Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jo Loves- Pink Vetiver

You wouldn't guess it from looking at the note list, but Pink Vetiver by Jo Loves (Jo Malone's new perfume brand) is one of the mildest and softest vetiver fragrances you will ever find. I guess that's why there's Pink in the name, though in my opinion Pink Vetiver has more bursts of red and sunshine yellow than pink, but maybe it's just me.

Jo Loves wrapped her dry and earthy vetiver in a zesty crust of spice, most notable are the juniper berries and a healthy helping of pink peppercorns. There's no mention of any citrus in the official note, but I could have sworn I smell something between lime and a pink grapefruit in the opening notes. In any case, Pink Vetiver is fresh and lighthearted in the best possible way, and cumin-phobes should not worry: even the husband who is usually hyper-nosmic to this note couldn't detect any, and though that this is the lightest and fluffiest vetiver fragrance he's encountered so far.

Pink Vetiver dries down softly and quietly. It's not particularly long lasting, unless I spray my clothes; the sillage is equally polite. After a couple of hours of skin time there is still a very fresh and easygoing quality to the vetiver. It's a bit woody, perhaps, but not sweet. Just warm and inviting. Pink Vetiver may be able to tempt women who usually find vetiver fragrances too harsh or masculine. Guys should be able to wear it even in a cramped office environment.

Notes: Pink Crushed Peppercorns, Juniper Berries, Cardamom, Cumin, Nutmeg, Ginger, Angelica, Vetiver and Amber.

Jo Loves- Pink Vetiver (£45.00, 30ml EDP) is available exclusively from Please note that they can only ship this small size outside of the UK because of the currents restrictions and regulations. The samples for this review were sent by the company.

Art by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo- Nude No. 6

Here's one of the brand new stylo crayons from Hourglass Femme Nude range. The idea behind it is that "nude lips" are not and should not look like a beige concealer. Instead, Hourlass is offering six shades, from pale pink to mauve beige, that appear alive, yet help tone down the natural pigment of the lips. Nude No.6 is a warm mauve beige, very pigmented and semi opaque. It does the job for me quite nicely, as it doesn't completely obliterate my lip color. This Hourglass crayon goes with my coloring and delivers the perfect nude lip for me. The effect seems subtle at first, but when I do my eyes up I get exactly what countless of ugly beige lipsticks could have never supply: a healthy look.

The formula and finish of Hourglass Femme Nude are smooth and satiny. It's not quite matte but close enough and I do experience some drying after a couple of hours if my lips aren't well-prepped. On hydrated lips, though, the crayon wears comfortably and has an impressive longevity with minimal transferring. The crayon is easy to use and the twist mechanism saves time and product (no sharpening needed).

Bottom Line: made me a believer.

Hourglass Femme Nude Lip Stylo ($30) is available from and select department stores. The product for this review was sent free of charge by the company.

Zoya Fall 2013 Collection: Satins

Zoya offers two new collections for Fall 2013 (other than the latest installment in their Pixie Dust series): Satins and Cashmeres. Today we're looking at the latter, which is somewhat of the misnomer: five of these six new Zoya polish colors have a finish that's somewhere between metallic and a refined micro-shimmer, while the sixth is straight on glitter. But who cares about names when the colors themselves are so beautiful. While my favorite for everyday wearing is the low-key Claudine, I can't stop playing with the other ones. Here's what comes in Zoya Satins:

Maria Louisa- a gold glitter suspended in a clear base (Originally designed for Rafael Cennamo/AW13). Intended for layering over another color.
Neve- a metallic sapphire blue.
Giovanna-  a metallic emerald. One of the most beautiful colors this season.
Claudine- a metallic graphite/charcoal.
Mason- a metallic fuchsia that leans pink. For some reason it looks horrid against my skin.
Channing- a metallic rust color. A nice twist on a classic fall theme.

