Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WHAT I”VE BEEN LOVING THIS MONTH…

september favorites blog

As September comes to a close I thought what better time to share with you what I've been loving this month.  It really feels like fall is upon us, even down here and Tampa, and I can't get enough of blankets scarves & booties, vampy lip colors,  and the new fall candles at Bath & Body Works.  (They're amazing, I highly recommend Marshmallow Fireside!)  As much as I love summer I adore fall activities such as pumping picking and visiting the apple orchard and the arrival of fall means we're that much closer to Christmas!!!!  My juvenile excitement is overkill I know.  But keep reading to learn my top picks for the month and I hope you ladies are having an awesome week!

- As the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans seems like a lifelong crusade I got pretty darn close with the Jamie Jeans from TopShop.  They’re stretchy, moderately high rise, super comfortable, and come in oodles of great washes (I already own the white destroyed version and dark denim variety.)  My favorite thing about these jeans is where they hit, right at the ankle.  They are perfect, I mean PERFECT, for wearing with booties or heels because there is none of that awkward cuffing or scrunching to get your pant leg to work with your shoe.  And hey if Audrey Hepburn was ballsy enough to show off a little ankle we should follow suit. 

- Allison Anderson is one of my favorite YouTube beauty gurus for her upbeat attitude and easy to replicate makeup tutorials.  I loved this recent fall look she posted and can’t wait to try it for a night out this weekend.  Isn’t that lipstick shade stunning?!

- I adored this article from New York Magazine on 25 Famous Women on the Best Advice They Know.  Some of my favorites were from Tevi Gevinson, “’Don’t date anyone you wouldn’t want to be,’ from the writer Kate Bornstein” and this matter-of-fact take from Aidy Bryant, “Just chill ‘til you die, pretty much.”
  
- I recently featured the L’Occitane Shower Almond Oil in an empties post and my love for the product is still going strong.  It is seriously the perfect formula to use as a shave oil and leaves my legs feeling smooth and silky.  The intoxicating scent doesn’t hurt either.

- I have never listened to a podcast before this month and now I’m hooked.  I have a long drive to work in the morning (about 40 mins) and have found listening to an episode is so relaxing and actually makes me look forward to being stuck in traffic. Almost.  Two of my favorites are Serial (I know, super late to the boat!) and Straight up With Stassi.  Serial explores the case of Adnan Syed, a 34 year old man, who is serving a lifetime sentence in a Maryland correctional facility for killing his then 18-year-old ex-girlfriend Hei Min Lee.  Is he guilty? Is he innocent?  The podcast explores the case and journalist Sarah Koenig who narrates is an auditory delight.  On the opposite side of the spectrum we have Vanderpump Rules reality star Stassi Schroeder to listen to.  The self-declared “basic bitch” is relatable, hysterical, and has some awesome guest speakers on her show.  I was also surprised by how likable she is, and I think this podcast is a much better representation of her than the stuck-up individual they portrayed on the show.    

- Ok , so I’ve been going a little HAM at Kate Spade lately.  They had a sale going one, and one purchase led to another, along with these adorable leopard rain boots, and I couldn’t help but pick up this Dainty Sparklers Bar Ring.  I have gotten so many compliments on it already and it looks so much more expensive than it actually is.  It’s only $48!  If you are looking for a gorgeous ring that will go with everything in your wardrobe snag this stunner pronto.

- Boy do I love a good drugstore find.  A favorite that seems to make an appearance in my handbag every year around this time is the Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie.  It is such a perfect shade for fall, it’s moisturizing on the lips, and only $6.  I like to apply this by blotting on my lips, creating a stain almost, and find the color wears beautifully this way.

- Loved this article from blog Sequins & Stripes on Five Steps to Being Happier.  Simple and doable advice, I loved her relatable take on easy things we can do to boost our joy.  Check it out.


What have you been loving this month?  Let me know in the comments below!  

xoxo Nicole



Saturday, September 26, 2015

MY TOP SKINCARE TIPS

medicine cabinet skincare tips

Welcome back beauties for the fourth and final installment in my skincare series!  If you’ve been drowning in pumpkin spiced lattes and missed my last three posts you can check out my morning routine by clicking HERE, my nighttime routine HERE, and the pampering edition HERE.  Today I will be sharing with you my top tips & tricks to get amazing looking skin.  As much as I love makeup,  I would feel like a hypocrite if I spent all my time and energy on my makeup routine and neglected the canvas underneath.  I feel that our skin is such a window into our health and if we’re sick, tired, stressed, or tossing back too many martinis it always shows up on our skin.  The appearance of our skin can really affect our confidence, I know it affects mine, and hopefully by utilizing the tips & tricks below we will all achieve luminous, clear, J.Lo-esque skin in no time.  Keep reading to learn my best, and leave me a comment below letting me know your best skincare advice!  Hope you have a great weekend ladies!!

