Monday, April 28, 2014

Mom Lands in Hospital

This lovely lady does not look like Mom - it is not my mother - but it shows her current situation.  She was hospitalized/admitted early this morning - around 3:00 am - after a long stay in the ER last night. She started throwing up around 6:00 and continued. The caregiver called my sister who took Mom to the ER. I got the call at 3:00 am when they had finally diagnosed and admitted her.

She has some kind of bowel obstruction, which may just be an infectious mass of things that should have drained. I don't know the next steps, but she is doing well. The i.v. antibiotics perked her right up.

If you pray, please say a prayer for my Mom. I spent as much time with her today as I could. I went after I saw my own doctor at the hospital. I got nice shots of cortisone in my shoulder and right knee. I'm not looking at an immediate re-do of my knee replacement. Yea! Then I worked until 3:30 and went back.

So I'm hoping they can help Mom get out of there quickly and back home.

Update 5/1: Trying from my phone, something I've never done. Mom is much better. They may send her "home" tomorrow. Home may mean rehab because she has lost her strength while here at the hospital. She needs to get back on her feet. Thank you a million times for your kind thoughts and prayers. They are working!

Update 5/4: Mom is home and gaining in strength every day. She left rehab in less than 24 hours (they were not too happy there when we said we were taking her out). Her caregivers at home are doing a better job caring for her than anyone in an institution would. All is good today.

Photo courtesy of news4jax

Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Tonka Impériale for Summer 2014

Guerlain's beautiful new Rouge Automatique ($36) in Tonka Impériale, #602, was created for the Summer 2014 Collection. This limited-edition nude is another milestone nude. I love it, even more so because I bought it blind.

Automatically fashionable: as coveted as an it-bag. As glamorous as stilettos. Automatically innovative: on first glance, you will love the elegance of this structural case. Then, you are smitten with its unprecedented opening system: click, clack, and away you go. You open and close it with just one hand. A second-skin texture and impeccable coverage. Boosted colors thanks to the crystal pigment that reveals luminous, bright and pure shades, with no white effect. Remarkable hold that combines immediate comfort and lasting radiance. Automatically colorful: a flight of reds, oranges, pinks and beiges.

My photos were taken in full sunshine. I wanted to show you how pretty this nude is, with its undertones of a warm pink.

Isn't this a gorgeous warm, summer color? I am totally smitten. I have very few favorite nude lipsticks, and Tonka Impériale has jumped into the selective favorites group. This Rouge Automatique adds a subtle shine and does have a subtle scent, which disappears quickly. The wear is average. That seems to differ within the line from one color to the next.

I purchased my Guerlain treasure from the Guerlain Boutique in Las Vegas. I see that Tonka Impériale is available at Nordstrom online, so it has probably arrived at Guerlain counters by now. I've had mine for weeks.

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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Macro-Color Eyeshadow

I am a very happy Armani fan today! Although I had not expected to see the new Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Macro-Color Eyeshadows at the counter before next month, today I found that they had just arrived at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie.  There were many colors from which to choose, which lured me into purchasing nine. I may go back for a few more. I left be hind a pink that's lovely, and I also put back a smoky shade that I wanted. Nine was enough - for now.

I was shopping the floor with Michal Reinhardt from Le Métier de Beauté - an amazing artist - and he helped me select the nine that came home with me. I'm thrilled with all of them!

I photographed them in numeric order, left to right, picking up with the next number with each photo. Here are the shades I purchased.
  • Asphalt #3
  • Wood #4
  • Khaki #6
  • Tadzio #9
  • Beige Nudo #10
  • Écaille #11
  • Ice #12
  • Green Viper #17
  • Corallo #23
I know you may think I lost it when I got to Green Viper and Corallo, but you have to see them when applied lightly with an eye shadow brush and patted into the skin - or mixed with other shades in the collection. They are magnificent!

