Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

I’m so happy to announce that Style Bites, the TV series I wrote, directed, produced and hosted, is airing daily on The Lifestyle Network! Check it out at 6am/12pm/6pm/12am PST on DirectTV, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Full episodes are also available on YouTube.

I was blessed with the opportunity to create my own show back in January and it’s been a whirlwind ever since! I haven’t had a chance to recap my wonderful experience as it’s been an extremely busy few months! So, I’d like to share a bit about my adventure with you now…

Style Bites is based on this blog, Your Gal Kara: Your Glam, Affordable and Luxurious Resource.

Watch Highlights from Season 1 of Style Bites here!

As you all know, I am a true fashionista! I love fashion magazines, watching (and walking in) runway shows and learning about new designers and collections. And like a true style savvy gal, I love a fashionable deal! After all, I’ve been working in the fashion industry since I was a teen; from modeling, styling and producing shows to creating PR campaigns for new and renowned brands, I’ve done it all!

Some of you may not know that I come from a family of restaurateurs. The Thai women in my family have been in the restaurant business since I can remember, and food has always been at the center of my life. I love to cook and experiment with new spices and recipes. And my biggest love in life is to travel and explore world cuisines! 

It seemed like a natural fit for me to create a show that combines my two loves, fashion and food! Style Bites grants exclusive access to the latest restaurants and hotspots, offers tips on how to achieve the latest trends and reveals coveted secrets from fashion and beauty insiders. "Style Bites is the ultimate bible on chic living," said Olivia de Jesus, Managing Director for ABS-CBN International North America.

Style Bites

Glam Guide breaks down the hottest fashion trends from the runway to the red carpet. Learn practical tips and discover affordable finds to help you live with flair. Featured guests include Halston Heritage, Liza Stewart Showroom, L.K. Bennett, IFBB Pro Gigi Amurao, Aerithe and Linea Pelle.

Designer Dish grants exclusive access to the industry’s top designers, exclusive events, fashion previews, and beauty hotspots. Indulge with an in-depth look at today’s most coveted style influencers. Featured guests include celebrity brow expert Kelley Baker, Traffic Women at the Beverly Center, butterflyzebra, Lou Razon, Calleen Cordero and Sew Down.

Style Bites also gives audiences a Taste of the Town, a premier table at must-try restaurants that guarantees to satisfy cravings for unique food finds and mind-blowing cuisine. Featured restaurants include supperclub LA, Crème Caramel LA, Crustacean Beverly Hills, White Rabbit Truck, Paiche and Cornell Winery.

And if just a taste is not enough, learn to Cook Like A Chef. Walk into the kitchens of renowned chefs and tastemakers as they share their most celebrated recipes that you can make at home. Featured chefs include Coreen Peralta of Tia Conchita Brands, Frankie Garcia of Local 1205, Nick Nishi of Hamakaze Sushi & Izakaya, Marius Blin of Esterel, Penpim Jittorn of Thailand Plaza and Carolos Tamazos and Lisa Crossman of Waterloo & City.

Check back here for behind the scenes photos from Style Bites season one, as well as full length videos of all 24 segments. I’d love to hear from you to see what you think of the show, so feel free to leave your comments below. And if you have a favorite designer, fashion tip or restaurant that you think I should feature in a future episode, let me know too!

Thanks to everyone for your love and support! xo

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Simply Hair (Part 2) with Kazumi Morton

Kazumi Morton is the Isaac Newton of Hollywood hair color. The renowned “hair chemist” has transformed the locks of some of the biggest stars in Tinseltown, from Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, to Christina Applegate and Shannon Dougherty. Kazumi has perfected the fine art of hair color, specifically natural, sun kissed highlights. Her philosophy is pure and simple – less is more.


Praised as the “Best Brunette Specialist” in 2011 by LA Weekly, I was thrilled when I was able to secure an appointment with Kazumi Morton. As someone who has had bad experiences with hair color in the past, I was hesitant to make any dramatic changes. After viewing some of Kazumi’s work on her Tumblr page, I was reassured but still anxious. I sent her photos prior to our appointment, part of her regular consultation process with new clients. For Kazumi, the consultation is the most important factor to achieve great results. She truly listens to her clients, understanding what their ultimate goals are. Do they want a subtle change or a total transformation? After chatting with Kazumi for ten minutes about the ghosts of my hair color’s past, I’m comforted by her intuitive nature and honest feedback. This is perhaps what makes her the go-to colorist for finicky Angelenos. Kazumi may have a gentle demeanor, but she’s not afraid to tell her clients the truth, or even turn them away if she doesn’t agree with what they want to do to their hair. Her passion for hair color is evident when she says, “My hands and my heart won’t let me give my clients a look that is unflattering.”


