Saturday, November 30, 2013

Laura Mercier White Magic Collection for Holiday 2013: Rose Prism Brilliant Glacé

I stumbled upon Laura Mercier's White Magic Collection for the holidays at Neiman Marcus and was impressed enough with a few of the pretty pieces to pull out my wallet. Of the three Brilliant Glacés ($24) on the display, Rose Prism caught my eye. I think I was holding it when I snapped the photo of the display. It was placed right between Pink Prism and Nude Prism.

Brilliant Glacé is a sheer lip gloss with translucent color and brilliant prismatic shine. Non-sticky formula feels lightweight and comfortable on lips. Here are its qualities, according to Laura Mercier.
  • Provides a brilliant shine with an iridescent pearl finish
  • Gel-like texture melts onto lips and provides translucent colour with a high-shine finish
  • Lightweight, cushiony formula, feels comfortable on lips
  • Applies smoothly and evenly onto lips
  • Enhances the look of lips without feathering or bleeding
  • Provides long-lasting color and brilliant shine
  • Moisturizing emollient formula conditions and soothes lips
  • Creates the appearance of fuller lips
  • Non-sticky, non-tacky, non-greasy formula
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Suitable for all skin types, even sensitive
All in all, I would say that's a good description. The color is Rose Prism is a beautiful, medium-toned rose that's transparent, but still offers enough pigment to impart a beautiful, shiny, eye-enhancing rose color. I love it.

I took swatch photos in full, morning sunlight, and I'm not happy with any of them. I think the color is prettier than my photos make it look. In the photo above, it looks too warm. The photo below is blurry, but the full sunlight makes the gloss look magical. The color is better in the second photo.

This is the only gloss of the three in the White Magic Collection that has enough color to be worn alone, without lipstick. I've been wearing it for a week, and I've found the color fantastic, the wear time average, and the feel moist. If I didn't have so many lip glosses (probably over 300), I'd buy another one.

I purchased mine at Neiman Marcus. You can find the White Magic Collection at all Laura Mercier counters and online. I bought other pieces from the collection, and I'll show them to you very soon.

Photo at top courtesy of Laura Mercier; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Friday Forum - November 29

There is one thing I can promise I will not do today: shop in a store. I hate crowds, the so-called bargains are often illusions, and I can't even imagine trying to find a parking place. It's so bad around here, there is a limo service advertising to take people to and from Tysons Corner. I wouldn't be surprised if Best Buy has had to ration the numbers of people allowed in the store at any one time. Not only is there a fire hazard with too many shoppers, there's a trampling hazard. I think I'd have a panic attack.

Actually, I'm still a bit comatose from yesterday's dinner. It was fabulous, so I ate much more than I usually do. Charlie and I have been having a snoozy morning.

I will be shopping online. I just discovered that Chantecaille is offering a free Tiger in the Wild Palette to anyone who spends $225 or over and uses the code GOWILD13. My holy grail palette - for free! I think I'll stop writing for a second and pop over and secure my order. The offer is only good today....there, done! I didn't want to take a chance on losing that offer. I can't tell you what yet, but Chantecaille is having an extravaganza deal on Cyber Monday.

There are actually more Black Friday online offers than I can use. They have been announced in e-mails and on Facebook and Twitter - all at once! At Slumberhouse, all bottles are 33% off today (or until sold out). Luckyscent has renamed today Puredistance Black Friday. All orders of the new and mysterious Puredistance Black with ship with two little samples. Use the code HOLIDAY13 for free shipping. Estée Lauder is offering a lovely Lush Lip Gloss set with six glosses for $19.50 until 1:00 pm EST. Giorgio Armani Beauty is offering 20% off any order of $75 or more, along with complimentary shipping. If you spend over $125, you will receive an additional five deluxe minis. Use the code FAMILY13. Kate Somerville is offering a dicount of 30% on all orders if you use the code HOLIDAY2013 (it's actually a Friends & Famil sale, as are others). This is a great deal, valid through December 2. NARS is offering its Friends & Family sale through the weekend. Use the code NARSFRIENDS online and in NARS boutiques to save 20%. I ran out of energy after typing up these deals, so I went looking for a summary. If you buy a leather atomizer at CREED, they will fill it with your choice of a select variety of fragrances. For four days only (and until stock lasts) purchase any atomizer and receive a complimentary fill of 1.7 fl. oz. of a beloved fragrance. Your choice of: Love in White, Acqua Fiorentina, Aventus, Millesime Imperial, Green Irish Tweed, or Silver Mountain Water. The Beauty Look Book compiled one I think you'll like.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Do you partake of any Black Friday deals? Did you find any beauties 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.

I hope you have a great weekend! I'll be back later with some beautiful new makeup.

