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Diamond and sapphire shoes by Stuart Weitzman

Monday, September 29, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

Stuart Weitzman is known for his gorgeous shoes, graced by celebrities at awards shows and red carpets around the world. Like jewelry for the feet, Weitzman has used diamonds, sapphires, rubies and more on the different shoes he designs exclusively for one (very, very lucky) Oscar star each year. The photo to above shows a pair of diamond heels worth $1 million dollars. These were worn by worn by actress Laura Elena Harring of the film Mulholland Drive to the 2002 Oscars. Below is a look at some of his other past creations.

2008, 1940's retro-style beige metallic T-strap Retro Rose shoes featuring 1,800 diamonds
Stuart Weitzman Oscar shoes
2007, Diamond Dream Shoes were made with 1,420 diamonds and worn by Anika Noni Rose of DreamGirls. The AP says these shoes were worth $500,000.Stuart Weitzman Oscar shoes
2006, These shoes, made with Shoes with Rita Hayworth's rubies, sapphires and diamonds earrings, were worn by musician Kathleen Bird York.
Stuart Weitzman Oscar shoes
2005, The shoes, worn by Regina King of Ray, were made using Swarovski crystal earrings once owned by Marilyn Monroe. Stuart Weitzman Oscar shoes
2004, Shoes made from with 565 diamonds were worn by singer Alison Krauss . The AP reports these shoes were worth $2 million dollars.
Stuart Weitzman Oscar shoes

2003, These shoes were designed for the red carpet, but not worn because stars decided to dress sown due to the war. They are studded with are studded with 690 rubies and the AP says they were worth $1.5 million dollars.
Stuart Weitzman Oscar shoesPrevious Post: Mascara reviews

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Putting your best lash forward

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

Mascara reviewBy guest contributor Amber Plante

Annie crooned "no one is fully dressed without a smile" – I say, don’t leave the house without your mascara!

But with a multitude of potions, brushes and variations on the market, in which should you indulge to ensure you are batting the very best?

I tested a wide range of formulas – from nourishing to thickening, colored to waterproof, lengthening to strengthening – to deliver the top picks in mascaras to indulge even the most picky preeners.

***A note: Know your lashes: Are they naturally long but lack thickness? Are they pleasantly plump but take a while to get there? Are they 3-coat wonders with a constant need for oomph? Do they naturally curl, clump or fall flat? This will help determine which will work best for you.

1-- Too Faced Lash Injection
Price: $19.50
Available online and at Sephora and other retailers

What they say:
“3D lash coating technology forms little tubes around each lash that actually plump and stretch each individual lash, building phenomenal volume and length. A fast-drying elastic polymer provides a ‘curling’ effect, which helps to lift and freezes lashes without a curler. Industrial-strength formula is waterproof won't come off until you take it off. Also includes jojoba and Vitamin E to deeply condition lashes to prevent breakage.”

What I say:
The bristly brush was the perfect applicator for this amazing mascara for lashes of all sizes. It was thick around the middle but not too long as to just make a mess. It glided on smooth with not a single clump – something not even BADgal can boast. And, the product claims are true – it kept the curl in my lashes without overpowering them and didn’t flake. My lashes looked long, thick and lovely through hours of meetings and into the night.
The waterproof feature was unexpected – I normally shy away from anything waterproof as it tends to gob on in a sticky mess. Not this brand, though – it’s easily the best waterproof mascara I’ve ever used.

Bottom line:
If you have to pick just one mascara, buy this one. Even in the small travel size, it was the best overall product in the bunch, and its array of features was a pleasant surprise – an added bonus to a fantastic product that will make you feel like model in a mascara commercial.

2-- Benefit BADgal lash and BADgal blue
Price: $19.00
Available online and at Sephora, Macy’s and other retailers

What they say:
“With a big, bad brush and a rich formula, BADgal lash mascara is like wearing a set of false eyelashes without the glue.”

What I say:
Oh, that brush! Its long, fat bristles had me swooning. Those of you with longer lashes will appreciate the separation and fullness of the formula, which works like a dream. Flaking was not an issue, and after a full day a work I looked as fresh as when I’d just applied.
With the blue formula, I had the same experience, which was magnified all the more so when I applied both – a black coast then a blue – at once. The blue acted as a brightener and really made the natural color of my eyes pop.

