Wednesday, April 18, 2018

CHANEL LES 9 OMBRES Multi-Effects Eyeshadow Palette Spring-Summer 2018- Swatches & Review

This one was a gamble. It was an online exclusive when I first saw and bought the Chanel Les 9 Ombres Multi-Effects Eyeshadow Palette from the spring/summer 2018 collection (since then it's been distributed to all the usual suspects- Bloomingdale's, Saks, Nordstrom, etc.  and is available at the counters), so I had to get over my bias against Chanel's larger palettes that for the most part are inferior to their quads, in my opinion. The colors, however, sang an irresistible siren song, and the many combination they offered made me want to get creative and dip my brushes into them asap. I won the gamble big time.

There are nine eye shadows in the Les 9 Ombres Multi-Effects palette (duh. Thank you, Captain Obvious), arranged in trios that suggest three distinct looks: neutral warm (left), neutral cool (right), and a tropical vacation (middle). They can also be used in any combination, as a single wash of color, and everything in between. The finishes go from matte to satin, the formula is the classic pressed one (unlike the season's eye quad, Premier Eclosion, which I'll show you soon and is the baked formula. Chanel powder eye shadows are often on the sheer side, designed to allow for building up the color if desired. This isn't the case here. The swatches above (done with my trusty old Paula Dorf paddle shaped Eye Glimmer brush) show 1-2 brush strokes, unblended. The texture is very very soft, though, and you can over-blend easily, so my suggestion is to use flat brushes of various widths to pat down the colors and only blend the edges. You don't need more than that. Wear time (over various eye primers) exceeds 8-10 hours and has withheld through a short walk in the rain. The colors remain vibrant, especially the bright blue and green.

Here's what you get in this palette other than the two silly little sponge applicators: 
matte peach (opaque and creamy)
matte warm tobacco/medium brown (very opaque, blends perfectly)
matte espresso brown with a hint of gray khaki (dryer texture,  requires a small dense precision brush)
satin peacock teal that can lean a bit green, depending on the primer underneath (opaque and rich in texture, requires a heavy-duty eye cleanser for complete removal)
satin medium green with a hint of gold (almost opaque, very soft)
shimmer yellow gold (opaque, a bit crumbly)
satin glimmery warm beige (semi-sheer, barely shows on my arm but makes a perfect luminous lid color and layers beautifully)
satin warm cocoa brown (opaque, creamy with a glimmer finish)
satin complex cool toned gray/green/brown (dryish but buildable from the one gray swipe you see above to a very dark brown)

My personal preference is to use the eyeshadows in pairs, but I've also done three and four at a time. The most fun ones were the peach+green and the teal+gold. Layering the Chanel shadows over cream bases can give them extra vibrancy and a twelve hour hold. But the greatness of the palette is in the way you can use it for the most chic tonal Parisian looks just as quickly and easily as a hot party look, a one color intense smoky eye, a bright beachy summer eye or a an autumnal rust and gold one. It's an exquisite palette that encourages creativity in a way we usually get from indie brands, without compromising on the delicate touch and finish Chanel fans expect. Those who don't like this style might not fully convert but would probably be surprised by the green/blue/rust/gold options, so I encourage you to at least swatch them at the counter.

Bottom Line: Every day brings a new look.

CHANEL LES 9 OMBRES Multi-Effects Eyeshadow Palette Spring-Summer 2018 (limited edition, $70, made in Italy) is available from most department stores and on

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Face Rollers: Jade roller vs. Micro 3d Roller

About three years ago I either read or watched an interview/conversation with supreme makeup artist Mary Greenwell. I don't remember any of the other details, but one of the items she's mention caught my eye: a face jade roller. I've been a facial massage enthusiast long before Lisa Eldridge showed all of us how it's done, and was intrigued by the idea of a different massage type with a cold tool (the one Lisa had demonstrated in her video was ridiculously overpriced at £181.00 and was not going to happen). I did some reading and it looked like rolling one's face with a jade tool was quite popular among makeup artists and skin care professionals. You could find jade rollers on Amazon for under $10, but for some reason I was worried they might not be the real thing, especially since Amazon reviews were quite mixed, some mentioning that the tool arrived disassembled or broken and you had to put it back together yourself. The one Ms. Greenwell recommended came from one of the luxury UK beauty stores (CultBeauty? I can't even remember, but they do sell a jade roller identical to mine for  £22 ), so I decided to get it from this reliable source. I picked the option of a double roller that had a second smaller stone to use around the eyes and waited for delivery.

