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SPRING IS HERE

The personal pages of a New York City based fashionista's notebook

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Gigi New York, My Holiday Crush.

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Tag Heuer.

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Dear NoteBrooke,

There’s a commonly held conviction in the field of clinical psychology (apparently) that alludes to the fact that human beings experience what’s called “childhood amnesia” by the time in which they reach the age of seven.

If you’ve ever wondered why you have no memory of what it was like to be a baby (The fact that I’m forced to recall the entirety of my adolescence — Velcro bangs, excessive self-loathing, and Long Island included — but that I don’t have any remembrance of being swaddled in pink cashmere and spoon fed applesauce while lounging in a crib for eighteen hours a day, feels like a sadistic personal tragedy to me), it’s probably because, like the greater portion of the adult population, you didn’t establish “accurate recollections” until the age of about three or four.

While I, too, find myself almost totally unable to recall the bulk of what transpired in my young life, somehow, there are a handful of moments that are so vivid, so poignant, that I could narrate them to you as if they occurred yesterday – and were photo-documented on Instagram, SnapChat, and the blog, to boot.

For example, on one of my first Christmases, I remember yearning for a pair of Twin Dolls – blue-eyed baby sisters that could be burped, brushed, and clothed like the real life younger sibling(s) that I didn’t yet have. But despite the fact that I woke up to a pristinely staged parade of gifts underneath my Christmas tree, I only recall the dread of peaking into the first box to discover — horribly, impossibly — that it didn’t contain EITHER of the two dolls that I’d been so frantically coveting.

How did Santa fail to receive the memo(s)?  

As a toddler, catatonic in my own puddle of devastation, the truth is that I really just wanted what would eventually come to be known as my “big gift,” that one, supremely desirable item that I’d start dropping hints about somewhere in the dead of summer and then ruminate over until it showed up in a box underneath my Christmas tree on the twenty-fifth of December.

This year, I decided (in August) that I wanted to invest in a watch. After a couple of years of looking down at a frequently bare right wrist, it occurred to me that it was time to research a quality timepiece, one that could be worn on a day to day basis, elevating the entirety of my wardrobe and serving as the ultimate go-to staple.

Enter Tag Heuer (click!) — the renown Swiss watch brand that reintroduced their iconic “Link Lady Collection” this fall, thereby making the hmm-which-item-should-I-get-decision a total no brainer for me.

Because, check out the GEM (literally – hehehe!) on my right wrist. With a Mother-of-Pearl dial, and tiny, simple diamonds surrounding the face, this is the kind of minimalist piece that serves to compliment every last one of my looks. The stainless steel bracelet, in combination with hand-applied faceted indexes and a polished central seconds hand, was reason enough to sell me on the watch. But beyond the simplicity and the sophistication of the design alone, the fact that this baby is water resistant and that it contains scratchproof sapphire crystal, means that I can rock it not just here at home in New York, but on vacay, as well.

What’s your big gift this holiday season? Make it something that you’ll have forever. 😉

X,

B.

 

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Gigi New York, My Holiday Crush.

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Dear NoteBrooke,

When I first received notice that I might have an opportunity to do a meet-and-greet at the Gigi New York pop up shop, I made an immediate beeline towards the brand’s website and spent the greater portion of the afternoon pouring through images of luxury leather handbags and chic little I-sort-of-really-want-all-of-these accessories.

In the interest of full transparency, let me just cop to the fact (In case you haven’t already guessed – hey, #IamwhoIam) that y-e-s, I’m a total designer purse fiend, adhering to the adage that while couture clothing can often be supplemented with thrifty finds from Zara, Asos and H&M, handbags (finger snap, flick of the wrist) serve to complete the entirety of a woman’s wardrobe.

In keeping with the vein of pragmatic purchasing, and more accurately – years of holiday begging — I’ve accumulated a decent sized collection of purses from a couple of distinguished designers. But, as a result of that, I’ve also realized, anticlimactically enough, that I’m definitely not alone in my desire to rock a Givenchy Leather Mini Antigona.

