Thursday, September 18, 2014

What's in my Purse {and Yours?}

The fabulous bag in NY a few weeks ago for the Today show appearance. Via my IG.

I already know I carry too much. I'm the quintessential bag lady. I have a bag for everything. Literally. As much as I've tried in true earnest to scale down, it just doesn't happen. I'm not talking about just scaling back on the number of bags I own, but also the number of bags I have in my main bag. 

I swear I have a good reason, though. Travel! With all the traveling I do, I have to carry a big carry-all which fits everything I may need for a day's work. The trouble of switching bags when I'm back and forth is too much so I end up with the same bag for a while. 

And this fabulous blue one has been it this summer. My lovely prized possession for everything. It's become my home away from home. It fits everything! Can't you tell!?! ¡Todo! Demasiado! Too much acclaim, I first showed it off here

But I have a method to this madness. It's all organized, you see. 

A black makeup bag featured in this post, holds all of my daily (and short travel trips) makeup. I've wavered from these prods few times. I've edited them down to ensure I have something for any occasion. Glosses are must so I've been hooked on L'Oreal's new 'orange tempo', Artistry Beauty's, one by Smashbox you can't see cuz it's in the bag, a nude one from Aerin's new fall collection and a bright pink crayon by NYC in 'bathroom blush'. What you can't see in the bag are my matte lipsticks. My EL pure envy and Laura Mercier 'caviar.' Those are my go-tos. 

And then mascara (I alternate between L'Oreal's butterfly, Smashbox and Lancome's oscillation) and my two must-have eyeliners by Smashbox (have you tried them!??! Heavenly! especially that French Navy). I'm finally getting used to and love the idea of not leaving home without eye correctors... a long day will do it to you! Shiseido's sheer eye zone corrector is my pal these days. Keeps me looking super vibrant when I'm really yawning inside. 

Lip balm, powder, blush, and a few more lipstick options. It's a lot! 

That black bag is literally splitting at the seams.

But then there's the blue smaller catch-all bag which is for my essentials: floss, hand sanitizer, Neosporin, tweezers, nail polish -- I'm notorious for doing my nails on my way to church and Lancome's grayish color is perfect for any fete -- hand lotion -- loving on that L'Occitane Vitora Regia tube -- and the Les Couvent des Minimis Gardner's Hand Health (I keep that in a real small exterior pocket for quick access). And a super cute fresh breath spray saying 'Hello!' -- you know... garlic fries or lots of espresso will do it to you. My vintage pill box stays there, too, for those pounding headaches that just creep up on me.

I don't move about without that little blue bag. It has spare battery for my iPhone... and cables of course. A charger for the car in case I end up in someone else's ride... that happens a lot, you know. A threading kit is essential (scoop them up at your next hotel stay!) for those wardrobe malfunctions. A sharpie! Who knows what for! And I always carry a simple barrette and two-three sample bottles of Jo Malone perfume. Again, you never where you'll end up! 

Oh, and the tea is just because. I restock after every trip. Some hotels don't have teas in the room and I like drinking a cup before I got to bed. 

Everything else just gets thrown in the bag! The iPad, the iPhone, hair emollient, mini SPF moisturizer (Artistry makes the best travel size everything  I can take anywhere and it actually works. I always carry a journal with me.  I find inspiration in just about anything I see, anyone I talk to, or even during a quiet moment at the stop light. I have to pen my thoughts. They could turn into something big! I just need a fabulous pen to match! Any suggestions? This is my latest journal find and I'm totally in love with it. It's so me. It speaks my mind when I don't have words.

And my latest addition to the big blue bag? A lovely beaded bag I'm using as my wallet... so much more chic than a traditional wallet with lots of slits in it! 

So, that's it! In a nutshell (or not!) that's what's in my bag! 

Okay your turn! What's in your bag? 

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

From NY to Miami to the Keys and Back! It’s a Travel Life…#SummerBliss

View from my room in the Keys via my Instagram
Sunset yatch ride in Florida Keys 
Ride and view to Sunset Key Westin 
John Koons art installation at 30 Rock
Coconut trees in Miami
Swinging tire for the kids!
Cancun was in the mix earlier this year, too. I went down there in May to attend their food and wine festival, which was wonderfully replete with food from all over the world. Wines galore, desserts to make you gasp and fantastic beach weather. It was the best 5 days of being disconnected. Kind of.

But I had to postpone my other travel plans for later in the Spring and early Summer, most which were out of the country, because of some awesome work that came up. And most of that work involved travel…still does.

