To be honest, I think the only reason that I like this summer collection is because of the packaging. It’s a “print” that is found throughout my home decor. (Think Thomaspaul creepy sealife prints found on pillows, etc. and antique sealife prints). The motifs are the ones featured on the model’s ill-fitting swimsuit. The colors aren’t anything new. In fact, many are the same colors MAC has all year but in snazzy summer packaging.

The collection describes itself as such: “The seaside has a kind of golden, sexy alchemy we’re all drawn to. This collection encapsulates it with the most soothing, sultry shades of summertime. A safe way to bronze, beautify, and get colour that looks sun-kissed. Close your eyes, and go To The Beach!” This is true. What would a summer collection be without bronzers and golden tones?After seeing this collection on-line, I ran to the local MAC store.

EYES: There are 5 Eyeshadows. Each are packaged in an adorable avocado fruit green with a seashell “stamped” on a see-thru window. Sand & Sun is a matte peach that is perfect for making the lids of the peaches n’cream complexions appear even. Firecracker is a shimmery reddish shade that looks much better mixed with colors than worn alone. Sweet & Punchy is a lovely chartreuse shimmer. Shimmermoss is an aqua shimmer that mixes beautifully with gold. Humid is a shimmery, deep green that makes a great smoky eye or liner. All the colors are nice but I already own Shimmermoss and Humid. I was tempted by Sweet & Punchy but I can get a similar effect with Bitter. Each retail for $14.50. There are 2 Eye Kohls that have a coral motif that matches the color of the kohl. There is Rosemary & Thyme, a medium olive shimmmer, and Float On By, a deep turquoise. Both are nice but I already own similar colors. Rosemary & Thyme would look stunning on brown-eyed redheads. The pencils retail for $14.50.

LIPS: There are 4 Lipsticks in an orange case with a seashell “stamp”. Beachbound is a neutral light shimmery peach. Lazy Day is an “everyday” dusty pink. Thrills is a rose with gold shimmer. Funbathing is a California Red Plum with bronze shimmer. I love the packaging of the lipsticks but I didn’t fall in love with any of the colors. Funbathing is nice but I didn’t love it. I think it would be a nice “plum” for deeper complexions and olive complexions. Lipsticks retail for $14. There are 3 Tinted Lipglass with an orange top and an adorable seahorse “stamp”. Colors include Easy Lounger (pale pink shimmer), Flurry of Fun (neutral peach shimmer), and Splashing (blue-ish mauve with shimmer, makes teeth appear whiter). I like the packaging but didn’t fall in love with any of the colors. These retail for $14. There are 2 Lip Pencils. The packaging matches the Eye Kohl. There is Life’s A Breeze, neutral pink, and Temperature Rising, a bright orange. I see myself using something like Temperature Rising throughout the summer but I already have an orange lip liner that I love by NYX. These go for $13.

FACE: There are 2 Powder Blushes in a “super-sized” packaging that looks like the eye shadows. Hipness is a peach shimmer and Get-Away Bronze, a medium tan. Neither of these blushes did anything for me. Hipness wasn’t “bold” enough. These retail for $18.50. There’s a beautiful High-Light Powder but it lacks the adorable sea-life motif that I love about this collection. The powder is Marine Life and it is a swirl of pearl, bronze, peach and coral. There is a cute embossed sea horse on the powder. This of course disappears with a tap of a brush. It goes for $26. There are 2 Creme Bronzers (shell “stamp”) in Beach Bronze, a golden bronze, and Weekend, an “orangey” bronze. These are nice but I wouldn’t get much use out of them in the summer. I would do better by choosing a darker foundation for summer. These retail for $25. There are 2 shades of Bronzing Powder. The powder is packaged in an orange compact with a coral motif. I love this and this is the product that I almost purchased. Shades include Golden, a warm tan, and Refined Gold, a tan with gold shimmers. I didn’t buy one of these because the colors are available all year and I love my NARS Bronzer. There are 2 Lustre Drops. This pearly cream can be worn alone or mixed with otehr products for the face and body. There is Pink Rebel, a cool shimmery pink that works nicely with pale skin tones. This shade adds “light” without being the muddy bronze that many light skins can’t wear. Sun Rush is a flattering peachy bronze shimmer. These versatile “drops” retail for $18.50.

NAILS & BODY: There are 2 Nail Lacquers. I love In The Buff. This is a taupey, muddy olive. It’s a really strange shade but this is the freakish weird olive shade that I become when I tan. I wonder if they could make a foundation powder in this shade? The other colors is Scorcher. This is a coral red. It’s pretty but so many other brands offer colors just like this one, so it isn’t special like In The Buff. These polishes retail for $12. There is a nice Body Oil. It is an oil in a pump bottle that is infused with golden tan shimmers. I imagine that this product would look amazing on legs. I wanted to buy it but a little voice reminded me that I already have the NARS oil that is almost like this and the NARS smells better. This retails for $22.

