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


Guys & Gals Guide to 2010 Worst Trends

In all we do, we take the good with the bad. Yesterday we featured the best of 2010. Now, we're reviewing some of the worst trends this year according to leaders in fashion and beauty.
  • CLOGS: The Scandinavian heavy clunky slip-on made a comeback this year. The price range went from $50 to $300/FREE PEOPLE Clogs...(blank stare).

  • LOW SLUNG JEANS: Jeans are a staple in every man's wardrobe. A tapered jean offers versatility to dress up or down, however, if the jean is so low and tight that you must waddle like a penguin to get around, you may want to let this trend go. And be sure to tell a friend.

  • HAIR RAISERS: Justin Bieber's hair is a perfect "do" for him. But when grown men replicate the cut, it's something else. Same goes for severe buzz cuts for gals and the over-the-top Snooki poof. Speaking of Snooki...

  • THE SNOOKI TAN: Orange skin? Enough said.
  • EXTREME EYELINER: A sultry smoky eye is always a winner. Out of control black liner rimmed to mimic a raccoon is not.

  • HEAD TO TOE ANIMAL PRINT: A little goes a long way. You are not trying to blend in with a safari scene. Focus on an accessory or ONE piece in your ensemble to keep it sexy.
  • PLASTIC PERFECTION: Nothing wrong with a little nip/tuck. But when you go in for brow lift, chin shaving, nose job, ear tuck, liposuction, fat injections and boob job all in the same year at 23 years old, you may need an intervention.

(Picture credits:


The Best of 2010

The end of the year is usually a time for reflection. Let's take a look at some of the trends that captured our attention. Here's my list of the most gorgeous!

  • Ballerina Buns -- Loved this look. A sleek option for instant glamour. Make sure it's not too tight, high or severe. Elegant and pretty.
  • Pixie Cuts: Women lopped off their locks to sport a super short pixie. It's youthful, chic and easy to style.
  • All Natural: Brown babes everywhere have cropped their hair to a natural 'do. Short, textured, twisted and always stylish.
  • Fat Lashes: It's the one thing we all craved. Whether you used a volumizing mascara like my new staple, Voluminous L'OREAL Million Lash Mascara, a primer like DIORShow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum/$28 or applied falsies, it's a trend to carry over to the new year. At or
  • Bright Makeup: Vibrant colors played up eyes and lips. Eye catching blues, greens and purple hues in shimmer and matte finishes for eyes. Oranges, reds, and pinks for pout power. Stand out shades for fearless females everywhere. Bold is beautiful.
  • Nail Art: Edgy nails were all the rage. Everything from MINX nails, gel manis and foil appliques made for manic manicures. Also liked sueded textures from OPI Suede Nail Laquer/$9 and metallics from CND Colour in Gold Chrome.
  • Mixed Prints: Clashing patterns allowed for a little self-expression (*stand up for individualism). We mixed and matched colorful pieces all at once. The key? Be sure to pair like colors. (Love this look!)
  • Makeovers: It's what BLACKswan Beauty is about. Harper's Bazaar took it to another level...charm school. The girls from "Jersey Shore" were transformed into sophisticated socialites. Even got Snooki to part ways with her signature poof (coming in WORST TRENDS post this week).
  • Scentsuality: Mary J. Blige My Life sold over 600,000 units of her debut fragrance in six hours without one whiff! Wow factor.
Do you see a trend that you want to rock in the year year?

(Pics and


A Jimmy Choo Celebration

Known for it's striking stilettos, JIMMY CHOO is marking 15 years with a fragrance launch. Founder Tamara Mellon decided to celebrate with a sexy scent. Sensuous hints of Indonesian patchouli, tiger orchid and toffee in a hand-blown bottle and packaged in a "snakeskin" box. She wanted the design to be elegant enough to be a keepsake and I must admit, it's pretty. Mellon considers fragrance one of the most important accessories for women. This one defines the JIMMY CHOO vision -- luxurious, stylish and everything feminine. Since I'm still in search of a signature scent, I'm anxious to try this one.

The collection will debut at Saks Fifth Avenue in late January 2011. The collection will include the fragrance --spray/ $70 & $95; body lotion/$44 and shower gel/$36.


Toasting the MAC Cham Pale Collection

MAC COSMETICS is known for vibrant, impactful color but they've toned things down with the launch of The Cham Pale Collection. The limited edition/26 piece collection will be hitting stores December 26th. Shades are completely neutral but range from shimmery soft finishes to high shine frosts. The colors are pretty and amped up with opulence. The rose gold and lame finishes in the Reserve Highlight Powders are gorgeous! My picks include the two paint pots -- a soft onyx/Dangerous Cuvee and a metallic peach/Vintage Selection. Also like Soiree, the bronze nail lacquer, Bubble Lounge, a smooth pink peach lip gelee and the quad that compliments it all.

