I am living proof that you can change your bad habits, overnight. Ok…so this has only applied to dental care so far, but recently I’ve become obsessed (obsessed, I tell ya) with keeping my teeth as perfect as they can be. For example, I never used to wear my night guard even though I ground my teeth to hair away from needing oral surgery, until one day I decided that I would really like to have legit teeth, not nubs, and have since worn my night guard religiously, every night, home or away. In fact, I can’t even sleep now until my guard is securely in. I even tell everyone how obsessed I am with it — people think I’m straight up crazy.
Then…the same thing happened with flossing. I went for some 20+ years lying to all my dentists about my flossing habits (yeah I floss…um once a week, why do you ask?) until my last visit when my dentist had to do unspeakable things to my gums to get.. well let’s not go there — it’s gross. But afterward, it made me realize that I really do have to start taking better care of my teeth better unless one day I want to end up with a mouth full of porcelain. So that very night, I took out the floss I’d gotten in my dental goodie bag and never looked back. However, I still find it a little hard on my gums, especially towards the back where the space between my teeth are really tight. Also, I still haven’t figured out how to hold the floss correctly as not to get the gunk all over my hands.
Recently, I was introduced to the Philips Sonicare AirFloss, and it was a game changer. For one, it’s actually really fun to use and it’s also incredibly effective, yet quick. The AirFloss looks a lot like an electric toothbrush but has an angled nozzle at the top that delivers a pressurized burst of air and water that removes 99% more plaque that builds up between teeth than by brushing alone. You fill the device with about two teaspoons of water and then simply align the nozzle in between your teeth, push a button, and a stream of air and water gets right in those crevices and helps remove stuck food and buildup. I’ve also tried water based flossing machines before and found the AirFloss to be much easier to use: you don’t have to worry about water leaking everywhere, it’s much quicker, and the product is sleek, saving space on my already-limited bathroom counter top. But the best part is that you can actually fill up the AirFloss with fluoride rinse instead of water to give your mouth an even deeper clean and protect it from cavities forming in between teeth in the future. To me, this is the best thing ever, because as crazy as I am about dental care, gargling Listerine hasn’t quite made it up there on my obsession list yet — and now I can take care of it all in one go. The peeps over at Sonicare told me that my dentist will be in for a very pleasant surprise the next time I visit her and I totally believe it — I can already feel a huge difference! Check it out — $80 on Drugstore.com.
It’s the perfect season for cheerful new shades, don’t you think? I was so happy to discover the great spring colors from Benefit’s new collection of eyeshadows — not only is the stuff fantastic (more on that below), the retro packaging is pretty, feminine, and cheerful — perfect for both my handbag and vanity counter.
I can’t go any further without gushing a bit about the Creaseless Cream Shadow. Here’s the thing: I had a seriously scarring experience with finger-applied eyeshadow years ago and since then, I’ve been reluctant to jump back in. But in the name of beauty blogging, I slid my ring finger across the richly-colored pot of creamy shadow and cautiously applied to my eyelid. I was ecstatic. It was easy to spread and went on like silk — not at all messy or uneven as I had expected. Feeling more courageous, I layered My Two Cents onto the whole lid, then applied Bronze Have More Fun just north of my lashes, blended a bit and ended up with a perfectly coppery smokey eye. For me, long-wear is of utmost importance, and the cream shadows pass the test. I spent all day in them, even took a short cat nap, and still managed to dash out the door for dinner with only a 30-second touch-up .
Along with the new cream shadows (my new faves!), Benefit has also released a collection of Longwear Powder Shadows, which are ideal for mixing and matching to create custom look. Blingo silver is one of my favorites to wear alone layer over a cream shadow for some extra shimmer. For something a little darker, Rain check? is a purple hue that works for almost any complexion, even if you don’t normally wear color. As someone who usually reaches for neutrals, I was pretty surprised at how flattering the violet looked with my dark brown eyes. In fact, it’s almost become a bit of a daily fave — I apply with a heavier hand for a more dramatic evening and sweep on lightly over lids for a day shadow. With 22 new spring colors, the possibilities are endless… so channel your inner kid-in-a-candyshop and play with Benefit!
When the weather is hot outside, I have to take a lot of showers because I find it impossible to get into bed at night feeling dirty from the day. (Ed. note: This New Yorker is so jealous right now.) I’m also on the lookout for great new products I can use to switch things up a little (hate being bored using the same ol’ thing every shower) and I’ve recently discovered Whish Body.
