Beach Bag Essentials


My Fair Lady Stripe Hat

Everyone needs an oversized hat to don at the beach for those times when your nose is getting burned or you need extra shade to read your favorite novel. This floppy summer hat is made with SPF 50 material, to protect your hair and scalp from getting fried.

ShopDavidAndYoung.com, $30


Mossimo Large Straw Tote -- Multicolor

Pack everything you need for a day at the beach -- and then some -- in this oversized straw tote from Mossimo. The chic Grecian-key design announces the arrival of summer with bright, bold colors.  

Target.com, $35

Kenneth Cole Reaction Striped Hooded Cover-Up

This cute cotton cover-up will give your skin a much-needed hiatus from all-day rays at the beach. The empire waist with drawstrings gives just enough shape to not feel dowdy. Comes with two pockets at the hip and a hood.

Macys.com, $30

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

This quirky comedic novel by Maria Semple tells the story of Bernadette Fox, a neurotic Seattle housewife who hates people. It is told through a series of emails, documents and narration by Fox’s daughter, Bee, who is trying to find out what happened to her mother, who disappears while planning a family trip to Antarctica.

Amazon.com, $10

Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Sunscreen SPF 30

This naturally moisturizing, lightweight lotion isn’t thick or sticky like other sunscreens -- and doesn’t clog pores. It has a light, fresh tropical scent that isn’t overwhelming. Best of all, it isn’t tested on animals, and is paraben-free. Water-resistant, it protects against the sun for up to 40 minutes of swimming.

Vitacost.com, $7

Survive Wedding Season on a Budget

June -- the season of love, flora and lots of weddings. Many of us spend our summer traveling from wedding to wedding, and this celebration of love and life can get very expensive.

Here’s a few tips on how to survive the wedding season and emerge with your budget intact:

  1. Never feel like you need to wear a new dress to each wedding, especially if they involve different groups of friends. Invest in a great little black dress. Change up your look with different accessories, and each occasion will feel fresh.
  2. There are many alternatives to buying a new dress. Scour the racks at thrift shops for fun finds. Also, renting is super popular these days! Rent the Runway is affordable and has fabulous deals. Or keep it in the family! If your best friend or sister is your size, do a quick swap. But, if buying a new dress is unavoidable, set a strict budget and stick to it! Keep in mind additional costs such as hair, makeup and nails.
  3. Consider gel manicures. If you are going to be headed to engagement parties, rehearsal dinners and weddings every weekend, you might as well have a manicure that will last you for several weeks’ worth of occasions!
  4. Wear sexy but "just sensible enough" shoes. A new pair of stilettos may be tempting, but not only will they cost a pretty penny, they also won’t be broken in, making a night of dancing and chatting around cocktail tables, more painful than it has to be. Opt for your favorite pair of heels, in this case, the more times you’ve worn them, the better! 

  

Plump Up Your Best Beauty Assets

With each passing birthday, our lips lose a little volume and our hair -- on our heads and lashes -- tends to get thinner. Plus, as we age, our eyelashes begin to straighten, which also makes them look less lush. But you don’t have to feel deflated about these changes. Instead, you can fatten up your best beauty assets with a few fast, simple tips.

Plump it up: Get lush lashes

Choose the correct product. Stroll the makeup aisles at any drugstore or department store and you can easily become overwhelmed by what seems to be a thousand mascaras in an array of categories from lengthening to curling -- and everything in between. “For fuller lashes, choose volumizing mascara,” says Mari Shten, a NYC-based makeup artist.

Be a curly girl. “An eyelash curler is the key to taking your mascara the extra mile and really giving your lashes that ‘wow’ factor,” says Sonia Kashuk, makeup artist and founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty. For best results, try this trick: “Heat your lash curler up with a blow dryer, let it cool for five seconds, and then curl,” suggests Stephanie Flor, celebrity makeup artist and hairstylist whose clients include Mariah Carey and Kathy Griffin.

Prep before you swipe. Apply loose powder before putting on mascara. “This will prevent the lashes from sticking together so you can more evenly apply the mascara,” says Flor. Or try using a mascara primer. “It has extra fibers that stay on your lashes and make them fuller and longer,” explains Shten. Apply one coat of a primer. Then, while the primer is still wet, apply a coat of mascara on top of it.

Rework your wand. Bend your wand sideways to create an easier application. “The wand doesn't come with the natural eye shape,” explains Flor. “By bending it sideways you're able to get really close to your lash line. This is my secret and everyone loves it!” How to: Use a napkin to hold the brush; then, bend the area where the mascara brush connects with the stick part of the wand.

