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· Tech: New post preview feature part 2
· Tech: New post preview feature
· Beauty Notes: Transitioning into "niche" perfumes
· Merry Christmas!
· Three ways to stay warm this season.
· Culture Notes: The Price of Motherhood
· A cool shoe site
· Culture Notes: Coty lipstick & Weird Al
· Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 2
· The gift of Shu Uemura is 20% off during their Friends & Family sale event
· Another handy source of Nars and other porn...
· The virtual model is back!
· Fashion Notes: If I didn't make jewelry, I would buy it here.
· Montale Intense Tiare review part 2
· Beauty & Fashion Notes: Ruminations on aging, and finding that perfect pair of pearl earrings
· NARS: The Consummate Stocking Stuffer
· Make Up For Ever: Diamonds For Ever Holiday Set
· Beauty Notes: Serenity
· Travel: Jamaica

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Comments
· December 31, 2007 6:40 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 1, 2008 12:39 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· December 28, 2007 10:47 PM by Blogger Dain
· December 28, 2007 11:30 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· December 28, 2007 11:52 PM by Blogger Dain
· December 29, 2007 12:02 AM by Blogger TheBroadroom.Net
· December 29, 2007 12:06 AM by Blogger Dain
· December 29, 2007 12:19 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· December 29, 2007 12:36 AM by Blogger Dain
· December 28, 2007 2:30 PM by Blogger Dain
· December 28, 2007 11:43 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· December 29, 2007 12:04 AM by Blogger Dain
· December 20, 2007 2:22 AM by Blogger Dain
· December 20, 2007 12:40 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· December 8, 2007 8:53 AM by Blogger Chez Moi
· December 9, 2007 6:51 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· December 2, 2007 11:04 AM by Blogger Jenny B
· December 2, 2007 2:30 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· December 2, 2007 5:38 PM by Blogger Dain

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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog: December 2007


Tech: New post preview feature part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, December 31, 2007 5:51 PM (Eastern)

blogger screenshot


(see Tech: New post preview feature)

Okee dokee, looks like our screenshot thumbnail feature has begun to kick in. Above is a screenshot of the screenshots, which will in turn become a screenshot for the tech label, if all goes well. :)

Ideally, we would like to host the script for this ourselves, as well as the screenshot images, but using a remote service for this is currently the fastest way to implement this feature.


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December 31, 2007 6:40 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Fan-fucking-tastic! Great work, Colleen!

 
January 1, 2008 12:39 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Always nice to hear. :D

It seems to have a problem snapping posts with videos in them. I'll guess the snapping feature times out before the videos load...or something...it will do it, it has done it for some of the video posts. So it might be more a matter of time.

 
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Tech: New post preview feature
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 28, 2007 6:06 PM (Eastern)

This blog has been around since April 2005, with us steadfastly throwing posts into it; even without going back and labeling all of the older posts (since we predate Blogger's label feature), you're still talking about what is becoming a massive number of posts.

Today I added a post-preview feature on the label-indexing pages (for example, beauty notes). It's still in the rough stages; as it stands, the feature has been implemented for all of the labels that use indexing to begin with.


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December 28, 2007 10:47 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It looks great (as always), but I think you should separate the posts with plain breaks rather than lines, more in keeping with the aesthetics of the rest of the site. I really like how it shows the title and the date on one side. It's really organized in a very visual way.

Speaking of which, I really should get around to labeling my posts. I forget half the time to label the ones I do now, and have to go back and edit.

 
December 28, 2007 11:30 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

How about now? It's a good point, about the overall look of the site.

 
December 28, 2007 11:52 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Too close, I think. My eye is a little confused as it skips across the break from title/date to preview. But 2 might be too much? Is a 1.5 break possible?

 
December 29, 2007 12:02 AM, Blogger TheBroadroom.Net said...

It's by the pixel? (It's me btw, too lazy to log out.) I had it pad 5 pixels, now it's 7. Lmk what you think...

 
December 29, 2007 12:06 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Pixels are even better. Ah, the wondrous and infinitely customizable internet!

It still looks a little bunched up with the long titles. How about 9?

 
December 29, 2007 12:19 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Now it is 9...

 
December 29, 2007 12:36 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Looks good!

 
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Beauty Notes: Transitioning into "niche" perfumes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:14 AM (Eastern)

I would like to remind our dear readers that we have covered some of the more obscure brands of fragrance on this site, with more to come.

Perfume Reviews
The Mnemonic Sense
Perfume

You may also check individual brand labels, such as Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal, Montale and so forth.

