Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Andy Tauer L'Air du Desert Marocain

Last May when I started this project, many bloggers were participating in a charity project where, for each comment someone made, they'd donate a specified amount to the charity of their choice. Some bloggers, to sweeten the deal, also held drawings for perfumes. That was how I won my beloved Femme from Cait at Legerdenez. It's also how I won my bottle of L'Air du Desert Marocain from Andy Tauer when I posted on his perfumery blog.

Now, my experience in the niche perfume world was literally only weeks old at the time, so I had no idea what to expect of Andy's creation. Rochas Femme I knew, if only by name, but I knew Andy only as a blogger, not as a perfumer. Still, I thought it was thrilling to receive a perfume from someone who'd actually made it. I also knew I might not be up to the task of having anything to say; it's one thing to botch a post about a perfume when the creator has no clue about your post's existence, let alone your existence. It's something else when the perfumer has actually visited your blog. Andy and I corresponded briefly after I won. He allowed me to choose between the two scents he had available at the time, Maroc pour Elle and L'Air du Desert Marocain. When I chose the latter because I thought my husband might enjoy wearing it as well, Andy commended me on my choice. Then he mentioned Luca Turin has said some very positive things about the scent. I might have been completely cowed then, if I'd known who Luca Turin was. Oh yes, I was that green.

When I received the package, I sniffed it immediately and knew I would love it, but a couple of things happened: The first thing was summer. Atlanta decided to have one of the hottest summers its had since I moved here (from much hotter and just as humid Dallas) eight years ago. Not to give too much away, but this is a scent that can stand up to heat, but I believe it must be dry heat. The sweltering South does not compliment it. The second thing was the same problem I faced with Femme: I knew I liked it, but it felt like too much, like something beyond my grasp. My novice nose couldn't live up to it: I smelled spice, lovely heady spice, but I was enveloped as if in a fog, unable to make out the shape of any particular note. And so I put it away on the shelf.

The last few weeks we've had many cold days, and winter's pressing in on me in a way that makes me unable to imagine living in a harsher climate where this season is long. Today I had planned to choose between some fragrances I had worn last week in order to give one another go for a post, and when I went in to select a vial, the first thing that caught my eye was L'Air du Desert Marocain. Dramatic as it sounds, I thought: today's the day. I sprayed a bit on each wrist (I've stopped wearing perfume anywhere except my wrists during the week) and was immediately enveloped again by the cloud of warm spice.

The notes in L'Air du Desert Marocain are top notes of coriander, cumin, and petitgrain; heart notes of rock rose and jasmine; and base notes of cedar wood, vetiver, and amber. The sweet dirty depth of the coriander and cumin (cumin especially) take on a slight medicinal quality in the sharper presence of the petitgrain. By medicinal I do not mean medical; rather, it has an effect that's something like aromatherapy, something that lifts my attention and my spirit. I often get this same feeling when I smell eucalyptus (which I love). The herbal quality gives way gently to the floral heart. I do not think I have ever smelled rock rose, but the earthiness of the jasmine helps tame the top spice and bring it down into the woody depths of the base notes. This scent sits close; it cradles its wearer. The vetiver brings out the sharp, dry sweetness of cedar, while the amber smooths any ragged edge off the woods. And it lasts and lasts--all day, every time I've lifted my wrist to my nose, I've felt revived and comforted.

Dear Andy, if you should see this post, I hope I have done justice to your creation. I'm still learning my way, still learning to walk the walk and talk the talk as they say, but I can bet this becomes a staple scent for me, at least in winter. It may even, on its own, cause me to search out a colder climate, so our season together will be longer.

*photo from tauerperfumes.com

No Comment!

My many thanks to all of you who took the time to say hello!

Hopefully this will be the last of my posts about comments. You might now notice that none of the posts on the blog are showing ANY comments. To new users, I look like a sad loser who writes only for herself--and also after all my begging the last few days, possibly to a few of my regular readers as well. But I've added HaloScan's commenting engine. I am hoping this will reduce the problems any of you might have experienced with pesky Blogger. And if this doesn't work, know that I'm ready to move over to WordPress. I've saved the URL and everything. Take that, Blogger!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Definitely Trouble

Two blogger friends, Katie and Gail, both posted comments. I got an email notification, but their comments haven't appeared. Just wanted to say thanks to both of you...don't know why your comments aren't published! Grr. Blogger.


Okay. Now normally I wouldn't go all "girl calling guy right after the first date because she hasn't heard from him yet and she's worried now maybe something is wrong with either her phone or her voice mail," but, um, I'm going to.

As far as I can tell, no one (other than my lovely regulars--hi Ladies!--and Dennis from London--thank you Dennis!) responded to my request to de-lurk. Hrm. I can think of only three reasons why you may not have commented:

A) You hate me. You really, really hate me.

B) You tried to comment but couldn't, or you tried to comment and it seemed to work but actually I never got it. I'm thinking (hoping) this happened to someone besides my mom, who posted a comment last night that I have yet to see. (I don't think she could stand it if I didn't get any comments, people. If you can't do it for me, then for her, perhaps?)

