Beauty: Silk Pillowcases, the Jen Atkin-Endorsed Luxury You Need Immediately...

It's no secret that lying down is a fresh blowout's sworn enemy. To combat this, many a girl has invested in Egyptian cotton sateen sheets & pillowcases to extend the life of her 'do. What you may not know is that those high thread count cotton sheets also leech hydration from your skin and your hair while you get your beauty sleep. Yes, the slumber you so crave is actually drying out your hair and leaving your pretty skin parched. The fix is easy and wonderful, but does come at a small price.

Silk pillowcases. I've been a fan of Slip for a while and have worn silk eye masks for about a decade now (don't judge, it's the Zsa Zsa Gabor in me) and can tell you they absolutely make a difference. Especially when paired together. Hair glides effortlessly over the surface of the pillowcase and skin unharmed during sleep. Effective immediately, famed celebrity hair guru Jen Atkin is brand ambassador for the brand Slip, maker of luxurious silk pillowcases and eye masks in a range of stunningly subtle colors. This brilliant pairing is genius, as it now thrusts this boutique brand to the forefront of our cultural obsession with silken tresses and age-defying skin care.

Hairstyles are not going to go back to complication... I’m teaching women to find something in their day to help with their hair health.

If you've not seen Slip mentioned here or in other places, it is a growing Australian line of silk goods created with proprietary fibers. Beauty editors everywhere have fallen for their high quality and soft sorbet-like color range (think blushy pink and creamy vanilla) that fits in with anyone's decor.

Why Atkin? She's the go-to tress tamer du jour for the Kardashians, Jessica Alba and many other Hollywood stars, Her debut hair care line OUAI has won acclaim from customers and critics alike.

According to the hair expert herself...

What I’ve noticed the most is that women want to take care of themselves and are focused on overall health.
— Jen Atkin

Bottom line, if Jen Atkin tells us to stop sleeping on cotton once and for all, it's time to listen and obey. Why lovingly care for skin and hair by day and cause (avoidable and unnecessary) damage by night? Here's what I'm loving form Slip right now...

SHOP MY SLIP & OUAI FAVORITES

Why black, you ask? Simple: you'll never accidentally put it in the laundry with your other linens. Pink for the same reason. I feel the difference in color will prolong the life of your investment as you will see the pillowcase (or mask) as unique and special. They also come in creamy white, caramel and charcoal.

I love the idea of a black mask for optimal light blocking why trying to sleep in and pink for the pillowcase for the reasons stated above. It's pretty, makes its presence known and you'll never accidentally leave it behind at the hotel while on vacation.

Which colors would you choose? Shop Net-a-Porter, Sephora, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom & Anthropologie and say bye bye to creased skin and bed head for good an wake up to your gorgeous, silky haired self.

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Beauty: Secrets to Healthy, Shiny, Bombshell Hair...

{image credits via & via}

A few months ago I had my doubts. My color-treated hair (thanks to a pernicious highlighting habit) had my hair dry, brittle and angry. There were moments I wondered if my gorgeous mane would ever return. As a long-hair devotee, these golden locks are as much a part of my identity as my smile. So rather than throw in the towel (more on that topic later) I opted to do more research and work to repair the damage.

First things first. Dehydration of all varieties takes a toll on the body. Texas is known for its dry climate, and my hot yoga sessions likely contribute to the excess torture on the hair. So upping my water intake was the first and most obvious step in the repair process.

Then the research began. What products, habits, hacks and changes would I make to bring these dull strands back to life. Was it even possible? A candid conversation with my stylist resulted in him reassuring me he'd seen far worse. That said, the switch to sulfate-free products was crucial. Stop stripping the hair with harsh detergents. Next? A reconstructing conditioner would rebuild broken chemical bonds in the hair. Somewhat reversing the damage we do each time i frame my face with blonde. And a thermal protection product is a must before drying, curling or otherwise "doing" your hair. Even air-dry experts benefit from a smoothing product to coat strands and smooth the follicle. 

And about those tools... if I was still rocking a basic hair dryer I was missing out on an opportunity to achieve hair nirvana and causing deep damage each time I blow dried. And styling tools? Skip them all together unless you're willing to upgrade to the newest ceramic and tourmaline versions.

fast forward to today, this hair-lightening, heat styling enthusiast can assure you: Shiny, bouncy Victoria's Secret model tresses are not beyond your reach. With a few key shifts in your get-ready routine and a few hardware upgrades, a glossy many can once again be yours.

