Filed In: Accessories

My ModCloth Holiday Ensemble Challenge

holiday modcloth style challenge

My friends at ModCloth challenged me to create a fab holiday ensemble around one of their classic and uber cozy holiday sweaters. I accepted, and here’s the result.

The Look: Lumberjack chic

The Occasion: My cousin’s dressed-down holiday soiree on the 28th.

Why: There’s nothing I love more than a cozy sweater. Mostly because I’m freezing all the time. My office mates and husband can attest to that. But, I also don’t want to look like a total frump in a sweater either. That’s why I’d pair this red and white festive pullover with distressed skinny jeans (the Fame of the Game Jeans), a great oversized beanie (like the You Know the Chill Hat in Pine) and a casual leather bag (the X Marks the Spot Bag) that’ll hold my essentials along with my toddler’s must-haves. I’d finish off the look with a pair of boots (the Quilt On Dreams Boot) that are equally as comfy as the sweater and ones that’ll hold up in any weather. Finally, I’d be remiss not to complement the look with a few key beauty finds, and when the party theme calls for lumberjack chic, a lip balm — the All Smiles Lip Balm Set (one that would make any lumberjack smile), tinted moisturizer, blush and tinted brow gel are about all I’d need. What do think? Would you wear this?

— Kristen Oldham Giordani

The Hottest Shades for Fall

In sunny SoCal, the changing of seasons (or lack thereof) doesn’t mean we have to stash our sunglasses. We should, however, think about swapping the ones we’ve been wearing all summer for a pair of shades that are a little more fall wardrobe-friendly.

Same goes for our lipstick shades. It’s time to retire the poppy bright oranges and pinks for the fabulous hues we saw all over the runways — berries, reds, nudes and sepia tones.

Here I’ve paired up the newest sunnies from Warby Parker (what did we do before Warby Parker, BTW?!) with the trendy fall lipsticks that perfectly complement them. Which lipstick/sunglass paring will you choose? My fave is definitely the rose-hued sunglasses paired with sepia-toned lips.

Tom Ford Lip Color in Negligee, $50 & Warby Parker Teddy in Petal Tortoisewarby parker shades & tom ford lipstick

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Julie, $32 & Warby Parker Goodney in Revolver Black

warby parker shades & nars lipstick

By Terry Hyaluranic Sheer Rouge in Be Red, $32 & Warby Parker Quentin in Whisky Tortoise

warby parker shades & by terry lipstick

Do-Gooder Beauty Gifts I’m Giving This Year

If you’re looking to earn some gift-giving extra credit this year, pick up these six beauties. They’ll make your mother, sister, friend, etc. look and feel gorgeous while going way beyond that. Together these products’ proceeds support women affected by breast cancer, childhood hunger, artists from marginalized communities and much, much more.

kiehls-creme-de-corps-grapefruitKiehl’s Creme de Corps “Grapefruit” Whipped Body Butter – Limited Edition, $ 38

The original version of this whipped body butter is one of my all-time faves. This subtly citrus-y remake is delicious and makes skin feel fabulous. And, 100 percent of the net proceeds go to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which works to help end childhood hunger in America.

_8383297Jane Iredale Bright Future Eyeshadow Set – Limited Edition, $30

What makes a better gift than five stunning eyeshadows housed in a rose-colored Swarovski crystal-embellished package? Add to that the fact that 100 percent of the profits are donated to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization supporting women affected by breast cancer. Beautiful.

s1553254-main-LheroSephora Values Inside Out You + Sephora Cosmetic Collection, $20

Glitter eyeliner, check. Metallic nail polish, check. Add a few more dazzling items and the fact that sales benefit the American Heart Association, and you’ve got the perfect stocking stuffer.

RS_LAYOUT_001_NEW_V4_4WEB_3products_WHNomad Two Worlds Raw Spirit Collection of Fragrances, $35 each

The three newest additions to the Nomad Two Worlds Raw Spirit fragrance collection are sure to please even the pickiest of family members and friends. The travel-friendly rollerball design makes them convenient, but the scents inside are anything but ho-hum. Bijou Vert combines Haitian sourced vetiver along with grapefruit, mandarin, geranium, lotus flower, black pepper, benzoin, patchouli and cedarwood; Citadelle also utilizes Haitian sourced vetiver in addition to marigold, pear, bergamot, lemon, spices, amberwood, musk and cedarwood. Both scents will be used to support sustainable Haitian agricultural projects. And, Wild Fire sources premium wild harvested sandalwood from Australia along with creamy amber, ylang ylang, jasmine petals, cedarwood and musk. Part of the proceeds from Wild Fire sales are used to support sustainable Australian Indigenous agricultural projects in collaboration with Essential Oils of Tasmania. 


