Soft Spoken: Soft Surroundings Blog

The mystery of this bespoke fragrance is a reminder to stay open to the possibility and live your life to its fullest. Inspired by Robin’s long-time friend, Leigh, this intoxicating scent evokes the drama of two strangers in wartime London and the love affair that nearly was. Warm, earthy Tobacco Leaf and complex Black Honey blend with smoky notes of exotic Guaiac Wood and hints of Citrus, Patchouli, Ylang Ylang and Black Vanilla for a simply unforgettable fragrance. Experience the seduction of L…


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by Jane Iredale, President & Founder of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics

Women LOVE blush! We use blush to give the skin a kiss of color. But do you know which brush to use when applying blush? You want to be sure you use the correct brush so you don’t apply too much product. The key to applying cheek color is to remember that the shape of the brush in addition to the density and length of the bristles has a direct impact on how much product you will apply.

We have a brush for you no matter what sun-kissed or blushed look you’re going for.


White Fan Brush – use to apply blush, bronzer, matte powders and 24-Karat Gold Dust Shimmer Powder. What makes this brush so special is its ability to take a high pigment color and softly disperse it onto the skin in a subtle, sheer way. This brush offers you wonderful control in your application.


Dome Brush – excellent brush to use when applying blush, bronzer, 24-Karat Gold Dust Shimmer Powder and even for blending eyeshadow. Use this brush to achieve an intense pop of color. The dense, but soft bristles give a rich deposit of color with a round shape that allows you to blend beautifully.


Kabuki Brush – the full, round shape is great for applying loose powder, pressed powder and cheek color to create smooth areas of color without streaks or stripes. This is a very popular brush for women on-the-go: the short handle allows you to keep this in small spaces.

A medicine cabinet mirror door is often a great tool to see how your cheeks look from a profile view. Open the mirror half way and look in the opposing vanity mirror to ensure that you have soft areas of color framing the cheekbones, temples and jawline. Blend away any stripes or lines of demarcation.

Once you’ve applied your cheek color, consider setting it with a spritz of Hydration Spray. This will give your cheeks an even, natural appearance and help the color blend with your complexion.


Don’t forget to add color to you lips to balance the color on your cheeks! Use the Retractable Lip Brush to apply lip gloss, lip stain or lipstick with a precision that will make all the difference in the world! A great thing about this brush is that it’s retractable so you won’t have to worry about a mess in your purse!


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A Brush With Greatness - jane iredale

Complexion Brushes: used to apply primers, foundations, concealers and finishing powders

Somewhere in the foreground of every woman’s vanity are the tools she uses to apply her makeup. It is often a hodgepodge of brands and qualities that she has collected over the years. Rarely cleaned and often looking somewhat distressed, these are the only tools that many women never invest in, quite possibly because there are so many brushes for sale at such a broad range of price points – it’s easy to get overwhelmed.


My goal is to simplify this so you’ll know which brush or brushes to use to achieve the most beautiful you. I will put our brushes into categories and teach you when to use each brush. I’ll start with our complexion brushes in this first article, though will be back to tell you about blush, bronzer and lip brushes, and of course eye brushes, in subsequent articles.

As you read about our brushes, keep in mind that they are hand tied before being placed into the ferrule (the metal base). This increases both the strength and longevity of the brush. All of the hair in our brushes is harvested without hurting animals. We want you to feel good about investing in our brushes and want you to know that we feel good about how we’re making them.

You’ll want to change your brush to achieve the best application results depending on whether you’re applying a liquid or powder complexion product.


The Handi Brush – use to apply pressed powders and bronzers. The flat bristles, made from Goat Hair, prevent you from buffing the minerals, which allows for smooth, even application every time and no shine!

chisel powder

Chisel Powder Brush – use to apply loose powder. The Goat Hair bristles have the perfect firmness to evenly disperse the minerals.


Foundation Brush – use to apply liquid foundations and primers. The firm bristles, made of Taklon Nylon, allow you to blend liquid product effortlessly. Its chiseled shape gives great precision for working in difficult areas like the corners of the nose and under the eyes.


Blending Brush – use to apply both powder and liquid or cream-based products though this brush is particularly good for blending tinted moisturizer and cream blush so that your finished look is seamless. This brush is made of a unique combination of Goat Hair and Taklon Nylon allowing you to buff the bristles in a circular direction to eliminate any lines or smudges.


Camouflage Brush – use to apply liquid and cream-based concealer. This Taklon Nylon brush is the perfect shape and size for a variety of concealing needs as it disperses and blends product beautifully.


