Nadine Jolie Courtney Beauty, Travel, Royalty Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:15:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Collection Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:00:57 +0000  

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Collection

I’m always on the lookout for amazing drugstore intensive conditioners. When you color, straighten, curl and blow-dry your dry hair into oblivion, you need to help rehabilitate it back to life! Problem is, so many of the best intensive conditioners are treatments are just so damn expensive, and I hate only recommending products that break the bank.

Enter Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Collection.

I remember using this stuff when I was younger and loving it. Aussie has recently re-released the line as a new collection with expanded offerings: there’s 3 Minute Miracle Moist, 3 Minute Miracle Shine, 3 Minute Miracle Color, 3 Minute Miracle Strong, and 3 Minute Miracle Smooth.

As always, the products smell great, work quickly (3 minutes, duh), and provide excellent results. They’re well-worth considering if you’re looking for a little oomph–for cheap–in your hair routine.

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Pevonia Enzymo-Spherides Peeling Cream Mask Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:00:02 +0000 Pevonia Enzymo Spherides Peeling Cream

Ask any dermatologist or aesthetician what you should be doing for your skin (but probably aren’t) and they’ll likely give you the same response: exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.

Not only does proper exfoliation help keep your skin clear and acne-free, but it also renews cells and stimulates collagen production, revealing the pretty, smooth, baby-soft skin underneath.

I’m a big fan of chemical exfoliants, since I find that manual exfoliators are often too aggressive for my sensitive, rosacea-adjacent skin.

My go-to exfoliant? Pevonia Enzymo-Spherides Peeling Cream. It’s a creamy, delicious-smelling mask featuring pineapple and papaya enzymes, and works in as few as 5 minutes (although I like leaving it on for about 15 or 20). In an ideal world, I’d slather it on once a week, but in reality, I only find the time about once a month.

Regardless, whenever I use it, the results are instant: soft, smooth skin with zero irritation. I’m addicted, and if you try it out, I have a feeling you will be, too.

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Kiehl’s Original Musk Blend No. 1 Bath & Shower Gel Mon, 10 Nov 2014 12:00:11 +0000 Kiehls Original Musk No 1 Bath and Shower Gel

If you like musky, sexy scents, it’s hard to imagine a better find than Kiehl’s Original Musk Blend No. 1 Bath & Shower Gel Liquid Body Cleanser. It’s oriental, woodsy, and warm, striking the perfect balance between exotic and comforting. (I picture Talitha Getty in 1970s Marrakesh bathing in it before throwing on a jeweled caftan and setting off for a Moroccan souk rich with spices every color of the rainbow.)

It’s the kind of bath and shower gel that clings to your skin hours after you put it on–and, even better, it’s unisex. I’m constantly grabbing E. by the shirt collar and inhaling whiff after delicious whiff.

I’m telling you: liquid gold.

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Review: Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:00:22 +0000 If you read enough sunscreen articles, you’ll come across the same advice over and over: reapply SPF every two hours for maximum benefits.

Seriously? Who does this? It’s completely impractical!

There you are, in middle of the day, living your life with a face full of makeup. Come 11 am (and 1 pm, and 3 pm, and 5 pm…) are you supposed to schlep off to the bathroom with a giant bag of makeup, face cleanser, SPF, and moisturizer to wash, moisturize, reapply sunscreen and then do your makeup all over again? Please.

My lazy beauty solution: Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen. It gives broad-spectrum UVA and UVB SPF 30 protection but is designed to be buffed on as a powder. It’s totally Translucent and you can use it for either face and body.

Side note: for those people who are worried about sunscreen toxicity, all of Jane Iredale’s offerings are apparently free of toxic particles and undergo extensive toxicology testing, plus the Powder-Me SPF itself doesn’t use nanoparticles, so you won’t be inhaling the sunscreen as you buff it on.