C) You desperately want to comment, but you're trapped under something heavy and can't get to the computer. (Thank you, Nora Ephron.) Never mind how you got to the computer to read the post in the first place. We'll just let that slide.

If the answer is B, then maybe I can help. First, I have--for a short time only!--disabled comment moderation. If there's a problem with the way Blogger is handling anonymous or non-Blogger comments, then maybe this will fix it. Second, I have that email address right over there...no, in the sidebar there...yes, that's it. Maybe you could write to me and at least let me know you tried to post, and also give me ammunition against stupid Blogger.

I can't believe I've let you all turn me into this kind of girl. Sheesh.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Lately I cannot get enough Motown. I downloaded a Motown playlist for my iPod at the beginning of January, and I've listened to it almost exclusively. These songs perk me up, make me think about warm weather to come. When I hear some of these songs, I cannot help but sing along and move around. If you're feeling the winter doldrums, I suggest listening to a little Motown.

You'll notice my title is that of the wonderful Temptations song, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," and there's a reason for it: In the last month, on several of the bogs I read, I've read about a little thing called "de-lurking." Now, "lurking" in blogland means regularly stopping by a blog to read but never leaving a comment, so essentially "de-lurking" means stopping by and leaving a comment to say "hi" and let me know you're out there, dear readers. This blog has several friends who comment on a regular basis, but I would love to hear from some of you who've been reading but for some reason (shy? not sure what to say? reading blogs at work and don't want to get caught? read so many blogs you can't comment on them all?) haven't shown yourselves. You don't necessarily have to comment on the topic at hand; you can just say hello! You also don't have to be a blogger, and you may feel free to comment anonymously if you wish. And if you're really afraid of commenting, send me an email! I promise, I don't bite. Blogging is a great deal of fun, but an important part of it is the connection we make with other people, people we may not otherwise meet. I've kept journals for years, and I could go back to doing so, but what fun is that? So, please (there's the begging part), let me know you're out there, dear readers, and have a lovely day.

*photo from Classic Motown

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Beauty on the Cheap: e.l.f. cosmetics

This past Tuesday night I was surfing around and looking at blogs, trying to forget my troubles. A new (as in, new to me) blog I'm enjoying, Megan in Maine, had a little post about e.l.f. cosmetics, so I clicked the link to look around a bit. Many of you may already be familiar with e.l.f.--which stands for eyes, lips, face--but I was not. Here's a bit about their philosophy, directly from their site:
"We at e.l.f. believe that innovative technology, quality ingredients and superb delivery systems should not be limited to prestige retailers. Every woman should have the opportunity to participate in innovation, without sacrificing her budget. We hope you agree and invite you to experience e.l.f.’s revolutionary, value-priced cosmetics and the proven results they offer."

Value-priced, indeed! Eye shadows and blushes for $1.00. That's right: $1.00. Brushes for $1.00. Cosmetics bags for $5.00. Custom kits for as little as $10.00 (includes a makeup bag of your choice--and they have many choices--and five products to fill the bag) to $30.00 (for a bag, eyeshadow, blush, foundation stick, 3 lip products, blotting papers, eye makeup remover, polish remover, four brushes, an eyelash curler, and more).

While part of me thought there must be a hitch, the beauty junkie in me decided to click around and create a kit for myself. To make a long story short, I ended up with around 25 products for $26.00 (and until January 28, you get free shipping--their standard is a $5.00 flat rate for priority mail--when you enter the code "shipelf"). I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was also breaking my New Years' resolution (the first one to go) to use the Trish and only the Trish.

Well, I'm glad I did! I got almost all my product yesterday--three items were missing, with no explanation (boo)--and this morning, I tried on just about everything. Here's a little taste of what I bought:

Makeup case ($5.00)

This is a nylon zippered case with two pockets. It's cute and roomy, and it comes with an attached mirror. Small enough to fit in an average-sized handbag.

Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Sun Kissed ($1.00)

Okay, this is more like it. This bronzer has a bit of shimmer to it, and the color is a bit rosy. Because it's not matte, it goes on quite evenly and sheer and doesn't look at all muddy. No more Pigpen...yea!

Shielding Hydro-Tint SPF 15 in Tone 2 ($1.00)

I was a bit worried about this one, as I'm quite fair, and e.l.f. only offers four color choices. Their fairest, Tone 1, is for fair skin with a blue undertone. I have fair skin with a yellow undertone (thank you, Prescriptives), so I chanced it and ordered Tone 2, which is for medium skin with a yellow undertone. The consistency of this is less thick than some tinted moisturizers, and it goes on very smoothly and feels hydrating. The tint disappeared on my skin as though it were made for it. Could I have found a $1.00 replacement for my beloved Stila tinted moisture? I hope so.
CAUTION: This tint is scented, as are several of e.l.f.'s face products. The scent is "sugar orange," and while I find the scent pleasing and experience no reaction on my sensitive skin, you may want to be careful if fragrance generally bothers you. Try a spot test first.