Sculpting Brush – use to apply liquid and cream-based concealer (use this brush to also apply liquid eye primer and liquid eye shadow, which I’ll explain more later). This Taklon Nylon brush can be worked in a circular direction to blend away any lines of demarcation so you won’t see where the concealer ends and the foundation begins.

Whatever brush you use, always remember to use a little product at a time so that you can control your application. Be sure to shampoo your brushes on a regular basis to ensure soft, non-abrasive bristles and brush longevity.


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WATCH Francine Porter, Founder of Osmotics, tell you how to get healthy, radiant skin with the Blue Copper 5 skin care regimen for face and body. Award-winning Blue Copper 5 pairs the clinically-proven healing benefits of natural Copper with Osmotics’ collagen-boosting peptides to visibly lift, plump and firm skin, fade wrinkles and stretch marks, boost hydration and reduce redness, even on rosacea-prone skin. Reveal luminous, more radiant skin with Blue Copper 5!


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Soft Surroundings is pleased to partner with a stellar panel of award-winning beauty experts to provide you information! From acclaimed skin care doctors to world-renowned cosmetic innovators, our expert panel has the secrets to help you stay agelessly beautiful. Please welcome…

jane iredale

Jane Iredale
Before launching her world-famous brand in 1994, Jane Iredale had a thriving career in film, theatre and television, where she had the luxury of working with some of the best makeup artists on stage and screen. In an industry where image is everything, Jane saw firsthand the skin disorders and sensitivities that could arise from endless exposure to cosmetics. This inspired Jane to develop the first full line of makeup that enhances a woman’s natural beauty while still promoting healthy, radiant skin. Called The Skin Care Makeup®, each of Jane’s formulas benefits the health of your skin with her luxe blend of micronized minerals. Jane is excited to share with you her secrets for looking naturally beautiful without sacrificing gorgeous, glowing skin.

Dr. Murad

Howard Murad, M.D.
The father of Internal Skin Care, Dr. Howard Murad is a world-renowned dermatologist and creator of America’s first authentic Doctor-developed brand, his namesake skin care line, Murad. Through his advanced scientific research and clinical expertise, Dr. Murad has personally treated over 50,000 patients with his groundbreaking anti-aging formulas. With the launch of his award-winning skin care company in 1989, plus countless bestselling books on health and beauty, Dr. Murad has helped millions achieve the coveted “Murad Glow”. As the Founder of the Inclusive Health Movement, Dr. Murad believes in the total body approach to youth building and overall wellness. Dr. Murad looks forward to helping you unlock your potential to look and feel younger and live a healthier, happier life.

Dr. Freidman

Robert J. Friedman, M.D., M.Sc.
Dermatologic Oncologist Dr. Robert J. Friedman and his colleagues were inspired to create better sunscreen protection for their patients than was readily available in the marketplace. Years of scientific research and development led to the founding of their company MDSolarSciences™ and their cutting edge line of anti-aging skin care and sun damage prevention. Dr. Friedman is a well-respected expert in the field of skin cancer prevention and treatment with hundreds of peer-reviewed medical journal articles and educational materials. Dr. Friedman is eager to share his knowledge on sun damage prevention and the aging effects of the sun and how to reverse them.

Dr. Amarte

Craig Kraffert, M.D.
With a passion for all aspects of dermatology, Dr. Craig Kraffert has been able to grow his dermatology practice into the largest in northern California. In 1999, Dr. Kraffert’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to found During his tenure with the website, Dr. Kraffert researched and reviewed many new products. This thorough clinical research led him to popular Korean brand Amarté. Dr. Kraffert went on to become President of Amarté where he has reformulated the brand for the American market by melding the cutting-edge innovations of Korean skin care with the scientific research of Western dermatology. Dr. Kraffert looks forward to sharing his years of clinical expertise with you!

Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley
Sunday Riley began her career in the cosmetics industry working in laboratories formulating skin care and makeup products. Sunday noticed a lack of scientifically advanced, high performance formulas which also utilized pure, potent botanicals and cleaner chemistry techniques. She launched her namesake skin care line in 2009 with a focus on profound anti-aging prevention and repair through gentle, purifying cellular detoxification. A glitterati favorite, glowing Sunday Riley skin and makeup can be seen on all of the biggest fashion runways like Jason Wu, Stella McCartney and Victoria Beckham. Sunday is happy to be partnering with Soft Surroundings to offer her expertise for gorgeous, radiant skin.

