Category: Fragrance

While the cats are away…

There is nothing nicer than going into Manhattan on a holiday weekend when everyone else has gone home to see their families. (Sorry, transplants, but it’s true. :p )

We didn’t even have this in mind, when Rose and I decided to hit all the high-end department stores for some window shopping. (Yes, I like to torture myself, okay?)

We started with Henri Bendel (“Bendel’s”), since it opened earliest. The early bird gets the empty store, apparently!

Next we meandered up 5th Avenue to Bergdorf Goodman.

DSC_1472And I said, well that’s the one thing we’ve got…

DSC_1473Where else do you find huge snowlakes in the sky, other than Fifth Avenue?

DSC_1477Central Park in the distance…

DSC_1478The Plaza. Only Trump would get construction tarp that matches the facade!

And, of course, there were the Bergdorf windows.

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We headed downstairs to bask in the glory of their beauty basement. Rose was color matched for the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (sadly, she’s a mix of 2 shades, which is not wallet friendly at all!) and I fell in love with, and quickly walked away from, a Killian scent.

Also, as an afterthought, we passed by the Creed counter, and I sprayed a tester card with Acqua Fiorentina, at Rose’s urging. Stuck it in my pocket and forgot about it. I pulled it out a few hours later and OH MY GOD, THIS NEEDS TO BE MINE. (See? I just can’t stick to one scent.)

Next up was Barneys, where I expertly avoided the Serge Lutens counter for fear of temptation, completely ignored the Surratt counter out of self-defense, and stopped to drool at the MAKE counter. They have the prettiest shades of bright, colorful eyeshadow!

I went to be color matched at the Sunday Riley counter for their Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer, which was mentioned in this tutorial. For future reference. And was sat down and completely made over. By a woman with the most beautiful skin I have ever seen. (If she is using Sunday Riley products, then I should be, too. Which of course means I’m in big trouble, because those things are expensive.)

The primer is often just used as a foundation, and I do confess my skin looked great with just that. And despite it not being matte and despite her adding some Juno Transformative Lipid Serum (dry) oil on top, my skin was not an oily mess by the end of the day. Not as matte as I’m used to, but definitely an acceptable alternative.

Then we were on our way.

DSC_1480Roosevelt Island Tram in the distance.

DSC_1481I haven’t seen a street vendor selling roasted chestnuts since I was little!!

Some beverages followed, in turn followed by my second viewing of the weekend of Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I hated the first movie. Hated it. But despite certain gripes* about this one, I really loved it. Have you seen it? What did you think?

DSC_1482Times Square. Pretty to look at, terrible to walk through!

DSC_1483Do you?

DSC_1484Peek-a-boo!

Then I hit up Sephora for some samples, because a day in the city is nothing without my samples. Two locations provided a motherlode of goodness. Which is good, since my skin is still recovering from the Liz Earle debacle.

I was thinking of doing a write-up of the samples I’ve been trying and my verdicts. Any interest?

Have you tried any of those brands? Any favorite products?

What did you do this weekend?

I’m going to cut my Catching Fire thoughts for any possible spoilers. 😉

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Les Cinq Petites Choses #3

Voici 5 choses que j’ai aimées récemment. Here are five things I’ve been loving lately.

1. Apparently I’ve been living under a rock, because I only just recently discovered Lisa Eldridge, an amazing and accomplished makeup artist. I know, I know, you’re all scoffing at me. But better late than never?

And I adore her. We even have similar skin issues and similar coloring (though she has those gorgeous hazel eyes).

I’m not sure if her tutorial videos have seen me through insomnia or if they’ve caused my insomnia since I stay up way too late watching them. (And then I want all the things she uses! This is how I found out about Face Lace.)

But, in particular, I adore the look she uses in this video.

2. After reading about Tom Ford’s Black Orchid fragrance here and here, I was curious enough to go to Sephora and get a sample. It’s touted as a unisex fragrance, and when I sampled it on a card at the Tom Ford counter first, the person helping me told me that Brad Pitt wears it.

I have not worn a unisex fragrance since CK One came out and EVERYONE wore it. And I was young and foolish then. So I was skeptical.

And I have to say, I’m won over. And yet still skeptical. Black Orchid goes on smelling gorgeously fruity. And it dries down to a lovely spice. But a very masculine spice. (I suppose that’s how it works as a unisex fragrance?) I had my brother smell it, and he said it smelled like a men’s scent.

But maybe that’s why I liked it? Hey, if you don’t have a man in your life to smell, just smell yourself instead? 😉

Black OrchidThat bottle. Is sexy.

