Written on October 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm , by Ellen Miller
Hi my name is Ellen, and I’m a terrible, awful, no good cook. (Don’t worry, I’m just the beauty guru here at Better Homes and Gardens and, for good reason, have absolutely nothing to do with the amazing recipes in the magazine.) I’m working on learning the basics, though, with the help of the new edition of the red plaid cookbook and Senior Deputy Editor Nancy Wall Hopkins, who is always super nice to me when I beg her to help me troubleshoot one of my (frequent!) kitchen mishaps. One of the very first things I learned from Nancy — though I’m sure it’s not news to all you experts out there — is that you must stock your pantry with high-quality basics like olive oil. A friend who knows about my quest to become semi-competent in the kitchen gifted me some herb-infused oils from Nudo ($13-15 each), which come in insanely attractive tins.
In the happiest of coincidences, the lovely olive oil-based soaps from the same company landed on my desk that week, and now I’m addicted to both. The generously sized sudsers ($9.49 each) make hands so soft you may not even need hand cream. And, they make the world’s prettiest display in a guest bathroom, a great hostess gift, or a nice treat for yourself. Check out Nudoadopt.com to score both products.
Written on October 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm , by Ellen Miller
Sometimes you learn a hair trick so revolutionary that it would be a crime to keep it to yourself. Over the weekend I got a post-color blowout from Stephen Thomas at the Oscar Blandi salon (@OscarBlandi) in New York City. Stephen’s my go-to blow-out guru because he’s figured out how to give my seaweed-on-a-rock straight hair a bit of texture and volume—that actually lasts for a day or two! (And, as we reported on page 117 of the October issue, adding a bit of curl to straight hair can actually make you look younger!) Unfortunately, I’ve never ever been able to recreate his in-salon magic—until now!
The secret to effortlessly pretty waves, surprisingly, is a bit of imperfection. If curls look too uniform you’ll end up looking like you tried a little too hard. Holding a 1” inch curling iron vertically, curl the front pieces back and away from your face. As you go around the rest of your head—and here’s the real revelation—alternate the direction you twirl the hair around the iron. Curl one piece towards your face, then one piece away. Afterwards, instead of hairspray, spray your entire head with a texturizing spray like Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray ($11; oscarblandi.com) and break up the curls with your fingers. See the finished look above—I got so many compliments (from other beauty editors!) that I had to share!
Want to try this look? Instagram a photo of the finished product, use the hashtag #BHGbeauty, and be sure to tag me @EllenMillerBty, so I can check it out. Run into problems or have any questions? Tweet me at @EllenMillerBty and I’ll ask Stephen myself and get you an answer pronto!
Written on August 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm , by Ellen Miller
Being BHG’s beauty guru means that I get to test products before they even hit the market. I love writing about all of the latest and greatest, but I’ve learned that new doesn’t necessarily mean better. Here, a few of my tried-and-true favorites—they’re worth every single penny!
CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor ($6.50; drugstores)
For the money, you really truly cannot beat these lipsticks. My favorite is a red-orange shade called Hot, but there are countless other colors to choose from. The hue stays true to what’s shown in the tube, the color wears evenly so you’re not stuck with a ring around your mouth, and the more you wear it, the softer your lips get.
Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray ($23; sephora.com)
Skipping a day or two between washes makes a huge difference in the health of your hair—a spritz or two of dry shampoo at your roots will absorb oil, so hair looks as good as the day you styled it. I love this version because it sprays on clear—it won’t look white or powdery even on brunettes—and has a fresh, lemony scent.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day SPF 30 ($21.99; drugstores)
Retinol, an ingredient that boosts collagen and elastin production, is the one anti-aging ingredient that nearly all dermatologists agree on. Using this retinol cream daily has made a more noticeable difference in my fine lines than far pricier products. Plus, this one boasts a broad-spectrum sunscreen, so you don’t have to apply something separate.
Gillette Venus & Olay Razor ($10.99; drugstores)
The real game-changer is the glycerin strip that surrounds the five blades. It altogether eliminates the need for shave cream! I’m grateful for the extra shelf space in my shower—and for no more tough-to-remove rings from metal cans!
Glamglow Youthmud ($69; sephora.com)
Have you ever looked in the mirror and just felt blah? A ten-minute session with this super-scrubby volcanic ash and green tea mask is the cure. It sloughs away that layer of dead cells that makes skin look dull and temporarily tightens. Let me put it this way: I always, always get compliments on mornings I use it.
What are your favorite beauty game-changers? Tweet me @EllenMillerBty!
Written on August 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm , by Ellen Miller
In early May, the BHG style team met in sunny Santa Monica, California to shoot and interview the E! News host, designer, and new mom for our September Stylemaker issue. Here’s what we learned:
“Giuliana wears these amazing bright, girly dresses on E! News. But, when she arrived at the studio she was dressed very simply in dark skinny jeans and a black leather jacket—definitely a more minimal, tailored vibe. I was impressed with the pieces we pulled from the collection she designed for HSN—particularly the top we shot for the opening page of the story. Peplum is a trend that’s going strong for fall, and I loved the way she mixed leather details into the line.” Christine Bibbo Herr, Stylist, @NYCPretty
“As a red-carpet junkie, I know that Giuliana has access to the most amazing designer pieces in the world. But after interviewing her for the issue, I was surprised to learn that she lives for a great deal—she couldn’t stop talking about a $5 pair of cotton shorts that she’d just bought! And, I’ve adopted her favorite tip for saving money when it comes to fashion: She designed her closet so that all of her accessories are exposed, and she invested in matching hangers so her clothes hang at the same level. She swears that you’ll shop less when you can see everything you already have.” Ellen Miller, Fashion and Beauty Director, @EllenMillerBty
“I’m a huge fan of Giuliana & Bill and Fashion Police, so I know how many projects Giuliana is juggling at once—she’s got a restaurant, three shows, and has a one-year-old! I was surprised at how mellow she was despite her crazy schedule. She had a great energy on set, and make a point to chat and joke with the entire team that day.” Lauren Matina, Market Editor, @LaurenNYStylist
“Baby Duke made a cameo on set and was laughing and cooing at his mom from behind the camera. The little guy loved the music, the camera flashes, and an impromptu visit with Giuliana. It was fun to see that she’s a working mom just like me.” Kylee Krizmanic, Art Director, @KyleeW
Can’t get enough of Giuliana’s starlet style? Check out the style section of the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens to see her favorite tips and tricks including how to look your best in every photo op.