New York Fashion Week And Fashion's Night Out

Have I mentioned that I will be covering Fashion Week this September in New York City? No? Well, I think I've told everyone else, because I am REALLY EXCITED about it! I'm also part of Inside the Tents, put together by the Style Coalition. Inside the Tents is a group of bloggers who are hand picked to bring you the most interesting coverage of New York Fashion Week from - you guessed it - inside the tents.

I'll be able to access the tents, and a few shows. I'll be attending some workshops as well while I'm there, so I'll come back with lots and lots of things to share with you. But one of the things that I am most excited about is Fashion's Night Out Friday, September 10th all across the city.

Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) is an unprecedented global initiative created to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry’s economy. In the United States, the program is a collaboration between American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company, and the City of New York. On September 10, 2009, more than 300 stores will stay open late to put the fun back in shopping, with designer appearances, live windows, celebrity guests, and other special events. In addition, two important New York charities—the September 11 Memorial and Museum and the NYC AIDS Fund—will benefit from the initiative via the sale of a charity T-shirt and a citywide clothing drive, respectively. On the same night around the world, and led by twelve international Vogue editions (United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Russia, France, Brazil, India, Spain, China, Germany, Japan, and Taiwan), each country will tailor its Fashion’s Night Out celebration to appeal to its city’s unique retail environment.Stores and boutiques will be open late and all sorts of fun and special stuff will be going on.

The complete list of retailers and designers participating can be found at the Fashion's Night Out website. Click on each one to find out the specifics, if any, for the event.

Now, there are so many stores and salons participating that I'm having a super hard time figuring out what I want to do, but I think I've got a general idea of what I want to hit. Here are my picks:
  • Barneys New York: Designer personal appearances and special events are planned. From "lip readings" by Lipstick Queen Poppy King to knitting circles to salsa lessons. I'm not missing this.
  • Bergdorf Goodman: A cookoff with Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef, an exhibition of extreme beauty photographs from Vogue, and a game show hosted by Andre Leon Talley with teams lead by Donna Karan, Linda Fargo, and Robert Verdi. Customized t-shirts by Alexander Wang and a "conversation" with Issac Mizrahi. Can a I get a holy crap on this one?
  • Space NK: I'm a beauty junkie first and foremost, and I've never been to Space NK. So, I want to join them for cocktails and treats and watch eyelash applications and and prepped for all the shows the next few days.
  • M.A.C: I don't want to miss the preview for Style Black, their upcoming collection focused on black eyeliner and gothy 80's looks. Can. Not. Wait. At the Soho location a special celebrity guest will appear. See you there!
  • Magnolia Bakery: Not to be outdone, the Magnolia Bakery will be creating a special FNO cupcake and donating a portion of the proceeds to the 9/11 Fund. Buy lots. I plan to.
  • Bond No. 9: Next door to the Magnolia Bakery, Bond is offering 20% off all items. That's crazy, y'all. You can also blend your own fragrances and enter to win an I Love New York Double Decker Sampler Box. Celebrate NYC!
  • New York and Co: My favorite "mall brand" will be showcasing their new Red Label collection and Carson Kelly will be on hand at the Lex Avenue store. While you can chat up Carson on fashion tips, you can also score goodie bags and exclusive event discounts.
There are so many more fun and exciting events to choose from - this is by no means even close to being a complete or comprehensive list. Go check it out and tell me what you would like me to cover! Upcoming Sales of Interest - Members exclusive premium online sample sale

Some beauty brands coming up on HauteLook that you might be interested in:
  • Kings and Queens, beginning August 24, 8 AM PST
  • Juice Beauty, beginning August 26, 8 AM PST
And some fabulous fashion brands worth checking out:
  • M Missoni, beginning August 25, 8 AM PST
  • Julie Haus, beginning August 26, 8 AM PST

You Knew It Was Coming: Twilight Makeup

WWD has an interesting article today about the upcoming Twilight makeup line. While you have no doubt heard of DuWop Twilight Venom, there is going to be two other separate lines to be launched soon.

