Maven recommends: Summer makeup inspired by St. Tropez


Good morning, Tuesday. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted here, but my work-in-progress life has not allowed for much in the way of free time. I hope all of you are well and enjoying the first glorious throes of Summer. What a difference a year makes. Also, I hope you are catching my new column at the Ageist, where I go on a bit about style and beauty at 50 and beyond.

And with so many of us heading out and about, you may be wondering what’s good when it comes to summer makeup. Here are my recommendations. Remember, I’m a redhead, but I think these shades are all good neutrals to try for all skin tones and hair colors. Like many of you who grow up with the Bain de Soleil woman above, bronzy skin has always been a summer benchmark. I don't sunbathe at all anymore, but self-tanner or a good spray tan helps a lot. Pasty girl, summer is not for me. 

Here are my picks:

I always love seeing new Nars products- candy-like for a makeup fiend like me.

I am so digging on this Summer Solstice eyeshadow palette. The colors speak to that bronze goddess vibe we covet in the warmer months. I love layering and playing with some of the sparkly shades. 

I’m currently digging Eyeko’s brown mascara, a softer look than black (which is always best), and for me, it’s non-irritating. Brown is great for the summer and I love the 70s St. Tropez vibe it provides.

Full disclosure— I used to be afraid of cream blush. It gave me hardcore “rouge” a la Bette Davis as Baby Jane vibes. But leave it to modern science to provide us with a cream blush that is not so harsh. I adore this Hourglass stick in either Loyal or Devoted, but all of the colors are stunning. The color is buildable, and the application is excellent and gives you that fresh-faced look. I like to use an Hourglass brush to apply. Their brushes are worth the investment, as are their products.

I feel like I write about this product every summer, but it’s a staple for me, and I only have to buy one every other year because it lasts a long time. This bronzing cream from Chanel not only looks super chic on your makeup table/vanity, but it’s also the best color for those looking for a bit of a tan vibe.  Iconic. But before I apply, I use this primer from Vita Liberata, which has blurring/perfecting properties and self-tanner. It’s excellent and makes you look super glowy.

For concealer, you could skip it in the summer months because you want to keep it light, but if you love a brighter look, I recommend Rodial’s fabulous Peach Lowlighter. I don’t know how they do it, but this concealer meets perfector blends into your skin in an instant and requires minimal blending. It wakes up your complexion in the best of ways. I love this brand so much- their skincare is fabulous too.

For lips, I’m going to recommend what Glossier is calling “the cashmere sweatpants” of lipstick, their new Ultra Lip. I love the lucite shade, which is a hint of pink and a near-perfect neutral. Of course, it needs to be reapplied a lot, but it feels more like a lip balm, so you can put it on in the dark and not mess it up.

As for nails, mine are long and Barbie-like. They grew so much over the year, and I’m enjoying my lady nails immensely. For those with shorter nails, this Chanel bronzy brown is so damn chic. Perfect with a tan and a bikini.

 And to take it all off, this Micellar water from French drugstore darling La Roche Posay is magic. It smells fabulous and cleanses without drying. Gorgeous product and well-priced. It's awfully nice to be here, ps. See you all soon. Cause that's what's up this bronze girl summer of a Tuesday in Brooklyn. New Yorkers, go vote. No makeup required. XO


Feuding words at 50

Good morning, Thursday. It's almost the weekend and I'm looking forward to some downtime.

So check it.

Now that I'm well into my 50th year (and what a year it's been), I have several observations. The first- I'm at a point in my life where I can face the multitude of fears I have collected over half a century. First of those? Doctors. And dentists. As a woman who is far more akin to pleasure than pain, doctor stuff causes a lot of anxiety. But as I've been focusing on my health for a minute now from completely changing my diet to committing to regular exercise to a skincare routine that is both grueling and meditative, I'm all in on feeling my very best. That's why I ripped off ALL the Band-Aids this year. From embarking on some fairly gnarly dental work to getting a mole removed on my back that I put off doing for several years (yesterday I did it, and it wasn't fun), I'm feeling powerful because there is no better feeling than crossing stuff off your eternal list and clearing the decks for health and happiness.

