Friday, April 6, 2012

The Friday Forum - April 6

While some of the azaleas in the DC area are in full bloom, the Satsuki azaleas shouldn't be. Generally late bloomers (mid-May to June), they too have been confused by the weather. Here is one of my plants, with the buds showing color. I think the contrast of deep rose buds against the shiny green leaves is just as pretty as the plant in full bloom.

This morning, I saw my fox in the garden eating peanuts I had put down for the birds and squirrels. This was the first time I had seen him in months. I was glad to see that he's OK. I've missed my beautiful friend.

My Charlie is perched on top of my printer as I write, paws tucked into the content-a-cat position. The sun is warming his fur, and he looks pretty happy. I can't imagine the hard printer surface could be comfy, but whatever.

Although it has an element of "boring," I'd like to talk about packaging today. I received my Tom Ford makeup in two boxes from Neiman Marcus this week. For three tiny items, they sent two boxes - both larger than a shoe box, both stuffed with paper or lightweight cardboard. They have done this before. The boxes come from the same location, so it doesn't appear to be a result of shipping from different sources. They always arrive together on the same day. It appears they ship only one SKU per box. Isn't the amount of waste amazing? Cardboard, packing materials - and the unwarranted cost to Neiman Marcus for shipping two boxes with three small makeup items. If Neiman Marcus would make me queen for a day, I'd fix that.

It's especially interesting to me because certain sales associates are stingy with tissue paper in my bags - often using none. I've wondered if that's a corporate policy - to cut back on tissue paper. With a small item and a large bag, there's more than a negligible chance that an item could accidentally fall out. Yes, the tissue paper adds to the waste stream, but it also serves a purpose - unlike multiple shipping boxes. I do recycle everything, and I hope the packaging is being repurposed.

Don't even get me going on styrofoam shipping peanuts. I understand their purpose, but I despise them. For one thing, Charlie thinks they are cat treats. They can be harmful to pets, so I have to get them out of my house as fast as possible. Unfortunately, they can fly everywhere when I try to remove the box contents they were used to protect. Not too long ago, I bought a bunch of perfume spray bottles. Instead of putting them in a box and surrounding the box with peanuts inside the shipping box (the norm for those kinds of products), the shipper put all 100 of them loose in a large box and threw in peanuts. It took me 30 minutes to pick out each bottle and separate the peanuts from product. I will never buy from that source again.

I've also stopped buying from sources that use those thin, crinkly paper strips - thousands of them - to pack my items. No matter how careful I am, I end up with colored paper crinklies all over my house. It's the same issue I have with packing peanuts. How do you get your items out of the shipping box without spilling "stuff" all over the place?

What do you think? Am I just being cranky? There's got to be a better way!

Rather talk about beauty products?  It's time for The Friday Forum, our open chat. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Don't forget to enter this week's amazing giveaway contest for Edward Bess's All Over Seduction in Afterglow. The deadline is tomorrow, April 7, at midnight.

I hope you have a happy weekend!

Photo by Best Things in Beauty


bisbee said...

I find myself nodding when I read your blog!

I also can't STAND the way NM ships their items - it's a running joke between me and my husband - a HUGE box with a lipstick in it! So wasteful - even though I also recycle.

At least they don't pack using those AWFUL peanuts! I have 3 cats, and they would LOVE those things if they could get at them - which I make sure they can't. It is such a hassle - whenever I open a box with those things my heart sinks!

Have a lovely holiday everyone!

Kate said...

Hi Charlestongirl,

I agree with you completely about the packing. I received the Tom Ford Gold Dust lip lacquer from Neiman and it was in a huge box. All for one little lip gloss. Ridiculous. And I can't stand packing peanuts, either. I don't even have a pet, and I still find them aggravating.

Speaking of Tom Ford, I do love the Gold Dust lip lacquer. Although it is fairly sheer, I was able to wear it by itself and get some decent pigment. I have also been wearing it over the new Edward Bess lipstick I got, Pure Impulse. It is a beautiful nude color. I LOVE nude or pale lips. At this point, I own the three lightest shades in EB's lineup, and I like them all. This one is a creamy beige-pink, with a touch of brown.

