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· Culture Notes: California music part 3 (Northern)
· Culture Notes: California music part 2 (California and...)
· Montale Boise Vanille review
· Culture Notes: California music part 1 (random)
· Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately
· Dr. Hauschka Novum LipGloss #04 Ruby
· Beauty Notebook: He blinded me with science
· Montale Intense Tiare review
· Shiana silver, part 2
· Culture Notes: Queen, and some collaborations
· Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
· Parfums Raffy perfume coupon code, 10% off
· Beauty Notes: Montale perfume this 'n' that
· Montale Aoud Blossom and Boise Vanille (preliminary sniff)
· Montale Blue Amber (preliminary sniff)
· Montale White Aoud, part 2
· Montale Sweet Oriental Dream review
· Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (preliminary sniff)
· So...IS there lead in your lipstick?
· Fashion Notes: Is the bride too beautiful?
· Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 2 (review)
· Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 1
· Montale White Aoud, part 1
· Culture Notes: American music
· MySpace, man...
· Montale Powder Flowers review
· Montale perfumes arrive
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· October 31, 2007 6:18 PM by Dain
· November 1, 2007 12:35 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· November 3, 2007 5:13 AM by Audrey_H
· October 31, 2007 1:08 PM by Dain
· November 1, 2007 6:53 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 25, 2007 3:35 PM by Dain
· October 25, 2007 1:17 PM by Chez Moi
· October 25, 2007 1:25 PM by Dain
· October 28, 2007 1:57 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 23, 2007 4:50 PM by Dain
· October 23, 2007 5:22 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 21, 2007 6:30 PM by Dain
· October 21, 2007 7:31 PM by Dain
· October 21, 2007 8:20 PM by Dain
· October 21, 2007 8:21 PM by Dain
· October 22, 2007 2:10 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 22, 2007 3:02 PM by Dain
· October 20, 2007 12:25 PM by Dain
· October 20, 2007 10:57 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 14, 2007 7:16 PM by Dain
· October 14, 2007 7:48 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 14, 2007 9:05 PM by Dain
· October 14, 2007 11:02 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 15, 2007 3:03 PM by Dain
· October 15, 2007 4:56 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 13, 2007 6:59 AM by Dain
· October 13, 2007 7:09 AM by Dain
· October 13, 2007 10:21 AM by Chez Moi
· October 13, 2007 10:29 AM by Dain
· October 13, 2007 1:52 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 13, 2007 1:55 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 13, 2007 2:11 PM by Dain
· October 13, 2007 10:17 AM by Chez Moi
· October 13, 2007 1:08 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 11, 2007 3:08 AM by Dain
· October 11, 2007 12:58 PM by Colleen Shirazi
· October 10, 2007 9:48 AM by Dain
· October 4, 2007 3:37 AM by Dain
· October 4, 2007 12:46 PM by Colleen Shirazi
Recent blog posts:
The Powder Group
Dain's Literary Attempts
Colleen's Beading Blog
Colleen's Adult Acne Blog
Eponym Blog Directory.
The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog: October 2007
Culture Notes: California music part 3 (Northern)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, October 31, 2007 2:11 AM (Eastern)
The most fun section, even though we have fewer bands than SoCal. :)
As far as I know, Chris Isaak is the most famous person from Stockton. This video was regarded as pretty hot when it came out although if you look at it, nothing is actually shown, only suggested. Featuring Danish super model Helena Christensen.
Based on her hit records, I can't claim to be a great fan of Janis Joplin, because there her voice sounds too rough. Yet the non-hit songs made toward the end of her short life can be extraordinary. Makes you wonder what she would have done had she lived longer. (Joplin was from Texas of course, but is heavily associated with San Francisco.)
Green Day have been around forever--twenty years--but, like Jon Stewart, what made them suddenly come to the fore was our country's swerve to the right.
Green Day - Holiday (Live Video)
Carlos Santana, who needs no introduction.
Santana - Maria Maria [TheWraith]
And finally, Huey Lewis and the News. One of my favorite Bay Area tunes of all time.
Huey Lewis and The News - I Want A New Drug
Culture Notes: California music part 2 (California and...)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, October 29, 2007 3:32 PM (Eastern)
From Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special, which was once next to the only way to watch musical performances (Friday Night Videos came later on).
California and England:
Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon Midnight Special 1976
Though The Doors were formed in Los Angeles, Jim Morrison was born in Florida, and had something of a typical Navy brat's childhood, divided between the South and the West Coast.
California and Florida:
The Doors - Touch Me
Tito & Tarantula, behind Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn. This scene has been uploaded many times, with varying levels of quality. The best version includes the beginning of the vampire scenes hence I couldn't use it here. In this version, the audio is better than the picture, because this is a feature on music. It was a trade-off but anyway here it is.
California and Mexico:
Salma Hayek - Dancing in 'From Dusk Till Dawn' 
Montale Boise Vanille review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 2:24 PM (Eastern)
This was one of the two perfumes I bought a bottle of, after over a year of trying out various fragrances.
