Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Elemis Exotic Spa Secrets Set

Packaged like a beautiful box of chocolates ,but it's not. It's Elemis  Exotic Spa Secrets gift sets. I 've raved before about the Monoi scented products- the Exotic Frangipani Monoi Moisture Melt  is DIVINE and the matching body wash pretty great too. This set also includes a milk bath which I haven't tried, but given the general awesome-ness of Elemis, I'm going to assume it's good. 

This is one of those easy gifts., Buy  and give. No need to even wrap, and I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't be  thrilled with it.  I've recommended the  body oil to many people and no one hasn't loved it.  All items in the set are full size.

 The set is $ 95.00 and available at http://www.timetospa.com/, and Nordstrom.

BeautyBloggers.org Charity Online Auction

I am happy to  be a small part of an online charity auction initiative called BeautyBloggers.org . A large group of us has donated top brand new beauty items  for auction  to benefit Doctors Without Borders.  Included are  long sold out and LE items like Chanel Riva nail polish and Lancome Erika F shadow. My contribution is a trio of MAC Venomous Villains items.

There are almost 50 bloggers( and a few brands) involved, the whole list is below. A big thanks goes to Karla Sugar for not only putting this together, but doing the bulk of the work on it.

She says  and it applies to us all " In the spirit of the holidays, we wanted to make a meaningful contribution to charity — knowing that the most effective donation to any charity is cash."

All  the winning bid totals will go directly to Doctors Without Borders. Shipping is free, being covered by us bloggers and not part of the monies donated. 

The auction is live now and runs through December 20 at 5 pm CST
We are asking people to register before they can bid. This is simply to try to discourage "spam" bids. Usernames will be public (because the auction shows the username of the current highest bidder), but first name, last name, and email address will be private. They will only be used to contact the winning bidders.

International bidders are welcome, too

When the auction ends, the winning bidders will be contacted by Karla Sugar, and asked  to make a donation through this secure site: http://www.firstgiving.com/beautybloggers and then the  items will be readied to be mailed .

Donor list:
Afrobella, A Girl's Gotta Spa!, AlyWalansky.com, Armani Beauty, Bay Area Style File, Beauté Cosmetics, Beauty Alchemist, Beauty Info Zone, The Beauty Look Book, Bobbi Brown, Cafe Makeup, Cargo, China Glaze, EnKore, Estee Lauder, Fashion. Style. Beauty., For the Love of Beauty, From Head to Toe, Givenchy, Gloss Menagerie, Gouldylox Reviews, Grace Gold for AOL StyleList, Illamasqua, JeweledThumb, KarlaSugar, KraseyBeauty, Lancome, Leonor Greyl, The Makeup Girl, Miss Whoever You Are, Musings of a Muse, My Lips But Better, Nadine Jolie, The Non-Blonde, Older Girl Beauty, OPI, Out in a Pout, Pink Sith, Prime Beauty, Product Girl, Pursebuzz, Renee Rouleau, Retrodiva's Beauty, Sasquatch Swatch, Sicka Than Average, Spoiled Pretty, Talika, Three Custom Color Specialists, and Votre Vu

Monday, November 29, 2010

Clarins Extra-Firming Foundation SPF 15

    Clarins newest foundation ( after the fabulous Everlasting from earlier this year) is Extra- Firming Foundation with SPF15. Both for,ulas get the thimbs way up . Extra Firming is more dewy/sation where Everlasting was matte.

Extra-Firming is medium to full coverage and really covers well. Skin looks smooth, more even and even a  little bit tighter. It created a beautiful canvas and feels good on .  It's  hydrating but not heavy with the company's plant based , time released micro patch formula .

Other skin helping ingredients:

-Oat Sugar extract contains natural skin tightening benefits by forming an invisible and flexible veil on skin.

-Greater Plantain offers anti-aging benefits and helps minimize appearance of dark spots.

- Light Optimizing Complex with refelcting microspheres.

Available now  for $ 42.00 for the  pump bottle at all Clarins locations.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Calvin Klein Euphoria & Chocolates GWP

Calvin Klein's Euphoria is repeating a great GWP from last year with Lake Champlain Chocolates.

I got a box of the chocolate last year and can tell you they were quite good. It's a great  treat and one your giftee is sure  to love.  The tin they come in weighs 7.75 oz , matches the fragrance colors and has been specially designed for Calvin Klein. Honey Caramel, Hazelnut Flower, and Maple Crunch are just a few of the selections in the tin.