So far, I’ve tested the Three Whishes Body Wash in Coconut and the Three Whishes Sugar Scrub in Almond and I’m loving them both! The Coconut body wash has such an exotic, tropical vacation scent to it — sort of warm and a little spicy, but the coconut note stands out and it’s intoxicating. When I use it, I can close my eyes and pretend that I’m showering in Hawaii instead of in my condo in Los Angeles. It lathers up nicely and a little goes a long way, so you don’t have to use a ton of it to get results, which I always appreciate. (How annoying are those body washes that make you use like, half the bottle before you get any suds? The worst, right?)
The Sugar Scrub is one of my favorite scrubs that I’ve tried this year. I’m all about the exfoliation, but I have sensitive skin so I don’t want my scrubs to be too rough or abrasive and this one isn’t at all. It has a delicious nutty scent to it and gets rid of all my flakey dead skin without taking off any “good” skin along with it. It creates a great base for your favorite moisturizer (maybe their Three Whish Body Butter? I haven’t tried any of those yet, but now I’m dying to!) I also really appreciate the fact that the scrub is thick – it’s not liquidy so you get more bang for your buck AND there isn’t any liquid to slide down into your tub, creating a slippery standing hazard (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wiped out in my tub from scrubs like that. I’m fairly convinced I’m going to wind up in the hospital one day after one of those incidents and that is going to be super embarrassing).
Curious? Check out all of their yummy products on SkinStore.com.
Kiehl’s kicked off Earth Day weekend this week by celebrating its Limited Edition Ultra Facial Cream — one of my favorite Kiehl’s products — to benefit Recycle Across America. Which celebrities partnered for the cause? Alanis Morissette and Zachary Quinto, who designed cool limited-edition labels for the product. (Fans, shop the collection while you can!) One-hundred percent of the collection’s proceeds will go toward Recycle Across America, and $50,000 will be used to create 65,000 recycling labels for select K-12 schools nationwide.
The benefit was held in Santa Monica, Calif., and as usual, a crop of stars came out to support the cause — including the lovely Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), Amy Smart and The Misshapes. (Speaking of which, I am LOVING Leigh Lezark’s short, blond hair.)
Luscious. Pouty. Sexy. Everyone wants beautiful, healthy lips, and underneath the lipstick and gloss we all know and love, lips need a lot of TLC. Since I’m gaga over anything that has to do with lips, I figured I’d pay homage by doing a kiss-worthy roundup! I’ve pooled all my favorite lip products and done some hard-core testing to bring you the best of the best. So pucker up, here goes!
1) Ultra Repair Lip Therapy. I love how this sumptuous moisturizer coats my lips, and with this product I purposely don’t “stay within the lines.” I make sure a little extra balm goes on the corners and outside my lips so that everything is healthy and hydrated. Over the winter when I had a bit of a cold, a dash on my nose was the only thing that would soothe it. The consistency is quite thick, but not sticky or tacky. It’s there for emergencies when the wind is chafing, and also for extra TLC anytime. The handy lightweight tube is easy to grab on the go.
2) Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Lip Repair Balm. This little jar has earned its place on my nightstand. By what merit, you ask? It’s the perfect texture (soft and richly thick) and nourishing enough to last all through the night. Your body rejuvenates itself every night while you’re sleeping with cells dividing rapidly, so it makes sense to give it the best boost you can. Since I started using the balm, I’ve noticed the vertical lines on my lips getting softer, and overall texture is softer and healthier. For very dry lips, this is a must-have. The light eucalyptus scent calms like a cup of chamomile tea, perfect for evenings. For a daytime treatment, the Nourishing Lip Balm comes formulated with SPF 20 in a tube for convenience. The consistency is a little different but better for squeezing on the go. Sun protection is often overlooked for lips in favor of a facial SPF moisturizer, but lips are just as important and can show age quickly, so don’t forget to protect them. More »
One of my favorite perfumes in the world comes naturally from a jasmine flower, which is also one of the simplest tiny blooms I’ve ever seen. The dainty little beauty creates such a lovely and unique scent it’s no wonder that it is one of the most prized flower for teas and fragrances. As soon as I opened the beautiful aluminum tube of Soap & Paper Factory Hand Cream, it was like a thousand jasmine flowers floating out. The cream itself is incredibly velvety on my hands which are so parched from getting washed a million times a day! Soap and Paper Factory is all about putting heart, soul, and beauty into their products, as evidenced by carefully sourced ingredients to exquisite earth-friendly packaging. Their products are made in New York and organic ingredients are used whenever possible. The hand cream is chock full of aloe, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and other fine natural oils. I try not to touch anything with parabens, so this one is safely void of them as well as phthalates and petroleum. Equally loveable is the pretty girly packaging- each design actually starts from a hand drawing!