With summer in full swing, I went to The Florida Keys which proved to be an insanely sultry 5 days of sunset beach dinners starting in Isla Morada and a perfeculy sexy al fresco lunch at Little Palm Island --  Cuban fusion food, gourmet ceviche and key lime pies to die for. It was all so perfect. But the kicker was our final night dinner at The Westin Hotel Sunset Key. Take a look at this view as weboarded the yatch ferry that took us over to the remote island... and tell me if not everything! So dreamy. So romantic. So summer!

And just when I thought my summer travel was coming to sad halt, I got an invitation to NY to do this. I was only there 30 hours but was able to snap some fun pictures of John Koons art installation at Rock Center --- where art, news, history, and entertainment collide.

Though I flew up, I drove back with my parents to make their trip easier. And, my oh my. What was supposed to be simple 3.5-hour drive back to DC, turned into a grueling, musty 6 hr traffic jam with a single stop for café. And as it would go, my iPhone crashed on all social media sites because of the love I was getting for that special visit. You can read about it here. And this is where my friends at OnStar would have come in handy! Most of GM's 2015 portfolio comes equipped with 4g LTE connectivity, which would have subsided my face-planting frustration with not being able to connect to FB and Twitter. Or better yet, asking one of their super-efficient virtual operators how to get out of the hot mess we were in.

And so now that I’m in Miami hanging with my brother, for the second time in 2 weeks, I’m taking in as much as I can of what’s left this summer! There’s so much to do! The beach, some canoeing, some jet skiing, and camping! No matter what I’m doing, it’s great to be able to share my haps with you via social media. And though it’s nice to get away from the madness of life, you know our friends like to see what we’re up to! If you have OnStar, you can enjoy your break but not leave your friends in the dark! Let them live vicariously through your fabulous jaunts!

I’m not done traveling yet, though! I’m now in Mexico where I’ll really be able to enjoy some sun while chilling on the beach under an umbrella, rocking a big fabulous hat and sipping on piña coladas.

And for certain, before summer’s out, becuse we only have 9 days left,  I’m headed to Harper’s Ferry, WV. It’s the easiest road trip ever; 2 hours; great white water rafting, fishing, some camping, thrift shopping and always a good history lesson. The views from the mountains are spectacular and bring tremendous peace. I can’t wait! That’ll be about the only road trip I take this summer.

Join in the fun with OnStar this remainder of summer! Share your road trip pics from wherever you are! Anyone of their cars has the technology and you can easily tease your fam and friends back home! Show them that perfect 11-pound fish you caught! Or that perfcct tan line you’re working on! Tag your pics #WhereintheUSA and @OnStar on Instagram for a chance to be featured on their site. They're loving how we're all spending our summer by catching pics with the tag. People nationwide are doing it up! 

I’ll show you my road trip ventures if you show me yours! For now, these are some the views I've enjoyed this summer so far; from Miami, to the Keys, to Manhattan and back. Now through the weekend, it's Playa del Carmen!

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This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Mott's blogging program. The opinions and stories are true and my very own, always. Keeping it real!  
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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Getting TV Ready

(Eyebrow tinting at Wink Brow Bar -- all natural, vegetable dye)

(The super chic, quoted wall at Wink Brow Bar)

Last segment's makeup selection via my Instagram
There's a method to getting camera ready. As much as I'd like to think the approach is the same every time, I just can't seem to stick to the same method. What I do before I get to the Green Room, if there's one avail, depends on the amount of sleep I got, how much water (or coffee) I've had, and how my skin woke up feeling --- in a happy, bright mood or a dull, "let's beat this" affect. I wish it more more often the former than the latter but, hey a girl can't have it all! 

But I'm always prepared! You already know I tend to overpack.... whether it's shoes (don't ever get to half of them) or makeup, I'm always overloaded with extra stuff. You know, just in case things change up last minute... or in the event there's no Green Room... those times aren't so fun, but I gotta make it work. And so over the years, I've learned really well how to do my makeup and over the last 2 years, refined my look to be camera ready... a whole other kind of application. 

There's lighting to consider. A lot of movement, especially when I'm taping several segments back-to-back for later airing...and of course the look for what I'm talking about. If for fashion, I like an edgier look. If I'm cooking, I like a sexy but natural look. Ultimately, it really depends on how I'm feeling. 

But there are some basics. Like priming. And falsies. And great lip color. And in my case, coloring-in my ultra thin eyebrows. Ugh, the worst thin things ever. That's another story, but I have to color them in a bit to get a fuller but natural look. 

