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


Allure Beauty Editor Palette by Sephora

ALLURE Magazine is THE monthly beauty guide that connects beauty to the every day woman. Their beauty experts have teamed with SEPHORA to create something special. Five separate palettes make up the ALLURE Beauty Editor Palette by SEPHORA taking the guesswork out of popular makeup looks. There's a mini palette that works for you:

Go neutral with Beauty 101/soft nudes and taupes.

Go bright with Color Theory/jewel tones like violet and green.

Go bronze with All Fun No Sun/coppers, bronzes and browns.

Go shimmery with Sparkles Fly/bold gold, orange and black.

Go smoky with Where There's Smoke/charcoal and grays.

Each comes with six shadows, a blush or bronzer and interchangeable glosses. The product is highly pigmented for lush color payoff. Touch up throughout the day since the palettes easily pop out....nothing complicated here.

NYC makeup addicts are invited to swing by the SEPHORA Fifth Avenue store today! Join ALLURE's editor in chief Linda Wells who will be signing the palettes. The first 100 guests get a complimentary makeover. Call 212/980-6534 for details. The Beauty Editor Palette is available at the store or online/$34. For a quick tutorial on how to create the looks yourself, click here.

(Link via Sephora/


My Love Affair with GRATiAE Organic Body Care

A while ago a client gave me a really luxe gift...skincare from a brand I'd never heard of -- GRATiAE. The name means The Three Graces -- beauty, charm and youth. That pretty much sold me on trying's everything a woman wants!

I received a body butter and a scrub. Most know I love exfoliating products so this was a nice surprise. GRATiAE Exfoliating Body Scrub and the Silky Body Butter are truly Yes, I said it. The line is formulated using mineral-rich water located near the Sea of Galilee. The scrub is ultra-gentle and left my skin feeling incredibly soft. What I love about this product is it doesn't have an oil base like some other scrubs. The smooth grains and sweet fragrance lulled me into a spa-like experience. It promotes blood circulation and cleans while it revitalizes skin. Applying the body butter was heavenly. It has a rich, yet light, creamy texture that seals in moisture, preventing dryness. The soft scent is equally appealing -- Apple, Green Tea, and Ginger. I must say a little goes a long way.

The company prides itself on using natural ingredients like almond oil, aloe vera, seaweed from the Sea of Galilee, and more. The packaging is completely biodegradable so as not to disturb the delicate nature of ingredients and it comes in a eco-friendly bag too.

We all deserve a little pampering from time to time. This duo does the job. Nothing like smooth touchable skin. The body butter and scrub are $59 each and also come in Passion Fruit and Lime. Even better, the sales person promised a free refill on the salt scrub!!! Go to for full product line.


Material Girl Beauty Products & Wears

Madonna, daughter Lourdes, and Kelly Osborne have teamed up to bring you MATERIAL GIRL -- a line of intimates, dresses and beauty products launching Fall 2011 exclusively at MACY'S. MATERIAL GIRL is designed by the infamous mother/daughter duo with Kelly spearheading the ad campaign. She's seemingly happy to be on board to launch the 80's inspired gear.

Along with clothes, makeup will be introduced. Expect lip glosses, nail polish (bottle reminds me of butterLondon), lotions, body sprays and eyes palettes (I'm wondering how these will wear)... Lourdes was instrumental in the entire development process. WWD reports that she had fun in selecting the fragrances.

The beauty items will be available for purchase mid August except for the eye shadows/$7-$12 (mid September). Party dresses will arrive September 15/$59-$79 and intimate apparel is in stores now/$5-$29.

Madonna has the midas touch so we wish her much success on her new collection! Congrats.


MAC Seasonally Supreme Collection

Fall 2011 collections are pouring into my inbox. This lipstick launch from MAC COSMETICS really grabbed my attention. The Seasonally Supreme Collection is a dozen shades varying from cream to frost finishes. Each produce high shine like a lipglass or pack color clarity and staying power like a lipstick.

Additional Sheen Supreme lipsticks will be added soon. As of mid August, you can enjoy:

Supremely Confident/pale nude (cream)
Bare Again/pinky neutral beige (cream)
Insanely It/watermelon pink (cream)
Asian Flower/creamy lavender (cream) (new)
Royal Azalea/bright mid-tone pink (cream) (new)
Happy Hibiscus/creamy white pink (frost) (new)
Fashion City/neutral coral pink (cream) (new)
Supreme Style/light coral pink (frost) (new)
Korean Candy/bright orange-red (cream)
Blossom Culture/soft pearl pink (frost) (new)
Sheer Mandarin/mid-tone yellow orange (cream) (new)
Tea Ceremony/neutral beige pink (cream) (new)

Available at MAC counters and online/$14.50.

