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May 2013

Favorite Find Friday: Softsoap Limited Edition Maui Coconut Splash Moisturizing Body Wash

Written on May 31, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

While the majority of New Yorkers are getting a little cranky due to the 90-degree temps, I’m loving the recent heat wave. Though it does make me wish I was jetting off to a tropical island in the middle of nowhere. And while no such vacation exists on my summer calendar (wah!), I made my own quiet little escape—in my shower. It’s not as glamorous, I know, but I grabbed Softsoap’s Limited Edition Maui Coconut Splash Moisturizing Body Wash ($3, drugstores) from the beauty closet and scrubbed up after the gym. The formula is luxurious with a rich, hydrating lather, but the scent is what’ll really get you. The bright floral notes mixed with a hint of sweet coconut intoxicate you like your favorite fruity, umbrella-on-the-side cocktail. This might sound a bit dramatic, but seriously, the experience is so relaxing it might just be enough to hold me over until I can finally get to that white-sanded slice of paradise.

Favorite Find Friday: StriVectin Sun Kit and Eye Bundle

Written on May 24, 2013 at 9:43 am , by

Even though the forecast is looking a bit dismal for the holiday weekend for us New Yorkers (meh!), I’m still looking forward to enjoying some time outdoors—protected, of course, because yes, you can get rays even when it’s cloudy outside. So whether you’re headed somewhere sunny or just planning a staycation this weekend, one of the best things to have on hand is this convenient travel kit from StriVectin. The Sun Kit and Eye Bundle ($59, strivectin.com) holds an Age Protect Sunscreen SPF 30, Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks and Wrinkles and Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles housed in a cute little orange pouch. Plus, it includes a UV indicator bracelet, which alerts you when you’ve been in the sun too long and serves as a reminder to reapply sunscreen. Speaking of sun protection, if you’d like to help contribute to The Skin Cancer Foundation, head over to the StriVectin Be the Face of Safe Sun app to submit your profile picture to be included in their mosaic. For every picture submitted, StriVectin will donate $1 (up to $10,000) to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Once they receive all 10,000 pictures to complete the mosaic, they will share the interactive design as a fun, inspirational way to continue to spread awareness of skin cancer.

Lauren Conrad’s Beauty Essentials (And What She’ll be Sippin’ on All Summer)

Written on May 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm , by

Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Lauren Conrad wears many different hats: She’s a fashion designer with two lines—one is called Paper Crown; the other is an exclusive line for Kohl’s called LC Lauren Conrad. She’s a writer and has her own series of fiction tales as well as style and beauty guides. She’s even made a must-check-daily contribution to the blogosphere with a blog she created with her hairstylist, Kristin Ess, and makeup artist, Amy Nadine, called thebeautydepartment.com (if you don’t already follow it and her on Instagram @laurenconrad—you should start!). Recently, we chatted with her about her latest venture, a partnership with Malibu (yes, the rum), plus health and beauty tips.

So tell us about Malibu’s new launch.
“Well, I am partnering with Malibu to launch Malibu Island Spice, which is only 70 calories a serving so I’m really excited.”

What does the new flavor taste like?
“It’s similar to the original Malibu, but it’s a little bit bolder and it has coconut, vanilla and a hint of cinnamon in it. It’s really good.”

Do you have a favorite drink recipe that you like to use it in? 
“I like to mix it with coconut water—it tastes like a little Piña Colada.”

It’s great that it’s only 70 calories. Do you have any high-cal indulgent foods that are off-limits in your diet? 
“I have only-every-once-in-awhile foods.  I think whenever I restrict myself to the point where I’m not allowed to have something, it is the only thing that I want. So, for me, I have foods that are special occasion or treat foods, whether it’s pasta or something as simple as dessert, that’s not an everyday thing. I think you should still enjoy good things.”

How do you like to stay fit?
“I think it’s more about a lifestyle rather than just trying to go on a diet as soon as you want to come down. I think small, healthy choices are what works best for me. I think it’s staying active and it’s just little things. I think that going on diet can be a bit intimidating. For me, it never really worked.”

Switching gears a bit to beauty, we follow your thebeautydepartment.com blog. What’s your best advice for getting ready in a hurry?  
“I do it often. I think it’s just finding products that work well for you and really just getting into a routine. I can do my entire face in five minutes if I need to. I ideally like to take a little longer because I actually enjoy doing my makeup, but I think it’s just finding no-fuss looks that work.”

