What If This Candy Heart Were an Outfit?

Photo by Crystal Powell via Flickr

Photo by Crystal Powell via Flickr

There used to be this thing that you’re not supposed to wear pink and red together. But we all now know that you can totally wear pink and red together. You can even wear it together on the same garment. Like this gorgeous Issa dress, and these beyond perfect Konstantina Tzovolou booties.

Also, let’s stop hating on Valentine’s Day. Eat some chocolate!

Candy Heart Outfit

Issa Fall 2014

Watch Me Scan My Necklace Like Magic

margiela x h&m necklace long crystal collar

As we got ready for holiday entertaining and house guests, I decided to do some serious house cleaning. I sent loads of clothing to Crossroads Trading Company. But I thought maybe I could try my own hand at selling some of the mountain of costume jewelry I’ve acquired over the past couple of decades. All you need is a website and some decent photos, right? Well, I have the website, but I’m not the best photographer. Luckily, the Sprout by HP takes a perfect scan every time. Check it out in action in my video above—it’s only my second-ever video so please excuse the jankiness! Now I just need to get all the photos up on the site. Stand by!

Also check out here how I created an inspiration board for a gorgeous green room using the Sprout (and check out my first-ever video).

This post was sponsored by Sprout by HP.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Sugaring But Were Afraid to Ask

Photo via Spa Zeeba

It had been a WHILE since I had attended to certain unmentionable grooming situations. So it was serendipitous that 7×7 magazine asked me to check out Habit, a hair removal establishment in Cow Hollow that offers waxing and sugaring (period, hair removal is their thing). Since I hadn’t heard of sugaring, I wanted to try it (look out for the 7×7 article in the March issue!)

Sugaring is like waxing, but so much better. First off, they for real use sugar. The golden (like when you caramelize sugar) substance contains sugar, lemon and water, that’s it. They say you can even eat it and it’s delicious (though I stopped short of a taste test). Amy at Habit rolled a blob of it around in her fingertips like a malleable crystal ball as she told me all about how she got started in sugaring. She started in waxing in L.A., but didn’t love it. She had heard tell of sugaring and wanted to learn more, so she made an appointment to try it out for herself. As luck would have it, her sugarer was Lisa Kennedy, the woman who invented the modern method of sugaring and is now the president and CEO of Alexandria, the country’s premier certification (it’s not included in a regular esthetician’s license) and sugar products source.

It didn’t take Amy long to fall for this new technique. It undid everything she disliked about waxing: It’s applied at room temperature and flicked away from the skin without fabric strips or tongue depressors. Instead of pulling in the opposite direction of hair growth, with sugaring you pull IN the direction of growth, which causes fewer ingrown hairs because you’re not yanking the hair backwards which can lead to the regrowth getting caught under the skin, i.e. ingrown hairs. There’s also less breakage, because sugar sticks to hair better than wax, and therefore is better at yanking the whole hair from the root, thereby leaving you smooth longer. Sugar only sticks to dead things, like hair, but not to alive things like skin. Also if there’s any residue left after the treatment, it rinses off easily with water because it’s just water-soluble sugar. Amy went on to get certified, moved to San Francisco, and now trains all of Habit’s sugar technicians.

I mean what’s not to like? I guess if you’re OK with wax—the pain doesn’t bother you and you don’t get ingrown hairs, there’s not a big reason to switch, since sugaring is a little more expensive. But if you have any issues with wax, you have every reason to try out sugaring. And you should really try it at Habit, because the place is gorgeous and the women, including founder Carrie Maxwell, are wonderful. I wanted to claim them all as BFFs by the time I left. Have you tried sugaring? What did you think?

Crazy Sequin Jumpsuit, Basic Black Boots

Mara Hoffman sequin jumpsuit
Photo by Azita Karimkhany, and this post is sponsored.

