Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Party Hair Tutorials

Most of the time my hair goes straight up into a bun every morning, except when I have a big meeting or a fun engagement that night and then I spend the time to straighten and maybe even put my hair in curlers (my fiance can never understand why someone with naturally curly hair would straighten and then recurl their hair… he doesn’t undestand the idea of bouncy cascading curls verse kinky uncontrollable curls…).

But for those specialty events when I want to stand out, I turn to the trusty internet for hair help. Here are my favorite 4 hair tutorials that I have pretty much successfully  mastered:

The Martha Stewart Side Chignon 
(Note: This is the most difficult, but after trying a few times it looks fantastic. Don’t forget to curl your hair because when the pieces stick out of the chignon you want to make sure they look purposeful, not like you just can’t get your hair to behave.)

Cup of Jo Gibson Roll
(Note: Make sure to give yourself a little volume on the top with a fine tooth comb so that you don’t look too “Heidi”. Also messy is okay here! It’s a “Oh I just threw my hair up as I ran out the door and oh, does it look fantastic? Well thank you so very much” hair do.)


Cupcakes and Cashmere Beachy Waves 
(Note: This one is great because it is hard to mess up. Just make sure that you curl in different directions and that you mainly curl from your ear down. We’re not going for Shirley Temple here!)

Joan Holloway Inspired Mad Men Do 
(Note: Okay, this was for a Mad Men party.. but had I not gone so crazy with the teasing, this could have been an awesome regular party updo)

P.S. The number one advice I can give you as the secret to awesome updos is: Make sure your hair is a day or two dirty. Might be gross, but I swear it helps!

~ c


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Hair Musings

The Sartorialist once had an incredibly smart post entitled “Fashion Above the Neck”* in which he ascertained that if her were a young woman today, he would keep his wardrobe simple and get a fantastic haircut that could serve as the focus of his look.

This post hit me: It was so simple and striking, I literally kept it up in a tab all day long and saved it immediately to my “Things I Like” Google Doc.  Sometimes when I tire of my wardrobe, or I feel disjointed in my style, I think back to how good hair can act as a guiding force in one’s style— if your hair is fantastic, everything else can be simple.

A haircut and color is one thing that I will ALWAYS spend money on**.  You wear your hair everyday and it can be as much a part of your look as fabulous dress or an eye-catching scarf.  If we’re talking price-per-wear, even an expensive haircut becomes frugal.

Her hair is quite different from mine, but I envy it and it reminds me of the crazy-awesome effect texture can lend

Inspiration for my haircut- yay! You don't have to choose between Rapunzel-or schoolboy-length to pack a punch

Last month, I changed my hair for fall with this in mind.  The change was not as drastic as the young lady above, but my new short, deep caramel ‘do is a distinct departure from my wavy summer blonde.  Over the years, my sister and I have collectively hit every mark on the hair color scale from flaxen blonde to rich auburn to milk chocolate***.

A month in, I’m loving my new color and cut, and it serves as a constant reminder that if I put in a bit of effort, my hair can be a statement accessory.

*Oh no, it looks like when The Sartorialist switched to his new blog format, half of this beautiful post disappeared.  Darn interwebs, eating the best posts.
**My salon here in DC is called Blondie’s, and I can safely say they play for the Brunettes just as well.  I think Rachel there is truly fantastic!
*** someday we will make a Cait and Allie Hair Rainbow to show you I’m not kidding!


photo sources: The Sartorialist, The Sartorialist, Website , Refinery29

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  1. L’Oreal True Match Foundation
    I have super dry skin and this is the only foundation I can use that doesn’t make my face look flaky. It is smooth and has great coverage. The concealer is pretty good too.
  2. Maybelline “The Falsies” or “Define-a-lash” lengthening mascaras
    Both are awesome products. The only con about “The Falsies” is that it stays wet for a little while, so you have to be careful about getting smudges or those dots on your eyelids if your eyelashes touch under your eyebrow.
  3. John Frieda Hair Serum
    Just the best for defrizzing and smoothing!
  4. Revlon Lipcolor
    Definitely the best bang for your buck for creamy, intense lip color.
  5. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Fig
    Minty, moisturizing and smooth. A great color for fall too….
  6. Sally Hanson Complete Salon Manicure
    I love the square brush on this. It really helps to get a thick layer while staying in control. The colors are very pigmented so you definitely don’t need 100 coats to get the color you want. This doesn’t last as long as a real manicure, but the color is fantastic for the price.

I also have some drugstore items that I hoped would be as good as the more expensive stuff, but it just doesn’t live up…

Moroccan Oil.Spring for the good stuff. It’s so much thicker and makes a huge difference. The liquidy drugstore stuff just doesn’t compare.

Dry Shampoo. I really wish this $4 dry shampoo soaked up oil leaving my hair light and full like some of my old stuff I bought at Sephora.. but it just doesn’t.

Eye Shadow.Does anyone have a great drugstore eye shadow? I mean they are all okay.. but nothing beats the silky, pigmented color of a great eye shadow that doesn’t crease. I’ve yet to find that in a cheaper brand (including the Sephora brand.. it does not glide on smoothly at all!)

~ c & a

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Hair Salvation

By the end of my first summer in DC, my hair dresser full-on yelled at me, screaming “What did you do to your hair?!” and yelling “Straw!!” everytime she touched it.  It was true; the heavy humidity had sucked the moisture right out of every last strand, leaving my hair a brittle, dry, and not to mention bleached out by the sun.  Think bale of hay.  She went on to prescribe me a regimen of tonics, cremes, and potions to fix my haystack hair, wracking my bill up to a number so high I’ve blocked it from my memory.  This summer I was fortunate to find something under $10 that honestly has done better than her prescription, keeping my hair supple despite the meteorological abuse.

Unrefined Virgin Coconut oil.  You can find it in grocery stores in the Baking or Oils Aisle (I get mine at Whole Foods).

Yes, this is the same coconut oil that sits in my kitchen cupboard, waiting to be dolled out for onion sauteing, salad dressing, or aromatic cookies baking.

However my most common -and helpful -use of this sub $10 jar is for an ultra-hydrating hair mask.  In the summer, I focus mostly on my ends, massaging it into them and working up towards my roots.  In the winter, when my scalp is dry and itchy, I also massage it into my roots.  I wrap my hair up in a towel and [fold laundry, putz around online, watch a Law & Order: SVU, what have you] for an hour before hopping in the shower.  I wash my hair with shampoo (you may need to wash it twice if you have really massaged the coconut oil into your roots) and often use the smallest dab of conditioner to help me run a comb through my wet hair.

I tell you, working this into my routine on a bi-weekly basis has helped to combat dryness and frizz better than a $25 tub of Kiehl’s Hair Mask.  This $10 jar holds a special place of leadership in my artillery of frizz-fighting, silk-ify-ing, moisturizing potions.

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