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A childhood interest for art and design grew into a passion for all things beauty. Currently, I’m still smitten.


Your Time to Shine

Tis the season to show off! Summer showcases sexy skin, shiny hair, arms, legs, decollete, shoulders, and just about everything else. You want to be sure you shine (b)right.

SKIN: Start by displaying radiant skin. KIEHL'S Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil ensures skin looks dewy, soft and smooth./$30 at for 4 oz.

HAIR: Got dry, flat, dull hair? MATRIX BIOLAGE Delicate Care Organic Certified Oil Treatment does away with all three. Tames fly aways, restores sheen, and softens dry coarse hair. Paraban and silicone free. Retails for $22 at fine salons.

NAILS: Maintain your mani/pedi with RIMMEL London Lasting Finish Professional Base & Top Coat Pro. Special time-released formula enhances shine overtime and creates a smooth glossy finish that lasts up to ten days./$3.99 at drugstores

LIPS: Amped up 3-D shine without the goop in this gloss. LORAC Multiplex 3-D Lip Gloss has holographic pigments for a super lacquered look. Moist texture keeps lips ultra glossy. Try Cliche for a burst of color/Five other shades at $22 each at


Vanity Products Approved by Skin Pros

Luxury cleansers and moisturizers boast claims of radiant skin but at a considerable cost (think LaMer, Armani Beauty, Cle de Peau). Replenish your vanity with dermatologist approved skin products at a fraction of the cost.

CETAPHIL Gentle Skin Cleanser: the classic cleanser gently removes makeup and impurities without stripping skin. It gets the job done sans irritating ingredients, foaming agents or fragrance. Approx $10 at drugstores nationwide.

NEUTROGENA Oil Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Gentle Scrub: mild microbeads with salicylic acid removes dead skin and opens pores. Contains calming aloe and chamomile to sooth irritations/$6.99 at Target. Skin looks clearer and feels smoother.

EUCERIN Everyday Protection Face Lotion: Clinically proven safe for the most sensitive skin. Protects against UVA & UVB rays that cause wrinkles, sunburn, and skin cancer. Provides moisture all day long and can be worn alone or under makeup....a steal for $8 at RiteAid.
Yep...Big payoffs are in store for those who take skin care seriously. Even if it doesn't cost alot.


Taking Short Cuts

For those of you who know me personally, you know I am a fan of short hair. I feel it suits me. Although every now and then, I have stray thoughts of "Kardashian" hair, for the most part, I LOVE a short cut.

Short styles are sexy, modern and highlight your features all at once. Some offer easy maintenance. Some invite a new attitude. But sometimes, it can be addictive. You may tire of the same look and want something else. With options limited to color, you may go shorter. Edgier. Extreme.

Whatever short 'do you choose, before chopping off your locks, take these recommendations to heart:

  • Consider your face shape.
  • Pay attention to your jawline, neck and shoulders.
  • Take note of your hair texture.
  • Reference your stylist for suggestions.
  • Get regular trims to maintain style.

Other celebs rockin' short cuts I love: Nia Long, Malinda Williams, Pink, Katie Holmes (the bob), Toni Braxton, and Kiera Knightly.


NARS Multiple Tints...Limited Edition

What's super easy to apply? Works for eyes, cheeks and lips? And seemingly goof-proof? The Multiple Tint Makeup Stick from NARS.

The makeup stick creates shimmering accents, contours and highlights nicely on every skin tone. And don't be thrown by the shades. They look incredibly vibrant, even border on clownish but the sheer wash of color is bee-u-tee-ful. (check out the swatches on my skin...pretty, right?) The cream stick blends well and the pigment deposits a sheer wash of color that's buildable. I think it works best on bare skin or after foundation.
Three shades: Beverly Hills (red); Cadaques (fuchsia); and Turks & Caicos (orange).
The look is a long-wearing dewy finish. It can be worn alone or layered with your favs. Travels well and retails for $38 at, Sephora or Nordstorm. Bottom line: If you want minimal product with maximum effects, this one is for you.


