Healthy holiday smoothies

photo credit: joannova, a/k/a foodalogue via photopin cc
photo credit: joannova, a/k/a foodalogue via photopin cc

In November and December, there are numerous parties with delicious desserts and heavy meals (particularly at Thanksgiving gatherings).

I want to offer a tip this week to maintain a healthy balance even when faced with family meals, potlucks, office parties and other gatherings with menus over which you may have little control.

One great trick relies on the very old advice of eating before you go, but with a delicious twist.

A superfood smoothie can be a great way to give your body a healthy boost and make it a little easier to turn down a huge slice of pumpkin pie (or at least opt for a smaller slice).

I find that a smoothie boost in the morning can be a great way to make healthier choices as you go through your day. But this smoothie is just as helpful right before you run out the door to a party.

I particularly like this one because most of the ingredients are fruits and vegetables that are fairly easy to find this time of year, particularly kale, a super superfood that seems to take over the farmer’s market in the fall and winter! For the best health boost, try to get organic versions of these ingredients.

Superfood smoothie

  • kale leaves (remove the stem)
  • chia seeds
  • banana
  • apple (remove the seeds, but leave the skin on)
  • pomegranate seeds
  • blueberries

Throw these in your blender along with some water and ice, and you’re set! Remember, kale can have a strong flavor, so if you’re not used to it, try adding a leaf or two the first time to see how you like the taste. The blueberries and pomegranate can help to mask the kale’s taste, while the banana and apple will add some sweetness.

I particularly like freezing some of the fruit, such as the blueberries and pomegranate seeds, before adding them to the smoothie. Feel free to add some yogurt, avocado or coconut cream for creaminess and adjust your water level with more or less depending on how thick you like your smoothies.

If you need some help with getting the right ratio of everything, check out this post from The Holy Kale.

You can also check out my Supermodel Smoothie recipe for another great-tasting treat.


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Necklaces for any neckline

Ever notice how some dresses and tops just don’t look right with the jewelry you want to wear? Or vice versa?

Whether you’re digging out a statement jewelry piece for a party this holiday season or showcasing a sweater or cocktail dress, the necklace and neckline have to work together for the best effect.

This handy chart from offers some good advice on which jewelry pieces work best with different necklines.

With a few of these tips in mind, not only will you be able to put the right pairing together more quickly — you’ll end up with a fabulous result!

Choosing Necklaces for Necklines
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Choose a hat to flatter your face

Please don’t equate hat days with bad hair days! I love wearing a hat on cool mornings or as that final touch for an outfit. But hats can be a little bit tricky. What looks great on one face may not flatter another. As your legs help determine your best boot, the shape of your face affects which hat works best on you.

Here are some hot winter hats that flatter different face shapes:


Go for a fedora with some height at the crown to add some length. Something like this one from Nine West takes the typical men’s hat style to a whole new level with a leopard print.


Nine West Angora fedora, $46 at Macy’s


A cloche hat that hides your forehead helps to balance out a longer face. Here’s a dramatic option from milliner Louise Green.


Karen cloche hat, $337 from Louise Green


A rounded crown and wide brim complement a wider jawline, as in this floppy hat from Eric Javits.


Tiffany felt floppy hat, $390 at Bloomingdale’s


The narrow brim and close profile of a bucket hat make the right match, such as this cute quilted bucket from Kate Spade.


Kate Spade New York logo quilted bucket hat, $88 at Neiman Marcus

If you have an oval face, any of the above hats will likely work for you!

Remember those soft waves from my previous post? Why not try them out with your favorite hat?

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Bright colors, prints and plaids make coats fun

The style for coats this year is bold, with bright patterns and plaids set off against dark backgrounds, animal prints back in style and shearling accents on the runways and in stores.

Also, the wrap coat continues to be a popular choice in colors, prints, plaids and, yes, plain black.

Fall and winter tend to call for more neutral tones in suits and dresses, but coats this season are a good chance to flaunt a pop of color that stands out. In fact, the rust orange so popular this year is great for fall, since it mirrors the colors of fall foliage.

This belted orange coat from Massimo Dutti is a lovely shade of orange and can be worn open or wrapped and belted.


Massimo Dutti belted orange coat, $380 

This T Tahari wool blend leopard wrap coat is sophisticated gray and black — in a fun, bold pattern.

_9666886T Tahari leopard print wrap coat, $198 at Nordstrom 

For a sportier look, there are plaid coats, such as this one from Ralph Lauren.


Ralph Lauren plaid wool-blend jacket, $695

With these great colors, prints and plaids, you can’t help but brighten up a dreary winter day!

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Creating soft waves for fast, fabulous hair

These soft waves are the perfect look on a hat day!
These soft waves are the perfect look on a hat day!

