Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lindsay Lohan & Charlotte Tilbury


If I were launching my own makeup line (or anything, really), and had to make a list of celebrity I'd like to see at my event or using my products, I'm pretty sure Lindsay Lohan wouldn't be there. The other real celebrity at the launch of Charlotte Tilbury's 'Backstage Beauty Booth' counter in the Beauty Hall at Fenwick, London, was model Amber Le Bon (Simon and Yasmin's daughter), a much better fit. But really, few personalities are more off-putting than Lindsay Lohan. I'm not buying.

Cat(s) Of The Day


Philip & Kate

There's an extra photo of Bob on the Jersey Cats Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tom Ford- Velvet Orchid

Cocktail Shoes by Mary L. Parkes

Eight years later, I'm still a fan of Tom Ford's first perfume, Black Orchid. It's a big-boned floriental-gourmand with more complexity than most modern designer perfumes put together. I also liked its short-lived flanker, Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, which was basically a gardenia version of the original with the gourmand aspect toned down. But I didn't know what to think about the idea of Velvet Orchid. Is it a Tom Ford flanker? It sure sounds like that, especially considering some of the marketing babble surrounding it. The first sniff confirmed that. The large shadow of Black Orchid was hovering over my skin to such a degree that I had to wonder why they even bothered. It's that fantasy orchid accord that is oddly earthy and fruity. I like it a lot, which is why I have a 100ml bottle of the original. But a flanker?

Soon after the deja vu of the opening things take a turn, and I wasn't convinced at first that it was for the better. The perfume was still following the Black Orchid path, but in a muted fuzzy way. It's oddly combined with a strong honey-booze note that peeks from beneath every once in a while. It's not really velvet; more like mohair. Again, I wasn't completely sold, but it's the kind of stuff that grown on you.

Where Velvet Orchid truly shines is in the dry-down. That's where this perfume comes back to the familiar Tom Ford sexiness, offering a thick and rich facet of myrrh, suede, and even more honey. It's not quite as sweet as Black Orchid, but gets very close, and somehow that's where the impressive sillage becomes even more noticeable. There's nothing to mask it or cover the trail. It's just perfume and skin, and the result becomes magical no matter how hard I try to resist.

Who will enjoy Velvet Orchid? Fans of other Tom Ford perfumes, those who found Black Orchid a bit too much, and lovers of sillage bombs with otherworldly longevity (24 hours for one spray). Do you need it if you already have and wear Black Orchid? Probably not, but it's still worth trying.

Tom Ford- Velvet Orchid ($112, 100ml EDP) is available from Sephora and most department stores.

Vintage Hats- Part 1

Cléopatra Diane de Mérode, an actress and dancer during the Belle Epoque

I started buying and wearing hats during senior year of high school. I was growing my hair back after nearly two years of various pixie cuts, and the in-between stage was insufferable, uneven, and out of control. It was the eighties, and fashion was somewhat limited in the headgear department, but I had a bunch of poorboy caps and berets, mostly in neutral colors that could go with most outfits (it was also the era of matching everything). Today I wear hats to protect from the sun, the cold, and because they're fun. I still have one beret that I bought in London in 1989, but most of my collection is from the last 15 years, bought at Saks, vintage stores, and everything in between. Browsing through my collection of images I realized that I have so many to share that this post will have a second part next week.


Model in a Nina Ricci dress, photo by John French, 1960s

1971, Actress Jacqueline Bisset for Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Givenchy 1981 in a fashion prediction for 2001

Twiggy by Avedon, Vogue 1967

Anjelica Huston in a Fashion editorial by Richard Avedon. Vogue, 1968

A more recent Anjelica

Au bord de la mer, 1936 by Andreas Feininger

Audrey, the one and only

Ava Gardner

Street style, 1960s

I had that hat (and decorated it accordingly)

Brigitte Bardot, 1960s

Vogue UK, 1972

Charm Magazine March 1959, Model: Anne St Marie


The inimitable Dovima, 1957

Balenciaga, what else?

Dovima, 1956

Jacques Fath hat

“Two of a Kind” 1950’s - Photo by Kenneth Heilbron
Dovima, 1957

Faye Dunaway by Jerry Schatzberg

George Dambier, Girl in Red at the Concorde Place, for ELLE Winter Collection, Paris 1957

All photos via My Vintage Vogue, Top Models of the World, and Stirred, Straight Up With a Twist.

The Fountain Spa New Jersey

Like good Thai food and antique stores, I've discovered that some of the best things can be found incredibly close to home. Case in point: a luxurious spa. Late last year I started visiting The Fountain Spa (located at The Shops On Riverside mall) and have been going there ever since. I was a bit skeptical because of the whole mall thing, but The Shops (formerly known as Riverside Square Mall) is our upscale mall, with stores such as Hermes, Burberry, Tiffany & Co., and Louis Vuitton, so why not a luxurious spa?