Boisé Vanillé is a bit unsung, relative to other Montale scents, and I myself find it a bit dry when worn alone. It's binary, like their Chypré - Fruité, Blue Amber, Intense Tiaré, where they take two notes--really only two--and render them perfectly. Whether you have use for this scent, therefore, depends entirely on how you feel about the two notes.
As it turns out, I can use a dry, non-sweet blend of woods and vanilla. The woods here...I get cedar, a bit, but not the usual sandalwood. Just a sort of generic wood, as if you had gone into a forest and cut into a random deciduous tree. It's a feeling of freshness but a lack of the sweetness associated with women's wood-based perfumes.
Along with this, a purity of vanilla, again without the typical sugary aspect.
On its own, I find this almost too masculine (and I can see this on a man, unlike many so-called unisex perfumes). It makes the perfect foil however for other perfumes, when you want to add a bit of customization. I feel anything sweeter wouldn't work for that purpose, but this blends seamlessly.
Aside from changing from an almost stupefyingly simple wood + vanilla beginning, into a more complex woods + vanilla accord, this is linear. Once it hits its stride, it stays exactly the same for hours and hours.
Culture Notes: California music part 1 (random)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 2:06 AM (Eastern)
At first I had the idea of organizing this chronologically, starting with the surf music of the early 60's, then the acid stuff of the late 60's, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, The Go-Go's, No Doubt, yadda yadda...it's endless though. Hence, it's probably best to just get into it and follow the road.
They still played a lot of 50's and early 60's music on the radio when I was a kid, so I remember these songs quite clearly.
Ventures - Walk Don't Run - 45 rpm
The Beach Boys - Don't Worry Baby
RHCP : I Get Around
Full version of "I've Been Let Down":
Mazzy Star - I've Been Let Down(Full)
Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 25, 2007 3:07 PM (Eastern)
Nars Mambo eyepencil. I haven't felt like wearing eyeshadow, much, so eyeliner is key (and faster to put on, anyway). I had three liners back in August of this year, and found I reached for this liner more and more, to the point I tossed the other two (which were getting old) without needing to replace them.
Dr. Hauschka lip products. I wouldn't have guessed these would be so good (no offense, but I always thought of Dr. Hauschka as the skincare guys, not the color cosmetics guys). It makes logical sense though, if you think of lip products as (tinted) skincare for lips.
Nars The Multiple in Malibu. This is really useless as a multiple-purpose product, at least this shade is. It's too dry to use as lipstick, and mediocre as eyeshadow. But it's my ideal shade of warm-toned bronzed-rose blush, wearable year-round.
Montale perfumes. These are so strong, I spray some in the palm of my hand and apply it that way. Perhaps the perfect cure for ephemeral scents, and the ordinary.
24 - Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida at a Drive-Thru
24. If you've watched this show even once (or eaten at an In 'n' Out), you'll immediately recognize the references in this parody. If you haven't, I would highly recommend both!
Dr. Hauschka Novum LipGloss #04 Ruby
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, October 24, 2007 2:25 PM (Eastern)
Considering I haven't been into gloss in a long time, this is a decent gloss.
It doesn't have much of a flavor or fragrance...when I put it on, I detected a slight pleasant herbal, Dr. Hauschka-y scent, which faded quickly.
It's very slightly sticky (I prefer "sticky" to "runny" btw), and the pigment is good--even after eating, pigment remains on lips (you do of course still have to redo it after eating, I'm just saying).
This is Ruby, and usually a lip product by that name looks harsh on me, but I'm finding this to be a sort of wearable raspberry color.
The best part is that it is conditioning, more like a moisturizing lipstick or balm than your average gloss.
This is what I'm listening to:
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Abba - Dancing Queen
I'm having a 70's moment!
Beauty Notebook: He blinded me with science
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, October 23, 2007 4:00 PM (Eastern)
Dr. Rudolf Hauschka (1891-1969) was a chemist. That rather says it all. This is skincare for chemists; skincare that makes sense. There is a distinct engineering presence here, an effort to consolidate steps and products, beneath the sparkle of movie and television endorsement, charitable projects, responsible organic farming and ethical sourcing, and just plain ol' good-smelling, skin-improving products.
Perhaps a good introduction to Dr. Hauschka would be a trial/travel kit. A minimum of 25% of the sales of the kits goes to Heifer International, an organization dedicated to ending world hunger. And you get to try out a suite of products (the sizes are more than generous enough for you to determine what you like).
A special note for the gentlemen in our readership: gift-giving season will soon be upon us, coughs and your best girl might appreciate something useful and luxurious in her stocking this year. :)
Along with the kits, Dr. Hauschka provides a full line of suncare products, with active ingredient titanium dioxide.
Finally, every girl has her cosmetic
Montale Intense Tiare review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, October 22, 2007 3:22 PM (Eastern)
Montale Intense Tiare reminded me some of Robert Piguet's Fracas, only with an underlayer of coconut, to the point I put one on one wrist and the other on the other. I'm smelling them both now, in turn, and I'm not getting a substantial difference, aside from the coconut.
