Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Few of Our Favorite Things…for the Mamas

If there’s one person I love to pamper, it’s my mom. I love making her feel special and beautiful. I only hope that one day, I have children that share this same philosophy. And I’ll have hopefully trained them all to be beauty lovers, too. An army of product girls and boys is what I’m aiming for. If you’re looking for some ideas to spoil your mama this holiday season, here are our picks!

  1. Bobbi Brown Party Collection Mini Brush Set – Moms love Bobbi Brown. I mean, who doesn’t, really? Even for the non-makeup maven mama, Bobbi Brown is known as a trusted beauty advisor. This brush set, featuring one of my most-used brushes, the Mini Face Blender, also comes with a gunmetal carrying clutch. $60,
  2. Kate Somerville Refinery29 Winter Essentials Kit – If there is one thing a mom will appreciate it, it’s quality skin care. Plus, this set contains an anti-aging powerhouse (Kate’s Clinic-to-Go pads) without the words “anti-aging” blasted over it. Perhaps desired, but not always what you want to overtly gift mom. Through December 24, purchase for $69 at Refinery29 Reserve. (Oh, and we’re giving away a kit — enter here by Friday, Dec. 16!)
  3. Laura Mercier Baked Eye Colour Palette – The soft and feminine shades in this eyeshadow palette have mom written all over it. It’s sophisticated and sexy, and even comes with a double-sided brush. $48, Nordstrom
  4. Kérastase Elixir Ultime – Chances are, your mom color treats her hair. To help minimize heat and styling damage, a hair oil is a necessary luxury. Emphasis on the luxury.  What’s more pampering than Elixir Ultime, with a blend of four oils that work on all hair types? $54,
  5. Fresh Mini Sugar Kissing Trio – Why get one, when you can get three? Fresh packed its three newest Sugar Balms – Sugar Plum, Sugar Honey and Sugar Passion – into a made-for-gifting (and hoarding) set. My mom loves these (like mother, like daughter), but I know she’s not likely to splurge on lip balm on her own. I picked this set up for my mother-in-law, and am anticipating she’ll be hooked, too. $28, Sephora
  6. Decleor Nourshing Treasure Trove Set – This set is so beautifully packaged, and contains just what mom needs to feel pampered and hydrated. The trove includes Nutridivine Soft Cream, Aromessence Angelique, Aroma Solutions Lip Balm and Aroma Night Angelique Night Balm. $77,

Sneak Peek! China Glaze Hunger Games "Colors From the Capitol" Collection

It’s official. China Glaze is releasing a Hunger Games-themed collection in March, in conjuction with the release of the movie. Get ready to fight to the death. Or perhaps we don’t need to get that dramatic. We got an early peek at the color chart of “Colors From the Capital” collection, all inspired by the capitol city of the nation Panem. 

While I can’t wait to see them all, I’m especially loving the looks of Stone Cold and Electrify! What about you? Are you a fan? Katniss and Gale forever??!

TRIA Laser Hair Removal At-Home, December Update

It’s been about a month since I began using the TRIA Laser Hair Removal System. TRIA has given me the opportunity to test the technology of laser hair removal in my own home, and I’m chronicling my experience over the course of six months.  I’ve officially done two treatments, and am about to do my third this weekend.  

Getting started was easy. And official. You have to register your device over the phone with a TRIA representative, and they also give you a few tips on charging the device, turning it on, etc. To even use the hair removal laser, you first must unlock it with the built-in skin sensor. It also came fully charged, which was nice.

I’m a fan of doing my treatments on Saturday mornings. There is some prep work involved, so morning seems most convenient. You need to shave the areas you are treating, and have no lotion or deodorant on. I am doing my underarm area and bikini line. I was a little nervous before the first treatment, thinking, is this going to hurt? There are five settings (1 being the lightest and 5 the strongest), so I just started at #1. I did a spot test on my upper thigh to test the settings, and was pleasantly surprised when I went up to a 5 and felt what was the equivalent of a rubber band barely snapping against my skin. Emphasis on the “barely” — yay for pain free!

For my underarms, I’m able to do it on a “5.” The skin near the bikini line is much more sensitive, so I opt for a “3.” I love that the TRIA is a “smart” device. It senses your skin, so if you’re not doing it properly or pressing down, it will not emit the laser. Also, what to expect? It’s just a beep. You just press and it beeps. It’s so fast. To do both areas, it’s less than 10 minutes.

