Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Sometimes a highlighter just isn't going to cut it. You've been going out too much, work is killing you, you're just plain old...all of these factors require a little boost under the eyes to ensure you don't look "tired" (fyi, "tired" is the nice way of saying you look like crap). For those moments, my go to is Laura Mercier Secret Concealer. It's not heavy but it'll get the job done. Even if you're looking your best, dabbing a little bit of under your eyes will make your eye makeup POP!
Thursday, April 3, 2014
In case you haven't noticed, fitness is all the rage these days. That's not to say it was ever considered lame but the number of apps available to get you moving is staggering. About a month ago, I decided that I wanted to become a runner. This had a lot to do with starting to wear a fitness tracker and wanting to rack up a ton of steps. The other big factor was the really rough winter and wanting to work out in the Grand Central New York Sports Club so I wouldn't have to go outside before getting on the train home. If you've ever been to that location, you'll know that the spin bikes are busted and an actual safety hazard making spinning there was completely out of the question. I also read an article that said my beloved elliptical machine is about as useful as sitting on the couch. I'm not coordinated enough for boot camp or Zumba, so the only remaining option was the godforsaken treadmill.
Walking on the treadmill is about as boring as it can get so I decided to "learn how to run." My go to move when learning how to do anything is to Google it and I discovered a handful of Couch to 5K apps. I got super excited at the gradual approach they all take and immediately bragged to all my friends that I'd discovered such a gem. I was immediately told by eight different people that they were well aware of these apps, had used them and apparently were all secretly training for marathons without me.
I started off with one of the free ones and eventually splurged on the $4 one from Active. The only reason I liked this one better was because it let you track your distance each time so you can track your progress. This seemed especially important to me since it works off of how long you're running as opposed to distance and it occurred to me that while I could be running for a long time, I may be running so slowly that I haven't actually covered any ground.
All the apps basically feature the same program. You alternate running and walking and increase the duration of your running a little bit every week. They're set up to involve three runs a week but I try to do more than that. Early on, I learned that cramming a bunch of runs into a week to finish the program faster didn't work. It's better to stick with each routine for a full week and just trying to do the running segments at a faster speed. Originally, I was just checking off the segments like I had some kind of a deadline and eventually hit a wall because I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was. The key to all the apps is gradually getting to longer distance runs.
Coming from a girl who dreaded the mile run every year in elementary school, attempting to become a runner is a pretty big deal. While I wasn't completely coming from the "couch" and found the first few days pretty easy, I'm still glad I went about this gradually. Many of the running articles I read (one can't be too prepared) said the biggest set back people have is trying to run too far, too fast and get completely discouraged. I will say that I don't know if three runs a week is enough to really get into some kind of rhythm. I found that if I skipped a few days I lost a lot of my momentum and had to slow it down. Also, since it's still pretty cold for the most part, I'm only on the treadmill which I'm okay with since I can control the speed and monitor my distance. Treadmills can be rough on your joints but I've found that putting it on a 1% incline helps a little.
Obviously, a 5K isn't all that far (a little over 3 miles) but all of these apps have continuations that will take you to all the way to a marathon if you're dedicated.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Last Monday, I have decided that I'm done with boots and socks for the season. It's time to start focusing on pedicures and flats. This plan immediately backfired that same day when I woke up to a straight up wintry mix and wiped out in the driveway while wearing ballet flats (sans socks of course) and an unlined raincoat. I still stand by this choice and am all about spring shoes.
I've been eyeing these black shoes forever and I think now's the time to get involved! Also, last year I bought a pair of flat espadrilles on sale at the Gap for $8 (no joke) and fell in love with them. While these are not leopard and neon (like my Gap ones), they're still super cute and striped. Lastly on shoe-palooza are these awesome Ann Taylor leather wedges. They're perfect for Spring because they're not completely summery and the wedge implies my feet won't be miserable within four minutes of putting them on.
I finally used my Sephora birthday gift from last year which was Benefit's Watt's Up highlighter which recreates that awesome glow you get from candlelit rooms.
