Beauty from the Kitchen Pantry

The Housewife’s helpful post about the many unexpected uses of coconut oil got me thinking of my never-fail beauty remedy– one that also comes from the kitchen. Behold:

olive oil

That’s right; olive oil. I first started incorporating it into my beauty routine back in the late 90s, when it was THE food ingredient of the moment. (Remember when you couldn’t go into any restaurant without getting that saucer of olive oil for dipping? You know, I really prefer butter with my bread. But talk about first world problems, so enough about that…)

At that particular point in history, I was living in NYC. I was very young, so my skin didn’t need much help. And since I had no money to spare, that was a lucky thing. Still, the vagaries of an urban, Northeastern climate (after a childhood spent in Southeastern humidity) left me grappling with a dried-out complexion. On advice (probably from some book called something like Live Like a Mediterranean Woman- I will forever and always be a sucker for such books), I began using olive oil as a moisturizer- even on my face!

Now, please remember that beauty routines are specific and idiosyncratic, so I’m not recommending mine to anyone or claiming that it will work for you. But speaking only about my personal experience, I will say that during the period that I was only moisturizing with olive oil, I got constant compliments on my skin. My aforementioned youth might have had something to do with it, and I can’t discount the lucky break I got from my still-glamorous-at-80 grandmother’s genes. Even so, I swear by the olive oil!

Over the next several years, I tried dozens of moisturizers in a variety of price ranges. Many of the “celebrity” skin care lines failed to deliver celebrity results (the one big exception being Creme de la Mer; if you are willing to drop the cash, I believe the original cream is worth it).

Now that I’m the mama to an active toddler, too many things are vying for my resources, and I rarely treat myself to expensive beauty products. Instead I depend on Cetaphil, lots of water, and as much exercise and healthy eating as I can manage. And when I need that extra boost, I exfoliate and then moisturize with a thin layer of olive oil.

I’d love to hear your “kitchen pantry” beauty tricks. How are you finessing Mother Nature’s finest to look your best?

Photo by Lucie Amberg.

Top Thanksgiving Conversation Starters, Courtesy of The Skimm

So it’s almost Thanksgiving, and you’re almost ready. Your turkey’s brining à la Alton Brown; your tablescape would make Martha proud. You’ve even managed to come up with a great outfit.

But with all that cooking, cleaning, and decorating, you’re kind of clueless as to what’s been going on in the world. And this is a problem— not only because sparkling banter is a hallmark of a great meal but also because without other news to discuss, there’s the very real danger that politics will seep into any conversational void. Then before long someone’s yelling, someone’s crying, and poor Granddaddy is brandishing the wishbone like a shiv. Worst of all: everyone’s forgotten about the fabulous feast you killed yourself preparing, the one you bought allspice (seriously, allspice!) for.

Never fear. The always-up-to-date ladies of theSkimm have put together a primer on current events. If you’re not familiar, theSkimm brings you all the news you need to know in a delicious little nutshell. For me, it’s a lifesaver whenever I encounter an adult homo sapien and want to sound informed on topics other than the pros and cons of potty training techniques.

So here’s a few trinkets to keep you fashionably informed:

What to say while watching the parade… Is it wrong if Snoopy just doesn’t do it for me anymore? When’s football on? It’s not an American holiday without some pigskin. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition for the Detroit Lions to be crushed, and this year they play the big bad Houston Texans. I’m just hoping to fight off the tryptophan long enough to catch the Washington Redskin’s exciting rookie RGIII colonize the Cowboys. Maybe I’ll even have room for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who take on the NY Jets. How can you do a proper touchdown dance after all that Turkey? Gobble, gobble, jiggle, jiggle.

What to say after you give thanks… I demand to lead it next time! The Church of England voted against letting women become bishops, which guarantees some members to be up in arms and is a reminder that the Church is stuck somewhere between the Queen and her corgis and topless Kate Middleton on vacation.

