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Sunscreen 101

Categories: beauty

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I am very, very fair skinned; I don’t really ever tan. Instead, I burn almost instantaneously, which means that I have resolved myself to a lifetime of looking like an extra from the “Twilight” saga. My goal every summer is to go to the pool as often as possible and never have tan lines.

With the right sunscreen, a big hat and a chair in the shade, that is totally doable, by the way.

Unfortunately, I’ve not always been quite so sun smart; as a child, I was burned more times than I can count. In particular, I remember entire summers where my nose would burn and peel, layer after layer of skin flaking off and turning pink and flaking off. Nobody thought anything of it; that’s just what happened when you played tennis and rode your bike and swam and spent every waking minute of every day outdoors.

As an adult, I have become a hard-core sunscreen advocate. I’ve been wearing sunscreen daily for nearly 25 years now, winter and summer, rain or shine. And it has paid off — recently, the aesthetician who tends to my eyelashes and eyebrows asked if I’d had Botox. No, I said, and she marveled at how few wrinkles I have.

Sunscreen FTW!

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Birchbox is the perfect last-minute gift for her (or you!)

Categories: beauty

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Do you know about Birchbox? This may truly be my Favorite Thing of 2011.

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Job interview? Shop your closet

Categories: beauty, casual office

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My friend Kristen always says that the best part of freelancing full time is the pants-free dress code at her office. The same can be said for being a stay-home mom; some days, it just makes sense to keep your pajamas on. All day.

These days, though, more and more of us are looking for work, and unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any offices with pants-optional or pajama day attire policies. Which is a shame, because imagine how productive people would be if they just didn’t have to worry about pants!

Sadly, not going to happen.

Job hunting can be stressful (because omg! you have to put pants on!); scoring an interview is both cause for celebration and reason to panic. Because oh my god what are you going to wear???

Don’t panic. I’ve got you covered. Promise.

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Help me, Internet: I need a new fragrance

Categories: beauty

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A few weeks ago, on a random Tuesday morning, my brother texted me: “I just put Coppertone on my face. I smell like summer.”

Exactly.

Scents can call up all sorts of memories; for me, the smell of Coppertone suntan lotion is the scent of long summers at the pool and tennis courts. I’ve passed this on to my sons as well; when I lotion up to go running, even in the winter, my kids will say, “Mmm, smells like summer in here.”

Because scent has such powerful associations for me, it’s hard to pick a new fragrance. For years, I wore Origins Spring Fever, a citrusy mix that smelled like sunny days, but then Estee Lauder discontinued it (of course). My current scent is Clinique Happy, which I love (it reminds me of living in Tacoma, in the years between graduate school and our first baby), and while I’m still happy with it, I’m in the market for something new.

But I need help.

I’m picky about smells; I don’t like anything too flowery, or anything musky or strong. I’m a makeup minimalist, and I want a scent that is also pared down and simple, with citrusy, clean notes. I had high hopes for Kate Spade’s Twirl, but when I spritzed myself with it recently, I found it a little overwhelming.

I’m picky, I know. Get used to it.

I want a scent that I can wear everyday, something that’s not overwhelming, just light and pretty. Give me your best recommendations, and while you’re at it, tell me what you’re wearing, even if it’s not something I would like — I’m sure there’s someone else out there looking for the perfect signature scent. So share!

What should I spriz myself with the next time I’m at the mall? And what’s your favorite fragrance?

Office-appropriate manicures

Categories: beauty

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Jane has a question (and it’s a good one): “Could you suggest a couple of nail polish shades that you’d use for a professional setting, including job interviews and meet and greet events?”

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mezmerised by Essie — pretty, but not for the office



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Best beauty short cuts: Share yours!

Categories: beauty

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I’m not one to linger in front of the mirror; I’m a five-minute makeup girl, even for special events. But I also want to look polished and pulled-together, even if five minutes is all I have (or have patience for). By sticking to a consistent skin care routine and adding just a couple of simple tricks, I’m able to get my face pulled together quickly in the morning.

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JK Jemma Kidd Classic Couture Lip Color, $16 at Target

My super-fast morning routine has three parts: skin, brows and lashes, and lips. I am religious about skin care; I wash my face morning and night, and never sleep in my makeup. I wear sunscreen every single day, regardless of the weather. I visit my dermatologist regularly. None of this adds any time to my morning routine; I wash my face in the shower or sink, and follow that with a lightly tinted moisturizer (I mix my own — half sunscreen, half foundation).

Here’s my super duper beauty short cut: I have my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted about every four weeks; this means that in the morning, I don’t have to do anything after the tinted moisturizer — no mascara, no brow pencil, no eye makeup at all! My hair has gotten darker over the years, but my brows and lashes are still the same towhead blond that my hair used to be. I have my brows dyed the same brownish blond as my hair and my lashes tinted black. This lets me skip eye makeup all together for day, which speeds up my morning.

To keep my face from looking totally bare, I wear either a shiny gloss or a subtle lipstick. My favorite look right now is a red lip; I’m wearing JK Jemma Kidd Classic Couture Lip Color in Siren most days. I pat it on with my finger, to keep it light, and it lasts all day. I can layer gloss over it as needed, or just slather on Aquaphor as my lips get dry (I usually opt for the Aquaphor, because I’m addicted to it). Red lips for day can be hard to pull off, but combined with a clean, essentially makeup-free face, it’s a fun, edgy look that is totally appropriate for carpool or errands.

Your turn: what do you do to speed up your morning beauty routine? Are you someone who relies solely on great skin to get you through, or do you have a quick trick for fast eye makeup? Share your secrets!

Let’s talk about tipping

Categories: beauty

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Twice this week, I’ve been asked about the rules for tipping stylists at the holidays, which makes me think we should have a quick refresher on tipping in general.

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Put a little spring in your closet

Categories: accessories, beauty

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February is the longest month — you know, for a month with only 28 days, February goes on forever. This winter, the weather has made these four weeks seem even longer (no more snow, please!) and it’s starting to feel like spring will never come.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of my boots and my tights and my parka. I’m ready to put some spring in my wardrobe. Here are five simple ways to snap out of your winter rut.

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Boyfriend cardigan, Boden USA, $88

Add some color. It’s easy to fall into the black-every-day winter rut; work some color into your closet. A bright scarf can change your look — and your attitude — and still keep you warm.

Work the layers. All but the lightest summer pieces can be worn with winter layers; try a substantial cotton dress with a chunky sweater and boots.

Mix in a trend. Boyfriend cardigans are huge for spring; you can wear yours now over a turtleneck or long sleeved tee, or with your sweater dress. Opt for a fresh, summery color — coral or pale blue or purple.

Try a new lip gloss. Or eye shadow or blush — go for a fresh look. Lips are an easy way to add color; a perfect pink is a nice balance to darker winter shades, and warms up pale winter skin.

Dress up a little. Even if you’re piling on the layers every day, you can make your look a little more festive with a pair of beautiful earrings or a bold bracelet. Treat yourself to one of spring’s hot jewelery trends — pins are back, and they’re easy to wear now, and later.

How do you break your winter rut? And what spring trends have you longing for warmer weather?

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