What's New in Beauty: NARS 413 BLKR, Pantone's Color of the Year and the Kate Spade bag I Must Have

Only one more week to go until Christmas! I am officially done with all of my holiday shopping as of about 4 p.m. today. I only had a few more things on my list to get, and it feels great to be done. What about all of you? Is it a wrap? Or are you procrastinating for a few more days? If so, here are a few more distractions from us to you! 

NARS 413 Bleecker Larger than Life Lip Gloss is one hawt red. Available online or at the flagship boutique at 413 Bleecker in New York. Feels very festive, no?  [NARSCosmetics]

Orange you excited for Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango? It looks like it will be everywhere come spring, in fashion and beauty. To get in on the trend now, try BUTTER London Jaffa. [The Wall Street Journal]

Katy Perry launched her second fragrance, Meow! by Katy Perry, at The Grove in Los Angeles earlier this week. Available exclusively at Nordstrom.

10 White Elephant Gifts to keep! [Refinery29]

Is it too late to add this Kate Spade Rosa Satchel to my Christmas wish list?  That patent bow is calling to me!  [Nordstrom]

Still looking for a stocking stuffer or two? We love this little set from Fresh! And…only $10. [Sephora]

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, BobbiBrown.com
  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, Birchbox.com
  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, DecleorUSA.com

A Few of Our Favorite Things…Cozy Edition

Winter is hard work. All of the layers, boots, hats and gloves needed just to go outside. I live for the moments at the end of the day and in the morning before work where I can just be cuddled up inside the house. I love getting cozy gifts, and giving them too. What woman doesn’t want warm and fuzzy slippers under the tree?

Here are our top picks for the cozy set this holiday season.

  1. Anthropologie Madero Hoodie – The details on this Sherpa-lined hoodie are what I love. The cinch-tie waist lends shape and the front flap pockets are just too cute. Plus, it’s long enough to wear with leggings. $88, Anthropologie.
  2. Fresh Sugar Advanced Lip Treatment The opposite of cozy is chapped lips. Fight the dryness with Fresh’s new Sugar Lip Treatment! $25, Sephora.
  3. Bath & Body Works Mistle-Toes Shea-Infused Knee Socks – When one pair of socks just isn’t enough, slipper socks save the day. How could you not be cozy in these? And, for those with hardwood floors, they have tread! (Winter is a dangerous time for me on my stairs. Tread, all the way). $9.50, Bath & Body Works.
  4. UGG Ansley Slipper – Oh, how I covet these slippers. Soft suede, shearling and a rubber sole. The grey shade is my favorite! $99.95, Nordstrom.
  5. Faux Fur Throw – This throw looks so luxurious, don’t you think? The faux fur is a nice touch. Can’t you just see yourself wrapped up in this with a good book and a cup of tea. $119, West Elm.

New! Fresh Passion Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment

Laurie JUST now informed me that there’s a new Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment on Sephora’s website, the new Fresh Passion Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment. This has this gal excited, I own all of these and the addition of a new sheer crimson red is perfection in a tube. With a name like Passion, part of me hoped there was some passion fruit scent or flavoring to this but then I realized, nope… Fresh wouldn’t stray from their memorable scent/flavoring. The “passion” here refers to the tint. It also refers to how I feel about this lip balm! 😉

Currently Loving for Summer: Monochromatic Bronze Makeup

Over the long holiday weekend, I found myself reaching for a familiar few products to give me a bronzed look with a touch of shimmer. It’s an easy summer look that feels natural that takes no more than five minutes. I’ve been a stickler for skin care this summer. Determined not to get too much sun (or any on my face, really) and keep my skin in balance. It’s been working, and as a result I’ve been able to abandon a lot of face makeup. My hero product to thank (not shown here) is definitely the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads.

Here’s the rundown on my other bronzing essentials:

Stila All Over Shimmer Duo – Both Carla and I use this constantly. On the eyes, on the cheekbones. Anywhere goes. I find I dust the lighter portion on my eyelids and along my cheekbones and take the darker shade and apply just under my browbone. It gives some dimension to my eyes without really wearing eyeshadow.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse – Finished brows are critical to any makeup look, but especially a “no-makeup” look. They pull everything together and give the face some structure. I use Tarte’s Brow Mousse (exclusive to QVC right now) in Taupe. I love the formula and the brush it comes with too! It gives a very natural look, and the Taupe is a perfect match.

