Category Archives: Beauty

Holy Grail Beauty Products

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been a little beauty obsessed. Long before I could hope to afford good quality products, I was paying close attention to the beauty section of department stores and articles in magazines about all the best skincare, makeup, and hair products and making my mental wish list of the items I felt might be the perfect match for me. At this point, I’ve done years of research to find whatever will make my skin glowy, my hair healthy, and my makeup staying perfect all day. So, I wanted share my best finds with you guys. The things I rely on, use daily, and repurchase the minute I empty the jar. No fly-by-night products here – only the BEST things I’ve found in my trial and error and stand by whole heartedly. Enjoy!

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Oribe Dry Texture Spray / Kerastase Forme Fatale / Kiehl’s Creme de Corps body lotion / Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur / Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash / Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle / La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream / Kate Somerville CC Cream / Kat Von D Ink Liner / Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in White Russian

Shirt I’m wearing

Sunless Sun Worship

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I’ve actually been wanting to do this post forever, as it’s one of my best kept summer beauty secrets. I guess I held back because it walks a fine line between a legit secret weapon us girls could all be relying on, and being a little over the top for a summer beauty routine. But you know what? This is something I’ve been doing and loving for years, so it’s about time I share it. And what better time than now, as the hot sunny days are about to come back with a bang, and those favorite ripped boyfriend shorts are returning to their rightful staple status.

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I’m talking about spray tans, people. You know I’ve always been a girl who can get down with some crazy beauty maintenance (acrylic nails a few years ago, hair extensions nonstop since 2011, etc). So I’m no stranger to trying some of these more “faux” type things (next up on the list of things to try – eyelash extensions). A few years ago, I did some spray tan research around LA, trying to find the best option. I tried them all – $60 organic spray tans, $100 Beverly Hills spray tans, middle-of-the-road spray tans, mom and pop shop spray tans. Each came with their share of issues… only lasted a day, too expensive, etc. But then I decided to try my local chain tan place – Palm Beach Tan, and this was when spray tans became a sustainable summer treat. Whether it was for a poolside party or vacation, a special event, or even just for everyday summer bronzedness, this fair skinned girl was hooked.

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Here’s what I like. The technology in spray tanning has come so far in recent years, and now using a booth for your tan instead of a human is a legitimate option for regular spray tan purposes. I mean, if it’s your own wedding, maybe have a professional do it. But for a beach weekend this really is sufficient if you take the proper steps. The Mystic booth is the one I use. It’s a spacious booth in which you rotate four different ways, standing like you’re doing the robot dance. It sprays a very fine mist and gives you an even tan. It’s cheap. Monthly memberships start at $20 and go up to around $60 for unlimited, depending on where you’re located. It’s chill – you can just walk in whenever without an appointment. The tan lasts longer than other ones I’ve tried, especially if you care for it well (see below for all my tips on that). You can customize the color to the level of dark you want to be and even your specific skin tone shade (olive vs red, etc), which the kind associates will help you with. I lean more towards dark and while it makes me look a little crazy that first day before I shower off the bronzer, the actual tan is a nice not-too-dark shade (as you can see in these photos – it’s subtle one day after the tan) that lasts for a good week.

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Now, how to do this properly. Here are the steps you can take for an even, long lasting tan. While it may sound like a lot, it will become second nature (if you get hooked and do this several times like I have). Feel free to pull this post up on your phone to use as a reference as you go through the steps, because it would be a lot to remember. ;)


1 / Exfoliate your skin using an oil free scrub. I have always used this one by St. Ives and not only is it cheap, it works wonders. Doesn’t dry out your skin either. Don’t use a bar soap as they can leave residue on your skin that will absorb the tan weirdly.

2 / Shave your legs and DON’T moisturize anything.

3 / Pack up your necessities for the tanning salon: a dark, loose fitting outfit for after (I do a dark cotton jersey dress with no bra, or loose shorts and a loose tee), a hair tie, flip flops or loose slip-on sandals. Leave your jewelry at home.


1 / Have the associate at check-in help you customize the tan you want and show you how to use the booth. Ask for the Mystic 4-way booth.

2 / Ask for a few wet terrycloth towels (some locations have them, some don’t). If they don’t have them, any terry cloth towel will do and you can dampen it. You’ll need a dry towel as well.

