Review: Valmont's Essence of Bees 'Cure Majestueuse'

When it comes to skincare, there are so many products on the market, it can make you dizzy.  It takes a lot of research, but also some good old fashioned trial and error to find out what works best.  And like many things in this world, when it comes to your skin, you get what you pay for.  

I wish I'd taken better care of my own skin earlier in life, because now, I'm in serious repair mode.  I'm dealing with fine lines, discoloration, under-eye circles, acne scars and dullness.  Recently, I started using Valmont skincare's new "Essence of Bees" collection, part of their L'Elixir des Glaciers line, with some incredible results (read here to learn more about the products). 

The collection features formulations with some of the same ingredients as those inexpensive brands like Burt's Bees or Egyptian Magic, such as honey, propolis and royal jelly.  However, the results with Valmont's formula are wildly different than those other brands.

The Cure Majestueuse has been my go-to every night.  It's a serum and it's not particularly light.  If you're wearing make-up, you probably don't want to use this one during the day.  The serum comes in a beautiful glass vial with a gold dropper.  You only need about 5 drops, which I apply directly to my face, then blend in a circular motion.

In the few weeks I've been using it, I've noticed a drastic reduction in the appearance of my wrinkles.  My skin looks and feels more plump, youthful and hydrated.  It also looks brighter and clearer.  I have the curse of adult acne and constantly battle blemishes.  Even though this serum is a rich formula, it doesn't cause me to break out in the slightest and it's a miracle when it comes to repairing skin.  I was surprised to see that much of the redness and scarring from old acne has disappeared!

I didn't understand the benefit of keeping skin hydrated until recently, but it really is critically important.  When your skin is dried out, your wrinkles stand out so much more.  By using this at night, I see a dramatic difference in the morning when I apply my makeup.  It goes on smoother and doesn't settle into my creases and fine lines.

Honestly, I can't recommend this product enough, but since it is a luxury product, it's priced accordingly.  You're paying for the highest quality ingredients and latest cellular cosmetic research.  Since I only have one face, and I want to take care of it, I think the price tag is absolutely worth it.

If you'd like to try it for yourself, Valmont's Essence of Bees collection will be available for purchase at their online boutique and Saks Fifth Avenue in September 2017.

Review: Jane Iredale's Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener

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To be perfectly honest, I had never used Jane Iredale products until now.  I first found out about the line through Nordstrom and was attracted by the fact that their cosmetics are designed to improve your skin, not damage it.  Too many makeup brands cause me to break out, leave my skin feeling dry and sink into my fine lines.  Anything that can combat that is a win in my book.

I tried Jane's Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener, which is one of her best-selling products.  It immediately felt different than other primers I've used.  It is incredibly light and goes on very smooth.  I've found other primers can be too heavy and coupled with foundation, everything starts to sink into my fine lines and instead of helping to conceal them, actually makes them stand out more.

That's not the case with this product.  It's light enough that my foundation applies easily and almost floats on the skin.  It has a smooth and luminous appearance.  Yes, I think this primer helps my foundation last a bit longer through the day, but the biggest benefit far and away is the ability to create a flawless finish.

To use, I put a pea sized amount on the back of my hand and with a brush, apply evenly all over my face.  You can use your fingers, if you prefer.  Then apply your favorite BB cream or foundation on top.  I like to finish with a setting spray for a more natural and luminescent look or a little bit of loose powder in the T-zone for a matte finish.  

Jane Iredale's Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener sells for $48.  It's available on her website and at other major retailers.

Valmont launches 'Essence of Bees' with focus on sustainability

Valmont Essence of Bees Collection

If you read my blog, you know I'm more than a little obsessed with the luxury skincare brand, Valmont.  As a TV personality, my face is important... and mine goes through a lot.  I wear loads of makeup every day, then scrub it all off every night.  Not to mention, the awful sun damage from my reckless youth.  So, it's worth it for me to spend the extra money taking care of my skin.

Valmont Essence of Bees Cure Majestueuse

Valmont is based in medical research so their products penetrate deeper and work with your body to renew and repair.  If you try the line, you immediately see and feel the difference.  In September, Valmont is adding a new trio of products to their l'Elixir des Glaciers collection.  It's called the Essence of Bees and I was lucky enough to try it before it hits the stores!!!

Valmont Essence of Bees Serum Majestueux

I thought Valmont was luxurious before, but this collection blew my mind.  I felt like a princess opening the oversized black and gold box.  The copper-toned bottles inside are nothing short of Hollywood glamour.  If you really want to splurge, Valmont's artistic director, Didier Guillon even created an 18 carat gold-plated sheath inspired by a honeycomb!

What's inside is also special.  The formula contains honey, propolis and royal jelly.  Honey is a moisturizer and skin repairer, while propolis is coveted for its purifying virtues.  Royal jelly is the most precious of the hive's products and helps with inflammation.  I've tried inexpensive products with these ingredients before, but had no clue how powerful they can be.  The cheap creams and lotions at the drug store don't do these ingredients justice.

Valmont Essence of Bees Masque Majestueux

Not only are the products good for your skin, but they're good for mother nature, too.  With this launch, Valmont is saving bees in Switzerland and investing in 50 beehives to sustainably use for their products going forward.  During the month of September, for every purchase of Essence of Bees, Valmont will donate $10 to the Pollinator Partnership to support the health of bees in North America.  I can definitely get behind (or should I say bee-hind) that!

