Tuesday Book Review and Giveaway!

If you ever needed a "go to" book about makeup, I think Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro might just be it. It's really that good.

I actually learned quite a bit from this book, especially when it comes to color correction. Bobbi takes you through each makeup product, and explains what it is, how you use it, and gives you step by step directions and photos so you don't mess it all up. Neato!

Along with that, she discusses skincare, special makeup applications, bridal makeup, and her own 10 step guide to a basic look.

And for those of you interested in breaking into the makeup artist biz, there is a complete chapter for you too, full of helpful information as well as a who's who in the beauty industry.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Yes it does. So I have five copies to give away! Enter now through January 6 for your chance to snag a copy. US residents only, sorry about that! Good luck!

Poppy Headband

Poppy Headband

Oh my. I do love my poppies, plus I love Etsy. Two loves combined for less than $15! Who doesn't need a huge red poppy in their hair?

Post Holiday Shopping: Bliss

Bliss World, LLC
There are two things I love in this world: after holiday sales and Bliss. Check out some of the goodies available through Bliss for a stupid price:

Napoleon Perdis Palette Patrol, $16. Includes 3 shadows, 3 glosses and 2 blushes in versatile shades, plus 3 application brushes.

Bliss "scent"-ral Park Set, $25. Includes naked body butter, lemon+sage body butter, vanilla+bergamot body butter, and a bliss tote.

FHI Nano Salon PRO 2000 Hair Dryer, $99. Previously a ‘pro only’ tool, this dryer’s Nano Fuzeion™ Technology combines three kinds of nano know-how to max moisture, detox your ‘do and banish bacteria—not to mention far infrared heat to keep strands from ‘sizzling’ and tourmaline crystals to enhance the moisture-maxing ionic effect. Ultra-powerful motor with two speed settings, three heat settings, and cool shot button. With diffuser and concentrator attachments.

There is a lot more, so head on over there and check it out!

Post Holiday Shopping: Sephora

Oh my, ya'll. Sephora is having a pretty large sale, and you might want to go check it out. I hardly ever find things on sale at Sephora, but there are some good ones this year.

Like this Too Faced World Domination Tour All Access Backstage Beauty set which is on sale for $32.

There is lots more, so hop on over and check it out.

Finding Beauty Inspiration

Busy, busy, busy! I know I'm not the only one running around like crazy. I still have to grocery shop and then cook for the annual Holiday Cocktail Party that I'm having tonight. Then wrap presents, put them under the tree and brace myself for an early wake up tomorrow morning and a frenzy of gift unwrapping.

In the meantime, my latest post is up over at Beautiful! Fabulous! called Finding Beauty Inspiration. Please go check it out!

In the meantime, please enjoy your holidays! Look for more good stuff after the new year!

Another Fun Contest Over at LuckyStyleSpotter.com

Okay, if I were on the dating scene, I would so be entering this contest. Since I'm not, I'm leaving it to my beauties who are. Good luck, and let us know if you enter - we'd love to see your looks!

YSL's Classics, With Free Two Day Shipping

I was around in the 80's, and I remember my mom always wearing Opium. It's such a beautiful fragrance, and will always be a classic favorite of mine.

YSL is offering free two day shipping on their classics, and you can find them here: YSL's Classics for Women, and YSL's Classics for Men.

Now, go stock up on beautiful fragrances while I figure out the best way to hide the Fur Real Butterscotch Pony that I bought my daughter. Jeez.

Need a Tag Heuer Watch? Who Doesn't?

Lucky's Style Spotter is running a fab new contest. Pick one of these "looks", then upload a photo of you interpreting it. If you win, you get a new TAG Heuer watch!

If you're not familiar with the brand, these watches retail for about $1500 to $4000. Not only are they beautiful, they are functional, too.

Go on over to Lucky Style Spotter and enter to win yours today!

Latest at Beautiful! Fabulous!: Dry Ashy Skin

My article over at Beautiful! Fabulous! is up, and I'd love it if you all would go over there and check it out!

Prevent Dry and Ashy Winter Skin Easily

Congratulations to the Sothys At Home Spa Kit Winner!

You all thought I forgot, didn't you? I know. But it's not true. Not true at all.

Congratulations to Cali! She won the Sothys At Home Spa Kit! I'm jealous.

Cali, send me your address and skin type, and it will go out to you ASAP! Enjoy!

And it doesn't need to be said that I'll be having more giveaways soon, but I'll say it anyway. We'll be having more giveaways soon!

