Monday, February 29, 2016

Giorgio Armani Blender Blush- New Version

Giorgio Armani Beauty has recently revised and updated the brush collection, as did NARS, YSL, and Dior, to name a few. It's nice to see that makeup companies respond to the growing interest in quality beauty tools, and even more so when they design brushes to work with their particular products. Of course, we are paying a premium for the name and branding, but that has always been the case. Giorgio Armani hasn't been the biggest offender (the honor belongs to Tom Ford and Suqqu), but I have to say that some of the new brushes are definitely getting there. Compare (none of the links are affiliated) the new Armani Maestro Sculpting Powder, $90, to its identical twin, Hakuhodo Fan Brush White, $45. Both are made of 100% white goat hair, so it's not like Armani opted for the more luxurious blend of goat and blue squirrel hair (currently $63).  So, what made me buy the new version of Armani's Blender Brush?

First was the fact that I've been very fond of the old one.  The unusual size and shape have proven to be an excellent choice for tinted moisturizers and very runny liquid foundations. My brush has been in frequent use over the last five and a half years. As you see above, the brush has retained its shape (as well as its snap) perfectly with only slightest loss and broken hairs. However, I suspect that countless washes have made the sable even coarser than it's been (and I use hair conditioner on natural fibers that get washed often). Either the brush has become scratchier, my skin more sensitive, or both. In any case, the new blender brush tempted me from first sight.

Armani's new version has a longer handle, but the head is only marginally wider and longer. It's retained the shape and proportions that have made the original blender such a great tool, but the updated one is infinitely softer. It's 100% synthetic, which is generally a good thing for foundation brushes, except if you're a die-heard devotee of sable for its snap, or hate dealing with the way synthetic fibers tend to stain and the longer cleaning time. While I have no solution to the first issue, I highly recommend using either the Beauty Blender cleanser (bar or liquid), or my favorite: Shea Moisture African Black Soap Bar (my local Ulta carries it, and also widely available online). I also use the Sigma cleaning mat that attaches to the sink with suction cups and acts as a washboard. It shortens the process even more.

The new Armani blender is still very good for applying super thin textures without streaking or skipping , thanks to the relatively short but thick bristles. The added heft compensates for most of what the brush has lost from the change of hair, so there hasn't been much of a learning curve. Add the wonderful softness of the new brush and that's a major improvement. The brush still stands out in its shape and performance, and since the superior Hakuhodo G520 (it was a blend of natural weasel and synthetic hair) is no longer available in the US, there's very little else in the exact same category.

Is it enough to justify the cost (and space for another brush)? Yes, if you're looking for something that's more luxurious and performs better than a good classic paddle brush and use very thin-textured base products. Is it a must-have? No, not really. But it's really nice to have.

Giorgio Armani Blender Blush- New Version ($70) is available from Barneys, Nordstrom, Saks, and Armani USA online. In a moment of not thinking, I threw away the box. According to Saks website the brush is made in France. However, alludes that the entire range of brushes are made in Japan (though they don't say it clearly). The truth is out there, and I'll most likely have a more definite answer by tomorrow.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

FOTD Featuring Mostly Burberry Makeup

This photo was taken with flash, trying to see if I could get the highlighter to show up more clearly. Obviously, I'm still doing this wrong.

Midweek date night is a time for a silky top and skinny black jeans. Also: lots of highlighter because I wanted to show you the limited edition Burberry one in action. But as we've already asserted, I tend to use a very light hand with face products. I was also lazy when taking the photos and didn't set up the reflector. So what you see is more of a general glow, which I actually think is a good thing. Because of the new highlighter I decided to use Burberry products wherever possible. Fans of the brand know that there have been several changes to the product lineup. They've switched manufacturing facilities, tinkered with the formulas of some (all? most?) of the products, switched the color numbers, and discontinued several shades. Right now they seem to be in the middle of a major foundation upheaval. The stores seem out of everything, so I guess something new is coming. In any case, Sephora seems to have the most complete range of products, at least online, and to receive any new products first.