With over 16 years of experience in the industry, Kazumi is like an encyclopedia of hair color knowledge. From pH levels and the damaging effects of bleaching to the intricate details of the color wheel, Kazumi has been educating her clients, colleagues and students across the globe since 1998. She immediately says that she will not be bleaching my hair and that this is not a good option, especially for my naturally dark, ethnic hair. Rather, her plan is to give me highlights with just Hair Color, a gentler, more controlled approach. No bleach? No lifting of my base hair color before applying the highlights? I’m intrigued and curious – why has no other colorist ever recommended this technique to me before? While it may not be a new discovery, applying highlights with Hair Color is a more refined method, one that is safer and less stressful on your hair. And the perfect option for those who are new to the world of hair color.


After a couple hours in Kazumi’s chair, it was finally time to remove the foils and reveal my new highlights. When my blowout is complete, I turn around to see soft, warm, glowing hints of caramel within my dark brown tresses. I sense that Kazumi is disappointed that the color is not as pronounced as she would have liked. “It seems your hair is a bit resistant to color,” she says to me with a laugh. Perhaps after years of Sun-In, boxed hair dye, and botched color treatments, my hair has learned to be cautious. Or maybe, Kazumi’s method was the answer to my hair color prayers. Although she invites me back to the salon to add more color in the coming weeks, I decide to enjoy my understated highlights as they are. With time, the highlights have naturally lightened up, as if I had spent the winter months on a tropical island. They are delicate, radiant, and simply beautiful.

Highlights with Kazumi Morton, $300 & Up. JONATHAN and GEORGE Salon, 9320 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Salon Hours are Mon-Tue 9am-5pm, Wed-Sat 8am-6pm, Sunday Closed. (310) 275-2808

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Simply Hair with Kristoff Ball

When I first learned of my appointment with celebrity hair stylist, Kristoff Ball, I have to admit I was pretty nervous. The same hands that have cut and styled Brad Pitt and Gwen Stefani’s hair were going to work their magic on my hair! What would he be like? Will his posh Beverly Hills salon be intimidating? What will he think of my hair and will he want to chop it off like all the other stylists I’ve visited in the last year?

brad_pitt Gwen Stefani 1

I’ve had a huge fear of making drastic changes to my hair for as long as I can remember. My hair has been long and natural my entire life. I’ve always been envious of those that can reinvent themselves by changing their hairstyle or color.  People often say to me, “It’s just hair Kara, it’ll grow back,” or “Kara, you’re too attached to your hair.” Well yes, I am attached to my hair as a matter of fact. It is stuck to my head and I’m the one that has to look at it and deal with it every day!

Kristoff 1

Not only has Kristoff Ball worked on the hair of some of the biggest names in Hollywood, but he has an incredible background. With a humble upbringing in Long Beach, California, Kristoff taught himself how to cut hair at the age of twelve after receiving “one too many bad haircuts” from his father. Soon enough, he became known as the “Long Beach Hair Guy,” styling hair by day and immersing himself in to the world of Rock and Roll by night. His life-changing gig came when he had the opportunity to open for No Doubt and Sublime, thus beginning the lifelong friendship he has with Gwen Stefani. While other stylists have tried to take credit for her famous platinum blonde locks, it was in fact Kristoff who was responsible for this beauty phenomenon. And he has the photographic evidence in his Beverly Hills salon to prove it.


Since relocating to Los Angeles, Kristoff has worked at many renowned high-end salons, including Privé, Fred Segal Beauty and Chris McMillan. I was drawn to the fact that he loves long, “beachy” hair and is known to be the stylist that won’t chop off a client’s hair. He likes to keep things simple and prefers to preserve length, especially when hair is healthy. It seemed like kismet – perhaps Kristoff Ball would be the perfect person to transform my hair.

Pulling up to the Kristoff Ball Salon, I knew I was in for something special. Parking was a breeze in a small private lot. As soon as I walked in I spotted a man with a tight fitting black t-shirt and short brown hair. This was not the image of Kristoff that I had seen online or in the glossy magazines. Before I could open my mouth to say hello, Kristoff Ball extended his hand with a friendly smile.

