Friday, December 29, 2006

Favorite Things 2006

I'm very excited to participate in "Favorite Things 2006" with my fellow beauty bloggers, organized by Annieytown at Blogdorf Goodman! It's also a special time for me to reflect on the last year, since earlier this month, I celebrated my 1-year "bloggiversary". So without further pomp and circumstance, I present to you the best of what I tried, discovered and lusted after in 2006.

Best Innovation: Freeze 24/7 Ice Shield
I am still blown away by the idea that you can wash ON your sunscreen. It's like a whole step forward in cosmetics! I'm all for multi-tasking and ease of application.

Best Sunscreen: Clarins UV Plus SPF 40 Protective Day Screen
This is a daily-use sunscreen that is a pleasure to use because it's thin as milk, silkily spreadable and leaves no sticky film. It has won tons of awards from the big magazines and love from bloggers too.

Best Fragrance Line: L'Artisan Parfumeur
With every new fragrance, the artists at L'Artisan Parfumeur continue to surprise and inspire. Whether it's an overripe fig, crisp mandarin zest, the incense from Bhutan or Middle Eastern spices, the inspiration for these fragrances seems limitless and has the power to transport me.

Best Entertainment: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Years ago, I received the book Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind as a birthday gift. I loved its main character's dark obsession with scent. I was thrilled to hear it was being made into a movie (released just this week, absolutely gorgeous - review to come!). The soundtrack is hypnotic as well. If that were not enough, Thierry Mugler has developed a coffret of 15 scents inspired by the book. I can't imagine anything better for fragrance lovers.

Best Pick me Up: Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Face Mist
Full of antioxidants and refreshingly but lightly scented, this face mist gives you a burst of hydration whenever you need it - before moisturizer, while traveling, or when battling drying winter air.

Best Skincare Treatment Category: Serums
2006 was the Year of the Serum for me. I went from a cleanse & moisturize gal to a cleanse, treat and moisturize woman. Frankly, I tried so many (including Obagi Professional C Serum, Wexler Skin Regenerating Serum, and SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic) that I can't say which one worked best for me - BUT I am a believer that giving my skin a nightly dose of vitamins, anti-aging agents and antioxidants has improved my skin's radiance and dimished those little fine lines.

Weirdest Concept I Got Around to Liking: Cleansing Oil with Oil
I guess if you can fight fire with fire, you can rid your skin of dirt and oil by applying... more oil. Yes, it seems to be true. I enjoy using Shu Uemura's High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil. Even though it seemed weird to me to slather oil on my face, it removed my makeup and left my skin clean but not tight. In a similar vein, I have recently been trying Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. This product looks like candle wax in the jar, but smoothes over skin and rinses away with all your makeup and the day's impurities.

Best Makeup Innovation: YSL's Perfect Touch Foundation
I'm sold on the idea that using foundation brush to apply foundation provides a more flawless look with less product. But it's easy to be in a rush and forget. So it was a stroke of genius when YSL took their Touche Eclat concept and created a foundation with a brush attached.

Best Hair Product: Mizani Spradiance High Gloss Serum
There are lots of shine and de-frizzing serums out there, but this one is lightweight, smells amazing and imparts shine without looking greasy. Although Mizani is designed for African hair, this product is great on my super-fine blonde locks, so everyone should give it a try.

Best Hair Appliance: CHI Flat Iron in Pink
This submission is from my sister, who complains that her hair's natural state is "Bad 80s Perm". I saw before my very eyes how this flat iron tamed her frizz into straight, silky hair. Pretty impressive, and the pink color makes it fun too.

Most Gorgeous Packaging: Besame Cosmetics
Channeling retro Hollywood boudoir glamour, Besame presents the prettiest compacts, lipstick tubes and jars out there - all decked out in gold and red, they are precious and sexpot all at the same time.

Best Multi-tasker: NARS The Multiple
Perhaps the most fittingly-named product out there, the Multiple comes in at least a dozen shades designed to bring color and light to eyes, lips, cheeks - even body.

Most Desired Beauty Item: A Vanity Table
Needless to say, I have tons of beauty products and it's very hard for me to part with (or sometimes even find) them! I would like to find a cute vanity table with lots of drawers to organize my stuff, a petite chair and magnifying mirror. What I have seen available is often frou-frou, childish or doesn't have enough storage. So the quest continues.

