Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tired - Just Tired

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Best Things in Beauty

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum Eau de Toilette

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos courtesy of Guerlain and

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tom Ford Lip Shimmer in Solar Gold for Summer 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tom Ford Unabashed Eye and Cheek Compact for Summer 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the day!

Kate Middleton photo courtesy of; other photo sources unknown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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