Passion. Transparency. Essential.   If I don’t have a connection with something, I become bored and restless. It needs to mean something to me on some level. During my latest mission to find a product to offer in my retail shop, Couture Closets, I discovered a new skin care line called Beautycounter. My immediate ‘catch’ was the essential commitment of the safe, toxin free products, that are not only good for you, but also adheres to extremely high environmental standards and stay true to their strict “Never List”.

This I also found interesting, and rather alarming. The cosmetic industry in the US has not been regulated thoroughly since 1938. REALLY?!?! Oh, yes. The US has banned only 11 ingredients where as Europe has banned 1300…just a little difference!  Beautycounter had banned 1500 ingredients from their product line up. I wanted to learn more and try the product.

The CounterTime line had me at “balm”! The cleansing balm, which can also be used as a mask is like bathing your face in liquid silk. Their Lustro face oils are just that…something to lust over. From calendula #1, jasmine #2 to ylang ylang & wild chamomile #3 are all designed to work in different ways. I personally use #2 for my skin type and #3 is designed to help acne and rosacea. Yes you fight oil with oil so don’t be afraid if you have oily skin.

The makeup line that just recently launched includes a tint, concealer and lip sheers. With makeup artist to the stars, Christy Coleman, as Head of Creative Design I knew it must be great…well…it’s incredible. I have pushed my Chanel, LaPrairie, Dior and even my beloved Armani to the sidelines. That takes serious “player power”!


This skin care and cosmetic lifestyle/product investigation, can be rather
overwhelming. I’ve discovered an essential tool to check the toxic levels
of many items I was using daily: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database
It’s available as an app (skin deep). I have found this information so fascinating. The app also has a bar code scanner. I’ve been using this valuable tool like a ‘scanning fool!’ However, I do find the website to be more informative and seems to have more items listed. If you don’t find the product your using than get to the bottom of what is in it. Many companies are not so “transparent” for a reason….they are hiding something.  I am marking each product in my arsenal with a Sharpie, indicating it’s 0 – 10 ranking. Zero being the least toxic and ten being the highest. Most of the products I was using rated well over a 4.

I made a commitment to myself to reduce the toxins in my arsenal by 75%. Eliminating anything over a 3. My new newest obsession aka. Beautycounter rates 0-2 so I had certainly found a product to achieve my goals…from skin care to body care. They even offer a children’s line!


You will find the whole product line at Couture Closets located at 192 E Main Street in Spartanburg, SC or shop on-line with me at

Kiss of Couture,


Turning back the clock…one layer at a time.

There are countless new ways to repair skin damage. Now, more than ever, people are becoming more aware of protecting their skin. SPF is included in so many products, cosmetics, even hair care products & that is such a great advancement. However, there are other professional level procedures, that do not include invasive operations. Many are performed as outpatient routines, like the one I am getting ready to tell you all about.

I recently found myself in a discussion with my friend, a local plastic surgeon Dr. Shawne Birchenough, about a particular laser procedure I had heard about, unofficially called “The South Beach Peel”. I had been admiring his wife’s beautiful skin as well as another friend of mine. She just happens to be the wife of  Dr. Micheal Orseck, Birchenough’s partner. I thought, ok these wives have a secret and I want to know what it is. After seeing before and after pictures I decided to take the plunge. Honestly, I was rather nervous & somewhat scared. I did it anyway.

My main target was repairing past sun damage and improving the area under my eyes. We all have sun damage, but it appears on different areas of our skin, primarily face, neck, & décolletage. After reviewing the pictures that are taken of you before you have the laser treatment, it confirmed the area I need improvement on was removing the sun damage.

Obviously these pictures have not been photoshopped or altered in any of my favorite apps like Facetune so brace yourself! #nomakeup #nofilter

First stop…numbing station! Once this took effect the laser treatment began. It lasted maybe 30 minutes and I did it without any medication. If your the nervous type, you may want to take a mild “happy” pill and have friend drive you home. Just warn them by showing them my picture of what you will look like when you come out.

