Friday, May 27, 2016

21 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

Summer is finally--finally--here. We'll be living the lake life this weekend, spending some time out at Lake Hopatcong, which is about 50 minutes away from NYC...but feels about 5000 miles away. Follow along by following me on Snapchat, here!

I found a lot of fun things this week--and (eek) did a lot of shopping--and I'm excited to share it all with you, below. Happy reading, happy shopping, happy hot-dog eating, happy relaxation, and happy Memorial Day. I hope you have a great one!

And tell me: What are you guys up to this three-day weekend? I'd love to hear!

• I've had my eye on this DVF dress for, literally, months. It used to be $500 (!), but I've been watching and waiting. Well, it dropped to $249, and then I saw today that you can now get an additional 30% off with the code SUMMER30 until May 30. So, last night I finally pulled the trigger and got my beloved $500 dress...for $174. #meanttobe

• I just finished the book Wonder, which I really liked. It's YA, so it's a quick, easy read, but it's a really sweet book about a boy with a disfigured face trying to make it through junior high. And I just started Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. I'm not super into surfing, but since this book won the Pulitzer Prize this year, I was intrigued. I only just started it a few days ago, but so far I love the writing and I'm really excited to dive into it more this weekend.

• I really, really want this pretty, feminine dress. It's $128, AND you can take an additional 40% off with code BRTAKE40. So, I mean, no brainer, right? I'm looking forward to wearing it to events and work stuff. (And for anyone going to a day wedding this summer, this would be really, really pretty--and affordable--for that!) Full disclosure: The 40% off thing convinced me to buy this dress, too.

• I'm dying for this under-$100 chambray dress. Seems like the kind of thing I would just live in this summer. (My credit card needs to cool off a little bit first, though...!)

• I discovered the Hourglass Illume Sheer Color Trio a few weeks back, and it is AWESOME. I'm going to do a separate post on it soon, but let's just say: It contains three wildly-flattering creams: a bronzer (really sheer and natural), a blush (a gorgeous pinky-peach), and a golden highlighter that is flat out THE VERY BEST HIGHLIGHTER I HAVE EVER USED. It makes you look candlelit and glowy in seconds, it's basically instant-summer-skin in a palette, and you will love it. 

• I know, I know--they're sort of weird, but if loving these shoes is wrong, I don't want to be right.

• I know what I'll be wearing next Monday night.

• My latest for Refinery 29: 10 Things To Watch Out For At The Nail Salon

• My friend Michelle did this amazing post on the "yellowface" practice of having white actresses (Scarlett Johansson? Katherine Hepburn? WTF!) portray Asian women in movies. The older photos are especially crazy, you guys. But the scariest part is that this is still happening as recently as last year (because, yeah, Emma Stone ≠ Asian). Ugh.

• Over on my Facebook page, we all had a good laugh about this clueless, ultra-privileged woman's lament about how it's so hard to be a mom. (If you guys haven't seen it, it's a must-(hate)-read!

• Obsessed with this kitchen reveal.

• The best Rachel Green fashion moments from Friends.

• Part scary, part poignant, all interesting--what it's like to be 13, right now.

• Most parents don't do enough to step in when their kids aren't inclusive of other kids. This article is a good reminder of why it's important.

• This story of an adoptive daughter discovering her birth family is INSANE.

• Whoa! Remind me never to have an affair with Kelly Osbourne's dad. (Actually, just FYI: I really, really don't need that reminder...!)

• This optical illusion "hug" photo will hurt your brain.

• And two for the bloggers (and brands) in the house: The power of the mid-tier blogger and Why celebrities are better at Instagram than brands.

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

• Shared my new summer dress, which I'm totally obsessed with right now.

• Gave my tried-and-true tips for getting smooth, shiny, straight hair.

• Paired the very-best boyfriend jeans with the very-best sweater.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cute Dress Alert!

I just had to tell you guys about my new dress, which I am currently, completely obsessed with. I bought it a few weeks back at Anthropologie without trying it on. (Totally dangerous, but they have a good return policy, so I took the chance.)

