Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vacation And Open Thread

As you've probably figured out, I'm on vacation. In previous years I used to spend weeks of sleepless nights scheduling posts and stressing out to the point I'd get to the airport bleary eyed and half insane. As I've been reevaluating the way I blog and the focus the site needs to take, I've decided that sanity first (my cat/house  sitter might beg to differ). I'll be back by the end of next week with more beauty, perfume, and perhaps a sharper tongue. It feels like I've been holding out a bit while I actually have a lot to say.

The beauty market and beauty blogging (I include perfume) has changed in ways that I and the other old-timers have never saw coming. Some of my readers are edgy and trendy millennials with a fascinating point of view. Others are cranky old coots like me, who have even more opinions than chin hairs. I want to know what ALL of you think, so we can dissect it to the nth degree.

How do you see the current beauty market? What do you feel about the glut of products and the way they're pushed on Instagram and YouTube, usually through paid yet undisclosed content? What do you wish and hope to see online? What do you miss and don't miss from the olden days? How can I and my friends make our content better? What do you love? What do you hate? What do you wish to see on this very blog? Any thoughts are welcome and will be addressed personally or publicly.

See you soon.

Image: Model Jane Powell for Lady Blatimore, May 1959


  1. Glad to hear there is nothing serious going on. Enjoy your vacation!

  2. Enjoy your vacations! As for the blog, I've been following you for the last 3/4 years because I love the way you are and write. You are a reference point, and frankly I don't want anything to change, though I understand the decision is ultimately yours. There's only one Gaia the non blonde and that's what I like! See you back soon!

  3. I took a long break from YT because I felt that everyone is showing the same (probably) sponsored products. What I loved about the "old" days were the honest opinions. The blatant promoting of products without any disclosure makes me distrust everyone. I do not mind posts that say "ad", and if they are about something I am interested in, I will read them anyway. There are still some very open, honest people out there and I really appreciate them now even more.

  4. I'd like to hear what you think about the sensationalism of Kylie Jenner's lip kit.

  5. I have to say that I love your blog and it is one of the blogs that made me want to start blogging, mostly because you are one of the few bloggers I feel are honest about products. I think that when blogging transformed from being a hobby to being a job for a lot of people, that reviews with integrity went out the window in favor of getting paid. I am fine with sponsored posts (as long as they are disclosed), as I understand people want to get paid for content, but to accept things and/or write positively about a crappy product is wrong to me and is misleading. I like bloggers that try to be honest about products and state why things didn't work for them. I try to do this as well. What I really am starting to get majorly annoyed with are the people who attack bloggers or instagrammers who do not jump on the bandwagon and endorse a product, even if it is garbage, just because they like the person who created that product. The Becca/Jaclyn Hill eyeshadow comes to mind. Most of the popular Youtubers were giving rave reviews and then when issues started to surface about the quality, the people who spoke out were basically labeled as haters, etc. Turns out, those people being critical were right and the eyeshadow palette was pulled. Makeup, beauty, and fragrance products are extremely personal and what I really would like to see is more open dialogue where constructive criticisms are encouraged and used by brands to improve. Genuine bullying should not be tolerated, but someone is not a "jealous hater" just because a product did not work for them. Sorry for the rant, but apparently I have a lot to say about this too. Cannot wait to hear your thoughts. Hope you have a great vacation!

  6. I was hoping you were on vacation, you absolutely should live a normal life. I guess that feeds in to what I miss about earlier days, blogs used to be written by people talking about their hobby, in this case makeup and perfume. So a person would talk about items they really liked, would share tidbits about life, etc. It wasn't demanded that you talk about x,y,z or that you had to stick to a specific posting schedule. I still like bloggers who talk about what they enjoy in their own unique style, not the latest release to flood youtube and PR bloggers...I swear some people describe colors with the same mix of words, oh it's a pinky purple mauve grey burgundy. Really? lol

    I also miss seeing people with makeup fitting into everyday life even when you're being fancy. No I am not baking, highlighting, contouring, strobing, bronzing, putting concealer in triangles down to my lips under my eyes, using 7 shadows on my eyelids, gluing on lashes long enough for their own zip code, etc. I have to get to work today. (cranky old coot here)

    I would like sponsored/compensated videos/blogs to clearly state that so I can weigh that factor in to my decision to try a product. Ultimately I use my own brain on whether to try something even if someone I like raves about it. After all, in the end how a product performs and is useful for you depends on your individual skills, skin type, lifestyle, etc.

