Dec 30, 2010

Layering Tip For The Ladies

A friend recently told me about a layering dilemma involving her blush, foundation and powder. She applied a liquid foundation and topped it off with some powder to set the makeup. She then excitedly applied a gorgeous blush cream stick only to find that the consistency of the stick made her existing makeup look streaky and blotchy. This example brings up a good point. The consistency of your makeup must either be the same or must be applied in the correct order.  If you use a liquid foundation as a base, you can add a powder on top of that but then you can really only add a powder blush. A cream or stick of any kind will streak your makeup. If you're intent on using a cream blush and powder one option is putting the cream blush on first then adding the liquid foundation and powder over it. It'll give a beautiful lit-from-within kinda look. Another option is starting with your foundation and then mixing a cream or liquid blush/highlighter with your foundation and adding that to your cheeks. You can finish the look off by adding a dusting of powder to set your makeup. So avoid streaky makeup by getting your consistencies right! Enjoy friends and happy new year!

Dec 29, 2010

Aishwarya Rai's Cover Puts Indian Elle in the Hot Seat

Photo retouching within the magazine industry is an interesting albeit controversial topic. For as long as the technology has been available, the industry has utilized it to make their models look "perfect"-no wrinkles, excess bulge, a perfect complexion, etc. For us normal people that means looking at unattainable standards of beauty. Beauty as projected and determined by the media industry. Unfortunately for those not in tune with these practices, these images are being fed to make them believe that these anatomically impossible figures and flawless faces really are the level of perfection necessary to attain ultimate beauty. At the same time, basic touch-ups are a standard practice and can be a straightforward method of enhancing what makeup already does: covering up blemishes, dark circles, evening out skin tone. I don't see anything wrong with that because let's be honest magazines want to sell and project an image of someone on their absolute best day. Stepping in front of a camera without cover up and good lightening is just criminal. No one is going to buy a magazine with the actual reality of a tired model with blood shot eyes and baggy circles from the back to back red eye flights and lack of sleep. I'm all for making someone look like they've had a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, the reality is that basic touch-ups are the least of it. Whittling down major appendages are more the standard practice these days. There have been some pretty absurd Photoshop disasters which have really just shown how crazy and far the industry will go to have their subjects (celebrity and models alike) look a certain weight and way.
Most recently, Indian Elle has come under fire for their liberal/questionable use of Photoshop on cover model and Indian superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachan. The gorgeous, already fair-skinned actress appeared several (noticeable) shades lighter than her normal skin tone in their latest issue. AKA-The light brown-skinned beauty suddenly looked white-Snow White-white!  The Times of India is reporting that the former Miss World is apparently furious at how the images turned out. A source says the actress was in disbelief, believing things like this don't happen anymore. Adding, " Not in this day and age when women are recognized for their merit, and not for the colour of their skin. She is currently verifying this skin-whitening allegation. If there is any proof of this, she might even take action." Fans of the mag. were livid when they saw the digitally altered cover and posted angry messages online. According to the Times, readers felt her complexion had been lightened by the magazine to appease Caucasian standards of beauty. In response the magazine claimed they did not whiten her skin any more than any of the other models photographed in the issue. Hmm.. so they did whiten her skin.  Another source says Rai is clearly the global face of contemporary Indian women. The last thing she'd want is to have a global image colored by a racial suggestion.

Commercials and ads regularly show images of fair-skinned women in the India media. They project this complexion as being the beauty ideal to the Indian public, despite very few people (in a population of 1 billion) actually looking like this. Perhaps this controversial doctored image of one of India's most beloved iconic stars will show the negative impact and response digitally altering images actually has on the media's target audience.

What do you think about this kind of retouching? Do you agree her skin tone seems digitally altered and lightened? Would you like to see non-airbrushed images from now on?

Combat Seasonal Sweat

In the summer we all need some underarm-protection to keep us smelling fresh. It's hot, you're sweaty and deodorant becomes your one-weapon army against the heat. As it turns out, winter is as much of a sweat-factory culprit as its warm-weather counterpart. You're bundled with layers of sweaters and ready to brave the chilly temperatures. Your body freezes as you trudge through wind and snowy-slush only to be blasted with heat upon entering an indoor location. How many of you are layered in such heavy coats and sweaters that the minute you step indoors you start sweating bullets!? The moment you know you're gonna break a sweat is awful. A crowded train car full of people, no fan in sight and beads of sweat ready to cascade down your face. Yummy.

