Ouai Volume Spray = Winter Hair Game-changer

Every winter, I say goodbye to my summer dresses, sun-kissed skin, the less-is-more makeup look (although since I started getting eyelash extensions, it’s always a less-is-more makeup look, but more on that in another post) and perfectly air-dried summer hair. I don’t know about you, but the thing I dread the most about winter is my frizzy, staticy hair.

I know winter is coming when my normal, laissez-faire approach to drying and styling (aka minimum blow drying with almost zero product) results in hair so staticy that I want to chop it all off. Whenever I get to this point, which feels like its coming earlier and earlier every year, I make a pilgrimage to the drug store (or target or Sephora) in search of a miracle product. This year, in anticipation of this, and trying to prevent it, I asked my hair stylist who’s only idea was to try dryer sheets. Just so you know, I tried them and they did not work.

Last weekend, as I was packing to spend my week off at my boyfriend’s house for the holidays, I came across a travel sized bottle of Ouai volume spray and decided to throw it in my bag and give it a try. I had remembered liking it, but had stopped using it once I realized that the full sized product was perpetually out of stock. Why become addicted to something that you cannot purchase? This past weekend we were going into the city and I decided to give it a try. And, can I tell you that my hair looked so good I wanted to cry?! It was not frizzy or staticy, voluminous, and it still looked good on day 3 (and that is including a work out). I did try to recreate the look with a different volumizing product but, even though it did prevent the static, my hair was less voluminous and looked greasy by day 2.

Ouai Volume Spray has been out of stock on Sephora and their own site for over a year…until today when I got an email from Sephora saying that it was FINALLY back in stock. Clearly, I will be purchasing this and if you have the same hair issues as me, you better purchase this too. You’re welcome! 💁🏻‍♀️

Finding Beauty in Our Scars

While looking at pictures from this past weekend, I finally figured out what was different about myself, what I no longer recognized. Throughout my life, one of my favorite parts of my body – despite having scoliosis – was my back. I loved the beauty marks that adorned it, especially one in particular. There’s a photograph of me taken at a charity event three years ago. In it, I’m wearing a backless Chanel dress, my head turned over my shoulder so you can see the dress in all its resplendent. My skin is glowing from a recent trip to the beach, and I’m confident, happy and carefree. That night didn’t turn out the way I had expected. I remember being stood up and leaving the event later (earlier?) than I had intended, but at that moment I felt beautiful.

Early last year, after a trip to the dermatologist office where they removed my beloved beauty mark for a biopsy, the results were not good. Not only had it been a necessity to get the biopsy, but it became a life and death matter to have the rest of it removed completely. The beauty mark that I had had all of my life had turned on me. Not only was it cancer, but it was the most dangerous kind. Me, the girl who, at twenty-eight (nearly twenty-nine) had never broken a bone, never had stitches, never had a cavity, was about to experience one of those three (more than once), immediately scheduling surgery for the following day. After excruciating pain, a frustratingly slow recovery and many trips to the dermatologist office since, my body has never been the same.

In place of my beauty mark is a two-plus-inch long scar, and this past weekend was the first time that I had a picture taken of me showing off my back since the surgery. It’s not that it was hard to look at the scar, as I’ve been acquainted with it for over a year now, but it was more that the absence of the beauty mark made my back look foreign, as if it belonged to a different person entirely.

In some ways, my scar does belong to someone else. I’m not the same person that I was three years ago or even fifteen months ago. Things have happened in my life that have changed me, as it does all of us. Some scars – like the one on my back – we can see, while others are less visible but can still cause us the same amount of pain or greater. It is the culmination of all of those scars that make us who we are today. Without them, we would be lost in a sea. So, the next time you think that your scars are ugly, remember the opposite. Our scars are beautiful because they remind us that we are alive and show us our hidden strengths, that if we can overcome that, we can get through anything.

Our scars are beautiful; they are unique, as we all are.

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Charles James: Beyond Fashion

This past weekend, I went to see the new fashion exhibit at the Met, Charles James: Beyond Fashion. With the recent renovations to the Costume Institute and renaming to the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the exhibit was truly amazing. First and foremost, I love the fact that the exhibit was held in two different spaces, on two different floors, and on opposite sides of the museum. It broke it up allowing for double the enjoyment, and gets visitors to take in more of the museum as opposed to just the fashion exhibit. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for going to the Met to view special exhibits, but even when I waited in line for an hour and a half for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (to then be in the exhibit for another hour), I still made a point to see more of the museum…but that’s coming from someone who can spend hours walking around in there.