    1. You made me laugh so hard! Yes, those of us with real jobs to get to (and who work in an environment where I can't be strobed without looking like a nut job) need a voice as well. I'm not sure if it is just because a ton of the youtubers/bloggers out there now all seem so young (even to me and I'm 33) and they have jobs that are more forgiving to looking more edgy, but I could not walk into my office wearing half of the stuff on youtube.

      There is so much pressure now to buy the latest thing because that is the main way to attract visitors to your blog, and that makes it very hard for all bloggers to write in a more unique voice. I know from personal experience that items that I have reviewed right when they come out get so many more page views than when I am simply reviewing something I love or that has been out for a while and I am just now trying. I do a mix of both, even if my blog suffers for it, because that is realistic for my life and budget. I really miss the days when people just wrote about what they liked, or didn't, based on their experience with a product (and that product did not have to be the latest and greatest).

    2. lol I'd need a good 4 hour start to get all that makeup on. I think there's a time and a place for that (not my place of work either)...well I would do it for a photo shoot or tv...ok maybe not, I just don't like the feel of all that stuff on my face. lol I wonder sometimes what their faces will look like when they're 40, 50 and beyond having used so much stuff on their skin, it's quite a bit of wear and tear no matter how much skincare you use.

      I thought about giving my opinions on things I buy, I do a bit of that on Instagram. I thought to myself how hard it is to maintain this frenetic pace that you experience as a regular blogger about makeup. Always having to have the latest thing, people demanding reviews, how is that fun? I can definitely see how you'd burnout and fry your wallet too unless you made blogging/youtube your main business. I still look for well written blogs!

  7. I rarely comment on anything on the internet, but reading this post made me think about how long I've been enjoying your blog, and that I should say so! I first found it when I was getting into perfume in high school (10 years ago, the early days) and the non-blonde is still a must-read site for your perfume reviews, especially the vintage ones, and your honest and engaging writing makes me want to read the makeup reviews too, even though I don't wear makeup. Anyway, keep up the good work. The beauty blogosphere needs people like you.

  8. I'm also a longtime reader who appreciates you and your unique view on products. I've utilized your blog for countless brush purchases and also discovered some of my other favorite bloggers through your pages, so I am all for you continuing what you do!

  9. I have to say, I'm pretty sick of people on Youtube reminding people of their upload schedule, and the glut of people reviewing the same product at the same time got old a long time ago. I've been winnowing down what I read to people I trust, and it's made my experience a lot better... plus, I was never that big a fan of Urban Decay anyway, so I don't feel I'm missing much.

    It's a little unfair to call out just one brand. There are a loooot of them, and anything that exclusively promotes through Youtube - Colourpop, a bunch of indie brands, even Glossier, no matter how good they are - I instinctively avoid them because distrust the medium.

    I really appreciate people who make it clear that they paid for products themselves, and (fair or not) I trust those reviews more.

    I still look for reviews before I buy things, so I think the beauty community still serves a really important function. Holding companies accountable, saying that a product performs poorly, is a great aspect of all this. But the swift monetization makes me feel like it got away from everybody, and that Youtubers I really enjoyed - who deserve to make money! - became compromised as a result.

    And the negativity is out of control, too. It's not just the people who produce the content.

    Just want to reiterate what everyone else is saying, and that's how much I appreciate your blog. You write really thoughtful reviews and you have such a unique voice as a result.

  10. It's been eight years since I discovered your blog and I love it - especially when any of the kitties feature! I particularly admire your honest opinions and refusal to be corrupted, and your enthusiasm makes me happy.

    I suppose I am a bit of a codger these days and find the sheer volume of new releases overwhelming; I remember that in the "old days" I would go to our chemist to buy a hair conditioner and would have about four brands to choose from (yes, really, only four - but it was the UK!). Now I walk into any supermarket and there is shelf after shelf of products. Choice is good - up to a point - but too much begins to confuse me and assaults my poor brain.

    As with hair conditioner, so with fragrance. At first I was so excited when I discovered that blogs existed about my favourite subject and it was thrilling to read opinions on perfumes I loved and to be introduced to more that I would like. It was great hearing about new scents on the market too. But .... now here we are with what seems like hundreds of releases weekly and every Tom, Dick or Harry (and even inanimate objects like cars and bags!) has a fragrance out. Again, I feel swamped and have got to the point where I have reached saturation and my interest is fizzling out. I feel jaded. This isn't helped when I believe that so many indiscriminate bloggers (and magazine editors) are jumping on to a rather rich gravy train and review so positively the latest bottle that has just been thrown at them. They don't have that love and passion that you and some of my other favourites have for their subject.

