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THAT LITTLE BLACK DRESS

Jennifer Mejia

 
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Every gal wants…actually, every gal needs that little black dress. Whether it’s little, long, casual or formal, that “little” black dress always goes a long way toward making us feel fabulous. My good (male) friend Al used to wear all black and chuckle while saying, “Cosmo says all black makes me look thin!” Let’s get real, Al, you weren’t reading Cosmopolitan for the fashion tips. But a black dress goes beyond just creating a slimming effect. Black is classic. Black is sexy. Black is sleek. And it can also be somber. Black will never steer you wrong. It’s always a safe bet. So when I find a great black dress that can stand the test of time, I buy it. Especially if it’s at a great price point.

When I saw this little black dress, I was instantly reminded of a Givenchy black dress worn recently by the Duchess of Sussex. Yes, my obsession with her has yet to wane. It only grows stronger with each day that passes. The midi length and the sheer sleeves of the dress I’m wearing reminded me of Meghan’s. In addition, I thought her dress was conservative and classic, which made it sexy all at the same time…much like this dress I recently found at…Zara…which means it’s accessible.

 
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This dress is perfect for that cocktail party or function when elegance is your goal. It’s also great when you want to feel sexy but a strapless, mini dress, or dress that hugs your body, wouldn’t be appropriate. It looks and feels much more expensive than $69. It fits beautifully and is true to size. I’m wearing an XS. It’s effortless. Throw on a great pair of black pumps. The shoes I’m wearing are about 10 years old, so invest in a great pair of classic black pumps—they can elevate almost any outfit. Keep the jewelry simple. I’m wearing my Stella & Dot Deco Drop Earrings that are a Cartier knockoff, and it’s fairly difficult to tell the difference. My bag is vintage, but I’ve provided a similar style below.

 
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And finally, I have to say that playing dress up is so much fun, and this particular shoot was a blast, complete with a passerby blasting Drake, which really got me moving. A sequence of enthusiastic twirls also produced a few revealing shots, showing a bit too much leg (and perhaps a little bit of tush), but my photographer thoughtfully deleted those before sending. (Or maybe he’s holding onto them for blackmail one day!) Regardless, we laughed a lot. I’ve worried a bit about doing these posts and what people might say. “Oh, please…does she think she’s a model?” But I’m learning to do more things that bring me joy, without fear of criticism from others. Fashion has always been a passion of mine. I think wearing something beautiful can do wonders for our confidence, especially on days when we need an extra lift. Yes, of course, confidence has to come from within. But when you look in the mirror and you see fabulous, that certainly adds a little pep to your step, even if it’s only temporary. I think it’s difficult for some to look at clothing online or even on the rack and envision how it will look on their body, how to accessorize it, how to wear their hair, etc. So my hope is that these fashion-oriented posts will make dressing easier for those following along. I also want women to know that while you can certainly spend a fortune to look great, you don’t have to. I think this featured dress is a perfect example of that.

 
 
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Click on the images below to Shop the Look I’m wearing here and for a few additional little black dresses currently available. I’ll admit that I don’t have the figure to wear some of these, but I can still appreciate great style when on the right person.

SHOP THE LOOK

 
 

GINGER PUMPKIN SANDWICH COOKIES

Jennifer Mejia

 
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My beautiful sister’s baking inspired this creation. Every Christmas season, she makes a few varieties of cookies…and a ton of them! I’m fairly certain everyone counts the days until the holidays in anticipation of devouring her cookies. She might be the best pastry chef I’ve ever met. (She used to win the pie-making contest at work every year. Eventually it became unfair because everyone knew the best tasting and most beautiful pie would be hers.) She makes insanely scrumptious ginger-molasses cookies. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I couldn’t wait until Christmas, so I made my own version of these cookies and pumpkined them up so they’d be in-season a few months sooner. They are beyond delicious and fairly simple to make. This recipe can be halved to make 24 flat cookies, which can be simply iced on top if you don’t want to sandwich them.

A few tips. The cookies are best when baked on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I find the bottoms stay softer and don’t get that crunch that cookies can sometimes get when baked directly on the pan. It’s very important not to skip the cooling time for both the cookie dough and filling. The cookie dough needs time to firm up, and the filling needs to thicken. My advice would be to make both in the evening/at night and allow them to chill overnight. Then you can make them first thing in the morning. They’ll hold together better if refrigerated after assembled into sandwich cookies. For me, they’re a cold but not frozen version of the best ice cream sandwich you’ve ever had!

