CPT’s Best Blow Dry

Lameez did my hair for my 30th birthday party.
Lameez gave me these gorgeous locks for my 30th birthday party.

I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world and, often, on these trips, I have had the need for a good blow dry (as one does): whether it be for a special event or just to lift my mood and restore my ‘chi’ after a long-haul international flight.

To my perpetual dismay, however, regardless of how many pounds or dollars I’ve spent at the latest/hottest/most exclusive hair salons dotted across the globe, I have yet to come across a hair stylist who can inject my hair with as much bouncy, volumising, root-lifted body as Lameez Barendse at HAIR on Kloof Nek Road in Cape Town (021-422-2269). She uses all the tricks (volumising mousse, velcro curlers, curling tongs, hair spray and good old-fashioned backcombing) to get the job done and to get it to last. She’s super quick too, which, to me, is a plus.

I met Lameez one rainy Saturday morning, about 5 years ago, when she was still working at AURA in Green Point. I waltzed in looking for someone to fix my at-home-fringe-cutting disaster. And there she was. She fixed it in a jiffy and didn’t even charge me. I’ve never looked back (and my hair has never looked better:) PS She’s a very busy girl, so book your body-boosting blow dry well in advance.

CPT’s Best Manicure

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If you live in Cape Town, South Africa, or you plan to visit it any time soon, there is only one place (and one woman) to go to for the perfect manicure. Believe me when I say I have kissed many a mani/pedi-frog and after finding Terri (who currently works at Dante Wellness Spa in Sea Point, Cape Town, 021-434-1011) she became my manicurist for life. The wonder-woman is highly experienced and it shows: she stays within the lines and she knows how to paint so that polish lasts. (She’s also not one of those annoying nail technicians who do a shoddy paint job and then touch it up with acetone-dipped buds afterwords. She doesn’t need to. She gets it right the first time around.)

If you’re an old fashioned gal who swears by traditional nail polish, you’ll love Dante’s selection of cool Essie colours. My all-time personal favourites are Wicked, a deep and dark sinister red, and of course the famous Ballet Slippers, an award-winning, best-selling classic pale pink with a sheer finish. However, I prefer Gelish and CND Shellac: not for their range of colours, which I think could be better, but for their sheer practicality: these soak-off gel polishes need zero dry time, stay on far longer than traditional polish and, if applied properly, will not chip off after a few days. (You do need to return to the salon, though, to have the gel soaked off, once your nails have grown out.)

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My favourite Gelish colour is Black Cherry Berry (similar to Essie’s Wicked) and my go-to Shellac shade is Romantique (a light creamy colour that needs to be applied three times to give even coverage, since it’s quite sheer).

PS I can’t believe I am actually giving away this entry in my little black book, as Terri is already super busy and now she will probably become even busier, meaning I will have to call weeks in advance! I do, however, feel that – when it comes to avoiding what I call ‘spa-sasters’ – sharing is caring. Life’s just too short to have bad nails!

CPT’s Best Affordable Art Gallery

I grew up around art: serious, internationally coveted, investment-quality art. However, I reckon buying serious art is a serious commitment; a commitment which I am not always keen to make.

Although I am the proud owner of a handful of important pieces I have gathered over the years, I enjoy nothing more than – from time to time – spontaneously walking into Salon 91 Contemporary Art Collection on Kloof Street, Cape Town, to have a look at whatever casual buying prospects might be on offer. Most recently, I walked out with two original South African works for under R2,000.00.  No pressure, no fuss, no buyer’s remorse. Only two new beautiful pieces of visual inspiration to adorn my walls with.

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This boutique gallery, owned by the beautiful and talented Monique Du Preez, is a stop not to be missed on any art-collector’s journey to cultivating his/her own long-term art tastes and preferences.  The featured works above and below are from a past exhibition by Katrin Coetzer called ‘Honeymoon’. The thumbnail image used for this post is an original work by Sunette Viljoen.

