California was one big road trip for me starting in Los Angeles to Palm Springs for Coachella with stops in Pioneer Town and Joshua Tree, two must-dos if you’re in the Palm Springs area before taking a tour of Orange County. I’m not a light packer when it comes to music festivals and being on the road for three weeks didn’t help… that, coupled with James’ stuff, a compact car was unrealistic.

Fortunately we partnered with Volvo to try out the 2017 Volvo XC60, which we basically lived out of. We had the T6 AWD Inscription trim – it drove like a dream, so much that at one point I looked down at the speedometer and found myself pushing 90, when I felt like I was going maybe 60. It’s incredible how quiet it is, smooth and solid feeling no matter what speed you’re going.

It was one of the most comfortable rides through Joshua Tree and the timing could not have been better. With all the rain they’ve been experiencing there were wild flowers blooming that hadn’t budded in decades. With so many colors, it was beautiful! We stopped to climb the rocks, walk some trails, stroll through the cactus garden, and even met a snake along the way. Enjoy the drive with us in the video above, More on the car and photo gallery below!

Coachella is always my favorite time of the year and this season, the parties were especially epic! The classics like Neon Carnival, I always look forward to as well as some new events like Victoria’s Secret Angel Oasis. This year we made it a double date and I traveled around with my girl, Kristi from Currently Crushing. For all the music, you can livestream the performances at live.coachella.com, as for the parties here’s a peek into them! All the parties featured in the video with details below!

COACHELLA DAY 1

Pre-festival hike with with Asics and Cobra Fitness Club.

If you’re in the Palm Springs Area, the Tahquitz Canyon Trail is a beautiful way to start the day. Asics outfitted guests outfits including these ASICS DynaFlyte sneakers for a pre-festival hike.

Victoria’s Secret VS Angel Oasis

This party did not disappoint, set in a beautiful mansion and with impeccable grounds there was not a shortage of activations or VS Angels dancing! They customized Levi’s denim jackets with angel wings by Phoebe Paints and Julia Adelina. Sarah Potempa of The Beachwaver and her team were doing hair (just like at the VS Fashion Show!), while Tarte was on makeovers (yes, their Shape Tape is everything it’s cracked up to be), and LECHAT was providing nail art and gel manicures. Frasier Sterling was also customizing chokers and RAD + REFINED was bedazzling their sunglasses and featured a special performance by Bebe Rexha! They also debuted their new Sexy Little Things collection, which is so hot! Quick slide show below of some favorites!

James and I at the Westin Mission Hills Bee Farm

I love bees. They literally make the world a brighter and better place. They pollinate all sorts of fruits and vegetables and the fact that they are disappearing at such an alarming rate is something we should all be paying attention to. From 2015-2016, the bee population has declined by a whopping 44% primarily due to unreliable food sources and pesticides. Which is why I’m so happy to see Burt’s Bee’s take some initiative on this! I kind of can’t stress enough how much these littler hard workers do for us!

Burt’s Bees is bringing back their ‘2016 Bring Back the Bees’ campaign where they helped plant over one billion wildflowers (an important food source for bees) again this year. The brand hosted their 2017 Bring Back the Bees kick-off party with actresses Troian Bellisario and Zosia Mamet, who are teaming up with the brand to combat declining bee populations, one selfie and lip balm at a time.

Growing up I used to love going to the driving range with my dad. It was one of my most favorite father-daughter activities. Granted I was terrible and no idea the difference between a driver and a putter but I had decent form and if I played my cards right (or had some blind luck) the stars would align and I’d hit a perfectly fluid shot. And it was the best feeling ever! Since then I’ve stayed at a number of exceptional properties that offer golfing but always felt intimidated hitting the course without my dad. Or maybe it was because I’m an adult now and being the competitive athlete that I am, I wasn’t ready to completely bomb at something.

After this week in Palm Springs and some motivation from Adidas Golf, I could not have been more pumped! I’ve been a longtime Adidas fan and I’m so excited to be partnering with them this summer to take lessons and test out their gear. Their Geared for More campaign is all about bringing your A-game to the course and preparing for victory. Between that and visiting the beautiful Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort (located in Rancho Mirage, right outside of Palm Springs) I was ready to bury my intimidated attitude and really take advantage of the property — and at the very least blend in.

