Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream Review


You know how awesome BB creams are for your face? Well, the geniuses at Jergens have harnessed the power of BB and infused it into a lotion for your body. Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream promises flawless-looking skin with 5 visible benefits in just 5 days.  But does it deliver? Watch the video to find out...   Disclosure: This post was CONTINUE READING

Laura Mercier Sale at Gilt.com


As a huge fan of Laura Mercier (I swear by the foundation primer and tinted moisturizer), I was so excited to see that Gilt.com has a nice assortment of beauty products currently on sale. There's everything from sophisticated nail polish colors and soft mineral blush to lip glaze palettes and pencil sets to create an alluring smoky eye. Oh, and CONTINUE READING

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Cover April Issue of Vogue


Welp, folks, it looks like Kanye finally wore Anna Wintour down and got his baby mama a coveted Vogue cover. So the rumors were true. There was buzz a few months back that Kim would cover the fashion bible, but then everyone assumed it would be a foreign Vogue - given Anna's alleged aversion to all things Kardashian. I CONTINUE READING

10 Beauty Products to Get You Through the Flu


Hey Guys! As you all know the weather lately has been terrible and most of us have been getting all kinds of horrible colds and the flu, as a result. This is very personal for me because I work in retail and it seems like I get one disease after the other with all of my customers constantly sneezing CONTINUE READING

OPI and Coca-Cola Partnering on Summer Nail Polish Collection


OPI is collaborating with The Coca-Cola Company this summer. Several of the The Coca-Cola Company’s most recognized brands – including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Sprite and Fanta – will be the inspiration for a line of OPI limited edition nail lacquers that will launch internationally in June 2014. “As the global leader in the professional CONTINUE READING

Philadelphia Phocus

Philadelphia Phocus & Giveaway: Mother’s Nature Soaps

Posted on by daneen in Contest, Giveaway, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phocus, Soap | 46 Comments

shower Philadelphia Phocus & Giveaway: Mothers Nature Soaps
It’s freezing right now in Philadelphia, and my heater is working overtime to keep my home toasty warm. So, nowadays, one of the things I most look forward to is a relaxing, hot shower. But because this time of year is particularly harsh on my sensitive skin, I have to be careful of the bath and body products I use. Luckily, I’ve discovered Mother’s Nature Soaps.

mns1 Philadelphia Phocus & Giveaway: Mothers Nature SoapsMother’s Nature Soaps is a family-run company that specializes in luxurious homemade soaps, bath products, and natural skin care products. Alyson, the owner, started making soaps in 2003 to help her son’s eczema. Five years later, she says the same amount of love that went into her first bar of soap still goes into every bar she makes now.

The hand-crafted soaps are made with pure rainwater, oils of olive, coconut, sunflower, palm, castor and canola; some of the soap formulas also contain extra nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, honey, buttermilk, organic milks for extra skin moisturizing benefits and are colored with natural pigments. Noticeably absent from the list of ingredients are the synthetic chemicals found in many conventional bar soaps. Mother’s Nature Soaps are also rich in natural glycerin, which draws moisture to your skin to promote a healthy, youthful appearance.

My favorite product is the Monkey Farts Soap, a unique blend of bananas, fresh grapefruit, with strawberries, kiwi, bubble gum and a touch of vanilla. Alyson says that it’s a hit with kids and adults. I’m also wild for the Butter Kisses; they literally melt on your skin and moisturize with pure cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil and Vitamin E.

Mother’s Nature Soaps is located in Middletown, Delaware (a half-hour drive outside of Philadelphia), but their website ensures that – no matter where you live – their all-natural products are just a click away.

But this week only, Spoiled Pretty is giving you the opportunity to win some of these wonderful products! One winner will receive a Mother’s Nature Soaps Gift Basket, filled with the following goodies: Lavender Fields Soap, Monkey Farts Soap, Lavender & Eucalyptus Soap, Clarity Bath Salts, Lavender & Mint Body Polish, Soap Saver, 4 oz Lavender Whipped Body Butter, and Chocolate Mint Lip Balm. This gift basket retails for $50.

