True Nature Botanicals - Pacific Face Oil

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Nectar Essences - New Products

I have always loved the aromatherapy products from Nectar Essences. Made with 100% therapeutic grade essential oils and flower essences, there is a natural remedy for alleviating many ailments from insomnia to sinus congestion. Most importantly, they're very effective, safe and easy to use for everyone, even for kids.

The company just revamped their entire product line. I tried the Jetsetter kit, a travel-friendly trio of the Energy, Mood-boost, Super Immunity and Sleep oil blends. The zingy Energy, Mood-Boost formula addresses jet lag while the lavender based Sleep promotes restful slumber. I really like the Super Immunity blend — I found myself using this one many times during my recent trips to ward off germs on the plane and other public spaces. 

You can also get these remedies in a full-size retail bottle. I would definitely get the Super Immunity and De-stress, Unwind blends for daily home use. 

Available at

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

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Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick - New Shades

Dolce & Gabbana just launched 20 new shades of their popular Classic Cream Lipstick. Available in a wide selection of nudes, pinks, purples, oranges and bold reds, you'll certainly find the right shade for every mood and occasion.

Monica Bellucci for the D&G Classic Cream Lipstick campaign.

Like the original shades, the ultra creamy and opaque formula boasts a long wear time, keeping lips very comfortable and well moisturized. Every color I've tried is intensely pigmented with strong, saturated hues. The signature powdery rose scent is still there, evoking old world luxury and refinement.

D&G Classic Cream Lipstick in new shade Daring 310.

Keeping in line with spring and summer trends, the new Chic 230, a warm raspberry, is flattering on most skin tones. Daring 310, another new option, is a dark orchid that's ideal for a sexy date night. Those devoted to bright reds will fall in love with Fire 610, a fire engine hue. For a goth look Dahlia 320, a dark burgundy, will fit the bill. 

Dahlia 320.

D&G Classic Cream Lipstick in new shade Chic 230.

Fire 610.

All 20 new shades are available ($33 each) at

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

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Stones Throw

On a recent visit to San Francisco, I dined at Stones Throw, the newest restaurant in the Russian Hill neighborhood. Already a major hit with the locals, I was looking forward to trying out their California-American driven menu.

Puffed Potato & Egg (Credit: Stones Throw).

Located in the former Luella space, the management had a fairly tough act to follow. However, with Chef Jason Halverson at the helm and a team of stellar talent from Michael Mina and SPQR, the entire evening was filled with imaginative dishes and gracious professionalism. 

The playful Puffed Potato & Egg and refreshing Crispy Tomato Cream Wafers were a fun way to start the meal. The Squid Ink Conchiglie was easily one of the best pasta dishes I've had here, and that's a major accomplishment in a city filled with amazing pasta. The spicy capers added a crucial punchiness, which fired up the palate to ecstatic heights. 

Squid Ink Conchiglie (Credit: Stones Throw).

The Octopus Okonomiyaki was just mind-blowing. Laced with bacon dashi and spicy turnips, the tender octopus was grilled to smoky perfection. The accompanying seafood pancake came with three different condiments, which only added more allure to the unique presentation.

Octopus Okonomiyaki (Stones Throw).

As for entrees, the Crispy 38 North Duck Breast & Crispy Taquito was excellent. For vegetarians, the Toad in the Hole Lasagna with mushroom duxelles, asparagus, green garlic and confit egg yolk was a sublime, richly layered option.

Toad in the Hole (Credit: Stones Throw).

The lovely folks at Stones Throw kindly shared some extra treats, including the highly creative Not Your Grandma's Apple Pie — a deconstructed version of the classic dessert. Spiced maple panna cotta melded perfectly with apple granita, diced apple and cigar wafer. The textures were modern and different, yet the flavors remained comfortingly familiar. 

Not Your Grandma's Apple Pie (Credit: Stones Throw).

Not surprisingly, the Peanut Butter & Jelly Donuts were a big hit. Fluffy pillows of fried dough nestled among tiny mounds of peanut butter cream and grape jelly. We were already full, but it was difficult to resist this sweet temptation. In the end, we succumbed and gave in wholeheartedly. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Donuts ( make a reservation, go to

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Lady O Shoes

If you love flowers as much as I do, you probably want to wear them on your shoes from time to time. I recently discovered the gorgeous Lady O shoes, which are made with colorful pressed flowers. Each shoe features a unique floral design so no two shoes are alike.

Lady O Full Bloom slingback platform sandals ($338).

Dried flowers are meticulously chosen, arranged, and applied to the shoes by hand. The inner sole is also lined with shock-absorbent Poron memory foam and breathable Italian kid leather to provide maximum comfort to the wearer. 

Floral Power Raffia ($268).

I got to try on both Floral Power Raffia and Flower Power Patent styles. These peep toe wedge heels were so pretty and feminine it was hard to narrow down to just one style. I ultimately chose the Floral Power Raffia as it's more versatile for my wardrobe. The 2-inch wedge heel is also comfortable enough to wear around for several hours. An ideal shoe for casual outfits, it's also a showstopper with any summer dress. Whether you wear them for a date, a luncheon or an outdoor wedding, it will draw many compliments. 

Check out more Lady O styles at Free shipping and returns are included. 

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

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NARS Lip Gloss - New Formula

NARS lip gloss lovers can now indulge in more shades with their new formulation. Available in 30 luscious hues (including 7 new ones), the texture is silkier, way less sticky and glides easily on the lips. I also like the fact that it's scent-free, so those who are sensitive to any scent will like this new formula.

