The Clock Stops Here...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Simply Smashing!

I've got the itch...not just to update my fall wardrobe (which is shaping up to include pencil skirts, lots of knitwear, some crisp cotton shirts, chiffon blouses, trimmer trousers, with both wider and narrow bottoms and flat boots. I can't figure out anything else for footwear. Flats for me, are an off duty only option. I confess, to feeling awkward and trannie at 6'0 ft., in 4 inch heels, the only height being offered this fall. A conundrum, to be sure, but, I digress).

Part 2, of any new season, has to include new make up, and while I am not suggesting blindly following any make up trend that doesn't personally suit you, fresh, updated product just feels like the finishing touch.

After exercise class today, (which the divine Cindy Sites, taught personally), I crawled into the Sephora, on Greenwich Avenue. I just love it there---ample room to browse, friendly helpful help, and exclusive specials.

What caught my eye, was a gorgeous Smashbox kit, called Master Class (vol. 3), Complexion Perfection. Beautifully packaged, this nearly full sized kit, contained 7 pieces, including their cult favorite Photo Finish Luminizing Primer. The kicker was the price...a $175.00 value for a mere $59.00!!! The High Definition Healthy Foundation, in Medium, matched my (self bronzed) cheek to perfection...usually I have to bump up 6 shades, so I don't look like a Geisha. I then tried the, Photo Op Under Eye Brightener and topped it with a tiny dot, of the full coverage concealer. Nicey, nicey. Also included were a pressed powder, a bronzer, a Baby Kabuki and travel foundation brush, and a DVD, to explain tips and tricks, step by step. Wowza!

Now the kicker...sold out in the Medium!!! "Will I be able to purchase this online"???, I asked with a catch in my throat. "Absolutely"! As well, as a Sephora Beauty Insider (a worthwhile perk, that offers wonderful goodies to sample), I did not have to pay shipping. Yippee!

I recently met Davis Factor, in the IMG hospitality suite, at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Laid back and charming, I didn't make the connection to Max Factor, his great grandfather!

Davis and his brother Dean, founded Smashbox in 1991 in L.A., as a professional studio for models, celebraties and photographers. Their ingenious, sweat proof formulas, created flawless images for stills and films. Industry insiders clamored. Inspired to bring the same high quality products, sleekly packaged to consumers, a hugely successful brand was launched. Today Davis and Dean have expanded their L.A. headquarters to include 5 studios, a sound stage, a beauty agency and a production company.

So, I have met two cosmetic family titans in the last few weeks, the Lauder's and the Factor's. Anytime you want to do lunch guys, I will see what I can do, to arrange it. Can you tell??? I am lovin this...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

White Lightening

Despite what the calendar says, summer is officially over, when I no longer have a place to wear a bathing suit to. Despite all of my efforts at keeping my wrinkles and freckles at bay, I always do succumb, to a medium tan on my body, a touch of real sun on my face and a healthy dose of faux glow, daily. (Faux tanning for me is a hobby, much the way someone else might play bridge or do needlepoint).

Recently, I noticed a new spray of freckles on my cheeks and forehead. Yes, that is what SPF 8 has wrought, instead of 30. My bad. But how do undo the damage done??? I am starting to develop a good stash of products to review and as luck would have it, two that have been receiving raves were at the ready.

Estee Lauder's, "Perfectionist" (CP+) Wrinkle Lifting Corrector for Lines/ Wrinkles/Age Spots. Check, check, check, plus, I love a good serum. (People swear by the Olay Regenerist Serum I have been using, but I a have always been tepid about it's texture and performance). I have been using Perfectionist, night and day for about 2 weeks now. It has a velvety texture, no discernible smell and my freckles have nearly vanished. Who cares that one of the ingredients is, "saliva sclarea (clary) extract"? Surely, saliva is just a synonym, for peptide...don't you think??? No matter, I am loving it, and will finish it, to the last drop, of whatever.

The Grandaddy of age spot reducers, is Dr. Howard Sobel's, "DDF Discoloration Reversal-Pods", a 28 day program, for skin renewal. It has received numerous editorial accolades for it's stellar performance and my interest has been keen.

When I received a Totalbeauty "sneak peek" of his newly launched "Protect and Correct" daily moisturizer, with SPF 15, I was intrigued---This was not just protection, but a sunscreen and moisturizer with treatment ingredients to lighten hyper pigmentation. I eyed it with suspicion, expecting the usual white opaque, zinc concoction, with the consistency of Aquaphor, from past disappointments...but it was not to be. DDF Protect and Correct has a lightweight texture that leaves a luminous finish. Best of all, I am sure it is working in tandem with the Perfectionist Wrinkle Lift Serum to increase my whitening, at lightening speed.