The skin care has somethng new -- calming ingredients to soothe and repair skin over time. Algae extracts, wheat germ and barley extracts are found in the Complete Comfort Creme (a permanent fixture in the states) to visibly reduce redness and zap winter skin with moisture. There's also Fix + Lavender...nice. I haven't tried either of the two but I will play around with it on my next visit to Nordstrom. If you beat me to it, please share your findings!

Visit or your local department store to experience this luxury on Saturday.


What's New Pussycat?

Some of you know I have a feline fetish (particularly Cat Woman). But I'll save that for another post...Anyhoo, I came across a fun feline brand, HONEYCAT COSMETICS, that appeals to the kitten in us all. HONEYCAT COSMETICS was created by Theresa Spruill. And I was super excited that she sent me some products to review (see pix). My favorite was the Frisky Kitty Bath Time Fizzy/$10. I loved everything -- from the paw printed packaging to the lingering fragrance (honey and lilac).

The products make grooming a purr-fect experience every time with lush body lotions and creams, velvety milk martinis, and edible body powders. Even better, the line contains "good for you" ingredients like aloe, sweet almond oil, mango, cocoa and Shea butter to name a few. What's more you can pucker up with a pink peppermint gloss...yum.

Orders of $50 or more get a charming tank top (gratis)!!! You can preview all of the products from this line here. HONEYCAT will partner with BLACKswan Beauty for a contest. (To enter, you must follow/subscribe direct to BSB blog.) You can expect a HONEYCAT giveaway early 2011! Details soon!

(Note: Also, all products were received through sponsorship. I was not paid for my review and have no affiliation with the company.)


Playing with Glitter

Sparkly makeup and nail polish are all the rad -- but it must be done right.

If you find you're apprehensive to indulge in the trend, try a glittery nail polish. They're usually sheer so you can build up to maximum brilliance. Try DEBORAH LIPPMAN All That Jazz Trio/$40. Shades included Razzle Dazzle, Some Enchanted Evening and Lady Sings the Blues. You may also like SEPHORA's OPI Limited Edition Collection/$9 (with green ingredient list). Try Only Gold For Me at right. Or opt for stick-on appliques!

For sparkles in your eyes, keep it simple. Use glitter eye liner to avoid looking too over the top. Try NOUBA Rainbow Eye Liner/$18 at, BOBBI BROWN Glitter Liquid Liner/$20(lasts til the end of the party --it's waterproof) or Glitter Eyeliner from The SEPHORA COLLECTION. I like #5 the blue -- brightens the eyes.

Tips for Playing with Glitter:
  1. Purchase a safe cosmetic product like MAKE UP FOR EVER Glitters.
  2. Use a nude shadow base and apply glitter before it dries down.
  3. Glitter flies all over the place...get dressed after.
  4. Focus on one feature -- if you use glitter on your eyes, balance with soft lips sans shimmer.
  5. Clean up is easy with scotch tape -- removes specs from skin and clothes.


What to Wear/From Work to Play

It's the soiree season! So you need something to carry you from the office to the fun without too much of a fuss. Enter the sheath -- a understated dress that is truly versatile.

If You're Leaving Work to Play:
A sheath dress has a sculpted silhouette for lean lines and shape.
  • Make sure the length is appropriate for the office.
  • Depending on your height, mid-calf or the to the knee lengths are flattering.
  • Choose from a V-neck, scoop or sweetheart neckline. Avoid anything too revealing or low cut.
  • Play it professional at the office with cardigan and flats
  • Keep it fresh with a fitted jacket and sexy booties for after work drinks. ROCK & REPUBLIC Booties/$584 at
  • Wear it with a wrap and sexy pumps to an extra special event.
  • Keep your everyday purse locked up in the drawer -- grab an oversized clutch, big bold jewelry and a warm overcoat to complete the look.

The price range goes from affordable to luxe depending on the designer. Looks great on petite and curvy girls alike.

(Pix 1/far left: Diane by RALPH LAUREN/$98. Pix2/far right: ADRIENNE VITTADINI Zebra Sheath Dress/$210.


The Modern Gentleman

The modern man takes all grooming matters into consideration. Definition: a man of style, culture, and class. Skin care, grooming, and nail care are some areas of concern.

SKIN CARE: It only takes a minute to cleanse, tone and moisturize. Add to your regimen a facial scrub once or twice a week to smooth the complexion, diminish fine lines and wrinkles. The scrub also buffs away dead skin cells as it prepares the skin for a closer shave and combat ingrown hairs.

