Monday, August 31, 2015

Scents of the Week, Serge Lutens Edition

[Samples were purchased by me from Surrender to Chance. No affiliate links.]

There were some Serge Lutens scents that were on my curiosity list, so I snagged some samples during a recent Surrender to Chance flash sale. Spoilers: I don't think we're friends. I love Gris Clair, but I think that may be it for SL and I - one shot romance, dudes.

So let's talk about them. (Disclaimer: I don't always wear a scent for the whole day, but I can really only handle one new scent a day. I tried to smell three or four at a time once and madness ensued. Not recommended.)

Also, I didn't start on a Sunday.

Wednesday: Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau edp
Bread note, spices, licorice, apricot, immortelle, sandalwood, woody notes, amber
Ah, sandalwood and immortelle, always ruining the party. Anyway.

Mmmhmm, "bread note." I WAS PROMISED BREAD. Every perfume blogger waxed eloquent about grannies baking bread or croissants on the streets of Paris or whatever. I like bread. Jeux de Peau does not smell like bread. I've made many a loaf - yeasted breads (plain baguettes and sour dough, pizza dough, flatbread, sandwich style), tea breads, quick breads...fresh baked/baking bread does not smell like this. Unless, I don't know, maybe you eat weird bread?

I mean, they were otherwise correct. It is weird. So maybe it is weird bread. Who knows. It has a apricot-anise opening, with erratic spices zinging through, like some madman just went nuts in a bakery. It's not sweet, and is baked with too much sandalwood and immortelle for this kid. A shame, because I like licorice, which gives it an herbal freshness, and the spices here are reminiscent of traditionally masculine scents, which make me feel cozy and romantic.

But yes, it's not for me, and lastly, I wouldn't say Jeux de Peau is a gourmand. I like gourmands, even though they never make me think of food, exactly. They're a dessert for your nose, instead. Not like smashing a piece of cake in your face, though. Ok, that's enough, obviously I can't write a coherent thought about the weird bread perfume. Next.

Thursday: Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger edp
Orange blossom, white jasmine, Indian tuberose, white rose, citrus peel, hibiscus seeds, cumin, nutmeg
This would be another ballsy one by Sheldrake. When you first put it on, it's like you stuck your nose on a tuberose spike. I know all you white floral haters are running for the hills already, but - funnily enough, it's a little more interesting on dry down. It's a little spicier, with the heat from the cumin and nutmeg, and a little greener, with the orange blossom and the aged tang of orange peel. It's warmer and fuller than L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons, bringing with it a little bit of salt, sweat, and the heat of skin. It doesn't cling to the butteriness of a lot of other white florals, which might make it more palatable to some. Still, it is a tuberose scent, and I think it's bigger than me, so while I like it, I don't think I could wear it routinely.

Friday: Serge Lutens Datura Noir edp
Myrrh, bitter almond, tonka bean, musk, osmanthus, heliotrope, mandarin, lemon blossom, tuberose, vanilla, coconut oil, apricot
Hells bells, this is weird. I'm going to go wear Jo Malone for a week after this, I swear. (Not a diss - I love Vanilla & Anise - I want a full bottle). People say it's a bit of a chameleon, and I get that. I think it starts off more strongly than it ends, though. Decadent, tooth-achingly sweet coconut macaroon one day, and subtler, flaky almond croissant the next. Pop of apricot here, like a blob of misplaced jam, and moments later, drowning in flan de coco - flambé. Also, there are flowers. Night-blooming and tenacious. Then it dries down into a weird, flowery, powdery, almond-aquatic note...kind of like baby powder. Not my cup of tea. I find it fascinating from a formulation standpoint - what molecules are responsible for these notes? Are they at some sort of threshold, which makes them so shifty? - but for my personal use, I prefer more well-behaved concoctions.

