Thursday, May 28, 2009

While I'm Away…Olay!

I'm traveling again, but fear not! Here's some fun info for you to read until I'm back on Monday!

Olay Exclusive Online Preview Sale! I've heard raves upon raves and I can't wait to try it. If you want to get in on this fabulous preview (and discount), keep reading:

Olay has announced their conveniently bundled NEW Olay Professional Pro-X Intensive Wrinkle Protocol. And it's available through an exclusive online preview sale – before it hits stores in July! The new three-part daily regimen, when used together, is clinically proven to be as effective as the leading prescription wrinkle brand. The complete protocol comes packaged with everything you need in an all-in-one kit.

The Olay Professional Pro-X Intensive Wrinkle Protocol includes three clinically proven anti-aging products:

· Age Repair Lotion with SPF 30
· Wrinkle Smoothing Cream
· Deep Wrinkle Treatment

Visit and be among the first to get the new cost-effective way to receive anti-aging results without a prescription or trip to the doctor! Plus, pre-order now and save $10.

Even though I'm Gone...You Can 'stila' Read On!

Okay, so I guess all this travel preparation is making me a little goofy. Hopefully I'll be back to my normal, sane(ish) self on Monday. In the meantime…

We've definitely got our stila back and the Indian Summer 24k Gold Collection is now live on their website!

This collection is infused with luxurious, glamorous (and let's not forget sparkly!) 24k gold. I'm "eyeing" (sorry for the pun) the smudge pot eyeliner in "golden noire". Smudge pots are awesome eyeliners (I'm partial to bronze), and this new color is a matte black with 24k gold flakes. Gold! Flakes! Woo hoo!
The new charmed eye shadow palette looks pretty darn gorgeous too.
Go! Check out the sparkliness at a computer near you!

While I'm Away...Check out World Ocean's Day!

Did you know that I wrote poetry in high school? Do you really need to know that? Hmmm. Probably not.

Did you also know that next Monday (June 8) is World Ocean's Day? Now that's something you might actually want to know. I for one did not know this until I got some info (below) from La Mer. Read on and do some learnin':

La Mer and Oceana Partner to Celebrate World Oceans Day 2009
100% Net Proceeds of the Limited Edition Crème to go to Oceana
Today, La Mer and Oceana announce a special partnership to raise awareness for World Oceans Day 2009. As part of this partnership, La Mer has designed a limited-edition 250 ml “World Oceans Day” Crème, with 100% of net proceeds going to Oceana. The World Oceans Day limited edition Crème de la Mer will be sold in May and June at Saks Fifth Avenue and

Ocean conservation has always been extremely important to La Mer. By responsibly harvesting only the top section of the sea kelp that reaches the ocean’s surface, La Mer is able to help sustainably maintain the underwater sea kelp forest ecosystem and protect this marine plant for future generations.

“I used to think the biggest threat to our oceans was pollution before I met the dedicated team at Oceana,” shares Andy Bevacqua, Vice President. Research and Development, The Max Huber Research Labs and Oceana Ocean Council Member “But after spending time with Oceana scientists and on board the Oceana Ranger, I think an even bigger threat is overfishing. In the collaboration between La Mer and Oceana, I have come to understand that the only way we will get things done and make real change is if the three prongs -- the government, NGOs, and industry -- all work together. We all have a common goal.”

World Oceans Day

La Mer’s collaboration with Oceana began in 2005, and this is the second year that La Mer and Oceana have partnered to raise awareness for World Oceans Day. By creating a limited edition World Oceans Day Crème and donating 100% of its net proceeds to Oceana, La Mer helps support Oceana’s efforts to win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life.

Created in 1992, World Oceans Day takes place annually on June 8th and is a day to recognize the sea’s importance as a vital ecosystem and take action to preserve its delicate habitats and wildlife. With over 300,000 members in 150 countries, Oceana’s science-based policies have greatly reduced over-fishing and protected threatened marine habitats.

Oceana Ranger Expeditions

On Oceana’s Ranger expedition, teams of divers and marine biologists gather crucial research that can be used to protect ocean habitats. Photos, videos and data collected on Ranger expeditions help gain insight into areas like fish spawning grounds that need to be protected so that fish populations can rebound and stay healthy. The Oceana Ranger studies rare corals, sea plants and underwater canyons. With the information obtained from the 2008 Ranger investigation, Oceana will be able to produce a scientific report that will be used in the proposals for the protection of marine habitats and/or marine areas.

“Recent studies suggest only one-half of 1 percent of funds going to environmental causes goes toward protecting the oceans," shares Amber Valletta, Oceana supporter and Actor. "But history teaches us that the oceans can rebound if we give them a break, which is why every dollar going to groups like Oceana can make an incredible difference."

While I'm Gone in A Rush – Make plans with LUSH!

I'm so glad that I'm traveling by car this weekend – no stuffing beauty products into little plastic bags or buying over priced bottles of water at the airline gate. Instead I can over pack to my heart's content! It doesn't take much to make me happy.

