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Sassy musings of an NYC-based writer and fashionista.

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Read: 10 Dos & Don'ts of Sunscreen

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By HIHEELZbrooke · June 18, 2011

Hey, I love a good, glowing tan as much as the next bikini-clad girl. But a true beach goddess still slathers up with sunscreen! Before you hit the sand, read my article on the top 10 things you need to know about sunscreen:

It’s finally summertime, and we’re all gearing up for weekend beach trips and outdoor barbecues. It’s all fun in the sun…until someone gets burned. 

Not only do the sun’s ultraviolet rays cause red, painful sunburns, but going out in the sun unprotected prematurely ages our skin and ups our chances of developing skin cancer like melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, over two million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year—most of them due to too much sun exposure. 

As long as you slather on the right sunscreen, you can still enjoy the sunshine. Here are 10 dos and don’ts for buying, wearing and reapplying sunscreen to help you protect your skin the right way this summer. We've also included details on the new federal sunscreen regulations that will take place next summer.


Read all about the top 10 dos and don'ts of sunscreen on ThirdAge.com!

Read: Get Pretty, Healthy Summer Feet

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By HIHEELZbrooke · June 18, 2011

Now that summer time is in full swing, it's time to give ourselves a pedi, slip on our best pair of wedges and put our pretty feet on display! Check out my article for 10 ways to get your tootsies summer-ready:

When we were stuffing our feet into boots and socks all winter, going sans-pedicure was no biggie. (Who was looking, anyway?) We didn’t have to worry about strappy sandals giving us blisters, and since we definitely weren’t waking around barefoot with snow on the ground, calluses and splinters were the least of our worries. 

But summertime means lots of outdoor activities and open-toed shoes. And let’s face it—neglected feet and unkempt toes are not a pretty sight. To help get your tootsies looking and feeling summer-ready, here are 10 easy ways to pamper your own feet:


Head to ThirdAge.com to read my full article on how to have pretty, healthy summer feet!

Loves It: Pageant Girl Beauty Must-Haves Under $25!

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By HIHEELZbrooke · June 18, 2011

The official Miss USA pageant will  and broadcasting live from Las Vegas tomorrow! Why do I care about watching a bunch of girls pose on stage in gowns and bikinis, you ask? Because a few months ago, I was going for the Miss New York USA crown, in hopes that I would be the one representing the Empire State on that very stage. (No dice, as I'm sure you already figured out, but hey, it was an unbelievable and fun experience!)

Let me start by saying, the amount of time, money and preparation that goes into getting ready for a pageant is uncanny. You have to step up your work out routine big time, perfect your cat walk and prepare answers for every possible interview question. Then you have to buy an evening gown, a stunning new interview outfit, new shoes, makeup, jewelry, a pageant coach (yeah...I skipped that step.) Pageantry is not a cheap or easy sport!

But if you're going to enter a beauty pageant, it's important to remember that it is a beauty pageant after all. You have to be willing to give it your all and do everything you can to look your very best. But that doesn't mean you have to break the bank on your beauty regimen. As a 24-year-old trying to make it as a writer, I had to find ways to measure up on the big Miss New York stage without blowing through my savings.

Whether you're thinking about entering a pageant or just curious about the behind-the-scenes preparation, here are five of my favorite pageant girl beauty must-haves that help you feel and look your best on stage. Ready for the best part? They're all drugstore buys under $25!


Press-On Manicure

Broadway Nails Real Life Petites Real Short Pink Glue-On Nail Kit Petite Length

$6.49 by Broadway Nails at Walgreens

On pageant weekend, you are moving around non-stop. Hours of rehearsals, hair curling and getting glammed up multiple times a day is not only tiring, but it really takes a toll on your manicure. Having chipped nails on stage—or even worse, when you're shaking hands with the judges for your interview—is a big pageant no-no. That's why I love these glue-on tips. Not only are they far more wallet-friendly than a salon mani or tip set, but they won't chip on you, and the french manicure looks totally natural. Every time I wear these, someone always tells me how great my nails look—one girl even asked me where I get my nails done! (She was in awe when I told her "CVS".) The petite size (above) is perfect for girls with tiny nails and short nail beds like mine.

Here's a tip: Bring the little bottle of nail glue and the extra nails that come in the package with you to the dressing room, just in case a nail pops off before you hit the stage!


