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    Mary Orton wears emerald green midi dress with fringe detail, chloe waist belt, manolo blahnik hangisi pumps, and victoria beckham top handle box bagEmerald fringe midi dress, dark lips, chloe waist belt, victoria beckham bag

    DRESS: Gabriela Hearst (also available HERE and HERE, and love THIS affordable alternative)  |  SHOES: Manolo Blahnik (similar affordable alternative HERE, HERE  and HERE)  |  BELT: Chloe (affordable alternative HERE)  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (similar HERE and HERE)

    I wore this emerald green satin dress recently to the Fashion Group International Rising Star Awards where Rich and I were honored to be recipients of the business innovation award for Trove.  If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you likely know that when it comes to accessories, I have a chronic addiction to waist-cinching belts, so it likely comes as no surprise that I employed this Chloe belt to finish off the look.  You may have also noticed that it’s about the 200th time I’ve worn this Chloe belt in the past several weeks, so today I thought it was high time that I dedicated a post to my most-frequently worn accessory: the waist belt.


    Mary Orton wears emerald green midi dress with fringe detail, chloe waist belt, manolo blahnik hangisi pumps, and victoria beckham top handle box bagMart Orton wears manolo blahnik hangisi pumps 70mm and emerald green fringe dress Mary Orton wears emerald green midi dress with fringe detail, chloe waist belt, manolo blahnik hangisi pumps, and victoria beckham top handle box bag


    In addition to creating a flattering hourglass shape, waist belts always seem to perfectly “finish” any look.  But more than an element of polish, waist belts can also completely transform even the most casual outfits.  A true testament to the ability of accessories to completely transform a look is this recent post in which I’m wearing a giant oversized cardigan and stretchy stirrup pants.  The difference that a beautiful waist belt and heels makes in dressing up an outfit comprised entirely of casual pieces is staggering.


    Manolo Blahnik 70mm black satin hangisi pumps and Victoria Beckham top handle box bag Mary Orton wearing emerald green Gabriela Hearst fringe detail midi dress, black chloe waist belt, black satin Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pumps, Victoria Beckham top handle box bag and dark red lip


    I also recently wore the same Chloe belt in this recent post, which serves as another excellent example of giving a classic dress new life with the addition of a simple accessory.  While the Chloe belt is certainly pricey, you can see that I wear it CONSTANTLY, so it was worth the splurge for me.  However, you definitely don’t have to splurge to get a killer waist belt.  Below, I’ve rounded up all of the waist belts that have caught my eye lately, including this beauty that’s only $55!


    THE BEST WAIST BELTS AT ALL PRICE POINTS

    Mary Orton wearing emerald green Gabriela Hearst fringe detail midi dress, black chloe waist belt,  Victoria Beckham top handle box bag and dark red lipMary Orton wears emerald green fringe midi dress, black satin hangisi manolo blahnik pumps, chloe waist belt

    DRESS: Gabriela Hearst (also available HERE and HERE, also love THIS affordable alternative)  |  SHOES: Manolo Blahnik (similar affordable alternative HERE, HERE  and HERE)  |  BELT: Chloe (affordable alternative HERE)  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (on sale! similar HERE and HERE)


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  • 02/12/18--10:36: Monday Memo No. 4

  • FAVORITE QUINOA BOWL RECIPE

    We eat quite a lot of quinoa in our house and are always making big bowls of it with favorite roasted veggies and other accoutrements.  However, thanks to Liz Adams, I’ve found the holy grail quinoa bowl recipe.  TRUST.  My only preferred tweak is goat cheese instead of feta.  I made extra of everything last weekend and it was perfect to refrigerate and grab throughout the week for lunch.  SO. GOOD.



    WEATHERPROOF SPRAY FOR LEATHER SHOES AND BOOTS

    I’ve shared this leather protector spray on instastories and here on the blog before but it continues to be one of my most frequently asked questions.  I spray it on all of my leather shoes to make sure that rain, snow, and salt don’t cause damage and I have to say, it was especially handy over the last couple days of pouring rain during New York Fashion Week!



    FAQ:  DO YOU TAILOR ALL OF YOUR CLOTHES?

    I get this question constantly, and the answer is not at all.  I get some special items tailored (i.e. timeless blazers, dressy pants that need the length let out, etc.) and I’ll also get special occasion wear tailored from time to time.  However, the vast majority of things I wear everyday (i.e. most of what you see here on Memorandum) is not tailored.  I’m a stickler for well-fitting clothing, so make clothing selections carefully, and whenever something doesn’t fit perfectly, I’ll often cinch things in with a waist belt.  Last week I did a post on all of my favorite waist belts and why I’m constantly wearing them, and this is a major reason!  I’m quite tall, so whenever the waistline is cut a little too high or too loose on me, I’m always adding a waistbelt to make things “look” tailored, without having to go to the actual trouble.



    EARRING MANIA

    Before fashion week started the team at Baublebar let me pick out favorites from their latest collection and it was definitely one of those “I’LL TAKE ONE OF EVERYTHING” moments because their new arrivals are off the charts.  I got tons of questions and compliments on this pair which is officially one of my favorite pairs of ALL TIME.  As discussed in the past, oversized studs and sculptural earrings are my all-time favorite earring style so I’m thrilled that they happen to be majorly on trend right now.  I also wore this pair last Thursday (which comes in a cool set with both silver and gold options!), this pair yesterday and I have this pair (in tortoise) in my shopping cart.  Can not get enough.



    FAVORITE WIRELESS BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES

    Funny enough, this is a question I get whenever I instastory from the gym where you’ll see me always wearing one of two pairs of wireless bluetooth headphones.  Rich and I both have a pair of these wireless headphones which we ordered from Amazon months back and absolutely love them.  They’re water resistant so you don’t have to worry about getting sweaty, they have a really long-lasting battery life (8 hours), the sound quality is excellent, they have a microphone so you can take calls on them, and best part?  They’re only $20!  I also personally really like having the earhooks when working out (as opposed to my Jaybird wireless headphones which I also love!) because they provide so much more stability when I’m running, jumping, etc.  I never have to worry about them falling out during my workout.  I keep the Jaybird pair in my bag for using on my commute, at the office, etc. when I want something a little less conspicuous.



    Feature Image: Savor Home Blog


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    Fashion blogger attends NYFW wearing gingham belted jacket, ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bagFashion blogger attends NYFW wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie

    JACKET: McQ Alexander Mcqueen (also love THIS affordable version)  |  SKIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE, and HERE)  |  BOOTS: Stuart Weitzman (similar affordable alternative HERE) |  HAT: Brixton  |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (love THIS affordable alternative)

    Only a few more days left of fashion week, and this was the look I sported to shows on Sunday during the onslaught of rain here in NYC that seemed to pick up only at the critical moments where I absolutely had to be outside going to the next show or presentation.  Hence the drowned-rat hair effect.


    Nevertheless, this belted gingham Alexander McQueen jacket and Roksanda knit midi skirt withstood the elements and were super fun pieces to wear.  If you’re new around here or perhaps haven’t noticed, I always include links to affordable alternatives in the text links section at the top and bottom of each post whenever I’m wearing something pricey.  I always want to make sure that regardless of your budget, you can still get the look.  Exhibit A: this super cute gingham blazer (under $200) which could easily be belted over this ivory skirt for a very similar outfit at a fraction of the price.


    Fashion blogger Mary Orton at new york fashion week wearing a gingham belted jacket, ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hatNYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bagNYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, top handle box bag


    As mentioned in yesterday’s Monday Memo, the earrings at Baublebar right now are off the charts.  I’ve been hoarding sculptural earrings in droves over the past year, and I don’t plan on letting up anytime soon.  Whether you’re dressing for fashion week or a casual get together with friends, statement earrings like these completely make the outfit.  I often wear a simple pair of jeans and sweater with these beauties and a red a lip, and despite being quite simply and casually dressed, the earrings add interest and do all the talking.


    NYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bagStreet style fashion blogger at NYFW wearing gingham blazer, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman stretch suede booties, sculptural earrings NYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bag

    JACKET: McQ Alexander Mcqueen (also love THIS affordable version)  |  SKIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE, and HERE)  |  BOOTS: Stuart Weitzman (similar affordable alternative HERE) |  HAT: Brixton  |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (love THIS affordable alternative)


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    Mary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears perfect workwear classics of pinstripe wite-leg suit, color block black and camel coat, oversized black sunglasses

    PANTS: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE and HERE)  |  SHIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE and HERE)  |  COAT: Cedric Charlier (sold out, similar HERE and HERE )  |  BAG: Mark Cross (affordable alternative HERE and HERE) |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar (also love THESE)

    These classic pinstripe coordinates were another favorite get-up from fashion week and I have to say, the inexplicable mood-boosting effect a sleek pinstripe has on my psyche almost entirely made up for the fact that it was -800 degrees out and my creative styling skills proved inadequate when trying to rationalize the wearing of a puffer snowsuit as a chic, unexpected fashion week ensemble.


    In my book, you can never have too much of this timeless menswear-inspired print in your closet, especially when it comes to your work wardrobe.  Below I’ve rounded up all of my favorite pinstripe pieces whether you’re looking for a sleek pair of trousers to wear to the office or a killer dress for a special occasion.  When in doubt, wear pinstripes.



    Mary Orton of Fashion Blog Memorandum wears pinstripe pant suit with a camel over coat  


    PANTS: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE and HERE)  |  SHIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE and HERE)  |  COAT: Cedric Charlier (sold out, similar HERE and HERE )  |  BAG: Mark Cross (affordable alternative HERE and HERE) |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar (also love THESE)


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  • 02/19/18--17:52: Monday Memo No. 5
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    Elemis Superfood Skincare

    I’m thrilled to report that my first big skincare post will be published on the blog this Wednesday, so get AMPED.  I’m super excited to share some of my research and learnings breaking down a lot of the marketing nonsense around skincare, but you’ll have to tune in on Wednesday for the goods.  In the interim, I wanted to share that Elemis just launched their new Superfood product range which I am SO EXCITED to try.  I’ve shared the Elemis Superfood Facial Oil here on the blog and on social about 200 times because it’s been my absolute favorite face oil for years now.  Due to its popularity, Elemis decided to expand it into an entire Superfood range which now includes a facial wash, a day cream and a night cream.  I just got mine in the mail, and will report back!



    Where I get my hair done in NYC

    Since posts on instagram and insta stories always get lost and forgotten, I wanted to memorialize my answer to this frequently asked question here.  I get my hair cut and colored at Fourteenjay Salon in Tribeca.  I can not say enough good things about this salon.  The spa-like ambiance, the friendliest service, the impeccable attention to detail and (most importantly) the absolute best-in-class hair colorists and stylists.  Their motto of “beautiful color begins with healthy hair” rings true in everything they do and I can’t recommend them highly enough.  I will be naming my first-born child Fourteenjay.



    How to Reduce Technology-Induced Eye Strain

    I randomly stumbled upon these glasses on Shopbop and since I spend all day staring at either a computer or an iPhone screen, I thought I’d give them a try.  You can read the complete details here, but in a nutshell, you can wear these glasses at your desk or anytime you plan to be staring at a screen (computer, tablet or mobile device) for an extended period of time.  They reduce up to 30% of blue light emissions that cause eye strain, headaches, and disruptive sleep (hellooooo insomnia!).  I’ve been keeping them at my desk and using them constantly over the last couple weeks and have noticed a huge difference.



    The Perfect Layering Tee, Made Even Better

    Despite trying a million and one different “basic tees” over the years, the J. Crew perfect shirt continues to be my go-to.  I’ve been doing a little spring-cleaning closet purge, and every year I seem to throw out a million of the same cheap layering tees and basics that I snatch up from discount retailers.  I’m always lured by the idea that buying a basic white t-shirt shouldn’t cost more than $25, despite the fact that these tees almost invariably fail to live through their second washing without stretching out or getting a weird, warbled neckline.  J. Crew perfect t-shirts are the exception.  They look brand-spankin’ new after every wash, year after year so I was ecstatic to find that they’ve updated the silhouette to now include a slightly longer sleeve.  I’m always laying this t-shirt under blazers and as you can see here, the extra few inches on the sleeve makes it especially perfect for the office.



    My Breakfast MVP

    I’m always surprised by how frequently I get asked what I eat for breakfast.  Funny enough, I always thought my go-to breakfast was pretty unusual, but in the last several months I’ve been seeing it pop up everywhere—bloggers, celebrities, you name it—everyone is obsessed with GG Scandinavian Crispbread.  I discovered these bread-cracker hybrids when I was living in Copenhagen for a semester in college and many of the Danish girls I lived with ate them every morning.  They’re low calorie, low carb, super high in fiber and while they’re about as bland as cardboard on their own, they are an amazing foundation for healthy deliciousness you can pile on top.  Lately, my go-to combinations have been the following:


    OPTION 1: GG Crispbread, Smashed Avocado, Spritz of Lemon Juice, Drizzle of Sriracha


    OPTION 2: GG Crispbread, Almond Butter, Sliced Bananas, Drizzle of Honey


    They are larger than a cracker but smaller than a piece of bread (about 2.5″ x 3.5″) so I eat two of them in the morning piled high with my favorite accoutrements and I stay super full all morning.  I typically get the plain bran flavor, but also love the raisin and honey as well.

     

     


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  • 02/20/18--18:29: Classic Red Sheath Dress
  • Mary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears a shoshanna short-sleeve red sheath dress, black gucci shoulder bag, and black oversized cat-eye sunglasses

    DRESS: Shoshanna (sold out, similar HERE, HEREand HERE)  |  SHOES: Jimmy Choo (sold out, similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BAG: Gucci (sold out, similar HERE)  |  SUNGLASSES: Le Specs


    When all of your friends are enjoying the long President’s Day weekend and you have to head into the office Monday morning, it takes a little extra something to get out the door.  Yesterday’s antidote to my why-the-&$%@-don’t-we-take-President’s-Day-off blues was this mood-boosting red sheath dress.  It did the trick because (a) it’s no secret that I have an addiction to all things red, but (b) I’ve been binge-watching Grace and Frankie and June Diane Raphael’s character (i.e. my spirit animal) seems to be wearing a killer red sheath-red lip combo in every other episode.  So, wearing this ensemble successfully distracted me from the fact that I was heading into the office on a rainy holiday as I replayed all of her inappropriate jokes in my head.  (She doesn’t even have to open her mouth in that show to have me ROLLING on the floor.)  If you would also like to channel your inner Brianna Hanson and/or you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about and just have an affinity for scarlet-hued frocks, I’ve rounded up more of my favorites below for your perusing pleasure…

    Mary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears a shoshanna short-sleeve classic red dress, jimmy choo mary jane pumps, black gucci shoulder bag, and black oversized cat-eye sunglassesMary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears a shoshanna short-sleeve red sheath dress, jimmy choo mary jane pumps, black gucci shoulder bag, and black oversized cat-eye sunglasses

    DRESS: Shoshanna (sold out, similar HERE, HEREand HERE)  |  SHOES: Jimmy Choo (sold out, similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BAG: Gucci (sold out, similar HERE)  |  SUNGLASSES: Le Specs


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    When preparing for standardized testing in school, do you remember how everyone used to say, when in doubt, choose letter C?   Someone, somewhere, decided that option C was more likely than A, B or D to be the right answer, and millions of adolescents (myself included!) blindly followed suit.  Of course, this is utter nonsense, but I’d like to think that the kid who started this myth grew up to be the Chief Marketing Officer for a major skincare brand.


    Most people (myself included!) do not have time to dissect the ingredient list of skincare products and understand, for example, exactly what level of salicylic acid a product must contain to be effective in the treatment of acne.  Most of us are blindly guessing when it comes to our skincare products but unlike staring at a row of lettered bubbles of equal size and color on a standardized test, we’re staring at rows of beautifully packaged products with mesmerizing words like “anti-aging,” “nourishing,” “wrinkle-reducing,” or “skin-clearing.”  How do you know which products present the right solutions to your unique skincare challenges and which are just smoke and mirrors?


