Beautiful Lip of the Day: Stila Yumberry Crush with LipFusion

Eep my flyaway hairs are NOT growing out of my cheek. Honest.
One of my fave lip stains is Stila Yumberry Crush. It has a sweet cherry popsicle colour that adds just enough colour to me look alive and healthy. I like to apply it, let it dry, then put a coat of the original LipFusion Lip Plump gloss in clear. This is my HG lip gloss and has been since it came out. It does have a slightly weird tingly numbing thing that goes on when you first apply it, but I actually kind of like that feeling. Unlike Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker which actually made my lips feel like they were VIBRATING. I could not rub that stuff off fast enough, and even then it didn’t stop. At any rate,  I love the natural full lip look LipFusion gives me and it actually lasts a long time for a gloss. Even after the glossiness is gone, the plumping effect remains for a few hours. As does the stain. An easy peasy lip with a bit of colour, even for the colour phobic like me.

The Soft Quiet Beauty of Givenchy ange ou démon le secret elixir

When sprayed on initially, I smell a slight hint of a bitter fruit, namely grapefruit, despite the fact that descriptions of this scent found online don’t mention it. After a few minutes, the scent really warms up. It becomes a soft and cozy scent that has a slight hint of something powdery. This unique powder note is soft and smooth without venturing into the cliché territory of the innocence of a baby powder note. Le secret also carries over into sensual territory as it dries down – the vanilla, patchouli, cedar and white musk notes create the illusion of warm skin. There is also a subtle sweetness to this scent, sugar and berries come to mind, that is the perfect counterpart to the powder and musk aspects. My first impression was that this would be a scent perfect for the winter season, but I have actually been wearing it throughout the summer and it works wonderfully when worn on warm summer evenings. Overall, ange ou demon le secret is an intimate and velvety scent that reflects the smokeyness of the purple bottle and the secrecy of its name. 

How beautiful & intimate is this? Sam & Andrew…so romantic

It makes me think of that scene in the film Garden State when, after an evening of swimming, Sam and Andrew spend some time in cozy sweaters by an immense fireplace and talk about each others’ past. 

Givenchy ange ou démon le secret elixir is exclusive to The Bay in Canada. In the US you can get it at Macy’s, Dillards, Lord & Taylor and Sephora. They have scented bubble bath “tea bags” available as well as part of the line- what a perfect gift that would be!
Givenchy review written by my smart & beautiful daughter, Emilie

YSL Volupté Sheer Candy Gloss is a Beautiful Balm, Too!

No2 Dewy Papaya second from right
I’m a sucker for a lip balm. I am also a sucker for luxe packaging and pretty colours. But, I am also quite colour phobic and tend to wear sheer glosses or my lips but better non lippy lippies. I was perusing the YSL counter and thanks to most delightful SA had fun trying this and that. She could tell by my next to bare face that I was skeered of colour and whipped out the Volupté Sheer Candy Gloss in No2 which is Dewy Papaya. It is a super sheer pink coral that looked very pretty and not scary at all swatched on my hand but she had me at “Did I mention it’s a balm too? My lips just feel so good when I wear this!”Well, she was gorgeous with beautifully applied make up- I always trust those SAs to sell me something I will actually use. 
Isn’t the tube pretty?
So I gave it a try and loved it. It does have a fruity scent and mild taste but both disappear and are not over powering at all. It just glides on and does feel soothing and gentle on my lips which I love. I have fairly good colour in my lips and always have. Actually I used to put foundation on them in high school because I thought they were too pink! Imagine. But that makes these sheer lippies so perfect for me!
Ok I realize this just barely qualifies as a colour…but I love it!
Unlike my trusty pot balms, which I also love, this one would look gorgeous being pulled out of a purse and subtly applied in public. Did I mention the packaging is stunning? It’s in a glossy shiny silver tube with a golden YSL symbol wrapped around the middle. Oh sure, you pay for that but I can justify it (can’t we all justify everything?) because I don’t wear lipstick so I never buy fancy lippies. That works, right?
Pardon my pores on the close up :)