Pre-Designed Comapct 3 ($5.00)

The site says this compact was designed by an editor from Lucky magazine. You get two shadows, Pink Ice and Sage; a blush, Glow; and a sheer lipstick in Sugar Plum. The shadows are slightly pearlized with a soft sheen and are quite silky and easy to apply. I used the Pink Ice all over and the Sage as a liner: gorgeous, soft, and making me itch for spring. Glow is a lovely coral, also with a soft sheen and natural color. (It's scented as well...test it first!) The sheer lip is a darker plum with a bit of glitter to glam it up. I love the color, but it's a little bit dry, so I recommend putting on a bit of balm first. There are others to choose from...click the Gifts link, and then click Gifts under $5. You'll have to scroll down a bit on the page...
BONUS: The compact is well-made for being so inexpensive, and it's refillable. That's right--add a new shade for $1.00, or swap out all four for $4.00.

Brightening Eye Shadow in Nouveau Neutrals ($1.00)

I just told you the eye shadow is silky and lovely, but I just wanted you to see a picture of this one because the colors are so pretty.

Total Face Brush ($1.00)

Megan in Maine had specifically called out e.l.f.'s brushes, and I needed a new powder brush, so I ordered this one, as well as an extra blush brush. It's soft and seems better made than what you can find at the drugstore. The bristle quality is close to that on my "professional" brushes (Prescriptives), but simply not as dense. Still, I thought both of them gave very even coverage.

I posted an inquiry to e.l.f. about the items missing from my order, so I'll let you know what I hear. I'm hoping that the low prices don't mean low-level customer service! So far I'm very impressed with the quality of the products, and there are lots of other things I want to try.

Go check it out! Let me know if you buy anything!

*all photos from e.l.f.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Dish on the Trish

Okay, I've been living with my Trish McEvoy for almost a month now, so I thought I would give you the scoop. I'm sorry I have not had a perfume post in a while, but between lagging behind and my senses being all out of whack (or I guess it was my senses...I seriously could not think of a thing to put on, and yesterday I wore West Side again only because the sweater I wore already smelled like it), I haven't had anything to say. Today I wore Dzing! for the first time, but you'll just have to wait with breath baited to see what I think.

Oh, and because talking about the Trish makes me think about buyer's remorse and the half-assed haircut I got several weeks ago, I maybe should also tell you that I got it whacked off today into a chin-length bob a la Renee Zellweger in the February Vogue. I think she looks much cuter with short hair. I think I do, too. Plus, my face isn't all squinty. I always want to tell her to go to the eye doctor already. She looks like the girls in high school who woke up too late to put their contacts in but didn't want to wear their glasses.

I know, you wish I would just go back to writing about perfume. Soon, I promise.

To my purpose: I must tell you about the Trish. We'll start with what I like:

Lipstick. I bought the lipstick in Tres Jolie. First, I think this is one of the prettiest lipstick colors I've seen. I guess I'd call it a nude berry, which sounds like a contradiction. It's very moisturizing and even looks that way...it's a matte color, but my lips don't look dry. It also lasts pretty well, for a non-long-wearing lipstick.

Base Essential for Eyes in Bare. This is a shadow base to make color go on more evenly and prevent creasing. I love this stuff. You can also wear it alone on days you want a little polish but don't want to do the whole face. Nice consistency, too: it's a liquid, but goes on like a matte powder.

Deluxe Eyeshadow in Soft Peach. This was the base shadow that the SA picked for me, and it's lovely. Goes on very well, and she told me not to sweep but dab on the color with a dense brush, like it's powder. Good tip. The shadows are slightly shimmery, but not so much they show lines and flaws...just soft reflection of light. On that note, I also like the lid shadow, Rose Quartz, a very soft mauve-y pink.

Eye Definer in Deep Aubergine. This is a shadow meant to be a liner. It's matte and deeply pigmented. It does not end up all over your face, but adheres quite well to the eye line. Impressive, if you ask me.

Those are my favorites. Given all I bought, I don't think that's so great. One thing is, I'm not at a total loss with makeup. The SA really didn't pick colors that were so far off from what I was already wearing, and she also picked the colors everyone picks when they see my coloring (fair-haired and green-eyed): purples and wines. I like these colors, but to me a makeover--even if you don't wear thirty pounds of makeup at any given time--should include something you wouldn't do or pick for yourself: an unusual color combo, or a different application. And, okay, maybe I should have gone back to MAC, and maybe SAs intimidate me a little (yes, sadly), but still...

Everything else, I feel meh about or don't like at all:

Even Skin Foundation. It's nice, but not worth the hype (or price). I also found it goes on much better when I apply it with my fingers, instead of with a brush as the SA suggested. It gives even coverage but has no moisturizing benefit. The same thing goes for the concealer.

Matte Bronzer in Medium. This is supposed to be my blush. I had some sort of case of "the empress's new makeup" with this one, wherein I thought it looked pretty good until I realized after a few weeks that it in fact looks like I have applied red Georgia clay to my face in order to add color. Just call me "Pigpen."

