Friday, April 29, 2016

Best Ten Perfumes You're Not Wearing- Spring Edition

Or: Beyond Diorissimo and Apres l'Ondee

We need some fun here. Between the weather that killed the magnolia and wisteria blossoms before they reached full bloom, my sprained left foot, and the purple tears we're all shedding, it's time for something that feels and smells like spring to bring us some true cheer. I chose to veer off the beaten path, even if just a little. After all, this blog has just celebrated its tenth anniversary and it feels like I've been making lists that whole time. Let's have a look at some perfume picks for the season that are worth a second or a third sniff.

  • Parfums DelRae- Mythique. Because you've got to have a soft smooth iris, and Mythique usually gets lost among the brand's more robust sparkling gems.
  • Parfumerie Generale- Ilang Ivohibe. I secretly call it "Ivanhoe", but Sir Walter Scott was probably not on Pierre Guillaume's mind when he composed this warm and lush sweet white floral.
  • Serge Lutens- Bas de Soie. Perfumes that are considered "Latter Day Serge" gets tons of scorn, sometimes for good reason. But this chilly iris-hyacinth-galbanum has just enough retro playfulness to make it interesting.
  • Annick Goutal- Passion. My bottle is old enough to be considered vintage (late 80s or very early 90s), so maybe it's a little unfair. But this glorious white floral over a pile of the mossiest oakmoss is equal parts sexy and outdoorsy.
  • Oscar de la Renta- Coralina. It's a little-known mimosa bomb, accompanied by iris and violet leaf. Kind of what spring should be all about.
  • Ego Facto- Prends Garde à Toi . This might not be my favorite of this little quirky line, but a fresh muguet and hyacinth are emblems of spring.
  • Amorvero Perfume. Because there's nothing like a grand floral that speaks of lounging on a veranda in the Italian riviera.
  • Chabaud Maison de Parfum- Nectar de Fleurs. A gorgeous floral with a naughty dirty base. It's an Osswald exclusive (both NYC and Zurich), which is why you've probably never come across. 
  • CB I Hate Perfume- To See A Flower. An ode to jonquil, its stems and leaves, as well as the damp spring soil from which it has erupted into the breezy cold spring day. Just avoid the water version and go with the absolute, otherwise it'd disappear faster than the sun on a cloudy day.
  • Monsillage-  Eau de Celeri. Because Vent Vert is not what it used to be. 

For more spring picks please visit my friends at Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc,  and Now Smell This, and please share your own spring loves, popular or not.

Image: Twiggy in Giorgio di Sant'Angelo Wrap, Coat, photographed by Richard Avedon for Vogue, 1967

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tatcha Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick

Guess who's back?

When I bought my Tatcha Sunrise: A Plum Blossom Limited Edition 23-Karat Gold Illuminated Lipstick (that's a mouthful!) it renewed my regret about not getting Kyoto Red.  Tatcha lipsticks are seasonal limited editions, and at that point I had no idea that Kyoto Red will do a comeback, nor that I'll find it in my mailbox. Imagine my delight when both happened.

The spectacular formula of Tatcha lipsticks is a great reminder of what a luxury lipstick should be. Comfortable, nourishing, beautifully pigmented and with a timeless flattering semi-matte finish that feels weightless and looks just modern enough. It's lipsticky in the best possible way. Kyoto Red is a classic red. In the swatch above you can see that the warmer tone of my arm makes the color lean towards tomato red. My face is cooler (ashier) and my lips have a natural purple tone to them that makes many a red lipstick skew pink, but in this case it becomes a true red.

(I've had the best intentions of creating a makeup look this week featuring this Tatcha lipstick, but on Saturday I had a little accident flying down the stairs with a basket full of laundry and ended up with a sprained left foot. I'm okay, but had to spend the week planted in my seat with an elevated foot and a very cranky mood, and not in front of the mirror, as I do my makeup standing up. I'll make up for it in the next few days, so you'll get to see Kyoto Red on my face soon enough)

The packaging of Kyoto red is beautiful. The case is heavy and snaps close with a satisfying magnetic click. Red lipstick addicts will find it a must-have. It's unscented and unflavored, and the various good-for-you oils keep the lipstick hydrating and create an even coat that doesn't flake or bleed. Like all red lipsticks, Kyoto Red requires keeping your lips in top shape, and like all good red lipstick it wears out evenly, leaving the kind of stain I tried to create in the lower right corner of my swatch. Reapplying is an elegant ritual, since the faceted red bullet in its glossy black case looks gorgeous. Makes me wish Tatcha would have a matching mirror.

Bottom Line: do you even need to ask?

Tatcha Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick ($55, made in Japan) is already in stock at Barneys. Tatcha's website allows you to sign up to get notified of shipping dates, if you prefer to order from them directly.
The product for this review was sent by PR.

