Saturday, March 29, 2014

Primp: The Diagonal French Tip Tutorial

A French manicure is always classic but maybe a little too tame in the nail art culture of today.  With spring fast approaching, here's a colorful twist on the French.  Straight from the runways, this is a simple look you can re-create at home.


What you need:
-neutral base color
-pop of color
-tape or striping tape
-top coat

1. Paint a base color in a neutral tone ( I used OPI "mimosa for mr. and mrs.) Be sure to let this layer dry completely .  
2. Use tape to section off a diagonal section  I used striping tape, but you can easily use regular Scotch tape.
3.  Paint over the exposed nail in your bright shade (I used OPI "wacky laki") While the paint is still wet, carefully peel off the tape.
4.  Be sure to add a top coat to tie the layers together and add shine.

I love the way that neutrals and a bright color look together, but you can mix and match any colors you'd like.  Have fun!

Mood Board: Rainy Days

Boots: J. Crew // Sweater: Madewell // Field Jacket: J. Crew // Umbrella: J. Crew // Purse: vintage

A rainy Saturday calls for rain boots (in red, of course) and waxed cotton.  Hope the sun makes an appearance soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lookbook: Trench Twist

Trench: Madewell // Blouse: Madewell // Denim Jacket: J. Crew // Jeans: Madewell // Purse: J. Crew // Scarf: Madewell // Shoes: DV by Dolce Vita

Brunching in the DUMBO district of Brooklyn is everything you would think it would be.  The coffee is to die for and there is no better place for people-watching. The cobblestone streets and the spectacular views make for a pretty nice backdrop (hello there, Manhattan Bridge).  Lots of layers and comfy denim seemed the way to go for a windy day in the city.

Rob was invited by GQ to stop by the Nothern Grade pop-up shop, a marketplace that features American-made goods.  It was really great to meet the people behind these brands and see just how much passion they bring into what they do.  Check out Dressed to Ill to learn more!  I did learn later that I missed Jenna Lyons by 30 mins.  I'm still a little bitter.

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles from Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar

GQ x Northern Grade

Manhattan Bridge, photo by Rob

Matching Maple Shay lattes from Brooklyn Roasting Co.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Hair Cuff Pony

Effortless Beauty--the hair cuff pony

I'm always on the hunt for time saving ideas, especially when it comes to my morning routine.  I'm the kind of person that hits snooze (repeatedly) and that means I almost never ever have time to run a comb through my hair.  Instead of showing up to work in a frizzy mess, I've adopted a few five minute hairstyles that fit in to my hectic mornings.

Now I heard a whisper that scrunchies were making a comeback, but I don't believe it.  I'm opting for metallic accessories for my ponytail--this gold cuff fits the bill.  Don't underestimate the power of the pony!  It's the most effective way to get all the hair off the shoulders and out of the face.  I recently watched this video by Kaley from "letsmakeitup1" and thought it perfectly summarized how to get a perky ponytail.  Adding a simple hair cuff will fool everyone into thinking that you've got it all together and didn't just roll out of bed.  It's as easy as 1-2-3--literally.

Here's how:
1.  I started with second day hair so it's still got a little curl for the day before.  I also tease it just a little to add some volume at the crown.  Gather all the hair up, smoothing away any bumps, and secure it with a regular hair tie somewhat in the middle.  Low ponytails also work for this look but avoid going too high on your head.  The hair cuff is hinged and opens up to fit around the base of your ponytail.  Pull it tight to make sure it will stay put.

2.  Spray down any bits and bobs that may be sticking out.  Of course if you've got curly or wavy hair you can work that in and leave out this step for a messier boho version.

3. Et voila! You can walk out of the house with much confidence and no one will ever suspect just how effortless it was.

P.S. I got my hair cuff here.   

Stay tuned for more five minute hairstyles coming your way.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

EAT: Nutella Chocolate

There is no better way to celebrate the first day of spring then a homemade batch of Nutella Chocolate.  I could probably devote an entire blog to just Nutella recipes (now there's an idea) since I've done my fair share of experimenting with this magical ingredient.  There was the Nutella cheesecake, the Nutella latte, the spoonful of Nutella...

Clearly, I have problem.  

And here's a simple way to follow in my footsteps! You'll need some fancy equipment for this one--a chocolate mold.  Just kidding, it's less than $5 bucks at most places (I got mine here) and super easy to use.

Let's get started. 


