Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tom Ford Nude Dip Eye Shadow Quad For Fall 2014

The hype and mayhem surrounding the release of Nude Dip, the new Tom Ford Eye Color Quad for Fall 2014, did little to endear the brand to me. There were teaser photos months ago that made just about everyone feverish with desire for this palette. I know that I can't help it: a super-luxurious collection in easy-to-wear everyday neutral. It's irresistible. When it's also a limited edition the madness is obvious (remember Bobbi Brown's original Chocolate palette from Fall 2006?) . And then it started to look like the palette was going to sell out during pre-sale and will never even make it online, at least in the US. So I pre-ordered it by phone, which I normally hate to do. And not that it was easy. The counter at Bergdorf dodged phone calls, so I turned to Saks flagship store, but it took playing phone tag and spending a total of 45 minutes on hold before I could place my order. At least they were willing to sell and send me the palette right away. My friend CharlestonGirl from Best Things In Beauty had to throw a hissy fit to receive hers from Neiman Marcus.

I admit that most of my crankiness dissipated when I had this Tom Ford quad in my hands. It really is lovely. I could tell that the texture is special just from looking at it, and the first careful swatching confirmed it.Soft, almost creamy, very rich pigment--- it's gorgeous. The colors are not groundbreaking in any way, but they're so beautiful that there's no question about the amount of usage I'd get from it (from now to eternity, considering the amount of product in each Tom Ford palette).

Outside, full sun

Indoors, artificial light

The finish of the colors in Nude Dip is this modern semi-metallic (except for the darkest brown which is more of a satin with less sheen). There are no shimmer particles in any of the pans, and the shine is elegant and flattering. Personally, I don't use more than two colors with this finish in one look, but I know I'm the minority here. I use each of these colors as the focal point, paired with a muted color (or what I consider muted. A matte navy might not be everyone's cup of tea).

Application of the Nude Dip colors calls for a flat dense brush and requires very little blending (except for the darkest brown. A small soft but firm pencil brush works wonders here for an effortless smoky contour). A MAC 239-type brush is ideal. A softer lay-down brush will give a more sheer finish. What you want to avoid is over-blending that dilutes the pigment and reduces the color to nothing but shimmer. So give the fluffy brushes a rest in this case.

My favorite color from this palette is not surprisingly the taupe one, that's perfect by itself for a one-brush-one-eye-shadow look. The rose gold is gorgeous, and works as a late-summer color (I've been enjoying rosier shades this summer, such as the ones from the stunning YSL palette). The other two are more standard, but again: there's a reason for that. Workhorse eye shadows end up worth their weight in gold, so no complaints here. While I don't believe in must-haves, especially for those of us with large makeup collections that already include a massive number of neutrals, a useful no-brainer palette makes sense, especially if you love this kind of finish.

Bottom Line: Almost makes those 45 minutes listening to muzak worth it.

Tom Ford Nude Dip Eye Shadow Quad For Fall 2014 ($79) can be purchased by phone from Tom Ford counters (and obviously in person, if your counter has it in stock and is actually willing to sell).

NARS Mandore Satin Lip Pencil

NARS Mandore Satin Lip Pencil was my one lip color pick from Night Caller, the Fall 2014 collection. This red berry color is limited edition (Bansar, the other new Satin Lip Pencil is permanent); since I love the Satin Pencil formula it was an easy decision. 

This color goes well with the various smoky neutral eye looks of the season, and as a twisted on my favorite classic, a black liner-bold lip combo. Longevity is excellent: the pencil creates a long-lasting stain that barely requires touch ups (it survives a Sunday brunch intact), and since it's a non-drying formula, my lips remain in good shape for hours. 

Bottom Line: I'll keep buying them as long as NARS makes these pencils.

NARS Mandore Satin Lip Pencil ($25) ia available at the counters and from

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Serge Lutens- Datura Noir (Revisited)

Let's make one thing clear: I still don't like wearing Datura Noir.

I loathed this 2001 Serge Lutens perfume when I first tried it, and didn't enjoy it any better as I kept testing it over the years. In fact, in 2007 I vowed to stay away from it forever.  But I gave all the samples I had to my mother, who smelled divine in this weird white floral. So I bought her a bottle and sniffed in amazement as her sillage took over my old hometown. I still wouldn't wear it. But I had to figure it out. I needed to know what was about Datura Noir that made me want to jump out of my skin (scrubbing never worked), considering that I love tuberose, coconut, and oriental perfumes. Why was this particular Serge Lutens perfume trying to eat me alive?

