Sunday Night Beauty Smackdown: Masks

What an intense day for World Cup soccer (or football, for non-Americans)!  Well, here as Maison Nouveau Yuppie, I’ve been intently watching soccer (of course!), trying not to fail law school (yes, dear readers, I am still in law school -one year left!- hence the loooong absence from blogging) and working hard at my fancy summer associate job (momma needs a job for after graduation).

All of this craziness means I need some method of relaxation.  Enter:  the mask.  No, no,  not those paper masks that have become popular over the last year (yes, I am still been keeping up on beauty trends).  To me, nothing beats the ritual of slathering on a mask, waiting some lengh of time while doing your nails and/or watching tv and then rinsing it off.

So a few weeks ago, right before I started my fancy summer job, I decided to hit up my favorite beauty spots in SoHo, NYC to stock up on beauty supplies, including my favorite mask, Clark’s Botanicals Intense Radiance Mask.

My friends Jolie and Gary, owners of one of my favorite small businesses in existence, Thompson Alchemists (and sister store, Thompson Chemists) suggested I do a “compare and contrast” and sent me home with one of their favorites, Sircuit Skincare’s Mocha Loca 4% Lactic Acid Peel.


Both masks are supposed to make your complexion radiant, which, given the beating my skin took over the winter and the stressful schedule I have this summer (2 classes, 1 full-time job and the Wold Cup), my skin can use all the help it can get.

First, I tried out Sircuit’s mask.  It has a whipped, airy texture with little bits of coffee bean and smells like chocolate.  If I didn’t know any better, I would have mistaken it for chocolate mousse.  I spread a thin layer over my face using the handy spatula included in the box and got very hungry.  The directions say to leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, but after 5 minutes, I caved.  This thing is intense…and made me want a bowl of chocolate ice cream!  Definitely not for the faint of heart, but it lived up to it’s claims of imparting radiance. As I washed it off, the little coffee grinds added additional exfoliation, which was nice. My skin looked glowy for my first day of work.

So, tonight I decided that Costa Rica’s roller coaster of a game against Greece warranted a pre-bedtime, relaxation mask.  I applied the Clark’s mask.  I live the faint scent of this stuff:  flowers, herbs and clay…spa-like.  This is a mask that can stay on for the recommended 30 mins and gave my skin a boost.  Because it’s clay-based, it tends to dry out as you wear it, so washing off isn’t an easy task, especially if it gets in your hair, although not like a traditional clay make that cracks and crumbles.


So, which mask is my favorite?  I’ll have to split the baby here. I Iove Sircuit’s because it’s quick, so it’s great to use during the week, say, on Wednesday, for an added boost.  Clark’s takes longer, so I would leave it to a Sunday pre-work week grooming evening, which if you’re like me, involves doing my nails and a hair mask.

Either way, you can’t go wrong.  Just be sure you don’t over mask and use them more than once a week.

To order online, check out Thompson Alchemists website here or visit Jolie, Gary and the Thompson gang at 449 West Broadway in SoHo, NYC!

@KimikoBeauty: Color Meets Chemistry

The Kimiko Display at Luxe

The Kimiko Display at Luxe

On Saturday afternoon after a delightful brunch with the bf, I slyly asked:

“Hey, can we stop by Luxe?”

“Yeah, sure.  Is there something going on there?”

“Um, yeah.  Like this thing.  It’s a makeup event for Kimiko.”

“Is that makeup?”

“Yeah.  Of course.  Jahnalyn has a makeup artist there doing the makeup.”

“Yeah, let’s go there.”


So let’s skip to the part where I sat down in the chair and got my makeup did buy, yes a Kimiko makeup artist.  I’m sitting there chatting away and I ask Danielle (the artist) how long she’s worked for Kimiko.  “Oh, well…let’s see, I founded the line about six years ago.”  TIME OUT.  The founder?! Boy did I feel stupid.  Oopsies.

But so cool for me because I’ve never tried Kimiko despite it being a Luxe staple for years and the first time I try it, I get my makeup done by the owner herself!  This is why I love small businesses and niche makeup and skin lines:  You actually get to meet the people who created the line or started the business.  Who better to tell you about the line or business than the founder? Like, are you ever going to meet Francois Nars?

