Showing posts with label Holiday 2011. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday 2011. Show all posts

Monday, December 26, 2011

L'Artisan Holiday Trio: Nuit de Tubéreuse, Mûre et Musc & La Chasse Aux Papillons


L'Artisan was on my Christmas wishlist and I was thrilled to be gifted the beautiful Feminine Parfum Set with Nuit de Tubéreuse (EDP), Mûre et Musc and La Chasse Aux Papillons ($98 from ArtisanParfumeur.com). I have always admired the beautiful L'Artisan bottles and frequently stopped by the counter back when the line used to be carried at Saks (years ago). Being overwhelmed by fragrance in general, I never really looked into the line, or any other fragrance line for that matter. In the past couple years I've stuck with Jo Malone as a safety finding the line to be clean, simple and classic. It wasn't until a recent shopping trip to Barneys that I started to look more into L'Artisan, Serge Lutens, Byredo among other beautiful lines (but oh, so hard-to-find, at least for me). I'm slowly but surely expanding my fragrance collection. I couldn't be more thrilled with this gorgeous little trio as my introduction to L'Artisan. The three scents in beautiful miniature vials 15 ml each:



The exquisite box:


Each bottle is quite small with only 15ml in each vial but they are perfect for testing each fragrance and ideal for travel. For size reference, all three will fit into the palm of my hand. I am hoping they are refillable.

Initial thoughts and reviews on each scent:

Nuit de Tubéreuse is an Eau de Parfum and noticeably more concentrated than the other two. At first spritz this was my least favorite - it opened with an overwhelmingly strong powdery-incense-mixed scent. It reminded me of the smell that surrounds you when you first walk into a Lush Store (which I like, but not in the overwhelming sense). After a few minutes, it dried down and turned less powdery and became a bit more sweet with more noticeable notes of tuberose. It has a romantic feel and although not something I would normally be drawn to, it's growing on me and smells divine.

The notes: cardamom, clove, pink pepper, black pepper, citrus, green mango, angelica, tuberose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, rose, broom, musks, vanilla, sandalwood, palisander, benzoin and styrax.

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Mûre et Musc in this trio comes in the Eau de Toilette. This is our favorite pick as the most youthful and light. I normally do not like berry-scented fragrances. I found most variations of Trish No. 9 and Philosophy Falling in Love to be nice on others, but too sweet, cloying and headache-inducing on me. (My mother and sister always hated this when I sprayed it on at counters.) L'Artisan Mûre et Musc is a wearable fruity scent. It's been on my radar for several months now ever since I smelled it on one of my friends LJ. It smells amazing on her and I am thrilled to find that it works well with my chemistry as well, although it smells sweeter on my skin than hers. It's clean, bright and fresh. Lasting power is medium but I love the way it smells as it fades. I need a full-sized bottle of this one.

The notes: wild blackberry, musk, citrus

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La Chasse Aux Papillons is another beautiful light and airy floral. It's the perfect mixture of orange blossom and tuberose with a hint of jasmine. This one turns slightly more floral as it dries on my skin. Right now I think it's a bit too light for right now but will be perfect in a few months time. It smells like a spring garden, more floral and green compared to Jo Malone's Wild Bluebell (which is slightly sweeter with a hint of spice).

The notes: Notes of tuberose, orange blossom and spices.

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A few snapshots of my perfumes all lined up ... my collection is growing at an exponential rate:




Bottom line: My next trip to Barneys can't come soon enough. I already want a full bottle of Mûre et Musc. All three are exquisite and given the fact that a 50 ml bottle of the L'Artisan Eau de Toilettes starts at $100, I think the $98 for 45 ml is a reasonable price (even though this was a gift). My husband purchased this set directly from L'Artisan online but the set is also available on Barneys online.

