Monday, August 31, 2009

Love Yourself Into Good Health & Great Shape - Poko Pano Swimwear, Spring 2010

Sexy Brazilian swimwear line Poko Pano shares their Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami collection here on Solessence.

Looking at the stunning array of 15 styles, I asked Amy Snyder Hackbart if she would provide a few tips for getting swimsuit sexy. Amy came back with something even better - a "Love Yourself" guide, a reminder that being fit by being healthy is the sexiest look of all.
Styles, L to R - Isabelle, Murango, Parker

Love Yourself Enough to Embrace Your Assets

  • No one loves everything about their body. It’s true. Whether young, old, famous, infamous, thin, not-so-thin – EVERY woman has something about themselves they don’t like. Accept that this is okay and that you are not alone in your dissatisfaction about whatever body part it is, and you’ll feel better about yourself – truly you will.
  • Find one part of yourself you are satisfied with. Once you’ve made peace with your imperfections, it is kind of nice to also find at least one thing about yourself you like. It could be your toes, or your hair, or your waist or your shoulders, but find something and then focus on it. Lavish praise upon this part you like– and maybe slowly you can become friends with the other parts that aren’t your favorites.
  • Enhance the parts you like. Learn to dress to enhance the part or parts you like best. This is true at work, play, at the beach or in the snow. There are SO many designs and styles of apparel available, there is certain to be a dress, shirt, skirt or swim suit style that helps you enhance the parts you like so you feel better about yourself as you are today. Once you gain the confidence that comes from showing off what you like about yourself, deciding to take care of the rest of you seems only natural.
Styles, L to R - Jayne, Hope, Sophia

Love Yourself Enough to Eat Right

  • Give up Fast Food. Period. There is no such thing as healthy fast food. It is as empty a calorie as cookies and chips only with tons of fats, preservatives and fillers. You deserve better, so eat that way!! Shower yourself with fresh fruits, nuts, lean meats, fish, veggies, cheese (yes cheese!) and you won’t miss that nutritionally deficient fast food filler.
  • Clean out your cupboards. Like cleaning out your closet of clothes you no longer wear, cleaning out your cupboard of chips, cookies, cakes, pies, pretzels etc. will help you stay on track. Instead replace these nutritionally empty snack foods with better choices. Since no one is perfect, if you do get the urge to splurge, try to limit your intake of these types of foods to ‘special occasion’ single serving sizes – and try to eat just one.
  • c. Drink water or tea instead of juice, soda or alcohol. By keeping your body well-hydrated, you are allowing it to operate with maximum efficiency allowing you to burn more calories and digest foods more efficiently. Hydration is crucial, but what you use to keep hydrated is just as important - fruit juices, alcohol and even soda are full of sugars that your body metabolizes as FAT. Diet soda is just as bad – it is all chemicals that still cause your body to read the artificial sweeteners as sugar that create FAT. Get bored of water and tea? Buy naturally flavored sparkling water, or buy plain and flavor it yourself with lemons, limes, berries, apples and other fruits.
    Styles, L to R - Calient, Serena, Shine
    • Eat more foods that are plant-based. Fruits, vegetables and nuts, should be a big part of your daily menu. They taste best when they are freshest (even frozen is okay, just not canned – too many preservatives and sugary syrups). They make you full faster and help your skin, hair and nails look better.
    • Had enough on food changes? Not sure you can make them all? That’s okay, just do your best each day, keep track of what you eat and make sure each of your three meals (skipping meals equals a slow metabolism) include fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein and no fast food or snack foods!
    Love Yourself Enough to Exercise

    • Exercise 30 minutes a day 3 times a week. Even 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week can make a big difference in how you look and feel. Maintaining a healthy pace as you walk, jog or ride your bike will get your heart rate up and blood flowing.
    • Add some weight. No, not put on weight, but ADD weights to your workout routine. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so ideally you want to build as much muscle as possible to turn your body into a top notch calorie burner. Small hand weights of 3-5 pounds used regularly whether for bicep curls, lunges or squats make you work harder and help you build muscle as you burn calories. It’s a proven, powerful combination that really helps get you results.
    • Park as far away as possible. This is the easiest way to get exercise I know. Parking far from the entrance of where you work or shop gives you the opportunity to squeeze in some extra exercise! It helps you get the extra steps that add up to the 30 minutes of exercise you need 3 times a week. Walk at a brisk pace, and you’ll be boosting your metabolism as you burn more calories. Plus, there are always parking spots!

    Styles, L to R - Cabana, Mirage, Madiera

    • Take the stairs wherever and whenever possible. This is the second easiest way to get exercise! Waiting in line for the escalator or elevator isn’t nearly as fun as trying to beat everyone up or down using the stairs. The added bonus is it is a great lower body (hips/thighs/butt) work out.

    • At work, or when studying, get up and walk around. Lots of us have jobs that require us to sit behind a desk for 8+ hours a day. By taking little breaks and walking around for a few minutes (like to the bathroom because you’ve been drinking water throughout the day) helps you feel more awake and feel better.

    Styles, L to R - Aztec, Twiggy, Chile

    • Hate the idea of a ‘work out’? Get bored at the thought of the gym or weights? The key to exercise is to move your body for at least 30 minutes. Dance, swim, bike, hike, skateboard, roller skate, volleyball, tennis – the list of options is endless. Try them all till you find one or two you like and, as Nike says, ‘just do it!’ You’ll look and feel better in no time!

Poko Pano swimwear is available on their website and select boutiques worldwide.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

LEAKED iphone App for the Lost in Love

What are blackberry users supposed to do?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Unsung Heroes: Suave Professionals Color Care

Unsung Heroes is a place to discuss products that may miss out on glamorous promotions, but deliver on their promises.