All About Eyes at CLINIQUE

Are you burning both ends of the candles? Overworked and overly tired? You may notice that your eyes are telling the story even if you're not. How? Under eye puffiness and dark circles!

If you can't get your schedule under control, at least you can look as if you have. CLINIQUE all about eyes rich and the all about eyes serum de-puffing eye massage to the rescue! The lush cream supposedly diminishes shadows and fine lines instantly and over time. Helps boosts collagen production and de-puffs with calming botanicals for $28.50. Onto the roller ball: the cooling serum helps massage away bags and hydrates puffy eyes immediately. Armed with caffeine, antioxidants and soothing botanicals, it combats dark circles. Great for all skin types and oil-free @ $25.50.

Reality Check: Not sure how effective the products are for those with considerable darkness and under eye puffiness. The cream contains shea butter which is highly moisturizing and the anti-oxidants are great for all skin types. However, to reduce these problems over time, nothing works better than a good night's sleep, a balanced diet, and maybe a concealer for instant results.


Meet Your Match @ IMAN Cosmetics

IMAN Cosmetics took on a real challenge....finding your perfect foundation match.

If you love your current shade but need a new formula, the NEW! Second to None Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup Enriched with Minerals can easily replace it! I found my perfect match: Earth 1. You can meet your match here.

The mineral-enriched makeup is for every woman of color. So perfect, it made its debut at New York Fashion Week. The unique foundation offers a flawless, luminescent, hi-definition finish. Eight shades to choose from and it's oil-free.

Newsflash: Visit the new IMAN Cosmetics Boutique for personal beauty consults, special events, discounts for pro artists and more.
At MAKARI 52 West 125th Street NYC
Call 212/348.6501


The Pearls of MAYBELLINE

A swirl of pearl makes shadow new again. Seven pure pigments swirled together for fabulous dimensional color. MAYBELLINE EyeStudio Color Pearls Marbleized Eye Shadow Collection redefines luminosity. The secret? The baked technology keeps pearls uncrushed. Ten super shades to choose from (LIKE Khaki Craze and Silver Starlet). Two major looks to play with: soft shimmer or pearly glam.

Each baked duo is highly pigmented so colors last. The marbleized side blends easily for countless color combos. Each time you use it, you can create a new look. For under $10, it's a steal!


Today in Rite Aid, I saw the limited edition MAYBELLINE Color Sensational Pearls Lipstick & Glosses. Enriched with honey nectar, the creamy lipstick seems like a shimmery version of the Color Sensational launch. "It's a sassy spin on pearls for sure."

The lipsticks are a bit light for my taste and I'm not big on frosts. On a good note, the packaging isn't sealed so you CAN take a peek at each one. The shade range IS very pretty. Ladies, let me know if any shades work for you. If so, feel free to post a picture on my FaceBook page: The BLACKswan at Beyond Beauty and include the shade name.


L'Oreal Introduces All Day Drama

How did they do it? With a new waterproof liquid eyeliner.

L'OREAL PARIS Telescopic Waterproof Precision Eyeliner delivers a precise line for an intense look. It has angled felt tip that's slanted for the most accurate application. You can get as close to the lash line as possible. Clean and crisp.
More importantly, the look will last. Through sweat and tears. It's swim-proof, sweat-proof and smudge-proof. Up to 16 hours of wear, fragrance free and is great for sensitive eyes! It's the perfect product for the ever sexy cat eye.
Available in shades from Dark Brown and Black for approx $8.

(photo courtesy of


Another Bright Idea

Color explodes in summer!
Bright hair/rich reds and vibrant coppers.
Bright eye liner, mascara, and shadow/aquas, purples, and yellows.
Bright polish/neon greens, cool blues and hot pinks.

But what about the trend with bold lips? Orange? Fuchsia? Magenta? Coral? These colors may not seem like an option but they ARE all the rage.

Take this tips to heart the next time you want to make a statement.

The Perfect Prep:
You want your mouth as smooth and supple as possible. Gently buff lips with a damp washcloth. Dab on lip balm, rub lips together and blot off excess.

