Wednesday, December 21, 2011


If you're looking for some last minute stocking stuffers or just a great pair of fun, festive earrings that cost less than a chicken, check these out. I got them last week at Forever 21 and ever since then have been asked a) where I got them and b) were they really expensive. A lot of stuff from Forever 21 does look cheap but it's always rewarding when a $4.80 cent pair of earrings gets more praise than the $150 baubles. And being called "Sparkling Star Earrings", they were near and dear to my heart.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The holidays are a great time to up the elegant factor and one way to do that is with a long skirt. While everyone else will still be desperately clinging on to the short silhouetted mini dress, you can be the stand out. The longer the better. Pair it with a more casual top or cashmere sweater to keep it fresh.

Monday, December 5, 2011


You iPhone people are really starting to irritate me. First it was the cool apps, then it was the great camera, now it's the cool accessories. Enough already! Can't anyone make a snazzy cell phone case for the non Apple folk? (yes, I wanted one but I don't get reception where I live. Fine. I've said it!)
I am willing to put aside my petty phone envy and allow your phone to be even more coveted with these unbelievably chic, cell phone cases made of stingray. They come in different colors and would make any iPhone happy. Like it needs that.

Friday, December 2, 2011


If you're looking for some inspirational purchases this season beyond the boring, I mean, J.Crew, I mean, GAP, the usual, oops. Well, there. I've said it. Get outside your comfort zone this season. Check out Boston's LF Store on Newbury Street (or LA, NYC, Dallas, Miami locations) for some fun alternatives.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have come to the conclusion that I'm an a**hole. I came to this conclusion after reading one of Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP posts with quotes from people like Deepak Chopra about not judging people, and how, if you do, it really says more about you than them. We all tell this to our kids and while I agree it's an important message to spread around, I secretly believe that anyone who can't judge an idiotic thing someone says or does, has either had a lobotomy or is an idiot themselves. I mean, isn't judgement just another word for being discriminating? Don't you rely on being judgmental to pick a good mate? Make a good business decision? Pick out a great skirt? Judgement is helpful and even funny (would Dennis Leary even have a routine without judgement?) and even Santa is judging....all year long, or so I tell my kids. So judge away.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Are things really that bad in the fashion world that we need to resort to following Pippa Middleton for fashion trends? I'm not saying I don't love the Middletons, quite the contrary, but fashion, I'm afraid, is not really their strong suit. If inspiration is needed, please reference real fashion icons like Kate Moss, Blake Lively, Alexa Chung, Chloe Sevigny, Michelle Williams or even Victoria Beckham! Pippa may have the rear but the rest is rather....flat.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Remember when you were a kid and begged your mother to let you wear high heels? Chances are she gave you the standard-issue response, "You're too young; wait until you're older." It's good advice, but it could use some amending. How about....."You're too young. There will be a period of your life from maybe, 23 until 45, that you can, and should, teeter around in shoes that are impractical, overpriced, yet fabulous and sexy as hell. But after that (and this is the really important bit) YOU'RE TOO OLD FOR SUPER HIGH HEELS!!! I say this so emphatically because on a recent buying trip to Bergdorf's with a client, I witnessed gaggles of women in their late 50's to mid 60's hobbling around in 7" heels. That's right, SEVEN INCHES. It took everything I had not to approach the woman in this picture and say, "Ma'am, you really don't want to do this. Please take off those tranny shoes and let's go find you a sensible pair of 2" Ferragamos. If you won't do it for your arthritic ankles, do it for your grandchildren." Class is sexier anyway, so act your age, not your shoe size.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Tory Burch 
They're so back. Not that they ever completely left, but statement earrings are starting to reign again over the statement necklace. The bigger, longer, wider, the better. (Yes, we're still talking about earrings here.) Tory Burch, Prada, Missoni... they all showed them on the runways but you can get just as fabulous a pair at

