It's hard to believe November came and went so quickly. I have a feeling December will do the same. Well, one thing is certain, the team had a great time getting to know some new players in fashion, beauty and skin care. We hope you do, as well!

gradeB1MOAS Brands: ShiverClip
I have been having a blast finding new ways to accessorize with these little expressions of style. These jewels essentially clip onto any article of clothing, shoes, handbags, etc. I especially like the Indian Shield of Feathers pinned to my sock, worn with my combat boots. Just that little bit of detail brings visual interest. I have also attached other ShiverClips to my belts, scarves and to my daughter's headbands. If you can think it, you can attach it. They are so affordable, you'll want a dozen! *Pictures to come.*

gradeB1lululemon: Run: Swiftly Long Sleeve (LS) Tech top, Inspire Crop II
I am certainly digging the no-stink line from lululemon. The Run: Swiftly LS Tech top is my second piece and I can attest that it doesn't stink after multiple wears, thanks to the Silverscent knit. In fact, I put it to the test by wearing it 5 days in a row, running daily. I was shocked that it didn't smell. Not that I would do that all the time, but I had to give it a whirl! I love the lightweight fabric. It's perfect for wearing underneath another tee or sweatshirt. The extended sleeves and thumbholes make my hands happy, too. The only downfall I found was that the top tends to ride up. I have to tuck it into my shorts or pants to keep it still while running. The Inspire Crop II running pant fits nicely and isn't as cropped as I thought it would be (which is a good thing for me). It has resistant flat seams so it's super comfortable to run in. Thank goodness for the adjustable waist. Otherwise, the impact would cause the running pants to slide off of me (not a good look). While there aren't many running pants in this fitted form that I find flattering on me, I was okay with how I looked from the rear (my cringe zone).

gradeAJK Jemma Kidd: Hi-Design Eye Colour in Sashay
This ultra-pigmented shadow gives a long lasting and crease-resistant finish. It goes on silky and smooth. Sashay is a great base color to build on. It's a warm, very blendable lavender color that looks great with my blue eyes. It really lives up to the claim of being crease resistant, too! I especially like that it has the right amount of matte and not too shimmery.

gradeAbecomefaceandneckbecome: Age Resistance Ultimate Face + Neck Moisturiser
The very first week I used this moisturizer, I could see a difference. I know it sounds crazy, but my skin improved immediately. I love this stuff! First off, it's packed with all of the good stuff: Stem cells and Marine 3+ (to repair and stimulate new cell production), Resveratrol (to prevent and repair cellular breakdown) and stabilized Vitamin C and collagen boosting peptides (to transform the skin at a cellular level). Plus, it's extremely hydrating, smells absolutely divine and makes your skin look radiant! After 4 weeks' use, the texture and tone of my skin improved, in addition to being firmer.

gradeB1Presenza: Light Blue Wrap Top
This wrap top provides comfort and allows you to add your own individual style. It's versatile enough to go with jeans, leggings, slacks or skirts. I personally liked the blouse tucked into my black high-waisted pencil skirt. The black against light blue was a great contrast! There is just enough fabric at the bustline to prevent gaping. You can actually expand the shirt’s top half by unbuttoning the area under the arm if you need more coverage. The length of the sleeve, which stopped right above the elbow, provided added comfort and did not constrict movement. The top is well made and easy to launder and press given the 100% cotton fabric. It can also be worn on the outside and provides a finished tailored look around the waistline and hips. What I enjoyed most about the blouse is that I could dress down on a Friday for work with slacks and a string of pearls or spice it up on a Saturday night with straight leg skinny jeans, a chunky necklace and large hoop earrings, and you would never know that it was the same blouse worn the day before to work. For those ladies who have found it difficult to find a well fitting wrap blouse, this one is worth the spend.

gradeACHANEL: Beaute Des Cils Nourishing Mascara Base
This conditioning formula mascara base is perfect to wear under mascara, in addition to applying at night as a lash strengthening mask. This base is super hydrating and layers well with mascara. My lashes appear fuller and thicker when I use this. I apply it every night to keep my lashes conditioned and strong. And I love being able to wake up in the morning and do nothing but apply a little mascara over this base for a quick run or errand before I start my day.

gradeAVelvet: Ganet Long Sleeve Tunic in Spirit
Velvet is known for comfortable and stylish layering pieces. And this tunic tee is no exception. It's super soft and cozy. I love the button detail at the sleeve, too. I wear this scrunched with jeans or pulled down over leggings. Velvet tees feel heavenly against my skin. When I don't feel like taking them off, I sleep in them!