It fact, nearly every time I grab my bag and make a quick jaunt uptown or downtown (that is to say, anywhere on the island of Manhattan), I manage to spot at least one other girl toting the exact same bundle of potential buyer’s remorse on her forearm.

Enter Gigi New York.

Upon arrival at the brand’s chic, sleek pop up shop, I became instantly enamored with their vibrant display of luxury leather goodness.

For a fashionista, visiting the Gigi space — especially during the holiday season — is the equivalent of, let’s say, a hyper child entering FAO Schwartz at the pinnacle of its splendor, second floor foot piano and two hours of toy time included.

From richly embossed totes to pebble grain crossbodys, and everything in between, including some of the cutest clutches that I’ve ever F’ing seen (F bombs start flying when I become increasingly passionate about something!!), I circumnavigated the parameters of the place like a straight hawk, ensuring that I got a good gander at Gigi’s generous selection of inspiring – and timeless — options.

With richly colored hues, flattering go-to shapes, and a wide range of enduring styles done right (Think saddle bags, hobos, and totes just to name a few), I immediately observed that the quality of Gigi’s leather was not only visibly pristine, but that it felt better than many of the designer duds that were sitting at home on my closet shelf, chipping away at my ever dwindling credit score.

And yet, their pricing is undeniably reasonable and fair.

So…what gives?

A family owned business, the President of Gigi New York, Tom Glazer, explained that the company sources its leathers from virtually every corner of the world, France and Italy included (!), and that Gigi shares its tanneries with a number of renown global brands (we won’t name names, I suppose, but if you’re reading this article, chances are that you can already think of a few!), which means that — even for me, a self-disclosed bag snob — I’ll be doing a lot more buying/wearing of Gigi goodness and significantly less conventional designer digging.

In the photographs above, you can see that I’m rocking my beloved Grace Satchel in grey embossed python. Its shape, size and color offer up a fierce compliment to my otherwise ordinary enough outfit. It’s also worth noting that with my wedding now four months away (Mother of God), I’m consistently able to fit three planners, two magazines, my wallet, and my regular handbag essentials into this chic beast.

And SPEAKING of day planners (you know, the beautifully embossed books that you often see in my insta pics) it turns out that they, too, were made of leather that was sourced in Gigi’s family-run factory located on Long Island. Cool, right? Prior to the birth of Gigi New York, Tom Glazer’s Father was the book designer/typographer responsible for producing many of the notebooks, calendars and journals that are currently stocked in major retailers worldwide.

So in the spirit of affordable, personalized, and timeless holiday gifting, I’ll be picking up some monogrammed accessories (because Gigi can personalize virtually all of their products) ranging from office supplies to travel necessities, and one or two of those F-bomb worthy clutches to elevate my own winter wardrobe, as well.

The pop up shop is located in the heart of Meatpacking, in a phenomenal space at 875 Washington Street, and in store personalization is available every Monday through Thursday until the thirtieth of December.  If you’re not in New York this holiday season, you can also check out the whole line at Gigi New York (click away).

X,

B.

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My Wedding Is Less Than Six Months Away — Now What?

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[Photography: Jeff Thibodeau Hair: Andre Davis]

Dear NoteBrooke,

When it comes to my history as a chronic procrastinator, the gist of the matter can most seamlessly be synopsized as follows: no one is better versed in learning how to pay electric bills only after receiving at least six Termination of Service notices from ConEd than I am.

Returning to an apartment that more closely resembles a large refrigerator than it does a First World dwelling, I’ve often found myself scrambling to make an absurdly simplistic online payment, one which, had it only been rendered upon its initial due date, would’ve precluded the need for a last minute, panic-stricken effort to restore warmth and overhead lighting to my broken Midtown Manhattan based igloo.

