Even Manicures need Makeovers…..

7 Dec

Women ( and recently more & more men) have become seriously accustomed to pampering themselves bi-weekly with their routine mani + Pedi.  Women have always been expected, and arguably enjoy being 100% put together- it is true, we revel in the art of striving for perfection.  Over time having tidy and sleek nails has transformed from a necessary characteristic of our appearance to more of an accessory. Our nails are yet another optional area to show of our style.

Every month the whole family of fashion mags publish their hottest picks for Nail Polish and Celebs start trends with new and unusual colors each time they are photographed. It is clear the realm of nail art has merged with that of the fast-paced world of fashion; therefore new advances in nail polish methods and technology is a must to stay the least.

Last year I become obsessed with the “Minx” nail trend ( although I never actually got my mails “Minxed” admittedly- I’m a neutral kind of girl at heart and could never bring myself to put a Lace or leopard design on my digits).  This year though, I am completely infatuated with the latest introduction into nail polish by the industry leader,  OPI.  OPI has presented it’s new line of Soak off Gel Nail Polish, Axxium nail polish, which uses UV light to set the polish.

The benefits to gel polish versus regular old nail lacquers are impressive. Not only is the drying time practically cut in half due to the UV light- the “quick-dry” completely eliminates the possibility of dents of smudges.  I have lost track of the number of times I left the nail salon (after allowing my nails to dry well over ten minutes) and smudged my polish getting into my car of digging around in my handbag.  Moreover, gel polishes are less damaging to nails, last up to 3 weeks without chipping and the shine produced by gel polishes is brilliant.

Of course like Minx nails, gel polish will cost you a bit more than a regular manicure ( my salon offers a vast array of gel colors for $15 more). But, if you think about it the long lasting gel polish will save you a trip to the salon so it evens out; at least that’s how I justify it.

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The Art of Threading

2 Nov

Threading, the ancient method of hair removal which originated in both India and the Far/Middle East has become widely popular in Western Countries in recent years .  Not only is this technique relatively inexpensive compared to facial waxing, it is also less harmful to the skin- by gently removing hair versus peeling away and irritating top layers of skin.

Although you have the option of threading all areas of the face including but not limited to: chin, forehead and the upper lip- threading is essentially the practice of “shaping” the eyebrow using cotton thread. The thread is twisted and rolled along the surface of the skin, removing those hairs that are intertwined within the thread.  Threading your eyebrows is a better alternative to other methods for several reasons.  Unlike with tweezers or plucking, threading removes one clean, precise line of hair all at once.  Threading is less abrasive towards the skin and is ideal for those with sensitive skin or undergoing an acne treatment such as Retin-A or accutane.

Fortunately as the word spreads about threading more salons are opening. My favorite and most trusted chain, Ziba Beauty is a leading threading chain here in California.  They have flexible hours, convenient locations and they are very friendly on your wallet- an eyebrow threading session costs just $11 versus a $20 wax at an “OK” salon.

I encourage you to visit Yelp and search for a threading salon near you. Go ahead- change your entire eyebrow experience as you know it, and for less cash and better, longer-lasting results you won’t be disappointed.

Good Morning Beautiful: Steps to take before bed for a better morning

25 Oct

The importance of sleep is often placed on the back burner.  We are all guilty of wishing there were more hours in a day or even scrimping on a few hours of sleep here and there- but this not only effects us in the short run, but can produce serious health risks later down the road.

According to Harvard Health Publications, there are several aspects of our health that are affected by sleep, for instance: learning and memory, metabolism and weight, overall mood, cardiovascular health and much more.

The average adult functions best as a result of sleeping 7-8 hours each night but it is important to asses your sleep needs on an individual basis.  I know sometimes it can be extremely difficult to get an adequate night’s sleep so I wanted to let you in on a few of my secrets- early to bed early to rise is my motto and this is how I achieve that.

Incorporate a sleep mask into your routine

Whether you sleep during the daylight hours or simply have a sensitivity to light like myself a soft, 100% light blocking sleep mask will do wonders for your snooze routine.  And depending on just how fancy you want to get, you can find a sleep mask that is scented with your favorite night time aroma.

