22 November 2013, 11:11
When I travel, my style is much less landmarks and sight-seeing, and much more about a couple of really special experiences. While we were in Melbourne for eight days in total, we taught on four of them, and travelled on the other four. When we finally did have a day available, I scheduled Kat and me in for a facial at Made Beauty Space.
Even though the torrential rain made us want to stay inside, we ventured outside to hail a cab, and 15 minutes later, we were in Hawthorn, walking into Made. Made’s signature treatment, the Thermal Infusing Facial, had come highly recommended by Zoë Foster Blake, a babe whose beauty advice I trust implicitly.
I was so ready.
We were delighted to enter the spa and immediately feel comfortable and relaxed. There’s no frou-frou bullshit here: Made is a thoroughly modern day spa, for the kind of woman who appreciates good design and will probably die if she sees a tissue-box covered in frilly apricot satin.
Before long, I was being beckoned into a treatment room, all white and black, very modern-yet-rustic chic. I undressed and slithered beneath the covers, ready for some thermal infusing.
Coined nature’s face-lift, the Sodashi 90 minute Thermal Infusing facial provides an intensive boost of vitamins and minerals to the skin. Tailored to your skin’s needs, this indulgent facial will provide intensive nourishment, leaving your skin hydrated, toned and supple.
An intensive boost of vitamins and minerals was exactly what I needed after almost four weeks of non-stop travel.
I have to say, if you go to Made, I cannot recommend the Thermal Infusing Facial enough. The treatment began with hot washcloths on my feet. Words cannot describe how good this was. The whole thing was an exquisite experience from top to bottom, and I was never just left alone, lying there, wondering what was going to happen next.
Stacey, my aesthetician — who also happens to be the owner — was in constant contact with my body. There was always something going on: facial massage, foot massage, or some kind of pressure-point work. I am practically dribbling just thinking about it!
After cleansing, plenty of massage and a light fruit peel, I was treated to the thermal mask for which they’re known. My face was covered with strips of fabric, then coated with the thermal mask. It started off cool, then slowly heated up to 37 degrees… All while having my tootsies rubbed. Gosh, it was lovely. She finished up by daubing my face with eye cream, moisturiser, and an SPF sunscreen that smelled like marshmallow!
It was one of the most sublime skincare experiences of my life… And the next day, my skin was beautifully plumped-up and glowing.
Après-spa, Stacey and I got talking. It turns out that she’s from New Zealand too (adding credence to my theory that Kiwis crop up in all the best places!), and after training beauty therapists for years, was horrified at the general lack of enthusiasm or passion.
“Going to beauty school is often recommended for girls who don’t do well academically,” she told me. “And you can teach skills, but you can’t teach attitude or passion. I trained students for five years and I could count on one hand the number I would actually employ. My business partner and I didn’t know of a great place in Melbourne to go for a facial, so we decided to create one.”
And what a good job they’ve done. Made is stocked with fantastic products, like fabulous Australian skincare line Sodashi. (I snapped up a bottle of their Rejuvenating Serum so I can continue to get a dose of the magic in New York City!)
If you do go to Made, tell them I sent you. And leave yourself a bit of time to explore and fossick next door at The Woodsfolk. They have some of the cutest homegoods ever. You will not be disappointed!
I cannot wait to go back when we return to Melbourne next year!
30 October 2013, 12:11
I’m no stranger to a complete hair makeover. In fact, there are few things I love more. But I have to say, ever since I went back to black last January — wow, has it almost been two whole years?! — my hair has undergone a major transformation. And honestly, the reason I stopped experimenting with rainbow-tinted tresses and reverted to my natural brunette status was out of necessity.
After years (like, 10) of peroxide, dye and abuse, my hair would no longer grow past my chin; it would simply snap off. Extensions became an essential part of my beauty routine, and because I couldn’t stand to have them looking ratty, I’d be in the chair every two months for five or six hours, forking over exorbitant amounts of cash for oh-so-much maintenance and upkeep.
