Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to wish all of you lovelies a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! More to come in 2014 with brand new launches, new collaborations and a lot of new reads for you!

Get to know me better by reading this wonderful interview http://www.circleandsquaresf.com/blog/all-categories/lifestyle/2013/12/nicole-gordon/ and learn more about how I started this journey.

I am not afraid to admit that beauty is my addiction and I have a feeling a lot of others feel the same way I do. It's the adrenaline rush you get when a new beauty product is launched, it's your heart beating faster when that beauty box arrives at your door, it's that sense of excitement after you hear of your favorite beauty collaboration and know you must get your hands on it. That is why this site includes all of you. It's for us. It's OUR addiction.


XOXO,
Nicole Gordon Levine


 
Who else would wear peacock false lashes?! LOL!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Gift Collection: FLING

I don't mind that this is a couple of months old bacuse both Francois Nars nor Guy Bourdin every get old for me! While walking past their Bleecker store today I was taken by....FLING! Had to see for myself what these delightful lips had to say.... 

NARS GUY BOURDIN HOLIDAY GIFTING COLLECTION 

As a child, NARS Founder and Creative Director François Nars discovered Guy Bourdin’s work in the pages of French Vogue. It was then that Nars was first inspired to become a makeup artist. Today François Nars honors Bourdin’s legacy with an entire limited edition collection for Holiday 2013, created in the spirit of Guy Bourdin: bold, uncompromising color and high-impact finishes in shades that launch us into his intriguing, high-fashion world.



GIFTING COLLECTION:




 
 

Splendor in the Grass $49 

Shades include: Sex Appeal (Matte soft peach) | Albatross Highlighting Blush (Luminous glow) | Dolce Vita Blush (Matte dusty rose)| Angelika Blush (Cotton candy pink with gold and silver sparkle) 

Available: November 1 at NARS boutiques, narscosmetics.com and select retailers

 
 

Cosmetic Pochette $75


Available: November 1 at NARS boutiques, www.narscosmetics.com and select retailers



 


 
 


Me wearing Baroque
 
 Fling $49 

Shades include: Dolce Vita Mini Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Dusty Rose), Baroque Mini Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil (Raspberry Sorbet), Roman Holiday Lipstick (Pretty Pastel with Delicate Hint of Pink), Damage Lipstick (Sheer Muted Grape), Keepsake Lacquered Lip Case


Available: November 1 at Department/Specialty stores, NARS boutiques and www.narscosmetics.com

 
 


Crime of Passion $59 

Shades include: Deep Throat Larger Than Life Lip Gloss (New Shade, Shimmering Sheer Peach), Jezebel Eyeshadow (New Shade, Shimmering Sable), Naïade Eyeshadow (New Shade, Metallic Rose Mist), Pandora Eyeshadow (Rich Black Matte), Deep Throat Blush (Sheer Peach), Laguna Bronzing Powder (Brown Powder with Golden Shimmer),



Available: November 1 at Department/Specialty stores, NARS boutiques and www.narscosmetics.com





 
 

Voyeur $49 

Shades include: Via Appia Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner (Copper Brown), Most Wanted Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner (New Shade, Cyan Blue), Blue Dahlia Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner (New Shade, Deep Violet), Santa Monica BLVD Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner (White), Via Veneto Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner (Jet Black)



Available: November 1 at Department/Specialty stores, NARS boutiques and www.narscosmetics.com



 


Beautiful Stranger $35 

Shades include: Lost Red Nail Polish (Bright Red), Shameless Red Nail Polish (Bright Pink), Dance Dance Dance Nail Polish (Bright Purple), Manosque Nail Polish (Deep Smoky Lavender)

Available: November 1 at Department/Specialty stores, NARS boutiques and www.narscosmetics.com



