Love You, Mom

Mother’s Day is upon us, which means now is the time to find a present that says “I love you, thanks for everything, you deserve some alone time.”

Our moms are the most important, loving, and inspiring people in our lives, and every year we look forward to showering them with cards, gifts and lots of love on Mother’s Day.

However,  shopping for the perfect Mother’s Day gift can be a little bit daunting. What do you get for the woman who shaped who you are today? It’s not an easy task. I usually err on the side of caution, asking my mom what she wants, which is usually something exercise or tech-related. A win-win on all ends. There are moms who would want jewelry or sweet scents and more practical gifts, like a cookbook or gardening tools. I personally like a cute coffee mug and hug from my kids. Call me crazy, I know.

Down below I have scoured online stores for beautiful, funny and unique ideas, and yes, many of them center around things that I would want to give or to get.

Happy shopping!

Mother's Day gifts

BCBG floppy fedora // Kate Spade Mom said so bangle // Jennifer Fisher choker

Coffee mugs // Coffee maker // Chanel bag // I Have a dream Sleep set

I Adore You pillow // Diptyque candle // Saint Laurent shades // iPhone cases // white tray / Eytys sneakers


Age-Defying Hair Care

It’s a common fact of life that us ladies have it harder when it comes to hair, especially as we get older. If you’re a man, showering and getting a cut is as hard as it gets. And if it turns out you’re balding, you just shave your head and that’s that. You won’t have to worry about shampoo ever again!

On the other hand,  we look at our bathroom shelves and they’re a mess — shampoos, conditioners, serums, masks and oils and we’re still not fully happy. And that’s because we want our hair to be exactly what we imagine it can be — supple, long and shiny.

Looking at fierce ladies such as Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep, it seems like nothing’s impossible. Hair doesn’t have to grow old with us.

But the question is: are we on the right track with all the products or should we change it up a bit? Here’s the scoop on age defying hair.

Stop torturing your hair

healthy hair

When you’re 20, a pony tail is often enough. But at 40, you probably feel the need for control. You have to know exactly what your hair will look like and that usually involves a good measure of heavy styling.

Would you be surprised to learn that styling is one of the worst things you can do to your hair? Probably not. But keep in mind: if it’s silky locks you’re looking for, getting a perm will kill the mere thought of it.

This is partially because heat damage is bad for hair, and mainly because the follicle function diminishes with age, which means you don’t have too good a material to work with in the first place.

Feed it protein!

To make your hair look better, omega-3 works best. Fatty acids in salmon, flax seeds and dark green leafy vegetables should be on your menu, because they’re a good source of protein, vitamins A and C, which the follicles use to produce sebum, which in turn keeps your hair moisturized.

Don’t skip the eggs, poultry or beans either, as they are a good sources of protein too.

Eating enough as opposed to starving yourself is not only good for your health, it’s also good for your hair, which gets the benefits of a natural conditioner without the actual silicone-heavy product.

Nature’s path leading to the supermarket


As it turns out, conditioner and hair masks aren’t necessarily good for your hair.

Silicone, a common ingredient in conditioners, is responsible for keeping moisture away and weighing your locks down, and that’s just one of the problems. If you’re worried about your products, you might consider not using products at all. Try switching to a natural routine and see how that works. The rule of thumb is using only ingredients that you can safely eat.

And the winner ingredient is definitely coconut oil. The hype about it is spawning all over the internet and not without reason. It turns out that coconut oil is actually a keeper. In fact, people are actually considering replacing all of their beauty products with it. The results are surprising to say the least.

In the world of hair, coconut oil is successfully used as a nighttime mask or conditioner and it works well with damaged hair. It’s even used to minimize damage from bleaching!

If you have super fine hair, coconut oil might be a bit too much for you, so try something organic, but light, like EO or Nyr Organic.

Stop the invisible damage

 One of the main causes of lifeless hair as we get old (plus other nasty problems, like a bad complexion) is inflammation.

