Notes From My Vanity: Cold Weather Cures

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I knew the warm winter weather was too good to be true- and now that the frigid temps have rolled into Westport, I am scrambling to figure out how to steer clear of the season's usual appearance-wrecking suspects. So here are the products currently in my daily rotation:

Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration Super Keratin Spray: Going out with wet hair is not an option at the moment. But I try to stay away from heat styling because lately I have noticed some major split ends happening and my hair is looking a little straw-like. Sexy, I know. This product was sent to me months ago, and sat in my bin o'hair helpers ever since- until one day my stylist Nunzio  was telling me about this amazing product I had to try from Sally Hershberger. It took me a moment to make the connection between his description and my  bright orange bottle. I knew the price point was low ($12.99) and it was carried at drugstores- two qualities that tend to be rare when it comes to recommendations from pros who aren't contractually obligated to endorse such items.  A few sprays significantly assuages my guilt about torching my hair so it will dry as quickly as possible (patience is not a virtue I can claim), and leaves it feeling smooth and super soft.  

It Cosmetics IT-O2 Oxygen Foundation: This product is brand spanking new (it debuted on QVC a few days ago) and it is the most incredible foundation I think I have sampled in a very long time. Yeah, it has all these good-for-your-skin ingredients and tech innovations, which you can read about here, but the reason I love it? It is the only foundation  that makes my skin visibly dewy from the second I put it on until I go to bed.  And in the winter, I need that dew-factor to make my fair (read: pale) complexion look healthy and vibrant, as opposed to pasty and pitiful. My trick is to apply it mere seconds after my moisturizer. Well, maybe this is less of a trick and more of a lifestyle necessity (refer to above paragraph about patience), but whatever it is, it works. 

Votre Vue Bébé Duette Luxe Lips & Hand Cream: I remember thinking this was such a smart bedside beauty product when I first read about it a year or so ago, but up until last week when it arrived at my door, I had never actually tried it. One tube packs both a hydrating lip balm and a rich, delicious smelling hand cream- which are the two items that, the second I am cozily cocooned in my covers at bedtime, I realize I have forgotten to put on. Then, when I wake up with chapped lips and ragged cuticles, I scold myself for being too lazy to get out of bed and deal with the situation when I should have, 8 hours prior. With this on my night stand,  my morning inner monologue is much more kind.

Notes From My Vanity: Storm Survival Edition

Let me begin by saying- WHOA- I am one lucky, lucky, LUCKY girl. While Sandy did devastating things to the East Coast, our house somehow came out unscathed. Unlike 87% of our town, we didn't lose power, and the one major tree that fell in our yard didn't damage a thing. When we finally ventured out of our neighborhood, I could not get over what I saw- trees leaning on houses, roads obstructed by down power lines, beachfront houses- houses I have admired every time I drove by them for 30 years- soaked from the inside out. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this disaster- and please know that I do not for one second take for granted that I can sit up in my office and write a post about something as frivolous as the beauty and fashion favorites that I relied on this past week.  

Storm survival at our house consisted of some of my most favorite things ever- cozy clothes, lots of wine, low-maintenance makeup (if any) and- hope you are sitting down reading this as you may fall over otherwise- COOKING! Yes, I tried to hone my cooking skills while stuck inside for days on end.  

Here are the specifics-

Vince Luxury Cowl Sweater:  Plush and soft, this put every other oversized winter weather sweater I have to shame for 2 main reasons- it isn't even the slightest bit itchy, and the asymmetrical bottom hem is subtle- so the style stays classic but it covers my butt in leggings so I don't scare the kids. I wore it for 4 days straight. Judge all you want- I felt great about it.

Jouer Matte Moisture Tint: Yes, I love glowing skin as much- if not more so- than the next girl- but this matte formula from Jouer is the perfect toned-down way to fake flawless skin without looking like I tried. Because being the one to put on a full face of makeup to run to the gas station during a major disaster is not really the reputation I am going for out here. But being the worn-out looking mom trying frantically to figure out which side of the car her tank is on isn't it either. 

