Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bobbi Brown Bobbi's Spring Picks - Rose Gold Long-Wear Cream Shadow

Sometimes, you have to purchase a set to get one item you want. Such was the case for me with Bobbi's Spring Picks ($85), currently exclusive to Neiman Marcus. While the items in the set are fabulous, I already had everything except that one special item: Rose Gold Long-Wear Cream Shadow. It was worth the money to me to buy the set, knowing I'd use all the components when I run out of my current stock.

The Bobbi's Spring Picks set is called the essential set for spring. You get a nice selection of Bobbi Brown products for the eyes with a purchase.
  • Caviar Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
  • Rose Gold Long-Wear Cream Shadow
  • Black Lash Glamour Extreme Lengthening Mascara
  • Dual Ended Long-Wear Cream Shadow/Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush (short)
  • EXTRA Eye Repair Cream
  • Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover (fabulous stuff!)
  • A Rose Gold Cosmetics Bag (with a zipper close)
This limited-edition set is the epitome of pretty. Luminosity and definition come together for an eye look that's classic and fresh. It features the much-loved Long-Wear Cream Shadow and Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, a super-lengthening mascara, and the skin care you need to pamper the delicate eye area. I love Bobbi's EXTRA products.

Here is the Rose Gold Long-Wear Cream Eye Shadow that cost me the kit. It was worth every penny. I adore it! I took a few swatch photos, but I have to admit that none of them do this amazing eye shadow shade justice. It's beyond pretty.

Bobbi's Long-Wear Cream Shadow has a velvety-smooth formula that applies easily and lasts all day without creasing or smearing. It's one of my favorite cream shadows. Clearly, others like it too because it has won a Best of Beauty award from Allure magazine (2011) and Elle's Genius Award (April 2010). It deserved those accolades.

Look at the color! It's rose gold, but it also has elements of the copper that's so trendy right now. It coordinates beautifully with the Rose Gold Shimmer Brick and other Rose Gold Collection masterpieces. I'm still marveling over the must-have beauty of the collection.

I'll admit I'm a rose gold addict. It's a shade that looks great on me - and everyone else I think. Bobbi Brown hit the jackpot with the Rose Gold Collection. I'm not sure how Neiman Marcus earned an exclusive on this fabulous set, but it's available in stores and online. I purchased mine at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie. If you haven't already seen the set, check it out. Even if you already own all the rest of the pieces in Bobbi's Spring Picks, you'll need the Rose Gold Long Wear Cream Shadow.

Photo at top courtesy of Neiman Marcus; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in Sun Blondes (04)

Guerlain has added new shades to its stupendous Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder ($50) collection. Sun Blondes (#04) is the latest addition for fair skin types - my selection. There's also a new Brunette shade, Sun Brunettes, naturally!

Sun Blondes is warmer and darker than the existing Blonde (#01) shade. The same is true for Sun Brunettes. I love Guerlain's Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powders. They seem tailor-made for me. They give me a sun-kissed glow that's appropriately tuned to my fair skin. The multiple bronze and rosy hues in the compact mix to create the perfect healthy, natural tint - one that looks like you just returned from a sunny locale. You'll see that there's a lot of copper and pink in Sun Blondes - perfect for the color we blondes tan.

With a unique combination of bronzing shades, vibrant colors, and fine pearlescent particles, Terracotta Light Bronzing Powder has been improved to more perfectly and more flawlessly match the colors we tan. The newest Terracotta Light Bronzing Powder has a lighter texture, the ideal formulation for the first rays of the summer sun, even if you have to hasten their appearance with makeup. Instead of using white pigments that create an opaque effect, Guerlain formulated this bronzer with a crystal pigment that "draws on its light and translucency to intensify a tan’s glow. It allows you to raise the tone repeatedly without worrying about losing its freshness."

Selecting items from the new Terracotta Light display at Neiman Marcus was difficult. It would have been easy, but wallet-busting, to say, "I'll take one of everything." Sun Blondes was my third selection and last (for now). Except...I've actually got my eye on Terracotta Teint d'Ailleurs in Blonde. I suspect I'll cave before the week is out. I'm in a faux tan kind of mood. I saw the gracious, beautiful, blonde Neiman Marcus PR rep at Mazza Gallerie last weekend, and in one week she had "acquired" a glorious tan. I wanted to be her (tall, blonde, gorgeous, and...tan).