For the record, we love goatees. Gives off a bad boy edge. So take note, there is a science to trimming a goatee. Goatee lines should not exceed your smile line or extend past the furthest part of the chin bone. Your face shape needs to be considered for cutting the corners...not too sharp or rounded. And keep hair length uniform. Trim nose hairs (and ears too). BTW, it is equally important to trim underarm hair (deodorant adheres better to skin to fight odor).
Tools of the Trade: Try WAHL's Groomsman Beard and Mustache Trimmer. Use as a plug in or cordless/$20. Works well with stubborn, coarse hair. For more choices, click here.

NAIL CARE: Guessing you're not a nail biter, you may prefer to DIY. Healthy nails are a priority since men's nails grow faster than ours. Weekly trims are a must along with cuticle treatments. Invest in a manicure set that includes a buffer and scrub brush. It's ok to visit a nail salon for a professional manicure too. Trimmed clean nails speak volumes
Tools of the Trade: Try The Art of Shaving 7-Piece Manicure Set/$160


The UBS Polished Preference

Every company has a certain image to present in order to attract clients. There are stated guidelines and an unspoken climate that most adhere to. However, UBS, the Swiss bank, is making their "preferences" known in a 43-page code with recommendations for a polished appearance, according to the Wall Street Journal. The list of "Do's & Don'ts" for staff members cover everything: beauty, style and diet!

Among the list of "Do's" for women:
Get regular hair color touch-ups -- no skunky hair here!
Wear knee length skirts.
Keep makeup simple: foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick.

"Do's" for men:
Schedule barber appointments at least once a month.
Wear black dress socks.
Invest in good quality underwear (blank stare).

The list of "Don'ts" are a bit more detailed. Read more here.

So that means she can't rock a soft smoky eye or a classic red lip? And he can't cover his greying temples (the ultimate boost in confidence)? Or sport a pocket square? Then will textured hose get you a pink slip? The code is said to be "in line with Swiss precision" and originally set for new hires and temps. But if the test proves successful, it will roll out for all of the Swiss staff. I feel for those folks. Your wardrobe and style make a statement. Guidelines are one thing...stark rules are another. Most of our day is spent at work and I think individuality and diversity are things a company should seek out, not deter. That's my two cents. Your thoughts?


Pucker Up with FSL Cosmetics

You know I love to switch it up between a totally nude mouth or full bold color. I came across a brand that gives me both options with other pretty choices too. And as you can see from previous posts (balm squad and winter skin), I am always looking for an easy solution for chapped lips.

Feel Good. Smell Good. Look Good.
That's the mantra at FSL COSMETICS, a new line of eco-friendly lipsticks and glosses (recyclable containers). Both are infused with fruit extracts, vitamins and essential oils to ward off harsh elements. Kimberly Riley, head chemist and CEO of the brand, wants women to "use nature as an aid that fosters and enhances a women's beauty worldwide."

The products are 100% free of irritating agents like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, gluten and talc! She boasts that neither lip balm nor Vaseline are needed with her products. Rich in avocado oil, acai extract (long lasting hydration) and a soft sweet scent, you are guaranteed to repeat the mantra yourself! Feel Good. Smell Good. Look Good.

Click on the name to preview my FSL Picks: Purple Luv (deepest lip color) and a vampy red gloss, Seduction (pictured)/$18.50. Look for a complete color cosmetics line and FSL PLATINUM -- a men's skin care line next. If you're attending the Shecky's Holiday Night Out Event this Friday, introduce yourself! FSL Cosmetics will be there. Products available online at Let us know what you buy!
(pix from


Wage War against Winter Skin

If you're struggling with irritated skin, simplify your skincare routine for maximum results. A few things I stock at home to win the battle are:

VASELINE PETROLEUM JELLY: Tried and true, it heals everything from chapped lips, cracked cuticles, chaffed cheeks, softens feet and removes stubborn eye makeup. It has to be one of the cheapest dual treatments around/$5.00 at local drugstore. Psst! New mommies: LANSINOH LANOLIN works just as well for cuticles and lips! About $9.00 at BabiesRUs.

DOVE GENTLE EXFOLIATING NOURISHING BODY WASH with NUTRIUM MOISTURE SENSITIVE SKIN: Why not start moisturizing with your cleanser? Contains rich ingredients like soybean and sunflower oil which penetrate the skin deep down to replenish moisture and it rinses clean without stripping skin of natural oils/$9.00 at

PALMERS COCOA BUTTER: Although their lotion was the winner of the 2010 Cosmopolitan Beauty Award and the 2010 You & Your Wedding Bridal Beauty Award, I prefer the Cocoa Butter Formula in the jar. Loaded with Vitamin E, it softens dry skin, smooths scars and tones skin. It's a family favorite for avoiding stretch marks too. After a bath, I mix it with my lotion to seal in softness. Feels delicious after shaving my legs!

