Lust List | 4 Items Under $30 to Light You Up

by Lauren Durden in , , ,


Today's date, April 20th, also known as 4/20, is pretty infamous. And while others may be lighting up a certain semi-legalized herb, over on the BLVD we're showing you four ways to light up your home and beauty routine - literally. 

The items above will help bring a warm glow, or perfect highlights to your apartment and your cheekbones. The Diptyque candle is one of my favorite scents, and the Benefit Watt's Up Highlighter is perfect under eyebrows, in your cupid's bow and across the tops of your cheekbones.

The Lilly Pulitzer string lights just came out yesterday at Target stores across the US, but you may be hard pressed to find them, since almost everything has sold out. eBay is probably your best bet for finding a string of 'em. And if you can't, the Firefly Lights from Urban Outfitters cast the prettiest, warmest glow I've seen from string lights, and are attached to pretty copper wire that can be wrapped around almost anything. 

So go on - get your glow on. 

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Just a note: it seems that Polyvore is reporting the wrong pricing for most of the items above. To see correct pricing, click on the links in the paragraph above and shop away! 

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the BLVD beauty | 3 Products for Longwearing Music Festival Makeup

by Gloria Cavallaro in ,


Music festival season is upon us. That means fringe bags, oversized glasses, temporary tattoos (or permanent ones), and swimsuits as daywear.

What is also means is long days in the sun, close quarters with sticky bodies, and boob sweat. My first question is: how do you make sure your boho-mystic-faerie queen beauty look doesn’t budge from sun-up to inebriated sundown?  The answer: primer, powder, and waterproof errthang.

 

For stay-put beauty, these three products will keep you Instagram ready all day.

 

1.    Powder foundation


Yes, we know primer is king, but a longwearing powder foundation is top notch on a sweaty day. The powder absorbs moisture to keep you matte for longer than a liquid formula. When you’re feeling especially “dewy,” pat your face with a rice paper blotter to wick away excess oils and shine.

Stila’s Illuminating Powder Foundation is a dream. Compact, with impressive coverage and SPF 12, it’s a great option for humid days.

2.    Waterproof eye crayon


This multi-purpose product will be your go-to item during the day when you have a tiny bag and only so many things you can stuff into it. A jumbo crayon with some metallic hints will cover all your eye-makeup needs when running around a festival. Subtly line your eyes for an eye-enhancing day look and cover the lid, smudging with your finger, for a smoky nighttime look. Apply some waterproof mascara and you can dance all day and still look like a normal human afterwards.

Makeup Forever’s waterproof eye shadow crayons live up to their name, they stay on forever. If you’re serious about longwearing products that can keep up with your active lifestyle, pick up a few shades to take with you on all your warm weather adventures.

3.    Lip stain


A statement pink lip for spring is lovely but looks overdone in a field (amiright or amiright?). For a pretty kisser without the upkeep of gloss or the precision of liner, go for a stain that delivers a perfectly pink pout.

The Balm’s Stainiac is a cult item for good reason. It stays on through everything, can be layered for a more opaque look, and creates the most natural looking, flushed lip look I’ve seen. It’s the “my lips but better” look every time, all the time.

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The Lust List | Festival-Approved, Round, Retro Spring Sunnies

by Lauren Durden in , , ,


This past weekend our feeds and front pages were flooded with images of our friends and celebs hanging out at Coachella. Sadly, while we weren't gifted with all access passes (we should work on that for next year...) we got some major style inspiration from the looks we were scrolling past all weekend. One takeaway - necessary accessory numero uno was a nice pair of sunnies. 

This spring season it's all about throwing it back to the 1970's, with flared pants on Chanel's S/S RTW runway, long flowing dress strutting down Chloe's runways and Canadian tuxedos all over the place, it's no wonder the Woodstock-esque, round sunglasses of the 70's are also back en vouge. Seen on everyone at Coachella from Jourdan Dunn to Behati Prinsloo, the rounded, retro shades are an easy, low cost way to incorporate the 70's trends from the runway to your closet, without looking like you've stepped out of a time machine. 

If you don't feel like going full-on throwback, you can change up the basic round sunnies with a camo edge, embellishments, some violet polarized lens or a chunky, modern frame.  These riffs on a classic make them an easy choice for your everyday wardrobe, whether you're channeling music festivals of the past, or just catching up with friends over #bottomelessbrunch. 

Click on the sunglasses above to learn more about their pricing and where you can snag a pair. 

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START ME UP | Income Taxes as a Freelancer

by Gloria Cavallaro in


An accountant and a freelancer walk into a bar…

And immediately the freelancer begins berating the accountant with questions about her taxes. (Anticlimactic, I know).

You never knew an accountant was so intriguing until income tax season rolls around.

