If there’s one thing I want to do this polar winter more than anything else, it is to cuddle! Not only is cuddling good for stealing a little body heat, but it warms the soul. It’s no wonder that Valentine’s Day falls right amidst the coldest season, when there’s nothing more appealing than finding someone special to get close to. The absolute must-have for cuddling up this winter is the Daydream blanket by aden + anais which is something of an actual dream come true for me.
Since the days when I only trusted aden + anais blankets to swaddle my newborn with, I have been secretly wishing I had my own version of this beautiful baby blanket. As soon as I found out that their ultra-soft signature cotton muslin weave is now available in a generous size at 60″ x 72″, I was counting the minutes until I could curl up and get warm under it. I’m not ashamed to say, it’s almost like an adult security blanket for me since it follows me around the house whether it’s sitting under it with my morning coffee (ok, that only happens on Saturdays), or after a long day of work as I plop on the couch. Some chilly nights it even finds its way to bed, thrown over the comforter for some extra warmth. The Daydream blanket actually contains four layers of muslin, not a bit of filler here! As soon as my skin touches an inch of the fabric, it just can’t get enough of it. I can attest to the amazing quality- not only does it somehow get softer with every wash, but holds up under multiple launderings and tumbles through the dryer.
Like all things classic, roses tend to have a reputation of being a bit too “old school.” Some people may even actively avoid wearing rose products all together out of fear of appearing one (or two) generations too old. But I’m here to put that powdery perception to rest; the newest crop of roses are light, feminine, joyful, and yes–even youthful. From the most romantic hue of blush to a facial mask infused with actual flower petals, we’ve rounded up our nine favorite products of the moment just in time for Valentine’s Day–perfect for beauty gifting or to enhance your own bathroom shelves. Below, our guide to la vie en rose.
1. Aerin Rose Balm: Roses have long been used in skincare thanks to its hydrating and anti-aging benefits. Aerin Lauder is a fan, having made the flower (and color) a signature across all the products in her elegant beauty line. Her new Rose Balm is completely dedicated to the flower, carefully crafted with an extract from over 350 petals and can be used to soothe and moisturize any part of the body from eyes and lips to face and cuticles. The unique balm formula is deeply moisturizing but ultra light to the touch without any stickiness and leaves behind a natural radiance. The product is housed in a gorgeous frosted glass jar with just the subtlest hint of rose fragrance. READ MORE
Toner is one of those debated beauty items (kind of like facial mists), where it’s hard to get a definitive answer on if you really need it. One of the most common reasons you hear for using toner is that it’s supposed to help remove any last traces of product that has made it past your cleanser. This might be true, but instead of stocking up toner, it makes me want to buy better makeup and cleanser. In other words, I never felt convinced enough to incorporate a toner into my beauty regimen.
When Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner landed on my desk though, it completely changed my perception of this category of beauty products. This non-alcoholic toner is infused with so many hydrating ingredients from hyaluronic acid to citrus aurantium flower oil, that it’s actually quite effective as a moisturizer on its own. I discovered this by accident one day when my face felt so dry and tight (thanks a lot crazy weather) that I grabbed the first thing within reach and slathered it on. That thing happened to be Indie Lee’s toner, sitting closest to me in a queue of things to test. I was immediately impressed with this product right after I applied it–my skin felt soothed and softer instantly. To test how long lasting the results were, I opted not to put an additional moisturizer over it–and it turns out, even hours later, my skin still felt comfortable. Now would I recommend this in place of your moisturizer? No–but in extreme weather or if you suffer from dry skin, it can be a very effective additional step to incorporate into your routine. I now use it every evening and after my morning showers. Dry skin begone…and yes, any stubborn makeup remnants as well.
Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner, $32, Dermstore.com.
Resolutions are so much easier to keep when they involve treating yourself well! My new year, new hair resolution has been so fun to explore, and much needed as my hair was feeling limp and neglected. With the help of Davines’ line of high-quality products, I have a good feeling that this resolution’s going to stick around. I first learned about the brand when I asked an Italian acquaintance what her secret was to effortlessly gorgeous hair. Happily, she didn’t reply that it was chalked up to good genes and I had no hope, but that the eco-friendly Italian line Davines was worth chasing down. Armed with this bit of information, I started exploring their products from shampoo and conditioner to hair oil, with fabulous results.
I admit that I take my hair for granted, and it’s easy to forget that hair can age too–and very quickly if it’s not given some regularly-scheduled TLC. I began using Nounou shampoo, which is specially formulated to nourish and illuminate color-treated hair which typically has a damaged keratin structure. Nounou shampoo is a must-have for preserving color, since the last thing you want after sitting through a long hair appointment is to let it all go down the drain! Even if you wash your hair on a daily basis like I usually do, hair never feels dry after treating it with Nounou. Although there isn’t a huge amount of lather, my hair feels very clean following the shampoo treatment. The clean and sophisticated scent makes me feel like I’m in a salon and instead of harsh chemicals including sodium chloride that can strip color-treated hair, locks are fed with rice proteins, and silicon microemulsions. Nounou shampoo deeply moisturizes with carbohydrates (hair has to eat too!), vitamins, mineral salts, and lipids through nature’s best source, chestnut milk. A welcome side-effect is that it’s moisturizing to my scalp, so even with the cold weather I don’t get flaky.