Snuggle up to a body pillow

If you are a side sleeper the extra support and stability provided by the use of a body pillow will drastically change how well you sleep in addition to how you feel in the morning. Your back, hips and neck are highly prone to pain and soreness as you sleep.  If you can’t afford a big fancy mattress the more affordable solution is a body pillow.  You can find them at almost any price range- many companies produce them like well-known mattress brand name Tempur-Pedic.

Put on your gloves


Lathering your hands up with moisturizing hand creams before bed helps keep your hands soft, smooth and looking younger but the right scented creams can actually help you sleep. Aromatherapy has been proven as a successful sleep agent and soothing scents such as lavender and chamomile help you relax and fall asleep. 

 

 

Turn on the Tunes

Soothing sounds can help you drift off into never land.  Whether its the sound of rain, waterfalls of just quiet, calm, soft sounds – music has been proven to ease us into sleep.  The iTunes store has a vast array of “sleep aid” music you can download and sync to your iPod.

Top Tech Toys: What, Where & Why to Buy.

22 Oct

In 2001 two historic events occurred in my life- I started High School and I bought my first iPod.  In the last nine years the iPod as it was introduced on October 23, 2001 has given birth to over nine generations of the iPod classic in addition to introducing the world to the iPod shuffle, the iPod mini and most recent of them all, the iPod touch.  But the iPod and other mp3 players was just the beginning.

We as a society have become accustomed to the “downloadable” and the portable. The invention of the internet ripped everything from the page- transforming paper to screen.  It was only a matter of time that technology truly change the world of literature and electronic readers have done just that.  Other tech tools such as the iPad and Blackberry’s latest en devour the PlayBook, both feature electronic reading as an option but also provide users with much more- like WiFi, apps, email etc.

ith so many options to choose from how do we even begin to decide which product is right for us? Well hopefully a little bit of info on today’s top tech toys might help you to make the right decision.

iPad

photo courtesy of Tech Trends The iPad is essentially Apple’s tablet computer.  Available with either WiFi or   WiFi +3G ( on At&t now and Verizon October 28) the iPad gives you access to surf the web, edit photos, check your email, play with apps and read entire books on a 9.7 inch (diagonal) wide screen.

BlackBerry PlayBook

The playbook is the portable tablet PC for all you Windows lovers (I say this with extreme sarcasm).  The Playbook, which is set to release in early 2011 will feature multitasking, web surfing and all the bells and whistles you would expect.  And as much as it pains me to say it there is one specific feature on the tablet the iPad simply can’t compete with- that’s right, a freaking camera!  And not just any plain old camera, it also shoots HD video and is compatible for video conferencing.

Kindle

For those of us who simply love to read and like the convenience and ability to carry 3,500 books at all times the Kindle is your best bet.  Now available with WiFi and even 3G the Amazon Kindle is a book worm’s dream.  And with book prices as low as $9.99 its not only lighter than a paperback but possibly even cheaper.

 

 

 

FLO TV


Who would have thought that Plasma and LCD TVs, HDTV and TV screens less than 1″ wide would be merely a precursor to an even more brilliant invention in television- mobile television.  It’s one thing to rent or buy TV shows to watch on your phone through iTunes but live television? Ever wished you could just catch the game on the train ride home instead of waiting to watch in on your DVR? Well now you can thank to FLO TV.  Provided through our nation’s top two cell phone carriers Verizon and AT&T, you can add unlimited FLO usage to your mobile phone for less than ten bucks a month.



Introducing…… The Next Big Thing in Fashion

21 Oct

Being a huge fan of fashion I tend to take notice when people begin to place their mark on this industry. Fashion can indeed be a brutal world and I have always admired and respected those who have the courage to face it.

As a creative person I am filled with excitement when I see someone reaching for the stars and striving to achieve their passion and a dear friend of mine, Van Hoang is doing just that. Upon her completion of a fashion degree from O’More College of Design she set out to make her dreams a reality.  Her clothing line simply deemed “Van Hoang” captures an essence of an audible beauty only rivaled by the charming yet captivating minimalism of her designs.  

Van couldn’t have said it better when she told to me “Fashion is always evolving, so new things are happening all the time”.  Fashion is indeed a constantly changing and developing industry.  Having discovered her passion for women’s apparel at an early age her desire to design emerged long before shows like Project Runway even existed.  Van herself admits that as a girl she supposed she just thought “clothes in stores appeared on the racks like magic”.  Now that Van has spent quite some time putting her whole life into her work she is more than aware of the blood, sweat and tears that go into each piece of a clothing line.

