Canned

Ever just want to say “f-all” and do your hair up in Diet Coke cans like Miss Gaga did last spring? I know it’s been a while since our Lady of Pop debuted this crazy look, but I was thinking about it this morning while musing about my love of Diet Coke.

I drink two or three a day (sorry Mom, but that’s the truth) and it’s reached the point where even the sight of that familiar silver-black-and-red logo is comforting. I love the snap and hiss that occur immediately upon opening a fresh can, and I’ll settle for the soda fountain variety if nothing else is available. But to wear Diet Coke as a fashion accessory? Genius… still genius over a year later.

PS. Am seriously considering pink highlights. Methinks the big-deal corporate boyfriend might be a tad upset should I make that choice. Perhaps in a temporary capacity tied to that lovely excuse for pushing the fashion envelope we know as Halloween? Until then, I’ll be thinking it over with a Diet Coke in hand.

What to Wear to a Wedding: Part Two

The verdict, after all, was that my dress was just this side of slutty. In order to avoid stares, baby brother suited me up with a gold and moonstone pendant on a gold chain and a dripping Chanel belt-or-necklace wrapped twice around my neck. He left this to dangle in the deep V of exposed skin and decided to leave my waves untended so as not to look too “done.” Talk about a stylist! This kid should charge.

Little floating CC's made for a perfect skin concealer and dressed up the outfit without drawing the attention away from my face. Pookie looked ravishing in a black silk chiffon number, dangling crystal earrings and her signature radiant smile.

Easy tip: Make your blowout last

Whitney Port has some of the prettiest hair in Hollywood, no?

There is no hair moment quite as satisfying as when you first leave the salon after a great blowout. No matter what tools or products you use at home, it always just looks better when someone else does it, right? There are girls who can work one blowout for a week, and I totally commend them. But my hair gets greasy quick, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Here is my tried-and-true formula for making your hair stay glossy and gorgeous for days.

Every day:

Avoid cardio (yay!). Especially in summer heat, your scalp sweats a lot while running or doing other cardiovascular activity. Sweat at the roots is not a good look. If you don’t want to ditch your fitness routine completely, work out inside with the A/C blasting and stick to crunches, leg lifts, or other localized moves.

Wear a shower cap. Sure, your grandma has one, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. I’m a big fan of Blow’s “the perfect shower cap,” with a terry liner to absorb steam and keep hair from frizzing out. Beauty.com, $18.

Every night:

Thrashing about and sweating in your sleep can cause hair to rumple and tangle. Select a nice, soft hair tie (read: a scrunchie) that won’t cause a dent. Keep hair parted as it is, and gather at the nape of your neck. Twirl it gently around itself into a loose bun, wrap with hairtie and try to sleep on your side. When you wake up, gently remove hairtie and separate the hair with your fingertips. Voila!

Day one: Leave it alone

The only thing touching your blown-out hair should be your Mason Pearson mixed bristle brush (drugstore.com, $151). Do not add product, and no matter how soft it feels, please try not to touch. Your fingertips are a hotbed of oil and the more you touch your hair, the greasier it will be. If you have any fly-aways, spritz your fingertips with a tiny amount of strong hold hairspray and gently pat unruly hairs down. Basta!

Day two: Fluff factor

You can likely keep the same shape your hair had post blowout by continuing to leave it alone. Try a quick flip-over in the bathroom, brushing hair gently from underneath and then flipping your head up to keep its bounce. If you are starting to see a little oil at the hairline, fret not. Neil George refresh dry shampoo, neilgeorgesalon.com, $18, is a wonderful product. Spray lightly on affected areas, allow the shampoo to absorb, and gently brush through.

For an extra flounce factor, try this no-fail style. Keeping hair parted as it is, simply pull back a small section from each side. Twist as you go and affix with pins at the back on either side. This princess-like style adds body and distracts from any early signs of oil, a la Blake’s hair here.

