She SAID: Weatherproof Beauty

Shahada Karim

Summer is officially here, and unfortunately settling into the skin with hot and sometimes humid temperatures. Once flawless makeup application is replaced by greasy, patchy, sliding ensembles that look more like concept kabuki than 20 minutes at the vanity. If ever there was a time to apply the ‘less is more’ philosophy, it is now.

SKIN:

Skin comes out to play during the hotter months, and the face is no exception. Show off your complexion by enhancing it with tinted moisturizers instead of foundations or heavy powders.

weatherproof1The season’s best coverage can be found in Armani’s Maestro Liquid Summer. Don’t be fooled by the dark color in the bottle. These formulations go on about 2 shades lighter than they appear, with the darkest shade containing a healthy dose of red undertone (the other twweatherproofo have yellow undertones). Less is definitely more: a drop or two on bare skin (if it matches your skin tone) or in a face moisturizer goes a long way to smooth the skin. For less than ideal skin, a few more drops will provide foundation-like coverage. What’s noteworthy about this formula is that it doesn’t crease or move or sink into fine lines.

La Mer promises to enhance and repair the skin all at once with the new Reparative Skin Tint. Like all of its products, the formula features a healthy dose of the ‘miracle broth’ that made the brand famous. It’s also SPF 30. The idea is that the more you wear this skin tint, the better your skin will look and feel, even without any makeup. A little goes a long way with this formula. In fact, it’s possible to use too much (and at $95 a tube, that’s just a waste). The only down side is the shade selection; the colors range from very fair to barely medium (listed as ‘tan’), so the range of users is limited.

MAKE UP FOR EVER is doing away with the idea of adding product to add color, with a new range of Pro Bronze Fusion compacts. You’re instructed to ‘buff’ the color into the skin to give the illusion of a flawless finish. Believe it or not, this concept actually works. Although it doesn’t actually cover the skin, the pigment works to draw the naked eye away from any blemishes or imperfection. The result looks like your skin on its best day. You can also use it over any foundation or tinted moisturizer to perfect the finish. This formula comes in three shades (Light, Medium, and Tan) in two different finishes: matte and shimmer). Unlike liquid or other powder products, you can’t really overdo it with this formula. As long as you’re matched to your actual skin tone, you can layer this color to get the finish you desire.

EYES

One of the most innovative products to hit the market this season comes courtesy of weatherproof3Tom Ford. The Cream and Powder Eye Color comes in four shades that complement every skin tone and easily go from morniweatherproof5ng to midnight. The kits feature a cream and a powder eye shadow that can be worn alone or together. They can be applied and blended with fingers or brushes, and a relatively easy to put on and take off. Once on, they don’t move or crease, and can be removed with a mild cleanser.

Easy does it with mascara, and one of the most low maintenance formulas remains steady with Blinc. The tubing formula encases lashes (versus traditional painting mascaras) and resists sweat, oil and smudging. It’s been clinically tested to be non-irritating. That’s a win for sensitive eyes, contact lens wearers, and active people. All that resistance breaks down easily with the application of warm water. Slide the ‘tubes’ off your lashes, pat dry, and move on.

LIPSweatherproof4

Poppy King wins again. The creator of Lipstick Queen brings color, comfort, and ease of wear to reality with the new Queen Bee lip treatment. The bronze color is perfect for the season, and is sheer enough to move easily through a wide range of skin tones. It’s full of goodies like Royal Jelly, Chamomile and Sunflower Extract help soothe chapped lips. And the ‘honey’ smell is the perfect cherry on top of this lip treatment sundae.

A light touch (in makeup and in life) is key, and layer all of these products as needed. The idea is to look like you woke up like this, and no one should be the wiser.

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She SAID: A Tasty Drink… to Your Health

Terri Kennerson

By now, the idea of a juice cleanse is about as common as a gym membership. The industry is truly survival of the fittest (we will ever mourn the passing of The Real Juice), with pressed juice outfits opening and closing faster than you can say organic protein smoothie. The novelty of a juice cleanse is often met with the reality of what it means to actually ingest and keep down any number of blends for longer than an hour or two. At the end of the day, it all comes down to taste.

PRESSED JUICERYjuicing

Pressed might be winning the taste war against even the most established juice joints. Their blends contain all the right ingredients, but they’ve seemed to manage the balance between sweet and savory better than the competition. Two of the best examples lie in the Yuzu Jalepeno juice (yes, they use real jalepenos) and the Charcoal Coconut Water (what?). All of the blends go down easy with minimal fear of a gag reflex. Proof that what’s good for you can also be good to you, and that it’s never a good idea to judge a … bottle… by its cover.

