Monthly Archives: January 2012

Say Hello to Ruby Kisses

Ruby Kisses is a new line to hit my makeup radar and it’s made quite an impression on me!  I first tried the Ruby Kisses Eyeshadow Magic Primer, which has a familiar look to it, right? I rarely stray from using Urban Decay Primer Potion, but Ruby Kisses holds its own in the category. My eyeshadow lasts all day and night with the Magic Primer. Talk about ahhh-mazing! It also helped my shadows go on so much smoother and easier that I was blown away. I really learned to love this primer and now it’s in steady rotation. At under $5, this is great for my budget!
 
Another Ruby Kisses product that use on an almost regular basis is the HD Gel Liner ($3.99) in black. I like to use gel or cream liners (first fell for Urban Decay’s Cream Liner) because of the easy brush application. For me, it is much more precise and accurate then a pencil. The HD Gel liner is more creamy than a traditional gel, and the consistency helps it go on smooth. When I paired Ruby Kisses Magic primer with this liner, it didn’t budge.
 
I also gave Ruby Kisses Very Sexy Mascara a try. I have semi-short lashes and love mascaras that can thicken and add length, and that’s exactly what this mascara does! When I take my time and apply it right, wiggling and working from the root to the ends of my lashes, I get such full, long lashes that people have thought they were fake. I always get great compliments on my lashes when I wear this mascara and what better way to measure  if a product is great than having people tell you how fantastic it looks?
 
For how great these products from Ruby Kisses wear (and the teenager friendly prices!), I will definitely repurchase in the future.

Spa Nordstrom: Live Like a Real Housewife, Part II

Two takeaways from my day at Spa Nordstrom.

1) You haven’t LIVED until you’ve had a hot stone massage massaged onto the bottom of your feet.

2) Confess all of your skincare sins to your esthetician. You can’t hide…and if you try to, she can’t help you.

All treatments at Spa Nordstrom begin in the relaxation room with a foot soak. The soak released an aroma of eucalyptus and rosemary, and was a definite treat for the feet (and other senses!)  I also expressed my incredibly high tolerance for heat, and the water temperature was perfect. Perhaps its years of taking piping hot baths, but hot water for most people is “lukewarm” to me.

The starting point of the day was the Healing Hot Stone Massage. During January, this service is 25% off. Note to all spas:  run a HEAT therapy promotion in January— it was the coldest day of the season when I was there. A hot stone massage is intended for relaxation. I’ve always opted for the deep, Swedish massage, but have to say that this was just as effective. The heat penetrates and helps ease tension from your muscles.  The stones are placed on various pressure points throughout the body, and the experience is so much more than just tension relief. Improved circulation and total mental abandonment. When was the last time you just let your mind go? After the experience, I really want to lobby my insurance company to add this to the list of approved medical services. Or the very least, can I use my flex spending account? 

Next, I got my RHBH on during the Oxygen Infusion Facial. This is so luxurious, and would be highly effective for aging skin.  From a machine that sounds like a ventilator, the esthetician uses a tiny wand to infuse oxygen and hyaluronic acid into your skin. There’s an immediate plumping effect (she even did my lips — so RHBH!), but it does subside.

During the hour I spent with Carolyn, the licensed esthetician, she gave me some TOUGH love. She subtly asked me what I was using to exfoliate my skin, and then after excitedly telling her what I did, she revealed to me that I was overdoing it. She explained that my skin was “vibrating” – esthetician speak for “this chick is committing major skin care sins.”  I had no idea. I felt so sinful. Like I got tricked into confession, and wasn’t ready for penance. What can I say, I’m addicted to sloughing off dead skin.  To remedy the sitch, Carolyn put me on a TWO-WEEK exfoliation detox and instructed me only to wash my face once a day. It’s been about 9 days, and my skin is much improved. Total blessing in disguise. Although I’m twitching a bit for my Exfolikate.

Stay tuned for Part III….in which I reveal the best foot file I’ve ever encountered and to find out if I stuck to esthetician orders and stayed true to the exfoliation detox.

Disclosure: The spa services were gratis, courtesy of Nordstrom. All opinions are my own.

Eco-Friendly and Fabulous: TAY Skincare

What do you want from your skincare? Simplicity? Natural? Organic? Eco-friendly packaging? If your answer is yes to any of these, than you need to know about TAY Skincare. Founded by beauty insider Sarah Tay, TAY is all of the above with a luxurious botanical twist. TAY’s mission is to introduce pure and simplistic skincare with high quality ingredients. After searching around the globe to source the best ingredients, green tea polyphenols, seabuckthorn extract, organic calendula extracts, rosehip oil, to name a few, TAY was born with a focused group of products (eight in total) intended to cover the essential skincare steps.