Even as the choices in scent grow exponentially, still I would like to think we at The Lipstick Page Forums endeavor to refine...if not "what's good," at least what isn't particularly good. It's not all good. In fact that's something I always liked in Dain, that she didn't advocate indiscriminate collecting. There is a useful aspect to it, in having tried sheer masses of products, but then there is a tendency to become less perceptive of each product.

Before I go on, it's well to note I never bought any Diptyque perfume. I tried a bunch of them, but the one I liked best, Do Son, had this sort of pathetic staying power. It smelled otherworldly for about an hour; two, tops...I remember wearing it in Muir Woods, and trying to detangle what was Do Son and what was the scent of the park itself--no small potatoes, the latter looks like this:



But, eh, it's like that fantastic lipstick of the perfect shade, and zero staying power. Ultimately I won't be happy with it. I would choose a lipstick that's perhaps less in terms of the color, if it means I can put it on and forget about it, as long as possible.

Likewise, I tossed the idea of Annick Goutal's eau de toilettes. Yes, they're cute, they're easy to find, and reasonably priced, relatively speaking...the lasting power just sucks. I chased down the more elusive Annick Goutal eau de parfum and found it to last as well as any other EDP.

Etro was kind of a weird brand. I ended up with a full bottle of Heliotrope, which my kids love (always good to have a consultant or two).

Ultimately it is all about the samples: Where to get perfume samples...aedes.com, luckyscent.com, and The Perfumed Court are the more popular sites for these. Though samples can become expensive in their own right, I've found them indispensable particularly for niche fragrances, because these tend to not be designed to smell good sprayed on a card, or tested on your hand in a department store. There is often a far less immediate appeal...some scents take hours to develop, days to comprehend, and months to be able to afford. :D

Anyhow, happy hunting! and do check back on this blog.

image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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December 28, 2007 2:30 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I've heard that the Chanel exclusifs are very good, but of course, they are a mass-market brand's version of niche. I haven't smelled any of them, but talented perfumers and highest quality ingredients sounds like a promising mix. Guerlain is very tricky for me, Guerlinade is musty on me, but I do like L'Heure Bleue. If I had a house, it would be Caron. Caron never cheapens.

You know, Annick Goutals have never agreed with me? They are somehow... too cute, too benign. I think I prefer perfumes very strong opinions. Diptyque, I've only tried two, one was a big hit, the other a big miss. ETRO has very wearable, but unoriginal perfumes, I think. Serge Lutens, I think, gives you a real appreciation for raw materials--those two really know how to bring out a flavor, it's never the thing itself, but in a lot of ways, it is often better. I'm dead curious about Montale--I guess we'll see!

 
December 28, 2007 11:43 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

The odd thing is it's probably harder to get hold of a Chanel "secret perfume"--dunno, do they keep it behind the counter? :D than a plain old niche fragrance. The niche people were smart enough to start up sample programs, which go hand-in-hand with decant services.

I've never had Guerlain work on me...have never tried Caron. Givenchy is my "mainstream house," since I'm allergic to the older, better Chanels.

Annick Goutal is weirder than Etro if you think about it. Etro, overall, struck me as masculine, where AG struck me as feminine--but wildly differing. Not all of their scents are nice-girl concoctions. It's as if someone goes crazy in the lab late at night, and pops out something no one else has, that is too perfect. And then it's business as usual the next day.

Lutens...mmmmm...I suspect he's more your guy than mine. You're more European in taste than I am. Montale to me has this slight French edge, but it's largely Middle Eastern in flavor. I sense SL is largely French with a slight Middle Eastern edge. (I could be entirely washed up here, it's more of a hunch.)

 
December 29, 2007 12:04 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Yeah, Guerlains are just tough, but very rich food for the mind. I guess that will just have to be my next perfume review. ; )

To be honest, there are only a very sparing number of SLs I'd consider FBW, indeed Tubereuse Criminelle is alone assured. They are magnificent to appreciate, as one might savor fine wine in a restaurant, but it is quite another thing to buy a case of the vintage (approximately the relationship between decant and full-bottle, no?).

However, I see what you mean, and I think your hunch is a good one. It is very French. But you know, Fleurs d'Oranger is one of the least impressive of the SLs, pretty but... And I have never tried Montale. We'll just have to see.

