5 Feminine Bedrooms

April 2nd, 2014 by carolyn

“Home is the person or place you want to return to over and over.”

Lately I’ve been thinking about what makes a house feel like “home.”

I’ve figured out what it’s not.

It’s not an address.

It’s not things; neither high thread count sheets nor designer furniture make a place feel like home.

And it’s certainly not the same for everyone.

For me, home is a place that reflects not only personal style but also personal beliefs. It’s about comfort above everything but not just the kind of comfort you get from slipping into soft sheets with your favorite pillow.

More importantly it’s the comfort gleaned from the person you share that bed with and the family that makes your home — no matter big or small, luxurious or simple — the place you always yearn to return to.

And speaking of yearning, here are a few things I’m coveting this week.

1) Regal headboards. I’m drawn to detailed headboards, many of which call to mind royal sleeping chambers. Clearly I haven’t given up on being treated like a queen. You shouldn’t either.


2) Chandeliers. Not just for dining rooms any more. Every bedroom needs a chandelier. Obviously.


3) Stools. Forget benches, chaise lounges and fainting couches. There will be stools at the end of my bed. Very soon.


4) Color. I’m not as drawn to pink as I expected. At first, this revelation was alarming until I made peace with the fact that bedroom décor can absolutely be ultra feminine without being drenched in fuchsia, peony and magenta.


5) Quotes. My obsession with staying inspired continues so I’m loving the idea of black chalkboard paint on an accent wall. That way, I can change the quotes in my room as often as I change my mood. And that’s a lot.



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Five Chic iPhone Cases

January 15th, 2014 by carolyn

chic iphone cases


Chic iPhone Cases

1 Izak case, $30 at Bloomingdales.

2 Vaja case,  $80 at Nordstrom

3 Tory Burch, on sale for $35 at Tory Burch

4 Gucci case, $110 at Gucci

5 Valentino case, $875 at Saks Fifth Ave.


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2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid

January 13th, 2014 by carolyn



2013 may have been the color of money, but 2014 is the color purple. So says Pantone, the global color authority, when it announced that ‘Radiant Orchid,’ a fuchsia purple, is the color of the year for 2014.

2013’s color of the year, Emerald, may have been perfect for eye shadow, cocktail dresses and bikinis, but 2014’s hue calls to mind bold lips and passionate kisses. Here’s how you can embrace the color, and the trend, in the new year and make 2014 and its color mascot -a year to love.


MAC’s Crème De Violet eyeshadow ($15) is a highly pigmented shade of orchid that nails the color of the year. But finding the right shade of orchid shadow is the easy part; actually dressing lids in some version of fuchsia purple requires talent and tact.

Prime lids first and then apply a neutral eye shadow as a base coat. Apply a black-pencil eyeliner at lash line, then, using a liner brush, trace the line you’ve just created with a coat of the purple shadow before also applying the shadow at the corner and crease of lids in a V-shape. As always, blending is key.

Tip: Sephora has a great video on nailing purple eye-shadow application here.


Not for the faint of heart, lips dressed in Radiant Orchid require feather-proof color and precise application. The good news is that if you have the nerve to sport purple lips, beauty companies have products from matte lipsticks to rich glosses that will have your pucker pretty in purple in no time.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Lip Tar in a shade called Hoochie – yes, Hoochie. Lip Tar serves up a splash of color with the longevity of lipstick and the application ease of gloss; get it for $18 at Sephora locations. Laura Mercier also offers an on-trend hue in ‘Royal Orchid’ Crème Smooth Lip Colour; $26 at Laura-Mercier. com. Or, for a more affordable option, try Revlon’s new ColorBurst Matte Balm, a matte balm infused with shea, coconut and mango butters to soothe and hydrate lips; available in a shade called Showy for just $6.49 at Target locations.


The easiest way to embrace Pantone’s color of the year is to update your lacquer; a bevy of wearable lacquers in this hot hue abound. Butter London’s 3 Free lacquer lines boasts a polish called Molly Coddled, an opaque lavender orchid completely free of sulfates, synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs and Triclosan; get it for $15 at Sephora. Or head to Barneys.com and pick up a bottle of JINsoon’s luxury lacquer in French Lilac for $18. This high-gloss polish is double-patented and delivers a chip-proof finish with the benefits of a quick-dry formula.

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This story originally published in Carolyn’s Tampa Bay Times column here.


Pull a (Beauty) All Nighter

January 2nd, 2014 by carolyn

Here’s how to make sure your skin, lips and hair are ready to party all night with the best of ’em. 

