Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chanel Event at Saks Fifth Avenue Chevy Chase

The holidays are filled with special events for beauty lovers! It's a busy time of year, but who doesn't want to make time to get pretty? I'm trying to let you know about the beauty events you shouldn't miss - if you live anywhere near DC. I have a few more to announce shortly, but here's one that should ring your holiday bells!

Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is having a very special makeup artistry event on Saturday, December 11, 2010 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Giddony Sanchez, Chanel National Makeup Artist, will be available with his team all day to help you look your best for the holidays. The Chanel team will be featuring new holiday looks; helping you with the newest color collections, including SoHo Story; and sharing the latest tips and techniques from Chanel.

Here's a little information about Giddony. The choice to become a professional makeup artist was a clear one for Houston-based Sanchez, whose talent was an immediate hit in the prestige beauty industry. He has practiced his color and skin-care expertise backstage at fashion shows, on-set for television segments, and at magazine photo shoots. Even fellow artists admire his work. He has a particular knack for educating his clientele, using the latest application techniques to enhance their unique beauty with Chanel products that are perfect for them.

This will be a by-appointment event, given the popularity of Chanel and the talented Sanchez. If you would like to attend, call Georgia Marmaras, Chanel Specialist, at Saks to make make an appointment to sit in Giddony's chair! You can reach her at (240) 497-5363 or by e-mail at Georgia_Marmaras@s5a.com.

If you're going out that night, you might want to aim for late afternoon so you can wear your new look to a party! If you can't go to this event, stop by sometime to meet Georgia. She's got a great eye!

Photo courtesy of Chanel News

Pro Makeup Artist Guest Blog: Viva La Rouge

Iris Moreau is a makeup artist who has graciously written a second guest post for Best Things in Beauty. Since I'm a red lipstick phobe, I asked Iris to help us, those who are comfortable with red and those who aren't (like me), rock red lips for the holiday season. Read on for her fabulous advice.

I love red, and nothing says “festive and fun” better than a beautifully applied red lip. The holidays are coming, and what better time to break out a racy red lipstick? Many women shy away from red lipstick, but when applied correctly it's stunning and makes a bold statement. Pair it with a gorgeous little black dress, (or little red dress!) and you’ll pack a powerful punch.

Here are a couple of tips to help you get the most va va voom out of your red lips.

Choose a color that works with your skin tone.

You Have Dark Skin and Dark Hair...

Choose a blue-based red (try M·A·C Ruby Woo or Estée Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick in Rich Red). Gals with darker hair and skin tones can support strong colors without looking harsh. Also, the darker your skin, the more color you will need, or you will end up looking washed out on your lips.

You have Pale Skin and Dark Hair...

You can get away with some yellow/orange-based reds (try Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Cream Lipstick) as long as they do not have very prominent orange undertones. If you have cool, pink tones in your skin, the blue-based reds will work well for you because they are the “truest reds” (try Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick in Exces de Rouge or Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick 14 Passion).

You have Dark Skin and Light Hair...

If you’re skin is golden brown, then reach for a yellow/orange lipstick first (try Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick Fire and Ice). However, if you have naturally dark skin and you have lightened your hair, don't be afraid to experiment with yellow/orange tones; just remember to go darker so your lipstick doesn't disappear when you apply it. Keep I mind, if your skin is naturally very dark, you should try a blue-based shade first (try Russian Red by M·A·C). Then see if you can find a good deep yellow/orange shade (try Jungle Red by NARS).

You have Pale Skin and Light Hair...

It's hard, but never impossible, for pale beauties to wear red lipstick. You can wear a glossy or sheer red and look fabulous! Stick to the blue-red or raspberry shades if you have pink (cool) undertones in your skin. Try Chantecaille Patina Brilliant Gloss. If you have yellow (warm) undertones, you can try a true red or coral-red. Try Giorgio Armani Beauty Sheer Lipstick in Red (#6). Just make sure to look in the mirror before you leave home! You want one dramatic feature, not two, so go easy on the smoky eye or blusher when you're wearing red lipstick.

That's good advice no matter what your skin and hair colors. When wearing red lips, keep the rest of your makeup to a minimum. A precise line of liquid black eyeliner drawn close to the lash line and a sweep of mascara is really all you need to set off your gorgeous crimson lips. This look is timeless and oh so reminiscent of Hollywood's classic glamour girls.

Set your pout. To avoid having your lip color feather and bleed all over your chin, napkin, and clothing and keep it on your lips (where it belongs), try this pro makeup artist tip and your color will last for hours. Apply your lipstick, then place a tissue directly on your lips. Dip a powder brush in loose translucent powder and dust over the tissue. Just enough powder will transfer through the tissue to set your lipstick. Re-apply one more coat of lip color, blot lightly, and you’re good to go!

Remember, it’s all in the attitude and wearing a red lip screams “sexy, seductive, siren.” So be bold, have fun, and wear your red with confidence!

Happy Holidays, Ladies!

Happy Holidays to you too, Iris! You've given me the confidence to go red (at least for a few parties), and now I know a new trick for setting any lip color - not just red. Isn't Iris the best? Interested in more from Iris? Did you see her first feature here? If not, just click on this link. Make sure to check out her blog too: The Makeup Artist Blog.

Photo at right above courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty

YSL Ombres 5 Lumières in Tawny

YSL's Ombres 5 Lumières (5 Colour Harmony for Eyes) in Tawny ($56) grabbed me on Friday, even though one of the shades is orange! After asking last Friday who would or could wear orange on their eyelids, I found an irresistible palette that includes an orange shade.

This palette isn't brand new, although I chose to test it because the YSL rep had put it front and center with the holiday collection. I might have skipped by it if I hadn't already seen it on my friend (see below). The golden shades in the palette are gorgeous. The orange? Even I can wear it blended, as I'll show you.

YSL Beauté's Ombres 5 Lumière palettes have five monochrome eyeshadow colors. Each palette holds four luminous, alluring shades of varying intensity and finish - matte, shiny, pearly, or iridescent - and one highlighter. The highlighter is the magic touch, to lighten and widen the look instantly, while the deepest brown color should be used to structure, define, or line the eyes.

From the most natural style to the most sophisticated, the shades in YSL's palettes always coordinate nicely to create a perfect look. You can explore numerous interpretations of color and endless changing effects with these versatile Ombres 5 Lumières palettes - and I am still playing with this one. "Straight up" or blended, you'll find these colors gorgeous on your eyelids. I wore a blend to work yesterday. The shimmer works for day, which is nice since I spend so much time working.

I had seen an artist-finished look of #3, Tawny, on a friend with very similar coloring. She had a golden-bronze smoky eye that day, and it was gorgeous! I resisted for awhile, but finally surrendered and bought the palette. The shades in Tawny include a shimmering golden orange (yes, it's orange to my eye, although some would call it copper), shimmering ivory (in center), shimmering peach, shimmering gold, and shimmering chocolate brown. The palette comes with two double-ended sponge applicators, in case you find yourself without a brush.

At right is a swatch photo of the five shades. At the top, you'll see the orange shade (top left in the palette). I swatched clockwise, ending with the gorgeous highlighting shade in the center. All of the shades will make you a golden goddess, except possibly the orange shade. That will depend on your coloring. I can't wear the orange shade unless I blend it with one of the other shades. Blended, though, with the gold shade below it in the palette, it's gorgeous. Check out the blended swatch below. I created my own shade, and I think it's beautiful. You can create the same effect by blending it with the central highlighting shade.