 
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Merry Christmas!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, December 25, 2007 7:36 PM (Eastern)


all i want for christmas is you - mariah carey



Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby please come home)



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Three ways to stay warm this season.
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, December 22, 2007 5:21 PM (Eastern)

It's been a bit of a challenge keeping warm sans the endless will-sucking, mind-sapping, seven-month season we called Summer back home in the South. In the San Francisco Bay Area, unless you have the good sense to journey inland, it is perennially cold. So, here are a few tricks.

1. Evoke the tropical:

montale intense tiare

Montale's Intense Tiaré sailed to the top of my wishlist this year, when I was wearing my winter coat and jumping up and down. Though there are other tropical coconut perfumes I've yet to try, I've yet to be tempted to try them.

Creed makes Virgin Island Water. Creed. Hm. I sampled two of their fragrances, Fleurissimo and Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie, and was a bit underwhelmed. As much as people rag on Montale for their prices, Creed is the spendier of the two. Plus, I can admit I find Creed's seemingly endless celebrity endorsement annoying. Ava Gardner I can dig, and someday I'd like to try her Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare, that would really be hot. The others though, eh...

Comptoir Sud Pacifique makes Aloha Tiaré. The one consistent thing I've read about Comptoir Sud Pacifique over the years is their scents don't last. I rejected the (stunning) Diptyque Do Son over the same issue. I don't buy weak perfumes; they insult the intelligence. Moreover, per Basenotes.net, this particular scent was reformulated from its old monoï self into a more generic gardenia/tuberose scent...which was further described as being not as good as Annick Goutal's Songes, which I rejected as being too sweet and simple.

Oh, I'm sure there are other monoï scents, or other tropical interpretations, but what I love about Montale is their...odd engineering. It's not a plethora of notes, not even conventional notes, half the time what you're smelling doesn't even smell like perfume, only like insane goodness. Intense Tiaré, you can almost warm your hands against.

2. Tropical cute overload:


Bob Marley Waiting In Vain

If you can't actually jump into that warm sea, at least you can hear its rhythms inside the music.

3. Comedy on this subject:

I dithered some whether to embed this video here. I've played it several times, and have found it does make you feel warmer, yet there is a certain amount of bad language in it that some people might object to. Oh whatever, it's a video with an arrow on it; click if you want to.


Lewis Black on Broadway (cold)


image courtesy luckyscent.com


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Culture Notes: The Price of Motherhood
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, December 20, 2007 1:56 PM (Eastern)

The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued

And an interview: Ann Crittenden - The Price of Motherhood

Kind of what I've been saying all along, only more eloquent (Crittenden was up for a Pulitzer Prize). I remember her name actually, Ann Crittenden. Quite famous.


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A cool shoe site
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, December 19, 2007 11:45 PM (Eastern)

Can I admit I seldom indulge in shoe porn? I just never got into shoes? I own three pairs of shoes (not counting a pair of Okabashi sandals, which are handy for swimming). If I had my druthers, those three pairs would never wear out, so I'd never have to shop for shoes again.

All of that said, the only footwear that have caught my fancy lately are the Cole Haan Nike Air high heels, and some stuff on this site:

Ped



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December 20, 2007 2:22 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Every woman needs a handbag, but only the high-maintenance ones obsess over shoes. ; )

 
December 20, 2007 12:40 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Some people like shoes, I'm not knocking it...it's actually quite interesting, if you think about it. The shoe has to fuse function and performance with appearance, perhaps more so than any other item of clothing.

This is the second site I've seen featuring shoes handmade in the U.S. The other site honestly wasn't that good, I haven't written anything about it. But it is a start.

That's what I want to see in a shoe actually...something that isn't mass produced. The cost factor is prohibitive for me, but then...it could be something that becomes more popular. More demand = lower prices.

I'm drooling over some of the shoes on the Ped site...the one I really wanted was on sale, but didn't have my size.

 
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Culture Notes: Coty lipstick & Weird Al
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, December 17, 2007 11:50 PM (Eastern)

What with the stress of the holidays, sometimes it's nice to just step back and breathe. I've had this Coty lipstick video in my bookmarks for a considerable time, and play it every once in a while to cheer myself up. Though the color of the film has degraded to the point many of the shades now look alike, its charm remains, with the bright red lips, graceful dancing, and carefully-composed graphical effects.


1950's Coty Lipstick Commercial


I had this sudden urge today to search for Weird Al Yankovic on Youtube. Came across this gem, from The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. Don't laugh, it was a very cool show--one of the first and last U.S. television shows to feature The Clash (you bet I stayed up to watch that one).


Weird Al Yankovic -Another One Rides the Bus

This of course is a parody of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust."