Blush in Jolie. This is to highlight the apples of my cheeks. It just doesn't look right applied over the dirt. It's slightly better on its own. With the dirt, it comes off a bit too purple. I think I had this same shade in a Bonne Belle palette I owned back in high school. It was the 80s, when it was still de rigeur to put a slash of blush under your cheekbones to add definition. Just add a sweatshirt with the neck cut out, and you're ready to party.

Mascara. I did not buy the mascara. We were doing the cute little makeover trick where she would do one side and I would do the other. She applied mascara to my right eye, and then handed me the mirror so I could apply it to my left. To this day I still can't tell you if the scream of horror was coming from my mouth or directly from my actual eyelashes as I lifted the wand to them. The words "wet and clumpy" don't even begin to describe it. I'm pretty sure that stuff is made of actual tar.

Mineral Powder in Beige. Okay, enough with the mineral powder already, and enough with telling me how it acts as sunscreen. Maybe it does, but enough. I'm still going to wear actual sunscreen. The powder is too dark, anyway. It's like applying a fine layer of dust over dirt bronzer. And then you blend it with a $1500 puff. Wonderful.

That's about it. I wish that I'd gone to Chanel, or maybe had just continued to try stuff on my own. I'll use up what I have. I would repurchase the lipstick and probably the shadows, in different colors. I suppose you win some, you lose some. At least my hair looks cute.

*photo from wherever I got it last time I posted it

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday, Monday...

You won't believe what happened to me today: I forgot to wear perfume. I realized it about halfway through my team meeting this morning (you can tell, I was riveted), and the moment I was conscious of not wearing any scent, I practically felt naked! Perhaps I should keep a secret stash in an office drawer, the way some women keep other--er, unmentionables--at their desk, just in case. The day felt flat without perfume, and when I got home, I couldn't think what to put on. How crazy is that?

Dear readers, I also wanted to tell you that I'm going to try something new: blogging on the weekends. Most bloggers take the weekend off, and I've followed suit up until now. With my new job, I don't have the chance to update so often, and I feel the blog sort of suffers. I end up with two or three posts a week at best when I'd like to do more, so please start visiting on the weekend if you get a chance, or else just have fun catching up on Mondays! Also, for my early morning visitors, on weekdays I'll be posting late in the day EST, so please come back in the evening if you get a chance.

I owe you some much better posts, and I've cheated you out of reading about my sampling of Les Parfums de Rosine Rosa Flamenca, after I wore it four days straight last week. My sample is spent, as I kept wearing it and planning to write about it and never got there. The notes are:
Top: orange blossom, neroli, bergamot, petitgrain
Heart: jasmine, rose absolue, fig leaf
Base: sandalwood, benzoin, white musk
Let's see, our sampler is a sucker for orange blossom, neroli, rose, and sandalwood. Can she really give us an objective opinion? Nah. I loved the juiciness of this scent, but also, I swear I got some leather in the dry down. I thought it got a bit dark at the end, but in a good way, like a thunderstorm at the end of a bright spring day.

And just to bring you up to speed on Miss Thang, she's started being incredibly nice to me. I'm suspicious, but I'm being nice right back to her. Maybe we'll become best friends and eat lunch together every day and go get our nails done and when she gets married someday I'll be her bridesmaid! Or maybe I'll simply find a way to tell her, nicely, that it's unprofessional (and stupid) to end questions in email messages with multiple question marks ("Can someone please advise???"), and that perhaps purple Comic Sans is not the font of choice for an ambitious young professional hoping to claw--uh, climb--her way up the corporate ladder.

Happy Monday, friends!

*photo from LusciousCargo

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oh, Please...No

I just saw this posted on Yahoo: "Leggings on men?"

Oh. God. No.

I live in Georgia, where beer bellies are a fashion accessory. I seriously fear seeing some guy sporting an over-sized UGA t-shirt with leggings, the outfit pulled together with a wide belt riding just below his glorious gut as though it were a giant dog collar underneath the bulldog face that stretches across his girth.


*photo from Yahoo

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Frederic Malle Une Rose

First, my apologies for what I feel was a rather lame post on Bond No. 9 West Side. I find it bottle-worthy, but for some reason, I could not get the "perfume language" to flow. Really, it's not a very complicated fragrance, but so many beautiful things are simple in form. It is the first on my "to buy" list for 2007 (and we're only three weeks in, so who wants to bet it will change?), as long as I don't consider my second dilemma, which is:

I have yet to try one single Frederic Malle perfume that I wouldn't buy if I had the budget to do so! Une Rose is not an exception here. This perfume, created by Edouard Flechier, the man who created Dior's Poison, is a beautifully abundant rose. With notes of Turkish rose absolute, geranium, and "wine dregs," (seriously, that's what the site says) Une Rose makes me feel as though I'm standing in the middle of a rose garden in full bloom. Usually I don't mention the perfumer (I leave that to the expert bloggers), but here I feel it's necessary because I think Une Rose is very much in the same spirit as another of his creations, Poison, a grand, full-bodied fragrance, not for the timid, and incredibly hypnotic.