If you had to choose, what are the three beauty essentials that you have to have?
“I like a good foundation. That’s really important to me. I have some discoloration on my skin, so I need something just to even it out. And then, probably a blush and a mascara if I’m only picking three for the day.”

Favorite Find Friday: Sarah Potempa The Wrap Up

Written on May 17, 2013 at 10:18 am , by

As the weather’s warming up, my go-to hairstyle these past few weeks has been the top knot (just like every other girl in New York City). It’s easy, and can transform dirty strands into a cute style. I’ve played around with nearly every “bun-stuffing” contraption that has come into our office and my favorite is the Sarah Potempa The Wrap Up ($12, sarahpotempa.com). You simply pull your hair into a ponytail and slide the pony through the opening in the middle. Then, roll it up to the base, fold the flexible ends into a round bun and voilá—an instantly chic updo. If you have layers and a few pieces poke out, just smooth them down with hairspray and pin into place. You can go for a formal look (I used it to style my hair smooth and polished for a recent wedding I attended), or try something a little more piecey and casual (my messy bun held up through a training session with The Biggest Loser trainer, Dolvett Quince!). The possibilities are endless. And it comes in a smaller size, The Half Up ($9, sarahpotempa.com) so girls with fine or shorter hair can get in on the fun too.

E! News’ Catt Sadler Spills her Style, Fitness and Beauty Secrets

Written on May 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm , by

Catt Sadler brings us the latest entertainment news every day as a co-anchor on E! News, but it’s her chic style that’s garnering headlines this time. She’s teamed up with Scotch-Brite (you know, the home cleaning products’ company) to give you the chance to win $5,000 toward a new wardrobe and a personal style consultation with Sadler through their First Impressions Photo Contest. Here, the working mom of two shares some of her styling secrets, the best ways to make a good impression, as well as, her favorite workouts and beauty tricks.

So tell us about the contest.
It’s very cool. Essentially we’re encouraging people, fashionistas especially, to make their best first impression by uploading a photo of themselves to the Scotch Brite Facebook page with a couple lines below it as to why they are making the best first impression. The contest goes through May, and then in June, our judges will narrow the participants down to fifteen finalists. In mid-June, the public can go online and vote for their favorites until it’s narrowed down to three finalists. Then, I will pick the final winner, and they’ll get a $5,000 wardrobe makeover, which is pretty awesome, and an online style consultation with me. We’ll have an online chat situation where I can answer questions and give them tips or even look at their wardrobe and help them get rid of stuff.”

What’s your best advice for making a good first impression?
“Well, I have a couple of tips. Some of them are pretty traditional style advice like mixing highs and lows [prices]. I think everybody knows that’s a good way to go when you’re shopping. I don’t think you need to throw a lot of money into the really trendy things like floral blouses that are in. You can buy those for cheap, but then you’ve got those investment pieces like [points to her Chloé bag] this.  Yes, I did invest in this little puppy. But I will have this forever and if I have a little girl, I’ll pass it down. These are timeless pieces that certainly supplement any outfit nicely, so splurge on the pieces that are going to be around for a while. I do something called ‘last looks’ everyday before going on TV, which I think can be good advice for girls before they leave their house: smooth your flyalways or get the lipstick off your teeth. And that ties directly to the Scotch Brite Printed Lint Rollers ($4, staples.com) because you don’t want little fuzzies all over you. You have to do that ‘last look’ to make sure you’re crisp, chic, looking good before heading out the door. If I had to pick one other one it would have little to do with fashion and that’s just more about the energy and the spirit that you convey. I think that’s huge when you’re making a first impression. Whatever it is that you want to convey to whomever it is, your boss, or a hot guy at the bar, you want it to be the best representation of yourself.”

 What’s your style advice when it comes to working out—do you care about looking trendy at the gym or do you just throw on clothes and go?
“Well, I rarely work out in a gym because I’m a mom of two and working full-time and I travel quite a bit. I do workout in the hotel gyms if I’m on the road, but I don’t belong to a gym per se. But I still do care about how I look and that’s because I feel like, without question, I do a better workout if I feel like I look better. I am thoughtful about what I put on, less about color and more about fit.  Even in my house, I do the Tracy Anderson DVDs. She’s a friend of mine and I’ve been doing those DVDs for a long time. I have a wall mirror so, I may not be in the gym but I’m still looking at myself and the more I see change in my body and the better I look and the cuter I look in that pair of shorts, the longer I tend to workout. So, it does matter.”

