Bostonista

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Barre & Soul in Harvard Square!

I don't think it's exactly a secret that I'm not an athletic person so the fact that I've found a workout that I actually enjoy is kind of a miracle. What is this miracle fitness fad that has me so entranced? Barre! But not just any barre class, I've been going to Barre & Soul's newest location in Harvard Square. Last summer, during my quest to get hot by 30, the only ClassPass class I actually really enjoyed was Barre & Soul at their Lexington location. But when I left my membership (and my winter blues settled around me), I slipped back into old habits and, up until my first visit to Harvard Sq in March, hadn't worked out since September. Yikes.

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The mural and blue piano in the yoga studio


Part of what I love about Barre & Soul is that it's not just about hard work and building muscle (although you will certainly do that) but that there is a lot of focus on personal strength and building a supportive community. Before every class, the instructor reminds you how strong you are and asks you to set an "intention" for the next hour. The idea is to focus on whatever it is brought you into the room and to really embrace the time and work. I can't always do all the moves perfectly, and I feel like I sweat way more than anyone else, but when I do go to class sometimes the only thing that makes me hold my shaking legs in a move for just ten seconds longer is that reminder of what I want to achieve. I'm not someone who lives in the moment, my mind is always wandering away from me so being fully present is a real challenge for me. During class, I find that I'm working so hard that I can usually only focus on the pain or the next move or the next ten count. It's really nice to turn my anxious mind off for a little bit and just focus on something physical.
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Bright and Open Studio


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Entryway of my Pinterest Dreams
The studio is open, clean and bright with a minimal but Pinterest-worthy decorating scheme. The sunshine streams in, the windows overlook Harvard Square but you really don't hear any street noise. But don't mistake a calm studio for an easy workout. I don't think barre class ever gets easier but certainly, right now, my legs shake roughly and then I try to go lower until they shake some more. I always feel exhilarated after class...and the next day I walk like a baby deer.

To try out Barre & Soul's unlimited Intro offer use code VIP for $10 off (That's just $59 for an unlimited month of barre and yoga at their Harvard Sq location.) 


Friday, April 29, 2016

Dermaplaning Changed My Life

Do you ever leave the spa after a facial and think, "That was great! My skin feels so clean and I'm really relaxed but..." Facials are excellent for a lot of things but addressing underlying issues or fixing things long term? Not so much. That's why medical facials, performed by or under a doctor's supervision with cutting-edge technology, are becoming an important part of the well-groomed woman's skin care routine. Imagine that clean, spa feeling with the added benefit of knowing that you're actually treating long-term issues.

Last week,  Dr. Leonard Miller invited me to his state-of-the-art practice, The Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation in Brookline to experience a medical facial and talk modern plastic surgery. Dr. Miller is all about natural-looking results and avoiding invasive surgery whenever possible with the newest technology. I know the phrase "plastic surgeon" can be intimidating (I told some friends about the meeting and heard a lot of, "But you look 23!"...not so big secret, I'm actually 30) but Dr. Miller specializes in skin care and has been actively involved in developing new cosmetic products and skincare procedures for over twenty years. Long story short, I knew I was in good hands.
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Dr. Leonard Miller   
After discussing his approach to skincare (hint: it includes being diligent about applying sunscreen and having a consistent cleansing routine), Dr. Miller introduced me to one of his medical estheticians, Cheryl, who has 15 years of experience working in plastic surgery and specializes in laser treatment.

Everyone has a different medical facial experience at the Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation because they know that there isn't a one size fits all solution when it comes to skincare. So, maybe your facial will incorporate using a laser like Clear & Brilliant to even skin tone or maybe you just need an application of a vitamin mask, perfect for sensitive skin that can't tolerate deeper exfoliation. Dr. Miller and his team really take the time to evaluate your skin's needs and recommend the best course of action for you.
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I was pretty nervous at first...especially when I saw the surgical cap!