Both of my photos were taken in full sun. I applied each shade "strip" fairly heavily with a sponge-tipped applicator. You can see the range of gold, from light, yellow gold shades to golden brown and golden orange. The orange shade has so much gold in it, it's perfectly wearable for many, unlike some of the DayGlo colors you can find in the "orange" range.

You can purchase this palette at YSL's Web site and get a discount through today, November 30! Use code FRIENDS at checkout for a 20% discount. There's free shipping at YSL too. You can also find it at YSL counters at the best department stores and Sephora. I bought mine at Neiman Marcus, which was fairly silly given YSL Friends & Family, but I'm sure you'll understand how the "want it now thing" happens when makeup shopping.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chantecaille and Neiman Marcus Partner to Host Best Things in Beauty Contest

Yesterday, I told you about Alex Chantecaille's special appearance at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria this Saturday, December 4. I also promised a contest. Here are the exciting details.

Best Things in Beauty readers can be entered to win Les Macarons Face Palette for Holiday 2010- yes, you read that right (I'm so excited) - by making a Chantecaille purchase from Neiman Marcus Tysons on December 4. Not only will you have an opportunity to meet Alex and get her advice on holiday colors (or skin care or fragrance), you could win a prize!

Alex will be at Neiman Marcus all day, showing customers the newest Chantecaille treasures for holiday and helping us look our best with Chantecaille. Our Chantecaille representative at Neiman Marcus at Tysons, Alicia Cortes, would be pleased to make an appointment with Alex for you. There are a few slots left. I made my appointment weeks ago - I wouldn't miss a Chantecaille event!

Call (703) 761-1600 and ask for the Chantecaille counter. Make sure to mention Best Things in Beauty when you make your appointment. If you can't reach Chantecaille for some reason, ask for Kathy Shoreman in beauty. She will take good care of you for Alicia and Alex.

Anyone who purchases Chantecaille that day - December 4 - from Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria (only) and mentions Best Things in Beauty will be entered in the drawing. You don't have to live nearby to be entered in the contest. As long as you make any Chantecaille purchase (by phone is fine) and mention the blog, you will be entered to win. Neiman Marcus will draw the winner at the end of the day and notify me. I will announce the contest winner the next day.

It's that simple! If you live nearby, do make an appointment with Alex, a treat without a contest. You might want to visit the Chantecaille Web site or Neiman Marcus Chantecaille site to put together a wish list for that day. If I were you, I wouldn't leave without the Tiger in the Wild Palette. I hope they don't sell out of it. I may need a third one! I think I'll be shopping for my second Les Macarons Face Palette. I buy two of everything from Chantecaille - seriously.

Remember, mention Best Things in Beauty when you buy! If you have any questions, please leave a comment. I'll reply as quickly as I can.

Photos courtesy of Chantecaille

Smileactives Tooth Whitening Pens

Every so often, I discover a product that puts a smile on my face! The Smileactives Teeth Whitening Duo (special price of $24.98), a recent discovery, was one such product. I love, love, love Smileactives! I don't want to understate my love; I want to shout it from cyberspace!

Anyone who wants a bright, white, and beautiful smile is going to love Smileactives: the fast, effective, and super-convenient path to teeth whitening. We all want white teeth, right? For heavy-duty whitening, I've always used custom-made trays, but with Smileactives, I might not need to use those trays again for a very long time.

I have to fess up. I don't really love the Crest Whitestrips. I have trouble keeping them on, and if I attempt to talk while wearing them, they end up everywhere but on my teeth. My dentist and I talked about that the other day (her experience has been the same) when I told her about Smileactives Tooth Whitening Pens.

You can carry a Smileactives whitening pen with you and use it anywhere, anytime. Each pen lasts for up to three weeks and contains enough for a full course of twice-daily applications. To use the pen, refresh the brush tip by twisting the dial at the opposite end of the brush, and a small drop of the whitening gel will be visible on the brush. Apply a thin layer of the gel directly onto the front surfaces of your teeth and allow it to dry for 30 seconds before resuming your normal activities. It is recommended that you abstain from eating or drinking for 20 minutes after application. That makes perfect sense; you have to give the gel time to work. The gel absorbs quickly and safely whitens your teeth - so safely you can use it up to four times a day. That's all there is to it!

Some participants in the Smileactives clinical trial saw results in as little as two days - like I did. Full results will take longer, depending on the type of teeth staining you have. In a clinical trial, after just three weeks of use, the pen whitened teeth an average of five shades, with some participants seeing up to 10 shades of whitening. I'll caution you that you should always brush your teeth after drinking coffee, tea, red wine, and colas, all of which stain teeth. If you get those staining substances off your teeth right away, you'll find it easier to keep them white. Why not brush your teeth every time you eat? Your dentist will thank you.

I love my Smileactives pens (for anyone keeping track, that's my fourth bolded "love"). I've experienced no sensitivity of my teeth or gums, which can result from whitening products. I can talk while I'm whitening my teeth, and the pen is so convenient, I can use it in my car while driving home from work. We don't want any more distracted drivers our there, so apply it before you leave the parking lot. Each time I use the Smileactives pen, I have this kick-myself thought. Why didn't I think of that? The Oraceutical company did - those brilliant people.

You can purchase Smileactives at QVC. This is a definite buy! I never want to be without Smileactives Tooth Whitening Pens again. One for my bedside, one for my bathroom, one for my car, one for my desk at work - that ought to be enough.

I got an e-mail from QVC that said that over 5,000 items will ship for free on Cyber Monday. That was a ruse to get me to QVC. Unfortunately, this isn't one of the free-shipping items.

One thing that's not a ruse is Smileactives. Love! There - I did it again. Keeping track?

Photos courtesy of QVC and Oraceutical - first set was sent gratis

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Smashbox Wish for the Perfect Pout Giveaway Contest

Congratulations to Victoria - she won!
I absolutely adore this Smashbox lip gloss set! I liked mine so much, I bought a second one for a contest. Wish for the Perfect Pout ($29) is a wardrobe of lip-enhancing glosses. The set includes two full-sized glosses and four medium-sized beauties to make your lips shiny and pretty.

The shades are all keepers! Smashbox put together a smashing set of best sellers and exclusive shades for the holidays!
  • Candid (pink with gold shimmer) - full-sized
  • Luster (cool pink nude) - full-sized
  • Radiant (shimmery pink plum)
  • Baby Pout (sheer and shimmery baby-doll pink)
  • Ecstasy (gorgeous grape)
  • Divine (warm peachy nude)
I have one set to give away. To enter to win this giveaway contest, just leave a comment here once. After you comment, feel free to e-mail bestthingsinbeautycontests@gmail.com and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing your e-mail address on a blog, so I would follow this second step if I were you (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment). That's what most of you do.

You can "earn" a second entry by tweeting this contest. Just make sure to include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) in your tweet. I will tweet the contest soon, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry. You can earn a third entry by following the blog - either here or on Twitter (any entrant who is already a follower will automatically earn the follower point).

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, December 4, at midnight. The next morning, I will use a random number generator (random.org) to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner at that time. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to my message and provide a shipping address. After 48 hours, the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected.