You will need:
--chocolate mold
--1/2 to 1 cup of Nutella (or other hazlenut spread)
--chopped nuts, berries, etc

  1. Microwave the Nutella in a separate bowl until it is easy to work with, about a minute or two.
  2. Carefully spoon the melted Nutella into the chocolate molds and be sure not to overfill.  Just enough to fill it in.
  3. You can add nuts or berries, whatever you like with your chocolate.
  4. Here's where things may get messy.  To ensure that the mixture fits the mold completely and give you a flat bottom, you'll need to scrape the chocolate.  I used a rubber spatula but in hind sight, I could have used a metal something or other for a cleaner result.
  5. Refrigerate until completely solid.  For Nutella, this may be as long as overnight.  If you're in a hurry, replacing half the Nutella with melted chocolate with result in a firmer candy so it will set up much quicker.  Be sure to store these in an airtight container in the fridge!
These would look wonderful in little cellophane bags or cute boxes as a gift item. It's easy to make bunch and send them out.  I absolutely love getting homemade goodies!

Hope this sounded as easy as it looked.  Enjoy this sunny spring day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lookbook: Sunny Sunday's

Sweater: J. Crew Men's // Denim: Express // Necklace: F21 // Purse: Coach // Boots: DV by Dolce Vita

I'm a sucker for elbow patches! And gloriously sunny Sunday's.  
This is the life.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lookbook: The Camel Peacoat

Coat:  Express // Sweater: Loft // Scarf: South Moon Under // Pants: Express // Shoes: DV by Dolce Vita // Purse: J. Crew

Through all the cold and bitter winters, I've found peacoats to be my go-to--especially to cover up what I'm wearing underneath if it isn't so chic (a.k.a. lazy Monday's).  This camel colored coat is a few years old but timeless enough to reserve its spot winter after winter.  Coats, in general, are expensive items so I don't mind dishing out the money as long as I get my use out of it.  I'm sure you'll be seeing this later this year as well.

Product Review: Formula X for Sephora Nail Polish System

Guys, we have to talk about these Formula X polishes. Do yourself a favor and take a trip to your local Sephora store.  Locate the nail polish display and stand in awe at the sheer magnitude of choices, all organized according to color.  It's pretty incredible.  Mint green?  No problem, until you realize that there's about 5 different mint greens, in varying shades of blue or green or different finishes.  I picked up "The System", which included a cleanser, base coat, top coat and your choice of one shade, and two additional shades.


Step 1.  Cleanser
Before applying the base coat, it's best to have a clean surface.  While I like the idea in theory, it was sort of an unnecessary product since it sort of smelled and felt like a nail polish remover to me.  I suppose you could just get the same effect with whatever you have on hand.  I did it a few times with and without and did not notice a big different either way.

Step 2. Base Coat
This base coat is a good primer to adhere the polish for longer lasting manicures.  I like that it is super sticky.  I don't like that it is a pretty thick formula.  In my experience, the thinner you apply, the longer it will last on the nail.  I've had it for a few months and I do feel like it's the type that will get gloop-y before you're able to finish it.  But it gets the job done and is a worthwhile step.

Step 3. Nail Polish
Okay, here's where this stuff shines (literally).  This could be the best formula of nail polishes I've ever tried.  ALL THREE shades I got share similar qualities--smooth, opaque, high shine, chip resistant. You can get away with one coat easily and the shine is great!  I went easily 6-7 days with very minimal chipping, which for me (someone who works with their hands regularly) is unheard of.  I will definitely pick up some more shades.

Step 4. Top Coat
I like this stuff--it's pretty basic and delivers a very glossy finish. I do think that the real star is the polish, but the top coat works well with it and it dries quickly.  It does have the typical problems that a lot of top coats have.  It shrinks around the edges once it's dry so you have that noticeable edge.  It is also on the thicker side and sometimes doesn't apply too smoothly in one coat.  I will continue to use this and finish it up but will probably revert back to my trusty "Out the Door" top coat.

(top to bottom)
Harmonics: deep lilac
 Potent: carnation pink
Brain Power: cappuccino tan

Formula X is exclusively available at Sephora.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lookbook: In Shape

Dress: F21 // Blazer: Madewell // Boots:  Steve Madden // Purse: Coach

I didn't care much for geometry back in school and I couldn't tell you an isosceles from a scalene, but a geometric print dress made perfect sense.  Now if only I could wear it sans the tights and boots and opt for sandals instead.  Some day soon...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lookbook: Shoulder On

Dress:  Loft // Jacket: c/o Aeropostale // Purse: J. Crew // Necklace: Bauble Bar // Boots: DV by Dolce Vita

Is it spring yet? No? "Shouldering" on in this embellished sweater dress--the moody colors are anti-spring but I guess maybe I am feeling a little down in the dumps about this weather.  My best friend would try to tell me how the winter affects her mood and I wrote it off as nonsense but I'm starting to feel like she's on to something.  A quick Google search will tell you it's called Seasonal Affective Disorder and that it affects 25 million Americans, mostly women.  I feel like this explains ALOT--from the sugar and carb cravings to the serious lack of energy.  Apparently, the lack of light in wintertime can result in lower levels of serotonin, the mood-enhancing chemical that regulates hunger and the feeling of well-being.

