Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great Skin!

And... in a Puffery first we have a post that isn't a product review, but rather a link to another article. I saw this on my Yahoo! news feed and thought it worth reposting:

The 6 Biggest Skin Care Mistakes

Really simple things we can all avoid for better skin. I know I tend to wash my face while my conditioner is sitting in my hair, and there are a lot of oils in the conditioner, so I'll be changing when I wash my face!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Love at First Sight

This fall, I blogged about mascara, mainly my sadness that I couldn't tell the difference between Stila multi-effect and L'Oreal Panoramic Curl.

I have a new love in my life. It's only been, like, 2 days, but I think this may be forever. Love at first sight!

I got a sample of Bare Escentuals new Buxom mascara. Va-Va-Voom. Barely half a coat and my lashes are almost too obscene for day wear. No clumps, amazing definition, and lashes that go on for miles. I haven't noticed much volumizing (which is fine, I have thick lashes, if I added too much volume I'd just have a solid mass of lash, and that's not good) but seriously, the length is amazing. Also it wears really well.

I highly recommend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Has anyone out there tried the L'Oreal True Match foundation yet? I saw it in the store the other day and nearly passed out due to the excitement that it looks like it has shades that are too pale for me. This never happens. Usually I buy the lightest shade available and hope it's not too dark. (My complexion is rather pasty white.)

Basically, it has divides the collection into cool/warm/neutral and offers six shades in each category, including several versions of deathly pale. Sadly, it doesn't look like there are as many options for darker skin--I think if they had gone for eight shades in each category than the collection really would be complete.

But, I don't need new foundation right now, so I haven't tried it yet. Have you?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eyes! part 3

And now unto the best of Stila...

I could write a love poem to Stila's eyeshadow in the shade of Kitten. Perfect for all shades of skin and just... yummy... not that I've eaten it but...

I have NEVER been in love with an eye shadow like this. Well worth the $$$-- check it out as soon as possible. Great on its own, or as a base shade for an excellent smoke eye.

I'm seriously lusting after Silk Eye Shadow Wash in the same shade--that looks truly spectacular.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eyes! part 2

So, next up of the Stila mix pack is the Smudge Pot.

These are really popular. Maybe I just need more practice. The one I got is in black. I put it on as thinly as possible, and for someone who usually only lines in powder shadow, it was vampire-goth-scary looking. And then I couldn't get it all off when I took my makeup off.

But then? When I woke up the next morning? After trying to remove it and sleeping in the left overs?


So... I just need to learn how to apply that before bedtime...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


So, this summer I used my Cashback bonus and some birthday $$$ to buy some silly-expensive make-up, all by Stila.

I don't dislike any of it. Some of it I love. We'll get to the love bit later...

First up is Multi-Effect Mascara.

I've been using this as my daily mascara for a few weeks now.

There is nothing overly wrong with this mascara-- it's not too clumpy, good definition, good volume... but there is nothing overly right with this either.

When push comes to shove, I can't tell a difference between this and L'Oreal's Panoramic Curl, which is easier to find and much cheaper and also comes in waterproof varieties (good for weddings! if you're a crier like I am!)

Friday, July 18, 2008


Retro Lush has hit the US! Finally!

For a limited time, online only, some discontinued products are back. Including World Piece.

Also, my birthday is next week. *hint hint*

Friday, July 11, 2008

When It's Good to Have the Blues

Back in elementary school, I was cool enough to be friends with Bridie Krishini. And trust me, folks, that was cool. She was exotic, her parents were divorced, and her dad lived in Hollywood and was married to That Chick From The Star Trek Movie. Being friends with Bridie was a big deal. We were going to start a band -- I wrote all the songs, she designed the costumes (and then I redesigned them).

Every summer, Bridie would go out to California and stay with her dad and His Famous Wife for a couple of months. She'd return tanned-to-a-crisp and fabulous, sporting whatever was the latest fashion of the Children of Hollywood Movie Stars. The year we started fifth grade, she showed up wearing Electric Blue Mascara.

I thought it was the most glamorous thing I'd ever seen. Electric Blue Mascara! I was completely awestruck, and knew I'd never have the guts to wear mascara that wasn't eyelash-colored. Wow. Blue. (Shortly after that, I stopped being cool enough to be friends with Bridie. Oh well, at least I went to college. And her dad didn't stay married to the Movie Star for very long anyway.)

Flash-forward twenty years or so. I wear brown mascara. I've worn brown mascara since about midway through the ninth grade. The only time I've ever really worn black mascara, even, was on my wedding day, and that was only because one of my bridesmaids made me do it.

So I will never know what came over me this past spring when I grabbed a giant tube of Benefit's Bad Gal Blue and threw it in my basket in Sephora. I purchased it. I brought it home. I put it on the next morning, just to see what it looked like on me.

And then I went to a meeting.

I wore that blue mascara the whole day. And the next. I wore it for a week, then two weeks, and suddenly a month had gone by. And not one person said anything to me about it. My bright-red toenails get all kinds of buzz at work, but my cobalt-colored eyelashes? Not a word.

So, it turns out that unless you are in direct sunlight, this stuff just looks like regular mascara. If I were to have meetings outside at noon in the parking lot and invite everyone to put their faces six inches from mine, they would be able to tell that my eyelashes were coated in blue mascara rather than, um, any other color. And I'm okay with that. It's like having my own secret superpower -- nobody but me knows that, in the blink of an eye, I can go from mild-mannered brown-mascara-wearing HolyKnitter to Fabulous Eighties Hollywood Moviestar Whose Stepdaughter Steals Her Makeup.

As the spring turned to summer, I stopped wearing the Bad Gal Blue every day. But I've also taken a hiatus from wearing much in the way of makeup right now. I like the Bad Gal Blue. The brush is oversized and therefore cumbersome, but has good bristles and a good tip. There's no real clumping.

And I've discovered that I can layer a tiny bit of brown on the tips of my lashes for a slightly more subtle effect when I know I am going to be out in the sun.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Aveda Hair Update

I'm still torn on how I feel about Aveda's Madder Root shampoo/conditioner.

On one hand, I've been getting a million compliments about the color. Every day someone asks me if I've dyed my hair. (Nope! Just the shampoo/conditioner!) And the color has gotten less eggplant-y as I've been alternating conditioners (with Redken's All Soft Conditioner, which makes my hair a little heavier than the Heavy Cream does...)

So, my hair looks FANTASTIC.

But... on the other hand...

