blackberrycollage

Well even here in the PNW, summer is almost over. This doesn’t mean that the weather will get horrible (autumn is my favorite season).  It just means that we have a few more weeks of sunshine 🙂 The brambles still have lots of ripe blackberries and will continue to for a few more weeks. I love blackberries. They are one of my favorite things of summer even if they signal the “end”. I love the smell of picking blackberries with the mix of leaves and dried out dead grass. I love the smell of sweet blackberries and their juiciness that stains your finger tips (why can’t I find a lipstain that color?). I love the smell of overripe blackberries. These do get almost musk like and floral. Since we have been renovating intensively, I haven’t had the time to bust out my favorite blackberry recipes. I was able to freeze a few reductions ranging from basic blackberry to blackberry, lemon, lavender which is amazing on angel food cake. We threw a few in salads and ate them by the handfuls. But, I didn’t make my sweets this year because life has been to hectic. Anyways, here is a guide of blackberry fragrances ranging in prices. Since blackberry is a musky fruity scent, it is often made more “sensual” by adding vanilla. I would love to find a blackberry scent that is more tangy and bitter and perhaps “living” but mixed with dried grass/hay, more of an “early” blackberry fragrance. My 2 favorites out of this list include: Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradis because it is a bit “darker” than the others and L’Artisan Parfumeur MĂ»re et Musc Extreme because it is a fruity scent that isn’t childish or teen.

Budget Blackberry Scents: Yves Rocher Les Plaisirs Nature MĂ»re Sauvage/Blackberry is a single note blackberry fragrance. It is fruity and juicy. The largest EDT , 3.3 oz, goes for $11. It’s nice to have around for late summer. L’Aromarine MĂ»re Musc Perfume Extract is a long wearing oil. It seems much more expensive than it is. It goes for about $10. A sweet and “young” blend of blackberry and vanilla (and light wearing) is Victoria’s Secret Pink Fruity & Bright  All-Over Body Mist. It retails for $15. To my surprise, I kind of like Bath and Body Works Midnight Pomegrante EDT. It’ a fruity blend including blackberries and cassis but it has musk and patchouli making it much richer and not as fruity. It goes for $26.50. They also have Black Raspberry & Vanilla EDT for the same price. This is a super sweet in a vanilla way, “berry” EDT. Sula Blackberry Blush EDP (not pictured) is a blackberry and vanilla blend with much needed florals. It’s simple and retails for $32 for 1 oz.

More Expensive Blackberry Scents: Mistral Wild Blackberry EDP is a fruity blackberry dessert type fragrance. It has zesty citrus notes and musk. The 1.7 oz goes for $50. Trish McVoy #9 EDP is sexy and heavy blackberry inspired scent with notes of vanilla and musk too. The 1.7 EDP goes for about $80. L’Artisan Parfumeur MĂ»re et Musc ExtrĂŞme is a rich fruity blend. It is much more “sensual” than the cologne and I would love to try the pure extract. It goes for $115 for 1.7 ounce. The Cologne is very green and fresh with blackberry and almost medicinal. I like it just as well. It has a time and a place. The smallest size is $95. Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradis EDP is absolutely delicious. It is a late summer mix of blackberry and fig with smoky amber notes. It is heavenly. The 1.7 oz goes for $135. DKNY Delicious Night is a much more floral blackberry blend with freesia. The 1.7 oz goes for $55. Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Gantier EDT (not pictured) is a crisp citrus berry blend. Not sweet but refreshing but very light wearing. The 3.4 oz. goes for $110.

Other Great Blackberry Products: Lush Blackberry Bath Bomb is a fun product that is heavy on that blackberry musk scent. It goes for $6. Ulta 3-in-1 Shower Smoothie Blackberry Blast is one of those faux super fruity blackberry scents. It is a fun product that retails for about $15. Naturally Victoria’s Secret Blackberry & Tonka Bean Restorative Scrub is a faintly blackberry scented scrub. It does a good job and retails for $18. D.L. & Co. Cassis Diffuser is an amazing scent of blackberry and fig. I love this scent because it does such a good job of seasonal transitioning. It retails for $95.

