Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Benefit Stay Don't Stray Eye Primer

I just love Benefit's products, although I'm not sure it's the actual products I love or the always-cheeky, punchy packaging, which seems to undoubtedly be the brand's forte. This formula is essentially a tinted primer designed to keep concealers and eyeshadows in place and stop them from creasing. The brand is referring to the product as a "360 primer," as It's meant to be used all around the eye — from lid to underneath. Check it! 

Bourjois Volume Glamour Ultra Care Mascara

While I'm currently super into Estee Lauder's TurboLash (it vibrates to prevent clumping!), I do appreciate the fact that this Bourjois mascara is said to made with a formula that makes it ideal for gals with sensitive eyes. And, as anyone who knows me can tell you, my eyes are certainly sensitive. Good little product to feature in a light health or wellness story. It won't  hit shelves until early 2010, bee tee dubz.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bridal book madness

Oh, bridal books. Over the past couple of weeks, I've received quite a few. I assume this is because the holiday season is peak proposal time (or at least it is according to the gajillion wedding-related PR press releases I get).  I typically put these aside for the bridal planning sections we publish every couple of months, but today I started thumbing through them and noticed one started out like this: "He proposed! Congratulations! Finally, you're on route to the day you've been waiting for your entire life."
Um, not so fast, wedding psychos. I fully understand that the multi-million dollar wedding industry is based upon these types of rally cries, but I simply find the whole operation dreadfully outdated. Who has the time to stress out about napking rings, lighting schemes and the color of your bridal party's  shoes? Anyway, these authors are always good to use as sources for wedding stories, so I'll shut up now. 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

MAC in Lilyland Collection

Pearlmatte Face Powder

So Sweet, So Easy Cremeblend Blush

Optimistic Orange Cremeblend Blush

So, I often get preview packages from MAC containing samplings from their newest collections, which is a fantastic way to see what'll be hitting shelves. The latest package included a few differerent collections — Warm and Cozy (an array of taupes, browns), Love Lace (muted pastels) and MAC in Lilyland, the brand's new collabo with ultra-preppy (and wholly un-edgy) label Lily Pulitzer. The products combine Lily's signature restort-y, Mar-a-Lago-esque colors — flamingo pinks, bright oranges, pastel greens — while still maintaining MAC's modern sensibilities. The above are samples I recieved, though there's also juicy glosses, eye shadows and nail polish involved in the colleciton. A good move for Lily Pulitzer, I think, for lots of reasons. Available Jan. 7. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wines That Rock

Booze and rock: has there ever been a more intuitive pairing? Granted, I don't know how many people think "chardonnay" when they think "rock 'n' roll," but that's beside the point. These varietals — created by legendary rock managers RZO along with the Mendicino Wine Co. — are inspired by rock.  Haven't tested 'em out yet, but used “Forty Licks Merlot,” “Dark Side of the moon Cabernet” and “Woodstock Chardonnay” in a recent story. Get some wine here. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Philosophy holiday collection

Small holiday gifts don't get better than these limited-edition seasonal treats from Philosophy, which are beautifully packaged every year. I would totally bring one of these sets to a holdiay party and give it as a hostess gift. I'm keeping the Amazing Grace scent though, as it's light and feminine and — despite the fact I have a whole shelf of scents and don't even use perfume all that much— I heart it. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tocca 'Cleopatra' Solid Perfume

I loooove this charming Tocca solid perfume! It comes in a pretty gold-decorated compact, much like a lip balm, and that's housed in a gold foil-accented box inspired by Italian candies. According to Tocca, "lush greens fade into accords of sensual white jasmine and tuberose, leaving an exotic, rich dry down of warm patchouli, golden amber and rich vanilla musk." It's a dramatic description, but it's pretty spot-on. A darling, exciting little holiday gift, I think. You should really have this.  

Underneath it All: A Girl's Guide to Buying, Wearing and Loving Lingerie

Most of the books I've been getting lately are related to health and fitness, but I did get this cute little guide. It's actually a pretty comprehensive manual on finding the right lingerie and underthings for your style and body type — from tights to bras. It breaks down every type of underpinning imaginable, too, so it's perfect for gals who have no idea what a balconette bra or a tanga-cut pair of undies are (myself included).  Check it!

