Monthly Archives: May 2012

Some Things Never Change

Legstick For Legs
Members of the Radio City Rockettes modelling Legstick, makeup to replicate stockings designed to combat wartime shortages, circa 1942.  (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The picture of the Radio City Rockettes was taken during World War II when there was a shortage of stockings. From all the black and white WWII films I’ve watched over the years, I know there were many things that women were asked to give up. Lipstick was in short supply, hair pins could be hard to come by, but silk stockings were the hardest to get. Silk was used to make parachutes for the armed forces. Women gave up wearing stockings so the men serving in the military could have the silk for the war effort. That doesn’t mean that silk stocking weren’t a hot ticket item. They were actually rationed, and if  you could could afford them, you could also find them on the black market.

Grown women of that era didn’t leave the house without something covering their legs. That was, until war time. We women can be so creative when it comes to finding a solution to a fashion problem. Self tanning isn’t as recent a development as we’d like to think. Women were doing it back in the 40 during the stocking ration. They would use tea bags to stain their legs, or gravy browning as a fake tan. Finally, someone was smart enough to create makeup to be used on legs. All they needed was a steady hand in drawing a line up the back to fake a seam. Voila! Instant stockings!

All this may seem old fashioned and silly to us, but we still do the same thing. (expect for drawing seams up the back of our legs) I know very few women who leave the house without making sure they are shaved and lotioned up every day. Once summer hits, we start worrying about things like self-tanner and balms that will smooth and have light diffusing particles in them to make our legs look as perfect as possible. We never leave the house in bare legs either. We always have something on them too. Here are a few of my favorites.

Michael Kors Leg shine. This is where I remind you that I’m very fair. This give me just enough color and shine on my legs to make sure I don’t look like a plucked chicken. If you already have a tan, you won’t see much difference. It also smells like the Michael Kors scent, just lighter.

Michael Kors Leg Shine

Bathina ‘Take a Picture it Lasts Longer . . . ‘   I love Bathina! I’ve used this balm for years now. I love the way it smells, I love the way it hydrates, and I love the subtle shimmer you get from it. I use this on my legs during transition months. (October, November, March, April) Before I need to wear full on winter/summer garb. It’s also great all over your body.

Bathina Body and Leg Balm

Flash Bronzer Tinted Self-Tanning Leg Gel – I just got this on a whim because my Lancome Lady raved about it so much. She told me to cut it down with lotion before applying it to my legs to I didn’t get a really dark application. I like the look of it so much. Just enough color without looking super tan.

Lancome Flash Bronzer for Legs

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Shine On

My skin’s been looking a little dull lately. Despite my daily exfoliation with Befine Exfoliating Cleanser, and weekly use of Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, I still look a little dull. I realize it has lots to do with the fact that after 30, we start to lose our skin’s inner radiance. (I read that in Allure, so it must be true) I’m 37, so I need some help in the skin radiance department.

I’ve been a big fan of Grey’s Anatomy for a while now, and decided to start watching the spin off show Private Practice on Netflix. I’ve really been noticing how 44-year-old Kate Walsh’s skin looks so amazing. I know she’s got all the money and cosmetic surgery/dermatology behind her that Hollywood can offer, but her skin is luminous.

While I was recently browsing on Sephora, I came across her Top 10 It List.  Here it is:

Number 7 on her list is what caught my eye: Benefit Cosmetic High Beam. It’s a face highlighter that give a subtle sheen without glitter. I ordered a bottle so I could mix in some with my daily squirt of foundation that goes on my face. I want that same glow she has. It’s pretty and not sparkly. It’s not the glitter you’d find in products from Claire’s.

I’m always looking for ways to help my skin look amazing. I’ll let you know if this works.

Benefit Cosmetic High Beam

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Gucci Flora “The Garden” Fragrances

I was lucky enough to receive deluxe samples of 3 of the 5 new Gucci Flora Garden fragrances in the mail from Buzz Agent. I wanted to share my thought with you about them. I hope you like it.

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Summer Sun Protection

With the weather getting warmer and Memorial Day weekend here, I thought it’s time to talk sun protection. I live in SPF 50 or higher during the summer months. I wear large floppy hats when gardening, and always try and sit in the shade. I keep a tube of sunscreen in my purse just in case I need it for myself, or my kids.

