Wearable Beauty Trends from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week drawing to a close today, sites and blogs are agog with the latest fashion trends. But tailoring and prints aren’t our only focus…take a cue from the tons of for-real-people beauty I loved at Lincoln Center. I’ve found a few easy-to-copy catwalk trends that’ll make you want to strut your stuff (even if it’s only down the street).

Neutrals are running rampant this season and runway beauty is no different as evidenced by DKNY. What better way to bring focus to the rest of your flawless face than by downplaying your lips? Neutral doesn’t have to mean boring! Smashbox’s Be Legendary Lipstick in Nylon Nude ($19 on drugstore.com) moisturizes and has a lustrous finish that adds just a teensy tint of color.

Luscious lashes are a look every lady loves. Many fashion week models, especially those sporting Dennis Basso, went a long way to emphasize their eyes. You, too, can enjoy luxurious lashes with CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara (SALE: $6.79 on drugstore.com). I guarantee this voluminous mascara will mean all, er, eyes on you!

Tamed tresses were a hot trend on the runway and the Diane von Furstenberg models don’t have a stray hair in sight. A simple bun with a deep side part screams sophistication so why not snag the look yourself? Keep your locks in place with Got 2b’s Spiked Up Max Control Styling Gel ($4.99 on Ulta.com) so fly-aways don’t strand a chance.

Simple eye makeup really fabs an outfit up and MBFW beauties have taken this tidbit to heart! This look was relatively widespread across several labels, but was especially edgy at Imitation of Christ. Nab this style for yourself with L’Oréal Paris’ Extra Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner ($6.79 on Drugstore.com) for long-lasting, easy-to-apply eyeliner power!

A fresh-faced style is perfect for days when you don’t want to look “made up.” The Vera Wang models embraced this lovely look that emphasized effortless elegance. While blemish-free skin is the way to go, if your ‘dermis isn’t model status at the moment, Neutrogena’s Skin Clearing Blemish Concealer (NOW $8.99 ) blasts blemishes while concealing imperfections. You’ll look gorgeous, naturally.

If subtlety isn’t really your strong suit, consider something a bit bolder. The models rocking Narciso Rodriguez definitely were edginess exemplified with their brilliant eyeshadow. For a nice mix of beautiful, highly pigmented colors, Maybelline’s Eye Studio Color Plus Silk Eyeshadow ($9.99 on Ulta.com) is truly a sight for sore eyes!

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of these looks? Will you be rocking any of these trends in the coming months?

Original post found here.

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Groundhog Day: Gear Up for Spring Regardless with Pieces Under $90

Happy Groundhog Day! Whether or not we’re due for another six weeks of winter, the days are ever so slightly gaining daylight, so our thoughts are turning to spring style. Our dark, winter wardrobes aptly reflect our current moods, but if we embrace spring’s brightness a little early, it can help put us in high spirits!

One of the sure signs that spring is approaching is watching flora beginning to bloom. Flowers are a beautiful source of color so mimicking their example is only natural. Floral prints are absolutely lovely for combining fun colors and patterns. The Candie’sBrushstroke Skirt ($27.99 on Kohls.com) is a beautiful depiction of a floral scene. With the flattering wide belt and buttons, you’ll feel as lovely as any bouquet.

Show how you’ve conquered Old Man Winter by rocking a quintessential warm-weather color: orange. Ann Taylor Loft’s Peasant Top Jersey Dress ($79.50) is simple and can be dressed up or down depending on your needs. With belt loops at the waist, this dress is itching for imaginative accessories!

The power that we feel when towering in heels is incomparable but can be tough on our tootsies (and backs!). Introducing a smaller heel doesn’t mean your style has to suffer. Hinge’s Monica Pump ($89.95 on Nordstrom.com) comes in beautiful, bright colors with a modest two-inch heel. These will allow you to feel comfortable and flirty while your feet look fab!