I'll give you an introduction today, but I plan to feature these beautiful colors in greater depth after the predicted rains stop this week. I want you to see some of the combinations that you can create with these gorgeous shadows.

I took my swatch photos in full sun, using a sponge-tipped applicator to apply the shades. They are pigmented, so one swipe was all I needed to show the colors.  Remember that even though they are pigmented, you can apply these colors as sheerly as you wish. I swatched on my arm in numeric order. The first photo directly below shows #3, #4, #6, and #9 from top to bottom. The second shows #10, #11, #12, #17, and #23.

Asphalt, Wood, and Khaki all have a satin finish and will serve as my contouring and emphasis shades. They are typical Giorgio Armani fabric shades - the kind of colors that force you to step back and admire their complexity. Tadzio is the shimmering taupe that I had hoped to see in the Tom Ford summer palette. Tadzio is the real thing, and I think it's drop-dead gorgeous.

From these shades, we more to three more subtle shimmers: Beige Nudo, Écaille, and Ice. Beige Nudo is one of those perfect neutrals we all need. Écaille is a perfect shimmering gunmetal. It's hard to get white right, but Armani did so with Ice. It's pigmented, applies evenly, and brightens the eyes beautifully. Michael and I played with it and decided it's a winner.

Green Viper and Corallo should not be ignored just because they are bright in the compacts, and you should never apply them with a sponge-tipped applicator as I did for these photos. Michael and I were amazed as he applied them on our hands with a brush. The green of Green Viper blends down to an extremely sheer pastel, and the coral shade is peach when applied properly. We both gasped when we looked at the swatch on Michael's hand. No one had tried it before me (we took off the protective covering on the tester). Did they make a mistake!

I will attempt to get the press release to tell you more about these new Eyes to Kill Macro-Color Eyeshadows, and I promise to show you some pretty arm applications later this week. For now, know that your favorite Armani Beauty counter may also have received them. Call or go look!

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Friday Forum - April 25

Virginia Bluebells - one of my favorite spring flowers. While my photo from my garden may not be the finest (hard to focus and get the right depth of field while lying on the ground to get a portrait), I hope you can imagine a lovely grouping of bluebells and how soothing they can be to the soul.

I must thank all of you who commented on my "Tired" feature. Your messages were inspiring, heart-warming, and motivating. A few even gave me a few tips for treatment follow-up. You are why I continue to write this blog, and you inspired me to keep plugging.

I read at WWD this morning that Bare Escentuals has finally created a liquid foundation. I was flabbergasted.

"BareMinerals is launching a foundation in the serum form that is very different from other liquids on the market. If you need to use liquid and won’t use anything else, we finally have a solution for you,” said Leslie Blodgett, creator of Bare Escentuals. “We still want people off liquid foundation. We are against liquid foundation. This isn’t a liquid foundation, just like our original bareMinerals was not a powder. We had to explain for years that it was crushed minerals and not a powder. This is a serum, and it has got half of the ingredients of a traditional liquid foundation. We felt that every woman deserves to have a foundation, whether it is in the serum form or powder form, that has the fewest possible ingredients that allows them to have the look and the health benefits that they want.”

Huh? It looks to me like the company is bowing to women's desires to wear liquid foundations, but doing it in a half-hearted way. If you want to get women off liquid foundations, don't make them. Of course, you will lose market share, but stick to your principles!

Clarisonic is on the move! Beginning May 15, the brand will introduce its smartest implement to date, the Smart Profile. They are moving the microchip from the handle of the device to the brush, using a technology called radio-frequency identification, or RFID which is said to better tailor the cleansing device to a user’s own skin needs and track usage. Additionally, there will be an enhanced turbo button. I've wondered for a long time how Clarisonic could continue to maintain a stable sales base with the saturation of the product in the hands of American women. I'd guess this improved device could be the answer. I never bought a Clarisonic. I was sent a knock-off to test and enjoyed using it. I had a grudge. It seemed that Clarisonic had sent a free product to every blogger on earth - except me. It was a silly grudge, but now I may lose the grudge and give the new product a try.

