Recent blog posts
- Countdown to 30: Fall in Love with Lipstick!
- Countdown to 30: Fitbit Obsessed!
- Countdown to 30: The Last 25 Days!
- Countdown to 30: Everybody's Juicin' For the Weekend
- Countdown to 30: How Clearly Can You Read This?
- Countdown to 30: Learn to Love Mondays
- Countdown to 30: Am I Washing My Face at Night? Watch Our Update!
- Countdown to 30: Evaluate Your Gym Wardrobe
- 1960's Cocktail Party in Paris
- Countdown to 30: Rethink Your Home Office Space
About a year ago, I fell in love with lip color. I've been wearing nude, pink colors and glosses galore practically since birth, but I could only count on one hand the number of times I took the risk of a bold color. Since before I can remember, my Mom would always yell "Where's your lippy?" when leaving the house. She wasn't convinced that clear gloss was enough, and now I understand why. I have a theory that children of the 80's were scared by our mother's crazy makeup and dance recital war paint that we feel most comfortable au natural. Well, ladies...the time has come to shatter our comfort zones and embrace the color. Lipstick can drastically change your look (& your attitude) in mere minutes. Ready to start your journey? Let me introduce you to Bite Beauty.
A few weeks ago, I spent an amazing afternoon at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in Soho. Bite Beauty is a Toronto-based natural lip care company with the mission to "create lipstick that is high performance and healthy enough to eat for women everywhere". You may have seen their ready-to-wear line at Sephora (which I highly recommend), but here at the Lip Lab, your perfect color doesn't even exist yet. The specialists here are amazing and will walk you through the entire lipstick creation process, from color to finish, and even scent. When venturing into the world of lipstick, it is really important to look beyond the shade and ensure the product is nurturing your lips, like Bite does.
On the weekends, the Lip Lab is very popular -- so I recommend stopping by when it opens at 11AM to get your name on their list. The appointment lasts 45 minutes and you leave with a fully finished, brand new custom lipstick. I begged the staff to let me make two (citing that I was a make-up expert and knew exactly what I wanted). Now having quite a robust collection of lip colors, there were two major gaps I wanted to fill. 1.) A red, orange blend that would be a trendy twist on the classic crimson pout and perfect for summer 2.) A "radiant orchid" shade in honor of Pantone's hottest new color. Don't know what color works best for you, or what your signature look should be? Don't worry! The staff at Lip Lab will help you understand the best tones for your skin.
What you'll see on the wall may look like delicious truffles, but they are vibrant pods of lip color that they use to mix and blend into your custom shade.
Once you establish the color family you're interested in, the technician will begin blending until they get the color exactly how you want it. Want it a little more pink or less red? No worries, they will tweak the color until you are happy, allowing you to test drive it every step of the way.
Once the color(s) are the right hue, you have the option of adding a scent. This brings me back to the days of Lip Smacker, when you picked your lip products based on scent alone! Options range from wild berries to lime, lavender to mint. Always one to over complicate, I blended lavender and wild berry for one shade and cherry and mint for the other. Weeks later, the scent is still rich and delightful.
Additionally, it is important to work with your technician to determine the finish you're looking for. With such vibrant colors, I always choose matte. I like the option of being able to wear it matte or add a clear gloss on top if I'm looking for a "wet" look.
And in under 25 minutes, I had partnered with my technicians to create two beautiful shades, "Hot Pants" and "Radiant Orchid", respectively. I waited about 10 minutes for the molds to be created and voila! Two beautiful, custom-made, natural lip colors were mine! I haven't worn them without getting multiple compliments and cannot wait to go back and keep the creative juices flowing!
With Bite Beauty lipsticks, I don't even need a lip liner, because the color is so smooth and easy to apply. If you're experimenting with different brands, lip liner will be your best friend, and be sure to cover the majority of your lips with it to set in the color. So what are you waiting for? Being a woman near 30, you're confident enough in your beauty routine and application to take a risk and add a bold lip. I cannot wait to see your looks! xo
ps. This is a perfect event for your girlfriends or family. It's great to get someone else's opinion, so you feel confident in your choices. Don't forget that Mother's Day is a few weeks away, and as women who were 30 in the 80's, this will be right up their alley!
I purposely waited two and a half months to write this blog, because I wanted to be sure that I hadn't fallen victim to a fad and was truly committed. I can now officially announce that I am OBSESSED with my Fitbit Flex! It is my new favorite accessory and the greatest tool in my journey to making fitness part of my every day life.
Over the last three or four years, I have tried multiple Heart Rate Monitors (HRM) and was in a cycle of perpetual frustration! First, I tried the watch with the option to manually check my heart rate, then I upgraded to the models with the chest band, so my heart rate was constantly being monitored. The manual watch wasn't accurate enough for me and the chest monitor constantly stalled, stopped reading the signal, and became a nuisance. Half the problem was the HRM itself and half the problem was the fact that I had unreasonable expectations. Yes, it was good to monitor my heart rate through different cardio exercises, but that wasn't my main goal of using the tool. My main goal was to accurately calculate every single calorie burned, so I knew exactly how many extra calories I was allotted per day. I'd find myself frustrated during a workout if it stopped syncing and it would kill my mojo. That isn't what a fitness tool is meant to do. It should inform and inspire, without making you feel like a slave to it.
The greatest thing about the Fitbit is that it tracks "trends". It takes the emphasis off exact calories and puts the focus on where it should be, goal setting. As a New Yorker, I walk all the time and found myself struggling every day to determine how much exercise to count for the day. Sitting at a desk for the better part of 10-12 hours a day, I didn't know how much should be considered standard, daily movement vs. incremental exercise. Ever since I put my Fitbit on, I haven't worried another second about it. Curious about investing in a Fitbit? Read on for answers to my most frequently asked questions.
photos courtesy of Fitbit
- What is a Fitbit? Fitbit is a wireless activity tracker, which monitors your movement throughout the day. Think of it like a pedometer, except with an upgrade -- integrating with your phone and converting your movement into useful metrics. It also tracks your sleep!
