what’s in her bag

for those who don’t already know, i am a total beauty junkie and am constantly trying new products. one of my favorite things to do on trips or when visiting my friends is to raid their cosmetics bags and medicine cabinets. i know, i sound like such a great house guest!

luckily, they are usually more than happy to share, showing off their favorites and having me play guinea pig — hence the inspiration for this new type of post. meet “what’s in her bag,” borrowed from what used to be the title of my favorite page in US weekly. in lieu of a celebrity’s purse contents, i’m going to highlight new beauty & makeup picks according to some of my besties. today i’m kicking it off fresh from a trip to beantown, where KSR shared with me her love of all things Goop, plus a few other primo choices from Oribe, GlamGlow, and Marc Jacobs beauty…

ahhhh the money shot…. honey i’m home! 

1body butter  2rose mist  3loose powder  4concealer

5face oil  6moisturizer  7jelly cleanser  8instant facial

9cosmetic bag  10concealer brush  11bronzer  12bronzer brush

my unfiltered reviews & product superlatives…

Goop– best all around. for the entire length of my stay (thanks very generous friend!) I used the full Goop skincare line– including the instant facial, day and night moisturizers, eye cream and face oil. i had heard so much hype about all of Gwennie’s products, but i can honestly say they lived up to it and then some. my skin’s texture was visibly improved in just three days– more even, supple, brighter, and moisturized. i know these products are pricey, but to me there was a noticeable difference in quality versus even other high end brands like la mer and jo malone. it also doesn’t hurt that the packaging is gorgissimo– all of the jars are nice and weighty ceramic– and the products are minimally scented with a light citrus scent.

if i can pick a top item from the set that i won’t be able to live without, it would either be the instant facial or the night cream. the instant facial is potent, so use sparingly to start. it’s a two minute mask you put on 2-3x a week, and contains exfoliating enzymes and natural acids; it sloughed away some of the blemishes and most of the dead skin on my face, leaving me feeling a little raw at first, but after following it with the face oil and intensive night cream, the next day i woke up feeling soft as a baby, and the remaining spots on my face cleared up within a day or two. the night cream is also a winner. with sensitive skin like mine, i will do just about anything for deep moisture. this one is heavy without feeling greasy and soaks in quickly.

there wasn’t a “loser” of the group, but if i have any complaints it’s that the day moisturizer, which looks like a pump, has to be pulled out on a stick. i think is mostly just annoying design because it’s hard to get the right amount of product out. for those interested in dipping a toe into the Goop world, the discovery set is a great way to get travel sized minis of everything (except the eye cream) before you commit. all in, i am a complete goop beauty convert, and can’t wait to try the melting cleanser, lip balm and GP’s favorite natural deodorant next.

Marc Jacobs bronzer & brush— cutest couple. i don’t know why I’ve never considered buying marc jacobs makeup (maybe because it launched in the past couple of years, so i assumed it was sort of a fad?) thank god my friend was more of a risk taker, because i could not be more obsessed. this bronzer is so natural looking, it gives the perfect flush. the palette is slightly giant in size, so not the most purse/travel friendly, but you know it will give bang for your buck. plus the brush is possibly the softest, fluffiest creation ever. put together, the two feel incredibly luxe and celebrity worthy.

Glamglow jelly cleanser— most reliable. don’t be freaked out that this gentle facewash comes out black as night, like something in an episode of stranger things. it’s just another odd yet effective miracle worker by glamglow (the brand that also makes my favorite under eye masks). i don’t know how this company comes up with its products or convinces people to use them– the eye mask i love is bright yellow with floating seaweed chunks in it and i still voluntarily put it all over my face– but whatever ingredients they use really, really work. this one turns into a milky white lather and took off every stitch of makeup without leaving my skin feeling stripped.

Nars concealer— most likely to succeed. as i mentioned above, the weekend i rolled into town my skin was acting up with some serious breakouts. i had an important work interview and a date, so i needed full coverage concealer and fast. this creamy formula, which i put on per recommendation with the bobbi brown brush, saved the day on the zits while also erasing all evidence of under eye bags and tiredness; win/win in my book.

Supergoop body butter most popular. shame on me since one of my dear friends in NY runs marketing for them (sorry IDC!) but i was under the impression that super goop was sunscreen only. that is in fact #fakenews, and their body butter is pretty incredible. it’s the perfect fresh-out-of-the-shower lotion, and not too precious for every day use. i will definitely be stocking up on a bottle this winter when dry skin sets in.

Oribe purple shampoo— biggest flirt. given that i’m not a blonde (natural or otherwise), the purple shampoo trend hasn’t really been on my radar, but a recent keratin left my highlights looking a little brassy so i decided to give this a whirl. I found it toned this down slightly after just one use, and would probably have been more effective after a couple of continuous uses. even if the purple tint does absolutely nothing for you, this shampoo left my hair smelling amazing for days.

Nars finishing powder and rose spray— hardest working. i’ve always been a big believer in setting your makeup with translucent powder to make it last for the whole day, but lately my cheap drug store option has failed me and been showing up white. this is clearly problematic since i am ghostly enough as is. i’m glad i got to take this nars alternative out for a lengthy test drive because it worked like a champ. just a light dusting over your face, followed by a refreshing spritz of the rose spray, and my makeup was still in tact when i got home (post margs) 16 hours later.

beauty bloggers or booze enthusiasts? both.

thank you to my dear friend for letting me go ham with an amazing assortment of beauty products, and to my other friends, just wait, your vanity is next! want more before then? check out some of my other beauty product reviews here and here.

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!