A few other tips/observations:

  • Pay attention! You want to evenly do the “beep and drag” over the entire area you treating, but don’t want to overlap. This is a laser so there is potential you could burn yourself.
  • Stay cool. I thought it was nice that a fan kicked on about halfway through. It knows when it’s getting hot, so a fan keeps the device cool. It doesn’t ever feel too hot.
  • Consistency. In order to see results and take advantage of the at-home convenience, it’s important to use it every other week and follow the rules. That’s why I chose Saturday mornings. And I set calendar reminders to go off the Friday before so I remember!

I’m too early on to see any true results, but I’m happy with it so far. I am very excited to see results though!

I’ll be back in January with another TRIA update!

Get the Must-Have Flush of the Season with NARS G-Spot Multiple

Just when you’re totally comfortable telling anyone and everyone who asks what blush you are wearing — “Orgasm, thanks” — NARS goes ahead and creates a new Multiple that makes you feel like a bit of a creeper saying outloud. And trust when you wear The Multiple in G-Spot, people will ask you what is giving your cheeks the perfect flush. G-Spot is sort of the ultimate winter blush. It’s a rich gold-infused rose, that just gives you a natural and healthy look. For me, it’s what a walk to work in the morning in the frigid air should result in.

In the above, I’m wearing tinted moisturizer, concealer and G-Spot, and no other makeup. Not even mascara! I’m actually loving the no-makeup but G-Spot look, and plan to practice it on the regular. I can’t help but be utterly in love with this Multiple, even though saying the name outloud doesn’t always feel appropriate! I think it is the highlight of NARS Holiday collection.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her In Color

In a word, Narciso Rodriguez For Her In Color can be summed up as sensual. If you wanted another word to describe this fragrance, I’d say alluring. This fragrance is sexy from the ground up and decidedly different from its Essence in Color counterpart that was released at the same time. Where Essence in Color is clean, soapy and feminine, For Her In Color is warm and seductive in contrast.

Even though patchouli is commonly used as a base note,  this fragrance opens with a commanding hit of patchouli that quickly softens and becomes bewitching without being aggressive. After the hit of patchouli dissipates, notes of peach and rose begin to emerge in a light veil of vanilla. Like all of the Narciso Rodriguez fragrances I’ve tried, the wear is beautiful; it grabs the skin and doesn’t let go. This is a fragrance you’d wear when you want to attract the right kind of attention, just like the bottle does. The design is sexy and sleek with worthy of being displayed.

You can find Narciso Rodriguez For Her in Color at Nordstrom, a 3.3oz Eau de Parfum retails for $108.00. If you like your fragrances on the warm side, this is a fragrance you should get to know.

Kate Somerville Refinery29 Winter Essentials Kit + Giveaway

Keeping skin looking merry and bright all winter long really comes down to three simple principles: gentle cleansing, eliminating dead skin cells and constant hydration. And wouldn’t you know it; Kate Somerville has teamed with Refinery29 on a special Winter Essentials Kit that includes three of Kate’s miracle-workers:

  • Gentle Daily Wash (4 oz.): a gentle, sulfate-free gel that easily removes makeup and pore-clogging debris.
  • Clinic-To-Go Resurfacing Peel Pads (16 pads): a convenient peel that rejuvenates your complexion and reduces the appearance of fine lines and acne scars. One of Kate’s bestsellers!
  • Nourish Daily Moisturizer (.5 fluid oz. travel size): a sophisticated moisturizer with anti-aging extracts that helps increase elasticity and minimizes the look of wrinkles.

The best part? The price. If your reserve the Winter Essentials Kit on Refinery29 by December 24, you can snag it for $69 (a $100 value). And…we happen to have a Winter Essentials Kit to give away to one reader! Leave us a comment on this post and tell us what you struggle most with when it comes to winter skin care! We’ll pick one winner on Friday, December 16.  

And, if you want to get in on the deal now, check it out here on Refinery29 Reserve.

*This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winner, Erica!