I've been combating this icky feeling with some powerful deodorants and I'm happy to report my fellow commuters seem pleased with the results. I have two fave brands: Secret and Speed Stick.

Secret's Soothing Effects collection is great for sensitive skin. It hydrates to soothe your underarm area and helps improve the tone. Their new formula is infused with soy and acai berry. I noticed immediately how smooth the formula felt and how long it lasted. Soothing Effects utilizes the same technology as Febreze's "Smart Technology" which helps eliminate odors by "sensing" an imbalance in the body to know when and how much odor protection to provide. This stuff is good and comes in Invigorating Rain and Calming Garden-which both smell great. Available at

Secret's Sheer Mineral collection provides (you guessed it) sheer coverage! The deodorant also uses the same odor-fighting technology that Febreze's "Smart Technology" utilizes but don't worry you won't end up smelling like the couch your dog peed on. It will, however, sense your body's chemistry, your level of exertion, stress, and external and internal temperatures and work according to those elements.  Who knew deodorant manufactures were such genius mad scientists!?  The products also have fresh, clean and fragrant scents-Powder Romance, Citrus Bliss (my personal favorite), Green Euphoria, and Delicate Bloom. I'm so not into perfumey antiperspirants and these are very light and refreshing against the body but in no way overly-scented. Trust. Available at drugstores.

Speed Stick Stain Guard for Men is awesome. Unfortunately, I've been schooled on the pleasantries of men's undershirts and the sweat/stain combination that seems to enforce a limited window of opportunity for usage. In other words, guys can only wear undershirts for a short amount of time before they get those weird yellow sweat stains and then it's off to the t-shirt graveyard. Speed Stick Stainguard does a great job of keeping the stains and residue at bay. Guys can actually wear out their white t-shirts in some other gross boy-way! Imagine that! This stuff is good and my guy grooming expert has given it the official Beauty Buff seal of approval with a very confident two thumbs up. The formula keeps you fresh and provides odor and wetness protection for you and thankfully those around you. Nothing worse than a stinky guy with yellow, wet pit stains. Use this to sooo not be that guy! Available at drugstores.

Also check out these hilarious Funny or Die videos presented by Speed Stick and featuring Zach Galifianakis, Sean Penn and Bruce Willis. Deodorant really brings out the LOL's, I guess.

Samples were provided for review

Dec 22, 2010

A Frizzy Hair Secret Weapon

I had the pleasure of attending the Cynthia Steffe Spring 2011 runway collection last September and was loving the sleek hair styles created by the Avon team. I had never really tried Avon's vast array of beauty products so I was definitely intrigued. Luckily, I had the pleasure of trying one of Avon's self described secret weapons: Lotus Shield. I can definitely see why it's so popular and a regular beauty award winner. It tamed my hair and gave it a smooth, silky finish without weighing it down. Like a lotus leaf repels water, the Lotus Shield withstands up to 97% humidity. So, if you're planning on heading somewhere warm to escape the winter chill, make sure you pack this for your trip. It seriously does wonders on unruly hair and smells yummy and fragrant.
This affordable ($10), effective frizz-tamer really works to block humidity and fight frizz. I tried it with Avon's Frizz Control Shampoo and Conditioner and looked like I had just come out of the salon! Not bad! Check out Avon this season and try out their extensive and amazing hair and beauty products now!


Dec 20, 2010

Genius Lipstick Tips!

InStyle always seems to have the answers to everything-beauty related. These people know their stuff. I recently came across some beauty tips that I had to share. Under 7 Genius Lipstick Tricks, their genius editors dished on ways to find the perfect shade of pink lipstick and more.

-In order to find your perfect shade of pink, InStyle advises us to just smile and find out! Your perfect shade is about the same color as your gums-no lighter. Ummm GENIUS! How often have you tried to find an everyday color that you can where everywhere and at anytime!? My gums seem to be a dusty rose pink. Go figure.

-To keep your lipstick lasting longer on, InStyle recommends filling your entire lip with a neutral-hued lip pencil first and then applying lipstick. To help the liner from spreading more consistently, they advise rolling the tip in the palm of your hand to warm it up and prevent hard lines.

-To instantly warm any color, InStyle says to swipe on some sheer golden gloss on after applying lipstick.

-For a well-defined pout without using liner they recommend putting a dab of concealer in between the groove at the top of your upper lip and blend well.

-To neutralize lipstick and create the perfect nude shade, editors recommend starting with a pale pink lipstick shade and then dusting translucent powder over for a matte effect.

-To really play up a lip shade and get it to look like it does in the tube, InStyle advises using foundation on our lips to prime and then swiping the color over. The foundation acts as a bare canvas and the lipstick shade will look as brilliant and deep as it does in its packaging.

-To prevent fading, blott your lips, reapply and then blott again. This gets rid of excess oils that prevent durability. They recommend lint-free blotting paper rather than a tissue for a more long-lasting, rich yet natural look.

Thanks INSTYLE! Check out these tips and more at


Holiday Gift Giving Ideas-Philosophy's Yummy Treats

Are you looking for gift inspiration for the product-junkie in your life? There's always at least a few of us on your shopping lists ;) Think no longer and get a hold of one of Philosophy's perfectly packaged holiday gifts. Their delicious line of yummy smelling body washes/shampoos are my faves and I also love their equally tasty glosses. This holiday season, the brand has come up with a variety of affordable perfectly appropriate, sumptuous treats that make for ideal presents. Head straight for Sephora or check out their stash online at I absolutely ADORE Philosophy! Their products make me smile and are great for so many occasions!

I personally have a few favorites that I recommend:

-The Gingerbread House-a refreshing gingery-smelling wash in a perfectly adorable "gingerbread house". These dual 8 oz washes make a great holiday host and hostess gift or are great as a joint couple gift.

-Hot Buttered Rum-This sweet buttery shower gel, shampoo and bubble bath literally smells like a mixture of waffles and a sugary rum dessert drink. It also feels creamy and smooth on the skin and makes you feel refreshed and clean despite smelling like you just downed some pretty bad for you calories.

-Silent Night-a soothing lavender shower gel that makes you feel relaxed and peaceful and soothes the skin. I love the calming scent of lavender after a long day and you will too!

-Peppermint Bark-The minty gift set comes with a mint chocolate shower gel, shampoo, bubble bath and matching lip gloss in a universally flattering tint. The decadent candy scent literally makes my mouth water! This set which comes in a giftable tin is a fantastic stocking stuffer or gift for under the tree.

Philosophy has a TON more yummy gift-worthy bath and body products. Peruse their site immediately to and start ticking off your holiday shopping list!

Dec 17, 2010

Holiday Gift Giving Idea: New Rome Clothing-Shirts With Style & Substance

Christmas is a little over a week away! Still in need of some holiday gift giving ideas!? You're definitely not alone! Luckily, I have the perfect present for the ladies and gentlemen in your life. For those of you who love to rock a fashion-forward printed t-shirt (no I'm not talking about the Ed Hardy-Jon Gosselin types out there) you absolutely must check out New Rome Clothing.
The online t-shirt brand has wide variety of styles that speak to people's differing political, cultural, and religious icons and ideologies. Beyond that, the t-shirts just cool and different.
The label is the first brand for the upstart clothing design company 1919 Designs, founded by three lifelong friends from Brooklyn. Great story, right!? Hmm… they should make a television show about that: lifelong friends dream of making it in America by starting their own t-shirt business..oh wait. That is a show. Well anyway, these guys are the real deal and actually producing amazing pieces that cater to a large variety of styles and interests.
The company seeks out local designers and helps brings their artistic vision to the clothing they produce. The results are unique, irreverent, and thought-provoking fashion. Wearable art, if you will.  As they themselves say the socially conscious apparel embraces ambiguity, originality and subtle social commentary.
Not only do I love what they stand for, I love the way their clothes look. Check out their website and find the message you want to convey through one of their very special t-shirts.
New Rome Clothing can now also be found on the online retail store Karmaloop Kasbah, the world's largest streetwear retailer. They've launched a few new products on Karmaloop's website so be sure to check them out. Also if you're looking to buy in bulk and want to embrace the element of surprise check out this offer: Buy 2 mystery shirts for $35 or 3 for $45. Or spend $50 and get one free shirt or spend $100 and get two free shirts!

