Friday, December 08, 2006

Oh, The weather outside is frightful! (and dehydrating)

Finally, the cold weather has set in and I can start wearing my beloved peacoat. However, dry skin also set in and that is not beloved. Dry skin is annoying for obvious reasons, but it's also harmful and can lead to premature aging. Most of us live in areas where our hands and face are exposed to cold, windy weather daily. Not to mention, in cold and flu season we wash our hands more than normal. So, even though dry skin can be hard to prevent, thank goodness for all of the products made to treat it!

Skincare should be a top priority year-round, but especially so in the winter. When bathing, make sure to exfoliate well, but softly, with your washcloth. Instead of using regular bar soap, buy glycerin soap or a creamy body wash. It's a good idea to lather on the lotion right after you shower AND right before bedtime. For certain areas that need special attention I use my secret weapon, Vaseline. At night-time, just rub a little bit onto elbows, knees and heels. I don't suggest using Vaseline unless you are headed to bed. Due to it's greasy feel, you probably want to allow time for it to sink in.

It's easy to stay moisturized at home with all those lotions lying around. But don't you hate it when you are out in public and notice a dry patch on your hands? Or your elbows? Well I am here to remind you of how uncomfortable you feel at those moments. So, go find a small bottle of lotion and put it in your purse right now, before you forget!

For the best body lotions head straight to the center of style and beauty . . . your local drugstore! Surprised? Don't be. You don't have to break the bank for soft skin! Inexpensive brands like St. Ives, Jergens, Aveeno and Nivea work great. St. Ives Intensive Healing lotion works miracles for me. I like it because I can feel it nourishing my arms and legs, and it doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy. Sometimes body lotion is thick, and hard to apply quickly and evenly. But St. Ives lotions are great because they aren't thick and application is easy.

If your lips are feeling dry and irritated try giving them a vacation from your lipcolor. Burt's Bees has a great tinted lip balm, it's a nice alternative if your lips need the break. Chapped lips is one thing, but when flaking occurs, it can be painful. I suggest buying a lip exfoliatior. This set from Benefit ("Lipscription" $30 at is a good choice. Looking for a less expensive alternative? Softly buff your lips with a moist washcloth, moving in tiny circles, and then moisturize right away with a very emollient lip balm. Here's another great time to use Vaseline.

Is your hair starting to feel lifeless? Around this time of year, my hair has problems with split ends and dullness. Sometimes regular shampoo just doesn't cut it. Try a shampoo that specializes in moisturizing! Definitely treat your tresses to something new in the conditioner department. The "3 Minute Miracle" by Aussie is amazing. I've used this off and on for a couple years now, and it never disappoints. After shampooing, I apply my conditioner and twist my hair into a bun with a clip I keep in the shower. This way, during the rest of my shower routine (shaving, washing) my hair is getting a nice long soak with the conditioner. When I am all done, I let my hair down and rinse with semi-cold water. I loved when I discovered this little trick! It has really made my hair softer and more healthy.

All products I mentioned, excluding the Lipscription, can be purchased at your favorite drugstore for under $10. Now that is what I call glad tidings!

How do you deal with dry skin? Share your secrets with us!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fashion Conundrum

One of our dear readers writes: "I recently bought a gorgeous matte-sequined gold skirt (knee-length, clingy but classy)...but I have no idea what to wear with it. I have a holiday party coming up this weekend and I'd love to wear my beautiful new skirt, but I need fast suggestions for a top! Please help!"

When I closed my eyes and tried to imagine your gold skirt, a few thoughts immediately came to mind. A gold skirt is an attention-getter, so a muted top would be a good idea. You said it was classy, so let's carry that through, as well. Finally, the skirt is clingy, so that will help us to have an idea of some balance for your outfit.

Gold is a versatile color, so you could go with a whole bunch of different colors. Let's take a look at something in basic black. Black and gold is a stunning, elegant combination. Something sleeveless, although pretty chilly for the winter, is also elegant. Besides, I've always found that you should wear a woolly coat outside, but wear something light inside - all those bodies make a room very warm. Or maybe you live in Florida, who knows. Anyway, this shirt at left, available at Target, is simple, but has some touches that really class it up. It includes a velvet trim and some ruffling, so it's not just your basic, boring black shirt. Slap a brooch on that shirt and you will take the shirt from "top that goes with skirt" to a part of a complete outfit.

You could also go with something long-sleeved with some decorations that will stand up to the gold skirt. By that I mean that it's not just some long-sleeved shirt, it's got some pizazz, too. It won't look out of place next to your skirt. This shirt does just that. It's a Liz Claiborne, and while it might not keep you toasty warm, it might be a better alternative to sleeveless if that's your deal. A nice, floaty fabric like this is also fitted but not clingy, so it should mesh well with the cut and lay of your skirt. If all else fails, a soft cashmere sweater in nearly any color of the rainbow is a nice compliment to almost any bottom, and I happen to know Old Navy has a sale on cashmere sweaters either very soon or now, so go check them out, if it suits your fancy.