I got my YSL Sheer Candy Gloss Volupté at Holt Renfrew for $31.50.
Beautiful Nail of The Day by Essie Angora Cardi

Beautiful Nail of The Day by Essie Angora Cardi

I guess it has something to do with that “end of summer feeling” thats going on now. Thanks, Back To School Sales EVERYWHERE I GO. Ok, I’ll stop crying in a minute….Anyways, I’ve been craving a slightly darker more dramatic nail these days. I have some super vampy colours and reds but I wanted something in between.
It doesn’t read as dark on the nails- more like the bottle colour. iPhone pic!
I blame Gaia over at The Non Blonde and her stunning Rescue Beauty Bruised, which is a gorgeous burgundy shade I’ve been coveting for awhile. Funny, Essie Angora Cardi is kind of a dupe. Kind of dupe-y? At any rate, it fit the bill nicely and even on a warm summer day it looked fantastic. I’m not sure if the chipping 2 days later was due to my decision to clean out my fridge or the polish itself, but the colour is so lovely I will definitely give it another chance. FYI, my pedi is Essie Chinchilly which is the perfect grey is a perfect match with burgundy. I may switch it up soon as Angora Cardi would be fantastic on toes peeking out of a sandal….

What is your fave burgundy polish?

Note the burgundy in Sophia Loren’s sweater….ok it’s not a cardi, but who cares? Sophia!


Random Beautiful Thoughts

Bridge over St Lawrence River on Canada-US border…to heaven?

Music: I seem to listening to a lot of soundtrack music theses days, which is kind of cool as that usually means discovering old gems. Maybe I’m watching movies late at night with terrific music I can’t always ID, but no fear. I have Shazam. I have fallen in love with my Shazam App on my phone for two reasons. First, the obvious one, is that it names the song I happen to be listening to but can’t figure out what it is or who is singing it. Secondly, it keeps a running list of the songs I have tagged. This is most helpful as when I am on iTunes shopping for music I ALWAYS forget “that song” I meant to find. However, my number one Summer of 2011 Soundtrack has been the Galaxie Satellite 70s channel. I could listen to this channel day and night and have yet to not like a song I’ve heard there. Cheesy and classic, from rock to disco, I love it all. But I think the smooth jazzy 70s R&B is my absolute fave. It was a toss up between The O’Jays, The Spinners and The Chi-Lites but Marvin Gaye snuck up and won….here, have a G&T and lets groove by the pool….
Book: Well so much for my noble James Joyce summer intentions. This summer has been all about The Game of Thrones for me. I read the first one, then watched the HBO series based on the first book, and I am now officially hooked. Medieval, fantasy, thriller, and horror all wrapped up in 4 (soon to be 5) delicious books, each one at least 1000 pages. Well written, beautifully woven stories with fantastic characters that drew me in and make it hard to put down. Not only that, but I am reading it on my Kobo app on my lovely little powerhouse, my Blackberry Playbook. I ADORE my Playbook, it is the perfect little tablet. It fits in my purse, lets me go all over the interwebs, listen to music etc but the book reading is one of my fave options. It is back lit and the font size means I can read without my readers. In the dark, even! Yay! The portability is super cool as it fits nicely in my hand and my purse which my iPad does not do. It holds a charge forever. I don’t think the Game of Thrones books would fit in my purse, which is bulging with so many other Important Things. And paper. Anyways, this is the summer of Game of Thrones and if you haven’t picked it up, you should. 
Yes. That is Sean Bean.

See how awesome? Love my Blackberry Playbook!

