Stories by: Nina

Cheap & Chic, FashionCheap & Chic: October 2011

Accessories, Jewelry, ObsessionsTaara Jewelry

Are you in love with the beautiful green onyx earrings above yet? I am, and I have to introduce you to my latest obsession–Taara Jewelry. Taara is an inspired, gorgeous line of jewelry out of Hong Kong by designer Megha Jain, an old friend of mine from Boston College (go Eagles!). Megha has always loved jewelry and been the type of girl who builds her outfits around one statement piece. She’s been dabbling in jewelry design since childhood, but took it took a new level last year after beginning to work with her aunt in India. Inspired by her Indian heritage, yet drawn to modern shapes and colors, she began crafting unique pieces that are forward-thinking and still reflective of her culture.

Taara Jewelry features two collections at the moment: the Mughal Collection and the Silver Collection. The Mughal Collection is influenced by its namesake, the Mughal Empire, and the contrast of bold reds and greens against golden desert sand. Megha is especially inspired by her travels to India, especially to Udaipur, the City of Lakes. Many of her pieces feature glass and mirror work that is literally reflective of the blue lakes and white buildings in the city. The end result of her handmade work and inspiration? Amazing, unique pieces that are opulent and elegant.

Both collections feature earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and cocktail rings, all priced around $40-$100+. Even if you’re not in Hong Kong, Megha ships pieces directly to clients around the world. Be sure to check out for the complete collections, or click for more pictures of my favorites!


Beauty, New York, Spas & SalonsBrowology by Hibba

Confession: Before my trip back east during the summer, I had never had my eyebrows done before. I know, right?! But in my defense, I was just a little scared. My eyebrows aren’t that thick, they’re pretty shapeless, and they’re kinda sparse. One bad waxing and I could have gross, pencil-thin brows–so when Hibba NYC contacted me about coming in to try threading, I was intrigued. Especially since Hibba herself calls what she does “browology”–the art of creating perfect eyebrows for the unique shape of your face. I knew I would have a personalized experience, so I decided to go for it.

And am I ever glad that I did! Hibba talked me through the quick process of threading in her beauty studio in SoHo. She was warm and welcoming, which was great since I was nervous, and I trusted her judgment with my eyebrows. She created a soft, natural-looking arch that suited my face perfectly. They weren’t too thin, but they looked neat and shaped. For a night out, my trusty eyebrow pencil was pretty much all I needed for eyebrow perfection. I just wish there was someone like Hibba in Chicago! For you lucky NYC gals, find Hibba at 448 W. Broadway or call 212.260.4321 to book an appointment. Hibba’s browology threading service is $15 and you can find out more at

Beauty, Skincare, Spas & SalonsElemis and Bliss

Great news for fans of the prestige skin care line, Elemis–two of its amazing body and facial spa treatments will be available at Bliss Spas starting in August! I love Elemis products (we’ve featured them several times on TDO) and am so excited that the spa treatments are going to be more accessible now–at all of Bliss’s US locations and internationally in its London and Hong Kong spas. Yay!

Bliss will feature Elemis’ Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial and Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow treatments. The Tri-Enzyme Facial has been clinically shown to resurface the skin by up to 75% after just one treatment by stimulating the natural exfoliation of the top layer of skin. It smooths your skin and reduces fine lines, as well. The Lime and Ginger Salt Glow features a light body brushing, warm oil application, exfoliation, and moisturizing–using great Elemis products, of course.

These Elemis treatments will be launching at Bliss Spas on August 1st. You can find a complete list of Bliss locations at

Beauty, SkincareMiracle Skin Transformer

A good multitasking product, especially in skin care, is hard to find. However, the Miracle Skin Transformer just may be the exception to the rule. It a) moisturizes your skin, b) enhances your skin tone, and c) protects your skin from the sun with SPF 20. The company sent me a 5ml sample to try of the product, and after trying it a few days in a row, I believe it does all 3 things pretty well.

The Miracle Skin Transformer is basically a tinted moisturizer that is packed with SPF and natural active ingredients. It has a naturally derived silicone formulation that smooths out your skin and improves your skin texture and pore size. Though I can’t vouch for the long-term effects of this moisturizer, each time I applied it, it evened my skin tone considerably and my face felt soft and smooth. It’s very lightweight, which is a plus, though I’m not sure how well its moisturizing effects will hold up in the wintertime. To find out out more, check out, where it is available in 4 different shades (Medium was perfect for me)!

Beauty, SkincareSlimming for the Summer

Summertime means that it’s swimsuit season, which is both fun and dreadful. Who doesn’t love lounging at the beach or pool? On the other hand, who actually enjoys shopping for a bathing suit and being forced to examine your body from every possible angle? Blech. No matter what your body type, we all have those problem areas with cellulite, dimples, or just plain flabby skin.

