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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Day 5: Orange Sanguine

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Day 5 of the Atelier Cologne advent calendar brings me a sample of the scent that started my Atelier journey: Orange Sanguine. Launched in 2010, I received a sample in a Birchbox about 5 years ago, which led me to purchasing a full sized bottle in 2013.  You can read my original review here
Suffice it to say that I continue to enjoy Orange Sanguine. I've barely made a dent in my full sized bottle, which is more of a commentary on the amount of scents I own than anything.  I appreciate that is lasts well on my skin, and that the initial burst of orange - pulp, juice, and peel - stay present through all of the note phases. Atelier Colognes excels in realistic citrus scents, although those top notes don't always last long enough. With Orange Sanguine, I think they hit the sweet spot.

  • Top notes: blood orange from Italy, bitter orange from Spain, red mandarin from Italy
  • Middle notes: jasmine from Egypt, geranium from South Africa, black pepper from Madagascar
  • Base notes: tonka bean from Brazil, sandalwood from Indonesia, cedarwood from Texas
Source: Atelier Cologne
I think of Orange Sanguine as a warm weather scent, although the base notes do add some depth and warmth that could take it into cooler weather. While I'm very much enjoying going through this Atelier sampler, there are certain days (like today) where I want a fragrance with more warmth and spice, especially in colder weather.  I'm hoping some of Atelier's spicier offerings are coming up :-)

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Day 4: Rose Anonyme

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Day 4 of the Atelier Cologne advent calendar brings us Rose Anonyme, an oriental floral fragrance launched in 2012 that leaves me a bit ambivalent. I like it, but......well, let's start with the story first.  Apparently we have a jewel thief who may want to get caught, enough to leave a rose in place of the diamond she just stole.  All I can say is that Atelier seems to like the elusive, longing phase of romance between star crossed lovers quite a lot, based on their stories.

  • Top notes: Begamot from Calabria, ginger from China, Turkish rose essence
  • Middle notes: Turkish rose absolue, incense from Somolia, velvet oud accord
  • Base notes: patchouli from Indonesia, papyrus from India, benzoin from Laos

Source: Atelier Cologne
I have a small travel-sized sampler of this that I bought a while back, so I've had experience with Rose Anonyme prior to this advent calendar. While rose based perfumes are not something I seek out, I'm not adverse to them either, and the opening phase of this one is the best part Rose Anonyme's journey for me.  Bergamot and ginger give the rose both a freshness and a spicy twist, keeping it definitely in the unisex realm. There is a slight sweetness and warmth that lasts for about 15 minutes, and then something goes wrong on me and I start to smell soap. 
That's when my ambivalence sets in. I'm not sure which note is going soapy on me (papyrus perhaps?)  The Somolian opoponax incense is supposed to be a more earthy sweet balsam lavender scent, and benzoin is a soft, warm vanilla-like note. So I don't know what is going soapy, but something is not melding with my skin chemistry. I saw one comment online that said Rose Anonyme smells like a rich, unmarried doctor from Scottdale, AZ.  She fleshed out a day in this doctor's life that had me laughing (he stops by Walgreen's on the way to clinic).  Not as romantic as a lady jewel thief leaving roses as her calling card, but more reflective of the kind of life I lead.  I'll continue to wear Rose Anonyme, and weather could definitely be making a difference, as it was COLD the last time I sampled this. I don't remember the soapiness as much during the warmer weather months.  Hmm. 
In fact, it snowed in Mobile Friday night. That's quite an event for us - you'd be surprised how excited people get for a dusting of snow down here.  It does make it seem more Christmas like, I'll give it that.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Day 3: Pomélo Paradis

Day 3 of the Atelier Cologne advent calendar introduced me to Pomélo Paradis, another citrus-centric fragrance, this time focusing on the grapefruit-like pomelo.  I had no idea what a pomelo was, but apparently it is one of the four original citrus species from which all the others have been cultivated. Grapefruit is my favorite citrus fruit to eat, and I'm fond of it as a fragrance as well, although I've yet to find one that leaves me swooning. Could Pomélo Paradis be the one?
  • Top notes: pink pomelo from Florida, mandarin from Calabria, blackcurrent bud from Burgundy
  • Middle notes: Moroccan orange blossom, Bulgarian rose essence, mint from China
  • Base notes: vetiver from Haiti, iris from Tuscany, amber
First off, before I get to the scent itself, I've got to rant a bit about that nefarious little black stopper on these vial samples. I drop it almost every single time I open one. Fortunately, I've been able to find them each time, but I know that eventually one will escape me forever and I'll be forced to use an entire vial at once. I guess that will be a fragrance impact day for me.
Source: Atelier Cologne
Now on to Pomélo Paradis, which was introduced to the Atelier Cologne line in 2015 by perfumer Ralf Schwieger. He was also responsible for two of my favorite Atelier colognes, Orange Sanguine (2010) and Vanille Insensee (2011). I love the opening burst of Pomélo Paradis, which is definitely a realistic citrus with it's fresh and slightly sweet notes of grapefruit and mandarin. The opening lasts far too short, although the hint of orange blossom intertwined with the citrus before the base notes take hold makes up for it. Somewhat. Most of the criticism I saw online regarding Pomélo Paradis had to do with how ephemeral it is - and indeed it is one of the Atelier Colognes that does seem to fade quickly on me.  I've worn it 3-4 times now, and the last time I made sure to slather on quite a bit.  It becomes a skin scent in short order, although I could smell it on my wrists 5-6 hours later.  Overall I was left missing that first initial burst of citrus/orange blossom, which makes Pomélo Paradis not one I would want to purchase in a larger size.  Pretty, but fleeting. My search for a grapefruit based fragrance continues.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar Day 2: Cédrat Enivrant Soap