A teen line, called Volturi will launch at Ulta, Hot Topic, and Torrid. The pricing will run from $9 to $19. Another line, called Luna Twilight is aimed at older girls and their mothers and is launching at Nordstrom and Dillards next month. The price points are between $18 and $34.

Let me know if it makes you sparkly, okay?

Product Review: Exuviance Anti-Agin/Anti-Acne Skin Care

I was contacted recently by NeoStrata, the brand behind Exuviance with an offer to try out their anti-aging and anti-acne kit. I was very excited to even know that there was such a thing. It seems that often if you're in the market for anti-acne, you have to look to the young person's section of the drugstore. If you're in the market for anti-aging you aren't even in the same aisle. Exuviance is here to help with all of that, combining ingredients that work simultaneously on the anti-acne and the anti-aging front.

The kit contains Moisturizing Antibacterial Facial Cleanser, Sheer Refining Fluid SPF 15, Night Renewal HydraGel, Purifying Clay Masque, and Matte Perfection. I tried everything in the kit, so I'm going to break it down by product.

First up is the Moisturizing Antibacterial Facial Cleanser. This is a very gentle cleanser with an active ingredient of triclosan (0.3%), a common antibacterial agent. It also has PHA's, or polyhydroxy acids which are also supposed to provide anti-aging benefits. According to, PHA's "are the next generation of AHAs in skin care, are natural and nontoxic. In the polyhydroxy acids category are lactobionic acid, galactose and gluconic acid. A special type of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) known to
  1. Modulate keratinization, cell development in the top layer of skin.
  2. Normalize stratum corneum (outermost layer of skin involving the last stage of cell development) exfoliation and thickness. Aging slows the exfoliation process down allowing cells to remain on the skin causing a lack luster appearance.
  3. Distinct advantage when used on sensitive skin due to a larger molecular size allowing gentle topical penetration, decreasing sensitivity and discomfort.
  4. Sensitive skin, such as rosacea, atopic dermatitis, eczema, seborrhea and in hyperkeratosis (abnormal cell turn over) associated with psoriasis, ichthyosis, and keratosis pilaris are skin conditions benefiting from this advantage."
All of which are fabulous on the anti-aging front, but for those of us with breakout issues, there isn't much exfoliating power there. I actually had to discontinue my use of this cleanser because it just wasn't exfoliating off the sebum on my skin, leading to breakouts. However, if you are only mildly prone to breakouts, this product may very well be the answer to your oily skin/anti-aging dilemma. It just didn't work for me.

The next product in my kit that I used on a daily basis was the Exuviance Sheer Refining Fluid. This is similar to a moisturizer, and should be used as such. It has a broad spectrum SPF 15 level, which is key in any anti-aging product, in my opinion. It also has a unique botanical blend called Phytotal, which is supposed to help control surface sebum over time. To boost the anti-aging properties, it has another unique ingredient balled NeoGlucosamine which is designed to smooth the skin while fading dark and pigmented spots on the skin. I liked this moisturizer a good deal. I don't know that it really controlled my oil, but I haven't found a single product that actually does that, no matter what the claims are, so I don't have high expectations in that area. But it certainly wasn't greasy at all, and it didn't feel like I had a veil of thick cream on my face.

The Night Renewal HydraGel was designed to be used only at night. This light gel has a combination of PHA and AHA's to help exfoliate the skin, which refines and repairs it. It also has Phytotal to help control sebum. This was also a very light product that I liked a great deal for nighttime use. The gel formulation wasn't greasy at all, and it didn't cause breakouts.

Designed for weekly use, the Purifying Clay Masque has kaolin clay to absorb surface oil and packs a punch with more PHA's for hydrating skin. This is a great clay mask, and there are so many on the market right now. It might be my favorite product out of this whole line. My skin felt really refreshed after this application, and I tend to use these about twice a week, depending on what sort of state my skin is in.