Update: My resolve to stay home was cemented by NBC Washington. Outside Chicago, a police officer answering a shoplifting call at Kohl's shot the driver of a car who was dragging another police officer. A brawl at a Southern California Walmart left a police officer injured and two people in custody. In New Jersey, a man was pepper sprayed when he became belligerent over a television. A Las Vegas shopper was robbed and shot on his way home after buying a new television. A dispute right here in Virginia over a parking space outside Walmart ended with one man pulling a gun and another stabbing him in the arm (the only one I find mildly amusing because I do not favor the laws that allow morons to run around carrying guns). Want to go out "there"? Does Walmart draw crazies?

Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to take this early opportunity to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving with family and/or friends, gathering at some point around a table to share a meal. Equally important will be everyone celebrating Thanksgiving by giving - charities need help now more than ever. If I could stand for hours (still difficult because of back pain), I would be serving dinner to those less fortunate. I'm grateful I can contribute money instead of person power.

I'm thankful for you! I have an extended family: my blog readers. The Internet has given us an opportunity to cross paths in ways most of us wouldn't have imagined 20 years ago. Now, I can chat with readers like Eileen, Val, and Clarisse (to name just three of you wonderful women) - so many miles away - and I get an occasional opportunity to meet a few of you at local events. It's fun to share our worlds and our love of beauty in all its forms. So, thank you for being a big part of my world and for allowing me to be a small part of yours.

I'm grateful for Giorgio Arman Beauty, Le Métier de Beauté, CREED, Chanel, Sisley, RéVive Skin Care - you name it, companies that make my days exciting. I'm also grateful to UPS and FedEx! Those guys make me happy. Maybe it's superficial, but days with a delivery are so much better than those without. I also want to mention my fellow bloggers - especially Gaia - whose friendships are important to me.

You can tell I'm rambling...otherwise my Mom and Charlie would have been at the top of my list. Mom is 91 now, and she's doing well. Charleston (aka Charlie) is the love of my life. I have loved every cat in my life. Somehow, Charlie is different. He's literally a best friend. I think he feels the same way about me. Any cat who comes when called is a very special cat.

I'm grateful for all the non-profits that help animals in need and the environment. What would we do without them? I'm afraid that there would be many more endangered species, more helpless animals roaming the streets, and a lot less green space. Please remember them (organizations like Best Friends and the Nature Conservancy) in your year-end giving. I'm also appreciative of the on-the-ground charities, like SHARE in our local area, that help those truly in need.

When I think about it, I have many more things to celebrate this Thanksgiving, including all my friends. So, while I do the "usual things" tomorrow, including watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (yes, dorky) and probably drinking too much beer or Champagne leading up to a full meal, I will remember to be thankful for all of the people and things that are important to me on the other 364 days of the year.

Wishing you a great day tomorrow and a fun weekend,


Photo courtesy of

Monday, November 25, 2013

Clarins The Essentials Eye Palette for Holiday 2013

Look at this beautiful, limited-edition The Essentials Eye Palette ($45) for Holiday 2013! Does it remind you of Urban Decay's Naked Palettes? It does me, although I find it much more desirable than the original.

This holiday season, take your look from day to night with Clarins' gorgeous eye shadow palette that includes 10 harmonious neutral shades in matte, satin, and pearl finishes. By purchasing The Essentials Eye Palette, you will help support Clarins’ initiative to preserve the Brazilian Kuntanawa culture and ecosystem by planting 10,000 trees known for their medical and cosmetic properties.

Living in the Amazon rain forest, the Kuntanawa Indian community wants to return to its ancestral lands thanks, in particular, to the revenue generated by reforestation and sustainable forest management. However, they have extremely limited means for replanting trees on their land. This project - and those like it - will help bring immense environmental benefits in terms of biodiversity and the preservation of ecosystems. The objective is to plant thousands of forest trees that will enable the Indian community to diversify their sources of revenue, of course, but also to promote biodiversity and soil regeneration on their land. In this way, they will be able to revive their land while helping to protect the planet and combat global warming.

My eyes lit up when I saw this palette. I can't wait to purchase one, probably at Bloomingdale's or Nordstrom, my two best Clarins sources. I love it when beauty companies give back to the environment, and I applaud Clarins for the excellent philanthropic choice. I'd like to support it. I'm thinking of purchasing one for me and one for a holiday gift. Who wouldn't love to receive The Essentials?

Photo courtesy of Clarins

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Neiman Marcus Gift of Scent Event

Today was the start of the Neiman Marcus Scent Event. With your $100 purchase in fragrance, you will receive a lace evening bag and a few samples, all shown below.

The event runs through Sunday, December 1.  There are brand GWPs too. If you are planning to cruise the fragrance department, now's the time to do it.

Photos courtesy of thesomersetcollection and Neiman Marcus

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Three Rare CREED Vaulted Fragrances Available for a Limited Time

Three impossible-to-find vaulted (discontinued) fragrances are being promoted for the holidays in very limited in numbers. All three are being re-promoted in CREED's gorgeous atomizers containing 1.7 ounces of fragrance. They are an amazing deal, given that the atomizers themselves are priced at $185.