Another of my Beauty Secrets for You

Since I'm not being very good about keeping up with my regular features...hey! I have a great excuse. I'm not kidding when I say that in the past seven days, my holiday tree has fallen down twice. The first time it was a funny story. The second time I announced that I was canceling the holidays. I'm that serious about not decorating it again.

However, this isn't about me or my doomed holiday tree which is upright in my living room again but is so pathetic that I can't bring myself to do anything about it. No, this is about some goodness that I have discovered and become a complete fan of. That goodness is called Cover FX.

I don't have the worlds worst skin, but it has it's share of flaws, and perhaps it's just my generation, but I like to have a bit of coverage to my foundation. I don't like it to be cakey and artifical looking, but my ideal foundation gives a certain sense of perfection to my otherwise imperfect face. We're all looking for miracles, yes?

Cover FX is designed for those with skin issues such as eczema, rosacea, and acne, all of which can make your face turn funny colors, plus they can also make it difficult to find products that don't make the situation worse.

I tried two different foundations: the Powder FX Mineral Powder Foundation for oily/combination skin and the Water Based Foundation for normal skin. And once or twice, I used them both together when I needed extra coverage. I did not experience a single breakout while using either of these, and got excellence coverage from both. Best of all, the coverage lasted all day, with no touchups at all.

The line includes the water-based liquid, the mineral powder, a tinted moisturizer, bronzer, primer, setting powder, oil absorbing powder, and a complete line of brushes. I especially like the kabuki brush, which comes with it's own case.

Not to be missed is the lip treatment and tint. I like Merlot and Tawny Port. Anything that conditions my lips and tints them as well is a double bonus for me.

Currently, you can only find Cover FX at Sephora and Nordstrom, two of my favorite stores, and is moderately priced line. I will soon have most, if not all, of the entire line.

A super good deal over at Kiss My Face! Using code KMF50 at checkout gets you 50% off everything!

My favorite? The coconut pineapple lip balm. It's like a Pina Colada on my lips, but better, because it keeps them soft. I have horrid dry lips in the winter and live for lip balm.

In Case You Needed Another Reason to Shop Macys

I mean, I know I don't, their cashmere sale last week was amazing, but just in case you do, how about another 20% off? That's right, Macys is running their Friends and Family sale, and you get to cash in! Since you can't really see the coupon above, and the associates might laugh at you if you tried to bring it in, how about you grab a PDF to print?

Here are a few things I'd like Santa to bring me this year:

DKNYC Three-Quarter-Sleeve Sweater Dress - Dresses - Women's - Macy's

DKNYC Three Quarter Sleeve Sweater Dress: on sale for $104.25. I'd like the boots and bag too, please.

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Cashmere Turtleneck Dress - Dresses - Women's - Macy's

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Cashmere Turtleneck Dress
on sale for $164.50, regularly $329. Seriously? Cashmere? Dress? for about $165? Why is this not in my closet?

Nine West

Nine West "You're So Cute" Boot
, on sale for $118.30. I've only been looking for these boots for two years.


Crocs "Nadia" Boot
, on sale for $59.99. Honey, no. $60 is still far too much for this.

Lazy Sunday Music: Fall Out Boy

I know. Fall Out Boy is usually reserved for emo girls and boys who wear eyeliner. But I love them. I do. I can't help it. Check out their new video, which is really kind of clever.

You can also grab it at Fall Out Boy - I Don't Care - Single - I Don't Care.

Saturday's Cocktails: The Tinsel Bellini

I am throwing not one, but two holiday parties this year at my house. I don't know why I do it to myself, but there it is. Needless to say, I've already started planning, because I like to do it up right.

Marie Claire actually has a helpful little party planner guide, and while flipping through it I found a whole mess (that's myspeak for a "whole bunch") of holiday cocktail recipes. I'll be trying some of these out for my party. This is one of them.

Tinsel Bellini

  • 2 oz. HPNOTIQ
  • 1 oz. limoncello
  • 1 oz. champage or sparkling white wine
  • splash of lime juice

Rim the Champagne Flute with a light coat of sugar. Pour chilled HPNOTIQ, Limoncello and Champagne into the champagne flute. Add a splash of lime juice.

And before you ask me about the champagne flute above, the answer is, I don't know. But I did find some that are very similar (you'll have to tie on the pretty silver string). Check out the Schott Zwiesel Pure Tritan Crystal Champagne Flutes Set of 6 on Amazon. Pretty!