Another aspect of the exhibit that I really liked was the staging of it. I remember from the McQueen, how there was so much packed into multiple rooms, and how it felt a bit closed in (perhaps partially because of the mass amount of people), but James was different. Both the upstairs and downstairs galleries were open and airy. The gowns and clothing displayed in such ways that you could see them from different angles if not walk all the way around them. There are also monitors for many of the pieces which show the painstaking steps that were taken to create these works of art. I only watched a few as they didn’t catch my eye as much as the clothing, but they were fascinating.

Then there were the garments themselves. They. Were. Fabulous. Breathtaking, really. It was hard to pick out just one favorite, although his Four Leaf Clover ball gown was definitely in the top five for me.

Charles James was a truly great couturier, but part of what makes him so amazing was that he was a perfectionist. I, who sometimes walk away from my writing mid-sentence because I just cannot find the right word, can completely understand. Part of this could be due to the fact that James started off as a milliner, and carried-on that approach into his clothing. He even went so far as spending years on one dress until it was exactly what he had envisioned. According to Voguepedia, he was even known to “don a finished gown and dance all night in his apartment above the Chelsea Hotel before handing it over…if he handed it over at all.” I could go on and on, but really, the exhibit speaks for itself. Charles James: Beyond Fashion opened at the Met just last week and will be on display through August 10th. I caught it opening weekend, but I will definitely be there many more times.

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Makeup & Skin Care Loyalties – Old & New

Those of you that know me, know that I have two go-to brands when it comes to makeup and skincare, the Body Shop (of which I’ve talked extensively) and Dior, but recently, I’ve started to add a third brand to the mix.

My love for the Body Shop stems from a random trip to the mall out in Huntington a few years back. I can’t quite recall what drew me in, but once I was there, I never wanted to leave. My first purchases were eye shadows, lip-glosses, bronzers, etc, and of course body butter (to name a few). I became obsessed with how soft the makeup was, and that’s when I went to their website and started reading about the company and found out how amazing it was. First, they are against animal testing of any kind – they neither test the ingredients nor the finished products – and even received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 by RSPCA because of this. Also, instead of going to China for ingredients and production (China has a policy where everything is tested on animals), they have a community fair trade program where they employ people in third-world countries, using ingredients from there and therefore encouraging growth in these locations.

Aside from the makeup (tons of makeup) that I get from the Body Shop, there are three products that I cannot live without. The Seaweed Iconic Clay Mask (which I have written about here) is amazing and always leaves my skin soft, youthful and glowing. The Vitamin C Radiance Capsules – an end of the summer discovery that I use as a boost under my moisturizer – also leaves my face unbelievably soft. And lastly, the Brazil Nut Shower Cream which smells like heaven.

My love for Dior started years ago with my first purchase of Diorshow mascara (it really is the best), and then from a trip to Sephora, where I got a sample of Dior’s Sorbet Eye Crème from their Hydro Life collection, which uses three flower extracts to help defy aging. Right away I noticed the difference under my eyes, the dark circles were less visible and they were less puffy. This of course made me decide to try their Sorbet Crème for the face. These easily became staples of mine for two reasons: one, because I love the texture of the sorbet crème, and two, because the formula is light-weight (not greasy), but still leaves my skin hydrated. I also use their Gentle Foam Cleanser and Toning Lotion.

A few weeks ago I made my newest Dior discovery. I was in need of an eye sorbet replenishment, so I walked over to the Dior section in Sephora and decided to peruse it. The eye makeup remover that I had been using sometimes burned my eyes, so I wanted to see if they had a product that was better, and I found it. I’ve always hated the fact that, makeup removers are usually packaged as for the face or for the eyes, and it is a rare treat to find a product that is meant to do both. So, of course when I saw Dior’s Instant Cleansing Water, I thought that it was too good to be true, but, I am happy to say that that is not the case. It is truly amazing. Not only does it remove all of my makeup, but it leaves my face feeling soft, and, perhaps more importantly, doesn’t burn my eyes. If you try nothing else, make sure to try this, because it really is worth it.

