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Life of Colleen: December 2009

Posts This Month
·· Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia soap, continued
·· Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia soap review
·· Odds and sods, part 4
·· Merry Christmas!
·· Some recent-ish earrings
·· Odds and sods, part 3
·· Reminiscing...
·· Happy Sunday!
·· Happy Monday!
·· Brrrrr
·· Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo, continued
·· Happy...Tuesday

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Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia soap, continued
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-30 at 8:02 PM (Pacific)

Bryan Ferry - "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"

You must be tired. You've been running through my mind all day. Actually this is not the song that's been running through my mind--that would be "Taxi," from the same Bryan Ferry record. But I like this cover as well.

It's occurred to me Pacifica's Tahitian Gardenia soap smells quite similar to a perfume I've thought about, on and off, for a couple of years: Diptyque's Do Son.

Google Street View of the Diptyque shop on Maiden Lane

Tahitian Gardenia is not as complex as Do Son--you wouldn't expect it to be, soap not being perfume--but this is one type of scent to which I return, time and again.

Do Son was almost freakishly realistic--along with the Tahitian Gardenia slew of white flowers and a fresh green note out of nowhere, it featured a slight bitter edge (as actual flowers possess) and what I swear smelled like running water and a smidge of sunlight. The deal-breaker--like the other Diptyque eau de toilettes I sampled back then (2007, the same time I took a screenshot of the shop), it had no staying power. You'd be like some kind of a nut, spraying it every half hour or so.

So the question--and it's a beauty blog question--would be, how does Pacifica's perfume version of Tahitian Gardenia compare to Diptyque's Do Son? I'll have to look more closely next time I visit Whole Foods; maybe they have Pacifica scents out?

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Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia soap review
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-28 at 8:20 PM (Pacific)

pacifica tahitian gardenia soap

I chanced upon this tasty soap at Whole Foods in Berkeley, from the standard wall of scented soaps each health food store seems to possess these days. The Pacifica soaps were not the most economical--I get my bath soap at health food stores; less drying, superior quality--yet were reasonably priced, and smelled nothing short of divine.

So, along with my Whole Foods store-brand soaps ($3.99 for a honking 8-ounce bar), I chunked in a Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia soap ($5 for 6 oz.).

I was in no hurry to try it. A confirmed cheapskate, I was content to have the soap function as a sachet for a while; its white-flower scent could infuse my clothing with intense tropical goodness. (I'd never forgotten how flowers smelled in the South. They don't, out here, in our parched Western air.)

When the Whole Foods soaps had been consumed, it was time to unveil the Pacifica model. I somehow expected a neat white bar, like a Lever 2000, the kind of soap sold in the actual tropics, but the Pacifica bar was beauteous--a slightly translucent block, with softened corners and edges, a freckling of what appeared to be crumbled dried flower petals, beneath a thin layer of more translucent soap, so the whole was smooth and silky, yet angular enough to be interesting.

Soap-wise...good, but then good soap is good soap. A Trader Joe's shea butter soap is as good...the outstanding features here were the fragrance and lovely look and feel.

To me, Tahitian Gardenia didn't smell purely, nor even mainly, of gardenia; rather of a blend of white tropical flowers and lilies. To me the lily note was as strong as anything tropical or gardenia. On the Pacifica site, this soap is described as follows:

Pacifica's Tahitian Gardenia Natural Soap is handmade using a proprietary biodegradable, vegan, vegetable oil and glycerin soap base, ground almond meal, and Pacifica's own fragrance blend with ylang ylang, osmanthus and jasmine essential oils. No parabens, animal testing, animal ingredients or artificial colors. 100% VEGAN and Gluten-free.

Sweet! Oh, and I had to replenish my stock of Whole Foods soaps tonight; I added in another Pacifica soap--French Lilac--mmmmm....

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Odds and sods, part 4
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-27 at 7:28 PM (Pacific)

dr. hauschka body care kit

Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Oil review

Hermmm...I see this sample pack is a bit over two years old. I've been using up each item slowly--the three creams are gone, the kids got into the Lavender bath oil; the Blackthorn body oil is something no one seems to want to use, so it's slated to be next on my list. I've just shaken out the last drops of the Rose Body Oil.

I wasn't particularly into body oils; they appeared simply a messier alternative to lotion, and the inner cheapskate scowled that a mixture of oils and fragrances had got to be more economical to make yourself. But, hey. The Hauschka rep was nice enough to send a plethora of samples, and I've liked just about all of them--the products are, in a word, engineered.