One Night Stand $65  

Shades include: Devotee Highlighting Blush (New Shade, Alabaster Glow), Mistinguette Blush (New Shade, Bright Pink), Goulue Blush (New Shade, Fleshy Pink), Laguna Bronzer (Brown Powder with Golden Shimmer), Orgasm Blush (Peachy Pink with Golden Shimmer), Deep Throat Blush (Sheer Peach)

Available: November 1 at Sephora and www.Sephora.com




Promiscuous $45 

Shades include: Cruella Mini Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Passionate Scarlet Red), Sex Machine Mini Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Innocent Pink Mauve), Dolce Vita Mini Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Dusty Rose), Never Say Never Mini Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Pink Lilac), New Lover Mini Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil (Gold Infused Strawberry Pink) 

Available: November 1 at Sephora and www.Sephora.com

I remember the fabulous makeup artist Gina Brooke talking about her being influenced by Guy Bourdin's work at the Makeup Show in NYC and one can easily see why. It's sultry, playful and full of passion.

Simple Feng Shui Tips for All

Let me tell you how much better I slept after having interviewed Lauren Weinstein. Lauren is a Feng Shui specialist here in NYC and after our interview she shifted the energy in my apartment through moving furniture and making sure I understood every item needs a home. We worked on only a quarter of what needs to be done yet what a difference it made?!

The key to Feng Shui ( Lauren studied Black Sect) is to truly make your space more inviting and light. Actual sunlight as well as lamps, spot lights, chandeliers all play a part in making your space more comfortable, as well as comforting.

We started from the basics which are bringing light into your home. Natural light by opening shades and curtains daily along with opening your windows to allow fresh air into your home are a MUST. Fresh air is key as it allows the stagnant energy (chi) to leave and allows for new energy (chi) to be introduced into your home. At night, depending on your personal privacy, both shades and curtains can be closed yet Lauren stressed they must be opened during the day. 

The energy must flow properly in order for you to feel comfortable in your own space. We talked about how clutter contains stagnant energy and once moved- the energy will shift. Lauren suggested having three bins ready before de- cluttering. One is to donate, another  to find a home ( within your space as every item needs a space where it belongs ) and the third is for throwing away entirely. De-cluttering is an integral part of Feng Shui as we create blockages in energy by having clutter. I learned if something I own that I have not used nor worn within a certain time period - needs to be placed within the three bins. Does not matter if it's a jacket, vase, paperwork from years gone by- it requires shifting. No more clothing sitting in my closet for years nor papers being in a closed desk file because I didn't feel like looking at them- it must shift.

Lauren advised to not mistake decluttering with leaving nothing in your space-your items just need to be orderly and displayed in an appealing manner. 

Lauren places what is known as a Bagua at the front of your home and begins her thoughts and ideas from there. From the Bagua one sees where the layout of your space needs to be shifted. Once again, the key is that every item needs a home with other like items. I used to keep nail polish, yes, in my kitchen cabinets for quick touch ups yet had cereal boxes out in the open. My nail polish belonged with my beauty products and my cereal needed to be placed in the kitchen cabinets! Easier said than done yet once moved- I know where all of my items are. They are in their own spaces now and that is their home.

If you really have negative feelings about anything you own- into one of the bins they go. I recently donated a lamp as it brought back terrible memories as I was emotionally connected to it. Every time I looked at it, I thought of the person who gave it to me. It needed to go. 

If you feel uncomfortable about your clutter, space, or just feel uncomfortable in your space in general- think about shifting the energy. Lauren notes that any time you actually move something like a piece of furniture- make sure you completely clean what's behind it. Don't just slide it- move it and keep your windows open, especially if you have allergies and be sure to let the fresh air in. Lauren suggests a face mask and gloves for those who may be extremely sensitive to dust. 

There is so much to learn and Lauren has made an incredible difference in my home. I grew up in an English Tudor with antiques everywhere you turned. Now I crave minimalism yet with two children I just needed to find the proper balance and address my emotional, as well as physical, clutter. Once the energy shifts- you feel it immediately. I used to have such negative feelings about my space yet with Lauren's help, I love it. I still have more to go yet each step makes such a difference and improvement. As I pull up my shades this morning and open my curtains...I believe you too can love the space you are in.