Bottom line:
Worth every pretty penny. The formula is thin but full, and the brush is great. Word to the wise: If your lashes are short, this might not be for you – the brush may offer more mess than its considerable value.

3-- Urban Decay Skyscraper Mascara
Price: $17
Available online and at Sephora and other retailers

What they say:
“Our lash-lengthening Skyscraper Mascara instantly turns puny lashes to pillars of strength. We worked with a famous European lab to develop the perfect combination of brush and formula. The formula feels great – your lashes stay feather-soft and the mascara stays put. No flaking, and it’s damn near waterproof.”

What I say:
The 3-level brush was intimidating but worked brilliantly without clumping. Lash definition was top notch, and there was very little clean-up after application, and my lashes felt soft instead of crunchy.
The teensiest of drawbacks is that my eyes didn’t have that tell-tale look of a great mascara – the thick black shadow of a liner on my upper lids – proof that the non-clumping feature is due to the thinness of the formula, not the formula itself.
A treat: Also in the Urban Decay line is a sweet little package of colored mascaras that keep close to the company’s roots of funky products. Stay tuned for a pictorial review of the fab colors.

Bottom line:
Very nice. From a company known more for a glam-punk-rock image dusted liberally with glitter, it is great to see a product that can be used daily, not just for swanky nights on the town. This is a great indulgence for the average user looking to upgrade from the green-and-pink brand of their youth.

4-- Wet n Wild Beauty Benefits Beyond Nourishing Mascara
Price: $5.99
Available at Walmart, Meijer, Pathmark and HEB

What they say:
“This everyday lash spa treatment nourishes, conditions and strengthens lashes with marine protein, panthenol and soy protein for fuller-looking lashes.”

What I say:
I was excited about the potential. I wear mascara everyday, and the thought of something actually helping make my little pretties even stronger was a big pull.
The multi-length brush scared me – the bristles are short, tight and plastic-y, with big potential for clumping. But, the application was smooth, save for one clustering incident on the left eye that I had to pick apart intricately by hand.
The wear was nice, but the individual lashes were not as defined as I’m used to. It takes a bit longer to dry than other brands, and the ‘cleaning up’ of the excess product got my finger coated with smudgy black.

Bottom line:
With such a small price tag, it’s hardly an indulgence. Only repeated use will show if the anti-aging and nourishing claims hold up, but it seems like a nice black mascara to me. If you are looking for a special treat, though, this probably isn’t the product you want.

5-- Sephora Atomic Volume Mascara
Price: $6
Available online and in the store

What they say:
“Sephora Brand Atomic Volume Mascara blows all other mascaras away. An innovative tubular brush applicator with a lash-lengthening comb perfectly separates lashes for a full, sexy flutter. The advanced color formula conditions lashes, keeping them pretty, healthy, and capable of causing an explosion.”

What I say:
Let’s be clear – in general, I like Sephora brand products. They are a fun alternative to the expensive brands if you want to test-drive a product or need a cheaper version. That said, this mascara was the pits. Perhaps I got a bad batch or I wasn’t doing it right, but I literally rushed to the office bathroom to wash it off my eyes after application, lest someone see me.
Application was normal, but the product coated the lashes so thickly that I looked like I had spider legs growing off my eyes. The lashes didn’t gracefully fade at the tips but stopped dead as if drawn with a black magic marker.
The only upside was that I was able to get it off quickly with just some water and a paper towel. Thank goodness.

Bottom line:
Use at your own risk. I’m reluctant to blame the company for this make-up mess-up, but if the shoes fits… If this is the one you want to use, I would suggest getting a tester or at least sneaking an in-store trial with the actual brush.

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Becoming a certified yoga instructor

Thursday, September 18, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

Yoga is said to help with stress relief, posture, flexibility, weight management and more. Maybe that is why more than 30 million people in the U.S. practice yoga taught by 70,000 certified teachers, according to a 2005 estimate by NAMSTA. I can name quite a few people who are addicted. Many of us can practice, but teaching is a whole different story. My friend Chidimma Ozor (R in photo next to Brooke Boon) is a newly certified instructor who completed a 200-hour program from a registered yoga school. Her story of training entwined with her faith and dedication to yoga inspired me to share her story.

“I started practicing yoga last year in August and the type of student I am – I went to my local Borders to pore through the entire ‘Yoga’ section!” Ozor said. She told me after much comprehensive reach she decided on Holy Yoga. “It [Holy Yoga] is not watered down yoga by any stretch of the imagination just because of its inclusion of faith. And it’s not a religion either. But rather, Holy Yoga encourages participants to use their time on the mat as a time of worship and deep spirituality,” Ozor explains.

Brooke Boon founded Holy Yoga and started Ozor on her path to certification with a 9-week session of 2-2 ½ hour conference calls referred to as Immersion. “Our calls consisted of meditation and prayer,” Ozor said, “Because we were all over the country we used a web-based conference system to see the poses on our computers/laptops.”

Ozor finished her training at a week-long retreat at the COD ranch in Oracle, Arizona. “One word that I used to explain it – and honestly it doesn’t give that time justice – is amazing,” Ozor said. During this week she says she hiked with other campers, participated in Bible study, did two workshops a day, and – among many other things- learned about sequencing and the flow of a class and how to select music. The retreat finished with her teaching a class. “To conclude the course, I had to prepare a 15 minute class to teach my peers as well as evaluate their classes plus I had to pass the final exam – which I did.”

So, after successfully completing her 200-hour training and final exam at the COD ranch, what advice does Ozor have for someone who is on the fence about embarking on this training? “Make sure that it is what you really want to do – it’s a lot of work.” Ozor said. “And even if you aren’t interested in teaching or just not ready for that at the present time, obtaining a yoga certification has the ability to give any participant a deeper understanding of yoga and spirituality. I would say go for it, what do you have to lose?”

Yoga is not a competitive sport. It is a sport where you can stop and regain your thoughts and catch your breath if you need to. Ozor says it is an inclusive way to be active which can be done by anyone with an open mind and the ability to listen. “There are so many modifications, so if someone comes and says they can’t run because their knees are bad, they are able to participate in a gentle yoga practice with a slightly different variation or modification that is respectful of that injury,” Ozor said.

Simply summarized, the Yoga Alliances’ 200 hour program includes 100 hours of techniques/training practice, 25 hours of teaching methodology, 20 hours of anatomy and physiology, 30 hours of yoga philosophy/lifestyle and ethics for yoga teachers, 10 hours of practicum and the remaining 15 hours to be divided as the school decides.

If you have tried yoga and do not like it, Ozor encourages you to give it another shot. She says she hated it at first, but returned 6 months later to a totally different experience: “When I was ready to practice, then my mind was open to receive something different and I was able to enjoy the practice.”
Some photos from Chidimma's retreat

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Shiseido event in NYC

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

My friends at Lucky Magazine have just informed me that there is a beauty-filled evening coming up at an NYC Sephora. Shiseido makeup artist Renato Almeida will be on hand with his must-haves for fall from the Shiseido line ... including Lip Gloss in Mellow Gold, Accentuating Color Stick in Champagne Flush and Silky Eye Shadow Quad in Rose Tones. Can't make it? Click through those links to purchase the products at Sephora.com. For those attending, Almeida will even help you with your fall look with a free color consulation and application and you'll leave with a Lucky makeup bag filled with Shiseido samples ... now that's what I call Lucky!

This event takes place Thursday, September 18, 5-7 PM at Sephora (Soho location)
555 Broadway, NYC.

Please RSVP at Lucky on the Lookout

Previous post: Pink Wedding Dresses

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Pink wedding dresses

Monday, September 15, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

Watters Pink Wedding DressA Blushing Bride
Something old, something new… something pink? From pale pink to fuchsia, wedding dresses are bolder and brighter these days and it is all to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Brides magazine has teamed up with 21 of the fashion industry's most recognized and renowned designers to promote their pink wedding dresses with proceeds to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The gown in the photo on the right is by Watters Brides (photo by Heidi Niemala) - see below for more photos of pink wedding dresses.

Something Pink Campaign
Brides magazine is showing its commitment to this cause in its November/December Something Pink issue, which will feature a 23-page spread filled with pink wedding gowns. The designs of the dresses showcased in the portfolio will also be available in white or cream and the money for those (non-pink) dresses will still go to the BCRF. The magazine will include inspirational and motivational stories, and Brides.com will provide accompanying videos and articles.

Pink Wedding Dress Designers
The designers participating in the Something Pink campaign are Alfred Angelo, Amsale, Anjolique, Anne Barge, Atelier Aimee, Badgley Mischka Bride, Carolina Herrera, Christos, Claire Pettibone, David's Bridal, Eve of Milady, Kenneth Pool, Mon Cheri Bridals, Monique Lhuillier, Mori Lee, Romona Keveza, Reem Acra, Sophia Tolli, Vera Wang, Vineyard Collection and Watters Brides.

Dresses are available in bridal boutiques across the U.S.

Interested in accesorizing your pink wedding dress?

My suggestions are:

Previous Post: Nicole Paxson Cosmetics

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Super-fast drying nail polish

Monday, September 8, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

Fast dry manicureIs there anyone who actually enjoys having wet polish on their nails? You are tied up for 15-20 minutes from really doing anything and then for at least another hour you have to be careful. The worst is going to bed with partially dry nails ... your manicure takes on the texture of your sheets!

I came across Dazzle Dry's Quick Dry Nail Polish System and I decided to try it out on a warm afternoon last week. I took the kit out on to my porch, closed the door and ... click ... the door locks. Yes, locked out. Not a big deal really because I knew my boyfriend was due home in about 45 minutes and I figured it would take at least that long to paint my fingers and toes. Not so much. As this is fast drying nail polish, it was about 10-12 minutes from the time I started until the time I could touch my nails. They were not completely dry -e.g. not quite "reach into the pockets of my jeans" dry, but really close- definitely much faster than regular polish. I was really impressed (see my nails up there on the right) ... and, no, I am not writing you from my deck- I did eventually make it back in the house.

Fast drying nail polish
1. Start by wiping nail prep on your nails. This is a liquid that is designed to sanitize your nails and make them more adhesive to polish. This is the only part of the process that smelled at all like a manicure. This is noteworthy because the smell only lasts a few moments which is not bad at all. Also, the polishes themselves have little to no odor to them.
2. Next I used a Dazzle Dry base coat. This took about 1 minute to dry and was created to make your manicure last longer. I had the polish on for about a week before I started seeing chips.
3. I followed with 1 coat of polish. The directions said that was all I needed and it really was. I think this helps a lot with the quick-dry process as their polishes are designed to look great with just 1 coat ... maybe a max of 2.
4. Finally, the top coat. It is shiny and glossy and makes your nails look wet even when they are dry. You absolutely need this product if you are going to use this system. It makes your nails look so good.

All polishes, base, top and colors are nitrocellulose-free, toluene-free, phthalate-free and formaldehyde-free and all of them are free from animal testing. For more details on why this is so important, see my article on cosmetic safety.

The line has a full-range of seasonal colors in great names like Linen Lace, Evening Song and Spicey Date. The kit costs $54 and includes the prep, the basecoat, 3 polishes of your choice and the top coat.

Dr. Vivian Valenty is the chemist who founded the Abrioné line, which includes the Dazzle Dry collection. The quick dry products can be purchase here.

Previous post: Fall and winter 2008 hairstyles

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Fall and winter 2008 hairstyles

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

Fall Winter 2008 hair trendsFrom bobs to bangs, it is all about the letter B when talking about the hottest women's hairstyles for fall and winter 2008. These looks were debuted this week (right) during a presentation of the German hairdressers association.

Here are some looks you may want to consider:


Wide bangs, just below your eyebrow will be big for fall/winter 2008 as will side-swept bags like Keira Knightley's (below). The best part about long bangs is they are versatile because you can pin them back. These look great with short or long hair.
Kiera Knightley


Jessica Simpson made this look popular with a little french braid in her bangs. Cute for a casual Saturday ... probably not so much for the office though.


The inverted bob- made huge last year by Victoria Beckham- has new variations this year that range from a softer look (like Katie Holmes, below) to sharp and angled like Rhianna. Katie Holmes hair

Inspired by the sleek silhouetted fashions that made it down the runways for fall/winter 08, a messy bun is a great way loosen up a sharp look. Don't go too messy... you do not want to look dirty ... but don't go too tight (unless you're a librarian).

I know waves doesn't start with a B, but we could not leave it out! Waves compliment the romantic 1920s fashions that are so big this year. They work really well on long or medium-length hair with long layers. Have naturally wavy hair? Clean it up with a curling iron for a more polished look (below).

Fall/winter 2008 hairstyles

How do you get fabulous hair?

In a recent contest we asked our viewers some of their tips for fabulous hair. Here is what they told us ... what do you think?

Angela from Burnaby, BC, says ... "when doing your hair in the morning, go extra 'big' because by the time you get to where you are going, your hair will have fallen justa touch for that perfect look!!"