3. I was lucky enough to discover Rosaspina Vintage when they still had pieces from their summer collection left. All the clothing is designed by the lovely Ale from Turin, handmade by her mother, and sourced from her grandmother’s vintage textile collection. It is the most amazing history for your clothing to have.

In the ensuing days, I’ve been dying over the hints of the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection to come.  Yesterday, it went on sale. And I think I am officially dead from the amazingness. I literally want everything. But if I have to pick a few favorites, these are them.

rosaspinavintage_aw13_cape5The ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ cape in Burnt Orange. I want this so badly it hurts. (The ‘Briar Rose’ pinafore in Floral is also available.)

rosaspinavintage_aw13_dress5I loved every color of this dress. Here, the ‘Gretel’ dress in Mist.

rosaspinavintage_aw13_skirt5This skirt was in my cart. My cart advanced to Paypal. I looked at the price again and reminded myself that I have no money. I cried.

rosaspinavintage_aw13_skirt6It’s so beautiful, it hurts to look at it. The ‘Gerda’ skirt in Chestnut. (The ‘Little Matchgirl’ blouse in Scarlet is also available.)

Sadly, because they are hand made and mostly one-of-a-kind, the skirt will be gone by the time I am working again and can afford to buy it. It breaks my heart.

4. Reading The Penny Rose, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing illustration in their logo. I obviously had to dig around and see if they mentioned who it was by and, of course, they did.

Jessica Durrant‘s work has been seen at Target, One Kings Lane, QVC.com, Glamour.com, and many others. But you don’t need to be a corporation or institution to be lucky enough to have a piece of her gorgeous art. Etsy to the rescue, once again! And, once again, I want everything.

Jessica DurantSeriously. I wonder how much she charges. I need a logo…

5. I am not exaggerating when I say this last thing is a godsend. How many times have you (assuming you are a beauty enthusiast) wanted to try a new foundation, only to be faced with the fact that you have no idea which color to pick? Sometimes that’s not a problem, ie, when you are able to go into a store and try it on. But what if they don’t sell it at a store near you? Or what if you go into the store and no one is available to help you? (This happened to me. More than once.)

That’s where Findation comes in. Plug in the shades of the brands and specific foundations that you know you where, and it populates a list of what your shade would be in countless others. They have a huge array of brands and foundations listed. You’re sure to find something that you want on the list.

Findation

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not yet tested how accurate it is, so don’t blame me if it’s not exactly right. But I’m pretty sure something came up on my list that I had tried on once, in the right shade.

I’m excited to test it out, though!

What do you think of my 5 things? What have you been loving lately?

Dollars and Scents – The Perfumes I’ve Known and Loved

I have a confession to make. I’m what you might call “promiscuous” when it comes to perfume.

DSC_0988The usual suspects, old and new.
(clockwise from front right: Petite Chérie, La Petite Robe Noire, Portrait of a Lady,
Pear Cassis, Un Jardin après la Mousson, Manifesto, and Orange Sanguine)

I’ve spoken at large about my obsession with makeup (especially lipstick, these days), but I’ve kept mostly mum about my embarrassingly large fragrance stash.

Growing up, I knew what a signature scent was in theory, but in practice, it seemed as abstract and unreal as the Yeti or Loch Ness Monster. It also had an allure that I seemed to lack, a girl growing up in Brooklyn. A signature scent seemed to evoke a chic Parisian woman who walks by and you turn your head because she smells so good and you don’t know what it is. And, bien sur, she won’t tell.

The romance of fragrance still feels very French to me as an adult. I still assume every French woman has a signature scent, something that is not available in the United States, and that they keep the name as secret as their internet passwords.

I can’t even say that it evoked a sophistication I didn’t have yet, as a teenager (or even now as an adult, big geek that I am), and that’s why I shied away from one. Honestly? I just liked smelling different every day. It was fun. It was like playing a different person every day. (I still do this with my makeup. I rarely look the same from day to day.)

So I was the girl buying every new perfume when it came out, desperate to get my hands on the latest and greatest. There was Pleasures and Trésor and Happy and my cherry-blossom-smelling G Gigli and my wear-in-winter-only tuberose Fracas. There were the two scents that just smelled so damn good on me, Eternity and Chaos. And let’s not forget Samsara and the summer I wore only Sexy Graffiti. Or the first time I went to Paris, and I followed Suzy Gershman’s advice and went to the most amazing duty-free perfume store ever, Catherine (which has since closed down, lucky for my wallet). I think my sister and I walked away from there with 4 new perfumes (in addition to the Spring Flower I had already bought at Creed), including a 3.4 oz tester of J’adore that was pure perfume (parfum!), not eau de anything. (For only $100!)