If you’re looking for a great way to style your hair this fall, why not try some soft waves that look natural and really don’t take much time at all?

I recommend getting this style with a curling wand. A curling wand doesn’t have the clip of a traditional curling iron and has a tapered end.

What you get with the curling wand is a curl that looks softer and more natural, which is perfect for soft waves. Remember, the bigger the curling wand is, the looser your curls will be.

Always start with a little heat-protection spray, such as Kevin Murphy Damage.Manager or TRESemme Heat Tamer. Then section your hair with your fingers and start curling.

Grab the section of hair you want to curl with your fingers and wrap it around the curling wand.

After you’ve curled each section, gently pull your fingers through your hair to separate it into a cascade of waves. Don’t brush it, since the brush will flatten and diminish the waves. You want them to be soft and subtle, not invisible!

That’s all. Once you’re done, you can head out the door or finish with a light-hold hairspray.

These soft waves look great on their own, tied back with a silk scarf headband or under a hat. In a few weeks, I’ll bring you some tips on picking out the perfect hat for your face shape — and your soft waves!

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Fast fashion: Scarves for fall

The fall scarf is a great way to make most anything in your closet feel like something new and fresh, while also keeping away the chill on fall mornings. Ranging from neutral cashmere to bold patterns to painted silks, there’s something for everyone to add to their wardrobes this fall.

A real head-turner is the blanket scarf, which builds soft bulk around the neck and creates a both cozy and chic look.

blanket wrap

Collection XIIX blanket wrap scarf, $32 at Nordstrom

And, while half the fun is finding the right color, fabric and pattern, the other half is deciding on the best way to tie that new scarf to show it off.

You need only look at all of the tutorials and tying guides online to see that each scarf can be tied in several different ways — and different scarves lend themselves to different knots and drapes.

Nordstrom has a couple videos showing off different types of scarves and ways to tie them. A couple of my favorites from this video are the triple twist and the braid.

The Braid

In fall and winter, the French twist is a good bet, since the knot quickly fills in the neck of a jacket or coat with a splash of color, but still looks lovely with a variety of tops once the jacket is removed. The Texere Silk tying guide has the French twist as well as several other patterns that work great for when you need a scarf for a splash of color or bit of warmth, but won’t be hiding it beneath a bulky jacket.

french twist

And an infinity scarf gives you style without any tying at all!

mini dot infinity scarfTory Burch mini dot infinity scarf, $175

Want more ideas? Check out Nordstrom’s video on 16 different ways to tie four kinds of scarves.

Or, check out a blog post I did back in 2013 on spring scarves. I’d love to hear some of your favorites!

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Think pink for breast cancer awareness

Challenge your friends to wear pink this month!
Challenge your friends to wear pink!

I’m wearing pink this month as part of the Bag Snob Pink Challenge campaign to raise breast cancer awareness. The challenge is to wear something pink every day in October and donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at

I hope that by wearing pink we can be a part of keeping the conversation going about breast cancer, encouraging women to get mammograms and raising money for further research.

If you want to learn more about the challenge, check out #BagSnobPinkChallenge on Instagram and Twitter!

During the month of October, Beauty Bioscience will donate a portion of its proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As a company, we are committed to helping fight a disease that affects one out of every eight women during the course of her lifetime and helping further advances toward a cure.

The pink ribbon campaign started with the Estee Lauder Companies and Self magazine collaborating back in 1992. The creation of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation followed in 1993.

This year, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation plans to award more than $47 million in grants to more than 220 scientists around the world.

Here are just a few of the Estee Lauder Companies’ brands raising money this month:

Modern MuseThe new Estee Lauder fragrance, Modern Muse, is available in a limited-edition solid perfume compact. Estee Lauder is donating 100 percent of the $49.50 retail price to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

bobbi-brown-1The Pretty Pink Ribbon Lip Gloss collection has four different pink lip glosses and costs $60. Bobbi Brown will donate $12 from the purchase price to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

tom-ford-1Tom Ford Beauty has committed to donate $50,000 this year to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, no product purchases needed.

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Fall brings simple, beautiful nude nails

Two things I love: white hydrangeas and nude nails in a shade from OPI that reminds me of cashmere.

It’s wonderful to see the nude nail is in style this season. OPI’s “Go For It” is one of my favorite colors for nude nails. I love the soft, peachy pink of the shade.

This season, the trend is natural elements to offset or highlight accents. So faces are minimally made up with a touch of metal around the eyes or lips, and nude fingernails add a lightness to the heavier fabrics and darker colors of fall wardrobes.

