Monday, December 18, 2017

Last Minute Gifting With Armani Fragrances

Is it just me or is the holiday season just FLYING by in the blink of an eye. I'm trying to take in all of the beauty of this season as much as I can because at this rate, I'll be in the thick of winter and desperately missing all of the sparkle of this joyous time of year.

One of my favorite activities during this festive season is gift shopping. I love gifting and really make an effort in choosing gifts I know my friends and family will love. However, my dear older sister would greatly disagree as my gifting skills weren't the best in 2015. I had gifted her an array of luxury items I just so happened to love myself. These gifts, while lovely, were not so much her style and she kindly passed them my way upon opening. I truly kept her in mind during my gift shopping trips but sometimes things go in a different direction. While I've since earned back my gifting title, this silly and amusing story is brought up every Christmas. It always makes me giggle and reminds me of this cute advert featuring Olivia Palermo. 

For some gifting can be a troubling task during this stressful time. Most responsible individuals have wisely completed most, if not all of their holiday shopping during high sale events (Black Friday, Cyber/Green Monday) and are just left with the incredibly fun task of wrapping (my ultimate favorite holiday activity!). For those late shoppers who are scrambling to find the perfect gift for the elegant lady on their lists, I recommend turning to the classic and always fashionable option of luxury fragrance. More specifically, Armani's 2017 fragrance launches. 

Earlier this year, Armani launched two extravagant fragrances, Stronger With You and Because It's You as a pair with complementary notes in each. The former is a warm and spicy blend whereas the latter is a brighter blend of fruity florals. Interestingly, the SWY fragrance is marketed as a masculine, men's scent but upon chatting with an in-store Armani representative, it is, in fact, unisex (it can be found on the woman's fragrance wall at Sephora). Personally, I LOVE bold spicy and woodsy scents and this was right up my alley. I've worn David Yurman Exotic Essence for years and found this to be a sharper upgrade to my classic DY scent.

Over the years I've become well known to over spritz on more than one occasion and have therefore gone through quite a few bottles of my favorite fragrances. As a heavy handed lover of beautiful scents, I was tempted to really spray on these two for my first week of testing. Thankfully, a couple of sprays was more than enough for a lasting effect. On my initial test of  longevity, I sprayed both (on different days) once on my forearms and on my scarf and to my surprise, both had beautifully worn past their initial notes and softly blended into their respective scent profiles. Each lovely scent lingers on the skin without becoming sickening or disappearing completely as most fragrances often do.

While the lush notes in each are enough to make this a holiday hit, it's their lasting quality, chic presentation, and unique blends that make this a memorable gift.  

Warm & Spicy 
Notes: Pink pepper, Sage, Cederwood, Cardamom, Violet 

Fruity Floral (and light musk)
Notes:Raspberry, Vanilla, Rose

Whether you choose to gift the travel size (1 oz) or full-size (3.4 oz), add a personal touch by monogramming the bottle  with your giftee's initials. Sephora stores offer this complimentary in-store service with each fragrance purchase (any brand/scent) and offer a variety of colors and font options.

From the elegant and bold notes in Stronger With You to the bright floral profile of Because It's You, these unique fragrances are sure to please the special lady on your list.

Happy Holiday Shopping! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How To Create The Perfect Winged Liner

The perfect element to a glamorous makeup look, winged eyeliner has always been a beautiful way to elongate and frame the eyes. Whether pairing with a classic red lip or creating a sultry dramatic eye (think Arabic-style eye makeup), this lovely liner isn't the easiest of styles to master.

Often times requiring lots of practice, winged eyeliner becomes easier with time. I've learned that it's all about hand placement, how you hold the brush or liner and the pressure of application. A heavy hand will result in a messy application -- an undesirable look that leads to that dreaded raccoon-eyed smudge. Read on for the different types of liners you can use to achieve this chic swoosh and food-proof tips for getting it right every time.