Smashbox Oil Primer
Burberry Sheer Luminous Foundation 05 Trench applied with Artis Oval 08
Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer Beige #6 under the eyes. The texture is very silicony and I think it was made mostly for those who do the huge concealer triangle under the eyes. It takes a few minutes to set.
Other unsightlies were covered with Cle de Peau stick concealer in Almond.
Shiseido Translucent Loose Powder

Urban Decay Anti-aging eye primer
Burberry Eye Colour Cream in Mink 102 all over the lid and blended outward and upward.
Burberry Sheer Eye Shadows:
Burberry Eye Definer Eye Shaping Pencil in Midnight Blue along the lashes and in between them, smudged all over the place. I was reminded why the pencil I have is still almost new. Compared to all the wonderful gel pencils available even at the drugstore, a stiff and waxy pencil has no excuse.
Bobbi Brown Smoky Eye Mascara (both Bobbi Brown products I used were samples that came with a Sephora GWP).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Eye Definer in Medium Brown

Burberry Light Glow Natural Blush 05 Blossom
Burberry Nude Gold Highlighter Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Palette

Burberry Lip Mist in 205 Rosy Red (discontinued. Use instead one of the new Burberry Kisses lipsticks, Pomegranate Pink #41 looks pretty similar). I pushed the color into the lips with a brush in tow coats for better longevity through dinner.
Rimmel 1000 Kisses lip liner in Indian Pink 004, a color that seems to work with many reddish lipsticks, probably because of my natural dark lip color. It's very forgiving.

Finishing Touches
What's left of my old Burberry Sheer Summer Glow from summer 2012 applied lightly with the large and fluffy Hakuhodo Kokutan finishing brush. Your favorite Guerlain Meteorites would work just as well.

Other Stuff
Top by DVF
Vintage earrings (thank you, again, dear Lawrence)
SotD: Salome by Papillon Artisan Perfume. The husband wore the mysterious Aeon 001 (a few bottles of this indolic vetiver are still available at Luckyscent).

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Burberry Nude Gold Highlighter Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Palette (Limited Edition)

We all know that I didn't need another highlighter. Looking at my collection, I know I can pave my way to the moon with fairy dust. But the perfection of the pale golden skin color and the stunning (and not so typical Burberry) embossed design won me over. Also, the old Burberry Sheer Summer Glow from summer 2012 had served me well, both as an all-over finishing touch and as a subtle highlighting cheek color.

There are actually two shades of the limited edition Burberry  Highlighter Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Palette. One is a snow white (No.01), and I felt safe to skip it because in this category I have Shiseido High Beam, which is perfection (and in the cream department Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea of Clouds). But 02 Nude Gold  in its flesh-toned golden hue is special and stand out even in my collection. Regular readers know that I'm not exactly the strobing queen. I prefer a light hand whether I'm going for an all-over sheer glowing veil or when highlighting what stands for cheekbones on my face. I use large fluffy brushes or a fan brush if I'm using a very high shine product and want to keep it sane and precise. I made my best friend laugh when I talked about "responsible highlighting". Yup. I'm probably doing it wrong, but it works for my face and middle-aged sensibilities.

But back to Burberry and their Spring/Summer 2016 Runway highlighter. It's a gorgeous product, as you can see. The powder is as finely-milled as you'd expect from a top brand, and the effect can be built to your desired intensity without patches or caking. The texture is smooth to the point of near creaminess, and the glow is smooth and soft.  Since the compact is nice and wide, even my biggest fluffiest face brushes can be swirled over the pattern, and of course, you can go for a smaller dense brush to achieve some serious megawatts.

Bottom Line: Why not?

The limited edition Burberry Nude Gold Highlighter Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Palette ($68, made in Italy) is available at Nordstrom.

For those interested, I placed the compact on a vintage lazy Susan that's made of bits and pieces of antique and vintage jewelry suspended in a clear resin. It was an eBay find.