Around this time of year, pumpkin pie filling is well-stocked. Libby’s is the brand I grew up with, but Whole Foods carries a different organic brand that will also work. You could probably even try Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter instead of pumpkin pie mix if you can’t find it. Finally, the recipe calls for dark molasses, so use it (not light) because there isn’t any brown sugar in this recipe.

Ingredients for Cookies:

  1½ cups (3 sticks)                  unsalted butter, melted 
½ cup                  dark molasses
2 cups                  granulated sugar
2 large                  eggs
4 cups                  all-purpose flour        
4 teaspoons                 baking soda
2 teaspoons                 ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon                  ground ginger
1 teaspoon                  ground cloves

                                           
Ingredients for Filling:                  

1 pound                 cream cheese, softened, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons                  unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
2/3 cup                  pumpkin pie mix
5 cups                 confectioner’s sugar

With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, combine butter, molasses, sugar, and eggs, and mix until creamy.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture, initially mixing on a low speed. Mix until blended and smooth. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (Fine to refrigerate overnight, as well.)

With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, blend cream cheese, butter, and pumpkin pie mix until smooth. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar, about one cup at a time, mixing continuously until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to thicken. (Can also refrigerate overnight.)

Once all have been sufficiently refrigerated, heat oven to 350 degrees. Using your hands, create balls about 1to 1¼ inch in diameter. Then roll the balls in granulated sugar. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, at least two inches apart. (I typically make one dozen at a time—4 rows of 3 cookies each.) Bake for 8-9 minutes. Allow to rest on pan for 2 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Once cookies are completely cool, place one flat side up, spread filling, and top with a second cookie, flat side facing the icing. (Alternatively, you can simply ice the round side of one cookie if you prefer less cookie.)

Store in refrigerator. 

 
 
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eggs, butter, sugar, molasses

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dry ingredients

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dry ingredients blended

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adding dry to wet ingredients

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the cookie dough

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filling prior to chilling

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cookie dough balls being dipped into sugar

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in the oven

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baked cookies cooling on the rack

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ROAST CHICKEN WITH LEMON-BUTTER SAUCE

Jennifer Mejia

 
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Years ago, I would have never dreamed of ordering chicken at a restaurant. My excuse was that it’s chicken, and you can get chicken anywhere, especially at home. But then one day, a client convinced me to order free-range roast chicken at a restaurant on the Upper East Side. It was amazing. Since that lunch, I have been determined to make any preparation of chicken anything but ordinary. This chicken is special because it’s seriously simple and so delicious. Well, maybe a big part of its deliciousness is the sauce it makes for itself. Butter makes everything better, doesn’t it?

 
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Free-range chickens really do taste better. I have to admit that I was a naysayer for quite some time until that fateful day on the UES. If you have a local farm or specialty butcher, check to see if they sell them. Fresh, free-range chickens that aren’t pumped with hormones and fed a vegetarian diet tend to be on the smaller side, usually between 3.5 to 4 pounds, and occasionally even smaller. But I promise, what you sacrifice in size will be made up for in taste.

For roasting, unless I have a ton of vegetables around the meat, I like to use a ceramic oval roasting dish that is slightly larger than the meat. If you don’t have one like the one pictured here, head to your local HomeGoods. I’ll almost guarantee you can find one inexpensively. With this chicken recipe, If the pan is too large, the sauce won’t collect and the lemons and sauce will likely burn instead of charring.

If there are leftovers, pull the meat off of the bone and store the sauce separately. The following day, the sauce will be solid. Not to worry, simply spoon some out and place around the chicken when reheating.

SERVES 4-6

1         3.5- to 4-pound roasting chicken (preferably free range)
2        lemons, quartered lengthwise
2        heads of garlic, cut in half horizontally
4        sprigs of fresh rosemary
12        sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons     butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove any giblets inside the chicken cavity. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels. Liberally salt and pepper inside the cavity. Insert 2 quarters of the lemon, 2 garlic halves, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 8 sprigs of thyme into the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. (Don’t worry about counting the sprigs of rosemary and thyme—just grab some and throw in what fits. I added numbers simply because some people like exact measurements.)

