James Kicinski-McCoy is a writer and blogger, specializing in strategic marketing and branding, is a co-founder and editor of Mother Magazine, and co-owner and creative director of Two Son. She lives with her husband and four children in Nashville, Tennessee.
Currently working on: My Husband Dean & myself opened our first restaurant 3.5 years ago and our second just opened this past December. For the past twelve years, we have been restaurant workers around the clock without a weekend off, which means very long hours, lots of standing on your feet, and eating lots of food at very odd hours. It’s physically a very hard lifestyle. But when your love for warm hospitality, feeding people, and making them feel at home is your thing, you forget about all the feet and back pain.
Nevertheless with two children and two restaurants, lots of French fries, and life in a pretty hectic city, I am finally learning the importance of taking care of myself—physically and spiritually. So find what works for you, and make it work with your life, no matter what you do for a living. Taking care of yourself truly is the most important thing you can do for your soul, and naturally it has an impact on your loved ones and people in your life. Be mindful, be present, breathe, let thoughts come and go, be decent to strangers, be respectful, treat people the way you would like to be treated, and be truthful with yourself no matter how you are feeling. It’s ok to feel sad, it’s ok to feel angry, it’s ok to feel happy, mad, jealous, lazy, etc. But always be aware, love yourself, and let yourself be.
Sometimes I use lip-gloss as blush (if I forgot to put it in my purse), and other times I use blush as eye shadow (because I have a lot of blush and it feels silly to buy eye shadow). I never realized I had such a blush fetish until now! I guess it’s because I find it to be very romantic.
The Soho Bloomingdales is a block away from Jacks Wife Freda, and the ladies at the La Mer counter (Bronwyn and Isabelle) are so helpful and sweet.
Your biggest beauty secret?
For me, I had to discover the secret of beauty maintenance. As a youngster, I used to think that the pretty girls were so lucky because they were born beautiful. However, as I grew up a bit I discovered that we are all born beautiful souls- and that’s where most of the work is. It totally reflects on the outside! But as far as make up, products, masks, facials, hair appointments, waxing, lasers treatments, pedicures, etc., that’s just maintenance, a lot of time, and a cost. The real secret is in the inside.
Name /Occupation: Shelley Suh, Founder and Designer of Loyal Hana
Currently working on: Loyal Hana is my passion project. After 16 years in fashion and two pregnancies, I was inspired to design chic clothing for moms to wear during pregnancy and nursing. Loyal Hana designs are stylish and comfortable pieces that the modern woman can wear during the transition from the bump, the boob, and beyond. With discreetly hidden zipper openings and machine-friendly fabrics, every piece was designed with us in mind.
What’s in or on your vanity?
Before listing my vanities, I want to mention that I believe we should all meditate on breathing, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and making sure we get enough sleep. I recently met an amazing woman, Dr. Kathy Dooley, and I love her health tip, “Eat less, breathe more, think less, move more, hurt less, laugh more, frown less, smile more, jog less, sprint more, sit less, walk more, stress less, love more.”
Dermologica Ultra Cleanser. I have used Dermalogica for 7+ years. I have tried other brands here and there but always come back to the Ultra Calming Cleanser because it cleans off dirt and makeup without stripping or drying out my skin. It feels just right and worth every penny.
Dermalogica Toner. I have been using this toner just as long as the cleanser. It’s light, refreshing, and does not have a heavy scent. Within a couple of weeks of using both Dermologica products, I saw a difference in my skin.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20. I don’t like wearing heavy foundation, so this is a perfect product to use daily for light coverage. It gives me a little extra color, so I feel happy. It has all the essentials that I look for: moisture, SPF 20, and makes my skin look naturally beautiful.
Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick. This is a great matte lipstick that stays on all day and gives a pop of color when you need it. It’s a fun line to play with and while looking good, it also has skin-conditioning emollients, antioxidant fruit extracts, cili fruit, goji berry, and vitamins A, C, and E help to protect the lips throughout the day.
