A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

The Right Stuff

In Fashion on August 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Missy Franklin photographed by Bruce Weber via vogue.com

I love the summer Olympics for all sorts of reasons, but most of all because of Wonder Women like Missy Franklin who inspire us mere mortals to be our very best. Seventeen days ago, I began the Go Shiggy Go 30-Day Challenge in hopes of tackling my total lack of core strength following my second C-section, as well as 20 stubborn pounds of residual baby weight. The GSG challenge was started by photographer Shiggy Ichinomiya, a friend of a friend, and has two basic rules: 1.) Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days straight and 2.) Post a photo of yourself exercising to your Facebook page (or on your blog) to keep yourself accountable. Even if that photo reveals crows feet and one’s propensity to sweat like a maniac.

Half way in, here’s what I’ve learned: I can always find 30 minutes—even if that means briskly walking the baby in the stroller around the neighborhood for a half hour or so. Second, having the right stuff, as in gear, is kind of essential to enjoyment. And last, it’s good to mix things up. So far I’ve relied on my very, very favorite form of exercise—running—as well as hiking the canyons and taking BRUTALLY challenging core sculpting classes at Pop Physique in Hollywood.

However, the most fun has been swimming! I hadn’t done laps since college and whoa, what a workout. To that end, I thought I’d share some of my favorite “stuff” that has helped keep me on track for my challenge. I’d love to hear your favorites, too! Please post!

I’ve long been a fan of any and all René Furterer hair products, but this René Furterer After Sun Shampoo is the ne plus ultra of apres-soleil products. I can’t tell you how CRAZY I am about this product. Its secret weapon is palm butter, which helps remove chlorine build-up and leaves hair feeling refreshed and smelling great. I also love the leave-in conditioner spray from the same line.

Only after I googled did I discover that I’d purchased the same Speedo Women’s Vanquisher Goggles as Missy Franklin, only hers are more fun in pink. For those of you in Los Angeles, both colors are on sale right now at Big 5 on Wilshire Blvd. I love these as they don’t fog up or fill up with water.

Running shoes are such a personal thing, and I highly recommend you go to a professional running shop (like FrontRunners in Brentwood) to have your stride evaluated. Personally, I’ve hit my stride with the Brooks Trance (I’m on my second pair). They are lightweight and the cushioning helps reduce impact, especially running on roads.

It might seem counterintuitive that the best running socks are made of wool, but I’ve road-tested the hell out of these Smartwool Running Socks and they are hands-down the most comfortable athletic sock I’ve ever worn. According to the company’s website, “Research shows that because of wool’s effective moisture management, you maintain a lower and more stable core body temperature when wearing wool next to skin instead of synthetics.”

For sunscreen advice I turned to one my favorite Olympic golden girls, Kerri Walsh (how AMAZING was yesterday’s match???), who uses COOLA Organic Suncare. The COOLA Sport Mineral SPF 35 Citrus Mimosa is waterproof for up to 80 minutes, which is great for swimming laps or an intense run.

And finally, every girl knows that you can swim a little faster, run a little farther, climb a little higher if your nails look good. Currently I’m involved in a love affair with Tom Ford’s Scarlet Chinois Nail Lacquer. You should see just how pretty it looks while swimming the crawl…

What Women Want

In Design, Film on May 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

What is it that women most desire? Ask Chaucer’s protagonist in the Wife of Bath and the answer is sovereignty over their husbands. Me? I’ll settle for marital equality and the right to a good, hot bath. I’m married to a man who gets this—and really good presents. For Mother’s Day this year I unwrapped a gorgeous natural linen bath towel I’ve been coveting from Brahms Mount.

Along with some delicious Malin+Goetz Bergamot Body Wash, which foams up nicely in the bath and smells like Earl Grey tea.

In fact, maybe I’ll have a cup of that, too, tonight while soaking in the 1920s claw foot tub in our guest bathroom under the watchful eye of Julie Christie in a 1960s vintage poster from Darling—a movie about a woman who cannot ever be satisfied but wears really, really good clothes. Happy Mother’s Day!