Best Overall Discovery: Sniffapalooza
A NY event that brings passionate perfumistas together to sniff, discover and share new fragrances, Sniffapalooza exposed me to new scents, new friends and an understanding of what can happen when a few people combine their passion with organization and dedication!

I could go on and on... but truly, the best part of The Year in Beauty for me was writing this blog and reading other blogs. I have learned a lot and enjoy all the comments you all leave, so please keep it up. Thanks for reading!

Check out my fellow bloggers' favorites of the year! Among their product lists, you're sure to find some old friends, new discoveries, and new obsessions... happy browsing!

  • Afrobella

  • All About The Pretty

  • Aromascope

  • Beauty Addict

  • Beauty Blogging Junkie

  • Beauty by Nadine

  • Beautiful Makeup Search & Beauty Blog

  • Beauty Jones

  • Blogdorf Goodman

  • BonBons in the Bath
  • Bois de Jasmin
  • Brain Trapped in Girl's Body

  • Capital Hill Barbie

  • C'est Chic

  • Coquette

  • Crazy Jay Blue

  • eBeautyDaily

  • Girl's Handbook

  • Hautemommastuff

  • Koneko's *Mostly* Beauty Diary!

  • Legerdenez

  • Makeup Bag

  • Monkeyposh

  • My Muse

  • No one knows why the wolf laughs

  • Now Smell This

  • Perfume Smellin' Things

  • Peppermint Patty's Perfume Posse

  • Platinum Blonde Life

  • Product Girl
  • Scentzilla!

  • She'll Be Feverish After So Much Thinking

  • Slap of the Day

  • The Customer Is Always Right

  • The Daily Obsession

  • The Great She Elephant

  • The Life As A Ladybug

  • The Non-Blonde

  • Urbane Girl

  • Victoria's Own
  • Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    Hostess Gifts for the Perfumista

    It seems that everyone I know is visiting friends this season. Fragrance makes a lovely hostess gift. But what if you don't know exactly what scent she'd like? Try the following sets, which allow her to channel her inner perfumista to find - or develop - a scent that is hers alone.

    Body Shop Invent Your Scent

    A portable perfumery - nine gorgeous fragrances, nine different scent personalities. Just mix and match them to suit your mood. Kit comes in a sleek white rectangular plastic case that contains 9 x 3ml EDT vials. Comes with a leaflet to tempt and guide. $30

    Ineke Deluxe Sample Collection

    A deluxe sampler of Ineke's first four fragrances. Adorably alphebetized, the scents included are After My Own Heart, Balmy Days & Sundays, Chemical Bonding, and Derring-Do for Men. The 1.5 mL spray samples come in adorable sliding matchboxes, with blotters and a soft bag for travel. Best part? The $12 fee includes shipping and is fully redeemable toward the scent you liked best!

    Aroma M '11 Years, 11 Fragrances' Sampler Set

    Aroma M Perfumes specializes in Japanese-oriented eaux de parfum and perfume oils, accented with East Asian packaging and décor. Now, you can try "11 fragrances 11 years", an exquisite limited-edition sampler box set. Discover all 11 fragrances in mini-flacons (large vials), each one candy-wrapped and twirled closed in its own patterned Yuzen paper wrapper, chosen to match the style and colors of each scent’s fragrance ingredients. Available only through February 14, 2007. $40

    Bond No. 9 Perfumista Blending Box

    The ultimate gift for the chic fashionista and fragrance connoisseur. Bond’s perfumista’s custom blending box includes a selection of their most desirable fragrances* in refillable, travel-ready, foil-wrapped spray flacons, and one comes empty—so you can mix your own Bond blends. As an added bonus, they throw in favorite blending recipes. $240.

    *(Broadway Nite, Central Park, Chelsea Flowers, Chez Bond, Chinatown, Eau de New York, Eau de Noho, Fashion Avenue, Hamptons, Little Italy, Madison Soiree, New Harlem, Nuits de Noho, Park Avenue, Wall Street and West Broadway)

    Happy visiting and scent-sampling!

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Giving You Lip

    Now that the weather has changed, we need to take even nicer care of our kissers. Sure, slathering on the lip balm can help. (Nobody can tell you more about lip balms than the folks over at Chaptastic - they are awesome!) But sometimes you need to bring out the big guns. The following Lip Treatments are sure to keep the pretty pout in your pucker.

    I've tried the first three, and they're great. Don't expect the kind of emoillency that a waxy or oily balm provides; rather consider these like skincare for your lips. The texture is creamy and absorbs pretty quickly.

    SkinCeuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair
    Two powerful antioxidants, vitamin E and silymarin, form an exclusive combination antioxidant therapy for the lips. This powerful treatment helps prevent premature signs of aging, while restoring moisture and smoothing the surface of the lips.

    Kinerase N6-Furfuryladenine Lip Treatment
    Kinerase Lip Treatment helps visibly smooth and plump lips and surrounding skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A high concentration of kinetin and rich emollients deliver essential nutrients for a younger looking smile.

    Lancome Primordiale Optimum Lip Revitalizing Treatment
    This super-concentrated lip treatment helps minimize the look of fine lines. Delivers 100% Botanically Pure Vitamin E—via Nanocapsule technology—and Gatuline, a gentle alpha-hydroxy-acid alternative, to reduce lipstick bleeding and feathering due to fine lines and wrinkles. The Result: Softer, smoother, younger-looking lips.

    There are certainly lots of options out there. Here are a few more - let us know if you've tried any!

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Lash Jewelry

    Thinking about your New Year's Eve look? Dressing up is one of the best parts of New Year's Eve, and now you can dress up your eyelashes to coordinate with the rest of your look. Check out the glitteringly gorgeous options below.

    For false eyelashes, nobody beats Mr. Shu Uemura. He created the famous mink and diamond lashes for Madonna! Lucky for us, he also makes much more affordable and wearable options too. Try his Basic Lash Collection for a your-lashes-but-better look or his Fantasy False Eyelashes for a more dramatic look, including a reproduction of the Madonna Dazzling Diamante lashes.

    But, hey, when it's New Year's Eve, Fantasy may not be enough. You might need something from the Tokyo Lash Bar Collection. Here, you can find the most gorgeous feathery lashes, like the ones seen on the model above, which make you look and feel like a fluttery butterfly. I'm craving the Premium Radiant Blue False Eyelashes, which are a "radiant deep blue and black and accented with a touch of green" and they "alternate in length and gradually lengthen outward for a dramatic flare;" wearing them, I think I'd feel like an exotic peacock!

    Whether you're wearing falsies or not, you can now use some innovative products to accessorize your lashes, like jewelry! Check out the following...

    A set of tiny weightless spheres for decorating lash tips. Just like jewelry for your lashes, Lash Gems add twinkle to the tips of your lashes. Can also be used on false lashes. The smudge-proof, long lasting, pearly finish plays with light for a sexy wink. Set includes, pre-glue moistened Lash Gems in white, black, blue, and pink, plus an applicator.

    Dress your lashes with transparent pearls! A unique gel that hardens to form crystals on the lashes. When applied to the tip of the lash, this clear gel naturally forms a drop for a spectacular jeweled effect, like diamonds on lash tips.

    To use: Apply a small drop to the tips of your lashes, in the middle and at both ends. Allow to dry. Fill in gaps to the left of center first, let dry, then fill in the gaps to the right and let dry. Can be used with or without mascara.

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    Charmed, I'm Sure

    All glammed up for a holiday party, but you can't fit one more beauty item in your evening bag? Try these charming baubles - for all ages and price points - that allow you to wear your beauty!

    mark Lip Lock-It Color Charm Necklace
    The ultimate in portable makeup. Two jeweled, smoky-crystal lockets dangle from an adjustable burnished silver chain. One contains a dusty pink lip color, and the other a shimmering gloss. $18

    Anna Sui Lipgloss Ring
    A Ring-Form Lip Gloss. Cute and wearable on finger. Captures light and makes your lips look shiny. Long lasting effect. Many colors available at $13-17.60

    Dior Pretty Charms
    A couture-inspired, heart-shaped locket surrounded by dazzling crystal pearl drops and filled with two complementary lip colors. Inspired by couture trends of floating, feminine, shimmering colors, this crystal-laden, heart-shaped locket contains one .05 oz shade of lipstick in matte pink and a .05 oz glittery gloss in shimmering bubblegum pink. $55

    Sephora Piiink VIP - My Deliiicious Bracelet
    Piiink VIP is your all-access pass to cutting-edge beauty. From shimmering shadows to luminous, glowing lashes and nails to glam accessories, this collection is designed to guarantee your place in the spotlight.The ultimate accessory, this adjustable silver-tone, link-chain bracelet sports three super cute charms, plus a tiny lip gloss bauble (in baby pink) for quick touch ups. $8

