Erin Sykes



Today it made sense as to why I feel so compelled to be organized – especially when moving. As my friend and yoga instructor, Ari Green, explained during class, the act of cleaning out a closet allows you to feel lighter and more open to seize opportunity because you are ‘creating space.’ You can suddenly make objective decisions – the lack of clutter in your physical (mental, emotional, etc.) space translates to increased awareness, agility, and energy.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on my move, I can comment on what does and does not work when consolidating from a larger to smaller apartment. Below are some tips on ‘creating space’ that I’ve pulled together from both friends and my own trial & error:

1) Go Vertical: I used this tactic most prominently in my hall closet. Here I installed a customizable InterMetro shelving unit from the Container Store. This allowed me to store everything that used to be in my desk and laundry room as well as a couple of jackets. I used Havana Wicker Baskets from the Pottery Barn to store folders that were in filing cabinets previously and are now easily accessible on the InterMetro shelving unit.

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2) Go External: If you don’t have enough closet space built-in, don’t shove your clothes to fit as that will only lead to lost clothing, wrinkles, and a huge dry cleaning bill. Instead, research wardrobe closets, like the one I purchase from Ikea. I chose the ELGA 3-door closet because it was the LARGEST one I could find, has a mirrored door, and is similar in styling to my living room furniture (as it could not fit in the bedroom.) Also, I learned that Ikea will assemble its furniture for you (at an added, but very worthwhile cost) so no need to shy away if you’re handy-man skills aren’t up to par.

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3) Choose Your Hangers Wisely: This tip came from Kathleen Ritzel. When hanging scarves and skirts, in particular, there are some super slim, slip free systems available from Bed Bath & Beyond and HSN. Multi-tiered skirt hangers are an absolute must as they fit 4-6 skirts (or shorts) vertically in the same space as a single hanger. For scarves, try Real Simple Large Loop Hangers, which each have five holes to pull scarves through and come in packs of two, thus providing enough room for 10 scarves.

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4) Look Down Under: Storing things underneath the bed is not a new idea, but think about extending the concept to other areas of your home, like coffee tables or end tables. Using the same Pottery Barn Havana Baskets as I mentioned earlier, I added storage under by bedroom side tables without taking up any extra floor space.

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”Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

~William Morris~



My apologies for the brief gap since my last posting! I have been in the process of moving from Los Angeles to New York and thus very mindfully reorganizing my personal possessions into the most compact, functional and visually appealing arrangement possible. I think of it just like in-store merchandising; my goal is to be able to easily ‘shop my closet.’ However, the space allocated for that closet suddenly went from this… [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="426" align="center" title="room1" frame="true" icon="image"] To this… [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="224" align="center" title="room2" frame="true" icon="image"] Now, I’m going to take a few days to figure out the best solution to this situation and will report back with the best tips for maximizing not only your closet but overall storage space :)



Sophistication. Allure. Glamour. These are the images and ideals that Monique Lhuillier resonates in the mind of every bride-to-be. However, it’s just now that the designer is opening her first New York flagship – the 3,000 square foot is located on 71st street between Madison and 5th Avenues – and is making dreams a reality for numerous women in the greater metro area. Formerly two separate stores and a private residence, it has an intimate jewel box feel with grey suede walls and Waterford chandeliers. The store houses Lhuillier’s bridal and ready-to-wear collections along with her collaborations with Waterford. Lhuillier calls the opening, “a big milestone in my career. I wanted to make sure the space felt private and residential. That when people walk in, they understand the world of Monique Lhuillier.” The opening party welcomed Hannah Bronfman, Derek Blasberg, Kelly Rutherford, DJ Harley V Newton, and Model Anais Pouliot who dazzled in a shimmering green dress from the designer. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="816" align="center" title="monique1" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="monique-dress" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="1024" align="center" title="monique2" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="1024" align="center" title="monique3" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="679" align="center" title="monique4" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="768" align="center" title="monique5" frame="true" icon="image"]



Coachella. It makes me glean and wince at the same time. The best bands in the planet in one place . Unfortunately, that place is HOT, dusty, and full of {some} people that aren’t showering for the better part of three days. My goal for the weekend is to look fresh and radiant with as little effort and maintenance as possible; the following will be my keys to success.