I've been testing cleansers. My criteria have been that they must be creamy and hydrating, must have a pump dispenser, they must have a pleasant smell, and, of course, must work. I judge their effectiveness in removing makeup, grime, and such by taking a pad soaked with cleansing water and going over my freshly cleansed face. You would be surprised at how poorly some respected brands have performed! Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk is pleasant to use, but its performance was dismal. I can't believe how much grime comes off on the pad after I've cleansed and rinsed thoroughly. I just tested one by Sunday Riley, but the fragrance was just this side of rancid cream. Ugg. It's on the way to the trash. If you have any favorite cleansers that meet my criteria, please tell me in the comments. As you might imagine, I've used a lot, but I'm always looking for the perfect cleanser. You are an experienced group. Help me out, please.

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.

Once again, thank you for your kindness to me. It made me hurt a little bit less. Happy weekend!

Photo by Best Things in Beauty and courtesy of WWD, a great publication for beauty and fashion lovers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tired - Just Tired

I think I owe you an explanation for my one-day absence this week. I'll summarize. You might remember I fell twice during the first quarter: once on black ice and once in the shower. The killer was the shower fall. I injured my shoulder, hip, back, and both knees. The problem is that one of the two injured knees is bionic, and bionic knees are not supposed to hurt.

I have seen quite a few doctors lately, and Monday, I got some really discouraging news. My bionic knee may be loose, and I may need to have a whole new knee replacement - just three years after the first. All over again. That followed a disastrous MRI on my right shoulder. Basically, it has five significant things wrong with it. Then there is my "unique" spine. I had another epidural Monday. The right knee? It was supposed to be next, but may need to wait until I can have the left knee redone and maybe a shoulder replacement. I've never heard of such a thing. I hurt, and lugging my body, however tiny, around each day isn't easy.

Then there is all the bureaucratic nonsense associated with my drug coverage, which recently changed. Now, I have to go to Costco to get one of my drugs (maybe 10 miles away) because CVS will charge me 12 times as much for a one-month supply. Like I have a lot of time to deal with this craziness.

So I missed a day of blogging this week. I tried to make up for it today, but I see additional silent days on the horizon. Some days, I come home from work and have to lie down. Getting back up hurts.

I learned recently that two of my favorite bloggers, Modesty Brown and London Makeup Girl, have stopped writing. I can understand why. Eventually, many of us burn out - or age out (in my case). I'd love to retire, and then I could write two features per day again. It's not in the cards anytime soon. I would have to win the lottery.

Thanks for visiting as faithfully as you do. I'm doing my best to keep up.

Photo courtesy of

Dior Voyage Tan Golden Shimmer Powder from the Saks Fifth Avenue Summer 2014 Transatlantique Collection

I knew when I saw Dior's limited-edition Voyage Tan Golden Shimmer Powder ($58) at Saks, that it would be a high-wattage highlighter. Indeed. It will give you flash and shine.

The elegant golden shimmer compact is embossed with a rope pattern and creates beaming radiance on the skin. The finely milled iridescent pigments create a soft golden glow on the skin, making it look as if it had been kissed by the sun. The limited-edition compact is delivered with a mini kabuki brush - cute, but not one I would use when I have full-sized brushes here.

I took swatch photos in full sun. I swatched at the top of my arm with a sponge-tipped applicator. Then I used Dior's mini Kabuki brush (which comes housed with the compact in a large box) to create a larger swatch below.

Voyage Tan Golden Shimmer Powder is not a highlighter for the shy and retiring type. You have to be able to live with a golden gleam to appreciate its radiance on the skin. As you can see at the top of my arm, where I applied the powder heavily with a sponge-tipped applicator, it adds a beautiful soft gold gleam. It is not shimmery if you buff it as you apply it.