You mentioned doing DVDs but do you have any other favorite workouts?
“You know, those methods are pretty strict in that you do it six days a week for an hour at a time, and I certainly do not do that. I’m like most people; I go in waves. I work out really hard for six weeks and then I don’t do anything for a month. You know, I just think it’s the way we all realistically are in our daily lives. I try to move no matter what. My kids and I, we go hiking or I ride bikes with them, but other than really doing those videos, I will mostly just run. That’s my thing. When it’s gorgeous in L.A., like why am I in my living room doing DVDS? Get out the door! I always thought running was challenging. I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than three miles in my life, I’ve never done a marathon or anything, but the better you get at it and the more fit you are, the longer you want to go. So I was actually just interviewing a bunch of Olympic athletes that are hopefuls for the Sochi Olympics and this cross-country skier was telling me you just need to go to the ‘pain cave.’ And I was like, ‘what’s the pain cave?’ It’s about this whole mental place you have to go. If you can get yourself 30 seconds, then that turns into another minute and then that’s three more minutes. So I think of this now and I go to the ‘pain cave’ and then when I’m running I’m like, ‘You can do it! Don’t stop!’”

What are some go-to healthy meals or snacks that you make for yourself and your kids?
“I’m not a cook; I’m not going to make that up. We’ve gotten really into seaweed and kale. That has become our replacement for chips. They actually like it and that’s awesome, and it’s actually easy for me to do. I just put raw kale on a baking sheet and throw some olive oil and some salt and pepper and put it in the oven and then it becomes crispy and they’ll eat it for days.”

What are some of your best beauty tricks that you picked up from being on television everyday?
“For starters, when it comes to hair, I think showing your face is always a really good thing to do. There was that period when it was really trendy to have your hair in a middle part and you’re all covered up. But I definitely don’t think that’s the way you want to go, especially when it comes to making a good first impression. I think people should show their face more. That helps. The other thing is, and it’s tricky these days with high-def television, but I think skin is really important. Of course they put a ton of makeup on me with being on TV and of course we all want to appear flawless with our foundation, but I think you want to look like you have skin.  You don’t want to look like you’re wearing a mask ever. The only other last trick, which applies to television and real life, and my obsession, is contouring. You don’t need the bone structure because it becomes your bone structure. I think it can make a night and day difference, but it’s about choosing the right product, whatever that is. Some makeup artists I work with use a dark stick foundation; I’m not as big a fan of that. I just like a dark bronzer, and the right brush, and just don’t overdue it because then you can look crazy leaving the house and that’s not the goal.”

Favorite Find Friday: Emi-Jay Hair Ties and Headbands

Written on May 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm , by

We go to the gym to put in work. But that’s not to say we don’t get giddy when we find an accessory that is both functional and cute to wear during our sweat sessions. Enter Emi-Jay Hair Ties and Headbands (prices vary, emi-jay.com). Not only do they keep hair and sweat out of our face, but they add a pop of color to basic workout clothes. What makes these ribbon-like accessories cool is that they can be used in multiple ways. Want to glam up a boring pony, bun or braid? Tie your hair with one of the lightweight, stretchy bands, or simply slide on a bright, patterned headband to keep flyaways tame. No matter how you wear them, they’re guaranteed to brighten your look and mood.

 

—Katelyn Blough, beauty intern

Actress Christine Taylor Opens Up About Going Organic and Being The Face of Nourish (A New Organic Beauty Line)

Written on May 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm , by

You probably know Christine Taylor from her roles in laugh-out-loud movies like Dodgeball: a True Underdog Story and Zoolander (and even as Melody from the Nickelodeon TV show, Hey Dude), but off camera, she’s spreading her passion for health and wellness to everyone around her. As the spokesperson for the 100% USDA certified organic beauty line, Nourish, she’s sharing her personal journey of integrating better health into her family’s lifestyle and encouraging others to live greener. Here, she shares her story and secrets to staying fit and keeping her family healthy.