Saturday: Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille edp
Black vanilla absolute, licorice, sandalwood, coconut milk, beeswax, caramelized benzoin, bitter almond, Gaiac wood, tonka bean
I wanted to love this one the most, because I am unabashedly a vanilla fiend, but it is nothing like I expected, and I'm sad. I wanted it to be darker, with more smoke and licorice. On me, though, it smells like a slightly more refined Aquolina Pink Sugar. And stays that way. I mean, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is more expensive, and on my skin, the coconut gives it that weird synthetic edge, so it's not even a whole lot more refined. Verdict: A rare vanilla fail for me (but this means I can add another coveted vanilla to my stash at some point with no qualms about "too many vanillas." As if such a thing exists.).

Voila! I finished my sampler pack of Serge Lutens, I am so pleased. I think that's all I want to try from the house right now. I'm traveling this week and next, so I may be slow with comments, but I want to know: What's your favorite SL? (Mine is Gris Clair). 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Traveling Light for Weekend Getaways: Part II

[All products were purchased by me except *, which were gifts from friends. No affiliate links.]

(Click here for Part I - packing and plane wear).

Since I only take a carry-on, my liquids are limited to 100 mL (3.4 oz) or less, and all have to fit in one quart-sized zipped bag (the US TSA site lists the regulations for domestic and international flights originating here. I'm not sure how it differs around the world). I usually take = a ZipLock, but I might buy one of the clear, plastic TSA-compliant bags later (or put it on my holiday wishlist).

The baggie contains liquid skincare and makeup items, and basics like toothpaste and contact solution. Lipsticks and powders don't need to go in here. I skip shower products - when we stay in hotels (which is most of the time), I just use whatever shampoo and soap they offer; if we stay with friends/family, I pop into a drugstore and pick up travel-sized shampoo, conditioner and body wash that I can ditch at the end of the stay. I'm far more picky about what I use on my face.
What I pack in the baggie. Not pictured: mini toothpaste, contact solution, small bottle of cleanser, but they usually also fit.

I'm not a big fan of decanting products into little tubes and jars, for various reasons, though that is one convenient way of taking all of your favorite products with you. I actually love deluxe samples of products I already use, which are often offered up as Sephora perks, brand GWPs, or available for sale. I try to avoid samples of products that I've never used before - I don't want to deal with allergic or unfortunate reactions while traveling.

I stick to a moisturizer, serum, cleansing oil, cleanser, and sunscreen. I also sometimes bring full body sunscreen, depending on the nature of the trip...or I make S. bring it, or we just buy one at the destination. I have dry skin so I really notice if I skip serum; if that doesn't plague you, it's probably the most expendable over a temporary period.
The 4-pc Laneige trial set at Target - $10.

The Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream is my AM/PM moisturizer, and two trial-sized Laneige skincare sets are available for purchase - the 6-pc set ($29), and the 4-pc trial set ($10). The tubes in the 4-pc set are great for trialing, but also for travel. The jars in the 6-pc set are bigger, and nice for longer trips. At home, I use a hydrating Vichy serum, but I take the mini Laneige Water Bank Serum on trips.

Tatcha also does a lot of great travel sizes - I bought a mini cleansing oil for my trip to Korea, actually. MAC and Clinique (and other brands, I'm sure) also often do seasonal LE minis that I try to keep an eye out for, especially during traditional "travel" seasons like summer and the winter holidays.
Example of the makeup products and tools (aside from the liquids in the first photo that go in the liquids bag) that I take on a trip. Lipstick choices are usually one glam (Dior Trafalgar), one casual (Dior Diablotine Addict), and one "wildcard" (MAC Pleasant Patentpolish Lip Pencil*). I try to take a neutral blush that pairs well with all lipsticks, like this mini Tarte Stellar.* 

For makeup, as for outfits, it really does depend on the purpose of the trip. In general, I pare it down to 1-2 of each item, maybe 2-3 for lips. I rarely miss anything I left behind. If we're staying casual, I take a simple eye trio like my favorite Shiseido BE213; if we're attending a wedding or nice dinner, I take a more "day to night," option like Marc Jacobs The Enigma. Then it's one blush, maybe a highlighter, and brow gel, mascara, black liquid liner. For lips, I try to keep it to 2-3 lipsticks and a gloss or balm. All of the makeup and necessary brushes (pick multi-taskers that you can dust off) need to fit in a small makeup bag, so that helps add constraints, as I also nest a ziplock baggie with a toothbrush, floss, and razor into the bag. Limit yourself to your (hopefully small!) makeup bag, rather than picking products first - this is something Kar Yi suggests, as well.

