Sunday, November 29, 2015

recommended winter perfumes 2015

December is not fall.  I don't care when the actual winter solstice is, all of December is winter.  And it's coming in three days so I am jumping the gun and suggesting a few of my favorite cold weather, winter-time perfumes.  Even starting a week or so ago I was feeling ready for something more heady and rich as the colder weather usually dictates.  And I wish so badly that I had a real fireplace because I can just imaging sitting in front of it and letting my gorgeous perfumes bloom.  Oh well, fireplace or not, I still intend on enjoying these:

Yves Saint Laurent Belle d'Opium:  Fragrantica describes the wearer of this perfume as "a woman who wears this is full of ambivalence, elusive and obsessive, powerful and troubling, ingenue but dangerous."  Sounds intriguing right?  It is clearly a creamy oriental with floral and warm spicy notes, along with an underlying sweetness.  It is not as common as the other Opium perfumes (more mild I'd say), but is perfect for keeping you warm during these icy months ahead.  Some notes include:  coffee, pink peppercorn, orange blossom.  jasmine, patchouli, cedar.

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles eau de toilette is the grand dame wrapped in fur and jewels.  But she just came to the party after having elicit sex with her young lover.  This is at the same time opulent and dirty.  What a combination!  Originally launched in 1962, it has, of course, been reformulated.  I like both versions but the original is the most special.  You can get the vintage version on etsy (my link) or the new one on amazon.  I think the original version is more anamalic than the recent one, which I find more floral.  Some notes include:  jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, orange blossom, rosemary.  Vetiver, leather, amber, sandalwood, and civet

Kim Kardashian, Kim Kardashian For Women.  I know, I know, don't scoff.  Even though this is kind of a one trick pony, its dominating white floral notes are very pleasing.  I love white florals in winter!  Plus you really get your money's worth because the scent lasts for hours on the skin and the price point is inexpensive.  Just think of it as a fun one.  It is a glam young woman making all the rounds of holiday parties.  Some notes include:  tuberose, gardenia, jasmine.  vanilla orchid, sexy musk, and sandalwood.

Juliette Has A Gun Midnight Oud is a rock and roll oud.  It is in my top three ouds (Roja Amber Oud, and Mancera Roseoud & Musk  being my other two).  If you have never tried an oud before (the woody/musky agarwood from the middle east) this is a good starter one in my opinion because it is tempered by a lovely rose.  The type of woman you might find wearing this:  Cheryl Crow, Patti Scailfa (guitarist and Bruce Springsteen's wife), Nora Jones, and of course me.  Some notes include:  Morrocan rose, amber, oud,  saffron, geranium, and patchouli.

Chanel Les Exclusifs de Chanel, Misia.  Honestly I prefer the dry down on this, rather than the initial spray, but it is extremely popular and has taken the world by storm.  Like many Chanel perfumes it is classically powdery but is sexed up a bit by its woody and sweet notes (definitely not too sweet though). It's very vintagy smelling and I totally imagine it could be worn by a gaggle of 1920s flappers.  It also smells quite floral and some notes include:  iris, violet, benzoin, leather, and Tonka bean.

SarahWen Perfume Art, Gladiator.  SaraWen is an indie perfume oil brand found on Etsy.  She describes her art as "magical and romantic perfume inspirations".   Gladiator is a musky unisex perfume to be worn by an idependant woman.  It is kind of sweet and the myrrh definitely comes through, reminding me of something perhaps from the Renaissance (even though the name suggests something much older).  It'll keep your blood pumping and your cheeks flushed during these cold winter months (I love perfume oils in the winter!).  It's %100 vegan and a small bottle only costs $12.98.  Some notes include:  leather, sandalwood, dragonsblood incense, myrrh, and pomegranate fruit.

For more winter perfumes read my perfect holiday perfumes

pics stolen from Fragrantica, Chanel, Google, and Etsy dot com

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

splurge! November

It's time for another splurge post and who doesn't love that!  Plus I have a lot of fun doing them.  With the holidays here it is the perfect time for you to put one (or some!) of these on your wish list.  I don't know who could give it to me but I'll be angling for the Roja perfume.

Roja Amber Oud perfume.  All of Roja Dove's British niche brand perfumes are extremely expensive but so unique and refined there's no need to wonder why. My favorite, Amber Oud, is classified as a spicy oriental and the notes in this are to die for.  It starts out with lemon, lime, and bergamot.  Next are rose, ylang ylang, and fig.  And finally some of what keeps it going are civet, oud (agarwood), oakmoss, saffron, and sandalwood.  So sensuous!  If this is out of your price range, I highly recommend ordering a sample from either Surrender To Chance or The Perfumed Court.

