jessie_baylin_cover_sq-f090a6437f089067388b748e3d1ccd6ccb9bb198-s800-c15There are many striking similarities between singers Jessie Baylin and Lana Del Rey.

New Jersey-native Baylin just turned 31 and New York-native Del Rey turns 30 in June, and both performers have been releasing music for seven or eight years. They’re also stylistic sisters, otherworldly crooners who bring to mind a gauzy California sound from the 1960’s and ’70’s. But while the more-popular Del Rey deals with sultry surrealism, Baylin deals with soulful surrealism.

Baylin’s new “Dark Place” might narrow her popularity gap with Del Rey.

“Dark Place” is an intoxicating mix of bliss and melancholy keyed to Baylin’s sumptuous vocals and lush production by Richard Swift. There are ear-opening twists, like the staticky hallucination “Creepers (Young Love)” that sounds like an unlikely cross between The Doors and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and there’s an impossibly sweet “Kiss Your Face” that sounds like slo-mo Beatles.

Interesting though the instrumentation is, Baylin’s voice consistently steals focus. She shines in the inescapable shadows of the title track, she mesmerizes with the repeated refrain “It’s all that I can do” on “All That I Can Do,” and she towers in the melancholy sway of “The Ringer,” singing, “What a time to walk away/Is that the way you play it safe?”

Swift and Baylin offer one last twist with their finale – the lone cover song on the album, a stately rendition of Bette Midler’s “Do You Wanna Dance” that epitomizes romanticism.

With any luck, “Dark Place” will bring Baylin’s career to a light.


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eyeserumOne of my new favorite under eye creams is Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum.

This anti-aging ferulic acid and retinol eye serum gently but powerfully reduces visible signs of aging in the delicate skin of the eyelid and around the eye while smoothing texture and tone.

One of the main ingredients in the serum, Licorice Root Extract has anti-inflammatory and skin-lightening properties. Both are due to one of its main components, glabridin. A 2003 study found that it is a good treatment for atopic dermatitis, reducing itching, swelling, and redness in over two weeks. Another study shows that glabridin inhibits tyrosinase activity, which is responsible for melanin production. Does this mean that it can get rid of dark circles? If they are caused by sun damage, then yes, this can help. But if they are hereditary, then licorice extract will do nothing for you.

Ferulic Acid is one of my favourite antioxidants. Unlike most others that fight only one type of free radicals, Ferulic Acid can destroy three: superoxide, hydroxyl radical, and nitric oxide. It can also inhibit both UVA- and UVB-induced matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which degrade collagen, one of the main components of the skin that give it structure and elasticity.

A form of Vitamin A, Retinol is an anti-aging superstar. A 2007 study has found that “retinol improves fine wrinkles associated with natural aging”. It has antioxidant properties that can help prevent the formation of new wrinkles, stimulates collagen production which leads to firmer skin, and accelerates cellular turnover, which helps treat discolorations.

But if you’ve never used Retinol before, it could irritate your skin. So give it time to get used to it, it is recommended you use it every other day at first, and, slowly, increase the frequency of application. That way, you’ll get its benefits without its side effects.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum also contains a blend of AHAs and BHA (Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid), which has exfoliating properties. These exfoliants can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and discolorations, but they won’t do much here. Why? Two reasons. One: their concentrations are too small. Two: “this serum’s pH is outside the range needed for effectiveness”. It’s a bit disappointing, but even so, the formula contain many other goodies that benefit the eye area.

Suitable for all skin types, Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum also contains a bunch of botanical extracts and vitamins that have antioxidant (such as quercetin and ubiquinone), skin-lightening (arbutin), and vasoconstricting (caffeine; it may help to reduce puffiness and dark circles caused by vasodilation) properties. In addition, Sodium Hyaluronatehas good water-binding properties that help to keep skin hydrated.

Packaged in a dark bottle that will keep the antioxidant stable and effective, Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum retails at $65.00. It is available at Amazon, Nordstrom, and Sephora.  It’s not cheap, but it contains ingredients that have been proven to work.

mk 2015

Damn, he’s good. His new Fall lineup landed smack-dab in the middle of his sweet spot: opulent as all get-out, yet true to the all-American, unfussy, and optimistic spirit on which the company was built. Fur has been all over the runways this week, but it’s been a Kors staple for ages. He showed the kids how it’s done with the ombré-striped fox bathrobe Natasha Poly strutted out in to kick things off. A brown mink coat sheared into a damask pattern was significantly less extravagant but still special. Fox turned up as an accent on a lot of other looks, as well, elevating not just the crisp, neatly tailored pieces in menswear checks, but also the chunky knits.

Kors liked the idea of playing opposites off each other this season. So feathers embroidered in the shape of flowers decorated a sheath in humble tweed bouclé; a guncheck wool trench topped a glittering lace dress; and simple, straightforward men’s pajamas were black-tie-ready thanks to the addition of crystal paisley embellishments. Bias-cut dresses in black silk or gold fil coupe with an elegant, 1930s-ish vibe shared the runway with military great coats in slouched-on oversize proportions. One of the show’s strongest looks was an evening dress tailored on top like a double-breasted tuxedo. This was a broad, familiar offering, and Kors was in command of it all.

It was perfect, right down to the footwear.

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