Zoya Fall 2013 Collection: Satins ($8 each) is available from The products were sent for my consideration by the company.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kate Walsh- Billionaire Boyfriend

The photo above (taken from her official Tumblr) is the reason I'm giving Kate Walsh the benefit of a doubt. Let's assume that the name Billion Boyfriend and the whole concept of the second Kate Walsh perfume (following the original Boyfriend) is a tongue-in-cheek thing, kind of like the adorable 1953 Marilyn Monroe/Lauren Bacall/Betty Grable movie. I really hope so, because otherwise. Ugh. Let's not even go there (Ari on scents Of Self already did).

The fragrance itself is bad enough (Jen of This Blog Really Stinks disagrees). Perfumes rarely surprise me these days, but I wasn't prepared to how cheap and unoriginal this thing smells. Billionaire Boyfriend is a sugary white floral that reeks of the 1980s in the worst possible way. In fact, it makes me think of something of my youth's drugstores, but not from the perfume aisle. Most likely some deodorant or other body product aimed at teens. Unlike the first Kate Walsh Boyfriend, this one screeches and hollers, like fourteen year old girls in public places during the most obnoxious stage of their social development.

The note list for Billionaire Boyfriend mentioned jasmine, orchid, and gardenia. None of the floral notes I smell here come from nature. It's the stuff they put in (cheap) room sprays, car trees, and really questionable household products. The creamy amber dry-down has a strong element of fake caramel that dominates my skin for hours and is rather hard to wash off clothes. I'm sure that somewhere there's a person who smells good in Billionaire Boyfriend, but I'm certainly not the one. Even on a blotter, though, this thing smells like the love child of Pink Sugar and Giorgio Beverly Hills that is revealed amid a paternity fight on Maury.

"Let Him Spoil You". Please don't.

Notes: Bergamot, Tangerine, Green Lush Leaf, Black Jasmine, Black Velvet Orchid, Gardenia, Patchouli Flower, Amber, Cistus, Vetiver, Sandalwood.

Kate Walsh- Billionaire Boyfriend ($35, 0.5 oz EDP) is available from Sephora.

Marc Jacobs Lust For Lacquer Lip Vinyl- 312 Lust For Life

Lust For Lacquer Lip Vinyl in  Lust For Life (312) was the second item I ordered during the Marc Jacobs preview sale Sephora offered a couple of weeks ago. The full Marc Jacobs Beauty collection will be available online and in store on August 9th, but I had to see what's behind the hype. As you know, I really loved the black eyeliner pen. This Lust For Lacquer gloss is not far behind.

A gloss is a gloss, and my requirements are simple: a good color payoff, a comfortable hydrating formula and the least amount of stickiness. Marc Jacobs and his team have delivered reasonably well. The gloss is probably stickier than I would have liked and lack the superior texture of Chanel Glossimer (which is only $1.50 more), but it makes up for it in plumping. The formula is definitely hydrating (I can feel the effect long after most of the color has transferred onto my tea cup), has a light not too annoying tingle and plump the lips full of moisture. The scent is meh, but whatever. It's gone before I even notice.

Lust For Life (312) appears disco ball strawberry in the tube but gains a raspberry pink color when applied. The shimmer is much more subdued on the lips than one would suspect, which is a good thing. I like the gloss by itself (it's definitely pigmented enough) or to enliven various lipsticks. A coat of lipstick underneath encores the gloss in place a little longer.

Bottom Line: Nice.

Marc Jacobs Lust For Lacquer Lip Vinyl ($28) and the rest of the collection are exclusive to Sephora and will launch in the US on August 9th.

Find Of The Day: L'Agence Silk Dress

Here's a great little silk summer dress from L'Agence will also work for a transition into fall. The classic lines, pleat, metallic belt, and the chic color need very little styling in the summer, but can carry a cardigan or a black blazer and a pair of pumps. The price is just as fabulous: Avenue32 has it on sale: $280 instead of $700 (also $315 from $525 at Bergdorf. Go figure). If you look at the "size and fit" section you'll notice it says that the dress has a slim fit at the bust (that's been my general experience with L'Agence), so I'd highly suggest going one size up unless you're Audrey Hepburn.


