July 2009


This summer I have been craving anything orange blossom. This mainly includes my orange blossom fragrant floral waters mixed in iced tea or orange blossom sorbets. I have always loved orange blossom in gastronomy but for some reason have kind of ignored it when it comes to fragrance. I go in fragrance spurts and this summer I have been craving orange blossom. It is such a bitter but delicate floral. I was happy to see that Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH has Fleurs d’Oranger du Roi. Evidently Louis XV was a mega fan of orange blossom for its “grace and lightness”. Well, I’m a mega fan too for the same reasons. Fleurs d’Oranger du Roi is one of those “true to the game” orange blossom scents. Don’t expect a complex blend with other star florals, spices, or woods. This is all about the beauty of the orange blossom. At first it is absolutely perfect and exactly what I have been craving. It smells bitter and citrusy with just a hint of floral. It smells identical to the orange blossom waters that I use in the kitchen (and I’ve been known to dump a bottle or two in the bath). It is more bitter like citrus rind than floral. It becomes more “blossomy” and less bitter after about 10-15 minutes of wear. It then becomes “pure” orange blossom. It is a soft and delicate neroli scent. It is lovely, delicate, and light. This is perfect for summer. Unfortunately, this fragrance only wore on my skin for about an hour in the summer heat. That isn’t hot lasting power for an EDP; however, I have not found an orange blossom fragrance that lasts longer than this. Some accords just do not last no matter what. These accords are mainly the “bubbly” and “light” scents such as citrus blossoms. FYI: From what I understand neroli oil and orange blossom oil are the “same” thing, meaning they come from the same source. The name is different depending on how it was extracted.

Overall, this is what I expected. I wouldn’t call it an “artful” or “creative” blend but it is so nice. It mainly resembles the Lebanese orange blossom floral waters that I use in the kitchen. However, this EDP lasts much longer than if I spritzed my skin with my waters. (I’ve tried and they last like 5 minutes). I realize that is hard to convince orange blossom to hang around until dessert. But, I also realize that orange blossom is a beautiful soliflore and it doesn’t need to be messed with to be “artful” or “creative”. It’s nice as is. This is exactly what I’ve been craving for summer and I’m happy with this fragrance.

This retails for $27 for .25 ounce EDP spray and can be purchased at beautyhabit.com. That is a tempting price point. Bonus, this line has 100% botanical fragrance and is hand-blended, hand-poured, and hand-bottled.

Weekly Cheap Secret:

I bought this strange thing. OK, it has a name eos which stands for Evolution of Smooth. I was attracted to this product because it is 95% USDA organic and 100% natural with ingredients like shea butter and olive oil, even has honeysuckle flower extract! I needed a lip balm and thought I would try something new. (OK maybe not needed…) I’m not tired of my Rose Bud Salve, I love that stuff. I  just wanted something less glossy. I need a “balm”. I ordered this from drugstore.com for $3.99. I couldn’t really judge scale or anything from it because I have never seen this product in person before. I guess it is sold at Target and at Safeway here in the PNW.  I was tempted by the “honeysuckle” flavor claim. I wanted it to take me back to my childhood when sucking the nectar out of honeysuckle blossoms was the best treat ever. Well, this is the “smooth sphere” so what I got was a strange melon green sphere thing the size of a small chicken or quail egg with a twist off top. Unfortunately mine looks dirty because it rolled around and got grimy in the drugstore.com box. Inside is a lip balm, like the size of a small quail egg. It’s huge and you just apply it like you would a tube lip balm. I have a big mouth and one swipe and I’m done. It reminds me of those old school and huge Lip Smackers. One swipe of those and I was done too. I think when it gets flat, I can just use my fingers to get it out. I don’t know yet. The fragrance is more honeydew melon and not honeysuckle.  It’s a fresh and very sweet honeydew melon that doesn’t smell “fake” like a Lip Smackers 🙂 Really the odor is very faint and not offensive, I just wish it was more floral. However, the flavor is sweet like honeysuckle. Not the type of floral sweet found in honeysuckle but more like the sweet “honey”/nectar found in a honeysuckle. I really don’t “smell” it but I taste it. The balm is smooth, not sticky. I like the way it feels. It is a good lip balm, not too thick or waxy but not too thin or overly slippery. Unfortunately it doesn’t wear very long and I find that I have to reapply very, very frequently. It’s not a bad product, my only complaint is the lasting power. . Mainly I like the strange shape which reminds me of a Kinder Egg with a lip balmy surprise. The sphere also comes in Summer Fruit and Sweet Mint. eos also sells from their website. They also sell a shaving cream and lip balm in a stick form.