  1. SULFATE-FREE IS YOUR HAIR CARE SAVIOR
    Stop using anything with sulfate. Even your corner drugstore has a bevy of great options (I'm looking at you, L'oreal!) to hydrate, smooth and soften your hair. If budget allows, Kerastase Bain Therapiste is legendary for its uncanny ability to revive and rescue too-far-gone locks.
     
  2. PROTECT & PERFECT
    After showering, a pump of Wella Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir on damp hair is a keratin treatment that restores the shine you've been craving while rebuilding lost protein structure. Before drying, use Tresseme's Keratin Smooth Heat Protection spray to keep unwanted damage at bay. (Note: this is magical, extremely affordable & widely available.)
     
  3. BLOW IT OUT LIKE A BOSS
    The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is all the rage right now, but I really love the ion producing dryers. The T3 professional dryer is better for your hair than air drying. Let me repeat, better for your hair than air drying. Yes. So if you dry your hair ever and live on planet earth (all of us should be raising our hands) this is a technology we need to adopt. It is clinically proven (yes, there were studies) to improve shine, volume, manageability and style retention all while reducing frizz, dryness and static. So get on that, sister.  
     
  4. STYLE IT UP SAFELY
    You'll be hard pressed to beat the runway-worthy bounce and volume of hot rollers. If you plan to roll (and I'm a HUGE fan of this effortless hair styling method), you mustn't resort to cheap curlers. Opt for high quality, larger rollers that pamper your hair. I love the T3 Voluminous Hot Rollers  (via Nordstrom also) for the busy-girl's guide to bombshell hair. More of a beachy waves fan? T3 (again) is the one you want. This version does the spinning for you, requiring absolutely no pro skills at all. More on my "everyday bombshell" styling methods here.
     
  5. KEEP IT GLOSSY, GIRL
    Regular readers know where I'm going with this... you need a silk pillowcase. Why go to all of this effort and expense only to undo months of effort while you sleep? A silk pillowcase allows your hair to glide over your pillow without pulling, bending, breaking or roughing up the texture. Say bye-bye to bedhead (and wrinkles) with this small but wise investment.
     
  6. COMMIT TO YOUR HAIR CARE (AND YOUR STYLIST)
    Why the sudden damage to my hair? Three factors. Well, four, actually. Texas heat, hot yoga and daughter #2 all contributed to the overall dryness of my head full of hair. But as a result of the addition of my littlest one I "cheated" on my longtime hair stylist for about a year and had a girl coming to my home for cuts and color. It was fast, easy and (curiously) less expensive than the salon. Did I mention she offered to do this at my home? I was hooked on the idea of convenience with a newborn in my house.

    As a decade-long Aveda color user, the switch to traditional harsh bleaching techniques took its toll. Quickly. My long hair became brittle, broken and damaged. I was saving time and money while ruining my mane. Turns out those plant-based coloring techniques Aveda built its reputation on are more crucial to hair health than I imagined.

    My point? Stay loyal to what (and who) works in your life. If you are in a committed relationship with a stylist and a brand and it works for you, stay the course.

In many ways, this hair care failure is what led me to a more long-term view of hair health and necessary upgrades. The simple shift in shampoo & conditioner resulting in a major change in smoothness and scalp health. The tools? Painful investments, but realistically they were purchases I'd been putting off for many years. The new me has a new appreciation for heat styling, weekly masks and (yes) essentials like silk pillowcases.

My message? Bouncy, glossy, Victoria's Secret fashion show hair can be yours - even without a Ken Paves or Jen Atkin to tame your mane (although that helps). With the right care and a few cool tools you too can have the tousled curls of your dreams and enough shine to stop passers by in their tracks. You can do it. I believe in you!

The Everyday Bombshell: Effortless Envious Locks...

This is the first in a series of posts I feel inspired to write to share some "get fabulous fast" tips & tricks. Face it, none of us have enough "free" time or need to extend our morning routine. In the spirit of sharing, I wanted to share a few beauty & fashion methods and practices I employ to pull it all together with limited time. The Everyday Bombshell series should be viewed a busy girl's guide to looking (and feeling) fabulous when the clock only wants to trip you up. I hope you'll enjoy! 

If you've read my other hair posts you'll know I love long loose messy waves and have found them remarkably easy to create. The look is not perfect, in fact it's a style I love rocking daily even if I have no plans to leave the house. Over time I've developed a few quick methods of achieving that perfectly imperfect look. 

