Board and Batten has the tag line on it’s products: “Farm to Skin” which should clue you in that @ will delight those on your list that like products from nature, and the idea that the originals were from the land, not a chemists’ lab. Board and Batten was inspired by the beautiful landscape of Lake County, Florida, where the owners live on a plantation style farm of over 600 acres, including a 40 acre tree farm, 20 acres of citrus, a greenhouse, and 200 acres of grazing cattle. The namesake board and batten barn houses their Nubian goats, horses and chickens. The farm fresh products they create are a natural out-cropping of this serene setting.
The packaging is simple, black and white, mostly glass bottles with white labels and black lettering which is elegant, and unisex. One product at a health and wellness expo Editor’s event that particularly caught my eye, and that I thought would make a nice holiday gift for anyone on your gift list, is the Board and Batten Cover Me Honey Ultra Rich Body Creme ($35.00 5 oz.) which arrives in a beautiful, clear square glass bottle with black plastic pump top, tied with a black and white ribbon. The Body Creme contains softening ingredients which help soothe and condition skin while vitamin rich honey help0s to draw moisture from the air to keep your skin hydrated. What I like so much about this product is that it smells a bit like tart lemon, and while it is very hydrating, it isn’t greasy. Ingredients: Rose distillate, Sunflower Seed oil*, Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate, Jojoba Oil*,Shea Butter*, Witch Hazel, Honey, stearic acid, glycerin, soy lecithin, bergamot oil, grapefruit oil, Geranium oil, Litsea cubeba, ylang ylang, gluconolactone and sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, and rosemary officinalis leaf extract.
You might also add the beautifully packaged Board and Batteen Bamboo Charcoal Soap ($9.00 4 oz.). Yes, it looks alarmingly dark when you remove the craft paper wrapper tied with a black grossgrain ribbon and a very intricate illuminated manuscript-style label, but the soap bar is crafted using the “cold-process” soap making method, and contains fresh goat milk as well as olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter. These ingredients moisturize the skin with a rich all natural lather and scent creating a luxurious soap for everyday use. Those who are interested in natural products will be happy to know that this soap is make with bamboo grown on the B&B farm which is turned into charcoal and then added into their soap oils. The advantage is activated carbons which help to detoxify the skin, drawing out any impurities. And before I forget, the scent is amazing: teak, musk, and sweet fruit.
Visit the Board and Batten Web Site for more information
For those who like to travel, we like something special and exclusively from ULTA. It’s their IT Cosmetics Brush sets. These sets, available just from ULTA, offer great value for great brushes with synthetic, cruelty-free, anti-microbial hair. The set we received for review is just one of nine. The Your Airbrush Must-Haves 3-Piece Face & Eye Travel Brush Set ($19.50 a $45.00 value) has a dome-shaped powder brush, a thin, tapered paddle-shaped foundation brush, and a small, rounded shadow brush for eyes. If I would have personally chosen a set for travel, it most likely would have been the 3-Piece IT Cosmetics for ULTA Your Beautiful Basics Travel Set ($19.50) which has a powder brush, shadow brush, and a liner/brow brush. However, depending upon what types of cosmetics you use the most, either set is a fabulous value and will give you three brushes with full sized bristles in mini-sized handles, tucked into nice travel cases. The handles on the set I reviewed are lightweight and rounded. The bristles are of the “airbrush” type which means they are good for mineral powders because they are not overly dense, so they pick up more powder particles. The bristles are also super-kitteny, soft and feel luxurious on your face. To get the most out of an “Airbrush” style apply powder, blush, or bronzer to larger areas of your face using circular motions. Apply your favorite concealer and foundation to the back of your hand then gently use the flat side of the paddle brush to blend the product downward and outward for flawless, even application. You can use the small shadow brush for cream or powder and smudge with this brush for a softer look. TIP: *If you like these travel-sized Airbrushes, treat yourself to something special — the full sized Airbrush Complexion Perfection Brush #115 Item #: 2274469 ($24.00). This synthetic brush hair brush is a densely packed and precision cut, angled flat top brush especially created for blending color onto the skin. It’s seriously soft, and it won’t miss a single curve or crevice in your face. For buildable coverage with your foundation, buff in the product with the flat side of brush and use the angled area to fill in the contours of your face. Maybe you already have foundation brushes, but this one will make your foundation look like it was done by a professional.