Emmy nominated celebrity hair stylist Luke O'Connor, owner of LuKaRo Salon in Beverly Hills has gained a gathering for creating Debra Messing's look on "Will & Grace," and has styled Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Blake Lively, Becky Newton, Diane Keaton, Ashlee Simpson, Brooke Shields and Lucy Liu, among others. As spokesperson and consultant for Suave, he was live at BlogHer, doing what he does best. For the masses. I failed to get my hair done (yes, I was insane to miss the opportunity, and no, I don't recall them ever taking a break), but I spent a good amount of time talking with other Suave reps about the new Professional line.

The Suave Professionals line is slated to work as well as a competing salon line with less cost. I left with a generous full size bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and Sleek Cream (to help with frizz - there! I said it!). The comparative salon brand for Color Care is Biolage.

I tried the Sleek Cream the next day and loved the texture and ease of use.

However, it is the shampoo and conditioner that blew me away.

I really liked how the shampoo felt going on, and it definitely cleansed without stripping. As I applied the conditioner, it seemed not to work in as easily as Biolage would (I actually had some in the shower, and felt a little pang of regret not using 'the expensive stuff'). So what was the end result? I has some serious shine going on. As if I had just colored my hair. You know, that bright, healthy, vibrant glow? My locks also felt incredibly soft. Fortunately, it wasn't flat soft (I hate that) but I really could not stop touching my hair.

I don't hear a lot about this Professional Series, which looks like a revision of a line put out around 2007.

Two thumbs way up for the 2009 version. I don't know what performance and true color-treatment protection is like yet if used exclusively over a 30 day period, but it is well worth at least intermixing, if not going exclusive. At $3 a bottle, Suave has done a great job.

The line carries a number of products with corresponding salon matches for different hair types:

Humectant = NEXXUS Therappe
Color Care = Biolage
Damage Care = Redken Extreme
Vibrant Shine = Sebastian Laminates
Sleek = Matrix SleekLook
Volumizing =Matrix Amplify

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Celebs Wear: Dita Von Teese

L'Oreal True Match Foundation. Who knew?

Christian Dior Red Bingo

Plenty of MAC

Say Yes to this Dress - Couture Designer Gilles Montezin for Kleinfeld Bridal

"I am always thinking of ways to make someone’s dream dress..." - Gilles Montezin

This interview is transcribed from Solessence Radio.

Today we have couture designer Gilles Montezin. In this new phase to his career, he leaves behind a trail of couture clothing from movies Sex and the City & Confessions of a Shopaholic to design couture bridal for Kleinfeld. His trademark 'Le Cinch' corset helps brides take up to 4" off of their waistline for the happy day. Let’s bring him on the line to find out how it all started.

When did you first get the idea you wanted to be a designer?

I asked my mother when I was a teenager to do a jacket for me. She started, and I finished it. She was very, very proud of me, and I felt it was very rewarding. I thought it was fun, so I started doing clothes for my friends, and they liked it.

You had no prior training at all?

I have a technical mind, and I guess I have the facility to understand what to do, so it was kind of easy.

So then as time progressed, you obviously decided to go to school for this. What helped you select where you going to go?

I get bored easily, let’s say, so I started to do fashion designing, and I worked a lot with fashion industry and theatre and opera. After a while I wanted to do more, and I moved to Paris to study haute couture, which is the highest level of craftsmanship for making clothes. I started working for Christian Lacroix, who is a very, very nice man, and that was it. I was ready to do whatever I wanted to do; I had all the tools that I wanted.

Did it seem like this was it? It just all clicked. It was going to happen?

It was kind of a dream, you know? The school I went to, they only take 10 students a year, and they’re coming from all over, from everywhere around the planet. It is extremely hard to get in. So it is kind of a dream that you are moving closer and closer, and after a while you are there, and it just happens. But it still is a dreamy experience all the way through.

During your time training there, I’m sure they had really creative and fantastic projects to keep you stimulated. Was there one thing in particular that had an impact for you?

One thing I always wanted to do was achieve three-dimensional projects on a mannequin. I was trained to do more designing and more ready-to-wear, which you create with pattern, paper flat on a table. In haute couture I was trained to do clothes on a mannequin, so you have the results right there on the spot, and you can correct it and you can create all of that volume that you cannot do just by doing a pattern. That, to me, was a big, big, big achievement. I was finally able to do something other than everyday clothes – and that was very, very exciting.

So then you are done with school, you have the tools you need. What was your next step?

When I was in school I was working for the opera, Opera de Bastille, and it was fantastic working on all of those costumes, and learning the techniques of previous centuries that you still apply in doing the costumes for the singers. After, when I finished school, I was hoping to go and work for some haute couture houses, whether it was Dior or Gaultier or Lacroix. Lacroix was my favorite, so I was really, really aiming to get to that, the chance to work with him.

What are your feelings on the state of the industry today? It seems many of the houses, there are few that are true couture houses, the number is very small, I think five. But with the economy the way it is, if they are not closing up they certainly have to change business model. You were in at a great time to experience it.

Haute couture, I am very sorry to say this, and I hope I am wrong, but haute couture will probably die the same way as it was born. That is, slowly and slowly, and growing up and it will die just the same way. It is an extremely high level to make clothes. It is very experimental, it is very, very demanding work and craftsmanship and the creation of a dress/coat/suit, whatever it is, is extremely demanding. Not everyone can afford to work, and not everybody can afford to buy haute couture, of course. So it’s the state of art, of making clothes, that is probably very temporary. I wish I am wrong, I wish it is going to last, because it is a very exuberant way of making clothes, very experimental. And you don’t see that anywhere else. You don’t see that in shops, or a regular store, that quality of clothing. It is always enjoyable to look and feel the haute couture clothing.