Alison from Staten Island, NY, says ... "The greatest tip I have ever received is 'Don't wash your hair every day.' My scalp is much healthier, which has made my hair look even better!"

Nathan from Toronto, Ontario, says ... "Shampoo your roots only and condition the ends. The shampoo will wash the rest of your hair as your rinsing it. If you apply shampoo to all of your hair, it could strip the natural oils and leave it dry looking."

Cynthia from Lombard, IL, says ... "To get a nice wave/body to hair and if you have a few metal core (or ceramic) round brushes, after hair is mostly dry, use the round brush to roll section of hair into it while drying and leave hair rolled up in the brush for about five minutes (until hair cools down completely), then unroll brush. Repeat with other sections with other brushes (or rotate through the few brushes with sections of hair that are done)."

Stephanie from San Leandro, Calif., says ..."Grape seed oil is the best thing for a healthy mane and longer, fuller eyelashes."

Izabella from Toronto, Ontario, says ... "My number 1 tip for fabulous hair is to get a professional grade blow dryer. It makes all the difference because it blows hotter and stronger then conventional, "drugstore" type hairdryers due to a much better motor. This makes your hair much smoother and dry a lot faster. I have frizzy, wavy hair and swear by my professional hairdryer that I bought at my favorite salon, it changed my hair life!"

Fran from Carrollton, Texas, says ... "My No. 1 tip for fabulous hair is using an intense conditioner once a week - my hair is highlighted and I find that the conditioner helps maintain the shine and smoothness of my fine hair so the color always stays beautiful and my locks shine!"

Jacqueline from Calgary, Alberta, says ... "Don't shampoo your ends more than twice a week. To avoid shampoo on ends, twist hair into tight bun, secure with elastic, place shower cap over top and put another elastic over bun to seal to prevent shampoo from getting on ends. Wash roots and scalp as normal."

Vicky from Toronto, Ontario, says ... "My tip is when washing your hair, rinse it in cool water (as comfortably possible). This will help to add shine to your hair as well as making it more manageable."

Sheila from Dallas, Texas, says ... " Always always always put leave-in conditioner on your hair before you comb it when wet. It helps with tangles plus it makes your hair look and feel amazing!"

Send your tips to Indulge@Captivate.com and they'll be posted on Indulge too.

Previous Post: Mommy and Me Makeup review

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Mommy Makeup lip liner and gloss

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 by Jacqui Pini

by guest contributor Amber Plante

I tested Mommy Makeup’s double-duty lip product, Mommy’s Kisses, which combines a liner and matching liquid-gloss color into a well-packaged and well-branded stick, in the shade Madison.

The color is light and full – seemingly the perfect shade for everyone and definitely for me. But, from my perspective as a mommy of two very little kids, there were some specific tests that a truly ‘mom-friendly’ line of make-up had to pass -- application time, wearability and staying power – and this maternal makeup just didn’t stack up to my needs.

The application was easy, but not any easier than any other lip-liner/gloss application I’ve ever used; truth be told, the color was lovely, but I still prefer Benefit’s Cupid’s Bow. The wearability was smooth and shiny, but again, not breaking down any new barriers.

The staying power, however, was a huge disappointment. Any mommy knows that reapplying lipstick is a pain, especially when you have to dig through three different bags (diaper, purse and/or work) just to find the product -- thus I was desperately hoping this lip duo would have some fabulous long-lasting formula that would defy all my munchkins’ kisses (especially given its name!), but it didn’t even last through my second cup of coffee, let alone leaving my boys lipstick-free after daycare. The gloss faded almost absolutely, leaving only a line of color around my lips that made it look like I had forgotten to fill them in – not a good look.

Bottom line, it’s a great branding idea, but they needed to take a real mom into account, at least in the lip department, when presenting a product that is supposedly made to make make-up easier. It’s fun, but not any more practical than any other lip product I’ve ever used.

The Mommy Make-up lip line, called Mommy’s Kisses, comes in 11 shades (named trendy baby girl names like Isabella, Daisy and Mia) and sells for $24

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Jacqui Pini has had her nails manicured once a week since the fourth grade. Her obsession is your gain as she has discovered some of the most indulgent spa treatments, beauty fads and relaxation techniques for both men and women and can’t wait to tell you all about them. And even the smallest of budgets can absorb this punch … and afford a hot stone massage afterwards. … And she'll be the first to tell you, nothing’s more relaxing than that.


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