3 / Get naked (AFTER you go into the private room with the booth, I don’t recommend you do this in the lobby).

4 / The barrier cream they provide is your best friend. It’s going to help you keep certain areas from absorbing too much of the tan (rough patches, feet, hands). Put a light layer of this on any rough patches like elbows if you want (I usually forget those parts), and then put a THICK layer on your feet, especially around the heels, toes, and bottoms of the feet. A light layer on the tops of your feet, making sure to blend well so you don’t get any weird lines around the ankles. The mist will fall from the air onto the tops of your feet and the skin there is more absorbent so this part is crucial. Use the little medical looking booties they provide, if you want to really avoid scary toes and heels. After applying the cream to my feet, I put the booties on, trying to leave the tops of my feet somewhat exposed but the important parts covered. Trust me, you don’t need tan toes and heels. The glow from your legs will still make your feet look tan.

5 / Use the nose plug sponge and ear plugs they provide to keep from breathing the mist in (and keep your mouth closed during the tan), and the hair net, tucked behind your ears and make sure it’s not covering any part of your forehead. They provide lip balm as well, which I recommend you apply.

6 / Last step is to apply the barrier cream to your hands. A decent layer on your whole hand, then a THICK layer on the palms, and THICK layer on your nails and cuticles. Blend out any edges.

7 / Now you’ll feel a little creamed up and ridiculous, but you’re ready to go in the booth. The robot will tell you what to do. Keep your mouth and eyes shut while it’s spraying.

NOTE FOR BREASTFEEDING MOMS: You will want to cover your boobs for this. Either with a cheap strapless bra or a ton of the barrier cream and then wipe them clean right after.


1 / You will immediately feel like a skinny bronzed goddess but the best is yet to come later in the day. ;) Take the damp towel and completely wipe the palms of your hands and nails/cuticles. The more you can be blendy around the edges, the better because you do want some tan to stay on the tops of your hands and feet, but not have any lines. It really is an art.

2 / Remove the booties and wipe the bottoms of your feet, heels, and nails. You may want to gently wipe off some of the tan on the tops of your feet, and use a little barrier cream to blend out the line from the booties.

3 / Make sure you feel pretty dry before carefully putting on your “spray tan outfit” and leaving.

4 / IMPORTANT: Don’t shower or work out for at least 4 hours after the tan – I usually wait til the next day and just wear PJ’s that cover me well that night. But I do recommend washing your hands as soon as you start to notice them darkening, maybe 1 or 2 hours in. They absorb a ton of the tan so if you wash them earlier than the rest of your body, it’ll actually be even and not overdone.


1 / Use a sulfate free body wash to keep from stripping your tan, and you can use a mild exfoliant after a day or two. You don’t want to slough off your tan but you also don’t want dry skin to build up and end up with a flaky tan.

2 / Use a good body lotion, like my favorite one here, to keep the tan moisturized and looking glowy. I wouldn’t recommend using a straight oil though as that could actually make your tan come off sooner.

3 / Get a sample of your foundation in the next shade or two darker (or heck, it can’t hurt to own a full sized darker foundation for summer as you’ll naturally be a bit more bronzed in the summer anyway). As your tan fades, you can mix it with your usual color in different levels until you’re back to your normal color.

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Phew, that’s it! Now you know you really want to try it, don’t you? Who knows, you may just end up loving it. While I’m happy to embrace my natural fair skin, I also can’t help but love a good tan with my cutoffs in the summer. Who doesn’t? SO, I’ve teamed up with Palm Beach Tan for a giveaway to help you guys get summer ready! Here’s what’s up for grabs:


1 winner will get : $150 gift card to Nordstrom for a cute summer outfit to show off your tan (Rag & Bone BF shorts, I’m looking at you!) and a 3-month Diamond Premier membership so you can spray tan til your hearts content! So fun. I want this.

5 winners will get : a free spray tan certificate from your local Palm Beach Tan salon, so you can give it a try and become obsessed.

TO ENTER: Just leave a comment on this post and tell me about the summer plans you have that you would like to be a bronzed goddess for! Excited to hear what you guys have planned. Perfect inspiration to get me through this hump day.

