Category Archives: Make-up

Sun or Showers—Doesn’t Matter! Seven Tips to Help You Dress Stylishly This Spring

With more and more warm days in the forecast, most of us are excited to say goodbye to winter layers for the next six months. But between cold fronts, rainy days, and brisk breezes, it’s still a bit too early to leave the house in only a sundress and sandals.

While you probably can’t wait to wear spring’s colors, fabrics, and styles, you also aren’t eager to freeze (or maybe fry!) in the name of fashion. Since there isn’t a specific day when we “officially” switch from cool to warm temperatures, your best bet is to approach the seasonal transition with an eye toward versatility and comfort.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the winter-to-spring wardrobe transition in style:

Update your closet in bite-sized chunks. If you keep your warm-weather clothes in another closet, pull out cotton pants, blouses, and light sweaters so that you can begin to work them into your rotation. Meanwhile, switch out the heaviest fabrics—such as tweed pants or skirts and thick cashmere sweaters—to make room. (Remember, if you can’t easily see a great spring piece, you won’t wear it!) As the weather begins to warm up, you can continue to switch out a handful of items each day or week.

Also, use this seasonal clothing swap as an opportunity to clean out your closet. Instead of putting armloads of winter wear into storage without a second thought, carefully consider which pieces no longer fit, are damaged or worn, or simply don’t honor your style or lifestyle. Repair, donate, or throw them away as appropriate. (Take a look back at this post and this post for more in-depth information about how to clean out your closet.)

Wear fabrics that are comfortable in a variety of temperatures. When it comes to keeping you comfortable in spring’s wide range of temperatures, not all fabrics are created equal. Aim for materials that aren’t paper-thin, but are still breathable.

I keep my lightweight wools in my closet 10 months of the year and have even worn these pants in the summer on cooler days. Lightweight wool pants, skirts, and blazers are great investments, not only because of their flexibility between seasons, but because they are durable, flattering, and travel well. Also, keep your eyes open for several other hardworking fabrics in addition to the standard cotton and wool: viscose, Lyocell, and polyamide with elastane. These blends wear well and are suitable for both warm and cool days.

Identify cold-weather staples that can pull double duty. If you’re like most women, your winter wardrobe contains plenty of items in neutrals like black, gray, navy, and khaki. While you may be sick of wearing your black slacks with jewel-tone blouses and sweaters, for instance, don’t forget that pieces like these can easily be lightened up when they’re paired with “springier” fabrics and colors.

While you’re waiting to wear sundresses and sheerer fabrics, mix up your neutrals with white, cream, or one of many pretty accent colors like aqua, mint, or coral. A splash of color can give winter workhorses a whole new lease on life!

I wore this leather jacket in place of a coat in March on an unseasonably warm day.  The following week, I was back in my warm coat, scarf, and gloves!

I wore this leather jacket in place of a coat in March on an unseasonably warm day. The following week, I was back in my warm coat, scarf, and gloves!

Don’t get caught in the rain or be left out in the cold. Spring is known for its mercurial temperature changes. And who doesn’t know what it’s like to be caught in a sudden rain shower? Leave the house prepared for Mother Nature’s fickleness with a leather jacket if it’s going to be sunny or a tailored raincoat if it’s not (I’m a big fan of hooded raincoats).

Both of these options are stylish, but won’t feel too bulky if you need to take them off and fold them over your arm. And don’t forget a lightweight scarf that coordinates with your outfit. It can fill multiple roles as an eye-catching accessory, a wrap to drape around your shoulders, or even a barrier between your hair and the rain. Animal print scarves add interest to your look in any season, and florals in particular are popular this spring.

My husband gave me this russet raincoat for my birthday. (He has a good eye!) It’s microfiber with a button-out vested liner. I had no idea how much I needed it until I started wearing it!

My husband gave me this russet raincoat for my birthday. (He has a good eye!) It’s microfiber with a button-out vested liner. I had no idea how much I needed it until I started wearing it!

