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Fragrance love: Marc Jacobs Daisy Black Edition

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I finally caved and added a Marc Jacobs fragrance to my collection. And, of course, it had to be a limited edition version, because they are the coolest. :-)

I don't care much for MJ fragrance bottles, because they look like they are made for school girls. Daisy, however, comes in a more "mature" looking bottle, with the flower-y cap.

On to the juice...

Top notes for Daisy ( same as the original, permanent version ) : grapefruit, violet leaf and wild strawberry. I love strawberries, but I sadly don't smell it anywhere in this fragrance. I do get some grapefruit in the opening, but it does not last long.

Middle notes are: gardenia, violet and jasmine. Oh, velveeety jasmine... not! I get lots of gardenia and some soft violet, which seem to be the theme of this fragrance.

Base notes: musk, white woods and vanilla. The base is woody and musky, mostly. Vanilla is there to counteract the soapiness, I think. My nose is not yet trained to distinguish the various types of "wood" used in perfumery, so "white" tells me only: clean, dry, cold.

Overall, Daisy presents itself as a clean floral that does not project heavily and does not last over 6 hours. For me, this is an "early morning" fragrance, suitable for women who like to be "as fresh as a daisy" in spring/summer. Not too playful, not too serious either.

What does this fragrance smell like on you?



Benefit "realness of concealness" mini kit

Dear Roses and Lilies,

I absolutely love mini makeup kits and palettes. They come in handy and you get to try various products before buying their full size versions.

Benefit make the nicest little sets and kits out there, like this adorable "fake-it kit" - realness of concealness.

The packaging is adorable and portable. But, what you can find inside is really the highlight.

You get sample sizes of the "boi-ing" concealer, the eyelid primer "Lemon Aid" ( cheesy name, huh? ), a mini "highbeam" highlighter, a mini "ooh la lift" under-eye luminizer and a mini lip primer "lipplump".

Now since this kit is no longer available, I'll just review what's inside.

Of all these little products, the only one you cannot get any more is the lip primer. Which is not a huge loss, and you'll see why...

Here's a hand swatch:

From the top right - highbeam - a pinky highlighter you can use on top of your cheek bones, cupid's bow, brow bone and bridge of the nose for a soft, luminous effect, but without looking greasy or glittery.

Next up is ooh la lift - which you use mainly on your brow bone to give a lifted effect, or on the inner corners of your eyes, for a more wide-awake look.

On the top left - boi-ing industrial strength concealer - obviously too dark for me now, but it will come in handy in summer. It does cover blemishes and spots well and it lasts for around 6 hours on my oily skin, without melting away. It is creamy enough to be used under your eyes as well.

On the bottom left - lemon aid - a yellow toned primer to lift the sallowness on your eyelids. It does help blend your eyeshadows easier and it highlights their color better. It looks like a lemon, smells like a lemon... must be a lemon?

Last product, bottom right, which looks disgusting IMO - is the lipplump. This is a lip primer which is supposed to help your lips look bigger.

How to use: you apply it on bare lips, pat it in, then blot to remove the excess. It will pale down your lips considerably ( doesn't concealer do that too? ) and blur away fine lines. What it also does is change the lipstick color slightly.

Let me demonstrate:

Top picture - lip primer on - my lips look pale and feel dry. The product is not supposed to be drying, because of the jojoba oil, but, being a primer, it's not particularly creamy either.

Second and third pictures - Dior lipstick with primer and the same without primer.

As far as plumping goes, it looks like this product is more like a lip pencil for lazy people. It helps outline the contours of your lips, but there is no other lip plumping effect...

The quantity for the mini product tubes is 2.5 g/0.09 oz. The lemon lid primer is 1.0 g/0.03 oz, while the concealers reads 1.20 g/0.04 oz.

Of all these products, I love highbeam. It's pinkish, so perfect for my skin tone.

What's your take on the Benefit makeup kits?