While some avoid red because it’s so bold, what better hue is there to reintroduce more color into a drab wardrobe? Betseyville’s Be Mine 4Ever Tote (SALE: $87.99 on Zappos.com) easily adds a burst of color to an otherwise understated outfit. The sweet heart-quilted patent leather embraces a little bit of fire while keeping your look oh-so-cool.

Getting fancy is sooo much more fun when the weather is temperate. The ASOS Pleat Bust Jumpsuit ($44.76) paired with a cropped sweater, is a great addition to your spring collection. The beautiful color will make you want to, er, jump for joy!

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of these styles? Do you feel we’re due another six weeks of winter weather? What are your favorite styles to bring in spring?

Original post found here.

Kick Your Super Bowl Party Off Right

Reeeeematch! The New York Giants are set to meet the Pats at the Super Bowl for the second time in less than five years, and the action between these Northeast teams is sure to be exciting! Even if you can’t tell the difference between a tight end and a safety, you can still make your Super Bowl bash a win with these tips.

DECORATE TO DELIGHT

Sure, the Super Bowl is all about the game, but you should still make your space look sporty. Just think, if your spot is festive enough before kick off, once the winning team emerges, celebrating will be super easy!

FOOTBALL FIELD TABLECLOTH OR WELCOME MAT: A quick, inexpensive way to add some flair to Super Bowl festivities is by making your own football field-inspired tablecloth or welcome mat! All you’ll need is green felt for the base and white paint to mark the field lines. For added fun, personalize the end zones with Patriots and Giants logos! Heck, even cut out images or make mini figurines for each team’s top players.

TIN FOR BEER: Beer and wine coolers are obvious, but are you willing to sacrifice precious fridge or floor space for the cartons? No need! Use a galvanized tin filled with ice to keep the drinks within arm’s reach.

BALLON BOARD: When the party gets in full swing, emotions will likely be running pretty high. Why not give your guests some help focusing their frustrations elsewhere? This tutorial on making a Huge Balloon Football for guests to pop on Yahoo is a great way to wow your crowd!

DIVIDE THE PARTY-GOERS: Split the room down the middle with one side decorated for the Patriots and the other for the Giants. Have guests sit on the side they’re cheering for, or draw straws if there are a few undecideds.

OTHER EASY IDEAS: Since the colors of the Pats and Giants are pretty much the same, stock up on all the blue, red and white stuff you can find. Place blue, red or white flowers or other accoutrements in empty beer bottles or cans for some femme-meets-football decoration.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN

What would a Super Bowl celebration be without copious amounts of alcohol? Not everyone is going to follow the game that closely (especially those who only watch it for the commercials and halftime entertainment), but incorporate a drinking game or two and you’ll have everyone’s undivided attention. Nothing like a nice buzz to bring everyone together!

ON-FIELD ACTIVITY: These rules will ensure everyone pays close attention to the action. Take a shot for any pass 30 yards or more. If someone throws an interception, take a shot. When “your” team scores a touchdown, take a nice, long sip!

OFF-FIELD ACTIVITY: Take a sip every time two guests argue over anything football-related. If someone lets a bad word slip, they’ll be taking a sip.

COMMERCIALS: With so much hype surrounding Super Bowl commercials, why not make this a condition for drinking? If someone is in stitches over a so-so ad, have a drink. If your cynical friend keeps commenting on how this year’s commercials aren’t as good as last years, they drink. Or, make it a scavenger hunt with drinks and/or shots taken every time a certain brand, product or buzzword appears. Set the rules for other occurrences as your group sees fit!

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of these ideas? Are you throwing a Super Bowl party? Who are you rooting for? Do you pay attention to the game or are you more into the commercials and the social aspect?

Original post found here.

Stay In for Date Night

Even with our best intentions, keeping the romance alive can be a bit challenging on these chilly days. With the sun setting so early and the erratic temperatures, who really wants to leave their warm home to schlep anywhere for the sake of romance? Why not enjoy some quality time with activities that are wallet-friendly and loads of fun? I’ve got some fun ideas for indoor “dates” that could work for V-Day or any wintry night.