- What model do you have? I use the Fitbit Flex and I love it. I (like you) read all the reviews for the latest wave of fitness trackers and landed on the flex and am so happy with my decision. The display shows five small lights (each represents 2,000 steps) that show my progress with two light taps and I can go into the app for more detailed updates. The bracelet like structure has become a beloved accessory (especially when Tory Burch releases her new designs later this year) and is waterproof, so I never think of taking it off!
- How many steps a day? The Fitbit recommends 10,000 steps per day. For me, this requires walking to and from the subway, light walking throughout the day (to grab lunch, to and from meetings), and about 45 minutes on the treadmill. This is a goal that requires some effort!
- How can you monitor your progress? The Fitbit app is one of my all-time favorites! I open it multiple times a day and love to be greeted by metrics like my step count, miles traveled, and active minutes. If you don't use any other trackers for weight and food, you can do everything right here. Personally, I integrate it with other health and Fitness Apps like MyFitness Pal (which calculates exercise into extra calories burned) and GymPact (which will count 10,000 steps as a successful workout). The app integrations are two-way and are seamless. I have eliminated nearly all manual entry of exercise in any of my tracking devices. The only exception is accounting for exercises that are hard to track, like spinning or swimming. Luckily for me, I spend the majority of my time walking / jogging and am covered.
- Is it accurate? The Fitbit app allows you to enter your height and stride distance and I have found that it is as close to 100% accurate as I can measure. At the gym, I have the app running and can see how it calculates my steps in real-time and always find it to be accurate. It's important to remember to swing the arm it is on, so be sure to carry purses, coffees, and other range limiting items in the opposite hand. You can also indicate whether the tracker is on your dominant or non-dominant hand, so it will discount for movements like writing.
- How often do you charge it? On average, I charge it every third day. I find the best times to charge it are either at work (when you're on a conference call and not moving), or when you've retired to the couch for evening television. I plug it in for an hour or so and am ready to go! The battery has only died on me once and I was devastated! I felt completely lost and couldn't fathom manually calculating my exercise for the day. In just a few weeks, something I had done for years looked like a torturous task. Let Fitbit do the work for you!
- Do you have a rash? Once the recalls began for the Fitbit Force, this was the most frequently asked question. I have never had any sort of negative skin reaction and like I said, I wear it 24/7. I find it comfortable and flexible.
- It's impossible to clasp the band, right? When I first put my wristband on (I wear the smaller size), I couldn't get the clasp to secure for the life of me. I almost gave up right then and there. Rest assured, this will only be an issue the first time. Think of it like a belt, getting it adjusted to the desired position may be tricky at first, but is a breeze thereafter.
- Can I track my friend's activity? Absolutely! You know I think the buddy system is integral to wellness success. and that applies to the Fitbit as well. You can add friends and see their seven day step count and cheer / taunt then as you see fit!
- How does it monitor your sleep? Simply let your Fitbit know when you're down for the night and it will monitor your arm movement and judge whether you were fully awake or restless. What I have found especially helpful is tracking how many hours I sleep per night. In the morning, it displays how long you slept and over time, you can determine your optimal cycle. Also, you have the option to be woken up by a silent alarm, meaning the Fitbit will subtly vibrate to wake you up, as opposed to loud alarms.
I love seeing people in meetings wearing a Fitbit, because it's like being part of a special club, where people are finding motivation in their daily routines. We all know how we feel on those especially lazy Sundays when we don't move and become one with the couch. You can ignore the lazy feeling, but what you cannot ignore is seeing how few steps you've taken. Trust me, walking back and forth to the kitchen won't do it for you! While thoughts of going to the gym for a full workout can be daunting, the Fitbit gets you in the mentality of going on a walk in the afternoon, grabbing lunch from a restaurant a few extra blocks away, and switching up your routine to take the subway line that requires extra walking. With the weather warming up, I love being inspired to move throughout the day. And I've found that if I'm over 8,000 steps near the end of the day, I'll engage in a full-on dance party in my apartment to get to 10,000. There's really nothing more exciting than hitting the goal, and feeling you invested the time in yourself! If you're always on the go, consider taking the Fitbit with you -- I promise, you will not regret it! xo
We're almost there! With 25 days to go, I'm feeling pretty good and as motivated as ever to start off my new decade feeling like the best version of myself! I have lost 10 lbs -- don't get me wrong, I'll happily welcome it, but know I could have been more focused and lost more. It's true, the pursuit of wellness is a marathon, not a sprint; however, I'm in sprint mode and want to drop a few more before my much anticipated trip to Europe. Do I want to look great in photos? Yes. But more importantly, I want to feel more energetic to get the most out of my time there.
Last week, I finished a three-day BluePrint juice cleanse and it definitely put me back into the mode of clean eating. Immediately following the last juice, my food imagination was running wild with cravings, but I was able to get out of that mentality in about 24 - 36 hours and get back on track. Unfortunately, I sabotaged myself with one too many Saturday margaritas (it was all Mary's fault) and spent the rest of the weekend paralyzed by a hangover. I barely drink anymore and now I remember why. It wasn't so much the headache and carb cravings that got to me, it was the personal disappointment of lost productivity. When you start eating clean and working out, the best part is the boundless energy and ability to really conquer a 24-hour period. I woke up Monday wanting to get back to that place (but with lots of fun memories from the weekend). I told you guys she was a rock star at life.
This got me thinking -- if I were to properly detox (on my terms), what mixture of ingredients would make me feel the best version of myself? I can read a million magazine articles about pre-vacation prep and 15 ways to de-bloat, but everyone is different, and I know what has helped me in the past.
- Drop the Three S's: Soda, Seltzer, and Starbucks
- Luckily for me, I don't drink soda anymore, but still cannot advocate enough about giving it up. Not to mention, it is known to perpetuate nasty cravings.
- When I gave up soda, I became obsessed with seltzer and drink it very frequently. Since I'm focused on reducing bloating and overall puffiness, I'm going to put the bubbles to the curb and dedicate myself to 100% hydration through still water. Don't worry Soda Stream, I'll be back. It's not you it's me.