What interested you about Nourish?
“Well, when I had my children, I started to look at labels more. I was always health conscious about food and I would try to buy organic and eat as cleanly as possible, but when I had these little babies, I was all about looking at the labels of the creams and the lotions and shampoos and I didn’t want any chemicals. It really took me a while to connect the dots that what you’re putting on your body is just as important as what you’re putting in your body. So when Nourish came along, it was one of those stories where I got to meet the brains and the incredible guys behind it and we just clicked. It was amazing to me because they put these products in front of me, which are packaged beautifully. The girl in me loves the pretty packaging but nine times out of ten, that pretty packaging would be terrible and wouldn’t work well. So when I sat down to look at these products, they were beautiful to look at.  The product themselves work extremely well. And the big kicker for me: each product is under ten dollars, which is unheard of. At least for me, particularly for an organic product, it was music to my ears because I felt that this is a great way to make organic products accessible to everyone. And it’s USDA certified, which is important because something that I’ve learned is that consumers can get tricked when they hear something is all natural. Well, natural is very different from organic. Natural just means it could have a few natural products in it, whereas organic means everything has to be organic especially with the USDA seal. I think it just gives me complete peace of mind. It’s gentle enough for the kids and my whole family can use it.”

Do you have a favorite product in the line?
“I’m a fan of their Body Butter ($10, nourishorganic.com). I have naturally dry skin and living in New York in the wintertime my skin gets really dry. The fresh fig is my favorite scent. I love it because I can just put it on my feet, hands and cuticles before I go to bed. And it’s not so greasy that you get it all over your sheets. It actually really saturates your skin and you just wake up with sweet-smelling, soft hands like little baby skin.”

When it comes to beauty, do you have any great tips to share?
“Something that I’ve learned along the way, my cardinal rule, is a good clean face. I just feel like keeping your skin clean is one of the most important things. I’ll never fall asleep with makeup on or skip washing my face in the morning. Those are two of the most important things to start and finish your day with from a beauty perspective and an anti-aging perspective. Another thing that I’ve joked about forever is sleep. It’s one of my greatest beauty tips. I don’t get enough of it, but I always feel like it makes a huge difference.”

How do you incorporate healthy eating into your household?
“My daughter, who is now 11, made the decision at 7 that she was going to be a vegetarian. It was over the summer. We were on a vacation and we were at barns and farms. There were lots of chickens. She spent all of this time with the animals and came home and we went to a barbeque and she connected the dots that the barbeque chicken was the same as the cute chickens she was playing with; and she was really firm about it and said I don’t want to eat it anymore. So as a parent, I was at a time in my life where I just wasn’t as interested in meat. So I think when she made that decision, I naturally had been gravitating toward natural plant-based foods and greens. And I realized that if my daughter wants to do this, I would have to get a little bit more proactive about what’s healthy and what are good ways for her to get protein because she can’t just be a carbotarian. So I just figured out ways to get protein in her. I’m not a chef or anything so it was a fun project for me to take on. I got really interested in the foods that we haven’t been used to eating like beans and brown rice. So everything was just sort of just cleaning up in the house as far as what was in the cabinets. I still have two kids and we eat treats, but I thought it was just important for us to start as a family integrating overall health and wellness.”

Do you have any favorite on-the-go snacks for the kids?
“Absolutely! I wish I could tell you that when you open up the fridge, it’s perfect and that you see green. Those are all in there but the reality is that we do a lot of driving. You know, I take the kids back and forth to school, so we have to have snacks. One of the best things that I’ve found for a quick snack is edamame. It’s a little protein that can fill you up a little bit. And for the munchie stuff, I just try to go more organic with those things because I think that kids want to have something a little crunchy. So instead of getting the overly processed, I’ll try to find something at Whole Foods that’s more organic and maybe has less sugar. But the truth of the matter is, I have two very normal kids.”

You obviously have a busy schedule as a working mom. Are you able to find the time to workout?
I feel like I need to carve out time during the week. When the kids are in school, it’s easy. I’m a big yoga person, I love yoga and I do two different kinds. I do a real sweaty kind of powerful yoga. You get this great workout. It’s exhausting and I’m sore so that’s one of my favorites to do. And the other one is Kundalini yoga. For me, it’s very meditative. Yes, you’re in poses but it’s a very different kind of yoga. It’s an important thing for the body, mind and soul. It’s not as sweaty or strenuous as power yoga. And because I have two little kids and a busy life and a lot going on, it really centers me and I feel like that’s the biggest gift that I can give to myself. If I can get one of those sessions in a week and then add to it a couple of the power yoga sessions then that’s the best or the most that I can ask for. And when the weather is nice, I like hiking and playing tennis. I love being outside. In the summertime, I like swimming and getting in the water as well.”