Makeup summary:
- brow gel, mascara, eyeliner
- concealer (I'm going to experiment with a foundation stick soon, instead)
- 1 eyeshadow palette (that complements lipsticks - e.g., don't take a cool palette + warm lip shades, unless that's your usual thing, then go for it.)
- one blush. I bring a powder or a cream as I always use a brush with blush, no matter the formulation (hate using my fingers); space in the liquids bag is tight, so I pick powder/cream over liquid. If you use your fingers, take a cream and skip the brush.
- 2-3 lipsticks; one glam, one MLBB, maybe one wild card (see photo above)
- 1 gloss or balm, or none
- 2-3 eye brushes, blush brush, concealer brush, spoolie, eyelash curler

On the plane, I usually just wear whatever skincare base and makeup I'd wear on the daily - concealer, blush, some eye makeup, lip gloss or balm. No foundation. For shorter flights, I wear contacts; for longer or overnight ones, I wear glasses instead (but I always carry both, and an extra pair of contacts).  I don't worry too much about my face during the flight - far more tedious to fuss with masks and goop and washing hands and whatever.

Traveling is fun and I like to focus on the sights and experiences, but I also don't want to suffer for it afterward by skipping all of my usual reliable products. I do try to test anything before taking it, so I know exactly how that lipstick looks on me and what to pair it with, and I 'm not surprised with any skincare side effects.

What are your skincare/makeup travel picks? Do you go for travel sizes, or just pack everything into a checked bag? Any travel plans for the near future?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Traveling Light for Weekend Getaways: Part I

[No affiliate links. Graphics and text were done with the Aillis app.]

I wouldn't say I'm a seasoned travel veteran, but over the past decade, I've done a decent amount of light traveling - the kind that requires, well, traveling light. For a domestic trip lasting less than a week, I take just a carry-on and a work tote, because it's cheaper (no bag fee) and easier - I check in for my flight online, so at the airport I can head straight to security; after deplaning at my destination, I don't have to wait for a checked bag to come spiraling down the carousel, or push through hordes of people to get it. Of course, this is more feasible in warmer months when you don't need tons of layers and coats. And the downside is that it does restrict the number of liquids you can take on board (skincare! makeup!), but we'll get to that in Part II.
This is an example of a travel outfit + all luggage: two carry-on tote bags. Shoes: TOMS Majorca Booties (mentioned further below).

Lately, my carry-on of choice has been this: a nylon Longchamp Medium Le Pliage in the Handheld style. It is light, zips and snaps closed, has short handles that makes it easy to carry in conjunction with a "small personal item" (a work tote), fits in any plane overhead bin or under the seat in front of me, if need be, next to my work tote. I'm not a fan of wheelie bags because they can get heavy (remember, you have to lift it overhead to get it in the bin), and also, I walk fast and weave through spaces when I have to, and people tend not to appreciate it when you run over their toes with wheeled bags. Astounding, I know.

I put everything in the Le Pliage except for my zipped top bag of liquids - that goes in my work tote for easy access at the security checkpoint. Clothes are rolled up, not folded, and I put underwear in a small, soft pouch so that they stay together. Any jewelry I take goes in a smaller pouch, which also fits into the underwear pouch, to minimize the number of small things floating around in my bag. I'd like to upgrade to trendy, matching pouches some day, but at the moment, I just make do. I usually pack thin, lightweight mix and match separates or dresses, pjs, and a swimsuit if necessary.
Sorry there are so many references to panties on my blog, ha! Keeping it real.