Friday, November 18, 2011


Remember how you used to put any top, no matter how fancy, with your jeans and high heels and you felt perfectly dressed up/down? Yeah, well, we're all pretty sick of that look too but luckily there's a replacement. The denim shirt (I know you know this already but just in case....). If you're trying to modernize those dress pants or unfuss that tweed skirt or make that taffeta ballroom skirt casual, a denim shirt is your solution. Denim lives.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Ahhh the holidays. Parties. Dressing up. EATING. Sometimes the fashion doesn't quite coincide with the waistline but luckily with this Vince sparkle dress you can have both. Comfort and rockin' style. Music to my ears.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Check out more photos from this shoot at

Friday, November 11, 2011


It's been said that you should apply your foundation first, eyes second. The idea being that once you solved your complexion issues you might not need as much makeup on your eyes. But most women are slaves to habit and regardless of the state of their skin, they're applying the same amount/look on their eyes anyway. And no matter how careful you are with your shadows, they inevitably fall on your face. So, given this is the case, apply your eye makeup FIRST. I use this technique on models, brides and everyone in between. Saves time and creates a more flawless look. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


During a recent trip to Amsterdam, I became obsessed. Not with the architecture (which was charming) or the food (which was delish...hello fat jeans) but with the women. I could not stop staring, and then shooting, (with my camera), the women. Young, old, single, with kids, without, didn't matter. They possessed a quality that is unattainable through money, latest clothes or coolest haircut. They just look... happy. Effortless. Undone and yet perfectly put together at the same time.
I'll have what they're having.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Raymond McLaren
I got some serious words of wisdom yesterday while working alongside famed hairdresser, Raymond McLaren (Creative for Bumble and Bumble/ hair stylist for the covers of Vogue Italia, Vogue, Numero, Glamour, Elle, Spin, to name a few) during a 10 hour photo shoot. He was there for the shoot, as well as to mentor some very talented stylists at The Parlor Salon in Wellesley, and while technique was a big part of his lesson, so was his message. Be present, be confident, take a chance. It applies to hair, to makeup and certainly to life. It wasn't just his directive of "give me panda eyes!" that had me beaming, it was also his obvious love of the work and creative spirit that made a 10 hour day seem like 2. As soon as I get pictures from the shoot, I will share. In the meantime, if you're hankering for a new look his talented crew at The Parlor Salon in Wellesley can get you there.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I think most people think that once you've found a hairstyle that looks good on you, you should keep it. Forever. I am not one of those people. No matter how good something looks, at some point, it's got to change. Even if the change isn't flattering, it's still interesting because it's different.
I am personally in phase 1 of a 2 phase cut. It could be pretty horrendous when all is said and done (I am going for short, bangs, and layers the length of a matchbox) but hair boredom will be least for a few months anyway.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I have this freckle age spot that I am really getting tired of looking at. I inquired about doing laser to get rid of it but $2,000 is pure lunacy for a spot the size of a pin head nail head. I considered living with it but that option didn't really take hold either. So I am contemplating using hydroquinone which I absolutely abhor since it is a known, dangerous, (banned in Europe since 2001) skin bleaching agent which has been found to be a potential carcinogen (kidney failure, skin cancer, liver damage) and can also have a reverse effect by causing skin to actually darken instead! So what's a girl to do? I really want that spot gone!! Maybe if I use it only on that one spot, not on my entire face, I'm okay? And what if I order it from Canada where you can get a higher concentration (4% OTC as opposed to 2% OTC here in the U.S.) which means I can use it for less time? What? You're not buying it? Yeah. Maybe me neither.
But just in case.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I don't know if it's turning 40 that has me nostalgic for the good old days, not that most people would consider the 70's as a stellar decade (politics, style, etc) but that was the decade I was 8 in, so good old days it is. It has me craving things my mother wore, like these high heeled loafers (did your  mom wear them with a high waisted, A line denim skirt and seriously large lapeled shirt too?) as well as some drastic hair changes but we'll get to that another time. These shoes are solid and actually wearable and look great with a fuller legged pant or shorts and a boyfriend blazer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Sometimes little sisters can be a pain in the ass, but not this one. I just returned from Amsterdam and while the clogs were cute it was this fashion find that had me excited. Uterque (pronounced Ooterkay) is Zara's little sister line but the big difference is they carry super luxe leather goods at reasonable prices! Think mock-croc bags, caramel suede boots and oxford flats. Best part is, they have a website up and running. So check it out and see how cool this little sister is.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I'm not a fan of powder foundations. They make my skin look dry, wrinkled and dull. But I'm also not a fan of having unprotected skin, using chemicals on my skin or spending a lot of time getting ready when I'm just dropping kids off at school, so it's been a tradeoff. Quick, easy, protected, but dull.....until now. Just tested out Rodan+Fields ENHANCEMENTS Mineral Peptides foundation powder and shockingly (I'm a powder cynic) not only did I get out the door in 2 seconds but my skin looked amazing AND it was protected (20 non chemical SPF, oh yeah!) It's soft, sheer and undetectable.
If you're on the North Shore and want to get some for yourself, Sparkle readers have been invited to attend an open house at Sally Cioffi's house (3 Chanticleer Dr, Beverly, MA) on September 29th at 6:00 pm or September 30th starting at 8:00 am or order online from the link below.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Yes, I've mentioned deck shoes before but I'm mentioning them again because this summer I got turf toe (it's a football injury which I got by NOT playing football) which means...... I CAN'T WEAR HEELS!!!!!! Can you imagine? All summer long? NO HEELS. So, I have to be a bit more creative and fun in the flat shoe department. YMC snakeskin deck shoes!! Wear them with jeans, with shorts and jean shirt or even with a flirty skirt. Ssssssssssso cute.