“I believe that inflammation is negative for the hair follicle, that it can accelerate stress shedding and compromise growth,” Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist in New York told the NY Times. This is not the first time we’ve heard about inflammation, but it’s definitely the first time the focus is on the hair.

With that in mind, a healthy diet that includes pomegranates, avocado, pumpkin, mint, turmeric and rosemary could help, although the story is much longer than that and it involves stress, lack of exercise, chronic infections and many more.

In the end, it seems that we can never get away from the whole healthy lifestyle thing. There’s no miracle cure for bad hair and we should know that at our age. Everything is connected, so let’s just start with the little things – better food, more natural cosmetics and a bit of exercising on the side.

In the end, life isn’t all about the hair. But good hair is sure fun to have.

Gwen Lewis is a freelance writer who lives in Southern California. She currently works with Fair & Flawless as well as other beauty and health websites. In her free time she loves to do crafts and hike.



Hair Do’s

Anja Rubik

Do you ever wake up looking like this bed head beauty? For most people here on Earth, the answer is an absolute no. There are times that my hair looks extra straight, fine and smooth, but after all, this is Anja Rubik. On a daily basis, my hair needs a cocktail of all sorts of hair products that work but my wish has always been to have my hair-do down to a science. Yes, I wash my hair every other day, and own every hair care product known to man, until I realized– earth to Stephanie–there needs to be a simpler way using less to achieve those beautiful locks.

Dilemma? My hair always has that messy look especially waking up in this bed. Messy, yet unfinished. I wanted messy in a good way.

Hotel Belleclaire

What to do?

1. Go Short.

It’s transitional time and whether due to seasonal changes, some astrological moon signs intersecting with Mercury whilst it’s in retrograde, thank you AstrologyZone, or the resurgence of no-nonsense ‘90s dressing, we are either growing out those summer bobs or lobbing off their super long hair. Which is to say there’s a lot of mid-lengths going on out there. Trés chic.

short hair

2. Get to Styling

The question remains, what products could I use to make my hair do stuff? I consulted with the team at Sam Villa who educates stylists on how to do hair better and quicker with a line of tools that deliver maximum results with minimum effort. The tools? For starters, the proper blow dryer, and the right brush for your hair texture for desirable results. And the products? They’re easy, quick, and offer a real run for the alcohol content of any mixed drink. Or, get yourself to a blow-dry bar. Here is a step-by-step on how I should be taming my locks.

Hair do

hair do

Hair do

3. Learn the tricks.

I test drove this blow dry for a few days during fashion week and here’s what I surmised. For the most part, the less styled, the better. The less you wash it, the better it will look. It gets the best shape on the second or third day filthy dirty. And it looks great with scarves on, because the hair bunches really well.


Here’s how to extend the life of a professional blowout:

Day 1 and 2: Professional blow dry on day 1, enjoy as is on day 2.

Day 3 and 4: Use Redken Powder Refresh 01 aerosol hair powder/dry shampoo to absorb oil on dry unwashed hair. Shake well, mist on roots and brush through to distribute evenly to refresh and extend the life of the blowout. If needed, touch-up sections with a blow dryer or flat-iron.

Day 5 and 6: Rub a small amount of Argan oil into the tips of the boar bristles of a small round brush and rotate the brush along the surface (section coarser hair types) to spread oil, smooth flyaways and impart softness, condition and shine. Secure into a ponytail and/or twist the ponytail until it rolls on itself to create a sleek chignon and secure.

Now the question remains, can I train my hair to do all this? Can’t I just be that girl with that effortless beauty?

Stay tuned tomorrow for more on Age Defying Hair Care for tips on what to eat to grow healthier hair.


A Peek Behind the Scenes

At New York Fashion Week, the models parade down the runway without a hitch. Besides the casual trip, its uniformity like no other, marching to the beat of the designer’s drum.