Shiseido Ulitmate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50. This vanity is hugely influenced by my mother. I have watched her try so many different products–I deem her as an expert. My parents live in the sunshine state of California and use this sunscreen religiously. For our summers, I swear by this and I use it on the whole family, including both kiddos.
Shiseido Future Solutions LX Night Cream. This is another one of my mother’s favorites. I love to put it on at night before bedtime. It’s so nourishing and you can feel it working on your skin. I have noticed a vast improvement in my skin and it has helped my age spots too!
Chanel Mascara Inimitable. During the day, I’ll usually wear this Chanel mascara in brown for a natural look. At night, if I’m wearing more makeup, I’ll use black. I also love the waterproof version for summer days at the beach.
Maybelline Expert Wear Black Liner. I have had this in my make up bag since I was 20. I use it every day to line my eyebrows. I don’t think I have ever been without this pencil liner in my bag, wallet, or purse.
Naturalpathica Arnica Muscle Gel. I am extremely active and love yoga and spinning, a true jock at heart. For any muscle aches this is amazing. I got mothers wrist after having my kids and this stuff feels really amazing. Along with this I take Boiron Arnica Montana a homeopathic medication.
I’ve been asked by several of you for an update on my current beauty routine, which I am happy to oblige. One of the perks of being an editor at Mother is that it allows me to try new products all the time, which is not only fun, but it also introduces me to some really great new lines that I most likely wouldn’t have tried otherwise. One thing that I would like to mention that has really helped my complexion is drinking a lot of water. I notice that when I don’t drink a lot of it throughout the day my skin looks a little dull, so the more the merrier. Without further ado, here are all of the skin care, makeup, and hair essentials that I am using right now and why.
Verso Foaming Cleanser. I use this cleanser in the shower each morning with my Clarisonic or a Konjac Cleansing Sponge, which is a great alternative to the Clarisonic with similar results. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean, without over drying. At night, I usually use cleansing oil to remove make up. I like Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil and the Milk Cleansing Oil from First Aid Beauty. Both literally dissolve foundation and leave skin ultra soft, without any residue. I am also completely obsessed with Bioderma Crealine Micelle Solution. It’s a French pharmaceutical product that is a favorite among women, beauty editors, and makeup artists around the world. It’s inexpensive, removes eye makeup like no other, and is water-based as opposed to oil-based, which is something I dislike about most eye makeup removers.
Somme Institute Transport Pads. These will take you back to the days of fighting pimples with Oxy Pads back in junior high school, only these actually work and are a lot more expensive. I cut these babies in half, because you really don’t need a full one to swipe your face, and it makes the price tag much more affordable. They tone the skin and go deep to even out skin tone, tighten, and prevent bumps and acne. I love them! Totally worth the extra bucks, but remember, cut them in half.
Verso Super Eye Serum. This stuff kicks ass! It has retinol 8 as one of its main ingredients and really fights fine lines and wrinkles. I see dramatic results and can’t preach enough about it. One bottle has lasted me well over 7 months, too, so do the math—it’s well worth it. I still love my Tatcha Brightening Serum that I have been using for years, but have found a couple of other great ones that are less of an investment. Aria’s Firming Serum and Earth Tu Face’s Nourish + Balance are both great alternatives.
Rodin Olio Lusso. Okay, okay, this “luxury” face oil has a lot of hype. Truth is, I didn’t really get it when I first started using it, about a year ago. Sure it was lighter than most other oils I have tried, but I wasn’t a fan of the smell. It smells like jasmine and if you’re not a fan of jasmine, which I am not, it will take some getting used to. The price is a little steep, as well, but this stuff lasts a really long time, so in actuality it’s not too bad. After a few weeks of continual use I became a believer and keep coming back for more. It really is incredible. It sinks into the skin quickly and leaves it looking heathy and beautiful. That said, there are plenty of other oils out there that offer similar results—some less expensive, some more expensive. I’ve tried several, but I keep coming back to this one because all of the others seem to lack somewhere. I still moisturize after applying my sacred Rodin oil. I use Embryolisse, which is another French pharmaceutical industry fave. It works wonders for my skin and I can order it from Amazon on the cheap.