The red atomizer shown above holds Amalfi Flowers, a composition that captures the euphoria of sunrise in the garden of Villa Rufolo on Italy’s shimmering Amalfi coast. A heart-lifting aria of fragrance, Amalfi Flowers lives only once. A limited edition of this rare vaulted item is being offered in an Italian leather atomizer ($325).

As Olivier Creed and his son, Erwin, walked the garden paths of the exquisite Villa Rufolo perched above the Amalfi coast, the first light of dawn and morning breezes stirred a soft harmony of scent. Plump Amalfi lemons, roses of Ravello, and bougainvillea blended in the Mediterranean air and light. Mr. Creed paused with his son to draft the first notes of Amalfi Flowers, a masterful composition perfected in further travels throughout Italy and in CREED’s Paris workshop over the next several months.

The top notes of Amalfi Flowers are succulent Amalfi lemon, mandarin orange from Sicily, basil, bergamot, black currant, and Jamaican ginger. The middle notes are patchouli (fortunately, I cannot smell it), roses of Ravello, and iris from Florence. The bottom notes are ambergris, Parma violets, sandalwood, and notes of Russian leather.

The limited-edition 1.7-ounce Italian red leather-wrapped bottle with gold accents in which Amalfi Flowers is presented is not only elegant, but also shatterproof and ideal for home, gym, or packing in checked luggage.

The Crown Prince of Spain received the first bottle of Feuille Verte. The CREED royal perfume company offered this rare men’s fragrance for the Prince of Spain on Father’s Day. Mr. Olivier Creed, sixth-generation master perfumer and a father of two, personally signed and numbered just 100 8.4-ounce bottles of the fragrance, called Feuille Verte (Green Leaf), available as a limited-edition silver leather atomizer ($325).

Feuille Verte (Green Leaf) was inspired by Mr. Creed’s family and country life in Fontainebleau, France, where he lives, rides horses, walks his terriers, and creates fragrance in a workshop down a country lane with his son Erwin working alongside. Feuille Verte (Green Leaf) evokes green leaves after the rain and fresh earth. Its top notes are mandarine and lime. Its middle notes are oak moss, vanilla, and Bulgarian rose. Its base is absolute of jasmine. I don't think of it as masculine.

The third new atomizer made available is Windsor, the most popular limited edition item ever. Windsor was created in 1936 for King Edward VIII of England from ingredients grown in the British Empire. Edward was the first pilot to be king, and Windsor is presented this season in a shatterproof 1.7 oz. grey, leather-wrapped bottle ($325) ideal for aircraft carry-on for limited time only.

Windsor is part of the daring life of Edward VIII. It was created for His Majesty in January 1936. The ex-king, known as the Duke of Windsor, quit the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Gone from England, living in Paris, King Edward VIII wore this scent as he and his wife starred on the international social scene from Paris to Palm Beach, Monte Carlo, New York, Hollywood and Cannes.

Windsor’s ingredients are a tour of the British Empire Edward once ruled. Its top notes are British gin, Jamaican lime and Bahamian orange. “Duke of Windsor roses,” those he preferred in his garden, the fragrant Nuits de Young variety, are the middle notes. The base notes are cedar from Canada, Australian eucalyptus, and a touch of Scottish highland pine. The duke’s friends and associates observed that Windsor was as subtle as his masterfully tailored suits, handmade shirts, and subdued silk ties. “Royalty need not shout,” the duke replied. That idea is embodied in CREED Windsor. I already own Windsor in a flacon. I have enough to last me for life. Think I love it?

These three fragrances will be available at Neiman Marcus in December - the perfect time to buy yourself a little gift as you shop for others. If you need help, give the lovely Wendy Grigelis a call at (703) 761-1600, extension 3290.

Photo courtesy of CREED

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Friday Forum - November 22

Aren't turnips pretty? I love the way they look at the Farmer's Market, all showing different shades of purple, and all with their beautiful green foliage.

A lot happened this week in beauty land. Guerlain's flagship store at its historic address at 68 Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris opened its doors to the public last Saturday. Gleaming with a polished metal ceiling, four chandeliers by Baccarat, and a hall of mirrors, the space offers a modern home with elements of the past - the perfect mix of new and old for the historic brand. I'd love to see it. I have additional photos, sent by a friend in Paris. I hope to show them to you this weekend.

Nordstrom is revamping its beauty departments, reported by WWD, and I'm not sure the change is for the good. "The most dramatic modifications are to color cosmetics areas, where customers are encouraged to shop how they want, whether it is on their own by opening drawers brimming with makeup or with guidance from staff dedicated to specific brands or brand agnostic. Nordstrom is also simplifying beauty shopping by breaking down its vast selection by trend and key product, no matter what brand, and offering shoppers access to beauty concierges, trial sizes and applications, consultations, and other services so they can more fully experience the products.