My posh jade roller came packed in a plastic bag, and you guessed it, disassembled (and made in China, of course). It wasn't a big deal to pop the two rolling stones into the metal clamps, but for the price one would think it'd be fancier. Whatever. I had a face and eye jade roller ready to go and started using it the next morning. It was nice. I didn't keep it in the fridge or freezer (searching for skincare stuff among the ice cream pints before I had my first cup of tea isn't the best idea ever), but it was cold enough to be invigorating and the whole process felt good.

Starting with the smaller stone and the eye area before moving to the rest of the face rolling the jade from the center outward; it gives the skin a sense of purpose first thing in the morning and wakes me up just enough to continue with my skincare routine. One of the main goals of this massage is depuffing. I can't say much about it, since mornings typically find me far more cranky than puffy (I rarely drink alcohol and my salt consumption is way below average). However, on bad allergy days the cool rolling sensation is very welcome and helps me feel better. In general I'd say that it's the pleasant ritual that makes face rolling a constant in my morning primping. It's a quick step that wakes me up. As for the claim that face rollers are a tool for sculpting and firming (not to mention the horrid anti-aging thing), all I can say is that defying gravity is a bit much to ask even if the jade (is it really jade? I'd think it's jadeite) was Elphaba green.

A cheaper roller from Amazon (some of them come in really nice packaging) would have served the same purpose, but I'm not complaining too much. I use this tool every day and take it with me when traveling.

The metal implement, Micro 3D,  you see here was sent to me randomly over two years ago with some other Korean odds and ends (I'm beyond grateful and delighted about all PR packages, but things that arrive here unannounced are sometimes harder to incorporate into regular use). It's taken me forever to start testing it since here weren't any details in English about usage and benefits except one sentence on the box claiming "Face lift, promote skin tightening, body shaping". The brand, Secret Key, is Korean but the product is made in China. There's a solar panel on the back of the roller but I'm not sure why and how it works. The metal balls roll reasonably well as it is (they're tight but there's no need to use force). Besides, my dressing room doesn't offer much solar activity.

The Micro 3D roller is meant to be used on the face as well as on other body parts according the illustrations on the back of the box: chest, arms, waist. The idea that it's marketed as a body firming and sculpting tool is both funny and insulting. I joked above about "defying gravity", but claiming that a massage tool dissolves fat (I saw it online on and "helps calf muscles look less distinguished" (huh????) is kind of offensive. It's not a pilates class. I had no intention of using the roller my body anyway, as I'd rather keep facial tools to the face. The massage is nice once you get used to the weird sensation of the balls rolling in all directions (that's the 3D part). I can't really use it much around the eyes, only from the chin upwards in both directions and on my forehead. It does feel extra pleasant on the back of my neck, but that's not really skincare. There's a video on the site showing the roller in action as "How to Get a Slimmer V-Shape Face". They recommend using it with the brand's steam cream, but as far as I could tell there wasn't a plastic surgeon around to actually rearrange one's face into the promised angular shape.

You're supposed to use the Micro 3D roller for 20 minutes on each area. That's beyond my patience limit for something this shady (or silly. Take your pick). The face rolling part is decent but less effective than quick and dirty job of the jade roller. It's also bulky and far less travel bag friendly, so needless to say that the roller lives in a drawer. Like everything one uses on the face, both tools require good cleaning. I wash the jade very gently with a facial cleaner and also disinfects it with alcohol wipes (I also use them on the 3D roller). All the cleaning give the metal axis of the jade roller little rust specks that I remove periodically with a dry scrubbing pad. I guess that eventually I'll need to replace it. I'll go with amazon next time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Shiseido Rouge Rouge Lipstick Bloodstone & Rouge Rum Punch- Swatches & Review

I didn't compose a list of best 2017 makeup products, but had I done it the newest Shiseido lipstick formula would have been right there at the top. As a matter of fact, Shiseido lipsticks are usually on my shortlist of products I recommend to everyone willing to listen. The textures, pigments, range of colors, and quality/price ratio are among the very best you could find, and while Shiseido periodically discontinues older lipstick formulas they tend to replace them with newer and improved ones while preserving their core colors. That's quite nice in my opinion.

