Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Loves It!

September 10, 2010

I was thinking today that it’s been too long since I’ve done a product round-up. And, as it happens, I’ve discovered a few good finds to share with you, dear readers (that is, if you didn’t forget about Jenn & The Giant Peach, given the super-long pauses between posts lately). Some are mainstream, some are out of the way… Enjoy!

Avalon Organics SPF 15 Moisturizer
I was at Target the other day, looking for a new moisturizer with SPF. I’ve gotten really aware of the negative effects of parabens lately (parabens are detrimental chemicals often used as preservatives in cosmetics – they have been tied to cancer, specifically breast cancer, as they can mimic estrogen) and of mineral oil (which is basically liquid petroleum – which, seriously, you don’t want on your skin!). I actually quite like Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Lotion with SPF 15, but at $18 for just 2 oz., I was looking for a less expensive, but still natural alternative. I happened to stumble on Avalon Organics SPF 15 Moisturizer – about $13 for 4 oz. at Target. It doesn’t need parabens to stay fresh – the especially stable type of Vitamin C it contains makes it more shelf stable. And, I like it’s faintly citrus scent and the fact that it’s not tested on animals. I bought it for the SPF protection, but I really like how smooth and moisturized it leaves my skin. Definite A+ for this product – look for it online or in the cosmetic section of Target (you may have to search, since it’s not with Neutrogena or Aveeno).

Tatcha Aburatorigami, Japanese Blotting Papers
This one was an Allure Editor’s pick, but I originally heard about it from Rachel Zoe’s blog, The Zoe Report. These delicate papers are just under 4″ square, are made of rice paper and have little gold flecks in them (they’re visible, but won’t transfer to skin). Apparently, using these rice paper pieces to absorb oil and condition skin is a tradition that goes back to Japanese imperial times – gold artisans used rice paper to hammer thin gold, which was used to “leaf” buildings for Japan’s royal family. As the gold was hammered whisper-thin, tiny flecks of metal transferred to the rice paper. The tissue-like paper was then used by geishas to absorb oil from their delicate skin. Company founder Vicki Tsai has brought these fine papers to the American public – now available on the Tatcha site ($12 for 30 papers) or Henri Bendel in NYC. The packages are so elegant and are a perfect addition to a handbag for a mid-day (or night!) freshen up!

CeraVe
This one’s definitely NOT sexy… but I do love how the product works. I have sort of combination skin – if I wash my face with a cleanser with salicylic acid wash (like my favorite, Neutrogena’s Grapefruit Wash), my skin definitely gets a bit dry. During a visit to my dermatologist in the winter months, my doctor suggested I try CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion (approx. $11 for 12 oz.). I’m always super-cautious about any moisturizer, for fear that it will clog my pores and incite breakouts. However, the product’s active ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which created a barrier between skin and the air (which can leech moisture away from the dermis). I really love this moisturizer – it makes your skin (either face or anywhere on body) feel moisturized, without feeling even the slightest bit oily. You don’t need a perscription for this product, but you will need to ask the pharmacist for it (kind of like NyQuil!).
Bumble & Bumble Dry Shampoo
I’m sad to say, but this isn’t an endorsement. I’ve been trying to stretch the duration between hair washings a bit longer (lots of evidence that it’s better for your hair – fewer split ends, etc…), and I’ve tried to love Bumble & Bumble’s Dry Shampoo, but I just don’t. Rather than a powder, this one is a spray that you select based on your hair color (they have black, brown, white & blonde). You spray it on the roots of your hair when your hair looks like an oil slick.

My complaint is that the pigment is so intense for my brown hair & it has a wet consistency, so that when you spray it, it has a tendency to get everywhere – not great for when you’re wearing clothes that aren’t brown or black. I’m going to have to keep searching. If you have a dry shampoo (I think a powder would be more to my liking) that you love, please let me know! I’m still on the hunt… **PS. Just b/c one doesn’t wash their hair every day, it doesn’t mean that they don’t shower daily. Just wanted to clear that up, in case anyone was wondering.

Enjoy, friends! And, if you have products to suggest… please pass them my way!

XO, Jennifer

Accessorize It

July 20, 2010

I love it when I run across weddings when brides really prize being themselves / stylish over being traditional and doing what’s expected. Funky heels instead of white slippers. Cardigans instead of a more traditional “wrap.” A statement piece of jewelry instead of the typical dainty pearls. I think it shows such confidence and shows that she really knows who she is.

