Easy “50’s Glam”Hair

It’s wedding season! That means having great hair to go with your great cocktail dress. One of my favorite looks is 50’s style waves. You see this a lot on celebrities and it looks gorgeous, but you might think: “That’s impossible to do at home”.  WRONG! I can show you show to do this IRL but in about 30-45 minutes (20-30 minutes prep, 15 minutes styling). We have two approaches: dry hair and wet hair. Both work, but I prefer wet hair since it’s a “set it and forget it”. Like a crockpot for your hair. I did this tutorial with dry hair, achieved a Grace Kelly style, then I walked my dog in sweatpants. Just a regular Sunday.

IF YOUR HAIR IS WET: Take a blowdryer to your head, girl. Use a primer to help set the style first, Living Proof Prime Style Extender. You want your hair to be about 70% dry. Now go to Step 1.

IF YOUR HAIR IS DRY: Use a primer to help set the style, like Living Proof Prime Style Extender. On dry hair, less is more with a primer, so start with a small amount to avoid it looking wet or sticky. Now go to Step 1.

Step 1:

Part your hair in a deep side part.

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Step 2:

Separate out a three large sections at the front of your head. It should be about a 2″ section on 1) top of your head, 2) right side and 3) left side. Twist the sides and pin back. We’re going to start in the top. Pull the rest back into a ponytail for now so it’s out of the way.

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Step 3:

Separate the top of your hair into two sections down the middle horizontally to your forehead.

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If you are doing the wet-styling, take a 1″ square section of hair from the front of your head by your face, curl it around two fingers all the way to the top and pin it. All the same pictures below except the first one – you’re not using a curling iron, you are just taking a strand of wet hair and wrapping it around your finger. It’s important that you twist the hair around your finger away from your face to get the best wave. Work your way across the top of your head, doing the same thing, from left to right.

If you are doing the dry-styling, take a 1″ square section of hair from the front of your head by your face, spray it with hairspray and THEN curl hair with a curling iron. A 1″curling iron is best.

IMG_7657Take the hair while it’s still hot, curl it around two fingers and pin at the top. It’s important that you curl the hair away from your face to get the best wave. Work your way across the top of your head from left to right.IMG_7658IMG_7660IMG_7661

It’s okay if it’s a little messy and a few hairs escape, when you comb it out, all the wispys will fall into place.IMG_7654

Step 4:

Repeat Step 3 with the sides, doing the same thing depending on if your hair is wet or dry. Remember to curl the hair away from your face! It’s best if you use smaller sections of hair, on the sides as well, around 1″ square.

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Step 5 (Optional depending on the amount of waves you want):

Comb another 2″ wide section around your entire head, right behind the first 2″ section you just did. Repeat Step 3. Leave the back of your hair as is, ain’t nobody got time to do their entire head of hair (although I have once, it took about an hour), so I prefer to skip the back because it saves me a ton of time and I think a small curl in the back looks just a polished (plus nobody is looking at the back of your head).

Step 6:

Spray your entire head with hairspray. My favorite: (Big Sexy Hair Spray). Let hair set as long as possible. This is the critical step, so make sure you have AT LEAST 2 hours for it to set. If I have a 2pm wedding, I try to set my hair by 10am. Four hours is minimum for my fine hair if I want it to stay put all night, but if you have thick hair that tends to fall when curled, the longer it can set, the better. (Although no amount of set time will save your curls from humid beach wedding or a sweaty dance floors – you’ve been warned.)

If I have a pre-wedding brunch or am running errands, I like to tie a cute scarf around my head so I’m not just rocking pins.

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Step 7:

Remove all the pins.

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Step 8:

Comb out the curls either with your fingers or a small round brush. DO NOT use a comb. I’ve found that causes the curls to fall in the styling phase.

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Step 9: Fluff the curls and then style then to your liking using your fingers.

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Step 10: Curl the back under at the very bottom only.

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Step 11: Spray hair one last time. Voila! You are done! Get out there and party.

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OPTIONAL: Pin back one side with a pin if you want to show off your earrings!

