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BEST OF WINTER SKINCARE: AM + PM ROUTINE

To be clear – I am by no means a skincare expert. Until I was well into my mid-twenties I used to wash my face with nothing more than water and then slap on whatever CVS brand body lotion I had lying around. That being said, in the past few years (quite frankly because some incredible brands sent help by way of samples) I’ve started to try out a more elevated skincare routine and really in the past year feel like I’ve settled into a rotation of products that work for me. I feel grateful I’ve never had any major skin problems as far as on-going acne, eczema, etc. so I can’t speak to if any of these are miracle workers in those arenas. But as far as being a woman in my early 30s dealing with fine lines, dark circles and a New Yorker winter that feels intent on wreaking havoc on my skin – all of these are really going to battle for me.

MORNING ROUTINE:

  1. I honestly don’t usually wash my face in the morning – but a spritz of this Aloe Rose Water Mist always makes me feel refreshed and awake. You can also mist it onto your face (even over make-up!) throughout the day for a nice little refresher.
  2. Hands down my favorite morning moisturizer – it strikes a perfect balance between being thick enough to really moisturize but still airy enough to not feel super heavy under make-up. Honorable mention to this moisturizer with SPF50 which I’m more prone to use if I’m not planning on wearing make-up since it’s on the thicker side.
  3. If I feel like my eyes are puffy or I’ve got dark circles (aka I didn’t get enough sleep or had more than 2 drinks the night before), I’ll dab this coffee bean cream around my eyes. It has a really smooth consistency and the natural caffeine helps de-puff and make me look more awake.
  4. A few days a week I add a couple of drops of this sunless tanner to my moisturizer. It’s not dramatic, but definitely helps give a little bit of a tinted glow that my face otherwise really lacks in winter months. Bonus points for also acting as an anti-aging serum.
  5. Once all of that soaks in, I use this tinted moisturizer (similar to a bb cream) in place of foundation. It’s a nice, semi-sheer base that smooths out discoloration and uneven skin. Plus it doesn’t dry out or cake throughout the day.

EVENING ROUTINE:

  1. A great drugstore find, I start with these micellar water make-up remover wipes. These are the only ones I’ve found that don’t leave my skin feeling strangely greasy or create a weird stinging sensation (does that happen to anyone else?). These are super gentle and it works well to get off eye make-up or super saturated lipstick.
  2. Next I use this pre-biotic filled Superfood cleanser (it has avocado, pumpkin and broccoli seed oils – like a salad for your face) to give a good clean feeling and add some nutrients to my skin.
  3. Once or twice a week I use this pore exfoliating mask to help keep my pores clear and prevent any minor breakouts. It doesn’t dry out my skin but leaves it feeling really deeply clean and smooth.
  4. After cleansing but pre-moisturizing, I alternate between this hydrating serum and this facial oil. Between the two its a good balance of hydration without adding too much oil that could potentially make me break out. Ideally I don’t even need to moisturize after all of this because my skin is fully hydrated already.
  5. But if it’s been particularly brutal weather-wise or I haven’t drank enough water that day – I lather on this overnight mask moisturizer (which firms and brightens) along with this reviving eye cream.
  6. I finish out the whole routine with this lip treatment meant to moisturize lips and help with fine lines around your mouth. Not only has it ended my chapped lips once and for all, but the metal applicator tip kind of plumps up my lips making them feel nice and full (at least as naturally full as my fairly thin lips can get) and moisturized when I wake up in the morning.

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A STAYCATION AT THE MICHELANGELO HOTEL

Two weekend’s ago, Adam and I packed our bags, hopped in a cab and headed 30-some odd blocks uptown to the check into the Michelangelo Hotel for a staycation. An Italian family-owned 4-star hotel (with other locations in Florence, Milan and Rome) it feels like a taste of Italian luxury but smack dab in the middle of New York City. Think, lush velvet couches and grand staircases and decadent marble bathrooms… all while you’re 3 blocks from Times Square and 8 blocks from Central Park.

The funny thing about a staycation just a 20 minute cab ride from where you actually live is that it really does feel like a vacation. It forces you out of the “comfort zone” of the your usual neighborhood and into exploring your city like a tourist. And relationship-wise I think it gets you out of your usual at home routines. Meaning in the evenings instead of zoning out and watching TV, both scrolling on our phones, we went out and taste-tested cocktails at a hidden jazz bar. Another night we watched a movie but did it with a side of room service pizza (the best pepperoni pizza I’ve had in a long time – and I like to think of myself as sort of an expert in this arena), popped prosecco and turned the evening into a date night in. I took luxuriously long bubble baths and Adam indulged in endless in-room espresso. We lingered over leisurely breakfasts in the hotel cafe, flipping through The New York Times and not rushing anywhere. All of it just felt like such a treat.

And if you’re not a New Yorker looking for a staycation – you can’t ask for a better location to be a tourist. While you’ll be in no shortage of things to do in surrounding areas of the hotel, below are a few of our Times Square area tips:

  • Get in line early at the TKTS booth (under the big steps in Times Square) for same day discount tickets to all the biggest Broadway shows.
  • Head to Black Tap for hilariously oversized milkshakes. Honestly this place is kind of worth the hype though because the burgers are solid and even the plain milkshakes are delicious – although Adam recommends going all the way with the Frutti Pebbles shake.
  • Stroll through the start of Central Park. Hit up the Strand Bookstore kiosk (on the South-Eastern corner), swing through the Central Park Zoo to see the sea lions, and circle back for ice skating at Wollman Rink.
  • Duck into The Rum House to escape the tourist crowds and stay for the classic cocktails and live jazz.
  • Visit one of the world class museums just a hop and skip away from the Michelangelo. My favorites are the Met and the MoMa – but the Guggenheim is great too and the Natural History Museum is perfect if you’ve got little ones

A big thank you to the Michelangelo Hotel for hosting us for the weekend – as always all opinions are completely my own.