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
The first week of my journey through the Atelier Cologne advent calendar has me enjoying some old favorites while also introducing me to some new delights.  Day 1 was a hit with Cafe Tuberosa, and day 2 introduced a mini-sized soap in the scent Cédrat Enivrant. 
I have yet to try this, but I have used a soap from Atelier Cologne before, as I had a full-sized version in the scent Vanille Insensee that I quite enjoyed.  These are luxury soaps and  hefty in size at 7.5 oz., with an equally hefty price of $20.  As described on the Atelier site, each soap is made with traditional French methods and are vegetable-based and enriched with aloe vera and shea butter.  A high concentration of essential oils provide a clean, refreshing and invigorating experience, and I did find that the scent stays true to the very end of the soap. It never got mushy (must be that French-milling process - you can read more about that at What is French Milled Soap?), and lasted forever. 

  • Top notes:  Morrocan cedrat, lime from Mexico, bergamot from Calabria
  • Middle notes: mint from China, basilic from Egypt, Juniper berries from Macedonia
  • Base notes: tonka bean from Brazil, vetiver from Haiti, elemi from Phillippines

The notes in Cédrat Enivrant definitely appeal to me, so I'm anticipating another hit here. The size of these mini-soaps make them perfect for hand washing, and as soon as I finish my current hand soap I'll be trying this one out!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar: Day 1 Cafe Tuberosa

Disclaimer: I purchased this.
Long time, no see, huh?  My computer died and I lost a lot of photos, plus other technical difficulties and an overwhelming work schedule meant the blog went on hiatus. I'm evaluating just what I want to do with the blog anyhow, but I still find myself taking pictures and documenting my daily makeup choices with pictures. Clearly I'm not quite ready to give it all up :-)
Part of my somewhat modest Sephora VIB haul was this Atelier Cologne advent calendar. I really enjoyed using the bareMinerals advent calendar last year, but I could not find a makeup advent calendar that excited me this year. I seem to be on a fragrance kick at the moment plus I'm a big fan of Atelier Cologne, so this is the item I'll be partaking of daily in the led up to Christmas. I think a new fragrance each day sounds just lovely.
Day 1 of the calendar starts with Atelier's newest offering - Cafe Tuberosa.  Atelier loves telling stories to frame their scents, and Cafe Tuberosa begins as:
Based on that, I picture a cafe with vases of fresh flowers on the tables, where the scent of the flowers mingles with freshly brewed coffee. The  top notes of bergamot, tangerine and cardamon provide a bright burst that is followed shortly by a surprisingly fresh take on tuberose, which can be a very indolent bordering on aggressive white floral (Fracas comes to mind, obviously). The coffee note comes out fairly quickly, and it's a realistic, almost wet coffee grinds take on the note. The dry down is a creamy vanilla cacao that has me sniffing my wrist frequently. The progression through the notes happens fairly quickly, so it's a good thing I find the final stage of Cafe Tuberosa to be so pleasant. I'd describe it as a gourmand and while it's on the more feminine end of the unisex range, it's not sugary. Perhaps more of an unsweetened cafe latte with a bit of vanilla-cardamon spice sprinkled on top? I'd be remiss if I did not mention that several reviews mention cigarette smoke in the mix as well. I get what they are saying, although it would not have come to mind if I had not read it in other reviews. Don't let that put you off, as it's not an unpleasant note in the mix at all, and if anything adds to the whole public coffee shop olfactory experience. 