This fragrance was difficult for Guerlain. It didn’t attract the “typical” Guerlain customer, you know the person that swears by Jicky or Eau du Coq, and it didn’t attract the mainstream consumer (the person that purchases every new release at Macy’s) because it is just too “odd” for their tastes. I am in the middle ground consumer. I love all Guerlain fragrances. I wear Jicky, but I also wear fragrances like Benefit Maybe Baby.

This fragrance is like a “young old lady fragrance” if that makes any sense. (I hate describing fragrance by age groups, its just wrong just like putting age equivalents on standardized tests). It is a super powdery fragrance. It’s kind of sweet like a dusting powder but it is very powdery from orris root and something that resembles candied violets (my ultimate weakness). It has a sweet rose, like a rose lozenge or pastille. Sweet, but only foody if you are a floral food fan like myself. It’s musky and clean while being powdery and floral.Guerlain’s website states that “olfactory pyramid has been ‘deconstructed’ to reveal three faucets of INSOLENT femininity that suits everyone’s taste and mood…sparkling violets, glints of red berries, and rays of iris.” Well, maybe not suited for everyone’s taste and mood, but definitely my own. Some of my favorite memories included last summer, my 1st summer in the Northwest. I would pick berries with a Choward’s violet candy in my mouth and I wore a cheap no label Italian iris/orris root EDT in the late days of summer. It was nice, happy times. So Insolence has nailed what I’m looking for. It is much more feminine than me sweating and ignoring bloody berry scratches. This is so feminine, soft, powdery. It is an “olfactory spiral”, this is just a gimmick that means that top note, middle, and base are all together and it pretty much stays the same throughout the wear. This is somewhat true. It smells much like initial spritz even a few hours down the road. I mean it is a little different but the idea is still the same. It isn’t like violet, berries, and musk. It is more all of these things in a blender once the alcoholic top note dries down. It is a sweet fragrance with candied violet, rose, vanilla, sandalwood but note overly sweet like cotton candy fragrances. It does appear fruity, but for some reason this just doesn’t linger with me (slightly like a red currant).  It is just sweet but not too sweet to wear for summer. I find that I wear this throughout the year.

I like Insolence much better than L’Instant which I find too vanilla-y and overwhelming. It is “young”, I guess but I found that many people under 30 are completely turned off by this fragrance that many ladies over 30 find this too “young”. I was working the launch of this fragrance and you wouldn’t believe how many people were offended by this one. I just didn’t get it but I am sure many of them would find Shalimar offensive and SJP Lovely not. I don’t find this one offensive at all, if anything it is too tame and pretty. Also, the use of Hilary Swank as the “face” of the fragrance was a bad idea. You don’t realize that the public is so sensitive to that kind of stuff until you see it in action. Many people do not find her glamorous (or attractive really!); people really do use her name and “horse face” together alot. Anyways…

It wears for many hours, extremely well for an EDT. I smell it on my jackets and scarves days after wear. My husband loves this one. It just smells “girly” so I am sure it will attract the opposite sex. My husband always says that he hates vanilla in fragrance because it smells “cheap” but he seems to like it in this. It adds a sweetness and softness to the floral notes. It also helps the violet stick around (I still haven’t found a violet fragrance that loves to be with me!)

The bottle is OK. It’s a bit chunky and the plastic top is a bit oversized. The 1 ounce bottle goes for $55. It is getting harder and harder to find! Please don’t tell me that it is being discontinued like I predicted it would be since it’s launch. I still have a 3.4 ounce bottle left and maybe I need to get my hands on another.