But preparing for their 2 second walk onstage, a bevy of make-up artists hair stylists and seamstresses hustle to get the models ready, bustling around them and tugging at their hair and clothes

From the chaos of hair and make-up to the frenzy of getting fitted, here is a look at the behind-the-scenes process of preparing a fashion week show. You’ll see some tricks of the trade in this short 1 minute clip that was taken at the K. Nicole show on one crazy night last week.

Song: Bacon Love by Beach Party
And for the final product? The title of the show was The Elegance in Texture Collection by K.Nicole. It’s magical. Happy Friday!

K. Nicole Fashion show FW14

Video By Sarah Murray

Edited by Stephanie Unter


Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop

Art by Langley Fox, Beats by DJ duo The Jane Doze, and #MJDAISYCHAIN were all key elements to the success of the Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop event last night.

Marc Jacobs

Among the crowd of bloggers and editors was Anna Kendrick, Phoebe Tonkin and Jamie Chung. Many guests got creative with their poses in the photobooth, which featured huge bottles of the Daisy perfume in a field of…wait for it… daisys. I even got a photo of my own which I printed out into a little sticker.

Me at MJ

Me at the event

Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick posing in the photobooth

Guests left with a full-sized “Daisy” perfume, a print by Langley Fox  (who was in attendance herself) and a few glasses of bubbly in their systems.

The most incredible thing about the shop is that no money is exchanged. Instead users can tag photos and tweets with the hashtag #MJDAISYCHAIN in order to get their own mini-perfume. Handbags and other Marc Jacobs items will be given out to a few lucky winners each day. Today’s winners were picked by Aimee Song of Song of Style.

The pop-up shop is open for the rest of the weekend and will be featuring DJ Jilly Hendrix as well as snacks and manicures. Check out the promo video and watch out for me at 11 seconds!

Special thanks to Timur Civan for the pictures, and Mash+Studio, and The Lionesque Group for putting on this amazing event!

Check out the Marc Jacobs shop this weekend! xo

Written by Sarah Murray.

Edited by Stephanie Unter


Grab Bag Gift Guide {Under $50.00}

holiday gift ideas

Here is what my weeklong weekend has been like thus far.

1. Baked pumpkin-spice cookies for the Thanksgiving feast.

2. Flew all the way to dinner at Grandma’s house.

3. Crawled home due to mass consumption of too much reprehensible gluttony.

4. Shopped like Wonder Woman for Black Friday. What did you get???

5. Contributed to SmallBizSaturday by purchasing new velvet Penelope Chilvers booties at my favorite local store Outerluxe.

6. Currently reading Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff.

7. Took a cleansing yoga class.

And now?

8.Compiling a gift guide under $50. Why? Because these are a few of my favorite things.

Down below I’ve rounded up 50 gifts under $50 that would be happily welcome in my own life anywhere from Hannukah through New Years because I love presents and shopping for the loved ones in my life. I’m sure many of you need some tips on what to get  close family and friends – mom, sister, brother, co-worker, and BFFs. I’ve included a range of pieces that could either work as cool stocking stuffers or take center stage as the sparkle of the holiday season.

What’s on your wish list?


All I need is…

On Nov. 28, 2013, for the first and only time in any of our lifetimes, the first day of Hanukkah falls on the same day as Thanksgiving. If you’re an observant Jew, you probably already know this. If you’re not, well now you know. This double holiday of head-spinning math and the delicious convergence where, according to Buzzfeed, cranberry sauce will be smothering potato latkes on Friday night, this requires that a ton of holiday shoppers – the modern-day Hanukkah tradition is to give gifts on each of the eight nights – will be buying presents well in advance of the usual post-Thanksgiving Black Friday/Cyber Monday thrill. Myself included. So before you can say “Mom, please pass the Manischewitz-brined turkey,” I thought it would the perfect time to start getting the imagination started, and the fingers clicking.

