Re-Tales: confessions of a shopaholic

Speaking Beauty

imageWhenever I head to the cosmetics counter for a makeover, I can never replicate the same sultry look at home. While I’ll admit I suffer from selective hearing, it’s just that I simply forget all those detailed application steps the makeup artist says to do. Even those fancy color-coded face charts don’t help. But that was before I discovered Stila Cosmetics’ talking compact – a clever 4-pan eye palette that literally talks you through every step out loud. With the simple press of a button, I can now recreate those smokey eye looks I love… without the fear of looking like Krusty the Clown. 

More than a gimmicky gadget, Stila’s Smoky Eye Palette is like having your very own professional makeup artist on call… minus the ’tude and hefty bill. Simply flip open the silver lid, press the tiny button inside and a tongue ’n cheek fifty second voice recording from a Stila makeup artist plays, guiding you through the 5-step application process, along with recommendations on what brushes to use. Should the battery conk out, there’s even a handy manual with pretty illustrations and expert tips. Even the compact itself is covered with an eye-catching hologram that winks when tilted forward.

Girly packaging aside, you’re only paying $38 for four of-the-moment shimmery shades including base (an icy champagne for the entire eye area), slate (a silvery gray for lids), kettle (a dark gray contour shade) and ebony (a smoky black brown for lining inner rims). Just be prepared to splurge on the three “suggested” Stila brushes, since they’re sold separately from the kit. You also better add your name to Sephora’s waiting list (the last shipment sold out in 2 weeks) if you want to snag a speaking palette when the next delivery arrives in September.

A fun and futuristic way to wear makeup, Stila’s speaking eye palette gives new meaning to the term “beauty talk.” As my recently turned 40 year-old friend Ellyn said, “What’s next… a compact that tells me it’s time to get a facelift?”

  • Stila Smoky Eye Palette
  • 1-877-SEPHORA
  • $38 per palette
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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

Get the best of what’s next in your city with Gen Art Pulse!

What: Every Monday and Thursday, sends out a FREE email newsletter filled with information about the best of what’s next in fashion, film, music, the visual arts and more, in your city. Since you don’t have time to hunt for what’s cool, Gen Art does the legwork for you.

Who: As the nation’s leading arts and entertainment organization, Gen Art has first dibs on the best emerging talent in fashion, film, music and the visual arts. They’ve helped launch big names in fashion like Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Chaiken, Milly, Twinkle and Shoshanna to name a few. Their newsletter gives you behind-the-scenes access to the people and places everyone is going to be buzzing about… before anyone else knows what’s up.

Why: You’re a trendsetter. You go to openings at the coolest galleries in town, check out indie movies fresh out of Sundance and rock labels that no one else in your city has heard of yet, just like Gen Art. Constantly stay on top of what’s cutting-edge with Gen Art’s newsletter—your guidebook to living the ultimate lifestyle. Gen Art Pulse: of-the-moment information that’s short, sweet, and above all else, fun.

How: Click here to sign-up for your city edition of Gen Art Pulse now! 

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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

Haute Coats

imageIn L.A., it’s not who you are, it’s what you drive. In New York, it’s what you wear. And since the Big Apple was blessed (or cursed) with four seasons, we need to make our style statements with our coats. With fall/winter on the way, it’s crucial that I’m covered in outerwear that’s not only stylish, but also warm enough to fend off those frigid temps. That’s why my closet is crammed with Mackage (13 at last count) – a luxe Canadian coat label with an insane international following.

Touted for its ultra-flattering fit and unusual mix of fabrics, Mackage actually makes blustery weather fun and bearable. Created by design duo Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy during their elementary school days, Mackage has since been churning out dozens of cutting-edge leather and wool collections. Designed for fashion conscious femmes who want to look and feel fabulous no matter how low the mercury level dips, Mackage is more geared toward an attitude than an age. No wonder these haute coats are even coveted by leading Hollywood babes from the likes of Jessica Biel and Halle Berry. Known for its signature details such as waist-cinching belts, textured wools, leather piping, asymmetrical zippers, exaggerated collars and moody color combos (black, midnight blue and fog grey), Mackage is easily spotted from a block away. 

The latest styles to swoon over this season include a mod, thigh-grazing get-up with a built-in scarf and bell sleeves (the Demie, pictured above), an A-line beauty with a belted leather back and extra wide pleats, a chic wool cape adorned with a matte gold belt buckle and patch pockets and a jaw-dropping 3/4 length flared design with princess sleeves, which I snagged for myself. As if that’s not reason enough to raise your heart rate, there’s even a series of sleek, down-filled puffy coats (not to be confused with those bulky sausage styles) and a knockout knitwear line featuring sexy, oversized cardigans, turtlenecks and tube dresses. And since each classy cover-up seamlessly translates from year-to-year, you won’t feel pressured to constantly stock up to stay in style. But then again, throw on a Mackage and I’ll bet you can’t buy just one.