I wore extensions for another year, as my poor, mistreated hair slowly grew out. And then, this January, I went to see Alison at Fox And Jane, who snipped my locks into a beautiful bob, worthy of any modern flapper.
As my hair has gotten healthier, stronger and shinier, I started to notice things. Like, man, is my undamaged hair oily. Like, washing-it-every-day oily. And I’ll be damned if it wasn’t full of static as soon as I dried it. Hair that is greasy and hair that does cling, these are a few of my (least) favourite things!
In my travels around the internet, I had heard whispers of the “No-Poo” method… But I was thoroughly deterred by the name. (I mean, honestly, “No Poo”?!) But at our very first Blogcademy class, when I complimented one of our students on her fabulous head of thick, lustrous hair, she smiled and said, “Thanks… I don’t wash it!”
That was the nudge I needed to give it a try for myself. I haven’t washed my hair since May, and it has honestly never looked better.
Curious? Here’s how to do it yourself…
When I first started researching this method, I tried to use someone else’s tactic, which was to combine a tablespoon of baking soda with 8oz of water in a spray bottle, spray into the hair, comb through and let it set for 5 minutes. This sounds easy enough, but when the bottle’s tube starts to get clogged up, it becomes immediately frustrating.
The easiest way to do it is to keep a jar of baking soda in your shower. When you step in, wet your hair, then take a scoop (about a tablespoon’s worth) of baking soda, mix it with a bit of water in your hand, then apply to your hair. Scrub it into your scalp and all over. Be thorough! You can comb it through if you want, and then let it sit for a few minutes.
Rinse the baking soda out with warm water, and then take your spray bottle which is filled with half filtered water and half apple cider vinegar. Spray it into your hair with gusto, making sure to get underneath the top layers and onto the roots. Work it through with your hands (or a comb), and then rinse it out.
Your head might smell a bit salad-y, but don’t sweat it: it only lasts for a couple of minutes before evaporating.
Then, step out of the shower, and dry your hair off as usual. Now, wasn’t that easy?
If you find that your hair is quite dry — which is not a problem I have — coconut oil works as a brilliant treatment. Just apply it, let it sit for a while, and then wash out using the method above.
What can you expect?
I was really worried when I decided to make the switch, because I had heard terrible internet rumours about “the adjustment period” during which… Well, I don’t even remember. Suffice to say, people made it sound like THE DEVIL would be on your head for a couple of weeks.
Thankfully, that never happened! I went through a period of about a week where I needed to wash (aka, baking soda and vinegar) my hair every day, but that wasn’t any different to my then-normal routine. And within a week, I suppose my hair had “adjusted”.
The result? My hair looks awesome. It never has static and it lasts several days between washes, which is exactly what I wanted.
These days, I wash my hair about once or twice a week, and it is BLISS, I tell you. Pure, unadulterated bliss. When my hair is looking a little scraggly, or to be more specific, limp at the roots, I use Batiste Dry Shampoo (which I love, especially in the Tropical scent, and they now have a Cherry scent which sounds amazing!) and Batiste XXL Plumping Powder. This stuff is genius, a fortuitous find in Boots. So much love for it!
So: would you ever stop washing your hair?
Flicking my hair like a Pantene commercial,
26 August 2013, 12:34
I’m obsessed with my bob, but sometimes it’s nice to do something different! On really hot days it’s such a relief to tie your hair up, but if your hair is short, sometimes the resulting ponytail isn’t so cute. (My husband refers to my ponytail affectionately as “the nub”.)
Thankfully, even us short haired babes have cute options. I had genius hairdresser Kristin Jackson give me two waterfall braids, and best of all, it’s so easy to do!
All you need are hair elastics, which makes the following offer so awesome! Buy U by Kotex at Target, and you’ll receive FREE Goody Hair Elastics! (Look for the tampons/pads in the little black box!) Text KOTEX to TARGET (827438) to get the coupon.