Shiseido Rouge Rouge (not a fan of the name, to be honest) is their newest lipstick formula. The packaging offers a new design that relies o the company's Japanese aesthetic, and the lipstick itself has a modern sculpted look that's also functional for a precise and clean application.

The formula is what you'd expect from a high-end lipstick. It's rich, hydrating, and luxurious with just the right amount of slip. I've applied it in my car, at a restaurant, and in less than ideal light conditions and it's always turned out nice and polished. At home I often skip a lip brush with Shiseido Rouge Rouge, and I'm a major user of these tools and the technique of applying several very thin layers for longevity. It's that good, that satisfying, and the low-key sati finish is as chic and classic as it gets.

I've shown major self control in only purchasing two colors so far. The Rouge rouge line is mostly focused on red-based shades, which is my happy place. There are several nudes and pinks, of course, but the pigment base has a lot of red, making me want to branch out a little. Maybe. In any case, I picked Bloodstone  (RD503) which is a Shiseido mainstay and my first choice in every product they make. It's a complex red with a bit of warmth without going orange or brown.  I consider it a sort of neutral everyday red on my complexion, though obviously your mileage will vary with your own undertones and preferences.

Rouge Rum Punch is darker and plummier. The rum reference points towards a bit more brown in the base, but since my lips have more than a little natural purple pigment that's where this shade goes on me. It's not vampy but definitely makes a statement and goes well with both neutral eye looks as well as trendy mauve ones.

Bottom Line: Yes, and I still have eight more of these on my wishlist.

Shiseido Rouge Rouge Lipstick ($28 each, made in France) is available from select department stores as well as on

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Aerin- Linen Rose (Perfume Review)

This one comes to us from the "never say never" category of perfume picks.  I think I've mentioned before that I'm having a gentle rose moment this year, which is surprising even to me. I've made two such purchases, Etat Libre d'Orange Eau de Protection (Rossy de Palma), and Linen Rose from the Aerin line by Aerin Lauder. I'm also this close to picking up a bottle of Grace by Comme des Garcons. Maybe.

Even more surprising to me than liking the rose theme of this Aerin perfume is that I even tried it on considering the "linen" part. Linen perfumes often mean laundry musk (with the exception of Estee Lauder's White Linen, a nose-scorching aldehyde overload. No judgment. I've gone through a bottle twenty five years ago). The name gives an impression of a watery, scrubbed down modern beachy-marine kind of thing, with the added suspicion of it being an eau de cologne in a honking 6.7 oz bottle that you're supposed to spray and spray and spray until you get enough to last you through the next couple of hours.

I had two samples languishing on my dresser which at some point found themselves being actually tested. I probably was looking for a reason to dismiss the Aerin brand once and for all (I've never enjoyed anything from them). Instead, I smelled coconut. And a white romantic rose, salty bleached driftwood on a windswept untamed beach, bare feet on gray damp sand, a long and sheer long dress billowing in the salty stinging air, and a promise of warmth and coconut in days to come on said beach. It's been resonating with me for the last couple of months of this longest, endless winter.

