Category: Life

The search for the perfect red continues

Je suis tellement, tellement désolé, mais je suis trop fatigué pour écrire aujourd’hui à propos de ma mini virée en voiture. Demain ou dimanche, je l’espère. Aujourd’hui, je vais écrire au sujet de la poursuite de ma recherche pour le rouge à lèvres rouge parfait.

I know I promised photos and the tale of my mini road trip to Shelter Island, but I’m just too tired. I saw Frightened Rabbit last night, for the conclusion of Scotland Week in New York, and I got home super late. (I have some video on my Instagram, if you’re interested!) There was just no time to go through all the photos. Tomorrow or Sunday, I hope.

In the meantime, I had the chance yesterday before the show to go into Bloomingdales in SoHo and try on some more red lipsticks I’ve read about recently. I am on the hunt for the perfect red lipstick, and I will leave no stone unturned!

First up is the legendary Cherry Lush by Tom Ford. This color has cult status, and is purported to be the perfect red. Of course I had to try it on!

P1000041I look so unhappy. I’m not, I promise!

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Amuse bouche

Sorry for the super short entry today. I’m currently away on an overnight trip to Shelter Island with my friend Rose (with no WiFi in our room!).

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Rose was kind enough to bring her Bioderma Crealine H2O for me to try, and now I’m officially obsessed. (Do you think she’ll notice if I steal it??) I’m going to have to go back to France and get some myself!

Tomorrow I should have a recap of our trip with many more photos like this:

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See you back here tomorrow!

Faire du lèche-vitrine

Things on the homefront lately have been a bit frustrating and less than thrilling in the personal and job-hunting departments. So yesterday I decided that instead of wallowing at home in my sad, unemployed, broke state (and, worse, looking online and finding more things I want!), I would take a field trip to Barneys so that I could at least play with some of the items I’ve been coveting in person. The next best thing to retail therapy is window shopping (and I’ve spoken of my love for the French term for it, faire du lèche-vitrine), and window shopping doesn’t hurt, right? (Until you fall in love with something and have to walk away…)

Naturally, my first stop was at the Surratt counter to see the goodies I’ve been lusting after firsthand. I had a demonstration of the Autographique liner, and the calligraphy-like mechanism, and I have to say, it looks so amazing, it almost did break my heart to walk away from it. The eyeshadows felt buttery soft on my fingers, but I didn’t actually try any of them on. Yet. I’ll save something for a different day.

I did make sure, however, to seek out the Automatique Lip Crayon in Alluring. I also was struck by the Automatique Lip Crayon in Mégalomane. To anyone who is familiar with MAC’s Ruby Woo and Russian Red and the differences between the two, Alluring and Mégalomane are the Surratt counterparts. Alluring is the brighter, lighter sister, like Ruby Woo, and Mégalomane is the deeper, more classic Hollywood red, like Russian Red.

Unlike Ruby Woo, though, and even MAC’s other matte lipsticks, these felt sublime on. The application and feel and wear is truly extraordinary. They go on completely matte, but you don’t feel a thing on your lips. They are not dry, they do not tug on your lips. I did not get a chance to see how long they wear, but I am in love enough to know that I need both in my life. (I actually did an experiment to try and help me pick just one: I put one on half my mouth and one the other half, and kept moving my hand from side to side to try and figure out which color I like better. But I’m not picking. You can’t make me.)

I would really love to try more of the line at some point, so a return visit is entirely necessary.

My next and last stop (I can only tempt myself so much!) was at the MAKE counter. A friend had told me that she heard their Silk Cream Lipstick in Scarlet was the holy grail red, and I had to find out. Despite just trying on 2 red lipsticks. (You have to be dedicated to the mission!) Buying in person, MAKE donates 10% of retail sales to the nonprofit organization We See Beauty Foundation (even more when you buy from them directly), which benefits women-run, worker-owned cooperative businesses.

At the MAKE counter, I was helped by the gorgeous and adorable Kimberly who also has a blog and who also has my Rebecca Minkoff Colin Camera Bag! I hope to come back a different time and have her do my face, because her makeup looked amazing.

The Scarlet is a lot more orange leaning than I was expecting, but it really brightened up my face. I used to be certain I could only wear orange-leaning reds, and then suddenly I realized I have pink in my face and blue-toned ones look good as well. Besides for the shade, I’m always on the fence about whether I like my red lipstick to be creamy or matte, and this was definitely on the creamier side (although it seems they have a matte version as well). I’m wearing it in the photos below. Let me know what you think!

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The skin I’m in—My basic skincare regimen dissected

Someone asked me to do a post (someone asked me to do a post!!) on my basic daily beauty routine, so I thought I would start with my skincare.

My oily skin has been the bane of my existence since I was a teenager. My favorite joke about my skin is that there is enough oil on my face when I wake up in the morning to solve the energy crisis. (There really is.) When women talk about wanting a foundation that makes them look “dewy,” I know that with me, all I have to do is put on foundation and wait an hour and POOF! Dewy.

Much like my perfume-buying habits, I’ve been through practically every oily skin line of skincare trying to find the holy grail of mattifying moisturizer (or cleanser or toner). My conclusion: There is no such thing. The companies will claim to eliminate all your shine, but if you’re as oily as I am, you’re always going to be a little bit shiny. The thing that you can work on, though, is how shiny you’re going to be.

I feel like I need to state that one of the problems with taking care of oily skin is that in an attempt to eliminate oil, we sometimes strip away too much oil. Doing what? Causing your skin to produce more oil to compensate. So don’t forget: some oil good, too much oil bad. I use moisturizer even at night, even though it seems counter intuitive.

