Monday, November 17, 2014

Holiday Shopping for the Woman that has Everything or Most Expensive Beauty Gifts of the Season


What do you get for the wooman who has everything?  Well I have 5 suggestions for some of the most over the top, expensive beauty gifts for three over the top gift giving senarios!


Queen Elizabeth II
Say the Queen of England has invited you to Buckingham Palace for a Christmas party.  You obviously want to make a good impression so you find your most ornate Christmas sweater, your reindeer antler headband and a gift for good ole Liz.  What do you get the woman that has everything?  Well here are a few suggestions:

image from harrods.com

Since you'll be across the pond, why not pop into Harrods and pick up the Kiehl's Swarovski Edition Creme De Corps for £5,000. ($7,824 USD)  Why have a plain old bottle of the coveted Kiehl's Creme de Corps when you can have the bottle covered with sparkling yellow Swarovski crystals?  Right?  Sure. it doesn't make the lotion any better, but it's pretty awesome to begin with, so adding the crystal swathed bottle only adds to the luxe experience...or so I'm told. 

image from selfridges.com

I haven't noticed the queen wearing as much makeup as her Daughter in Law, so maybe you could pick her up Tom Ford's stunning gift offering from Selfridges.  The Tom Ford Trousseau Gift Set has everything from lipstick to eyeshadow, foundation to brushes, and every Tom Ford make-up product The Queen could ever want.  Plus SHE will get to pick the colors during her personal consultation for this gift.  The products are all presented in a beautiful trousseau. This little number will set you back £925 ($1,447 USD)  Sadly, Mr. Ford is not included in this set.

Jacqueline Mars

Back in the US, you might be invited to Jacqueline Mars' holiday extravaganza.  Jackie is the co owner of Mars Inc., the world's largest candy company.  With the decline in cocoa production due to higher consumption across the globe, a rare fungal infection in cocoa pods and that pesky Ebola virus killing of her cocoa pickers in West Africa, you know Jackie is under a lot of stress.. She could probably benefit from a little gift as a pick-me-up! Here are a couple of suggestions:
image from barneys.com


Give Ms. Mars a little sparkle in her eye. Check out the Kre-at Beauty Diamond Lashes at Barney's  I'm not sure if the Queen of Chocolate wears false lashes, but maybe you could be the BFF that gets her to take the plunge!  These corner wing (read: half lashes), diamond studded, false lashes will set you back $1,350 USD.  The 0.2 karats worth of diamonds are set in 18K white gold.   Her eyes will certainly sparkle with these gems. Most appropriate for when she visits the Twix factory to roll around in the liquid chocolate. She does this every second Wednesday of the month. (Not really)

image from neimarmarcus.com

OK. Maybe Jackie might like a few Tom Ford products to keep up with Queen Lizzy.  Perhaps she needs the Tom Ford Limited Edition Lip and Nail Box.  This sleek back box contains 8  lipsticks and 8 coordinating nail polishes from the brand.  Well thank goodness for Neiman Marcus. They have it all in a nice little box ready to go. Retailing for $656 USD which works out to $41 USD per item.  This could be a stocking stuffer for the chocolaty heiress!.

Christy Walton

Well what about Christy Walton? (Heir to the Wal-Mart fortune.) Christy is the richest woman in the US.  Certainly, if you are invited for a Christmas party you want to wear your finest Jacqueline Smith for Wal-Mart brand clothing, but you also want to bring a gift befitting the heiress.  How about:

image from barneys.com

The Givenchy Beauty Limited Edition Crocodile Case Le Rouge Lipstick. For the special price of $300.00 USD you can saunter to your local Barneys and purchase this tiny bauble as a gift for little Christy.  The Givenchy lipstick case  is handcrafted in authentic leather with 3,000 numbered cases produced worldwide, and only 300 for the US specifically.   The lipstick color is in the most iconic shade of Le Rouge Givenchy, Carmin Escarpin No. 306. It's a bright red  that will be sure to enhance Christy's complexion as she cuts the health care option for her part time employees and makes them work during Thanksgiving day.

