Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Kiehl's Float at the Rose Bowl Parade, First Time Ever!

By Laura Medina

This scribe was given a rare opportunity to see, chat, and be educated into Kiehl's first (hopefully, not the last) foray into the Rose Bowl Parade, with their very own float.

In a top-secret location in a small, industrial town, down the freeway from rarefied Pasadena, this scribe can smell Kiehl's very first parade float inside the Rose Bowl Parade's warehouse.  Following the waft of Kiehl's ingredients, this scribe was led to Chris Salgardo and the Kiehl's Rose Bowl Parade float, replica of the first Kiehl's apothecary in Manhattan and dotted with Americana, a plane and a motorcycle.  All and every inch covered in flowers, herbs, spices, and botanics, representing the company's heritage and specialty.

Old & Young, chip in to paint and decorate the floats.

The Kiehl's crew has been at the Rose Bowl Parade Floats' top-secret workshop/warehouse since 7am in the morning.  According to Kiehl's president, Chris Salgardo, he and his crew and army of float volunteers will be here for most of the day.  This scribe noticed this army of volunteers are fueled on Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts and Farmer John's Sausage Sandwiches with Starbucks Coffee, uniquely Californian.

How does Chris feel about riding the float for the first time at the Rose Bowl Parade?

"I'm from Los Angeles. Not only it's an American institution, it's a Southern California thing; and I grew up with the Rose Bowl Parade. I watched it with my folks.  I still watch it now; and it's an honor to be here."

Float volunteers snipping marigolds for Kiehl's Rose Bowl Float.

On the Kiehl's float itself, Chris and the Kiehl's crew picked a few Kiehl's botanical ingredients to represent them on the float.  Anything white, say the airplane, is coconut shaving.  Coconut is one of the main ingredients in Kiehl's products.  Regarding the Kiehl's plane, after coating it in coconut shavings, Chris commented they went on decorating the plane from ingredients used in their Midnight Recovery which is our number one selling product.  The lavender, used in Midnight Recovery, is being used to color and decorate the float.  The marigold, used in the company's Calendula Toner, is the yellow in the float.  Obviously roses, used in their Rosa Arctica, are being incorporated into the float.  Even, fruits are referenced.  The oranges used in the Aromatic Blends: Orange Flower & Lychee and Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate, are being incorporated into the float and are being represented as giant fruit decorations. 

Those giant fruits, the humongous orange, pear, and flowers, do represent the essences of Kiehl's.  A visitor or a float crew volunteer can smell those essences, without even glimpsing the float.

For Chris, oranges are very important to Kiehl's...and the float.  It's a key ingredient in their products tackling fine lines, sun/age spots, and wrinkles.  That giant orange represents how important it is to Kiehl's.  Chris, "We use a lot of oranges in our products."

Those giant flowers are replicas of the marigolds used in their signature Calendula Cleanser & Toner Line.

The giant Pear represents Pear Tree Corner, the name for the original Manhattan location, 3rd Avenue and 13th Street. According to Chris, in 1851, they coined that location "Pear Tree Corner."  

The humongous fruits do more than just represent Kiehl's ingredients.  They symbolizes the company's history.

What's really awe-inspiring about the Kiehl's float.  It encapsulates Kiehl's history and heritage in American culture while representing the innovations and progress of the company, making it relevant today.  They know their history.  This float represents their history but Kiehl's is moving forward with its history.  Chris Salgardo couldn't agree more.

According to Chris,...

"Absolutely.  There's been such great, huge technological advancements in skincare.  Even though we've been around for 164 years, you gotta keep on top of the game because consumers demand it.  There are so many great skincare technology out there.  People have to realize with products, it's not 'one-size fits all.'  If you look inside my medicine cabinet, you'll see products for oily skin, for dry, and for instant hydration because your skin is gonna behave very differently in Charleston, South Carolina than it is in Vegas.  You gotta accommodate it, so skincare needs to be a little more varied, to make sure you're getting the targeted treatment for you at the right time."

Now, let's get back to Kiehl's very first parade float.

 Chris will describe the general process, from sketch to float...

"We started the whole process in April; and from there, we talked conceptually how we wanted the float to be.  Because Kiehl's do not advertise, we don't believe in passing on the advertising cost onto our consumers, we wanted to make sure that people know who we are when they don't know who we are; and we still own and operate the original pharmacy, since 1851, we knew this is going to be the centerpiece of this float."