How do I find the time is what most friends ask me. The answer? I don't. I cheat using hot rollers to achieve these rolling locks. They are super easy to use and I can leave them in while I dash about doing other things.

A similar loose curl result can be achieved with a 1" or larger diameter curling iron. The difference, in my opinion, is the curling iron offers more staying power but less volume. The rollers offer considerably more volume at the roots but less precise (read: more loose & wavy) curls.

Given the choice (and much more time) I'd definitely use a large barrel curling iron, but the convenience of the hot rollers beckons me daily. They are just so very easy and allow makeup to be applied and breakfast to be cooked while they do their thing.

That said, I'd love to encourage you to experiment with tools of your choice, and I can't imagine you don't have a curling iron tucked in a bathroom drawer. So pull that baby out and enjoy this video guide. This is one of my favorite video tutorials on how to achieve that perfectly tousled look using a curling iron. You'll feel like a pro in no time! 

Regardless of your tool of choice, these turned tresses will highlight your shiny locks and frame your face beautifully. I'm linking to a few favorite hair styling products that have made bombshell hair significantly easy (and fast) for this busy girl. I hope they do the same for you. 

MAKING WAVES


My other tip? Color. 

There's a great Dolly Parton quote (in fact, the only one I know at all) where she remarks that dumb blonde jokes don't offend her because she knows she's not dumb and she knows she's not blonde. Her self-deprecating humor is surprisingly refreshing and incredibly self aware. In that one simple moment of humor, the iconic blonde frees all of us to admit that we're not, in fact, born with it. 

Beating us all to the punch, hair goddess Lauren Conrad was the original balayage (as the hand-painted highlight technique is known) girl. Visible roots in all their glory finished with sun-kissed tresses that lightened towards the ends. The ultimate California girl look, and hair inspiration to women of all races and ages.  

Dark roots, once the very bane of every salon regular, are now an essential a part of the "look" and a welcome feature of this graduated color look. In a genius twist of fate, the problem is now the solution. 

The common thread amongst all who rock the "fade" is the styling. The dégradé effect looks best with loose, beachy waves - so the tutorial and tips above go hand in hand with my "no extra time" approach to styling. If you've been a slave to the salon for regular touch-ups, perhaps it's time to give this less severe approach to hair color a go and join the ranks of celebrities (and housewives) everywhere for truly effortless and envious locks.

Next time you hit the salon ask your hair stylist what it would take to transform your high-maintenance mane into a beautiful bounty of effortless graduated color goodness. Your busy schedule (and your image in the mirror) will thank you. 

Happy styling, ladies! 

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Beauty: At-Home Spa Treatments Packing Major Punch...

That Saturday you wake up and realize you are in dire need of a full complement of beauty treatments. That was me this past weekend. Beyond just a mani/pedi session, this girl needed a facial, a massage and head to toe buff session. It must be the slightly warmer temps here, but I'm suddenly fully aware that spring will someday come again and my face, skin and body need some attention. Any salon & spa regular knows that you can't book the best appointments at 10am on Saturday. No, ma'am. Those coveted slots with the pros just aren't happening at the last minute. So what did a girl in need of a little glow (and some tress mending) do? Allow me to share...

Thanks to the wonders of the internet I've been discovering a few miraculous hair taming & face changing products. Not only are they at-home treatments (bonus!), they are (mostly) easy to obtain and can be delivered to your door (my obvious guilty pleasure). I admit to loving online shopping for a good reason: reviews! I obsess over user generated feedback and tend to weed out the duds from the diamonds with enough research. Still, there are gems to be discovered on your own and products that work differently for everyone. Experimentation is necessary to find your personal favorites. 

This past weekend I was committed to repairing my hair and reclaiming the glow my skin deserves. A top to bottom exfoliation were on the agenda as was a very special hair treatment. Below are the cast of characters that found their way into my repertoire. Mostly present were longtime favorites but a there are a few new stars of the show. Here's how it went down:

FIRST: HIT THE SHOWER!