    About nine months ago, a friend and I were in my bathroom looking at the line-up of skincare products next to my sink and she began asking questions about the products that I was using.  I had feeble answers for most of them—this one contains SPF because… sun damage!  This one contains retinol because… wrinkles!  The act of having to actually articulate the rationale behind my skincare routine was startling.  My knowledge of products and ingredients was precarious at best and even more concerning was my understanding (or lack thereof) of how each product properly fits into a well-constructed skincare regimen.  Can I use a Vitamin C serum with a retinol?  Should I apply face oils before or after my night moisturizer?  In the sea of marketing gimmicks, skincare buzzwords and one-off endorsements of “miracle” products, how do you discern the real efficacy of a product and exactly how you should incorporate it into your skincare routine?


    That moment was a bit of a wake-up call for me so I began diving deep into the science of skincare and have learned a ton in the last many months.  Starting with today’s post, I’m excited to begin sharing some of my learnings with you, in hopes of creating skincare guides that are practical, digestible and no-nonsense.  After months of research, interviewing dermatologists and pouring over scientific reports, I thought I would kick things off today with the seven skincare myths that I believe will surprise you as many of the things in this list are in direct opposition to what many skincare brands market to consumers.  All of the below information has been verified not only by scientific reports but also by an extremely well-respected board-certified dermatologist who has been practicing for over 25 years.  This dermatologist asked to remain anonymous for professional reasons, which I gladly respected, especially in exchange for his candor on these topics.


    Having said that, it’s important to note that I am not a dermatologist nor am I a physician of any kind.  You should absolutely consult your own doctors when making decisions about your health and skincare regimen as there is a lot of conflicting research out there about the efficacy of certain products and ingredients.  What works for one person may not work for the next, so it’s important to do your own research based upon your own unique skin characteristics.  I hope that the information I share from my research and product testing will simply offer one perspective in the quest to find what’s best for you.


    Without further ado, I give you (in no particular order) my top seven skincare myths:


    Shocking skincare myths


     

    Skincare Myth #1:  Foaming Cleansers Are Good For Your Skin

    This one shocked me.  We’ve been conditioned to believe that the presence of suds or foam is an indication of a cleanser “working” but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In order for a facial cleanser to foam like shaving cream, it must contain a surfactant.  Surfactants turn your skin alkaline, creating a breeding ground for bacteria (hello, acne).  If you have acne-prone skin, you should especially avoid foaming cleansers like the plague, despite the fact that many foaming cleansers are specifically marketed to people suffering from acne.  To be clear, I’ve read that there are a few companies who have managed to formulate foaming cleansers with a low pH (i.e. acidic and anti-bacterial), but this is rare and most don’t publish the actual pH of their products on the bottle.  So, the safest bet is to avoid foaming cleansers altogether, unless you’re interested in independently testing the pH of your cleanser at home.



    Skincare Myth #2:  Natural or Organic is Always Better

    This is another super controversial one.  In the movement to eliminate harmful chemicals from the food we eat and many other everyday products, the terms “natural” and “organic” are now widely abused by marketers in an attempt to mislead.  Just because something is natural or organic does NOT mean it is good for your skin.  In fact, there are lots of natural and organic ingredients like mineral oils and certain fragrances that cause serious skin irritation, break down collagen and cause a whole host of other skin issues.  Furthermore, in discussing this with dermatologists, I was amazed to learn that in fact, there are many ingredients developed by scientists (i.e. neither natural nor organic) which are much more potent and effective for skin than natural or organic ingredients.  Of course, there are TONS of natural and organic ingredients that are fantastic, but the main takeaway here is to never simply buy a skincare product because it’s touted as “all-natural” or “organic” AND don’t ever blindly reject another product because it isn’t.  Take a step further and do your due diligence on the ingredients and proven efficacy of the product. 



    Skincare Myth #3:  Rub Product Between Your Hands

    Labels often instruct you to rub the product between your hands before applying, but according to dermatologists, there are virtually no products on the market that actually require you to rub or warm the product in your hands to prepare or “activate” the ingredients.  In most cases, this is completely unnecessary and totally wasteful, as a large amount of the product will be distributed across your palms and absorbed into your hands.  According to marketing studies, this is typically included in product instructions because consumers become more attached to products that involve these types of “ritual” steps.  Nutty.



    Skincare Myth #4:  No Pain, No Gain


    I used to think that a burning sensation following the use of a particularly abrasive facial scrub meant that I had really done a good job of removing dead skin cells.  Like many people, I would also feel the tingling sensation of various skin care products or exfoliants and believe the idea that “you can FEEL it working.”  In most cases, this is false.  According to dermatologists, if you’re in pain or experiencing a burning sensation, you’re likely damaging your skin.  You can thoroughly and effectively exfoliate your skin without causing pain.  



    Skincare Myth #5:  A High SPF Protects You From The Sun

    We all know that Vitamin D is best-obtained through supplements rather than unprotected sun exposure, but there’s a lot of misleading information about sunscreen, specifically what SPF means and how much we need.  To start, it’s important to understand that the sun’s damaging UV radiation is comprised of both UVA and UVB rays.  While most creams and sprays offering sun protection often prominently display their SPF levels, most people don’t realize that SPF only measures protection against UVB rays, and doesn’t measure protection against UVA rays at all.  Moreover, UVA rays don’t cause sunburn—UVB rays do—so by preventing sunburn, products touting high SPF can lead you to believe you’ve been protected from the sun, meanwhile, UVA damage is occurring without leaving any skin-reddening signs.  In reality, UVA rays are extremely damaging because they are a longer wavelength and penetrate more deeply into the skin.  In fact, UVA rays are more responsible for photoaging and are also the primary ray responsible for the development of melanoma.  To prevent against both UVA and UVB rays, you should buy sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and at most 50 (anything claiming an SPF of above 50 is not actually offering any incremental sun protection) AND make sure it also contains UVA-protecting ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and oxybenzone.  Products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays are often called broad spectrum, multi-spectrum, or specifically indicate UVA/UVB protection, so make sure you keep an eye out for those on the label.



    Skincare Myth #6:  Mineral Oil Is Good For Your Skin

    This is mentioned briefly above, but mineral oil is terrible for your skin and should always be avoided.  Thankfully, mineral oil isn’t included in moisturizers as often as it once was, but I still see it often enough to feel it warranted mentioning in this list.  Mineral oil is a proven comedogenic (i.e. pore-clogging) and unlike plant oils, it offers no benefits to the skin.  However, since we often associate the words “mineral” and “oil” with other healthy, beneficial things (like “mineral water” or “facial oils”) it can be confusing to remember that mineral oil itself is bad for your skin.



    Skincare Myth #7:  “I Don’t Have Sensitive Skin”

    I’ve always heard friends describe their skin as “sensitive” and just figured that I had lucked out because my skin has never really had any major reaction to anything and I don’t suffer from allergies.  However, in reality, this means that my skin is just a bit better at covering up and internalizing aggravators, and that harmful, sensitizing ingredients are inflicting just as much damage—damage that perhaps will show up as I get older instead of manifesting itself in a rash right now.  Of course, there are skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea where skin is inherently more sensitive, but everyone’s skin is irritated by bad ingredients, regardless of whether you break out in hives or not.  This is why it’s so important to really understand what you’re putting on your skin.



    I hope you find this information helpful, but it’s really important to note that you should absolutely always DO YOU.  If you’ve used a foaming cleanser or a mineral oil product for years and are convinced it works for you, then by all means, keep calm and carry on with it.  As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this list is based upon my own research, my consultations with dermatologists and my experience testing products on my own skin.  However, you should definitely make your own mind up about what’s best for you in consultation with your dermatologist.

     

     

     


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    Mary Orton wears a velvet self portrait dress with a black peplum leather jacket, chloe waist belt, stuart weitzman booties, and victoria beckham top handle box bagFashion Blogger twirls in a self portrait velvet skirt, Stuart Weitzman Cling booties, and Victoria Beckham top handle box bagDRESS: Self Portrait (love this affordable midi skirt version and this beauty as well!) |  JACKET: Rebecca Taylor  (similar HERE)  |  SHOES: Stuart Weitzman (similar HERE)  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BELT: Chloe (affordable alternative HERE)  |  EARRINGS: Alexis Bittar


    First off, I have to say that I am SO grateful for all of your emails, DMs and comments about yesterday’s skincare post.  I’m thrilled that you found it helpful, and can’t wait to share many more!


