Michael Kors: Giovanna Wedge Sandal – $134.95

Jimmy Choo: Pallis Wedge Sandal – $450.00

Delman: Trish Sandal– $250.00

Dolce Vita (DV): Tarry Sandal – $59.60

Unrequited Love: Tassel Jewelry

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A more playful take on statement jewelry has been popping up in the form of swingy tassel earrings, bracelets and necklaces. The global-inspired look is available in a multitude of colors, lengths and styles. From colorful bracelets and shoulder-grazing danglers to simple rope pendants, finding a piece of tassel jewelry to fit your style and budget is a cinch. Here are a few favorites.

1. Isabel Marant: Asphalt Cowboy Necklace: $342.00

2. Max & Chloe: Ali NY Silver Traveler Tassel Earrings: $60.00

3. Lucy Folk: Jasmine Flower Braided Bracelets: $72.00

4. Max & Chloe: Ali NY Gold City Tassel Belcher Bracelet: $70.00

5. J.Crew: Double-Tassel Necklace: $62.00

Spring Shoe: Single Strap

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Showcased in many Spring and Fall runways is the single strap heel. Also known as the ankle strap, these shoes are classic, simple and chic.

The ankle strap heel can be found in a multitude of variations. From chunky heels to ornate details, this strappy heel is super versatile and wearable.

I love the simplicity of the single strap. Even in bold and bright colors, the design is classic. This shoe can be worn with everything. Great when wanting to show-off some leg, the small detail makes any pair of shoes slightly more flattering. The strap draws attention to the ankle, the thinnest part of the leg. Thinner = longer in this equation.

Available in a wide array of colors and styles, here are a few of my favorite single strap heels:

Alexander Wang ~ Antonia Sandal: $495.00

Manolo Blahnik ~ Chaos Cuff Sandal: $695.00

Prabal Gurung for Target ~ Ankle Strap Pump: $39.99

ASOS ~ Hollywood Heeled Sandals: $69.83

Casual Khaki: The Boyfriend Chino

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A great alternative to jeans is the slouchy boyfriend chino. This versatile style pant lives in a casual environment but with a few fancy basics can also be spruced up.

I love these pants ‘banged-up’ a bit. With some distress, worn spots and/or small holes – they look ‘lived-in’ and not as stiff/starchy.

Casual pairings are a cinch, as you can wear with anything – similar to denim. Dress-up your boyfriend chinos with fancy basics: beaded top, black blazer, sky-high pump.

Available in all colors and prints (camo!), here are a few favorites:

AG Adriano Goldschmied ~ Cropped Boyfriend Khaki Pants: $205.00

Vince ~ Boyfriend Trousers: $195.00

Current/Elliott ~ ‘The Buddy’ Print Twill Trousers: $238.00

Rag and Bone ~ Portobello Pants: $176.00

Old Navy ~ Boyfriend Skinny Khakis: $29.94

Functional Fashion: Pencil Skirt

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The most versatile of the skirt family, the pencil can be serious at work or flirty in the evening. Available in a myriad of textures, patterns and colors, the pencil skirt is a functional wardrobe essential.

Work: Pair your pencil skirt with a dress shirt, button-up, silk blouse or plain/printed cardigan and cami.

Evening: Dress-up your pencil skirt with a simple tank or cami, killer shoes and accessories.

Weekend: Depending on the material and texture of your pencil skirt, try adding some Chuck Taylors or sandals, a plain tee and jean jacket.

A pencil skirt can be very figure-flattering. For additional slimming properties – look for skirts with color-blocking panels on the sides. These panels – especially when black – whittle the curves significantly.

Burberry London ~ Stretch-Twill Peplum Skirt: $495.00

Alice + Olivia ~ Sarah Suede Pencil Skirt: $298.50 (sale)

J.Crew ~ No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Geometric Print: $148.00

Vince ~ Leather Pencil Skirt: $1050.00

White House | Black Market ~ Colorblock Ponte Pencil Skirt: $49.99 (sale)

Wardrobe Staple: Denim Jacket

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The denim jacket is an easy piece to grab on your way out the door. Versatile and basic, the denim jacket will transition from season to season with effortless style.