Bergamot Black tea via gilttaste.com

She’s Having a Baby, Beauty Edition

In Baby Love, Fashion, Media on March 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

If you’re wondering why I’ve slowed down on posting, it’s because I’ve slowed way down on cooking to a near halt. And the reason I’ve slowed way down on cooking is because two weeks from today—beware the Ides!—I’m due with bambino #2. The nursery is ready, I have a few make-ahead dishes waiting in the freezer—all that’s left is to pack a hospital bag. Here are a few favorites for looking your best, even from a hospital bed:

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($16/3.2 ounces): This dry shampoo was my secret weapon for fresh-looking hair in the hospital after Tiny G was born. I love that it’s nontoxic. It is also a lifesaver for overnight flights and long travel days.

Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturizer

Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturizer ($12/.35 ounces): This super-intensive lip moisturizer is a must-have for restoring and repairing dry lips. I love how it goes on. You can find it at Barneys or look for the new Malin+Goetz boutique opening soon on Larchmont Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Yves Saint Laurent Crème de Blush

Yves Saint Laurente Crème de Blush in Velvety Peach ($38): A creamy blush that goes on sheer and adds just the right amount of natural-looking glow to cheeks or under eyebrows. Perfect for creating the illusion of being bright-eyed after a sleepless night.

Deborah Lippmann "Happy Birthday" Nail Varnish via atthetreehouse.tumblr.com

Deborah Lippmann “Happy Birthday” Nail Lacquer ($18/.50 fluid ounces). When I saw this glittering spectacle on the nails of friend and rock star Zinzi Edmundson (Zinzi is one half of the very awesome band Kisses), I knew it would be the perfect polish for welcoming our Ides of March birthday baby into the world. In the infamous words of Neely O’Hara, when you have to get up at five in the morning…


In Fashion, Media on March 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

by Gaspar Tringale

Without hesitation, my favorite tweeter is Susan Orlean (@susanorlean), who is as glamorous as she is erudite. Two weeks ago she tweeted “My favorite lipstick and foundation have just been discontinued. Life now, officially, has no meaning.” Which inspired me to ask Ms. Orlean, as well as a couple of other media vixens, about lost loves at the makeup counter.

Susan Orlean, staff writer, The New Yorker

“The tragedy of discontinued makeup! The real tragedy was the foundation—Bobbi Brown Oil-free Satin Finish (I think that’s the whole name) in Sand. Perfect foundation. Arrgh. The lipstick was Trish McEvoy and now I’m spacing out the name (I’m very tired—sorry!). I was scraping the bits out of the bottom of the tube. And finally I had to admit that there was nothing left. I had gone to buy more a few months ago and was told it was discontinued, and I no longer had enough to use for making a custom mix. Life can be very cruel sometimes.”

Missy Suicide, co-founder of SuicideGirls.com and contributor to The Daily Beast

“I had the advantage of learning how to do the perfect cat eye with the perfect product. M.A.C cake eyeliner. It was such a pretty little pot of black. A drop of water added to the little black cake would produce the exact inky consistency to create a kicky little upturn at the corner of the cat eye. I spent hours training my hands to have the muscle memory to do the sweep just right, and in the blink of an eye it was gone. They discontinued the cake eyeliner in favor of the gel eyeliner about 5 years ago and I am still heartbroken. The gel is impossible to alter the consistency of and gets gummy rather quickly, it pales in comparison to the magic cake.  I have tried other brands and other methods but nothing will ever replace my sweet cake.”

Booth Moore, chief fashion critic, Los Angeles Times

More than any other brand, Chanel is responsible for the seasonal “It” nail polish trend. We’ve worn Black Satin, Blue Satin, Jade, and now spring’s pale gray Particulière.

But long before nail polish was as hard to nail down as a limited-edition handbag, there was my dear departed Rose D’Or. It was a red that someone with my coloring could actually wear. A red that was really a raspberry,with gold flecks that worked perfectly with the blue undertones in my skin.

Rose D’Or was a basic in my cosmetics wardrobe, and then it was gone. I Google searched, and rifled through the drawers at the grubbiest Chanel Duty Free counters, only to come up short.

I still have a couple bottles stockpiled, including one that my Foodinista friend turned over to me after a couple of glasses of Chardonnay. But I don’t know if I will ever find another red that’s not really a red, quite like it.

The Foodinista

This is not the first time on this blog I’ve lamented the loss of my favorite lipstick, Chanel’s Star Red (No 22 Rouge Star). The color is akin to the sole of a Louboutin, but with more fire and depth. The texture is dreamy and probably lethal since the company changed the formula for the U.S. market several years ago. But there is a glimmering light at the end of this tunnel. I’m told by the Beverly Hills boutique that the color still exists overseas so I will be on the hunt this week while traveling.

