Next week, I’m making my first-ever (and long-overdue) trip to Italy. (Squee!) My boyfriend and I are starting in Lake Como and then working our way through Cinque Terre, Tuscany, and Rome. I’ll be honest: I’m most excited about the food. That’s not to say I don’t want to wander the piazzas, explore the Tuscan hill towns, and wonder at the Sistine Chapel—I’m just planning to bracket all those delightful things with many quartinos of Montepulciano and cones of gelato. Here are some of the essentials I’m bringing with me:
Madewell Transport Tote: This roomy leather bag is tailor-made for travel. It easily fits my laptop, copious amounts of beauty products, magazines, and (of course) many, many plane snacks.
Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask: In Tuscany, we’re staying at La Bandita, an absolutely dreamy inn that is owned by my former Condé Nast Traveler colleague Ondine Cohane and her husband John. Ondine only had one request from New York: Rodial’s famed skin-plumping mask.
Number 4 Haircare Styling Foam: I’m a full-on mousse evangelist. I find that it’s the best/easiest/quickest way to give hair a bit of texture and wave. Number 4’s version smells incredible and dries without any tackiness. I scrunch it in and go—no need to blow-dry.
Atelier Cologne Vetiver: Spoiler alert: We’ve got an awesome gift-with-purchase deal coming up with Atelier Cologne’s travel-size spritzes. Keep an eye out! Me, I’m taking this unisex one on the road.
Inika Mineral Foundation: I recently got a sample of this and liked it so much that I begged our brand team for a second (backup) sample to take with me. The formula is extremely light, dries to a velvet-matte finish, and blends gorgeously.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector: While I don’t plan on wearing much makeup, that doesn’t mean I can’t use a wee bit of highlighter over my blush—you know, to prettily reflect all those golden Tuscan rays. Right?
Karuna Hydrating Treatment Mask: Blame it on Birchbox, but over the years the list of things I consider travel “musts” has changed dramatically. After realizing how tough planes and travel are on my skin, I now consider a great exfoliator and a hydrating mask to be core trip essentials. I love sheet masks because they’re single-use—how great to return with less than when you started!
Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner: Can’t leave home without it. That’s all.
And Sons, David Gilbert: I bought the hardcover of this novel after my friend (and consummate reader) Eimear raved about it. I’m looking forward to unplugging and doing some nondigital reading while I’m away.
Whew! Can’t wait to see you guys in a week!
See what all the buzz is about! #BBBuzz, that is—in our October Teaser video.
Mascara is one of those products that’s a total game-changer. Great formulas can immediately make your eyes appear brighter, wider and more awake without leaving behind telltale smudges—and for that reason it’s one of the must-have products on every Birchbox staffer’s desk. But eyelashes come in all varieties—some are short and thick, some are long and thin—which is why we asked five team members with different lash types to tell us their top mascara picks.
Normal: IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes
"I’ve recently fallen in love with the It Cosmetics formula. It doesn’t smudge or flake and a few coats makes my lashes full and thick. Also, the lash ball at the tip of the wand makes getting my lower lashes so much easier." —Meredith Stebbins, Editor and Senior Manager, Traffic & Trends
Every month you see Katia, Hayley, and Mollie talk about the upcoming Birchbox and all the new products they’re excited to share with you in our monthly sneak peek. But do you know what products they keep on their vanities?
In honor of this month’s theme, we asked each of these execs to share their daily beauty diaries with us. But before we spill the beans, take a guess at which morning beauty routine belongs to each Birchbox leader:
8:00 a.m. I’m a beauty minimalist, so my morning skincare consists of moisturizer, eye cream, and body lotion. Then, I’ll use a little concealer, minimal eye makeup, and either a lip balm or a fun bold lip. I like to play around and improvise, especially with new samples I receive in my Birchbox.
7:30 a.m. After the shower, I slather Kiehl’s Creme de Corps on my body and apply a face oil (currently in l-o-v-e with Caudalie Divine Oil). For makeup, I mix together Marcelle’s BB Cream in Golden Glow with Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint for a sheer base, then dab on plenty of cream blush. Two coats of mascara, and that’s it.
7:00 a.m. I use Kiehl’s Clay Cleanser in the shower, then follow with Caudalie serum and Tatcha moisturizer and eye cream. I also use TALIKA Lipocils Expert, a lash growth serum, every day.