    Too Faced The Beauty Brooch - Cameo Rebel Romance
    A beautiful faux onyx cameo filled with shimmering lip gloss suspended from each safety pin-esque brooch embellished with funky, retro charms. Just a little bit punky-goth and a whole lotta glam, these convenient and innovative pieces will create a look sure to get you plastered all over the front pages of every beauty and gossip mag in town!Charms include: a black puffed heart, skull, pearl, a tiny charcoal chrystal, and a and a large cameo lipgloss charm filled with shimmering champagne beige gloss. $28.50

    Sephora Piiink My Deliiicious Bijou
    Some of life's sweetest treats are pink - bubblegum, cotton candy, and cupcakes, to name a few. Sephora Piiink celebrates beauty and fashion with a hip, young spirit. Sparkling colors for the eyes and lips, plus stylish accessories and super cool packaging - what more can a girl ask for? Charms available two colors: A "P" charm (for Piiink) encrusted with sparkling crystals, a mounted feather, a translucent heart on a detachable ball chain, and a glitter gloss bauble. $8

    Lancome Juicy Tubes Bracelet
    It’s fun, functional and funky! If you have a passion for lip fashion, you’ll be charmed by a trio of mini, mouthwatering Juicy Tubes Lip Glosses to wear on your wrist. Features assorted shades, strung together on a sleek, silvery chain bracelet with rose and rhinestone details. $40

    Sephora Girls Lip Gloss Bracelet

    An adorable, flexible, pink cuff bracelet containing two strawberry-scented Sephora Girl Lip Glosses.What else you need to know:Sitting atop this must-have accessory is a tiny clear compact containing two heart-shaped pans of fruity lip gloss (one clear with pink glitter and one pink pearl). $5

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Dinner Party Tips and Tricks

    Purchase this adorable Tin Sign at!

    Saturday night I hosted my first, real dinner party. Since I was lucky enough to have the help of my mother, the consummate hostess (who disappeared 30 minutes before the guests arrived so I could take all the credit!), I thought I'd share a couple of tips with you.

    1. Get Help from Someone Experienced
    Mom was great at helping me figure out the timing of when to cook what and what dishes to use to serve everything, so I'd be relaxed when the guests arrived. She also got me out of bed by flicking water in my face, but that's another story. Get your most fabulous friend or relative to walk you through the basics your first time.

    2. Use a Crock Pot
    Gals, I thought Crock Pots were as old-fashioned as Pond's Cold Cream (sorry again, Mom!) but seriously, they're a lifesaver. Picture this - when I cook, I dirty every dish in the house. But when you prepare your dinner 4 hours before the guests arrive and allow it to simmer into delectable, meat-falling-off-the-bone goodness, you have plenty of time to clean up and give the impression that you're as neat as June Cleaver. I made a Moroccan Chicken recipe similar to this one. Check out more recipes at

    3. Marathon Makeup
    OK, face it - once the guests arrive, you're going to be busy serving drinks, facilitating conversations and checking on the meal. You will not have time for a makeup touch-up. So, I suggest the following:
    Good luck with your own holiday entertaining & feel free to post any other tips in the comments.

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    Fashion Pet Peeve #1

    It's after Thanksgiving, the weather has turned chilly, and the streets of New York are teeming with shoppers and tourists wearing coats. As I walked down the street this week, I had several sightings of my #1 fashion pet peeve: the stitched-down rear vent.

    In case you don't know what I'm talking about:
    As you can see in the image at left, there is a slit in the back of the coat starting at the hem. This vent is meant to open and provide greater range of movement as you walk. However, in an effort to avoid wrinkling in transit, many manufacturers will put one or two small, loose basting stitches to hold the two sides of the vent together. These stitches are meant to be CLIPPED before you wear the garment. Yet, time and time again, I see people with well-worn coats where the vent has never been opened. So they walk down the street, coat flapping behind them, looking ridiculous because there is a foot-long gash in the back of their coat held together at the bottom only by a stich or two.

    I thought about playing Fashion Police on 5th Avenue for a couple of hours, armed with a pair of scissors to help out the offenders. But then I saw a busload of tourists get out at Rockefeller Center at 9 am all decked out in Santa hats and appliqued holiday sweaters, and I knew I had a more important mission ahead.

    Coat shown: Burberry London Islington nylon trench at It would be a SIN to insult this coat by not cutting its vent. Enough said. /rant.