For more information and to purchase visit your favorite ULTA store or order online at ULTA.COM
Buying fragrance for someone can be tricky (read: Enhance Romance: How to Choose a Fragrance for Yourself, or Someone Else). If you want to buy scent for someone, and you don’t really know their fragrance preferences, one way to choose is buy their interest or their celebrity favorites. COTY, for example, has a lot of gift sets that are really affordable, bearing the celebrity signatures of some of the hottest celebrities on the business: Halle Berry, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Tiim McGaw, Enrique Iglesias, and Beyonce. These beautifully packaged sets are great values. The Lady Gaga Fame Black Fluid Set by Coty that I received at an editor’s preview, for example, is just $21.99 but it is a value that would normally cost $39.00. Packaged in a stunning, gold metallic and black box, the set includes a 1 oz Eau de Parfum and a 2.5 fl. oz. shower gel. While I personally am not a fan of celebrity fragrances, this one is quite sophisticated and pleasing to wear, with notes of incense, belladonna, apricot, honey, jasmine samac and tiger orchidea. The perfume bottle alone is beautiful to look at and worth the price!
For men, I like the Nautica Voyage N-83 which is not celebrity oriented but certainly associated with fashion and sports, and appeals to men of all ages. The three piece set is packaged in a blue box and features a 2.5 ox. After Shave Balm and a shower gel, and a 1 fl. oz. Eau de Toilette Spray. Purchased separately these would be $62.00 but packaged together in this set it’s just $21.99. The vibe is both masculine and “nautical” with notes that include: aqua, beach, petit grain, spearmint, cardamom, nutmeg, lavender, cedarwood, sandalwood and musk.
Both of these make impressive gifts that will please plenty of people. Other fragrance gift sets from COTY that are $21.99 include Katy Perry Killer Queen, Halle Berry Wild Essence,and Nautica Voyage. COTY has several gift sets even less expensive (for men) at $15.99: Stetson Caliber, McGraw by Tim McGraw, Enrique Iglesias Adreneline, One I really like for women is a surprisingly good collection of fragrances made by skilled noses by some of the best fragrance houses in the world, called Love2Love Collection (the orange-centric fragrance was absolutely sinfully wonderful) and it’s just $14.97 *if you are at Walmart, check this one out! You can find all the other COTY fragrance in mass market retailers and drugstores everywhere. For more information visit the Coty Web Site
Most men don’t really take care of themselves the way they should, and when it comes to protecting their skin and pampering their bodies, they either don’t think about it at all, or only do it when they’re trying to “enhance romance.” But great skin and bodycare is essential for guys, and once they get a chance to experience it, they are hooked. So this holiday season, why not treat the special men in your life with something new and exciting and really special? Montez Renault is a brand new skin and bodycare line created by Christopher Butler, a former banking executive, and Karlos Dansby, an NFL defensive player for the Cleveland Browns (you can’t get much more high powered than that!). With the experience that Karlos and Christopher earned as co-founders of a swank Butler’s Grooming Club opened in a Southern Saks Fifth Avenue,they created the Montez Renault line of men’s grooming products to provide paraben-free easy to use products made from quality pharmaceutical grade ingredients using CGMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) sourced from the best raw material suppliers in the business. The line is fairly extensive: A Facial Moisturizer, 3 in 1 Performance Wash (for hair and body) ; Shaving Cream, Daily Moisturizing Conditioner (for hair), Moisturizing Body Wash, Jojoba Smoothing Scrub (for face and neck). The packaging is really attractive, charcoal flip top tubes with bands of color and numbers to let men know what product to use, and when. The products don’t just look good, they have effective ingredients too. Each includes a proprietary QuSome molecule that transports the active ingredients to the hardest to reach parts of the skin, and Inflacin, another proprietary molecule that has natural anti-inflammatory properties, keeping at bay skin care issues common to men, like splotchy, red and inflamed skin. Each man will want something different, so I suggest getting him one of the four starter kits, such as the Daily Basics Kit ($45.00) which has a Daily Moisturizing Shampoo, Body Wash and Shaving Cream or the Reboot Kit ($51.00) featuring 3-in-1 Performance Wash Shaving Cream, and Body Lotion For more information visit the Montez-Renault web site