Through December 31st, purchase any 3.4oz fragrance from the Euphoria Calvin Klein fragrance collection and receive at the time of purchase, the gourmet tin of chocolates as a complimentary gift.

3.4 oz EDP for Women is $ 78.00
3.4 oz EDT for Men is $ 68.00

More on Lake Champlain chocolates at http://www.lakechamplainchocolates.com/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Andrew Weil for Origins™ Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum

Origins has tackled the difficult problems of red , irritated skin with their Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins™ Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum.

Among the ingredients to help deal with inflammation ,  per Origins, are " scientifically-proven anti-irritant ingredients such as Chaga Mushroom, Pleurotus Mushroom, Certified Organic Sea Buckthorn, Spike Moss and Mangifera Leaf Extract"   It also works to strengthen skin.

 I have a dear friend( The Movie Mommy) who suffers with highly reactive red skin so I  gave her this to test and hopefully help her skin some. She told me she has never really had her skin diagnosed but feels it is eczema or rosecea of some kind.   She says "With nothing on my face it becomes painfully dry and then actually oozes. I never wanted to go through the stuff at a dermatologist (like a biopsy!) to find out the real cause. " She has good luck with it and I am glad she has found something that has begun to help .

After more than  2 months of use here is what she wrote me about the serum:
"After my skin got over the initial shock of something new...it
seemed to be just fine. My skin color became more even and remains so. "

"Now that winter is here, climate change and heaters are on...my skin is dry. Even with the serum my face will still be dry BUT not painfully dry like before. I use  a  moisturizer or body butter . A few applications of the moisturizer and my face feels fine."( Ed. note, yes she uses body products on her face. Odd, but it works for her).

"I do still get the monthly little breakouts but they appear to be not as bad as before the serum. Just little quick blemishes that go as quickly as they came. "

She also says a little goes a long way and I can concur on this from my brief test of it. I also found  it was very ( too) moisturizing on my oilier skin.

Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum is available wherever Origins is sold and at http://www.origins.com/ and is $ 66.00 for 1.7 oz.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Victoria's Secret Black ( Pink) Friday Specials

Victoria's Secret is having Pink Friday instead of Black. They've got some great prices on fragrance  gifts and some are available online  so you don't even have to leave the house. ( Comparable value is the regular VS price )

-Must Have VS Gift Set, $25

Comparable Value: $38

Available at Victoria's Secret stores and VictoriasSecret.com

-Bombshell 1.7 oz. Eau de Parfum, $25

Comparable Value: $45

Available at Victoria's Secret stores

-Dream Angels Heavenly Fragrance Gift Set, $25

Comparable Value: $50

Available at Victoria's Secret stores and VictoriasSecret.com

-Star Bright Beauty Rush Color Lip Gloss Set, $15

Comparable Value: $25

Available at Victoria's Secret stores

-Secret Garden Splash &Lotion Set in Amber Romance, Love Spell, Pure Seduction or Secret Charm, $15

Comparable Value: $25

Available at Victoria's Secret stores

-Secret Garden Deluxe Gift Bag in Amber Romance, Love Spell or Pure Seduction, $15

Comparable Value: $25

Available at Victoria's Secret stores and VictoriasSecret.com

-PINK Original Body Fresh & Clean Tin, $15

Comparable Value: $20

Available at Victoria's Secret stores

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SoftLips Holiday Flavors and Gift Pack

Winter means cold weather, which I love. It also means chapped lips which I hate. My thoughts soon turn to stockpiling lip balms again.

To help with my stash, SoftLips  has 5 new winter scents out .  These are LE and exclusive to their website.  All are nice  but I am especially loving the Sugar and Spice which is a strong spice, with clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, and Sugar Plum Berry, a  fresh big berry scent. All are very soft and creamy but without shine.

The remaining flavors are : Sugar Cookie, Winter Mint, and Mint with a hint of Vanilla.

You can buy all 5 in a fun gift pack perfect for giving to everyone on your list. The set comes in a blue sachet pack.  and is great stocking stuffer . Gift them all, or break up the set and add them to packages.

The SoftLips Holiday 5 pack is $ 9.99 at http://www.softlips.com/ . With  free Shipping  – Starting 11/26 through 12/10.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Angel by Mugler Dazzling Lights Ring

Theirry Mugler's Angel has come up with one of the prettiest holiday fragrance gifts- the  Dazzling Lights Ring .   The ring is adorned with 70 Crystallized Swarovski Elements and contains Angel in solid fragrance form.  