Let me know what's your favorite remedy to combat dry itchy winter skin.



Skin matters! Even to you men! Got a call from a male friend about moisturizer the other day. I recommended my hubby's favorites but wanted to give him another option.

REVERSE by Zirh is an anti-aging serum guaranteeing results almost immediately. The dual colored serum smooths skin's texture, minimizes pores, lines and wrinkles. The cooling clear gel is packed with vitamins and peptides to promote a toned healthy complexion and firms from the inside.

REVERSE leaves skin refreshed and completely hydrated. Never sticky or heavy...perfect for all skin types/$45. Visit for $10 off with the code GQREVERSE and get free skincare samples with every order.

You might also like Nickel Maxymum Time Fighting Facial Concentrate/$72 or Every Man Jack Facial Lotion for a greener parabens, dyes or sulfate/$6.

Hope this helps Joey!


Simply Vera by Vera Wang

All of Vera Wang's creations are always timeless, stylish, and elegant. From her wedding gowns to luggage and travel sets, she has the Midas touch. Now we can look forward to that same sense of style and creativity from her new venture. In Spring 2012, SIMPLY VERA by VERA WANG will launch cosmetics exclusively at Kohl's! The line will include makeup and beauty tools, skin care and body products. Vera refers to makeup as transformational just like her fashions. Her take? "An easy, light, modern and effortless approach to beauty and creativity."

I, for one, will be waiting anxiously.

Meantime, check out her holiday line here.

(pix credit:


Polished Pals Price Cut Day from GINGER+LIZ

Check out the new flavas at Ginger + Liz. They make it easy to keep our mani/pedis up during these cold days!

Take a Chill Pill
Big Daddy Cane
Take It or Leave It
Who's the Boss

Also be sure to save the date! On December 14th, take advantage of the exclusive 12-hour online offer.

  • Key in the special code: POLISHED
  • Get 40% off 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM EST
Don't forget, this luxury brand is toxin-free and vegan friendly! And there IS a color to represent your lifestyle and personality.

Note: Discounts do NOT apply to limited edition holiday or winter colour selections.


A Man's Guide to a Winter Coat

An all purpose coat is essential in a man's wardrobe -- one that is not too formal, that travels from workday (with a suit) to weekend (with jeans and a sweater), tailored but not tight. The perfect fit is a three-button wool coat with an U.S. price tag and Italian craftsmanship. JOSEPH ABBOUD has what you need to carry you to Spring.

In addition to the everyday coat, versatile options include new standards:
  • Click here for the Camel Coat.
  • The Duffle Coat started in the British Navy (always owned great style). This coat is ideal against cold weather on weekends and carries the work week suit as well. Look for unexpected elements like leather insets, rope hooks and wood or metal closures. Classic navy (right) works along with a rich earthy shade like olive. Wool and Nylon Duffle by J.PRESS/$725.
  • The Parka Coat is no longer reserved for trips to the slopes. Men are wearing these coats for work and play. The key to pulling it off with a suit is to ensure it's long enough to cover the suit jacket and choose a darker shade for a dressier appearance. Cotton and Nylon Parka by WOOLRICH JOHN RICH & BROS/$675.

(courtesy of Esquire Mag 11/10.)


A Luminous Look

The onset of cold weather is definitely taking away my glow. Thankfully I've discovered my own 'genie in a bottle.' I just tried STILA's ALL OVER SHIMMER LIQUID LUMINIZER #3/Luminous Gold after a client requested a luminous look similar to Tamia's. It's soft and pretty and gives off a refreshed look. The perfect pick-me-up for my lackluster skin. It literally enhances the complexion -- skin looked radiant (not greasy) with a sheer subtle sheen. I'm not crazy about the polish applicator brush so I applied with a foundation brush instead. Start off with a small amount for best results and blend! Order from and you can choose from two shades (lists Luminous Silver too). Both are listed at $8 -- a steal from the standard $22 at other outlets.

  • Can be used with foundation OR without!
  • Apply to inner corners of eyes, tops of cheekbones and under brows.
  • Don't neglect neck, decollete and arms if you're baring a bit more after hours.
You might also like CLINIQUE "UP-LIGHTING LIQUID ILLUMINATOR/$22.50 (3 shades and oil-free) or NARS ORGASM ILLUMINATOR/$29.
(Tamia's video from