I knew I had something in common with Faye Dunaway, portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, numbing cream!
I knew I had something in common with Faye Dunaway, portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, numbing cream!

Days 1 & 2 – Aquaphor was my new best friend. My pain level was alleviated by simply taking a few ibuprofen. Sleeping with Aquarphor is a bit tricky, just be prepared to wash your pillow case!

Day 1 shortly after treatment


Day 2: I had swelling under my eyes and extreme fighting of the skin. Brown spots from sun damage surfaced.
Day 2

Day 3 – different areas of my ‘previous’ skin, just began to slough away. I was excited to see the condition of my new skin being exposed as the day progressed! Say goodbye to brown spots!

Day 3 in the the end of the day I had shed all the brown spots that had surfaced!
Day 3 in the morning…by the end of the day I had shed all the brown spots that had surfaced!

Day 4 – my shedding was almost 100% finished! My skin was glowing, vibrant, & felt like a babies bum!

Day 4: most of the old skin had peeled away exposing beautiful skin asking for a second chance.
Day 4: most of the old skin had peeled away exposing beautiful skin asking for a second chance.

By the time Day 6 rolled around my skin was on cloud nine and so was I. All the worry I had put myself thru before the treatment was a passing memory…all that was left behind was skin like a new born and plump tight new skin that gave the impression of having cheek implants.

Day 6: no filter...just the amazing transformation!
Day 6: no filter…just the amazing transformation!
Tip: have on hand a tinted moisturizer with a high SPF. My favorite was Bobbi Brown tinted balm SPF50
Tip: have on hand a tinted moisturizer with a high SPF. My favorite was Bobbi Brown tinted balm SPF50

So, as you can see, doing this drastically improved my skin. FYI – ALWAYS use an SPF of at least 30-50, everyday. Just one more reason to wear big hats & big shades!

I say let’s bring back the parasol!

Kiss of Couture

xoxo Amy

For more details on this procedure contact:

Magnolia Plastic Surgery (Dr. Birchnough & Dr. Orseck)

Spartanburg, SC office (864) 560-6717

Greenville , SC office (864) 849-9330

or visit this website



Mixology – Creating Your Perfect Skincare Cocktail

I was chatting with a friend of mine, Dr. Shawn Birchenough, the other day when he mentioned an event he’s hosting soon. Shawn is a plastic surgeon with Magnolia Plastic Surgery here in town, and he’s planning an event called “Spring Spectacular” on May 9th. But our conversation got me thinking…
When people think plastic surgery, the first thing that comes to their mind is “frozen face” and surgery-gone-wrong horror stories. There is certainly a lot of stigma surrounding this practice, but why? Plastic surgery doesn’t have to be something negative. A lot of time, whatever procedure you have done can truly change your life. New age cosmetic medicine is all about looking relaxed and refreshed, and that’s what Shawn wants to do for his patients.
So many times, people have asked me “what have you had done” or even better asked my mother “when did she (referring to me) have a facelift”! After my initial shock wore off, I had an “aha moment” because I myself have looked at someone with envy because of their great skin or their smooth, wrinkle free complexion. I can certainly attribute my great skin to not only good genetics that mother blessed me with but also a skin care regime that started at an early age. I remember in my teens never going to bed with my makeup on. During my long overnight flights to Europe, the first thing I do after my meal is take off my make up and apply an über hydrating crème, la prairie is my go to. High altitudes and the air on a plane can be very drying. In my 30’s I started with the Obagi skin care program, which Magnolia Plastic Surgery carries, and that truly change my skin and gave the “glow” that everyone asks me about. I am not opposed to botox or injections to give me a more relaxed look, however, I am not ready for the knife and if I look at my mother nearing 70 years of age, I may never need the knife. Entering my 40’s has made me more aware the importance of staying out of the sun as much as possible and the important role a great “cosmeceutical-cocktail” can play in my life.
If we keep tight-lipped (no pun intended) about the things we’ve had done, Shawn’s open house will be for naught. Spread the word ladies! Plastic surgery isn’t something to be ashamed of, and most times, it isn’t even surgery. There are plenty of things to do to help your skin be at its best that don’t include going under the knife. If you’re looking your best (even with a little help), that should be something to celebrate! So celebrate by bringing a friend, I’m sure they want to know your secret to looking fabulous.
Great skin starts with your genetics. What your mama gave ya is valuable. Climate also helps. It’s no surprise that southerners have great complexions because of the humidity, and where we live gives us that boost. But if neither of these aspects play in your favor, skincare treatments offered at a plastic surgeon’s office might be for you. We want to help you create your perfect skincare cocktail! MIXOLOGY
Like any good recipe, you have to start with some basic ingredients…