I first spotted this amazing Mara Hoffman jumpsuit at my lovely friend Mira’s shop Mira Mira. I was too slow and they were all snapped up before I could snag one. But when my sister-in-law announced she was hosting a “Dance Your Ass Off” party for her birthday, I knew I had to track down the jumpsuit. And I did! It was on sale, too. And it fit! Woohoo, disco party here I come.


The only problem was: This jumpsuit and this occasion required a simple black pair of booties, which I did not own. I couldn’t dance the night away in sky-high sandals, and I didn’t own anything more reasonable. Enter DSW, which has an amazing selection of all sorts of boots and booties at the moment, at amazing prices. I love the narrow tow and wedged heel on this pair, and they helped me stay on the dance floor until 1am, which I haven’t done since approximately 2010.

Goodnight party people!

A photo posted by Kristen Philipkoski (@stylenik) on

Finally reclining on my niece’s hot pink shag after dancing into the wee hours (ok hour).

DSW is the destination for savvy Shoe Lovers everywhere. Customers experience a breathtaking assortment of designer brands at irresistible prices everyday.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by DSW via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of DSW.

What I Learned From Six Beauty Appointments in Five Days

Hair by Barbara at Barrow Salon in SF

Hair by Barbara at Barrow Salon in SF

I just spent the last week on a special journalistic assignment that required visits to half a dozen beauty and wellness establishments in five days. The project came just before a trip out of town for my sister in law’s birthday Dance Your Ass Off party in SoCal, so I also needed nails and a facial, which fell outside of my professional purview. There were challenges, like when I had to rush across town from a chiropractic appointment in the Castro to a hair appointment in Union Square. The time invested was significant, and the planning required precision in order to fit everything in.

But I would never complain, because you would totally punch me for whining about a job that involves getting pampered.

I now have a perfect bikini line from Habit, a wonderful balayage with pops of pink from Barrow Salon (see above, the cut and previous balayage is by Anastasia at Hair Collective), flawless nails from my local ReFresh salon in Pacifica, pretty decent skin thanks to Sofia Skin Care and Serenity MedSpa, excellent makeup skills courtesy of The Balm, and a less painful back thanks to Fitwell Chiropractic.

While I was racing in between all these appointments, it occurred to me that this might be a normal schedule for women who are impeccable about keeping up their appearance. And I wondered, how in the name of god do they do it? I tend to get my nails done only when I have a special event, and I wear very little makeup on a daily basis. This was the first attention my bikini line has attention in … let’s say a while, and I get my hair cut and colored probably twice per year. Keeping everything perfect would require an expense that would infuriate the husband, and frankly I am lazy.

The feminist in me wondered: Why should women incur such expense—while getting paid less than men—to look perfect at all times, austensibly for the benefit of men?

But then that feminist in me realized that truth is, we don’t do it for men. We pamper ourselves because we like the creativity of getting pink hair, the art of an awesome cut, the orderliness of an attended-to bikini line, and the beauty of an unblemished face. Or not! The other beautiful thing is that we can pay as much attention to aesthetics as we like.

Also, with each new fabulous woman I met during these treatments, I felt more and more like I was in this club of women who loved women. Not in a sexual way, but in a way that we all take care of each other. Girls’ girls, if the term doesn’t offend. There wasn’t competition or judgement, there was support and acceptance.

As Courtney Martin of Feministing says in this video, “I think that part of the work of feminism is to admit that aesthetics, that beauty, that fun do matter.” Amen, sister.

Look what hair genius @barbdoeshair just did!

A photo posted by Kristen Philipkoski (@stylenik) on

Styling Tips for DSW’s Epic Winter Boots

DSW booties Photo by Kourosh Karimkhany
Sponsored post alert!

My boyfriend in college hated ankle boots, as we called them back then. He called them faux boots. They represented an artificiality that he mistrusted. He believed they aspired to be real boots, but were too lazy to go through with it. That their wearers were trying to pull one over on passersby: They may look like a boot in the foot, but—GOTCHA!—what you don’t see is the lack of suffocating leather climbing up the shin! This was in the ’90s (and, truth be told, the tail end of the ’80s), when cowboy-style booties were a thing. So perhaps he had a point.

