Monday, February 28, 2011

Jane Russell 1921-2011

Jane Russell and related quotes:
"Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don't have any" 
Jane Russell
"Culture is the ability to describe Jane Russell without moving your hands"
Bob Hope


Burberry Lip Gloss Heather Rose (no. 11)

Burberry Lip Glow lip gloss in Heather Rose (#11) has been my secret weapon lately. It's great on its own, with or without a grounding layer of lip liner underneath, especially for quick and natural looks, but it also adds a lot of dimension to many a lipstick. Heather Rose is a warm beiged-out rose, a bit hard to describe as it changes with the light. Since my lips are darker and have quite a bit of purple pigment, this Burberry gloss is one of my favorite and most flattering nude colors. It would look different if your lips are pale, of course, but I think anyone who can wear delicate warm colors would be able to pull it off.

Like all Burberry lip glosses (and other makeup items, really), the quality here is top notch. The gloss has a light and comfortable texture, it moisturizes and sooths, isn't too sticky and stays in place as well as one can expect from a top of the line lip gloss. I touch up after three hours (or a snack) to maintain the finish, less so if it tops a highly pigmented lipstick.

Burberry Lip Glow lip gloss ($27) is a Nordstrom exclusive, available online and from select locations.

All photos are mine.

Academy Awards 2011- Ten Beautiful Faces

Last night's Oscars were less painful than other red carpet events in recent memory. Maybe because I kept E! on mute for most of the time, or perhaps it was excitement for Colin Firth. I wonder how many women (and men) sighed with contentment and smiled inwardly at the thought of Mr. Darcy's victory. I couldn't help it.

The stars' makeup was exceptionally beautiful. Even in those cases where I hated the dresses (hello, Cate Blanchett), hair and makeup was mostly flawless and quite varied. We saw everything- muted natural tones, sultry eyes and the trendy orange lipstick, and they all allowed the beautiful faces to shine.

Helena Bonham-Carter left Bellatrix Le Strange at home and brought her own gorgeous self to the ceremony. Her hair is larger than life and suits her perfectly.

Amy Adams championed NARS spring collection, proving that wearing all these bold colors together might be a bit overwhelming on one delicate face. She's sporting the new Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil in Baroque, which I love. Mandy Moore was also wearing NARS, both on the red carpet and during her on-stage performance. No word what exactly happened to Zack Levi's face to make his so orange, though.

Cate Blanchett wore the conversation piece of the night. Her haircut was among the most beautiful, though and her makeup (I think I've heard it was Lancome) illuminated her in all the right places. Other two beautiful blondes were Gwyneth Paltrow and Michelle Williams. I'm still not crazy about Michelle's platinum blonde, but the Jane Seberg/ pre-crazy Mia Farrow thing suits her well. Now, if we could only make her smile.

Everyone's favorite brunettes both opted for bold lips. Sandra didn't look as relaxed as she claimed to be, but I liked her hair far better without the blunt fringe from a couple of months ago.

Jennifer Hudson's oddly placed breasts distracted many from asking questions about her face. Someone went to town with a full coverage foundation. I prefer Jennifer looking a little more natural.

To end things on a more pleasant note, let's look at Natalie Portman:

Top photo of snowy mountains behind the Hollywood sign on Sunday morning from All other photos: Just Jared.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscars 2011- Blogging The Red Carpet

The first hour of the Red Carpet show is always awkward. The bigger stars are still circling the premises in their limos and we're left to deal with Kelly Osbourne's tattoos, Giuliana Rancic's improv skills and other weirdness. This time in the form of Daphne Zuniga (seriously?) and her dress.

Then there's cleavage and the lack of. Mila Kunis is showing all the skin while Florence Welch, Amy Adams and Michelle Williams are nunfully covered. Interesting trend, for sure. Speaking of the beautiful Michelle, she looks so fragile and unhappy. Is Ryan Seacrest making her cry? She looks like all she wants is to return to the arms of her publicist who seems ready to swoop in and save her at any moment.

But then there's a kind of hush (well, my TV is now on mute) and Anne Hathaway does what she do best: remind us what's Hollywood glamor is all about. It's vintage and it's Valentino. Best red dress of the night, especially since I'm really not too crazy about Jennifer Lawrence Baywatch dress. But seriously, the way Jennifer looks she really doesn't need my approval.

I'm having a moment here. Cate Blanchett and the bad robot dress. Even she can't get away with that one. Sorry. Same goes for Scarlett Johansson and that hairstyle. It doesn't work, especially not with that high neckline. The dress is beautiful, by the way.

Sharon Stone has embraced her inner Cruella de Vil. Surprisingly or not, this looks is working great for her. I also like Hilary Swank, ostrich feathers or not. I just wish she'd wear a darker lipstick. A little color won't kill her.

Love: Reese Witherspoon's hair and makeup. Don't love: the lack of imagination in her dress. Love: Gwyneth Paltrow's dress (note to Cate Blanchett: that's how you do futuristic). Don't love: Nicole Kidman's origami dress.