For plane day, usually I'll wear jeans and the biggest shoes like my TOMS Majorca Booties (bulky - both are easier to wear than to pack, and comfortable enough). The TOMS are dressy enough for most occasions I have while traveling, and I like the sound the wedge heels make as I power walk through airports. I stuff a pair of flats (below) into my Longchamp tote, as well as a small crossbody, like the Kate Spade Tenley, for use at my destination.
The flats I like to stuff in my Le Pliage.
I also wear any jacket/cardigan I plan on having for the trip, since it's cold on the plane.
My "holy crap 4 AM is early" travel selfie.

The "small, personal item" I take is usually my Cole Haan Village Tech work tote. The downside is that it doesn't have a main compartment zipper, so anything important goes in the smaller zipped or latched pockets, but it does fit upright under most airplane seats, so there isn't a huge risk of things falling out. It also has a secure laptop slot, which accommodates my 11-inch Macbook Air. And it doesn't have a flap opening, which makes it easier to open at security, and to access in the cramped seating space on the plane. I keep the liquids bag into this tote, so that I can pull it out readily at security instead of fussing with the zipped Longchamp. After security, I can move it to my Longchamp, or just leave it as is, depending on how much space I have in either bag. The other things that go in here are my phone, wallet, charger, Kindle, laptop, earphones, and any work that I want to do on the plane. Plus snacks (you know me), and a bottle of water I buy after going through security.

And there we have it. I tried to keep it short, but it got away from me. Like I said, I'm not an expert, but I like to travel light and keep things convenient. Part II will follow - the skincare/makeup edit, and how I fit everything into the one allotted plastic quart-sized bag for carry-ons.

What are your travel tips? Are you a light packer, or do you try to cover any possible outcome? What are your favorite travel totes and carry-on bags?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Sessions: II

[No affiliate links.]

(What's a Sunday Session?)


On repeat:
The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow. I love this album. The above video is for "Dance Me to the End of Love", a Leonard Cohen cover (you should listen to the original, too) on the album. I'm still sad that they broke up. This album is amazing - poetic and romantic, but infused with a very unique sound. Plus, I'm a sucker for male-female duos. The combination and complement of voices is beautiful.

Syfy's Warehouse 13. It's a little cheesy at times, but I have a soft spot for these blends of technology with historical fiction and mythology - fantastical items of lore, infused with power and all of that. I'm midway through the second season, and it's easy to watch and kind of fun. Plus, there are gems of witty dialogue here and there, and Claudia is ON POINT, GIRL. Also, her hair. I have hair envy.

Map of Korea. [source]
Korea. We leave soon! I'm so excited. My parents have been there for a few years for work, so we'll be staying with them. I'll be happy to see them, and to EAT ALL THE THINGS. I want to have at least a little list of activities and sights, though, even though it sounds like my mom has already packed our schedule very tightly, ha. I found a pretty decent site in English (I can read Korean, but I don't understand a ton of it, so it's easier for me to search in English) that has an overview, but I'll take any suggestions! My parents are near Seoul, and I've had to familiarize myself with the cities and provinces so I can estimate distances and times. I've been to Korea a few times in the past, traveling with my mum, but this will be S.'s first time. My mom is so excited to show him her culture and's ridiculously cute.

Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book. I know Gaiman is really popular, but the only book I've liked is The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I haven't been able to get into very many of his other books, but I'm reading this one right now - it's a children's book - and it's pretty engaging. I've got a few more books (by other authors) on my Kindle, in preparation for long flights. Do you have any book recommendations? Read anything interesting lately? Let me know! I will add it to my ridiculously long "to read" list on Goodreads.

Annnnnnd some of the posts I am working on:
- packing and traveling light for weekend getaways
- StriVectin Instant Revitalizing Mask (PR sample)
- Scents of the Week, Serge Lutens edition
- perfume - full bottles snapshot & quick reviews
- a fitness post
- A skincare roundup (ok, this may take me another few months - just being honest here, ha.)

How's your Sunday going? Any plans for the week?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Recent Repurchases - August 2015

[Items were purchased by me.]

I have talked about most of these before, but I figured I'd throw up a post to highlight them again, because it's always helpful for me when bloggers talk about the products they rely on. This is a "staples" edition - no fancy lipsticks or frills, but products I always have on hand as part of my daily routine.