- I have a love / hate relationship with coffee. I actually like the taste of it and am not into it for the caffeine. It is my way of indulging in something sweet and filling up on artificial sugar. These are not good motivators and reducing the afternoon Grande Skim Macchiato will also eliminate all artificial sugar from my diet. Green tea it is!
- Whole 30 Principles: I know I wrote about this earlier, but no matter what -- this really is the bible of eating food for fuel. I've never felt better than when I dropped grains, sugar, dairy, and legumes. After a few days, the idea of only consuming real food becomes really consuming. I feel proud, accomplished, and like a million bucks.
- No Cocktails for This Girl: Like I said earlier, I rarely drink anymore -- I'd much rather indulge in dessert. This one won't be hard, but worth mentioning officially.
- Green Juice: I drink a BluePrint Green Juice everyday as a meal and I feel great, knowing I'm getting 6 lbs of produce from that mighty cocktail.
- Avoid the Lunchtime Blues: One of the trickiest things when you're trying to eat well is lunchtime in the office. If everyone is going to Chipotle, you have to go, right? There are a few ways to turn lunchtime into an opportunity to be successful and not an opportunity for excuses.
- Find your allies. Openly discuss your goals with your teammates and you'll be surprised how quickly they stop sabotaging and start supporting. My whole team is focused on clean eating right now and it makes the lunch discussion really easy. Not to mention, we're sharing how great we feel and motivating each other along the way.
- Find new, healthy spots. After nearly 8 years of what felt like the same network of lunch spots in midtown, the health gods dropped not one, but two health conscious restaurants in a two block radius. The Little Beet and Roast Kitchen provide opportunities for gluten free, protein and vegetable filled fuel. Depressing salads aren't the only option anymore and judging by how consistently packed both places are, I'm not the only one hooked.
- Reverse Breakfast & Lunch: Last week, I stopped by The Little Beet for breakfast and was super impressed by all the gluten free options. After enjoying a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on a gluten free English muffin, I was satisfied for hours. This gave me the idea to swap breakfast and lunch a few times a week. In my "sprint phase", I'll stick to hearty omelets and fruit and have a green juice for lunch two or three times a week. We put so much emphasis and pressure on lunch, that I look forward to switching things up and consuming more calories earlier in the day. Roast Kitchen is going to start serving breakfast on Thursday, so I must be trendy.
- Smart Snacking: Afternoon and pre-gym snacks will be strictly limited to mini Larabars and fresh fruit, nuts. I have a stash at my desk to avoid the afternoon walk to the bodega.
- Go for a Walk: I may stop walking to get a snack, but I plan on dedicating 30 minutes every afternoon to a quick walk to get my heart rate up and enjoy the sunshine. I can walk from my office to Central Park and back in just about 30 minutes. Not to mention, I'll get that Vitamin D we're all craving so desperately. And knowing that sometimes days get away from me, I'll put a dedicated calendar entry in and if I still cannot make it work -- there are stairs that make an excellent alternative to the elevator.
- Break-up with Seamless Web: This one is probably the most important for me. I can eat perfectly all day and get home (tired and lazy) and order nearly any genre of food in the world straight to my door. It's a blessing and a curse to live in a technology driven New York and Seamless Web knows it. So does GrubHub. I looked up on the subway the other day and their ad campaign was literally staring me in the face, bragging about how easy they make it to order food. The issue is that opening up that little app is like opening up craving central and I always end up ordering naughtier and larger portions than I intended. I go into it with good intentions, but inevitably end up with a gyro platter than isn't good for anyone. I know I don't talk about it much, but I DO know how to use a stove. So here goes.
- Two-a-Days: Ok, so I'm not an NFL superstar and don't plan on doing two grueling workouts a day. Let's be honest, the thought of getting up early to lug my clean clothes to the gym and get ready there is about as realistic as being crowned Miss America. I've never been a morning workout person and no matter how hard I try, it isn't a habit I'm comfortable with. The good news here is, I don't need to leave my apartment to start the day with fitness. There are some fantastic guides on Pinterest, which will give you inspiration for a routine that you can do successfully, even in the smallest NYC studios. I developed a plan of my own, feel free to use for yourself! People have been getting fit for ages with crunches, squats, and push-ups alone, so I will dedicate 25 minutes every morning to starting out on a good note. It really sets the tone for the day (pun intended). This, paired with my afternoon walk and evening cardio will push me to push myself throughout the day.
These are the changes that I can make over the next three weeks that I know will lead to a better, leaner me! You need to do what is right for you. We've all been on enough diets and routines to know what our bodies react to and what is a temporary fix. The cleaner, the meaner, the better. In a perfect world, this would be sustainable forever, but none of us are perfect. For three weeks, though? I think I can get pretty close. Good luck, and here's to losing a few extra pounds and feeling amazing! xo
"...everybody wants a big, green juice!"
This weekend is all juice all the time -- brought to us by BluePrint Cleanse (BPC)! Only one other time have I tried to complete a one-day cleanse (following my 28th birthday) and failed miserably. I'm pretty sure that day ended with a cheeseburger. Here is evidence of how miserable I was:
Why was I so miserable? I was drinking raw food in its purest and most beautiful form. Problem was, I wasn't in a position to appreciate and understand it. I have a very different relationship with food now. I may not respect that relationship all the time, but I now am fluent in how food effects my body and mood.
I figure there's no better time to try again than the month leading up to my 30th! I've been inspired by my friends Mary & Andy, who recently completed a five-day cleanse and how great they feel. It's important to recognize that doing a juice cleanse isn't a quick fix to lose weight. The goal for me is to re-baseline, enforce my clean eating habits, and reduce the dependency (& excitement) associated with eating and going out for indulgent weekend meals!
The BPC Renovation Cleanse is good for beginners and I've already started! I think I'll be successful this time around for the following reasons:
- The Buddy System: Last time around, I was in it by myself. This time I have a solid partner in crime and know that no solid food will be consumed in the apartment all weekend long. This changes the experience from being solo torture to an exciting adventure!