I don’t use it everyday, especially not on days when I’m in the liquid foundation/tinted moisturizer + beautyblender mood. (You totally could. I just don’t.) However, on my bareMinerals days–or even better, when I am feeling COMPLETELY useless and can’t even be bothered to apply regular sunscreen–it’s a great solution. If you find the Translucent version entirely too Caspar the Friendly Ghost, by the way, Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen also comes in two tinted versions: Golden and Tanned.

Lazy beauty hacks, for the win.

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Confession: I am a Prince Harry stalker! (No, not really…) Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:00:52 +0000 From the 2011 archives, in case you missed it…

File this under: totally embarrassing.

When I was in London back in April, I spent my first few nights staying with my friend Jerramy Fine, author of Someday My Prince Will Come and the upcoming book Bright Young Royals. I was there writing articles about Kate Middleton’s imminent wedding and Jerramy was prepping to launch her Princess Prep camp, so like any good royal obsessives, we spent several hours deep-diving on all things Windsor.

Jerramy had been invited to take part in a Grazia magazine article on “Harry Hunters”: American women who come to England to stalk Prince Harry in the hopes of becoming the next Kate Middleton. She was fairly horrified by the idea, but me being, well, me, I thought it was hilarious and wanted to take part. Grazia is sort of the UK equivalent of People magazine but with more fashion and beauty–a nice mention for a budding royalty writer. After my press debacle several years ago, I’ve developed a thicker skin: any press is good press, as long as they spell your name correctly, right? (Oh! Silly Jolie! Have you learned nothing?)

Hey, at least I got the cover! (See the top headline: Out on the town with the (Prince) Harry Hunters)

For an article I was writing for Daily Front Row called “Kate Middleton’s Great Britain”, I was supposed to hit up Kate’s hot spots, including Boujis and Mahiki, so when I found out that the Harry Hunters would be going to both, plus Whisky Mist, plus free drinks all night, plus a fun photoshoot–well! No brainer! I thought it was a genius idea: I’d get a chunk of my club research done, would be guaranteed entrance to Boujis (which is still pretty tough to get into) and would be able to write a hopefully hilarious blog post after the fact telling you guys all about the Harry Hunters and what a silly night it was.

Cut to me arriving at the hotel for the photo shoot, where I discover that it’s myself, another (very, very young) American girl, and the Grazia reporter. So…suddenly I am 50% of this so-called Harry Hunters phenomenon, and the crackerjack reporter is there to sniff out my Harry mania…which doesn’t exist. Crap. (Now were this a “Kate Middleton Hunters,” it’d be a totally different situations, obvs.)

I will summarize the highlights of the night for you:

Clearly, the moral of the story is: I have a weird sense of humor.

We arrive at Mahiki. I’m a little jetlagged, as I arrived in England only the previous day, but this is surely going to be worth any sleepiness tomorrow. Velvet ropes unclick! Doors open! A horrifyingly expensive–and amazingly delicious–Treasure Chest is placed before us. Hurrah!

Grazia writer: So, we’re going to be here at Mahiki for just a few minutes, then hit up Whisky Mist, then go to Boujis. As you know, Prince Harry isn’t even in town: he’s in the Arctic on a trek right now. But our readers don’t have to know that. We’ll just pretend we’re looking for him!

We the “Harry Hunters”: That’s nice. More drinks, please!

Grazia writer: (telling us about her boy drama and distaste for “toffs”)

Me: (talking about how I’m not really a Harry Hunter)

The other “Harry Hunter”: (talking about she thought it would be fun to be in a magazine while doing her study abroad–Harry’s fine, but she actually prefers William)

The photographer snaps picture after picture, then whisks us to the next venue, Whisky Mist. It’s not yet open. We wait outside for half an hour. The clipboard girl sniffs at us repeatedly. Once inside, it’s empty and all the staff is surly. It ends up being the worst club I’ve ever been to in my entire life.

Me (jetlagged, becoming annoyed, headache growing): So, how long are we going to be here?

Grazia writer: Long enough to take a photo or five. Soooo, when did you first become obsessed with Prince Harry?

Me: Um. As I already said…I’m not actually obsessed with Prince Harry. I thought it would be fun to do this for a laugh. (I reach into my purse, pull out Flat Kate, begin to regret my choices in life.)

