Protect Your Neck

January 31, 2009

I’m currently working for a client quite a ways from home and have been living out of a hotel for the past 2 weeks. Due to the recession, of course, the luxury of staying at a 4-star hotel and having a room of my own is definitely out of reach. Thus, I’ve been sharing a room with two other girls. Spending day after day together while working more than we’d like to has made for all kinds of conversation. Being a bit younger than the others, I’ve been learning a lot!

The other day, one of the girls (aged 24) read aloud an IM her friend had sent her. “Do you use a special type of cream for your neck?” My other coworker (aged 27) quickly exclaimed the necessity of protecting that largely exposed part of our bodies. I’ve never even thought about using a real neck cream before. Do those even exist?

Apparently, they do–and for good reason. According to bestselling author Nora Ephron, “The neck is a dead giveaway. Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth.” I’ve always hated my own neck. I believe I was born with the most indented necklines a child could ever have and they are only getting worse with age. I can’t believe I’ve never thought about treating and preventing this! I did a quick search online and found that there are many choices. Here are my top picks:

1. LUSH Mirror Mirror Moisturizer ($21.95): I’ve heard nothing but great things about LUSH and this neck and decolletage cream seems to have won many over with its results. Aside from being very affordable, it seems to actually work! I love that it comes in a pump packaging and according to those who have tried it, the cream provides great moisture, scent, and can even be used as a face and eye cream due to its firming benefits. I’ll be sure to check this one out the next time I’m at the mall.

2. L’Oreal Advanced RevitaLift for Face and Neck ($15.99): L’Oreal is one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world and I’m sure their R&D department is as promising as any department store brand’s (after all, they do own Lancome and Shu Uemura). I haven’t tried any of L’Oreal’s anti-aging products as I’ve been loyal to my Olay Regenerist cream, but this anti-wrinkle cream might make me do a switch-over.

3. bliss an ounce of prevention ($48): If you’re looking to spend a bit more money, I’d go with this Bliss moisturizer. This is not specifically meant for the neck as the other two products, but it should be just as good. It’s part of a line of anti-aging products developed by the spa line and appears to be packed with top-quality ingredients.


Tights R’ Us

January 29, 2009

The past few years have seen a boom trend in tights – opaque black, bold colored, patterned, textured, etc.  You name it, somebody’s wearing it.  Personally, I love it – what a great way to keep wearing your pretty dresses and skirts in the cold winter! Even in balmy California, where tights were an accessory rather than a necessity, I liked opting for tights to complete a look. Whether paired with a shorter hemline and boots, or a knee skimming line with heels, tights help with the transition of an outfit while being cold weather appropriate.

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The beauty of tights is the variety that it comes in – take advantage of the choices to complement the rest of your outfit. With a lighter spring or summer color and fabric (like chiffon), pairing a matte black leg can tone it down and make it go out-worthy.  If your ensemble is all black and you want to stir things up, try a colored tight for a change.  At work, paired with a conservative pin stripe or black skirt, I like a textured pair, something with a cable pattern, or a striped pattern. It lends a more interesting aesthetic than a smooth black leg. If it’s really cold, I like thick knit tights as opposed to the thinner nylon versions – sometimes I’ll wear these under my jeans for warmth!

Due to the neutral palette of my closet, I mainly own darker hues, and haven’t been brave enough to try a brighter choice.  If I were to be more adventurous however, a cranberry/burgundy or a deep purple plum would be my top picks.  Since I’m less likely to wear colored tights often, I’d get mine from a cheaper store, like H&M, or Target.

A note: I am strictly a fan of tights only for going out, not leggings, not footless versions. Some people may be able to rock that look, but I’m quite conscious of my disproportionately large calves, and wearing a clingy pair of leggings that hit right in the middle would make people laugh. At me.

transitionMy favorite pair of basic black tights are Capezio Transitions ($14.50). What gives these a special kick is the ability to transform from footed tights into a legging version if I don’t want my tights to show (i.e. if I’m wearing open toed strappy shoes).  It looks like a large hole in the bottom of my foot, but it doesn’t stretch out. Capezio is a dancer brand, so these techy tights are even more legit, since dancers require durable tights that last for a long time.  I also like the waist band because it stays put and doens’t have to be pulled up, as is the case with other brands.