Dear You- Unsent Letters About Perfume

Dear estates of dead celebrities,

Please stop exploiting our beloved icons. From Diana Vreeland to Natalie Wood. It's disrespectful and unnecessary. 

Scared of zombie perfumes.

Dear Frederic Malle,

I don't blame you. I've seen the industry crap you've had to deal with, and I'd have sold to Lauder, too. Actually, I'd have sold to Kris Jenner had she been willing to pay.

A fan who'd give her soul for a pre-reformulation bottle of Le Parfum de Therese.

Dear LVMH person who holds the reigns of Guerlain,

Do you remember Djedi? Or Parure? Do you remember Voilette de Madame? Or when Jicky smelled like Jicky?
I'm over it. So very over it. You've given up on me as a customer the day you decided to sell your classic Parisienne heritage to the Russian oligarchs and their mistresses.

She who just bought another vintage Guerlain on eBay.

Dear Uncle Serge,

So much for exclusivity. Between dumping stocks at the doorstep of every discounters, selling travel sprays of the precious former non-exports, and opening boutiques internationally, I think you're doing the right thing. Cash in while you can. However, the limited edition "Hammer & Sickle"*** bottle (an inferior perfume at an inflated price) is unacceptable. That's the symbol of opression, of gulags, of all four of my grandparents fighting for their human rights, of long lines for a limited supply of bread.Greed has never looked worse.


See you on Fragrancenet.

Dear Atelier Cologne,

Thank you for making your perfumes available in 30ml bottles. This alone should win you a major award. But enough with the rapid fire of new releases. I can no longer remember which is which, or tell all the citruses apart. This is a Bond-like behavior. Don't be a Bond.

An Oud Saphir fan.

“A bottle named Cold War, which we hope, in communist parts, will bring a smile to the face of capitalism.”
- Serge Lutens

Art (the real one): A Woman Writing a Letter. Albert Edelfeldt,  1887

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo Complete Care Lip Shine 206, 208, 214, 216

There are eight colors in the new Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo range of lipsticks. I could have easily gone for six of them, but I was good (The Husband begs to differ) and only picked four: 206 Histoire, 208 Roman, 214 Message, and 216 Lettre. Lipsticks are often packaged in a stylo format when they're too soft and creamy to stand on their one in firm a bullet shape. Prime examples are the sadly discontinued Dior Sérum De Rouge (I loved it so much!) and Cle de Peau Extra Silky Lipstick (ditto).

If you love this style of lipstick that are a balmy treatment as well a premium makeup product, Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo Complete Care Lip Shine is among the better one you will find. These are rich and nourishing lip balms with a sexy lacquered finish and an intense pigmentation and an opaque coverage. It's kind of dreamy, really. That said, remember my observation about softness: the actual product inside the Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo could have easily been poured into jars or a flat lip palette and applied with a brush. The lipsticks are on the extreme side of creamy and you need to be careful not to smear them all over, and never ever twist the pen more than 1/4 of a turn out. You can actually see in my photos how easily they get squashed and squished.

Another word of warning: I didn't notice before buying these Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo Complete Care Lip Shine, but the third ingredient listed is a hydrogenized coconut oil. Long-time readers may remember that I'm allergic to almost everything coconut-related. The swatches had left me with an angry itchy red welt on my arm (Benadryl gel helped, as did pure aloe gel), which was when I finally looked up the ingredients. It didn't stop me from testing the lipstick on my lips, which might have made me eligible for the Darwin Awards. By some miracle, my lips remained intact and I could enjoy these Chanel lipsticks, but I'm aware that an allergic reaction can come at any time as a result of prolonged exposure, so I'm being careful and using a liner to make sure the Chanel concoction doesn't touch the skin around the lips, just in case.