  • Top notes:  Bergamot from Calabria, tangerine from Sicily, and cardamom from Guatamala
  • Middle notes: tuberose from Inda, Damascena rose absolue, coffee espresso accord
  • Base notes: patchouli from Indonesia, vanilla from Madagascar, Ivory Coast cacao absolue

Something to know about Atelier is that they specialize in fragrances that feature citrus notes, so each cologne  has citrus top notes which lend a crisp freshness to them. Atelier created what they call a new olfactive category: cologne absolues, which means a citrus-based scent (the original meaning of “cologne”) blended with unexpected ingredients in an “eau de parfum” type of concentration.  
Source: Atelier Cologne
Don't let the fact that these are colognes and not perfumes lull you into thinking they don't have lasting power. Or at least on my skin they do. These cologne concentrations are higher at between 12%-20% (5% is common for most colognes), which gives them more impact.  I can still smell Cafe Tuberosa on my wrists a good 8 hours after applying, although it's definitely a skin scent by that point. 
So would I purchase this one?  Yes, I definitely would.  I'll probably go for the mini-sized spray ($26 for 10 ml), as I rarely stick with one fragrance long enough to finish a full-sized bottle (scent attention span of a fruit fly, definitely), and a 30 ml bottle would set me back $85.  It takes me forever to even work through a vial sample, so a mini will do me just fine for now. Cafe Tuberosa is a great start on my fragrance count-down to Christmas!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Lipstick Roulette v. 8: What I'm Keeping and What I'm Tossing

Volume 8 of my Lipstick Roulette series was a winner, in that I liked every item enough to keep all of them. The part of me that is using this series as a way to weed through and toss some items is a bit disappointed, but I just can't justify tossing any of these at this point. If you are not familiar with a lipstick roulette, I learned about it from YouTuber Elle S, and it's where you randomly select items from your collection to wear with the goal of keeping what you love and tossing those you don't.
Forbidden Kiss Infallible Pro Matte Gloss by L'Oreal ($10.99) is not the kind of color I gravitate towards, and was one I initially assumed I would declutter. However, I liked the way it looked on, which is not always the case with this intense of a color. The downside is that this will transfer as it is a gloss and not a matte liquid lipstick and I did experience a bit of smudging, so it's one that requires a bit of care. The upside is that it's comfortable to wear and the the pigmentation/color is so smooth on the lips. I like it.
Forbidden Kiss
Topanga Lippie Stix by ColourPop ($5) is flat out gorgeous, both in color and formula. I had forgotten how nice this is, and I really need to wear it more often. It's still available from ColourPop, and considering how often they bring out and discontinue items, that's saying something. It's described as a dusty coral and is a satin finish, although it looks glossy on to me.
Topanga
Gorgeous Peach Ultra Vinyl lip pencil by Sephora is discontinued, sadly, as it's a color and formula that I think is quite good. I found myself reaching for it several times during the last few weeks.
Gorgeous Peach
I really like the ColourPop Satin Liquid Lipsticks as they are comfortable to wear and look good on the lips, and Echo Park ($6) is a great peachy nude shade for me. I've heard that ColourPop's liquid lipsticks can go bad relatively quickly, but considering their reasonable prices I tend to think of them as "disposable" makeup, in the sense that you can acquire new colors with relatively low investment. I wouldn't buy a bunch of them all at once though, since their shelf life is not very long. I do like that ColourPop occasionally has sample sized liquid lipstick sets for sale, and I recently picked up one to try more shades :-)
Echo Park
Dolly by Buxom is discontinued, and like many Buxom glosses, it provides high shine with sheer color. I love the Buxom gloss formula personally, and this one does not disappoint.
Out of all of these, Stepping Out by Smashbox ($24) was my least favorite. I've heard so many good things about the Smashbox matte liquid lipstick formula, so maybe my expectations were too high. I wasn't wowed, but neither is it bad.  The terracotta color is wearable and since it was a travel sized freebie, I want to give it some more wear. I can say I wouldn't spend full price to pick up another color though.
Stepping Out
The Revolution Lipstick in Fiend by Urban Decay is another discontinued item, as it was not carried over into the new Vice product line. Too bad, I think it's a really lovely and wearable muted pink.
Fiend
Okay, time for the 7 new lip items I picked for v. 9 of my Lipstick Roulette series. Many of these are limited edition and/or discontinued, although I see some available via Amazon/ebay/other online retailers.
  1. Cassis Lip Creme by Le Metier de Beaute (limited edition)
  2. Vibrant Mandarin by Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids
  3. Key Red Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick by PUR (limited edition)
  4. Beige Pink Cherry Lip Gloss by Korres (I see sets with Beige Pink in them on HSN, but cannot find them sold individually)
  5. Swank Lipsurgence Natural Lip Tint by Tarte (discontinued)
  6. Smooth Berry Stay Matt Lip Cream by Essence (discontinued)
  7. Secret Crush Lip Gloss by Sula Beauty (discontinued)