Monday, July 29, 2013

L’Artisan Parfumeur- Thé Pour Un Été

Thé Pour Un Été from L'Artisan is a classic summer fragrance. Technically it's an eau de toilette, but the ephemeral quality and sparkling nature of this Olivia Giacobetti creation puts it in the same group as the lightest colognes and other summer scents. This means that Thé Pour Un Été is sheer and gossamer-like. It offers a cheerful clean jasmine steeped in green tea; no angst and no baggage involved; what you smell is what you feel, and it's all incredibly pretty. This L'Artisan fragrance is the equivalent of having a beautiful pitcher of iced jasmine tea with slices of lemon and a mint sprig floating in it.

This refreshing cold drink of a perfume is not very efficient during the day. As magical as this burst of beauty feels, it also fades within the hour. So I only wear it at home where I can re-spritz as much as needed, or before bed, to make the summer night that much more beautiful. The thing about L'Artisan Thé Pour Un Été is that it provides comfort and relief-- such as the feeling of entering a wonderfully air-conditioned room after a long day outdoors. You take a long shower and revel in the clean sensation of water. You then put on a white robe, sprawl on the cool bed with its crisp white sheets and and try to swallow every last bit of cold air. There's that pitcher of iced tea waiting in the fridge. It's going to be a very nice evening.

Notes: Jasmine Tea, Green Tea, hints of lemon and peppermint.

L’Artisan Parfumeur- Thé Pour Un Été ($145, 100ml) is available from Luckyscent, Parfum1, Henri Bendel, Barneys, Aedes, Blue Mercury and several small local boutiques.

Art: Jasmine Tea by Emma Forrester.

Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash

Since the previous review was of some pretty abrasive cleansing balm, here's something much kinder and gentler: Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash. I've been enjoying Elemis body products for a while now (and really should review them. They're fabulous), and several GWP and samples have pushed me towards their skincare, because my face was loving every last drop. That was the case with the Tri-Enzyme Face Wash. I went through several travel size minis and finally took advantage of the Nordstrom half yearly extravaganza that offered an exclusive jumbo size (13.5 oz) at a decent size (it's still available online).

I'm a devotee of Paula's Choice Resist cleanser and highly recommend it to everyone, but I felt the need to spice things up for summer and alternate products.This Elemis face wash uses enzymes derived from fruit acids to do the cleansing. Since you wash it right off, the cleanser is very mild (at least for non-sensitive skin that's used to various acids). It feels soft and luxurious on the face and I like the light floral fragrance. I find that the cleanser washes off any remnants of oil cleanser and makeup debris that's left after my initial makeup removal. It also makes my face feel refreshed if I use it in the morning. There's no tightness or that squeaky feel of heavy-duty cleansers, just a general sensation of well-being.

Bottom Line: works for me.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Lactate, Coco-Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Galactoarabinan, Papain, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Protease, Subtilisin, Poria Cocos Root Extract, Tromethamine, Glyceryl Oleate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Lauryl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum), Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Stearyl Alcohol.

Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash ($49, for the regular 6.8 oz size) is available from Nordstrom and Dermstore.

Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm

The words "Balm" and "Brightening" blinded me just ling enough to decide that I must have this product: Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm. The description of it as a "Nutri-Active Brightening & Refining Exfoliant" made me ignore the fact that this celebrated Oskia balm is a manual scrub with tiny grains that need to be rubbed against one's skin. The last few years I only use my Clarisonic for this purpose, and leaving all other exfoliating action to various acids and home peels.

But Oskia is such a cult brand and its limited availability (you need to order the products from the UK) makes it even more unicorn-like. Also, see Balm and Brightening. I had to try.

Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm feels unbelievably abrasive. Almost shockingly so, and I've been using it for a while now. It's made of teeny tiny MSM Granules suspended in a sweet almond oil-based balm, which feels like a very fine sandpaper. Personally, I really don't like this sensation and always expect to end up with a red and raw face. In reality, the redness is minimal and goes away rather quickly. This doesn't compensate for the way this product feels, but the reality is that it's also wonderfully and surprisingly effective if you're willing to continue using this Oskia balm.