Moi Getting My Makeup Done by Kimiko's Founder Danielle Vincent at Luxe in Hoboken

Moi Getting My Makeup Done by Kimiko’s Founder Danielle Vincent at Luxe in Hoboken

Aside from having a fun time getting my makeup done by a pro,  I found out that Kimiko is a treatment makeup line (and also is Danielle’s middle name, which means “Energy, Beauty, Youth”.  Uh, how perfect is that?)

Long before AA, BB, CC and some DD creams hit the US, Danielle, a chemistry major in college, created her tinted moisturizer to treat AND cover.  It’s beautifully lightweight with SPF 20 mineral sunscreen and anti-oxidants.  It’s also water-based, so it hydrates and is lightweight, but buildable.  I wore it for about six hours after Danielle applied it to my face and it lasted, but didn’t oxidize and change color.  I will definitely be adding Kimiko’s tinted moisturizer to my beauty arsenal.  I love the finish and the pictures do no do justice to how beautiful my skin looked.

However, my FAVORITE product Danielle applied was her “Superfine Brow Pencil Automatique” in Coffee.   This was easily my favorite product.  I love good brow products as my brows are starting to look sparse with age (ugh!)  and this was certainly a revelation.  My brows were perfectly filled-in and luscious and didn’t look painted on.  It also helped that Danielle is a pro makeup artist, but I think with light strokes I can create the same effect…with practice.

I love me and my Kimiko brows!

I love me and my Kimiko brows!

What I love about Kimiko is that it’s a small line that doesn’t overwhelm you.  It has everything you need to create everything from nude to vampy.  The eyeshadow quads are all perfectly coordinated and there’s not one that has a color or is a combo that you think, “Ugh, I only like three of the four colors” or “Who would buy THAT color combo?”

Kimiko's Four Eyeshadow Quads are perfectly coordinated.

Kimiko’s Four Eyeshadow Quads are perfectly coordinated.  I’m not offended by one color combo.

All the lip stains are true lips stains that look dark in the tube, but go on sheer.  Also, you must let dry the stain dry before applying the plumping gloss topcoat and none of the colors are “out there”.  Each one is a winner, but I loved the pomegranate color Danielle applied on me.  I told her to pick whatever since I’m fairly adventurous and while it looks really dark in the tube, on my lips, I got a nice, “I just had a lollipop” berry wash.

Kimkio Sheet Tint and Lip Plumper in Pomegranate

Kimkio Sheet Tint and Lip Plumper in Pomegranate

Kimiko's Lifting Puff Blush in Cherry Blossom.  From

Kimiko’s Lifting Puff Blush in Cherry Blossom. From

Finally, I adore the “Lifting Puff Blush“.   You can either stamp and blend with the puff, take off the puff and dip your brush into the loose powder OR (as Danielle does) charge the puff with powder and dab your brush into the puff so you don’t get too much product on your brush.   Again, all the colors are totally wearable, blendable and buildable.  I adore “Golden Geisha” as a bronzer and “Cherry Blossom” is Kimiko’s golden pink a la “Orgasm” without the chunks of glitter.  The blushes have just the right balance of pigment and shimmer.

I have to believe that the products work as Danielle is gorgeous.  Seriously, her skin is FLAWLESS and if it’s not, her makeup definitely works to make it look perfect.  She’s definitely the best advertising for her brand.

Moi, post-makeover with Danielle Vincent.  Is she not the BEST advertisement for her brand ever?  Seriously, peoples.  This pic is from an iPhone and not touched up.

Moi, post-makeover with Danielle Vincent. Is she not the BEST advertisement for her brand ever? Seriously, peoples. This pic is from an iPhone and not touched up. 

VERDICT:  Kimiko is a beautiful line that will not disappoint even the most discerning beauty addict.  Everything is perfectly coordinated and there are no “unnecessary” products or colors, so if you like to buy from one line and get out the door, you pretty much cannot go wrong with any of the products. The blush and the eyebrow pencil is a MUST.  I also love the purple and gold packaging.  Tres royal and so moi!

Go to to learn more about Danielle and her line, or stop by Luxe on First Street in Hoboken to get your Kimiko on.

