I’ve not been in a perfume/makeup head-space lately, although I did manage a visit to Atelier Cologne on Elizabeth St in New York City a couple of weeks back. I’ll write about that later, after I’ve stewed on the generous samples the sales associate gave me.

For now, I’ve been on the hunt for good music to walk to.

I love pop music; I’m a sucker for a catchy hook and bouncy sound. I recently discovered Kimbra of New Zealand and it’s satisfying my needs for now.

Image Source: Tibbiful

Kimbra sometimes sounds uncomfortably like Esthero, a Canadian singer I loved for about ten years now. I like Kimbra a lot so far, but her music also really makes me wish Esthero would put out a new album. Breath From Another is awesome and has sustained its awesomeness for me since it was first released.

Anyway, here’s a link to Kimbra’s “Good Intent” and an oldie but goodie from Esthero, “That Girl”.

What’s your favourite music right now? I hope you’re having a lovely winter!

Junk Shop Find: Lancôme Gardenia

I found this little item recently on a trip with my husband to a junk shop in New York.

According to Basenotes this fragrance was launched in 1937, but it’s now discontinued. Does anyone know when Lancôme took it off the market? Basenotes says notes include: gardenia, jasmin du cap (cape jasmine?), and lys (lily). I have no idea what “cape jasmine” means, but it sounds great. In fact, all three notes sound like my sort of thing. What’s left in the bottle smells amazing, but I don’t open it too frequently because there’s so little left. If anyone knows anything about this perfume, I’d love to hear about it.

First Unsniffed Purchase: Lostmarc’h Ael-Mat

Oh man. I have buyers’ remorse right about now. I’m jobless and two nights ago I made my first purchase of perfume unsniffed. That means I bought this perfume solely on the reviews of others, as well as marketing strategies of the company. I can’t help but have some guilt – there are more pressing things I need right now, and I have a lot of expenses coming up. But it just sounded so PRETTY. And Beautyhabit had a 20% Friends and Family event so I gave in! Thankfully this perfume was under $100 for 100 mL – it’s normally $85 but I got it for about $73 with shipping in. Yippee!

Anyway, as the title of this post suggests, Lostmarc’h Ael-Mat is what I bought. Here’s what Beautyhabit has to say about Ael-Mat:

“Ael-Mat Eau de toilette is for both men and women. Head tone of hesperidia with undertones of jasmine and chamomile blossom over a soft musk base note.”

Image Source: La Marelle aux canards

There many reasons I purchased this perfume unsniffed, chief among them is the fact that it’s simply not available for purchase anywhere near where I live.

Second, it’s made by a company that, if I’m not mistaken, is based out of Brittany, France. If they’re not Breton, their marketing has surely capitalized on that imagery. My ancestors happen to be from that part of the world, and the images this line of perfume conjures resemble so well my homeland too – a place of occasional-sun, wind and salt air. The Lostmarc’h website declares Brittany as a magical land at the end of the world, where traditional fishing practices persist and the sea meets fine sandy beaches. I’m not sure what it is about such cold coastal places that evokes magic, but they do, and it’s appealing. And I’d love a perfume that reminds me of my roots!

Then there is Olfactoria’s review, which really stirred my imagination. A Breton Angel? Peaceful, innocent, herbal/floral, and unique? Sign me up! According to Lostmarc’h website, Ael-Mat means ‘Guardian Angel’. I love it. Maybe the guardian angel sits at the shores and waits for her fisherman to return home. Maybe the guardian angel is more folklore and myth than that (albeit romantic) notion. I’m reading a book right now – The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – which, even though partly set in Cornwall, and not in France, makes me imagine the Guardian Angel/Ael Mat as Morton’s heroine ‘Queen of the Piskies’ who sits on her sea rock and writes fairy tales. I’m not finished the book yet, but all this talk of magic at the edge of the world seems to tie in well. Maybe this perfume and book will go well together!

Other reasons I bought this perfume relate to its composition.

It has a chamomile note. Chamomile happens to be one of my favourite teas, one that I’ve been drinking since I was a kid. It’s herbal and calming and feels like hugs.

It has a jasmine note. I LOVE jasmine (well, some jasmine at least).

It has a musk note. Love musk, too.

Finally, citrus. Who doesn’t like citrus? I like it.

I sure hope I haven’t built this up in my head so much that it’s disappointing. Others have said Ael-Mat has short staying power, but that’s okay since it’s not terribly over-priced. Has anyone else tried this scent? What are your unsniffed full bottle purchases?

Catch Ael-Mat while you can with the FF discount at Beautyhabit!

