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Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Guide: Gifts That Give Back

The holidays are for giving. As much as I like receiving gifts, I get more pleasure seeing the look on the faces of those who open my presents. You can double that pleasure with gifts with a charitable element.

Here are some of the best beauty and fashion ideas for men and women. Some are personal favorites; others were suggested by fellow influencers on Twitter:

Kiehl’s Greatest Hits Collection $45: Every year, I buy my sister a Kiehl’s product to discourage her from hanging onto old products from the year before. For the holidays, the brand’s Greatest Hits Collection has, obviously, everyone’s favorite products in one box. It’s a great value for diehard fans. Also, 100% of Kiehl’s net profits up to $100,000 from the American sales of the Limited Edition set will support Feeding America.

Bird & Stone Cleopatra Bracelet $26: This global chic bracelet has diamond cut brass beads and turquoise stone. You can actually choose the right size to suit your arm for stacking or wearing alone. A percentage of the net profits from their sales benefit the SISI Fund. They help widowed women in Kenya through microloans and financial training to become entrepreneurs.

Caudalie’s Premier Cru Anti-Aging set $99: Who doesn’t love champagne during the holidays? This gift set contains the two most popular products from the brand in travel friendly size. This company is against toxic ingredients and contains plant based anti-oxidants like Polyphenols and grape based resveratrol.
Each product purchased from Caudalie contributes to the “1% for the planet” movement to help the environment. This initiative supports projects like reforestation in the Amazon and building a sustainable, organic, and fair-trade Shea Butter industry cultivated by communities of women in Burkina Faso.

M.A.C. Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick $16: If you look at my makeup drawer, you will see that MAC lipstick by far is the dominating item. I have loved this brand’s lip color since high school. I request it every year for my stocking (and my family lovingly obliges). Instead of just a percentage of profits, every cent from the sale of their Viva Glam products goes towards helping people affected by HIV/AIDS via the MAC Aids Fund.

Warby Parker Windswept Shades $145: This company was an instant darling for their hipster eyewear at affordable prices. Let’s face it, in fashion; no product has a higher markup than eyewear. Warby Parker brought that percentage down AND manages to donate a pair of eyeglasses to a person in need with partnerships with organizations like Vision Spring. The Windswept shades above are part of their higher end Concentric collection. You can give a gift card so your recipient can choose their favorite style, fit and even prescription
Tom’s Men’s Paseos $59: These canvas shoes are one of Tom’s bestselling styles. Guys will love the comfort and color range. Similar to Warby Parker, the company has a One for One policy of donating a pair of shoes for every pair purchased.  In addition to shoes, they also have the same efforts for eyewear. Their coffee roasting company contributes to providing clean water to communities that lack it.

Anthony Perfect Shave Kit $65: Pamper your guy with a posh shave kit that includes the brand’s Glycolic Facial Cleanser, Shave Cream, Pre-Shave Oil, and After Shave Balm. A portion of every sale is also donated to support prostate cancer research.

Giving gifts that give back guarantee a smile on more than one face in the world. Isn’t that what the season is all about?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

9 DIY Homemade Beauty Treatments

I don't know about you, but my skin has taken a beating this winter. Between the windy and cold outside, dry heat inside and excessive partying, my face is paying the price. The good folks over at Z Living have shared 9 easy recipes for DIY beauty treatments. Most of the ingredients you probably already have from throwing cocktail and tea parties...

 1. Get Fresh, Clean Skin With: Mint Skin Toner You can use this natural skin toner on your face every day after cleaning your skin. It helps remove any trace of dirt, soap and your cleanser.
  • Take 20-30 fresh mint leaves. Pour about 1.5 liters of hot water and allow them to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and let the liquid cool.
2. Avoid Dry Skin With: Cucumber & Yogurt Skin Toner This is great for oily skin as it will remove excess oil and leave your skin feeling smooth and soft.
  • Grate a cucumber and squeeze out the excess water.
  • Add 1/2 cup of natural yogurt and blend it well to get a creamy consistency.
  • Apply the cucumber and yogurt mix on your face for about 10 minutes.cucumber face mask
3. Rid Scaly Skin With: Peaches & Olive Oil Skin Toner The peaches will nourish your skin, while the olive oil will moisturize it.
  • Peel and mash two peaches using some olive oil.
  • Add 1tsp of fresh single cream to the mixture.
  • Apply it on your face and let it stay for 10 minutes. Wash your face with lukewarm water.
4. Get Rid Of Acne With: White Vinegar & Rose Water Skin Toner The white vinegar is anti-bacterial and will get rid of pimple and acne-causing bacteria. The rose water makes your skin feel smooth and soft.
  • Mix equal quantities of white vinegar and rose water.
  • Dip a cotton ball in this natural skin toner to clean and tone your face.
5. Get Ageless Beauty With: Green Tea Skin Toner Green tea is filled with antioxidants that get rid of free radicals. After applying this toner, you will notice your skin has a natural glow and stays soft the entire day.
  • Soak green tea in hot water for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain and let cool.
  • Apply this toner on your face first thing in the morning.
6. Get Smooth Skin With: Chamomile Tea Skin TonerThis toner will leave your skin feeling smooth and clean.
  • Boil a teabag in 100ml water for approximately  five minutes. Let it cool.
  • Use a cotton ball to dab your face with tea.
  • Let your face air dry. Don’t rinse afterwards.
7. Stay Fresh All Day With: Apple & Honey Skin Toner This natural skin toner makes your skin radiant and keeps it fresh all day long. Try and use natural honey for its anti-bacterial properties.
  • Purée one ripe apple in a blender.
  • Add honey to the purée and apply the mixture on your face.
  • Let the mixture stay for 15 minutes before washing off with some lukewarm water.
8. Remove Excessive Tan With: Lemon Juice Toner The humble lemon juice has so many uses and one of them is helping get rid of excess oil and grease from the face. This will remove all traces of oil and help clear your complexion.
  • Apply lemon juice and allow it to remain for 10 minutes before washing off with plain water.
9. Get Radiant Skin With: Vegetable Oil, Lemon Juice & Honey Skin Toner While vegetable oil contains phytochemicals and nutrients to moisturize and strengthen skin, lemon juice has astringent properties and honey is a natural cleanser.
  • Mix 1/4tbsp of any vegetable oil with 1/4tsp lemon juice and 1tsp honey.
  • Blend the ingredients well and apply this mixture on your face.
  • Wash your face after 10 minutes with lukewarm water.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Supima Design Competition: A 2014 Winner!

anastasia iafrate
Fashion designer Anastasia Iafrate was named the winner of the Supima Cotton Design Competition at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week with the award presented by supermodel Coco Rocha. The intensive contest pitted the best fashion talent from the Academy of Art University, FIDM, FIT, Kent State University, SCAD and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Iafrate named her winning collection “White Nights of St. Petersburg" after her native home in Russia. Using what she considered a casual cotton fabric, she created regal evening wear with beautiful flourishes.
yuxi bi fashion

Beijing born Ou Ma graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology as a knit designer. Her dreamy, cloud-like collection was actually an exploration in mental illness and emotional recovery

Yuxi Bi from the Savannah College of Design is also from China. She created her romantic evening wear collection inspired by the texture of fine Supima fabrics.
sharon moon
Jenny Hoang represented the Academy of Art University. Her collection had a somber color palette. Her design work specializes in denim and cotton. Her theme for this group was "transformation".

Sharon Moon earned her BFA from RISD. Her gorgeous collection was inspired by the look of decaying flowers. She used a modern approach to create that aesthetic using an intricate laser cutting technique on strong cotton fibers.

David Lee is a West Coast-based designer representing the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. His collection had bold color blocked seams that flattered the curves of a woman's body.