Van proclaims most of her inspiration comes from novels and fabrics.  She has a slight obsession with eras of our past and evaluates the details and work that clothing of those times so brilliantly displayed. Van says she is inspired by the fabrics themselves first and those specific textiles and/or prints cause her imagination to run wild- calculating what she can do with them or how she might use them in a collection.

Having been so interested in art at such a young age, Van states she originally thought she would be an artist and has always been interested in partaking in something creative and challenging but admittedly didn’t initially think she could make a career for herself out of her clothing design dreams.  The talented designer once told me she wanted to design wedding dresses, now she realizes she wanted to do this merely because wedding dresses are pretty, but is now fully aware of just how beautiful any item of clothing can be whether its a loose flowing  blouse or a elegant gown.

When I spoke with Van about a designer she found to be most inspirational to her own work she said of course Alexander Wang because he is a young, hip designer like herself who pushes boundaries and his innovative designs are the definition of fashion forward.  She also loves Marc Jacobs for his “outside of the box” approach to design- “he makes you want to be his muse, the very girl he designed that item for”.  But at this moment in time Van says she is absolutely in love with Alabama Chanin because everything she designs is homemade, stitch by stitch by local artisans- nothing is outsourced or factory manufactured.

So there you have it.  I introduce to you the next biggest thing in fashion since Chanel invented the little black dress.  Van Hoang has arrived and she is going to take this industry by storm so remember her name and wear her clothes.  Years from now this blog will be history because Van made it so.

To see more of Van’s designs and keep up to date on her events you can visit her official website.

New & Noteworthy Apps

20 Oct

picture courtesy of http://www.textually.org/textually/archives/2009/03/022940.htm

I must admit that my Spring cleaning this year consisted of not only a few trips to Goodwill and Buffalo exchange but also, sadly, a few visits to iTunes. You see having been an iPhone user since the dawn of the iPhone age I had acquired a hefty collection of useless (although entertaining) apps. In my attempt to “de-clutter” my life I decided it was time to weed out a good chunk of my ten pages of apps.

Now thanks to the iOS4 software I can organize and categorize my fave apps in folders- resulting in only 3 pages of apps to date. In my recent search for new and noteworthy iPhone apps I stumbled upon a few that fell under the fashion and beauty category that no girl should leave the house without and here’s why.

Sephora to Go

picture courtesy of the iTunes store and sephora to go appThis app is spectacular for so many reasons. it truly is everything you adore about Sephora made available to you on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. With Sephora to go you can keep up with the latest product launches, browse & purchase products, access your beauty insider account and even create shopping lists. It even uses GPS to provide you with an instant store locator option so you can find your favorite lipstick or buy a backup mascara when your in a pinch.

courtesy of iTunes and Sephora to go app

Lancôme

photo courtesy of iTunes and Lancome The Lancome app gives you a front row seat for a whole new virtual make-up experience. Whether you want the help of the experts through video “how to” tutorials of wish to read up on the latest beauty tips and advice this app is perfect to help you accomplish just that.

H&M

photo courtesy of iTunes and H&MThis interactive app released by international fast fashion retailer H&M grants you access to the latest fashion campaign and even news directly from H&M. Browse their newest collections and share with pals via email or

HauteLook

photo courtesy of iTunes and Haute LookFor those of you who aren’t familiar with HauteLook listen up! HauteLook is a members only website that features 24-hour long sales on a vast array of designer merchandise from women’s and men’s fashions to accessories, beauty and home/services (You can even order cheese online). Now you have full access to the website, assuming you have obtained a membership at your fingertips.

Dior

photo courtesy of iTunes and Dior appThis app is admittedly my favorite of those featured thus far. This app opens a door into the world that is Dior- granting front row access to the latest runway shows, backstage events and much more. You can also browse a list of Dior couture boutiques and the latest ad campaigns.


Release Your Inner Haute Hippie: Skip a Shampoo or Two ..

