Sunday, February 28, 2010

Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming

You'll remember that I reviewed Lady Vengeance recently. My friends got a huge laugh out of the naming of Juliette Has a Gun and Lady Vengeance! They loved the fragrance, though. You would be amazed at the compliments when I wore it! Even the woman behind the grill at the cafeteria at work got a whiff and loved it (and I didn't have too much on - I swear). I'll be expecting the same results when I wear Miss Charming ($80 or $110, depending on size), the second Juliette Has a Gun fragrance I purchased at Henri Bendel. I wore it all weekend, and I love it.

To recap my experience at Henri Bendel, when I walked into the fragrance department and mentioned my love of roses. Lady Vengeance was the first Eau de Parfum I was given to try. Miss Charming was the second. I loved them both and couldn't make up my mind. They have many similarities, but there were differences upon application that made the choice too hard! Since Bendel was having a sale - the discount was based on the amount spent - I didn't have to make that tough choice. I bought them both.

Miss Charming is the essence of Moroccan rose with wild strawberry, lychee, and musk. Like Lady Vengeance, it's the modern expression, developed by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, of Romano Ricci's enchantment with Juliette, as she pines for her Romeo. This fragrance is intended to evoke the sweet, innocent, and joyful Juliette. It's perky, whimsical, and flirty!

The top and middle notes of Miss Charming are dominated by old rose and fruity wild strawberry and lychee notes. It doesn't take long for the scent to dry down to a powdery rose - a "comfortable" rose that's easy to smell and easy to wear. The musk adds a bit of elegance to the base notes.

I have to mention the packaging again! The red ribbon-tied white cylindrical box is heavy, well-designed, and classy, and the white spray bottle with black and red script is unique. I won't have any trouble finding it in my perfume collection.

Most sophisticated "noses" (the fragrance experts) prefer Lady Vengeance to Miss Charming - possibly because it's a little more complex. I love them both, and I can't wait to see if my colleagues at work can detect the difference!

You can purchase the Juliette Has a Gun fragrances at Henri Bendel, Beautyhabit, and LuckyScent. If you search online, you will also find other sources. If you are interested in finding a fragrance with your favorite notes, give Giuseppe Intili at Henri Bendel a call at (212) 904-7990. He will take good care of you! Tell him your likes and dislikes. You may have a new favorite winging your way in no time.

Photo courtesy of Beautyhabit

Weekend Makeup Roundup - February 28

Let's take a look back at last week's beauty blog posts about makeup. Here are some I enjoyed. Hope you will too!

Kari celebrated her the two-year anniversary of Fabulous Over Forty - congratulations, Kari! Check out her review of Laura Mercier's Polished Face Palette.

Gaia reviewed Le Metier de Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss in Bali at The Non-Blonde.

Amber gave us a first look at the latest Dolce & Gabbana Spring Intimate Sensuality Collection at Beauty Junkies Unite.

Kelly at Gouldylox presented the Peach Blush Super Swatchtacular where you can select the perfect peach blush.

Jennifer at Beauty in Real Life discovered Sonia Kashuk's Sheer Liquid Tint at Target, and I think she loves it.

Want to see Stars Makeup Haven's new eye shadows? KarlaSugar swatched them for you at The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself.

Check out Lianne's The Makeup Girl for a smokey eyes tutorial.

DivaDebbi gave the Simply Ageless Concealer swirl a whirl and found it quite satisfying.

Don't forget that we started our latest Best Things in Beauty giveaway contest yesterday (a day earlier than usual). You have a chance to win a RareMinerals Active Triple Treatment Eye Cream. Make sure to enter by Wednesday, March 3! Another reminder: don't forget Bobbi Brown's Pretty Powerful Tuesday Tweetstakes on March 2. I'll make sure to retweet the question so you can answer to enter.

Photo courtesy of purrandbarkvet

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Skin MD Natural Discount for BTiB Readers

For the next 30 days, the wonderful folks at Skin MD Natural are offering you a discount on their astoundingly effective Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion. The lotion comes with or without an SPF.

I have been using the Shielding Lotion since December when the company sent me the product to try and I first reviewed it. I love it! It's a different kind of moisturizer - so totally lightweight you might wonder how it could possibly work.

Skin MD Natural is a shielding lotion - just like a protective barrier or an invisible pair of gloves - that keeps irritants out and locks in your natural moisture. With the dual effects of shielding plus super-humectants and other good-for-your-skin ingredients, Skin MD Natural is more effective as a dry skin treatment than many conventional moisturizing lotions or creams, which sometimes signal to the skin that it has produced "enough" moisture.

Skin MD Natural can be used anywhere on your body, including your face. It's promptly absorbed, without the slightest hint of a greasy or oily residue or feel. Right after application to your hands, you can use your iPhone without leaving dewy fingerprints behind. Pretty cool!

Common household products, soaps, antibacterial agents (that hand sanitizer you are using), and environmental chemicals and conditions strip the natural oils and moisture from the skin, and as that happens, the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, starts to lose its natural effectiveness as a barrier. Skin MD Natural bonds with the outer layer of the skin, restoring its natural protective functions. It helps damaged skin by reducing moisture loss and preventing moisture-robbing irritants from entering deeper layers.

Despite its shielding effect, Skin MD Natural does not prevent the skin from breathing. It actually helps keep pores from clogging with irritants that are often too complex to be eliminated naturally. That's one of the reasons it can be used on your face. Another is that it's non-comedogenic - it won't promote acne.

The ingredients make Skin MD Natural unique. If you are a regular Best Things in Beauty reader, you know I care about and study ingredients. I'm pretty impressed with this lineup.

The shielding properties come from Cyclopentasiloxane, known for its ability to lubricate and water-proof, used in combination with a proprietary blend of several different dimethicones that offer a very high degree of protection to the skin.

There are many other natural ingredients that contribute to the product's effectiveness. What follows is a summary. You can find more complete information about the ingredients at this link.
  • Aloe Vera improves the skin's ability to hydrate itself, aids in the removal of dead skin cells, and has an effective penetrating ability to transport healthy substances through the skin.
  • Methyl Gluceth has moisture-retentive qualities and imparts a smooth and silky feel to the skin.
  • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body protect cell membranes and other fat-soluble cells.
  • Arnica Montana is traditionally used externally to heal wounds and prevent bruising and swelling after traumatic skin injuries, including cosmetic surgery. It also has a pain-relieving effect, reduces inflammation, and clears fungal and bacterial infections.
  • Comfrey is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent. It helps reduce swelling and inflammation, relieves pain, shrinks blood vessels, stimulates blood clotting and cell growth, and expedites the healing process.
  • Yarrow has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and is useful in curing cuts and wounds, burns, and ulcers as well as swollen and irritated skin.
  • Chamomile softens and soothes the skin.
  • 1,2 Hexanediol and Caprylyl Glycol, a proprietary formulation, is one of the most effective humectants available. Humectants are like sponges, drawing moisture from the air into the skin. This formulation has been shown to be six times more effective than glycerin, the gold standard against which humectants are measured.
Physicians who specialize in skin care and treatments for very dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis love Skin MD Natural and use it themselves. You can read their recommendations here. You can also read a patient's perspective at this link (warning, though, discomforting photos). Farewell to dry, red, itchy, blotchy, flaky, irritated skin!