"I Lost On Jeopardy"--perhaps the funniest aspect is it's just as catchy as the original song, maybe more so. Greg Kihn Band "Jeopardy" (John's Live Performance Video)

Greg Kihn is still around btw; he works as a DJ. I try to catch his show now and again (the station it's on is kind of fuzzy from here).


"Weird Al" Yankovic - I Lost On Jeopardy


Featuring the original host of Jeopardy, Art Fleming, a cameo of Dr. Demento, and Kihn himself.


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Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 14, 2007 4:55 PM (Eastern)

potential signature scents

(see Beauty Notes: the ever-elusive signature scent)

I haven't smelled Sublime in ages, hence the small representation. I own the perfumes listed in red text, have the ones printed in purple on my some-day wish list (although I'm not planning to buy Sublime unsniffed).

Intense Tiaré, I've been wearing the most lately. It's amazingly warming and soothing. If anything will take you down to Kokomo, this is it...


...yet the coconut here is silky and subtle, woven into the fresh tiare flower (which even has a minute bitterness to it, like an actual bloom). It's floated to the top of my wishlist in fact. I feel I can live without Jasmin Full or Sublime, but Intense Tiaré plays like a Bob Marley song.



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The gift of Shu Uemura is 20% off during their Friends & Family sale event
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, December 13, 2007 8:19 PM (Eastern)

shu uemura hairWhere: Shu Uemura USA (not in boutiques)
When: December 13th (12:01am EST) through Monday, December 17th (11:59pm EST)
Code: HOLIDAY07 at checkout

Register to receive free shipping on purchases over $75.

Discount not valid on the purchase of gift certificates, taxes or shipping and handling charges.

You may also browse The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog Shu page and our Shu product reviews.

image courtesy www.shuuemura-usa.com

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Another handy source of Nars and other porn...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, December 12, 2007 9:13 PM (Eastern)

nars holiday 2007Nars Duo Eye Shadow

This site contains various other brands of makeup porn including something called Lunasol (owned by Kanebo?), Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Shu Uemura, Sisley, and sundry other brands. I linked to the page above because that's what I was looking for...

Here's the previous one for your reference.
Major Nars blush porn link

image courtesy www.narscosmetics.com

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The virtual model is back!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:21 AM (Eastern)

my virtual model

In case you've never done this before and would like to try it out: My Virtual Model

I'm doing this because my old Virtual Model is still wearing Levi's.



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Fashion Notes: If I didn't make jewelry, I would buy it here.
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, December 11, 2007 7:19 PM (Eastern)

It takes two to three years to make jewelry, even from a non-metalsmithing perspective. Sounds like a trifling period, but you need dedication to start from nothing and continue on for upwards of three years.

After the first two years, you undergo a transformation. No longer are materials and methods an issue. You know exactly what to use--which temper and gauge of wire, where to buy it, how much to buy, what tools to use, what techniques to employ. Now it is far more a matter of what you wish to convey, which is a variation on the concept of design. Mass-produced jewelry tends to be all about selling a pretty design, and I'm not knocking it, but handmade jewelry tends to be one-of-a-kind and far more intellectually conceived.

It's also an easy way to buy American. The best form of charity, after all, is not charitable: you give someone the opportunity to work, to produce. Our decline in major production...the United States was once at the forefront of manufacturing...has spawned cottage industries such as jewelry-making, independent clothing houses, perfumery, and so forth, at an ever-increasing level of quality. So if you're looking for baubles this year, you might try some of these sites first.

Ava Luxe on etsy.com

I first encountered the hands, heart and soul of Ava Luxe when I tried some of her perfume oils. I had mentioned a copy of Chanel No. 5, which I love but am allergic to, and was amazed she had replicated it perfectly. Another scent I loved was Ingenue, a resurrection of the long-discontinued Deneuve fragrance (yes, Catherine Deneuve once had a celebrity scent).

Ava Luxe was on sabbatical recently; a small selection of the perfumes are available now on the Etsy site. Her recently-added jewelry really strikes me though, as having jumped forward into that intimate, almost spiritual zone.

ava luxe golden lotus necklace

The Golden Lotus Necklace ($99) just looks sweet, from its long-and-short golden chain to its (Hill Tribe?) vermeil lotus bead, delicate pink topaz accents and limpid rose quartz drop.

There's more, of course, from a wicked good pair of fine silver earrings to an ethereal elf bracelet and beyond.