19 Oct

I am aware most of you think not washing your hair each and every day is gross and although the haircare industry would love for you to think it is absolutely necessary to wash your hair on a daily basis- I’m here to tell you not only is it not a necessity, it’s actually better for your hair if you don’t. Yes, I said it and it’s true, skipping a shampoo or two every now and again can actually significantly improve your hair’s overall health. Fine if you don’t believe me see what the experts have to say about it.

A Few Reasons to Shun your Shampoo (In no particular order)

~You’ll have more control. Yes mam, believe it or not a little extra oil and leftover product can work wonders for your mane. The longer you leave your hair be the more weight you add- thus creating calmer, more controlled locks.

~ Perserve your color. Even if you are using swank designer shampoos and conditioners the act of washing your hair strips the hair of color and fades with each application.

~ It’s better for the enviorment. Less clean means more green and by not washing your hair as often you are not only saving water you are also not washing toxins into the sewer systems and furthermore into our oceans.

~Finally, hair will be healthier. Our scalps naturally produce oils which strangthen our hair and make it stronger. By allowing enough time for these oils to be absrobed and penetrate- the result is strong, shiny healthy hair. When we wash our hair everyday we are washing away those oils and moreover, key nourishment.


Posh Polish & Fantastic Fingers: Colors to Try Now

18 Oct

Fall isn’t on the way out just yet so there is still plenty of time to embrace the cool, warm, luscious hues of this season.  This fall polish trends are getting warmer as the weather grows colder.  I love fall for multiple reasons- the main being fall flavored lattes at Starbucks but a few others include:  scarves, boots, pea coats and most importantly – gray nail polish (my personal favorite @ the moment “Chincilly” by Essie).

If you happen to have a wild side, OPI might just be up your alley this fall.  Their saucy collections produce fun new tints each month and their latest introduction, “Burlesque” is simply divine.  The feature film inspired series boasts bright, vibrant show stoppers and lots of glitter. With names like EXTRA-VA-GANZA, THE SHOW MUST GO ON and LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU (which I happen to be wearing right now) just sporting these spicy shades guarantee you are in for a good time.

If you are anything like me when you walk into your neighborhood nail salon you approach the wall of polish with apprehension.  It doesn’t matter if I have a specific shade in mind or if I brought in my own polish- that wall stocked full of this season’s latest and hottest polish presents me with endless possibilities and I become slightly overwhelmed and often struck with a serious case of indecisiveness.

If this sounds familiar than I have a treat for you.  Like always that little miracle gadget often referred to as the iPhone has come to my rescue yet again. Established polish brand OPI recently introduced their iPhone app and all I can say is WOW!

photo Courtesy of iTunes App store

This interactive polish studio not only databases the latest color collections by OPI in their entirety, it even allows you to adjust the skin tone and nail length to closely match your own hands. 

I despise going into nail salons and really liking a color but hating it once it’s on my nails but thanks to this app I will never have to experience that again.

Now that you have inspiration for your next manicure, go ahead- be bold, be brave and embrace all the fabulous color options fall has in store for you this season, you deserve it.

Face It: A debate on skincare

16 Oct

In this day and age our exposure to skincare brands and lines can be compared to our daily overexposure to advertisements. The average person saw 3,000 ads in a single day (in 1997) do you even want to know what the number is this year?

When it comes to skincare all the details we face can be a bit, well frighting. Are you an oily skin person? A sensitive skin person? A dry skin person? Or my personal  favorite a combination skin person? And the “skin type”- that’s just the beginning.

Now we are bombarded with skin issues and solutions involving sun damage, color correctors, firming lotions, dark spot erasers, visible pores and lets not forget the originals: good ol’ signs of aging and obnoxious acne.

So by now you might have nailed down your skin type and your individual issues but have you even begun to think about what to use, how to use it or where to buy it? Well breathe and relax.  Let me lend a helping hand and show you some of my favorite products at the moment. I’ll even compare prices for you.Up first: Cleansers

I have normal/oily skin so I tend to use as many oil-free products as possible. I have found my favorite cleaner thus far to be a product by Murad (Binge). The Essential-C cleanser washes away daily impurities and quenches your skin with Vitamins A,C &E.  At $43.50 the price isn’t half bad either and the citrus scent is invigorating. If your looking for more of a bargain I would suggest Clean&Clear Morning Burst cleanser (Bargain). This gel cleanser uses Vitamin C and ginseng, it also packs the citrus scent and only costs $6.49. 