I also received the Quad Royale in South of France. It is lovely, although I think I prefer his All Over Seduction highlighters better. But, I have been wearing SoF all over my face, and also as a highlighter. It adds a lovely glow to the face.

I actually rediscovered an old eyeshadow I have not used in a while. It is Espresso by Stila. I have not used my Stila eyeshadows in a long time. But this color is the perfect gray-brown. I have been using it in my smokey eye look that I wear quite frequently.

Still lusting after TF's Cognac will be mine soon! I can't bear waiting any longer. I hope you liked the products you purchased from TF. I loved reading KarlaSugar's post about her TF makeover. She had a wonderful tip in there from the makeup artist who did her makeup. She said she uses the darkest Shade & Illuminate on everyone, because the color is so blendable and forgiving. I own the lighter Shade & Illuminate, but now I am dying to try the darker one.

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend!


Charlestongirl said...

Hi Bisbee!

Those NM boxes defy explanation. They have to cost a fortune. One box per lip gloss?

Charlie will do ANYTHING to get to a box of peanuts. No matter where I put them, he would find them. I caught him once standing on the top of the hangers in my closet trying to get to the top shelf, where I had stored a box of peanuts overnight. I had been too lazy to get them out of there the night before. He was poised to knock them over, eat and probably cost me a surgery bill.

Charlestongirl said...

Kate, my Gold Dust came in its own box too. Crazy! I'm testing it so that I can post it this weekend.

I really enjoy the Quad Royales because they are so sheer and versatile. EB gets an A+++ for them.

When I ordered last week, I skipped the Shade & Illuminate - for that very reason! Because I cannot test the shades, I was concerned about choosing the best brown. Someday...

Happy Easter to you and everyone!

Eileen said...

Between my oldest son's birthday and Easter, this is going to be a very busy and fun weekend. The weather has been gorgeous the past few days so I'm hoping it will stay warm enough to dine al fresco. If not, no problem. We'll just take it indoors. I'm prepared for either eventuality :-)

Packing peanuts! That has got to be one of the most insidious inventions ever. They're terribly messy and more important, because so many recycling centers won't even accept them, they end up in our landfills where they are a danger to wildlife. I think they should be banned. I feel the same way about any packing material that cannot be easily recycled.

I took a look at Guerlain's new Rouge Automatique Shine this week and fell in love with the vibrant, crystalline colors. Since these are not LE, I was going to wait until the Pucci collection arrived and pick up everything at once, but when my favorite Guerlain gal called and said she only had one of the Pampelune left, I said I'd be in the next day to pick it up. In the tube, Pampelune is a bright and cheerful orange with a touch of coral. It's transparency lets some of my natural rose lip color show through which makes for an eminently wearable shade that is both trendy and elegant. I picked up Mi-Mai as well since I was looking for colors specifically for summer. It's a beauty! It is a coppery rose-beige shade that works as a neutral but has life and vibrancy. And, like Pampelune, my own rose lip color comes through to make Mi-Mai my very own. As for the the phenomenal selection of pinks in the collection, as breath-taking as they were, I resisted. I had purchased all four Rouge G's for spring and should be well satisfied. How long do you think that's going to last? LOL

Anyone who loves the sheer lipstick trend will flip over Guerlain's entry into the market. As with Chanel's Shine, the glossy finish doesn't last long (although it does last longer than Chanel's), but the actual color remains on the lips and can be easily freshened with a stroke of balm or a reapplication of lipstick. The formula itself is classic Guerlain which means it applies silky smooth and is very moisturizing. I have only one caveat: Women who are glitter phobes will probably be reluctant to try RA Shine. Every color in the collection has a bit of micro-glitter. I'm almost afraid to use that word because of the images it conjures, but it is what it is. Keeping Guerlain's target demographic in mind, though, be assured that there is nothing over-the-top or juvinille about it. It is subtle and tone-on-tone which gives the lips a pearlescent shimmer. So, be brave. It's good to try something out of our comfort zone now and then :-)

I hope all of you and yours have a glorious weekend!