And now for a lame seque way…

The folks at LUSH (makers of bath and body fabulousness) sent me all kinds of happy-making information about upcoming store events. Read on and mark your calendar (and/or map)…

June 6, 2009: 80's Hair Party
Lush Walnut, 1428 Walnut St, Philadelphia PA 19102, 215.546.5874

June 7, 2009: Take It Easy Party
Lush Valley Stream, Macy’s, 1000 Green Acres Mall, Valley Stream NY 11581, 516.599.5955

June 13, 2009: Grease Summer Lovin'
Lush Christiana, 429 Christiana Mall, Newark DE 19702, 302.738 5874

June 13, 2009: Flower Fairies
Lush Union Square, Union Square, 7 East 14th St, NYC 10003, 212.255.5133

June 14, 2009: Relieve the Aching Party
Lush Valley Stream, Macy’s, 1000 Green Acres Mall, Valley Stream NY 11581, 516.599.5955

June 17, 2009: Happy Second Birthday!!!
Lush Union Square, Union Square, 7 East 14th St, NYC 10003, 212.255.5133

June 20, 2009: Tropical Getaway
Lush Upper West Side, 2165 Broadway NY, NY 10024, 212.787.5974

June 20, 2009: Get Sunkissed Party
Lush Valley Stream, Macy’s, 1000 Green Acres Mall, Valley Stream NY 11581, 516.599.5955

June 27, 2009: Walk of Shame...
Lush Christiana, 429 Christiana Mall, Newark DE 19702, 302.738 5874

June 27, 2009: Super Saturday - Carnival Extravaganza!
Lush Walnut, 1428 Walnut St, Philadelphia PA 19102, 215.546.5874

If this is the kind of thing you want to know about, you can sign up on their website for news and special offers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Everything’s Coming up Roses!

I’m crazy about fragrances, but I have people in my daily life who are extremely sensitive, so I usually stick to scented bath products, lotions and body butters.

And I really love the scent of roses. Some think it’s kind of old-fashioned; but I think roses are super romantic and sexy (think of all those steamy Victorian novels). Since I don't wear perfume, I'm always on the lookout for lighter rose-scented products. Happily I came across a really gorgeous modern take on roses: Bulgarian Rose Water from Tammy Fender Holistic Skincare.

Blurb about this company: Tammy Fender formulations are living energy for the skin and based on the healing traditions of holistic medicine. A skin care collection centered on health and healing, energetically balanced to benefit one's physical, emotional and spiritual "well being". The best in luxury, the purest in ingredients. The essence of all that is wholesome, beneficial and pure. Experience the feeling. See the radiance.

Blurb about the Rose Water: Lauded by the earliest healers for its curative and beautifying attributes, Bulgarian Rose is considered the most valuable essence of all, requiring more than 7,000 petals to produce a single drop. Exquisite and pure, the rejuvenating effects of Bulgarian Rose Water strengthen and tone the delicate tissues of the skin, balancing and restoring vital chi (energy), leaving the complexion supple and revitalized. The power of rose strengthens the center of one’s emotional being ~ revealing love and beauty.

This product is for soothing and rejuvenating the skin. The directions say to apply liberally to face and neck, but all I know is that I want to bathe in this. But I've been showing restraint. Instead of bathing in it, I've been patting it on my face, neck, shoulders and arms. This truly a wonderful, high quality rosewater. The scent is soft, lovely and sooooo feminine. It's the perfect luxury to soothe your skin (or soul) on a hot summer day (or night).

Bulgarian Rose Water is part of Tammy Fender’s “balance” system. You can also check out her products to “purify,” “nourish,” “restore” and “replentish.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Avon Skin So Soft Satin Glow (review)

I fully realize that I’m a zealot when it comes to sun protection. Probably because I’m such a recent convert. Growing up in Southern California, I had a year-round tan which I managed to boost every summer by laying out in the sun with a layer of baby oil (I know – yikes). When I lived in San Francisco, it was much colder, so my sunbathing stopped. But I still didn't think I needed sunscreen, because I didn’t burn. I didn’t even own sunscreen (again – yikes). But I found there are other "things" to worry about besides sunburn. After seeing the beginnings of brown spots on my cheeks (YIKES), I finally got all gung ho about SPF and have remained gung ho ever since.

Truthfully, I think my skin looks nice without a tan – with one exception. My impossibly ghost-white, glow-in-the-dark legs. Not only are they several shades whiter than the rest of my body, they also have some faint scars from past clumsiness. And because I wear sandals, the tops of my feet tend to be slightly darker. Weird.

I’ve been looking for something that would give a little bit of color to my legs without lots of hassle and/or expense. And among some Avon products I received a while back was yet another fine surprise: Avon SKIN SO SOFT Satin Glow Continuous Mist Airbrush Spray.

Blurb: A flawless, sunkissed just 4 days! Get a natural summer glow! 360° aerosol delivers a quick-drying mist for all over coverage—even hard-to-reach areas.

This met my needs perfectly. It’s a fine spray mist that is extremely easy to apply. It also dries very quickly (about 30 seconds). It takes a few hours for the color to show up fully, so resist the urge to overspray. I used it over 4 days and the color deepened gradually just as promised. No streaks and the shade was a very believable brown. I have it in “fair” - it also comes in “medium” (but not in “ghostly-white”). Be sure to follow the directions and use on clean, exfoliated skin (do not use after shaving). And, as with other self-tanners, be sparing around ankles, knees and elbows. I'm really happy that I can easily get natural looking color where I desperately need it.

FYI: right now, there is a bath and body sale on the Avon website (buy 1, get one for 99¢).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Make Room on the Bandwagon: The Solution (review)

I have been hearing about The Solution from Envision Beauty for a while now. After all the great reviews I finally got around to giving it a try (better late than never).

