Monday, June 28, 2010

Summertime skin

It's no secret that I love everything about summer. I love the hot, hot heat, days spent lazing at the beach, sipping iced coffee and tea-lemonade, taking in an air-conditioned movie, eating juicy watermelon... you name it. But I would love the season so much more if my skin wasn't bumming me out. You see, all that lovely heat and humidity turns my skin into a war zone. Dirt, oil, makeup, it all turns my face into a red, sticky mess. I hate it. It makes me feel gross and uncomfortable. So what to do when nature messes with your body? Fight back!

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to switch up my routine. I've started going for daily, outdoor runs (sweat is supposed to be good for cleaning out those pores!). I'm trying different facial products (no luck so far, but it can take several weeks to see results). I'm even trying to improve my already healthy diet, amping up my water intake and cutting back on sweets and sodium. Another biggie: washing makeup brushes! I know it's obvious, but it's something I've never really done... and I didn't realize until I was scrubbing away just how grody they'd become! All that powder builds up, turns into gook, and can ruin a perfectly clear complexion. So take it from me... if you haven't done so already, give those brushes a good scrubbing!

I've combed the web and women's magazines for some of the best tips for goddess-worthy summer skin. Below, the ones I've deemed the most helpful:
  • Try to go as au naturel as possible. Barefaced is best, but if you must wear makeup (like me! Without it, I'd look like a zombie at work), look for products that are organic, "natural," oil-free and/or non-comedogenic. Sometimes you can luck out and find cover-up that does double duty and supposedly fights acne as you wear it, but the fact is that all make-up clogs your pores to an extent, creating a breeding ground for bacteria (ew). A good rule of thumb is to...

  • Treat your skin gently. All skintypes across the board are more sensitive this time of year. Even if you've got a hearty disposition, outside factors like heat, pollution and free radicals will affect you. So, again, shop for cleansers and moisturizers that are oil-free and won't clog pores, and be sure to wash gently; no harsh scrubbing with washcloths, loofahs or even cleansing scrubs that could scratch and irritate your already sensitive skin. Baby your face! But do...

  • Wash often. You may worry about over-cleansing and drying your skin out, but you should wash your face at least twice a day, if not more, especially if you spend lots of time outdoors. If overdrying is a concern, simply rinse with warm water (finishing with a blast of cool to close your pores) and use a good oil-free moisturizer (with SPF!) afterward.

  • Don't forget those brushes! If you keep getting zits in the same spot and can't figure out why, chances are your brush, sponge or powder puff is a culprit. It took me a little while to figure out that constantly redipping my kabuki brush into my loose powder and using that same brush every day for months caused some major breakouts on my chin, forehead and cheeks. Ok, so sometimes I can be a little dense. But now that I know how to take care of my brushes, you can bet I'll do so at least once a week! There are few different cleaning methods to try...

  • 1) Spritz with a professional brush cleaner. This seems to be a make-up artist favorite, but most cleaners contain some level or alcohol, which can be drying and pore-clogging. And I've heard that most sprays leave behind some filmy residue, and that's probably not great for your skin.
  • 2) Shampoo your brush with baby shampoo. This is a gentle way to cleanse that still gets rid of the bulk of leftover powder or concealer. Rinse and scrub gently and watch in amazement as all the gunk is washed away. I didn't have any baby shampoo, but you can use any gentle or natural one. I used Aveda's rosemary and mint shampoo; not only did it get my brushes squeaky clean, but now they smell sooo good.

  • 3) Dip and swish in a homemade, all-natural cleanser. An easy (and effective) cleaner for just about anything is water mixed with vinegar. This works great on make-up brushes for getting rid of build-up but, yes, they will be a little stinky. You can sub the vinegar for tea tree oil instead (my Portuguese grandma has me use tea tree oil on just about everything, so for me it's a favorite natural remedy). Simply mix equal parts water and oil in a small bowl or dish, dip your brushes in and swish 'em around. Rinse with warm water. The remaining water in your dish will be make-up tinted... that's how you know it's all gone and your brushes are like new!