Add a layer of clear liner or base lips with a stain close to your shade of lipstick to deposit color all over.

Use a lip brush to apply the shade. Bright shades are usually heavily pigmented. Gently tap your finger over your mouth -- ensures the look is soft.

Keep the rest of your makeup simple...outline eyes with liner, add mascara and a light blush.


A rule of thumb for orange lips: A blood orange shade looks great on all! But the darker your complexion, the more vibrant you can go. Looking for a fun fuchsia, try MAC's Girl About Town/$14. If you've gone mad for magenta, try MILANI's Rose Hip/$3.50 at drugstores.


MAC DIGI POPS & Nordstrom

Another MAC COSMETICS exclusive at NORDSTROM.


  • pre-sell it NOW
  • receive it up to ten (10) days before the launch
  • receive free shipping
  • buy it in stores JULY 15th (@ The Westchester Mall ask for Erica)

Get the BRUSH BROWSER for precise application and a glam transformation...$49.50 each.
4 Piece Face Set/Apply & Blend: 168SE, 187SE, 190 SE, 194SE
5 Piece Eye Set/Apply, Define & Line: 212SE, 219SE, 227SE, 266SE, 275SE

Go for the LOOK IN A BOX -- three different personas created to epitomize the season/$59.50 each. Miss Violet, Frisky Girl and a sure to be summer fave, Tawny One.

Customize your quad and select from 28 shadows with the iPALETTE. $11 for each pro palette shadow and $5 for the case. Includes my faves, Sketch, Club and Deep Truth.

LIPSERVER is a little femme fatale, a bit fanatic and all sparkle and shine. DAZZLE lipstick @$14 and DAZZLEGLASS gloss @ 18.50. All limited edition so stock up.


Drug Store Dandies at DRUGSTORE.COM & More

Some of us are a little obsessed with going to stores like Duane Reade, Ulta, Rite Aid and Walgreens. For me, if shelves are neatly stocked, I'm in for a leisure stroll in the beauty aisles. I check out the end caps for limited editions, new product or trend items. See if my favorite product is in house or sold out. And peek at beauty bundles from lesser known brands.

You may prefer virtual shopping. DRUGSTORE.COM has some dandies for you:

FACE: REVLON introduced PHOTOREADY MAKEUP for a poreless, airbrushed skin in any light. Complete coverage with a soft luminous finish. Oil and fragrance free with SPF 20 to guard against the sun's harmful rays...12 shades at $13.99 each.

EYES: Hands down, L'OREAL makes THE best mascaras. I prefer the EXTRA VOLUME PLUMPING COLLAGEN MASCARA in Blackest Black. On my sparse lashes, two coats adds density, length and va va voom!...Black, Black Brown and waterproof formulas at $7.95 each.

Also love HIP BRIGHT DUOS SHADOW. New favorite is #328/Riotous. A sharp lime green paired with a complimentary olive shade. I use the bright shade over a green pencil to outline my eyes completely...metallics, brights, shimmers and mattes -- each duo is only $7.99.

LIPS: The COVERGIRL QUEEN COLLECTION VIBRANT HUE COLOR in Bronze Goddess infuses metallics beautifully. Compliments our honey tones or sun-kissed skin beautifully. You may believe you ARE a Bronze Goddess...on sale now for $6.39.

Additional products and sites for:

NAILS: SALLY HANSEN COLOR QUICK FAST DRY NAIL COLOR PEN is easy to use and travels anywhere. The fast drying nail color is available in 18 shades and conditions nails with Vitamins A, C & E. Ideal for mani/pedis! Approx $8 each at

HAIR: KIMBLE HAIR BUTTER - Beyonce's hair stylist, Kimberly Kimble, launched a haircare line a few years ago. Thankfully, the celebrity stylist knows everyone should have reputable styling products at recession-proof prices. Product is referred to as "creamy buttery moisturizing goodness" and a cheaper alternative to MISS JESSIE's BABY BUTTERCREAM. Only $11.99 at


Double the Fun at Urban Decay

A smart shopper always welcomes a bargain....Two for the price of one is ALWAYS a shopportunity!
URBAN DECAY's top ten skus are part of the deal -- for $19. The duos are packaged in new combinations to amp up the color in your life this summer. Rich in pigment, you get color that lasts. Professional makeup artists, celebrities, and beauty addicts alike love the mix in textures: glitter, shimmer; duo tone or metallic! They all blend easily to create a number of looks and effects.