Nude Skincare reached out to me to try a sample of their Smoothing Body Refiner, a lotion that aims to smooth and firm your skin, especially in the thigh, hip, and waist areas. It contains no parabens or sulphates, and instead uses a combination of peptides, amino acids, fig, mountain ash, green coffee, ginger, and natural probiotics. Independent clinical trials have actually shown that using the Body Refiner regularly over 3 months may result in weight loss and inches off! I jumped at the try it and have been using it for about a week now. So far, I can report that it does make my skin appear tighter and smoother, though it does have a bit of an unusual smell (maybe like clay?).

The Nude Skincare Slimming Body Refiner is available for $70 at Sephora–as well as at, where you can get a second bottle free by entering in the code SLIMDOWN at checkout! Let me know how it works for you if you decide to try it, too.

Chicago, Food, HotelsAn EFFEN Good Summer

Back in April, EFFEN Vodka hosted a fun event at the ROOF at theWit, focusing on meaningful and sustainable design. What’s the connection between EFFEN and design? EFFEN chooses to be different from other vodkas by design, featuring all natural ingredients. Its bottle was also designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional–the patented rubber sleeve that it is encased in provides insulation to keep the vodka chilled longer, as well as easier handling.

I asked one of my girlfriends to come to the event with me and we loved enjoying the amazing views at ROOF, the lounge on the roof of theWit Hotel. We met a lot of Chicago foodies and bloggers, like Better With Butter and the Local Tourist, and heard about Chicago architecture and sustainability from Jonathan Boyer. We also got to enjoy some delicious cocktails by mixologist Jonny Abens (featuring EFFEN, of course). Now that summer’s in full swing, I wanted to share these drink recipes with you so that you can bust them out at your next warm weather get-together!


Beauty, SkincareBright Eyes

I’ve written before about my friend, the Kiehl’s addict, who is always trying new products and giving me tons of recommendations. I totally trust her judgment on all things Kiehl’s and beauty-related, so I wanted to share another one of her finds that has worked for me. If you suffer from allergies that make your eyes look dead tired all the time, this may work for you, too!

My hereditary undereye circles have plagued me forever, so I’m always looking for products that help alleviate the darkness/puffiness. My friend suffers from major allergies that cause her eyes to look tired as well, and she told me about a product she swears by: Kiehl’s Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate. The cream contains a high concentration of Vitamin C and a patented ingredient called Haloxyl that not only combat dark circles, but fine lines as well. My friend gave me a spare tube of hers and it’s been part of my morning routine ever since. It’s great because it helps someone with hereditary dark circles, as well as circles caused by allergies. Have you tried this, or do you have any other remedies you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

Beauty, SkincareA Somer360 Tan

I love getting a little color during the summer months, but tanning beds and laying out for hours on end aren’t ideal. There are so many products and services out there that can provide you with a glowing tan without having to withstand the sun’s harmful rays. I had never tried a self-tanning product before picking up Kate Somerville’s Somer360° Tanning Towelettes, but now I’m totally hooked.

I put the Somer360 Tanning Towelettes to the ultimate test a couple of weeks ago during a weekend trip to Florida for a wedding. My skin was pasty and pale from months of cold Chicago weather, but I applied a towelette before heading out to the pool. Although its scent wasn’t the best, it didn’t last too long, and it was pretty easy to apply. It wasn’t streaky at all and within 2 or 3 hours, I had a healthy glow. I didn’t look like a overly tan Jersey Shore reject and it gave me a natural-looking, medium tan. The only issue I had was a part of my leg where I clearly just missed a spot. (Whoops.)

My new glow lasted about 3 days and looked great! To see for yourself, pick some up at Sephora.

Fashion, IntimatesLose It With Lytess

I’m sure you’ve read or heard about a lot of shapewear on the market right now that claims to help you lose inches on those pesky problem areas on your body. I was never really a believer until Lytess contacted me to give their Slimming Corrective Belt a trial run. No matter how much I work out, I’ve always got some problem areas that are particularly stubborn–namely, my waist and hips. The Lytess Slimming Corrective Belt contains a unique blend of caffeine and shea butter, and is supposed to target just that. I was more than willing to give it a shot! READ MORE

The Daily Obsession draws from the expertise of a coast-to-coast editorial team offering dedicated readers reports of the most luxurious products and trends. We provide sophisticated and relevant angles on the latest fashion trends, must-have beauty products, insider interviews, travel destinations and of course, our current obsessions.


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