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You are officially the guest with the best hair. Have fun!

xo

 

 

A Maine Wedding Weekend

Our East Coast friends got married in Maine last weekend so we flew on red-eye style across the country (don’t worry I had all the wine pre-flight, it was fine) to celebrate them. We had never been to a Maine wedding before so the question was, what to pack? When it’s a sleepy beach town, you want to be cute, but not rock 4 inch heels and lounge-worthy dresses, it just looks like you’re trying too hard. And nobody wants to be that girl.

On Friday we went to dinner and then met the wedding party post-rehearsal dinner. Since we knew it would be a low-key bar, and you walk everywhere in York Beach, I went with flats and a more casual dress. No sense in schlepping around in heels on cobblestones! I liked the long sleeves because it was chilly at night but still felt dressed up enough to fit with the rehearsal dinner crowd.  Pink lips and hoops make it feel retro but modern.

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IMG_6681Dress: Topshop, Clutch: Clare V., Shoes: Asos, Earrings: Lana Flat Magic Hoops

The wedding was at the most adorable church in York Beach, Maine. I wanted something light and fun since the reception was at this gorgeous indoor/outdoor clambake venue, so went with a floral sheath and minimal jewelry.  These nude strappys were a great investment. So comfortable (a whole nights’ worth of dancing included!) and they go with anything.

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IMG_6745(Note: My camera broke mid-trip so I re-enacted my Saturday look at home.) Dress: Black Halo Clover Sheath Dress, Shoes: Steve Madden Stecy Sandal, Clutch: Vince Camuto, Earrings: J. Crew Crystal Burst

xo

 

Host Gifts To Delight + Impress

We recently moved to San Francisco and finally opened the last box, which means we can start hosting people again – I love a party! I certainly don’t expect guests to bring anything when they come over, but once or twice I’ve gotten something unexpected and the surprise of it makes me love it more. Which got me thinking: what gifts will make any host smile?

Mini-succulents: These two darlings are from Trader Joe’s ($5 each!), and are a really modern gift idea. We actually recieved these two as a house-warming gift and it was such a nice surprise. Super versatile and you can pop them on a bathroom counter, bedroom dresser or on the mantle! Any local grocery store or Home Depot/Lowe’s would carry these, so they are also easy to find.

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Candle: Always a strong option! My FAVORITE candle right now is from Nest Fragrances. Nest has a variety of sizes/fragrances in any price range and the jars themselves are so pretty – they can be repurposed after the candle burns down. The one in the picture below is the 22oz in Grapefruit (it’s such a fresh, citrus, but clean scent!).

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Accent plates: These can be used anywhere, including outside the kitchen – bar cart, dresser as a jewelry catcher, bathroom for hair ties, pins. I love the gold in the Rosanna ‘Luxe Moderne’ set and  Jonathan Adler ‘Canapes’. Your friend have a simpler style? Try the polka dots in Kate Spade ‘All In Good Taste’.

Tulips or an Orchid: Tulips in spring are such a dream! 10-12 stems should run you about $10, and if you get a strong pink or yellow color they will pop in any room. Pro tip: Put a penny in the bottom of the vase so the tulips stand straight up day after day. Orchids are also another great plant option, they are usually $15-$20 but last much longer and generally come with a vase.

Wine/Booze (Duh), but with a twist: This one is obvious so if you are going to do it, make it special. Pick a bottle with a really interesting label, or from a place that you know she/he loves. Did they recently go to South America? Try a Chilean wine! Do they love margaritas? Research tequila and find a bottle they haven’t tried. But if you want delight him/her, don’t just grab any bottle off the shelf, put some thought into it!

And if your very best friend moves into her very first house, splurge on some champagne. That bubbly, champagne-popping feeling can’t be beat. Get a bottle of Veuve Rosé or Moët – the host will know you spent a little extra to make them feel special. Then toast together to a new house and a new chapter.

Cheers!

xo

 

A Go-To Lipstick In Any Color

I love hair and makeup, but from time to time, I want to look great with zero effort. It seems unreasonable, but darn it, I WANT IT NOW. For those days, I like a low messy bun, mascara, and a bright lip to distract people into thinking I spent some time on myself. The lip pencil I ALWAYS use on these days is from NARS. Why? Because with one solid swipe, I’m off for the day, the coverage and saturation is that good.The texture is smooth, creamy, but doesn’t “bleed” onto my skin, so I don’t need to use a lipliner (one more step out of the routine). It also stays put for quite a while, which means I don’t have to constantly reapply!