I mean, how cute is this outfit? I’m channeling my inner pro golfer that vacations at PGA properties and spending more time in a golf cart than actual car. And speaking of the clothes, the fabric in this Golf Double Stripe Short Sleeve Polo is magic. I’ve been melting in the sun and not a single sweat mark! It’s moisture-wicking makes me look so dry and breathes so well! Also the top is a UPF50, which means it has a protection from the sun (think SPF 50 level), which is so necessary on the course. The Essentials 5 Shorts Women’s Shorts are super lightweight and move comfortably. Topped off with the Climacross Boost Women’s Golf Shoes, which are hands down my favorite, such a perfect hybrid between a golf shoe and running sneaker. Excellent grip combined with side mesh makes it breathable and comfortable to wear. It also features their Torsion System to stabilize feet while walking and swinging. I felt very secure in my stance when hitting and love the look of them!

I can’t believe Coachella is almost here! I’m so excited for some time with my boyfriend and to see all my LA friends in what I consider three of the most fun days of the year! I’m not even sure if I’m more excited for the festival or the parties! I keep seeing all of these ‘what to wear’ and ‘festival makeup’ tutorials but not so much the nitty gritty essentials that have made the experience so much better. So here it is, my compilation of must haves that will make your life so much easier:


 
SPF! And a minimum of an SPF30 at that! I have my sunblock in everything from my primer, makeup to my self tanner! With the amount of sunburns I’ve seen and the amount of fun you can expect in the sun, don’t skip on sun protection! Pick your favorite but some new ones I’ve been obsessed with is Paula’s Choice RESIST Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30, which has skin benefits, and acts like a primer with spf so your makeup goes on smoother. Murad City Age Defense SPF 50 is a current favorite as well, it’s probably the smoothest and most lightweight SPF I own, and super purse friendly. Lastly my assistant turned me onto Almay Healthy Glow Makeup + Self Tan SPF 20, which after a long winter and white legs instantly makes me look tan. It also makes my legs look ten years younger and covers all my spider veins and even some burn marks I have from some mishap clothing steamer experiences. Just a disclaimer though, don’t wear under white or pants, it does run (or at least it does for me even though I wait hours before putting anything over). It’s just my go to before going out and then I like to wash it off at night.

Moisturize – it gets dry in the desert! You want a good moisturizer to start and end your day and put back the hydration. The reformulated Olay Total Effects is a 7 in 1 moisturizer that does it all from replenishing moisture, evening skintone and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. The biggest note though for Coachella is in the updated forumla they added 50% more Vitamin E and twice the amount of Green Tea Extract which are two powerful antioxidants that protect skin cells against free radical damage (aka damage from sun exposure). I talk more about this product HERE.

Portable Steamer – those cute clothes mean nothing if they are all wrinkled from traveling. Personally I love Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer, granted it’s a little bulkier than some of the others on the market, it’s by far the best portable steamer I’ve ever used and works as well as my heavy duty one at home.

It’s so great to be back in LA! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve been back. Usually, I say in Santa Monica but I’ve had a blast exploring some of the other parts of LA with my amazing tour guide and host, Kristi from Currently Crushing. Her partner is an incredible photographer and I’ve had a blast shooting around the city from scenic hike areas to the classic “Made in LA” mural I’ve seen all over Instagram.

Outfit details: Jessture NY white button down dress (similar) Forever21 Belt (on sale!), MCM vintage bag (similar), Brian Atwood Platform Wedges, Sunday Somewhere sunglasses.

 

Results Matter – My 28-Day Journey with Olay

If you caught me in last month’s issue of Health magazine, you may have seen my partnership with Olay and interview where I shared my results of the 28-day clinical trial for the re-launch of their award-winning Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer. You can read the whole article HERE. Formulated to nourish skin and reduce the 7 signs of aging, Olay re-engineered the original formula to now include 50% more Vitamin E and double the amount of Green Tea Extract to provide full protection against free radical damage.

Why does this matter? Natural antioxidants in our skin gets depleted in our skin over time due to sun exposure (wear that SPF!). Vitamin E and Green Tea Extract which are present in Total Effects, help to boost antioxidant levels while delivering powerful anti-aging benefits that improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin. Olay also reformulated other core products this year to enable women today to achieve the best results for their skin.