The classic eyeliner we all overused during our JHS/HS years, a pencil liner is like an old friend that won't let you down. Designed to give you control, yet soft enough to smudge into a smokey look, a pencil liner is forgiving during clean up. While layering will give you a darker shade, pencils will never provide that slick, super dark flick of liner you'd get with alternative products. (Remember to always sharpen the tip when creating a winged look).

To some, a liquid liner is the easiest way to create a wing. Wet, quick and inky, these thin brushed liners allow you to get that sharp look with a simple flick of the wrist. However, while easy, liquid liners aren't the best for long wear as they tend to smear by end of day and breakdown in ultra hot weather. Be sure to have it on hand for reapplication and cosmetic cotton buds for quick cleanup.

Personally, I find these type of liners the best for achieving this look. Unlike liquid liners, felt-tips provide more control and less chances to mess up as there isn't any drying time. The sharp tip not only allows for a clean wing, but provides swift application without much effort.

Gel/Clay (Potted)
You'll need a slanted or thin liner brush to use these liners. Best for extended wear and sometimes waterproof, gel and clay formulas allow you to paint on a wing with ultimate precision. The smooth texture helps glide on product along the lash line and pull a wing without dragging. With use, product can dry out and require more work to get it on. However, mixing in a drop of makeup remover will revive a dry pot of liner and bring it back to its smooth consistency. Though each product varies, an additional layer may be needed to increase the intensity of color.

Powder to Product 
I always suggest mapping out your desired shape using a thin, slanted liner brush and dark eye shadow prior to liner. Not only is shadow more forgiving if mistakes occur but light strokes help create a perfectly shaped foundation. Once you've reached your perfect wing, use your preferred liner and apply over your shadowed shape. (Using shadow and a liner brush is also great for practice. Getting a feel for the brush and the angles of your unique eyes is essential in getting a great wing every time)

Connect the Dots 
Using your preferred product, apply five dots along the upper lash line, the last dot will be where you'd like your wing to end. Slowly applying liner from dot to dot will help you create an even shape before the dramatic wing. Once you reach your fourth dot (just before the end of your lash line), pull it up to the fifth and last dot. Neatly fill the wing and go over or thicken any spots you feel need editing. 

A method best used with inky products (liquid, felt, gel), use the entire tip of your liner as a stamp along the lash line. Holding the brush or liner at an angle, lightly tap it as close to the lashes and follow through to the end. Once lined, softly drag the tip over any missing spots. To create the wing, re-angle the tip at the end of the lash line and tap to your desired wing. Once stamped, fill the area to even the flick.

Final tip: For added balance/control, place your pinky on your cheekbone while lining your eyes. It'll stop the shaking and help you create the perfect winged liner. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Skincare Solutions To Repair Rough and Damaged Skin

With so many commitments filling up our daily schedules, it's easy to start neglecting the seemingly unimportant things like skin care. (As a beauty expert, this is quite the sin, I know!) Skin care is VERY important, especially at the start of a new season as weather can greatly affect the health of your skin. 

From harsh environmental pollutants to wild temperature imbalances and beyond, the skin absorbs all sorts of toxins and without proper protection, weakens in these conditions. In my case, it was prolonged sun exposure without proper recovery. At the start of this summer, I made my usual skin product swaps which included a major upgrade in sunscreen, a lighter moisturizer and a refreshing face wash. However, with the harsh heat and stronger sun rays, my skin was starting to take a beating and I was just too busy to care. 

A huge mistake I immensely regretted. My skin had accumulated a disgusting layer of dead skin that pushed my already oily skin into overdrive. It resulted in a super oily mess that barely held on to any foundation (even with a strong primer) or cosmetics. I realized my out-the-door, skimped skincare routine was not enough for all the sunscreen and makeup I was layering on my skin. It was only when the texture of my skin visibly started to look battered and blotchy that I started to take notice. Thankfully, these simple skin rules and superstar products reversed all that damage,  repaired and restored my skin to its normal, smooth and radiant texture. 