Product Review: L'Oreal Double Extend Lash Extention Effect Mascara

L'Oreal Double Extend Lash Extension Effect Mascarais the latest drugstore addition to the "tubes" effect mascaras, where the mascara forms tubes around your lashes creating the illusion of thicker, plumper lashes.

This is also a "two step" formulation, giving you a base coat to nourish and protect the lashes, while the top coat forms the tubes, which are smudge-proof and flake-proof.

My beef isn't with the smudge or flake factor, both of those were fine. My main complaint was with the mess it created when I was trying to get the mascara off. Black clumps of mascara was everywhere when I was washing it off (with just the warm water that was recommended), and it was quite a hassle trying to get it away from my hairline and off my face. I really prefer that my mascara come off with my eye makeup remover, and this product didn't budge when I tried it.

It really didn't give me any more amazing results than the average mascara I've tried. While the application wasn't difficult or tricky, I didn't think the results paid off for a two-step process. It was pretty standard, and nothing out of the ordinary. So if you purchase this going for my "dramatic look" lashes, I fear you will be disappointed. This is a good everyday mascara if you can succeed in getting it to come off as it should.

There are several tube technology mascaras out there that I'm fond of (like Too Faced Lash Injection), but this isn't one of them. I'd only purchase this if it was on an amazing special, like two for one, and even then I'd probably have to think long and hard about it.

I Have a New Haircare Secret For Fighting Frizz

Dealing with frizz is a constant preoccupation for me. I've tried just about every line out there in an effort to keep it tamped down, and have finally come up with a workable solution that I've pieced together from a lot of different lines. However, I was recently given the opportunity to try the line from Living Proof called No Frizz, and I have to say, I'm impressed, and that's hard to do.

No Frizz is actually silicone-free, which made me nervous at first. I love my silicones. But No Frizz uses a Polyfluroester compound which claims to reduce frizz by 30% more than usual silicones. Another benefit that I was excited about says that it actually repels dirt and oil 100% more than leading silicone products, enabling you to go longer between shampoos, which as we all know, is much better for your hair, which could back up the claim that performance improves with continued usage.

First in the lineup was the styling spray. Saturate damp hair and comb through, then apply the styling cream. Blow dry (usage of heat tools helps this formula work better). Then, use the spray on sectioned hair before flat ironing. Works like a charm.

No Frizz claims to prevent frizz for 16 hours, while I found that my frizz control lasted two days. And with my hair, that's pretty amazing. Usually I have to treat it with something on my second day.

There are two formulations: Straight Making for creating sleek, straight looks, and Wave Shaping, which controls and tames curls and waves. I've used both and both work well for what they are supposed to do.

Living Proof's No Frizz formula is available at QVC.com and will be at Sephora starting in February. Find out more at Living Proof.

Need More Gift Ideas: YSL's Gift Guide

Hello cuteness! Pink, puffy, and smells good. Obviously that would fit really well into my stocking, I don't know about yours.

But if you still need gifts for your beauty-obsessed friends, don't skip YSL's Holiday Gift Guide. Lots of gorgeous, fun, and useful things all starting at $30. Better yet, spend $100 and get free shipping.

Have you bought your Pur Black gloss yet? I'm just saying...

Ask Me Mondays: Brighten Eyes

Q: I really need something to brighten up my tired-looking eyes, especially after a late night of studying (or going out). Any tips?

Oh, yes. White eyeliner is your friend in these cases.

But before you get all crazy with the white liner, a few words of caution: don't use it like your regular liner.

After using a good concealer all around the eye, fill in your shadow as usual. Take your white (or nude) eyeliner and gently line the waterline of your eyes. This will emphasize and bring out the whiteness of the eyes while diminishing the darkness underneath. You can finish up by using your regular liner along the lower and upper lash line, although I would stay away from anything too black. A neutral brown works really well with this combination.

Another trick I've found is to take my Benefit Cosmetics Eye Bright pencil and use it on each corner of the eye as well as my waterline. This really brightens up any dark circles I might be suffering from.

Here are a few white eyeliners that are available, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding a white liner at just about any drugstore. Remember, if it's not a soft pencil, you may experience tugging on the delicate skin of the eye, which is never a good thing.

Sephora Brand Slim Pencil - Eye

Make Up For Ever Aqua EyesGivenchy Magic Khol Eye Liner Pencil

Estee Lauder Artist's Eye Pencil

Avon Smooth Over Eye Definer

Total Beauty: What Comes First?

What Comes First, Eye Cream or Moisturizer?

