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Wednesday
Dec202017

Against the Grain Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut Cookies

While in London I stumbled upon the delicious Against the Grain Chocolate Chip & Hazelnut Cookies. Made with organic ingredients, these lovely treats are also free of gluten, wheat and dairy. 

I was sorta doubtful it could be that good but I was pleasantly surprised. The chocolate chips weren't too sweet and it has a superb crunch to it, making it a satisfying biscuit. You can tell all the ingredients were of of high quality.

In case you're trying to avoid corn, this recipe does contain corn flour. Otherwise, this is a fantastic alternative to regular cookies, especially for the holiday season. The packaging is also quite elegant so they make great stocking stuffers. 

Against the Grain is only available in the UK so I'm going to stock up on these the next time I'm there. I'm also curious about their other flavors. Otherwise I'm really hoping they'll export them to the U.S. sometime in the near future!

For retail and product info: www.againstthegrainfoods.com 

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Wednesday
Dec132017

In Fiore Nourrit Complexe & Fleur Vibrante 

I've recently stocked up on two of my favorite In Fiore products to protect my skin from the cold weather. The Nourrit Complexe Face Oil Concentre ($85) and the Fleur Vibrante Face Balm Concentre ($95) are two of my winter skincare weapons to keep dry skin at bay.

Nourrit Complexe is great as a first moisturizing layer after cleansing. It features jasmine, myrrh, frankincense, rosemary leaf, and rose oil to replenish and strengthen the skin. I use 3-5 drops and my skin just drinks it up during this time of the year. 

Whenever I use the gorgeously aromatic Fleur Vibrante my friends ask me what I'm using—it smells that good. After adding my serum I layer the Fleur Vibrante face balm for extra protection from the elements. I use it all over my face, even on my lips. This balm is one of my go-to skin savers and has accelerated healing from various irritations and rashes. 

Available at www.infiore.net

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Wednesday
Nov222017

Eminence Marine Flower Peptide Collection

Perfect for autumn, Eminence just launched their Marine Flower Peptide skincare collection. I have to say this launch is one of the best I've seen from the brand, and they already have so many great products. Both items feature several kinds of algae extracts, botanical peptides (from rice protein), and their proprietary Smart Collagen+ Complex.

The lightweight Marine Flower Peptide Serum ($110; 1oz ) is ideal for sensitive skin. I didn't get any adverse reaction and the soothing gel formula is refreshing as a skin reviver during the afternoon, especially if you're constantly sitting near a heater. It soaks into the skin immediately so you can layer other skincare products without waiting. I've been using this for a few weeks and my forehead lines seem to have faded a bit. You can use this serum 1-3 times per day.

The Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream ($96; 1 oz) gives a rich layer of moisture without being heavy. It also contains botanical hyaluronic acid (from beetroot) to boost up the moisture factor. Like the serum, it soaks right in but you might want to wait a minute before applying makeup. I would totally use this as a year-round eye cream.

For spa and retail info: eminenceorganics.com

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Nov162017

Fueguia 1833 Muskara Holiday Collection

Fueguia 1833 has a sumptuous Muskara holiday collection for those seeking luxury gift ideas. 14 special Muskara fragrances were created to celebrate the festive season and each is based on the brand's signature Muskara Phero J perfume. Each composition features only one botanical note, keeping things pure and elegantly simple.

I got to try three fragrances. Muskara Polianthes (tuberose) is sexy, very woody and a bit spicy—basically nothing like an ordinary tuberose. I would even label this as a unisex scent.

Muskara Pelargonium (rose geranium) is true to its botanical profile. It's definitely a floral but it's not overly sweet. In fact, the plant-derived musk helps balance it out. I almost detect a lemongrass note at the dry down. Out of the three, Muskara Apis (honey bee) is my absolute favorite. Its honeyed earthiness makes me want to lick my wrist.

Each exquisite perfume is made with biodegradable plant ingredients and are free of synthetic dyes and preservatives. They're also packaged in a gorgeous wooden gift box that's hand made from fallen tree trunks.

The 2017 Muskara holiday collection ranges from $377 to $922 for 100ml bottles. Available at the Fueguia 1833 NYC boutique (21 Crosby Street) and fueguia.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Wednesday
Nov082017

Clarins Everlasting Cushion & Everlasting Compact Foundation

Clarins recently launched their new Everlasting Cushion Foundation SPF 50 ($44, refill $31), which is exciting for us Clarins makeup fans. I absolutely love how this formula makes your skin look so hydrated. It's easy to build coverage and the result is a glowing, satiny finish. It's definitely a reliable option for winter as we constantly battle dry indoor heating. It contains organic quinoa, white tea and lampsana extracts to combat pollution and maintain hydration. Shade 107 Beige worked perfectly on my light-medium skin tone. 