From there, it went to a specialized design firm that specializes in designing parade float.  From April to late October, Kiehl's finally agreed on the design with the firm.  "This is exactly what we wanted to be."  Then, they pass it onto Fiesta Floats (, an unique design firm that specializes in building and engineering Rose Bowl Parade Floats.  Fiesta Floats fabricates Kiehl's float.  The last step now, which is the last few weeks, will be applying all the rest of the flowers, herbs, spices, and fruits so the float will finished at the end of the day.

On media/press day of Rose Bowl Week, it's crunch time.  How many volunteers and how many hours to finish the float. 

Again, it takes an army to feed an army.  Volunteers fueling on Farmer Johns Sausages & Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts.  True, real California Community Spirit. 

Chris said, "The volunteers work in shifts. But at any given time,  there are 40 to 50 volunteers per a float.  They usually start at 7am, in the morning,  then work until 10 o'clock at night.  On "crunch"/media/press day, it's the day that everyone will be decorating until the float is completed and ready for judging that day and the next day, New Year's Eve, then ready to be paraded down Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard on New Year's Day.

Each float has a designated mechanic/engineer.  Kiehl's mechanic is a fifteen-year Rose Bowl Parade named Dennis.  He informed this scribe that Kiehl's airplane wheels are constructed from seaweed and onion seeds.

Since all of Kiehl's botanicals can't cover the entire floats, they use lots and lots of roses, obviously because it is the Rose Bowl Parade. "It's the celebration of that."

The theme for Kiehl's very first float is "Inspiring a Beautiful World."  It is their motto for their float. 


"What we love about this year's theme, inspiring stories, was that we're a company that believes in supporting its communities, supporting philanthropy.  We have our three pillar causes: HIV/AIDS, Children, and the environment.  This is the perfect time for Kiehl's to come on board but at the end of the day, we are a beauty company.  We make products to make you look better; and so for us, it's always about inspiring a more beautiful world because we always wanted to make people look good and feel great; and so, we think the theme is very fitting for us."

For this scribe, from following the waft of Kiehl's botanicals to seeing their first float being decorated then being educated in float-building by a beauty company, it was a rare, historical moment not to missed or forgotten.


Monday, December 29, 2014

On the Road, Regardless the Season, Really Travel-Worthy Samples from Suntegrity, for under $5.

By Laura Medina

SAMPLE JAR - "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Tinted (BB Cream),

While jet-setting back and forth, knocking between the East Coast and the West Coast for the obligatory holiday travel, this fortunate but weary scribe was so grateful to be test-driving this strong but light-weight BB, by Suntegrity, in Broad Spectrum SPF 30 in five various shades.  Suntegrity's "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Tinted (BB Cream) in Golden Light was a perfect match in shade while the breathable texture imparted a light but velvety, suede appearance, appropriate for Winter travel.

Suntegrity's "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Tinted (BB Cream) is a light-weight armor against Winter's dryness and the harsh UV rays from the Winter sun.  Yes, you'll still get wrinkles, sun spots, and sun burn during the Winter.

What's really "cool" (yep, pun intended), Suntegrity sells travel-worthy TSA-approvals samples already packed and sealed in 3 g/0.1 oz jars and 0.25 ounce tubes for our holiday/vacation convenience.  Fewer nonsense of decanting your full-sized makeup into ity-bity jars and bottles.

A 3g/0.1 oz jar of Suntegrity's "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Tinted (BB Cream) can easily slip in a jean pocket or a cute travel pouch.  It's so opaque enough, that five dabs, per a day, out of one tiny 0.1 pot can last for a weekend get-away.

For such a pretty, cute pot, the BB Cream sure packs a potent formula of youth-promoting antioxidants and astaxanthin, red algae, aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea, moisturizing yet light-weight in an UV shield.  Since it's a BB Cream, Suntegrity's "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Tinted (BB Cream), a dab of uncoated, non-nano zinc-oxide, in five various shade, is a face moisturizer, sunscreem, and makeup-primer while all-natural astaxanthin, red algae, aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea calms down rosacea, acne, and melasma.

DELUXE SAMPLE TUBE - "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen (BB Cream) - TINTED,

If you want your facial sunscreen straight-up, the thicker textured DELUXE .25 ounce SAMPLE TUBE "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen (BB Cream) - TINTED in four different shades, are for those suffering from really parched skin or for those being hit hard by the UV rays on the ski slopes.

While being hit hard by Las Vegas' UV unfiltered rays, this scribe found smearing and patting a lighter shade of the thicker "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen, under, around, and over the eyes, especially when "crinkles" pop up at the corner of the eyes, makes a great eye concealer and moisturizer and "eye shield" when you lost your UV-deflecting sunglasses somewhere, left behind at the airport or hotel, forgodsake.

