summer beauty

I find that from June until September, I am often a hot mess. (No pun intended.) Despite my best efforts to pretty myself up, it’s all undone within 5 minutes of being outside in the hot summer months. Humidity turns my unruly hair into a frizzy helmet, and the heat has my makeup dripping down to my knees. Have you ever left the house one way, only to look like a homeless crackhead when you get to where you’re going? Welcome to my life. So products for me are super important in the summer. I need anti-humidity, anti-frizz, anti-melting everything. You want to look natural in the summer-like you just rolled out of bed with your beachy hair and tan. Like it was effortless. There’s nothing like thick, cakey makeup and crazy eyeliner a la Amy Winehouse to go with your pretty little sundress. (But for me-“beachy” hair is the last thing I want. Like ever. Have you seen me on the beach? I’m scary.) So I thought I’d share just a few of my go-to summer beauty products. I go for easy and minimal when it’s sweltering out. And here’s what I’m reaching for right now:

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Living Proof Satin Hair Serum: Styling Products | Sephora.

I have just starting using the Living Proof line after reading how well their anti-frizz products work. As someone who has tried every single product with the words “anti-frizz” on them, I was skeptical. But I gotta say, this stuff is awesome. It’s light, doesn’t weigh hair down, tames frizz and smoothes. And a very little goes a long way. I’m a fan of this stuff, for sure. Oh and even after a sweaty workout, my hair still looked pretty damn good.

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Revlon Moon Drops – Creme Lipstick, Orange Flip 710 | drugstore.com.

I really love when I find a really good drugstore product. There’s only a few I swear by, and this is one of them. I saw Revlon’s Orange Flip on someone and immediately went out to CVS to buy it. It’s the perfect summer shade and it looks good on everyone I’ve seen it on. Some days, I wear no other makeup but this, and I still look put together. I love it. And it’s under $10!

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Marc Jacobs Daisy Rollerball: Rollerballs | Sephora.

Oh, how I love Marc Jacobs. I’ve mentioned how it’s my signature scent. And this MJ Daisy rollerball is my signature travel scent. It’s so small and compact, you can just throw it in your purse or makeup bag. It’s light, fresh and feminine and perfect for summer. It’s my scent whenever I travel. Another great thing about it? It’s $20.

16.83 for 10

Amazon.com: TanTowel Self-Tan Towelette Classic 10 PACK: Beauty.

Summer also marks the time when even more people think I’m my children’s nanny. They have this beautiful Asian skin that tans so beautifully (despite SPF 5,000), and I am the pasty chic who turns three shades of red, blisters and/or peels, and turns pasty again. Sigh. So I have to fake it. I have tried so many self-tanners and have been turned every shade of orange known to man (anyone who has known me for awhile can attest to this), so when I tried Tan Towels, I was thrilled. It gives a very light and subtle shade and really looks natural. It also doesn’t stink like so many self-tanners do. They’re like the moist towelettes you get after eating chicken wings. But waaaaaaay better. These are awesome; go buy them.

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Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15: Foundation | Sephora.

Laura Mercier is some kind of genius. I have yet to try one of her products that I don’t love. But my favorite one, by far, has become her mineral powder. In the summer, I omit the primer and foundation and just use moisturizer and this. It has a very subtle shimmer and just a hint of color, and at the same time provides a little bit of coverage. I find it doesn’t settle into fine lines and has a really nice effect. It also has SPF 15. Perfect.

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Clarisonic Mia™ Skin Cleansing System: Professional Spa Tools | Sephora.

This one is my top beauty product of all-time and for every season. It’s the Clarisonic cleansing system. It is the best investment  you can make for your skin. It cleans so deep and thoroughly, yet feels so gentle-like giving yourself a facial. When I get lazy and don’t use it for a few days, I can see and feel the difference. If you don’t properly cleanse, it doesn’t really matter what you put on your face. And this is the best way to cleanse your face. I have the Mia model, which is smaller than the original. I can’t say enough about this.

So those are some of summer  must-haves. I would love to hear what yours are!