I've discovered that the balm does a great job dissolving skin debris and other gunk. I only use it once a week, but that's enough to add just a little extra something to the well-being of my skin. It doesn't strip the skin or hurt it in any way, and there is more clarity and freshness.

Still, since I have enough exfoliating in my life even without the balm, I doubt that I'll repurchase once I run out. Also, if your skin is sensitive and/or you have inflamed pimples and such, Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm is likely to do more harm than good. It's a good product for maintenance, but not to treat problem skin.

Bottom Line: proceed with caution.

Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm (£46.00) is available from

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Maria Candidia Gentile- Sideris

In the Morning You Always Come Back--Cesare Pavese

Dawn’s faint breath
breathes with your mouth
at the ends of empty streets.
Gray light your eyes,
sweet drops of dawn
on dark hills.
Your steps and breath
like the wind of dawn
smother houses.
The city shudders,
Stones exhale—
you are life, an awakening.

Star lost
in the light of dawn,
trill of the breeze,
warmth, breath—
the night is done.

You are light and morning.

Sideris, by Italian perfumer Maria Candida was inspired by this poem, written by Cesare Pavese for the woman who rejected him, American actress Constance Dowling (photo below, from her 1946 film noir Black Angel). It was also created to evoke the idea of dawn-- first light chasing away the darkness and cold wind of the night. If you think that all of that is incredibly romantic, it's nothing compared to Sideris itself.

Maria Candidia Gentile's perfumes have a certain serenity to them, which I think comes from  the perfumer's way of communicating, and her careful and delicate blending. The result in this case is an abstract spicy-woody rose over a beautiful incense base. There are wisps of incense and saffron woven throughout the development of Sideris. They call to mind change and movement, the turning of the hours. The sea is lapping on the beach, erasing the footsteps almost as quickly as you leave them. But the light is growing as does the warmth of the new day; it's also true on skin. Incense has a cold-and-warm quality, and Maria Candida Gentile is using it to the max in Sideris. The fragrance becomes warmer and more dry the longer I wear it, leaving the sexy saffron and rose  in the background.

Sideris feels like coming home at dawn after a long and emotional night out. You kick off the  shoes in the hallway, leaving them there with the sand that has stuck onto them. You wrap  yourself in the familiar fuzzy blanket left for you on the back of a chair, and crash on the sofa in from of the dying fire to watch the day roll in and think of what has just transpired.

Notes: Incense, cistus labdanum , Corsican Myrrh, White Pepper, Saffron, Turkish Rose, Rose Ayrshire Splendens, Sandalwood, Benzoin, Waxed Woods.

Maria Candidia Gentile- Sideris ($185, 100 ml EDP) is available from, and also at Henri Bendel in NYC which you'll have to call because Young Mr. Grace has yet to discover the power of e-commerce.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Carven- Ma Griffe (Vintage Perfume)

Ma Griffe in vintage perfume formulation is a joy for those of us who love floral-green chypres with a healthy dose of yesteryear. Oakmoss, aldehydes, orris and a good solid dry base that fits a fashion house founded by a designer who trained as an architect. Like Carven fashion itself, Ma Griffe didn't invent the wheel when it was launched in 1946. It couldn't eclipse its contemporaries from Robert Piguet, Balenciaga, or Dior, which have all made a certain statement, but it brought this particular style to perfection.

I always think of green aldehydic perfumes as very French. Ma Griffe has the same quality that combines the urban elegance of great shoes, a beautiful powder compact that's housed in a timeless handbag (where there's also a spare scarf in case you need to tie your hair back). The sharp greenery with a hint of soap was later in the 1970s translated as an outdoorsy-sporty fragrance, which was captured in many of the newer print ads; but back in the day, Ma Griffe and others like it were simply elegant feminine perfumes. They were womanly and went well with the beautiful suits and dresses produced by Carven.