Monday, September 19, 2011


There's simply no reason lack of technique should keep you from getting catty. How many times have you tried only to be out catty'd by your fellow friend, acquaintance, enemy? Well no more. Dior has come out with a kit you literally sticker on! No more perfect left eye but deranged right eye. No more wobbly lines or bare spots. No, this time you are the cattyest of all.  

Friday, September 16, 2011


Join me this Saturday, Sephora, CAMBRIDE SIDE GALLERIA from 12-6.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A friend of mine gave me a pair of pants like these a few years back and they're still rocking. I'm drooling over this color but all the colors work. Pair with flats, wedge booties or pointy toe heels and you're set. JBrand makes some great versions in fantastic colors, so does Rag & Bone. Go fetch!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I was recently thinking I may need to change Sparkle's name. Sparkle. It sounds sort of tacky now, right? I mean, I love Target, but when they started using the word in their advertising and InStyle Magazine plastered it all over their covers, it sort of lost its luster. But as soon as I got a look at these Miu Miu sparkle and suede boots for Fall, sparkle was immediately redeemed. Sparkle on.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Feeling generous today? All I need is $700. I know, a bit steep, but trust me when I tell you, I really, really, really love it and will wear it every day. Pretty much. Like, most of the time. I have been looking for this jacket for a while and the one I swooned over a few months ago was around $7,000, so really, I'm giving you a huge break. All you have to do is click that little donate button to the left.. see it? Further down. There it is! So pretty isn't it? Every little bit helps... so don't be shy. And hey! If you live close by I promise to let you borrow it. Sometimes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Raw talent and vision are the makings of a great jewelry designer. Throw in a legendary art education on top of it and you have Kasia Piechocka. I became aware of her work moments ago and am so intrigued and smitten with her work that regardless of how shoddy this post might be written, I feel the need to start shouting..... LOOK AT HER WORK!!!!! The collection is called, About the Man Who Loved Fishing. It's gritty, unisex, urban and organic at the same time. She clearly has talent but never mind that... it's the uniqueness that has me.....hooked.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Rarely does it happen that I get a great beauty tip from a natural beauty. You know, the ones who can take a shower, throw on some face cream, a dash of mascara and a hint of lip gloss and look absolutely radiant? THAT girl. Well, THAT girl hooked me up recently with Maybelline's Unstoppable, waterproof, smudge proof, last all day eyeliner. They come in your basic colors (for shimmer and a new twist on black, brown, purple, green see Stila's liners) and do their job at a fraction of the cost. The biggest plus is they stay put and don't irritate your eyes like some of the others.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


If you're the kind of girl who wants to be told you have spinach between your teeth, be handed a mint when you have bad breath, or be told the truth about your outfit before heading out the door, then keep reading. If you're not, stop. Of course, if you are that type of girl, you probably don't do what I am about to call you out on. This is not meant to embarrass, but rather softly and gently let you know, that if you are not a professional airbrusher, and are relying solely on your 2008 Mac to airbrush your imperfections, you might want to stop. I realize you want to show your best photos on Facebook but just know........we can tell. And for what it's worth, of the two photos above, I personally love the untouched one. Perfectly imperfect.

