Welcome to Real Life Style Blog!

Can changing your wardrobe really change your life? Of course it can! Imagine how light and powerful you would feel if 100% of the clothes in your closet were the right clothes for you right now. Imagine that your wardrobe reflected both your personality and your personal style, while suiting your lifestyle. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called Real Life Style. Want to be able to look and feel put together in just 2 minutes a day? You can.

Click here for more information about how you can work with Lani and click here to schedule your free consultation. Because fashion should be an outlet for fun, not frustration!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cool, Comfortable Sandals for Summer

One of the hardest items to find for clients are cool looking but comfortable sandals. It is harder than you think! As someone always on my feet, I have particular affection for this category and have built up a very diverse summer sandal wardrobe over the years. By diverse I mean my sandal wardrobe includes everything from Prada to Cole Haan to Naturalizer. The same rules apply no matter the price point: they have to be fashionable but not too trendy, and I must be able to pound the pavement of NYC in them all day. Here are some ideas (in a range of price points!) from this season's offerings. Happy Shopping!

Cole Haan Air Catalina Flat Sandal, $120.00

Cole Haan Bridget Two-Tone Flat Sandal,  $99.00

Jimmy Choo Patent Flat Gladiator Espadrille, $251.00

Taryn Rose Padded Thong Sandal, $195.00

Left: Donal J Pliner Cork-Strap Sandal, $215.00 and Right: Pedro Garcia Jackie Flat Velour Sandal, $395.00 
Naturalizer Women's Ravanna T-Strap Sandals, $75.00
Naturalizer Women's Danielle Sandals, $50.00

Merrell Women's Flaxen T-Strap Sandals, $95.00

Indigo by Clarks Women's Tres Belle Sandals, $80.00

Merrell Women's Henna Strappy Sandals, $100.00

Birkenstock Gizeh Birko-Flor, $62.00

Born Yancy, $105.00

Born Martine, $95.00

Dansko Tory, $105.00

Gentle Souls Break My Heart, $185.00

Left: Kork-Ease Katherine, $135.00 and Right: Kork-Ease Gabi, $165.00

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Make Up Artist Favorites (and Mine)

This week I’m super excited to bring you some of my favorite beauty products. My obsession with (and spending obscene amounts of money towards) makeup began when I met Alison Valk Woolworth, NYC makeup artist extraordinaire. I'm not kidding when I say that for at least a year after I worked with her, I would repeat the mantra, “Alison Woolworth changed my life”, everytime someone told me that I looked good. I’ve asked her to comment on some of my current obsessions as well as add her own. Enjoy! Oh and if you are interested in working with her one on one, scroll to the bottom for more information and contact one of us to get on her DC waiting list! 

Youngblood Mineral Primer, $41.00

Lani says: My favorite of all the products recommended by Alison. Think Primer is just one extra step that costs more time and money than it is worth? Au contraire, my friend! This Youngblood Primer not only seems to fill in ALL of my pores, making my foundation about 300% better looking, but it also makes my makeup last for about 12 hours. 

Alison says: This is my favorite primer because it can be used on all skin types and it is packed with vitamins. This provides the perfect base, locks in your moisturizer, and smoothes away fine lines and skin imperfections while protecting your skin from environmental hazards. Buy and learn more at ybskin.com.

Clinique Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder,  $32.50

Lani says: I first pulled this out of my sister’s makeup bag when we were on vacation together and I hadn’t brought any loose powder. Needless to say, it came home in my makeup bag.  I don’t have redness issues but I do have a yellow/olive tint to my skin and this blends in perfectly. Of course the idea of wearing a more yellow powder was first mentioned to me by Alison!

Benefit Erase Paste, $26.00

Lani says: My sister should really never let me into her makeup bag! I pulled this one out when I was over at her place one day after another baby filled, sleepless night. She took one look at how it had literally “erased” my circles and promptly traded it to me for a Chanel Lip Gloss from my makeup bag. 

Alison says: This is a great creamy concealer that truly helps combat under eye darkness.

Dermablend Professional Cover Creme with SPF 30, $35.00

Lani: My friend Leah introduced me to this concealer years ago. I actually layer it underneath the Erase Paste as my everyday concealer routine. When you have circles like mine, you need a routine! And a concealer that is meant to cover scarring and hyper pigmentation, not just dark circles.  The SPF 30 is a great bonus! Also, it lasts so long you’ll have to replace it before you can use the whole jar.

Revlon Super Lustrous Teak Rose Lipstick, $8.00

Lani says: Do you have that one lipstick color that EVERYONE asks you about EVERY time you wear it? This is mine. The best thing about this color? It looks good on EVERYONE, pale, dark and in-between. It also layers well with lip gloss. Try it, you’ll see! This is also a great stand in for the Coco Rouge Lipstick from Chanel. 