SkindinaviaSet your makeup straight

Nothing ruins midnight mojo like a makeup meltdown, which is why a makeup setting spray is an essential addition to your beauty artillery. Think of it as hair spray for your face, because when you’ve got a marathon night ahead of you, you need a product that can help you reach the finish line beautifully. I’m a fan of Skindinavia’s Makeup Finishing Spray, coined ‘the original makeup saver.’ This spray, available for dry, normal and oily skin, keeps makeup from setting into pores and fine lines while keeping it from melting or ‘sliding’ for up to 16 hours. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic, and free of oils, parabens and sulfates. Get 4 oz. for $29 or 8 oz. for $39 at skindinavia.com.

Lip Service

Long lasting lip service

Whether you’re kissing frogs, princes or cocktails, you’ll need a long-lasting lipstick to get through a night of partying prettily. Go for bold lips that last with lip liner, matte lipstick and the secret of celebrity kisses – apply, blot, powder and reapply. Start by lining entire lips with liner; Jordana Easyliner Retractable Lip Liner Pencil in Sedona Red ($2.99 at Walgreens) is simply the best. Next, apply lipstick in a crème or matte formula, nothing too slick. My go-to colors are Revlon Fire & Ice or Orange Flip. Blot lipstick with a napkin and then use a cotton ball dipped in face powder to set the color by lightly dusting lips with powder. Finally, apply liner and lipstick again and voila, long-lasting lip color is locked in.


Hair of the dog

Tomorrow, you may need the hair of the dog that bit you, but tonight, you need your hair to hold up for hours. I swear by Big Sexy Hair Spray & Stay Intense Hold Hairspray, $17.95 at Ulta, a strong-hold spray ideal for elaborate updos. But if you’re going for long-lasting but touchable locks, you’ll need something with more flexibility. Arm yourself with a few key items and even your bedroom blowout can get through the night without a hair out of place. Pack a small bag with these three essentials: 

(1.) Pssssst Dry Shampoo to add volume, kill odor (think smoke and the like) and eradicate oily scalp; $2.99 for the travel size at Ulta; (2.) hair spray that holds without turning crunchy or flaky like Sachajuan’s Straight and Shine Hair Spray; a 2.6-oz. travel spray is $16 at BeautyBar.com; and (3.) a mini flatiron like Sarah Potempa’s ‘The Jet-Setter’ Cordless Iron, a rechargeable styling iron that fixes kinks, flyaways and the like on-the-go. Even if you start running out of juice at the end of the night, you’ll look like you can still dance for hours.


It’s the time of the year to sparkle

December 24th, 2013 by carolyn

Party season is upon us, which means you can pile on the glitter and totally get away with it. But if gilded lids and lips aren’t your style, there’s enough sparkle in the season’s new lacquer collections to nail the holiday spirit without ever going overboard. 

Mariah Carey OPI

Mariah Carey Holiday Collection

Mariah Carey may be best known for her vocal range but this season, thanks to a new holiday lacquer collection presented by OPI, a range of 18 polish hues inspired by Carey are making news. And like a Mariah Carey greatest hits album, the holiday collection has boasts something for everyone. ‘All I Want For Christmas’ is a classic crème red while the sparkle set will like ‘My Santa Suit,’ a red shimmer. But there’s much more than classic crimsons in Carey’s makeup bag; ‘Kiss Me At Midnight’ is a blue and silver liquid sand that’s loaded with sparkle while ‘Sleigh Ride For Two’ is a dark shimmery maroon with vamp to spare. 

{Check out manicures with all of the Carey collection at one of my fave blogs, thepolishaholic.com.}

Essie Encrusted Treasures

Encrusted Treasures

Essie’s Encrusted Treasures collection of nail textures and glitters serves up nail art inspiration galore in hues ranging from ‘Lots of Lux,’ a deep blue texture with hints of gold shimmer to ‘Belugaria,’ a black texture polish with holographic glitter. For those who prefer their polish sleek and shiny, Essie’s Winter 2013 collection offers up six simple yet stunning shades of opaque lacquer like ‘Shearling Darling,’ a mahogany red, and ‘Mind your Mittens,’ a black teal lacquer. Shop the Essie collection online at Essie.com.

{Check out manicures with the Encrusted collection at one of my fave blogs, nailderella.com}


Image via TheSundayGirl.com

Revlon Parfumerie

Revlon’s latest lacquer collection, Revlon Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel, is a grown-up version of the peel-off, bubble gum-scented polish you loved as a child. From the design of each bottle, currently available in 19 shades and three families of scents including Sweets & Spices, Freshes, and Fruits & Florals, these lacquers are lightly scented and also, more importantly, deeply pigmented. Autumn Spice is a deep chocolate polish with bronze and copper sparkle to spare. Plus, the scent is all Fall – think cinnamon and spice. Another one to try is ‘Italian Leather,’ an olive green lacquer with subtle shimmer in gold and copper and a light woodsy scent. Shop the Revlon Parfumerie collection at Ulta locations.