The holidays are creepin’ (there are only 10 shopping days left till thanksgivingukkah) and so begins my annual series of gift guides. For the next few weeks, I’ll be rounding up all my favorite things in hopes that they will inspire you with ideas, as well as help ease the overwhelming task that is holiday shopping. First up is a gift guide for girl who only wants the very best.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 7.43.20 PM Jo Malone Candle $75.00 // Chanel vintage watch $3,600. // Mason by Michelle Mason silk shorts, $169.00 (on sale) // Chanel vintage fur muff // Chanel blue satin nail color, $27.00 // Chanel quadra shadow $59.00 or $220 for entire collection // Bobbi Brown Ink liner $27.00 // Heal’s Fur throw £300.00 // Otte Plush tights, $38. // coffee mug $20.00 // Maison Martin Margiela dark purple ring set, $220.

That’s a little something to start.


While You Were Sleeping

Happy Monday morning! Are you exhausted right now reaching for that third cup of coffee? Blame it on Daylight Savings Time, yup DST. Great if you’re an early riser, terrible when you leave your office and it’s pitch black. But while DST might be a legit excuse to “lose” an hour of sleep, it’s really not going to fly any other of the 364 nights of the year. It’s been proven by experts in the sleep field to find out there are negative consequences of not getting enough shut-eye.


I’ve never been a champion sleeper. My sleep is fitful at best, and at least once a week I stare at the ceiling for a few hours, wondering desperately if the sandman has stood me up completely.

I know I am not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of Americans experience sleep problems almost every night—so many of us that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared insufficient shut-eye a public health epidemic. Chronic sleep deprivation, defined as getting fewer than six hours a night, has been linked to major problems. Our time between the sheets is when our cells divide and repair, memories are consolidated, and growth hormones are released.

Here are some reasons why you need to get the minimum of eight hours of shut-eye.

1. In the short-term, our metabolism slows, resulting in weight gain. The risk of depression and anxiety is higher. Short term memory is decreased. Poor performance on completing complex tasks. That means work, folks. Our immune function decreases, more chances to get sick. So when you are feeling bummed out that it’s cold and dark outside, go to sleep.

2. In the long-term, there is a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and mortality rates. We want to live long right?

3. Our skin doesn’t have the time to repair, resulting in an increase in fine lines and discolorations, acne, weaker collagen, and enlarged pores. The concept of ‘getting your beauty sleep’ thing is really true,” says Chanel consulting dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD. “Beta-endorphins and growth hormones are at their highest levels. You want to bathe your skin in as much of those good, healing molecules as possible.”

Get your Antioxidant on.

4. Get outside during the day. Sit in the sun for just 10 minutes every day. Even if you just run to the corner to get a kale salad, get out of your cubicle.

5. Pajamas are super hot right now, to wear in bed and out. So why not save yourself time and energy, sleep in your pj’s and you won’t have to worry about getting dressed in the morning. Alexander Wang showed the ultimate button-downs unbuttoned up-to-there over boxers, duh.


Alexander Wang SS 14 

6. Coffee is the liquid drug equivalent of choice for most sleep-deprived human beings. There are plenty of health benefits, reduces the risk of early Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers, and its an addictive elixir to boot. I love the smell and atmosphere that coffee brings to my kitchen every morning.


Coffee maker 

6. Establish a routine. Go to bed at a normal hour during the week. And a good pillow doesn’t hurt.


So, we’re left to embrace these ch ch cha cha..changes, David Bowie,

Turn off those electronic devices (That is actually working, BTW) Keep your room dark. Get an eye mask, it helps. And load up on pajamas, a sleep mask, Bach remedy night spray, sockssocks for your arms, and dream on. I just did.