This look is easy and so great for summer. Everything I’m “using” is from the Origins line. It’s no-fuss and I love that.

FACE: Even out complexion with Origins Nude and Improved Makeup. It’s oil-free, long-wearing, and has SPF 15. This makes it a hit for summer. It’s a sheer formula, so your freckles will peek through! If you are oily/shiny, apply All or Nothing Sheer Pressed Powder. It’s portable and you can carry it around for touch-ups. Apply a small amount of Pinch Your Cheeks Gel Blush in Raspberry. This gives a healthy, natural looking glow. I can not live without gel blush or cheek stains in the summer.

EYES: If you have unmanageable brows, brush a little bit of Just Browsing Brow Shaper in your shade onto brows. Apply a light beige shadow such as Eyeshadow in Cream Tulle from lash line to brows. Apply a medium brown shadow such as Nutcracker from lash line to crease. I would take a liner brush and use this brown as a liner as well. Apply closely to top and bottom lash line to help make lashes appear fuller. Curl lashes and apply a coat or two of Fringe Benefits Mascara. Personally, I would reach for a brown or brown/black for this natural, warm look, but use whatever you have.

LIPS: The lips are nude. I would protect them with a swipe of Cover Your Mouth Lip Protector with SPF 8.

That’s it. You’re done. This is a free spirited look that is timeless. It works for everybody.

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Estee Lauder has attempted to make “warm tones of sun-baked nudes and rose, lit with glimmers of gold look flattering on every skin tone.” It is a collection of “rose golds” with “glimmers”(AKA big pieces of shimmer flakes). It is a pretty, neutral collection and I imagine that it will really work for many people. It’s sexy in a Victoria’s Secret supermodel way, I mean just look at bronzed up Hilary Rhoda, the model above. I say that it will not work on all skin tones. But, if you have warm or olive undertones, it should really work. They have “amethyst” colors too. These are warmed up plums and berries. Instead of thinking as those as warm cools that cool toned complexions can wear, I think of them as cool tones that warm complexions can wear. Does that make sense?

EYES: There are 2  Sensuous Gold Signature Eyeshadow Quads that retail for $35. To be honest, I was not really impressed with either of these. It’s the formula. I know you’ve seen it before. It looks like it has been dusted with shimmer flakes. The shimmer is not mixed throughout the powder so you’ll get one use that will be super, super shimmery. It isn’t ugly, it’s just deceptive, I guess. Plus, I don’t see this formula wearing very nicely on a mature eye area. The colors are pretty, but I just recommend trying before you buy. There is Rose Amethyst, shimmery shades of plum, pink, and gold. The other is Rose Gold, glimmery shades of rose/pink and gold. Double Wear Stay In Place Eye Pencil has been relaunched. It’s a nice long wearing formula. Another item includes Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara. I haven’t tried it so sorry, no insights.

FACE: There is a Gilded Rose Shimmer Powder that retails for $36. It’s a baked and marbelized shimmer powder with gold, rose, peach, taupe, sand colors like that. It’s pretty but no better than any other baked and marbelized complexion enhancer on the market. However, it does come with a nice wide, flat brush. And of course Double Wear Foundation has been relaunched.