Food: This has been the summer of BBQ. All kinds of yumminess has hit the grill, but I have to say my daughter Emilie made the winner this year. She takes fresh sweet corn on the cob, removes the husks, and puts it right on the grill to cook. It doesn’t take long, really just a few minutes with the cobs being turned. While it cooks, she makes this killer homemade spicy sauce with mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, sriracha sauce (oh yeah…) and some chilli powder She slathers the grilled corn with this, then grates fresh parmesan on top. Best BBQ veggie ever. I don’t have the exact amounts for the ingredients but a quick Google search would probably turn up a variation. As for sweets, the Lindt Fleur de Sel dark chocolate bars have turned me into a chocolate glutton. Seriously, I cannot believe how delicious the sea salt and chocolate combination is. You simply must try it yourself. And if you are feeling really wild, try the Passion Sea Salt & Caramel. Oh man. Chocolate heaven. Who knew dark chocolate could be so very very bad?

Fashion: One of my favourite looks this summer has been my baggy shorts with platform sandals. I’ve been loving my ivory Wilfred Tropez shorts from Aritzia and these cute cork wedges from Aldo. I’ve had some foot issues (surgery end of September will end my woes thank god) so I have had to keep the heels pretty reasonable. Which if you know me, is hard. Boo hoo. Anyways…these shorts, these shoes and a nice flowy silk top makes for a sharp yet easygoing elegant summer look. Key aka Very Important: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse on the legs and a lovely pedicure that includes pretty soft skin on the feet. This, ladies, is a deal breaker.

Skincare du Jour: Sunscreen! I’ve spent a good deal of time this summer cruisin’ in a convertible and wow, one can COOK if one isn’t careful. So, lots of sunscreen on my body and face has been key. Keeping in convenient makes me more likely to apply. I LOVE my Ombrelle stick- it is in my purse at all times and goes on my face especially forehead and nose, as my sunglasses are huge and cover a lot of my face. And for my arms, shoulders and legs, Kiss My Face makes an spf 30 spray oil sunscreen that I adore. I discovered it first at The Standard Hotel Miami and could not believe something that smelled and felt so nice could protect me from the sun. I use on my hair when I’m by a pool or at the beach. It smells like honey, but only slightly. Amazing stuff. Hard to find in Canada but I stock up in Whole Foods when I’m in the States.

Make Up: Urban Decay Cannonball Waterproof Mascara (read about my love for this here) and MAC Blot (which I’ve also raved about) powder have helped me through some hot and melty days! Love them both and can’t imagine hot summer days without them. Cannonball goes on soft and slick and lasts all day without flaking or smudging. And MAC Blot, if you haven’t used it, is miraculous. Deposits almost NO colour, yet makes any shiny or oily spots disappear and lasts hours. Could. Not. Be. Without.
Perfume: Lately is has been super hot, as summer should be! When the heat and humidity are so oppressive though, a light hand is called for perfume wise. Annick Goutal La Violette has got me through. It smells like sweet violet candies- soft and soapy, and stays close to the skin. The violet is somehow a “cool” flower so violet scents tend to be cooling and perfect for warm weather. They have a simple old fashioned feel to them and there is a rainy fresh garden feel that I just love.  I get decent longevity from almost all perfumes so while some complain that this does not last on them, on me it lasts a few hours. It is a simple soliflore but somehow so perfect and light.  The “love at first sight” flower…fitting.

Happy Birthday Coco Chanel!

A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future- Coco Chanel
Well today is Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s birthday- she would be 128 today! There is no question that Coco Chanel changed the way we feel about fashion and how women dress. She shook off the girdles and boning and restrictive frou frou fashion from the turn of the century and gave us jersey, dropped waists, pants and cropped hair. Even making the suntan (fake these days!) fashionable can be owed to Coco, thanks to her holidays in the sunny South of France.