Thoughts and Lessons for @SmithCollege on the Events at the Boston Marathon

Yesterday was a pretty shocking and tragic day for so many people.  I am lucky that I don’t know someone personally who was injured.  But I have a friend from high school who was running and even though I haven’t spoken to her since graduation in 1999, I was still worried about her and her husband.  As annoying and ridiculous as Facebook is, it is also a life line during these tragedies.  I found out she and her husband were ok, but that their friend was severely injured.  What a horrible thing they are dealing with now.  This girl, woman now, is someone I once confided my “deepest, darkest” teenage secrets to, whose J. Crew pastel striped sweater I wore for junior year picture day, whose mom totally made us leave a house party in high school by telling us her dad had “cut is hand while slicing carrots” so that we had a valid excuse for her to pick us up within minutes of getting dropped off without looking like losers.  To know she and her husband and their friends are in pain because some hateful person decided to inflict pain on innocent people is heartwrenching.

But in all of this,  I know there is love and support for her and everyone in her situation.  I see it on Facebook, Twitter, in article comments, and whatever other internet outlets there are for expressing one’s opinions.  And as much as social media is sometimes invasive and stupid, in times like this, it becomes an emergency check-in for some many who can’t reach out to everyone or maybe can’t get through on the phone.

I only bring this up because I was thinking about 9/11.  There was no Facebook or really much social media at all.  Not in the way it’s used today.  If you wanted updates after 9/11, your primary source for “up to the minute” news was the TV, not the internet.  I think about how horribly isolated I was as a Junior at Smith College.  There is no question that 9/11 was a horrible, tragic, sad, and scary day.  And I felt these things.  I remember trying to call my mother and not being able to get through.   When I finally did, I got her answering machine.  I was all the way in Western Massachusetts, far away from my family in NJ and worrying if they had decided to go into Manhattan that day.  It was not unreasonable given my mother lived in downtown Jersey City at the time in the house I grew up in, a mere mile and a half away from Ground Zero. Perhaps she had to take the PATH train to the WTC get to a doctor or dentist appointment?  Or decided to go to Chinatown to do grocery shopping?  I was a wreck.

And there was no one who understood what I was going through.  It didn’t help that on 9/12, I was rejected from all of my study abroad programs.  I was a mess.  And I had no one.  Looking back, I realize I was going through PTSD, but back then, I felt like I was going crazy.  While I was sitting in my room depressed, unable to go to class, crying and feeling so scared and drained, the girls in my hall acted as if nothing had happened.  I seemed to be the only person affected by the tragedy. My “friends” stopped talking to me and asking me to go down to dinner with them.  Once I did get to the dining room, they conveniently “finished” their meals and left me.  What seemed like ages, was really only about a week after 9/11.

One afternoon, I got pissed at my “friend” living across the hall from me.  I started asking her why she was ignoring me.  She asked me if I was still depressed.  Of course, I screamed.  Do you even know what happened?  Are you blind?

Her response was that I was from New Jersey and no one I knew was hurt and that I should just get over it and that they, my “friends”, didn’t want to be around a depressed person.

This became a screaming match.  She tried to slam her door in my face.  I put my arm out to prevent her from doing that.  I screeched, “No!  You are going to talk to me!  You are supposed to be my friend and you’re ignoring me!”  I wouldn’t let me slam the door in my face and she backed into her room.  I stepped inside and we were both shouting.  Campus security was called.

And this is the part that I hope no one ever has to go through (as if having your “friends” ditch you in your time of need wasn’t bad enough):  This girl told campus security I was threatening her and she was scared of me.  They wouldn’t listen to my side of the story.  I was crying in my room.  They came in and forced me to leave. They told me I was danger to other students and that I could voluntarily leave with them or they would restrain me and force me to leave.   I left with to campus cops on either side of me, holding my arms like I was a criminal as everyone in my dorm watched.  It was humiliating and made me feel like what I was feeling about 9/11 was not acceptable to anyone.

I was driven to the campus mental health people.  The counselor told me that my behavior was unacceptable and that my behavior was extreme given I didin’t “lose a loved one”.  She also said that if I continued to feel suicidal, that she would have no choice but to commit me to the mental health hospital down the road.

