Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Indie summer

Bid summertime adieu.

There's a chill in the air here on the Atlantic coast, Autumn announcing her arrival. I'm ready to embrace her in crisp, classic style— pumpkin spice latte in hand.

But I'd be remiss to welcome Autumn without giving Summer one last parting glance.

C'est tout, darlings! See you next season.

*Zooey Deschanel in Sept. 2008 Fashion Rocks
Plymouth Bay, © Erin C. Dale

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Want to feel fresh-faced and squeaky-clean? Green your beauty routine!

When I was fifteen years old (a few moons ago!), I had some gal-pals over for an ultra-girly slumber party. We took over the kitchen and used practically every fresh ingredient we could find to make our party treats: "gourmet" face and hair masks! Using yogurt, bananas, oatmeal and egg yolks, we made quite a gunky mess (that probably wasn't so awesome for the shower drain), but I think we had the right idea. We'd read the "recipe" in a beauty magazine and were eager to try the all-natural facials and hair treatments for ourselves. And you know what? The stuff worked great. I still remember how clean my skin was, how soft my hair felt the next day. That was my first foray into organic beauty.

I haven't slopped any oatmeal on my face lately, but that's because I've come to rely on some great natural products that do the work for me. It's taken me a few years of trying out different things, but I've finally got my organic routine down pat. If you're looking for a natural, plant-based facial cleansing system (like I was!), Alba Botanica has the right stuff. I'm quite the girly-girl, and nighttime equals pamper time! My bedtime routine is extensive, but it's not too complicated: Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize! I use Alba's Pineapple Enzyme Cleanser, followed by the Hibiscus Toner and Aloe & Green Tea Moisturizer.These products are genius for sensitive skin like mine. Most products I find that are marked "sensitive" usually leave me feeling greasy, as they tend to over-moisturize. But Alba's products make my skin baby-soft-- no filmy residue! Aloe and green tea are especially helpful when toning down redness, which is something fair-complexioned gals like me have to combat. Oh, and did I mention that all three products smell delicious? (The luscious scents have made me an Alba junkie; I'm hooked on their Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion and coconut lip balm, too!) That's not artificial, chock-full-of-chemicals fragrance, mind you; everything in Alba is plant-derived, so the products are marked 100% vegetarian! Whoo-ee! This animal lover rejoices!

I've recently given my makeup a green-over, too. For a while I was using Mary Kay (the company is getting more and more eco, believe it or not), but as my skin is verrrry sensitive, I found myself breaking out a bit too often. I'd been looking for natural makeup for a long time, but couldn't find anything that was free of harsh chemicals and cancer-causing parabens that actually fit into my budget. Thank goodness for Physician's Formula!

I've used the company's mascara, concealer and eye brightener (one of my favorite products ever) for years, but I wasn't a fan of their pressed or loose powders (I'm always trying to even out red splotches, but for me, theirs lacked the right amount of coverage). But their new Organic Wear line is superb. I looove the new loose powder and Natural Origin Matte Finishing Veil. Both products have that perfect amount of coverage: subtle, never cakey, and completely shine-banishing. And both come with built-in mirrors and adorable Kabuki brushes (vegan friends note: the brushes are made with goat hair, but the company marks all the Organic Wear products as 100% cruelty-free. I'm assuming no goats were harmed in the making of these brushes!).

Why do I care if my beauty products are natural? The same reason you should! The hard-to-pronounce ingredients in your favorite cleanser or foundation don't belong on your skin any more than they belong in our waterways, effectively poisoning plants, fish, animals, you and me. Remember, your skin is like a sponge for these nasty chemicals; if you care about what goes into your body when you're eating, you should definitely care about what goes on it, too!

So whether you want to use some new, fun organic products or mix up your own yummy-smelling (and tasting!) goop in your kitchen, give natural beauty a try! If you have sensitive skin, too, I highly recommend the products I mentioned; if not, finding products that work for your skin type should be a snap. There are so many great eco-conscious brands out there, it's getting hard to keep track. And, naturally, that's a beautiful thing!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Since when did beanies get eco-chic?

Can you believe it's almost hat season... already? When the weather gets a wee bit chilly, I'm going to sport one of these cotton-acrylic beanies from American Apparel. The best part - aside from the fact that they come in assorted colors and are unisex, natch! - is that each beanie is made from recycled fabric, even the dyed ones, which totally cuts down on waste and manufacturing. So cute, and ecologically responsible. So how 'bout buying one for you...And your man, too. :) Aww.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are you a boho girl?

Boho magazine officially launched on Tuesday, and the corresponding website is a haven for boho-chic fashionistas. Check out the awesome content, but don't forget to swing by your local Borders, Barnes & Noble or Whole Foods to pick up the very first issue!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Viva inspiración

Right now, I'm loving Madonna's "Lucky Star" look. I'm in the midst of a New Wave, oversize sweater, dangly earrings, Pretty in Pink phase. Seriously. I can't get OMD's "If You Leave" out of my head! Anyone know a remedy? Then again, I might just want to stay in my John Hughes daydream. It's more fun here!

*Please ignore the fact that I sorta-kinda badmouthed Madge in a previous post. I don't love Madge on that Vanity Fair cover. But who doesn't love classic '80s Madonna? It takes me back to my lace-and-leggings days. *Sigh*

Let's make the world better with cardigan sweaters

My dear friend Emily has impeccable taste. Lucky for me, she's visiting this week and tomorrow we're going shopping. So far, the plan is to venture to Boston's Newbury Street, and possibly Faneuil Hall or Harvard Square.

Thanks to Em's latest blog, I'm lusting after this grey Urban Outfitters shawl collar cardigan.
We'll also stop by American Apparel, where Emily will be trying on this "paprika" cardigan.

It's the perfect recipe for a cool, rainy, end-of-summer day: two best pals, coffee, and cozy cardigans!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fairytale fashion fit for a queen: who better than Alexander?

Dynamic designer Alexander McQueen has never been afraid to court runway controversy, but his fall 2008 collection is fit for courts of the royal variety. Inspired by a recent trip to India and his 600-year-old elm tree, McQueen imagined a dark fairytale and fashioned the rise of a princess, from frizzy-haired wood nymph to enchanting empress. The transformation is evident, as McQueen’s ‘princess’ displays a full spectrum of spellbinding looks: Victorian structure and sensibility, lavish Oriental elegance, flouncy Russian ballerinas and otherwordly monarchs. Masquerading down the runway were black, body-hugging princely suits, dark velvet dresses and brocade jackets; red velvet coats adorned with antique Indian gems; empire-waist saris with sheer ‘harem’ pants; tufts of tulle on frothy-yet-rich ballet frocks; extravagant ermine toppers and sparkling czarina gowns. It’s bewitching to watch the fairytale queen emerge, but even better? In the midst of all the opulence, the show depicted plenty of wearable looks—with or without a dose of fairy magic.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Elle Goes Country?!? Cover Controversy

Remember how I warned you that Jessica Simpson landed the cover of Elle's September issue? Ok, it wasn't a warning so much as a telling, but yes, the glamorous, high fashion, definitive September issue stars Simpson, newly crowned country queen. But where, oh wear, is the high fashion on this cover?

Perhaps Elle was taking a nod from D&G's country chic fall runway look? If that's the case, they could have done far, far better.

Simpson even rocked D&G (in belt form) and Fendi on Glamour's June cover; so why did Elle style her so dowdy (er, Howdy Doody?).