The photographer takes another seemingly endless round of photos before we’re finally free to leave. They herd us into a cab to Boujis, where we’re ushered inside like VIPs–success!–and given a private table.

Grazia writer, to me: This is great! So posh! Soooo, how often do you go to clubs looking for Prince Harry?

Me (wanting to stab myself in the eye): Liiiiike I said, I’m not really a Harry Hunter.

I take a Crackbaby shot, give the reporter and the other American hugs, and hop in a $7000 cab back to Jerramy’s house.

It’s my 2nd night in England, and I’m in bed by midnight.

How fun! How silly!

How did it all go so wrong?!

The article came out a few days later, and it made me look like such a lame asshole (see video below) that, obviously, I never blogged about it, let alone told many people.

But now! I am revealing my sordid past to you. Consider this my coming out press conference and judge not, kind friends. Who among us hasn’t been profiled in an English magazine pretending to be in love with a member of the royal family? It could happen to anyone, really.


The shame.

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Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Capri: Why Must You Be Limited-Edition? Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:00:43 +0000  

The fragrance industry is notorious for churning out limited-edition juices based on their bestselling perfumes as a safe way to turn product. (I railed on the trend years ago in a post called Fragrance Makers of the World, Stop Being So Damn Lazy.)

Most of the time, the offshoots are forgettable and fleeting: in stores for about three months, splashed on the page of every magazine for a hot minute, and then consigned to the dusty annals of beauty history. But every once in a while a perfume squeaks through that really gets my attention, tantalizes my nose, and makes me fall in love.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Capri is one of those exceptions.

It was released in 2012 as an offshoot of the insanely popular Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess (which is both a perfume and a line of makeup and bronzing products), and as far as I know, it was mostly ignored. I fell in love immediately, however, placing it at the front of my perfume cabinet, and reaching for it on the regular every summer thereafter, or even later in the year when I wanted a romantic, sexy, come-a-little-closer pick-me-up.

The fact that I’m still reaching for a fragrance that is more than two years old goes to show how much I love this damn stuff. It sparkles: top notes of lemon, black currant and mandarin, an amber wood, vanilla, musk and patchouli base.

For once, now that I’m reaching the very last drops, I’m bemoaning the fact that an offshoot fragrance is only limited-edition. It was fun while it lasted! Are there any limited-edition fragrances that you’ve been hoarding, waiting for the sad day when they’re gone forever?

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New Beginnings Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:00:20 +0000  

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about new beginnings. So much has happened in my life in the past 12 months–hell, the past 12 days!–that I haven’t been able to publicly talk about. For many people, this might not be the worst thing in the world, but for a chronic over-sharer like me, it’s torture. Being unable to share–not just trumpet the good, but also work through the bad–feels like being gagged. There’s a flip side, however: it forces me to dig deep, evaluate things privately, talk Erik’s ear off, and work through things offline–you know, in the real world, not just the digital one.

Luckily, there is ONE thing I can finally share with you guys: I sold my 3rd book! Here’s the Publishers Marketplace announcement from Friday:

Nadine Jolie Courtney book deal

This book has been a long time coming–false starts and rewrites, sweat and tears, little victories and crushing defeats–and I’m so proud and excited to share it with you. It’s also one of the major reasons I’ve fallen a bit off the blogging map: I made the tough decision to pour my time into Wisteria (which will probably get renamed–you know how it goes). Friday’s announcement felt like a wonderful validation of that scary decision.

I’ve written at length the past few months about my blogging discontent, the decisions I’ve made to change it, and my excitement over finally relaunching this site (Today! Welcome!). Because of said happenings and the need to finish Wisteria (now I’m up against another deadline!), I haven’t been able to post daily–and it’s a trend that will continue into 2015 until I deliver the book. At first, this panicked me, but then I realized it would likely be a good thing. Rather than spinning my wheels, posting about this beauty launch and that pretty celeb (things you can discuss more economically on Twitter), all because…well, that’s what a beauty blogger is supposed to write about…

I can write about what I WANT to write about.