This brings me to something super strange I saw on TV the other night. 

Many of us have guilty pleasures (I have scads), but one of mine is watching "Family Feud". I know. It's super weird. But for some reason, I love the Feud. And I love to hate Steve Harvey. Take this confession however you like. I'm a fan of the Feud and I don't even know why. Anyway, if you've watched it, you know the winning family competes at the end of the show in a speed round of questions, which are often so ridiculous you can almost hear the screech of non PC nails on the chalkboard. 

The question was:

"At what age is a woman too old to wear a pair of stilettos?"  Saywhat?

What kind of fuckery was this? Interestingly enough, the two family members chosen for the speed round could not have been much older than 25. And one of them answered "26" and the other answered "30". So weird. But what was the answer from the Americans surveyed? The most popular answer amongst some swath of the heartland and beyond? 5-0, friends. Apparently, most Americans feel at 50, you must stop wearing high heels. 

Full disclosure: I hate high heels. Always have. Because they hurt like hell. I have always joked I don't wear them because you never know when you'll need to run. I very well remember an old boss of mine wearing spikey Blahniks in a snowstorm back in the 90s, and stared at my own shit kicker-clad feet in relief.  And after a night out in Miami back in the day when I complained all night about my shoes, my husband quietly asked me to never wear heels again. I think I was in my 30s then, but yea. I've never been one for heels. Platform Gucci boots? Yes. But skinny heels? No. No way.

But just because I don't wear heels doesn't mean other women my age don't love them, even if this past year or so had many putting their heels into hibernation mode.  And truly, an odd question to pose to the American people. As if shoes have an expiration date. As if turning 50 means you stop wanting to feel sexy or powerful (as many women feel when wearing heels) and feel the need to pop on some Dansko clogs (ugly shoes are all the rage by the way), or that heels don't allow for the invisibility many women complain about feeling as they age. And hey, it's cool if you do. But you know what I'm trying to say here. We live in a youth-obsessed world where there are far too many rules. And though I find the idea of tottering around in heels nonsensical, many women of a certain age do not. Just ask SJP.

As for me, I'm currently rocking a run Lola red hair color that is bright, bold, and a little outside of my comfort zone but I'm totally digging it for a change. I am sure there are those that think bold hair colors are best left to the young, but I think having fun with fashion and personal style doesn't have an expiration date.

But contrary to what "the survey says" (that's Feud talk, folks), I'll tell you what.

The question should have really been, "At what age do women stop giving a fuck about what society thinks of them"? Answer? 50. Definitely 50. If you came to that sooner, good on you. But I'm here now and I don't care what anyone thinks of my shoes, hair, or truly, anything else. And it feels fucking amazing. So if you're questioning what you can and can't wear or do or say in this thing called midlife, take heed. You have earned the right to crash through the ceiling, lean in, lean out, or flip conventional wisdom the bird. It's obscene the way women are scrutinized at every point in our lives. At 50, I'm crying foul on all of it, and to be honest, I'm too busy taking care of myself in the healthiest way possible to worry about my fleeting youth. It's true I'll be rocking my fresh Stan Smiths this summer over a sexy pair of stilettos, but you do you. 

Because 50 is not the new 20, 30, 40, or otherwise. 50 is 50.  And really, it feels just fine. And that's what's up this high and low Thursday in beautiful Brooklyn. Yours, in tough shoes to fill, but worth every step. XO


How you doin'?

Good morning, Thursday. Happy Earth Day to all. It's freezing in NYC, but the perfect amount of chill to have the window cracked and to keep the sheets nice and cold and the doggie snuggled next to you warm. I don't mind.

So, yea. It's been a minute since I've written here. I keep meaning to post about new favorite things, my current trend spots like the weird obsession with the 70s and 80s tennis clothes (everywhere), and why Vitamin C is the best skin care ingredient for Spring (brighten up y'all).

But instead, it's come to my attention that the NY Times has diagnosed me and many of us with a state of being called "languishing". Read it and weep and tell me it doesn't perfectly describe where you are right now. And if not, let it be known that it perfectly describes me,

From the article:

"It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021".

