Stories by: Carolyn

BeautyPerfect Pairing: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow & Duo Brush

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Brows: seriously underrated and often overlooked. People frequently cite mascara or lipstick as their can’t-live-without-product, but when was the last time you heard anyone lament about not being able to leave the house unless her brows were perfectly groomed? Well, that would be me, and once you start paying attention, the before/after will seem so stark that you’ll actually feel naked without a little brow touchup. Thanks to Anastasia Beverly Hills new Dipbrow Pomade and #12 Large Duo Brush, achieving polished, defined brows are now easier, quicker, and more foolproof than ever. READ MORE

Beauty, NailsScotch Naturals Red Hot Trio

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Well, here’s a novel concept: a nail lacquer so pure and free of chemicals that it doesn’t smell. While I usually tend to avoid sniffing polishes, I found myself bringing bottles of Scotch Natural up to my nose on more than one occasion in disbelief that I really couldn’t detect any scent aside from a very mild whiff of almonds. Crazy right? And that is how, through the unlikely sense of smell that I first fell in love with one of the most luxurious and innovative polish brands on the market.

Scotch Natural polishes are created using a unique water based (as opposed to solvent based) formula and are absent of a slew of chemicals typically found in nail polishes. In addition to being free of all toxins, Scotch Natural polishes are also vegan, cruelty free, gluten free, fragrance free, and paraben free. What’s left is water, an adhesive agent, and color–a rainbow palette of 43 shades ranging from the softest blush to the moodiest indigo. Now in time for Valentine’s Day (and for red-lovers, any day), Scotch Naturals has released a trio of their favorite reds: Tartan Swizzle, a vibrant magenta, Stiletto, a pink-red creme, and Whisper, a shimmery pale pink in a beautiful, giftable set complete with their Sticky Base Coat and On The Rocks high gloss top coat. The polishes are highly saturated and evenly coats the nail bed with just one swipe for chip-free color that lasts (3 days and going strong!). Added bonus: the polishes also seem to dry quicker than their non-toxic counterparts, now officially leaving you with zero reasons not to get on the better-for-you bandwagon.

Beauty, Makeup4 Essential Red Lipsticks For your Beauty Wardrobe

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Let’s stop calling red lipstick a trend and start calling it what it really is–a staple. As with any wardrobe essential, I believe in buying that perfect product in various shades and textures to have one on hand for any mood or occasion that may come calling. Below, the four shades you’ll need to for the complete red collection.

The Festive Red

For dinner parties, girls night out, or whenever you’re feeling cheerful and whimsical. Pair with gold baubles, champagne shimmer, chevron stripes, and cozy angora sweaters. Try Kate Spade Beauty Supercalifragilipstick! in Fanciful Merlot , a creamy and cushiony red that adds a bubbly, spirited look to any outfit.

The Fiery Red

Think fire engine loud, racy, and even more striking than your classic crimson. Wear with plunging black tuxedo suit (nothing underneath!) and nails to match or whenever you’re feeling daring. NARS Cinematic Lipstick in Short Circuit, inspired by the provocative photos of Guy Bourdin, blends just the right intensity of red and orange with a glossy finish for even more sex appeal.

The Vampy Red

Dark, deeply-hued, and dramatic. Wear to channel your inner Dita von Teese whenever. Kevyn Aucoin Expert Lip Color in Blood Roses is the perfect black-red that doesn’t wander over into purple territory.

The Retro Red

A gorgeous true red that’s neither too bright nor too dark and best worn matte. Matches everything from evening gowns to jeans. Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Lipstick in Brat Pack keeps the color classic but upgrades the technology for a formula that’s weightless, nourishing, and long lasting.

BeautyPerfect Pairing: Sunday Riley Tinted Primer & Koh Gen Do Liquid Treatment Concealer

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New Year’s Beauty Resolution #1: Always put my best face forward–effortlessly polished, natural but better. New Year’s Beauty Resolution #2: Don’t give up on Resolution #1 seven days into January because it’s the coldest it’s been in decades and my ideal morning routine is better described as “turn over and go back to bed.”