First up - L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium/Dark and L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Midnight Black. I liked the original Voluminous Butterfly a lot - it's a fiber mascara! I went through a tube and decided to try the Midnight Black, not because the original wasn't dark enough (it is), but...just for variety. This one is also good, though I can't say it's Whatever, they're each usually < $10 and both need to be replaced pretty often, so I'm really happy to have found drugstore staples for mascara and brows.

I bought two more eye makeup staples - NARS Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base and Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner in Black (not shown - had to pick it up in Boston and chucked packaging). I stopped using eye primer when I lived in dry WA (unless I really wanted colors to shine or something like that), but here in high humidity, I need it again. So I used up the rest of the tube I had on hand (for aforementioned "emergencies," ha) and just bought another. I like that you can still blend shadows over it, unlike with UDPP - this is probably my third tube of NARS.

I think this is my third Smashbox pen, as well - it's my favorite black liner, and it's waterproof. As the day wears on, some of it starts to fade, but I rarely end up with smudging. Thumbs up. I keep thinking I should try a new one, but I use black liquid liner every day, and there's really no room for bunk in the routine.

For skincare, I bought more cleanser (boring), and Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream, which is a bit of a sleeper hit with me. At first, I was indifferent to it, but over time I realized it actually does a great job of keeping the under eye area moisturized, without being greasy or oily. It layers really well under concealer (I use MAC Pro-Longwear under eyes), doesn't cause my eye makeup to smudge, and has a bit of a pearlized sheen that's brightening without being obvious or shimmery or metallic. The nice thing about having a blog is that you can see some of your older photos and compare them to new ones, and use that as a marker for which skincare products have a visible effect. I use a different eye cream at night (Ole Henriksen), but this is my daytime eye cream, for sure.

Ta-da! The end. Next on the repurchase list is concealers - I'm almost out of my NARS creamy concealer and - shock and awe - I think I'm nearing the end of my MAC Pro-longwear, too. What's on your repurchase list? Do you like having old favorites, or do you prefer to try new things all the time?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Sessions: I

[No affiliate links.]

I miss doing casual Thursday posts, so I thought I'd do a similar kind of thing again - not every weekend, but here and there, to share some of my ongoing interests (beauty and non-beauty).


listening to:
Clairity: DNA. Like many others, S. and I are running our free trial of Apple Music right now - we have pretty diverse tastes and like to listen to a lot of different artists, so we've always had some sort of music subscription. iTunes seems to have been nerfed (ah, my gaming days), but I'm still finding great artists, like Clairity. This EP is too short. Reminds me of Frou Frou and Sia (and I guess Katy Perry, but I'm only familiar with what gets played on the radio), with lots of amazing bass. Upbeat - a fun summer jam as I'm driving.

Bourbon Empire, by Reid Mitenbuler. I read more nonfiction now than I did growing up, probably because I'm no longer in school and have room for more information nowadays. This book describes the development of bourbon in parallel with other moments in American history. It's pretty interesting and easy to get into. Of course, it helps that I have an interest in bourbon, ha.

Dior Nude Cosmpolite Illuminating Face Powder. I blame Paris. It looks gorgeous, and lately I've wanted a really subtle highlighter - my current powder has a more metallic finish, which is lovely, but sometimes I want something softer. In the US, it appears that this is only available on Dior's website - it's $45.

waiting for:
I ordered a Kate Spade Tenley crossbody bag (in guava, on sale at Lord and Taylor and free shipping at $99, plus 3% at ebates) for travel - it's nice to have a less structured, soft leather crossbody that I can stuff into my Longchamp weekend travel bag or suitcase without taking up a lot of space; I think it will be a good size for carrying necessities (keys, phone, card case/small wallet, passport, gum, lipstick). Plus, the color is so cheerful.

indulging in:
Maine Root Blueberry Soda. I don't drink soda that often, but I like a treat every once in a while, and I love all things blueberry. This one is good. It's a bit sweeter than I'd like, but still delicious.

