Test Drive: Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream

Kiehls_correctiveTwo in one? I’m in. More than two in one? Even better.

I am hardcore in love with Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream, an anti-aging moisturizer that lifts, firms and smooths skin while correcting most visible signs of aging.

I have ridiculously finicky skin — oily here, dry and flaky here, prone to breakouts here. I can’t do heavy night moisturizers and often daytime moisturizers are too thick and greasy.

Not the case with this little purple pot. Light but power-packed, my skin drinks in this delicious cream packed with beech tree extract and jasmonic and hyaluronic acids to manage excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells.

After just a few weeks of morning and night use, my skin was smooth, moisturized without being oily and visibly lifted, as good or better than other higher priced creams. $62-$82, kiehls.com

Air Bacara: The Perfect Flat?

airbacara

My love of shoes is nothing new — did you happen to see the name of this blog? I used to write a column for the Charlotte Observer called “If The Shoe Fits” and that’s my Twitter handle as well.

Until recently, I have refused to wear flats, claiming they make my feet look short and stubby. I struggled to find a pair that didn’t pinch, look childish or weren’t emblazoned with a giant logo.

But then I discovered a shoe that has elevated even my obsessive shoe tendencies: The Maria Sharapova Air Bacara for Cole Haan.

It started innocently enough: I was shopping with my Aunt Pat and Mom in Atlanta a year or so ago, and found a pair of black glittery flats on the clearance rack at Macy’s in Lenox Square Mall. A sucker for all things sparkly, I tried them on, they fit, but not exactly like I wanted them to. They were marked down to around $60 and were the last pair of Air Bacaras in that color in the store. I wasn’t totally in love, so I put them down and walked away.

They have haunted me ever since. Only after I left Atlanta for Charlotte did I realize they WERE the perfect flat for me. They had built-in Nike technology, had plenty of support, didn’t pinch my heels … I Googled around for a deal on the black sparklies that I let slip away. I even called the Macy’s at Lenox Square a few weeks later and the clerk all but laughed “Uh no. Those are long gone ma’am.”

I finally landed my first pair of Air Bacara this summer — cobalt blue patent. I love my “Smurf shoes” and had to stop myself from wearing them every day.

Around the same time, I read on Life During The Commercial Break that my Charlotte reporter friends Dion Lim and Michelle Boudin are hardcore Bacara fans as well. Jezebel is a fan too. See!? I’m not a crazy shoe lady! I know what I’m talking about. Sometimes.

I, however, had no intention to add to my Bacara collection until I ran across what was my Holy Grail of flats at Nordy Rack recently: Red sparkly Air Bacaras (pictured above on my feet). I have a wicked and longstanding “Wizard of Oz” addiction and had always envied my daughter’s ruby slippers from Target … now I have my own!

Morals of this story? When you see something you like and it’s on crazy sale: buy it. Secondly, adult Ruby Slippers have the power to make any outfit more awesome x10.

 

Test Drive: Dior Nail Glow

DiornailglowAs much as I love a good manicure, I too often can’t find the time to get them and/or maintain the color.

I’m pretty much over long-lasting UV manicures, not so much because of the potential increased chance of cancer, but for the damage they do to my nails.

So what’s a girl who’s too lazy for upkeep but wants the results of a professional-looking mani to do?

Enter Dior Nail Glow. A Dior consultant at the SouthPark Nordy’s mentioned it to me during the spring beauty event, and I should have just bought it then — when I went to order online, it was back ordered.

The polish is fantastic. Just the right hint of color — nearly none at all, but with a good shine. It gives my nailbeds just the slightest boost of color in the most natural way possible. Manage your expectations: this isn’t a french mani in a bottle — it doesn’t make the white part of my nails dazzling white, just a bit shinier. Dior is careful to call it nail “enhancer.”

It can chip a bit without showing horribly (unlike the purplish blue I’ve got on my nails at the moment), and layering another coat on mid-week keeps it looking fresh and new for me. $24, nordstrom.com

Fall = Fashion Season

Frontrow

The kids are back in school, the temperatures are cooling off (a bit), so that means only one thing: It’s time for all fashion, all the time in Charlotte.