How to do it…
Start with a small piece of hair split into three equal sections (just like you would for a French braid).
Cross the top strand over the middle, then the bottom strand over the middle to start the braid.
Now, drop the bottom strand and pick up a piece of hair from behind the dropped strand. Use this as your new bottom strand!
Before you cross the top strand over the middle strand, add in another section (just as you would for a French braid).
Again, cross the new bottom strand over the middle strand. Then drop it, and grab another new bottom strand behind the section you dropped.
Continue these steps until you get your braid to where you’d like it to end! Then, simply tie it off with an elastic.
We ended up doing the same thing on the other side, then tying the two ends together. You’re left with a super-cute waterfall braid that transforms your summer hair from drab to fab!
Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy! I’m pretty sure this will be my default hairstyle in the Greek Islands!
This post is sponsored by U by Kotex for Target. Buy U by Kotex at Target, and you’ll receive FREE Goody Hair Elastics! (Look for the tampons/pads in the little black box!) Text KOTEX to TARGET (827438) to get the coupon.
3 July 2013, 13:03
I’ve worn many hats since starting this site in 2006. One of my favourites was “beauty editor”, but it turned out that trying to write about lipstick three times a week was a stretch, even for me!
I do, however, still LOVE beauty products… And I love to share what I’ve learned, too. When I got this question through a couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to spill the beans on keepin’ it matte!
Q. What foundation do you use? Your gorgeous matte skin haunts me whilst I sleep, and I MUST figure out how to make this work for moi!!!
Firstly, I apologise that my skin has been haunting you while you sleep. It has very ghostly tendencies that I cannot control!
Ever since I was a young wee gothlette, a pale pancakey complexion has been my ideal. I’ve evolved this a little bit since — I now use fake tan and bronzer on my face, for example — but the quest for matte magnificence remains. I’ve done a lot of research and experimentation, and these days I have a few options… Which I am excited to present to you, gameshow host-style!
The most important step towards gorgeous-looking skin is to take extreme care with it! A great skincare routine goes such a long way. Skin can be SUCH a pest, what with its oils and its pores and its creasing, but if you are good to it, it will be good to you. If your skin is dry, flakey or uneven, even the best foundation will never get you to where you want to be.
Finding the perfect skincare routine can take time: I feel like I finally hit on the perfect combination when I was about 28… And it’s quite possible that I’ll have to change it again in the future! But it takes time and persistance.
My skincare routine is designed to do several things. Firstly, my skin is oily, so I’m looking to control that as much as possible. My second concern is with aging: I want to prevent sun damage (like hyper-pigmentation) and slow the development of wrinkles and creases. If you have the same needs as me, this routine might work for you… But then, it might not. Unfortunately, it all comes down to trial and error.
Here’s my routine: I use Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel and my Clarisonic, then I rinse my face with cold water and use Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Lotion on a cotton pad. I wait for my face to dry, then apply Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Eye Cream and Mario Badescu Oil-Free SPF 30 Moisturizer. (Always remember to extend your moisturiser down your neck and to your decolletage! If your moisturiser doesn’t have SPF in it, be sure to use sunscreen on these areas, since they are some of the first to get wrinkles and age spots.)
Every night, I remove my make-up with a Simple Facial Cleansing Wipe, apply Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Eye Cream by patting it on with my ring finger, and put a drop of Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil in my hand before massaging it into my face and neck. (I love this stuff. It’s loaded with Vitamin C and essential fatty acids to keep your skin looking lovely!)
I use masks and microdermabrasion kits, too. I love Boscia Lumizing Black Mask and Olay Regenerist microdermabrasion kit, and probably do one or the other once a week. I like to take these extra steps because I wear make-up every day, and it takes its toll! It’s important to slough off the dead cells and clean out all the crud!