Want something more alluring? For just $17 more, you can add the 24/7 Glide On Pencil: The creamy waterproof liners come in lush tropical hues, vibrant neutrals, and deep metallics. Rim eyes with a precise line or smudge the color for a softer effect. Results? A long-lasting look that won't budge.

Your look will last all night...Will you?


The Half-Yearly Sale for Men

The Brands:


The Dates:

Starts June 18th. Use your NORDSTROM card and earn twice the rewards!

The Event:

Mens's wear and shoes for workday or weekend on sale...The biggest clearance sale of the season for men! Great markdowns on your favorite brands. Brands vary at each location so be sure to shop early for the best selection.

The Stores:

The Westchester, The Mall at Short Hills, Roosevelt Field, Garden State Plaza, Menlo Park, and Freehold Raceway Mall or shop online at!


The Baubles & Beauty Event

This past Friday, a friend hosted an elegant jewelry party with a twist. Basic beauty was added to the mix....

At the "BAUBLES & BEAUTY EVENT" guests shopped for unique statement pieces, colorful summer scarves and other fun accessories. A private skin care vendor gave personalized skin evaluations, and yours truly provided product recommendations and mini-makeovers. Each consultation focused on eyes and lips!

The ladies left with fashionable jewelry, great skin care products and a refreshed look. They even set up dates to host their own parties this summer! Good times ahead!


Last Minute HANKY PANKY/Bridal Giveaway

Attention All Brides-To-Be:

It's last minute, but Friday June 10th is the cut-off day. Brides-to-be MUST enter to win fab prizes from HANKY PANKY and TARTE COSMETICS. Get the perfect bridal goodies from each brand -- beauty and boudoir basics along with customized gifts for your bridal party!

Prizes include a nightie, garter, "thong roses," personalized double-ended lip glosses and more! Enter here...

  • Contest closes June 10, 2010.
  • Prizes shipping on July 1, 2010.

P.S. Each site has super sexy stuff for any of us...from peek-a-boo panties to pretty pink lip stains. Sure to heat up any summer night!


What's New At SMASHBOX

Along with the Naked Beauty Summer 2010 Collection (see "LET'S GET NAKED"), SMASHBOX COSMETICS has a few additional staples to make your summer look last.

Limitless Eye Liner: Waterproof liner provides long-wear without smudging for 8 hours! The cap conceals a sharpener to ensure precise application. Has jojoba oil and vitamin E to moisturize. $19/avail in five shades.

Lip Blush Palette: Infused with vitamins A, C, E and sweet almond oil, these four vibrant shades seductively stain lips with a just bitten look. $20/online only @ .

Try Me Kit Vol 2: SMASHBOX Superstars: The most popular pieces that made the brand famous. Travel size cult faves including mini Photo Finish Foundation Primer and O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Color.
Only $29.


The Perfect Sundress

Whether you're meeting the girls for Sunday brunch, vacationing or going to a BBQ, you want to wear something cute and comfy. You need a sundress. It's perfect for just about any summer fun activity.

When shopping, things to consider:

THE FABRIC: Look for a breathable fabric like soft cotton or linen. Colorful florals and soft patterns should compliment the material.

THE SHAPE: A loose, flowy fit is flirty and feminine and requires minimal fuss! Get one that flatters your figure: choose from empire waists, full skirts, strapless or belted.

THE ACCESSORIES: Less is more. One piece can be a focal point: try a chunky wood bracelet or a thin metal lariat. (um..this doesn't really work for ME..I am an accessories addict.)

THE COVER-UPS: Combat the chill with a gauzy cardigan or denim jacket.