Kristoff Ball Salon Overview with Swing

The salon interior is both bold and inviting, a representation of Kristoff’s eclectic personality. The space has a glam, punk-rock vibe complete with sleek chairs, oversized mirrors, leather rope swings (just for fun) and two strategically placed deer heads, one with the Yves Saint Laurent logo as antlers. An avid art enthusiast, Kristoff also displays a print by the notorious Banksy, which is uniquely signed by Paris Hilton.

Kristoff YSL Two heads

After chatting about his new shorter locks, we headed to his station to discuss the dreaded question, “What are we doing with your hair today?” A few minutes in his white leather chair and Kristoff says, “Your hair is beautiful, why do want to change it?” He continued, “The key to great hair is to keep it simple. You have a great head of hair, all you need are a few tweaks to make it perfect.” And with those words, I was whisked away to the shampoo station by Kristoff’s son, Noriel. Small talk led me to learn that the Kristoff Ball Salon is truly a family business. Kristoff built this business from the ground up, his wife Cassandra manages the salon and Noriel, who recently graduated from the Academy of Beauty in Culver City, is now his father’s apprentice. We chit chat about the U.S. presidential election and how this was his first time executing his right to vote. While laughing about Roseanne Barr as a candidate, I’m finally relaxed as I receive one of the best scalp massages I’ve experienced.

Kristoff Shampoo bowls

Back in Kristoff’s chair, I instantly feel like one of the family. He shares stories about his childhood in Long Beach, we connect over my Thai/Filipina background, and he casually talks about his besties and longtime clients, Gwen and Paris. As in Stefani and Hilton. While it may seem like the typical Hollywood namedropping, it’s actually bittersweet as he affectionately talks about his loyal friends with love and respect. He describes what it’s been like growing up in this business, the hustle and flow of the beauty industry. Despite having worked with some of the biggest names in the business, owning two posh salons in Tinseltown, and being offered multiple reality TV shows, Kristoff is somehow grounded. I tell him this and he replies with a chuckle. But really, Kristoff is the most down to earth Hollywood hair stylist I’ve ever met, and I’ve met my fair share over the years. His philosophy is simple –he does hair to help women feel pretty. He’s not in it for the fame or the endorsement deals, but purely to see the joy on a woman’s face when she’s thrilled with her cut or color.


A few snips here, a couple layers there and before I know it there are three and a half inches of my hair on the salon floor. I gaze in wonderment as Noriel sweeps my hair away with a blow-dryer, and I realize that I’ve been lost in a really great conversation. Somewhere between the acupressure like massage and the hilarious stories of hanging out with Snoop Dogg in the LBC, I suddenly have a new do. A cup of tea and an amazing blowout later, I stood up to reveal my new look. Kristoff took my hair from long and lifeless to layered and luxuriant. I arrived wishing I had somebody else’s hair, but left finally loving my own.

Cut & Blow-dry with Kristoff Ball, $250. The Kristoff Ball Salon, 8621 Wilshire Blvd., Suite J, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Salon hours are Monday-Saturday, 8am-6pm. (424) 777-0978

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Mother’s Day Gifts Under $100

This Mother’s Day, a memorable gift doesn’t have to cost a fortune. No matter if you’re shopping for your mom, wife, or female role model in your life, the following gifts will surely bring a smile to her face! Show her the love and respect that she deserves with these thoughtful gifts under $100!

Unique Fashion

Unique fashion finds are hard to come by, but with the new Rotem Gear LE collection, you’ll find handcrafted artisan items that mom will absolutely adore! LA based designer Jean Roth has expanded her eclectic assortment of graphic tees to launch this limited edition line of tops, cardigans, and scarves that are inspired by the beauty of nature.

Rotem Gear LE Scarf v3

This Burgundy Scarf ($32) is made of soft, silky pima cotton, and the delicate Agapanthus design is derived from Roth’s own botanical photography.


What also makes this a GAL find? This luxurious scarf (in green) was recently gifted to the most stylish celeb mom on the planet, Sarah Jessica Parker! Use my exclusive coupon code GALKARA to save 10% through May 13th!

Natural Beauty

Give mom the gift of natural beauty that gives back, with Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil Model Citizen Editions ($52). The eco-conscious beauty mogul has teamed up with her closest model friends to create three limited edition versions of her most popular product.