Day three: Pony up

Personally, I’m not a fan of letting hair go unwashed for longer than three days, but you can sport your still-fly blowout on your third and final day with a poofy pony. Use your dry shampoo at the roots first. Then, pull hair back into a high pony, smoothing the look with your Mason Pearson. Use a fun pony cover like grosgrain ribbon tied into a bow, or a nice length of black leather wrapped several times around. I really like these cotton bows from American Apparel, too. Americanapparel.com, $14. If hair is lacking in body, try a clipless curling iron to create big waves. Spritz all over with your favorite long hold hairspray, and head out the door.

Beachy keen

There’s something so deliciously natural about jumping into the car and heading to the beach. I spent my whole childhood, teens, and college summer years doing just that. Nowadays, the opportunity comes up less often but when it does, I always want to look great. Sure, there are plenty of ladies who couldn’t care less about their appearance beachside, and I totally respect that. But while a fuss-free routine is definitely desirable, I have a few head-to-toe golden rules for beach-bound days worth looking into.

Goldy locks: Sun bleaches hair naturally–why not take advantage? The less product your hair has in it, the better your chance for some natural highlight action. So, while you might be tempted to head to the ocean with day-old hair, I recommend giving it a quick wash with clarifying shampoo before you leave the house. And the old wives’ tale about lemon juice? It totally works. Avoid a sticky, seed-filled scene though; squeeze an entire lemon into a $1 spray bottle from the drug store, fill halfway with water, and use that to spritz yourself closer to blonde. Word to the wise: your natural texture is going to come through no matter what, so embrace the wave and if things get too frizzy, just throw it in a pony!

Save face: Always slather your face (cheeks, nose, and forehead especially!) in SPF 25 or higher before hitting the beach. I like the Clinique “Sun” face cream above, clinique.com, $30. Follow up with a quick layer of brown mascara and a dab of pale pink gloss for girl-next-door simple glamour with just enough enhancement.

Fake some cleavage: If you know me, you know I’m working with very little in the “bubbe” department. In every day life, this fits me just fine. But in a bikini, it’s fun to fake a little more than you’ve got. Avoid heavy padding because it looks fake and awkward. A slightly padded lining and bra-like top will always work no matter how much (or little) you’ve got. A quick sweep of bronzer in a semicircle on either side of cleavage works wonders too. It’s all about creating shadows that don’t really exist!

This retro push-up triangle top bikini from Victoria’s Secret is an excellent choice and mint green is dreamy on every skin tone. Victoriassecret.com, Top ON CLEARANCE for 21.99, bottom ON CLEARANCE for $15.99… and no, I cannot promise this tip will make your boobs look like hers!

Get gutsy: Even you lucky girls with nearly-flat tummies can fall victim to embarrassing bulge issues when you let it all hang out. Make sure to drink a ton of water the night before and morning of, and keep guzzling while you’re in the sun. Avoid salty foods, too. This one-two combo will keep you from internal bloating. And for heaven’s sake, stand up straight. This is how I practice: Stand up how you honestly feel comfortable, and how you feel you normally hold yourself. Then, keep your spine and shoulders in that exact position and inch toward a mirror. Sneak a peak. I guarantee you, you will find room for improvement. Practice good posture at home and live by it at the beach to keep your tummy looking tight and sexy all day long. Avoiding string-tie bikini bottoms can’t hurt either!

Pack snacks: Food sold at the beach tends to be high in salt, fat, and calories and low in nutritional value. My family always brings homemade fruit salad with whatever’s left in the fridge. Add a quick pour of orange juice and mix on your way out the door. Sliced watermelon, lite Baby Bel cheeses, and hummus with veggies also work. Want a super-satisfying choice everyone will love? I make it with gluten free pasta but whole wheat works too. Pick a fun shape or mix a few different ones. Add cooked broccoli, sundried tomatoes, a can of drained tuna fish (in water not oil), feta cheese, and olives. Add a dash of salt, pepper, some olive oil and red wine vinegar, toss, and go.