When I first started looking for a photographer for my wedding, I fell in love with Atlanta-based Our Labor Of Love. They have such an artistic, edgy style and really seem to see things in cool ways. Even though I’ve selected the fab Alea Moore to do the photography for our wedding (who also has a fun, edgy style that suits the future hubby & me perfectly!), I still check the OLOL blog from time to time to be inspired by the creativity of their brides – it seems that because the photography teams are so creative, they attract edgy brides too.

I stumbled across these photos of Ashley & Shane’s wedding at Serenbe – a gorgeous sustainable community and farm south of the city (& home of one of my favorite restaurants, The Hil). The environment is stunning all by itself, but I LOVE how Ashley (who has a cute business called Icemilk Aprons) decided to accessorize herself and her bridesmaids. How fun to do strands and strands of beads / pearls! Plus, girlfriend has excellent taste in flowers – anemones and rinanculous – two of my favorites, which will no doubt make an appearance on Nov. 13th. Enjoy!

Wedding Trends To L-O-V-E

June 17, 2010

I’ve never really liked the term “trendy.” It always makes me think of a teenager who shops exclusively at 5-7-9 and says the word “Mom” with 15 syllables (the ability to do this is the precise reason why my own mom never wanted to be called that).

All that being said, trends are part of what propels culture (and, for the purposes of this post, weddings) forward. Some – like jams, slap bracelets, feathered bangs and poofy-sleeved bridesmaids dresses – are so over. Others, like the ones below, are making me think twice about some of the expected, traditional choices for my own wedding. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll figure out a way to pioneer some trends of my own…

  • Eat local: Regardless of where you live, chances are something is grown locally. Why not incorporate it into your menu? Some ideas for Georgia would be peaches, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese for a cheese course (they are known for their Asher Blue – a salty, crumbly blue cheese. MMM.) and pecans (pie anyone?). Not only is it a way to keep sustainability in mind, but if you get things in season, it could help cut costs.
  • A group photo of ALL the guests: I’m definitely doing this one. After the wedding party walks out of the church, we’re going to have our minister ask everyone to remain in their seats – then we’ll come back in and have our photographer come in and get a panoramic view of everyone who’s there. How neat to have all your nearest & dearest in one shot!
  • Photobooth: Another one that I’m totally doing! I’ve loved the “SmileBooth” concept since I first saw it on Our Labor of Love’s site. But, having a pro set it all up would add about $1,000 (that I do not have!) to my budget. So, I believe I’ve figured out how to DIY-it, with the help of my very tech-savvy photography-buff future brothers-in-law. I’ll do a whole post about how to set it up later, but it’s a completely fun way to give guests both something interactive and entertaining at the wedding… all while documenting some silly moments that the bride & groom would never see otherwise.

http://greylikesweddings.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/photobooth_01.jpg

  • Mini-Food: Think about doing something special that will make guests smile, right at the beginning of your reception. Ideas are endless – think mini-grilled cheese sandwiches, tiny pulled pork or hamburger sliders, personal crudites and lobster bisque served in an espresso cup. Guests will love the whimsical, just-one-bite twist on some classic comfort food. Bonus – no utensils needed!
  • Family Photos: One of my favorite weddings I’ve been to recently (hi, Ellie & Clint!!) featured a huge table by the escort cards full of wedding photos from the bride & groom’s families – their parents, grandparents and maybe even great-grands. What a neat way to honor your personal history and the legacy the new couple is a part of!
  • Non-Traditional Shoes in Bold Colors: Yet another trend I’m totally on board with. I love shoes (have I mentioned this before? If not yet, just wait…) – the higher the heel, the better. I’m on the hunt for something stunning to wear the day of… and they most certainly won’t be white. I love the idea of a fun pop of color peeking out as I walk down the aisle (and later, dance the night away). Aren’t the Christian Louboutins below gorgeous? Pink isn’t so much the color I’m looking for, but stunning shoes, nonetheless.

https://i1.wp.com/www.exoticexcess.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/christian-louboutin-bow-t-dorcet.jpg

  • Temporary Augmentation: The beauty buzz words these days in terms of bridal are spray foundation (flawless, HD finish from dawn ’til dusk), hair extensions (think Victoria’s Secret waves), spray tans (no need to use your wedding as an excuse for skin damage!) and eyelash extensions (self-explanatory!). I’m considering all of the above – all brides want to look like themselves… perhaps just a slightly upgraded version.
  • Cheers!: A full open bar for the duration can get crazy-expensive. I’m hearing about / seeing a lot of brides opt for an alternative – signature cocktails or a series of signatures. Some brides choose to have a cocktail created for their reception and named something significant to the bride & groom (like the “S-Rated” cocktail some girls & I did for our friends Stephany & Samm). A twist on this would be to serve local wines or beers or something more elaborate like a margarita or mojito bar. What about a coffee bar with cordials (Kahlua, Bailey’s, Frangelico, etc…) as mix-ins? It’s a fun excuse to be extra-creative… and maybe do some taste-testing.