The Cocktail Primer

Happy Thanksgiving! I've been off for a couple of days, which is why postings have been non-existent. I imagine others are out as well, so I haven't received much stuff of interest. I did get this hardcover book, The Cocktail Primer. I always tend to like the idea of cocktail books better than the actual books themselves. I think it's because most folks that come over for cocktails are fine with beer or wine, so I never really feel the need to concoct snazzy drinks, though I always want to (and now that I've recently become enthralled with "Mad Men," maybe I will).  This book stood out because it's written by Eben Klemm, a pretty notable mixologist who now works exclusively for BR Guest restaurants (Dos Caminos, Blue Water Grill, 675, Primehouse, etc). There's nothing groundbreaking in the book, but it's a solid overview of the essentials of classic cocktail making. Here it is. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 2

So,  last year Urban Decay came out with the Book of Shadows — a lovely purple palette with pop-up flowers and a drawer filled with several of their top-selling eyeshadows. I had it, and liked it, although I rarely wear eye shadow.  Now, due its apparent cult following, they've introduced a new version for the '09 holiday season. When this was delivered, I was reading the press release and apparently, according to UD, the first volume was so immensely popular, it's going for $100 on eBay. Seriously. I checked it out and while I didn't see any going for that much,  I did see some for about half that. Wowza. Get yours now, since they're limited editions.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monster Heartbeats by Lady Gaga

Much like the rest of the planet (and probably parts of space), I've jumped aboard the Lady Gaga train because I'm digging these headphones (designed by Gaga herself and worn in her extravagant vid for "Bad Romance"). Does this make me a pitiable slave to pop culture? Probably. Especially since I'd get behind them even if they sounded like dime-store finds. But these "hi-res" earbuds — the latest addition to the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone series from audio-video accessory company Monster – will no question be a huge holiday gift this year and I intend to feature them. I was sent the chrome 'phones for review, but they also come in black and red. Embrace your slave!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Life NK collection

Adding to the arsenal of cult products that Brit import spa Space NK already has, this new signature line is all about simplicity and minimalism. The collection is comprised of daily essentials in various scents and purposes (wake up, wind down, soothe muscles, etc) and everything is free of parabans, silicones and sodium lauryl sulfate. Check out the whole collection

Chantecaille Les Petales Collection

It's been a truly busy week at work, and a week of parties at night, which is why I haven't posted in the last few days but I've gotten some cool stuff. My favorite just might be these stunning Chantecaille petal-shaped mini compacts, introduced specifically for the holiday season. For some reason, they strike me as charmingly old-fashioned and feminine and as soon as I opened the velvet pouch they each come in, I imagined my grandmother or one of the gals from "Mad Men" powedering their noses at some elegant affair. There's only three — a silky pressed powder, a sheer lip gloss and a highlighter (which I didn't get)— and they're so tiny, you can slip one into even the smallest purse. Looooooove these. $36 each. Get them! 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Burt's Bees Polka-Dot Perfect Mani-Pedi

This just came, and it's a variety of full-sized Burt's products for hands and feet (save for the random lip balm thrown in there). The kit is geared towards preparing for the "season's festivities" and includes an oversized jar of almond milk hand cream, coconut foot cream, cuticle cream, a nail file, cuticle sticks, pomegranate lip balm and a polka-dot case. $19.99, at drugstores or here

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Estée Lauder Blacker than Black Eye Collection

I was sent a sampling of Estée Lauder's new Blacker than Black collection, designed to help gals acheive a super-smoky party eye. The mascaras, which range in price from $19.50 to $32, are amped-up versions of six of the brand's top offerings and apparently, the scientists over at Estée Lauder "maximized color intensity and opacity using select Carbon Black and Black Iron Oxides and putting the pigment through an ultrasonic process. Whoa, sounds tres serious. I'm looking forward to testing them out, despite the fact that mascara doesn't typically excite me. In the collection, there's also a Double Wear pencil ($19) a shadow quad in blacks and grays ($35).
Available in December at makeup counters and the brand's site

MAC Do-the-Trick Buff and Line Brushes

MAC brushes are the bomb and they've just packaged five of their key selections into one hot kit. There are three different options, but the one I received is the "buff and line" kit, which includes:
168: A large angled contour brush
187: Duo fibre stippling brush 
209: Eyeliner brush
219: Pencil brush
252: Large shader brush 
And they come cased in a cool metallic makeup bag. 
Totally planning on featuring in some capacity. Get them.