The staining has gotten worse. Usually, I just have to wash my hands a few times and my fingernails stop being pink (I do soap up my hands as soon as I've put the conditioner in...)

But... it's hard to do that on my scalp, which is sometimes pink (no one's commented, but I'll just tell them I sunburned it)

And finally... y'all know I shower and then go to bed. The neckline of my pajamas (right where my wet hair sits) is now pink. Grrrrrrr...

So, where I really like how it looks, when I'm done, I'll probably go back the All Soft Heavy Cream for conditioning. The dying seems to be more with the conditioner than the shampoo, so we'll see what my color does then!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This Lipgloss = Summer 2008

I usually pay very little attention to makeup trends. Trends in makeup generally strike me as a pretty stupid phenomenon, because it's not like your skin tone is going to change to accommodate whatever color lipstick or eye shadow it's cool to buy this week. Duh. Wear whatever flatters you, trendy or no. Damn the Man!

But I changed purses before flying to California recently, and discovered in the airport (stupid plastic bags!) that none of my lip things made it into the traveling purse. Which meant that I needed to make a stop at Sephora.

I, like Natasha, love the NARS products, particularly for lips. So that's where I beelined. And when I saw this gloss that is clear with zillions of itty-bitty gold glitter pieces, I knew that I at least had to try it. It's called Greek Holiday -- how could I resist? And I am happy to report that Greek Holiday totally looks hot on me. The bonus? Since it's clear gloss, it goes over any ol' lipstick and also looks amazing.

I don't even care that this lipgloss is the epitome of the summer 2008 makeup trend. One month, Lucky Magazine is hailing the complete-and-utter-now-ness of including copper/gold glitter in all sorts of makeup items, and the next month, I'm buying a gloss called Greek Holiday and applying it every chance I get. Before 9 a.m. While driving. I swear I don't know what happened.

Anyway, this stuff is genius. Clear gloss. So much glitter you can't tell that there's no actual color (the NARS website claims it's "sparkling pink sand," but I promise you that it's just gold glitter). Great for daytime when you wear it plain, awesome at night when you wear it over a matte lipcolor. I think I'm in love. Either that or I've been transported to Greece.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Victory Is Mine!

So, remember back when, fueled by childhood memories of my mother's post-shower winter ministrations, I went on that quest to find mineral oil and was completely stumped? Not in the Big Box Store. Not in the drugstore. Not in the lotion aisle. Not in the baby aisle. I even tried a couple of hardware stores, just in case. No dice.

Well, the other day I dropped into a Rite-Aid on my way from Meeting A to Meeting B to pick up some sunscreen, and I stumbled upon a new product from Nivea called Smooth Sensations Body Oil. Main ingredient? Mineral oil. Second ingredient? Some kind of triglyceride. Third ingredient? Avocado oil. And that's it. Victory! If I can't find just-plain mineral oil (and I apparently can't), a product that is approximately 99% mineral oil is the next-best option.

And, y'all, I completely love this stuff. It soaks in to my skin right away, and holds in all that shower moisture still on my skin after toweling. It smells like mineral oil (and maybe a hint of rancid avocado, but it goes away quickly), not like chemical fragrance. My skin is still soft the next day, even! I swear, I've been having fantasies that this must be what having normal skin feels like. My skin is pretty much as smooth and happy as it's going to get. Ever.

My one beef is with the cap on the product: there's a little too much packaging-spillage for my taste. After all, I spent all that time and effort and gasoline looking for mineral oil: now that I've found it, I don't want to waste a single precious drop!

Still, though. I'm thrilled. Now to figure out what the heck a tryglyceride is, and how exactly that's good for my skin.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Shampoo and Conditioner...

Things I hate: Parking in Georgetown. Seriously. Georgetown, I hate you. Plus, you're to NIMBY to have a metro stop. Getting to Georgetown is a pain in the ass, which I'm sure helps it's whole up-scale snooty feeling.

Sadly, the only Lush in DC is in Georgetown. I went to go buy more shampoo, and a new pair of shoes, and got so frustrated I said "SCREW THIS!" and went to the Pentagon City mall. Where there's a ramp that costs a mere $1.50 NOT $10.50. DID YOU HEAR THAT GEORGETOWN?! I SHOPPED SOMEWHERE ELSE BECAUSE YOU SUCK SO MUCH!

But, that meant no Lush shampoo for me, so I'm currently using Aveda's Madder Root Shampoo and Conditioner. It's supposed to enhance the auburn and warm tones in my hair.

I've been using it for almost 2 weeks now. Comments:

I love the fact that this shampoo bottle is HUGE. It smells a little more chemically than I'm used to, but the smell doesn't linger in my hair. When the conditioner bottle says to "rinse surfaces immediately, as product may stain" they ain't kidding. Nothing some spray bleach can't get out but... also, one day my fingernails were dyed a pinkish tone. Sadly, sometimes my scalp is, too.

It is definetely enhancing my color. Multiple people have commented "did you dye your hair?" but I think I need to only use the condition every other time I condition, because it's starting to get a little "boy that's eggplant" as Diversery calls it.

I miss the weight of my hair from when I was using the Redken All Soft Heavy Cream, so I've been using more product. BUT without product, my hair is fairly frizz-free. Also, it's super-super shiny. It's still very soft and not tangly.

I probably won't continue to use this in the future, but I probably will try out the Aveda Clove combo, which is supposed to enhance the brown and alternate it with my All Soft.

Or, one day I will once again brave Georgetown and pick up some Ultimate Shine.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Skin Milk Body Polish: too much milk, not enough polish

Skin Milk's slick packaging caught my eye immediately. I like the spare coloring, the sans-serif font, the homey blue-and-white, the subtle shape of old fashioned milk bottles (on some items -- not this one)(sorry the photo's so terrible; that's all I could find on Google Images). I would have tried any of their products just because the packaging was pretty, but I was specifically looking to test out a new facial scrub. The price also was rather appealing: the Body Polish was $2.59 on clearance.

Maybe that should have told me something.

On first squirt, I noticed the pearly-white sheen of the scrub and thought "hm, that reminds me of something. But what?" Turns out, that "something" was yeast infection cream. This scrub has the exact same appearance and viscosity as Monistat -- and yet, I'm supposed to slather it all over my body? Ew! But I did it, in the interest of science (and blogging). Well, okay. I tried it on my legs. And boy am I glad I went the leg route, because...