The skills you acquired then, going back to your life track, at what point did you decide to branch off on your own?

Once again it was when I felt I had tools that I can work with, and in Paris I thought it was time to see if I can start something on my own, and that was it.

You just jumped. You moved to New York. Sometimes that’s the best way to do it or it doesn’t happen.

Yes, I think you’re right (laughs).

So you did move to New York, and were discovered in a sense. Pat Field had seen your creations and pulled pieces for Sex and the City and Confessions of a Shopaholic movies. That’s pretty huge. What was it like to be involved in that process?

Oh it is fantastic, another dream come true. Pat Field has tremendous talent in styling and creating looks for the girls and even the crew. It is a fantastic experience – a big machine, and people were very professional. They are appreciative and it was very rewarding to see how they put clothes together – where they use it, and for who. It’s really a big surprise and a big game and fun.

Now you’re transitioning. You have two big movies behind you, and your future is leading into bridal.

Yes! (laughs)

It actually seems perfect for you because of these beautiful, grand designs that you make. How did that come about?

I think you are right, it is perfect for me because I like to create volume, and I like to keep clothes at a beauty level as much as I can. I think it suites me perfectly, I adore doing it very much. Apparently it is pleasing too, so let’s go for it.

Just a little background, Kleinfeld Bridal is a very famous shop in New York City. People come from all over the world to shop here, designers come from all over the world to design for Kleinfeld, to try and get in. This is the shop featured on Say Yes to the Dress show on TLC. Had you done bridal prior to Kleinfeld?

No, what happened, my open door to them, was they came to my workshop one time and selected gowns for their evening department. After a while I said, “Listen, I would like to explore the possibility of doing wedding gowns.” Mara Urshel, owner, took me into her office, and we had a very long conversation. She is the most adorable person on earth, she is fantastic. She gave me all of the ropes of the trade. She told me everything to do and everything not to do, what the brides are expecting, what they don’t like. I felt like I was taught the whole world of bridal at that very special moment. I went back to my workshop and started drawing dresses, and they selected (three). So that is how it started. They are responsible for me doing bridal now.

It seems like such a natural transition.

Well I was brought up to that point, and I was really well cared for. She really wanted me to have all the best information on bridal gowns. She was very, very generous on her knowledge.

They’ve selected three. Discuss the initial designs. Were these the three you would have picked?

You know, I was more interested on getting the “why” of the styles they picked, because they selected thinking of what the bride would look like in them.

The photos are beautiful of the gowns. Can you describe them?

One is in taffeta with a voluminous skirt. It has pleating that creates long lines on the body that goes down to the skirt. Another has pleated lace, which is a little bit see-through, reminiscent of lingerie. You can see a bit of a bustier, and it is very flattering, very sexy too, but it remains elegant. The third one is more Grecian. It is flowing chiffon, falling from one shoulder to the hip.

Let's discuss Le Cinch. Is this built into every dress? This is something new you are introducing.

Yes, that is the result, once again, of the interview I had with Mara Urshel. We came up with the idea of cinching the waist a little more in bridal gowns so the silhouette is more define. Since I worked with Lacroix and I was doing all of the bustiers under the dresses and I was working at the Opera in Paris, and I made all of those fantastic corsets. I’m very knowledgeable about making them. So I came up with the idea of making a very mini-corset that you can put under the dresses. It would remain very comfortable, and it would help to cinch the waist, giving it a little oomph, that a bridal gown needs to take it to the next level.

Yes, that’s what the girls like!

Yes, that’s what the girls like, that is what I was told! That is what Mara told me. When she realized what I was doing she was, “I think you are onto something now.” That was very, very rewarding for me.

It is built into the dress. Is that removable at all?

It is removable. You can wear it or decide not to wear it or remove it to wear with your favorite dress after.

That’s another bonus. A very unique concept.

It is. And it remains very comfortable because it is a short bustier, it doesn’t compress the ribcage, which makes you very uncomfortable. Unable to breath, you have all of those bad feelings when your ribcage is compressed. Le Cinch, the corset I put in, does not do that. It is very localized on the waist, and for most of the people, the waist is very flexible. You just put your hands on the waist, on each side, push in and it is just like you are wearing my corset.

I want to talk about sizing, because Le Cinch is a boon for skinny girls as well as larger sizes, because everyone wants to look as thin as they can on their wedding day. At a time when other designers are pulling out from plus sizing, you are offering up to size 18.

It goes to size 18, and for larger sizes we just need to make sure we have the figure down, to make sure we build up the dress accordingly.

Is that standard in the shop to accommodate?

I just feel confident this is something flattering and adaptable to every silhouette, every size. Corsets have been around for 400 years, it is not a novelty. It is just a question of how to build it, and once you know how to build it, it can be adapted to everybody.

Women will be thrilled with that.

I hope so.

What about materials? Can you give us a little insight into fabrics you are using?

I’m very lucky I have found fantastic fabrics. I do work with very traditional fabrics; silk taffeta and silk satin. But I found fantastic organza and silk chiffon that has a satin face. They are just so generous; you want to bite in it. It is like whipped cream. It is fantastic to work with. I count myself very lucky.

What would you say is your overall design philosophy for this bridal line? What is your goal to make the bride look and feel like?