The coconut in Intense Tiare is not the sort of fake coconut you get in many "tropical" perfumes nor is it Hawaiian Tropic coconut. It reminds me almost of young coconut; it's silky and subtle, almost creamy. They've kept this note firmly in the background, beneath the tiare (Tahitian gardenia), which smells fresh.
The white flower accord in Fracas is more complex, where Intense Tiare really just strikes me as tropical gardenia and coconut, albeit good tropical gardenia and coconut. If you like the one, you're apt to like the other.
I've tried Annick Goutal's Gardenia Passion as well, and find both Intense Tiare and Fracas superior...Gardenia Passion is a bit too simple--not nearly as layered and mellow as the other two scents.
I never really "got" the concept of the Big White Floral, it sounds like something people who don't like white florals might say, but Intense Tiare probably falls under that category, coconut and all. It's definitely sweet, tropical, "vacation in a bottle"-y.
The usual excellent Montale staying power and sillage.
On a personal note, it's not a perfume I can wear. I passed on Fracas too. On me these are too "loud," too sweet, not something that blends with my chemistry.
images courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Shiana silver, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, October 21, 2007 5:26 PM (Eastern)
(more detail here: Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that)
This is lapis, combined with fine silver and some sterling silver.
I've gotten more into silver lately, after years of being more interested in the color of yellow gold. I still think yellow gold is special, and irreplaceable, and adds the right touch upon occasion, but silver is a material that's more widely worked; there is a far wider pool of hands involved, since more people can work with silver than with gold. The results can be interesting.
A few clicks on the Net reveal silver components from Thailand, Italy, Indonesia, Turkey, Israel, India and the U.S., for a start. But silver jewelry is produced all over the world, throughout the Middle East and Asia, in Spain and Mexico...
If you hate to polish your silver, look for the new Argentium alloy or try fine rather than sterling. Oxidized (blackened through a chemical process, then polished to highlight) silver also requires less polishing than "bright" or "white" (unoxidized) silver, and is currently enjoying a revival in the form of oxidized chains and components.
Culture Notes: Queen, and some collaborations
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, October 20, 2007 2:18 PM (Eastern)
I was visiting Perfume-Smellin' Things this morning, and came across this gem:
queen - killer queen
Did you know Freddie Mercury was a Parsee? It's been a long time since I've heard this song, and I'm struck anew at what a singular composition it is...that Mercury had sat down and written the lyrics, likely based on an actual person, if not several people. It's a very 70's song.
I could post the entire Queen catalogue, it's that good, but there were a few English-white-guy collaborations I particularly like, so...
Queen and David Bowie - Under Pressure
Whatever gets you through the night - Elton John Lennon
Loved that last song when I was a kid. :)
Beauty & Fashion Notes: this 'n' that
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, October 19, 2007 9:37 PM (Eastern)
I have been busy lately...I have to finish up a project involving jewelry. I placed an order with a company I'd been planning to buy from, for...months, possibly even a year or more. It's one of the few jewelry supply companies that is Fair Trade certified, they're based in Thailand, and the majority of their items are fine silver (.999). Only a few items are sterling. They also vermeil and according to them, their vermeil exceeds legal standards.
Aside from this, they have this totally droolworthy site with a glut of stunning items, everything from beads (some solid, which I'm kicking myself I didn't buy), pendants, earring components, chain, charms, all sorts of things. They carry rose gold vermeil as well as yellow, but I find rose gold difficult to work with since most vermeil components, not to mention goldfilled, are yellow. If you'd like to check it out:
When I got the package, I literally had to sit down when I was opening it. The images on the site really do not do the items justice. Part of it is the weight of each item, the soft yet bright silver, the sheer quality of the workmanship. Take this pendant:
Here it looks nice enough, you're thinking eh... In person, when you run your fingers over it, there is not a single rough edge. All of the many edges are as smooth as silk. The balance of the pendant is perfect; it's handmade yet the symmetry is also perfect. It's just an amazing piece.
That's what I did today, made a necklace out of that pendant, some lapis, some of these:
...and some odd Bali sterling components. It's a bit tricky to design with fine silver because of the weight actually...my first design had two strands of lapis and silver along with the pendant. I loved how it looked, but it was too heavy to wear more than a few hours, so I went back to the drawing board and made it a single strand.
I hope you take advantage of our Parfums Raffy coupon code for 10% off. Parfums Raffy has a diverse selection of perfumes, and the prices are competitive. They have modern mainstream perfumes, classics such as Joy and Fracas, niche brands such as Creed and Montale, Raffy's own original perfumes, and even this:
This is Nude by Bill Blass. I've never owned it, never even tested it, but let me tell you this. This perfume drove me crazy one day at Trader Joe's.
If you don't have a Trader Joe's, they tend to have relatively small aisles (at least ours do) and to be perpetually crowded. So I was there one day shopping, and I smelled the most wonderful perfume. I mean it was magical. Normally I don't notice perfumes, but this was extraordinary...I kept smelling it, as I made my way through the aisles, but it was so crowded I couldn't pinpoint who was wearing it for the longest time.