Just Another Mani Monday: Essie Luxeffect Shine of the Times

Sparkle and Essie. Kind of like The Odd Couple, in a way. While Essie doesn’t usually bring us bling-tastic, glittery shades, her holiday Luxeffects Collection is well-timed and well done. Essie calls them glitter topcoats, and they’re meant to add a little something to your manicure. And do they ever! I took Essie’s Lady Like, a demure, pinky mauve from the Fall Collection, and topped it with a single coat of Luxeffects Shine of the Times. The opalescent flecks of glitter in Shine of the Times completely transformed Lady Like. I’m thinking of all of the possibilities now! What I love most about this polish, as opposed to other glitters, is the depth. All it took was just one coat.

The full collection includes:

  • As Gold As it Gets – Gilded lame sparkles
  • Shine of the Times – Scintillating opalescent aura
  • A Cut Above – Shattered pink diamond glitz
  • Set in Stones – Disco mirror ball chaos (I NEED this one!)
  • Pure Pearlification – Decadent baroque iridescence

What do you guys think of the Luxeffects? And, what’s your mani of the week?

New! Guerlain Noir G Mascara

Usually a mascara launch does not excite me but the upcoming launch of Guerlain’s Noir G mascara is a different story. How can you say no to this mascara based on its packaging alone? It is gorgeous, is it not?

Guerlain Noir G mascara makes its debut next month and if it’s packaging is any indication of its formula, we are in for a treat… as far as luxury mascaras go. Guerlain says the formula delivers a “perfect 3-dimensional look” with volumizing, lengthening and curling benefits leaving lashes defined, denser and “cloaked in a new intensity”. What is even more interesting to me is that this is a refillable mascara. It retails for $49.00 initially but refills are a much more wallet friendly $26.00. We also love how Guerlain is thinking about ease of use in their products. First with Rouge Automatique, a lipstick you can apply with one hand and just one click. With Noir G, just pull on the case and with a click, the hidden mirror is revealed. Then add a quick twist and the brush appears.

Here’s a little more on the formula straight from Guerlain:

  • Ultra Black Pigments: these carbon black pigments offer an unprecedented level of intense black. The optimal size of these pigments allows for a better dispersion within the formula while a magnifying effect amplifies the intensity and depth of the black and the glossy finish. These are the purest black pigments that can be found in mascara.
  • Volumizing, Lengthening, Curling formula: The formula plumps and thickens every lash, the stretch formula allows the mascara to lengthen even the smallest lashes and then the curling formula coats lashes in a protective film to maximise and set the curl.
  • Artemia Salina: helps to regenerate lashes by stimulating keratin for fortification and lash growth.
  • Polymer Film fixes the formula from daybreak to the end of the night, preventing the formula from smudging or flaking.

Noir G will be available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Bergdorf Goodman counters in January. Are you splurging on this?

Kiehl's Michigan Ave Store Opening + President Chris Salgardo's Favorite Things

Chicago welcomed its second freestanding Kiehl’s boutique with the opening of its new Midwest Flagship store on Michigan Avenue. The grand opening was this past weekend, and I stopped by to check it out and also got a few minutes to chat with Kiehl’s President on his favorite products and what’s in store for 2012.

First off, the store is unbelievably cool. High ceilings, a photo booth, exposed brick and obviously a great location – the North Bridge shops near Nordstrom.

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Get Your Blush on During Tarte Friends & Family Sale

This is a beauty service announcement: Tarte’s Friends & Family sale is going on through Monday, December 12. For a few more days, you can take advantage of the 30% discount by entering code FFDEC at checkout. Free shipping over $40, too. Tarte has some perfect gifting sets, and the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes are just a given. Those are a MUST! I have been using these constantly now that winter has arrived, because my winter complexion needs a long-wearing blush. I get super pale. I like my blush to look the same at 5pm as it does at 7am when I put it on.

Shining Stars Collection ($25) – SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyeliner Collection ($39) – Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Blushing Bride (left) and Flush (right)

The SmolderEYES set is a crazy deal with the 30% off, which is why it appears to be out of stock at the moment. I’m hoping it sneaks back in stock before the sale ends! Also, a heads up that Tarte Founder Maureen Kelly will be on QVC this coming Thursday, December 15, from 2-3 a.m. (the DVR will have to get that one!) and 6-7 p.m. (all times eastern).