Blurb: The Solution combines the most effective ingredients from Nature + Science in one powerfully concentrated formula. The Solution’s luxurious all-in-one formula is loaded with the most effective ingredients found in Nature and Science. It powerfully nourishes, brightens and evens out the skin- repairing and preventing the signs of aging. Applied twice daily in place of a day cream, night cream, eye cream, moisturizer, anti-aging serum and pre-makeup base, The Solution rapidly produces drastic, visible results. Advanced lifting and firming action. Decreases wrinkle density and the appearance of fine lines. Improves collagen synthesis for the production of healthy and radiant skin. Powerful natural antioxidants including Goji and Acai. DMAE, Alpha Lipoic Acid, NaPCA, Hyaluronic Acid & Centella Asiatica. Vital nutrients including Vitamins A, B5, C and E. Deep-penetrating formula ideal for all skin types.

To begin with, it has a crazy amazing list of good ingredients. Envision Beauty contributes at least 10% of their proceeds to charitable projects in developing countries, and The Solution is paraben-free, alcohol-free and cruelty-free. I also love the idea of a great all-in-one product that can replace the usual rack of tubes and jars.

The formula glides on, absorbs quickly, and was just fine under my makeup. It hydrated my skin without being greasy or clogging my pores, was completely non-irritating, and even agreed with the very sensitive skin on my neck.

As for results – I am liking what I see so far. Right away I noticed a bit of un-puffing action under my eyes (thrilling!). And my skin feels great. As the package says, sometimes there’s a bit of tingling at first (not unpleasant), but afterwards my skin feels hydrated and balanced. Right before I started giving this a try; I was experiencing my usual change of seasons facial “drama.” It seemed like the “drama” cleared up quite a bit faster this time, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s due to this product. My skin certainly felt better, and I’ve been getting some nice compliments. I’ve also been using it at night and I’m waking up to balanced, hydrated skin. I have to say that I am pretty darn impressed!

I checked out the website and they are having a BOGO promotion. Nice. It also looks like they will be coming out with a brightening cleanser which is very exciting!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bargainistas and Naturalistas: Aubrey Organics Conditioner

Thank goodness I have a blog, because I’m feeling a big need to discuss my conditioner. And if I were to just call someone on a Saturday morning and start talking about conditioner; I’m pretty sure my friends would stop answering the phone.

I'll be testing out a few new hair products so I’m going to set aside some of my usual items for a while. One of the items being set aside is my lovely and talented bottle of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose® Moisturizing Conditioner.

Blurb: The sweet smell of success for your hair. Trade those dry, thirsty tresses for vibrant, touchably soft hair with this moisture-intensive conditioner. Restorative herbal emollients detangle and rehydrate to leave hair ultra-silky and irresistibly fragrant. Also recommended for bleached or highlighted hair.

In addition to the blurb, I am going to list the ingredients (due to their awesomeness): Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Shea Butter, Wheat Germ Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Rosa Mosqueta® Rose Hip Seed Oil; Extracts of Fennel, Hops, Balm Mint, Mistletoe, Camomile, Yarrow, Chrysanthemum, Angelica, Forsythia and Magnolia; Honeysuckle Oil, Carrot Oil, Aubrey’s Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C and E).

Bargainistas: It’s reasonably priced and a little bit goes a long, long way.

Naturalistas: every damn thing in the bottle is good for your hair and the earth. No parabens, no petrochemicals, no animal testing and the packaging is biodegradable and recyclable.

Non-istas: I've been using this almost daily and it's made my hair smooth, shiny and soft. It detangles. It moisturizes and protects. And even though it’s super rich, thick and creamy, there’s almost no buildup. And I love the honeysuckle fragrance – it’s strong out of the bottle, but leaves a mere hint after rinsing.

I also recommend you check out their website and take a look at the other stellar products they offer. There’s haircare, skincare, beauty, bath & body, household products, books…and products for pet care (big awesomeness points). You can also find their products at places like Whole Foods.

Friday, May 22, 2009

ESS-PEA-EFF: Series Finale

Well it looks like I've pretty much beat this subject into the ground…almost! Sorry, but before all the outdoor fun begins; I want to mention (briefly!) a few more awesome products to shelter your lovely skin. Then I'll stop. Really. I promise.

Clinique Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector (SPF 40)
I use this a lot because it's a great reasonably priced, makeup-friendly sunscreen. It's lightly tinted, zinc-oxide based, feels weightless and actually helps even out my skintone. It has a slightly higher than usual SPF and is also fairly water resistant. Contains anti-oxidants, oil-free, non-comedogenic, allergy-tested and fragrance free.

Origins Out Smart™ Daily (SPF 25)
This is one of the few non-zinc oxide sunscreens I recommend because it goes on like a dream. It feels smooth, weightless and absolutely melts into skin. It's lightly tinted, incredibly soothing and slightly moisturizing. Oil-free, dermatologist and opthamologist tested.

Solar Sense Clear Zinc, Advanced Sun Protection For Face (SPF 45)
Micronized zinc oxide means no white cast. It offers great protection and comes in a convenient, travel-friendly plastic jar. It's also fairly water-resistant. Contains vitamins A, C, E, aloe and green tea. Non-greasy, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and doesn't clog pores.

SkinCeuticals Ultimate UV Defense (SPF 30)
Contains transparent zinc oxide and doesn't leave a white cast. Slightly moisturizing, but doesn't clog pores. This works pretty well as a makeup base too. My dermatologist recommends this highly for every day use.