Natural summer glow with Bourjois

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Finally, after many trials and sad results, I found a bronzer that is close to perfect. Since I am yet to become a bronzer buff, buying a more wallet friendly bronzing powder seemed like the best idea. Wasting money on a high end bronzer, only to discover it looks bad on your complexion is really not something I want to do... again. :-D

Bourjois' Delice de Poudre was the product of choice. This is a matte bronzing powder with barely there shimmer particles. It comes in two shades, so that fair complexion as well as deeper complexions could benefit from the "sun in a box".

The powder smells faintly of chocolate but, once applied, the scent quickly fades.

About the shimmer particles - you know how some bronzing powders make your face look shiny all over, because of the shimmer.
Delice de Poudre has shimmer in it, but it's only there so you won't look flat. The powder is still good for contouring.

Now to the look...

A good base is very important before bronzer. So make sure to use a good foundation, that looks natural. The heavier the coverage, the cakier your makeup will look with the bronzer on.

Conceal your undereye area if needed - there is no puffiness and blueish hues in summer, after spending the day on the beach, right?

On your eyelids, use your favorite shade. I am more into neutrals lately, so Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in no pressure! is my go to.

Next are brows and lashes. I like to do my brows before my lashes. Depending on how heavily I pencil my eyebrows, I would use either a lengthening or a volumizing mascara. I use the same pencil to line my upper lash line. When using this kind of pencils on your lash line, do so gently. They tend to be drier and more difficult to use as liners.

Once the eyes are done, powder your face all over. This is important, so the bronzer won't stick to your base and make you look dirty.

Let the makeup set while doing your lips. I love this hot red chilly hue from Bourjois's Rouge Edition Velvet line. Apart from being affordable, the shades are very nice and the product is high quality.

Saving the best for last... apply the bronzing powder all over you face. Start with contouring your face, though. Then you can decide how much and where to apply the powder to next.

The end results should be a natural glow, that doesn't look too yellow or too orange.

The hand is there to show you the difference between my natural pre-summer skintone vs. the bronzer look.

I enjoyed doing this look on myself and I was happy to discover that it lasted around 9 hours without fading or sliding off my face.

Can you recommend a fantastic bronzing powder?



Fragrance love: Guerlain Shalimar Ode a la Vanille

Dear Roses and Lilies,

In 2013, Guerlain launched a new flanker for their cult oriental fragrance, Shalimar. The new oriental vanilla variation is called "Ode a la Vanille Sur la route du Mexique" - ode to vanilla on the road to Mexico.

The bottle retains it's classic shape with the blue cap, and the box is simply stunning!

As the name implies, this version is more about vanilla and its marvelous aroma.

I love Ode a la Vanille because there is no spiciness, no woody notes and no musk. There are only 7 uncomplicated notes that, brought together, form a fragrance not as deep as the 1925 version, but still pleasant and sensual.

Now for my nose: when I spray Shalimar Ode a la Vanille, I get something sparkly like a citrus concoction. Don't let that throw you off the trail, however. There is no bergamot in the opening. There is opoponax, which is a type of resin that is both sparkly and bitter.

Then there's incense, without which a fragrance cannot call itself "oriental". This, together with the resin, adds the "mystery" vibe. There are chocolate and caramel notes, but those are redundant, in my opinion. Since there is a healthy dose of vanilla and tonka beans, the fragrance is sweet enough to resemble a caramel cookie.

As for the flower notes, the perfumer chose only iris. No more jasmine - the flower so frequently added in perfumes - and no more roses. The iris adds a bit of powder to the composition, but it doesn't make it as powdery as Shalimar Parfum Initial.

Ode a la Vanille lasts for over 7 hours on my skin. It is not a sillage bomb, it's made to be more close to the skin and bed friendly. And by "bed friendly", I mean it's sensual and perfect for a romantic evening spent with your significant other, by the fire or candlelight. ;-) And you can enjoy it all year round, because it's perfect for the colder months and bearable in the hot summer months, as long as you don't over apply.