Here is more "fine print." This contest is open to anyone anywhere. Here are the terms. I will carefully pack and ship the prize (as I always do). I cannot insure the palette for overseas shipment - it's amazingly expensive to do so. If it's lost or stolen in transit, I won't be able to replace it with another palette for an overseas winner. We'll see how this works. My shipping issues have occurred when I've shipped overseas - the packages to the U.S. and Canada always arrive without incident. I'll do my best on this end; let's see if your mail services do right by you on the other end if we have an overseas winner.

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Smashbox

Alex Chantecaille Special Appearance and a Drawing for BTiB Readers

Beauty Event Alert - Alex Chantecaille is coming to town! Alex is the Chantecaille family's Director of Sales, and she will be making a special appearance at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria all day on Saturday, December 4.

Alex travels the world, training the Chantecaille staff at the stores. She also manages the Chantecaille Energy Spa at Barneys New York, overseeing a diverse menu of treatments that embody the Chantecaille approach to skin care and holistic healing.

With her French family, experience living in Mexico and Italy, and a degree in art history from Barnard College, Alex has already burnished her credentials as an expert in international culture and languages - she's learning her fifth!

Alex has a deep connection with nature and loves outdoor sports. Even more impressive to me, she has a passion for environmental causes, including marine conservation and wildlife and fish sustainability. She is actively involved in Chantecaille's corporate philanthropy efforts, including the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation and the Pew Institute for Ocean Science. Wouldn't it be fun to meet her?You can next weekend if you live anywhere near DC! Alex will be at Neiman Marcus all day, showing customers the newest Chantecaille treasures for holiday (such as Les Macarons Face Palette shown above) and helping us look our best with Chantecaille. Chantecaille representative Alicia Cortes would be pleased to make an appointment with Alex for you. There are a few slots left. I made my appointment weeks ago - I wouldn't miss a Chantecaille event!

Call (703) 761-1600 and ask for the Chantecaille counter. Make sure to mention Best Things in Beauty! There will be a very special drawing for blog readers, and you must mention the blog to qualify for the drawing.

Don't live near DC? You'll have a chance to enter the contest too. I'll let you know how tomorrow, when I give you the details on the prize and how you can enter from afar. I wanted to share this special opportunity with you before the store's regulars fill up all the slots.

Update: If you can't get Alicia, ask for Kathy Shoreman. You will want to ensure you are recorded as a BTiB reader!

Photos courtesy of Chantecaille

Clarins Barocco 2010 Holiday Colour Collection

I want to share with you my latest online purchase. One of the most recent Clarins collections sold out quickly - at least at the department stores - so this time, I'm giving you fair warning. If you want anything from the limited-edition Barocco Holiday Collection, shop quickly. When my pieces arrive, I will share swatches with you.

Barocco, named after the Baroque artistic style prevalent in Europe from the late 16th to the 18th centuries, mixes style with elegance, gold with black, in the decorative packaging and colors of the collection. Clarins says the decoration was inspired by the delicate work of a goldsmith. To me, it was inspired by the artistic trends of an era, defined by elegance and intricacy - not only in gold, but in all things coveted by the era's wealthy.

The Barocco Face Palette ($55) with a baroque pattern inside and out, is an incredibly soft and lightweight compact powder. The elegant case has a black lacquered logo bottom with a glossy gold lid decorated with a black scroll - protected by a red velvet pouch. A harmony of two complementary shades is stamped into the powder with a matching scroll pattern. The beige and a pinky-peach shades look gorgeous.

The Barocco Eye Color Trio ($40) was the first piece in the collection to catch my eye. The palette of three eye shadows is presented in a black rectangular case with a glossy gold lid decorated with a black scroll. The case holds a large mirror and double applicator. Three festive shades will light up your eyes for the holidays, or any time.
  • An elegant, black matte to emphasize and intensify
  • A subtle, captivating duo of black and gold mixed together for an instant smoky bronze effect
  • A radiant pearly gold to give your eyes touches of light
This trio looks ab-fab, and I want it now! I got tired of waiting for it to show up at "my Saks"!

The Shimmering Gold Powder for Face & Décolleté ($35) was a roll of the dice. Described as a powder formed into gold-dusted nuggets, there's no telling how sparkly it may be. It's so pretty, though! Presented in an elegant black cylinder, decorated with a black scroll and embellished with a beautiful tassel, the delicate powder nuggets are nestled in with a poofy black powder puff. Doesn't it look gorgeous?

The only piece of the collection I didn't order - yet - is the Barocco Rouge Prodige Lipstick ($24). Described as a deep purple velvet, it looks dark. I can't assess whether it will work for me until I see it.

Clarins has provided fabulous paint-by-numbers instructions for a festive holiday look. While the instructions may be hard to read here, you'll have no trouble at the Clarins Web site.If you decide to order online, use the code SEM2, and you will receive a set of four deluxe samples - on top of the usual samples to be selected. There's another offer, SEM1, that will give you two deluxe samples and free shipping. I got free shipping with a purchase over $75. Or, look for the Barocco collection at Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdale's, or other Clarins counters.

Photos courtesy of Clarins

Stila Holiday Blockbuster Set Givaway Winner

Congratulations to Dlori! Diane won the Stila Holiday Blockbuster Set! Diane is a makeup junkie, just like many of us! She's also a sweet pen pal. She has been notified by e-mail.

When I tally votes, it takes me a little time. I go through the comments to assign vote numbers (when you tell me you tweeted or follow - I just go look it up to check - you make it easy for me). Then, I check my list against the two follower lists exported from my subscription follows (through Google) and Twitter follows. It's all very complicated, but I have it down to a science. I usually end up with entry numbers that exceed the number of comments (I add the extras onto the end of the list), and then I go to random.org.

What isn't easy is the personal aspect of selecting only one winner for most contests. I LOVE reading your comments, and I appreciate your kind words about the blog, best wishes, and notes about makeup! On any day I don't feel like writing, usually worn out after work, I read a few comments, and my energy returns 10 times over. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you!

I thought I would show you that #84, which happened to be Diane, won this morning. Random.org is so easy, you just put in the beginning number (#1) and the end number, and it selects a random number as the winner. Go try it if you ever need your own "Ouija board" to make a decision. :)

Diane is going to love this set. Who could want for makeup with so many colors available? OK, that was a silly question - all of us makeup addicts could. There's always the perfect color right around the corner, and some of us are "collectors."

Don't forget my weekend giveaway for the coveted Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow in Copper! Just scroll down and enter before 5:00 pm ET today. After that contest ends, I'll start another one tonight so I can share the love - and thank you for being the best readers in the world!

Photo at top courtesy of Stila

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tarte The Grab Bag

New and exclusive to Sephora online, Tarte's limited-edition The Grab Bag ($42) is a seven-piece value set of Tarte favorites. This set sold out on its initial delivery at Sephora, but it's back now. Grab one for your shopping cart before it disappears!

Packaged in a roomy, makeup bag trimmed in Tarte purple, this collection offers a range of eclectic products. Sunburst beaded bronzing facial moisturizer delivers the perfect amount of a sun-burnished glow while moisturizing winter-dry skin. Oil-free and vitamin-enriched, its formula works for all skin types. Treat lips with two pigmented shades of Double Dose Berry Boost & Gloss for a high-wattage look, or for a low-key look, slick on the tinted Mouth Off Lip Balm with SPF 15. Your eyes will shine thanks to hEYE Impact Creaseless Shadow and Liner, a cool double-sided pencil with a shimmering slate shadow that glides on smoothly and locks in for all-day wear on one end, and a navy liner that adds subtle interest to any eye color on the other end. For a more dramatic smoky eye, apply the deep gray Luuucy I'm Home Eyeshadow in shimmering deep blue-grey and use the double-ended eyelining brush to blend the shadow along the lower lash line.