Sometimes I buy things and I really don’t know why I did. This little Eau de Toilette spray is one of those things. It was cheap, $5 for less than an ounce spray. It was summer and I thought for some reason that I would like to smell like strawberries. Why? I have never wanted to smell like strawberries but I guess I thought it would smell fresh for summer. Fruit smells are so difficult to replicate. I know when I added this to my cart I was thinking of farmer’s markets strawberries, slightly ripening and softening in the little baskets under the warm summer sun. I could smell their sickly sweetness that was just strawberry. I know that capturing a fruit is virtually impossible but I thought that it couldn’t go that wrong. I just wanted the “memory” or the “atmosphere” of strawberry. This kind of does that. It is sweet, but not as disgusting as strawberry Jolly Ranchers or big globs of strawberry bubble gum but it does come close. This is sweet and not very realistic. It smells of strawberry in an artificial sense. I’m not upset, I think I payed less than $5 for it. I’ve bought Escada fragrances that were more disgusting. This fixes that berry fix and did teach me a lesson. This would make a nice EDT spray for a little girl or even a teen girl. Or for someone that likes those Escada fragrances that I speak of. I also want to add that strawberries are trying to kill me as I found out this past weekend over a pound of ripe strawberries that I am allergic to them. Argghh! So maybe I’ll come to love this fragrance since I can’t enjoy the real thing.

Seabeck

Seabeck, WA: Where I spent the week-end

juicy

I had a nice weekend enjoying the warmth of a Pacific Northwest summer, gorgeous mountain views and salt water aromas. I had a nice picnic where I was harassed by some auburn bellied squirrel thing that for real tried to climb up my leg in hopes of a pinch of tortilla. Berry bushes are flowering and fruiting; hence, inspiring one of my favorite looks of all: berry lipstick. I spent most of my freshman year of college wearing a vintage, gray wool blazer, my hair in it’s natural color and long as heck in a tight bun, no eye makeup: not even mascara and I’d wear the deepest wine and berry lipsticks and glosses I could get my hands on. I’d mega highlight my facial features with glossy highlighting creams and gels. It was a very librarian meets Madonna stage for me and one of my favorites. I love Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Wine Sinner, a deep matte merlot that comes in wonderful deco packaging. I used to wear MAC Media, a satiny reddish-purple and Cyber, my closet goth blackish purple satin finish favorite. These colors are very pigmented and have a tendency to cake however. You must use a primer beforehand.  I used MAC Lip Pencil in Vino a violet purple. Burt’s Bees used to make a wonderful deep, almost black purple lipstick. Hmm, wonder why they don’t make that anymore? The closest thing they have now is Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Merlot which is a shimmery wine with a minty tingle. Still not as good as the lipstick they used to make but still a great product. It’s a steal at $5. I wore so much of Chanel Rouge Hydrabase Lipstick in Vamp, a very dark plumish  berry. I feel like I am the reason why it still exists, I really messed up the marketing data by buying so much of it. Plus, Uma Thurman in Pulp fiction has kept that shade alive. Benefit Silky-Finish Lipstick in Raisin’ Cane (yes a redneck name, but a great color) is a brownish wine bronze that adds color without being too purple. When I felt like I couldn’t find shades with enough pigment, I found myself drawn to brands like Iman, Fashion Fair, or Black Radiance. Iman Luxury Moisturing Lipstick in Black Brandy is heavenly. Recently, I have found L’Oreal Hip Lipstick in Extrovert, a deep brown-ish berry and Rimmel Moisture Rich Lipstick in Hype, a deep berry. I’ve been through 2 Hypes already. Nobody can beat the price and quality of that lipstick.  A red berry shade that is rich and glam is Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick in Cuivre Fusion which is a golden berry red that feels so smooth on the lips. I used to wear Kevyn Aucoin The Liquid Lipstick in Aquarouge which is a really deep red brown with lots of shimmer. It adds alot of dimension to the lips. I used to have to buy it at some local boutique but now Sephora carries it which is nice.

For those of you that don’t like the idea of having almost gothic lips, then glosses are stains are for you. Nars Lip Gloss in Boogie Nights, a metallic pink-ish raspberry is a great choice. The classic Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is a must for anyone in my opinion.  I find myself wearing it all the time, out and about and to my conservative job. Tarte 24/7 Lip Sheer in Friday and Lola Tinted Lip Balm in Voluptuous are great don’t even think about it berries because they are in a “ChapStick” container. Urban Decay Lip Envy Lipstain in Greedy is so easy to use. It is a deep berry that goes on sheer and looks great with gloss over it. L’Oreal Hip Lipgloss in Outstanding looks like a really dark shimmery berry but applies very light and fresh looking. I love cosmetics but I love it when my lips are stained by berries or wine.