Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eye die!

Hola muchachitas,
How was your weekend? Mine was rainy and migraine-y, but I found a little electronic dream machine that helped TONS. Now, I know this isn't exactly a beauty product, but I also know that a large number of you are migraine sufferers (the fancy, technical term is "migraneurs") like moi, so I had to let you in on my secret. A little background info, first. When I get one of my crazy headaches, it looks like this: Me balancing an ice pack on my forehead while I wear my fingers to a nub massaging my temples and browbone. The whole situation is awkward and unwieldy. Luckily, Brookstone has come to my rescue with their worth-every-effing-penny Eye Soothe Warm/Cool Tension-Relieving Mask ($50). It's a super-soft mask that uses something called "air inflation technology" to massage around your eyes, forehead and sinuses. It comes with a removable gel insert that you can either stick in the freezer or warm in the microwave, depending on what works best for you (for me, it's all about cold therapy). Oh, and the mask has a 15-minute shutoff timer, so you can safely allow it to massage you to sleep. So great, guys...even if you don't have headaches, it's an amazing tension-reliever. Thank God it runs on batteries and comes with a cute little pouch, so it's super-easy to travel with (I refuse to board another plane without it). Divine, divine, divine!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oops you think that I'm sent from abo-o-o-ove...

Hi ladies,
I swore I wouldn't become one of those smug, self-satisfied pregnant ladies who can only discuss Diaper Genies and Boppy pillows (don't ask), but alas, here I am. Before I gush over this particular pre-natal product, though, please understand that the ONLY reason I'm bringing it up is because it's something ALL women can--and should--use! I was recently gifted with the Miss Oops Critical Care Kit for Moms-to-Be ($18), and almost instantly decided that every woman in America needs to keep this kit in her office desk, purse, or both. The kit includes a Miss Oops Rescue Sponge, which miraculously rubs deodorant marks and powder off your clothes; and the Miss Oops Pedicure in a Bottle, a fast-absorbing, non-greasy cream that first exfoliates and then moisturizes scaly feet (don't know how it does both, and I don't ask, but it works). The third product, however, is really the only one tailor-made for PG girls--it's a bunch of Miss Oops Popper Stoppers, which are disposable, paper-thin patches that go over your protruding belly button, so it doesn't show in your clothes. Okay, so ignore that one. But the other two are miracle workers, and you can buy them separately on the Miss Oops website. Who can resist such inexpensive brilliance?


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shower Power!

Hi ladies,
I HAD THE BEST WEEKEND! My sisters, Lauren/"Laur-Laur" and Devon/"Brownie" threw me the chicest baby shower I've ever seen! Seriously, I'm mad that Domino wasn't shooting it. The bebe soiree went down at my dear friend Selene's dazzling Park Slope house, and all my favorite people were there (except my SYB Babes, claro que si). Laur and Brownie made delicious treats and my beautiful Mommy (that's her, sharing my rabid delightment, below) funded the whole thing! Lil' Diva is a lucky, lucky girl. Thank you, friends, family--and Selene's poor neighbors who suffered through decibel-breaking squeals of joy all Sunday afternoon--for a truly magical day.

Okay, so yes, the day was magical, but as it is with any event where you're the center of attention, it was MAD STRESSFUL. During the gift-opening moment, I sweated out the back of my hair until it resembled a wet, oversized cotton ball. Knowing that I was going to be nervous all day, I pampered the hell out of myself by taking a long, luxurious bath the Morning Of. And I slathered my body in my new favorite bath product, Molton Brown Warming Eucalyptus & Ginger Body Scrub ($48). GIRLS. Have you tried this? I got it because, as some crazy pregnancy symptom, my skin has been shedding like crazy--especially on my belly. Has this ever happened to any of my mommy SYB Babes? Anyway, I splurged on this exfoliator and my skin has never been happier.