Rose Body Oil is no exception; you need a mere drop or two of this delicately scented oil to moisturize an area of dry skin. It produces a silkier effect than lotion, and doesn't feel greasy on. As evidenced by my poky use of the product, it keeps at least two years. A full-sized bottle could be a negligible expense.

salux beauty skin cloth

On second thought, I've decided to replace my current Salux Beauty Skin cloth. Its lifespan would appear to be about a year and nine months. Its scratchiness had diminished over time--it never frayed nor developed a hole, making it a bit awkward to throw away, but it is noticeably less abrasive (this is the thing for keratosis pilaris, ingrown hairs, and even some prevention of acne).

a zipper

"Fixing" a zipper

I had a horrific experience: the zipper on my handbag ceased to zip. It'd started out getting sticky; crossed my mind it would need some kind of lubrication, like graphite for a keyhole, but one day the pull simply wouldn't lock the teeth. You'd yank the pull all the way over, and the zipper would gape open.

Sometimes the teeth at the base of the zipper would lock for about an inch and a half; I theorized one of the teeth beyond that point was bent, throwing off the remainder of the teeth. Got out my chain-nose pliers, and looked for something to bend back...but after a close examination, I couldn't find any bent or otherwise damaged teeth.

Finally I googled to get some ideas. One article stated you should lubricate your zipper by rubbing a piece of beeswax on it. I actually owned a piece of beeswax, from way back when, so I got that out and started rubbing it along each side of the zipper. You need to do this several times to make zipping nice and smooth.

Weirdly enough, the zipper works now. It wasn't really damaged; it was the stress of sticky zipping that kept the teeth from aligning.

The morale to this story is--if you can't find broken teeth on the zipper, and the pull starts out working (isn't out of sync at the base), why not try this method?

Edited to add: I'm also not unzipping it quite all the way.

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Merry Christmas!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-25 at 5:58 PM (Pacific)

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love

Bono massacred this song at one point, didn't he? :)

All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey

My girl Mariah Carey--love her.

Happy holidays to all, and a happy and prosperous New Year (in case I don't post before then).

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Some recent-ish earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-23 at 5:08 PM (Pacific)

handmade hammered hoop, golden rutile earrings
Hammered goldfilled hoops / golden rutilated quartz earrings

handmade peridot, prehnite, tourmaline earrings
Peridot and vermeil / prehnite, peridot, tourmaline earrings

handmade london blue topaz, tourmaline earrings on oxidized chain
London Blue topaz / tourmaline earrings on oxidized sterling chain

handmade coin pearl and tiny pearls earrings
Baby coin pearl / tiny pearl earrings on rolo chain

handmade moonstone, garnet hoop earrings
Moonstone and labradorite / rhodolite garnet, grey moonstone earrings

I'll go into more detail on the Beading Blog.

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Odds and sods, part 3
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-22 at 10:26 PM (Pacific)

Eh...tired. House cleaning, laundry, mending, yadda yadda...

Which brings us to:

tide coldwater detergent

Tide Coldwater detergent. I've used this for several rounds o' clothes; so far, it's good. It cleans as well in cold water as regular Tide would in warm. Possibly too soon to say, but it also appears to fade colors less quickly than regular Tide would in cold.

dharma trading dye swatches

In 2010, I'm planning to get some black dye from Dharma Trading Company, and toss all my fading black cottons and linens into a ginormous dye vat. The site is a trip: four kinds of black dye (Black, Jet Black, Better Black, New Black), half a page of advice specifically on black dye, plus an entire small-print page of instructions on how to do it.

And finally--given this blog still touts itself as a beauty blog, despite the fact I seldom if ever post about beauty products any more--a passage about makeup.

My beloved Nars Jezebel duo eyeshadow has bitten the dust:

nars jezebel duo eyeshadow

It's still in the "Vintage" section (which is polite, apparently, for "discontinued")... And there is a 20% off $60 coupon code, CP9H1211, good through December 31, 2009, at narscosmetics.com, and free shipping for $25 orders--et cetera.

Buying a back-up copy of Jezebel, and tossing in some other Nars-a-licious product to get the discount, would appear a cosmetiholic no-brainer.

But...do I really want a back-up copy of Jezebel in the first place? It's my favorite eyeshadow--the lilac side features a good-sized dent, whilst the coppery side can't, since it requires a light touch. The duo goes with just about everything...but it'll be months, if not years, before the thing gets used up. I bought it July 2007, and Nars eyeshadows keep for years, without the tragic hardening of, say, MAC eyeshadows, or anything weird and crumbly happening.

I'd much rather wait longer and visit a b & m Sephora and just fiddle around with whatever's on offer at the time.

