going au natural

today, ladies, let’s talk about the stinky stuff…

about two and a half years ago I embarked on a commitment to stop wearing aluminum-based deodorant. while it’s a highly debated topic (and I am not trying to tell anyone what to do, nor do i claim to be a medical/scientific expert), there is plenty of credible research suggesting a link between aluminum-based compounds and an elevated risk factor for the development of breast cancer. given that several amazing women in my family have all been subject to this terrible disease, i decided it was better to be proactive and eliminate these products as soon as possible. now that i get older, it’s becoming more and more obvious I should watch the chemicals in my beauty regimen more closely, given how much time and effort i spend knowing the ingredients in my food and trying to eat organically.

however, the road towards all natural beauty products can be a rocky one, especially for a product that plays as critical a role to everyday hygiene as deodorant. Until recently, it was hard to find any sort of substitute that was effective. thankfully the growing buzz around natural beauty has driven the creation of several new brands, with new products coming out almost weekly. I first struck out with Tom’s for men at Whole Foods, the only aluminum free option I could find, but today there are so many more choices! (for comparison, there was one natural option available at sephora just a year ago and now there are 20+). Despite the expanded selection, you still have to be careful since some are great while others have been flat out useless.

For this reason, I decided to review ten types I’ve guinea pigged over the years, for those of you who are new to the idea of going all natural, or for anyone not loving their current deodorant. trust me, it took a lot of trial and error and I am still tweaking, with no five star option to be found (also full disclaimer, occasionally i cheat with Secret before a big event or meeting because stress sweat is. not. cute.) also since this process is an extremely personal one and what works for one person might not for another, there is also a very extensive review by the nyt here with additional options. If you’ve tried any of these, feel free to leave your ratings in the comments below!

and a plea to my dear readers– if there are any good ones i’ve missed, pass along your recommendations! please and thank youuuu.

  • the everyday all star (4 stars)- while putting my top pick at the beginning of the list may prevent you from scrolling further, this schmidt’s natural ($8.99) is my current favorite and it comes in enough scents to appease even the pickiest of noses. versus some of the others, it does feel gritty gliding on, but i’ve never noticed this during the day. and most importantly, compared to others, it really works.

  • the necessary evil (3 stars)- while i do not love this one as an everyday option, hence why it only gets three stars (goes on a little too slick feeling so you never feel completely dry), the takesumi detox ($22) is a great option for beginners to jumpstart the process, because the active charcoal pulls old toxins out.

  • the friend favorite (3 1/2 stars)- one of my dear friends and lovely yogi teacher JJ recommended primal pit paste ($10.95) to me at a bachelorette last year. if it weren’t for my recent discovery of schmidt’s i would have reordered this bad boy because it worked well enough. but the other reason it got dinged? as you can sort of see in the photo, the twist up container arrives only 1/2 full, so i found myself burning through it quickly and needing another (this was the only natural deodorant i’ve ever actually managed to get to the bottom of).

  • the bargain basement (2 stars)- after reading on the man repeller this crystal clear ($2.99) was amazing bang for your buck, i was left disappointed and thought it wore off after a few hours. also i just couldn’t get over this early 90’s packaging ugliness hanging out in my cosmetic bag (potentially a marketing firm’s dream job RN??)

  • the old faithful (2 1/2 stars)- while at one point in time i would have given Tom’s of maine ($5.79) 3 stars because in a pinch it will do, the arrival of better products means this one has fallen by the wayside. i’ve been really disappointed with Tom’s ever since Colgate purchased them; the lack of innovation sort of demonstrates how Colgate is using it as a cash cow rather than really trying to improve their product offerings. bonus points to this one for coming in a rare ‘unscented’ option though.

  • the designer deodorant (3 stars)- while Sephora has many other more expensive (Tarte, Milk, etc.) upscale branded deodorants, other than the Taksumi detox, I haven’t really toyed around with a $20-30 option. however, lavanila ($14) is a new product with cute packaging and a plethora of sweet scents. i still think other options might work better, but given the cute packaging and value size it definitely deserves a solid score.