As far as application goes, you can apply directly from the pen and then try to smooth it, but I get a more precise result from working with a lip brush. This way the product doesn't collect at the corner or inside lines and grooves. The opacity and shine are beautiful, the red colors leave a nice stain, and longevity is enhanced by applying with a brush, but there will still be transference and most of the color is gone by the first course. It is a rich balm, after all.

Now to the colors I have:
206 Histoire  is a warm tomato red, 208 Roman is a sexy berry red, 214 Message is a deep rose, and 216 Lettre is a neutral/natural mauve. All of them are lip wardrobe staples for me, and if I weren't worried about the coconut oil becoming a problem I'd also add 212 and 218 to my collection. As things stand, I'll be wearing these Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo lipstick for as long as I can, and when my coconut allergy catches up with me I'll cry.

Bottom Line: I probably spent $148 before tax on getting myself red and itchy.

Chanel Rouge Coco Stylo Complete Care Lip Shine ($37 each) can be found at the counters and on

Monday, February 22, 2016

Clarins Silver Plum Ombre Iridescent Cream-to-Powder Eye Shadow (& FotD)

Silver Plum is one of three eye shadows released by Clarins for spring 2016 in their cream-to-powder eye shadow range. Unlike the colors previously released in the cream-to-powder range, the new colors (Silver Plum as well as Silver Pink and Silver Ivory) are labeled as "Iridescent ". And similarly, it's somewhat of a misnomer. Silver Plum has a muted, brushed metal finish that is very flattering on the lid without being shiny. It's a beautiful color on the taupe spectrum that requires little effort and few companions to create a full elegant eye look. Bellow you'll see how I used Silver Plum in a spring-inspired (ish) easy makeup look.

The texture of Clarins Silver Plum Ombre Iridescent Cream-to-Powder Eye Shadow is dryer and denser than the fluffy Tom Ford cream eye shadows, but it's creamier than the innovative Kevyn Aucoin Pigment Primatif that's an elastic putty. Testure-wise it's exactly what the label says: a cream-to-powder eye shadow with a subtle sheen., I mostly apply it with my fingers, and buff the edges with a blending brush, either natural or synthetic. I find that a primer is necessary for a full-day longevity, as well as to keep the integrity of the finish. There's minimal fading by the end of the day, that varies according to amount used and blending.

Bottom Line: irresistible, and not just for weirdo taupe fiends.

Clarins Silver Plum Ombre Iridescent Cream-to-Powder Eye Shadow  ($25) is available from Macy's and most other department stores.

I left stuff out all over the place until I got back home and had the time to take notes of what I've used .Then the mess made me twitch.

Now, here's the casual look I created for Sunday antiquing. The weather was balmy for February (I suspect that what little winter we had this year has given up), and I had light colors on my mind, even if I had no intention to go full-on pastels. I did wear a pink t-shirt under my gray v-neck, so that has to count, as well as the aqua-colored earrings. And I kept things soft and almost minimal (Husband note: it doesn't take any less time to go on).

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Hydrating Primer (from a Sephora deluse sample. I like it).
Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow foundation in 5.5 applied with Artis brush Oval 8 (PR sample). It was my first time using the brush and while it'll take more time and testing with other foundations, I can tell you that I like it very very much.
Clinique Airbrush Concealer (medium 02). I have little to hide and the light texture was exactly right.
Laura Merceir powders: both Secret Brightening and the Invisible Pressed Setting Powder. The latter is so fine and delicate that I keep cracking it. It's definitely not one to carry on the go, but I do love the finish it gives.

Laura Mercier primer in Wheat
Clarins Silver Plum
MAC Copperplate blended in the crease to add a bit of depth.
YSL Dessin du Regard Waterproof Eye Pencil, an old favorite. The color I used, #5 Simmering Burgundy, appears to be discontinued or at least out of stock everywhere (I bought it right before the holidays at Sephora), but you can use any soft brown or aubergine color. My aim was to avoid harshness, and I love the waterproof YSL formula (which is why I tend to keep several colors around at all time).
YSL Shocking Mascara (black). From one of many samples I have around. I forgot that I'm not impressed with this particular one, which is why I've never repurchased.