Maran’s revolutionary Argan Oil is luxurious, lightweight, and 100% organic, and can be used to moisturize, heal and condition everything from your face and body, to cuticles and spilt ends. Maran, along with supermodels Petra Nemcova and Angela Lindvall, designed special artwork for bottles of her 100% Pure Argan Oil.


For every bottle purchased, 10% of the proceeds go to organizations in need, including Women for Women International, Happy Hearts Fund, and Healthy Child Healthy World. Each Model Citizen purchase also comes with a bonus gift from the Josie Maran Cosmetics collection!

Heart Healthy Chef

The American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” campaign has been raising much needed awareness of heart disease in women since 2004. Empower mom to take charge of her heart health with a gift from the Go Red shop!

GR Rhinestud Apron 29 GR Eco Utensil Set 25

The Go Red Rhinestud Apron ($29) and Eco Utensil Set ($25) would be perfect for the master chef in your life. While she cooks up a storm, she’ll be reminded to put her cardiovascular health first! The “Go Red For Women” campaign will continue to educate mom and give her the tools she needs to lead a heart healthy life. To save an extra 10% off your purchase, like the “Go Red For Women” Facebook page!

Feel Good Footwear

Every woman likes a great pair of shoes, but mom will really love that her gift of TOMS Shoes will also help a child in need. Continuing on with their world renowned efforts and brand mission of One for One, TOMS Shoes is now available in chic wedges and ballet flats.

TOMS Blk Wedges v2

These Black Canvas Wedges ($69) are the perfect combination of style and versatility. Mom will surely appreciate the comfort of the medium heel and soft, suede insole.

TOMS Burlap Ballet Flats

If she’d prefer a flat, these two tone Burlap Ballet Flats ($79) will be her new go to shoe. The classic colors and blend of natural fabrics can be worn with everything from jeans to a dress!

TOMS Hearts MOMS White 54 v2

For a limited time, TOMS is also offering an online exclusive version of their classic style with a loving message for Mother’s Day! The TOMS Hearts MOMS shoe ($54) is available in navy and white, and for every purchase, TOMS will give the same pair to a mom in need across the globe.

Spa Scents

If mom can’t get to the spa, the soothing scent of this SoHo Living Bamboo Candle ($9) will instantly take her there from the comfort of her home! There’s nothing like a warm, flickering candle to help you relax and feel rejuvenated.  513614

The clean and tranquil fragrance of this affordable candle rivals those that cost five times the price. And since they’re made of a long-lasting paraffin wax, mom won’t have to worry about being left in the dark as these beauties burn for up to 60 hours (really!).

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How to Wear Red From Head to Toe

Sunday night’s Emmy awards reminded viewers what Hollywood is all about – making a bold statement on the red carpet! Television’s biggest stars did not disappoint, with leading ladies taking center stage in the hottest color of the season, red! While red may seem too daring for some, this is definitely the time of year for fashionistas to play with this striking and confident shade. Let the best dressed from the Emmys red carpet inspire you to experiment with this sexy color from head to toe!

Red Lips

Christina Hendricks and Kerry Washington rocked classic red lips on the Emmys red carpet, reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour! If you want to try the red trend but don’t want to go overboard, start by adding a hint of color with beauty products. Red lips are chic and timeless, and a pretty look for day or night. Try a matte red lip instead of a glossy sheen for a more sophisticated feel. If you have fairer skin like Christina, opt for a blue-based red lipstick, while deep reds complement darker complexions like Kerry’s.


Revlon’s ColorBurst Lipstick in True Red is the perfect shade for everyone, an inexpensive buy at just $8.99 at drugstores nationwide, or $6.28 on Amazon.com

Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick True Red

Crimson hued nails and toes are also a fun way to play with color. Rich tones of ruby, burgundy, and tomato are big nail color trends for fall. Just make sure to keep your nails short and manicured to avoid looking tacky!
Essie Nail Color Really Red OPI Nail Color

Red Accessories

Zooey Deschanel and Kaley Cuoco added some unexpected pops of color to their Emmy looks by wearing statement red accessories! Every fashionista has a collection of belts, but nothing says stylish trendsetter than a sexy red sash. Look for a thin to medium width belt in all the materials and textures of the season. From classic patent and luxurious leather, to a simple ribbon style like Zooey’s, a red belt complements fall’s textured pants, printed tops, and refined shapes. Check out ShopStyle.com for 29 sizzling styles under $25!