Get ready for more foot traffic. Sick of your winter boots but not quite ready to venture out in strappy sandals? Plan to enjoy the warmer(ish) weather in a “dress flat.” I recommend low heels by Diane B. to many of my professional clients because they’re comfortable to walk in and still look great with pants, skirts, and dresses. These shoes are made in Italy, and around 15 varieties are offered each season. (If you’re interested in purchasing a pair and live in New York City, I highly recommend working with Emilio at Diane B.’s Lexington Avenue location. You can contact him at 212-644-3526.)

For a casual look, ballet flats are always classic. If you’re planning a spring shopping trip (or simply shopping your closet), look for camel or nude flats in a matte or patent material. These tones will complement most outfits and don’t feel as heavy as winter’s dark colors. If you’d like your footwear to stand out a bit more, choose a metallic shade or even an animal print—both of which I consider neutrals!

I own four pairs of Diane B. dress flats and wear them all regularly with pants, dresses, and skirts.

I own four pairs of Diane B. dress flats and wear them all regularly with pants, dresses, and skirts.

Picture yourself in perfect layers. Especially when the weather is unpredictable, putting prior thought into what you want to wear is time well spent. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to rush out the door overdressed (or underdressed) for what you’ll find outside.

When I’m working with clients, I recommend that they take an hour and put together several layered looks that can be adapted on the fly. This could be a favorite lightweight wool blazer in navy to be worn over colorful jeans in coral, red, or even white. A cream t-shirt top or white blouse and scarf complete the ensemble. Once you’ve created a look you love, take a picture of it so that you can easily assemble it later when you’re in a hurry.

My white blouse, orange cotton pants, and ballet flats look great on their own, or layered with a navy blazer and coordinating scarf.

My white blouse, orange cotton pants, and ballet flats look great on their own, or layered with a navy blazer and coordinating scarf.

Don’t forget your skin, lips, and nails. These are also an important part of your overall image, and can help you “face” the new season with a spring in your step! Stop by your local department store and ask to see new lipsticks. Just be sure not to choose a shade based solely on its trendiness; it should also be flattering to your skin and hair. (Lipstick should “lift” you, not make you look sick.) For instance, if you always wear warm tones in clothing and makeup, a “cooler” pink lipstick may not be the best choice.

The same goes for your nails. The next time you book a manicure or purchase a polish, choose a shade that will lighten your look and your mood. You might want to consider one of Pantone’s pretty pastel colors of the year: Rose Quartz or Serenity. Finally, remember to wear sunscreen and/or a tinted moisturizer with SPF to protect your skin. While it may not feel that hot, the sun’s rays can still do a lot of damage. (And yes—you have my permission to use sun damage as a reason to buy a new pair of oversize sunglasses!)

Before you know it, you won’t have to say, “Looks like it will be cold today” for months. But while the weather’s still unpredictable, plan to shake off the winter blahs with a carefully curated look that fits the temperature, this season’s trends, and your personality!

 

 

 

Biting into Beauty (and Celebrating a Birthday!) with Custom Lipstick

If you know me well, you’re aware that I love birthdays—my own and others’. I think we all deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated on this special day. Another year of life, love, and experience is truly something to celebrate! (Take a look back at this blog post for more on why I think we should all set aside time to savor and celebrate birthdays, no matter how many candles are on the cake.)

Whenever I can, I try to find ways to celebrate birthdays that aren’t standard gift exchanges. In my experience, it’s much more fulfilling and memorable to spend meaningful time with family and friends. Last month, I had the opportunity to do just that with my good friend Donna. To celebrate our birthdays (which are only a week apart), Donna and I made an appointment at BITE Beauty Lip Lab in SoHo, New York City, where we were able to design and purchase lipstick. Afterward, we shopped at Deco Jewels and had dinner at one of our favorite spots, Gotham Bar and Grill.

Sharing this adventure with Donna was so much fun, and I’ll be recommending BITE Beauty Lip Lab to friends and clients who would like to have a custom-colored lipstick. Here’s a look at our lipstick-designing experience:

First, our assistant showed us pots of color and asked us to choose a few shades we liked best. I chose warm tones in peach and coral that I knew would complement my skin tone. Donna, who prefers cool colors, chose pinks and rose tones.

