Beauty, Boston, Promotional

Whittl

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Sometimes scheduling and squeezing in salon appointments can be a hassle. “Walk-ins welcome” doesn’t always mean there’s a chair open for you. I have a lot of friends who have irrational anxiety when it comes to making reservations over the phone. And what about that dreaded moment when your nails are drying, and you realize you have no cash to leave a tip? Let Whittl take the wheel: Whittl is a startup site that works with salons, spas and barbershops to not only help you find excellent beauty businesses and services, but also let you book and pay for those services online—including gratuities. To quote their marketing specialist, Whittl is “kind of like OpenTable meets Uber, but for salons.” And guess what? They just launched in Boston.

Whittl’s website is straightforward and easy to use, and even sends helpful notifications to your phone once you’ve made your online request. You’ll receive a text message letting you know when your appointment has been confirmed, a 24-hour reminder, in case you need to cancel, as well as a handy text that lets you know when your appointment is an hour away, in case you’re forgetful or have a really hectic schedule. Your credit card isn’t charged until your services are complete, and you can adjust your tip accordingly. Basically, Whittl helps you do what you’re meant to do during salon and spa services: just relax.

I used Whittl to try a nail salon I’d never been to before, Paradise Nails & Spa, located at 215 Newbury Street. This hidden gem is cozy without being cramped, and offers an excellent range of services. Perhaps the most charming part of Paradise Nails is the husband-and-wife duo who have and owned and managed the salon for almost ten years, and who effectively (and adorably) split their work. The thing about bringing photos of desired nail designs into salons is that those photos don’t typically come with instructions, and every nail technician has his or her own approach to executing nail art. I requested a fairly intricate nail design, and the couple made a point of discussing it with me in detail so that we were all on the same page. I really appreciated that they communicated each step of the process, and loved watching as they took turns completing my fabulous gel manicure while seeing to other customers and tasks. They were both extremely sweet, skilled, and just pleasant in general. They’re also not afraid to offer advice, and thankfully helped me choose a better color scheme than I’d had in mind. Since their space is small and the couple are the only available technicians, I would advise booking in advance with Whittl. I will definitely be using Whittl and visiting Paradise again, and would recommend you do the same!

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Beauty, Boston, Fashion, Promotional

BeautyLynk: At-Home Beauty Services in Boston

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IMG_1158NBD x Naven Twins ‘Gemstone’ top, ASOS skirt, Jimmy Choo clutch, Eddie Borgo bracelet.

Everyone needs a little good news to brighten their Monday. Well, I’ve got the scoop, and it’s called BeautyLynk. BeautyLynk is a Boston-based startup company that offers a variety of luxurious at-home beauty services. Yes, you read that correctly: they come to you.

These days, there are lots of places you can go to have your hair and/or makeup done professionally, but these businesses can be crowded, they often run late, appointments can be hard to come by, their services can be limited, and sometimes just having to travel to their location cuts into your schedule and causes anxiety, all of which totally defeats the purpose of acquiring these services in the first place. Getting professionally “beautified” should be an enjoyable, relaxing experience, and BeautyLynk agrees. BeautyLynk is designed to remove the stress of getting ready entirely, for any occasion. Booking online or via the BeautyLynk mobile app is easy, their selection of services is practically endless, and you can choose individual or combined services of any kind. Say you’ve mastered your hair-styling skills, but can’t seem to pin down the art of contouring; BeautyLynk will send a professional makeup artist to your home at your convenience to make that makeup happen for you. Maybe you’ve tried countless times to give yourself chic milkmaid braids and a clean, even cat-eye effect (I swear, my eyeliner can smell my fear), and you just can’t seem to live up to your Pinterest board—BeautyLynk to the rescue. Their hair services include blowouts, braids—even actual at-home haircuts—and so much more. You can schedule a BeautyLynk professional for a basic, customized makeup session, or even recruit a squad for your whole bridal party. You can also filter their services by price to stay on top of your budget.

