Sep 28, 2014

Can we discuss the new Tarte Holiday palettes? Because they're so good.

I love holiday palette season.  I mean obviously I'll find any excuse to spend money on beauty products, this is no surprise, but holiday palettes are the best.  You can give them to any woman on your list and she'll be jazzed.  If you're a savvy budget babe, you can split them up and give them out to a bunch of people.  Or you can keep them all to yourselves.  Who knows?  But they're my favorite.  They're always pretty, sparkly, and a killer bargain.  Tarte holiday palettes seem to be the first ones to land in stores, and they're a-ma-zing.  

Tarte Chic to Cheek Deluxe Amazonian Clay Blush Set ($35) 

Kiss & Belle Deluxe LipSurgence Lip Set ($34)- 4 LipSurgence Lip Tints, 2 LipSurgence Matte Lip Tints, and 2 LipSurgence Lip Glosses 

Ladies Who Lash Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler ($19)

Tres Chic Park Ave Princess Contour Palette ($34) 

Sephora Exclusive: Bon Voyage Collector's Set and Travel Bag ($59).  Contains 20 Amazonian Clay Eyeshadows.  TWENTY.  A full size LipSurgence Lip Tint, Full Size LipSurgence Lip Gloss, Cheek Stain, Maracuja Oil, Smooth Operator Clay Finishing Powder,  Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, and it all comes in a limited edition travel bag.  

Ulta Exclusive: Away Oui Go Portable Palette and Collector's Set ($48).  Contains 16 Amazonian Clay Eyeshadows, 4 Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blushes, 3 Maracuja Lip Glosses, 1 Lights Camera Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, and a cool portable compact so you can take your looks on the go with you.  

Sep 21, 2014

Benz On A Budget: Inexpensive beauty products used backstage at Fashion Week


Not every beauty product in your arsenal has to be expensive.  I have drugstore brands that I trust day in and day out for my beauty routine.  There are things I'll splurge on (anything by T3 for my hair) and things I'll save on (Alba Botanica is like THE best brand ever).  The annoying thing about New York Fashion Week this year was that all the beauty was simple, clean, and beautiful.  Great for the world, but kind of boring to write about, truth be told.  The great thing about it is that not only are we walking away from this overly made-up, heavily-contoured thing that is happening now, but there are AFFORDABLE beauty options out there for normal people like you and I.  "I woke up like this" is a reality for us poor folks of the world!  Here are some of my favorite (and easy-to-use) beauty products that I saw being used backstage:

The show: Jonathan Simkhai
The product: Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara
The cost: $8.99  
The rundown:  I'm officially hooked on this Brow Mascara now.  It's perfection for a quick and easy natural brow look.  Basically if you've ever held a mascara wand, you should be able to figure out how to use the product.  It's really natural since you're brushing it on in the direction of your brow growth (like you'd do with your eyelashes and a mascara wand), but if you want a more intense look it can be applied over top of your regular brow pencil.      


The show: Yigal Azrouel 
The product: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Athens
The cost:  $6.00
The rundown: Benjamin Puckey was the makeup artist that gave us this most perfect, natural, surfer-girl beauty look at Yigal Azrouel.  He used all NYX products for this look (so the whole thing is budget-friendly) but my favorite part has to be this just-bitten lip look that he created using the Matte Lip Cream in Athens.  He applied the cream using his fingers by just patting it in to the lips, giving it the feel and long-wear of a stain.  


The show: Mara Hoffman
The product: Catwalk by Tigi Transforming Dry Shampoo 
The cost: $19.95
The rundown: For the most perfect fishtail braid ever, Tigi hairstylist Nick Irwin created the grit and texture that he needed using a this dry shampoo.  Unlike other shows where you need 1,000 products to create the look, this braid was really all about the dry shampoo.  It was used on each girl, regardless of hair color, with no sticky white stuff in sight.  Irwin parted the hair down the center, sprayed the dry shampoo, created the fishtail braid, and then really mussed the braid up with his hands to get that perfect "undone" look.  That's it!  He finished with some Tigi Session Series Work It hairspray and the girls were good to go.        

