Saturday, January 29, 2011

Marie Antoinette Goes to Tokyo

Tokyo Milk has the most adorable packaging. The vintange art is hand glittered on the images to catch your eye and draw you in. I purchased a few peices that reminded me of Paris, France.

The little box with Marie Antoinette on it contains a petit solid perfume. Great idea for travel or your accidental spills. The scent is wonderful and consists of candied lemon, honeydew, cassis, sugared violet, ylang ylang, creamy musk & white woods.

Petit Fours Glace Bon Bon Lip Balm reminds me of little French pastries. It is made of: Sunflower seed oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera and Shea Butter. It tastes like french vanilla, shredded coconut and a hint of cocoa.

Candied Violette Bon Bon Lip Balm tastes like sugared violette leaves, crushed nectarines and Honeycrisp apples. It reminds me of violette pastilles, a French candy used to freshen the breath. The earliest French toothpastes were made of crushed orris root, the tubers of Iris flowers, and tasted like violets. How very French to have your lips and breath smell as sweet as violets.

The French triple milled soap wtih the Eiffel Tower is made from a pure vegetable base with Shea Butter to moisturize the skin. It scented with Linden, honeyed rose, wisteria petals & white musk.

Beauty and the Bath

One of life's simple pleasures is a nice hot bath. To elevate the bathing experience from simple to luxurious I light a candle, toss in a few Lady Caron bath pearls and use these lovely little soaps and body cream from Gianna Rose. I painted my tiny bathroom shell pink so it has a warm glow when I light the candles. I hung my hand towels and Juicy bathrobe on little rose hooks I found at Anthropologie.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Powder Puff Pastries

Powder Puffs. Soft, luxurious, intimate and quintessentially feminine. Sweeter than a French macaron, powder puffs are an irresistable treat for your senses. The best are made of swan's down and are barely detectable as they caress your skin.

The photo of the white vintage puff in the shell is probably German. It is made of swan down topped with silk and a celluloid ring. I found this delicious little creampuff at a local antique shop for around $30.00 which is an incredible price as they normaly run around $125 for one in such great condition.

The candy pink puff in the martini glass is made by Caron. I purchased it in Paris at the famous House of Caron perfumery and believe it is also made of swan and dyed a luscious shade of pink. It is frosted with a satin signature bow embossed with gold lettering.

The puff on the plate is one of my favorites. It is made of goose down and fitted with a vintage sterling handle. This one came from Westminster Lace back in the early 90s. I keep it on my vanity and use it all the time with a scented white powder all over my body. The trick to keeping down puffs in good condition is not to rub, just delicately puff. Then when you are done, blow out the excess powder like you're blowing out a candle to make a wish.

The trio of powders in the silver candy dishes are from left to right: Jill Stuart, Juicy Couture and Victoria Secret. The Jill Stuart puff is filled from inside with a fruity scented glittery powder. To apply, you slip the little diamond ring on your finger and puff and fluff to your hearts content. Juicy Couture's body powder is a pale champagne color infused with crushed diamonds and pearls and leaves a beautiful glow. I love to use it on bare legs to even out skin tone and leave a pretty shimmer. The Victoria Secret Powder is very old and no longer available but is one I couldn't seem to part with it. I love the retro packaging and the powder itself is cupcake pink with chunky silver glitter. The puff is the softest fuzzy fabric imaginable and glides on smooth to leave you sparkling.
The lavender feather puff is a French tickler brush from Tarte. Its great for dusting off excess eyeshadow fallout that lands on your cheekbones.

Photo: Norma Sheerer in Marie Antoinette

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Art of Powder

Photo: Ellen Von Unwerth for Vogue Italia

My cute husband in Caron on Avenue Montaigne in Paris

The foundation of any artistic masterpiece begins with preparing the canvas. Powder has a long history of preparing the skin to show off sparkling eyes, blushing cheeks and rosy lips to their best advantage. High quality powders are milled so fine they go on creamy and melt into the skin. My favorites are difficult to find in the US but can usually be ordered on the internet.

On my last trip to Paris I was able to purchase powder from the House of Caron on Avenue Montainge. They are known to produce one of the finest powders in the world. Their secret formula involves mining the mineral powder from Carrara marble in Italy and delicately scenting it with Bulgarian roses. There are so many colors to choose from, like candy dishes all lined up in a row topped with pink swan down puffs, it's so hard to choose. It’s a dreamy experience to enter this perfumery. Chandelier light glittering off the Baccarat crystal perfume decanters is magnified by the mirrored walls, while the air is heavy with the scent of the most intoxicating perfume. It’s a tiny little shop filled with treasures like a jewel box and leaves your head spinning with delights like a dancing ballerina. I instantly fell in love and would have set up residence there if it were possible.

Paul and Joe is another high quality powder but used mainly over foundation so it goes on translucent and diffuses the light on your face. I bought it for the charming puff that came with it and also because the packaging was pearlized pink plastic embossed with a pretty floral design.
Jill Stuart is currently my favorite powder, both for the quality and the adorable princess packaging. I’m reminded of my childhood every time I use it. When I was five or so, my mom bought me a little plastic makeup set from the dime store. It had a shimmering mirror, brush, comb and earrings along with fake plastic makeup. Something about Jill Stuart’s little diamonds in the plastic reminds me of the pleasure of playing “makeup” when I was little. I'm very fair so I ordered the compact with the pink tassel in the lightest shade called Linen and the loose powder in Lucent. I think the Lucent may be a little too light so I'm going to order it in Natual and combine them to mix the perfect shade. See and click on Beauty for a peak at their adorable product line.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Language of Beauty Marks

Beauty marks have always fascinated me. Especially the idea that something beautiful could evolve out of something so ugly and disfiguring as small pox scars. My spirit resonates with taking things that are ugly, worthless and rejected and creating something beautiful. Reinvention. That would be my superpower if I had one. I feel my calling in life is to leave this world a little more beautiful than I found it.

The language of beauty marks developed during the seventeenth century among aristocratic women. Small patches of black velvet or taffeta were cut into shapes such as hearts, moons, stars and pasted onto the face or décolleté to draw attention to the whiteness of their skin and highlight certain features while covering scars. Each mark was carefully placed to send a specific message to a woman’s admirers:

Corner of eye-“I’m interested in you”
Above the lip-flirty “I want to kiss you”
Near right cheek-“I’m married”
Left cheek-“I’m engaged”
High on forehead-”I’m superior”
Photos: Norma Sheerer in Marie Antoinette, Warner Brother's Phantom of the Opera, book Plumes and Dentelles by Ellen Von Unwerth