Mad Men Bash

In Fashion on February 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

Last night I attended one of two Mad Men bashes happening in LA. The other, I’m told, was for the actual show. Ours was a Mad Men-themed gala fundraiser for Tiny G’s new preschool and was fantastic! You should have seen some of the dresses on the other moms…amazing. Styled by Ilene Rosenzweig, who was wearing an insane white fur shrug, every detail of the evening was swish, from the champagne cocktails in coupes to the Marilyn Monroe transvestite auctioneer. Mr Foodinista looked dashing in a grey suit and thin black tie. For fashion advice, I turned to my sage friend Monica Corcoran, who is literally writing the book on Mad Men style along with the show’s costume designer, Janie Bryant. I wanted to wear a black cashmere sheath, already in my closet, so here’s what Monica recommended:

I think a black sheath sounds perfect. You could make a mini splurge on a matching costume earrings and necklace set — all the rage in the early 60s — in jet beads, aurora borealis, enamel or even pearls. Matching jewelry was a must!

Gloves work too. Also, per Janie, Betty loves to match her shoes to her bags–lizard or alligator, of course.

Also, for cocktail chatter, wear a cream blush in coral (there were no powder blushes back then) and a matte lipstick (no gloss either). A thick black line on the upper lash line with a slight kick — a la Bardot — was the eye look of choice.

As it happens, I look awful in coral so I went with a matte red M.A.C lipstick (Ruby Woo), and attempted a Bardot eye with a liquid liner. For gloves, I stopped by The Way We Wore on La Brea and picked up the most beautiful cloth pair. They had a whole basket full of gorgeous vintage gloves if you are in the market, and you won’t find friendlier service anywhere! They are SO nice and knowledgeable! And for shoes, a favorite pair of square-toed Chanel black pumps. My one splurge was on the earrings to go with this necklace—a gift from my dear friend Vincent. Thanks to my generous friends, I felt like Cinderella at the ball—if Cinderella drank too many gin and tonics, that is.

Beauty That is Skin Deep

In Fashion on August 27, 2009 at 8:34 am
Photo via The Selby

Photo via The Selby

A couple weeks ago, I was browsing the archives on TheSelby.com and stumbled across Julia Restoin-Roitfeld’s New York apartment. Julia is daughter of Paris Vogue editrix Carine Roitfeld. While Julia’s shoe closet was of particular interest, I couldn’t help but fixate on her beauty products. I know I have my faves (scroll to end of post), but I haven’t covered beauty in over five years so thought I’d check in with three gorgeous girls (whose business it is to know these things) and get their favorite product picks:

Robyn Brown, freelance beauty writer/editor and former Senior Beauty editor, Allure

EYES: I know I’m a pusher with the falsies, but none of those creams will wake up your face half as much as a set of eyelash extensions. Daniel Dinh for Longmi Lashes is the best on both coasts.

MOISTURIZER: Neutrogena Oil Free SPF 15

ANTIAGING: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, an antioxidant serum. Boosts the effectiveness of sunscreen and slows aging.

BODY LOTION: Truthfully? Almond oil. Which speaks more to my inability to remember to buy body lotion than anything else…But it does give skin a nice sheen, and doesn’t have that cheap, perfumey body lotion smell that drives me so bananas.

SUNSCREEN: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer. I just reported on sunblocks for Allure this summer, and  nothing touches Neutrogena, Aveeno, or L’Oreal. Right now, they’re the only ones that have patented formulas with stabilized avobenzone, which makes them effective for several hours. Everything else breaks down much too quickly.

CLEANSER: I use a salicylic cleanser by Neutrogena because I still break out like a teenager. But for normal skin, I just interviewed a derm who said Cetaphil or cleansing oil by Shu Uemura or Laura Mercier. It’s about maintaining the skin’s lipid barrier…

TONER: Forget it. And P.S., the tooth fairy isn’t real, either.

MAKEUP REMOVER: I’m a beauty writer. We don’t wear makeup.

