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.

Bette Davis: Larger than Life

Not sure why the cover image looks like a weird hybrid of Kate Winslet and Patti LuPone, but I'm totally into this hardcover about the no-nonsense icon. I also have one from the same series about Lana Turner, but I don't know anything about her other than she was a blond siren and not nearly as dark as Davis .
I typically reference "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" whenever I spot someone wearing a manic amount of makeup (caked-on rouge and the like), so this book is apropos. Check it out

G2 Organics Odorless Nail Polish Remover

Packaged prettier than your typical plastic bottle of pink Cutex, this organic, non-toxic remover comes in a glass bottle and it's free of any tell-tale remover scent, so it can be used pretty much anywhere.
According to press info, it's made with aloe vera extract, vitamin E, corn-derived butyl diglycol, an embittering agent and grain-derived ethyl alcohol.
That should be enough, but the brand seemingly wants to market it as an extreme "wellness" product, so there are also "reiki-charged crystals" swimming around, to "promote relaxation, healing and stress reduction." Because taking you nail polish off is SO stressful. $15.95, 

Nature's Gate Organic Travel Set

Can't get more natural than this set, which features travel-sized Chamomile and Lemon Verbana scented organic shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash in a 100 percent recyclable package. The products are even made on a farm somewhere. I'm sure it's lovely and someone in the office would like it, so in the free pile it goes. Ideal component for a "green" gifting story. $9.99, 

Monday, November 2, 2009

InStyle: The New Secret of Style

Many of these "how-to" style books always strike me as a bit ... Bland? Repetitive? Patronizing? Yes, yes and yes. Some are cool to browse through to in order to get inspired, but I always feel like the instructional books just reiterate cliche ideas of what's "classic" and "timeless." (We know, all women should have a crisp white shirt, a trench, a pencil skirt, an LBD, a well-cut pair of black trousers, blah, blah, blah). This book, by the editors of InStyle, probably would resonate with the readership of my publication though. While readership is large, a cutting-edge, fashion-forward crowd don't depend on us for style advice.

Clinique Happy-To-Go Fragrance Pencils

Loooooving the idea of these perfumed mini pencils, although I'm personally not a fan of the insanely cheery/floral/fresh scents that Clinique is known for (probably because I used to quite literally douse myself in Happy my freshman year of college). This kit is super-cute, however, and lots 'o people would probz like to receive it. The scents — Happy, Wealth of Flowers and Hint of Citrus — are pretty much headaches waiting to happen for me, so in the free pile they go. $30, Sephora

Beauty Blender/Cleanser Duo

For months, I'd been contemplating going into Ricky's and buying a Beauty Blender makeup sponge but wasn't down with committing to the price tag. As luck would have it, one landed at my desk, along with a bottle of makeup sponge and brush cleanser. Looking forward to featuring the duo in an upcoming beauty story I'm planning. $34.95, Ricky's or Beautyblender

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Creme

Supposedly a wrinkle buster, this schmancy cream blends faux-sounding ingredients such as organic immortelle and myrtle essential oils to supposedly stimulate collagen and hike up skin's micrcirculation. $95, L'Occitane

Yosi Samra fold up ballet flats

It seems like everyone and their mom are coming out with foldable flats these days. It's probably because heel heights have gone the way of strippers (Case in point: I've recently taken to walking around NYC in these, which I bought, BTW, with money).
I've gotten a couple different brands of the flats and think Yosi Samra's are the best. I was given pairs in black suede and rose gold leather, though they come in a billion colors. $55 a pair.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Scented Soy Candle

Totally down with this Iowa Pine scented candle from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day. It smells piney and holiday-esque and cozy and so much better than other nasty floral candles I promptly place in the free pile. And for $9.99, I feel compelled to let readers know all about it. Also, they claim you can re-use the "jelly jar" the candle comes cased in. Certainly an A for sustainable effort, Mrs. Meyers.  Get it! 

Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation

So now, I have the option of knowing every single thing there is to know about periods and menstruation, all from this cheekily-designed little book. Can't decide if it's right for my publication, though ... Considering a small write-up. Will hang on to it for a bit. It retails for $27.99 and comes out next week.

Palette fever

LORAC Double Booked Full Faced Collection, $55, Sephora

Too Faced Glamour Revolution, $39.50, Sephora

Got these today. Here's the thing about these sprawling palettes: They're a dream to look at but they're so impractical. I like to tote my makeup around with me and I highly doubt I'd shove this in my bag every day and bust it out for touch-ups. I will say this, though: They make good gifts, and these two aren't filled with crap like so many others — there's actually some nice shit in here.