DDF Organic Sun Protection (SPF 30)
I reviewed this in an earlier post, but it bears mentioning again. DDF is an excellent skincare line and this sunscreen is no exception. Oil free, non-comedogenic, moisturizing, non-irritating and contains antioxidants. It isn't sweat-proof, but it's excellent for those days that are sunny, but not too hot.

Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer (SPF 15)
This is another non-zinc oxide sunscreen. What makes it a standout is its ability to soothe and calm irritated skin. My neck can get extremely sensitive sometimes, and this moisturizer calms it right down and feels wonderful while it protects. Oil-free, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

ESS-PEA-EFF Part 3: Hard Core Sunshine

This is for those of you who may be encountering HARD CORE SUNSHINE this weekend. Events like outdoor weddings, barbecues, parties, first dates, etc. Places where you need extra protection, but still want to look great.

Cover FX Skin Tint FX Moisturizing Treatment & Tint (SPF 30)

Blurb: Achieve a healthy and natural looking sunkissed glow. Enhance your natural skintone with warm shades that are highlighted with pearlized minerals. The oil-free, paraben-free, and water resistant formula was designed to be long wearing and moisturizing to the skin. Contains skin repairing ingredients and anti-aging skin firming and anti-wrinkle technology.
The reason I included it in today's post (instead of yesterday's tinted moisturizer post) is that it has an especially high SPF (zinc-oxide based). And because of the sheer tint, you can blot and re-apply throughout the day without having to take off of your makeup and start over. It has nourishing minerals, it's oil free, fragrance free, paraben-free and cruelty free. The formula is a little different from most. It has a thin liquid consistency and comes out of the bottle looking dark, but the finish is sheer and glowy – it even has a little bit of a bronzing effect. I also love that it's non-comedogenic, water resistant, extremely gentle and non-irritating. This is one of the handiest products to have around when you're going to spend a lot of time in the sun and want to stay pretty.

UV Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+ Adult
Blurb: UV Natural was created for those concerned with the toxicity of chemicals used in cosmetics, in particular those in sunscreens. It is uniquely formulated to apply like a moisturizer. Blended with extracts that nourish the skin, UV Natural incorporates the cutting edge in zinc oxide formulations that is so revolutionary it destroys the old myths about what is possible and what isn't with zinc. This sunscreen doesn’t leave your skin white and pasty like other zinc formulations, and you don’t need to “double up” on your sunscreen--one tube does both the body and the face. Not tested on animals.

I love this a whole lot! It's an awesome sunscreen for anyone who really wants to stick to natural, zinc-oxide based protection. It has a high percentage of zinc-oxide, but doesn't leave a white cast. It's fragrance-free, preservative free and has never ever irritated my skin. It's moisturizing, but doesn't clog my pores or cause break outs. It also stands up well to perspiration. And a little bit truly does go a long way. This sunscreen has a lot of "slip" and really needs to be rubbed in well. UV Natural's moisturizing properties make it especially ideal for dry conditions. And like the blurb says, it's great for both body and face.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Cream SPF 60

Blurb: Patented sunscreen MEXORYL XL and MEXORYL SX has been rigorously formulated to ensure a high level of protection from the harmful sun rays. The patented filter system in this formula provides an excellent protection against UVA and UVB. Regular use of this product over the years may help reduce the chance of premature aging of the skin. Fluid and easy to apply, non-comedogenic, dermatologist tested and fragrance free.
The blurb says it all -- this is big, bad, broad spectrum, über protection! When you need a hefty boost of SPF, this is your product. It goes on smoothly, is truly makeup-friendly and doesn't cause breakouts. No white cast and no fragrance or anything to cause irritation. AND my dermatologist gives it a great big thumbs up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ESS-PEA-EFF Part 2: Tinted Moisturizers

So like a dog with a bone, I'm going to repeat: out of all the beauty treatments available, the most guaranteed, sure-fire path to youthful and gorgeous skin is still SUN PROTECTION.

Today I'm going to mention a few tinted moisturizers with SPF. I use tinted moisturizers when I really don't need the full coverage of a foundation. When my skin is behaving, I love the sheer, natural look that I get. Tinted moisturizers also feel lighter (great for hot weather). These three I'm discussing all have an SPF of 15 or higher. (I still start out the day with sunscreen underneath, though - just to make sure I'm covered.)

#1: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - Oil Free (SPF 20)

Blurb: A sheer, lightweight, buildable foundation that can be worn by all skin types but especially those with acne prone, sensitive or oily skin. Hydrating, oil-free formula softens skin offering a healthy glow. Helps to prevent excess oil from setting on the surface of the skin. Controls oil breakthrough while providing hydration to prevent dryness. Buildable coverage for those hard-to-cover places. Ideal for troubled skin.

This is a little pricier, but I really love it. And it certainly does love me back. (I am an owner of the "troubled skin" referred to in the blurb.) This tinted moisturizer does what it says it does. It hydrates without clogging my pores, controls oil and looks darn amazing all day long.

#2: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 20)

Blurb: Healthy Skin Enhancer combines a vitamin-infused Retinol treatment to smooth fine lines, the protection of SPF 20 moisturizer and sheer, lightweight tint in a single application.

This was highly recommended by my friend, Nancy. It's reasonably priced ($11.49!), oil-free, non-comedogenic, and contains Retinol. According to Nancy, it's great for sensitive, oily and break-out prone skin. Even though I haven't tried this, if Nancy gives it a thumbs up, you can be pretty sure it's fabulous.