This ad for Chanel No5 from the 80s with the gorgeous Carole Bouquet is just so perfect. The text is perfect hearbreak ennui. Here is the approximate translation:

You hate me, don’t you?
Say it, tell me that you hate me.
It’s a disturbing feeling….very disturbing.
For I hate you…I hate you so much
I think I shall die of it.
My love…


She revolutionized modern perfume with No5, taking the synthetic aldehydic note that is so clean fresh and tingly and amping it up to something never seen before in perfumery. She wanted a perfume that would smell “like a woman” and not just a composition of notes. 
70s ad with the stunning Catherine Deneuve
Chanel is still a force to be reckoned with. In my opinion it is one of the greatest perfume houses in the world, rivalled only by Guerlain and I would be hard pressed to choose a favourite between the two. The cosmetic collections still cause stampedes to the make up counters with Limited Editions items selling out in minutes and going for a small fortune on ebay for those not fortunate enough to have connections with a helpful Sales Associate. Ahem- have I mentioned how much I love the amazing Chanel ladies at The Bay? Anyways… Let’s not forget her impact on fashion- her bouclé jackets and quilted bags are iconic and the demand has yet to wane for Chanel’s luxe fashions.
Le Exclusifs de Chanel

Today, we have many stunning Chanel perfumes and there is something for everyone in the collection. I am a big fan of the Chanel Exclusif Collection, available at Chanel Boutiques on on their site. You can see from my blog banner that her Bois des Iles is one of my favourites. It is actually my favourite perfume of all time, and I own both the Exclusif and a pre-Exclusif vintage bottle. It is heartbreakingly gorgeous. I love many of the Exclusifs and today I will wear the summery 28 la Pausa in honour of Coco’s birthday. Chanel 28 la Pausa is a soft powdery perfume based on the iris. Iris Pallida is one of the most expensive ingredients known to perfumers and has a deep earthy rooty scent that becomes a sexy skin perfume, very soft and wearing close to the skin. Which means someone has to get nice and close to smell it. 28 la Pausa is names for a home Mademoiselle Chanel owned on the French Riviera.  Joyeux anniversaire Mademoiselle Chanel!
How cool is Coco? Rock on you fashion rebel.

Spa Wisdom™ Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil Smells & Feels Beautiful

I have always loved monoi oil- it makes your skin feel great, look gorgeous and smell delicious. Monoi (pronounded mah-noy) oil is made from a coconut oil that has been infused with Tahitian gardenias (also known as tiare) and has been used in the French Pacific for softening skin and hair forever. There really is something about the coconut-gardenia scent combination is so delicious and beautiful. It really does conjure up images of a tropical sunset with richly scented air that is practically intoxicating. 

Gardenia aka tiare soaking in coconut oil- mmmm
As per my usual preference though, I like a soft monoi. Some are suffocatingly sweet, some are obviously synthetic and plastic smelling, and some (most?) are actually based in mineral oil, not coconut oil. The scent is not the same and I’ve been disappointed in the past. I’m a better label reader now though, and had pretty much given up on finding a soft sweet floral monoi that would sink into my skin locally. I just happened to be in The Body Shop recently however and, always being on the lookout for skin oils, spied their Polynesia Monoi Miracle Oil which is part of their Spa Wisdom collection. A quick scan of the ingredient list confirmed no mineral oil or silicone- yay! And good stuff like coconut, almond and sesame oil and of course, tiare gardenia.

The delicate scent is intoxicating…
The real kicker here is how soft and light the texture of the oil and the scent is. Not a cloying sickly sweet fake flower concoction, but soft and gentle, in an oil mixture than just sinks into the skin. I have used in the my parched hair this summer as well. Highlights combined with driving a convertible have not been kind to my hair. So I rubbed some of the Monoi Miracle Oil on my hands and pulled it through the ends of my hair and let it soak in for a few hours with my hair twisted up. I shampooed & conditioned as usual and the ends of my hair were silky smooth. I add a few drops to towel dried hair for a touch of shine and scent as well. I am a moisturizing scenting fiend, as you know.

And my hair smells like I am here. Perfect.
My favourite way to apply the Monoi Miracle Oil to my skin is to emulsify a few drops in my hands then add a few drops of my body lotion and apply head to toe as usual. My skin drinks it up and it adds a lovely sheen and a dewy appearance. I used it in conjunction with my Body Shop Baby Buriti body lotion for a fantastic combination that smelled so beautiful I wanted to chew my arm off. But it also pairs quite nicely with my unscented go-to Palmers Body Lotion. I will add a little comment about the bottle and the dispenser. It has a tiny hole that nicely dispenses a perfect amount of oil in little droplets so you never end up with a handful of oil making for no waste. Nicely designed.
I got my 150ml bottle at The Body Shop near me for $20. A little goes long way so this will last a long time. I would LOVE a perfume that smelled this good. Gentle soft gardenia with a sweet twist- perfect.

Beautiful And Soft Egyptian Musks: A Musk Love Story

Beautiful And Soft Egyptian Musks: A Musk Love Story

Musks are funny shape shifting notes in perfume. They don’t smell the same to everyone, and one person’s “Ew that musk is so strong it makes me ill” is another person’s “Musk? What musk? I don’t smell any musk”. There are the 70s musks, that I personally love. Maybe it is the nostalgia for an innocent time with great music & clothes I remember? Whatever it is these are the musks I love.


I wore Jovan Musk For Women in middle and high school and loved it. I still wear it, and I swear it is a dead ringer for J&J Baby Shampoo. How lovely and innocent is that scent? Clean and simple and so easy to wear. I also wore the sexually charged Jovan Andron too but that was a pheromone perfume. It was very musky, very sexy and I loved it and wish I could find it again.

I wore Coty Wild Musk, in the perfume oil and the eau de toilette. It’s a soft slightly spicy musk scent, and I still own it. It is a warm sexy skin scent yet “Wild” is a bit of a misnomer. If this ad doesn’t make you want to try it, then I don’t know what will…

I love to wear my musks to bed or on their own when I don’t want more than the softest veil of scent. They project very little and one has to get very close to smell them. I call them cuddly scents and all can be had for under $20 a bottle. What’s not to love? I will add that if someone is close enough to smell them, they always love them.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful Kiehl’s Musk. It is a littlemore pricey than the drugstore musks, but if you want a simple elegant musk with a little more oomph this is the one. I find it slightly more animalic (only slightly) than my squeaky clean musks, but Kiehl’s Musk has an honoured place in my collection and gets a lot of wear. I have the eau de toilette but will try the oil next, as I have heard such good things about that version, softer and yet longer lasting than the edt.

I’ve tried many musks, looking for the perfect musk scent. I don’t like musk “heavy” scents that use musk to amplify a perfume and make the existing scent more tenacious. I actually hate them, and those are the ones that make me ill. Bath and Body Works is a notorious offender with these, and I would imagine they use them to amp up their perfumes that are full of cheap thin ingredients that would smell like nothing without a chemical blast to make them LOUD. But again, this is personal, and I liken this scent phenomena to what I can smell vs what someone can smell. As you smell a billion perfumes, you learn to pick out certain notes over time. It’s kind of like wine, you can start out with loud sweet wine but as you learn to pick out certain flavours, you crave more complex delicate flavours. Perfume is the same. Once you learn a note, you cannot un-learn it, or un smell it, even though a year before it might have been invisible to you. So essentially it’s a rabbit hole and once you start sniffing things obsessively like me, you are done for.

There are basically, in perfumes, two kinds of musk scents. I won’t get into the chemistry because synthetic musks, vs natural musks and all the science-y stuff is long winded and complex and in reality there are a tons of musks, not just two. If you would like to read more, try this fantastic post on Bois de Jasmine. But for my purposes I will say there are two kinds: clean, floral & slightly sweet and animalic, oily and dirty. Egyptian musks are bright and sparkly clean, perhaps used in soaps for years which is why they seem so clean. You might also call them white musks. J Lo Glow is famously pretty much a direct copy of J Lo’s favourite musk oil, China Rain, a very soapy green floral musk which likely has a base of Egyptian musk. I actually love it and find it soft and pretty.