Obtaining complexion perfection is a combination of things: the right foundation for your skin-type, good clean tools, and technique.
No matter what you use to apply your foundation, be sure to clean it! You can buy little bottles of brush cleaner from Sephora, and they’re so easy to use: just spritz your bristles, then leave to dry on a paper towel. You should regularly wash your brushes using a little shampoo, too.
I recently converted to the Beauty Blender, and I cannot tell you how much it helps to improve the look of your make-up. They deliver the best results when they’re damp, so I spritz mine with a little water before I use it. (I also make sure to give it a really good wash at least once a week.)
The foundation I use depends on my activities for the day… It’s nice to have options!
For low-key days, I use Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer — the oil-free component is very important to me, to avoid the dreaded Face Shine™ — which I then set with Illamasqua Foundation Powder. Tinted moisturiser is basically “your face but better”. It just adds a sheer layer of colour to even you out, but it’s not going to turn you into Kim Kardashian. If your skin is giving you trouble, tinted moisturiser will probably just annoy you!
When I go out, I wear Covergirl 3-in-1, which I was given to write about but quickly fell in love with. The coverage is sublime, and it doesn’t need a primer underneath. It barely even needs to be set with powder, but if you want that extra layer, you can (and I often do).
For photoshoots, I like Make Up For Ever Face and Body. It photographs like a dream. I use a primer underneath — Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is my favourite, it’s expensive but worth every cent — and again, I dust with Illamasqua Foundation Powder to keep it looking pristine.
As you can tell, Illamasqua Foundation Powder is really the key to matchless matte-ness, and I am obsessed with it. This powder is MAGIC. It has killer porcelainising qualities (I just made that word up but let’s roll with it). It’s so effective that you won’t need to carry it with you for touch-ups, either (unless you’re doing something really strenuous or doing a photoshoot).
Matte skin is great and everything, but if you look exhausted, it kinda ruins the whole effect. I always wear under-eye concealer; for me, it is a non-negotiable. I’m in love with Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer, which is quite heavy, but if you apply it with a damp Beauty Blender, it looks sublime. If you’d prefer a creamy concealer, Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit is fantastic: it’ll cover your dark circles and pretty much anything else!
I also love a bit of NARS bronzer, highlighter and blush to brighten things up and contour my face… But that’s a story for another time!
Lovin’ a dra-MATTE-ic face,
Photos by Made U Look.
10 May 2013, 12:30
Hallelujah! The sun is out and I have finally managed to put the finishing touches on a list of my favourite things from the month of April. I can’t believe we’re already a third of the way through May but I’m trying not to think about it…
Okay, now, without further ado: the highlights of my month!
Clockwise from top left: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer and Tinted Moisturiser; Kat Von D Autograph Liner; Kiehl’s Sun Free Self Tanning Formula; Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes; Laura Mercier Eye Basics.
It has been a big month of trying out new lotions, potions and hope in a jar! So much fun, since after all, who doesn’t love a good beauty prod?!
My friends at the Clean Program have recently launched Clean Refresh — a gentle week-long reboot for anyone who has fallen off the wagon — and they also introduced me to CleanGreens, a green powder you can mix with water for easy green juice on the go! Genius. I’m definitely going to be packing a tub into my suitcase on my next adventure!
Other than the week I spent in bed, a time which was distinctly glamour-free, I have been wearing Covergirl 3-in-1 foundation every single day and loving it. In fact, yesterday as I was doing my face, I remarked out loud (to no one in particular), “Damn, that’s good coverage”. I am truly obsessed. I’m also completely in love with the Beauty Blender: believe the hype! I’m kicking myself for putting off buying one for such a long time! I truly cannot imagine going back to using a brush to apply foundation.
