Friday, May 1, 2015

14 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

14 Cool Things to Click On
Downtime between Mom 2.0 sessions. (That's my friend--and roommate!--Michelle of Homemade Mimi in the background.)

Hello from Scottsdale, Arizona! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I'm out here for Mom 2.0, a blogging conference. I'm having a great time: learning a ton (yay!), eating a ton (eek), and meeting lots of cool, inspiring people.

I miss the fam though! I finally just talked to my kids for the first time since I arrived a day and a half ago. (I got confused about the time difference twice and missed them in my first two attempts--d'oh!)

Speaking of that time change, I've also been waking up at 4 a.m. here, which means I've had a good amount of time to waste on the internet. So here's a few fun links. Enjoy!

• I wore this Ace + Jig dress yesterday (that's it above!) and got so many compliments. It's cute and kind of different, but also super comfy, and roomy enough that you can have a huge lunch and no one will be the wiser. Note: I recommend ordering one size down. I got a small (and I'm always, always a medium) so that it's not crazy baggy.

• I'm in the middle of reading Big Little Lies right now (it's fun and easy), but I'm super excited about what's next on my list: Last night, I met author Jillian Lauren, who was so cool! I have been meaning to read her book Some Girls forever (it's the true story about her life as a member of a the Prince of Brunei's harem--yep, really), so I just downloaded it. I also preordered her new memoir, which comes out in a few days and also looks fabulous.

• Here at the conference, I'm rooming with my friend Michelle (that's her in the background above), who I actually met at BlogHer last year. She is a DIY and parenting blogger at Homemade Mimi, BUT she also (drumroll)...has a TV show premiering on TLC May 10th! I can't wait to see it. Please watch!

• So many parenting gems from Louis C.K. here. I especially loved this one: "The greatest thing about having a child is putting yourself second in your own life. It's a massive gift to be able to say you're not the most important person to yourself."

• 25 people every New Yorker knows--and hates--on the subway.

• How one person found his dream life by working remotely. (h/t Felicia)

• DryBar is one of my favorite places (duh), but it's also one of my favorite success stories. Loved reading this piece about the business side of it.

• When watching Orphan Black, I am consistently blown away by how you completely forget that there is only one actress playing almost every. single. character. This insight into the role hair and makeup plays in differentiating the characters is so interesting.

• Do you love telling people what to read? Then maybe you should own a bookstore.

• Nicki Minaj played a bar mitzvah recently--and this guy spent way too much time dissecting one of the photos from the event. (And it's kind of amazing.)

• The latest thing in Asia? Dogs with their fur cut into (crazy) geometric shapes.

• Did you guys get anything from the Lily Pulitzer for Target collection? I got a few dresses for my daughter (and was actually pretty impressed with the quality--they're also so cute on her). This roundup of girls mad about the collaboration cracked me up.

And in case you missed it, this week I...

• Talked about the differences between "Fun Parents" and "Not-Fun Parents." (Which one are you?)

• Shared the beauty tricks, tips, and favorite products from one of the biggest beauty editors in the business.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Not-Fun Parent

Heading out...

Cookie dough with brownie bites for her; chocolate peanut butter (obviously) for me
This is weird to think about, but I realized that night that, because I'm usually super strict about bedtimes, this was actually one of the first times my five-year-old daughter had seen the night sky! (7:30pm lights out FTW, people.)

A version of this post first appeared here on my Instagram, and I got such an enthusiastic response, both online and off. It seemed like it spoke to many people out there--many fellow not-fun parents--so I wanted to expand on it a bit here.

I am not the fun parent. My husband is the McDonalds parent, the eat-in-the-living-room parent, the sure-you-can-pour-a-vat-of-syrup-on-your-pancakes parent, the wear-whatever-crazy-outfit-you-want parent. 

That is not me.

I am the bedtime stickler, the rules-enforcer, the eat-your-broccoli, get-in-the-bath, "You're-not-listening" parent. Somehow, somewhere along the way, I became the strict one.