I have to admit that I was more nervous than I would be going into a traditional facial at a spa. After all, it is a doctor's office and there isn't any lit candles or irritating flute music being piped into the room. Still, the chair leans back comfortably, and Cheryl tucked a blanket around me so the experience isn't all that different. After taking a deeper look at my skin, listening to my past experiences,  and doing a mild cleaning, she decided that I was a good candidate for both a lactic acid peel and dermaplaning.

What is dermaplaning? Only the best thing to ever happen to my skin but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. My first question, as always, was, "Will they hurt?" Turns out, lactic acid peels are fairly mild so I didn't experience any burning, just a bit of tingling. Next, she dried my skin and the dermaplaning began! Think of it as next level exfoliation! Using a tool similar to a surgical blade or scalpel, Cheryl gently scraped my skin. The only comparison I can make is if you gently scanned your face with your fingernails. It's actually kind of pleasant! All those built up layers of dead skin (and even with a regular exfoliation routine, I've still had patches of really dry skin from this past winter) are gently scraped away and, in doing so, it removes superficial acne scars and fine lines. Ever feel like your skin tone is uneven and bumpy? Dermplaning really helps to eliminate that by creating a smooth surface of new, healthy skin. (A great bonus is that it temporarily removes all that peach fuzz painlessly if you hate waxing!) It also helps products penetrate deeper into the epidermis because rather than applying them onto layers of dead skin, you're applying them directly onto a layer of healthy skin allowing them to really be absorbed and work their magic!
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Doesn't this remind you of Nicole Richie's mugshot? But I was ready to vogue after my dermaplaning experience!

I truly couldn't believe how even and my soft was afterward but Cheryl wasn't finished with me yet! After some light extractions, she applied a vitamin mask full of vitamins A and C, let it sit for a few minutes (it was very relaxing plus I kept picturing all those vitamins actually reaching in and nourishing my skin) and then massaged it in deeper using an ultrasound wand. Finally, we finished up with a cooling sheet mask that felt like jelly. I can't remember it's specific job but it felt great and really calmed my skin down.

I had pictured myself leaving with a burned, sensitive face (a la Samantha Jones in that Season 5 episode of Sex and the City) but when I looked in the mirror I actually glowed. There wasn't a trace of red anywhere on my skin. I felt like I'd never need makeup again but then Cheryl told me that using makeup after dermaplaning is a whole new level of amazingness. It's true; The next day I needed less foundation than normal because it glided so smoothly onto my newly even skin! A week later, I'm still doing minimal makeup and I've been obsessively following my skincare routine (I have to admit that, in the past, sometimes the morning wash or nightly steps would get neglected but we're all guilty of that every once in a while right?) and applying sunscreen religiously. As a result, no dry patches have reemerged. I can't wait to book another dermaplaning session again although I think a good rule of thumb is to do it every time the seasons change (winter into spring/fall into winter) but Cheryl said many patients do it as often as every six weeks. I can understand how it could become addicting!
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Four days post-facial and I'm still glowing. My skin is so even that I'm just wearing a tiny bit of BB Cream and lip balm! 

I can't say that I picture myself visiting Dr. Miller for more traditional types of cosmetic surgery in the next five years but his extensive knowledge and use of lasers is something that I'm extremely interested in. Not to mention, I'm definitely saving up for CoolSculpt because Dr. Miller assures me that it really does reduce pockets of fat by twenty percent. I love that it's non-invasive and doesn't involve needles or surgery.

To book your own personalized medical facial experience or to discuss other cosmetic procedures, call The Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation at 617-735-8735 to set up a consultation or session. 

Disclosure: I was invited by Dr. Miller and his staff to receive a medical facial in exchange for a review. However, all opinions are 100% my own. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Miniluxe Manicures at The Street!

Let's face it, these days manicures are a professional necessity. So for me, a manicure has stopped being a luxurious break and turned into a fast in and out. It's another chore instead of a pleasure. Enter Miniluxe, the company that is reinventing how we groom, with a menu of luxurious but quick beauty services in their twelve local salons.