Wiggle while you work. Start with the mascara wand as close to the roots as you can get and then wiggle it upward toward the tip. “That will lift lashes up and give the effect of longer lashes,” says Shten. Start at the outermost corner of your eye going inward toward the nose. By coating the ends with the most mascara, it gives lashes a thicker look.

Brush it out. For a more dramatic effect, brush lashes to separate them. Kashuk suggests a metal-toothed lash comb. Then, apply a second coat of mascara. “Don't forget lower lashes. It creates extra dimension,” says Shten.

Top it off with liner. Take a soft black or black/brown eyeliner (depending on your coloring) and apply it on the upper lid really close to lashes. Use an angled brush to blend the line into the lashes. “This will instantly add fullness,” says Kashuk.

Plump it up: Fake fuller lips

Ban dry flakes. Gently brush your lips with a toothbrush (or rub with a washcloth). “Exfoliating will remove the dead skin and stimulate blood circulation,” says Galit Strugano Wigdor, founder of the makeup line Girlactik Beauty. “This will plump your lips up and smooth them for a healthy-looking pout.”

Line right. Start by using a nude lip pencil that’s as close to the color of your own lips as possible. “Slightly overdraw and extend the lip line to make your lips look fuller,” says Kashuk. Also, stay away from dark lip colors because they tend to make lips look smaller.

Grab the gloss. “Gloss will always make lips look fuller because it reflects light,” explains Strugano Wigdor. This is especially the case with glosses that have shimmer or sparkle. “You can also apply a shimmering gloss just in the middle of your pout, on the top and bottom lips,” she adds. Again, this attracts light to these areas, pulling them out so lips look fuller. Another option? “Glosses made to have a lip plumping effect,” adds Shten.

Make it just an illusion. After applying your gloss, take a white eyeliner and apply it just around the cupid's bow of the lip (the little indent on the top lip) and slightly on the bottom middle part of your lip.  “Blend it inward and it will give the illusion of your lips looking fuller,” says Strugano Wigdor. If you don’t have white eyeliner, use a frosty, light pigment eyeshadow.

Plump it up: Create fuller hair

Degrease your strands. You don’t need to wash your hair daily. In fact, doing so just strips it of its natural oils. Instead, opt for a dry shampoo product, which contains powder. “By taking some of the oil out of your hair, you’ll get more volume instantly,” explains Flor.

Pull out the hot rollers. Yes, you read that correctly. They’re not for housewives anymore! “Put hot rollers in your hair before you start applying your makeup and then remove them for fuller hair,” says Flor.

Tease it. Tease the crown of your head. “Grab a teasing comb and back-comb the top area of your head,” explains Flor. “Using a softer brush, comb it down softly to take away the frizz but leave the teased area hidden for volume.” Flip over your hair and spritz with hairspray. “Then flip it over to get that va va voom movie hair,” says Flor.

Embrace your hair’s natural texture. “You may not realize it because you’ve been styling your hair into submission for so long, but you may have your own natural waves, curls, and fullness,” says Lorraine Massey, co-author of Curly Girl: The Handbook. Forget the blow dryer and flat iron. Instead, wash hair with a sulfate-free shampoo, and then apply conditioner. Leave a little conditioner in hair rather than rinsing it all out. Once out of the shower, apply an alcohol-free, silicone free gel to the palms of your hands, flip you head over and scrunch hair gently upwards. Let hair air dry without touching it. That may be hard, but you’ll be surprised by the fullness that emerges.

5 Bad Habits You Didn’t Know You Had

You’re conscientious about your health, so of course you try to avoid obvious bad habits -- like pimple-popping -- and do everything right. But sometimes you can do your skin and pearly whites more harm than good, without even knowing it. Here, five things that sound like good skin and oral health practices -- and why they really aren’t.

Bad Habit No. 1: You wash your face every morning and evening.

For people with oily (or even combination) skin, twice-daily washing is probably the best approach. But if you have dry skin, that may be too much. Dry types should wash with a gentle cleanser in the evening and just splash the face with water in the morning. And even oily skin types need to be careful. “Over-washing can remove too much oil, leading to a paradoxical response from your body to overproduce oil,” explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. “And that can actually lead to breakouts.”

Bad Habit No. 2: You stick to the same skin care regimen.

It’s a good idea to be consistent with your skin care. But you also have to be ready to adapt. “In areas where winter weather is dry and cold, you may need to switch to products that are gentler,” recommends Zeichner. Swap out your foaming cleanser or soap for a hydrating cream cleanser, and upgrade from a light lotion to a thicker moisturizer.