It’s a great option when you want a new lipstick but don’t know what kind/brand to choose – infallible for even an amateur. NARS has over 25 colors in this pencil, so there’s one you are bound to love. Half the colors are matte, and half are satin finish. Bop over to Sephora and pick out a few. Their awesome return policy lets you return used products, so buy one or two, and if one doesn’t work out, return it.

Note: For those of you who do like to use a lipliner (and I often do), it looks even more pristine and stays on longer if you use it.

Here are three of my personal favorites.

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This color is Cruella, it’s THE BEST. I own two pencils and keep one in my desk drawer and one in my bag. It’s saved me on many a long flight and exhausting day of work.

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Want a more vibrant color? Try Famous Red, which on me looks a bit like a pinky red. This one has a satin finish, and is less matte than the scarlet red. Although still not too creamy that it bleeds off the lip line.

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Finally, if you’re still not brave enough to try a bright color (and I wish you would!), here’s a great nude. I’ve put this color on a lot of my friends, and it’s a winner on all skin tones. It’s a great complement to a smoky eye. NARS doesn’t make this exact color anymore, but Walkyrie is VERY close.

Have fun finding the right one for you!

xo

Inspired Gifts for Your Guy

Every year for my husband’s birthday I start thinking about the gift months in advance. Buying for a guy you’ve been with for a while (which means a lot of gifts already given) or who doesn’t necessarily have an obvious hobby (looking at you, golf and music lovers) is HARD. And while experiences are always a solid option, what to do when you want to give a tangible gift? It causes more anxiety than it should. Well fear not my friends, I’ve compiled a curated list of things he’s sure to love. I’ve personally given each of these gifts to someone in my life, each very well-received.

  • Overnight Bag: Every guy needs a great bag he can throw stuff into for 1-2 nights on the road. Now that’s he’s got a job and all that, the backpack from middle school should probably go. J. Crew has plenty of options, like this classic one in blue with brown leather. Or try this gray one from Herschel works if he’s more laid back. Herschel has sturdy duffle bags in tons of colors from funky floral to straight-up all black, so you can choose the one that bets fits his style. And some have a spot below just for shoes. Your bf more of a classic guy? This leather number from Barbour is a little pricier, but he’ll use it forever. Plus, you’ll get to admire your own great taste at every sleepover.
  • Watch: This one’s more obvious, but it’s a failsafe for a reason. Every guy can use a great watch, and you don’t have to break the bank to find one he’ll love. Here are some of my personal favorites in a range of prices.
    • Nixon: These are really well-made, expensive looking watches for a fraction of the price. I got Tim one before, and went for the classic style in brown. Want something more sleek? This one in all black is a winner.
    • Shinola: This Detroit-made brand is very hot right now. Again, a range of styles and prices, here are two I like. The Runwell and The Canfield.
  • Lodge Cast Iron Skillets: There’s no single item that’s gotten more use in our home than our Cast Iron Skillets. You can use them for anything from frittatas, to meatballs, to baked chicken. The beauty is that they can be used stovetop as well as IN the oven for baking. Super versatile. I didn’t even know what they were when my husband got them, and I even use them from time to time. Williams Sonoma has a whole assortment of them for a well-versed chef. Or here’s a good Two-Piece Set on Amazon that’s only $37 if you want to start with the basics. Now sit back and let the frittatas roll in.

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  • Clarisonic: I got my husband one of these 2 years ago for his birthday and his initial response was less than enthused. 2 weeks of using it during his AM shower, and he was obsessed. Now he’s all “my face is so smooth and exfoliated”, like HE’S the one who thought of it. Anyway, if your guy isn’t really into skin care, but you can talk him over the hump into using it, chances are he’ll love it too. He can (and should) use his preferred face wash with it. I find that Skinstore.com always has a coupon code, so if you look, you can usually find a recent code for 20% off: Men’s Clarisonic Starter Kit, bringing the price to around $180-ish plus tax.