My newest brand obsession began over the summer when I purchased Bobbi Brown’s limited edition Navy & Nude palette. I really loved the subtlety of the nude shades, and also the use of navy as an eye liner instead of my usual midnight grey (almost black) look. Recently though, I had been getting a bit bored of my look. Not necessarily that I wanted more color, just something different. So, last Wednesday, as I found myself at Grand Central with some time to kill before boarding my Metro North train, I stepped into the Bobbi Brown pop-up shop and perused the lipstick options. After trying on three different ones of which I was not completely satisfied, I ended up trying on the color that the makeup artist was wearing. The base was their Sheer Lip Color in cherry pink, and the top was their Lip Gloss in baby pink. I ended up purchasing both. Two days later I was back and looking for new eye shadows, and although I did not make this purchase at the Bobbi Brown pop-up (I actually made this purchase at Sephora while shopping with a friend), I did spot them there. I ended up with a very dark brown (almost black) called Rich Caviar, and Champagne Quartz, the perfect champagne color with just the smallest hint of pink.

And while I plan on keeping my current loyalties to the Body Shop and Dior intact, I see another trip to the Bobbi Brown pop-up in the very near future. What new products will I purchase? Stay tuned!

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Winter Inadequacies & Traveling

After a late, wine-infused evening of great conversation with a new friend (a weekly tradition in the making), I woke up this morning to a world of more white than when I had gone to bed – if that is even possible. I quickly got dressed, threw on my rain-boots, and headed outside to shovel out the car. Seeing as how I am not normally in possession of a car, I also am not in possession of a shovel. I know, how can you live in NYC without a shovel, well I have been in my apartment for close to eight years and I have never needed one because my landlord always shovels me out…eventually. Ah, the perks of living in a private house. So, having a deficit in the winter-gear department, I grabbed the closest thing I had that resembled a shovel: a dust pan. Yes. I am that girl. I shoveled the car out this morning with a dustpan…and no gloves: a winning combination that left my hands red and raw. I am not proud of this moment; however, it is definitely something that I am going to laugh about in the not too distant future…like perhaps tomorrow or Friday after I have gotten rid of the last of the snow.

When I finished, I went back insides to warm up for a few minutes before my trek to the bus stop, but unfortunately it doesn’t end there. Not only did my bus end up being twenty minutes late, but it also broke down and I had to wait another large chunk of time to get onto the next one. Thankfully, my ride on the subway was fine, but right after I got off at Grand Central they stopped the 7-line from coming into the city because of a fire.

On the bright side, I was able to get my latte with no problems as there was surprisingly no line at Starbucks…hopefully my commute home won’t be so bad. I am sooo looking forward to my day of yoga, beauty and shopping on Friday 😁.

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Wild Kingdom: Where Would You Draw the Line for Your Face?

On my way to work this morning, I was reading an article in the latest Vogue by Lynn Yaeger, titled “Wild Kingdom.” The sole photo in the article is of a woman’s face covered in fish eggs. Apparently it is just one of several new and unconventional ingredients (treatments) for skin care. A couple others mentioned in the article are having a live snail crawl across your face, and using bee venom.

According to Paul Cox, PhD, who is quoted a lot in this article, not only does salmon-roe contain a lot of omega-6, which is just good for your body in general, if applied to the skin, “an enzyme in the roe – released while baby salmon are hatching – …act[s] like an ultra-gentle exfoliant” that doesn’t irritate or dry your skin out. You can find salmon-roe extract in Perricone MD’s Blue Plasma ($95, perriconemd.com).

What are the benefits of having a snail crawl across your face leaving mucus? Apparently mucus contains a “collagen-style protein” that, as many of you should know, ccan help restore elasticity to skin and improve the appearance of wrinkles. Snail mucus has been found to have restorative properties as well. Napoleon Perdis’ Auto Pilot BBB Cream ($45, Nordstrom.com) contains this such ingredient.

How does one extract venom from bees to use as a skin care ingredient? “By subjecting bees to tiny electric shocks, inducing them to drop a dot of precious venum,” or from collecting dried venom “from the bottom of a beehive.” According to the article, bee venom has the ability to diminish the appearance of wrinkles by plumping the skin, and help control and treat acne. Rodial Bee Venom 24 Carat Gold Super Essence ($470, skinstore.com) is on the expensive side, but is supposed to be amazing.

The article also goes on to discuss botulinum toxin (botox), and how even though it toxic for your body, people still do it. While the idea of putting any of these “treatments” onto my face is revolting to me, I would be more inclined to try them as long as they were in a small part of a whole rather than just being the whole thing. And, if I had to choose between which of the three above to try, I probably would try the salmon-roe extract. It sounds much more appealing than the other two.

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