The TAY Cucumber Day Moisturizer is my new go-to. I am smitten with this moisturizer. It is hydrating, soothing (thanks to the cucumber extract), protective against environmental hazards and naturally rich in vitamins A, D and E.  Another ingredient to note is the mushroom extract in the formula, which naturally boosts antioxidants on your skin. The formula is also hypoallergenic, so made for sensitive skin types. Just a pump from this gorgeous 100% bamboo bottle, and your entire face + neck is moisturized (in a slightly dewy way!) and ready for makeup.

Another one of the eight products in TAY’s line is an all-purpose, organic Shea Butter. Many moisturizers use shea butter as a trace ingredient (which is good), but TAY presents it here in its purest form (which is better). Organically harvested from the Womens’ Coop in West Africa and infused with USDA Organic Rosemary Essential Oil, this is one rich and delicious combination.

It’s packed in that tub tight and almost dry and crumbly to the touch. Take a small amount into your hand and press together to warm it up. The shea butter breaks down into an oil for you to press onto your skin — face, hands, elbows, or anywhere. Even in your hair as a styling aid. I really like using this on my feet, actually. It’s more effective than lotion! Since this is organic, it should be stored properly in a cool area where it won’t be affected by fluctuating temps.

TAY’s line ranges in price from $11 – $112. You can find this brand at TAYEverday.com, C.O. Bigelow, Fred Segal in LA and on Birchbox.com.

Relax Like a Real Housewife at Spa Nordstrom

For as much as I shop Nordstrom, I don’t Spa Nordstrom. Which is, retrospectively speaking, a self-inflicted beauty injustice. Spa Nordstrom is such a hidden gem! Not only is it a great place to relax and indulge, it’s also a great place to shop. There’s not many more than a dozen Spa Nordstrom locations nationwide, and I have easy access to two. Suddenly, I feel selfish. And blessed.  

During the month of January, Nordstrom is running a special promotion at its Spa locations for a trio of services: Healing Hot Stone Therapy Massage, $75, 60 min., (reg. price $100); Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusion Skin Care Facial, $150 (reg. price $195); and Spa Pedicure $45 (reg. price $55) Very “New Year, New You.”

Chicago is not short on magnificent (get it?!) places to spa. I think Spa Nordstrom strikes a balance between quality and affordable luxury. Plus, it’s Nordstrom. So when you’re in that post-spa zen state of mind, you can wander a few floors down and treat yourself to those Vince Camuto “Ladell” Pumps you’ve (I’ve) been wanting.  

Courtesy of Nordstrom, I spent the better part of my day last weekend indulging in the January special. It was almost like that episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills where everyone goes to Adrienne’s house for a spa day. Minus the drama, of course. The Oxygen Treatment Facial is perhaps the fanciest treatment I’ve experienced, and it totally resembled one of the machine’s that was in Adrienne Maloof’s spa room.

I’ll save the rest for another post, and leave you with a few photos I snapped while in the waiting area. I felt like a kid in a candy store. So many displays of products and different lines that the store doesn’t carry. Continue reading

What's New in Beauty: Benefit Sun Beam, Leila Lou Eau de Parfum and The BEACHWAVER

Liquid sunshine? Sign me up for Benefit’s just-launched Sun Beam. They recommend pairing it with Hoola bronzer for a brilliant golden look.

Snooki without makeup is pretty amazing. She needs to do this more! [Refinery29]

It’s here….the Leila Lou Eau de Parfum. The fresh fragrance we all know and looove by Rosie Jane is now available in a lighter version of the Leila Lou scented oil. Look for familiar notes of pear, fresh cut grass and tangerine.

The BEACHWAVER by celebrity hair stylist Sarah Potempa is launching on QVC today in the 2pm est. and 9pm est. hours. We are very curious about this – the auto rotate feature and the ability to customize for the left and right sides of your hair. [QVC]

She puts foundation where? Get the dish on Nicki Minaj’s beauty secrets and favorite products. [Elle]

Kate Beckinsale stunned at the Underworld premiere earlier this week. Makeup artist Molly Stern created a radiant look for Kate using Laura Mercier. She used one of our new obsessions, the Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer, to get the look.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects by Avril Lavigne, coming at you this April. [Women’s Wear Daily]

Beauty VIP of the Week: Stephanie Johnson ALEX Sparkle Clutch

I’ve been carrying something really girly and pretty around lately, in my new favorite color, sparkle. The ALEX Sparkle Clutch, part of the Ibiza Collection from Stephanie Johnson for spring 2012, is the way to tote around beautiful makeup. I did some traveling for work the earlier part of this week, and the ALEX housed all I needed and more. Emphasis on the more. I can’t not bring extra!

The ALEX Sparkle Clutch comes in three covetable colors – blush, berry and turquoise. All of which are the perfect makeup bag, or, as the name suggests, a clutch. How perfect would this be for a night out? The shingle-style sparkles are a party in a bag. Stephanie has made something that could stray youthful into a sophisticated and elegant bag.