I’ve long since stopped taking my boyfriend’s (or husband’s, not that he offers any) advice on what I wear. I dress to please myself, and to have fun, and my closet—well the Ikea bookshelf that serves as my shoe storage—has been overrun by booties.

Conveniently for my foot injury (too much dancing with no shoes) booties tend to be comfortable and with a reasonable, walkable heel, like these from DSW. The brown suede is soft, and the heel is present (I need something) but low, and I walked all over Tilden Park in Berkeley with the family wearing them over the weekend.

Whether you agree with my ex that booties are impostors, or like me you love an ankle boot, you’re in luck because DSW has lots of them at amazing prices—both high and low versions. The prices, though, are strictly low, so I don’t think I need to tell you to stock up. Stay tuned for more styling tips next week!

DSW boots

Showin off some new boots in Tilden Park today.

A photo posted by Kristen Philipkoski (@stylenik) on

DSW is the destination for savvy Shoe Lovers everywhere. Customers experience a breathtaking assortment of designer brands at irresistible prices everyday.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by DSW via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of DSW.

How the HP Sprout Will Make You Glad You Never Took That Photoshop Class

green room

You might be able to tell from my homemade logo that I don’t know jack about Photoshop. I am very graphically deficient. So when HP was looking for bloggers to collaborate on their new Sprout product, I was first in line. I tested out the machine by using it to create our Christmas card. The simple act of placing text over a photo was miraculous to me (that’s how bad I am at this stuff).

Next up was an image I’d wanted to create ever since a trip we took a couple months ago to beautiful Sepastopol to visit Kourosh’s sister and her family. They rented this gorgeous home, which happens to be owned by interior designer Suzanne Knowlton (who also designs these textiles that I wrote about for Forbes; yes she’s amazing). I was obsessed with the kitchen. It was done all in green (which I mention SEVERAL times in the video below, you’ll see), but somehow it wasn’t at all too much. As much for myself as for Stylenik readers, I wanted to share its awesomeness and provide some guidance for recreating the room.

The results are above, and a little bit about how I used the Sprout to create that image (which I’m not kidding is a big deal for me) is described in the video below. Disclaimer: This is for real the first video I’ve done on the blog. So please forgive my awkwardness and ums and unsmooth transitions.

Also I will say this: the Sprout is connected to a Windows machine, and that’s the only part I found difficult at times. I’ve been using a Mac for many years, so it’s probably just a matter of reacquainting myself, but I’m not gonna deny using a swear word or two as I tried to navigate outside of the Sprout. But the Sprout Workspace, as they call it, is super intuitive and easy peasy.

Oh and one last thing: I am barely scratching the surface here! I don’t even talk about how this thing is a freaking scanner on which you can place a plate of food (or anything else that will fit) and capture an image. You’ll actually see beside me in the video a pile of my jewelry that I scanned for online selling purposes. Oh and you get to see my amazing forest wallpaper! (Onward to see the video and my sources!)

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What to Wear When You’ve Gained Seven Pounds Over the Holidays

This is my favorite side of the bag, but the other side is cool too!

This is my favorite side of the bag, but the other side is cool too!

Photos by Jennine Jacob

I had to dig deep. Deep into my soul for the desire to leave the house, and deep into the closet for something that would fit over my swollen thighs and belleh.

I had tried one pair of skinny jeans that would not button, and another that transferred entirely too much information to the world. So I gave up on trying to contain my new bulk and went for something that allowed its freedom. I bought these pleated silk pants about five years ago from Hayden Harnett, a Brooklyn handbag designer that had a brief stint with making clothes (I bought many of them including this dress, a silk top that’s still a favorite and I can’t believe it’s never been on the blog (stand by!) and an amazing graphic black and white scarf that I tragically left at a bar and never saw again). The pants worked out well because they allowed room for everything that was going on while not looking entirely shapeless. They zip in the back, which I believe was key. And they are very high waisted with a keyhole and drawstring in the front. I thought it best to wear a garment over that feature at this juncture.