Thanks to two powerhouse products in my bathroom cabinet, “effortlessly beautiful” takes on quite a literal meaning–and it can be achieved even with just a minute to spare. I start with Sunday Riley’s aptly named ‘Effortless’ Breathable Tinted Primer which I substitute for both moisturizer and foundation on super busy, lazy, or just-can’t-get-it-together mornings. Absent are the heavy silicones found in most primers; instead, the product is formulated with anti-aging peptides, moisturizing agents and Rejuvenox to keep skin hydrated, oxygenated, plump, and smooth. The tinted formulation also delivers a fair dose of color coverage–enough to even out any light blotchiness and sallow tones. Whatever it can’t hide, I simply touch up with Koh Gen Do’s Liquid Treatment Concealer, step 2 of the easiest two-step beauty routine in existence. The multi-tasking concealer is equally as effective at covering blemishes as it is as brightening under eye. The brush pen tip dispenses a saturated dose of color–a little goes a long way. I smooth the concealer onto the back of my hand and tap (never rub) the product wherever needed on the face with fingers.The gentle formulation, packed with botanicals and emollients covers and brightens, but never cakes. Whatever I have left over, I apply down the forehead and nose bridge as highlighter for the finishing touch. So simple yet so effective–who knew New Year’s resolutions could be this easy to keep?

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer, $48, available at Dermstore.com.
Koh Gen Do Liquid Treatment Concealer, $48, available at Sephora.com.

SponsoredHowAboutWe Make Dumplings?

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend more quality time dating my husband—that is, less time spent bickering, more time spent having fun and enjoying each other’s company. Thanks to our friends at HowAboutWe for Couples, we’re already on our way to achieving this goal! Make spending time with your significant other a priority in 2014 as well–to help you along, we’re offering all our readers $50 off their first date. Read on to learn more!

Shortly after we got married (and life returned to normal), my husband asked me over dinner: “now that wedding planning is done, what should we do with our free time?” It didn’t take very long for me to answer that what I would like to do, in fact, was any activity at all! While my husband and I actually used to plan events together during our early days, somewhere in between moving in together (and fighting over music taste) and spending our weekends DIY-ing reception place cards, we completely stopped dating each other.

Unfortunately, thanks to our busy work schedules and overall repetition of daily life, we’ve also no longer the pros at date planning we used to be. As any New Yorker can attest, the most convenient bar/coffee shop/cafe (i.e. within 2 blocks of your apartment), soon becomes the only establishments one frequents. And while the early excitement of dating meant that I would, in fact, take three subways to go cross-town to try a new restaurant together, the comforts of married life now means that I would…well, rather be comfortable. As in ordering food online. Or IMing him from the couch instead of walking into the bedroom. Or occasionally making him go pour me a glass of wine because I can’t get out of the rabbit hole of Wikipedia/Buzzfeed. You get the idea.

But at some point being comfortable starts to turn into being lazy…and laziness has done no relationship any favors. So now that we’ve embarked on the next step of our relationship—and life together—I resolved to bring back the excitement, anticipation, and discovery of our earlier days. So naturally when I discovered HowAboutWe for Couples, the new experience planning service from the dating site HowAboutWe, I was ready to sign up. HowAboutWe for Couples is a service that helps people who are in relationships go on wonderful dates. The best part? You don’t even have to plan it, just pick your activity online and show up! READ MORE

FashionShop My Closet at Vaunte

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One resolution that I’ve had for years is to pare down my closet–or at least get it to a point where my clothes are not overflowing onto rolling racks and um…the floor. Thanks to Vaunte, this year I’m finally on my way to achieving my goal of a perfectly curated wardrobe. A few weeks ago their editors came over to my apartment and raided my closet…for your shopping pleasure! If you’re not familiar with Vaunte–it’s like Net-a-Porter meets eBay–where you can shop the closets of fashionable tastemakers at heavily discounted prices. Thanks Vaunte for featuring me as a starlet–and take a peek at my sale–from my closet to yours, with love.

