Recession Chic: Best At Home Manicure

PhotobucketThere’s no doubt about it: Getting your nails done professionally is worth the money–if only because of the pampering that comes with it. But for most of us, booking and keeping a regular appointment is next to impossible. And also, kind of expensive! It’s easy to nail a good manicure or pedicure (one that lasts a week or more) at home if you allow yourself 30 minutes–about 15 minutes for prep work and application and 15 minutes for nails to dry. You can shrink that time if you use drying aids, like speedy topcoats or finishing sprays. While you are at it, pamper yourself with easy things like aromatherapy and some of your favorite music! Here’s how to score a perfect 10 — without the $40 nail salon visit.

1. Start by removing old polish. For natural nails, use a non-acetone remover. Try Cutex Essential Care Advanced Nail Polish Remover Pads.

2. Use a very handy 4-sided nail buffer for polishing, buffing and shining your nails. After using this product, your nails will have a beautiful manicure shine without the polish, so this inexpensive tool is great for when you want to go bare.

3. File nails to desired shape. What looks modern now is a shortish nail,straight across the top with rounded edges. File your nails in one direction starting at the edges and moving toward the top.

4. Soak in soapy water for a few minutes to soften cuticles.

We Look To The Stars For Our Favorite Summer Hairstyles!

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Hairstyle rookies rejoice!

We know all too well how daunting the perfect coif can be.

When it comes to getting creative with your hair, however, summer is the perfect time to experiment. Weather is in your favor — no destructive wind, snow, or heavy downpours to ruin a perfectly good hair day — and with a simpler wardrobe you can add imagination to your look through your locks.

Just take note from some of today’s hottest starlets and their inspired, easy-to-do styles.

Read on to check out our favorite low maintenance-high glam summer styles!

Sleek and Straight: Even curly-haired girls like Taylor Swift are taking the opportunity to go straight this summer! Sleek hair is hot – it both feels and looks less heavy, yet can still have movement and body. With the help of a heat protecting product, simply flat-iron pin straight for a look that banishes frizzies, flyaways, and combats the humidity all day long!

Loose Waves: While the look appears high-maintenance, it’s actually anything but! These loose waves can easily be achieved with a large-barreled curling iron, or even with a strategic twist of your hair straightener, finished off with a few spritzes of anti-humidity hairspray. The great thing about more undone waves like these, is they don’t have to be perfect and pin-curled — they can afford to loosen up over the course of the day! Ashley Greene gives hers a more retro-pretty update by twisting back the front portion of her hair and sweeping locks to the side.

Messy Braid: Braided updos and intricate fishtail braids have been hot all year long, but the plaited look gets even more casual-cool and easy-to-do for summer. When you don’t want to opt for a tired ponytail or haphazard bun, go for a messy side braid that’s just as easy to accomplish as it sounds. For an extra voluminous braid like Amanda Seyfried’s, texturize hair before you braid with a comb and some volumizing spray gel. The messier the better!

Flare With Fruit: Banana Vase

imageEvery home needs a unique piece to focus on. Personally, I’m a fan of subtle humor, and a banana vase plated in silver is pretty much hilarious, and a great conversation starter! Don’t get me wrong, you still need to have some class in your place and I think Jonathan Adler’s banana vase really captures the essence of mature humor. This vase is arty, quirky, funny, and totally unique, so I find it completely necessary to add this piece to my living room collection. It’s not only a really great piece of art, but it’s functional, too since it’s designed to hold a small bouquet of flowers! Regular vases are so blah and predictable, why waste an amazing flower arrangement in a not so amazing vase? Plus, think of all the great puns you can get in with a vase shaped like a banana, it’s so a-peel-ing (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!).

Hot In The Hive: Smart Planet Mini Cupcake Maker

imageEver since Carrie and the gang from “Sex and the City” step foot into Magnolia Bakery for one of their cupcakes, the worldwide craze for the frosted sweet treats hasn’t died down since. While I’m busy budgeting for my designer shoe fund, bag fund, and oh yeah, bills, I can’t always indulge in a $4 treat everyday. That’s why the Smart Planet Mini Cupcake Maker is so handy. This gadget makes 6 mini cupcakes in just 5 minutes with recipes included. If you think about it, it’s also quite health conscious since you’re eating a mini sized cupcake instead of a regular sized one (but there’s no saying that all 6 could disappear within minutes!). Of course, you can also make mini muffins, cornbread and other treats but cupcakes are definitely #1. Like they always say, when you want things done right, do it yourself. Now I just have to figure out how to automatically frost them.

Price: $16.95
Who Found It: facadeindreams was first to add the Smart Planet Mini Cupcake Maker to the Hive.

Buzzworthy Deals From Kara Janx, Banana Republic, DJ Premium and more!

imageKara Janx‘s deal was so good, we had to repost. And add more deals of course. Read on to see them all!

Take 25% off the fresh and flirty looks from Project Runway Season 2 alum Kara Janx through the end of March with code SPRING25! We’re loving the ruffled Kaylee top in of-the-moment leopard print, and the Amber dress in lush violet.