Plans for today include breakfast out with friends, a stop at Nordstrom to return a pair of shoes that didn't fit (a rare miss in my online shopping expeditions), and then some well-deserved relaxing and reading. Next weekend I'll be in Boston with S.! Looking forward to that. And then we're traveling to Korea at the beginning of September, which I am ridiculously excited about. We'll stay with my parents and EAT ALL THE THINGS. We're also trying to plan a trip for next summer...maybe someplace tropical.

What's on your plate at the moment? Tried anything new, have any recommendations? Any favorite craft sodas that I should try? Making travel plans? Let me know!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Stained Berry Lip (Popsicle Season!)

[Products were purchased by me.]

I actually don't think I've had a popsicle this summer. WHAT. I need to remedy this. It's hard to buy popsicles when the heat is blistering and they'll probably melt on the way home, though! Ugh, east coast weather. Gross.

Anyway, after dabbling in lip mixing experiments for a vampy lip, I decided to try the stained lip (also shown here, with a subtler base color). I used MAC Fashion Revival again, because it's such a great plum shade and it has a gorgeous stain when you remove it.
The rest of the makeup is from this post; base is bareMinerals Complexion Rescue. I was running around from that post to this, so I apologize for the shine, lol.
I started with a layer of Osmia Organics Honey Myrrh Lip Repair. Then I patted Fashion Revival along the inner rim of both lips, and blurred it outward with my pinky finger. That's it. I might top with more balm if I found that too much rubbed over while I was applying color. You could probably do this with a clear gloss (or a light one), but most gloss has shimmer or pigmentation, and that might change the look a bit, and add texture.

Easy-peasy and kind of casual. I think I like the effect with fuchsias and plums, but I'll have to try it with a darker, cool red, too. Is this a look you do often?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Blogging: Still Something to Smile About

[Edit: Based on some of the comments that I have received, I am editing to clarify the spirit of my original post. I want to emphasize that I don't feel that bloggers who are talking about monetization or who are calling for reform in the blogging-PR business exchange are shallow, greedy, unjustified or wrong. I wasn't calling anyone out or leading an attack or a covert jibe, and I apologize if anyone interpreted my post that way. I just figured that I didn't have much to add to that conversation, and honestly, I didn't want to wade into that particular war. All I wanted to say was that I appreciated the spirit of racial, gender and cultural tolerance that seems to thrive in the online beauty community, without seeming to trivialize other blogging concerns.

That being said, though, now that I'm here, I will address that issue. I think everyone is entitled to their piece of the Internet, and the blogging business model problems that smart people are addressing are not inconsequential. They will also not be resolved if the majority of us seek to remain indifferent, and that's a problem, too. I don't have the particular passion for these issues, (and that's absolutely not a result of judgment, just a result of exercising my prerogative to have my own priorities) but many bloggers do, and I think it is part of my dues to a community that I take pride in, to add my voice. So, those of you arguing for transparency and mutual respect in this community, I'm with you.]

The mood in the beauty blogging community, like in any other large network of people, seems to have its ups and downs. We all have our personal reasons for blogging, and how those goals manifest into our blogs differs, as well. Lately, I feel like a lot of the focus has been on issues of transparency, monetization, motivation, etc., and I'm glad we have those conversations, but that hasn't really been foremost in my mind.

I live in a large U.S. city that has one of the highest rates of crime, gun violence, and racial tension - emphasis on that last point. Race and cultural clashes, even within one country, have recently seemed to come to a head in a big way, and this is a topic of interest to many, even if we're not having those conversations out loud. I live in a place where, despite repeated denials by many - in racial majorities and minorities - crimes are committed because of race - because people don't understand each other, or won't, and because racial identity is embedded in stereotypes and prejudice and all sorts of negativity.

My day to day life isn't one of horror, though. Generally, people are nice. But we're careful. And we're always aware of the underlying tension in the city.

And I wanted to say, that I am proud to be part of an online international community that seems to tackle these issues with much more practiced ease. As readers, we embrace blogs from around the world, written by women, men, transgender people, from many ethnic backgrounds and many cultures (of course, my sad self is limited to those written in English). As a community, we make the demand for foundations in a wider spectrum of color, we laud beauty in all of its faces and forms, we can appreciate eyebrows on fleek (dude, am I a cool kid, or what) on any gender, and dammit, that should bring a smile to your face, if nothing else about blogging does.