Zooey Deschanel Red Obi Belt Asos

To really spice up your LBD, add a bold platform pump and clutch like Kaley. Red shoes and handbags are definite outfit makers, and this season there are a ton of updated versions to transform your look. A subtle round toe pump or leather stiletto are ideal for day, while a seductive reptile heeled sandal would be great for a night on the town. These patent rubies are just $79 on Zappos.com!

1B4AE122 Red Pump Zappos

Ladylike purses are also a major trend for fall. Look for structured shapes and simple hardware, like on the Mayfair Satchel from Handbag Heaven ($40.95). This oversized, faux exotic skin bag is elegant and polished, the perfect combination!  Use Your GAL Kara’s exclusive coupon code FALL11 for an extra 15% off anything from Handbag Heaven (valid through 9/30/11)!

Mayfair Satchel HH

Ladies in Red

Kate Winslet and Lea Michele stole the show on the red carpet, wearing dramatic red gowns that showed off their best assets! Take a cue from these lovely ladies and mix some red items in to your wardrobe this fall.

Kate Winslet Emmys Lea Michele Emmys

If you want to make a statement, try a sexy, body hugging red dress. Look for styles that cover up and don’t show too much skin, like a wrap or sheath. Both are fit for the office or a first date! Macy’s.com has a good selection of affordable red dresses, like this NY Collection Wrap Dress for just $48! And remember, it’s important to balance your look when wearing such a powerful hue, so keep your accessories and makeup simple.

NY Collection Red Wrap Dress Macys

If you want a more sophisticated look, experiment with the season’s skirts and tops. Mix it up with different shades of crimson for a fashion forward feel, like pairing a burgundy button up with a cardinal red skirt. This Halogen Pencil Skirt from Nordstrom.com is a versatile layering piece, and it’s only $59! Adding these fiery pieces to your closet will definitely make you feel beautiful and confident as the weather cools off this fall!

Halogen Pencil Skirt Red Nordstrom

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Celebrity Products That Give Back

Some of the biggest names in Hollywood are taking charity to heart, working with worthy causes across the globe to make a difference. With the following charitable finds, you can be a savvy and socially responsible shopper all at the same time. Here are some of my favorite celebrity endorsed products that really give back!

Skechers Shoes & Soles4Souls

Skechers and Soles4Souls have teamed up to collect shoes for people in need around the world. Celebs like Zach Braff and Donald Faison are spokespeople for the charity organization, while stars like Jessica Alba and Kim Kardashian support the mission as well.

Soles4SoulsLogo zach-braff

With more than 300 million children around the world without shoes, Skechers and Soles4Souls are making a difference, one pair at a time. For every pair of Skechers BOBS Shoes sold (starting at $34.95 on DSW.com), Skechers will donate two pairs of shoes to those in need. BOBS, stands for Skechers’ charitable mission, Benefitting Others By Shoes. The festive shoes come in an array of colors, fabrics, and styles, and are a fashionable way to support a worthy cause!

Skechers Bobs

MAC Cosmetics & MAC Aids Fund

MAC Cosmetics launched their Viva Glam lipstick collection in 2004, to support the many men, women and children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS around the world. As the official “Viva Glam Goddess,” Lady Gaga recently launched her own signature shade, a very wearable warm beige color that complements every skin tone.

Lady Gaga Viva Glam Gaga

All of the proceeds from the sale of Viva Glam Gaga Lipstick ($14.50, MACCosmetics.com) goes to the MAC Aids Fund, which supports innovative programs to help those affected by HIV and AIDS. The money collected from one tube of Viva Glam lipstick can be used for 37 deliveries of dietetically sound meals, or even supply one woman a month’s worth of public transport to take her to and from doctor’s appointments. Embrace your inner Gaga and look fierce while giving back!

Lady Gaga Mac Red Carpet

Philosophy & Joyful Heart Foundation

Emmy award winning actress Mariska Hargitay is known for playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU, a woman who specializes in investigating sexually based crimes. Through her work on the show, and the countless appreciation letters from sexual abuse victims all over the world, Mariska founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004.


The foundation has teamed up with skincare brand Philosophy, on the special edition Joyful Heart Shampoo/Shower Gel ($24, Philosophy.com). The delicate shampoo/shower gel/bubble bath has a soft peony scent, a soft combination of fresh, feminine, floral notes. 100% of the proceeds go towards healing survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, and helping them to reclaim their lives. Bring some joy to others hearts while pampering yourself with this light and refreshing shampoo!