This does not sound good to me. What I interpret the change to mean is that Nordstrom is turning its beauty departments into Sephora stores, where customers paw over the very same products I'm expected to purchase as new. That's a prime reason why I don't shop in Sephora stores. Why would Nordstrom make for-sale product available to the masses? It makes no sense to me.

Speaking of Sephora, I read a bizarre story on Facebook. A customer who orders almost every day (from the looks of her unopened boxes all stacked up) was banned from ordering online. Apparently they sent her a notice telling her she would no longer be able to order online, but she was welcome in their stores. What? I read the Terms of Service, and there is no limitation on how much a customer can buy. There is something squirrelly about this story. I called Sephora for "comment," but could get nothing specific out of the rep with whom I spoke. Naturally, I did not mention this customer's name; that would be a violation of her privacy if I or Sephora discussed her account. Have you ever heard of anything this strange? She is not a frequent returner, which might account for the company's reaction.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. 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.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Photos courtesy of and Guerlain

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nasomatto Narcotic Venus Parfum Extrait

Last week, I wore Nasomatto's Narcotic Venus Parfum Extrait ($165) to work. Forgetting that it was perfume, i.e., concentrated, I sprayed three times and left home. Mid-day, I started noticing that something or someone smelled extraordinarily good. It took me 3-4 minutes to realize it was me. Duh!

Nasomatto’s own description of this scent explains it as, “…a quest for the overwhelming addictive intensity of female sexual power.” Well, now! How can anyone top that? Narcotic Venus is indeed intensely feminine, a no-holds-barred buttery and sweetly rich tuberose. It's everything a tuberose lover expects. It isn’t cutesy or giggly or modern…it plants one glamorous foot down on the ground and announces its feminine presence with a flourish.

Luckyscent says, "There are very few fragrances we’d label absolute and total man killers, and this is one of them. It doesn’t apologize for its outright femininity or try to hide it…it’s out there, one hip thrust out, chin in the air, eyes flashing, and celebrating the devastating beauty of the sweet, white tropical flowers that inhabit it."

Everything said about Narcotic Venus is true. It's dominated by tuberose, a white flower that has been called carnal. Here's what Fragrantica said about tuberose.

The multi-petalled flower is a mix of flower shop freshness and velvety opulence. Which is why it is the perennial polarizing flower note having as many ardent fans as passionate detractors. The Victorians must have been among the latter: they forbade young girls of inhaling the scent of tuberose in the fear they might have a spontaneous - [well, you know]! Roja Dove is right when he says that tuberose is really loose, the "harlot of perfumery."

With the use of the term "passionate detractors," they touched on a continuous argument among fragrance fans. Is tuberose the swoon-worth middle note in feminine perfumes, or is it so indolic, it can't be tolerated in large doses? I belong to the camp that says, "Bring it on!" I love so-called indolic fragrances, which include jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, and orange blossom. I find them otherwordly. They transport me to gardens that are narcotic in their effects. No wonder Narcotic Venus was so named. The detractors? They can have their fragrances that reek of tobacco or incense - or even worse patchouli. Somehow, there are more of them than there are of me. I like to think that makes me distinctive.

Narcotic Venus was created by Alessandro Gualtieri, a perfumer who has created most of Nasomatto's fragrances. They are all as different as night and day. I dislike some of them - like China White - and adore others. Nudo, which is now discontinued, is another favorite. Narcotic Venus was composed with tuberose, jasmine, lily, and spices. What spices? I have no idea.

If you love the scent of rich, night-blooming or tropical florals, you need to add Narcotic Venus to the top of your must-try list. I have read on Facebook that Narcotic Venus has been discontinued recently, meaning available stock will sell out quickly. If you love the scent of rich, night-blooming or tropical white florals, you need to add Narcotic Venus to the top of your must-try list. Try it soon. I need to order a second bottle.

Neiman Marcus and Luckyscent are among the retailers where you can find Narcotic Venus. The bottle is only 30 ml. Remember, it's perfume, not cologne or eau de parfum.

Photos courtesy of Luckyscent and

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Beautyhabit Friends & Family Sale

This says it all. Beautyhabit is having a Friends & Family sale that lasts through tomorrow, Wednesday, November 20. Use the code FF13 to save 20%. This is a real deal. I need time to shop. I'll see you later.

Photo courtesy of Beautyhabit

Monday, November 18, 2013


I don't claim to be an expert, but apparently some beauty bloggers do - even renowned magazine editors make such claims. I read entirely incorrect, speculative, and ridiculous things on a regular basis. None of them are based on facts. Facts would require data showing that the quality, smell, or effectiveness of a product have suffered with time. Bacteria counts would be convincing.

