Category Archives: What I’m Loving

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!

What I’m Loving Now: Holiday 2013 Edition

As the days get shorter and temperatures fall, our schedules tend to get busier and busier. Between your holiday schedule and the general end-of-year crunch, you may be spending less and less time on yourself—and feeling increasingly stressed. As you rush from errands to events to the office and back again, I encourage you to stop for a few minutes, decompress, and spend some time and energy on your own well-being.

The good news is rejuvenation doesn’t have to be difficult. Even a little bit of indulgence can go a long way towards helping you feel revitalized as you continue to tackle items on your to-do list. Here, I’ve put together a list of products that I’m currently loving—and that I hope will help you feel pampered, renewed, and indulged this season:

Button Pant Extender: Say goodbye to uncomfortable pants. As you spend time in fitting rooms trying to find the perfect pair of jeans, do you consistently find that pants fit well through the legs but are too tight in the waist? If so, you’ll understand why I was so excited to discover the Button Pant Extender. It’s a clever little device that adds one inch to your waistband by looping over the existing button—no sewing necessary. And since the Button Pant Extenders come in packages of five, you don’t have to switch the extender each time you wear a new pair of pants. You can purchase Button Pant Extenders here on Amazon.com.

Leopard Print Pants: Put some “fierce” in your fashion. In the cold gray days of winter, wearing a standout outfit can really put some pep in your step. If you’re looking for a style that’s eye-catching and unique, yet completely classy, I recommend purchasing a pair of leopard print pants in cream, buff, and black neutral tones. I bought my pair from Worth New York during autumn and find myself reaching for them again and again when I go into my closet to put together an outfit. I wear them with a low boot or flat, and pair them with a chocolate jacket and chocolate t-neck, camel t-neck, or an orange or red sweater if I want a pop of color.

Epicuren After Bath Kukui Nut Coconut Moisturizer: Soothe yourself while smelling great. For most women who are trying to combat the drying effects of cold weather, lotion is a winter staple. This year, elevate this daily ritual to a spa-like experience with Epicuren After Bath Kukui Nut Coconut Moisturizer. I use it every morning after my shower, and I love how soothing this wonderfully rich formula is. As an added bonus, it smells so great that people often ask me what scent I’m wearing. I don’t even wear perfume these days and still receive compliments well into the afternoon! I purchase this product from Leslie Sloane, who can be reached at (818) 348-4646.

Fresh Sugar Acai Age-Delay Body Cream: Feel younger in your skin. Here is another option to help you stave off the dreaded winter dryness. This product is not only super-moisturizing; it also firms and conditions skin to help it look and feel younger. A friend bought me a tube of this cream as a gift, and I loved the way it made my skin feel: soft and supple. My only problem is not using a whole tube in a week! According to my friend, though, a little goes a long way, so I’m trying to use it sparingly.

Tom Ford Intensive Eye Treatment: Say hello to brighter eyes. While purchasing a favorite lipstick at Saks, I was introduced to Tom Ford Intensive Eye Treatment. The saleswoman told me that many of her clients loved this product so much that they had given up their La Mer eye cream for it. I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try. I tested the Eye Treatment under one eye and thought I saw a difference, but decided to ask my husband’s opinion as well. He immediately pointed to the eye under which I had put the cream and said it was less puffy. That was good enough for me! Because of the price, I use this product only once a day in the morning.

Juice Press: Cleanse yourself. Chances are, you’ve heard of juicing (extracting juices from fruits and vegetables) and its benefits. Juicing is a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, to absorb nutrients, to cleanse your body, and to give it a break from digesting food. Juicing can even help you lose weight if you prepare juices with the right proportions. (Beware, though—adding too many sweet ingredients like cranberries and apples can actually make you gain weight!)

If you don’t want to buy an expensive juicing machine or don’t want to spend time preparing the juice yourself, using a juice bar is a great alternative. I go to Juice Press in New York City. I love many of their juices—particularly the green ones, because they contain so many enzymes and antioxidants—and have done Juice Press’s six-juices-per-day cleanse. I highly recommend searching for a juice bar in your hometown if you’d like to clean up your diet! 

The Time in Between: Get lost in a fantastic book. When life gets hectic, diving into a good story can give you the respite you need. If you’re wondering what should be next on your reading list, I recommend The Time in Between by Maria Duenas. It’s the story of a courageous Spanish seamstress who becomes an undercover Allied spy during World War II. It’s clever and full of suspense. My book group recently read it, and we all loved it. If you’re anything like me, you won’t want to put The Time in Between down.

Inner Defense: Stay healthy from the inside out. From one of my favorite companies, Young Living, this natural supplement offers health-reinforcing essential oils in a pill capsule. I always keep this product on hand, but I’m especially diligent about using it in the winter to keep my immune system strong. You can take one pill a day as a preventative measure, and up to five per day if you feel a cold or flu coming on. I purchase Inner Defense from Lucey Harley, who can be reached at (610) 641-1116.

CellPower Super Silica and Good Nutrition: Defy the weather with great hair (and overall health!). It’s no secret that winter isn’t kind to hair. Harsh weather, cold temperatures, static electricity, indoor heating, and more combine to make our manes extra dry, dull, and brittle. And that’s not even taking into account the everyday damage we inflict through poor nutrition, hot styling tools, hair ties, brushing, and more. The problem is so widespread, in fact, that the Today show recently noted that many women are cutting their hair into shorter styles because of damage. To rejuvenate your hair (and your health in general), I have two tips:

  • You may be focusing on healing your hair through external means, like deep conditioning treatments. While those methods are helpful, I’ve learned that the biggest changes occur not because of what you put on your hair, but because of what you put in your body. So first, I recommend using CellPower Super Silica, an easy-to-use supplement that can be taken in water. Since I started using Super Silica, I have noticed a big difference in how strong and shiny my hair is. And best of all, Super Silica’s benefits extend well beyond the hair: It can also strengthen nails, increase bone density, boost energy levels, and more.
  • Secondly, I suggest meeting with a nutritionist to see what your individual body needs. Nutrition is far from a one-size-fits-all proposition. My nutritionist, Dr. Jairo Rodriguez, told me I needed to take omega-3 oils for my joints. A nice side effect, he said, is that omega-3 oils contribute to healthier hair! Dr. Rodriguez is certainly worth the trip to New York City if you’d like to meet with him specifically.

So often, it’s the little things that take life from “humdrum” to “enjoyable.” No matter how busy you are this winter, don’t forget to earmark a little time and money for yourself. I hope that these suggestions will help make your life a little more comfortable and pleasant!

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!

—–

 

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!