BLUEPRINT

A lonjuicing1g established cult favorite (we’re still trying to figure out what ritual sacrifice put this company so far ahead) and celebrity-endorsed health choice, Blueprint is an easy find both in national grocery chains and online. Despite the relatively cheap cost of most ingredients, you can still expect to pay a pretty penny for a bottle of Blueprint’s juiced goodness. Much like Pressed Juicery, the blends go down easy.  The difference here is that the ingredients are easy to sort in terms of taste, so there’s less of a fear factor. That’s good news if you’re new to the juicing game, or just don’t want to take the chance that something might be as gross inside the bottle as it looks on the outside.

SUJA

Like Blueprint, SUJA is making its way into the national consciousness, one bottle at a time. Unlike Blueprint, the blends lean more toward an experienced juicer than a juicing2novice. As much as we understand the benefits of celery, making it a primary part of most juices is just not that appealing. On the up side, some of the green blends are heavily masked with fruit and feel more like a smoothie than a juice. We’re also huge fans of how they sneak in just enough ginger to enhance (not heat) the blend. With an ever growing selection popping up on store shelves, and a choice of sizes (and prices), SUJA is easily on the way to becoming a household name.

Like anything, the way these juices are used pretty much determine their effectiveness. If you’re taking them with a meal instead of as a meal replacement, you might look down one day and see a little extra love around those handles. Users may primarily down these babies to drop a pound or two (or clear up some gastric thing or another), but with an increasing number of tasty blends, more people might just pick one up because it tastes good…

And it’s good for you.

Imagine that.

We SAID: Natural Wonder

Staff Writer

The so called ‘Back to Eden’ trend continues to pick up speed, with an increasing number of people reaching for organic, nature-based, and homeopathic lotions and potions. Like most trends, the more people catch on, the higher the cost of procuring the items. The good news with this trend is, you don’t always have to spend a mint to look and feel like a million bucks. Natural beauty remedies run the gamut in both price and effectiveness. But the best offerings seem to have one thing in common: a little goes a long way to looking and feeling your best.

Simple + Effective: naturalwonder2

Holika Holika 99% Soothing Gel has been a staple in our beauty arsenal for what seems like ever. The simple gel contains 99% percent fermented aloe and a stabilizer. It has no parabens, benzophenone, propylene glycol, BHT, animal ingredients, artificial coloring or mineral oil. The user friendly formula literally works in the hair, on the face, and all over the body as a refreshing moisturizing treatment. Pair that with the incredible healing power of aloe, and you might just have the perfect skin remedy for Summer.

Plays Well With Others:

We’re always on the lookout for products that don’t require a million other helpers and naturalwonder1boosters to be effective. We’re also huge fans of products that don’t need to be matched to their brand counterparts to effectively do their jobs. We’ve found such a gem in The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Gel. The folks behind this brand won’t admit it (think of the bottom line), but this gel literally works to boost any face oil you might ever want to use. Four pumps breaks down the oil and makes it easier to absorb into even the oiliest skin types. Heavier formulations from brands like Sulwahsoo or Sunday Riley are quickly taken to task and made better for the addition of this gel. It can also be used alone as a base for any skin care regimen.

Aromatherapy + Skin Care:

Restless sleepers may want to snag the latest addition to the organic skin care line Glycelene. The Repair Cream features a hefty dose of Frankincense, which we foundnaturalwonder perfect for drifting off into a dreamy slumber. The cream leans to the heavy side, so oily skin types should take note. We found it most effective as a night cream for both the smell and restorative benefits. Frankincense is known for its anti-aging properties, and it appears to be further boosted with exotic goodies like Blue Lily Stem Cells and Brown Algae. Beauty junkies may want to make note of the packaging and addition of peptides; this formula comes in a jar and may lose effectiveness with constant exposure to air and elements. We’ve found no claims of micro-encapsulation to prevent the deterioration of said ingredients. But the blend is vegan, organic, and might just guarantee you the perfect night’s sleep and ridiculously smooth skin the morning after.

We SAID: Summer Skin Prep

Staff Writer

The official start to Summer is still a couple of weeks away, so there’s no time like the present to get your  hair and skin in top shape for the coming season.

HAIR

Easy does it. Put down the blowdryer and step away from the flatiron. The best way to keep hair in top shape for summer is to leave it alone. Keep it clean and summerskin 5conditioned with sulfate-free selections by DermOrganic and SheaMoisture. For best results, wash and condition hair the night before. Part into sections and braid or twist and let dry naturally overnight. In the morning, pull down sections, use a wide tooth comb or fingers to shape (add moisturizing/styling products to taste), and let it go.

Hair accessories are your friend. Make the most of scarves, wraps, hair-friendly ties. The less you fuss with your hair, the less prone it is to damage and  breakage. Plus, it’s too hot for a blowout that’ll last until you break your first sweat. And really, who needs the frizz?