Place the chicken in a small roasting dish (a little larger than the chicken) with sides, and tuck the wings under the body of the chicken. Liberally salt and pepper the outside of the chicken. Place the butter on top of the center of the chicken. In the roasting dish, place one half of the remaining garlic head, 4 lemon quarters, and remaining thyme and rosemary sprigs around the chicken. Place dish in the center of the oven. For roasting time, I use Julia Child’s formula of 45 minutes plus 7 minutes for each pound, and it has never failed me. So a larger or smaller chicken may be used, and roasting time should be calculated using this formula. 

When roasting is complete, remove dish from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. It will have a crispy skin and a delicious sauce of…you guessed it, lemon, butter, garlic, and herbs around it. Slice the chicken and spoon sauce over each serving. Don’t worry--the ingredients around the chicken will be a little charred, and that’s ok. The slightly charred flavor adds a little depth.

 
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Yes, I’m guilty. I tore off a little skin from that left leg before photographing.

FEMININE FLORAL FROCK

Jennifer Mejia

 
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Summer is winding down. Just a few more days left. Can you believe it? I feel like I’ve been gone from this blog forever. That wasn’t part of the plan, but the last month has been more than busy. We had lots of visitors, and I feel very fortunate for that. My boys were out of school and camp for the month of August. I also feel blessed to have had that time with them, even if I felt like I was going to lose my mind on a few (okay, maybe more than just a few) occasions. So as the kids get back into their routine of school and activities, I’ll be attempting to resume my old routine, even if it is a little slow.

While Summer is coming to a close, there’s never a bad time to wear beautiful florals. They were definitely popular this past Spring and Summer, and fortunately for me, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. One of my favorite affordable, ready-to-wear dress designers is Shoshanna (Lonstein) Gruss. She debuted a new line of gorgeous, feminine dresses during New York Fashion Week Spring 2019. You’ll see one of my favorites, along with a sketch of another, featured below.

 
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Image via Shopshoshanna Instagram

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Image via Shopshoshanna Instagram

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The good news about the dress I wore not once, but twice, last week, is that it looks and feels beautiful on AND has an equally beautiful price tag. It’s from Target’s Who What Wear Collection, and it’s not the only dress I’ve purchased from that line recently. It’s 100% cotton so your body can breathe, and it’s easy to care for. The ruffled collar stands up well, and the chest stays open, for a structured and a little-bit-sexy look. The waist ties to give definition and keeps it perfectly fitted. What more could you ask for?

My shoes are by Schutz from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Unfortunately, they recently sold out. I’ve listed a few similar styles (unfortunately not as pretty of a price point), but honestly, almost any feminine heeled sandal (or even a sleek pump) will do. You might think black is the obvious choice, and it will work, but having tried both, I’m partial to nude or perhaps a gold metallic to lighten things up. CLICK ON THE PRODUCT IMAGES BELOW TO “SHOP THE LOOK”.

 

SHOP THE LOOK

CRAZY FOR CARDIGANS

Jennifer Mejia

 
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It's summertime, and it's hot, at least where I'm spending the rest of my summer. So how can I be thinking about sweaters? I'm definitely not contemplating putting one on during the day anytime soon, but Fall will soon be upon us, and I want to be ready. I snagged this fabulous cozy cardigan during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and it's one of the many reasons I'm looking forward to the season of hay rides, pumpkin patches, football games, and cooler temps. It's by Free People, and they also made my favorite cardigan from last year that I've just about worn out. I love the color of this one, as it adds spice to an otherwise plain (and perhaps boring) camisole and jeans and screams "fall."

 
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Although big, comfy, cozy cardigans happen to be my favorite, there are so many others. Dusters look fabulous with leather leggings (I have mine on repeat year-round). And although they have the potential to have an unfortunate bathrobe look, if worn correctly, those that wrap and tie can be a wonderful option to a blazer or jacket. I love to wear a fitted cardigan with a pair of skinny jeans for a cleaner and more stream-lined look while still keeping it casual. But in the end, I love a cardigan because they can typically be thrown over jeans and a t-shirt, throw on a few cute jewels, and voila!...easy outfit of the day without spending much time in my closet thinking, "What should I wear today?" CLICK ON THE PHOTOS BELOW TO SHOP. And many of these come in multiple colors, so don't overlook that when clicking through.