Steaming stems: Maybe your gams don’t quite measure up to Gisele’s, but you can get her sexy sheen in one easy step. When you’re beach-bound, pour a generous amount of Johnson & Johnson baby oil into your palms and massage onto your legs. Done!

Flaunt your feet: It is always worth it to invest in a good pedicure once every few weeks in summer. Sand and heat can make feet dry and worsen calluses. Public showers and pools are a breeding ground for fungus. The cute single person on the next beach towel wants to look over and check out your hot toe nails, not a hot mess. Need I say more?

MaKe me pretty: Mary Kate’s best summer beauty tricks at home

Summer is all about easy makeup and undone hair, but vamping it up for night is still important. Fashion-world darling Mary Kate Olsen is the queen of Boho-Beachy Chic. I’ve searched through the MK beauty archives from the past few years and assembled some of her best summer makeup looks here; let’s discuss how to recreate them at home.

Smoky eyes & messy tresses:

This is a great look for date night, especially following a beach day. First things first: apply a light and airy tinted moisturizer all over your face, doubling up under the eyes for a dewy glow everywhere. I like E.L.F. tinted moisturizer with SPF, eyeslipsface.com, $1.

To achieve these bold, smoky eyes, line top and bottom lids first with an iridescent charcoal liner like Stila smudge stick waterproof liner in silver dollar (sephora.com, ON SALE from $22 for $5). Follow this base with a heavy-handed line of black liquid (try Smashbox liquid liner pen, beauty.com, $20) on top and bottom. For best results, I suggest false strip lashes like MAC’s Natural Length lashes (maccosmetics.com, $14), but if you prefer to go au natural, three coats of Maybelline Volum Express mascara in Very Black (beauty.com, $6.79) will do the trick. To achieve MK’s creamy beige lip, try a rich gloss like Estee Lauder’s High Gloss in Honey (esteelauder.com, $16).

For the hair, just take your beach-worn, sun-soaked tresses and enhance their natural look. A quick spritz of Sedu Beach Body spray (sedu.com, ON SALE from $18 for $9.99) will give you the added texture you need. Then, assemble the front half of your hair into a classic Alice-in-Wonderland, teasing out strands with the end of your comb for a perfectly messed up look.

Barbie makeup & loose waves:

Glowing eyes and soft, wavy locks could not be sexier. Start with loose copper shadow applied softly to lids (try Kat Von D true romance loose shadow in Rapture, exclusively at sephora.com, 16). Follow by using a finer brush to apply the same shadow thinly along the lower lash line. A dab of dark (even black) shadow like CoverGirl’s Eye Enhancers in shimmering onyx (drugstore.com, $3.19) in the outside creases will intensify the look for night. Follow with a heavy line of black (Revlon ColorStay eye liner, amazon.com, $8) to top lid and light line along the bottom lid, two coats of your Volum Express mascara, and you’re done. Try a nearly-nude pink gloss on your lips, like Lancome Color Fever gloss in Frosted Petal, lancome.com, $26. Try a dab of cream blusher on your cheeks and you’re good to go! I like Nars’ cream blush in Enchanted, narscosmetics.com, $26.

The hair could not be easier. Part your clean or day-old hair down the center. If you have natural waves, all you need is a quick spritz of Neil George perfect hold hairspray (neilgeorgesalon.com, $22). Straight hair can be easily adjusted to fit this style. First, wet it down with an all-over spritz of water from a spray bottle. Once damp, separate small sections and work into loose braids (about five braids per side). Set your blow dryer on its lowest setting and hold at arm’s length from the hair, softly drying it while plaited. Once it’s nearly dry, mist quickly with your hair spray, set style with one more blast from your dryer, then undo braids. Softly unravel with finger tips and allow your sweet waves to flow as they might!