LIPS & NAILS: There are Signature Lipsticks in a pretty rose gold container. This have been dusted in shimmer also. They retail for $19.50. There’s Cinnamon, Plum Amethyst, Rose Amethyst, and Terracotta. All are warm and range from rose to bronze. There are 2 new Pure Color Multi-Gloss. These have colored layers of shimmer and go for $18. There is Amethyst and Rose Gold. There are 2 Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Black Amethyst, a rich blackberry, and Rose Gold, a shimmery warm rose. Both retail for $18.

And of course there is the Sensuous EDP, a modern wood scent that really isn’t too bad. And to “honor” this collection, they’ve released limited edition products in this scent. A solid perfume, perfume, body oil, body cream, and touch on fragrance. Prices range from $39.50-$120. I am really interested in the body oil. Remember Tom Ford’s Youth Dew Amber Nude body oil? That stuff was amazing.

This isn’t a collection that I feel I must have but it isn’t bad. I do like the warm plums. This collection because of the warm gold undertones could really make blue eyes pop and it will really compliment brown, hazel, and green eyes. The warm tones will work very nicely with olive and tan skins or anybody with golden undertones. We all know that rose gold looks great on redheads so imagine the shades with “rose gold” in the title will look wonderful. It’s just the shimmer factor that may put some people off due to age or the fact that they don’t like to be glitzy during the work day.

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Les Garçonnes Tamara Charleston is inspired by Tamara de Lempicka and her amazing paintings. I am so delighted that the dazzling Tamara was the inspiration for this fragrance. The packaging of this one contains the dramatic (and one of my favorite) color combos of chartreuse and aubergine. When I first heard of this collection of Crazysticks, I was very intrigued by this one in particular. It sounded so interesting with notes of gardenia, sambac jasmine, green mandarin, peach, lisylang, freshly cut hay, amber, and absinthe. It is described as a “fresh and flowery cocktail, almost prohibited“. I am pleased with this solid perfume even though it isn’t exactly what I expected. I guess I expected for it to be kind of herbaceous like dried hay with a heavy anise or licorice note. I expected it to be more bitter. I guess I thought it would be heavy on “absinthe”. I would like my “in my mind version” since I love anything licorice, but I could see it turning many people off. Tamara Charleston is much prettier than I could ever imagine and much more interesting that I could ever imagine. It’s fruity, green, raw, floral, and a little bitter.

According to the company’s Olfactive Star, this scent is heaviest on green mandarin, absinthe, and lisylang. I know what the 1st two are, but lisylang, never even heard of it. Well, it is a Robertet creation and is described as an aquatic floral note. So I guess I won’t be getting this wonderful “flower” for my garden, haha. Tamara Charleston wears closely to the skin like other Crazylibellule & The Poppies solid fragrances. It is soft and intimate. When I first put this on my skin and took a whiff, it took me to a place. It really reminded me of something but I didn’t know what. Then it hit me. It reminds me of this abandoned house down the road that I pass on my evening strolls. It is a menacing, rotting craftsman with an unkept yard. This yard grows widly and bears fruits like figs, olive, peaches, apricots, and blackberries with no maintenance. The weeds are grown up and have taken over. Across the street a wild jasmine grows. I will stand there, checking the ripeness of the fruit because I am so bumrushing the fruit trees one day, a warm breeze will go by and it brings in a scent that reminds me of this fragrance. I guess because of the jasmine, unripe fruits, dried out weeds, and a warm sea breeze, it is like this little stick. So I was a bit stunned when I sniffed this. It is much prettier than that abandoned lot but it reminds me of it, I refer to that lot as my secret garden. Anyways, I bet you are ready for a fragrance review.

Tamara Charleston smells fresh and green. It smells almost ammonia-ish from the unripe or green mandarin. This gives a complex and very different citrus to this blend. Strangely this is my favorite note. It smells slightly floral. The blossom smell airy and light. It isn’t like I smell “jasmine” but more that I feel like I am catching the odor of a warm breeze being carried in from a flower garden. I just go “flowers” but I can’t identify them directly. It smells warm and sweet just like cut hay and amber resin. You also get a “warm” fuzziness from an almost perfectly ripe peach. It’s a sweet peach, maybe from a hint of sugar in the absinthe. The absinthe is there and it provides a bitter “green” note. It isn’t licoricey but smells more like if you were standing over a mixed herb garden that contains everything from fennel to juniper.