Midori Jewelry

Midori Jewelry is my personal jewelry-making hero. There is a quality of peace in her pieces, a languor, a leisure in her careful selection of exactly what to put in each. I feel Midori Jewelry has been widely copied (in fact I borrowed one of her handmade hoop designs, it was so good) yet there's nothing quite like the original.

midori jewelry hecate necklace

I love the Hecate necklace ($70); it's sheer genius. You get the look of a lariat, without the annoying strangly or loose feeling.

midori jewelry plum blossoms necklace

The Plum Blossoms necklace ($70), with its hand-etched sterling silver dog tag pendant, bequeaths a gentle touch of Spring to your mood.

There are several "water" pieces on the site that are truly lovely as well.

SkyDreams on etsy.com

Sky Dreams' pieces are opulent and gem-oriented (she also has a "Sky Dreams Light" site on Etsy for less expensive jewelry).

What's been on my mind is this piece:

sky dreams peridot, amethyst necklace

This Peridot, Amethyst Sterling Silver Necklace ($159) is not something I'd normally consider. It's, well, a whole lot o' gems, but its thoughtfully-chosen spring green color, popped by purple, of all things...it works. It makes me think of a lush green meadow with a touch of violets.

There's a close-up of the wrapping detail on the site; each green briolette has been worked into the chain by hand.

images courtesy AVALUXE.etsy.com, www.midorijewelry.com, SkyDreams.etsy.com

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Montale Intense Tiare review part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, December 09, 2007 6:54 PM (Eastern)

negril

(see Montale Intense Tiare review)

Did I really pass on this perfume? What was I thinking! At the time I sampled it first, it didn't strike me that much one way or the other. (Again with the virtues of trying perfumes in sample form, since they can be handily revisited even months later.)

Now that the weather has changed to its annual blend of fog, rain, dark and cold (okay I'm exaggerating, but I hate cold weather of any stripe), I need this perfume. I went back and got out my sample vial and fairly slapped it on. Yes! Yes! Yes! Coconut and Tahitian gardenia! Sunshine in a bottle! It's really true. You do feel warmer with this stuff on.

Never mind I've never owned a coconut perfume in my life, nor, for that matter, a Tahitian gardenia one. I suppose the closest I've possessed to a white floral would be Givenchy's Organza (which contains as much vanilla, wood and subtle spice as it does white florals) or Annick Goutal's Passion (white florals tempered by oakmoss); big white florals are not my thing. It's truly the coconut melding with the tropical bloom that makes this perfume special.

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Beauty & Fashion Notes: Ruminations on aging, and finding that perfect pair of pearl earrings
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, December 07, 2007 4:36 PM (Eastern)

handmade freshwater pearl and argentium sterling silver earringsCool, eh? After fiddling around with pearl earrings for years, these just sort of emerged. They're not even chased, just hammered flat. The hoops are more of a bugger to make than it would appear (it's surprisingly easy to fluff the wrap at the top) yet, once made, they are beautifully round, and, well, tight. There's no way the wire could bend or pop loose; the entire hoop becomes quite solid.

I've given some thought to aging, as our culture becomes more and more engrossed with cosmetic surgery. A few years ago, I would have dismissed anti-aging procedures as simply too invasive. Or perhaps a bit too Dorian Gray.

Intuitively, I didn't feel aging, in the cosmetic sense, could be all negative. What I studied in college was logic, and I am likely the world's worst Catholic; I've never been that interested in theory, or in what you are supposed to believe. Does it work? Are we all doomed to cosmetic procedures (lucrative, if that's your field; an amazing drain on finances if not)?

Then I got older, and found out for myself. No, I don't think we are all going to get Botox and plastic surgery. Some people will do it. And it will become more and more common, certainly more acceptable. But there will always be a substantial group that doesn't, either for monetary reason (as the pressure to open your wallet and let the money flow toward plastic surgeons increases), or from plain old cussedness...a belief, on whatever level, that God created you as a spectacular work of engineering. Paying the lesser engineers to fiddle with your face...eh...

The part that no one tells you is that you can feel more beautiful as you age. shhhhh... When you're young, it is much easier to be beautiful, and in fact you should make yourself beautiful, since you have only one youth. When you're old, it's no longer theory as to what you'll look like when you get old. If you can remain attractive for your age, it is akin to a naked body as opposed to one that is fully clothed. The concealed body may contain any number of surprises, where, with the naked one, what you see is what you get.

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December 8, 2007 8:53 AM, Blogger Chez Moi said...