In fact, here's this jet-setter tip, get two tubes in two different shades of Suntegrity's "5 in 1" Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen.  One tube is one shade light to speckle the bags while soothing the squinty wrinkles.  The other tube is one shade darker to smear as a natural eyeshadow to moisturize and shield.  The Winter Las Vegas/Utah ski all-natural look.

You'll all shades of Suntegrity soon on the red carpet with the fast-approaching Award Season shows.

Suntegrity Skincare developer Tricia Trimble, who is based in Los Angeles, takes advantage of working in Hollywood and learning the harsh lessons of living in sunny Cali, when her mom died from skin cancer.

Celebrities love the multiple shades and choice of textures...

Carla Gugino says,
"I love my Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted Sunscreen! I have the medium which seems to be great. It's a bit warmer/darker than my actual skin tone, but I like that. :) Especially in the chilly winter in NYC!”

So, take a tip from this sun-weary traveler, grab a couple of  travel-sized pots and tubes of Suntegrity then stash in your carry-on.




Friday, December 26, 2014

Tilda Swinton for NARS, new NARS for the New Year.

By Laura Medina

Francois Nars might had finished off this year with the eternally smoking Charlotte Rampling representing his equally sultry Fall Collection, so wise of him.

But, he's starting the New Year with an actress who's just as clean, classy, timeless, yet bold, the striking Tilda Swinton.

Simplicity may be the key for both Tilda and NARS' Spring 2015 Collection.  Still, simplicity doesn't mean weak.  Both the Tilda and the Spring Collection speaks volume of quality.

The theme is that of quiet chic.  Not screaming for attention but of allowing quality, a.k.a. "the work," to speak for itself, much like the spokesperson, Tilda Swinton.


The actress is much like NARS' new, upcoming foundation, All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (New for Spring 2015; for now try Sheer Matte Foundation)

NARS has a slew of new stuff arriving just around the corner, say next week...

For y'all  traveling, which is most of us right now, NARS has a new compact, all-in-one travel palette for the "cheeks & lips" type of girl, say like this scribe...

NARSissist Blush, Contour and Lip Palette 
According to Francois, a NARSissist is ....
"NARSissist (NARS∙is∙sist) (n.) - lives by her own rules, not afraid to express herself in every look, mood or attitude.  Effortless charm with a bottomless makeup bag. Always in touch. Never without a touch-up."
Sounds pretty much like this on-the-go, jet-setting scribe.
The NARSissist’s spring arsenal of covetable color keeps her must-haves close at hand in an exclusive blush, contouring, and lip palette that give her more face timein no time. The limited-edition palette features three must-have blushes and two essentials for contouring, Albatross Highlighting Blush and Laguna Bronzing Powder. Finish the look with Istria Lip Gloss.
PALETTE INCLUDES: Enrapture Blush, Enthralled Blush, Roman Holiday Blush, Albatross Highlighting Blush, Laguna Bronzing Powder and Istria Lip Gloss
PRICE: $59 Available February 1, 2015 at Sephora and March 15, 2015 at NARS boutiques and

Since it wouldn't debut until February, come to think of it as a nifty office/purse staple year-around.

One to watch. Eight to swatch. The NARSissist keeps her eyes (and options) open with the Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow Palette that change her look, wet or dry, day to night. Double-takes never looked so good. The limited-edition palette features eight dual-intensity eyeshadows with riveting range from delicate peach pink to fierce black orchid and a specially designed wet/dry eyeshadow brush. 

Thank God, cosmetic companies are thinking of the real-life modern woman, busy as she is chic.

Along with Smashbox, NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow Palette can used light when dry and dark or eyeliner when wet.  Simple as that.  Double the look for half the money and the weight while getting twice the space.

Shades include: Europa, Himalia, Ursa Major, Subra, Andromeda, Lysithea, Giove, Sycorax PRICE: $79  

Available: January 1, 2015 at NARS boutiques and February 1, 2015 at Sephora, specialty and department stores.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ole Smoky Moonshine, Moonshine Gone Legit.

By Laura Medina

Like any good ole boy and girl of today, they all grew up, got educated, graduated with a couple of degrees, move, traveled, and got cultured but they still kept their roots, much like Ole Smoky Moonshine.

It's still moonshine but it grew up and cleaned up its act.  It's ready for its nation-wide, perhaps, world-wide debut.

Truth be told, Original Moonshine is a good, clear liquor base to build all sort of flavored liqueurs but Ole Smoky Moonshine has beat ya' to that.