Bronze glow & a braided crown:

I love this fresh, fun approach to summer beauty, and you can achieve it no matter what your skintone and hair type/length. The makeup is minimal and requires nothing more than a quick coat of foundation one shade darker than your natural color. Blend in along neck and hairline by mixing some light face cream in. You can get fancy with this by creating a 50-50 ration of cream and color in the cap of your moisturizer, stirring until even and then applying with a makeup brush. Or, if you’re an on-the-go girl, just mix the two directly on your cheeks until they look flawless. A solid duo: Clinique Even Better makeup ($24.50) and Youth Surge moisturizer ($49.50), clinique.com for both. No need for anything on your eyes except for your Revlon ColorStay black liner on top and bottom and a coat of Volum Express. Leave lips bare or try a hint of subtle gloss like MAC tinted lipglass in C-Thru, maccosmetics.com, $14.50. Add a hint of illuminating liquid on the apples of cheeks and just below the outside corner of your brows. I love Soleil Tan de Chanel sheer illuminating fluid in Sunkissed, chanel.com, $48.

Your braided crown is going to take some work, but don’t be discouraged! Whatever your natural texture, part down the middle and pull a few thin chunks from the front away from the rest of your hair. Then divide the rest of your hair into two sections, one on either side. Starting at the nape of your neck, create a loose braid on one side, pulling hair up instead of down as you go. Wrap braid on top of your head and place it where a headband would go. Cement with bobby pins. Repeat on the other side, laying second braid directly next to first braid. Pin everything again. Tug gently to pull out a few tendrils. Spray all over with your hairspray of choice. Step out into the world and don’t be surprised when everyone compliments your cool ‘do!

Vixen lips & ringlets:

This is Old Hollywood all the way, and it’s a great transitionary look that will take you from late summer into early fall. Keep the makeup minimal on your face–no need for blush or bronzer. But remember, red lips can emphasize redness elsewhere on the face; if you have any blemishes, cover them up thoroughly with a heavy-duty concealer like Paula Dorf’s Magic Stick (beauty.com, $22). For the eyes, you can use your Kat von D copper shadow, but smear on some extra near your tear ducts to make the eye area appear larger. Follow with a quick smudge of charcoal shadow (Sephora Collection colorful mono shadow in Hit the Road, sephora.com, ON SALE from $12 for $3). A quick sweep of mascara will finish off your eyes.

Red lips are a little tricky. You need to make sure you’re starting with a moisturized pout so as not to allow for caking. I recommend exfoliating your lips by simply wetting your toothbrush and giving them a gentle scrub before applying any color. You can achieve a punchy red lip a few different ways, but my favorite for summer is a sheer, gloss-like stick to keep from appearing too heavy. Feel free to try a few different shades before you select yours–corals, blue-reds, cherry-reds–they’re all in style. I am a die-hard Chanel girl when it comes to red lips. Their Rouge Allure sticks are delightfully light, but hold their color stronger than any gloss will. My favorite is is Coquette, a classic, flirty red that works for every girl. Have fun playing at the Chanel counter, though. At $32, these sticks are a splurge, but well worth the investment. Chanel.com.

The hair is somewhat involved but with a little patience, you’ll get there. People say that dirty hair is easier to style, but I find that nothing beats a shiny curl. I suggest washing hair and allowing it to air dry without any additional product. Then, create a deep side part to allow some hair to cover your eye. If you have long bangs, leave them alone and let them fall as they might. If not, you can create a faux bang look with this across-the-forehead sweep and tuck it behind opposite hair to get it to stay on that side. Now for the curls! Lovely wringlets like these are easier to create than you might suspect. Try a clipless curling iron (Jose Eber’s gets my vote and it comes in a ton of cute patterns and colors, josecurl.com, $250) to eliminate dents. Working from the back to front, select small sections, hold curling iron upside down, wrap hair around shaft and hold for four or five seconds. Spritz each curl with a hardcore hairspray like ULTA ultimate hold hairpray, ulta.com, $8.99. Once you’ve created your luxe curls, flip your head upside down and spray underneath. You’re ready to go! And if the curls fall, keep smiling. After all, the best beauty is real beauty.