Finally I figured out who it was and I asked her what was that perfume, and she said it was Nude by Bill Blass.
Hopefully I'll have some jewelry pics and other features soon.
images courtesy shiana.com, parfumsraffy.com
Parfums Raffy perfume coupon code, 10% off
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 18, 2007 2:18 PM (Eastern)
The Lipstick Page Forums is pleased to announce our own special coupon code, good for 10% off at Parfums Raffy:
The code is good until 10/24/07 and is re-usable and transferable (enter into the box at checkout).
P.S. I've tried it out. It works! Parfums Raffy carries Montale, including some harder to find releases such as White Aoud, Aoud Blossom, Blue Amber, Chocolate Greedy, Intense Tiare, Boise Vanille, et cetera.
Beauty Notes: Montale perfume this 'n' that
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, October 13, 2007 11:18 PM (Eastern)
I tried Montale's Aoud Blossom layered with Boise Vanille today.
I'm still in favor of Boise Vanille; not sure about Aoud Blossom. My earlier thought, that its blended floral composition was similar to that of Creed's Fleurissimo--not the exact flowers, just the seamless, almost purely floral blend--turned out to be not that far off. Aoud Blossom today smelled quite violetty. Hardly oud-y at all--this is the least Aoud-y of the three Aouds I've tried, White Aoud and Aoud Roses Petals being the other two--just this sweet, old-fashioned, violet-dominated blend, like a good-quality old-style soap.
I'm still smelling it on myself; I've had it on about ten hours. The sillage fades out though, probably after about five hours (I'll have to time it next time).
Violets...do I really want to smell like violets? I like violets, don't get me wrong...and the Aouds are good, staying-power-wise. Just wondering if this is the layer I want over my Boise Vanille. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I've never owned a violet scent before in my life.
I think I'll try Boise Vanille with Aoud Roses Petals tomorrow (I'm kicking myself I used up my Jasmin Full sample, although I suspect an Aoud would pair better with Boise Vanille).
image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Montale Aoud Blossom and Boise Vanille (preliminary sniff)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:54 AM (Eastern)
I couldn't resist trying these both (even as I had a concoction of Powder Flowers and White Aoud on, with a bit of Blue Amber to boot). It sounds like a right mess, but that is how I used to sample perfumes, after all--go to Nordies or Macy's or Needless Markup, try three or four scents on different areas of each hand, sniff hands obsessively...
I'm rather glad I did. I've decided against Powder Flowers, even though it smells yummy and Chanel-No.-5-y, only without an allergic reaction on my part (one of the perfume tragedies of my life is I can't wear No. 5). Powder Flowers doesn't have enough sillage for me, even though I know it would carry much better sprayed on rather than dabbed on from a vial. I need to narrow, at least for now, so whatever Montale's I choose have to be the end-all and be-all of all perfumery. grumbles...
Boise Vanille is, at first, just as literal as Chypre - Fruite (part 1, part 2). Wood + vanilla, without any refinement, as if you took a piece of wood (okay, a nice piece of wood) and soaked it in a bit of vanilla extract. Voilà! Boise Vanille.
Of course it doesn't stay that way; it softens up nicely, although--so far anyway, I've had it on a few hours--it does remain essentially just that, woods (this part becomes more complex) and vanilla. This smells almost unisex. More woods than vanilla, and not particularly sweet. What's drawing me here, admittedly, is the sillage. It is good...the strong woods meet the nose, and the vanilla is subtle and dry.
Aoud Blossom...is almost the polar opposite, all soft flowers, and with only the tiniest bit of oud. I'm getting tuberose here...and violets...these flowers are well blended though, you get an intense floral sensation without any one flower standing out.
I can't really compare Aoud Blossom to anything else I've smelled, exactly. The blended quality of flowers is similar to that of Creed's Fleurissimo, but Aoud Blossom is by far softer, sweeter, less assertive, and with a combination of flowers more attractive to me (more white tropical flowers, softer violets, not much rose).
I could also compare to Diptyque's Do Son but I don't want to. Do Son is far less of a traditional blended floral scent and more of an attempt to capture a real live garden.
The crazy thing is how good Boise Vanille and Aoud Blossom smell together. I put one on one side of my wrist and one on the other, but I keep trying to smell them both at the same time. In fact that's what I'm going to do tomorrow--layer one over the other.
Speaking of contrasting elements that somehow click, I fell a bit in love with the Marilyn Monroe-Marlon Brando montage (the original version is not embeddable), with photos by Milton Greene, over Monroe singing with Frankie Vaughan. Somehow this combination totally works, better than any other ever could (say, with Yves Montand singing, or Frankie Vaughan in the photos).