Dr. Becca

Rebecca Booth, M.D.
A nationally-renowned authority on women’s hormonal issues, Dr. Rebecca Booth is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist with one of the largest OB/GYN practices in the southeast. Dr. Booth’s extensive expertise in the area of hormonal wellness led her to found the anti-aging skin care line, VENeffect with her sister, skin care expert Cecil Booth. Revolutionary VENeffect reverses the signs of hormonal aging with the benefits of plant-based phytoestrogens to replenish lost elasticity and luminosity. The author of “The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle…At Any Age”, Dr. Booth has been featured on The Today Show and in leading women’s magazines including O: The Oprah Magazine, Redbook and Self. Dr. Booth is excited to share her findings.

Updated perricone image blog


Nicholas Perricone, M.D.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone is a board-certified Dermatologist, world renowned healthy aging expert, award winning inventor, educator and philanthropist. Dr. Perricone’s inflammation theory inspired him to establish Perricone MD in 1997 and introduce to the world a ground-breaking approach to impede and even help repair damage to skin utilizing nutrient antioxidants in cosmeceutical formulations. With more than 116 US and international patents for the treatment of damage to skin and systemic disease, Dr. Perricone has become the leading authority on the science of beautiful skin. His groundbreaking formulations continue to raise the bar for what people have come to expect from skin care and further cement Perricone MD as global leader in the world of prestige skin care led by innovation, research and science. Dr. Perricone’s is pleased to be sharing his passion for science and education.


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Clutterbusters intro


Every Little Step
Starting the decluttering process can sometimes seem so overwhelming that just getting started feels like a Herculean effort. Start with the room that needs the least help, like your living room, and only worry about that one space. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel finishing an easy room will spur momentum to tackle the trickier rooms. In the living room, recycle or donate out-of-date magazines and old books. Keep a cute basket for current magazines and catalogs, a pretty tray for your collection of remotes.


Trash Talk
A proper plan can help you tidy up in no time. Make a list of the rooms to tackle so you can slowly chip away at the clutter. Grab three trash bags (or boxes) and commit to filling them with either trash, recycling or stuff to donate. Use the like-minded method to organize anything from your pantry to your clothes closet to your office by grouping similar items, i.e. all cans culled in rows, tops hung together, paper clips contained in one jar, etc.


Winter Woes
Winter has us pulling out hats, scarves and gloves along with our warmest coats. Make sure you have a space to hold these essentials, so you don’t have to hunt to find them when it’s time to go. If you are fortunate enough to have a coat closet, place baskets in the closet to hold and separate your winter wares by family member or type. No closet? No problem! There are lovely cabinets and benches that provide wonderful storage to separate and stow the necessities. Don’t forget a spot for your handbag!


Kitchen Confidential
While the kitchen may seem daunting, it’s actually easier than you think. With food expiration dates, it’s pretty cut and dried as to when something should be tossed from the pantry or fridge. Be realistic about what you really will eat. Once you’ve gotten rid of old and never-to-be eaten foods, use the like-minded method to rearrange. An organized pantry will make it easier to check what ingredients you need before heading to the grocery. Be wary of big box, buy-it-in bulk stores, especially if you don’t have extra storage space. The money you save is not worth the space you forfeit, or the food you may have to throw out.


Bathing Beauties
The bathroom can quickly become a cluttered wasteland of half-used beauty and personal care items. These products have a shelf life to ensure efficacy and safety, so discard old items you no longer use. Try organizing your remaining fresh beauty care on a lovely tray. Don’t forget to properly dispose of expired medications. Don’t flush them, look for a National Drug Take Back Day or contact your local police department to see if they have a year-round disposal program.


One-Touch Tactic
Once you’re organized, one of the easiest ways to keep clutter from reaccumulating is to follow the one-touch tactic. For instance, put your dirty juice glass right in the dishwasher, not on the counter, so you only touch it once. When you get the mail, sort it and recycle it right away. Bills in the bill bin, magazines and catalogs in the reading basket, etc. You can also sign up for online e-bills and auto pay with many utilities and credit card companies, saving the paper pile from amassing.


Mental Clutter
As we’re clearing away the physical clutter, it’s also a good time to sweep away the mental clutter bogging us down. Creating a list of your to-dos frees you from having to commit it to memory. After the craziness of the holidays, it’s nice to declutter your schedule by not stacking the days with too many things to do. Be choosy about what you schedule, so you can slow down and enjoy a little “me” time. Yoga and meditation can not only free your mind, but also relax and tone your body, too.