Sultra Bombshell Curling Iron: Written about it before, will surely write about it again- but when I know there is no workout in sight and therefore no need to wash my hair, spending 7 minutes transforming my air-dried frizzy mess of a mane into soft waves with this puppy is time very well spent. It allows me to look in the mirror without tearing up a bit.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt: Yep, I baked. From SCRATCH. Can you believe? I took a cooking class last week at Aux Delices (if you are in Fairfield County, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out) and this was the dessert I learned. I have always been a fast learner- my trick is to practice anything new as soon as possible post-lesson. In which case, even if I didn't have an interest in inhaling a fistful of cookie dough, it was clearly  important that I hunker down and make some cookies. If you want the recipe, shoot me an email- happy to share. (Look at me, sharing recipes. Who am I again?)

DAVIDsTEA: I could go on and on and ON about my DAVIDsTEA obsession- I drink about 8 cups a day. I mean- wouldn't you if you had flavors like Birthday Cake, Red Velvet, Lime Gelato and Salted Caramel at your disposal? Do yourself a favor and order a ton off their website immediately- winter storms seem to be inevitable this year, so you may as well be prepared. 

Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red Wine: Last Friday I spent the day filming a web series pilot I am working on with PowerwomenTV, and one stop on our shoot was to Bottlerocket Wine & Spirits- one of my favorites from NYC that recently opened up here in Westport.  When I asked the owner, Tom, who is one of the nicest guys I have ever interviewed, what wine he recommended after an especially long day, he led me right to this delicious full-bodied red. It's alcohol content is on the higher side for a wine (score!) and, in his words- "it is like a big warm hug from a friend." 6 days and 4 bottles later, I have to agree. (NOTE: The wine is not pictured above because, well, we drank it all. And got rid of the evidence.)

Notes From My Vanity: Transitional Beauty

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Maybe it is because I am in home-decorating mode, but the word "transitional" seems to fit my current beauty routine- moving from Spring into Summer, trying to go the low-maintenance route without sacrificing a polished overall effect.

Here are the three things in constant rotation at the moment:

Dove VisibleCare Toning Body Wash: As you know from reading my blog (because you check it every week religiously, right? right? RIGHT?), I have the honor of working with Dove on their Show Us Your Skin campaign this summer.  Clearly, as an ambassador for this program, I can't be caught with icky looking skin- so lucky for me I have access to an endless supply of Dove VisibleCare Toning Body Wash. I use it every single morning, and as such, I don't have to use moisturizer when I get out of the shower if I don't want to. And these days, even if I want to, I don't have time to. There are many different versions of VisibleCare- this particular one is designed to promote skin elasticity and strength.  Enriched with good ol' Vitamin E, it has the best lather  and happens to be the best shaving cream I have ever used. Oh- while we are on the topic, if you haven't yet uploaded your photo to the Show Us Your Skin campaign, you should.  And if your skin isn't in "show off" shape, go pick up this body wash. In one week, it will be. 

Rodin by Recine Hair Oil: Again, if you are a loyal reader you are aware of my love for Rodin Olio Lusso. The brand's hair oil is my nightly treat to myself. See, because of my Flywheel devotion, I have to wash  my hair every single day. Which is not ideal. So, before bed, I work this emollient-packed oil- complete with apricot kernel, calendula, sunflower seed, sweet almond, neroli, jojoba, rosemary and juniper- into my ends, to at least give them some respite from the constant washing and heat styling. It smells fantastic, and in my quest to grow my hair as long as possible, it provides the necessary TLC. 

Revlon Highlighting Stick: I use it as an eyeshadow and a cheek highlighter- the Golden shade is a touch warmer than your typical universal highlighting product so it works seamlessly with a subtle summer tan.  Get it now- it is limited edition. In which case, get two now. Or ten.