Ingredients: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Mica, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Synthetic Wax, Hexyldecyl Isostearate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil Dimer Dilinoleate, Candelilla Wax Esters, Ethylene/propylene Copolymer, Sericin (Silk Extract), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Glycerin, Water, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Tocopherol, Silica, Dimethicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol. [+/- (may contain): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891),  Red 7 Lake (CI 15850), Red 6 (CI 15850), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)].

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Strobe Cosmetics Eye Shadows- Part 2

As promised, here's a look at the rest of the Strobe Cosmetics eye shadows I bought. I got eleven in total, and my previous post showed the first six. I've already discussed the beautiful textures and excellent performance of Strobe eye shadows (and how much I hope to see some matte options soon), so let's get into the rest of the colors. Please note that I included Timber Wolf again for comparison to the other two brown shades in this group.

All swatches were done over completely dry (parched, actually)  skin that hasn't seen a moisturizer in hours.

Timber Wolf is slightly more coppery than the other two. It also feels slightly softer/creamier to the touch, but all three apply the same. Bearded Lady is a darker and more intense version of Timber Wolf in a semi-matte finish. The best I can describe it is that it's further on the brown axis. Glen Cocoa is the cooler shade of the three, perfect for lining and intensifying the outer V, while brightening the eye with its satin shimmer finish.

Monster Among Us is a green/brown duo-chrome. I'm a sucker for this pigment but have to warn you that you absolutely must use a good tacky primer underneath. Not because of dryness: Monsters is actually very buttery, but because the color loses its intensity otherwise, and morphs into a more pronounced brown with a faint green glimmer. Applied right, by patting the color on and not over-blending, this is a stunner.

Royale is a pink sand. Depending on the light it can look slightly more brown(ish) or like a rose gold, while Checking In? is a golden olive green. I've used both as a bright spot in the middle of the lid, amd have also blended Checking In? onto a beige base to enliven an otherwise neutral look. I'm pretty sure I haven't even begun to tap into these eye shadows' potential.

Strobe Cosmetics single eye shadows are $6.50 each, made in USA in small batches, so certain colors get sold out and are out of stock until replenished again. It's for the best, I guess, giving us time to slowly collect as many of them as we wish.

Coralina by Oscar de la Renta (Essential Luxuries Line)

My first order of business was trying to find out who or what is Coralina. It's a lovely name for either a perfume or an orange tabby, but I was interested in its source and inspiration. Google was of very limited help here, though, so my best guess is that the name refers to Isla Coralina, a teeny tiny island that's part of Islas del Rosario, a small archipelago off the coast of Colombia. There's nothing much on this glorified rock other than a boutique hotel and a glitzy night club, so I can't be sure that Coralina the perfume has anything to do with that, but several other fragrances in the Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries line are named after faraway places (Granada and Sargasso), while the other ones are Mi Corazon and Oriental Lace. The names navigate the space between sentimental kitsch and the gorgeous romance  of the late de la Renta aesthetics, and the reason you haven't seen these perfumes at Macy's is that they belong to the more limited collection  that was launched in 2012 exclusively for Oscar de la Renta's boutiques (for a higher price than the main line).

Back to Coralina. The name suggested something beachy and tropical, but this couldn't be further from reality. This Oscar de la Renta perfume is a rich spring floral that offers heady fully-opened blossoms surrounded by  sharp greenery, encapsulated in a veil of sweet powder (or alternatively, a cloud of thick yellow pollen, as suggested by a dear friend). The star of this show is mimosa. Lots and lots of mimosa, and yes, it's definitely giving the impression of yellow flowers, piles of yellow taffeta, and the brilliant sunshine of the first beautiful warm day of the year.

Floating around in Coralina are various green leaves and stems: violet leaf and galbanum that's so crunchy green and sharp that at first I could have sworn I smelled tagetes. Maybe there is some marigold in the mix, or perhaps it's just a phantom note created by the bright colors and bitter galbanum. It all rests on a powder puff full of orris that dries down slightly musky and very satisfying.

I probably shouldn't, since Coralina has a good classic sillage and reasonable longevity, but I tend to spray it vigorously and then some. This is an extrovert perfumy fragrance, slightly bosomy, even.  Is it the next best thing to an Oscar de la Renta gown? Probably not, but I'll take it all the same.

 Notes: Neroli, Mandarin, Bergamot, Violet Leaf Absolute, Mimosa, Galbanum, Orris Absolute.

Coralina by Osacr de la Renta ($150, 100ml) is available from Oscar de la Renta boutiques and on the designer's website. However, it has started showing up from various online discounters, so Google is your friend.

Photo: Abbey Lee Kershaw by Lachlan Bailey for Vogue China, May 2012

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FOTD- April Showers

This was a look for an April showers day, kind of like today, actually, only cooler. The husband and I were visiting a classy art auction house, so I didn't bring on the blue liner or purple lipstick, but still managed to have some fun. I dug out the Bare Minerals palette from the holidays, The Regal Wardrobe. I suspect many of you bought it, either when it came out or even better, when it went on clearance soon after and provided a brilliant value for something like $28 or lower. A few of the colors were limited (or temporarily limited. Bare Minerals tend to bring colors in and out), but I noted where the colors are still readily available. Since the day was gray and uninviting, I amped up the glow again, because why not?

