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Thursday
Jan162014

NARS Na Pali Coast Multiple

Described as a shimmering rose peach, the NARS Na Pali Coast Multiple is more like a warm bronzed peach with just a touch of shimmer. As a part of their High Seize 2014 spring makeup collection, I think this color will be one of the most popular items of the season. 

This buildable shade is perfect with a sheer application. At first I was worried that it would be too dark on my light-medium skin tone but it's very flattering. The shimmer mostly blends out so it won't get all over your face. Holding on for at least six hours, you don't need much product for fierce, contoured cheeks. 

Available now at www.narscosmetics.com

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Thursday
Jan092014

Clayspray Toning White Clay with Aloe Vera Masque

I haven't used clay-based masks in a very long time but when Clayspray came to market, I was somewhat curious. For one thing, it's packaged in a convenient spray pump can so it reduces messy application. The clay is sourced from Spain’s Iberian Peninsula and their formula boasts a 60-65% ingredient concentration, which is about three times the amount of most clay masks. 


I tried the Toning White Clay with Aloe Vera Masque. Made for sensitive skin, it contains aloe vera extract to calm finicky skin flare ups. I first prepped with a light misting of their Comfort H2O with Green Tea mineral water spray, then squeezed out a dollop of the masque. One pump is enough to cover the entire face and it didn't take long to dry completely. The results? I was left with a radiant glow and blackheads were buffed out. It didn't dry out my skin, so I'm especially pleased with that. 

Available at beautyhabit.com for $59.95.

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Friday
Jan032014

Marie Veronique Organics Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask

I've been using the True Natural Botanicals (formerly Marie Veronique Organics) Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask and now I can't stop touching my face. The lactic acid formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin and is packed with mango and avocado butters to add a deep layer of moisture, as well as solanum tuberosum to brighten the complexion. The luxurious jasmine and neroli scent does wonders to calm you down. 

You're supposed to leave it on for 2-5 minutes so don't let it sit there beyond the recommended time. Other than a few small pink splotches around my cheeks (normal for my skin), I didn't get much irritation. It is such an important weekly ritual as you can feel the serum and moisturizer sinking deeper into the skin, vastly improving their efficacy. I went about with my usual evening skincare routine and the next morning I woke up to glowing, baby-soft skin. I'm still touching my face as I write this post. 

Available at tnbotanicals.com.

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Friday
Dec272013

Leckerlee Lebkuchen

If you have a craving for authentic German lebkuchen, Leckerlee makes some delectable treats to make your taste buds sing with joy. Based in NYC, Sandy Lee's Nuremberg-style gingerbread cookies are the real deal. I've been searching high and low for a quality version and her recipe is amazing. Soft and fragrant with a slight chew, these spiced cookies have a tender cake-like texture. You can get both sugar glazed and chocolate covered options. It's usually made for the holidays but I can eat this year-round!

Available at leckerlee.com. They're also on sale at www.williams-sonoma.com for a limited time. 

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Thursday
Dec192013

The BB Cream With Picture-Perfect Results

Sponsored by Revlon via Glam Media. 

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Tuesday
Dec172013

Nona Lim Soups

Some days you're so exhausted you don't want to lift a finger to make dinner happen. Thankfully, Nona Lim soups come to the rescue. Made with local, GMO-free ingredients, you can rock a delicious meal within minutes. The company uses organic ingredients when possible and each product is packaged in BPA-free packaging. Just snip the package, pour, heat, and enjoy. 

I liked the flavorful Zucchini Soup much more than I thought I would. The Carrot Ginger was quite rich and creamy – easily my favorite. Thanks to the addition of coconut milk, you won't miss the dairy at all. I also can't believe it's only 70 calories per serving. There are no preservatives, additives, dairy or gluten.

For those cutting down on sodium there is a lighter version of French Onion Soup. I found both Red Lentil Veggie and Asian Lemongrass options to be too light for my taste. Both could use more vegetables to give it more texture and depth. Nevertheless, these soups are a great alternative for busy folks who want healthier meal choices.

To shop online or locate stores: nonalim.com.

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Friday
Dec132013

Shu Uemura Lip & Cheek Fun-tasy

Based on the 6 Heart Princess animation film, the Lip & Cheek Fun-tasy makeup tint is part of the Shu Uemura holiday 2013 collection by Takashi Murakami. A tiny squeeze, about 1-2 pinhead drops, is all you really need for proper coverage. The Fuchsia Fun-tasy shade looks like neon pink out of the tube but it will be a much gentler shade once you blend it on your cheeks. As a lip color, it will enhance your natural lip color with just a tinge of fresh pink. 

Easy to blend and long-lasting (5-6 hours), you can tuck this in your clutch or jean pocket for quick emergency touch-ups. It's also available in four other shades: Dream Pink, Heroin Rose, Princess Coral, and Magical Red. 

$25 each. Available for a limited time at www.shuuemura-usa.com

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Thursday
Dec122013

Yosh Han Appearance at Barneys New York

Artisan parfumeur Yosh Han will be making a few special appearances at Barneys New York to debut KÖNIG, her latest men's fragrance. Scented aura portraits will also be tailored for each lucky client — if you haven't experienced it yet this is your last chance for the year. Call and book your 15-minute appointment soon!