A few resources for L'Artisan reviews that I found extremely helpful: The Non-Blonde, The Notice, Lucky Scent reviews. What are you favorites from L'Artisan? The descriptions and reviews for Mimosa Por Moi sound absolutely delicious but I wonder if it's too sweet?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reminder: Beautybloggers.org Auction Ends December 12th


A reminder to everyone that bidding for the Beautybloggers.org Auction ends at 5 pm CST on Monday, December 12. There are some amazing items that have been donated by various brands and bloggers. My favorites:
Don't forget to get your bids in soon! Winning bids will be donated directly to Doctors Without Borders. Bidders anywhere in the world are welcome, and shipping is “free.” That is, the full amount of your winning bid will go to charity — the bloggers have agreed to donate the cost of shipping, in addition to the items themselves. Visit Beautybloggers.org for more information.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Antiquité Poupée Kaleidoscope - Bergdorf Goodman Exclusive for Holiday 2011


Many thanks to the NY bloggers who gave us sneak peeks, swatches, and even a few eye-looks of Bergdorf Goodman's latest holiday Kaleidoscope from Le Métier de Beauté, Antiquité Poupée ($95, limited edition, exclusive to BG). I was hesitant to buy for several reasons, mainly because it contained a warm matte rust shade and also because it was not available for sale online. The Black Panties and Josie pushed me over the edge though, both assuring me that the reddish color warmed up the eye look and was easy to pull off. It looked stunning on Messy Wands as well. I typically try to avoid any eyeshadows and liners that contain red but decided to give this a try and ordered two kits (one as a gift). The colors and descriptions are as follows (thanks to The Black Panties for providing the names for us):
  • Dusty Rose - a soft shimmery pink with a subtle gold shimmery sheen
  • Burlap Sorrel - a warm shimmering taupe
  • Tarnished Russet - matte rust brick
  • Ember Ash - a deep shimmering blue-grey


Close ups of the shades #1 Dusty Rose and #3 Tarnished Russet


Close ups of the shades #2 Burlap Sorrel and #4 Ember Ash


I applied it the second I received it using the Couches de Couleur layering technique, starting with the top shade all over the lids, then working my way down, applying the remaining shades in a gradient towards the lashline. The result: a truly stunning smokey eye. I was really amazed at how wearable the rust shade was when layered over the pink and taupe (although I dusted it with a loose fluffy brush to apply sheerly). I've tried to show it layered in a few swatches here. The pigment is rich but easily blendable. The shimmer is exquisite. Texture is soft, luxurious and easy to blend.



When I reviewed the Come One, Come All Kit, one of my readers mentioned she purchased the new Antiquité Poupée and said the taupey shimmer was the same as the taupe in Come One, Come All and Splendid Frost. I pulled out all my Le Métier kits and singles to do the comparison myself. Unfortunately, to my dismay, I discovered that my reader was right, the Antiquité Poupée has a repeat taupey shade compared to other previously released kits. I now have 3 of the same shade among 3 different kits. Not a complete deal-breaker for me, but still, I had hoped for something truly unique and different, something more silvery/grey. Here are comparisons for all four shades.






The more I wear this kit, the more I fall in love with it. The color combination is pure genius, especially considering the fact that I have never been able to pull off warm reddish colors. It's suitable for a daytime look to wear to the office yet also perfect for night by adding a bit more of the darker shades to give a smokier effect. Yes, this kit contains colors that are similar to other existing shades from Le Métier (including the one true dupe in the taupe color), but I still like it. I am now no longer afraid to wear reddish eyeshadows, but my heart still belongs to neutrals and I am hoping that future Kaleidoscopes from Le Métier will include more neutral or cool toned shades.


Bottom line: Was this worth another $95 (times two for two kits)? Almost. One of the two kits I received had a packaging flaw. The glue used for the pans seems to have been so hot it melted the plastic bottoms causing it to shrink which made the actual shadow pans pop up (they were uneven). I was worried that I would damage the product if I didn't open super carefully so I proceeded to spend over an hour using my blow dryer, flat iron, screw driver and scissors to try and depot/melt/flatten the plastic casing. (This is something I do not recommend, thank goodness there were no shadow casualties. Hours later it was fixed with only a few melted spots on the sides. FYI, the one photographed was the kit that was perfectly intact, the swatches were from the one I fixed.)