I liked it so much, I looked up more scenes from the movie (which I've never seen in its entirety). What I had seen of it before had seemed stilted, not very tempting to add to one's Netflix queue. Yet the musical number is quite wondrous, likely due to the combination (Monroe with her pauses in all the right places, Vaughan sounding very New York for an English guy, Montand dancing):
Marilyn Monroe - Let's make love - Let's make love
You'll just have to excuse the Spanish dubbing in the beginning. :D
images courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Montale Blue Amber (preliminary sniff)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, October 12, 2007 4:32 PM (Eastern)
I've got some of this on my wrist today, and it's reminding me of, of all things, Dana's Tabu:
Blue Amber is better...it's drier, softer, with more vanilla. What I'm getting is almost pure amber and vanilla, despite luckyscent.com's more elaborate notes list:
Italian bergamot, bourbon geranium, coriander, patchouli, vetiver, amber, vanilla
So far, I'm not nuts about this as a perfume to wear on its own. But I am already intrigued by the idea of it as a layering scent.
image courtesy www.adclassix.com
Montale White Aoud, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:10 PM (Eastern)
(see part 1)
I've knocked this off my Montale wishlist, but narrowly, very narrowly. On my skin, it is just the tiniest bit too sour--"lemon sour" (not, say, "sour milk sour"). It's not that I can't do sour, or lemony for that matter, but for me, there has to be a bit more sweetness to balance it off.
It's too bad; otherwise it would be next to perfection. It's strong, long-lasting, complex...it is way complex...I get waves of notes, like the oud, cardamom, other spices (subtle), something definitely lemony-citrus, then the sweetness of sandalwood and something else (vanilla?), amber, just a whole lot going on, blended perfectly, almost the perfect balance. Almost, on me anyway.
Hence, I feel this scent depends a bit more than others on chemistry--how much of the sweetness and sourness your skin picks up; and personal preference--how sweet you like your perfumes. I've always liked mine a bit sweet and flowery, over the abstract or woodsy.
However, I do think this is worth a try, for anyone shopping for anything remotely in this category. I might change my mind later on, if they still make it.
Montale Sweet Oriental Dream review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:08 AM (Eastern)
See Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (preliminary sniff).
I've tried this out only on my wrist, but I already know it's not for me. It's not only its strong pipe-tobacco note--I was wondering if it would fade somewhat in the drydown, which it did, somewhat, but remained prominent throughout--even without the tobacco note altogether, Sweet Oriental Dream would still not be "me."
It's an elegant and interesting scent, but I feel it's too young for me (I'm 42). It would be striking on someone ten to twenty years younger than myself. Even then, it would highly depend on how you feel about the tobacco note. I actually don't mind the smell of tobacco smoke of any kind, but in perfumery it just doesn't do it for me.
Then, there is the candy aspect. The honey here is very sweet, the almonds dry (pleasant in fact, not marzipan-y at all). Without tobacco, this would still be too sweet and candyish for me; again, better on a younger woman (and this is unmistakably a feminine scent).
The rose here does not dominate, whatever. It stays firmly behind the pipe tobacco, honey and almonds, and general candy-ness. Later on, in the drydown, a cherry note emerges, sort of...like faint, sweet cherries. It's actually not as god-awful sweet as I'm making it sound. On the right woman this could be incredible. But definitely don't buy it unsniffed, unless, possibly, you are a lifelong tobacco-note nut.
The usual excellent sillage and staying power of Montale perfumes (of the ones I've tried, only Chypre - Fruite was faint on me).
All in all, a nice experience for me as a sample, but, for me, not a full-bottle candidate.
image courtesy aedes.com
Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (preliminary sniff)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 11, 2007 7:56 PM (Eastern)
From the aedes.com site:
The loveliest rose of France gives its elegance to Turkish delight, a subtle marriage of the noble centifolia rose and the fun accord of almonds and honey.
Sheesh, how did they miss the pipe tobacco? Sweet Oriental Dream's strongest note, at least on my wrist, summons this image:
Okay, technically it smells like pipe tobacco, but somehow the phrase "hubble bubble" keeps flitting through my mind.
There is rose, and honey and almonds, but they peep out from under a thick smudge of pipe tobacco. If you're imagining a scent based solely on the aedes description, you'll be surprised, one way or the other.
So far not bad, but not for me. It's an assertive scent; it reminds me, not only of hubble bubbles, but also of the time I still lived in San Francisco, long before no-scent policies. You would always smell perfumes in the City, it was part of the experience. These were expensive perfumes, you seldom smelled anything cheap. It was just a wonderful experience--men and women, gay and straight, just a lot of people with good taste in perfumes. sigh Miss those days.
image courtesy bbc.co.uk
So...IS there lead in your lipstick?
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 2:07 PM (Eastern)
Got this link from the iCompact.com board: Lead tests raise red flag for lipsticks - Hazardous levels found in one-third of market samples - The Boston Globe
At first I was inclined to dismiss this as yet another installment in the lead-in-lipstick urban legend, where you are to test lipstick for lead using a gold ring, et cetera (snopes.com has it, along with many other websites).
But it is a new article, linking to a new study (from a group called The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics), and what they're claiming is not that lipsticks contain a hazardous amount of lead, exactly. What they're saying is the FDA has no standard for lead in lipstick. They used the FDA standard for lead levels in candy to do the tests, and found that some of the lipsticks exceeded that level.
In short it appears to be more of a push to getting lead levels in lipstick regulated--and, given our recent experiences with poisonous imports, it's probably not a bad idea to do so now.
