Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Much like at a cosmetic surgeon's office, I get requests to "make me look like her!" Usually it is a picture of a celebrity with hours of makeup done and a completely different skin tone than the customer has. But if she wants a specific look, I can make a specific look. There is one lip style that I constantly get requests for; and that is the "Kim Kardshian light pink lip." If the customer is very fair, the style won't work of course, but if she has a great tan or medium skin color, this is one of my most popular and favorites.
-First I scrub the lips with The Lip Scrub so that there is no dead skin on the lip area. Just rub some of the scrub on and wipe off with a tissue-
-Then I apply ColorSave Renu Your Lips which is a great, non sticky lip primer. This is actually a drugstore product that i was turned onto by accident and I am addicted to. I have drier lips that lipstick always cakes on, and this is like a great barrier between my lips and the lip color
-Using a liner is an important step because you don't want the color fading or bleeding, and I only use NARS Velvet Matte in Roman Holiday. The nice thing about these pencils is that they are competely matte, so they won't disrupt the lipstick color that you wear on top. Also, you can wear these alone as your lip liner and lip color, or use them as a lip color base-
-Next is the lipstick. I use NARS lipstick in Roman Holiday because it is a sheer, delicate pastel with a creamy consistency that doesn't disappear on lips. When you work with sheer colors like this, they need to be very smooth and soft-
-And the final step is a very sheer, sorbet colored gloss. I use NARS lipgloss in Turkish Delight or just a clear gloss will work just as well.
If you prefer a more nude lip with a little less bubble gum pink, I would substitute a nude lip pencil such as NARS Velvet Matte in Belle De Jour and NARS lipgloss in Greek Holiday. It imparts a pretty sand color with a hint of gold sparkle. Gorgeous!
As far as eyes go, this lip style is perfect for a more dramatic eyeshadow/liner look. Play with a rocker/smoky eye in a dark navy or smudgy gray for a total glam grudge look (Gucci Fall 2009)
Saturday, June 27, 2009
On most days, I am a pretty neutral girl. I like a ballet slippers-esque colors on my nails, a sheer gold on my lids, and a little gray eyeliner. But some days I just want some color...to break out of the old and feel like a true makeup trendster. The NARS nail color in Schiap is the perfect way to feel pretty and bold again. It's the cosmopolitan of the nail polish world; schocking pink, delicious, and refreshing. Plus it seems that trend-setter Marc Jacobs has caught onto my favorite bright color too (see above.) And when I'm feeling back to my normal self, I can just wipe it off...no commitment necessary. If only everything were this simple and fantastic...
Friday, June 26, 2009
Marzipan is one of those foods that I can get absolutely sick eating. No, I don't get sick of eating it, I just eat so much of it that I get sick. But much like consuming too much alcohol, it somehow vanishes from my memory and I do it again and again. I just love everything about this confection made of crushes almonds, sugar and eggs whites. I love it by itself, shaped as fruit or little animals, covered in chocolate, and baked into desserts.
The funny thing is that I don't have as much of a love affair with almonds by themselves. I can eat them because they're very good for me, and I try to eat them as much as possible, but there is still something so dry and tasteless about them. It's incredible to me that marzipan is even related to almonds at all!
But thanks to my love of marzipan in all of its forms, I've also created an obsession for body products that smell similar to it. We all know that there is nothing worse than a product that tries to emulate a smell and having it actually come out rather foul (this tends to happen with fakes of vanilla, chocolate, coconut, and lemon.)
Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme's first ingredient is actually pure sweet almond oil! There is nothing fake about this marzipan-scented hand cream (well, other than the fact that it isn't marzipan at all....it just smells like it.)
I can only hope that Burt's Bees will make an entire Almond Milk line because there is nothing more authentic smelling than marzipan itself...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
A nice perk about being both a cosmetic boutique owner and a freelance beauty editor is the very generous companies who ask me to try their products. I will never forget my very first box of goodies sent to me close to six years ago when I had just started to write for a fashion website. I couldn't believe that the company not only sent me an entire box of products, but that they weren't "sample size," and they were in fact the actual retail size! By now I am used to getting boxes of products and sometimes it's hard for me to keep track of who sent what. I am always honored when a small and upcoming brand sends me products and items for my opinion. I always get so excited when I see a new, sometimes homemade brand reach big stores and I know that I helped them get there. Another great reason why I love receiving these boxes of goodness is because a lot of times the product is really, really good.
