Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...and those of us holding the mascara wand.

After two decades of covering the beauty industry, I've come to learn what makes it so alluring. Finding the perfect shade of makeup to match your skin tone, adding a swipe of eyeliner to give your tired eyes a lift, discovering an innovative new product line, or indulging in a totally luxurious spa treatment. My experiences have been documented in magazines, newspapers and websites worldwide. I've tested newly formulated products in the lab, explored hair removal options, shopped for lipstick, added shine to my hair and succumbed to massage marathons--all in the name of beauty. I've written press releases, hosted makeover events and co-authored a Do-It-Yourself Beauty book (Alloy). On this blog, I write about products and services that I come across every day as well as those that have been provided by publicists or the companies that make them. Either way, I write what I think. I hope to share some of my insights--and bring you the latest, greatest beauty news right here. Join me in the quest to find all things pretty.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

republic of us

I can't remember the last time I wore fragrance. Maybe it's because so many of the other products I use have their own fragrances so applying perfume doesn't seem necessary. Or maybe it's because these days I'm lucky if I get to shower in the morning let alone dab on some edt. But when I heard Banana Republic was debuting a new pair of fragrances called Republic of Us, I was intrigued.

Republic of Women and Republic of Men, two unique scents designed to complement each other, debuted this fall. The concept behind them is to capture our own unique individuality and bring out the strong connection we have with ourselves, with others and with the world.

Playful and romantic, innocent and alluring, the Republic Of Women features notes of Cassis buds, juicy Lychee, Moroccan Rose, Jasmine, and precious woods (EDP $48). Modern and authentic, the Republic Of Men features notes of sparkling Clementine, wet Plum, freshly-cut Hazelnut, Basil, and Cedarwood (EDT $45).

Just a dab of Republic of Women on my inner wrists is a great accessory. The scent is elegant but subtle, a huge plus for non-fragrance wearers. It's alluring but soft with a sophisticated edge. I only got to try a sample--it comes in a miniature bottle that is totally adorable!. But this holiday season, you can experience The Republic of Us Collection ($49) as part of Banana Republic's holiday gift sets.

The women's gift set features a 50 ml eau de parfum and a 50 ml body cream while the men's gift set includes a 50 ml eau de parfum and a 50 ml body wash. It makes a great gift for others or even for yourself. So once your closet is fully stocked with cozy cardigans and pencil skirts, it's just one more reason to hit your local Banana Republic store.

Monday, November 2, 2009

get nude now!

Who doesn't want to look good in the nude--especially when it comes to your face? Luckily, Nude Skincare products revive your skin, making you look and feel younger after just a few uses. I've been applying the Age Defence Moisturizer ($100) and Advanced Eye Complex ($108) for two weeks and couldn't be happier with the results. Here's how they work: Probiotics, the good bacteria found on skin, and prebiotics the natural sugars which bioselectively feed these good sugars, join forces to rebalance and strengthen skin's natural protective barrier. So what's inside? Only good-for-you stuff, like botanicals, peptides, COQ10, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. I love the facial moisturizer and its silky smooth texture. Sure, it glides onto your skin and absorbs quickly like you'd expect a good moisturizer to but it also offers a subtle firming action and leaves skin the way it feels post-facial. It's especially soothing for sensitive skin as well. The eye cream promises its own anti-wrinkle remedies while offering an immediate lift, reducing dark circles and eliminating puffiness. Plus, it increases collagen production to banish that hollow, sleepless effect. The same super-smooth texture left the skin around my eyes feeling smooth and helped soften unfriendly crow's feet. Also available is the Hydrating Water ($34), with prickly pear to lock in moisture, vanilla floral water to tone skin and rose floral water to soothe the complexion. The bottom line: Use Nude products and you'll feel like you can venture out without makeup because your skin looks THAT good. I even got two unprovoked comments from friends...something about a radiant glow! Go to to view the entire collection and make your purchase...or head to your nearest Sephora, Barneys, or Whole Foods store.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

show off your shape

One of my favorite things about fall is digging out my tights and leggings. I love wearing them with slouchy boots and a cozy sweater for day, or sleek boots and a flirty top at night. I've blogged about one of my favorite brands, Scultpz Shapewear, in the past. But I had to write again to tell you about their latest looks. New for fall, you'll find opaque leggings and capris and textured tights in a collection of warm fall shades, like a pretty, dusty rose color (of course, a handful of neutrals match different skin tones too). There are shaper tops that smooth bulges and eliminate panty lines and control tops that tighten your tummy and give your butt a well-deserved lift. I tried the Control Top Leggings and was blown away by the fact that there's tons of support and shaping going on but no thick panels anywhere! I thought I was being Punk'd! Honestly, where did they put the heavy padding and tight waistbands you find in so many other shaper products? Plus, they claim the leggings and capris offer light massaging leg support. All I know is that instead of feeling tight and binding, they feel silky smooth. Go to to try them yourself. From $18 to $40, the biggest decision won't be whether to make a purchase but which ones to choose.