  • And the last rule for cleaner, clearer skin... Hydrate! Listen to your body, and when you feel hot, thirsty, hungry, tired... drink. We often mistake dehydration for hunger, when really a glass of water will do the trick. Need a little more substance? Make your own popsicles or smoothies with fresh fruit (watermelon is so yummy blended!). Fruit-flavored water tastes good and quenches your thirst but also contains excess sugar, so when that craving strikes, reach for the real thing instead! I like to keep totable fruits like plums and nectarines on me, just in case. They're the perfect portable snack to fill you up and cool you down. Try cutting up watermelon early in the week and keeping the slices in a refridgerated tupperware; then they're always good to go. And don't leave home without your reusable water bottle! It's a corporate cliche, but I love my office's water cooler and visit often!
I know you are all smart, savvy girls who manage to look amazing year-round. So if you have any hot tips for staying cool, please share! What's your stay-gorgeous secret?

P.S. WEAR SUNSCREEN! I love you. ^_^

No, this is not a test...

Ok, actually, it is. You got me. But I am just super-excited to discover that I can now make Blogger pictures how ever-freaking-big I want to. This is momentous! I've only been whining about my sad little pictures for, oh, how long? Like a year? So happy! Expect lots more picture-filled posts in the very near future!

The above photo is a waterfall from the town I lived in back in Illinois. Gorgeous, no? The Midwest does have quite a few pretty little spots. I really loved my visit there in May. Maybe I'll share some more of those pictures, soon, too. I might-maybe-may.

I'm just so happy!

Y'all have a good night. :)

Love and kisses!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Neglecting my Netflix

When in Rome... jet back to New York ASAP, because weird stuff is about to go down...

I am a bad little renter. For nearly two months, I Love You Man was languishing in a pile somewhere near my DVD player without being watched. One night I finally watched it (and loved it, man), then about a week later got around to sending it back. I mean, I was paying for it all that time. Yeesh. Well, it had been so long since I rented the flick that in the meantime, When in Rome came out on DVD (I meant to see it in theaters. Whoopsies). And coincidentally was next on my queue. Imagine my squeal of delight when it was waiting for me in the mail on Monday. Yes, I squeal over critically-panned romantic comedies; it's my thing.

And really, When in Rome got a much worse rap than it deserved. Is it cheesy? Yes. Painfully predictable? Check. But we're talking "boys-meets-girl" and not a whole lot else. If you want a nourishing meal, don't stop at the chick-flick counter of fast food, if you know what I mean.

What I liked best about this film - besides the gorgeous, lovingly-shot scenes of Rome and New York (and never mind that a film titled When in Rome takes place almost entirely in NYC... and that the title itself is vastly overused) - was that it was reminiscent of a classic screwball comedy. While watching Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel ("Beth" and "Nick"), who made quite the pretty pair, I was reminded of the love-hate banter between Doris Day and Rock Hudson (although their interactions were a bit more explosive). And their films have been labeled cheesy, too. That said, the film does have room for improvement. Given the title, most of the plot should have transpired in Rome; it would have made for more excitement, better conflict (what if Beth couldn't make it back to NY in time for her all-important art gala?!) and all around better film. But alas, the writers did what they wanted, and apparently what they wanted was a plot in which Beth's crazy spellbound suitors follow her all the way from Italy to NYC, stalk her, and generally fill her daily work grind with wacky, Three Stooges slapstick. Hilarity ensues.

Actually, it really does. Some of the best parts of the film involve Beth's wackadoo love interests, and some very funny cameos from Efren Ramirez, aka Napoleon Dynamite's "Pedro" and Kristen Schaal, Flight of the Conchord's "Mel" (no spoilers here, but as a too-close-for-comfort waitress in a lights-out restaurant, she is a total scene stealer). And, of course, the fact that the supporting cast includes Danny DeVito, Jon Heder, Will Arnett and Dax Shepherd (Bell's real-life romantic lead) doesn't hurt.

So if you like your chick flick to be a snack, rather than a meal, and with a heaping side of ooey-gooey cheese... this might just be the movie for you. Keep in mind that there are more pratfalls and one-liners than declarations of love and devotion... in the end, as always, love conquers all. And if the whole thing honestly bores you, just look for some fantastic shots of the Guggenheim and Central Park!

... And maybe, just maybe, I'll remember to mail this back to Netflix.

What are you renting this summer?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Now is not the time to be fashionable"

"Now is not the time to be fashionable."

... or so say the guidebooks for when you're touring a city. You should know I would never listen to said advice. The first time I ever walked around midtown Manhattan as a teenager, I did it in a red sequined (yes) skirt with a maroon cropped tank (cringe) and black criss-cross velvet heels. Ahhh, early 2000s fashion... I think maybe I wanted to be Britney Spears. CRAAAZY! Yep.