    Perhaps because I am older, I find that there is a such a noise blaring from every quarter but I want peace, reason and truth! Which is what I find with you.

    Keep up your very good work, and enjoy a much deserved break.


  11. Dear Gaia, I have been reading your blog since I 'discovered' it in 2013. It has become my independent guide for opinion on products. I invariably search your site for your reviews if I am looking to make a change in my product use - ie primer (btw Thank you for Hourglass!) Your forthright declaration on how and why you try new things, whether you were sent a sample, it was a GwP or from need/want. You blog has expanded my horizons - who knew it would be ok to own 20+ lipsticks - and I have been learning to sniff my way into more fragrances than the few I started with. Your lists are fabulous and they have lead me down the garden path of olfactory delight.
    Being in Australia our market exposure is quite different from a lot of what I read - but this has just lead me to be brave and plan visits to test-sniff-shop when I next travel to North America and Europe.
    I do not enjoy or appreciate blogs where it is shameless touting of products and latest releases.
    I enjoy your look of the day (you give me so many ideas) and LOVE the referencing of the art/prints/books/scarves/dresses!
    Please keep writing!

    1. Totally agree with your comments as another Aussie who loves The Non Blonde
      Please don't change Gaia & as for being an old coot that's utter rubbish - I'm not 20 & I want to listen to someone with honesty, integrity & experience. As many of your readers have said we value your no nonsense approach & your insight into other areas of your life is refreshing & allows us to feel we know you even from the other side of the world. Please continue blogging & stay true to yourself & do what makes you happy.

  12. Dear Gaia,
    I hope you are having a wonderful vacation! Isn't it such a tremendous hassle getting to the state of vacation bliss? Glad you haven't scheduled posts. I like this idea of being truly on vacation. I'm inspired by your example. next vacation, I'm going to leave my work phone in a drawer and just disengage completely.

    Recently I ordered some perfume and samples from Roxana Illuminated Perfume, which I doubt I would have known about if it weren't from reading your reviews over the years. That is just an example, but I like having my beauty horizons expand (even if just very slowly) and I know some credit is due to you. You are unerringly personal and I trust your reviews, whether my taste is the same as yours or not.

    I echo some of Adele & Jillie's sentiments. First the GLUT of information out there is very hard to consume. It often feels like I'm turned the fire hydrant on with my mouth open to consume what seems like 1) too much information, all at once and all the time and 2) advertising or otherwise brand-driven corporate messaging. I say this as a blogger as well. Sometimes I feel some misgivings when I know I'm part of a push or campaign for some new releases. I think it makes readers overwhelmed and desensitized (or bored) and also wondering how much the exchange of money or product questioning the authenticity of what is being presented.

    Negativity is getting me down a bit. (ha!) There's a lot of misconception about what sponsorship is exactly and I've seen people thinking every post or video out there is sponsored and is therefore instantly not credible. As a blogger, it puts me a bit on the defensive. However, it also sheds some light on how complicated it has become to be a reader of a blog, or to watch some beauty youtube channel. It is definitely no longer a simple exercise of reading some hobby blogger talk about nice makeup or perfume. Now every thing we watch or read has to be discerned by us of what commercial bent it has (ad? sponsored? freebie? affiliate link? all of the above? some?). I can see how people get wary.

  13. OMG! OMG!

    You are NOT an old coot . . . and, I truly mean that. I have told you before that you are my favorite beauty blogger and you always will be!

    OK, enough of the exclamation points Liz. I created the aging scale and of course I perceive it to be correct. This is not a professional tool but one that I use. And a tool that I think makes a great deal of sense.

    10-20 teenager,
    20-40 young
    40-60 middle aged
    60-80 old
    80-100 elderly
    anything older that 100 a blessing

    I will be 70 this year yes, I am old. When you become old you do not loose the desire to look good, beautiful or fashionable. It can simply be more difficult getting there. And at my age, I still truly love your blog. I find much of it useful, all of it fun and well written. I am so pleased that you do close-ups of yourself when showing the effects of products or make-up. I would love more product discussion for aging skin, more make-up tips for aging faces, more tips that you have gleaned from being out and about. A tip that I could pass on to you is that there are times (quite a few actually) when I do not feel like putting on eye makeup, something that when well done, looks good on me, something that I need for definition. As a result for those times that I am eye make-upless, I have a selection of beautiful bifocals, about 17 pairs. Each one is tinted lightly or double tinted or darkened with a sunglass tint. I am famous for my glasses.