Lash Ink from Hardy Candy, $7.00

Lani says: In the old pre-baby days, I would get my eyelashes dyed at the Red Door Spa. Now that I’m lucky to make it in there for a pedicure every 2 months, and do not have the energy to take off my mascara every night, I use this inexpensive miracle to get the job done.  The mascara slowly wears off over a few days so apply one day, just curl your lashes the second, and reapply the third. And you pretty much never have to take it off! My Body Shop eye makeup remover, which I love, is feeling awfully neglected. 

Mary-Lou Manizer from the Balm Cosmetics, $21.00

Lani: One of my many Alison Woolworth finds. Think you don’t have time for things like highlighter and bronzer? This is only because she’s never shown you how to do it quickly and easily, so you don’t know HOW GOOD YOU COULD LOOK!!!!

Gerlan Nailcare, $21.00

Lani says: As someone who had had soft, peeling, weirdly shaped nails her whole life, I LOVED the long, strong nails of pregnancy. In fact, I got so used to them that I thought I’d never lose them. Unfortunately, all those naysayers were correct. 3 months after Max’s birth, the nails were gone (and my hair started falling out), within a one week period. My old trick of keeping my nails polished didn’t seem safe with Max teething on my fingers. I found a new trick with this obscure German nail product they gave me at one of my bimonthly Red Door pedicures. All I have to say is, IT WORKS, and IT SMELLS LIKE FLOWERS. You rub it into your nails once a day et voila, nails without toxic chemicals.

Eye M Glam Highlighter from Giella, $35.00

Lani says: I’ve saved the best for last. I know I said that the Youngblood Mineral Primer was the best thing that Alison introduced me to, but it might actually be this bronzing highlighter from Giella. This isn’t just face powder, this is “I get stopped on the street and asked what I’m wearing/Makes me feel like a Celebrity/12 hours of sleep last night/I just got back from Turks & Caicos” kind of face magic. Or as my friend Marisol (Latina and with completely different coloring from me!) put it, “This is the blush I’ve been looking for my whole life.” Now if only they would make it in compact form, I would be able to travel with it!

Alison says: I tell ALL of my clients this is a must-own! This amazing bronzing highlighter gives an airbrushed glow to cheeks and eyes. Kim K's make-up artist developed this with my colleague, Giella, and there is a reason Kim’s skin always looks so dewy, supple and gorgeous! Email awoolworth@gmail.com or call Alison Valk Woolworth 646.239.9090 to order $35 + shipping

More of Alison's Favorites I Can't Wait to Try

Tinted Moisturizer by Jouer, $38.00

Alison says: This spf of 20, oil-free, dewy moisturizer is amazing. Use alone or mix in with your current liquid foundation. And the price is right -- $38! Everyone sitting in the sun will love this product – it is perfect for summer. I became such an addict that I wear it year round.

Tarte's multipleEYE™Lash Enhancing Liquid Eyeliner, $22.00

Alison says: The easiest way to have a sexy thin controlled liquid eyeliner. This fine tip marker allows you to create an easy Hollywood cat-eye. My newest purchase that I can not live without!

Alison says: These strip lashes are natural, but flirty. The self-adhesive makes for an EASY self-application. For those of you who hate lashes because of the mess that glue makes, these are a must buy try!

Alison says: The best, cheapest, and easiest lip exfoliator is to mix Carmex and sugar in your palm. Rub this mizture on your lips at night. Remove and then apply straight Carmex before bed. Your lips will fell like butter in the morning!

Alison says: Personally I use Mally's Cancellation Conditioning Concealer (in Light) because I have super oily skin and htis is smudge proof. It does not budge once applied -- it dries and stays throughout the day!

Alison says: For those of you who live in the NYC area, go to Henri Bendel to get your brows perfected and threaded. The two sisters who run this operation are geniuses. They transform faces by creating the perfect frame for each individual's eye! Call 212-904-7979 to book your appointment!

Alison Valk Woolworth is a trained make-up artist, licensed esthetician and skilled custom cosmetic mixologist who works in the New York City area to help women enhance their own natural beauty with make-up and skincare suggestions, applications, and lessons. Alison suggests the appropriate products for each individual’s needs and esthetic preferences. She has a mixing studio in her Upper East Side apartment where she creates custom lipsticks, glosses, nail polishes, foundation, lip and eye pencils, powders, eye shadows, and cheek tints. Check out her portfolio at http://awoolworth.carbonmade.com/.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

RLS Father's Day Gift Guide

Two blogs for the price of one this week! In case you hadn't noticed, the blog went UP, but not OUT last week. So this week you get suggestions for Father's Day as well as Clothing Care Tips. Enjoy!

Still need a gift for Father's Day? Don't want to get the same old grill accessories/tie/cuff links? Check out the Real Life Style guide to gift giving on Father's Day.

Disclaimer: If you are related to me and want your Father's Day gift to be a surprise, you might want to stop reading now...

For the Gadget-Loving Dad
iPod Nano from Apple and Band from IWatchz Elemetal
iPod Nano $129.00 and Band $90.00

With a flash of his wrist, Dad will easily be able to show off pictures of the kids, listen to his favorite music or Sports radio, and tell the time, which will ensure he makes it to school plays and soccer games on schedule!