Dr. Jart BB Cream. I apply this every day, instead of foundation, using my fingertips. It has SPF 25, as well as some other really great botanicals that nourish the face. It’s much lighter than regular foundation, but still delivers a good amount of coverage. The only problem I can see with it is that it comes in one “universal” shade, and I don’t see how people with darker complexions could use this. If I have a slight tan in the summer, it’s too light for my liking. There are several other BB creams on the market that are up to par, but this one is my favorite. When I need a little extra coverage I reach for my trusty NARS Sheer Glow Foundation. It’s not cake-y, like other foundations. When I apply it I use this brush. I only started using a brush to apply foundation in the past year, and the difference in even application is huge.
It’s So Big! Mascara. I’ve tried dozens and dozens of mascaras over the years, hoping that they would do what they claim to do. Many of them have delivered somewhat, but none as much as It’s So Big. Try it—your lashes will thank you. I really don’t wear too much eye makeup these days, usually just a few coats of mascara and a little brow love using Anastasia’s Brow Wiz in soft brown along with a clear brow gel. But, when I’m dressing up a for an event, a night out or am wanting a more dramatic look, I use the same Stila Liquid Eyeliner I’ve been using for years.
Earth Tu Face Skin Stick. Buy this! It’s amazing! I keep this in my purse and use it throughout the day. Mostly on my lips for a dose of serious moisture without a lot of shine, but it can also be used on dry skin. It smells good, too! I love a good red lip from time to time and have found the perfect shade for my skin tone. It’s called Wild Child by Ilia—love it.
Aesop Resurrection Hand Balm. My skin gets really dry in the winter—especially my hands. This concentrated cream works to keep them soft. For my body, I use several different products. Two favorites have been the Earth Tu Face Body Butter and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. Both are really wonderful. I also exfoliate once a week. My husband bought me a really nice one from Omorovicza to pamper myself with earlier this year—and I’m not going to lie, it’s F-ing great—but it’s too expensive and I won’t be replacing it. Burt’s Bees actually makes a pretty decent body scrub and it gets the job done. I also recently tried Fat & The Moon Deodorant and it’s so, so good. Seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else. And it’s all natural—bonus!
Le Labo Santal 33. I found this scent right around the time I got married—I’ll be wearing it for the next ten years.
Davines Momo Anti-Frizz Fluid. I’m a wash and go kinda girl, but with all of the heavy dyeing I’ve done to my hair over the years, and then attempting to get back to my natural color, came a lot of damage and breakage, which left me with crazy fly-aways and unmanageable frizz. I found this miracle liquid recently and let me tell you, it has been a life saver. I brush my hair after I shower, apply a quarter size of this starting at the ends up to the roots and let air dry. Sometimes I will blow dry the very front of my hair to calm crazy cowlicks, but my hair routine is really so simple, which is a plus when you have little time to dedicate to getting ready each day.
Currently working on: Inspired by the Waldorf philosophy, we recently transformed our 800 square foot backyard into a natural and engaging open-ended world for explorative play and events. Designing and building the space ourselves was a huge labor of love. Now, we are planning for next year’s improvements (you can never start too soon). Along with the new space, there’s that crazy realization that in August we are already deep into collecting inspiration and researching items for the holiday season.
What’s in or on your vanity?
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. After years of different facial scrubs, I brought it back to basics, about a year ago, and couldn’t be happier. I enjoy washing twice in the evening with this simply-soft cleanser.
Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Facial Toner. I use a few sprays after I wash at night. The scent is so relaxing after a busy workday. I find my skin looking clearer and even keeping my Rosacea at bay. My husband actually started using the toner first, and once I tried it, I was a convert.
Sonya Dakar Omega-3 Repair Complex. I only apply this in the morning. At night, I let my natural oils do what they are meant to do. I find that I need less moisturizer in the a.m. if I leave it alone at night. I was introduced to the complex during a facial at D’mai in Park Slope. It was recommended to me because I was feeling dry and looking a little red. It has kind of changed my life.