(P.S.  A lot of what I have learned about skincare has come from reading Caroline Hiron’s blog.  The witty Brit is an advanced facialist and brand manager and her brutally honest take on skincare and product reviews is refreshing.  She is a skincare goddess, a wealth of knowledge, and hysterical.  Go check her out. )

  1. Drink lots and lots and lots of water.  Hydration starts from the inside out and if we're dehydrated it will produce dry, tight, and flaky skin. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to help rid the body and skin of toxins.  If you're not a fan of plain water try coconut water, or adding a lemon or lime wedge to spice things up.
  2. Wear SPF anytime we know we’re going to be in the sun.  Or look for beauty products that have SPF built into them. I love wearing my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer during the summer months for this exact reason, SPF 20 what what?!  I was reading 90% of the signs of aging (wrinkles, brown spots) are caused by the sun, and not by your body's natural aging process.  (Goes and slathers body head to toe in SPF 60.)
  3. Don’t touch your face and be aware of what else is touching your face.  Dirty hand towels, dirty cell phones, dirty work phone = spreading bacteria onto your face.  If you feel acne cropping up around your jaw line this may be the culprit.  I would recommend wiping down your phone with an anti-bacterial wipe regularly and making sure you use a fresh washcloth nightly when cleansing as to not spread bacteria.
  4. Less is more.  When you feel your skin acting up it’s best to return to the basics.  As a beauty blogger I am sometimes culprit to the idea that more is more and my skin routine can suddenly turn into a 10 product brigade.  Step back, pare down your routine to two or three products that you know your skin loves, and stick with it.
  5. Let your skin breathe.  Having a couple days out of the week that you go sans makeup is so important for letting your skin breathe and decongest. 
  6. Be aware of how sleep, stress, and diet affects your skin! Dr. Howard Murad, founder of Murad Skincare said, "Your health and appearance are positively influenced by increasing your emotional and mental well-being. “  Could not agree with the man more.  Poor sleep equals a puffy face in the morning and stress can set off hormones that cause acne.  If you have chronic skin aliments such as eczema or rosacea cutting dairy out of your diet can really help to improve these symptoms as well.  So basically we should all be living zen vegan lifestyles and getting nine hours of sleep a night…lofty goals.  Does drinking a glass of red wine while knitting and watching Grey’s Anatomy count?
  7. When you are looking to play around with your skincare only introduce one new product into your routine at a time.  This way if your skin has a bad reaction to something you know the culprit.  If you throw a new moisturizer, toner, and face wash in all at once it can be a shit storm.
  8. Do not pick at your spots! Popping pimples and harassing your skin will only push dirt and bacteria deeper into our pores, resulting in more breakouts and scarring.  I can’t judge because I am a culprit of this myself and have the scars to prove it, but it is really not worth it for the irreparable damage we cause to our skin.  If you see a spot lurking wait till a white head has formed, cover with a hot compress, and with a clean washcloth push both sides of the spot to pop it.   
  9. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of a good facial.  If you feel like you're really in a skincare rut shell out some $$ and book yourself a facial with a reputable esthetician.  They can clear out any existing blackheads and problem areas and provide advice on how to best tackle your skincare concerns.  
  10. Skincare brushes are all the rage now and are amazing at lifting debris and dirt from our skin and improving circulation.  To offer these coveted skincare tools at three price points we have the swanky Clarisonic Mia at $195, the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System at $34.99, or you can kick it old school with a $2 baby hairbrush that works just at well.
  11. If you have dry skin try wash your skin in luke warm water, hot water will only dehydrate your skin more!
  12. Don’t forget about your neck!  Any products you use on your face (cleanser, serums, moisturizer, sunscreen) should also be brought down your neck.  The neck is one of the first body parts to show aging, so show this area a little TLC now and your older self will thank you.               
  13. Wash your makeup off every single night before you go to bed.  Cleansing wipes do not count!  Making sure you take your makeup off at the end of every day is the biggest favor you can do for your skin. 
  14. Apply your cleanser on dry skin.  When you apply your cleanser on dry skin first, and massage in for about a minute or so before adding water, this step can really help in breaking down your makeup, sunscreen, and any additional grime while also stimulating your facial muscles.  It may sound a little unorthodox, but this gentle massage will stimulate circulation and keep us looking young and vibrant.  It’s a win-win.
  15. Make sure you’re washing your makeup brushes weekly.  Bacteria can harbor on unwashed brushes and lead to break outs.  Not cool.  I personally wash my brushes with Johnson’s baby shampoo and find it does the job splendidly.