False Eyelashes

Ardell Fashion Lashes Strip - Black (105)

$3.69 by Ardell at Target

Even though the judges are looking for "natural beauty", don't be afraid of false eyelashes! They accentuate what you already have, which is extremely important when you're up in the limelight, trying to shine brighter than the girl in front of you. The Adrell Fashion Lashes are my favorite brand—they brighten up your eyes without looking fake and tacky. The package comes with glue and an applicator to help you press them on just right. I will suggest, however, practicing putting them on a few times before pageant weekend because they do take some getting used to. Going for only $3.69, I also love the price!


Teeth Whitening Strips

Crest 3D White Whitestrips Vivid - 15 Count

$24.99 at Target

Smiling is one of the single most important things to remember when you're in a beauty pageant. You need to look like you're having fun up on the stage, or the judges will ask themselves why you're there—in which case, say goodbye to the crown and sash! A few weeks prior to the competition, get your smile pageant ready with some teeth whitening strips. When you know your pearly whites are in tiptop shape, you'll feel that much more confident and you'll want to smile more!

While my roommate and I did our hair and makeup before each night's competition, we'd both put on last minute Crest Whitestrips—that way, we both couldn't talk at the same time, and we'd feel like our smiles were a few watts brighter.


Tanning Foam

Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer, Fair to Medium Skin Tones

$8.49 by Jergens at drugstore.com

You can pass up dessert and do fifty sets of crunches a day, but I know I don't feel totally swimsuit ready unless I have a great tan. The Miss New York USA Pageant began the day after Thanksgiving (I know, a sick joke, right?!) so naturally, my skin was a pretty bright shade of pale. I knew I needed to get some color, but I refuse to fake-'n-bake in a tanning bed because I'm petrified of wrinkles and cancer. A spray tan is another option, but those can be pretty pricey—and pretty scary, unless they're done well.

This tinted foaming moisturizer by Jergens is a budget-pageant-girl's best friend. After you shower, lather your entire body up with the tanning foam. I started building up my tan about two weeks before the pageant—once the competition was only a few days away, I lathered up twice a day to get a little bronzer. Jergens also makes this tinted moisturizer in cream form, but I prefer the foam because it's less likely to streak.


Fashion Tape

Hollywood fashion tape

$8.99 by Hollywood Fashion Tape at Bliss

When you're on stage concentrating on where to walk, what to say, how to pose and who to smile at, the last thing you want to be worried about is a wardrobe malfunction. Fashion tape is a pageant weekend must-have. I used it on every one of my competition outfits—I taped my evening gown to my chest, my sequined belt to my bikini bottom and my bra to the shirt of my interview ensemble. The judges want to see your winning smile and personality—not your Victoria's Secret undies.


Tell Me: Have you ever been in a pageant, or would you ever consider it? What are your beauty must-haves?

Loves It: Jergens Natural Glow Tanning Foam

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By HIHEELZbrooke · May 23, 2011

It's now late May, and even thought the weather here in NYC is still a bit chilly (ugh!), I have retired my heavy clothes for the season and in exchange, have busted out my bandage skirts and mini dresses.

We all love summer fashion. But with the sunshine and pool parties also comes the inevitable: warmer weather + tinier clothes = much more skin showing.

Not that I'm complaining! But at the same time: cold weather + jeans all winter = I'm really pasty white.

Honestly, let's get real—cute summer clothes look a heck of a lot cuter when you're sporting a glowing tan. But when you haven't seen seen the sun in months, maintaining sunkissed skin is a lot easier said than done. You have to start somewhere and bridge that seasonal white-to-bronze gap. And that's where tanning lotion comes in!

Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer

I first discovered this amazing product, Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer, during my brief pageantry stint back in November. Let me tell you folks, pageants are no joke—they take a ton of preparation in many arenas. Increased cardio sessions? Check. Cut down on chocolate? Check. (Okay, I cheated on that one.) Buy a pretty blue dress? Check! But if I was going to be walking down a runway in a bikini, I knew I also needed a glowing tan to look and feel my best—something that most New York residents don't have in the dead of winter. No doubt, resembling Casper's doppleganger like I did wasn't going to win me the Miss New York USA crown.

Hitting up the tanning bed for repeated fake-'n-bake sessions was also out of the question for me. (Hey, I want to be a bronzed goddess, but cancer and wrinkles in ten years? No thanks!) Weighing my options, I considered getting a spray tan. (Sidenote: at that point in my time, I hadn't yet tried spray tans—I LOVE them now!) But they can be quite expensive, and I kept thinking, "Oh God, what if I come out looking orange and streaky?" I certainly didn't want to debut a pale body on stage, but the Snooki-tiger hybrid look isn't exactly a happy-times alternative.

