Yael Alkalay, creator and founder of the luxury beauty and lifestyle brand red flower, has lived in Manhattan for 15 years, after spending four years in Tokyo. Having lived in many great neighborhoods in New York including the Upper West Side and the Meatpacking District, Yael’s favorite has to be where she now resides in the heart of Chinatown. Her love of urban life, its vibrant energy, relentless creativity and the ageless anonymity feel just right, however it leaves her craving nature and tranquility.

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That bottle of celebrity-endorsed designer perfume you got at the department store may certainly smell sweet, but the fact that it’s full of synthetic petrochemicals kind of stinks. Yes, the fine art of perfumery has largely been taken over by cheaper-to-produce lab-faked fragrances, offering questionable chemical consequences with each aromatic inhalation.

Fortunately, there are still some natural perfumeries that create olfactory magic the old fashioned way, with distilled botanicals, essential oils, floral waters and other organic ingredients expertly blended into alluring potions. Extracting, infusing and combining essences from nature’s bounty is a complex, time consuming process but the end results can be divine – and certainly better than a nose full of coal tar.

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Organic makeup is becoming more and more mainstream these days. You can’t flip through an Elle, Vogue or InStyle magazine without seeing a mention of some our natural cosmetic lines in a photo-shoot, editor’s pick or celebrity recommendation. A few years ago, you’d catch the occasional article about green products or natural alternatives in there, but they were mostly presented as a fringe trend for tree hugging yoga aficionados.

Now it seems that interest and awareness has grown to the point that the botanical brands are well integrated into those glossy pages as authentic endorsements for everyone. It’s about time we reached this tipping point! Health and environmental benefits aside, our products work beautifully. The stars of stage, screen and catwalks wouldn’t use them if they didn’t.

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There’s nothing like a mani-pedi to spruce up your look, perk up your mood and carve out some well-deserved me-time. Something about that particular primping ritual seems to melt away stress as you lovingly tend to each nail, indulging your innate girliness with each careful brushstroke.

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