I've discovered that there's a tremendous difference between spraying and dabbing Datura Noir. It's nothing new. Several Serge Lutens fragrances behave differently when you give the more volatile top notes a larger skin surface to burst from vs. a more intimate focused application (good examples:  Miel de Bois and Fleurs de Oranger benefit from dabbing, Iris Silver Mist does well when decanted into a sprayer). A light touch of Datura Noir under one's clothes eliminated the Audrey II effect and makes it less of a crazy green tuberose. I could finally concentrate on the sweeter and  more gourmand elements.

It's a jungle out there. The mutant giant white trumpets are accompanied by just as large leafy greenery, but that's just the harbinger of a thick and fatty coconut note. The creaminess is nice, as it lets in a rich almondy note (there's both bitter almond and a sweeter, lighter heliotrope to complement it). The scent that surrounds the skin is white, velvety and opaque. I should enjoy it much better than I do, considering my taste in perfume, but I find any larger dose than a drop to be very suffocating. It reminds me the tactile feel of a 1970s acrylic/polyester tight turtle neck, the bane of my childhood.

In a minuscule amount I get the witches brew idea behind Datura Noir. It tempts you with its vanillic creamy promise and makes you powerless before you know it, completely enslaved to its will. On the right skin this is a magical perfume, as I've known for years. I'm just not the right person to wear it, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

Notes: myrrh, bitter almond, tonka bean, musk, osmanthus, heliotrope, mandarin, lemon blossom, tuberose, vanilla, coconut oil, apricot.

Serge Lutens- Datura Noir ($130, 50ml EDP) is available from Twisted Lily, Luckyscent, Aedes, Barneys, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Art: Krista Huot -Trumpets of Datura

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hakuhodo Itabake Brush- Small

Back in 2012 I abandoned my NARS Ita brushes* for the Hakuhodo Itabake and haven't looked back. The large Itabake brush I bought two years ago is great for foundation, but the smaller ones are more directional and are usually recommended for contouring. But Hakuhod Itabake brushes are more versatile than that. The white goat hair is suitable for use with cream, liquid, and powder products. The Small Itabake is tiny (overall length 78mm, hair length 23mm and width 25mm) and allows for precise application- foundation, highlighters, powder touch-ups, and, yes, contouring (temples and the side of the nose, for example).

Hakuhodo Small Itabake next to the old and discontinued NARS Ita 21

Hakuhodo Itabake- Small & Large (which needs to be washed ASAP. I use it regularly). FYI, Hakuhodo has two Itabakes that are even larger than the "Large" one. 

The goat hair is packed densely (thickness of 9.55 mm), and feels very soft--- much more so than the old NARS. The hair is long enough to have movement and curves nicely around the face. I'm not big on contouring. My face was just not meant to have sharp edges, even fake ones. I do it occasionally, but to be honest it's just too much fake-looking paint for my features. I am fond of highlighting, though, and the small Itabake is an excellent tool for that, as it applies and blends the product with two or three brush strokes.

Bottom Line: great to have.

Hakuhodo Itabake Brush- Small ($48) is available from They ship internationally.

It looks like NARS has also forsaken the Itas since they were not revived with the rest of the new brush line (the Yachiyo and Botan are included in their new Kabuki range). 

Laura Mercier Cheek Mélange Blush Fall 2014

Cheek Mélange is the star item of Laura Mercier's Fall 2014, Sensual Reflections. I don't know if it's my personal favorite (the green creme eyeliner is probably my top pick), but it's a pretty little thing and the embossed multi-colored flower is very cute. The texture of Cheek Mélange is exquisite. It's a powder with an almost creamy feel. The finish is glowing-satiny without actual shimmer particles. I love all the Laura Mercier blushes I have, but this is a level above.

There are three colors in the Cheek Mélange compact. The blurb on the website says that it  "features hand-selected, complementary shades". Hand selected? As in not by robots or other machinery? Whatever. The colors are very delicate. The lightest one, a pinkish highlightery thing doesn't show up on my cheeks at all (nor does it on my arm, as you can see). I can use it on my lids (which are significantly darker than the rest of my face), but I can't say I've bothered expect for testing purpose. The medium rose is pretty and the purple is gorgeous-- it appears more mauve on my skin, and I would have loved a full size blush in this color (Dear Laura Mercier, please hear my plea and make this purple blush available to us).