The exact brands and shades of lipsticks tested may be found here: A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead in Lipstick.
Fashion Notes: Is the bride too beautiful?
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 2:28 AM (Eastern)
"I want to give women an artificial perfume," said Chanel. "Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don't want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition." No. 5 is famous for being the first perfume to heavily rely on synthetic floral aldehydes as a top note. Before synthetics, perfume either had to be applied very heavily before going out to ensure that the fragrance would last, or frequently throughout the night.
Chanel applied the French aesthetic theory that "ugly" placed next to "beautiful," by contrast, makes the beautiful object appear more so. In this era almost all perfumes were floral and "pretty" - designed to enhance a woman's beauty with more beauty. Instead of the scent of flowers, Coco wanted a perfume that "reflects my personality, something abstract and unique." She believed that a perfume should serve to spotlight a woman's natural beauty using contrast - i.e. the artificial perfume would make the woman's natural beauty more evident.
From Chanel No. 5 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I read the Chanel quotes quite some time ago, about No. 5 being a deliberately "un-beautiful" scent, but it took me a long time to fully grasp the theory. I think we are conditioned to perceive if we choose the most beautiful cosmetics and accessories, it will make us the most beautiful overall, but it's been some time since I believed that.
I feel there is a balance, or should be, between the beauty of your accoutrements, and your own natural beauty. In short, whatever you're wearing, should not be too much more beautiful than you are. (Nor too much less so.) It should complement (often misread as "compliment") and enhance, rather than dominate.
It's a fine balance, and I've seldom seen it done well these days. I suppose the obvious example would be modern celebrities, who are dressed by modern stylists. Most of the time I hate their look. Not that I hate how they look, most of them look great, if a tad thin these days; what I dislike is few stylists seem as interested in enhancing their clients' looks as in making some kind of artistic statement (presumably to get other, better stylist jobs). It's not the same thing.
I stumbled across this amazing, if short-lived, blog: An Alabaster Brow, and was struck anew at how customized the older film stars' clothing, hair and makeup were, relative to what you see today.
Check that smokin' Joan Crawford! (Crawford was incredibly beautiful in her youth, before The Brows.) Some of the looks are really quite simple, others lush, even jaw-droppingly elaborate; what's consistent is how perfectly each look is tailored to the actress.
I also propose that online shopping has contributed somewhat to a gap between what looks good "on paper" and what looks good on. Where women would have tried on each item before even considering buying, we now tend to decide first what we might buy and then try imagining what it looks like on. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it is well to be conscious that that's what we're doing; that the focus of clothing and accessories has subtly changed from (or reverted to) "is fabulous on" to "looks fabulous in a picture" or "sounds great in a description."
Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 2 (review)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:19 AM (Eastern)
(see part 1)
I've decided this can be struck from my Montale perfume wishlist. It's not a bad scent, particularly, but on me it's relatively faint, even when applied quite liberally. I've had the same result with other perfumes, even ones described by others as potent. Chanel Allure, for example...I can hardly smell it on myself. I suspect my skin chemistry has something to do with it (I didn't observe people around me passing out when I tried putting Allure on), or, whatever...I couldn't smell anything much of anything.
It's a bit better with Chypre - Fruite. Let's grab the description from the aedes.com site:
Sensual and fruity. A fragrance which includes the seduction of musk and chypre (a harmony of bergamot, rose, jasmine on a base of patchouli and oakmoss) combined with the vibrant coolness of tropical fruits.
That's pretty accurate although what I'm smelling somehow seems...simpler. I'm getting a rather stock chypre base--muted, dusky, deep, a bit sweet, quite pleasant. It's what I like in Annick Goutal's Passion and Ava Luxe's Ingenue; if you've smelled either and like them, you might want to give Chypre - Fruite a whirl.
Atop this oakmossy base floats a layer of sweetish fruits. I'm not getting a lot of the floral notes...maybe a bit, but the fruit layer dominates anything floral. It's subtle fruit, like an actual plate of fruit, rather than synthesized fruit, if that makes any sense.
It's really quite wearable; my gripes are it's too faint on me, and I prefer Passion to this particular chypre. Passion possesses the same yummy oakmoss base, blended with edges of bright sparkling tuberose and soothing vanilla. Chypre - Fruite smelled quite similar to Passion in its drydown, when I first tried the former, but applying more, I get less of the white floral edge, more of a plain simple layer of bright fruit. (If I were looking for a longer-lasting substitute for Passion, this isn't exactly it.)
Bottom line: if you're into chypres, this is what the name says it is, and you might want to try it (although I wouldn't buy it unsniffed). If you're looking for something pleasant, wearable and subtly sweet, you might want to try this.
If you're looking for a very fruity scent, this is not it; the fruit here is subtle and does not stand out from the oakmoss base.
image courtesy aedes.com
Montale Chypre - Fruite, part 1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, October 08, 2007 11:14 PM (Eastern)
This is...interesting. I put a small amount of this on my wrist this morning. (Call me chicken, but I don't like applying a lot of a new perfume until I've tried a preliminary wrist application.)
