Thursday, October 30, 2014

#ShowMeYourElsa Halloween Costume Contest (+ Beauty Product Giveaway!)

Top row: photos via @iamprincessbyen, @glass103@after_romeo_is_awsome. Bottom row: photos via @auntie_cc_renae_mk, @shibainc, @jazzyfresh1722

Tomorrow, like 99 percent of little girls ages 3 to 10, my daughter is dressing up as Elsa. For those of you who don't have kids (and therefore don't know a Sven from a Hans or have a constant loop of "Let It Go" surging through your brain), Elsa is one of the sisters from the juggernaut of a movie Frozen. She's the blonde, the Snow Queen, the Idina Menzel. She also tends to be the sister most girls gravitate to, so she's poised to be one of the most popular costumes this year. (For the record, my daughter actually prefers the other sister, Anna, but she was already Anna for her Frozen birthday party, so it's Elsa's turn.)

I thought it might be fun to see if I could get an Elsa-costume hashtag going on Instagram. So, if you have a little Elsa, have a friend with a little Elsa, or are dressing up as Elsa yourself (I won't judge), please post it to Instagram with the hashtag #ShowMeYourElsa and follow me on Instagram (@alyssahertzig). 

I'll pick my favorite Elsa from all of the tagged photos on Sunday night. The winning Elsa's grownup will get a hand-picked selection of awesome beauty products (I have access to the best stuff as a beauty editor, remember!), plus a fun Frozen beauty gift for your little Elsa.

So what are you dressing up as for Halloween? What about your kids? Tell me below!

And, if anyone in your family is wearing baby blue and a blond wig, don't forget to #ShowMeYourElsa...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Best People to Follow On Instagram: The Cool Moms {Part 2}

A few weeks back, I did a post on the best people to follow on Instagram, featuring five very cool moms. (So, if you haven't read part one, be sure to check it out.) Today, here is part two! Meet the mommies:

1) @balletbeautiful

Mary Helen Bowers is a professional ballerina who teaches some insanely difficult ballet-inspired fitness classes at her NYC studio. Students include supermodels and celebs like Natalie Portman (she's the one who whipped Natalie into ballerina shape for Black Swan). Her Instagram is unlike any other--you get to see her striking, impossibly beautiful ballet poses, often with her adorable little daughter in tow, and often with incredible backdrops like Paris. (The Instas she took when pregnant are especially gorgeous.) 

2) @taylorsterling

I followed Taylor (founder of Glitter Guide) long before she had her gorgeous daughter, so I've long been a fan of her style. And now I get to be insanely jealous (in a good way!) of one-year-old Elodie's style. Elodie has better outfits than you and I, to be sure, but she's so cute that you can't help but be enthralled. I love seeing what both mom and daughter are going to wear each day--and then inevitably try to copy it in my own wardrobe. (P.S.: Here are her beauty secrets!)

3) @jennfalik

The only person on this list who I really know personally, Jenn is an ex-beauty publicist (that's how we met--many years ago) turned TV style expert. (You've likely seen one of her frequent appearances on the Today Show--she also has a blog!) Jenn has a daughter slightly younger than mine and is pregnant with #2. Her Instagram reminds me slightly of mine in that it's a glimpse at the two sides of her life: both the glamorous career and the slightly-less-glamorous (but, of course, even more important) mom side.

4) @mommasgonecity

If you're like 487,000 other people, you're likely following Jessica already, so I considered leaving her off the list, but it's such a great account that I just couldn't. She posts the most gorgeous pictures  of her four children (seriously--she is an excellent photographer), including almost-daily shots of her youngest son Beau napping all snuggled up with their dog Theo. (The napping pair went viral last year.) Adorable x a million.

5) @andreavhowe

One of the weirdest things about Instagram is that often you feel like you know the people you follow. (Does this ever happen to you?) This is one of those cases. I do not know Andrea. I do not have any friends that know Andrea. Andrea lives in California. I do not. Yet, she is so open and (from what I can tell!) real, that through her Instagrams (and awesome blog), I totally feel like I know her. I love that. She posts cute pics of her kids, the occasional outfit, and lots of healthy living/eating pics. She also runs the healthy-living/less-family-focused account, @gwynethmademedoit, which I also love.