SOOTHING SOAK: Increasingly hectic schedules can wreak havoc on even the best relationships. So, take some time to unplug and turn up the romance! Turn off your phones, tablets, TVs, heck, even the lights. Set up candles and take a long, relaxing bath together. If you get out before your skin wrinkles, it hasn’t been long enough!

GAME ON: Tired of your man claiming to be the best at every single video game you two own? Then challenge him to a Date Night/Game Night Tournament. Choose three of your favorite games and square off against your sweetie. The winner of the most games gets bragging rights until the next tournament, and you could even make a friendly bet like “loser buys winner dinner.” If When he loses tell him, “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game!”

DON’T GET, ER, BOARD: Remember those board games of yesteryear? Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Chess, even silly childhood stuff like Mousetrap or Don’t Wake Daddy. Chances are you have some still lying around, so break ‘em out, light a candle and get playing. To add an element of fun, go with the aforementioned “bet” option or get saucy with…strip anything (wink!). Who said Candy Land couldn’t be hot?!

SING IT WITH FEELING: If your karaoke isn’t as fine, er, tuned as you’d like, why not practice at home with your guy? Better yet, pick your favorite mushy song and make your own music video! Turn your house into your own karaoke bar and start recording. Be as ridiculous and over-the-top as you can and then, if you’re feeling REALLY brave, share it on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Love and laughter go hand in hand! Just don’t forget to give your newly formed band a name.

EXCHANGE WORDS: You two keep meaning to start reading this book together…but just haven’t found the time. Well, what better time than date night? Start reading, either out loud or in your own silent space, stopping to discuss and interpret interesting things. Romance, comedy, suspense, doesn’t matter. As long as you’re spending QT, let those pages fly!

SAY CHEESE!: One thing that our digitized world has removed us from is the joy of actual pictures. Let your digital camera charge and, instead, take romantic pics with a disposal camera. Heck, make it a funny photo shoot with props and silly faces! Or, if you have any pics online, print them out from Snapfish.com. Once you get your photos, make a collage together of the best ones so you’ll have a keepsake for years to come.

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of these suggestions? How do you enjoy spending date night at home? Are there games that you and your sweetie love to play together?

Original post found here.

Scent-sual Fragrances for Valentine’s Day

With V-Day fast approaching, many ladies are gearing up to get their glam on! While looking luscious on Valentine’s Day is an obvious, a sexy scent can also make your sweetie swoon. Whether you’re single, spouse-seeking or already have a signif-o, these fragrances are scent-sational!

Le Labo creates lovely, unique fragrances, so I love their collab with Anthropologie. One of the resulting scents is Chant du Bois ($62 on Anthropologie.com), a slightly fiery combo of feminine and woodsy notes like bergamot, grapefruit, cedar, pink pepper and patchouli. The packaging looks straight out of an apothecary, but this brand isn’t so old-school—all their stuff is cruelty-free and vegan!

What could be better than walking through a Japanese garden? Smelling as sweet as one! The timeless mix of scents from Japanese gardens, Asian pear, Kyoto rose and Himalayan cedarwood in Bath and Body Works’ Japanese Cherry Blossom ($29.50) will bring out the sexy in you. This fragrance makes you feel elegant and exotic, all at once!

With all the hustling we ladies have to do to get lovely for Valentine’s Day, oft times we don’t stop and smell the roses. With Demeter’s Bulgarian Rose ($39.50 for 4-oz. Cologne Spray), you’ll smell like a fresh rose bouquet all day!

Speaking of flower power, Viktor & Rolf’s Valentine’s Petite Flowerbomb ($50 on Sephora.com) explodes with floral fragrances of Sambac jasmine, centifolia rose, cattleya orchid and ballerina freesia bloom, all backed by a heavier base of patchouli. The combo of sweet and sultry is just perfect to wear for a V-Day date, plus who could resist the pretty packaging?