- Green Juice Machine: If you don't drink green juice regularly, having it for the first time may take some getting used to. After all, this green juice has 6 lbs of produce in one bottle and it may be hard to get past the thought of drinking your vegetables. But if you're going to do it, BPC is the best. I've tried a variety of green juices over the last few years and BPC always comes out on top for me. It has a nice balance of flavors, and no one dominates the rest, making it sweet and easy to drink. Last year, I started buying BPC juices individually from Fresh Direct and always have a weekly stash. I've been drinking this green juice for breakfast nearly every morning for two months and love that I'm filling up on nutrients in such a fresh, raw way.
- Clean Mentality: Like I said earlier, I'm not doing this cleanse to quickly drop 10 pounds in two days. We all know how this story goes. There is no quick fix for health and weight loss. Having done some real assessment of foods and how they make me feel, I'm looking forward to feeling lighter, cleaner, and more energetic. I've been eating well about 75% of the time and want to push myself even higher. It may be tough to get past not chewing or going out to Sunday Brunch, but I know this will reinforce the clean eating techniques I've been trying to master and give me results that are impossible to ignore. After all, last year I cut out sugar, grains, alcohol, legumes, and dairy for 60 days. If I can do that, I should be able to do this!
- Hydration Nation: Back in 2012, you couldn't find me drinking enough water on a normal day, so following instructions to drink plenty of water during a cleanse was completely lost on me. They recommend drinking at least 12 oz. of water between every juice. This time around, this is like second nature to me and having been victim to juicing migraines, I will be hydrating properly. I will also be taking them up on their offer to drink as much herbal tea as I want. Yes, please!
- Responsible Prep: BPC does a nice job of laying out a three-day prep plan. Like most things, I decided 24 hours ago that I wanted to get on-board this weekend, so haven't followed it perfectly. However, I did spend yesterday filling up on green juice, veggies, and lean protein.
I'm in the middle of my first, beloved green juice and feeling good! After all, it's only a two day cleanse! I can do this and look forward to feeling the great benefits of drinking whole, pure foods for the weekend. Will keep you posted! xo
ps. Interested in trying BPC? Use code "MARCH" to save 20% on any cleanse delivered by April 1st! One day cleanses are also 20% on Fresh Direct this weekend!
I've loved wearing glasses for as long as I can remember. I've also had 20/20 vision for as long as I can remember (until last year). I knew I was lucky growing up that I didn't need glasses, but that didn't stop me from wanting them. Ask any of my best friends, even at 12 years old, I was the eccentric one who demanded that we stop in Clare's at the local mall to peruse the fake glasses. So what if they had plastic lenses, they were glamorous and brought out my geek chic side. Once a drama queen, always a drama queen.
I worked fake glasses in and out of my wardrobe as easily as I did necklaces and belts, all the way through college. It wasn't until my first year in Corporate America that an eye doctor finally agreed with me that I needed glasses. Transitioning to days filled with computer screens and endless Excel spreadsheets, they gave me a minor prescription with anti-reflective lenses to help my eyes from getting tired. Did I wear them everyday? No, but that wasn't the point. I'd put them on for important meetings (to look smart, duh) and use them during late nights, when my eyes were tired and needed a little help. Even through my mid twenties, I was proud that I didn't need glasses, but finally had ones that weren't completely artificial. Picking out new frames became as important as picking out handbags, Gucci, Chanel, and Burberry, oh my!
That was all fun & games until about a year ago, when I started to notice that one of my eyes felt weak and blurry when I tried to look objects far away. Whether looking ahead a few blocks or watching a movie, something was different. The first few times, I was convinced I was just tired and it would correct itself. It wasn't something I noticed constantly, but looking out the window soon required squinting and I realized that no one should be living like this. I've heard anecdotally from many family members and friends that around 28-30, their eyes started to change. Realizing my days of acing eye charts were over, I was off to see the eye doctor. Sure enough, they confirmed that my eyesight was changing and now, I rely on my glasses for the movies, driving (4 times a year), and walking around the city, where clarity in vision is key. Even a few weeks ago, I spent half a Justin Timberlake concert without my glasses on, ignorantly thinking I was seeing him fine. 10 seconds after putting on my glasses and seeing him properly, I couldn't believe the difference. Trust me, Justin is sexy blurry or clear, but I'll take clear any day.
I went for my annual check-up yesterday and it turns out that now both of my eyes need the same lens strength, so I got a little upgrade. This visit got me to thinking -- if most of our eyes start to change near 30, are people scared to know the truth? As someone who always wanted glasses, I warmly welcomed them when I finally needed them. It isn't lost on me that some people see glasses as a sign of aging and may be embarrassed to start wearing them. If you feel your vision is changing and are nervous to see the eye doctor, don't be. You've been extremely lucky if you haven't needed glasses at this point in your life, and it's ok to accept that we may need a little help. Seeing clearly is a beautiful thing, and treat getting glasses as getting a new, fun accessory. You may be causing yourself unnecessary stress and headaches if you don't. Aging gracefully is cool, so consider this a milestone in your path to maturity.
Living in New York and in search of an eye doctor? Look no further than Studio Optix. I've been going to Studio Optix in Rockefeller Center for two years. The office is in the heart of NBC Studios and is decorated with signed photos of famous clients, from Jimmy Fallon to Robert DeNiro. The staff is warm, friendly, and very informative -- I've seen both Dr. Mitch Cassell and Dr. Sarah Klibanoff, both who I think are rock stars and would recommend to any of my closest friends. The location is convenient, staff is friendly, and selection of glasses is diverse. It was last year at this time that Dr. Klibanoff confirmed that I needed big girl glasses and helped me through the process. I've purchased frames there as well and the staff is very diligent and dedicated to ensuring you're comfortable and satisfied.