I saw the latest nonsense a few days ago on Twitter: a claim that 18 months is the absolute bitter end for all beauty products. Throw them out; buy more. What rubbish! Is it intended to generate more revenue for cosmetics companies?

Let's get a few things straight. I'll start with my own observations. I used my first Chantecaille Tiger in the Wild palette for three years. It was only when I had worn through the last trace of the top-level shades that I turned to palette #2, which has been waiting in storage for me for more than two years.  Did I ever have a negative reaction from using it? Of course not. It is stored in good conditions; I use "relatively" clean brushes"; I always close the palette after using it; and it's powder.

I have found that powder products are virtually indestructible. Mine last forever. The same cannot be said for lipstick/lip gloss and face creams. Depending on how you have used or stored them - and how long - they can go bad. Do they always? No.

An unused lipstick or lip gloss will last for many years unless you mistreat it. Once you start to use a lip product, it will be exposed to bacteria. The shortest time I have ever had one "go bad" was 12 months. It was a gloss. More typically, they last a few years before they start to get "funky." How can you tell they are past their prime? A coating on the surface or a change in fragrance are telltale signs. More often than not, they dry out.

Skin care is a whole "nother" thing. However, it still lasts much longer than many "experts" will acknowledge. I am using a jar of Crème de la Mer that I have had for two years. It's fine. I do make sure my fingers are clean when I "dip in." After 5-7 years, I did have a La Mer Eye Concentrate turn to fluid. It started life as a cream. When I opened it to look recently, I found a liquid with particles floating in it. Gross and gone!

Perricone MD makes some products that turn rancid pretty quickly. I've mentioned that recently. My Nutritive Cleanser turned rancid in eight months. I've purchased Cold Plasma products that turned on the shelf before my purchase. They went right back to the store. It's really stupid to store skin care under the hot, bright lights of display cases.

I do try to use my skin care as rapidly as possible, but I'm not giving up my La Mer Crème any time soon. It may live another year - or more.

Mascara should be recycled frequently. It doesn't go bad, exactly, but it gets gloppy. You will know when it's time to toss it and open another tube. I do that about every month, but will admit to staying with a tube for up to two months - as long as it doesn't get gloppy. When it starts to dry out, it has to go.

My whole point is that there is no universal rule. If you read one, write that blogger or editor off unless s/he provide scientific evidence to back up those opinions. I'll disclose that my opinions - the ones stated here - are based on my own personal experience and common sense. I can't afford to sponsor research studies - or throw out perfectly good products because some "expert" said I should.

Photo at top courtesy of Chantecaille

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc Lip Gel in Have We Met?

Dipping another toe into the Marc Jacobs water, I found a lipstick I love: Lovemarc Lip Gel ($30) in Have We Met? I need more of these!

Lovemarc Lip Gel is a color-saturated, long-wearing, gellified lipstick with a sleek shine finish. Just like most lipsticks advertised as long-wearing, I get average wear time from it. However, I don't have unrealistic expectations. A few hours, and I'm happy.

Fall in love with Marc’s irresistible, gellified lipstick. Full of pure pigment, this long-wearing lipstick has an irresistibly touchable texture. Unlike traditional waxy lipsticks, Lovemarc’s cutting-edge, gellified formula delivers the utmost in creaminess, comfort, and color payoff. An infusion of monoi butter - a velvety cream made from the tropical tiare flower - provides intense hydration, while myrrh extract works to reduce the signs of aging. An innovative 3-D plumping agent adds gentle volume. The vivid shades were all inspired by Marc’s favorite movies.

Very subtly scented with vanilla, Lovemarc will delight you. I can barely smell the vanilla. As a rule, I don't care for scented lipsticks, but this one is barely scented, and the scent dissipates quickly.

The warm, shimmering pink of Have We Met? is gorgeous. I took swatch photos in full, morning sun. How could anyone resist this gorgeous shade?

Besides offering beautiful color, a pretty shine, and creamy, comfortable hydration, the lipstick comes in an elegant black tube with a magnetic snap. I think Role Play, a dusty rose, may be my next purchase. There will definitely be a next purchase.

You can find Marc Jacobs cosmetics at Sephora and select Marc Jacobs boutiques. I purchased mine at Sephora (online) during the sale.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Lancôme Rouge in Love Lipcolor in Fall in Rose

Sephora showed a new shade of Lancôme's Rouge in Love Lipcolor ($26) during the sale. I sprang for Fall in Rose because I like the Rouge in Love formula. I'm pleased with my new shade. It's not love, but it's a definite like.

This high-potency, featherweight lip color is advertised as offering six-hour wear. Of course, it doesn't. No lipsticks last six hours on me. I don't expect it, though, so I pay little attention to the marketing claims for wear time.