Let's be serious, it's still not summer so sweaters/light jackets are still very much in play. This leather trimmed cardigan is a good compromise between winter and summer!
As the weather warms up, I start to love thin gold rings like this one. And if you're trying to make a statement with a ring, there's always this one.
I discovered last year that maxi dresses really are awesome. They're warmer than a shorter dress (obviously) but are super comfortable when it gets seriously hot. I started with a simple black one last year but fully intend on adding some bright colors this year. (like this one from Calvin Klein)
I love that the color blue is having a moment right now because I think 98% of people look great in at least some shade of it. (blouse and clutch)
These sunglasses are as close as I could find to this great pair I found in a little store in Florida. They're a unique shape that's actually really flattering!
Lastly, my favorite thing to do as the weather warms up is to read outside. Either during lunch or on the weekend it's just a peaceful way to spend some time. For that reason, I need an even better book selection on my Kindle. I just finished The Lowland and absolutely loved it. It was about two brothers growing up in Calcutta who become two very different people. One is idealistic and heavily involved in India's political rebellion in the 1960's. The other is known as the "good brother" who moves to America to study and become a professor. It was an awesome family story spanning many years and two continents!
Unlike all the other brands owned by Gap, Piperlime does not go on sale almost every day and even when they do, it's often on final sale older items. Until April 4th, they're doing 25% off NEW SPRING ARRIVALS (just use the promo code: spring). Not only is this for brand new merch but it's also not final sale like so many of the Piperlime sales!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
First of all, I want to thank CBS for giving How I Met Your Mother a full hour to wrap things up since it was absolutely necessary. Secondly, I totally called that the mother was dead. I thought the final episode was amazing except for a complete lack of Bob Saget! So many bombs were dropped and I didn't want it to end!
Bomb #1: Barney and Robin got divorced.
Okay, not entirely a surprise but I really thought their awesomeness would be the perfect match and would have NEVER guessed it would be Robin's fault.
Bomb #2: Barney is a dad.
This was the least likely thing to ever happen and let's be honest, when Barney cried, we call cried.
Bomb #3: Ted and the mother live in sin for years. YEARS.
It's not that big of a deal except that Ted was such a girl I was shocked he didn't insist his lady march down the aisle of that castle eight months pregnant.
Bomb #4: The mother is dead.
I totally called this one!
Bomb #5: This wasn't the story of how me met their mother, it was about how he ended up with Robin.
Everything else that happened up until this point had been moderately predictable or at least was reasonable. Talk about a plot twist! Ted whipped out the blue french horn one last time to impress Robin (who appears to have gotten super rich, famous and fancy). Hurray for him getting his family and his lady! Also, his kids seem super chill!
No one really cares about Marshall and Lily at this point.
Marshall finally becoming a judge was kind of meh. Like yay for him and all but I think it was decided that those two already got their happy ending so there was really nothing else to say. However, Lily's pregnant whale costume was awesome!
So sad to see this one go!
Monday, March 31, 2014
Tonight is the series finale of How I Met Your Mother and it just occurred to me how sad I'm going to be to see this show go. I like to call this show the most "thoughtful" of all the sitcoms. If you've ever seen it you know that there are flashbacks within flashbacks and the story is told slightly out of order so it all seems really carefully planned. Call me a nerd but I appreciate the attention to detail. How I Met Your Mother is already in syndication so it's certainly not gone forever but it will certainly be missed!
Lily and Marshall. Power Couple.
Lily and Marshall are proof that true love exists. Their break up in season one was devastating and I cheered when they reconciled. Their relationship is pretty much the only constant in the show and it still makes me sad that they're not married to each other in real life.
Robin is that character that everybody wants to be. Sure, we all want the emotional stability and family life that Lily has but who doesn't want to be a bad ass like Robin. She's fun, aggressive and kind of a mess. She also managed to get Barney to commit which I never thought was possible.
Barney. Man slut with a heart.