There’s a slew of events on the calendar for September, but one you should not miss is Front Row Charlotte* on Sept. 6 at CenterStage NoDa. Wildly successful in its first outing last Spring, this week’s fete is all about the guys: only men’s clothing will make its way down the runway.

What a perfect reason to get your guy to engage in fashion, not that I would know anything about that or anything …

The exclusive lineup includes SILVERFLY*, Taylor Richards & Conger, Nordstrom, Blank Canvas and Abbeydale. Looks from the runway will be available at on-site pop up shops.

Tickets are $50 per person and proceeds from the event benefit The Charlotte Chapter of Coalition to Unchain Dogs.

Will I see you there?

*Front Row founder Erica Hanks and SILVERFLY are clients of my PR firm Rachel Sutherland Communications.

Hello? Hello? Bueller?

iftheshoefitscupcakesWow. June 7.

That’s the last time I posted on this blog. Nothing like an unintentional extended summer break, right?

I could bore you with details of how busy I’ve been, and all the excuses for why I’ve been away, but that doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I’m back. Again.

With lots to talk/write about. First, how amaze are those custom cupcakes from my friend Heather at Cupcrazed?

Fashion 5Qs: Cam Newton

He may be the most beloved and/or blamed QB in the relatively short history of the Carolina Panthers, but one thing is for certain: Cam Newton is magnetic. Love him or hate him, you can’t stop talking about him, can you?

He’ll be at the SouthPark Belk store from 2-4p Saturday, June 1, where attendees can enter to win a $300 MADE Cam Newton wardrobe and receive an autographed photo.  Five percent of any purchases made during the event will be donated to the Cam Newton Foundation to enhance the lives of youth in Charlotte.

The dashing NFL player/college student (yep — he’s finishing his degree at Auburn) recently shared some details via email interview about MADE, a clothing line he launched with Belk this fall. Color me dissapointed that he chose not to answer “tough” questions like his preferred style of undies or whether he committed any fashion crimes in the past.

Q. How would you describe your personal style? ”I have a classic southern style but I like to add a pop of color, or a twist to my look. I’m not afraid of color – I’ll wear a lillac jacket or a pink shirt no problem – but no matter I’m a fairly classic dresser.”

Q. How does that carry over into MADE? “My parents always taught me that you have only chance to make a first impression. So I wanted to bring this same kind of thinking into designing a clothing line. I wanted to design a collection that had a variety of prices so that someone could afford the full suit or another could afford a new blazer they could put with a pair of jeans they already own.”

Q. If you had to describe the inaugural collection in two words, what would they be? “Versatile and prideful (it’s not about purchasing an entirely new wardrobe, but it is about being conscious of how you present yourself, and taking pride in that).”

Q. What is the mistake most men make when buying clothes? “Not paying attention to tailoring. You can wear the most expensive shirt the world has ever seen, but if the tailoring and sizing are wrong, you end up looking disheveled and careless. Tailoring should complement your form, with clean lines and a sharp finish.”

Q. What is the one must-have key piece that every man should have in his closet? “A crisp button-down dress shirt that fits properly! It’s the most important piece of a man’s wardrobe because it is perfect for formal moments that require suits, but also the sleeves can be rolled up and worn with jeans or chino shorts for a classic look.”

Mountain business: J Crew

I found myself in the North Carolina mountains recently on business. Scenic views, dedicated quality client time and bargain shopping, of course.

That last item was likely not on my client’s task list, but it was certainly on mine once I realized the conference was being held in Arden, NC. Yes, the same Arden, NC, that is home to a J Crew Clearance Center, which I visited back in 2010.

Of course I needed to stop in and see how things were going, right? See what three years later looks like for the center tucked in the back of business park in a small Asheville-adjacent town?