SECRET WEAPON: My hairstylist, the insanely cool and talented Allissa Teitgen of Neil George salon, turned me on to Rene Furterer Shampooing sec, a dry shampoo. A few spritzes under the bangs can revive a blowdry a full extra day, or fake clean hair (which embarrassingly, I need to do far too often). Actually…now that I think about it, Alissa is the real secret weapon. That girl does bangs better than anyone. Anyone.

Kim Friday, senior fashion editor, Women’s Wear Daily

EYES: Estee Lauder Time Zone Eye Crème with SPF 15 (I keep it in the refrigerator so it gives me a real kick in the a.m.). Visine – As Tom Ford once said, nothing ruins a perfectly made-up face quicker than red eyes! I agree, so I use Visine when needed + it reduces redness on the skin too.

MOISTURIZER(S): Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 – I use this every day year round. There is also a tinted version which I use in the winter in lieu of foundation. Josie Maran Argan Oil – I use this for so many things. During the winter it’s great to put under your night crème for really dry skin, I typically put it under my eye crème at night year round as an added boost as well as on laugh lines and my neck (I’m getting older now – we can’t forget about our necks!). It’s also good for dry lips, elbows, even cuticles.

EXFOLIANT: St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub – I don’t really get facials (too rough on my gentle skin), this and the mask following are my substitutes.

ANTIAGING: Shiseido Future Solution Total Revitalizing Crème. This is my night crème, it’s thick but not greasy. Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask – I use this a couple of times a week, it really perks up tired skin.

SUNSCREEN: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15

CLEANSER: Cetaphil cleanser (I have sensitive and dry-proned skin, so this is super gentle). Available at drugstores.

BLEMISH CONTROL: Tea Tree Oil – if I do get a blemish, this is what I use. Dries the blemish, not your skin, out in a jiff.

SECRET WEAPONS: The key things are to wash your face + moisturize morning and night; take an extra dose of Vitamin C; SPF, SPF, SPF; drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (it REALLY makes a difference)

Booth Moore, fashion critic, Los Angeles Times

EYES: Aida Thibiant Moisture Eyes Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream

MOISTURIZER(S): Aida Thibiant Smart Defense Protective Moisturizer SPF 15 or La Roche-Posay Toleriane, and La Prairie Cellular Firming Hydralift Mask every week or so.

BODY LOTION: Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion and B. Kamins Bio Maple lotion

SUNSCREEN: Skinceuticals

CLEANSER: Refinity Purifying Cleanser

ANTI-AGING: Aida Thibiant Vita Source Multivitamin Repairing Serum

MAKEUP REMOVER: Lancome Bi-Facil

SECRET WEAPON: Clarisonic scrub brush

And The Foodinista’s picks…

Right now I’m using a serum from Elemis that my sister-in-law gave me and I just dab a little on in the morning to smooth lines. My favorite is La Prairie Anti-Aging Eye Cream with SPF, however I’m feeling too poor to splurge right now.

MOISTURIZER: Dr. Hauschka’s Quince Day Cream, available at Whole Foods. I mix a little with my SPF for face in the morning and apply before leaving the house.

EXFOLIANT: Remede Sweep. It’s made out of super-fine marble powder, and is gentle. I use it once a week in the shower.

Caudalie First Wrinkle Serum. I’ve just started using this, but so far I like it a lot. Very light.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Nourishing Oil, which is essentially almond oil. I put it on just before getting out of the shower. It absorbs easily and smoothes skin.

Aveeno Continuous Protection SPF 30 for Face. I use this religiously on my face, neck and hands—every day, rain or shine. (Tiny G uses Aveeno Baby SPF 55 every single day—it’s fragrance free and gentle.)

CLEANSER: Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Cleansing Beauty Oil. I’ve just started using this to cleanse at the end of the day and so far so love!

Klorane Cornflower Soothing Eye Makeup Remover. I started using this when I lived in Paris a decade ago—it was (and still is) available at every corner drugstore and now you can get it here. It’s super gentle, but also effective at removing that stubborn Shu Uemura Ultimate Expression Mascara I’m addicted to.

SECRET WEAPONS: Use SPF, every single day, and drink tons of water!

Guac the Walk

In Fashion on June 5, 2009 at 10:48 pm


Okay, we are a little more than 24 hours out from the long-awaited Guac Off. I can’t believe it’s really here! To get my head in the game, I dusted off an old pair of guacamole-colored Manolos to wear to work today—just to intimidate my friend/foe/colleague Katie, who had done one better and had her nails painted a truly vile OPI hue of guacamole. We suffer for our art. 