    I wore this two-tone velvet Self Portrait dress (yes, dress! not skirt!) to the Self Portrait show and since February fashion week can never come without the influx of bizarre weather conditions (it was roughly 35 degrees and pouring rain), I got creative with layering both underneath and on top.  If you check out the dress here, you can see that it’s got a LOT going on, and yet it still looks refined and beautiful.  Self Portrait has that rare ability to basically incorporate everything but the kitchen sink into a design (i.e. pleats, lace, and not one, but TWO different colors of velvet) and then look at the end product and be like, yup, it definitely needs moreLet’s add RUFFLES.  Witchcraft.


    NYC fashion blogger Mary Orton wears a blue green velvet midi dress, black peplum leather jacket, top handle box bag, and retro sunglassesSelf Portrait blue and green ruffle velvet midi dress and Chloe waist belt Mary Orton of Memorandum wears velvet midi dress, black peplum jacket, retro sunglasses, black booties, and top handle bag in the rain with an umbrella in NYC Mary Orton wears velvet leather dress, peplum jacket, and black booties in NYC Fashion weekSelf Portrait Midi Dress and Black booties in the rain in NYC

    DRESS: Self Portrait (love this affordable midi skirt version and this beauty as well!) |  JACKET: Rebecca Taylor  (similar HERE)  |  SHOES: Stuart Weitzman (similar HERE)  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BELT: Chloe (affordable alternative HERE)  |  EARRINGS: Alexis Bittar


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    If I had a nickel for every time Rich told me roughly 45 minutes ahead of time that he had invited people over to our place for drinks, well, Jeff Bezos would not be the richest person in the world.  Don’t get me wrong, we both (myself very much included!) absolutely love to entertain, but given my husband’s affinity for extremely last minute soirées, we’ve developed an arsenal of key pieces to have on hand for pulling off the perfect cocktail party in a pinch.  Below, I’m breaking down the nine key serving pieces you need so that all that’s left to do is a five-minute run to the corner grocery for some cheese, veggies and hummus.  Oh, and get booze.  It’s generally bad form to invite people over for cocktails and not serve any actual cocktails.





    1.  Chip and Dip

    We received this Nambé chip and dip set as a wedding gift, and it’s been one of the most heavily-used items in our line-up of serveware pieces when entertaining.  I’m such a huge fan of Nambé’s sleek designs and amazing quality (these pieces still look brand new!) so I’ve bought several additional pieces since our wedding.  Chief among them is this Nambé scoop server from Macy’s because let’s face it, the more dips the merrier.  Both sets are perfect for chips and salsa, hummus and veggies, spinach and artichoke dip, you name it.





    2.  Cheeseboard

    Another must-have staple to have on hand.  Who doesn’t love a little cheese and cracker action?  This cheeseboard has a great built-in cheese knife, but I also love this one.





    3.  Serving Tray

    A serving tray is your entertaining jack-of-all-trades BFF.  Sometimes we serve drinks on it, sometimes we use it for serving hors d’oeuvres, and sometimes we play frisbee with it in the living room when the conversation gets stale.  It does all the things. Whether you need a place to rest bar tools, don’t know how else to serve and display your favorite pigs in a blanket, or are even looking for a chic centerpiece, get yourself a serving tray.





    4.  Small Serving Bowls

    I’m telling you, you can never have enough small serving bowls.  I’m addicted to Nambé and their beautiful pieces with subtle braiding details, so obviously had to go for the bowls that match my chip and dip because… have you met me?  They can hold nuts, dips, pita chips, candies, other small bites, everything.  I think I have at least 6 of these and I still always seem to be running out of them.





    5.  Wine Glasses

    Having cocktail glasses is always a plus, but when in a pinch you can totally use your everyday glasses for mixing a cocktail and no one will punch you in the face.  Wine on the other hand?  You just can’t hand company a glass of Pinot in the same glass that holds your morning O.J.  I have (and LOVE) these Riedel Vinum wine glasses because they’re top-notch quality crystal, but—plot twist—they’re one of the few crystal wine glasses that are DISHWASHER SAFE.  [Insert all of the praise hands emojis here.]





    6.  Barware Set (+ wine openers and bottle openers!)

    Pro tip: If you’re throwing a party and buying a bunch of booze, best to make sure you can actually open aforementioned booze.  This rabbit wine opener was another wedding gift and completely removes the awkward red-faced grunting that typically accompanies trying to muscle open wine bottles.  More recently, I got this barware set from Macy’s that has all of the other cocktail party necessities—knife, bottle opener, double jigger (aka fancy shot glass), strainer (hellooooo dirty martinis), and shaker.





    7.  Cocktail Napkins

    If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that my love for tacky cocktail napkins knows no bounds.  I also love a good cocktail napkin holder like this beauty from Michael Aram.  It adds a little flare to the spread and also prevents napkins from sliding all over the place.





    8.  Coasters

    God help the soul that puts a glass down in my parents’ house without a coaster.  I’m telling you, my mother will nose dive, using her body as a human shield lest one drop of liquid touch any horizontal surface in our home.  Of course, now that I’m low-key adulting and have furniture that I actually care about, well… turns out the apple doesn’t fall suuuuuper far from the tree.  Also, how cute are these Kate Spade coasters?  Just take my money already.





    9.  Appetizer Plates

    Trust me, appetizer plates are KEY.  Here’s why:  if you’re serving any dips or appetizers that involve sauces and also care about your carpeting and/or upholstered furniture, for the love of guacamole, make sure you have appetizer plates at the ready.  When guests are forced to awkwardly reach across a table and plunge that celery stick into a vat of sloppy dip without the safety net of an appetizer plate, odds are 50% of that slopfest is landing somewhere other than their mouth.




     

    Thanks to Macy’s and ShopStyle for partnering on this post!

     


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  • 02/25/18--19:13: Monday Memo No. 6

  • My Favorite Everyday Lip Color (That’s Super Moisturizing!)

    I’ve shared this many times in the past, but my favorite everyday lip color is the Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick that is listed in My Beauty Routine Post.  I constantly get asked about it on social media and get so excited by DMs and emails from readers who have purchased it and become as addicted as I am.  My favorite color is Plum Perfect, but they make a ton of fantastic colors and it’s just the best, most moisturizing, flattering lip color.  It definitely isn’t billed as a lip-plumping product, but perhaps just because it’s so incredibly hydrating, it always seems to have a plumping effect.  Love love love.



    Clear Plastic Bathroom Organizers

    I just bought these clear plastic containers to organize a large medicine cabinet in my bathroom and I don’t know what in the world I was doing for so long without them.  They allow me to organize boxes of cold medicine, eye drops, makeup products—you name it—without living in fear every time I open the cabinet that 28 things are going to fall out.  There are lots of different sizes, and they also stack which makes them amazing for organizing things like lip products or eyeliners because you can get additional storage space and still see everything through the clear plastic.



    Favorite Bags For Working Women

    I always get asked about my favorite work/travel bags (I think I got at least a dozen DMs this week alone), and these Senreve beauties continue to top the list for me.  I’ve posted about them before in this post which features their Mini Maestra bag, but am going to do another post on the full-size Maestra bag which will be my companion on our trip this week to the west coast.  They’re amazing quality, they have a laptop sleeve and tons of other amazing pockets to keep you organized, they don’t LOOK like a stereotypical work bag at all, plus you can wear them FOUR different ways (satchel, tote, crossbody, and backpack).  Highly recommend.



    Where To Buy Funny Cocktail Napkins

    If you missed yesterday’s post on the 9 essential serving pieces to pull off the perfect cocktail party, definitely check it out here!  Many of you know that I’m a sucker for a cheeky cocktail napkin, and I’ve gotten lots of questions about where I find them.  I often spot them randomly in little boutiques and home goods stores, but the selections at Sur La Table and Bed Bath and Beyond are fantastic.  I just ordered these.