Things like happiness, and relationships, and the lies we tell ourselves, and the truths we need to hear, and covetable beauty products, and tantalizing travel destinations, and the magical shininess of Kate Middleton’s hair. The important things.

Changing the look of the site was a scary decision. These past years, I’ve gone through four?, five?, six?, seven? (seriously, I’ve lost track) cosmetic updates. Each time, I hoped for the site of my dreams but came away–hitting publish on the day of unveiling–feeling underwhelmed, like the blog didn’t really represent me.

No mas.

I wanted something clean and classic, with fonts and visuals and a color palette that excited me. When I came across my epic designer Ali Nagy (email her here!), it only took one conversation for her to “get it” and me to feel like she truly got ME. Mad, major props go to her (and my super hardworking, awesome web guy Marshall Bishop!) for helping me create a site I’m finally happy with. It might not be for everybody (one friend was like, “Um, it’s kind of…political? All the red, white, and blue?”) but I’m thrilled. It’s a place I want to call home.

Next big decision: the name. I legally changed my name in March to Nadine Jolie Courtney, but most people–even friends–still stubbornly insist on calling me Nadine Jolie.

I was born as Nadine Haobsh. That’s the name my first two books were published under, and that’s the name everybody knew me as until I was about 25. When the whole Jolie in NYC thing happened nearly 10 years ago (can you believe how long it’s been?), people began to identify me as “Jolie.” Within a couple of years, I thought of myself as Jolie–and eventually, I dropped the Haobsh altogether and rebranded myself as Nadine Jolie not just online but in life.

As a woman, there’s something tremendously empowering about choosing your own name. Not the name your father gave you. Not the name your husband offers you. The name you take for yourself. Choosing to make my way as Nadine Jolie was like planting a flag in foreign soil and claiming it as my own. (There was just one hitch–I never got around to doing it legally!)

So when I married Erik, deciding to take his last name (and legally making Jolie my middle name) was a fraught decision. But once I committed to it, it felt right. It fits me like a second skin. It feels like the name I was born to have. Making the decision to change my URL to Nadine Jolie Courtney was a scary one–scarier, in many ways, than actually changing my name.

It’s the fourth time I’ve rebranded (first there was Jolie in NYC, followed by Jolie Nadine, and then Nadine Jolie) and doing so always means losing valuable SEO juice–a risky step in bloggerland. This will be the last time I need to rebrand, the last name change I need to make, the last URL switch ever. I’m here to stay, in this new bit of land I’m carving out. I’m willing to take the temporary SEO hit so that I can have a place I want to call my own, forever. Obviously, the look will continue to evolve!

The permanent URL change will happen next week, and there are still some site bugs and things to be tweaked later this week. It’s not ideal: I wanted to put everything live today. Have it all be perfect. Check something big off my list, satisfied, done. But that’s life! You can be a maximizer or you can be a satisficer–and honestly, sometimes done is better than perfect. (That’s been a hard lesson for me to learn over the years!)

I hope you’re having fun poking around the site, and if you want a refresher on some of my favorite posts, you can check them out here:

Relationships and Personal Stories
(AKA, My Path To Erik, My Soulmate)

Finding My Voice

My Mother’s Death

Epic Travels

(Yeah, I’m obsessed)

Honest Beauty

As I say on my About page: “Every time I make a proclamation on How My Blog Is Going To Be, I grow and change and the blog changes with me. So, I’ve learned to stop making grand declarations.”

This isn’t a Grand Declaration post for what you can expect from me going forward. Rather, it’s an official “Here we go!” for the next step of the journey–wherever it takes us.

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Beauty Favorites | September 2014 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:00:58 +0000 Hey, better late than never, right?

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Air New Zealand’s adorable new in-flight video starring Elijah Wood Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:20:58 +0000 God, I love Air New Zealand. Their Premium Economy is better than many other airlines’ business classes, they have friendly flight attendants and great New Zealand wine, and their in-flight videos are always hilarious, adorable, and actually worth watching.