#3: Benefit You Rebel Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 15)

Blurb: Our defiantly different tinted moisturizer with SPF 15 leaves your complexion healthy & protected with a hint of color. We've tossed in antioxidants, aloe vera & allantoin for soft, supple skin all year long.

I gave this a try because it had a cool name. Then I ended up being impressed the actual product. The tint seems a little dark at first, but once it's on, it changes to a very sheer, dewy finish. Because of the aloe vera and allantoin, I recommend this mainly for those of you who don't have break-out issues. But the pretty, natural look of this tinted moisturizer is outstanding.

What products will be featured tomorrow? Will Maria remember to use spell check? Come back for another riveting installment of "ESS-PEA-EFF…."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ESS-PEA-EFF Part 1: Oh la la, La Mer! (review)

Woo Hoo! Long weekend coming up!

Memorial Day weekend is sort of the unofficial start of summer (and outdoor activities). Going to the beach, barbecuing, outdoor events and various sports (which I know nothing about). Here in Philly, we are all fairly sure that there will be warmth (and sunshine) soon. And I'm assuming that many of you will be outdoors enjoying the warm weather. I'm also assuming that everyone will be wearing plenty of SUN PROTECTION. Yes? (Please tell me yes.) You know, out of all the beauty treatments available, the most guaranteed, sure-fire path to youthful and gorgeous skin is still SUN PROTECTION.

About 18 months ago, I converted to the religion of sunscreen after two…gasp!...brown spots began to appear on my cheeks. All that sunbathing during my teen years and my later disregard for sunscreen resulted in…SPOTS! Then the dermatologist told me that there would be MORE if I didn't mend my ways. So I mended them. Now I always wear sunscreen on my face and neck. My ways are officially mended.

Since there's a long weekend on the horizon, I am going to spend the next few days talking about some fine products with SPF (Sun Protection Factor). There are so many out there now, so I'm going to focus on some of the really stellar products I've found for the face (and neck).

And I'm starting with the big guns. Two words: La Mer. Two fabulous items from La Mer have totally knocked my socks off.

Fabulous Item #1: The SPF 30 UV Protecting Fluid

Blurb: Provides broad spectrum UVA/ UVB protection as well as an array of visible light-transformation benefits. The Smart Seaweed Ferment also attracts moisture to the skin to create a protective, emollient barrier, helping to prevent dehydration. Luxurious and lightweight to the touch, the transparent formula is an ideal makeup primer, providing a smooth, flawless finish as it conditions and helps protect skin.

I've already heard amazing things about this fluid and it did not disappoint! This sunscreen has everything: A nice high SPF, a high percentage of zinc oxide, non-comedogenic, lightly conditioning and it feels absolutely weightless. Not only that, it's invisible (zero white cast). And it really did work well as a primer. This is sun protection, skincare and beauty all in one bottle. Spectacular!

Fabulous Item #2: The Treatment Powder Foundation (SPF 15)

Blurb: Weightless color and precious gemstones smooth away imperfections to reveal a naturally flawless finish. La Mer’s potent skincare benefits leave skin looking luminous. This lightweight compact formula smoothes away imperfections to transform the complexion. A signature Radiant Ferment continuously improves clarity and brightness to illuminate the skin. Airspun seaborne particles – some of the lightest materials on earth – create an imperceptible finish that leaves skin looking naturally flawless all day.

I seem to be running across some nice powder foundations lately. But La Mer's is extra gorgeous! It goes on easily and feels wonderful. A single application (again, I used a kabuki brush) gives a medium coverage and I was able to build and get more coverage where I need it. The finish was velvety smooth (and slightly luminous) -- and it still looked lovely hours later. I also tried a light dusting over my liquid foundation and got great results too. Home run, La Mer!

La Mer is available at select Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and through their website.

Cuteness Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Charrise!

She is the winner of an I SHOP FOR SUGAR FAIRYTALE Mini Makeup Palette from Sugar Cosmetics (and a bunch of other mini-sized goodies)!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Travel Buddy: Cover Girl Outlast Lipstains (review)

Over the last few days I was on a whole bunch of airplanes. Okay, maybe there were only 4 airplanes, but it seemed like a whole bunch. I know that things had to change; but I really miss the days when I could easily find non-stop cross country flights. I also miss the days when I didn't have to try to fit all of my beauty products into one little bag. One whole quart – oh big deal.

And don't get me started on the whole bottled water thing.

Anyway, I didn't want to check baggage, so I started shopping around for airline-approved containers. And I kept running across bags that came with 3 bottles. Three? Are you kidding? Luckily, I finally found an awesome Carry-On Bottle Kit at Bed Bath and Beyond. It has zillions of little bottles and jars (well – maybe only 15, but it seemed like zillions).

I wedged everything I needed into this thing and then I realized (steady yourself)...I had forgotten the lip products! How had I done that? What would I do? Would I spend my trip with colorless lips? No, of course not. Covergirl Outlast Lipstain to the rescue!

Blurb: The water-based colorants of Outlast Lipstain give lips a beautiful, lightweight flush of color that won't come off, lasting for hours without the heavy look or feel of an ordinary lipstick. Its pen-like precision applicator makes it easy to define your lips-just draw on color without any hassle!

