All posts by Laurie

Holiday Gift Guide: The Active Girl

Our holiday gift guide continues today with gift ideas for The Active Girl. She’s the girl who can get out of bed for an early a.m. workout (we so wish we were her!) and has probably done some type of “athalon.” If you’re not sure what to get her, think gym bag essentials.

Showering at the gym is my least favorite activity, but The Active Girl does it on the regular. So she doesn’t sacrifice skincare, give her the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel packs to store in her gym bag. They exfoliate, improve skin texture and brighten skin in just a few minutes.

Can you say best makeup bag ever? Sonia Kashuk Completely Organized Bag is the most practical gift ever. A classic black nylon bag with so many zippered compartments and pouches to neatly store all of your makeup. This would make a great gift — and you could stuff a few beauty goodies in there to boot!

Securing your hair during a workout is the key to a successful one in my book. How fun are these sparkly Kitsch Metallic Mix Headbands? They stay in place during an hour of cardio sculpt and up the fab factor tremendously. Plus, they are super cute when you’re not at the gym. Find these at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie.

Snack and Give Back. Bobbi Brown teamed with KIND to create this Eat Pretty Powerful Cube with sales supporting a free public charter school in NYC that helps empower vulnerable youth. The Cube contains 20 of Bobbi’s favorite KIND bars (including Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt – yum!) The Active Girl will totally appreciate this huge supply of KIND fuel.

The Active Girl is constantly showering, so gift her with Kiehl’s Limited Edition Crème de Corps designed by New York Pop artist Kenny Scharf, so her skin stays moisturized. This is one of the holiday collections we look forward to every year, because 100% of profits support RxArt, which brings art to pediatric hospitals. The design is so fun, with Kenny Scharf’s “Squirt” character.

Check out our previous gift guides for The Product Girl, The Party Girl and The Eco Girl.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Eco Girl

Our holiday gift guides continue with green beauty goodies perfect for The Eco Girl. These natural and organic options are all pampering and earth-friendly. The Eco Girl gift guide is a really special one for us. This year, we discovered so many amazing brands and products that have totally changed our skincare and beauty routines around in the best possible way.  And all of The Eco Girl picks come from brands that are made by passionate women who are truly inspiring.

Talk about passion and heart. The ladies at La Bella Figura have traveled the world to discover exotic ingredients and use them to make the most eco-luxe skincare evah. The La Bella Figura Holiday Healing and Glow Kit is such an amazing gift. You get a little bit of everything with it — facial steam teas, the Bio Active Healing Mask, Barbary Fig Renewal Serum (thank you LBF for intro-ing this phenom ingredient!), a sample set of their fragrance oils and that chic chevron bag to tote it all in.

Team Product Girl had the delight of meeting Maureen Kelly in New York last year and it felt like we were reuniting with a gal pal we’d known forever. One with insane business savvy.  How is that everything Tarte puts out is a must-have?  Like this Tarte Lash Curler & Mascara set in that adorable ikat print. It’s more than cute — the curler is high quality (I prefer it to most others…even the Shu)

Next to sunscreen, RMS Beauty Living Luminizer is one of those products we’d take to a desert island. This is the highlighter that Victoria’s Secret models use! The gorgeous woman behind this brand, Rose-Marie Swift, uses this often on Gisele and Miranda. It puts most other highlighters to shame. Try this yourself, then pay it forward to The Eco Girl on your list.

We are obsessing over the One Love Organics Comfort and Joy set (exclusive to Birchbox). Does it get better than a duo of body serums made with organic plant oils in Lavender and Neroli scents? We first fell in love with One Love after President Suzanne LeRoux kindly introduced us to the line last year. The Skin Savior Balm had us hooked from day one and now we can’t get enough of the line. This set is the perfect way to share the (one) love.

Going sulfate free was a game changer for my hair and one of my favorite new discoveries is Acure Organics Morocccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner, made for gifting with this Acure Organics Healthy Hair Gift Set. It is one of the best smells I’ve ever encountered and it totally revitalizes hair. The Eco Girl will appreciate this duo and the fact that brand, founded by Kristy Guerra as a way to honor her grandmother who battled breast cancer, donates proceeds of each product sold to breast cancer research. This line is literally for a cure.

Ilia Beauty founder Sasha Plavsic is on a mission to change your mind about organic makeup. A designer by trade, she founded the line after evaluating her makeup bag one day and decided organic beauty could use a rebrand of its own — better packaging, performance and contemporary colors. We say success has been achieved because Ilia Beauty Lipstick is phenomenal. The colors are wearable and fresh, the formula good for you (and performs better than most non-natural offerings) and the packaging streamlined. Introduce The Eco Girl to a tube of Ilia and a happy holiday it will be.