This scent is a winner. I really like it because I have absolutely nothing like it in my extensive collection. It is fresh, bitter, and green but still really pretty and wearable. I think it is a perfect scent for late summer and early fall. I also love the attention to detail by Crazylibellule & The Poppies. Their inspiration was a hedonistic visual artist. They’ve done nice things like use absinthe in this blend, something historically loved by bohemian artists. “L’Histoire” on the box brings to mind an encounter with one of Tamara’s models and/or lovers. I love solid perfumes and  I love that I carry this cute thing around with me. It is available at beautyhabit.com and b-glowing. com for under $20.

Young Lady with Gloves

Young Lady with Gloves

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One of my favorite things about summer (other than lots of time off and the mild climate of the Pacific Northwest) is that I get to use my entire bath line of Jean Naté. Busting out the Jean Naté means that summer is here. It’s fresh, clean, citrusy and not fussy, making it a perfect summer must have.

Jean Naté or Jean Nate as my grandmother would say (like blue “jeans” and “nate” rhymes with “late”) was launched in 1935 under Charles of the Ritz, now Revlon. This is a best selling bath line. It was a hit then and continues to be so. Every generation of women in my family has used this stuff. It’s timeless despite the lame 70’s ad campaigns that my mother was exposed to. The scent is one of my favorite scents ever. And to my benefit this product is inexpensive, available at drugstores all over the country, and has the cutest vintage packaging (got to love that font).

The trademark is “clean never felt so fresh”, OK, not very brilliant but I promise that the products are. Overall the fragrance is a super fresh blend of citrus, bergamot, and lavender. But, each item has its own “special” quality and scent that it plays up. It’s like if you use the body wash you have the top note, the lotion you have the middle note, and with the splash you have the base. They all work together wonderfully.The scent is light and refreshing and really reminds me of very, very expensive European EDT/colognes.

Moisturizing Body Wash: This is my favorite body wash of all time. It is so fresh. It leaves my body clean all day. It’s my girl version of Irish Spring, making it a summer must have, especially here in Washington with no a/c. This body wash is “sparkling” and almost effervescent and bubbly in fragrance. This reminds me of a “top” note used in fragrance. It is heavy on the lemon and bergamot. I love it. It seriously leaves a faint scent on my skin all day. It lathers nicely and is everything I want in a shower gel.Unfortunately this is a very hard product to find. When I find it I pick up a few bottles because it is my favorite shower gel of all time. It goes for $6-$10.

Hydrating Body Lotion: The texture of this lotion is lightweight and perfect for summer. It isn’t greasy or sticky. It is very fragrant but less effervescent than the shower gel. This has the lemon and bergamot but with more lavender making this is a very refreshing and soothing product at the same time. Plus, you can pick up a fresh, dewy floral such a geranium. It is lovely.This goes for about $6 and you can sometimes find a very large bottle for $10.

After Bath Splash: I would say this is the most popular product in the line. This hit it big in the 70’s and 80’s when “light” fragrances were all the rage. People were simplifying their routines. The After Bath Splash is now available in 3 sizes in a convenient spray bottle. I love the old school splash with the big black spherical top, but since I pretty much bathe myself in this stuff the spray bottle is much more functional. The scent is so refreshing and much more herbaceous than the other products. It is lemon rind, bergamot, and English lavender. It is simple and refreshing and has a slight almost patchouli dry down. This reminds me of a classic Guerlain EDT such as Mitsouko, refreshing herbaceous Provincial inspired colognes like Potter & Moore Lavender & Italian Lemon, Hierbas de Ibiza Agua de Colonia Fresca, Satellite Paris L’Ombre, and even Lubin L’Eau Neuve. I love this stuff. It’s what I want in the summer. It is light wearing, I mean it is a body splash with a high alcohol content. Sometimes in the summer this is all I want. But, if I want more I will layer it under the fragrances that I have mentioned above. Hint-Put it in the fridge for an extra refreshing, cooling spritz. The prices for this range from $6 to $10 depending on size.