Overall I am pleased with this kit. I would have never thought to layer these four colors together and the convenience of having all four shades in one kit is a huge plus. I am really astounded at how beautifully these colors layer together for a pretty smokey eye. The texture of Le Metier's shadows is hard to beat (in my opinion). If the taupe been different and unique and if the packaging hadn't been flawed for 1 of the kits, I would have been 100% in love, but I am still one happy girl to be able to own Antiquité Poupée.

From what I've read on Twitter and Facebook, I understand this kit sold out immediately, but BG still might have a few more left coming in. If you're considering this at all, I recommend calling the BG counter ASAP. If you missed out, the upside is that I believe you can achieve a similar effect with other shades from Le Métier de Beauté.

Did you purchase Antiquité Poupée? What were your thoughts?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Armani Holiday 2011 Eyes to Kill Silk Eyeshadows 17, 18 and 19


This year, the Eyes to Kill Silk Eyeshadows from Armani for holiday are all about the sparkle. Three new shades in the small twist-off cap pots are $32 each for 4 g/0.14 oz:
  • 17 a highly metallic silver sparkle
  • 18 an intense sparkling pale gold
  • 19 hybrid silver-gold shimmer


I've been a huge fan of these cream-powder shadows and loved the other Eyes to Kill shades (see Holiday 2010 here and the March release here) and did not find them too intense with the sparkle factor on the eyes. The newest colors this year are much more sparkly and more appropriate for going out or holiday parties.  For the other shades I own, I use both fingers and brushes to apply. With the new holiday shades, I found that regardless of how light I tried to apply, all the shades were extremely sparkly. Blending or patting softtly still resulted in sparkle overload.

In terms of colors, I found that #19 was the most wearable with a slightly more subtle shimmer (but still intense). I would not feel comfortable wearing any of the holiday shades to the office.  Perhaps the Gold #18 if I muted the sparkle with a satiny shadow on top. (Note the finish isn't creamy at all so I wouldn't recommend using these as a base. The texture is slightly creamy but they act more like a powder.) If you're looking for a subtle refined glow, I would recommend you opt for Laura Mercier's Metallic Creme Shadows or Bobbi Brown's Cream Shadows instead. Here are close ups of the shades plus swatches:




Swatches with two different views, these were all applied with a cream shadow brush (Bobbi Brown and Becca brushes were used to swatch):



Overall lovely and perfect for going out, but the shades are intensely sparkly and might be too much for some. For me, these definitely are not everyday products to wear. #8 looks chunky and loaded with sparkles in the swatches but for some reason it's quite a bit easier for me to pull off compared to the new holiday shades. If I could only pick 1 shade it would be #19 because the mix of the silver and gold make it more wearable (less contrasted to the skin/eyes). I personally prefer the palettes that were released with the collection because they are more wearable. If you need intense sparkle that lasts, you will love these. The lasting power is very strong. If you're not a huge fan of a super sparkly (borderline glittery) eye, then I would recommend you pass and opt for the MadrePerla palettes (reviewed here) or something like LM's Metallic Eye Creams.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Precious Stones for Holiday 2011 - The Beauty Look Book Picks