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posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-21 at 4:32 PM (Pacific)

Was digging through some old directories...it's good to do that, once in a while.

various perfumes
Various perfumes, Q1 2008

I still have these, though I'm no longer as nuts about the AG Passion. Good thing it was a small bottle.

pink day
"Pink Day," Q4 2003

lol! That was from the old Lipstick Page. We were to wear pink make-up on that day (I forget the occasion), so that's what I did. My hair was wet in the image...I still have the red cardigan sweater. It's easily twenty years old, and probably more stitches than wool at this point, but I can't find anything that shade of red.

a new hive honeybee project
"A New Hive," Q3 2008

This was from a "save the honeybees" project called A New Hive.


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Happy Sunday!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-20 at 6:48 PM (Pacific)

Dolapdere Big Gang - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Hey, it's the Muni bus! uh huh....

A cheerful rendition of Nina Simone's classical tune (perhaps more famously covered by The Animals).

trasparenze gennifer merino wool tights

Trasparenze Gennifer merino wool tights review, continued

These stretch out half a size with wear. I now feel size 2 is correct for me; they were kinda like doll clothes, coming straight out of the package. You have to wear them once or twice.

Sometime I might check out the other shades--"dark khaki green," for example (Bosco) sounds useful--there is also a dark plum, fawn, and cream, as well as the Rubino red.

Cydwoq Recess shoe

Finally got to see these in person (Bulo Shoes in the City carries them). I'm convinced now that Cydwoq shoes should not be bought online, unless it's a dire emergency. Like all things handmade, the shoes possess an intimate quality which doesn't translate too well to the Web.

The top leather is distressed-looking in real life, while the embossed lower leather isn't (and the pattern appears subtler too). These are the old pair of shoes I've been looking for. Though the footbed seems long and narrow, to me--I have those little Asian pancake feet--these run half a size small. So if I'd bought them online in my usual size, I'd be SOL.

Shantel - Disko Boy

Much as I've tried to avoid slapping up multiple music videos, I can't actually resist this one. Yabadabadai yoboboboboi, I wanna be your disco boy, I wanna dance with you, wanna hold you tight, wanna make you mine tonight...

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Happy Monday!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-14 at 7:55 PM (Pacific)

Persian Music Santoor (Santour, Santur) and Tonbak (1)

I had a sudden craving for santoor music. I don't play the santoor, mind you :) but it is one of the most fascinating instruments to watch someone else play.

The santoor is basically a big box o' strings, and the ones I've seen have absolutely no markings on them anywhere. That's part of what makes watching santoor playing mesmerizing...you're thinking, how does this guy know where to hit this thing? how is it even possible?

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posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-09 at 7:58 PM (Pacific)

Lewis Black on Broadway

Okay, it isn't quite that cold here, but you've got to love Lewis Black. (If you are offended by bad language, yadda yadda...)

trasparenze gennifer tights

Trasparenze Gennifer Merino Wool Tights review

I got some of these--so far, so great. They're a better price than domestic wool tights, and the quality is lovely.

Gennifer aren't built for Antarctica, exactly, only slightly thicker than regular cotton-blend tights. It's a trade-off; I wanted something that would work with my existing pumps and boots. The colors, at least the ones I've tried, are perfect--Blu is dark inky blue, Fumo a very dark grey, Marrone a notch lighter than espresso...reminds me of coffee grounds, actually. I gravitate toward dark tights (easier to match with clothing and shoes).

Unlike other Italian-made legwear I've tried, these are relatively short; they just fit me (5'5", 134 lbs). I got size 2, which according to their size chart should have fit up to 155 lbs. in my height range--which is 5'5" to 5'8". I'm inclined to say no way would this size fit the upper end of that range in either height or weight.

Warmth-wise...not the warmest, but decent. In a lightly-heated office, Gennifer tights have been good to me.

It's too soon to say how well they wear, having washed mine only once so far, but I'll post back later on with an update.

Speakin' of updates...

salux beauty skin cloth
Salux Beauty Skin Cloth

I love this thing! I still have the one I bought around April of last year, and, knock wood, I keep waiting for it to go bad. It did lose an eensy bit of scratchiness, but it's still pretty darn scratchy, and it dries admirably fast even in cold conditions (no need to fret about mold).

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Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Shampoo, continued
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-07 at 9:18 PM (Pacific)

aubrey organics honeysuckle rose shampoo

This is just the thing for a post-coloring shampoo! ...the week after you color, when your hair can go to fly-away hell, if not properly conditioned.

It's still way too emollient for me to use as a regular shampoo...and I still use good ol' L'Oreal Féria Deep Conditioner after coloring:

loreal feria deep conditioner

I used this combination this morning...the shampoo was sufficiently heavy so I didn't need to slather on the Féria, and the overall effect was both silky and light.

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posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-12-01 at 9:26 PM (Pacific)

Timbuk3, "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" (1986)

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

I've got a job waiting for my graduation
Fifty thou a year will buy a lot of beer
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

Well I'm heavenly blessed and worldly wise
I'm a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades


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