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We’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving.

kate fannin

Kate Fannin‘s job is a girly-girl’s dream. As our Beauty Trend Editor, Kate gets paid to play with new makeup, lotions and perfumes, and hit trend shows, line launches and celebrity appearances at stores across the country. Oh, and twice a year she flies to New York Fashion Week, where she hangs out backstage with famous friends like makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury and nail guru Deborah Lippmann. But when Christmas rolls around, the down-to-earth Texan puts all her focus on gifts for her family, including 14 nieces and nephews and 3 tiny dogs.

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James Webb, a Beauty Stylist at our Fashion Valley store in San Diego, shares his three favorite candles to give and receive. They’re gender neutral and ready for warming the home with fragrance this winter.

diptyque Baies: This scent is currently gracing my living room with hints of red roses and currant leaves. It’s inviting, it’s distinctive and it’s a great way to welcome guests into my home.

NEST Fragrances Blue Garden: This candle is extremely special to me. NEST gives a portion of its proceeds to Autism Speaks. The notes are fresh and floral and leave you wanting more.

Voluspa Maison Noir – Crisp Champagne: Voluspa candles are my go-tos for gift giving. They’re packaged beautifully and priced just right. The Maison Noir scent has hints of vanilla and barrel oak. The sparkling brut champagne is a fun match for a NYE party hostess gift, but this candle is great for any occasion.

SHOP: Candles & Home Scents

Senior M•A•C Cosmetics Artist Melissa Gibson shares her 5 essential steps to a party-perfect lip—a timely refresher on putting your best face forward.

Love a glamorous lip? It’s easy to get a full-on gorgeous red—just in time for the holidays.

Step 1: Always start with clean, hydrated lips. I like to begin with Prep + Prime Lip. This primer will keep a matte lipstick from turning glossy, and leaves the skin feeling cushioned, not greasy.

Step 2: Once you have decided on the right red for you—I’m loving 5-Alarm from MAC’s Red, Red, Red collectionchoose a lip liner that is either the same color as the lipstick or a half-shade deeper. 5-Alarm pairs perfectly with Lip Pencil in Brick or Cherry.

Step 3: Outline the entire lip, fading the line down towards the center.

Step 4: Apply the lipstick in the opposite direction of the liner—from the center, outward. This makes for a seamless finish and for less of a chance of the color wearing off, fading or bleeding.

Step 5: If a sexy, glossy finish is your thing, layer Night Is Young Cremesheen Glass over your lipstick. For a stronger, more opaque look, pat Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder on top.

Glossy or matte, a red lip is a classic option for adding a touch of glamour this holiday season!

Follow Melissa Gibson on Twitter for more tips and inspiration.

SHOP: MAC Cosmetics Red, Red, Red collection

December 9, 2014

Gifted Giver: Laura Mercier

We’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving.

Laura Mercier

Author, cosmetics mogul and makeup artist Laura Mercier is a beloved name in the beauty industry and in the celeb world—her client list has included Madonna, Julia Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker. French-born Mercier splits her time between Provence and New York City and may be best known—or at least beloved by countless women—for her simple ‘Flawless Face’ approach to enhancing natural beauty. Another thing to love her for: this peek at her list of holiday favorites—including some Parisian chocolates that we’ll be trying tout de suite!!

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With holiday parties a-flurry, ’tis the season to sparkle up (see Stylist Picks: Sparkling Accents) and go a little more glam. Why not have fun with false eyelashes? Lash extensions are a commitment, but falsies are for tonight. You can take them off and wear them again if you treat them well, and while the application is a process, even the inexperienced can do it perfectly on the first try with a little guidance.

To that end, major thanks to Tina Salazar, Nordstrom beauty stylist at The Shops at Mission Viejo, CA, for gracing us with her wisdom.

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November 26, 2014

Three of a Kind: Pin It In

Like a magpie to silver foil, we too covet all things sparkly. These elegant hair accessories from Nina are glitzy finishing touches that add no-fuss glamour to your updo or tousled tendrils. Just pin one in and the twinkle of crystals under holiday lights will have you shining like a diamond from head to toe.


‘Gwenyth’ Crystal Hairpins | ‘Danai’ Flower Crystal Hair Comb | Freshwater Pearl & Crystal Hair Comb

Shop: All Nina | All Hair Accessories

November 25, 2014

Black Friday Sale at Nordstrom

Looks like Black Friday needs a new name; these beauty deals have all kinds of color!

On Friday, November 28, you’re invited to chose from over 75 gifts-with-purchase from brands like Kiehl’s, Bobbi Brown and Clarins, with values up to $160.

Black Friday Sale at Nordstrom.

Shop: Beauty | More Black Friday good news

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Ever wonder what goes into designing a scent? Well, block out the next 15 minutes of your life and get ready to hear all about the genesis of La Nuit de Bohème directly from Anna Sui herself, who shared this great behind-the-scenes photo and gave us these notes on inspiration, muse selection, and how it all came together.

“I have to say that I really do enjoy the entire process of creating a fragrance,” the designer told us. “I am very much involved in every single step. Every time I see a new fragrance coming to life, I’m even more inspired.”

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On your mark, get set… party! The winter holidays are here, which means Secret Santas, cocktail soirees, family gatherings, and if you’re lucky, an event requiring an evening gown. Tis the season for merrymaking, and when it comes to makeup, you might need to pull off a party look in a pinch. We asked Australian beauty authority Napoleon Perdis about the latest and greatest of this season’s makeup trends, as well as better-than-best tips for selfies, glitter, and that time-honored holiday classic—the bold red lip.

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November 13, 2014

Follow Up: @ItsStellaRose

New series! In which we hook you up with the feeds you need.

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Stella Rose Saint Clair has the Manhattanite girl-of-all-trades thing down pat. A few short months after moving to New York from Seattle, Saint Clair was street cast to star in a Lanvin campaign, she and her fashion design partner just showcased an ensemble at the first-ever Hello Kitty Con in L.A., and she blogs about lipstick by day and hosts goth parties in the Bowery alongside Amanda Lepore by night.

Saint Clair’s Instagram is kind of like if Jayne Mansfield asked Wednesday Addams and Siouxsie Sioux to room with her at the Pink Palace. Her eclectic and varied makeup looks are a constant source of awe and inspiration, especially if you’re drawing a blank on how to doll up for a night out on the town. Her life—and her Instagram—is a visual spectacle, filled to the brim with the glory of all things girly. Here’s a quick peek into the digital life of this gifted beauty guru.

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