An additional charming facet of Linen Rose is that while it hints of summer, the general fee is not June roses in all their lushness but of petals standing up against steely gray skies and a week-long drizzle. A cottage garden in coastal English village that dreams of lazy summer days but takes comfort in the vanillic woody dry-down and fantasies of coconut shells on a faraway beach. This season couldn't have asked for a better olfactory representation.

a couple of words regarding the eau de cologne concentration, wear time and sillage. Linen Rose needs to be lavishly sprayed on body and clothes (see billowing dresses and chiffon scarves). I do the exact opposite of spraying in the air and walking through it. No way. I spray myself again and again as I walk along my bedroom until I'm satisfied. It's a lot and it's still fairly moderate. I get about six hours of wear, a little more if I'm giving it my all (or rather the bottle is giving me it all). Sillage is still within acceptable social norms, especially since the perfume doesn't project from here to eternity. It's perfumy, for sure, but still sheer and modern enough to be an easy choice on most days. Just take into account that the more you spritz the prominent the coconut note becomes. I'm perfectly happy with that.

Aerin- Linen Rose ($170, 6. oz) is available from large department stores that carry the Aerin line as well as online (Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, etc.). I bought a bottle after receiving samples as GWPs.

Art by Umberto Brunelleschi, 1924.

Monday, April 09, 2018

NARS NARSissist Wanted Eye Shadow Palette- Why I Liked It & Why I Re-Homed it

I must have spent fifteen minutes just staring at the NARS NARSissist Wanted eye shadow palette when I first opened the PR package. It was mesmerizing me with its colors and finishes. I could also tell that the texture was going to be a departure from the familiar NARS formula. Let’s face it: we live in a reality of YouTube makeup people sticking their fingers into eye shadow palettes expecting them to feel like butter and appear like pure pigment the second the press their fingers to the skin. They need to look almost shellacked on camera so viewers click on the links to purchase it before the video is over, usually without an actual demonstration of the application process on a real human lid. Most classic NARS eye shadows were not formulated for this. I’m not saying that it’s bad or good, just that the landscape is different now and the desired demographic for makeup brands is coming of age with different skill-set and makeup brushes, as well as with different expectations.

 NARS Wanted eye palette was definitely created with that in mind. It's a limited edition item that was released just before the holidays and is still available everywhere, with its popularity seeming to increase as more and more people are discovering it. Several critics said (and weren't wrong) that NARS is late to the large palette in warm colors game. However, it seems like this trend is not going anywhere, at least where mainstream makeup purchases are considered. People may be mesmerized by the idea of a neutral palette with a burst of vibrant blue (see the KKW x Beauty by Mario release as well as the humble Wet 'n' Wild Not a Basic Peach palette), but buying and wearing are not quite the same for the majority of makeup shoppers. This tangent aside, NARS Wanted makes sense as it allows the brand to offer its own take on the subject and ensnare those who came of age in the YouTube era of doing eye makeup.

The palette offers twelve shades rich in texture and pigment. the finishes are as expected, from matte through satiny shimmer to a pressed glitter with everything in between (think Huda or Natasha Denona). One can work with them even with lower quality brushes, as the consistency is dense enough. They also apply well with fingers. My swatches were done with a very basic old brush (Paula Dorf Eye Glimmer. It's flat and paddle-shaped) unless otherwise noted. The mattes are so soft that they create a powdery cloud. 'm guessing that at this point we all know how to deal with that.

The colors, in column order from left to right:

Biarritz (matte)- a creamy brightening beige.
Seven Heaven (an almost matte satin)- peachy sand.
Shooting Star (pressed glitter)- a shiny pink sand. This shadow has a "wet" feel and needs to be applied with your finger, preferably over a glitter glue or an emollient base. Swatched with finger.

Satisfaction (satin)- pink beige. You can barely see it on my arm, which I guess is the point.
Shadow Hill (matte)- camel.
La La (metallic)- high sheen brown.

Delirium (shimmer)- classic warm pink sand
Mendoza (pressed glitter)- copper with a pink shift. Swatched with finger.
Fallen Star (high shimmer)- an antique dirty gold that leans olive.

Temptress (almost matte)- brick red. Probably my most favorite in the palette.
Wicked Game (shimmer)- sunset pink red.
Coconut Grove (matte) - cool dark espresso. The only color in this palette that's part of the permanent line and can be purchased as a single.