So of course, I said what needed to be said.  I was not upset anymore, nor was I depressed or suicidal and promised to stay away from the girl across the hall.

I immediately left the counselor’s office and walked straight to the Administration where I withdrew.  I asked to come back for the Spring term and I was told that the school policy was that a student take a “full semester” off, and since the semester had been in session for about 3 weeks, I couldn’t return until the next Fall.  Also, I was asked by the administrator to not look or speak to anyone in my house while I was packing up to leave the next day. Yes, I had to pack up and leave the next day.  So for the next 18 or so hours, I was not allowed to say goodbye to whatever friends I had left.  If I looked at anyone, they could call campus security and have me “removed”.  It was horrible.

And the events of yesterday brought back these painful memories.  I wish I had Facebook back then.  Just knowing that someone out there is feeling the same way you do in a time of crisis is comforting.  To see the outpouring of support from around the world would have been enough, maybe, to help me.

To those who are suffering unimaginable pain right now: I feel for you and so does the whole world.  You are not alone, nor should you be.

To Smith: I hope you have better procedures and resources in place to help students deal with tragedy and you show those students who are suffering as a result of the bombings at the Boston Marathon more compassion than you showed me after 9/11.  One need not suffer the loss of a loved one in order have real, true and painful feeling about yesterday’s events. Just the thought of your beloved city, or an event that means so much to people, or simply because you are scared is enough “justification” for having legitimate feelings about yesterday.

I like to reflect on the happy times I had at Smith, especially my senior year when I lived in Morrow House and met the some of the best women I have ever known who would never, ever have let me languish in my room the way I was left by my “friends” in the other house I lived in.  My time at Smith is defined by my senior year.  I don’t really think about my first two years there much, nor about the events that lead me to withdraw my junior year.

I like to think about my friends.  My real friends.

Peace to you all.




Daily WTF: Explosions at the Boston Marathon

WTF?  Who is that insane?   I mean,  it’s a MARATHON.  There’s nothing political or governmental about it.  It’s just people trying to achieve something.  I honestly don’t understand the minds of people who do these sorts of acts because never in my most pissed off would my mind ever even consider something so extreme.  I mean, I like throwing temper tantrums and crying, possibly throwing something if I’m really pissed.  When I’m sad or depressed, I check out for a few days and sleep/watch Law & Order ad nauseum.  Then I realize I need to get my shit together and get on with life.

I am honestly hoping that the explosions were from some electrical malfunction or something.  I know that’s asking for too much, but it’s better than knowing that a person or people did this to other people.



Fragrance Buzz: Is Bond No. 9’s HTTP the Next CKOne?

HTTP by Bond No. 9: A Unisex fragrance for the Internet Generation.

HTTP by Bond No. 9: A Unisex fragrance for the Internet Generation.

Bond No. 9 New York, one of my favorite (although less so these days) perfume brands has announced that it is launching a fragrance to represent the internet.  Yes.  The internet.  Alright, alright, if you’re not familiar with Bond No. 9, you are probably wondering, WTF?!  So here’s the rundown on Bond’s schtick.

Basically, Bond No. 9 New York creates fragrances based on NYC neighborhoods and “ideas”.  And they have really distinctive bottles that “match” the fragrance concept.  For example,  they have Chinatown (one of my fave fragrances ever and a classic, IMO, which the site describes as:

Superpower meets Supercity: The emerging superpower energy with the avant-garde cachet of downtown New York. A sultry, mouth-watering equal-opportunity East-West bouquet.  

The notes are: Peach blossoms, gardenia, tuberose, patchouli, cardamom.  I personally describe Chinatown as a peppery-floral.  It’s a very distinctive fragrance that should be on anyone’s “Try before I die” perfume list (if you’re that sort of person).  And the bottle aptly has a cherry blossom design on it.

Bond No. 9 Chinatown: Interesting scent, distinctive bottle. This is how you do perfume the right way.

Bond No. 9’s Chinatown: Interesting scent, distinctive bottle. This is how you do perfume the right way.