If you’re interested in doing freelance work, your taxes are going to be bit more complicated than the average person’s because your clients will most likely not be taking taxes out of your checks. That part is up to YOU at the end of the year and, believe me, you do not want to leave all the work of organizing your taxes and figuring out how much you owe for the days leading up to April 15th.

Instead, organize yourself throughout the year and when tax season comes, you’ll be sitting pretty because all your 1099 ducks are in a row. How can you do this? Follow these simple tips that will help you keep track of your income, your write-offs, and keep you aware of what you owe the government so you don’t forget that they get cut of all your lovely checks.


1.    Keep spreadsheets, lots of them.

Google Drive is my best friend. I keep in there a sheet for everything I need to keep my work in order. Here are some spreadsheets you should be making:

-       A spreadsheet for each client documenting your hours AS YOU COMPLETE THEM. 
Does a client send you a quick project to look over during the day that takes you 2 hrs? When you’re done, immediately input that into that client’s sheet. You want to know all the hours you’ve worked for a client and on what project.

Include in the spreadsheet the date the work was done, the hours it took you to complete (including edits, email correspondence, and phone/Skype meetings), and a short description of what work those hours correspond to. Now, if a client forgets all the assignments they had you complete, you can accurately remind them (and get your money!).

-       A spreadsheet of income and invoices.
Invoices, oooohhh, invoices. As a freelancer it’s on YOU to make sure you get paid for your work. That means sending invoices to your clients in a timely manner. Keep a spreadsheet that documents all the invoices you sent out, including columns for the invoice number, the client’s name, description of what work the invoice is for, the date the work was completed, the amount due, whether the invoice was sent, whether it was received, and then the check number when they do send you your pay.

Not only is this a great way to keep track of all the money you have coming in and the invoices you are waiting on or need to follow-up with, but it is also a great way to track your growth. How does this month’s income compare to last month’s? How does this month’s income compare to what you made this month last year? What are you doing differently that could account for this? These are all good things for you to know so you can track your growth and improve your business.

-       A spreadsheet for business expenses.
As a freelancer, errrthang’s a write-off (as long as it pertains to your work). You purchased a new office chair? Write-off. You took a cab to a client meeting? Write-off. You had lunch at a fancy restaurant to impress that client? Write-off.

Keep track of all of your business expenses and KEEP ALL OF THE RECEIPTS. I’m all about saving paper but I like having the physical receipt in case I need to verify something with my records. I keep an envelope dedicated to storing the receipts of all my business expenses for that year. If you want to be even MORE organized, get a credit card that is exclusively for your business use, therefore you know all charges on that card are a write-off. I do a lot of online shopping for equipment or other things for my business. Charging those items on my business card and charging my own personal shopping on my other credit card helps me to separate those bills and easily keep track of everything Uncle Same is going to learn about at the end of the year (and give you money back on!).


2.    Take your taxes out before Uncle Sam does.

To save myself the worry at the end of the year that I’ll be unpleasantly surprised by the amount of taxes I owe, I take 30% out of my checks and put it away in a separate account that I do not touch. That is tax money. Come tax time, I eFile my taxes and, boop, cut a check for the amount necessary which is already at-hand.

I put aside more than what I actually need to (after write-offs and what not), but then I just end up with extra savings. I learn to live on less, am not stressed about potentially not having enough to cover my income taxes, and usually end up with more than I need. Win-win-win.


3.    600 is your new lucky number,

Ideally, you’re doing projects that amount to greater than $600 for repeat clients because that’s just nice, steady money. But, if you work on something for a one-off client and the amount due does not exceed $600, there’s an upside. BOO DOESN’T HAVE TO DECLARE IT. That’s just money in your pocket. You don’t have to declare it, they don’t have to send you a 1099 Form, it’s all good.

Remember, this goes for $600 per employer, per year. If you did a $600 project for John Doe Productions and got paid December 30, 2014, and then another $600 project for them and got paid January 2, 2015 (and they never employ you again in 2015) you don’t have to declare either income because they were cashed in two different fiscal years. Boom. This system works in your favor.



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Easter Basket Under $10 | For the Beauty Junkie

by Gloria Cavallaro in , ,


Chocolates bunnies and pastel eggs are festive and all but in my Easter basket, I want items that will last me past dessert (actually, make that lunch time. Girl can't resist a tasty treat.). For the beauty lover in your life, an Easter basket filled with fun cosmetic goodies will fulfill all their spring time dreams.

Covering the best beauty staples, lovely eyeshadow trio, perfect pastel nail shade for fall, peachy pink lip color, all-purpose kabuki brush, and one skincare WONDER (more on this sponge in a future post) and you've compiled a treasure trove difficult to part with (does cousin Jane reallyyy need anymore makeup?).

The best part? Each item is under $10. Click on the collage to learn more and start brainstorming the excellent Easter baskets you're going to make this weekend. :)

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Easter Basket Under $10 | For the Food Lover

by Lauren Durden in , ,


This Easter, rather than filling baskets with high fructose corn syrup and sadness, fill them with treats your friends and family members will actually want to consume and use. You know, things they actually like? Just not Peeps. No one actually can consume an entire box of those, can they?