Here are the items, along with sizes, in the reusable makeup bag.
  • 0.06 oz Eyeshadow in Luuucy I'm Home (shimmering deep blue-grey)
  • 0.38 oz Slide Tin Lip Balm in Mouth Off (vanilla-mint flavored sheer raspberry)
  • Two 0.4 oz Double Doses in Pomegranate Punch (sheer sparkling red) and Acerola Rush (sheer sparkling golden peach)
  • 1.5 oz Sunburst Face
  • 0.85 oz hEYE Impact in Slate (shimmering slate shadow/navy liner)
  • Double-Duty Eyelining Brush
I missed this on its split-second first appearance. Now that it's back, I ordered it. Love Tarte! The Tarte team always offers makeup that's good for your skin - at a great price too.

Photo courtesy of Sephora

Guerlain Or Impérial Sublime Radiant Powder from Les Or for Holiday 2010

I wasn't going to purchase Or Impérial Sublime Radiant Powder for Face and Body ($85) from Guerlain's Les Or for Holiday! I figured it would be uber-smelly, and I'm not big on gimmicks. Then, I read that it smelled like candied violets (the un-Shalimar).

Have you ever eaten those little sugar-laden treats? Candied violets are a specialty of Toulouse in the south of France. The French have been using them to decorate cakes and pastries for hundreds of years. Revived in the mid-80's as a candied treat, they are made by a quite a few companies in France and the U.S. They are no longer rare and hard to find here, but I'll never forget my first taste. Many years ago, someone brought me candied violets from France, and I swooned when I tasted my first exotic candied flower. I think they lovely on salads and ice cream - I've used them ever since - but I digress.

Or Impérial is a spray powder that highlights wherever it lands. Packaged in a classy bee-embossed glass container, it looks as nice on the vanity as it looks on skin! The vintage look to the bottle, with its bulb-shaped atomizer, makes this a pretty gift.

This silky, light powder caresses the skin "like a breeze, leaving behind a luminous halo." Deliciously perfumed with violet, it subtly embellishes the face, body, and hair with a shimmering golden glow. You can spray it anywhere! Pamela Morgan from Guerlain calls it "poof poof." A few poofs on your face or hair will give you an indescribable gleam. It's amazing.

The 20% VIB discount at Sephora pushed me over the edge and pushed Or Impérial into my shopping cart. I'm glad, except that I had to wipe it down when it arrived. I was fairly annoyed that it leaked - thanks to either Sephora or UPS (I'm betting on Sephora, and I'm wondering how a new item that hadn't had its poofer poofed could have left powder all over the inside of the box and the bottle and atomizer).

You can find this beauty at Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom - any Guerlain counter. It is on display with the rest of the Holiday 2010 collection. Stop by a store and give yourself a poof poof. It's fun!

Photos courtesy of Sephora and Easy-French-Food

Weekend Roundup - November 27

After a busy week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. and Black Friday shopping, we're here to help you sort through all the best in beauty. Forget the crowds, sit back next to a crackling fire, and enjoy beauty land right from your own home!

The Non-Blonde Gaia couldn't resist Guerlain's Rouge G le Brilliant in B64, Bee, a limited-edition holiday lipstick - from its mirrored bee packaging to the tempting, luscious color inside. That gal has great taste in lipstick! Bee lured me too (but I bought Betsy), and my coloring is very different from Gaia's. It's gorgeous with a capital "G"! Gaia also finished up her Outlaw Project. Scroll through The Non-Blonde to read about these unique fragrances.

Kari hit her holiday shopping early, and you could be the one to benefit. She's giving away a fabulous Estée Lauder makeup set in a holiday red Coach makeup bag. Make sure to enter at Fab Over Forty!

Kelly at Gouldylox Reviews has been taking us along on her hair-changing ride. Find out how Peter Lamas helped her perfect her new hair style and lose the frizz. Make sure to check out the Peter Lamas weekend discount special at this link. We're all about special offers this weekend!

Hmm, olive oil and Saran Wrap...you can combine two kitchen stapes this weekend to prep your hair for the holidays. Check out BeautyXposé, where Anne gives step-by-step directions.

Barely past the start of the holiday season, and we're on to spring beauty at The Beauty Look Book! Sabrina showed us the latest release of Chanel nail polish, a happy color called Riva. Will it become a cult favorite, like so many Chanel shades?

Have you ever gone shopping for shoes and walked away with a beauty product you just couldn't resist? Let me count the times! That's what happened to Debbi at Diva Debbi this week. Find out what Bobbi Brown set ended up in her "getaway bag."

Jane at Daly Beauty knows her fragrance requirements. Read what's in CREED's Tubereuse Indiana - why it's one of her favorites. You may be tempted too. I'm on a CREED roll, having just spent close to $400. I'm ready to spend more, and now I have to check out Tubereuse Indiana! Gee, thanks, Jane.

Love M·A·C? Carla has the 411 on the new Pink Friday lipstick at Product Girl. It looks better on her than Nicki Minaj!

Here at Best Things in Beauty, I shared with you my purchasing habits. I buy a few Le Métier de Beauté True Color Eye Shadows every time I visit the counter, hoping to own them all one day. On a recent visit, I came home with a range of natural tones. Yesterday, I bought an entire grey look, and I hope to feature it soon - just need sunlight for swatching.

Don't forget to enter my two giveaway contests! The first one, for Stila's Holiday Blockbuster Set ends at midnight tonight. The second, a special Black Friday giveaway of the new Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow, the one everyone wants, ends Sunday at 5:00 ET.

Happy weekend - and happy shopping!

Photo courtesy of spotsnstripes.org - Elwood is a Bengal

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday Forum - November 26

Did your Black Friday look like this? Hope not! I did some civilized in-store shopping at my two Neiman Marcus stores, stocking up with wonderful things like Creed, Fresh, Le Métier de Beauté, YSL, and Giorgio Armani jackets (on sale!). I also did some great online shopping, using the list I shared with you at this link. Many of those specials are valid all weekend, so make sure to check the list before you shop.

Thanksgiving was relaxing, until the time came to try to get all the dishes on the table at once. That's always a challenge for me. It was really nice that my friend Rene could join us; I got to talk beauty a bit! I watched the dog show on television in the afternoon. So many darling dogs! I was rooting for Clooney, an Irish Setter, and he won! What a gorgeous boy! I just can't figure out why they keep calling him "the Irish Setter" on the news. He has a name. Is that some snobby dog show thing? Purebred Charleston Sumter thinks that's over the top.

It's time for The Friday Forum. We use the forum to share information and chat. Did you find any Black Friday deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By Monday, most readers have moved on.

We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I'm always happy if even one reader stops by. Leave a comment, and say hello - even if you don't want to comment on beauty products. As I always do, I'll leave news of some great beauty offers (great, not just good) in the comments of this post. If you want to know where to find nice gifts with purchase, free shipping, and other deals this weekend, make sure to check the comments.

Thanks for reading Best Things in Beauty! Got anything you want to talk about?