Other Bond No. 9 fragrances include NYC (and vicinity) neighborhoods like Central Park West, Bleeker Street, and Fire Island, and ideas like Nuits de Noho and So New York.  So it does make sense that Bond No. 9 would expand it’s neighborhood collection to the virtual world.

According to Bond No 9’s owner Laurice Rahme (and reported to, he wanted a fragrance to be unisex and “in tune with the times.”

“‘To get the scent right was difficult; it’s what I call universal, and that’s not easy to do,” said Rahme, adding that internal studies concluded there are more men than women shopping online. “It couldn’t be too feminine or too masculine. It had to be something everybody likes. It had to be young. That’s for sure. It’s not for your grandmother, we know that. She would never get an app.'”

So what notes did HTTP end up with, you know, to “represent everyone”?  Top: Bergamot, pineapple, juniper berry; Middle: apple, blackcurrant, cedarwood  Base: patchouli, moss, musk, amber.

If any of you remember the original youthful unisex fragrance, CK One, you will know that the concept of a unisex fragrance is not a new concept.  CK One just made it awesome, desirable and it was a perfect 90’s moment that went with the whole “grunge” culture.  And while HTTP is s$250/100mL, CK One was certainly more consumer friendly at around $30 for a big bottle (if I recall correctly).

CK One: The Original Unisex Fragrance for a World Gone Grunge.

CK One: The Original Unisex Fragrance for a World Gone Grunge.

So why am I suddenly comparing the “oh so luxe and stylish” Bond No. 9’s HTTP to classic CK One?  Because some notes overlap and both fragrances would certainly fall into a “woody-fruit” description.  CK One’s notes are (with overlapping notes in bold):

Top Notes: Bergamot, Cardamom, Fresh Pineapple, Papaya, green accord
Middle Notes: Hedione High Cis (derived from Jasmine), Violet, Rose, Nutmeg, green accord
Base Notes: Musk, Amber, green accord

It seems that the the initial spray of HTTP and CK One will be fairly similar, as will the dry down.  The middle notes are different, where CK one is more of a “nutty-floral” middle, it looks like HTTP will have a more “fruity-woodsy” middle.  However, given the emphasis both fragrances have placed on fruit and musky notes, I would not be surprised if HTTP and CK One smell similar.

For those of us who remember the 90’s, HTTP may not be worth the $$$.  And for those of you who don’t remember the hooplah over CK One (or weren’t born yet and your parents were busy spraying themselves with CK One and wearing Doc Martens) and only know it as a fragrance you can get anywhere and had a million spinoffs, I would think very carefully before you drop $250 on HTTP.   It seems like a pretty steep price for a fragrance that is not going to be available at any counter and only on the internet.  How are you supposed to smell it before you decide to buy it?  And here is where Bond No. 9’s marketing is going to play a big role (as did CK One’s):  it won’t matter how it smells because you will want it to represent the “internt you” of 2013, just like CK one represented the “grunge me” in 1994-1995.  Will Bond No. 9 be successful?  Probably not as successful as CK One, but it’s been a long while since a fragrance tapped into an “idea” and “trend” as pervasive as surfing the net.  Yes, the “net” is what we called the internets back in the 1990’s.

I miss the 90’s.



The Lazy Fashionista: What Have I Been DOING With Myself?!

Please Don't Make Me Study

You’re probably wondering why the hell I have been MIA the last few weeks.  I wish I could say I was doing something totally exciting, alas I have just been lazy.  I’d like to blame my absence on stupid things like Spring taking its sweet time to arrive here in NJ, thus sucking the life out of me.  Or that the semester is winding down and finals are creeping up faster than I would prefer.  Or perhaps I could blame my failed attempts to find a proper summer job.  Nothing like applying and applying and getting no response.  My dad keeps telling me it’s the “worst job market since the Great Depression,” but that doesn’t really comfort me when I have nightmare involving my student loans that cost more than most people’s homes.

However, I have not been shirking the beauty world.  Or the fashion world.  Although, Spring fashion has not been kind to me (or anyone over a size 0).   I’ve noticed a lot of cropped tops in stores and, quite frankly, I am too old for that sort of silliness.  However, talk to be again if I manage to lose my winter layer.