2 days only – Get 25% off all regular-priced merchandise at Enter BRSAVE25* at checkout. Offers ends 3/17.

Also 2 days only – Get 20% off Any purchase. Enter ONGET20* at checkout. Offers ends 3/17.

25% off all shoes at DJ Premium for 3 days only! Use code 1N13PU.

Hayden-Harnett’s Superluxe Trophy Satchel, now 40% off until Friday! Pockets, hardware, and a detachable strap.

Shoe Of The Week: Elizabeth & James ‘Alisha’ Thong Ballet Flats

imageBack in college, I remember slipping on my trusty Rainbows to go to class (or any time I left my dorm room, for that matter) — rain or shine. Of course, in Los Angeles, it’s almost always weather-appropriate for sandals… but looking back I probably could have taken the extra 5 seconds to rummage in my closet for a nice pair of flats when the outing called for slightly fancier footwear. I think it’s that “slip ’em on and bounce” mentality of mine that has me drawn to these thong ballet flats by Elizabeth & James. A flip-flop/flat hybrid, this pair still has the warm-weather friendliness of sandals, while the metallic leather gives them a versatile yet slightly dressier feel for the times when your go-to flip-flops won’t do.

What: Elizabeth & James Alisha Thong Ballet Flats
Price: $198
Where to Buy: Shopbop
Who: xgalexy was the first to add the Elizabeth & James Alisha Flats to the Hive.

Recession Chic: 10 Must-Have Messenger Bags Under $75!

imageIf your lengthy list of resolutions has so far only amounted to a big 2010 FAIL, it may not be entirely your fault. Sometimes when you get too ambitious with your start-of-the-year goals, your plans can contradict each other. For example, it’s hard to spend more quality time with your family while still leaving sufficient time for the gym. And it’s nearly impossible to be stylish, stay organized, and keep yourself on a budget all at the same time. Or is it? I’m here to let you know that you can confidently throw that beat-up old backpack in the trash — there are more fashionable alternatives for staying neat and organized on the go for work or school. Keep your laptop safe and close at hand with a messenger bag from Target (only $24.99!), or if you’d prefer something a little more versatile, this messenger backpack from Urban Outfitters can be used for anything from school to a celebratory post-work happy hour (yes, you can still go out on a budget too!). Browse the slideshow for more of my favorite cute carry-alls at recession-friendly costs!

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Label Love: Shakuhachi Keeps It Luxe Yet Laid-back

imageFashionistas hailing from the land down under may have long-since been fans of label Shakuhachi, founded by Aussie native Jessie White, but seeing how far the collection has come from its humble t-shirt line roots, it’s no wonder that that it’s gaining increasing popularity among stateside style mavens. While the latest looks include nearly everything but the kitchen sink — mesh minis, metallic shoulder-padded dresses, and floaty off-the-shoulder frocks — the collection still somehow manages to give a cohesive shout-out to its laid-back beachy origins. With an emphasis on loose fits balanced by feminine details like lace, sequins, and florals, the Spring/Summer 2010 collection seems to pay homage to the modern pin-up girl with cutout details, retro stripes, and cropped tees… not to mention a little boho flair and Asian inspiration thrown into the mix too. With such a variety of designs and details to choose from, both flirty and funky, Shakuhachi covers all its bases with looks you can take to the beach and on the town. Check the slideshow for some of my favorite pieces from their latest collection!

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Start The New Year By Spoiling Yourself At The Royal Hawaiian Resort!

imageHow do you say luxury in Hawaiian? Mae e ho’ohiwahiwa ai ka noho ‘na. But while that may be a mouthful, finding a Hawaiian example of luxury is simple — just look to The Royal Hawaiian Resort. Located on Waikiki Beach, Starwood’s 529-room “Pink Palace of the Pacific” takes its cues from its luscious natural surroundings, as well as the history and culture of the island. Marvel at the property’s 1920s Moorish architecture, lounge in a beachfront cabana, sip a tropical cocktail at its oceanside Mai Tai Bar, or try an alfresco massage in the garden, courtesy of the on-site Abhasa Spa. And don’t miss ‘Ah ‘Aina, the Royal Hawaiian’s weekly dinner and show featuring local cuisine along with dancers and musicians telling the story of Waikiki. Aloha, indeed! Click “See Video” for a virtual tour, then check out what else the islands have to offer at Modern Luxury!

HauteMimi Finds A Laptop Tote That’s Actually Stylish!

imageI love a good clutch, but a stylish clutch that’s created to cradle my laptop? Now that is divine. I am all over this new laptop clutch named “Colette” by the stylish laptop bag maker J’Tote. It comes in 3 chic colors including black, pewter and navy blue and can hold laptops that are up to 14″. I personally have the Colette in black and I find that I can fit my Blackberry, wallet and makeup bag along with my hp mini. The envelope-style clutch is the new way to carry your laptop around town. Perfect for editors as well as fashionistas on the go! Get yours here.