One last thought for the night: Emeralds. I want some.

Photos: Just Jared

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekly Roundup- Oscar Weekend

I dearly hope everyone had a better week than mine. This flu thing has made me lose several days in a haze of drowsiness and snot and I'm still coughing up a storm (as do The Blond and many of his co-workers and clients. I wonder if its all my fault). I have less energy than Buffy (my 21 lbs cat, not the Vampire Slayer) and that should say something. But this dreary month is nearly over, today's rain has finally cleared the deck from the remaining snow (1/3 of the yard is still covered but not for long) and this Sunday is the Oscars. Pretty gowns and Colin Firth, what's better than that?

And, we have many beauty goodies to share and occupy us until James Franco sings:

The quest for finding the perfect  foundation never ends. Really. Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani makeup artist to the stars, discussed this with Kari. You can read all about it at Fab over Forty.

Are you curious about La Prairie? I know I was (the result is a bunch of reviews of La Prairie items coming soon to this blog). Charlestongirl got a preview of La Prairie's summer makeup collection at a Neiman Marcus party. Check out Best Things in Beauty to see what's coming.

The new NARS Illuminators shades are getting a lot of blogger attention. I have yet to do anything with my samples, but Amy's impressions at Café Makeup are a good reason to get on with it.

Jo Malone has launched a new line of Tea Fragrance Blends, and Sabrina tried them all. Head over to The Beauty Look Book to find out how she feels about them.

Skin care, anyone? Jane can give you the 411 on Derma at Daly Beauty.

Bare Escentuals has introduced Buxom Smoky Eye Sticks. Jennifer had the scoop at BeautyXposé. Is there one in your future?

Are you starting to look pasty, winter white? Laurie has been loving L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes. Want to learn more? Head over to Product Girl.

Do we need a bottom lash mascara? Debbi gave us her opinion of the new Clinique mascara at DivaDebbi.

Kelly has a new obsession: Konad nail art. See what she's been doing with it (and how) at Gouldylox Reviews.

An interesting feature on Yesterday's Perfume about vintage perfume bottles and their modern copycats, including the possible influence for Katy Perry's Purr cat bottle.

Makeup Magpie brings us photos and review of Bobbi Brown's Rich Lip Color. There's also some Mad Men musing and vintage photos to make things interesting. I promise to post my own review of the lipstick in the coming week, I just need more quality time playing with it.

Stay happy and beautiful!


Smashbox Face & Cheek Brush No.2

Our brush of the week is Smashbox Face & Cheek Brush No.2. I picked it for my travel kit last summer because I was a bit wary about risking  my delicate NARS Yachio. Smashbox No. 2 looked sturdier and seemed like it would do double and triple duty for blush, a swipe of light bronzer and/or setting powder. The size and shape are right- rounded, domed and full-bodied. The goat hair is soft enough but not floppy and the brush performs well, but at this point my brush collection has me spoiled.

Smashbox Face & Cheek Brush No.2 is too big for my liking as a blush brush, especially with very pigmented blushes. I don't have much cheekbone to speak of, so a good placement is essential. Hence my love affair with the Yachiyo. I have softer face brushes for bronzing, highlighting and buffing, and my biggest complaint is about the finish I get from the Smashbox brush with products such as Guerlain Meteorites. It's not as good as I expect. But I'm aware this is really nitpicking- this is a decent working brush and I have been using it successfully, especially with Smashbox own Soft Lights. It just can't replace some of my favorite face brushes (some I already reviewed, others will soon be featured here).

Bottom Line: Good for some products but it's not The One.

Smashbox Face & Cheek Brush No.2 ($48) is available from Ulta, Sephora and

All photos are mine, my lovely assistant is Sophie.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guy Laroche- Clandestine

I didn't discover Clandestine by Guy Laroche (1986) until a couple of years ago, and that's a shame, because it could have easily been one of my signature scents back in the day. Clandestine has all the stuff I love and then some- a honeyed boozy plum opening that leads the way into a surprisingly dark floral heart and a gorgeous, rich sweet animalic base. What's not to like? Just look at the list of notes (from

Top: plum, bergamot, pineapple, aldehydes and apricot
Heart:  Damask rose, tuberose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, carnation, heliotrope, honey and iris
Base:  patchouli, amber, vanilla, benzoin, cedar, civet and musk

Seriously, that's the stuff big skanky floriental dreams are made of, and when it comes to this style, I'm a child of the 1980s through and through.

Clandestine is obviously a dark and sexy perfume, quite heavy and not for the faint of heart. It's also beautiful, rich and well-balanced, keeping the animalics, honey and heavy eyelids under control. For such a bold perfume with obvious intentions, this Guy Laroche creation is actually quite tasteful. It's easier to wear than another gem of the same genre and era, Paco Rabanne La Nuit, and feels more glamorous and less dabaucherous. It's still fun, though, and feels almost cozy with its warm honey and smooth base. Clandestine feels like taking off that red carpet dress and slipping into something more comfortable to continue the night.

