Hairy Situation

Looking over my blog post from last week, I realized that I’m still having massive hair issues this summer! I’m growing it out for another Locks of Love donation (my fourth!) and having long hair in the heat can be such a drag. So today I decided to do something different — braided pigtails!

I’m not sure if this look is too casual for work, but I kept the braids neat for a more polished look. Best of all, the braids kept my neck cool during my walk to the subway this morning.

I really need to spend some time looking up new hair options, but I tend to always fall back on the same updos — a ponytail or a twist with a barrette. Perhaps I’ll spend some time checking out Hairpedia today…

High-Performance Hair Care

Summer can be brutal on hair. Massive amounts of frizz from humidity and green highlights from swimming pool chlorine are only 2 of the many issues we face — which is why the ladies at work staff rounded up their favorite products to feature in one of today’s homepage articles, High-Performance Hair Care.

One of my favorite products for the summer is Philip B Leave-in Conditioner – the lightweight cream keeps hair under control without sacrificing volume or weighing hair down.

$24; Available at and Salons nationwide

Here’s my review for KMS California too:

KMS California Flat Out Hair Products

Women with thick, wavy, frizz-prone hair rejoice! The Flat Out line from KMS California whips unruly hair into shape – smoothing out every coarse wave into soft, straight and shiny tresses. The Hot Pressed Spray kept my ends from looking dry and damaged when applied before flat ironing, and the Anti-Humidity Seal was able to control my hair from turning into a halo of chaos during a particularly rainy day. Even more impressive, the Straightening Crème was able to remove the dreaded pony-tail crease from dry hair – what a miracle worker!

$14.93 – $17.95; Available at salons nationwide

All in the Family

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about Nature vs. Nurture, and wondering if we’re all destined to become our mothers (or fathers). Which certainly wouldn’t be terrible, just something interesting to consider. Specifically, is weight influenced more by genetics or socialization? After reading a bit on the topic, I still wonder if I love chocolate because my genes influence my taste preferences, or because I learned at a young age that it was a special (and delicious) treat.

There is, however, a lot of comfort in recognizing yourself as part of a family tree. I realized this while studying in Italy a few years ago, in a situation that has become one of my fondest memories.

After a dreary, winter week in Florence, I visited the Uffizi Museum to restart my art-school mojo. I passed through the first few exhibits, feeling homesick and lonely, until I entered the Botticelli room. I immediately stopped in awe to gaze at The Birth of Venus. As I slowly turned around to view his other paintings, I was shocked to realize that Botticelli’s women looked exactly like my mother’s family: tall, pear-shaped, fair and redheaded. My new insight was confirmed by an Italian man who tapped me on the shoulder, pointed to Venus and said, “Look, you are her — she is you! You are love, come have dinner with me tonight?”

Although I politely turned my Florentine suitor down, I left the museum not quite as lonely as I entered. After all, I had just been surrounded by images of my family. Perhaps Botticelli’s models were my distant cousins? Although my hips and skin may not measure up to today’s standard of beauty, I find a lot of reassurance in the fact that they suited my ancestors just fine.

The self-portrait above is a painting I made after this experience.

Botticellie’s original.

Sun-kissed in the Rain

It has been pouring here in NYC for three whole days! Not the typical June weather I remember. However, our office recently received a little help with “Letting the Sunshine In” without the risk of skin cancer. Check out the homepage today for Sizzling Summer Beauty: Get Sun-Kissed Skin; a roundup of our favorite bronzers and self-tanners.

One product that came in a bit too late for our review is Givenchy’s Prisme Again! in Sun Mango. I absolutely adored this compact! It contains 4 smaller squares of color that blend to create a shimmery natural look. The different shades also allowed me to create highlights/lowlights to bring out my cheek bones. After sucking in my cheeks like a fish, I used a medium-sized brush to swipe a mix of the two darker colors into the hollows made. Then I brushed on the two lighter colors above, from the apples of my cheeks almost to my temples. Voila! Instant face shaping.

Dry skin? Try some charity…

This morning, a co-worker of mine was surprised to see me using the no-water hand sanitizer pump newly set up next to our elevators. Although H1N1 panic may be subsiding, I’d still rather not carry whatever germs I picked up on the train with me to my desk. But with this new morning routine comes a new dilemma – very dry skin on my hands. So when Curel contacted our office about a new campaign helping the American Red Cross (and featuring a redesigned limited-edition bottle of their Continuous Comfort moisturizer) I couldn’t wait to check everything out.

Curel has already made a $250,000 donation to the Red Cross, and pledges to donate $10,000 more. Through their “Share the Gift of Caring” initiative, anyone can help out the program by going to and following their directions to make a free donation.

So how does the moisturizer actually feel? I loved it! It really soaked into my skin, and kept these chapped hands hydrated for a long time. But be careful to only use it with really dry skin, or you may find the lotion to be a bit slimy. The limited edition Red-Cross adorned bottle is available now at drugstores across the country for $8.00.