Such was the case when I received a box of Skyn Iceland products quite a while ago. I had heard of the brand and am familiar with the effects of stress of my skin, so naturally I had a great time washing, scrubbing, spraying, and lathering.
Well, they say that you can tell if you love a product instead of just liking one by whether or not you carry it with you. It's funny to me, but sometimes I never even realize how much I liked a product until there are only three drops left and the thought it being without it makes me want to hide my face/hair.
This exact scenario happened this week when I went to reach for my Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Mist and only a slosh of blue liquid started back at me. OH NO! My skin needs that icy tingle after I wash it, my skin needs that spa-like smell, my skin needs that post-workout glow, my skin needs more!
And there it was...that addiction to a truly great product, one that I took for granted and only realized how attached I was to it after it threatened to leave. That is the test of a great skincare product...and trust me...I try a lot of them!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I copied this from Women's Health Magazine because I couldn't have said it better:
"What can't green tea do? OK, your taxes. Anyway, when it's hot, the bionic brew releases catechins, a type of antioxidant with proven anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. (The tea's antioxidants start to degrade as it cools, so drink it while it's hot.) A 2007 study in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that drinking two to six cups a day not only helps prevent skin cancer but may reverse the effects of sun damage by neutralizing the changes that appear in sun-exposed skin."
I just love Green Tea body products. Although they don't benefit you as much as a cup of the tea itself, I still like to imagine that the anti-oxidants are somehow seeping into my pores. I keep my Green Tea body lotions in the fridge so that on a hot summer day I can take it out, slather it on, and cool down instantly. Yum!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
One of the great things about owning a beauty boutique is always knowing what is coming out months in advance. As cosmetics buyer, I receive documents called "sell sheets" before the season begins with pictures and descriptions of the products soon to come. This is both good and bad because on one hand, I am ahead of the curve and can let my customers know what is going to be hot next season, and on the other hand, I get really anxious to see the new products already! This week I received the Fall and Holiday Sell Sheets for Urban Decay and let me just tell you...it just gets better and better each season! So far, for Fall, we can expect mini cream liner kits in six crazy colors, three new Deluxe Eyeshadow colors (Freakshow; purple with red sheen, Frigid; purple with blue sheen, Ruthless; neutral champage, three new shades of their cult lipstick (Naked; a pink nude, Confession; a deep burgundy, and Oil Slick, a glossy black infused with microsparkle!) Some other items for Fall include two new colors of their creamy lipliners (Wallflower, a rose color and Paranoid, a peachy coral), and a new Surreal Skin Cream to Powder Foundation set with a cute flat brush.
Another addition to the line for fall will be a slew of new primers! There will be two new primers for under your foundation, one for Brightening and one for Pore Perfecting. I just love primers like these because they really do finish your look and give you an airbrushed appearance. I have a feeling that they will be huge for fall under all kinds of makeup (powders, minerals, liquid, cream, etc.) Another addition to the primer family for fall is the Eyelash Primer Potion. It is the first fiber filled lash primer that I have ever seen and I can't wait to see how thick it makes my lashes. It has wheat protein to condition lashes and keep them from getting brittle, not not mention it strengthens them for the long term so you can bat away. And lastly for fall is a new lip primer that is packed with vitamins (and SPF 15) for seamless long-lasting lip color.
And speaking of primers....the picture above is the fabulous new wand for the best selling Primer Potion. Due to customer demand (and inability to reach that last little bit at the bottom of the container) they finally created the bent wand. And now I am off to go and try what is new in stock...and bide my time until the fall stuff is finally delivered!
Monday, June 22, 2009
In my opinion, there is nothing more alluring than the image of a French woman. In my mind's eye, she is everything that the American woman is not. She is classically feminine with a hint of mystery, she has effortless beauty yet she knows exactly how to make herself look perfect with makeup, she is modest with a glimpse of a garter underneath her coat. Men worship her, women admire her, and occasionally there is that feeling of hope that we all have a little bit of her inside of us.