We also had four textures to choose from, starting with glossy and finishing with matte. Donna chose gloss, and I picked a satin finish. Both had a creamy texture and went on well.

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Once Donna and I had picked our preliminary colors and textures, our assistant mixed what we’d chosen and gave us a little brush so that we could try on the lipstick. She continued to mix samples with different combinations of colors until we were satisfied with our shade. Since my lips have a lot of natural pigment, we added more warm tones to my shade so that it wouldn’t look too pink when worn.

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The next step was choosing the lipstick’s flavor. I wanted something very light and chose vanilla with a drop of mint. No fruity flavors for me! I loved that the Lip Lab provided samples of real fruit and herbs to represent each flavor.

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Now we were ready to mix our creations. The correct combination of color and flavor pods went into a machine that looked like a centrifuge.

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Once our assistant confirmed that the final mixed color matched our samples, she poured the lipstick mixture into a mold to dry. Then the lipstick was placed in a tube, and we were ready to go! At $35 a tube for quality, customized lipstick, I thought this experience was well worth the money—especially because it was a lot of fun to do with my good friend.

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Since creating my lipstick, I have worn it several times. The color is saturated and stays on well. As we move into spring and summer, I look forward to trying various gloss colors on top of it.

If you’re in the New York City area and decide to visit BITE Beauty Lip Lab, I’d love to hear about your experience!

What I’m Loving Now: 16 Products to Get Your Face, Skin, and Lips Ready for Spring

The snow that has fallen during this abnormally chilly winter has been absolutely beautiful to watch…but if you’re like many women, that’s where your enjoyment of the season stops. Between the polar vortex and artificial heating, the odds are high that your skin is dry and your lips are chapped. And that’s not even taking into account the havoc winter may have wreaked on your immune system.

But take heart. While you may not be able to change the weather forecast, you can choose how to deal with its effects. As I’ve battled this particularly harsh New York City winter, I’ve made it my mission to find the best ways to soothe my skin and keep germs away. I know from experience that when your skin is dull and itchy, your lips are chapped, and you’re feeling run down, your self-image will suffer no matter how stylish your wardrobe is.

Here are 16 products that have helped me to refresh and revitalize my skin (and stay healthy in general!) over the past few months. I’ve also included Amazon links in case you’d like to learn more about them yourself.

Face It 

Aside from the chic boots, scarves, and other cold weather clothes we all love, not much about winter is glamorous. In particular, your face really suffers as it’s continuously exposed to wind, dry air, and constantly changing temperatures. If you’re suffering from dry, tight, chapped skin, these four products can make a world of difference.

  • Clarins Double Serum. Amongst other states, New York has had an especially harsh winter, but Clarins Double Serum has kept my face looking and feeling good. During a makeup night at Bloomingdale’s, a makeup artist used this product on a friend, and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I decided to try it later and am so glad I did! Apply this serum all over your face, except around your eyes, for a look that’s luminous without feeling greasy.
  • Clarins Super Restorative Tinted Cream. If you really want to go the extra mile, this product is great to use in place of your normal foundation. The tint looks very natural, and as a bonus, has an SPF 20 rating—which is still important even in the depths of winter! The combination of these three Clarins products leaves a beautiful finish.
  • RapidLash. You may not have ever considered the effect that winter can have on your eyelashes. But cold temperatures can dry them out, just as much as they do the hair on your head. The good news is, you can cultivate longer, more luxurious lashes without breaking the bank, and they’ll help your entire face to look brighter and more youthful. I have been using RapidLash for about two months and I can really tell a difference. You apply a thin line every night along the base of your lashes, the same way you’d put on eyeliner. It doesn’t burn, it’s not oily, and it really works!

Dry Skin & Brittle Nails

Two of the most irritating effects of cold weather are dry skin and weakened nails. No matter how much lotion or cream you slather on, nothing you do seems to make a difference for long. But that’s about to change. These seven products will keep your skin and hands feeling fresh and moisturized all day long.