[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Hourglass Superficial Waterproof Bronzer Price: $45Amazing stuff – A universal shade that withstands high-humidity and extreme moisture. It gets better; paraben- free, sulfate-free, synthetic fragrance and dye-free. Haute hippie appoved.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Smashbox BB Cream SPF 35 Price: $39You already know I’m a fan of BB Cream in general, especially the multi-shade offering from Smashbox from this prior post. Not only do you have SPF 35 to shelter from the desert sun, but the medium coverage tint + primer coverage makes this a one-stop-shop for the perfectly (protected) complexion.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock SPF 70 Price: $10.99I am a HUGE fan the Neutrogena line of high-SPF spray sunscreens, all of which contain Helioplex a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. While UVB rays are the ones that cause skin to burn, UVA rays are the ones that cause skin to wrinkle (and this type can even pass through window/glass) thus it is necessary to make sure that you are using BROAD SPECTRUM protection against both types.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Estee Lauder Sumptuous Waterproof Bold Volume Lifting Mascara Price: $21Long wearing, and absolutely waterproof. Achieve and MAINTAIN your ideal lash fringe all day and night. I love the classic cone shape of this brush, too, which allows a precise bottom and outer lash application.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Too Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof and Tearproof Eyeliner Price: $18This eyeliner glides on without tugging to achieve the festival-perfect cat eye (using the built-in super soft smudger) and will literally stay on through sweat and tears. I use it almost daily and it be sure to make makeup bag next weekend. Must also remember to bring eye makeup remover (face wash def. won’t cut it).
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder (Blondish) Price: $35Second day hair, but better… and available in White, Blondish, Brown, and Black to make sure your root touch-up is invisible.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="150" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Garnier Fructis Survivor Gel Price: $4.89Can’t bear to blow out your hair in the heat? Worried about your curls and frizz in the extreme conditions? This is the ONLY product that keeps mine in check. Note: It is STRONG. You must have curly, somewhat dry hair to use, otherwise it will be much to heavy for you. But, if you are the type of girl who is always looking for the-next-best-curl-manager, it has become my savior.



Spring has sprung across the country, so this weekend why not welcome the gorgeous weather and step out of your makeup routine with a hot pink lip? Starting with the Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2011 runway show and recently seen on every celeb from Nicole Richie to Rhianna to Emma Stone to Taylor Swift – the hot pink lip replaces classic red as we move into warmer months. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="275" align="center" title="pink4" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="196" align="center" title="pink3" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="192" align="center" title="pink2" frame="true" icon="image"] [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="191" align="center" title="pink1" frame="true" icon="image"] When you wear the hot pink lip, the rest of the face should be left pretty minimal; using a great beauty balm as a base, a neutral eye shadow and blush, and lots of black mascara for contrast. Start by using a lip primer like Too Faced Lip Insurance to help lipstick last longer. Next, apply lip liner like NARS Liner Pencil in Miss Sadie around the perimeter of your lips, then filling in the center. Finally, apply your hot pink lip color using a lip brush for accuracy. NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage is a fantastic bright but mature fuchsia that can be worn alone in matte or layered with a gloss. Remember to keep hair sleek and let your lips play center stage. Try the look next time you wear nautical stripes, floral prints, or pure white. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="pink5" frame="true" icon="image"]


[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="maskara1" frame="true" icon="image"] Molded Brush – Plastic wands that function like a mascara comb allowing for flexible, oversized take on the traditional bristled brush used to create exceptional length and volume. Best for medium to long lashes as it can be difficult for those with shorter lashes to get brush close to the root. Use a single coat to prevent clumping. Try- DiorShow Mascara
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="maskara4" frame="true" icon="image"] Curved Brush – A curved brush will slightly enhance the curl of your lashes, but not enough to replace a lash curler. Available in both molded and traditional brush types. Try – Maybelline Great Lash Curved Brush Mascara
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="200" align="center" title="maskara5" frame="true" icon="image"] Mini Brush – Traditionally used for bottom lashes or for sparse lashes. Compact brush allows you to get close to lash line Try – Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara


Orange and blue are naturally complimentary colors and when using elegant pieces, the combination will leave you looking like any BUT an overzealous Chicago Bears fan or Clemson freshman. OPI A Good Man-darin is Hard To Find Nailpolish, BCBG Jaclyn Wide Leg Pants and Emma Button-down Silk Chiffon Blouse, Tory Burch Robinson Chain Mini Bag (discontinued tie dye pattern), my grandmother’s vintage gold bracelet. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="640" align="center" title="colorstory" frame="true" icon="image"]



[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="left" title="diction1" frame="true" icon="image"]I happened upon the must-read, kistchy-but-oh-so-accurate book Enamel Diction by The Initiative ($16.95) while browsing Carousel Shop in Bondi Beach, Australia this past week. Enamel Diction’s authors describe the book as a “light hearted insight into the kind of façades we present to the world – and ask; is the nail polish we wear a true reflection of ourselves or just gloss?” Or more simply, can you tell a girl by her nail color? Ultimately it suggests that how we choose to express ourselves through exterior decoration is an important clue to our inner nature. The colors we choose have a meaning and a function. Buff off the coating to varnish the truth with your own copy. Guarantee that you will have your yoga neighbor with the consistent fuchsia pedi all figured out . Below is a peek into my current polish personality… [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="600" align="left" title="diction2" frame="true" icon="image"]



Fashion is about interpretation and evolution (who can forget Miranda Priestly’s cerulean blue tirade in The Devil Wears Prada), but sometimes you cross the line.   This is the gist of BCBGMaxAzria’s lawsuit against fledgling Stretta Apparel.  The miracle-working Herve Leger bandage dress has been perfecting women’s bodies since the 80’s. With the recent rejuvenation of the line by BCBG in 2007, we have seen many postpartum interpretations of the original garment.  These lesser quality knockoffs are not uncommon within the industry, but it is rare that even a stylist can confuse the two (as alleged by BCBG).  Stretta Apparel markets their replica banded dresses and skirts at an average price point of $350 to vendors such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Intermix.  They have taken numerous designs and leaked that their dresses are manufactured in the same factories as Herve Leger, thus misleading stylists and buyers. What is the impact to you? Do you care if you get the look of the original at a minimum 50% off? What are the long-term repercussions to the fashion industry? Is this just natural competition or pathetic copy-cat syndrome? You be the judge… Top image is Herve Leger’s $1050 Eileen Dress while the bottom image is Stretta’s $422 Christiana Dress. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="150" align="center" title="dress1" frame="true" icon="image"]

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Beauty Balm, also called BB Cream, is the newest trend within both the cosmetics and skincare worlds. These multi-tasking formulas fuse tinted moisturizer, makeup primer, SPF, skin-nourishing serum, and a powerhouse anti-oxidant complex into a lightweight substitute for traditional tinted moisturizer or foundation. Though just released in the US, Beauty Balms have long been an Asian beauty secret and these original versions pay specific attention to priming, blemish healing/concealing, and offering a high SPF (>45). With about a dozen US brands currently offering a Beauty Balm, it is clear that some are modeling their formulas closer to the Asian standard while others are expanding to suit consumer desires in the States. The following are the five most popular Beauty Balms in Sephora and show a range of textures, weights, shade ranges, etc: For demonstration, if there was a shade range available, I chose the Medium tone (noted below) of the available options.