The next thing I noticed was the fragrance. Vanilla. Really sugary-sweet cloying vanilla, that smacks you upside the head. I double-checked the packaging -- y'all know how much I hate the smelly products, and vanilla in particular -- and sure enough, the front label doesn't say anything about being vanilla-scented (turns out it's all over the website -- but that's not particularly helpful when you're standing in the bath products aisle). The ingredients list "fragrance," but there is no mention of what kind. I was glad I'd only put it on my legs, because they're the farthest from my nose.

So now I'm grossed out and also vaguely annoyed at the company.

The scrubby texture of the product itself isn't bad. But there's something about the slippery feeling of the base -- it's probably the milk itself, what with all those proteins and whatnot -- that made me feel like I was counteracting the scrubbiness itself. Like the proteins made a barrier that didn't let the scrubby-bits get all the way to my skin. It just didn't feel like it was as effective as it should be. Kind of like putting on lotion but then immediately washing it off. What's the point? I didn't feel "polished." I didn't even feel "mildly buffed." I just felt like I'd wasted a minute of my life.

I really want to be able to recommend this product, because it looks pretty on the shelf and is widely available in grocery and drug stores all over the country, but is also affordable and isn't produced by a big "family products" conglomerate. And milk is good for your skin. Hell, 5% of their gross proceeds goes to Heifer International, which is a program I've been supporting since I can remember. I like all of that.

But I can't say that using the actual product was an enjoyable experience. I cannot tell you that I felt adequately "polished." And really, who wants to be reminded of yeast infection cream when you're supposed to be getting clean? And vanilla... yuck.

So I guess in the end, all I got was something pretty to send to the landfill. Good thing it was on clearance. I'd rather just send Heifer International a direct contribution.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bath Time

It's the end of the school year, so the kids at work are stressed, and I'm a part time grad student, so I'm stressed.

This Sunday, after spending all day working on my research paper, it was time for a bath to relax a bit.

Now, I long for a full soaking tub. Preferably with feet. But I have the standard tub/shower duo that most people have that I can stretch my legs out in if I'm sitting up straight. Now, one thing I do to make the water a little deeper is to duct-tape the over-flow drain, so I can get a few extra inches of bath water.

Then, I dropped in an All That Jas bath bomb.

It smelled really nice (jasmine with a hint of vanilla-- nice for spring) and turned my bathwater a lovely shade of green. Also, it made my skin really soft and the smell lingered lightly for the rest of the evening. It was also blissfully free of glitter, flower petals, tea, confetti, or anything else that floats around and later clogs the drain.

This is going into rotation with Sex Bomb for my bath time standard.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stupid Solutions that Totally Work

So, one of the problems with solid shampoo is the same problem you get with a bar of soap-- when you get down to the end you have that little chunk that is too small to be useful but is still GOOD SOAP.

Through a long, yet boring, series of events, I had several pieces of the now-discontinued Retread, several too-small-to-use pieces. I was seriously wondering if melting them down to form 1 big piece would cause lasting damage to one of my pots when I got a different idea.

On the Lush forums, people often suggest putting a bath bomb in the toe of an old nylon to keep flower petals or glitter or something from getting all over your tub.

So, I took an old trouser sock (those ugly little nylons that only go up to your knee that I hate, but I'll be damned if I'm wearing a full set of panty hose just so I can wear most of my shoes with trousers) ANYWAY! I took one, stuck all the little bits of shampoo in it, and tied of the end and cut off the excess, so it's like a shampoo bag that I now rub all over my head. YES, IT WAS CLEAN BEFORE I DID THIS!

It looks really funky and I hope my house guests (and you, dear reader) don't judge me, because HOLY COW IT WORKS. And now I probably have a few more months of Retread-y goodness. Well, maybe just a few more weeks, but I did this over a month ago, so I have gotten a lot of use out of the little bits I was about to throw away.

Other random hair news:

This morning, I woke up and realized I had forgotten to take a shower last night. How does one forget to do that? I have no idea, but, I did. But I was on my way to physical therapy, so I was going to get a little manky and have to reshower tonight anyway, so I didn't wash my hair. I just got it wet and combed it out.

I didn't even style it, because as soon as I was done seeing the doctor, I was just throwing it into a ponytail to do my therapeutic workout. (Don't you love it when you have a prescription for deep squats? Yeah, me too.)

So, I get there, I look in the mirror, and my un-styled, fake-washed air-dried hair? LOOKED ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Perfectly lightly tousled with some curl at the ends, it looked salon-perfect. And it did it all on it's own.

And then I put it in a ponytail and got all sweaty. Ergh.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hair Woes

I have a bunch of posts written in my head about my hair.

We'll start by talking about Aveda Light Elements Finishing Solution.

This post is prompted by the fact that Dooce completely loves it. I'm a more "meh."

I like the fact that you don't have to use barely any of it, and that it comes in a bottle small enough to carry on airplanes.

On the other hand, it leaves my hair really heavy and if I'm not completely sparing in my application, it even leaves my hair greasy.

I usually save it and use it if I'm going to be flat-ironing my hair. If I want frizz-free air dry, then I use my Redken Align Ultra-Straight Balm, which makes me hair not-frizzy, but only makes it straight if I blowdry/flat-iron.

stay tuned for adventures in shampoo

Friday, March 28, 2008

Quick Fixes etc.

I disappeared from the blog scene because of a cross-country move and a brand new baby, but the baby is now 5 months old and I'm all settled in to the new house, so I'm back! Product-wise, having a baby has taught me to be fast and efficient, so I've learned a few new tricks.

First: Clinique's "City Block" lotions are fabulous. They come in SPF 25 and 40 and are slightly tinted, so they moisturize, protect against sun damage, even out skin tone, and conceal. No need for powder or foundation unless you have problem skin. They are oil free, so if your skin is particularly dry you may need some extra moisturizer. My skin is extremely dry, and I live in Utah, and at the risk of sounding like a Clinique commercial, I find that this is quick and easy to put on before the City Block.

Second: For lips, I swear nothing is better than Eucerin's Aquaphor ointment. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find in any other container than a large tub. I have run across sample sizes for sale in Target before, but it's all about timing. I have a seemingly endless supply of samples-- I get one every time I order diapers online, and I don't leave home without it. It's basically Vaseline, but it's clear and odorless. It heals and protects, plus gives you some glossiness without the goop. While you're at it, go ahead and buy the big tub. Use this stuff on your feet between pedicures.

As for what's in my bag besides diapers...

-City Block
-Clinique lipstick in "Bamboo Pink"
-Purell hand sanitizer
-Burt's Bees Baby Bee buttermilk lotion
-(and this isn't exactly a beauty product in a direct kind of way, but it's handy to have for those times when you spill strawberry margarita on your white blouse) Oxi Clean Spray Away travel size (it's in with the laundry detergent at the grocery store)

Monday, March 24, 2008

What's in your wallet?