The Advice Sisters are on the fence about promoting the use of tattoos, but most adults under a certain age have a few (and probably many more) and most adults over a certain age have at least one or are thinking of getting them. When that skull, or cross, or eagle, or whatever it is that you have marked your body with starts to fade and droop, good skincare is a must to perk it up. Billy Jealousy’s Marked IV Life Tattoo Care Kit ($40.00) won’t erase regrets over tattoos you wish you hadn’t inked on your body, but it will help make what you’ve got, look better and last longer. Three products arrive in the best graphic packaging around. Billy Jealousy’s Tattoo Wash cleanses your skin of dirt, excess oil and dead skin cells. According to Billy Jealousy, this is good to use following a new tattoo to assist in the healing process. Key Ingredients include: CUCUMBER FRUIT EXTRACT: Helps prevent ink discoloration; ROSEMARY LEAF OIL: Hydrates and tones for better color; GLYCOLIC AHA: Exfoliates and encourages cell turnover, increases ink clarity; PAPAYA AND PINEAPPLE EXTRACTS: Cleanse and exfoliate while protecting skin’s acid mantle barrier’ and HYDROLYZED OAT PROTEIN: Moisturizes to improve vibrancy. Billy Jealousy’s Tattoo Lotion contains essential oils and shea butter to bring out color and definition. Key ingredients in this product used twice a day can really help your tats stay colorful: OLIVE OIL: Moisturizes to improve color and vibrancy; GREEN TEA LEAF EXTRACT: Protects against ink discoloration; ROSEMARY LEAF OIL: Hydrates and tones skin for stronger colors; GRAPESEED OIL: Protects against cellular damage; and SEA BUCKTHORN OIL: Moisturizes and nourishes, Billy Jealousy’s Tattoo Salve has Vitamin E, natural olive and lavender oils and other good for your skin ingredients to bring out the color of your tattoo and help with the healing process. It won’t clog your pores and it is non irritating. If you have a new tattoo, apply a thin layer 3 times a day for a week. Key ingredients include: SOYBEAN OIL: Rich in Vitamin E, moisturizes, helps retain tattoo color; CASTOR SEED OIL: Stimulates collagen production, protects against ink discoloration; OLIVE OIL: Moisturizes to improve color and clarity; SUNFLOWER OIL: High in vitamins and fatty acids, helps prevent tattoo discoloration and LAVENDER OIL: Contains natural antimicrobial properties, assists in preventing infection. These products are so cool, even if you don’t have tattoos, you can still use these products to keep your skin looking good! For more information visit the Billy Jealousy Web Site
Fragrance gifts are highly personal, but there is one company that makes unusual fragrances worth considering for holiday gifting, and for yourself. Nomad Two Worlds began as a steeply messaged artistic collaboration project between internationally renowned Australian photographer Russell James and Australian Indigenous artists. It has since expanded into additional cultural collaborations worldwide and evolved into a socially responsible global business whose mission is to collaborate with Indigenous artists, and artisans from marginalized communities, to create culturally relevant contemporary art and “meaningful luxury” consumer products that provide long-term economic benefit to the artists and further the public’s understanding and appreciation of the world’s most threatened cultures and communities. The “Raw Spirit” lines of fragrances are produced through World Senses Pty, the joint venture formed in2012 between Nomad Two Worlds and Australia-based Atlas Pearls and Perfumes. In March, The Advice Sisters reviewed Citadelle. It is a pure, classic, fresh, pleasing citrus that features premium Haitian vetiver, marigold, pear, bergamot, lemon, spices, amberwood, musk and cedarwood. We liked it a great deal, and wanted to try more. Raw Spirit Wild Fire Eau de Parfum ($35.00) Atomizer 30ml / 1 fl oz or Rollerball 7.5 ml was also created by noted Master perfumer Harry Frémont of Firmenich. The fragrance was inspired by the intoxicating scent of the Western Australian desert. This warm sensual fragrance combines the rich dry scent of premium wild harvested Australian Sandalwood with the creamy amber and floral notes of ylang ylang, jasmine petals, cedarwood and musk.I personally love roller ball packaging as it’s perfect for purse or pocket, great for travel, and this one is elegantly packaged with a pebbled coppery outer sleve with gold embossed details, covering a pristine white hard sided presentation box with the Nomad logo in silver metallic. The scent is spicy and woodsy, definitely unisex, and sensual, but not heavy. It’s also made with sustainbly harvested Australian sandalwood. For those who really need to know what’s in it, here are the ingredients listed: Ingredients: alcohol, parfum (fragrance), aqua (water), farnesol, cinnamyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, citric acid, triethanolamine/ The fragrance dries down softly so those who are close to you will move in closer to get a sniff, but you won’t blow someone down the street away with it and yet it does stay on your skin for a reasonably good period of time. Made by a master perfumer, the fact that it is is just $35.00 is impressive. And, even better, a portion of all sales directly support sustainable Australian Indigenous agricultural projects in collaboration with Essential Oils of Tasmania.
Sneak Peek: I also got a sample vial of a new fragrance from Nomad Two Worlds called “Winter Oak” Although I didn’t have enough to wear test more than once, the fragrance has creamy notes of aged American Oak wrapped in layers of suede exotic saffron, premium Hatian Vetiver and sleek musks. Part of the proceeds from this fragrance will be going to the Chumash Indian Musuem in Thousand Oaks CA, I don’t know much more about it or which perfumer worked on it, but my initial impression is that it is very woody–the genuine fresh smell one gets of fresh cut wood a a lumberyard. While I think it will appeal more to men, it’s unique and will translate differently on various body chemistry.
For more information, and to shop the entire collection and learn more, visit (www.NomadTwoWorlds.com).