    So how should you write? I would say to you:

    Write the most reviews for the age that you are with a sprinkle of writings for the younger, but increasing your writings for the "aging," those ahead of you on the aging scale. You really write the best beauty blog I have ever come across. Give a nod to millennials, focus on your own group, but also write for those who are ahead of you on that scale. Consider adding photos of women who you see in your daily life who exemplify what you wish to achieve. Consider doing a collaboration with Ari Seth Cohen. I do not have to tell you that older women adore him. OK, that is my two sense.

    My best, Liz

    P.S. Enjoy your vacation!

    1. You raise a very important point! Not very long now, all developed world will be dominated by the aging population. The millenials will still have their Insta loudness but those of more established age and experience will dominate and seek out tneir own info zones.

  14. I feel as though I have aged out of the beauty market. Everything is designed and marketed to the younger customer. I don't want to look younger, I just want to look like a better, fresher version of myself. So I'm trying hard not to succumb to desire for palettes with twenty-thousand bright colors I'm not going to use.
    I just want to find a foundation that works on my older skin. One that doesn't look like a cakey mask, doesn't settle into my pores and lines (they're not fine lines anymore) and doesn't suck all the moisture out of my skin 30 minutes after application, making me look like the aging portrait of Dorian Gray.
    I found your blog when I got into perfume and fragrance and used to skip over the makeup reviews. Now I look forward to all your reviews. I love your honest, whip smart voice.
    Developed asthma recently and I'm not sure if it's the quantity of perfume I own, the cats, some other environmental issue in my house or one of the other causative factors listed on the Mayo Clinic website causing me this distress.
    Yup, count me in as one of your cranky old coot readers.

  15. I used to enjoy beauty and fragrance blogs more than I do now. As many have already noted, it was much more fun when it felt like a shared passion between blogger and reader, as opposed to someone's livelihood I'm supporting through my clicks. The freedom of the former is palpable. Yet, I still check in on those few - such as yourself - I consider the real deal, professional or not.

    I really don't use You Tube at all anymore for beauty info, other than the occasional swatch check. I find most beauty You Tubers too young, too boring and way too made up. They look - and sound - like nothing I find attractive. Kardashian much? Age does figure in, but I don't think it should be so tough for a middle-aged, urban, professional woman in the creative class with money to spend to find some beauty inspiration on You Tube.

    Thanks so much for the lovely beauty spot you've marked amid the blinding strobes and shadowy abysses of the on-line make-up world.

  16. My pet peeve - when a blogger or youtuber says "I'm giving you my honest opinion." Why does one have to say that? Shouldn't you be honest by default? Do you lie the rest of the time?

  17. Yours was one of the first beauty blogs I discovered, way back in the day, and it is one of the very few beauty blogs that I still read. (I think I only have about three beauty blogs remaining on my blog list, and yours is the only one that updates frequently.) Honestly, I don't think you need to change anything.

    In general, I don't mind affiliate links or products provided for review, as long as they are disclosed, and are something the blogger/vlogger would actually wear in real life. I also don't mind ads on blogs, as long as they are off to the side and don't interfere with reading the blog content. (I cannot stand those annoying pop-up "subscribe to my newsletter" ads!!!) I do understand the financial reasons for sponsored content, but I really don't like reading/watching ads, even when they are promoting products I like. It's the same feeling I get from watching an infomercial.

    What I miss about the old days of YouTube are the actual real-time tutorials. There are few people still doing those. Nowadays, most "tutorial" videos are all about showing the product (with lots of edits to cut out the actual application).

    I also miss watching people use their favorite colors over and over (even if they were always MAC shades). Or using the same favorite foundation in every video, so you knew it was a true favorite. Those were the days of real favorites, not "monthly favorites" which now consist of barely-used products because the blogger/vlogger has already moved on to next month's promoted products.

    And, I might be a cranky old coot because I am finding it increasingly difficult to read or watch any kind of "advice" given by a random 20-something on the internet. Not to say these folks can't provide value to people in their own age group; I'm just [way] past that time of life.

    Also, a random thought-- is it just me, or have giant palettes taken over the makeup industry? I much prefer eyeshadow quads, duos, etc. Those big palettes are overwhelming, and I avoid them because of the amount of space they take up!

  18. I'm happy and overwhelmed of the responses to my questions. I'm still away until next week, but have been taking points and writing drafts to respond. Please continue to chime in and bring more ideas. All of you, each one of you, is the reason I keep writing.
    See you soon.

  19. Don't go changing ! As a newer (a year) reader of your blog I enjoy The Non Blonde for what it is.
    It's genuine, educational, fun, inspiring and unique. Those are ageless qualities and so my suggestion is keep being you ! The world needs more of that these days...and a good lipstick.

  20. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!
    As a 47 year old free-thinking person whose style idols are Joan Jett, Morticia Addams, Phryne Fisher and Lulu Guiness.... I LOVE your blog, it is a beacon of classy opinion-driven journalism in a sea of thinly-disguised adverts.

    The thing I want to know about beauty products is: do they work? Does it do what it says on the tin? And: what does it smell like? This doesn't have to be a price-driven issue, so it's always refreshing to read non-biased findings.
    The glut of beauty products inundating the interwebs, that make lots of us turn back to the classics is getting sad; I'd love to try new things sometimes but can hardly see the wood for the trees amongst all the celebrity-worshipping editions cranked out seemingly merely to capitalise on Instagram numbers.
    Thank you for being so fearless in saying what you think. Even when I don't agree with you, I agree with you!
    I adore reading your reviews of perfumes even when I can tell from the passionate pictures you paint that they're not for me - your descriptive abilities and vast experience lift my whole fragrance game even from way over here on another continent. You are a born teacher, and it is nothing but fun being in your classroom!
    Personally, I way prefer reading blogs & articles (and seeing well-curated photos) over watching videos.
    Links and shopping buttons are fine, I would be happy to support the anyone who gave me valuable information :-)It would make me happy to know that bloggers who provide a great service could live from it!
    Rock on, Gaia.

    All the best,
    PS: If you ever found the time, one day I'd love to see some posts on your jewellery collection...

    1. Love that you mentioned Phryne Fisher - I'd happily watch that show just to see her wardrobe. I think she may be my current fav style icon.

    2. Isn't she awesome? I love the episode where she advises Dot to wear gorgeous stuff for her own pleasure and who cares what men think.. Amen, sister.
      I spent a bit of time with some shots of her dressing table on pause, trying to dentify her perfumes, but it was fairly fruitless. I know I saw a Brosseau, and maybe a Guerlain, but otherwise...
      BTW, you have excellent taste (all hail vintage fashion writing), and a lovely name :-)

  21. Hey Gaia,
    I only really read your fragrance related stuff because my make up routine has been set in stone for decades and my skin care routine is non existent.
    Often your page is used a reference and I love the way you tell me the fragrances story. Also I trust your nose and your experiences, it all reads real.
    Change if you want but I love Non Blonde as is.
    Portia x

  22. I have been been following your blog for years now and I don't think I have ever commented, however this post spurred me to do just that. I can always well which products have been sent to bloggers and you- tubers because they all start reviewing the same product. I have come to trust your opinion because you are the only one who seems to really critique a beauty item, regardless if you received it for promotion. I am in my 50's and have always loved makeup, but only to enhance my natural features to help me look like a better version of myself. I think so many you-tubers today are wearing an incredible amount of makeup for an everyday look - heavy eyeliner, false eyelashes, heavy smokey eye shadow, contouring, highlighting etc. I live in NYC and I never see women that heavily made up. When you combine this with the fillers and overly inflated lips, it becomes a very unattractive, very unnatural look. Perhaps instagram and social media has contributed to this constant drive to always have the newest and latest beauty items, however I really enjoy hearing what someone really has been using for a while and enjoying. I don't really care about the newest releases and am not running out to buy all the limited editions. I really love your blog, especially your "currently monthly" posts. I hope you enjoy your vacation!

  23. Have a wonderful vacation! Hopefully you won't come back with the ideas to change everything - personally, I like it exactly as it is :)

  24. Dear Gaia, in 2017, it will be 10 years since I started reading your blog.
    I came for the perfume reviews, the was drawn into the make up ones, and eventually I stayed for the person that I perceived behind both. I trust you, which doesn't mean I always agree with you, but I always enjoy reading about your thoughts. I appreciate that you don't shy away from sharing your motivated opinions on mediocre, sub-par, or bad products. Because those reviews help a lot to reinforce the trust and understand your standpoint and expectation - it helps to calibrate your assessment against what could be my own!
    I love your blog as it is, I love it that you started showing some of your looks, I love the occasional recipe from the blonde, and the furry faces that sometime peep through your pics. Oh, I also love the artwork you choose to accompany your words.
    I wish your comment section were as lively as your posts, but I understand - time and real life.

    I am so glad you are on vacation (I was getting worried!) and wish you a fabulous time.
    Which perfumes did you bring? Which beauty products? Let us know if and which you ended up using!
    Take care and thank you for all your work in this virtual space. It feels very real and cosy and comfortable to me.

  25. I am a daily reader, and frequent traveler through the archives. Like the other readers' comments above suggest, I find you to be an excellent writer whose topic is "beauty, perfume and fashion." I have tried and had success with enough of your recommendations so that now I have confidence in any of them.

    I also like that this blog is very polite and lady- and gentleman-like. A little snarky goes a long way with me, and I delight in how as a polished writer you convey all intended points with a light touch.

    Thank you for sharing your kitties, your travels, and your daily American East Coast life - all are cheering.

    Kind regards and happy vacation!

    Bloomington, IN

  26. Dear Gaia, I have read with delight all of the positive comments above and have wondered what I could possibly add to them. Their praise is as well-composed and insightful as your own writing.

    I cannot say precisely when I found your blog, but I recall that it was in a search for a reliable evaluation and comparison of a scent I was considering. Your guidance was invaluable, and I've been a constant reader of your current writing and a devotee of your archives ever since.

    One sentiment I can echo from other commentors is that, even when I know that my tastes will differ from your own in regard to an item you are discussing, I can use your writing as a reliable gauge for what my response will be to the item because your perspective is so clear, so well-articulated, and so consistent. You are...and this is high praise indeed these days...reliable.

    It is a measure of the world you have created on your blog to read the civility of the comments your readers share, and it is a comfort to have this space to visit for pleasure, for opinion, for laughter, and for a voice of reason.

    I wouldn't change a thing. Keep up the exceptional work.

    Vicki Stammer

    Arlington, TX

  27. I really love your blog the way it is. I love to read beauty blogs, and can't find near as many as I would like that have an intelligent, independent point of view. Yours is one of my favorites, I log on daily hoping to see a new post from you :-) I prefer reading to watching a video, and especially like your reviews of makeup, makeup brushes, and skin care products. I hope you continue to enjoy writing this blog for years to come.

  28. I never comment here but felt compelled to this time. Gaia, I return to your blog time and again precisely because it is so different from the beauty blogger landscape today. I find your content refreshing, relevant, and intelligent. As other commentators have mentioned, there is a virtual online tsunami when certain products launch and it is homogeneous and boring. I like how you always have something to say about products that are waiting to be discovered - by doing that, you retain so much of what I love about beauty and product - that element of surprise, that intimate word-of-mouth that is not a giant, well-marketed broadcast or PR campaign. Unlike other bloggers, I also find you to be a true beauty connoisseur in that you are able to compare that products you've tried/tested with others in your collection - it speaks to your experience and encyclopedic knowledge. It also makes your reviews much more interesting and insightful, whereas most bloggers nowadays have basic thumbs-up/down reviews that leave me itching for more. As a borderline millennial myself, I am probably much younger than you, but that does not mean that your style/voice are lost on a generation. There are those of us who still appreciate maturity in how we explore beauty and ourselves. Thank you for that.

  29. I am a millenial of some sort. But don't bother with youtube unless I want a tutorial for something specific. Then I wade into the sludge and try to find something. And I hate the makeup on instagram so I don't look there. For makeup I enjoy your reviews and swatching (blue!! I have the best blues because of you) - and the variety you bring to different brands. Plus, as everyone has said, what seems to be an unvarnished opinion. While we may not always agree at least I don't feel like I am breathing marketing. Really all I am interested in are some unique products (I am aware this is impossible) and good solid ones.

