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


The Minimergency Kit for Her (and Him Too!)

Good things come in small packages. In this case, minis. THE MINIMERGENCY KIT is a neat little cube that houses all you need to refresh yourself in the nick of time -- must have items for any beauty or life-emergency.

For Her:
Contents include hair spray, clear nail polish, polish remover, emery board, lip balm, earring backs, sewing kit, double sided-tape, stain remover, deodorant towelette, pain reliever, tampon, breath freshener, dental floss and bandages. Choose from seven metallic cases: pewter, gold, silver, red, turquoise, pink and purple/$13.

For Him:
Contents include shoe shine towelette, nail clipper, hand sanitizing towelette, pain reliever, lip balm, dental floss, breath freshener, stain remover, mending kit, safety pin, buttons, bandages and a deodorant towelette. Comes in a case the size of a deck of cards/$12.

There's something for wedding parties, new mommies and cheerleaders plus you can order refills on some items directly from the site

(Photos via


MAC Metal X Cream Eyeshadow Collection with Swatches

Super blendable metallic shadows with a velvety smooth texture can be yours: the MAC Metal X Cream Eyeshadow Collection/$20 US - $24 CDN. The limited edition collection comes in nine shades. Each is a powdery cream heavily pigmented for staying power and a serious dose of color. A little goes a long way so if you prefer a subtle approach to the metallic craze, the product can be sheered down for a softer effect. For those who want a bolder look, you can build on the color to present brilliance and shine without a heavily frosted look.

I always use shadow primer to avoid creasing (specifically with metallic/cream shadows). To improve upon staying power, I dusted my lids with a powder eye shadow in a similar shade after application. Worked like a charm. Some shades even work as a pretty highlighter on cheeks depending on your skin tone. My favorite shade is Vintage Coin (pictured first from left).

Swatches from left to right:
Vintage Coin/Metallic olive green
Venetian Tarnish/Golden tarnished bronze
Gold Carbon/Metallic taupe
Cyber/Metallic silver with silver pearl
Fusion Gold/Pinky beige with gold pearl
Virgin Silver/White with silver pearl
Red Hot Copper/Warm copper
Palladium/Metallic ash
Rusty/Dirty peach gold


ELEMIS Grooming On-The-Go Kit

Friday is for the Fellas

If you find yourself always on the trip this week? Weekend getaway the next? Then the ELEMIS Grooming On-The-Go Kit is for you.

Encased in a handsome black zippered bag, the trio contains essential skincare items:

* ELEMIS Deep Cleanse Facial Wash - removes impurities and replenishes moisture plus it's great for all skin types. More importantly, the oak bark, peppermint and spearmint blend combat ingrown hairs!

* ELEMIS Ice-Cool Foaming Face Gel -- preps your face for a clean close shave without drying it. English Oak and witch hazel ward off irritation and razor burn.

* ELEMIS Daily Moisture Boost -- lightweight moisturizer that recharges and hydrates skin with a Citrus Oil blend which offers all day protection against pollutants.

This collection is uniquely designed for men's skin. Plant extract and essential oils leave skin refreshed and smooth every time. Available at$40.

The Prada Tartan Print Leather Card Case

Friday is for the Fellas

You already know how I feel about textures, prints and plaids. I LOVE! But guys this one is for you.

The PRADA Tartan Print Leather Card Case adds a modern personalized touch to your accessories game. Saffiano leather finished with a classic tartan print. Sleek and small, only 4"W x 2.75"H but big enough to hold credit cards, business cards and some cash/$180 at Saks.

Perfect for even the most conservative gentleman.

2012 Pantone Preview...Tangerine

The 2012 fashion forecast is out...Tangerine Tango is the "it" color of the new year. Formerly thought of as brazen and loud, this orange hue is now seen as bold and rich. Be prepared for bright splashes of the vivid color to take over every trend from wardrobe to home decor.

Too much for you to take on right now?

Ladies, take a subtle approach by updating your winter mani with Jaffa from BUTTER LONDON. Jaffa is a show-stopping juicy orange color without formaldehyde, DBP or toluene/$14.

Gents, allow your wardrobe to take on an orange flush as well. Perhaps with a bold tie, briefcase or pocketsquare?

Will you welcome in 2012 with Tangerine Tango or any shade of orange?
I will, that's for sure!


Beauty by L'Oreal at the Real Simple Pop-Up Shop

Food tastings, gift ideas and makeovers! Once again, L'OREAL teamed with Real Simple for this anticipated annual event. Consumers gathered to try AND buy products from various vendors and the beauty brand.