image from sephora.com

You want to make sure the Curtains match the Drapes....No! Not THOSE curtains and drapes. I mean lips and nails.  That's why you might also pick up the Christain Louboutin Starlight special edition nail lacquer to go with the Givenchy Lipstick.  You thought $50 USD was a lot of money for a red nail polish.  How about $675 USD?!?!  No. The Louboutin nail lacquer formula has not changed.  However the presentation box and stem for the bottle have!  The Rouge Louboutin Nail Color  comes encased in an elegant black box with red flower detailing. The bottle is decorated with 1,800 hand applied, two-tone Strass crystals.  No one will be able to tell if Christy is wearing a $675 red nail polish or a $6 nail polish from Wal-Mart's featured brand of Hard Candy Cosmetics, except you! The no chip formula of the nail lacquer will come in handy as Christy counts her millions made after her workers are exploited working during the Black Friday sales!

I'm so glad I could help you in your shopping for the most expensive beauty gifts of the season. I hope Liz, Jackie and Christy will like your thoughtful offerings.  


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Show Towels for the Holidays

Show Towels in their natural habitat

The holiday season is upon us and you have tons-o-parties to attend.  What do you get the gracious hostess for each event?  Easy. Something that can pamper her and make her smell nice! Perfume can be a very personal choice, but soaps can double as a nice smelling gift that won't offend the nose of your host, while complementing a typical accessory to guest bathrooms and powder rooms....

The SHOW TOWEL!

A Show Towel is a subspecies of the common hand towel. Its natural habitat is on a towel rack, in a basket or placed strategically on the side of a guest bathroom or powder room vanity.  Show Towels are an engineered breed of towels that, through years of painstaking cross breeding, cross stitching and lace applique, have evolved into a towel that is only for show. The Show Towel roots are from tea towels, old fashioned linen towels, lingerie and baby doll ankle socks.  The Show Towel branched off to include a sub-sub species which adopted some traits from the terry cloth towel.

Typically, Show Towels are identified by added trim like lace, satin or have embroidery done to primarily make it "look nice". Many Show Towels feature appliques such as satin butterflies or geometrical shapes.  During the holiday season the Show Towel adapts to its environment by changing the appliques into satin Christmas trees, snowmen and reindeer.  At the very least, Show Towels have adapted to color-coordinate with the decorative scheme of the bathroom in which it resides.

Most commonly found in the USA, Show Towels should not be used to actually dry anything!  The Show Towel is supposed to be displayed when one has guests, no one, not even the residents of the home, are allowed to use them.  Adding insult to injury, guests are also not allowed to use them!  Show Towels are strictly decorative in nature.   As a result a symbiotic relationship has developed between the mighty Show Towel and the less decorative Functional Towel. Functional Towels are actually for use by residents or guests in a Show Towel home.  The typical make up of the Functional Towels are either sold color terrycloth or high end, absorbent paper.  Show Towels are used to stymie the other residents and guests of the home.  If a Show Towel is used the offender will be chastised and reminded that there are paper towels on the side of the sink for hand drying purposes.  Then the offender will be reminded not to engage in the use of Show Towels the next time they use the habitat of the Show Towel.

Mostly women in the household are the carriers of the Show Towels spores that propagate when a woman has access to a Horchow catalog, browses the Wayfair.com website or wanders into the decorative towel aisle of Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Mind you, not all women carry the Show Towel spores, but if they do, the Show Towel will naturally germinate and appear in a guest bathroom simply by the woman's mere existence.

