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Thursday
Dec102015

Aftelier Organic Blood Orange & Cardamom Black Tea

I already love Mandy Aftel's matcha chai so I was eager to try her new Organic Blood Orange & Cardamom Black Tea. The rare Mao Feng tea leaves are sourced from the Fujian province of China.  

Warm and toasty, this slightly smoky tea is tinged with a comforting, mild sweetness—a direct result of the full oxidation and pan-fired processes. Hints of cardamom and blood orange dance around the palate, elevating your afternoon tea to a new gourmand experience. If you're lucky enough to dine at COI and Alta in San Francisco, both restaurants serve Mandy's beautiful teas. 

Available for $20 (30 grams) at www.aftelier.com.

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

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Tuesday
Dec082015

Dolce & Gabbana Holiday 2015 Makeup

Classic shades of red, antique gold and black are the foundation of the Dolce & Gabbana The Essence of Holiday 2015 collection. 

Red lipstick lovers can check out their Classic Cream Lipstick ($34.50) in Dora 628

Nails get the shiny gold treatment with the Intense Nail Lacquer ($27) in Antique Gold 813. Micro gold particles give it an understated shimmer.

As for the eyes, get the tried-and-true smoky eye with Perfect Mono Cream Eye Colour ($37) in Extreme Black 150

Available at Saks Fifth Avenuen and Nordstrom. 

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

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Friday
Dec042015

SK-II Holiday 2015 Facial Treatment Essence

SK-II is back with holiday versions of their bestselling Facial Treatment Essence. Available for a limited time throughout the holiday season, you get to choose from three festive designs. If you already use this cult skincare product, now's the time to restock with a pretty patterned bottle!

This year's theme is "Wings of Change." Images of the butterfly and hummingbird are featured prominently in three color motifs, signifying different meanings. Red butterflies are an emblem of boldness while pink ones symbolize encouragement. Blue hummingbirds represent perseverance. 

Available in 7.7 oz/230ml ($229) at all SK-II counters (Nordstrom, Macy's) and online at www.sk-ii.com.

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

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Wednesday
Dec022015

Little Shop Artisan Box

Sometimes I get a little homesick, and when I do, I'm constantly craving treats from San Francisco. That's where Little Shop Artisan Box comes to the rescue. Founder Maricela Yee personally curates each Holiday Gourmet Foodie Box with goodies made by local food artisans, giving you a taste of the SF Bay Area culinary scene.

Vegan coconut caramels from Sweetdragon Baking Co.

You get to nosh on handmade products from Feve Chocolates, The Candy, Chromatic Coffee, Sweetdragon Baking Company, Her Coconess, Friend in Cheeses Jam Company, and Il Morso. I especially liked the vegan coconut caramels from Her Coconess and the pate de fruit from The Candy. 

Pate de fruit from The Candy.

You can get either gift box or basket for $52-$119. To order: www.littleshopartisanbox.com.

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

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Tuesday
Nov242015

2015 Beauty Gift Guide

The holiday madness is literally days away—are you ready for it? The following gift ideas will make any beauty lover in your life smile with delight (you can thank us later!).

True Nature Botanicals is offering a limited edition collection of Dead Sea Salts. These luxurious and highly fragrant bath salts contain a potent amount of minerals and essential oils to heal and relax the senses. Available in three scents: Bliss, Tranquility and Vitality. $48; tnbotanicals.com.

Eminence has two fabulous options to start your holidays in style. The Must Have Minis Gift Set contains travel-size versions of Eminence bestsellers (Stone Crop Whip Moisturizer, Bamboo Firming Fluid, etc.) while the Tropical Body Bliss Gift Set features the luscious Coconut Sugar Scrub and Coconut Firming Body Lotion. $40-$79; eminenceorganics.com.

The label.m Diamond Dust collection proves that diamonds are indeed a girl's best friend. Conflict-free black and white diamond dust (sourced from Belgium), Champagne extract, white rose oil and pearl powder are infused into their shampoo, conditioner and body lotion for optimum nourishment. $24.99-$36; labelm-usa.com.

Orlane lets you perfect your pout with the Magnificent Lip Balm. Micronized hyaluronic acid plumps and redefines the lips while alaria esculanta (brown algae) nourishes and protects the delicate skin. $45; www.orlane.com.

Skin & Co. Roma has curated a myriad of Mediterranean-themed body care gift sets, including the Dolce Winter Skin Set and the Beautiful Hands set. With each purchase Skin & Co. Roma will make a $1 donation to Citymeals on Wheels during the holiday season. $30-$45; www.skinandcoroma.com.