FACE

If you can swing it, start the season with a good facial. If not, break out the Clarisonic and get to work. Thrice weekly exfoliation will help keep skin clean and clog-free. If you haven’t already, summerskin 7immediately get into the habit  of moisturizing and protecting your skin with type-specific care.

Topping the list: SUNSCREEN! Do we even need to say it? If you haven’t previously, amp your SPF in everything that touches your face. Invest in a good one, and make it a mandatory part of your skin care routine. We’re huge fans of Dr. Goldfaden Sun Visor. The spray formula works under or over makeup. summerskin 8It’s sheer and absorbs without any greasy residue or ashy white finish.

Stay light with makeup. We love NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 35) or By Terry CC Cellularose Treatment (no SPF) for the most natural finish. Both formulas require the smallest amount to make a major difference. The result is your skin, but better. Oily types can top these tints with Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow powders. summerskin 2They can be used alone or with foundations or tinted moisturizers to give skin a sun-kissed glow.

Keep makeup simple with cream to powder foundations that need little more than fingers to apply. Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duos multitask for eyes, cheeks and lips. One swipe offers a sheer flush, two or more packs pigment for subtle but statement-worthy makeup. Do away with raccoon eyes with a waterproof mascara. Or waterproof your personal favorite with Anastasia Lash Genius. A final coat over your mascara seals it and keeps it from smudging or flaking off.

BODY

Like the face, the best way to bring out the best in your skin is with a treatment. We recommend a good scrubbing. Start with a dry brush before a bath or shower, and summerskin1polish skin to perfection with a gentle moisturizing scrub. We’re huge fans of Nyakio Kenyan Coffee Body Scrub. The combination of ground coffee, sugar and jojoba oil is designed to remove dead skin cells and nourish newly revealed skin in a single action. For best results, use it at night and seal in hydration with a super rich moisturizer like Habibi Organic Essential Body Balm.

Don’t neglect your feet. Even if a regular pedicure isn’t in the budget, keep heels buffed and toenails clipped (and cuticles neat). A little maintenance goes a long way to get you summer ready from top to bottom.

He SAID: Spy Hard

Scott F. Evans

The new Melissa McCarthy vehicle Spy is being sold as another film designed around the lead’s specific shtick: Physical humor punctuated with harsh language. The marketing is accurate. The movie definitely features those elements. However, Spy also manages to be a seriously funny send up of the spy genre as well as a sly critique of sexism.

spy 6Written and directed by Paul Feig, Spy is two hours long but it doesn’t feel like it. Feig know exactly the type of film he’s making so he keeps things moving at a brisk pace and the energy never diminishes. The script certainly helps. It’s packed with verbal and visual gags and while a few miss, most of them hit their mark. Spy works best when it’sspy 4 examining gender politics but it never gets bogged down by that agenda. It’s smart enough to keep it light and covertly slide the message through. It’s just raunchy and broad enough to appeal to the LCD crowd looking for some cheap laughs while also appealing to a more thoughtful viewer who might see beyond the surface. Spy is a straight up comedy, not an action film with comic elements. That said, there are some shockingly well-choreographed fight scenes that rival anything seen in other recent action films.

McCarthy plays our lead, Susan Cooper. She’s the unassuming operational support and all around Girl Friday to field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). One of the things that work so well in Spy is that Feig allows McCarthy to actually be a competent agent and not an obese clown. Sure there are weight related sight gags, but her character is also really good at her job. McCarthy is excellent in the role. She nails not just the spy 7verbal components of the character but the physical as well. Throughout the course of the film, Cooper goes from assistant to field agent so the role requires she be demure, boisterous, vulnerable and cunning. McCarthy handles the changes with ease, never going too far in one direction. We’re invested in her journey but McCarthy and Feig never create false sympathy for Cooper. She’s able and committed, but hamstrung by gender politics and preconception based on physical appearance. Cooper never wallows in the misery of her situation. And she never delivers a ham-fisted monologue about how she’s as good as anyone else. Instead she shows us, using ambition and a particular set of skills.

spy 1McCarthy is given a solid supporting cast to play off of. Law plays Fine as an obvious early era 007 knockoff. Slick, smug, and sexist but he stops just short of being completely unlikable. Jason Statham is rival spy Rick Ford, playing the character as an analogue to the more modern interpretation of a secret agent. Crude, uncontrollable, and sexist, Statham hilariously takes Ford way over the top. You don’t like him, but his rugged charm and light buffoonery win you over. Rose Byrne is solid as the villainous Rayna Boyanov. She’s not much of a threat, but Byrne plays her with just the right amount of malicious yet impotent entitlement that she ends up being extremely fun to watch.