Well, I'm so glad I did, because once I got it home and tried it on, I realized that this dress is BEYOND CUTE. It's comfy, flattering, and really pretty. It's got a cool trompe l'oeil thing going on, so even though it's all one piece, it looks like there's a little striped tank top underneath the main part of the dress. I know it's going to be an awesome dress for daytime during the summer, and because it's made of a silky material, it could actually even be dressed up for going out at night. (Because, you know, I do a TON of going out at night. #not #iprettymuchjustfallasleepinfrontofthetv #momproblems)'s under $150!

I obviously bought the tan, but it also comes in a rust color, as well as a dark gray, which I actually just ordered this morning, because there is a rule that if you find something you love, you buy it in multiple colors. (At least I tell myself it's a rule, so I feel less guilty about spending the money...!)

If you want to check out the dress, you can find it here. (And psst: Use the code FS100 for free shipping TODAY ONLY.) I've also linked to it (and a few other Anthro dresses I have my eye on) below!

(BTW, this post is not sponsored. I just love, love, love my dress and wanted to share!)


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How To Get Sleek, Straight Hair (Plus, Check Out My Nexxus Video!)

Sleek-hair essentials

You guys know how I love my blowouts. (I mean, duh, right?) Well, although long ago, I used to go super straight, for the last couple of years, I've always veered more towards the whole loose curls/ bouncy/bend-at-the-ends kind of thing. I hadn't really worn my hair super sleek in ages, but I recently rediscovered the look, and now...I'm so into it!

The epiphany happened recently when I was asked to shoot a video with Nexxus for their Oil Infinite line of products (which are now available at Costco, BTW!). I was thrilled to participate, because first, I've been a fan of Nexxus since high school back when I was a major Humectress user. And second, throughout  my years as a beauty editor, I've consistently been impressed with the immense amount of science and innovation that goes into the Nexxus products--they're the real deal. And finally, I'd be shooting with Kevin Mancuso, the brand's global creative director, and one of the top celebrity hairstylists in the world.

The shoot was so much fun--but definitely nerve-wracking I don't know what I was expecting (I mean, I think I thought there would be maybe one dude with a small camera on his shoulder and maybe one other guy holding a mike??), but nope. They had totally shut down the Nexxus Salon for the entire day just for the shoot and there were multiple cameras and easily 30 crew members! Gulp. (There was also one other blogger there, who you might recognize in the video: Corrine from Mint Arrow!) 

For the shoot, they washed our hair with the Oil Infinite Shampoo and Conditioner, then styled it. Corinne got loose waves and I got the sleek look. And I LOVED it. My hair was crazy shiny and incredibly silky. I also liked how my hair was really swingy and had lots of movement--it didn't just hang there limply at all, which is what I always fear with a flatironed look. Plus, the blowout lasted for days, which for me, is huge.

And now I'm hooked! While I'll never say never to loose curls, ever since the shoot, I've been going for a sleek look pretty consistently. (I even busted out my flatiron for my most recent headshots, as you can see in the last picture above.) I just love the shine that a sleek look gives you and I love how longlasting it is. (Bonus: Sleek hair actually holds up way better in the rain and humidity, because a flatiron closes the cuticle of the hair so tightly that it's harder for moisture to seep in.)

So, here's my beauty-editor-approved way to get a sleek look:

1. Wash with a smoothing shampoo and conditioner, so you can start the frizz-taming process in the shower. Nexxus Oil Infinite has elastin, protein, and six different oils to get your hair really smooth.

2. Rough dry your hair until it's about 80 percent dry using only your hands and a blowdryer. You want to get as much of the moisture out as possible, before you even think about using a brush.

3. Attach the nozzle to your dryer and grab a round brush (I like to use a mixture of boar and synthetic bristles--it gives the best grip). Then, working in small sections, blow-dry each piece, going from roots to tip, until it's smooth. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. A lot of people (and, unfortunately, a lot of hairstylists) try to cut corners and go directly from the rough dry to the flatiron, but this is not a good idea. You'll end up using your iron for far too much time, which is incredibly damaging. The flatiron should be the finishing touch of a sleek look, not the main event.

4. Once your hair is totally blown out, take your flatiron and run it over one- to two-inch sections of hair. Move the iron slowly, but do keep it moving (stopping in one spot causes damage). Each section should only get one pass--two tops. Again, any more and you risk breakage.

5. Finish with a spritz of shine spray or a dab of oil to smooth flyaways.

If you'd like to check out my Nexxus video, you can view it here. (Scroll towards the bottom of the page!) It's less than a minute long, which is kind of crazy when you consider that we shot for hours--until 10:30pm that night! And be sure to check out the Oil Infinite line (now available at Costco!) here.