On my 1st Today show segment, I was invited by the super sleek Wink Brow Bar in the Village for an eyebrow tinting. That went super-well and we ended up adding eyelash clusters. The tinting was great but didn't stay on as long as they said, which should have been at least 3 weeks. Mine lasted more like 5 days. But the vegetarian dye was nice and had a great hue. Love the difference it made. It as extremely natural looking but definitely made them look thicker and fuller than they really are. The clusters were the best I've ever had applied but they also fell out after one day when they should have lasted at least one week. 

I won't say a complete fail since they definitely augmented my look the next morning for live TV but not sure how effective the tinting really is. 

And then of course I have the night before ritual which is about 3 glasses of water, washing, cleansing, and applying Orico London Superico Face Oil. Best.stuff.ever. And some of my beauty friends in NY dropped off a lovely good bag filled with goodies to help me prep. I was all over the Lumene Bright Now for my eyes, which I struggle a bit with b/c of lack of sleep -- every hard-working woman's pet peeve. 

But for the day of, I put so much more into it... Green Room or not!

It goes like this:

Moisturize: Love washing with a simple Neutregena grapefruit acne cleanser... especially when it's that time of the month. Been swearing by that for about 6 years now. I move on to toning and moisturizing. I love a variety of moisturizes I'm using these days. For perky eyes, I stick to lotion, cremes that focus stricly on the yes. For vibrancy, Lumene 'Bright Now' and Erno Lazlo eye creams. I use the Erno one at night and the Lumene in the morning. The combo works well! I finish with a few misty sprays of Caudile Beauty Elixir -- the travel size, of course. It's perfection.

Prime: This is key for TV. It equalizes your face and allows your makeup to apply evenly and be more stable. I used Lancome's La Base primer which feels like silk! Love that stuff. And then like the best beauty find ever, I apply L'Oreal's Miracle Blur. That stuff there! It's like airbrush for your face in real life. It's amazing. It mattes the face without matting the face, if you know what I mean. And finally, I finish off with Smashbox's Photo Finish. It has as similar affect as the Miracle Blur, but it's not as matted and has a lovely light colored bronzy and metallic finish which illuminates beautifully. I try not to use it for every day, but it's sooooo good!

Conceal: This is the fun part. L'Oreal's True Match Crayon has been my obsession since they came out. I go through them in about two weeks. I use it everywhere: under eye, blemishes, neck, etc... it does the magic trick of evening out discoloration. And it's not cake. I've put on about 10 girlfriends on this God-sent product.

Foundation: Since I don't always trust MUAs in Green Rooms can really get my complexion right, especially if I'm having a month of brown spots, I start my makeup myself and let them touchup and finish with their really good stuff. I use a few foundations, but L'Oreal's True Match foundation is the This is liquid goodness. I used that for just about any time I'm wearing makeup. Shiseido and Laura Mercier have great foundations I use, too.

Eyes: Actually, this is my most fun part ever. I travel with one eye palette only, mostly Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess from last summer which is still a charm for me and a two year old Bobbi Brown one.... they're magic. I dibble and dabble in newer ones I have, but not unit I've completely figured out how their blend worlds, I go with what I know well. I still use single colors in little pots. Eyeliner go-to is either Bobbi Brown Khol versions, Smashbox  3D liner in French Navy or Artistry Beauty's metallic.... my absolute favorite. And for mascara, a woman's best beauty friend, Smashbox's Full Exposure is naaaaasty good! Try it out, ladies. It's everything in mascara. But I apply that after faslies! And I've recently been loving on Lancome's Hypnose wand. It's super light and gives great texture. Finally, I finish with a touch up under my eyes again... Lancome's liquid concealer pen is great. It's small enough to take anywhere.

Powder: Lancome's pressed powders are good. Super light... probably the lightest I've ever used but it does the job... A really good job.

Blush: I've been using Artistry Beauty's coral blush from last season. But it's so pretty and the round gold compact makes it great. It have lovely shimmer but not too much which could interfere with studio lighting. I also use my good old faithful MAC but I'm not sure of the color.

Highlighter: I have several highlighters I used depending on how badly I need it! his last appearance, I told the nicest one I've worked with yet, to hook up my upper cheekbone, chin and forehead. If I do myself, Urban Decay's Naked Illuminated powder and Laura Mercier illuminizing bronzers give that last touch of "I'm ready!"

Lips: I let the MUAs do this part, but sometimes I like arriviting on set fully done... And if so, I always have a good stash of glosses and lipsticks. My go-tos are Laura Mercier 'Peony' (this entire summer), Artistry Beauty lip glosses, like Plum Glaze, NYC color crayons, and Estée Lauder pure envy matted sticks. Matte lips with a simple dip in the glitz jar is key!

