No socks? Open toes? Time For Pretty Feet

No socks? Open toes? Time For Pretty Feet

I have a foot thing. I want them to be pretty and/or groomed. That’s all. It’s not hard to do, and the rest of the world will thank you. There is no need to be uber high maintenace – trust me, for a beauty obsessive, I am probably the laziest around. It’s not about the amount of work one puts into their beauty regime, it’s about quality grooming, and this applies to our feet as well.

Clockwise from top right: Diamoncel Foot File, Karin Herzog Oxygen Foot Cream, Lac Hydrin & Body Shop Foot File

Clockwise from top right: Diamoncel Foot File, Karin Herzog Oxygen Foot Cream, Lac Hydrin & Body Shop Foot File

Soft feet:

Easy to do – really. Get a foot sander and use it. You can get one for under $10 at The Body Shop, or for around $50 from Sephora. Just get one. They are best used after the bath or a shower, when the skin on the feet is softened. Put a towel under your foot and go to town! You can do this monthly, or bi-weekly if you have a lot of dead skin. Just file away until the crusty dead skin is gone. Another necessity for soft feet is an exfoliating lotion, usually with AHAs or acids of some kind. The best one I have found is at the drugstore and Walmart – Lac Hydrin. It has 12% lactic acid, which removes dead dry skin, and is also perfect for weekly or bi-weekly use. Nightly, and before I wear sandals or shoes that put my feet on display, I use Karin Herzog’s Foot Cream – it has a cooling, moisturizing and slightly antiseptic effect, and will keep your feet at their prettiest!

Pretty feet:

Of course, this is where I tell you that you need a pedicure. Because you do. Even if you don’t go full glam with shiny glossy red toenails, you must do something. I am a DIYer when it comes to my mani -pedis because I am a control freak and no one can do them as well I think I can. Also, it’s easy. Before you take a shower, apply your Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover – everyone should have this in their nail care arsenal. In the shower, use a nail brush and scrub those toes until they shine! Then, when you’ve sanded/exfoliated/moisturized, you can push back the cuticles on your toes for a pretty, groomed look.

Then, carefully shape your toenails. I prefer to file them, but if you have been bad and let them grow too long – if so, tsk tsk, no one wants to see that – then you may have to clip them. Be careful not to go too short, as that can cause ingrown toenails. After you have your desired shape, buff your toenails lightly. For those of you that eschew nail polish, you can stop here, or even apply a coat of clear polish for shine. Your feet will look clean and neat, and that is a good thing.

Clockwise from top right: Guerlain Stardust, OPI Moon Over Mumbai, Chanel Frisson, Lippmann Whatever Lola Wants

Clockwise from top right: Guerlain Stardust, OPI Moon Over Mumbai, Chanel Frisson, Lippmann Whatever Lola Wants

At this point, we choose our colour. I love drop dead reds and brights on my toes as much as anyone, but know this – if you apply a bright/deep/opaque shade to your toes, you have an obligation to maintain! The richer shades will show wear before a pale or soft shade. Chipped and rough looking pedicures are awful – I’d prefer bare toenails to an awful pedicure. Due to my laziness and desire to only see pretty things, I prefer soft shades on my toes. My personal preference is for shimmery and pearly shades. They are easy to apply, last for ages, don’t show wear and compliment almost every skin tone.

And, last but not least, you must take the Open Toe Shoe Pledge. Say it with me:

The Open Toe Shoe Pledge

The Open Toe Shoe Pledge

 

Bare feet gold sandals pedicure

Fancy gold sandals, & my little Aries ram tattoo!

 

 

 

Guerlain Stardust Nail Polish – Meteorites Blossom Limited Edition

Guerlain Stardust Nail Polish – Meteorites Blossom Limited Edition

I’m a sucker for a pretty sheer polish, especially if it has an opalescent shimmer. I happened to have bare nails when I went by the Guerlain counter recently and was able to try their limited edition nail polish, Stardust,  for their Spring 2014 Meteorites Blossom collection. I was immediately sold.