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LET’S CATCH UP 1.27.19

I really need a day between Saturday and Sunday. Most of this weekend was spent catching up on chores/errands, organizing the apartment and generally hitting re-set after last weekend’s staycation uptown and a very busy week at work. Below, a few things on my mind before we head into another week.

  1. I’ve become completely consumed with researching art to buy for the apartment. Up until now we’ve mainly had a few personal photos framed and some travel memorabilia but I really want to diversify our walls and start building a collection of art. Thinking of sharing a full post of (affordable) sources once I finally pull the trigger and start purchasing.
  2. I’m on a mission to watch a few more Oscar contenders before the big show – ‘A Star is Born’, ‘Beautiful Boy’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ are all on my list. See the full list of nominations here.
  3. I’m planning a winter skincare post this week including 5 morning products and 5 evening products I really love. This facial oil is a stand-out right now for my increasingly dry skin.
  4. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain was one of the best books, hands down, that I read in 2018 (see my full review here). I loved this series of interviews with the people that knew him best.
  5. If I wasn’t on a self-imposed shopping ban this month, I’d be hitting up the Mango end of season sale. So many good classic coats and sweaters. Because let’s be honest, winter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
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COLD WEATHER STYLE IN WINTER FLORALS

January has been a sort of bizarre mix of both incredibly busy and incredibly quiet for me. At my full time job I’ve been absolutely swamped with three photoshoots stacking up in the span of just a couple of weeks this month. But outside of work I’ve kind of hunkered down and tried to set a tone for the year. I’ve been at the gym every single morning before work. I’ve been getting in bed early every night to allow time for reading. I’ve staved off alcohol (okay I’ve had 3 total drinks so far this month.. but still that’s a drastic cut-back in comparison to December) and haven’t done any shopping. I’ve even been popping over to the gym on my lunch breaks to walk an extra mile on the treadmill while I read. It’s felt good – but I’ve also been missing this space! Now that I’ve got 2 out of 3 photoshoots for work under my belt (and the last one today as we speak), I’ll have more regular content going forward this year. January – what a strange month right?

Aside from all of that I’ve also been trying to wear things other than a huge black parka (most days I don’t succeed in this battle) – but the weekend before last when it wasn’t quite so frigid I mixed it up with this floral puffer look instead. Almost one more month closer to Spring my friends.. not that I’m counting.

SHOP THE LOOK:

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THE STEELE MAIDEN BOOK CLUB: CHAPTER SIX

It’s been since September since my last #SteeleMaidenBook Club post (where did October, November and December even go?!), but I’m back and planning to be able to stick to a more regular, monthly schedule for these posts in 2019. If you want to see everything I reviewed in 2018 – you can find those posts here. Below, what I read this Fall (hint, some of the best 4 books I read all year) plus what I’ve got on my shelf for January. Happy reading!

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer: This novel follows the life of a young, millennial woman throughout college and the beginning years of her building a career in New York. Touches on the complexities of relationships (both female friendship and romantic involvements) and the ultimately what kind of drive, motivation and sacrifice it takes to rise to the top in any given industry. I really liked this overall, however I will say that I didn’t love it as much as I loved Wolitzer’s earlier work The Interestings. Maybe it was because I never really connected with the main character? Either way there were some interesting side stories here and I think it’s worth a read for sure.

Calypso by David Sedaris: Consistently one of my favorite authors, Calypso felt a bit different than some of Sedaris’ earlier memoirs in that he’s middle-aged now and has been dealing with some of the messier bits of life (his mother’s death, sister’s suicide, the hurdles of being in a multi-decade relationship). He handled the topics with his signature mix of bizarre hilarity and self-depricating honesty. Highly recommend.

Marlena by Julie Buntin: I picked this book up on a whim from one of my favorite little bookstores back home in PA and was so pleasantly surprised. The novel focuses on the life-shifting friendship of two young high school aged girls – and while the specifics of the storyline are likely not one many of us can relate to (I hope, as things get fairly dark), the feelings of the magic of those types of friendships are really universal in my opinion. Also just really beautifully written. Totally exceeded my expectations which is the best kind of book to me.

Educated by Tara Westover: I had high hopes for this book after reading so much great press and it didn’t disappoint. Tara shares her real life story of growing up in rural Idaho to a family of extreme Mormon preppers (meaning they feared the government, banned modern medicine and forbid the children from receiving a formal education as they prepped for a Y2K-like fall-out of society). Not only are the specifics of this story unbelievable but it’s also an incredible tale of one woman’s bravery to fight for the education that she deserved. Everyone should read this book.

SHOP THIS MONTH’S BOOK CLUB:

For the month ahead I’m tackling Little Women by Lousia May Alcott (a classic I somehow never got around to and feels like a good winter read), A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham (a collection of re-imagined fairy tales from the author of The Hours), The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (a popular thriller that I hear is going to be made into a TV series) and I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon (historical fiction recommended to me by a dear friend and fellow book lover).

SHOP NEXT MONTH’S BOOK CLUB:

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Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.