"Paying the lesser engineers to fiddle with your face...eh..."
HeHe,love that line!

The closer I get to 40, the less and less "Looks" obsessed I get. I've noticed that the people closest to me also could care less about aging. I did have a few folks in my life who are obsessed with getting older and losing their youthfulness, but I just don't have the patience anymore to have people like that in my life. Its just far to "high school" for me. Plus, a 35 year old woman wearing tons of makeup, bleached out hair and dressing out of the juniors department just looks pathetic. Not me, a "friend" of mine. I just don't get it. She is married, has a nice husband, a beautiful 2 year old baby boy and she's just crazy-obsessed with wanting to attract men's attention. I've tried telling her that she is worth so much more than that, but she is just totally deaf to it. She's smart, she works hard, she is not an unattractive gal. But all she cares about is having guys (preferably young, hot ones) hitting on her. I've given up on the friendship with her and it's just sad.

Anyhoos, your article made me think of this quote that I had posted awhile back on my own blog,

"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."
Eleanor Roosevelt

carol

 
December 9, 2007 6:51 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Hi! Nice to see you. :)

Yeahhhhh...well, some people want to see if they still have it. I've found that doesn't change with age, it doesn't matter what your circumstances are either. I'm not against that, in fact I think it is important to keep up your looks, because it affects your morale.

It's more that you have to draw a line...if you don't draw a line, you're going to be pressured throughout your life to pay for procedures or products that really don't do that much for you. Right now there's a tremendous push for surgery...as the sort of cure-all for everything. And I think it's bullshit, as a cure-all for everything.

The funny part is actually getting old yourself. You find out so much of what you've been told your entire life is, well, fiction.

The only thing I miss is being able to stay in shape easily. For a very long time I was naturally strong. Now I have to work at it. There are many things you can do to keep strong though, the thing is to keep going.

 
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NARS: The Consummate Stocking Stuffer
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, December 06, 2007 3:02 PM (Eastern)

So you want to snag a lil' something for your best girl's stocking this year. And you're thinking: "I have no idea what to get. What if she hates it?"

Enter the makeup palette, which performs for cosmetics what perfume samples do for fragrance. You give your gal a whole bunch of options, the opportunity to try various shades of this or that, at her leisure. The key is to choose a good brand, a universal brand even, so that some of the shades are bound to work.

nars artist palette

Here is the whompin' Nars Artist Palette. $60 at Sephora.com

Palette includes eye shadows in India Song (soft butter yellow with a hint of shimmer), Night Star (sheer peach with gold pearls), Night Clubbing (black with gold pearls), Ondine (plum with gold shimmer); The Multiple in Copacabana (glistening pearl) and Malibu (pinkish brown); and lipstick in Honolulu Honey (satin flesh toned beige), Dolce Vita (sheer dusty rose), Gipsy (sheer warm berry), and Trans Siberian (semi matte ruby rose).

On a personal note, this palette contains several shades I've been meaning to try since forever, plus one shade that is my holy grail blush (the Malibu).

nars fame palette

The Fame lipstick palette $65 at narscosmetics.com (scroll down some) contains a full dozen shades of lipstick in a range of hues.

For a more compact, red-oriented lip palette, consider the Nars Hot Sauce palette $30 at Sephora.com:


Palette includes lip colors in Tobago (sheer warm taupe-grape with soft shimmer), Dolce Vita (sheer dusty rose), Gipsy (sheer, warm berry), Catfight (semi matte nude-rose), Flair (sheer burnished berry), and Captiva (sheer currant).

If all of these seem a bit too practical to you, you might go for something more luxe and sensual (not a bad idea this time of year), such as the Nars Body Glow set $98 at Sephora.com (also available on the narscosmetics.com site):

nars body glow set

"In the tradition of French Polynesia, Monoï de Tahiti oil is the result of macerating the native Tiare flower (Tahitian gardenia) in refined coconut extract for at least ten days, a process that slowly infuses the oil with Tiare's delicate, natural fragrance." The set includes a bronzed version of the oil, to rekindle the heat of summer (sighs), and an untinted oil containing an authentic tiare flower. (You'll note either bottle may be purchased individually as well.)