Matte Perfection is one of the new formulations that are designed to go either underneath or over makeup to give the skin more of a matte look. It is also formulated with AHA's and PHA's for skin benefits. I think this is a perfectly lovely product, and will probably work well with most skin types - except for mine. It just didn't do much to mattify, and I like these types of products to be formulated with salicylic acid, or BHA's to really help remove the oil. Again, my skin is really finicky, and requires a bit of beating down, so don't think that my experience is universal.

All in all, I think this is a great system for those who have oily skin but don't tend to have breakouts. If you're more interested in anti-aging versus anti-acne, this is right up your alley, and you should certainly give it a try. As for me, I'm back to my anti-acne regimen before things get really bad!

All products can be found at Amazon, Ulta, and

Ouidad Shows You How to Style Your Curls in Four Minutes

Products used include Ouidad's Botanical Boost, Climate Control Gel, and Styling Mist. All are available at

Vote to Help Select the New Torrid House of Dreams Model

Torrid has chosen 26 finalists and needs your help narrowing it down to 6 lucky winners that will walk in the fashion show on September 24th.

Head on over to and place your vote! Check back on September 2nd to see who will strut down the runway.

I've already placed my vote. I'll let you know if she shows up on the runway!

Beauty Brands Most Often Purchased by the Wealthy

Unity Marketing has put together the most popular brands purchased the first half of this year by those who have a household income of over $250,000, and the results are surprising to me. I expected to see a completely different list, although there are one or two that aren't surprising (hello, Chanel).

Here are the top five prestige brands:
  • Clinique
  • L'Occitane
  • MAC
  • Chanel
  • Nars
The top five mass market brands are:
  • Olay
  • Maybelline
  • Cover Girl
  • L'Oreal
  • Nivea
Read the entire article at WWD Beauty. It's really quite interesting.

Bringing the Funk with Fall Eye Color

I've been known throughout my lifetime, all 27.8 years of it, to have the right instincts about things. Not always. But on occasion, I have totally had my finger on the pulse point of style and hipness. Those of you who know me are laughing at this to be sure. I have my own funk, yes, but I also have great instincts about what trends are seasonal and which ones are classic and everlasting. My most recent discovery was more than that. It was a premonition. How exciting! By just playing around with my makeup and colors one morning, I created and wore THIS FALL SEASON'S COLORS! Yes. You heard it here first. I had a vibe that these three colors would be a hit, a smash, even. I wanted to fill all my ladies in on this fall's trio and give you guys some hints and tips on how to sport them on any occasion! I've recently become brave with my eye makeup. I have been told by my most trusted makeup guru, "G", that I never put it on dark enough. Right when I'm starting to feel like I might've gone overboard, G chimes in with, "Darker!" What can I say? I have always been under the DISILLUSION that because I'm a minimalist in most areas of my life that I must be in my beauty life as well. How wrong was I! How amazing is it when you discover a color that makes your eyes ignite? Don't you giggle with glee when you find the exact color lip gloss that you've been looking for at half the price you planned on? I now bring you my complete gigglefest of 2009. My Fall Color Trio Review, Ladies. Read it and cackle!