What's true is that Rouge in Love's offers the look of a brilliant gloss while delivering the comfort and soothing qualities of a lip balm. Categorized by mood, the collection includes: "Jolis Matins” or "pretty morning," a range of ready-to-wear, fresh day shades that add brilliance to the lips due to the precious mother-of-pearls; “Boudoir Time,” trendy, punchy, evening-appropriate "it" shades that give color to the lips thanks to the intense contrasted mother-of-pearls; and “Tonight is My Night,” sophisticated, pure intense shades to give depth to lips for a deep lacquered effect and luminous color created by gold mother-of-pearl. Fall in Rose is a Boudoir Time shade, categorized with the pinks and berries. It's supposed to be a pop shade for cocktail hour. I guess.

Fall in  Rose provides medium coverage. The color is formulated with a new generation of polymer, including shiny silicone that creates the brilliance of a gloss. I would not call it a berry pink as Sephora did. It's much closer to fuchsia on my skin (and lips).

I'd wear Fall in Rose any time of day, as long as I want a bright pink. If I were to evaluate the categories based on this one shade, I would say Lancôme missed. Plus Sephora's little swatch is way off. That said, the Rouge in Love Lipcolors are my favorite Lancôme lipsticks, so the categories mean little to me. I select colors I think I will like. I seldom select fuschia shades (on purpose), so I might have chosen Roses in Love instead. I'd like to select it in person.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lipstick in Blushed Orchid and Desert Escape

When I was Sephora sale shopping, I noticed two Ultra Slick Lipsticks ($32) that were marked new. That's sometimes a ruse, but I'm a total sucker for Edward Bess lipsticks, so I ordered Blushed Orchid and Desert Escape.

Ultra Slick Lipstick is described as seductive, a way to accent the curves of your lips with irresistible, radiant color. The creamy, long-wearing formula delivers superior hydration (really, it's not "just a claim"). Ultra Slick smoothes and shapes the lips with an exclusive treatment for a sensual pout. I like the way it feels on my lips, and it's as long-lasting as any "long-lasting" lipsticks I like (meaning they feel good - not just last).

I'm happy with both shades. Blushed Orchid is shown at left above, and Desert Escape at right. I took my swatch photos in full, morning sun in the same order. Blushed Orchid is shown at the top of my arm, with Desert Escape below. The two shades could not be more different.

All of the Ultra Slick Lipsticks offer rich pigmentation and a satin finish. They aren't matte, but they aren't particularly shiny either. Most of the shine you see in my photos is from direct sunlight. Let's say they have life.

When I looked at the tube of Blushed Orchid, I had an instant fear that it would be too light - too teeny bopper for me. It's not. It's a gorgeous pastel pink that will be best saved for spring. Desert Escape is a vivid rose-brown. It's about as dark as I like to go with lipstick. It's a perfect shade for this time of year when I wear darker clothing and need a bit more color on my face.

Long ago, I declared myself an Edward Bess groupie. You too can become an Edward Bess groupie - even if you don't have a local source. Edward Bess makeup and skin care is available at Sephora (thank God). If you want help from Edward Bess representatives, just give the team a call at (212) 872-8826 at  Bergdorf Goodman. They provide professional and friendly assistance - and they offer free shipping now.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Friday Forum - November 15 - and Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick

The only disappointment from my Sephora sale orders was Tarte's Amazonian Butter Lipstick ($16). I ordered Pink Peony, which must have been popular. It's the only sold-out shade. Here's the scoop on Amazonian Butter Lipstick.

A moisturizing, creamy lipstick infused with sustainably pressed Amazonian butters, Amazonian Butter Lipstick was inspired by the whimsical colors of the Amazon and infused with naturally derived ingredients from its lush vegetation. Amazonian Butter Lipsticks add a splash of rich color and creamy shine for a perfect pout. Each skin-flattering shade is enriched with sustainably harvested cupuacu and murumuru butters, shea butter, and mineral pigments to deliver intense moisture, help restore and soothe even mature lips, and provide good-for-you color.

I love Tarte, the lipstick sounded great, and the color I selected looked luscious. I was surprised when I saw that the lipstick bullet was presented in a cardboard tube. I didn't see that specifically disclosed within the listing. Worse, however, was that I saw the lipstick bullet had rammed into the top of the tube. Odd, I thought. How did that happen? It happened because the bullet was broken off at the base. Did it happen in shipping? Did it happen at the manufacturing facility? Who knows? What I do know is that I will have to return it.

You can see in the photo at the top of this feature that the color bullet was tilted at an angle when it arrived. That should have been my first clue that all was not well, but I found out why it tilted when I started to roll it up. I rolled it slightly, and the bullet fell out entirely. What a disappointment!

Knowing that Sephora could not sell it after I returned it, I went ahead and swatched it - just in case you are enticed to purchase one from Tarte - or later when Sephora restocks it. The color is a very sheer warm pink. I took my swatch photo below in full, morning sun.

The sheer shade is gorgeous. I'd buy it again, but since it's sold out at Sephora, I will have to return it for a refund.