I’ve always felt good about my hair and makeup skills, but I’m no professional, and sometimes getting it right swallows so much time, puts me down to the wire, and makes me sweat off whatever makeup and hairspray I’ve successfully (or not so successfully) applied. I’d never had my makeup done professionally, but I do have a history of getting frazzled when I’m in a rush, so when I saw a busy day on my calendar that would conclude with a very chic and exclusive blogger dinner party, I turned to BeautyLynk to do my makeup. Makeup artist Carly arrived promptly at my apartment with a smile on her face and a giant box of top-notch makeup. Carly studied makeup application formally, and also works at Sephora, so I knew she’d have a great deal of product-knowledge, as well as expert technique. We consulted briefly about the outfit I’d be wearing and what look I wanted to achieve, and I could tell that she and I were instantly on the same page. So, I sat back and relaxed while Carly worked her magic. Carly explained and had me approve each step of her process, adjusting every detail to my liking, and also gave me options in terms of which products she used. She gladly agreed to use my preferred eyebrow pencil and lip color from my own collection, and had enough goodies in her box to apply a lip liner that perfectly matched my favorite Urban Decay lipstick. (Seriously, this girl’s makeup box was like Mary Poppins’ purse. Except way better.) Given that I’d never let anyone else do my makeup in my life, I got a bit skittish when it came time for mascara, but Carly put me at ease with a sweet sense of humor and clever soothing tactics. The service was of course a pleasure because I got to hang loose, and because the results were absolutely fabulous, but also because Carly was so much fun, herself. I’ll admit, I had my reservations about letting a stranger come into my home to do my makeup, but Carly kept the situation completely comfortable, really individualized the service, and we had a lot of laughs along the way.

Overall, I’d give my BeautyLynk experience a 10/10: Carly gave me a flawless finish that didn’t stray too far from my usual beauty aesthetic, and having a professional do my makeup at home truly did relieve stress, and gave me an extra boost of confidence throughout my whole night.

Makeup by Carly Nugent
Photos by Annie Quinn

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Fashion

White on White (on White…)

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DSC_0510Helmut Lang tank, Madewell jeans, LF belt, TOD’s boots, Sandro bag, vintage necklace.

A look of lightness and luxury, white-on-white outfits have been severely on-trend for about two years now. When this trend first surfaced, I ignored it despite my adoration, because I figured it was fleeting, and because I assumed someone as pale as myself just couldn’t carry it off.

When I was invited to help organize an event to which all guests are asked to wear white, I was forced to reconsider my relationship with the color. I eased my way into the world of white attire with a standard bodycon dress, and guess what? I looked good. Did I look pale by comparison in photos? Yes. What else is new?—and so what? There’s a difference between colors that accentuate fair skin, and colors that wash it out. If you know how to do your makeup and walk with confidence, you can definitely wear white. Ditch the negative stigmas associated with fair skin, and celebrate the fact that your vampiric tendencies will hopefully help you avoid visible sun damage, or worse, skin cancer.

After that first event, I was really excited to experiment more with white attire, and by the party’s second year, I felt ready for head-to-toe separates (see my white Theory suit here). I enjoyed the all-white, menswear-inspired evening look so much that I decided to put together a daytime version with a jersey tank, loose white denim, and simple black and silver accessories. A pop of color can give you a little more confidence trying an all-white ensemble, whether it’s a brightly colored clutch or bold lip color. Luckily for me, I’ve got a pop of color permanently attached to my scalp.

Photos by Miranda Mu.

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Fashion

Cotton Candy

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DSC_0671Pants from Nasty Gal, Kimchi Blue crop top from Urban Outfitters, Joie sandals, Jimmy Choo clutch, Oliver Peoples sunglasses, silver collar necklace from the SoWa Vintage Market.

While I’m pretty sure most of my experience with blue hair will be a practice in modern minimalism and grunge, I of course have to take advantage of the opportunity for zany summer color play. These pink trousers always take me in a fun direction, and my new bold ‘do prompted me to slightly soften my go-to night-out look by ditching my usual fitted crop tops for a breezier, more delicate cut. I love how the top’s flowy hem falls effortlessly in line with the loose-fitting pants for a look that’s comfortable and simply chic. Note to all fashion saucers: the metallic clutch is your friend.

Photos by Miranda Mu

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Beauty, Fashion

#BlueHairDontCare

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DSC_0053-Edit (1)ALC pants, Theory top, Jeffrey Campbell ‘Stoppard’ shoes, Sandro bag, Eddie Borgo jewelry.

I’ve desperately wanted what social media has deemed “mermaid hair” for about five years now. Though I might tear my hair out entirely if one more person asks me “why” I’ve decided to dye it blue (just think really carefully for a second…that’s it! You got it—because I like it…), I am willing to answer a much more important question: why did I wait so long? As someone who adamantly believes that we should all style ourselves for ourselves—and kindly assume that that’s “why” anyone makes the sartorial choices they make—I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I let other people’s opinions postpone this change, even though I knew my desire was real. I dare not compare myself to Caitlyn Jenner, but the message her transformation sends applies to all of us: if you don’t live as your true self, you’ll live with regrets. I’m not saying I’m actually a mermaid on the inside, or that I want blue hair for the rest of my life, but I do believe if I hadn’t seized this opportunity just because a few people I love and respect didn’t love the idea, I’d have lost respect for myself.