Everlasting Cushion Foundation in 107 BeigeThe revamped Everlasting Compact Foundation SPF 9 ($44) now has 17% less packaging, giving you a tiny bit more room in your makeup bag. For those who seek a matte finish, this one is supposed to have up to 15 hours of wear time. The light-medium coverage results in a very natural, ultra-lightweight finish that feels comfortable on the skin. Available in 13 shades, it's easy to find the right match. I find that 103 Ivory and 105 Nude worked well for me. 

Available at all Clarins counters and www.clarinsusa.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Oct262017

Worker B Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Raw Honey Scrub

I've been traveling a lot lately so I haven't had time to decompress and give myself some TLC. Now that I'm back home, I took the opportunity to try the Worker B Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Raw Honey Scrub.

Made with three kinds of sugar and two kinds of oats, it smelled faintly of oatmeal cookies. Organic grapeseed and almond oils add a healthy dose of moisture while propolis, beeswax, and raw honey add an extra layer of nourishment to the skin.

A small handfull is plenty so the 9 oz jar will last a while. Although it says you can use it on the face, it would be too rough for my sensitive skin. I'd stick to body use for now. Don't like oatmeal? There are four other options to choose from on their website. 

Available for $29 at www.worker-b.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Friday
Oct202017

Chocolataria Equador 

Last fall I ran across Chocolataria Equador during a visit to Portugal. The gorgeously packaged chocolate bars caught my eye as I was rushing towards the Porto train station. Even though I was on a tight schedule I stopped and dashed inside. Any excuse to get souvenirs, right? 

The kind salesperson briefly delayed his lunch break for me, so this was clearly meant to happen. I snapped up several oversized bars without tasting anything, so imagine my surprise when I came home. Each handmade bar contains an exquisite truffle ganache filling. They also weren't nearly as sweet as other gourmet brands.

My favorites were the Milk Chocolate with Lemon and the Dark Chocolate with Port Wine. The Port, one of their bestsellers, will blow your mind. My biggest regret is that I didn't buy more flavors. I hope they will sell online soon for international customers. When I was in Tokyo earlier this year, I spied a few flavors at the depachika inside Mitsukoshi Ginza. 

Credit: LocalPorto.com

There are three retail locations in Porto and Lisbon. For more info: www.chocolatariaequador.com

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Wednesday
Oct042017

Fueguia 1833 Luz sin Freno

Argentinian niche perfume house Fueguia 1833 just launched their Fall 2017 collection. I'm intrigued by the fact that founder Julian Bedel uses sustainable and biodegradable ingredients. For example, the musk they use in their compositions is of plant origin. These limited edition perfumes are also free of dyes and synthetic preservatives. 

Of the seven new fragrances, I got to check out Luz sin Freno, which is described as a floral citrus blend. I was pleasantly surprised at how unisex this scent is—the warm, punchy spices seem to lift the vibrant lemon  up to a higher octave. It then quickly morphs into a dance with jasmine, showing its feminine side. It's not a predictable composition, which is a very good thing. As for sillage, I can still detect it many hours after initial application. 

Available in 15ml, 30ml and 100ml bottles ($132-$329) at fueguia.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Thursday
Sep282017

Beauty Pie Multiglow Strobing Stick & Pro-Strobe Luminizer

Lately I've been enjoying the usability and subtlety of the Beauty Pie highlighters. The Multiglow Strobing Stick ($3.12 member cost; $26 retail) is available in three shades: Day Glow, Santorini and Hot Tropic. I tried out Day Glow, a white pearlescent hue that brightens my complexion. The creamy texture blends easily and if you're doing a minimalist look, skip the blush and just use this to freshen your cheeks.

Multiglow Strobing Stick in Day Glow

Like the Strobing Sticks, the Pro-Strobe Luminizer ($5.73 member cost, retail $38) in Beaming is easy to blend and the results are exactly what I need. It's not super shimmery and the light golden rose adds just the right amount of luminosity to my cheekbones. You can also brush it across your eyelids or brow bone to add a wash of radiance. This also doesn't have any talc in it. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either product or shade.

Pro-Strobe Luminizer

Available at www.beautypie.com

 

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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Friday
Sep222017

Elvis + Elvin Rosetta Treatment Masks

As we transition into fall my skin has been predictably fussy. To manage this I've been using the Elvis + Elvin Rosetta Rose Stem Cell Treatment Mask. Designed for sensitive skin, it contains soothing ingredients like rose extract, aloe leaf juice and rhododendron ferrugineum to soothe and calm red spots. 

The results were amazing. My pores shrunk instantly and fine lines were temporarily smoothed out. I looked a few years younger. That said, my skin was also a bit extra reactive, so if you're extremely sensitive you might not want to use this right before a night on the town. Instead, do it as a home spa treatment the night before. These masks are free of parabens, phthalates and sulfates. 

Available for $30 in a set of 4 masks (28 ml/0.95 oz each) at beauty.elvis-elvin.com.

For editorial consideration, review product was provided by the brand.

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