I think I might have the edge though. This evening, Tiny G and I were strolling home from Larchmont Beauty Center, where I had tried on three different shades of green eyeshadow, settling on Belly Dance by Nars—when we ran into two of the neighborhood doyennes, who were far too polite to say anything. C’est la guac. Still, I like to think I can carry green eyeshadow at 5 o’clock in the evening, better yet at 1 pm tomorrow. Here’s to hoping I take tomorrow’s trophy—a bottle of Casa Noble Reposado Tequila! Guac On!

I’m a Pepper

In Fashion on April 9, 2009 at 7:39 am

pepperLast December I tucked a bottle of Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash into my husband’s Christmas stocking just to mix things up with his favorite Hermès Eau d’Orange Vert, which is woodsy and citrusy. I’m not usually one for strong scents or cologne on a man, and neither is he. Which is perhaps why three and a half months later he had yet to break into this spicy, peppery body wash. Feeling sorry for the shunned bottle, I cracked the seal myself last week and it’s divine. The lather is lovely, and it is—as advertised—recharging. I love the way it smells, which is pleasantly subtle post-shower though admittedly very masculine. I wonder if continued use will improve my golf swing?

Glossy Finish

In Fashion on March 22, 2009 at 7:58 pm


Without doubt, I’m a gloss addict.

All gloss is not created equal. There are several considerations to take into account, the obvious of course being hue. But beyond that are the crucial nuances of tackiness (as in how sticky it is), endurance, the wand and flavor. The best gloss ever to grace the planet is no more for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend—and that was Lorac’s high shine gloss in Frolic, a luscious raspberry pink. It was in a little pot the size of a nail polish, complete with a tiny wand. It was heaven.

The closest I’ve come to anything that sheer and glossy is Chanel’s new “Aqualumiere” sheer high-shine concentrate line that comes in 12 hues. I have Party Red, and am loving it. I also have a couple tubes of classic Chanel Glossimer in Glaze, which looks like you’ve just licked your lips—no discernible color and perfect for everyday use. I’ve tried some of the shimmery tinted Glossamers and they’re terrible and don’t stay on. But for some reason Glaze works a treat.

For a sheer with a hint of shimmer I’ve bought tube after tube of Dior Addict Ultra Gloss in A Pinch of Ginger, which looks pale yellow in the bottle but goes on sheer with a warm golden shimmer. Sometimes I dab a bit on over lipstick. When I need something a little darker, another favorite Dior Addict is A Feast of Plums—a burgundy gloss that adds sophisticated color that’s still sheer enough for daytime use. Sadly, I haven’t seen either color around in sometime, and the packaging has since changed. And finally, I’ve saved the best for last: YSL Golden Gloss in Golden Peony, a pale pink with a hint of golden shimmer. It’s really pretty and very subtle. It’s what I wore at our wedding. Doesn’t hurt that it smells—and tastes—delicious!

Friday Follies in Film: Fringe Benefits

In Fashion, Film on March 20, 2009 at 7:40 am

Friday Follies [n., pl.] postings on Fridays about fashion and food in film from guest bloggers with impeccable taste.

anna karina

Much has been made of the vivid, pop art-inspired color palette and collage-like cutting in Godard’s 1965 film, Pierrot Le Fou. But really, the film (like Alphaville and A Woman Is a Woman, and, well hell, really all of the Danish-born French actress Anna Karina’s films), is a movie about heavy bangs and kohl-lined eyes. Long after you’ve forgotten all about that Brechtian breaking of the fourth wall business, or that film critics consider the film a paradigm of postmodernism, you’ll remember how helplessly charmed Jean-Paul Belmondo looked as Karina batted those thick lashes at him from underneath her schoolgirl-sexy brown fringe. The first time I saw Pierrot Le Fou at the Nuart, I booked a haircut and lash extension appointment while driving home on the 10. (Should you also find yourself seized with an immediate and uncontrollable need for falsies after viewing, trust me: Beverly Hills aesthetician Daniel Dinh.)—Robyn Brown


Robyn Brown has written and edited for several women’s magazines including Glamour and Allure. Currently she works as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, and is nearing the completion of her first novel.