The powder is more subtle when it's applied with a brush. Still, I don't think I'd wear it to work. I can imagine how pretty it would be if my face were reflecting candlelight in a romantic restaurant. Used on the highest part of the cheekbones, temples, and margins of the face, I will give you a halo effect.

I like it! It's not my usual choice for a highlighting powder, but I find the color flattering. I can almost see some rose in it, but that might be my imagination - you know I love rose gold. You do not see gold in the compact.

You can purchase this limited edition today at Saks Fifth Avenue counters. It appears to have disappeared online. Does that mean it's flying out of stores?

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum Eau de Toilette

Terracotta takes me away! Each time I wear it, I teleport to the beach - somewhere in Barbados. I'm resting on a lounge chair, under an umbrella to protect my skin, and I'm eating freshly sliced coconut and drinking a refreshing umbrella drink.

If you like beachy fragrances, with subtle reminders of sun, sand, and suntan lotion, you will adore the limited-edition Terracotta Le Parfum Eau de Toilette ($73, a steal). I was on the waiting list at the Guerlain Boutique, so mine shipped the moment the shipment arrived in Las Vegas. I was exuberant when I sprayed it on my arm for the first time.

Terracotta was developed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Terracotta bronzing collection. This is the third fragrance of this collection, following predecessors Voile d’Été (1999) and Eau Sous le Vent (2009). I've read that there was a third predecessor, but I am only aware of two. Guerlain's perfumer Thierry Wasser describes the new scent as "the allure of the sun in a bottle." I could not agree more. It's swoon-worthy, in my opinion.

Terracotta was created using "solar floral notes." It opens with accords of bergamot, coconut, and the tropical tiare flower. Its heart notes include white florals, such as jasmine, ylang-ylang, and orange blossom - three of my favorites. The base notes are musk and vanilla, giving Terracotta a sultry dry down. The fragrance has great longevity for a summer scent, lasting 5-6 hours on me.

It's always hard to describe a fragrance in words - at least for me. I can tell you that the 100-ml bottle will never last long enough. I'm wearing it too often. I have already called Jonathan at Guerlain to order a second bottle. Since it's a limited edition, I don't want to wait too long to re-order.

Here is the part I don't understand. All the advance publicity says Terracotta was being released in a 50-ml bottle. My box and bottle say they are 100 ml. Go figure. You should be able to find it at Guerlain counters by May, or you could order now from the Guerlain Boutique. Ask for Jonathan at (702) 732-7008 in Las Vegas.

Photos courtesy of Guerlain and

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tom Ford Lip Shimmer in Solar Gold for Summer 2014

Tom Ford Lip Shimmer ($49) in Moonlight (white) and Solar Gold (above) can be swept onto bare lips for a sultry, glimmering effect, or veiled over Tom Ford Lip Color to add radiant shimmer to a spectrum of nude and vivid shades. Infused with Vitamins C and E and shea butter, this moisturizing lip glaze in a domed bullet is packaged in a limited-edition, ivory- and gold-colored Tom Ford case.
Like the palette for summer, Solar Gold gave me pause when I first saw the press photos. I wondered if it would add any color at all to my lips - or whether it would mimic gold lip glosses. For the most part, it mimics gold lip glosses, adding a slight golden shine to my lips. It's actually more useful as a cream highlighter.
I took photos in full, mid-day sun. I applied Solar Gold to my arm very heavily, trying to build enough pigment to show you some color.

This is about as good as it gets: a sheer golden shine that adds a gleam - not sparkle - to my lips. It's pretty, but not, in my opinion, worth its price. That may be because I own about 10 gold lip glosses.

On my lips, Solar Gold adds a slightly golden gleam when applied without lipstick underneath. I can see it, but I'm not sure anyone else would notice its subtle color. Use it to top a lipstick, and it almost disappears. It offers average wear and does have a taste. It feels marvelously hydrating on my lips.

Would I purchase it again? No. I bought blind. Will I wear it? Sure - maybe not often, but I'll wear it when I want a barely there sheen.