But one night, a few weeks back, that briefly changed. It was a Saturday night (one of the first ones that wasn't bitterly cold), and just before bath time, my daughter announced out of the blue that she wanted to go out for ice cream. This is something that us Not-Fun Parents would normally nix immediately. I mean, staying up late? Sugar right before bed? Straying from the routine? Madness, no? But instead of reacting immediately, I listened to her, thought about it for a moment, and said, "You know what? Why not?"

My daughter eyed me suspiciously (likely thinking: "Who is this kind alien who has invaded the body of my mom?"), but I convinced her that, yes, I was serious. So she enthusiastically took a quick bath, then we threw her coat over her pjs, and walked the few blocks to Ben & Jerry's. (Yep, in her pajamas--which she thought was hilarious and definitely turned out to be half the fun for her.)

It was just the two of us. We walked hand in hand, sat down and ate our ice cream, and then walked back in the dark (which she thought was awesome since she is almost never outside at night). When we were almost home, she said that it had been one of the coolest things that she had ever done.

And just like that, I got to be the fun parent for once.

Are you the fun parent? Or the not-fun parent? And if you're the latter, have you ever considered playing the fun parent for a night? I highly recommend it. But don't worry: By the next morning, I was back to my "PUT YOUR SHOES ON" self.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Beauty Secrets: Andrea Lavinthal

Andrea doesn't leave home without doing this.

Ok, let me just put it out there: I adore Andrea Lavinthal. We've moved in the same "beauty circles" for years now, and she's always been one of my very favorite people to run into at a work event. First off, she's smart and incredibly accomplished. She spent nine years as a beauty editor at Cosmo, went on to positions at and, and is now the Style and Beauty Director at People, where she oversees both print and digital. (Oh and just in case you aren't impressed yet, she has also co-authored three books: The Hookup Handbook, Friend or Frenemy?, and Your So-Called Life.) And of course, as any Bachelor fan can tell you, she is hilarious and absolutely kills it on Twitter

She also has really, really great hair.

So I'm super thrilled that she's here today sharing some of the awesome beauty tips she's picked up over her many, many years in the biz--all told with that signature @andilavs humor. Enjoy!

Let's jump right into your beauty routine. What's your favorite lip color? "I love bright colors on everyone but me, so I typically stick to beige-y-pink shades. I always joke that my favorite lip color is one that make me look like a sexy corpse. My favorites are: MAC Lipglass in C-Thru (I've been wearing this since 2002. It's a little sticky, but I love the semi-opaque pale beige color and the scent reminds me of vanilla frosting), Charlotte Tilbury Kissing Lipstick in Nude Kate (I'm such a huge fan of Charlotte's line. This is the perfect peachy-nude lipstick to pair with a smoky eye. Plus, it's the closest I'll ever get to looking like the woman who inspired it--Kate Moss); and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Satisfaction and Rouge Coco in Adrienne (just having a Chanel lipstick in my bag makes me feel like a glamorous grown-up. Satisfaction is a sheer warm peach color with a hint of shine and Adrienne is a creamy pale pink)."

Eye shadow shade? "My absolute favorite is the Bobbi Brown Navy & Nude palette. It's limited edition so you can't get it anymore, but I have a few of them stockpiled. Like the name implies, it's a mix of seven nude shades--some matte, some shimmery--with one midnight blue shadow that I use as liner. Most palettes have at least one orphan color that no one uses, but all of the shadows in this one are wearable. And I never apply shadow without Urban Decay Primer Potion. (I just started using the new Enigma version, which I love). I have naturally dark lids and it brightens them up and makes the shadow last longer."