I am thrilled to unveil how I was able to test the performance of these new formulas in a most exciting way *drum roll please*….through a split face blind test with my mom! Want to find out if Olay’s reformulations really deliver results at any age? Watch our video here:

Hair cut by Juan Carlos Maciques

It’s been an eventful few weeks of new beauty shops popping up around the city. Here’s a rundown of the events and new openings and products we’re excited about! Also I finally got a must needed chop (ugh the dry ends are no joke when you have this much bleach in your hair!) from celebrity hairstylist Juan Carlos Maciques, who cuts out of Rita Hazan, I even trusted him to do light layers. It’s been so much more curly and bouncy since the cut that I haven’t been straightening it as much and loving my natural wave! On to the good stuff… beauty lovers of NYC, here’s what’s now in your backyard:

Ouai x Dyson Styling Bar opens at Henri Bendel

Jen Atkin, celebrity hair stylist and creator of the hair care line Ouai launched an exclusive dry style bar pop up in collaboration with Dyson at Henri Bendel through April 30th. The featured menu offers four hair styles complete with Ouai products and the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer. Styling services will be available Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm. All I know is that I’m literally foaming at the mouth to get my hands on that Ouai Foam Conditioner! Location: Henri Bendel, 712 5th Avenue, NYC, 2nd floor. Bookings and details HERE.

Madison Reed Color Bar featuring T3

We stopped in to the new-ish Madison Reed Color Bar for a root touchup and styling. Some of you may be familiar with their online service, providing customizable hair color based off of a short yet informative questionnaire. The perfect shade is sent right to your door for comfortable at-home hair coloring. Now you can experience their products along side their expert colorists at the Madison Reed Color Bar, where you can order your shade online and bring it with you or be color matched in person and they’ll do your hair for you. It’s the best of both worlds, affordable home color price tags with expert hair stylists to do your hair. They also use T3 Micro Tools, which we got a demo of these incredible hair styling tools as part of our color service at the event. Literally the T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers and hair dryer have changed my life — the hot rollers came as a shocker to me! And the Twirl Convertible Curler which lets you change the barrel size is next level genius! Stay tuned for more info on their hot tools, and demo but it’s so exciting they use these at the salon!

For the past few years I’ve seen non-stop incredible photos of Iceland 0n my Instagram feed — images of the Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon, the Icelandic horses, and so many natural wonders that I knew I had to go. I felt overwhelmed though trying to figuring out what to book. With just a plane ticket (booking was the first step!), I started reading articles, reviews and asking advice of friends so here is the quick and easy guide to what I did, and what’s on my radar for next time.

WHERE TO STAY: Downtown Reykjavik, Room with a View

There are loads of hotels all over Iceland but if you’re limited on time, downtown Reykjavik is ideal. All of the tours pick up from there and it’s a really cute scene, filled boutiques, restaurants, popular attractions and life. We stayed at Room with View Luxury Apartments, which was the most ideal location. In fact if you’re looking at other hotels see how close it is to this one since it doesn’t get anymore prime and right. Although dubbed an apartment, it’s more of an upscale hotel suite complete with a kitchen, doorman and helpful staff to accommodate any bookings. There’s also a steam room and Jacuzzi on the property! We were a party of 4 people and one thing I learned is two double beds in a hotel basically doesn’t exist. This was the only hotel I found that could accommodate us in one room. I highly recommend emailing them in advance your needs. We ended up with 3 single beds and one double bed in our huge, beautiful, dream apartment with 2 bathrooms suite that was cheaper then booking two rooms somewhere else.

How to Get Around:

Your options are basically, taxi, car rental, bus, ferry or tour buses (more info HERE). I highly recommend renting a car, we used Lagoon Car Rental which was wonderful. They picked us up from the airport and drove us 5 minutes away to the car location and made it all super quick and easy! And also through a wi-fi router we had internet in the car the whole time. Renting a car made the most sense for us since we were a party of 4 and getting to/from the airport to Reykjavik is about a 45 minute drive and pricey, so is the Blue Lagoon (we were quoted $40 each way from Reykjavik, although they have ticket options that include a shuttle). Reykjavik is a very walkable city so we basically used the car for day trips and otherwise found easy street parking and did tours. The tours pickup from hotels in Reykjavik so that part was easy.

We rented a Renault Talisman which had plenty of space in the trunk for all of our stuff. Some people prefer a 4×4 SUV but I found the roads really well paved and since we were doing tours (all listed below) for more of our nature excursions, and the weather was mild, we were more than fine in a regular car. If you are doing more off roading and driving yourself around the country (especially in harsh weather) you may want to consider a 4×4.

WHAT TO DO IN ICELAND:

Blue Lagoon and Thermal Baths

I could not leave Iceland without visiting the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Bath. It’s one of the 25 Wonders of the World and with good reason, it’s incredible! Most people visit on their way to the airport or leaving it since it’s on the route from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik. Pre-booking is required and they also offer massages in the water which is apparently incredible! They have different ticket rates, all of which get you the same access to the Blue Lagoon and access to the mask bar for the Silica Mud Mask — everything but the Standard Ticket also gets you the Algae Mud Mask (you can learn more about the ticket options HERE). Both of these skincare products are two of Blue Lagoons top selling skincare products, and they have a store on site (as well as at the airport and downtown Reykjavik) where you can purchase the whole line. I highly recommend the masks as well as their lip balm — pretty much all of it is incredible and makes for a great gift! There are two restaurants, a cafe and more formal dining option on the property. There is also a bar in the water to purchase drinks.