Remember MK’s beauty rules:

Trying too hard is never the best move, always choose hair and makeup that feels comfortable and pretty to you, regardless of season. And most importantly, have fun!

Curly You

The oppressive heat and jaw-dropping humidity are enough to throw any girl into a tailspin (or a high pony, at least), but what about those of us with curls? It can take at least two products, one hour, and two high-heat tools to achieve a straight look in this weather, and once you step outside, frizz is a sure bet. My friend Steph has the most lovely natural curls, and for months I watched as she straightened them or tossed the whole head of hair into a high bun. Recently, my curly girly has embraced what’s rightfully hers, and all of Manhattan takes notice as she struts down the street.

Steph’s words of advice for filling out fine curls: avoid gel. Especially in summer heat, gel can weigh hair down, giving it an unappealing, stringy look. Steph uses two drug store purchases–first a palmful of “Big Sexy Curls” mousse throughout, followed by a quick blowdry on low with a diffuser, and finally an all-over spritz of “Big Sexy Hair” volumizing hairspray. Done!

Total styling time: 10 minutes. Impact: Unforgettable.

My girl with her curls, out on the town mid-summer

Gaga for Gaga

I am going to preface this one by saying that I really don’t like to talk about music with anyone outside of my inner circle. There are a few reasons for this. The main concern is that I feel music is a topic much like religion or politics that can bring on heated debate in a moment’s notice, leaving one party feeling wounded, attacked, or on the defensive. When really the whole point of music is to escape these types of feelings. Thus, I try to avoid the topic and just turn up the volume and dance.

That said, my boyfriend and I walked in on a conversation last weekend that truly disturbed me. We were meeting up with friends for some drinks and the girls were discussing their severe disdain for Lady Gaga. Some of the things I heard flying around the room were, “She’s an affront to the fashion industry!” [So easy to disprove. Not only does she make everything shine from Chanel and McQueen to the hotly debated meat dress, she has served as fashion muse for such bona fide designers as Nicola Formichetti of Mugler.] AND… “She’s such a slut!” [Really? What do you know about her personal life? And what makes her any different from any other pop star strutting her fab abs and dying the locks blonde?] The list went on to include her recent horn implants –“creepy and disgusting”– the booby-covered top she wore in the recent Bazaar spread — “gross and crazy” and beyond. However, not once was the music brought up. I was pissed.

Harper’s Bazaar, May 2011

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to go gaga for her. You don’t have to love her, or even listen to her. But you have to respect the girl. She writes her own music, she’s inspired a generation with her devil-may-care edge, and she is not only living the American dream but turning it on its pretty little head. Gaga’s music is honest, catchy, and fun, yet deep. There is this moment at the end of her recent HBO concert special when they reveal a clip of her singing “Born this Way” a capella and it literally brings chills. Pop music hasn’t seen this kind of raw, sexy, true talent in a long time. And as for the clothes, I personally tend to love what she’s wearing, but even if you don’t… isn’t it time we look around and realize that not everyone feels comfortable in the mold? It is so important for today’s youth to have a role model who doesn’t give a crap about pleasing others or living up to stoic standards but instead just does what she wants.

A capella “Born this Way”

And really, at the end of the day, the girl’s a genius. She knows exactly what she’s doing when she throws on a crazy outfit or flips the bird at a Met’s game. I guess my point is this. When Warhol started doing his thing, and later Michael Jackson and Madonna, and earlier Coco Chanel, not everyone got it, and not everyone loved it. But everyone was affected by it. Very few people in history have had the kind of magical, crazy stamp that these geniuses of the past have. I just happen to believe that Gaga is the next one. You don’t agree? That’s cool, but I’m just turning up the volume.