Ranging from 100 proofs of Original to Moonshine Cherry, Apple, Peach, and the vodka/gin/tequila alternative, White Lightin,' Ole Smoky Moonshine covers all sort of flavors spanning 100 proof to 80 proof to the easy-sipping and easy-gulping 40 proof for beginners.

Here are some holiday moonshine cocktails to warm your sweethearts and cockles well into the New Year.

Glass Ingredients

  • 1 part Ole Smoky® Apple Pie Moonshine
  • 6 parts Celestial Gingerbread Spice Tea
  • 1/4 part Honey
  • Fresh lemon wedge


  • Mix ingredients while warm
  • Garnish
  • Shine Responsibly®

Glass Ingredients

  • 4 parts Ole Smoky ® Shine Nog
  • 1 part Kahlua® 
  • Splash Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon Stick


  • Mix all ingredients
  • Serve on the rocks
  • Add garnish
  • Shine Responsibly®

Pitcher Ingredients

  • 1 jar Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine
  • 1/2 gallon unfiltered apple cider
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
Garnish: Apple slices and cinnamon sticks


  • Bring to a light simmer 
  • Ladle into punch glasses
  • Garnish
  • Shine Responsibly®

Glass Ingredients

  • **Read preparation instructions before mixing**
  • 3 oz Sparkling Apple Cider
  • 2 oz Ole Smoky Shine Nog
  • Finish with Cinnamon Stick


  • In a shaker, pour 3 oz Sparkling Cider over ice and wait for it to stop fizzing before adding 2 oz Shine Nog
  • Shake well
  • Pour into Mason Jar and add Cinnamon Stick
  • Shine Responsibly®

Glass Ingredients

  • **Read Preparation Instructions Before Mixing**
  • 3 oz Sparkling Cranberry Cider
  • 2 oz Ole Smoky Shine Nog
  • Finish with Cinnamon Stick 


  • In a shaker, pour Sparkling Cranberry Cider over Ice
  • After Cider stops fizzing, add Shine Nog
  • Shake well
  • Pour into Mason Jar or Preferred Glassware
  • Garnish with Cinnamon Stick and serve! 
  • Shine Responsibly®
See, moonshine has grown up and ready to share the celebration cheers with everyone.  The good ole boy put on a tuxedo; and the good ole girl don a cocktail dress for the holidays.

It's Like Having Starbucks/Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf inside your Kitchen Counter Top, Top Brewer Coffee Faucet.

By Laura Medina

Want more room on your kitchen counter?  Want it to look more "mean, lean, and sleek?"  Sick and tired of losing money at coffee barista franchises?

You can have it both ways with Top Brewer's Coffee Faucet.

Yep, you heard this scribe right...a faucet that brews and spews out any type of coffee, hot cocoa, warm milk, and juice, all conveniently spewing out of Top Brewer's Coffee Faucet.

When you download the Top Brewer app on your tablet, a menu pops up.  You can pick and choose a glass of warm or cold milk and/or a mug of hot chocolate, hot water, or cappuccino, latte, or espresso.

On your Top Brewer Smartphone app, you can pick whichever beverage you want then control the strength, the intensity, size, cup, and milk foam then watch the magic.

It's like having your own barista at home, in the kitchen, discreetly tucked away in the cabinet, spouting whatever brew you like, any day and night you want.

How does Top Brewer work?

You dump your bag of roasted whole coffee beans into a box bin underneath your counter, the coffee faucet.

From there, 1 second grind. 64 mm discs grind the coffee beans then brew the consistency, the texture, and milk foam or not, according to your request from the Top Brew app.

It's not just hot beverages.  Your kid can program Top Brewer Coffee Faucet, on their smartphone app, to shoot a fresh glass of cold water or refreshing juice on a sunny, sweaty day after school.

Imagine having the tweens, your teens, and college-aged kids and your spouse...and your grandma/pa...or uncle or aunt...or next-door neighbor helping themselves with ease and saving money and counter space.

Your pad will be the most popular in the 'hood and your kid's high school and among local college students and professors.  You will always have friends.

If you're wondering what's next for this holiday that will be useful well beyond into the next year, give your sweetie or yourself a Top Brewer Coffee Faucet.  You'll be thankful when you do.  As after a long, hard day working then a long night shopping and wrapping, Top Brewer Coffee Faucet gives the break you desire anytime you want.  More useful than a diamond ring and heck a lot more rewarding than a boring tie, Top Brewer Coffee Faucet is an item any relationship can savor, sip, and share...share if you want. 

Shoot, you can offer Santa a mug of warm cappuccino after a long sleigh ride.  He'll be grateful.