Want: Jo Malone Wild Bluebell Cologne

I’ve never purchased a perfume un-sniffed before (except for recently and I’ll post on that later!). Now I find myself EXTREMELY tempted again. You see, bluebells are special to me. They grow wild where I live and they were all over the place when I got married. I love everything about them – their purplish blue color, their small bell-shape, the fact that they grow in the strangest places (say, on some rocky hills just behind a pebbly and windy beach). I love the way they provide such a contrast with the environment in which they grow. In short, they are gorgeous!

Image Source: Best Things in Beauty

I’m not such a fan of the cutesy (or is it creepy?) promo pictures associated with the fragrance, although I appreciate a bunny just as much as the next gal. And, of course, it makes sense that bluebells are featured everywhere. I just don’t get how the girl in the poufy dress fits in. I’ve never been to England so perhaps this type of imagery suits. It also seems very Sofia Coppola-Marie Antoinette so maybe they’re marketing this to the type of audience that appreciates that film. However, where I live you need to associate the bluebell with some rough coastline, wind, and much warmer clothing!

I really want a bottle of this. Only one other fragrance has tempted me in this way: Lostmarc’h Ael-Mat. And it’s because of the imagery each conjures. The marketing people behind these fragrances have certainly tapped into MY nostalgia and romanticism. What about you? Anyone tempted by Jo Malone Wild Bluebell Cologne? Have you ever bought anything un-sniffed? Penhaligon’s apparently makes a bluebell fragrance, too. Anyone try it? Do you know of any other bluebell scents?

Tea Fragrances

I’ve been spending lots of time with my older sister lately, and she really loves tea. Bagged, loose, whatever. Just as long as it’s not flavoured in a gimmicky kind of way. She likes the basics (except Earl Grey, which I love).

We were in Winners (Canadian TJ Maxx) awhile back and she found a really amazing green tea scent from Fruits and Passion, but didn’t get it because it was missing the bottle spritzer. And now I can’t find that scent on the Fruits and Passion website. I’d like to get my sister a tea fragrance (or a bunch of samples) at some point and I was wondering what your thoughts are on additional good ones to try. I don’t have much experience at all with tea scents. I did get my younger sister L’Occitane‘s Bergamot Tea perfume solid awhile back (now discontinued?) and we both love that.

Here’s a list of some other tea scents that I’ve come across lately:

Jo Malone Tea Collection (Sold out?)
Ava Luxe Black Tea
CB I Hate Perfume Lavender Tea
CB I Hate Perfume Tea/Rose
CB I Hate Perfume Cedarwood Tea
CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea
All the Bulgari tea scents (Au The Rouge, Au The Blanc)
L’Occitane The Vert
L’Artisan Tea for Two
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Tea Rose, and others
Elizabeth Arden Green Tea

I’ve also been curious to try Ayala Moriel’s scents. She has a tea coffret that looks amazing. It contains her scents: Charisma (green tea), Fetish (green tea), Gaucho (yerbamate), Immortelle l’Amour (rooibos), Finjan (coffee), Kinmokusei (green tea), Roses et Chocolat and The Purple Dress (black tea).

The coffret is beyond my means, but maybe I could choose a couple to try. Anyone got any recommendations? What other tea scents am I missing from this list?

Small MAC Haul (that rhymes): Lovelorn Lustre Lipstick

Apologies for not posting more often! This summer has been so crazy I can’t even begin to describe it. Now I’m in between countries waiting to immigrate and I’ve been filling my days working part time and trying to find a job in my new home country.

The US market is a tough nut to crack. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not there and looking for a job from another country, or if it’s because I need more skills/experience, or because the market is bad. In any case, it’s causing me some serious concern.

But never fear – I have not forgotten my love of pretty things through all this! I’m staying with my older sister for a bit and she is lucky enough to live near a MAC counter. So having never really had much opportunity to visit one, we had to go. I was in the market for a pink lipstick, and the sales associate recommended Lovelorn.

Lovelorn is described as “Emotive blue pink” on the MAC website.

What more can I add? Lovelorn is definitely a blue pink, but it’s not incredibly loud or anything. I’d say it’s rich without being obnoxious. It’s pretty! I can imagine it working well with grey eyeshadow, but I haven’t tried that yet. I’ve just been wearing it on its own with foundation and blush. I like to use just a bit to make my lips more pink-ified but still kinda natural. At $14.50 USD it’s not priced that high so I’m happy with it.

What’s your favourite pink lipstick for everyday? What’s your favourite MAC lipstick? I’ve got Viva Glam VI and Politely Pink (not a huge fan of that one in the end).