A 2nd place winner will receive a $25 gift certificate, and a third place winner will be rewarded with a $15 gift certificate.

Entering the giveaway is easy. To be eligible for the contest, you must be a Spoiled Pretty subscriber. Subscribing is simple and quick – just click here (don’t forget to verify your email address). Plus you’ll be signed up to get posts delivered directly to your inbox. Contest closes at 9pm EST on Sunday, January 27th – and the winners will be revealed on Monday, January 28th. Good luck!

Philadelphia Phocus: Linda Harding (Giveaway Edition)

Posted on by daneen in Contest, Face, Giveaway, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phocus, Spa | 8 Comments

rescue rittenhouse1 Philadelphia Phocus: Linda Harding (Giveaway Edition)
Last week, I called my friend after a trip to Rescue Rittenhouse Spa Lounge. After about a minute on the phone, she asked, “Why are you slurring your words?” Not having noticed anything different about my speech, I asked what she was talking about. She responded, “You’re facial drunk, aren’t you?” As I thought about her question, I realized she was right. I was facial drunk. My ‘Zoom Facial’ with award-winning esthetician Linda Harding was, quite literally, intoxicating. I mean, she isn’t called the Skin Diva for nothing. What makes Linda the best of the best? How long have you got?

 Philadelphia Phocus: Linda Harding (Giveaway Edition)When I visited the spa, I was warmly greeted and escorted to the waiting area – where I sipped on lemon water and perused some fashion mags. Considering that my last facial was three years ago (the horror!), I was somewhat apprehensive. But when Linda came to meet me, she immediately put me at ease with her friendly demeanor.

Once inside the facial room, I undressed, wrapped myself in a towel, and was tucked into the heated table; thanks to the cushy environs and tranquil ambiance, I already felt like a new woman – and the facial hadn’t even begun. Linda started with a careful study of my skin. “There’s good news and bad news,” Linda announced. “The good news is that you have great skin. The bad news is you’re doing all of the wrong things to it.”

She explained that I should be exfoliating every day, not just twice a week, which had been my usual routine. Then I closed my eyes, and Linda’s magic hands went to town on my face. First, she used a machine that employed the use of sound waves to remove layers of dead skin. This new method is as effective, for certain types of skin, as microdermabrasion; but unlike microdermabrasion, you can use it under the eyes, and it doesn’t irritate skin. It’s so gentle, yet effective, that Linda uses this machine on brides the morning of their wedding! Amazing right?

lift facial Philadelphia Phocus: Linda Harding (Giveaway Edition)My other favorite part of the facial was the Valmont product Linda used on my face. Valmont uses salmon roe DNA in most of its skincare products, which might sound yucky – but my skin found it absolutely yummy, and eagerly drank it up. Then, Linda used an electrical micro-current machine to push it into deeper layers of my skin – to boost the moisturizing and regenerating properties of the product.

Once my facial was finished, I was emotionally torn. Part of me couldn’t wait to see my reflection. On the other hand, I was sad that the process had come to an end. Once I looked in the mirror, I was amazed. My skin glowed and I couldn’t stop smiling. The results of my facial are indescribable…I can only liken it to peeling off the outer layers of an onion, revealing the fresh, hydrated layers beneath.

As if my new face wasn’t gift enough, Linda gave me a bottle of Biologique Recherche P50 Balancing Lotion – to maintain my new mug. P50, the cornerstone product in the Biologique Recherche line, is a vitamin-enriched exfoliating potion that purifies, hydrates, and tones, visibly improving whiteheads, blackheads, and symptoms of rosacea.

Before parting, Linda imparted some wisdom; avoiding stress, drinking lots of water, and using the appropriate products for your skin type are her top three tips for stunning skin.

Jealous that I had an appointment with The Skin Diva and you’re just reading about it? Well, here’s your chance to meet with Linda, get a Zoom Facial, and receive a bottle of P 50. If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, post a comment below or email me at spoiledpretty@gmail.com. Be sure to include your name and email address. Be sure to enter by 9pm EST on Thursday, December 20. One winner will be picked, at random, and I will reveal his/her name on Friday, December 21. Good luck!