Favorite Find Friday: Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield Mouthwash

Written on May 3, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

A not so fun fact: there are over 700 different species of bacteria that can grow in our mouths (ew, we know). Reading that number is alarming enough but the worst part is that brushing alone can’t kill them all so using a mouth rinse with antibacterial ingredients is key. One of my favorites: Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield Mouthwash ($5, drugstores). It’ll not only wipe out 99% of the bacteria, but it also protects your teeth and mouth from germs for up to twelve hours, even after eating and drinking. I felt like I had an invisible shield on my teeth all day after using it. Also good to note, it didn’t give me that harsh, burny feeling.

 

* Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield Mouthwash was given to us by Colgate-Palmolive for review purposes. 

 

Vichy Shows Us How To Make Light of Dreaded Cellulite

Written on May 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm , by

Cellulite is no laughing matter—especially for those who have it, which is up to 90 percent of women, according to recent reports. And when it comes to the dimply, jiggly skin, it seems women will try just about anything to get rid of it (think: shrink wrap and crazy shapewear). But some of these makeshift solutions are so extreme, the only thing you can do is laugh at the lengths women go to in hopes of smoothing out the cellulite (hey, we all can relate). Beauty company Vichy is making light of the matter by introducing the Cellulite Confessions campaign with a funny mockumentary that highlights the nonsensical and just plain wacky treatments women attempt in their pursuit for smoother skin.

On a more serious note, Vichy wants to help you kick cellulite’s stubborn butt. And since most attempts seem to fail, the brand is taking a new, two-pronged approach. So in addition to using their skin-firming creams, CelluDestock ($40, vichyusa.com) and Destock Stomach ($38, vichyusa.com), twice daily, they’ve teamed up with fitness expert and Equinox instructor, Violet Zaki, to bring you easy, yet effective workout tips to add to your routine. You can view her videos here. Below, Zaki shares her tips on how to keep cellulite under control exclusively for you:

Vichy is kicking off the Cellulite Confessions campaign, so what are some of the craziest things you’ve heard from women trying to get rid of cellulite?
“It’s interesting because they come here [Equinox] to get rid of it so I think they would have way too much shame to tell me and confess to me what they’ve done otherwise. But they complain a lot about the areas where they have cellulite and I just tell them to make sure they’re consistent with their workouts, that they drink plenty of water, that they have a good diet as well, that they steer away from processed foods and eat more kinds of whole foods that will help them have body weight that is consistent with their height.”

So what are some of the best exercises that women can do to target those trouble zones?
“I think a combination of cardio and strength-training, especially strength-training. Women tend to steer towards cardio and they don’t do too much strength-training. One pound of muscle in your body actually burns 50 more calories during rest time. So to do strength-training as well as cardio, and not try to zone in too much on the target areas but a total body workout does the trick.”

How does your diet play a key role in helping the appearance of cellulite? 
“I mean, even if you work out and you don’t eat well, it’s going to still be a problem. It’s part of the equation: you eat well and you exercise and you will see results. It just goes hand in hand. And you know, staying away from the sugar and saturated fats and anything that pretty much comes out of a box or a can and eating whole foods that are colorful and fruit and vegetables and protein, because protein builds muscle as well.”

What do you think the biggest misconceptions are about cellulite? 
“That only fat people have it. Actually, according to the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 85% of women post-puberty have cellulite. And cellulite is caused by genetics, or post-natal, or poor food habits, or lack of working out, smoking causes it as well. And all shapes and sizes actually have cellulite. It doesn’t matter; celebrities have it, short, tall, skinny.  It’s just something women have to deal with throughout their life.”

What would be your best advice for women to feel confident in their own skin?
“You know, a combination of eating well and exercising. And exercising, you release these endorphins that give you a sense of well-being. It actually takes about five minutes for the anti-stress benefits of exercise to kick in. Five minutes! That’s pretty good. And when you exercise and you feel good about yourself, I think you put your best foot forward in anything that you do. As a mother, as a professional, as a daughter, I think you have the ability to deal with whatever the world is throwing at you because you’re taking care of your body and yourself first, then you’re able to take care of everything else and everyone else in your world.”