Sep 17, 2014

Fall beauty favorites

With the chill of fall starting to set in, changes to the beauty routine is as inevitable as the changes in clothing.  Nails become darker, skin becomes drier... the whole routine's got to change!  Fortunately I'm already prepped and ready to go for fall with my current favorite beauty products.  
Clarisonic Sonic Radiance Brightening Solution
There is something in life that I'm absolutely nuts about, and that is skin tone.  It drives me crazy if I have discoloration from acne, hyperpigmentation from the sun, or any form of uneven skin tone whatsoever.  So I'm super excited that Clarisonic has made a whole brightening system just for ME!  (and other like-minded individuals).  The Sonic Radiance Brightening Solution works to slow down the synthesis of excess melanin to decrease existing dark spots and combat future dark spot formation.  It also happens to be their debut into products that are left on, rather than washed off, with their new Brightening Activator Serum that comes with the kit.  The Sonic Radiance Brightening Solution Regimen includes the ARIATM Cleansing Device, a Radiance Brush Head, a Skin Illuminating Cleanser, Brightening Activator Serum, and a Skin Renewing Peel Wash.  So it includes the device, a morning routine, and a night routine!  The Skin Illuminating Cleanser (morning cleansing milk) has licorice extract to help reduce spots, and then you leave on the Brightening Activator Serum all day, so the potent ingredients in that are working the whole day to keep your skin looking radiant.  Then at night you use the Skin Renewing Peel Wash that gently exfoliates and re-texturizes the skin, which you follow up with the amazing serum so it can work on the skin all night.  The whole thing is brilliant, really.  A morning solution, a night solution, high-powered ingredients, a gentle clean, and a pretty pink device?  I mean, they've pretty much thought of everything.  Oh, and in case you don't know how long you're supposed to cleanse each section of your face, it has an automatic timer, so it's pretty much idiot-proof.  No worries if you already own a Clarisonic, you don't have to buy a whole new device, you can just buy the Sonic Radiance Customization Set that has all the skincare products in there, along with the  Radiance Brush Head.            

La Roche Posay Rosaliac CC Cream 
This redness-correcting CC cream is perfect for post-summer skin irritations.  Rather than your typical green-tinted redness corrections, this is a blend of several pigments to give you more even-textured looking skin immediately.  But the beauty of it is that it actually corrects redness over time, rather than just masks it the day that you're using the product.  It's packed with polyphenols, hydrating agents, and other good-for-your-skin products.  SPF30 prevents future redness/sun spots.  It's hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and paraben-free, so it's good for sensitive skin.  
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics Palette  
Listen up, kids.  "Basic" doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Cue the Urban Decay Naked Basics palettes, which make my world go round.  The first version was perfect enough, but now that version 2.0 has come along, I'm not quite sure of what to do with myself.  The 1st one is a little warmer in tone than the second, but they're both really beautiful matte colors that are flattering on pretty much any skin tone.  I have the fortunate ability of being able to wear both palettes because I have a warm tone to my skin, but cooler eyes.  All I know is that I love them both equally.  Because you're not supposed to pick favorites, right?  That would be wrong... it would definitely be wrong to say I like the 2nd one just a teensy bit more than the first... I could pick one over the other....but if you put a gun to my head.  OK DAMMIT!  I like the 2nd better than the first!  I know sequels are supposed to suck, but the colors in this one are just everything that is good about eyeshadow.       
Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer
Bye bye pores.  I've had enough of you.  Even on days that I'm not wearing makeup, I find myself wearing this primer because it instantly blurs the look of big ole pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.  But it's not just that it gives you smoother looking skin at the moment, it actually has Vitamins C & E to perfect the skin while protecting it from the outside elements.  Green bean extract and other natural ingredients provide moisture to keep the skin nourished.  But the genius thing about it is that it gives you a soft-focus effect, even though it's so lightweight it feels barely-there.  It's a mousse-like texture in the container, but instantly mattifies.   



Alexa Chung Nails Inc Fabric Effects in Alexa Leather
What things are cooler in life than a cat eye and a leather jacket?  While this nail lacquer will not necessarily make me as cool as Alexa Chung (probably not even close), I can still dream.  This textural polish will give you the feel of wearing a leather jacket on your nails, which comes in handy since the weather is so unpredictable as of late.  I have a feeling I'm going to be picking up some of the other Fabric Effects nail colors, like Alexa Cashmere, which looks basically too good to pass up (top left picture).  There's also Lace, and Sequins, and Silk to choose from.  This is not looking good for my wallet, but it's certainly a good outlook for my nails.            
2 coats of Alexa Leather, no top coat

Korres Black Pine Firming, Lifting & Antiwrinkle Night Cream 
Gotta respect a tree that can live for millions of years in the Mediterranean (read: deserts, mountains, sun, storms) and can still survive.  Black Pine trees are a natural wonder, much like the Mediterranean itself, and they're the inspiration for the newest additions to the Korres skincare line.  They combined some Black Pine Extract with 8 other extracts (many of which are patented, so it's truly like no other recipe you'll find on the market) to make a powerful line.  The line firms, lifts, tightens.  All the good things.  It's a complete line, including a serum, a day cream, an eye cream, and the night cream, so def an essential as we move into colder winter months soon.  Ah, who am I kidding?  Who can't use a powerful Night Cream like this one year round?  I started using it when it was still 90 degrees outside (aka last week).  Also, super chic packaging, eh?    



