Hands-Free Living in LA

19 Jan

As much as I love a gorgeous clutch bag, life’s just easier when I go hands-free. From hiking to shopping, I always appreciate having both hands at my disposal.

This winter I’ve been continually grabbing the following items every time I know I’ll need both hands free to swatch, shop, sample, hold my nieces, hike with trekking poles, etc.

 

Healthy Back Bag

unnamedI tried the crossbody Healthy Back Bag to help relieve the stress on my back when I hike or do the Culver City steps. It’s designed in a teardrop shape that ergonomically molds to your spine. There are pockets everywhere (even one for a tablet!) that organize and distribute weight evenly across my back, too.

I got the Microfiber material and adore its resiliency, but every bag has a special hook for keys… fab for those of us who tend to lose ours amidst the mess of big bags! 

 

 

Robert Matthew Dakota Crossbody

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-4-05-32-pmIf you want to go hands-free day or night, check out the Robert Matthew accessories. I like the Dakota Crossbody bag a lot for non-athletic activities. It’s such a comfortable style!

The animal-friendly pu leather is super durable – and much appreciated by all those friends of PETA. Dakota’s red inner lining and light gold tone hardware add to the bag’s chic style, as well.

 

 

Samsung Gear IconX Bluetooth Earbuds

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-4-02-35-pmAnyone who makes a habit of hitting the trails or treadmill has experienced (probably more than once!) a flying phone after accidentally snagging its attached cord.

 

Thankfully we’ve evolved past requisite cords, but not all options are comfortable. I found a particular pair of on-ear cordless headphones excruciating after 20 minutes of climbing stairs.

 

I’m now sticking with the Samsung Gear IconX buds. I was sure they’d fall out of my ears, but they totally stay put – even when you sweat. They’re little cord-free Bluetooth earbuds that can store music and track your workout info… leaving your hands available to carry free weights, jump rope, or rub out burning thighs.

 

 

Baby Zala Infinity Shawls   

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-12-35-27-pmLastly, if you’re a new mama and getting tired of carrying around a Hooter Hider or the like, this one’s for you! Use this roomy, uber-soft cotton Baby Zala Infinity Shawl any way you want. Wear it as a poncho, a shawl, or cardigan-style. Perfect for convenient breast feeding! You can also open it up to use it as a wrap, stroller cover, or baby blanket.

It’s so cozy. Your baby will love it as much as you do. Also makes a wonderful New Mommy gift!

xo

 

You Are Beautiful

13 Jan
thinx

Thinx

When’s the last time you looked in the mirror and thought, “I really am beautiful.” Have you ever? Or do you just pick yourself apart, and then leave for work?

What would happen if you changed the conversation in your head and only acknowledged your strengths every morning?

Like I could personally change, “Ugh, damn these f*cking thighs!” into, “Dayummm, I’ve got two healthy legs, strong enough to take me wherever I wanna go!”

With 2016 finally behind us, who’s up for an empowering 2017?

Sorry for the mouthful and absence of pretty products, but today I want to acknowledge how the picture of beauty is evolving in our culture. Finally!

athleta

Athleta

lucy

Lucy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say what you want about the Kardashians, but they’ve indisputably helped to curve (pun intended!) how Americans view the female physique. By loving and respecting their own bodies, they’ve paved the way for women like Ashley Graham and Sophie Simmons to shine. And slowly, marketers and the fashion industry are catching up.

Entertainment might take a bit longer. But one day we will see a smokin’ hot leading woman who isn’t a size 0, and isn’t the funny sidekick or a trainwreck. No disrespect to the fabulous Ms. Schumer.

I am always engaged by Dove marketing campaigns. They’re about self-acceptance, respect, and fueling the next generation with self-belief. Teaching girls not to compete with one another, but to build each other up is so important. I’m not speaking as someone with a psych degree or anything. This is all just one layman’s opinion. But I can confidently say that no one ever looks better by making someone else look bad.

ashgraham

Ashley Graham

Teaching girls from the get-go to celebrate our physical variations, instead of coveting or judging them is liberating. Let them know they are a one and only.

Let them know they are enough.

Let them know they are beautiful.

Teach them there is no perfection. Big booties, flat booties, freckles, scars, unruly curls, lifeless locks, gangly arms, thunder thighs, skinny ankles, chubby cheeks. We’ve all got something.

And the funny thing is that there’s someone who would kill to trade their something for your something.

If you take nothing else away from this, just know that you too are enough.

More than enough.

You are beautiful.  

 

xo

**IG NOTICE: I moved my Instagram account! Please visit & follow @cityofglossangeles.** 

Nail Polish Staples

11 Jan
opi

OPI’s Today I Accomplished Zero

A few years back, nails became one of the It accessories in Los Angeles. And the beauty industry went wild. We started seeing manicures adorned in plaid, argyle, 3D, photos, piercings, and more. Brands started launching more sparkles, glitter, and metallic than ever before.

 

I quickly became obsessed with a rich black polish filled with red sparkles by OPI, called Today I Accomplished Zero. I still love that color. It might be the only bottle I’ve ever used up, and now it’s almost impossible to find in salons. Maybe I was the only one who liked it.

I’m often asked if it’s worth buying nail polish since most reputable salons seem to carry a variety. My answer is yes. I like to have my standard go-to shades on hand for touchups. I also know how long they’ve been sitting on my shelf, whereas a salon may use thinner to freshen up older polish.

I love a Tiffany blue toe in spring or bright coral for a tropical vacay, but here are the shades I return to time and time again. NOTE: These aren’t new launches. Some may not be available on brand sites anymore, but might be in beauty supply stores.