Finally, if she's already pretty Nars-savvy, you'll want to skip the palettes, and maybe even the body oils, and get straight to the Nars e-Gift Certificate (available in denominations of $50, $100 and $200):

nars e gift certificate



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Make Up For Ever: Diamonds For Ever Holiday Set
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, December 05, 2007 6:43 PM (Eastern)

make up for ever diamonds for ever kit
make up for ever diamonds for ever kit


Fishing around for gifts to give this holiday season? How about this sparkling Make Up For Ever Eye & Lip kit? $49 at Sephora.com (a $110 value)

Within a shimmering gift box is a tote-able, black Vanity Pouch with a built-in mirror, containing:
  • New Diamond Powder #11 - a fairy dust like powder in a champagne hue, consisting of ultra fine 'mother of pearl particles' which impart a shimmery effect on skin

  • New Diamond Shadow #301 - a highly pigmented, pearly white shadow inflected with innovative micro-fine 'mother of pearl' particles

  • Waterproof Lengthening Mascara - an intensely black formula that is water-proof and non-flaking, with special film-forming polymers that lengthen lashes

  • Aqua Eyes #1L - a creamy, pearly eye liner that is water-proof, smudge-proof and extremely long-lasting

  • Fascinating Lip Gloss #1 - a sheer, iridescent gloss with a sweet mango scent and enriched with 'mother of pearl' particles for extra sparkle and ultra shine

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Beauty Notes: Serenity
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:36 AM (Eastern)

It's well to find ways to keep your morale and energy up, no matter what's going on. Not that it's easy to do. In fact it's a skill, that should probably be taught in school along with mathematics (the two are not as dissimilar as they may appear).

Serenity & Music


What better way to get everything in alignment than to put on some music? (Do people still say that, or did this expression recede with the vinyl recording?)


alicia bridges - i love the night life COQUIGUATE

This was one of my favorite songs of the disco era. It's subtler than Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," and as sexy, in its own way, as Grace Jones' "Pull Up to the Bumper."

And speaking of Grace Jones...she was a prominent figure in the tail-end-of-disco, birth-of-New-Wave period, and I miss her. I didn't know until today that LL Cool J's "Doin' It" was sampled from a Grace Jones song:


Grace Jones - My Jamaican Guy (Live)


Serenity & Perfume


Finally got around to trying my sample of Serge Lutens' Fleurs d'Oranger today.

serge lutens fleurs d'oranger


In its own right, it is a highly soothing composition, with waves and billows of honeyed orange blossom, whiffs of the orange itself, smooth white flowers...it starts out with a small burst of the same bright sweetness of Fracas, in fact...all reminiscent of crisp white cotton shirts, sunny gardens, and general tranquility.

I can never in a million years see buying this, mind you; it's not "me." "You," in your perfume-buying decisions, should be the perfumes that bring you peace. My Montale Aoud Blossom/Boisé Vanillé blend never fails to soothe, nor does Annick Goutal's Passion. I'm mulling over the idea of trying Jean Patou's Sublime again (I haven't smelled it in a decade, easily, and don't want to make the same mistake I made buying Samsara after not having smelled it in about as long.)

Serenity & Jewelry


turquoise, labradorite and keishi pearl necklace


I had the idea of trying to capture the sea around Jamaica, without using obvious maritime symbols such as mermaids or shells. This is American turquoise and labradorite, with a natural pink keishi pearl. In the end I couldn't resist the golden anchor (in real life, it looks more like a fleur-de-lys than an obvious anchor).

Here a great deal of the calming aspect is making the piece itself. It's not unlike knitting, which I've recently thought about taking up (I was a complete screw-up at knitting in my youth), in being able to take the same elements and redo them, with very little waste (okay knitting trumps jewelry making, but if you stick with it long enough, you don't make that many mistakes anymore).

Serenity & Comedy



Springtime for Hitler


Sometimes you really need to laugh. When I saw The Producers originally, it was sometime in the early to mid 1970's, when the horrors of World War II were still relatively fresh. I had to blink to believe what I was seeing, it was that hysterically funny. Likely some of its jibes are less pointed now, but the opening number for Springtime for Hitler is a classic.

image courtesy aedes.com

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Travel: Jamaica
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, December 01, 2007 1:40 PM (Eastern)

jamaican coat of arms

I recently returned from Jamaica; it's been my third time going there. It's odd, but it's hard for me to imagine any place on Earth I'd rather visit. Living there would be difficult, there's no doubt about it, yet it is a place that becomes a part of you, or else it's that you leave part of yourself there every time you go.

Americans particularly would do well to add Jamaica to their vacation possibilities list. Not only is English the official language of Jamaica (never mind that no one there speaks the Queen's English, since we don't either): Americans will instantly recognize a fresher version of the same former-English-colony hangover.* As far as the weather: the American South is hotter and comparably humid. If you can survive that, Jamaican weather is something of a reverie. (Okay it isn't like that all year, check before you book.)