{Check out swatches and reviews of the Parfumerie collection at vampyvarnish.com.}

Sparkle Dior

Sparkle by Dior

Revlon’s scented polish may be reminiscent of younger days, but there’s nothing immature, or inexpensive, about Dior Beauty’s Sparkling Holiday lacquer collection. The limited-edition set, sold exclusively at Nordstrom for $48, comes replete with a clear fixing base and two sparkling powders, one gold and one black, that are brushed over the base to create eye-catching nail art and ombre effects that Dior likens to couture jewelry for nails. 

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This story originally published in Carolyn’s Tampa Bay Times column here.

With Fat Transfer Augmentation, Shift Your Weight From Butt To Bust

December 19th, 2013 by carolyn


More than 286,000 women had breast augmentation last year. That, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, makes boob jobs the most popular plastic surgery of the year, yet again.

And while silicone implants are now far more popular than saline implants, there’s a new breast enhancement method that’s just starting to gain buzz with consumers: harvesting fat from other portions of the body to enhance the breasts.

Fat-transfer breast augmentation can be done as an alternative to using silicone or saline implants or as a method to enhance the addition of implants.

Plus, since fat is typically harvested from stubborn pockets of fat — think thighs or abdomen — many women are understandably excited about the thought of enhancing their breasts while potentially reshaping problem areas.

Fat is harvested using traditional liposuction and then strategically placed into the breasts. The transferred fat is then absorbed at a rate of 30 percent to 50 percent; the remaining fat creates natural volume and contour to enhance breasts.

Fat grafting alone can be used to enhance breast size but typically only by about one to two cup sizes. Those looking for a more dramatic increase in size are turning to implants paired with grafting.

It’s important to note that fat-grafting for breast enhancement is an emerging technique, so the long-term effects may need further evaluation. Complications include interference with mammograms and potential cyst formation. In fact, in 1987 the ASPS released a statement saying that fat grafting was not recommended.

However, last May, a study featured in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the ASPS, touted the benefits of autologous fat transfer for both breast augmentation and reconstruction. And a more recent ASPS survey, released just this past July reports that seventy percent of U.S. plastic surgeons have used fat-grafting techniques for breast operations.

Which means that, yes, doctors can finally take the fat out of your butt and put it in your boobs.

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This story originally published in Carolyn’s Tampa Bay Times column here.

Related Posts:

A No Judgement Zone: I don’t like to judge other women. I’ve been on the other side of that and, no matter how confident you are, it’s no fun. Read the full post…

Why Oil Deserves a Spot in Your Beauty Routine

December 6th, 2013 by carolyn
Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr

Oil has gotten a bad rap when it comes to beauty. Women don’t aspire to oily hair. Oily skin gets blamed for blemishes. Even suntan oil has lost popularity, bringing to mind leatherskinned ladies who value skin color over skin health. But the truth is that oil may be just what’s missing from your beauty routine. 

So says supermodel Miranda Kerr, who swears by rosehip oil, saying, ‘I put it on at night and I wake up glowing.’ And Emma Stone calls upon grapeseed oil every night, telling Style.com that she puts it on her face post-shower to keep her alabaster skin flawless.

I’ve also become a believer of late, and have rounded up the top three ways to incorporate oil into your grooming routine. 

A trio of oils cleans skin

Dermalogica’s Precleanse is a deepcleansing oil that first warmed me to the idea that oil could truly benefit skin, even oily skin like mine.

The olive, kukui and apricot oils in Precleanse melt away sebum, sunscreen and even waterproof makeup. It’s so gentle, I even use it around my eyes because it effortlessly washes away waterproof makeup. Plus, thanks to the essential fatty acids in key oil ingredients, Precleanse nourishes skin, leaving it ultra clean and hydrated, but not even the slightest bit ‘oily.’ Get it for $37 for 5.1 ounces at Dermalogica skin care retailers or dermalogica.com.

Dermalogica PreCleanse

Dermalogica PreCleanse

A leg up with coconut oil

Coconut oil is ideal for a host of grooming purposes because it improves the moisture and lipid content of skin. Loyalists swear by coconut oil for everything from conditioning hair to removing makeup, but I’ve found the best use for coconut oil, hands down, is shaving. Purchase unrefined organic coconut oil if possible (it’s sold at most grocery stores) and simply apply it to wet legs in the shower. Massage the oil into the skin to create an emulsion and shave as usual. You’ll be left with the softest, smoothest legs, no razor bumps and the benefit of reminding your significant other of a cool piña colada on a hot beach.