Barney is responsible for most of the phrases that people associate with the show and got minimal credit for secretly being the glue. Aside from "suit up" and "legendary" he invented a whole bunch of "bro code" rules. Despite his daddy issues, slightly inappropriate mother and giant "playbook" of schemes to get girls, he's actually a stand up guy which made him most people's favorite character.
The mother did not disappoint.
This could have gotten really ugly if they picked wrong. After almost a decade, picking the wrong mother would have been a disaster and thankfully she's pretty perfect. You may recognize her from the Broadway show Once or The Wolf of Wall Street (Leo's first wife). She's all the things that Ted wanted without being annoying like him.
I probably won't miss Ted.
Okay so Ted was kind of the worst. I know the whole show revolved around him but I really think they should have given Bob Saget more of a role because he's awesome. Ted is whiny and kind of girly when it comes to finding his true love. However, in the brief clips they've shown with him and "the mother," he seems to have gotten better.
Very rarely do I get an email from a store, brand, etc that gets me visibly excited but this morning on the train I got one of the standard "we're introducing something new" e-mails that BobbiBrown.com wends everyone who has ever bought something from them and I was GIDDY.
Okay so the Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner is one of my desert island items. I have a bunch of colors and use them at least once a day. I hate pencil liner and those are perfect and easy (provided you have the right brush). The only downside is that carrying the little pot with a brush around is kind of ridiculous and generally messy. As a result, I've been in constant search for a pencil that I can use on the go (try using a gel liner brush on a train/in a car...you'll probably end up blind).
So, this morning when I found out that my favorite gel liner will now be available in pencil form it was like someone was reading my mind! The colors are a lot more limited than the pots but they have all the essentials and I'm sure more are to follow!
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Being a "migraine sufferer" seems to be a growing trend along the same lines as gluten intolerance. Those who get them regularly will scoff at others who claim to have a regular old headache and claim they "don't know what pain is." Everybody, just relax. Migraines are a real thing and they are definitely worse than a standard headache but you're probably not going to die. Migraines have been a part of my life for a while now and as long as you know what works best for you to treat them, it'll be FINE.
In case you're not aware, you're "super bad headache" is probably not a migraine...just saying. I'm not a doctor so here are the signs your headache is a migraine from Health.com:
1. Auras-These seem like a flickering light that probably isn't there and general vision distortion.
2. Eye pain-Often times the pain will set up camp right behind your eyes. Fun times.
3. Neck pain-Just to make it more of a full body experience!
5. Sensitivity to light or noise-My favorite was hearing someone claim that "the lights were too loud."
Sound fabulous yet? Personally, my migraines go through phases of not happening for months and then happening every day. I get nauseous, have trouble looking at a computer screen and generally just want to turn off all the lights and lay in bed. During one of the worst patches, I decided to finally see a doctor. There are all kinds of options ranging from daily medicine to a more natural vitamin route. Unfortunately, most of the daily "treatments" have nothing to do with migraines and are intended for other illnesses (seizures, antidepressants, and beta blockers). While hearing my first doctor listing all these pills for stuff I didn't actually that had some very serious side effects (probably way worse than a migraine) I had already checked out of my appointment and was ready for a new doctor. I'm sure people go the pills every day route and are just find but none of that appealed to me.
Enter: the new doctor. While my migraines were bad and at times caused me to crawl into bed for a day or two, I didn't see the need to start popping pills all the time. She recommended I start taking vitamin B2 every morning as that can prevent them and gave me a prescription for Maxalt as a just in case (not sure the details but it dissolves on your tongue and makes the migraine disappear INSTANTLY...like magic) . I have to say, the B2 has been awesome and since I started taking it I've rarely had to take the prescription.
Migraine suffers: What do you do to make it stop??
Monday, March 24, 2014
It has officially been 2 months since I ironed my hair. I think there should be some kind of "chip" for this as I was most certainly in a destructive relationship with my flat iron. Since I timed the no iron rule immediately after a haircut my hair is about as healthy as it's been since I was 10. Now that I'm a tad more confident with my blow dryer skills, I've tried to revise my original product lineup to include mostly drug store options that won't break the bank. There's nothing wrong with my fancy products but if I can avoid spending $20 on a bottle of shampoo, why not!?