Essence of Bees includes the Cure Majestueuse Votre Visage ($350), Masque Majestueux Votre Visage ($425) and Serum Majestueux Vos Yeux ($390), available at Saks 5th Avenue and at Valmont's online boutique.

To babymoon or not to babymoon? Here's my advice

anne and joe at the Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence

You're looking at Facebook and see a picture of your gloriously pregnant, stunningly beautiful friend showing off her perfect baby bump on a white sand beach in Greece.  She's on a "babymoon"... that last adult getaway before her life changes forever.  It seems like a great idea, and she seems to be having a blast, but are babymoons really all they're cracked up to be?

We didn't take one with our first child, but decided to explore Italy before having our second.  Was it a great trip?  Yes!  Would I do it again?  No.

anne along the Arno river in Florence

I planned the trip around the 6 month mark of my pregnancy.  Since my first child was a preemie and my second pregnancy was high risk, I ran the idea by both of my doctors, got medical records to bring along, checked with the airline and made sure to research hospitals in each of the cities we were visiting. 

Italy was a good choice for some reasons, but bad for others.  Let's start with the positives...

Meats and cheese at the central market in Florence Italy

I ate my way through that country and didn't bat an eyelash!  You're not going to be drinking or going on any wild adventures and unlike my gorgeous friend in Greece, you probably won't want to be seen in a bikini, so choose wisely.  I gorged on pasta, risotto and all the Parmigiano-Reggiano I could get my hands on.

pasta cooked in a wheel of parmesan cheese in rome

Another positive was the timing.  We went during off-season, which allowed us to stay in nicer hotels at a more affordable price.  Since my energy level was much lower than normal, we spent a significant amount of time in some very swanky hotels.  Having a luxurious place to relax was well worth the splurge!

Hotel Roma Luxus in Rome
Lobby of the Boscolo Venezia in Venice

Now, the negatives...

Do not underestimate how much your butt is going to hurt on an overseas flight!!  I was horribly uncomfortable and had a center seat, so it was difficult to get up to stretch.  You may want to choose someplace closer to home that has a shorter flight or shell out the extra cash for first class.  Also, consider your luggage if you're traveling by train.  Poor Joe had to lug ALL of our suitcases on and off of every train we took.

Joe on the train from Florence to Trento Italy

Italy requires a lot of walking, as do many popular vacation spots.  Your feet are going to hurt and you may be having contractions already.  I had to seriously take it easy, which made it difficult to enjoy as many sights as we would have liked.  Pack comfortable shoes, even if they're ugly, and make sure to take it slow.  I definitely would have cut out one of the cities we visited if I had to plan it all over again.

exploring castle altaguardia in trento

Finally, don't underestimate the unknown.  Every woman and every pregnancy is different.  Everything was okay with my trip, but my early contractions wouldn't slow down and just weeks after returning, I was put on bed rest.  Risking the health and well-being of yourself and your baby just isn't worth it.

If you really want to get away, without having to worry, wait until after the baby is born.  Joe and I took a trip to Croatia when Beau was about one and a half years old and it was magical.  We had truly earned a vacation at that point and could drink, play and relax knowing Beau was safe at home with Grandma! 

Our first trip to Croatia away from the baby
Sharing a bottle of champagne on Lokrum off of Dubrovnik Croatia

If you insist on something before baby, I'd recommend sticking close to home.  Find a relaxing spa or plan a staycation at a swanky hotel.  You may just rest a little easier not having to worry about potential problems with baby.

 

Beauty Review: Charlotte Tilbury's Healthy Glow Hydrating Tint

To be perfectly honest, I don't have the best relationship with makeup.  For me, makeup is work.  I wear loads of it on television and leave the station each day feeling like a clown.  Most brands simultaneously cause me to break out, while also settling into my wrinkles, making them appear more pronounced.

So it is EXTREMELY RARE for me to be this excited about something I put on my face!  Enter: Charlotte Tilbury's brand new Unisex Healthy Glow Hydrating Tint.  This product is nothing short of miraculous.  I'm not quite sure how to classify it, because it's not exactly a tinted moisturizer, tanning cream, BB cream or foundation.  It's in a class all its own. 

You only need a pea sized amount of the product, which will appear white when it comes out of the tube and feels a little grainy.  In fact, I first thought it had separated and proceeded to put the cap back on and shake it like crazy, only to realize it's supposed to be that way! 

As you work the moisturizer into your skin, the color will immediately appear.  You'll see a very natural, bronzed glow, without any streaks or the heavy feel of foundation.  It truly does just tint the skin, so it doesn't sink into fine lines.  That being said, the bronzing effect magically disguises my uneven skin tones and even redness and blemishes. 

You can use it alone or if you need more coverage, with your regular foundation and/or primer.  I've tried both with great results.  And unlike a tanning cream, the tinted moisturizer washes right off at the end of the day.

The product isn't cheap, but with the versatility and incredible results, I think it's well worth the $40 price tag.  One word to the wise... the hydrating tint does not contain any SPF, so if you're going outside, you absolutely need to put on your favorite sunscreen first.