I had a fantastic run from March to April this year, where by the end of the work day, I just had a slight sheen, and just needed to dab a bit before going out. I had started a new skincare regimen and also discovered a new line of foundation (that I’ll talk about in the follow up to this post).  What was the magic combination, you’re wondering?

DSC_0999Clockwise from left: Lush Ultrabland, Tea Tree Water, Grease Lightning, Enzymion, Fresh Farmacy Soap

I have friends in Scotland who are big believers in Lush, so I decided to go in and buy a skincare system and see how it worked. The routine was, take my eye makeup off, then use Ultrabland to take the makeup off the rest of my face. This step was something new to me. I had never taken my makeup off my face before cleansing, or, double cleansing. It feels completely counter intuitive to put Ultrabland on oily skin, because it feels oily (and is in fact made with essential oils), but seeing how much dirt came off my face when I used the Tea Tree Water on a cotton pad to take it off, I was amazed. I also did not break out more because of it, and rationalized that it was probably good to be putting some oil back into my face (see factoid above). The Tea Tree Water smells fresh, feels refreshing, and is really a great product. The person who helped me told me she even sprays it on her face during the day to help mattify and refresh her skin (I haven’t tried that for fear of my mascara running, heh).

Next step was to wash my face with the Fresh Farmacy Soap. She chose this cleanser because I do have some pimples, but don’t need an exfoliating cleanser since I use a Clarisonic Mia brush. Fresh Farmacy is made with calamine, so it’s the same color as the old mosquito bite remedy. You can smell it, too. It kind of feels medicinal, but in a good way.  At night I (still) use a prescription retinol on my face, generic Retin-A. During the day, I uses Grease Lightning for oil and pimples. Then I used Avibon (which is a French skincare secret: pure vitamin A retinol, used by French women to keep wrinkles at bay) under my eyes and whatever eye cream in the morning I was using at the time (probably some sample I got), and then moisturized with Enzymion. I’ve heard that they do demos of this moisturizer on people’s hands, showing how it sucks up oil. I’m sure it does, and like I said, it worked really well for a spell. It smells citrusy and fresh, which is especially nice in the morning.

In April, I went to Spain for a week and a half, and I don’t know if it was the traveling, the change in regimen while I was away, or the changing of the season, but when I got back, my skin did not respond to this routine as well. Quel disappointment! So what’s a beauty product addict to do? Go find some more, of course!

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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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Well, hello there!

And welcome!

I just wanted to say that I’ve been seeing visits to this little blog from all over the world, and that excites me so much! I just wanted to extend a personal greeting and to thank you for taking the time!

(Pour mes visiteurs belges: mon père est né à Anvers, donc je suis à moitié belge. 😉 [Is that the correct way to say it??] )

I’d love to hear from you, in any language!

Bisous! x

Review: Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream – Battle of the Liquid Lipsticks Part III

The subject: Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Sancerre

So we’ve covered both Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar as well as  MAC Lipmix. Now it’s time for Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream,

I feel like my blog has become an Ode to Bite Beauty. But it’s with good reason! (And, no, they’re not paying me, I swear!) All the lip products from the Toronto-based company are made from food-grade ingredients, and each lipstick contains the amount of Resveratrol, the antioxidant found in red wine, found in five glasses of wine. So they’re good for you, as well. And I pretty much wear their Line and Define Lip Primer under everything. Including this!

Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream Sancerre Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Sancerre

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Review: MAC Lipmix – Battle of the Liquid Lipsticks Part II

The subject: MAC Lipmix in Orange

The previous installment of the Battle of the Liquid Lipsticks saw me reviewing Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar. It’s being pitted against Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream and today’s entrant, MAC Lipmix.

I’ve been slightly obsessed with orange lipstick since September of last year when I bought Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Orange. Then I bought YSL Rouge Volupté Perle in Incandescent Orange. It’s a slippery slope. This summer I purchased MAC Lipstick in So Chaud. But then it happened.

Rose and I were sitting outside in the cold watching the Metropolitan Opera opening night telecast, looking up on her phone which celebrities were nice and cozy inside (and what they were wearing!), when we saw this.

Coco-Rocha-in-Greta-Constantine-Metropolitan-Opera-Season-Opening-5-600x810 Bow before the glory of Coco Rocha.

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Review: OCC Lip Tar – Battle of the Liquid Lipsticks Part I

Happy Thursday!! I hope you’re ready to rumble!

The subject: OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet

I’ve recently added to my lipstick collection 3 different kinds of lipstick that come in a liquid form: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar, Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream, and MAC Lipmix. Since I’ve already gone on in depth about Bite Beauty and also mentioned MAC, I thought I would start with the OCC Lip Tar.

DSC_0866OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet

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Switching keys to low

My day yesterday was a lot more chill. I met Ashley (my lovely model) in the city for coffee, knitting, and boy scoping.

20131007_153032_1Me en route. (Look out for my forthcoming review of the lipstick I’m wearing!)

Ashley and I are both on budgets, so one of our favorite places to meet up is at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, especially now that they’ve introduced their app card—buy 6 drinks, get the 7th free! take that Starbucks!—but only at the Broadway location. (I just don’t want you going into another location and thinking I lied. 😉 )

20131007_172013_1So many of the best things in life on one table.

We both brought along some knitting. And by the time we were finished, I had negative progress. (I had forgotten to bring some supplies with me, tried to make it work, and then had to undo everything I had done that day. Go me!) But we were sitting right next to these people who came in and seemed to give some kind of seminar on business management, so maybe I subconsciously absorbed some of it and now I can go out and make my fortune! (Or not. I’d spend it all, anyway.)

Lots of caffeine and giggles were had all around.

Where are your favorite places to just chill with friends? And what’s the strangest thing you’ve overheard while there?