Busy, busy bees we were this past month testing the latest and greatest products! So sit back, relax and enjoy learning about some fabulous (and not so fabulous) items.

gradeC1Meaningful Beauty: New Advanced Anti Aging System
Sometimes, we just have to check in with the infomercials to see if there are any good finds we are missing out on. Certainly no loss in this case. While the marketing for Cindy Crawford's skin care line will get you, the products will not. The kit contains seven products — travel-sized items, not full size. Essentially, you are paying for samples. The Skin Softening Cleanser is similar in texture to Cetaphil. It does a nice job cleaning, I have to admit. Crème de Sérum is a serum and moisturizer in one for use at night. However, in the cooler months, it doesn't provide enough hydration and needs a moisturizer layered on top. The Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules are for targeted use — crows feet, frown lines, laugh lines, etc. I can't say whether or not I saw a difference in using this product. The Glowing Serum feels nice going on your skin in the morning, but does not give off radiance, as it claims. The Antioxidant Day Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 20 and Skin Brightening Décolleté and Neck Treatment Broad Spectrum SPF 15 do not contain physical blockers, therefore are inadequate. With all of the options on the market these days utilizing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to truly protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays, I'm not sure why you'd use these. The star product of the whole bunch is the Lifting Eye Crème - Advanced Formula. It truly does firm the skin under eyes. However, it does not provide hydration. It's best used in the morning for puffiness. All in all, it's hard to find the value in a sample size kit where less than half of the items perform to standard.

gradeAtsmarch13Twisted Silver: Hipster necklace, Netizen bracelet
This light antique brass necklace is a classic. It can dress up any outfit or go with the most casual of ensembles. Versatility at its finest. And this style also comes in a bracelet — though, don't wear them together unless you mix the bracelet with many other Twisted bracelets. Like the Netizen bracelet, which is a mix of metal that is such a pleaser. You will love that it goes with gold, rose gold, silver or brass!

gradeAVincent Longo: Water Canvas Base/Primer*, Water Canvas Foundation*
Two incredible products that work together beautifully! The primer is a transparent gel made with 81% microwater, seaweed extracts and silica gel to impart a hydrated, brightened, more youthful appearance. It allows skin to breathe while filling in enlarged pores, fine lines and creases. The foundation contains 75% microwater, 100% natural botanical seaweed polymer and silica to maintain skin’s moisture balance and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. For a non-foundation wearer, I am hooked. The glow that you get from using these two products (they really do work in tandem) is unmatched. Truly. Vincent Longo applied this to my skin personally and I couldn't believe how gorgeous it made my skin look. It's super light — it's not what you think of when you hear the word 'foundation.' The whole line is exceptional, but these two products are a must!

gradeARodan + Fields: REDEFINE MACRO Exfoliator
Yes, I am about to tell you about a product you will want but can't immediately get your hands on. Please don't get mad, but it's temporarily sold out. And for good reason! Bookmark the page now, as you're going to want to get your hands on one. I bought the MACRO Exfoliator a couple of months ago. Let me tell you, after one use (ONE USE), I saw a difference in the texture, tone and most importantly, firmness of my skin. I couldn't stop looking at my face in the mirror for days. And I could barely stand waiting an entire week for my next treatment. It took me a few minutes to figure out that you sweep the vacuum across your face, versus a picking up/putting down motion. It also took testing out various hand placements so I didn't keep accidentally turning off the device. Once I mastered that, the results came faster. You can actually see the dead skin and debris left behind in the filter. I love that I get professional (or semi-professional, at my own hands) results at home. Fantastic tool!

gradeB1Sachajuan: Spray Wax*
I am having so much fun experimenting with this styling product. Spray Wax was designed to create texture, separation and shine. But the first thing that will win you over is the scent. It's delicious. The entire Sachajuan line is the yummiest smelling hair care I have ever laid my nose on. I like to spray the product into my hand and work it through individual pieces for a messy look. But my favorite way to use it is in place of hairspray. For instance, curling my hair then running my fingers through the curls to relax it, then spraying over it with Spray Wax. You can scrunch the wax into your curls. It's extremely soft to the touch, shiny and it holds all day long. Crazy good!

gradeAalchimiekanticcreamAlchimie Forever: Kantic+ Intensely Nourishing Cream*
How did I ever live without this moisturizer? I am not quite sure, but I know it will remain in my skin care regimen forever. It's perfect for any time of the year and any skin type. It's rich in emollients (jojoba and vitamin E) and contains natural antioxidants (blueberries, grape seeds red clover). It glides on silky smooth and penetrates the skin immediately. The hydration is most definitely intense and lasts all day and all night. Yet, it's so light, you feel like you have nothing on. Truly, an impeccable product.