If it’s a tougher, spicier scent you’re after, Hugo Boss’ Deep Red for Women ($36.86 on Walmart.com) is en fuego. This long-lasting, woody blend will drive your man wild with scents from tangerine, freesia, cedarwood and musks.

Want to smell super sexy? Dare to wear Frapin’s Caravelle Epicee Eau de Parfum ($150 on MiNNewYork.com), so hot it’s named after the spice ships of yesteryear. Nutmeg, tobacco, patchouli and precious sandalwood combine to create a warm, spicy scent. Sure, it’s a splurge, but the attention you’ll receive is 100% worth it!

GIRL TALK TIME: Do you enjoy wearing these fragrances? What scent makes you feel downright irresistible? What perfume do you receive the most compliments on?

Original Post Found Here.

Feng Shui Suggestions to Bring Peace & Prosperity

In this crazy, chaotic series of moments that we call life, couldn’t we all use a little more harmony and balance to keep things on an even keel? One of the best ways to implement a sense of calm is by practicing feng shui. While the ancient art of Chinese feng shui can seem a bit mysterious, fear not! In honor of the coming Chinese New Year on January 23 (Monday!), snap up any (or all!) of these pieces that stem from the five elements of feng shui—they’ll allow your home to look fabulous and your qi to flow freely!

EARTH – If you’re a feng shui first-timer, start small. Amy Hafemann Pottery’s Jade Green Ceramic Bathroom Set ($12 on Etsy.com) embraces the earth element beautifully. The imperfections in these pieces add character and remind us that although life can have its rough patches, it’s still worth celebrating!

WOOD – Since plant life is often hard to come by during the winter months, why not bring some greenery into your home, feng shui style? Bamboo shoots are not only easy to care for and maintain, they also increase health and peace. Breathe some life back into your space (especially now that the holiday decorations have come down) by introducing ProFlowers.com’s 7 Stalks of Lucky Bamboo ($29.99) as your element of wood.

WATER – Who says you need acres to enjoy the tranquility of a typical feng shui water feature? According to feng shui, water rids your home or office of negative energy and ushers in wealth and prosperity. Even if you’re low on space, this Homedics Envirascape Silver Springs Illuminated Relaxation Fountain with Natural Stone ($15.97 on Amazon.com) can afford you some H2-ahhhhh.

METAL – While it’s true that less is more, a blank wall in your home could probably stand for some decoration. A piece such as the SEI Gemstone’s Forest Wall Sculpture ($51.50 on Amazon.com) may be exactly what you’re looking for. The metal element fosters mental power, so not only will this piece light up your space, it may also light up that little thought bulb in your head with some stellar ideas!

FIRE – Fire is a symbol of energy and passion, so if you’re feeling lethargic, this element can do wonders for your energy levels. We don’t all have the luxury of a fireplace in our homes, but Bed Bath & Beyond’s Unscented Red Ball Candles (SALE: $4.49/set of 6) are fun and offer a nicely contained bit of passion. Plus, red is the traditional Chinese symbol of good fortune! Just be sure to keep these out of the bedroom if you ever want to get any sleep.

Want more tips about feng shui? Check out our basics on feng shui, too>

GIRL TALK TIME: Do you already practice feng shui? Do any of these pieces fit in with your design style? What element do you utilize the most in your own home?

Original Post Found Here.