I used to equate buying glasses to buying a new cell phone. You go in, thinking you're getting the $99 upgrade and leave spending $500. I'm not sure how that happens, but it happens every time. When I first started purchasing legit glasses, I found myself spending a lot of money on new pairs, even with good eye insurance. Don't even get me started on the one day at Lens Crafters I spent nearly $1000 on Chanel glasses with pearls. I still have them to this day and plan on wearing them until I'm 95, to make sure there's a positive ROI on that splurge. But the bottom line is, you don't want one pair for your entire life. Trends change, hair colors change, and you should have the flexibility to try something new without investing a fortune.
It's long overdue, but finally companies like Warby Parker have made fashionable frames affordable again. I visited their new flagship store on Greene Street last night and was very impressed. They let you try on as many frames and take as many selfies as your heart desires to ensure you're happy with your choice. No judgments, no pressure. The new store has an eye doctor in house if you don't have an active prescription handy. If you don't have a store nearby, go online and they will send you five frames to try on at no cost to you. When it's all said and done, they'll only charge $95 for your new glasses and they'll be delivered via mail in 7-10 business days. Buying glasses should be that easy. And if you're a lifer in the glasses department, this gives you the flexibility to buy different styles to accommodate your different moods.
The best part about Warby Parker is that for every pair you buy, they donate a pair of glasses. So far, over half a million pairs of glasses have been distributed to people in need. That's half a million people who are able to see their world more beautifully and clearly.
If you're reading this and feeling like your vision isn't as sharp as it used to be, don't worry -- you're not alone. It's important to not only be comfortable and stop struggling, but to know & understand your eye health. Don't be so hard on your self, book an eye appointment and enter a world of clarity.
In celebration of entering the age of glasses, some of my favorite framed moments! xo
Start the week with the same joy & happiness from the weekend. Rolling around in the grass is good for the soul.
In college, there was a Dashboard Confessional lyric that we often used to quote..."The world lives for the weekends". Now, I realize how disturbingly ironic it was for college students to be posting this on their AOL Instant Messenger away messages. It was emo then and it's ridiculous now. We had no idea how critically important weekends would become in real life and how much weight (and happiness) we'd place on them. At the ripe old age of 29, I cannot imagine living the next 50+ years only looking forward to 29% of the week -- so how do we start appreciating Mondays, instead of fearing them?
- Monday Playlist: During this extraordinarily brutal winter, Mondays have been worse than ever. A few months ago, I decided that I needed to have an "It's Monday" playlist queued up when I left the house. It is filled with oldies but goodies, Broadway classics, the "songs of the moment" and my favorite hip hop / dance songs of all time. This mix gets me pumped up and starts the day out on a great note! I have been known to jam out on the subway from time to time, but I know people secretly love it. The key here is -- this is your playlist, no judgments. If you get to the lobby of your building and you're rocking out to Meatloaf and someone asks you what you're listening to -- it's none of their business, because it's yours and it's AWESOME. If you need a suggestion to get started, this week's addition for me will be a Mr. Roboto / Counting Stars mash-up from Glee (featuring hottie Skylar Astin from Pitch Perfect). Download and melt into the madness.
- Make Monday Special: I'm all about bribing yourself as a way to get into a healthy routine -- it works every time. Treat yourself to something special (specifically on Mondays), so that you look forward to it and associate it with something positive. Routines are not always bad, especially if they are driven by your favorite things (these are more like traditions). Please note: Old Jenny would have made more of these food related -- but eating bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel shouldn't become a weekly ritual we look forward to. Associate this perk with one of your lifestyle goals.
- Set-up a breakfast, coffee, or lunch date (aka meeting) with a beloved co-worker.
- Take that fitness class that puts you in the best mood (before or after work).
- Get a lunchtime manicure.
- Order your favorite Starbucks indulgence or splurge on that expensive, raw juice.
- Have a dedicated Monday night gym date.
- Schedule a weekly mid-day phone date with your long distance best friend.
- Switch your date nights to the start of the week (dinner or movies on a Monday? Why not?)
- Take a new subway, commute route to work and get breakfast at a new healthy restaurant.
- Start the day with a nice blowdry at DryBar.
- Make plans to binge watch your favorite new show with your bestie that night.
- Carve out time on Monday nights to read, blog, craft, or write letters to your loved ones -- the week may get away from you, but you can start it with balance!
- New recipe Monday -- look forward to sharpening your culinary skills!
- Set Weekly Goals: I know that my personal goals are either long and involved or one day at a time. Example: I want to lose x pounds over y months or I want to log my daily food intake into MyFitnessPal. Aiming to meet goals on a weekly basis will put more positive emphasis on viewing a new week as an opportunity for achievement.
- Feel (& Look) Great: Wear your favorite new piece of clothing, accessory, or makeup product acquired during the weekend's shopping excursions. Wake up on time and do your hair and makeup so you feel like the best version of you. Starting the week on a frantic note will (more often than not) set a shaky foundation for the week's confidence.
- Reflect & Appreciate: Some may argue that this is the opposite of what we should be doing, but I like to spend a few minutes during my Monday morning commute looking through the weekend's photos. They'll make you smile, re-appreciate the little moments, and extend the weekend happiness. As you know, I place a great deal of importance on photographing your everyday life and going back to relive memories. And if you didn't take any photos this weekend, here's a stroll through memory lane for me! What a great weekend it was and an even better week to come! We're alive every day of the week -- let's start living for them equally! xo
Friday lunch date at Natsumi.
Saturday Breakfast Attire -- I call it "80 year old chic".
Heaven on Earth - Laduree.
No, but seriously. The loveliest breakfast of them all. The new Laduree Restaurant in Soho brings Parisian beauty & charm right to New York. Perfect for any occasion (ever).
My breakfast souvenir -- the most glorious macarons ever made by man.
Saturday afternoon screening of "Psycho" at the Film Forum. Classic.
Sunday morning walks through the West Village (complete with watching the water, rediscovering unfamiliar streets, and feeling the wind through my (chic top knot) hair -- courtesy of Nichole from Vanilla Extract.
Love, laughs, and lattes.
Tuscan White Bean and Prosciutto Salad from Le Pain. Saturday may have been a cheat day, but Sunday was back on track.