Silkening Body Powder: I love a dusting powder because I am an old-fashioned kind of gal. The powder comes in a cute yellow container with a nice puff. I only wear body powder in the summer so I happy it is available in this scent. This is a floral herbaceous blend that smells like the after bath splash in powder form.It’s soft and easily mixes with other fragrances you may layer over it. It retails for $10. I love to use this after one of my very late evening summer strolls. Or to freshen up in the summer midday if I don’t have time to shower before going back out.

A cologne spray is available but I have not tried it but I hope to soon. Since this product is a classic you can find good deals on it. For example, limited edition jumbo sizes for summer where you get 30 fl. oz. of bath splash for $10. Many say that the formula has been tampered with in 2007 and that it isn’t close to the original. I’m sure the formula has been changed but I think it is all a matter of opinion. My family members declare that what they buy today is what they remember it being like. I’ve been using it pre-2007 and post-2007 and find it the same. But, with classic products it is a touchy game. Old customers tastes could of changed but they would never admit it. But, I’m not going there. I just bought a new batch of every item I mentioned for this summer and love them all. There is an old commercial on youtube here that further emphasizes the “exhilarating” aspect of the product. It’s funny but warning, video quality isn’t so hot.

The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

Elizabeth Arden explains this fragrance as a “radiant woody floral and a modern expression of sparkling radiance“. I would definitely say that this fits into that category of “modern woody floral”. It is woody but not in a super masculine way. At first it comes on as a bit fruity with hints of citrus and stone fruits such as plum. This lasts a very short time on me. It then smells of spicy wood, like a mix of sandalwood and dry cedar. But, it floral in an “aquatic” fragrance sense of the word. It is floral with the hissy notes of “orchid” and “wisteria”. But, it is all blended together so if it is very difficult to go “oh, there is the wisteria and here is the sandalwood”. It is all blended together and this wears on me for a long time. At times I’ll sniff and smell the woods and then again I’ll sniff and pick up a certain floral sharpness that makes this smell almost soapy fresh. Eventually, all I smell is warm sun-baked woods with generic “clean” musk. It isn’t a horrible fragrance it just doesn’t have a lasting impression on me. I find it boring for a “Mediterranean” fragrance but find it interesting for a “sea” scent if this makes sense. I think this fragrance could of really benefited from a fig hint and herbs, but then again, I can find that elsewhere because that already exists. But for a “sea” scent,  I can appreciate that this scent is clean and fresh without being “aquatic” and overly hissy.  Overall the fragrance is a very clean “wood” scent that can be worn all year round. It’s “easy” to wear and it is a nice fragrance if you can’t stand the thought of wearing something sweet, foody, or overly floral. ( I have to love it for that).

I do find the bottle pretty for a mainstream fragrance. It has smooth cerulean blue glass. The glass feels heavy and it feels expensive. The cap is a hammered silver-ish something. To be honest, I can’t remember if it was metal or plastic. So, if it is plastic, then it did a good job of tricking me. It really looks like a pretty piece of resort wear jewelry and I have to give Elizabeth Arden props for this one.

I would say that you may like this if you like Michael Kors Island, Estee Lauder Sensuous, Avon U by Ungaro, Versace Versense, Demeter Laundromat, Pucci Vivara, and/or Dolce and Gabbana Sicily or Feminine.

The 1.7 ounce retails for $47.50 and the 3.3 ounce retails for $57.50. And there are extras like a shimmery body powder (very cool), body cream, and body lotion. A good time to pick this up is when Elizabeth Arden offers one of their GWP specials.

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