Aveda Shampure // Molton Brown Pepperpod Body Polisher // Joico Revitalizing Treatment

Begin by grabbing a great clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup. Often what feels dry is simply the result of lingering hair spray, calcium or conditioner on your strands. The key here is to prep the hair for my new tress BFF and secret weapon. What is it and how did I discover it? I was desperate to change my hair texture (or should I say return it to its former smooth glory). I searched far and wide for a keratin treatment I felt comfortable using. Joico came highly recommended. Their newest product is called Revitaluxe. It promised (if those glowing reviews were to be believed) to transform my brittle locks back into the Botticelli-worthy tresses I once adored. (I have blonde Kardashian dreams, you know!) So... clarifying shampoo first. Joico treatment next. Leave on the recommended 3-5 minutes and move on to... your bod. 

Start by applying Kate Somerville's Exfolikate to your face. A thin layer will invigorate your skin and remove impurities. Careful not to rub too much. This is an enzyme peel, meaning it works with natural plant extracts and other organic elements. It requires no scrubbing on your part, which is good for sensitive skin. Don't leave it on too long, but give it a few beats to get in and clean those pores. 

Next... I love (LOOOOVE) a great smelling scrub. In fact I would say I'm somewhat of a connoisseur of exfoliating products. This one from Molton Brown is smells intoxicatingly good in ways all Molton products do. But it's what it does for the skin that I appreciate. Your thighs will be glowing and gorgeous, and you'll feel as though you had a full service spa treatment with a single application. I assure you.  I can't say enough great things about it. Pricey? A bit. So use it sparingly, but do enjoy it when you need a boost. Extra points if you wear those scrubby exfoliating gloves they sell at drugstores. 

Finally... rinse out the Joico treatment (it only takes 3-5 minutes to work its magic). And finish with a cold rinse to close the cuticles & pores as well as invigorate your senses. And... you're done. 

POST SHOWER GOODNESS

Flowerbomb body lotion. // Patchology Energizing Eye Patches // Tress-Friendly turban

Once out of the shower, wrap hair in a tress-friendly turban. At this point I like to smooth on one of my favorite indulgences: Flowerbomb body lotion. Lord have mercy, this smells fabulous. I don't wear the perfume, but this lotion is amazing. Perfect for feeling fabulous while working on the rest of your beauty treatments. Next, don those silly looking paraffin socks from Bliss you have hiding under your sink. Yes, the blue ones. They work miracles. You might look like a Smurf, but by the end of the evening your feel will feel like buttah. 

Now... my new secret beauty weapon for the face? You can thank a late night google search for this: Patchology Energizing Eye Patches. These were not on my radar last year. These strange little patches offer intense eye area treatments that actually do transform your visage. It's the perfect amount of time post-shower time to dry your hair and get in your jammies. After about 15 minutes take them off and leave the remaining product on your eyes do hydrate the delicate eye area. Trust me, you'll love this small but powerful addition to your beauty arsenal. Dark circles & fine lines are a thing of the past.  

NOW... ON TO BED TIME 

Omorovicza Instant Plumping Mask // Queen of Hungary Mist // Instant Plumping Set

Last but not least, my coveted "Cinderella Cream" from Omorovicza. Officially it's known as the Instant Plumping Mask, and it is a fan favorite for good reason. While a bit, it lasts me well over 6 months when used properly. It can be worn as a mask or as an overnight cream. I love leaving on overnight as a treatment. (Editor's note: I like to use it 2x a week.)

How to use: Warm a tiny amount by quickly rubbing between palms to liquify the product. Smooth over face and décolletage gently. Now... spritz on a facial elixir. Omorovicza makes a very special one. I also love Caudalie's Beauty Elixir. Either one you prefer will do the job perfectly. Hold bottle about a foot from your face and mist entire area. Wait half a beat for it to soak in. Now... mist your face & neck area again. Now... do nothing. Nothing. You're done! Don't skip the mist. In order for the plumping cream to work you need to add hydration for it to absorb. 

Once you're ready to sleep, I strongly suggest using a silk eye mask (you know I adore these every night) and these amazing copper-infused pillowcases (not kidding). Both will keep wrinkles at bay and induce a deep wonderful sleep. Trust me, a solid night of sleep will do wonders for your looks and your state of mind. For bonus points, leave those blue Bliss socks on overnight. Wake up more gorgeous, refreshed and fabulous. 

That's it in a nutshell, girls! This is the perfect "night-in" beauty routine you can do once a week to keep your face, body & hair looking marvelous. Frankly, in February we could all use a little boost! Hope you'll try these favorite products out & share your results. 

But wait! Let me share the skinny on my hair treatment: the Joico Revitaluxe. WOW. Best $22 investment I've made in a long time. It does not disappoint. Hair that I assumed would need to be cut off to be repaired is now soft and silky. It is a night and day difference. Those hundreds of online testimonials were correct. I can't wait to see how good my hair looks after a repeated use.  If you color or heat style your hair, take a look at this marvelous gold & black tube!