Tom Ford Beauty's Summer Collection can be found at Tom Ford counters and online.

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tom Ford Unabashed Eye and Cheek Compact for Summer 2014

I purchased Tom Ford's Unabashed Eye and Cheek Compact ($95) reluctantly. It appeared to have a few colors I would like, but the cobalt blue in the press photo (above) gave me pause. I was finally able to take photos to show you why my initial reluctance was reinforced by the real thing.

Tom Ford's limited-edition palette imbues a sultry, effortless summer look with a refreshing twist of color. Eyes are enveloped in a blend of soft pearl and satin finish neutrals and a bold accent of cobalt. Cheeks are illuminated with light rose and peach coral shades for a warm and sexy glow. Packaged in a retro-chic, ivory- and gold-colored Tom Ford case.

The case is white with gold trim - and huge. No one could complain about the amount of product in this $95 compact. The colors I was really looking forward to what appeared to be a shimmering taupe in the upper left corner. I knew the blue would be useful only as an eyeliner. The grey looked nice, as did the cheek colors. Unfortunately, the "shimmering taupe" is nothing but shimmering. It offers a glittering light gold - no taupe.

I took my swatch photos in full, mid-day sun. I swatched all of the shades with a sponge-tipped applicator, working in clockwise order. The "shimmering taupe" is at the top of my arm. What a nearly transparent, glitter fest! I was crushed with the disappointment. I have plenty of glitter eye shadows. I'll admit they are useful as toppers, but one doesn't need a wardrobe of them.

That shade was the make-or-break shade for me. Most of the others can be easily duplicated in my huge collection. They are beautiful, but not unique. The glitter shade does have a touch of gold in it, but it bears no resemblance to what I see in the compact. Sob!

The golden shade is supposed to be a bronzer/cheek shade. I don't see myself using it that way. I will use it as an eye shadow. The blush, a gorgeous warm pink, is the star of the compact. Fortunately, there is an ample amount of it. I'm sure I will wear it down to the bottom of the compact.

The cobalt blue would have no use to me except as an eyeliner. Even then, it's flashy - not my style. I will give it an A+ for last. It clings to the skin and lasts all day.

The taupe-grey shade is very pretty and will be a staple in my wardrobe over the next few months. I think it's a perfect daytime shade. Would the blue liner look good with it? Absolutely, as long as you are comfortable wearing flashy makeup. I can see a woman with chocolate skin wearing the blue as an eyeshadow. It could be snazzy. I'd love to find a model. I may ask a friend of Indian heritage, who has darker skin than I do, to give it a try. I want to see how it looks on her.

What did I buy for $95? A large compact with three shades I will wear and two that will look nearly as pristine as the day I pulled the compact from its brown fabric pouch. Translated statistically, it scores a 60%: not great, but not bad. I guess I expect more from Tom Ford.

I also purchased Solar Gold, which I will show you very soon. For more photos, see Sabrina's The Beauty Look Book.

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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

Whether it's a holy day for you or a holiday opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, I hope you enjoy your day.

I saw my Easter bunny yesterday! He has been scarce lately. My garden used to be populated with darling bunnies. They do a great job munching on weeds - and the occasional herb. I hadn't seen one in months (because I was inside so much this winter? there was too much snow and ice?), but yesterday a big bunny was out and about. I guess someone told him it was Easter. I hope he lays low when the foxes are around.

I wish hats were in style around here. They seem like the perfect accessory for Easter. Fancy hats are still appreciated in the United Kingdom, within the African-American community, and in the deep South. They know how to wear hats! I love seeing the ladies, all decked out in their pastel outfits, wearing coordinating hats to church on Easter Sunday. These days, many of us wear wide-brimmed hats to garden or at the beach to keep the sun off our faces. You can't even find fine, fancy hats in the stores - the kind Kate Middleton has been photographed wearing. Am I alone in my wish for a resurgence of fashionable hats?