The holiday collection this year by Dolce & Gabbana is called Precious Stones. You can see the entire collection lineup on Dolce & Gabbana's Digital Magazine website Swide. The color theme of this collection is primarily mauve and purple - not typical of most holiday collections, but still beautiful. Being one who is scared of pure purples for both eyes and lips, I ordered a few things I felt were safe based on over-the-phone descriptions from Saks. My picks, descriptions and thoughts:
  • Grey Pearl 230 Nail Lacquer ($20 for 11 ml/0.37 fl oz) is a cream blue-mauve grey (more blue-based than Chanel Particuliere). The formula seems a bit thick in texture but sheer in finish (if that makes any sense). I found it more difficult to apply evenly because it was hard to get the right amount of product on the brush to get good smooth coverage. The color is reminiscent of Chanel's Particuliere but with less brown. Although the name has the word "pearl" in it, there is no visible shimmer. I love the color but the formula isn't my favorite - a surprise for me since I've had luck with other Dolce & Gabbana colors.
  • Amethyst 168 Nail Lacquer ($20 for 11 ml/0.37 fl oz) is a bright blue amethyst cream. It's the brightest purple I own and a stunner. I'm not sure I would feel comfortable wearing this to the office on the fingers. I had applied this for a pedicure and was amazed at the lasting power - probably 2 weeks without any chips or tip wear. The formula is easier to work with compared to Grey Pearl. It does need 2 thin coats for full coverage. The first coat will look a bit streaky but it evens out with the second coat.
  • Mauve Diamond 38 Blush ($44 for 5g/0.17 oz) is a medium dusty mauve with hint of plum. I thought it looked similar to Delight, but when put side by side, I found Mauve Diamond to be several shades darker. It does not go on muddy and it's a lovely color. Tanned skin ladies will love this shade.
  • Pink Sapphire 139 Lipgloss ($29 for 4 ml/0.13 fl oz) is a sparkling blue pink. Initially I wanted to pass on all the lips, but Nikki from Saks Houston assured me it was wearable and more pinky. I still find it very blue-based but the sheer glossy sparkles make this wearable. It is scented with a slight rose scent but it's not too heavy and the smell fades within a few minutes. I find it to be a bluer, glossier more sparkly version of Le Metier Purple Haze, but the shimmer/texture makes the Dolce & Gabbana more easy to pull off.
Some more photos and swatches below:









Although I was slightly disappointed with the options for eyes this season (too purple for me based on preview photos so I passed), I am overall happy with the items I picked. Dolce & Gabbana makes beautiful blushes and Mauve Diamond is no exception. The purply Pink Sapphire gloss turned out to be more wearable than I thought from looking at the tube. The nail polishes are good colors, not really must-haves, but I will get quite a bit of use out of these even throughout the spring season next year. Note that Delight was not part of the holiday collection but I swatched it for comparisons. Nail polish comparisons to come tomorrow. Bottom line - although not really inline with the holiday color theme (either red, gold, classic silvers, or wintery theme), I think the blush is a winner and I am overall pleased with the items I ordered.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chanel Rose Caché 521 Le Vernis


Rose Caché 521 Le Vernis is one of three nail polishes released in the Rouge Allure Velvet Collection this year. I had high hopes for the three new shades (as you may know I have problems with restraint when it comes to Chanel nail polish). Rose Caché, Pirate and Rose Exhubérant are all indeed beautiful classics, but seemed like uninspired repeats of past collections. After a few swipes of testing I was pleasantly surprised. The colors are beautiful even though not the most unique. The first shade I put on for a full manicure was Rose Caché 521, a sheer pale neutral nude rose-pink. There is a slight iridescent glow in the bottle similar to what you see in colors Paradoxal and Jade Rose but when applied on the nail you get a creamy non-shimmery finish.


The formula is very sheer and natural, I had to use three coats to get decent coverage and the tips of my nails still showed through slightly. The shimmer does not show up on the nails once applied. Some shimmer will show up when the sun hits the nails directly but it's very subtle. For my skintone, the color of Rose Caché is very nude and almost mannequin-like. It's more pink and more visible on the nail compared to Jade Rose, but Rose Caché is still extremely sheer. All swatches below are with 3 coats. I do like that it is non-streaky (it has better coverage than Riva or Jade Rose).