And that's how it goes! I love doing my own makeup but sometimes a girl needs those amazing MUA hands' tools an tricks to finish it all off. God bless them!

Stay tuned for my look on the last Today show segment where the gorgeous Jennifer Lopez and I hung out.
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

{B! Happy} IB Island-Inspired Jewelry

Door Signage
IB Designs Boutique
IB Designs exterior
Pendant options: Lavi, Strength, and Gratitude
Bangles, bangles, bangles! That far 2 left 'West Indian' is a stunner! So is the 'Jingle Jangle' right next to it.
The Strength Ring

Need some happy in your life? Book a flight to St. Croix and stay for 8 days! You'll never be the same.  It's quickly become one of my favorite Caribbean islands to visit, next to my own Cuba, of course. It's sexy, it's quiet, full of history, has good food, and some spectacular beaches. You can't help but stay in a good mood.

My 1st visit in 2011 was so good, I went back in 2013 for their Food & Wine Experience. I had way more down time during the 1st visit but with the limited personal moments, I still found a way to escape and scour the the best little boutique and fabulous finds. In the super quiet side of Christianstead, Kris Masciott and her husband own IB Designs, short for Island Boy, a super boho chic handmade jewelry boutique. I landed there via some recommendations and instantly fell in love with their vibe.

A stucco wall which you face as you enter, welcomes you with a happy, positive note for the day. No attitudes allowed. I'm guess it's part of their tactic to keep you happy enough to want to buy... and I did on my 2nd visit. After an hour of staring at beautifully hammered silver everything, and organically hand molded gold, I walked away with my favorite gold hoop earrings ever.

Gold hammered hoop earrings via my Instagram
These hammered lovelies are my go to when I want to be simple but dramatic. I don't need anything else to go with them. And they're so funky fresh 70s with a modern twist.

I've worn them here, while cooking on TV and rocked here while in AZ, and about 10 other places. Now that my hair is super short, they look even better.

But I was really impressed with their silver bangles. They each have a wildly unique flow and design. And each have a different name identifying a sentient or pertinent life value. Everything is done in the studio, right there in the uber small space. Custom-design a piece, too. They're totally flexible. Remember, it's an island company --- and as such, they're always happy.

So I had to walk away with the sterling silver West Indian twisted bangle and the Jingle Jangle, both which have made many "arm candy" appearances on Instagram!

Blueish kind of day via my Instagram

Now I'm just trying to get my hands on the Jingle Jangle ring. Love, love, love it. It sings to me.

When you go to St. Croix, make it a point to visit them and sip some of their happy juice and walk away from something special. The pieces will last you a lifetime and always transport you to the palmy island when ever you wear them. Oh, and get a massage on the beach from Corey. My goodness, life there is just too good.

I'll be back soon!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{Beauty Bloom} Sensual & Essential Body Oils

We’re seeing the end of summer, but there’s still plenty to enjoy in this heat. I’ve just landed in Miami to take a few ‘me' days and forgot to completely consider the heat I’m far from befriending. It’s one thing to be 85 in DC; it’s another to be the same in Miami, though there’s water. But that’s the redeeming element: la playa. 

I’m not sure if i’ll make it so South Beach on this trip, but just in case, I brought a few of my favorite body oils, most which hit shelves and counters this summer. We all need body oil to hydrate and make our skin supple again… Heat, especially dry, can suck the life of our cells. And no one likes crackling, chapped anything. 

I love these four for different reasons. So from my outdoor and all-day testing, here’s what I’ve got for you!

Jergens Shea Beauty Oil

Keep this stocked up! Gift it to your mother, your sister, your best friend, your neighbor… I’m telling you. It’s that essential body oil for every day, all-purpose use. Take it the beach for the best bronzy and shimmery effect. It’s only $10. Definitely a keeper. I featured it on my beauty and fashion segment earlier this year on ABC’s Positively Tampa Bay but it wasn’t a live spot so it got edited out. 

Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil 

I fell in love with this last year, actually. At the time was I quite faithful to Neutregena’s body oil which I still rank top 5, but this right here is just as sexy as it gets. It’s light with a hint of rose hue and an elegant scent which takes me to Monaco for some reason. Of the five I’m using this season, this is my luxe one reserved for the weekends while brunching with the girls. It’s not greasy, too thick or overpowering. It’s perfectly balanced. Use sparingly... it is $32 for a little over 3 oz. But it’s so worth it. 