As one of L'OREAL's Pro Team makeup artists, I was happy to provide mini makeovers. Guests had a choice of services: a foundation match, skin consultation or eye/lip application. With each consult, shoppers received a L'OREAL Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara, in black of course, and a sample of Youth Code Serum Intense, a must have to combat fatigued and dull skin. They also enjoyed hair styling with sample gifts from the EverSleek Sulfate Free Smoothing System hair care line.

Most wanted to focus on eyes and lips for everyday or holiday looks. Throughout the event, I used Studio Secrets One Sweep Eyeshadow, HiP Studio Secrets Shadow Duos, True Match Concealer and Extra Intense Liquid Eye Pencil. For lips, I used Color Riche LeGloss and long-wearing Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick.

Favorites for mature skin included Visible Lift Serum Absolue Advanced Aged Reversing Makeup (lightweight foundation with medium coverage to minimize lines with a luminous finish) and new skincare, Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Golden Balm for Face, Neck and Chest. This soft creamy balm seals in moisture and improves elasticity.

If you stopped by our booth at the pop-up shop in Bryant Park, send a picture of your makeover to me at by 12/21/11 -- 6pm EST. I will post pictures on my FaceBook page (The BLACKswan at Beyond Beauty). The first one to send a photo will receive a free Studio Secrets One Sweep Eyeshadow (open to U.S. residents only please).

Charming Gifts from Michael Kors

Give something glitzy from the MICHAEL KORS. Jewelry in gold or silver tone metal with sparkly crystal accents.

The Charm Bracelet: This chunky link hosts the MK pave logo lock, MICHAEL KORS luggage tag, MK logo key, the signature heart, pave tassel, pave pyramid and a clear crystal/$195. Features a toggle closure and fits up to an 8" wrist.

Prefer something more dainty? Then go for The Pave Heart Bangle. A delicate bracelet with a heart charm adorned with clear pave insets/$55 -- one size fits all.

Each pairs nicely with The Pave Dog Tag. Solid dog tag pendant with the MICHAEL KORS logo and a pave dog tag pendant with clear crystal insets dangle from an 18" ball chain with 1/2" extender. The toggle closure features a MK logo lock charm detail/$55.

Available at, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. stores.



There's something special about a man in a suit. His shoes. His accessories. His stance. There's something extra special about a man who steps it up a notch...adding character to his look. Fellow blogger and friend at is that man. He inquired about a leopard suit jacket. I found a few items but came across something grand. The PAUL SMITH Autumn/Winter 11 Mainline Collection has a jacket that makes quite the statement. The PAUL SMITH Leopard Print Formal Jacket is all about confidence. This single-breasted one button jacket has a sleek classic fit and is fully lined. The leopard print silk lapel captures your attention while subtly contrasting with the rich elephant gray color. Additional tailoring includes working four button cuffs and double back vent. Orders placed after 12 pm ship the next day/$1670. Let me know what you think Martin.


Wild Child Revisted

Animal prints. Even pin-up legend, Bettie Page, knew it was hot look. Seems to be the one trend that keeps resurfacing. Venturing on the wild side can be fun, sexy and stylish. While some prefer to steer clear of this fad, I, for one, embrace it...Gently.

Ready to bring out your wild side?
Here's a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep everything simple and neutral...that means accessories, hair, and makeup.

  • Ensure you have the proper fit. If it's too tight, it's too much!

  • Invest in a piece you like and store's sure to be "popular" all over again.

  • Shoes and scarves are the easiest ways to keep this style current.

  • Tighter prints like leopard and cheetah are universally flattering for clothing. Zebra and giraffe patterns (lots of light space) are a bit more difficult to wear.

  • Avoid a fashion faux pas...head to toe leopard print is a "DON'T"!

  • Pair with basic black, classic white or a neutral beige.

  • Most importantly, one pattern at a time.

P.S. This look commands attention. Most important accessory is CONFIDENCE.


COACH Essex Herringbone Scarf

Friday is for the Fellas!

Top designer brands are making luxury items at affordable prices.

Watching the Today Show segment on Haute Gifts Under $100, I fell in love with an item for men -- the COACH Essex Herringbone Scarf /$98. It's 100% soft wool accented with contrasting stripes and fringe. I especially like that the brand's logo -- it's subtly stitched in so it doesn't overpower the design. Available in gray with cobalt stripes or a soft brown with red stripes. Either would be perfect for the special man in your life.