  • Nailtiques. Having trouble keeping your nails looking good between manicures? Look no further. Nailtiques is the go-to for cuticle care oil. A friend who has been using this product for about six months recommended it to me. I have seen improvements in both my nails and cuticles in just one month of use, despite the awful temperatures and wind!
  • Curel. For body moisturizing, Curel is my reliable go-to. I’ve used Curel on my feet since it was recommended by my podiatrist and I love it.
  • CeraVe Body Cream. CeraVe body cream was recommended to my husband by a top dermatologist in New York. It’s thick, soothing, and extremely moisturizing. Best of all, one application lasts all day.
  • Aveda Hand Relief. I’m sure you know how it feels when your hands are so chapped and rough you just want to scream! Well, that’s a thing of the past with Aveda Hand Relief. It instantly soothes my dry hands and keeps them feeling moisturized throughout the day.
  • Aveda Foot Relief. This foot relief cream has peppermint in it—my favorite. When you’ve been on your feet a lot, it’s so cooling and refreshing to smooth on at the end of the day.

All About Lips 

Spend five minutes outside in these temperatures, and you’ll probably experience dry, cracked lips—which are unsightly and uncomfortable. Here are two products that will help you find lip bliss in the midst of winter:

  • Aquaphor. Aquaphor is an incredible product that you can pick up at your local drugstore. I usually put it on, then use a clean towel to buff my lips. The dry skin comes right off, leaving my lips smooth and soft.
  • Young Living Cinnamint Lip Balm. I also apply this daily. I’ve used it for years, and it always gives me great results. The peppermint oil in it, which is absolutely wonderful, gives my lips a warm little tingle.

Immune System Support

Flu and cold season is in full swing, and it’s crucial that you take care of yourself. Aside from trying to avoid those who are sick, you can use these three products to keep yourself healthy.

  • Young Living Inner Defense. Young Living Inner Defense, which comes in pill capsules and contains health-reinforcing essential oils, is exactly the boost your immune system needs. I take one to two capsules per day as a preventative measure, and so far, so good! If you feel a cold coming on, you can take up to five per day.
  • Young Living Thieves Oil. To some, sanitizing everything in your house on a fairly regular basis might seem unnecessary, but to me, it’s just good sense. That’s why YL Thieves Oil, which has a 99.99 percent bacteria kill rate, is a must-have household item. I diffuse the oil in our apartment, which makes it smell and feel clean.
  • Thieves Household Cleaner. I also depend on this product to keep my house germ-free. It is non-toxic and has replaced most cleaning products in our home. We use it to clean the counters, all mirrors and glass, and the floors. I also spray it on a paper towel and use it to wipe down glasses, phones, and iPads—places that are usually skipped over during a cleaning spree but house a ton of bacteria! This household cleaner smells good, is safe, and gets the job done for a reasonable price. I recommend mixing about two capfuls with water in a spray bottle for cleaning.

When you succeed in keeping the cold from negatively affecting your face, skin, and immune system, you’ll be surprised by how much more bearable winter seems. Choose the products you need to put a spring in your step, and before you know it, spring will actually be here. And in the meantime, don’t forget to drink lots of water—it really does help to hydrate your hair, skin, and nails!

You Are What You Feel: Six Ways to Rev Up Your Sex Appeal This Valentine’s Day

Cupid is calling, and Valentine’s Day is almost here again. Maybe you have some special plans in the works: a romantic getaway, attending a show or event, or simply hiring a babysitter so that you and your spouse can go to a restaurant that doesn’t give out crayons with the placemats.

However, if you’re like many women, you may not be feeling that excited. Chances are, carpool drop-offs, client meetings, and that laundry list a mile long have left you feeling anything but romantic. The truth is, we spend so much time being caught up in the everyday rat race that we often forget to take the time to make ourselves and our partners feel special.

If you ask me, that’s exactly why February 14th is the perfect opportunity to give your look, and your confidence, a little boost. If you can create an outfit that makes you look romantic and sexy, that va-va-voom will translate into how you feel as well.