I think you’ve touched the very core of my questioning doing wedding gowns. I think it is almost an obsession, every little stitch that I do, every little pleat that I make, I am asking myself, “Is this going to be somebody’s bridal dress? Is this going to be a dress that someone will say – ‘This is my dream dress’?” I am always thinking of ways to make someone’s dream dress, and it is very exciting and very nerve-wracking at the same time. You want to do something that is beautiful, but since you personally don’t know the customers it is a little bit hard to touch right in the middle of the target. It is a very fun game of making things that are going to please and guessing what is going to please at the same time.

When & where can we see the line?

We are negotiating possibility of showing in a professional showroom. The deal is pretty much done but we are finalizing the contract. Also we are showing at my workshop, by appointment only, of course. I also hope Kleinfeld will come and want to work with the rest of the collection. We also have the collection online at (please use contact page on website for inquiries).

How many dresses total will you showing?

We expect to be showing between 15-18 designs.

Have you stopped your ready to wear?

No, I still have clients ordering the rtw collection. It is just on standby for now, because each is so demanding. I am focusing on the bridal launch.

The Gilles Montezin Bridal collection can be found at:

Kleinfeld (appointment only)
110 West 20th Street
New York, New York 10011

Gilles Montezin Showroom (appointment only)
325 W 38th Street #510
New York, New York 10018
Contact form also on website

If you live outside of New York, you may order dresses through your local bridal shop or forward your measurements to have the dress shipped to you.

~ Hillary Fry / solessence

Monday, August 24, 2009

Anna Wintour Wins Over David Letterman

"Vogue is not only run by senior citizens." ~ Anna Wintour in response to David Letterman
(complete interview) launches, but is it a Kimono or a Cheongsam?

Perez Hilton has launched , a new, spinoff celeb fashion site. So far it seems to be pretty friendly, but what is this?

Japanese, Chinese, it's all Asian, right?

Why does Coco/Alexander McQueen call this a Kimono dress when it looks styled after the Cheongsam?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Diamond Nexus Labs: Making History with 2009 Miss Universe

Today's guest is Brianne Smith, representing Diamond Nexus Labs in Franklin, Wisconsin.

Let’s talk about the crowns. Diamond Nexus Labs created the crowns for Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and now Miss Universe.

Yes we did. Miss USA and Miss Teen USA have already passed, but we did make the crowns for those two pageants. And we’re very excited about the Miss Universe pageant.

Can you start in the beginning and tell us how you got involved with that?

We are based in Franklin (WI) and started around 5 or 6 years ago. We are the world leader in lab created precious gemstones, so pretty much you are getting the same look as a mined diamond. You’re just not getting a blood diamond, and you’re not hurting the environment. We’re trying to save the environment and we’re going green and eco-friendly. There are a lot of good benefits to what we do. We also save (the consumer) a ton of money, which is always good.

Mikimoto, a huge name in jewelry, had designed the previous crowns.

Mikimoto, even Tiffany, has done the crown. One of our customers is part of the Donald Trump organization. He has bought our products before, he loves our products and what we stand for, and he took it to Donald Trump himself. Donald Trump said, “You know? Why not.” So he actually chose us, and we are the first eco-friendly company in history to design the crown for the Miss Universe organization. It is a huge honor for us, especially being from small town Wisconsin.

You did something unique for the Miss Universe crown. You allowed people from all over the world to vote on three different designs. How did that decision come about.

It’s called Choose the Crown, ( and you can vote for your favorite design. The crown will be revealed Sunday.

So all three models have been completed and the winning crown will be revealed with the winner of the pageant. Will anyone from Diamond Nexus be on location?

The CEO is there, and our Director of Marketing. The Miss Universe pageant is in the Bahamas and they’ll be on location representing Diamond Nexus Labs.

You have a video on your site that shows the progression of the designs. How did your designers feel working on this project?

Well it’s a huge honor for them. They were a little overwhelmed with the Miss USA crown, and then to do the Miss Universe crown, which reaches the entire world - it is a huge, huge honor just to have designed one crown.

Do you have future plans to expand product line or future stores?

Sure, we do plan to expand next year and will be popping up around the country.

Let’s talk about styles that are really popular now. We’re easing into fall. How do styles change, what are you focusing on now?

Part of what we do is engagement rings and bridal sets. That’s still number one in the store. A lot of people are now moving on to the lab created, based on the ethical reasons behind it, going green, saving the environment. Now with the economy, saving money is huge. We have a lot of couples coming in and buying the sets. Right now I would say the vintage/antique style is very popular, which we have a large collection in the store.

In terms of settings, and do you also do the antique cuts like Cushion cut?

Sure, we have all cuts. The Asher cut is also very popular with the vintage style. It brings back that classic look, that antique look, and that’s very popular.

What’s one of your favorite pieces?

I actually wear a ring called the Athala, and it is part of that antique/vintage style. That’s personally one of my favorites, that’s why I wear it.

Can you tell me a little bit about your experience getting into Diamond Nexus Labs? Were you in jewelry before?

I worked for a natural-mined jewelry store before I moved over to Diamond Nexus. I managed a store and Diamond Nexus started to branch out into the retail world. I believe whole-heartedly in what they do and stand behind what they do, and thought it would be a good move for me. I manage the retail store, and the store has been open almost a year now. I have been with the company for a year and managing ever since.

It’s been an exciting time for you.

Yes it has, it has been a very exciting year. Very exciting.
We should mention the store is located in Mayfair Mall.

Yes, down from Panera (in the main, center entrance). Or you can shop online. And we are renovating the site and our store, going for a more green, eco friendly look.

Congratulations to Diamond Nexus Labs for the winning Peace design, and to Miss Universe 2009, Stefania Fernandez.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sample Sale, LA: Resurrection Vintage, 8/23/09

85% Off

Resurrection Vintage
8006 Melrose
Los Angeles
Sunday, August 23rd
Cash & Credit Cards
Call 323.651.5516

Katy Rodriguez. Gregory Parkingson. Wren by Melissa Coker.