Philadelphia Phocus: Erik Robinson

Posted on by daneen in Hair, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phocus | Leave a comment

Friends and strangers often compliment me on my hair, especially on the rare occasions when I sport something other than my trademark ponytail. But to be fair, the condition of my hair has less to do with the products I keep in my bathroom, and more to do with the company I have kept for the past thirteen years.

Erik+and+Nancy Philadelphia Phocus: Erik RobinsonErik Robinson is my mane man; that’s him (to the left, with his wife) at my wedding reception. He is the only person I would even let think about touching my hair. And for good reason – he’s been in the business for 20 years, he holds a state examiner’s license (which means he tests other who are seeking their cosmetology, esthetician, and managers license), and he knows hair.

Usually, when I’m in Erik’s chair, we gab about pop culture and the latest antics of my crazy family (Erik is also my mom and sister’s hairstylist, and my dad’s barber). But when I stopped in a few weeks ago, Erik and I talked (beauty) shop – and he had some tips for touchable tresses that I’m excited to share with all of you.

Erik says that it’s normal to lose 50-100 strands of hair per day. So if you notice a clump of hair in the shower drain – don’t break out the Propecia just yet. “Typically, your hair will tell you what’s wrong. The key is learning how to interpret the signs,” he said.

fantasia Philadelphia Phocus: Erik Robinson“Women are going flat-iron crazy right now, and they wonder why they’ve got broken tips and split ends. When you regularly use thermal styling tools, you need to coat hair with a light oil or serum to protect it from the damaging effects of heat,” Erik explained. One of my personal favorites is Fantasia Heat Protector Straightening Serum. It moisturizes, repairs, and smooths the cuticle – leaving hair shiny and frizz-free. It’s brilliant for preventing breakage, and at less than $8, it won’t break the bank.

When you start noticing half-stands on your pillowcase or collar, over-processing is usually the culprit. “Overlapping chemical processes, such as relaxers, perms, and permanent color, can take a toll hair – especially if hair isn’t strong to begin with.” So if you insist on altering the chemical structure of hair and its hue, you might want to consider a more gentle hair color (one without ammonia or peroxide). Look for products with the words “temporary” or “semi-permanent” – fortunately, there are plenty of great products out there, at every price point. And when in doubt, go to a salon; it beats wrecking your hair and having to see a professional anyway to repair the damage.

Finally, Erik warned that “losing whole strands is an indication that a person requires a major change in lifestyle. Diet, stress, hormones, and medication could be factors when your hair falls out at the root.” In such a case, a trip to the doctor is often necessary to get to the root of the problem (no pun intended).

fekkaiprotein Philadelphia Phocus: Erik RobinsonAt the end of our pow-wow, my final question to Erik was this: if he had to narrow it down to just one thing, what would he say is the secret to beautiful hair? “Beautiful hair is healthy hair,” he stated simply. “And the key to healthy hair is maintaining a stable pH level, which ranges between 4.5 and 5.5. Keeping hair in this range involves using balance of moisturizing and protein products.” So, in laymans terms – if you’re only using products that hydrate, you’re not adding enough strength to strands; conversely, if you go overboard with protein products, hair becomes so strong that it can literally snap. Try following a moisturizing shampoo, like Technician Shampoo For Dry, Damaged, Color-Treated Hair, with a protein treatment like Protein Rx Reparative Treatment Mask – both by Frederic Fekkai.

Erik Robinson’s wealth of hair knowledge is inspiring; if I wrote half of what he told me, we’d be here all day. But what is even more remarkable is his innate, creative talent. Erik is the best hairdresser I’ve ever had, and he’s also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. So if you live in – or are passing through – the Philadelphia area, I highly recommend that you make an appointment. Erik is skilled in women’s and men’s hairstyling, hair cutting, and hair coloring – and if you mention Spoiled Pretty, he’ll knock 30% off all services over $20*!