I first heard about Abdul Kareem Egyptian Musk oil on the fantastic Make Up Alley fragrance board. The people there are a wealth of knowledge and when I was looking for a clean simple musk, this one was recommended. A little research dug up something kind of neat. AK Egyptian Musk was the perfume of the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. I can see this actually, her simple elegant style would suit this simple elegant scent perfectly. Add to this that her favourite designer, Narciso Rodriguez, who also designed her gorgeous wedding dress, used her and her perfume as a muse for his NR For Her perfume. Sadly, whatever musk he used is almost invisible to my nose. I cannot smell it no matter how hard I try, but many love this perfume. I can smell it a little more in NR Essence, but its almost a bit too much in that for me.


So after trying many musk oils, AK is the one I kept coming back to and is now my absolute fave. I adore Abdul Kareem Egyptian Musk, and at $15 for a 15 ml bottle is a great deal for any perfume. I dab it on my pulse points and the nape of my neck and the delicate scent wafts for hours. I have been known to layer it under simpler perfumes to add a soft clean floral note but my favourite way to wear it is alone. If you like musks, you must have this one in your collection. It’s the soft preppy perfume for someone who doesn’t want to smell perfumey. Perfect! I feel like I’m on my way to the beach in Hyannis Port  already…

Oh, hai John John…


There is only one official seller of this musk online, Charlotte Vale, and anyone else that claims to be selling Abdul Kareem New York musk is selling something else. Don’t waste your money. The seller is a lovely person who is quite professional. She sells from her site and at her ebay shop.

Do you enjoy musk scents? What are your faves?

Soft Beautiful Skin with Body Shop Buriti Baby Lotion

I am relentlessly in pursuit of soft moisturized skin. Of course, my crazy climate dictates different needs for different seasons and the summer usually means I can go a bit lighter than the winter with our dry central heating. If you read here regularly you will know that silicones are the bane of my existence. I can tolerate them in tiny amounts but I know that they basically just add the slip of the product, giving it a silky smooth texture. They sit on top of the skin (or hair) and do nothing to improve moisture levels or have any actual dermalogical benefits. I love my Nivea Skin Firming lotion but sometimes in extreme heat the silicone balls up and rolls right off my skin if I rub it.

The Amazonian Tree Of Life aka Buriti Tree
I was in The Body Shop looking for something that didn’t smell like mangos, fruit salad or brown sugar (why Body Shop, why???) when I spied their baby line. It is called the Buriti Baby collection which is based on Buriti Oil. The Amazonian “tree of life”, the oil of the Buriti nut contains one of the richest sources of beta-carotene and pro-vitamin A and helps soothe, soften and protect the skin against over-drying. 
Buriti nut

Buriti oil

In the Baby Buriti line there is a body lotion, a body wash, body butter and massage gel. I am not a fan of body butters as I am not keen on sticking my hand into a pot over and over but the lotion with a pump appealed to me. Buriti Baby Body Lotion has a soft sweet scent, kind of nutty but not overwhelming or cloying, and it does not last long on the skin at all. I really like the smell of this lotion though, and found myself wishing I had a little eau de toilette of the scent. It has a light silky texture without that telltale silicone slip. I put the lotion on at bedtime last night and found the scent cuddly and soothing, almost almondy. There is all kind of good for your skin stuff in the lotion, including aloe gel, organic beewax, olive oil, shea butter and sunflower seed oil and not a silicone in sight. It adds a nice glow to the skin and it very soothing after a shower or bath, or a day in the sunshine.

Skin as soft as petals…
I got my 250ml bottle at The Body Shop for $15. They are presently having a super duper BOGO event in Canadian stores so I bought one for my daughter Emilie as well. This is a lovely product and has earned a permanent spot in my lotion coterie.