6) @houseofharper

Caroline was a fashion blogger in NYC (and, after a recent move, is a fashion blogger in Texas), but I really started loving her Instagrams after she had her son Knox. Her account is a great mix of outfit photos (she has awesome style), cute pics of Knox, and shots of her out and about pushing the baby in his stroller (he's adorable and she always looks perfect. Caroline, seriously, WTF? Teach me your secrets!).  


Now, please tell me: Who are some of your favorite follows? I'm always looking for great new people to ogle over. Leave your favorites in the comments below! (They can be moms or not--I'll be featuring my faves from many different categories in the coming weeks.)  Also, please leave your Instagram name below--I'd love to check out your account!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

17 Cool Things You Have to Click On Today

This week was super busy at work (one reason: that's just a fraction of the products we're testing for our beauty awards, above), but it ended on a fun note. Yesterday, I had a great meet-up with two of my blogger friends: PJ and Katie--two girls who I "met" through Twitter/blogs and I'm pleased to say are even more sweet and great IRL. Isn't it cool when that happens?

Today we're (finally!) having family photos taken, then meeting up with friends. But, first, here's a few things I found, loved, and wanted to share. Have a great weekend!

• These gold wine glasses might be the prettiest ones I've ever seen. Obsessed!

• Starting using this hairspray again this week for the first time in awhile. I forgot how much I love it! It's incredibly light (holds your style but doesn't feel like anything at all--no crunchiness or stiffness--plus you can brush through it easily). But the best part is the smell--it's AMAZING. You'll be one of those weirdos sniffing your own hair all day if you use it, I promise. So, so good.

• It's basically impossible not to laugh out loud at this hilarious, uncut video of Jimmy Fallon and Bradley Cooper cracking themselves up so much that they can't get through even 15 seconds of an interview.

• I just bought this shirt in black plaid and I'm loving it. My favorite way to wear it is with black boots, skinny jeans, and a sparkly statement necklace. It's also cute dressed up with a skirt for work. It's such a good price, too, so I want to get it the navy/red one now. Ok, and maybe this one, too. (Bonus! Use the code HAPPY for 25 percent off of it--or anything else on the site--through TODAY ONLY!)

• Why every newborn baby you see on Facebook is wrapped up in the same pink-and-blue-striped hospital blanket.

• Such a gorgeous, and very different, dress. Love the red!

• I have a weird fascination with the Victorian era, so I am dying (heh, heh--pun intended) to see this exhibit at the Met.

• I've never been to Charleston, but Grace's travel diary makes me really, really want to go!

• This post makes me want to start collecting well-worn, well-loved vintage cookbooks.

• This homemade cookie butter looks INSANELY good. And makes me think twice about giving up sugar...!

• Great piece on the unfortunate sexualization of little girls' Halloween costumes. (I mean, can we all agree that toddlers don't need sexy firegirl costumes?)

• I always look forward to Dominique's Wednesday Wishlist. It's such a great mix of cool clothes, great home decor items, jewelry, and art--and I always want everything. This week I'm coveting the malachite earrings, the "bling" tray, and those sparkly emerald flats.

• Beautiful, heart-breaking story about a boy in the foster care system: "The Child I Didn't Adopt."

• Old Jews explaining Yiddish--cute!

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

• Illustrated some oh-so-frustrating (but funny!) beauty moments that make you want to cry.

• Pulled a fast one on a four-year-old. 

• Shared a day in my life for #OneDayHH.

Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Trick Your Kid (a.k.a. Our Genius Parenting Hack)

How Einstein does it

My daughter eats pancakes for breakfast 95 percent of the time. And like anything with most four year olds, she has developed some, shall we say preferences when it comes to her breakfast. There must be exactly five (mini) pancakes on the plate; the pancakes must be either homemade or, if frozen, from Eggo or Aunt Jemima (sadly, none of the frozen organic brands will fly with her); there must be two slices of CHEWY bacon sitting next to them (god help you if you make it "too crispy"); the plate must be divided into sections and bear some sort of princess on it; and the syrup must be Mrs. Butterworth's. Deviate from any of these requirements at your own risk. She will call you on it. And by call you on it, I mean throw a tantrum.

To keep the peace, buying pancakes and their various accoutrements sometimes feels like my second job. I am often stopping off at the store on my way home from work simply to pick up a pack of bacon or a box of frozen pancakes to make sure we're fully stocked for the following morning. Earlier this week, I noticed we were running low on syrup, so I popped into the grocery store and bought a bottle.