Benefit Posietint liquid blush (I actually bought the full size at some point because it's that nice), plus their new Dandelion Shy Beam Matte Highlighter. I'm still not sure how I feel about shy Beam, but in combination with the easygoing girly Posietint I had a very natural light flush that was barely highlighted and utterly suitable for a Sunday afternoon at the antique center and at the diner.

Anastasia Brow Definer in medium-brown. Review coming soon.

Charlotte Tilbury Bond Girl lipstick plus Pillow Talk lip liner.

Other Stuff
Vintage earrings (thank you, Lawrence)
SotD: Manuel Canovas Ballade Verde.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss 204, 402P

With all the matte and semi-matte lipsticks around, I was craving a lip gloss. I've actually finished a bunch over the last couple of months, so I was ready to try something new and chose two colors of Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss. It was an "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" situation, because I couldn't decide between the many attractive option, so I went with one cream and one pearl finish, both in the opaque range: 204, and 402P.

Plexi-Gloss 204 is a heather rose color (Sephora's description hilariously calls it "old rose". Whatever) that I wear as a naked/my-lips-but-better kind of a thing. It's effortless and goes with everything, since it's so close to my natural lip hue.  My other pick, 402P,  is a warm red with the tiniest gold flecks. You can't really see the particles on the lips, but they add to the gleam of this gloss, which catches the light beautifully on a candle-lit dinner.

The applicator for the Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss is nice. It offers precision and flexibility. I don't find the little notch to be particularly helpful. It's supposed to function as a pool for all the product you need for a full application, but it comes up empty more often than not and I do have to re-dip.

There are both pros and cons for this Make Up For Ever formula. It's a moisturizing product, which has served me well during these winter months. While not being gooey the glosses are sticky, and that's annoying, considering there are many modern lip glosses that are much less so (Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, to name a few).  The opaque finish is incredible: it works like a liquid lipstick, but it's still a gloss, so there's a lightness to the finish. The intense red of 402P leaves a stain, and for a gloss these are quite long-lasting (though they'll wipe away at the first bite of food or drink). I also find that doing the apply-blot-reapply thing makes the color stay on even longer, just like with many regular lipsticks. Also, these Plexi-Glosses are lightly perfumed, but the scent dissipates even before you finish application. Still, the smell is not my favorite. It's a combination of vanilla and plastic, and I expect better.

Bottom line: I love the colors and finish, the formula can be improved.

Make Up For Ever Artist Plexi-Gloss ($19 each, made in Italy) is available at Sephora.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Trish McEvoy Ready-to-Wear Petite Page In Subtle Glamour

Trish McEvoy's makeup planner system sometimes makes me wish I was the kind of person who could stick with a fairly minimalist collection that can be all carried in one chic case. Then I remember who I am and how I operate, and just resign to the idea that I'm a mega user of makeup, albeit a very organized one. It doesn't change the fact that my list of covetables is topped right now by the Trish McEvoy Purse Organizer & Makeup Planner collection. Partly because if something has  "organizer" in its name I usually must have it, and also because the Petite Page I was sent would fit there. Makes perfect sense, I know.

For those unfamiliar with Trish McEvoy's makeup planner system, they're basically free-form palettes that fit into her planners. You can buy them fully assembled like the Subtle Glamour one, or get single pans and empty pages to make your own. Each petite planner fits up to three petite pages (there are also larger ones), as well as four brushes and other items that can be placed in the various pockets and pouches. I know people who were fully obsessed with this system, and I've always understood why. I could spend hours making pages for every occasion (or day of the week).

The newest  Ready-to-Wear Petite Page is Subtle Glamour. I don't know about glamour, but this is a classic everyday palette with a wide appeal. The colors and the combination aren't innovative, but the palette is a serious workhorse: the core are taupe eye shadows and a pink coral blush. How many days a week do you wear something similar? Which is both the main strength and the major weakness of the palette. It's such a tried-and-true color composition that those with larger makeup collections probably have other palettes that hit this very spot, either pre-made or self-assembled.