Une Rose really does not do much in the way of development: this lush rose cleaves to the skin and stays, growing warmer--yet without really changing--as the day goes on. The geranium heightens the fresh floral perfume aspect of rose, so it's less clean than say, Sa Majesté La Rose, but much more natural--rose in its element--than Lipstick Rose or Drôle de Rose. And these "wine dregs," if you ever have a red wine that is heavy and a bit sweet, enough to leave a little sediment in the glass, take a whiff. Une Rose has this same feel, as if a rose could produce tannins, and they have a smell...it's intoxicating, as it should be.

So, when I make lists of things to buy in 2007, I'm not even going to mention Frederic Malle. Or maybe I'll just make this number one: "Frederic Malle--All of them!"

*photo from editionsdeparfums

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bond No. 9 West Side

I used to write about samples the first day I tried them. As I've "grown up" over the last few months, I've started taking a bit more time and care. Maybe it's safe to say that for many fragrances, my first impressions are correct, but generally the intensity of that impression moves one way or the other. Several times I’ve purchased fragrances based on the first impression of being wildly in love only to find it wasn’t love at all, just nice solid like. And then my funds for something I really do love are gone.

If only I could say that I was taking my time with West Side, but I already told you the real story: I was having a bad week last week, and I didn’t want to associate anything negative at work with such a lovely scent. I wanted it to remain lovely. Lucky for me, it has.

The notes in West Side are rose, ylang-ylang, peony, sandalwood, amber, vanilla, and musk. This is a softer, more feminine take on the rose-vanilla combination than one of my other favorites, Keiko Mecheri’s Loukhoum. I’m fond of taking fragrances and forcing comparisons in these sorts of ways: West Side attends Julliard, possibly majoring in dance. Loukhoum hangs out in the Village and wants to be a writer. West Side loves the theater. Loukhoum digs independent film. West Side listens to Dave Brubeck. Loukhoum listens to Neko Case. West Side is Charlotte. Loukhoum is Carrie.

In case you haven’t already guessed, although I have an inner Carrie, I’m more of a Charlotte. I have been wearing West Side for days, and it’s love. Sorry Loukhoum. We’ll always be close friends.

*photo from LusciousCargo

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Benefit Maybe Baby

Yesterday my day careened even further downhill, so again today I wasn't taking any chances wearing West Side and having that lovely smell associated with total stress and chaos. Instead I decided to wear a cheerful, energizing scent with which I have much positive association, Benefit Maybe Baby. The notes in Maybe Baby are apricot, white ginger, fresh water blossoms, Himalayan poppy, and warm peach. It's not an overly complicated fragrance, nor is it sweet. It has a fresh citrus and pepper quality to it that dries down into a soft fruitiness. If it were more floral, it would remind me of another uplifting (and widely available) favorite, Prescriptives Calyx.

I think (hope!) most of the work trauma for this week is over, for I have practically been reduced to drooling on my keyboard. I'm both tired and lazy, at this point. As such, I'll stop here and hand it over to Katie's wonderful review of Maybe Baby (and other awesome Benefit products) on Scentzilla! Enjoy!

*photo from Sephora

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Goodbye Girl

First, I must apologize because I planned to post about Bond No. 9 West Broadway today, but it's not going to happen. You see, Monday was a bad day at work, and yesterday was even worse, and although I am an optimist by nature, I'm hedging my bets that today won't be much better. Simply put, West Broadway is such a lovely scent that I don't want to associate it with bad times. I think it might be my Bond. I can't risk it.

So instead I'm wearing a combo, a sample of the No. 9 (blackberry and vanilla musk) body cream from Trish McEvoy and Ligne St. Barth Vanille. I'm in full comfort mode.

But back to my bad days at work. I'm in a brand new job with the same company. I'm even working with the same project team I worked with as a writer. Only now, I manage the project. Or, I'm learning how to manage the project. A career change is both scary and exciting, especially when everyone you know is watching. But it also brings some ugly things out of the woodwork, like nasty co-workers with loud honking voices who don't know the difference between ignorance (not knowing something) and incompetence (knowing something, but being unable to execute that thing). A woman at work has decided to launch a smear campaign against me, telling the world I am incompetent, which I am not. I am ignorant. I am learning a new job. Loud Honking Woman, who I'll refer to as MISS THANG from here on, needs a vocabulary lesson. And a smack upside the noggin. But it's not my place to give her either.

I have ways to make myself feel better, though. One way is I just picture Miss Thang the way I saw her once, in low rise jeans with her panties coming out the top. No, no, not in that show-your-thong-to-the-world way. In the other way, the way we all fear. Her panties were riding up so high, she seriously must have been giving herself a whopper of a wedgie. And she was walking around at work like that. Where everyone could see. Heh.

Another way I make myself feel better is coming home and reading blogs. It's my escape. Last night, between work and book club (where we discussed Dr. Zhivago, which is not exactly the most uplifting book in the world...but you never hear the term "real knee-slapper" applied to Russian literature, do you? Unless it's Gary Shteyngart, but I haven't read him yet.), I sat down to catch up on a few blogs. One I recently got hooked on is called Melissa C. Morris. She generally just writes about her life and things she knows, and yesterday she had a post about some of the blogs she likes to read, so clicked on the first one in the list, The QC Report.