The strides that I’ll make just to avoid doing things like: getting out of bed before 10am, consuming a vegetable, boarding a treadmill, and/or visiting a doctor’s office, are truly staggering. And while I’m armed with a repertoire of thoughtful justifications for all of my indefinite postponements (Sleep deprivation has been linked to a number of historical duhhhsasters, like the destruction of the Challenger, you know, so you’d do well to make the responsible decision here and slip right back underneath those covers, Self!), I never feel enthusiastic about tackling what might otherwise qualify as a totally enjoyable endeavor when I’m running on manic energy and iced venti black eyes alone.

All of this basically just means that I’m short changing myself, failing to make the most out of of my moments because I’m more focused on stuffing them into the same rapid fire increments that are generally reserved for coffee runs or cigarette breaks than I am on actually living them. The incessant tick-tock of pressurized deadlines serves as the self-imposed soundtrack to the backdrop of my unnecessarily cluttered life.

In the same way that I used to sorely regret cramming a semester’s worth of information into my throbbing, bruised brain two nights prior to final exams, I’ve come to resent the act of missing out on the full vibrancy of an experience because of my perpetual deferment of various tasks. For instance, my weekly failure to adequately prepare for ‘date night’ generally renders me half dressed behind a bathroom door, shouting “Ready!” to my ever-punctual fiancé (bless him, that cute little alien) who’s putting his coat on and exiting the apartment. Drenched in stress-sweat, I take two more seconds to adorn my bare eyes with globs of mascara and throw on a sweater — or, any garment, really — clamoring to ensure that I, alone, won’t be the reason that we arrive after the restaurant closes its kitchen and stops serving for the night. Instead of feeling relaxed and beautiful, I’m frustrated and undone, scolding myself for watching that extra episode of Dr. Phil via YouTube when I knew that I should’ve been getting ready for our night out.

As such, when I recently looked at my Day Planner and ingested the fact that my wedding was exactly six months away (breathe!), I had a serious discussion with myself. Crystallizing a vision of exactly what I wanted the experience to represent, I made a devout resolution to prepare as thoroughly and as well in advance as possible, ensuring that all of my best efforts would go into the meticulous creation of an event that I believe should be comprised of personal touches and close attention to detail. Because, prior to the sixth month mark, I found myself experiencing a recurrent nightmare in which I’d wake up on the morning of the wedding and realize that nothing, sans the church and the venue, had been booked. While I would continuously rush to make an emergency appointment with GlamSquad in a last ditch effort to look reasonably suitable for my walk down the aisle, I would become overwrought with frustration, disappointment and anger.

Why?

Because, candidly, there’s always been an enormous difference between what my top tier, “Best Brooke,” performance manifests itself as versus what transpires/emerges when I make an attempt to offer anything less than that. 

When I take authentic initiative, adequately prepare, and then execute with the confidence that can only be borne with doing the proper groundwork, I find that I enjoy, rather than dread, the process of checking things off of my To-Do list — even when it comes to tackling those tasks that aren’t necessarily meant to be fun, like stocking my refrigerator with healthy groceries or reviewing lengthy brand contracts.  

In varying degrees, isn’t this the way that it is for all of us?  I mean, do you ever really have a stellar morning when you press snooze four times and then slip into the office twenty minutes late, praying that you won’t be found out?

And so, while I pin away at 4am every single morning, explain my ideas to florists/lighting techs/musicians who look at me in such a way that would denote that I’ve suggested a departure on par with pruning hedges in the nude, get a wedding worthy weave sewn into my head by Andre, the Hair Whisperer Himself, and try to ensure that every last guest is wildly entertained and fantastically satisfied, just know this: I’m all in now, and I’ll never come home to a cold and dark apartment again.

xx,

B

5

Clé de Peau Beauté.

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Dear NoteBrooke,

When I was a college student in Boston, my parents used to send me a designated stipend on the first day of every month. The money was projected to serve as an allowance of sorts, a “reserve cushion” (I still don’t understand what that term really means?!) that I was instructed to put towards basic necessities like food, books, groceries and public transportation.