Another benefit of nude nails? They’re great for showing off a lovely piece of jewelry. In the photo, I’m wearing a Lia Sophia ring that pairs beautifully with the understated simplicity of the nude nails.

This look actually has a variety of approaches, and the fun part is figuring out which one best suits your style.

Here are a few tips:

Color – Nude colors range from pale pinks to creamy whites to buff beiges and deep browns. Besides choosing the color that works best with your skin tone and clothing, you have the option of translucent colors that let your natural nail show through or opaques that stand out — and conceal — a bit more.hippxrgb_tints_foundation

Base coat – If you want to show off those nails, but worry about ridges or discoloration, pick out a basecoat in your skin tone that can even everything out and give you a great starting point. HIPPxRGB offers a line with four different colors to get the right base coat match, and offers a coordinating topcoat to complete the look.collection_luxeffects_sparkle-on-top

Top coat – I love nude nails without any embellishment, finished off with a simple, clear top coat for a bit of shine. But if you want to carry the metallics trend to your nails, you can always have some fun with the top coat. Several brands are offering shiny top coats with a hint of sparkle, such as Essie’s Luxeffects Glitter Top Coat, seen here in the holographic “Sparkle on Top.”

If you need a few reminders on getting those hands in the best shape to show off your nails, just check out my previous post with tips for healthy hands.

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Gentle tips to pamper hands

photo credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget via photopin cc
photo credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget via photopin cc

Your hands take a beating throughout the year, but fall and winter can be particularly brutal.

The cooler, drier weather and the constant washing and use of hand sanitizers to avoid coughs and colds can quickly dry out and irritate hands, resulting in cracking skin, rough cuticles and redness.

A few quick precautions can help keep your hands in the best shape possible this season.

Wash with warm or cool water: First, try not to wash your hands in scalding water. Studies have shown that cold water is just as effective at getting rid of germs when you use soap and wash for long enough (about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song). A gentler temperature will help keep the skin on your hands from becoming dry and irritated.

Choose a gentle soap: That harsh detergent soap or the pink liquid soap found in many public bathrooms can quickly strip the oils and moisture from your hands. At home, pamper them with liquid hand soaps that include oils for your skin, such as coconut or olive oil. Avoid ones that have chemical detergents, particularly sodium lauryl sulfate, since those ingredients can be harsh and drying on hands. Another solution is using a gentle bar soap instead of liquid soap in your home. And, while you’re looking at your hand soap, make sure the soap you use in the shower is equally gentle!

Lots of lotion: If you’re having trouble with cracking and bleeding, try some of the lotions meant to address just that. Lotions with colloidal oatmeal can soothe and relieve skin by lowering its pH level. Thicker creams contain less water and more oils, which can help moisturize better. Some medicated hand creams can help cracked and bleeding hands heal faster. Apply lotions after washing your hands, before you go to bed at night and anytime they feel like they need it.

Get some gloves: Remember to protect those hands in the first place with latex gloves when cleaning at home and, as it grows colder, gloves to protect your hands from the elements outside. For hands that need some extra care, try applying lotion at night and wearing a pair of gloves to bed.

Once those hands are feeling healthy and looking better, you can start thinking about your next manicure. In a few weeks I’ll share how to get the nude nail look that has been so popular this year!

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Build a beautiful reverse side braid

Reverse side braid
Reverse side braid

Braids are a great way to pull hair away from your face while adding a touch more sophistication than a plain ponytail. This year, braids have been everywhere, ranging from a quick French braid to the more complex hair artistry worn to black-tie affairs.

At the glamorous Met Gala earlier this year, celebrities wore a variety of braids, including Emma Stone with a messy side braid, Gabrielle Union’s crown braid and Joan Smalls wearing a sleek fishtail braid.

I wanted to share a style that I love for getting long hair out of the way and looking cute with just minutes of preparation.

My favorite quick hairstyle of the moment is the reverse side braid. This look is soft, with gentle flyaways helping to make the look rather than detracting from it. This is one you can easily do on your own hair, finishing the look with a simple elastic band or loosely tied ribbon.

Here are some tips to get the look:

First, use texturizing spray to build in some volume at the roots of your hair. I’ve mentioned before that I love Oribe dry texturizing spray.

Then, start to loosely sweep the hair over to the side, pulling it all to the side where you want the braid.

When you do a regular braid, you split the hair into three sections and then pull the outer sections over the middle section. For a reverse braid, you simply do the opposite: Pull each outer section under the middle section to create the braid.

Secure the bottom with an elastic.

To build some width to the braid, gently tug at each section as you work your way up the braid, which will widen and flatten the look of the braid.

That’s it! Set it with some hairspray, and you’ve got a beautiful reverse side braid!

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