What I’m Wearing : Top / Shorts / Kaftan


Photography by Heather Kincaid



Mini Bathroom Makeover


When we moved into our apartment last year, the inspiration was flowing for how I wanted to decorate the different rooms. We love this place for the many areas that are drenched with sunlight and have more of a “house” feel. Sadly, the bathrooms are not those areas. Frankly, the bathrooms are dark, windowless, and definitely have an “apartment” feel with lots of basic, nothing-to-write-home-about fixtures. It’s not worth investing money into any permanent aspects of the place since we don’t own it, so any updates we do have to be in the accessory realm. I made it my mission to upgrade this bathroom as best I could with an all-white look to keep it feeling light and fresh, and little pops of black for some minimalist accents. I also decided that no product that wasn’t pretty to look at was allowed outside of the cabinets. I scoured all the beauty brands that were not only good products, but had well designed packaging that would serve as decor on the counter.


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Byredo ‘Burning Rose’ candle / Lancôm ‘Absolute Eye Precious Cells’ eye care / Glossier ‘Balm Dotcom‘ / Sachajuan leave in conditioner  / SK-II facial treatment cleanser / Glossier ‘Soothing Face Mist‘ / Glossier ‘Priming Moisturizer‘ / Glossier ‘Perfecting Skin Tint‘ / Aesop parsley seed facial cleansing oil / Aesop parsley seed anti-oxidant facial toner / West Elm mirror tray / Kiehls anti-persperant & deodorant / La Roche-Posay Ultra-Light spf 30 sunscreen

Bathroom-6Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 10.43.00 PMKeraste K Forme Fatale hair gel / Evo dry shampoo / R+Co flexible hairspray / Phytovolume volumizing spray / Henri Bendel white pepper candle / Sachajuan ocean mist texturizing spray / Santa Maria Novella body milk / St Tropez self tan luxe dry oil / CB2 tray / Jonathan Adler ‘DOLLS’ canister


We found these two art prints at a boutique in Florence and are by far my favorite additions to the space. I love how they add some “unbasicness” to the main wall. We also added some plants to bring some life into an otherwise stark space, along. A luxurious candle, like this one from Byredo and a nice room spray (obsessed with this one from Diptyque) can also do wonders to the overall feeling of the room when I come in here.


Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 11.29.28 PMAesop Reverence Aromatique hand wash / Kiehl’s Creme De Corps / Evo gluttony volume shampoo / Evo bride of gluttony conditioner / Banksy in New York book / H&M skull bath towel (similar) /  Umbra black waste basket / CB2 nesting tables / Diptyque ‘Bais’ room spray / West Elm woven stripe bath mat 

I would love to hear about how you guys add luxe touches to the blah spaces in your home!

Nail Combos

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When it’s mani/pedi time, who else is guilty of standing at the polish station for way too long strategizing the perfect finger/toe combo? This is the best part of the whole appointment, aside from the massage of course…. and pretty much everything else… except for the part when you’re soaking your gels off and can’t use your phone. Pure hell. Lately I’ve been so bored by the idea of using the same color on my toes and fingers (plus I do gels on my fingers and regular polish on my toes so you can’t really match them perfectly anyway), so I like to pick a monochromatic spectrum or have some fun with complementary colors. Here are a few combo ideas to inspire your next nail appointment!

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1. NARS polish ‘Mash‘ / OPI polish ‘Juice Bar Hopping‘ / 2. Butter polish ‘Royal Navy‘ / JINsoon ‘Auspicious‘ / 3. Chanel polish ‘Voodoo’ / Essie polish ‘Hubby for Dessert‘ / 4. Dior polish ‘Milly‘ / Essie polish ‘Chillato‘ / 5. Givenchy polish / Tom Ford polish ‘Pink Crush‘ / 6. NARS polish ‘Thasos‘ / Lancôme polish ‘Peach Appeal‘ / 7. Chanel polish / OPI polish ‘Alpine Snow‘ / 8. RGB polish ‘Coral‘ / American Apparel polish neon green / 9. OPI polish ‘Mod About You‘ / YSL polish black

Favorite Fragrances

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I’m guilty of being a bit lazy when it comes to my fragrance game. I used to keep no more than one bottle at a time which I would use everyday (that I remembered anyway) until it was gone, and that would usually take years. Since I’ve been in my thirties though I’ve gotten a little more intentional about this aspect of my beauty routine. There’s something so special about finding your signature scent, and having the right one for the season/your mood. So today I’m sharing a few of my favorites for every occasion and why I love them…