Since the individual sections of the blush are too small to use separately, you have to swirl your blush brush and pick all three, which gives a very delicate color. I'm around NC35 (not quite and more neutral than yellow, but it's in that ballpark), and I doubt anyone even half a tone darker would find this Laura Mercier Cheek Mélange useful. The fair among you are more likely to enjoy the colors and the beautiful glow it gives the face.

Bottom Line: Mostly for the pale.

Laura Mercier Cheek Mélange Blush for  Fall 2014 ($42) is a limited edition item. Available at the counters and from

Monday, August 25, 2014

Winner Of Rouge Bunny Rouge Fall 2014 Palette

We have a winner! Jospehine is here to announce that Joy Baule is the very lucky winner of Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Shadow Palette Raw Garden In Chronos

As you know, the palette (€55.00) is already available online from They ship internationally. The US retailers, Twisted Lily and BeautyHabit will have it in September. And just a reminder: if you're within reasonable distance from Brooklyn, you can go and play with the full Rouge Bunny Rouge line at Twisted Lily (360 Atlantic Avenue). 

Thank you to all who participated and to Rouge Bunny Rouge for their generosity.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jardins d’Ecrivains- Gigi

Jardins d'Ecrivains is a perfume brand with an irresistible literary twist. I adore their Wilde (after Oscar) and George (for Eliot), and like to play a little game with myself trying to guess their next inspiring figure (I admit that William Burroughs's Junky caught me by surprise). It's interesting to note that Gigi is named for the character created by Colette and not after the author herself (Jardins d'Ecrivains did the same thing with their 2013 release, Orlando). It makes a lot of sense when you smell the perfume, though.

Knowing that Gigi is a white floral perfume and thinking about Colette and a novella set in the Belle Époque and the courtesan world (the demimonde) you might expect this Jardins d'Ecrivains creation to be ornate and a bit larger-than-life, fitting for the Gilded Age. But this is not a brand that does clichés, and Gigi is not Fracas. Instead we get the perfume equivalent of fresh-faced and anonymous Audrey Hepburn, scouted by Colette herself to play Gigi on stage in 1951.

The first surprise in Gigi is the fresh-cut grass note. There's also plenty of greenery, young budding leaves, and blossoms that are not fully open yet. The opening is very tender. The orange blossom and neroli are like a delicate embroidery on a sheer fabric. But the innocence is quickly fading with the much more womanly tuberose and jasmine. They're still light and not overripe (far from it, actually), but you know that soon they will come into their own in full bloom... just not yet.

As Gigi warms on skin the musky aroma is more pronounced. Blackcurrant is listed among the notes, but its presence is more of a hint than a clear fruitiness. The jasmine covers it almost entirely, for better or for worse. I need to be in the mood for jasmine to wear Gigi, and the weather needs to be warm enough to make the flowers soar but not burn through them too quickly. It's a good fragrance to start a love affair with tuberose, because the sillage is polite and modern, and longevity is average (about six hours, so you're not stuck with an operatic diva till the next day). Gigi is very pretty but not intimidating, sort of Hepburnesque, pre-Tiffany).

Notes:  freshly cut grass, orange blossom, neroli, tuberose, jasmine, blackcurrant, sandalwood, white musk.

Jardins d’Ecrivains- Gigi ($110, 100 ml EDP) is available from Twisted Lily and BeautyHabit.

All photos of Audrey Hepburn as Gigi via

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guerlain- Vol de Nuit (Vintage Perfume, Revisited)

Guerlain Vol de Nuit is one of the very first bottles of vintage perfume I acquired. It was some time prior to fully jumping into the rabbit hole of collecting vintage perfumes, but there was an opportunity, and even with very limited experience I knew it was a special little thing. The first time I wrote about Vol de Nuit was in 2007, and it might have been the first vintage review I ever posted, though back then I didn't even tag it as such (I went back years later to add the tag for the sake of search results). It was just my bottle of a precious Guerlain that I learned to love. Dearly.

