5 pro tips to transition your skin from fall to winter


winter skincare - fall skincare - transitional skincare - how to take care of your skin in the winter

Fall to winter skincare pearls of wisdom from a pro

I recently had the pleasure of getting a facial at San Francisco’s Medesthetics RX–and for me to refer to a facial as a pleasure is saying a lot. After years blogging and reporting on beauty, I’m not the easiest of clients. I know too much for my own good, but there wasn’t a question I could throw Medical Esthetician Joshua Maniscalco that he couldn’t answer. Let’s just say I was beyond impressed, and that was before I glimpsed the results of his work; glowing, dewy, youthful skin.

I couldn’t let this man so full of wrinkle-erasing, pore-minimizing and collagen-building  wisdom go without first probing him for some skincare tips. I asked Joshua for some seasonal advice on how to transition that healthy autumn glow into winter.

Here’s what he had to say…

1. Always Wear Sunscreen

Always use a physical sunscreen in the morning even if you work in an office building. Your skin should always be protected from UVA (Aging Rays) which do not change in the winter months and can often be more damaging due to the reflection off of snow and ice.

2. Deep Exfoliate away Summer Sun Damage

If you were sun tanning in the summer and notice dull dry skin with new or darker pigmentation, see an esthetician for a deeper exfoliation like Microdermabrasion or Dermaplaning combined with a light Alpha Hydroxy Acid peel. My favorite is Lactic Acid for Thin/Dry/Normal/Combo skin. For thicker less sensitive skin or oily skin try a Glycolic peel. Your Esthetician will know what is best for your skin type and lifestyle.

3. Shave Your Face

Exfoliate by shaving your face. Two blade razors work great for a woman’s skin. Shave 1-3x per week. Shave clean dry skin. For extra sensitive skin use a cream cleanser like Cetaphil or Ceravae. This process will remove ”peach fuzz” and dead skin allowing your moisturizer and serums to penetrate much better. Skeptical? Read more on the benefits of shaving your face here.

4. Keep your skin moisturized

Don’t take long hot showers, this will increase the evaporation of moisture in your skin. Instead use luke warm water when showering. Also if you live in a very cold area and the heat is on all the time use a humidifier at night to keep moisture in the air. If you have dry/combo skin switch your moisturizer to include Shea butter as a main ingredient. My favorite: Rescue by Cosmedix.

Use a serum with hyaluronic acid as it will absorb water molecules and help your moisturizer penetrate better.Hyaluronic is great for oily skin as it will not clog the pores.  My Favorite: MedEstheticsRx Hyaluronic +Vitamin C Some heavier creams have waxy ingredients that just lay on the surface of the skin creating build up.The right moisturizer can prevent Trans Epidermal Water Loss or TEWL. Tewl can manifest on the skin as dry flaky patches or even red cracked skin like eczema. Visit an esthetician for the best advice on which moisturizer works for your skin type instead of just buying over the counter.

5. Consider a Nighttime Retinoid

Now that winter is approaching consider the use of a nighttime Retinoid like Retin A or a Retinol. Retinoids are different forms of Viatmin A and they have the most scientific research to support the anti-aging benefits. Using a Retinol will help speed up the turnover and rid the skin of sun damage over time.

Don’t use weaker retinoids from the drug store. Opt instead for a professional cosmeceutical retinol or see your Dermatologist for a prescription for Retin A. Vitamin A can also increase your skins NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factor). If you have never used a retinoid start with a low dose. If you opt for prescription strengthfrom your DR then start by applying it every other night or mix it with a moisturizer for the first few weeks. Once your skin is acclimated you can apply full strength.


The 24 chicest cocoon coats to encase yourself in


Plus chic & uber cozy, the cocoon coat has got you covered

The cocoon coat is the perfect blend of warmth and style; structured yet relaxed; chic yet cozy; on-trend yet classic. It’s the height of casual elegance when layered over jeans and perfect for a night on the town when slipped over a festive frock. I’m a big fan of the style’s exaggerated lines—sloping shoulders and rounded bodice–which create sartorial drama while also allowing room for the addition of layers as the temperature drops.  This season, the style has been revamped in daring prints and eye-catching pastels. Since not all cocoon coats are created equal, we’ve rounded up the best styles to encase yourself in this season.


Floral & fringe for fall


BCBG Fringe Jacket / Yumi Kim Maxi Dress sold out, style available in red here / Rag & Bone Harrow Booties

this easy, edgy outfit has become my favorite fall look

I was on the fence about this Yumi Kim maxi dress when it went on sale on Shopbop in September, but I decided to pull the trigger. Boy, am I glad I did!

The silk print is flattering, the cut is comfortable, the style (especially the criss-cross back) is statement making and the look is incredibly versatile. With stilettos and a clutch it would pass for the more informal end of cocktail attire, but with a moto jacket and booties its hip and casual.

I’ve been pairing it most often with this fabulous fringe coat I found at BCBG (I know, it doesn’t look like something they would make!) and my Rag & Bone booties, which give just enough height to keep the hem skimming the ground and look edgy when peeking out the side slit.







From the skyline to the runway: Chicago architecture and fall fashion



Architecture meets fashion

After taking an architectural boat tour along the Chicago River this weekend, my iPhone was jam packed with stunning photos of the city’s inimitable skyline. Inspired by the buildings’ beautiful shapes and daring designs, I decided to pair them with their fall fashion counterparts.