So, I didn’t leave with any of these products. It isn’t that I didn’t like any of these items or the packaging. It’s just that since I’m a cosmetic addict, I already have so many colors like these. I promised myself years ago that I wouldn’t drag an item into my collection just because of packaging alone. I don’t always live up to my promise but I have matured and put my priorities in line. So, my collection does not have any To The Beach products because I’m being reasonable and I realize I already have these colors. This is the downside to owning one of everything. The colors are summery and predictable: bronze, coral, and turquoise. This isn’t anything new so it makes sense that my collection would include these summer staples. This collection is available at MAC’s website but you’ll have better luck visiting your local MAC store or counter because the website has sold out of most products. See that packaging “got” many beauty/cosmetic addicts 🙂

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Remembering those that have fallen… wearing Kenzo Flower Cologne today (seems appropriate being that it is based on the scentless poppy) on this much needed sunny, but windy, Monday afternoon.

I hope everyone had a great 3 day weekend. I hear that it feels like summer everywhere else in the country. We had a relaxing 3 day weekend packed with whale watching, delicious Thai food, and getting this house together. It’s still chilly, well, for June, but I know that summer is here.

-Victoria


Flower Perfume for Women Eau De Parfum Spray 3.4 Oz by Kenzo

From: BigDiscountFragrances.com

I love plums. We have a plum tree in the backyard and this spring brought us the most amazing aroma of plum blossoms. Plus, the tree has been just beautiful when covered with blossoms. It’s been quite a view from my pink boudoir. I also love the aroma of the juicy fruit. Stone fruits really add to a fragrance. A plum has a richness that others do not, plus it lacks the “fuzziness” of peaches. It mixes well with florals and spices. Hey, it even mixes well with seaweed. I would love a fragrance that smells like plum furikake. I’ve compiled a brief “collage” of various plum heavy fragrances. Feel free to add.

Budget Plum Scents (under $50): TokyoMilk Parfum Sugar Plum Solid Perfume is a sweet plum as the name implies. It retails for $18. Bath and Body Works has 2 fruity plum floral EDTs: Cherry Blossom and Blushing  Cherry Blossom. Both retail for $26.50 for over 2 ounces. An “oriental” plum is Avon Imari Seduction EDT. This is a “purple” seductive fragrance with vanilla, plum, and orchids. The 1.7 oz. goes for $22.50. Crazylibellule & The Poppies 26 Juin ile d’Yeu Solid Cologne is a refreshing plum/fruity chypre. The crazystick goes for about $18. To me it smells like a plum tree full of ripe fruit on a hot summer day. I really do love that stick. Aroma M Geisha Pink Roll-On is a frivolous sweet, sugared plum fragrance oil in an adorable package. It retails for $40.

More Expensive Plum Scents: Juicy Couture Couture Couture EDP is a very sweet fruity-floral with plum. It’s a bit too sweet for my taste, but it does have candied plums. The bottle is beautiful. The 1.7 ounce goes for $65. Creed Aqua Florentine is a light-hearted fruity floral with dessert plums, flirty blossoms, and cedar. The smallest spray retails for $130. Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Quincridone Violet EDP (not pictured) is an energetic plum/fruity violet floral. The 1 oz. EDP spray retails for $65. If a plum based fragrance could be an edgy fashionista, it would be Editions de Parfums Le Parfum de Therese. This is a blend of stone fruits, citrus, cedar, and leather. Love it. The 1.7 ounce retails for $155. If you are looking for a dried plum AKA prune fragrance, more appropriate for fall/winter, give Serge Lutens Bois et Fruits EDP a try. It’s woodsy and powdery sweet. It retails for $200 for 1.7 ounces.

Fragrance & Food:

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange wasn’t what I expected it to be at all. I wanted rugged citrus rind/zest mixed with the sweet juices of a blood orange. I wanted something to pick me up in the dead of winter and to be refreshing in the middle of summer. Nope. Instead with this one, I got too much of  juicy berries. It isn’t a bad fragrance, it just wasn’t what I expected.

First things first, I’m not a huge fan of strawberry scents. I find them too synthetic and too young. I don’t mind sniffing strawberry scents on others but I can’t stand to smell it on myself. Tuscan Blood Orange is all about strawberries at the initial spritz, the name should not of been Tuscan Blood Orange. It should be something about strawberries. Strawberry fragrance lovers should know about this fragrance. It should be in the title. Instead Pacifica is giving berry lovers and detour and attracting citrus lovers whom most likely will be disappointed with this fragrance. At first spritz it is very strawberry-ish. Think of a limited edition Escada scent. It is that berry. In a short time, you get the zest of tangerines and oranges. This drowns the strawberry; however, since my sniffer is sensitive to strawberry, I still pick it up. The zesty orange peel hangs around. It starts to mellow out with another berry, raspberry. This takes a bit of the “edge” off of the citrus while keeping it bitter. Eventually the fuse together and create something that would make a delicious tropical cocktail. The berry begins to fade and you get a juicy citrus. This is beautiful, fruity, and refreshing. At this stage, I get blood orange juice and pineapple juice, making this one tropical frou-frou fragrance. Oh, but then there is the strawberry zombie! After I start enjoying the fragrance it then morphs back into the strawberry citrus blend that was the top. But, this time the citrus is less apparent.