Considering all the prettiness above I still gave the palette to a friend as soon as I was done gathering  the materials needed for review (I wasn't sure I was going to actually post about it. I decided to go ahead after NARS launched the rest of the Wanted collection, which I'll show you soon). Out of all color families, red and orange eye shadows are not my immediate go-tos. I like them well enough and can make almost anything work, but I'm more likely to pick taupe and navy or teal and gold if left to my own devices. For someone like that I already have more than enough palettes and singles to create all the warm looks I could ever desire (or to accompany other shades): I have, love, and use more frequently than you'd guess both Tarte Toasted as well as Viseart Warm Mattes. I've taken Toasted with me on a twelve day trip abroad and made it earn its keep. Viseart is an essential to me, and I also have random Colourpop singles (both pressed and Super Shock) to supplement the spectrum. We also cannot forget Chanel Candeur et Experience Eye Shadow Quad from fall 2016, which if I were a minimalist person would have been all I'd ever need in this color range. Then last month I was sent the Urban Decay Petite Heat palette (I passed on the full size Naked Heat), and I think we can all agree that unless someone invents a completely new eye shadow technology I am set for at least a decade on orange eye shadows. My NARS Wanted have a better home now where it's appreciated and used. Right now I've got the urge to reach for my old NARS Habanera duo and find a new way to use it.

NARS NARSissist Wanted Eye Shadow Palette ($59, made in Canada) is a limited edition item, available from Sephora, Ulta, most department stores, and NARS boutiques. It was sent to me by the brand's PR.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Ten(ish) Disappointing Makeup Products

My crap radar is usually pretty accurate and I try to avoid buying stuff I suspect would annoy me. But every once in a while I come across a product that looks promising but I just can’t make work. And I try. Boy, do I try. The photo above only includes six items because one has been rehomed and others were unceremoniously chucked, so you know I mean it when I say NO. Just NO.

Two of the missing items are both stick highlighters, which might have meant something If I weren’t quite fond of several other highlighters in this format such as NARS The Multiple (best in class, in my opinion, for color, texture, and blendability), Benefit’s What’s Up (blends beautifully, gives good impact), and Clinique Chubby Stick Highlighter (subtle and fuss-free). Neither the Barry M stick highlighter (not even available in the US. I had to order from abroad) nor the one from Tony Moly (a favorite Korean drugstore brand that’s usually available at Ulta) looked even remotely attractive on top of my cheeks. The shades were fine ( a rosy beige something or other), but the texture was too thick to blend seamlessly without messing up the base makeup and everything it, and the final result looked patchy and waxy instead of the nice glow I expected.

Next comes Black Up Revolutionary Ultra Volume, Length, and Curl mascara. I nearly used up the tube in anticipation for it to somehow get better (I’m also still waiting for the Easter Bunny, so what?). I liked the curvy brush that allows good access to all lashes, but other than that the mascara itself was too wet, clumpy, and created an unholy mess out of my eye makeup every time I reached for it. I’ve let weeks pass hoping that with regular use the natural drying process would improve the situation, but the it just became a slightly dryer mess. Pass.

Another disappointing mascara was Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Volume. There were several months that Sephora was heavily promoting it and I ended up with a bunch of travel size tubes, so I can’t blame it on a single incident. The mascara would apply evenly and look nice and smooth. Then it would dry. And flake. And flake some more. Leaving me with tiny black particles on my face, clothes, and worst of all: inside my eyes. I don’t wear contact lenses but I can imagine how bad that could have been. As it was, my eyes were as unhappy as me with these results.

Milk Makeup Face Gloss. Several months ago I saw a short segment of an interview with Jennifer Lawrence on TV. Nothing good can come out of this start, I know. In any case, her face had this fascinating glossy finish to it and I became slightly obsessed despite the fact that a) it was a press junket on TV, not a candid photo of Jennifer out in the wild, b) I’m twenty years older than her, and c) she’s Jennifer Lawrence. I wanted a glossy face and I was going to get it. The first product that came to my mind was the much-hyped Face Gloss from the much-hyped Milk brand. I either bought it or used Sephora points to get this travel size and waited for the angels to sing. The angels, however, were busy laughing at me for smearing a sticky substance on various areas of my face trying to capture the magic. While the gloss was lightweight and harmless it was also as sticky as a lip gloss (or more). Cat hair, my hair, lint, an errant lash- it all stuck to the top of my cheeks. That, my friends, is not a good look. My skin is dryish so a certain amount of glossy claminess shouldn’t be an issue, but in reality it just appeared like I was either attacked by a vaseline tube or simply had no idea what I was doing with my makeup.