My hope was renewed when I came upon a newcomer in the online world and US market this week; Ma Cherie d'Amour. The site offers exclusive brands, never before available in the US that include French lingerie, accessories, skincare and bodycare products. If lingerie and complicated (if not gorgeous and role-play inducing) undergarments aren't your style, then head directly to their skincare/bodycare department. There is no cooler feeling than knowing that you are using the best, most exclusive French skincare (because only the best will do, and if it's good enough for the women of France...then it has got to be good.)
One of the skincare brands carried by Ma Cherie d'Amour is Adriana Karembeu, an upscale line created by the former top model who worked for 16 years in the fashion world. The products are not only very French and therfore very glamorous, but they actually use a new technology that is great for your skin. The products are based on Organic Silicium, an element that appears natually in your skin and helps to stimulate cell renewal and create intense skin hydration.
The bodycare section of the French website is also a big treat because it has never been done before. All of the bodycare products are 100% made in France and made with vegetal basis and organic ingredients (and of course not tested on animals.) They have a unique feature called "Road of Scents," a way of catagorizing products based off of the fragrance and specific areas in France of which they are based upon.
Hopefully word won't get out too fast about this site because I would like to keep it just between us...our little secret to how we keep so fabulous!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I'm always so excited when two of my favorite past times overlap. I can't think of anything more enjoyable to look up online than yummy recipes and exciting beauty products. When it comes to fragrance company Demeter, however, there is no line that separates the two. I carry Demeter Fragrance Library at The Beauty Loft and it has always been a big success. Although I may not sell buckets of the interesting smells (Dirt or Play-Dough anyone?) they certainly grab the customer's attention. I will never forget the first time we got a shipment from Demeter and I was so excited to try out the new smells that I ignored the fragrance strips and just sprayed myself. BIG MISTAKE! Immediately I reeked of Bonfire, Birthday Cake, and a couple of others that most definitely should not be mixed together. Needless to say it was not what I was expecting (I guess I was just surprised that the fragrances actually do smell like their label and not a synthetic mix of nothing-ness!)
But today I came across one that sparked my imagination and taste buds; Croquembouche. For those of you that aren't familiar with this French wedding and celebration cake, it is a pyramid of bite-sized cream puffs that is held in place with caramelized sugar. It is usually constructed into large towers and intricate peaks and is adorned with flowers or decorations.
I have never had the pleasure of trying one of these delicious looking tower cakes, but I am sure that the perfume smells just delicious....
- 2 cups water
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 8 to 10 eggs
- Filling, recipe follows
- Caramel, recipe follows
- 4 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 12 egg yolks
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup water
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds to evaporate some of the moisture.
Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, and working 1 egg at a time, add 6 of the eggs, stopping after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add 1 or 2 more eggs, and mix until incorporated.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe the dough in big kisses onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Whisk 2 eggs with 3 teaspoons of water. Brush the surface of the dough with the egg wash to knock down the points (do not use all the egg wash.) Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375-degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet. The recipe can be made up to this point and frozen in plastic bags. Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and any flavorings if you want to make a different flavor like chocolate or coffee. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Poke a hole with a plain pastry tip in the bottom of each cream puff and pipe it full of the custard.
Caramel: Dissolve the sugar in a saucepan with the water, making an "X" through the sugar with your finger to allow the water to slowly soak into the sugar. Boil to make a light golden caramel then dip the bottom of the pan in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Dip the sides of the puffs in the caramel and stick them together (approximately 20 cream puffs) in a circle, tops facing out. Make a second row on top of the first but a bit smaller to draw the circle in and create a tower of cream puffs. Check it from all sides occasionally to make sure it's straight. When it's finished, drizzle it with caramel all over. You can also stick on decorative elements with the caramel in the crevices, like candied violets, gold balls, gum paste flowers, sugar covered almonds, etc
Chakra -noun /ˈtʃʌkrə/ Show Spelled Pronunc[chuhk-ruh] a Sanskrit word that translates as wheel or disc or turning.