The first color of this fall is TEAL. I am overjoyed by this. Teal is truly a fabulous color that is overlooked much too often. I bought the richest shade of teal I have ever seen last year. It's called "Plumage" by MAC. I don't think I could describe this in a way that would do it justice. It looks like velvet. It is such a deep color that it makes you feel like you could just wrap yourself in it. Yes, ladies. I love me some teal. However, I am also a chicken. Remember, I said recently became brave. So, it was just two months ago that I put my big girl panties on and played with the teal. What a rush! It creates the perfect smokey eye while inticing you with green undertones. MAC eye shadow pots normally retail for approximately $28, so it is a bit of a penny pinch. However, you all know how strongly I believe in spending a bit more for a better quality product. I've seen the light. But I also understand that Momma can't always buy MAC. So I did some more research (playing!) and found a drugstore brand substitute that gives that same teal bite. Cover Girl made a pallette called "Tropical Fusion" (#205) which has a beautiful shade of teal in it. It is lighter than the Plumage and more on the turquoise side, but if layered well, it creates a fantastic punch of color! This pallette retails for $6.99 at most drug stores. There is another beautiful color within this pallette, ironically, that is the second fall color!! Papaya is a deep orange that falls in between burnt orange and melon. It is a warm color that is great for an enhancer in a smokey eye and even wears well alone! Now ladies, I know some of you are shaking your heads right now and chuckling at me, "Sweet girl, she's just too ambitious." Ha! This is where I tell you to break out of your shells and explore and experiment with color! Papaya is incredible, really. It is a shade that at first glance, one thinks it is too much. But once you try it, you see that it has so many different options for all types of makeup wearers. Worn lightly, it adds just enough warmth to a brown eye, making it glow. Worn layered and darker, it is a nice orange/bronze look, great for summertime and warmer weather. I was pleasantly surprised by this color and it is definitely a staple color for me now. It goes well with teal for a funky eye, great with brown for a more neutral eye and fabulous by itself for a soft look. Papaya is one versatile color…

…which brings me to the third fall color, Amethyst. Let's all have a moment of silence for Anna's first love with eye shadow. I began my journey through the eye makeup world with a dark purple eye shadow that was made by Jane. It stuck it out for two years. It was my old reliable. But then I expanded my horizons and paid a visit to Sephora and realized I could do so much more with purple! Enter my favorite purple to date, Frigid , made by Urban Decay. I first found it in a color quad, a present from G, of course. It made me sigh with relief to see it, like coming home after a long trip. I love familiar things. And with the teal and papaya being a huge leap for me, I needed the third color to be something tried and true. I have always used my dark purple with smokey eyes or even as a simple liner for a smudged look. But imagine my sheer joy when I reached my pinnacle of courage and wore THESE THREE COLORS TOGETHER!! I felt like I had arrived. It was the most beautiful trio I have ever seen on my eyes. I have included a picture of this trio on my eyes. Please enjoy! It’s very simple to do. I lined my eyes with the Plumage and started at the outside corner of my eye, working my way in with the Frigid and then ending at the inner corner with the Papaya. Then I line the bottom lash line from the inner corner half a centimeter out with the Papaya and the blend it in with the teal on the outer bottom lash line. Sweep a highlighter under your brow and dab a tiny bit on the inside corner of the eye. Finish with a fabulous black or dark brown mascara and you're ready to rock! Remember, there are millions of ways to work this trio into your style this fall. The eye shadow was just my first taste! Next I will be experimenting with accessories and jewelry. Just by adding a teal scarf, some purple nail polish or papaya tights, you’re showing your fashion forward side and maintaining your own personal style. And that’s what it’s all about, yes? Use these colors as inspiration and let your creative juices flow!

Is Nail Polish on Your Holiday Wish List?

Then head on over to Magic Maid's nail blog and join the International Christmas Polish Exchange!

It's simple - Elfster matches everyone up, and you send off two bottles of polish to your match and get two bottles sent to you!

I've already signed up, so I'll see you there!

Try On the Latest Estee Lauder Collection With Their New Makeover Widget

Don't have time to head to the counter to try on the latest collections? Estee Lauder knows you're busy, so they've developed a desktop widget to help you explore all the latest and greatest they have to offer.

Just download to your desktop or social media page, upload a photo of yourself, and play with color! From foundation to eyeliner, you can experiment with everything the Estee Lauder counter has to offer. You can also try on "one click looks" from a collection or mix it all up.

I'm off to download mine now! Visit to get yours.

I Need Your Hair Coloring Questions!

I am fortunate enough to be attending a workshop on hair color while in NYC for Fashion Week, and have been asked to come prepared with questions for the experts. So, I turn it over to you, dear readers. Tell me, what would you most like to know about coloring your hair at home? What are your most pressing issues? What keeps you from trying out home hair color?

We desperately want to know!