Instead, whenever I’d check my account balance and realize that a direct deposit had been rendered (weee!!), without hesitation, I’d make a beeline to the Clé de Peau Beauté Counter at Saks.

While my initial obsession with the line existed in the form of the concealer stick, ultimately, that served only as a gateway drug — one which quickly got me addicted to brightening serums, fortifying emulsions and eye color quads, as well.

As a budding makeup junkie, Clé de Peau Beauté, with its Grade A, caviar-esque quality, made things easy; all of the products were ultra reliable and easy to use.

Ten years post my initial encounter with the line, my passion for Clé remains as obsessive and aggressive as ever. More recently, I added quite a few of their http://Radiant Liquid Rouges(click to see) to my repertoire of essentials. Offering the perfect amount of pigmentation, the colors work beautifully for both my on camera shoots (and, yes, for selfies, as well!) and on a day-to-day basis.

While I swear by numbers 11, 13, and 14 – because, who doesn’t appreciate a baby pink pout, a magenta mouth, and/or the perfect bubblegum blush, I’m actually much more enamored with the brilliance of the glosses than I am with anything else. As such, I’d happily try out all of the Radiant Liquid Rouges (in case anyone from the brand is interested in sending a few more my way!), because it’s not always easy to find a product that offers a long lasting, luxurious finish without feeling sticky or looking overly done.

Despite a couple of overdraft fees and the occasional hungry night, Clé de Peau Beauté played an enormous role in my personal evolution. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, “When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I bought Vogue instead of dinner. I found it fed me more.”

The same is true of me with my must have cosmetics purchases, and the Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Liquid Rouges are at the top of that list.

X,

B

 

 

 

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The Real Reason I Wear Makeup.

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In the second floor spare bedroom of the house where I grew up, I finagle my way onto the top of one of my mother’s fragile antique dressers, assuming a cross-legged, Indian style position in front of the mirror that hangs at eye level before me. With heaps of mid day sunlight careening through the room’s two square shaped windows, I brace myself for what’s bound to be a grisly sight, a reflection that rivals only that of Quasimodo’s.

I’m fifteen years old and I despise myself. But what’s more is that I can’t wrap my head around the present state of my physical appearance. Making a no holds barred dermatological assessment of my face, I ask aloud, rhetorically, and as if it’s the single most baffling phenomenon in the universe, “What the fuck? I have the skin of a ninety year old woman.”

As an involuntary member of the pale skin/dark hair club, there’s a reason why I’m categorized as a prime candidate for laser hair removal. Not only do I detect traces of a male mustache developing across my upper lip, but my friend, Lindsey, points out the fact that I have an obvious unibrow emerging, as well. Pale skin, freckles, pimples and female facial hair just aren’t features that equate to constructive and/or particularly healthy encounters with the mirror.

With my sweet sixteen party only a couple of weeks away, I walk around with a plastic Ziploc bag that contains a couple of newly acquired cosmetic purchases — items that the saleswoman at my local Clinique counter suggested that I pick up for the event. A makeup virgin, I have little to no faith that the products will do much of anything, except perhaps, exacerbate the pre-existing flaws that I’ve already come to equate with my personal identity.

That said, something finally prompts me to give them a try, and I commence my first ever concealer application sitting there on top of the antique dresser with the sunlight illuminating my face.

Upon smoothing out the initial coat, I’m surprised to discover that I  like the way that I look; so, with a heavier and more confident hand, I continue to apply more. And then, I go to town with the blush and the bronzer, as well. Using only these four products (at fifteen, I wasn’t permitted to wear much in the way of eye makeup – the idea wasn’t to transform me into a Shah of Sunset just yet), I arrive at the conclusion that, despite my rhetorical question to God and the universe about why I, alone, was cursed with the physical appearance of a Disney monster, I might only require the assistance of a Tweezer and a bottle of foundation to look good.