Need more enticement? This green-friendly product is not tested on animals, uses no animal products, is hypoallergenic, and is free of fragrance, colorants, and parabens.

You can purchase Skin MD Natural directly from the company that makes it. A four-ounce bottle costs $18 and lasts one to two months with daily use. A little goes a very long way.

For the next 30 days (basically for the month of March), the company is offering Best Things in Beauty readers a 20% discount! Just to to the Skin MD Natural Web site to place your order and enter code BTiB in the field that asks for a coupon/gift certificate code. I will be taking advantage of this generous offer. I really love this moisturizer and recommend that you give it a try!

Photo courtesy of Skin MD Natural

Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Eyes Giveaway Contest Winner

So many entries, and only one prize! Congratulations to Bara M, the winner of the Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Eyes giveaway contest! Bara has been notified by e-mail. She was selected at random from the many entries received. Bara, please let us know how you like the eye cream in a Friday Forum!

Vichy's Liftactiv Retinol HA Eyes ($39.50), a new product, is an anti-wrinkle treatment with new generation retinol and hyaluronic acid to fight all three types of wrinkles: "permanent" or expression wrinkles, reversible wrinkles caused by dehydration, and wrinkles that are "programmed" (by genetics) to appear. I wrote about the new Vichy line in December.

The Liftactiv Retinol HA products are targeted at women who are showing the first signs of aging, with wrinkles starting to appear around the eyes, forehead, or mouth area, as well as skin irregularities. That would be anyone over 20! Vichy promises that its Liftactiv Retinol HA line produces immediate, visible results, with smoothing and soft-focus effects. You can purchase this new eye cream at the Vichy Web site or upscale CVS stores. Vichy products are also available at Amazon, Canada Medicine Shop, and other online sources.

Thank you all for entering - and for reading Best Things in Beauty! Our next giveaway contest for a RareMinerals eye cream started this morning. And we have some incredible contests lined up for the next two weeks. Come back, please!

Photo courtesy of Vichy

Bare Escentuals Giveaway Contest Plus Rethink What Matters

Ready for this week's Rethink What Matters game from Bare Escentuals? This week's fun theme is "Rethink Your Must Haves." The game is a chance for you to share your wildest thoughts and win a prize. To encourage you to enter the game, I have one RareMinerals Eye Cream to give away at Best Things in Beauty.

First, want to have a good laugh and feel a bit liberated? Head over to Bare Escentuals to participate in the fun! Take the short quiz. There are no right or wrong answers with Rethink What Matters. I took yesterday's quiz. I had to think hard about the question, "What must you do before you turn 80?"

Who knows? This may be your lucky week to be one of 500 women who will win a Bare Escentuals goodie. As Lady Luck says, "You can't win if you don't play!" At the end of March, one very lucky "rethinker" will be selected for the Grand Prize trip of a lifetime. There are details at Rethink What Matters.

Want to really dive in? Join or follow the conversation on Twitter. Search on the tag #rethinking to find out what others are rethinking. Make sure to check out the Archive at the Web site too. What would others take to a deserted island? Find out!

Now, for our own giveaway! I have one RareMinerals Active Triple Treatment Eye Cream, donated by Bare Escentuals, to give to a lucky Best Things in Beauty reader. This eye cream promises to visibly diminish fine lines and wrinkles, restore firmness, and reduce puffiness around your delicate eye area for smoother, firmer, brighter skin. Infused with Bare Escentuals' RareMinerals ActiveSoil Complex, this groundbreaking eye cream uses mineral electrolytes and marine peptides to rejuvenate skin around the eyes instantly and over time. Want to try it?

To enter to win, just e-mail and put "Rethinking" in the subject line. It's that easy! If you want a second entry, just follow BTiBeauty on Twitter and let me know that you took the Rethink What Matters quiz. If you use a different name on Twitter, make sure to tell me in your e-mail.

Just an FYI: Next week, I will download a list of Twitter followers, and we will have a contest just for you! If you are following by the download date and e-mail to enter, you will be eligible to win. That should be fun, and it fulfills a promise I made to you to reward your loyalty!

This contest deadline will be Wednesday, March 3, at midnight. I'll select the winner using a random number generator. I'll even send this product anywhere in the world, so you can enter no matter where you live!

I'll be posting this contest at Free!Grechen, my fun giveaway site partner. Good Luck!

Photos courtesy of Bare Escentuals

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Friday Forum - February 26

What a week! I got my heat pump unfrozen and fixed - finally. I had to liberate the baby mouse who found his way into the house - possibly because Charlie carried him in from the screened porch for inside entertainment. I would prefer that he surf the Web! Catching mice is not my preferred form of relaxation!

Because it's Friday, it's time for The Friday Forum. The forum is devoted to what you have to say about anything related to beauty. Let's chat! Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game! Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. Either way, I always enjoy hearing from you.

As usual, I will share beauty bits with you over the weekend. I'll put them in the comments, so check for free shipping offers and other treats from beauty companies. Don't forget that Saks and Neiman Marcus both have beauty events with lots of gifts with purchase this weekend.

The microphone is yours!

Photo courtesy of

Ramy Beauty Therapy Sun Smooched! Bronzer

After I interviewed Ramy Gafni in January, I put Sun Smooched! ($32) on my must-have list. When Sun Smooched! was the daily special about 10 days ago, I ordered one in Light (I love a discount, so I waited).

It arrived quickly, and the verdict is...this is a fantastic bronzer. It's giving me a glow in the pale month of February. I'm very impressed with how natural it looks. An extra benefit? It's a great lotion for quick, subtle contouring.

During our interview, I had asked Ramy what advice he would give us to look glowing and natural, not like we are wearing bronzer or had a self-tanning tragedy. Here's is what he told me.

Color selection is key. Use the light shade on very fair skin. When in doubt, select medium, which
is the most natural and universally flattering shade. It's a great product. The color is terrifying when you put it on the back of your hand. Once blended on the face, though, it's the most natural bronzer on the market. If you only want a light wash of color, you can mix it in your palm with moisturizer and put it on your face and neck. What's nice is that it washes off at end of day - no self-tanning effects. All of the shades are warm-toned. If you use the light shade and find it's too light, you can layer it. Two coats of light equals one coat of medium, and that's true for all of the shades. Just layer them to create a darker glow if you wish. Sun Smooched! is very user friendly - it's transparent. If you are fair, you can just use it as a blush if you don't want to apply it over your entire face.

Here's how Ramy describes Sun Smooched! on his Web site.

I wanted to create a bronzer that not only looks incredibly natural on the skin, but actually improves your skin while wearing it! The botanical active ingredients (green tea, green apple, sugar cane, citrus, walnut, hazelnut, and pecan extracts) in Sun Smooched! actually improve the texture of your complexion every time you apply it, smoothing away fine lines, eliminating blemishes, and evening out skin tone - all while imparting a beautiful, glowing sun-kissed color. Sun Smooched! can also be used to contour, enhance your bone structure, and eliminate puffiness for a younger, slimmer appearance. Just like after a summer at the beach, your teeth look whiter and your eyes look brighter when you've been Sun Smooched!