The first surprise was the spa's size. It's huge. Hidden in the mall's ground level right across from the river, you can't tell from the outside how big it is and the amenities the place offers. There's a sprawling lounge area, a wonderful sauna, and the waiting area, aka "Tranquility Room" is pleasantly lit, spacious and very comfortable, with a nice water feature (I'm guessing that's the fountain from the spa's name). I never managed to count the exact number of treatment rooms, there are so many, all customized for the various services offered there.  Once inside you cannot tell you're at the mall with two shopping levels above your head. The place is quiet and relaxing (which has done me a world of good on several occasions).

The Fountain Spa offers a wide selection of face and body treatments. I've only had a small number of them, including massages (deep tissue and Swedish), reflexology, a basic facial, and the spa's signature mani-pedi. Everything has been very very good so far, with no upselling attempts or product pushing, and barely a mention of the med-spa services (fillers, Botox, etc.). The result is a comfortable feeling that begins as soon as one sets foot inside and receives the white robe and slippers. That's why I keep coming back. The atmosphere is exactly what you need to be able to relax.

My biggest recommendation is the reflexology treatment, by itself or as a part of a two hour massage package. It's the most calming thing imagined, and I can just feel the stress melt away and leave the body (I'm pretty sure I've nodded off every single time). Followed by a pedicure, this is heaven.

The nail salon area is the one place that could probably use a bit of an updating. The layout is a bit choppy and less spacious, but the service is good. I highly recommend the long-lasting polish for your manicure. It's not gel (which the spa also offers), yet survives with no sign of wear for 7-8 days. Some of the nail services seem a bit overpriced for what they are ($55-$60 for added aromatherapy oils and such), but you just need to choose right to get the maximum value. The place seems spotless, and the whole experience is great.

Next on my list is probably an anti-aging facial. I'm curious to see what else they can do.

The Fountain Spa is easily accessible from route 4. There's a second location on rt.17 in Ramsey, but I've never been there. Parking in front of the spa's entrance can be scarce, but since we're talking a Jersey mall here you can always find a spot just further out (right next to Saks, for example). You can book the service online, and get email and text reminders.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Currently- November 2014

Mandy Aftel- Fragrant. Review coming soon. I keep meaning to read some fiction next, but there are always more books about the Royal Family.

Agnes Obel

Find Your Roots on PBS. I'm so jealous of those who can trace their ancestry further than my four generations.

I've been testing Ego Facto perfumes and liking several of them. I'm also on a vintage binge, but what else is new?

All of a sudden I've become mascara-crazy.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Skinny black pants, flowy silk tops, high-heel boots.

Pasta. What else?

Once More With Extreme Prejudice. It's a re-watching Buffy blog. I wish I've thought about it myself.

Sophie is having some anxiety issues.

I had the loveliest birthday.

More time with friends.

The image at the top by George Barbier is taken from an old book, The romance of perfume by Richard Le Gallienne. I'd love to find a copy in a good condition that doesn't cost like a Roja Dove perfume.

Random Thought
I wonder what would happen if the Husband and I ever participate in Love It Or List It (and can Eddie do our kitchen?)

How about you? Please share your current loves and thoughts.

Vida McConaughey (and Emily Blunt) In Dolce & Gabbana

If this is not the cutest fashion face-off, I don't know what is. Little Vida McConaughey attended the ceremony honoring her father with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday. She was dressed in a tiny Dolce & Gabbana dress, the same one Emily Blunt wore back in May. The dress is gorgeous. I just hope it wasn't itchy or uncomfortable for Vida. I'd wear it in a heartbeat.

Quote Of The Day

Marigay McKee,  the new president of Saks Fifth Avenue, gave an interview to Glamour's editor-in-chief  Cindi Leive. There's quite a bit of career advice there, if you're interested, but the quote that caught my attention was this:
Saks is an iconic brand; there’s so much heritage.… I spent three days in our archives selecting photos for our offices: The Supremes shopping here, Grace Kelly trying on Dior dresses, Jackie Kennedy head to toe in Gucci buying lipsticks. That gave me the drive to bring Saks back to where it was in the fifties and sixties—the most iconic, glamorous, magnificent store.”
McKee, right, with Glamour's editor-in-chief

If you've been to the Saks flagship store (I'm not even talking about the horror shows of Saks stores at various malls) over the last ten years you know that Ms. McKee has a lot of work ahead of her before Saks returns to its former glory. Cranky, less-than-helpful sales people on the fashion level, and aggressive not-taking-no-for-an-answer ones in the fragrance and beauty counters. To add insult to injury, some of the SAs at the counters lie to your face ("this is a Saks exclusive. No one else will get it", conveniently forgetting the existence of Bergdorf Goodman just a few blocks up Fifth avenue, where one has purchased the item in question three weeks prior).

Let's hope for a resurrection of the golden age of department stores. Grace Kelly and Jackie will not be back shopping there, but you and I just might.

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