gradeB1nia24rapidexNIA24: Rapid Exfoliating Serum
This serum treatment, with 5% clinical strength Pro-Niacin®, has been gaining a lot of fans over the year. And for good reason. In a short amount of time, results are certain. Using prickly pear and willowbark to exfoliate, red algae to brighten and rose bud (antioxidant) to boost collagen, not only did I notice a difference in my skin, others did, as well. Within two weeks (I used it once daily, though sometimes twice a day), my skin's tone and texture improved. While I didn't see a change in my sun spots, I am very happy with my softer, smoother, glowing skin.

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.
A great start to kick off fall! October was a month reviewing several new fall products, as well as new-to-market products. From boots and jogging tanks to brightening creams and eye shadow palettes. Check out what the team has been up to.

gradeB1mdconfidentialMD Confidential: Get That Glow Brightening Cream
More than just a cream — a treatment and primer in one! In the morning, the cream not only treats skin discolorations, hyperpigmentation, age spots and acne scarring, but also acts as a primer for foundation. There's a reason the word 'glow' appears in the product name. Talk about luminosity! The formula is pearlescent in color and delivers instant radiance. While it treats minor skin discolorations, it is gentle. It does not contain Hydroquinone, but it does contain arbutin (to gently lighten discolorations and act an anti-inflammatory), dithiaoctanediol and gluconic acid (clinically proven skin lighteners), beta-carotene (natural anti-oxidant) and sutilains (increase cellular turnover). Used nightly, the cream can easily be layered underneath a moisturizer. Again, super gentle and non-irritating. The brightening aspects of this cream are two-fold, which is why it's so special.

dibabootsgradeB2Diba: Maxed Out suede boot in beige
While I mainly use this boot for TV and photo shoots, it's the perfect color to add to so many outfits in my closet. It's getting a lot more use than anticipated. As versatile as this boot is, the comfort is just not what it should be. Cushioned inserts make a huge difference!

gradeB1JK Jemma Kidd: I-Sculpt Shadow and Liner in charcoal
The i-sculpt applicator is a great tool to have in your make up arsenal. If you are like me, you admire a make-up artist with the ability to draw a perfect line across the eyelid without looking as if it were applied in the dark. The i-sculpt shadow duo is a work of art when it comes to the applicator. The angled liner end of the pencil allows you to apply a straight line with precision and ease. The pencil provides a dark, non-blotchy line with the right amount of texture and pressure. It takes a bit of practice to use eye liner pencils. However, this particular applicator allows the novice the ability to apply like a pro. The other end of the pencil has a very nice silver color. The applicator sits inside of a reservoir which allows you to apply the shadow heavy or light. The applicator is very comfortable and provided full coverage without having to go over the first stroke to experience the real effect of the color. The only problem is that after a couple of hours, it started to fade and required a refresh more frequently than I would have liked for a girl who has very little time. I tried the product with an oil-controlled base moisturizer and translucent powder which aided in making it last longer.

gradeB1Rilastil Make-Up: Volumizing Mascara*
Want major lashes? Then you want this mascara. One coat is all it takes to create volume. The formula is so hydrating, too. Extra product does tend to build up on the end of the wand, but it's easy to swirl it back into the tube. As a result, there's a tendency for glumpiness if you're not careful. Though, I am thrilled to report there's no smudging, smearing or flaking with this mascara.

gradeAluckypennynecklaceTwisted Silver: Lucky Penny necklace
This is one necklace I won't lend out. I love it so. It's one of the easiest necklaces to wear. It's long. It's lightweight. It goes with almost everything in my wardrobe. And I love the 1970s minted penny captured in time on this antiqued brass bead chain. Super cool.
gradeA
Almay: intense i-color in smokey-i kit for browns
If you have difficulty putting eye shadow colors together, look no further. Almay has taken the guess work out of the process with their Intense I-Color Powder Shadow. I love the shape of the actual packaging which indicates which color is used for brow highlights verses the contour of the eye and lids. The consistency of the shadow is smooth and goes on without caking. The texture has a nice shimmery look which really pops and adds a bit of flare. I received a ton of compliments, too! This particular palette is more appropriate for evenings out due to the high shimmer and worked well against my dark skin. The shadows did not fade or smudge.