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Signature scent

Do you remember the first perfume you ever had? And do you remember the way it made you feel? My very first perfume was United States of Benetton, and I remember what it smelled like as if I just put in on yesterday (and not 25 years ago.) I also remember feeling like I had arrived-like I was a grown up. And at all of 16, I felt like a lady. Because that’s what perfume can do-it can make you feel things. It can provoke emotion. Our sense of smell can be a very powerful thing. I associate scents with events and people in my life. My grandmother, who passed away almost 20 years ago, wore the perfume White Shoulders and every now and then I’ll catch a whiff of it and I instantly feel like she’s right next to me, almost in an omnipresent way. All from a scent. As a girl is coming into her own, she’ll probably experiment with many different perfumes. Just like a girl won’t really know who she really is for awhile, she won’t discover her signature scent for awhile. I distinctly remember having a brief affair with Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth. (both the perfume and the song.) Thankfully, that didn’t last long. There was also my Calvin Klein era-from Obsession to Escape to Eternity to One. Then there was Estee Lauder’s Beautiful and Ralph Lauren’s Lauren. I remember them all and where I was in my life when I was wearing them. My life in perfume, if you will. But my experimenting days, so to speak, are now over. I have been using the same perfume for over 10 years now. I have 3 main ones, but Marc Jacobs will always have my heart. It is what I was wearing when I met my husband, and when we first started dating, he would always comment on how good I smelled. The first time he smelled a different scent on me, he said “that doesn’t smell like you.” And so I had a signature scent. And it smelled like me. Do you have a certain scent that you always wear or do you change it up? Do you change scents with the season? I know a lot of people that wear “heavier” scents during the winter (musky, woodsy) and “lighter” ones (citrus and floral) during the warmer months. I wear the same ones all year round, but I always like to hear what other people do.

Here are my perfumes. I don’t have a lot, but like I said I’m loyal to the ones I use. Like so many things, I like to keep them on a tray and keep them together. Here’s what’s there:

Marc Jacobs. I have tried a few other scents, but I always come back to this one. I can’t tell you how many people have asked me “what perfume are you wearing?” I’ve worn it so long I can’t even smell it anymore. The predominant note is gardenia-and I’m a sucker for gardenias. It’s feminine without being too sweet or too floral. It’s just lovely.

Jo Malone. I was turned onto this about 7 years ago, and it’s become one of my favorites. There are around 20 different colognes, and you are encouraged to layer them with a number of different combinations. But they are all lovely enough to be worn alone as well. My two favorites are Vintage Gardenia (which has since been discontinued; broke my heart) and French Lime Blossom. Individually, they’re quite nice, but together, they were divine. Sigh…

Ah, Chloe.  For years, I had heard ladies swoon over this perfume. Going on and on about how delicious it was. So I tried it, but it didn’t blow my skirt up. It was ok. And then a few months later, I tried it again and I got it. I was a believer. It is sensual and feminine, floral and fresh yet slightly woodsy and just overall really, really nice. I’ve been wearing it every day since Christmas (every now and then I take a brief respite from Marc but I always go back and then fall back in love with it.) I’m a fan.

The other little bottles of perfume on my tray were a gift from a dear friend from her recent trip to Italy. I don’t know much about them except that when I wear them, I feel uber special because I know I’m wearing perfume from Italy. That, and they’re amazing.

Maybe one day I’ll travel to the south of France and happen upon some fabulous perfume that is only known to chic French women that can only be bought in one place in the entire world and that like only 5 people know about. But for now,  I’ll keep going to Sephora for my Marc Jacobs. My husband would be disappointed if I didn’t. I wouldn’t smell like me.

How to not look like you’ve stayed up for 3 days without a bath, been puked/pooped/peed on and overall just look like crap.

I thought about calling this post “new mom’s guide to not looking like crap”, but the more I thought about it, I think most women, (and let’s be real, pretty much all men) mothers or not, need help not looking like crap. Stress/sleep deprivation will do a number on you, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to know that. Having my kids 13 months apart, I think I am an expert on sleep deprivation and looking like I fell from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. I had to find quick fixes to make myself presentable for things like unexpected company, trips to the market, blah blah blah….Now I’m not sayin go dolly up and throw on your heels, I’m just sayin…look alive, ladies. Literally. Because you haven’t slept in days and you look like death. With all of that said, here is my top 5 list for all you new mommas/really tired chics.

