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Wednesday
Dec172014

Gucci Cosmetics

Italian fashion house Gucci recently launched their inaugural luxury makeup line and it's been an instant hit with beauty fanatics everywhere. Celebrity makeup artist Pat McGrath developed the 18-piece collection and each item features the iconic Guccissima pattern and gold interlocking G logo on the packaging. 

I got to try a few of their basic products. The Power Liquid Liner ($37) is a smudge-proof liquid eyeliner that gives a fine to medium line. It dries quickly but it doesn't seem to be fully waterproof. That's not a big deal with me but I wouldn't wear it to the beach. It washes off mostly with water or cleanser but you'd need a cleansing oil to get rid of it completely. 

Suitable for everyday wear, the lightweight Opulent Volume Mascara ($33) has good definition. It doubled my lash volume but it's not overly dramatic. It's a lovely mascara, but no, it won't give you the mega false lash look. I also didn't see any clumps with 3 coats. It washes off easily with water so that's convenient for anyone who wants fuss-free makeup removal. 

As for nails, the Bold High-Gloss Lacquer ($29) has a triangular bristle brush for precise, even application. The festive Iconic Red 120 shade doesn't streak and has a gorgeous lacquered finish after it dries down. One coat is decent coverage if you're in a huge rush, but if you have the time two coats is best for 100% opacity. I only saw minor tip wear after three days so the formula should last about a week. 

The Gucci cosmetics collection is available at www.gucci.com, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Wednesday
Dec102014

SK-II Limited Edition Facial Treatment Essence

To celebrate the holiday season SK-II is offering limited edition bottles of their Facial Treatment Essence. The "miracle water" is getting a glam makeover by featuring one of the three floral motifs. If you already use this cult fave you'll want to snap up one of these pretty bottles before they run out. 

Designed by Taiwanese digital artist Huang Po-Chih, each floral painting represents a different facet of enduring beauty. Yellow freesia depicts elegance while red tulips signify passion. Purple hydrangea is an emblem of compassion.

Available for $205 (7.2 oz/215 ml) at Nordstrom, Macy's and all other SK-II counters. 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Monday
Dec082014

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Holiday Makeup

The Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition 2014 holiday makeup is sure to get any beautyholic in a festive mood. Classic shades of red and gold rule this capsule collection. 

Limited editions of The Bronzer ($68) and The Illuminator ($51) reveal an ancient coin design that's imprinted on top of the powder. Both products will sculpt and highlight your face into a party-ready visage within minutes. The gorgeous illuminator comes in the Eva 3 shade, which is perfect for light to medium complexions. The gold shimmer is very subtle so it's absolutely lovely as a finishing powder. 

Bold red is always a welcome sight for the dreary winter. The Shine Lipstick ($37) is available in Real Red and if you need a fresh stash of apple red polish the Intense Nail Lacquer ($25) in Lover 130 is a luxe option.

D&G Intense Nail Lacquer in Lover 130.

The Perfect Mono Cream Eye Colour ($36) has two new holiday-ready shades: Pure Gold and Pure Bronze. I can't get over how creamy the Pure Gold formula is. It seems even more creamy than their regular shades

D&G Perfect Mono Cream Eye Colour in Pure Bronze.

Credit: feteafete.com

The D&G Collector's Edition holiday makeup collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Thursday
Dec042014

Gift Ideas for Gourmands

Whether you need a hostess present or just want to indulge in something special for the holidays, check out these food and home gift ideas. They're sure to please every gourmand in your life:

If you give me anything from Kika's Treats, I'd inhale it within minutes. Kika's version of Brazilian Honey Cakes (pão de mel) is a fabulous alternative to gingerbread and is also suitable for vegans. $8.50; kikastreats.com.

Jacob May's End-Grain Butcher Blocks are so beautiful you can use them to serve food. Available in black walnut and white oak, these artisanal cutting boards will make a stunning piece in the kitchen and dining room. $300-$500; jacob-may.com.

If you're looking for authentic gochujang sauces without any high fructose corn syrup or additives, the Mother-in-Law's Kimchi Gochujang Collection is your answer. The condiment set contains four awesome blends for any Asian recipe that requires an extra kick. $37; food52.com/provisions.

Credit: James Ransom

For an approachable and modern Scotch whisky, newcomer SIA offers a long and smooth finish with hints of toffee and hazelnut. This is an award-winning blend of Speyside, Highlands and Islay malts. $47.95; www.ludwigsfinewine.com.

Albertengo's decadent and fluffy panettone is the ideal way to celebrate the holidays. Try the fabulous Moscato flavor or the popular Sorrento Lemon. $27.99-$39.99; chefshop.com.

La Boite makes the most flavorful and exotic spice blends, so it's no wonder they're sought after by the best chefs in the country. Le Bernardin's Eric Ripert collaborated with the brand to create a limited edition Voyager Collection boxed set. Signed box $72 ($45 spices only); food52.com/provisions.

Credit: James Ransom

Chalk Hill makes exceptional wines and their 2010 Estate Red is a great example of their benchmark production. Lush, smooth and seductive, this vintage include notes of spicy oak, vanilla, blueberry pie and bittersweet chocolate. $70; www.chalkhill.com.

 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Wednesday
Dec032014

Beauty Gift Ideas

In need of beauty gift ideas? If you haven't started your holiday shopping yet, read on for my picks. There's something perfect for everyone and prices range from $12 and up. 