I have 3 shops I look to when it comes to Clean Beauty, it’s Credo, Follain and Whole Foods. If a natural brand is in one of these three stores (or all three, I know to pay attention). Whole Foods has a really high quality standard I trust. They prohibit 75+ ingredients commonly found in conventional body care. This week Whole Foods Celebrates “Beauty Week”, which means they are offering 25% off ALL facial care, including cosmetics, brushes and nail color through March 28th!

They have also launched their Clean Beauty Faves beauty bag, which features some of their favorite products all of which are shown in the photo above for $18! (It’s a $90 value). Just for the Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner alone, this bag is worth grabbing!

On the subject of healthy hair, I have two, okay maybe 3 major points that can drastically make a difference in it’s health — and that’s before even waiving a single hair product or supplement in your face. If you caught my segment for Amazon StyleCode Live, (13 minutes 50 seconds into the show, video clip above!), you saw me chatting about all the benefits of a Microfiber towel – hopefully after watching, I’ve convinced you to never use a conventional towel again.

 

Canadian television personality, Monika Deol just launched her first beauty collection called Stellar, exclusive to Sephora. Her brand was inspired by her personal struggle to find makeup shades that matched her medium skin tone. After careful research, Monika came to the realization that she was not alone — and for real she’s not! This is something my middle-eastern skintone has struggled with as well! Her findings that the beauty industry does not effectively cater to women with medium and olive skin tones was so on point! And something I’ve spent a lot of time talking to brands about. Especially with diversity being such a hot topic, but somehow I always felt like we were lumped into the latina skin-tone category (which I find limited if you fall in the more middle eastern/Indian decent). Taking matters into her own hands, she began to create Stellar, a line that addressed all skintones but with a focus on those with overlooked skin tones in the beauty world.

The collection goes beyond foundations and concealers – Deol was determined to create other products that would flatter a range of other complexions, such as lipsticks, eyeshadows, and powders. I was so excited to meet her at the launch party (there was glitter lattes and rainbow bagels, no lie!) and played around with some of her products.

There’s really nothing I enjoy more than learning about different skincare formulas and then breaking down the information, which is why I was so excited to partner with New Beauty magazine and break down one of the best anti-aging masks on the market right now. While this may look like your run of the mill sheet mask, it actually goes way above and beyond. The Nuvesse Biocellulose Masks uses Cellulation Technology to penetrate all of the good-for-you ingredients deeply into your skin. If Biocellulose and Cellulation Technology are new terms for you, don’t worry, I break down what all of this means in the video above and post below (you can also read my article on Nuvesse on New Beauty’s website).

After seeing Makeup Geek all over my Instagram page, I was so excited to meet the brands founder, Marlena Stell at breakfast last month. The beauty vlogger turned makeup founder of Makeup Geek started four years ago and it’s so inspiring and incredible to see where this brand has gone. I heard her eyeshadows were incredible but I have to say her new Foiled Pigment shadows AND glosses blew my mind. I’m a sucker for a super pigmented eyeshadow, so you can imagine my excitement when you see the swatches below. The new Foiled makeup collection features 10 mesmerizing mineral pigment eyeshadows and equally amazing glosses, details and swatches below!

Makeup Geek Foiled Pigment Eyeshadows

The Foiled Pigment Shadows are highly reflective and packed with pigment. These beautiful shades can be used anywhere on the body or face and used alone or mixed with your favorite body lotion, foundation, or moisturizer for a shimmer effect. They blend so smooth and are absolutely stunning! Swatches below, you can see from the photos from two different angles how well they catch and reflect light.

I’m so excited to announce for the 2nd year in a row, I judged the 2017 Glamour Beauty Awards — this year they even put me in the magazine (Page 88! I’m wearing winner Tom Ford Lips & Boys in shade Logan!). And they gave all of the judges a lovely shout out on glamour.com!

Glamour selected a long list of their favorites, looking at every launch from the past year, and from there they selected 45 judges, myself included and broke down the nominees by category — I judged the Designer & Luxury category! Together with the other judges and categories the 73 best new products were chosen, as well as 17 Cult Classics, which you should all pay attention to. Those winners have stood the test of time and I can vouch for the majority of them! Without further adieu the winners in my category and mini reviews on why I love them below!