Erik Robinson
Salon DuBose
107 South 22nd Street (between Chestnut and Sansom)
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215.564.5340

*For Erik’s price list, contact me at spoiledpretty@gmail.com.

Philadelphia Phocus: Ursula Augustine

Posted on by daneen in Eye Cream, Makeup Brush, Mineral Makeup, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phocus, Primer, Scrub | 2 Comments

ursula1 Philadelphia Phocus: Ursula AugustineWhen I visited Ursula Augustine in her Rittenhouse studio, I patiently waited while she finished the makeup of a customer. As she was leaving, the woman warmly hugged Ursula and said, “See you on Saturday” before walking out of the door. Being that it was Thursday, I asked, “Is she a regular?” Ursula explained that the woman isn’t just a regular; she does her makeup 20 days out of every month. The moral of this story? Ursula Augustine has skills, and she takes care of her customers.

Ursula is a board-certified cosmetologist with an impressive career that spans over two decades. Earlier this year, she opened Philadelphia’s only makeup studio, About pHace – and since then, has been very busy, thanks to features in The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Magazine (she was voted Best of Philly 2007, Makeup Application). Ursula’s creative talent is no news to me, as we have been acquainted for years. So for my first Philadelphia Phocus, I decided to pay her a visit and find out how the new business is doing.

The first thing I noticed while touring Ursula’s studio was the organic tea bar; depending on the day, Ursula’s customers can choose blends such as Blueberry Echinacea or Exotic Chai. And while they sip tea, customers can leaf through some of the books in her library. Ursula prefers non-fiction, particularly biographies – from Marlon Brando to Chuck D, and everyone in between. Ursula’s space, is a calm retreat in the midst of bustling downtown Philadelphia; with its waterfall wall sconces and meditation area, it’s easy to understand why Ursula’s customers come back again and again. But, naturally, talent is her ace in the hole.

ursula2 Philadelphia Phocus: Ursula AugustineIn addition to her makeup artistry, Ursula recently unveiled her own line of cosmetics and skin care products that blend natural products with beautiful packaging. Her makeup line is mineral based, but this is no Bare Minerals knockoff. The foundation is liquid powder – so it’s minerals without the mess. The foundations and powders come in a variety of shades to compliment every skin tone.

Ursula’s eye shadows and blushes are gorgeous, yet very wearable – and her lipsticks are available in three finishes: matte, lip shine, and micro-bubble (which release oxygen to the lips throughout the day, keeping them hydrated). The item that blew me away, however, was the Retexturizing Face Primer – which, literally, melts into skin and leaves an invisible layer of silk on the face. Amazing is the only word to describe it.

Ursula’s own line of skin care is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and natural preservatives. When asked to name her favorite product, she couldn’t decide. “It’s like picking your favorite child,” she complained. Finally, she narrowed it down to two – her Oolong Tea and Carrot Oil Eye Cream (which smells like she poured it straight out of the teapot into the jar) and the Pumpkin Apricot Walnut Facial Scrub that she kindly gave to me as a gift. The scrub, which Ursula created years ago with her Cuisinart, is unlike any I have ever tried. It uses ground walnuts (not walnut shells) because they are gentler on skin. And the product can be used without water – just apply and tissue off, which means that you can pamper your skin anywhere, anytime.

It gets better…Ursula offers “pHace Lift Parties” – so you and a group of your friends can enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres while taking a “Smoky Eye Class” or learning how to get that “J.Lo Glow”. She divulged that she’ll soon be adding karaoke to the menu!

Ursula’s About pHace Rittenhouse Makeup Studio is located at 1700 Sansom Street, Suite 201. For more information and to contact Ursula, visit her website.

Spoiled Pretty Tip: If you visit Ursula’s studio, ask her about the TGBIW brush. The acronym stands for “The Greatest Brush In the World”, which was shortened to fit on the brush’s handle. Created with a blend of sable, mink, and inner-thigh goat hair, the brush’s name doesn’t exaggerate.

Photos courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer.



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