For New York City dwellers, few things are as important to our well-being as simply getting away. Of course there are the obvious options — jaunts to the Hudson Valley or the Hamptons, but starting off a weekend of relaxation by sitting in traffic always seemed less than ideal. Instead, I prefer to search for sanctuaries in the city — whether a hidden restaurant or a quiet bar to enjoy a cocktail overlooking snowy streets — where I can retreat to at any time. My latest discovery is the Shibui Spa, a tranquil Japanese-inspired spa located in the luxurious Greenwich Hotel.
Walking into the hotel, I immediately feel a sense of calm and privacy. There are no travelers rushing about or too many staffers greeting you at every turn. Instead the concierge smiles and directs me to the spa — a short elevator ride one floor down — where when I arrive, the receptionist already knows me by name. The spa artfully blends luxury and tranquility, with a heavy emphasis on Japanese design and treatments. The focal point of the spa is a lantern lit pool (one of the largest I’ve seen in the city), which is surrounded by a 250-year old Japanese farmhouse, artfully constructed using antique Japanese craftsmanship. Here guests can lounge and enjoy tea or dried fruit before or after their treatments. More »
What baby can be without a pair of cool shades? I love hearing about parents who notice that they can’t find those perfect baby products- and go out and create them! Ro Sham Bo, which is the Japanese name for the classic rock-paper-scissors game, is the brainchild of Scott + Julia, a couple from California. They were at a loss trying to find cute high-quality kid sunglasses, so instead of settling, figured they’d go to work and benefit autism research in the process! I couldn’t resist a pair of the lavender Roshambo shades for my little one, called Punky Brewster (what a blast from the past!). As soon as I pulled the sunglasses out from their clear carry case, I was impressed by their lightweight flexibility. My mind always runs to safety, and fortunately, the arms of the glasses are made of strong but soft bendable plastic to prevent any freak accidents with running toddlers. The lenses are shatter proof and small parts have been tested for safety. Considering another view of safety, pediatric optometrists warn that most of the lifetime ultraviolet damage done to a person’s eyes occurs during childhood and the risk for retinal damage from the sun’s rays is greatest in children less than 10 years old. Damage doesn’t necessarily appear until later stages in life- but why risk it? Roshambo shades aren’t just cool, they have 100% UVA and UVB protection.
So the glasses are great in theory, but the big question is- will kids actually wear them (without a screaming fit)? I am a big believer in comfort in conjunction with fashion, whether for me or my daughter. Roshambo is designed to be fun and feel great, too. All I had to do was show the munchkin how cute she looked in the mirror with sunglasses on and now she wants to wear them, sun or rain! Roshambo has the best full damage replacement guarantee for their shades, if your frames break or get damaged in the first year of their use. If one lens pops out and is lost, no problem- they’ll replace it. Little people deserve big shades!
The torch is off to its first spacewalk and we are three months away from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi! To ramp up for the big event, let’s see what Olympic figure skater and brand new COVERGIRL Ashley Wagner is obsessed with right now:
ONE. Lorde — “She’s only 16 years old and she looks wise beyond her years. Her look is almost like a fortune-teller and her music is the perfect combination of moody and edgy.” (Lorde’s 17th birthday was yesterday, just after this interview.)
TWO. Finding the perfect big chunky turtleneck — “I need to get this staple into my wardrobe. Even though I live in California, I’ll be in Boston for Nationals and I want to be prepared.” Our budget-friendly recommendation: H&M’s Knit Turtleneck Sweater.
THREE. Olay Fresh Effects (S’Wipe Out!) Refreshing Make-up Removal Cloths — “I need to make sure that I keep my skin nice and clean. I take so much pride in my skin and even when I’m wearing lots of makeup for competitions, these take it right off.”
FOUR. All Saints winter line — “It is super comfy casual, but at the same time it’s nice and edgy and can be dressed up or dressed down. I should probably look for a turtleneck from them.” Oh hey, here’s one!
FIVE. COVERGIRL Flamed Out Mascara — “I love how it goes on so thick, which gives me a ton of volume and fullness.” Tip: COVERGIRL recommends applying more of this curling mascara on your outer lashes for a winged look.
When it comes to online shopping, Net-a-Porter is just the best: a luxurious, chic, and well curated discovery experience. And as far as subscription boxes go, that is also exactly how I feel about Glossybox. So it only made sense that the two would collaborate this month (finally!)–and their joint baby is just as wonderful as you would expect.