I've digressed. Here are two swatch photos of Sun Blondes, applied ridiculously heavily. Terracotta Sheer Bronzing Powder provides a beautiful bronze glow when applied normally. It's definitely sheer as the name suggests. You'll find that Sun Blondes is darker and warmer than the original Blonde shade. It's intended to be used at the height of summer when your face has developed a natural tan due to sun exposure - or to boost your self-tanned look (the only way for me). I think it works perfectly now, as we celebrate our extra day in February, Leap Day.

I applied the strip at the top of my arm with a sponge-tipped applicator, something I wouldn't do if I were applying this powder bronzer to my face. Then I used a dense blush brush to apply the swatch below - again, too heavily. My photos were taken in full sun. They aren't the best color representations I've ever published. Unfortunately, it's a cloudy day and there's no opportunity for a do-over. Please keep in mind that I applied Sun Blondes way to heavily for the photos.

Sun Blondes looks fabulous on my face, with or without foundation. Even though I see shimmer in the mosaic, I don't see it on my face. It buffs into a warm glow that's sheer and natural. I'm wearing it as I write, and I keep stopping to admire my sun-kissed look in the mirror. Move over Blonde; you've got new competition in my house. Your sister Sun Blondes is vying for my attention.

You can find the new Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Collection starting in March (or possibly now) at select locations of Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Bloomingdale's and Bergdorf Goodman. If I were you, I'd go look. I've now featured three items from Sun in the City, and I'm smitten.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Givenchy Le Prisme Blush Bucolique in Bucolic Rose from the Instant Bucolique 2012 Spring-Summer Collection

The time is right to revive the senses with springtime shades inspired by fields of lush blooms. The shades are subtle, and the look is fresh, ethereal, and beautiful. It's time to spring into summer!

Every year, we shake off the winter chill and eagerly look for the first sign that the sun is on its way. Like magic, the pinks, mauves, peaches, and lavenders begin to dot the landscape. The colors bloom with the sun’s first rays, then disappear as quickly as a whim. The red-orange poppy dances in the breeze, sunny, golden rapeseed captures the sun’s glow, and wild hyacinth cools the soul with bursts of blush traces.

The fragility of spring is at the heart of the inspiration behind Givenchy's Instant Bucolique Collection for Spring-Summer 2012. Speckled pastel powders for eyes, face, and cheeks leave the skin refreshed and pretty, while eyes get a touch of tender green, pink, soft brown, and mauve - trend colors for the season. The lips get a dose of full-bloom color with poppy red.

Intrigued by Instant Bucolique's inspiration floral inspiration, I ordered several pieces. Today, I start showing them to you with Bucolic Rose.

Givenchy's new, limited-edition Le Prisme Blush Bucolique in Bucolic Rose ($49) is so visually appealing, I ordered it the moment I saw it online at Sephora. I've got quite a collection of Le Prisme powders, going back about 25 years. I used to purchase them at Saks Fifth Avenue, and I "hit pan" on several. They used to be my stand-bys.

In the past, the blushes had color blocks in the quadrants. With these new Le Prisme products, Givenchy is mixing colors in the quadrants, giving the compacts a unique look. No matter how the colors are arranged in the pan, these blushes that add a naturally fresh and pretty flush to the cheeks.

The new Le Prisme Blush Bucoliques were inspired by the playful color of poppies. There are two shades: Bucolic Rose, featured here, and Bucolic Poppy, which I'll feature soon. These blushes are produced through a new compaction process that allows a gradation in color harmony reinforced by a higher concentration of sparkling nuggets in the bottom of the pan. Honestly, I'm not sure I understand the sparkling nuggets described at Sephora, but the blushes are so nice, I'm not sure I care.

I swatched Bucolic Rose with a sponge-tipped applicator at the top of my arm, taking care to pick up all of the colors in the compact. For the lower swatch, I used a dense blush brush and swiped the colors in a circular fashion, in the pan and on my arm. My photos were taken in full sun.

Bucolic Rose is pastel pink when all the shades in the compact are blended. I was a little surprised, but totally delighted by the shimmer light pink blush. I had expected a more neutral shade from the appearance in the compact. The pink is bright. Anyone who can wear this light pink color will find Bucolic Rose a perfect spring and summer shade. The other shade new shade, Bucolic Poppy is a darker rose that those with darker skin may prefer.

The top level of the compact features the blush, and the pull-out bottom level houses a brush. Givenchy Le Prisme compacts aren't bargain priced, given their size. If you can get past that, I think you'll love them.

Sephora is the exclusive retailer for Givenchy these days. That's where I bought my Bucolic Rose Le Prisme Blush Bucolique.