And, yes, I spent all that money. Because, as you know, perfume don’t come cheap. I actually feel faint when I think of the money I’ve spent on perfume over the years, especially considering how many of them it turned out I couldn’t wear.

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Allongé (West Village Adventure part II)

Continuing the tale of our day in the West Village (and the fitting ballet terms), we finally made it to Aedes de Venustas. But not before being accosted by the beauty sales equivalent of a used-car salesman. Okay, that’s being harsh, because this guy was actually quite good at what he did.

We were walking down Christopher Street, on our way, and we passed by this man generously handing out samples in front of his skin care store, Shalva. (That’s how he reels you in!!) He promised us a treat (I swear, it wasn’t candy), so we came inside and were treated to a demonstration of the products. Our hands were scrubbed with a Dead Sea salt scrub, and then slathered in a really luscious body cream he promised we’d only have to apply once a day. (I told him I use hand cream about 4 times a day.) There was some special deal going on, but since I’m broke, I had to pass. (Which may have been lucky, if you read the reviews. I think they’re a little harsh; my hands felt soft hours later, but I can understand. As I said, he was really good at his job: trying to sell this stuff.)

With our hands feeling soft as a baby’s bottom, we made our way to Aedes. Sadly, they don’t allow photographs in the store, but I highly recommend you visit to see for yourself. It is a boudoir of visual and olfactory delights. Literally. There is carpeting and drapery and vanities and cabinets. It is dimly lit. But populated with the most high-end and obscure perfume brands you could hope to find. It really is special. If you’re looking for a scent that you won’t smell on everyone else, you know where to go. And they even will give you a sample of any one fragrance you choose. (For more samples, see their web site.)

DSC_0933The fantastical Aedes window, the only thing you’re allowed to photograph.

Once we finally made it out of there (trust me, you’ll never want to leave, either), we were trying to find a specific pharmacy, but wound up getting a little lost, having not yet resorted to using Google maps.

DSC_0934With intersections like this, can you blame us for getting lost?! How does this even work?!

DSC_0935But we just considered it as taking the scenic route. 🙂

DSC_0936I was inordinately pleased with my inspired nail color combination choices.

DSC_0944A moment’s rest, an excuse for more posing.

Ironically, in order to get where we had to go, we had to get back onto Bleecker Street. This time around, we passed by Goorin Bros., and I was so enamored of a hat in the window, I stood outside for five good minutes knowing it would break my heart if I walked in, tried it on, and then walked away. But I went in anyway. And it was as gorgeous as I feared. It is now at the top of my wishlist. But more on that on Wednesday. 😉

DSC_0949I also tried on this beauty. Believe it or not, I would actually totally wear this. (Sadly, I can’t find it on their site.)

I tore myself away, nearly in tears. But I consoled myself at Bisous Ciao with a couple of macarons. Feed the sadness, right?! And at least those I could afford.

DSC_0951Honey Lavender and Rose. Macarons make EVERYTHING better.

After all that meandering and getting lost, we finally made it to Avignone pharmacy (yup, still hate the misspelling), only to find out they didn’t carry what I was looking for, either. In the absence of this mythical Bioderma Sensibio H2O, I settled for Klorane eye makeup remover. (Of course it had to be French.)

Walking around all day in 80+ degree (Fahrenheit) weather, we definitely worked up a thirst, and so a nice cold beer was definitely in order. We stopped off at one of the best beer bars in New York, Blind Tiger, and indulged. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

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Outfit details here.
Nail polish: Peace, Love & OPI – OPI, Stance – Illamasqua
Ring: Shirley Dom

À la seconde (West Village Adventure part I)

Friday saw me paying my second visit that week to my beloved West Village with my friend Rose. We first met up in Chelsea, though, and had a quick jaunt through Chelsea Market.

DSC_0878My ballerina inspired outfit in turn inspired the title of this post!

DSC_0881I attempted a ballerina move. This was the outcome. Better stick to my day job. (Oh, right, I have none.)

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After forcing Rose to conduct a photo shoot, we headed up onto the High Line for a bit and got off to head to the seemingly ubiquitous Warby Parker. Warby Parker offers fashion-forward glasses frames, both optical and sunglasses, for bargain prices. The brand has taken off at such ferocious speed, its founders were recently bestowed the title of “Brand Genius” by Adweek.

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DSC_0887Is it a glasses store or a library? Why choose?!

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DSC_0890Best collateral in a store. Ever.

DSC_0891And best way of displaying appointment times.

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Deal alert: Beauty bonus at Sephora!

For all you beauty addicts out there, Sephora just debuted their “Beauty Fall,” a daily promotion where you receive a surprise bonus every day, whether it be 10% off, free shipping, or a deluxe sample.