Stumped? Check out Birchbox Beauty Diaries: Cofounder Edition to learn the answer and find out how these three busy ladies stay fresh and polished all day long.
Want to snag some of Katia, Hayley and Mollie’s picks? Here are their must-have beauty essentials.
Equinox trainer and all-around badass Rachel Buschert Vaziralli. (Photo: Ryan Michael Kelly)
Since high school, when I blearily logged pre-dawn laps during swim team practice, I’ve been a committed AM exerciser. Dragging my tush out of bed is painful, but it’s way better than being sluggish and grumpy—the way I feel when I miss a workout. On the flip side, I’ve been known to go too far and ignore my body when it needs rest. With that in mind, I asked Rachel Buschert Vaziralli, one of my favorite Equinox instructors (not to mention a Master Schwinn Trainer and recent winner of Fit or Flop), for advice on balanced fitness. Read on for her tips, plus the best post-sweat breakfast.
I take breakfast very seriously. It sets the tone for my entire day, which is why I try to kick things off with something that is wholesome but also exciting. (No flabby bagels or green bananas here.) One of my favorite breakfasts is granola, and over the years I’ve made it my business to sample all the options on the market. For a long time, my gold standard was Early Bird Granola. While I’m still a diehard Early Bird fan, I’ve been alternating with Purely Elizabeth’s Ancient Grain Granola. The sweet, crisp mix is made with powerhouse ingredients like chia seeds, coconut oil, and quinoa. I love it with yogurt, almond milk, by itself, and even on ice cream—yes, it’s that good.
In addition to making magical granola, Purely Elizabeth is a pretty impressive company. Their CEO and founder, Elizabeth Stein, launched the business almost by accident in 2009 when she created healthy blueberry muffins to hand out at a triathalon (learn more about Stein in this month’s Birchbox Crush feature). I asked Stein to weigh in on this month’s theme of “Tiny Tweaks, Big Results.” Click through for her best advice.
A recent gluten-free dinner party dish: Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice.
Over the past several years, gluten has become something of a hot-button topic as the number of people with intolerances, allergies, and celiac disease has sharply increased. I have more than a few friends who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, and plenty of others who steer clear of gluten for health or tummy reasons. As someone who is generally geeky about food and nutrition, I’ve been following the trend and reading everything I can on it—I especially like this thoughtful piece from the New York Times.
I myself have zero issues with gluten, but I’m a pro at cooking for friends with allergies—in large part because I have a standing monthly dinner party with three good friends, including one with celiac disease. We try different recipes almost every time (with the exception of this olive oil cake, which makes an appearance anytime Meyer lemons are in season). Because of that, I’ve amassed quite the repertoire of recipes and ingredients. Here are some of my favorite tips, resources, and ingredients—they make it easy to cut out the gluten without sacrificing anything.
I’m what you’d call a workout dabbler. I’ll try any form of exercise at least once—from CrossFit to road biking—and I like to mix things up from day to day. It keeps me from getting bored and challenges my muscles in a way that the monotony of running all the time doesn’t. This past weekend, I participated in the inaugural PUREfyYourSoul, a modified tri that included a run, a spin class, and a yoga session. It was my kind of workout, especially since I got the end it with a cookie from Levain Bakery.
Ladies line up at the starting line of the More and Fitness Half-Marathon—which Mollie is running next month!
It’s hard for me to get motivated when fitness instructors talk about bikini season, and inspirational chants go in one ear and out the other. But give me a challenge and I’m all in. That becomes especially important in the mornings when it’s cold and dark and the last thing I want to do is haul my tush to the gym.
Recently, I took the plunge and signed up for two fitness events. I’m not quite ready for a real triathlon (though it’s a goal!) so I’m starting with Purefy Your Soul, a run, cycle, yoga triathalon being put on by Pure Yoga, Lululemon, and Soul Cycle. It’s taking place this Sunday on the Upper West Side in New York and I’m excited to challenge myself with a group of 60 other women. And next month, I’ll be running More and Fitness Magazine’s Half-Marathon, an all-women race that takes place in Central Park. I’ve downloaded a training plan and I’ll be lacing up my sneaks three times a week to get prepared.
When it comes to fitness events, I have a few rules: