Monday, January 2, 2012

What I Loved in December 2011

Well it's official, it's January 2nd, 2012...the holiday season is officially over, you can get on with your lives now and safely return to the mall or Target. Some of you may be relieved, and usually I'm in that boat, but because I have a little girl I'm a bit sad knowing we have to take down our cute, fake tree! Oh and I'm now a fake tree promoter - save a tree and clean up couldn't be easier. Want that tree smell? Get some a pine scented candle or a home diffuser, our scent was courtesy of L'Occitane, Winter Forest.

I need to get off my lazy butt and start writing again. So here's a short and sweet post of what I was loving in December.

The Naked 2 palette is a no-brainer, I am now trying to NOT use this palette everyday. I put myself to a mini-challenge about two weeks ago: eye looks created exclusively with this palette, here's a featured look. It is truly worth all $50 - especially if you never purchased the first palette, like me. Seriously, I am still shocked that I never regretted passing on it! This is the first time I can actually use all the shades in one palette. The only thing that annoys me is that it contains three shadows I currently own: Half-Baked, Verve and Suspect.

The lipsticks featured are bright, bold colors. For the first time in a very long time, I was craving a bold colored lip. I wanted pigment and not just gloss. I saved the gloss for a pink nude look (NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, Bahama with UD Lip Junkie, Naked).

Here's a closer look:

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick, Speak Louder (cool, poppy, blue pink) $14.50
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Train Bleu (eggplant) $24
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, Cruella (scarlet red) $24

And here's a swatch lineup (with flash):

Right now, I have been allowing my lipstick to dictate the rest of the color scheme on my face. And yes, I have discovered that I use less makeup when I wear colors this saturated. The problem with these lip products is that they can be a bit drying. So I apply a light layer of Kiehl's lip balm underneath these colors. This makes the colors settle just a bit more comfortable. I have discovered using a pearl lip gloss, NARS Luxor lightens up the deep shade of Train Bleu.

As for the fragrance samples - it's a new discovery for me. I am having so much fun discovering so many different fragrance profiles from independent and niche companies. From the high price luxury brands, like Chanel, I am discovering boutique exclusive scents. Chanel's Coromandel is something I am currently obsessing over. I am not a fan of Coco Mademoiselle or any of the others in the collection found in most department stores or Sephora. Coromandel is from the Les Exclusifs de Chanel - 13 rare fragrances created by Chanel master perfumers.It is a woody oriental fragrance with notes of benzoin, incense and wood - this scent was made to evoke the lacquered coromandel screens Mademoiselle Chanel surrounded herself in. On my skin, I'm hit with more of an amber note and the dry down is pure benzoin but I also detect an almost vanilla scent - it's gorgeous and my nose is buried in my wrist most of the time when I wear this.

Yes, this makes typing on a keyboard at work difficult!

The other samples featured are Frederic Malle's Musc Ravageur, a gorgeous spicy oriental scent consisting of cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, tonka bean, sandalwood, lavendar, bergamot, cedar, guaiac wood (on me it's all cloves and woods - it's a very sexy scent) and Sonoma Scent Studio (a new love). SSS is located in Northern California, about 2 hrs north from me. Laurie Erickson, is the nose behind this independent brand. Laurie uses the finest ingredients - natural and synthetic. These are highly concentrated perfumes (20-24% fragrance) and trust me, you will get longevity out of these fragrances. The best part is that these perfumes retail from $40-$42 for a 17ml bottle. Fig Tree and Egyptian Musk Oil are my two favorites at the moment. Fig Tree opens very green with just a tinge of coconut. It also has notes of patchouli, tonka, musk, vanilla and cedar. It evokes a late summer feel when I wear it but since I live in the foggy bay area - it's great year round! Egyptian Musk has notes of patchouli, sandalwood, some florals. It is what I would think if someone would ask me how clean skin smells like but without any soapiness. I ordered the oil version of this scent because it's a higher concentration - I get a little more of an animalic note without it going to a fecal category. I know that may sound gross to some but trust me you'll understand if you have been smelling lots of musks, like I currently have.

For more info on Sonoma Scent Studio please, PLEASE, please click HERE.

I think 2012 will be a very FRAGRANT year for me. I am really loving this new world of scents, especially when I have discovered sites that offer samples and decants for a fraction of the price of a full bottle. If you can snag a sample of a scent - try to get as many as allowed. I cannot tell you how long a sample can last! Also, most of the fragrances I am falling for can easily sell for $120 for 50ml.

I find it really challenging writing about fragrances - I don't think I can do a full review on a scent like some of the fragrance bloggers I admire. What I can offer is simple descriptions and feelings experienced while wearing certain scents. I think this will be difficult at first but I just have to push through it.

One of the best advice I received was from an independent filmmaker I P.A.'ed for - "the first 100 pieces you write will be shit but after that it'll just come easy" Okay well I hope the first 100 makeup posts I've written weren't shit but I think you know what I mean.

I'll still review makeup, noteworthy cocktails and beautiful shoes. Because if I didn't, well this would be a very DULL blog!!

I want to also keep up the practice of wearing more bright lip colors - I like that I can my makeup done even faster! Which means more sleep!

Do you have any beauty resolutions for 2012?


  1. I've been loving my naked 2 palette too recently! It's great for on-the-go :D

  2. Hi Kelly,
    I think this will be the one and only palette I pack in my travel bag. Now I just need to find a spot to travel to!

  3. I'm so excited about getting Naked2 after seeing so many different posts about it here :-P I'm just waiting for a gwp on sephora (or something like that).

    I think a fragrant year sounds like a great idea--- I've been loving smells too lately. Maybe it has something to do with spring?

  4. Hey Dovey,
    Are you getting this palette once it's on the shelves? Don't you have the first one? Impressive and honestly, I think you wouldn't be disappointed!

    Yes, my current scent obsession began in late Summer and went strong in the Fall. Winter just gave way for all the wonderful ambers, ouds and musks I have recently discovered. The figs and chypres I have discovered will be outstanding in the Summer months. But like with a great lipstick, a great scent is seasonless!

  5. Hi Lexi (again :D)

    I just ordered it--- and at an obscenely late hour at that. I'm very excited though.

    There are a few reasons I waited. 1) I wasn't sure I 'needed' it since I have Naked 1. I think I was completely sold on Pistol and liked a few other shades, but $50 is a lot for just one sure love! 2) I have a tough time with shimmer --- and UD has a lot of it. I guess palettes are a good way to practice without investing though. 3) Most importantly, in true beauty fiend manner, I wanted to start racking up VIB points from Sephora for 2012! (Hehe, embarrassing yet true)

    Ever other day I've been going through iterations of 'I need it' and 'I don't need it.' This has been happening pretty much since the day it came out! Seeing it on your favorites definitely helped tip the scales though. I definitely tend to like things you like :-)

    And finally---- as for fragrance--- I don't think I can differentiate all those scents! Wow. I'm definitely a floral girl and can't handle all complex and more elegant scents you described. I'm more inspired to experiment with scents again too, even if it is just amongst flowers!

  6. Aw Dovey,
    I'm flattered that I caused you to go into minor hysteria to order that palette at an obscene late hour! hahaha

    Yes, we do tend to like a lot of the same stuff which is awesome because if I see you review something you like on your blog then I know, if I wanted, I could do a blind buy and be just as pleased. I would just have to go a shade up!

    Fragrance is a wonderful world to discover. I use to just love super sweet gourmand fragrances and now I have uncovered a complex world of's so much fun! And expensive sadly!