Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Plant

I've never been big into New Year's resolutions, resisting that a calendar flip be the only fuel to ignite a fresh start. Still, I'm seduced by the sparkle, celebrations, and thrill of the annual countdown. 

Whether or not you determine to do things differently in 2013, it's important to reflect on the year gone and look with optimism on the next. Otherwise, time is just passing. 

To mark the occasion – and signify an embrace of experiences to come – I bought a new plant

photo courtesy

I've been drawn recently to the gritty imperfection and beautiful toughness of cacti. The succulent thrives in all parts of the world and symbolizes endurance.

I looked up "toughness" in the Thesaurus just now, unsure of my word choice, and synonyms such as "resolution" and "earnestness" turned up. I felt immediately validated. The low-maintenance plant couldn’t be more appropriate for this time of year or emblematic of the attitude with which I'll approach 2013 – full of gratitude, vigor and determination, through all elements, in any environment.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

They say, “don’t fix what isn’t broken,” but prevention attention goes a long way in discrediting that catchphrase. The old saying leaves no room for what exists to be improved upon or consider that care today inhibits a quicker and harsher tomorrow.

Kiehl’s products are packed with the natural ingredients for the healthiest skin, whether you’re preventing, restoring, or somewhere in-between. The company began as a pharmacy in New York City’s East Village 160 years ago. The brand’s endurance is the strongest testament to its effectiveness, and its “old world apothecary” origin is both assuring and indulgent, like you’re tapping into the exotic, natural secrets of ancient medicine men. 

There’s indeed a bit of magic in the way the Midnight Recovery Concentrate works: a few drops of the potion before bed, and you arise in the morning transformed – a real-life Sleeping Beauty. The process isn’t actually that immediate, but skin is most receptive to repairing itself at night. This lightweight serum works in unison with that natural cycle to dramatically rehabilitate and revive, mid-dream.

Kiehl’s advocates this product for all skin types and ages. Though I’m not yet fighting fine lines, Midnight Recovery is a conditioning and smoothing treatment that beats back the look of stress we all suffer from and, I like to think, primes skin for graceful aging.

The Concentrate's light lavender aroma sends you to sleep like a soothing lullaby, but rising to a soft, glowing complexion is the principal perk -- as pleasing as rousing to a prince's kiss.

From prevention to dark spots, target your anti-aging concern with personalized product recommendations from Kiehl's. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Patagonia Primo Down Jacket

Starting at age four, I traveled with my sisters and parents to Powderhorn for a small ski break with three other families.  It’s one thing from childhood I remember most fondly, maybe because vacationing with friends wasn’t something many did. I recognized the novelty and reveled in it. Skipping school wasn't routine either, and I recall a slight satisfaction in getting to have this fun experience on an ordinary February weekend that none of my classmates could comprehend.

The first few years we lodged at ramshackle chalets, but eventually the majestic Bear Necessities became our tradition. It was a ski-in/ski-out, sprawling house full of carved-wood grizzlies where we came and went as we pleased, free from grown-ups' guidance in this frosty bubble before granted the same independence at home. We started the days eating Mickey Mouse waffles at the grand breakfast bar and, after wearing out our legs on the runs, ended them with group dinners and raucous rounds of dominos. 

With my older sister, pre-poles. Note the neck warmer. 

The sentimental associations call me back to the slopes as much as the thrill of the sport. I haven’t been on skis in recent years, but have plans to change that in early 2013.  While I expect my slalom skill remains, I’ve long outgrown clothing appropriate for a day on icy terrain.

Of all winter-weather gear, the coat is most crucial. You can get away with layers of leggings and everyday head & hand accessories, but plunging downhill in a peacoat or calf-length puffer would be incurably awkward.

The Primo Down jacket is Patagonia’s paramount barrier against damp and frigidly-cold conditions. European goose down keeps your tush toasty, while double-layer GORE-TEX® fabric defends against wind and water. A drop collar shields the neck and face, eliminating the need for the separate fleece warmer I used to wear. Plenty of secure, zippered pockets mean you can safely carry your phone and casually Instagram your way through the day.