  • the base spray (2 stars)– while i do not think this eo deodorant spray ($6.99) is effective on its own, which is one reason why i gave it a low score, JJ also recommended this as a “primer” of sorts before putting on the primal pit paste or another natural stick deodorant. it’s sort of annoying to have to use two different deodorants, especially if you can’t get them to have matching scents (the OCD in me required using the lavender smell in both since it was the only one I was sure would coordinate, but i hate the smell of lavender), and i found that you have to wait 1-2 minutes of dry time in between applying. overall, while it probably did help a little, i found it to be too much work and sort of gave up. that said, i do keep it in my gym bag now for a quick pick me up if i have errands to run or grab dinner directly after i work out.

  • the new kids to try (rating pending)i have heard rave reviews about both native deodorant ($12) and soapwalla deodorant cream ($19) so these are my next two purchases and i will report back!

work it girl

ah, dreaded monday is here again.

a friend of mine is starting a new job at a tech startup this week and reached out for some advice on how to nail a very casual office dress code. While most people would be psyched to have the freedom to wear pretty much whatever you want to work, as a female who’s grown up in pretty formal business settings, I can relate to how untethering this transition might be. sometimes too many choices can be overwhelming.

first, let’s source some inspiration…



as you can see highlighted in many of the shots above, there are a few staples any working girl should own. these include a white cashmere crewneck, well tailored cropped black pants, a pointy flat (these or these) and a navy blazer. however, outside those parameters, i have come up with a pretty standard recipe of key items for getting dressed in a hurry monday – friday.

my six piece recipe:

 

Links (listed left to right)

studs: j.crew    elizabeth & james    blue nile    tiffany

jackets: iro    banana republic    helene berman

bags: asos    tory burch    proenza schouler    bvlgari

tops: banana republic    theory    iris & ink

bottoms: tibi    re/done    rebecca taylor    iro

shoes: jcrew    nicholas kirkwood   ann taylor    frye

 

CPs- are there things I missed? what are some of your go-to work staples? let me know!

healthy habits #3: my workout routine

the why: i don’t know what it is about summer, but despite all the sports & outdoor activities, the season is usually when i’m in my worst physical shape of the year. the irony is, of course, it’s also the time of year when clothes are the skimpiest. but between bbqs, happy hours, weekend trips, and too many bowls of guac, those extra 5-7 lbs always sneak up by august.

now that i’ve been in town more consistently, i’ve made getting fit a big Fall priority. combined with a strict(ish?) diet monday-friday, i’m working through the last of the summer pudge and feeling better physically and mentally. as result, today i thought it would be fun to share my favorite places in NYC to break a sweat, as well as some new gear to inspire you to get that booty in motion.

the program: i’m on of those people who bores easily of the same routine, so i mix up several things–including running, barre, spin class, boxing, and yoga. if i had to pin down a typical week, it’s 2 runs, 2 yogas and a barre class, but i work out with a boxing trainer once or twice a month and swap out spin for cardio when my knee is bothering me. i also lean on spin in the dead of winter when i can’t bring myself to run outside in negative temps. very occasionally my crossfit crazed boyfriend drags me to barry’s bootcamp, which is a painful, yet effective experience. in my humble opinion, if you have to pick just one workout to do regularly– do yoga. it lengthens your limbs, it’s the perfect mental calm, and if you’re going to the right classes, it’s hard enough to tone and strengthen your body the same as lifting weights. however, i also recognize how much i love to eat— and running is definitely the best way to burn those extra brunch cals.

my favorite local spots: 