You already know why sunscreen is important. The American Cancer Society has made sure of that. I’m here to tell you that aside from keeping your skin healthy, sunscreen can also keep your skin looking youthful. I’m sure you know that too. Most moisturizers have SPF 15 in them these days. But aside from your face moisturizer, do you put it on the rest of your exposed body when you’re headed for a day outside? If not, just remember that the older we get, the easier it is for sunspots and wrinkles to appear. All it takes is a little sun.

So, here are some great, stylish ideas for keeping the sun at bay this summer. I’ve also included some pretty bags to put your sunscreen and other essentials in. Be kind to your skin this summer. You won’t regret it.

Summer Sun Protection

Z Spoke by Zac Posen leather handbag
$250 – lordandtaylor.com

Vince Camuto logo bag
$198 – vincecamuto.com

Marc by Marc Jacobs tote handbag
£165 – harrods.com

Philip Treacy flower hat
£999 – harrods.com

Tom Ford cat eye sunglasses
390 CAD – eluxe.ca

Rebecca Minkoff sunglasses
$150 – rebeccaminkoff.com

J Crew summer hat
$35 – jcrew.com

Straw hat
$17 – kohls.com

Flower hair accessory
£2.40 – debenhams.com

Kate Somerville face moisturizer
$48 – sephora.com

Neutrogena sun care
$8.79 – amazon.com

Supergoop beauty product
$5 – sephora.com

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I’m a Sucker For a “Free” Gift

Lancome is currently in Gift at Macy’s. I learned what the phrase “In Gift” meant at an early age. My mom took me to the Clinique counter when I was 14-years-old, and let the lady in the white Clinique coat teach me all about eye liner, lipstick and concealer. They just happened to be in gift when I went, and I was delighted to not only get what my mother had planned on getting for me, but also some other fun skin care items and make up all in a cute cosmetic bag.

I try to make sure and save my Lancome purchases for when they are in gift. I admit it, I’m a Lancome devotee. All my skin care is Lancome. My favorite new lipsticks are by Lancome, and my Lancome Lady and I are on a first name basis. Cynthia (my Lancome lady) told me about the upcoming gift with purchase when I stopped in for more of the Cleansing Water I’m in love with. She set up a pre-sale for me. I paid for my items in advance, and she held them for me at the counter until the first day they were officially giving the gift with purchase. Then, all I had to do was pick up my already paid for items and gift at the Lancome counter.

Here’s what’s in it:

Lancome Gift With Purchase – Lip Color Swatches (left to right) Lipstick in Designer Bloom, Juicy Tubes in Moulin Rose, Juicy Tubes in Coral Rush
Eyeshadow quad colors – (top left to right) Off the Rack, Fashion Admirer, Little Blue Dress, Daylight – I used all four colors for the eye look

What I love about the Lancome Gifts now, is that they let you choose from several options. I went with small travel sizes of the Absolue face and eye cream, because it’s what I currently use. I chose the Body Cream instead of the Flash Bronzer, and the lipstick instead of the Juicy Tubes. I also decided on the eyeshadow quad because it’s not normally the sort of colors I would pick out for myself. I’m trying to stretch my comfort zone and not be afraid of blues and pinks. I’m really pleased I did, because the colors are so pretty. I got many compliments on them today.

You might be wondering what I plunked my hard-earned money down on to get the gift? I got another Rouge in Love lipstick, this time in Rouge Valentine. It’s a beautiful red with pretty blue undertones. It’s very much a 1940’s red. I love it. I also picked up their oil based eye makeup remover. I just started using it again because I just started wearing so much more eye makeup.

Yes, I’m a Lancome sucker. I’m sure my Lancome Lady Cynthia gets a huge smile on her face every time she sees me walk through the doors of my local Macy’s. I love you Cynthia! I’m not sure my pocketbook does, but I sure do!

P.S. I had one of everything they were giving away in the gift already except for the tote bag, body cream and the color quad. I had every lip color, every eye and face cream, and every eye essential. I suppose I need to lay off on the Lancome for a while. If that’s possible.

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I’ve Been Trying On Red Hair!

Just for fun, I’ve been trying on red celebrity hair. I’ve been laughing, and gasping in horror. It’s terribly entertaining. If you want to try it out, click here.