First of all, it's self-warming, which is fabulous as the weather's getting cooler. Second of all, it's loaded with pure essential oils that leave my skin feeling cashmere-soft. And third of all, it's blended with eucalyptus and ginger that not only opens my always-clogged sinuses when it wafts into the air and mixes with the bathtub/shower steam, but it tingles on my skin in the MOST delicious way! Ladies, if you have dry skin, a cold, or both, this miracle scrub is your man (speaking of "man," Sunshine described my shoulder as "edible" after my daily scrub last night...nice!).

Love ya, mean it,

PS...I'm sorry, I just had to show off The Cake. Have you ever?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Top 10 Things I Learned at Fashion Week, Part 5

9.) SENEGAL'S IN THE HOUSE: Every show I visited backstage, I made it a point to chat with the brown girls and found out their take on the where-have-all-the-black-models-gone controversy. More often then not, they were too bleary-eyed, exhausted and starving to really go there with me, but what I did find out was that they all seemed to be from Senegal! Seriously, three of the hottest girls walking this season are from said country...including Kinee Diouf (above)...

Maria Fuema...

and Aminata "Mia" Niaria. Gorge, right?

10.) PALIN IS SULLYING THE UPDO'S REP: Don't get it twisted...the updo is no longer the stuffy, sexless style of decades past. At Brian Reyes, Monique Lhullier, Alice & Olivia, Oscar de la Renta, Philip Lim (left, fab Arlenis Sosa), and Lela Rose, the models all wore varying takes on the sexy, unstructured upsweep. From the quirky side bun to a sloppy-on-purpose French twist, these "oh I just threw it up in a clip" styles always look effortlessly cool. Hairstylists were using Sebastian Craft Clay Remoldable Matte Texturizer ($12.99), a light texturizer to create the look. Simply rub a tad between your hands, sweep through loose hair (jiggle at the roots for more texture), and then pin up your strands however you like. Hot, hot, hot.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 10 Things I Learned at Fashion Week, Part 4

7.) TIME TO GET OVER MY BRONZE OBSESSION AND EMBRACE THE PINK: You ladies know how much I love the whole beachy, golden-bronze lip and cheek look, right? Well, clearly I'm due for an update. At shows like Derek Lam, Max Azria, Ralph Lauren and Anna Sui (left, the glorious Jourdan Dunn), models swanned down the catwalk rocking super-rosy cheeks and lips--and they looked fabulous. Somehow, that little burst of just-in-from-the-cold flush made the girls look fresh without being prim, and sexy without being gauche. Great combo, in my opinion. And it's incredibly easy to pull off, too. I'm a huge fan of Tarte's new Berry Couture All Natural Stain Set ($35), a limited edition, cute-as-pie kit that comes with a raspberry-hued cheek stain and matching gloss; and LORAC Travel Size Sheer Wash in Sheer Raspberry ($19), a roll-on lip and cheek stain in a universally gorge berry tint.

8.) FOUNDATION IS OVER: I kept noticing backstage that most makeup artists were totally ignoring their foundation in lieu of cleverly placed cover-up, like at Marc Jacobs (left). When I asked the legendary, flame-haired makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury for her take on the whole thing, she said that unless you have major skin issues (ie, serious scarring or hyperpigmentation), you really don't need foundation to look polished! All you need is a great concealer blended over your trouble areas (like under the eyes, around the mouth, or over zits). Her secret weapon during the shows was Estee Lauder Smoothing Cream Concealer ($20), a super-creamy formula chock full of vitamin E to fight puffiness (great for bags). When I expressed my skepticism re: the range of shades--I mean, I never heard of a brown girl wearing Lauder concealer--she whipped out my exact color and swiped it on my chin (so humiliating because clearly that meant she noticed my pre-natal breakout). You wouldn't believe the coverage. And it looked totally natural! Moral of the story is, stop covering up your beautiful skin with foundation. More than likely, you don't need it...and why clog your pores for no reason?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Top 10 Things I Learned at Fashion Week, Part 3