 

TO ACCOMPANY...

similar camisole to one I'm wearing that is a few years old

(A FEW) FAVORITE FASHION FINDS FROM TARGET

Jennifer Mejia

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Who doesn't love a bargain? Better yet, who doesn't love a bargain when it makes us look and feel good wearing it? Target is one of the best places for this, and I've found a few things there over the years that I've loved and would have paid a few times more than I did because they were that good. My first fabulous find that I can recall was about 20 years ago when I purchased a corduroy jacket for $15 and paid $15 to have it tailored. I wore it everywhere, and even a Barney's employee asked where I got it when I donned it on a visit to one of NYC's greatest shopping destinations.

I met one of my friends in downtown Southampton this afternoon. We are both busy moms of two young kids, and I joked about my 15-minute online "shopping spree" this morning on target.com. I'm putting out the disclaimer that I haven't actually tried any of them except for two of the dresses, but with Target's free shipping and free 90-day return policy, you can't go wrong with ordering them and trying for yourself. The two dresses I have tried look much better on and as I styled them than the way Target has. Maybe there's a job in Minneapolis in my future. :-) I'll try to wear the blue dress again this week/weekend and have it photographed for you. It's definitely worth the $28 price tag. 

Keep in mind that shopping for clothing online is sometimes like looking at an old house with peeling wallpaper and filthy carpet. You have to see beyond what you see...imagine it on you and how you could accessorize and style it. Jewelry, shoes, and/or a great bag can do WONDERS for an otherwise ordinary piece of clothing. Finally, if you're getting the piece for a bargain and it doesn't fit perfectly, consider spending a little extra at the seamstress. Shorten the dress, have the waist taken in a bit, etc. Play with it when you try it on, and if you think, "I wish it was _______," maybe that just might be possible. CLICK ON THE PRODUCT IMAGES BELOW TO SHOP. 

I have the blue dress below, and I promise, it looks MUCH better on and styled. I'll try to post later this week if I can get it photographed (I'm alone in the Hamptons with my two boys). The white dress below FO isn't really available online any longer, but I found it in an XS locally. Unfortunately, my bust is too small for even an XS, so I gifted it to my nephew's girlfriend who looks like a J. Crew model (not kidding), and it looked so perfect on her!

 

And for any of you who are lovers of Loeffler Randall's bow shoes that seem to be hot right now, Target has several knock-offs. I just can't seem to bring myself to make the purchase on some of them because I think too much about Aunt Jemima. Just sayin'...

SWEET RICOTTA & CHERRY PASTRY

Jennifer Mejia

 
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How many of you would begin to feel really ill if you added up all of the money you spent at Starbucks or your local coffee shop over a month's time? Well, I did just that one day. I added it up, and I became nauseated. I was purchasing a latte and pastry at Kirsh Bakery on the Upper West Side every morning after school drop-off. For too long. So, I became inspired to create my own version of their "Sweet Ricotta & Cherry Danish." It’s a delightfully delicious and ridiculously simple treat for morning or any time of day. I actually made it with dried sweetened cherries because cherries are not always sweet and in season. And if my investigative work was thorough and accurate, the inspiration pastry is also made with dried cherries. Enjoy it any time of year, but if you're looking to experiment during the summer, try macerating fresh cherries and using those instead of dried cherries. That's an experiment on my list!

½ teaspoon                           lemon zest
16 ounces                              ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons                       light agave nectar
½ teaspoon                           pure vanilla extract
1 package (2 sheets)             frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm), defrosted
1                                             egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
1/3 cup                                  dried sweetened cherries

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan or cookie sheet. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, combine ricotta cheese, lemon zest, agave nectar, and vanilla, and beat for 2 minutes to combine. Set aside. 

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Lay one sheet of puff pastry on a floured cutting board and gently roll it into a 10-inch square. Cut it into 4 equally-sized squares. Place all 4 squares on the pan about 1 inch apart.

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Spread 3 tablespoons of sweet ricotta on each square, leaving a ½-inch border. Arrange 1 heaping tablespoon of cherries (or more if desired) evenly atop the entire spread of ricotta, avoiding the border. Brush the borders with egg wash. 

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Lightly roll the second piece of pastry into a 10-inch square. Cut it into 4 equally-sized squares. Lay one square on top of each of the prepared squares, lining up the edges. Brush the tops with egg wash and cut two large slits in the center of the top pastry to allow steam to escape.