Wearing vintage Ma Griffe today is very pleasurable for me. My old extrait de parfum is heavy on the powder, oakmoss, and labdanum. The tender floral heart has faded a little, eaten alive by earthy orris, but the dry-down on all its glorious oakmoss has survived like an old sitting room that had all its treasures covered and preserved for decades. The sensuality of the base notes spreads and amplifies on my skin and has a wonderful longevity, even if the sillage is low. The late dry-down has quite a bit of vetiver which reminds me of some versions of Caleche,  dry but with some fire in its core. Mostly, Ma Griffe is a classic chypre and is worth your time (it's relatively easy to track down old mini bottles) if that's your thing.

Ma Griffe has probably gone through several reformulations over the decades. I've had several minis and concentrations and they varied not only in their state of well-being (sometimes the top notes were completely gone) but also in the dominant part: green and greener, soapy or sensual, more oakmoss or more vetiver. Carven and Ma Griffe with it were re-booted in 2008, but I haven't tried the newest version. Please comment if you have: is it as good? Does it resemble the old stuff?

Images: and

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let's Talk About It: Orla Kiely And Other Designer Lines For Target

This week saw Carole Middleton wearing an Orla Kiely dress to visit her newborn grandson, Prince George, at the hospital. In the past we also saw the Duchess of Cambridge in a pretty dress from the line. I'm a huge Orla Kiely fan. I like the colors and prints, the vintage aesthetics, and the clothes that transcend time and trends. I also love knowing that there's no chance you'd catch a Kardashian or a Real Housewife sporting Orla Kiely.

The Irish designer has been collaborating with mass market retailers for a while now. There was an Orla Kiely for Uniqlo collection that sold out almost instantly (I think items still pop up on eBay), and now there's an adorable Orla Kiely packaging for Method household products. I don't mind it-- I like Method well enough and it makes sense to recycle the bottles. What I'm really not sure about  is designer lines for Target, which is the latest project, despite the cute drinking glasses that would look adorable holding makeup brushes.

There was a celeb-laden preview party (Alexa Chung and Karen Elson were there), and who doesn't like the Orla Kiley iPhone covers and other little accessories? I'll tell you who: she who tries to avoid Target in general other than for buying cat litter and looks with suspicion at the masses of cheap Made In China items with Isaac Mizrahi labels. I've always been of two minds about these things. Why shouldn't there be well-designed and affordable clothes and accessories that are easily available for everyone and anyone? But the reality of high-end designers who put their names (hence their seal of approval) on mass-produced, cheaply made schmata, reek of greed and disrespect for their natural clientele. You know, the people who look for high quality and exquisite design and are willing to pay for it.  Remember what followed the Anya Hindmarch for Target?

Personally, just as I didn't stand in line to buy Proenza Schouler for Target line, I think I'll skip these Orla Kiely accessories. It will also make me think twice before I buy another scarf from the designer.

What say you? Am I missing the point here? How do you feel about top designers who put their labels on these lines?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Aroma M- Geisha Blue

Perfumes with blue in their name (or a blue juice) tend to be of the sporty aquatic variety, also known as not my thing. At all. But Geisha Blue by the talented Maria Mcelroy of Aroma M is nothing like that. The blue here is blue chamomile and the tranquility of a blue sky that stretches forever while you're lying on the grass staring at little fluffy white clouds.

Aroma M fragrances are always little fantasies that transform me to beautiful places I never knew existed. This is the case here-- I don't know where this meadow is, but I smell the flowers, green grass and leaves, a cool breeze that comes from the nearby trees, and sweetness-- some of it is part of the perfume, but it's also the tranquility and well-being that it inspires. While at first Geisha Blue may seem like a simple little floral, it becomes an enveloping and addictive sensation, like a gift to myself and my skin.

Notes: blue chamomile, green tea, leafy greens, jasmine, honey.

Geisha Blue perfume oil by aroma M ($55, 1/4 oz roll on) is available from Luckyscent. The sample for this review was sent to me by the perfumer.

