Ashley’s Nails: Galaxies

by Ashley

This past weekend I attended a wedding with a “Retro Sci-fi Chic” dress code. (It was totally awesome, by the way.) Once I figured out my outfit of gold sequin cocktail dress plus antennae, I had but one question. What should one do with one’s nails for such an occasion?

Galaxy Nails. Obvi.

My girl Mia @ Sparkle SF does an awesome galaxy nail. She starts with a navy gel base, and then she sponges on layers of white, blue, pink, sea foam grew, and purple acrylic paint. Yes, acrylic paint like you used as a kid to paint pictures on paper. Then she sponges on a little gold for flash and tops it off with some white gel “stars” using a dot tool and a paint brush for the twinkles. Clear gel on top and big bada boom, you feel like Leeloo.

 

Galaxy Nails

Click to see more of Mia’s creations on Instagram!

 

 

 

Eyeliner: You’re Doing it Wrong

by Michelle

OK, maybe an overly provocative title there, but I see a lot of bad eyeliner, y’all (including on myself on a bad day). We’ve all been here:

eyeliner

When properly applied, though, eyeliner is a magical thing. It can make your eyes appear bigger, more narrowed, sexily upturned, and/or farther apart. It also has the uncanny ability to attract husbands, children, and pets into the bathroom JUST EXACTLY when you’re trying to get it right. The shit is magnetic.

“But Michelle”, you whine, “I cannnnn’t!”

Dude, you are seriously over-inflating the skill and practice this takes. You don’t need to be a makeup jedi to wear eyeliner (unless you want that perfect cat-eye effect, and then you do). As with other forms of makeup, the right products and tools will do the majority of the work for you. Here are some of my new (and old favorites).

For lining your waterline:

Maybelline Master Kajal Kohl Eyeliner

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 2.33.41 PMY’all know the drugstore (or as they say in the business, “mass”) products that I recommend are few and far between, but this is one of the most innovative and effective products I’ve come across in quite some time. The entire tip is product, so you can line your waterline (the inside rim of your eyelid) without worrying you are going to stab yourself with the jagged wood action that happens when you sharpen a normal pencil.

For those of you eyeliner newbies, lining your waterline in black is effective if you have big, round eyes and want to make them appear more narrowed, or if you want maximum drama in a smokey eye situation and your pink inner eyelids are sorta ruining it. (You can make small eyes appear larger by lining your waterline with white or skin-colored pencil, but alas, this product only comes in your standard colors).

And if you’re a dude and want that awesome punk-rock guyliner effect: waterline that shit! You’ll look less Adam Lambert, more Jared Leto.

For office-appropriate definition:

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Eyes

If you want to look like you have gorgeous, full lashes but not like you’re doing a “thing” with your eyeliner (whatever, haters), old-fashioned pencil is the way to go. Put it right in between your lashes and drag it across to fill in gaps in the lash line in a very natural looking way. Do not attempt this with anything but black pencil, and only if your lashes are dark to begin with.

I love this pencil by MUFE because it glides better than most. It’s also forever being thrown into Sephora sample sets so I have a ton of tiny versions floating around, which is awesome for travel.

For a thick, precise line:

Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Liner

benefitAnother awesome new innovation! This has a pen-style applicator with a slanted, open tip that the gel eyeliner squeezes through, allowing it to replace your old pot-and-brush system (yay for something easy in the work, gym, and travel bags!).

Use this if you want a thick line on top of your lid (ie, you don’t care if people can tell you’re wearing eyeliner) a la Zooey Deschanel. Big eyeliner and big lashes are still very much in style, and this type of application can read as very put together if executed properly.

Do this if you want your eyes to appear bigger (leave the bottom lid naked!). This looks especially beautiful if you have big, round eyes and want to further accentuate them.

And last but not least…

For smokey eyes:

Stila Smudge Pot

This product is a classic for a reason – it’s gelatinous enough that you can get a precise application out of it with an angled brush (for the look above), but it’s really beauty is in it’s awesome smudgeability.

Put on a ton of eyeshadow, then throw this on slapdash with your angled brush. While it’s still wet (you have about 10 seconds), take a q-tip to it to smudge it into oblivion. Easy, and awesome.