Guerlain Stardust nail polish

What can I say that isn’t obvious from the photos? Guerlain Stardust is a pearly shimmer with blueish green undertones, that is almost opaque with 3 coats. I prefer the slightly more sheer effect from two coats. It works well on top of other colours, but it is not as sheer as, say, Deborah Lippmann’s Dream A Little Dream Of Me (which is perfect for adding simple opalescence to a nail colour). Stardust is nowhere near as blue as it appears on their website, but I kind of wish it was….

Guerlain Stardust, 2 coats in daylight

Guerlain Stardust, 2 coats in daylight

I just read Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book’s post on the Guerlain Stardust Lip Gloss and am wondering why I didn’t get it as well! I know where I’m going tomorrow….

 

Guerlain Stardust and the Meteorites Blossom Collection is available at Guerlain boutiques and counters.

 

What’s You Secret To Waking Up Glowing? A “Midnight Secret”?

What’s You Secret To Waking Up Glowing? A “Midnight Secret”?

There are so many cult beauty products out there that sometimes I say “I simply must try  ________”, and then sadly forget about it. Because, you know, all of the new products. I recently decided that I must try Guerlain Midnight Secret, whose praises I feel like I’ve been reading about forever. It promises to give you a well rested glow, no matter how little sleep one’s had. Well, not quite, but it certainly claims to help. What Guerlain says:

So that you can finally get a little sleep without worrying about a cloudy complexion, Midnight Secret ensures that you wake up looking beautiful. To fight against signs of tiredness on the face, Guerlain Research has developed Hydronoctine, a complex whose active ingredients allow your skin to recover more quickly during the night. They boost the microcirculation and cell oxygenation and offer a decongesting effect, while limiting the harmful effects of free radicals.

With a few drops of this “sleep elixir” and a few hours’ rest, traces of fatigue seem to miraculously disappear and your complexion looks radiant.

I can't take this Mercury Retrograde another minute

I can’t take this Mercury Retrograde another minute

 

I’m not sure if it’s the impending full moon or Mercury being in retrograde, but a good nights sleep has recently been my nemesis. So it seemed like as good a time as any to give Guerlain Midnight Secret a try. So far I’ve used it every second night for almost ten days, and you know what? I love it. I actually can see a brightening glow upon application. And I definitely feel my ghostly winter pallor replaced with a gentle glow, and softly plumped skin when I wake up. At $140 CAN for 1 oz, time will tell whether or not I deem it worth buying once I’ve used up my sample.

Don't we all want a little magic in our potions?

Don’t we all want a little magic in our potions?

 

Have you tried Guerlain Midnight Secret? What’s your secret to waking up glowing?

 

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara is definitely a bombastic perfume. There are two stories about the origin of this perfume which was released in 1989. The romantic story of the scent itself tells us that Jean-Paul Guerlain sought inspiration in China and Tibet to create Samsara,  The Sanskrit word, translated, means “continuous flow”.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

“Samsara is a Sanskrit word that has its roots in Hinduism. It signifies the cycle of birth and rebirth, the perpetual voyage from one existence to the next, the wheel of life that keeps on turning. Samsara is an invitation to serenity and harmony, with oneself and with the world. It is an homage to the woman who is ever in search of serenity.”

samsara parfum

Guerlain Samsara vintage parfum/extrait

samsara edt

How fitting that sandalwood would figure in this scent- again images of temples, incense, prayer and meditation come to mind when one gets a whiff of sandalwood. The marketing story reminds us that it was 1985, an era of power scents and Samsara was created to get in on this action. Opium, Obsession and Chanel Coco were hot selling heavy orientals in a big 80s way, and Guerlain did a perfect job creating a contender with Samsara.

samsara-guerlain-1633

Back to bombastic. The notes from Guerlain speak of “a spellbinding predominance of jasmine. Rose, narcissus and ylang-ylang embellish the fragrance, the better to unite it with the radiant and generous warmth of sandalwood. Lastly, iris, Tonka bean and vanilla render this remarkable fragrance sublime”. I totally agree. There is the classic Guerlain base, commonly known as “Guerlinade” that most (not all) of the classic Guerlains have in common. This is a composition of several perfume notes but notably jasmine, iris, tonka and vanilla. I could drink this it is so divine- it makes you want to lean in and devour the wearer. So, take the Guerlinade, amp up the jasmine to almost obscene levels (in the best way!), then add a combination of pure and synthetic sandalwood at top volume and somehow the sandalwood grounds the jasmine and the jasmine lightens the sandalwood. A perfect and magical combination.