5.) EVERYONE LOOKS FAB WITH A SLEEK, SCRAPED-BACK PONY: At Badgley Mischka (above), Erin Fetherston, J Mendel, Michael Kors, and Marc by Marc Jacobs, models rocked sleeker-than-sleek ponytails with a deep side part. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I rarely see women rocking the style (most of us are from the if-the-blowout-still-looks-good-wear-it-down school of thought, like moi). I was so struck by how pulled-together--how CAROLYN BESSETTE, God bless her--the style looked! And I get why so many designers demanded the sleek pony. It managed to look wildly flattering on every single model, no matter her face shape, hair type, or hair length. Equal opportunity chic! To pull it off, create a deep side part with a fine-tooth comb, smooth a dime-sized amount of a moisturizing shine oil like L'Oreal Professional Textureline Hair Mix Sublime Shine ($13.99) over hair, and scrape back into a pony. I tend to think the lower the better, but a top-of-the-crown pony is always fetching, too.

6.) NOBODY USES LIQUID FACE CLEANSERS ANYMORE: Backstage at the shows, the cleanser of choice wasn't a cleanser at all...it was an obscure pack of British cleansing sheets called Simple Oil-Balancing Cleansing Wipes ($10). I mean, I saw this unassuming-looking wipes so often, I finally had to corner a junior stylist at Cynthia Steffe to find out the deal. Seems that, since models have to remove their makeup, like, twenty times a day during Fashion Week, they need something that gets their skin squeaky-clean in seconds, sans stripping and irritation...and Simple Wipes are THE secret weapon. Not only do they remove all of your makeup--even waterproof mascara--in one swipe, the super-soft sheets contain zinc, witch hazel, and natural antibacterials that tighten pores and prevent breakouts. Totally gentle, totally fragrance-free, and totally dependable. Bummed that they're only sold in the UK, I did some research and found a site that carries them...www.shoplondons.com. Happy cleansing!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10 Things I Learned at Fashion Week, Part 2

3.) SLUTTY BLACK LINER IS STILL, AND ALWAYS WILL BE, THE BIG THING: Whether it was sooty, smoky, smudged or precisely lined, tons o' black eyeliner was probably Spring 2009's biggest beauty statement. At shows like Carolina Herrera, Rock & Republic (above), Narciso Rodriguez and Halston (yay for Halston, BTW...five black girls, one Asian and India's hottest new export, Lakshmi Menon, walked in the show), super-dark, mysterious eyes gave the ensembles a sizzling-hot, don't-mess-with-me vibe that I'm looking forward to rocking as a brand-new MILF later this winterl. Backstage chitchats with many a head makeup artist led me to the product that, more often than not, created this look: MAC Fluidliner Liner in BlackTrack ($15). And I totally get why! The Fluidliner is a gel formula that gives the precision of a liquid liner with the softer, more smudgeable finish of a pencil or black shadow. Basically, it's the best of all worlds. To use, just dip a tiny brush into the pot, trace a line along upper and lower lashlines, and then smudge with a Q-tip. Instant hotness. Oh, and in case you're wondering, this super-black eye was ALWAYS paired with a no-lip lip (anything more intense would look way too desperate-girl-at-the-club). In many cases, makeup artists only used Vaseline, or a chapstick-and-nude-liner combo. For those of you who can't bear to go lip-less (like moi), I'd suggest rocking a tinted lip balm like Bobbi Brown Tinted Lip Balm ($19) or C.O. Bigelow Vitamin Tinted Mentha Lip Balm ($7.99). These give you the sheerest, barest hint of color, while keeping lips moisturized and kissable.

4.) SPRING '09'S HOTTEST NAILCOLOR TOTALLY WORKS FOR FALL, TOO: Everywhere I turned, models were rocking the most festive, twinkly-gold nailpolish I'd ever seen! The trend was so major that at two shows, Herve Leger and Monique Lhullier, the same exact shade was used: Creative Nail Design's Champagne Kisses (since this exact shade isn't on shelves yet, I'd suggest trying Creative Nail Design Polish in Crowned). The great thing about gilded nails is that you really can wear them all year...in spring/summer, it fits with that whole sun-kissed, beach-goddess vibe, and during the fall and holiday season, it's totally festive and party-girl fun! Like McDonalds, I'm lovin' it. BTW, huge thanks to The Beauty of Life's Jamie Allison Sanders for the pic!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Top 10 Things I Learned at Fashion Week, Part 1

Hi girls,
There was so much beauty goodness at the Spring '09 New York Fashion Week shows last week, I barely know where to start! But after much to-ing and fro-ing, I decided that best way to share my favorite beauty trends and backstage tips was to throw together a "best of" list...THE TOP TEN THINGS I LEARNED AT FASHION WEEK. Like it? So, every day this week, I'll be giving you two of my most favorite hair, makeup or skin trends/tips from Le Shows. Enjoy, ladies!!