Fresh Sugar Roll-On Deodorant by Fresh.Best deodorant EVER! I’ve tried many natural deodorants and they just don’t work for me. I’ve been using this for years and years…I even turned my husband on to it.
Davines Solu Shampoo.I started using this shampoo because I was a sucker for the clean, modern packaging, but I have say that I am addicted to it. The smell is earthy, which is hard to find in hair care. I’m not into the flowery scents.
Redken Thickening Lotion 06.I used to use a hair cream by Fresh but they discontinued it. In a pinch, I bought the Redken Lotion and love it. It just adds the little bit of thickness that I need. I basically blow-dry my bangs and air-dry the rest of my hair.
Which product(s) you can’t live without? I definitely need my lip care. It’s a bad day if there isn’t one in my bag.
Favorite place to shop for your goods? With Norman & Jules, I don’t have a ton of time to run around, but luckily, we have so many great local places in Brooklyn to stock up. I enjoy going to Pure Essentials in Park Slope for a one-stop shop, but otherwise, I go straight to the source — Aesop at The Invisible Dog on Bergen St. and Fresh in Union Square.
Biggest beauty secret? I don’t really have a beauty secret. Aside from the above, I’m a no-make-up kind of gal. Oh, I do drink a ton of water.
Name / Occupation: Kerrilynn Pamer, Co-Founder of CAP Beauty/Founder of Castor & Pollux.
Currently working on: Opening Manhattan’s first all-natural beauty store with treatment rooms, CAP Beauty!
What’s in your vanity?
Sun Potion Reishi Mushrooms. I LOVE this line of transformational foods. Scott Linde sources the highest quality ingredients from all over the globe bringing high vibes to the masses. A perfect night-cap added to tea, it’s become a favorite step in my evening routine. Reishi Mushrooms are adaptogens that promote calmness, inner awareness and strength — a great way to get a jump-start on tomorrow.
Urban Moonshine Bitters. Another fantastic addition to the feel-good remedies section, Bitters seem to conquer all. I take some 5-15 minutes before I eat and am having great results with digestion and keeping sugar cravings at bay. This wonder bottle also promotes clear skin and supports liver function. Miracle in a bottle.
In Fiore 4-2-4 Method. A new system developed by Julie Elliott of In Fiore that I can’t wait to dive in and take it on as my own. Everything that Julie does is filled with love, research and total commitment to creating the most luxurious and effective products around.
May Lindstrom Honey Mud. A perfect mask (and cleanser) that helps to hydrate the skin while giving it a thorough cleaning. Loaded with Manuka Honey, Colloidal Silver, and White Hallosite Clay this product is one of my favorites when my skin is feeling parched and in need of some love. May Lindstrom can do no wrong in my book.
Black Chicken Salt Scrub. I was introduced to this product through the magical Angela Shore of Jiva Apoha. Always in the know about the newest and coolest in the world of wellness, I tried it out straight away and was immediately in love with the Sandalwood, Carrot, Nutmeg and Lavender combined with Himalayan Pink Salt and Avocado Oil. Hailing from Australia (of course!) this line combines therapeutic oils with plant extracts to create high performance and luxurious skin care. And, it delivers just that.
Jasmine & Mimosa Body Scrub. Another scrub I keep in the shower always (if I can wrestle it away from my husband), this is a truly decadent and performance based product. Marrying walnut shells with Mimosa and Jasmine, this makes the morning something to look forward to.
Raw Elements Tube. Finally, a sunscreen I feel good about using everyday. Developed by an ocean rescue life guard, who happens to be awesome, this product has a nice hand, lasts a long time and smells great.
Living Libations Zippity Dew Dab. For break-outs, this stop ‘em in your tracks, bottle will quell inflammation, reduce redness and keep acne at bay. Great for hormonal skin—this is one to keep in your medicine cabinet always.
Quiet Mind Mist. I have this on my nightstand and in my bag always. Calms and soothes a frazzled city mind, I’ve grown to love the intoxicating combination of Geranium, Lavender, and Coriander.