Now, I can say "Ditto!" to everything he said. This bronzer has already joined my all-time favorites list. I have used my Sun Smooched! mixed with foundation, to contour my cheekbones, and on the high spots of my face to make me look healthy and more alert than I feel. It blends very easily because of its liquid formula. No rubbing is required! I have used it with a foundation brush and my fingertips, and both methods of application produced fabulous results. This bronzer gets five stars!

Check it out at the Ramy Beauty Therapy Web site. If you follow @Ramybeauty on Twitter, you will be among the first to know about the daily specials.

Photo courtesy of Ramy Beauty Therapy

Bond No. 9 High Line, the World's First Railroad Perfume

When we conducted our informal fragrance poll during our recent HERMÈS giveaway contest, the winner and other entrants selected a BOND No. 9 fragrance as their go-to scent. Now, there's a new perfume in the line for you to try!

Launching in March, Bond No. 9 High Line ($145 or $220, depending on size) was designed to evoke the images and smells of wildflowers, green grasses, and urban renewal. As we have come to expect from Bond, that's a quirky image!

I'm going to let them tell you about it - their words are charming.

Since when do new neighborhoods arise in New York? Hardly ever. After all, this city is already jam-packed with just about every kind of community imaginable. So when a new part of town appears, you can be sure we’re in for something completely different. Like our latest and most dynamic neighborhood, the High Line, which serves as the subject of Bond No. 9’s Spring 2010 Eau de Parfum. An improbable aerial walkway lined with concrete planks and railroad tracks, landscaped with meadows, wetlands, and wildflowers, the High Line hovers 30 feet above street level as it meanders along its route from the Meatpacking District to the former 34th Street rail yards - sometimes bridging its way through buildings along the way. Lately too it’s begun serving a daily parade of New Yorkers and visitors wanting both a respite from and a fresh take on our non-stop kaleidoscopic city.

Bond No. 9, purveyors of New York neighborhood fragrances, has long been enamored with the High Line and its perfume possibilities. A scent that conveys a whiff of urban wildflowers and a hint of industrial grit, with bits of Tenth Avenue energy and Chelsea gallery style added to the mix - the idea intrigued Bond. So they set about creating Bond No. 9 High Line.

The result is an androgynous floral-marine bouquet, contrasting the hardy flowers and greens that grow along the High Line’s route with intriguing notes from far away. The scent starts off with a prairie grazing weed - purple love grass - mixed with citrusy bergamot and zesty Indian rhubarb. The perfume’s floral heart is composed with red-leaf rose, Lady Jane tulips, and grape hyacinth. Its lingering base notes combine bur oak - from the sheltering tree that thrives here - with imported sea moss to evoke the Hudson River’s proximity, along with musk and teakwood, to remind us that Bond No. 9 High Line is a metro-perfume.

The textured silkscreen surface design on the clear glass High Line bottle furthers the beauty-emerging-in-a-gritty-urban-industrial-environment narrative. In the foreground, hardy blades of tall grass and determined fuchsia tulip buds sprout from gunmetal grey rail tracks (affixed to the bottle as a metal plaque) displaying the name, High Line. As for the Bond No. 9 token logo, it appears raised in relief as a backdrop.

Bond No. 9 has joined forces with and became sponsors of Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit organization that spearheaded and oversaw the revitalization and reuse of this abandoned rail line in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. For more information about the High Line and Friends of the High Line, go to

Appearing on-counter in March 2010, Bond No. 9 High Line will be sold at the four Bond New York stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, and at the Bond Web site.

I'll be on the lookout for this one. I love makeup and fragrances with a cause! It gets better. Bond wants your empty perfume bottles for recycling - all of them! Just take your empty glass perfume bottles, theirs or anyone else’s, to Bond No. 9 boutiques and Bond No. 9 counters at Saks Fifth Avenue nationwide. They will take care of the rest. And by way of an eco-friendly thank-you, they will give you a refillable pocket spray free with any purchase.

Photo courtesy of Bond

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Possibly a Great Deal - Laura Geller Sale - If the Site Works for You

I try to pass along the great deals. This appears to be a great deal! To celebrate Laura Geller's redesigned Web site, Geller is offering a 20% discount on your Laura purchases. This offer is active through February 27. Use code NEWLG at checkout. You will also receive a Free Lip Heal and Seal with your online purchase through February 28. I suggest you call and order by phone. The new site has some serious issues.

I love Laura Geller makeup, especially the Baked Collection! I wanted to order from the new site this afternoon, and I really tried to shop and place an order. I don't enjoy writing negative pieces, but this one deserves a mention. I was very disappointed.

Unfortunately, the new Web site has some serious issues. Be careful where you click. Don't click on the titles of items if you attempt to browse. Click on the pictures. Otherwise, you will get an error message.

I was not able to place a sizable order from my browser, Firefox. I called Customer Service, and they were no help. The woman who answered, being prompted by someone shouting in the background, actually said to me, "Did you make sure to enter the correct information?" Duh! After some other inane queries, all of which were based on the assumption that I'm an idiot, I gave up on her. When they assume the customer is always wrong, they have a problem. I'm still wondering why she didn't just offer to take my order by phone! It was a hefty order, but she didn't care.

Then I tried to use a different browser, Internet Explorer, and got continuous Web site security alerts - with every click to move on. That was so frustrating, I gave up again. It was 40 minutes from start to finish, and I have better ways to spend my time.

I have given up. Nice offer, but it's too hard. Please let me know if you succeed.

I want to reiterate. I love Laura Geller. Her team let her down. This new site was not ready for prime time.

Update 2/26: I was finally able to place an order today after "telling" Firefox (big warning!) to ignore the fact that Laura Geller's Web site did not have the proper security certificate and that I understood the risk of going to an imposter site. Hope my credit card data didn't land in the wrong hands!

Photo courtesy of Laura Geller

Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser

Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals Nutritive Cleanser ($60 for the super size) is an anti-aging cleanser that features two key patented Perricone anti-aging ingredients, Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE.

Nutritive Cleanser is gentle enough to be used twice a day. It washes away makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils. The ingredients provide anti-aging benefits and help reveal a brighter and smoother skin surface. After cleansing, your face will be perfectly prepared for your skin-care treatment products.

I was given a generous sample of Nutritive Cleanser that I have been using every night. It removes makeup with ease (even mascara), and it leaves my face feeling nice and clean. Even though cleanser is on the skin for a very short period, I have noticed some tightening of my pores after use, fortunately without any taut feeling. The cleanser has a very pleasant powdery fragrance that doesn't linger past its removal - perfect!

Besides being paraben-free, Nutritive Cleanser has two ingredients designed to bring back your glow.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • The ultimate antioxidant protects cells
  • Diminishes fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration
  • Refines skin texture
  • Reduces pore size, puffiness, imperfections, and uneven skin tone
DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol)
  • Provides ultimate contouring benefits to skin beginning to lose elasticity
  • Delivers lifted, tightened, and toned appearance to the skin
  • Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
You can see the Perricone MD products at the Perricone MD Web site (where the first 400 orders will come with deluxe samples of Cold Plasma and No Foundation Foundation), Nordstrom, and Sephora. I am trying other well-regarded Perricone products, including the new, award-winning Cold Plasma, and can't wait to tell you more. So far, the results have been great!

If you are interested in learning more about skin care and Dr. Perricone's recommendations, you might have fun checking out his blog, Daily Perricone!