Monday, October 16, 2017

#365 Days of Samples: Volume 21

Time for another update on my #365 Days of Samples series, where I'm trying to work my way through the surplus of foil and deluxe samples I've collected. This is a series I learned about from YouTuber Elle S. I managed to finish 6 items and am discarding two that I did not like enough to finish. So, let's take a closer look!
I remember Frownies from several years back, which makes me wonder if they were one of the first eye gels on the market. These feature an all natural formula with aloe vera, cactus juice, and niacinamide. I wore them while applying my makeup and they actually worked pretty well as an eye shadow guard, which is not their intended use. I know these can be reused if you spritz them with a hydrating toner, but since they had eye shadow on them I decided one use was plenty. Bottom line, they worked well and I do find that most eye gels will give a temporary plumping action to my under eye area.  A set if three of these reusable eye gels are $29.95, and they are supposed to give you enough uses for 5-7 weeks. I have no plans to purchase.
Um, this is actually a body cream but because the sample is so small and the instructions are in Japanese, I thought it was a face cream and used it as such. Considering I have oily skin, I'm happy to say it actually worked fine on my face in that one time use. I'm currently swimming in body creams so would not purchase, but it does sound intriguing with it's 14 essential oils and phytolipid compound Gripin, which is derived from maitake mushrooms and supports the skin's natural moisture barrier. A full size (2.7 oz.) is $20.
The NuFace Prep N Glow are fancy makeup removing sheets that also exfoliate and hydrate. One side is smooth and the other has polishing micro-dots to help exfoliate your skin. The formula is interesting and features multiple anti-aging ingredients. A box of five is $10, so these are definitely on the pricey side. I rarely use makeup removing sheets to actually remove my makeup and can't see investing in these. Enjoyed trying one though!
I've tried several of these conditioner hair cleansers now, and I just can't get on board with them. The Unwash Bio-Cleaning Conditioner is sulfate and paraben free and is supposed to gently cleanse hair while locking in natural oils and color. It was okay for one shampoo, but if I use it consecutively my hair feels limp and, well, unwashed. So, after 2 uses I instead used it as a shave cream for my legs. At $29 a bottle, that would be an expensive shave cream. Just not for me.
The Estee Edit Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack has been discontinued (the whole Estee Edit line was discontinued, and this item is currently on sale for $25 on the Estee Lauder site), and I did not like this sleeping mask enough to finish it up. The gel formula would frequently ball up on me and I did not feel like it was doing anything, so even though it's been on this list for weeks, I was just not motivated to use it. There are plenty of reasonably priced Korean sleeping mask moisturizers out there if the concept appeals to you.
The Laura Geller Spackle Tinted Under Make Up Primer in Champagne was a pleasant surprise, and I'm pretty particular about my face primers.  Targeted at lackluster skin, this version of Spackle is supposed to brighten and contains skin nourishing ingredients such as licorice root, aloe leaf extract, witch hazel, calendula, and gingko leaf extract. It is a dimethicone based primer, but did not feel too smooth/powdery nor did it ball up on me. It's pricey at $32 and I have no plans to purchase, but overall I liked it.
In general I've had good experiences with amika hair products, and this Nourishing Mask was no exception. My hair felt conditioned and I liked the fragrance, but I cannot say it stood out enough to motivate me to purchase at $28 a jar. I am considering purchasing the amika dry shampoo, however, even though I'm generally opposed to higher end dry shampoos because I can go through a bottle so quickly. But I just may have to bite the bullet in this case, as it was pretty special. Perhaps during the upcoming Sephora 20% off sale, whenever that is.
The last item in this batch of samples is the Miu Miu perfume sample. I used it a good 4-5 times, which was enough to know that it's not for me. It's a floral with lily of the valley, jasmine, rose, and citrus notes. It's not awful, but I did not like it enough to finish the sample.

Okay, time for the 7 new items I randomly pulled from my overflowing box of samples! I'll list the newer items first, followed by those I'm still working on.


  1. L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (deluxe sample)
  2. fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy Boosting Face Mask (foil sample)
  3. Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave In Conditioner (foil sample)
  4. boscia Purifying White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer (deluxe sample)
  5. DHC Facial Scrub (foil sample)
  6. Marula Oil by John Paul Selects (vial sample)
  7. Gucci Bamboo (vial sample)
  8. Double Take Baked Powder Foundation by Laura Geller (deluxe sample)
  9. bareMinerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion Serum (deluxe sample)
  10. Japonesque Pro Performance Makeup Wipes (foil, 1 wipe)
  11. Sonoma Scent Studio's Fig Tree (vial sample)
  12. Ulta Beauty Mattifying Balm (deluxe sample)