Art: Vitali Komarov-  White Camomile Flowers With Blue Background, 2002

Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc'er Precision Pen- Blacquer

I fully admit that my initial purchase of Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc'er Precision Pen in Blacquer was mostly in the name of science and beauty blogging; the whole "I try stuff so you don't have to" thing. You may remember that when I first reported on this line, Marc Jacobs Beauty, the WWD article I quoted was more annoying than enticing. But I was curious enough about the eyeliner pen that promised to be the blackest one on the market, so I had to try.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc'er Precision Pen in Blacquer is, indeed, incredibly black and lacquered. It's quite wet, at least when brand new, but sets immediately and stays put. The felt tip is of average length and thickness, not the easiest to control, perhaps, but definitely among the best. You'll need a hard working eye makeup remover to clean up, one of the duo-phase liquids on the market, because water-based cleansers are not going to cut it.

As for the "blackest black" promise, I'd say Marc Jacobs has delivered. It's not the only ultra black liquid on the market, but it ranks among the best ones out there, as you can see in the swatches. I apologize for the wonkiness of the lines. I tried to use a ruler, but it got pretty messy so I had to erase everything and start over doing it free-hand style.  The eyeliners I compared are all of the felt tip kind. A couple of them are a bit older or more heavily used, but all were purchased, gifted or sent by PR in the last 12 months. I also listed the country of manufacture for each one. It's interesting to note that most impressive ones are made in Japan, including this new Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er Precision Pen:

1. Lancome Artliner (USA)
2. Hourglass Script (Japan)
3. Le Metier de Beaute (like all LMdB products, the country of origin is a total mystery. The Moon, maybe).
4. Marc Jacobs (Japan)
5. Smashbox (Japan)
6. Rouge Bunny Rouge (Italy)
7. YSL Shocking (Germany)
8. NARS (Japan)
9. Giorgio Armani (Italy).

Bottom Line: a good buy.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc'er Precision Pen- Blacquer ($30) is exclusive to Sephora.

Kjaer Weis Bliss Full Lip Tint

Another pretty little thing from Kjaer Weis: a lip tint in Bliss Full. It's a less intense color than Passionate or Romance, but this sheer pink color that adds a little life and lots of hydration is the perfect accompaniment to a smoky eye done with the Kjaer Weis Divine and Onyx eye shadows I showed you yesterday. Bliss Full is one of those colors everyone can wear, though if your lips are even more pigmented than mine, it might not add much color (I get just a little extra pink).

Kjaer Weiss Lip Tints are certifiable organic, but if you're allergic to carmine you'll want to avoid this one. Bliss Full has a very light lemony scent that doesn't hang around (it's actually lovely). The texture is very soft and pleasant, and while Kirsten Kjaer Weis prefers to just apply it with a finger like a balm, I'm more of a brush girl for the sake of hygiene and precision.

 Like all Kjaer Weiss products, the  Lip Tints come in a stunning refillable packaging, but also as refills, which is what you see here. I placed Bliss Full in the sameZ Palette with the dark eye shadows as they make for a nearly complete look (I'll have to add a cheek tint soon).

Bottom Line: Love.

Kjaer Weis refill lip tints ($24) are available from and

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Slumberhouse- Pear & Olive

Pear & Olive is a prime example for the creativity of Josh Lobb of Slumberhouse. This is a summer fragrance unlike anything else; and while in my personal case there's a weird transition between bottle or blotter to actual skin, I'm still in awe of this perfume.

Pear & Olive is a warm, round and sensual fragrance. Pear in perfume often sends me running for my life (Gwen Stefani L, Goutal Petite Cherie), but the Slumberhouse idea of a pear is something golden that has been warmed by a gentle sun. It's juicy, tempting, and you want to sink your teeth into its flesh, but oddly it isn't quite a pear, just the impression of one. The thing is, that on my skin the first couple of hours I wear Pear & Olive are all about an oily coconut. Not coconut oil, but a fresh coconut soaked in oil, which on the blotter is clearly a salty olive oil, but my skin makes it lose the salt and become very sweet and beachy.

Then there's the booze. Cognac, whiskey, and who knows what else, aged and full-bodied, with a long lasting presence and a very substantial sillage that would have  made me smell like I just did the walk of shame after a remarkably spectacular night if it weren't for the fruit and coconut nectar that is still there keeping things at an innocent level. It doesn't quite come together on my skin as it does on a blotter or on the rest of humanity. I've smelled Pear & Olive on others and know that my skin isn't doing the fragrance any favors. Thankfully, other Slumberhouse perfumes are a much better fit so I don't feel too left out. I do urge you to give Pear & Olive a try if you haven't yet, because it can be an amazing adventure.