Although I like the term because it calls to mind some Victorian vaporish state where one has hand to forehead while reclining on a fainting chaise, it's not ideal because I have stuff to do. And people to see. And a sense that somehow I need to re-enter society in some form, though I don't really feel like it.

I don't miss airports. Or boarding zones. 

I don't miss the traffic. Or crowded subways. Or shitty lunch options in midtown.

I don't miss much of my so-called life, yet I'm not thrilled with my current sitch.

Am I super duper lucky to feel healthy and to have stable work? A million times, yes. And I'm not ungrateful in any way.

So hold my calls. I'm languishing. One plus? I have found that exercise is my saving grace, my hail mary, and the one thing that consistently takes me out of my cream of broccoli soup brain and into a good place. I don't miss a day, and my burpee game is TIGHT. I have always loved exercise, and for those of you feeling the way I do, it's truly the best medicine. At least for an hour a day.

I'm not sure how to get out of this bubble. What will replace this state of languishing, and how will we come out of it? I have no fucking idea. I wish I did. 

Are you thriving, barely surviving, or straight-up languishing? Join me on the settee and perhaps we can help each other. Curious to know how you are all doing. And how many days in a row are too many to wear the same grey cardigan? Asking for a friend.

Cause that's what's up this L word of a Thursday in the 718. Yours, in catchphrases and states of being. XO

Tuesday Muse Day: Elsa Peretti is a mood

Good morning, Tuesday.  I'm trying to dig back in here and do some more writing so bear with me as I get back up to speed. I was working on a post for a good stretch now about the recently deceased Elsa Peretti, she of 70s decadence and jewelry design fame. I was sad to hear of her passing and have found her style a treasure trove of inspiration throughout the years, and now that I'm a woman of 50, I appreciate her elegant sophistication even more.

To me, her style is perfectly suited to this stage in my game. I love the short hair. The statement glasses. The constant small pup at her side. I love the sexiness without a hint of vulgarity.  I love the sensuous fabrics, minimalist intent, and beautiful fit of her clothes. And I also love the hint of eccentricity that lends confidence and an entirely ownable appeal. And since we're all getting ready to party again, these looks feel just right.

So Tuesday's muse is Elsa and may she rest in peace and style. 

I've been coveting one of her vintage bangles lately and may purchase a green one to honor her memory and channel her effortless aplomb. Check out the greatest hits of her jewelry design career here. 

Cause that's what's up this inspired Tuesday in beautiful, sunny Brooklyn. Yours, in my ever changing muse. XO

Spring's short story

Good morning, Monday.

I don't know what it is about this stay-at-home life, but even as there seems to be some light at the end of this long, dark tunnel I'm still invested in making my home as peaceful and zen den-like as I can. For me, that means organization. And a constant purge of things (mostly clothes) that no longer suit me. For me, that means anything overly boho (not for me anymore) or voluminous or tricky. I'm all about simplifying- from my wardrobe to my furnishings to how I organize my kitchen cabinets.  It's my vibe of late- call it spring cleaning, the eternal version.

Anyway, enough about me. 

Because it's officially a new season and with that comes new clothes.  And since it will soon be too warm for our beloved sweats, we've got to think ahead. I've spotted a big trend in the shorts set. Think of this as your warm-weather sweatsuit. Plus it's cuter somehow. If you are old enough to remember Garanimals, this trend will feel familiar and altogether comforting. Because life is complicated. Dressing for the new season should not be.  I think our current obsession with at-home clothing that is a bit matchy-matchy speaks to our need for simplicity and a sense of balance. Plus- so damn cute. So here we go. Game. Set. Match.

I love this one from the Frankie shop. the color is so good.

This one from Something Navy is absolutely adorable too- love the ombre vibe.

This pj set can easily go from bed to breakfast. So cute.

This Theory set gives me major beach week vibes with a pair of white Birkenstocks, as does this super cute Antik Batik set in sunny marigold. 

And how lovely is this all-white number? So pretty with a flat sandal and a warm-weather glow.

Big fan of this knit, navy set from Rag and Bone. It's just right.  And you can't go wrong with this super basic set, like an LBD in short set form. Both on sale, ps.

