From the Grind to Glamour: Surviving holiday festivities beautifully

Tis the season for family and friends, shopping and wrapping, cooking and, yes, eating, and all the other activities that fill up the months of November and December. There will be kids’ school programs, church functions, volunteer activities, office parties, neighborhood open houses and countless other events to attend. And, of course, these will all be in addition to your normal crazy schedule.

No doubt you will find yourself going from work or soccer practice or carpooling or housecleaning to social event without skipping a beat. Regardless of what your daily grind involves, you can glide into holiday event mode beautifully.

A little planning goes a long way. Think about the events you’ll be attending and check your schedule around them. If you know you’ll have to go straight from the office, pack a tote with the make-up and accessories you’ll need for the transition. Shop ahead of time for anything you’ll need to make your look work for you.

“The nude color palette is really big for daytime. Adding a little glitter will change your look 100 percent,” says Starley Murray, a high-demand speaker and nationally recognized producer, network news consultant and televised-image expert residing in San Antonio. Murray recommends starting with a light-diffusing under-eye cream. “Sensé light-diffusing eye cream is the best I’ve found,” she says.

“Your normal day can be exhausting, and it will show on your face. Give your skin some nourishment, and your lines will soften or disappear, leaving a fresh, youthful look,” Murray suggests. She recommends refreshing the entire face first. “An Evian face mister is great for dry skin. It dissipates surface oils while hydrating the skin as it evaporates. For oily skin, oil-blotting tissues or sheets will remove excess oils and surface contaminants without removing make-up.” Follow with a full-coverage powder applied with a professional chisel-dome brush.

Daytime to evening make-up

The bottom line is more color. “Use more color than you think you can handle,” says Murray. “Evening light is dimmer, so daytime nudes will look washed out. For lips, use something brighter that’s pearlized. Step up the intensity of your cheek color too. Use at least two shades deeper or richer than your daytime shade. Use a glittery eye shadow to add some sparkle. And remember — less is more. Use more color, not more product, and blend, blend, blend.”

Shimmer dust can add glamour, but, advises Murray, pick something and focus on it. “Dust sparingly. Pick shoulders, décolletage, cheeks OR legs, not all of the above,” she recommends.

Fast and chic hair transitions

For a special-occasion hairstyle, “do exactly the opposite of what you normally do,” says Murray. If you have long hair and normally wear it down, wear it up or slick it back. Hold it in place with a rhinestone or glittery clip or a fake flower. Hairpieces offer all kinds of options. “Have your stylist do a color match and style on your hairpiece. It’s a great test on just how good they are, and the really good ones will love the opportunity to show what they can do,” she says.

Shorter hair can be dressed up with crystal-accented bobby pins or a sheer, long headscarf tied in the back. And again, do something different. If you normally wear it full, slick it back into a smooth, chic style. If you normally wear it close to the head, use a styling gel or paste to give it fullness and definition. Glitter hair spray will dress up any style, but again, less is more.

The look

Take that basic black dress, or even blue jeans, to haute couture with the right accessories. “For holiday evening accessories, MORE is more and sparkly is better,” says Murray. “Start with one main central piece and work from that,” Murray suggests. “For example, start with fitted clothes then add a sheer blouse over them. There are lots of sheers available, some wrinkle free and some pre-crinkled, that you can stuff into a tote that you take to work. Then just take off the blazer or suit jacket and throw the sheer over it.”

You can use the same concept to go from jeans and sneakers to evening wear. “Just change to boots or heels, add a jeweled belt and an elegant duster, and you’ve got a look that will work,” says Murray.

Big, bold accessories make a statement. Brooches, this year’s fashion sensation, are extremely versatile. They can work as the focal point of your outfit, hold a sheer scarf in place, or dress up your upswept hair. Big clip-on earrings also make great scarf clips and can dress up plain shoes. Patterned stockings — another big fashion item this year — can add pizzazz to any dress or skirt. And to dress up plain stockings, try spraying lightly some of that glitter hair spray on your legs.

Murray believes that attitude is a huge part of stress-free and striking holiday glamour. “The younger crowd should think in terms of flirty, fun and young. More mature women should think sassy, sexy and sophisticated,” she advises.

Survival tactics

Sometimes no matter how well you plan and prepare, the holidays can overwhelm you. You eat too much or drink too much or just push yourself too hard. That’s when it’s time to pamper yourself.

“If you want to keep giving to others, you need to keep yourself in a healthy state,” says Kathy Thalman, owner of K.Charles & Co., a lifestyle salon and spa featuring products and services that promote a sense of well-being for you and your living environment. “Give to yourself so that you can give more to others,” she urges.

Thalman recommends a relaxing spa facial or pedicure to rejuvenate your sense of well-being. The K.Charles & Co.’s new Caribbean Therapy spa treatments “embrace you in the healing feel of Caribbean mountains, sun, sea and air, reconnecting you to the earth and yourself with the power of touch and the life force of island-sourced plants.” Wow. Put that on my Christmas list.

K.Charles & Co. gift certificates also make the perfect gift for any woman on your list. “Women will spend money on themselves for the standard maintenance services such as a haircut and color. They view it as a necessity,” says Thalman. “But most women will not indulge themselves with a spa facial or pedicure. A gift certificate will allow that extra pampering that they deserve.”

A facial can revive your skin and your spirits. Most day spas and many salons offer a basic facial that generally includes cleansing, toning, exfoliation, facial mask and massage and moisturizing. If finding time for a full facial is a challenge, try Folawn’s Refreshing Facial. You’ll get a refreshing cleansing, toning and hydrating facial in half the time of a standard facial.

If you really overindulged, the Detox Seaweed Treatment at Jeanette’s Hair and Spa could work wonders, according to Anissa White. “Seaweed helps cleanse the system by increasing the body’s temperature, activating the natural process that eliminates toxins and impurities,” she explains.Patricia’s Day Spa, now in its newly constructed facility in Oakwell Farms, offers a full array of spa services to revitalize you or anyone on your gift list — before, during or after the holidays.

For overall relaxation in a short time — and for very little money — try the De-Stress Express at Academy for Massage Therapy Training. This educational and training facility gives students the opportunity to learn the techniques while you get great treatment under the tutelage of the instructors. The De-Stress Express is a two-hour package that includes an herbal whirlpool bath, a 1-1/4-hour massage and a European minifacial with moist heat pack treatment for just $59.

Spa packages also make great holiday gifts for the woman or man who seemingly has everything. The elegant Watermark Spa in the Watermark Hotel on the River Walk offers spa packages that are nothing short of a mini-vacation. “The Girls’ Day Out Spa Package is a great way to recharge,” says Beth Ticku, Watermark director of marketing. “This half-day package includes two spa treatments from the package menu options and lunch at the rooftop cafe — a great way to revive and refresh in just a little time.”

The Watermark, a 17,000-square-foot world-class spa, offers over 50 different services, some complete with dinner at the Watermark’s signature restaurant, Pesca on the River. To make your gift-giving even easier, the Watermark offers valet parking while you run in to design your spa gift package or pick up your gift certificate. Create a custom gift package that includes a spa item such as a robe, eye gel packs or spa products from the boutique, along with a gift certificate. What better way to show someone how much you care than the gift of pampering and personal care?

This holiday season, go from the daily grind to glamour with a little planning, plenty of pampering and lots of pizzazz. And remember, it’s all about attitude.

Author: Julia Jones

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