Including: Never before worn special estate clothing/shoes/bags/jewelry - Marni. Prada. Balenciaga. Ann Demeulemeester. Gucci. Miu Miu. Jil Sander. More, up to 85% off retail.

Upcoming Interviews: Miss Universe Pageant Friday, 8/21/09

Set your reminders for the interview here

The Miss Universe pageant completes the final steps on Sunday, August 23 2009 with a broadcasted competition from the Bahamas. We'll have insider info on Solessence Radio from:

Diamond Nexus Labs - We spoke with DNL earlier in the year when they announced they were taking the reigns from legendary Mikimoto, and had been selected as the first "green" jewelery sponsor in the history of the pageants (Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe). Over the last few months, people from around the world have had a chance to vote on one of three possible designs for the Miss Universe crown at , and Sunday the winner will be unveiled. Listen in to get the scoop on the jewels valued over $200,000 and the design team from Franklin, Wisconsin.

Stephanie Simons
- This stunning Miss California 2004 runner-up will dish on what life is like as a beauty contestant, and how getting pageant ready can translate for the everyday woman. A beauty editor for numerous publications, Stephanie also shares tips, tricks and community at , and will be sharing exciting news about a joint effort with Estee Lauder. Vivacious, friendly and an expert in this realm.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Carol's Daughter - Casting Call , Monday 8/24/09

Straight up direct, no agency or SAG. If you'd like to be considered for a Carol's Daughter instructional video, you can submit a photo first for consideration.

  • You must live in the Tri-State area
  • You must be a size 8 or less
  • See the post here

PSA: Has your site been shut down?

There have been a rash of blogs shutdown in the last week.

If your site was recently shut down, note that BlogLinker, a common link on many sites, was found to contain the Beagle worm. Even though your site is not hosting the malware, because the link to Bloglinker is on your site, you will be restricted access until it is removed/cleaned.

What to do?

1. Delete the link

2. Scan your site with one of many software choices available such as Avast, AVG, ZoneAlarm. There are free versions for all of these products if buying is a problem.

3. Once you confirm your site is clean, contact your host site to begin process of reinstating your blog.

Be patient (it may take 24 hours or more to fix the problem) and your site may have been infected further. Be persistent and clear with your information to support to help resolve the issue. Good luck!

Monday, August 17, 2009

He's Bringing Sexy Backe - Jason Backe Redhead Makeovers

Get this limited time offer $5 off coupon for Ted Gibson hair products at website for purchase at Target

Forget all of the stories coming out about redheads feeling more pain, because you will be the only one hurting if you don't jump on fall's most accessible trend.

Red heads are back, and we are talking explosive, take no prisoners red.

Hair highlighting hunk Jason Backe of Ted Gibson Salon was on Twin Cities Live today and did three makeovers using store bought product. The result? Affordable glam!

Apparently his second model made a last minute switch from Lindsey Lohan red to Amy Adams. How did it turn out? Check out the footage and be inspired to get red and go home. - Go Red for Fall

Project Runway Debuts on Lifetime 8/20 10pm/9c

Look who's baaaaaaaaak (here's my previous meet with Tim Gunn)

Project Runway hits new station Lifetime this Thursday! And as if there isn't enough catfighting amongst designers, the show is going to hit up the catwalk by featuring Models of the Runway.The behind the scenes extra expands on the stress seen in previous seasons the models have to endure as mere figurines for trading. The models are trying to win a coveted spot too!

Reflecting on Dior Addict Ultra Gloss Reflect

I am a fiend for lip glosses, and Dior Ultra Gloss Reflect is one of the top brands out there that just do. it. for. me.

My current favorite is Lurex Plum, a taupe/plum filled with shimmer without being gritty. The brush allows for easy pull from the bottle, and superior accuracy in application. The color is so flattering.

Upon application, it is a very unique look, completely smoothing out the lips. I find this product doesn't migrate and lasts quite a long time for a simple gloss. It has low stick and extreme shine. For wear, I tend to wipe all gloss off before eating anyway, but it performs well when drinking from a straw. By the time it is ready for re-application, there still remains a soft shade and some sparkle.

I love applying this gloss.

Just a note, but I would try these out before you buy. While all of the colors were pretty, I could see how many of them would be too transparent once put on the lips. I think that is one reason Lurex Plum is so fab, because it seems to be a coat of shimmering latex. Very obvious.

Dior makes glossing divine with product and stunning packaging. Select cream or shimmer (I prefer the unique shine myself) at Sephora.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Too Faced Natural Eyes Kit

While in the loveliest of chocolate boutiques on a trip, I went for a gift pack, only to get slapped on the hand by my friend.

"Ewww," she said. "Always select your chocolates individually. It is more personable, and always fresher."

I have smart friends, no?

In that same vein, extend that philosophy out to everything in life. I wish I was noshing on a few of those truffles while I admit to you that I have never been a cosmetic kit girl. In my experience, quads and groupings always meant colors that mixed small samples of hits in with product that couldn't be sold individually.

Preference, meet Downfall.
Too Faced is no stranger to kits, but the one that caught my eye was the Natural Eyes. Every color in here is phenomenal. The quality is good. The packaging attractive. And hey, they even give you 3 look cheat sheets for a guide.

One of my favorite colors I've discovered is Heaven, a lash to brow bone matte, that brings a velvety smoothness to the skin. The ultimate reason to grab a good kit? You'll be trialing colors you would probably never have picked up on your own. Take time to explore.

Life, and makeup, is like a box of chocolates. Stick with quality, and it might not matter if you don't know what you're getting.