Burberry Fresh Glow Primer. I've been using sample after sample trying to determine if it's the blue bird of happiness for me. My primer drawer is mocking me for that.
Burberry Sheer Foundation #5.
I didn't use any concealer or setting powder, but did give my entire face a light dusting Rouge Bunny Rouge Rouge Bunny Rouge  Impalpable Finishing Powder Diaphanous with the mother of all finishing brushes.

Etude House Proof 10 eye primer. It's now part of my regular eye primer rotation and I can't say enough good things about its performance.
From the aforementioned Bare Minerals Regal Wardrobe:
Natural (available in the 8.0 Sexy Neutrals palette) all over the lid.
Namaste (available in the Enlightened duo) in the crease
Romp on the middle of the lid and 500 Thread Count in the inner corner (both are part of the Dream Sequence quad).
Lancome Artliner in an unidentifiable bronzy color (the sticker has fallen off). Any metallic non-black will do. actually, anything will do.
Ardency Inn eye pencil in Gold on the waterline.
Guerlain Maxi-Lash mascara (the one for volume and curl)

I mixed together Brilliant Sunset and The Love Letter from the Bare  Minerals palette. Both were limited edition and have yet to be rereleased and repromoted. Temptalia has some dupe suggestions, but any neutral mauve with a good glow will work.
And since apparently I wasn't glowing enough, I also mixed Bubbly and Dripping in Glow from Anastasia's That Glow palette.  As yo can see, I do have a very light hand.

MAC Spice lip liner.
Bite Beauty Cortado/Latte Luminous Creme Lipstick Duo (criminally discontinued). I mixed both colors together for this result, and I think you can get something similar by combining Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle  with a touch of the Stylo in 216 Lettre.

Other Stuff
Scarf by MIR
SotD Caron Nuit de Noel. I was aiming for Narcisse Noir, actually, but the NdN just jumped into my hand. Why not?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Quarterly Perfume Statistics- According to Basenotes

It's time for a quarterly evaluation of my "Most Worn" statistics as logged on Basenotes. Since my previous post I've been more diligent in entering my scents of the day, so I'm pretty sure I haven't missed more than one or two, which shouldn't affect the tally.

What do we have here?

As you can see, the top four spots haven't changed, even though I've tried not to overdo it with Shalimar. I'm also pretty sure that at least one of the SotD logging that I missed was, indeed, a Shalimar. so the blue stopper lady is still the queen of all things.

Classic No.5 and its offspring switched places, probably within the last couple of weeks. I've reached for vintage No.5 more since getting the body oil. I see more of this happening throughout the warm seasons. Meanwhile, Chanel No.19 has dropped two places, and apparently I haven't worn it at all since late January. Why do I feel guilty?

Three perfumes have entered the Most Worn list. My beloved cheap treat, Oro by Cavalli, which shouldn't surprise anyone. I keep the bottle at eye level in the cabinet closest to my bed. Is it because I want an easy access or do I wear it so much because it's right there? Either way, it's much loved.

Then we have the fabulous Ilang Ivohibe by Parfumerie Generale. I probably should write a fuller review revisiting this gem, since it's become my favorite PG of the moment. I should also figure out how to pronounce its name.

The last entrance into the top ten belongs to the Le Labo's Paris exclusive Vanille 44. I have  decants of this perfume stashed in various locations around the house, and have finished the one in my overnight bag. Is this my favorite Le Labo perfume? I'm not sure. It used to be Santal 33 or Labdanum 18, but somehow the fuzzy vanilla that I still think is overpriced has become a go-to perfume. Not a good financial move.

 Have you started wearing a perfume more often than you expected? Any new obsessions?

Photograph by John Paul Pennebaker for Marshall Fields, ca. 1934

Free La Prairie Skincare Spa Facial At Osswald NYC

This is something to get excited about: Osswald NYC is adding La Prairie to their already impressive selection, and to kick it off they're flying their head esthetician, Lia Kramer, from Zurich. She'll be on hand for two weeks,  offering complimentary one hour-long facials.



La Prairie



I'm not going to miss this, and if you're in NYC during the first half of May (May 2nd to May 13th), you may want to check this out for full  details.  To book your appointment, email Josie  at or call the store at (212) 625-3111.

I take no responsibility to any addiction that might be formed as a result. My past reviews of La Prairie makeup are here.*

Photo by Irving Penn, Vogue, February 1999

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince (1958-2016)

Honey, I know, I know
I know times are changing
It's time we all reach out
For something new, that means you too
Prince, Purple Rain, 1984

See Also

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