Guerlain Terracotta Blush Sun Shimmer Highlighter in Sunny Pink

I saw two new liquid blush/highlighters on the Guerlain Sun in the City display. One was a warm pink; the other coral. I tried both, but settled on #02, Sunny Pink ($41), in a heartbeat.

The color is pink infused with peach. You can see both shades on the display photo below. Placed side by side next to the Terracotta Sun in the City Golden Glimmer Powder (the one I featured yesterday), they grabbed my attention. I've developed a fondness for liquid blushes and highlighters; they are sheer and natural. Sunny Pink hit the spot.

Sunny Pink will definitely appeal to those with fair skin. Anyone whose skin is darker should be able to wear the companion shade, Spicy Coral. Try them. See what you think. I thought Sunny Pink was a must-have.

I took swatch photos in full sun. I applied sunny pink heavily and barely blended at the top of my arm, and I blended it out below. I didn't blend it thoroughly because I wanted you to be able to see the shimmering warm pink color in my photos. I used my fingertips for both applications. When I use it on my face, I pump a tiny bit into my palm and apply it with a synthetic brush. I'm careful not to dispense too much color into my palm. I don't want to waste it.

I think Sunny Pink is sumptuous. The color is shimmering and irresistible on my skin. It screams summer, ripe fruit, and glamour. I am seriously smitten. The Spicy Coral shade is too dark for me. Otherwise, I might have had to purchase both shades. I love the color, texture, blendability, and overall effect of Sunny Pink. I've fallen head over heels.

When you blend this shade on your cheeks, it adds radiant color. It's blush and highlighter in one. I felt so good when I wore it the first time, I wanted to hug someone from Guerlain (hope I don't end up on their "crazy blogger list"). Cream and liquid blushers are at the top of my makeup-love list. Guerlain made sure I felt the love for spring and summer. The two biggest color trends for the season - pink and peach - combined into one superstar!

My swatch photos show the shade in two lighting exposures: immediately above in full, direct sun and above that in strong but less direct light. I wanted to show you the color in two conditions to demonstrate that light doesn't matter. This shade is compelling in any light - indoors or out.

Pardon me while I go off and stare at my Terracotta Blush. Maybe I'll stand it up next to my keyboard. I think Guerlain has scored again. What do you think? Study the color and imagine your summer look, whether for work or play, complemented by warm, glowing, sunlit cheeks.

I purchased my Terracotta Blush Sun Shimmer Highlighter at Neiman Marcus during Beauty Event. If your favorite Guerlain counter doesn't have the Terracotta Sun in the City Collection, it will soon. I have one more new piece to show you - hopefully tomorrow.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Academy Awards: My Fashion and Beauty Award Winners

Everyone had a list today. Why can't I? Because I don't have time to feature every woman (and man) whose looks were pretty and polished, I decided to limit my choices to the top six (well, seven if you add Angelina). These women - all women - earned my Fashion and Beauty Award for their total look at the Academy Awards yesterday. I wish I had a little medallion to send each of them. Here they are in no particular order, however...

I felt sorry for Angelina Jolie. She looked drop-dead gorgeous in her black Atelier Versace gown with a thigh-high slit to "there" and killer red lipstick. Every time she posed, she adoped a stance that drew attention to her sexy leg. It struck me as a bit pretentious. I even wondered if Donatella had paid her to show a "little leg" or spotlight the slit. Regardless, no one deserved the mockery she suffered at the leg and hips of Jim Rash, who immediately mocked her awkward pose while accepting the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for "The Descendants." I read that she was near tears when she left the stage. Shame on him! For that reason, the woman who always stuns heads up this feature.

Penelope Cruz
She looked like a princess in her off-the-shoulder, blue Armani Privé gown with a wrapped bodice and floating, full skirt with a train. She accessorized the gown with a matching clutch and platinum and diamond jewelry by Chopard that included a 56K pear-shaped necklace, 15K cluster earrings, and a 43K fancy bracelet. Her hair was perfect for her gown. Exquisite!

Sandra Bullock
Her black and white crepe Marchesa gown with gold detailing was stunning, coming and going. The draped back was gorgeous. Her sleek ponytail ensured that our attention would be directed at her beautiful back.

Jessica Chastain
I thought her black and gold ornamental Alexander McQueen gown was exquisite. She accessorized it with amazing yellow diamonds ($2M from Harry Winston) and her flowing, wavy red hair. With all that flash, she kept her makeup simple, a great choice.