Natural Eyes has a companion Smokey Eye for the ultimate night looks.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Question: Beauty Sleep

Is 8 hours of beauty sleep a requirement to look your best? Let me know.

Crest White Strips - It's Always Darkest Before You've Got Somewhere Important to Go

I'm almost at a loss for words about this product.

It works like a charm.

I went a few years before realizing it had been a loooong time since someone commented on how great my teeth looked. My coffee and tea habits were killing the pearly whites, and I had to do something. I went to my dentist and was fitted for one of the overnight lighteners right before a big soiree. Unfortunately, after all of the custom molding and teeth color PMS matching and expensive syringes filled with bleach, it was just too painful to go through. The solution was thick, but runny, and would leak onto my gums, causing sensitivity. I had to put the mold down and slowly back away.

I recently noticed again my toothy color match was nearing Canary Diamond when I started fretting about places I had to be. But would an OTC whitening solution really work?

Yes! It really works like a charm!

There are two strips enclosed in each Crest Whitestrips packet. Each strip contains a gelatinous mix of solution that adheres to your teeth like gummy tape. The strip is placed on the top and bottom, and you hang out for 30 minutes to let it work. Results are said to be noticeable after 3 uses, but I saw immediate results after the first trial. You can also double up for a full hour of treatment if you need help, like, pronto. There are three different strengths at affordable price points, and I have the middle Premium version.

I really can't figure out how the dental community was beaten to the punch on this one.

Have you had as much success with this product? If you've never tried it before, what do you think about this at home kit?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Urban Decay - Confession of Love

Use code FNFF1 for 30% savings on all product at Urban Decay until 8/20
Think back, back, back to the 90's when Demi Moore startled the world with (among other things) a manicure of Chanel Vamp. At the time, this black/red color seemed so improper, so envelope pushing! The thrill of being naughty, yet nice, inspired gorgeous knockoffs from Essie and Revlon, and then, a second reissue of Vamp from Chanel.

This fall we move back in time to the dark lips of yore, and ladies, Urban Decay has captured Vamp in a tube. It may not be an exact shade match, but the color is such a breathtaking mixture of berry & black you'll get the chills as you recognize a groundbreaking color introduction.

The looks are extreme this fall - nude, goth. This lipstick is so pronounced you can get a little of both looks because you'll want to go light on the eyes. How to describe it? Rich, juicy, shiny, sexy. It makes lips look like fruit waiting to be bitten. It is that tempting.

Confession by Urban Decay sells for $22 and comes in an unusual package with a "love dagger" you can accessorize with metal casing. It is one in a collection including Oil Slick (sheer black w/sparkle). Even if you think you can't carry a dark lip, you absolutely should try this shade. The hue is almost universally flattering.

Seeking perfection? Exfoliate and use a lip primer to get the smoothest base for application. This product is around a 6 out of 10 for opacity, so rough patches show through.

Find it at and

MAC Graphic Garden at MayFair - Wauwatosa

If you live near Milwaukee (Wisconsin), run to Macy*s Mayfair for MAC Graphic Garden. Seems they got a shipment that was meant to go to Nordstrom, so they are unloading the goods where they landed. There are several different collections with a variety of product in the black & white makeup bags. Bask in your good fortune. (brush set pictured)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Time for You to Shine

I don't know about you, but I never have much luck with bronzers. Every summer they promise me the kiss of the sun, but after a swipe or two, no matter how light handed, I merely look like I'd been crusin' for a brusin'.

This is why I am so excited about the abundance of shimmer highlights out now. They are cousins to the bronzer: Think of the promise of health and bloom - not with the strength of the sun - but with the soft kiss of the moon.

Three favorites:

Bobbi Brown Nude Shimmer Brick limited edition
This entire collection makes me weak in the knees, but the shimmer brick is the, er, highlight. This product is as close as I will ever get to glowing like a fresh faced 23 year old again. And god do I miss that.

Handpressed in Italy, it is the perfect combination of 5 pearl piments: pink, gold, bronze, beige, and caramel.

Double duty: All of these highlighters are great for use in the eye area, but this compact especially so as the colors are multiple and defined. Luvs!

P.S. These photos are a better indication of the colors. The website link color is not accurate in the least bit.

smashbox Artificial Light Illuminating Lotion

smashbox first created a buzz with Artificial Light, which leaves skin looking soft and dewy. It's a tiny bit more unwieldy to work with than layering power, but it gives exceptional glow.

Don't forget these all look smashing on your decolletage too.

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish

With the latest Color Craft collection, MAC has a powder version with triple color, as well as singular sets.

Go forth and glow!

Upcoming: Transcript for Gilles Montezin Interview

Had a chance to speak with the wonderful Gilles Montezin! This couture designer for Sex and the City and Confessions of a Shopaholic has made his foray into the world of wedding gowns with his trademark corset, Le Cinch. Listen to the show here and check back for the transcript.

How Old is Too Old for Trendy?

Christian Siriano launches his new beauty collaboration with Victoria Secret. It is a sweet little group, and sure to be picked up by many a PYT on a shopping bender.

Watching his video, I was struck by something I've heard for the second time in a month: marketing geared toward the 20-something.

When Christian mentioned the "young, trendy girl" could wear the blue eyeshadow OR the nude look, I had to cringe. After years of companies chasing after baby boomers, are they now tossing everyone aside for "youth"? Haven't marketers spent the last 30 years convincing the world they are eternally youthful? That you can have a wrinkle and wear blue eyeshadow, too?