Laura Mercier Verbena Dry Oil Mist 

This is oh-so-perfect for traveling and for when you need a quick misty boost to your face and hands. The lightest of the oils, it’s not intended for full body application. At least not for my lifestyle. The lemongrass fragrance will keep you feeling super fresh all day and have your girls asking what you’re wearing. Seriously.  Tell them or not. I think some beauty secrets are good to have. This is super luxe. Super. $45 for a bit over 3 oz., too. Yeah, luxe, girls. 

L’Occitane Jenipapo Oil 

This sensual oil is from their Brazilian collection which came out earlier this summer in honor of the World Cup. I loved the face veil I featured in a previous post so much I had to try the oil. It’s more for beach days and all day trekking if you’re on an excursion or traveling to hot destinations. It’s got SPF content to protect you from damage, which is a must-have feature. My moto is, anything hailing straight from France, especially Provence is worth owning. It's $30... you know the range. 

What are your fave body oils this summer? What have I missed?! 

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{Beauty Bloom} Sexy, Fun, & Perfect Summer Scents

My aunt told me once I could have multiple personalities because I have a perfume for different events and moments. Her argument was so ridiculous, I ended up thinking she just wasn't so feminine. I mean, doesn't every woman wear perfume? Doesn't every woman have a signature scent --- for different moments she's enjoying? Her thought was that every woman should only need one perfume.

I couldn't disagree more.

That conversation happened sometime around 2000 when I used to rock FENDI's classic scent. I was quite young to be wearing such a bold perfume, but it was my power perfume. I was fresh out of college and I thought it was appropriate to wear to interviews, meetings where men would monopolize the conversation, or lunch trysts where big decisions would be made. It made me feel great.

I still have the same bottle and surprisingly, it still smells the same. Integrity is in tact.

They don't make them like that anymore, but since I still swear by perfume, having one for every relevant moment in my life, I still enjoy collecting them and dissecting their notes and affect in order to assign to a specific life event. So while I have my signature for church on Sabbath (Chanel Chance), dates (changes depending in what we're doing), business meetings (Jo Malone or Womanity by Thierry Muglier -- love, love, love this!) and weekends (anything goes!), I love discovering new scents.

I'm mostly attracted to musky, woodsy scents with fig, caviar, sandalwood and some citrus notes -- hence Womanity and a lot of Jo Malone -- but there are some fresh summery ones I'm loving on right now. They fit some aspect of my daily living and match my personality.

Here are five of a select few I'm really loving on this summer. I have tons of fun switching up and keeping those around me guessing what I'm wearing. I learned from a friend many years ago that a lady never shares her secret. So, I'm being general here... not indicating what I wear each of these for!

LES COUVENT DES MINIMES Eau des Missions. Hailing directly from Provence, France, this super casual but luxe spray bottle has soft vanilla notes but strong myrrh accents. It makes a perfect scent for when you really don't know in which direction to go. ($38)

AERIN Waterlilly Sun. This is probably my favorite new scent coming out for late summer. Aerin Lauder's perfume line is super luxurious and perfect for the woman that confidently knows herself. This is uber lovely for every occasion though I'd keep it to mostly day. It's sexy. Very sexy. And the packing? Well, that green top speaks to me. A lot. The entire collection will launch in Oct. ($110)

L'OCCITANE Frisson de Verveine. If you read B So Chic! you probably know I love all things L'Occitane, another classic French company and also born in Provence. I first fell in love with L'Occitane's verbena collection while staying at some hotel in NY during MBFW '12. It's what they offer for toiletries. And oh, yes, I snatched some up. So when their full bottle scent came out just a  few weeks ago, I was all over it! I just had to have it. Girls, this right here is light and soft but makes a statement. It has real organic verbena essence from real verbena leaves grown in Provence. We all love verbena, right? Lemony notes contrasted with bergamot deem it a keeper. Seriously. I love, love, love. Can't wait to try their other one. ($55)

AVON Flor de Alegría. Avon has a good perfume, really they do! The classic "Avon Lady" beauty company has been making products for ever and ever but I was so thrilled to get this little super girly bottle. It's super floral making it super whimsical and fun for girls' brunch or when you want to freely sprint around town. ($32)

CLINQUE Calyx. You know a perfume is good when it's still around, 20 years later. I remember when this debuted. My mom bought it for me and I wore it for about 5 years. I forgot about it as I was introduced to the $100+ designer scents. But when I glanced at in recently on the counters at Nordstrom, I was intrigued. Hasn't changed but has gotten better. The textured bottle is the best but the augmented citrus notes make it a sexy aroma for this season. It's that one scent this summer that surfaces memories of my past but invites new ones! ($52)

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