At fifteen, I’m genuinely awestruck by the idea that I could be pretty. Because, gone are the days of feeling even remotely comfortable in my own skin; they’ve been replaced with a lingering, low hanging cloud of generalized inadequacy that’s coupled with excessive self-loathing and paralyzing social anxiety. But here in the mirror, with this makeup on, I feel like the best version of myself.

Since that day, I’ve cultivated a great passion for the beauty industry as a whole. Throughout the past thirteen years, I’ve gone through hundreds of hours of “How-To” videos on YouTube, worked with some of the most coveted professionals in the business, watched my mug appear on national television (during my time as a reporter), and then transitioned into the blogosphere, which is another public forum where…I…post photos of myself on the internet for the world at large to see.

Having a reliable beauty routine enables me to feel like the best version of myself; I’m not ashamed to say that. When I look good, I feel good. Almost instantly, I find myself becoming more confident and upbeat.

I even carry myself differently.

And, I’ve come to realize that, in varying degrees, the same is true of most women. Who doesn’t enjoy feeling like the best version of herself?

But here’s the thing: despite what I’ve learned about investing in my exterior shell, it is, in fact, just that – a shell. No amount of contouring or beach waving or spray tanning could ultimately teach me how to love myself. That’s a topic for another post. Still, a major part of the reason why I chose to start a blog is because I’ve seen, firsthand, the power that a couple of products – from a Clinique counter at a mall on Long Island, to boot – could have in changing the way that I walk through life.

And I want that for as many women as possible.

5

Longchamp x Vogue — Dream Collaborations in the Blogging World.

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It’s a relatively ordinary, if not blatantly mundane, late summer afternoon when I return home to my apartment and note the familiar ding of a new email that made its way into my inbox. It’s from my manager, and it states the following:

Hey Brooke, Great news: Longchamp and Vogue would love to move forward with you.

My hearts immediately starts break dancing in my chest, and I get the good buzz feels while reading the sentence over and over again to ensure that this is really happening. Because, when I launched NoteBrooke, I spent the first six months of the initiative fastidiously applying for “grown up” jobs. This was never something that I believed would lend itself to collaborating with any brands, let alone iconic French leather luxury lines like Longchamp

…in connection with Vogue.

When I get to the New York showroom to take a glimpse at some of the pulls for my upcoming Central Park based shoot (I know), I’m floored by all of the designs that Longchamp has to offer. Casually insinuating — wink wink — that I’d love to wear a few of the looks to New York Fashion Week, I’m immediately awestruck by the richness of the colors, the top-notch quality of the plush fabrics and the flattering fits of the pieces that I get to try on.

Like every other human being in the civilized world, I was already familiar with Longchamp’s cute bags (What else would a regular Elle Woods use to carry her books in?) and lux accessories, and I regularly passed their pristinely manicured storefronts on Newbury Street in Boston and on Madison Avenue in New York, but I wasn’t nearly as savvy about their super chic repertoire of Fall wonders.

The shoot takes place in several dreamy locations throughout Central Park, and I’m working alongside two of my good friends — Charlotte, from the Fashion Guitar, and Krystal, from This Time Tomorrow. We’re provided with a link to Longchamp’s Fall 2016 campaign video in advance, which, if you’re looking to be inspired, is right here for your viewing pleasure, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XMC6Zhzerw (!)

With the help of a chic little pedicab that takes us from location to location, we cruise around Central Park draped in individualized threads from the line, three peas in a Bethesda Terrace based pod. Naturally [hair flip, finger snap], I represent “fire,” per the campaign, so my outfit includes blazing shades of orange/red interspersed with deep chocolate browns.

In the midst of New York Fashion Week, hopping around Central Park with such an incredible team, is a welcome respite from the madness. Longchamp is a sophisticated, but still very wearable brand, and the shoot has me feeling as if I’ve escaped from New York City altogether and teleported to a town full of grand castles somewhere outside of a major metropolitan area in Europe. Think French Countryside circa 1775 vibes but with incredibly inspiring outfits thrown into the mix.