Lauren has changed my life for the better and I know she can change yours if you are in need of a Feng Shui specialist.  

Lauren Weinstein is based out of NYC and charges an initial consultation fee of $ 250. After the initial consultation, Lauren is then paid by the hour. 



My drawer top before & after Lauren shifted and cleaned items ( my Beta loves it, too).
 


Night shot of Lauren's shifting of my bedroom. She made sure to bang out the stagnant energy in my pillows, sheets, duvet cover and gave me some more tips on how to make my bedroom feel more appealing. Note that My windows were open through the entire process. It was suggested that I get a much larger picture above my bed as well as adding a top sheet to my bed.
 




Day time shot after I did it myself this morning. Still learning and still a work in progress yet I love the warmth and look.

Cheers to 2014! XO



Friday, December 27, 2013

Bernadette Thompson's Pop Up Shop


I adore the talent, kindness, generosity and everything that has made Bernadette Thompson the well known celebrity manicurist she is today. From Hip- Hop to haute couture, her clients include Beyonce Knowles, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Iman, and Charlize Theron just to name a few. She is asked for by name on set and has such a lovely demeanor I was excited to see her nail collection as well as the many talented traveling artists some of which she has taken with her on a 17 city tour showcasing her own collection in her very own pop up shop.

I was delighted to meet wonderful talents such as AstroWifey ( whom I found out that we have a friend in common, the Founder of www.polishedgirlz.org), @Nailsbymztina, @Kandiyamz, @thenailpicasso, @hernailsrock, @briannaaqueeno and so many more talented artists (these are their Instagram names by the way). 

Here are just a few pics from the event that took place here in NYC. 


 
Getting the royal Cuticle Oil treatment!



 
All smiles for the camera!



Two Collections that were available only at the pop up shop for $ 110 each.
 
 
 
Some of the many pictures on Instagram that showcase the Pop Up Shop.

I have so many wonderful memories of that day! Stay tuned to what is next by visiting www.bernadettethompson.com for upcoming events. I know her site has been in the works as of late yet you can always use the Contact Us button for questions. There is also a number for details!

Go Bernadette, go! 



Thursday, December 26, 2013

RIMMEL London: Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara

My, do I adore the http://us.rimmellondon.com site as it allows you to virtually try on many of their products!?! You can either use a model's face or your own and use the "Try It On" feature. That reminds me of my OPI Nail app as I get to see the colors available and how they'd look on my nails before even wearing them!

It was the "mod" packaging that first caught my eye while walking the beauty aisles in my local CVS Pharmacy. I liked it's packaging and most of all liked that it claimed to give you bold, wide eyes without clumps! A friend and avid follower had asked about several mascaras I had tried yet some had left her with clumpy lashes- so Maribel- this one's for you- literally, I hope?!

Rimmel London retro glam mascara ($ 6.99) has a full thick hourglass shaped brush that delivers a bold look after just one swipe from root to tip. It gave me the look of false lashes and it ophthalmologist tested. I did notice a few of my lashes sticking together yet after I used to tip of the wand to separate them, they indeed stayed separated. The colors available are Extreme Black and Black Noir (sampled and pictured).

 
 


 
 
 

Available at Target, CVS Pharmacy, Target, Rite Aid, Kmart,  Walmart, www.walgreens.com , Meijer and other retailers nationwide.