Joyful Heart Shampoo

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Keep Cool Beauty Products – Summer 2011

With temperatures reaching record breaking heights this summer, many of us are looking for ways to stay cool! Beat the scorching summer heat with the following GAL beauty finds, affordable must have products for savvy women everywhere!

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo ($20.61, Drugstore.com)

At the end of a hot summer day, there’s nothing like refreshing with a cool shower! And there’s no better addition to your bathing regimen than Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo. This invigorating shampoo is the perfect antidote to a long day in the sun, full of tea tree oil, peppermint and lavender to revive your mind and body. The shampoo tingles when applied, cooling your head while the intoxicating aromas lift your spirits. Great for all hair types, Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Special Shampoo is a real treat for the senses. Trust me when I say your hair will look, feel and smell clean all day with this fantastic product!

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo Drugstore.com $20.61

GAL Tip: Drugstore.com offers their customers FREE SHIPPING when you spend $25 or more!

Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock ($9.89, Drugstore.com)

We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the harsh rays of the sun. But after sweltering in the summer heat, there’s nothing more uncomfortable than slathering on a thick, icky sunscreen. With Neutrogena’s Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock, you can reapply your sunscreen throughout the day with no mess, while protecting and cooling your skin all at the same time! This lightweight, waterproof formula is easy to apply, and the cooling sensation is a pleasant surprise to sun drenched skin. This ingenious sunblock is so refreshing, you’ll actually look forward to putting it on!

Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock Amazon.com $12

C. O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine ($7.50, Bath & Body Works)

The last thing a woman wants to do in the middle of summer is put on a heavy lipstick. Nothing can ruin your mood, or your smile, than a cakey, matte lipstick! Luckily, the folks at Bath & Body Works have an assortment of incredibly light and minty lip shines that are the answer to this beauty dilemma. C.O. Bigelow’s Mentha Lip Shine is the ultimate three in one lip product, combining high gloss, incredible moisture, and long lasting breath freshening. This affordable lip moisturizer has an invigorating, cooling sensation when applied to lips, and the gloss is just the right amount of shine for everyday use. Plus, C.O. Bigelow’s Mentha Lip Shine also does a great job at freshening breath, perfect when you don’t have a mint or piece of gum handy!

Mentha Lip Shine Bath Body Works 7.50

Almay Wake Up Hydrating Makeup ($12.99, Drugstore.com)

During the summertime months, women are always looking for ways to lighten up their makeup routine. Almay Wake Up Hydrating Makeup is a new mineral powder foundation that not only provides flawless coverage, but it cools your skin when applied. Mineral foundations are becoming increasingly popular as they’re more lightweight than traditional makeup. Almay’s Wake Up is infused with cucumber, minerals, aloe vera, and green tea extracts to help refine and smooth skin, while the added hydrating water provides an instant cooling sensation. The product even has SPF 13, so you receive extra sun protection with every use. This inventive makeup is a definite must for your cosmetics bag!

Almay Wake Up Drugstore.com $12.99

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GAL Travel Tips Summer 2011

Summer travel season is officially here! If you’re looking to find a great deal but don’t know where to start, read on to discover a fantastic new site that will certainly make searching for flights easier! And after you’ve saved so much money on airfare, discover which must have fashion and beauty items you’ll need to make your trip complete!

Travel Deals Made Easy


With all of the new travel search engines and websites available, it’s difficult to know which ones to trust. One of the most innovative to hit the web lately is Bing Travel, a portal dedicated to locating the best deals in travel. Not only can you search for flights, hotels, and packages, but you can compare hundreds of search engines at one time, eliminating the need to jump from site to site. But by far the coolest feature of Bing Travel is their Price Predictor tool, which tells you if you should buy now or wait, depending on whether the fares will increase, stay the same, or decrease. According to research, Bing’s Price Predictor tool is about 75% accurate, saving customers an average of $50 per transaction. Other nifty features of Bing Travel? Their Rate Indicator tool tells you if hotel rates are a good deal by comparing current and past rates. There’s also a fantastic travel blog, feature articles and photo gallery, definitely worth checking out!

