I’m Melting! (How to Keep Make-Up on Your Face)

New York City summers are the worst. I don’t care what anyone says. I have been to many places around the world in the summer and NYC  still wins the award hands down. For some reason, we get awful humidity in which you can’t breathe (all the exhaust and garbage fumes don’t help) and there is no real relief. Since I’ve been living with these summers for 32 years, I have learned a trick or two. First, I use deodorant wipes. I love those things. I prefer Crystal Essence. They are great because they are wrapped packets and are easy to carry. If you are feeling particularly gnarly, just a swipe under each arm makes a big difference. I always carry wet naps off some sort. Wet Ones are great and they are also wrapped individually. I also bought “fancy” wet clothes at Duane Reade. They come in pretty packaging so they don’t look like you have 30 12- year old kids trailing you. They also smell delicious. I particularly like the ginger and orange- smells like tea. Speaking of smelling pretty, I still wear light perfume in the summer. I just got Bath and Body Works Pink Chiffon body spray. It smells really sweet in the bottle but warms up once it’s on the skin. Very pretty. Fresh’s Sugar Lychee was picked out by my husband but I also like their Hespirides. They are bright and clean fragrances. I am also a sucker for anything neroli- take me to the beach! Two other summer scents that are signature to me are Stella Sheer (limited edition every year- makes me crazy) and Guerlain’s Agua Allegoria in Mandarine Basilic. It’s a little spicy but the citrus sweetens it up. Love.

Now, onto your face.  I feel pretty strongly about sunscreen. My husband is actually pretty strict about using it, so I’ve gotten in the habit. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection for Face is our favorite. We get SPF 55. It doesn’t burn my eyes out when I sweat, which is expected in the summer. I also don’t break out from it. Pretty fantastic. If I want some coverage, I use Dr. Jart’s BB Cream. It has SPF and uses a weird water technology that isn’t oily. Bare Escentuals also makes a natural sunscreen in powder form. You twist the base of the all in one brush and shake. The product is released on the brush and you apply. It’s easy and since I have oily skin, I really like it.

Onto the make-up… I really lighten up in the summer for two reasons. One- it is just too hot to care and two- I don’t (have to go) to work. I do not go out without sun protection. The other make-up item I need is mascara. My sister reminded me of the Blinc mascara sample we received. She claimed that it did not flake or run or get into her eyes. I dug out my sample and after one use, immediately bought a full size tube. It is so weird but it works. Blinc creates tubes around your lashes and won’t come off without a little cleanser, water, and gentle pressure. The package warns you that when you wash it off, the tubes come off in your hands. The mascara looks like you are removing fake lashes. I was a little freaked out at first but my lashes are still intact and their usual long and curly selves. Good stuff. I sometimes use eyeshadow (with a primer) but if I’m lazy, I just line my eyes with a metallic pencil. The eyeliner that stands up to humidity the best is Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Eyeliner. You can buy the thin, self-sharpening pencil on their website. I like Make Up Forever’s Aqua Liner, but I really think the Tarte pencil lasts longer. When I do just eyeliner, I also pick a fun color, like teal, green, or purple. You only live once.

For my cheeks, I stay away from powder or cream. I love Benefit’s Cha-Cha Tint, a take on the original Benetint. This one is a coral and perfect for summer. I also use it on my lips. You have to work fast when using it- it dries very quickly. I brush some on my fingers, then apply to my cheeks. It’s a good method. Smashbox makes O-Glow, which works with your chemistry. It’s a gel and easy to apply but you need to work quickly. I choose gloss over lipstick in the summer months. I’m not down with melted lipstick in my bags. Squeeze tubes are my preference. NYC Cosmetics make affordable and fun glosses that are surprisingly not super goopy. MAC LipGlass is tried and true and the colors are more saturated. I like a variety of shades but tend to stay in the coral or pink families.

Finally, setting spray. Urban Decay makes four kinds. I used their All Nighter. My make-up did not MOVE. I also bought the travel size bottle and only use it when I am going out for the night. I still have a lot left. Worth the money.

Keep cool and stay glossy!

Freaked Out by Frizz? Read this.

I have yet to discuss my hair on my blog and I figured with the summer upon us, it might make for a good story. As a kid, my hair was thick but straight. It was really straight. When I turned 14 I got a perm. Then I cut the perm out. I didn’t understand why my hair looked ridiculous all the time.  My friend told me that I probably had curly hair. My life was changed forever.