OOh and. this little pajama set from Nap is so so cute. I love the oversized vibe of it. Really love this one.

So that's that. Get set for the new season with one of these adorable two-piece wonders. And if shorts are not happening, go for a set that has pants. Easy. Cause that's what's up this set up for Spring kind of Monday in the 718. Yours, in perfect pairings. XO

Maven recommends: A show at the BK Museum that is more than just art

Good morning, Thursday.  How's it? I hope everyone is hanging in there on this emotional roller coaster of an era. I've been up, down, and in between of late. The sense of purgatory is lifting a bit, but I'm just wondering what's on the other side of this, and do we really feel up to "business as usual"? I'm not so sure.

Anyway, last weekend I got to see an awesome show at the Brooklyn Museum. The KAWS show is a must-see. If you are unfamiliar, KAWS is an American artist whose large-scale sculptures and riffs on pop culture are iconic for their street art cred. Back when I was living in Miami in the early 2000s and working for the country's hottest agency, we were obsessed with artists like KAWS. And the show did not disappoint. It was big, fun, and tremendously entertaining.

But besides the brilliance and pop-cultural lovefest of the work,  I found the show experience fascinating.  Because it's no longer enough to look at works of art, you have to be able to photograph yourself in front of them. Stay with me here.

Remember when you used to look at art in a museum and, well, look at it? That's no longer enough to sell out a show in 2021. What's so striking about an artist like KAWS is that today's Instagram generation wants to show you themselves with the art so that they, in a way, become a part of the art itself. It's WILD. Throughout the entire show (which was perfectly safe and socially distanced), we had to wait several times for people to stop taking selfies in front of the pieces to see the work itself. Annoying? Yes. But a fascinating moment in culture and how we experience art itself.  This is not news, ps. But it was the first time I was hyper-aware of how social media has completely changed us, how we consume, how we connect, how we see. Does it diminish the experience itself or enhance it? I'm sure you could argue either way, but one thing's for sure- to have a successful show at a museum these days, you have to present something interactive and wholly Instagrammable. I, for one, would rather eat my own teeth than pose with works of art, but that's just me. I am way more interested in the art itself than my role in it. I can't help thinking of my anthropology classes in college, where we talked about the uncertainty principle in quantum physics and how it's ultimately changed once something is viewed.  Morph that into our current obsession with photographing ourselves, and you've got a bit of a schism. Does art change once we interact with it? It's worth exploring over a bottle of pinot noir or two. Who's game? I'm rabid for boozy conversations of depth.

Also, the show feels perfectly staged for a world going through a pandemic. It is full of pop culture nostalgia, and branded collabs and the superfans are out in full effect, as evidenced from the line to get in the gift shop. I myself succumbed and bought one of his famous Companion figurines. I got caught up with the superfans and wanted a piece of the dream. But did I pose in front of the pieces? No. I did not, though I was well aware that the inevitable voyeurism threaded throughout my DNA became its very own exhibit. Checking out all the cool kids flashing peace signs and smiles in front of the work was almost as interesting as the work itself. 

So if you're looking for a bit of pop amidst the purgatory of the pandemic, check it out. The work itself is fun in that Warhol, Peter Max kind of way, and the experience is an excellent indicator of where all experiential events are headed. 

Cause that's what's up this observational Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in pop culture purveyance and culture shifts. XO

Viva New York City!

Good morning, Friday. TGIF.

Can you believe it's been about a year since this craziness began? It's so hard to believe.

I don't have a ton to say today but wanted to say this- I LOVE NEW YORK. MORE THAN EVER.

Yes, I know you know this. This city is one of the loves of my life and having weathered many storms here (9/11, a blackout, a pandemic),
I absolutely find that the more I go through here, the more it makes me want to stay. It's true I don't have children (not counting the fur babe, of course) and that this past year has been pretty tough on those with school-aged children. But as the city emptied and a sense of panic and doom set in, I found myself digging my kitten heels into the terra firma of New York Fucking City. Because as odd as it may seem to many who find the city loud, noisy, and chaotic, no place on Earth makes me feel more grounded. This is my place. New Yorkers are my people. And with Spring in the air,  I am feeling optimistic and hopeful that the best city in the world will come back strong.