Bing Travel

Functional Fashion

Mossimo Conv Dress Mossimo Conv Dress2

Deciding what to pack for vacation is never easy. How many outfits will I need and for what occasions? For those that want to keep it light, opt for a convertible dress, many of which can be worn 8 ways or more. These brilliant designs are versatile, comfortable, fashionable, and the perfect neutral palette to accessorize with shoes and jewelry. Wear a convertible dress like this GAL find by Mossimo (Target, $23.99), as a cover up when you’re lounging poolside and then as a sexy halter dress for night. Some styles can even be worn as skirts like this GAL find by Elan (Amazon, $32.99), which would look great paired with a basic or embellished tank. The possibilities are truly endless! Not only are these dresses fashionable, but they’re practical as they take up little space and can be worn so many different ways. Once you have your convertible dress, all that’s left to pack are a couple pairs of shoes, jewelry, a few other basics, and you’re good to go! This is one fashion item that every savvy traveler should own!

Elan Conv Dress Elan Conv Dress2

Travel Sized Beauty


If you can’t live without your daily moisturizer or luxury shampoo while on vacation, but don’t want to lug around a full size version of your favorite product, then 3floz.com is for you! This genius website offers more than 50 well known companies’ hair, skin, and body products in TSA approved 3 oz. packages, the perfect size for your carry-on luggage! From Alterna to Ole Henriksen, you’ll find all your favorites in one convenient place. Select as many travel sized items as you want for your customized carry-on, or purchase a kit from some of the most coveted beauty brands in the business. With products from women, men, and baby starting at $5, the whole family can stock up on essential beauty items without breaking the bank!


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“Mad Men” Inspired Fashion

AMC’s Mad Men has inspired a new culture of retro chic fashion! From the bold Don Draper to the sexy yet feminine Joan Harris, this show has brought vintage inspired fashion to the forefront. Ladylike silhouettes and dainty accents have continued to rule the fashion runways, while Fall 2010 has officially marked the return of the well dressed, sophisticated gentleman. Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, the following fashion items will definitely take your modern day style on a trip back to the early 60’s – an era of refined and understated elegance.

mad men cast

Vanessa Dress ($90, Heartbreaker Fashion)

The ladies of Mad Men have reminded us that nothing says you’re a woman better than showcasing your hourglass figure. With simple sheath styles, flirty floral skirts, and sexy wiggle dresses, women have been inspired to show off their curves in these classic and elegant looks. Heartbreaker Fashion is a fantastic resource for vintage inspired dresses at an affordable price. The Vanessa Dress is sexy and polished, perfect for the office or a night on the town. The neckline, button details and cinched belt add a graceful touch that will truly make you feel like a woman!

heartbreaker vanessa dress navy_90

Spring Street Compact ($48, Saks Fifth Avenue)

The compact was the ultimate female accessory in the era of Mad Men, perfect to reapply your lipstick and pretty enough to start a conversation over cocktails. In a simpler time when cell phones and iPads weren’t even a possibility, there was nothing that defined a woman more than her compact. This lovely compact from Spring Street was inspired by the ladies of Mad Men and is sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. The enameled compact features a chic black and white palette and bold flower embellishment made of crystals and glass pearls. The classic feel of this compact is ultra feminine and would make a beautiful gift for women of all ages.

spring street compact saks_48

Dear Betty Handkerchief ($28, Happy Hanky)

The handkerchief is a symbol of feminine elegance. Not just for weddings or special occasions, hankies are dainty, romantic, and a great addition to a modern woman’s handbag! Happy Hanky is a line of vintage inspired handkerchiefs, all featuring chic prints and trims that are reminiscent of Mad Men.  All hankies are made of 100% premium cotton and arrive with the signature Happy Hanky poem. The black and white floral pattern and hot pink lace trim on the Dear Betty handkerchief is the perfect combination of sweet and sassy, just like Betty Francis!

dear betty handkerchief

Silver Tie Bar & Black Fedora ($29 & $45, FineandDandyShop.com)

A well dressed gentleman is not complete without his dapper accessories. FineandDandyShop.com is THE website for men who live to dress to the nines. For those who appreciate the finer things in life, from ascots and pocket squares to cuff links, this essential site makes accessorizing for men fun and accessible. This chic Silver Tie Bar would complement every man, while this Black Fedora will make you feel as powerful as Don Draper himself.  Thank you Mad Men, for inspiring a new generation of men to dress up again!

silver tie bar blk fedora

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Summer is in full swing and many of us have big plans to hit the beach!  Whether you’re in Malibu or Miami, there’s nothing worse than taking a trip to the beach and not being fully prepared.  Well, not to worry because with this list, every sun diva will be fully equipped with the hottest Beach Bag Essentials!