Celeb Beauty Blunders to Avoid

JENNIFER LOPEZ is a style chameleon, a true beauty in my book. She pairs everything with a certain confidence. But even vixens have a bad beauty day. Perhaps the attempt to wear a favorite nude lipstick failed as a result of JENNIFER's golden glow.

TIP: Your complexion changes throughout the seasons. Your beauty routines and makeup should too. In warmer months, choose a warm toned nude shade to avoid a pasty look.

Another muse is RIHANNA. Always edgy and daring, she creates unforgettable looks with bold colors and style. This Caribbean beauty wasn't shade matched properly at an international event. Her foundation was too light making her look a bit pale.

TIP: Be sure to test foundation along your jawline for a true match. View it in different lighting or wear it for awhile. If the color completely blends in so you can't see it, that's your shade.

Another favorite beauty, EVA MARCILLE has perfected her signature...a short hair cut, seductive eyes and those cheekbones define her look. But in this picture she has an extreme bright eyed look -- too much illuminator under the eyes. Covering up under eye circles is a must but overdoing it with ashy concealers or super bright illuminators looks artificial.

TIP: Per beauty guru, Sam Fine, select a concealer one to two shades lighter than your skin tone to highlight the area. It opens up the eye area. And remember to blend well for a seamless look. Snap a few pictures with a flash to see how it wears.



Harajuku Lovers Tweezers & Nail Files

Who doesn't love Gwen Stefani's cute little beauty icons Harajuku Lovers? Next month, TWEEZERMAN will launch a collection featuring the adorable dolls: full-sized tweezers/$25, mini tweezers/$15, a compact mirror/$10 and nail files/$4 exclusively at SEPHORA. And each is travel-friendly!

(Story from WWD)


In-Store Nail Salons at Sephora

Talk about one stop shopping? Soon you'll be able to pick up your favorite foundations, bath products, perfumes AND get a "get your nails did" at SEPHORA!

Beginning July 25th, select locations in New York and San Francisco will open in-store nail bars: The Sephora Nail Studio Art & Lacquer Services for manicures with creative nail art.

The nail studio will feature quality brands like London, Illamasqua, NARS, Dior, Sephora and Sephora by OPI -- I'm betting the shade range will be gorge! SEPHORA is partnering with XpresSpa so you can expect a quick turnaround time. Average pricing at airport XpresSpa's range from $20 to $50 for mani/pedis. Surely SEPHORA will have a moderate price list.

Would you get your nails done at SEPHORA?

(Story source: WWD)

Say Yes to DIY Skincare with Coconuts!

The buzz on coconut continues now with skincare advice from Why the sudden craze for coconuts? The small molecular structure of coconut oil absorbs easily into our bodies. Mega moisturizing and hypoallergenic, its perfect for this season. Gentle, yet potent enough to carry you through cold weather in fall and winter. Coconut oil is found in lotions, moisturizers and conditioners. An active ingredient, lauric acid, makes it effective in treating eczema, diaper rash and other anti-fungal ailments.

Some of my coconut oil regimens:

* I mix coconut and olive oil as a deep conditioner to saturate my mini-me's hair. She sits under a heating cap for fifteen minutes and then we wash and conditioner her hair. Added softness and elasticity.

* I've also used pure coconut oil to soften skin in our skin in the bath...just pour a little into the water along with lavender essential oil. Relaxing at home spa treatment.

Conventional tips from the mySkin site:

For Face: Use coconut oil to gently remove makeup, grime and dirt at the end of the day just like a regular cleanser. Rinse and follow with a gentle face wash.

For Lips: Keep lips soft (and kissable) with lip balms containing coconut oil, vitamin E and aloe. Your mouth remains supple all day long. Or massage coconut oil into your lips as an overnight treatment.

For Feet: Coconut foot creams help repair dry, cracked heels -- a "DON'T" in sandal season. Massage coconut oil directly onto feet or combine with your favorite foot cream for maximum hydration.

Read the rest of the DIY coconut recipes at mySkin now.


DIY Facial Treatments -- The Power of Papaya

I like natural products for facial treatments. And I've heard uh-maz-ing things about fresh papaya face masks. So I asked the experts at mySkin for a little assistance. Here's what they said:

Papaya contains papain -- an enzyme known for it's gentle exfoliating benefits. Papaya also promotes cell turnover, acts as a brightener and prevents premature aging. It is less irritating than standard glycolic acid treatments and use results in glowing skin -- a must for summer! Did I mention it may reduce acne flair ups? Eating this tropical fruit works wonders too. Rich in beta carotene, Vitamins A, C and E, it promotes healthy skin from the inside out.