As with many perfumes today, there are different vintages of Samsara, the earlier ones containing more pure sandalwood. There is parfum (purest concentration of perfume), eau de parfum (more alchohol and not as concentrated than parfum) and eau de toilette (most common and less concentrated than eau de parfum and parfum) available in the Samsara line. I have the “vintage” (pre 1990) parfum and eau de toilette as I find the eau de parfum to be the 80s killer BIG PERFUME, but your mileage may vary. They are all powerful in that 80s sense but it’s all in the application. I lightly mist the eau de toilette with divine results. A few dabs of the parfum are intoxicating, the jasmine mingling with the sandalwood in a magical dance that teases forth from the skin. I often dab some on at bedtime (I never get into bed without perfume) and in the morning I can still smell it on my wrists. Samsara’s density makes it wear beautifully in cooler temperatures.

Samsara is one of those perfumes that smell wonderful wafting up from a pashmina or sweater. What are your favourite cozy scarf and sweater perfumes?

Men’s Colognes That Smell Clean, Manly & Good. Also, Men’s Colognes Women Can Steal.

Men’s Colognes That Smell Clean, Manly & Good. Also, Men’s Colognes Women Can Steal.

I get asked for cologne advice all the time, so I figured I should share some of my favourite suggestions. I always feel a little nauseated when I peruse the men’s fragrance counter. Men’s scents have gone the same direction women’s have – everyone copying each other, nothing very original, and loads of ingredients that make fragrances stronger and last longer so they can use less fine ingredients. You don’t want those.

Let’s start with basic “eau de colognes”. These are usually citrus and herbal scents. Eau de colognes are soft and non obtrusive, allowing for the skin chemistry of the wearer to come through. The original eau de cologne can be traced back to 1709. You will never offend anyone in the office with soapy clean eau de colognes, and you will probably make new friends because you smell so darn good. Let’s start with cheap to spendy, emphasizing that cheap doesn’t mean “smells bad”. I’m only recommending stuff that smells good, and you can choose the price point you like.

The Bargain Hunter Who Smells Amazing:

4711 cologne

4711 Eau de Cologne: This cologne has a storied history, but let’s say it’s been around in it’s current form since around 1800. I love it, it smells clean fresh and wonderful. It is very soft, and not particularly long lasting, but it costs a song, so reapply as you wish. Bottles around 100ml ( I think they are 90ml/3oz) are under $20 at pretty much every drugstore. You’re welcome.

roger gallet jean marie farina

Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina: This guy started making his eau de colognes before 4711 did, and apparently there was some drama between these two houses. At any rate, Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina is a bit stronger and longer lasting than 4711, and I’d say its more “zesty” and interesting. I love it, and it really does have that clean soapy feeling without smelling like detergent. More like expensive French soap. A 100ml bottle is around $40, in Canada you can get it at The Bay. US shoppers can find stockists here.

The Sophisticated And Understated Guy:

hermes eau d orange verte

Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte: This is soft, elegant, simple and easy to wear. Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte was created in 1979 and really feels like splashing fresh invigorating citrus water all over. The green notes gently take over as the citrus notes fade, and like falling leaves, your skin is left subtly scented. It’s almost a dry scent, due to the mossy notes, and is understated and elegant in the way only Hermes can do. Available at Hermes boutiques and department store fragrance counters, a 100ml bottle is around $115.

guerlain eau de guerlain

Guerlain Eau de Guerlain: It’s no secret I am a massive Guerlain fan, and their 1974 contribution to the world of eau de colognes is one of my favourites. The citrus notes are simply gorgeous – elegant and understated in a way that only the French can do. The base of this eau de cologne packs a little more punch than most with a sexy musky undertone that makes it irresistible. Try this if you want to walk softly and carry a sexy scent. Available at Guerlain boutiques and some of the larger Guerlain counters in department stores, it’s around $130 for 100ml.