The fragrance isn’t bad. It just isn’t me and it isn’t something that I see myself wearing frequently. I can name 10 other citrus scents on the market that I love more. This is a very fruity fragrance. I would of really liked this one if it had a floral to balance the berry or if the berries were left out altogether. I really love the heart of the fragrance but I can’t forgive the berries. It doesn’t help that they keep coming back from the dead. This is a “young” fragrance to me. That being said, it is a fun fragrance. I don’t hate it. Sometimes I do want a tropical cocktail-ish fragrance. The price is right with this one and it does wear longer than a Demeter PMU Cologne spray. I do think of it as more of a summer fragrance but I do fear that the berries will make it to icky and sticky for hot summer days.

The fragrance isn’t very long wearing. But, I think wears nicely for the price. It wears much longer than a body spray and cologne. I smell traces of it about 3 hours after spraying. It wears about the same as more expensive EDTs at department stores. The bottle is small and you could “refresh” throughout the day. Plus, it has natural ingredients.

Notes listed include: strawberry, raspberry, mandarin, and Italian sweet orange.

Give this a try if you like very fruity fragrances, tropical drink like fragrances, LE Escada fragrances, Urban Rituelle Sweet Treats Pomegranete EDP, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Mora Bella EDP, Fresh Strawberry Flowers EDP, Marc Jacobs Daisy In The Air EDT, Ralph Lauren Ralph Wild EDT, and/or Demeter PMU Cologne Sex on the Beach.

The 1.2 oz spray retails for $22. It is available at Sephora and Pacifica’s website.

Also, since this is a delicious fragrance and it makes me think of food, here is a Strawberry Compote with Blood Orange Juice. I would add raspberries to give it the full Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange touch.

I would sum this eye cream up as a great preventive eye cream for normal skin. A “starter” eye cream as I call them. I’ve been using it since the beginning of summer. It is odorless, very creamy, fast absorbing, no stingy despite its SPF of 20. It does have a “souffle” like texture. It’s nice. However, it doesn’t do very much other than “protect” and moisturize. It has done nothing for dark circles. As far as fine lines goes, which this product claims to “reduce”, I haven’t noticed that. But, I am 25. I don’t really have fine lines. I need to prevent them as much as I can. Like I said, this is a “starter” eye cream. You should be using this during the day if you have pretty good skin anyways. Or you should use more of a treatment eye cream in the PM to address certain concerns. I will most likely purchase again, especially for summer months. It’s difficult to find that high of a SPF that doesn’t sting the eyes plus this does provide some moisture and my concealer just glides right on afterwards, no tugging. One day I know I will graduate to more of a heavy duty eye cream during the day, for now this will do. It retails for $47, not bad for a Dior product, and can be purchased on sephora.com.

So far, I haven’t met a Diptyque fragrance that I haven’t loved. I can say that Diptyque Philosykos is my all time favorite fig scent ever. Ever. I’m a fig fragrance nut. I “collect” them even if I love them or not. It is a nostalgia thing. It makes me think of my childhood spending summers in the Southeast and my big move to the Pacific Northwest as an adult.

Philosykos is a great blend. It is fairly simple but it completely conveys the fig tree and its surroundings. This fragrance was meant to contain all “parts” of the fig tree including sap, trunk, and leaves in growth. It does. This is a “fresh” fig fragrance because it smells like a living fig tree. This means that it doesn’t smell like a fig dessert or the fruit or the bark or dried leaves. It smells like a living fig tree, plain and simple. When you spritz the fragrance you get the feeling that you are standing beside a few fig trees in the late of summer with a warm Southern breeze.  Or maybe setting near the sea on a large driftlog, feeling the warmth of sea pebbles and sand below your summer sandals, and thinking of the fresh figs you’ve just picked on the your walk down to the shore. It’s that simple. You smell the greeness of the leaves, the woodiness of the smooth bark, and the fig sap which sometimes has an almost latex-like aroma. It also contains white cedar and this grounds this scent beautifully and makes it longer wearing. (It is much more noticeable in the dry-down and reminds me of sea smoothed driftwood.) Like I said, this scent is fairly simple and very realistic. I love it for all-year wear. It’s light, not heavy, wears for about 5 hours (good for an EDT), and it is a “memory” fragrance for me.This is a must for a fig fragrance lover since it seems to “define” the fig fragrance as a genre.

It retails for $88 for 1.7 oz. It is available at beautyhabit.com and barneys.com.

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 Mûre et Musc Extreme because it is a fruity scent that isn’t childish or teen.

Budget Blackberry Scents: Yves Rocher Les Plaisirs Nature Mûre 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 Mûre 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 Mûre et Musc Extrême 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.