Beauty Unbiased: November 2012

The Art of Creativity: Photography class with Course Horse

Appreciating a photograph and creating your own little piece of art are two completely different things. While I love a creative, colorful photo as much as the next girl, making my own photographs shine beyond Instagram has been something I've always wanted to work on. When the opportunity through CourseHorse, a website where you can find and enroll in local courses, suddenly presented itself to me, I seized the chance to polish my photography skills. The class I took was "Composition in the Field: Grand Central Station", taught by the talented photographer and very patient instructor, Marla Mossman from the Digital Photo Academy.

We spent the afternoon with different photo challenges after on the spot instruction. From documenting the iconic exterior of Grand Central to close up photographs of food in the Market inside Grand Central, I became much more intimate in those three hours with my Canon Powershot than I have been in the three years I've owned it. While my point and shoot was sufficient for use, to get the most out of the class I would recommend bringing your DSLR camera and Marla will teach you how to own that thing.

All of the photos included in this post were taken during the composition class and have not been altered by any photo editing programs, so you can experience the real deal of what I was able to accomplish with Marla's instruction.

I started getting pretty creative and a little creepy when I crouched down to shoot this photo in between two columns looking over the bustling Main Terminal in Grand Central.

After learning that I can actually control the ISO settings (which control how sensitive the camera will be to light) on my camera, a setting that was definitely not right for the lighting ended up creating a very cool silhouette effect.

The best part of the class was the reminder of the level of creativity trapped inside each one of us. Simply setting aside the time to focus on the intricate, amazing little details within Grand Central and the added bonus of having the instruction of how to best capture them with my camera made the experience transcend beyond being just educational. If you want to learn more about your digital camera, how to improve your photography, or want to exercise your creative side check out Marla's Composition in the Field Course. Course Horse also offers hundreds of other course options if photography is not your thing.

P.S.: One of the best parts of the day? We were shooting the weekend before Halloween and Marla approached several interesting subjects asking if we could take photos of them. We never quite figured out why he was in a spandex tux. 

Please read disclosure statement as this review includes a complimentary service received.

WIN One of Oprah's Favorite Things: The Lancer Method Luxury Skincare Collection

Who hasn't fantasized about being in the audience at the Oprah show (at the time when it was, you know, still a show) when she unveils that the episode will be her Favorite Things, and you are taking home every.Single.ONE of them. "You get a car! And you get a car..." being the famous words I've longed to hear. Well, today is YOUR lucky day (and my Oprah moment) because I am teaming up with Lancer Skin Care to give away their Lancer Luxury Collection which was just selected as one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2012.

I'll be giving one of my readers their very own Limited Edition Lancer Method Luxury Collection, valued at $300. You can enter to win until 11:59pm EST on November 25th, 2012. The winner will be announced on my site on November 26th. It's super easy to enter; here is how to win:

1. Leave a comment on this post. Any comment will do but if you're feeling creative, tell me one beauty product YOU would put on your own list of 'Favorite Things'

2. Follow @DrLancerRx on Twitter and tweet to Dr. Lancer that you saw the Lancer Method Luxury Collection on @BeautyUnbiased

The Lancer Method Luxury Collection was created by Dr. Lancer, who has long been in Oprah's inner circle. It includes three products that work together in a daily skincare routine to polish, cleanse, and nourish the skin. Be sure to watch 'The Making of Oprah's Favorite Things' two hour special on OWN November 18th and 23rd to hear more about how the list came together. You can also read more of Oprah's Favorite Things in O Magazine's December edition.You know what they say, if it's good enough for Oprah, I'll take it! (I'm sure someone, somewhere has said that before, and I concur). Here is what she has to say about the line: "My dermatologist recommended this skincare line. Not only does it do wonders for my complexion, but the elegant jars are making my bathroom counter look pretty fantastic, too." (via

Comment below, Tweet at @DrLancerRx, and good luck!

A Glowing Review: Amore Pacific Luminous Effect Brightening Masque

After an incident this summer with a brightening mask that sucked all color from my face, I have been hesitant to try out items that advertise as 'brightening' when really what they mean is lightening. I decided to give brightening masks another try when I was introduced to Korean brand AmorePacific and learned that most of their products contain a green tea grown exclusively in volcanic soil on Jeju Island in Korea. I'm a sucker for exclusive ingredients, and this was reason enough to give their micro-fiber Luminous Effect Brightening Masque a try. Plus who doesn't want more luminous skin? Definitely not this girl.

Beyond the immediate results of my skin looking and feeling amazing (the picture speaks for itself!) another highlight of the AmorePacific mask is how easy it was to unwrap and place on my face without the micro-fiber mask giving me trouble. While paper masks certainly are cleaner in application than a cream mask, one problem that I've had is getting masks to rest in the right place without moving having to move it multiple times. With AmorePacific masks there are clear directions and packaging that make it possible to place the mask on one side of the face at a time to avoid folding and tangling from happening. The masks come in packages of six for $120 and are available at

Please read disclosure statement as this review includes samples received.

The New Normal: My Little Update from NYC

It's hard to believe that nearly a week ago half of Manhattan was in the dark, including my little piece of the city. After four days without power, my excitement to get back to a more regular writing routine was quickly extinguished by a week long outage of internet and cable due to damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy. These are of course small inconveniences compared to those who have lost their homes or are still living without heat or hot water in New York City, so I feel extra blessed to finally have my home fully functional once again. I walked past the sign below outside of Housing Works the day the power in the neighborhood was restored.

I continue to be impressed by the compassion of those in New York City and feel more connected to the city than ever. Tough times have a way of bringing out the dimensions of ourselves that are buried in the day to day routines we seem to get trapped in. I'm trying to keep things multi-dimensional in my life right now. One way is by continuing to keep those who have a long road to recovering from the storm in my thoughts by looking for ways to donate or volunteer. If you are interested in supporting an organization that has been recognized by the New York Times for stepping in "where FEMA fell short" during Hurricane Sandy's ongoing recovery, needed donations and volunteer opportunities are still available through Occupy Sandy. And now back to your regularly scheduled program.