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Business Tips From Steve Jobs

If you read one book this year, make it Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I have just finished it and I can honestly say that it has changed the way I look at the world. Due to its sheer volume, I elected to read this book on my light and user-friendly Kindle rather than attempting to make my way through the rather intimidating and seriously heavy hard-copy version.

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As a bonus, this allowed me to digitally capture a few of what I deemed to be its most compelling business lessons, namely the following:

  1. Your goal should be to create great products or services, not to make money;
  2. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication;
  3. ‘Impute’ your (product’s) greatness by making a memorable first impression on people. People do judge a book by its cover;
  4. Focus on creating a handful of ‘insanely great’ products, rather than 40 or 50 mediocre ones;
  5. A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it;
  6. People don’t always know what they want. They need to be shown what they want. Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?;
  7. Nurture and trust your intuition;
  8. A players like to work only with other A players, which means you can’t indulge B players;
  9. When people say things cannot be done, 9 out of 10 times they’re wrong; and, last but not least,
  10. The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Business lessons aside, what I found to emerge most strongly from Walter Isaacson’s unbiased and honest account of Jobs’ life, was the almost inescapable probability that those qualities that led Steve Jobs to create the world’s most valuable company (the obsessive, compulsive, near-impossible standards of perfection) are also those that, in the end, led to his premature death.

This book is, in my humble opinion, a biographical masterpiece that will teach you as much about business as it will about the human race.

 

World’s Best Tweezers

Struggling to find that perfect tweezer for quick brow touch-ups in between waxing/threading appointments? Struggle no more. If you haven’t yet discovered the original, award-winning Tweezerman Slant, your life is about to change. The perfectly aligned, hand-filed tips are slanted to grab every hair, every time with the smoothest, true precision.tweezerman

Available in a fabulous range of colours & wonderfully kitsch animal prints. I’ve heard they sell them at Dis-Chem in South Africa, although I bought mine a year or so ago in London (at the Selfridges Beauty Department). You will never use another tweezer.

Awards Allure Best of Beauty Award for the last 10 years; InStyle Best Beauty Awards from 2001 to 2005 and 2007 to 2010.

World’s Best Daily Exfoliator

Let’s be clear: I am an avid, die-hard, unreasonably loyal Dermalogica fan. There are one or two products that don’t work for my skin type, but – overall – I am a huge fan of this brand and recommend it to anyone who’ll listen. Having gotten that out of my system, my favourite Dermalogica product is hands-down the Daily Microfoliant.

545-693-thickboxAs the name says, this exfoliating powder is gentle enough to be used daily. Simply mix half a teaspoon with some water to create a deliciously soft and crumbly exfoliating paste, lathering it onto skin in circular motions, leaving it to work for a minute, before rinsing off. This skincare wonder leaves skin instantly smoother and brighter, ready to soak up your daily moisturizer. Each time I use this product, my boyfriend comments on how good my skin looks. This is a particularly great product to use (always on a cleansed face) after long-haul flights when your skin needs a serious polish.

World’s Best Highlighting Powder

Bobbi-Brown-Shimmer-Bricks-OpenerIf you go out and buy one fabulous new beauty product for your summer kit, make it the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in Bronze. I have to say, I was reluctant about including this post in my blog, quite simply because it’s one of those Secret Beauty Weapons I usually only share with (truly, sincerely, loyally) good friends! I must confess, I did not discover this gem of a makeup product by myself. I was introduced to it by makeup artist extraordinaire Algria and it’s been in my makeup kit ever since. This shimmering, brush-on powder creates a deep, bronzy glow that reflects light in just the right way that your cheekbones will love you for it (without looking like a sheeny shiny glittery teenager.) You simply have to try this one for yourself to see why I love it so much and will never give it up. Application Sweep your bronzer brush through all five shades and dust lightly on cheekbones. Focus on applying shimmer on the top of cheekbones – where light naturally hits the face – for the most flattering look. To add a highlight to eyes, apply the lightest shade in the compact just under browbone. Awards Martha Stewart Weddings Big-Day Beauty Awards 2012.