I also got some perfume samples to talk about later, and many more that I want to try too.

I hope you’re all enjoying what’s left of the summer!

Want: Timberland Earthkeepers

I was reading “A Model Recommends” this morning and spotted Ruth’s awesome Timberland Earthkeeper boots (doesn’t she look great?). So I put my research skills to use in an online hunt for the boots. I didn’t get far when I found other stuff from Timberland that I want. I didn’t find the boots, but who cares? What I did find was this Earthkeepers canvas and leather bag.

It looks like a bag my dad used to take moose hunting (military issue I think). I loved that bag and stole it from him as a teenager. I had it and wore it forever until it finally fell apart on me a couple of years back. Now I’ve been using this grey suede bucket thing from Zara and it’s not really cutting it for me. Funny thing about that moose hunting bag though…I think it actually smelled like moose because dogs were very drawn to it! Gross, I know, but for a dog lover it worked out pretty well.

Anyway, the AMR post reminded me how much I like some Timberland stuff. I think I’ll have to make a purchase from there soon. I need new shoes. A couple of male professors I know have Timberland sneaker-type shoes and I’ve always thought they looked pretty cool (on nerdy old guys anyway). One guy told me that people used to offer to buy them off his feet but he wouldn’t sell because his style isn’t made anymore. And on that note, sorry I haven’t been posting for awhile. Things have been crazy here…we’re in the process of moving and I just quit my job and am looking for a new one! Got any ideas? It’s been quite the roller-coaster lately. And to top it all off we don’t have summer yet. I’m hoping it will come soon. Hope you’re all enjoying good weather!

Picture Tag

Raspberry Rouge is doing a fun post today. Someone tags your blog and then asks you to go to the folder on your computer where you store your pictures. Choose the fourth folder and then the fourth file. You can’t cheat. Post it, and then explain it. I decided to tag myself and here’s what I came up with:

This is a 1981 artwork by American artist Barbara Kruger. I saved it because I was researching some references from a book I was reading awhile back. I’m not terribly familiar with Ms. Kruger’s work, but I like this photo. It has a feminist ring to it, pointing out that often the happiness of some depends upon the sacrifices of others who do not or cannot speak their minds. I’m sure if many working people in the world, silent in their daily struggles, became angry and shouted ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore’! (just like in the movie “Network“), the comfortable lives of some of the privileged in this world might be disrupted. But you can take what you want from this photo, and I think that’s part of its ability to speak. I challenge anyone out there do take up this fun game and post what you find!

Things have been crazy busy for me lately, but I’ll get back to posting as soon as I can. I hope any readers out there are enjoying nice weather!

Pale Foundation Swatches: Fourth Edition

By reader request (Hi Rosanna!) I’ve put together a photo comparing a four different swatches of foundation:
Clarins Skin Illusion Foundation in 103 Ivory, Cover FX Natural FX Water Based Foundation in E0, L’Oreal True Match Foundation in 1W1 and Revlon ColorStay in 110 Ivory. Here’s the photo:

And another photo:

You can kind of see the differences between these shades in the photo. Cover FX and Revlon are pretty similar color-wise. To me they look peachy. I think they’d probably be neutral shades. Their texture is really different though. Cover FX is thick and pretty tough to blend, while Revlon is thinner and easier to blend. Clarins blends amazingly well in my opinion; it’s the darkest shade here and seems kind of yellow/dark on my face but not overly so. The L’Oreal shade is the lightest by far. I think I’m going to check out some other shades of L’Oreal at some point. I’ll update as I go! Good luck with the hunt 🙂

Pale Foundation Swatches: Third Edition

This is the third installment in my hunt for the correct shade of foundation. This time I swatched Shiseido Perfect Refining Foundation (SPF 16) in 100, Clarins Skin Illusion (SPF 10) in 103, Estee Lauder Double Wear (SPF 10) in 1N1, and Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Foundation in 1 Warm Ivory. Here’s a photo:

I’m kinda thinking the Clarins one is the closest match of these to my face, but it seems just slightly too yellow in outdoor light. I’m going to try out one of their other shades, and another shade in the Shiseido foundation soon. I like the texture of the BB, Clarins and Shiseido the best. Estee Lauder is $34 USD for 1.0 oz, Clarins is $35 USD for 1.2 oz, Shiseido is $38.50 for 1.0 oz and Bobbi Brown is $45 USD for 1.0 oz. Clarins has a strong smell (cucumbers?) that is hard to get used to, but it blends really beautifully and seems to be the best value for your money. I’ll keep looking for more foundations and update as I go.

For reference here are swatches from the other two posts: here, and here.