One more thing...Perricone has new packaging, so you will see less "clinical" packaging replacing the packaging shown here. The sleek, new packaging is color-coded, with green for age prevention, bronze brown for age correction, silver for ageless, and blue for clear skin. I like it!

Photo courtesy of Perricone MD

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bobbi Brown Color Strips Collection for Spring 2010

Bobbi Brown has put together three new Color Strips Palettes ($60) with pops of colors accompanied by the perfect neutrals that make them work for everyone. Each of the three palettes in the collection has five Eye Shadows and three shades of Pot Rouge, all designed to work together beautifully.

Love color but don't know exactly how to use it? Have you ever purchased shadows that look fabulous in the store - either in the testers or after an artist applied them for you - and can't figure out how to use them once you get home? Bobbi Brown believes that everyone can wear bright shades, and she has made it as easy as paint-by-numbers! Buy one and you get Bobbi Brown's expertise every time you use your new palette.

Here's what Bobbi has to say about Color Strips. “Don’t be afraid of color. Each palette has one bright eye shadow that really stands out. The rest of my hand-picked shades for eyes, lips, and cheeks will make it wearable.”

I've already decided I can't live without the gorgeous Bonfire and Aquamarine palettes! And I will be introducing a color-shy friend to Orchid; she's going to look great in the lavender eye shades.

I love the use of Pot Rouge in these palettes. I'll get three fabulous lip and cheek shades that coordinate with the eye shadows in each palette. I'm already imagining the mix-and-match possibilities! As she always does, Bobbi has thoughtfully included a brush so that you can use your palette on the go.

The Aquamarine palette includes the Eye Shadow shades Lightening Sparkle, Aquamarine Metallic, Storm, Ivory, and Grey Sky, along with the Pot Rouge shades Sand Pink, Pale Pink, and Powder Pink.

The Bonfire palette
includes Eye Shadow shades in Bone, Cafe Cream Sparkle, Cognac Metallic, Bonfire Metallic, and Caviar and Pot Rouge shades in Fresh Melon, Tawny, and Calypso Coral.

The Orchid palette includes the Eye Shadow shades White, Dusty Plum Metallic, Orchid Sparkle, Mulberry, and Caviar, along with the Pot Rouge shades Sand Pink, Pale Pink, and Powder Pink.

The Color Strips Collection will be available soon at Bobbi Brown's Web site and at all Bobbi Brown counters. I can report that they are in the store at Nordstrom at Tysons Corner and available at Nordstrom online. I need to hurry over to Nordstrom. Message to impending snow storm: hold off, please! I have beautiful spring makeup to buy!

Update 2/27: I ordered mine at Bobbi's Web site today! Am excited.

Photos courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Pure Fiji Coconut Milk and Honey Body Butter

I am a sucker for tropical fragrances - any time of year. When a body butter hydrates my skin and takes me on a trip to the islands, I fall in love. Pure Fiji's Coconut Milk and Honey Body Butter ($45) evokes pure rapture.

This nourishing body butter instantly hydrates dry skin. The ingredients? Coconut milk, "exotic drift nut oils," and raw honey, boosted with royal jelly. It's pretty basic: a body butter that leaves a divine fragrance as it moisturizes your skin. The best part? This fabulous fragrance lasts! I like to use this body butter at bedtime and drift off to sleep dreaming that I'm resting in the shade of an umbrella, surrounded by sand, drinking a yummy fruit drink, and eating coconut slices - just like my memories of Barbados.

Pure Fiji is a great company. Based in New Zealand, Pure Fiji uses the finest quality plant oils and extracts in each of their products. The line does not contain ingredients that commonly cause allergies or problems for sensitive skins, uses organic materials whenever they can, and does not test on animals. All Pure Fiji containers are recyclable.

Here's a little more about the company, abstracted from their Web site.

Pure Fiji endeavors to ensure that products will benefit customers through exceptional performance and value, while positively impacting the people and economies of the local communities from which the raw materials are sourced. Pure Fiji believes this is achievable by using ingredients from renewable resources and eco-friendly packaging.

Pure Fiji takes great pride in using ecologically friendly ingredients and supporting the environment that sustains business in the Pacific. They make every effort to minimize their carbon footprint, and where appropriate, enhance Fiji's unique ecosystem. Botanical ingredients, such as their blend of nut oils, are wild-harvested, which means they select the nuts from trees that grow in their natural habitat. That practice reduces their requirement for energy-dependent irrigation and fertilization methods. Bottles used in packaging are PET, which are an environmentally responsible choice that requires 24% less energy to produce and generates 40% less solid waste than glass bottles. Gift packaging is made by hand using natural fibers, such as handmade paper or delightful woven baskets.

These enlightened philosophies also played a big part in the design and construction of Pure Fiji's new, state-of-the-art factory and its daily production processes. Passive solar dryers are employed, and oils are cold pressed in the villages that supply them. Spa linens and staff uniforms are sun-dried, eliminating the need for electricity. Pure Fiji even recycles the chaff and seed casings from the nuts in the factory gardens - which act as a nursery for Pure Fiji's tree planting programs along the coastline, a source of a variety of flowers and herbs for use in their spa, and even supply fresh vegetables for the factory staff to use in their meals.

So, if you want to try a fabulous body butter - and feel good about using a "green earth" product - browse the Pure Fiji Web site to find the Coconut Milk and Honey Body Butter or another product that grabs your attention. You can order from Pure Fiji by clicking on the store that matches your country, or Google Pure Fiji for other online sources.

Photo courtesy of Pure Fiji

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Laura Mercier Under Eye Perfector

At first glance, Laura Mercier's new Under Eye Perfectors ($22) look really dark and strange, but I'll bet that one of them will work for you. Try them in person to select the right shade.

Available in two highly pigmented shades, Orange/Yellow and Mauve/Rose, the unique cream corrector/perfector is designed to help conceal, awaken, and provide complete coverage for even the most intense dark eye area. Most of you know that Laura Mercier specializes in mixing concealer shades to achieve just the right color for your skin. The new Under Eye Perfectors are an extra tool in the toolkit. They are intended to be used only under the eyes. They have a lightweight, emollient formula that won't cake or settle into any fine lines. Even so, I found that only a tiny dab is needed.

I picked up one at Nordstrom and remarked to Chris Coles that it looked really dark. He demonstrated two ways for me to use the corrector: mixed with concealer to counteract any redness in my skin (the directions actually say to use it under your concealer) and placed over foundation in place of a brightener. Just a little dab worked, and I found the effect to be exactly what Laura Mercier must have had in mind!

The color descriptions on the Laura Mercier Web site are counterintuitive. Mauve/Rose is described as being for fair-to-medium skin to cancel pink/purple circles. Orange/Yellow is for olive-to-deep skin tones to cancel purple/gray dark circles. Go figure! That's why you just have to try these shades in person to see which one works for you.

What did I find? The right shade for you will instantly brighten your under-eye area, hydrate, and "perfect" your skin tone. These are worth checking out. Even if you don't need the Under Eye Perfector every day, you will be happy you have it when you need it!

You can find Under Eye Perfector at Nordtrom, Saks, Neiman Marcus, and at the Laura Mercier Web site. This is one product I'd recommend you try in person.