Which maybe is true, because the next mess was another Milk product, their brow gel in pencil form. I love brow gels, brow pencils, brow pomades, brow powders, brow everything. But this hybrid pencil gel aside from not being a good color match (they only offer three shades. Don’t get me started) didn’t make any sense. Perhaps I’m missing something during application, but the pencil is too soft and squishy to use for precise little strokes and too thick in texture to use as an overall hair holding product. It also smudged before setting, fell prey to every pencil sharpener I own, and generally sucked. That’s unacceptable in an era where every brand under the sun offers a variety of brow products, many of them are nothing short of fantastic.

The two good things I have to say about my purchase of Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee are a) I only bought one color despite being interested in two of them, and b) I had a feeling I should also skip the Glazen Face Glow despite my glossy face obsession mentioned above. I adore almost every Butter London product I’ve ever tried, both in their original incarnation as mainly a nail product company as well as when they got seriously into makeup. The Blush Gelee, however, does not work for me no matter how hard I try. It’s a jiggly jelly, alright, and I have no textural problem with the concept. I do have a problem with makeup that doesn’t apply evenly no matter what I use (fingers, brushes, even a Beauty Blender which was the worst idea ever for spreading the blush in a way that made any aesthetic sense). The pigment gets swallowed by my skin and the base while the gel itself moves around like a fevered jellyfish. No matter what I’ve been trying the result was always the same: blotchy cheeks with messed up makeup. My last ditch effort was testing the gel on makeup-free skin, pretending I’m all effortless blush-and-go no foundation type of woman. The blush set upon contact. I couldn’t blend it, so there I was with blotchy splotchy yet metallic cheeks.

I wasn’t going to include these two Dior Metalizer Eyes & Lips Metal Creme Shadow in this list. Out of the four shades I bought two were excellent (Copper Power which I can even wear on my lips when I’m brave enough, and Plum Reflexion). Also, Metalizer was part of Dior Fall 2017 collection and I assumed they were long gone. However, the Dior website still sells the entire range, so someone might find this warning useful. The two colors I was most looking forward to wear, Platine Fusion and Bronze Tension, both suffer from the same issues. I bought them the second they became available (Saks? Nordstrom? I can’t remember), so it was not an expired product problem. They were thinner in texture than the other two, glossy rather than creamy, with Platine Fusion showing signs of separation, so I had to mix it back to even be able to use it. Pigmentation was miserable. I have nothing against eye glosses (Paul & Joe used to make really nice ones, and the Butter London eye glazes are a joy to use and wear), but this was dull on my darker than average lids. The barely-there hint of color was less pigmented than what I’d get had I smeared a good lip gloss over my eyes. They set well, just like the two good ones, but it was pointless. If I want to look makeup-free I’d just not put anything on.

We’ll end this up with a brush. An expensive and useless brush that I feel has to be the worst single item in my collection. Back in the day the original Kevyn Aucoin brush range might not have always been the softest with the best quality hair, but it was design to work and perform various makeup tasks. There were several original shapes there that you weren't able to find from other brands and you could tell that here was thought and design behind the brand. A couple of years ago the entire line was reworked, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. You already know where this one is going. I love fan brushes big and small. I still have my Louise Young Super Fan LY20 brush and use it for various face products (I think it was redesigned since I bought it and is now called 20a, made from synthetic hair). The Kevyn Aucoin Large Fan brush is also synthetic, and the fibers remind me of the synthetic taklon brushes of yore, floppy, unable to pick up any product of any kind, deposit color or blend it. They have so much give that they bend with the lightest pressure, making this brush unsuitable even for a cleanup job like kicking off extra powder. I’ve had this brush probably since it was launched two years ago and I have yet to find a reason for its existence. To add insult to injury, this $60 brush also feels very cheap. For comparison, there are several excellent quality natural hair face brushes you can buy from Hakuhodo for around $63. Any of them would serve you faithfully, as would the $36 all-synthetic Sephora PRO Featherweight Fan Brush #92 that has great heft and bounce.