It is a very loving fragrance, that will get you compliments both from women and men who get close enough to smell it.

Have you had a sniff of this stunning frag? How would you describe your Shalimar experience?



My casual day look with nude lips

Dear Roses and Lilies,

This is my third variant of a casual day look, that I like wearing most of the time. The difference, on this one, is that you need to subtly change the tones from neutral-cold to neutral-warm. Does that make sense? No? Then keep reading...

First step is foundation - well blended, same tone as your skin and don't forget to conceal any red areas around your nose. Then add concealer if you need extra coverage and move on to eyes. I love the kitten flick liner so, when I have time, I pay extra attention to getting the lines right. And these,of course, on top of a neutral or brightening eye shadow.

The eyelashes need to be curled and then coated in mascara, so that you would get extra definition on your eyes. And don't forget your eyebrows: keep them groomed and healthy.

Powder the center of your face if you have combo or oily skin - this is important even with foundations aimed at these skin types, because the oil absorbing ingredients in them will do the job only for a few hours.

Now on to the cheeks...

On my last two looks, I used the Bourjois Blush Exclusif pink blusher, which looks really light on me. I didn't bother taking the blusher off - it would have meant redoing the base and that's boring. :-)
So I simply added another Bourjois cream blusher on top - 04 Sweet Cherry.

For lips, I used TheBalm Girls in Mai Billsbepaid on top of a light stain or, to be more specific, on top of what was left of Givenchy's Le Rouge in 301 Magnolia Organza.

The nude lipstick from TheBalm is creamy and leaning towards brown-y rather than pink-y.

Sometimes I love the color, but, now that I used the cherry blusher, I felt like some pink mixed in with the nude would work better.

What do you think?


My casual day look with glossy pink lips

Dear Roses and Lilies,

If leaving your lips look natural is not for you, there's always a confidence booster nearby. All you need to remember is to keep it simple and wearable with just a pop of color.

For my second casual day look, I took off most of the moisturizing gloss. Not all of it, because lips need moisture even under other lip products.

The rest of the makeup stays the same: foundation - depending on your preferences - concealer where and if needed, a touch of powder, a neutral eyeshadow, liner, volumizing mascara and eyebrow products. The pale pink blusher looks good with many lip colors, as long as they are not too warm toned.

Back to lips: I went glossy because it is the easiest thing to do. If, however, you don't like sticky glosses, you can always try one of those fusion lipsticks - a stain, a gloss and a lipstick in one single product.

Like the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stains or the Rebel Nudes.

I used no. 103 Pink Taboo, which is a wearable pink. The first layer is pretty sheer, but by the time you finish applying the second layer, the color coverage is opaque.

This is non-sticky and the texture is watery in the tube but turns to gel on your lips. Once it sets, there is very little color transfer and, since this product is also designed to function as a stain, the color will last longer ( vs. your average glossy product ). I love this shade because it stays glossy all day and it's comfy on my lips.

The price on YSL makeup in general is pretty steep, but there are many dupes out there already, for a lower price. Fell free to adapt this look to your own budget and skin tone.

The end result is a fresh, casual face, with a hint of color to brighten your mood.

Hope you like it!



My casual day look with pale lips

Dear Roses and Lilies,

When trying to look effortlessly chic, sometimes it's best to minimal makeup for a maximum effect. When I posted a series of 4 pictures on facebook with different interpretations of casual chic, this particular look  received the most votes. The overall feel is supposed to be fresh and serene, like a summer morning.

How to:

Starting with the base, I didn't feel like doing something heavy, so I used Rimmel's Matte BB cream in light, just where I needed some evening out. Then I prepped and primed my eyes with Benefit's Stay Don't Stray, added some shine on my eyelids with Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in no pressure! and lined my upper lash line using a gel eyeliner. The one I have is the very cheap kind, that has a more matte finish - kind of like a pencil, but long lasting. The thick liner with a flick is designed to make your eyelashes look longer at the outer corners. It also gives you that cute kitten look.