Photo courtesy of Laura Mercier

Wella at New York Fashion Week

After seeing the fabulous blow-outs by the Red Door Spa team in New York, I have a rekindled interest in hair styles! So, straight from New York Fashion Week, here's a peek at two adventurous looks - similar in that ponytails were the feature, but different in hair color, which ranged from daring to daily. If you have long hair, you won't need the extensions used to create these looks. Just follow the step-by-step directions.

Wella professionals and lead colorist Eva Scrivo crafted runway looks to complement the Cynthia Rowley and DKNY Fall 2010 collections. I'll tell you about the products and techniques that were used to create these hair fantasies, where extensions were all the rage!

At Cynthia Rowley, the look was a sleek, natural ponytail accented with the striking contrast of an artificial colored hair extension placed off center for an added tuft of textured fringe.

Hair Color Used

Wella professionals used Koleston Perfect Special Mix hair color shades to completely saturate natural hair extensions with the rich, vibrant, jewel-toned shades of the clothing collection. The sophisticated nuances of the Special Mix shades turned Rowley's color fantasy into a reality on the runway. The multi-dimensional tones and layers revealed sensuous colors in a range of shades, each time embedded with an element of surprise. The models actually blended with the clothing.

Products Used

System Professional Ultimation: Strong-hold hairspray with long-lasting hold and maximum shine.

Step-by-Step Styling
  1. Section hair off and working from back of the head to the front, preparing hair with System Professional Ultimation hair spray for added texture and shine.
  2. Create texture within each section by using a combination of a curling iron and crimping iron for non-uniform waviness.
  3. Place Wella colored hair pieces that have been crimped within sections of the natural hair so that the extensions blend in seamlessly.
  4. Pull the hair back into a soft ponytail at the nape of the neck with the ends flowing naturally, while allowing the streaks of color to show through for added dimension.
While this was done in dramatic fashion for the runway, any woman could translate this look into everyday life with extensions or highlights that coordinate with her "natural" hair color, as the Wella professionals did at DKNY.

The DKNY look was a refined side-swept ponytail, projecting a sexy equestrian vibe with a subtly strong, yet not too masculine look.

Hair Color Used

Using Wella Professionals’ new Blondor collection to achieve the palest of blondes, and both the Koleston Perfect permanent and Color Touch demi-permanent collections to create a gorgeous palette of naturals, hand-painted extensions were created within the natural color palette of the models’ hair - not quite as daring as the Rowley look. The range reflected beautiful dimension in a variety of hues - from medium brown to a beautiful spectrum of blonde shades.

Products Used
  • System Professional Volumagic: Natural hold styling foam for long-lasting volume
  • System Professional Hypercurl: Provides texture and definition to curl patterns
Step-by-Step Styling
  1. Prepare damp hair with System Professional Volumagic and blow dry with a large round brush, creating a soft wave and giving direction for the side part.
  2. Rake hands through hair to loosen the waves, pulling to the side of the part and fasten the low-side ponytail.
  3. Leave hair on the opposite side of the ponytail loose around the face to balance the asymmetry of the look.
  4. Lightly smooth System Professional Hypercurl on the length of the ponytail for separation and added texture.
The DKNY look is one you might want to create at home; ponytails will rock for the rest of this year. Of course, if you have a flair for hair, you could give the Cynthia Rowley look a whirl!

Photos courtesy of American Pop

Monday, February 22, 2010

Melvita Bio-excellence Extraordinary Dry Oil

Melvita makes a nice dry oil for the body and hair. Given that "dry oil" is a relatively odd term, you might be wondering, "How can an oil be dry?"

A dry oil is an oil that has been rendered almost free of water, contaminants, and impurities. Most dry oils for skin care are absorbed rapidly and don't leave you feeling sticky or greasy. The Melvita Bio-excellence Extraordinary Dry Oil ($33) is a fragranced, extra-mild combination of plant oils, gathered from the "four corners of the earth." Extraordinary Dry Oil sprays on the properties of its plant ingredients to soothe, repair, and hydrate. It leaves a pleasantly silky protective film on the skin. It's also said to be suitable for use on dry or frizzy hair, thanks to its non-greasy texture. I haven't tried it on my hair, given that any weight is too much weight on my hair. I might try it next weekend for a treatment, though.

You can spray this oil on without massaging it in, but it feels so good to rub it in. If you apply it right after bathing, the oil will help your skin trap and retain moisture. I also apply it before bed so that I can sleep easy knowing my scales will be gone in the morning.

It's main ingredients are sesame oil, safflower oil, jojoba oil, camelina oil, argan oil, oily extract of strawberry, vitamin E, and 100% natural fragrance. How does it smell? Hard to define! It's a bit earthy/herby, but not either alone. It is said to include a blend of voilets, pears, and mimosa, but they are not distinguishable to me. Actually, the fragrance smells like an oil that would be delicious on a baguette!

Melvita is French organic body care and beauty products leader. The company is located in the heart of the Ardèche countryside. Founded in 1983 by beekeeper and biologist Bernard Chevilliat, Melvita (meaning “honey and life” in Latin) has been a pioneer in the field of organic beauty for more than 25 years and is a passionate advocate for the complete organic lifestyle.

You can purchase the Bio-excellence Extraordinary Dry Oil at SkinStore. Beautorium also carries Melvita products, although it doesn't appear that they carry this product. Both online sites have specials at the moment. Beautorium is offering 10% off Melvita and two free travel-sized items with a $50 purchase of Melvita. Use the promo code MELVITA at checkout. SkinStore also has a gift with a $45 Melvita purchase. I want the argan oil! It's on its way.

Photo courtesy of SkinStore

Sisley Phyto Blush and the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event

This past week, I had a marvelous complimentary facial at Neiman Marcus - one hour of pure bliss, courtesy of Simone Noorestani! I will tell you about it later this week. After my facial, Janette Glynn, did a pretty makeup application, using some special Sisley colors. One that I particularly liked was Phyto Blush ($85) in #4, Rose.

I'm a pushover for multi-shade blushers. I think they give a depth to the cheeks that single-color blushers don't achieve. I like to mix colors on my brush (thank you, Loyd Cassler!), and that's easy when I can swirl the brush across multiple colors in the pan.

Sisley's Phyto Blush, which comes in four shades, has two colors - light and dark shades of the same color family - in the pan. The color, when applied, is transparent, lively, natural, and radiant. The Phyto Blush powder is "ultra-fine," meaning it adds light, sheer color that's buildable. This blush has light-reflecting properties, which minimize surface irregularities and impart a soft-focus look. One of the ingredients, mother of pearl, adds a subtle glow - no shimmer, just a soft glow.

The available colors are Rose, Litchi, Mango, and Peach. Rose is perfect for me. Any of them would last you a long time because the pan is relatively large.

Beauty Week starts on February 25 at Neiman Marcus. With any $100 beauty or fragrance purchase, you will take home an "überchic" denim bag in your choice of colors, filled with goodies. Additionally, there are many gifts with purchase within the beauty department. Sisley's gift is fabulous! See them all at this link. Pre-sale has already started, so visit now if you can, or call your favorite beauty rep and place your order. It's so hectic once the event starts. I like a more leisurely shopping experience.

If you shop at the Neiman Marcus at Tysons Corner and are interested in the Sisley gift, call Loula Ayoub at (703) 761-1600, extension 3230, to line up a purchase.