I have an embarrassing amount of points at Sephora, and they just keep accumulating because usually their gifts hold absolutely no appeal. However, about a month ago they were offering a kit containing miniature versions of Laura Mercier products, which included her Tinted Moisturiser, my go-to for low-key daily wear. (I love it, so brilliant!) I traded a few points for that kit and I’m so glad I did, because it also contained her Foundation Primer (which gives a lovely finish), her Shimmer Bloc in Golden Mosaic (which gives a perfect, summery glow), and Eye Basics in Wheat (a brilliant, creaseless eye primer which makes your eye make-up look KILLER). Psyched. I’ve been using all of them and looooving them; 100% recommend.
I’ve been wearing my eyeliner really thick lately. It just feels right. Oh, and since people ask me about my eyeliner all the time, I use Kat Von D’s Autograph Liner: it’s the best liquid liner I’ve ever used. I swear by it!
In terms of faux tan, because you know I am all about it, I’ve been testing out and rotating a couple of new (to me) products, Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes and Kiehl’s Sun Free Self Tanning Formula. They are both fantastique.
Another recent and fabulous discovery is Milk and Honey Naturals. CourtneyJo loaded me up with apple cider vinegar shampoo, cocoa cream body butter, delightful tins of perfume and honeysuckle soap, and I loved them all so much that I promptly brought her on as a Blogcademy sponsor! (Those of you in the New York class will be receiving Milk and Honey Naturals treats galore!)
...I am also thinking about trying out the no ‘poo method, although I loathe that phrase and um, will not be using it. Eeeeeeep. I’ll keep you posted…
A couple of Sundays ago, Mike and I went out to celebrate Veronica Varlow’s birthday at The Slipper Room. Bunny Love is moving back to New Orleans, so there was a private party, some burlesque performances, and good times aplenty. Celebratory rainbow Instax were taken, hoops were twirled, and we strolled happily home well after midnight.
A couple of Tuesdays ago we went on a boat cruise around the island, which was so much fun, though it was also the genesis of my sickness! Boo!
Both of these adventures made me realise that Mike and I hadn’t actually gone out in AGES! I really feel like we were in intense hibernation mode all winter long. Naughty! Getting out of the house and experiencing new things together is so important.
After two days of arduous spring cleaning, my nails were completely trashed, so I headed to Sakura for a good old fashioned gel manicure. I have been a little anxious about all the UV light recently, so imagine my delight to discover they now offer an LED gel manicure, by a company called Presto, which does fantastic colours! I said yes please, and that’s exactly what’s on my nails right now. My fingers are violet and my toes are neon pink.
My manicure has almost grown out, and I’ve been watching way too much Rachel Zoe Project, so I am probably going to go for a black or dark grey nail next time. But I’m really happy to make the switch to LED, especially considering it is just as strong and durable as the UV version!
I’m still feeling pretty good after my major bout of spring cleaning, especially since during my week of sickness, I didn’t have the energy to mess up any of my hard work! But now that I’m back in my office,
I realise I still need a few things to push me into true Virgo Bliss™, namely a few plastic boxes to house my odds and ends.
I need an enormous tub for cosmetics, for example, and probably one for hair products (which is insane, since I use ONE hair product: AG Hair Cosmetics Bigwigg Root Volumizer). And I mean, how many body moisturisers, scrubs, perfumes and candles does one babe need? (Apparently a lot.) I cannot bring myself to throw some of these things away. The guilt is too terrible!
As I did my major spring clean, and put my books into colour order, I realised how many books I just have not read. I have been making an effort to work my way through them, and trying to replace late-night television-watching with book-reading, instead.
Of course, this realisation didn’t stop me from buying even more books. I am mad about buying them recently. My latest acquisitions include How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life, Reveal: A Sacred Manual for Getting Spiritually Naked, WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source (I read this in one night, and think is BRILLIANT), Not In Kansas Anymore : A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America which was recommended by Sam and is absolutely captivating, and Moonwalk, Michael Jackson’s autobiography! Aw.