Beauty Fall

And the graphics are too, too adorable! It’s like a pop art Plinko from the Price Is Right! Play every day for a new bonus.

Is there a better reason to shop Sephora today? (And tomorrow, and the next day…)

Les Cinq Petites Choses #1

I’ve seen several bloggers doing different variations on “(insert number) of things,” but seeing the way Daphné does it,  I decided it just sounds so much better in French, so I’m following suit. 🙂

Here are my 5 little things of late:

#1 – I finally found something that makes me WANT to carry my Nikon dSLR around with me!

As you can probably tell by from some of my posts on this blog, I love to take photos. Traveling with a good camera is always a struggle. Do you carry a camera bag? And advertise that you’re a tourist/carrying expensive equipment with you? I’ve bought two bags, one from Epiphanie and one from Kelly Moore, that look like purses but have compartments inside for camera equipment. But both of them wind up feeling very heavy and bulky. On my last trip, I literally wound up stashing my Nikon in a fabric tote bag and just carrying it around in that, despite the lack of protection.

Then along came my Rebecca Minkoff Collin Camera Bag. I’d seen the version that certain bloggers got and coveted it dearly. It was while it was still sold out, but then the new colors came out. And, amazingly, they showed up on Gilt, w00t! (The snap seems to be coming out of the leather a tiny bit, so maybe that’s why it was on sale already?)

It’s not large enough to carry an extra lens, and it’s not large enough for when I use my zoom lens, but for just carrying my camera around with my prime lens, which is what I use most these days anyway, it’s perfect. If I pare down, I can even carry everything I need in it, sticking little things in the front pocket. And it looks good, too.

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#2 – As part of working on my français, I’ve been watching a lot of French films. Combine that with a hearty endorsement from Entertainment Weekly, and Starbuck went to the top of my Netflix DVD queue.

And, franchement, it belonged there. I liked this movie so much, I watched it twice within a 24-hour period. Yes, it’s a little farfetched, but it’s also funny and touching. And worth at least one watch. (And I admit I laughed for a reason unrelated to the plot—my French friends complained to me about Montreal/Quebecois accents and, watching this, I TOTALLY got it.)

Naturally, an American remake is already in progress (quelle surprise, sigh), but I would definitely recommend checking out the original. If only to giggle at the accents. (That’s not how it’s pronounced!!)

#3 – I think the best part of being told that I spent enough money at Sephora over the past year to qualify for Sephora VIB Rouge is the exclusive shade of Bite Beauty lipstick that came with my welcome kit. My love for Bite has already been partially documented, but I’ve been waiting for summer to be over to break this beauty out.

It is THE perfect Fall red. It’s a tiny bit darker, a tiny bit deeper than a bright, true red. Very, very vintage feeling. So much so, in fact, maybe somewhat inspired by all the World War I and II historical fiction I’ve read lately, that the other night, I did my hair up in pseudo Victory Rolls, put on some black eyeliner and a vintage choker I bought at a flea market, and painted my lips with this red. And I looked like I stepped out of another era. Which is how I like it.

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#4 – I had let my subscription to Birchbox lapse when they sent out samples of Joie’s then brand new signature scent, Folle de Joie. But reading the blog and following them on Twitter, I kept seeing them talk about how amazing the scent was. I’m a bit of a perfume collector (more on that a different time), and every blogger who had tried it seemed to adore it.

I’m a bit finicky with scents, having a very sensitive nose and stomach, so I sometimes can’t wear scents that are popular with other people (for example, Flowerbomb). I decided to go into a Joie store when I was in the neighborhood and try it on for myself. Besides for needing to try it on first, another perfume is the last thing I should be spending my money on right now.

Luckily for me, the sales assistant was so lovely and gave me a sample to take home. I confess, I came back another day with a friend so we could both get another one (she graciously gave me hers), but only because I loved it so much and knew I would run out. (I was right; I’ve already finished one and am on to my second.)

People describe it as very summery scent, but I don’t see it that way. It feels to me like an all-year scent. It just seems to fit me.

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#5 – Sorry, I know I’m laying it on thick with the French in this post, but I try to absorb it however I can, and this includes listening to French music. I have a friend who knows more about music than I ever have, and she keeps introducing me to bands, especially French bands. Amusingly, most of these French bands sing in English. But she recommended I buy Lescop’s album, and I’m glad I did.

But it’s on especially heavy rotation right now, because it’s moody, atmospheric, perfectly French, and perfect for Autumn. Listening to this album is the aural equivalent of wrapping up in a cozy sweater with a cup of tea. It just evokes the season to me, and I’m welcoming it with open arms.

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