Here's the other side of the bag!

Here’s the other side of the bag!

The sweater is new, a Marc by Marc Jacobs score from Nordstrom Rack—a bit of an impulse buy. I’ve made it no secret I’m favoring “new luxury” and handmade and local and all that, but a friend had a gift card and I’ll admit I didn’t need an arm-twisting to tag along. My parents gave me cash for Christmas in lieu of gifts (which was great!), and I planned to buy a statement-making garment—a fabulous dress or some such. But I saw this sweater (and another very glittery specimen which will certainly appear in an upcoming outfit post) and loved it and knew I’d wear it often. In addition, it accommodates my new girth nicely.

The shoes are by my beloved Freda Salvador, sans the shoe necklace that came with them. For this particular outfit, a less adorned boot seemed appropriate. And isn’t is wonderful to have that option?

The bag! I’m so excited about the bag. Kourosh’s cousins who visited from Iran recently brought it for me from their land of wonderful textiles. It fits my laptop, and I can’t even believe how much they nailed my taste, having never laid eyes on me, and plus the fact that we don’t speak each others’ languages (literally but certainly not figuratively).

Oh and here you can see how the pockets on the pants have a blousing thing happening, which somehow distracts from your actual hip width and makes your waist look smaller.

Oh and here you can see how the pockets on the pants have a blousing thing happening, which somehow distracts from your actual hip width and makes your waist look smaller.

So there you have it. Back to dancing and yoga so hopefully I won’t need to buy a new wardrobe (though that has appealing aspects).

They Say Uggs Are Back. Ugh.

ugg suki waterhouse
Photo via Ugg Australia

According to Vogue UK, the wool-lined suede boots that sweaty Los Angeles feet made popular in the early 2000s are back in vogue. When Birkenstocks and even Tevas had their moment of fashion approval, I was all for it. But Uggs, I just cannot!

I don’t mean to be grumpy. But I don’t understand this footwear. I understand Moon Boots! I would totally wear a pair of Moon Boots in a snowy place. So fun and colorful.

rainbow moon boots
Photo via Sarenza

But Uggs are suede and squishy. They are lined with sheepskin, so they are very warm. I like to have warm feet! But I don’t like to have sweaty feet. For around the house, which is the only place there might be any chance I’d wear Uggs (which I won’t), I prefer thick socks or cute slippers, like these cuties I bought Frida for Christmas (she makes adult sizes, too).

Uggs never really went away. I think pretty much every time I go anywhere, I see someone wearing them. The Sartorialist did a post on them back in 2012 (though no one is sure whether he was making fun); so did Refinery 29. But I have to say no thank you to every one of those outfits.

At least with Birkenstocks you get some ankle. And maybe a peek at a pretty pedicure. And Moon Boots have rainbows! Uggs are just a spongey beige hoof. People in Minnesota say they’re the only thing that keeps their feet warm. OK then, extreme weather denizens, carry on. I know rainbow footwear is not for everyone.

2015 Is the Year to Go for a Crazy-Awesome Hair Color

Gray blue balayage hair

This is the year I stop being late and also the year that I get purple hair. Or possibly blue. Probably with a touch of gray. This is the year! Why the F not. It’s been a popular trend for a few years, but it’s not going anywhere. There are tons of inspirational photos on Pinterest but it’s not easy to find exactly what I have in mind. I want the color to be mostly on the ends, like my ombre, but I for sure don’t want a hard line between colors. Or, like the one above, completely freakin gray.

Here are some of my faves. Maybe the next post will be of my own ‘do, woo!


dark blue brown ombre hair

demi-lovato purple ombre

m-k-a gray pink lavender hair
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