My House Smells Beautiful

Take a walk in a calming space…
I am obsessed with scent, not only for my skin but for my environment. I love scented candles and room sprays as I love a beautiful scent to envelop me wherever I am in my home. But it cannot be strong or cloying or smell like plastic berries a la Glade Plug-Ins. Working as a Realtor has allowed me to go into many houses and let me tell ya, I can spot a Glade Plug In from the driveway of a house. It covers up nothing, and is a synthetic migraine inducing cloud of chemicals that is almost certainly messing with your DNA. It is simply not a Good Thing. So I am always sniffing candles & room sprays when shopping, hoping for something that will scent the air without choking me. I also love incense and when I am in the mood for that kind of comforting scent, only one will do- authentic Nag Champa. It is sweet and floral without the smoky notes that I pick up in most incenses. I adore candles but that is another post- I’ve been meaning to write about my fave candles so stay tuned.

Today I’d like to share two lovely room sprays. The first one is a French brand called Geodesis. They are a ambient scent company that sells candles and room sprays. They have based their collections on associating a fragrance with a region of the world. I have fallen for the Black Tea scent, a “slightly fruity tea” from “the province of Yunnan, which is well known for the quality of their teas”. It is a fruity tea, I’m not sure if it’s citrus or a fruit-like floral scent but it is a lovely counter to the black tea. It is non aerosol in a pretty glass bottle, with an apothecary vibe. There is no mistaking the black tea note and I find it soothing and calming. It is a little more than just tea, and that makes for a bit of complexity which I like.  There is a “cool” feel to it so I think in hot summer weather it will be wonderful as well.

Geodesis on left, NEOM (old packaging) on right

The other one I am loving is NEOM Organic Home Fragrance Mists. From their website, “made from a simple blend of pure essential oils, spring water and pure grain alcohol they are 95% organic and free from harsh preservatives, so they will not pollute your lungs, home or the environment”. Organic and natural are not deal breakers for me, I just want it to smell good, but that works for me too. The one I’ve been using lately is Refresh, a blend of Sicilian Lemon and fresh Basil. It is indeed refreshing and so true and natural smelling it feels like you could drink it. It makes a lovely kitchen spray, perfect for tidying up after a big meal. But I use it everywhere. It is soothing and calming yet at the same time uplifting. There is nothing complex about this one, it really is lemons and basil, but they are perfectly balanced in the most pleasing way. It is a happy smell, indeed.
I spritz the air, over upholstered furniture (it can also be used as a linen spray) and on light bulbs (cool bulbs that are not lit!) which makes for a waft of fragrance later on when I turn my lights on. A little tip I like is to spray my entrance mats so visitors get a soft scent when they come in the house. I must be choosing the right scents or have extremely polite friends, as my friends and my daughters as well always comment on how good our house smells. For me, that is the ultimate compliment. 
What are your favourite room sprays? 

Beautiful Beauty Blog Round Up

Chanel 2011 Summer Make Up look. Gorgeous….
We hope you’ll take a few minutes from your long weekend to take a tour through the beauty world with us. We’re in the mood for summer.
Café Makeup left us drooling over her sneak peek at Chanel’s Fall 2011 Collection.
Best Things in Beauty gave us a first look at Giorgio Armani Beauty’s new Gloss d’Armani.
The Non-Blonde featured a superb powder brush from Louise Young. Love her brush features!
DivaDebbi test drove Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara after all these years. Did it pass today’s test?
Product Girl got a peek at Joelle Russo’s makeup bag. See what a Nordstrom Regional Beauty Director loves.
Gina Brooke, Artistic Director for Hourglass Cosmetics and celebrity makeup artist, shared her beauty secrets with Fab over Forty.
The Beauty Look Book put a spotlight on Chanel’s divine Rouge Coco Shine.
Check out BeautyXposé for the Spring/Summer nail color collection from Anise.
Love Deborah Lippmann like most of us? Daly Beauty featured Deborah Lippmann’s nude nail look.
Gouldylox Reviews showed us how to attach feather extensions to our hair. Look out Steven Tyler!
Some more link lovin’:

Remember when Dr. Oz told women that we better watch what they put on our lips because we consume 4-9 lbs of lipstick/gloss over a lifetime? Beautygeeks finds his math doesn’t exactly add up…
ProductDoctor  has me wanting thinking at least one YSL Volupte Sheer Candy balm is in my future…sheer & moisturizing? Sign me up.
Happy Memorial Day weekend to my American friends! We had our long Queen Victoria Day Weekend last week so now it’s your turn. Kick back and enjoy the unofficial start of summer!