SPY-01370.CR2Spy is a solid piece of popcorn entertainment that doesn’t shy away from mature jokes or themes. It won’t go over your head, but you won’t feel dumber after leaving the screening.

RATING: Theater

He SAID: The Fault in San Andreas

Scott F. Evans

If there’s a worse big budget movie this summer than San Andreas, I’d be surprised. It’s a disaster movie, and in the grand tradition of disaster movies, one must temper their expectations.
I get it.
But Titanic was essentially a disaster film and it was able to craft a story and san andreas 6compelling characters around that historical event. Even as problematic as Roland Emmerich’s 2012 and Day After Tomorrow were, they work on a level beyond CG destruction porn. San Andreas puts the absolute minimum effort into story and character and tries to coast on its lead’s charisma while distracting you with digital carnage.
To be fair, the FX work is fine. It’s mostly seamless and works hard to dazzle you. But we’ve seen it all before. Buildings collapsing. Explosions. Massive tidal waves. Everything San Andreas has to offer is hilariously derivative. And that would all be fine if we actually cared about the characters. We don’t.

san andreas 5Directed by Brad Peyton and written by Carlton Cuse, San Andreas wants you to care. It wants you to get emotionally invested in the Gaines family as they struggle to survive the massive earthquake that destroys much of the west coast. Unfortunately, it san andreas 8also wants you to ignore the other hundreds of thousands of people affected by the disaster because the Gaines family certainly does. In and of itself, maybe that’s not that big a deal. Films focused solely on a small, core cast can work fine. But San Andreas makes the mistake of making its lead a first responder. Ray Gaines, played by Dwayne Johnson, is a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter-rescue pilot. So fittingly, you would think that the script would craft scene after scene of Gaines and his team heroically flying around pulling off daring, last minute rescues of victims all over the greater Los Angeles area. Nope. When the initial quake strikes, Gaines detours off to downtown to save his estranged wife (just his wife) from a crumbling high rise and the two of them immediately fly hundreds of miles away to San Francisco to save their daughter (just their daughter). And they do this with an essential piece of rescue equipment right in the middle of a major catastrophe. san andreas 1These are the people that Peyton and Cuse want you to sympathize with.
The cast all put in decent work even though the film seems determined to mute Johnson’s natural charisma. Johnson’s fine here as the Gaines patriarch. But he’s drained of his charm, so the role is painfully generic. Carla Gugino co-stars as his wife Emma. She’s solid, but doesn’t have much more to do beyond simply look scared or determined. Alexandra Daddario plays their daughter Blake. She’s good, but distracting, because she looks nothing like either parent. Hugo Johnstone-Burt, as Blake’s love interest Ben Taylor, and Art Parkinson as little brother Ollie are both likable enough in a pair of thankless roles.
san andreas 3There’s also a secondary story that features Paul Giamatti as Caltech seismologist Lawrence Hayes. He and his team of students, along with a journalist and cameraman, basically provide San Andreas with exposition and techno-babble. As none of these characters ever interact with the core cast and are never in any real danger, these scenes feel tacked on (like they were just added to give the film some scientific credibility). We don’t care and it doesn’t work.
Ioan Gruffudd plays Daniel Riddick, Emma’s millionaire real estate mogul boyfriend. san andreas 9I’m singling him out to further illustrate San Andreas’ poor writing. Cuse’s script introduces him as a likable character and seems to be actively avoiding the clichéd asshole boyfriend archetype. He actually gets a couple of scenes that manage to give him a bit of depth. But as soon as the quake hits, he quickly turns into a sniveling homicidal coward. It’s a turn that’s so unearned and artificial, it feels like the result of a rewrite after the filmmakers realized that San Andreas had no real villain… because a 9.1 earthquake is somehow insufficient.

san andreas 10Disaster films as a genre can be traced back to the early 1970’s. Filmmakers of that era gathered all-star casts and subjected them to harrowing natural events. Were they any good? Well, that’s subjective. I enjoyed most of them despite the many flaws, but the one thing they all did fairly well was create sympathetic characters. You wept when your favorite old star died and cheered when your other favorite old star triumphed. The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure and the rest of those old films included heart amongst the chaos. Even Emmerich’s modern iterations took the time to create relatively sympathetic characters. San Andreas does none of that. It pretends to try. The Gaines’ lost a younger daughter in a boating accident and this is supposed to serve as the motivation behind Ray and Emma’s near comical single-minded focus of saving the surviving daughter. This is acceptable (if rudimentary) writing, but you probably shouldn’t make your lead a first responder.
So basically, San Andreas is a film where the hero doesn’t save anyone, California sustains enough damage to bankrupt the entire country, hundreds of thousands of people die, and no one really bats an eye. But Peyton does include the obligatory flag unfurling at the end because… AMERICA.

Really?

RATING: NO