Yosh's tour schedule: 

Friday, December 13 – Scottsdale store; 1-6PM
Tuesday, December 17 – Beverly Hills store (call for appointment times)
Thursday, December 19 – Seattle store; 1-6PM 
Friday, December 20 – San Francisco store; 1-6PM

 

To learn more about Yosh: www.eaudeyosh.com

 

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Tuesday
Dec102013

San Francisco Chef's Table

My friend and award-winning food journalist Carolyn Jung just debuted her new book, "San Francisco Chef's Table" (Lyons Press, $24.95). A stunning collection of mouth-watering recipes from the SF Bay Area's finest chefs, this is one cookbook you'll want to refer to again and again. 

I had the pleasure and honor of testing several recipes from the book so I know Carolyn's book is a keeper. It's also a fabulous gift for any home cook or gourmand in your life. As a native San Franciscan I couldn't be more proud to see 50 notable restaurants represented in this stellar collection of recipes. For example, you'll discover culinary magic from the likes of State Bird Provisions, Absinthe, Cotogna, Town Hall and Kokkari.  

I'm including the amazing Hazelnut Semifreddo recipe from Oliveto below. It's a bit more work than a typical semifreddo recipe, but trust me, your eyes will roll backward in heavenly bliss when you taste the results. 

Hazelnut Semifreddo

(Serves 8–10)

For the semifreddo:

11/2 cups hazelnuts
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
6 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt


For the bourbon whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 pinches salt
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) bourbon

 

Image credit: Craig Lee

 

To make the semifreddo: Toast the hazelnuts in a 375°F oven for about 6 minutes. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, remove as much of their skins as possible. 

Place a silicone baking mat or greased sheet of aluminum foil on a baking pan. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over high heat, heat sugar and water until a light amber color is reached,
6–7 minutes. Stir in hazelnuts, then quickly spread the mixture out on the mat or greased foil. Let mixture cool and harden, about 15–20 minutes. Then grind the mixture in a food processor until a medium-fine texture is reached.

Line a standard-sized loaf pan with enough plastic wrap that the edges hang slightly over the sides. This will make unmolding the semifreddo much easier. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whip 2 cups heavy cream to a stiff peak; refrigerate. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites to a soft peak. Slowly add sugar as you continue to whip the egg whites until a stiff peak is reached. Gently fold nut mixture into the meringue. Then fold in the whipped cream and a pinch of salt. Spoon into the lined loaf pan, filling it nearly to the top. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. (If the semifreddo mixture doesn’t all fit into the loaf pan, the excess can be put into a small freezer-safe container and eaten as an extra treat.) Carefully cover the loaf pan with another sheet of plastic wrap. Place pan in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight. (The semifreddo will keep in the freezer for 3–4 days.)

To make the bourbon whipped cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 2 cups heavy cream until a soft peak is reached. Add sugar and salt. Continue to whip until the stiff peak stage is reached. Fold in the bourbon. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

To serve: Remove semifreddo from the freezer. Peel plastic wrap off the top. To unmold, carefully flip the semifreddo onto a serving plate. Remove plastic wrap lining. Cut into slices, placing each on a plate and dolloping with bourbon whipped cream. 

To buy Carolyn's book, head on over to Amazon. Be sure to check out her blog at www.foodgal.com.

Recipe used with permission from Lyons Press. Photography credit: Craig Lee. 

For editorial consideration, a review book copy was provided by a PR representative.

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Thursday
Dec052013

Luxury Beauty Gifts

Need something luxe for a beauty maven? We have the ideal gift ideas for the special lady who has it all.

Partnering with Swarovski Elements, the iconic SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is housed in a sparkly limited edition Xillion cut bottle. Containing at least 90% pitera essence, this famous skincare ingredient will make the visage shine with renewed radiance. $195; saks.com.

Dolce & Gabbana has a fabulously silky The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Duo in Laguna 150. The gorgeous matte aqua and satin forest green combination is extremely blendable with a minimum 8-hour wearing time. Wear each shade alone, or combine for a fun look. $42; sephora.com.

The Shu Uemura Basics Set is perfect for any Shu Uemura makeup fan or for introducing a friend to the cult brand. The set includes an Eyelash Curler, Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine, Painting Liner, Hard Formula brow pencil, and Ultimate Natural Mascara. $95 ($126 value); www.shuuemura-usa.com.

Sensai by Kanebo offers a luxurious The Lipstick, an anti-aging color treatment. Fantastically creamy and moisturizing, the shine formula contains Golden Phyto Extract to firm and refine the delicate lip area. $55; www.neimanmarcus.com.

Aftelier has an exquisite and rare collection of antique compacts, watch cases, and patch boxes, all of which can be filled with the Aftelier perfume solid of your choice. $150-$580 (prices include perfume solid); www.aftelier.com.

Long-lasting with a natural and semi-sheer finish, the Dolce & Gabbana The Blush Luminous Cheek Colour in Provocative 40 (cool bubblegum pink) adds a bright and youthful freshness to the cheeks. The soft cheek brush also deposits the right amount of product to the skin. $45; www.saksfifthavenue.com.

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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