The Cologne Connoisseur: 

aqua di parma colonia

Acqua di Parma Colonia: Cary Grant wore this. Ava Gardner did, too. It smells like Hollywood in the 50s, crisply ironed white linen shirts, and sailing in the sunshine off the Amalfi coast. I think the quiet woodsy notes in the base of this are what make it my number one favourite eau de cologne. I own it and love it, and think the world would be a better place if more people did the same. A 100ml bottle is around $165, and is available at finer department stores fragrance counters. Also, Sephora has it as it online exclusive.

tom ford neroli portofino

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: Easily the most expensive of eau de colognes, Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino is also a yummy one. Slightly more floral with emphasis on the orange blossom, and the soft ambery dry down, you’ve got to really love this one the most to justify the approximately $315 that a 100ml bottle will set you back. I really love it, but have yet felt moved to shell out that kind of cash. The bottle is gorgeous, and yes it smells amazing – Tom Ford brings his almost obsessive elegant aesthetic to all his fragrances, and this is no exception. If you want the creme de la creme of eau de colognes, then Tom Ford is your man. Available at Holt Renfrew in Canada and Neiman’s in the US. Maybe some other department stores too.

Steve McQueen Jaguar XK SS

Ok, guys, any eau de colognes I missed that I need to know about? Share!

 

 

Classic Colognes Every Man Should Own

Classic Colognes Every Man Should Own

I don’t know if you have wandered over to the men’s fragrance counter lately, but there are so many new colognes, it’s impossible to know where to start sniffing. If you are shopping for something that will make you smell yummy, it can be overwhelming. With each successful fragrance, another two or more or are born. Sexy Beast, Sexy Beast Night, Sexy Beast Black, Sexy Beast Growl Gold etc etc etc. The lack of imagination and originality is staggering. Many top selling scents smell generic and common. Oh sure, there are exceptions. The world of niche perfume is full of all kind of different scents – some gorgeous, many expensive and some a little too different for my taste. We just want a man to smell good. And, as with any scent, you want it to draw you in because you’d to smell more, not repel you because you can smell it across the room. Seriously, who likes that? Over-sprayers give all of us fragrance enthusiasts a bad name. Stop doing it!

A relation? Maybe. Amazing? Definitely.

A relative? Maybe. Amazing? Definitely.

 

So guys, you want to smell good. You want to smell sexy and even manly. Or, you may want to smell interesting and different, without being weird. Easy.

Old Spice - 19590725 Post

I’m not sure when Old Spice became a punchline, but this sexy and gentle (yes, that’s right, gentle) scent needs to be worn by more men. The blend of vanilla, orange, and musk melts into the skin and really takes on the personality of the wearer. It’s been around since 1938, so it’s clearly doing something right. It does not “Drakkar Noir” (sorry Drakkar lovers) you into submission, and is a fragrance every man should have. Hint: the classic deodorant in the original Old Spice scent is irresistible.

vintage guerlain vetiver ad

I bet Don Draper wore Guerlain Vetiver. It was launched in 1959, and is as classic as a slim cut suit and scotch – neat. The smooth, slightly smoky vetiver, tobacco and pepper scent is a man’s man in a bottle. It should be lightly spritzed before dressing, not bathed in. You want subtle, guys. Guerlain Vetiver smells like success and confidence. Guerlain calls Vetiver “the scent of the earth”. I agree.

dior eau sauvage ad rene gruau

The sixties ushered in a more casual man, comfortable in and out of a suit. Christian Dior took the classic eau de cologne composition of citrus, herbs and woods and added an animalic and sensuous base to it and called it Eau Sauvage. It has one of the most amazing citrus openings in any perfume, and the sexy dry down makes the juxtaposition audacious. Pro tip: do not judge a perfume on first spritz. Those are top notes and last twenty to thirty minutes- then the magic happens. The dry down and heart of Eau Sauvage balances the citrus and herbal accords with woods (patchouli), mossy earthy notes and musks that turn into the sexiest of skin scents. Trust me on this.