So consider this post an affirmation, with my favorite mantra being "I LOVE NEW YORK." 

 I also love that quote above because there is nothing more true for me and for so many. I often say my life really started when I moved here many moons ago, and I am so eternally grateful for the life New York has given to me.

You are my heart. My home. My world. 

Much love to my fellow New Yorkers and everyone everywhere. Soaking in the good vibes and looking forward to contributing to the economy, life, and love of the greatest comeback of all time. (Though if you ask me, it never really left). Together, we'll write the next chapter.

Cause that's what's up this I just can't quit NY kind of Friday in beautiful Brooklyn. Yours, in forever, your girl. XO

Maven recommends: A grown up Vanilla fragrance for Spring

Good almost afternoon, Wednesday. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Finally. 50 degrees. We've got a heatwave on our hands. Though the sunshine makes the black snow piles look that much shittier. But I digress because spring is in the air, and I feel it- do you feel it?

And with the arrival of spring upon us, you may (or may not be) thinking about switching up your scent. And if you're a scent-obsessed person like me, I highly recommend viewing "Nose," a fascinating documentary on all things aromachology, and more particularly about the nose in chief over at the House of Dior, who makes two standouts j'adore. I have always been obsessed with the warm and cool and rich European vibe of  Bois d'Argent, and my discovery of the spicy and warm Fève Délicieuse when I was in Scotland reduced me to mush. I loved it so much. Scent is potent for me, and just before this plague hit, I was signed up to take a perfume-making class. I want to do that again soon. In the film, they talked about how fragrance makers are super curious humans and can catalog the canon of human experience through scent. I hope that most creative people would watch this film and get inspired because it's on all of us to do the same. 

But I'm here to chat specifically about a favorite note of mine when it comes to perfume, and that note is Vanilla. I am a big fan of the gourmand category of fragrances, a category that is all about yummy sweetness. I became a vanilla fan back in my early days in New York when the Body Shop was having a real moment (that nude lipliner, though). I wore their vanilla exclusively -it was relatively inexpensive and super duper sweet. I believe I then traded up to Kiehls and their vanilla oil. But cut to now. I've grown up, and so has my nose.  For me, vanilla can feel a bit too young and unsophisticated if it is not done with mastery.  I've searched for years for a more grown-up take on my favorite note and recently found one worth wearing.

If you have not sniffed Aerin's Tangier Vanille, you are missing out. Categorized as an Oriental fragrance (think warm and spicy, another fav of mine),  the top notes are Vanilla, Bergamot, and Rose; the middle note is Amber, and the base notes are Sandalwood and Musk. This is a beautiful and subtle vanilla that will have you wrist-sniffing/inhaling throughout the day. I also love mixing it with something musky like Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, something spicy like Scandalwood or Holi Water by Heretic, or even something somewhat floral like Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle., yet again.  Tangier Vanille is so beautiful and would be just gorgeous on warm skin.  

The other best, best, best vanilla comes all the way from the Parisian outpost of Le Labo, Vanille 44. This scent is a bit more woody and so yummy in its non-cloying sweetness it almost hurts (as does the price- yikes). I don't find this fragrance lasts terribly long, and since you can only buy it once a year in the states (unless you go to Paris), it may not be worth the expense.

Check out Tangier Vanille if you're craving something sweet and more sensuous than overtly sexy. It's divine, truly. Cause that's what's up this nose knows kind of Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in sweet sniffs, are made of this. XO

Maven pick: A loosened up jean for Spring, with love from the 90s

Good morning, Thursday. More snow overnight last night. I can't.  But I must. At least I am working from home. But you try to put those little rubber dog boots on by yourself. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Anyway, after yesterday's post about less is more, I'm returning to our regularly scheduled programming, which will always include a bit of a shopping moment. I know this is weird, but I've been wearing jeans throughout the pandemic when I work from home- mostly when I need to feel a bit more put together and less like taking a nap. Ha.