I read a little of the latest post, and then my eyes roamed over to the "About Me" box on the side. It said "Quinn Cummings." Quinn Cummings? Not THE Quinn Cummings? Do you know who I am talking about? She was Lucy in The Goodbye Girl with Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss. That Quinn Cummings. Holy cow! I remember going to see that with my mom right around the time my parents split up. I think I was seven. I loved the smartass daughter Lucy. I wanted to be her. I think my mom would agree, I at least got the smartass thing down. Anyway, apparently she no longer acts, but the acting world's loss is the blogging world's gain, because the woman is hilarious. I hope she's working on a book. She should. I read as many posts as I could before I had to leave, and laughed out loud and felt better, which makes it the second time Quinn Cummings has helped me out when I was feeling low in my life. You must check out her blog, friends. It's laugh-out-loud funny.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go. Watch out, Miss Thang.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d'Ete

Big things come in little packages, like this short but sweet post about Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d'Ete. (Please forgive the lack of accent marks...since my computer crashed last month, I no longer have Word or any decent word processing program, and I don't have the keyboard shortcuts memorized. Lazy.) Very simply, if they scented sunshine with rose and bottled it, you'd have Rose d'Ete.

The notes in Rose d'Ete are as follows:
Top: apple, galbanum, bergamot
Heart: yellow rose, linden blossom, mimosa, lotus blossom
Base: ambrette seed, musk

Fear not the apple: this is no fruity floral. Instead, the top notes work together to give this rose scent a sweet crispness. If you could bite into a Granny Smith apple and smell rose instead of apple...oh, it's so lovely! As the tart notes wear away, you're left with a soft fresh rose that's something like dusk in the shadows at the end of a fine summer day. The floral notes remain prominent but a bit removed, as if carried in on a breeze. This scent is bright yellow and green and white linen, freshly pressed.

I actually wore this back in the summer, right after I tried Ecume de Rose. Even then, I thought I may have to have a bottle. Could this be my first Rosine? Perhaps.

As a little preview, I'll tell you I plan to wear another head-turner (well, it turned my head when I sniffed it this afternoon, anyway) for the next couple of days: Bond No. 9 West Side. Mmmmm. My first Bond?

*photo from LusciousCargo

Friday, January 05, 2007

What Kind of Perfume Are You?

Everyone visit Victoria's Own and take this quiz she found. A little fun for a Friday. Here's mine:
Your Perfume is Glow

Fresh, sexy, and clean.

You're real, intimate, and exciting.

Your lush sensuality appeals to men...

And you're as sexy as Jennifer Lopez.

Power scents: Orange flower, grapefruit, and citrus.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Go to Work

"Men were like that, Mave had noticed. They liked to look in the mirror. For women, mirrors were a chore: Women looked, frowned, got out equipment, and went to work. But for men mirrors were sex: Men locked gazes with their own reflections, undressed themselves with their eyes, and stared for a shockingly long time." Lorrie Moore, "Starving Again," Like Life.

Last night after I washed my face and applied moisturizer and then stood in front of the mirror peeling skin away from my chin, that quote popped into my head. (Okay, not the exact quote, but something very close to it. Lorrie Moore is one of my favorite writers, and I have read that book of stories, her first, an insane number of times.) I don't know if the part about men is true--Bob spends about five minutes a day in front of the mirror to my hour or so, or at least as far as I know--but I know the part about women is dead-on. And you know it's true about me. I've handed you all the evidence.

But I made a big decision as I stood there, and that was to return the skincare I bought the other day. I packed it all into my little Nordstrom's bag and set it on the chair so I could take it with me in the morning. Usually when I feel something isn't working for me, I put it under the sink. All of my beauty-closet skeletons are neatly arranged in boxes under there. If I arranged them by brand and put in glass counters, I could open a store. But in keeping with the 2007 me, I determined that I would let neither my fear of the beauty gods nor the Trish McEvoy SA change my plan. It wasn't working, so back to the store it must go.

And then this morning, I saw this article in The New York Times: "Skin Deep: The Cosmetics Restriction Diet." Really that's a terrible title because the article isn't about cosmetics at all, but skincare, and here's what it says: You need to wash your face, and you need to wear SPF. Some of the dermatologists they interviewed could not even agree about whether or not people should also apply moisturizer. (My face seriously felt tighter and started to itch as I typed that last bit...no moisturizer?) They said a little something for wrinkles or pimples may not hurt if you need it. (IF?) To exfoliate, use a wash cloth. (Is there not something more fancy I could use? Maybe something made from the skin of a rare animal found only in the tropics?) And buy all the stuff at the drugstore. A tisket, a tasket, fill your little red Target basket.

So...(deep breath)...I am going to try it. Well, except I have to use eye cream, too. And it's Neutrogena! Well, except I also have one from Clinique with SPF. And from Clarins, also with SPF. Honestly, I can do this: 2007, Year of Budget Skincare.

Budget skincare, because I kept all the makeup. Ha!

