Friday, September 23, 2016

16 Cool Things You Need To Click On Today

Second row at Hamilton, baby!

It's Friday, you guys--we made it! So, how was your week? The highlight of mine was that I finally saw Hamilton! I actually bought the tickets back in JANUARY (!), so this has been a long time coming. Here's the thing: I knew I would like it, but I was honestly a little nervous that I was going to be at least somewhat disappointed. I mean, the show has gotten so much hype, and when is anything ever as good as the hype, right? Well, this is when. 

You guys, it was SO good. The music is awesome and every moment is just so well done. I totally enjoyed it when I was watching it, but I actually think I appreciated it even more later after I got home, and in the days that have followed. I stayed up late that night listening to the music, and I've been listening to it ever since. The show is really, really worth it. And it's even better than the hype.

My one tip: Several people told me to listen to the soundtrack before the show, so that I could familiarize myself with the lyrics--many of which are sung and spoken very, very quickly--before going. I did not do this and I'm so glad I didn't. The only song I sort of knew was the opening number, which they sang a portion of on Lin Manuel Miranda's Carpool Karaoke. As a result, every song, every moment, felt fresh and surprising. I loved it all and highly recommend it. (And if you go now, will you take me with you?? I want to go again!)

So, that was my week--and now I'm ready for the weekend! Whatever you're up to with yours, make it a great one. Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime!

• Have you guys entered my giveaway yet? You could win a bag full of amazing beauty products worth over $1,000!

• Whoa. I bought this cool brown (faux) leather jacket a few weeks back and now it's on sale for $99! Run! I can vouch for the fact that it's very cute in person and looks way more expensive.

• I totally have my eye on these $150 boots. Should I get black or brown? (Don't say both.)

• I just bought this crushed velvet dress in blue and it's totally giving me '90s flashbacks. (I basically lived in crushed velvet for much of the early part of that decade.) So excited to wear it this fall!

• This pretty dress is really great, too--and it's on sale for $96.50 right now! Love those lace sleeves.

• I need this pink coat, right? It's so fun--and it's 25% off right now with code BESTDRESSED.

• I got a sneak peek at the brand new Nars Velvet Lip Glides awhile back and I've grown to love them. The formula is awesome. It's kind of a cross between lipstick and gloss (lots of color payoff like a lipstick, but with the super shininess and the texture of a gloss). And there are so many good colors! My favorite is Bound (a rosy pink), which has totally become my new everyday lipcolor. If you're more adventurous than me, try La Main Bleue (a cool grape-y purple), Toy (a dark, on-trend-for-fall burgundy), or Mineshaft (a bright poppy red). 

• How gorgeous is this marble cheese board?

• My friend Elizabeth wrote an amazing piece about how moms shouldn't be shamed for not taking their kids to the first day of school. It's awesome.

• If you haven't read this too-crazy-to-be-true-but-it-actually-is-true story of a PTA mom being framed for drug possession, drop everything and read it NOW. It's more a mini book than an article--will probably take you 45 minutes to an hour to finish it--but it is so, so worth it.

• These PB&J cookies are the cutest thing ever.

• I pinned Grace's recipe for Frose (frozen rose!) the second I saw it. Need to try it asap!

• Dude. Back in the day, my dorm room did not look like this.

• This article makes me terrified of goldfish.

• Love that this cool company lets kids design their own dresses! Totally doing this for my daughter.

• This sunny bedroom is just dreamy.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Win The Ultimate Beauty Swag Bag (Valued Over $1000!)

beauty giveaway

Writing about beauty for your job is pretty awesome. Writing about beauty while working from home is even more awesome. But the one "disadvantage" is that, unless you have endless storage in your home (which I so, so don't), you're going to be constantly surrounded by an ever-growing mountain of beauty products. It sounds awesome, but you're actually not going to love it. (And your husband is really, really not going to love it...!)

That's why my new favorite thing has become sharing the love with you guys!

So, just as I did a few months back, I've gathered a pretty awesome assortment of products including a beautiful rose-gold flatiron, a luxe fragrance, lipsticks galore, hair stuff, skin stuff, makeup, etc etc. It's everything you see above--plus a few more goodies that I'll throw in at the last minute.

I'm pretty sure you're going to love it. Oh, and it's worth over $1000. Yep.

Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below, share with your friends, and good luck!

*Sorry: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 12, 2016

Why 9/11 Makes Me Feel Guilty

One World Trade Center and The Oculus

I posted a 9/11 remembrance Instagram for about thirty seconds yesterday. It was the photo above with a long caption about where I was during that day and how much the world changed and how we're all so strong. I regretted it almost the very second I posted it. So, I edited it. And I edited it about three times more. It still didn't feel right. So, finally, I just deleted it. 

You see, I struggle with posting about 9/11. Writing or even talking about it never fails to make me feel guilty. I just don't feel like I should write about it--like it's not my story to tell. In the 15 years since that morning, I have met people who lost husbands and fathers in the towers. I have known people who were separated from their children for hours on that day, unable to find out if they were okay. I have become good friends with a woman who was in one of the towers. (And, clearly, got out.) 

So, when it comes to expressing my feelings about 9/11, I always feel that I just don't have the right. What do I have to complain about? I was literally on the other side of the country that day. Was I scared? Yes. Terrified. But my experience is just so insignificant in the scale of tragedy that happened that day. Who am I to claim it even for a moment?

In New York, if you're at a party or a dinner, or hanging out with anyone long enough, the chances are decent that talk turns to where you were on September 11th. (Does this happen elsewhere in the country, too? I'm genuinely curious.) In New York, of course, most people you encounter around my age were here for it. And if they didn't have a direct connection (and many do), they at least remember somehow experiencing it firsthand, whether it was seeing smoke when they exited the subway, walking thirty, forty, or more blocks home, evacuating their Lower Manhattan apartment, or seeing flyers of missing faces all around them for weeks to come.

I experienced none of that. Though I am in New York now, at the time, I lived in Los Angeles. So, on the morning of 9/11, thanks to the three-hour time difference, I was asleep. (I later asked my mother why she hadn't called to wake me up, and she said that she wanted me to have one more morning of peaceful sleep. Moms.)

So, that morning, I woke up a little after 7 a.m. (10 a.m. east coast time). I switched on the TV, didn't even glance at it, and hopped in the shower to get ready for work. When I got out, I saw the massive cloud of smoke engulfing Lower Manhattan, turned up the volume and tried to comprehend what I was seeing. I thought the world was ending.

I called a friend who lived in my apartment complex and screamed: "What is happening??" We spent the rest of the day on her couch trying to make sense of what we were seeing on TV. I don't remember crying; I just remember feeling utterly in shock. 

Later that day, when I was finally able to get in touch with my parents, I remember asking my mom: "Are things ever going to feel normal again?" She said she didn't know. I appreciated the honesty. Because it really didn't seem possible at the time.

I thankfully didn't mourn anyone that day. But I did feel a type of loss. There was a heavy sense that the world had changed and that our lives would never be the same again. Would things like this just keep happening? Would there ever be a time when we weren't scared anymore? Would we feel happy again?

But, as everyone knows, eventually things did get better. That day, I had sworn I would never get on a plane again. But, two months later, I did. I would be leaving soon to go to grad school to study magazine journalism, but now I sure as hell planned to find a job in California after that; there was no way I'd move to New York--the epicenter of magazine jobs. But two years later, I did. And, in what would perhaps have been the biggest surprise that that scared girl of September 2001 could never have imagined: 13 years later, I walked into my first day of work at a job in the new World Trade Center. (Truth be told, I was never thrilled about working in that building. But I did it.) For me, my world went on.

So that's my story. If you can even call it a story. It still feels like nothing. But I wonder if there are other people out there with "nothing" stories who feel the same sense of guilt. Because, what I'm slowly, finally starting to realize is that, while there may be vastly different degrees of experience, that doesn't mean something wasn't experienced. My "experience" was tiny. And ultimately lucky. And it had a happy ending. But it was emotional, it was impactful, it was terrifying in its own way, and it was mine. For those of us who were fortunate enough not to lose anyone on September 11th, it doesn't mean we didn't lose anything. 

And, I guess, that's something.


Phew. So, I still feel kind of icky about talking about this, but I am so curious if anyone else feels similarly, so I decided to put it all out there. If you had a similar experience on September 11th--that is, no direct experience, at all--do you feel the same sort of guilty feeling?

And if you did lose someone, please know that I know that my experience is nothing compared to yours--and that my thoughts are always with you.

Talk to me, people. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

11 Great Buys For Fall

Dress, Anthropologie. Burgundy sweater, Boden (20% off with code 2F5Z). Bag, Rebecca Minkoff (on sale!). Yellow-and-beige sweater, Boden (20% off with code 2F5Z). Burgundy faux-leather skirt, J.Crew (use code SHOPMORE for 30% off a $200 purchase or 25% off $125). Sunglasses, Illesteva (on sale!). Sneakers, New Balance. Green-striped sweater, J.Crew (30% off with code SHOPMORE). Booties, Madewell (30% off with code DOUBLEUP). Necklace, Baublebar. Camel-and-black striped sweater, Banana Republic.

Not sure if it was the slightly chillier air this past weekend or all of the killer sales going on right now, but I'm suddenly totally inspired to do some fall shopping. Here, I've gathered a few things currently on my wishlist. (Bonus: Most of it is either on sale or can be bought with a discount code! But act fast, because some of the sales are only going on through today! Codes are listed in the caption above.)

A few standouts: 

• This yellow dress! I love it with bare legs and booties now; it would be super cute with tights and a cardigan once the weather gets colder. 

• Sweaters. I live in them in the fall and winter. Right now, I've got my eye on this cute button sweater, this cool colorblock, this camel-and-black striped sweater, and this green-striped one.

• Necklace. This one is so cool. It looks just like Lulu Frost--but costs under $50! 

Fall-ready shoes. These Madewell booties kind of remind me of my all-time favorite Rag & Bone Newbury boots. But they a) are way less expensive, and b) have a much lower heel so they'll be much more comfy. And these sneakers are plaid! How cool, right? Need.

So, tell me: Have you guys started buying fall clothes? I definitely don't want summer to end, but I'm can't help admitting that I'm getting excited for sweaters and boots, too...


Thursday, September 1, 2016

The 4 Sunscreens I Wear Every Single Day

best SPF 50 sunscreens for every day

Sunscreen is something I get really preachy about. Unless you want to look older sooner (or get skin cancer), wearing it daily is a no-brainer. But you've also got to do it right. So, as extra insurance, not only do I always wear sunscreen, but I wear four of them! Here's my regimen in case you want to stock up before Labor Day.

1) Olay Regenerist Regenerating Lotion SPF 50: This goes on first. I've worn it as my daily moisturizer (with very little straying) for probably five years. Lightweight, doesn't clog pores, have never had a desire to switch. It's that good. 

2) Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50: I believe strongly in layering different SPFs. Because no matter how good your SPF moisturizer is, there's little chance you're applying it perfectly. I feel more secure when I add a second SPF layer. And this one is awesome. It's a tinted liquid that goes on super light and sheer. (You won't feel it on your face at all.) And the tint is subtle, but does help to noticeably even out your skin tone. 

3) Avene Mineral Ultra Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion: This liquid is similar in texture to the Skinceuticals, but slightly creamier, and it goes on next. I put it on my neck and ears. To be honest, I kind of used to skip these areas most days (unless I was going to the beach). Then, one day, I noticed a weird brown dot under my ear lobe and was totally scared straight. I dodged a bullet that time, but I won't make the same mistake again. I now protect my neck and ears every day. If you wear ponytails a lot--as I do--it becomes extra important to put sunscreen on your ears since they're totally exposed when your hair is pulled back. (Also: You're probably wondering at this point if you really need to use a separate sunscreen for this area, and the answer is that you don't. You just need to use something. I chose to do it separately, because I don't love using the tinted product on my neck--but I do love using it on my face! You could totally just do one or the other though.)

4) Supergoop Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 50: This one goes on a few minutes before I step outside. I spray it on any skin that's exposed--usually shoulders, arms, chest, legs, and feet. It's too much of a chore to to a full-body rubdown with cream every single day, but sprays are simple. It takes maybe 20 seconds to mist your entire body. But it's SO important. Your chest is one of the major places to show aging and for the past ten years or so, I've been terrified of developing an "old chest." So far my aggressive spraying has done a pretty good job of keeping brown spots away and I want to keep it that way. So why do I like this one? It's super-light, isn't crazy-fragrant, and doesn't leave you looking like an oil slick. (I mean, shine or a heavy coconut smell is fine for vacation, but not so much when you're walking around the city.) I'm the least loyal about spray sunscreens though--I will use a variety as long as they meet the criteria I just mentioned. Some other favorites: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist, Coppertone Clearly Sheer, and Coola Sport Sunscreen Spray.

What are your favorite sunscreens? And how many do you wear every day? (At least one, right??) Got any other sunscreen questions for me? Ask away!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Why I've Been M.I.A. This Summer

Living their best life at a splash pad earlier this summer.

So...hiiiiii. Been awhile, huh?