My husband looked in the pantry a few nights later and happened to notice the brand new bottle sitting there. The brand new bottle of...AUNT JEMIMA. Call it "mom brain," call it being busy--I had absentmindedly bought the wrong brand. I do not, and never have, eaten syrup, so I tried to convince us that it wasn't a big deal. But we both instantly knew: Shit was going to down the next morning.

That's when we came up with our genius evil plan: We would pour the full bottle of Aunt Jemima into the empty bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's. Then we would pray. 

The next morning, with trembling hands, I presented the trick bottle, poured, and waited. She dipped her pancake into the decoy syrup, took a bite, and continued on her way with her breakfast-eating and iPad-watching.


p.s. - S., I love you and do not think you are a sucker. But I do think you need to quit the HFCS syrup habit. Watch out, girl: I'm pouring organic maple sugar into that Butterworth's bottle next.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Check Out A Day In My Life Via #OneDayHH

Just popping in for a quick post today to make sure you're following me on Instagram. Today I'm joining Laura of Hollywood Housewife (and thousands of others!) to document a day in my life--from the fabulous (beauty events! a blowout!) to the mundane (making my daughter's school lunch! rain!).

Follow me here and check out the #OneDayHH hashtag to join in on the party!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

9 Beauty Situations That Make You Want to Cry Like Kim Kardashian

I posted the photo above (a #regram from Up & Out salon) on my Insta last week. It totally cracked me up because it's just so true, right? It got me thinking about other beauty annoyances, so I thought it would be fun to illustrate a few of them--in GIF form. Enjoy!

1. When you walk out of the salon with a killer new blowout...and it starts raining.

2. When you go to get more of your favorite lip gloss and find out it's just been discontinued.

3. When you discover your new waterproof mascara...just isn't.

4. When you're trying to decide whether you should gather the energy to take your makeup off before bed or play Russian Roulette with your skin and just go to sleep.

5. When you wake up with a big zit placed conveniently in the exact center of your forehead. 

6. When you've spent approximately 100 years expertly applying your mascara. And then you sneeze.

7. When the hair on your head grows painfully slow--but the ones on your upper lip are multiplying like crazy. 

8. When you buy an expensive new self-tanner, slather it on, then find out that it's clearly not your shade. 

9. When it becomes obvious that your hair stylist is cutting off more than the quarter-inch you requested.

Now it's your turn! What did I forget? Below, please tell me what beauty moments make you want to cry. Maybe you'll see them come to life in GIF form here soon. ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

13 More Cool Things You Have To Click On Today

The New Yorker cartoon above made me giggle. It's available as a framed print here.

How's your weekend going? Mine's good, though not as relaxing as I hoped it would be (lots of running around with the kids!). But I did take a break to go out with some friends Friday night, which was fun. I also found some time to cook a healthy dinner (this easy coconut curry, which I ate over coconut cauliflower "rice"--so good!). And I have these paleo brownies in the oven right now! Cross your finger that they're as yummy as they look.

So, as promised on Friday, I'm back today with a rare weekend post! Found too many fun things this week and wanted to share them all. Enjoy!

• I grew up in the supermodel era, loved them all, but was particularly obsessed with Cindy Crawford. I maintained a binder with Cindy photos (this was how superfans did it before Pinterest, kids), recreated her infamous Pepsi commercial for my high school pageant, and even did an oral report on her for 10th grade English. (Eek--yep, obsessed is definitely the right word.) For years, I saw every photo and read every article about Cindy. So, I really adored this awesome interview with her. So much great stuff. She rules. #cindyforever

• Have you read this beautiful essay by Judith Newman about her autistic son's adorable relationship with Siri? Really great. 

• I really want these black-and-tortoise-shell bow flats. Such a pretty alternative to the standard plain-black pair.

• Loved Grace's roundup of party dresses and accessories. Now I just need somewhere to wear that gorgeous hot pink number!

• Is Kim Kardashian a digital genius?

• Why hadn't anyone thought of this before? And, OMG, don't you just want to try it right now? 

• This funny, gay-wedding-advice video is great.

• 7 questions all bloggers should ask themselves.

Just in case you've ever thought about applying sunscreen with your makeup airbrushing tool...don't. Here's why.

• A modern-day use of the barter system: Will Letter For Lunch

And, ICYMI, here's a few posts that have been popular on The Sparkly Life this week...

• How to Get The Most Gorgeous Read Lips

• Almost Famous: I Auditioned For a New TV Show

• The Best Scalloped Flats At Every Price