There have been improvements over the past three years...much more new construction, a renovated airport. The people you see on the street are better dressed, year by year. There appear to be more primary education students (noticeable, since they wear uniforms). Overall there is less formality, more of a driving energy.

The photos in travel brochures really don't do the place justice. They're hopelessly airbrushed; you're left with a bizarre impression of a high-gloss resort, where rich people sit and scrutinize your shoes. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jamaica is a fabulously hot, sweaty kind of a place, where you spend much of your time in the sea. Artifice isn't a big component here...makeup melts or washes away, you live in a bathing suit, your hair is beachy, only in the literal sense. You need bug repellent and sunscreen, but you don't feel like sitting wearing a hat. At night it cools off and people dress up, but it's tropical dressing up. There isn't a corresponding style of dress here; it took me the three times to suss it out. But I like it.

river maid

Here is the view from my room. Someone comes every morning to take the boat to the water sports part of the beach. I got to snorkel almost every day...and this is a really cool boat, it's got two outboard motors in the back and a glass bottom...snorkeling in Jamaica is otherworldly. You'd think it would become humdrum, doing it every day, but it's unique each time, a different set of fish and corals, large bright starfish one day, a ginormous fish with jaws the next (okay I didn't stick around to investigate that one too closely).

hi!

Here I am looking kinda wasted...sorry about that...but everything they say about Jamaican rum is true; it's excellent. They also make a decent beer (Red Stripe).

Even if you don't consider yourself the greatest reggae fan, reggae music is omnipresent, only here it's alive and breathing. Its rhythms belong to an island nation...the one accurate aspect of those airbrushed travel-agency pics is Jamaica's exquisite turquoise sea.

Debated a bit as to which song to include here...so many good ones, from Three Little Birds to Stir It Up to Pressure Drop :) Can't beat this one though.


Bob Marley Is This Love

Here I'm leaving...you can always tell who's arriving or leaving, because they're the only folks wearing anything other than bathing suits. I didn't go for a deep tan, but I can say this was the first time in...years, easily...that I didn't always feel bone-tired. In fact I didn't feel tired at all.

last day

Edited: ahahahahaha! Just going back over my previous posts on Jamaica.

You do need two bathing suits, because how well the day's suit dries out depends on the given heat and humidity (some parts of the country are considerably hotter than others).

This time I went, I saw dental floss suits, some toplessness...more sophisticated, but it will depend on your resort.

Still, skip the short-sleeved tee shirts, socks, etc. Again we brought one of those travel steamer/iron things; again it languished in the suitcase.

Do research something called a "no see um". Think DEET, in the highest safe concentration.

Hopefully there will be more choices in coral reef safe sunscreens soon. The lone one I saw in shops (stateside) was Ecolani, at nearly $20 for 4 oz. That would amount to a c-note's worth of sunscreen for us.

And what's up with all these expensive sunscreens lately anyway?

I got to sniff two Jamaican scents, White Witch (by Parfums Jamaica) and Forget Me Not. There's little information on the Net about either.

White Witch smells kind of neat, it's spicy...I'd like to say ginger and cinnamon...with an overlay of a narcissus-like flower. On me it wasn't that great, but I did smell it on others; it's a young scent imo. The staying power didn't impress me much, considering I'd tested the eau de parfum, but then it is reasonably priced, so I can see applying it fairly lavishly.

Forget Me Not was an old-fashioned blended floral perfume, like Creed's Fleurissimo. The staying power here was pretty good.

* Jamaica attained its independence in 1962.

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December 2, 2007 11:04 AM, Blogger Jenny B said...

Thanks for your travel report! It was a lovely read. Jamaica looks great, and so do you! I'm glad you had such a fine time.

 
December 2, 2007 2:30 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

You would love it. Because it's a small island country, it's all about the sea and swimming. They have scuba diving as well as snorkeling, but you have to take lessons for scuba diving so we didn't bother. Maybe next time.

The snorkeling...it's like those fancy aquariums, only way better!

The sea is the thing...that's one thing I really miss living here. The Pacific Ocean is too cold to go swimming in, in the main...there are a few beaches around, like Stinson Beach or Alameda, but it's not the same. When I lived in Virginia, I was half an hour's drive away from the beach. Even though we did have jellyfish the size of dinner plates. lol

 
December 2, 2007 5:38 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Cool. Glad to see you back. : )

 
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