Fire + amazing brand + pedicab transportation + good friends + celebratory lunch at the Central Park Boat House = the best career choice of my life.

 

 

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Airport Style is Officially a Thing: Thanks Lipault Paris.

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I initially became aware of the fact that the airport experience, as it relates to fashion, is relatively indistinguishable from the one in which street style gurus clamor for sidewalk space outside of the most coveted (and photographed!) runway shows when I spotted a picture of Victoria Beckham waltzing through Heathrow in a pair of sky-high Louboutins and reflective glass aviators. Immediately at her side, like a small, chic football team (pun intended!!), were her equally posh (pun intended!!) looking children — Harper stealing the show in a Burberry dress and a matching pink hair bow.

When Chiara, Negin, and Olivia post photos of themselves perched atop roll-along Louis Vuitton suitcases, looking fresh faced and beautiful, one might reasonably assume that each girl is headed straight down to the beach rather than directly into what promises to be a germ infested, claustrophobic, twenty-one hour nightmare.

But here’s the thing: I, too, spend a fairly exorbitant amount of time boarding flights for a living. Since there are a whole host of pre-existing horrors dedicated solely to the experience of simply being in an airport, it’s especially important to ensure that I’m travelling in an efficient, stylish and streamlined way; that’s the one aspect of the situation that I actually can control.

And so, when I discovered Lipault Paris, I made a direct beeline towards their products. Since commencing my gypsy based life smack-dab in the center of LaGuardia, I’ve become cognizant of the fact that a substantial deficit exists in the way of finding chic and affordable travel pieces. More often than not, I watch the same mid-size, black canvas bags work their way around the conveyor belt, shouting things like “Each of use are just as drab and depressing as the next – instant outfit ruiners, for sure!” and “We’re all the same color, shape and size; just put us out of our misery already!”

Listen — it suffices to say that the majority of modern day fashionistas don’t have a particularly compelling interest in pulling out all of the stops to dedicate five hours of hair and makeup — and the potential threat of a broken ankle — to becoming Victoria Beckham prior to boarding transatlantic flights. But who doesn’t want to feel put together and organized when commencing a trip, knowing that their cute outfits and must-have products are neatly stowed away in style?

Lipault Paris is all about rich colors, textures, and — WAIT FOR IT — affordability. Created in Paris about a decade ago (Anything French – #obviously, #getonit, #nobraineranyway), the bags are basically the inedible equivalent of those delish macaroons that we like to photograph (and consume) all day long. In slowly commencing the process of planning for my honeymoon, I’ve already decided that I want one of the bags in every color — I won’t pack in anything else nowadays.

To see what it is that I’m so fervently raving about, visit http://www.lipault-usa.com.

Let the obsession commence.

X

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Here’s the Thing About My Skin Care Regimen — And Yours.

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Dear NoteBrooke,

Here’s the thing about my skincare regimen: for the greater portion of my adult life, it ceased to exist.

Unless you factor in that one plastic hand soap dispenser with the white pump top that I’d press down on each night to retrieve a small sampling of an emulsion that was more conducive to sterilizing dirty dishes than it was to removing makeup from — human flesh — then it would be accurate to assert that I’ve spent far too many years willfully neglecting my pores.

But before you start drawing parallels between me and 2007 Britney – you know, the one who proudly noted that she often slept in her makeup for several consecutive nights in order to avoid the inevitability of having to go through the reapplication process in the AM – let me just remind you of the maddening (and ubiquitous) skincare introductory scenario that the majority of women experience.

If you’ve ever visited a cosmetics counter, then you’ve probably already had the displeasure of listening to a sales pitch that resulted in the confused purchase of seven “completely necessary” and “highly effective” serums.