I’ll tell you the truth:  Some mornings I wake up with a pompadour. It’s not cute. Most days, I can’t complain. I used to straighten my hair a lot but it was frustrating because it would curl up pretty fast. I decided to no longer fight the curl and have worn it curly for a long time. The things I do below have made my hair easier to handle. Those with straight or fine hair, read on- you never know what you’ll find.  If you have curly or wavy, there are a few things you can do:

1)Don’t wash everyday. Sounds gross in the summer, I know, but it you’re desperate just wet your hair and throw some conditioner in and give your head a good rinse after a few minutes. My rule anytime I condition is to rinse it out after I have washed my bod, face, and shaved. If your hair is thin, a clarifying shampoo is great. (Keep in mind it can fade color.) My personal favorite is Suave’s Rosemary Mint, around $2.59 a bottle.

2) I love Moroccan (Argan) Oil. It can get expensive BUT know that some of the ones for hair are not 100% pure (not that it’s bad.) If you like being “green” expect to pay upwards $30 for a 3 ounce bottle. Keep in mind, a little dab will do ya so a bottle can last a while. I do not suggest Moroccan oil for those with fine hair. It will just weigh it down. It’s great for frizz but use sparingly. I put Moroccan oil in my hair after it’s washed and before I put in any other products.

3)After I’ve put my Moroccan Oil in, I start my “products.” I usually mix a cream and a gel. I’ve been using Quidad’s Climate Control  gel for a loooong time. It really works but again, is expensive. Don’t think another one won’t work for you. For my cream, I like Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk for Curls. It smells so good. I just mix them in my hands, evenly distribute through my hair and scrunch. I sometimes throw a little extra gel in, as it acts as a barrier between your hair and fabric, like pillow cases or hats.  If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll use Dove’s Style+Care Nourishing Curls Whipped Cream Mousse.

4) I change up my products. I always use Moroccan Oil but sometimes I’ll use products by Jessicurl. Confident Coils and Rockin’ Ringlets work well. I still throw in some gel after I’ve used them. I also change up my shampoo and conditioner. I usually use Suave Coconut Anti-Dandruff shampoo and conditioner. Once I week, I wash with Miss Jessie’s Super Slip Shampoo and Jessicurl Too Shea! conditioner. One a week, I use Miss Jessie’s Rapid Recovery Treatment. I don’t really follow the directions to the letter but it’s really rich and since my hair isn’t severely dry, it’s good.

5) For styling, I’ll either put in a headband and let my curls go free. Sometimes I just pin the front back. If I’m feeling warm, I throw it in a ponytail. It looks nice with the curls but I can’t take it down because my curls will be pulled out and just look like a hot mess.

My most important tip- don’t fight your hair. It really frames your face and can make or break your look. Take care of it.

Stay glossy!

Happy Birthday, Little Sister!

Relationships with siblings are very complicated. When I asked my sister if she started reading my blog, she said, “Yes. BUT you didn’t write about…” and told me what was missing. I explained to her that I didn’t want to go so far back into our childhood. I would eventually write a blog about us and how our product obsession began.  Then I realized that the play make-up we wore would take a whole other write up.  So…

I decided to write all about her. Yup, Shannon, this one’s for you.

I’ll start by telling you about my first sibling memory. I went to visit my mom in the hospital and after we went to see her, we went to see Shannon (I call her Nootz.)  She had so much hair- OMG. SO. MUCH. HAIR. And she was sleeping (which she still loves to do.) I went back to my mom and told her it was time for the three of us to hightail it out of there. Mom explained how that couldn’t happen and sent me on my merry way with hospital peaches. By the time Mom and Nootz arrived home, I just wanted to play. You can’t have much fun with an infant. So I waited and waited. I sat on my Sit ‘n’ Spin and almost killed my sister (I should have been watching her- I didn’t. Whoops.) By the time Shannon was two, I was almost 5 ½. Oh, the fights and the hitting and the screaming. We generally got along but things could get ugly.

When I was 16 and Shannon was 13, we forged a new friendship. She started to hang out with my friends and I would tolerate and even come to like her friends (so much so that I lived with one and a few of them were at my wedding.)  I’ve written about my love of Brucci Matte “Natural” lipstick, but yesterday Shannon mentioned another lovely make-up trick- Cover Girl Pressed Powder in Ivory (they have since changed the packaging.) “The powder was white, white, white!”  She laughed as she said it. “You thought you were in “The Craft,” I replied. (“The Craft” is a 1990s movie about teenage girls that play with witchcraft.)  That and the dark lipstick she wore were classy. “I looked good,” Shannon said.