xoxo Nicole

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

FALL FASHION STAPLES

fall fashion staples


The crisp autumn air has arrived and with it has come the changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and most importantly fall fashion.  From fedoras to flannel, the cozy ensembles of fall allow us to still look chic before the five feet of snow hits come winter.  (Upstate NY Wardrobe = Parka and UGGS all day every day.)  Fall is one of my favorite seasons for fashion and over the years I have invested in some great pieces that have truly become staples in my autumn wardrobe.  I couldn't wait to share nine of my favorites with you today and while some of these items may be on the pricier side they have been well worth their investment.  I have worn them again and again year after year and they are great core pieces where I feel it’s worth it to spend a little extra money to ensure quality.  I hope you enjoy this post and let me know your favorite fall fashion staple in the comments below!

1. A pair of classic riding boots…
You can’t find better quality than Frye and these Melissa Button Riding Boots will last you a lifetime.  For reals.  I adore a classic leather riding boot and find I wear them on almost a daily basis come fall and winter.  I love the button detailing near the calf on these bad boys and the buttery cognac leather ages beautifully, only looking better with wear. 

2. A cozy flannel shirt…
A flannel shirt is a staple in everyone's wardrobe come fall.  They're comfy, warm, and versatile and this Flannel Cargo Workshirt in Buffalo Check by Madewell checks all the boxes.  All flannel offerings from Madewell are superb quality and this shirt would look great paired with jeans, thrown over a knit dress, or tied around the waist and .  (Tip: If you are a first time Madewell shopper beware they run big, I would recommend sizing down.)

3. A great pair of leather leggings….
So many fashion bloggers rocked leather leggings last year and while I loved the chic ensembles they created I was convinced it was a trend I couldn't pull off.  All that changed when I met Spanx's Ready to Wow Faux Leather Leggings.  These leather leggings are so comfortable and they suck everything in making you look amazing.  I could not be more in love.  If you have been on the hunt for a pair of leather leggings but have been running into unflattering or uncomfortable options I can't recommend these enough!

4. A classic faux fur vest…
Not only is this Topshop Leah Faux Fur Vest adorable, but it is so warm!  It will keep you nice and toasty in those cold winter months and the black offering is more subdued than it's camel variety, while still making a statement.  Pair this with a classic long sleeve tee, skirt, and OTK knee boots and we have ourselves an adorable fall outfit people. 

5. The perfect floppy brim fedora…
The fedora trend isn’t going away anytime soon and you can do it right by picking up this Floppy Brim Fedora by Rag & Bone.  I know the price tag is steep at $195, but if you have a small head like me and have had trouble finding a floppy hat that fits this will be the answer to your prayers and worth the investment.  The hat keeps its shape beautifully and fits snugly on small pea heads like mine.  (A more affordable option that also come in sizes is the Brixton line at Shopbop.)

6. A military vest perfect for layering…
A military vest is a great transitional piece to have in your wardrobe as we move from summer to fall.  Paired with a tank dress and chunky sandals in summer or over a sweater dress and riding boots in fall, this classic piece will be sure to make an appearance in your wardrobe again and again.  And army green is basically a neutral in my book, it goes with everything!

7. The cutest rain boots around…
If you’re going to be splashing around in puddles there’s no classier way to do it.  These adorable and super comfortable rain boots from Kate Spade have a darling animal print detail around the ankle and a miniature gold bow on the back heel.  I can’t even…these boots were made for me.  They pair well with jeans or skirts, and the height is flattering hitting right above the ankle. 

8. A great all-around tote bag…
I have raved about this Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote again and again, but I just love it so much.  If you are in need of a tote bag for school, work, or travel you will love this!  It seriously fits your whole life in a bag without looking or feeling bulky, wears comfortably, and holds up for years.  Plus they have an amazing 19 different colors to choose from.

9. The go with everything necklace…
This Rayne Stone Tassel Pendant Necklace was my first piece I purchased from Kendra Scott and now I can’t stop buying more and more items from her beautiful collection.  This gorgeous pendant necklace is high quality, hasn't tarnished in the year I've had it, and it seriously goes with everything.  I swear I get compliments every time I wear this versatile stunner.

xoxo Nicole