They’ve just released their newest in-flight video, starring Elijah Wood and Sir Peter Jackson, a couple of months before the third The Hobbit film hits theaters December 17. It features scenes from Hobbiton, the AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown (the world’s first!), Wellington Airport (gotta love that giant Gollum) and other Kiwi favorites.

Cute, no? I’ve said it a million times, but you really need to make a New Zealand trip happen. It’s the most wonderful place on the planet.

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Duchess Kate is back on the scene! Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:56:21 +0000 Duchess Kate emerged yesterday for the first time in more than seven weeks, stepping out in London for a black tie event at the Natural History Museum, where she is a patron. She wore pale blue Jenny Packham, aaaand she looked freaking phenomenal.

Duchess Kate

So great to see her out and about, happy and healthy.

Duchess of Cambridge Singapore pregnant

She also made an appearance earlier in the day, wearing Alexander McQueen and a Jane Taylor hat, at a ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel to mark the State Visit of the President of Singapore.

Duchess Kate pregnant Natural History Museum

We’ve missed you, Duch!

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From the Archives: Papa, je t’aime Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:00:55 +0000 Continue Reading]]> I’ve written at length about my mom, Nancy, but haven’t given much space to Papa Jolie, who’s obviously shaped and influenced my life in so many wonderful ways.  My Concorde-flying, multi-lingual, international-man-of-intrigue daddy was profoundly bad ass, but that’s another story for another medium–the easy merci comes from the importance my foreign father placed on culture, travel and education.  When I was five years old, in San Diego, he enrolled me in a French kindergarden–and I do mean French.  Poor little baby Jolie peed her pants on the first day of kindergarden because she couldn’t say “I have to use the bathroom!” en Francais, and the teachers just gazed at her sympathetically as they repeated something (probably, “I’m sorry, my dear, but you have to learn, and if we help you now, you never will,” or something equally evil).  It was trial by fire, but in the end, I did learn French!

In the evenings, after dinner, Dads would quiz me–spelling, history, geography, capital cities, translation from English to French–and while it might have been torturous to some, I adored our time together, and thrilled as I got older, learned more, and could turn the tables on him, sometimes even triumphantly stumping him with trivia.  The night my younger brother was born, my uncle taught me chess–I was nine–and until I left for school, my father and I would have late-night chess tournaments, battling it out for my allowance money.  (In retrospect, I think my dad gave me pocket money even if I lost, but the excitement of an extra $20 to spend at the movies or bookstore always made victory that much sweeter.)

Sofia Coppola Miss Dior Cherie

More than anything, my father adored–adores, still–France and everything French, having attended university in Lyon and lived it up in Paris in the 1970’s.  Some of my earliest memories revolve around the French records and cassettes he would play: Mireille Mathieu, Nana Mouskouri, Charles Aznavour, Charles Trenet, Dalida, and Francoise Hardy (one of my style icons to this day) were favorites.  There’s something indescribably romantic and wistful about old French music, and even now I take unique pleasure in the beautiful melody of a song like “La Vie Ne Vaut Rien,” “Paroles, Paroles,” “Douce France,” “Message personnel,” or “Tous les garcons et les filles.”  They’re all on YouTube, and are perfect songs for curling up on a cold, rainy Sunday with a glass of wine and reflecting.

I have so much to thank my father for, the very least of which are my twin appreciations of gorgeous, complex fragrances and, of course, Paris.  My first scent was Guerlain Shalimar, which my father brought back from Paris following a business trip; Paris and fragrance are now inextricably linked in my mind.  I stumbled across a Sofia Coppola-directed Miss Dior Cherie commercial recently, and for a moment, was back in Paris, a wide-eyed twenty year old strolling through the back streets of the Latin Quarter, soaking everything up and mentally compiling a list of wonders to report back to my dad.