Realizing this beautiful purple townhouse is one block from your apartment.
Finding the most perfect peach roses down the street.
Sunday afternoon productivity -- replacing the Shower Curtain and liner, and installing a new, EcoRain Waterpik Shower Head. Little changes lead to meaningful, lifestyle upgrades.
In early February, I made my first video blog, which started the conversation about evening skincare routines. At the time, I committed to washing my face every night for 30 days in the spirit of creating a new habit. Did I commit? Have I been successful? I'm ready to give you a full update -- so watch the latest video blog and let me know what you think! Warning: This one is also makeup free, so enter at your own risk! Also, below are the beauty products I reference in the video, along with some more of my favorite beauty things. Here's to healthy & happy skin! xo
- Fresh Soy Cleanser
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Cream Cleanser
- Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes
- Clarisonic Mia
- Fresh Sugar Face Polish (from video #1)
- Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask (from video #1)
- Fresh Rose Floral Toner
- Clarisonic Opal Anti-Aging System
- Bliss Fabulips Pout-o-Matic
- Fresh Super Lip Treatment Advanced
- Fresh Umbrian Clay Oil-free Lotion
- Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Treatment Bar
- Kiehl's Rose Arctica Anti-Aging Cream
- Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream
- L'Occitane Lavender Hand Cream
- Chanel UV Essential Complete Sunscreen - SPF 50
- Mrs. Meyers Lavender Scented Soy Candle (to create a relaxing mood for your evening routine!)
A major theme for me in the Countdown to 30 is to take down barriers, eliminate stress, and live life more simply & productively. I am a strong believer in the power of common sense, but sometimes we get into habits that aren't logical at all. For example, I have a number of shirts in my wardrobe that require wearing a plain, black tank top underneath. Even three months ago, it wouldn't be foreign to see me tearing through my wardrobe on a Monday morning in search of this silly tank top (that was outfit essential, of course). Then, I'd see a ribbed, black cotton garment out of the corner of my eye and quickly realize that this is the black tank top I HATE. It was ill fitting, faded, and a necessary evil. Then one day, I decided to go to Old Navy and buy five black tank tops, all the same style & size (for a whopping $5 each). I put them in the same drawer and voila, stress eliminated. It's that easy to fix an annoying situation.
It's especially important to remove barriers of entry for tasks or events that we don't naturally enjoy. It's really easy to say that you don't have any clean gym clothes if you loathe going to the gym. In the moment, it's a logical excuse and gets you out of going altogether. What's more detrimental is forcing a workout ensemble into your gym bag and actually getting to the gym and putting it on. In an atmosphere that intimidates most people, the last thing you want to do is put on an ill fitting pair of tights, floppy (inefficient) sports bra, and old Greek Week t-shirt. Yes, maybe this lackluster outfit got you to the treadmill, but the insecurity and discomfort it creates will drive you off quickly and leave you feeling discouraged. If this sounds like you, it's time for a makeover.
Walking the walk and rocking the outfit is half the battle -- legit gym clothes give swagger you may not feel naturally. I may be the least in-shape person in the room, but having the right outfit shows that I'm committed and serious about being there. I believe that everyone has a place at the gym and shouldn't be judged -- whether it's your first day, your first day back after having a baby or bad injury, or you're a lifer, you should feel comfortable and supported in your personal journey to fitness. One way to get in that mentality is wearing clothes that allow you to be flexible, comfortable, and feel like part of the inner circle.
About two years ago, I found myself having one "proper gym outfit" that made me feel comfortable and got me in the zone. That's fine once a week, but what about the other days? I am NOT suggesting that you go to Lululemon and invest $1000 in new gym clothes. First off, I'm pretty sure their clothes don't properly fit anyone above a size six and secondly, it's simply not necessary. What worked for me was going to Old Navy (sensing a pattern here) and investing in five pairs of new compression capri pants ($22 each) and five breathable tops (these are currently on sale for $5 -- you must run, not walk and buy them in every color). I also bought two jackets ($25 each), which I could rotate and wear while walking outside. The key here is -- buy workout clothes that fit (today). Especially if you're getting back into health & fitness after a hiatus, do not let sizes discourage you. You'll be 10x more motivated if you're wearing pants that fit and stay in place that enable you to breathe properly versus tight, uncomfortable pants that you'll fit in eventually. Don't be your own worst enemy. After this shopping spree, I cleaned out my drawer formerly known as "gym clothes" and got rid of every item in there. To this day, when I open that renovated drawer, I know I have a clean pair of my favorite workout pants ready and plenty of fun tops to choose from. I also make sure that I buy lots of ankle gym socks (4 pairs for $5) and always have them at the ready. If you wanted, you could go to Old Navy tomorrow and for a small investment, completely renovate your workout wardrobe (& attitude). Oh! And online they're currently offering 30% off through Sunday -- so there's no better time!
Now, there are three items that I believe every female gym go-er must seriously research and invest in. This part will be a little more difficult:
- Sports Bra
- Gym Bag
Sneakers: By 30, you're bound to have an old sports injury and / or pesky ache that requires legit gym sneakers. We're beyond picking them solely by color or brand -- as someone at Lady Footlocker said to me recently, "take your time, this is an investment in your health". She was absolutely right. I tried to buy the new, cool "barefoot" style sneakers and my feet hurt after every workout. Fail. After doing my homework, I am very loyal to Nike Pegasus sneakers for their arch support and recently bought a new pair Nike Air Max running shoes. Those, I did buy for the color, but seriously tested them out first. Whether they're cute, ugly, or uglier -- be comfortable. Your feet at age 60 will thank you.
Sports Bra: Up until six months ago, I thought that I was destined to be a two-sports-bra-wearer for life. I have an adequate (ahem) chest area and couldn't even think about jogging without wearing two sports bras. And even then, the situation was a little questionable. It is critical as a woman to feel supported and you should be investing in a quality sports bra that fits properly and offers the support / coverage you require. I now own a Nike High Compression sports bra and think it's some kind of miracle. I mean...look at me -- I'm jumping!