Organic Coconut Oil

Organic Coconut Oil

Lavender oil banishes blemishes

Using oil to combat oil shouldn’t seem crazy; after all, we’ve been told to ‘fight fire with fire.’ But somehow those of us with oily skin seem to want to dry it out rather than slick it up.

Enter Kerstin Florian’s Clarifying Lavender Oil, a skin treatment ideal for problem and acne-prone skin thanks to a 3 percent essential lavender oil concentration. Lavender oil is incredibly effective at nourishing, healing and detoxifying skin while supporting cell regeneration. Sold in a tiny half-ounce bottle for $36 at upscale resort and day spas, just a dab of this skin-saving oil each night treats problem skin effectively (and smells amazing.) So while you may go to bed a skeptic, when it comes to the benefits of incorporating oils into your beauty routine, you’ll no doubt wake up an even more beautiful believer. 

Kersten Florian Lavender Oil

Kersten Florian Lavender Oil

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This story originally published in Carolyn’s Tampa Bay Times column here.

Clinique GWP and Adorable Mix-n-Match of Chubby Sticks

October 29th, 2013 by carolyn

Clinique has always been my Mom’s brand. Just like “Opium” was her perfume and Liz Claiborne was her go-to designer.

And so,  I always avoided Mom’s brand of choice. Because, let’s face it, that’s what kids do.  Until we get older and wiser and realize that Mom is one smart cookie. Thanks to the launch of Clinique’s CC Cream last year, I discovered that Clinique makes some damn good products… and Mom is right yet again.


Now, for just three days, with any $25 purchase at Clinique.com not only can you pick up some of their best offerings but you’ll also get a 7-piece bonus gift with any $25 purchase and free shipping on purchases of $50 or more.

My top 5 Clinique picks:

  1. Chubby Sticks for Eyes and Lips: $17 each in a bevy of mix-n-match shades and formulas.
  2. CC Cream, of course: Moisture Surge CC Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $35
  3. The all-new and utterly fabulous  line of primers recently launched by Clinique. $27 each in a range of formulas for redness, dullness, discolouration and sallowness. Or, opt for the  Universal
    Superprimer which is translucent.
  4. Take The Day Off Makeup Remover, $18
  5. And, in honor of Mom, Dramatically Different Moisturizer — the one product Mom always had on her vanity when I was a little girl.


Stay up to date on GWPs from all the best makeup brands on the PrettyCity events page where the most recent and of-the-moment GWPs are listed and updated daily.

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Feeling Blue? Fall’s Best Midnight Manis

October 28th, 2013 by carolyn

Shades of blue, from deep navy to vivid royal, are turning up on manicures from glossies to red carpets. It took quite a while for me to get used to blue (rather than my go to shade of black) but this week I jumped on board with this Dark blue Essie lacquer in “After School Boy Blazer.”


I’m kind of loving this hue which complements everything from denim to tweed for Fall.

Here are some other blues worth coveting…



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Fall’s Best Skinny Denim

October 3rd, 2013 by carolyn

In the Midwest, October quickly becomes full-on Fall. Dropping temps make this month ideal for bonfires, apple orchards and hot cider. I love all the traditional trappings of Fall, but nothing competes with Fall style: blue jeans, sweaters, leather pants, boots, boots and more boots. And while I typically don a skirt or dress as my daily uniform, there’s no denying that this is the season of denim.

Tory Burch’s Super Skinny Jean is a classic thanks to a super flattering cut and the ideal amount of stretch for a great fit. And while I promise you that this style is amazingly wearable, if you’re not convinced check out the Tory Burch denim guide and pick a style that suits you. (Pictured: Tory Burch Super Skinny Jeans in Resin Dark Fade; $185 at ToryBurch.com.)

Tory Burch Super Skinny Jean


There are more affordable jeans that flatter, but before we go there, let’s take a peek at Saint Laurent’s super chic skinny stretch-denim jeans. These skinny jeans boast the perfect amount of fade and a subtly distressed wash for an “I’ve been this cool for years” finish. And while you may be hip enough to wear ’em, you’ll have to work hard enough to buy ’em. These babies sell for $565 at Net-a-Porter.com.


I haven’t worn Guess Jeans since Junior High when they were practically school uniforms, but Guess’ Kate Low Rise jeans (shown in wildflower wash) are the ideal low-rise skinnies thanks in part to a touch of spandex, a 12 1/2 inch back rise and destroyed details on the legs that add to the worn-in appeal of these jeans. Get em for $98 at Guess.com.



What’s your favorite brand of skinny jeans?


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