The trick to looking romantic for this special day is simple: Just shake things up a bit. Straying from your usual wardrobe, whether through vibrant new colors or special accessories and styling, will make you look and feel sexier. Here are six ways to get started:

Get dressed from the inside out. Before celebrating Valentine’s Day, take a few minutes to relax and focus on your inner beauty. After all, it’s hard to feel sexy when you’re frazzled from rushing around. If possible, plan ahead so that you can take your time getting ready. Now’s the time to clear your calendar, send your kids off to the sitter a little early, and indulge in some pampering so that you’ll be centered and calm before your big night out. Not only will you feel more confident, you’ll also look more refreshed and be ready to enjoy your Valentine’s Day on the inside and the outside.

Focus on the first layer. Before deciding on the perfect outfit, spend some extra time getting ready by layering on your favorite perfume and body lotion. Choose a fun new nail polish color, and finish off the “look” with a matching bra and pair of panties that you feel great in. Trust me, focusing on the details of your foundation will make you feel great and put together—and it will show.

Opt for not-so-basic black. Many of us love to wear black: It’s slimming, sophisticated, and sexy. So especially if you have a lot of black in your closet already, aim for a style in your favorite shade that’s different from what you would normally wear. Try a shirt with a lower neckline, a pencil skirt with a ruffled hemline, or a tailored jacket in a sexy silk or satin. Wearing something outside of the norm will make you feel beautiful on Valentine’s Day, and as a bonus, you’ll still be able to wear it for many other occasions.

Wrap yourself in winter white. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to wear winter white, which is one of my all-time favorite looks. Whether you choose a dress, pantsuit, or a top and skirt combination, my best advice is to choose your accessories carefully. Pearls or crystal jewelry make a great pairing with this wintry hue, as does a simple metallic or neutral color shoe and handbag. (And if you’re wearing a skirt or dress, be sure to opt for nude stockings!) You will look glamorous and feel beautiful: Be prepared to get second looks!

See red. Red is a bold, sexy color that is often admired, and yet few people dare to wear it. Try incorporating red into your Valentine’s Day ensemble—you can tone down the accessories to balance its boldness if you wish. Wear a black strappy shoe, simple earrings, and choose a small black handbag. If red is not a color you feel comfortable in, you can still dress off the beaten path by trying something in a pink or purple hue. Play around with different combinations before your big night out—mix a beautiful purple or pink top with a simple black skirt or a skinny black pant, for instance—to find the outfit that makes you feel beautiful.

Shake things up a bit. Looking great and feeling special on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to break your budget. There are plenty of tricks to make your look extra special that can be done without spending a dime. For example, styling your hair in soft curls or a sleek up-do creates a romantic look and costs you no more than a little extra time! You might also try a daring new shade of nail polish or a darker eye shadow to create a sexy, smoky look for your eyes. Finally, consider a trip to your favorite department store to visit a makeup artist—a service most stores offer for free! The trick is to just do something different. No matter what you do, getting out of your everyday routine will make you feel extra special, and that’s all that matters.

Looking great on Valentine’s Day all comes down to how you feel. If you feel confident, relaxed, and happy, it will show—no matter what your outfit looks like. Take some time out of your busy schedule to pamper yourself when Valentine’s Day rolls around this year. Your positive vibe and sexy attitude will be contagious. It just may be the best gift you give yourself, and your partner, this year.

What I’m Loving Now: Winter 2013 Edition

Now that the busy holiday season is behind us and a new year stretches ahead, it’s an ideal time for reflection. Personally, I have been asking myself questions like, What behaviors and habits worked for me this past year? What do I want to change in 2013? Is it time to turn over some new leaves? Essentially (like many other people), I’m trying to find the right balance between focusing on others and making sure that I’m taking care of myself, too. Remember, you won’t be as effective in any area of your life if you’re overwhelmed and depleted. It’s important to honor your own needs and desires, and to make sure that the way you live your life reflects who you are and what makes you happy.