Since Rose Caché is classic and neutral, I think it could be easily duped with other brands, but I don't think others can replicate the fine iridescent quality Chanel has that give their nail polishes depth and dimension. It's been quite a while since I stopped looking at neutral creamy pinks from brands like Zoya, OPI or Essie - all the ones I've tried are either too pale or too warm. I do have comparisons to some other Chanel neutral pinks as shown below Mica Rose, Magnolia Rose, Rose Satin, Jade Rose, Perle Roseé and Rose Confidentiel. I didn't think Rose Caché was very unique, but after comparing to other pinks, I found that there's not really anything quite like it. (Below the angle/flash shows the iridescent shimmer of some of the shades.)




Overall nice to own, but not a must-have. There are some Chanel colors I really wish the shimmer was more visible. Rose Caché is one of them. If what you see in the bottle appeared the same on the nails (plus if it were a bit more pigmented/less sheer) I would have been completely head over heels. Prior to the US release I had googled "Rose Caché" on a weekly basis. I especially loved the features from A Lipstick a Day, Polish Police, Makeup Magpie and Elevensixone's Flickr Page - all of which I highly recommend you check out.

Did you check out the Rouge Allure Velvet collection? I'm not a fan of the matte or velvet look for makeup so I passed on all the lipsticks and the matte topcoat. I think looking back on the past year, the Soho Collection, along with Spring (Black Pearl Le Vernis) and Fall (Illusion d'Ombres) blew us away in such a way that anything new is hard to top. What did you think of the new Chanel items?

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright © 2009-2011 The Beauty Look Book.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Armani Madre Perla Palettes for Holiday 2011


Armani has released two palettes this holiday season for their Madre Perla Collection. The theme for the eyes and cheeks are shimmery golds, nudes, pearls and silvers. I found the collection has arrived in-store at Neiman Marcus. One is a Face & Eye Palette #1 (the golden one) and the other is designed as an Eye Palette #2. Both are $59 each and are limited edition. The two palettes contain three shades each, very reminiscent of Nude Contrasts from Spring 2010. I approached these with a bit of hesitation. As beautiful as the colors were from Spring, I have to admit both palettes have barely been used. All the colors (except the black) from the spring eye palettes show up similar on the skin which results in just one overly-sparkly eye when the colors are layered. Still, the palettes this season took my breath away as soon as I saw them. The palettes were a bit difficult to photograph to capture the dimensional aspect of the shimmer. I've tried several angles to try and help give you an idea.

Madre Perla Face and Eye Palette 1 is a trio of golds. The texture is soft, slightly powdery and fairly shimmery. Applying with an eyeshadow brush (or a denser brush) results in a very shimmery pigmented application. I wore this on the eyes last night to a play and it was beautiful but definitely on the sparkly side. The three colors you have are pale ivory, warm pale gold, neutral tan gold. I feel the colors are uniquely distinct from each other when swatched on the hand but if you want to layer three shades I think you can only create a subtle gradient. Since the payoff with a small brush was so pigmented I was worried it would be too frosty for the face, but applying with a regular brush brush (I used Bobbi Brown's when testing this one) resulted in a sheer but visible wash of shimmer. Love!



Madre Perla Eye Palette 1 is also beautiful with a cool sharp white with gold frost, neutral tan beige shimmer and cool lavender. I'm not a fan of lavender shades but I learned from Le Metier that this color can be a great highlight to layer over beiges/tans and golds. I really love the middle shade, it's like a soft beige with a slight hint of grey shimmer. I applied the middle shade first over most of the lid, then added the lavender to center on top and blended. I then added the ivory-gold as a very soft highlight near the top. Today I used Bobbi Brown Bronze gel liner to finish the look. Overall it's a stunner but very pale. Next time I will need to add a darker contour like Chanel Sand.



Here's another close up plus swatches:




Comparisons of last year's highlighter (less yellow and lighter) to this year's:



Palette comparisons from Spring 2010 to Holiday:



Overall all out gorgeous, not overly frosty, beautiful for holiday. I will definitely get more use out of these than the spring 2010 palettes. They are more versatile and wearable in my opinion.
 

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