Blush? "I love blush and often reapply it throughout the day, especially in the late afternoon when I have 'office face' (when your skin looks dull from lack of fresh air) and I need a hit of color. Lately I've been going for shimmery bronze shades, but I'll probably switch to brighter hues in the summer. At first I didn't think Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic in First Love would do anything for me since the colors are kind of muted, but I was so wrong. You're supposed to use the two shades to contour, but I just swirl them together and it creates the prettiest glow. I used to be so obsessed with Nars Orgasm that I didn't pay attention to the brand's other shades. Big mistake. Madly is this beautiful brownish pink with hints of gold shimmer, almost like a bronzer and Douceur is also a brownish pink but it's totally matte. I just discovered Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Jersey and I love it. It's gold flecks of gold shimmer and looks so pretty on the apples of the cheeks. On the rare occasion when I want to go all-out and use bronzer, blush, and highlighter, I use Urban Decay Naked Flushed in Strip. I love the pinky-mauve blush shade and the highlighter looks really great on cheekbones."

Foundation? "I wear tinted moisturizer or a BB or CC cream every day. They look best when stippled on with a BeautyBlender, but I have zero patience and usually end up just rubbing them on with my fingers. Then, I use concealer to cover up my under-eye circles and any zits. If I wear foundation, it's a sheer formula like Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow is really light, so you're not going to get much coverage, just some evening out of the skin tone and a nice dewy finish. I sometimes top it off with Les Beiges Healthy Glow Powder. I swiped a sample tube of Philosophy No Reason to Hide Instant Skin-Perfecting Moisturizer from the launch event and have been using it ever since. It makes my skin look really smooth and even. I feel like I'm cheating when I use Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream because it has the same amount of coverage as most foundations. Whenever I wear it people comment on how great my skin looks."

Mascara? "I never leave the house without curling my lashes. Even if I have a 6 a.m. flight and have to leave my apartment at 4 a.m., I'll still curl them. I have three eyelash curlers at home and three at work (I only use Shu Uemura and Keyn Aucoin). I love to experiment with different mascaras and between my stash at the office and at home, I probably have, like, seven tubes open at any given time. But if I had to choose my top three, I'd say L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Effect for the longest lashes possible without falsies, Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes, which is like Maybelline Full n' Soft (a mascara MVP) on steroids, and Benefit They're Real, which lengthens, volumizes, and separates."

Hair products? "Despite its appearance, my hair is actually very fine. And since I'm a highlight and curling iron addict, it's also dry and damaged. I'm on an endless mission to find products that hydrate my hair without weighing it down. I wash with Phylia de M. Clean shampoo because it's really gentle and smells good. I have a bunch of conditioners and masks in my shower but after having dinner with celeb colorist Rita Hazan and admiring her long, shiny hair, I've been using her Weekly Remedy exclusively (she said it's transformed her hair and who wouldn't believe the woman who does Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Katy Perry?). It's a two-step process but only takes a few minutes. I towel-dry, then spray Phylia de M. ReConnect on the roots to encourage new growth. I let my hair air-dry about 80 percent, then I apply LiQWD The Perfect Wave, a gel-cream that smells like grape popsicles, and helps turn my frizzy curls into textured waves. Once my hair is completely dry, I use an Amika clipless iron to curl a few random pieces and spray everything with Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray. I sleep with my hair in a high ponytail with a scrunchie. The next day I just shake it out and try not to mess with it too much, and the day after that I refresh it with Drybar Triple Sec spray."

Skin-care products? "I have a really hard time sticking to a skincare regimen which is bad since you need to give products like eight to twelve weeks to know if they're actually working. I always switch my face wash. Right now I'm using GlamGlow Thirstycleanse Daily Hydrating Cleanser, which has the most amazing coconut scent. I'm always telling people to use a product with retinol in it since it's the gold standard of anti-aging ingredients so I'm practicing what I preach with Dr. Dennis Gross' Ferulic and Retinol line, which includes a serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. It's only been a month or so, but it seems promising. Once a week I'll use a Clarisonic and follow it up with one of my many Fresh face masks, which all smell incredible and leave my skin so soft."