I'm excited to try this:

* Peel papaya and remove seeds.
* Combine 1/4 cup of mashed papaya with 2 tablespoons of honey and a handful of almonds.
* Blend until smooth.
* Apply to face and neck (avoiding eyes) for ten minutes.
* Rinse with cool water and moisturize as needed.

An unripe papaya has more papain so you may feel a slight tingle upon application. If you have sensitive skin, opt for a ripe one instead. Either way, always do a patch test first!

(NOTE: The honey clears blemishes and helps skin retain moisture. The almonds act as a grainy exfoliant.)

For at home papaya treatments for acne, combating age spots, and tightening pores, read more at Do you have a papaya powered skin regimen? Please share in the comments section.

Cheers to clear skin beauties!

(photo from


Beauty Secrets from the French

Some women always seem to have an alluring quality in all they do. I believe every woman wants to feel beautiful, irresistible and her own way.
Today, BSB shares French beauty tips from LOREAL Paris. They posted true gems on Twitter recently. Read on for a few beauty secrets from the divas in France.
* Keep makeup minimal, understated and sexy. Try red lipstick for a simple bold update.
* Flush toxins, improve health and get glowing skin by drinking water throughout the day.
* The French don't skimp on moisturizer or sunscreen. Healthy skin is everything.
* Your hair is your crowning glory. Nurture it weekly with deep conditioning treatments.
* Be confident! There is nothing sexier than a confident woman.
If you're on Twitter, follow @LOREALParisUSA to view more French beauty tips and affordable product reccomendations. C'est magnifique!


STYLEMINT.COM is a website recently launched by the Olsen Twins. The site offers a summer staple: t-shirts!

MaryKate told WWD that "Ashley and I have created an online experience reflecting our love of style allowing us to engage with our customers directly, which is an aspiring way for us to think and create as designers." And what is "the experience?" Each month, members submit a style profile then select t-shirts tailored to their preferences and STYLEMINT stock for $29.99 each. Although the two have a quirky sense of style, the tees are pretty basic. There is a limited edition graphic t-shirt featured each month. The site also offers free membership and head-to-toe styling advice.

Really, I adore the Olsens approach to style. It's all about individuality. They wear what they want, how they want with full confidence. Personally, I think it's unexpected that they would launch a t-shirt line --so simple and versatile.

Yep! MaryKate and Ashley have added yet another notch on their multi-million dollar belt. Sign up here for their new venture. Share your experience in the comments section or my FaceBook page: The BLACKswan at Beyond Beauty.


A Bronzed Body

Sun-kissed skin is always pretty no matter what your skin type. Add a sexy glow all over with this:

NARS BODY ILLUMINATOR in Laguna. The limited edition illuminating gel creates or enhances the look of healthy, glowing skin. It evens skin tone and gives off a soft radiance. Laguna has the familiar scent of Monoi de Tahati Oil -- a hint of the tropics. Best thing is it won't transfer to clothing (dries down quickly). You can also mix it with moisturizer for a sheerer effect. Doesn't look orangey or fake and it's perfect for every body part. This tube should last throughout summer and a few other getaways/$45. Available at BARNEYS or your favorite SEPHORA store.


MAC Cine-Matics Collection

Guess who got her catalog for the NORDSTROM Anniversary Sale? I flipped thru the pages quickly to see the beauty exclusives coming this month. First ad? MAC's newest beauty bundle -- the Cine-Matics Collection. Trios for lips, brush sets, mascara and color galore...perfect for your close-up.

Cine-Matics Triple Feature Lip Bags: Each includes a lipstick, Cremestick Lip Liner, and Dazzlecreme Lipgloss to top it off. All fit perfectly in a chic cosmetic case. Choose from It's A Girl, Overnight Sensation, Reel Drama or Nude Scene/$38.

Cine-Matics Brush Musts: Two different sets of brushes to touch up your look. The Face Brushes is a travel-sized quad of brushes for face. The All Over Brushes set is a set of five that combines face and eye/$49.50.

Cine-Matics Makeup Lessons: Smoldering looks can be yours with collections for the perfect smokey eye in Black or a showstopper look in Brown. Each compact includes three shadows, a mini Zoom Lash Mascara, Technakohl Eye Liner and two brushes for the perfect blend (#212 SE and #275 SE)/$49.50.

Cine-Matics On-Screen Eye Duo: Choose from eight pre-filled shadow duos. Neutrals and brights/$25.

Collection also features Opulash Optimum Black Mascara/$15. Sale begins on July 15th. Pre-order and earn double rewards July 5-13 on Early Access purchases.