aramis cologne ad vintage

The seventies got sexy with cologne – really sexy – and leather became the note of choice for many. Aramis is the seventies porn moustache of cologne, and is drop dead sexy. It is not soft, and the citrus fruits in the opening have no sweetness thanks to the artemisia (wormwood- the stuff of Absinthe), creamy sandalwood and smoky wonderful leather. It’s the reference leather scent for men, and still one of the best. It is not for the faint of heart, and should be applied sparingly. My other favourite leather scent from the seventies is Halston Z-14. Smooth sexy leather, with almost mouth watering cinnamon notes, this stuff is Magnum PI sexy. And, Halston Z-14 is available for next to nothing online and at drugstores. Meow.

fahrenheit-dior-1616

The eighties ushered in what we know today as Powerhouse Colognes – Polo Green, Drakkar Noir, Azzaro, Kouros (sex in a bottle btw) etc etc. Interestingly, a lot of them are built around the classic woody fougère type of scent, but with extra oomph. The era was about excess so I imagine they just adhered to the “more is better” school of thought when they created them. Some are best left behind, but a few are still elegant and interesting and worth checking out. Dior Fahrenheit is one of them. It almost defies description, with notes like orange and an amazing leathery sandalwood, but the note that sets it apart to my nose is violet leaf. If you miss the eighties and enjoy a little excess now and then, try Dior Fahrenheit, and apply sparingly,

roy halston

Honourable mention: Halston Z-14. Sexy & cheap as chips online.

Due to popular demand, I will be posting a little more about men’s grooming. Next up will be some skincare for guys, and some softer easy to wear colognes for guys who don’t like cologne. Guys – feel free to request what you’d like to read about!

Summer Scentsibility

Summer Scentsibility

Hot steamy weather calls for different scents than you might want to wear when the weather is cold. Soft, tropical and lush florals, fruity delights, herbal “pick me ups” and “out of the shower fresh” perfumes can take the place of  the heavier, richer and sweeter more resinous perfumes we might bust out on cooler days.

Joy Harmon's famous car wash scene in Cool Hand Luke

Joy Harmon’s famous car wash scene in Cool Hand Luke

Florals:

 

mimosa pour moi

la chasse aux papillons

My favourite summer florals right now are both by L’Artisan Parfumeur. La Chasse aux Papillons, a tuberose-orange blossom-jasmine walk through a sunny field of wildflowers, is a perennial fave. It’s soapy and sexy at the same time, and will always be in my collection. It’s soft and airy, so don’t let the tuberose scare you. It’s like orange blossom soap, and I rhapsodize about it here. Mimosa Pour Moi is another one I adore. The uber fresh top note of violet leaf is a lovely foil to the sexy sweet and musky mimosa, and adds a green freshness to this lovely floral. A touch of cassis and a sexy skin musk base make this lovely on hot summer nights.

Fruity Delights:

diorealla pic 2 dark

mary greenwell lemon perfume eau de parfum

Citrus fruits are cooling and energizing, like the perfume version of a cool shower, which makes them perfect for summer’s heat. Wearing them makes me feel freshly scrubbed and pretty. Dior Diorella is a lemony delight, with a sexy green and earthy base to keep it from being too clean and sterile. It has that 70s unisex eau de cologne vibe, and goes perfectly with a that slinky maxi dress and glass of prosecco. This is a grown up fruit scent, the female side of Dior Eau Sauvage. Sweet little girls may want to stick to Bath & Body Works. You can read more about Diorella here. Another sexy lemon is Mary Greenwell Lemon. This baby is amped up with some oakmoss and patchouli for extra allure, and if you love lemons you must try this. Check out my review of Lemon here.

Herbal pick me ups for out of the shower freshness:

ChanelJerseybottles

guerlain eau de lit

Lavender is a lovely note that calms and relaxes while smelling squeaky clean at the same time. My fave lavender is Chanel Jersey, which is lavender with a feminine powdery twist. It has a sexy musk base that makes sure this is NOT your grandmother’s lavender sachet. Calming for daytime, elegant and ladylike for nighttime. You can read my rave about Jersey here. Another lovely herbal scent for summer is Guerlain Eau de Lit, with notes of coriander, sage and even star anise. A touch of fruit adds sweetness to this unusual yet gentle skin scent, making it perfect when you just want a touch of perfume. Make no mistake, Eau de Lit is feminine, and only Guerlain could toss herbs and fruits around, then add a soupcon of vanilla and musk, and ta-da, you smell like you are ready for bed. Or a party. A bed party? Your choice. Guerlain Eau de Lit is only available at select Guerlain boutiques (I got mine in Toronto on Bloor Street) and some exclusive Guerlain counters. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Guerlain Jicky, the world’s sexiest lavender perfume. Also, the worlds oldest perfume still in production, Jicky is lavender mixed with sex. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself. You can read my ode to Gueralin Jicky  eau de parfum here. Jicky eau de toilette is lighter and fresher and perhaps, less dangerous.