With that said, Trish McEvoy does have an edge here with her portable elegant system, and the quality of the products is very very good. Everything in the Subtle Glamour palette has above-average pigment saturation and beautiful textures that are easy to apply and blend. I'm not too crazy about the shared pan of the blush/bronzer, because each color is allotted a narrow stripe that requires some brush maneuvering if you don't want to mix them together (I really don't). You can only use a paddle-shaped (or flat angled) blush brush positioned parallel to the stripe or the smallest yachiyo brush. These are good options, but I'm still annoyed by having to be careful when picking up my blush.

Here's what's included in the Subtle Glamour petite page:
Both face products are Trish McEvoy classics that have been part of the permanent collection in one way or another for years. The one pan arrangement is new and can be purchased separately.
Weekend (bronzer)- Wonderfully finely-milled into a very soft texture. The color is medium golden tan with a slight hint of glow. Very fair-skinned people would probably need the lightest hand, since it's very pigmented, and all of us need a very soft brush that won't kick up too much of this fluffy bunny.
Natural (blush)- The blush is pressed much harder than the bronzer, making it appear rougher at first go, but it's actually very pigmented and equally blendable. The color is a pink coral that will suit most, depending on how much you apply. I prefer, again, a light hand for a truly natural flush.
Eye shadows:
All four are new shades.
Light Shell- a matte cream with maybe the faintest hint of pink. I'm not sure how it relates to the original Shell, but it's definitely lighter than Peach Shell. Wonderful creamy texture.
Pebble- a matte stony gray/taupe that is pretty much a dream color. It has the same texture (all Trish matte shadows I've across were this silky)
Granite (an Eye Glaze)- not to be confused with Blackberry Granite that had a rougher texture, or with the Granite Eye Definer. This is an almost metallic taupe that competes with the best of this color/texture/finish category. I think it's comparable to classic LMdB shades.
Blackstone (an Eye Definer). Trish's Eye Definers are pressed harder than the Glazes and Shadows (all are eye shadows, just different textures and finishes) and meant to be used as eyeliners. Blackstone is a cool dark brown that benefits from a damp angled brush. I find it too patchy for dry blending in the outer V, but that's not what it's for anyway.
I get close to zero fallout from all four colors (it depends on the brush, mostly), and all stay put over a primer without losing intensity or smudging.

Bottom Line: Way better than it appears, and it looks pretty good to begin with.

Trish McEvoy Ready-to-Wear Petite Page in Subtle Glamour ($65, I'm waiting to verify where the actual products are made, plastic page is made in China) is available from most department stores and on The product for this review was sent by PR.

Bogue Profumo- Maai

The hardest reviews to write are about the perfumes that touch you the deepest. They're only the ones you love the most, but they feel so intertwined with your heart, which doesn't leave much room for words. I've been waiting for over a year for the right words to come and describe Maai from Bogue Profumo. I could have probably waited another year with no big bang of inspiration, so sometimes it's better to just spritz and type.

Antonio Gardoni is the perfumer behind Bogue Profumo. I don't know why he chose the name (which means 'bug') and the emblem that comes with it, but I think it's actually a good idea. It lets you know right from the start that you won't be getting anything standard. Or shower fresh.  Maai belongs on the same shelf with perfume creatures such as several of DSH perfumes (including the just-released Rendezvous), MKK, Roja Diaghilev, Papillon Salome, Montecristo, Onda, and at least two full drawers of my vintage perfume dresser, from  Bal a Versailles back to the early perfumes of the 20th century. All of that spells two words: Good and Skank.

