Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Buy it: Remington Pearl Styling Wand

When I got my hair done for my wedding last year, the stylist used this magical-looking curling iron that didn't have a clip. In order to hold my hair onto the wand, she had a Kevlar-lined glove on one hand; I might have been suffering from wedding-related delirium, but I found this incredibly cool. I also found, unfortunately, that $150 for a curling iron was a bit much. Fast-forward a year or so when I spotted this Remington Pearl at Target. The glove that comes with it isn't heat-safe, but the iron creates such awesome curls, you won't even care. I have the bigger version, which is 1.5" at the base, tapering to 1" at the tip, but there's also a smaller one that goes from 1" to 0.5," and obviously an added bonus is that the conical shape is like having two different-size curling irons in one. What makes it so perfect is that by not having a clip, your curls don't get all stiff and crunchy, and there's no telltale crimp mark from the clip. It also has an adjustable heat setting, which is key when you have fine, color-treated hair like I do. Lately I've been using it to create beachy waves, a style that camouflages both my summertime frizz and the fact that my stylist cut my hair too short last time. Summer may be almost over, but I think my beachy waves are here to stay.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Buy it: Tignanello polished pocket convertible satchel

A coworker and I were having a conversation the other day about a certain famous American designer's handbags and how we want to like them, but there's something not quite right about them. I think it comes down to the finishes; for one, I don't like a designer's name plastered all over my bag, nor do I like a lot of flair—you know, tassels, chains, studs. The more quietly luxurious the design, the better. Which is why I like this almost anonymous Tignanello polished pocket convertible satchel. It's a brand you can find in nearly every department store and yet it's so subtle and unassuming, like it's hiding in plain sight. I really like its minimalist look, with understated rounded studs and tasteful finishes. I can attest that it's lightweight (which is key when you carry around as much crap as I do) and features my favorite design, with both a shoulder strap and handles. Tignanello bags are also incredibly well organized, with lots of pockets, which, again, is important. And the price, $159, is incredibly wallet-friendly, considering it's about a tenth of what a similar top-of-the-line designer bag would cost. I challenge you to carry it and smile to yourself as your friends knock themselves out trying to guess what designer made it. It'll be our little secret.

TheFind Guest Post: No Rocker-Chic Look Is Complete Without a Muscle Tee!



It's certainly not a new concept for women's fashion to draw inspiration from menswear. After all, almost all of the hottest ladies' trends start with the word "boyfriend," and almost all of us have swapped our girly ballet flats for loafer-inspired slippers and oxford flats in all sorts of prints, colors, and styles. The latest trend we're borrowing from the guys, however, takes things to a rockin' new level. Muscle tees are putting a bad-ass spin on our favorite fall ensembles. Wear under a sleek moto jacket and jeans, tuck into a streamlined skirt for a rebellious-meets-sophisticated look, or rock with leather shorts and tights for an edgy summer-to-fall transition-friendly ensemble. Plus, they're ridiculously comfy – and who can argue with a trend that's fashion-forward, comfortable and effortlessly cool?

From left to right: Chaser Velvet Underground Muscle Tee, Lauren Moshi Effie Rasta Lion Muscle Tank, Wildfox Forever Young Fringe Tank, and Truly Madly Deeply Sky Earth Fire Muscle Tee.

- Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Want It Now: Tuxedo-Stripe Pants

I work in an office where we're allowed to wear jeans only on Fridays, and somehow I still have a reputation for being one who dresses up. This is probably because I wear skirts more of the time, at least in warmer weather, when I find it too hot for pants of any kind, period. Coincidentally, our air conditioning was just "fixed" (I was not aware it had been broken!), and lately I've been freezing my butt off. All of a sudden, pants are looking pretty enticing. Particularly, I'm in the mood for tuxedo-inspired pants with a contrasting side stripe, the more unconventional the color the better.
Left to right:
Milly Kiera Tuxedo Pants, $285
StyleStalker Laudree Pants, $121
10 Crosby Derek Lam Cropped Combo Pants, $227.50
Rag & Bone Dwight Pants, $325
Vince Camuto Colorblock Houndstooth Ankle Pants, $119