I haven’t begun to scratch the surface, but part of the benefit of blogging while wedding planning is that you have an online record of all the ideas you’ve run across. Perhaps it’s time to embrace my inner trend-follower…

I Believe…

June 14, 2010

 

Audrey Hepburn

“I believe in pink… I believe in kissing, kissing a lot… and I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.”

~Audrey Hepburn

L’Ove

May 21, 2010

I don’t want my blog to be a total product endorsement site, but sometimes when you fall in love with something that works really well, you are just obligated to share. I’ve discovered two such products – that both just happen to be from the L’Oreal brand.
 
I’ve said before that I’m trying desperately to have my hair long for the wedding (I’m even thinking about picking up some pre-natal vitamins, since everyone seems to say that they make your hair grow faster. Although, my friend Sherri also swears that they made her sprout hips too. Wonder if it’s worth the risk? Hmm…). The key to having long hair, successfully, is not only speeding its growth, but also making it strong once it’s long. After reading several glowing endorsements of L’Oreal’s “EverStrong Overnight Repair Treatment” I decided to try it for myself. According to the L’oreal site, it promises to “penetrate the hair fiber while you sleep to improve strength after just one use” and to “absorb quickly without leaving residue on your pillow.” At less than $7 at Target, I figured it was a gamble worth taking.


 
You use two pumps and run through your hair just before going to bed. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to only wash my hair every other day (or sometimes every third day if I can get away with it), so I was concerned that it would leave my hair greasy and needing a wash in the morning. Not so. I’ve been impressed when I wake up, my hair seems soft and silky, but not weighed down by the overnight treatment. I’ve noticed a slight difference in how my hair feels overall in just a week – I think that’s definitely worth blogging about!
 
 
The other product I found is also by L’Oreal – the Lash Boosting Serum. I’m sure we’ve all seen the commercials (both print & TV) for Latisse – the serum that is supposed to have dramatic lash growth results. I actually asked my dermatologist about the product several months ago and she pointed out that my lashes are already close to the “after” pictures of results Latisse (http://www.latisse.com/) promises. Plus, the side effects are kind of crazy (possibly): permanent darkening of the iris and the eyelid. No thank you… even with the promise of maybe not needing mascara any more.
 
I decided to try L’Oreal’s Lash Boosting Serum just to see. Now, after a couple weeks of using it sporadically – once a day, typically, or sometimes skipping a day, I can see a slight difference. The product is only about $12 and must be applied to clean, dry lashes (thus the reason why I use it sporadically – sometime I’m lazy and don’t full remove my eye makeup before bed. Gross, I know!). You apply it pretty much like mascara – with the wand moving from base to tip of lashes. Then, you apply on top of the lash line. The instructions recommend that you apply it twice a day, though I’ve found that if I use it in the morning it can make my mascara not go on quite as smoothly.


 The area I’ve noticed the most improvement is in the amount of fall-out I get when I remove my makeup. You know how sometimes if you’re a little too aggressive about scrubbing off eye makeup that you’ll get some lashes falling out (SCARY!)? I’ve noticed a big difference – virtually no fall out now. I’d definitely recommend this – it’s inexpensive, with no side effects that I’ve seen.

 
**One other product endorsement, then I’m done. Promise…at least for this post. I’ve seen a TON of editorial mentions (InStyle, Daily Candy, Self, and others) for Tarte’s Natural Lip Stain with “LipSurgence.” Basically, it looks like a giant crayon and promises to stain your lips and increase moisture by 6000%. I picked one up (in “Moody,” the berry shade) at Sephora over the weekend, and I have to say, I’m sold on this product. It goes on smoothly and really does last a long time – but, since it’s a stain and really moisturizes, it doesn’t make your lips feel cakey like so many of the “long wear” lipsticks can. My only wish is that it also came with an SPF. But, it’s great that it’s gluten-free, has no formaldehyde and has no oil, talc, MEA / DEA / TEA. And, Tarte doesn’t do any animal testing, so you can feel good about supporting a company with such stringent standards. The shades have fun names like “Amused,” “Charmed” and “Enchanted.” Definite A+ for these!
 
Stay beautiful!

All Twisty

May 13, 2010
I’m loving all of the stylish braids that are so “in” this year, as seen on the heads of celebrites from Jennifer Aniston to Blake Lively. I found this neat step-by-step breakdown of how to do two fishtail braids… Now, if I could just learn how to do one on myself! Enjoy – it’s almost FRIDAY!!