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

*Available at Jeffre Scott in Charlotte and Turner and Scott in Asheville

February was cold, but that didn't prevent us from reviewing a few new spring items! Jewelry. Clothing. Skin care. Fierce and fabulous!
gradeA
wbyworthscarfW by Worth: Modal and Silk Scarf in navy
One thing I love about the climate in which I live is the ability to wear scarves practically year round. While I switch fabrics up each season, I gravitate towards the soft and weightless. This scarf is a must have — I rarely leave home without it. W by Worth makes wonderful scarves. The quality is exceptional. The solid color makes it a snap to wear with just about any ensemble, too.

gradeB27 For all Mankind: Slim Illusion Skinnies in aqua
These super skinnies are light weight, yet have tighter construction than your typical Seven skinnies. The intense stretchability creates a slim silhouette. I wear them under tunics, with major color or without. They do stretch a titch, but not where I want them to stretch. After a couple wears, I needed a belt to keep them up, yet they kept their hold everywhere else.

gradeAredefineeyecreamRodan + Fields: REDEFINE Multi-Function Eye Cream
No question, this is the most hydrating eye cream I have ever used. And it smells beyond yummy — so good I want to lick it off my face! The formula combines powerful peptides to minimize the appearance of crow’s feet. It also helps to reduce puffiness. For such a tiny amount needed, it really packs a punch! And it's so affordable. The REDEFINE eye cream is the first thing I reach for at night and in the morning. It layers beautifully under my concealer. I can't wait to see even more results in the coming months.

gradeB1Kevyn Aucoin: Dewdrop Powder Foundation*
I just had to add this to my cosmetic bag that lives in my purse. It's the perfect on the go foundation. I am not a foundation wearer (tinted moisturizer kind of gal), so it surprises me how much I love this. You can go super light (which I choose) or build coverage if you want it. It's perfect for this time of year. For those with dry skin, you may need a heavier moisturizer underneath in the colder months of the year.

ts-braceletsgradeATwisted Silver: Netizen bracelet, Broadway bracelet and Jumbo earrings
Now that spring has sprung, I can wear tops that don't necessarily require a jacket. That means, I can stack bracelet upon bracelet upon my wrists. And these two are definitely on them! I love the industrial raw brass hinge bangle with a bright silver closure. The Netizen bracelet is an every day event. And the Broadway bracelet with its clean lines and simple sophistication is easy to dress up or down. The Jumbo earrings provide a lady chic look, complementing everything that surrounds them.

gradeANatura Bissé: Diamond Mist*
I love this toner. So much, I just repurchased it. To be honest, you won't find me using a toner at all unless it's a spray. It's just plain easier. This luxurious and energizing concoction smells delightful and is hydrating. It contains bio-energetic properties that stimulate cells, increasing their regenerating and detoxifying potential. I love the way my skin feels after spritzing this on after cleansing and before my serum. It perfectly prepares skin for the next step.

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

*Available at Jeffre Scott in Charlotte and Turner and Scott in Asheville

 


From lip color to leggings to jewelry and makeup. Get the low down on these well known brands. A fantastic monthly mix up of products!

hotcheeksgradeB1lululemon: Run Hot Cheeks skirt in flare
This is one of those items that I waited too long to snatch up and therefore, had to buy it on eBay for double the cost. Shame on me. All in all, it was worth it. I call it my butt cover. It gives me the freedom to run in my wunder unders without the paranoia of people staring at my jiggly tush. It truly does keep me warm on chilly days and has a ton of great storage (pockets). The only downfall, it only works against the luon fabrics. It will slide up with the luxtreme running pants, which is such a bummer. Photo from lululemon addict

gradeB2Benefit: They're Real! mascara in black
I was not holding my breath when I received this mascara for review. However, it's surprisingly good. The cons — the brush is hard like CoverGirl LashExact. It's a combination of that brush with the Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes ball brush on the tip. It layers okay, if you're quick. Otherwise, it's sticky. The pros — it stays in place all day and lengthens lashes beautifully.

gradeB2Le Métier de Beauté: Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Corrector
A concealer with the anti-aging benefits of Retinol to penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin, restoring luster to skin and improving the appearance of imperfections? Evidently, yes. This formula contains Patented Optically Activated Particles and corrective micro-spheres to diffuse the light for a flawless finish. It camouflages dark circles and blemishes and contains SPF 16. While I was super excited to try this cutting edge concealer, I'm not that impressed as of yet. It's touted to have a silky texture. However, if you don't have an eye cream layered underneath, it's rather dry and difficult to apply under the eye area (which defeats the entire purpose). It covers well, but the product gathers in weird ways underneath eyes by midday. It's easy to smooth out, but that really shouldn't happen in the first place. My eyes look a little brighter when using this, but it needs to be reformulated to make it worth the $95 price tag.