I’m due for a hair cut and color, and after my last color fiasco, I’m heading to the salon. I thought I’d think about updating my color. I was born with carrot red hair. By the time I was 6-year-old and in first grade, it was a dark auburn. At 12-years-old, I had chestnut brown hair, with lots of natural red highlights. Since I was born with red hair, and have spent most of my life with natural red highlights, I think I have the coloring to pull off red quite well. I had to “try” on the hair color to see if I was right. Here’s what I got.

Christina Hendricks’ red hair. My current favorite Hollywood redhead. I’m mad for Mad Men!

Emma Stone’s red hair

Julia Robert’s very wearable red

Nicole Kidman – Way too light for me, but I had to try it

Ashley Greene – This reminds me of my 1980s hair. VERY big, huge actually.

Kate Walsh

Looking at all the shades of red, there are some that are out of the running. I can’t pull off Nicole Kidman’s strawberry blond color, and although I love Christina Hendrick’s red, it’s a bit much for me. I’d have to commit to getting my roots touched up every 4 weeks if I went with Kate Walsh’s color. I love it, but I’m not sure I can afford it right now. So the darker reds, and Julia Robert’s red are looking more and more doable right now.

So tell me, do you color your own hair, or do you go to the salon? Is your color high maintenance, or can you let it go for a while in between colorings? Are you picky about your hair, or is it just something you deal with? Do you stick close to your natural color, or do you dye it the color you should have been born with?

Let me know if you try InStyle’s Hollywood Makeover tool. If nothing else, it’s great for a laugh! I suppose I could always be a blond.

Reese Witherspoon’s perfect blond hair

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Zebra Stripe Manicure

I got this amazing box of Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in my Spring Beauty VoxBox from Influenster. I had never tried them before because they cost more than a bottle of Sally Hansen nail polish. I wasn’t sure how they worked, and everyone I asked about it had the same misgivings about spending $9.99 on 10 days worth of nail polish instead of getting an entire bottle. I suppose you could say I have frugal friends.

I would’ve picked up a box of them if I had ever seen them on sale, but alas, I’m never there for a sale. Thankfully, the good people at Influenster and Sally Hansen sent me a free box to try.

My verdict is in, and I say they are so fun. My free box of Salon Effect Nail Strips was the zebra print called “Wild Child”. I should say, it’s a lot of look. This is not a print for the faint of heart. Thankfully I’ve been wearing bolder colors and nail art over the past several months, so I wasn’t scared off by the zebra print.

It took me longer than expected to get them applied because I was worried that if I rushed, I’d ruin them. Image

They’re supposed to last 10 days, but I don’t think that will happen. I use my nails like tools. I chip everything. Really. Everything. I can’t abide a chipped manicure, so I change my polish about 3 times a week. I’m hoping these will last about 5 days. It’s also a way for me to change my nails with my wardrobe.

Now that I’ve fallen in love with them, I suppose I’ll pick up a box of them every now and again when I want a fun print and don’t want to do the nail art myself. I really want to try these next. They’re called “Tattoo Much”.

Image

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Evening Drama

I dream about getting dressed up for a black tie event. I love the idea of finding the perfect accessories, and then the dress to go along with it. I know that sounds backwards, but I’ve always done it that way. I’ll fall in love with a pair of shoes, or a handbag and need to find an outfit to go along with it. Now that I’m older, I find jewelry that I love, and have to find something to pair it with.

The same is true for this pairing. I fell in love with the Alexander McQueen bag and heels, then I started to build and outfit to go along with it. I can’t afford it, but I love the way it looks together. It’s total inspiration. Elegant and edgy. Hard, with touches of femininity. Everything I would want if I had an occasion to step out for a black tie event. Just enough, but not too much.

With the accessories speaking so loudly, I’d keep the makeup soft and light. Very youthful and dewy. I love the nude tone of the Deborah Lippmann nail polish and the Dior Addict lipstick.

I also love that with the exception of the cosmetics, the accessories cost more than the dress. That is so like me. I have expensive taste. I can never afford what I really love.

