#Fashion Friday Beauty Edit: Get Glowing Skin in Time for Spring in Just Four Easy Steps

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in California or Florida, it’s been a very rough winter. The snow, the wind, the arctic temperatures; it was all enough to drive even the most sane person a little mad. I can’t speak for others, but I myself got extremely complacent this winter. Heading to the gym for a workout? Hah! Walking to work? Absolutely not. Hitting the bars over the weekend? Nope. There’s something about cold weather that turns me into a lethargic excuse for a human even when it comes to important practices, like taking proper care of my skin.

It’s such an easy thing to stop caring about when you’re piling a chunky wool sweater over a long sleeve shirt over a tank top and wearing the same thick pair of jeans every single day. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.  But spring is just three weeks away now! Which means my arms and legs will finally, finally feel the warmth of the sun again soon. Obviously I want to make sure they both look fabulous for their first seasonal appearance, so I’ve started a little “Spring Skin” regimen that I think will work wonders for most.

EXFOLIATE

Dermatologists encourage clients to exfoliate their faces once a week to buff away dead skin cells and reveal the fresh, dewy skin hiding underneath them. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your body? Because it’s not as sensitive as the skin on your face, you can exfoliate your body 2-3 times a week. Also, contrary to what a lot of people believe, exfoliating frequently will NOT make a tan fade more quickly, it will actually prolong your glow. Look for scrubs made from natural plants and extracts that also have hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and vitamins A and B. Here are a couple I’ve tried and loved:

Sea Moss Black Sand Body Scrub by h2O

$20 at h20+

$20 at h20+

L’Occitane Verbena Body Salt Scrub by L’Occitane

$36 at L’Occitane

Brown Sugar Body Polish by Fresh

$65 at Sephora

$65 at Sephora

MOISTURIZE

As I noted very extensively in a post a few weeks ago: there’s nothing more important than moisturizing! You do it to your face, so treat your body with the same respect. Plus, seriously, nothing feels better than lathering yourself up in lotion when you’re fresh out of the shower. In case you didn’t know, that’s the best time to moisturize. Since your body is already hydrated from your bathing, you get a double dose of hydration if you moisturize right away. Look for products that contain ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and aloe. I’m a believer in these:

Body Butter by Au Lait

$18 on Amazon

$18 on Amazon

Vine Body Butter by Caudalie

$34 at Sephora

$34 at Sephora

Crème de Pistache Soufflé by Laura Mercier

$60 at Sephora

$60 at Sephora

REPLENISH

If your skin is seriously dehydrated, you might want to consider using body oil. Lotions and creams are great, but switching up your post-shower routine can sometimes be exactly what your skin needs. Oils lock in and protect moisture, similar to a lotion. Despite their name, these products are non-greasy, lightweight, and very hydrating. Start by using it once a week and see how you feel about it — you may end up swapping out your body lotion completely over time!

Almond Smoothing and Beautifying Supple Skin Oil by L’Occitane

$42 at L'Occitane

$42 at L’Occitane

Dry Body Oil by Moroccanoil

$48 at Nordstrom

$48 at Nordstrom

Divine Oil by Caudalie

$49 at Sephora

$49 at Sephora

HYDRATE

This kind of goes without saying, but if you want your skin to look great you need to drink a lot of water. Drinking excessive amounts of beverages heavy on caffeine and sugar will actually the dull the appearance of your skin; and alcoholic drinks actually dehydrate the body thus removing moisture your body needs. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day can help make your skin look more luminous. Your body is made up of 60% water, so you need to replenish it to keep your body looking and feeling healthy.

Happy Friday all! Here are two jams to get you through until the weekend.

This track is a month old now, but I’m still obsessed with the happy summer vibes it gives off. Can’t you picture yourself dancing on a beach as this blasts over massive speakers? Yup, me too.

New Floss. Enough said.

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#FashionFriday: New Year’s Eve Dresses at Every Price Point

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

New Year’s Eve — An evening wrapped in a singular sense of magic and excitement conjured from the depths of our sentimental souls. I think even the most cynical of people can understand the impulse to romanticize this particular night. It offers the potential for a new beginning, a promise that things can and will be different if you make a cognizant decision for it to be so. It’s hardly a concrete turning point, yet it’s become an unofficial bench mark of accomplishments and failures within the various chapters of our lives.

My 2014 chapter was, not surprisingly, filled with a series of joyful highs and frustrating lows. I danced until 5 a.m. at U Street Music Hall with the greatest people I know, had my heart broken for the second time, took a life-changing trip to Iceland where I explored untouched nature, abruptly lost my job, found an exciting new job, and experienced so many small successes and setbacks in between.