Moving on...My downtown outfit last Saturday was slightly more functional: colorful cotton tunic, denim leggings, gold thong sandals, black bag from Aldo with gold hardware (my vegan-wannabe Coach), biiiig ombre sunglasses. Sounds cute and comfy, right? Well, it was hot. Sweltering hot. I packed not one, not two, but three sundresses, and awoke to a chilly, overcast morning with a good chance of rain. So on went the skinny jeans. And what a mistake. Note to self: next time in the city, follow dear Emily's advice: wear a dress and keep leggings in your purse for that inevitable just-in-case moment. Because you can always add layers, but unless you are of a certain, ah, vocation, you should not shed clothing in public! Scratch that. Just wear easy layers accordingly! And in the city, always ignore the weather report. If it does start to rain, no worries; count on street vendors to appear out of thin air and sell you an umbrella!

So scorching were the temps that I did not get a single good outfit shot. 'Twould not have been pretty. Perhaps it's for the best. I did, however, get a few snapshots of one hazy day in Manhattan...

Bright, white hot... this picture just screams humidity!

In Central Park south, a sliver of blue sky...

Big pond turtles! Perhaps they're really well-fed?

The Dakota... beautiful, majestic... depressing...

But this picture-perfect bride and groom make up for it! I couldn't tell if they were for real or part of a photo shoot! Either way, gorge.

So next time, I vow to get more (and better!) pictures. But it's hard to walk around discreetly taking photos without looking like every other tourist (even though, as a New York native, I hardly consider myself a tourist! I'm just an out-of-towner who really enjoys her visits! Yes). So how do you city-living fashion bloggers do it? It's easy for me to do my little photo shoots in my garden, or even at the beach... but in the middle of everything NYC, it was nigh-on impossible! Any advice?

Stay tuned for my next adventure...

Love & kisses,


Friday, June 4, 2010

June is bustin' out all over!

Because it's June! June, June, June... remember the song from Carousel? I'm an old movie/musical theater buff, so I hope you know what I'm talking about! Well, I'm super-stoked here on the Cape because this summer, June is indeed busting out all over (unlike last year, *cough cough*). Last year we didn't have summer until August, and it was over way too fast. So this year I plan to revel in the summery-summerness of it all. I'm talking about beach days, road trips, carnvial rides, cotton candy, iced tea-lemonade... the works!

Summer is especially gorgeous here on the coast (which is why all the tourists flock here, of course). Lazy days at the beach are a given, along with strolls along the waterfront, stopping for a lime rickey refreshment, locally-made ice cream (you can actually "meet" the cows! And trust me, they really are happy cows) or hot, fresh fries (I say "no" to the fried clams and lobster ice cream, but if fish is your thing then be my guest! You would be in the right place). But my favorite summertime fixture is the weekly farmer's market. You'll find simply the best warm weather produce New England has to offer: corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, summer squash, scallions, beets, and my perennial fruit favorite, blueberries! The best part of a coastal farmer's market? Literally shopping for your groceries... on the coast. As in the ocean is your backdrop. It's nice. :)

It often strikes me as odd, how I would up living in a place where most people want to vacation, whereas I always wind up vacationing in the place where most people (myself included!) want to live: Manhattan! So while many of you are gearing up to pack your beach totes, I'm stuffing my duffel bag with my city essentials: maxi dresses, flat sandals, sunglasses... ok, so maybe our travel picks would be similar! Anyway, I plan to spend as many weekends city-bound as possible this summer. Am I nuts for wanting to leave my little oceanside haven behind? Or is there something better awaiting me in the urban jungle? Maybe a few months of pounding the pavement will have me craving the beach bum lifestyle...

So what's cooking at Ip & Audrey this summer? Lots! I have two planned giveaways, from our friends at L.A. Vintage and CSN Stores, so check back in the next week and enter away! I've been adjusting to my new work schedule lately, so that means blog posts will need to be scheduled, too... or else they'll never happen! Expect some new content over the next few weeks, including a redesign courtesy of a very talented artist friend. :) It's my first collaboration on this blog, and I'm excited to see how it turns out and how you like it! I love having Audrey Hepburn as my header picture (as this blog is named for her), but let's face it: the FTC is cracking down on blogging guidelines, and image copyright is a pretty big deal. And besides, I've wanted to create something original for a while now, but I don't have much design experience. I can draw and edit photos, sure, but web design is a whole 'nother story! I'm learning little by little, but I'll leave the techie stuff to the experts. :)

So... how are you spending your summer?