Notes From My Vanity: A Quick Spruce

Lately, it seems that I need to turn my daytime face (comprised of the basics- BB cream, cream blush, champagne-y shadow and mascara) into something a little more glamorous in a matter of minutes. This is completely my own fault- since having a baby and working from home my time management skills have gone down the tubes.  In an attempt to be more positive (new thing I am doing- one therapy session and I am all of the sudden an optimist), I look at it as a beauty challenge- and let me introduce you to the two products that make victory mine every time.

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Smoldering Liner: In general, the shorter the pencil, the easier the application. This chubby little guy has the perfect point to apply with precision in a hurry, and the kajal formula deposits rich pigment that has a softness to it which makes smudging (in the good way) simple. It glides right along the inner eye- no tugging and no need to go over it twice (a good thing since touching anything so close to my eyeball makes me want to throw up).

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer: I dab this on the apples of my cheeks, down the bridge of my nose,  just under my brows, above the center of my upper lip and over my lipstick.  Yes, I know this is a lot of places in a relatively small surface area, but the formula is not greasy, glittery or sticky so you can dab without abandon.

Within seconds, I tell you, I am a new person.

Notes From My Vanity: It's Raining BB Creams

If you caught my spot on Today Show this morning, you are already aware of the BB Cream trend that is not-so-slowly but very surely sweeping into makeup bags all over the world. Currently, there are three sitting on my vanity, and I absolutely swear by them. So much so that in my most recent massive clean out (where duplicate products were tossed or gifted), all three of these held their marble-topped ground.

Why do I love them so? First and foremost, they make my skin look pretty. And even with all the other benefits (SPF, treatment ingredients, yada yada yada), one major requirement for any beauty product is that it makes us look, well, beautiful- right?

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30 is very creamy- closest to a classic tinted moisturizer in terms of feel and coverage- shade 2 is my pick, really warms up the complexion.

Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream has a nice glowy finish- plus it is easy to pick up at the drugstore, and convenience is often key. But heads up- it is going to be in the skincare section- so don't get all flustered searching the makeup aisle.

And lastly, the product that kicked off the BB Cream bonanza (at least in my personal experience) is from Dr. Jart- one of Asia's leading skincare brands. This has real deal SPF 45 and pretty substantial coverage. If you are fair skinned like I am, this is a really wonderful choice. I have even worn it for on-air stuff before- the matte finish works nicely under the lights. And for travel, it is perfect.

Sure, there are occasions when only full on foundation will do- but if you are in the market for a multi-tasking way to get an extra dose of hydration, skincare and SPF, I highly recommend you give BB Creams a try.

If you are already bananas for BB Cream (I know, I get a little carried away with alliteration sometimes), would love to hear which one is your favorite. So spill it, ladies...

Notes From My Vanity: Marilyn-esque Morning Boost

I so want to be that girl who wakes up with that fresh-faced, lit-from-within glow.  And often times, when I have the time to do my makeup accordingly, I can kinda fake it.  But doing my makeup in the morning has become a less-regular event- but that no longer means I have to go through the first few hours of my day looking exhausted.

The sparkling rose-hued glistening gel that you see pictured above caught my eye the other night at an Erno Laszlo event I attended- and I knew that no matter what it was, did or contained, I had to have it. And, lucky me, now I do.

Here is the deal- the light-as-air whipped gel is called Morning Beauty Rescue and it is inspired by Marilyn Monroe, created to capture her effervescent glow using a blend of semi-precious gems and liquid pearls.  It is amazing as a primer, and if you haven't gotten a great night of sleep (yes, Marilyn's lifestyle also played into the product benefits- she was actually a devoted client of Erno Laszlo back in the day so the brand is quite familiar with the unique demands of an, um, festive social schedule) the subtle sparkle works wonders to hide the evidence.

I am madly in love with it- and think you just may be too.