I’ve been sad to realise that as it gets warmer, my winter scent — the exquizz La Petite Robe Noire — doesn’t translate. So of course, I’m on the lookout for something fabulous. I bought Tokyomilk Dark Yesterday at Sephora on a random jaunt, and while I like it, it isn’t very me.
Mostly though, I’m layering Kiehl’s Sun Free Self Tanning Formula (l-o-v-e!) with NARS Monoi Body Glow II and hoping for the best! It’s quite tropical and summery, subtle but warm, and pretty damn lovely overall.
I’ll keep hunting for the ideal summer scent, and I am pretty sure it will — as always — contain vanilla. What’s your favourite summer fragrance? Tell me!
We upgraded to Verizon Fios — long overdue and the BEST decision we’ve made in ages — and with it came cable television. Oh boy. So I’ve been hooked into watching, for example, Ready For Love and The Millionaire Matchmaker. I’ve also been able to catch up with my favourite stylist on The Rachel Zoe Project, which is definitely influencing my style choices. (Big hats! Maxi dresses! Yes!)
Last night we went out to see Iron Man 3. HELLO. Totally worth waiting for. I wanted to wait until I was 100% recovered to go and see it — since coughing all over your fellow cinema patrons is just poor manners — but I had heard it was amazing and I was not disappointed! Next stop: The Great Gatsby (of course).
Things to do when you’re in bed sick: online window shop. I went on a pretty major imaginary shopping spree last week. I am so in love with this Rachel Zoe dress, how gorgeous is that?! I want to wear this Milly twirl dress to a fabulous party. Maybe one with a murder-mystery theme… This blue Rebecca Taylor gown is so gorgeous. Wouldn’t it be perfect in an immaculate garden? And I truly want to wear maxi-dresses like this every single day in summer. So perfect, so easy.
Yesterday I attended a cocktail party at the new Kate Spade flagship store on the Upper East Side. (It is so weird up there, like a different country. Their new motto is “Uptown is the new downtown” but um, we’re going to have to disagree on that one!) Anyway, their store — a three-storey townhouse — is gorgeous and full of fantastic things. Like this fabulous and colourful necklace, gorgeous magenta dresses, chevron skirts, clutches that look like California license plates, truly perfect handbags and Popsicle-shaped coin purses. Sigh. Can I just move in?
I’m totally ready for bike season. I just need to put some air in my tyres and I’ll be OUT! But even though I already have a bike, this build-your-own bike cleverness on the Urban Outfitters site has me drooling. Can I get a pink frame with sky blue tyres, immediately if not sooner?! Sick!
Also on my wishlist: a real, honest-to-goodness holiday. You know the sort: clear blue water, golden sands, beautiful sunlight and plenty of fresh, delicious food. Plans are in the works as we speak! (I have been talking about going on a holiday like this since, well, since I started this blog, so it is clearly TIME!)
Amateur gardeners take note: here are 10 magical plants which can attract love, joy and prosperity into your life!
If you’re in need of a good dose of distraction, April’s Carousel should keep you busy for a goooood long while…
I wrote about tattoo regret and was surprised to find that a lot of you felt the same way!
What does it mean if your crush has his thumbs in his belt-loops? The things you learn from my body language cheat sheet might surprise you!
My most popular mixtape ever? It’s 80’s teen movie themed. I know I probably shouldn’t be surprised!
I learned a lot from Chinese face reading!
I just had to write about my experience ride-sharing in Los Angeles... And I hope I inspired some of you to give it a try!
If you’re interested in green juice, here is my ultimate green juice recipe for beginners. (And if you make it, Instagram a photo and tag me!)
5 dreamy hotels... Holiday, anyone?
I learned a whole lot last time I did the Clean Program... And I wanted to share some of it with you!
Phew! That’ll do it, I think… It is such a glorious day out there that I don’t want to be inside for another moment! See you next week, and have a lovely weekend…
You’re the cutest!
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