Deborah Lippmann’s Fashion is a Beauty

I love neutral nails. They are my go-to daily mani as they wear well, don’t show wear on the tips or chips. IF they chip. And if I am using Lippmann nail polish along with her Hard Rock Top/Base Coat I can go quite awhile before any wear appears. Why I stray is a mystery to me…
Digression: I recently fell hard for Seche Vite Quick Dry Top Coat. It IS amazing- use it on still wet nails and within a minute or two your nails are hard as glass. You do pay a bit of a price- there are many complaints of shrinkage (not George Castanza style shrinkage….) meaning the polish pulls in from the cuticles and edges of nails as it dries. Not a big deal I suppose, but don’t put Seche Vite on dry nails, it will shrink it so much the colour will pop off your nail in one piece like a press on nail. Found this out as I was getting my suitcases into the car to go on holiday. So much for my holiday mani, I left it in pieces as a trail in the airport parking lot. But there is a more serious issue with SV. Because it sinks right into the polish while it dries it, and that means every layer of polish, it gets to your nail as well. It took me a while to realize that my horrible peeling nails were a result of the SV usage. Consider yourself warned before you look at my photos. Poor nails, please forgive me.
Almost immediately after stopping and going back to my beloved Lippmann Hard Rock Base & Top coat my nails are healing and feel stronger. Lippmann’s polish is full of good stuff which I have already posted about HERE and I have learned my lesson. Lippmann gives me hard strong nails and I am NOT LOOKING BACK.
So back to my post about Fashion. I really want Naked but it has sold out everywhere so I am on a waiting list for it. A gorgeous nude-y neutral, Naked sounds just perfect. But, thanks to the wisdom of the gorgeous Lippmann expert at my Holt Renfrew, she told me one coat of Fashion is close to Naked. Two coats of Fashion is a beige tone, slightly deeper than a nude (only a true Nail Polish Lover sees this I imagine…) but one coat is somehow a different colour and I love it! I need to expand my Lippmann colours and slowly but surely I am but I am quite happy to have Fashion in my collection. I would say 2 or 3 coats would be a perfect Fall neutral but one coat is just perfect for Spring and Summer. I love the whole mannequin hands look and this is a perfect addition to my neutral collection. Love it. Add to that my Hard Rock as the base and top coat and my strong healthy nails are on their way back.
1 coat of DL Fashion in natural light

1 coat of Fashion in bright sunlight

Beautiful Tarte LipSurgence Lip Stains

These lip tints are my most recent obsession. I love a bright lip but most lipsticks tend to turn the lip makeup step into quite an event. If I am out and about, I usually have to pop into bathrooms or take a peek at a compact mirror to touch up (which can involve removal, exfoliation, balm application, re-application of the lipstick, and even gloss application etc…).
For me, most lipsticks are reserved for special events. What I love about LipSurgence natural lip tints is that they are easy (and beautiful). First of all, they are of that great pencil applicator style which makes application easy. The “gel” formula glides on and does not accentuate dry lips (which is why I tend to shy away from most lipsticks). On the contrary, the skinvigorating ingredients actually significantly moisturize your lips and the peppermint oil gives a nice cooling and calming effect. The best part of these pencils is that they are a tint. I am really over the moon about this! The lovely colours last even after the product is gone.
             
So far, I have tried two of the colours from this line. “Charmed” is an adorable bubblegum light pink that is great for summer and beautifully subtle and soft. “Enchanted” is a deep rose colour that is perfect for evening or dressing up.
Charmed

Emilie in “Charmed”

  

Enchanted   

Emilie in “Enchanted” & with trimmed bangs- love them!
Tarte also has two other similar lines of pencil tints; LipSurgence natural lip luster, which has some glitter and sparkle in the product, and LipSurgence natural matte lip tint. Overall, these lip tints are the best of two worlds: soft and moisturizing like a great balm, a beautiful colour and glow like the perfect lipstick with the added bonus of a long-lasting tint. I definitely recommend popping into a Sephora and giving these a go. I guarantee you will be sold – I cannot wait to try the other colours!
by Emilie, using her own Tarte products