What are your favorite eyeliners? Leave a comment and let us know!

RIP Oscar de la Renta

by Michelle & Ashley

We just learned that Oscar de la Renta lost his battle with cancer. He was 82 years old. RIP, Señor de la Renta. We’ll miss your ruffled gowns, famous tan, and fabulous style.

Oscar de la Renta

Source: Hispanic Enterprise Magazine

How to make yourself work out

by Ashley

As some of y’all know, I’m currently training for the New York City Marathon on November 2. (So pumped! Future post promised.)  But you don’t have to be training for a marathon to want to get healthy.

Sometimes one of the hardest parts of getting fit or losing weight is moving from your intentions to work out to the act of finishing a workout. Life is busy, priorities are constantly changing, and squeezing in a workout is hard. Sometimes you need a few hacks.

 

Here are 8 tricks I use to make myself workout.

 

  1. Schedule it in your calendar

    Put your workout on your calendar and then treat it like you would any other meeting. Give yourself time to travel to the gym, workout, shower, and travel back. Block time on your real work calendar to keep people from inviting you to other meetings at the same time. I do this as part of my Sunday night “Get Ready For The Week” ritual.

    Workout Calendar Event

  2. Start small

    Don’t sign yourself up for an hour long run on your first day back if it’s going to make you feel defeated. Even if you used to be able to do more, it’s better to start with small, achievable wins. Build up your confidence, and then work up to the harder stuff. Also, nothing sucks more than getting hurt.

  3. Sign up for a class in advance

    If you like to do group workouts, sign up for a class in advance. This has some of the effect of the calendar in tip #1, but with teeth. Many gyms charge you $$ if you back out, so it gives you a little more motivation to stick to the plan.

    StormTrooperWorkout

  4. Put your workout clothes on

    If you have a normal job, this is best for the weekend. WFH people like me can do this almost every day (unless you have a video conference call). Wake up and put your workout clothes on. You’ll feel really bad if you take them off without sweating first. And it tells your family “I’m going to work out today” so it helps to set their expectations too, which also makes it harder to back out.

  5. Buy a fun, flattering workout outfit

    Like your workout clothes. If you hate everything you have, and can afford a little splurge, go to Lululemon and find something you feel cute and confident wearing. It makes the whole process less dreaded. I even find I look forward to working out in a new top. Also makes tip #4 more palatable.

  6. Go with a friend

    For some extra accountability, make plans to work out with a friend. Someone who knows if you don’t show up (and might even tease you) will motivate you to stick with the plan you made in tip #1.

    Monsters Inc. Workout

  7. Sign up for a race

    I’m a goal-oriented person, and knowing that a race is in my future forces me to stick to the plan over several weeks. There are tons of free plans on the internet for 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, and Marathon distances. It gives me a reason behind the everyday tricks. Stepping on the scale makes me a crazy person. Race goal setting is more positive (something you accomplished) than weight-loss goals (something you lost), and it keeps me from focusing on a number that doesn’t take fat vs. muscle into account.

  8. Take your kids, spouse, or dog with you

    Working out doesn’t mean you have to take time away from your family. Take your kids, spouse, or dog with you for a walk, hike, run or bike (with proper equipment). Keep your expectations low in terms of performance, but know that you’re setting a good example for making healthy living an important part of your every day life. Go slow, chat, and smell the flowers (or hydrant).

Hacking your brain to make you more disciplined and healthy! Get out there!

Strong Beats Skinny tank

Found this awesome tank on Pinterest. I might have to get one. Click if you do too.

Fashion Dilemma: How to Stay Chic While Losing Weight

by Michelle

So you’ve finally decided to get healthy and you’re losing a bunch of weight and feeling better than you have in years – until you put on your clothes and realize how frumpy you look now that they’re just hanging there. Dressing well while losing weight is a classic fashion dilemma – after all, who wants to spend a bunch of money on “in-between” clothes that are only going to fit for a few months?