I'm sure you have already read the fabulous reviews of these lip stains. As soon as they were available, I bought a couple and have loved them ever since. They're long wearing, easy to apply, non-drying and look great. What I really appreciate is their versatility. I can smudge a little bit on with my finger for a natural look, or use the pen applicator to get really intense color. Recently I've been pairing them with a gloss or sheer lipstick. Even when the gloss/lipstick wears off, the lipstain stays put underneath.

I ended up squeezing one (in "Cinnamon Smile") into my already stuffed beauty bag along with a tiny bit of Stila's High Shine Lip Color in "Amber," and my lips were good to go for the whole trip.

Even when you're not traveling, these are great for every day – especially when you don't have the inclination to keep re-applying. If you haven't tried these yet (or you just want to check out some new colors), now is a great time to stock up. is having a BOGO sale.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Please pass the Serotonin (biology lesson and GIVEAWAY!)

I will be traveling for the next few days and returning on Monday. In the meantime, I suggest you read this highly informative post and then enter my giveaway!

Possibly the best way to "feel pretty" is to just feel happy. Enter our good friend, serotonin.

So what on God's green earth is serotonin? Serotonin is a chemical made by our very own brains that helps to create and maintain "happy feelings." It can regulate moods, aid sleep and relieve anxiety or depression.

Some bad news: Constant unrelieved stress can deplete serotonin levels and lead to something known as "unhappy feelings." Also known as "I have to eat that entire cake right now" feelings.

Some good news: Just taking moments throughout the day to relax, stretch, laugh or experience some joy can replenish serotonin levels and help keep you from being an exhausted, cranky wreck by the end of the day. I do lots of things like this. I stretch, I crochet or read at lunch, and I also read (surprise) beauty blogs. I even have a few favorite youtube videos that make me laugh. But when I really need a hefty boost, my sure-fire, mood-altering, guaranteed serotonin-inducing destination is the website, Cute Overload. Cute Overload is photo after photo of really cute, funny animals. Tons and tons of them. With witty captions. Here is an example:

After a few minutes of pictures like these, I am guaranteed to be in a better place. And for those times when I need even more cute animals with hilarious captions, the folks at i can has cheezburger have an endless supply. Have a look:
So what on God's green earth does any of this have to do with a beauty giveaway?

Well I'm giving away something really cute. One lucky reader will win an I SHOP FOR SUGAR FAIRYTALE Mini Makeup Palette from Sugar Cosmetics. It's an adorable little makeup palette made to look like a tiny tote bag. (It has 4 shadows and 4 glosses.)
In addition to this teeny tote bag, I'll add a bunch of mini-sized beauty, fragrance and skincare items. Cuteness galore!

How to enter: Send an email to me at with a comment about one of my posts. Put the title of the post in the subject line, and your comment in the body of the email (the comment should vaguely relate to the post – not just “great giveaway” or “hello”). You have as many chances to win as I have posts (38!). Just send a separate email for each. I'll accept entries through Saturday, May 16, and I’ll email the winner on Sunday 5/17. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. If no response, I’ll move to the next randomly selected person. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

stila illuminating powder foundation (review)

So on Monday morning I had two surprises.

Surprise #1: My car died while I was sitting at a stop sign. And it wouldn't restart. That was a bad surprise. Luckily, I was close to home, it was a week day and some nice people pushed me into a parking lot across the street where I waited safely until the professionals could take over. Not surprisingly, my poor little budget is being stressed further.

Surprise #2: A wonderful powder foundation! That was a good surprise. I received some stila illuminating powder foundation as a gift and decided to give it a try. I've always wanted a powder foundation for my bag, but never seemed to find one that I liked. Usually they make my complexion chalky and/or my pores huge. But, surprise – this foundation is great! Blurb: Let your inner radiance shine through with this unique, all-in-one powder foundation. Infused with Mica, tiny crystals found in nature, this unique formula helps reflect light for luminous skin that looks fresh and bright. Perfect for all skin types, illuminating powder foundation minimizes skin imperfections while maximizing sun protection with SPF 12 for ageless, timeless skin that simply glows. Apply dry for a light coverage or damp for more complete coverage.

This foundation comes with an applicator sponge (the compact is sold separately). I applied it (dry) with a kabuki brush, and it looked fabulous. It gave me great coverage and smooth finish. My skin did indeed look "fresh and bright," and this foundation kept the shine at bay for a long time. At the end of the day (which included a stressful morning and a really bumpy ride in a tow truck), it was still in place.

Something else: SPF 12

Something else: stila is "appreciating" their customers at their website by offering a free 24kt Lip Gloss with any $25 purchase. (I have this gloss - it's pretty darn glamorous.) Use coupon code: APPRECIATE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Take it off, baby!

Were taking it off again today!

Ahem...usually I write about stuff to put on; but my last post was about a gadget that removed stuff ("stuff" being unwanted facial hair). I think I'll talk more about “removal” items again today. How about something to remove rough, dry, skin? Since the skin is our largest organ, it’s going to take more than one little dinky gadget to do the job. So here are three – count ‘em three – items to exfoliate from head to toe.

Face: Aquis Essentials Microfiber Face & Body Mitt

Blurb: Lavish your skin with the head-to-toe attention it deserves. The sumptuously soft, gently exfoliating Aquis® Essentials Face & Body Mitt reaches deep into pores to cleanse and rejuvenate. Created from ultra-fine microfibers that are gentle on skin, the Aquis® mitt expertly washes away makeup, cleanser, and the impurities of the day. Use it regularly for a healthy, vibrant glow.