Let Me Get This Straight: End of a 6.5 Month Stretch

After my longest stretch to date (26 weeks and 6 days) I relaxed my hair using Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Lye regular strength relaxer on 12/16/11. Usually, I go to the salon to get it done but I’m tired of being dissatisfied with my hair being under-processed, under-conditioned, and being overcharged.
Here’s how it all went down:
I mixed 2 tablespoons of EVOO into an 18.75 ounce container. My mother thoroughly based me with petroleum and I used Herbal Essences Hello Hydration and EVCO on the length of my hair. She parted my hair in 4 sections and was able to get through my head in about 15 minutes. We could have let it sit a little longer but my right side started to burn a little.
She rinsed out the relaxer with warm water and then I used Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor for 5 minutes BEFORE neutralizing. I did this mid-protein step in order to start rebuilding the protein bonds broken by the relaxer. When possible, it’s best to do this step before neutralizing because the cuticle is still open and most receptive to treatments. It’s safe because both water and the protein treatment start lowering the relaxer’s pH.
After the 5 minutes had elapsed, it was time to neutralize. I used Isoplus Shampoo with the color alarm. My mother complained that her back was hurting so my boyfriend stepped in to help neutralize. He was extremely gentle and did a great job under my mom’s watchful eye. He also had fun while doing it smh.
 I then applied a DC consisting of ORS Replenishing Conditioner, EVOO, EVCO, Avocado Oil, and SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Masque. I left this mix on all night and most of Saturday (my sister had a track meet) and washed it out Saturday afternoon. My mother then wet set my hair with gray and black rollers using Chi Silk Infusion and water. I sat under the dryer for about 2 hours and then silk wrapped my hair.

My mom did EXACTLY what I needed and I’m really happy with the results. I’m currently flirting with BSL and by my next relaxer, I should definitely be there.  I am experiencing a slight bit of breakage and normal shedding so I’ll curb both with another protein treatment and moisture DC next wash. While I’m proud that I was able to successfully stretch that long, I won’t be doing that again! My mother found it challenging to get through my new growth so I’m bone straight in some areas and and have a little wave in others. 14-16 week stretches will be what I do moving forward.
Original Post Found Here.

Summer Institute 2011: Not the Average Conference

During my relatively short career with the City University of New York, I have had the opportunity to attend a few conferences to foster professional development.  I have been to the NYSACAC conferences at Niagara University and University of Rochester.  The workshops offered at these conferences provided information instrumental to succeeding in higher education.  I had the opportunity to attend Summer Institute 2011 with seven of my colleagues  and our University Director of Admissions, Richard Alvarez.

The annual conferences are wonderful, but for someone that is new to this field, the sheer number of people can be overwhelming.  Networking is a fundamental part of this career, but when faced with higher education veterans, sparking conversation can be an especially daunting task.  Summer Institute makes conversation and networking more manageable because there is a smaller group of participants.  With fewer people present, it was easier to get to know my colleagues from other institutions and to glean pearls of wisdom from more seasoned counselors.  I appreciated meeting people with varying levels of experience since we were all able to learn from one another.

As with all of the workshops offered at NYSACAC’s conferences, the ones at Summer Institute were quite informative.  The presenters were knowledgeable and responsive to questions and concerns raised during the course of the week.  During the “Nuts and Bolts” presentations for experienced counselors, we were given information about making presentations, building relationships with colleagues, and professional development opportunities.  This session provided me with information I will be able to utilize moving forward in my career as a counselor.

The most touching presentation was “Coming Together to Guide Underrepresented Students to College.”  Navigating the admissions process is a challenging for most students, but it is even more difficult for those without resources available to them.  The work that Chris Farmer does as the Director of College Counseling with Young Women’s Leadership School is admirable.  The videos he showed us of the students receiving their acceptance letters brought me to tears.  In this field, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers and to sometimes lose sight of the students.  Actually seeing how much our students have riding on an acceptance and how enthused they are to be admitted reminds me of what we are working for.

Summer Institute 2011 renewed my drive and made me want to redouble my efforts to make an impact on everyone I work with from colleagues to counselors to applicants.  I want to make a difference in the lives of our students and Summer Institute offered me a perspective I did not previously have.  I am quite lucky to have been given this professional development opportunity, and I strongly recommend everyone have the chance to attend Summer Institute.

Styles You Won’t Be scared to Wear on Friday the 13th

With so much superstition surrounding it, Friday the 13th (tomorrow!) can be scary biz! Between black cats and paranormal activity, it’s no wonder some people want to stay inside at all costs. Instead of letting your Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13!) get the best of you, why not step out and celebrate with a few spooky-cool accessories? In homage to all things scary, these five pieces are sure to bring any wardrobe back to, er, life!