Evening Drama

Catherine Malandrino evening maxi dress
$795 – bloomingdales.com

Alexander McQueen strappy high heels
$865 – alexandermcqueen.com

Alexander mcqueen handbag
$2,295 – alexandermcqueen.com

Kara by Kara Ross white jewelry
$1,740 – bergdorfgoodman.com

John Hardy glitter jewelry
$3,495 – bloomingdales.com

Deborah lippmann nail polish
$16 – barneys.com

Beauty product
$30 – neimanmarcus.com

I’ve never had the opportunity to dress up for a black tie event. Maybe that’s a good thing, because I would spend way too much money. I would want to be the best dressed woman in the room. I know that being the best dressed woman doesn’t mean spending the most, but having the best style. But I also know that my style is expensive.

I suppose it’s okay to dream. I don’t see myself at a black tie even anytime soon, but I can keep up to date on the style trends so I’m ready when I do have to attend one.

Dream on my friends. If your dreams are like mine, there is no accessories budget in them.

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My Favorite Way to Wear My Hair When I’m Rushed: Braids

I love to take the time to do my hair. But because my hair is very thick and naturally curly, I have to wet it down every day, apply product, and then dry it with a diffuser. When my hair is completely dry, I take a 1 inch curling iron to the ends of the bottom layer to make sure they don’t look too scraggly. This process can take 30-45 minutes depending on how nice I want my hair to look.

As the mom of two preschool aged girls, I don’t often find I have time for this perfect hair. I keep my hair long on purpose. When my hair is long I can quickly put it up, and it looks nice. I’ve been rocking a french twist for decades. I also find a low chignon works well. Because of my hair texture, I can’t just put my hair in a ponytail and run out the door. It looks sloppy and frizzy.

My mom taught me to braid my hair before I started first grade. I started with the simple braid, then worked up to doing french braids, dutch braids, and fish tail braids.

This looks uses two adapted french braids and a bun. It’s very pretty, perfect for summer and it only takes me 8 minutes to do. If you’re not an old pro at braids, this might take a bit more time. It’s still worth trying out because it looks much harder than it really is.

Easy braided updo for summer

1. I used two mini Spin Pins by Goody, three regular bobby pins, three clear elastics and one small claw clip to achieve this look.

2. I always start braiding my hair when it’s wet. It keeps me from having to deal with frizz, and I find I can get tighter braids that way. Start with a deep side part.

3. Take a small section at the front, twist away from your face and clip. This will give you a little height so you’re updo isn’t too flat near your face.

4. Right where the clip is, start your larger side braid. This is only half a french braid. When you are braiding, you only take hair from the side closest to your face to add to the braid. Continue until you’ve reached the nape of your neck on the opposite side. (you start on the right side of your head, keep braiding until you reach the nape on the left.) Tie braid off with clear elastic.

5. You should have a smaller section of hair on the opposite side. Make a small half french braid with it. Keep it as tight as possible. When you run out of hair to add, just keep braiding. I found that this is where my extra clear hair elastic came in handy. I have layered hair, and some if it was falling out of the braid. I used one of the elastics to tie it off. I brushed out the rest and started braiding until I got to the end. You might not have to do this. I couldn’t see the extra elastic in the end product, so I didn’t bother me.

6. Once you have both braids finished, it’ time to put them in a bun. I started with the larger braid, and made a bun out of it right at the nape, in the middle. I found it was easier if I gave it a bit of a twist as I was putting it in a bun. Here is where I used those two Spin Pins. They held everything in place. Pick up the smaller braid and wrap it around the bun, making sure to hide the ends. Secure with bobby pins.

7. Spray liberally with the hairspray of your choice. I also removed the claw clip. It was just to hold my hair in place while I braided it. If you use a decorative one like I did, you could certainly leave it in. I have before and it’s very pretty.

This is just what I did today with my hair. I’d never done it before. I braid my hair so often, I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to wear it. The next time I find a new way to braid it, and wear it, I’ll let you know.

Let me know if you try this style, or have any feedback for me on it.

Rebecca

P.S. It’s Sunday, so I’m not wearing much makeup. Concealer, mascara and tinted lip balm. Forgive my casual look.

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Spring Beauty VoxBox Video Review

So the fantastic people at Influenster sent me a Spring Beauty VoxBox with all sorts of goodies in it. I had lots of fun opening my box up yesterday morning, and would love to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it.

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