Considering her coloring rivals Snow White’s, my sister can wear a lot of great colors. I’m even (a little) jealous. I can’t rock the blues and silvers and glitter like she can. I wish I could pull off teal eye shadow. When I wore it last summer, my husband looked at me and said, “I don’t know I feel about that.”  I am happy that she ventured into red lipstick this past winter. (I have always loved red lipstick. It is so flattering and brightening. It perks up the face, makes the teeth whiter, and brings out the Monroe in all of us. ) My sister has gorgeous lips. She has a perfect pout- plump and bow shaped. When she started wearing it, the two of us would hit up Sephora and examine the reds. Yesterday, she looked for a new reddish color in Rite-Aid. She found one and though it wasn’t quite what she wanted, she still liked it. It looked fabulous.

Shannon’s hair is also beautiful. It’s sickening. It’s long and dark brown. It has never been dyed (except the time she let me put some rinse in that didn’t even last two days.)  It is now really long (I couldn’t deal with it.) She has bangs and that changes her whole look. I think Shannon  straightens  it a little bit. Her hair is no way nearly as curly as mine, but it has happened. We learned  that in Rome. My curly hair looked great and Shannon’s was magically curly because of the water. (They should bottle it.)

The only “bad” thing Shannon has to deal with is her straight eyelashes. Those things stick straight out. They are so straight that even an eyelash curler and curling mascara don’t do the trick. I just bought myself a coupon for an eyelash perm but my lashes are pretty long and hold a nice curl. Maybe I’ll give it to her.  She does have a  good eyelid for shadow and liner. Her eyebrows are a nice shape, too. Mine are similar, if not the same. Shannon is diligent in getting them waxed every two weeks. I’m not. Hand me my Tweezerman.

There is so much more I can say about my sister but I will spare you the details. Shannon is my best friend and my confidant. Shannon is honest with me. She will tell me if I look stupid. She always fixes my iTunes.  She also asks for my sisterly advice on occasion. Shannon and I also have the same sick sense of humor. If no one else gets it, I can count on the fact that she does. You can’t tell everything to everyone but you can always tell your sister. Well, I can anyway. Happy Birthday, Nootz!

Stay glossy!


Nostalgic Beauty!

Maybe I’m just feeling nostalgic with all of the graduation talk, but I’ve been thinking about my own high school graduation the past few days. 1998 predates digital cameras and camera phones, so I would actually have to scan the pictures in. That is not happening. So I think I’ll just throw some of the past beauty tricks we swore by- some are good and some very bad in that “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!” sort of way. Here goes…

1) In the early 90s, my friends and I would walk to 86th Street (under the El) and hit up S&J Cosmetics. They always had cheap make-up and since it was 1995, we really were looking for “natural” looking lipstick. That would mean one of two things- A) a color that had no color and made you look like a corpse or B) a brown that resembled mud or Georgia red clay (brown-based red). There was a brand called Earth Tones, which was $1.00. This stuff would stay on your lips for hours and was not drying. But, really? Natural that looked like death or dirt? Must have been pretty.

2) Speaking of lipstick, Brucci (yeah, you NYC ladies know Brucci) released matte lipstick. This was in 1994-1995 and I only remember because my friends thought the cadaver look was so chic. I was (and still am) willing to  try any make-up, so I jumped on the bandwagon. My friend, JM, went out and got us all Brucci matte lipsticks. They ran out of “Natural”- a pale nude, so she got me “Cappuccino”- a brick red-brown (surprise!) We wore that lipstick everyday and at 14 thought we were IT. When I finally got my hands on a tube of “Natural”, I whipped out my Wet ‘n’ Wild brown eyeliner, lined my lips, slapped on the lipstick and rubbed my lips together. H-O-T. (I have to admit, Brucci lipsticks are now on trend and the nail polish is great. I’ll wear “Disco Pearl” or “Romantic Red” anytime. And who can forget Teriyaki lipstick?)

3) When I was in junior high, a friend’s mom suggested I try Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque. It was around $3.59 for a giant jar. My friends and I would slather it on at slumber parties and let it dry until we couldn’t move any parts of our faces. When we would finally wash it off and scrub with wash cloths, we would be amazed. Blackheads would be gone, pores seemed smaller, zits shrunken. I would do a mask every week, all the way through high school. My mom would spot treat with this stuff. When she told me that she thought it worked, I knew it was special.