For Dad, The Sophisticated Gentleman
Make Your Own Whiskey Kit from Binny's Beverages

Nothing screams last minute gift for good ol' Dad more then buying a bottle of his favorite alcohol. Why not take this typical gift to the next level and let him try his hand at making his own?

For The Single Dad
Deluxe Poker and Blackjack Table from Amazon

Elevate Dad's weekly poker game with this Deluxe Poker and Blackjack Table from Amazon.  The table folds easily for travel if you decide that the game doesn't need to be at your house every week. 

For the Professional Dad
Personalized Collar Stays by RedEnvelope

What's better than a gift of stainless steel collar stays to replace the cheap white plastic ones? Completely personalized collar stays! Let Dad bring a little bit of home with him to work and show him how much you care by engraving a personalized message for him to wear.

For the Secret Agent Dad
USB and Wifi Cufflinks from Brookstone

Bring out Dad's inner James Bond with these not so normal cufflinks! One contains a USB device to hold work and personal documents while the other holds a mini Wifi router to connect Dad to the internet, whether for business or just to check up on home while away.

For the Dad Who Has Everything
Alton Lane Custom Suits start at $525, Custom Shirts start at $89

Make Dad feel like one of a kind by buying him a customized shirt  or suit from Alton Lane. The brand offers their services online for customer convenience. For a more personal and special experience for Dad, Alton Lane has locations in the New York or Washington D.C. area.

For Dad, The Jock
Play Sport Fragrance by Givenchy from Nordstrom

Take a break from purchasing the same cologne and pamper Dad by buying Givenchy's new sports fragrance for him to use after breaking a sweat. 

For The Music Loving Dad
A Natural Woman: A Memoir by Carole King from Amazon

Is your Dad a baby boomer and a music fan? Get him Carole King's new memoir and give him  the opportunity to read about the woman behind some of his favorite songs!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Clothing Care Tips from NYC's Top Dry Cleaner

Hope everyone enjoyed my week off for summer vacation as much as I did! Would you like to see a cute picture of me and Max riding The Ducks on the Ohio River? Well, here you go anyway!

A few weeks ago the people that rock over at Meurice Garment Care let me answer some questions for their clients. This week Wayne Edelman, aka @ClothesDr, let me ask some of my own on behalf of you, my dear readers. Meurice is the only place I trust with my clients' Valentino gowns, but they will also do a spectacular job on your more everyday garments.

Lani: How do I keep my summer whites white? Sometimes they yellow.

Wayne: It can be a challenge to keep whites white - especially on delicate summer clothing. There's no foolproof method to care for whites (and depending on manufacturing process, some garments will yellow no matter what), but there are some steps you can take to improve your odds:

1. Wash whites only with other whites, on the highest temperature you can

2.  For clothing in generally bright and clean condition, toss in a capful of hydrogen peroxide in the load

3. For clothing in dingy condition, use bleach containing Sodium Perborate.

Lani: How do I know what those weird care icons on the care instruction tag mean?

Wayne: This is an easy one. We've decoded the care instruction hieroglyphs here.

Lani: What is the best way to care for wool and cashmere sweaters?

Wayne: The short answer: hand wash. Some wool and wool blend sweaters can be machine-washed and hung to dry. Consult the care label, and proceed with caution, using a gentle cycle and cold water. When washing a sweater at home for the first time, I like to measure its dimensions armpit-to-armpit and collar-to-base, just to be sure there has been no shrinking. If the sweater does shrink a touch, don't despair! Soak it thoroughly and block it back to the old size by allowing it to dry while slightly stretched.

Cashmere and garments with substantial cashmere blends should onlly be washed by hand. I like to use tepid water and just a hint of baby shampoo.

Lani:I've heard that you shouldn't touch a stain before you bring it to the dry cleaner. But what if I can't get there for a few days and I splash balsamic vinegar or olive oil on my shirt at lunch?

Wayne: Yes, this is good advice. One of our pet peeves is cleaning a garment which has been made worse by a botched stain removal attempt. If it's just a couple days, however, you don't need to do anything. Blot the stain at the scene of the crime to soak up any excess from the spill and bring it in as soon as you get the chance.

Lani: Does grease from the taxi door ever come out? Should I even bother bringing it in to you?

Wayne: Yes, grease from taxi and other car doors will absolutely come out. This is a tricky stain to handle at home since the grease is a lubricant that does not break down in water. Immersion dry-cleaning, however, is safe for most garments, and will easily remove oil-based stains.

Lani: How do you clean a garment that has just a little bit of leather in it?

Wayne: Very carefully! It is safest to have this type of garment dry cleaned to prevent shrinkage of the leather. Depending on what colors and dyes are present in the garment (for instance, a white sweater with black leather trim would be very hazardous) it may be necessary to spot clean the garment to prevent the dye in the leather from becoming soluble and transferring into the textile.

Lani: Thanks so much @ClothesDr!