Mom finally "gave" and agreed to go out to Easter dinner. Mom, one of my very best friends, and I will be going to an Italian restaurant close to her house. It strikes me as an odd choice, but Mom chose it, so off we will go at the end of what's predicted to be a beautiful afternoon.

Enjoy the day!

Kate Middleton photo courtesy of; other photo sources unknown

Guerlain Maxi Shine Gloss d’Enfer in Nahema Smack for Summer 2014

The tube of Guerlain's Maxi Shine Gloss d'Enfer in Nahema Smack (#940, $30) sings summer. It presents itself as a warm orange or coral shade that might scare anyone who don't gravitate toward orange lip colors because of our coloring. The fascinating thing about Nahema Smack is that it's not really orange on the lips. I'll show you the color; just don't ask me about its name. I have no idea what it means.

I purchased mine blind, relying on Jonathan at the Guerlain Boutique to describe the lip colors that were coming for summer and help me choose those that might work for me. Once again, Jonathan scored a perfect prediction. You are going to love him. I'll give you his phone number at the bottom of the feature. He is my go-to guy for Guerlain.

My first hint that Nahema Smack wasn't a fiery orange was on the applicator. It has much more rose on it than I was expecting. The applicator said "rosy coral."  Sure enough, that's what I saw on my arm and lips. On my lips, it is even more rose and less coral than it appears on my arm - no doubt because of the rose pigment in my lips. I think Nahema Smack may end up vying with #440 (called a coral pink shimmer) for my favorite gloss. I wear #440 every day. I think I have six of them. If Guerlain ever discontinues the shades, I may cry.

I took my photos in mid-day full sun, just as some high clouds started to roll in - perfect conditions for showing color without extra reflection from sunshine. Look at this gorgeous color! It is vibrant, saturated, and subtly shiny. The shine comes from a measured amount of micro-shimmer.

I've included three exposures here - all showing slightly different intensity of Nahema Smack's color and shine. They all came from the same swatch. Oddly, if you check out other blogs, you may find it looks bright orange. I cannot explain the difference.

No matter which photo becomes the focus of your attention, I think you'll agree with me that Nahema Smack is much prettier and more elegant - and certainly more wearable - than it appears in the tube. I love this shade!

Gloss d'Enfer Maxi Shine’s oil composition creates a moisturizing barrier to ensure an intense softness. The ergonomic applicator allows for easy lip definition, more effectively evoking the hint of a smile. Additionally, each shade presents varying degrees of coverage and pigment intensity. The perfect partner for a desirable, appealing smile, Maxi Shine offers tailor-made effects for beautifully enhanced lips.

As advertised,  Gloss d'Enfer offers lovely ladylike shimmer and feels great on the lips. It offers average wear time, with the more pigmented shades lasting longer than the very sheer ones. These glosses have a smooth and non-sticky texture and glide onto the lips like a second skin. Guerlain says we'll forget Maxi Shine is even on. I understood them when I applied the first, with the launch last spring. Composed of mineral and vegetal oils, the texture forms a protective barrier on the lips that prevents moisture from evaporating and keeps the lips soft and hydrated. My lips look extremely shiny, radiant, and even brilliant when I wear Gloss d'Enfer. This is my kind of lip gloss.

Interested? Call Jonathan at the Guerlain Boutique at in Las Vegas at (702) 732-7008. He usually works a later shift, so I find him in the late afternoon or early evening East Coast time. I love our three-hour time difference and phone shopping with him at night! Naturally, the Guerlain Summer 2014 Color Collection will arrive at all Guerlain counters - probably this month. I like shopping in Las Vegas; I save on tax and pay no shipping fees. They treat me well. How much better can it get?

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Friday Forum - April 18

I love daffodils with pink cups, so they are overrepresented in my garden. Here is one of the first that bloomed - at a time when it was freezing at night and raining every other day.