1.) BOHO-GODDESS WAVES ARE SMOKING HOT: At shows like Nanette Lepore, Diane Von Furstenburg (above), and Proenza Schuler, long, loose, bohemian-chic waves were all the rage, and I was LOVING it. The look manages to be romantic and rock n' roll-edgy at the same time, wouldn't you say? And there's so much you can do with this look. At Nanette, models wore their hair parted down the middle with skinny braids strewn throughout; and at DVF, the hair was accessorized with gypsy-ish feathered headbands (DVF said her inspiration was the way she and her friend, model Marisa Berenson looked at 20. GORGE). Backstage at Proenza, head stylist Omar Lopez told me he used the GHD Original Styler ($195) on all the girls. Being a strictly curling iron girl, I've never figured out how to use a flatiron to get waves and curls, but he broke it down for me (I've tried it since, and it works!). First of all, you need an iron that has rounded edges like the GHD Styler. I know it's expensive, but think of it as a sexy hair investment. Next, you clamp down on a small section of hair about two inches from your scalp, and turn the iron ONCE (until the plates are upside down). Then you just pull the iron straight through the section. So easy, and it gives you the most perfectly imperfect, sexy boho waves. Omar, you've changed my life.

2.) MAC STROBE CREAM ($29.50) IS EVERY MAKEUP ARTIST'S SECRET WEAPON: Seriously, this highlighting cream was lurking around backstage at every other show I went to last week--especially the ones where a significant amount of legs, arms, and cleavage were going to be on display, like Herve Leger (below).

Behind the scenes at Herve, head makeup artist Val Garland called the vitamin-packed, sheeny cream the "ultimate skin waker-upper." She was applying the super-light moisturizer to models' faces and bodies to give them a radiant, basking-in-the-afterglow finish. You'd have NO idea that half those girls hadn't slept in three days and were hungover beyond belief. And the great thing is, Strobe Cream is time-released, so it continues brightening the skin all day long! When Garland rubbed a bit on my hand, I wanted to make love to it. That sounds so wrong, but you'll know what I mean if you try it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Go 'head, Alicia

Hi girls,
Did you guys see the pics from the "Secret Lives of Bees" premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on September 5th (total run-on sentence, sorry)? I'm convinced that Alicia Keys looked the best she's ever looked. Obsessed with her smoky, gilded eyes, I made it my mission to find out exactly what eyeshadow created the look. Yep, I scored.

As it happens, celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff used Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow in Goldfever ($54). And the look is actually really easy to replicate...you sweep the golden shade (lower left) over the lid, apply one of the two deep bronzes to the crease, and highlight the browbone with the pearly champagne shade (center). On a budget? Try Cargo Eyeshadow Palette in Ibiza ($28)--it has virtually the same colors as the Dior palette!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ted to the rescue...

Hey pumpkins,
Okay, so I was trying to withhold all Fashion Week musings until my reviews next week, but I just had to quickly blab about this one thing. You guys have heard of Ted Gibson, right (that's him and his dimples, above)? He's a spectacularly famous hairstylist who owns his own eponymous NYC salon, a haircare line, and boasts a starry clientele of A-list actresses, models, and celebrities (he gave Ann Hathaway her wash-that-man-right-outta-my-hair bob!). Anyway, TotalBeauty.com has been hosting a week-long pampering suite at the Bryant Park Hotel across from the tents--basically, it's a place to chill out between shows--and yesterday, I ran into Sir Gibson at the suite. Now, along with being a genius, he's just the cutest, kindest, most generous person I think I've ever met in the industry. Here's why.