1.      SkinMedica’s Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+

It’s more important than ever to protect your skin from the sun!  If you’re going to hit the beach and work on your killer tan, take a tip from Jennifer Aniston and Brooke Shields with SkinMedica’s Environmental Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+ ($45).  Aside from being blessed with great genes, these Hollywood gals take sun protection seriously.  Provide your skin with the ultimate barrier from the sun with this ultra light weight, fragrance/oil free, and water resistant formula that boasts UV ProPlex technology, which improves performance by effecting a more uniform distribution of UV filters on the skin.  The remarkable potion also provides skin with antioxidant protection against free radical damage.  For more information on where to purchase SkinMedica products, click here

2.      Coolibar Packable Wide Brim Sun Hat

Now that you have the sunscreen covered, you’ll need something to help beat the intense rays of the summer sun!  Take a cue from Old Hollywood Glam cutie Katie Perry and rock a wide brimmed hat!  Coolibar’s Sun Hat is not only fashionable and chic, but the 4 inch wide brim will provide much needed shade as well as protect your skin from harsh UV rays.  Created for travel, this cool hat can be rolled, crushed, or folded in your suitcase or beach bag—and it still holds its shape.  The Coolibar Packable Wide Brim Sun Hat ($29.95) is the perfect combination of style and function!

3.      Sunglasses from Angel Eyewear

Next up, a killer pair of sunglasses!  Angel Eyewear features some of the hottest styles of the season at amazingly affordable prices!  From the glamorous Mod, to the retro Katt, these sunglasses are the epitome of summer style.  Supermodel Tyra Banks is a fan of the line, and with these sassy shades, you’ll feel like you’re struttin’ on your personal runway.  Available in a ton of frames, colors and lens options, and with prices starting as low as $45, you can stock up for summer without breaking the bank. 

4.      Youngblood’s Minerals in the Mist

After a few hours in the sweltering summer sun, you’re going to need a refreshing pick me up.  Youngblood’s Minerals in the Mist ($22 each) are a collection of revitalizing and nourishing face mists that will keep you cool as the day burns on.  Refresh is a delicious blend of tangerine and grapefruit infused with minerals and vitamins which help to protect skin cells and rejuvenate skin tissue, while also acting as cell energizers.  This beach bag essential is popular with stars like The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison and actress Mena Suvari, who like to quench their skin with every spritz!

5.      Versatile Summer Scarf

Aside from a fab bikini, your cover up is the next most important fashion item for the beach.  Luckily, there’s a versatile and affordable summer scarf that will not only act as a quick cover up, but also a dress, wrap, and even a last minute beach mat!  Affordablescarves.com is a fantastic resource for all the latest scarves in every color, print, and fabric imaginable.  The Aloha Cotton Scarf ($14.49) in a tropical purple motif is a lightweight, compact, and colorful accessory that will take you from the beach to dinner in one easy step! 

6.      Beach Read

No day at the beach would be complete without some great reading material!  Ever since the friendly folks at Amazon.com sent me a review copy of Candace Bushnell’s The Carrie Diaries, I have been hooked!  Not just for fans of the Sex and the City franchise, this book takes you right back to the dramatic days of high school, full of first loves, great friends, and crazy fashion!  Fans of the show will find themselves routing for Carrie all over again as she experiences her senior year, falls head over heels for a very “Mr. Big” like character, and follows her heart to the city of her dreams, New York!  This book is perfect for anyone who wants a lighthearted beach read!

 7.      The IcyBag

There’s nothing worse than reaching for your lip balm at the beach, to realize that it’s been melted by the scorching sun!  With the IcyBag, beachgoers like Christina Aguilera and Ashlee Simpson can tote all their beauty products and must have items in a stylish, insulated accessory bag.  No need to worry that your products will get hot, sticky or melted – the IcyBag is fully insulated and includes a custom gel pack that stays cool at least three times longer than frozen water.  You can even slip in snacks, electronics, and other items you may not want to get weathered by the sun!  The IcyBag is clever, convenient, and affordable at just $15!

8.       Best Beach Bag

With all these summer essentials, you’re going to need something glam, affordable, and luxurious to carry it all in!  Whether you’re looking for a nautical inspired tote, woven satchel, or multi functional carry-all, Amazon.com has an amazing selection for all your beach bag needs.  I love this Roxy tote ($32) with its classic and modern styling, and fun pop of color!  It’s large lined compartment and zipper pockets make it ideal for the beach, perfect to carry all the above beach bag must haves!

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