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There is almost nothing more pleasing than fending off winter’s chill with a good long nap under cozy layers of bedding and blankets. True, we almost never have time for such indulgences, but we must. To rest and recharge is winter’s great message to us. So while nature slumbers in the Northern Hemisphere, you should squeeze in one or two, too. Thankfully, Soft Surroundings has some sumptuous ways to schedule in your well-deserved cap nap. Take a look…

For Keeps—Luxe Throws

We make it a point to offer a variety of opulent throw blankets in our catalog and on our website as soon as the leaves fall. We know it won’t be long before everyone has the urge to curl up under them and pretend to hibernate!


All of our throws are woven with luxurious warmth mind. Of course it doesn’t hurt that they are all great beauties too! An abundance of petal-soft rosettes cover our feminine Giverny Throw. The look is graceful and posh. The touch is simply bliss. And on the reverse you’ll find a field of snuggly micro mink. The Giverny is a throw with classic French styling—an easy add-on to bed, armchair or couch. And it’s easy to coordinate, in blue, ivory and champagne.

St. Moritz Throw

Next, we took our inspiration for the St. Moritz Throw from the traditional Austrian ruching you might see in the velvety drapes and blinds at the fortress in Salzburg. After all, a castle must know how to keep the cold at bay. These channels of faux fur ripple and wave over the top, and the back is covered in a cozy, complimentary micro mink. In taupe or ivory, we love the way the St. Moritz adds an impeccable finish to a room, be it bedroom or living room.

Powder Plush Napping Set

Another option is to settle in for that long winter’s nap with our aptly named Powder Plush Napping Set. You couldn’t ask for more: an ensemble with pillow, throw and eye mask, all created from an incredibly soft fabric. In fact, all of our items that touch your skin are given our softness rating. The Napping Set earns a “3”—ultimate softness. It is also the perfect piece to monogram and give as a gift—one for you, one for me!

So throw a log on the fire and wrap yourself in the best throws you’ll find this season: our frilly French Giverny, the richly appointed St. Moritz or the Powder Plush Napping Set. Then visit our website to discover even more styles, colors and textures because a home always has room for one more throw.


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Secrets to Great gift giving


giftgiverThe Gifted Giver
We’ve often heard the phrase, “it’s the thought that counts”. Well, it truly is. It’s the personal care you’ve taken to choose a gift for just that person, with the anticipation of knowing they’re going to just love it. But how do we find that perfect present? The most thoughtful gifts are the ones where you really consider the other person’s wishes.


Stop, Look & Listen
Really listen to what your friends and loved ones are saying, watching and wearing. You’ll get great gift tips. When you hear their “I wish” and “I want” comments, make a note, a physical note, so come gift giving season, you’ll have the perfect present in mind. And smartphones make it so easy to keep a handy running list that’s always ready for fresh, thoughtful ideas.

Social media cues

Social Media Cues
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find out what your family and friends “like”. Check your loved ones’ social media profiles to see what photos and posts they’ve written, liked and shared. Scan Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to see what restaurants they have enjoyed or stores they love to frequent. It’s like taking a public peek inside their diary to find out a few of their favorite things, including your perfect gift.

Let's get personal

Let’s Get Personal Sometimes adding a personal touch to your present makes the gift all the more special. Why not consider a personalized item with a monogram? If chilly days leave your bestie feeling extra cold, maybe a perfect cuddle-up blanket with a beautiful monogram would be a wonderful treat. Or how about a set of monogrammed towels for your newlywed niece? There are so many gorgeous, embroidered monogram options from bedding and pillows to makeup bags and shirt cuffs. Even monogram jewelry or cufflinks can be a striking present. Or how about a sweet initialed mug filled with gourmet hot cocoa or coffee?

Me Time

Me Time
OK, so this is a bit harder to package, but you can give your spouse or friend the tools to make “me time” happen, even if it’s just little moments they can steal away. Maybe a soothing spa package of luxe bath items, complete with candles and a bottle of wine. Or that bestselling book that she’s been dying to read.

Time Dates

Time & Dates
Speaking of time, time together is actually the greatest give you can give. Instead of exchanging gifts with all of your girlfriends, make a plan to go out to a nice dinner together. To keep it stress-free, make your plans for after the holidays. Plan a lunch date with your sister, your treat. You can even make up a little gift certificate to give her on the holiday. Or how about a romantic weekend away with your honey? It could be your gift to each other.

Gift Cards
We often shy away from gift cards or money for presents because we fear they’re too impersonal. But actually, gift cards are the ideal way to get your loved one the exact gift he or she wants. In fact, many people prefer to receive gift cards so they can spend it as they choose. And gift cards are so super easy to get and can even be beautiful to give. Some stores offer lovely gift boxes for their gift cards so you still have the joy of watching your friend excitedly unwrap an actual gift.

Gift Cards image



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