Beautiful Beauty Blog Round Up

Armageddon fail…
This is the weekend the doomsday types are predicting the end of the world, which has spawned some great humor. The Washington D.C. Transportation Department tweeted that the coming apocalypse would have an impact on road maintenance. “Sorry, we will no longer be able to fill your potholes after Saturday.” For those who believe that life will go on, as we know it, here’s some great reading for you, with a little tongue-in-cheek humor of our own.
Fittingly, Product Girl told us why Bobbi Brown’s Rich Lip Color is cosmic.
Fab over Forty shared some gorgeous Burberry spring/summer colors you should consider with optimism – for next week and beyond.
Café Makeup teased us with Lumieres Byzantines de Chanel Palette Highlighters – heavenly makeup.
How about spending your last sure-fire weekend window shopping with The Beauty Look Book?
The Non-Blonde showed us a Shiseido bronzer to help us ring in the summer.
Best Things in Beauty plans to look good next week wearing Chantecaille makeup.
Gouldylox Reviews featured Fusion Beauty for the great glow we’ll need to accompany rapture.
BeautyXposé recommended a bargain leave-in conditioner to take us all the way through summer, should we survive.
DivaDebbi has a Lumene giveaway contest for Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The deadline is Monday, so she’s optimistic.
Daly Beauty dove into Jo Malone Cologne. Smell great at any time – anywhere!
A few more:
Beautybets has some fantastic drugstore mascara recs. Is yours on the list?
Perfume Posse tells a lovely story about white floral perfumes and sharing perfume love….
And my most exciting news- I was asked to contribute a piece to one of my favourite perfume blogs of all time, Ca Fleur Bon, and I talk about the 70s, beauty and perfume….thank you so much for the opportunity Michelyn xo
Hope you enjoy this weekend and every weekend!

Tan Your Face Beautifully

Disclaimer- there is no Jersey Shore-esque orange Oompa Loompa tans in my self tanning world. But, if you like a soft healthy glow that says “I love walks in the sunshine and don’t live in a dark basement” then we’re on the same page. I will devote a few posts to self tanners as there are so many, and, some of us need different formulas for our faces and our bodies. Today, I will share 2 of my favourite facial tanning options. As I have shared often, I have oily acne prone skin that is also over 40 so my skincare and cosmetic options often work for aging AND younger skin. With this in mind, I am not a fan of multi-tasking skincare for the face. I have a moisturizer I love and I have a sunscreen/primer I love . I don’t want extra anything in my self-tanner. Just make me glow, baby, and don’t smell too weird and make me break out. For this reason I really like gel or mousse formulations- easy to apply, sink in quickly and don’t leave me oily…
Lancome Flash Bronzer Gel for Face: This is the one I have been using the longest and always go back to after trying others. One thing to know about this is a little goes a long way. It would be nice if it offered a bit of instant colour so you knew exactly where it was going but once you get the hang of it it is just perfect, it gives the right amount of glow and colour without an orange look. I use a dime sized or smaller amount and carefully blend down my throat and along my hairline. Then, my magic self tanner tip. I use a (dark) face cloth that is damp, and I wipe thoroughly my eyebrows, around my mouth and along my hairline. That is where you may get a bit too dark- these are areas that usually don’t get more tan than the rest of your face and are a dead Can-Tan giveaway if you don’t wipe them clean right away. I like to do this right after washing my face in the morning and give myself around 15-20 minutes before applying make up. I like as little as possible on my skin at  nighttime so I don’t self tan before bed. This one has very little of the weird baking bread smell that is the bane of most self tanners and what little scent it has dissipates quickly.
Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning: I received a couple samples of this from my wonderful Shoppers Drug Mart Cosmetic Fairies. Seriously- some of the new giant Shoppers rival Sephora and the SAs there get non stop product knowledge for the latest and greatest stuff. They are an invaluable resource so use them! They also know that if you try you may buy and if you are really interested in something new, they usually have samples. Ask and ye shall receive! I was looking at the Clarins Self Tan line as the wise and beautiful Victoria from EauMG had recommended the Liquid Bronze Self Tanning as one of the best self tanners out there. Online reviews from EVERYWHERE back this claim up. But the Instant Smooth is new and I was keen to try it. Well, I have to say, I love it. Yes it is a bit silicone-y, but a teensy bit goes a long way, it shows a light bronze tone immediately upon application, and the self tanning is so subtle and perfect it is almost goof-proof. Very little scent and instant gratification! I still plan to try the Liquid Self Bronze as I need something for my legs and if it works on face & body then that is a win for me!
I’d be remiss in not mentioning my all time Holy Grail self tanner, St Tropez Mousse. There is nothing better than this, it shows instantly, gives a gorgeous glow, no oil or weird smell and can be used on body and face. My issue is how hard it is to find in Canada. I buy it if I see it in the US but since I have the others in my cabinet I haven’t really bothered looking. Can someone in Ottawa please carry St Tropez???
What are your fave self tanners? Share the wealth!
This is why we wipe around our lips….
And this, Xtina, is NOT a good colour match for you…