For more holiday gift inspiration, see our recommendations for The Product Girl and The Party Girl.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Party Girl

Our holiday gift guide continues with the perfect presents for The Party Girl in your life. The girl who has plans every night of the week and craves sparkly things. These gifts are part glam on the go and 100% fabulous. And naturally, we want them all!

Inspired by the British “holiday cracker” tradition, Jouer Sparkle & Pop is filled with all sorts of treats, including a cocktail ring, beauty fortune, mini champagne bubbles and one of three potential deluxe Jouer samples. The latter is a surprise — the Body Butter, Essential Lip Enhancer or Glisten Lip Gloss will be inside. Jouer smartly packaged these in a value pack of four, in addition to singles, so you can split up for gifting.

Objects are smaller than they appear with the Bobbi Brown ‘Uber Nude’ Lip & Eye Palette but it has literally everything you need for a night out. We love these classic neutral shades — this is perfect for packing in a clutch or on a trip!

How fabulous would it be to pull this sparkly Stephanie Johnson SNAP Mirror out of your bag? A portable mirror is such a functional gift and the sparkles make it that much more fun. Everything Stephanie Johnson makes is perfection.

The Party Girl is always known for fabulous hair, right? We can’t think of a better duo than Living Proof Prime and amp2, the brand’s newest styling launches. Prime acts like a face primer but for your hair strands and amp2 creates texture and major volume with the help of a tiny molecule that creates friction and space on every strand.

Leave it to the folks at Benefit to come up with the yet another must-have holiday kit. Benefit She’s So…Jetset has everything for The Party Girl — like Life on the A List Lip Gloss and They’re Real Mascara, which lengthens lashes like nobody’s biz.

For more holiday gift inspiration, see our recommendations for The Product Girl.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Product Girl

We hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! This time of the year is the best, and we’re soaking up every bit of holiday cheer that comes our way. Sharing it, too! We’re kicking off our holiday gift guides this week — our top picks for all the girls and guys in your life. Today, we’re starting with The Product Girl. Somewhat of our personal wish list and also filled with some of our favorite beauty musts.

Fragrance is such a personal thing, and that’s exactly the basis behind MCMC Fragrances. Founder Anne McClain captures life’s personal stories and memories in a scent. I discovered MCMC Fragrance PHOENIX in my Birchbox, and am putting the full-size bottle on my holiday wish list! It’s grounded in vanilla and neroli and I can’t wait to wear it all winter long.

Speaking of Birchbox, a subscription is at the top of our gift guide! It’s one of our favorite things every month, the perfect gift for all of the Product Girls in your life. There’s 3, 6 and 12-month gift subscriptions, but we’re obsessing over the Birchbox Ultimate Collection which comes with five beauty treats in addition to the monthly delivery.

We love this Bauble Bar + K Kane Mini Rose Gold Mini Initial Pendant! Bauble Bar’s collabs just keep getting better (hello, Essie!). The rose gold is a nice alternative as is the cursive lettering. There’s just something about anything initialed or monogrammed that is always desired!

This Kate Spade ‘mani pedi’ iPad Folio speaks to us and we’re guessing all of the product gals out there. I mean, have truer words ever been spoken?

One can never have enough Fresh. Fresh Sugar Soiree contains all 8 of these coveted balms. We love these minis so much, since they are literally the same packaging as the original just on a smaller scale. You don’t ever have to sacrifice the luxe for the mini with Fresh.

It’s a known fact. Product Girls love their beauty gadgets, which is why the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver would be the ultimate gift. This is one of our favorite launches of 2012! It creates the most perfect beachy waves with the click of a button.

Check back tomorrow for more holiday gift inspiration.

The Best Home Spa-ing Experience I've Ever Had

Now that we’re into cozy season, my tea intake has increased substantially. I sip it most afternoons for a boost of antioxidants. Good for the body, soul and skin. Which is why La Bella Figura Healing Facial Steam Tea is genius. Tea for your face. So brills. A few Sunday’s ago, I experimented with my first facial tea steam. Just as you would if you were drinking tea, boil some water, but instead of pouring it in a mug, fill up a medium-sized bowl and steep the tea. Then, drape a towel over yourself and the bowl and let the steam from the tea purify your face (make sure it’s clean first!). I felt like I was at the spa and not hunched over my kitchen island with a towel over my head.