Stacy Keibler
A statuesque golden beauty on George Clooney's arm, Stacy Keibler nailed her metallic look. Her gold lame off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown was accented by side-swept blond waves. I loved her look - the best I've ever seen on Keibler. I know some thought she looked like an Oscar. I loved her look.

Tina Fey
Her most...beautiful...look...ever. The midnight blue Carolina Hererra strapless peplum gown was figure-flattering and elegant. She carried a black satin tube clutch by Roger Vivier and wore blue Bulgari jewels. They looked like sapphires and emeralds to me. Wow!

Georgina Chapman
Wearing an elegant white Marchesa, accented with crystals and/or silver, Chapman's makeup was applied by our favorite Mikey Castillo, Director of Makeup at Le Métier de Beauté. Mikey applied the Spring Collection, using the Northern Lights Eye and Lip Kaleidoscopes (with a lot of Precision Eyeliner in Noir!). Erin Lockard (one of my favorite makeup artists ever) assisted and applied a full set of individual lashes on top and bottom, for a fanned-out appearance. Chapman's severe hair style put the focus on her eyes. Mikey and Erin ensured that they were fabulous.

So many women were stunning. Among them? Cameron Diaz (always pretty), Gwyneth Paltrow (that Tom Ford look was amazing), Milla Jovovich, and Natalie Portman. I could have easily expanded my list to 10 women.

Those who could have looked better...Meryl Streep, one of the best actors who has ever walked the earth, looked horrible in that gold gown. Jennifer Lopez should have taken care to prevent a wardrobe malfunction and keep the show GP. Melissa Leo's two-toned gown was horrendous.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Internet sources

Estée Lauder Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée in Shimmering Sands for Summer 2012

Estée Lauder's limited-edition Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée ($42) in Shimmering Sand from the Bronze Goddess Capri Summer 2012 Collection is the latest Estée Lauder superstar. It's a unique, exquisite, and lust-worthy bronzing highlighter. Don't miss out; like its predecessors, it will sell out.

Estée Lauder describes Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée as a "tribrid" formula of liquid, powder, and gel that goes beyond face powder to give you a sexy, sophisticated glow. The color smooths on as an all-over soft sheen, but can be layered for luminous pearly highlighting.

When the Modern Mercury Collection was introduced, the Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée was a first-of-a-kind "multi-powder" - one that created a "theatrical blur of shimmer when applied dry and a fierce flush of color when applied wet." Since then, each Illuminating Powder Gelée has sold out. The unique suspension of golden pigments and pearls give an irresistible polished finish and reflective sheen to the skin. The "market" (that's us) loves these colorful illuminators.

When I saw the new Bronze Goddess Capri Summer 2012 collection at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie this weekend, I was thrilled. I hadn't expected to see it before March. There it was, so I spent money this month I hadn't planned. Estée Lauder's new collection of sunlit color and fragrance was inspired by the seductive beauty of the Isle of Capri. Wear this collection, and your skin will be luminous with a sun-kissed glow. Your sultry eyes will smolder (I'll show you the palette soon), and your lips will be luscious. "Turn up the heat this summer with Bronze Goddess Capri."

My photo directly above shows the beautiful swirling shades in the embossed powder-gel. I feel a little silly writing "tribrid," even though that's accurate. Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée has the most amazing texture, it's hard to describe it perfectly. Consider it one of the creamiest powders you'll ever use. It's luxury in a large compact, accompanied by a useful sponge applicator (yes, the perfect, original applicator is back).

Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée's color is said to adjust to light and its surroundings. I took a few swatch photos to show you, but they were all taken in strong afternoon sunlight. This new Shimmering Sand shade blends copper, rose, and gold for a bronzed look that's stunning.

I applied Shimmering Sand heavily with a sponge-tipped applicator (my own) at the top of my arm. For the swatch below, I stuck with the sponge-tipped applicator, but I applied the product less heavily. If I had had time for a do-over, I would have applied a lighter, blended swatch. Shimmering Sands carries a lot of color - gorgeous color. It's heavily pigmented. I can wear it on my fair skin, but I have to be careful with the application - much more careful than I was for these swatch photos. It's easy to overdo this color. those with darker skins should be able apply it with abandon.

Make no mistake, this illuminator shines. That shine at the top of my arm isn't only a result of the sun's reflection. You can mute the shine by applying the product lightly or by buffing or blending it (try a kabuki brush) once you apply the color. I tried to show you that with the larger swatch. Remember to blend quickly because it sets quickly. You'll have fun experimenting with it. I plan to try it on my eyelids.

The Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelées always sell out. If you want one, call your favorite Estée Lauder counter as soon as possible. Or you can order it the Estée Lauder Web site. Most of the counters will receive the collection very soon.

Photo at top courtesy of Estée Laude; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Golden Glimmer Powder "A Sweep of Sunlight"

New Guerlain displays always leave me gasping. It's a wonder I could speak coherently when I saw Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City at Neiman Marcus. I did manage to blurt out the pieces I wanted to take home with me. Golden Glimmer Powder "A Sweep of Sunlight" ($70) was my first selection.

See your tan in a new light, Terracotta Light

The colors on the new display - some new and some repromoted - will make you a bronzed goddess for summer. I wanted to show you the Golden Glimmer Powder first because I suspect it will sell out quickly.

The first thing you should know about this amazing golden highlighter is that it's huge. Four inches in diameter, this compact provides plenty of golden powder to make your face and décolleté glow.

It's almost too pretty to use, with the beautiful ribbon pattern and dual textures. If you look at my photo above carefully, you'll see that there is also a wave in the surface of the powder. This compact is close to kinetic.

Naturally, I swatched A Sweep of Sunlight. It wasn't as easy as I thought it might be. I applied the powder heavily at the top of my arm with a sponge-tipped applicator, and I used a dense blush brush for the larger application below. Because Golden Glimmer Powder is intended to be a highlighter, I had to apply many layers to get enough color for photos.

A Sweep of Sunlight is gold, but on my skin, the gold shows me different tones in daylight and evening light. In full sun, the gold has an antique look. In this evening's indoor light, it picks up the colors of its surroundings. What a way to shine! It's an elegant shine. For some reason, it reminds me of old money. If I buff it down, it develops a gleam, but the shine never disappears. Hello sunshine!

Wear this powder as a highlighter, blend it with your bronzer, use it on the high points of your face. Draw attention to your neckline. Be prepared to dazzle.

I tried to get a photo that would show you a light application - read that as normal. I had to back off my arm to get two large swatches in the frame. The top swatch is the one you saw above, and the bottom swatch is applied with a brush, approximately the way I'd apply A Sweep of Sunlight "in real life." If you see the glow at the bottom of my arm, I succeeded.

I've had my eyes on the red carpet as I wrote this feature, and the show is about to start. I'm wondering if any of the celebrities who look so glamorous tonight are wearing A Sweep of Sunlight. It would be the perfect occasion.

I purchased mine at Neiman Marcus. If your favorite Guerlain counter doesn't have the Terracotta Sun in the City Collection, it will soon.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Givenchy Poudre Croisière Healthy Glow Powder in Extrême Croisière Plus Comparison to Ambre Croisière

Givenchy's new Poudre Croisière Healthy Glow Powder ($50) is a talc-free bronzer that's a baked gel (according to Sephora). Forget all the razzle dazzle about the bronzer being a gel. I think that description has confused some readers. Healthy Glow Powder looks and acts like a powder.

I purchased Ambre Croisière (#3), the only shade that was originally available at Sephora, the exclusive retailer, a couple of weeks ago. Then I saw Extrême Croisière (#4) online at Sephora, and I wanted it too. I had a feeling that Extrême Croisière, described as bronzed light brown and shown at the top of this feature, might be a better shade for me - even though it looked darker, and my skin is fair.

I think Extrême Croisière is slightly better for me, but the differences are minimal - not nearly as dramatic on the skin as the shades look in the compacts, shown immediately above. Ambre Croisière is shown on the left, and Extrême Croisière is shown on the right.

If you missed the swatches of Ambre Croisière, you can find them at this link. I was able to get swatch photos of Extrême Croisière in today's brilliant sunshine and took a few comparison swatch photos too.

I applied Extrême Croisière extremely heavily at the top of my arm, using a sponge-tipped applicator. Then I applied it heavily with a brush, but supplemented the swatch below with a light pass with the same sponge-tipped applicator to even the edges. That swatch photo is shown immediately below.

Givenchy's Poudre Croisière Healthy Glow Powder applies so lightly with a brush (beautiful for buildable color), that it was hard to get a decent brush application photo of Extrême Croisière - and even harder to get comparison photos using a brush. I snapped many, but finally gave up and swatched the two shades on my arm using a sponge-tipped applicator.