Seriously, this is something I'd think about buying whether I liked the fragrance or not. As it happens I like Angel. Yes it's been a long time since I've worn it but this is making me think about revisiting it. It's always been a fragrance that needs a light touch and a solid is the perfect way to get that.

This is LE and available only ay Saks Fifth Avenue and is $ 65.00.

PS - Head over to http://www.beautystat.com/ for a giveway of this very ring in my Holiday Fragrance Gift  post.

Balenciaga Purse Spray

The new purse spray from Balenciaga seemed a good idea when I first saw images of it.   It's part of the line called  Balenciaga Black and White .  What I didn't know is that  it's really a set almost. The spray comes with 2 refills as well as being filled itself.  Each refill is .5 oz EDP.

 Then there is the  case. No little plastic thing. It's heavy and feels like marble glass but is actually made of what is called Zamak, which sounds like a character from Stargate.  It's substantial , weighty and tough.

  The Black and White collection also has a Black Body Scrub and  a Body Lotion infused with shea butter as well as the pretty woodsy -violet based Balenciaga scent.

-Perfumed Body Cream 150ml/5oz  $95
-Black Scrub 150ml/5oz  $95
-Purse Spray 15ml  $95
-Purse Spray Refills 3 x 0.5 oz  $80

All are available at Neimans , Nordstrom,  Bergdorfs.  You know, the usual suspects.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Smashbox Wish -The Gold List Set

Smashbox has once again partnered with the Children's Miracle Network for their Christmas sets. $ 1 from each purchase goes to the charity. Each is in a nice box ready to  wrapped.

A personal favorite is the  The Gold List set. I have  this already set aside for someone's gift.

 First off you get a really nice makeup bag. Not all makeup bags in sets are all that but this  one is gold and braided leatherette. It's one you want to use. Then you get 4 Smashbox products  including a new O-Gloss in Gold.

The new Gold O-Gloss looks very metallic in the tube but when you put it on, it's really a sheer, shimmer.  The Fusion Soft Lights in Baked Starburst will keep you or your giftee looking  blushed and bronzed.  This, too, is not deep. It goes on light for just the right color.  Good for all over  or just the cheeks.

The set has :

-Fusion Soft Lights in Baked Starburst
-Photo Finish Luminzing Foundation Primer
-O-Gloss Gold
 -Photo Op Under Eye Brightener

$ 49.00 at Sephora.com

The Holiday Gift Guide- Hints Logo

I have a small logo called Holiday Gift Approved that will run on  all items that I think are great holiday gifts. I will also be tagging them Holiday Gift Guide, so if you want to see more, click on that tag and it will take you to all the gift ideas.

Thanks to Kathy aka http://minxbeads.blogspot.com/ for making my little logo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

UNII palette

The UNII palette is a very cool find. This large palette is empty until you fill it with your own products.  In other words, you can have a truly custom palette because it's packed  with shadows, blushes or lipsticks that you already own.
I had hoped to have mine full before posting, but depotting without breaking the eyeshadows is eluding me. You can see some marks  in the Bobbi Brown one in there. Now Bobbi makes refillab;e eyeshadows but this one wasn't one of them.  Besides  I want to use what I have not buy more.

I plan to give the depotting further tries at some point and if you have any tips please share.I have great hopes of having a good many of my MAC shadows in here with a few others as well.  The UNII comes  with helpful hints  but so far not so great.  I have not yet tried the tips in the videos on the UNII page .

The UNII also comes with handy magnets to place on the back of products. The bottom of the palette is magnetic.  It measures 6 x 3  1/2 inches and has a strong seal and clasp . That  piece you see  in the pic is a moveable thumb grip.

It's a genuis idea I think, in   The "Why didn't I think of that " way. Many companies  make shadow refills and more if you want to go that route. Me , I'll be here with a tiny screwdriver and hope.

The UNII is  $ 29.00  and comes in 5 shades.
http://uniicosmetics.com/ and http://www.amazon.com/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yes To Blueberries Eye Firming Treatment

It's rare  that I look at drugstore eye cream. Bordering on never. But eye creams are also one of those products I use a lot and am always looking out for. So when the new Yes To Blueberries eye cream( full name Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Eye Firming Treatment) landed on my desk I was more than willing to give it a test run.

I have always liked that they Yes To line is filled with antioxidants and they have some great products.   