Nail polish shade? "I'll probably get my beauty editor card revoked for saying this, but I'm not really into nail polish since my manicures chip within 24 hours no matter what I do. When I have to get my nails done, I stick to Essie Mademoiselle and Adore-a-Ball. I'll have a little bit more fun with my toes in the summer months and do everything from lavender to fuchsia."

Fragrance? "I don't wear perfume every day, but I always put it on before I go out at night. I wish I was one of those girls with a signature scent, but I tend to switch it up a lot. I love Prada Candy (I have a crazy sweet tooth so it's no surprise that this is one of my favorite scents), Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume (I can't describe this scent except to say it's different from anything I've ever smelled), Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess (I can't get enough of this coconut scent in the summer), anything by Fresh (they have the best fragrances), and Balenciaga B (it smells better in the bottle than it does on me, but for some reason I keep wearing it)."

What's your beauty look for a typical day? "'No makeup' makeup, so tinted moisturizer, blush, curled lashes with a few coats of mascara, and maybe some liner and brow powder."

For a night out? "The 'I don't know how to do a smoky eye' smoky eye. I define my eyes with my favorite Urban Decay 24/7 liner and smudge it out with a brush and add some shadow over it. Then I apply, like, six coats of mascara."

How long does it take you to get ready? "If I'm not washing my hair and this is a weekday, I can be done in under 10 minutes."

What's your best time-saving beauty tip? "Don't pick at zits and you won't have to spend a lot of time applying concealer. Not that I ever listen to that, but it's a good tip!"

Tell me something about your beauty routine that would surprise people. "I never use body lotion. I'm hopelessly devoted to Dove body wash, which is so moisturizing, I don't need lotion."

You've interviewed countless beauty pros over the years. Is there one tip that really stands out that you actually still use today? "Mally Roncal once told me to line my inner upper lash lines. It feels weird, but it makes your lashes look thicker."

You've met tons of celebs through your job. Who was the most impressive, beauty-wise? "Drew Barrymore could be a beauty editor. She just loves all things beauty and is totally hands-on with her line, Flower. When I met Jennifer Aniston at a Living Proof launch I asked her if she knew how to blow out her own hair and she seemed pretty fluent in all things that area."

Have you ever had a beauty disaster? "I went through an entire bottle of Sun-In on a family vacation when I was in sixth grade. I would spray it in my hair, then jump in the pool. My hair turned yellow, then orange, then green. It was awful. I finally went to the salon where they dyed my hair dark brown, then cut it from below my shoulders to right under my chin because the color wouldn't take evenly. I'm still mad at my mom for letting me talk her into buying it for me."

You always have the most amazing blowout. (And you know I love me a good blowout!) Do you get it done? DIY it? Talk to me. "I prefer to do it myself. I've had way too many blowouts where I ask for beachy waves and end up with prom curls. It's all about minimal volume at the roots, lots of volume and bend through the middle, and straight ends."

You do a lot of TV. What have you learned about the difference between TV makeup and real-life makeup? "I hate the way I look in TV makeup--it's so Real Housewives heavy. But I've learned that what looks crazy in person can look surprisingly good on TV. Still, it's hard to accept that I need that much foundation, concealer, and powder to look 'natural.'"

What's your favorite workout? "I don't work out. I'm so intimidated by the girls at places like SoulCycle. I try to tell myself that I get a good workout by walking around the city a lot, but my best friend said that would only count if I were a senior citizen."

Take a guess: How many beauty products do you have at home? "I asked my boyfriend and he said 10,000. It's probably more like 100, but considering I turned our linen closet into my personal beauty closet, I can see why he'd say that."

What do you think of Andrea's beauty routine? Are any of these products your favorites, too? Any you're dying to try now? Tell us below!



Friday, April 17, 2015

13 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

Snapped at the Pamella Roland presentation

It's Bridal Fashion Week this week, which means I've been running around to shows for the past few days (and will be doing lots more running around this weekend!). I'm checking out the hair and makeup looks to get inspiration for the magazine, and of course, checking out the gorgeous gowns. I'm especially excited to see the Reem Acra show this afternoon, since I wore a Reem dress many moons ago to my own wedding.

