5.25.2010

How to Have a Good Hair Day (My Favorite Products)



Hair is very important to this daily connoisseur, and I’m guessing to most women (and men!) that read this blog. Isn’t it true that when you’re having a good hair day you just feel beautiful? I went to a new salon last week and had my hair cut and styled (Valentino from Salon Nesou is wonderful) and received 4 compliments from strangers in the next two days that followed. I believe part of it had to do with my hair looking good but most of it had to do with the fact that I just felt, well... pretty!

And as any connoisseur knows... a good hair day does not come easy. It usually takes a combination of the right products, the right stylist and the right diet to achieve your desired look.

In this post I am focusing on my favorite products. I’ve experimented with a lot of hair care products over the years and these are my current favorites:

Kérastase Bain Oléo-Relax


This smoothing shampoo by high-end brand Kérastase is little expensive but so worth it (the shampoo retails for about $25- which is pricey if you're used to purchasing drug store shampoos). I always try and convince myself that the $6 drug store shampoo is just as good, but it simply isn’t so. The lucky thing is a little goes a long way so you don’t have to buy tubs of it. This shampoo smooths my hair and helps prevent frizz.

Açai Anti-Frizz Conditioner


This is actually the conditioner salons recommend you use after getting the Brazilian Blowout- which I fully intend on getting (and can’t wait to try!) but must wait until after the baby is born. In the meantime, the stylist used this conditioner on me and I loved the way it made my hair feel. It has deep conditioning properties, anti-frizz components and is rich with anti-oxidants.

Moroccan Oil

This oil has been described as liquid gold (and pretty much is as it costs around $40... but again- it's worth it...) It conditions, creates a beautiful shine and does not leave a residue. The instructions say to apply to wet hair and then style, but I believe it works just as well when you rub a tiny amount into your palms and work into the ends of your dry hair. It really moisturizes and softens.

Tigi Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo


My hair is quite dry and I use a lot of heat to style it so I only shampoo and condition a couple of times a week. I’ve heard that it is actually good to do this, rather than washing it every day, because the latter method can strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture. When I am in between washings, I like to use a dry shampoo to keep my hair looking fresh. I like the Oscar Blandi brand and I also like this one, as it does not leave a residue.

Chi Silk Infusion


I’ve mentioned this product before on my blog. I love using Chi Silk Infusion as a heat protectant right before I blow dry or flat iron my hair. It really leaves my hair silky (which is really quite a feat if you knew my hair). I love the stuff. Chi Silk Infusion retails at Target for around $25.

There you have my current favorite hair products.

I would love to know what you do to maintain beautiful hair...

The picture above was taken of me about a year and a half ago. I think the fact that I was having a good hair day prompted me to bring out my inner Tyra. ☺


I purchased all of the above products at my local salon (with the exception of Chi Silk Infusion- which I get at Target). I believe they are widely available in salons across America and in most cases can also be found on www.Amazon.com

5.17.2010

How to Live Well- The Master Bedroom



Last year I did a post on guest bedrooms that outlined everything needed for a perfect spare room. This one is dedicated to your own bedroom- which should have more character, personality and luxury than the guest bedroom.

In fact, the master bedroom could be the most important room in your house. It is the room you spend the most time in (even though most of that time you are sleeping…)

For living well in the master bedroom here is my essential list:

A large, comfy bed. This is pretty self explanatory. My husband is quite tall, I like to stretch out in my sleep and Gatsby is (unfortunately) always at the foot of the bed so nothing short of a California King will do for us ☺

A fluffy duvet and very good pillows. By ‘good’ I mean the most comfortable for you. We have lots of fluffy pillows to prop us up when we read but my favorite one to sleep with is the Tempurpedic with neck support. For the duvet, the lighter and fluffier the better… a good one makes you feel like you are sleeping in a cloud…

White linens. I’m sure not everyone is with me on this, but I just prefer all of my linens to be white. For me, clean, crisp, white linens are the only sort I like to sleep in.

Overhead lighting on a dimmer switch. Dimmed lights in the bedroom are so important. They can add so much atmosphere and really help prepare you for sleep. A good bedside lamp for reading is also essential…

Music. Whether it be through your iPod or an old fashioned cd player (which is what we have). I love to play classical music or opera when I am getting ready for bed. It just makes rubbing in those night creams and changing into your nightgown that much more decadent.

No television… talk about a passion killer.

Miscellaneous items that make you happy. For me that is my perfume tray, jewelry box, candles and orchids…

Curtains. (I prefer curtains to blinds) Ours are cream colored linen- they filter just the right amount of light in and add a softness to the room.

A system for putting your clothes away (either out of the room in a dirty clothes hamper or hung back up in your closet). I try to only keep my dressing gown on the bench at the foot of our bed.


C’est tout! We are currently looking for a beautiful bed frame/ headboard and in the meantime are sleeping with our mattresses on the floor (I feel like I am in college again!) but I am still comfortable and am getting plenty of luxurious nights of sleep- which I plan to enjoy to the fullest before the baby arrives…

I would love to know… how do you live well in the master bedroom?

Gatsby is pictured above in our master bedroom…

5.11.2010

What The Daily Connoisseur Eats…






I recently got a request from an email subscriber of The Daily Connoisseur asking me what I eat on a typical day. I have a pretty healthy diet and, I believe, have never had a problem with my weight because of this (knock on wood- we’ll see how I do après baby…).

Please keep in mind that because I am pregnant there are a lot of things I’m not having (sushi, sandwiches, coffee, green tea, etc.) that I normally have. Other than the items I’m forbidden to eat while pregnant, I pretty much eat the same things I did before I was pregnant.