This basket is for your foodie friend, S.O. or family member. And while there is a reference to Peeps in the mix, everything else is much better than a bar of Hershey's. Oh, and it's all $10 and under. No need to break open the piggy bank.

Click on the items for more information and Easter on! 

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the BLVD Beauty | At-Home Keratosis Pilaris Treatment

by Gloria Cavallaro in ,


Now this is a story all about how,
my routine got flip-turned upside down.
And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there,
I'll tell you how I became the queen of at-home skincare.

(Wow, that turned out a lot better than I expected...)

Keratosis pilaris, otherwise known as "chicken skin," otherwise known as the bane of my existence, is fairly common, appearing in about 40% of the population. 

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis pilaris, or KP, looks like red or white acne-like bumps on the skin. It is often found on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, or cheeks. It is caused by a build-up of keratin that forms plugs around the hair follicle. The hair follicle is then blocked, resulting in bumpy, rough, often discolored skin. To get into ick territory, if you ever try extracting what is inside the bumps, you'll likely push out a curled-up hair surrounded by the plug.

 

How To Treat It

My KP is concentrated on my upper arms and is genetic, my whole family has it thanks to my dad's side. KP can go away with age - it is most common in young children - or not. I've had it for as long as I remember having arms and I am definitely no longer a young child. I've tried numerous products, from dermatologist prescribed creams to heavy moisturizers, chemical peels to granular scrubs. Some helped (the scrubs and peels for exfoliating the built-up keratin) but the soft skin lasted only so long.  Recently, however, I discovered the most long-lasting, effective and also cheapest treatment of the bunch. Lemons.

LEMONS AGAINST KP

I was making Italian tuna (tuna, lemon, olive oil, pepper, yum) and decided while I had most of the ingredients out I would do my favorite at-home face mask (DIY to come soon). Then I thought, hey, if lemons are so great for exfoliating my face, what would they do for my body? Pretty simple thought, but it was a thought I hadn't thunk before. And so I tried an at-home treatment for my KP that has done the most to relieve the rough skin and brighten the discolored bumps.

How To: At-Home Keratosis Polaris Skin Care Treatment

1. Cut a lemon into wedges.
2. On clean skin, massage the lemon wedges onto the areas you suffer from keratosis pilaris. Let the lemon juice soak in, then massage it in again (there is a surprising amount of juice left inside the lemon even after you think you've squeezed it all out). 

I repeat this step three times. Lemon absorbs into the skin without any sticky residue and I wanted my skin to have as much lemon applied as possible, which was definitely reflected in my results.
3. After you've let the lemon completely soak in, go to sleep. As lemon juice is acidic (thus the strong exfoliating power), it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun so keep this as a nighttime treatment.
4. The next morning, shower and cleanse your body, gently scrubbing the KP patches with a textured sponge (I like to use a natural sea sponge, see below.)

 

5. After getting out of the shower, pat your skin dry with a towel and apply your favorite moisturizer. Coconut oil or olive oil are great natural moisturizers that hydrate and seal moisture into the skin.

The Results

My rough KP patches were dramatically softened, the discolored bumps brightened, and the overall smoothness of my skin improved. What really made this treatment stand out? The results LAST. The combination of citric acid exfoliating the skin and a physical scrub smoothing the now softened area make for an impactful treatment. It's been almost two weeks since I used lemon to treat my KP and my skin is still noticeably smoother and brighter than before. In addition, it's cheap! Lemons are a few bucks for a bunch and the juice in one is all you need.

Do you have KP? Try this treatment tonight and see what I mean. Soon, you too will be a lemon devotee.

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The BLVD Beauty | 5-Free Nail Polish Shades for Spring

by Gloria Cavallaro in ,


Higher temps and longer days have us itching to break out our spring pieces: florals, rompers, open-toe shoes... basically anything that isn't a parka and snow boots. To pull it all together, we'll also be breaking out our favorite nail colors as well, the pastels and brights that were too happy for the dreary weather (I wore mainly black on my nails these past few months to reflect the dead of winter... and my soul).

But, as the dark nail polish stained my nails a funky yellow (ewww), I was reminded that everything we put on our bodies is absorbed by it and, as I've been transitioning my skincare into mainly organic products, I became interested in checking out organic nail polish too: specifically, 5-Free.

What is 5-Free Nail Polish?

5-Free nail polishes are made without five known toxic chemicals: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. As options in this category and consumer knowledge grows, hopefully 5-Free nail polish will become the new standard.

For spring, I rounded up some of my favorite shades by 5-Free nail polish brands. If you haven't heard of them, check them out and start building your color collection with lacquer that is stylish and safe.

Happy painting!

 

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