  • barre
    • physique 57 — a full body barre workout that’s fast paced and guaranteed to make you shakey. this studio is always packed with super fit UES moms guaranteed to motivate you.
    • barre 3 — i started doing this class when i lived in DC, it’s less bootcamp and more pilates based than other barre classes. 6am Monday/Friday classes are my favorite here because they’re not intimidating enough to make you want to hide in bed.
    • tracy anderson— the queen of micro movements (and no talking!), my roommates and I do her youtube videos as add on workouts in the evenings.
  • spin
    • soul cycle— the first of the cycling studio crazes, i admit i was reluctant of all the hype at first. with the help of some friends, eventually i caved and have since found a few teachers I really like. plus you can’t beat getting in/out in just 45 minutes.
  • yoga
    • yoga vida— the cheapest of all the yoga classes i’ve found in nyc, and centrally located at union square. the room can get very crowded so show up early! as a teaching studio, you always get an extremely qualified teacher (hillaria baldwin owns & started the studio). for me, it’s a classic vinyasa class can’t be beat.
    • lyon’s den— this studio is the only baptiste method in new york. it’s heated but not hot, and one of the best yoga classes i’ve ever taken (go see Emily!). i used to go to the tribeca studio occasionally, but they just added a new location in chelsea that’s super convenient, so hopefully i can make it more.
  • running– i typically run the west side highway, but also love the central park 6 mile loop when i need a change of scenery
  • boxing
    • Gotham Gym– i used to go here for group boxing classes back in the day, but a plethora of models (including Gigi Hadid) instagramming at this studio caused me to get slightly priced out of working out here. if you can afford it, try a month– it’s the original new york boxing locale and i’m still salty i don’t go there anymore.
    • Work Train Fight– luckily for me, my trainer Josh from Gotham moved over to Work Train Fight, where we’ve been boxing for the last year or so. i can’t speak to how the group classes are here, but it’s a great studio in Soho and worth trying a few punches out.
    • rumble– the newest kid in the boxing game, rumble opened a few months ago and has been taking nyc by storm. i describe it as “Barry’s for Boxing”– replacing the treadmill intervals with boxing on a bag. i haven’t been completely converted but this is a great option for anyone wanting to try boxing out for the first time.

what to wear: 

1– cotton tank

2– leather tote

3–printed leggings

4–rubber grip socks

5–arm weights

6– invisibobble hair ties

1– long sleeve wicking top

2– bose wireless headphones

3– light support sports bra

4– cropped tight

5– nike tempo shorts

6– running socks

7– asics gel kayano sneakers

1– champion sports bra

2– mesh athletic full legging

3– performance windbreaker

4– marble print water bottle

5– prana yoga towel

6– adidas ultra boost

cps– now that i’ve shared my secrets, i’d love to hear from you. what are your favorite ways to get fit? what gear gets you motivated? also– use code c9save25 at Target right now to get 25% off any of the champion gear i featured above!

great scott!

happy weekend minus 5 hours! sorry this post is going up mid day, I had a leeetle too much fun at the yankees game last night. today I thought I would cover some packing ideas for cooler temps. while most people’s summer vacations center around warm weather spots (don’t worry, there are a plethora of bathing suit posts coming next week), so far this summer my trips have been to two northern locales, Scotland and Maine, where I needed warmer stuff. I also know a few gals headed places like Colorado and the Pacific Northwest– so hopefully this helps!

the deets. Scotland was truly the most amazing trip, and a perfect venue for people looking for a quick 3-4 day mini vacay. it was super easy to get to from new york, delta offers a direct 6 hr flight into Edinburgh. most of the weekend focused on golf in st. andrews (#best.girlfriend.ever) but we did spend a day sightseeing in Edinburgh which was very cool and I actually fell in LOVE with st. andrews the city. it’s a small college town, where Prince Will and Kate met nbd, and completely charming and quaint, much less commercial than Edinburgh. we realllly lucked out during the weather; most days it was sunny and in the 60s but we did have occasional little rain/drizzle and it was chillier in the evenings. in terms of eats, I was actually impressed with the offering- we had great meals at Forgan’s and The Adamson plus the most magical private dinner at the Peat Inn. we also got our share of traditional English/pub food and I sort-of learned to love/accept meat pies. wow, the things i am willing to admit on the internet. my favorite part? I loved spending a lazy morning walking around the campus of the school, the castle and the cathedral ruins, coffee in hand. it felt so relaxed and not overtly tourist-y. best of all, the whole town is walkable, so for a big group like ours (11 people) it was amazing for everyone to be able to be on their own schedules and not worry about transit or who is going where. overall, I highlyyy recommend.