Dionis Love Travel Kit

Natural, earthy, economical brand Dionis' products are, interestingly, made with goat's milk which is supposed to be A-OK for skin. I'd never sampled any and probably would have written these off, but the "Love" scent is super clean and showery. Not sure why the conditioner is the only one of the lot that's unscented (sucks because I try not to use shampoo very often), but whatevz. Check it!


Not sure I really comprehend this product. It's a clear, adjustable plastic strip, in the same vein as a bra strap, that's meant to hold up your pants without the weight or the look of a belt. I'm assuming it's targeted towards people whose pants are too big for them. My personal solution to this problem would be simple and onefold: Buy new pants. 
$16.95 each, IsABelt

The World in Vogue: People, Parties, Places

This fab coffee table book portrays a range of famous folks (actors, models, artists, designers, social figures, politicians, etc) in photos at parties, balls, weddings and at home as they appeared in Vogue from the '60s to the present. Obvz, all the photos were taken by bigwigs (Avedon, Ritz, Newton, Leibovitz, Frissell, etc) and they're awesome.
Get this book, which comes out 11/17.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mally Beauty

Mally Roncal — makeup artist and "The Rachael Ray Show" mainstay — recently launched her own line of cosmetics, Mally Beauty. These arrived as "stocking stuffer" suggestions. The glosses are mega shiny, and the eyeliner kit comes with five jewel-toned shades. The scent is based around the Sampaguita flower, the national flower of the Philippines, where Roncal is from. As expected, it's very floral. Not a huge fan of most perfumes, especially flowery scents, so in the free pile it goes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

La Mer Holiday Miracles

Now that the times seem to be improving a little, financially speaking, these might make nice "splurge" items for holiday coverage ... Last year, we kept gift coverage at low prices but now it might be cool to include a few luxury items, within reason.

The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything, 2nd Edition

I can never decide if these "guides to life," so to speak are meant to be taken seriously or if they're meant to be a little cheeky. I say this because they often combine practical knowledge (reducing your investment taxes, how to how to play Mah-Jongg, how to fix your own computer, how to drink wine) to the laughably improbable (how to react if confronted by a bear). This $32 NYT guide — a good gift for know-it-alls or know-nothings — looks like a dictionary and spans nearly 1,000 pages. 
Get smart here

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Batman Vault

Haven't really had a chance to look through this monster of a hardcover book, but they're calling in a "museum-in-a-book" so I'm guessing it includes a beyond in-depth look at the superhero. Totes wish I had a comic-loving friend to give this to, or a kid brother or something. Buy it for yours! 

Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick

What does a supermodel do after she's, well, supermodeled? Create a line of something, of course! Following in the steps of comely counterparts Ireland, Macpherson, Crawford and Klum (to name a few), Josie Maran tapped ino the power of a pretty lady selling shit and introduced a cosmetic collection centered around Argan Oil, known for its healing and beautifying properties. Maran also sells the oil in pure form, but this $22 stick is being marketed as a convenient, multi-purpose alternative that can be used on lips, skin, hair, bug bites, cuticles, etc ... Want it? 

Sharpie redux!

I got a huge clear plastic bubble delivered, filled with every color Sharpie under the sun ... and some minis too. They're doing a big holiday push, providing tips on how to use the markers creatively this season (hence, the new colors). They've also come out with new Sharpies that can be customized for different occasions. Who doesn't love a good permanent marker?

The Twilight Journals

Um, so kidding. I've never read a Twilight book in my life, or seen the flick for that matter, but I'm aware of the effect the franchise has on tweens and teens. I got this tin in the mail and I was sort of hoping it was filled with the actual books, so I could see what the brouhaha's all about without having to actually pick them up at the bookstore. I'm no literary elitist, but I'd rather not feed into the stereotype (young-looking caucasian gal buying Twilight at Barnes and Noble, with visions of a rumpled R-Patz swimming in her head). Anyway, these are blank journals with dreamy quotes from the books and plenty of room for lots of giddy entries about how hot vampire are. Twi-hards can get the set here.