What to say when your button pops off… I haven’t been this full since I OD’d on Twinkies in middle school. Man, those were the days, when the Wonder Bread was free-flowing. Now Hostess’s website says it all: “Hostess Brands is Closed,” after failing to reach an agreement with union reps which would prevent liquidation and save 18,000 jobs. Hostess will return to bankruptcy court today to argue for liquidation and selling off its assets. At least it didn’t happen on Christmas when Ho Ho jokes would be distasteful.

What to say when you think your family is insane… How the hell am I going to survive? At least, I’m not alone.

And what to do when you need more stuff to talk about…

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Who Are theSkimms?

We are two women in their 20s who hail from New York and Chicago. Our startup romance is one for the books — we met on a rainy day in Rome while we were both studying abroad in college. We bonded over a mutual love of fried artichokes. What we didn’t know as we struggled to order in Italian, was that we’d reconnect years later working in our own country’s capital. By that point, we had become professional storytellers, as producers for NBC News- working in breaking news, political news, and documentaries. We clicked as colleagues and as friends and it didn’t take long for theSkimm to take form.

In our spare time (which is rare) we can be found spooking each other with Law & Order: SVU marathons and trying to scheme our way into a free Equinox membership.

For two girls who grew up more Morning Glory than The Social Network, it took a lot of guts, and white wine, for us to make theSkimm a reality. We see ourselves as a part of a generation where women are out-earning men in paychecks and degrees. We’ve grabbed our seats at the table, now it’s time to Skimm to the head.

Classic California Style @ Serafina- Part 2

When I met up with Corina Madilian, the owner of transcendent boutique Serafina, I wanted a refresher on how a wardrobe of classics can carry me through seasonal style swings. Since Serafina is known for effortlessly blending the timeless with the trendy, it seemed like the perfect place to start. Well, our conversation was so fun that it simply couldn’t be squeezed into a single post! If you missed the first installment, definitely check it out for Corina’s thoughts on style icons, closet staples, and even mom jeans. And here’s part deux:

TFH: So speaking of things busy moms don’t feel like they have time for: makeup. Carla Bruni famously said that after 30, women shouldn’t even wear it. What do you think?
CM: It’s not about wearing no makeup but doing less. By the time we’re in our thirties, we’ve learned how to work with our so-called flaws, so you don’t have to worry as much about covering things or altering things.

Serafina in San Marino, CA

TFH: You’ve said a lot about value, doing more with less, holding onto items across several seasons. But what’s one fashion splurge that’s always worth it?
CM: Definitely a handbag. Something timeless, not trendy, in a classic color like black, caramel, red, or navy. Forego the “it bag” of the season, and get something you can carry for a very long time.

Agreed! A fabulous handbag is always worth a little splurge!

TFH: And now some fun ones! Do you like heels or flats?
CM: Both!

TFH: Pearls or diamonds?
CM: Always diamonds.

TFH: Gold or platinum?
CM: Right now, gold.

TFH: Patterns or solids?
CM: Solids.

Many thanks to Corina for such a refreshing talk, and for more inspiration, be sure to check out Serafina:

Plus, feel free to share your thoughts about fashion classics in the comments. What’s your one splurge that’s always worth it?

Photos by Lucie Amberg.

Classic California Style @ Serafina- Part 1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! At least in terms of fashion, it is. We’ve all had a couple of weeks to ogle the latest fall trends, and believe me- I’ve been ogling away at hot looks like brocade, leather, even plaid. (And I LOVE how Downton Abbey it all is. Eat, drink, and be Mary!)
As YSL famously said, however, “Fashions fade, style is eternal,” which makes Fall an excellent time to think about your wardrobe staples. I got a head start by sitting down with Corina Madilian, the proprietor of sublime San Marino boutique Serafina. Here’s a little of our conversation:

Serafina in San Marino, CA

TFH: Give me a quick description of your style.
CM: I don’t spend a lot of time on what’s super trendy. Someone who purchases from Serafina is building a collection, not just buying for a season then purging and starting over. Quality pieces don’t have to be expensive, and there are plenty that can last you five seasons or more.