It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. 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.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Very Soon: Le Métier de Beauté Body Firming & Toning Serum

Le Métier de Beauté's Body Firming & Toning Serum ($135) is a revolutionary treatment product designed to smooth and tighten the skin. The breakthrough formula is a concentrated blend of antioxidants and moisturizers, including scientifically proven firming agents such as caffeine and forskolin (see, which refine and contour, creating a slimmer silhouette.

After just 28 days of use, 87% of participants in an independent study reported seeing an improvement to their skin’s visible firmness and smoothness, and the bumps and dimples associated with cellulite diminished by an average of 38%. After 56 days of use, visible cellulite had diminished by a dramatic 57% (as determined in a 2012 Consumer Study USA, validated scientific assessment).

How does it work? While most skin-care products remain on the skin’s surface, resulting in little visible change, Body Firming & Toning Serum harnesses a proprietary TPM delivery system derived from natural Vitamin E phosphates, allowing for higher absorption and enhanced penetration of the key ingredients. The TPM delivery system, discovered in 2002 and protected by more than 28 patents, is clinically and scientifically proven to enhance the absorption of key ingredients, resulting in greater, more noticeable results.

Results are promised to be visible and measurable when used as directed. Massage a small amount onto problem areas using a circular motion, and apply it twice daily. It is said to visibly firm and smooth the hips, thighs, and buttocks; tone and slim the midsection; and tighten and lift the appearance of skin in the neck and arm regions.

I am always skeptical of body firming and toning products. Because I believe in Le Métier de Beauté, I'm anxious to try this one. First, I need to find some fat or slack skin. Maybe my waistline?

Want to pre-order? Call Michael Reinhardt at (202) 966-9700, extension 2258 or 2236, to place your order.

Photo courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

BECCA Rose Gold Shimmering Skin Perfector

BECCA's Rose Gold Shimmering Skin Perfector ($38) sold out during Sephora's V.I.B. sale. I was one of the lucky ones who ordered it. That was basically preordained, given my love for rose gold. The lovely, creamy powder luminizer has a geometric embossed finish in a limited-edition "holiday shade." Who on earth would consign this gorgeous highlighting powder to the holidays?

Sephora has already taken down all the information about it, but you can still see a video on Sephora's YouTube channel. This long-lasting, ultra-fine powder offers luminescent pearls to reflect light in "complex ways," ensuring that your skin doesn’t lose its glow when you step inside or out.

I took swatch photos when I still thought you could purchase it. If you like them, let's hope Sephora re-orders and that the sold sign will suddenly flip to available. Plus, you know it's going to show up on eBay. People who purchased it for 20% off will be trying to sell it for full price (or more). Perhaps there is one remaining in a store near you. See the comments for additional sources. Oddly, I had searched for it at BECCA's Web site, and it didn't come up. It's there!  Also at Beautyhabit.

I took my photos in full morning sunshine. You can see how beautifully the powder reflects light. I applied the top swatch heavily with a sponge-tipped applicator. The larger swatch below was applied with a dense kabuki brush - and much less heavily, but more intensely than I would apply it to my face.

Is it pretty? I think so - very pretty. Is it the only rose gold highlighter, meaning that you should go straight to makeup jail if you didn't order it? Fear not. The color is actually quite close to the rose gold shade in Bobbi Brown's Nude Glow Shimmer Brick for Holiday 2013. Check out my swatch photos and see what you think.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Missed Feature

Last night, when I should have been writing today's feature, I was at the ER with my Mom instead. I was ready for blogging and bed when I got a call from Mom's caregiver. She had called 911. Mom had fallen and hit her head on a table. She was bleeding - a lot.
I raced over, ignoring "the traffic rules" (what red light?), and got there just as the guys from the McLean FD were wheeling her out. I had to walk in and up the long driveway because they had the whole street blocked with their emergency vehicles. As I got there, they were wheeling her out.
My first question: is she making sense? One said, "Oh sure, but she has a deep cut and will need stitches. I gave them her drug list, grabbed her wallet, and beat them to the hospital.
Long story short, Mom got her new bright red hair cleaned up. It was a lovely shade for Christmas. She has staples in her scalp. Her CT scan was good. No subdural bleed. All in all, very lucky! Only three hours at the ER.
Now, four hours short of sleep, I'm at work. Thank God my 91-year-old Mom is OK. We don't need another emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma!
I'll be writing when I get home.
Photo courtesy of flickriver, which means I don't know the true credit

Monday, November 11, 2013

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lightshow Luminizing Powder

I have finally dipped my toes into the Marc Jacobs line. I did it with a 20% discount at Sephora, the exclusive retailer (with the exception of Marc Jacobs' own stores). One of the first items I selected was Marc Jacobs Beauty Lightshow Luminizing Powder ($59).