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Frederic Malle – Musc Ravaguer : Sensual, sophisticated – A blend of bergamot and cinnamon with vanilla, musk, and amber. I discovered this one after scouring the fragrances at Barney’s for hours one day and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s been my signature scent ever since. Perhaps a bit on the evening/Fall side of the spectrum but I wear it all the time.
Byredo – Bal D’Afrique :  Warm, romantic – African marigold and Moroccan cedar wood with notes of lemon, jasmine, violet, amber and musk. This is a very balanced fragrance that’s good for all year round. I don’t own this one yet but it’s probably my next purchase.  I have Gypsy Water by Byredo which is another lovely whimsical fragrance and probably their most popular. I love that one too but I have found that I have to be in the right mood for it.
Jo Malone – Wild Bluebell : Fresh – Bluebells, lilies, persimmon and lemon create this lovely blend of wild flowers misted with dew. So springy, youthful, and pure.
Le Labo – Neroli 36  Floral, sensual, warm – Rose, musk, mandarin orange, jasmine, and vanilla blend to create a floral fragrance with an essence of Neroli/Orange Blossom with a warm and sensual base.
Acqua di Parma : Classic, timeless, natural – A fresh blend of rose, citrus, lavender, and verbena with notes of bergamot, lemon, bitter and sweet orange, sage, rosemary, cedar wood, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, and oakmoss creates this fresh and natural  fragrance.
Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Colonia – Tabacco ToscanoAromatic, masculine – Bergamot and jasmine with tobacco and birch leaf mixed with notes of vanilla, amber, and malt create a aromatic fragrance  for women and men. I got this one in Florence on our trip last Fall so it immediately transports me back there. I love it, but it’s very manly (almost grandpa-y) and probably not for everyone.
Bobbi Brown – BeachLight, happy, summer – Jasmine, sea spray, and mandarine evoke warm sunshine and sea breeze, creating the perfect blend for any occasion. It’s simple, light, and smells like that perfect sunscreen/saltwater blend for summer.
Hermes – Un Jardin Sur Le Toit : Fresh, fruity, light – This light and cheerful fragrance evokes the scent of an apple tree, pare tree, and magnolia in the Paris air. This one is so feminine and has a lovely fruit/floral balance. Not super complex, but it blends so well into the skin for a natural girly scent.
Frederic Malle – Lys Mediterranee : White floral, musky – A warm blend of ginger lily, angelica root, orange flower and water lily. Another great one for a seaside vacation, weekends, or anytime you want to be instantly transported to a Mediterranean retreat.

What are your favorite scents? I love to try new ones…

Seletti birdcage / Diptyque Ambre candle

My Everyday Makeup Routine

Let’s talk about one of my very favorite things in the world: makeup! I am no expert whatsoever, but I have always been makeup obsessed. These days, my routine has gotten a little less experimental and dramatic than it used to be, but I’m still a devotee and haven’t stopped spending more time and money on it than I probably should. This is my current everyday makeup look – the products I use, and how I do it. I hope you enjoy!

Everyday Makeup


Christian Dior Crème de Rose lip balm / Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow primer / Make Up For Ever HD foundation / Beauty Blender / Cle de Peau loose setting powder / Trish McEvoy powder brush / Cle de Peau concealer stick / Cle de Peau concealer brush / Charlotte Tilbury Bronze & Glow face sculpt and highlight duo / Trish McEvoy bronzer brush / Benefit Coralista blush / NARS blush brush / Urban Decay Primer Potion eye primer / Smashbox Full Exposure eyeshadow palette / Charlotte Tilbury eyebrow pencil / Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner Pen eyeliner / Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes eyeliner pencil / Make Up For Ever Smoky Stretch Lengthening & Defining mascara / NARS lipgloss in Vent Sale / NARS ‘Audacious’ lipstick in Raquel

