Saturday, June 16, 2018

Review: e.l.f. Recharging Magnetic Mask Kit

Retail: $24.00
Magnetic face masks have been popping up all over the internet, and I've been dying to try one.  If you haven't seen one in action, you should definitely check out the videos on YouTube.  They perform look like magic, and the reviews seem to be positive.

The ones circulating have been mostly high end, luxury brands that are out of my price range.  So when I was browsing through e.l.f. and saw they carried one for $24.00, I snatched it up. 

When asked, the store rep explained to me that this is different then a charcoal mask, which actually draws out dirt and impurities to help improve the skin's overall condition.  The purpose of e.l.f.'s mask is basically to brighten and soften the skin.
 e.l.f.'s Recharging Magnetic Mask Kit includes the mask, a dual sided magnetic tool, and 20 magnetic covers (to slip over the magnetic tool).  It contains antioxidants like Carrot Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Argan Oil, which help to revitalize and soften skin, as well as protect it from environmental stressors like dust and smoke.   

The mask is packaged in a hard plastic jar, and you're supposed to scoop it out using the handle of the magnetic tool.  I used this method on the lower half of my face, but finished off my nose and forehead with my finger.

The mask looks like charcoal with a citrus scent.  It has a fluffy, airy texture, which made for a new application experience.  It applied easily and distributed evenly, but felt different then a cream or gel.  The residue on my fingers wasn't wet or tacky, it felt almost dry and flaky.  Tip; apply sparingly.  Usually we're told to apply masks "generously", but not in this case.  It doesn't come with an overwhelming amount of product, and therefore I assumed a thin layer should suffice.    

I applied a light layer with my finger and left it on for the recommended 10 minutes.  At first, it felt cool but after a few minutes, I felt a slight burning sensation.  It was a little uncomfortable, but not intolerable. 

 When my timer beeped, I noticed the formula never hardened or got stiff.  The texture stayed the same.   I slipped one of the plastic covers over the magnetic tool, and held it about 1/4 inch from my skin.  As I ran it along my jawline, particles started coming off and collecting in the center of the wand.  It was pretty cool!  Below is the mask after I removed it:  

The mask left behind a slight residue.  The directions advised this is the hydrating oils, which you're supposed to massage into the skin (not rinse off with water).   To me, the residue felt sort of chalky, not oily or greasy.  Initially, I was worried it would sit on my skin and make it look dull, but it didn't.  After a minute or two my dry skin drank it right up.  By the end, my skin felt soft and smooth, and appeared less red.  I applied the mask before bed, but it could also be a good makeup prep.   Like a primer, it fills in the lines and creates a smooth canvas for you to work with.   

Overall, I liked how it made my skin feel, but I don't know if I will repurchase.  The directions advise using 1-2 times a week, and I feel like one jar will only last me about a month.  Plus, I think my skin craves a deeper cleanse.  Even though it softens skin, it is not designed to penetrate and remove blackheads or build up.  Instead, it lifts dirt on the surface of skin. 

If you're new to the world of magnetic skincare and want to test the waters, e.l.f. is a good starting point.  It's less intense then the high end masks.  This one gently preps skin for day to day activities, and gives it a swift reboot.  It's user friendly, super affordable and gets the job done.         

Have you tried any of the magnetic masks?  What did you think? 

Joseph Cicio Celebrates the Release of First Book "FRIENDS* *Bearing Gifts"

Joseph Cicio
Last month, Josie Natori hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the release of Joseph Cicio's first book "FRIENDS* *Bearing Gifts" at the Club Room in The Lowell Hotel. 

Nancy Kissinger and Josie Natori

  The book emphasizes the importance of relationships, and is a reflection on a life filled with warmth, beauty, and ultimately exceptional memories. Lauren Bacall, Prince Charles, Audrey Hepburn, and Joan Rivers are just a few of the cherished relationships chronicled in this new memoir published by Pointed Leaf Press. Unique essays on each friend are told through the beautiful objects they gifted the author and feature stunning photography of his Connecticut home. 

  Throughout the room were elegant flower arrangements, the signature of restaurateur Charles Masson, which included masses of peonies, a favorite of Nancy Kissinger, who wrote the book’s elegant forward, and a central collage motif on the book's cover designed by Ernesto Artillo. Spring buds were definitely on the minds of Cicio and Kissinger as they cozied up to discuss the lilacs now blooming at both their Connecticut gardens. Following cocktails the festive mood continued with an intimate dinner at Majorelle with Dawn Mello and the book's publisher Suzy Slesin

Fashion notables Jeffrey BanksRose Marie Bravo, Cece Cord, Cathy Hardwick, Art & Fran ReinerCarolyne RoehmBenny Tabatabai and Adrienne Vittadini were on hand to congratulate Cicio. Media personalities Jeanette Chang, Andrew ChurchillPamela Fiori, Sharon Hoge, Shirley LordChristopher Mason and William O’Shaughnessy all showed their support. Gentlemen of style including Geoffrey Bradfield, Richard Keith Langham, Alex Papachristidis and Ralph Pucci also came to cheer on Cicio. Other guests included Jerry & Joan AdlerYana Avis, Edgar BatistaMaria Elena Christiansen, Carmen D'AlessioSusan GutfreundRoz Jacobs, Veronica KellyThe Amazing Kreskin, Jeanne Lawrence, Iris Love, and Dr. Luca Parolari.

The book is available for purchase here

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I Spent Two Days as a Tourist and it Rocked

Do I love NY?  Sure.  Do I own my own iconic "I <3 NY" t-shirt?  No.. but I thought maybe it was time to throw one on, and spend a day as a full on New York City tourist.  So when TopView, one of the city's popular tour bus companies offered me two complimentary days of sightseeing with friends, I happily accepted. 

Being that this was my first NYC bus tour, I wasn't sure what to expect, or even how it worked.  Each ticket was good for any tour, at anytime of day, and for two days.  

My friends and I planned to do the Downtown Tour, and Liberty Cruise tour on day one, and then the Uptown & Harlem Tour for day two.  The Liberty Cruise was the only tour we needed to book in advance because the boat requires a head count for capacity reasons.

Day One:
We boarded the bus at the pick up location in Times Square.  Finding the exact spot turned out to be surprisingly easy because there were TopView guides positioned throughout the area, directing ticket holders where to go.  My friends and I made our way to the roof of the bus, and settled in with our ear phones (make sure you grab a pair when you board!).  The bus was full, but not crowded, and everyone that wanted a seat upstairs got one.  We plugged in our ear phones and were instantly serenaded by Old Blue Eyes himself and a pretty hip cover of T- Swizzle's "Welcome to New York".  Not a bad way to get in the mood!

Soon after the bus began moving, the music stopped and a recorded voice came through providing brief histories of the buildings/sites/ architecture as we drove along.  The Downtown tour route took us past Rockefeller Center, Macy's, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, SoHo, Canal Street, and City Hall among others.  Since this was the first tour, my friends and I rode it almost all the way through, snapping dozens of pictures along the way, and eventually getting off at Chambers Street.   

From there, we grabbed lunch by the water, and transitioned to the Liberty Cruise, leaving from the near by harbor.  The cruise used a live tour guide to provide information as we coasted past Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Colgate Clock, and Governor's Island.  I enjoyed the cruise a lot.  The tour guide was funny, entertaining, and super knowledgeable.  As I sit writing this, I'm still in awe at some of the info I picked up.  Because I had booked the last cruise of the day, there was no option to hop off and see the sites.  I'd recommend this option for day two of your passes after you've visited your preferred sites, and want to relax and take in the scenery.  

Downtown Tour:


Liberty Cruise:

Day Two:
My friends and I boarded the bus in the Theater District on 8th Ave. for the Uptown and Harlem Tour.  This went by Columbus Circle, to the American Museum of Natural History, Apollo Theater, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, ending at Carnage Hall.  
 We hopped off in Morningside Heights and spent some time at Grant's Tomb.  This made me realize why the passes are good for two days; there is sooo much to do and see, you couldn't possibly cover it all in one day.  We were at the tomb for at least an hour.  We walked back to the same spot we had gotten off, and within about 10 minutes, another bus showed up to take us on our way.

Overall, it was an awesome two days, and definitely a convenient way to explore the city.  It is clean, comfortable, and reliable transportation that takes you straight to the doorstep of the city's most precious highlights.  I'll take this over the obnoxious subway any day.  Tickets range in price from $29-$55, depending on the tour.  I recommend every New Yorker take at least one bus tour in their lifetime.  New York City contains a lot of history and it should be appreciated.  We get so busy and when we live in the middle of it, sometimes we forget to slow down and experience it. 

Uptown & Harlem Tour:


- Bring sunscreen or a hat if you plan to sit on the roof.  This is still NYC and could easily get stuck in traffic, smack under the burning sun.
- Bring snacks and water!  You will get hungry and at times, may end up in areas with few food options.  (We learned the hard way).
- I advise trying to decide ahead of time which stops are most important for you to hop off at.  It's easy to lose track of time and you want to ensure you leave enough time to visit all your favorites.    

Have you tried a TopView tour?  Are you interested?

Get more info here



Free Beauty Events June Giveaway is back this month with another amazing giveaway.  For anyone not familiar with FBE, the site is a great tool for all beauty addicts.  It helps you stay up to date on the latest beauty happenings in your area and serves as an awesome way to snag killer free samples. Each month the site gives away a bundle chalk full of the industry's best must haves, and this month's bundle totals a whopping $130 value!  Let's check them out..


This month's basket includes industry favorites from Dove, Olay, Ban Coppertone, Milani, KISS, Sally Hansen and more!  The contest runs from now through 6/30/18, winners will be chosen on 7/10/18 and notified by 7/15/18.  Entering is simple!  Visit FreeBeautyEvents on Facebook (don't forget to like them!) or enter directly on their website.

Besides the monthly giveaways, the site also offers great beauty advice and product reviews on their blog.  Like any of the products you read about?  Keep your eyes open for your chance to stock up!  Easy as 1-2-3, just enter your zip code into the site's search bar to find out which locations in your area might be handing out samples.  It's a helpful way to keep up to date with the beauty events happening in your town.  

Get more FBE info here

Have you attended a past event listed on the site? 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

New Launch: The Mermaid Handbook


 Last week I attended the launch of the long awaited The Mermaid Handbook by Carolyn Turgeon, and Faerie Magazine's upcoming Mermaid Issue.  The mermaid themed evening featured mermaid poetry readings, mermaid inspired ensembles, and a mermaid burlesque performance by the popular entertainer, Veronica Varlow.  

The Mermaid Handbook is Turgeon's follow up to the popular The Faerie Handbook.  The festive, aqua blue hardcover with elegant copper edging is a collection of mermaid inspired fashions, beauty secrets, DIY, cocktails, and even tells you where to find a real life mermaid. 

 Mermaid legends have long been an alluring and influential part of history, particularly in the arts. The sea sirens have inspired beloved movies like Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and "Splash", and even mermaid style wedding gowns.  I felt nostalgic flipping though the book because it reminded me when my friends and I would play mermaids at the town pool, back when we were kids.  
In the midst of all the festivities, guests also enjoyed specialty cocktails from Big Gin and New York Catskill Provision.  Each drink was a tangy, citrus mixture and had a fun, colorful presentation to match the night's under water theme. 

Veronica Varlow

The Mermaid Handbook is available

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