Very recently, I was at a Mary Kay party (such fun and pleasantly surprising!) and a friend and I were discussing beauty products. Queen Helene came up and she told me that she, too, loved the masks and face scrubs. 20 year later, I still use Queen Helene. My teenage cousin uses the Mint Julep Masque, my husband and I use the apricot scrub in the shower. It still makes my skin glow. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

4) I’ll be quick with perfume- Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers. Need I say more?

Why didn’t anyone tell us to stop? Why?

Stay glossy!

What’s in my bag? (I know, I know…)

All right, all right! I know that we are all sick of the “what’s in my bag?” spreads in magazines but since I am nosy by nature, I still read them. Instead of just telling you what is in my bag, I’m just going to tell you about a few of my very necessities. I carry these with me at all times- no exceptions!

1) Blotting papers: I don’t really care what kind I have. I loved the Tatcha Petal Fresh papers BUT at $12 for 30 papers, I think there are more cost effective ones. Boscia makes a great blotting paper and if you get them once the holiday season ends, you can get packs of 100 for $5 from Sephora. At the “drugstore” the Clean and Clear blotting papers do the trick, but they aren’t actually paper.

2) Lip Balm: I happen to like Burt’s Bees. I’ve read the articles about lip balm addiction and I have to agree. Burt’s Bees is made from beeswax and it won’t dry you out. EOS makes a good lip balm, too, but the shape is a little weird. If I want a tint, Lipstick Queen’s Medieval is an awesome sheer red that isn’t obnoxious. I also have Dior’s Lip Addict Lip Glow (not worth the money, just sayin’) and it feels quite nice and gives lips a natural flush. Sephora’s Hot Hues Neon Lip Balms (which are a limited addition and on sale now) are fantastic. They stain and soften the lips.

3) Lip color: I use this term because I switch between lipstick and gloss on a daily basis. I use any brand from Wet ‘n’ Wild to Tom Ford (more on that later, I’m sure.) My current favorite happens to be Lipstick Queen. Poppy King knows what she is doing. Her Sinner lipsticks are MATTE, serious matte and pigment rich. No shimmer, no shine, but not flat and definitely not drying. The Liptropolis set has three friendly colors (nude, peach, red) that have a soft shine. Love them. Another great lipstick is Sephora’s Rouge Cream. The colors are bold, bright, and will get you noticed.  They also are very long lasting. I also happen to like their Rouge Shine- it’s sheer enough to put on without a mirror but still gives good coverage.

As for a gloss, MAC’s Lipglass has made it’s way back into my rotation. I find them to be a bit sticky but long lasting. I love the new colors that aren’t new. “Russian Red” and “Please Me.” Make Up Forever’s Lab Shine is beautiful and not goopy. It just isn’t as long lasting!

4) Mascara: Okay- I won’t lie. I am still looking for my holy grail. I have tried all kinds, from Great Lash (I DO NOT LIKE IT) to Dior Show (eh) and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. Right now, I’m using the Borghese brand from Costco (yes, Costco.) It’s actually pretty good but more on mascara later.

5) Hand sanitizer: I’m not picky.

6) Wet Ones wet naps

7) My David and Goliath mirror (it always gets a giggle)

Stay glossy!

Hello there, gorgeous.

Let me start by saying that I have never blogged before. I was a journal writer way back in 1993 when I was in junior high. I would fill books and books with precocious and jaded ideas. I realize now that it is indeed true that youth is wasted on the young. Now, I am a big kid trapped in my 30+ body!

But I digress. I think there is still that 13 year old in all of us. I remember myself at that age- I was so awkward. I tried my best to look pretty. It never seemed to work. So I started experimenting with more and more beauty products. The need to be a beauty mad scientist stuck and now, I have loads and loads of products for EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. If it doesn’t work for me, and is okay to pass on, I do just that. My younger sister can tell you that she loves when I clean out my make-up and she ends up with unopened and unused products. My sister-in-law can attest to her curly hair looking fab because the product I bought didn’t work for my curly hair.  My friends, well, they come to me for every little beauty question or crisis. I am known at work for my vast knowledge of beauty products. Yes, you can thank me for telling you about the Shu Uemura eyelash curler that I have been using for over 10 years. (It was never that much of a secret, but to Brooklyn and Staten Island girls, it changed our lives.)

I am still exploring and experimenting. I don’t mind being your guinea pig.  Let’s get gorgeous together.

Some Dolce & Gabbana Lipstick