At first it smelled quite literal: chypre and fruit. I mean literally--a dusky mellow mossy chypre base, same as the other chypres I've tried (Annick Goutal Passion and Ava Luxe Ingenue, itself a replica of the discontinued Deneuve perfume), with a layer of...fruit.
Mind you, this isn't your generic-celebrity-floral-fruit, fruit. It doesn't smell generic nor is it particularly sweet. It just seems so, as I say, literal, as if a guy in the lab had read a label imprinted "Chypre - Fruite" and had dumped the contents of the chypre beaker in with that of the fruit beaker.
Chypre - Fruite remains that way initially, not unpleasant...the duskiness of the mosses offsetting the mild sweetness of the fruit, so the overall effect is elegant.
The interesting part happens later on, during the drydown. That is when Chypre - Fruite becomes amazingly close to Annick Goutal's Passion--really very close. No longer is Chypre - Fruite particularly fruity. Nor does it sport Passion's luscious tuberose, exactly...yet somehow it evokes almost exactly the same deep-moss-with-edges-of-white-floral-sweetness as Passion.
I hope that doesn't sound critical. I'm all for scents with similarities, especially if the "copycat" lasts a whole lot longer on than the original. Passion EDT imo is not worth buying, unless you're a conscientious toucher-upper; I was contemplating getting the (far more obscure) EDP form of it.
This is all preliminary; I'll try Chypre - Fruite out properly tomorrow.
Montale White Aoud, part 1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, October 06, 2007 2:05 AM (Eastern)
I wore a small amount of this the other day, and wore it completely today.
It's a beautiful perfume, but it's also kind of...odd. When I tried it out in a small amount, it reminded me of...I want to say a Chanel scent, but I can't name the specific one (definitely not No. 5 nor Coco Mademoiselle, nor any of the newer Chanel perfumes).
Applied fully, you get the panoramic Montale experience, where the scent changes lavishly, each phase lasting several hours. But unlike the others I've tried--Aoud Roses Petals, Jasmin Full, Crystal Flowers and Powder Flowers--this is a bit of an odd composition, although, of course, the drydown is to die for.
Here's the description from the aedes.com site:
White Aoud weaves the tobacco and honey infused richness of precious oud into a luminous tapestry. The dusky, incense smoke imbued woods are contrasted with soft jasmine and creamy rose. The lemony brightness of cardamom lights up the composition, while warm amber and sandalwood offer a seductive backdrop for this beautiful oriental etude.
They're leaving out the saffron...I'm sure there's saffron in White Aoud. When I first put it on, I got the same oud-and-saffron blend that begins Aoud Roses Petals. But here, the oud doesn't seem to last as long, nor is it ever as strong. It's a bit of oud, but I wouldn't really describe White Aoud as "an oud scent."
The rose is also much subtler than in Roses Petals...it's there, it's that sort of "smells like good oranges" rose, but White Aoud doesn't strike as "a rose scent" either, it's much more blended than that.
Phase 2 sees White Aoud leaving the oud-and-saffron phase, and entering the unnamed Chanel scent phase. (It could be an old Guerlain scent I'm thinking of, but I don't think so, I really think it's Chanel.)
Phase 3, the drydown...White Aoud began to remind me fairly strongly of Etro Shaal Nur. It's not the same...Shaal Nur is distinctly lemon-and-incense to my nose, and White Aoud is the better of the two scents...more complex, with an ambery vanilla-and-woods thing going on to make things more interesting. But if you like Shaal Nur, you're almost sure to like White Aoud (and you'll probably like it better, unless you're a real lemon nut).
In White Aoud, the "lemony" note is attributed to cardamom (at least by aedes.com) but I think the oud has something to do with it as well. White Aoud is spicy, a bit...subtly spicy, not obvious spices. It's warm and spicy (again, a bit similar to Shaal Nur).
I keep wanting to strike Montale scents off my wishlist. :D It's not a cheap line, and I tend to want two, or at most three, bottles of perfume at a time, because that's the rate at which I use them up. I hate having a perfume go bad; it did happen to me once, when I was hoarding a Givenchy Organza edp. (The horror...I think I had a third of the bottle left. At least it was a relatively small bottle.)
I have eliminated Crystal Flowers from the list, at least. Not that it's a bad scent, by any means; it's a yummy rose-and-lily-of-the-valley scent, in the same vein as Gianfranco Ferré Lei, but softer and warmer. It's just that I can live without a rose-dominated scent. At least I keep telling myself that.
If you like older Chanel perfumes, or if you like Etro Shaal Nur, you will definitely want to try White Aoud. (Conversely, if you don't like these, you may not like White Aoud.)
image courtesy aedes.com
Culture Notes: American music
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 12:28 AM (Eastern)
Easily my favorite kind of music...particularly, I think, when performed by non-Americans. I don't know why but it's one of my favorite blends.