Gym Bag Inventory


Today I thought it would be fun to share my “gym bag inventory” – the things I lug with me everyday to the gym and pretty much can’t live without at this point. I’d love to hear about yours too! It took me about a week of getting used to my new gym “home” to figure out what I needed and compile a (very stuffed) bag of items that get me through my workout and post-workout regiment. I cannot believe it’s already been almost a month since I started my get fit initiative. Wow. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in a month, yet how quickly that time slips through our fingers leaving us feeling like we could have done more. I can honestly say that things have been going amazingly so far. Not because I’m wasting away right before your very eyes (as you can probably see in my photos here and on Instagram, it’s a slow moving process), but because it has really allowed me to get my daily lifestyle to a place I’m proud of. Seeing weight come off does help a little. ;) As of the last time I weighed myself (about 2 weeks ago), I had lost 7 lbs so far which was an amazing feeling, especially since those first couple of weeks felt like nothing was happening despite these drastic changes (working out 5 days a week and cutting out dairy, wheat, and coffee… 90% of coffee – read more about the specific changes in my original post about this). But seeing that number on the scale go down really gave me the validation that all of this could actually work…


 Nike gym bag / Sephora toiletry bag (old) / Ibiza boar bristle brush / Ibiza hair dryer / Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses / Health Ade kombucha / Hydro Flask water bottle /  Frends headphones /  Havaianas flip flops / Shimano spinning shoes / Topshop iPhone case (similar) / WANT les essientials de la vie travel wallet (similar in cognac and blue) / Lululemon top

Not gonna lie though, there have been a few bumps in the road. The first challenge was going home to Minnesota last week which I thought was going to be a piece of cake (not literally) eating wise and hard workout wise. It was the opposite – working out was easy and fun because I had my mom to join me for stair climbing and running/walking on the track at the nearby college stadium. It was a nice change of pace to enjoy the outdoors and chats with her. Eating was harder though because I didn’t have my specific crutches that I rely on to get me through the day (juices, kombucha, the snack bars I get at the gym, my dinner go-to’s – more on those later). Still I thought I’d be back at it in no time, but then my hubby had a serious workout injury that lead to 3 nights in the hospital. Between that and Labor Day weekend (and a weak moment involving pizza), I didn’t work out for a whole week which left me feeling like I derailed this whole thing. Let’s just say that finally heading back to the gym yesterday was really hard. Not because I didn’t want to go – I was actually dying to get back – but because I was afraid that it would be like going back to square 1 and that all the work I’ve done so far is for nothing. I’m not far enough into this where I’ve noticed a visual difference in my body let alone feel totally safe to eat pizza and skip out on the gym for a week… but it happened. I couldn’t get up the courage to weigh myself again just yet, but I’m hoping that the last 2 weeks didn’t put me back where I started. Either way, I’m officially back to pick up where I left off and trying not to beat myself up about life getting in the way a little. There has to be some room for mistakes, but a lesson I learned is that when you’re trying to go for big results, you have to be prepared for the setbacks and be ready to stay with it even when it gets harder than usual. What do you do to stay with your plan when you travel or deal with unexpected curveballs? 


gym_bag_4Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub / It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Spray / Sacha Juan Ocean Hair Mist / Kate Somerville ExfoliKate / Rodial Dragon’s Blood Cleansing Water / MoroccanOil hairspray / Malin & Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant / Kerastase Elixir Ultime hair serum / Davines Love conditionerTangle Teezer brush / Goody hair ties / American Apparel headband / Schik razor 

Thanks for listening, guys! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more updates on this journey, and at the hashtag #thelifestyledfit! I love hearing from you about your experiences with health and fitness too, so don’t be shy! Have a great rest of your week – it’s already half over – yay!

Photography by Dani Beutell


January Survival Kit

2014 Hit List

I know that this is a super random roundup of miscellaneous items, but bear with me. I confess I almost felt weird posting some of these things because it’s a very detailed glimpse into my daily routine. Some parts are glamorous, some not so glamorous, but all are awesome in their own way. See, January is more of a buckle down and refrain from shopping month for me. I’m sure I’m not alone, right? So that means it’s all about enjoying the simple/guilty/not-so-guilty pleasures that have made their way to necessity status  recently. That’s why today I’m sharing all the things that are getting me through this month and why.

Nespresso Citiz espresso machine + milk steamer – Where do I even begin? Gone are the days of making less than stellar pots of coffee, half of which would always get poured out when I realize 8 cups was probably a little too ambitious for me to consume by myself. I’m OBSESSED with our Nespresso machine. The blends are all so yummy, and it’s a piece of cake to make any kind of espresso drink you could possibly imagine. I go to bed at night looking forward to my double shot of Ristretto with almond milk in the morning.