    Beautiful, Affordable Spring Clothing

    As mentioned, Rich and I are headed to Palm Springs and Los Angeles this week for work so (naturally) I had to order a few warm weather clothing options for the trip.  I was completely enamored with the current Michael Michael Kors collection at Net-A-Porter which has SUCH beautiful pieces at incredibly reasonable price points.  I ordered this striped shirt dress which is one of those versatile travel pieces that works just as perfectly in a business casual setting as it does on a sunny patio for lunch or happy hour with friends.  Can’t wait to wear it!




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  • 02/28/18--16:59: Packing For Palm Springs
  • TOP: Tibi (also love this gingham top!)  | WIDE LEG PANTS: Milly (affordable alternative HERE)  |  DENIM JACKET: Treasure & Bond  |  STRAW BAG: Clare V. (also love THIS ONE)  |  SLIDES: old, similar HERE and HERE  |  BELT: Halogen

    Work has brought us to the west coast this week and I have to say I’m thrilled for the excuse to escape the dreary NYC weather.  Today, I’m wearing these white wide leg pants and this pretty gingham top which I spotted in Nordstrom’s Getaway Guide.  Both pieces seemed perfect for a professional daytime ensemble in sunny Palm Springs, and comfortable to boot.  As things cool off, I have this denim jacket at the ready, which is one of my favorite finds of late.  The wash and cut is perfect and the denim material has an amazing softness without losing its shape.  For under $80, it doesn’t get much better.




    I also packed this perfect striped Rails shirt which will be great for lazy moments by the pool or buttoned-up and tucked into these bermuda shorts. I am all about the bermuda short length going into spring and summer, and can’t wait to wear them dressed up with heels and a blazer for a business casual ensemble.  I also packed this off-shoulder sweater dress which is another adorable (and affordable!) find from Nordstrom’s Getaway Guide which proved to be my one-stop-shop when prepping for the trip.


    If you’re headed anywhere warm soon, check more of my favorites below!

     

    TOP: Tibi (also love this gingham top!)  | WIDE LEG PANTS: Milly (affordable alternative HERE)  |  DENIM JACKET: Treasure & Bond  |  STRAW BAG: Clare V. (also love THIS ONE)  |  SLIDES: old, similar HERE and HERE  |  BELT: Halogen

    Thanks to Nordstrom and ShopStyle for partnering on this post!


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  • 02/12/18--10:36: Monday Memo No. 4

  • FAVORITE QUINOA BOWL RECIPE

    We eat quite a lot of quinoa in our house and are always making big bowls of it with favorite roasted veggies and other accoutrements.  However, thanks to Liz Adams, I’ve found the holy grail quinoa bowl recipe.  TRUST.  My only preferred tweak is goat cheese instead of feta.  I made extra of everything last weekend and it was perfect to refrigerate and grab throughout the week for lunch.  SO. GOOD.



    WEATHERPROOF SPRAY FOR LEATHER SHOES AND BOOTS

    I’ve shared this leather protector spray on instastories and here on the blog before but it continues to be one of my most frequently asked questions.  I spray it on all of my leather shoes to make sure that rain, snow, and salt don’t cause damage and I have to say, it was especially handy over the last couple days of pouring rain during New York Fashion Week!



    FAQ:  DO YOU TAILOR ALL OF YOUR CLOTHES?

    I get this question constantly, and the answer is not at all.  I get some special items tailored (i.e. timeless blazers, dressy pants that need the length let out, etc.) and I’ll also get special occasion wear tailored from time to time.  However, the vast majority of things I wear everyday (i.e. most of what you see here on Memorandum) is not tailored.  I’m a stickler for well-fitting clothing, so make clothing selections carefully, and whenever something doesn’t fit perfectly, I’ll often cinch things in with a waist belt.  Last week I did a post on all of my favorite waist belts and why I’m constantly wearing them, and this is a major reason!  I’m quite tall, so whenever the waistline is cut a little too high or too loose on me, I’m always adding a waistbelt to make things “look” tailored, without having to go to the actual trouble.



    EARRING MANIA

    Before fashion week started the team at Baublebar let me pick out favorites from their latest collection and it was definitely one of those “I’LL TAKE ONE OF EVERYTHING” moments because their new arrivals are off the charts.  I got tons of questions and compliments on this pair which is officially one of my favorite pairs of ALL TIME.  As discussed in the past, oversized studs and sculptural earrings are my all-time favorite earring style so I’m thrilled that they happen to be majorly on trend right now.  I also wore this pair last Thursday (which comes in a cool set with both silver and gold options!), this pair yesterday and I have this pair (in tortoise) in my shopping cart.  Can not get enough.



    FAVORITE WIRELESS BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES

    Funny enough, this is a question I get whenever I instastory from the gym where you’ll see me always wearing one of two pairs of wireless bluetooth headphones.  Rich and I both have a pair of these wireless headphones which we ordered from Amazon months back and absolutely love them.  They’re water resistant so you don’t have to worry about getting sweaty, they have a really long-lasting battery life (8 hours), the sound quality is excellent, they have a microphone so you can take calls on them, and best part?  They’re only $20!  I also personally really like having the earhooks when working out (as opposed to my Jaybird wireless headphones which I also love!) because they provide so much more stability when I’m running, jumping, etc.  I never have to worry about them falling out during my workout.  I keep the Jaybird pair in my bag for using on my commute, at the office, etc. when I want something a little less conspicuous.



    Feature Image: Savor Home Blog


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    Fashion blogger attends NYFW wearing gingham belted jacket, ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bagFashion blogger attends NYFW wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie

    JACKET: McQ Alexander Mcqueen (also love THIS affordable version)  |  SKIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE, and HERE)  |  BOOTS: Stuart Weitzman (similar affordable alternative HERE) |  HAT: Brixton  |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (love THIS affordable alternative)

    Only a few more days left of fashion week, and this was the look I sported to shows on Sunday during the onslaught of rain here in NYC that seemed to pick up only at the critical moments where I absolutely had to be outside going to the next show or presentation.  Hence the drowned-rat hair effect.


    Nevertheless, this belted gingham Alexander McQueen jacket and Roksanda knit midi skirt withstood the elements and were super fun pieces to wear.  If you’re new around here or perhaps haven’t noticed, I always include links to affordable alternatives in the text links section at the top and bottom of each post whenever I’m wearing something pricey.  I always want to make sure that regardless of your budget, you can still get the look.  Exhibit A: this super cute gingham blazer (under $200) which could easily be belted over this ivory skirt for a very similar outfit at a fraction of the price.


    Fashion blogger Mary Orton at new york fashion week wearing a gingham belted jacket, ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hatNYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bagNYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, top handle box bag


    As mentioned in yesterday’s Monday Memo, the earrings at Baublebar right now are off the charts.  I’ve been hoarding sculptural earrings in droves over the past year, and I don’t plan on letting up anytime soon.  Whether you’re dressing for fashion week or a casual get together with friends, statement earrings like these completely make the outfit.  I often wear a simple pair of jeans and sweater with these beauties and a red a lip, and despite being quite simply and casually dressed, the earrings add interest and do all the talking.


    NYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bagStreet style fashion blogger at NYFW wearing gingham blazer, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman stretch suede booties, sculptural earrings NYWF street style fashion blogger wearing gingham belted jacket, ivory ribbed midi skirt, baker boy hat, stuart weitzman cling stretch bootie, top handle box bag

    JACKET: McQ Alexander Mcqueen (also love THIS affordable version)  |  SKIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE, and HERE)  |  BOOTS: Stuart Weitzman (similar affordable alternative HERE) |  HAT: Brixton  |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (love THIS affordable alternative)


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    Mary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears perfect workwear classics of pinstripe wite-leg suit, color block black and camel coat, oversized black sunglasses

    PANTS: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE and HERE)  |  SHIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE and HERE)  |  COAT: Cedric Charlier (sold out, similar HERE and HERE )  |  BAG: Mark Cross (affordable alternative HERE and HERE) |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar (also love THESE)

    These classic pinstripe coordinates were another favorite get-up from fashion week and I have to say, the inexplicable mood-boosting effect a sleek pinstripe has on my psyche almost entirely made up for the fact that it was -800 degrees out and my creative styling skills proved inadequate when trying to rationalize the wearing of a puffer snowsuit as a chic, unexpected fashion week ensemble.