Vol de Nuit is kind of a chypre, but not really. It's also a somewhat aldehydic floral, but not quite, and a cool green iris with a leathery touch. I think of Vol de Nuit as an incredibly romantic perfume. Part of it obviously has something to do with its name ("night flight" only second to Je Revien, "I will come back", in this department, though try to remind me of it next time I'm at an airport in the dead of the night ready to kill someone). But it's more than that. There's something wistful about the cool air of the night that blows through the iris, narcissus, and galbanum that hold this perfume together. The floral bouquet is tall, lean, and pale. The green stems are part of its design, but seen in the dim light of the moon they're almost ashy gray. This actually can be said about Vol de Nuit in general: I experience it as though from a distance, through a sheer veil.

I usually wear Vol de Nuit by layering the extrait with an eau de toilette, both vintage. The extrait is decidedly sweeter and thicker, though even in this concentration that has a vanillic touch in the late dry-down I find very little of Guerlain's signature base. A hint, maybe, in the progression from the powdery iris (the EDT is greener and earthier with little powder in comparison) to a slightly leathery vanilla. The leather might be a phantom note born from the remnants of the galbanum. Speaking of the way galbanum manifest in this perfume, it's also a bit blackened by the night. I think of Vol de Nuit as capturing the feeling  of staying out very late on a night in the end of summer. The sky is dark blue, the trees almost black against it, the air is chilly, and on my shoulders there's a borrowed jacket, a bit heavy with its leather and zippers, cool to the touch as are my hands that I keep inside the too-long sleeves.

The dusty, mossy green of the dry-down and the overall feel of Vol de Nuit make me thing I should have added it to my list of "feminine perfumes guys should try" from the other night. The classic propeller bottle should be an extra incentive for them to give it a try, don't you think?

Top image: Francois Flameng - Returning from a night flight on aircraft "Voisin" Bomber, circa WWI

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

The bad news is that the nice people at Hourglass have no plans for adding navy or any other colors to the new 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eyeliner. All we get is a classic black (Obsidian). The good news is that even with only one color this is a pretty awesome eyeliner. I love gel pencils for their texture and finish, and Hourglass has taken it to the next level: instead of the regular pencil offered by many brands we get a very thin and quite precise mechanical pencil that doesn't require sharpening, so there's no loss of product.

The pencil is retractable, though only forward and not back (is it so much more expensive to make pencils that retract both ways?). It's not that much of an issue, though, as I find myself using quite a bit in each application, so I always roll out more product. The thin tip draws  a very fine line, making it incredibly easy and nearly foolproof. I do have to go back and add a bit more since I usually like a thicker line in the outer corner, and it's such a smooth and simple thing to do--- the pencil glides over the skin with absolutely no tugging and pulling.

Obsidian is very very black. The almost glossy gel finish makes it even more so. A good indication to the pigment's intensity is the fact that I absolutely have to tightline and push more color into the base of my lashes, to avoid looking weird, because my lashes are dark brown and not black, and the eyeliner makes any  tiny gap between mascara and lash base stand out.

Now about the waterproof and extended wear promises: As much as I love Hourglass in general and this pencil in particular, waterproof it ain't. If the product slides from my lower waterline and smudges after about 4 hours it is not transfer resistant. I have no problem with the liner on my upper lid and lashline, though. My solution is simple: limit its use for the upper lid/lashline, but I admit that having to use another pencil (YSL or Pixi) if I want to line my waterline is annoying, especially since the Hourglass pencil gives such precision initially. But in the weeks since I've had the pencil I had several nights out that ended with raccoon eyes, and I assure you: it's not a good look for the middle-aged woman.

Bottom Line: beautiful but flawed.

Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eyeliner ($45 for a package of three pencils, $16 for a single) is made in Japan and is available from The product in this review was sent by the company for my consideration.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

14 Women's Perfume That Men Should Borrow

Last year I posted a list of masculine-labeled perfumes that I believe women should borrow and make their own. I figured it's time to do the same for men and supposedly-feminine fragrances. Personally, I don't care one bit about the pour homme/pour femme issue and don't think perfume has a gender. There's juice and skin--- if it smells good to you that's all it  matters. But people have been conditioned to make the distinction, especially on the mainstream market. Many niche/indie/artisan brands have abandoned the man/woman labels a long time ago, using neutral packaging and names (think Lutens, Malle, Parfumerie Gnerale, and many others), but even within those brands there's sometimes a bit of a bias (Geranium Pour Monsieur). So here's my list. I tried to avoid long-discontinued or impossible to find stuff. Please chime in with more ideas.