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TOP ROW (L to R)

  • OPI Center of the You-niverse (Black with subtle silver shimmer)
  • Essie Cocktails & Coconuts (Nude with a hint of sparkle)
  • OPI Steel Waters Run Deep (A perfect glossy grey)
  • OPI Russian Navy (Deep pearlized navy)
  • Deborah Lippmann Bad Romance (Black with purple glitter)

MIDDLE ROW (L to R)

  • OPI Got the Blues for Red (Deep bluish red gloss)
  • Deborah Lippmann Red Ruby Slippers (Black with red glitter)
  • SpaRitual After Party (Muted gold and silver sparkle)

BOTTOM ROW (L to R)

  • OPI Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Super pale pink with subtle gold shimmer)
  • Essie Penny Talk (Coppery rose gold)
  • SpaRitual Mystic (Light taupe crème)

 

See what’s new with my favorite brands!

 

xo

 

Simple beauty for 2017

4 Jan

img_1963New Year! Not so new me. I can’t say I make annual resolutions, but I do make a conscious effort to impart little changes in my routine. For those of us who found 2016 to be one challenge after another, you’ll feel me on this one.

Simplify in 2017.

As children we were often told not to take shortcuts, and how the tortoise would eventually triumph over the hare, and so on and so on. And as a “Creative” by trade, it feels almost instinctive to take the road less traveled so-to-speak in order to churn out the most impactful  campaigns and editorials.

…All of which is well and good, barring you’ve got the time. But as you get older and the days seem to go faster, you learn to work differently. You teach yourself to work smarter, not longer. And you realize that simplifying doesn’t mean half-assing.

Finding ways to simplify your life will slowly add extra minutes and eventually hours to your day. This could mean using an in-shower body lotion (like Olay’s Ultra Moisture) or spray oil (like Palmers) before you dry off, in place of your post-shower lotion ritual.

Or swap a 2-hour workout for a 30-minute power circuit training.

Or, forgo your blowout once a week and opt for a sleek, 30-second ballerina bun.

Or even try simplifying your daytime makeup. Try giving your skin (or lashes!) a break once or twice a week and see how you feel. You’ll be amazed how much better your makeup will look the next time you apply.

img_2211I’m giving my lips some breathe time by skipping the liner and heavy lipstick during the day. I’ve been going with a Cle De Peau conditioning balm by followed by a satin Femme Nude Lip Stylo (No. 5) by Hourglass. Super simple, sexy… and very commute-friendly!

If you’ve got any beauty  time-savers to share, feel free to email me or leave them in the comments below. There are so many little things we can do to give ourselves some well-deserved play time every day. I say 2017’s the year we do it!

#playmore

 

xo

Serious About Skincare

20 Dec
eminence

Éminence Age Corrective Ultra Collection

To me, skincare should always be the priority when it comes to our beauty routines, with makeup and color products coming secondary. Meaning if we only have the funds for one, put ‘em towards good skincare. Which makes sense if you think about it. The better your complexion, the less foundation you’ll need.

As a beauty writer, skincare can be difficult to review because you really need to use the same products consistently in order to see results – or lack there of. Color products are much easier, which is why you see so many more makeup reviews & tutorials vs. skincare.

Having said all that, there are a few brands I want to mention that I’ve been impressed by over and over again. Their names all oddly sound alike, and all three generally fly below the trend radar.

 

Equitance

equitanceI don’t even remember where I received my first sample of Equitance cleanser, but somehow it ended up coming with me on a 3-day mountain getaway. By the time I got home from that trip, I had to find out what else this brand had to offer.

The best I can recommend for first-timers is their Brightening Set. It’s got the basic essentials for anyone wanting a less dull and more vibrant complexion. The set comes with a Toning Lotion, Cleanser, Serum & Spot Corrector, and Hydrating cream. You get that fresh-from-a-facial feel after each use. A fabulous set for holiday gifting, too!

You can also opt for a Trial Kit if you just want to get a sense of the brand. Look for them both at equitance-us.com.

 

Éminence Organic Skin Care

mhm_holiday_2015_bagproductÉminence is probably my favorite organic line. I started using it after an esthetician in Ojai used their Stone Crop masque for my facial. Last year, they created a Must Have Minis Starter Set that I still love to give as a gift. It’s a “Customer Faves” collection of naturally fragrant, truly effective, travel sized products that come in an adorable faux suede zip pouch.

 

This fall, the brand launched an Age Corrective Ultra collection of targeted hibiscus products: a lifting eye cream, an instant line filler, and a lifting neck cream. Yes, please! These “ultra” additions formulated to improve our puffy, tired eyes, lazy jowls, and expression lines, take the already popular Éminence Age Corrective Collection up a beautiful notch. Find it at buynaturalskinare.com.

 

Exuviance

exuvianceYou might be familiar with NeoStrata. Exuviance is by the same company. Lots of science behind the brand. Lots of targeted products for specific skin concerns. Go surf Exuviance.com and see if your issues are addressed. Odds are they will be.

I was excited to find a cream that would help me battle an aging neck and décolleté area. If you’re someone like me, who wishes she used more SPF in the ’90s and is now waging war on resulting little brown spots, this one’s for you!

The Exuviance Age Reverse Toning Neck Cream is great. Right after application, your skin texture looks more toned and smooth. High five for immediate gratification! After consistent usage, you’ll notice skin looking healthier, firmer, and more even in pigmentation. Look for it online and in ULTA stores.

 

For yourself or someone you care about, all three of these skincare brands have wonderful holiday gifts avail now.

xo