CGirl said...

Hi CG!
I,too, despise packing peanuts and wasteful packing. Nordstrom does the same thing when packing just 1 item-it is surrounded by paper in a large box. They do only ship individually when coming from different warehouses though, so that's a plus.

My Jo Malone samples finally arrived! I am in love I adore Orange Blossom, Jasmine and Mint, nd Vintage Gardenia. Wild Bluebell and Nectarine Blossom are creeping up there too. I have yet to try the White Lilac and Rhubarb (I think that's right). I don't know how I'm going to choose just one.

I have a busy weekend ahead as I have 2 boys (not mine) for 5 days. I am crossing my fingers for good behavior. It's supposed to rain much of the time, but I hope there will be some sun so we can go to the beach and other things. I hope you all have great weekends.

Kate said...


Call me an enabler, but I think you would be safe to buy either Shade & Illuminate. They both can be sheered out. Karla is pretty fair, and if she can pull off Shade Two, I am sure you would be able to as well. I do understand the desire to see products in person, though. When I was in Vegas and had access to all the counters in Neimans that are nowhere near me, I about lost my mind. It was almost overwhelming. I wish I had written down everything I wanted to see in person. Most of my cosmetics purchases have been "blind." I will say, I have never gone wrong with anything from Tom Ford.


yesplease1816 said...

Though I have never ordered anything online from NM, I would be very annoyed if I saw that too! Who on earth came up with that policy when Nordstrom, Sephora, etc. ship their boxes "normally" and, so far, everything I've ever ordered has arrived perfectly fine!

On a side note, I actually had a doctors appt. today that I canceled because I am waiting for my big "haul" to come in from Sephora and I didn't want to leave the house without playing with all my new goodies first. lol

Enjoy your weekend, Charleston Girl!

Leigh said...

Once, I ordered a lipstick from Nordstrom. A free perfume sample was automatically added at checkout. A box arrived, and I tore it open, excited to discover ... the sample only. Nordstrom had shipped me a perfume sample all in its own box. The lipstick arrived the next day.

It's my understanding that some companies ship each item as soon as it becomes available. There ought to be an option box at checkout for customers to tick if they would prefer to have their entire order bundled, even if it means receiving some items slightly later than otherwise. As for the packaging, we are living in an era where global warming is a reality; there ought to be a federal law regulating wasteful packaging. Barring that, it's up to us customers to write e-mails, start groups, and create a movement for change.

Moving on to more positive things, I'm having a lovely spring break. Earlier this week I went up to Rocky Gap Lodge near Cumberland, and enjoyed the spa amenities. The warm stone massage was especially amazing.

Charlestongirl, I want to thank you for all the services your blog provides to the beauty community. I often learn about products or make the decision to purchase an item based on your features and swatches. This week, I experimented with the Estee Lauder Topaz Mosaic Eyeshadow Palette, using your feature on it as a guide. I was very happy with the results. If you have a couple of minutes for my blog, I'd love to show you how I used your words as inspiration for my look. Keep the features and ideas coming!

Topaz Mosaic is going to look great for summer too, and I'm excited by all the new summer collections rolling in. I'm especially in love with the Giorgio Armani Ecailles limited edition eye palette. And of course, I need to make sure I get my hands on that Guerlain Pucci bronzer/blush. Tom Ford Gold Dust sounds intriguing, but is it really that different from Estee Lauder Citron Kiss?

Have a lovely weekend, and enjoy the mild weather.

Jo said...

I once got a big box from Nordstrom and it was empty except for a piece of cardboard. They forgot to put the lipstick in it! I get annoyed by Neiman Marcus's big boxes for small products and packing peanuts too.

I am loving my LMdB lip kaleidioscope. The colors are all so pretty but layered they are gorgeous and long lasting. This past week I bought two of the new Armani lip sheers in 502 and 600 and they are lovely too. I'm really looking forward to the new Chanel nail polishes, especially bronze. I saw pictures of them online and can't wait until they're in stores.

Happy Easter weekend everyone!

The Beauty Bug said...