Here's a few tips to help combat the symptoms: 
  • Subject yourself to bright indoor light. This is the touchstone of seasonal affective disorder treatment. Many pricey lights are available. Ross says a 300 watt bulb within three feet for 20 minutes three times a day can help, although the boost in serotonin may be temporary. 
  • Exercise. This is very hard to do when caught up in the seasonal affective disorder cycle. But if you can force yourself to start, 15 to 20 minutes of dancing to the radio or fast walking can reduce a sweet tooth and improve mood.
  • Eat wisely. This means, pushing away the leftover cake and eating sensible carbs to stimulate serotonin. Sweets and simple carbs, like white rice and white bread, quickly raise blood sugar, flood you with insulin, and then drop you in a hole. Eating wisely also means watching the caffeine, which suppresses serotonin. 
  • Boost other hormones! Oxytocin is another feel good hormone often called the “cuddle hormone”. Oxytocin is released when we feel love, trust and comfort. It can be even more powerful than serotonin. If you need a lift, remember the power of simply spending time with your significant other or family members and friends.
Source: WebMD
I know this has very little to do with fashion but the truth is if I don't feel good internally about myself, it affects all the other areas of my life, including my creative energy in fashion and blogging.  I know I personally need to work on being more active and decreasing my caffeine intake.   I hope you find this helpful if you're feeling the least bit down about your local weather!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Primp: February Favorites

This past month yielded some great beauty buys and wanted to spotlight the products that I've been reaching for all month long.  A new favorite foundation (this is big, guys!) and lots of rosy hues from recent spring launches.  Scroll through for mini reviews, swatches and links!

I've raved about a few Hourglass products in the past, especially the ambient lighting powders so I knew I had to pick up the new ambient lighting blushes once they hit the stand.  The premise of the blushes are that they are infused with their infamous lighting powders, making them a radiant blush with undetectable shimmer.  I swatched them all in the store and they are absolutely beautiful.  But I only allowed myself to buy one so I went with "Mood Exposure".  It's described as a soft plum blush infused with Mood light.  It should be noted that these are handmade so no two are exactly alike.  The finish is ahhhhh-mazing!  I don't consider blush a major component in my make-up (I much prefer bronzer) but this is a game changer.  It's very smooth and pigmented and leaves your cheeks looking perfectly rosy and healthy.

Okay, forget everything you've ever known about foundations.  THIS stuff is hands down the best.  I thought my other foundations were holy grail material in terms of longevity and staying power--nope, this one blows them out of the water.  I picked this up on a whim and because the shade "Intensity 4" looked to be a good yellow-toned shade.  My life's mission, and I don't say that lightly, was to find a long lasting foundation that stayed matte without a setting powder.  I can 100% say that this does not get shiny on me throughout the day.  It stays put like no one's business.  It is a thicker formula but it never looks cake-y.        

This is a great staple product if you're looking for something that is moisturizing, with a hint of glossy color.  Just an everyday color in "Rosewood" it leaves my lips hydrated for the remainder of the cold weather and it's sheer so I can throw it in my purse and re-apply without a mirror.  It's a gel consistency that smells like candy with a 3D shimmer, that claims to make your lips look fuller. 

This long lasting cream to powder blush is wonderful in texture.  It's very smooth and pigmented, without being too bold.  You can blend it out to a sheer hint of color but you need to work quickly because once it sets, it won't move.  I settled for "Rosewood" again, it dusty rose pink that works well with my olive skin.  Many cream blushes wear off easily or dry out on the skin--this one has worked well for me and little goes along way.

Forever21 Nail Polish (similar)
This is pretty random, but I picked up a set of neutral nail polishes from Forever 21 and was really impressed by the formula.  This shade is an off-white creme with a subtle sheen.  I meant to photograph it but did not get a chance.  It applies very smoothly and you can get away with one coat.  All the polishes in this set were great, especially for the price.

Chloe Rollerball Perfume
I rarely change my perfume as I'm extremely picky and also, allergies make it impossible to wear much during pollen season.  I was looking for a new scent and gravitated towards the pretty packaging of the Chloe section.  This mainly floral scent is not something I would usually try, but I liked that it had base notes of something woodsy.  I had to go with the rollerball before I could commit to the full size.  I'm really enjoying the fresh scent!  I feel like through out the day it changes with my natural body chemistry into something that is more warm and ultimately, more like what I would wear.  While I haven't decided if this is the one for me yet, I've been using this all month long and love catching a whiff of it on my wrists.

 Hope everyone had a great February!  What have you been loving this month?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lookbook: Sweatshirt Chic

Sweatshirt: Madewell // Denim: c/o Aeropostale // Purse: Kate Spade // Boots: DV by Dolce Vita

Typography and sweats?  Yes, please.  I love graphic prints and the playful French phrase.  It's no surprise that this is a repeat offender off-camera as well!

Be sure to check out Forever 21 and Old Navy for similar pieces for less--I've been seeing this trend everywhere.