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Eyes Giveaway Contest

Vichy's Liftactiv Retinol HA Eyes ($39.50), a new product, is an anti-wrinkle treatment with new generation retinol and hyaluronic acid to fight all three types of wrinkles: "permanent" or expression wrinkles, reversible wrinkles caused by dehydration, and wrinkles that are "programmed" (by genetics) to appear. I wrote about the new Vichy line in December.

The Liftactiv Retinol HA products are targeted at women who are showing the first signs of aging, with wrinkles starting to appear around the eyes, forehead, or mouth area, as well as skin irregularities. That would be anyone over 20! Vichy promises that its Liftactiv Retinol HA line produces immediate, visible results, with smoothing and soft-focus effects.

Here's how Vichy describes the efficacy of Liftactiv Retinol HA for Eyes.
  • New generation retinol + A1 (adenosine) provides accelerated resurfacing effect while hyaluronic acid provides filling action
  • With pro-retinol + A2 for an eye brightening effect and hyaluronic acid for a wrinkle-filling action
  • Patented double-gelled-phase formulation technique provides moisturizing and nourishing yet light and smooth texture
  • Tested under dermatological and opthamological control
  • Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact-lens wearers
  • Fragrance-free, allergy-tested
  • Formulated with soothing and fortifying Vichy Thermal Spa Water
The packaging is unique. The nozzle is sprung on a bearing, so if you press the tip against your hand, it auto-dispenses - a smart way to keep the product fresh at all times and protect it from air and light. That’s very important for a cream that contains active ingredients.

Want an opportunity to win one? Just e-mail and put Vichy in the subject line. It's that easy! If you want a second entry, just follow BTiBeauty on Twitter. All existing Twitter followers who e-mail will automatically receive a second entry. If you use a different name on Twitter, make sure to tell me in your e-mail.

The contest deadline will be Friday, February 26, at midnight. I'll select the winner using a random number generator. I'll even send this product anywhere in the world, so you can enter no matter where you live!

I'll be posting this contest at Free!Grechen, my fun giveaway site partner. Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Vichy

Clé de Peau's New "The Mascara"

Clé de Peau has introduced a new mascara, and it has arrived in stores. Called "The Mascara" or "Mascara Integral," ($50) the company says it's "an exceptional mascara that creates the distinguished drama of length, volume, lift, and curl with a lustrous deep black." Chris Coles at Nordstrom gave me a deluxe sample to try, and I can report that it meets its promise!

Available only in black, this is a no-nonsense mascara, one that is intended to make your eyes attract attention. Isn't that ancient saying about our eyes being the windows to our souls true? Everyone reads your eyes, which say what you are really thinking. Mascara frames your eyes. It's always a don't-leave-home-without-it choice for women asked to select only one must-have makeup product.

Clé de Peau seems to be confident about The Mascara. There's no hype on the Web site or the packaging. The ingredients tell me that it contains the usual paraffins and some other materials often found in mascaras. It also contains some ingredients that will trap or enhance moisture, such as dimethicone, argan oil, and sodium acetylated hyaluronate (an ingredient developed by Shiseido that is an anchoring humectant). Shiseido is the parent company of Clé de Peau.

This mascara reminds me of Dior's DiorShow, an iconic mascara. My The Mascara sample has a large (curved) brush that does a good job of lengthening, plumping, and separating the lashes. I definitely have va-va-voom lashes when I wear it. It's a bit pricey, though. If you are a member of the Clé de Peau or Shiseido cult - and there are a lot of devotees out there - I'll bet you will find this new mascara in your shopping bag before too long. If not, I'd suggest you try it and see if you like it enough to spend $50. If you have a limited makeup budget, there are other Clé de Peau products you might find more enticing.

Photo courtesy of Clé de Peau

Enter Bobbi Brown's Pretty Powerful Tuesday Tweetstakes

That headline is an order! Bobbi Brown has a fabulous Pretty Powerful contest every Tuesday on Twitter. If you don't enter, then you don't love makeup! I was selected as a winner the week before last, and I received a generous selection from the Cabana Corals Collection a few days later! It made me deliriously happy! Pretty powerful, huh?

My friends, you have to enter this week - and every week if you live in the United States! If you don't have a Twitter account, what are you waiting for? Just go there and sign up. It's fast and easy. You don't have to use your real name if you prefer, and you don't have to tweet every day (although you may get addicted). You don't even have to follow a lot of people, but I'd recommend you follow @AskBobbiBrown. I'd love it if you follow me too @BTiBeauty, but no need - you really should follow Bobbi!

Here's the scoop. Every Tuesday through March 30, between 12:01 am to 11:59 pm ET, go to @AskBobbiBrown on Twitter. Search on @AskBobbiBrown ("Find People" is unreliable for me - don't know why). When you see the results, click on one of the colored @AskBobbiBrown links - that will take you to Bobbi's page - suggest you then follow by clicking on "follow." Or, you can search on #prettypowerful (the "#" character is called a hashtag, and it facilitates searches). You need to do that to find Bobbi's Tuesday question. This Tuesday, I will retweet Bobbi's question for my followers. Once you find the question, tweet why Bobbi Brown's cosmetics make you feel pretty powerful for a chance to win various Bobbi Brown Cosmetics products. Last week's question was, "Tweet us a Bobbi makeup tip that makes you feel #prettypowerful." How easy is that? Even if you didn't know one of Bobbi's world-famous tips, you could have checked out her Web site to find one.

To be entered into this sweepstakes, the tweets must use the hashtag #prettypowerful (that means put "#prettypowerful" (no quotes in your tweet) within the 140 characters Twitter allows you to write). If you aren't a tweety bird and don't understand these directions, e-mail me today or Monday at, and I will try to help you.

Each week four (4) winners are chosen at random to win a prize containing various Bobbi Brown Cosmetic products. I was blown away by the generosity of the prize I received: the to-die-for Pink Quartz Shimmer Brick, Cabo Coral Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks, Sunset Beach Shimmer Lip Gloss, Coral Sand Shimmer Lip Gloss, and Coral Glaze Metallic Lip Color! I'll be one peachy gal this spring and summer.

The approximate retail value of each prize package is $130. Imagine...a chance at winning $130 worth of fabulous new Bobbi Brown makeup with just one tweet! If you aren't tweeting, you are just increasing someone else's chances of winning!

In January, I told you about Bobbi's Pretty Powerful campaign and the video contest. Starting March 12, you will be able to cheer on the semi-finalists by voting at Bobbi's Web site. Fifteen woman have made it that far. Let's remember to vote! This is a great campaign for and about "real women."

You can enter the Pretty Powerful Tweetstakes from the Web or from your Web-enabled phone. Don't forget, this Tuesday and every Tuesday through March 30! It only takes a minute, so enter before you go to work, during the day, or after work when you get home. Just enter!

The contest rules are at this link.
Photos courtesy of Bobbi Brown

Saturday, February 20, 2010

LIERAC Hydra-Chrono for Anti-Aging Hydration

How I love LIERAC's Hydra-Chrono line! I use both the Hydra-Chrono Baume Extrême ($50) and the Hydra-Chrono Crème Intense ($50). I tend to use the Crème Intense in the warm months and the Balm Extrême in the cold months, but I mix it up. Lately, I have been using Baume Extrême exclusively because the cold, dry air is trying to dessicate my skin! Even in the heat of summer, if I feel dry, I reach for the Baume Extrême.