In the week leading up to my hair appointment, the most popular question I received besides “why?” was, “Are you worried it will be harder to get dressed?” Well, not really, no. Even blondes and brunettes have to take their coloring into account when choosing clothes. I think because society still associates brightly colored hair with rebellious counter-cultures, people assume that I’ll have to push my always-eclectic style into one specific, radical corner in order to cater to this extreme hairstyle. Challenge accepted! Although I definitely do intend to dip into those more radical styles colorful hair commonly brings to mind, For however long I have blue hair, I’ll also aim to prove to my readers and followers that they can still relate to my style and draw inspiration from my looks, even if a head of blue hair is something they’d never consider. Let’s start with the outfit above. I won’t let anyone tell me it couldn’t be worn by someone with “normal” hair, because I’ve rocked this look as both a blonde and brunette, as well. For a chic daytime look, I’ve styled these sleek but funky pants with menswear-inspired shoes and an oversized tee. To transition to nighttime, I’d swap in a white tank and minimal black sandals, like the fabulous pair I just got at Joie.

Hair color by Ashley Seal of Stilisti Salon.

Photos by Miranda Mu.

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Beauty, Boston, Fashion, Promotional

OMG! Nice to Meet You!

DSC_0315-15Crop top by The Hanger, skirt from LF Stores, Phillip Lim clutch, Aldo ‘Istrago’ sandals.

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BostonBloggers2015-TheDangerBooth-44(From left): Sydney, myself, Gabby, Koko, & Miranda.

DSC_0331-18Jenny Bird Palm Cili Collar in Silver.

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BostonBloggers2015-TheDangerBooth-96(From left), Stephanie, Neha, myself, Sydney & Lianna.

DSC_0399-30Eddie Borgo bracelet, Michael Kors watch. Rings (from left): Cartier band, Gamine Zofia Ring Set in Silver, Margaret Elizabeth Faceted Cocktail Ring in Navy, Gorjana Gisele Ring. 356 Lacquer Creme Polish in ‘Alimersai.’

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This past Monday I attended the annual Boston Bloggers Meet & Greet at Audubon with my kickass new crew of blogger friends. Between the drinks, the delicious snacks, and the infamous Danger Booth, everyone had a blast—and since the large majority of the group are female fashion bloggers, the event served as glorious evidence that the catty stigmas of fashion culture are so out. With that said, one still feels some pressure when dressing to impress a group of fellow fashionistas…

Unsurprisingly enough, I went to the event in my favorite silhouette: high-waisted bottoms and a cutaway crop top—and in my favorite color combination: plain old black and white. The skirt’s dramatic asymmetrical hem and the sweatery fabric of my summertime top bring new life to my go-to look, and I went with my bright blue Phillip Lim clutch and Jenny Bird collar necklace, courtesy of Rocksbox, to kick things up another notch. I chose a mint-turquoise shade of nail polish to offset the bag, and added a navy cocktail ring for good measure, also from Rocksbox. If you haven’t heard of Rocksbox, it’s basically like the Netflix of jewelry: with Rockbox, you can rent and try fabulous new jewelry by top trendsetting brands like Gorjana and House of Harlow, and you can purchase the pieces you love for discounted prices. All you have to do is fill out a quick but effective style survey, start keeping a wishlist, and expert stylists will send you three pieces per box in a prepaid envelope, so returns are no fuss. You can return and receive as many boxes as you want for just $19 a month, but you can also get your first month free by using the promo code FASHIONSAUCEXOXO.

As for the gorgeous polish, it’s by Somerville-based 365 Lacquer, a vegan and non-toxic polish company dedicated to making fun colors without harmful ingredients, and without testing on animals. I have to admit, I can be a bit calamitous (by which I mean careless), and have therefore stuck almost exclusively to gel manicures for the last two years, so I felt a bit wary of going back to regular polish. But 365 Lacquer promised a quick-drying, long-lasting product—and they weren’t lying. I’ll admit to a couple of chips within the first 48 hours, but they weren’t caused by faulty polish; so many consecutive gel manicures have left my nails in a slightly weakened state, but on my nails that have managed to stay strong, 365 Lacquer has stayed strong, as well. Plus, they just released a neon collection that’s sure to get you even more excited about summer.

Fashion photography by Miranda Mu | Group photos courtesy of The Danger Booth.

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Fashion

Retro Casual

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DSC_0196-35Blouse & sunglasses from LF Stores, Rag & Bone pants, 3.1 Phillip Lim ‘OMG’ pouch, Jeffrey Campbell ‘Purvis’ platforms.

One of my favorite things about dressing for this season is the way cheerful springy-summery prints and colors prompt me to create modern takes on retro styles. My paisley button-down, cuffed pants, platform loafers and matchy-matchy accessories all have a ’60s/’70s vibe, but details like the cropped cut of my blouse, stacked rings, and my oh-so-millennial “OMG”-embossed clutch bring the look up to date.

Photos by Miranda Mu

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