From Gwyneth Paltrow's blog "GOOP" (http://www.goop.com/?lan=en)

Strike A Pose

May 10, 2010

At a UGA game (Go Dawgs!).

I love pictures. And, while I’ve had more than one person say, “Oh, you’re so photogenic!” I still feel fearful that my wedding or engagement photos might not turn out as print-worthy as I want them to.

I found this post on RealBeauty.com (originally for Marie Claire) and wanted to re-post. Some great tips. Enjoy!

How to Look Fabulous in Photos
Camera Shy
By Yael Kohen 

I look like a wreck in photographs. My arms are flabby, the small pooch beneath my waist is suddenly a gut, and my face turns a pasty shade of eggshell. But worst of all is that damned double chin — the one that makes me look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. What will all the high-school and college friends I just reconnected with on Facebook think? Will ex-boyfriends wonder why I’ve let myself go?

It’s not that I’m ugly. When I do a once-over in the mirror before a night out — wearing my favorite blue tank with the plunging neckline, just a little smoke around the eyes, and a hit of blush — I’m generally satisfied. So why is it that the next day, when I’m flipping through the pics mass e-mailed from my friends’ Shutterfly accounts, I look like I could pass for Jack Black’s twin sister?

“What makes one person more photogenic than another is how light bounces off the face. It’s in the bone structure,” explains TRESemmé hairstylist Nathaniel Hawkins, who has worked with the aspiring mannequins on Project Runway for several seasons. “That’s why some models or actresses who look relatively average in person can look so stunning in a photo.”

“The camera often lies,” says celeb photographer Patrick McMullan. “For the bad and for the good, there’s always a subtle distortion.” So, how do I distort my image for the better?

Hawkins suggests manipulating the hair — with layers and subtle highlights — to create shadows or brightness in the right areas of your face. In my case, with bangs, tucking my hair behind my ears is like opening the curtains and letting in the light. Luminosity also works wonders for the strands, creating dimension, depth, and the appearance of health — especially for us brunettes, as darker shades tend to appear dull on film.

“But if there’s a big overhead light, you’re not going to look pretty,” insists designer and style guru Isaac Mizrahi. “You’re going to look like a ghoul because it creates shadows under your eyes.”

That’s where the makeup comes in. I want to wear as little as possible yet still look fresh and polished. Makeup artist Lori Taylor of Smashbox — a brand that offers “Camera Ready” foundations and concealers — says it requires more than the three minutes of face-painting I was used to investing: spot foundation to neutralize redness and dark circles, a liberal sweep of peachy blush high on the cheekbones, a light lip gloss for that bee-stung effect, and a deep purple liner with black mascara to make my blue eyes pop.

I implement the tips and make my mother take practice shots. Huge improvement, but there’s still the issue of the multiple chins. And the blubbery arms. And when did I get pregnant?

“Arms always look bigger than they are, just because they’re slightly in front of the rest of you,” says McMullan. “Some model types lean into the camera, and that makes the head look a little bigger. By default, the arms look smaller.” (This explains the celebrity lollipop-head syndrome.)

To my surprise, everyone I consult about how to look slimmer recommends standing with one hand on your hip and turning your lower body at a three-quarter angle to the camera, à la Paris Hilton. The problem is that you wind up feeling like Paris. Nonetheless, the trick actually works.

Also shockingly effective is jutting out your hips, as suggested by Matthew Rolston, a fashion and celebrity lensman who manages to make Angelina Jolie and Jack Nicholson look equally alluring. “Don’t arch your back,” he says. “It just makes your stomach look bigger. Round it instead, and tuck in your tummy at the same time.” That said, you also have to pull your shoulders back and down to elongate your neck — and avoid looking like a hunchback.

Of course, bearing all this in mind while posing is hard work. The more thought I put into it, the more uptight I look in snaps.

“You’d drive yourself bonkers trying to perfect every detail,” says McMullan. “You don’t want to lose the spontaneity.” Bearing that in mind, I’ve dropped some of the rules and learned to pose more, er, naturally. Although I have hung onto this one essential trick from Mizrahi: “Make sure you’re always being shot from overhead,” he says. “The next time you see a photographer sitting below you, looking up at your nostrils, kick him out of the way.”

YOUR PHOTO CHEAT SHEET

HAIR & MAKEUP

  • A peachy blush creates a healthy glow when placed high on cheekbones. To break up any semblance of a double chin, use a matte bronzer along the jawline.
  • Dust a light iridescent shimmer just under the eyebrows, on the inside corners of eyes, and along cheekbones for definition.
  • To add shine to hair, mix a silicone-based glossing serum with mousse for styling.
  • Highlights around the hairline should be one shade lighter than your natural color to amp up shine.