I was instantly drawn to the blush color. It reminded me of Essie’s A Cut Above nail polish from the Luxeffects collection (a close match, right?) I love the traces of gold and the deep purple lining. I kinda love everything about this bag, which is why it’s this week’s Beauty VIP. As for what I put in the bag, here’s a peek:

Continue reading

Ski Weekend Packing List

I’m heading to Breckenridge this weekend and to be completely honest I think I’m more excited for the après-ski drinks than the actual skiing part. This is probably because I possess the skills for the former, not so much the latter. Even though I’m not much of a skier I’m going to take the “fake it ‘til you make it” approach and at the very least try and dress the part while in the Rockies!  I’ve packed cozy neutrals: slouchy sweaters, knit leggings, boots and basic accessories. When it comes to makeup, it’s all about moisture and SPF protection!

What are your must-haves when you hit the slopes, or if you’re like me, the ski chalet?

Clockwise from top left: Madewell Trapper Hat; A.L.C. Cropped Sweater; Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Tint; Sperry Trinity Boot; Gorjana Graham Leather Studded Wrap; Ray-Ban Sunglasses; Josie Maran Argan Oil

Get the Brow: Rooney Mara

What started as an appreciation for the extreme transformation into Lisbeth Salander has grown into a mild obsession with Rooney Mara. I was a little peeved with her “diss” on her Law & Order SVU appearance when reading the January Allure, but I got over that after I saw her in action in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I’m fully on-board the Rooney Mara train now.

Her bone structure is enviable, and her brows inspirational. And her showing at the Golden Globes was one of my favorites. Put the tweezers away immediately, and don’t look back. While I’m sure Mara’s fierce brows are partially due to great genes, we can all enlist some help keeping our brow growth in check. One option to keep the unruly hairs looking by design is a brow gel. We recommend per-fékt beauty brow perfection gel, which acts as a brow pencil, powder and sealant in one tube. Three color choices, in addition to clear, and a formula that contains glycerin, honeysuckle flower and sage extracts, means this can work for everyone.

Are you in for bold brows in 2012?

Maracuja Oil Emerges in Tarte's Spring 2012 Collection

If 2011 was the year of Amazonian Clay for Tarte, then 2012 is most definitely the year of Maracuja Oil. With the launch of Tarte’s Spring 2012 collection comes several new items with – you guessed correctly – an infusion of Maracuja Oil. This “skinvigorating” ingredient comes from the Passion Flower, which Tarte sources from the Amazon. It makes an appearance in a few entirely new product launches, the Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss and Maracuja Blush and Glow. We are smitten with the packaging! So springy and uplifting! We’re also digging the click pen applicator on the Divine Shine Lip Gloss and the variety of ten shades. The names should ring a bell, too: Dollface, Blushing Bride, Tipsy and Blissful, to name several.

Tarte is also re-launching the Amazonian Clay Cream Eyeshadows with new packaging and one new shade, Shimmering Bronze. The new packaging has a wider opening, and is much easier to work with. The good news? It’s the same water- budge-EVERYTHING-proof formula.

And, previously only available via QVC, Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation, is making its debut at Sephora and Tarte.com. We are absolutely mesmerized by the demo on this foundation every time we see it on QVC, and are happy to see it launch officially as part of the Spring 2012 collection. The key to making magic happen here is definitely that brush. Sephora has a value set with both the foundation and the brush (not yet in stock) for $38.

Last but definitely not least, look out for four NEW shimmering shades of the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Frisky, Glisten, Buff and Adored.

What do you think about Tarte’s spring offerings?

January TRIA Update: Progress and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen

Since we’ve last talked TRIA, I’ve experienced a major breakthrough. I’M SEEING RESULTS! I’m officially in my third month, and have completed five treatments to date. My underarm hair is noticeably more sparse. It’s in the single digits in Chicago right now—–shaving my underarms is clearly not a necessary daily activity. Still, under normal, pre-TRIA circumstances, skipping just didn’t feel right because of my rapid hair growth. That isn’t the case anymore, and I am thrilled. SERIOUSLY excited.

I’ve been continuing the treatments at “Level 4” on my underarm and at 2 or 3 on my bikini line. Sometimes I think my skin is more sensitive at times. While “4” is not at all painful, there are moments I feel more.  Just an observation. I think the cold is getting to me. I blame winter for everything.

 
I wonder what setting Tiffani-Amber Thiessen uses her TRIA at. Did ya hear? Tiffani is the new spokesperson for TRIA. I LOVE her. I’m partial to Tiffiani as Valerie Malone.  You?

On her new partnership with TRIA, she says, “I became familiar with the TRIA Laser Hair Removal System at the end of 2011 and was excited about the convenience it provided to me, particularly as a working mother.”

Amen, sister. TRIA is convenient. It’s easy to stick to a schedule because this is portable and takes five minutes (just make sure to charge it up before each use — I learned the hard way halfway through my left underarm the second time!)

*Disclosure: TRIA provided us the system free-of-charge. I’m documenting my experience over the course of six months. All opinions and experiences are my own.