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart MascaraTarte makes amazing mascaras – and the best part is they contain ingredients that help repair and strengthen your lashes. This is crazy volumizing and really opens up my eyes. Oh, and no flaking or smearing. It’s not waterproof, but I haven’t experienced any breakdown on a hot (and sweaty) day. And, it’s only $19. If you’re a Dior girl, you should yourself the $$ and give this a try. It’s better.

Fresh Sugar Honey Tinted Lip Treatment – Sugar Honey is a rosy nude with a hint of brown (see swatch below) and is very natural on the lips. It also has SPF 15!

Fresh Sugar Honey swatch

Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Liner in Rock Candy – These liners wowed me from the start, and I’ve been favoring the sparkly bronze Rock Candy liquid eyeliner lately. It’s more fun than a matte version and easier to apply than a cream, gel or pencil. Perfect for summer.

NARS Laguna Illuminator – I squeeze out about two drops on the back of my hand, take my MAC 131 (a flat duo-fibre powder brush) and blend as a counter on the cheeks, along the sides of my face and along my jawline. It’s a sparklier formular, but it doesn’t look glittery on the face, just bronzed. It feels wonderful on the skin too — the liquid is a blast of cool which I welcome when the humidity level in my bathroom is high.

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer – If I’m going for a bronzed look, I’ve got to keep my pores in check. This primer does tthe trick by creating a flawless canvas. It contains vitamins A & C, Mulberry extract and a dose of retinol to perk up tired skin. It comes out of the tube in a nude color but blends into skin without color.

New! Fresh Sugar Honey Lip Treatment

Fresh is introducing a new tinted lip treatment to their line up. This time we’re getting a warm nude tint lip treat. The Fresh Sugar Honey Lip Treatment is already available on Sephora and retails for $22.50. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Yes. Laurie is already ordering hers before the Sephora discount code expires. Here’s how it compares to the other shades:

Have you tried Fresh’s Tinted Lip Treatments yet? I’m excited about this new shade, it is much more “me” then the other shades.

DIY Manicure Must-Haves

Nine times out of 10, any manicure you see in Just Another Mani Monday is a DIY-er. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting my nails done but I usually just do it myself. I’ve gotten into a Sunday ritual of pampering — hair mask, face mask and manicure. It’s really my favorite time of the week and helps me mentally prepare for the work week ahead. And I’ve come to rely on certain products to give me the spa feeling at home.

While Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish lives in my shower, I take it out on Sundays to give my hands a good scrub. There’s nothing better, as far as I’m concerned. It sloughs off all of the dead skin and contains tons of moisturizing oils. I love how it leaves my hands so soft.

I began using Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover about a year ago, and now I can’t remember what I ever did without it. I squeeze it around my entire nail cuticle, and it does the work on its own. For good measure, I use a cuticle pusher to do some tidying and then rinse. This needs to be in every woman’s bathroom cabinet!

I keep my nails a pretty short length, so if needed, I use a nail clipper to trim and then use Trim’s 7-Way Buffer. I actually hoard these and keep them at work and home. They’re just a few dollars, and one of the most useful beauty tools I own. I love side 4 “even out” as a final step in filing because it helps ride of any jagged edges that inevitably wreak havoc mid-polish.

The key to a lasting manicure is less about the actual polish but all of the other protectants, base, topcoat, etc. I have many random favorites in this area, CND Stickey Base and Seche Vite to name a few, but Zoya’s Color Lock System is a really good all-in-one kit. I use the Armor Top Coat as a refresher a few times during the week to protect my mani. And there’s also a polish rejuvenator which is a life-saver for bringing polishes back to life.

After I scrub and before I polish, I always lather up my hands with lotion. And nothing feels more salon-like than using salon lotion. I love Qtica’s Smart Spa Lotion in Papaya Star. Not many salons near me use Zoya products, so I’m happy to use it at home.

What are your DIY mani-must haves? Any tips to share?

Best of 2010: Our Favorite Lip Products

It was really hard to narrow down our favorite lip products of 2010, because we saw the arrival of so many amazing products. And for as much of a gloss fiend I consider myself to be, most of the lippies I tipped my hat to in 2010 are lipsticks! Here’s a closer look at what we deem to be the best of the best in lips for 2010.

Chanel Rouge Coco – It all began with those gorgeous ads of Vanessa Paradis wearing Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle. I saw these in nealry every bus station and train stop in Chicago for months. Great ads, yes. But, absolutely great lipstick to back it up! I love the color selection and the formula works great on my lips. It’s long-lasting and looks and feels luxurious. My favorite shade, and I now have many, is by far Chintz from the Chanel’s Fall Collection.