Byredo Parfums Gypsy Water – Subtle enough for everyday but complex enough to keep me inspired. I can’t explain it. It’s just heavenly. Try it out and you’ll see what I mean.

Bobbi Brown Extra hand cream – The only hand cream I’ve come across the seems to actually make my hands softer (what a concept!), plus it smells divine.

Frends ‘Taylor’ headphones – While I get that these might make a little more sense to rock on the NYC subways than roaming the streets of LA (does anyone roam the streets of LA?), I just love these things. The sound is actually really good considering that the sound is not the first reason a girl would want these.

Alma mater t-shirt – Not having lived in my college city in 5+ years now, it had been awhile since I had actually visited the campus. So when we were in NYC over the holidays, we made a point of stopping in to stock up on gear. It was fun to pick out a few t-shirts, the best of which is soft and drapey. I’ve been throwing it on more than I’d care to admit.

NARS ‘Adult Content’ blush palette & ‘Yachiyo’ brush – This palette has everything you need for flawless cheeks all in one place and the brush is the perfect lightweight match to the intense pigmentation of NARS blushes.

Rag & Bone sweatpants – Just the perfect necessity for winter nesting, and they went on major sale! They’re sold out online but some Rag & Bone stores might still have them, so call.

Hydro Flask water bottle – This thing keeps water ice cold for hours. It’s a miracle.

Raw Reserve Green Superfood – We’ve been adding this to our daily breakfast smoothies. It basically gives you superpowers.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate with Caramel and Sea Salt – It’s just so good. Every weekend we get 2 of these for the week but they’re gone by Monday. Whoops.

Vanderpump Rules – This show is a total train wreck in the best way. I wish it was on twice a week.

Bar Rescue – It’s like Kitchen Nightmares but for bars. Totally addicting.

La Mer moisturizing cream – Sooo yeah. Guilty on this one. But seriously wow. My skin was disappointed in every other not-cheap-by-any-means moisturizer I’ve tried in the past couple of years. This is the only one that truly takes care of me. Well worth the investment if you have dry skin. It’s SUPER thick though so next time I might opt for the soft cream formula.

Logitech iPad keyboard cover – This keyboard takes your iPad to a whole new level. With it you can type e-mails for hours, or use it as a stand so you can watch as many episodes of Scandal as you can fit into a day. Then it protects your screen when you’re not using it. Game changer.

SoulCycle (and Shimano cycling shoes) – I’ve talked about it a couple of times before, but I’ll recap – this is the only workout that keeps me coming back after almost killing me every time, which makes it pure magic.

Phew! It’s a lot to take in but hopefully this helps inspire a new obsession or two. I’d love to hear about your January survival tools!


Beauty Ritual

Beauty Ritual - The Life StyledEvery now and then I like to check in and assess the current status of my beauty regiment. I often find that I’ve just gotten used to using a product without actually asking myself if it’s making a difference, or I simply forget how things were before I started using it. It’s important to take note of how the investment is working out. This is one area of my style that gets a lot of my {financial} attention since I’m such a sucker for a luxurious product with pretty packaging, and I’m constantly testing out new things. There’s room for one tray on my bathroom counter which of course is reserved for the most used, most tried and true products of the daily routine. So without further ado, here’s the breakdown what I’m using these days…

Beauty Ritual - The Life Styled

Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash – Just a great daily face wash that’s no frills, but nice and gentle on your skin.

Shu Uemura Beauty Cleansing Oil – Double cleansing is a new part of my routine and I don’t remember what life was like before I had this product. It’s that good. Cleanses all the makeup off without leaving my skin feeling drained of nourishment. Fiore Beauty did a great post about double cleansing so be sure to check that out and pick your oil of choice.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – I had been hearing all sorts of praise about this product and I finally had to try it for myself in order to understand why all the hoopla over a water-like substance that costs as much as a pair of Eddie Borgo earrings. Luckily it comes in multiple sizes so I picked up the smallest one for a trial and I think I get it now. After one month of using it day and night, I’m really seeing a difference in my skin. It’s more youthful, glowier, and more hydrated. I’m very curious to see how it holds up to cold east coast weather over the holidays since winter usually turns my skin to stone.