What Shawn suggests:
*A good diet


*Regular hydration

*Minimal sun exposure

*A skincare regimen

*Treatments that won’t break your bank and will keep you from going under the knife…

*Regular facials – A spa facial will do wonders for your complexion and getting them regularly can only improve your skin.

*Cosmeceuticals – This is a mixture of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, something that you would put on top of the skin to correct it. Shawn suggests the Obagi or Revision lines.

*Chemical peels – Peels work by targeting the first three layers of dead skin and sloughing it away. It creates a refreshed look by diminishing the appearance of wrinkles. There are many types of chemical peels, so make sure to ask Dr. Birchenough which is best for your needs.

*Laser peels – A bit stronger than a chemical peel. This can be used to target certain areas and dark spots.

*Injectables – Botox and Juvederm. These are injected into the skin to fill places that need a little lift. Fillers are made of natural proteins that are found in the skin and injected to the deeper wrinkles.

These are just a few of the procedures that can be performed on you at Magnolia Plastic Surgery. All are non-invasive and can prevent or hold off surgery until you’re ready for a major change. Shawn recommends starting your “skin maintenance program” as early as possible and says it is helpful to mix and match procedures and products.
Join him May 9th for Spring Spectacular for a day of beauty. All patients get a free consultation with him so they can ask questions and learn what procedure is best for their individual needs. Many procedures and treatments are discounted for that day only and can be done in the office. Please call now for an appointment as private time fills quickly or visit his website, to learn more and to RSVP!
Magnolia Plastic Surgery 864-849-9330
A Kiss of Couture,
Amy R Zimmer




Women are always looking for different ways to look younger; I’m no different.  In my retail store, Couture Closets, we cater every day to “enhancing” ladies of all ages through a process called… wait for it… retail therapy! We’ve done posts in the past about how jewelry can draw the eye away from the wrinkles, but I’ve got a new idea about how to lose a few years.  Botox and fillers have changed the whole “aging” process, but if you are looking for a more natural and less expensive way to look younger, I suggest spicing up your look with a new hairstyle for Spring!

I recently went in for blow out and came out with a totally different look!  I am known to get a wild hair (literally speaking) when the seasons change.  Nothing too drastic, just enough to change things up a bit for the coming season.  My hairdresser created a cross between Rachel Zoe and I Dream of Jeanie’s, Barbra Eden, so needless to say, I was a happy girl.  After posting my first pics on social media, I realized what I had done was inspire others to do the same and had totally changed my look.  Best compliments were, “you look 10 years younger!”  Ok- I’ll take that.  I’m certainly not the first to do it, (think back to when Michelle Obama cut her bangs and it went viral) and I won’t be the last.  Who knows what next season will bring!

Even if you aren’t trying to subtract the years and just want to be at your best, bangs are the way to go!  All we hear about on the subject of women’s beauty lately is, “anti-aging this or stop time with that.”  But just take a look at these women who’ve changed the game with just a simple cut.