Shampoo: Pantene Daily Moisture. There has always been something really appealing to me about finding a shampoo that is ALWAYS available at every drug store in America and not something I have to hunt for. Pantene has a ton of different lines now but the Daily Moisture is a staple everywhere. I'm still boycotting conditioner and this one is pretty great and super cheap. My hair is clean but not dried out.
Leave-in: Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser. This is a relatively new line from Garnier and let me start by saying I've never been a huge fan of them. However, the Damage Eraser is a light heat protectant and putting a bit on my ends helps with breakage and keeping my hair looking healthy.
Brush: So I'm still looking for a great cheap brush but until then I'm sticking with my original which wasn't outrageous to being with (one tutorial I watched featured a $70 brush...no thank you). My issue with a lot of the ConAir and John Frieda brushes I've tried is that the handles aren't seamless and my hair gets caught and pulled out.
Blow dryer: Don't even bother trying to cheap out on this. I went through 8 $20 Con Airs before I finally bought one that would last a long time. Cheap out on everything else but invest in the dryer!
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I will be the first to admit that I change my mind about what my favorite things are far too regularly but what can you do? I have included the Fitbit on not one but two different blog posts (here and here) and I still have great things to say about it BUT I've gone back to the Jawbone Up. I'm quite the flip flopper and I'm not proud.
My Fitbit and I had some great times together and I can credit it with getting me started with the whole fitness tracker craze. It got me and so many friends involved with being more active and that's awesome. I will even admit that the way it turns your steps into a competition is way better than the Jawbone set up. It's great to see so clearly how you're stacking up against your friends. (Side note: Amanda's broke so I finally got to "win".)
My desire for change had less to do with something being wrong with my Fitbit and more to do with wanting more out of this not so attractive device I was wearing every day. If you just want to see how you're moving then the Fitbit is a great option but for a full all-encompassing view of your health, the Jawbone has a definite edge. When I began with this whole thing, it was all about steps. How many steps can I get? Did I get more than Amanda? STEPS STEPS STEPS!
Once the initial thrill of steps wore off I started wanting more out of my tracker. I'm wearing this thing all day long, telling it everything I eat, and changing my behavior because of it but all I was getting back was a comparison of how many calories I burned versus how many I took in. Long story short, I wasn't getting as much out of this relationship as I could be.
The Jawbone Up format is less about steps and more about your overall well-being. I had previously stated that I was great at sleeping so wasn't really enthusiastic about Up's superior sleep tracking but It was recently pointed out to me that while I sleep a lot and almost never wake up in the middle of the night, all my friends were getting "deeper" sleep than me. I'm not entirely sure how one gets better at sleeping but I'm surely going to try.
Another great feature of their app is how it breaks down your food. Instead of just totaling calories it gives you a snapshot of what you're eating and tells you if you're having too much of something. I learned that I don't eat enough fiber and was overdoing it on sodium.
My main gripe when I originally used the Jawbone was having to plug it in every time I wanted to sync to my phone. The Up 24 took care of that by adding Bluetooth sync which is ideal since I like to compulsively check how many steps I've gotten.
Regardless of which option you choose, I think they're all great for leading a more active, healthy life. The Jawbone happens to be a more expensive option so if you're just in it for the steps, then the Fitbit is a solid choice.
Let me start by saying that this book is precious. Picture Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. Now picture him drunk and searching for a wife. That's Don Tillman. He's a genetics professor in Australia who has decided it's time to find a wife. Instead of going on Match.com, he comes up with his own questionnaire to weed out potential candidates. He even goes so far as to bring his survey to a speed dating event and basically "eliminated" the women who answered incorrectly in the middle of each round. Despite him being extremely quirky, he was lovable and overall a great character!
It was an awesome book and a different kind of love story!
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The weather forecast says it's going to hit 60 today!!! For the second day in a row, I am wearing flats without socks and I'm shamefully excited! As a former lover of winter who was bludgeoned over the head this year with snow and sub-arctic conditions, I am READY for a little Spring. I may even wear those floral pants featured above. I'm excited for light fabrics, abandoning all my socks and being able to feel my hands.