One of the fantastic things about Net-a-Porter beauty is their selection of hard-to-find, niche luxury brands. Even for a beauty editor that’s seen a lot of things out there, I still continuously discover new products on Net-a-Porter. The NAP Glossybox (limited quantity available now) lets beauty enthusiasts try 8 sample and full size products that cover all the beauty bases from sun protection (Natura Bisse Diamond White) to hair care (RGB Cuticle Oil) to color cosmetics (Kevyn Aucoin and Ellis Faas). Net-a-Porter calls this box “the essentials” and I would agree–it’s everything a chic beauty wardrobe should have. The box is priced at $40 for all 8 products, which is a steal considering just that Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadow costs $42.
Discover more and pick up your own box at Net-a-Porter.
Now that the weather in New York is straight up cold and we’re pretty much sprinting towards winter, I’m revolting. No Starbucks holiday cups for me thanks–but please do bring on anything and everything tropical! It’s probably no coincidence that as the weather gets cooler, my shower rack is getting fruitier. Here are my favorite new tropical themed bath and body products that’s helping me get through this transition period, one cold day at a time.
1. Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Shampoo in Mango and Coconut Milk Conditioner. Ahhhh..first can we please talk about the scent? The shampoo smells like the juiciest mango and the conditioner like sweet milky coconut that makes morning showers feel like a little mini vacation. Honestly, I can’t stop drinking in the scent of these two products! If that wasn’t vacation enough, the products also welcome you to to take a “permanent vacation from flattening sulfates and heavy minerals in conventional shampoos” with an ingredients list that’s missing parabens, artificial coloring, phthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate. The formula does include nourishing fruits such as mango and papaya and gentle botanical cleansers to lift away grime and dirt. The product suds up wonderfully and rinses away easily leaving soft hair that’s never weighed down. The conditioner is high in fatty acids and protein to help rebuild damaged strands and infused with coconut milk and tropical oils to lock in moisture, strengthen hair cuticles and protect from heat styling leaving my hair the longest and softest its ever been.
2.St. Ives Naturally Indulgent Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract Fresh Hydration Lotion. While I may be in total denial about the weather, the cold front unfortunately is already starting to wreck havoc on my skin. These days my skin is so dry and itchy that not moisturizing is simply not an option. Thanks to the new continuous spray body lotion from St. Ives, the morning and evening moisturizing process is now easier and faster. I love that it’s mess free and can be applied with just one hand! The spray dispenses a light layer of lotion that absorbs into skin easily, providing deep hydration that lasts, and leaving just a subtle hint of tropical coconuts and orchids.
3. Skintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel in Luscious Kiwi Splash. One perk of cooler weather is that you don’t have to shave anymore, you may think. But Skintimate’s enticingly fragranced gels actually make shaving a nice sensory experience. Plus the formula is infused with 11 moisturizers including Olive Butter and Vitamin E which leaves skin feeling softer and more hydrated after each use. Kiwi Splash, infused with juicy fruit and sweet melons, is my favorite fragrance for bringing back summer memories–and getting my gams ready for warmer days ahead. (Can you tell this girl is ready?!?!)
As the weather getting colder, dry skin begins to emerge for some of us, and it’s time to stock up on those moisturizing essentials. I love Burt’s Bees for their natural line of products, and two of my favorites to combat dry, flaky skin this season are:
- Lip Balm – This is one of their classic products. I love it in all its variations, but the classic is hard to beat with its tingly, wintry pepermint-y freshness. The balm contains beeswax to condition your skin, while Vitamin E provides moisturization. It’s also affordable, which means you can afford to stock up. I toss one in my purse, and keep another couple on my nightstand and on my desk.
- Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream – Yet another classic Burt’s Bees product! The texture of this cream is super thick, so it may take some getting used to. It’s also not my favorite scent, BUT the combination of oils (Sesame, Borage, Macadamia, Rosehip and Sunflower) in this product makes it insanely moisturizing. My dry skin that was flaking stopped fairly quickly after regular use, and continues to leave my hands soft and supple. A winter must!
Remember the famous photo of Jackie Kennedy at JFK’s funeral? Or the ones of Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Seven Year Itch and The Misfits? Those were taken by Elliot Erwitt, the man responsible for some of the most iconic photographs of our time. Erwitt is the fourth photographer to team up with The Macallan, my favorite Scotch, for their award-winning Masters of Photography series. (Previous collaborations were with Annie Leibovitz last year, Albert Watson in 2010 and Rankin in 2008.) The result? About 2,030 limited-edition sets featuring unique single malt Scotch whiskies paired with Erwitt’s gorgeous autographed photos. More »
As we usher in the lovely crisp autumn air and humid hot air out, my skin is begging for a change, and that’s one thing I’ve learned not to ignore! I’ve revamped my beauty regimen for the cooler, drier air but don’t want to bring in the heavy-hitting rich creams for the winter season yet. The theme of the fall facelift? Pampering skin with the absolute highest quality ingredients sourced in nature if possible.