Here you go:



Chasing The Sun

Knowing what I know now about the sun and just how damaging the sun’s rays are for your skin, I would not have planted myself on a lounge chair, lathered myself with Baby Oil and placed a layer of tin foil under my chin, frying like a piece of bacon. I would have made wiser choices. But that was then and this is now. I have my regrets, but nonetheless, although I cannot reverse the damage, there is nothing in my agenda in the next few months that says “get sun-kissed.” Although, it looks great to have a “healthy glow” studies show that in fact, looks are deceiving, and if we don’t do the right thing, we will all end up with skin cancer.

Sunscreen is now a part of my daily routine and should be as important to you as putting on underwear. I mean it. An outdoor sports enthusiast, with a fair skin tone, I have to be extra careful with the amount of Vitamin D that enters my body, doctor’s orders. I do allow myself a few minutes of unprotected sun every day, but keep an eye on the clock as to not overcook my dermis. I know I’m not going to wear a long sleeve shirt in the summer, but I do keep sunscreen in my bag, wear protective sunglasses, and if beach-side, wear a large brimmed hat. Age may not be an option, but wrinkles just might be.

This summer, you’ll find me slathered in protection, with all my accoutrements below. Craving that sunny glow that looks so darn good in pictures? Add the shimmery self-tanner, the bronzer, and a touch of gloss to your lips. You’ll thank me in ten years. Just don’t forget to use a gentle scrub to exfoliate off all your winter layers before you apply. Here are my favorite accessories.

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 7.54.17 PMThis Rachel Zoe striped sun hat for those bright sunny beach days will do just the trick for ultra-violet protection. And why not match the sun in these neon yellow Matthew Williamson sunnies? As for the products, here are some of my favorites. Here comes the Sun by Philosophy brings on all protective sun shield necessary. C E Ferulic by SkinCeuticals plumps up the skin with collagen and once absorbed, this serum can’t be washed or rubbed off. It remains effective for a minimum of 72 hours, making it an excellent addition to sunscreen. Neutrogena Sport Lotion gives the added benefit and protection because it’s waterproof. Kiehl’s Lip balm for those ultra dry lips in need of moisture, and La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Face & Body Melt has such a great name, and it works so well on fighting that deadly ultra-violet light.

For those who love their face milky white, this is for you. Step number 1: Use this Caudalie facial scrub. Add Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick bronzer to your face, and LORAC TANtalizer body bronzer all over your body and voilà. All set for summer.




Spring Hair

A new season always brings new opportunities to shine, so why not put some well-deserved life into your hair? Along with spring and summer comes heat and humidity, so what a better way to attack it than with a cool braided do. I’m always trying so hard to straighten my hair with a ton of products, a straightening iron, and lots of wasted time, so I caved to the cowlick and started to experiment with my hair. The result? A manifestation of new plait-spiration to try at home. Want this cool trendy turban, shown below, made completely out of braids? Yeah, me too.


H&M sweater, get a similar one here by Marc Jacobs. Photo: via Refinery 29

Twists, plaits, and fishtails are now considered an essential part of every girl’s coif repertoire —and if you’re not well-versed on this hair lexicon, don’t worry. Although this is not a tutorial, a DIY, or a how-to on braids, (leave it to the folks at Honestly WTF or The Beauty Department to take care of that) with a hot-crossed bun made for even those with short hair.

For those of you that may be intimidated by this seemingly complex style, all it takes is sections of braids (the messier, the better) and a handful of bobby pins to help them stay in place. Where to start? Take a peek at the products you might want to have handy:


Collage by Carina Gupta

1. Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel. A must-have styling aid to control frizz in all climates.

2. ghd Candy Collection hair styler

3. Sephora hair ties for when you need to tie your hair back in a pretty pink wrap.

4. DryBar yellow brush perfect for detangling

5. DevaCurl Flexible Hold Spray for the final touch

6. Carol’s Daughter Loc Butter looks like something I want to eat, made with soybean oil and natural shea butter but it’s food for the hair. This pomade intensely moisturizes twists, coils, braids, and “locs.”

Perfect for that weekend prom, or wedding coming up in the next month…Happy Braiding!