LUSH Chili Tingle Lip Tint

The rich orange-red color comes from dried chilis (unexpected) and annatto tree seeds. The plumping ingredients create an irresistible fuller pout. The organic jojoba oil and Fair Trade cocoa butter soften lips and seal in moisture. All of this in the new LUSH Chili Tingle Lip Tint -- glides on with a bit of warmth and tingle/$8.95 at LUSH stores (out of stock on line). A spicy alternative to the classic red lip.

Note: This is not your typical tint -- it's highly pigmented so layer it. And be sure to gently exfoliate lips prior to application.


The ZOYA Color Box Gift Set

Need a polish that survives dish washing, won't chip or dull after two days? Plus it's eco-friendly?

Look into the ZOYA Color Box Gift Sets. "Green" formulas are available in luxe packaging. Housed in a crushed velvet collector's box, each trio is individually wrapped in "ZOYA" tissue paper. There's literally a dozen sets to choose from. Shades range from reds to neutrals and grays to metallic finishes.The Spectacular Sparkle Zoya Color Box/$24 features festive shimmery shades: Alegra (pink), Charla (blue) and Ivanka (green). The perfect thank you gift for teachers, co-workers, friends and family! Exclusive to their website, each purchase qualifies for free shipping. For each gift, the company removes all pricing and allows you to include a note for a personal touch.

For more information, click here.

*All ZOYA products and nail treatments are formaldehyde free, free of camphor, toulene and DBP.

Cyber Monday Beauty Booty 2011

You should be done shopping for computers, flat screens and bulky bedding from Black Friday. Today is THE day to get deals and price cuts on your favorite beauty and grooming products. Best thing is they're just a click away so there's no need to camp out all night.

ANTHONY.COM: 20% off any purchase plus a free tool kit and free shipping with any purchase $50 or more.

BEAUTY.COM: A $100 purchase lands you free shipping and an Erickson Beamon makeup kit filled with deluxe samples.

BUTTER LONDON: Score 30% off all online orders with the code CELEBRATE.

CLARSONIC: Purchase two tools and get 20% off, a travel bag, body serum and free shipping!

EVERY MAN JACK: Save 10% on all orders. Orders over $75 are entered into drawing for a gift basket worth $75.

L'OCCITANE: Receive a $10 gift card with a $50 purchase with code GIFT10 today only.

SMASHBOX: Enter SBXFF11 for 20% off any purchase.

THREE CUSTOM COLOR SPECIALISTS: Enjoy 30% discount site wide with any purchase. Use code CYBER11.

If you have a hot tip on great product, share in the comments section below.


Rihanna Launches Armani Collection

Already the face of EMPORIO ARMANI Underwear and ARMANI Jeans campaigns, RIHANNA is set to launch a capsule clothing collection with the luxury brand, ARMANI. The line includes classic rocker items like femme biker jackets, jeans and tees with an animalier background (love this)! And to keep it sexy, look for delicate lace unmentionables in deep cobalt blue and pearl grey. Although the line mirrors RIHANNA's style, it's perfect for personal interpretation. Available worldwide in December.

(Details and photos about the launch from ARMANI.COM.)


Mani Monday: Season's Best Nail Colors

Looking for a new nail color to try? InStyle Magazine polled their FaceBook fans to get their favorites. Here's a look at a few that I like.

Must Have Mauves:

BORGHESE Nail Lacquer in Buon Viaggio Mauve/$8.

SONIA KASHUK Nail Color in Mauving It Up/$5 at Target (Pretty & cheap!)

BUTTER LONDON Nail Lacquer in Toff/$14. (Check out Scoundrel on the site too.

Shades of Gray:

NARS Nail Polish in Galion/$17 (DBP free and lots of shine.)

SALLY HANSEN Complete Salon Manicure in Oxide (Festive shimmer.)/$7 at Ulta.



Nude Awakenings:

DIOR Vernis in Safari Beige/$22 at

GINGER AND LIZ Nail Lacquer in Skin Tight/$12 (Toxin-free universal shade that's office friendly! What's not to love?)

LE METIER de BEAUTE Nail Lacquer in True Romance/$25 in a set of four at select Nordstrom stores.

Go to for more options for your next mani/pedi. Then let me know what's your new favorite nail find...

(Post inspired by Fall Beauty Trends 2011)


LANCOME Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector

A few weeks ago, I received a package containing LANCOME's Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector. Apprehensive about giving up my normal skin care routine which is working really well for these days, I did just that.

Although recently launched, this serum took twelve years to develop....a patented scientific breakthrough with LR 2412, a molecule that's said to reprogram the skin to "auto-correct" problem areas. Perfect for all skin types for women 25 + with claims to diminish pores, smooth wrinkles and even skin tone. It also sort of preps the skin for makeup application with a bit of luminosity.