For the Cadillac of tights, Wolford is reputed to have the best, most opaque black tights.  Nina Garcia of Project Runway fame mentioned it in her book. Of course at $50/pair, these things better come with free drinks or something. If on sale, these are justifiable, but otherwise, my Capezios and DKNY pairs will suit me just fine.


Isla Fisher’s Scarf Style

January 28, 2009

As we face colder days here in LA this week, I realize that it’s probably time to pull out my scarves for the season. I must admit that I’m a little addicted to my H&M pashmina-esque scarves, but usually take the simple route of just draping them around my neck (out of laziness and lack of creativity). It gets the job done of keeping me warm, but there are definitely more fun ways to play them up.

Luckily, the stars are always there to serve as inspirations for all of us. I love Isla Fisher–she’s so, so pretty and seems like such a sweet girl. Popsugar caught her in LA on Monday out and about and looking cute as always. The temperature has actually hit the low 50’s here, and double-looping the scarf securely around the neck does for a simple, but very practical look.

As a side note, I can’t wait for Confessions of a Shopaholic!!


Jane Marvel Travel Bags

January 28, 2009

If you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself needing to pack for some weekends here and there. Whether it be crashing at a friend’s place after a night out or taking a quick business trip, I’ve been needing a real carry-all that’s both cute and functional. I think I’ve finally found a perfect option!

Jane Marvel is a designer I have not seen or heard of until now, but whose duffel bags, carry-alls, and totes have me wanting to buy them all! The bags range in size and shape and come in a bevy of fun colors. She even makes laptop bags for the business/student travelers out there like me. I was so in love with them that I could barely get myself to choose just one. After some debate, I finally settled on the Duffel Weekender in Stars and Sky and a matching cosmetic bag!! As an added perk, all the bags come with free complementary gifts, such as, mirrors, travel pouches, eyemasks, and CD holders.

The items are affordable, ranging from $40 to $130. After perusing the site a little more and learning about the company, I was surprised to find out that the bags are eco-friendly, leather-free and waterproof. I really think I’m in love. Apparently I’m not the only one. These bags have also been featured in magazines, such as, Marie Claire, O, Life&Style, and Women’s Health! Why have I not discovered them until now?!

Buy now because DailyCandy (one of my favorite sites) is also offering a 30% discount with code: DAILYCANDY. I can’t wait for my order to arrive!


Change (of Accessories) is Here

January 19, 2009

hh-sale1

So sorry this wasn’t posted earlier, but there is still 2 days left for this sale! Hayden-Harnett, a Brooklyn-based bag company, has some cuuuute stuff, and EVERYTHING is 50% off. Enter the code PRESIDENT at checkout for the discount. Barack is already doing great stuff in stimulating the economy before he is even inaugurated =P

In their regular collection, I am really loving their Clutch Wallet in Tango Red ($170, with discount is $85). What a beautiful color – I love red accessories because they offer just the right amount of pop. Am also digging the rear change pocket – so useful for keeping my Metro card and work ID card to quickly get in and out. The hardware makes the wallet look durable and suitable for carrying out as well.

clutch

/Edit: Ok, I perused the website all night, and fell in love with these bags! Also did a bit of research and found that there is a loyal following of these HH purses. I like that I don’t see every girl carrying them here, and the bags don’t have logos but are recognizable for those who know and love the line.

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I reallyy like the idea of the Ibiza Flight Totes ($98 on sale), and definitely want to get one for the summer. Nylon = durable, convertible (it folds in half east-west style for a smaller going out bag) = practical, and lots of colors to choose from = one for everyone! These remind me of the Longchamp bags that every girl and her mom (literally) has.. but a bit of a twist. It’s meant for travelling, but good for work/school also, as it has a compartment for a laptop. The leather contrasts the leather nicely, and I like how the short/long strap gives you two options of carrying it.

conrad

 Mind rules over heart right now though. I need a work bag desperately, and am probably going to pull the trigger on the Conrad bag, above, in black. It’s roomy and holds a decent amount of stuff, but still can carry on a night out.