Jello, Summer Weather

It’s been a lovely week, and though there are showers in the forecast, this New Yorker is thrilled to have officially made it through the bulk of Spring Showers and into a happier place. Just a brief highlight today on one item that you must purchase. And I’d like to thank my Mini, Monique, who not only brought them to my attention but also gave me free reign to purchase them, even after she already had. What a nice friend.

The word “jelly” probably conjures up some icky images in your mind. There’s the sweet stuff spread on bread that we probably shouldn’t be eating, the cellulite/sagging flesh connotation (yikes!), and worst of all, the shoes. Remember 1996? I sadly do. I wore my Gap Kids jellies like a mad woman, even when their “clear” color began to yellow. Even when they made my poor, pre-adolescent feet smell like Hell on Earth. Even when my mother went into my room and physically tried to hide them so that I’d forget to wear them. I clung desperately to my jellies until the first day of seventh grade when, thanks to a couple of snickering girls, I realized that they were no longer cool. At ALL.

Ladies, I promise not to scare you… but the jelly might just be back. And at a mere $150, this is one Gucci shoe (or two, really) that you can actually afford to luxuriously enjoy. I suggest you log on to saks.com TODAY and pre-order yours (since most colors and sizes are going fast). Mini and I both have the lavendar. And you are olive with envy…

Gucci, saks.com; $150

Batty for Braids

It’s not news, but braids are everywhere. I’ve been a major fan since the days when Mommy had to break a sweat trying to drag enough strands on my head together to create a plait. French, inside-out, fishtail, miniature, hidden, side-of-head, nape-of-neck, wrap-around… On babies and big girls and everyone in between, I love a braid.

It wasn’t until last week that I discovered my boyfriend loves them too! I was racing to get to an event and despite having flat-ironed my hair, a portion in the front was not settling right. I had to work the red carpet that night, which is fast-paced, hectic, and sadly one of those times when you need to look perfect. Crunched for time, I formed a quick mini braid on one side, tucked the end under the rest of my hair, and voila, utter chic in a matter of moments. I feared Josh would find the look somewhat juvenile, but he loved it! The next time we hit the town, he even requested that I fix the locks just that way. Yay!

Right now, Sparkles & Fun is based out of LA–I’m stationed at a hotel off Beverly Boulevard for the next week and a half on Oscar and other missions. Missing New York, but loving it here. Anyway, there is definitely a bit of a hippie-chic air to the people here and I find it so intriguing. One of the assistants in our LA office came traipsing in this morning completely undone, wearing simple leggings and tunic, nothing glam. Yet she had this wonderful little surprise tucked into her hair that caught my eye and made me melt.

Subtle little feather braid… <3

One tiny, tight little braid started at her crown and wove subtly through her hair, only really visible because of the four colorful feathers attached halfway down the hair shaft. I am obsessed! I am jealous! I am in possession of her stylist’s card… and I am posting photos this weekend when I finally manage to steal away from the office for an hour and get my own little feathery delights done.

Here are some very bold versions
These are mine!!

Welcome to La La Land…

Monique and I arrived in Los Angeles way later than we’d hoped. Due to crazy winds, the flight was delayed and after a long and arduous journey, we arrived to discover our rental car was not ready. Two sad, tired New Yorkers in sweatpants and driving mocs stood stranded by the side of the highway near LAX, bogged down by baggage both emotional and of the Tumi variety. We captured a taxi and camped out for the night at a cheap hotel by the airport, managed to catch some sleep… and woke up this morning to find sun streaming through the windows.

Mo made quick work of digging her favorite romper from the depths of her suitcase and I delightedly called the front desk for a temperature quote–booya, 72! Clad in a plaid linen t-shirt dress and my favorite flats, I grabbed my mini-colleague and off we went for a busy, yet beautiful day.

It’s going to be a crazy work week and my posts will be few and far between. But needed to share this, as I found it so fitting. I love LA on so many levels, but you need to have a little bit of humor about it, no? We found a black car and slid inside. What was waiting in the seat-back pocket for all the executives who get driven around town?

Hard news, my friends. Hard news. Welcome to La La Land…