Maai is a classic animalic chypre. It's one of those civet bombs that are decorated very elaborately with rich floral notes, mostly jasmine and rose of the kind that once upon a time made Joy de Patou the "costliest perfume in the world". Once again I am reminded that this is what perfume is all about, and that's how it's supposed to make me feel: extravagant, dangerous, powerful, beautiful. A a whole world is constructed when I spray Maai. It's my world, full of my own lights and shadows, emotions and memories. It can be so crowded, overwhelming even, leaving little room for anything or anyone else. Which is interesting considering the word 'maai' in Japanese refers to the space between two opponents in combat (Wikipedia is my friend). It's a danger zone, a short distance full of tension.

The many contradiction within Maai include its appeal to all genders. When the husband (who owns the bottle in theory) wears it, the perfume is like a mossy cave that's the habitat of a wild animal. It's an almost straight up masculine, the like that haven't been seen since vintage YSL Kourus. I wear it either as an intimate secret or a bold femme fatale scent, like my treasured Zibeline extrait.

As much as I like encapsulating myself in this Bogue perfume, I find that wearing one little spray is usually more enjoyable than my typical way of fumigating the entire metro area. In small amounts I get the elegant and complex composition that surrounds the lush floral heart with oakmoss and various furry creatures. Dare I say it's more fun this way? Longevity doesn't suffer from a minimalist application. Maai is still there the day after, and is often hard to wash from clothes and linens. Not that I want to. I like my secret beast to stay with me forever.

Bogue Profumo- Maai ($180, 30ml eau de parfum) is available from Luckyscent.

Photo by Tim Walker for LOVE magazine, 2013. The model is Karen Elson and beauty nerds probably recognize the work of makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. The lion is very much real and alive (though shot separately from Karen).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tom Ford Creme Color For Eyes- Burnished Copper, Spice, Platinum

I know. I'm the last person in the world to drink this particular Tom Ford Kool-Aid. I held out every time Platinum was released as a limited edition, skipped Spice, and just did this:

But after wasting my money on those beautiful yet godawful Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerize cream eye shadows I decided that enough was enough, and added Burnished Copper to the aforementioned ones, Spice and Platinum that have been on my list for who knows how long. It appears that the classic colors will become part of the permanent collection, so that's good. I'm hoping for more shades, especially teal and blue ones (Siren Blue for spring 2016 didn't do it for me). Which should tell you that like everyone else, I think these Tom Ford eye shadows are fabulous.

All three colors I got are smooth, ridiculously easy to apply, stay put and shiny for long hours, play well with others, and fulfill their potential and all expectations. They're fluffy to the touch which makes their sturdiness stand out in direct contrast to the Charlotte Tilbury ones. The complexity of each color makes them a great choice for a "one shadow plus liner and mascara" look, and they can be patted on, buffed, or smeared. The nearly metallic finish is sophisticated and flattering. And that's the making of a staple.

Platinum is a  silvery (or platinumed) taupe, Burnished Copper is actually a true olive with tiny gold flecks, and Spice is a delicious bronze-chocolate color that leans reddish-warm. I played with topping Spice with MAC Blue-Brown pigment and loved the intense result. I wore Platinum on Valentine Day (FotD here if you missed it), and have discovered that Burnished Copper looks great with golds and browns (and even with NARS Telesto, a golden brown almost duochrome  kind of thing).

Bottom Line: Better late than never.

Tom Ford Creme Color For Eyes- Burnished Copper, Spice, Platinum ($45 each, made in Italy) are available at select department stores and online. Platinum goes out of stock frequently, but at least now it comes back within weeks.

With thanks to Josie that participated in photographing, swatching, and keeping me sane.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Currently- February 2016

The other night I started reading The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. The story is heavily inspired by William and Kate, the authors are the ladies behind Go Fug Yourself, so you know I had to. Obviously, it's all fluff and froth, and quite irresistible.

Cat Power- The Greatest. I was reminded how much I love this song when watching one of the things below.


A few weeks ago the husband and I binge-watched The Red Oaks (Amazon. Loved it from the very first minute), and The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt (Netflix, took an episode or two to really get into it). While waiting for the next season of both, as well as all the good stuff that's coming later in the season we started Grace & Frankie (Netflix) today, and it's wonderful. Network TV is mostly dead, but the stuff on the streaming services is worth not just the money, but the time you take to watch it.