Fierce Style: How to be your Most Fabulous Self

I know I sort of dissed "how-to" style books earlier, but I like Christian Siriano so whatever, call me a hypocrite. Plus, If I were the type to buy myself a style book, I might be more inclined to take his advice than some random editor. Unlike some others, this colorful, list-heavy book doesn't read like an instruction manual, it's more about fun with fashion and developing a personal style. It's also, naturally, filled with his signature phases ("hot tranny mess," "ferosh," "tickety-tack.") Here's a plus: He mentions the wonders of shopping designer at stores like TJ Maxx or MARSHALL'S (secret Mecca). Fab gift for a stylish someone, or funny gift for some who loathes Siriano. $25. Check it.

Samuel Adams Utopias

These were delivered to a bunch of editors throughout the office, compliments of Sam Adams. Considered an "extreme beer," this limited-edition concoction is meant to be enjoyed more in the manner of a cordial than a beer — snifter and all. It's also got a higher alcohol content than your typical brew (27 percent by volume). A few of us took small tastes, and it's much more along the lines of cognac, port or even a mild scotch, in terms of taste. It's syrupy and strong and probably good if you like that sort of flavor. It comes in a copper kettle and beer geeks aficionados are going wild for it. All that extra booze content comes at a cost: $150 per bottle. Available at specialty liquor stores starting this month. 

Lush Bathtime Favourites

Lush is really big on the bath bombs — fizzy, scented balls you toss in the bath. I've never actually used one (they normally go directly into the free pile) but I've featured them in the past. This season, Lush introduced nine of their top bombs in a reusable tin. Like most holiday sets, the packaging makes it a kicky little gift. $39.50, here

Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Holiday Kit

A trio of Sue Devitt's chunky eye intensifier pencils are now packaged for the holiday season and include three different colors. They claim the liners are made with "special ingredient" Nylon-12, which "expands and contracts with facial movements without creasing or cracking, guaranteeing durability and long-lasting coverage." $42, get it

Lumnique customized candles

Just got this gorgeous box with a candle from Lumnique, a new company that allows people to customize their own candles for any occasion —  a perfect gift idea. Choose your intention, fragrance, color and a personalized message. Each candle comes with a printed card bearing the recipient's name and an explanation of why the candle was chosen for them and what it means as well as a book of matches. The sample sent to me is vanilla-scented and it was created for "abundance." That seems fitting. Candles retail at $30. Design one! 

NARS Holiday 2009

Shades: Arabesque, Chinatown, Candy Darling and Saratoga

Shades: Misbehave/All Night Long, Pillowtalk/Sandpiper, Orgasm/Chihuahua and Greek Holiday/Stolen Kisses

For some women, it takes a little blue box to get them all revved up, but for me it's that little black box with the overlapping white letters. I've always been a fan of NARS makeup and I actually like their yearly holiday gift ideas because they're foolproof. Even if she's not that into makeup, chances are she won't scoff about getting some NARS shit. This season, they've put out a bunch of mini kits, but the two I received are glosses and nail polish, each including cult favorite shades. 

E.L.F. Holiday Makeup Palette

I heart E.L.F. — it's cheapie makeup but most of the quality is pretty good. And most of their stuff costs, like, $1. This gargantuan palette is packed with a billion shadows, glosses, blush and bronzer ... The type of thing I gluttonously enjoy having in my possession but may be a tad too clunky to use on the regular. This one is $40, but they also come in smaller sizes for $15 and $30.
Not a bad gift for a beauty junkie that's not a snob, a label whore or a biatch.
Go to budget heaven:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Boat books ahoy

Not sure if there's a sky-high demand these days for books about extravagant boats but I got two today, so apparently people are writing them. Nice gifts for enthusiasts, I suppose ... Outrageous Yachts soooo makes me wish I was lounging my ass off in Sardinia or even Miami on a hot-ass Benetti with a Kir Royale in hand.

Per-Fekt Double Duty Duo

The makers of Per-fekt should totes be in debt to their PR gals, as they pitch the shit out of this stuff, which is essentially a gel-like primer that improves the look of skin before makeup goes on. This holiday kit includes an eye version, which is meant to quell puffiness, shadows and wrinkles. I have a bunch at my desk, since the team sends them for every thinkable occasion. This duo retails for $75. Henri Bendel will carry the duo starting this month, but it's also available on the brand's site.