I can see the differences in tone on my skin much more clearly than I can see in any of my photos. Here's the best photo. I'm bummed that it was so hard to capture the differences in a picture. Ambre Croisière is shown at the top of my arm, and Extrême Croisière is shown below. Both were applied fairly heavily. You can see that Ambre Croisière is slightly more golden than Extrême Croisière, which is slightly darker in intensity and more "pure brown" in its hue. Are the differences dramatic? No.

I like Extrême Croisière ever-so-slightly more than I like Ambre Croisière. I felt a little obsessed (you think?) making another $50 online purchase, but I'm glad I did. I was able to see the differences, so I put that obsession to bed. I will be using both shades, varying their use by the time of year and the colors of my outfits.

You will find this lovely new Givenchy Poudre Croisière Healthy Glow Powder at Sephora online. Today I did get photos of other new Givenchy products, and I'll start posting them tomorrow. Yes, I bought both new blushes. That's what I do when I can't decide.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Le Métier de Beauté Red Velvet Lip Crème Giveaway Contest

Le Métier de Beauté's exclusive gift with purchase at the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event is a Red Velvet Lip Crème. If you spend $125 during Neiman Marcus Beauty Event (February 23 to March 4), you will receive Red Velvet (unless they run out of stock).

Red Velvet is bright and very red. While I've never been comfortable with red lip color, I've received so many compliments when I've worn Red Velvet, I may have to change my outlook. If I can wear it, you can too. Because it's a Lip Crème, it is sheer and glossy. Quite an attention getter!

I've worn it "straight up," topped with a golden gloss, and as a stain, topped with various glosses. I learned the makeup artist "stain" trick from Dustin Lujan, who knows that red phobes like me can wear vibrant lip colors as stains. With Red Velvet, you simply apply it, blot it with a tissue, then use a red-toned gloss over the stain. It's a terrific look! You can see straight-up swatches of Red Velvet here.

I ended up with two Red Velvets, thanks to the generosity of my Neiman Marcus Le Métier de Beauté friends, so I decided it would be fun to share one with a reader through a giveaway. How can you enter to win this contest (technically a sweepstakes)? Just leave a comment on this feature (not in another BTiB post). After you comment here, feel free to send me an e-mail at (the contest address, not my "personal" e-mail) and identify your comment. You can never be too careful about sharing an e-mail address you care about on a blog, so feel free to follow this step (an alternative is to code your e-mail, e.g., myname at gmail dot com, in your comment). Please make sure I have your e-mail. If I can't notify you, you can't win - even if your number is drawn.

You can earn extra entries. Follow this blog (through an e-mail subscription, GFC, or though one of the many Google readers - see sidebar at right) to earn a second entry. If you are a follower, it would help me tally entries if you tell me in your comment how you follow. You don't have to follow to enter. I want everyone to have a chance, but I also want to reward my followers. I must be able to track this entry.

You can earn a third entry by tweeting this contest. You must include "@BTiBeauty" (without the quotes) and the contest title in your tweet. Remember, tweet the contest title - if you don't, that entry won't count. I will tweet the contest this evening, and you can simply retweet it to earn that second entry - if that's easier.

The deadline for entries will be Saturday, March 3, at midnight. The next morning, I will use a random number generator ( to select the winner. I will e-mail the winner on Sunday morning. 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. Make sure to check your e-mail - and look in your spam folder - when the contest ends.

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 prize for overseas shipment - it's amazingly expensive to do so because of the way I have to send insured mail. If it's lost or stolen in transit, I may not be able to replace it with another prize just like it. I'll do my best on this end; let's see if your mail service does right by you on the other end if we have an overseas winner.

For all the legalese related to this contest, please see the Contests/Sweepstakes page at the top of the blog. Good luck!

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Neiman Marcus "Beauty Event Excitement Disorder"

If you look closely, you can see the symptoms of Neiman Marcus Beauty Event Excitement Disorder (BEED). The skin looks fresh, lineless, and hydrated. The makeup is perfect. The fragrance wafting from the patient is divine. The only thing strange about the patient is the crazed look in her eyes - the equivalent of a sugar high. Crafty psychologists recognize the disorder immediately. "Have you been at Neiman Marcus lately, say in the last week or so?" Yes, how did you know?

I'm definitely "suffering" from BEED. In the last 10 days, I've made five trips to two different Neiman Marcus stores - Tysons Galleria and Mazza Gallerie - and every one has been delightful. I've been wined and dined and treated to the best Neiman Marcus has to offer. I fell in love with an $1,800 Etro jacket (how will I ever afford that?). Today, I spent most of my day at Neiman Marcus, at both stores, of course!