I woke up this morning craving orange blossom. Not neroli and nothing too heavy. I was so glad for the bottle of Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs. It was just perfect.

All the lipsticks and duocrome eye shadows.

Frequently Worn Item/Outfit
My thickest, longest heavy cashmere scarf. I bought it a decade ago, and I'm sorry I didn't get a second one in black.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream. The one from Van Leeuwen is wonderful because it's not too sweet and the chocolate is very very dark.


I think the insomnia is over.

Tomorrow. It's going to warm up and hopefully the rain will be the end of the snow for this year.

There are a couple of things on my eBay watch list.

Random Thought For Presidents' Day

Sometimes (not often) I really miss the '90s.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Date Night Makeup Look

The Husband and I were among those who braved the cold last night and went out for a Valentine's Day dinner. We had reservations at a nice restaurant (JoJo, on 64th street) where we were eager to try the vegetarian menu (recommended!), and I think we just really wanted to go out, freezing eyeballs or not. The goddess of silly women had my back and provided a parking space nearby, so my decision to wear a knee-length dress and heels that were neither boots nor very comfortable didn't cause any permanent damage.  The idea behind the makeup was to do something classic that accommodates the dress and its color, a rich violet blue. It's not a hue I wear a lot, because it's hard to find one that's decidedly more blue than purple. But this one falls under the "jewel tone" category, which is why I like it so much. The challenge was to find the right balance between cool tones that made me look too pale and green in this combination, and warm tones that could have clashed with my skin and the dress if I hadn't been careful.

Primer- Pixi Flawless & Poreless (from a sample). Bad decision, since I've never tried it before and didn't know how drying it would be. My skin was already dehydrated from the weather, blasting heaters, and not drinking enough water through the day. I should have gone with a hydrating one.
Foundation- Albion Gel Mask in 060. It's a favorite for a reason, and even the vampiric primer didn't fully suck the life out of it.
Concealer- The top and middle shades on the left side of MAC concealer palette in Medium.
Powder- Guerlain pressed Meteorites in Mythic (I'm on my millionth refill), mostly for finishing than for setting. There wasn't much chance of anything sliding off.

Primer- NARS.
A touch of the peachy color corrector from the same MAC palette as above under the eyes. Another wrong decision since it's much dryer than my go-to Armani, but it does makes the abyss of deep-set eyes look better.
Tom Ford cream shadow in Platinum (most recent release) all over the lid up to the crease.
From the Ciate x Olivia Palermo Smoldering palette: Blondie in the crease, and Mulberry on the outer part of the lid, blended upwards.
Youngblood Eye-Mazing in Marron (press sample). Which I expected to be more brown, but looked straight up black. I triple-checked to make sure I didn't replace it with Noir. I'll have to investigate some more.
Estee Lauder Little Black Primer, just by itself with no extra mascara.

Shu Uemura pencil in Seal Brown.

Kjaer Weis cream blush in Above & Beyond topped with Chanel Rouge (it's a Europe and Duty Free exclusive nowadays, still worth getting it). I did add a highlighter because the Chanel blush has enough shimmer.

L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss in Shanghai Scarlet (308). This one has the longevity of cement and requires an oil or a dual cleanser for full removal. I also highly recommend using a brush with this color to outline the lips, otherwise you'll be correcting mistakes for longer than it takes to actually apply the product. Also, it's more of a liquid lipstick than a gloss, except that it feels almost like a gloss, and it's not really matte.

Other Stuff
The dress is NYDJ Rosella (this specific color is no longer available, but others can be found at Neiman Marcus and on the brand's website).
Vintage clip-on earrings
SotN:  Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540. Absolutely wonderful.

Did you go out on Valentine's Day? What did you wear?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Have a happy, sweet, and warm Valentine's Day!