    In my book, you can never have too much of this timeless menswear-inspired print in your closet, especially when it comes to your work wardrobe.  Below I’ve rounded up all of my favorite pinstripe pieces whether you’re looking for a sleek pair of trousers to wear to the office or a killer dress for a special occasion.  When in doubt, wear pinstripes.



    Mary Orton of Fashion Blog Memorandum wears pinstripe pant suit with a camel over coat  


    PANTS: Roksanda (similar HERE, HERE and HERE)  |  SHIRT: Roksanda (similar HERE and HERE)  |  COAT: Cedric Charlier (sold out, similar HERE and HERE )  |  BAG: Mark Cross (affordable alternative HERE and HERE) |  EARRINGS: BaubleBar (also love THESE)


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  • 02/19/18--17:52: Monday Memo No. 5
  •  

    Elemis Superfood Skincare

    I’m thrilled to report that my first big skincare post will be published on the blog this Wednesday, so get AMPED.  I’m super excited to share some of my research and learnings breaking down a lot of the marketing nonsense around skincare, but you’ll have to tune in on Wednesday for the goods.  In the interim, I wanted to share that Elemis just launched their new Superfood product range which I am SO EXCITED to try.  I’ve shared the Elemis Superfood Facial Oil here on the blog and on social about 200 times because it’s been my absolute favorite face oil for years now.  Due to its popularity, Elemis decided to expand it into an entire Superfood range which now includes a facial wash, a day cream and a night cream.  I just got mine in the mail, and will report back!



    Where I get my hair done in NYC

    Since posts on instagram and insta stories always get lost and forgotten, I wanted to memorialize my answer to this frequently asked question here.  I get my hair cut and colored at Fourteenjay Salon in Tribeca.  I can not say enough good things about this salon.  The spa-like ambiance, the friendliest service, the impeccable attention to detail and (most importantly) the absolute best-in-class hair colorists and stylists.  Their motto of “beautiful color begins with healthy hair” rings true in everything they do and I can’t recommend them highly enough.  I will be naming my first-born child Fourteenjay.



    How to Reduce Technology-Induced Eye Strain

    I randomly stumbled upon these glasses on Shopbop and since I spend all day staring at either a computer or an iPhone screen, I thought I’d give them a try.  You can read the complete details here, but in a nutshell, you can wear these glasses at your desk or anytime you plan to be staring at a screen (computer, tablet or mobile device) for an extended period of time.  They reduce up to 30% of blue light emissions that cause eye strain, headaches, and disruptive sleep (hellooooo insomnia!).  I’ve been keeping them at my desk and using them constantly over the last couple weeks and have noticed a huge difference.



    The Perfect Layering Tee, Made Even Better

    Despite trying a million and one different “basic tees” over the years, the J. Crew perfect shirt continues to be my go-to.  I’ve been doing a little spring-cleaning closet purge, and every year I seem to throw out a million of the same cheap layering tees and basics that I snatch up from discount retailers.  I’m always lured by the idea that buying a basic white t-shirt shouldn’t cost more than $25, despite the fact that these tees almost invariably fail to live through their second washing without stretching out or getting a weird, warbled neckline.  J. Crew perfect t-shirts are the exception.  They look brand-spankin’ new after every wash, year after year so I was ecstatic to find that they’ve updated the silhouette to now include a slightly longer sleeve.  I’m always laying this t-shirt under blazers and as you can see here, the extra few inches on the sleeve makes it especially perfect for the office.



    My Breakfast MVP

    I’m always surprised by how frequently I get asked what I eat for breakfast.  Funny enough, I always thought my go-to breakfast was pretty unusual, but in the last several months I’ve been seeing it pop up everywhere—bloggers, celebrities, you name it—everyone is obsessed with GG Scandinavian Crispbread.  I discovered these bread-cracker hybrids when I was living in Copenhagen for a semester in college and many of the Danish girls I lived with ate them every morning.  They’re low calorie, low carb, super high in fiber and while they’re about as bland as cardboard on their own, they are an amazing foundation for healthy deliciousness you can pile on top.  Lately, my go-to combinations have been the following:


    OPTION 1: GG Crispbread, Smashed Avocado, Spritz of Lemon Juice, Drizzle of Sriracha


    OPTION 2: GG Crispbread, Almond Butter, Sliced Bananas, Drizzle of Honey


    They are larger than a cracker but smaller than a piece of bread (about 2.5″ x 3.5″) so I eat two of them in the morning piled high with my favorite accoutrements and I stay super full all morning.  I typically get the plain bran flavor, but also love the raisin and honey as well.

     

     


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  • 02/20/18--18:29: Classic Red Sheath Dress
  • Mary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears a shoshanna short-sleeve red sheath dress, black gucci shoulder bag, and black oversized cat-eye sunglasses

    DRESS: Shoshanna (sold out, similar HERE, HEREand HERE)  |  SHOES: Jimmy Choo (sold out, similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BAG: Gucci (sold out, similar HERE)  |  SUNGLASSES: Le Specs


    When all of your friends are enjoying the long President’s Day weekend and you have to head into the office Monday morning, it takes a little extra something to get out the door.  Yesterday’s antidote to my why-the-&$%@-don’t-we-take-President’s-Day-off blues was this mood-boosting red sheath dress.  It did the trick because (a) it’s no secret that I have an addiction to all things red, but (b) I’ve been binge-watching Grace and Frankie and June Diane Raphael’s character (i.e. my spirit animal) seems to be wearing a killer red sheath-red lip combo in every other episode.  So, wearing this ensemble successfully distracted me from the fact that I was heading into the office on a rainy holiday as I replayed all of her inappropriate jokes in my head.  (She doesn’t even have to open her mouth in that show to have me ROLLING on the floor.)  If you would also like to channel your inner Brianna Hanson and/or you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about and just have an affinity for scarlet-hued frocks, I’ve rounded up more of my favorites below for your perusing pleasure…

    Mary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears a shoshanna short-sleeve classic red dress, jimmy choo mary jane pumps, black gucci shoulder bag, and black oversized cat-eye sunglassesMary Orton of fashion blog memorandum wears a shoshanna short-sleeve red sheath dress, jimmy choo mary jane pumps, black gucci shoulder bag, and black oversized cat-eye sunglasses

    DRESS: Shoshanna (sold out, similar HERE, HEREand HERE)  |  SHOES: Jimmy Choo (sold out, similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BAG: Gucci (sold out, similar HERE)  |  SUNGLASSES: Le Specs


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    When preparing for standardized testing in school, do you remember how everyone used to say, when in doubt, choose letter C?   Someone, somewhere, decided that option C was more likely than A, B or D to be the right answer, and millions of adolescents (myself included!) blindly followed suit.  Of course, this is utter nonsense, but I’d like to think that the kid who started this myth grew up to be the Chief Marketing Officer for a major skincare brand.


    Most people (myself included!) do not have time to dissect the ingredient list of skincare products and understand, for example, exactly what level of salicylic acid a product must contain to be effective in the treatment of acne.  Most of us are blindly guessing when it comes to our skincare products but unlike staring at a row of lettered bubbles of equal size and color on a standardized test, we’re staring at rows of beautifully packaged products with mesmerizing words like “anti-aging,” “nourishing,” “wrinkle-reducing,” or “skin-clearing.”  How do you know which products present the right solutions to your unique skincare challenges and which are just smoke and mirrors?


    About nine months ago, a friend and I were in my bathroom looking at the line-up of skincare products next to my sink and she began asking questions about the products that I was using.  I had feeble answers for most of them—this one contains SPF because… sun damage!  This one contains retinol because… wrinkles!  The act of having to actually articulate the rationale behind my skincare routine was startling.  My knowledge of products and ingredients was precarious at best and even more concerning was my understanding (or lack thereof) of how each product properly fits into a well-constructed skincare regimen.  Can I use a Vitamin C serum with a retinol?  Should I apply face oils before or after my night moisturizer?  In the sea of marketing gimmicks, skincare buzzwords and one-off endorsements of “miracle” products, how do you discern the real efficacy of a product and exactly how you should incorporate it into your skincare routine?