Dolce & Gabbana Aurealux Eye Gel
I cannot say enough about how friggin awesome this stuff is.  There's an entire Dolce & Gabbana skincare line that needs to be discussed, because it's amazing, but for right now I'm going to stick to the eye gel because it's my favorite item of the whole line.  It's got this Gold Flavo-Silk TricomplexTM that is made of a rare and bad-ass Gold Silk Sericin, and well as Italian Olive Oil extract and Vitamin B3.  Without getting into all the technology behind it, I'll just say that they really did their homework and found effective ingredients.  The stuff WORKS.  Immediately.  The Aurealux Eye Gel is super refreshing, which we could all use on those puffy under-eyes in the morning, and it's so light.  You'll never feel like it's settling into fine lines or wrinkles.  It's soothing, hydrating, and pretty darn genius.  You only need the tiniest little bit, and it has this bounce back technology so every time you open the bottle it looks like you've never used it.  Which I really enjoy because I never want it to end.  Much more on the rest of the Aurealux line to come, but I couldn't wait one more minute to share the news about this eye gel with you.  You can thank me later.  



Sep 5, 2014

Want to meet Alexa Chung? I know I sure do!


We might have our chance, my little Alexa superfans (wait, is that just me?).  Miss Chung will be making an appearance at Sephora Union Square next week to launch her newest nail polish collection with Nails inc. Customers who stop by and buy 1 bottle can meet Alexa, take a selfie with her, and receive a free on-site manicure from a Nails inc artist.  Um, selfie with Alexa?  Count. Me. In.  Do you think she'll want to be best friends with me once we meet?  I think she might.  

When:
Wednesday, 9/10
6:00 – 7:30PM EST
Where:
Sephora store
Union Square
45 E 17th St (entrance at Park Avenue)


In the meantime, check out some of the colors in her new collection, which is inspired by different fabrics and given adorable names like Alexa Lace or Alexa Sequins.  

Sep 1, 2014

Ahava Dead Sea Osmoter Concentrate

Following the popularity of Dead Sea Osmoter Concentrate facial serum from Ahava, the brand has decided to bless us with concentrates for the eyes and the body.  Now you can legitimately enjoy the benefits of their proprietary Osmoter concentrates from head to toe.  

AHAVA Dead Sea Osmoter™ Body Concentrate Tone & Texture Correcting Serum ($45)
Now I'm not really the type of person that believes in a miracle cream that can make you have the body of a Victoria's Secret model, but I DO believe that there are ingredients out there that are effective in treating #realwomanproblems.  This stuff won't make ridiculous claims that your thighs will be magically slimmer after using it, but what it will do is help reduce/reverse the signs of dark spots and aging in the skin.  The skin will indeed feel smoother and have a more youthful, even-toned appearance, and that is a fact.  It works because it has ingredients that we know diminish the signs of aging.  Dull, lifeless skin is no match for ingredients like Argan oil, Monoi oil, Vitamin C, Brown Algae Extract, and AHA.  Best of all, it comes in a super lightweight serum that won't have you feeling greasy or sticky throughout the day.  I tend to abandon my body creams easily because they're so thick and the smell is usually cloying, especially in summer months, but this product is something I can see myself using year round. 

AHAVA Dead Sea Osmoter™ Eye Concentrate Youth & Cellular Energizing Serum ($50)
Again, I can't say there is a miracle cream out there, but if you find something that helps your particular symptoms, then good for you.  This eye concentrate actually helps mine!  I'm one who suffers from a puffiness situation due to stress/lack of sleep/dehydration/the sins of wild nights out.  Ok maybe not that last one because I'm an old lady, but the puffiness is real people.  Cucumber and Aloe Vera are probably the ingredients in the formula that work so well for me because they're known to be super helpful with puffiness and irritation.  There is also Bird of Paradise Extract to help with discoloration under the eye and restore luminosity.  Dark circles aren't really something I suffer from, but it can't hurt to use something targets that, right?  There is also silk extracts, and the extract of some flower I can't pronounce (Siegesbeckia Orientalis) to help fight the signs of stress on the skin.  

A passion for polish: playing with texture


I've been rocking mostly nude nails this summer, but since we're now officially headed into the fall season I decided to give myself something a little more embraceful of the dark tones that are surely coming down the pipeline for fall.  Inspired by JINsoon's fall collaboration with Tess Giberson, and using one of the shades from said collaboration, I went with a textural manicure.  One you could literally feel.  
I started with 2 coats of Mélange from the JINsoon x Tess Giberson fall collection, followed by a coat of Polka White and a coat of Polka Black.  


Aug 28, 2014

End of summer cocktail recipes



Sunshine Sipper
·         5 parts glass of Skinnygirl® Pinot Grigio
·         2 parts frozen lemonade
·         1 part soda water
·         Lemon twist for garnish

Preparation
Blend ingredients with crushed ice and pour into a flute glass. Finish with soda water and garnish with a twist of lemon.


Tropical Tea-se
·         1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Cucumber Vodka
·         6 parts green tea OR diet green tea
·         Pineapple wedge for garnish
Preparation
Pour ingredients over ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge. 


Sea Breeze Spritzer
·         1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Tangerine Vodka
·         2 parts lemon-lime soda
·         2 parts club soda
·         Lime for garnish

Preparation: 
Pour ingredients over ice and stir. Garnish with lime.

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