The Simple Beauty of Jo Malone Perfumes

The Simple Beauty of Jo Malone Perfumes

Jo Malone is a lovely English perfume company (now owned by Estee Lauder) whose company creates lovely simple inoffensive perfumes. They are easy to wear, especially in public spaces, where you don’t want to overwhelm your friends and co-workers with killer sillage. They have elegant and clean packaging that looks quite lovely on the dresser. One of the neat things about Jo Malone perfumes is the fragrance combining/layering concept they offer. Users are encouraged to mix and match the perfumes, and they even offer a “Philosophy of Scent Combining” section on their website and at their counters. The Sales Associates will tell you the recommended combinations as well as their faves. I always love the inside scoop from Those Who Know and am happy to hear their recos.
Jo Malone scents are divided into several categories such as Citrus, Fruity, Floral, Woody and Spicy making sure there is something for everyone. I love a lot of them, but my musk sensitivity rules out several of them. I’m not sure if the musks overtook the perfume when EL took over as I don’t recall the perfumes before then. Mass market distribution changes things and musks are an inexpensive way to make perfumes stronger and longer lasting so its often a money decision to toss it in. At any rate, I have some Jo Malones I really like. Adding, these are all huge Compliment Getters, especially the Pomegranate Noir.
Pomegranate Noir: This is a Fruity scent, allegedly inspired by a red silk dress. That is a bit abstract for me, but I do love the scent. It is a dark scent, not light and fruity at all. There are fruity top notes of pomegranate and raspberry, but it is the woody, spicy and resin-y base that makes this one sing. It smells rich, and I have even had people tell me it smells “expensive”. There is something oddly compelling about this one, and in case you think fruity means for kids, it’s not, and Pom Noir could easily be worn by a man. As far as Jo Malone goes, this is one of the “stronger” perfumes. The patchouli note grounds this and makes it a Grown Up Perfume. A great evening perfume.
Vintage Gardenia: Well, I don’t get a lot of gardenia out of this one in the Floral category, more of a light tuberose I suppose, but I still love it. What I love about this one is the spicy compliment to the flowers- cardamom! It plays against a gentle base of sandalwood and myrrh and somehow elevates the floral notes to a sheer almost watery level. Jo Malone is known for their bath oils and I am determined to get some Vintage Gardenia bath oil as it would be exquisite. This is terrific in hot weather and is one of my favorite bedtime perfumes. Yes, I have perfumes I like to wear to bed. I’m crazy that way. Plus, it makes my sheets smell yummy and guarantees good dreams.
White Jasmine & Mint: This one from the Light Floral category is one of my favorite summer perfumes. Think jasmine and mint tea, cool shade and a light breeze. It has the softest non-indolic whisper of jasmine with a fresh green tea note that is beautifully complimented by mint. It is almost a cooling sensation to wear this scent and it dries down to a soft powdery jasmine. The mint and powdery notes make WJ&M a very soothing and comforting scent. Another Bedtime Perfume winner! This one layers beautifully with Vintage Gardenia and Pomegranate Noir, as it a little sweeter than those two and gives them a softer, gentler feel.
My daughter Emilie likes Jo Malone as well. Her faves are Wild Fig & Cassis, Nectarine & Honey Blossom & Lime Basil & Mandarin. We recently got her the Sweet Lemon from the Limited Edition Tea Collection. It is a soft gentle lemon scent that smells yummy and perfect on her and I am hoping for a review from Emilie on this one.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the home fragrance. Jo Malone Candles are so delightful, and there is one for each perfume so you can scent your home with your favourite! They have giant ones and also the most precious travel sized perfumed candles. My friend Tara uses them as a way to make a hotel room feel cozy and like home- what a terrific idea, don’t you think? There is a new collection of candles with the divine designs of David Hicks-  how gorgeous and I WANT!
David Hicks candles! *swoon*
Do you wear Jo Malone? What are your faves, and if you combine I would love to know your fave combos!