If I continue with this routine, by mid winter, I will look like a milky hued, brunette Nicole Kidman...that is of course, until I slap on my self tanner, bronzer and hopefully, squeak in a sun filled holiday.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Lucy and Rickee (1949-2008)

My sweet, zany friend Rickee, trooper extraordinaire, lost her battle with lung cancer this weekend.

We, (my fellow co-workers, who love each other like sisters), are reeling. There is something quite surreal, about losing someone you love...particularly in those first few days without their earthly presence. How is it possible that we can still laugh??? How is it possible, that we will never laugh again with Rickee???

Rickee was a hoot. Warm, loving, energetic, uncomplaining, full of life and compliments, she loved to laugh and make us laugh. She was a great wife, Mom, sister and friend. She enjoyed her work and cared about her clients. She was a girl's girl, who adored clothes, jewelry, make up and a great score from T.J. Max. Rickee was avid about exercise and worked out daily. She was 120lbs on the outside, but 220lbs in her head...she loved good food, but liked her trim figure more, so she watched her calories (and every morsel of food at the table). Dinner time at Greenwich Hospital, her last whispered words to me were, "make sure they brought the lobster", (and where else but Greenwich Hospital would they be serving it)??? Classic Rickee!

Rickee was diagnosed with lung cancer last July. Her fortitude and optimism was magnificent. Through chemo, radiation and Gamma Knife surgery, she pushed through, working and smiling, amazing everyone around her.

Rickee had baby fine curly hair and was vane enough to know, it was not her best feature, (for sure her twinkling green eyes were). Obviously, one the most traumatic things about chemo, is hair loss. My friend Angela and I, went with Rickee to help her pick out wigs. We were all nervous, but Rickee was a sport and tried 3/4 of the wigs on display, just to amuse us. The best part was that her new do's looked fab! For the first time, Rickee had great hair and she was the first one to laugh about that.

Tomorrow we will say our goodbyes. We are honoring our girl, by dressing to the nines. Rickee would adore that. There will no doubt, be a huge crowd, because she was someone special. Rickee would adore that too...

Gone, but not forgotton. We will remember you, Rick, with love and laughter. You were a joy and we will miss you, always. Thank you for brightening our world.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Little Green Martians

How did you get that bruise??? What bruise??? I must have bumped into something...I had some dental work...Liar, liar, pants on fire!

Those tell tale spots, glowing green beneath 6 layers of primer, foundation and waterproof concealer, are none other than post injection botox/restalyne/juvaderm bruises. Why lie??? Do you really know anyone over 40, who hasn't considered it? What happens when most of your friends are shooting up and you, wearing your age badge proudly, look like Granny, from the Beverly Hillbillies???

So you can't bear the thought of putting all those toxins in your body...Good excuse!!! Keep reminding yourself of that, cause once you take the plunge, there's no going back , (to your aging gracefully, wrinkled self).

What's the next blockbuster cosmetic product? I am betting on Benefit, Queen of the niche product, (for whatever ails you), to create "truth concealer" or "lie deflector", to touch up your touch ups. Ka- ching...and get going, already!


Monday, September 15, 2008

A Dip in the Fountain of Youth

About a month ago, TotalBeauty and ZO Skin Health, hosted an event in NY, to launch Dr. Zein Obagi's, new skin care line. Dr. Obagi is world-renowned, board-certified dermatologist. I had know idea that Obagi was a person. The name had a vaguely oriental ring to it and I just assumed it either meant something pleasing in Mandarin, or tested well in focus groups.

Obagi products have always been sold through dermatologists offices. I once went in for a light Obagi peel. Despite the oscillating fan, my face felt like it was being singed from the bone, for five minutes...No biggie, I will suffer for beauty and fashion, anytime. The next day my face was shiny and taut and I spoke only through clenched teeth. By the third day and for the next week, I molted. It wasn't pretty. If you like to get up every morning and greet the world in full maquillage, as I do, then peels, no matter how light, require some down time. I also somehow, left the office with the full complement of Nu-Derm Obagi products, so my "lunch time peel", ended up costing 4 times more than I bargained for. Nonetheless, Obagi, has been the brand of choice, sold through thousands of dermatologists offices, for the last 20 years. Highly concentrated and effective, there was no down side to giving it a whirl.

I liked it, but didn't love it...Next.

Flash forward 7 years and nine zillion products later...Dr. Obagi was there to greet us personally and tell us about his new line, ZO Skin Health, which would be available through select retailers. Dr. Obagi was charming, passionate and animated. He believes in potent, pure products that deliver results. The presentation ended with a beautiful cake, in honor of Dr. Obagi's 65th Birthday. I couldn't take my eyes off of his skin... The man was pink and radiant!!! "Was that manure you mentioned as your key ingredient"? OK, I'm in. Seriously, I would have gone that far...