Both moisturizers contain an aqua-pump complex and moisturizing agents to trap moisture and restore the skin’s hydrating systems. Enriched with an innovative combination of active ingredients, Hydra-Chrono plumps the skin from within, leaving it perfectly moisturized. When your skin is hydrated, wrinkles are less pronounced. So, you look young and refreshed!

The Baume Extrême ingredients include hydrolyzed almond protein, glycerin, apricot kernel oil, safflower seed oil, and porphyridium cruentum extract (derived from a type of red algae and containing the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid, the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, and other skin-friendly ingredients such as polysaccharides), and NMF (a moisturizing complex, also known as Natural Moisturizing Factor, found in the corneum layer of the skin and comprised of hygroscopic, water-soluble substances that regulate this layer's selective permeability).

The Crème Intense shares many of the same ingredients and also features coconut oil and shea butter - both extremely hydrating.

Available at LIERAC's Web site, CVS, and, Hydra-Chrono has a very slight rose scent that smells great on application and then disappears - perfect for those of us who don't really like scents left behind from any product other than the fragrance we have selected.

LIERAC is a fabulous line, still better known in Europe than the United States. LIERAC hopes to change that! LIERAC products are priced mid-range, so it won't break the bank to give one a try. If you are looking for a great anti-aging moisturizer, I'd start with Hydra-Chrono! There are formulas for combination, dry, and super-dry skin. Even if you have oily skin, LIERAC has a solution for you. Check out their Web site where you can search for products by skin type.

Photo courtesy of LIERAC

HERMÈS Un Jardin Sur le Nil Giveaway Contest Winner Plus Your Favorites

Congratulations to Susan DeB! She was selected by to receive the HERMÈS Un Jardin Sur le Nil fragrance. Susan was notified by e-mail. Susan got two entries because she's a Twitter follower, making her twice as likely to win! I'm still getting the "knack" of Twitter, but I'm having fun out there. It sure is time consuming, though, to read or scan all those tweets when you follow a lot of people!

HERMÈS Un Jardin Sur le Nil is one of my favorite fragrances. I wear it all the time. Its name evokes the mangos of the fertile Nubian region of Egypt. However, it's so much more complex than those overly sweet mango fragrances that abound. It has notes of lotus flowers, shown on the box, sparkling citrus fruits (definite grapefruit), and something very green. There's a very slight woody note that comes from sycamore. Although billed as unisex, I think this fragrance is very feminine. From the moment you spray it on until later in the day when you still get a whiff, it's feminine charm is undeniable. I hope Susan will like it!

Susan's go-to fragrance is Bond No. 9's Chinatown. My "little poll" results were interesting. Most of you turn to different fragrances. There were very few repeat selections in your choices. Estee Lauder's Beautiful was one repeat. There were too many entries for me to list all of your favorites, but here are a few that you are wearing: MARC JABOBS Daisy, MARC JACOBS Lola, MARC JACOBS Rain, Missoni Acqua, Armani Code, Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, Jo Malone’s Vanilla & Anise, Victoria's Secret Dream Angel, Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, Chanel No.5, and Estee Lauder White Linen. What variety! I enjoyed reading about your selections!

Thank you for entering! We will start another giveaway contest tomorrow. Come back, please!

Photo courtesy of HERMÈS

YSL Beauty Special Event

DC-area Event Alert!

YSL's National Makeup Artist, Dell Ashley, will be at Saks Chevy Chase, Maryland on Thursday, March 11, 2010, from 10:30-6:00. He is terrific, and the new Spring Collection 2010 is fabulous. If you live anywhere near DC, you would enjoy meeting him!

There’s no secret to Dell Ashley’s success as a makeup artist. He has a special talent for treating each customer with the utmost care and respect. His sincerity and instinctive artistic talents instantly draw women in; his engaging, individualized approach quickly transforms them into devotees. Dell’s customers always walk away from the counter looking and feeling beautiful, confident, and very YSL (as in sophisticated). Dell talks to you about your preferences and then shows you how you can use the YSL colors to achieve your own look - or better! I can't wait to see which of the Y-Mail Complexion Palettes he selects for me, since I bought them both!

After more than 10 years in the cosmetic industry, Dell is a favorite among the media, having worked behind the scenes of major fashion shows, photo shoots, and beauty pageants. As YSL’s National Makeup Artist, Dell works closely with Val Garland, Artistic Advisor of YSL Makeup, as she translates the look of the season seen on the Paris runway of the Yves Saint Laurent Fashion show, created by Stefano Pilati. It is Dell’s job to turn "runway" into everyday glamour, customized to his client’s best features and personal needs. He did my makeup once, and I was very happy with the results. He used the colors of the season in a way that made me comfortable (I am pretty conservative about makeup!), and he's so nice!

If you are interested in making an appointment, contact Debbie O’Malley at Saks (240) 497-5258 to schedule. If you can't get to Saks Chevy Chase? Ask at your local YSL counter when Dell will visit! Tell them you deserve it!

If you don't have a YSL counter anywhere near you, YSL usually has some deals online. I try to tell you about most of them in The Friday Forum comments. Through February 21, you can get free shipping on any order that includes a lip product with the code LIPS10 at checkout. What a great time to try Rouge Volupté!

Photos courtesy of YSL Beauty

Friday, February 19, 2010

New York Fashion Week Blogger Lounge & Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas

The invitation was for a day of beauty at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) Blogger Lounge, sponsored by Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas and hosted by Lianne Farbes of The Makeup Girl at the W Hotel Times Square. The Red Door team, consisting of Hervé Merlino, Billy Dee Williams, Zahir Ziani (national creative director), Grace, and Tiffany, was there all day treating us to blow-outs and styling just in time for the NYFW Media Mixer that night. As if that weren't enticement enough, we had an opportunity to relax, recharge batteries (a mobile gal can run out of power), snack on refreshments, and enjoy good company.

I stopped by, thinking it would be fun to meet everyone. As soon as I arrived, even without an appointment for a blow-out, Lianne invited me to have a seat and get my hair done. Of course I jumped right into the adorable Billy Dee Williams' chair, given how great everyone in the room looked! Billy Dee is shown at right with the big warm smile.

He intuitively knew what to do with my hair. I didn't prompt him, just confirmed that I needed some volume. Billy Dee started to hold up sections of my hair and spray the roots. I thought he was using product. Instead, he was using water to give his blow dryer a head start. Once he finished dampening my hair, he started his magic. I couldn't see what he was doing because I was facing into the room, but it didn't matter. I trusted him completely - as I should have because every woman who got a blow-out was going into the bathroom to look for the first time and literally shrieking with delight!

When he finished, I also headed to the bathroom mirror to see the results. My hair hasn't looked that good in 20 years! Seriously, I couldn't believe that my own fine, rather lifeless hair could do anything other than a bob. It was love! I loved my hair, and I loved Billy Dee, a stylist in Red Door's Westchester (White Plains) salon. Billy Dee, why can't you come down to Northern Virginia? We love talent - you could spruce up this whole region! If you can't move, maybe we can get a Red Door party going, booking you for a day of hair heaven?