I have had a crazy-long week. We had a large virtual team gathered in DC, and I worked extended hours every day. I am totally exhausted. Every evening, I came home, fed the cats, drank a beer with some cookies or cake, wrote a blog post, and went to bed so that I could start again in the morning. Oh, and there was the last-minute IRS stuff to do on top of everything else.

I don't have the energy to write up this week's beauty news. I promise I'll do that over the weekend.

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.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guerlain Terracotta Sun Celebration Bronzing Powder & Blush, 30th Anniversary Edition, for Summer 2014

I couldn't wait to get my hands on Guerlain's Terracotta Sun Celebration Bronzing Powder & Blush ($76), the special 30th Anniversary Edition. Now that I have, I'm even more hyped about it than I was when I first saw the press photos. It's magnifique! The compact is absolutely gorgeous, from the magnetic cover to the powder itself, and the look on the skin is as good as it gets (considering my own skin).

Sun Celebration Bronzing Powder & Blush is a limited edition, and I predict it will sell out quickly (I've been wrong in the past about such things, but not often). If you have an interest, purchase or pre-order it immediately. I had pre-ordered mine from the Guerlain Boutique in Las Vegas, so it was shipped to me the moment it arrived at the store.

Twist off the glorious magnetic wooden cover with its own sun design, and you'll see this large, elegant quad of summer colors embossed with a vibrant golden sun. Its appearance is stunning - sure to draw compliments if you pull it out for a touch-up to show it off in public.

I took swatch photos in full, very late-afternoon sunshine. I swatched a "stripe" at the top of my arm with a sponge-tipped applicator, and I used a blush brush to apply a larger swatch below. Both are heavy applications. I blended all four colors and made sure to pick up some metallic "sunshine" too. I did not swatch each individual color - all matte: summer peach, sunset pink, and a brown/tan. Because the compact is large, you can easily use the colors individually. I'll try that later. I wanted to show you this makeup museum piece right away.

You will see some sparkles in my swatches, but I think they result from the central sun. I've read that there is an overspray, but I'm not sure about that. If there is, those sparse sparkles will disappear with use. I know many of you prefer matte or satin bronzers, and I think this one fits the bill.

The powder itself is finely milled and compacted well, so it applies lightly. You have to work at it to over-do an application. It does not leave a powdery mess after you swipe it, no matter what applicator you use.

You can see that the blended color is a beautiful, light, golden tan. It looks natural on my face when applied to the high points. I leaves no mud behind, just a stunning sun-kissed effect. Had I wanted to make the color pinker, I could have used more pink. The same is true for all the colors, giving us ultimte flexibility.

It's too bad I had goosebumps when I snapped these photos. You can see on my arm how cold I was. We had a sudden turn from 86 degrees on Sunday to a sleet storm Tuesday evening. The weather may be telling me that Sun Celebration's time hasn't come, but I'm not buying that. I'll be wearing it the moment I want to look healthy and happy. Tomorrow?

I knew that anything Guerlain would name its 30th Anniversary Terracotta piece - drawing special attention to its golden franchise - would be good. I had no idea it would be magnificent.

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dior Summer 2014 Transatlantique Collection for Saks Fifth Avenue - Sunrise and Beige Songe

When I was at Saks Fifth Avenue this past weekend, I ran right into Dior's Saks-exclusive Transatlantique Collection for Summer 2014. There were some extremely tempting pieces on the carefully edited display. Nail colors, lip colors, eye colors and a Nude Tan Shimmer Powder - eye-catching colors. Some of the pieces will eventually be available at other stores; others won't. I purchased three pieces. Today, I'll show you the lip colors that captured me.

The Limited Edition Transatlantique Color Collection was inspired by Christian Dior’s love for travel and the brand’s spirit for timeless elegance and playfulness. The collection boasts classic, elegant shades contrasted by bold pops of color.