NARS Pure Matte – The return of the matte lip for fall was a trend that made me wary, but we both love NARS Pure Matte. These are a fresh and updated version to the matte lip and this formula does not give you “Sahara lips.” Carla got a lot of wear time with Volga, and I rotate often between Bangkok and Tashkent, the perfect rosy and nude, respectively, shades.

Tarte Natural Lip Stain – Tarte’s Natural Lipsurgence Lip Stain revolutionized stains for us by introducing a glossy, moisturizing one this spring. They’ve got jojoba seed oil, vitamins E and C and, like all Tarte products, none of the “bad” stuff. They have a refreshing minty effect as well due to the addition of peppermint oil. We always have one of these nearby — a must if you haven’t tried yet!

Chanel Extrait de Gloss – Before you wonder if I’ve lost that loving feeling for gloss, just know, it’s still there! Chanel’s Extrait de Gloss is easily my favorite gloss launch of the year. The colors are so pigmented, yet sheer and juicy (I’m FULL of contradictions in this one, I know!). I love the nude shades, but the bright pink Insolence has left a lasting impression on me.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture – Carla’s all about this lipstick in Rose Stiletto, a rich berry rose that livens up her lips. The formula is feather light and it glides on the lips ever so easily. This lipstick is packed with pigment for full coverage and doesn’t dry lips out while it gives long lasting wear. Even though it’s got staying power, she can’t help but constantly pull this out of her makeup bag to touch up… the tube is so chic!

Carmex Moisture Plus Tinted Lip Balm – I discovered these in the fall, but now that it’s winter, I’ve been putting these on full-time duty. They’re the Carmex we know and love, but updated and with a tint! A perfect tint of color — a neutral pink or peach option. The fact that these are only $3 blows my mind.

MUFE Rouge Artist Intense – What impressed us the most with Make Up For Ever’s Rouge Artist Intense is the pigmentation and the finishes. Not everyone likes a matte lip, or a satin, etc. — and these come in three different finishes across 50 shades. I really like the bright satin pink (#37) used just slightly on with a clear gloss over it. It’s very brightening to my face. Carla did an awesome ombre lip with some of the nude shades for the MUFE Lips to Love contest. While we didn’t win (tear!), it was fun to do!

Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment – The original Fresh Lip Treatment is a legend in beauty circles, but with each new release, they keep upstaging themselves! Sugar Plum is my favorite yet because of its light berry color. It’s so flattering on my fair skin, not too dark or bright, and I love the scent and flavor. Can’t get enough of this product.

New! Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment

So I’m browsing the new arrivals on Sephora’s website, as I do every time I get one of their emails and am getting ready to place an order. And what did I see? The new Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment! I am addicted to the original Fresh Sugar (it is my overnight balm right now) and the Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatments so I’m happy to see that Fresh has introduced a new shade. Even though I love Rose, I’m looking forward to something with more color to it. You know what I mean? It’s the same super moisturizing, indestructible lip balm we all know and love only with a berry plum tint to it. Are you in? This is going in my shopping cart now

Fresh Imperial Bedroom Face Palette

Fresh Imperial Bedroom Face Palette

Since I am a cream product fiend, I’m just going to tell you about one more palette I am loving right now… Have you seen the Fresh Imperial Bedroom Face Palette? I picked it up a few weeks ago at Sephora and it was one of those times when from the moment I set eyes on it, I had to have it. It had me wondering why I never noticed this palette before.

When I read the name of this palette, I thought it was just perfect. When I see the shades in this palette, I think of candlelight and where is that appropriate? In the bedroom of course! If I were looking to enhance my come hither look (I don’t really have one but let’s pretend I do), this is the palette I’d reach for. This palette includes a cream Black Chemise Satin Line, a cream Gilded Satin Eye Luster, a cream Pale Moonlight Eye Luster, a cream Chantilly Lace Satin Luster and a Crown Rubies Lip Shine.

The products in the Fresh Imperial Bedroom Face palette are mostly sheer, the liner being the exception in this case. They give the face a great glow without appearing powdery or a chunky shimmer. The downside here is that the staying power is not great with the eye products. With my oily skin, the color is eaten up quickly but I haven’t tried them with a primer yet… that’s on my list of things to do. As highlighters (it is fine on the browbone) and lip color though, this palette works beautifully. Otherwise, you would need some touch-up time unless you only intend to the wear to last for a few hours. 😉