I wish I had a great excuse--or at least an exciting one--for the lack of posting lately, but I don't. Here's what happened: I've been freelance writing like CRAZY over the past few months, and because of that, I found myself not being able to focus on producing quality posting here. And I didn't want to throw up some half-assed thing. So I took a week off. And then another week off. Oh, okay, what's one more week? And then suddenly, we're practically through August. Someone emailed me the other day concerned about my absence here, and it was at that moment that I actually realized just how long it's been. Eek. I basically took an accidental summer-long vacation.

But I'm back now. And I'm going to be better. I missed this space. And I missed you. 

To catch you up, here's a few fun things that I've been doing (and loving) this summer, so far:

What I've Been Writing...

• I did a three-part series of behind-the-scenes Bachelor scoop for Refinery 29 and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. Here's my peek into what they really do (and spend) on beauty for the show, the fashion secrets, and what the contestants really eat while filming.

• A few more things I did for Refinery recently: a look into whether on not sheet masks actually do anything, the best beauty products for travel, and summer beauty swaps.

• I produced the 2016 beauty awards for The Knot! I chose the products, worked with the editors, wrote the story, shot a fun video--all on a freelance basis. It was such a cool project! You can see the winners in the fall issue of the magazine, which is on stands now. Or you can check out a version of the story here. (And be sure to scroll to the bottom for a video of me talking about what's in my makeup bag!)

• I also had (and have!) a ton of print stuff out now and coming soon. I'll keep you posted! 

What I've been buying...

• I found the BEST daytime shoes that I have been living in this summer. They are seriously my best-kept secret. I get lots of compliments on them and people cannot BELIEVE it when I tell them who makes them. Get this: They are by Teva. Yes! They're Tevas! The same brand that makes those crunchy flip-flop/Velcro shoes that that guy in your dorm used to wear! But these are like fancy, grown-up Tevas. They're walk-everywhere, wear-all-day comfy, but they're leather, so they still look cute. I bought both the black pair and the tan pair and I wear them with everything from denim cutoffs to dresses. I think I wore them 99 percent of the days so far this summer and I am not even kidding. 

• I bought this tee shirt at Madewell a few weeks back and can't stop wearing it now. Best, most flattering fit. I love it with shorts in the summer; I'll pair it with jeans and a cardigan in the fall. (And it's currently on sale!) Oh! And BTW: I recommend hanging it to dry, rather than putting it in the dryer. Mine shrunk a little when I used the machine...

• I recently tried Wander Beauty (model Lindsay Ellingson's line) for the first time and so far, I really like it! I've been wearing the Exquisite Eye Liquid Shadow in Bronze for the past few weeks and I love it. I'll put on a quick, supersheer coat for day just to add a little something. If I go out (ha! it does happen, but not often...!), I'll pile a little more on and maybe add something darker in the outer corners for a little drah-ma. It's quick, so easy, and it doesn't crease in the crazy heat. Score!

• I re-started prescription retinoids a few months ago, and was fine for awhile, but my face finally got crazy dry and flaky a few weeks ago. I started using SK-II R.N.A. Power Radical New Age Cream, and after one night, my skin felt and looked so much better--super soft, kind of bouncy and firm, totally hydrated. I know that's a bold statement that sounds totally b.s.-y (and the product is certainly not cheap!), but so far, I'm a big fan. (And no, this is not sponsored!)

What I've been doing...

• We just got back from two weeks in Fenwick Island, Delaware! (With jaunts to Rehobeth and Ocean City, too.) I love it down there. Have you guys been? We had a yummy meal at Blue Moon, an even yummier meal at Papa Grande's, and great ice cream at Vanderwende's (get the mint chocolate chip!) and Blue Scoop (best chocolate peanut butter!). 

• Reading! I had heard a ton about All the Missing Girls being one of those "next Gone Girl" type of books, so I couldn't wait to pick it up. I thought it was just okay though. Definitely a page-turner--and a pretty quick read--but in the end, it was just kind of ehh for me. But I loved Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Extremely interesting (especially in today's political climate) and very well-written. (It's also a very quick, easy read if its non-fiction status scares you at all.)

• TV-wise, I've been mostly watching the news lately (can't help it!), but I've made time for fun stuff, too. I especially loved Stranger Things and The Night Of. Both pretty much pitch-perfect shows, if you ask me. So, what should I watch next on Netflix/On Demand/Amazon/iTunes? I'm open to suggestions!

Okay, so are we all caught up then? ;) Now, tell me: What have you been up to this summer?

I'll talk to you soon! Promise.


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.