Monday, July 11, 2011


You are going to thank me for this one. In London I fell in love with them and in Paris I broke down and finally had to buy them.  They are the most beautiful little flats imagineable and they are now (here comes the best part) opening stores in NYC and Beverly Hills! They are the prettiest and most well made flats ever, true to size (if you are a 7 US you are a 37 in PrettyBallerinas) in a dizzying array of styles, colors, patterns. I even had to bring the box home because it was so, well, PRETTY! Oh and they also have childrens' sizes... don't get me started.
Je vous en prie.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I am a very efficient packer. So efficient in fact, that for a 2 week trip with my daughter, (London first, then Paris second) between the 2 of us, I have only filled half of one suitcase. All pieces interchange with each other, they can all go from day to night in the change of a shoe and a lipstick, and they all pack well. Very sensible. But ya know what? Sometimes sensible is overrated. At the last minute.. literally a minute ago, I swapped out that jersey black dress that folds easily and doesn't wrinkle for this sequin dress shown here. It was given to me as a very lovely present (thank you, Julie) and it needs to be worn! I also threw in a fabulous pair of heels for the dress and guess what? They go with absolutely nothing.
Au Revoir!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


A very good friend of mine has decided (because she feels so strongly about the product) to add to her already busy schedule of raising 4 kids (yes, you read that right.... 4!!!!!) to promote a skin care line that she feels has made a dramatic difference in her skin. Never a makeup, or fussy skin care routine girl, she is now finding being over 40 requires a little more love and care for her skin. Rodan + Fields offered her an easy day and night routine that any mother can adhere to. Give her a call or check out her website.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Improving what is already great is no easy feat, but Stila managed to do it. Their new Perfect and Correct Foundation is lightweight but buildable. It hydrates and balances. It minimizes pores and oil control while at the same time minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It's weightless but has medium coverage. In short, it's perfection. A once die hard, tinted moisturizer fan, I have now been converted.
Order it now at:
Making Faces
Portsmouth, NH

Friday, June 10, 2011


A friend recently purchased the cutest apron and it got me thinking...why can't aprons be fashionable? They can, and none quite so beautifully as these. COOKie aprons from Poland are so pretty, it won't actually matter what you're serving for dinner. Frozen dinners all around!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Mascara companies will have you believing that everyone needs 10 inch long lashes. Each year they tout new technologies that will abnormally lengthen your lashes and make you believe you need them. While lash extending can be great for some, it is a serious hazard for others, specifically, the round eyed, bulging eyed, bug eyed girl. I'm not picking on the rounder girl here, I'm just giving you the heads up that YOU DO NOT need bigger lashes. If you fit into any of the categories above, you might want to skip mascara altogether. Focus on lining your upper and lower inner lash lines, apply darker eye shadow colors on your lid and if you must apply mascara do so sparingly and extend it out to the sides instead of going up. While you're at it you could extend your eyeliner past the outer corners (not up!) to create the illusion that your eyes are more elongated than round. If your look is a cartoon one... stick with what you're doing, if not, put down the wand.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I woke up this morning cranky. I went to yoga hoping it would help, it didn't. The girl next to me put her sweaty towel on my mat, she clocked me in the head with her elbow, and then breathed heavily in my face with bad breath. Now I was in a worse mood and instead of being calm, my head was spinning with things to be more cranky about like, why don't people write thank you notes anymore? Emails DO NOT count.. neither do facebook ones (that is a joke... seriously, how lazy can you get?). Or, how gross it is to walk around holding a beer bottle (instead of having it poured into a glass) at a formal event like a wedding? Nothing ruins the look of a beautiful table LIKE A BROWN BEER BOTTLE!!! (I told you I was cranky)
But then the instructor read a poem called The Guest House. I'll post it. It says I'm supposed to invite cranky in... did I have a choice? (A yogi would say I do, which quite honestly is annoying me more right now but maybe this will help any other crank pots today.) Om, blah blah blah.