And although your newly acquired high brow potions are mixed with bizarrely named ingredients that you can’t even begin to pronounce, but that your over zealous associate tosses around as though they’re every day adjectives (“And this one is infused with lavender julep mint tea extract (!) excavated from the single most plush rainforest (!) in Sri Lanka”) – they’re just never going to provide that instantaneous Karlie Kloss complexion that you were so steadfastly guaranteed.

As I’ve gotten older and learned to veer away from things like dish soap and Bounty paper towels when it comes to washing my face, I’ve accepted the fact that skincare is, in fact, extremely important. It turns out that dermatologists really do seem to know what they’re talking about. And, with my wedding date quickly approaching, I’m especially particular about what I get into the habit of putting on my pores.

That said, the Avon ANEW AHA Refining Cream, the ANEW Clinical Strength Retexturizing Peel, and the ANEW Vitamin C Brightening Serum (click down on product names to see for yourself!) allow me to care for my skin in a quick/simple/effective way.

While I think it’s safe to say that most aspects of my life are relatively high maintenance require a lot of time and the occasional indulgence, skin care just isn’t one of them. With a trifecta of mini bottles that keep me clear and glowy (And I mean, what more could I really ask for out of life, anyway?), this is one thing that I can be very pragmatic about.

Head to ANEW Game Changer’s Landing Page (click on it!) to see my trusty and transportable skincare favorites.

X,

B

 

 

 

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What Three Years of Living in NYC Has Taught Me.

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It’s 8pm on a Friday night, and I’m jonesing to make a smooth escape from the cubicle where I’ve spent the entirety of my workweek, flexing and unfurling my lower limbs in the same manner that a meth addict does when she’s patently itching for a stockpile of smack.

At 8:o7pm, exactly, my boss retrieves his briefcase and careens through the secure glass doors that divide us – the newsroom: a small, if not eclectic, group of producers, reporters, and tech gurus – from the city that’s unleashing its rush hour based rigor twenty stories below.

As the resident underachiever of the group, it’s inherently understood that I’ll be the first to leave for the night. Despite the fact that the minimum base fare of an Uber ‘X’ has surged to something that equates to what a substantial percentage of Americans — outside of the New York major metropolitan area — pay in property taxes, I make a heated beeline to the nearest black car and enjoy a cushy ride back to my apartment on the East Side.

There’s a theory that’s not often discussed – probably because it exists solely within the recesses of my own mind – that suggests that nobody in New York, with the exception of parents and/or a small fraction of the resident elderly population, puts forth a particularly compelling effort to establish any semblance of a robust savings account.

I’m producing content for MSNBC, and for a long while, I’m completely enamored with the act of being part of the largest media market in North America; at twenty-five years old, I’m fulfilling my dream of playing in the the majors. But unsurprisingly, the days are arduous and exhaustive and my shoots can be as physically taxing as they are emotionally jarring. As such, I quickly realize that I’m willing to forego things like heat and electricity in exchange for espresso laden venti iced coffees and a few extra minutes of sleep propagated by the aid of a bi-daily Uber ride.

By 9:15 pm, Caroline, my best friend, arrives at my doorstep. Fresh off the heels of what appears to be a grueling therapy session, I immediately detect familiar shadows of my own demeanor in her overwrought, tense expression. Together, we meander onto the small, concrete terrace that’s directly outside of my bedroom window, and with a blue bottle of cheap Moscato in tote, commence a candid dialogue about the fact that we’re both terrified of everything.

Caroline is a true genius – not the obnoxious kind who consistently mentions “Harvard this, Harvard that” — but the kind whose passions and predilections are so genuinely out of sync with her physical appearance that she herself becomes an object of fascination to the world at large.

Sitting on the 2×4 slab of concrete that is my terrace, with the New York skyline standing prostrate in front of us, as if to ask, aggressively, acerbically, “Oh, you thought this would be easy?” we resemble two characters in the center of an utterly tragic Lana Del Ray video. Beneath the full moon, we’re lounging on the floor, sipping white carbonated wine and obsessing over the idea that all of our worst fears could so easily come to fruition, obliterating our pre-constructed life plans and rendering us perpetually alone and wholly unfulfilled.