Since we’re in a recession, even 50% off can still tough on your wallet, so good news! Hayden-Harnett has a Target collection, available now. This is actually how I first heard about the company; their Flight Tote (in canvas instead of the Ibiza nylon) caught my eye as a practical and colorful choice for getting through security and comfortably to your destination. & at $50, it’s muy affordable. The brown Hobo bag is also very cute, and is a Want for work!

flighthobo


Hands Up for Moisture

January 18, 2009

Because without it I would be a molting, flaking reptile. Because dry skin makes you more susceptible to papercuts. Because hands most easily give away one’s age.

handcream3Whatever the reason, hand cream has a permanent place in my purse this winter. It has been incredibly drying in NYC, and without it, I am scaly, itchy, flaky, and any other adjective used to describe a snake shedding its top epidermal layer. Particularly, the skin around my cuticles and the webby part between the thumb index finger are the worst looking. So I picked up some Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream in the Fragrance-Free Version.

Love it! The clear gel/cream is thick enough that you only need a little bit to hydrate both hands, and absorbs quickly so you don’t have to wait around. The fragrance-free formula is perfect for work too, because I don’t want to attack my coworkers with strong-smelling girly lotion (the fragrance version is fairly intense). I got mine for $5 at a local drugstore.

loccitaneAnother option for hand cream, a more expensive luxurious alternative, is L’Occitane’s hand cream, available in many formulas and scents. I gifted my aunt one of the trio sets for Christmas, which contained the Shea Butter, Cherry Blossom, and Lavender mini-versions, perfect for sticking in the handbag and finding your preferred smell. These are supposed to be best-selling hand creams on the market, and keep your hands supersoft. The price is $25 a pop for a 5.2oz, so a bit pricey, but there’s a sale going on at the website right now!


Helloooo Kitty!

January 12, 2009

Much to my boyfriend’s chagrin, one of my slightly childish unexplainable obsessions is Hello Kitty. After opening an account at BofA last month and triumphantly whipping out my Hello Kitty bank card, he half laughed half choked, and made me vow never to use it while paying for dinner. Anyway, he needn’t have worried, because I ended up cancelling the BofA account (but kept the card!)

I digress. Of course I had to prove to him that there were indeed grown-up Hello Kitty things sold by grown-up stores. Exhibit 1: (thank you Neiman Marcus):

Eee! Super adorable! The Neiman Marcus collection is designed by Kimora Lee Simmons, so it’s a little flashy flash, but there’s nothing wrong with some bling, (if you can afford it since it is $$$….*one day!*). I think the ring would be fun and cute to wear with a little cocktail dress, and I looove the Hello Kitty White Ceramic Watch . . . too bad I don’t wear watches or have a spare $1k lying around.

If that isn’t enough grown-up HK fun, in February 2009, the geniuses at MAC are coming out with a Hello Kitty makeup collection!!

Zomg so excited for this 2-parter: One is a Mild/Wild Kitty collection, and the second is a higher-end Kitty Kouture collection. I haven’t bought MAC in awhile, but this might cause me to break that pattern. Particularly, the Kouture items are splurge worthy-status. The collection showcases 2 MAC Dazzleglasses, which I’ve heard rave reviews about its great formula for getting shimmery and glossy lips.

This is the second time MAC has partnered with a childhood icon (the first was the Barbie loves MAC collection), but I am so much more enamored with this one than Barbie. These collaborations are smart for MAC to re-invent themselves and offer their customers something new – not an easy task for a company whose permanent collection has the biggest rainbow of colors of any makeup line.

Hello Kitty hits stores in February. I know what I’m hinting for for Valentine’s Day!