Or purse? Or desk?

What, product wise, do you travel with?

My messenger bag contains the following:
Burts Bees Lip Balm
Hand Lotion
3 Burts Bees Lipshimmers in (Nutmeg, Coffee, Merlot)
1 CoverGirl lipslicks

My desk contains:
Burts Bees Cuticle cream
Various lotions and hand sanitizers
Assorted lip balms and chapsticks
2 Burts Bees Lipshimmers (Coffee and Merlot)
Emory boards

If I'm going out, I'll grab a small mirror and whatever lip color I'm wearing.

What do you carry with you?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Right on the Lips

I think my lips are fairly average. They get dry and a little chapped during winter, but nothing crazy. I don't have a lot of issues with them.

If you have normal lips, I can't think of anything better than Burt's Bees.

I'm currently completely enamored with their Replinishing Lip Balm. It has pomegranate oil, so it's really tasty as well as being nice and moisturizing. (But it is a *little* girly.)

I'm not a huge fan of lipstick, because I eat it like no one's business. Seriously, if I apply right before I leave for work, it will be gone by the time I get there, so I tend to stick to lighter stuff that's easier to apply, because I need to reapply constantly.

That's where their lip shimmer comes into play. It has lip balm qualities with a light coat of awesome color! My one complaint is that every time I find a color I love, it goes away. :(

I currently regularly use: Coffee (no longer available, which is sad because it is the PERFECT shade of brown for pale girls) Rhubarb (a dark, pinky pink) Merlot (a darker, bluer red) and Nutmeg (just a little browner and shimmier than my normal lips.)

Tip: if you go to the website and click on the magnifying glass over on the left, it will show you the actual gloss, not just the tube, which will give a better sense of the color.

On the other hand, at $5 a pop, you can just buy a bunch and experiment. Your lips will thank you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fragrance Rx: il faut cultiver notre jardin!

Another very tardy perfume prescription! This time, my apologies to dear reader Le, who wrote in several weeks ago and wondered what perfume I might recommend for her.

Well, the blogging spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. I did the occasional poking around in the perfume section, but never got my report in order. Here it is at last! And I hope you find it useful, or at least interesting, Le! Write back when you can and let me know what you think.

Here are the guidelines Le gave me for a perfect signature scent:
Some things I like:
ginger, the park after it rains, wearing glasses, fountain pens

Some things I don't:
fake sugar, patchouli, people who say "smart" and mean "industrious",
floral anything (that isn't actually flowers)

A perfume I tried and didn't like:
Bath & Body works moonlight path body cream. Ok, not really a
perfume. But this was scented and seemed so promising in the store,
but then it gave me a migraine. Bad! My lesson: no shea butter,
nothing overwhelming.
First off, I decided to check out the Bath and Body works culprit: Moonlight Path Body Cream. Four of the strongest, most overwhelming florals known to fragrance lovers make appearances here: Tuberose, Lavender, Rose and Lily of the Valley.

Whew. That must be like three prize-fighters duking it out for the title of "Most likely to give your bus seat companion a) nostalgia for Grandma's powder room and b) motion sickness."

Then, there is the cloying and overindulgent basenote trio of Sandalwood, Vanilla and Musk. Reminds me of the ice cream parlor my dad used to take me to as a kid where you could order "The Kitchen Sink." The Kitchen Sink was a house specialty that threw together eight different scoops of ice cream, bananas, whipped cream, nuts, cherries, butterscotch and chocolate sauce in a stainless steel container that resembled the plumbing it was named after. If you managed to finish the whole thing, you got a t-shirt advertising your gluttony.

These kinds of sensory excesses aren't really for me, but I am definitely always wowed by them. I'm sure there are many girls who would feel positively queenly with this stuff on their skin. You and me, Le, should probably stick to the luxury of minimalism.

A little perfume background: when perfume got big towards the end of the 1800s, there were about six traditional categories for it. A scent was either organized around a single flower, a bouquet of flowers, an animal musk, leather, moss, or citrus. But nowadays, with so many perfumers mixing scent cocktails and so much chemistry involved in making new, cleaner, artificial scents, the traditional classifications aren't super-helpful. Admirable perfume site Basenotes points us to Michael Edwards' perfume wheel as a great tool to classify scents and pinpoint one's preferences.

From your email, Le, it seems like you fall squarely on the southwest wedges of the wheel. Ginger, rain, and the more cerebral pleasures of spectacles and fountain pens are all things that make sense to me as "fresh notes." No wonder the Moonlight Path Body Cream wasn't for you! That concoction would be situated on the exact opposite side of the spectrum from you.

I prescribe you one of the finest perfumes ever to hit the "fresh notes" side of the circle: Un Jardin sur Nil by Hermès.

Hermès' "Garden on the Nile" is one in a series of "Garden" scents that they have been intermittently introducing since 2003. I believe they've all been masterminded by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena who seems to have an almost eerie perfection in perfume creation. (In fact, you can read about the process he went through to create this particular perfume in his "Garden" series right here.

I dare anyone reading this to try one of the "Garden" scents - or for that matter, any other perfume by Hermès - and conclude that it is anything besides flawlessly balanced. Sure, you may personally not like what you sniff, but their scents are indisputably harmonious.
Un Jardin sur le Nil smells like green mango, lotus flower, sycamore wood, and just a little incense to tamp it all down. A lot of reviewers call this a classic summer scent, but you might find that something so restorative and quietly bright is plenty good year-round. It is subtle and settles nicely onto your skin. I don't find it the least bit sharp or sweet.

This perfume is gonna set you back some, Le, but the good news is that the perfume is old enough for you to find some good cut rates online closer to $50 than $100.

One last thing: Ellena's newest "Garden" perfume is about to drop: Un Jardin après la Mousson! It is India-inspired ("A Garden After the Monsoon" in English). Although it will certainly cost more it may really tickle your ginger-loving fancy since it purports to be a lot spicer than the two previous perfumes.

Happy gardening!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Shampoo Woes

Why is it that every time I find a Shampoo I looooooooooooooooooooooove, it gets discontinued?!

It happened with Body Shop's Peony and something or other.
It happened with LUSH's Gentle Lentil

And it looks like it has happened again with LUSH's Reincarnate shampoo. :(

I'll probably switch over to LUSH's New shampoo (not that it's a recently unveiled product, the name of the shampoo is New) or their Ultimate Shine.