As an image consultant, I have learned that the clothes you wear and the way you style your hair are only a small part of honoring and expressing yourself. How you feel about yourself—mind, body, and spirit—are just as important. I urge you to use this time of transition to renew and reinvigorate your life, whether that means finding the perfect vacation spot, splurging on beautiful jewelry and new shoes, or simply discovering a new recipe that makes your taste buds tingle.

Discovering a wonderful new scent or great pair of jeans is always exciting, and being able to share it with everyone is one of my favorite things to do. Read on to learn about the top nine things that I am loving now:

1. Savor the soup of the season. There’s nothing better than a mouth-watering soup for both a chilly winter night and a growling belly. One of my staple recipes for this time of year is called Farmer’s Market Zucchini Soup. My friend Beth gave the recipe to me a couple of years ago and it is so simple and delicious!

I always like my soups thicker, so I prefer to use just four cups of chicken stock instead of six—but that’s just my personal preference. When I make a batch, I usually freeze some so I’ll have it on hand later. This scrumptious soup will keep your family nice and cozy this winter. (Please see the end of this blog post for the recipe.)

2. These shoes are made for walkin’. Let’s face it—sometimes you just don’t want to wear high heels, but your outfit looks too casual with a ballet flat. Enter Diane B. With a classic style and comfort, these fabulous shoes can easily become a staple piece for your wardrobe.

Quite simply, I am in love with these shoes. They have a half-inch angled heel that makes them look dressy, but they’re so comfortable that you can run around in them all day. My favorite is the camel-colored patent leather flat, because it can be worn with so many different looks. I also ordered the black patent shoe without the silver buckle. One of the best things about Diane B. is that you can custom order. The company has a wide variety of patterns, from stripes and florals to solids and polka dots—so there’s something for everyone!

3. Pucker up. During the coldest months of the year, taking care of your lips is a must, and a perfect lip stain is just what the doctor ordered. I recommend Yves Saint Laurent’s Glossy Stain Lipstick.

They have created the perfect combination of lipstick and gloss that’s a steal at $32. It’s one of Allure magazine’s top picks, and one of mine, too! I originally bought a coral shade (#12), but recently purchased a red for winter: #9. YSL’s Glossy Stain Lipstick goes on like a gloss and stays on like a lipstick. Even after you eat, the stain stays on your lips so you won’t have to run off to the ladies’ room to reapply.

4. Plan a visit to Downton Abbey. Everyone is talking about Downton Abbey, which has mesmerized viewers on both sides of the Atlantic—and I’m no exception. The third season just started on PBS, and in my opinion, it’s well worth spending an entire Saturday on the couch catching up if you haven’t seen the first two seasons. The show follows an aristocratic British family and their servants as they are impacted by events including the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, and more.

 I love the show because it gives you a fascinating glimpse into the lives of people in a very different time and place, while remaining very relatable. The writing is incredible, and the costumes and sets are gorgeous. Before long, you’ll feel like you know the people who live in Downton Abbey—both upstairs and downstairs—and you’ll be cheering on your favorite characters through their obstacles and triumphs. Once you start watching, you won’t be able to pull yourself away…and you may find yourself wanting to plan a trip to England.

5. Seams or no seams? (That is not a question.) In the under(wear) world, you have two choices: endure the dreaded thong or feel self-conscious all day about your panty lines showing (a major no-no!). At least that’s how it used to be. But after I worked with a client who kept going on and on about Uniqlo seamless panties, I finally had to check them out for myself—and I’m so glad I did.

These undergarments are called ultra seamless briefs, and they are such a find! A lot of women don’t like to wear thongs, so these are a perfect alternative. They are made of nylon and spandex and have no seams. It’s like wearing a really comfortable bikini, but with all the benefits of wearing a thong. They are $9.90 a pair and come in several different colors, including pink, black, beige, and white.

6. Discover something scent from above. You can never underestimate the power of a beautiful scent to make you feel confident and feminine. Travel-Reviving Cempaka is a scent by Molton Brown that I am really enjoying right now.