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Creative Renewal: Nadine Jolie Courtney coming October 27! Sat, 11 Oct 2014 06:12:21 +0000 Nadine Jolie Courtney Bryce Dallas Howard

With Bryce Dallas Howard, my tablemate at today’s Variety Power of Women luncheon with Moroccanoil. (Queen Noor of Jordan was who I wrote as my inspiration on the Moroccanoil #InspiredByWomen wall behind us, by the way. It was an under-the-gun, snap decision!)

You guys, today was just the best day.

I roll my eyes when people post cryptic and dramatic social media updates like “It’s all happening” or “Falling apart at the seams” or “This is how it begins. Again.”

What‘s happening? Why are you falling apart? Stop baiting us with half-baked details, damn it!

But I didn’t want today to go by without acknowledging it; without letting you in a little on the secret. No, I can’t talk about it yet (I’m sorry!), but trust me: when I can, I’ll be singing from the rooftops…and then I’ll be boring you to tears with the minutia and the nitty-gritty about how we got here.

In many, many ways, 2014 has been the best year of my life. I’m starting to have even more reasons to suspect that 2015 might top it.

Speaking of, in order to hold myself accountable, I’m going to go ahead and make a declaration. I’m picking a due date and I’m making it public.

I’ll be relaunching this blog on October 27th, with a new look, new scope (read: probably not posting as frequently, but posting much more on personal topics, like we used to do all up in here), and even a new URL.

Nadine Jolie Courtney

See that? That’s happiness. (And ruddiness. I think I’m using my Clarisonic too frequently and need to back it off!)

Since I took Erik’s last name back in March, I’ve been going by Nadine Courtney in the “real” world, and Nadine Jolie Courtney as my pen name. Despite having my new last name on my outgoing email signature, on my business cards, and on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, people still insist on addressing, emailing, and signing me in as Nadine Jolie. Old habits die hard. I get it. But this year has been all about growing up and evolving, so I’m excited for the site–soon to be–to grow and evolve with me.

Yesterday, my blog friend Felicia Sullivan (her site is wonderful; please go check it out) posted on Facebook about bloggers going full-time, and how this inevitably meant having to remove them from her blogroll. In commiseration, somebody commented with this article: “How the Blogger Killed Herself Off.” I read it and I thought: this is me. This, exactly, sums up the blog issues I’ve been having the past couple of years. All that frustration, all that repressed creativity, all that malaise has been stemming from me trying to monetize the blog as a career–sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, often falling somewhere in the middle–rather than seeing it for what it always was and should have remained: a PASSION.

Will I still do clearly marked Sponsored Posts here and there? Of course. A woman cannot survive on lofty principles and odes to Duchess Kate alone. (I wrote one yesterday that I’m really excited to share with you, because it features a beauty brand I am genuinely OBSESSED with at the moment and can’t wait to talk to you more about.)

But I’m really trying to dig deep, to wade through the clutter, and distill myself down to what matters. I want to be the kind of blogger we can respect in the morning–that proverbial morning being five years from now, when the Style Blogging/Instagramming/Like It To Know It/Shill Shill Shill! craze shakes out and only the few, the proud, the real are left standing in the dust. (It’s coming. We all know it.)

I’m remembering what you want to read about, and I’m remembering what I want to write about.

I’m having fun with it again.

(Um, that sounded deadly serious. Let’s try it with an exclamation mark: I’m having fun with it again!)

I’m older. I’m more scared than I used to be because I know how devastating loss and failure feel, and I have more to lose. It’s not abstract and unthinkable like it was in my early 20s. (Just yesterday, one of my close friends found out that his father died, and my heart broke for him.) I’ve fallen, and I’ve bruised hard, and yeah, those instructive, painful moments were pretty terrible. But I’m more willing to take chances now, too. What’s the worst that can happen? Death? Heartache? Failure? Public humiliation? Been there. Lived it. Moving on!

I mean, that’s life. You can’t expect it all to be sunshine. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to lazily, stubbornly park myself in the shade and then complain about how cold I am!