So, what did you guys think of my video debut? (Haha!) And is anyone else feeling a sleek look lately, too?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Nexxus via Lunchbox, but all opinions are my own. I am often asked to partner with companies, but I only choose to align myself with brands--and products--that I truly love and believe in.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Favorite Outfit For Transitional Spring Weather

Sweater, J.Crew (old; similar here and here); jeans, James Jeans; shoes, Sole Society (c/o; also love these); clutch, Celine (similar); sunglasses, Kate Spade; necklace, Pamela Love (similar here); bracelet, Dannijo (old, similar here and here); lip color, Surratt Beauty Lipslique in Hevyn

Photos by Brenda Armendariz
All fall and winter, I'm definitely a jeans-and-sweater type of girl. And now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, I'm beginning to transition the look. And my favorite ways to do that are with three-quarter length sleeves and spring-y sandals. These sandals are great because they're cute, they're comforable, and they're eye-poppingly affordable ($64.95!). They're also particularly nice right now, because the closed-toe thing definitely comes in handy for hiding a chipped pedicure!

And of course, the three-quarter-sleeve sweater here is my beloved J.Crew Tippionce again--truly the world's most versatile sweater. (I also raved here and here.)

Have you guys transitioned to your spring clothes? Is it warm where you live yet? We're still just seeing small glimpses of decent weather here. But I need permanent warmth, Mother Nature! C'mon now...

p.s.: And if you're wondering: Yes, there is snow in these photos! I shot these right after we had our last, random late snowfall (I think it was late Feb?)--and then suddenly had a day of weirdly warm weather. The temp was actually in the 60s when I took these photos!

Friday, May 6, 2016

23 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

My little guy turned three this week! I can't believe it. And now, this weekend, we're having his party, so I'm currently in a frantic last-minute party-prep panic. (I didn't even settle on the theme--pirates--until a week ago...! Eek.) 

That's why I'm going to cut this intro short, since I've got to get back to stuffing the treasure-chest pinata and spraying Oreos with edible gold paint. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat for photos this weekend!

In the meantime, here's a few fun links to check out. Have a great weekend!

• This top is such a cute everyday basic--and it's on sale at Nordstrom for $27! I have no clue how that's possible, but I'm not asking questions. Going to scoop up the olive green, the black, and the blue!

• Speaking of great basics, I could probably live in this top. I mean, I could eat alllll the pasta and NO ONE WOULD KNOW.

• I came thisclose to buying this gorgeous sundress before Mom 2.0 and now I'm totally regretting that I didn't. I tried it on in the store on a whim, and it was so pretty, feminine, and sweet. That's it. I've convinced myself. I'm buying it online right now...

• My heart just skipped a beat: Rose-gold Birks! NEED.

• I'm 80 percent through this book right now, and I cannot put it down. It's certainly tough to read in parts (it involves some very extreme child abuse), but the story and characters are really, really good 

• This story is amazing: My friend, DIY blogger Laurel of A Bubbly Life, spotted an old chair out with the neighbor's garbage. She grabbed it, did her DIY magic, and posted the (awesome!) results on her blog. Then, she found out the chair hadn't actually been garbage! Here's what happened next.

• I wrote two fun pieces for the 10 best beauty products at Whole Foods and ten more you have to try at Trader Joe's.

• How moms are making money on Instagram.

• Made me laugh. (So true, as anyone who has ever worked in an office can attest!)

• Fresh tacos on demand! Meet the Keurig of tortillas.

• Loved this look at foodie culture vs. what Americans actually eat. (Confession: I totally use and love!)

• I couldn't stop scrolling through this website with its super close-up, unretouched photos of celebrities. Stars: They have zits and wrinkles just like us!

• Bath & Body Works is bringing back six '90s scents we knew and loved. And two are top-secret! My '90s self would be hoping that one of them is Sun-Ripened Raspberry. (What was your BBW scent back in the day?)

• Sorry, but I feel like maybe you should, you know, stop saying "I feel like" right now. (Seriously, though. Stop saying it.) 

• Is this the world's cutest beach mat or what?

• I agree wholeheartedly with this article: Top sheets are the devil.