Serge Lutens Sa Majesté La Rose

I’ve been wearing this scent for several days now (it’s rather strong and has great lasting power, so I apply only a small amount to my wrists), and I can’t get the phrase “powdery fresh” out of my head. Unfortunately, that makes me think of the Shower to Shower powder (“Have you had your sprinkle today?”) that my great-grandmother used to wear, which in turn makes me think of slips and housedresses. Probably I should not be saying all this to you, because now you’ll think this perfume is an old lady rose, and seriously, it’s anything but.

The notes in Sa Majesté La Rose are Moroccan rose absolute, gaiac wood, clove, white honey, and musk. The opening of this scent is all rose, or more specifically rosewater, because it’s clean and fresh, yet strong. Crisp pink cotton sheets hanging on the line some cool spring morning. The gaiac wood and clove give it a sweeter rose-on-the-vine scent as it warms on the skin. Every time I bend to smell a rose, this is the scent I expect but rarely find. The white honey and musk lend it a slightly powdery quality, but it’s not dusky. It’s…well…musky. A soft musky rose, but still clean.

For a scent close to pure rose, go to this one. So many fragrances seem to offer a twist on a note, or seek to turn our notion of what’s beautiful or expected on its head. I appreciate that, I do, but I also appreciate a scent that seems to pay tribute to the thing itself, a simple, graceful blossom offering its face to the sun.

*photo from Aedes

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Buyer's Remorse

I’ve never really understood how this works, but it seems that I go through periods where all the decisions I make seem to be bad ones. Everyone makes bad decisions now and again, so it’s not that I expect I never will. After all, (and pardon me for sounding like a bad greeting card) we tend to learn more from bad decisions than from good ones. But over these last few days, I find myself suffering from Buyer’s Remorse.

Buyer’s Remorse, Exhibit A
Yesterday when I went back to work, I told Co-Worker Who Loves Product As Much As I Do (whom, for the sake of Brevity, I shall heretofore refer to as B.) about my makeover at Trish McEvoy. B. reacted with appropriate excitement and enthusiasm, and then she said, “I just read Consumer Reports review of the most effective skin care.”

Oh no.

“Guess what it was?” B. said.

No, not Trish McEvoy. “Oil of Olay?” I guessed.

“That’s crazy!” she said. “How did you know that? The Regenerist line! I started on it and blah blah blah…” That last part was all “blah blah blah” because I quit listening and was instead picturing myself at Target filling my little red basket with all kinds of Regenerist product.

But then I remembered I had just purchased umpteen-million dollars’ worth of Trish McEvoy. And then I remembered my resolution to stop being a beauty product nomad and use what I bought.

But what if Regenerist is The One? What if it’s better? Because truth be told, my skin is still meh. Sure, it’s only been a few days, but should I not see improvement from my line-reducing serum that also promotes cell turnover? I checked the label to see what it said:

Spread this line-reducing serum over your face and throat after cleansing in the morning and evening. Follow with moisturizer. After the first few days, you’ll see clearer, firmer skin, although it also may be possible your skin will flake off in sheets, particularly when you’re trying to apply your new, expensive foundation, causing you to look like you have some form of cosmetic leprosy. Sucker.

Oh god! I knew it. B. is going to have beautiful, line-free skin, and I’m going to live in skin-care exile with only the nuns to care for me.

Buyer’s Remorse, Exhibit B

Yesterday I got my hair cut. I was supposed to be going in for a trim, but when I got into the chair, I just felt the need to do something.

“I want fewer layers,” I said. “And I want to let these bangs grow out.”

“Do you want to cut about an inch off?” asked Hairdresser. “We could cut it at a bit of an angle in the back, and blah blah blah…” The “blah blah blah” part was when I stopped listening because I was telling myself, “You’re just getting it trimmed. Tell her you just want a trim.”

“So what do you think?” That’s Hairdresser again.

“Sure, that sounds great!” That’s me, nodding like a toy dog with a spring in its head, completely clueless about whatever it was I’d just agreed to.

She didn’t exactly do anything controversial: she cut about an inch off and trimmed the rest, leaving the layers alone. Except taking about an inch off actually put it right at the length where it sticks in my collar, and the lack of layers made it pouf out in a way that I knew might force me to do something desperate, like buy a Flowbie.

“It’s going to be right inside my collar,” I said. “This is all wrong. Look at this piece here.” I picked up an innocent piece of stray hair near my right ear. “It’s going to pouf out.”

“Okay,” said Hairdresser. “You want me to layer it so it will lay a little better?”

“Okay,” I said. She layered. I watched in horror. Then she trimmed my bangs. Shorter hair with more layers and new bangs was not at all what I wanted. Please note that this is not Hairdresser’s fault, but in fact is the result of my occasional panic in Hairdresser’s chair when I want to change something but can’t commit to anything.

I’m pretty sure these new layers highlight the skin flaking off my chin.

Buyer’s Remorse, Exhibit C

Right after I got my hair cut, I walked a few doors down to get my brows waxed. Esthetician and I have known each other for a long time, and I got really involved in telling her about some family drama while she did her work, which means I forgot to repeat my waxing mantra: “I like them a little fuller.”