MAC Kids Helping Kids: Greeting and Gift Cards, $10

For the gal who loves to send actual handwritten notes. The colorful designs on these cards were created by children affected by HIV/AIDS. And, every cent (seriously, every cent) of the selling price goes toward helping women, men and children who are also affected by HIV/AIDS.
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The 4 Hair Accessories I Need Now

My Twisted Tuesday column was inspired by my need to step it up in the hair department. Now I’m taking it one step further. It’s time to experiment more with hair accessories. First up: Headbands. They’ll tame my crazy baby hairs while adding instant style to any basic ensemble.

Here are four that are in my Etsy shopping cart as I type:

Knitted Headband, $10.86


Wide Missoni-Inspired Headband, $22


Chain and Leather Braided Headband, $10.99


Sailor Knot Headband, $9.95


One More Reason to Splurge on a New Pair of Sunglasses

Ray-Ban-Thick-Cat-Eye-Wayfarer-SunglassesFreaky, but totally true story. I went to my eye doctor last week for my annual check up. I’m a contact lens-wearer, so I have to go regularly. Well, my doctor now offers the option to have digital photos take of your retinas. It’s basically a good way to track the health of your eyes — and your health overall (retinas can tell you if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, and more — pretty fascinating). I opted to have the photos taken. Mine looked A-OK.

But, while chatting with my doc, he mentioned he had a patient who had a very large melanoma on his eye. Yeah, as in skin cancer. On his eye ball! I had no idea it was even possible. The guy ended up having to have his eye removed. Not kidding. What does a faux eyeball look like these days, anyway? 

The Prettiest Stocking Stuffers For Everyone On Your List — All Under $15


Orly Flash Glam FX Hyper-Reflective Glitter Nail Lacquer in Watch it Glitter, $10 For the glamazon, gold glitter polish with extra- large flakes make any old manicure ultra-luxe.


Revlon Box O’ Files, $4 For the practical girl, these emery boards to-go are a chic way to always be prepared.


Jouer Sparkle and Pop, $12 For the party gal, a horn, champagne bubbles, confetti, and a beauty fortune is just the beginning. The surprise lip gloss, body butter or essential lip enhancer is an unexpected beauty treat.


Pinch Provisions Minimergency Glitter Kit, $15 For the girl on the go, this teeny, tiny pouch is filled with essentials like hairspray, clear nail polish and toothpaste.


Warren London Pawdicure Polish Pens, $9 Each For the pooch lover, these dog nail polishes will pamper any breed and make them the star of the dog park.


Avon Holiday Sweets Lip Balm, $1 Each For the lip balm addict, these adorable balms are as moisturizing as they are sweet.


Jane Tran Polka Dot Bobby Pin Set, $12 For the fashionista, small bobby pins with adorable patterns are just the right thing.

claus-port-musgo-real-body-soapClaus Porto Musgo Real Men’s Body Soap, Classic Scent, $6 For the man in your life, a solid, rich smelling soap is super-decadent.

21-drops-pick-up-fix21 Drops Pick Up Fix Set, $14 For the fragrance lover, aromatherapy to-go is the perfect way to blend your own scents while getting benefits like calm and will power.

Their Crowning Glory: The Hair Look At Balanciaga

I’ve been closely following the Spring 2013 fashion shows in Paris, and I was totally captivated with the gorgeous hair — and really the hair accessories — at Balanciaga. Guido, Creative Consultant for Redken, created the slightly edgy style topped with a gorgeous piece of headband-like jewelry placed around the back of the head. Trés chic. And not too coiffed so that it looks princess-y. “The hair at Balenciaga is very natural, yet it’s smooth, not frizzy,” said Guido. “I wanted it to feel very modern and rich so we did a sort of rough, easy texture on the hair that offsets their beauty to a certain extent — they wouldn’t go with super luxe hair.” We went straight to Guido to get the scoop on how we can get this look at home. Here’s the story:

Step 1: Apply a hair cream (Guido used Redken Outshine 01 Anti-Frizz Polishing Milk, $18) to damp hair and roughly blow dry to create a smooth but very natural looking finish.