This is really easy to use – just wet it, put your hand in the mitt and gently rub away dead skin. I use this almost every morning after cleansing to get rid of any remaining little flakes or rough spots. I think it's perfect for the face and neck, but not quite enough for the body. For body exfoliation, I use…

Body: Salux Nylon Japanese Beauty Cloth.

Blurb: Winner of the Invention Prize in Japan, unique patented design, in pleasing pastel colors. Light nylon fabric air dries quickly and completely - machine washable. Creates a rich lather while stimulating skin and blood circulation. Much longer than a normal washcloth to reach neck and back with ease.

It's all true. This is hands down the absolute best exfoliator I have ever used. Period. It beats a loofah sponge, sugar/salt scrubs or anything. Use with your favorite soap or cleanser, and you'll have smooth skin from collarbone to ankles.

Feet: Tweezerman Pedro Callus Stone
Blurb: For beautiful feet year round. This stylish and practical pedicure tool combines the ultimate in form and function for beautiful feet year round. Features superior quality ceramic stone with rough side for reducing calluses and fine side for smoothing skin and long handle for utmost comfort and control.

This is a really well made item. Both sides have nice large surfaces and curved shapes so there are fewer irritating edges. The long, easy to grip handle is fabulous. It makes the whole process simpler and more comfortable (since I don't have to twist myself into a pretzel to get all the areas of my foot).

If you happen to be on a budget, you may want to know that all three of these items together will run you about $30. Not bad. And they're all washable, reusable and durable. Also not bad.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

From the “Nancy” files: Tweeze Appeal (Review)

In my first post, I mentioned my super fashionista friend, Nancy. Nancy knows things. Her skin and hair look amazing…because she knows things. Nancy is an encyclopedia of beauty and skincare information. I really think she should be the one with the blog, but I couldn’t talk her into starting one. Luckily, I still get the benefit of her vast knowledge. And one thing I have learned is that when she suggests a product, I should just shut up and try it. Like I said, she knows things.

One of the best things ever that Nancy suggested was a little contraption called the Tweeze Appeal Precision Hair Remover.

Blurb: Tired of waxing or electrolysis? Eliminate these tedious regimens with our Tweeze Appeal Precision Hair Remover. It attracts hair like magnet, grasps and removes it from the root with pinpoint accuracy. Unlike razors and trimmers that cause stubble, this leaves your skin silky smooth and your hair is slow to grow back.

Here’s my review in a nutshell: It works. Go buy one now.

Okay, a little more detail. In addition to long eyelashes and olive skin; the Italian side of the family also passed along the gene for unsightly facial hair. If I’m not constantly vigilant, I look like a Sicilian widow in about 4 days. Pre-Tweeze Appeal; I was constantly plucking, as well occasionally waxing and using chemical depilatories. On my face. All the freaking time. Post-Tweeze Appeal; I run a little gadget over my chin, jaw line and upper lip on a regular basis and that’s it. Done. No hair. No mess. No stubble. Awesome.

Now to be sure, Tweeze Appeal isn’t perfect. It’s kind of noisy, and it definitely stung a little at first (since it is actually plucking). I’m completely used to it now, though, and I can even use it on my upper lip without any sensitivity. It’s also great for a quick tidying up between the eyebrows. I recommend you start with small areas at first depending on how sensitive you are.

Some day, I will be able to lay out the big bucks and get rid of my facial hair permanently. But until then; I’m pretty happy to follow Nancy’s savvy advice and keep my face smooth for $16.95 plus the price of occasional replacement batteries.

Friday, May 8, 2009

For your eyes only: Delicious Purple (part 2)

Well it seems that I went on quite a bit yesterday about purple. But when I re-read my post, I realized it still wasn’t enough. So I will now further everyone’s education on the many more delicious purple products available. Adjust your reading glasses and take a deep breath…

Powder Shadows:

NARS eye shadow in Night Rider: As discussed last week, this shadow is my eyelids' new best friend. I had been wanting this forever, and I finally snapped it up when Sephora had a 15% off promotion.

Makeup Forever #92: Royal Purple. Pure royal purple. The purpliest of purples I have found in a powder shadow. And for serious party eyes, layer it with Makeup Forever Star Powder in #954.

smashbox Eye Shadow in “Spellbound”: This is an awesome soft lilac with a hint of gold shimmer. The saleswoman in Nordstrom kicked it up a notch by by pairing it with Estée Lauder Double Wear base in "Lilac Petals".

NARS duo eye shadow in “Jolie Poupee”: Yowza! This duo pairs a blue-ish violet with an iridescent purple. Really, really cool.

stila Eye Shadow Duo in “Orchid”: This is a gorgeous pair of matte shadows: a pale lilac paired with a dark smoky purple.

Crème/Liquid Shadows:

Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadows in “Va Va Va Bloom”: I have been using this versatile little palette forever. The colors range from gold to plum to deep wine. I use them to color my lids, as a sheer wash over other colors, as highlighting and to line my eyes. Tons and tons of options.
Vincent Longo Liquid Shadow in “Midnight Mauve”: This is called mauve, but it’s really a deep, royal purple. Very dark and very dramatic. I also use this as a liner (and I usually apply with a brush instead of the wand).


#5 smashbox Cream Eye Liner in “Midnight Purple”: If you had to pick only one purple eyeliner (perish the thought), this would be the one. Smashbox has one of the best liner formulas around and this color is a very deep, wearable shade.