gradeB1lululemon: Run: For your Life Tank
I am a huge fan of lululemon. And I am especially ecstatic over their no-stink line, with knitted silverescent® mesh woven in for anti-stink properties (the silver fibre also inhibits growth of bacteria). This particular top is perfect for almost any form of exercise. It supports you while you run, yet moves comfortably with you during hot yoga. The only difficultly I have with the top is that it doesn't lay flat at the bottom while running. It tends to move up, no matter how tightly I cinch it. It helps to wear a different fabric, like cotton, against it. One of the best surprises are the motivational sayings sewed into the inside bottom of the tank. Love!

gradeAJK Jemma Kidd: Smoke It Up i-Kit
Jemma Kidd make-up gives you more than a fresh look, but a great feeling that you are contributing to a vision which translates into helping people around the world. The JK VISONFund is reaching out to assist people suffering in Ethiopia to fight against devastating diseases and makes me feel that my beauty regimen is also contributing to a good cause. I found the product line to be young and fresh with a great sense of what women really want. The Smoke it up i-kit has a very nice look and feel to it and the packaging is charming and stylish. The color palette is contemporary and provides a great daytime smokey eye (not over-the-top for the office). The longevity of the product was very good, as I only required an end-of-day touch up, for which I added a bit more of the darker color in from the palette.

The team of testers are not paid to review products. However, products are supplied as samples for review purposes.

*Available at Jeffre Scott in Charlotte

Whoa ... an almost straight A-er month! I love it when this happens. Fabulous products in September including make-up + skin care, overnight + accessories bags, jewelry and a hair curling rod. What a mix!

gradeAatentibagsAtenti: Sangria overnight bag
I initially purchased this bag for photoshoots to make it a bit easier to haul my goods to and fro. However, I immediately fell in love with it and began using it for its intended purpose, overnight trips. It's brilliant! It has plenty of room for clothes, accessories, shoes, toiletries and technology. The construction is great and the design is beautiful — brocade in blood red + gold with a chenille animal design around gusset and ultra-suede trim. Love this multi-tasker!

gradeAAtenti: Madrid accessories pouch
I loved my Atenti overnight bag so much, I bought an accessories pouch for my purse to use for my cosmetics and such. It's a great size to hold more than just my lipsticks and glosses. It also holds my measuring tape, fashion tape and safety pins! In a pinch, I've used it as a clutch for a football game when I didn't want to bring my big handbag.

gradeABecome: Duo Bronzer Highlighter
You gotta love an anti-aging bronzer! This wet/dry formula from Become is so versatile (and the colors are amazing). I swirl both shades together and apply to my cheeks for the perfect sun kissed glow. Then I apply the highlighting shade underneath my brow bone. You have to watch Stephanie White's video to find out how not to get that Nike swoosh across your face (where so many go wrong when applying a bronzer).

gradeABecome: Day Screen
Seriously. I love this stuff! It's not so much that I want to eat it out of the bottle it smells so good, but more about how incredibly hydrating this zinc oxide formula is. Did you see me slip that in? Zinc oxide, as in you'd never know the white stuff was in this bottle. This light as a feather pro-elastin and pro-collagen formula hydrates impeccably and is packed with anti-oxidants. This is one product I will not share!

gradeB2Jemma Kidd Make-up School: Light As Air SPF 18 foundation
Looking for a lightweight foundation in a matte finish? You will go gaga over this formula. It goes on velvety smooth, covers to perfection and stays put all day long. And, very little products goes a long way. I love the way my skin looks when wearing this. If your skin is on the dryer side, this formula is best for the summer months. However, if you have oily skin, this product may just be your best friend year round! I prefer a tinted moisturizer, so I mix this foundation with my morning moisturizer for an even lighter effect.

twbraceletandearringsgradeATwisted Silver: Muscle Bracelet, Classic Earrings
More terrific twisted goodness in store for you with this totally awesome bracelet of mixed metals. It goes with everything and the best part, nothing much else is needed ... it grabs plenty of attention. In fact, my daughter snatches it up the second I take it off, every single time. And these classic earrings are perfect for just about every occasion. They are extremely lightweight, a great size for everyday wear. Easy metal.

gradeB1Senna Cosmetics: Eye Color in Forget-Me-Not and Chameleon Luminous
I’ve tried a few other Senna products and this product line does not disappoint. Both shadows are silky smooth, go on easily and lasts through the day. A pretty pale violet opaque eye shadow, Forget-me-not, is a great daytime color. It doesn’t crease and doesn’t need a primer. Forget-me-not is a great base and when I pair it with a darker violet or purple color, it creates a dramatic evening look. I have sensitive eyes and this shadow did not bother me at all. A sparkly cousin, Chameleon Luminous, offers a little more glamour and a lot more sparkle. A little too much, at first. As the day goes on, it becomes more of a frost. But, I was super impressed that by day’s end, both shadows were still on my lids, no creasing! Paraben-free.

gradeASenna Cosmetics: Lip Sync in Pink Mink
This lipstick and lip gloss duo (in complementary shades of pink) is not only a great idea, it’s a great lipstick and lip gloss. It’s like three looks in one — all in one package. You can wear just the lipstick, or just the gloss, or layer them together. The formula is moisturizing and long lasting and it's paraben-free. It contains Maxi Lip which claims to be collagen stimulating, too. Though, I didn’t notice too much more pout with my use. No more digging around in your purse for that elusive lip gloss!

gradeB1FHI Heat: Go Curling Rod
What a great tool! I love how easy this curling rod is to use and it gives me the most amazing curls in minutes. There's no clamp, so you simply twist your hair around it (just like the professionals). It even comes with a glove in case you get too close to the rod. The only drawback is that it doesn't come with a stand.

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.

August wasn't just hot in temperature! Products from shoes and jewelry to cosmetics and skin care were rigorously tested to help you make wise shopping decisions. And boy did we have fun in the process!

gradeABecca: Jewel Dust in Nyx*
Talk about a gorgeous color, perfect for fall, let alone anytime of the year! This shadow can be layered with other shades or worn as an eyeliner (which is my favorite way to wear it). Great color with a little sparkle! And the pot it comes in is just as beautiful.

gradeB3joesbrendawedgeJoe's Jeans: Brenda V Wedge Sandal in nude
While I was super excited to find this flatform wedge in the beginning of the year, I have to say it didn't turn out to be the best purchase that I've made. Safety precautions must be taken when wearing this shoe. Comfort is fine. Color is versatile into the cooler months. Height is fabulous. However, it is a heavy shoe. If your foot doesn't fill it out, it can be difficult to walk in. Narrow feet be warned, you can easily roll an ankle.

gradeAJuara: Rice Facial Scrub*
I am always on the lookout for a gentle exfoliating scrub that can be used 2-3x a week with ease. This wonderful scrub is rich in Vitamin E and lathers nicely. Where some scrubs can leave my skin red and irritated, this one leaves my skin smooth, soft and radiant. Rice bran oil has been used for centuries throughout Asia to treat dry skin and enhance skin health. I can't imagine living without this staple item.

gradeAtwistedtimenecklaceTwisted Silver: Time earrings + necklace
I fall in love with Twisted Silver over + over again. Especially when they offer such a unique slant on a theme. Like time! These darling earrings are made from reclaimed parts, so no two watch faces are alike! And the necklace, also made from reclaimed watch faces, is fastened together with other vintage parts and hangs on a chunky chain with a giant raw metal toggle. It's simple. It's cool. And it's the most perfect length to wear with any outfit.

gradeB2Rilastil: Long Lash Mascara in black*
For those who seek naturally long lashes, this mascara is for you! It truly defines every lash with no clumping, smudging or flaking. The formula is extremely hydrating. My lashes look au naturel in this ... perfect for day. With that said, if you seek volume, you won't get that with this formula. It lengthens and lengthens only. Use several coats for best results.

gradeB1Borghese: Fango Active Mud for Face and Body
Who doesn't love a multi-purpose product? Something good for my skin — all over! This mud mask energizes and nourishes skin on the face and body. It absorbs quickly to unclog pores and eliminate dead skin cells, while detoxifying impurities. You don't have to leave it on long to get the benefits from this all over mask.

gradeAMake-up Forever: Aqua Cream in 13 (warm beige)

This is a happy find! Stunning colors for a super long stay. This cream eye shadow in 13 can be worn in so many different ways. Highlight your brow bone, wear all over the lid or swipe in the corners of your eyes. It stays all day, yet comes off easy with face wash. While I don't swim in eye shadow, I'm pretty sure it would have outlasted my waterproof mascara.