What are some of your favorite drugstore brand mascaras? I am already a fan of L'Oreal, Covergirl, Revlon, Maybelline, FLOWER, Eddie Funkhouser, etc. and am open to hearing of others! xo

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays: Cheers to 2014!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays and for those of you who are interested in reading about a few new breakthrough products- here's your chance. I have seen quite a trend in the microdermabrasion category as well as having longer lashes (among so many others such as fuller pouts and plumper skin, long wear makeup up across all beauty categories, zodiac sign everything, hash tag jewelry, etc.) and here are two products that are game changers.
 
 
bliss micro magic microdermabrasion treatment

Scrub off last year with bliss’ new at-home microdermabrasion treatment. Formulated with fine volcanic pumice, refreshing peppermint to energize, vitamin E and soothing aloe, this twice-a-week spa-powered microdermabrasion treatment super-boosts your cleansing routine by powerfully, yet gently, exfoliating dead skin cells and pore-polluting impurities that your regular face wash may leave behind. The result is cleaner, healthier, smoother skin. With just one week of use, significant skin buildup is eliminated, pores look smaller and skin feels dramatically smoother and brighter. I have already seen an improvement in the feel and look of my skin. It's soft and supple after use and not dry or flaky. Spa-worthy results at home as always from bliss.

Price: $48 for 3oz, available at bliss spas, www.blissworld.com and Sephora in January.
 
 

 

Peter Thomas Roth Lashes To Die For Turbo

Get the long, luscious, gorgeous eyelashes you’ve always wanted in 2014. This groundbreaking formula helps to improve the appearance of natural lash length, thickness and fullness. Results appear in as little as two weeks, with 66% percent increase in lash length seen at the end of 4 weeks. Light eyed girls must not fear – it won’t discolor eyes or eyelids. The result is long, full, beautiful and dramatic lashes. What floored me was in a 4 week study, 96% saw fuller lashes, 93% saw thicker lashes and  93% saw longer lashes. At night, you apply a thin line to your upper lash line and this product may also be used on eyebrows! The mere fact that is does not discolor eyes nor eye lids made me try it as I do remember having to gift other products in the past as I was fearful of that happening to my eyes/lids.

Price: $85, Available at www.PeterThomasRoth.com
 
 
 
 
Once again, I wish you the happiest of holidays as well as having love, peace and joy in your lives.
 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013: Some Truly Great Times

First let me start off by saying HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all! I was looking over my pics and a few occasions really stuck out both in my heart and mind and I wanted to share them with you. 

I have been blessed with meeting such talented people over the past few years and have been touched by their overall kindness and generosity towards me. 

This picture gives you a glimpse into my world and the artists below are game changers: Essie Weingarten, Bernadette Thompson , Gina Brooke, Danilo, Drew Barrymore and Samantha and Michael whom own TEMPTU. Others I must acknowledge and thank are Sarah Lucero and her fabulous team at Stila, Brigitte Reiss Andersen, James Vincent, Matin Maulawizada, Tina Turnbow, Tim Quinn, Michelle Phan, Grace Gold, Eric Sakas, Troy Surratt, Linda Rodin and so many others for their constant support. 

To my very loyal readers- I adore you and it is because of your friendship that I continue to write! Bless you all. 

Cheers and make every day count!

XO Nicole Gordon Levine


 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Keratin Treatment at Hair Bar NYC

Yes, I embrace my curls and love them yet this treatment from Hair Bar NYC located on Kenmare Street in NYC was given to me as a gift. I liked the sound of the treatment yet was originally put off by the chemical buzz surrounding the process. I decided to take the plunge after hearing that my hair could stay straight for up to four months as long as I took care of it properly- meaning no sulfate shampoos nor conditioners and also a weekly hair mask was suggested by the owner. I also saw that the salon was nicely ventilated and there was no strong odor to make me turn around and hit the ground running in the other direction!
 
http://www.keratinhairbar.com offers a lot of services which I found to be more affordable than a lot of other places. I asked the owner about their other stores and found out that one was opening soon on the East Side as well as having their flagship location in Cedarhurst, LI.
 