Photo courtesy of Sonyinsider.com

Special Black Friday Giveaway Contest: Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow

Congratulations to Cara! Random.org called her number!

Having a very special giveaway contest for Black Friday seemed like the right thing to do! So, I am giving away one amazing Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow ($32) for Holiday 2010 - in everyone's favorite shade: Copper/Black Grey (15).

Click on this link to see my feature on the new Eyes to Kill shadows. You can see swatches of all three shadows in the collection. My favorite is Copper/Black Grey!

To enter to win this weekend giveaway contest, just leave a comment here once. After you comment, feel free to e-mail bestthingsinbeautycontests@gmail.com and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing your e-mail address on a blog, so I would follow this second step if I were you (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment). That's what most of you do.

You can "earn" a second entry by tweeting this contest. Just make sure to include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) in your tweet. I will tweet the contest soon, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry. You can earn a third entry by following the blog - either here or on Twitter (any entrant who is already a follower will automatically earn the follower point).

The deadline for entries will be Sunday, November 28, at 5:00 pm EST. The next morning, I will use a random number generator (random.org) to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner at that time. The winner will have 48 hours to reply to my message and provide a shipping address. After 48 hours, the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be selected.

Here is more "fine print." This contest is open to anyone anywhere. Here are the terms. I will carefully pack and ship the prize (as I always do). I cannot insure the palette for overseas shipment - it's amazingly expensive to do so. If it's lost or stolen in transit, I won't be able to replace it with another palette for an overseas winner. We'll see how this works. My shipping issues have occurred when I've shipped overseas - the packages to the U.S. and Canada always arrive without incident. I'll do my best on this end; let's see if your mail services do right by you on the other end if we have an overseas winner.

Good Luck!

Photo courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty

Don't Try This at Home: Orange Eyelids

The magazine editors have deemed the orange eyelids shown at Derek Lam's Spring 2010 show the cat's meow. I first saw them in WWD's Beauty Biz and thought, "How bizarre!" Then, they appeared at Lucky. Now, "tropical" eyelids are featured in the December issue of Allure, where you can find orange, bright lime green, and all kinds of bright colors billed as spring's tropical "it" trends from the runway.

Translating the runway to real life will be difficult. Tom Pecheux may be able to make a gorgeous model look exotic with orange eyelids (Visine nearby, I'm sure), but it's likely you will draw stares - and not the kind you'd prefer. I have found orange lids dubbed "completely wearable" by bloggers who published Estée Lauder's press release. I guess that makes me a contrarian.

Orange will be a big color again this spring, and Lam's orange belts were stunning. The models? There's no doubt that orange can make blue eyes look very blue. Adopt the trend, but use peach on your eyelids. Break down, if you didn't last spring, and buy an orange-toned lipstick, lip gloss, or blusher. There will be many new ones from which to choose. You won't scare your family, friends, colleagues, or pet if you keep the orange off your eyes - and you certainly won't risk commitment.

Would you wear bright orange eye shadow?

Photo courtesy of Estée Lauder by way of Lucky

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shopping with Charlestongirl - Part 3 - Great Online Offers

Can you even imagine a world without online shopping? I can't! Once unheard of, it's a weekly activity for me. I'll be shopping online this weekend; I've already started. Here are some of the offers that have found their way into my mailbox. Will they tempt you too?

I told you on Tuesday about this weekend's Giorgio Armani Beauty special offers for the weekend (extended through December 1) and tomorrow's Neiman Marcus gift card event. Just scroll down this screen to find the features.

Don't forget that Smashbox is also having Friends & Family. Use the code FFSB20 at checkout through November 29.

Lancome is having Friends & Family online. Use code HOLIDAY20 for a 20% discount through November 29. Free shipping too.

YSL is also having a special beauty event. Use code FRIENDS at checkout for a 20% discount through November 30. Free shipping too.

SkinStore is offering a 20% discount storewide and a free beauty bag packed with goodies on Cyber Monday. Use code CYBER20 through December 1. Go shop!

DermaShoppe is offering a 30% discount for Black Friday only. The discount starts at midnight tonight. Use code BLACK30. You can get there by clicking on the affiliate link on the lower-right sidebar on this blog. Updated 11/30: Due to popular demand, DermaShoppe is extending the Holidays Sale event for another week. Use code HOLIDAY20 for 20% off. Enjoy!

Kate Somerville is offering a 30% Friends & Family discount through November 30. Use code KSFF2010.

New London NYC is offering a 20% off all online orders by entering GOBBLE20 at checkout. I'm not sure about the end date.

Butter London is offering 30% off online through November 30 with code FF2010. Shipping is not included

Ramy Beauty Therapy has free shipping this weekend and through December 1.

Kérastase is offering its members 20% off any purchase of $68 or more. You must be a member to qualify for the sale, so register for the promo code.

You can purchase the annual Black Friday VIP Bag online now at Bath & Body Works. Use code VIP2010 to purchase it for $20, a 50% discount.

Ricky's NYC has all kinds of special discounts for Black Friday. Use code LOVEBLACK through November 29. Even e-gift certificates are eligible for a 20% discount! Use code AMNY2010 for them.

Order at Estée Lauder online, and you'll get to select four deluxe samples with any purchase. No code is required.

Laura Mercier is offering five samples and has hinted there's a special Black Friday offer on the way.

Clinique is offering free shipping online through November 28.

Laura Geller has a gorgeous gift with any $75 purchase Black Friday through November 29. No code is necessary. Use Internet Explorer, not Firefox. The checkout form blows up in Firefox. I could kick myself. I ordered before Cyber Monday. Today, Cyber Monday, you'll get a sitewide 20% discount. May order again!

At the Cosmetic Mall, use code COSMETIC10 to save 10% off the already discounted prices storewide. You'll also receive 5% is reward points.

Fragrance.net is offering free shipping, no minimum purchase required. Use code BFNV2 at checkout. I'm not sure when this one ends.

Ulta has some weekend deals. Use code 52748 for $10 off any purchase of $60 or more online. It's valid through December 4. Ulta has special doorbuster items too.

Upurea is offering a 30% Black Friday (only) discount. Use code BLKFRDY at checkout.

To get free shipping at LuckyScent, use code HOLIDAY2010.

You can still purchase Hand Perfection at Beauty Story. The everyday discounts are amazing.

There is a Clinique gift with purchase at Saks with any $35 purchase. Saks also has a Black Friday gift card ($25) in stores and online.

Bare Escentuals is offering $20 off a future purchase when you spend $50. Use code MERRY online or drop by a Bare Escentuals store through December 5. On Cyber Monday, use code SHIPFREE for free shipping on all orders.

At Benefit Cosmetics, any order will ship free through November 29. Use code GLAMSHIP. Even better, you'll get 20% off Annie & Maggie picks on Cyber Monday! Use code FORDPICKS at checkout. International? Use DEALDAY1 with any $85 order for free shipping.

Peter Lamas Beauty is offering free shipping through November 28. Use code THANKS at checkout if you spend at least $25.

Chantecaille will send you a free Tea Rose Lip Chic with every purchase of Tiger in the Wild palette. Use code TIGERS. This is only available on Black Friday.

Stila is offering 20% off with code STILALOVES through November 29. Or use code BLACKFRIDAY with any purchase of $50 or more and get a fabulous gift with purchase on Black Friday only.

Use code GIFT20 for a 20% discount at b~Glowing through November 29.