I do like their solid shampoos-- they last forever and are an excellent value. Plus, they travel well.

But, alas. As soon as I really start to like one, it'll be the kiss of death and it will be discontinued. :(

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Smelliness I Actually Enjoy!

My brother-in-law is one classy guy. He's a fancy-shmancy magazine editor, and travels all over the world on a constant basis, and loves my sister very much and takes care of her every need and wish and desire. And when he found out that I was going to be alone on Christmas, he insisted that I come spend the day with them, even though (a) his very-high-maintenance mother was visiting for a week and (b) I would be arriving at 2 a.m.

He and my sister then proceeded to shower me with more books than I could carry (they're both editors -- they get sent ten advance copies of things every day, and will never actually read all that stuff), plus she gave me some yarn and he gave me a gorgeous bottle of Jo Malone perfume.

Now, I am an unscented gal, for the most part. You probably know this about me. And I never buy perfume for myself because I have never been one to have money lying around for those little luxuries (when I do, I try to pay a little extra on my student loans). I've found precisely two perfumes in my entire life that I could tolerate. One was Cover Girl's Navy, and I was about ten years old, and I held my little sample vial of Navy very dear because my mother forbid me to wear perfume at such a young age (I recently found the vial while I was cleaning out my bathroom drawer in my parents' house last month -- it was fully evaporated, and I was sad). The other perfume I have ever really liked is Bare Escentuals' now-discontinued-in-spray-form Perfect Black Dress, which my sister gave me a few years ago and I rarely wear, but I did bond with another woman who eventually introduced me to my husband, because we both love Perfect Black Dress. I occasionally try Givenchy's Very Irresistible (also a gift from my sister) because I really do like the scent, but it always ends up being overpowering -- I get overwhelmed in the car driving to whatever event we're attending, and my husband hates it and gets angry that I smell different, so I just don't wear it very much.

Back to Christmas... I unwrapped this present from my brother-in-law, saw that it was a very generously-sized bottle of expensive perfume -- and perfume is such a personal gift, you really have to know your recipient's tastes like you know your own -- and was both overwhelmed with his thoughtfulness and a little bit apprehensive about having to wear a scent I might not like. I sprayed a little on my wrist right there under the Christmas tree... and to my surprise and delight, I love love love this scent. And through the whole day, I continued to love it. (Even better, my husband likes it too: he mostly doesn't notice it, which is just as good considering that he doesn't like anything that makes me smell not-like-me, but when I asked him directly, he said that yes, he doesn't hate it.)

The scent is Jo Malone's White Jasmine and Mint, which the website claims is a "light green floral" fragrance. I've always tried to steer away from florals because they tend to be too cloying to my nose. Not that I wear much perfume, like I said, but I think of myself as a person who likes the spicy spectrum of scents (and maybe a bit of citrus in the morning, but not if it's going to last later into the day). The White Jasmine and Mint has floral notes, obviously, but has woody and spicy notes as well (coriander and cardamom on top, cedar wood and vetiver underneath). And the mint is so subtle as to be almost unrecognizable at first sniff. I looked at the label after I spritzed it on and thought "really? there's mint in here?" But it becomes apparent -- in a really good, not overpowering way -- after a few seconds. And be sure to Discover the Story of this fragrance, because this is one "sensorial journey" definitely worth discovering!

This stuff is expensive. I would never buy it for myself, but I do so love having such a beautiful bottle sitting on my shelf, and I love wearing it. (Last Friday I wore it to a work dinner and I kept trying to smell my wrists -- through my gloves -- while driving. Not safe! But Mmmm! I smelled good! And it's great for daytime wear, too; I felt so grown-up and professional wearing it to work this week.) And if I ever come across another free sample vial, I will hoard it like the ten-year-old I used to be, in preparation for the day that I use up the giant bottle sitting in my bathroom cabinet.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Scraping and Scrubbing

Back in Ancient Greece, bathing was a social ritual. It wasn't so much about getting clean, because baths were public; it was more about the see-and-be-seen phenomenon that we now experience at swimming pools and beaches. Getting really clean, though, happened after all that soaking in the pool. Getting clean involved rubbing olive oil all over your body, and then scraping off the oil (and the dead skin and toxins!) with a special scraper called a strigil.

Sometimes I wish the oil-and-strigil method were still the order of the day. I love me a good scrubbing, the kind where you can feel that top layer of dead skin scraping off. But since my skin is also painfully dry, the water's inevitable removal of my natural oils is a rather unpleasant side effect of any bathing/showering/washing activity I do.

So I've found a compromise. First I scrub, then I oil.

I know you're not supposed to use scrubs that have big pieces of shell in them because they are too abrasive and actually can scratch your skin... but I really don't care. Because good ole' St. Ives Apricot Scrub feels so good -- so scrubby -- that I use it on my face every single time I shower. My face doesn't feel clean unless I scrub it, gently (not like I'm trying to scratch myself!), with the St. Ives goodness. And even though I've been using this stuff for years, just this morning I noticed a little bit of a sweet-citrusy smell that really helped me to wake up and feel more energized. I checked the back of the tube for ingredients and found some kind of flower extract oil, but I'm not quite certain if that's the source of the deliciousness. Still, it's nice to have a bit of aromatherapy (and refreshing that it's not marketed as an aromatherapeutic product and priced accordingly!) to start off the day.

When I'm feeling really splurgey (maybe once every couple of weeks), I also use Sephora Super Stars Body Scrub (which apparently isn't out anymore, but this link goes to something like it). The scrub has a creamy which smells amazing, and has giant jojoba oil beads and sugar and a ton of other good stuff that gives you a very scrubby-but-not-scratchy clean feeling.

After I've gotten all washed and scrubbed, I have to replenish those lost oils immediately. My solution has, for the last several years, been Aveeno Shower and Bath Oil. I love this stuff. I love the way it feels, I love the way it smells. I love that one bottle lasts for a very long time, and makes me feel like I'm really getting my $7 worth. But I don't so much love the way it gunks up the floor of my tub, and so I think I am ready to start looking for something else. I'd love to hear your suggestions and recommendations.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Why hate perfume?

I first heard of CB I Hate Perfume through a friend about a year ago and was intrigued right from the start.

CB's angle on fragrance is that so many people do it wrong, why not do it right? "Right" in his book means perfume that is an artisanal product, carefully blended, subtle and powerful instead of brash and overwhelming, stylish and eccentric. The rather clunky name of CB I Hate Perfume is explained in the perfumer's manifesto.