Amp up products' effectiveness by applying serums, creams and treatments in the right order

Do antioxidant serums go before acne treatments? Eye cream before moisturizer? Does it matter? Read up to see what experts had to say about your morning and evening regimens.

View order

For the Men Fridays: Matte for Men

Sephora has released a new line just for men called Matte for Men. There are five products in this line, and it's quite comprehensive. They include:

  • Complete Head Care Lotion: an all-in-one moisturizer for face, neck, forehead, scalp, and ears
  • Antioxidant Shave Gel: A shaving cream alternative created for head and face
  • Complete Cleansing Cloths: an all-in-one cleansing and toning solution
  • Antioxidant Daily Facial Cleanser: foaming cleanser designed to clean without drying
  • MAN Powder: a body powder that keeps skin dry and comfortable

Looks like some great stocking stuffers at a fairly reasonable price. Available exclusively at Sephora.

Total Beauty: Worst Concealers Ever

Worst Concealers Ever

These proclaimed dark circle and spot camouflagers left TotalBeauty.com readers utterly exposed

Concealer has the most important job of all -- to hide the imperfections we'd rather not show (agreed?). So when we read our reader reviews on these second-rate concealers, we had to share -- immediately!

See concealers

No. 8: MAC Select Moisturecover, $15.50

TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 6.9*

"The color quickly disappeared and it didn't last long... and if it got wet, bam! It was gone in a flash..."

No. 7: CoverGirl Fresh Complexion Under Eye Concealer, $10.27

TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 6.8*

"It doesn't really cover my under-eye shadows all that well, and that's after applying it twice."

No. 6: Avon BEYOND COLOR Radiant Lifting Concealer, $7

TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 6.7*

"The product sinks into fine lines and does not last throughout the day."

Want to see the rest of the list? Click here

Product Review: Flying Fox Shower Gel by Lush Cosmetics

I'm a Lush fan. Every year after the holidays I find myself a Lush store (kind of hard to do, the closest one to me is about 400 miles away) and grab their biggest gift sets, and then get my second one free. This enables me to have all my amazing Lush products for the rest of the year, almost. Although I will admit to refreshing the bath bomb collection periodically through the year.

So, really, I only do major Lush shopping once a year. That is, until I went in this year to sample some of their new products (all of which I will be writing about in short order). I walked out after spending $100 with some great stuff, but also a ton of wrapped gifts free! Talk about making my holidays a bit easier.

At any rate, I hadn't tried Flying Fox Shower Gel yet, but I had heard really good things about it. The description from Lush really says it all, I think:

Lots of women would love to believe that they were Cleopatra in a past life. Chances are though that they were somebody more like Mildred. Or Bob. Fortunately, a bunch of fabulous jasmine flowers decided to reincarnate as Flying Fox shower gel. Its infinitely sexy and mysterious scent makes any shower fit for a queen. And we added some honey so you can stay sweet in case all that power goes to your head. Divine!

Divine indeed. I've never been a huge jasmine person, finding that it's often just too sweet for my taste, but this might change my mind. It's gorgeous, and certainly not a one note wonder. You don't just get the jasmine with this one. There is something else there, and it's fantastic.

Another must have from Lush.

Flying Fox Shower Gel by LUSH, from $17.45 to $24.75. Available at LUSH or Amazon.com.

Holiday Gift Idea: Tiffany Style: 170 Years of Design

Do you have a Tiffany fanatic in your life? I admit that I love the brand, and purchase myself a little something every time I am in NYC. What I love about it is not the iconic association with Audrey Hepburn, but the design of the pieces. So beautiful, sleek, and chic. And Tiffany blue! Love.

The product description for Tiffany Style: 170 Years of Design states: In Tiffany Style, Tiffany’s design director John Loring gathers for the first time in one volume the most renowned and memorable pieces ever produced by the company. In this “best of Tiffany” collection, readers will find a spectacular array of objects, from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s famous lamps and vases to opulent silver tea sets to Andy Warhol’s whimsical Christmas illustrations to Elsa Peretti’s signature heart pendant. Drawing from a rich selection of design sketches and vintage and contemporary photography, all taken from Tiffany’s unparalleled archives, as well as new photography taken especially for this book by Harry Benson, Tiffany Style reveals the company’s fascinating history and evolution through its most unforgettable creations.

This belongs on my coffee table.

Tiffany Style: 170 Years of Design, $31.50, at Amazon.com.

Total Beauty

About Me

My photo
Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites RetrodivasBeauty.com and RetrodivasCloset.com. She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for StyleBakeryMom.com twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.