Courtesy of Cleanandclear.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Exfoliating Scrubs

Exfoliating scrubs have recently become my new best friend.  All my oil is in my T-zone meaning I fight a serious battle with blackheads in this area.  Since I can’t afford a facial every single month I searched long and hard for a product that would effectively act as an “at-home facial” and boy did I find what I was looking for in a product produced by the Kate Somerville line.  “Exfolikate” (Binge) is a dual action, all natural,  exfoliating treatment that battles both acne and blackheads with ease.  Unfortunately this one is a bit pricey, $85.  If you want a more budget friendly alternative might I suggest Clinique’s “Exfoliating Scrub” (Bargain).  This scrub unclogs pores and removes dead skin for $18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 Moisturize:

I feel the best advice anyone could receive in regard to moisturizers is to always, always, always use an oil-free moisturizer on your face.  The only way this could get any better is if you could kill two birds with one stone and add SPF into the mix as well.  Right now I am absolutely in love with a moisturizer by Kate Somerville.   “Nourish” (binge) not only moisturizes and rejuvenates skin it also fights the signs of aging and has the most intoxicating lavender scent              (also available in oil-free) .  But at $65 its not exactly the most realistic product to recommend.   So for the (bargain) side of things might I propose using an Oil-free Moisturizer with SPF 35 by Neutrogena for only $10.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, Serious Serums

As I’ve become older I am much more concerned with certain aspects of my skin, for instance aging and GIANT pores. I’ve tried what seems like every cleanser, toner, scrub and mask under the sun and nothing has ever really satisfied, that is until now.  I was recently introduced to a Pore Minimizing serum by Clinique that I would marry if it were legal. And at a pocket friendly price of $17.50 I’d classify the Pore Minimizing Instant Perfecter a serious steal.

Fabulous Fall Finds: “Must Haves” to Help You Stay Flawless

14 Oct

There’s an old saying that can be applied to the fickle changing trends of fashion that reads “Out with the old and in with the new”- so keep up sister. I know, I know following THIS season’s hottest trends can really stress a girl out ( not to mention her wallet). But I’m here to tell you there are a few key essentials one must carry religiously- and if you do, not only will you be fashion forward, you’ll be organized and fabulous.

~Are you ready to be fierce this fall? Make sure you’re always armed with the right stuff and baby you’ll be unstoppable.~

Louis Vuitton Agenda


Make a mark on your calendar and your boss.  Stay on top of all your meetings, appointments and social outings while filling all of  your co-workers with envy for  your lusciously vibrant couture agenda.

Burt’s Bees

Never surrender to chapped lips. With cold weather approaching fast be prepared and keep that kisser soft and supple.   Use Burt’s to prep and prime for a radiant ultra gloss like Dior Addict.

 

 

Hobo Wallets

Here’s a tip. Want a gorgeous new handbag for fall but just can’t afford it? The best way to switch up your accessories without breaking the bank- get a new Hobo.  These wallets are super chic with a side of convenience. Not only are they available in a vast array of hues each season but they live a double life- wallet by day/clutch by night.

Roll On- Portable Perfumes

Ever get tired of the same old day-to-day scent routine? Not everyone can afford to own a massive collection of perfume but now some of your favorite brands are making it easier to add an assortment of  the latest aromas to your repertoire.  These Roll-ons are perfect for your handbag and cost only $20-$25.

Latest Literature

You never know when your going to miss your train, get stuck in traffic or get to take an extra long lunch break so rather than glue your eyeballs to your iPhone or Blackberry screen whip out a literary treasure to expand your mind and stimulate your senses.  Bad-ass career woman Kelly Cutrone’s novel “If you have to cry go outside” is my latest guilty pleasure. Check it out- you’re in for a good laugh and hey, maybe even a little work advice.

Colgate Wisps

For those of us who have become accustomed to getting looks in the work bathroom for brushing our teeth after lunch Colgate has finally come to our rescue.  These one-time-use brushes come equipped with a “just right” size of your toothpaste of choice.  Whether you ate garlic at lunch or are heading off to happy hour straight after work these little guys pack a powerful teeth cleaning punch.  I recommend never leaving the house without them.