Audrey is the classic go-to for bangs.  No one could ever tell whether she was sixteen or sixty.  I can’t think of anyone else who had such timeless beauty.

Kate Moss sets a great example of how straight-across bangs should fall on your forehead.  And ladies, take note of that ridiculously perfect cat-eye!

What works well together – long layers and side swept bangs.  A combination that goes with any age!

Reese Witherspoon.  The perfect example of hair helping you appear ageless.  Not that she has any, but if she did have laugh lines or crow’s feet, we wouldn’t even notice.  Her bangs add even more beauty to that gorgeous face.

I’m all for a woman that’s comfortable in her own skin and who displays her age with confidence!  Even if you aren’t trying to take back time, this bold hairstyle will make you feel great about yourself (just like we know you already do).  So here’s a little tip from me, from one bangs-lover to the next…

Bangs = The New Botox!

Kiss of Couture

Amy R Zimmer

“Red lips are the quintessential accessory.” – ARZ

And sometimes that’s all it takes to create a great look. We get wrapped up in putting the pieces of an outfit together and sometimes forget that red lips and a great polish can be our best assets. I believe that TRUE GLAMOUR is in the smallest details. Go BOLD with your lips and LUXE on your nails and you won’t need much else.
Red = power! Choosing a statement lip or nail color can create the same effect as a statement necklace or jacket, but for a much more cost-effective ensemble. Spend much less and pull together any outfit with a classic, yet powerful look that will cause everyone to stare.
These amped up colors will inspire a pout that pairs perfectly with both jeans and an “Oscar” worthy gown, and will elevate any old manicure to star status!

– Chanel nail polishes
– Radiant reds and sophisticated nudes
-Designer lip colors like…
– Dior Rouge Collection lipsticks
– the confidence that these items will inspire in you!

Let inner beauty shine through these simple tips. There is definitely something to be said for always looking pulled together, but it’s sometimes hard to be both classic and dramatic at the same time. I believe that a pop of color is all it takes to be truly GLAMOROUS every day.

Kiss of Couture, Amy R Zimmer

Accessorizing, part three: Shoes and Nails

Create a simple check list:

  • Can I afford it (remember quality vs. quantity)?
  • Do I LOVE it and  I can’t live without it (you know what I mean)?
  • Does it go with several things in my wardrobe (obviously a neon green bag with a large pink logo on it is NOT & SHOULDN’T)?
  • Can I walk more than 2 feet in them without looking like I just had foot surgery or like I will need it?
  • Do I want it because 1) my friend has one 2) I just saw it in the latest fashion magazine as the “must have” of the season 3) I really love it and I know it will be a perfect addition in my existing wardrobe?  ~ If you answered 3 than get it, if not then re-think!
  • Do I have all the top designer consignment stores in my area on speed dial or in my “favorites” on my gadget so I know how to get the most bang for my buck?

Shoes ~ “Life is too short to wear bad shoes”

Let’s keep the shoe part short and sweet. Life is really too short to wear bad shoes. Buy less and buy good quality. Everyone obviously needs the basics : black, nude and a metallic. It’s up to you what heel height and shape you can wear. Because I am only    5′ 4″ I like the big wedges, heels with platforms, lot’s of cork & metallics for summer and warm boots for winter. I like to organize my shoes by color and within the color by the heel height!

Nails ~ A regular manicure is a must. Have fun with color and neutrals, but please no French or squared off nails with stones…those looks are so passé.

I saved the nails for last since it is a very important part of completing a look. You should have fun with nails but also now when to keep it classic. A look that has been so over done is the french squared off manicure and some go to the extreme of adding bling. As I stated earlier it is very passé. Living in the south you see it everywhere but if you surf the magazines and images of your favorite stars you will notice you can’t find it. Take the hint and try a new look for the season. The gel polish mani is my new obsession. They last for two weeks and come in every color imaginable without damaging your natural nails.