I dealt with this problem last year while losing my baby weight (55 pounds thankyouverymuch), and y’all know I cannot stand to look anything less than fabulous for a single hot second. So let me get the bad news out of the way: you ARE going to have to buy some in-between clothes. Wearing shit that does not fit is not cute, and besides, it’s so exciting (and motivating) to go shopping and fit into smaller sizes – so chalk it up to staying on track. (Here’s the primer if you need help determining what “fit” means). The good news is that you can minimize your cash outlay with a few tricks.

1. Now is not the time for investment pieces – shop cheap & trendy.

Channel your inner college kid! When you know that what you’re buying doesn’t need to last longer than 2 or 3 months, you can feel free to go crazy at Old Navy, H & M….I’ll even give you a pass to go to Express or Forever 21 if you promise to keep your purchases relatively age appropriate.

2. Buy right on season.

Since you need clothes that fit right-freaking-now, head to the back of the store and shop the deeply discounted sale racks. You’ll find clothes that are weather-right-this-second appropriate, as opposed to the flashy next-season full price merchandise they’ll be pushing at the front of the store. And if you get the store credit card and combine the coupons and “reward cash” you get with the sale rack prices, you can often extreme-coupon your way into free or nearly free clothing (my husband is masterful at this). News flash: the stores know you’re doing this, and they’re selling pretty cheap stuff at a very steep markup at the front of the store to make up for it. Never, ever pay full price (but find solid work wear for right now!) at Banana Republic or Ann Taylor Loft.

3. If you are pear-shaped, jeans are not your friend. Dresses are.

If you’re built anything like me (uh, short), every 5 pounds equals a jeans size. If you’re losing at a good clip, it becomes impossible to keep up. If you absolutely can’t live without your jeans, buy ONE blue pair for $30 (Old Navy!) and wear the hell out of it for the month until you lose a size, and then repeat. Nobody will know.

Dresses, on the other hand, can last through a 20-pound range. If you carry your weight in the hips, look for a-line styles that fit in the waist. Pro-tip: a good padded bra can extend the life of a dress that would otherwise be too big in the chest because OF COURSE that’s the first area the weight comes off of. Body-con dresses will last through a good range, too – keep in mind that those that start off short and sexy when you’re chubby (think old-skool Snooki) are going to get longer and more refined as you get thinner. Same amount of fabric, less ass to cover.

If you’re an apple shape, probably reverse this advice. I dunno, sorry, I’m a pear.

4. Pick a color scheme.

This allows you to buy a few cheap things and mix and match them with ease. Black is always nice. You don’t need the black, the navy, the grey, the white, and the brown in every single size. You can pick a new scheme next month.

5. Trade with friends.

Y’all know we all have a range of ten sizes in our closet, from “I got down to that size for one day in college” to “just in case I get REALLY fat over Christmas again”. Talk to your friends, tell them what size you need. Chances are someone has been holding onto that size in the back of their closet. Promise your friend you will give the clothing back if they ever do end up needing that size. Chances are, they won’t. You can take this idea a step farther and host a super-fun clothing swap party. Provide lots of wine. Girls night! New clothes for everybody!

Now go and strut your stuff, you sexy thang – you’ve earned it!

Tory Burch for Fitbit Accessories Make Wearables Look Good.

by Ashley

I’m pretty into wearables. I love my Fitbit Flex but the somewhat masculine plain black silicone band makes me feel…

Nene eyeroll giphy

Meh.

The soon to ship Tory Burch for Fitbit accessories are the perfect upgrade. That gold hinged bangle is my favorite. It would work great with any bracelet stack. They have two other cute T printed silicon bands, but the gold necklace is pretty bad ass too. I am curious to see if people report it records data as well as a on the wrist.

Tory Burch Fitbit Bangle

You do have to purchase your Fitbit separately for $99, so the total price is a $294. That’s still less than the base Apple Watch will be.

So if you don’t want to wait until next year to find out that the gold Apple Watch you want is $5K (as some have guessed), get yourself a Fitbit today, and pre-order the Tory Burch bangle to start rocking next month.

ToryBurchLifestyle

I mean, look at this lifestyle shot! I totes work out in espadrilles.