I was really surprised when my Sephora order, placed at 5:00 am Thursday arrived on Friday. That was the fastest service ever. My small-sized box was jam-packed with goodies. One of the first I checked out was this limited-edition illuminator, inspired by Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2013 runway show.

This multidimensional powder flatters all skin tones by diffusing light and minimizing imperfections. The formula provides a subtle glow with a universal blend of three complexion-brightening shades, dusted with gold accents for a radiant, glowing complexion. Spherical polymer emollients provide a creamy texture for a sensual, velvety finish and exceptionally long wear.

Note the color difference between Sephora's photo, probably provided by Marc Jacobs, and mine. I was pleased to see the less flashy shade than the brassy one I expected.

On my skin, this illuminator is fairly tame.  I took my swatch photos in full, morning sunshine. I mixed the white gold and yellow gold shades together. I used a sponge-tipped applicator to apply it heavily at the top of my arm and a dense kabuki brush to apply a much larger swatch below. As you can see, the color is a golden beige. It's actually perfect for my skin.

I like the subtle glow it adds to my skin. It's sparkly, but not over the top. Some have called the shade rose gold. I disagree. Do you see any rose in it?

It's not too late to pop this beauty into your cart if you are still Sephora shopping. It's nice, although not unique or especially distinctive. Bear in mind that my opinion is colored by my treasure trove of gold highlighters. Perhaps I've reached a saturation point.

Photo at top courtesy of Sephora; other photos by Best Things in Beauty

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

Veterans Day - our opportunity to honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces. It's a very special day for many families and can be (should be) a day of recollection for all of us.

Americans originally celebrated Veterans Day as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. President Woodrow Wilson called for a moment of silence exactly one year after Germany signed the World War I Armistice document, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The President used these words. "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

We associate Veterans Day not only with peace, but with war. We celebrate with flags, memorials, parades, and acts of kindness for members of the military. We have a collective hug to let them know that we owe them our way of life. Whatever time of year, it makes me teary-eyed to hear someone walk up to a uniformed member of the armed forces and thank him/her for service.

Today, veterans will be remembered in ways large and small. Whatever you choose to do, please do something. Donate to a charity for veterans. There should be no veterans sleeping in tents this winter because they are homeless. We need to end that national disgrace. Support companies hiring veterans. How disappointing it must be to come home from war to an economy with no job for you! Attend a local ceremony. We have many in our area.

I saw this on Facebook and smiled through the tears. It's a timelapse of a homeless veteran being given a makeover - a second chance. You won't be sorry if you click on it. Hope is a blessing.

We owe our veterans so much. Millions of men and women served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't think we can ever fully repay them for their bravery, patriotism, and suffering. There are men and women lying in military hospitals around the country, their bodies and lives shattered. I'm not sure how we can do enough to help them, but I am sure that we all need to try.

The poppies referenced in In Flanders Fields grew in profusion in Flanders, France in the disturbed earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried - and thus became a symbol of Remembrance Day. The poem is often part of Remembrance Day solemnities in Allied countries that contributed troops to World War I, particularly in countries of the British Empire that participated.

The poem In Flanders Fields was written after Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae witnessed the death, and presided over the funeral, of a young friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer. By most accounts it was written in his notebook the day after the funeral. Because of this poem, poppies have become a symbol of the Armistice.

My mother has a photo of the President of the United States holding her as she gave him a poppy on Veterans Day. As I was growing up, I never fully appreciated the significance of that photo. I do now.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thank you to all the members of the military - past and present - and your families for your sacrifices. We love you.

Photos courtesy of and

Le Métier de Beauté Gravité Kaleidoscope Eye Kit - Swatched

I received my Gravité Kaleidoscope Eye Kit GWP over a week ago, but it was only this weekend when I had an opportunity to get swatch photos.

First, let's take a look at the "real thing" below at my house. My photos were taken in full, late-morning sunshine.

You can see that the colors are lighter and actually more attractive than they appeared in Le Métier de Beauté's photo.

I swatched from top to bottom on my arm. Sorry about the Band-Aid I had to cut away for the photos. I barely scraped my arm on the edge of a cardboard box while I was taking out the trash and recycing Friday, and I ended up with a nasty and deep cut on my arm.

I love all of the colors - even the eggplant one. The copper at the top is a gorgeous, deep rose gold. that's the way I see it.  The orange may look shocking, but when blended with the other shades, it's magnificent.

The green is gorgeous. It's like an olive-grey blend, unlike other colors I can identify at the moment. My camera has trouble with greens. I assure you, it's more green that it appears in my photos. The eggplant is extremely wearable as a liner for me. Those with darker coloring will find it more versatile.

What a gift with purchase! It's still showing on Le Métier de Beauté's Web site, but it does not appear to be available as a GWP anymore. If you are still interested, you should ask.

Photo at top courtesy of Le Métier de Beauté; other photos by Best Things in Beauty