My second experience is around the relaunch of Gap jeans. A brand that is trying to reinvent itself is focusing on winning the 20 something market. Ok, I get the youth thing, but it seems puzzling Gap would not want to woo back the demographic that put it on the map. They'll put 1969 as a historic point on the marketing materials, but they don't want anything that old pushing their jeans?

Are 30 & 40 somethings merely the lost marketing generation? If you fall in this bracket, do you feel marketers do a decent job of addressing your needs?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kim Kardashian won't lose any clout as a blond

When it was exclaimed, live at the Teen Choice Awards, that Kim Kardashian had appeared as a bona fide blond, it was clear it would hit the fan.

Kardashian tried out the flaxen locks with a wig earlier this year, much to public dismay and confusion. True, her signature is sultry brunette, but this girl is young and gorgeous. All of this talk about her brand, people who wouldn't let her color her hair if they were in charge - she is a human being, not (only) a meal ticket (for some)!

I personally love her better darker, but who wouldn't want to have this kind of versatility? She's human, and I bet she'll do more for going lighter than anyone since Marilyn Monroe. If you say she looks like everyone else - hello! I want to be everyone else! She hasn't lost any edge in the looks department.

My only beef? I wish she had timed this better to be blond for spring/summer, not fall/winter.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Beauty & Brains: Christine Mielke of

Kickin' beauty shots! Insider launch info! Makeup database spanning from 1996! What's not to like for the nearly 200k readers that stop by every month?

This is a transcript from an interview with Christine Mielke on Solessence Radio prior to blogger/BlogHer week.

By day she's a law student, and one of the top makeup bloggers around. At a height of 200k unique visitors a month, Christine Mielke has crafted her blog into one of the hottest makeup resources. Her signature closeups of eye and lip applications, along with reviews of different brands, are top notch instructionals for readers. Combine that with her willingness to engage her audience, and you often find a lively comment trail for her posts.

You have a very unique signature for your photos, close ups of your eyes and lips, for your tutorials. How did this all come about?

CM: Well first of all, it's great to be here and thank you for the opportunity and interest in interviewing me. Temptalia really started as a way for me to archive all of the different looks I was doing already, posting with friends and sharing with other beauty addicts. At that point there was already about 100 different looks and I said it would be really great if I could just put these in a permanent spot, in one location, where people can look back on them if they wanted to. So I went with the blog format and it just took off from there.

This is actually a second version?

CM: Kindof. I did have another website, which didn't use the name Temptalia. It was more of a personal site and then I migrated and used Temptalia, which has been my internet user name for ten years or so. I just went with that as a brand because people knew me by that.

It has grown; your traffic is tremendous. What do you think contributes to that? Did you intend on growing it this big?

CM: Originally my intent was not anything ambitious. It was to have fun. Then it started becoming more about writing reviews and doing tutorials, and so it became more things to do and more things to write. Then it was, okay, this could be something really fun if I work really hard and take it to the next level. Now our goal is to continue to grow it as much as we have in the past.

I think one of the major reasons we've grown so much is that we post regularly. We post a couple of times a day. The other thing is that it is a community atmosphere. It's talking to readers, it’s answering reader questions. It's all that reader interaction that makes people want to come back and keep reading the site.

It is very fun to read comments on your different looks. People also look to you to find information first hand. How do you feel about that? You're sort of the bearer of beauty news.

CM: It's great that I can deliver that news. I like to share whatever news I have with people, because I feel that consumers and my readers want to know what's coming out. They want to plan for purchases, or they want to get tempted by all the different launches that come out every season. So it is really great to provide all of that information for them. In some aspects, sometimes I get asked questions about upcoming launches, and I might not have information yet, so I feel sad I can't provide the information. But I do my best to provide what I can. I never hold on to information if I can help it.

What has been your number one challenge with this blog?

CM: I think the number one challenge is just meeting the demand. How do I spend my time everyday? What do I do to prioritize what should be done first? Answering comments, writing posts, talking with different brands. I feel like that is my major challenge and sometimes it's overwhelming that there are so many things I want to do and not enough time to do them.

For people who have not been to your site ( you really need to visit if you have an interest in beauty. You mention you've expended out to the different brand reviews and giveaways, but you also do alot of what I would call polls. You bring up conversations on how people treat their makeup, or different routines. In terms of that, you've created this tribe of beauty lovers. How would you describe your typical reader?

CM: The reader base is really diverse. I have readers as young as 13, then women over 50. I would say the typcial reader is someone who lives and breathes beauty. They may love one brand or they may love ten brands. But they live and breathe it. They may not spend a lot of money or they may spend hundreds of dollars each month, but they still find something that they love. And if they can't buy it, they still love to hear about it. And they love to share their knowledge with everybody else.

What has been your favorite topic? What was really fun for you?

CM: I think interviewing professional in the industry like Eve Pearl or celebrities like Heidi Klum. I think that stuff is really exciting for me because it is really fun and an honor and so flattering to do it. And I feel like it gives the blog an extra dimension that I can give my readers. In terms of stuff I do on my own, I really do like the basic series. Like "Must Have" blue eyeshadow, or the brush series. These are posts that will be really valuable to anybody that comes to the blog at any time. It's not some fall collection that is only relevent for the fall season, it is information that people will find useful time and time again.

How does this change your future plans, being in law school? Where do you see this going?

CM:To be honest, before the blog started taking off - it has taken off in the last year and a half beyond my hopes and dreams - I have been struggling with law school in sense that that is not something I want to do in my life.

I've always been more of an entrepreneur than anything else. I love working for myself. I've been working for myself since I was 13. I've been writing articles in magazines since I was 13. So I think my calling is writing. Writing quick articles, regular basis, so I would really like to see this go forward in the future. I know for my plans I want to do things like consulting, blogging consulting, social media consulting.