The denim jacket is no longer limited to different washes of blue denim. The trend has evolved into prints, colors, proportions and textures. Available in cropped, leather, tweed and jersey detailing, fur, moto style, western style, stud and spike embellishments, floral and leopard print the design elements are endless.

Pair your denim topper with everything from maxi dresses to leather pants. Or wear as a layering piece under a blazer or over a hooded sweatshirt. Whatever style you choose from the basic blue to fancy floral, the denim jacket will always be a wardrobe staple.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Current/Elliott ~ ‘The Snap’ Stretch Denim Jacket: $274.00

Haute Hippie ~ Washed Floral Denim Jacket: $285.00

Rag and Bone ~ Leather Sleeve Jean Jacket: $495.00

Urban Outfitters ~ Silence & Noise Cropped Denim Moto Jacket: $79.00

By Zoe ~ Mickey Jacket: $172.00 (sale)

Summer Travel: Beauty Essentials

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Whether it’s a weekend road trip or a long-haul to an exotic locale, there is nothing like a summer vacation. Look your best while traveling with these beauty essentials:

Oxylent Oxygenating Multivitamin Drink: The effervescent multivitamin drink is formulated with the highest quality of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and electrolytes. Perfect for travel, the convenient packets are easily transported, so you can drink it anytime, anywhere – just add water. It is great for keeping the immune system in peak condition; a low calorie choice before or after working out; a true friend to the outdoor enthusiast; an easy-to-use daily multivitamin; or a wonderful late afternoon pick-me-up at work. Oxylent not only offers a unique effervescent delivery system, but unlike most, all of the formulas are both sugar and calorie free. Oxylent’s formulas do not contain any gluten, caffeine, lactose, artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.

Kerstin Florian Rehydrating Neroli Water: This uplifting aromatherapy water instantly refreshes and hydrates the skin. Made from the bitter orange blossom, this facial spray soothes and hydrates the skin. The moment your face feels tight, one spritz will instantly hydrate and refresh the skin. Use as a toner after cleansing the face or as a body spray after showering. Or keep cool in the refrigerator and spray on hot, humid days. Perfect for après beach.

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum: This light yet powerful serum is both a moisturizer and a broad-spectrum SPF 30. It fights the signs of premature aging – think fine lines and sunspots – and prevents future photo-damage from UV rays. Built for year-round use, this serum is amazingly lightweight and comfortable. Supergoop’s unique Hydrovotin 24 complex works with the skin’s own moisture mechanisms to increase hydration levels, while vitamins E and B5 heal past damage. It absorbs both UVA rays that lead to premature aging and UVB rays that cause sunburn. The top-of-the-line “PA +++” rating means the formula meets the highest standards for sun protection.  Also paraben and fragrance-free—just what the doctor ordered for sensitive skin.

Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil: Formulated with an aromatic blend of 11 essential oils, this opulent oil relies on flowers and botanicals for their calming and illuminating properties. A staple of many top pros and makeup artists, this oil can be used to take makeup off, to moisturize and as a massage oil (expensive massage oil?). Add a couple drops to foundation to create a dewy finish or pat on the cheekbones and undereyes for a beautiful, fresh glow. Just a few drops will make your skin look radiant. Use as an alternate or supplement to your moisturizer and apply whenever your face needs a pick-me-up.

Dior Hydra Life BB Cream: READ FULL REVIEW: HERE

Bobbi Brown Bronzer/Blush Duo: Inspired by the look of “skin bathed in afternoon light,” this dynamic duo creates healthy-looking skin. On one side, Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Bahama Brown packs a blend of sheer powder and micro pearls (for a seamlessly glowing finish all over the face). The other side boasts Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush in Pink Peony, the perfect way to add a pop of color to the apples of cheeks. Great for travel, this duo eliminates bulk and the need for too many face products. Tip: Sweep bronzer over eyelids for instant contour.

MAC Bare Study Paint Pot: This multi-purpose paint pot is perfect for travel. Bare Study is a metallic nude/champagne cream eye shadow that can be used as a primer, eye shadow and/or highlighter. Sweep onto the eyelid before applying a powder shade to ensure longevity. For highlighting, pat product on the cheekbones, brow bone, cupid bow and décolletage for subtle illumination. The soft, light-reflecting pearl finish will brighten any area.

Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15 in Hue 30G: Lip balm with SPF is a must while traveling. Lips are often neglected and can suffer the same effects of the sun just as much as any other part of the body. Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15 offers protection, relief and color. Lip products like gloss, stains or lipsticks can attract the sun with their shiny finish. This formula combines a sheer wash of color with UVA and UVB protection. Hue 30G is a beautiful light golden color with peach undertones.

Blinc Mascara: I have a love/hate relationship with waterproof mascara. While most formulas do last all day, they are a pain to remove. Blinc Mascara is a “tubing” mascara. It uses a copolymer-based formula to create little tubes around each one of your lashes preventing flaking, running or smudging. The formula is waterproof, sweat-proof and won’t irritate even the most sensitive of eyes so you can wear it all day without worrying about touch-ups. At the end of the day, use a damp washcloth to gently dislodge the tubes. They’ll slide off with just a little pressure.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: READ FULL REVIEW: HERE

Adara Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for Body & Face: Organic and biologically pure, Adara Virgin Coconut Oil is a gorgeous multi-tasking body and hair oil. Great for travel, coconut oil solidifies when temperatures are below 76 degrees – this makes it wonderful to pack and not worry about leaking. Adara Virgin Coconut Oil is available in five scented oils and travel-size, Oriental Jasmine, Soothing Lavender, Heavenly Peach, Innocent Rose, and Refreshing Green Tea. (Favorite: Jasmine) READ MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS & USES OF COCONUT OIL: HERE

Flo Refillable Perfume Atomizer: Packing a big glass perfume bottle can be inconvenient and cumbersome. Tote your favorite fragrance wherever you go with the Refillable Perfume Atomizer by FLO. This ingenious gadget allows you to carry your perfume in an easy-to-use, compact atomizer. The modern design enables fast and efficient refilling without a funnel – preventing any danger of spilling a single drop of your expensive perfume. Suitable for all types of perfumes, this atomizer holds up to 77 sprays. Perfect for a purse, clutch, beach bag or travel bag, never leave home without your favorite fragrance again.

Kate Spade Cosmetic Bag – Garance Dore Davie

Shop Your Closet: Beach Cover-Up

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Cover-ups keep you comfortable and stylish on the beach. If you do not want to bare all in swimwear, throw on a simple piece for a walk on the beach, dining al fresco or party/BBQ. You can invest in items created specifically as a cover-up, or find pieces in your closet that serve double duty on the beach.

As the sun goes down and it starts to get chilly, cover-up with a light oversized or cropped knit sweater or chambray shirt. The knit sweater will keep you warm and cozy with effortless style. The chambray shirt looks easy breezy worn open or for a bit more drama tie-up the ends.

For situations where you might need a bit more coverage: dining al fresco/outdoor pool party/beach BBQ, cover-up with a simple slip dress or tunic. These lightweight pieces are easy to slip-on over your swimsuit, and if the material happens to get wet, it will dry quickly. Spice it up a bit with some unexpected accessories that wouldn’t normally be worn in such a casual style: statement necklace, bold and vibrant earrings or stacked multi-textured bracelets.

Wraps are the most versatile way to cover-up your swimsuit. Usually made of a lightweight fabric, wraps come in solid colors and a variety of bright prints. Scour your closet for your favorite lightweight scarf. These are great alternatives for wraps and available in a wider variety of prints, patterns and colors. Simply wrap the scarf around your waist for a skirt cover-up or transform into a strapless tube dress by wrapping it like a towel. Safety pin to secure.

Repurpose these pieces found in your closet for a great day at the beach:

Brandy Melville ~ Kayla Sweater: $60.00

Calypso St. Barth ~ Castaway Cotton Tunic: $99.00 (sale)

T by Alexander Wang ~ Matte Jersey Crossback Maxi: $156.00

Gap ~ 1968 Chambray Tunic: $54.95

Juicy Couture ~ Chevron Striped Scarf: $23.40 (sale)

Bewitching Baubles: Bib Necklace

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Make a statement this season with a bright bib. A bib necklace combines layers of intricate beads and jewels strung across the collar bone, high on the neck. Bibs can incorporate many materials and textures to create a bold, multi-layered, eye-catching piece.