• While my situation isn't as extreme as this one, I'm often the person behind the camera when taking photos of my family instead of being in the frame, so this piece really made me think. The Mom Who Wasn't There: The Ghost In Our Family Photos.

• I've always wondered about this: How celebrities make money by appearing in clubs.

• Turns out the fingerprint security feature on your iPhone isn't as secure as you may think. Now, let me preface this by saying I don't ever expect to be in a situation where the government is trying to force me to unlock my phone...! But I still thought it was interesting that, while it's true that you can't be forced to turn over your passcode, a court has ruled that you can be ordered to open it via fingerprint. The more you know.

And in case you missed it, I...

• Survived the Mom 2.0 conference--and fell in love with a deodorant in the process.

• Shared the ten supercute, affordable pieces of clothing I'm loving right now.

• Talked career, beauty products, and the little known thing I have in common with Lauren Conrad.

• Introduced you to author, beauty expert, and supermom Tia Williams. (Seriously, how great were her parenting tips?)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Staying Cool at the Mom 2.0 Conference With Dove

This post was sponsored by Dove. 
Looking out over the Pacific Ocean from the Dove suite. (Insert heart-eyes emoji here.)
A few of my must-haves for the conference: sunglasses, business cards, my ID, and the skin-softening Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant.
It was freezing when I took this photo...!

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you know that last week, I was out in Laguna Beach, California, for the Mom 2.0 Summit. (It's a conference for mommy bloggers--although anyone at the conference will tell you that they hate that term!)  

This year, Dove asked me to try out their Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant while I was there. And since this was my second year attending Mom 2.0, I knew that if there was ever a good opportunity to put a deodorant to the test, this was it. The conference is three jam-packed days of running around, networking, and talking, talking, talking in the California sun. There's also a ton of nerves, because blog conferences are basically a neverending parade of walking into situations where you don't know anyone and having to just suck it up and introduce yourself.

So, yeah--having a good deodorant was pretty much a non-negotiable.

And the conference was awesome! I met lots of people, learned a ton, and spent way too much time staring out over the Pacific Ocean and wondering why I don't live in California. The only sort-of bummer was the weather, which was kind of cool (but still gloriously sunny!) during the day and positively frigid at night. 

And yes, the antiperspirant did its job--beautifully. So here's what I loved about it: First, it smells good! Not fake or overly perfume-y (I hate that--why do some brands think we want to smell like potpourri?), but just clean and fresh and subtle and nice. (There are actually 15 different scents, but my favorites were Soothing Chamomile and Original Clean). 

Second, it leaves your skin noticeably softer. (That's thanks to the brand's NutriumMoisture technology--same stuff that's in their body washes!) I know, it sounds sort of odd to say that your armpits feel smoother (I'd certainly never really given that area's softness much thought), but the difference was obvious almost immediately. 

All that said, smooth skin and pretty fragrances aren't worth a whole lot if your deodorant just doesn't work, am I right? Luckily for me (and for anyone who sat next to me during the conference...!), this one does. Big time. It's designed to provide 48 hours of odor and wetness protection, but all I know is: I was running around (literally!) from early in the morning until late at night--and did it all feeling totally dry...and not offending anyone!

Also appreciated: I had at least two outfit changes each day between the business-y meeting/presentation stuff during the day and the dinners/fancier events in the evenings, and I'm happy to say there were zero white marks left behind on any of my outfits.

Dove's calls their Advanced Care Antiperspirant an "essential upgrade to your daily beauty routine," and it definitely was for me at Mom 2.0. 

So, who out there is a fan of Dove deodorant? I asked this Q on my Facebook page last week and was blown away by the responses, so I'd love to hear some here, too. Talk to me, below! 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Dove, but all opinions are my own. I am asked to partner with beauty companies virtually every day, but I only choose to align myself with the brands--and products--that I truly love and believe in.

Monday, May 2, 2016

I'm Baring It All Today

Just a quick post to let you know I'm profiled on the Bare Necessities blog today, if you'd like to check it out! I'm over there talking about everything from my career to the state of the magazine business (spoiler alert: It ain't good) to my very favorite line of bras to super-serious, important stuff like politics and my favorite emojjis. 😉

I also rave about a few specific favorite products in the article, so I've linked to those below if you're interested in any of them after reading the piece.

Head on over to check it out...and then come back and let me know what you think of it! :)