I know the situations aren't the same, and that people who have the time to blog most likely represent a certain type of social class in the world, but hey, we're still building bridges and understanding cultural differences. Learning about another culture's standards of even just aesthetic beauty gives us insight onto more of that culture's contemporary mindset and history, and I really appreciate the chance for that kind of interaction on an individual and everyday level. So, thanks to everyone I've connected with and learned from, around the world.

Just filling your glass. Cheers to us.

Monday, August 3, 2015

FOTD: My Kind of Chocolate (The Non-Edible Kind)

[Products featured were purchased by me, except for *, which was a gwp, and **, which was a gift.]

This was a look I've been meaning to do for some time - bronzed and a bit messy, with a stained lip and smudgy eyes.

Makeup used:
NARS Creamy Concealer in Custard
MAC Pro-longwear Concealer in NW25
L'Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Med/Dark
Dior Aurora + Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Dark*
Maybelline Creamy Beige Color Tattoo**
MAC Moleskin**
Shu Uemura Mint & Vanilla palette (part of a chocolate-themed collection)
L'Oreal Infallible Liner + L'Oreal Voluminous Lashes mascara in Brown/Black
Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous**
Osmia Organics Honey-Myrrh Lip Repair + Laura Mercier Mink
I like Too Faced's Chocolate Soleil a lot - it's matte and not orange.

For eyes, I started with Creamy Beige, patted a layer of MAC Moleskin over that, and smudged the darkest shade from the Shu Uemura palette along the upper lash line and the outer corner of the bottom lash line. I wanted it to be a bit messy and undone, so I didn't spend too much time blending and buffing. I patted a bit of the glitter gold in the Shu Uemura palette on the center of the lid, lined with a black L'Oreal pencil liner, and finished with Voluminous Lashes in a brown/black shade (which I accidentally bought instead of my normal black. Also, I prefer Butterfly, but this one is subtler and not bad for this kind of look).

For the rest of the face, I dusted all over with Dior Aurora, and then used Chocolate Soleil more heavily along the cheekbones, jawline and forehead. Then I highlighted with Rose Rendezvous. 
And for the stained lip, I started with a layer of balm (Osmia Organics) and then dabbed Mink on the inner rim of my lips; I patted it in with my pinky, and then reapplied a little more Mink again at the inner rim. The effect is a little more noticeable in person, and I also have a post coming up that features a berry stained lip, which is also more noticeable.

It was fun to play around with products - I don't really have a ton of time for this nowadays, or inspiration, but every so often I think of something that I want to try. This one is great for summer, and even though it required more products than I usually pull out on the daily, this is something I'd do again, since it's not very editorial or outrageous. How often do you have time to experiment with looks? What's your favorite bronzer?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Scents of the Week: July 26-31

[All were received as GWP samples or gifts; no affiliate links.]

Happy August! Funnily enough, the last time I did a "Scents of the Week" was almost exactly a year ago (the first is here). I've been a little better about not collecting samples (or trying them instantly and making a decision then and there), so this is the first time I've amassed enough for a proper post. Here we go.

Sunday: Maison Martin Margiela Lazy Sunday Morning edt
Aldehydes, Pear, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Rose Absolue, Orange Flower, White Musk, Indian Patchouli Oil, Ambrette Seeds Absolute. 
When I sprayed this on paper, it was a snoozefest. Clean, white musk, linen, blah blah. I sprayed it on myself, though, and was instantly horrified. Holy mother of Patchouli. Kind of berry sweet, synthetic, and discordantly one-note patchouli on me - reminds me of those retro fragrance sachets on a hotel pillow, well-intentioned but ill-received. You know, before they realized fragrance sensitivity was a thing. And that maybe not everyone wants their pillow bathed in patchouli. Do I seem fixated? A bit. I think there are other concoctions that smell like this, for far less $ (in fact, YSL Parisienne is vinyl-berry-patchouli on me) and for me, it doesn't evoke a clean, lazy Sunday spent lounging in bed at all. Patchouli. *shudders* I will concede that my skin seems to draw any and all sweetness out of fragrances, especially with patchouli mixes.