Jasmine flowers release their scent at night under the moonlight, so it’s fitting this I use this as a night treatment for my hands. After all, our hands deserve to be pampered after being busy all day! The cream is long-lasting enough to hydrate my skin through the night, and with the deep-moisturizing effects, I can tell the difference in the morning. I’ve learned to be careful to moisturize every night since hands show age easily and are often overlooked. The creams come in a variety of scents and each has its own pretty package, making it a perfect gifts for mom, grandma, or even sis (if she’s nice).
My latest travel obsession isn’t a destination (well, that’s for a different post), but rather a bag that’ll get me to any place of my heart’s choosing. I’m a proud member of the “carry-on only club” and that applies to destinations near and far. In fact, on a recent two week sojourn to Asia this past January, I managed to pack everything into one carry on bag, and even had enough clothing options to shoot a few outfit pics. Being this dedicated isn’t easy — it requires foresight, determination, clothes rolling skills, a really great bag, and occasionally sitting on that bag. The first few requirements can be learned, but the great bag — that must be discovered — and finally, after so many years of hauling not-the-greatest carry on luggage around the world, I’ve found Lipault.
What I love about Lipault bags is that they are made from soft nylon that is incredibly durable but also bendable and has more give than traditional luggage. What this means is that a) I can stuff my bag to the max and then some and b) it’s easier to cram into tighter spaces because the bag sides don’t take up valuable space. The soft material also makes the bag itself very lightweight — an important consideration when I have to stuff the bag into overhead compartments or carry it up or down stairs. Because the soft side luggage bends to accommodate what I’m putting inside, I find that I don’t have to use the outside compartments too often — a plus since I like to keep everything in one place. The wheels provide a smooth roll and I love that there are handles on both sides, making carrying it that much easier. Lipault also contains a collection of 0% Foldable Luggage, which folds flat when not in use and saves valuable space in my already small NYC apartment. The luggage comes in black, brown, grey and five bright colors. This yellow is my favorite and has already garnered many compliments on recent trips. Check out this and larger bags (in case you don’t do the carry-on-only thing) at Zappos.com.
Being on a rather tight clothing budget (yay, tax month!), I’ve decided to invest in jewelry as a way to change up the outfits I have. We’ll see how this plan goes, but so far, it’s opened my eyes to a lot more great jewelry designers. My latest subject of intrigue? Iwona Ludyga Designs.
Several of this Polish designer’s delicate yet eye-catching pieces were spotted on Olivia Wilde this month both on the street and at the Marie Claire April Cover Party. I love that each necklace, earring, bracelet or ring is both delicate and quirky, which makes them great for adding a colorful, eccentric touch to an otherwise classic ensemble. They also layer well, and can be used to dress any outfit up or down without looking gaudy.
Currently, I’m debating snapping up a Tribal Wide Nudes Bracelet (above) or a few Fleur Noir Rings, which I wish I knew about years ago when I was looking for a unique, twig-like wedding band. But there are so many other great pieces to choose from — all of which will be a hit year-round.
CK One Color is bringing back edgy! I’m loving their Street Limited Edition Pure Shine Lipstick for both what’s inside and out. The lipstick combines the benefits of a gloss, balm, and color in one, so it saves you from having to carry three products around (also perfect for this season’s cute clutches!). The result is a mix of hydration, color and shine that comes in four fun and bright colors.
The brand collaborated with graffiti artist Miss 163 to create the original artwork that’s on each lipstick cover for this limited edition summer collection. Miss 163, a.k.a. Sharon de la Cruz, is one cool chick– when asked about her moniker, she responds, “I’ve always wanted to be in a Miss Universe contest, but I’m too short, so I decided to crown myself ‘Miss 163.’” Born on 163rd Street and raised in the Bronx, Miss 163 has a mission of bringing art in the form of graffiti to those who normally wouldn’t step foot into a museum. Her work is known internationally, with many of her murals in Lima, Peru, so it’s so neat to have a little capsule of it in your pocket to pull out every time you’re ready for a pop of color. Not only is Miss 163 an artist, but she’s an activist working on a non-profit in Peru, addressing women’s health issues via the arts.
The lipstick is so comfortable to wear all day because your lips are softened with every use. It glides on perfectly and adds a girly but edgy vibe to your look. My fave colors are “Sketched” (creamy nude) and “Tagged” (a vivid pink that matches so many complexions) and I’ve even tried layering the two to get fantastic results. The colors are versatile and long-lasting and can go from day to night seamlessly. These are limited-edition designs and colors, so go get your art on!