Today is day 14 since I initially tried the product. During that time, I admit I had my standard breakout -- a pimple that surfaces and sits in the center of my cheek for a few days. I was impressed to find that the serum shortened the life of the blemish -- flattened it and reduced the redness. Although you can see the pearl reflects, it dries to a matte finish which I love. Fortunately, wrinkles are not a concern but I felt it gave my skin a fresh look. Finally, I have a stubborn acne spot that hasn't lightened YET but I haven't been using Visionnaire too long. I may alternate it with a botanical treatment (lemon juice) for quicker results (vanity wins this time around).

Overall, I was happy with my trial. A few pumps of the product is all it takes for great results. I'll post again with my findings in a few more weeks! Meantime, check it out for yourselves....get a sample or purchase at your favorite department or Sephora store/$84.

PLEASE NOTE: This product was received as "a beauty insider," by BLACKswan Beauty, as a trial for personal use and review. I have no affiliation with Lancome and received no compensation for my commentary.


The Makeup Show/Holiday Pop-Up Shop

They're back...

THE MAKEUP SHOW will be open to pros AND consumers next month in NYC. Shop makeup must haves and get the beauty secrets of celebrity artists to vamp up your look or reinvent yourself for the new year.

The Holiday Pop-Up Shop

Friday/December 2nd 5 pm to 10 pm

Saturday/December 3rd 10 am to 6 pm

@ The Metropolitan Pavilion

123 West 18th Street/4th Floor

New York City 10011

Brands to Shop include: Stila Cosmetics, Mario Badescu Skincare and Crown Brush. For additional vendors, click here. To purchase tickets, click here.

(image from


Attention NYC NARSissists

(Pardon...I had to repost since the format was amiss!)

Feed your obsession with glam goodies from NARS this Thursday. Score a 20% discount at the NARS Flagship Boutique with this sweet Friends & Family deal.

413 Bleeker Street/NYC

GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards 2011

The GLAMOUR Women of the Year Awards honored some amazing women once again. The annual event was held at Carnegie Hall but makeup, hair and a pre-celebration with bubbly went down at the Empire Hotel sponsored by L'OREAL. The staff at GLAMOUR, the bloggers and of course, my fellow L'OREAL Pro Team members made for an easy evening. We chatted about everything as the beauty gurus were curled and glossed.

On trend for fall, smokey eyes were a hit with blogger, Rachel Adler. I used Studio Secrets Professional Color Smokes Eye Shadow in Lavender Smokes/$5.99 at local drugstores. This color palette is perfect since the color is buildable.

And we know there's no time for touch ups when you're on the red carpet. For staying power (that's six hours of wear) and a full gorgeous mouth, I used Infallible Plumping Lipgloss in Plumped Tawny/#806 /($7.99 at topped with a bit of Color Riche LeGloss in Naturally Nude/#150. She loved!

For more pretty looks from the event, click here.


Mani Monday: OPI & The Muppets Collection

Just in time for Disney's release of "The Muppets," OPI has created twelve shades inspired by the fun colorful characters we know and love. OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, was excited to collaborate with Disney from the beginning. "...Miss Piggy lends her name to three high-shine pink-based hues, ranging from bold red flecked with silver to a multi-dimensional strawberry shade."

In time for the upcoming party season, choose from six glitter shades, shimmery reds and neutrals to accessorize any outfit. shades from left to right:

Fresh Frog of Bel Air
Rainbow Connection
Warm and Fozzie
Designers De Better
Getting Piggy With It
Excuse Moi
Meep, Meep, Meep
Gone Gonzo
Divine Swine
Wocka Wocka
Pepe's Purple Passion

My must haves include: Meep, Meep, Meep and Pepe's Purple Passion.

The UnFROGettable collection is available this month at, ULTA and JCPenney/$8.50.


TOM FORD Sunglasses for Fall

I fell in love with TOM FORD sunglasses when he first launched. So much so that I replaced the same shades after leaving them on a flight (along with my iPod and mini me's stud earrings -- but that's another story). The oversized frames scream femininity to me. I appreciate a good retro look and TOM FORD's sunwear collection delivers this season. My picks include:

Nico --Huge bowtie shaped frame featuring slender metallic insets at the temple for a dramatic retro-inspired look/$445 at Nordstrom (pictured above).

Ali -- Transparent circular frames with T-shaped metal insets in soft colors/$475 at Nordstrom.