Are you looking to speak? Do you want to work one-on-one?

CM: Right now I am looking to work with people one-on-one, most likely showing them what blogging is about, or how to work with bloggers (depending on the client). Showing them how they can utilize social media in a way that works well for bloggers and works well for the brand.

You recently came out with a book. Can you tell us about that and other projects you have going on?

CM: The book is a print archive of 50 looks that I felt were diverse. I think I have done 400 looks so far, so this is the best of. We've done the book as a response to readers. They wanted to be able to see the photo in the bathroom (where they are applying makeup) where the computer wasn't, so that's been the inspiration. It's great for people to have a piece of Temptalia in their home and be able to use it as they want or show their friends.

In terms of other projects, we launched a product in Photogallery recently, that's been really good. And we also launched a MAC database of all of the previously launched products from 1996 until the present, so people can find that long lost discontinued lipstick. In terms of other projects going forward, I think we would like to focus on YouTube presence being a little stronger, and trying to do more regular YouTube videos.

You are getting so popular you are getting hijacked - I saw some bogus Temptalia videos out there. What do you think of that? They did give you credit and they did use your photos, but it's a little unusual to spend time doing that. I guess it's flattering.

CM: They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I do have to look at this as a business and work to protect my copyright and photos. When they run ads and start profiting off my tutorials or looks it is infringing on my rights. It is one of the reasons we are working to put more of our own stuff on YouTube, so it will be very obvious when people do this. It will be hard pressed for them when we've already done it.

With your talent in doing makeup, why didn't the route of becoming a makeup artist pop up first?

CM: I think where my strengths lie, and what I really love to do, is in teaching and educating people. I love sharing whatever knowledge I have, and in addition to that, I love learning from other people and taking it transforming it and bringing it into my own brain. Going through it, internalizing it, and increasing that knowlege. I love being able to reach so many people in this format, this 24/7 format, that being a makeup artist would not be able to offer those things and would not be as enriching as blogging is right now.

The database had to take an incredible amount of time.

CM: It was quite an ordeal to do all of the data entry. Lot of data entry. But it was helpful for someone like me to see, "Wow, I have this eyeshadow and it's from WHEN?" It was fun putting together as well.

We had a conversation one time where you went through, I can't remember, 80 pounds of makeup?

CM: I did have a point where I went through and gave around 60 pounds of product to a women's shelter, and the remaining 20 lbs to my mom and my aunt, and they enjoyed that.

How much makeup do you go through a month?

CM: I don't think I go through any makeup, ever, but I have alot of it. I can't remember finishing any. That is a problem, it just continues to grow and grow, (laughs) I had to move to a new two-bedroom apartment and it continues growing. I have so much because right now I'm really trying to stay on the edge and I'm always looking for the newest and greatest things. I'm always accumulating and buying all of these products (right now I am going through fall stuff). If I don't use something, I give things away through the blog giveaways, that is how some of that is supplied. If I've used it I pass it on to friends and family. If I can't part with it, it makes way into my personal stash.

In terms of building your site, what has been the #1 thing that has done it for you?

CM: I think photos. In the beginning, that is what set Temptalia apart from the other beauty blogs. Because I posted pictures of myself, which I did not see as many beauty bloggers doing when I first started posting. It made the blog really personal; people could see me and they knew who I was. I had lots of photos and they were very good quality, so people could come and see the colors. They knew they weren't stock photos; it was real product on a real person, so they knew the colors would be accurate with no Photoshop team behind me.

Did you have any photography training? Even in an ad, colors can look one way, but then you compare with the product and they won't match at all. How did you get yours to be true to color?

CM: To be honest, I read the manual. I used to take the worst photos, and I think it was October 2005 when I said, "Let me read my manual." Why couldn't my pictures be crisp and clear? My photos were terrible! I learned macro mode and that set my world aflame, because a lightbulb went on over my head. My makeup literally went overnight from, "That looks okay I guess," to "Wow, that looks pretty good!" I still use the same camera that I used four years ago for point and shoot, and I recently upgraded to a bigger SLR camera in the past 6 months or so. I still use the same point and shoot because it has served me so well, but that macro mode is everything when it comes to taking pictures of your makeup swatches. I can't suggest enough to read your manual.

RTFM. Well it also helps that you are attractive, and you get these super close up shots of your eyes that are so gorgeous. You can see all the details of the makeup, and your eye shape is incredible. Great job.

CM: Thank you.

Can you mention some favorites that you have, or in general trends coming up.

CM: Right now I see a lot of darks for the fall. MAC is putting out a black lipstick, Urban Decay came out with a black lipstick. I then presume that eyes will be a little lighter, because we're not all going to run around like a runway model. So, light on the eyes. I see a lot of liner coming on for the fall, strong liner, liquid liner. But then you've got nude, sheer lids. Black liner, black lips, and of course flawless skin is always in every season.

The LancĂ´me Indigo collection is probably the best to date. It's just very bold pops of Indigo blue. MAC came out with their collection, which will be dark and vampy, and Goth. I think that's where fall is going.

Italian Vogue and Kim Kardashian sport the no eyebrow & Goth look look
Have you noticed the 'no eyebrow' trend?

CM: No I haven't, I must have missed this trend!

I don't know if it is strictly for shock for runway or they are expecting people to take it on, but they are shaving, covering or bleaching eyebrows out.

CM: Very interesting! I really hope nobody takes that one to heart. It would be a shame for anyone to shave off their eyebrows - those things take forever to grow back.

To contact Christine for consulting inquiries, please email her at:

Visit Christine's sites at:


~ Hillary Fry / solessence
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