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good exfoliation. Not only does it rid the skin of dry, dead build up but really cleans the skin and gives it a proper, gentle buffing. Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub has been a favorite of mine as it’s mild enough for daily use and really gives skin a deep clean.

Detox, detox, detox! So many factors contribute to congested skin and nothing properly remedies that than an effective detox mask. So many toxins were hanging out in my skin causing enlarged pores and rough, dull and oily texture. Thankfully Caudalie Instant Detox Mask really pulled away the dirt and left my skin feeling refreshed radiant and with visibly tightened pores.

Be sure to use a warm damp muslin cloth (love Eve Lom muslin cloths, large and lasting!) to remove the mask as it’ll allow you to effectively remove access dirt/oils and exfoliate simultaneously.

HYDRATE (facial oil) 
An individual who has oily complexion might think it’s absurd to apply oil to your skin but I assure you, facial oils are easily one of the greatest skincare products. Thinner than an actual moisturizer and more moisturizing (as I see on my skin), facial oils evenly sink into skin and heal troubles in a soothing manner. Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil not only repaired my overworked, damaged skin but made it smoother and brighter with extended use. Best of all, its amazingly relaxing scent makes me feel like I just left a luxurious spa treatment. 

Hopefully my skin care mistakes will remind you to make time for your skin. It is important to spend that extra 30 minutes or so every weekend to revive your skin and pay attention to its unique needs. A little time will lead to a more youthful and radiant appearance down the line. 

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Reviving Winter Skin with Clarins Skin Boosters

Between frigid temperatures, unexpected snow and icy winds, our skin suffers quite a bit during the winter season. Whether you're experiencing excessive dryness or overall lackluster skin, you'll find yourself adding more to your skincare routine in the colder months. While one moisturizer may help with hydration, a handful of other products are needed to repair, revive and heal your skin. Thankfully, Clarins latest skincare offering enhances your current skin cream to your unique needs. This potent trio of oils were uniquely created with our greatest skincare woes (fatigued, polluted and damaged skin) in mind. Meant to be paired with your favorite moisturizer, Clarins Boosters are sure to take your skin care game to the next level.


Unique Ingredient: Ginseng extract (known for its revivtalizing properites)
Major Skin Boosts: Radiance, Tone, Reversing signs of fatigue/dullness

Especially after a full holiday season, our skin is definitely partied out. Tired, lackluster and dull skin is common during the colder months and in need a major reboot. That radiance and lively complexion we all love is easily achieved with a few drops (3-5), with results showing in single week.


Unique Ingredient: Mimosa tenuiflora extract (helps with skin recovery)
Major Skin Boosts: Overall healing, soothing properties, redness and over stimulated skin is calmed with use

We've all  weathered some harsh winds and angry winter weather conditions. Not only do these frustrating environmental factors weaken skin but leaves our skin vulnerable to constant damage like mild burns, redness and excessive dryness. If this is your major concern, try incorporating Repair boost into your skincare routine.


Unique Ingredient: Green coffee extract (rich in caffeine which helps detoxify skin)
Major Skin Boosts: Rids skin of toxins/congestion, revitalizes skin and promotes a more youthful texture to otherwise tired, lifeless skin

Regardless of season, environmental pollutants tend to roughen up our skin. Whether its clogging up the pores, causing unusual breakouts or stripping the skin of moisture, we all need bit of a strong boost that aids a multitude of issues. While some products deep clean and rid the skin of pollutants, a daily product that is both gentle and effective may be a wiser choice. Best of all, Detox Booster is the just the pick your skin will need after a late night out.

Whether your skin is itching for help in these major areas or is need of an overall upgrade, these unique products are worth giving a try. Interestingly, these versatile little wonders can be used in a variety of ways. While I like adding 3-5 drops to my daily moisturizer (Clarins Multi-Active Day SPF 20), they can be added to other skincare starters like serums and masks. If you'd like an alternative, mix in a couple of drops into your foundation for a benefiting boost.

Important to note: All booster oils must be used as an additive rather than alone due to their highly concentrated formulas., $39