    That moment was a bit of a wake-up call for me so I began diving deep into the science of skincare and have learned a ton in the last many months.  Starting with today’s post, I’m excited to begin sharing some of my learnings with you, in hopes of creating skincare guides that are practical, digestible and no-nonsense.  After months of research, interviewing dermatologists and pouring over scientific reports, I thought I would kick things off today with the seven skincare myths that I believe will surprise you as many of the things in this list are in direct opposition to what many skincare brands market to consumers.  All of the below information has been verified not only by scientific reports but also by an extremely well-respected board-certified dermatologist who has been practicing for over 25 years.  This dermatologist asked to remain anonymous for professional reasons, which I gladly respected, especially in exchange for his candor on these topics.


    Having said that, it’s important to note that I am not a dermatologist nor am I a physician of any kind.  You should absolutely consult your own doctors when making decisions about your health and skincare regimen as there is a lot of conflicting research out there about the efficacy of certain products and ingredients.  What works for one person may not work for the next, so it’s important to do your own research based upon your own unique skin characteristics.  I hope that the information I share from my research and product testing will simply offer one perspective in the quest to find what’s best for you.


    Without further ado, I give you (in no particular order) my top seven skincare myths:


    Shocking skincare myths


     

    Skincare Myth #1:  Foaming Cleansers Are Good For Your Skin

    This one shocked me.  We’ve been conditioned to believe that the presence of suds or foam is an indication of a cleanser “working” but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In order for a facial cleanser to foam like shaving cream, it must contain a surfactant.  Surfactants turn your skin alkaline, creating a breeding ground for bacteria (hello, acne).  If you have acne-prone skin, you should especially avoid foaming cleansers like the plague, despite the fact that many foaming cleansers are specifically marketed to people suffering from acne.  To be clear, I’ve read that there are a few companies who have managed to formulate foaming cleansers with a low pH (i.e. acidic and anti-bacterial), but this is rare and most don’t publish the actual pH of their products on the bottle.  So, the safest bet is to avoid foaming cleansers altogether, unless you’re interested in independently testing the pH of your cleanser at home.



    Skincare Myth #2:  Natural or Organic is Always Better

    This is another super controversial one.  In the movement to eliminate harmful chemicals from the food we eat and many other everyday products, the terms “natural” and “organic” are now widely abused by marketers in an attempt to mislead.  Just because something is natural or organic does NOT mean it is good for your skin.  In fact, there are lots of natural and organic ingredients like mineral oils and certain fragrances that cause serious skin irritation, break down collagen and cause a whole host of other skin issues.  Furthermore, in discussing this with dermatologists, I was amazed to learn that in fact, there are many ingredients developed by scientists (i.e. neither natural nor organic) which are much more potent and effective for skin than natural or organic ingredients.  Of course, there are TONS of natural and organic ingredients that are fantastic, but the main takeaway here is to never simply buy a skincare product because it’s touted as “all-natural” or “organic” AND don’t ever blindly reject another product because it isn’t.  Take a step further and do your due diligence on the ingredients and proven efficacy of the product. 



    Skincare Myth #3:  Rub Product Between Your Hands

    Labels often instruct you to rub the product between your hands before applying, but according to dermatologists, there are virtually no products on the market that actually require you to rub or warm the product in your hands to prepare or “activate” the ingredients.  In most cases, this is completely unnecessary and totally wasteful, as a large amount of the product will be distributed across your palms and absorbed into your hands.  According to marketing studies, this is typically included in product instructions because consumers become more attached to products that involve these types of “ritual” steps.  Nutty.



    Skincare Myth #4:  No Pain, No Gain


    I used to think that a burning sensation following the use of a particularly abrasive facial scrub meant that I had really done a good job of removing dead skin cells.  Like many people, I would also feel the tingling sensation of various skin care products or exfoliants and believe the idea that “you can FEEL it working.”  In most cases, this is false.  According to dermatologists, if you’re in pain or experiencing a burning sensation, you’re likely damaging your skin.  You can thoroughly and effectively exfoliate your skin without causing pain.  



    Skincare Myth #5:  A High SPF Protects You From The Sun

    We all know that Vitamin D is best-obtained through supplements rather than unprotected sun exposure, but there’s a lot of misleading information about sunscreen, specifically what SPF means and how much we need.  To start, it’s important to understand that the sun’s damaging UV radiation is comprised of both UVA and UVB rays.  While most creams and sprays offering sun protection often prominently display their SPF levels, most people don’t realize that SPF only measures protection against UVB rays, and doesn’t measure protection against UVA rays at all.  Moreover, UVA rays don’t cause sunburn—UVB rays do—so by preventing sunburn, products touting high SPF can lead you to believe you’ve been protected from the sun, meanwhile, UVA damage is occurring without leaving any skin-reddening signs.  In reality, UVA rays are extremely damaging because they are a longer wavelength and penetrate more deeply into the skin.  In fact, UVA rays are more responsible for photoaging and are also the primary ray responsible for the development of melanoma.  To prevent against both UVA and UVB rays, you should buy sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and at most 50 (anything claiming an SPF of above 50 is not actually offering any incremental sun protection) AND make sure it also contains UVA-protecting ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and oxybenzone.  Products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays are often called broad spectrum, multi-spectrum, or specifically indicate UVA/UVB protection, so make sure you keep an eye out for those on the label.



    Skincare Myth #6:  Mineral Oil Is Good For Your Skin

    This is mentioned briefly above, but mineral oil is terrible for your skin and should always be avoided.  Thankfully, mineral oil isn’t included in moisturizers as often as it once was, but I still see it often enough to feel it warranted mentioning in this list.  Mineral oil is a proven comedogenic (i.e. pore-clogging) and unlike plant oils, it offers no benefits to the skin.  However, since we often associate the words “mineral” and “oil” with other healthy, beneficial things (like “mineral water” or “facial oils”) it can be confusing to remember that mineral oil itself is bad for your skin.



    Skincare Myth #7:  “I Don’t Have Sensitive Skin”

    I’ve always heard friends describe their skin as “sensitive” and just figured that I had lucked out because my skin has never really had any major reaction to anything and I don’t suffer from allergies.  However, in reality, this means that my skin is just a bit better at covering up and internalizing aggravators, and that harmful, sensitizing ingredients are inflicting just as much damage—damage that perhaps will show up as I get older instead of manifesting itself in a rash right now.  Of course, there are skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea where skin is inherently more sensitive, but everyone’s skin is irritated by bad ingredients, regardless of whether you break out in hives or not.  This is why it’s so important to really understand what you’re putting on your skin.



    I hope you find this information helpful, but it’s really important to note that you should absolutely always DO YOU.  If you’ve used a foaming cleanser or a mineral oil product for years and are convinced it works for you, then by all means, keep calm and carry on with it.  As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this list is based upon my own research, my consultations with dermatologists and my experience testing products on my own skin.  However, you should definitely make your own mind up about what’s best for you in consultation with your dermatologist.

     

     

     


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    Mary Orton wears a velvet self portrait dress with a black peplum leather jacket, chloe waist belt, stuart weitzman booties, and victoria beckham top handle box bagFashion Blogger twirls in a self portrait velvet skirt, Stuart Weitzman Cling booties, and Victoria Beckham top handle box bagDRESS: Self Portrait (love this affordable midi skirt version and this beauty as well!) |  JACKET: Rebecca Taylor  (similar HERE)  |  SHOES: Stuart Weitzman (similar HERE)  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BELT: Chloe (affordable alternative HERE)  |  EARRINGS: Alexis Bittar


    First off, I have to say that I am SO grateful for all of your emails, DMs and comments about yesterday’s skincare post.  I’m thrilled that you found it helpful, and can’t wait to share many more!


    I wore this two-tone velvet Self Portrait dress (yes, dress! not skirt!) to the Self Portrait show and since February fashion week can never come without the influx of bizarre weather conditions (it was roughly 35 degrees and pouring rain), I got creative with layering both underneath and on top.  If you check out the dress here, you can see that it’s got a LOT going on, and yet it still looks refined and beautiful.  Self Portrait has that rare ability to basically incorporate everything but the kitchen sink into a design (i.e. pleats, lace, and not one, but TWO different colors of velvet) and then look at the end product and be like, yup, it definitely needs moreLet’s add RUFFLES.  Witchcraft.