So, off to Target I went to pick up some tanning lotion. The Jergens Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer summoned me from the shelves for three reasons: 1) it won an Allure beauty award, 2) it was only $7.99 and 3) how awesome does a "foam moisturizer" sound?

I gave the tanning foam a try and I was immediately sold. After a few days of use, my tan accumulated naturally, and when pageant weekend finally arrived, my full-body tan had built up quite nicely and I was wonderfully bronzed! I felt like a million bucks on stage and ever since then I've used the stuff religiously to give my skin that extra healthy glow. The moisturizer also comes in a cream formula, but I really enjoy the foam because it's super light and easy to rub in, so you don't get crazy streaks. It's also scent-free, so no need to worry about smelling like chemicals.

Until the sun decides to come out for good and warm things up so I can lounge by my pool, I will definitely continue to lather up. Hey— fake it 'till ya make it!

Loves It: Get SJP's Natural Makeup Look

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By HIHEELZbrooke · May 12, 2011

Sarah Jessica Parker’s face was flawless on the red carpet at the New York City Ballet Spring Gala last night. Her natural-toned makeup was done perfectly—it's the exact look I'm almost always going for. And believe it or not, her cosmetic look is super-easy to do yourself.

Here's a start-to-finish guide on how to do your make up like SJP's. I even listed a bunch of my favorite products to help get you started:

Sarah Jessica Parker


Start with a makeup primer to smooth and prepare your skin to evenly take your foundation.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 With Dermaxyl Complex To Go

$17.00 by Smashbox at Sephora


Then, cover your face with a tinted foundation to even out your skin tone and give your skin a naturally sun-kissed look. I personally love anything mineral-based to prevent that greasy, cakey feeling—especially now that the warmer weather is here.

Bare Escentuals Tinted Mineral Veil in Mirrored Compact with Buff & Go Brush

$29.50 by Bare Escentuals at Bloomingdale's


Pucker up and brush a bit of color on the apples of your cheeks. For spring and summer, opt for a blush in a coral-rose hue.

Le Metier de Beaute Creme Fresh Tints

$28.00 by LeMetier de Beaute at Neiman Marcus


To make your eyes really pop like SJP’s, use eye shadow colors that are the opposite of your eye color (i.e., if your eyes are blue, reach for brown eye shadows.) Blend the shadow upwards towards your brows for a bright look that opens up your eyes. I've been using this eyeshadow palette since sixth grade—hey, if it works, it works!

Almay Intense I-color Play Up Eye Shadow

$6.99 by Almay at Ulta


To get SJP’s glow, lightly brush on a neutral, mineral-based powder that has a hint of shimmer over your shadow.


Bare Minerals Eye Color - Cultured Pearl

$13.00 at BareEscentuals


Because Sarah Jessica went natural with her shadow, she could use black eyeliner on the top and bottom for a bolder look.

Almay Intense I-color Eyeliner

$6.99 by Almay at Ulta


Swiping a lengthening mascara on her lashes helped give her those sexy cat eyes. CoverGirl mascara is by far the best!

CoverGirl LashBlast Length Water Resist Mascara, Black Brown 835

$7.79 at drugstore.com


Keep your eyes the center of attention and go for a natural pout. Sarah Jessica used a light lip liner on her bottom lip...

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Liner, Au Naturale

$8.48 by L'Oreal at drugstore.com


...and finished off with a nude lip gloss to get that shine.

Clinique Long Last Glosswear SPF 15

$14.00 by Clinique at Bergdorf Goodman


Tell Me: What do you think of Sarah Jessica's look? What are some of your favorite cosmetic products?

Loves It: Princess Catherine's Wedding Day Fragrance

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By HIHEELZbrooke · May 4, 2011

So this is how you lure in a prince!

White Gardenia Petals

The world speculated for months over the Duchess of Cambridge’s secret wedding dress designer, and we all gushed on the wedding day when we finally saw the stunning Alexander McQueen gown.

But here’s something spectators couldn’t tell by watching the April 29th nuptials—what was Catherine’s perfume of choice?

According to Clarence House, the royal bride spritzed on White Gardenia Petals by Illuminum before walking down the aisle. The floral scent is described as delicate and light, containing notes of cocoanut, jasmine and amber wood. The selling price is £70, or about $145.

Before the Royal Wedding, Illuminum was a little-known British brand. But as soon as the news broke, bottles of Kate’s chosen scent sold out as fast as shoppers could grab them off the shelves. A two-week waiting list has already formed.