Chicago-based La Bella Figura actually grew many of the flowers and herbs used in the tea in a Chicago community garden. Love! This tea smelled phenomenal with a mix of jasmine flower, calendula, lavender and marshmallow root (all known for soothing properties) and cardamom which delivers anti-inflammatory benefits. It was a gentle detoxifier. After steaming for about 10-15 minutes, I took advantage of my open pores and masked with LBF’s Bio Active Healing Mask which has so many fantastic ingredients, one primary being manuka honey sourced from New Zealand, known for its healing enzymes and unique antibacterial components.

Before rinsing the tea down the drain, I soaked a cotton pad and used it as a toner post-mask.  My skin was glowing after this adventure, and the ritual was good for the soul. Sundays are notorious for the mental “Monday’s coming” games and a little pampering is what a girl needs to prepare for the week.

Check out the Facial Steam Tea, as well as this adorable gift set which gives you a chance to try a bunch of LBF skin treats. And maybe wait to Cyber Monday…our sources tell us that there is going to be an unbelievable deal at LBF (we’re not being cute, we truly don’t know what it is yet!)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Beauty Deals

 

AHAVA. 40% off with code BLACKFRIDAY Wednesday, Nov. 21 – Sunday, Nov. 25. ahavaus.com

ARCONA. 40% off any ARCONA product on Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24. arcona.com

BECCA. On Wednesday, Nov. 21 (beginning at noon) through Saturday, Nov. 24 (ending midnight PST), receive 20% off any $50 purchase, plus complimentary standard shipping, with code GIVETHANKS.  beccacosmetics.com

Birchbox. On Monday, Nov. 26, receive bonus points on all purchases with a “Shop and Score” promotion. Spend $35, earn 35 points + 35 bonus points for 70 total ($7 value) with code CYBERMONDAY35. Spend $75, earn 75 points + 125 points for 200 total ($20 value) with code CYBERMONDAY75. Spend $150 earn 150 points + 350 bonus points for 500 total ($50 value) with code CYBERMONDAY150.Birchbox.com.

Coola. 25% off on all products (excluding Mineral Baby and Sun Essentials Kit) Monday, Nov. 26 with code HAPPYMONDAY.  coolasuncare.com.

Dr. Dennis Gross. Friday, Nov. 23, receive a free Active Vitamin D Serum-Oil (1 oz.) on purchases of $50 or more with code CYBER12. Dr. DG’s Friends & Family Sale (25% off) kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 24 – Tuesday, Nov. 27 with code FF2012. dgskincare.com.

Dr. Hauschka. With $50 purchase, get a free limited edition hand cream on Monday, Nov. 26. drhauschka.com

John Masters Organics. 25% off the entire line of all natural care products from Thursday, Nov. 22 – Monday, Nov. 26 with HOLIDAY12 at checkout. johnmasters.com

La Bella Figura. On Friday, Nov. 23, LBF is discounting its best-selling Decouverte Under Eye Repair by 40% between 12 pm – 5 pm (trust us, this is HUGE). Further, anyone who shops at labellafigurabeauty.com Nov. 23 – Dec. 24 and spends $100+ will be entered to win a custom perfume (and be part of the naming/creation process!)

mark. On Monday, Nov. 26, receive a free mark fashion and beauty gift set ($72 value) on any $40+ purchase with code MKCYBER. meetmark.com

Murad. $25 off all purchases $100 and up on Friday, Nov. 23 with code BLACKFRIDAY at Murad.com

NOURISH. 50% off all Nourish products using promo code CYBER at checkout.  NourishUSDA.com

Ouidad. Friday, Nov. 23 – Monday, Nov. 26, 25% all orders on Ouidad.com with code FFCURL.

Smashbox. From Wednesday, Nov. 21 – Monday, Nov. 26, receive 20% off all products with code FRIENDS2012. smashbox.com

Stila. Online warehouse sale (with deals up to 80% off!) begins Monday, Nov. 26 – Sunday, Dec. 2. stilacosmetics.com

StriVectin. Friday, Nov. 23 – Monday, Nov. 26, receive a free full-size SH Dermal Infusion Mask ($49 value) plus free shipping on any online orders on strivectin.com with code JOY.