Fancy soaps work well with Show Towels.  The fancier the packaging the more likely the soap will become Show Soap, a cousin to the Show Towel.  My recommendations are:

L'Occitane Lavender Perfumed Soap  $6.00
L'Occitane 'Savons de Provence' Deluxe Soap Set (Limited Edition) $19.00
Crabtree Evelyn 'Almond Milk & Honey' Triple Milled Soap  $10.00
Crabtree & Evelyn 'Pear & Pink Magnolia' Triple Milled Soap  $8.00
diptyque 'Philosykos' Perfumed Soap  $15.00
diptyque '34' Soap $30.00
TOCCA Soap Trio (Limited Edition)  $18.00
Creed 'Virgin Island Water' Soap  $40.00
Creed 'Millesime Imperial' Soap $40.00
Tory Burch Soap Gift Set  $42.00
Fresh Mangosteen Soap $15.00
Fresh Sugar Soap Anniversary Edition $15.00




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Vitamin C in Skin Care - The Basics

Vitamin-C-in-Skin-Care-The-Basics-on-PinkSith.com


I think we all have heard of Vitamin C being used in skin care, but some of you (and me included, until I researched this topic) may not know the who-what-why-when-where of the whole Vitamin C skincare stuff.  Here are the answer to my questions about Vitamin C I found while doing my research:

What does Vitamin C do?
When applied to the skin, Vitamin C has been shown to:

  1. Increase collagen production (That's important for reducing wrinkles)
  2. Even skin tone by reducing some skin discolorations
  3. Enhance the skin's repair process
  4. Reduce inflammation
  5. Help skin better withstand exposure to sunlight, even if not protected by sunscreen (But you should ALWAYS wear sunscreen!)
  6. End all wars and maintain World Peace.
OK. 6 is NOT true, but according to some marketers, they would have you believe Vitamin C is the cure all for all that is wrong in the world.  Sure, if we all had amazing looking skin the world might be a happier place, but then what would the Dermatologists and Estheticians do?  They would be out of a job and they would be pissed. I bet they would form small roving bands of skin destroying mercenaries that would make you fall asleep in your makeup, hide your sunscreen, and rub comedogenic ingredients on your face when you least expect it.  But I digress.  Back to Vitamin C.

Vitamin-C-in-Skin-Care-The-Basics-on-PinkSith.com
Ascorbic Acid

What kind of Vitamin C should I look for in products?
Vitamin C is available in a few different forms.  Ascorbic Acid is the most common form found on the ingredients list.  You might also see Vitamin C listed as: Ascorbyl Glucosamine, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, L-ascorbic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Retinyl Ascorbate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, or Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.  If you don't have a degree in Chemistry, the previous words are not only difficult to pronounce, they are difficult to remember.  What is important to remember is that you want STABLE forms of Vitamin C or packaging that keep the non stable forms of Vitamin C effective for longer periods.

You see, Vitamin C starts to break down and lose its effectiveness almost immediately after packaging. However, some forms of Vitamin C are better than others and do not break down as easily therefore remaining active and effective in skin care longer than others.  Although the natural form of vitamin C, called Ascorbic Acid, is the most effective when applied topically, it is the least stable of all the Vitamin C formulations found in serums/creams/etc.  There are some stable synthetic derivatives, such as Ascorbate Phosphate, but that has a limited ability to permeate and function well in skin.  This lipid-soluble (oil versus water soluble) derivative called Ascorbyl Palmitate, also has limited absorption capabilities. However, the stability of topical vitamin C solutions may be increased by the addition of other antioxidant compounds to the formula.

Are there ANY stable forms of Vitamin C?
Yes.  There are a few.  But remember that with the proper container, unstable forms of Vitamin C can be just as effective.  Here are a few of the stable forms of Vitamin C:

  1. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate also referred to as MAP.  This is the most stable and preferred form of Vitamin C for topical Use.  MAP is easily absorbed into the skin, it has a hydrating effect on the skin and decreases water loss from skin cells.  MAP has also been shown to increases collagen production under laboratory test conditions.
  2. Ascorbyl 6 Palmitate (Safety Studies still pending)
  3. Disodium Isostearyl 2-0 L-Ascorbyl Phosphate (VCP-IS-Na)
  4. Ascorbic Acid Sulfate

Vitamin-C-in-Skin-Care-The-Basics-on-PinkSith.com

What's a "stable environment"?
ALL vitamin C formulations will deteriorate in the presence of air and light. THEREFORE, if a Vitamin C product you are interested in is NOT packaged in a container reducing exposure to air and is not packaged in a container that is opaque or darkened to reduce light exposure, DON'T BUY IT!  Plain and simple.