Their salon specializes in Brazilian Keratin Treatments. This treatment is mainly used to tame unruly hair by smoothing flyaways and making hair easier to manage. They use mainly Inova Professional products from Italy, which over the years they found to be the best quality product. Their team has years of experience, making the process efficient and seamless, and the outcome long lasting. I sat in the chair for a little over two hours and was amazed at the results.  I was given a mirror to show me the back of my hair and could not believe how long and healthy my hair looked....and felt.
 
 Later, I found out that Hair Bar NYC offers 4 types of treatments. Our mildest option is Formaldehyde-free and is used to tame some frizz and smooth your hair. This one lasts anywhere from a few weeks up to a few months depending on your hair. The next step up is the 0.02% Formaldehyde. It is slightly stronger than the mildest, so it lasts longer. We also have a 2% and a 4% option. These both last up to 6 months.

 

 

They also have Magic Sleek which offers up a new relaxing treatment very similar to Brazilian Keratin treatments. It tames frizz and conditions your hair using conditioners and proteins from the Amazon Forest. This treatment is as strong as the strongest Brazilian so it last up to 6 months, but its also formaldehyde free.
 
I love the fact that after I shower, all I have to do is brush my hair! It seems to dry at least 30% faster and when I want it to look extra sleek, I use my flat iron and in five minutes I am done.  I cannot believe how many compliments I have received as it came as a nice change for the holidays. The staff was very friendly and offered suggestions of how to make it last as long as possible. No sulfate shampoos nor conditioners allowed. They have their own brand yet I opted for Everpure from L'Oreal Paris.
 
Each of the Keratin treatments condition the hair and makes hair much more smooth and manageable.
 
If straight hair is what you'd like for a short while, I highly recommend The Hair Bar NYC. My hair is healthy, sleek and shiny weeks later!
 
Have any of you beauties had great experiences with the Keratin treatment? Horrible? Do tell, please!
 
 
 
Before


 
After One Week!
 
 
 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bombshelling today thanks to Covergirl

After seeing Sofia Vergara in the recent Covergirl ads I knew I wanted to try the new Bombshell Collection from Covergirl, #bombshelling. Their latest mascara truly packs a punch and is one of the largest one's I have ever seen with regards to it's actual size. It has two brushes meant to increase volume and give your lashes that " bombshell' look. My lashes were certainly more voluminous and dramatic looking after just the two swipes. I did have to use the end of the brushes to separate the lashes from sticking to one another- yet the outcome was great, full, and voluminous looking lashes.

Have any of you lovelies tried this mascara yet? 

What are your thoughts? 











Holiday Rush- Roots Done!

Had to do a quick 10 minute touch up and yes, it worked! This is my third time using this color as it was always hard to find a platinum color that matched both my roots and hair until I found this one, number 10, by Clairol. Now I am party ready! 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Affordable Holiday Cheer with EDDIE FUNKHOUSER

When my friend first attended Eddie's launch party at Rite-Aid just a few weeks ago in  NYC I was amazed that such luxurious looking products (predominately made in Italy) were available at such affordable prices. Today, I received a lovely Holiday package including a Choromographic Eye Gloss ( $ 11.99) in Magic Hour, a Hyperreal Eye Color ( $ 8.49) in All Nighter and an Ultra Intensity Cheek Color ( $ 8.99) in A Little Toasted.

The Chromatic Eye Glosses are available in three shades and were created to give your eyes an instant lift with a uniquely luxurious and sensual finish. From sultry dewiness to high impact sheen, the eye gloss will not bleed nor travel and can also been worn alone or layered over Eddie's Hyperreal Pure Pigment shadows.

Speaking of the Hyperreal Eye Colors, there are twelve shades available from the lightest of pinks to the darkest of blacks. These are all made from premium micromilled pigments and are vibrant colors with an ultra smooth blendability factor. The versatile range comes in multiple finishes- matte, pearl and shimmer that create eye catching textures and gradients that can be blended in layers or worn alone. They truly are single shade high intensity pigmented colors.