I use the bath and shower gel and the body lotion. What I really love about it is that lift it gives you in the morning, when you aren’t quite ready to start the day. And the scent, of course! It’s heavenly!

7. Make a statement. A beautiful piece of jewelry can truly complete an outfit and help you stand out. I recently discovered Alexis Bittar, who is known for his exotic acrylic and crystal jewelry. I have two cuffs that are acrylic with gold accents (you can also get silver). It’s the perfect backdrop to any outfit because it’s acrylic, so your skin shows. These cuffs don’t overpower your outfit like some jewelry can; instead, they complement it.

One reason women shy away from buying expensive statement pieces is because they don’t know if the dollar per wear ratio is worth it. But in my opinion, if you’re looking to buy jewelry that goes with everything, this is it. The cuffs are terrific, and could definitely transition into warmer-weather accessories, too.

8. Get the ultimate fashion staple. As the temperatures hit their low points, finding the perfect pair of jeans is on the top of the to-do list. Luckily, I’ve already done the legwork.

I got my first pair of DL 1961 jeans around a year and a half ago. I prefer the angel cut, because it’s midrise, skinny ankle, and has four-way stretch. Unlike so many other brands, these jeans don’t lose their stretch, which is important. They come in several different winter colors like taupe and dark green, and are $158. They also look fantastic on, which makes me feel good.

 9. Most importantly, remember to take a breather. Just thinking about everything you have to do, want to do, and should do this year can be stressful. It’s so important to take time for yourself to relax and revive your spirit. My new favorite place to enjoy some R&R is The Grand Del Mar, a resort in San Diego.

Everyone needs a special place to go to revive their spirit and take a moment to release stress. Once I lay my eyes on some beautiful scenery, my tension immediately begins to melt away. The staff at The Grand Del Mar are very polite and friendly, but not overly so. It’s extremely nurturing, the perfect getaway.

Ultimately, remember that the most important criteria to keep in mind when it comes to fashion, beauty, or anything else in your life are: How does this make me feel? Does it honor who I am? Does it boost my comfort and confidence? It has been my pleasure to share nine things that meet these qualifications for me. I hope that some of them will enhance your enjoyment of the upcoming months, too!

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Farmer’s Market Zucchini Soup

2 tbs butter

1 carrot, sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

1 onion, diced

2 tsp thyme

5 zucchini, ends cut off, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced

4 cups of chicken stock (you can use 6, but I prefer 4 for a thicker soup)

2 tsp salt

2 tbs pesto sauce (store bought!)

In 8-quart soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add thyme, zucchini, and chicken stock and increase heat to high and bring to boil. When boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in salt and pesto.

Working in batches (no more than ½ the blender), purée the soup in blender or food processor until smooth. Enjoy!

What I’m Loving Now: Summer 2012 Edition

We’ve all heard the saying that “life’s about the little things,” and to a large extent, that’s true. Sure, we do—and should!—enjoy the dream vacations, the new cars, and the purchases for which we’ve saved for months. But the truth is, we don’t earn those big rewards for ourselves frequently. In my opinion, that’s why it’s so important to fill our everyday lives with the so-called “little things” that allow us to enjoy ourselves, our surroundings, and our time.

I know from years of experience that you achieve everyday happiness and fulfillment by paying attention to your mind, body, emotions, and yes, appearance. Taking good care of yourself isn’t selfish at all. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and in your own environment in order to share your best and most authentic self with others.

With that in mind, I’d like to share seven things I’m loving right now in hopes that one or more of them might help you to enjoy your life a little more, too.

Thieves Household Cleaner. Chances are, you view cleaning products as one of life’s necessary evils, or at best, as a means to a desirable end. If that opinion sounds familiar, prepare to be very pleasantly surprised by Thieves® Household Cleaner! This product (which is available through Young Living Essential Oils) will clear out a lot of space under your sink and save you a lot of time and money.

Thieves Household Cleaner is meant for multipurpose use, so it can do everything from degreasing cookware to cleaning floors and upholstery. Even better, it kills germs while remaining safe for the environment. It also contains several essential oils, which means it smells great and makes you feel great. If you’re interested, you can order your own supply through my personal essential oils guru, Lucey Harley, by emailing her at luceyharley@aol.com or by going to her website: www.luceyharley.com.