Nikita -- Exaggerated acetate cat eye shades for an everyday glam look in tortoise and black/$360 at Neiman Marcus.

Each style is classic yet modern and I love them all. Which do you prefer?


L'Oreal PARIS Carbon Black Extra Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner

Have you ever tried a winged look with a "black" eyeliner only to find it wears to some random shade of grey? Or you've rimmed your entire eye with "black" liner that takes on a greenish hue later in the day? Unacceptable!

With L'OREAL PARIS Carbon Black Extra Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner/$9 you won't have to worry about that at all. This liner delivers a deep, inky black color onto your lid in the creamiest formula that won't transfer and can be smudged for a softer look. Even doubles as a base for powder shadows to create a strong smokey eye.

I like to use my angled brush to take the color directly from the tip of the liner to apply a precise line. It creates THE perfect cat eye look. You can also dot the liner along your lash line then smudge it.

What I Love: You can use it in your waterline and the pigments...a true carbon black! Glides on easily.

What I Don't Love: Sharpening it eats up alot of the product.

Check it out at your local drugstore, look out for those BOGO deals and stock up!


Origins Modern Friction Nature's Gentle Dermabrasion -- Now at Sephora

The mission of ORIGINS is to create problem-solving skincare that's empowered by nature and proven by science. This skin science is now available at SEPHORA.

Infused with organic ingredients, potent plants and natural essential oils, you only get the stuff that's good for your skin. Adding to the green initiative is the recycled packaging and facilities powered by renewable energy.

If the change in weather is taking its toll on your skin, the Modern Friction Nature's Gentle Dermabrasion can be your introduction to the brand. An age smoothing exfoliator that promises smooth luminous skin. Rice-starch refines the skin in a creamy formula to promote cell turnover, lemon oil evens skin tone and aloe hydrates. Heard it won't irritate the skin or cause redness. I'm sold -- you know I love a good scrub. Adding this to my list...If you try it, let us know what you think/$37.50. Check out the rest of the ORIGINS line here.


Nicki Minaj OPI Nail Lacquer Collection 2012

NICKI MINAJ will be starting the new year off by launching her own OPI Collection. Known for her colorful eccentric approach to style, you can expect bright, shimmer and glitter lacquers in unexpected hues. The polishes are inspired by tracks from her debut album, "Pink Friday".

Colors left to right: Metallic for Life, Pink Friday, Save Me, Fly, Did It On 'Em, Super Bass Shatter.

I really dig the eggplant shade...Super Bass Shatter. See anything you like? Share it in the comments section.


Matte and minx finishes. Crackle. Embellished stickers and gel nails. Getting a manicure these days has turned into an art project. Textured effects are big news and an inexpensive accessory. The latest trend is magnetic...lacquers containing metallic particles that are moved with a magnet embedded in each bottle top. Seems easy too -- after polishing each nail, wave the bottle cap above every nail before the polish dries for a rippled effect. Creates an unpredictable design that is truly unique.

Exclusive to Sephora, nails inc. launched pretty shimmery shades: House of Parliament (metallic purple) Big Ben (metallic gold) and Trafalgar Square (metallic chrome)/$16 per bottle or $30 for trio. View a demo here.


L'Oreal & The Project Runway Collection

Finally, L'OREAL PARIS has teamed up with Project Runway in a BIG way. Next month, you can get your hands on the color collection inspired by exotic birds called "Colors Take Flight." The assortment includes shadow quads, nail lacquers, lipsticks and blushes. Take a sneak peak at some of the colors, all of which are affordably priced starting at $4.99. The limited edition palettes can be purchased at Ulta and other mass drug stores.


Sephora Steals & Deals

SEPHORA is like THE superstore of beauty but that's no surprise. So when they have sales on luxurious brands, everyone should know about it. Here are a few things that caught my attention:

STILA Lip Glaze Trio: Three universally flattering shades with the pleasant scent we love. Each fits easily in the smallest clutch and delivers high shine. Includes Grapefruit (frosted pink), Seashell (nude pink) and Raisin (golden plum)/in store and online for $12.

NARS Single Eyeshadow: Two beautiful shades are perfect for your fall makeup palette with great color payoff. California (a shimmery copper) and Night Sun (a marigold hue with gold flecks)/online only at $8 each.

CLARINS Vital Light Serum: Restore luminosity with this serum -- defies dark spots, dullness and wrinkles without harmful parabens, sulfates and synthetic dyes. Get a free deluxe sample with your $25 online purchase. I've never used it so let me know how it works for you.

For more beauty bonuses, click here.