Cle de Peau Gentle Nourishing Emulsion and Gentle Protective Emulsion – These day and night lotions are another splurge for sure, but they’ve lasted me a year and are still going strong. Even with my skin as naturally dry as it is, I love that they are lightweight and non-greasy while still hydrating enough – especially when used in a routine with the rest of the skincare products in this post.

Sisley Floral Toning Lotion – This product is my first purchase from Sisley and I can definitely say it won’t be my last. I’m always intrigued by a brand that’s popular in Europe due to good performance, and not as popular in the states due to the fact that they just can’t be bothered to advertise here. This stuff is super hydrating and smells absolutely heavenly. I am savoring some other samples from the line and will be going back for more very soon. Thanks to my beautiful mom for bringing this line to my attention.

Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique – My hair’s poor ends are hurt and confused by my constant hot tool abuse, and this helps keep them protected without weighing them down.

EOS Organic Lip Balm in Sweet Mint – This one speaks for itself due to the adorable packaging and refreshing price point, but I also love it because it’s a nice consistency that actually moisturizes my lips and tastes delightful.

Grande Lash MD Eyelash and Eyebrow Serum – I have tried a few different things for luscious lashes. For me, extensions are too high maintenance and false lash strips are only for special occasions. After using this for three months, my lashes were transformed – no appointment necessary. The best part is they’re MY lashes so I don’t even have to be wearing makeup to reap the benefits, and I can wash my face thoroughly without worrying about losing a lash.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime – This is my holy grail product for my hair. It conditions the ends and basically erases damage, making my hair silky soft. I even layer it on top of the Ciment Thermique and it’s never too much for my hair to handle. Love.

So tell me, have you tried any great products lately that I should get my hands on?


More is More

20130330-IMG_5612Today we’re going to talk about something I surprisingly probably get more e-mails and inquiries about than my wardrobe choices – and that is my hair extensions. Ever since I mentioned that I have them, I have been receiving a steady stream of all kinds of questions: What kind do I wear? How much do they cost? Where in LA do I get them done? So I wanted to address all of these questions today, and hopefully shed some light on the situation for ya.

20130330-IMG_5608-EditI think it’s safe to say that these days it’s become a lot more common for ladies to wear a bit of extra hair on their heads. Sure, there are plenty of women who were blessed with impressive manes, but it’s no secret that a lot of the luscious hair we see in the media has a little (or a lot) of help from locks that didn’t naturally grow there. I got kind of unlucky with the thinnest, puniest hair imaginable, and growing up it was always an insecurity for me. Now it’s a treat to be able to have that hair I always wished I had, even if it’s in kind of a roundabout way and I can’t imagine going back to my regular hair anytime soon. Keep in mind that I am in no way an expert in hair extensions or hair in general for that matter, so definitely talk to your extensions stylist (don’t worry, I recommend some below) for more information. I’m just simply sharing what I’ve learned from my three years of experience wearing them…

20130330-IMG_5629So let’s get down to business, shall we?

What kind of extensions do you have, and what kind do you recommend? There are lots of different types of extension methods out there – wefts, individuals, clip-in, tape-in, etc. Every method has its pros and cons and what’s best for you is totally based on personal preference and your specific hair. I have tried 3 different methods – clip-ins (for my wedding), sew-in wefts, and beaded wefts. The “wefts” are rows of hair sewn together in a line at the top which connect to a row of your hair at the root. So, kind of like clip-ins but they stay in permanently – well at least until you take them out. I have worn anywhere from two to four rows at one given time. The beaded wefts are like the sewn-in but they connect only with beads that clamp them to the hair at the root with no thread woven throughout, which makes them quicker to do but less secure, less thorough, and more stressful on the hair (not great if you have thin or weak hair like me). The sew-in’s are my favorite because they are very safe on the hair, chemical-free, and very natural looking. I have never tried the individual (like mirco links or keratin tips) because I personally think they can look wormy/stringy when not styled properly, and I’ve heard that the tape ones aren’t very secure and can fall out. Clip-ins were great to have for a special occasion and to see how I felt wearing extensions without committing to a longer term method, but I didn’t find them to be practical for everyday use.