So, what do you think? That's me - blond hair, blue leather jacket. I think he's a genius! I am still awestruck as I write this, days later.

Lianne got her hair cut before I got there, and she looked darling. She's the lovely lady on the left in the photo to the right. She looked like a celebrity - and she is!

For more photos from the event, courtesy of Andrea Betts from Red Door, go to this link. Friends, if you have a Red Door Spa near you, I'd make an appointment and head over there. They will show you what your hair can do! It could be life-changing!

Photos courtesy of Andrea Betts

The Friday Forum - February 19

I could still make one of these snow sculptures on my heat pump! Today's the day I'll try to unfreeze it for good with a hose. The temperature is supposed to go into the 40s, and I'll be out there trying to banish ice. I'm taking the day off from work to tackle the task. Wish me luck! I cannot carry one more bucket of hot water out there.

It's time for The Friday Forum again! The forum is devoted to what you have to say about anything related to beauty. Let's chat! Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game! Just use the comments.

I want to tell you about the eye liner Stila makeup artist extraordinaire Sarah Lucero was using as she did makeup touch-ups at the New York Fashion Week Media Mixer. It was Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($20), a waterproof liquid liner that glides on with ease, won't smudge or run, and stays in place until you say when! She was a pro using the thin marker-like tip, which delivered a defined thin line with precision. Sarah was using the liner to enhance the eyes of most of the women she touched up, making everyone's lashes look lush and full without a heavily made-up look. I loved it - need one of these! It must be very popular because it's sold out on Stila's Web site, which makes me determined to find one this weekend!

As usual, I will share beauty bits with you over the weekend. I'll put them in the comments, so check for free shipping offers and other treats from beauty companies.

The microphone is yours!

Update 2/20: I failed with the heat pump! Two hours after I got drenched and very cold hosing down the heat pump, it was frozen up again. Finally gave in and scheduled a service call. This do-it-yourself stuff is over!

Photo courtesy of the Manchester Evening News

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Antica Farmacista Le Parfum in Tuberose, Hyacinth & Lily of the Valley

I needed a whiff of spring. Last week, when just getting out to the street involved physical labor, I was satisfying my inner child on a snow day by shopping online. I saw a tweet by Antica Farmacista, which many of you know as a home fragrance company, offering a free Orange Blossom tea light. That was all it took to send me over to their Web site to browse.

I bought two fragrances "for the body," and yesterday, I sprayed on Antica Farmacista Le Parfum in Tuberose, Hyacinth & Lily of the Valley ($62) with abandon. There must have been a little part of my psyche screaming, "Spring, I need spring now!" On first spray, I was mentally transported to the most heavenly garden filled with two springtime flowers, hyacinth and lily of the valley, and one sultry white flower, tuberose, a reminder that summer follows spring. It was just what I needed to relax (while I worried about my computer's hard drive)!

Want to take your own mental vacation? Head over the Antica Farmacista's Web site and check out the fragrances. There's bound to be one that speaks to you.

I have had the diffuser Ala Moana in my office, and it smells like a greenhouse! "Reminiscent of the lush humid nights experienced on the islands of the tropics, this signature scent, meaning 'path to the sea' is a beautiful heady floral. Night blooming jasmine, plumeria, tuberose, and gardenia create an intoxicating floral blend. Refreshing lush green notes add a crisp clean infusion to this luscious scent." I would wear that one too!

Photo courtesy of Antica Farmacista

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New York Fashion Week Media Mixer

I have to tell you about the New York Fashion Week Media Mixer, hosted by Lianne Farbes of The Makeup Girl and Paul Baranda, Executive Publisher for BeyondBeautyBasics. Both are shown in the photo at the bottom of this post.

The event was held at the ION Studio in SoHo last Saturday night. It brought together beauty and fashion writers, PR and marketing experts, reps from some of the best beauty brands in the industry, sylists and makeup artists - people sharing a passion for beauty - for an evening of cocktails, yummy treats, music, and mingling. There were over 200 people there, and at its most crowded, it was a crush of beautiful people!

Stila's amazing celebrity makeup artist Sarah Lucero (shown at left from the back), Dom, and the rest of the Stila team were treating us to makeup touch-ups! I was so lucky to get a few minutes with Sarah as she enhanced the makeup I had worn with a little glow, eyeliner, and lip gloss. She used Stila's Cherry Crush Lip and Cheek Stain on my cheeks, applying it to her palm and then dotting it into my cheeks with her fingertips for my instant pick-me-up. Every woman who walked away from Sarah and Dom looked fabulous! I'll be watching for the new lip and cheek stain in a beautiful raspberry coming out soon.

Lianne put incredible energy into the mixer, which was sponsored by so many companies! ZENO and Stila had the spotlight upstairs, where we could spend some time with them. Other sponsors included Secret, Tarte Cosmetics, LIERAC, Phyto Haircare, Vichy, and Zoya - to name just a few. The friendly ION Studio team members were all there, working hard to make sure we were having fun. Ted Gibson, celebrity stylist from TLC's What Not to Wear, and Karen Robinovitz, author, TV personality, and Creator of Purple Lab were among the special guests. You can read the press release about the event at this link.

As you might imagine, I was awestruck by the room full of "beauty talent"! I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and Twitter friends - and made some new friends too. It was a fabulous opportunity to attend. I had a blast!

Who are the lovely ladies in the photo at right? Kimmie Smith (Kitten Lounge), Adina Zilberman (KraseyBeauty), Jeannine Morris (BeautySweetSpot), and Dee Nuncio (Candid Commentary), just a sample of the 90+ bloggers among the guests that night!

Thank you, Lianne and Paul! It was quite a party!

My thanks also to Jennifer Jones and Aaron Lim,, for the photos!

Photos by Aaron Lim

Chantecaille Les Pétales - Rêve de Rose Lip Gloss SPF 15

So much to write about Chantecaille - and so little time in the last 10 days! It's amazing how much time life management takes when you spend hours every day shoveling snow, standing in long lines at the grocery store while people buy enough to last them a year (at the first sign of snow), or trying to unfreeze your heat pump!

When Les Pétales was introduced by Chantecaille last fall, I bought Rêve de Rose Lip Gloss SPF 15 ($36), a pearlescent rosy lip gloss with a smooth restorative texture. I ordered my second one last week! I absolutely love this gloss. Since I have kept it by my side at work, I needed one for my makeup bag. This gloss is worth its weight in gold!

Speaking of gold, the case is beautiful. Designed to look like a rose, it's a golden work of art - one that I love having on my desk at work! It's an elegant signature next to my pink orchids.

Yes, I have to apply it with my fingers, and that's not my favorite way to apply gloss. For this one, I make an exception - every day. The gloss feels great and looks great. Even better, the color lasts for hours! That's remarkable for a lip gloss.

The rosy color would work for most women's lips. On mine, it's gorgeous and flattering. It makes my lips look like me - only better!

I realize I've used a lot of exclamation points in this post. Chantecaille's Rêve de Rose Lip Gloss earned them. Even though it was a limited edition, it's still available. You can buy one at Chantecaille's Web site or Neiman Marcus. This is a gloss I think you should try.

You can read the October BTiB post on Les Pétales at this link.

Photo courtesy of Chantecaille