Improving Your Mobile Uploads

beautyboxWhen I upload a photo album to facebook, I do what any caring friend would do. I crop out unflattering pieces of the picture, and edit the pics a little to tone down shine and red eye. With mobile uploads, the functionality is a bit more limited than iPhoto. Sure, I can take a panorama with dermandar, or combine several photos into a collage with Frametastic. My iPhone lets me enhance and crop, and of course I can blur the edges and apply various color filters to Instagram. But sometimes photos I post from my phone just aren’t quite as flattering as the ones that I can modify on the big screen in my laptop.

Now I have another app to add to my photo arsenal.  It’s called Beauty Box, and its free from the App Store. With it, I can edit out blemishes and summer sweaty face before I upload the pictures, because there’s no detagging on instagram. It is customized for age, skin type, and any skin problems. Then you can share your (slightly prettified) photos on facebook, twitter, email, flickr, google+, text, or just save it to your camera roll.  Do your friends a favor, and download it now!

Look Better in a GIF

bronzerOr in a jiff with these handy gifs from NY Mag the Cut. I cannot get over how big a fan I am of the GIF Lesson series, because am I the only one who can’t follow a series of pictures for something so complex as attaching fake eyelashes or to get just the right shading of bronzer? Instead, this smarty pants website has created a series of animated steps with real people to show you how it’s done. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, these little video shorts are worth a million bucks.

Like Rent the Runway for your Fingers

nail polish

So you love the colors of Chanel’s spring polish line, but you just can’t get yourself to spring for the $27 a bottle color annnnd your $20 mani-pedi spot probably doesn’t use nail lacquer this swanky. What’s a girl to do? Lacquerous has come to the thrifty, nail-art-loving gal’s rescue with a nail polish rental system. Think Rent the Runway for your fingers. You have the opportunity to “borrow” a luxury product for a certain amount of time for a certain fee. Basically, you pay $18 a month to try 3 luxury nail polishes of your choosing. They have Chanel, Dior, Tom Ford, Dolce and Gabanna, MAC, NARS, Butter and more. When you receive your package, you can use each bottle for three manicures (yes, they can tell how much you’ve used), either at the salon or on your own. Then after 30 days -you pack it all up, ship it back using a pre-paid label, and choose your shades for next time. The bottles are shared between everyone in the nail polish club, but the site promises to never ship a bottle without enough polish for your three applications, or in bad condition.

Birchbox for Exercise Gear


By now, most people have heard of Birchbox, the beauty website that lets you subscribe for a monthly rate, and then receive a mixed package of hand selected samples to try. Some may have heard of Jewelmint, an accessories company founded by Kate Bosworth on a similar concept. Pay a flat rate each month, and select any piece in the collection. Now there is a website in the same lines, but for exercise fashionistas. With Ellie, you first take a style quiz to evaluate your tastes in workout gear, and how you like to exercise.

Then you have the option to become a member or shop on your own from the pieces they select for you. With a $50/month membership fee, you can pick any two clothing items each month to arrive at your door, shipping included. Members also gain preferred access to that month’s picks, and the inventory is constantly changing, so it will always infuse a fresh look into your gym-going attire.

Skincare Surprise

A few months back, my skin was going through a bad phase. Now, typically my skin just hangs out and behaves itself. I’ve been lucky enough that , besides being pale enough to make blush a required item in the winter, my skin and make up routine is fairly low maintenance. Until all of the sudden it wasn’t. It was breaking out with little flaws all over the place. Thinking it might be the new moisturizer I tried, I naturally turned to my bestie who has beautiful skin to find out what she uses. Her response was a little baffling, I’ll admit: Vaseline. That’s right. At night, she smoothes a layer of good old petroleum jelly all over her face before bed.

I had so many questions. Why would putting more oil on my face help an already bad (and oily) situation? Would my pillow cases get all greasy? Why in God’s name is a tub of Vaseline so expensive ($8 at duane reade?)? Doesn’t it seem like it should be around $1?

Long story short, after some investigation, I determined that this remedy wasn’t for me, and ignored said friend’s advice. Fast forward to this fall’s set of magazines. I’ve been reading all about beauty oils. I’ve heard about Rodin’s Olio Lusso for a while, but this month I’ve been hearing about more than just that. It seems every other issue is recommending a new oil product (Argan Oil! Coconut Oil! Grapeseed Oil! Tea Tree Oil! Chammomile Oil! Peppermint Oil!) for your face. Then I read on my favorite blogger’s beauty product run down is olive oil. This is also a trick my step-mom has been known to use.

Then my skin started behaving badly again with the season change. Enough already, I thought! Let’s give this oil/Vaseline thing a try. About a week ago, I started subbing in Vaseline or Olive Oil for my bedtime lotion. And you know what? Any blemishes cleared right up. Dry spots, gone! One less step of applying chapstick after I brush my teeth!

It turns out a little oil is good for an already oily face. It can add antioxidents you need to keep your face looking even or smooth, and actually can help your body regulate its own oil production. The key is finding the right oil for you, and putting it on in the right amount. I’ve heard olive oil for dry skin, chamomile to reduce redness , argan for daytime anti-aging, and tea tree as an astringent for breakouts. For those of you worried about your pillow cases, just be sure to moderate how much you put on. Start out with a couple drops and smooth over your face think more how your boyfriend applies aftershave than how you apply traditional moisturizer. Now go ahead, and get those oils off your salad and  onto your face.

A Scent for Summer and for Fall

I recently took a personality quiz as part of team building exercise for work. It identified me as an ESFJ. The first line of my description is “Guardians of birthdays, holidays, and celebrations.” Further on, it notes that I “joyfully observe traditions.” And, I have to say, it could not be more spot on. I love holidays, keeping up traditions, and celebrating them all.

When fall rolls around, I have a tradition or more a personal routine of transformation. During September, I always feel like I am getting a fresh start on a new year. More so than in January, when the temperature drops, but the weather remains lovely, I feel a renewed energy to take a look at my life, make resolutions, and set goals. I also tend to overhaul my fashion and beauty routines. Blame it on being in school for the majority of my life, but the coming of September makes me itch for new fall look. Conveniently, this coincides nicely with NY Fashion week, and a plethora of new ideas to mix and match my fall clothes. The cooler temperatures demand a different set of moisturizers and cleansers, and my fading tan requires a whole new makeup plan.

Each year, I find myself making some sort of change in the fall to reinvent myself as the year creeps on toward my favorite holiday seasons. Last year, I decided to run a mud-run/obstacle course. This year, I dyed my hair a lovely shade of autumn red. Part of my fall tradition every year is the change from summer to winter fragrance. I have two perfumes I wear: one for Spring/ Summer and one for Fall/Winter.

In the warm weather, I wear Christian Dior Pure Poison a white amber floral bouquet of gardenia, sweet orange, and jasmine. Sephora describes its style as Luminous, textured, seductive. It’s a heavier, muskier smell that fits in with summer dresses, hot temperatures and humidity.

When the air becomes crisp, I transition to Stella McCartney, Rose Absolute with notes of rose absolute and peony. Sephora describes this as sensual, intense, feminine. The clean rose oil just smells better on a cool breeze.

Do you have a fall/spring fragrance? What’s your transitional weather tradition?