Even better, it's going to be nice enough soon-ish for one of my favorite lunchtime activities...reading in Herald Square. If you look past the swarms of tourists and homeless people, it's actually quite lovely. I just finished We Are Water by Wally Lamb which I'm told is not the best of the his books but was still fabulous.
I'm not sure if I could pull of a floral pant but if I could, I'd want them to be these.
I keep seeing people wearing these simple gold circle pendants and I finally found one for myself!
Fact: you can never have enough sunglasses since I somehow never have them on me when I need them!
I'm fascinated by these "fashion sneakers" that keep popping up. They seem like a wonderful way to be incredibly comfortable while looking cool.
I've been eyeing this Rebecca Minkoff bag forever but it comes in too many colors for me to pick one that I love. Today's favorite is navy.
Every time I notice someone in a great printed dress it's ALWAYS Diane von Furstenberg. Always.
Last year, I bought a pair of espadrille looking flats from Gap for approximately $9 and I fell in love. Unfortunately, they fell apart after the summer (not complaining since they were so cheap) but the style is still a favorite! These are quite a splurge compared to the serious bargain I got last year but a girl can dream!
It's been a long winter so if you're not pale, you're cheating. I've been making a more conscious effort to throw on a little blush in the morning to avoid looking like I'm dead.
This travel case has nothing to do with anything, I just thought it looked like a nice gift idea and who doesn't love monograms?
Monday, March 3, 2014
This year, I decided to categorize the Oscar fashion moments into three categories: Nailed It, Meh and Someone Should Be Fired. None of it matters anyway because Lupita won at life last night! I was pleasantly surprised this year to see more great dresses than failures meaning Joan Rivers is going to be SUPER annoyed on tonight's Fashion Police!
Lupita Nyong'o in Prada
Kerry Washington in Jason Wu
Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen
Cate Blanchett in Georgio Armani
Jessica Biel in Chanel
Amy Adams in Gucci
Emma Watson in Vera Wang
Julia Roberts in Givenchy (a significant improvement over that shirt-dress she wore earlier but still meh)
Somebody Should Get Fired
Anna Kendrick in J. Mendel...Hear me out because I do love her! Each element is lovely but put together I'm just not into it. Sorry!
Liza Minnelli...Bonus points for matching her hair to her "outfit" but I don't understand any of this, not even a little.
Pharrell Williams was clearly not told that this is the Oscars and while he understood black tie, he clearly let his desire to show off his calves get the best of him. Just no.
Elsa Pataky-She's gorgeous and happens to be pregnant but I just think at a certain point of one's life/pregnancy, a bra is no longer optional.
Special mention goes to Jared Leto's flowing ombre locks and Jennifer Lawrence who managed to fall AGAIN!
Friday, February 28, 2014
As I gear up for my second year participating in Sloan Kettering's Cycle for Survival (an amazing cycling fundraiser to benefit rare cancers, learn more here), I've been going through all my gym bag essentials to decide what I'll be bringing. While I'm not proud, I really do get excited to go to the gym when I'm excited about my outfit and have managed to find some really nice, affordable options (still not going the Lululemon route).
The most important thing is the sneakers. I recently took up running thanks to my Couch to 5K app and have re-discovered the importance of good, comfy sneakers. I just ordered these Nike Free 5.0's that have been awesome for running. They're super light but offer tons of support. I also discovered that if you wait a little while when the new colors come out, you can get them at a discount (unless you're one of those who NEEDS to have the news colors).
I would say the next most important thing is a good sports bra. Seriously, gotta keep everything where it needs to be. I love the Champion ones from Target. They come in awesome colors, are comfy and do the job.
While running, I have also discovered the importance of good pants. While running with an old pair this week, my pants almost completely fell off. The ones from Gap and Old Navy are good as long as you purchase the correct size (sometimes tight is better if you're going to be running).