If you weren’t already familiar with The 2 Bandits, get ready. The San Francisco-based line by designer Tamar Wilder uses gorgeous geometric shapes with a Southwestern boho influence. Today, the line launches its Spring 2014 collection, inspired by the Northern Lights (it’s a natural electrical phenomenon that features streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky). “Many cultures believe that the Northern Lights are the appearance of “dancing souls”–Mother Nature at its raddest. I wanted to capture that in a way that could be enjoyed every day, from every angle,” explains Wider
Shot by photographer Jason Lee Parry in Silverlake, take a peek at their Spring 2014 lookbook above – a mix of its signature look with shots of mystical inspiration – or view the entire lookbook on their website!
I might be doing things a little differently from the average folk, but I actually love to use the weekend to rebalance my diet and get the next week started off on the right foot. Weekdays are usually a minefield of bad-eating opportunities from sweets in the office (someone always has to bring them in!) to “just one glass” of wine at after-work events. During the weekends, however, things are usually under my control, especially since my rage-out Saturday nights are long in the past and I now prefer unwinding on the couch with Netflix. So when I had the opportunity to try a selection of juices from Juice Press, I opted to start on a Friday and conclude on Sunday night, leaving me much more motivated to tackle Monday with a healthier outlook. (Plus, for weekend cleansers, Juice Press will deliver twice–once on Friday morning and once on Saturday morning, to make sure that juices are at their freshest. Gotta love a company that’s looking out for us!) READ MORE
Polar vortex, Arctic tundra, too cold to breathe–whatever phrase anyone is using to describe this cold front, the next sentence is usually the same: “I wish it were spring already!”
Unfortunately, since winter isn’t showing any signs of letting up soon (or perhaps because of it), I’m strongly gravitating towards any spring-y makeup that lands on my desk. The product I’m reaching for most frequently these days? Guerlain Météorites in (02) Clair, the brand’s newest face powder and part of their 2014 Blossoms collection. Just looking at the pastel pearls immediately reminds me of Paris (a little Miss Dior Cherie throwback anyone?) and Easter all in one. It’s happiness inducing, and luckily the glow it’s giving my cold weather-battered skin is just as warm. The colorful blend of pearls are infused with “Stardust technology,” a light-creating polymer which gives skin that romantic youthful glow. But the real genius is that each color pearl performs its own vital function: yellow and green help counter redness, pink to add freshness, mauve to catch light, and white to illuminate the complexion. READ MORE
I just made what I’m sure will be my best food discovery of the year (and it’s only January!) — Pellicola Pizzeria in Downtown Los Angeles . A film aficionado’s pizza paradise, the Neopolitan-meets-NYC-style pizzeria serves up gourmet pies whole or by the slice from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Rumor has it they will be open for lunch soon!)
The brainchild of L.A. bar czar Cedd Moses (Seven Grand, Cole’s, Caña Rum Bar) and N.Y.C. “pizza master” Giulio Adriani (Forcella), Pellicola blends New York-style pizza with Neopolitan flavors for the perfect — and I do mean perfect — pizza. The crust is indescribably light, crunchy and sturdy; the sauces are to die for; and the shape is perfectly foldable. It’s the best pizza I’ve ever had in Los Angeles, even better than Village Pizzeria and Xlixe (sorry, guys). I’ve only tried the Nonna Maria (San Marzano tomato sauce, house-made mozzarella, basil, olive oil, parmesan), the Tricolore (San Marzano tomato sauce, truffle oil, house-made pesto) and the Nutella (double pizza crust, nutella, sliced almonds, powdered sugar), but I’ll be trying every flavor before Spring; I guarantee it. Check out the full menu here. READ MORE
They call it a skincare routine for a reason: you’ve probably been doing that same old wash/moisturize two step for as long as you can remember. Even as an avid beauty product connoisseur, I find it pretty hard to incorporate a new product regularly beyond the initial testing phase. But every once in a while, something so good comes along that you have to make room for it–on your bathroom counter and in your beauty schedule. In this case, I’m talking an entire category of products: oils, which dare I say, has even replaced my usual face cream this winter.
According to Dr. Harvey Leo, a research scientist at the University of Michigan who spends much of his time studying how ingredients interact with skin, oils are some of the most effective products for helping skin lock in and retain moisture. Ample hydration, as we know, is the key not only to a healthy complexion, but that coveted glow (and despite what you may think, none of the grease). Even something as simple as canola oil can do the trick, says Dr. Leo, but I totally get it if you’d prefer to leave the Crisco in the pantry. Below, I’ve rounded up my five favorite oils of the season–try any of them and I’m pretty sure they’ll become the favorite part of your new beauty routine.
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