The names and descriptions of the unconventional scents made my ears water and were music to my mouth. "Under the Arbor"? Yes please, in Tuscany, please! And "In the Summer Kitchen"? Just let me slip into my sundress! "Russian Caravan Tea"? Oh, Большое спасибо! Finally, I followed my Francophile heart and bought "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" online.

The next week, I was immediately a little disappointed upon opening the package. Inside was a sort of flimsy cardboard tube containing a squat little chemistry class bottle. I was silly to be disappointed, since Luckyscent clearly displays what you're going to get. CB says that he believes perfume shouldn't be about packaging, but for me, design is as much a spice of life as scent. Even rougher, more artisanal would have been great; slicker and more commercial would have worked, too. But to my taste, CB's design was an unhappy medium between the two.

When I applied the perfume, I was shocked and even more disappointed. My immediate reaction was, "God. Damn. This smells like one of those bright blue scented candles called 'Air' or 'Ocean Fresh' that you see at the supermarket!" Over the next 20 minutes, I calmed down a bit as the scent matured and became slightly more nuanced. It never got as complex as I had wanted it to. I never could manage to smell the "driftwood, seaweed-covered rocks, well-traveled leather suitcases and salty Mediterranean breeze" promised to me in the description. After wearing it a few times and feeling bitter about the $55 I had squandered, I got rid of it. (In fact, I confess that I regifted it to a friend of a friend! Bad form, Natasha!)

I am for sure one of those over-read, hiply-square girls. One of those young women who appreciates oddballs and rejoices in individuality, to the point that she has a bit of trouble reminding herself that individuality can be just as much of a selling point as conformity, and being "indie" is...well...pretty mainstream. One of those young women who, I am positive, make up a huge percentage of CB's clientele. But I don't think I'll fall for the flowery prose and the "feeling unique" again. Fragrance is poetry, to be sure, but poetry is not fragrance.

I'm going to stick the the world of perfumes as they are: some outrageously bad, some screamingly good. CB's attitude reminds me too much of a pretentious media artist I once knew who claimed there were only two coffee shops to get decent espresso in the United States. When I want a more unusual fragrance, I'll head to Demeter, the company CB used to work for. There I can get my dandelions, musty libraries and grape leaves on for a much more affordable price.

Besides: I kind of welcome the occasional obnoxious perfume. When I was 22, I wore Anna Sui's eau de toilette, a scent I think of now as truly horrible, way too stickily sweet. But I love catching a whiff of it to this day because I think of dumb, young me in my skivvies, holding my then boyfriend on his too-small bed.

If you want to give CB I Hate Perfume a try, then sample, sample, sample. Reviews on Luckyscent and several other websites will show you how divided people are about this line. Make sure you take your own word for it by sampling at the CB I Hate Perfume studio in Brooklyn or through the website.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I smell yummy

I was so excited this winter when Lush introduced its winter-limited-edition Champagne Snow Showers in a solid perfume. I love the scent-- mimosas and bitter cold mornings under a brilliant blue sky, Sunday afternoon snowball fights and something pretty sparkly...

But, I have a fear of solid perfume. Long ago, I read in my teenage bible of all girly things, Seventeen, to beware of perfume you have to apply with your finger because the smell tends to linger there.

Well, the smell doesn't linger on my finger, and I love it...

But... it doesn't linger on my finger, but it doesn't linger long, period. By mid-afternoon it's pretty much crapped out, which means it's time to reapply, except I can't be bothered to carry my perfume with me, so I just smell boring and normal for the rest of day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Your cheeks will thank you

I've been writing a lot about perfume lately, so I thought, why not do some makeup-y posts for a change?

I was merrily typing away when it occurred to me: Is this totally irrelevant by now? Do I really even need to write this post?

Is it not common knowledge by 2008 that NARS' Multiple Stick is the single greatest invention ever to touch cheeks all around the world?

Well, I hemmed and hawed for a couple of minutes, but then decided to go through with it. Who knows? Maybe there are one or two of you out there who haven't heard of this magic blusher wand. Besides, all good news is worth repeating.

I first read about the Multiple back in 2005, on the great but now seemingly dormant blog, Blend. I liked Blend quite a lot because it was written with such common sense and humor. A lack of common sense and humor make for one turn-off of a beauty blog. Too much like eating cotton candy, in my opinion.

Crystal at Blend raved about the nice way in which the Multiple struck a balance between a creamy application and a powdery finish. She was honest that, at $36 a pop, she had a hard time bringing herself to buy one of these things, but confirmed at the end that she was really happy with it.

Well I waited even longer than Crystal to get one (I must either be poorer or more of a skinflint). However I finally bought one a couple months later, and now I think I may be twice as enamored as she was in this little stick!

I deliberated a long time between the colors Cannes and St Barthes. I eventually chose the latter because it was so sheer and yet seemed to make all the difference between wearing and not wearing makeup. (It's not nearly as "brown" as it appears on the website.)

I got the best compliments after I plunked down my $36 for this thing. General, subtle, sort of mystified ones: "You look so nice today!" "Hey, what kind of soap do you use for your skin?" "You're so...glowy!" The compliment that cinched my devotion to the Multiple was given to me by my friend Elaine underground in Brooklyn's Nostrand Av. C station. She peered at me and said, "Wow, Natasha. You're radiant today!" When a tiny bit of blush makes such a difference that your friend notices it underground, I think one can safely say that the blush is a keeper.

Only lately have I started to cautiously use it as a eyeshadow primer. I'm pretty weak at applying any sort of eye makeup besides mascara, but just patting my finger lightly against the stick and then dabbing my eyelids leaves a nice, understated shine.

I would encourage anyone interested in buying a Multiple to take their time. Try out a lot of different colors on different visits to stores that have tester sticks available. Once you've decided, the Multiple will make a serious dent in your wallet but the product lasts for quite a long time unless you're living in some sort of "retro eighties world-of-the-bronzed-cheekbone" like Lindsay Lohan.

The only downside to the Multiple? I have no real reason for splurging on other fantastic blushers in seductive packaging, like Bourjois's good-smelling little compacts, Tarte's stickier but similar Cheek Stain, or Maybelline's well-priced and excellent Dream Mousse Blush.

P.S.: Perusing Sephora's online selection of blushes, I notice that there are a lot of Multiple-like knock-offs. You'll have to let me know if you find one that you like that is as nice as NARS's, only cheaper. This is one rare product where I'm convinced that the quality and the shades offered are worth the price.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fragrance Rx

A million years ago, intrepid reader poetloverrebelspy left a comment for a post wherein I gifted myself some Lanvin perfume. She wondered aloud what perfume I thought she might like. "How fun!" I thought to myself. "Like an advice column with no real problems to solve...a doctor without a sickness to treat...A matchmaker with no heartbreak!"