Monday, August 20, 2012

In These Shoes: Givenchy Fold-Over Wedge Boots

Yep, it's that time of year when I come home to September issues of my fashion magazines piled in front of my door, too thick to fit into my mailbox. September issues are like meals, and I can't wait to digest all the fall-fashion deliciousness. One item that I want to simply devour is this pair of Givenchy cuffed wedge boots, which I've already pinned to my Pinterest page. What is it about these boots that makes them so irresistible, especially when I already own so many pairs? (See, I just beat my husband to that question.) For one, the cuff, created by an additional layer of leather, has the same leg-elongating effect as wearing a pair of boot-cut pants. Except these are way sexier, because your thigh is exposed. The shark lock detail at the top is spiky and dangerous-looking, which is also sexy. But underneath that sheath of buttery-soft pebbled leather lies a sturdy, practical wedge heel. (A four-inch heel, but a wedge nonetheless.) These boots are the best of both worlds, and they're priced accordingly. So I'll wait for someone to knock them off and offer them at a more palatable level (Pour La Victoire, I'm looking at you), but for those of you who can afford an occasional indulgence, you can now pre-order the real thing at Forward by Elyse Walker.

TheFind Guest Post: Coated Denim: Jeans Go Glossy!



Don't be fooled by the head-banging, mullet-wearing rockstars of the 80s – leather pants aren't easy to move in, and they certainly don't breathe. And while they'll definitely get you a few swag points for wearing them in public, they also come with a pretty high price tag considering the discomfort you'll suffer through while wearing them. That's why coated jeans are the modern It Girl's best friend. The latest trend in denim combines the casual comfort of your favorite skinny jeans with the luxe, glossy finish of leather. The effect is rocker-chic – effortless stylishness included – without needing a platinum album or sky-high paycheck to go with it. It's the perfect way to upgrade your denim collection for the fall season ahead!

From left to right: James Jeans Twiggy Slicked Super Skinny Jeans, Bleu Lab Detour Cafe Snake Reversible Skinny Jeans, J Brand Coated Denim Skinny, and Habitual Alice Coated Skinny Jeans.

- Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beauty under $30: taupe nail polish

At this very moment, I'm typing this post with blue leopard-print nails, but when I'm feeling slightly less adventurous (which is most of the time), I tend to go straight for taupe nail polish. It's more exciting than nude but more conservative than black, gray, or any crazy color for that matter. I find taupe also works year-round: It looks equally great with a tan and with pale winter skin, and since it's a neutral, it doesn't clash with what you're wearing. Here are some old standbys and new favorites.


1. Whenever Chanel anoints a new It Color, we all follow like lemmings. Particulere is from a few seasons ago, but its chicness persists. Just say it: Particulere. Don't you immediately feel more stylish? $26

2. Illamasqua draws you in with its particular (but not Particulere!) brand of color names, then delivers with really intense pigments and beautiful finishes. Bacterium thankfully transcends its less-than-savory name. $14

3. Who doesn't love Essie? I've pictured Don't Sweater It from the new fall collection here, but Miss Fancy Pants, also in that collection, is a similarly delicious taupey-gray. $8

4. I'll admit, Tom Ford's Bitter Bitch initially drew me to it because of its fairly hilarious name (does anyone give nail polishes mundane names anymore?), but its purple-taupe color made me stick around for more. $30

5. You Don't Know Jacques by O.P.I. is my all-time favorite color, so much so that I've gone through several bottles of it in my lifetime. It's, in my mind, the perfect textbook taupe. It's also available at nearly every nail salon in the city, making it my go-to shade. $8

6. Butter London also makes great colors with fun names, but they get bonus points for being formaldehyde-, toulene-, and DBP-free. All Hail the Queen is a fun, glittery taupe. $14

Monday, August 13, 2012

Buy it: body chains

While I generally consider myself to be a classy lady—and, no, I'm not being ironic—sometimes even I struggle with the fine line between sexy and trashy. An example of this is my navel ring, which I've had since I was 18 (which, um, was a very long time ago) and still have, but apparently everyone else my age has since taken theirs out, because a friend of mine informed me several weeks ago that as long as I have a navel ring, I might as well have a tramp stamp. Yes, that comment stung, but you know what? I, a woman in my mid-thirties, like my navel ring and can make my own choices, and thus I choose to keep my navel ring in, naysayers be damned.