World’s Best Gel Eyeliner

qvc_bobbi_brownOver the years, I have tried many (and I mean MANY) eye liners in the hopes that one of them would stay in place all day. A few years ago, I met and fell in love with Bobbi Brown’s award-winning Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner (in black).  This is the best eye liner I have ever come across for lining the top lash lid (right by your lashes) to give you that eyes-wide-open lash-enhanced look. (I personally don’t use this product on the lower lash lid. It can look quite harsh there as it dries quickly so is not really suitable for a smudged effect.) It’s the perfect product for those days when you don’t feel like drowning your face in war paint, but need just a single stroke of understated definition, quickly applied in the morning. This easy-to-apply quick-drying liner lasts all (freaking) day and does not start smudging around 4pm.

Application Dip the tip of Bobbi Brown’s Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush (coat both sides of brush head) into the pot. Wipe off any excess before applying to eyes. Work quickly as the product becomes transfer-resistant once dry. Awards Best of Beauty by Allure Magazine (2012). Winner of 50 Best Beauty Products 2013 by Siempre Mujer. Selected as a Best Beauty Buy by In Style (May 2013).

World’s Best Beauty Gadget

Once you’ve washed your face with this baby, there’s no going back!

ClarisonicFor years, I have battled with problem skin (which, my dermatologist has assured me over and over again, is a secret age-defying blessing). However, there is nothing glamorous about looking like an adolescent when you’re over 30.

As far as gimmicks go (and I have tried a few) the best experience I’ve had is with the Clarisonic Mia device. Once you’ve washed your face with this baby, there’s no going back! It’s like discovering an electric toothbrush after years of using a regular one. No wonder that this relatively new product has already become a worldwide sensation. It has been shown to cleanse skin eight times more thoroughly than face wash alone, with its gentle exfoliation allowing all other lotions & potions to penetrate skin more deeply and effectively. PS My boyfriend will kill me for saying this, but after catching him use mine one too many times, I resorted to getting him his own for our one-year anniversary. Perhaps not the most romantic gift, but boy is it a useful one!

Stockists Selfridges in London, Macy’s in New York City. Alternatively, use Clarisonic’s Location Finder to find a stockist near you.

Awards ‘Best Skin Device’ in Glamour Best of Beauty Awards 2012.

World’s Best Smokey Eyeliner

images-2 I don’t know about everyone, but I often find beauty & fashion mags so jam-packed with adverts, advertorials, editorials & plugs, that I never know whether to trust what Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle or Vogue recommends when it comes to the so-called BEST makeup products. The sheer confusion I experience from the information overload is enough to kill me! Being a die-hard perfectionist, however, I have over the years – through my contacts with international (think Vanity Fair & Sports Illustrated international;) and top-notch makeup artists as well as my own trial-and-error processes, discovered that, which – in my humble opinion – qualifies as the (real) BEST in certain beauty categories.

6a00d8341c5dea53ef017c3685cad2970b-800wiIf you have been searching for an eye liner that is dewy, soft and sexy, but stays in place all day and makes you look sultry (not slutty!) after a long day’s running around, you cannot go wrong with Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Colour. It is marketed as a long-wearing, creamy shadow (which it works great as) but I use it as a thin eyeliner which I smudge just enough upon application, before it sets. It can also be applied directly onto the inner bottom and upper lash lids. Use a thin MAC slanted eye liner brush to get the line just right and keep it subtle and blend or smudge with a softer round-tip brush. Unfortunately this item is not available everywhere (which elevates it on my Lust List, just because I like having things not everyone else has!). Next time you have a friend in the UK or the USA, put this baby on your wish list! I brought one back for my makeup guru, Daleen Stewart, who fell in love at first…application and now keeps begging me for a refill every time I go to London! PS My personal favourite colour is Smoke (looks great on brunettes).

Note: this stuff is not the easiest to get off due to its long-wearing formula (but Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover does the trick for me and is as gentle on my eyes as it proclaims to be).