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
Fun fun fun in the sun! July brought some fabulous products to review. A few new-to-market. Others, oldie-but-goodies. But always an adventure!

gradeADonna Karan: Cashmere Mist Deodorant
Back in April, I came in contact with this deodorant for the first time. I thought what I was smelling was a light-scented perfume on my sister-in-law. I had no idea that the fragrance I had became so enamored with was a deodorant. I loved it so much, I kept joking with my sister-in-law that I was going to curl up under her armpit. It smells that good. I am not a fan of the actual perfume, so I'm surprised how much I like the deodorant ... it's light and yummy. I love the fact that you don't need perfume when wearing this. And when you start to heat up from exercising, you smell delicious!

gradeB2wranglestripecroptopWrangler: Ticking Stripe Cropped Tie Front top
I buy from London quite a bit, just to spice things up in my wardrobe. Leave it to me to pick a top that was manufactured a little more than a hour down the road. Crazy. It's a great cropped top. I love the faded stripe. I also love the fact that I will be able to wear this into fall with a long tee underneath. Versatile.

gradeAPhyto: Phytolisse Smoothing Shampoo
Who knew that one step could lead to such smooth, silky hair? I am very impressed with this bottle of shampoo. I use any conditioner I have in my shower with this shampoo and get the same fabulous results every time. The first time I didn't put any hair product in my hair and still got an almost perfect blow out. It lasts for days, too ... even through hot yoga. Sometimes I will use a smoothing product before blow drying to provide even better results — smoother, shinier, softer hair. But the fact of the matter is, it all starts with this amazing shampoo!

gradeAImage Skincare: Daily Defense Matte Moisturizer Oil-Free SPF 30
I get so excited when I find a sunblock with a good amount of zinc oxide in it. This one has 18% - woohoo! It comes in five different formulas. I love the matte for summer. I apply this after my antioxidant. It smells good and leaves a satiny matte finish that is just gorgeous. In fact, I have skipped my tinted moisturizer all summer because I don't like to apply anything after I use this sunblock. The only issue I have had with it is at the pool. As an undercoat, it can make your face dry and flaky if you are in and out of the pool or ocean all day. Opt for a thicker, more hydrating sunblock in that case. For everyday use, this is my favorite sunblock to date! Seriously good stuff!

gradeB2karmakombabarLUSH: Karma Komba Shampoo Bar
I have always been a fan of LUSH products. And their solid shampoos are just plain fun and easy to travel with! This one smells amazing (orange oil, patchouli and lavendin oil) and lathers so nicely. However, do not get it in your eyes (stings really bad). This shampoo feels like a clarifying shampoo, so I choose to use it 1-2x a week. And I always follow up with a hydrating conditioner.

gradeB3Cover Girl: NatureLuxe Water Resistant Mousse Mascara in very black
Deep rich black color. Somewhat water-resistant. For the most part, I like this mascara. The problem with this formula (beeswax) is that is takes longer to dry. So after applying, if you blink, your mascara ends up all over your eye. Now, I'm not perfect so I am always prepared with a wet Q-tip after applying mascara. What's lacking is volume. It claims to provide volume, but the formula is too wet to accomplish it. I have layered it over my volumizing mascara and it adds fabulous color. But who wants to use two mascaras all the time? Bummer, because I think cover girl is onto something.

gradeB1sennalighttricksSenna: Light Tricks
The concept of this highlighter is great. One tip is an under brow highlighter, while the other is for the inner rim of your bottom lashes. The color is nice and sheer. Perfect for a natural everyday look. And it's smudgeproof and waterproof ... bonus!

gradeAKerastase: Masque Nutri-Thermique
My hair always needs a little more TLC in the summer. I love everything about this conditioner. The scent. The hydration. The results (most importantly). It contains the optimum dosage of glucose, proteins and lipids for serious lock-in nutrition, protecting the hair from heat and general damage.

gradeB1St. Tropez: Self Tan Bronzing Spray
St. Tropez makes stellar self tanning products, so I was excited to try this one. This is as close as you are going to get to a professional spray tan. The color is rich (and instant). It's fast — 360° spray technology. It doesn't stink while you are processing. And it's relatively easy to use. Infused with Aloe Vera, your skin will look tan and well moisturized. Because I am not perfect, I use rubber gloves when applying this. I like to rub in areas that may be prone to streaks, like my shins. The one mistake I made the first time, was going too heavy on my feet and lower legs (I was border line bronze/burnt sienna in color, depending on the lighting). I wish I could get more applications out of a can. However, that's the price you pay for spray. Overall, fabulous product for instant bronze goodness!

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.