Chanel Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles. These two classics are now part of Chanel Exclusifs, a range that is a lot more guy-friendly, but in many Chanel boutiques and department stores the Exclusifs are still located too close to the makeup counter, making some men avoid them. There's also a brand image issue, especially among men of a certain generation (pre-Bleu,obviously) for whom Chanel perfume=No.5 (which I wish more men would try, but I know that many have a real issue with the aldehydic opening). I once gave my father a bottle of Chanel Antaeus. His initial reaction was "Chanel? Isn't that women's stuff?". He ended up wearing and enjoying it, of course.

Robert Piguet- Bandit. I'm pretty sure that if Bandit was released today by a major brand it would have declared a masculine. Smaller brands can go unisex, like Etat Libre d'Orange did with Bandit's modern offspring, Rien, but on the general market such a leather-galbanum-smoke composition would do better with guys. Cabochard also belongs in this category, but since reformulations have made it unrecognizable I'm not even going to bother.

Hermes Eau de Merveilles. This is a proper gender-neutral fragrance, but for some reason Hermes positioned it as the feminine answer to Terre d'Hermes and created  some limited-edition pendant presentations. To make it even more annoying, SAs at most department stores that stock it can be pretty horrible about yanking a tester from one's hand and saying "that's for women/that's for men" (my local Saks is notorious for that). Still, this salty orange and ambergris is a modern marvel.

Ormonde Jayne- Ormonde Woman. Just as I think women should give Ormonde Man a try before deciding between the two, men would do well to consider the super green sister. It's a bit more lush and thick, but not necessarile femme.

Estee Lauder classics: Azuree, Aliage, Private Collection. Yes, I know that approaching an Estee Lauder counter and asking for the stuff they usually keep hidden is not a guy's idea of a good time, but the mossy green Aliage and Private Collection are worth the trouble, and the leather-chypre Azuree is Bandit's younger sibling.

Donna Karan Collection: Black cashmere, Chaos, Donna Karan Signature. Many people still don't realize that these gorgeous re-released line is easily available from Neiman Marcus and online. The only official offering for guys is Fuel For Men (I wear the 1994 original in the gas pump bottle), but both the spice-incense-chamomile of Chaos and the almost eerie darkness of Black Cashmere (saffron, incense, pepper, among other things) can be just as easily worn by them. The same goes for the original Donna Karan Perfume (now "Signature") that was freed from its duck-shaped bottle.

Miller Harris- Figue Amere. This is a packaging issue more than anything. Figue Amere comes in a fuchsia-colored box that doesn't do justice to this salty and herbal fig perfume that's free of the coconut and creaminess of Premier Figuier (L'Artisan) or Phylosikos (Diptyque).

Bottega  Veneta by Bottega Veneta. It's one of the best mainstream perfumes from a couple of years ago. While the brand has released a pour homme version  the following year, I still think the original sueded chypre is not to be missed.

Serge Lutens- Daim Blond. Speaking of suede. While Uncle Serge doesn't use feminine/masculine labels, this iris-apricot-suede is generally more embraced by women, and usually offered to them by SAs. It's the apricot jam note, I'm sure, but it shouldn't scare away men. Daim Blond is much more complex than the sum of the official notes, and it's probably the best suede on the market.

Photo by the wonderful Leora Long who is also the photographer behind the classic Nina Ricci Farouche image.

Vero Profumo- Rozy (Voile d’Extrait & Eau de Parfum)

I'm still not sure I have the right words for Rozy. Anna, a long-time reader whose comments are always make me feel like she's my long-lost sister, had this to say:
"And Rozy - I feel like I should send Vero Kern dozens of roses or something for having created this - although, in truth, nothing I could offer would truly be sufficient to express the appreciation I feel over being able to experience this scent."
She's spot-on.

 Each one of Vero Kern's creations hits an emotional spot. They're a journey, a transformation, a mood. Everything but a literal sum of their notes. This is somewhat of a rarity in today's perfume world, where people tend to look for simplicity, a single note or a clear label that defines and frames the experience: a fruity-floral is fresh and young, incense is meditative, tuberose is sexy, amber is comforting, and so on. Vero Profumo takes a different path. The complexity is such that it really doesn't matter that Mito is a green magnolia, that Kiki is lavender,  Rubj is a white floral, and  Onda is Greta Garbo bottled. I wear any of them and I step into a world slightly different than my everyday life. Everything is more intense and also shinier.