 

Votre Vu's popular Bebe Duette Luxe Lip Balm & Hand Creme duo is back with a new and zesty grapefruit (pamplemousse) scent. And, the vanilla lip balm smells amazing. The small size is great for stocking stuffers! $18; www.votrevu.com.

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

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Tuesday
Nov172015

Galison Stationery Gifts

Designed for the stationery lover, Galison has a new fall lineup that would be great for stocking stuffers. These Sticky Notes ($10.99) by Lena Corwin and Fawnsberg will brighten up any office desk. Each portfolio contains 480 stickers. 

Don't forget the pens. These black ballpoint Pen Sets ($9.99) by Cooper Hewitt and Fawnsberg make a colorful splash in any setting. Plus, they're totally budget-friendly. 

The hardcover Clothbound Journals ($12.99) are well-made. Available in three styles, each one contains 160 lined pages.

Available at www.galison.com.

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

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Thursday
Nov122015

Ascona Chocolat Suisse

My chocolate karma must be high as I recently stumbled across Ascona Chocolat Suisse in Madison Valley. Owner Hans Riechsteiner features the renowned Laderach truffles, which are flown in each week for optimal freshness. 

You'll get to choose from about two dozen flavors. I just love the Hazelnut Crunch Praline, Raspberry Heart Praline, Caramelized Nut Praline, Lemon, and Passion Fruit Truffle. Hans also carries baking chocolate chips from Felchlin. I never leave the shop without a bag. 

Perfect for the holiday season, you can call in your gift box orders in advance. Local shoppers can even use curbside service via the FlyBuy app.

To order online: asconachocolates.com.

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Monday
Nov092015

Aftelier Vanilla Smoke Perfume

As commercial fragrances often use synthetic vanilla in their formulations, I've never liked anything made with it. However, the new Vanilla Smoke from Aftelier Perfumes totally changed my mind about the inclusion of this precious spice.

The unisex fragrance opens with the bold smokiness of lapsang souchong, but it soon tempers down to offer up the lusicious Madagascan vanilla. A seductive invitation in itself, the masterful addition of Siam wood, yellow mandarin, saffron and ambergris balance it out, resulting in a sexy perfume like no other. Like a true love affair, the more I indulge in it, the more I fall in love with it. All in all, another thoughtful and elegant creation from the amazing Mandy Aftel. 

Available in Liquid Perfume (1/4 oz, $180), Eau de Parfum (1 oz, $180) and Miniature Perfume (2 ml, $50) at www.aftelier.com

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

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Thursday
Nov052015

SK-II Power Brightening Specialist

SK-II skincare devotees will be interested in the new Power Brightening Specialist. It's designed to suppress melanin that's both visible and underneath the skin surface. Along with their signature Pitera essence, this serum includes a proprietary combo of YPC, oats and dipotassium glycyrrhizinate to prevent future age spot formation. Brightening agents De-melano P3C® and inositol are also included to break up stubborn existing melanin areas. 

The non-tacky lotion goes under your preferred day cream perfectly. As I have mild pigmentation, I feel one dropper is enough even though the instructions say to use two. Used day and night, I'm sure my complexion will be extra gorgeous in no time.

Available in 1 oz and 1.7 oz sizes ($140-$205) at www.sk-ii.com, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom.

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

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Tuesday
Nov032015

Seven Beef

Seven Beef, the newest restaurant from Sophie and Eric Banh, opened last month with great fanfare. The gorgeous steakhouse specializes in dry-aged beef from local producer Heritage Meats as well as a modern version of Bò 7 Món, a Vietnamese seven-course beef dinner ($35/person). 

Image credits: Geoffrey Smith

Steak is the main star but the seafood dishes are worth a try. The oysters with green apple foam ($12) is a light and refreshing way to start the evening. Depending on what's available, you'll get select Penn Cove or Kussi oysters. In fact, if you like seafood the majority of the appetizer selection is geared towards the fruits of the sea.

Steamed clams with turmeric, coconut milk, galangal, chorizo ($12).

Large parties can partake in the 48-ounce Côte de Boeuf ($120) or the 38-ounce Porterhouse ($99). The menu also features a Seven Seas Stew ($24) and Grilled Half Chicken ($21) if you're not in the mood for red meat.

Burnt acorn squash with goat cheese, mint and arugula ($12).

Definitely make room for dessert. The signature Valrhona 72% dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting will tempt your sweet tooth, as well as an assortment of French macarons (special order only, $2-3 each). We tasted the foie gras, nutella and caramel flavors and all are equally divine.

For reservations and more info, go to www.sevenbeef.com.

For editorial consideration, a press visit was provided by the restaurant.

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