Monday: Ralph Lauren Romance edp
Sungoddess Rose, Marigold, Ginger, Chamomile Oil, Yellow Freesia, White Violet, Lotus Flower, Day Lily, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Musk.

I do not know what a "sungoddess rose" is - do not ask. This ends up smelling cleaner on me than Lazy Sunday Morning. Also, I remember marigolds smelling a bit dirty, and while I get that in the opening (marigold-chamomile), too quickly it all just becomes clean musk. I mean, it's a softened, romantic musk, with just a hint of ginger,'s kind of boring, and generic - like the soap in the bathroom of a nice restaurant/boutique. Disappointing, as I know this is a classic, and I usually like Ralph Lauren fragrances (Double Black in the men's line is one of my favorites on S.).

Tuesday: Tocca Florence edp
Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood, White Musk.
Many Tocca scents come in mini sprays!
Florence starts out beautifully. It's a bit candy sweet at the opening, but definitely a fresh, just-bloomed green gardenia at its heart - beautifully mellow, buttery, and green. Gardenia is a hard flower to capture (my mum grew them when I was a kid - they're exquisite, but they don't translate well into scent). But as it wears a bit more, it starts to fray at the edges, as if the petals started bruising. It becomes a little too clean (musk! cursed musk!). Still haven't found a Tocca I liked enough to purchase, even the little bottle. And I don't want for buttery white florals (I'm going to do a full bottle post soon, actually...and maybe one for the in-between travel sizes I have, as well, and then we can all agree that I never need more perfume, ever).

Wednesday: Hermès Le Jardin de Monsieur Li edt
Jasmine, Watery Notes, Kumquat, Grassy Notes. 

Argh, so frustrating. I like Hermès scents a lot, but they never last on me (I guess that edt is a killer). This one is no exception. It's gorgeous - uncomplicated, and really, this is the kind of "clean" scent that I like - not a hint of musk to be found. It's exactly like breathing in the clean air of some Monsieur Li's garden, serene and calm, the faint breeze causing just a single ripple to echo across the pond. Everything is there, but diluted, in a good way. A hint of floral, a hint of kumquat - like a fruit infused water. Delicious, and perfect for summer, but on me, it's gone within the hour.

Thursday: Penhaligon's Orange Blossom edt (sample from Lizbob)
Neroli, violet leaf, bergamot, citron, cardamom, pink pepper, Calabrian orange, orange blossom absolute, Egyptian jasmine absolute, tuberose, rose, peach blossom, orchid, sandalwood, Virginian cedar, white musk and vanilla.

Bertrand Dutrafour is the perfumer behind this (I've tried his L'Artisan Piment Brûlant, which very nearly killed me, and S. wears L'Artisan Méchant Loup well, but I don't), and, er, like those two, this one doesn't agree with me personally. Obviously he has it out for my skin chemistry - Orange Blossom smells like cough syrup on me. The cloying, sticky, grape-orange-something that was a relief as a kid but horrifying as an adult. I wish it was more neroli, less tuberose. Actually makes me think of L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons, though that is a much lighter, graceful spin on the tuberose + orange blossom combo, and I prefer it.

Friday: Calypso St. Barth Bellini edt (another Lizbob sample)
apple, pineapple, grapefruit, orange, white peach, coconut, frangipani, cassis, freesia, jasmine, orange flower, white musk, amber, sandalwood 

Um, sorry, guys, I couldn't, not even for you. I opened it without thinking, and nearly cried. I hate peach scents. My sample of Burberry Body flew into the trash so quickly, you don't even know. From what I could remember as I hastily closed it again, I could smell coconut, which is usually appealing to me. But otherwise, nope. Big fat nope.

And then I ran out of samples. What have you been dabbling in lately? Any new fragrance discoveries?