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  • Personalized Pocket Knife: If your guy is the adventurous type, he will most likely love a personalized pocket knife. Benchmade is a newer company that’s known among the guy community for quality, long-lasting gear. Try one of these “every day carry” Pocket Knives in a variety of styles and price ranges. (Some as low at $100). Don’t forget to add his initials on the blade for that special touch!

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  • His Favorite Thing: Finally, consider another version of something that your guy wears or uses all the time. For example, every year for Christmas, my dad asks for flannel shirts. That’s what he wears every day, but he hates shopping, and if he did buy one it would be the cheapo $5 version at Costco. What makes this present so special to him, is that I go to the store pick out the BEST brand of flannel shirt (Carhartt) in the BEST colors in his exact size. I do all the work for him! That’s the best kind of present. Something that you would love to have but would never buy for yourself.  If your man has a bomber jacket in navy he wears everyday, find one in a different fabric in olive green. Or if he loves coffee, order a couple new roasts for him to try. Does he buy a Pelligrino every day at work? Get a soda stream for the house. Men are pretty straight-forward in their tastes, and chances are, if they love something that much, they are going to be thrilled to get a different version of it.

When all else fails, just ASK him if there’s anything he’s been eyeing lately. It doesn’t make the gift any less special if he gives you a hint, and you can be completely confident he’ll be happy.

xo

Cheap + Cheerful: Breakfast

So, two things:

1) I’m pretty convinced breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day. The most important meal of the day is obviously the 4pm snack I have at my desk while I dream about how I’m going to strike it rich and finally go to the Maldives. That aside, I like to eat a healthy, yummy breakfast.

2) Like everyone in the world, I enjoy coffee. Exclusively iced coffee. I drank iced coffee when it was -30 degrees outside in Chicago, and felt no shame. It brings me all the joy. It’s also an expensive habit, and since I prefer to spend that money on outrageously priced lipstick, I found a cheaper option. No, I’m not going to preach to you about french press or steeping beans in water for 48 hours or whatever, I don’t have that kind of time.

But let’s talk coffee first: I make a pot of coffee, preferably with hazelnut or French Vanilla beans. I buy beans and grind them vs. already ground, because that just tastes better in any coffee instance. Then, I pour that big pot of hot coffee into a pitcher (any pitcher with a lid will work, I have this one) and put it in the fridge overnight. VOILA! Iced coffee in the AM. I actually prefer my coffee to store-bought. Not to say I don’t live a little on Saturdays and get a Starbucks from time to time, I’m not a saint, but at least then I can truly enjoy it for the glorious beverage it is.

Now for the simple math: One pot is enough for 3-4 days, at about $.25 a cup vs a $4 drink at a local coffee shop. Over the course of the work week – I save $18.75! In a month $75! In 3 months my thrifty coffee has bought me a facial. You can totally buy your coffee out, if that’s your thing, I get it too. But if want to spend .05 seconds thinking about how you’ll get your coffee fix and 1 hour enjoying your facial, try this instead.

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Now for breakfast. Here’s a low-cal, almost zero sugar option that my friend Shannon got me hooked on due to how delicious, cheap and FAST it is.

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1 Egg, 1-2 slices of ham (I like Canadian Bacon), 1 wheat light english muffin, 1 slice of cheddar cheese. Try adding avocado, or subbing avo for ham if you’re a vegetarian)

Step 1: Put english muffin into toaster and lay it out on foil.IMG_6569.jpg

Step 2: Crack egg into a clean mug and whisk it quickly, then microwave for 1 minute. After 1 minute it will be done and will fit perfectly on your English muffin. Don’t judge me, eggs in the microwave taste almost exactly the same as on the stove.

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Step 3: Put egg on one side of the muffin, put the cheese on top of that egg.

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Step 4: Put ham into microwave in that egg mug for 20 seconds.

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Step 5: Put ham on top of that cheese on the muffin so it gets all melty… yum.

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Step 6: Add salt and pepper, or avocado, hot sauce etc. My husband likes to add spinach which is pretty good too. Wrap it up in foil or pop it in a tupperware and off you go! This whole process takes about 4 minutes so you’ll probably have extra time to eat at home if you want.

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All these ingredients are around $13 for 6 sandwiches. So, around $2.30 a sandwich. Not too shabby for a meal on the run. Now excuse me, I need to go eat this.