Clandestine was discontinued quite a while ago (Fidji and Drakkar Noir are the only fragrances currently listed on Guy Laroche website, though we all know that Fidji hasn't been itself for years now). Bottles of the EDT of the most recent formulation can still be found online for around $50, but since my bottles are older and all are EDP I can't comment on quality.

Clandestine 1986 ads from
Guy Laroche fashion ads from the mid-to-late 1980s from (Benjamin Kanarek is the photographer who shot the ads).

What To Wear To Meet Prince Charles?

Catherine Zeta Jones wore a Michael Kors suit and a pair of gold Christian Louboutin heels as she was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on February 24, 2011 in London. A picture-perfect family is also a good accessory (I'm so glad to see Michael Douglas looking healthy). On just about anyone else this suit would have looked boring and maybe even matronly, but Catherine Zeta Jones has what it takes to look ravishing in just about anything.

Speaking of brunette bombshells, I love Demi Moore's hair here- you don't see a fishtail braid on the red carpet very often, and it's such a fresh look (and as far from Real Housewives of Whatever as possible). Demi wore this plait and Vivienne Westwood gown to the 13th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards in Los Angeles this week.

I'm off to see if I can get the husband to braid my hair Demi-style.

Photos: Getty Images via Zimbio.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Lip Gloss- I Have My Honey (053)

Rouge Bunny Rouge is a niche European brand that has been getting a lot of online buzz and a cult of fans. I've heard about it from readers and bloggers, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when this Gleaming Temptation Lip Gloss in I Have My Honey (#053) arrived at my door. First, behold the feminine packaging. It's extra useful when a tube of lip gloss is different enough to stand out in my drawer so I don't need to waste time searching for a specific one. But Rouge Bunny Rouge is more than its cute tube.

The Gleaming Temptation Lip Gloss is hydrating and comfortable to wear. It stays on nicely without migrating, smearing or fading (until lunch, that is). Even a sheer and nude color such as I Have My Honey is nicely pigmented and gives the lips a healthy radiance and plumped up look. This specific color is a lot more complex than I expected. No. 053 is a warm mauve with tiny coppery particles that don't cross the line into glitter territory (unlike the somewhat similar LORAC 3D I reviewed earlier this week). It looks beautiful over a nud(ish) lip liner or on top of light rosy colored lipsticks (or this one from Youngblood Cosmetics, that I've been wearing a lot lately).

Bottom Line: My wishlist is already a mile long.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Lip Gloss ( £20, right now about $31 according to the website) is available from They ship internationally. The lip gloss for this review was sent for my consideration by the store.

All photos are mine.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Molinard Chypre d'Orient

Talk about retro. While Molinard launched Chypre d'Orient in 2007 it smells straight out of a collective memory of Perfume with a capital P. It strongly reminds me something from my childhood, but I can't really place it (note to self: send mom a sample. She'll hate it but would probably be able to tell what perfume of yore it resembles). When I say "strongly" I mean it. Chypre d'Orient has a bosom that leads the way, clad in a 1950s-style brassiere  and not trying to hide it. It has a presence and an attitude, it's all feminine and not going to hide it, even if the final outcome is a bit too Mrs. Slocombe.

Chypre d'Orient is sweeter than one would expect. The first thing I smell whenever I wear it is a very chocolaty patchouli that masks any attempt of well-bred notes such as galbanum and iris to peek through. The chypre construction is evident from the start, though, as well as the presence of oakmoss. I have no idea what miracle was performed to make this possible, given IFRA and co., but it's there and wants you to know that. The rose note in the middle is very prominent and unfortunately it doesn't smell like a high quality rose. It might be the combination and not the raw material itself, but if there's a reason why at times Chypre d'Orient smells cheap, I think it's the powdery rose note. There's a slight fruitiness that for a  little while makes one think of the other fruity chypre, Mitsouko. But Molinard lacks Guerlain's restraint in arranging the notes and allows them to jump at you all at once. That's probably the other problem with this perfume- it's just too much. There's a bit of powderiness in the dry-down, but mostly sweet ambery musk

I enjoy wearing Chypre d'Orient because it's fun and very out there, but I have yet to leave the house clad in it and I doubt it's ever going to happen. It's going to attract attention and not necessarily of the good kind. It's too sweet, too dirty, too ornate and loud to mix in polite company, even if sometimes the temptation is great. Some women would look ravishing in a green eye shadow and a retro orange red lipstick, but it would still look more like a costume than a legitimate outfit. That's how I feel when wearing this Molinard perfume-I know better than to step out in it, no matter how small it makes my waist appear.

Chypre d'Orient by Molinard can be found online for under $25.

Photo of Gina Lollobrigida from

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