$725 for 3.4 oz

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black and Nirvana White Dry Shampoo  These designer dry shampoos were created by Mary Kate and Ashley and Olsen and are like perfume for your hair.  Except they soak up all the dirt and oil, and volumize your hair too.  They smell exactly like the perfumes that they were created to replicate (Nirvana White and Nirvana Black) but you get good action from them as well.  If a tad bit powdery and white, they are easy enough to fluff through the hair and blend in.  The smell lasts for hours and hours and they get all rave reviews.  They are expensive for a dry shampoo but a lot of fun.

$28 for 4.4 oz

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Face III Buffing Foundation Brush.  Is favored by the youtube beauty experts as they rave on and on about it with joy.  The size and density of synthetic cruelty-free hairs make your foundation easier and quicker to apply with nothing but a flawless finish.  I can pretty much make it work for a lighter application but it is supreme for a heavier one. I love love love this, and to me it is totally worth the price.


Viseart eyeshadow palettes are professional brand makeup.  The consistency of the powder shadows is as creamy as can be so that they apply better than many other brands and blend like a dream.  They may be pricey but you actually get a lot of product in the palette, so if you can lay down the money it's not a bad value.  They have neutral palettes, bright colorful palettes, and all are beautiful in my book.


Fresh Creme Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask Is in my top two best-working masks.  First of all, the hydrating effects lasted almost three days on me.  So it's a work horse.  But it is also extremely luxurious and thick.  You can feel the honey soothing and nourishing.  It smells yummy, has beneficial anti-oxidants, and with regular use can be helpful to slow down the aging process.  Simply divine!

$140 for 3.3 oz

See anything here that is splurge worthy for you?

If you like this splurge post check out my others:  

pics stolen from Sephora, Roja, and Fresh websites

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Thursday, November 19, 2015

for blackheads

Who doesn't have blackheads?  Really, I'd like to know.  Even just a few on the nose.  And nothing is more stubborn than blackheads,  that's the bitch of it.  I have a few good solutions, but like most things you'll need to stay on top of them.

So when you think of blackheads think of products with salicylic acid in them.  Salicylic is a beta-hydroxy acid that not only exfoliates the surface skin but it also penetrates the pores to root out dirt and oil.  Of course, salicylic alone doesn't always do the trick so I recommend trying these as well:

All the sales assistants at the stores are crazy for Murad Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo and it's scientifically proven to work.  Not only does it clear out existing blackheads but it seals the pores to prevent more from forming.  Step one of the duo is like a clay mask that you leave on for ten minutes and rinse off.  Then you follow it up with the Pore Refining Sealer, then more again twelve hours later.  The products are not sold separately, but using them together is what really truly works.

Everyone has heard of the Clairsonic Cleansing Brush, but if you didn't know, it has a Deep Pore Replacement Brush Head available.  Clairsonic Deep Pore Daily Cleanser is a good accompaniment but I would only use it on the blackhead areas unless you have really oily skin.  This cleanser, of course, contains salicylic acid.  Virtually everyone loves a Clairsonic and the reason it is different from other cleansing brushes is it is powered by sonic technology which cleanses the skin six times deeper than manual cleansing alone.  The only person I wouldn't recommend a Clairsonic for is really sensitive or rosacea skin.  There are several models of Clairsonic but to keep it simple; the Mia has one speed (medium), the Mia2 has two speeds, and the Mia3 has three speeds.  The fastest speed being of course the deepest cleaning.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha-Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula Daily Peel is one of the best things you can do for your skin in general.  It's pricey but totally worth it.  It also comes in a sensitive skin formula and a regular strength formula for skin that isn't used to exfoliation (you can use this one to start out slow).  There are imitators out there but believe me no one can compare to this secret formula of alpha and beta hydroxy acids.  One of the reasons this combo works is that the mix of BHA acid (remember roots out dirt and oil) and AHA (to throughly keep the surface of the skin clear) enhance each other.  It is non-irritating and safe enough to use every or every-other day.  It's an easy-to-use two step process - use it on your blackheads for sure, but the rest of your skin will become totally radiant.

Another great way to stay on top of blackheads is to get monthly microdermabrasion treatments at a spa.  Some spas will even have a package deal if you buy a series of treatments.  Microdermabrasion is like a gentle version of sandblasting but using various different micro-particles - often crystals.  To me this is the most perfect form of exfoliation, but is best done by a professional type machine.  I LOVE getting microdermabrasion - it makes your skin look so fantastic!

I WANT TO TRY:  Bliss Pore-fector Gadget Skincare Device.  This electric tool loosens up dirt and oil using sonic vibrations from a metal plate.  It just seems like something used at a spa.  Apparently it really works.

One final note:  I beg you not to use a this evil tool to squeeze out your blackheads.  It is difficult to gage the amount of pressure you are actually exerting with a blemish extractor and too much pressure can break blood vessels or cause other scarring.  If you have to squeeze the little devils please just use your (sanitized) fingers and a tissue.  In many states blemish extractors are actually illegal to use in spas.  Enough said.

pics stolen from Dermstore, Sephora, Blissworld, and

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Saturday, November 14, 2015

MORE holiday 2015 gift sets you need to buy for yourself

More fabulous limited edition holiday stuff keeps surfacing, and I have a whole new bunch of favorites.  I gotta tell you about them because, like me, I know you will want them for yourself.  As I've said before, buy them now because they will sell out way before Christmas gets here.  And as always they are a good value.