Style.com has a list with more great deals. Check out this link, courtesy of @Logordo at Twitter.

Beautorium has a sliding scale for discounts. Spend $50, get a 10% discount. Spend up to $150, get a $15% discount. Spend $150 or more, get a 20% discount. Use codes SAVE10, SAVE15, and SAVE20. "For a limited time."

Friends & Family Event at NeoStrata. Take 20% off your all order with code FRIENDS at checkout.

Sephora is offering a free Sephora tote (kind of boring) with a $25 purchase. Use code MYHAUL at checkout if you are a beauty insider. Limited - you are being told to hurry. I am not sure why. It's not that exciting.

At MURAD, save $30 on your next $100 purchase through December 1. Use code GIFTSAVE30 at checkout.

At Antica Farmacista, receive 20% off all online orders of $100 or more. Enter code CYBERFRI10 for this very limited promotion. Offer ends Sunday, November 28.

Philosophy has doorbuster deals, with savings at 50% and beyond. Free shipping, no minimum through November 28.

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills is offering a Buy One, Get One Free Sale on certain items from now through Cyber Monday! Free shipping too.

Kiehl's Friends & Family starts Black Friday and runs through November 30. Use code FAMILY10 at checkout for a 20% discount online. Orders of $30 or more ship free. Update: Extended through December 2!

Black Friday at Korres begins at 6:00 am ET. Save 50% on the SCENTsational Body Collection, 70% on the Luscious Lips Collection, and similar savings on other sets. No offer code is required. On Sunday, November 28, there is a store-wide sale. Then on Cyber Monday, there will be a deal every hour from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm.

At mark, spend $40 today through November 29, and use code MARKBF, and you will receive a goodie bag and free shipping.

Now through November 30, La Roche Posay is offering a $5 discount on orders of $30 or more. Use code THANKS at checkout.

LIERAC starts Friends & Family on Cyber Monday and runs through December 3. Save 30% on everything! Use check out code FF2010 at checkout.

Kinerase is offering a 25% discount on everything except special offers. Use code HOLIDAY through November 28.

At Shu Uemura, you'll get a 20% discount and free shipping with any purchase over $50. Use code WISH2010 through November 29.

At BeautyTicket, use code CYBER30 on Cyber Monday only for a 30% discount off the already-discounted prices.

Promo code BLACKFRIDAY will also take 20% off your purchase of devices, fragrance, cosmetics and more at DERMAdoctor! The offer ends November 29.

See Hand Perfection's BTIB readers get a 20% discount with code 20BEAUTY through December 31! On Cyber Monday, Hand Perfection is offering a hand-tastic duet for $20 until midnight and 50% off your next purchase! Use code CYBER. The discount will be active through 12/31 if you go to Facebook, become a fan, and post your favorite Hand Perfection item.

Like Deborah Lippmann like I do? You'll get 20% off online on orders of $35 and over, not including shipping, through November 30. Use code TURKEY20.

Votre Vu is offering free shipping and free gifts with each order - two days only: November 28 and Cyber Monday.

There's a new member-only site (anyone can join free for a limited time) called bellezabandida! The site is having great specials this holiday weekend - luxury beauty products all priced up to 70% off. You'll get free shipping using code SHIPVIP at check out from now until Cyber Monday, November 29. Free deluxe samples too. Check it out!

Prescriptives online has a seven-piece gift with purchase Black Friday only for orders of $60 or more. Use code TREAT10 at checkout.

Urban Decay is having a Cyber Monday extravaganza from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm PST. During those hours, you can get early access to a 15-piece Anniversary Set of 24/7 Glide-On Pencils. The set will be released to the public in January.

Note sure I totally understand the DermStore sale, but here it is. You can get 20% off your favorites. Log in and start adding items to your favorites list. The offer ends November 29.

Receive the Fragrance Combining Collection, free shipping, and two fragrance samples of your choice with any Jo Malone purchase of $150 or more. Use code JMEPF at checkout through November 28.

Cyber Monday only, save 25% at Josie Maran sitewide (no promo needed, but make sure to shop between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm PT. Use code SNOWFLAKE and you'll get free shipping on purchases over $75. Note: This one's confusing. The prices shown reflect the discount, but if you don't know the regular price, you will think you aren't seeing the Cyber Monday deal.

Too Faced is offering free shipping on all orders through November 29.

Can you believe I'm still getting offers? Continuing to add them to the list... I am going to go broke saving money!

LaLicious is offering a 30% discount on all products on Cyber Monday only. Use code HOLIDAY30 at checkout. Great gifts!

At Perricone MD through December 1, use code MYLITTLESECRET at checkout and receive $25 off a $150 purchase. Free shipping on Cyber Monday too.

QVC is offering free shipping on 5,000 select items on Cyber Monday! Not everything, unfortunately.

Sue Devitt is having Friends & Family through November 29. You'll get a 20% discount!

On Cyber Monday only, LORAC will have a special gift set for $25.

Use code THANKS20 at BeautySak, and get a 20% storewide discount through November 29.

e.l.f. has a Cyber Monday sale from now through November 29. Save 55% sitewide with code 55WIDE if you spend over $25. Wow!

Crabtree and Evelyn: BOGO 50% off sitewide and free shipping on ANY order with coupon code HOLIDAY for Cyber Monday.

At Sally Beauty, you'll save an extra 25% sitewide with coupon code 555156 all day on Cyber Monday.

At DECLÉOR on Cyber Monday, receive a free gift of full-sized Expression de L'Age Relaxing Eye Cream with any purchase, while supplies last.

Darphin is offering a free five-piece beauty bag and free shipping on Cyber Monday and Tuesday, November 30, with any $150 purcahse. Use code GIFT10 at checkout.

At Clarins, receive a fabulous deluxe sample six-piece treat on Cyber Monday. Use code CYBERM at first checkout step with any $60 order. Why did I buy earlier?

Tarte is the place for deals! Get 30% off Cyber Monday only, with 15% off holiday sets. Orders of $25 or more get free shipping and a free charcoal emphasEYES pencil. Use code CYBERMON.

Beauty.com has some incredible deals, including Laura Geller at 80% off, 20% off hair appliances and skin-care tools, and other savings on Cyber Monday.

Courtesy of Product Girl, I know that Deborah Lippmann is offering 20% off all Deborah Lippmann products with any purchase of $30 and over. All you need to do is use code TURKEY20 during checkout. I believe this discount is valid through December 1.

I'll keep adding to this list, just as I have been since I published it. It may soon be as long as this home page! Most of these offers have some fine print (not much) or a few exclusions, so make sure to check to ensure you get the deal you expect.

Photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk

Shopping with Charlestongirl - Part 2

Even before we've had a Thanksgiving dinner, some of us are planning our weekend shopping. Hey - a shopper has to plan, particularly for Black Friday when aimless shopping can place you in a frenzied crowd. Nothing wrong with that - if you like frenzied crowds and don't fear being crushed or bruised - but I prefer fast, efficient, focused, and jostle-free shopping.

After a quick, very early foray to Leesburg Corner, I'll be headed to Neiman Marcus - two of them! I'll be starting at Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie for Black Friday Breakfast. Mazza really knows how to host a party!

Here is your invitation (from my friends at Mazza and me) in case you'll be within 100 miles of DC. If not, read on for other opportunities below.