The Body Shop. On Friday, Nov. 23, The Body Shop will offer 3 items for $30 in the entire store (excludes pre-packaged gifts, gift cards, Love Your Body™ memberships and charitable items.) Online, receive a 14-piece Mistletote collection for $30 when you spend $30. thebodyshop-usa.com

Thymes. On Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, receive a free Frasier Fir Candle with any orders over $50. ($17 value) Thymes.com

Vapour. Friday, Nov. 23 – Monday, Nov. 26, 30% off all Vapour products (except samples) using code BLACKFRIDAY12. VapourBeauty.com

How to Choose Your Black Eyeliner, Bobbi Brown Style

Perhaps the most universal and widely-used item in a makeup bag is black eyeliner. For nearly two decades, I’ve been using this staple. There’s been good times and bad times. Smoky and precise. Smudges on purpose and many more due to experimentation gone wrong. My technique vastly improved when I hit my 20s and discovered Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. That phase lasted for years — it was literally all I used (Black and Violet Ink were my go-tos).  I’ve since expanded my options, but I do think of Bobbi Brown as the eyeliner guru. It’s a category, among others, that she owns. So it makes sense that she would release an entire collection dedicated to black eyeliner. Bobbi’s “Choose Your Black” is like a menu of personas. An eyeliner suited to match your state of mind, or your schedule.

Let’s meet the line-up.

The Classic.  Like the grey t-shirt of eyeliner, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner never goes out of style. Impossible to mess up, beginners and pros alike rely on this formula.

The Artist. You will literally paint your makeup on with Bobbi’s new and limited edition Kohl Cake Liner. Get your brush a little wet and then dab it in the compact and build up the product to a consistency you like. I like to create an intense paste and do that whole tightline thing. It’s just like art class, but the masterpiece is your eyes. Bonus, this stuff has SERIOUS lasting power.

The Rocker. Indulge your inner baddie with Bobbi Brown Kohl Eyeliner (limited edition). Meant to be smudged and sexy, a few swipes of this Kohl (don’t forget the waterline!) and you’ve gone from day to nightlife. Better make plans! We find the Kohl is also excellent layered under eyeshadows.

The Over-Scheduled. a.k.a. Us on most days. When Bobbi first released the Long-Wear Eye Pencils, we were straight giddy. All the benefits of the original but in a time-friendly format. For the always busy woman, this option is quick and portable.

Bobbi Brown “Choose Your Black” was released with Bobbi’s holiday collection. Available now!

Just Another Mani Monday: Essie Leading Lady

Kicking off Thanksgiving week is a little sparkle on sequin action. I opted for the most festive polish of the season in honor of Thanksgiving this week. It is my favorite holiday, after all. Essie Leading Lady, from the Winter 2012 collection, is loaded with ruby red sparkles in a jelly finish. It’s truly perfect. Two coats are enough, but for more sparkle we’d order up a third. I think it will go great with the stretchy pants I plan to wear all day on Thanksgiving. For those that actually dress up, I applaud you. I have a mission to eat a lot of stuffing, and I find that leggings are the most forgiving for this important task! But, I did start my week off by wearing this fabulous sequin top from Loft. Isn’t it fabulous?

What are you wearing on your nails this week?

Making a Holiday Hair and Lip Statement with Revlon

My favorite holiday (Thanksgiving – stretchy pants day!) is in less than a week. I love everything about Turkey Day – especially the sides – but also that it is the official start of the holiday season. Which means holiday parties! And of course, deciding what to wear to those holiday parties. We teamed with Revlon this month to share some festive party hair and makeup inspiration. We promise – this look is quick and easy but will make it look like you spent a ton of time glamming it up.

Hair accessories very in the moment right now, so the look in the video centers around a statement hair jewel. I pulled my hair (which is now past the middle of my back) into a side bun and secured it with clear elastics before affixing a sparkly clip. My hair is far too long to use the clip to hold all of my hair so this alleviates the stress of a potential hair mishap mid-party. My makeup is simple with a bright red lip, which is always perfect but especially so during the holidays. I’m wearing Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Cherry Blossom, which is one of those classic colors that will work for everyone.

For more statement hair looks, click on over here to see the other Revlon bloggers in action.

NOTE: Click on the video image above to watch.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Revlon has contracted us to develop videos each month to highlight trends on InStyle.com.

Birchbox Debuts Limited Edition "Home" Box and Pop-Up Shop

Birchbox delivery days are almost always the high point of my month. Side note: today will be that day, as my box is currently out for delivery with my local USPS. Beyond just the obvious joy a box of beauty goodies brings me, Birchbox has also introduced me to some awesome “extras” — like the Mighty Leaf Green Tropical Tea (the best), the Twistband and even stylish plastic zip bags. So today’s news of a limited edition Birchbox Home and Holiday Pop-Up shop is truly exciting. The limited edition box, priced at $58 (with a $140+ value) is a must-gift for the holidays — for yourself or the hostess who graciously opens her home to you on Thanksgiving AND Christmas (in my case, my sister — sorry for the spoiler, Tricia!)