The Classic, Nivea Cream & The New, EB5 and Phyto-C Moisturizing Serums for Winter Skin.

By Laura Medina

As long there's dry, scaly painful skin and wrinkles, there will always be oils and creams to, hopefully, make them disappear then improve, or at least, soothe them away.

EB5 Original 5-in-1 Anti-Aging Facial Treatment comes from Portland's version of Kiehl's, abet a more recent one.  In 1960, Pharmacist Heldfond helped local Portland hospitals create a way to deliver topical medications to patients in need. His cream proved so effective the nurses started using it on their own skin. They would come to the pharmacy and ask for it in bulk. It was simple yet highly effective.  It diminished fine lines and wrinkles, neutralized free radicals, attracted needed moisture. His idea was simple: use five anti-aging ingredients to treat the 12 signs of aging skin, delivering one result.

The younger Heldfond studied vitamins E and B and their affect on skin. He included extracts and oils, and advanced pharmaceutical-influenced ingredients, all chosen because of their ability to treat skin. He patented the formula, calling it the original 5-in-1 facial cream and it quickly became the choice for women of all ages.

Portland's hidden cult classic carries:

Comfrey Root, known as Symphytum officinale
Used to soothe skin.

Oat kernel flour, known as Avena sativa
Used to smooth dry skin.

Vitamin A, known as Retinyl palmitate
Used to accelerate cell renewal
We use a gentle form of retinyl palmitate

 Vitamin B, known as Panthenol
Used to protect and moisturize

 Vitamin E,known as Tocopherol
Used as an antioxidant and skin conditioner

But EB5 Skincare keeps on rolling, with new innovative skincare.

They realized not everyone wants a heavy cream that chokes their pores and people with pimples, also get get wrinkles.  They're called adult acne.

EB5 Skincare came out with an anti-aging toner that doesn't strip the skin dry, but adds nourishment without greasy oils.

The toner has:

Elderberry, known as Sambucus nigra
Used as an antioxidant and anti-infammatory

Vitamin B, known as Panthenol
Used to protect and moisturize

Sage, known as Salvia officinalis
Used for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties

Cucumber, known as Cucumis sativus
Used to soothe inflamed skin

Phyto-C Skincare Moisturizing Serums are also ideal for the acne-prone with wrinkles, say adults, during any season, any time of year.

Their Icy Blue Serum has Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin B5, Kojic Acid, Menthol, Centella Asiatica Extract and Methylene Blue to:

Provides intensive hydration by binding water to skin tissue.  Promotes extraordinary healing capabilities, restores and hydrates skin. Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Nourishes skin and enhances skin elasticity. Calms and smooths skin.

Phyto-C's B5 Gel is a simple concoctions of Vitamin B5 and Sodium Hyaluronate that provides intensive hydration by binding water to skin tissue, restores and hydrates skin, and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Alright,  everyone wants a classic because it's reassuring.

While Winter jet-setting, the classic Nivea Cream comes in a jiffy.

For you Do-It-Yourselfers Crafters, Nivea Cream can be used as a cream base to turn your serums into a high-performance facial cream for those spotty wrinkles.

While running low in hair conditioner, this scribe rubbed Nivea Cream into her frizzies to tame them.

Here are many uses for a jar of Nivea Cream:

It is a moisturizer.
It has proven to be an effective cuticle cream, preventing infection and keeping cuticles moisturized. At home mani’s, here you come.
Nivea Creme can be applied to a sunburn to help moisturize and soothe.
Nivea also soothes eczema.
It tackles the driest of body parts like feet, elbows, knees, hands and lips.
 A face mask, applying a heavy layer before going to bed.
Nivea Creme can be used as a lip balm or a heavy lip treatment.
Nivea Creme can be used to tame fly-aways and to keep your hair in place and styled perfectly.
Celebrities like Cara Delevingne, Kate Winslet and Reese Witherspoon swear by Nivea Creme.
In a recent test Nivea Creme held its own during a comparison between Nivea and Creme de la Mer.
The Creme can be used as a makeup primer (particularly to prime before using other creme based products like blush or eyeshadow.)
Removes Makeup! (Keep away from eyes, the perfume in the Creme could cause irritation.)
Nivea works with tons of global charities.

The 6.8oz jar Nivea releases a lot of space on your bathroom countertop.

The 1oz tin and 2oz tube saves a lot of room in your carry-on at the airport.  With a cream this rich, a little dab goes a long way for a lot of use.

This is your Winter Skincare line-up, from the innovative to the ingenious.