Urban Decay Liquid Liner in “Crash”: This is a lighter, edgier shade with a silver sparkle. I love the little brush too.


Awake Stardom Side Long Lash Mascara in “Glossy Purple”: I really love Awake's Stardom line, and oh how I love this mascara! It's shiny. It doesn’t clump. It lengthens and adds volume. The wand is great. And the color is just purple enough to be flattering instead of silly. (This mascara also comes in black and brown.)

Okay. Whew. I think I've gotten it out of my system…for now.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Delicious Purple

My favorite color is purple. Royal purple to be exact. It’s been my favorite color since I was a kid. I once dated a guy whose favorite color was also royal purple. (That’s not why we were together, but it came in handy at gift giving time.)

I also like muted tones, bright orange, turquoise and lime green. But those colors do not always like me back. No problem - I can always count on purple. Luckily there are approximately one gazillion kinds of purple things in little jars and tubes to keep me happy forever.

After yesterday's batch of strange beauty items; I think that today I'll share three of my favorite delicious, purple lip products.

Delicious purple product #1 Clinique Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick in “Crushed Grape”

Blurb: The creamiest, richest, smoothest lip colour you can imagine. Our revolutionary gel formula delivers the shine of a gloss, the comfort of a lipstick. Drenches lips in moist, lush colour that glides on buttery-soft, feels luxuriously smooth.

Butter? Grape? How delicious is that already? This is one of my every day “go to” lipsticks. It has pretty, sheer, slightly shimmery coverage as well as decent staying power. The color is a soft (buttery…mmm) wine shade. It's slightly conditioning and very wearable.

Delicious purple product #2 NARS lip gloss in “Revolt”
Next blurb: Serious shine and sexy color in sheer, creamy and semi-sheer formulas. Extremely wearable and versatile shades may be worn alone or over other lip products for heightened drama.

Yay NARS! Well to begin with, NARS lip glosses are just plain fabulous. They last and they look great. This shade just happens to be the absolute perfect color. Shiny. Dark. Grape. Really, really flattering. (NARS also used to make a lip laquer in “chica boom” that I am now wishing I bought when I saw it, because I can't find it now.)

Delicious purple product #3 Vincent Longo Lip Vinyl in “8½”

Remaining blurb: This gloss is like no other. The click pen packaging with a velvety tip applicator dispenses color and makes it easy to apply the gel like texture that leaves lips coated in high definition color and smooth, three-dimensional shine with extreme comfort. The superior moisturizing formula delivers an extremely shiny, ultra wet and smoothing finish that wears for hours. Lip Vinyl is high shine without stickiness or the need to reapply frequently.

This is an awesome formula and probably my favorite lip product packaging. The finish is very slick and shiny (like um…vinyl) and has great staying power. This color makes a little more of a statement with lots of coverage and a deep, smoky, plum shade.

So there you have it. Lips. Purple. Delicious. Nuff said.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From the "WTF?...OMG!...Really?" file

Because yesterday's post was mature and informative, I suddenly feel the need to be ridiculous. Actually, I read Spoiled Pretty's post on bacon flavored lip balm and was instantly reminded of one of my favorite websites,

I have always had a fascination for weird, useless crap. In college, the student union sold lots of weird candy and gum, and I would always buy it and give it to people (no one else seemed to find it nearly as hilarious as I did, though). An excellent example of this would be Cocktail Weenies Bubble Gum.

But this isn't a candy website, it's a beauty website, so I'm going to share a few fine beauty items that are actually available for sale at a computer near you:

Cheetos Lip Balm
Now how many times have you enjoyed the delicious flavor of Cheetos only to feel guilty later about all that salt and all those calories? Well you can still have that tasty Cheetos experience without abandoning your nutritional goals.

Twinkie Lip Balm
Again, no need to worry about empty calories, or "bad carbs." Delicious, soft lips are all you will get from this balm.

Cereal Flavored Lip Balm
Lucky Charms, Trix, Franken Berry or Count Chocula
Are you one of those people that rushes out the door without eating breakfast? Maybe you just want to recapture the simplicity of your childhood as you sit through yet another endless meeting about "bottom lines" or "strategies."

Play-doh cologne
"Oh my darleeng. Your eyes are zee limpid pools of luv. Your hair is like zee fragrant meadow. Your alabaster skin smells of starch-based binders, preservatives and salt…(Note: this cologne is also available in "Crayon" and "Junior Mint.")

Glow in the Dark Nail Polish
Frankly, I can't think of any smart-alecky comments because I kind of want to buy this.

Toilet Bowl Lip Gloss
Okay…now…really? Wow. How did this come to be? Imagine a bunch of executives sitting around the conference table trying to come up with new products. Suddenly Joe says, "I know – Toilet Bowl Lip Gloss!" Everyone is silent for a moment, then they slowly start smiling and nodding. Then they burst into applause. The meeting is over! They have found their new product! They leave happily and Joe gets a promotion. (Note: it doubles as a keychain – another promotion for Joe.)

If you are willing to waste huge amounts of time, you can find all kinds of things like this. The question is, why would you want to? Well, just in case you do, you can check out more items at sites like perpetual kid and cyber candy.

And for those of you who actually want to buy some non-weird items, type "sale lip balm" into the search bar at Sephora. You'll find nice things there.

Happy Wednesday!