4 weeks later and what is the verdict? Our generous sampler kit, included an exfoliating cleanser ($45), Occlipse Sun Screen and Primer ($85), Growth Factor Serum ($195) and Radical Night Recovery Cream ($325). To this mix, I added my usual Nutrimin C daily moisturizer and Olay's Regenerist Firming and Sculpting cream.

Nothing, in the perfectly packaged press kit, indicated the cost of these items. I got the bad news only after going to Had I known, I would have sacrificed my neck and chest, so that my face could enjoy the good stuff for a while longer. The products are wonderful, but very pricey. If I added in the ZO daily moisturizer and night cream, a 2-3 month supply, would come in at a whopping $840. (The only product I know I couldn't live without, is the Sun Screen and Primer. It contains melanin, doesn't leave a chalky film and make up applies flawlessly on top of it).

Just think...if I put my ZO money in a coffee can, in a few years I will have saved enough, to go see one of Dr. Obagi's board certified colleagues, and take care of all my skin matters---permanently.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Mrs. Estee" and Me

Some nights, just exceed all expectations!!! On Monday, a gorgeous, clear, N.Y. evening, TotalBeauty Bloggers received the royal treatment, by the Estee Lauder Sr. Management team. Perched atop the General Motors building, overlooking Central Park West, we sipped cocktails with Chairman Leonard Lauder, CEO William P. Lauder, President Dan Brestle, Bobbi Brown and other top executives from various Lauder divisions.

It was thrilling to see the beautiful reception area, site of many special evenings, "Mrs. Estee's" awards "alley", and her lovely, feminine, office, quietly festooned with pictures of family and close friends, (who just happen to be past Presidents)! In this picture, I am seated at her desk... Goosebumps!!!

We all enjoyed hearing from William Lauder, that his grandmother would have loved the blogging more medium to, "tell a woman", and that he imagined, she herself, would have had one!

The cocktail party, also kicked off their October 2008, Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. We learned this is their 16th year of raising global awareness and funds. Special products from many of Lauder's most glamorous brands, (Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Prescriptives, Aveda, Jo Malone and others) will be sold in October, with proceeds going towards the BCA campaign. In addition, the Company hosts employee-driven fundraising events, fostering a spirit of community amongst the divisions. We were generously provided, a treasure trove of these products in our goody bags and I am already loving Lauder's Perfectionist CP+ Wrinkle, lifting serum, (I could barely contain myself from using it on the train ride home).

I never knew that the Pink Ribbon symbol, was the brainchild of Evelyn Lauder and Alexandra Penny, nor that the Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative, (which illuminates landmark buildings and monuments all over world in October, in glowing pink), was another one of her inspirations. Both efforts, aim to provide awareness and inspire women to be mindful of their breast health.

Separately, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, founded by Evelyn Lauder, in 1993, supports top research scientists, globally in their quest towards prevention and a cure for breast cancer. In 2007 alone, BCRF donated $32 million dollars, towards achieving this goal!!!

As a breast cancer survivor, I honor the Lauder Families dedication to eradicating this disease. Evelyn Lauder asks, "wouldn't it be incredible to have a world without breast cancer"? Indeed.

My thanks to the Lauder company for a beautiful evening and for their dedication, to making women beautiful and keeping them healthy.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday in the Park With...

All the girls, J.Lo, Venus, Leighton, Rachel, Eva, Anna and Tim. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, has morphed from seven days to nine and the fashion glitterati were all, at Bryant Park yesterday.

My dear friends, Peter and Linda Levy, graciously hosted me at the IMG and MB hospitality suites. The afternoon ended with a trip to the Amex Skybox, where Venus held fashion court and chatted with reporters about her burgeoning biz. In between, we caught the Herve Leger and Diane Von Furstenberg shows. I somehow forgot to factor lunch into my day, so I may have hallucinated those angels with harps...Either way, this is my idea of heaven!!!

I don't care how jaded you are, if you are there, it's a blast! The shows never start on time, and if crowds make you anxious, pop a Xanax, or watch it at home, on Full Frontal Fashion. The people watching is fab and when the house lights come up, I have to force myself to focus on the clothes instead of whose in the front row.

The first show we saw was Herve Leger by Max Azria. The real Herve Leger, best known for his "bandage dress" silhouettes from the early 90's, no longer owns the right to his name. He gave that up, when his fashion company, was bought by BCBGMAXAZRIAGROP, in 1998. In the last few years, vintage Leger dresses were showing up on fashionable, media darlings. Max Azria re-launched the label, and is now producing his own versions of the iconic, bandage dress. They are already having a moment and at about 2/3 of the original price, the new Leger's will wrap themselves around a lot more bodies, than ever before.