Beautiful Beauty Blog Round Up

Ottawa’s Tulip Festival 
On our way into May and everything is blooming. Ottawa, Canada celebrates the Tulip Festival every May and we always know summer is coming when our fair city is blanketed in colourful flowers. The Netherlands give Ottawa the gift of tulips every year as a thank you for protecting their monarchy after their country was invaded in 1940. Its a wonderful story & you can read the background here.
But, while many of us are watching our flowers bloom, the rain is wreaking havoc with devastating floods in Canada and with our American neighbours. Help is needed everywhere and of course, the Red Cross is there. In Canada, you can donate here, and residents of the US can donate here.
Gouldylox Reviews featured the new Bare Escentuals summer eye shadows.
The Non-Blonde showed us her latest blush purchase, Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita Blush.
Best Things in Beauty Best Things in Beauty fascinates us with Le Métier de Beauté’s Mediterranean Holiday Summer 2011 Collection Penelope Kaleidoscope Eye Kit.

The Beauty Look Book featured the extraordinary luxury of Edward Bess Eye and Face Brushes.
BeautyXposé gave us a look at the soft, pastel nail polishes in the Spring Garden Collection by Nubar.
Fab over Forty showed us how to recreate a stunning red carpet look from Penelope Cruz.

Café Makeup reviewed the Guerlain Terracotta Fusion cream eye shadows for Summer 2011.

Daly Beauty told us why Acqua di Parma is oh so beautiful. Perfume lovers need to try this one…
Diva Debbi gave us the 411 on Rimmel’s Lash Accelerator.

Product Girl featured Dior’s Electric Tropics Collection for Summer 2011.

Beautiful Beauty Blog Round Up

Happy Mother’s Day! Need a last-minute gift? Want to treat yourself? Maybe we can inspire you.
The Non-Blonde gave us a sneak peek at Le Métier de Beauté’s beautiful summer collection.
Fab over Forty hooked more than a few of us on Beauty is Life, I’m so curious!
The Beauty Look Book featured the NARS eye shadow duos for summer – or any time of year.
Product Girl told us about Lisa Hoffman’s divine Japanese Argarwood Body Wash- mmm lovely.
BeautyXposé showed us how she got a faux glow with Beautisol Self-Tanner- sounds amazing!
Gouldylox Reviews is loving LATHER’s Avocado and Mint Hair Repair treatment.
Daly Beauty featured Neutrogena’s Ageless Intensives Night Cream.
DivaDebbi told us about the rejuvenating Pelleve skin-care treatment.
Café Makeup had the 411 on Hourglass Script Liquid Eyeliner, with comparisons.
Best Things in Beauty has fallen in love with YSL’s Volupté Sheer Candy Glossy Balm Crystal Color.
A few more beautiful things:
Beauty Editor’s Top 5 picks including a fab $8 cream blush & the cutest pedicure kit…
Beautygeeks has the. Cutest. Orange mani. Ever. And, it will last for weeks…
Beautybets shows us how to get ready for the warm weather with natural deodorants that really work.
Pere de Pierre is layering some perfumes- I love doing this & he has some fun suggestions!
There you have it – skin, hair, makeup, and eternal youth! Surely the moms out there would be impressed with a gift from this list.

Beautiful Glitter In The Air by Deborah Lippmann*

Deborah Lippmann does glitter best! The glitter flakes in “Glitter in the Air” are pretty and sweet without being teenage-y. The octagonal shape of the larger flakes ensures that they will lay flat on the nailbed and the tiny flakes are the perfect subtle accents, not to mention the fact that it is very easy to apply (as opposed to many sparkle polishes). 
This sparkly polish is special without being flashy or costume-like. Actually, I did this manicure with a job interview in mind! It’s fun and unique without being overbearing and can be pulled off as a neutral (depending on number of coats). I did 4 coats (plus base and top coat) because I love how it looks milky, juicy, and cloudy with a hint of blue while still being sheer. Overall – this polish guarantees a delicate look with a hint of something special.
*Guest Post by my amazing daughter, Emilie- thanks Em! Your nails look awesome!