So, I've noticed several starlets like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus—neither of whom are remotely classy ladies, but that's not the point, and I'm not judging, because they both seem like a lot of fun—accessorizing their bikinis with body chains in fine publications like US Weekly (I should know, I have a subscription). I don't think I'd wear body jewelry to the beach—that metal would get really hot in the sun, for one—but I became intrigued with wearing it over, say, a tank top or jeans. It's basically like wearing a big necklace. Then, lo and behold, I saw this post on Style on the Couch, who is the most elegant personal style blogger I know in real life. (She's also lovely, and British.) On her, the body chain is interesting and edgy, but totally approachable—she looks like a cool girl who knows how to accessorize, not a wild child taking bath salts and flashing the paparazzi. (Again, not that that doesn't sound like fun.)

So, I'm going to treat myself to a body chain, probably the Arrow from Nasty Gal, a very affordable $20. I'm going to wear it with a tank dress and a blazer. I'm probably going to get some judgmental stares. But that's okay, because while I may no longer have the body of an 18-year-old, I do have the mind of a thirtysomething, and I'm wise enough not to care what anyone else thinks of me.

TheFind Guest Post: Mint Nail Shades For the Freshest Summer Manicure!



While the thought of green nail polish still takes me back to my days as a kid of the 90s, and the very first non-peel-off nail polish I received that started my collection and resulting beauty obsession (it was the most obnoxious lime green shade ever), it's hard to deny the fact that green as a nail shade has evolved tremendously since then. From edgy forest green shades to the ever-popular mint nail trend, green is hardly the rebellious, "grungy-chic" staple it was back in my junior high days. And while few nail trends stand the test of time and last longer than a few weeks (the beauty world has the shortest attention span when it comes to polish fads!), mint and other fresh pastel shades seem to be a safe bet for a stylish, sandal-filled summer. The perfect creamy mint polish straddles the line between powder blue and emerald green for a fresh, cool, pretty pastel that pops. Whether you prefer your minty shades more on the aqua side or more spearmint-green, there's a polish perfect for you out there!

Pictured above: China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Re-Fresh Mint, American Apparel Nail Lacquer in Office, RGB Nail Color in Minty, Essie Nail Color in Mint Candy Apple, and OPI Nail Lacquer in Mermaid's Tears.

- Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My skincare routine


I've decided it's beauty week here at Cheryl Shops, mostly due to a conversation I had last week with my dear friend PR, in which we both confessed that as soon as someone recommends a beauty product, we'll eagerly try it. (Into the Gloss is fabulous for this.) It's funny, clothing is pretty subjective, but skincare, makeup, hair products, and even fragrance have the power to transcend. Obviously my expertise is in fashion, but I'm just as obsessed about beauty products—why I rarely blog about them is a mystery to me. So to change that, here are the products that make up my skincare routine.

Daytime
I don't wash my face in the morning; my skin easily turns red, and I've found that scrubbing it first thing makes it irritated for most of the day. So I just splash with water in the shower. Then I mist with Caudalie Beauty Elixir, a product that I read about on ITG (and also on Fashiontoast). It seems completely extravagant at first, but I find it very soothing, and it helps everything else I put on sink in well. Also, you feel very glamorous doing it. Next comes Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, which is my favorite eye cream of all time. I used to use all Kiehl's products and have since moved on, except for this—it's super-moisturizing without being greasy at all, and I really think it keeps the crow's feet at bay. Then I use Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, which makes my skin incredibly soft and glowy; I think it's technically for people who have discoloration or age spots, which I don't have, but I feel that anything "brightening" makes your skin look radiant, and who doesn't want that? On top of that goes Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream SPF 15, which is the thicker of the two day lotions in this line, but my skin is so dry, I need as much moisture as I can get, even in the summer. And as you might have noticed, I'm a huge fan of Caudalie—once I found out the line was based on wine grapes, I was like, hello, that's perfect for me. That, and they use as many natural ingredients as possible, without parabens and all those other gross chemicals you don't want on your skin.