Tutorial: 3 Lazy Girl Hairstyles That Take Under 5 Minutes

by Ashley

It’s Tutorial Tuesday… on a Wednesday. I took some medicine that made me fall sleep last night, so you get your tutorial on a Wednesday this week.

Whether you’re a lazy girl like me or a busy mom, here are 3 ideas to get your hair looking chic in less time. These quick hairdos each take under 5 minutes to complete.

  1. Embrace your natural wave 
    Works best with clean, wet hair. Your hair need not be super curly to try it; loose waves look great too.
  2. Messy top knot
    Best with dirty, dry hair. Use some dry shampoo to add texture to your clean hair if necessary.
  3. Trendy side braid
    Works well with clean or dirty, wet or dry hair. Channel your inner Katniss and give it a try!

The whole video is less than 10 minutes long, so that should be proof enough of how quick these are!

Enjoy Weezer’s guest appearance too.

Beauty Innovation! Julep Plie Wand

by Michelle

As a beauty entrepreneur, I strive to innovate and thoroughly enjoy seeing what other brands come up with. So when a friend recently mentioned Julep’s new Plie Wand, I had to get my hands on one and give it a try. The basic premise is that the wand attaches to your polish brush, creating leverage that allows you more control when painting your nails.

pliewand

My toddler may or may not have put this box into the bathtub and turned the faucet on before I could take this picture.

Confession time: I’m a decent makeup artist, but I cannot paint my own fingernails for shit. As in, I’m better at it than I used to be, but on most days I’d still rather make an appointment, get in the car, and hand someone else 40 bucks to do it for me. So this was exciting to me on a purely financial level.

After opening the box and sorting through the various attachments (“Oh look, this one makes polka dots! I’m totally going to use that all the time!”, said no mom ever), I found the basic polish brush. The instructions then told me that if I was working with Julep polish (I was!), I should remove the overcap of the polish and replace it with the cap of said brush. Voila! The magic wand was now is place.

I might be able to use this as a weapon in a pinch…

I commenced painting my toenails – it’s easier and it’s sock weather so it wouldn’t really have mattered if I screwed it up. Apart from my instant regret that I’d chosen orange, the whole thing went down pretty well. The wand definitely gave me more control, and I was able to paint my toenails at lightning speed. Victory for the proletariat!

Except that, when I was finished, I tried to remove the overcap and it would. not. budge. I tried a towel. I tried my husband. Nothing. So now I am stuck with an awesome tool that only works in the orange polish. Booooo.

Overall, I’d recommend this thing, but beware of the overcap switch – just skip that part and use the brush it comes with regardless of the polish brand you’re working with. And if you have any ideas on how I can get this thing unstuck, please let me know in the comments.

My Quest for Cara Delevigne’s Brows

By Ashley

Cara Delevigne is my brow idol. Even though she recently bleached them (OH THE HUMANITY!) for a fashion show, her usual thick, full, dark brows are her signature look. I covet them.
cara-delevingne-eyebrows

Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her brows.
Source: Glamour

And so, I set out on a mission to achieve her fashionable, near-perfect brows.

My 5-step plan:

  1. Be naturally blessed with caterpillars that will grow straight across my face like this.

    Helga Pataki

    Source:Nickelodeon

  2. Let said brows grow in. It’s been hard, but I didn’t touch them at all for 8 weeks.
    FridaMeme
  3. Wax or pluck only modestly to get a deliberate looking shape.
  4. Let a professional dye your brows. I went pretty dark. Here I am in the middle of the process looking extra Helga Pataki. (Forgive the no glasses lazy eye)

    Dying brows
  5. Groom per Michelle’s instructions.

Result: Fierce yet natural.

BrowsAfter

Brow down, bitches.

Fun related links:

We’re back, bitches!

by Michelle

Okay okay, so we sort of abandoned you for six or seven months. We were busy. We had jobs. We no longer have jobs. (Seriously, Ashley and I are both riding the pine, and that is not as fun nor as dirty as it sounds). We are, however, still fabulous.

We’re ready to get serious about this blog, y’all. We have a content calendar and everything. We’ve set up weekly planning meetings. We aren’t fucking around.

Stay tuned for major fabulousity, starting tomorrow.