Lighten Up Hyperpigmention - Marie Veronique Organics 

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Friday
Oct252013

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass just launched their Ambient Lighting Palette, a gorgeous trio of finishing powders for the holiday season. For an optimal application, a sample of the Veil Mineral Primer is included. The powders are free of parabens, talc, fragrance, nano-particles and gluten and the palette features a new limited-edition shade as well as two popular ones:

Incandescent Light (New): A pearlescent powder that highlights cheekbones and brightens the complexion. It's not too shimmery and I like to use a light layer under the eyes for a beautiful glow. It helps to mask dark circles and gives the eye area a brighter, vibrant look. I really hope they will make this color a part of the regular Ambient Lighting Powder collection after the holiday season!

Dim Light: A matte neutral peach beige that creates a radiant, warm complexion. This is a wonderful everyday powder to maintain a healthy visage, even under fluorescent lighting. It even helps to blur slight imperfection and reduce the appearance of large pores. 

Radiant Light: A golden beige powder that enhances the overall complexion with natural, subtle warmth. Ladies with fair skin can even use this as a contouring powder, but I love to use this as a light blush. It's my favorite of the three shades. I don't use finishing powders on a normal basis but I adore this color and formula so, so much.

Usage tips by Hourglass Makeup Artist Moani Lee:

“Using the Hourglass Ambient Powder Brush, dust Dim Light over the complexion but focus on the center of the face to soften imperfections. Follow by adding Radiant Light as a contour under cheekbones, on temples and on either side of the bridge of the nose to add a subtle warmth. Finish off with a light dusting of Incandescent Light on the tops of the cheekbones, under the brow, on the center of the eyelids, the bridge of the nose and the cupid’s bow to brighten the complexion and create a celestial glow. For deeper skin tones, test the product on your skin and make adjustments by mixing Radiant Light to add warmth.”

Available for $58 at www.hourglasscosmetics.com and www.sephora.com

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

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Wednesday
Oct232013

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Lipstick

Love matte lipsticks? Lipstick Queen has a luxurious one for you to try. Their new Velvet Rope collection features extremely pigmented shades, a non-drying formula and a comfortable velvety texture. 

A few gentle swipes are all you really need to make a huge impact. I tried Black Tie, a deep, intense red that's flattering for most skin tones. It's so lightweight you can hardly feel it on your lips. And wow, the color is intense. I liked the minty scent and the long-wearing formula. What's more, the gold metal packaging is reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour — what more could a girl ask for? 

$50 each; available at www.lipstickqueen.com

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

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Monday
Oct212013

Aftelier Organic Matcha Chai

Artisan parfumeur Mandy Aftel has done it again. Her latest creation, the Organic Matcha Chai Tea, is an aromatic revelation. Grown in Nishio, Japan, the ceremonial-grade organic matcha is blended with Mandy's signature Aftelier Chef’s Essences.

Madagascan vanilla absolute, organic Vietnamese cinnamon, organic Jamaican pimento berry and organic Indian cardamom come together to create a clean, sweet and creamy finish. The round warm notes from the vanilla reminded me rose petals, which blew me away.

It's already wonderful by itself, but I love to make it latte style with a generous splash of milk and a spoonful of raw honey. It's such a luxurious way to celebrate autumn and the holiday seasons. Get some for yourself and your loved ones — tea connoisseurs will be obsessed with this new tea.

Available for $30 (25 grams) at www.aftelier.com

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

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Thursday
Oct172013

NARS Follow Me Nail Polish

A perfect splash of holiday color, the NARS Follow Me Nail Polish will carry you through next spring and summer. Sure, this high velocity fuchsia can be found within other brands, but NARS fans will love it regardless and it wears quite well. With a solid top coat, it lasts for about a week with minor tip wear. Two coats are recommended, but you can get away with one if you're in a hurry. The opaque formula is toluene, formaldehyde and DBP free. 

This limited edition nail polish is part of the NARS Guy Bourdin holiday collection. It's now available at www.narscosmetics.com.

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

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Tuesday
Oct152013

NARS Last Tango Cinematic Lipstick

The Last Tango Cinematic Lipstick from the NARS Guy Bourdin holiday 2013 makeup collection is my new favorite lippie. The formula boasts a high shine with strong pigmentation and the dusty rose shade goes on with an unexpectedly sensual gloss. Packed with monoï butter and vitamin E, it's also really moisturizing. My lips did not dry out one bit when I'm wearing it.

It wears slightly differently on several skin tones, but it's universally flattering. I never thought I'd love a neutral shade so much but that's why NARS is usually a favorite — they really know what they're doing. Throw on some false lashes, liquid eyeliner and you'll turn heads the minute you step out the door. 

The NARS Guy Bourdin holiday 2013 collection is available at www.narscosmetics.com.