Cheryl Strayed

The hugely-inspirational Cheryl Strayed, speaking at today’s Variety Power of Women luncheon

Today, I attended the Variety Power of Women luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire as a guest of Moroccanoil. It was glamorous and it was full of celebrities (JLo on this side, Viola Davis on that, Reese Witherspoon here, Ryan Seacrest there) and it was incredibly inspiring. I was wowed by women like Jessica Matthews, who’s literally harnessing the power of play to create energy, or Rebecca Welsh, whose HALO Foundation connects children with creativity and self-expression to inspire escape from bad situations. (Bryce–you know, my new BFF–directed both of these women, as well as several others, in Inspired By Women videos for Moroccanoil.) Being in the room with so many strong women who are living their dreams and realizing their visions–again, today of all days–felt like a not-at-all subtle message from the universe. (Yes, yes…moan, groan. I live in Santa Monica; hippie happens.)

You know what’s easy? To bitch. To moan. To complain. Then to snap right back into your rut and not change a single bloody thing about the way you live your life. And then to wonder why you’re not seeing results. Or even worse: to genuinely want to change, but to then feel confused why doing the same thing over and over and over merits the same outcome. The same lessons. The same trials. The same life–the one that you know isn’t as big as the one you should be living.

Much harder: to listen, to learn, to pivot, to reach, to actually be willing to fail, to put yourself out there, to CHANGE. Results are never guaranteed. You might try and you might still fail.

But damn it:

Doesn’t the trying feel so good?



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Princess Charlene of Monaco is pregnant with twins Thu, 09 Oct 2014 06:13:46 +0000 Princess Charlene of Monaco pregnant with twins

Photo: Getty Images

We have a royal pickle! Princess Charlene of Monaco announced this week that she and Prince Albert are expecting twins. Happy news…except, since their heir will inherit the Monegasque throne, it’s a tad more problematic than if they were regular ol’ Mr. and Mrs. Grimaldi.

So, if it’s two girls, the eldest inherits. Ditto for two boys. But what happens if Charlene gives birth to a girl and a boy…and if the girl comes out first? That’s where it might get tricky.

According to the Constitution of the Principality, the firstborn should rule: so an elder girl would eventually become Her Serene Highness. However, priority has always been given to boys in Monaco: after all, Prince Albert is younger than Princess Caroline…but she’s not on the throne.

For years, it seemed like Albert wasn’t going to have any (legal) heirs at all, and so Prince Rainier changed the laws before he died so that Princess Caroline would inherit if Albert didn’t produce. Seeing as Europe is rife with child future Queens–and even a place as male-heir-happy as the UK changed their laws so that firstborn daughters could inherit the British crown–it would be progressive and awesome if the powers-that-be in Monaco indeed allowed an elder daughter to rule over a younger brother. Time will tell…

Princess Charlene pregnant with twins

Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Charlene and Albert were in Los Angeles yesterday for the 2014 Princess Grace Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire. She’s reportedly about 6 months pregnant, but still looks good (though down) as ever.

UPDATE: The point in the comments below is a good one. Nowhere in the original article do the words, “Yes, I am pregnant with twins!” actually come out of Charlene’s mouth. That being said, if I were a betting woman, I’d still put down money that the rumor is correct, based on the source that kicked off all the speculation: a long-since deleted Tweet from a good friend of Charlene’s father. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

I myself have posted things in the past on social media that were 100% true…but weren’t yet fit for public consumption–leading to deletions, not to mention having to dancing around the truth until behind-the-scenes dealmakers allowed it. Note to self: never scoop (Hell, I’m living this reality right now: still dying to share some cool news with you.)

But, again, like a broken record: we shall see. It’s not like they’re going to be able to keep this one secret for THAT long. Pregnancies, like secrets, tend to have a shelf life…

Andrea Casiraghi Tatiano Santo Domingo pregnant again

Photo: Vanity Fair Italy

And congratulations are reportedly due to Princess Caroline’s son Andrea Casiraghi (he’s our girl Charlotte’s brother). Vanity Fair Italy reports today that he and his wife Tatiana are expecting their second child. Babies for everybody!