So, yesterday was a gross, humid, rainy day, and my hair had obviously erupted into a pouf of enormous frizzle-frazzle. You can imagine my embarrassment seeing Ted in such a state (kind of like that time I met Sam Fine for dinner with ill-plucked brows...still haven't heard the end of it). Ted was nonplussed, however. He assured me he had THE THING to cure my condition, and whipped out one of his famous portable hair sheets (you wipe them over your strands for a quick shine boost). Now, I've been using them forever, and they're great for glossifying-on-the-go, but I had my suspicions about them fixing my mega-frizz. Ted just giggled and pointed out that this was a brand-new hair TREATMENT sheet, which is quite a different thing. These new
Ted Gibson Hair Treatment Sheets ($35 for 5 sheets) are soaked in a deep conditioning treatment--not just shine serum--that actually drenches your hair in moisture, conditions the shaft, and smooths out damaged, frizzy areas. You can even swipe it over the hair before bedtime for an indulgent overnight mask. Anyway, I wiped the sheet allover my cotton candy coiffure, and I swear, my hair transformed in four seconds, flat. Look at the picture! This is me, afterwards (I now wish I'd taken a pic of me in my "before" tumbleweed state so you could appreciate the difference). It really was a lifesaver. And the great thing is, you can re-use the same sheet all day long. Which I proceeded to do. Thanks Ted...love ya, mean it!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Love ya, Stella, but....

Hi ladies,
Finally, a break from Fashion Week madness! Three days into it, I already have tons of hair, makeup and skin scoops for you, but as you know, SYB's bi-annual Fashion Week Beauty Roundup kicks off after the collections end...so stay tuned next week for all the best from backstage!

In the meantime, I'm so excited to tell you about a new skincare find o'mine. About six months ago, I received Stella McCartney 5 Benefits Moisturizing Cream ($76) in a gift bag, and I've been using it as my day and evening moisturizer ever since. Let me tell you, my skin has NEVER looked better. Not only does it smell boutique-spa-fabulous (no doubt due to it's five super-potent, skin-nourishing organic extracts...grapeseed oil, musk rose oil, green tea, vitamin E and sweet orange oil), the 100% organic 5 Benefits Moisturizer gives my skin the most luminous, lit-from-within finish I've EVER seen. It's gotten to the point where I can't even put on makeup unless I've applied my special stuff (somehow, it makes whatever blush, concealer or whatever look so much more highlight-y and sexy)! And all it takes is a tiny, pea-sized dab to keep my skin hydrated and supple all day. Cannot rave enough. Here's the thing, though. I recently ran out of it, and mama refuses to spend almost $80 on skincare.

Well, the whole thing came home for me when I recently discovered Suki Balancing Day Lotion ($31), a brilliant moisturizer from a new line of stridently all-natural, synthetic-free skincare and makeup. It smells and feels EXACTLY like Stella's version, it's also 100% organic, and it's chock full of many of the same pure extracts, including grapeseed and rose oil (lavender, chamomile, aloe vera, and naturally occurring retinol also made the cut). And just like Stella's, it's super-light, non-greasy, and creates that whole radiant effect. I'm living for it...and it's $45 less! I've been using Suki for awhile now, and would highly recommend it to every skintype, especially sensitive or acne-prone skin. And going organic just makes me feel so, sigh, RESPONSIBLE.

PS...And if you truly fall in love with the Suki lotion like I have, then you must try SukiColor Tinted Active Moisturizer in Bronze ($45), which is the exact same moisturizer, but spiked with a hint of sheer, beachy color. Fabulous as your summertime tawniness slowly dies.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

This 'n That!

Hi ladies,
Too many thoughts today! I feel bullets coming on...

* Last night, I saw my boyfriend, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz read from new material at the Union Square Barnes & Noble (if you haven't yet read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, get on it). Swoon McSwoonstein, people. This man's BRILLIANCE is brilliant (why do I go weak in the knees for Dominican boys with Long Island/New Jersey accents? WHYYY?). If Adam, his brother Brian, and my sister Lauren hadn't been in attendance, I would've thrown myself at him, belly first. Speaking of my constantly pop-and-locking little lady...