I've had two facials in two days. I told you about my Natura Bissé Pure Air Bubble Diamond White Facial on Thursday evening. If I needed any proof that it was magnificent, there was "buzz" at Neiman Marcus when I arrived that my skin looked amazing. I think that's fabulous (or perhaps those who saw me were themselves suffering from BEED). It validated my view that the bubble facial was life-altering. I'm now plotting to set up the bubble in my spare bedroom and fly in Alexis every few days for a spruce-up.

Today, I had a RéVive facial. My skin looked so hydrated and so even-toned afterwards, no one commented on my lack of makeup. Not only was the facial fabulous, I got to visit with my friend John Gates, who had taken the train from New York to assist with RéVive's special day at Tysons. If you ever need help with RéVive, please call Anna Befanis at (703) 761-1600, extension 3295. She is a real pro - and a sweetheart too.

When I was at Tysons, I found out Connie Widener-Malott, Chantecaille's Head US Trainer, was at Mazza. Into my car I flew, fueled by BEEDS. I haven't seen Connie in at least six months, and I was dying to visit with her. As soon as Connie saw my makeup-free face, she offered to apply the new Coral Reefs Palette. In five minutes, she transformed me into a Chantecaille beauty. It sometimes happens that I return home after a makeup application and wash my face. Not this time! I wish I were going out. Connie is incredibly talented.

I also had fun with the dapper Wil Galvez, talking about fragrance - and, of course, Valentina. I learned that there's a body oil coming. I can't wait! Lisa Lingis, Le Métier de Beauté's gorgeous regional representative was at Tysons, and I visited with Michael Reinhardt at Mazza and Lisa Corsina at Tysons. I love my Le Métier de Beauté friends. All of the beautiful Sisley ladies at both stores were warm and fun. The flowers in the photo above were Sisley's cure for our need for spring (we went from 70 degrees yesterday to snow flurries this morning - it was a shock), and they added nature's touch to my BEED.

I have so many people to thank for my divine disorder - from PR to the product specialists on the floor - I'll mention them as I write over the next few weeks. I'm actually happy about my diagnosis!

Lest you have any doubts that neon yellow is an "it" color for spring, both local stores sold out of the yellow tote in two days. If you want that neon yellow bag, hurry! Perhaps it's still available at your local Neiman Marcus. The pink and gold totes are more "me," so I'm thrilled with my gifts with purchase. So why do I want the yellow one now? I guess it's a BEED thing.

You'll see the results of my BEED spending over the next week or more. Right now, I need a nap. I'm coming down off my BEED high for the day. If you'd like to experience BEED, I'm sure your favorite Neiman Marcus representatives can help. Perhaps one day BEED will make its way into the Merck Manual or have its own ICD code. Watch your friends carefully for the symptoms.

P.S. The stunning flower arrangement above was created by Art with Flowers at Tysons Galleria. Their phone is (703) 903-6837.

Update 2/16: Here's that Etro jacket I want. The sleeves are rolled up. There is a matching top too in the black and white print. Sigh!

Photos by Best Things in Beauty; totes photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Friday Forum - February 24

Look at the beautiful "mail" I received from Paris last week! Because I'm a member of the Kilian Club on Facebook, I received this beautiful sample of By Kilian's new Amber Oud fragrance. There are very few oud fragrances I really like. Amber Oud quickly joined the short list. You can receive occasional gifties too. Just go to By Kilian's Facebook page and click on the Kilian Club on the left. You'll be glad you did.

There is so much going on in beauty land! The Barneys New York gift bag event led right into the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event. I was disappointed in my gift bag from Barneys. It did not have two of the items in it that made it attractive to me: a Sunday Riley lip gloss and a sample of the new NARS tinted moisturizer. Those switcheroos can turn a lovely experience into a disappointment. I made sure I ordered "enough" to get the gift bag. When my package arrived, I was surprised and disappointed to see the bag's contents. While the Barneys contents I received were better than most beauty gift bags, they weren't what I anticipated - or felt I "bought." This same thing has happened to customers at other stores. No one ever seems to correctly anticipate demand. Neiman Marcus has run out of bags entirely in the past. Hopefully, they planned better for this Beauty Event. Now you know why I warned you to shop early.