I have not seen my red fox in about a month either, but the coyotes are back and I think they run them off! My red fox is so pretty, but I am not that fond of the coyotes (or the racoons that love to turn my trash cans toppies turvy!)

Evelyn said...

Well since I ordered something from Neiman Marcus I can look forward to a giant box for one little eye shadow. Oh well. I received a lovely clay pot I ordered from etsy and yes, it was packed in those super annoying peanuts. I always open those boxes in a garbage back because the peanuts explode everywhere, sticking to everything! What a nuisance.

It has been a big shopping week using my VIB discount at Sephora. I picked up a few things I'm happy about, a pink Gloss d'Armani, the new YSL glossy stain, Alterna Bamboo shampoo, more Violet Blonde and...a small bottle of Tom Ford's Black Orchid which I am eagerly awaiting. I tried it out while I was wandering the store and the scent grew on me. I wouldn't normally wear it but there you go.

Wish I had a little fox as a visitor in my yard but I will have to make due with the chirping birds in the city instead. :)

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

If you're not celebrating, happy weekend too!

Shelnmum said...

I totally understand the frustration of small items in big boxes! Once I ordered 2 TF lipsticks and 2 LMdB blushes from Nordsrom. They came in two boxes! I almost could not find the LMdB blushes as they are so tiny and hidden between thick brown paper!!:-(

On friday I was elated to hear LMdB is now available from which ship internationally:-) Needless to say I quickly ordered 3 Moisture Stain lipsticks, Creme Tint and one of the Spring 2012 nail polish in Faraday. And to qualify for free shipping for purchases above £100, I threw in a tube of the Lanolips lip tint too.

I also managed to paint my nails and toes in Dior Waterlily on my finger nails and Essence Ultimate Pink on my toes. I am having a great weekend! :-) I hope you are too!:-)

Charlestongirl said...


Dining outside...that sounds so "magazine worthy." Gorgeous!

I guess I need to go to a store to check out Guerlain's new Rouge Automatique Shine. I suspect it will be love. That means I have to go today because all the stores are closed tomorrow for Easter. Right now, I'm feeling lazy.

Happy Easter!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi CGirl,

We will try to send sunshine your way. :)

There are so many Jo Malone Colognes I love, I wouldn't know where to start naming favorites. They are easy on the nose.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Kate. I think I will wait. It's not like I need makeup. :)

Charlestongirl said...

Oh no, Yesplease! Won't Sephora leave your boxes?

Charlestongirl said...

I had that happen once, Leigh. I was absolutely amazed.

Your break sounds lovely. I love spas. The force you to relax.

I'll show you Gold Dust tomorrow - maybe later today if I can get my act together. It is the same "concept" as the EL gloss.

Thanks for the kind words.

Charlestongirl said...

Beauty Bug,

We have had a stray coyote around here over the last few years, but I think they are outnumbered. You remind me of a mother raccoon I used to have here. She was a regular, and she brought her babies out to eat when they were ready. Alas, she's long gone. I'm sure something bad happened to her.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Evelyn,

I am still in shock that you are buying Armani at Sephora. The DC area must be considered a backwater.

Nice choices!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Shelnmum!

Isn't that fabulous news about LMdB and Zuneta? More access for the world. My friends in GB are going to be delighted.

Charlestongirl said...

Jo, I know people from LMdB who agree with my assessment (although they can't admit it publicly) that it's the best lip kit EVER. Hope you enjoy it. Once they are gone, we won't be able to find them.

Eileen said...

Hi Charlestongirl,

Definitely take a look at Guerlain's Shine. There are a bunch of pinks/roses you're going to find hard to resist. Although I held out during my first encounter with them, the next time I return to the counter, I have the feeling I'll succumb to a pInk or two . . . or three . . . or . . . :-D

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Charlestongirl said...

All, I hated the new Shine Automatiques so much, I bought five of them. I'll feature them soon. I need to wear test them.

Eileen, those sparkles really do persist longer than the color. When I removed all my test samples from my arm at Neiman Marcus, I still had sparkles. Still had them after I got home, covered by a long-sleeved top that had to have rubbed on my arm. That's going to be shine that sticks around on the lips!