Gym Bag: This may seem low on your list of gym essentials, but for me, a bad gym bag can completely kill my mojo. Being on-the-go all the time, you may start the day with great intentions to visit the gym and end up at happy hour instead. There's nothing worse than lugging a big, clunky, ugly gym bag through a crowded NYC bar. There are many requirements for a perfect gym bag -- size, washable material, adequate zippered compartments, cross-body strap, weight, attractiveness. I have many beautiful handbags and I refuse to carry some ugly, common gym bag. A light bulb went off a few weeks ago and I went to LeSportsac on a mission. Known for their easy to use / clean nylon bags, I knew this would be a match made in Heaven. I bought the Medium Weekender in Bohemian print -- and it's been fantastic. It comes with a matching zippered pouch which is perfect to store my jewelry and must have gym bag essentials:
- Hair Ties
- Clip / Bobby Pin
- Mini Lara Bar (In Case of Emergency snack)
- Band aids
- Neutrogena face wipes
- Spare (In Case of Emergency) Headphones
- Tom's shoe bag / nylon running backpack (the perfect place to store dirty shoes)
You ready to be the best version of yourself at the gym? We may never be the most toned, in-shape people there, but we will be ready for a productive workout. After a while, you'll be excited to buy a new piece of workout apparel and see it as a true investment in yourself. I'm excited to see Old Navy's Activewear section constantly expanding for women of all shapes & sizes. It doesn't hurt nearly as bad to buy two new pairs of pants when they're on sale and frequently refresh your gear. And yes, you may get to the point where $100 yoga pants are a priority for you and that's perfectly ok. But today, you can get started and feel great for under $30! xo
This winter has been epic for daydreaming. The cold days seem endless and while even the dreariest winters in New York are filled with wonder, I can't help but long for the feeling of warm sunshine. It may be hard to believe, but 2014 has also already seen three months of hard work, leaving me consumed by wanderlust. Luckily, I have plans to make my inaugural trip to Paris -- which is just about perfect for this French girl on the brink of her 30th birthday. I have a feeling that Paris in the Springtime will be everything I've always imagined.
On the television front, Mad Men will be back on April 13th, with it's seventh and final season. I adore the show, but must say that I enjoyed the fashions of the early to mid-60's much more than the late 60's. I feel the Disco influence coming. For me, the fashion in the earlier seasons of the show was impeccable. The cocktail dresses, proper coats, hats and accessories were so ladylike and elegant. Between longing for Paris in Springtime and admiring 1960's fashion, I felt inspired to put together a retro look for my upcoming trip. I assembled the inspiration board above to get all of my thoughts down on paper -- an outfit that could walk right out of a 1960's Parisian cocktail party, infused with this season's hottest colors (radiant orchid & mint green), brushed with purely feminine touches. To pull off this look, I knew there was only one place to look -- Modcloth. They have a wide range of clothing and accessories that take a fresh perspective on retro classics. Their clothing is also available in a variety of sizes, which makes it accessible for anyone. Using the above as inspiration, I had a clear vision of what I wanted (and Modcloth exceeded expectations). Voila!
- It all starts with that little black dress and the name here says it all. The Dinner Party Darling Dress will make an impression coming and going with sheer paneling, bow detail at the waist, and covered buttons down the back. If putting this dress on won't immediately transport you, I don't know what will.
- What would Carrie Bradshaw do next? Choose her shoes of course! A perfect opportunity to incorporate a pop of color, the Dainty Dramatist Heels in mint are fresh and feminine. I love shoes with ribbons -- so whimsical and ballerina-like.
- A self proclaimed accessories addict, picking out jewelry could be a full time job. You cannot think about Paris without thinking about Coco Chanel and this Made to Measure Bracelet makes me think of her, in her workshop, creating fashionable masterpieces. This piece looks like it could be part of your Grandmother's vintage collection -- a bona fide conversation starter.
- I love a statement earring and what's better in a world of whimsy decadence than candy! These Chic Confections Earrings are good enough to eat! They tie in the green of the shoes and really sweeten up the outfit. Did I mention they're only $6.99?
- Because anyone wearing this outfit would have to be someone notable, big sunglasses to perpetuate the mystery are a must. I chose these Music Seen Sunglasses, as they blend the classy, Jackie O frames with a little bit of Beatles era edge.
- It will be important to cover my shoulders in the evening breeze, so pairing the dress with a light cardigan is perfect. Easy to wear, the Charter School Cardigan in Lavender brings in a subtle version of radiant orchid.
- How could I attend a 1960's cocktail party without a fabulous hat? It wouldn't be right. The second I laid my eyes on the French Immersion Hat, I knew it was meant to be. This leopard print beret is a welcomed addition to any outfit. No ensemble can ever go wrong with a little animal print. Although a proper beret, the hat can be worn differently to reflect the occasion. Just like Bob Dylan sang in 1966, "Well, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat."
- And lastly, it may be the 1960's in my heart, but in 2014 -- a girl cannot be without her iPhone. I fell in love with this Streets of Paris case by Rifle Paper Company, because it highlights Paris's most popular landmarks through drawings in the prettiest colors. Who needs a guide book when your phone case has it all? It's not available until April, but don't worry -- Modcloth will notify you as soon as it's on sale!
All this talk has me ready to board a plane tonight! Putting together an inspiration board is such a great way to shop outside of your comfort zone and stretch your imagination to amazing places. Going to a Mad Men Premiere party or just want to look beautiful? Look no further than Modcloth.
On Wanelo? Shop this outfit now! xo
I have a bit of a split weekend personality disorder. Half of the time, I wake up super excited and want to do every activity possible (gym, brunch, shopping, movies, woo hoo) and the other half of the time, I refuse to do anything but melt into the couch and glue myself to the DVR. You'd think that I would merge these two personas together to find some kind of relaxed balance, but Lazy Jenny and Hyper Jenny don't mix. This weekend was go-go-go! The days felt long, I spent time with friends & loved ones, I felt productive, and my creativity was on fire! This led to a fun, impromptu Sunday afternoon project.