The packaging gets a revamp as well — it contains a doe-foot applicator for better application and the clear tube provides improved color visibility. 

Orgasm & Ophelia lip gloss shades.


Orgasm, a flattering peachy pink with shimmer, is always a cult favorite, but I also love Stella, a flirty raspberry that gives the lips a pretty jolt of color. Istria, a sheer baby pink, is great for a minimal daytime look. Ophelia, a shimmery strawberry, matches my natural lip color but it has a bit more warmth and pigment than Istria.

NARS Istria & Stella lip gloss.


Available at

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

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Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is coming up soon — have you located the perfect gift to surprise your beloved mom? If not, the following options will make her smile: 

Dolce & Gabbana's latest fragrance, Dolce, is a gentle scent that features white flowers. Fresh neroli leaves blend with the full-bodied white amaryllis, white water lily and bold white daffodil. The floral eau de parfum is housed in a vintage-inspired flacon with a beautiful flower stopper. $70-$112 (1-2.5 fl. oz.);

A cult skincare favorite, the Shu Uemura Mika Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil contains moringa and green tea extracts to remove environmental impurities from the skin. Dewy, bright skin can be achieved with daily use. For a limited time, the 15.2 fl. oz. bottle design features Mika Ninagawa's artwork. $77;

The excellent Chalk Hill 2012 Estate Chardonnay will add a touch of elegance to any Mother's Day brunch. Filled with aromas of limes, peaches, toasted almonds and orange blossoms, it has a long, rich finish. $45;

Twig & Thorn's lovely Fishbone Gold Bracelet will bring a chic and unusual accent to Mom's wardrobe. $150;


Treat Mom to the healing Eminence Apricot Calendula Nourishing Cream and she'll thank you. Not too rich nor too light, it's a great transition cream for spring and summer. $68;

Who can resist anything from Recchiuti Confections? The Mother's Day Truffles box contains 9 pieces of their popular Lemon Verbena, Lavender Vanilla, and Tarragon Grapefruit flavors. $26;

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

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NARS Iraklion Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Another pretty item from the NARS Adult Swim collection, the Iraklion Soft Touch Shadow Pencil is a neutral smoky quartz that exhibits a touch of mauve. Perfect for daytime looks, it doesn't have the same holding power as the Malacca eyeshadow, but both pair together beautifully. By itself it started to crease after a few hours, but using primer as a base should fix the issue. 

Available for $25 at

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

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NARS Malacca Shimmer Eyeshadow

Straight from the NARS Adult Swim summer 2014 makeup collection, the Malacca Shimmer Eyeshadow brings seductive glamour to the warmer months. The smoky iridescent peacock shows hints of brown and plum when you apply a sheer layer, but it retains the gorgeous forest green when you add more product. It stays put for a long time, up to 8 hours. To change things up it also goes very well with a layer of the Iraklion Soft Touch Shadow Pencil. 

Available for $25 at


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

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Eminence Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream

Not only does it smell amazing, the new Eminence Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream is a powerhouse of antioxidants and nutrients. Organic jojoba and lingonberry seed work with their exclusive Peptide Illuminating Complex (hibiscus seed peptides, gardenia stem cells, and yellow plum) to provide hydration and improve elasticity. Arctic plants like cloudberry seed, arctic roseroot, arctic meadowsweet and juniper sprouts are added to prevent the signs of aging. 

Made for all skin types, the soothing cream absorbs instantly to add moisture and comfort. Sensitive skin types should be able to use this too. I like to use it for night and day, but some might feel it's a tad too rich and use it only at night. 


$90 for 2 fl. oz. For more information:

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

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57th SF International Film Festival 

The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival takes place next week (April 24-May 8), so get your tickets before they're sold out. 168 films will be showcased from around the world, so there's a lot of great films to choose from. Here are a few previews: 

Claudia Sainte-Luce's debut feature, "The Amazing Catfish" ("Los Insólitos Peces Gato"), is an understated gem to savor. When lonely Claudia ends up in the hospital with appendicitis, she's pulled into the happily chaotic world of fellow patient Martha. As Claudia engages with Martha's lively household, she bears witness to Martha's daily struggle of living and dying with intention. Based loosely on the director's life, she teams up with cinematographer Agnès Godard to capture the warm, colorful scenes of Guadalajara.

Claudia Sainte-Luce's "The Amazing Catfish," playing at the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival.

Japanese singer Atsuko Maeda does a fine turn as couch potato Tamako in Nobuhiro Yamashita's light drama "Tamako in Moratorium" ("Moratoriamu Tamako"). Aimless and lethargic, loner Tamako returns home from college with little incentive to find a job. Her father endlessly dotes on her as she eats and sleep all day, but she eventually realizes that she needs to leave the nest and forge her own path. 

Atsuko Maeda in "Tamako in Moratorium."

A thinly-veiled self portrait of her past, Catherine Breillat's "Abuse of Weakness" is an honest account of a co-dependent relationship between a partially crippled filmmaker and a notorious con man. Isabelle Huppert is simply magnetic as Maud, a director recovering from a debilititating stroke. She soon discovers Vilko (Kool Shen), a celebrity con man and casts him in her next film. Painfully uncomfortable at times, it is an unflinching look at Maud's perverse power games with a dangerous man. 

Kool Shen and Isabelle Huppert in "Abuse of Weakness."For more festival information and tickets:

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