Enjoy breakfast bites, gourmet coffee, and mimosas to invigorate you for shopping, starting at 9:00 am! Mimosas? Did they anticipate the key to my heart? The champagne flows at Mazza - oh, and the nibbles are great too!

The first 50 people (to purchase, I assume) are eligible to win our "Black Friday Beauty Basket Valued" at $500, It contains new fragrances, beauty palettes, and relaxing body products, just in time to pamper yourself for the holidays! I can never enter the Best Things in Beauty drawings (for obvious reasons), but I can enter this! I'm there! Mazza puts together heavenly gift baskets.

To be eligible for the $50 gift card, you have to spend $100 or more between 9:00 and 2:00 on Friday only. Just think, spend only $100, and you get what amounts to a 50% discount (to be used later - anytime up to December 5). Is that a deal or what? You get a nice gift card, and the store gets you back for a little more gift shopping or retail therapy.

When I leave Mazza, I will be going straight to Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria. Yep, two Neiman Marcus forays in one day! At Tysons, Kathy Shoreman, SA extraordinaire, will be ringing my pre-selected purchases. No matter where you live, you should be offered the same $50 gift card opportunity at "your Neiman Marcus." It will be a great morning to go!

When I finish my Neiman Marcus shopping, I'll be headed home to shop online. I have so many offers to share with you, I'll do it later this morning. Right now, I have to run out (yes at 6:00 am) to buy some orange juice. It was poor planning on my part to be without one of the staples of life on a holiday weekend.

Photo courtesy of wikimedia

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to take this early opportunity to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with family and/or friends, gathering at some point around a table to share a meal.

I'm thankful for you! I feel like I have an extended family: my blog readers. The Internet has given us an opportunity to cross paths in ways most of us wouldn't have imagined 20 years ago. Now, I can chat with readers like Eileen, Val, Bonnie, and Clarisse (to name just four of you) - so many miles away - and I get an occasional opportunity to meet you at local events. It's fun to share our worlds and our love of beauty in all its forms.

So, thank you for being a big part of my world and for allowing me to be a small part of yours.

Wishing you a great day tomorrow and a fun weekend,


Photo courtesy of leawo.com

Clé de Peau Vintage Palette II for Holiday 2010

Do I feel special! I'm wearing a beautiful highlighting powder: the Vintage Palette II ($125), the second annual, limited-edition stunner from Clé de Peau. Look at this compact! How stunning does it get? Second only to animals (my favorites), the raised rays of light on this palette are exquisite.

Inspired by the "timeless allure of vintage jewelry, this face powder melts into skin like silky cream and provides a warm, delicate glow like the solemn sparkle of precious jewels." The finish is achieved with a harmonious blend of colors with pearl pigments. From pinks to golds, the shades combine, with the swipe of a powder brush, to make the face gleam.

There are some micro-sparkles in the powder. I was feeling festive today - a short day at work and the beginning of the long, holiday weekend, so I threw caution to the wind and applied it before work. I loved the way it lit up my face. Although I could see a small amount of micro-sparkling on my cheeks at first, just an hour and a half later, what's left is a gleam. I don't know where those little sparkle devils went, but they aren't on my bright purple jacket, so I'm not sure I care.

I knew this special compact was going to be introduced for the holidays, but I forgot it for a time. When I finally asked about it, Alanna Lee, Clé de Peau Product Specialist at Neiman Marcus at Tysons Galleria, only had two left! Yikes - I'm glad one of them is mine. London Pretty Boy wrote about it in August, so I can't claim I didn't have enough advance notice. Don't make the same mistake I almost made. If you are interested in the Vintage Palette II, look for it now.

You can find this gorgeous holiday palette at Clé de Peau counters at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. I noticed that it's listed as "not available" at Neiman Marcus online. That means the warehouse sold out.

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Shopping with Charlestongirl - Part 1

I consider myself a shopping "expert." I don't mean to brag, but I've perfected the art of shopping, stopping at only the best stores; browsing online at the stores with fabulous extras, shipping deals, and frequent discounts; and generally zeroing in on the best shopping helpers (my favorite sales representatives - those who will go the extra mile for me). I'm going to share some of my favorites with you over the next few days, starting with my favorite outlet mall, the Leesburg Corner (Virginia) Premium Outlets.

Today's feature is for my DC-area friends and readers, some of whom have told me they have never gone to Leesburg to shop. Friends, you don't know what you're missing! The After-Thanksgiving Weekend Sale, Midnight Madness at Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, kicks off the holiday shopping season. Why not take a nice drive out the toll road and experience the joy of first-class outlet shopping?

All weekend, you'll enjoy exceptional holiday savings and extended shopping hours at Leesburg Corner, plus you can experience Midnight Madness if you are truly crazy. Most stores will open their doors at midnight right after Thanksgiving. I have never gone to the outlet that early; I find 7:00 am is totally adequate, although I do run into dazed shoppers who have clearly been there all night. My sleep is too important, and when I shop, I want to be alert - ready to pounce on the deal that's too good to be true.

There are going to be super-deals at almost every store. You can find all the special offers at this link. My favorite stores at Leesburg? Williams Sonoma (the "cookware queen"), The Company Store (for Estée Lauder Company beauty products), Polo Ralph Lauren, Le Creuset, Cole Haan, Aerosoles, Nike, Puma, Restoration Hardware - gosh, there are too many. I can't list them all. This is a first-class outlet mall. Love it! Will I see you there, if not Friday, this weekend?

Make sure to sign up online to be a VIP. Then, print out the coupons, including the coupon you can use at the visitors' center to get a mall-wide coupon discount book. It will save you money, and you will want to pick up one every time you go. The visitors' center is in the food court area, so you can refuel (or hit the restroom) while you are there.

Later today? I'll tell you about some of my favorite online shopping sites. This long weekend? I'm going to share some of my favorite sales associates and product specialists, both here and in New York. Hopefully, you will share yours in the comments so that we can assemble a "data base" of great shopping experiences. Shopping is necessary, but it should also be fun!

Photo courtesy of Leesburg Premium Outlets

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ellen Sirot Hand Perfection Night Solution

Recently I had the privilege - and I definitely mean privilege - to start using Ellen Sirot's Hand Perfection products. Today, I'd like to share with you the "experience" of Hand Perfection Night Solution ($75). This overnight, restorative miracle serum accelerates hand renewal while you sleep.

Did you know that more than half of all women over 30 feel that their hands are aging faster than their faces, hair, or teeth? The skin on our hands is as delicate the the skin on our eyelids, but we constantly exposure our hands to soap and water to avoid bacteria and viruses. On top of that, our hands are exposed to the "elements." Hands have a hard time staying hydrated because they have very few oil glands. They need help!

Hand Perfection Night Solution is not "just another nice hand cream." Night Solution is one of the most luxurious hand creams you'll ever use. For me, the nightly application has taken on all the trappings of a sacred ritual. I look forward to it, and I wait to savor it until after I have given Charlie his Greenies. If I don't, he harasses me, and I want my hand treatment time to be perfect and calming - a short, but perfect end to the day.

The first thing I noticed about Hand Perfection Night Solution is how soft and velvety it feels. It's a white cream, dispensed in a container like my favorite MEG 21 face creams. The jar is designed to keep the product sanitary - no finger dipping to get it out. You press down on the white disk at the top, and, depending on how much pressure you put on the disk, out pops an application through the center airless pump. The directions say to gently massage a pearl-sized drop into the back of your hands every night for maximum benefit. So, that's what I did the first time. It felt so good, so luxuriously velvety, that I applied a second application, applying the cream to the undersides of my hands as well. At the rate I'm using it, I'll probably run out of it before I should - but I'm so happy. That matters for something!