New From Lush: Palm Free Soaps and Jungle Soap

I had no idea that Kansas City was cool enough to have a LUSH store (we still don't have one in Virginia Beach - no fair), but I happened upon one while shopping on vacation last week. Talk about happy and surprised all wrapped into one!

They have some changes and new things going on. Did you know that they have stopped using palm oil as a base for their soaps? That's right - none of the LUSH soaps have palm oil as a base any longer.

But what's wrong with palm oil, you say? Well, as part of their campaign to save the Indonesian rain forest, LUSH became aware of the devastation that the harvest and production of palm oil was causing. They then worked for over three years to find an alternative to palm oil as a soap base.

In fact, LUSH is so passionate about the cause that they are calling on other soap manufacturers to stop using palm oil and will share their information and expertise to companies who are interested in reducing or eliminating palm oil from their formulations.

So, to promote this cause, all proceeds from the new Jungle Soap will go towards the Rainforest Foundation which works with tribes to to protect their forest homes from the destructive expansion of palm oil plantations in the region. At the same time, LUSH has announced a new partnership for Charity Pot, their lotion product that has always supported important causes. They will be supporting the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). The WSPA works with Borneo Orangutan Society to protect endangered orangutans threatened by the deforestation practices of the palm oil industry.

With all that goodness going on, how can you resist?

In The Dressing Room: Gap's 1969 Premium Designer Jeans

Gap recently launched a huge campaign about their new premium denim line, 1969 jeans. The blogs were all atwitter about it (probably because some fashion bloggers got free pairs, but my mailbox was pretty empty, not that I'm bitter), and the email campaign launched at about the same time. I'm sure Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic cardholders got quite a few reminders to come check them out.

At any rate, I found myself at the mall recently and decided to go in and see what all the fuss was about. And what I found out was...they are pretty good jeans. But then again, I always thought Gap had good jeans. Do they feel like my Sevens? No. Do they feel nice? Yes. Plus they make my butt look good, which is the best reason to buy them.

The jeans you see here are the ones I actually purchased. I plan to go back and get the dark wash curvy cut. I was torn between the two of them, and later realized that I should have just gotten both.

I tried on every single cut, so that I could give you the scoop on what to expect. Now, I totally needed therapy after I walked out of the dressing room, so be in awe of what I will put myself through for you guys. Just sayin'.

Perfect Boot cut: These were really flattering, but you will probably need to go up a size. They are mid rise, which is a newer and more flattering cut, in my opinion. The boot cut is almost a flare, so be sure that you're up for such a thing.

Real Straight cut: The cut I ended up purchasing, much to my surprise. I figured that I wouldn't like these at all, but they actually ended up looking the best out of all of them. They are low cut, so watch for muffin top and other unflattering things, but they aren't so low that you need to worry about your panties peeking out the top. Apparently, according to a Gap employee, the cut in the back is higher to prevent such travesties from happening. Can I get an amen?

Long and Lean cut: Another midrise cut that is really flattering. However, the hem is a pretty wide flare, and I can't really carry those off. This is another cut that you may need to go up a size on, for reasons that I can't figure out. I confirmed this with the Gap employee, who said that everyone is going up a size in these. So thank god it wasn't just me.

Curvy cut: This has always been my favorite Gap jeans cut, although it hasn't been around very long. I think I got my first pair two years ago. They are low rise and true to size with a boot cut. Those of us with a bit of padding on our butts will appreciate this cut. It's not made for those with no curves.

Always Skinny cut: I found these terrifying, although they didn't look that bad on. My body type just isn't made for skinny jeans, and they make me look out of balance. However, this is the first pair that I've tried on that were actually comfortable. If you're thin and tall, you will probably love these.

Sexy Boot cut: They didn't have these in my size, so I couldn't try them on. However, they look very similar to the Curvy cut. From looking at them, I think the hem might have more of a flair and the cut might be more slim, so probably more for those who don't have any extra around the butt.

Right now all the jeans are $20 off online and in stores. So if you need some new jeans and would like designer cut without the designer price, take a look and tell me what you think!

Total Beauty

About Me

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Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites and 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 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.