What are you guys up to this weekend? Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime.

• This dress looks cute and incredibly comfy. Pretty much everything I want from a dress.

• Death by tanning--at age 26.

• Oh wait--I never told you guys that I have a twin?

• Last year was the year of the white Birkenstock for me. This year, I'm craving these black-on-black ones. So. Cool.

• The fastest fix for income inequality? Tell your friends how much you make. Why are we so afraid of this? (h/t Felicia)

• These gifs are perhaps the scariest evidence of California's drought that I've seen yet. (The most insane part is that the "before" shots were only taken four years ago.)

• That bun tho. (Photo by me!)

• How to get free beauty stuff on your birthday.

• A non model spoofs fashion ads.

• Who is the ass who came up with children's shopping carts?

• Is Jenna Lyons to blame for J.Crew's sluggish sales? (h/t Laura)

And in case you missed it, this week I...

• Gave a peek into my daughter's fifth birthday party.

• Shared a funny personal story about talking to your kids about the presidential elections.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Talking To Kids About the Presidential Election

If you follow me on Instagram, you've heard this story, but I couldn't resist sharing it here, too. This past Sunday night--the day Hillary Clinton announced that she was officially joining the presidential race--I was putting the littles to sleep, when all of a sudden it hit me: My kids are young enough that they may very well never remember a time when it wasn't possible for a woman to be president. 

Thinking of this, as I was tucking my daughter in, I told her that we were going to have a new president next year, and that we had found out that day that it might be a girl president. "We've never had a girl president," I said. "So isn't that cool?" She answered: "Yeah! I mean, I like all the presidents, but it's good to switch things around sometimes so that a girl gets a turn."

Cute, huh?

Are you guys planning to talk to your kids about the upcoming elections? I hadn't really thought about it until my daughter and I had the conversation above, but now I'm thinking I'd like to involve her in the process somehow. Maybe I'll let her come along with me when I vote? I remember tagging along with my mom when she went to vote back in 1984. Coincidentally, that was the year of the first female candidate for vice president, Geraldine Ferraro. But I don't think that's what really stuck with me. What I vividly remember is the button my mom pinned on my shirt for the occasion. It said: "Out the door in '84--Dump Reagan." LOL.

Anyway, would love to hear any ideas if you have them!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Our Little Mermaid Birthday Party

sandcastle cake

mermaid cookies

We had a Frozen birthday party for my daughter last year, and immediately after it, she announced she was going to have a Little Mermaid party for her fifth birthday. "Ok," we said. "Sure." Fully expecting, of course, that she would change her mind 500 times in the following twelve months. So, we waited. Over the year, she discovered new things--ballet, Dr Seuss, Shopkins, Ever After, Monster High--but still, she remained committed to the mermaid party. So, early this year, when it seemed like the concept was really going to stick, I started planning.

I decided to make it more "general mermaid" with a color scheme of aqua, purple, and gold--and touches of the famed Disney redhead rather than a full-on Ariel fest. I pinned like crazy to my Pinterest party board (and eventually created this dedicated Mermaid Party board), and starting ordering like a madwoman from Etsy. And, then before long, the day was here.

As guests arrived, there was a "dance party" happening in the living room led by my 18-year-old niece, and featuring my daughter's favorite singers including Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Kesha, and Meghan Trainor. It was so cute to see the kids getting down, but the best part was when "Let It Go" came on and 20 five year olds simultaneously screamed like it was freaking Justin Bieber. Those not into dancing could visit the temporary tattoo station I set up on our coffee table or take a silly photo with sea-themed props in front of the faux ocean backdrop.

Meanwhile, guests snacked on pickled shrimp, "sea vegetables," "seaweed artichoke dip," crab dip, and more, and sipped "lemermaid" (heh, heh) or mermaid beer.