This year, Dolce & Gabbana is offering The One Collector's Edition fragrance ($113). The bold red lacquered flacon with the iconic gold coin imprint oozes elegance and regal power. The floral oriental scent contains notes of bergamot, mandarin, lychee, peach, Madonna lily, vanilla, amber and musk. www.bloomingdales.com

Uslu Airlines makes amazing nail polish and their USL by Uslu Airlines collection has 24 colors to choose from. At $12 each, they make the cutest beauty stocking stuffers. They also last for a week and don't chip easily. I love QBC Bella Coola, a light aqua green shade. www.beautyhabit.com

Aftelier has a gorgeous Jasmine Solid ($245) perfume that's housed in a handmade sterling silver compact. Jasmine, blood orange and pink grapefruit come together to form an unusually joyous and uplifting fragrance. And, don't forget to check out Mandy Aftel's new book, Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent ($28). It's a fascinating read and her Fragrant Companion Kit ($25) lets you smell along as you explore each chapter. www.aftelier.com

 

True Nature Botanicals has an excellent Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask ($90) to banish the winter blues. Leave it on for a few minutes and you'll get a healthy, ethereal glow. tnbotanicals.com

Parisian fragrance house Diptyque boasts a covetable array of ultra pampering body care and I just adore their L'art du Soin collection. Their lovely Revitalizing Shower Gel ($38) and Softening Hand Wash ($38) will make your morning routine extra luxurious. www.diptyqueparis.com

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Monday
Dec012014

True Nature Botanicals Pacific Face Serum

I enjoy fall weather for the most part, but I am continually frustrated by indoor heaters drying out my skin. To replenish optimum moisture levels I usually rely on the Pacific Face Serum from True Nature Botanicals. So far it has done a fantastic job of keeping perpetual dehydration at bay.

Pacific marine bioactive peptides from algae and seaweeds provide deep nourishment while lacto-ceramides prevent moisture loss. Noni, SOD and resveratrol add powerful anti-aging protection. According to their clinical trial results, this serum, used with their Pacific Face Oil, outperforms La Mer's star product.

It restores moisture immediately and maintains it throughout most of the day. When I use it at night I always wake up to plump, silky skin. And, the star jasmine fragrance smells fabulous!

Take advantage of their Cyber Monday deal today — get 20% off all products (use code CyberMonday) at tnbotanicals.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Saturday
Nov292014

Darphin The Revitalizing Oil

Darphin's newest product, The Revitalizing Oil ($50), is a luxurious multi-purpose oil for the skin, body and hair. This exceptionally healing blend of 4 essential oils and 9 plant oils is fantastic on dry, wind burned skin. I also love to use it to pamper my hands and feet.

Ylang-ylang, rosewood, jasmine and lavender create the heady floral scent. It's strong enough for me to pass it off as a light perfume. Raspberry seed, evening primrose, tamanu, rose hip, sunflower, apricot kernel, sweet almond, argan, and jojoba oils provide tons of omega fatty acids to protect and strengthen the skin barrier.

It feels richer than most oils I've tried but it absorbs well if you wait a few extra minutes. For best results use it after a shower or bath and a few drops for the face and neck is plenty. And, if you're already familiar with their other face oils, you'll know that the price of this one is a total bargain.

$50 for a 50 ml (1.7 oz) bottle. Available at www.darphin.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Friday
Nov282014

Recchiuti Confections Merry Christmas Box

If you love Recchiuti Confections (and who doesn't?!), now is the perfect time to get their elegant chocolates at a lower price. I would stock up on their S'mores Bites, Dragee Sampler and Pate de Fruits if I were you. Valid through this weekend only, use the promo code MERRY to shave 20% off.

The new Merry Christmas Box ($45) would make a splashy hostess gift. The 16-piece truffle assortment includes cult favorites like their Burnt Caramel Truffle as well as Piedmont Hazelnut and Rose Caramel. If you really want to spoil someone special the Very Merry Christmas Box ($85) is a deluxe version with 32 pieces. 

Shop now at www.recchiuti.com

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Monday
Nov242014

Clarins Super Restorative Day & Night Creams

Clarins fans can look forward to the new formula of their popular Super Restorative Day SPF 20 cream ($122). Featuring organic harungana leaf to revive hormone-depleted fibroblasts, the plant extract is touted as a powerful ingredient that's even more powerful than retinol. In fact, harungana is referred to as the "healing tree" in Madagascar. 

The cream is designed for mature skin but I feel younger folks can benefit from it. It takes only a minute to soak in and it's a solid day cream to protect yourself from the onslaught of wind and freezing temps.

The Super Restorative Night ($130) version is a bit heavier but I prefer its soothing texture. It works quickly to soften my parched skin and this particular formula contains organic Montpellier rock-rose extract to fade age spots. Results are quite promising as clinical tests showed a 32% reduction after a month. 

Available at www.clarinsusa.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Tuesday
Nov182014

SK-II Cellumination AuraBright

Cult Japanese skincare brand SK-II is back with a new product. Featuring their proprietary Soft Aura Bright complex, the Cellumination AuraBright Illuminating Essence is designed to improve brightness and skin texture while reducing age spots. Powerful ingredients like Pitera, ume extract, Pixel-White, niacinamide and De-Melano P3C are selected to boost luminosity, clarity and radiance.

Using 1-2 droppers of product, I layer it on before my serum and moisturizer at night. It adds an unexpectedly rich layer of moisture and my face feels baby soft. I also get an instant glow upon application and when I use it consistently the radiance sustains itself wonderfully. I saw initial results after a week but I expect to see more after another month.

Available in 1 fl oz ($160) and 1.6 fl oz ($235) sizes. Available at all SK-II counters and www.sk-ii.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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