charlies angels white summer clothes

Don’t get me wrong. These are not the only perfumes I wear in the summer, and you can take the fruity/floral/herbal themes and explore a whole world of lovely perfumes. We have to start somewhere, though. What are your favourite scents for summer?

Le Labo Jasmin 17, Guerlain Eau de Lit & Perfume Layering

Le Labo Jasmin 17, Guerlain Eau de Lit & Perfume Layering

Brigitte Bardot's smoking in bed (3)

Le Labo is a nifty perfume house out of NYC that has a cool aesthetic to their brand. Their counter/boutiques have an old school apothecary lab vibe and they dispense their perfumes while you wait, and print out a custom label with your name on it for your perfume. Gives it a perfume prescription feel, like it was made just for you. I’m on the fence on this concept, as I feel it could make for inaccuracies when doling out perfume into bottles, but that’s just me. So far I have yet to be disappointed in one of their scents, and find them all pretty gorgeous. My favourites are Ambrette 9 and Jasmin 17, and I adore layering them. The idea behind their fragrance names is the first word, ie Jasmin (french for jasmine) is the main ingredient, and the number afterwards denotes the number of supporting “notes”. I suppose that could work, although for the most part you know how I feel about “notes”. At any rate, who cares, because the perfumes are lovely. Feminine, masculine, sexy and soft – Le Labo has something for everyone. They even have candles and laundry detergent (brilliant!) in matching scents.

le labo ambrette 9

I have Ambrette 9 in an eau de toilette. It is marketed as a baby scent, so trust me when I say it is the softest perfume I have ever ever worn. It smells like the air in the bathroom after shampooing baby hair with J&J No More Tears shampoo. Ambrette is a natural seed that mimics musks and can smell sweet, lovely and skin-like, or like pickles. Le Labo managed to encourage the former out of the note and I love it. This is one you can keep in your fridge and spritz on cool when the weather is all melty, and of course, I like to wear it to bed.

le labo jasmine 17 perfume balm

Le Labo perfumes also come in a balm format – a silicone based gel substance that is a wonderful carrier for perfume. It doesn’t spill and is easy to apply – just rub a few drops in and you’re done. It is a terrific way to keep your perfume gentle and close to the skin, and that is how I like my Jasmin 17. I think Le Labo Jasmin 17 should be called Orange Blossom because that is the note that stands out to me. There is a wee bit of jasmine but it is overwhelmingly orange blossom to my nose. Funny, because they have a Fleur d’Oranger 27 that is even more orange blossomy. I suppose I get a wee bit of jasmine in the top and in the deep dry down, but it matters not, as it is a beautiful white floral perfume and that is what I love. The singular aspect of the two Le Labos I own make them ideal for layering, and layering I do! If you read my blog you know layering perfumes is pretty much What I Do. I recently acquired a Guerlain scent I’d been lusting over and finally found – Guerlain Eau de Lit. Eau de Lit is about as soft as they come and smells like the perfect fruity floral – soft bergamot, neroli warmed up with vanilla, musk, sage and star anise make this so delicious I want to lick my arms. It was created for spraying on your sheets – Eau de Lit translates loosely to “bed water”, which is interesting… – but in my opinion it’s too pretty to just use in bed. My friend Dane says it smells like “pretty water” and he was shocked I didn’t already own a bottle. Now I do!

guerlain eau de lit

So – Eau de Lit with some Le Labo Jasmin 17 balm on my pulse points, on the nape of my neck, decolletage etc. and I am smelling purty…Do you layer your perfumes? What are some of your favourite combinations?

I get my Le Labo perfumes at Gee Beauty in Toronto. FYI-  they ship.