The Ultra Intensity Cheek Color is available in four shades and are highly blendable that leave your cheeks with a radiant flush. Eddie's Insider Tip asks that you apply a light application of powder to the cheeks before applying the cheek color. This prevents color from clinging to one spot and allows for a more even distribution of color.

Available at select Rita Aid stores as well as going online to www.EddieFunkhouser.com.

I love affordable make up products that have intense pigment, extended wear, budge proof and make blending a breeze, don't you?!


 
 
 

Feng Shui Expert Q&A to come!

When someone has a talent like this, I truly felt the need to ask questions regarding how she envisions things from the minute she walks into an apartment to the countless hours she puts into making your living space the most inviting it could be. Stay tuned for a Q&A with a dear friend and Feng Shui expert as she reveals easy tips for decluttering your home and making it more warm and cozy. She worked WONDERS on my home! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

These products changed my skin!

If you are new to knowing me, I have used Olio Lusso for years along with products from Sunday Riley and Dr. Colbert. I have tested so many products over the years that I noticed I was having breakouts as of late. I remember the day I posted on Twitter ( @nicoleglevine) showing a picture of me pointing to my newly, unwanted, blemishes to which a friend of mine told me about my new BFF miracle products from Rodan + Fields, UNBLEMISH. I was a bit skeptical about using anything new on my sensitive skin but gave all 4 products a try for two months. My skin has never looked so good! I cannot believe the results! Thank goodness my friend reached out to me as nearly everyday someone asks me about my skin routine and daily regimen. I can then proudly talk about the line and still use my other faves as well. I really wished it was a 1 step regimen but understand that they all work together in order to give you the best results.

Starlooks December Box with a 15 Shade Shadow Palette

 
For it being my very first box, I was quite impressed. The 15 Shade Shadow Palette palette has a lot of variety in it and the colors are both matte and shimmery. I was introduced to this brand via a beauty sample box at and when I learned that STARLOOKS had it's own monthly subscription box...I knew I had to try it.
 
Have you lovelies fallen for a STARLOOKS product?
Do tell as I am just getting to know them better and am in love with some of their other products found online at www.starlooks.com.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gwen Stefani for OPI

Love this collaboration's choice of colors and textures. Colors from left to right: Over & Over A-Gwen, 4 in the Morning, Love. Angel. Music. Baby, Push and Shove, Hey Baby, I Sing in Color and In True Stefani Fashion. #GwenForOPI








Dress For Success Event





Oh Essie, I adore you!
 
What a lovely event held by Dress for Success last week. Among the three guest speakers was Essie Weingarten- whom I became friendly with at an event a couple of years ago. I have since reviewed her collections for other beauty outlets, as well as her nail sleek sticks and I have yet to try her nail gel which I hear is fantastic. I know it's available in NYC at The Red Door Spa located in Union Square as Essie is the only brand they carry. I am always excited to see what she comes up with as in names, colors and now textures, too!
 
What is your favorite Essie color?

Derek Lam collaborates with Estee Lauder

With so many new collections/collaborations being created- this one caught my eye. I have reviewed so many over the years and I have always been a fan of Estee Lauder's products as they have consistent quality, long-wear and great variety of color options.. This collaboration I have yet to swatch, yet I do believe it shall come my way soon! ($85 at Estee Lauder counters and online at www.esteelauder.com).

Derek Lam collaborated with Tom Pecheux to create this collection that includes:

The Mascara in Black Black
The Eye Shadow in Smoked Gold
The Kajal Crayon in Near Night (a navy pencil liner)
The Lip Color in Smoked Blush
The Gloss in Barely Gold
All tucked inside a Designer Minaudiere. The Derek Lam clutch has a navy satin hard case and features the signature Derek Lam dumbbell clasp.

Have any of you bought it yet? What is your favorite product?

Thanks!
Nicole