This simple, classy scarf is fun and will make you feel like the cat’s pajamas! Or scarf. For a mere $15, design prototype’s Cat Print Scarf ($15 on Etsy.com) is long and airy and won’t make you cringe when reaching for your wallet. It’s also long enough to double as a belt so you get two fierce accessories for the price of one!

For a little bit of fun with your fright, Betsey Johnson’s Dark Forest Skull Bead Bracelet(SALE: $36.95 on karmaloop.com) is dead on. The tassel, heart and bead accents on this piece render it more sweet than scary. And the rhinestones are sure to make any outfit a scream!

A true fashion-forward woman can find beauty even in the macabre. This Jalda Pebbled Evil Eye Clutch ($118.64 on Endless.com) is elegant and versatile. Step out on the 13th with this piece at your side and it’s sure to be all…er…eyes on you!

If you really can’t drag yourself out of bed this frightening Friday, why not be warm and fuzzy in the meanwhile? The P.J. Salvage Ditsy Skulls Velour Thermal Night Shirt(SALE: $43.99 on Zappos.com) will keep you warm even if in a bone-chilling situation. It comes in a cheerful pink, which is a no-brainer if you need to brighten your mood!

This piece of bling may not appeal to the Arachnophobe in you, but your chic side will be crawling all over it. The Cara Topaz Spider Ring ($48 on Bloomingdales.com) is perfect to add a bit of pizzazz to blasé fingers while keeping the real critters at bay. This fabulous ring almost makes up for the real creepy crawlers. Almost.

GIRL TALK TIME: Would you wear any of these accessories? What are you doing for Friday the 13th? Will you be celebrating this creepy day or keeping it low-key?

Original Post Found Here.

Treat Winter Hands to a DIY Manicure

Are you finding it hard to arrange your mani sesh after splurging on the holidays? Does the cold weather have your hands looking haggard and in need of TLC? Sounds like a little pampering is in order—DIY style. Not only is doing your own manicure super relaxing, you’ll save quite a bit of money in the process. In order to help rehabilitate your skin, we’ve compiled a list of products any DIYer should have…er…on hand! Better yet? Invite buds over for a “Salon Soiree” and DIY each other’s nails.

If you think stuffing your hands in your pockets is as effective as wearing gloves, you’re likely suffering from dry digits and palms. Keep hands moisturized and soft with AveenoIntense Relief Hand Cream (now $5.59 on drugstore.com). This non-greasy formula is dermatologist recommended and will even last through hand washing!

As the cold weather intensifies, so do our chances of getting the real game-changer: snow. Since you might be stuck in the house and in between manicure appointments, why not invest in your own tools of the trade? The Earth Therapeutics Manicure and Pedicure Deluxe Set ($17 on Ulta.com) will help you achieve a salon-perfect mani from the comfort of your couch.

Love the polished look but hate sitting around watching the paint dry? Sally Hansen’sInsta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color ($4.95 on Ulta.com) will cater to your impatiententhusiastic side. In a few short minutes, you can have 10 perfectly polished digits. To spice things up, why not try out one of the funkier colors like Mint Sprint? It’s like a sassy mood-booster for your hands!

For some ladies, a run-of-the-mill manicure isn’t even worth the effort (or the money), but don’t go to pieces about it. Or do! OPI’s Katy Perry Nail Lacquer in Black Shatter($8.50) will add that coveted crackle texture to ho-hum hands and makes maintenance oh-so-easy since a little chipping is perfectly acceptable.

Now that your hands are supple, smooth and ready to show off, you’ll have more than enough time to hang out! Admire those fancy fingers while you veg out with a fun rom-com.

GIRL TALK TIME: How do you battle the bitter elements to keep your hands supple and smooth? What are your fave nail polish colors this year?

Original Post Found Here.