Happy beautifying, ladies! I hope you find a few new favorites from this list. 

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Hair: I'm With the Band...

{image via  Pinterest  by way of  All Women Talk }

{image via Pinterest by way of All Women Talk}

It is ALL about the headband for me right now. It must be the sheer relief of the temperature dropping ten degrees. I can finally wear my hair down without needing to keep an elastic band handy for a mid-day pony. 

For several days I've been channeling my inner Brigitte Bardot as I don a black headband. Emboldened (and convinced it works perfectly with my length at the moment) I'm in search of better bands. Here are a few of my favorites as well as my styling "assistants" to achieve the smooth blowout necessary for the Bardot 'do...


THE TRESS TAMERS

Make no mistake: your hair will be on full display with a banded style. A proper blowout is key. Think: smooth with volume. I do not flatiron with this look. Instead I love a round brush, root boosting mousse and a tress taming session with my blow dryer. 


THE BANDS

The world is your oyster here. Personally I love the full circle style (technically a head wrap) versus a stiff headband. I find I can wear it all day without risk of a headache and it actually holds my hair back. It also offers the smoothing at the hairline that "makes" the look for me. I prefer the band medium thickness and mostly (if not all) black, but if you love the full-on gypsy with a sizable knot look, by all means... do it! This is one area where you should feel free to experiment. There are some gorgeous jeweled options out there I can't wait to try. All of these are super affordable.


And that's the key to the look, girls. For me this has been a great face framing transition into fall beauty and I am loving the no-nonsense style. I can wear it all day without any maintenance and it is absolutely helping me channel my inner French bombshell.

Good luck to you as you do the same! xoxo

{images via}

Hair: The Weekend Low Side Pony...

Saturdays are fuss-free and effortless... right? In theory. I've discovered that my weekend 'do is shifting to a pretty little low slung side pony lately. And you know what? I love it. A burst of bangs swept to the side, loose waves and a bump at the crown are all that you need to keep this easy style looking better as the day goes on.

You only need three things: a blow dryer & a round brush (for adding volume at thr crown and styling those bangs) and then a medium hold hair spray. That's it. Let yesterday's waves be the star of the show and don't over style this look. Use a good quality elastic to hold the pony, adjust to emphasize the volume at the crown. Boom! You're looking fabulous and off on your day. What better way to rock second day hair?

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Hair: The Glam Squad Comes to You...

Monday morning I had the pleasure of hosting a stylist from Blownaway App who arrived ready to whip my tresses into tip top shape. Like other blowout services, Blownaway offers no cuts, no colors, no trims. Using the app you book an appointment and viola! an uber talented pro arrives at your doorstep ready to turn your freshly washed locks into a Botticelli-worthy mane.

There's nothing complicated about this incredible concierge service whatsoever. Download the app, choose your style, your date and time and you're all set. Boom! At $55 the pricing is no different than other in-salon blowout services. My stylist Samantha was fun, incredibly talented and obviously loved her role in this rapidly growing mobile glamming empire. And... she came to me. 

Prior to her arrival I washed & conditioned my hair. In no time, Samantha had my hair smoothly blown into supermodel shape. From there she transformed those sleek strands into cascading loose curls worthy of a magazine spread. Hello, gorgeous! 

Blowouts done well last for days and this one exceeded any expectations I had. Those beachy curls lasted for several days and I was able to rock a very pretty low side pony on Wednesday with the remaining waves that was perfectly tousled. There's no question I'll be booking Blownaway appointments for myself to keep up this good hair affair. 

Obviously this service is perfectly in line for our present love affair with on-demand services. Photo shoots, events, and just looking fab on the regular are all great reasons to book a blowout. A girl just needs a little boost sometimes, you know? And frankly, it gets more and more difficult to get out to the salon for pampering. To say I felt fabulous was an understatement and of course the in-home aspect makes this a no brainer. It was a reminder of just how important it is to treat yourself to quality services, especially when the price point is in line with competitor pricing. 

While I harbor no grand illusions that I'll be able to mimic Samantha's red carpet ready look, I do pride myself on daily effort with my 'do. Here are a few of my tools of choice for fixing the mane between those oh-so-essential Blownaway App pampering sessions:

WEAPONS OF CHOICE