Nighttime
First I take off my eye makeup with Almay Eye Makeup Remover Pads; I strongly prefer the oil-free version, as does Allure magazine. Then I break out my Clarisonic Mia. Now, the Clarisonic is something that everyone and their mother claimed was the best thing since sliced bread, and I was skeptical until I got one for my birthday. Oh. My. God. I seriously cannot recommend this device enough—it gets your skin so incredibly clean, you almost don't need facials. Really, it's the only thing that keeps my massive pores clean. I use it with Avene Gentle Gel Cleanser, which smells nice and doesn't irritate my skin. If my skin is super-dirty (like if I've been walking around the city all day or sweating profusely), I follow with Avene Gentle Toner. (Do you really need toner? I feel like this is an ongoing argument. Personally, I like it, especially for the T-zone.) Then Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado and Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum again. And, finally, the pièce de resistance: Retin-A, otherwise known as tretinoin, or the most fantastic substance on the planet. You need a prescription from a dermatologist, and mine is for the .025% cream, which is the weakest, however my insurance covers it because I'm on it for "acne." Mmm-hmm. If my skin gets too dry, I use Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre, beloved by many, and now readily available at Ricky's. 


Finally, and this is going to make you roll your eyes, but you know how in every interview with a celebrity, they claim their beauty secret is to drink a lot of water? Okay, for them, it may really be $500 facials at Tracie Martyn, but I can attest that drinking a ton of water really does help. At least 64 oz. a day. Yes, you'll be going to the bathroom once an hour, but you'll look fantastic doing it.

Monday, August 06, 2012

How to wear natural deodorant and not stink

You know all of those articles that quote doctors who claim that using antiperspirants with aluminum won't cause breast cancer? I don't believe them. I mean, 50 years ago, no one thought cigarettes caused lung cancer. We coat our bodies with all manner of chemicals—chemicals we would never eat, by the way—and expect that they won't be absorbed through our skin? As someone whose family has been affected by breast cancer, I'm not taking any chances. In my quest for dry, pleasant-smelling armpits, I've tried nearly every natural deodorant on the market, from that crazy crystal crap they sell at Whole Foods (emphasis on crap) to the fancy stuff they sell at Sephora. Some brands have given me horrible rashes, some have made me smell like Indian food, some have—I swear—made me sweat even more. After over a year of experimentation, I've finally landed on a formula. No, it's not as easy as swiping yourself with a stick of Degree, nor is it perfect. But it works for me, so here's how to do it.

Step 1: Dust your pits with talc. This is the most important step, because talc absorbs moisture, and let's face it, you are going to perspire at least a little bit (or, like now, a lot). Without it, you're just going to have damp pits that smell like hippie deodorant. My talc of choice is Vanilla Puff Powder Dusting Powder from LUSH Cosmetics. (I used to hate this store because the scent of it can be nearly overwhelming, but they really have a lot of great products, most of which are vegan, free of nasty chemicals, and not tested on animals.) I sprinkle it on a washcloth, then swat myself. I also dab my lady bits and below my boobs, because I sweat there too—sorry if that was too much information, but let's be real, this is a post about B.O.

Step 2: Spray your pits with deodorant. This second step is more of a personal choice, but, hands down, my favorite deodorant is Weleda Wild Rose deodorant spray, which also comes in citrus and sage scents. I like the scent, the lasting power is really good for natural deodorant (if I'm going out or to the gym, I usually give myself another spray around 6 p.m.), and the formula doesn't irritate me. I feel like the spray dries a lot faster than roll-on or stick versions; it complements the talc quite well. Weleda products are a little pricey, but the bottle lasts a long time (I do four sprays in each pit), and it's glass, which is much better for the environment. Win-win!

As I said, this isn't a foolproof technique; on super-humid days like today, you may smell a bit ripe by the end of the day. But for the most part, it works, and I at least feel better that I'm not slathering myself with potentially hazardous chemicals. Well, except when I get my hair colored, but one step at a time, right?