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Chill the pan of pastries in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove pastries from the refrigerator and while still cold, trim the edges with a sharp knife to create clean edges. 

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Bake the pastry in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula after 10 minutes. The pastries should be puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. If the pastries are too puffy, you can press them down slightly with your hands. Serve the pastries warm or at room temperature.

GET DOWN WITH THE BUTTON DOWN

Jennifer Mejia

 
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I love dressing up. But the reality is that my life doesn't really permit me to walk around in a dress and stilettos most days. I'm often in leggings, an oversized sweater or sweatshirt, and sneakers. But there are some days when I want a more polished and "neat" casual look. For those days, I've been a big fan of the button down lately. It's classic. It will never go out of style. And it can be worn a few different ways depending on my mood and what's on my agenda--tucked in, tied in the front, and even out over a pair of leggings. My favorite way to sport the button down is with jeans and a belt, finished off with a few classic and simple pieces of jewelry. 

This particular button down is by Madewell and is part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. It's the perfect cut and it's a light weight fabric that doesn't wrinkle.  I'm in love with it, and apparently many others are, too, because depending on when you check, it may be sold out. But check back, as they often restock. Or perhaps Madewell will carry it later in the season. If not, I've provided a few additional options. If you're looking for a basic white button down, the options from Zara and Theory are perfect, as they also have a great cut, and Zara has a terrific price point. The jeans are Madewell (you've seen them a lot), and my jewels are on repeat, as well. I love wearing my engravable disc with a "K" that keeps my little loves close to my heart, even when they're not around, and it just takes the button down up a notch. The belt is a classic. My wedge ballet loafers are Lanvin and over five years old so no longer available, but this look can be completed with your favorite loafer, ballet flat, or wedge. CLICK ON THE PRODUCT IMAGES UNDER "SHOP THE LOOK" TO GET YOURS.

 
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SHOP THE LOOK

 

PRETTY IN PINK

Jennifer Mejia

 
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Today is the first day that the public has access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, Nordstrom's biggest and most anticipated sale of the year. Those with a Nordstrom card got early access. But I learned that next year, I need to set my alarm. So many things I loved were already sold out when I finally got to their site two days after the sale opened. 

The good news for you is that this dress is fully stocked in all sizes at the time of this post. The photos on Nordstrom's site don't do it justice. I was drawn to it because of its simplicity, its feminine color, how fitted it appeared on the top, and the flow of the skirt. To me, it screamed Duchess (of Sussex or Cambridge). I imagined how beautifully it would swing and flow as I walked down the street. And I was right. I had so much fun wearing and shooting this dress. I envision wearing it to church (whether a normal Sunday, a baptism, or day wedding), to a business dinner, to a baby shower, or just out to dinner to a restaurant that's a bit more conservative and formal. Best of all, this dress has a very accessible price point. Run, don't walk, to purchase it (and the entire look). The earrings and bracelet are available, as well. The shoes are ages old, as is the vintage clutch, but I've posted similar pieces that will look fabulous with the dress. CLICK ON THE INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT PHOTOS UNDER "SHOP THE LOOK" TO GET YOURS.

 
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SHOP THE LOOK

Simply click on the images below to shop.

 
 

WAKE UP MAKEUP

Jennifer Mejia

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My eldest son has a t-shirt that reads, "Woke Up Like This...Awesome As Usual." At the ripe young age of 44, nothing about my awakening is awesome, especially since on an average night I've gotten a mere six hours of sleep. There have been many mornings when I've done school drop-off without washing my face or getting the sleep out of my eyes, brushing my hair, or putting on an ounce of makeup. In fact, one morning two years ago, I left preschool drop-off (yes, AFTER everyone had seen me) and realized I was wearing one New Balance blue sneaker and one black sneaker. That was my cue that it was time to pay a little more attention to myself in the morning.

While I can appreciate the fact that some people can get through their entire day without a stitch of makeup, I cannot. I'm no longer in denial. But I'm also realistic about the chaos that surrounds me each morning and the amount of time I have to dedicate to myself. One thing's for certain, I'm not waking up any earlier than my kids force me to, simply to "fix" myself. So I've developed a 10-minute morning "Wake Up Makeup" routine so that I look a little more alive at school drop-off and beyond. It's my version of "no makeup makeup." And for the most part, except for needing to reapply something on my lips, it's actually good enough to last for a decent portion of the day. If you’re one who needs to apply a full face for work during the week, this could be great for weekends.