  • Mackage
  • 212-391-5287 (USA) & 514-388-5287 (CANADA)
  • $280-$785
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Material Girl

imageWhen it comes to shopping for clothes, I’ve always favored small, boutique-y environments over busy chain stores. Call me high-maintenance, but I like getting special attention from sales staff such as frequent phone calls informing me about all the latest merch, free alterations and the ability to buy anything on layaway. Judging from the friendly vibe at Helianthus, a hip East Village hideaway, which recently popped-up on LaGuardia Place, I’m hoping to get even more of the same star treatment.

An unassuming street littered with casual eateries catering to the NYU crowd, LaGuardia Place is the last locale I expected to find a hidden shopping gem like Helianthus. Stocked with a well-edited mix of girly gear with an urban twist, Helianthus is a true shopper’s paradise thanks to prices that won’t break the bank. Owner Grace Wong, a recent FIT design graduate who apprenticed for Anna Sui, initially opened Helianthus (which is Greek for “sunflower”) to showcase her soon-to-be-designed clothing label. But since business has been booming from day one, those plans were temporarily put on the backburner. So for now, Helianthus’ racks are hanging with a bevy of established and indie brands from the U.S., Europe, Japan and Korea.

Expect an eye-opening palette of purple, shimmery silver and charcoal grey silhouettes that perfectly complement the hot pink plastic chairs and matching trash bin. Get a jumpstart on your fall wardrobe with flirty, punk-influenced ’80’s ensembles ranging from blousy ruffled tops by Alisha Levine, knee-grazing knits by Ulla Johnson, silk halters by Samantha Treacy and buttery leather carryalls with gold hardware by Bulga. And for jewelry junkies, there’s a gargantuan glass display filled with rhinestone-encrusted headbands, pendants with skulls and pretty chandelier earrings. Throw on a pair of patent leather skimmers, a bunch of silver studded bracelets and a wide cinch belt and you’ve got the Cyndi Lauper look down to a science. Multi-colored hairdo not included.

  • Helianthus
  • 552 La Guardia Place (btw Bleecker & West 3rd)
  • 212-677-6888
  • Mon.-Sat. 11-8pm; Sun. 11:30-7pm
  • $100-$400
  • exchange or store credit within 7 days of purchase
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Filed: Shop Talk

No Fro!

imageWhen I think about Brazil, images that first come to mind are caipirinhas, string bikinis and of course, extreme bikini waxing. For a culture that’s so obsessed with stripping, it’s surprising that the hottest new hair-straightening technique to hit salons stateside is, you guessed it… Brazilian!

Based on a protein-packed chemical solution that magically eliminates even the frizziest of fros, no matter how bad the humidity, the Brazilian hair-straightening process is perfect for girls on the go who want a professional, pin-straight coif every day of the week. Sexier and safer than Japanese thermal conditioning, Brazilian hair-straightening treatments are formulated with Keratin, a natural substance that strengthens strands without singeing them, leaving your hair with a silky sheen. A saving grace for fancy affairs and weddings, Brazilian hair straightening even brings life back to dull and damaged color-treated locks.

imageTired of pulling your hair back into a painful ponytail or bun like my friend Jennifer Dowling-Coticchio, the pretty blonde shown in these before and after snapshots? A busy Wall Streeter who used to spend 2 painstaking hours prepping her unruly waves for work, Jennifer recently test drove the temporary treatment and has never looked (and felt) better. Since being Brazilified this summer, Jennifer now struts out the door with a magnificent and manageable blow-dried mane in a matter of minutes, without the accompanied carpal tunnel syndrome.

Ready to simplify your morning routine? If you’ve got 4 hours to spare, head to a salon to trade in your Roseanne Roseannadanna pouf for an ultra-sleek finish that lasts up to three months. Some words of wisdom: better not breathe during the treatment, as it contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that can irritate the eyes and lungs if the fumes are inhaled. Also be prepared to look like a grease monkey for the first 4 days following treatment, as shampooing or even wetting hair is strictly verboten (water instantly strips off the solution). If you can survive all that, you and your hair will get along just fine.

Where Jennifer Got Brazilified: Cactus Salon & Day Spa, located at 1109 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY. To book an appointment, call 516-932-0458 or visit Make sure to ask for hair color specialist, Danielle Bernous.

Where To Get Brazilified: Visit or to find a salon near you. Price Range: $150-$600 (depending on length of hair and thickness)



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Filed: Beauti-Fixation