[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="250" align="left" title="cream1" frame="true" icon="image"] Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30 Price: $37 Shade Used: Shade 2 (Darker) # Shades Available: 2 I like the smooth texture and light-medium coverage of the Clinique Age Defense BB Cream. Excellent anti-aging ingredients and 100% fragrance-free, with the backing of a skincare leader, so long-term benefit expectations are high. I would like to see them expand the shade range as even Shade 2, the ‘darker’ of the options, was bordering on being too light for my medium skin tone.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="350" align="left" title="cream2" frame="true" icon="image"] Dr Jardt+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 45 Price: $39 Single ShadeThe Premium version of Dr. Jardt’s formulas is meant for normal-dry skin and thus offers more coverage and primer benefits than the Water Fuse version. It offers a medium coverage with an impressive SPF 45. Again, however, the universal single shade is a bit too light and finish a bit matte for me. I do adore the hard shell pump packaging; great for travel as you do not run the risk of an exploding tube in your bag.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="350" align="left" title="cream3" frame="true" icon="image"] Dr Jardt+ Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm SPF 25 Price: $32 Single ShadeThe Water Fuse version of Dr. Jardt+ is a more lightweight formula, appropriate for summer or oily-skin. It also comes in a single shade, which is also too light to be truly universal, but more flexible than the Premium due to the sheerness of the product. The Water Fuse does not offer as high an SPF, as much coverage or the full priming benefits of the Premium version, but absorbs quickly and offers lightweight moisture. This product has a unique audience; those with light to medium toned skin that is typically oily.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="350" align="left" title="cream4" frame="true" icon="image"] Smashbox BB Cream SPF 35 Price: $39 Shade Used: Medium # Shades Available: 4I am impressed with the slightly-more-than-medium coverage and poreless finish that I received with the Smashbox product – it is clear that the brand integrated its primer technology into the BB Cream. With an SPF of 35 it falls in the higher tier of competition with regard to sun prevention. This is a difficult line to walk when formulating a color product as a higher SPF often leads to a chalky finish; Smashbox achieved the sought-after SPF without that problem. Also available in 4 shades, making skin tone matching much easier.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="350" align="left" title="cream5" frame="true" icon="image"] Too Faced Beauty Balm Multi Benefit Skincare Makeup SPF 20 Price: $32 Shade Used: Nude Glow # of Shades Available: 4 The Too Faced Beauty Balm offers the most luminous, lightweight formula with sheer to medium coverage. It absorbs very quickly and is also available in 4 shades to match your skin tone. I am most impressed by the immediate glow that my skin had after applying this product; it offers a radiance boost not present in other Beauty Balms. Its SPF is on the lower end of the spectrum, but is boosted by an impressive antioxidant/ multi-mineral complex.

Regardless of which Beauty Balms / BB Cream you choose, its apparent that their rise will eliminate the need for traditional tinted moisturizer. Why not use one product and achieve a multitude of immediate and long-term results?



Despite being a yoga devotee, Im always looking for new workouts to mix in, particularly ones that get me outside. One of my favorites is the Santa Monica Stairs – both the steep, shaded concrete set at 4th & Adelaide and the wider, wooden set a few blocks East (which offers much more of a scene – I once saw a man walking on his hands down the entire flight). The wooden set has 170 stairs and it takes about 1 hour to complete 20 circuits. I approximate my caloric burn for this at 600-700 calories, the same as a 6 mile run. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="2400" align="center" title="stairway" frame="true" icon="image"] Not only are the stairs scenic, but they’re open ‘round-the-clock and are they’re free – so much better than a typical gym (ugh, can’t bear to say the word). No matter where you live, bet there is a set close by (think your local high school stadiums!)



Despite significant effort, there have been few truly luxurious, all-natural skin care lines that successfully combine effectiveness and responsibility. Two shining stars, however, are ARCONA Skin Care, a spa brand from Los Angeles and Intelligent Nutrients, a relatively new line from Horst Rechelbacher, the founder of AVEDA. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="180" align="left" title="arcona" frame="true" icon="image"] ARCONA has upgraded all-natural, small-batch formulation to include ultra-high concentrations of antioxidants, plant lipids and extracts, sea vegetables, essential oils, vitamins, and minerals. These actives are then cold-pressed to maintain freshness (just think about the LA juicing craze) and the processed using chirally correct technology in order to minimize allergic reactions and enhance effectiveness at a molecular level. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="156" align="right" title="arcona2" frame="true" icon="image"] Intelligent Nutrients is a ‘global apothecary’ line offering USDA Certified Organic skin care, hair care, lip care, baby care, pet care, love therapy, and functional foods. All Intelligent Nutrients products are created using 100% renewable energy and are 100% food based, safe, and non-toxic. The core of both the skin care and the functional food line is ‘Intellimune’ antioxidant blend formulated with cold-pressed seed extract to create a super-supplement that fights off free radicals and inflammation, protects health cellular activity and growth, and helps thwart premature aging and disease in the process.