So jean shapes have evolved, and though we still seem to be stuck in a high-waisted moment (not the comfiest in my humble opinion though I've warmed to them somewhat), I'm LOVING the return of a more 90s-like silhouette when it comes to jeans. And no, I'm not talking about those thong-baring low rise jeans we all used to wear. I'm talking about that slouchy low rise, loosened up look that is very Drew Barrymore at a rave. I love the current Kate Hudson In Style cover. She's channeling a major league 90s moment, and i"m here for it. I'm predicting a return to a flower power vibe that is part 90s and part 60s, but back to jeans. I am a card-carrying 90sphile- I love 90s fashion so much- more for the Belgian minimalist moment vs. the hyper colorful acid house vibe, but still.  Everything and everyone was so damn cute back then. 

So consider these slouch numbers from Frame. So cute and easy to wear.

I also love these loose jeans from A Golde- they may be my favorite of the bunch. They come in many washes and are super cool with a white tank top and a tan in the summer.

This pair from H&M and Lee strikes that industrial cool vibe I love and are reasonably priced. 

This cool little dad jean is on sale at Madewell and is chic and comfortable. 

And if you're still a high waisted fan, there's plenty of loose silhouettes with a higher waist like these from ASOS, But I prefer the more authentic 90s version, but you do you. One thing that won't be included in my redo of this look- a crop top. Nope. Not happening. Nor will we be having an overly tweezed eyebrow. Or a baby bang.

I love a looser jean as a counter to all those sweatpants we've been wearing. Because anything too tight just doesn't feel right when we're still working from the sofa.

Cause that's what's up this loosened up Thursday in the tundra. Yours, in jean genies and peace, love, and 90s vibes. XO

Is less really more? (Ask me in a few years.)

Good morning, Wednesday. It's so very February here in New York City. Cloudy. Gloomy. Dismal. Black snow piles. You know the drill. Nevertheless, we persist. Because we are a tough lot, with a touch of masochism thrown in for good measure. Onward.

So I posted an article about Norma Kamali the other day, she of the eternal "it" factor that is somehow transcendent and ageless all at once. Women love her. She's 100% a woman's woman. She's chic, sophisticated, and also a little bit wacky. And she recently released a skincare collection consisting of three products only to appeal to this contemporary moment we're in that is all about minimalism.

As a trend watcher, I see a natural move towards minimalism. I don't mean necessarily aesthetically, but a less is more movement coming out of years of Marie Kondo and a redefinition of consumerism/sustainability push in general. I see so many emails in my inbox about capsule collections and stripping your wardrobe down to the basics. Just the basics. And true, you can't discount the COVID effect here- where are we going, and what do we really need?

But back to Norma. I was amazed by how many of my female friends posted about their love for Norma and how they too want to embrace a less is more moment. The thing is, these were women that were not 30, they were more over 40 types, and many of them were 50ish like me. Apparently, something happens when you get older, and somehow, you don't want all the stuff anymore, or at least that's what my friend in her 60s tells me. She's always been a clotheshorse, but the switch turned off when she hit 55, and she no longer has any desire to keep consuming the way she used to when she was a bit younger. Full disclosure- I am so not there yet. I still love to try a million products, I have a multi-step skincare routine, and I have never met a jumpsuit I didn't want to buy. But I'd be lying if I said I don't fetishize the Instagram profile of minimalistas like Shira Gill, whose clean white life makes me second guess my technicolor existence.

I do think we are in a moment of less. Of focusing on what matters. And many are tired of the endless ad serves coming through their feeds and crowding their brains with notions of more "stuff." Do we really need a lash primer? Will another dress or pair of jeans or ballet flat make us happy? Arent' we tired of tying up boxes from online endeavors?

I am a unique combo of early and late adoption. I see trends before they happen but tend to adopt them later. I still have a few years before I hit my mid-50s, but I'm hoping this minimal mindset hits me as well. I'd love a little extra room in my closet and a small spare room in my life to define what matters most.  

But for now, I'll keep sharing all the great finds I uncover while I wait for my minimalist mystique to take hold. Are you feeling in tune with the less is more thing, or are you still going for broke (literally)?

Deepish thoughts on a Wednesday morning. Cause that's what's up this to buy or not to buy kind of Wednesday in Brooklyn. Yours, in priority shifts and midlife musings. XO