Check out my architecture-meets-fashion couplings below and let me know which is your favorite in the comments!

1. Scalloped Edges

as Kate Moss for Top Shop Scallop Tank, $68

photoscallop tank


2. Grid work

as Helmut Lang Micro Grid Pullover, $345
photo (3) helmut lang micro grid pullover


3. Spired Rooftops

as Stella McCartney Falabella Iguana Textured Tote, $1280

photo (4) stella mccartney falabella iguana tote


4. Elevated Elipses

as Giuseppe Zanotti Cutout Sandals, $1495
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Giuseppe Zanotti


5. Curved Reflections

as Vika Gazinskaya Metallic Wrap Midi Skirt, $1105
photo (5) vika gazinskaya skirt



Dancing (& renting my way) down the last wedding aisle of the season



A dress made for dancing at a wedding made for eating

Chris and I just returned from–wait for it–our LAST wedding of the year in beautiful Chicago! It marked the conclusion of an epic wedding season that included nearly a dozen destination weddings (because everything is a destination wedding when you live on the West Coast). We couldn’t have designed a more perfect celebration to conclude our 2014 wedding tour.

The bride was Chris’ beautiful cousin and the groom was a celebrated Chicago chef. The two met in culinary school, so the food was completely out-of-this-world (think sushi roll push-pops, a charcuterie and apple cider tasting bar and lobster roll sliders)!

Then there’s the city. I’ve only been to Chicago twice, but each time I’ve been absolutely blown away. It has all the markers of a major metropolis (high rise buildings, world class arts, wild politics, booming industry) and the unmistakable friendliness of the Midwest. From cab drivers to fellow wedding guests, everyone we met was kind, warm and welcoming.

Now, to the outfit…

As you can imagine, it’s hard to keep your wedding attire fresh when you have double digit weddings (damn facebook for exposing my repeat looks!); thus, I have turned to my longtime relief closet: Rent the Runway. The week before we left for this wedding, I panicked at the lack of appropriate and fresh feeling frocks in my closet, so I ordered a couple dresses from Rent the Runway. I placed my order on Wednesday, they arrived on my doorstep Thursday evening and flew with me to O’Hare Friday morning.

Since we didn’t know any guests other than family, I rented the super playful Nha Khanh Karla dress. With its lovely high-neck lace bodice and tutu-like layers of coquettish tulle, it seemed like just the conversation piece starter I needed to sashay my way into chatter with new friends. I paired it with my own accessories; a pair of Pour La Victoire Hiro Sandals, with criss cross straps evocative of point shoes, and a classic Chanel quilted flap bag and a pair of large, cushion cut CZ studs.

The dress proved to be the ice breaker I needed, but I was surprised at the reaction I received when I told people where it was from. Rent the Runway has been around for years now–I was one of the first customers in 2009 when the site was still in beta–yet there are still so many people who haven’t heard of the service or are reluctant to try it.  It seems like many have trouble with the borrowing factor. Case in point: the number of women who were shocked that I was so quick to admit I rented the dress.

“You could’ve left out that you rented the dress, and I would’ve just thought that you had a killer closet,” a woman told me well-meaningly. Sure, I could’ve, but where’s the fun in that? I have this killer closet because I’m clever about sourcing my fashion, and I’m always happy to share my style “secrets”!

Look Details

Nhn Karla Dress / Pour La Victoire Hiro Sandals (old style, similar here) / Chanel Classic Quilted Flap Bag / Cushion-Cut CZ Studs (similar here)

chicagowedding2photo 1 (1) chicagowedding3

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3 Sexy Subscriptions



Please hold on the line to place your erotic order!

After receiving an endless stream of bills, advertisements and letters addressed to previous tenants (ah, the joys of renting), I’ve been craving more from my daily mail delivery. I want something a bit more sensual than a money solicitation letter from my alumni association. I want a delivery that has me running to check the mail each day.

Enter these three steamy subscription services….

1. Enclosed

A posh panty of the month club

A new luxury knicker chosen to match the receiver’s individual style preferences (tanga’s or thongs, pink or black) is delivered to your door each month. You can chose from a one-time gift up to a 12-month subscription, with prices from $47-50/month depending on the length of your subscription. I would do this just to treat myself–and to avoid fighting the tourists at Victoria’s Secret in Union Square–or forward onto my husband (hint hint), but it would also make a charming gift for bridesmaids to go in on for the blushing bride!

2. Spicy Subscriptions

A box of sexy products that claim to heat up your relationship

Curated with couples in mind, this service sends you a monthly box filled with 3 full size products, one or two toys and a few trial products to experiment with. Think oils, candles, vibrators, bath products and sexy accessories. The website even boasts stats claiming the service has improved customer sex life and customers feel their partner is less likely to cheat. With a $19.95/month promotion going on, it’s certainly worth checking out.

3. Blush Box

A customizable lingerie and toy subscription service that  aims to keeps it classy

The name says it all, doesn’t it? Designed for the more demure customer, Blush Box offers several types of subscriptions; you can hone in on one monthly product (toy, panty, condom) or go wild with monthly teaser boxes or quarterly gift boxes stuffed with all varieties of goodies, from massagers to lubes and costumes to boudoir jewelry. There’s even a specialty box series for brides! Best of all, the products are sure to please even the most snooty of sex kittens, with brands like Eberjay and Hanky Panky.


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