1. To start out, a gentle but potent cleanser which rebalances and infuses energy into skin is vital to the success of everything that comes after! The luxurious Sjal Skincare line is completely different from anything I’ve ever come across; it utilizes eastern medicine in conjuction with biotechnology of today to create gemstone-infused products. The Rose Aura Cleansing Set actually contains gold, silver, and rose quartz (talk about precious metals!) to balance skin and encourage healthy cellular activity. I love the incredibly soft 100% natural Konjac sponge for application, which when wet is so soothing on your skin that it can be used daily of the most gentle exfoliation and makeup removal. Not only is skin detoxified, but my visage appears brighter and healthier, sans that oily feeling. Since fall brings brisker air, I recommend immediately using toner and a medium-weight moisturizer to follow cleansing in order to avoid dryness.
2. L’Occitane’s Divine Lotion is part of a new line of anti-aging products which take advantage of the legendary Immortelle flowers from Corsica. The flower never fades, even after it’s been picked! So wisely using nature as the ultimate guide, L’Occitane has coaxed out the essential oils from this sprightly yellow flower, and boosted its effectiveness with 7 plant-derived active ingredients. The Divine lotion is actually a super-toner, designed to maintain a balanced complexion and help accelerate exfoliation while leaving skin feeling smoother and more supple. I prefer the Divine Lotion to traditional toners because it’s milky and pleasantly absorbed, and it multi-tasks anti-aging with rebalancing skin. The light scent of the Immortelle flower is preserved, and my skin feels deliciously soft after application.
Living right in the middle of New York City, I put my skin through a lot more due to pollution and external factors than say my friends in the beautiful, lush suburbs of Seattle. Anyone who has tried to meander across Seventh Avenue only to get blasted by a gust of exhaust fume, has to commute to work by walking during the sweltering heat or frigid cold, or ever gets in the subway will know what I mean. While living in New York is fantastic in countless ways, an experience I have no intention of giving up anytime soon, on the skincare front, it can leave a little to be desired.
Through my years of living here, every time I have an icky day and feel that my skin is just layered with stuff, my first reaction is always just to scrub it off. As it turns out, exfoliating on the regular actually does help to address uneven skin tone that could be caused by pollution, extreme weather, and other stressors. Being constantly in the midst of city grime isn’t just unpleasant feeling, it contributes directly to clogs and dirt trapped in pores, dull complexion, and even surface discoloration. You know that I’ve been using (and loving) Pro-X by Olay Microdermabrasion + Advanced Cleansing System twice a week for a while now so I was happy to learn that regular use of the tool can keep all these pesky skin issues at bay and keep my complexion radiant through it all. The rotating tool and Crystal Thermal Polisher combines to exfoliate 7x better than just scrub alone—results I definitely appreciate after a particularly grimy day. Numbers aside, it’s also just a satisfying feeling to scrub it off and feel like I’m getting so fresh and so clean! The soft and bright skin revealed gives me confidence to put my best face forward for the next day.
For more info on Pro-X by Olay Microdermabrasion System, check out my full review here.
I’m absolutely ecstatic to be escaping to my beloved Paris for a few days this week! It’s been a year since I was last there, and when I’ve been away for a while I start to feel a yearning tickle under my skin for the charming streets, delicate pastries, and of course the effortless-chic fashion. I love Paris in all seasons, but autumn is my favorite time to go when the big tourist rush is over and the crisp chill is in the air making it perfect for tea and croissants in the afternoon. Before I take off, I always have to go over my wardrobe with a discerning eye (often leading to a frenzy), when I try to find that outfit that’s been waiting for the right moment to be taken out. Just in time for my trip, I have fallen for the only thing that could make me even more excited for the hop over to France: Guerlain’s Crazy Paris Holiday Collection. Each exquisite creation in the collection speaks to the glamour of Paris, inspired by the bright lights that illuminate the city at night. Guerlain is celebrating its reopening of its flagship boutique in Paris at 68 Champs Elysees, hence the “68″ theme for the beautiful packaging of each piece. More »