TFH: So who do you think of as a style inspiration? I always go to Jackie O. When in doubt, I think, “What would Jackie wear?”
CM: Yes, she’s wonderful. Obviously Grace Kelly. I love Diane von Furstenburg; she has that look she’s carried for years and years. And on a totally contemporary note, I really like to see what Kelly Rutherford wears.

TFH: That’s a fun one. But this is the eternal problem: how does a busy mom who feels like she never has time, energy, or resources to dedicate to herself translate those style inspirations into her own closet?
CM: Yes, we get that all the time at Serafina. The woman who has put everyone else’s needs before her own comes in and just says, “I need help!” The first thing for that mom to determine is, “What does she want to portray?” Does she want to be a comfortable, on-the-go mom? A chic mom? And then pick out a few pieces that fit that image, pieces she can mix and match. Maybe start with jeans, nothing too complicated.

TFH: But that can be the most intimidating of all, right?
CM: You don’t have to hit that super trendy, skinny jean, which just isn’t right for everyone. There is a place for more conservative jeans, and they don’t have to be mom jeans. Simple pieces never go out of style. Button-downs, maybe a nice silk blouse. Never start with the trendy pieces. It will take too much effort, too much thought to use them quickly and often. So just escape that altogether and start with classics.

Fabulous blend of classic jeans with current color in rich, organic shades that anyone can wear.

TFH: So start with the jeans and maybe a couple of tops, and then…
CM: Shoes that you love. A great pair of loafers or ballet flats, maybe boots if that’s your style and need. Those kinds of things you can wear again and again. A great belt. And one piece of fabulous jewelry that you love and can wear forever.

BOOTS! My favorite, and this is the kind that will still look good when I’m a grandmama.

More on my interview with Corina to come, including her thoughts on makeup and what one fashion splurge is always worth the money! Until then… enjoy checking out Serafina:

And don’t forget to share your thoughts about fashion staples in the comments! What’s your recipe for a foolproof look? And who is your style icon?

Photos by Lucie Amberg.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill/ No Kid Hungry Partnership #macgrillgive

Romano’s Macaroni Grill reached out to us about their partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. They shared the arresting statistic that one in five children in our beautiful country are hungry. Thankfully, they also shared a way to help fight it. Simply because we posted a scrumptious Italian recipe over on our sister site, The Fashionable Plate, Macaroni Grill is donating to the No Kid Hungry effort.

So please take a moment to check out our Capellini Pomodoro. It’s easy and delicious! And many thanks to Romano’s Macaroni Grill for including us in this effort.

The Children’s Place for Fall

A few weeks ago, I posted a couple of pics from The Children’s Place Fall Preview event I attended here in LA. Like all collections since the appointment of head designer Michael Giannelli, the girls’ collection is particularly strong– brimming with age-appropriate takes on current trends. A few photos I snapped during the event:

The boys’ doesn’t have quite that much creative flair, but “welcome to the world of shopping for a boy.” At this point, I’m used to it! Regardless, TCP’s fall collection still boasts cool-kid takes on top trends like preppy, plaid, and rocker. A few standout pieces that my son will be sporting this fall:

Striped Thermal (My little guy wore this style from TCP ALL last winter.)

Utility Shirt

Bold Mid-Top Sneaker

Boat Sneaker

Definitely a cute collection, and beyond that, I have to stress that my little guy has worn many, many Children’s Place items, and not a single one has ever worn out before he could grow out of it. Seriously- this stuff is quality! That durability combined with the parent-friendly pricing of TCP earns it my highest recommendation.

So shop and enjoy!

Fashionable Media Review Policy: Items from this collection were presented to me, at no cost, by the manufacturer or representing PR agency. My opinion is my own and not influenced by compensation, monetary or otherwise.

Nieves Lavi Dress on New Mom Kourtney Kardashian

Many moons ago, I wrote about repurposing basic maxi dresses as maternity wear. Kourtney Kardashian just showed how to take that principle postpartum. Check her stepping out in a colorful Nieves Lavi caftan below:

Especially knowing how miserably hot it’s been here in SoCal, I give Kourtney a big thumbs up for this breezy look. What do you think? Have you worn this look while pregnant or breastfeeding?