According to Hinduism, there are seven Chakras in the human body. The Chakras are said to be "force centers" or powerful energy sources permeating from points of the physical body. It is said that if one of your Chakras is out of balance, your entire body is out of sorts and you cannot function properly. I had never thought much about my Chakras until I came across the Aveda Chakra Balancing Body Mists and I realized that balancing out my inner Chakras would be easier than I had previously imagined. The woman at the Aveda boutique asked me to choose which color and shape was most appealing to me. I chose one that seemed the most interesting and she explained that if I was craving that color and shape than that Chakra was the one most likely that I needed to re-balance. I didn't need to be hooked up to a machine that studies brain waves, I didnt need to endure any needles in and around my face, and I didn't even have to give a blood sample!
Naturally, the Aveda Body Mists all smell amazing and it is tempting to not buy all seven of them. They are perfect for that time of day when you need that extra calming boost, and even great for practicing yogi's who appreciate the art of deep breathing. If you have trouble sleeping, concentrating, or just plain staying grounded and you dont want to resort to a therapist, these are a nice alternative. Spray them on your body, hair, sheets, pillow, clothing, clean laundry, etc. Ahhh...I'm feeling relaxed just talking about it!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I love how Deborah Lippmann (creator of Lippmann Collection) actually has celebrities help make colors for the line. Each season a new celebrity creates a color that I could actually see them wearing themselves. So far to add to the line up are Sarah Jessica Parker who made a pretty sheer pink one, Mariah Carey who surprisingly kept hers a subdued silverly nude, Cher who made a diva-worthy shimmery gold, Pat Benatar who naturally created a gun metal grey, and lots more. This season Zac Posen and Lippmann created a beautiful shimmery lilac color (called Purple Rain) that is sure to be just as big of a hit as his show.
Today the weather is well into the 90's here in Florida...great if you are planning on spending the entire day in a cool pool. But otherwise, it's pretty miserable. There are a couple of options when the weather outside isn't on your side (you know, frizzy hair, sweaty makeup, smudged mascara just to name a few.) You can A- continue with your normal routine and completely ignore Mother Nature by straightening your hair, applying your heavy foundation, and going about your day trying not to fuss over how you look (nearly impossible). Or you can B- go with it! Sometimes it's just a lot easier to agree with the weather before your makeup and hair start to rebel against it. So today instead of my usual routine of blow dry, straighten, flawless skin via foundation, and even perfume, I decided to laugh the weather in the face and play its game.
The best advice i have make-up wise for a beach day that you aren't spending at the beach is to looks like you just came back from it. A little bit of concealer here and there is no biggie (just make sure that it's not a cream or else it will be smudge city). I choose Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation (a tinted moisturizer would work just as well, as long as it has a very light texture, and remember, a little SPF is always nice) under the eyes and on some spots. What is a beach day without any sun? Bronzer should be everybody's best friend, that is, if they know how to use it properly and apply with a light hand. I am really liking The Balm Bahama Mama right now because it is a sparkle-free matte bronzer that is the perfect shade of tan (no Oompa Loompas here!) I also definitely recommend some blush because how natural does a sun tan look without a hint of pink? Go for a blush that is more on the coral side and stay away from hot pinks or berries which work better by themselves and not on top of bronzer. I use Bare Escentuals blush in Laughter (see picture above,) a pretty coral rose. As far as eyes go, a little hint of white shadow is nice to bring out white in your eyes and make you look even tanner (not to mention more awake which I think we all need!) If you just cannot leave the house without mascara, go for one that is waterproof and won't smudge easily. Things to avoid on humid, hot days are definitely eyeliner, (who wants to look like a sweaty raccoon mid day?) heavy perfume, thick body moisturizer, cream concealer, and anything with the capability to make you look even sweatier or shinier than you already are. As far as lips go, I would stick with either Cherry Chapstick or one of the yummy balms from Rosebud (the mint one is tingly and cooling!) If your hair needs taming, use a little bit of serum (like Moroccan Oil or Frizz Ease) and rub through to ends avoiding roots and let dry naturally. Today I was feeling a little more beach-y inspiration so I gave myself a manicure with this gorgeous sand colored polish that is now my new favorite. It is Deborah Lippmann Polish in You Can Leave Your Hat On and it reminds me of the perfect color of smooth beach sand....all I need now is my bathing suit!