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

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Monday
Oct142013

Vosges Minoan Lemonee Para Truffles & Noble Pig Library

The holidays will sneak upon us before we can even think about gift ideas, but Vosges Haut-Chocolat will always have some delicious, no-brainer options. Here are two fall options for hostess gifts, birthdays, and Halloween: 

The Minoan Lemonee Para Truffle Collection is inspired by the culinary traditions of ancient Crete. Macedonian white poppy seeds, lemon curd and white chocolate come together for a deceptively simple but alluring confection. The poppy seeds add a fine, subtle crunch to the 62% dark chocolate shell. As your taste buds reach the lovely ganache within, you can feel the white chocolate tempering the lemon's lively tartness to a gently bright note. Available for a limited time, this truffle is inspired by Samantha Jones-Hollobaugh, the winner of their Truffle Parfum contest. 

For something more robust and lusty, the new Noble Pig Chocolate Bar Library contains three popular selections for your snacking pleasure. The bacon-centric gift box includes a Mo's Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar (45% chocolate, hickory smoked bacon, alderwood salt), a Mo's Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar (hickory smoked bacon, alderwood salt, 62% chocolate), and a Barcelona Bar (hickory smoked almonds, fleur de sel, 45% milk chocolate). Buy one to share with friends, or keep it all for yourself — we won't tell anyone.  

Available at www.vosgeschocolate.com

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

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Thursday
Oct102013

Marie Veronique Organics Pacific Anti-Wrinkle Duet

I've been using the Marie Veronique Organics Pacific Anti-Wrinkle Duet with great results. If you're sorta watching your budget it's a viable alternative to their famous Pacific Topical Marine Treatment. In any case, the duet is more effective than splurging on a few spa facials.

I applied the Pacific Night Serum with Retinol every other night after cleansing. Packed with retinol, noni, resveratrol and pacific marine bioactive peptides, it works to stimulate new cell formation and replenish moisture levels to the skin surface. To boost the serum's efficacy I highly recommend the addition of their Pacific Topical Vitamin C Treatment. Spiked with licorice and ferulic acid to brighten the skin, these Vitamin C capsules add a potent layer of anti-aging protection. My skin can be sensitive at times so it tingled for about a minute after I put it on.



Overall the duet reduced much of the sun damage I sustained over the summer. My complexion is noticeably brighter and it has a much healthier appearance. My freckles faded a bit too. For better absorption, use these products before using any face oils. As with many natural skin care products, it does take a while longer than conventional products to see results but with patience you'll likely achieve that vibrant, youthful visage.

Available at mvorganics.com.

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

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Tuesday
Oct082013

La Boîte à Epice Spice Blends

I've been experimenting with many kinds of spice blends this past year but the ones that really captivated my taste buds were the extraordinary creations from NYC's La Boîte à Epice. Founder Lior Lev Sercarz is known for supplying his coveted spices to the likes of Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud so naturally his proprietary blends (all 42 of them) are good enough for home chefs.

Photos by James Ransom for Provisions/Food52.

N. 19 Salvador (seafood essence, saffron, pimenton) adds a nuanced smokiness to many kinds of seafood dishes. N. 25 Escabeche, a bright and citrusy melange of lemon zest, saffron, fennel and coriander, is absolutely wonderful with roasted vegetables and poultry. The aromatic N. 37 Izak (sweet chili, garlic, cumin) is terrific on steak and scrambled eggs.

Spiked with four kinds of umami-laden seaweed, fennel seeds, and coriander, the versatile N. 41 Lula is a more intense version of Escabeche, minus the citrus. I sprinkled it on roasted beets and it turned a normal side dish into a main attraction. I can't even pick a favorite as they're all equally amazing. Yes, they are quite spendy ($15-$27) but each 2-ounce jar will last many meals. I was surprised at how little I needed for each entree but they're all pretty concentrated in flavor. 

Available at Provisions by Food52 and theingredientfinder.com

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Friday
Oct042013

Clarins Instant Concealer

The new Clarins Instant Concealer has great medium-high coverage without using a lot of product. It's fairly concentrated so I only need a pinhead amount to lessen the effect of my dark circles. For those with puffy eyes, it contains caffeine extract to stimulate micro-circulation. Staying power is very good, at least if you have skin on the drier side.

Don't over apply or you'll end up with a cakey finish. For my light-medium complexion shade 02 pinky beige works well, especially if I get some color, but if I want extra luminosity I would mix a tiny bit of 01 yellow-beige. You don't need a brush either - tap gently with your ring finger and you'll be all set. I look more awake and perky — as if I got a few extra hours of sleep. 

Available at www.clarinsusa.com.

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

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Wednesday
Oct022013

Holiday Dresses from Alice + Olivia 

Alice + Olivia has some amazing frocks for the upcoming holiday season. Elegant and feminine, the lines still remain modern and sexy. With a sweetheart neckline and a silk chiffon skirt, the Landi Strapless Pouf Dress is the perfect LBD for a night on the town. 

Credit: Saks.com

The Dot Embellished Shift Dress can take you day to night. The metallic embroidery and jeweled neckline add plenty of sparkly fun for any important soiree. 

Don't want a dress? The Leather Trim Lace Halter Jumpsuit has enough edge for a rocker chic look. 

Available for pre-order at Neiman Marcus and www.saksfifthavenue.com.

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