    NYC fashion blogger Mary Orton wears a blue green velvet midi dress, black peplum leather jacket, top handle box bag, and retro sunglassesSelf Portrait blue and green ruffle velvet midi dress and Chloe waist belt Mary Orton of Memorandum wears velvet midi dress, black peplum jacket, retro sunglasses, black booties, and top handle bag in the rain with an umbrella in NYC Mary Orton wears velvet leather dress, peplum jacket, and black booties in NYC Fashion weekSelf Portrait Midi Dress and Black booties in the rain in NYC

    DRESS: Self Portrait (love this affordable midi skirt version and this beauty as well!) |  JACKET: Rebecca Taylor  (similar HERE)  |  SHOES: Stuart Weitzman (similar HERE)  |  BAG: Victoria Beckham (similar affordable alternative HERE)  |  BELT: Chloe (affordable alternative HERE)  |  EARRINGS: Alexis Bittar


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    If I had a nickel for every time Rich told me roughly 45 minutes ahead of time that he had invited people over to our place for drinks, well, Jeff Bezos would not be the richest person in the world.  Don’t get me wrong, we both (myself very much included!) absolutely love to entertain, but given my husband’s affinity for extremely last minute soirées, we’ve developed an arsenal of key pieces to have on hand for pulling off the perfect cocktail party in a pinch.  Below, I’m breaking down the nine key serving pieces you need so that all that’s left to do is a five-minute run to the corner grocery for some cheese, veggies and hummus.  Oh, and get booze.  It’s generally bad form to invite people over for cocktails and not serve any actual cocktails.





    1.  Chip and Dip

    We received this Nambé chip and dip set as a wedding gift, and it’s been one of the most heavily-used items in our line-up of serveware pieces when entertaining.  I’m such a huge fan of Nambé’s sleek designs and amazing quality (these pieces still look brand new!) so I’ve bought several additional pieces since our wedding.  Chief among them is this Nambé scoop server from Macy’s because let’s face it, the more dips the merrier.  Both sets are perfect for chips and salsa, hummus and veggies, spinach and artichoke dip, you name it.





    2.  Cheeseboard

    Another must-have staple to have on hand.  Who doesn’t love a little cheese and cracker action?  This cheeseboard has a great built-in cheese knife, but I also love this one.





    3.  Serving Tray

    A serving tray is your entertaining jack-of-all-trades BFF.  Sometimes we serve drinks on it, sometimes we use it for serving hors d’oeuvres, and sometimes we play frisbee with it in the living room when the conversation gets stale.  It does all the things. Whether you need a place to rest bar tools, don’t know how else to serve and display your favorite pigs in a blanket, or are even looking for a chic centerpiece, get yourself a serving tray.





    4.  Small Serving Bowls

    I’m telling you, you can never have enough small serving bowls.  I’m addicted to Nambé and their beautiful pieces with subtle braiding details, so obviously had to go for the bowls that match my chip and dip because… have you met me?  They can hold nuts, dips, pita chips, candies, other small bites, everything.  I think I have at least 6 of these and I still always seem to be running out of them.





    5.  Wine Glasses

    Having cocktail glasses is always a plus, but when in a pinch you can totally use your everyday glasses for mixing a cocktail and no one will punch you in the face.  Wine on the other hand?  You just can’t hand company a glass of Pinot in the same glass that holds your morning O.J.  I have (and LOVE) these Riedel Vinum wine glasses because they’re top-notch quality crystal, but—plot twist—they’re one of the few crystal wine glasses that are DISHWASHER SAFE.  [Insert all of the praise hands emojis here.]





    6.  Barware Set (+ wine openers and bottle openers!)

    Pro tip: If you’re throwing a party and buying a bunch of booze, best to make sure you can actually open aforementioned booze.  This rabbit wine opener was another wedding gift and completely removes the awkward red-faced grunting that typically accompanies trying to muscle open wine bottles.  More recently, I got this barware set from Macy’s that has all of the other cocktail party necessities—knife, bottle opener, double jigger (aka fancy shot glass), strainer (hellooooo dirty martinis), and shaker.





    7.  Cocktail Napkins

    If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that my love for tacky cocktail napkins knows no bounds.  I also love a good cocktail napkin holder like this beauty from Michael Aram.  It adds a little flare to the spread and also prevents napkins from sliding all over the place.





    8.  Coasters

    God help the soul that puts a glass down in my parents’ house without a coaster.  I’m telling you, my mother will nose dive, using her body as a human shield lest one drop of liquid touch any horizontal surface in our home.  Of course, now that I’m low-key adulting and have furniture that I actually care about, well… turns out the apple doesn’t fall suuuuuper far from the tree.  Also, how cute are these Kate Spade coasters?  Just take my money already.





    9.  Appetizer Plates

    Trust me, appetizer plates are KEY.  Here’s why:  if you’re serving any dips or appetizers that involve sauces and also care about your carpeting and/or upholstered furniture, for the love of guacamole, make sure you have appetizer plates at the ready.  When guests are forced to awkwardly reach across a table and plunge that celery stick into a vat of sloppy dip without the safety net of an appetizer plate, odds are 50% of that slopfest is landing somewhere other than their mouth.




     

    Thanks to Macy’s and ShopStyle for partnering on this post!

     


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  • 02/26/18--17:38: Monday Memo No. 6

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    My Favorite Everyday Lip Color (That’s Super Moisturizing!)

    I’ve shared this many times in the past, but my favorite everyday lip color is the Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick that is listed in My Beauty Routine Post.  I constantly get asked about it on social media and get so excited by DMs and emails from readers who have purchased it and become as addicted as I am.  My favorite color is Plum Perfect, but they make a ton of fantastic colors and it’s just the best, most moisturizing, flattering lip color.  It definitely isn’t billed as a lip-plumping product, but perhaps just because it’s so incredibly hydrating, it always seems to have a plumping effect.  Love love love.



    Clear Plastic Bathroom Organizers

    I just bought these clear plastic containers to organize a large medicine cabinet in my bathroom and I don’t know what in the world I was doing for so long without them.  They allow me to organize boxes of cold medicine, eye drops, makeup products—you name it—without living in fear every time I open the cabinet that 28 things are going to fall out.  There are lots of different sizes, and they also stack which makes them amazing for organizing things like lip products or eyeliners because you can get additional storage space and still see everything through the clear plastic.



    Favorite Bags For Working Women

    I always get asked about my favorite work/travel bags (I think I got at least a dozen DMs this week alone), and these Senreve beauties continue to top the list for me.  I’ve posted about them before in this post which features their Mini Maestra bag, but am going to do another post on the full-size Maestra bag which will be my companion on our trip this week to the west coast.  They’re amazing quality, they have a laptop sleeve and tons of other amazing pockets to keep you organized, they don’t LOOK like a stereotypical work bag at all, plus you can wear them FOUR different ways (satchel, tote, crossbody, and backpack).  Highly recommend.



    Where To Buy Funny Cocktail Napkins

    If you missed yesterday’s post on the 9 essential serving pieces to pull off the perfect cocktail party, definitely check it out here!  Many of you know that I’m a sucker for a cheeky cocktail napkin, and I’ve gotten lots of questions about where I find them.  I often spot them randomly in little boutiques and home goods stores, but the selections at Sur La Table and Bed Bath and Beyond are fantastic.  I just ordered these.



    Beautiful, Affordable Spring Clothing

    As mentioned, Rich and I are headed to Palm Springs and Los Angeles this week for work so (naturally) I had to order a few warm weather clothing options for the trip.  I was completely enamored with the current Michael Michael Kors collection at Net-A-Porter which has SUCH beautiful pieces at incredibly reasonable price points.  I ordered this striped shirt dress which is one of those versatile travel pieces that works just as perfectly in a business casual setting as it does on a sunny patio for lunch or happy hour with friends.  Can’t wait to wear it!




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