The sundress should be a staple in our summer wardrobes...Sexy and fun!
Ref: INSTYLE Magazine/June 2010
Dresses by H&M, Roxy & As U Wish


Colored Mascara

Go to any cosmetic counter and we are drawn to the rainbow of colors. The eye shadows, in particular, always seem to catch my eye. Each shade is so pretty. But sometimes we don't have time to apply it every day. An alternative is colored's a real eye-opener.

PURPLE: The deepest eggplants, amethysts, and wines give green, hazel and blue eyes a cool edge. URBAN DECAY Big Fatty Colored Mascara in Purple Haze will captivate without being overwhelming. Just $17.00 @ MACYS.

BLUE: The contrast against brown eyes is alluring. Try tokidoki Punk Lash Mascara in Baby Rocker /$18 at or DIOR Diorshow Waterproof Mascara in Azure Blue /$24. For a subtle approach, try LANCOME Definicils High Definition Mascara in Navy /$24.50 both at NORDSTROM.

BURGUNDY: Add a bit of drama to the mix in place of basic black. Opt for the far less traditional mascara: YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara $30 at

GREEN: When you want all eyes on you, try blinc KISS ME MASCARA in Dark Green. Forms binding water resistant "tubes" around your lashes. Adds volume and length and lasts all day! Looks great on blue eyes but makes all eye color look vibrant. $24.00 at

TIP: Be sure to use concealer underneath the eyes. Colored mascaras seemingly amplify dark circles. Also, choose a brand that's waterproof to avoid stained tearing! Finally, choose a hypoallergenic formula for added protection if your eyes are sensitive.


Let's Get Naked

Nude is the way to go this season. Not literally naked but rocking a sheer gloss compliments summer makeup nicely. I, for one, LOVE a nude lip! SMASHBOX COSMETICS recently launched their Naked Beauty Mini Lip Gloss Kit. It's eight mini glosses infused with the softest color and shine. The collection ranges from barely there nudes to peek-a-boo pinks.

With all new shades in Bare, Buff, Naked, Nude, Exposed, Natural, Sun-Kissed and Pure, surely there's one for you. Only $25 at (with free shipping) or any Sephora!

TIP: To make the look last longer, apply a nude lip pencil first like the one from SMASHBOX...The Nude Lip Pencil or a clear lip liner.


Benefit Confessions of a Concealaholic

Friday night is upon us. Time to check out the new after-work spot for a few cocktails. But you may need to take care of another spot first -- that pimple that won't go away fast enough. BENEFIT has everything you need for a perfect complexion. Banish that blemish with Confessions of a Concealaholic -- an 8-piece concealing and brightening kit/$36 at Sephora.

Kit includes:
  • "that gal" brightening face primer
  • erase paste (brightening camouflage for eyes & face)
  • boi-ing industrial strength concealer
  • lemon aid color correcting eyelid primer
  • eye bright pencil AND
  • two concealer brushes to blend to perfection.

Switch into your stilettos, add gloss, blush and GO!



That super sore zit in the middle of your forehead is not only unsightly but it's throbbing! You can "freeze that painful pimple in it's tracks" with NEUTROGENA SORE PIMPLE GEL/$8.99 at drugstores. It won't literally freeze your pimple off, but the breakthrough MicroClear technology quickly cuts through oil. Maximum strength salicylic acid acne treatment penetrates skin layers down deep to the root of the breakout.

Best of all it reduces redness and swelling in as little as 8 hours. It instantly soothes the bump that is tender to the touch. Pretty cool!

(NOTE: Use as directed to avoid dryness or peeling.)


Waterproof, Tear Proof & Goof Proof

June is upon us...Graduations and weddings are sure to bring tears of joy to our eyes. And hours romping in the ocean mist are sure to melt away our makeup. But this concoction, BARE ESCENTUALS I.D. WEATHER EVERYTHING LINER SEALER is like a sealant. The light clear liquid actually transforms ordinary eye makeup into makeup that won't come off til you take it off. That means eye shadow and eyeliner stay put. So you can go outside and sing in the rain if you want to or watch your favorite heart-wrenching love story. It's the secret to a tear-proof, smudge-proof, and sweat proof look!