Like most people, no matter how hard I’ve tried to avoid thinking back on the past year, I couldn’t help myself. I found myself watching every video I took at Ultra Music Festival, recalling the important conversations that pushed me to stand up for myself, and reliving every moment I spent laughing with Anita in our couch cloud. That was when I realized that no matter how many crappy things happened, these were still another amazing 12 months in my life. And now, with a little less than a week left in the year – and the joyful madness of Christmas behind me – I too have inevitably turned my attention to New Year’s Eve.

I may not have a 2015 resolution in mind yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t given extensive thought to what I’ll be wearing! After all, there’s nothing more fun than dressing for a festive occasion and New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to buy a feisty little party dress. In my case it will likely be another perfectly-cut pair of black skinny pants. But if I’m itching for a different look, there’s a white tuxedo dress on Nasty Gal (see under $200 section) beckoning me to hit purchase.

The best New Year’s Eve dresses aren’t necessarily the most ornate or risqué, though if that’s your shtick, this is the perfect occasion to own your style. Some people like to break the bank and purchase something totally unique, others prefer to remain frugal and buy an outfit that can be worn again with ease. Personally, I think there’s a balance of wow factor and usefulness that can be achieved without spending a small fortune. Yes, some of the dresses I’ve chosen are a little over the top, but none of them are so inaccessible that they would just sit in your closet for years to come.

So, whether you’ve had the best year of your life – or eagerly await the arrival of what will hopefully be a much happier one – embrace the opportunity to add a fabulous new piece to your closet. Though it’s frequently argued that New Year’s Eve is just another night, who cares? Take advantage of the night’s excitement to buy something that makes you smile. If you need a little inspiration, these looks will carry you from chic house parties to wild club outings in style.

 

 

#FashionFriday: Skin Essentials for the Cold Days Ahead & Weekend Mini Mix

Photo by Margaret Murphy

Photo by Margaret Murphy – Click to See More of Her Amazing Work!

There are so many wonderful things about this time of year – bright lights strung high above busy streets, holiday sales well under way, and plenty of excuses to pull the most dapper looks from your closet. But in this Floridian’s opinion, one thing consistently proves itself to be a huge nuisance. I’m not talking snow, sleet, or polar vortex temps, but rather their harsh effects on skin.

As a kid I struggled with a lot of different skin issues. Cystic acne, stubborn blackheads, and awful scarring defined my teen years. Having tried every product imaginable, including prescription grade, my dermatologist finally suggested the controversial Accutane treatment. It was, for lack of a more creative description, a miracle drug. My face and back cleared up completely, and I set sail for Georgetown feeling good about my skin for the first time in my life. This triumphant feeling was very short lived.

From freezing wind blasting my face to itchy sweaters aggravating the mild psoriasis on my arms, I realized that winter weather was going to kick my fair-feathered booty. I was hesitant to change my skincare routine, which had been working so well up until the cold descended upon DC, and clung to my habits obsessively. It wasn’t until I went to get a facial at Hela Spa in Georgetown two years ago that I was made to see the error of my ways. Caitlin, now affectionately referred to as my Skin Savior, explained that no matter how oily I believed my skin to be, consistent hydration is a must. I was terrified of breaking out again, images of my pimpled teenage face re-traumatizing me, but it didn’t turn out to be the case at all.

Now I’m frequently on the hunt for the best moisturizers to use during this frigid season. If you’re having trouble figuring out which ones would work best for you, these are my current favorites. Some of them are a bit expensive, but when you’re putting something on your face it should always be high quality. Click on the images and you’ll be redirected to the sites where you can snag these necessities!

As always, scroll to the bottom of the page for the Friday mini mix!

SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer

SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer

Perfect for: sensitive skin, combination skin

Best quality: lightweight, non-greasy formula can be applied multiple times a day

Clinique Moisture Surge

Clinique Moisture Surge

Perfect for: all skin types

Best Quality: soothing gel-cream formula replenishes skin with 24 hours of hydration

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

Perfect for: dry skin

Best quality: fast-absorbing oil treatment is packed with restorative omegas and Vitamin E

Kiehl's Creme D'Elegance

Kiehl’s Creme D’Elegance

Perfect for: dry skin

Best quality: nourishing treatment penetrates deep below the surface of the skin

Caudalie Premier Cru La Creme Riche

Caudalie Premier Cru La Creme Riche

Perfect for: all skin types

Best quality: high-performance active ingredients correct signs of aging, ultra-rich formula leaves the skin radiant and hydrated