We talk about our careers and wonder if we’ll end up intellectually underwhelmed and eternally destitute. And what about our relationship statuses? Tonight, I’ve successfully managed to convince myself that my boyfriend, the love of my adult life (and my now fiancé), will disappear into oblivion via a Joe Jonas like breakup text. Failing to find a partner to spend forever with seems like a tragedy of sorts, but I make absolutely certain to remind myself of the fact that it’ll be ten times more horrific to finally feel something this poignant and then to watch it all slip away.

We take turns analyzing the potential root causes of our wide spanning list of anxieties and try to decipher what our respective purposes on the planet ought to be. It’s a lot to tackle for two young girls on a Friday night, especially while readying ourselves to go downtown for an evening of…fun. But with each free floating anxiety that we ruminate over, ultimately, we end up laughing so voraciously at our own melodramatic musings that I literally have to beg Caroline to “shut up!” because eyeliner is now dripping off of my face, and, per usual, we’re running late. I grab her metallic gold YSL tribute heels and she pulls an outfit from somewhere in my closet. We leave.

Truth be told, some of our fears are entirely valid: they’re far more deeply rooted than the surface level stuff that we’re touching upon in conversation. Caroline knows my darkest demons. But she’s also aware of the fact that my rational side, the one that allows me to function on a day day to basis, is still firmly in tact, and that while a bout of situational anxiety might’ve reared its icky, foundation free face for a moment, it’s actually unbelievably cathartic for both of us to let it out.

I understand certain things about Caroline, as well. I recognize what people consistently expect her to be – a leggy blonde girl with Kennedy-esque Massachusetts based roots and messy hair that always falls perfectly into place (proverbial eye roll, ensue). Both of us are well aware of the fact that lots of people don’t have particularly kind things to say about us, but we’ve stopped caring about baseless assumptions and personal insults. There’s no time for that anymore. New York feels like a microcosm of social darwinism at play, and we’re primarily focused on surviving in the new maze that’s become our adult lives. While I recognize that Cara is decidedly a well coiffed glamor puss and a ridiculously talented stylist to some of the greatest talents of our time, to boot, I also know that she’s a scientifically and mathematically driven engineer before she is anything else, that she n-e-v-e-r utters a negative word about anyone (a seemingly impossible feat that I’m working on being able to lay claim to myself), and that, regardless of any of her fears, she’ll always be OK.

I project onto her life a mirror of sorts, a luminous window into a complex mind and an old soul. She, in turn, does the same for me.

And now, a couple of years into our respective journeys in New York, when we worry, we don’t run towards the darkest parts of our psyches, but instead, we go out into the city, the one that’s shown us how resilient we really are, and if nothing else, we’re finally free.

8

NoteBrooke Needs Summer.

 

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Boots | Cold Shoulder Top | Romper | Black Dress

Dear NoteBrooke,

I’ve legitimately spent the past seven to nine months doing nothing more than attempting to protect my little limbs from the onset of intensive frostbite during outdoor shoots. Admittedly, I’ve given far too much extra attention to all things leather, cashmere, and cushy in the name of relative warmth. BUT, with the onset of spring/summer (praise God!)! finally approaching here in NYC, I’ve recently put a great deal of obsessive thought into creating a look that’s as fun and simplistic as it is cost effective.

Of late, I’ve been on a manic hunt for the must haves — great fits, rich color options, and affordable pieces, which is how/why I came to discover the g-e-n-i-u-s that is XOXO. Incredibly fresh and original, XOXO offers up lots of magical goodies that can’t be found/duplicated/ripped off in every other major department store either. After rocking my pale blue booties, cold shoulder top (which is decidedly the best name for a shirt ever) and hello-yellow romper for the past week or so, it suffices to say this line, as a whole, is essentially giving me life, and I’ll be sporting it all summer long. 😉 See for yourself at XOXO.com

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B

Pixel

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