So which is best?
That depends.  Don't you hate that answer?  Well, marketing hype will try to convince you that there is a "best" form of Vitamin C, but really what you need to know is that a) There isn't and b) As long as it is a stable form of Vitamin C OR c) If the Vitamin C is kept in a stable environment, it's all "The Best".
I think of the many forms of Vitamin C out there, I personally like L-ascorbic Acid and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) the most. While MAP has been shown to be the most stable form of Vitamin C,  L-ascorbic acid still has been proven to stimulate collagen production even if it doesn't penetrate the skin as deeply as MAP.  In addition L-ascorbic Acid has been shown to prevent water loss from the skin much better than MAP, so it just DEPENDS on what sort of other care you need for your skin.  Those with drier skin would benefit from using MAP, but might not see as much dryness is they used L-ascorbic Acid and vice versa for those with oilier skin.  But that's not to say that other forms of stable and non stable Vitamin C or Vitamin C Esters aren't good either...I'm just giving you my personal preference.
Vitamin-C-in-Skin-Care-The-Basics-on-PinkSith.com

So what do I do now?
Well the first thing you should do is run out and spend $350 on a vitamin C serum...NO. I'm kidding. You don't have to spend that much for a good and effective serum. You can get a really great serum for a little as $25! But more on that in another post! The FIRST thing you should do is determine if using a Vitamin C serum is what you need for your skin concerns. You might have to consult your doctor first, especially if you have any known allergies to Vitamin C or allergic reactions to taking or using Vitamin C.  Also if you have very sensitive and reactive skin, you might try a patch test before using a Vitamin C serum all over your face. Usually the inside of your arm, behind your ear or near the jaw line is a good place to test for tolerance.  Last but not least (such a cliche phrase, but necessary), you should not judge your skin tone and texture by what you see in movies, magazines, on line or in so called "candid" photos of celebrities. Photoshop will always trump Vitamin C serums. You will never have that bright, glowing, perfect skin because it just doesn't exist in real life.  Also a 10X magnifying mirror is your enemy. NO ONE is ever that close to your face and scrutinizing it as much as you do...so relax....you're still beautiful.  

Adding a Vitamin C serum to my skin care regimen has dramatically improved the tone, texture and overall look of my skin. I can't believe I went this long in my life without using it. Hopefully the above information has educated you enough about Vitamin C to make an education choice about adding it (or not) to your skin care rituals.


References:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Official Photographs

Whenever someone goes missing or dies unexpectedly the news outlets always use THE WORST photographs of the Victim/Deceased.  Therefore I would like to officially declare the following pictures be used if I ever follow the same fate.

If I ever disappear /go missing I would like news outlets to use the following picture:



If I ever die unexpectedly I would like news outlets to use this image:



If I ever win the lottery I demand that the lottery board use the following photograph of me: 




If I am ever accused of embezzlement or other financial fraud I would like the following picture used to represent me:






If I ever given a political appointment like Secretary Of state or something like that, I would like THESE pictures used:




And if Daniel Craig is ever single again, I would like to use the following image as my Profile pic on OKCupid:




If Rush Limbaugh is ever single again I will change my profile pic from the one above to this one...just to be safe:




And last, but not least, If I ever win a Peabody, Nobel Peace Prize, Oscar, or any other type of award. I insist that the following photo be used:




I don't know if I can make those demands once I has passed on or gone missing, but I do hope that someone out there will respect my wishes.  The last thing I want is a candid photo showing my double chin, back fat, or ginormous mole on my jaw to the public at large.  I think this is as important as signing a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.  If I am ever found or brought back to life, I will be so totally embarrassed that a crappy photo will be associated with me for my entire life! 