Illuminum spokesman Michael Donovan reveals that orders for the fragrance have been placed from countries all over the world, but most of the customers are from the U.S.


Check out my article on Thirdage.com where I dished on Kate's special prince pheromones perfume!

Loves It: Color Club Turquoise Nail Polish!

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By HIHEELZbrooke · March 30, 2011

Even though it's still freezing in New York (there is SNOW in Friday's forecast! I don't even want to talk about it...) it is technically springtime. Wearing sundresses and cute short sleeve T-shirts is currently out of the question, unless I wish to develop hypothermia. Thus, I have turned to bright nail polish colors to brighten up my spirits.

I received this mini bottle of Color Club Professional Nail Lacquer in a goodie bag at Fashion Week, and have been dying to try it out. Well, I finally gave myself a mani, and I am in love with this color! The swatch doesn't have an official name yet, but I would describe it as Tiffany-Box Turquoise. It's perfect for gals like me who love fun, bright colors for spring...and who definitely won't be receiving any real Tiffany boxes any time soon... #bummer.

So, I'm really into putting together outfits in my mind that I cannot wear yet...I own an adorable yellow polka-dotted sundress that I can't wait to rock. This turquoise hue on my digits will make an especially playful statement against that dress, especially since I own an oversized bag in almost the exact same color. Once the temperatures, well, double what they are now, and I can actually sport the dress, I'll definitely have to redo my nails in this color and make my daydream-outfit become a reality.

Another plus: the polish it totally long-lasting. This is a bold statement coming from me, the girl who could sit in a chair and stare at a brick wall, and her nail polish job would be in shambles by Day 2. This manicure still looked almost flawless by Day 5. Color Club, your polish definitely gets an A+ in my book!


Tell Me: What are your opinions on bright, crazy nail polish colors?

Loves It: MAKE UP FOR EVER's Un-Retouched Ads

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By HIHEELZbrooke · March 16, 2011

The Paris-based professional cosmetic brand, MAKE UP FOR EVER, has launched their first-ever un-retouched ad campaign today. Yes, you read that correctly—these print and online ads have not been digitally altered, and have been notarized to prove it.

The ads, which highlight the brand’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation, portray a gorgeous woman snapping a photo of herself. The model wears the foundation in the unretouched ads to prove that it really does live up to its promise—the ability to give you a photo-ready look every time. How is this possible, you ask? This miraculous oil-free makeup has a soft-focus effect that was specifically created to mask imperfections and give you a flawless complexion, even behind the unforgiving light of high-def technology.

No Photoshop needed!

MAKE UP FOR EVER's HD Invisible Cover Foundation comes in 26 different shades to match all skin tones. It's available exclusively at Sephora, retailing at $40.


Check out my article on ThirdAge.com where we broke the news!

Loves It: My Fave Lip Colors

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By HIHEELZbrooke · February 22, 2011
Maybelline ColorSensational Lipstain (Blushing) - $6 - Target
Look De Vine Lip Shimmers - $3.99 - Walgreens
Sally Hansen Diamond 12 Hr. Lip Treatment - $6.25 - Sears
N.Y.C. New York Color Ultra-Moist Lip Wear ('Ruby') - $1.00 - CVS
Smashbox O-GLOSS intuitive Lip Gloss - $22 - Sephora
Smashbox O-PLUMP intuitive Lip Plumper - $24 - Sephora

I firmly believe that there is no such thing as having too much lip gloss. There are just so many different options—lip plumper, lip stain, lip gloss or lipstick, shimmer, shine...then there's choosing a color (...andddd this is why I can't close my makeup drawer.)

I usually keep six or seven lip products in my bag at a time because my go-to-gloss changes with my mood and outfit. (No joke!) I would argue that I tend to go brighter than your average person—for instance, wearing a bright red or hot pink lipstick for a night out in the city doesn't intimidate me!

Above are just a few of my many favorite lip colors!

Window Shopping: Valentine's Day Treats for the Single Gal

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By HIHEELZbrooke · February 9, 2011

Are you Singletown this V-Day? Me too! And if you ask me, feeling down in the dumps about it is almost impossible when this is the one and only day you can wear red and pink together in the same outfit. I know I'm excited!

Make the most of February 14th by treating yourself and your other single gal pals to these fun little Heart Day-themed gifties. I know I'm going to quite literally eat my heart out with some yummy Hanson chocolates. Mmm...bop. :)



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