I live to serve. And shop. Here’s what I found:

  • Great on-trend bathing suits, dresses and separates in a range of sizes
  • Almost too much Crewcuts cuteness for the little ones, including tons of sparkly ballet flats and accessories
  • A robust selection of cocktail and formal dresses and gowns
  • To.die.for. shoes including loads of neon
  • The store seemed light on handbags and jewelry, but that didn’t stop me from finding a great necklace.

My damage? Less than $60 total for a denim vest and necklace for me, and a sweet dress for my daughter. Not too shabby.

As luck would have it, Scoop Charlotte is reporting that there will be a warehouse sale there 10a-4p Saturday, May 18. From what I hear, that is a whole ‘nother level of craziness (think digging in boxes).

Clearance Store info: 1 Clifford Way, Arden, NC 28704; 828.687.6475; 11a-6p Sunday, 10a-8p Monday-Saturday.

Test Drive: VenEffect Anti-Aging Moisturizer

For someone who blogs (not as often as she should, granted) about fashion and beauty, I am surprisingly skeptical of nearly everything promising amazing, world-rocking results.

My friends at Neiman Marcus SouthPark shared VENeffect with me and the rave reviews it was receiving from staff and clients alike. Then my friend Kisten (who blogs at Polish Pauper) texted asking if I had tried it.

I am often a hard sell, but I couldn’t ignore the chorus of compliments, so I dove in. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a clear-cut skincare revelation. Seriously, I think angels might have started singing just a few days after using VENeffect.

The folks at VENeffect say: “This super-hydrating, luxurious moisturizer is formulated with the VENeffect exclusive advanced phytoestrogen technology, along with peptides, proteins and nourishing ingredients to dramatically increase skin’s elasticity as it reverses the signs of hormonal aging.”

What I say is this is the ONLY moisturizer I’ve EVER used (Yes! I’m using absolutes! This is serious business!) that hasn’t been too oily or too light to use day or night. My skin was perfectly moisturized and nearly acne-free during my VENeffect run.

The science behind this amazingness, according to VENeffect goes a little something like this: VENeffect is the only anti-aging line formulated with a  blend of 100% natural phytoestrogens to enhance collagen and improve elasticity in skin, promote hyaluronic acid production – the building block of dewy young skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten and even out skin tone. $185 at Neiman Marcus online

Chatting with Alex Chantecaille

Alex Chantecaille is officially the director of sales for Chantecaille, the luxe botanical-rich skincare and cosmetics line. But don’t let the stuffy title fool you — she so shares her family’s passion for nature that she is closely involved in the company’s philanthropic endeavors, including corporate support of organizations such as the Pew Institute for Ocean Science and IUCN.

She and I spent the bulk of our time together at Neiman Marcus SouthPark recently discussing the diminishing shark population, botanical beauty and fashion trends. They’re more closely related than one might think.

Chantecaille, the beauty and cosmetics line founded by Alex’s ground-breaking mother Sylvie (Sylvie created the line Prescriptives in 1979), is built on harmony and nature. While not organic per se, the ingredients in all products are intentional and sourced to calm and nurture the skin from inside out.

For example, Alex says, the healing properties of its plant-based formulas (rose water replaces water in all Chantecaille creams) reduce the aging effects of inflammation of the skin, often penetrating below the surface.

So it only make sense, then, that a company that draws on the most powerful elements in nature to celebrate beauty would dovetail their messaging with the preservation of our planet’s natural resources.

Gummy sharks: totally safe for snacking!

Chantecaille is known for its nature-inspired palettes and the Spring 2013 offering doesn’t disappoint: Sharks. Alex tells me — as she’s demonstrating how to use the colors inspired by the sea — that we’re losing close to 100 million sharks per year. Five percent of proceeds from the Save the Sharks Palette will be donated to the BLOOM Association to ban unregulated shark fin trade.

Drawing attention to that figure through makeup makes perfect sense.

“The colors are ethereal and very much what I’ve seen in clothing this season,” Alex says. “(Chantecaille) is really about engaging women in a deeper conversation. Women have a lot of power and can really affect change.”