Get in touch and get New Rome Clothing in your life now!

Feel free to contact New Rome directly with any sales inquiries at They can help guide you in the right direction. Order now to get your t-shirts in time for Christmas!

Dec 9, 2010

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas-M.A.C.'s Tartan Tale Collection

Giving the gift of MAC this holiday season!? Good call! M.A.C. Cosmetics always have fab. gift palettes during the holidays and this year is not exception. MAC's Tartan Tale Holiday Colour Collection comes in beautiful packaging and has new rich, holiday colors to spice up your makeup this season. The collection features the perfect and budget-friendly eyeshadow, lip, face palettes as well as brushes, nail lacquers and makeup bags. The Tartan Tale collection is a little posh, a little punk, royal and raunchy and a fabulous mixture of patterns and colors.  It's edgy Scottish-who knew that was a thing!? It's if Charlotte York in her York-McDoogal days went a little edgy punk with her custom made "Fling" outfit.
For a limited time MAC wants your gift-giving to look as posh, punk and poetic as their collection looks. They're offering bonny bags adorned by a golden M.A.C. crest tag and tied with a patent leather bow. Enter promo code MACWRAP between now and January 4, 2011! Enjoy free shipping if you buy on their website between now and December 12th. No promo code needed!
If you're loved ones are big MAC fans like me, you'll take advantage of these awesome offers now! Enjoy!!

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas-Oprah's Hope In a Jar

For many people Oprah Winfrey is a religion and way of life. What Oprah recommends to read, buy, and wear, they do. I might not be that fanatical but I definitely trust her taste and value her opinion. As I watched her "Ultimate Favorite Things" episode I couldn't help being a tad/ton jealous. Wow those people walked away with a lot of loot! A CAR for Pete's sake! I was also intrigued by all her favorite things.   

My beauty radar went into overdrive when Ms. Winfrey started talking about the "hands down the best moisturizer I've ever used". Oprah can use any moisturizer in the WORLD! She could grind up diamonds every day and smooth them over her face if she wanted to! Sounds painful but somehow still plausible. She doesn't do that because she's not a crazy person but she does indulge in philosophy's Hope in a Jar moisturizer and considers it her all time favorite moisturizer. 

Seems like philosophy loves their famous fan as much as she loves them. In honor of Miss O, philosophy has created a commerative, limited-edition Hope in a Jar moisturizer featuring their favorite gal pre-world-dominating media mogul days in her little school girl pig tails on the box. So cute and such a great gift giving idea!

This holiday season wrap up a cutie-sized box of this cult-classic moisturizer and pop it under the tree or in your loved one's stocking. The special jars are available on, and in Sephora stores in three sizes: 2 oz ($38), 4 oz ($60) and 8 oz ($105)

Lucky for you, if you order from today thru December 13th you'll get 30% off your entire order by using promo code: holidaysparkle. Uh yeah that's a good deal!
So get your beauty-lovers an Oprah-approved moisturizer must-have this season! Enjoy lovelies!

Dec 7, 2010

Cynthia Steffe on Gilt Group and Behind the Scenes

Hi Friends! Holiday season is fully underway and that means time for giving and receiving presents! If your loved one is a fashion lover, as so many of us are, do them a favor and check out Gilt Group's latest designer boutique, Cynthia Steffe-opening at noon TODAY! If you aren't a member, click on my personal invitation link here: to join. I went to the Cynthia Steffe Spring 2011 show this past fall and loved the casual sportswear collection she designed for the spring. The clothes were chic yet versatile and perfect for the jet setting woman on-the-go. Check out my behind the scenes pictures from the show and shots of the runway collection.

Check out her gorgeous collection on Gilt Group! I love actually being able to buy designer clothes thanks to this site!

Stay tuned for more Holiday Gift Giving Ideas!