Step 2: Create a messy center part and add a dry shampoo (he used Redken Powder Refresh 01 Aerosol Hair Powder/Dry Shampoo, $18) all over hair for increased “natural” texture and a little grip.

Step 3: Take two side sections from the very front, pull them back to just below the crown and secure with two bobby pins crisscrossed in the back.

Step 4: Finish with a finishing spray (he used Redken Pure Force 16 Non-Aerosol Fixing Spray, $16) just on the top to hold. If you can find a cool headband or piece of jewelry, pin into place around the crown of the head.

Would you wear a headband like a crown?

— Carrie Stern Kleiner

Beauty Mood Booster of the Week: Sephora Collection Eyelash Curler

Confession: I never curl my eyelashes. For one, I have zero time to spare, so this is the one corner I cut when it comes to my makeup routine. Two, my lashes have a natural curl to them, so it’s not an essential step for me. But, I have friends and colleagues who wouldn’t dare dream of coating their lashes with mascara before curling them. The simple act of clamping your lashes between the genius little metal devices called eyelash curlers can instantly open up your eyes, and make your lashes look longer and flirty.

That’s why, when I caught a glimpse of these adorable Sephora Collection Eyelash Curlers, $16, which come in assorted bright colors, I had to share them. Not only will they make your lashes appear perkier, but they’ll simply be more fun to use thanks to their candy colored hues. I might just have to work this step back in to my routine after all.

Beauty Spring Cleaning: The Makeup Bag Edition

For part two of our beauty spring cleaning series, Reader MrsMeltzer wanted to know how to actually scrub out her makeup bag to keep it clean. That’s when I called on pro makeup artist Emily Kate Warren — if anyone knows how to keep a makeup bag clean, it’s Warren. The girl travels back and forth from San Francisco to New York City often and makes many other stops in between, and she drags her makeup kit around with her to every location. So, you can only imagine how messy it might get — especially after working on client after client and photo shoot after photo shoot.

Here’s her advice for MrsMeltzer (and the rest of you):

First, you’ll know it’s time to clean out your bag when, “it starts looking crumbly or there is powder shadow clinging to everything,” says Warren.

Once you’ve decided it’s time to give it a good scrubbing, start by washing your brushes: “Use shampoo for [your] brushes, and let them dry flat over night,” says Warren.

Next, remove everything from your bag and use a makeup wipe (try Clean & Clear Makeup Dissolving Wipes, $6.99) to swipe out the interior of the bag and the outer packaging and mirrors of your products. “Make sure [you’re] carrying a plastic lined or easy to wipe/rinse bag if it gets really bad,” she says.

Then, before you put all of your makeup items back in your clean bag, make sure you’re not including any spoiled products that should be tossed. “It all goes back to smell,” says Warren. “If something smells, toss it! And, some water-based pencils will dehydrate and the tips will shrink. [It’s] time to toss them when that happens,” she adds. That’s it!

If you’re curious about the one product you should add to your makeup stash this spring, Warren says it’s “a dewy highlighting cream” (try Benefit Watt’s Up!, $30). You can blend it on the top of your cheekbones, brow bones, down the center of your nose and even on your cupid’s bow to give your skin a perfect-for-spring glow.

Beauty Spring Cleaning: The Makeup Brush Edition

Not sure about you, but I’m already in spring cleaning mode. I suddenly have the urge to clear out the clutter and deep clean every inch of my house. And, my makeup stash and bag are no exception. My first stop on the beauty spring cleaning train is brushville. I have sadly been too busy over the last few weeks to give my precious brushes the cleaning they need, but this weekend I’m going to change that. It’s time to give each an every one of my (many) brushes the bath they deserve. Here’s how I clean my brushes, some of which I’ve had for more than 15 years thanks to regular cleaning. No joke. If you take care of quality brushes, they will last and last …

First, I reach for my brush cleaner of choice: Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleaner, $26.99 (for 8oz). Then, I put a small amount of the cleaner in a shallow dish with a bit of water. I swirl each and every brush in the solution, which smells amazingly of vanilla, before rinsing the brush with warm water until the water runs clean. Avoid getting the stems of your brushes wet though, that can cause the metal ferrule that connects the brush head to the stem to wiggle loose. Finally, I reshape the brush and blot it dry with a paper towel (I prefer the Viva brand that are more cloth-like) before laying them flat to dry. And … that’s it!

Now tell me, what other beauty spring cleaning advice are you looking for? Would you rather know which products to stash now that winter is coming to a close? Or, do you want to know how to actually scrub out your makeup case?