The most striking thing about the show, was the models. I have never seen thinner girls on the catwalk, EVER!!! These women made Kate Moss, in the grunge years, look like Kirstie Allie. If you shot a cannonball between their thighs, no skin would have been grazed. We are talking women whose weight is measured in double digits!!! The looks were not particularly memorable, and for a strictly one note collection, (literally, 34 bandage looks), it was oddly disjointed, with no unifying pallette. The buzz here, was the bones.

I met Herve Leger, in Paris, when he was designing for Guy Laroche. Since he did not have the right to use his name, he was called Herve LEROUX, (a nod to his reddish hair). His clothes for Guy Laroche, took advantage of his magnificent use of jersey and his spectacular eye, for dressing a woman's body, to it's best advantage. I still love the cocktail dress that I own from his 2005, Fall collection. What's left of his red hair, must be up in flames over BCBG winning fame and accolades over the look he created. Herve Leger is a genius...I hope this stokes his creative fire, and inspires him to bring us a new look, all his own...again.

I had high hopes for the DVF show. I like her work and loved her Fall collection. Her inspiration this season was Diana Vreeland and she named it Rock Goddess. The cover of her line list was a gorgeous print of orange, magenta, marigold and iris and white. How could it miss???

The whole collection looked like something, Kate Hudson, Rachel Zoe and those wascally Olsen twins, would wear to dinner in St. Barts. You can usually count on DVF, to produce great clothes, that could be worn to work, daytime, for example, but not here. So, if you happen to be the Hostess at Dune in Southampton, look no further...DVF has you covered (and if you don't mind showing a little bootie, pick up a few Herve Leger's).

That's all.


Saturday, September 6, 2008


Last night I had the pleasure of dining with some of my fellow TotalBeauty Bloggers at ultra hip, Socialista. What a gorgeous, diverse, group of women!!! The event was organized by TotalBeauty and underwritten by Bobbi Brown and Aveda. TotalBeauty and some of the Bloggers are covering the makeup for the Spring 2009 shows, back stage. I will make plans to give this a whirl in the Spring for Fall, (go figure, the crazy timetable of the fashion world).

September is my busiest month of the year. There is, something irresistible about Fall clothes. I love putting together my client's wardrobe for the season, and helping them find their new favorites and build on past investments.

TotalBeauty has created a program, called Beauty Bytes, fun, informative round ups of favorite, (and least favorite products)!, trends, and fashion and beauty slam dunks and disasters. If I am totally swamped, I may include them in place of a blog, otherwise you can access them on the right side of my blog page. I have also included a roster of links to my sister click on them! I have learned a ton!

I am totally impressed with what TotalBeauty has accomplished in one short year. Led by the dynamic Kristen Nelson, V.P. of Business Development, TotalBeauty has already partnered with some of the largest, most prestigious cosmetic companies, including Estee Lauder, Bobbie Brown, MAC, Loreal, Bliss, Aveda, Obaji and many others. Erika Valente, Sr. Manager of Business Development, keeps all the Bloggers up to date on beauty events, "sneak peeks" of new goodies for us to try and review, and new enhancements for our blogs.

I love the concept of the site! Products are rated and reviewed not just by the terrific Editors and Bloggers, but by anyone who wants to be a member. I often check review first, before buying products now. If it's a wow, I am more likely to make a purchase, if it's a bow wow, I'll skip it, and research a better option. In kind, I will also write reviews of anything new I have tried, to keep the system flowing. No one else has created a place for women to share their picks and pans in an unbiased, easily accessible format, uninfluenced by sponsorship. See for yourself!!! There is a link that will take you to visit.

I wonder if any of the Dating websites allow a rating system??? I can tell you one thing, if people were as picky about their dates as they are about their conditioners, singles bars will be having a renaissance...


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bah Dah Bom, Deh Bah Dah Bom....

I am chomping at the bit to see the real Ms. Palin, sans bee hive and granny glasses. She is obviously, a stunner, but she keeps it under wraps, looking more like Rock Hudson's milquetoast secretary, from a 1967 Doris Day movie.

If her primness is fueling my imagination about whipping off her specs, and spring releasing the bee hive to reveal a flowing mane, you can imagine what the boys are saying behind closed doors.

For those Mad Men aficionados, I am hoping to relive Sunday's episode, where Joan, (the office manager and resident bombshell), tells Peggy, (the Donna Reed like copywriter), why the big boys don't let her play in their sandbox. To paraphrase, 'you need to dress like a woman instead of a little girl'. Later, Peggy shows up at the strip club, her male co-workers are reveling at, in a cleavage revealing cocktail dress, without her ponytail and spit bangs. Now, she has our attention, and it won't distract a wit from her intelligence. Chances are, she will get more recognition, not less.

I haven't a clue if Govenor Palin will stick to her armor, or morph into a babe, either way, for now, she has got our attention.



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