For the last few weeks, I've been wanting to revamp my home office space. About a year ago, I got a new desk. Living in a New York studio apartment, a desk is more than a desk. On any given day, it serves as a dining room table, makeup vanity, full blown office, and dumping group for mail & magazines galore. As part of my conquest to simplify my life, I've been brainstorming how to make the space clutter free, accessible, and filled with pretty things that inspire me. This afternoon, a light bulb went off and I decided it was the perfect time to makeover my desk space. The goal was to have a proper 30 year old's desk. And no, I didn't take "before" photos -- so you'll have to use your imagination.
The Desk: A few weeks ago, I bought a few sheets of beautiful Japanese Ogura Lace paper. In my early twenties, my good friend Henriette brought me to a downtown paper shop and opened up my eyes to using delicate & ornate paper as decor. It may have taken me seven years to get on board, but I finally did! When I saw this beautiful blush color, I knew I'd want to incorporate it into my apartment at some point, but wasn't sure exactly how. Today it occurred to me that putting a glass table top over the paper would create a beautiful effect. Not only would I see and appreciate the paper every day, but it would be protected and create a new surface for me to get work done on. Now you should know that when I get an idea like this, I must execute on it immediately. When I get in this zone, I am capable of accomplishing pretty much anything and will use every resource available to me to make my vision come true. I've been this way since I was little, I get this burning determination in my gut and could run the world. So naturally, within 15 minutes, I had called Pier 1 and placed an order for a 24" x 24" glass topper and confirmed home delivery between 4 and 8PM tonight. The dimensions were perfect, because the glass would cover the depth of my desk, while allowing me some space on either side in the case I need a hard surface in the future. The edges are beautifully beveled and the glass is 3/8" thick, so a really solid piece.
Good as Gold Desk Accessories: About six months ago, I decided that I should start spray painting everything a pretty, metallic rose gold color. I'm obsessed with yellow & rose gold -- I think it just makes everything look polished & proper. This obsession never really got off the ground, as I soon realized I was horrible at spray painting. I'll chalk that up to it being harder than it looks. In the mayhem of today's renovation, I remembered this can of spray paint and no glass in the kitchen was safe in my path!
- The first victim I had been eyeing to glamorize for almost a year. For my 29th birthday dinner, I assembled pink and white roses in small bouquets, using tulip sundae glasses for vases. With some help on the spray painting scene, within 30 seconds the glass was transformed into a gorgeous, metallic pencil cup. To give it personality, I left the base of the cup unpainted, as it already had a unique basket-weave like pattern. Filling the pencil cup was easy, as I'd been looking for a good place to display these white & gold pencils from Amanda Catherine Designs.
- While the paint was out, I also decided that I needed to create a new vase for some dried lavender I bought at the Union Square Farmer's Market. My only medium sized vase is reserved for fresh flowers (and currently occupied by fresh, yellow daffodils). Luckily for me, I had kept an old Organic Avenue glass jar -- perfect! I used some blue painting tape to put a simple chevron pattern on it and in 60 more seconds, had a perfect pair of rose gold desk accessories. It's amazing how simple these do it yourself (DIY) projects can be!
Beautiful Scents: While eating brunch at Hundred Acres a few weekends ago, I overheard two girls chatting in the bathroom about how Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day soy candles are the greatest. One was burning in the bathroom at the time and it was delightful, so obviously I needed to get one to test it out. My inaugural Mrs. Meyer's candle is lavender scented and fits in beautifully. It is so relaxing to blog and watch it flicker, not to mention the aroma is lovely. Lavender is known for its stress reducing properties, which is perfect after a long day.
Secondly, I wanted to display one of my favorite Chanel perfumes and rosewater facial toner from Fresh. I always remember my Great Grandmother and Grammy having perfume on display in their bedrooms and it always stuck with me as being so ladylike and elegant. This will make me think of them both.
Surround Yourself with Inspiration: Right next to my desk is a mirrored side table and shelves, where I keep books, jewelry, photos of loved ones, and beauty products galore. I am a huge believer in surrounding yourself (at work and home) with things that make you happy and provide you with positive energy. When thinking about my immediate desk surface, I wanted to create a real-life inspiration board. These items can easily rotate in and out, but provide a creative palette to help me write.
- Jewelry On Display: I adore jewelry in all forms -- costume, fancy, simple, extravagant, you name it, I probably love it. Last year, I ordered a velvet necklace display and love to use it to showcase my latest purchase and remember to take good care of it and wear it! I knew I wanted to move that onto my desk, because it's elegant and worth looking at!
- Handwritten Notes: I love writing notes. I recently sent out Valentine's Day cards and think that taking five minutes to write loved ones is the greatest investment of time. I have a caddy of blank Papyrus note cards in the house at all times and knew that moving them closer to my every day routine would inspire me to send thank you and love notes more frequently.
- The Coffee Table Book: I don't have a formal coffee table, so important to display a beautiful book on my desk. This Vogue Covers book was a Christmas gift I received last year and it's full of inspiration. Pages and pages filled with fashionable covers, ranging years and trends are absolutely food for the creative soul.
- Cinderella: We all have that character or story that has been with us for our lifetime. I've been a Cinderella enthusiast for as long as I can remember. My Mom always used to read me her story before bed and I just knew that one day I'd have my happily ever after. Behind my desk chair, I have a framed drawing with an actual cell from the Disney film. Wanting to surround myself entirely in magic, I knew I had the perfect piece for my new desk. Over the holidays, I'd found a carriage silhouette at Hallmark which read "Live like there's no midnight". This checked two boxes -- beloved nostalgia and motivational quote to put busy days back into perspective.
This was a wonderful Sunday night project which totally distracted me from the Monday blues. Having a clean, organized desk space is great for the mind and filling it with beautiful things you love is great for the soul. If you're tolerating piles of unread mail and clutter on a daily basis, I encourage you to take a few hours and create a space worthy of your time and energy. Now, let's hope it stays this way! xo