What’s it like wearing them? Do you have to do anything special to care for them? I’m not going to lie, it took some getting used to. The first couple of nights my scalp was sensitive and I felt like I had little rocks stuck to my head. But just like anything, I got used to it really fast and after awhile hardly even noticed they were there. You do have to work around it when washing and styling it – you can’t just fully run your fingers through it which can feel weird. Certain hairstyles can be harder to do – a tight top knot, for example, doesn’t really happen for me. I can still put it up – just a bit more loosely and with careful placement. I also needed to buy different hair products than I was used to, like a heavier conditioner (I love the Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Masque), and a serum for the ends (Kerastase Exilir Ultime is my favorite right now). The best thing is that my blowouts last longer with extensions. I used to have to wash my hair everyday but now I’ll do it every three days or so, which is perfect because I hate showering. Ugh, it’s so boring.

How much do extensions cost? You’re looking at spending a minimum of $300 for your first appointment, and can spend up to $1,000 or more, depending on where you go (see below) and the quality of the hair. Maintenance appointments can cost anywhere from from $30 all the way up to $500+. Maintenance (tightening) happens every 5 to 10 weeks. I know that’s a wide range but it seems to depend on your hair, the method you’re using, and how secure/good of a job they do.

Where do you recommend in LA for hair extensions? Lots of salons offer hair extensions, but you do have to do your research to find one that’s in your price range, offers GOOD hair, and the method you want. I can give you two strong recommendations from personal experience of where to go in LA, for two different price ranges. I’m sorry this part leaves out anyone outside of LA, but I have only been to places where I live…

Kacey at Jonathan and George Salon – Kacey is the creme de la creme of hair extension experts in LA. She does her own sew-in method that’s very particular, secure, always perfect, and completely natural. The quality of hair she provides is top of the line (it’s angel hair I tell you) and she does gorgeous Pin-worthy color as well. There’s nothing you need to worry about with her because her work and product are the best of the best. She is priced accordingly, so if the money isn’t an issue then I highly recommend her. Call Jonathan & George salon for more information and pricing.

Just Extensions – If you are on a budget or are looking to try extensions for the first time without making an investment, then I definitely recommend this place. It’s an extensions-only hair salon that just opened on La Brea, and it’s where I got my extensions most recently (the ones you see in these photos). It’s the Dry Bar of hair extensions. Extensions are all they do there, and the place has an open, fresh vibe very similar to DryBar (champagne included). They offer all the different methods of extensions, and will do a great job matching your hair’s color and texture. Their prices range from around $100 to $400 for your first appointment, and $75 for maintenance appointments. I am very happy with my extensions from them – they are very good quality for the price point, not to mention a great match to my natural hair. The application is very secure, and the salon is a pleasant fun place to go have your hair done. Riqua the owner is very passionate and knowledgeable about extensions, and she will educate you on the process and get you all set up with some great hair.

A few more tips on how to avoid making some mistakes I made…

When you go to a new place for extensions… I recommend going in first for a consultation to discuss which method is right for you, get a price quote (since it can range drastically), and get your hair matched. Tell them all about your natural hair’s texture and tendencies so you can be sure to get as close of a match as possible. If you have naturally curly hair, then you won’t want stick straight extension hair, etc. After you have your extensions put in, you’ll probably want to go to your usual hair stylist for a more thorough or specific cut, and any highlights or any color you might want to do.

Keep in mind that there are no guarantees with hair that’s not your own. I did have one bad experience with a salon in Orange County where I spent hundreds of dollars and ended up with a horrid tangled mess of hair that I couldn’t get a brush through and had to remove completely within two months. Always strive to get the best quality of hair that you possibly can and ask questions. You can’t always tell by looking at it if it’s going to be good or not. My bad round of hair was gorgeously silky at first because it had been treated with chemicals to make it appear perfect. Have your extensions stylist fill you in on the details of where the hair comes from and make sure they can tell you why you can expect good quality from the hair you are getting from them. You don’t know exactly what the hair’s history is. So if you decide to highlight your hair, it may lift to a different tone than your natural hair. Nothing a good colorist can’t handle, but certainly something to keep in mind.

So I hope this was helpful for those of you who have been curious about hair extensions. Like I said, I’m no expert but I’ve definitely had my fair share of time with them now and am happy to share my experience in hopes of helping anyone who might be considering giving them a try.

Disclaimer: Just Extensions provided me with these extensions gratis so I could try out their service, and I am only telling you about them because I’m genuinely happy with the hair and do really recommend them. I would never rave about a product, brand, or service that I didn’t love.
Photos by Ian Sheppard