On to mascara - no eyelash curling because I used plenty of Miss Sporty SL3DV.  Then I filled in my brows using my Rimmel eyebrow pencil.

On my cheeks, I applied Bourjois Blush Exclusif - a really nice pale pink cream to powder blusher.

I applied some powder on the center of my face to pale down the BB cream a bit. Turns out "light" is not light enough for me. But it's Rimmel - only available in two shades - at a great price.

My lips received "special" treatment: no liner, no color, just a highly moisturizing and refreshing cooling gloss from L'Occitane En Provence ( which, I think, is discontinued... sadly ).

The only slightly complicated thing about this look is getting the lines right. Tracing them with a brush dipped in gel eyeliner does make the job a whole lot easier than struggling with a liquid liner.

I hope you enjoyed this post!



Dior Addict Fluid Stick Mirage Look

Dear Roses and Lilies,

Not so long ago, Dior launched their line of fusion lipsticks, following the trend: not a lipstick, not a gloss, but something inbetween and liquid-y. When I first saw them, I wasn't very impressed. The packaging of the Dior Addict lipsticks never did attract me. They look like drugstore brand lipsticks, IMO. The packaging for their Fluid Sticks is the same style, only bigger and heavier. It's meant to look like a lipstick bullet, which is cute if you enjoy these little marketing tricks.

I was also reluctant to trying these out because my YSL glossy stain damages my lips.

After careful consideration and reading some reviews on the internet, I took the plunge. I am still not happy about how the packaging looks, sorry Dior. But the product itself is very good.

I have #338 Mirage, which I first thought would be a nude-y color, by the way it looks in the tube.

When applied, it's this really pale orange color - like almost ripe oranges.

Which reminded me of my orange-y blusher, from Farmasi. I bought it some time ago, in hopes of paring it with an orange lipstick and blue eyeshadow. Sounds crazy, right?

The look I did using Mirage, however, is more casual and appropriate for summer.

When creating this look, I started with the base. My skin felt dull so I used the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation, working it from the center of my face outwards. Then I applied Benefit's Stay Don't Stray around my eyes and my nasal folds for some brightening.

Did some pinpoint concealing using the Korres Pomegranate Concealer, which is very long lasting and heavy coverage. Then I applied Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in "no pressure!", blending the color halfway up to my brow bone. This shade has some shimmer in it, but not enough for it to register as shinny or metallic on the eyelid.

As I felt that my brows looked quit skinny, I decided to amp them up using the Rimmer eyebrow pencil. I always use a heavy hand with it - light strokes are just not my thing - so I use a slightly tapered eyeshadow brush to blend the pencil.

Moving back to my eyes, I applied 3 coats of the Rimmer Lash Accelerator mascara. I figured since my lips are going to be glossy, my eyelashes could use some glossiness too.

All done with the eyes, I applied a good layer of translucent powder all over my face. I love using the powder puff, it's so soft!

Moving on to lips - I had worn a moisturizing lipstick the day before so I didn't need to use any lipbalm. I applied Mirage straight away. The first layer looks really pale, but the color payoff and coverage are good. I wanted to add more layers, and see how it would behave. The product turns from liquid to gel pretty quickly and it sets on your lips. So, if you do not work fast, it may turn patchy. Lots of patting, maybe some lip liner - or no lip liner - and you are all set.

It's not sticky at all, which is a relief. It does turn tacky, but that doesn't bother me. And it does last for hours, even with coffee time, lunch and dinner. Of course it fades and transfers on cups and glasses, but some of that gel stays put, even though it's not really a stain.

Being that it's such a pale shade - on my lips, at least - I felt like doing lots of blusher. So I took my big contouring brush ( no, I don't care that it's not made for applying blusher ), dipped it in my Farmasi orange blusher, tapped off the excess and swiped it across the apples of my cheeks and my cheek bones. Then I blended the edges with my fingers and done!

A simple summer casual Mirage look. I hope you found it inspiring.