With comfort and looks covered, the only concern I'll have is remembering the breakneck twists and turns of the woods trails hidden in the Powderhorn hillside.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Scott Schuman's The Sartorialist

Over leisurely lunches and on idle nights, I frequently find myself scrolling through The Sartorialist. The draw is not only the obvious fashion stimulation, but the artistic window it offers into individual experience.

I've long felt a magnetism toward the "now," the pulse of present time  – it's why I love reality TV and majored in journalism. Scott Schuman's snapshots essentially assemble a graphic newspaper, wordlessly reporting what's interrupting, what's inspiring, what's happening around the globe any arbitrary, fleeting moment.


To book lovers' delight, the digital collection was first published in 2009; the sophomore deeper dive, this year. Even if you couldn't care less about women in work boots or the merits of sockless loafers, the sharp photographs, bound together in bright paperback, are provocative revelations of human habit. 


If You’re Thinking About...… Culture, universally relevant and perpetually in style, Schuman’s process and product are vibrant studies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crate & Barrel Verve Flute

With December 25 just two short weeks away, you've likely already attended a Christmas party. But if you've yet to host a holiday meet 'n greet, first ensure you have the mechanics for proper merry-making. 

Before Christmas Eve tenderloin, my family toasts with champagne. At a recent Sunday brunch, the stemless glass in which my mimosa (read: straight brut) arrived turned me on to a more modern possibility in drinkware, and I plan to incorporate that inspiration into our approaching aperitif. 

The Inspiration 

Of course, entertaining authority Crate & Barrel has the desired design. The Verve is contemporary, as the one captured above, but light-years swankier.  

The clean, kingly silhouette tapers softly into a uniquely chunky base. Its deviation from flutes' typically skinny stem is the appeal, but handmade, finely-cut glass still whispers of the delicacy that defines sparkling wine. Appropriately, sealed-in bubbles exude energy, mirroring the mood the drink induces. 

photo courtesy

If I'm this giddy about the empty glass, I expect my delight will overflow once the flute's filled with a bubbly beverage. 'Tis the season!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kerastase Hair Repair

After years of proper salon coloring, I made the mistake of trying DIY on a friend's recommendation. She used Whole Foods boxed dyes habitually and had shiny, healthy-looking hair. Despite my better judgment, I began to believe paying professionals was a waste.

Perhaps store-bought formulas work well for a quick color refresh, but (shockingly) not dramatic, light to dark modification. Two full years later, I'm still working to restore my mane to its pre-January 2011 length and strength.

Care and maintenance are money-suckers, but an "accessory" you wear daily deserves top-tier attention. To right the self-inflicted wrong, I enlisted damage control deity Kerastase.

It's challenging to focus on just a few items on the site teeming with luxury tools, but Fibre Architecte is a solid place to start. The serum reconstructs by filling in eroded fibers. Between the sealing of split ends and smoothing finish, that covetable, just-cut feel lasts for days.

Intended as a twosome, Ciment Thermique maintains the healthy foundation Fibre Architecte lays. Activated by heat, the leave-in milk protects locks from the styling stress of dryers and irons while fortifying from within.

That winter lucidity lapse still haunts me, but with any luck — and the corrective capacity of Kerastase — I'll again have the hair of 2010.

If you want to test the powers of the luxury brand before buying, visit The Wow Bar, on 50th and France, where you’ll be prepped for a bouncy blowout with Kerastase, Rahua and Jason Deavalon products.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Nakamol Beaded Collar Necklace

It’s an unspoken rule not to buy for yourself in the month before Christmas. I’m making every effort to honor that etiquette, but near-nonstop shopping for others makes it impossible not to uncover a few personal pearls amidst the oysters.

Collar necklaces are everywhere coming off the Peter Pan neckline craze of fall. The look is ubiquitously sweet, but more versatile when structured as an accessory.  The Nakamol Beaded Necklace’s standard lobster clasp lets you add glitter and glamour to a basic tee or cashmere crew with just a clip.

Not only a convenient outfit addition, fine strands of delicate beading in mass create a special, statement-making décolletage adornment fit for Yuletide fetes.  

Though a jewelry box requisite, I don’t often find amber jewelry I adore, but this iridescent shade with lively gold flecks is on the lighter, brighter side of the spectrum, and I’m unwittingly inclined to it.

Maybe I’ll hold out til December 26. Maybe I won’t.