    For perfume.. well you and Kafkaesque run the closest to my own taste out of many bloggers (oh miel du bois!). So I always want to hear what you think of perfumes because then I can help sort out what I want. Or you know, be sad that I cannot afford nor find the vintage that sounds so lovely. Fly blown overpicked hole that Australia is. Ideally I'd have you talk about them all... but reality. So just what strikes you. Chances are it will then strike me.

    Personal stuff is always good. :) I have jealousy of cats and your jewellery. And fotd is fascinating. I am constitutionally incapable of doing neutral makeup and it fascinates me seeing other people manage it. Without weird arse eyebrows.

  30. Dear Gaia, I can just echo what other have already said. I've been a faithful reader of your blog since many years, often checking in daily to see if you have posted a new article. Although I'm acctually a "realblonde" and many of the products you review are not available were I live I'm just curioous to know what you have to say and have taken a lot of advice from you over the years.

    Your blog is like a very classy women's magazine minus the advertising - I love your knowledge and intelligence, your style of writting and the occasional snarky remark.

    There used to be a few blogs around that I loved to read but yours is the only one left because it's the only one that is still real.

    You are very much appreciated in my world!

  31. Hope you've had a wonderful vacation.
    Clearly, I love your posts on perfume, but, despite the fact that I still only primarily wear eye liner and lipstick, I have come to very much value your makeup posts. They've encouraged me to venture outside of my comfort zone - quite a bit out and that's a good thing. I'm also always am extremely appreciative of the paintings and photographs you use for your posts. And the quality of your writing reminds me of the content of vintage Vogues and Bazaars from the 60s, 50s, 40s, etc. when they always had superb articles and incredible guest contributing authors. Quality counts - always has, always will. But, seriously, any blog that has been vetted by the extremely wise Bob and crew will always get my vote.

  32. Hope your vacation was restful and fun! Will echo what others have said, I enjoy reading your articles and appreciate the variety of topics - perfume, makeup, tools. Although I haven't really changed my makeup from any of your posts, I definitely have expanded my perfume horizons. I did like one suggestion above about looks on the street that inspire you. Too many blogs just read like ads, and I refuse to read any that have those obnoxious pop up ads, so please keep staying away from those! And for me, there's plenty of snark and snide in the world, beauty and perfume blogs are my break from all of that - so no need for that, at least in my view.

  33. I am 57 with a 20 year old daughter. Love your blog and it does help me make purchase decisions but this is what I see happening in the future.
    Instagram and Snapchat coming more to the fore with less frequency of blog postings.
    That the big cosmetic companies will finally wake up and release swatches of their products on instagram in natural light on different skin tones.
    The glut of products being shoved out at the consumer is going to highlight makeup addiction as a future concern. It could also lead to smaller quantities of product becoming the norm. i.e. 2 gram lipsticks instead of 3.5 or 4 gram.
    Because people can now pay with their phones there is a desire to dispense with handbags when going out at night. This places more emphasis on long lasting makeup products. My daughter tells me that when she goes out to dances or nightclubs she never sees women touching up their makeup in the ladies bathroom. Hence the popularity of liquid lipsticks.

  34. I can only echo what so many other comments have said. I value your writing for its honestly, its thoroughness, and its reach. I love the colour and imagery you use in describing perfumes, and I first stumbled upon your blog while looking for reviews of a perfume I was considering. I find your skin care and make-up posts so very useful, particularly the way you compare a number of products without shying away from any negatives. I trust very few reviewers completely, but I do you.

  35. Hello Gaia, I'm late on this, but had to echo the compliments! You have class and style that show in your blog. Trust your instincts. Change what you feel needs changing. We'll give you feedback. Your unique view of "things" is what keeps us coming back. "Currently" is one of my favorites. Glad you had a good vacay. Thanks for all that you share with us.

  36. I have been reading your blog close to 10 years, I think, along with the early bliggers of those days, some of whom had thrown in the towel and I miss greatly - Annie of Blogdorf, Elvira Pink Sith, Keto Delicatehummingbird (what a shade and tone match for me!). I think you have stayed true to your voice, and have interesting things to say that it is nice to come over here. I particularly enjoy your fashion choices, and tidbits of your life. As long as you still enjoy blogging, I think you will always have an audience.

  37. I've been reading your blog for years. Whenever I need something - mascara, a new makeup brush, whatever - I search your archives to see what you think.

    I'm disgusted with the influencer economy and mistrust every recommendation I see online, other than yours. Of the dozen or so beauty bloggers I used to follow, you're the only one I still do.

    Never change. ;)


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