I have also made plans with Mr. Sith to pluck the three stray hairs I grow on my chin and to keep my eyebrows groomed if I should ever fall into a coma or am incapacitated to the point where operating a tweezer is beyond my abilities. 

Just thought you should know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

6 Steps To Make A Great First Impression At A Job Interview


Did you know it only takes about 1/10th of a second to make a first impression?  Like it or not, judgments based on our appearance play a powerful role in how we are treated.  So how do you make a good first impression in a job interview without uttering a word? I have been a recruiter for almost 20 years and I have seen everything when it comes to interview attire and appearance. I have also witnessed first hand how hiring managers react to the appearance of candidates.  In a fair world, it wouldn't matter what you look like, but we all know this world isn't fair.  Most of these suggestions are for a moderate to conservative office environment. Obviously, an interview at MAC for a makeup artist position or an interview for any other very creative type position might not need to follow these guidelines as closely. But I still think everything applies whether you are interviewing for an Executive Management position or for a Cashier at McDonalds.  

Here are six tips to help you make a great first impression and have the manager focus on your skills rather than your looks!


1. Dress For Success.
Make sure you understand what kind of office environment you are entering. Is it conservative, artsy, casual? Getting a handle on that will guide you for the rest of the steps to get ready.  Make sure your clothing is neat, clean, free of wrinkles and office appropriate. This isn’t the time for that neon pink suit and low cut blouse. And unless you are interviewing at the circus, keep your outfit simple and polished. A smart blouse and skirt or tailored pants will win every time over a sundress or capri pants! Obviously a suit would be preferable for an office position, but try to keep everything neutral and avoid flashy jewelry and accessories. You don't want to be remembered for your clothing, you want to be remembered for your expertise!

Real Life Example: I was interviewing candidates for an entry level manufacturing position. The woman who showed up for the interview arrived in short shorts and a tube top which exposed her belly button and wore flip flops. The outfit alone was inappropriate for an interview but also violated the company's dress code. Even if she was hired for the position, she could never have worn that to work.  The manager was so embarrassed by her lack of clothing he blushed just looking at her.

Items to try:
ROMWE Dot Print Asymmetric White Blouse $30
Theory Rhin Austell Pencil Skirt $113
Ivanka Trump Kayden 4 Pump $70
Cole Haan Bellport Leather Tote with Nylon Insert $140





2. "Hand" It To Neatness.
Aside from a firm handshake you want to make sure your nails are neat and groomed. Nothing says "I don't pay attention to details" like raggedy nails and crime scene cuticles. An interview is also not the place to test out that crackle nail polish! Wild colors are also something you might want to avoid. Consider treating yourself to a basic manicure the day before the interview. If you don't want to do that, soak your cuticles in olive oil for 15 minutes, rinse and then buff your nails to a nice shine.

Real Life Example: I once had a woman interview while donning a Kelley Green manicure.  All the manager could talk about after the interview was her nails and how distracting they were.  She completely forgot about the candidate's skills.  I bet that was not the lasting impression she wanted to leave.

3. Put Your Best "Face" Forward.
The night before the interview is NOT the time to test out a new facial mask or treatment. You never know how your skin is going to react. Cleanse like you normally do, exfoliate your lips and apply a good amount of lip balm. Keep your brows looking neat by tweezing away stray hairs and keeping that mono-brow in check. Do you want to be referred to as "Bert from Sesame Street" when the managers are trying to remember all the candidates they interviewed?  I think not.  When it comes to interview make-up the mantra is: “Less Is More”! Interview makeup should be kept as neutral as possible. A neutral eyeshadow, simple liner and not too much mascara are ideal. Minimal blush and a "your lips but better" gloss or lipstick are great finishing touches to your "interview face". 