some snaps…

a sunny day in edinburgh

view to the top o’ the castle

working on my golf game at the New Course (#Tigerwoodschic in Nike)

ruins of the old cathedral in st. andrews

what i packed. now lets talk the main event, the fash-shuns. since Scottish weather is notoriously iffy, layers and rain gear were key. every day I had 2–3 pieces on top, from a tank and light sweater plus a jean jacket to my new bff the bodysuit, a trench, and a scarf. since it was technically summer, I tried to avoid too many dark colors and left the black in nyc. given that golf and pubs were mostly in the cards, I packed mostly casual items and left anything silk/heeled/dressy at home. some inspiration…

1. silk scarf. during the winter, this cashmere pashmina is my best friend for travel. i love using it on the airplane as a blanket and wearing it out to dinner as a shawl. however this time i packed a light floral print silk scarf from my dvf days (also love a striped option from ann taylor) . it was perfect for the sunnier days and punched up my otherwise neutral outfits with color.

2. summer midi dress. i did bring two light dresses and was shocked that it ended up being warm enough to wear both, albeit with a leather jacket over. tbh, i picked this navy floral version because it made me picture kate moss in it, traipsing through some sheep-filled Scottish field wearing Hunter wellies. sooo scottish chic.

3. navy blazer. seriously how chic is this jacket? i ordered this sort of randomly and ended up wearing it every day. while a blazer may seem more corporate than casual, it was the perfect topper for jeans and a tshirt because it made me feel not completely schlummy and american as I walked around, especially at nicer restaurants. i love how the double breasted gold buttons make it slightly funky, not as stuffy as your 9 to 5 blazer. i think it’s since sold out, but this veronica beard has the same vibe. the first designer, tara jarmon, has some amazing other jacket options on her site. also dying to add to my new blazer obsession with this one in red (so chanel!).

4. pouch mini bag. ive pretty much given up taking a large purse whenever i travel. during the day I use my trusty Bottega crossbody but at night I pack a bunch of little pouches and clutches to carry, since all you really need is a hotel key, credit card and passport. they double as suitcase organizers (i put makeup in one, jewelry in another, hair ties and bobby pins, etc) and this way I get to “accessorize” my looks without the weight and space of bringing several purses. love the ring handle on this one.

5. cropped jeans. since it was too cold for shorts, cropped jeans were the closest I could get to baring some leg. the darker sides on this pair are really slimming and the length paired perfectly with my sneaks.

6. a classic pair of sneakers. for every additional year I spend in nyc, my sneaker collection grows exponentially. this latest fashion-y pair of converse, a collaboration with comme des garcons, was basic enough to wear every day and paired nicely with my dresses too.

7. bodysuit. body suits are back from the dead and pretty much all the rage right now. other than one ill advised free people purchase (yuck, why did i buy??!) I hadn’t joined the trend. however, I bought this long sleeved version at Aritzia and after the trip have fully become a fan. the best part of bodysuits is that they lay smooth under your jeans, no tucking or bunching– which makes me wonder why they ever really went out of style in the first place. also, the deep v on this style is super flattering. basic math: makes you feel thin + on sale for $27 = buy several colors.

8. striped sailor shirt. i am an absolute striped t-shirt fanatic, i must have 20 of them. they are the perfect travel option– easy to roll in your suitcase and light enough to rinse out in the sink and hang dry overnight if you run out of clothes midweek. a lace up detail on the side is the cherry on top.

9. trench coat. perhaps its the whole turning 26 thing, but similar to my newfound love of blazers, is the development of a deep admiration for the trench coat. new york has had so much rain this season, and I got sick of looking like an intern in my mountain hardware raincoat in the elevator at work. finally, a trip to the burberry store revealed that you can have it all, if you shop their burberry brit line. it is a step down price point-wise from the classic burberry and all the trenches have functional detachable hoods, so it’s definitely made with us working girls in mind– you know, the ones who don’t have someone carrying their umbrella for them. i’ve now worn mine rain and shine, to work and on the weekends, and i feel like maybe i should have maybe figured out the genius of this purchase a few years ago. better late than never?

10. classic studs. i don’t like taking expensive jewelry on trips because the idea of losing it or getting something stolen stresses me out. I usually pack 1-2 pairs of fun cheap earrings and then keep my diamond studs in my ears the rest of the time. same goes for a simple necklace or rings. my thinking is if they’re attached to your body, you can’t lose them.

 

hope you enjoyed reading! have a great weekend! Xx