Earlier this year, Miniluxe opened it's latest New England salon at The Street Chestnut Hill. I've had great pedicures at some of their earlier spots but never a manicure so I was excited to see the new space and it didn't disappoint! Miniluxe has always had a bright, fresh approach to salon spaces but Chestnut Hill feels especially stylish with runway shows playing on a lifesize screen in the waiting area, rose gold fixtures scattered about, and a "color runway" just beyond where you can pick your polish without bumping elbows with other guests.

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They have their own range of 5-free polishes (free from nasty ingedients like DBP, toluene, formaldehyde, and camphor) as well as colors from your favorite brands, various gel polishes and, miracle of miracles, Dazzle Dry. What is Dazzle Dry, you ask? Only the most amazing thing to happen to nail polish ever. It literally dries in five minutes (I clocked mine in at exactly 4 minutes) without ANY UV lamp exposure, it's non-toxic, and lasts for a good 7 days. I didn't believe my technician when she told me I just had to keep my hands on the manicure table and wait a few minutes. Even after she declared them fully dry, I just knew that I'd end up a smudged, chipped mess before I made it back to my car. How wrong I was! A week later and my manicure was impressively still intact. It fact it lasted for about 12 days before I felt I needed to remove it and, unlike gel, I used regular, acetone-free nail polish to wipe it off! I'm obsessed.

But back to the salon itself. There are a few manicure stations upstairs near the color runway as well as a private waxing room and the most spa-like bathroom I have ever seen. For pedicures, brow shaping and extra manicure space, venture down the stairs to a surprisingly bright, spacious beauty hub.
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Miniluxe was founded with the basic idea that "clean" should always be the utmost priority and, trust me, they have it down to a science in their "Clean Labs". Tools are triple-sanitized with the best technology. Don't believe me? That's okay! You can watch the process yourself thanks to a glass window. Plus, every client gets a brand new mini file and buffer that is used during the service, with the option of taking them home for your next appointment. I chose to keep mine (and they're ready for my next manicure in my purse) but if you forget yours, you'll get a brand new set at your next appointment. I like knowing that these tools aren't shared, especially since I don't think there is a way of truly sanitizing an emery board!

As for me, nothing about Miniluxe at The Street Chestnut Hill feels like another chore to check off the list. It's cheerful and welcoming and, best of all, relaxing. I let out an embarrassing sigh during my hand massage but it was so nice to actually enjoy the process! I had so much fun that I even stayed a bit and took my hands for a walk past the mani-cam! While it's a bit out of the way, this is my favorite location so far and there is so much to do at The Street (especially in the warm weather) that it's worth an extra few minutes in the car!
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On Nails: Girlishy Giddy by Dazzle Dry.
Photos c/o Miniluxe 

Friday, April 1, 2016

5 Must Have Trends for Spring

I don't often do listicles but there are so many styles this year that I actually feel passionate about that I just had to share the top 5 trends for spring! Since it's April 1st, I thought it was finally time to embrace and share these transitional looks with you...even though it's supposed to snow on Sunday. If you're feeling adventorous, you can mix and match these five trends to your hearts content, wear them all at once, or just pick a really standout piece. Your style stock is about to soar!


1. Give 'Em The Cold Shoulder:
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Like showing some skin without giving away the entire farm? Who doesn't? This spring, try giving the cold shoulder a shot! The style is perfect for when you want to be sophisticated and sexy. Designers are churning them out in nearly every weight so a sweater with shoulders cut out is perfect for now while a strapless dress will look chic at dinner in August.
Shop The Cold Shoulder Trend:



The Leather Backpack:
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From Karlie Kloss to the Olsen twins, every It Girl is carrying a backpack and they aren't anything like your old Jansport! These packs are spacious enough to carry everything (from your makeup bag to your laptop) but are often a bucket inspired soft leather, with added touches like a fun color, fringe, quilting, zippers, and chains. My personal favorite is the Textured Faux Leather Backpack by TopShop (plus, it rings in at a budget-friendly $68) but higher end backpacks from designers like Jerome Dreyfuss and Mansur Gavriel are flying off shelves.