Before I begin with my morning routine, let me begin by saying that skincare is extremely important. One of the reasons I'm able to get away with minimal makeup is because my skin is in fairly good condition. I use the Rodan & Fields Reverse Regimen, and it has done wonders for my skin tone. In addition, you should always wear sunscreen on your face, whether it's a standalone sunscreen or in a BB or CC cream if you want or need a little more overage than what I describe below. CLICK ON PRODUCT IMAGES TO SHOP.

To begin each morning, I rinse my face with cold water. I actually don't wash with a cleanser in the morning because I feel cleansers sometimes wash the glow and dewiness from my skin. And I've just washed, toned, and moisturized very late the night before. After blotting my face dry, I apply Clinique Moisture Surge. I especially love it during the summer because it's super light yet really does provide terrific moisture.

Clinique Moisture Surge

While I'm blessed to not have a lot of under-eye lines and wrinkles, I am cursed with dark circles. Remember, I'm only sleeping six hours. So Ole's Banana Bright Eye Crème is a great option for me. It helps to brighten the under-eye area with lots of Vitamin C, and it also helps improve the wear of my concealer, which is the next step in my routine.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème

I used to work for a skincare and cosmetics company, and they made the best under-eye concealer. But their color line was discontinued in the U.S. about five years ago, so once my stash ran out, I had to go on the hunt. Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer gives me the coverage and brightness I need, without setting into any fine lines or becoming cakey. 

Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer

Because I don't apply a foundation or even a BB or CC cream, I do need a little help covering a few dark spots and the occasional blemish. If someone asked me what cosmetic I simply couldn't live without, it would be Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage. This product has been in my makeup bag for well over 10 years! I apply it with a concealer brush like this one from Sephora for perfect blending. The lighter concealer in this kit covers/lightens the spot or blemish, while the darker side ensures it's blended into your skin, making your concealer application undetectable. It's tried and true for me, and after all these years, I still believe it's brilliant.

If you need more coverage than under-eye and spot concealer alone, consider a BB or CC cream in addition to or in place of moisturizer. I still apply  moisturizer if I use one, but that may be overkill. 

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage

It's true when they say "the eyes have it." They have a way of telling everyone you're exhausted when you are. But a coat of mascara on your top lashes really helps to awaken your entire face. In full disclosure, I use Rodan & Fields Lash Boost every night, and my lashes are much longer and fuller than they have ever been. However, some people have an adverse reaction to the product, so I'm not comfortable giving a full-on endorsement. But knock on wood, I've been just fine. That said, I still feel I need mascara. I only apply it to my top lashes in this routine because I run around a lot, and as good as they are, they can start to bleed by the end of the day, and when mascara bleeds under your eyes, you look exhausted all over again...or strung out on drugs. Neither is a great look. Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara and Benefit They're Real are two of my favorites because they are buildable, meaning I can have the same mascara for day and night, applying one coat during the day and more at night to have a more dramatic look. Bobbi Brown will provide more volume than They're Real, even with only one coat. Both provide length. If you need to separate your lashes, use a dry lash comb, or play with fire and use the sharp end of a safety pin like I do (not recommending, but it works for me.) 

Next, a quick brush of a nude lip color. Bobbi Brown Luxe Lipstick in Almost Bare is the perfect nude and is long-wearing. Nars Lipstick in Barbarella has a bit more pink, but truth be told, it won't last as long as Bobbi, hence the lower price point.

And finally, whether it's a 10-minute routine or applying makeup for a night out on the town, always always always apply blush last. Why? Because the moisturizer will actually work within a few minutes to give some color and pigment back to your skin, and once the rest of your makeup is on, you won't feel you need as much blush. If you apply it early before the rest of your face is on, you'll wind up looking like a clown. Smile a little and apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and blend. I have used MAC Blush in Harmony for years. 

MAC Blush in Harmony

And that's it. I really can achieve this in under 10 minutes, and that 10 minutes that I give to myself in the morning makes a huge difference in how I feel at the start and throughout my day. Hats off to you if you don't want or need makeup, but I think if we look better, we feel better. And we all deserve to feel good, however we choose to achieve it.