roadtriplegginggradeB1Current/Elliott: The Roadtrip Legging
I had my eyes on these babies forever. So I was thrilled to pick them up on sale. The fit is perfect (on par with jean sizing). They are super comfortable and flattering. And they don't have to be worn as a true legging. In fact, they are more of a relaxed skinny jean. The materials used are luxe — leather trim, sueded in front, denim in back. The only drawback, they are made for someone a bit taller, which means, the leather knee patches don't hit exact on my knees. I was hoping they could be tailored, but unfortunately they cannot. So, I'll live with them the way they are. I love them anyway. They're just not perfect.

gradeAKevyn Aucoin: Expert Lip Color in Marzie*, The 'Lip" Gloss in Tulapina*
For someone who loves a dark lip, I sure am enjoying some lighter shades. Marzie is a gorgeous light berry with a formula that is forever hydrating. And this lip gloss, beyond! Seriously the best applicator brush for a lip gloss that I have every seen and felt. It's amazing! Lush, luxe and this light pink color looks great alone or layered over lipstick.

gradeAtsjanuaryTwisted Silver: 3 Bracelet, Bolo necklace
Another 'A' for Twisted Silver, of course! I love love love this trio bangle. It's mega bang for your buck! It has attitude and it goes with everything. And the Bolo necklace ... no one wears it better than Deanna Daughtry (as styled by yours truly in the January 14th issue of People magazine). This necklace is dainty and easy to layer with other necklaces. I love the vintage tassels. It's lightweight and super pleasing on the eye.

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

*Available at Jeffre Scott in Charlotte and Turner and Scott in Asheville

December was an incredible month to review such top notch brands! From lingerie to athletic wear to beauty products — all noteworthy in themselves.

gradeCNatori: Bliss Mesh Panties
I just love how feminine and pretty these panties are. The colors are super fun, too. I have cobalt, coral and black. The first time I wore each pair they felt great (so lightweight) and stayed in place all day. However, after I washed them (and I didn't dry them), they were all over the place. So disappointing. Never-ending wedgie. Not the functionality I was looking for.

gradeB1Natori: Body Double with Lace Full Fit Bra in cafe
This bra will be the most comfortable underwire bra you ever wear. It has two-ply fabric for extra support and hold, yet is so incredibly soft (not a tight fit like some bras can be). In fact, you'll forget you have it on! The stretch lace straps are beautiful and I believe are part of the reason this bra is so comfortable. It's great under anything, not just tees.


gradeB2allsportsbralululemon: All Sports Bra in wee are from space limitless blue black/clarity yellow
This bra is great, comes in fun designs, has beautiful criss-cross straps in the back and holds you in place forever. It doesn't leave marks, either. The only drawback, which is a big one for me — it doesn't have built-in separators inside like some of my other lulu bras. I really do prefer that. My very favorite lulu bra is the Adjust Me bra. I do hope it comes back because I miss it.

gradeB1lululemon: Run - Bold in the Cold Long Sleeve in polar cream/black
Fleece? Lulu makes a microfleece? Yes, and I am thrilled. This soft pullover is perfect for cold weather running, or just running errands around town. A very thin layer works underneath. However, after a washing (no drying), it seems to shrink slightly which makes layering a bit tough without stretching it out first. Love the thumbholes and mesh panels under the arms.

gradeANatura Bissé: Diamond White*
Sticker shock, yes. But the immediate results take away any doubt. In early December, I was in search of a sophisticated serum to help turn around some skin issues I was having, so I went to visit Jeffre Scott. He picked out an amazing product for me containing smart molecules that effectively exfoliate and lighten skin in record time. Jeffre said, "Give it 2 weeks to see what it can do." Try 3 days! Lighter, brighter, firmer skin that glows. It's what I call my dreamy skin. I have my dreamy skin back! And this skin is looking and acting younger and I love it!

gradeAtsdecTwisted Silver: Monogram bracelet, Swank earrings in bronze
There isn't a piece of Twisted that I don't love. And this eye-catching raw brass monogram bracelet is right up my alley. It's upcycled from a vintage 1960's pin and can be worn both as a bracelet and a necklace (simply connect it to another Twisted Silver bracelet or necklace). The Swank earrings are definitely swanky. The simplicity means they go with everything (yes, indeed, everything). And it makes it a snap to coordinate other jewelry into your look — from bracelets to necklaces. I don't even mind wearing the Swank earrings with the Swank bracelet (it's different enough, especially layered with other fab pieces).