Before long, "Ariel" arrived. (She brought her friend Belle because we had too many kids for one princess and there is really no coordinating character from the movie.) They put on a show complete with singing, face painting, and curtseying--that all of the kids were into for about ten minutes. (Then the boys peeled off to go ransack our playroom while most of the girls stayed glued to the princesses.)

When the show was over, the kids gathered 'round tooting on some old-school paper blowers (I bought them last minute on a whim--you never see them anymore because they're not "Pinterest fancy," but the kids loved them). Everyone sang Happy Birthday, my daughter blew out her candles on the (awesome!) sandcastle cake that my mom made, then we all started digging into cupcakes.

We handed out the favors (plastic pails filled with Goldfish crackers, sugar cookies, bubbles, Ariel pencils, stickers, a fish ring pop, and a sea-themed bath toy), and one by one, the guests filed out.

And just like that, my girl was officially five.

All in all, it was an incredibly crowded party (we invited her whole preschool class--and every. single. person. was able to come), but I'd say it went...swimmingly. ;)

What do you think? I'd love to hear!


Photography: Morgan Bayard Photography
Glitter birthday banner: The Bannerie
Tassel garland: Tassel and Twine
Gold sequin table runner: Amazlinen
Personalized birthday poster: All Chalk
Always Be A Mermaid poster: ModGenesDesigns
Photo Booth props: The Party Girl Studio
Photo Booth backdrop:
Little Mermaid temporary tattoos: Amazon
Tablecloth: Amazon
Cupcakes: Sweet
Cake topper: Jules & Kenna
Gold candles: Amazon
Cupcake wrappers, toppers, etc. printables: Bernelo
Bubbles: Rhode Island Novelty
Bath squirters: Small World Toys
Fish ring pops: Amazon
Mermaid Pilsner beer: Coney Island Brewing Co.
Mermaid cookie cutter: R&M

Friday, April 10, 2015

17 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

Necklace by Juliet & Company (c/o)
This week I became officially sick of my winter clothes. I mean, I've been wearing them for what--20 months now? 30? 100? I've lost count. This weather is insane. I've now issued a strict moratorium on tights, but since it's too freaking cold for bare legs, I've basically been relegated to an All Jeans, All The Time life. 

First world problems, I know.

This weekend we're gearing up for three birthday parties--two for my daughter's friends (this is what happens when you have a preschooler. Nonstop birthday parties) and one for mine. Spoiler alert: I'll be wearing jeans to all of them.

Here are a few fun things to click on today. Have a great weekend!

• Wore my new (mega) statement necklace this week (that's it above) to distract me from the fact that I was still in warm sweaters. Love the jumbo size, the sparkle--and the fact that it's under $80. 

• This beautiful skirt is spring. Want. 

• How to self-promote without being annoying as hell.

• Dang! 92 year old celebrity gossip legend Liz Smith isn't holding anything back in this interview.

• The ten most toxic products in dollar stores.

• This teaser for season two of True Detective is getting me psyched.

• I want a shedquarters!

• The one thing the NRA does not want you to talk about? Kids dying in gun accidents. Here's why(And by the way, American children are nine times more likely to die in gun accidents than kids anywhere else in the world. Horrible.) 

• Love these photos of cats with crazy fur patterns.

• I needed this this week: 13 signs you're a better mom than you think.

• Why, in 2015, are women still asked for their marital status on things like rental applications or medical forms? GOOD QUESTION. (h/t Felicia)

• Would you buy the Poop N Pull for your potty-training kids? (I honestly can't decide whether the thing is genius or ridiculous or both.)

• Kind of amazing that one doctor may have found the secret of SIDs.

• And now in truly important news...Taco Bell will soon deliver.

And in case you missed it, this week I...

• Revealed my secrets for getting little kids to open up about big issues with Mommy Shorts.

• Shared the fashion, accessories, and art that I'm currently obsessing over.

• Hit a big milestone. (C'mon,  you know you wanna join me!)