I'm really not very picky about tops and sweatshirts. As long as they are comfortable I don't particularly care. I think Gap does a great job with these with great colors and interesting styles but if all else fairl, a Haines t-shirt is always a solid choice.
Unfortunately, my hair hasn't grown out enough to just throw into a pony tail so I always need a headband to keep all the short pieces out of my face. These Champion ones were on sale at Target for $3 for 3 so I gave them a shot. LOVE!
My Fitbit has been a pretty huge game changer. I had posted about it a while back (here) and am still wearing it every day. Overall, I think it encourages healthier decisions. Instead of parking super close to the entrance of a store, I'll park a little further away. I'll try to take the long way. Little things but all are good!
Lastly, when working out it's beyond important to wash your face afterwards. I like the Neutrogena grapefruit wipes because they're intended for oily skin so they do a GREAT job of cleaning my face after a workout.
Happy Friday and to all those doing Cycle for Survival tomorrow, good luck!
Bobbi Brown is having their Friends & Family sale on-line and it ends TODAY! Everything is 20% so if you need to stock up, now's the time! Bobbi Brown has become my staple for every day great makeup. Their brushes are phenomenal and they really know how to take good care of skin! This morning, I went through my makeup drawers (yes, plural) and noticed that so much of it is Bobbi and with good reason.
In honor of the 20% off, I decided to go through my hoarder collection and pick my favorites!
Nude Eye Palette-This is my newest addition to my super scary Bobbi Brown eye shadow palette collection. It's super neutral and natural and great for every day.
Gel Eyeliner-This is my desert island item. The colors are great, it lasts all day, just buy it!
The Brushes-Almost all my brushes are now from Bobbi Brown because they a last forever, are easy to take care of and are reasonably priced. My must-haves are the sheer powder brush, the ultra fine eyeliner brush, the eye sweep brush and the cream eye shadow brush.
The Creams-The Hydrating Face Cream is a great every day moisturizer that isn't too heavy. The Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm is great for these bitter cold months we've been having (typically at night).
For Your Face-In the interest of constant moisturizing I love the Moisture Rich Foundation, the Tinted Moisturizer and the Tinted Eye Brightener.
The Shimmer Brick-I'm not really a blush person but when I'm feeling fancy the shimmer brick is the only one I'll go with. They've really expanded the color options on these so I was able to find a really subtle one!
The sale ends today so stock up on all your favorites!!
Monday, February 24, 2014
This is been a really GREY winter. My love for snow has been plain beaten out of me and I've spent a ridiculous amount of time trapped at home or on the train. I don't remember the last time I was in a boot that didn't serve a "function" (whether for warmth or to keep the snow out). After spending over three hours trapped on the train trying to get home last week, I am thankful for my kindle and looking forward to wearing things just because they're pretty. Congratulations, winter. You've lost your biggest fan!
For reasons I'm not quite sure of, we got to have a Nespresso machine in my office for a week a while ago. Obviously everyone I work with ignored the lady who came to "instruct" us on how to properly use it and just did our own thing until it broke. I learned enough about this delightful machine to know that the coffee it makes is DELICIOUS!
At my last manicure, I opted for Essie's Angel Food because my nails were so broken and tragic that it seemed like the best color to downplay the hideousness. Oddly enough I received a disproportionate amount of compliments so it has since been added to my favorite color list!
I want these boots and these shoes but can't have them until New York is ice/show free which could be a long long way's off.
While trapped at home, I was able to do a little bathroom drawer cleaning and re-discovered this great Nars eyeshadow duo. It's subtle but can be built up to be fancier if the mood strikes. LOVE.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Before I start, I want to say that I don't endorse spelling mask as "masque." It's ridiculous and unnecessary. Okay, now that that's out of the way...
I don't really have oily skin but every now and then it's nice to give my face a little detox from all the products I use/try/experiment/make a mess with. Once a week, before a shower, I like to leave this mask on for at least half an hour. It gives you a nice tingle (it's supposed to do that so don't freak out) and leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed. It's not always easy to get that clean feeling without completely drying out or irritating my skin so this is a nice change!