gradeALaura Mercier: Caviar Stick Eye Color in sapphire
Hands down — best eyeliner ever! This is my third Caviar Stick eyeliner. I have khaki, coco and now sapphire. They last forever, can be applied thin or thick with ease and stay put all day and night. I haven't come across an eyeliner that works as hard as this one. In fact, I threw out every other eyeliner I owned, so I only have these three. That's all I need.

gradeACHANEL: Rouge Allure Extrait De Gloss in exces
For lip gloss connoisseurs, this is your holy grail. Look no further for intense color and luxe shine. The silky gel texture gives off a dramatic effect. Lips look full, luminous and stay hydrated for hours. The double-sided, flocked applicator is beveled to deliver ultra-precise definition.

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

*Available at Jeffre Scott in Charlotte and Turner and Scott in Asheville


October and November flew by. Literally. However, we still found time to review some pretty phenomenal products. Skin care, make-up and fabulous accessories — read on!

gradeAtsnovreviewsTwisted Silver: Epic Bracelet, Compass Necklace
Honestly, Twisted Silver brings one epic piece after another. Starting with the Epic bracelet, of course! This ornate bracelet of antiqued brass is big and bold and gets major attention. While it can be layered with something a bit more delicate, it's pretty fabulous on its own. As for the Compass necklace, this is the coolest, simplest necklace you will ever find. The dark blue crystal spins around on an awesome chain and looks good with a plethora of outfits! I love it paired with a simple short necklace. You won't want to take it off. Ever.

gradeB1Kevyn Aucoin: *Volume Mascara
The tinest brush allows for control and precision. This mascara lengthens beautifully, moreso than adding volume. However, it is definitely one coat worthy, which in and of itself is pretty awesome. I also like to layer this mascara over another one of my favorite mascaras. It almost tubes lashes, so it stays put all day long (no flaking, no smudging, no smearing) and feathers off when you wash your face. The brush gets every last lash!

gradeB1sennapaletteSenna Cosmetics: Sultry Eye Shadow Palette
This gorgeous palette contains warm rich browns, soft corals and classic ivories. It looks fabulous on just about anyone. Even though my skin coloring is cool, this warm palette works into my daily routine with ease. It even comes with a booklet showcasing various looks. It comes with three brushes, but I prefer using my own.

gradeC
Giorgio Armani: Lip Maestro Matte Lacquer
As excited as I was to try this new, advanced lip color, I was sorely disappointed. Not only was it impossible to find a realistic color for me, it went on in such an odd way. It wasn't heavy, but it looked contrived.

gradeB1Giorgio Armani: Maestro Fusion Makeup
Now this is good stuff. Light. Easy. Gorgeous. This sheer color feels more like a tinted moisturizer. It goes on like silk and gives skin a luminous glow. The best part, a little goes a long way.

gradeB1Laura Mercier: Lip Stain in Sugar Violet and Scarlet
This has to be the most hydrating lip stain I've ever tried. This little-goes-a-long-way lip stain comes in a pot that will last forever. The colors are great and you can wear them by themselves or under lip balm or gloss. The satin finish is gorgeous and you can control the amount of color you want. Truly an amazing formula year round.

gradeAldtuttlefw12LD Tuttle: Soft Calf Fold-Over Boots
If you've run into me, you've seen me in these everyday basics. Seriously, because I wear them every single day. I'm not sure how I ever lived without them. They never required any breaking in and go with every casual outfit I put together. The Italian leather is soft and supple. And the versatility is killer — two great looks in one fantastic boot!

gradeANatura Bissé: *NB-Ceutical Tolerance Recovery Cream, *Diamond White Rich Luxury Cleanse, *Essential Shock Cream
This is one of my favorite skin care lines. Truly magnificent ingredients. And these three products are outstanding! The NB-Ceutical line, in general, is fabulous. The Recovery Cream goes on light, yet is so rich. It melts into your skin. I am not a fan of the scent, but the results make me forget about it. The Diamond White Cleanser is beyond a cleanser. I see it as more of a treatment that happens to clean skin better than any cleanser I've ever used. This micro-emulsion cleanser eliminates impurities and every type of makeup, leaving skin soft and supple. The Essential Shock Cream is a luxurious and creamy anti-aging moisturizer that restores firmness and elasticity to dry skin. My skin has been severely dry lately and this cream reverses everything it's been through. It's unreal. A little bit of cream works like magic on the skin, penetrating the dermal layers while leaving a radiance on top. Delicious!

The team of testers were not paid to review these products. However, most of the products listed above were supplied as samples for review purposes.

*Available at Jeffre Scott in Charlotte and Turner and Scott in Asheville