First on the list: far and away my most coveted item is BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Champagne Glow Palette Featuring Champagne Pop and Jaclyn Hill .  The BECCA highlighters are favored by all beauty vixens out there.  It's their perfect velvety texture, the way they glide on, and the way they glow of course.  This trio has spectacular limited edition colors including the famous champagne pop created by makeup artist and beauty youtuber Jaclyn Hill. Some say highlighters and bronzers are just for warmer weather but I say "BS" they are appropriate all year round.

Smashbox Art. Love. Color. Palettes is a trio of mini palettes that are exquisitely, individually wrapped so they can be divided up and given out as several gifts.  But why would you want to do that when you will need each one for yourself?  In fact they are set up perfectly for travel.  Each mini palette has a trio of triangle/triple-choice eyes shadows and one very wearable blush color.  The shadow colors are super pretty neutrals and smokies 
And more cheek color!  Tarte At First Blush Deluxe Amazonian Clay Blush Set.  I love these generous mini blushes!  The four colors are limited edition and include two matte and two shimmer textures.  Tarte's Amazonian blush is renowned for being long-wearing (up to 12 hours) and is a natural brand - even gluten-free.  Set includes a nude melon, a poppy pink, a plum rose, and a rosy pink.  I don't know why but I prefer these individuals over the Tarte multi-blush palettes.

Clinique Whole Lotta Chubby.  Don't you just love the name?  This is a fun sampler of three Chubby Stick lip pencils, one Chubby Stick eye pencil, and one Chubby Stick cheek pencil.  The three lips represent the different levels of Clinique's sheerness:  mostly pinks but a red one to die for.  The eye pencil is a versatile champagne, good for layering under a light powder shadow (lasts longer that way).  And yes, the neutral cheek stick goes on smooth as silk and blends like a dream.  This is the perfect way to test out the world of chubby.

Drug store perfume gift sets.  I was at Walgreen's the other day and their holiday perfume set display was astounding!  Totally abundant. Nothing gets me more excited than rows and rows of perfume. And while a lot of it was pretty cheesy there were a few gems to be found.  Going this route is a money-saving way to try out new perfumes - the sets even come with body lotions.  Often you will find that drugstores have the designer standbys such as Burberry and Thierry Mugler, but I'm telling you some of those celebrity scents are whimsical, casual, and not bad at all. Celebrity scents I recommend trying are Jennifer Antiston, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian,  and Jennifer Lopez to name a few.

pics stolen from Sephora, Walgreens, Tarte, and

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Saturday, November 7, 2015

october 2015 favorites

Please forgive me if I am a bit behind on last month's favorites but I have been very sick with an upper respiratory illness than is going on week three now.  So frustrating!  But I am pulling myself together here to do the fun thing and let you know what I've enjoyed most in October.  Maybe something will inspire you!

FACE:  Murad Clarifying Wipes For Blemish Prone Skin get your skin soooo clean and are surprisingly great for any skin type even sensitive.  I think it is the witch hazel and lemon fruit extract that do it. **

SMELLING:  Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay has been my go-to perfume this month.  It is the perfect light fall scent, unique and classy as they come.  Dry woods and berry smell.

LISTENING TO:  Sadly not much.  I am musically anorexic - please help me.

BODY:  Gillette Venus Spa  Breeze 2-in-1 Razor Plus Shave Gel Bars.  Believe it or not you really don't need to use shave gel with these razors and they still give a smooth, non-irritating shave. It actually does a fantastic job. I get about four uses out of one blade, which is the same for me as a regular blade.

HANDS:  Lancome Absolute Hand.  Absolute Anti-Age Spot Replenishing Unifying SPF15 Suncreeen is luxuriously hydrating and attends to the fact that your hands show your true age more than your face even.  I always repurchase.

EATING/DRINKING:  Chili!  I had no idea I had it in me but I make the best chili in the world.  Just can't get enough in this cool weather.

WATCHING:  The Blacklist.  Total suspense and James Spader is awesome, but it does puzzle me why such a girly girl as myself watches so many FBI shows.

MAKEUP a tie:
(1) Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare CC Cream SPF 18 is texture perfect.  Creamy with just the right amount of coverage to even out skintone.  I use it almost every day unless I am getting all dolled up with full-on foundation.
(2) Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Stoned Rose is the perfect neutral-non-nude color for me.  I swipe it on all the time and this high-end brand feels cashmere soft.

What were some of your faves in October?

** it does contain denatured alcohol which scientists claim is safe and non-drying to the skin.  It doesn't seem to bother my dry sensitive skin, but I don't use them every day.

pic from photosearch

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. I am not financially compensated for my reviews