Real Life Example: I had a woman interview for a secretarial position who had applied so much bronzer that her face was an Oompa Loompa shade of orange. The make up ended harshly at her jawline and the neck and chest were alabaster white. It seriously looked like she was wearing a mask.  While she looked appalling, her skills and references were not as good as another candidate we interviewed so that is why she wasn't hired. But I have to think that her judgement could be called into question if she chooses to walk around like that. As a makeup blogger I REALLY wanted to give her some feedback on her makeup, but it wouldn't have been appropriate or professional of me to do so at the time.



Items to try:
CHANEL JOUES CONTRASTE Powder Blush in Innocence $45
Rouge Bunny Rouge - Original Skin Blush in Delicata $28
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Bellissima $35
Burberry Beauty Sheer Eye Shadow - 22 Pale Barley $29
Burberry Beauty 'Lip Mist' Natural Sheer Lipstick - Field Rose $33
Clarins 'Rouge Eclat' Lipstick in Candy Rose $27
Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Color in Uber Pink $26





4. A "Hairy" Situation.
When it comes to your hair, just keep it simple. Try to avoid using flashy hair accessories, keep your hair pulled back or styled in a way where you won’t be tempted to play with it during the interview.

Real Life Example:  I had an applicant show up for an interview with Shipping and Receiving. The woman who arrived for the interview had a lot of hair. I mean A LOT! and she kept whipping it back and forth during the interview to a point where I almost thought it was some sort of nervous tick.  Then, during the interview with the manager, she proceeded to play with it twirling it through her fingers and letting it fall in front of her eyes. The manager actually lost eye contact with the applicant because her hair was covering both of her eyes.  Needless to say, she didn't get the job. Reference checks also showed that her hair was a major issue at her last employer as well!



Items to try:
Elle Fabric Oval Loop Headwrap $8.50
Capsule Ponytail Clip $18
MuchTooMuch Uncommon Character Headband $10.99


5. Have Some Sense About Scent.
It’s best if you avoid perfume or scented creams when you interview. More people are reporting allergies to fragrance these days, so why risk offending the interviewer because your signature scent causes her to sneeze? Or worse yet, what if your perfume is the same that the manager's evil ex wife used to wear? Do you really want to remind him of HER during the interview?

Real Life Example:  I had a woman interview for an engineering position that wore so much perfume to mask the smoke that her cigarettes left on her clothing it was almost impossible to sit in a closed room with her.  My eyes actually began to water and I was getting nauseous during the interview.  I warned the hiring manager before she went in about the "smell" and suggested keeping the door open during the interview.  The manager laughed me off and said she could take it.  A few minutes after starting the interview, the door was opened by the manager and she excused herself in the middle of the interview just to get some fresh air.  After the candidate left and for the rest of the day, the room smelled like the candidate. YUCK!

Item to try:
Febreeze Free-Nature Fabric Refresher - Unscented $5.99




6. A Winning Smile
Most important: Don’t forget to SMILE! All the planning in the world won’t help you if you don’t look excited to be there. Oh, and remember to brush and floss your teeth too!

Real Life Examples:  a) I had a candidate that came in to interview that never once smiled, not even a grin. He sat with his arms crossed across his chest the entire interview. At the end of the interview I couldn't tell if he was nervous or mad at me.  b) I had another candidate interview that must have eaten a Caesar salad right before the interview. Aside from the heavy garlic smell on his breath, there was a huge green leaf of lettuce wedged between his two front teeth! It was beyond gross and distracting. I tried to offer him a mint before the manager came in, but he refused. 
Do you have any helpful tips for interviews or making a great first impression. Please share them in the comments section.  Also if you have any interview "horror" stories where either you were the candidate or the interviewer, please feel free to share as well!


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