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Life Update, Plus a Few of my September Beauty Favorites Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:00:05 +0000 We survived our taxes: hooray! It took 15 hours straight on Friday, with the two of us falling into bed cross-eyed at 3:45 in the morning. I slept the next day until noon, and it was glorious. We’ve now moved back to the apartment renovations. It’s been a painstaking process, going through the apartment room by room as we clean out every closet, organizing photos and papers and cards (and knick-knacks and wedding mementos and magazines), and setting aside countless bags for giveaway. We are now known on a first-name basis at both Goodwill and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Remember how I told you I started a new YouTube channel at, where I’ve been uploading all my old videos and will be posting my new videos? I just checked it today, and weirdly my most popular video is one of me wearing my retainers back in 2009. I find this very bizarre. It also means, if I want more subscribers (have you subscribed yet?) that I’m going to have to upload a new video of me wearing my retainers–obviously.

While I haven’t written as much about beauty these past few weeks, I’ve been enthusiastically testing new products and have so much to recommend to you all! Here, a sampling of the products that wet my whistle in September:

NJC Beauty Products I'm Loving

Beauty Blender: It warrants an entire dedicated post, but the Beauty Blender has revolutionized my makeup life. I can’t remember the last time–seriously, it has been years, probably since I discovered bareMinerals, funnily enough–that a beauty product has so shaken up my routine. I’m finally able to use liquid foundation, which the Beauty Blender helps distribute perfectly, weightlessly, flawlessly. Speaking of, my poison of choice is…

bareMinerals Bare Skin Serum Foundation SPF 20: When this serum foundation launched–it’s a liquid offshoot of the famous bareMinerals mineral powder–I was impressed in theory but not in practice. (You can read my last review here.) All of my issues with it disappeared when I applied the foundation differently with the Beauty Blender. Suddenly, the too thin formula perfectly covered my nose and my ruddiness, showing me how buildable the formula truly is.

Klorane Mango Butter for Dry and Damaged Hair: I literally just discovered these products, like, yesterday, and I’m already obsessed. Klorane is one of my favorite haircare lines to begin with, and these super moisturizing products for damaged and dry hair smell SO GOOD. I’m particularly taken with the Mask with Mango Butter, which is goopy as hell, in the best possible way.

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Silkissime Eyeliner in Pure Purple: Since I have green eyes, purple eyeliner is one of the best tricks to make my color look more vibrant. I’ve been wearing this eyeliner daily for the past week. (Erik asked me, “Sooo is the purple eyeliner a thing now?” Yes. It’s a thing.) It lasts all day and doesn’t smudge, but removes easily at the end of the day.

I’m also due to make a September Favorites video, to say nothing of an August Favorites! (I still have favorites on ice to tell you about.) Our horrendously messy apartment is the only reason I haven’t filmed this month. Can’t wait to finally be done and have a clean space…next week? Two weeks from now?

Soon, I hope.

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The new Charlotte Casiraghi Gucci ads have been released Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:28:22 +0000 And they are, predictably, gorgeous!

High priestess of makeup Pat McGrath worked with Gucci creative director Frida Giannini to create the colors and formulations for the brand-new Gucci Cosmetics line. Pat also directed Charlotte’s makeup for the campaign. (I don’t know what makeup “directing” means–is this different from makeup “applying”? So many questions.)

Charlotte Casiraghi Gucci Cosmetics

Photos by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot

Meanwhile, the ad, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, is very 1970s glam. You expect Andy Warhol to roller skate through the hotel door at any moment. Here’s a breakdown of the makeup Charlotte’s wearing:

LIPS: Gucci Audacious Color-Intense Lipstick in Iconic Red

EYES: Gucci Magnetic Color Shadow Mono in Iconic Gold

MASCARA: Gucci Opulent Volume Mascara in Iconic Black

We’re even treated to a little short film, where Charlotte looks like the doppelganger of her mother Princess Caroline. (But the Monaco kind. Not the Mystic Falls kind.)

It’s all so glamorous, I’m beside myself.

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