Bad Habit No. 3: You only moisturize when your skin feels dry.

Moisturizers do more than just hydrate. They also help repair your skin’s barrier so that it doesn’t get as easily irritated by cold, heat, and lack of humidity, so all skin types can benefit from a daily dose of the right cream or lotion. Look for an oil-free formula if you have oily skin, or a heavier one that contains petrolatum if you have dry skin. Of course, everyone can benefit from a moisturizer that contains at least SPF 30, even in winter.

Bad Habit No. 4: You assume more is better.

“Sometimes combinations of products complement each other. But often layering on too many lotions, serums and creams just causes irritation,” says Zeichner. His advice: Check the ingredient labels on your products and don’t combine those that contain retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, vitamin C or benzoyl peroxide.

Bad Habit No. 5: You brush your teeth just twice (or once!) a day.

Yes, you need to brush every morning and every night. But if you routinely drink liquids that can easily stain your teeth (like coffee and red wine), it’s a good idea to brush quickly afterwards. If that’s not convenient, dentists recommend at least swishing some water around in your mouth so that staining liquids don’t have a chance to take hold.

Recognize these bad habits? Talk about it below or connect with us @Completely_You

What’s Giving Away Your Age?

Women freak at the first sign of laugh lines or freckles that don’t fade, but your face isn’t the only place where telltale signs of aging take place. Find out what could be giving away the number of candles on your birthday cake -- and what you can do to stop them.

Get it off your chest

If your wardrobe isn’t made exclusively of turtlenecks, your neckline and bust are exposed to just as much sun as your face. For that reason, wrinkles and age spots show up here just as commonly, says Dr. Babar Rao, dermatologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.

To make matters worse, we don’t take the same precautions with our neckline as we do with our complexion, he says. The result: loose, wrinkly and leathery skin. To keep your neck and chest supple and blemish-free, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your neck and chest daily.

Investing in a few more turtlenecks couldn’t hurt, either. Rao says sunscreen is just the first step in sun protection; seek shade or cover up with clothes when possible. He also recommends using the same anti-aging regimen on your bustline as you do on your face. Moisturize in the morning and apply wrinkle reducers like retinol at night.

Lend a hand

Having a hard time guessing someone’s age? Take a quick peek at their hands. According to Rao, the skin on our hands is thin to begin with. As we age, it loses pigment and collagen, which makes wrinkles more pronounced and skin look looser. Not only are hands exposed to the elements 24-7; hand-washing can suck the moisture right out of them. To counteract this effect, apply hand lotion every time you wash your hands. And, just as with your face and neck, always apply sunscreen to the back of your hands whenever you’re outdoors.

Whiten up

A smile should be one of our most alluring features -- don’t let discolored teeth or receding gums detract from it. Decades of eating, drinking and skipping out on dentist visits can take a toll on pearly whites -- leaving them yellow or gray.

According to Dr. Louis Dipede, dentist and assistant professor of prosthodontics at New Jersey Dental School in Newark, N.J., maintaining a youthful smile is as easy as keeping up with good oral hygiene. “The color change is often due to deposits on the tooth, like tartar and plaque,” he says. Brushing, flossing and getting regular professional cleanings can help polish away yucky yellow deposits. Also, invest in an enamel-protecting toothpaste, which kills acid-forming bacteria, remineralizes teeth to rebuild enamel and forms a protective layer over the teeth to fend off new stains.

To restore some of that youthful white luster, try teeth-whitening products, which work well on yellow or brown teeth, says Dipede. The key to good results, he says, is consistency. Use a daily whitening product for at least two weeks, he says. This is how long it takes to break up and dissolve tooth stains. Though you may experience tooth sensitivity, this side effect is usually temporary, says Dipede.

Flash a youthful grin

To keep your gums from going the way of your hairline, be sure to brush and floss regularly. When plaque doesn’t get lifted from the teeth, it can irritate the gums and cause inflammation, known as gingivitis, in as little as two weeks. Let it go longer than that, and the inflammation can spread deep into the gums and jawbone, leading to receding gums. “And that can’t be repaired,” says Dipede.

To protect your gums while brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush very lightly in a circular motion for two minutes. Even still, says Dipede, “You’re bound to miss a spot while brushing, and if tartar accumulates, you won’t be able to remove it from the nooks and crannies.” That’s why he says you should never skip out on seeing your dentist.