I was still talking when she handed me the mirror, so I didn’t notice then what I saw when I finally got home (after a trip to the grocery store and Starbucks, mind you). There, above my left eye, surrounded by inflamed skin, highlighted by bangs and shorter somewhat poufy layers, my lovely new sperm-shaped left eyebrow. This might not be tragedy for someone who knows how to use an eyebrow pencil properly, but I don’t even own an eyebrow pencil. And even if I did, I’d probably just end up looking like some deranged five-year old had gone after my face with a brown crayon.

Of course, none of this is really bad at all, but viewed through the hormonal lens can seem quite tragic. I can laugh about it now, and it hasn’t even been 24 hours.

*Just so you know, I do have a brain and a real life apart from perfume and product. I swear. I have a full time job I enjoy. I’m reading both Doctor Zhivago and a book about the Kennedy administration. I listen to NPR. I do!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Les Parfums de Rosine Poussière de Rose

Welcome back, everyone! Time to start sampling for the New Year, and as promised, everything's coming up roses (I know...groan...I couldn't resist. I'm back at work and struggling to stay awake or focused or anything. Why didn't I take today off?!), starting with Les Parfums de Rosine Poussière de Rose. I'm not at all sure that Poussière de Rose, or Rose Dust, is the right name for this first rose fragrance. After receiving this sample several months ago, I've worn it four or five times, and Soûlerie de Rose, "rose booze," seems more fitting.

The notes in Poussière are as follows:
Top: apricot, prune, ylang-ylang
Heart: rose, cinnamon, tea, frankincense, more rose
Base: sandalwood, incense, opoponax, benzoin resin, cedar, musk, amber, rose dust

Actually, an even better name for this would be Tisane de Rose, as tisane means both herb tea and booze (well, as a slang term), and Poussière has a bit of both. The opening of this spiked rose tea is a liquory jam that moves into a rich heart. The cinnamon thankfully does not overpower the tea and incense. I wonder if the name, rather than connoting actual rose dust, actually represents something more like that "faded rose from days gone by," as the song goes. Poussière is both genteel and slightly daring, like a 1950s woman from a small Southern town on her way home from an afternoon "tea party" in the waning light of day.

To compare, a true dusty rose to me would be more like Etro's Shaal Nur, with its herbal quality, much moreso than this floral fruitcake of a scent. (Wow, I still have holidays on the brain!) This is much closer in spirit to Lipstick Rose or Drole de Rose to me, all though it's less sophisticated than the former and much boozier than the latter. Also, a little bit goes a very long way: I wear this on my wrists only, and it surrounds me all day.

*photo from LusciousCargo

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Good Year for the Roses

Happy New Year!

I have roses on the brain today, I guess because of the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses Parade and all that, so I decided to start 2007 by sampling rose perfumes. Rose can be quite heady and old-fashioned, but it's still a favorite note of mine. Here's what I have lined up to try:
Les Parfums de Rosine Poussiere
Les Parfums de Rosine Rosa Flamenca
Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d'Ete
Micallef Rose Aoud
Frederic Malle Une Rose
Serge Lutens Sa Majeste La Rose
Bond No. 9 West Side (if my sample ever arrives)

My sampling plan for the beginning of January falls in line nicely with one of my resolutions, which is to sample what I have before I order more samples and decants. Sounds crazy, I know, but I am going to try. I may have to stop reading the perfume reviews on other blogs to make my plan work! Nah, that won't happen...but I will have to get better at just making lists for when I can order again. That's going to be one seriously long list, considering I already have several going now.

Another of my resolutions has to do with the makeover I had the other day at Trish McEvoy. I'd been wanting to seek professional help for a while (sadly, this kind of professional help probably isn't the kind I actually need), and the makeover went really well, so I don't want it to go to waste: Which means, I am going to use what I bought, and do my level best not to buy more stuff I don't need. I put all my other makeup away in a box. I've always stuck to the theory that if you put something away and forget about it for a long period of time--a year, say--then you probably don't need it. This excludes sentimental stuff, of course. Nobody really needs the award they won in the third grade for reading more books than anyone else, but you know, why not keep it?

Another area where I tend to buy without cause or reason: books. This year, I will try to read all the books I bought and haven't read yet, before I buy new books. (The only exclusion being book club books--and don't mention the word "library" to me, as that generally means dirty books with smudges of other people's lunch and who knows what else in them. I'm sorry, but it creeps me out.) I have stacks of books I haven't read, and I have a wish list (for myself, so I don't forget) about three miles long on Powells, and it's ridiculous! Lots of times I buy books that aren't on the wish list! I'm sick! No more, this year.

Along with these I have all the requisite stuff: lose weight (Hello, Weight Watchers), exercise (my company has this thing where if I exercise regularly four days a week for ten out of twelve consecutive weeks, they give me $150...I'm easily bought), clean house even when company isn't coming over, cook at home more (see first resolution), cure cancer, drive successful talks for peace in the Mid-East, find an energy alternative to oil, figure out the whole global warming thing. You know, the usual.

Any resolutions to share, friends?

*photo from Wikipedia