Here is my menu for a typical day:

Breakfast:

First thing in the morning I drink a tall glass of warm water with lemon. Then 20 minutes or so later I eat either:

A homemade fruit and yogurt parfait (pictured above). This is my current favorite thing to eat in the morning. It consists of Greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite brand), a sprinkling of flax seeds, a few tablespoons of walnuts, a quarter cup of blueberry muesli and whatever fruit or berries I have on hand.

or

Hot oatmeal with soymilk, chopped bananas, flax seeds, walnuts and honey.

or

One piece of whole grain toast with almond butter and chopped bananas on top and a whole grapefruit on the side.

When I am not pregnant, breakfast is usually accompanied with a cup of green tea. Now, however I just drink a cup of hot water.


Lunch:

Before I was pregnant I usually would eat a sandwich- turkey or chicken with lettuce, tomato, avocado and Swiss or cheddar cheese. (Pregnant women are advised against eating lunch meat, so I have cut this out). Or I would have a California roll or spicy tuna roll from the local sushi restaurant and a cup of miso soup. (Ditto for not being allowed to eat sushi… this has been very hard for me- I love the stuff!)

So now I modify my lunch by usually eating:

A salad. Consisting of greens, chopped broccoli, corn, cheese, dried cranberries, mushrooms and green onions with a small amount of ranch dressing or a vinaigrette.

or

A Mediterranean lunch. Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves- I love these!), hummus and tabbouleh salad.

or

Salmon teriyaki with brown rice



Afternoon snack

Before being pregnant I would usually have a cup of coffee in the afternoon. I have since replaced that with a glass of veggie juice (usually carrot, celery, apple)

For a snack I typically eat:

An apple with peanut or almond butter

or

Whole grain crackers with cheese

or

Hummus with pita bread

or

Baby carrots and celery sticks

or let’s be honest...

A piece of cake or something equally as naughty (today it was a rather large chocolate chip cookie)



Dinner

For dinner I normally eat a protein of some sort with veggies. Typical dinners for me include:

Wild salmon with brown rice and broccoli

or

Roast chicken with potato gratin and sweet corn

or

Steak with roasted potatoes and asparagus

Occasionally I will have whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese.


I also try to drink a lot of water throughout the day and right before I go to bed I drink another tall glass of water.

So there you have it- my typical menu for the day…

I love getting emails from readers and try to answer all requests. Thank you, Julie, for requesting this one!

I would love to know… what does your daily menu consist of?

5.08.2010

Happy Mother's Day/ The Nursery

I can't believe that this time next year I will be celebrating Mother's Day with my own daughter. I am so excited to be a mother... I am just bursting with joy and anticipation!

So in honor of Mother's Day, this blog post is dedicated to all of the amazing mothers that are daily connoisseurs in their own right and especially to my own mother- who has, together with my father, provided the most amazing life for my sister and me.

Thank you Mom- I love you and appreciate you!

And now I want to share with you pictures of the baby nursery (nearly complete!)


This is a wide angle shot of the nursery- as you can see Gatsby is also anxiously anticipating the arrival of baby connoisseur...


Here are some close up shots...



The rocking chair...



My own American Girl doll, Samantha... so excited to pass her on to my daughter...




As you can see I am ready with The Complete Works of Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows...



The crib. We picked a 'nursery rhyme toile' for the bedding... I am in love with the print!


And finally, the changing table...


Happy Mother's Day to you... and thank you for all of the wonderful tips you have been giving me- keep them coming- I cherish every one!

xx

Jennifer

5.06.2010

How to Live Well- The Wardrobe



While one’s wardrobe is not technically a room (unless you have a large walk in closet- and if you do- lucky you!) it deserves its own post because too many of us neglect this oh so important counterpart to our lives. Here are my tips for how to live well with your wardrobe:

All wardrobes need constant editing- at the very least twice a year when the major seasons change (Spring and Fall). Assess every article of clothing in your wardrobe. Do you love it? When was the last time you wore it? Does it still fit you? Does it need mending? Be ruthless. If you have an aversion to getting rid of things, put everything that is questionable into a space bag and hide it away for six months. If you haven’t thought twice about it during that time, you probably will never wear it.

Hang your clothes in an organized system that makes sense to you. For some people that is hanging all dresses together, silk blouses together, etc.; for some people that would be hanging your garments by color. I go slightly between the two. I hang my clothes by category (sleeveless shirts, short sleeve blouses, long sleeve, blazers- you get the idea) and I hang the clothes in gradients of color in each separate category (lighter colors to darker colors).

No wire hangers s’il vous plait. (A good way to recycle wire hangers is by giving them back to the dry cleaners). Use only high quality hangers in either wood, felt or cloth- your clothes will thank you. I purchased all black felt hangers from Bed Bath and Beyond for a great price- I love how they make my closet look like a high end boutique.

Take care of your shoes. I store most of my shoes in cloth shoe bags. Some people keep them in clear boxes or boxes with a Polaroid of the shoe on the front. Know when your shoes have ‘expired’. Are the soles really worn? Are they starting to look shabby? What about the interior of the shoe? Is it in good condition? I had to retire my very favorite pair of grey patent leather quilted ballet flats by London Sole recently and it was painful- but I had just worn them to death. It was the fashionable thing to do. And now I get to shop for a new pair!

Also, be ruthless with regards to your drawers. Undergarments, lingerie, loungewear, sleepwear and workout clothes should also be assessed at least twice a year. Get rid of anything that looks tired and ‘worn’. I like to ask myself ‘ if someone else were rifling through my drawers would I be embarrassed by what they find?’

And finally, just remember the French philosophy when it comes to the wardrobe. A chic French woman would rather have 10 high quality garments than a wardrobe stuffed with ‘options’.

My closet is pictured above. In this particular section I keep dresses, blazers and coats...
 
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