So I asked her to email me three likes and dislikes and I would try to come up with some perfumes to try.

Her likes:

semiprecious stones, old photographs, citrus, cinnamon, bergamot

Her dislikes:

leather pants
(on anybody :), loud noises, Plax, heavy floral, chemical fruit scents (grape, apple, raspberry)

With these tidbits of preference I went thinking and smelling about, and came up with three suggestions sure to be winners. Here they are.

1.) Fleurs d'Oranger by Serge Lutens

I first learned of Serge Lutens perfumes years ago when I was a student in Paris. I was browsing the best department store in continental Europe and fell into conversation with a sales rep for Lutens's perfumes after smelling a number of paper samples. She had a rather complicated description of how his perfumes are so pure and refined and like silk on your skin, etc. etc. I listened politely and complimented the collection, but of course everything was way too pricey.

If I was a fine-perfume-and-fine-wine collecting type of girl and had a decent job, I would happily pick up something from this line. Whether or not you like a particular scent here, you'd be forced to agree that they are exceptionally well blended and thoughtfully balanced. Furthermore, the bottles are quite elegant, even if the type is slightly too frou-frou.

Assuming, dear Poet, that you are up for a splurge, do try Orange Flowers! It is incredibly warm and enveloping for a citrus scent (a good mix of the cinnamon and citrus you say you like). This perfume also starts out with a floral burst that quickly settles down into the rest of the mix, like with Rumeur. It is feminine without being the least bit cloying, like a perfectly tailored A-line dress. Go and read this lovely review by fellow perfume-loving blog, Perfume and Tea Make Me Happy (me, too!). It might well convince you that this hundred dollar treat for the senses is worth it.

2.) Bulgari's Thé Rouge

This perfume wins major points from me for daring to be different. It's a pretty ballsy little thing, don't be fooled by that delicate leaf decoration on the front of the bottle. Inside is a perplexing and original combination of fragrance notes: Pink Pepper, Orange, Bergamot, Red Tea Accord, Fig Pulp, Walnut, and Musk per Sephora's website. No strong floral overtones here.

I think Poet will like it because it's a little earthy and a lot eccentric, with a splash of bergamot to top it all off. At half the price of Fleurs d'Oranger, it suddenly looks like a bargain, right?

3. Heather by Demeter Fragrance

I. Love. Demeter. Nowhere else can you indulge your perfume whims for such a reasonable price. It's important to know that these perfumes are not the kind that will linger on into the evening; they have an alcohol base that fades quickly. You'll need to reapply somewhat frequently, but on the upside, you'll never reek. And luckily, their bottles are small enough to fit into a normal-sized purse or bag.

When I think semiprecious stones, quiet and old photographs, I think of Yorkshire. The moors, covered in heather. Ever-changing weather, a distant, beloved brooder and a lady's flushed cheeks. Gothic romance, in short! Perhaps you'll want to put a little bit of all that on your wrists.

There you go! By all means, Poet, write back and let me know exactly what you think of these perfumes if you decide to give them a sniff!

I'd be happy to do other prescriptions: just drop me a line with three of your likes and dislikes at pufferyblog@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Guest Blogging by the Queen of Eye Makeup

Ok, so, I knew this girl in college who always had the most smokin' eyes (literally--she can do a smoky eye better than anyone.) As someone in the stabby camp, I have always envied Molly's eye makeup. And now! She's telling us one of her secrets. Listen up folks, it's gonna be good.

Miss Molly Says:

I don't usually blog about product. In fact, I don't usually talk about product at all, because 1) half the time I'm not even paying attention to what I'm using, and 2) I'm friends with a bunch of dudes who really don't care, and 3) the women I hang with regularly are either the "natural beauty" type or the "wait, HOW do you use eyeliner without stabbing yourself?" type. And 4), I like to keep secrets.

But. When I found myself raving about Maybelline's Shadow Stylist to my best friend (solidly in the Stabby Camp), and then to my mother at her birthday dinner (she looked around the restaurant as if searching for the hidden camera – I don't think she's ever heard me talk about makeup, ever)… well, I figured I should find an audience who would appreciate a little gushing.

So, all disclaimers aside, I looooooove this product. I wanted to marry it, but apparently the Bible says Adam and Eve, not Eve and a little pot of eye shadow.

I am an eyes girl, all the way. If I only have time for one product on my face, I will choose eyeliner before anything else. I had this Barbie and the Rockers doll (basically, the Barbie version of JEM) when I was little, and I remember coveting her eye makeup. Her eyes were pink, purple, AND blue. (It was 1986.) Why didn't my boring social worker mother wear three shades of eye shadow to work, I wondered. When I grew up, I would wear three colors – or more! -- on my eyes every day!

Now grown up, sometimes I do.

Like anyone, I go through phases. Last fall was a major liquid eyeliner phase. The wonderful thing about liquid eyeliner is that it can be so delicate, and so precise. The terrible thing is that if you screw up, you look like Cleopatra, drunk. It's not pretty.

Toward the end of that phase, I started to tire of the look. I started to worry that my eye makeup was making me look like those old ladies who have it tattooed on, which is a look I hope never to achieve. The lines were a little too clean, a little too sharp. I wanted softer, smudgier lines.

And then I discovered Shadow Stylist.

The Shadow Stylist container looks exactly like the liquid eyeliner container, which is great because they're such nice complements to each other it seems fitting they'd come in matching containers. Like salt and pepper. Only when you open it, it's not a paintbrush, like liquid eyeliner, but a conical little sponge, covered with powder.

The first time I used it, I made a mess of my face, spilling black powder all over my cheeks. (The trick is to tap off the excess BEFORE you put it near your face!) But. Once I got the hang of using the sponge to draw a line of soft black powder across my lash line, I was head over heels enough to gush to my still-a-social worker, still-not-wearing-Barbie-makeup mother. "Isn't this such a pretty, soft line?" I kept asking.

Lately, I've been using it to darken a charcoal pencil line. (I dropped the liquid phase over the holidays –too much laughing until I cried – as it turns out, liquid liner gets all over your face the second you start tearing up. It's embarrassing.)