* Guess who just saw a 3-D photo of her 27-week munchkin? It was the strangest, most beautiful thing, ever. To think that something with a FACE has made itself at home inside my body is wayyy psychedelic. In order to not sound like one of those women who behave as though they're the first pregnant lady in the history of the world, the gushing will stop here.

* A couple of months ago, a friend of mine who works at TheKnot.com asked me if Adam and I wanted to be profiled in the website's gorgeous lifestyle magazine, The Nest (think Domino meets Martha Stewart meets Real Simple). I was incredibly excited, especially when I discovered the angle! I'd be writing a first person piece about turning my husband into a metrosexual, and we'd photograph Sunshine in the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon getting all kinds of facials and massages and things! Hilarious. Anyway, the issue just came out, and it's priceless. Unfortunately, The Nest is mailed to TheKnot's recently married subscribers, so you can't find it on newsstands...but check out the companion piece I wrote for TheKnot.com called "Your Guy Grooming Problems, Solved." And in case you're wondering how to subtly upgrade your man's beauty regimen, introduce him to the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea line. Five years ago, it was this gender-neutral, musky-sweet-smelling body butter and shower gel that made Adam turn up his nose at Irish Spring for good.

* In other "me" news, I'm delighted to be a September guest editor for the fabulously genius website DailyMakeover.com (scroll to the bottom of the homepage to check out my newsletter)! If you haven't already joined this site, you MUST. Not only does it provide reviews of all your favorite products--and ones you're curious about but haven't tried yet--it has this amazing technology that allows you to try on virtually any hairstyle under the sun. Just upload you picture, and experiment away. It's like Wi for your hair!! Also, you'll get all kinds of advice from beauty experts, and you can virtually try out some of the hottest celeb trends on the planet. Nothing's better.

* Why is Palin so married to TEASING AT THE CROWN? I was hoping that, for the RNC, some stylist would've talked her out of the poufy phenomenon I've christened "The Rat," but it's clear who won that battle. On the night of her speech, though, it seemed that her stylist at least persuaded her to lose the bun...but even though Palin conceded to the half-up/half-down 'do, The Rat was still in the house. I would've killed to see that green room throwdown ("Governess Palin, surrender the fine-tooth comb." "NEVER! The Rat deserves a fair chance at life, no matter the circumstances!"). Whatevs, this is only one of the many things that baffle me about that ticket.

* Okay, I'm off to the Bryant Park Tents for Fashion Week! As usual, I'll be bringing you all kinds of behind-the-scenes tips and tricks, so get ready, missy.

Love you guys,

Crest in Show

Dear Ladies,
Little known fact...pregnancy weakens your teeth. It's medically proven! PG ladies need to clean and floss extra-carefully, because we're a zillion times more prone to gingivitis, periodontal disease and, um, cavities. Yep, I just got a brand new one, which is particularly shameful to me as I'm a dentist's daughter. And I do everything right, dammit! Why, why, why?!! Anyway, the good news is that, a couple weeks ago, I was made privy to a sneak peek preview of a toothpaste that's sure to change the face (teeth?) of dental hygiene as we know it. In mid-September, Crest is launching their Crest Weekly Clean Intensive Cleaning Paste ($3.99, at drugstores), which is the toothpaste equivalent of a weekly deep conditioning hair mask. Basically, It's a super-concentrated formula that polishes teeth with ingredients similar to what dentists use during cleanings. It sounds to good to be true, but honestly? Brushing with this magical paste once a week truly gives your teeth that just-from-the-dentist, sparkly, uber-clean feeling. It's truly phenomenal, girls. Now, my father insisted that I drive this point home...Crest Weekly Clean is not an excuse to ONLY brush your teeth once a week (duh, right?), it's more like a fancy addition to your regularly scheduled brushing program. So indulge, girls! Your pearlies deserve it, don't they? I know mine wish Crest would've launched this tube of delight six months ago, like, two seconds apres conception.