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Glamour & Grammar


Sassy musings of an NYC-based writer and fashionista.

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Loves It: Desert Essence PSL Hand Cream

By HIHEELZbrooke · October 21, 2015

While I prefer my caffeinated Fall beverages unsweetened with a splash of skim, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a sweet treat for my hands!

Desert Essence Pumpkin Hand Repair Cream

I'm loving Desert Essence's new Pumpkin Hand Repair Cream ($8.99, desertessence.com). This decadent hand lotion is jam-packed with Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Vitamins A, C, E, and K, so it's just as moisturizing at it is delicious. (Don't eat it, though.) It also boasts reparative ingredients like Zinc and Licorice Leaf Extract to help even out skin tone and leave skin feeling soft and supple. Plus, it's 100% Vegan and cruelty-free. That's right—no animals were harmed in the process of making your hands smell like a #PSL.

At the risk of sounding basic, anything pumpkin scented makes me extra excited for Halloween, which is fast appraching...what's everyone going as?

Loves It: Audrina Patridge's Turquoise Bangles

By HIHEELZbrooke · June 23, 2011

No matter what the latest trend of the season may be, turquoise will always be the color of summer. Am I right, or am I right?

I love, love, love statement jewelry, which is just one reason I'm totes digging Audrina Patridge's turquoise bangles. They're simple, but bold and bright at the same time. I also applaud Audrina for using the bracelets' versatility to her advantage and taking them from day to night. (Think: lighter packing on summer vaycay!) When you start your day on the sand or by the pool, bangles make for the perfect accessory to your bikini. Not only are they stylish without being "too much", but they move around on your arm so you won't get a bracelet tan! Audrina's turquoise bracelets really punched up the vibrant colors in her suit.

Once the sun set, the former star of 'The Hills' switched gears and tossed on a grey jersey dress for the evening's festivities. To add a pop of color, she accessorized with the same chunky bracelets.

Love Audrina's turquoise bangles? I found a few bracelets similar to hers that are perfect for mixing and matching!

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

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

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

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: Kristin Cavallari's Summer Look

By HIHEELZbrooke · May 8, 2011

I am absolutely obsessed with Kristin Cavallari's summer outfit!

Kristin Cavallari

Last week, The Hills star struck a pose at the premiere of the Something Borrowed movie wearing a super-adorable strapless sundress by Shoshanna. The bright white dress looked stunning against her glowing tan (well, I'd be glowing too if I was debuting a paper weight engagement ring that big) and her beach-wavy blonde hair. My favorite part of the dress is the colorful stone detail on the bodice.

Kristin tied the outfit together perfectly with a pair of gorgeous magenta platform sandals from her own ShoeDazzle collection. Any color shoe would have worked since the dress has a stone in every hue, but bold pink would have been my first choice, too. (Well, anything in pink is always my first choice!) Her whole look is bright, flirty and simple, but that's what I love about it.

So, Kristin—can my "something borrowed" be your entire outfit for my trip to Puerto Rico that I just booked?

Loves It: Princess Catherine's Wedding Day Fragrance

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: How To Wear Sequins For Spring

By HIHEELZbrooke · March 31, 2011

Sequins were a big hit this past winter season, and it looks like they’re coming back for round two. At New York Fashion Week, big name designers like Pamella Roland, Zang Toi and Venexiana featured tons of sparkly looks on the runways.

But right now, we’re definitely not concerned about next-winter-wear. We want to talk spring clothing! And I know what you’re thinking—that sequins are made for New Year’s Eve and holiday parties. Well luckily, that’s not true at all—and thank goodness, because sequins are one of my absolute favorite trends. There are plenty of ways to work this glitzy, versatile look for spring.

Sure, sequins make a pretty bold statement. But that doesn’t mean you should be too nervous to try this season’s trend. As long as you keep a few Dos and Don’ts in mind, embellishments can glam up your outfit in all the right ways this spring.


DO Balance Out Your Look


MICHAEL Michael Kors Sequin-Front Tank

$130.00 at Michael Kors

Sequins are like built-in jewelry—they make a statement all on their own. Let the embellishments speak for themselves by making them the focus of your outfit. Then, work in more casual pieces to create balance. For example, pair a sequined tunic or blazer with light-wash or white skinny jeans.



Gryphon Crocheted Sequin-Striped Miniskirt

$250.00$105.00 at Bloomingdale's

Or, if your miniskirt has glitz, tone it down a bit with a plain T-shirt, tank and/or cardigan.


DON’T Wear Just Black


Gradient Sequin Mini Dresses by La Femme

$374.00 by La Femme at eDressMe

Don’t get me wrong—black sequined pieces are lovely. All I'm saying is, don’t be afraid of other shades. Embellishments in neutral metallic shades like silver, bronze and rose gold are all chic options. Clear sequins are also a light, subtle choice for spring. Or, if you really want to walk into a room and turn heads, be bold and reach for a colorful, sequined minidress like the one above.




DO Accessorize With Sequined Pieces




Lola Sequined Clutch

$79.00 at stefaniBags.com


A dress dripping with sparkles isn’t your only option. If sequined clothing is a bit too much for your taste, try accessorizing with embellishments instead. A sparkling bracelet or long necklace is just enough to add that glamorous touch. A sequined clutch is the perfect way to jazz up any outfit for date night or cocktails with your girlfriends.




Bourne 'Yasmin' Sequin Sandal

$240.00 by Bourne at Nordstrom


Other fun alternatives—wear an embellished belt over your favorite dress or cardigan, or slip on a pair of sequined heeled sandals, like the ones pictured above.


</b></b></b></b>DON'T Be Afraid of Patterns



Yoana Baraschi Vida Floral Sequin Dress

$320.00 by Yoana Baraschi at Neiman Marcus


Believe it or not, patterns and sequins on the same piece actually make for a beautiful friendship. For spring, keep bright colors and florals in mind.


Nanette Lepore Sequin Mini Skirt

$298.00$207.99 by Nanette Lepore at Saks Fifth Avenue

For something with a touch of sophistication, try on this block-pattern embellished mini. SO cute!


DO Take 'Em to the Beach


Beach Sexy® Ombré Sequin Triangle Top

$38.00 by Beach Sexy at Victoria's Secret

Maybe you're going on Spring Break (lucky), or maybe you live somewhere warm year-round (luckier)—either way, the beach is the perfect place to show off your best sequined attire. In my opinion, you can't go wrong in a glitzy bikini.



The Sequined Beach Dress

$58.00$49.00 at Victoria's Secret

For a subtler way to show off your assets whilst sun-and-sand status, slip on this pretty beach cover-up that has just the right amount of glitz.


DON’T Overdo It!


L8ter Top, Sleeveless Open Front Sequin Vest

$34.00$12.99 at Macy's

The best way to ensure your outfit doesn’t cross over into disco ball-esque territory is to keep it to one sequined piece per-outfit. That way, you’re wearing the trend—you don’t want the trend outshine you!


Tell Me: What do you think of springtime sequins?


Loves It: Color Club Turquoise Nail Polish!

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

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!



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