These colorful, chunky necklaces easily enhance any outfit while still remaining elegant. Pair with simple tees or tanks to effortlessly renew a tired outfit. Or wear with your favorite, “worn a million times” dress for a new and fresh look.

Available in all shapes, colors and sizes, a bib necklace is a great piece to have on-hand when an outfit feels a bit dull. Here are a few of my favorite bewitching baubles:

BaubleBar ~ Summer Princesse: $38.00

Adia Kibur ~ Short Neon Stone Necklace: $54.00

Zara ~ Strand Necklace in Shiny Golden Colors: $25.90

J.Crew ~ Cabochon Fan Necklace: $150.00

Ann Taylor ~ Sunburst Necklace: $59.99

Kate Spade ~ Painted Jewels Necklace: $198.00

Neutral Duo: NARS Kalahari

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NARS Eyeshadow Duos are long-wearing and crease-resistant. They are beautifully pigmented and creamy to the touch. The Duos are available in a myriad of colors and textures and are always interestingly and uniquely paired.

While scouring NARS Eyeshadows, it is easy to focus primarily on the unusual bright colors. The neutral duos have a hard time competing. NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Kalahari is a great neutral option. It contains two very wearable color combinations, a shimmering bronze with peach undertones and a warm brown with taupe undertones.

Kalahari is available in NARS’ permanent collection. Worn together or alone, these shades are richly pigmented and can be applied sheer or built-up for a more dramatic effect. Used wet, these shadows also double as eyeliners.

Kalahari will flatter any eye color. The warm tones look amazing on dark and light skin tone and will reflect beautifully in the summer sun.

5 under $50: Summer Dress

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Take the guess-work out of summer outfits. With the simple summer dress, one can quickly and casually throw it on all summer long.

Look for universal prints and colors. If you choose a more trendy version, i.e neons and/or bold prints, it will be more recognizable and you will not get as much wear out of it. Let the summer dress be the base of any ensemble and change it up with different pairings: jackets, scarves, layers (crop-tops/slouchy tees) and accessories. These dresses will be in your closet for numerous summers to come. Here are five favorites all under $50.00.

Volcom ~ Festivus: $45.00

Element ~ Robin Striped Dress: $44.50

BB Dakota ~ Dora Stripe Dress: $49.00 (sale)

Hive & Honey ~ Floral Blousant Dress: $39.99 (sale)

Forever 21 ~ Casual Chambray Dress: $15.50

Statement Sandals: Graphics

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From abstract florals to eye-catching ikat, summer sandals are getting graphic. Found in an overwhelming array of colors, styles, prints and patterns, complete any outfit with a bold statement sandal.

Keeping it neutral. Make these statement shoes the focal point of the ensemble by keeping the rest of the pieces neutral and/or monochromatic.

Mixing prints. Sometimes the best combinations are the ones that do not seem suitable. There are no rules here, only to look for prints and textures in complementary color families. The pieces do not have to coordinate exactly, but there should be a common theme.

Spice up your wardrobe with some vibrant graphics. Here are few of my favorite stand-out sandals.

Zara ~ Fabric Sandal: $99.90

Theodora & Callum ~ Hippie Heel: 229.99 (sale)

Loeffler Randall ~ Dita Platform Pump: $425.00

BCBGeneration ~ Hosanna: $87.99 (sale)

Alice + Olivia ~ Juliet Platform Wedge Sandal: $295.00

Cynthia Vincent ~ Naomi Aztec-Printed Platform Wedge Sandal: $197.00 (sale)

Colorblocking: Eyes/Lips

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Layering bright eye shadows, liners and lipsticks can result in a fun makeup look that’s right on trend for the season. Just like colorblocking clothes, there are a myriad of possibilities one can create with makeup as well.

There’s a much-heralded rule in beauty that if you do a bold eye, the rest of your makeup should be neutral. With colorblocking, this rule does not necessarily apply. The bright colors will play off each other and make your features pop.

Throw all traditional “rules” out the window and be creative. A lot of these looks are used in editorial or runway features, to make it wearable stick to only two areas of the face, i.e. eyes/lips, cheeks/lips. Tone down the colors and heavy-handed application for a sheer wash of color. This will create a more modern and everyday look.