I have the gold Neiman Marcus tote, a gift from Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie, and love it. You'll have to decide for yourself whether the tote and the samples within it are worth a $100 purchase you might not have made. As I've already mentioned, the price for admission for the brand gifts with purchase is, with few exceptions, very high. One GWP that is worth a purchase, in my opinion, is Le Métier de Beauté's. Another I wanted (and secured) is Chantecaille's. Will you be shopping Beauty Event?

I've got many new treasures to show you - already here and on the way. I have many new-to-me Sunday Riley goodies, NARS colors that are overdue-for-BTiB-coverage, fabulous new brow coloring from Xtreme Lashes, Givenchy and Shiseido from Sephora, new Chantecaille - so many things and so little time to write lately. I hope you'll understand when I get backed up. I want you to know more about VENeffect Skin Care, and I absolutely must introduce you to two new Natura Bissé miracles for spring: Tolerance Enzyme Peel (a two-minute exfoliating treatment), developed specifically for sensitive skin, and Eye Recovery Balm. Stay tuned.

The Oscars will be awarded Sunday night. I'll be watching - at least until I have to hit the snooze button. I enjoy the red carpet far more than the ceremony itself, so I'll be fashion and beauty watching - and commenting on Twitter. If there are any standouts (good or horrific), I'm sure I'll be featuring them here.

There are several funny beauty counter parodies on YouTube. My Facebook friends featured them this week. My favorite can be found here: Just copy the link into your search box and click return for a few minutes of entertainment.

It's time for The Friday Forum, our open chat. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any 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? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

I have two giveaway contests underway. Both end tomorrow, February 25, at midnight. You can enter to win Bobbi Brown's Sandstone Shimmer Brick Compact at this link, and Giorgio Armani Beauty's Regenessence [3.R] Youth Regenerator at this link. I know that some of you who have entered six, eight, fifteen times have never won. selects the winners, not me. Keep entering! Eventually, your day will come.

If you like contests, check out the Neiman Marcus Tweetstakes. All you have to do to enter to win an amazing set of products, worth over $2,000 is follow @NeimanMarcus at Twitter and Tweet about the company (during Beauty Event, until March 5) with the hashtag "#NMBeautyEvent." Easy, right? I entered.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Shiseido Shimmering Rouge in Brocade and Sugar Plum

Shiseido's Shimmering Rouge ($25) is my kind of lipstick! Its sheer, brilliant, shimmering color comes along with healthy hydration. When I showcased Shiseido's Spring 2012 Looks by Dick Page, I realized I had purchased two new-to-me Shimmering Rouge shades without showing you. My bad!

This luminous lipstick creates "perfectly hydrated and supple lips for dynamic sophistication." It contains Super Bio-Yeast Extract to promote the production of collagen (lost with aging), hyaluronic acid to maintain the lips' resilience and hydration, and patented Photo Smoothing Pearl to enhance the natural fullness of lips. In short, it looks and feels great.

My two latest shades, both beauties, are RS310, Brocade, and RD718, Sugar Plum (shown in the photo at the top of this feature). I could have sworn I ordered Venus, but apparently didn't. I took care of that this week. I'll show you Venus when it arrives. By the way, for those looking for the new BR 317, Butterscotch, Nordstrom has it available online.

My swatches were applied heavily because Shimmering Rouge is sheer. RS310, Brocade, is shown at the top of my arm. It's a gorgeous pure rose. You'd never know that from looking at Sephora's swatches. I bought mine at Sephora online and expected a plum-leaning rose. I'm thoroughly delighted with Brocade, even if it isn't what I expected.

RD718, Sugar Plum, shown below Brocade, was an even bigger surprise. The "RD" stands for the red family of colors. The Sephora swatch looked mauve. The shade - at least on my skin - is a rosy brown. I think I look good in brown-toned roses, so I'm happy. That's the way it is with Shimmering Rouge. All the colors are exquisite. Even if you order blind, your chances of loving your new lipstick are very high.

I can't wait to see RS619, Venus, shown on the model in spring's Electric Blues Look. Please Shiseido, make it be a little plummy! If it's not, I may have to go shop in a real store, not online, to find a plum shade. Most of the time, I'm happier when I can shop from home. No parking hassles, no wasted $4.00/gallon gasoline, no crowds, no aggressive sales associates - and a lot faster.

If you're like me and want to shop online, you can order Shiseido's Shimmering Rouge from many good sources. Try Shiseido, Sephora (online only), Nordstrom, Macy's, and Bloomingdale's. There are many options. There's even a nice gift with purchase right now at Nordstrom.

Photo at top courtesy of Shiseido; other photos by Best Things in Beauty