The winner of the Supima Design Competition receives a $10000 prize. The more valuable opportunity though, is the chance for finalists to show their collection at New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. What I enjoy is the fresh talent that shows me new possibilities that a common fiber like cotton can bring. Great work designers!
photos by Mariana Leung

Monday, December 15, 2014

True Religion Finds the Sexiest Jeans For Your Body

skinny jeans women

The goal of your favorite pair of jeans should always be comfort. However, let us be realistic, your top priority before considering comfort is how great they make your ass look isn't it? To find the sexiest jeans for your body, you need to understand denim and  get to know yourself.

Are you curvy? Booty blessed? Are you straight and narrow? Do you have a strong presence all over? Do you have a long rise? Short rise? Do you have no idea what that means? Take a look at your body shape. Do your hips curve out noticeably from your waist? How about towards the back? What is the distance between your waist and crotch? Understanding your own body goes a long way in finding the perfect women's jeans to flatter it.

First, consider the fit. If you have a bit of a muffin top, a mid-rise jean would be more forgiving than a low rise jean. If you have a flat stomach and curvy hips, a low rise can show off that hourglass shape nicely. The shape of the leg should enhance the shape of your own. Bootcut jeans are great for showing off curves and accommodating hot boots. Skinny jeans for women are wonderful to exhibit a long pair of stems. If you are a casual gal, True Religion’s Brianna Boyfriend jean is a relaxed fit that is roomy through the leg if you want extra comfort or to show off a fit upper body.

Second, the fabric matters! If you have curves, a little bit of Spandex or elastine in the mix can really mold the jeans to where it counts. For more structure, look for high quality cotton in a comfortable denim weight.

Finally, what really makes your jeans your own is the finish. Dark washes like True Religion’s Hand Picked dark dye can be slimming. Layered dying processes can give subtle highlight to areas you want to flaunt like this Julie Low Rise Skinny Jean.

Now that you have the formula, it is time to find your sexiest jeans ever. Remember, fit, fabric and finish and you’ll never have a sloppy denim day again!

This post is presented by True Religion Jeans


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blogger Love: Holiday Happy


Ok, usually there's a lot of complaining about the holidays. Stress. Shopping. Crazy Family. But for some reason, and by all means this is awesome, people are really happy about the holidays this year. Well, at least in this roundup. Getting festive, not worrying too much and having a fun time, that's what these final days of 2014 should all be about!


Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY Christmas Pin Cushion Tree

diy christmas candy tree
Happy holidays. I felt like I couldn't let the season go by without at least one DIY Christmas craft tutorial. I spent the week making these gifts on behalf of designer Byron Lars for his favorite stylists, editor and designer colleagues.

I used fabric from is recent collections to make a functional tall pin cushion tree. I covered it with indulgent Godiva chocolate truffles for a treat.  You can make  your own version of this with the tutorial below:

You will need: 
Decorative Fabric
Colored Quilting Pins
Styrofoam Cones 6"X3"
Godiva Chocolatier Assorted Truffles
Glue Gun with Glue Sticks
Decorative Hat Pins

make a pattern for cone

Start with making a pattern to cover the Styrofoam cone. Draw a line down one side next to the cone on paper. Add 1/4" allowance at the top and bottom of the cone and mark it on the pattern. Start rolling the cone and continue marking the top and bottom. Once you have rotated the cone all the way around once, mark the side of that edge with an additional 1/4" allowance. Trace the bottom and top of the cone and add 3/16" allowances around the outside of the circles.Cut out the pieces of the pattern from the fabric. Notch the circles.

Cover the bottom of the foam cones with the fabric circles using the glue gun (make sure to add the glue to the fabric side, the heat of the glue might melt the Styrofoam if applied to cone directly). Wrap the main piece of fabric around the cone and seal with glue gun.

Top the fabric covered tree with a decorative hat pin as the "star". Using the pearl topped pins, attach the chocolate truffles all over the tree in a pretty pattern.

That's all it is! This is a great DIY Christmas gift for the crafters, designers, stylists, chocolate lovers in your life. Tis the season!
photos by Mariana Leung