And now we have Rozy, so far in two concentrations: voile d'extrait and eau de parfum, with an extrait de parfum coming in a few months. Rozy, in any incarnation, is not quite a rose perfume. It's not even particularly floral. An homage to Anna Magnani in the 1955 movie The Rose Tattoo (with the utterly delicious Burt Lancaster), where she played a woman who loves fiercely and lusts shamelessly. Not surprisingly, honey and animalic notes are just as important as the luscious rose.

There's a strong connection between the Voile d’Extrait of Rozy and Onda. The fiery core and animalic component from Onda are here. They're somewhat toned down, rounded and sweetened, but they speak the same sexy language. Honey is a prominent player here: warm, sensual, being poured slowly and catching the golden light. But Rozy is not a pure hot skin fest. There's an uplifting and exuberant feeling that comes from a red, yellow, orange, and white bouquet. Rose and tuberose in the height of their bloom, a gift from a devoted lover, are the heart and soul of Rozy. It's a smoldering affair, with a robust dry-down that brings the spice, wood, and creamy florals together.

In comparison, the eau de parfum concentration of Rozy creates an even more golden impression. It's more optimistic, devours life and allows a few drops of juice to linger on the chin. I know that there are fruity notes in the Voile as well, but my skin slays them mercilessly as it hangs on to the honey and styrax. The EDP is decidedly peachy- literally and metaphorically. I fully get the comparison to Nahema, which shares its orange rose, peach skin and flesh, and hyacinth. Perfumer Vero Kern likes to adapt her creations to the EDP format by using a passion fruit  (in fact, I think she's the one who taught me to appreciate this note). It works just as marvelously for Rozy. The fruit, delicate flowers (the bouquet here has more tender blossoms accenting the roses), and the hint of powder and almost makeupy notes (a vintage boudoir kind of thing)  skews Rozy EDP towards the feminine side, but not by much. Men who wear Onda or any of Vero's EDPs for that matter, should give both concentrations a try.

Rozy - Voile d’Extrait notes
melon, blackcurrant, coriander seed, nutmeg, tuberose, rose, honey, sandalwood, labdanum, vanilla, styrax

Rozy - Eau de Parfum notes
passion fruit, peach, hyacinth, lilac, tarragon, rose, honey, and powdery notes

Rozy EDP ($235, 50ml) and Voile d’Extrait ($250, 50ml) are available from Luckyscents.

Top photo: Horst P. Horst, Birthday Gloves, 1947.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Want: Gucci Leopard Shawl

Normally I'm not the biggest fan ("and thank god for that!"-- The Husband), but right now I'm in lust with this shawl/scarf. The painted orange-red leopard pattern is kind of DVF-ish, which is probably why I like it ("so buy a DVF, please!"-- The Husband, again). It's just fabulous and I think how lovely and lively it would look with various winter coats and dresses. According to the Bergdorf Goodman website, the fabric is a modal/acrylic/silk blend, which is somewhat disappointing (I hoped for a warm silk/cashmere knit), but whatever. It's gorgeous. $695 from Bergdorf and Neiman Marcus.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Shadow Palette Raw Garden In Chronos

And a giveaway!!!

The much-anticipated Rouge Bunny Rouge eye shadow palette is finally being released. You know that I've been sitting on this for a while but couldn't post the full details and swatches until now- the palette will be available on starting August 28th, and since it's a limited edition we all know what that means. One lucky reader will not have to worry about snatching this up: we're doing a giveaway draw, so see details at the end of this post.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Shadow Palette Raw Garden In Chronos offers five beautiful colors. It looks very dramatic, but as you can see from the swatches, all five are very wearable. The texture is very smooth, as you'd expect from Rouge Bunny Rouge, but it's somewhat different than the satin feel of the permanent collection. The finish is high in shimmer, yet it's very refined (I did spot a couple of shiny particles in the blue and purple shades). The color themselves change a bit with the light, especially said blue and purple. Sometimes they appear more muted, but a strong light brings the unique pigment to life for a more dramatic look.

This photo and the next two show swatches done with wide lay-down brushes over primer. Only one swipe of the brush, so you can see how pigmented and intense these colors are.

These batch of swatches was done with the sponge applicators that came with the palette. The light is also different.

All the colors are new. There are similarities to existing shades, but they're not identical, so I'll post detailed comparisons later this week. For now, here are the colors in this palette:  beige champagne, a true honest-to-god taupe, golden khaki with a bit of bronze, charcoal-based purple, a blackened blue steel (that shows an almost teal cast under a certain light). Complex, obviously.