The dry-down is quick. Night Solution will leave your hands feeling soft, but not gooey or greasy. I go to sleep feeling like I've got the softest hands on earth, and my hands look and feel hydrated in the morning. I haven't used it long enough to see my sun spots disappear, but they are lighter than they were when I started using it.

Night Solution is packed with proven, high-quality anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients. It's quite a cocktail for your hands. Maybe that's why it's so addictive.
  • Grapeseed oil is an omega 3 that contains resveratrol that helps nourish and protect the delicate skin on your hands
  • "Advanced Moisturizing Complex" (glycerin, sodium PCA, urea, and trehalose) helps attract and lock in moisture and protect skin from damage
  • Hyaluronic acid helps smooth and plump skin, sealing in moisture. Hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient found in the best, most expensive facial skin care, and it's just as effective on our hands as it is on our faces.
  • Licorice root extract helps lighten dark spots and age spots; it also has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Lactobionic acid is a milk-derived exfoliant that increases cell turnover
  • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps reverse past damage, soothes the skin, and fights free radicals
  • Carageenan red algae extract is easily absorbed to soften and soothe skin with its anti-irritant and antibacterial properties.
  • N-Acetyl D glucosamine holds in moisture, helping to plump and firm the skin
Hand Perfection products do not contain parabens, sulfates, petroleum by-products, or fragrances, and they are not tested on animals. How perfect does it get?

I'm sure many of you know that Ellen Sirot is a world-famous hand model. For 20 years, Ellen Sirot’s ageless hands have earned her acclaim as the “supermodel of hands.” Her hands have appeared in countless advertising campaigns and every major fashion and beauty magazine. Her hands have even "played a hand," standing in for the hands of A-list celebrities and TV personalities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary Swank, and Rachael Ray. I'd bet that you have seen Ellen's hands, even if you don't recognize her name.

Hand models must protect their hands, so Ellen spent a year looking for the most moisturizing ingredients available to develop her own systematic approach to hand care. She was determined to make her hands the best they could be - to turn back the "hands of time" in no time. The result? Ellen's hands were transformed into smooth, radiant, and flawless hands, with no age spots, freckles, crepey skin, or bulging veins.

These days, Ellen is sharing her hand care know-how with others through the launch of her own product line, Hand Perfection. The comprehensive, solution-oriented line of age-proofing hand care is grounded in dynamic ingredients and exceptional technologies - painstakingly researched and handpicked by Ellen herself.

In 2009, 30 women, aged 35 to 65, participated in a study to test the effectiveness of two Hand Perfection products. The results were extraordinary. Once you start using Hand Perfection products, you'll gain a "first-hand" understanding of the remarkable improvement those women experienced. I've used Night Solution long enough to see a difference, but not nearly long enough, given that I consider it a keeper. I never want to be without it. I will be ordering it (my first jar was provided gratis). I just wish I could purchase a gigunda size - four times the regular size - since I'm sure will use more than I need. It feels so good, I can't help myself.

I have other products from Hand Perfection to introduce to you - and I will soon. There's a special offer for you, so I need to share it with you now. As we start our holiday shopping, the nice folks at Hand Perfection have offered us a discount, which will be valid through December 31! Use code 20BEAUTY for a 20% discount off your entire order at Ellen Sirot's Hand Perfection Web site. You are going to love whatever you purchase. Just make sure to buy something for yourself if you are gift shopping. Hand Perfection is a treat you shouldn't miss.

Photo courtesy of Hand Perfection

M·A·C A Tartan Tale Face Kits for Holiday 2010

I'm still on a M·A·C A Tartan Tale roll. A Tartan Tale is, without a doubt, my favorite-ever M·A·C collection. I suppose that doesn't say much, since I'm not a M·A·C groupie (the term used with love), but I do appreciate certain items from M·A·C, and I have fallen hard for A Tartan Tale. Yes, the packaging is beyond "appealing," explaining my enchantment (see the compact photo below), but the makeup inside is enticing too. What I particularly love about these Face Kits is the range of shades in one color family. I suspect they will become reach-for compacts.

I bought two limited-edition Face Kits. I had to get them from M·A·C online because Nordstrom had sold out. My favorite of the two is Hark the Heraldry ($38). The red plaid, tartan double-decker compact with its M∙A∙C crest speaks of the regal lineage of this fabulous face trio! Highlight, contour, perfect, and shimmer, with a heraldic mix of Oh So Fair Beauty Powder, Plum Foolery Sheertone Shimmer Blush, and Dame Powder Blush (shown left to right in the palette photo above).

That's the order in which I swatched them. They were applied to my arm with a large sponge-tipped applicator intended for eye shadows. I took my photo in full sun. The Face Kits provide a range of blushers with a color theme. Simply put, the theme of Hark the Heraldry is pink. The other day, I wore a red jacket to work. You may know that pinky-pink blush looks garish with a red jacket; I need something with more brown in it. Dame worked perfectly. As you can see on my arm, it's very neutral. It looked great!

Yes, I am one of those women who ensures that her makeup doesn't clash with her outfit. I have read that I'm not supposed to do that, but the fashion gods will just have to nash their teeth. I can't imagine wearing bright pink blush with a red jacket, looking like Betty Boop, that sweet and seductive baby-doll, but without the looks (or cleavage) of Cara Bow to distract the eye from the mismatch.

I also ordered A Triumphant Blush ($38). It was one of those situations in which I couldn't make up my mind and didn't want to miss out. This kit includes the warm, peach tones of Smooth Harmony Beauty Powder, Peachtwist Sheertone Shimmer Blush, and Melba Powder Blush. Just click on the link to see it. They also work nicely on me, but will be best saved for next summer. On the other hand, they look darn good with brown, one of my winter wardrobe staples!

You can find these at MAC's Web site. At this point, I'm not sure about the list of M·A·C stores, or Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's stores, that still have them in stock. Call ahead.

Photos courtesy of M·A·C, except for my arm

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giorgio Armani Beauty Friends & Family Wednesday and Cyber Monday Offer

The special offers keep rolling in, and this one's irresistible! Wednesday, November 24 - one day only - Giorgio Armani Beauty is having a Friends & Family event. Use code FRIENDS, and you will receive a 20% discount on your purchase, along with complimentary shipping if you spend $75 or more. The offer is valid only on the Armani Beauty U.S. Web Site.

If you miss that, Armani has you covered! On Cyber Monday, there's a special "step-up offer." Spend $75 and receive 20% off and complimentary shipping. Use code FRIENDS.

Or, spend $125 and receive the 20% discount, complimentary shipping, and an exclusive six-piece gift in a deluxe Armani cosmetics bag. The set includes deluxe samples: Rouge d'Armani Lip Card, mini Eyes to Kill mascara, Luminous Silk foundation in shade 5.5, Light Master Primer, Fluid Sheer #3, Armani Code for Women, and the bag. Use offer code FRIENDS2.

Even though this Cyber Monday offer says "one day only," both of the Cyber Monday specials will be valid until November 30 at the Armani Beauty U.S. Web site. I have confirmed that. Shop early, though, to get your first choices!

Tempted? I am!

Photos courtesy of Armani Beauty