1. Damn, I hate how new I am at this blogging program because I want to highlight, bold face and just overall scream this one: under eye concealer. And not just any one. I have tried them ALL. Admittedly, this one is expensive, but believe me, it is WORTH EVERY PENNY. It’s Cle de Peau Beaute concealer. At $70, it’s pricey, but you will never need another concealer. Ever. Ever. Ever. A few swipes of it and you will look like you just came back from getting fanned and fed grapes in St. Tropez. Yeah, it’s that good.

Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer NM Beauty Award Winner 2012 & 2013 – Neiman Marcus.

2. Hats, hats, hats. Haven’t slept in how long? Baby woke you up how many times last night? Haven’t washed your hair in how long? How’s your hair looking? That’s what I thought. You look homeless. Please throw a hat on that hair before you scare someone.  Hats conceal so much-no one needs to see how much of a hot mess you are under there. They are my savior. Anyone who knows me (or has passed me on the street) knows that my hair is anything but tame. I wasn’t blessed with silky, flowing locks. I have a kinky, frizzy fro. But, I gotta say, fros look good in hats. And I don’t mean your beat up Yankees hat here. (although there’s a place for those, too) That won’t make you feel special. I mean a fedora, a Panama hat, a cool 70s floppy hat. You’ll look like you took time to put yourself together and you’ll feel great, too.

Panama hat – Panama Hat – Women’s j.crew in good company – J.Crew.

Panama hat

3. Manicures. I know this can seem like an indulgence (and who has time for those?), but it does wonders on the self-esteem. You don’t have to go to the fancy spa and drop boatloads of cash. There’s a nail salon on basically every other corner, and you can pretty up your digits quickly and inexpensively. My nail salon charges $8 for a manicure and my ‘nail lady’ is amazing. I’m in and out in about 40 min. There is something about having really pretty hands that makes you feel so done, so lady like, so polished. It’s worth it. Take the time, hand your kids off to mom, hubby, sitter, and go. You’ll feel pretty. And sometimes that’s all it takes to turn a crappy day around.

Deborah Lippmann ‘Cleopatra in New York’ Nail Lacquer | Nordstrom.

4. Stylish diaper bag. Ok, so this is clearly specific to the mommas. And it’s a biggie. Your diaper bag will go with you everywhere for the first few years of your child’s life. EVERYWHERE. You’ll probably get more use out of it than any other bag you’ve ever owned. So make it a good one. You wouldn’t buy a purse you don’t love, so don’t but a diaper bag you don’t love. It doesn’t have to cost big bucks to be chic, either. But if I see you with one with Dora the Explorer or Elmo on it, I will bitch slap you.

Amazon.com: Rebecca Minkoff Knocked Up Baby BINYBBO Shoulder Bag,Black,One Size: Clothing.

5. Ballet flats. I naively thought I would be in heels forever. I even ignorantly said once while newly pregnant “I can totally still wear my heels when I’m 9 months pregnant.” What a tool. I love my heels. Love. Like really love. But let’s be honest. they’re not always realistic. Life can get crazy and you need a shoe that can keep up-and that doesn’t mean sacrificing style. There are so many really chic flats out there-pair with some skinny jeans and a cute tee and you’re done. I have also found that wedge sneakers are equally as comfortable, but they’re not for everyone. The first time my husband saw me in mine he said “They’re a little new school for you, no?” Read: your ass is too old for them. But I think they’re amazing and I could run laps in them, they’re so comfortable.

The Sidewalk Skimmer in Calf Hair – AllProducts – Sale – Madewell.

The Sidewalk Skimmer in Calf Hair

My whole point of this was to merely point out that we need to feel good about ourselves. It’s an issue with new moms. It was a huge issue with me. But how can you take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself? You are precious. Treat yourself as such.