As for Spring beauty, I have been storing up plenty of reviews and adventures to write about and just need to motivation to start tapping away at my keyboard.

Let’s hope the nice weather stays around and I find that motivation I’ve been lacking these past few weeks.  Also, let’s hope some celubtard does something totally outrageous worth of a Daily WTF?!


Nouveau Yuppy

P.S.  What do you think of the new color scheme?

Review: Revlon Baby Stick for Lips and Cheeks in Sunset, Spring 2013 Collection

I just popped in to CVS today to see what stuff was on sale because that’s just what I do. On my way out I noticed Revlon’s new Spring 2013 display. Given that it’s still grey here in NJ and threatening to snow again, I gravitated to the summery colors of Revlon’s display. Nothing like a pop of coral and real to make you feel like someday you will no longer be schlepping it in snow boots and a down coat. I am a big fan of cheek tints generally, so when I saw the Baby Stick, I snapped it up, despite my hesitation that the only color left was Sunset, abright coral red. Whatever, cheek tints are notoriously sheer. By summer coloring can handle this color.


Revlon Baby Stick in Sunset

I was so excited, I paid for my new toy, walked out CVS’s front door and immediately tested it on the backof my hand. My first swipe put zero color on my hand. I kept swiping and swirling. No color. Just a waxy film on the back of my hand! Wtf!


Where is the color?

As you can see from the swatch, given how bright the product and packaging us, I didn’t expect to get NOTHING on my hand, but that is exactly what I got. Verdict: Do not bother. Even if Revlon were giving away Baby Sticks, it would not be worth it.

@SwytCulture Flats in the Snow #uberflat

This morning, I decided to wear the newest additions to my growing Swyt flats collection, the Vagabonds.  I ordered these because as someone who loves to travel (or would really like to travel, minus the whole “being a broke student” thing), I thought the colorful passport print was cool and so “me”.   I figured if I can’t get real passport stamps, these shoes were the next best thing.

Let's Travel!  Swyt Culture Flats in Vagabonds

Let’s Travel! Swyt Culture Flats in Vagabonds (and this is post-snow trek. Good as new!)

When I decided to wear these shoes, I did not realize that it was going to snow.  I expected, maybe, rain when I left school to go back to Hoboken.  However, this is what my walk home looked like:


Winter Wonderland in Hoboken

Luckily, I’m perpetually freezing until about June, and even then it’s questionable, so I wore my purple Smartwool socks with my Vagabonds to keep my tootsies generally warm.  While the walk home looked miserable – and it was – my feet were amazingly dry and warm.  Perhaps that would not have been the case if I weren’t wearing warm socks, but the cold never penetrated the soles of my Swyt’s and thanks to the molding around my toes, my feet were dry and warm.

I took this walking back to Maison Nouveau Yuppy.

I took this pic while walking back to Maison Nouveau Yuppy.  Snow on the toes, but not in my shoes!

Let me tell you, I was NOT expecting this to happen, even with the socks on.  Swyt has hired me as a Brand Ambassador, so obviously if I had a miserable experience in the snow with the shoes (which one would expect given they are flats and we’re talking snow), I would not be blogging about it.   The soles were really the key in this situation.  They are thick enough to keep out the cold, and my feet above the snow, and the molding around the toes was essential to keeping the snow out.  No seam around the toes = dry feet.


Swyt tracks in the snow!

The entire way home, I was convinced I was going to ruin my Vagabonds or my feet were going to get soaked or my toes were going to freeze off.  Also, I have a tendency to be dramatic.  But nothing horrible happened, and I was lucky enough not to slip and slide, thanks to the cute pattern on the soles that gave me some traction (and made cute prints in the snow!).

But I made it home, where Tina Turner was waiting for me.

Where you been, mom?!

Where you been, mom?!

And my Vagabonds look as new as they did when I opened the box!

P.S. Please don’t think you can get away with making these your “snow shoes”.  It’s true that it’s unlikely that you’ll get caught in a snow storm without already wearing the proper shoes, but know that if you happen to be in this situation, Swyt flats will get you home in one piece.  While I’m not hoping to get caught in the rain, it is a more likely scenario and I bet these will fare really, really well.  I’m ok with wet feet in summer rain.  🙂