Shadow Stylist comes in a variety of colors, but I've been using "sultry black" to soften my eyeliner line, to darken the outer corners of my eyelids, or just as a substitute for actual eyeliner. I realize that you can achieve the exact same effect with regular eyeshadow, a very fine brush, and a steady hand. Indeed, back in college, when I was reacting to the dirty hippies all around me by paying meticulous attention to makeup, or just procrastinating on a paper, I had a whole set of tiny brushes I used. Out of college, though, who has the time? SS gives me the softness of a shadow with the applicator of a pencil, and I don't even have to be surrounded by filthy college kids to use it!

And though I know that we are all going to grow old with dignity, and embrace the fine lines in our faces as testament to the beauty, wisdom, and grace that comes with our years (right? we certainly won't stand two inches away from the bathroom mirror and trace the frown lines that cut like the Rio Grande Gorge across our foreheads, mourning the years of elasticity we never appreciated!) – still, you might find it comforting that the soft sponge applicator allows you a nice smoky line without having to stretch your too-delicate skin out to your ears just to get a straight line, and thus buy yourself a few extra months before the crow's feet really set in (making you look extra beautiful and wise…. ahem).

Shadow Stylist, I don't care what the Bible says, I will be Eve to your little pot of eye shadow any day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

3 Baths and a Challenge

Ok, so this isn't my bathtub. It's Cinderella's in Cinderella's castle at Disney World. It's a pretty nice bathtub though!

So, I've been taking a lot of baths with Holiday Lush Products.

1. The first was a Candy Cane bubble bath. First off, I was really impressed by how many bubbles there were because this bubble bar was over a year old. Lots of soft, lightly vanilla (but not a sweet vanilla! Yay!) bubbles made for a wonderful bath. Yummy yummy yummy.

2. The second was with the Christmas Party bath bomb. It turned my bath a lovely yellowy-orangey color and made my skin super soft! And! Best yet! It smelled a lot like Champagne Snow Showers (which smells like mimosas and snow ball fights in a light snowfall on Sunday afternoons). BUT! There is a lot more starry glitter in this than you'd think! (And I'm not allowed glittery bath bombs). Luckily, the glitter is star shaped, so it's easier to clean up, but I will be sticking this in a nylon next time I use it (and yes, next Christmas, I'm stocking up!)

3. The third was with a Lush bath bomb but I can't figure out what bath bomb it was! This was a disappointing bath on many levels (like the fact I ran out of hot water.) The bath bomb itself smelled kinda like cloves. It turned my water a weird shade of mustard yellow and was filled with something that looked like and had the consistency of soggy Fruity Pebbles. I really liked the scent (nice and spicy and warm) but not so much the weird Fruity Pebble stuff (so I'll nylon it next time). Any ideas what this might be?!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

On the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth day of Christmas...

I'm comin' in just under the line, y'all!

Sure, CHRISTMAS Christmas is over, it's already 2008. But as all good Catholics (and some of the rest of us) know, the twelfth and final day of Christmas is traditionally today, January 6th. It's the day the three wise men came to Jesus' manger NOT to smoke a rubber cigar, as my sister and I used to sing, but to shower the little babe with gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.

Anyway, in honor of those wise men I decided to gift my remaining four days of Christmas to the wise men amongst our readership (too numerous to be counted, I'm sure). This scent's for you, you guys. These were fun presents to pick out, mainly because I was happily surprised how many nice-smelling colognes there are out there. Maybe you lady-killers should throw away the Old Spice and wear the following:

1. Dior Homme.

Smells like:
Lavender, Sage, Cardamom, Iris, Cocoa Bean, Amber, Vetiver, Patchouli, Leather.

Now unfortunately I didn't get to smell this on a real live man but that's probably a good thing. The mere scent of it on a paper tester was enough to make me float in the air, like in those cartoons when some character is hungry and is carried along by the scent of pig roasting on a spit or something.

It smelled so good: sexy, yet intimately reassuring. Noticable, but definitely soft enough to let some wonderful natural sweat smell come through.

And it wasn't the only Dior cologne that I found shockingly good. Unlike many of Dior's women's perfumes, the men's offerings were virtually all subtle, not-overly-complex-or-heavy blends based around one solid and identifiable fragrance note, just the way I like things.

Please tell me gross Tom Ford is not the one who deserves the credit for creating such a lovely line of colognes. If he is, I owe him an apology for thinking he's so gross. And maybe dinner and a movie.

2. Crave by Calvin Klein.

Alright, dumb bottle design. Everything about it looks very outdated. That phallic arrow/traffic sign thingy is obnoxious. But the smell is just fantastic.

This cologne is even lighter than Dior Homme - very clean smelling, like simple bar of soap combined with the smell of newly split wood and some lemon. My imaginary Ken doll would wear Crave in the summer and Dior Homme in the winter.

Calvin Klein's Escape for Men is not bad, either. In fact, I give four stars to the whole line, just as I do to Dior's colognes. I'd say Calvin Klein scents will please guys who want to wear something slightly younger and fresher and, you know, take their clothes off a lot, while Dior colognes are for the more worldly and allusive playboy. Who want to take their clothes off a lot.

3. Van Clef and Arpels for Men.
Apologies for the bad pic. Despite the blurriness, you can still see what a very chic bottle it is.

The scent is the heaviest of all those I mention here, but it is prickly and spicy enough not to overwhelm.

Did you have a crush on that silent, sulky, dark-haired, Rimbaud-quoting kid who smoked cloves in high school? I bet he wears this when he puts on his velvet-lined tux jacket to go play bass in his rock band.

This was Serge Gainsbourg's scent. Enough said.

4. Marc Jacob's Men.
I liked this fragrance despite myself. It is tad too sweet, I think, bu t the design is so classy that I can forgive a lot.

There is some sort of ingredient in here that I became completely smell-ddicted to. Take your pick: it was either the Italian bergamot, the Tuscan cypress, the cumin, cardamom, ginger, fig leaves, rose, cyclamen, Cedarwood, musk, or Indonesian Patchouli.

Kind of sounds like a gingerbread cookie recipe, right? Maybe that's what it was that made my mouth water.

This is perfect for your sensitive soul woodsman, or your Arcade Fire-listening dandy. Disarming, unique, and vibrant.

Phew! Made it!

And to all a good night.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Years Resolutions

Do you have beauty resolutions? I sure do!

1. Blog more on this space
2. Take more baths
3. Stop saving the good stuff for a special occasion. I have enough good stuff that "day ending in y" is now a special occasion.
4. Continue in my quest to look like a professional adult in professional adult contexts. (This means make up and jewelery and nice clothing and non-frizzy hair...)