CLOTHES

  • Avoid light colors or anything shiny on areas of your body that you want to detract from.

STANCE

  • To help thin out your face, tilt your head slightly up and forward.
  • If you’re sitting, cross your legs to cut the apparent width of your body in half, then lean slightly forward.
  • In group shots, avoid standing at the end — that person always looks heavier.

Definitely a “Do”

May 4, 2010

 

Bando-black-label

Lovelies, there’s no question that the designers of Ban.do have amazing taste – their headbands range from simple and small to gorgeous and lush. Not long ago, they launched an all new Black Label collection which is just as colorful, over-the-top, stunning, and dramatic as their previous collections..and even better. Everything in this cream-of-the-crop higher end collection is one-of-a-kind and uses vintage limited-edition materials…pieces worth saving up for (Black Label pieces are generally more than $200). Plus, how much do you love the model’s t0-die-for firey hair? Love.

Friends with Benefits (Enter to Win!)

March 19, 2010

Calling fellow product junkies! I found this neat sweepstakes from Benefit Cosmetics – they are the visionaries behind BeneTint (rosy lip & cheek stain, pictured below), One Hot Minute (described on their site as “sexy in seconds face powder”) and You Clean Up Nice facewash.  

benetint

And, I love how all of their packaging is vintage-y. Most of the items look plucked from the 1950’s, complete with cute pin-up girl icons. Adorable!

Click here for your chance to win a $200 prize package in their “Spring Ahead” contest. Contest ends March 26, 2010.

Hey, it’s a classy way to have friends with benefits!

Best You

March 16, 2010

This whole “being the bride” thing has a tendency to make me a little neurotic about looking the best I’ve ever looked for my wedding day. Fortunately, I’ve got a little over eight months and, as it happens, I’m a total beauty / health / product / magazine  junkie, so I’ve compiled a few of my favorite tips. Enjoy!

1. Take probiotics – they help restore healthy bacteria to your digestive tract, helping to promote regularity and cut down on bloating. I like the Pearls brand, but it’s also great to eat yogurt and cottage cheese that have added acidophilious. Another great help: digestive enzymes.

2. Brush Up – I first heard about “dry brushing” as a cleansing technique. Basically, you get a natural bristle brush (like the kind you’d use to scrub your back) and briskly brush your body – bottoms of feet, legs, arms, etc… – toward your heart. You can focus on areas where you’d like to see some cellulite (not that you have any!) reduction – brushing in a circular motion on thighs and such. Brushing increases circulation, and your skin should be pink when you finish. It’s best to do this right before you shower and hop into a steamy one. Skin is the largest organ in our bodies and responsible for toxin elimination – brushing helps move things along.

3. Take Biotin – a friend told me this trick (thanks, JW!), and you can pick up a bottle from any drugstore. Biotin is a B vitamin that is purported to make your hair and nails grow stronger & faster. Bonus: it also helps you burn through carbohydrates faster. Score!

4. Satiny Smooth. Sleep on a satin pillowcase: I know it sounds a little antiquated, but I can actually tell a difference. As much as I love crisp cotton sheets on the bed, I always make a point to try to sleep on a satin pillowcase. It pulls at your hair & skin less (causing less creases / wrinkles in the skin and less pulling / split ends on your hair).

5. Oil Slick: Ever since I got the best ring EVER (perhaps I’m a little biased? Need to post engagement photos soon!), it’s made me much more conscious about my nails. To keep them looking passable, even without a fresh manicure, I keep my cuticles moisturized with cuticle oil. I keep some at my desk and apply it absent-mindedly while checking voicemail each morning.

6. Hydrate: we all hear how important it is to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day, that it’s good for digestion and general health. But I read something recently that was new information to me: if you’re dehydrated, it can leave your muscles looking less defined than they would if you were drinking enough H2O (no matter how much you’re working out). It makes sense – your muscles hold on to water when you’re not giving them enough, making them look puffy since the cells are holding onto those fluids. So, drink up!

7. Be Dirty – minimize how much your washing and heat styling your hair. Invest in some good dry shampoo (such as Lulu Organics, which comes in pleasant scents like Tuberose and Jasmine), which will extend your blow-out ‘do. You’ll see fewer split ends and spend less time styling – so many ways I’d rather spend my time (I’m a girly girl, but I kind of hate actually getting ready)!

I know there are tons more – feel free to add your favorites in the comments section. Here’s to a beautiful 2010!