Currently- April 2018

We were in Italy this time last month. We returned to the Viterbo and Rociglione area where we spent the first few nights of our honeymoon. It remains a favorite, even when we managed to arrive on the coldest week Europe has experienced in a while, the day after a blizzard.  There was far less walking around and a lot more driving on roads that haven't been cleared (and are a challenge on a good day) yet the beauty of Lago di Vico and the surrounding hills with the ancient medieval towns, tiny villages, and farmlands stood out even against the gray sky. And the food. And European-style hot chocolate. The cold and lack of good light hindered picture-taking, but I did get just enough which you can see on my Instagram.

I'm still not a fan of 2018. The year has started horribly terribly awfully as our Bob passed away on New Year's Day. I didn't want to talk about it for weeks that turned into months. I still don't want to. All the vet visits in the months prior (I know I've mentioned it here) were inconclusive, but it was most likely a very well-hidden lymphoma. He was also considerably older than we thought. All cats are special. A few touch your soul in an indescribable way. That was Bob.

The rest of the herd is doing well. The three kittens are growing (we just got Sally and Jane spayed. Bingley has been taken care of two months ago). Celeste is double the size she was when we rescued her. She still won't let us pet her, but she's happy to sit among the other cats and bask in the warmth and comforts of home. Sometimes she watches the birds and squirrels with a faint interest, seemingly telling them they were far less tasty than the cat food that grows in the bowl and doesn't require chasing. Then she rolls on her back in some catnip and falls asleep.

I bought Zadie smith's essay book, Feel Free, with the intention of reading it in a flight or while on vacation. Didn't happen. So I guess it'll be my next reading because I'm quite excited about this book. I appreciate Ms. Smith's writing, but it can be a bit much at times. I figured shorter essays are going to be more enjoyable.

A couple of months ago the husband and I went to see Rufus Wainwright live in Englewood. His sister, Lucy Wainwright Roche, opened for him. I admit I was a little disappointed that his other sister, Martha, wasn't there (I'm a big Martha Wainwright fan). However, Lucy won my heart immediately. Her voice is beautiful and she's delightfully funny and witty.  I bought most of her music the next day.
(Rufus was his wonderful self, as always)

We tried to watch the first episode of Alan Cumming's new show. He might be my favorite actor (and should have been voted Sexiest Man Alive. No, I'm still not over that Blake Shelton fiasco), but I've forgotten how unimaginative and predictable network TV can be. Not worthy of his talent. Or of my time. At least The Americans are back. We're DVRing several weeks so we can binge.

Vintage Colony by Jean Patou. In trying to figure out how pineapple note became a thing I'm going back to the original and best example. I've recently acquired a very vintage sealed parfum of it (part of a trio in the berry bottles) and it's giving my brain and nose a serious workout.

Chanel everything. It's the antidote to the queasy feeling I've been getting from several YouTube brands.

Frequently Worn Item/Outfit
It's April and I still need my winter coats. Not amused.

Sumo oranges. I'd eat them until my stomach explodes.

I need serious help with this blog, which isn't going to happen and it's stressing me out. I want to do so many things to make it the site that's personal, different, yet focused on my views of beauty,but my own limitations are overwhelming.

I'm typing this sitting in my playroom with Lizzy perching on my left knee and a purring Bingley draped over my shoulder and chest. Bad for typos, good for the soul.

Prince Harry's wedding.

I want a pair of reasonably heeled nude color Manolos that I can wear all spring and summer long for the next decade. There's this style, but I wish it came in matte and not patent leather:

Random Thought
Speaking of shoes: Do I love these? Do I hate these? Should they even be a thing? Should I buy them (Saks is having a F&F sale)?

DVF  Mikaila Leather Mules

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

Art: Alexander Young Jackson, Frozen Lake, Early Spring, Algonquin Park, 1914