The Guest House 

This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


While onsite for a commercial shoot, one of the mothers of the models (who was only 12, mind you) asked me when it was okay to start giving her daughter unsolicited advice about her beauty routine, specifically wanting to know when she could tell her to pluck her eyebrows. Um, Never? was my reply. It's one thing if agents or people in the business give the advice, but as mothers don't we need to send out the message that we love unconditionally no matter what our daughters look like, what they wear, how they do their hair or makeup? It's one thing to tell them to brush their teeth, eat their vegetables and do their homework, quite another to give, what you think, is constructive beauty criticism. It never is. Unless they ask, pluck off.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I recently had to attend a charity event for my husband's work. When I asked him what I should wear he replied, "Um, I don't know... just don't go too..... Larissa, Larissa." Nice.
What I think he meant to say, as told to me by my fashionista friend, was to dress "Sassy Classy", which is classy but with an edge.
So while I knew my jumpsuit was out of the question, I also knew I wasn't going to show up looking like my grandmother in a St. John knit suit! Nope. I wound up in a Rozae Nichols black dress, vintage leopard coat and deep burgundy, retro suede pumps. Tailored enough for the event, but fun enough for me, Larissa, Larissa.


Katherine Kwei Donna Evening Bag
While I'm usually trying to undo knots (out of my hair, my kids' hair, straps, the hose, you name it) this is one knot you don't want to undo. Inspired by Chinese knotting, learned from her grandmother, Katherine Kwei's designs are a piece of art. These are luxury bags with a really cool twist.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Finally an all physical sunscreen that doesn't leave a chalky white residue or a greasy texture. All skin types can use it and makeup can be beautifully applied over it. With 9.5% titanium dioxide and 6.0% zinc oxide, your face has never been so protected (and free from chemicals). I just bought my second bottle and summer's not even here yet.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I said it before but feel the need to say it again. It's happening. Pointy toes and lower heel heights are feeling seriously chic. 4 inch heels, on the other hand, are starting to look like they come with stripper lessons and a membership to the Playboy mansion. But if you're still not ready to chuck your Louboutins for kittens, or aren't ready to spend real cash to test them out, check out Ivanka Trump's new line of reasonably priced shoes on Piperlime. They come in all different colors, have a great fit and measure in at 2 1/2 inches. Trump that.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Stephanie Johnson Katie Folding Clutch
Have you ever seen a makeup bag pretty enough to parade around as a purse? I have, and now you have too. Stephanie Johnson makeup bags are so glam but also so functional, you no longer need to store your touch-up arsenal of liquid liner, Kitten eye shadow and goopy lip gloss in a separate bag inside your purse. This is your purse!
Buy now and enter MOM code at checkout and receive 25% off.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Listen boys, (I'm calling you boys because MEN already know the advice I'm about to impart).... the home is a woman's nest. Her nest. Not yours, hers (you can have the garage). Which means it's imperative that she gets to decorate it any damn way she pleases. Do you really care what color the pillows are? Do you even know the difference between damask and jacquard? There's a reason House Beautiful recently put pink on the cover and called it sexy. When a woman loves how her home is decorated, she is happier... which in turn will make you happier (trust me). A man doesn't come home at night for the color of the couches... if he does... you need a new man.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Northshore Mall, Sephora, Saturday March 19, 11-6. See you there!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


So you got asked out on a first date. Fantastic. Easy part done. Hard part ahead. What are you going to wear? The key is to not look like you tried too hard, which of course is a lie because you will obsess over this outfit about as much as you did when you picked out your prom dress. You also have to understand that what is fashionable and what men like are almost completely opposite. So that fresh new pant that's hitting the runways? Skip it. That voluminous top? No way. A first date outfit calls for simple, body conscious (not body hugging mind you) and clean, pretty, hair/makeup. So basically we're talking jeans, heels/booties, cashmere V-neck sweater or simple shirt, maybe some long chains thrown in and hoop earrings or in the summer a feminine cotton sun dress with flip flops and a jean jacket. But don't forget your most important accessory. Your smile. Even the cutest outfit can't take the place of that.