Then again, the radio show I loved best was the late Alistair Cooke's "Letter From America"; I still miss it, after three years. Fareed Zakaria is now the best foreign-born commentator on our country, I think...or Stephen Colbert.*
Anyhow...with Youtube as a massive jukebox, I was looking for a few songs today; for example, The Clash's cover of "Pressure Drop." Nissan is using it now, which I don't mind--everyone has bills to pay--what's infuriating is they don't use the entire song. Just the opening guitar line, maybe one round of "ah ah ah, ah ah, oh oh, yeah." That's really annoying.
For whatever reason, I decided to search Lloyd Cole, and came across this charming video made from a VHS recording (complete with whatever else was on the tape before and after, and the first seconds of the video gone as someone ran to the VCR to hit the record button:
Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - Lost Weekend
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions produced some of the finest American music in the 1980's. They were a quiet band, despite the name "Commotions," but excellent.
This morning I woke up from a deep unquiet sleep
With ashtray clothes and miss lonelyheart's pen
With which I wrote for you a lovesong in tattoo
Upon my palm 'twas stolen from me when jesus took my hand
You see I, I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it
Drop me and I'll fall to pieces so easily...
About twenty years prior to this song, another English band doing American music:
The Animals - Don't bring medown
I still love The Animals...if it weren't for John Lennon, I'd prefer them to The Beatles.
Now for some ladies' music...the audio here isn't perfect, but how handily k.d. lang covers Patsy Cline's "Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray":
Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray - k.d. lang
I wanted to post Leila Forouhar's cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," but it doesn't seem to exist on the Net in its entirety (mumbles...), only in sample form. But I did find this catchy number. (I can admit I'm a bigger Googoosh fan, but these newer Forouhar songs are really quite good...Forouhar's voice is in good nick.)
Leila _ A Kiss
* lol--just kidding (fellow Southerner)
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, October 04, 2007 2:42 AM (Eastern)
From The Lipstick Page Forums MySpace.
Generator courtesy FriendsterForum.com
Montale Powder Flowers review
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, October 03, 2007 11:05 PM (Eastern)
Mmmmm...day two of this stuff. I tried a bit out on my wrist yesterday, then, deciding I liked it, applied it properly, and did the same today.
This begins as the kissing cousin of Chanel No. 5, indeed. I even get a bit of the aldehydes, as if Montale had initially decided to replicate No. 5...soft abstract rose, sweetish powder and white flowers, perhaps a hint of violets in the background (you'll have to forgive me if I'm off about violets, I haven't smelled nor seen them in at least 22 years)... When first applied, I'm getting No. 5, but sweeter, and light on the aldehydes.
Sometime in Hour 2, approximately, Powder Flowers veers off into pure baby powder, à la Johnson & Johnson. Strong, sweet, baby powder. (At this point the fragrance imo could be a touch more complex.)
Powder Flowers sort of toggles between the two...J & J baby powder and Chanel No. 5...for Hours 2, 3, maybe 4. After that it changes again, into something heavenly, "I can't stop smelling myself," a cloud of ambery goodness that lasts at least an hour or two. (Here you will want to have applied some closer to your nose, so it can waft right into your face.)
After that it fades some...becomes a soft baby powder/ambery thing, which, as in the other Montales I've tried, lingers softly for more hours, and remains on clothing until the following day.
Only in the beginning does it resemble No. 5, (sort of) down to the aldehydes. What's constant is the baby powder note. If you don't like baby powder, or powder in general, you're not going to like this.
But Powder Flowers stays pure baby powder only temporarily, and generally moves in and out in a dance with Chanel No. 5 (the original one I should say, there is a new one out), and a sort of dense ambery vanilla and woods thing.
This is a fine perfume. As much as I've been trying to narrow down which Montale I want, I almost feel as if each new one I try is a bit more delightful than the last. Right now I'm dithering between this and Jasmin Full (part 1, part 2).
Bet you weren't expecting that! I've decided Chloe from 24 is my favorite tv character of all time, narrowly edging out Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Fred from Angel.
What brings this image to mind is the hour-by-hour quality of Montale perfumes. They're far from linear; they are the opposite of linear. If you're not head-over-heels over how it smells now, wait an hour. Or two. Or eight.
image courtesy www.geekmonthly.com
Montale perfumes arrive
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, October 02, 2007 1:38 PM (Eastern)
These arrived yesterday. As requested:
Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger
Chypre - Fruit
Sweet Oriental Dream
I couldn't resist trying Powder Flowers first, after reading a comparison of it to Chanel #5 without the aldehydes. I can no longer wear No. 5 (or other Chanel perfumes) without developing a rash, so I definitely wanted to try this one out.
So far...it is similar, though--so far--not as good. What makes No. 5 perfection is it's not too sweet: you have a soft muted rose and other flowers, along with the aldehydes...
Powder Flowers is sweeter, more powdery, mmmmm...it is very powdery. The Montale scents I've tried tend to evolve in almost discrete phases, which make them more entertaining (as you await the next phase) and, I think, more attractive to patient people. I see better reviews for this on the "serious" sites, very bad reviews on the "less serious" ones.
So far I like it. This isn't the official review, just a preliminary waft.