Slumberhouse- Pear & Olive ($125, 30ml extrait de parfum) is available from, as well as from

Art: Paul Cézanne - Pot of Flowers and Pears, 1890.

Kjaer Weis- Divine & Onyx Eye Shadow

I'm a huge fan of Kjaer Weis eye shadows and recently added two of them to my makeup collection. Both Divine and Onyx eye shadows are variations on dark charcoal. Divine has a satin finish while Onyx offers a silvery blue shimmer. Like all Kjaer Weis eye shadows, these two are smooth and soft with an addictive texture.

Kirsten Kjaer Weis, the wonderful makeup artist who founded the brand, suggests:
Divine will shade the eye and give the illusion of not wearing make-up. When applied to the crease, Divine gives beautiful, subtle depth to the eye. You can do a light smoky-eye with it alone, or use Divine as the stepping-stone for a great smoky-eye with our Onyx Eye Shadow.
Kjaer Weis eye shadows are made of 70% organic raw materials and they qualify as a natural product. You will notice that the ones I have here are the refill versions. Kjaer Weis makeup comes in a gorgeous sleek and modern refillable packaging (you can see it in my review of Wisdom). I had an empty Z Palette around, so I opted to get the refills this time.

Bottom Line: Love.

Kjaer Weis refill eye shadows ($22 each) are available from and

Spotlight On A Blogger And Her Husband

It feels a bit odd, but today the spotlight is on The Husband and me. The two of us  were interviewed recently by two great perfume bloggers, and it was a lot of fun. Both interviews were published today-- you can read what The Blond has to say about living with a perfumista on The Fragrant Man, and see my own answers Birgit's questions on Olfactoria's Travels.

Photo via

Monday, July 22, 2013

Parfums de Nicolaï - Vanille Intense

The first whiff of Vanille Intense by Parfums de Nicolaï  always makes me feel as though I'm about to knock on heaven's doors because of my untimely yet pleasurable demise by vanilla. It's intense, for sure, and so wonderfully vanillic. Unlike the other Nicolai vanilla fragrance, Vanille Tonka (often heralded as a vanilla perfume for gourmand haters), this one is all about the sweet, edible, and drinkable.

It might be a bit weird to talk in July about a perfume that essentially smells like a very merry Christmas, but I reached for my bottle today and it made me happy, so why not? We all can use a treat here and there, and Vanille Intense is exactly that. A boozy, spicy, thick vanilla, just on the right side of syrupy; depending on how you personally feel about these type of scents it's also incredibly sensual, especially in the late dry-down when the air around you stops vibrating and shimmering and the party is at skin level. Delicious skin level.

Sometimes I'm having trouble to decide if Vanille Intense is a very simple perfume or a dizzily complex one. This is a Patricia di Nicolai creation, though, so I'm leaning towards the latter. While there's no doubt here that what you smell is what you get: a high quality foody vanilla perfume, this fragrance is anything but linear. It weaves a delicate candied and caramelized floss around the wearer into a cocoon, but from time to time the darker aspects, the orange rind cooked in rum, patchouli and wood poke your side and remind you to pay attention because something beautiful is going around you, and it's even dreamier than a creme brulee.

Vanille Intense lingers for the entire day and remains on my clothes until they are washed. The sillage, as long as I don't go crazy with the bottle, can be reasonably moderate after the first half an hour. It's a compliment getter, and will satisfy and delight both genders as long as they really really like vanilla.

Notes: orange, orange blossom, immortal, cinnamon, rum, patchouli, amber, musk, woody notes and vanilla.

Parfums de Nicolaï - Vanille Intense ($65, 30ml) is available from Luckyscent. Oswwald NYC also stocks it, but apparently only in the larger 100ml bottles and at much higher price ($190. Why? Seriously, why?). Can also be purchased directly from (and the Nicolai boutiques in Europe).