I hope that helped you out! Enjoy your party, and have a glass of egg nog for me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

5 Fashionista DON'T's for the Holidays

Write them down if you must, but please DON'T make these mistakes!

5) DON'T be too sensitive.

During the holiday season, we all tend to become a bit touchy about politically correct issues. With all of the diversity in celebration, is it possible to find a way to celebrate our different holidays peacefully? Here's an idea---how about some tolerance? Instead of worrying about how your favorite mass-market retailer will label your Christ-kwanz-ukah, be thankful you have the freedom to celebrate what you want, how you want, when you want, and to have that extra piece of fruitcake if you so choose.

4) DON'T forget your manners.

Though the season is young, I have already personally encountered a parking-related altercation at my local shopping mall. As I sat in my car and watched two women verbally assault each other over my own parking spot, I wondered if common decency still exists. We use the hustle-and-bustle of the holidays as an excuse for our impatient, selfish and rude behavior, and it's about time we stop. It won't kill you to walk a bit further, wait a little longer, and make the words "please" and "thank you" staples in your vocabulary. And remember, a smile goes a long way!

3) DON'T get sloshed at the office holiday party.

You don't want to be that girl, do you? See Elaine Benes to the right, and the result of too many cocktails with coworkers. As if a public display of dance-like convulsions wasn't enough, she followed it up the next year by making out with the office man-ho. Gals, learn from her mistakes. Enjoy that a large mug of eggnog, or an extra glass of champagne---but know your limits. Remember, the workplace loves juicy gossip, and an intoxicated showing is fodder for the rest of year.

2) DON'T get caught up in the rampant materialism.

When I was a child, my brother and I would fight over the Sears Christmas catalog when it came in the mail. Armed with scissors and glue, we would spend hours leafing page-by-page, searching for toys to add to our Christmas list. In the world of adulthood, the Internet may as well be my own toy catalog, and I spend lots of time (more than I care to admit) surfing to build my list of gimme's and wants. In an effort to make this season more about someone else than ourselves, I encourage you to make a donation (whether it be your time, money, goods or services) to a charitable organization of your choice. Visit Charity Navigator to find one, or contact your local church, synagogue or civic organization for ideas. Afterall---that Balenciaga bag sure is fabulous, but for the price paid, you could feed and clothe an entire town in Africa. Just something to think about...

And the most important Fashionista DON'T for the holidays:

1) DON'T wear holiday-themed sweaters.

You know what I'm talking about. These festive sweaters are adorned with massive amounts of puff-paint, glitter glue, ribbon, sequins, and googly eyes. Some are even equipped with hidden battery packs, enabling them to light-up or play music. Inevitably each year, I see young women wearing these monstrosities, and I fight the urge to stage an intervention. Gals, let's permanently loan these sweaters to the 70-and-up crowd. Just say no! That goes for accessories too---yes, you, the one wearing the big jingle bell around your neck!

Photos courtesy of Tubaloons.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Down to earth glamor

Drew Barrymore is definitely one of my favorite actresses. She seems completely unfazed by fame. She's balanced and sensible--you won't catch this girl dancing around completely wasted and panty-less like other people we know!

Here she is in NYC: (pictures courtesy of Popsugar)

I love the whole autumn look she has going on. A friend of mine has recently been persuading me to wear more color. While black is certainly slimming, color can brighten your entire perspective. Drew pairs a simple pair of jeans and a brown coat with a funky scarf (that's going on my Christmas wishlist!) and a cool bag. Casual, yet definitely not boring!

She gets BIG bonus points for her well-done hair and her shades too. Well done Drew!

Who is your favorite down-to-earth actress?

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Next Big Thing: Shelfari

Having visited many of our commenters' blogs, I can tell that many of our readers are well-read, interesting people with more on their minds than just fashion and celebs.

Though we generally tend to write about clothes and make-up, we like to take the time every once in a while to point you to particularly good magazines, books, music and websites.

Shelfari is exactly the type of website a well-read fashionista might enjoy. Shelfari is like a virtual book shelf where you can show the world and share with friends what you are reading, what you have read in the past, and your personal opinion of the books on yours and others' shelves. It's a cool way to get book reviews from real people and connect with people reading the same things you are.

Best of all, it's free and it's fun!

(In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I am old friends with one of Shelfari's founders, though he didn't ask me to write about it. But I didn't think that knowing one of the founders was reason enough to not share how cool I thought this site was with all of you!)

Happy reading!