Shop Backpacks:





The Crop Flare:
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Ah, the crop flare. It's arguably the biggest denim trend for spring but it seems to terrify people! My tips for rocking it with confidence? Do a higher waisted pair and, when it comes to the crop, make sure it's no higher than 1 1/12 inches above the ankle to avoid looking like Pee-Wee. Personally, I'm not a fan of the over-exaggerated flare because it can look a little comical on most women so keep it subtle, people!

Shop The Cropped Flare Trend:


The Lace-Up Ballet Flat:
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Don't call them gladiators! While lace up sandals are nothing new, these ballet flats are far more sophisticated. Long seen on your favorite blogger's Instagram feeds, retailers are finally catching up and churning out these lace up ballet flats in every color, material, and price point! 

Shop The Lace Up Ballet Flat:


The Fringe Factor:
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The festival favorite isn't just for long weekend concerts anymore! Fringe is back big time for Spring 2016 gracing everything from bags, to dresses, jackets and even shoes! Of course, I wouldn't recommend mixing fringe unless you're Olivia Palermo. 


Shop Fringe: 






Photos Via Who What Wear, Pinterest, ELLE, InStyle, ManRepeller, and The Fashion Spot

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Drag My Body (Back) To Worth Ave!

When I was visiting Palm Beach last month, I really loved being able to wear rompers all day, every day! But beyond the perfect weather, I really fell in love with the entire island. The white sandy beaches, the gothic shadow of The Breakers, and Worth Avenue. Oh, Worth Ave! It's a shopper's paradise with every luxury brand in the world scattered down the palm tree lined avenue.

I know I've shared this Lily Pulitzer outfit before but today seems like a good day to share it again, if only to remind myself that, eventually, I'll be able to wear rompers all day, every day here at home!

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Deanna Tank Top Romper c/o Lily Pulitzer (Similar Here)// Elizabeth & James Fairfax Sunglasses// Coco Straw Clutch c/o Lily Pulitzer (Similar Here)// Tory Burch Logo Flip Flops// On Nails: OPI Mod About You (Gel Polish Here)//


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bloomingdale's Denim Days!

Last Saturday, I celebrated Bloomingdale's Denim Days event by styling a runway show at their Chestnut Hill location! We focused on some of the big denim trends for spring (you guys already have cropped flared jeans, right?) along with casual looks perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon or Sunday brunch with friends. I was actually speaking and perched in a director's chair on the runway to discuss each look and trend (if you know me, you know that public speaking isn't one of my strong suits but notecards help) as the models walked so I didn't get to take pictures, unfortunately.

Luckily, the gorgeous models (who were endlessly patient with me beforehand as I fussed with bags, sleeves, and poses) let me sneak some shots of their looks during the fittings so I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you! Please excuse the quality of shots - they were taken quickly in the fitting rooms under a time crunch!

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Look 1: DL1961 Emma Skinny Jean in Pixie// State of Being Gypsy Top// Botkier Jane Crossbody (100% Bloomingdales)// Look 2: Hudson Rowan Cargos (100% Bloomingdales)// Bella Dahl Striped Top// AG Denim Jacket (Similar Here) // Rebecca Minkoff Moto Backpack (Similar Here)

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DL1961 Emma Skinny Jeans in Warden// T by Alexander Wang Pebbled Leather Moto Jacket//  Jessa Scoop Neck Tank by Paige// Jaq Clutch by Narciso Rodriguez//

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Bella Dahl Button Down// Private Party "Brunch" Tank// The Ankle Skinny Jeans by 7 For All Mankind// Rebecca Minkoff Mini Fringe Bucket Bag (Similar Here and Here)//

What are your favorite denim trends for spring?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Denim Days at Bloomingdales!

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This weekend, I'm styling the runway with spring denim for a special  "DENIM DAYS" event at Bloomingdales in Chestnut Hill! I hope you'll join me from 1-4pm AND if you pre-register for the event, you'll receive a premium gift bag and your $25 reservation fee will be automatically credited toward your denim purchase!

Join Me Saturday, March 19th from 1-4pm on 3 at Bloomingdales Chestnut Hill!
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