Insider's Obsessions, JewelryInsider’s Obsessions: Jennie Kwon

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Concert violinist, entertainment lawyer, mother of twins, fine jewelry designer, our current girl crush–Jennie Kwon has worn many hats throughout her career as an artist and businesswoman. Before founding Jennie Kwon Designs, this LA-based jeweler spent years as a classical violinist, performing at prestigious arenas such as Carnegie Hall as Aspen Music Festival. Nearing the heights of her musical career, she walked away on an impulse to pursue something different and moved into corporate and entertainment law. After several years as an attorney, Jennie gave birth to her twin boy and girl. Their perfect innocence and beauty sparked a rebirth of creativity and from there Jennie Kwon Designs was born. She is known for delicate layering pieces–and we especially love her stackable rings. Find out what this talented designer is currently obsessing over–and how this busy new mom stays so chic. READ MORE

NailsJulep Oxygen Nail Treatment

julep_oxygen_nail_treatment“Natural-but-better” has always been my personal beauty jam, as evidenced by my penchant for BB Creams, tinted lip balms, and the only direction I gave my makeup artist on my wedding day. I also employ that philosophy when it comes to manicures. Although I love a dark dramatic polish as much as the next beauty enthusiast, in between trying to squeeze in salon appointments and at-home-late-night polish changes, I dare to rock a bare nail. Or rather, better-than-bare, thanks to my discovery of Julep’s Oxygen Nail Treatment. Equal parts tinted “nail makeup” and rejuvenating “treatment for thin, weak nails prone to breakage and peeling,” this product strengthens and protects nails while giving it a pretty, natural-but-better glossy blush tint. The treatment is designed to be used on its own without a base or top coat once or twice a week. The texture is a bit thinner than your average polish and smooths onto nails easily with the brush applicator leaving a high-shine finish that covers up surface imperfections. Apply one coat for a super sheer finish or two for a more opaque pink. My favorite part is that the treatment leaves behind the look of a professional manicure while taking all of three seconds per finger. The fact that it’s also good for my nails is just icing on the cake.

Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment retails for $18 at Sephora.com and Nordstrom.com.

Hotels, TravelLe Toiny St Barth

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Famous for its real estate, yachts, and the uber-privileged jet set that inhabits both, St. Barth immediately conjures up images of glitz and glamour. As a first time visitor, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, though I imagined something like a Caribbean island version of the VIP room of a New York City nightclub—filled with celebrities and beautiful people, free flowing champagne, and an uninhibited energy that pulsates through the night. Though I was eager to visit—my social media feeds of editors and tastemakers were always filling my stream with gorgeous photos of the island—I was also a bit apprehensive. After all, without a network of friends who regularly vacationed on the island, I wasn’t sure if I’d fit in at such an exclusive locale.

I needn’t have worried. Immediately after landing in Gustavia, my husband and I were already being charmed by the customs agent (now, how often do you hear that from weary travelers?) and with nary a line in sight, we were out of the airport in under five minutes and chowing down our first taste of the island at nearby Maya’s-to-Go. It didn’t take long to discover that actually it’s the secluded untouched natural beauty, easy quality of life, and welcoming spirit that makes St. Barth such a desirable and luxurious destination–in fact, exactly the opposite of the hoity attitude that I had feared. Our ultimate destination on the island was Hotel Le Toiny located on the South-Eastern coast. I didn’t know it yet, but the property would turn out to embody all the wonderful qualities of of St. Barth I was quickly falling in love with. READ MORE

BeautyBejeweled Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips

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Cult fans have long traveled to the UK to stash up on the little tins of Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips, swearing by its effectiveness at soothing dry chapped skin (lips and elsewhere), light rosy fragrance, and pretty pink sheen. Now, just in time for winter (we all know January and February conditions are the worst), Rosy Lips has made its stateside debut so the rest of us can also experience this little miracle. The simple formulation consists of 100% triple-filtered petroleum jelly with added berry color and rose vanilla scent and feels a bit thicker and softer than its British counterpart. Each tubs retails for $1.99–I have already acquired multiple, one for each winter coat pocket. A limited edition collector’s version is entirely encrusted in Swarovski crystals and can be found for $45 at Fred Segal and Shop Kiton. Though I had originally deemed the bedazzled tub too pretty to use, one swipe of the content inside quickly changed my mind.

Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips ($1.99) at drugstores nationwide. 

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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