As you can see above, the palette comes with two sponge-tip applicators, but please use real brushes to get the most out of these colors. You can pat them onto the  lid with a lay-down brush, do a wash of color with an angled contour brush, blend them, smoke them out, use as a liner with a small smudge brush-- it's all good.

Now, for the giveaway:

One Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Shadow Palette Raw Garden In Chronos will be sent to the winner. Open worldwide (!!!) to anyone over age 18 (that's the law). To participate, please tell us what's your favorite Rouge Bunny Rouge product, or: if you never had the pleasure- tell us what is your favorite makeup palette. Please make sure to leave a name and a way to reach you (email, Twitter handle, etc.). The prize will be sent by the nice people at Rouge Bunny Rouge, so by entering the draw you agree to have your details shared with them.

The product in this review was sent for my consideration by the company. I'm not affiliated with RBR and this giveaway is not monetarily sponsored in any way.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Currently- August 2014

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream. This was probably not the best time to read a book about an artist planning her suicide. Still, it's a good one, and less disturbing than The Expats by Chris Pavone, an espionage story, that I just finished.

The Magnetic Fields- All My Little Words

Fixer Upper on HGTV. Who knew Waco, Texas, was such a treasure trove of real estate?

I'm still completely mesmerized by Rozy, and still at loss of words to do it justice. Other than that I've been wearing a lot of Chanel No.5. Because it's Chanel No.5.

The new Lancome Grandiose mascara. It's the one with the bent wand. Review coming soon.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
I'm craving pink. The problem is that I have almost no pink clothes.

Tomato salad. Fresh tomatoes and banana peppers from our garden, a chunk of feta cheese, maybe half a jalapeno, olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Heaven.

Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure
Taking days off from blogging. As much pride as I take in my self-discipline, I needed some summer hours and mental-health days.
Also: I really enjoyed Guardians Of The Galaxy. And now I want a pet raccoon.

Doing my best to remain in Eileen's Baneless Zone.

Still these little faces:



Good hunting in Brimfield. I think I'm mostly looking for pieces to decorate the guest bedroom, but who knows?

Random Thought
How hard is it for Facebook to make it possible to set "show recent stories" as default? (Also: "block all selfies")

How are you doing? Please share your loves, banes, recommendations, and random thoughts.

Top image by Fabius Lorenzi, 1926, via

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Versace- Yellow Diamond & Yellow Diamond Intense

The original Yellow Diamond from Versace was launched about three years ago. It's a standard light musky floral with one saving grace: a very pretty mimosa note that manages to survive for about ten minutes and makes it slightly more memorable than dozens of similar perfumes. The little bit of sunshine is eventually overtaken by a creamy shampoo, a generic musk, and the thing that passes for a "wood" base these days. Yellow Diamond is still pleasant enough and not obnoxiously fruity- the ubiquitous pear note is sheer and not particularly dominant, making it a rather restrained fruity floral. The press and marketing babble for this fragrance talks about Donatella Versace's love of yellow diamonds, but the perfume is more sheer than luminous or sparkling and is completely free of the designer's vulgarity.

Yellow Diamond Intense (already available in Europe, coming to the US next month) kicks it up a notch, towards what someone at Versace probably considers more sexy. I guess we should be thankful they didn't name it "Yellow Diamond Noir" . What they did is inject Yellow Diamond with a double dose of sticky amber, making it sweeter and completely drowning the mimosa and most of the other floral notes. It's not an improvement, if you ask me. Intense is even more generic than Yellow Diamond, and feels like an afterthought. Just like the reuse of the same ad campaign, where they simply added the word "Intense" to original photo (why hire Mario Testino again when they can recycle?).

Yellow Diamond Intense is an eau de parfum (the original is an eau de toilette), and has a more pronounced sillage. On my skin it also lasts longer, though not quite as much as I expected from the more syrupy concoction (not complaining. It's not like I had a blast wearing it). Both perfumes were created by Alberto Morillas, a man who created a mind-boggling number of mainstream bestsellers, and to whom I've forgiven everything because he's also the nose behind the original Panthere de Cartier, YSL M7, Rochas Byzance, Le Labo Vanille 44 and Tubereuse 40, and several other good ones.

Versace- Yellow Diamond is available at Sephora and most department stores. Yellow Diamond Intense will join it soon.

Photo from Versace's 2012 haute couture show via The Guardian.