So what's  the scoop? The new Eye Treatment is very firming, I noticed a tightening of the eye area right after using. It's moisturizing but light. The lotion is on the thin side for an eye product, but that doesn't really affect much. You just need to use a bit less and blend it.

Ingredients include : blueberry juice, paracress flower, sunflower seed oil, shea butter  and olive fruit oil.  There are no parabens, petroleum or SLS.

Available at mass market outlets for  $ 19.99.  You'll find more Yes To Blueberries skin care products  there too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion AM

One of this years's fab finds  was Peter Thomas Roth's Retinol Fusion PM.  A strong retinol product but gentle  with added buffers and moisturizers so as not to irritate skin. It worked and well. Now there's Retinol Fusion AM to have that retinol action but with SPF 30 to protect sensitized skin. You can  have anti-wrinkle and sunscreen in one.

This is  medium moisturizing , not heavy but not overly drying.  I do think that every other day use is best. It helps to brighten , smooth and even skin  and like it's PM  predecessor -works. The 1.5 % retinol is time released  over an 8 hour period, to gradually work throughout the day. It also has vitamins A & C.   You do get a whiteish cast from the lotion due to the zinc oxide, nothing major, but it needs blending.

I've been using this quite often  for about 2 weeks , along with several other rotating non -retinol products and my skin is looking brighter and smoother .   As the weather gets colder, I look forward to using this on the T- zone to battle the pores . It's also been great for after summer  sun skincare and ... hands. I love using this on the backs of my hands to keep them in shape too.

Available now for $ 78.00 at Sephora.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dior Diorskin Nude Creme Gel Compact

  The DiorSkin Nude foundation line is one of my all time favorites. The DiorSkin Nude Natural liquid  is a winter staple and in my 2009 post on it , I called it one of the best ever.   The powder version- Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Sculpting Powder- is a summer staple. Easy to use and perfecting on skin.

Now we have a new addition, Diorskin Nude Creme Gel. Was I excited ? Yes.  This one is hitting all the marks as well.  The foundation is very light and imparts a light to medium finish. It manages good coverage while still being a more sheer formula than it's predecessors.  The formula is a cream in the compact but it's not greasy ( no oil or heavy hydrators in there) and goes on easily with the added puff. Even though it  dries to a powder like finish, you still have plenty of time to blend and the finish is not dry at all , and really not overly powderlike.  My skin looks very perfected, smooth and even.

For the normal to oily skinned like myself, it's lovely. Drier skin will have to give it a test but it should be ok.

The foundation according to the box is infused with Mineralized Water. This gives glow and radiance . Your skin, but better basically.

Available now for $ 48.00

Monday, November 15, 2010

Old Navy Ribbed Knit Turtleneck Sweater

It's hard to understate just how chic a ribbed turtleneck can be . Think about the famous Jackie O look .  Known for her  very high  style quotient, she  worked this look better than almost anyone. Not easy to emulate all of her wardrobe staples ( Valentino and Cartier) but  just a stop at Old Navy can get you the ribbed T Neck. 

I have had one of these  for 3 yrs. now. It's a staple and a workhorse. It's made really well, a thick knit that holds up. I've even worn it to fashion week decked with some of my vintage jewelry.
I went looking this week to see if they were back at Old Navy again this season and  they are. I don't see black listed in colors ( and I really need a backup) but a Navy and an Off White are also right up there  for a pulled together look. That's the thing with basic T necks, they lend themselves to most any look and can be dressed up easily.  Chic but comfortable and nice that you can get petite and tall sizes too.  Listed as an online only ( I'm hoping they hit actual stores ) at http://www.oldnavy.com/

Right now  thru Nov. 16 online  you can also get 30%  your purchase. In store coupons are available as well if  do a  coupon search.

Update: It's in stores now.

NEST Blue Garden Candle for Autism Speaks

I have an autistic Godson. He has Asperger's and is an amazing, smart little boy( that's him  pictured) His mother , my  dearest friend, works tirelessly to make his life better every day and for him to be all that he can . When I saw that the Slatkins, the people behind Nest candles had done a charity candle called Blue Garden for Autism Speaks, I knew I had to spread the word.

With gift  giving season fast approaching, not only can you give a fabulous smelling, beautifully packaged candle but also one that helps a  great cause. Autism Speaks, celebrating it's 5th year,  is the nations largest Autism  science and advocacy  organization.