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Bumble and bumble. Hair Powder. If you aren’t familiar with hair powder, here’s a crash course: It’s a product that adds volume, texture, and style-ability to your hair while reducing the appearance and feel of oiliness. These properties mean that hair powder is ideal for perking up your look between day and evening. It can even help you to go longer between washes and styles without feeling gross!

I recommend Bumble and bumble. Hair Powder for several reasons. Not only is it salon-quality; it also comes in several different colors, which will cover up gray at the hairline. At $35 a can, it’s a good investment that will last several months and get you from one color to the next without noticeable roots. And I love that it washes out easily!

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Paul Mayer flats. I have long been a proponent of flats as a shoe staple because they’re versatile, stylish, comfortable, and available in so many styles and patterns. Right now, I’m loving chic flats from Paul Mayer’s collection especially.

These handmade shoes have rubber soles, and while they’re oh-so-cute, they’re also workhorses! I walk a lot and have back issues, but I can wear my Paul Mayer flats all day with no problems. My personal favorites are made of a camel-colored quilted material with a black patent toe. (For more information, visit www.paulmayerattitudes.com.)

To purchase your own pair of Paul Mayer flats at Amazon.com, click here.

Wrinkle Prevention Pillow. Did you know that something as common as a pillow can contribute to the appearance of wrinkles and puffiness under the eyes? That’s why I highly recommend the contoured Wrinkle Prevention Pillow, which allows you to sleep comfortably without your face touching the pillow.

Sooner or later we all age, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do so gracefully…or slow down the process! In addition to helping you stay wrinkle-free, these pillows can also improve the quality of your sleep. And on the fashion front, you can get a beautiful satiny pillowcase in a variety of colors. If you want to buy your own, visit www.wrinklepreventionpillow.com. (If you choose to order one, you can use the coupon code leslies22 for a discount!)

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Odoardi Savuto. Whether you prefer to enjoy your wine with a delicious meal or slowly sip a glass to unwind after a long day (or both!), it’s always a pleasure to find a vintage you know you’ll be coming back to again and again. My husband and I had that experience with Odoardi Savuto, an Italian red that we first tasted several years ago and have recently rediscovered.

Savuto is a blend of different varieties from southwest Italy. My husband and I have really enjoyed the bottles we’ve bought from the Odoardi winery. It’s smooth with low tannins—great for drinking. If you’re a wine lover, treat yourself to a glass (or two) soon.

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

Worth pants. The Worth Collection of New York City is a luxury womenswear company that sells directly to customers (not to stores!), by appointment, from the company’s impressive midtown showroom. Specifically, I recommend Worth’s tissue-weight bi-stretch wool pants, which are available in several different cuts for different body types.

Most of Worth’s styles are available in many colors, including winter white, black, navy, tan, and bisque. I own several colors in my favorite style, the Keira, which has a narrow thigh, no pocket, and a “flat” silhouette. I love Worth’s pieces so much that I became a consultant for the company, and I always tell people that these are truly “money in the bank pants.” That’s because they’ll hold up exceptionally well over time, and in most climates they can easily be worn for nine months out of the year.

Mally Lip Fence. We all love that extra something special that the perfect shade of lipstick can bring to an outfit. But all of lip color’s beauty benefits fall by the wayside if it smudges or bleeds. And that’s why I have such high praise for Lip Fence from Mally Beauty.

One of my clients recommended Mally Lip Fence to me. It’s a clear lip liner that keeps your lipstick from bleeding—we all need that!—and helps it to wear longer. Plus, at around $12.50 a tube, it’s very affordable, and it can be purchased online at a variety of websites including Amazon.

To purchase on Amazon.com, click here.

I hope that my recommendations have introduced you to quality products that will enhance your style, comfort, and enjoyment of life. Remember, spending a little money and time on yourself every once in a while isn’t selfish—it is one of the best things you can do for yourself and those you love!