5 under $50: High-Low Skirts

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A new style trend for skirts this spring/summer features a unique high-low hemline. The high-low hemline, short in the front/long in the back, is like wearing a mini-skirt and a maxi-skirt all-in-one. This playful look shows the perfect amount of skin without being too daring.

This style is uber flattering on any body shape. The asymmetric hemline creates a lengthening effect that instantly makes legs appear longer. Showing-off a little leg can be an effective way to elongate the entire frame.

Styling these skirts is simple. Depending on the color or print of the skirt, it is always safe to coordinate with pared-down basics. Try a simple tee, tank or my favorite – a slouchy grey sweatshirt top. The high-low hemline provides the perfect showcase for this season’s quintessential shoe. Show off your favorite flats, sandals, wedges or booties.

The high-low skirt is available everywhere in a multitude of colors, prints and textures. Here are 5 under $50:

Zara ~ Skirt with Asymmetric Hem: $39.90

Asos ~ River Island Heart Hi-Lo Midi Skirt: $38.27

Express ~ Hi-Lo Hem Maxi Skirt: $49.90

Forever 21 ~ Sheer Floral High-Low Skirt: $19.80

Nordstrom ~ Rubbish – Asymmetrical Circle Hem Maxi Skirt: $42.00

The Classics: Denim Shirt

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A perfect foundation to any outfit, the denim shirt is a timeless attribute to have in your collection.

Just like a trusty pair of jeans, the shirt is available in many washes and styles: dark wash, light wash, deconstructed, western style, classic style.

The denim shirt provides the perfect juxtaposition to this season’s floral dresses and skirts. It can be worn as a jacket/cover-up over these items or tucked-in for a more classic look. A great way to “casual-ize” an outfit is to pair this shirt with your favorite leather shorts or pants for a great daytime look. Or dress it up by adding a blazer or tuxedo jacket. Lastly, throw on over your bikini – for an easy summer cover-up.

The versatile denim shirt is a classic. An item that will never go out-of-style. Find one that suits your style.

Madewell ~ Wayward Jean Shirt: $88.00

Boy. by Band of Outsiders ~ Cotton-Chambray Shirt: $305.00

J.Crew ~ Denim Western Shirt: $118.00

Mango ~ Long Sleeves Denim Shirt: $54.99

Flat Frenzy: J.Crew Ballet Boutique

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J.Crew Spring/Summer 2012 launched an exquisite ballet collection “The Ballet Boutique.” The collection is filled with suede, leather and raffia designs, available in a variety of colors, textures and adorable embellishments.

The Cece design is handmade in Italy and constructed for comfort and style. Dubbed as their official “commuting shoe,” these flats have added padding, an elastic top, a shock-absorbing rubber sole and an interior wedge design for additional comfort and control. Fabric swatches, Pantone cards, art books even candy was used as inspiration to create one-of-a-kind colors.

Embrace this hot season trend without sacrificing comfort. With multiple styles and colors, and a price range of $58-$250, everyone is able to join the flat frenzy.

5 under $50: Wedges

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A warm-weather staple, wedges are comfortable, stylish and wonderfully chunky. Available in multiple textures, colors and prints at these prices you can have them all. Live on the ‘wedge’ with 5 under $50.00:

Charlotte Russe ~ Cross-Front Strappy Cork Wedge: $35.50

Charlotte Russe ~ 2-Band Wooden Wedge Sandal: $36.50

Piperlime ~ Qupid – Katrina:  $49.00

ALDO ~ Ellingwood: $35.00

Piperlime ~ Michael Antonio – Goldy: $49.00

Tailor Time: Boyfriend Blazer

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Time for Spring Cleaning. Instead of giving away staple pieces in your closet, alter them. With a small tweak, these items can be born again.

Almost everyone has a black blazer in their closet. Give this blazer new life by simply adding material to the collar. Check out your local fabric store and look at different textures and fabrics; leather, pleather, suede, jersey, corduroy, sateen, velvet. Experiment with patterns and colors, maybe opt for houndstooth or brown distressed leather. The possibilities are endless.

When altering a piece of clothing, I suggest first asking your local tailor for two quotes – with and without materials. When happy with the price and materials used – you just created a brand new blazer.

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