 Blue Garden has notes of hyacinth, blue hydrangea, forget- me- nots, fresh green notes and a dew drop accord according to the official information. I smell a lot of dewy and green florals. It's very lush, not perhaps typical for fall/winter but also something different for the season.  A house that smells of a big fresh garden is not a bad thing at all.

 It's hard to find better quality candles then those done by  Slatkin ( they also do candles for Bath and Body Works and Project Art brands) . All are intensely scented, burn cleanly and last long.    

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lord and Taylor Live Feed Christmas Window Unveiling

One of the most time honored and fun traditions is  seeing  city store's Christmas windows. New York does  them big and everyone wants to get a glimpse. If you're not in NYC though, like many of us,  now you can see the unveiling of Lord and Taylors ( often thought to be the best of the department store windows)  on a live feed. I've got my calendar marked. And just think- no crowds.
It all happens tomorrow Nov. 15th between 5:30 and 6PM  at www.lordandtaylor.com/share , the first time ever this has been done.

There will  be performances by Kristen Chenowith and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City

"The theme  this year  is “Share the Joy.” This spring, Lord &Taylor asked customers, friends and family to share their favorite holiday memories and traditions via Facebook and  letters. Inspired by these submissions, the four Fifth Avenue windows will come to life with 12 Christmas scenes set in New York City over the past 50 years. Scenes will include: trimming a tree, holiday party, picking out a tree, taking a family photo, White Christmas, child’s first bike, a big family celebration, Christmas baking, a holiday party overflowing onto a fire escape, Santa’s Christmas, waiting for Santa and watching holiday tv specials. The customer and story that inspired each mechanical window scene will be displayed in the window for viewers to see."

Image is  2008 window scene.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pantene & Disney's Tangled

Above is a new commerical for the partnership between Pantene and the adorable looking new Disney flick Tangled. Tangled is a re-telling of the Rapunzel story with our new heroine being no damsel in distress but one with sense of adventure and daring,and  she has 70  feet of golden hair. ( Can you imagine the time  it take for that blowout?) I recall having hair down my back all the way as a kid and it was time consuming albeit pretty.

Pantene is on board to to help promote awareness of it's Beautiful Lengths campaign , which  prepares people to make hair donations which are then used to create real hair wigs for cancer patients  thorough the American Cancer Society and also to highlight  the Restore Beautiful Lengths Haircare line for severely damaged hair.

Julie Marchant-Houle, Pantene’s North American Marketing Director says
"We’re thrilled with the Pantene-Disney collaboration as we both have huge passion for spreading the message about the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign.”

So it's a fun movie and a great cause. Read more at: www.pantene.com/beautifullengths

Tangled  opens Nov. 24 at theaters.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Longwood Gardens "Making Scents" Exhibit

Longwood Gardens is a beautiful space of conservatory and display  gardens located just outside Philadelphia. Known all over but especially in the Mid Atlantic area as a must see, Longwood was  acquired and developed by Pierre S.DuPont in the early 1900s. The main conservatory dates  to 1921.  Since this past Sping they've had a "Making Scents" exhibit dedicated to the art of perfumery and the plants used in it.  I finally made it to the exhibition this week, squeaking in only a little over a week before the exhibiton closes to make way for the annual holiday blockbuster display. This time of year is also the Chrysanthemum festival so huge mums both in groups and individually were all over incuding a hand grafted 991 blooms on one plant stem.

The fragrance exhibit was centered both in one room showing a movie featuring famed perfumers and a display of some of the biggest perfume releases both new and old, and throughout the Conservatory gardens in the from of  descriptive signage and actual specimans of  the plants of perfumery. I was able to see and sniff live patchouli, jasmine, vetiver, plumeria, ylang, vanilla , many varieties of mint and more.

Vetiver is a grass type plant that actually doesn't smell. It's the roots that provide the essence here. Patchouli smells far less strong in plant form than the extract does in fragrance. Jasmine is as heavenly as you would imagine and it was tempting to buy a jasmine plant to take home. Plumeria was softer than expected as was Ylang, but all were still a rare treat to see .

This is not an exhibit made to appeal to only the perfumistas out there. It is geared towards everyone with components kids can enjoy as well. There is a mix your own fragrance tool that spits out a scratch and sniff card of your blend( from a small selection of top, middle and bottom notes) as well as a sticker guide book to encourage their explorations.

As I said the Making Scents exhibit only runs through Nov 21. However, Longwood Gardens is open year round with something beautiful in store. The upcoming Holiday display is legendary so if you are in the area, it's well worth checking out .

All images : The Beauty Alchemist