Rouge Dior Couture Colour & Voluptuous Care Lipstick ($34) in Sunrise is a new, limited-edition shade - a beautiful, warm sunrise pink. It's shown in my photo directly below.

Dior Addict Gloss Mirror Shine Volume & Care ($29.50), shown below in Beige Songe, is also a new, limited-edition shade. The soft, sandy, shimmering beige was designed to complement Sunrise.

I fell in love with these shades at the counter. My love grew when I got home and started playing with them - alone and together. I took swatch photos in full sun, with Sunrise at the top of my arm and Beige  Songe below.

As you can see, they are both deliciously shiny. They offer the same qualities that have kept me in Dior lip colors for many years. They feel good and look good. What more can I expect?

I adore the pink shade of Sunrise. Could you find a dupe out there? I'm sure. Why, though, when Sunrise is so classy for spring. I'll wear it year round, but those who love to change out their colors with the seasons will find Sunrise a beautiful addition for spring and summer.

Beige Songe isn't distinctive, but it's a great neutral. It proves very subtle color when worn alone, but adds a sheer, luminous glow to top any lipstick in any color.

You can purchase these lip colors today at Saks Fifth Avenue at counters and online. I'll show you the stunning, high-wattage shimmer powder tomorrow. I couldn't resist.

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Monday, April 14, 2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer Broad Spectrum SPF 15

The perfect complement to Giorgio Armani Beauty's new Maestro Fusion Blush, Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer (#500, $64) creates a 100% natural sun-kissed look with one drop. I had to purchase it. I love everything Giorgio Armani Beauty launches, and I could be called dedicated (devout?) to the company's liquid products.

"Maestro Mediterranea" builds on the revolution led by Maestro Fusion Makeup Complexion Perfector, which launched in 2012. Maestro Color-Fil technology has reinterpreted the alchemy of Maestro Complexion Perfector and adapted it to this new bronzer. Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer benefits from the unique, lightweight texture that fuses naturally with the skin - as promised.

The secret of this iconic Maestro formula is that no water or white powder is used. Instead, it contains five non-comedogenic oils, including white lotus oil (lotus flowers contain linoleic acid, protein, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B and C), which gradually evaporate upon application and leave you with a “no makeup feel,” somewhat like a stain, but without a drying effect. Its name is perfect because it literally fuses with my skin. The suspension of ultra-fine oil pigments enhances the skin and is enriched with finely milled micro-pearls.

"A concentrate of summer in a single drop. [It's] 100% fake, but looks 100% real. Take a Maestro sun break in the city," said Linda Cantello, Giorgio Armani International Makeup Artist. Liquid Summer Bronzer provides beautiful "tan" color, brightens the skin, and applies weightlessly on the skin - all the while providing broad spectrum SPF 15 protection against the sun's rays.

What I like the most about Liquid Summer Bronzer is the sheer color that can be applied to be just about "anything you want it to be. Mix it with your foundation or moisturizer, and it will give you a touch of sunshine on your skin. Brush it lightly on the high points of your face, and you will achieve a sun-kissed glow without looking "tan." Apply it all over your face and neck and appear to have returned from a trip to the beach.

The color is light and sheer if you go easy on the application or darker if you build the color. The choice is yours. Just remember, it dries very quickly and then lasts all day, so make sure to work quickly when applying it.

I applied my swatch with a sponge-tipped applicator (as unnatural as it gets), and I did not attempt to blend the color. I wanted you to see the pure color - without intervention. I took my photos in full, mid-day sun.

I find the golden bronzer shade to be beautiful on my skin - without a trace of mud. It has a glow, but does not shimmer. That's why it looks so natural when applied "properly." Naturally, you can make it lighter or darker with your application technique. I apply it to my fair skin with a light touch.

Liquid Summer Bronzer and the new Fusion Blushes are available at some Giorgio Armani Beauty counters, such as the one at Saks where I purchased mine, as well as the Armani Beauty Web site. Scheduled to launch this month, they should be available at all Armani counters before April ends.

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