Friday, November 29, 2013

November Favorites

By now, nearly all the leaves have fallen off the trees, the thermometers have dropped, and the official 'first day of winter' looms near. So, the rakes may have been busy, but this month has been rather quiet on the beauty front. I've been sticking to some firm favorites and have made little effort to deviate from those mentioned. Nevertheless, don't tell me I'm not good to you, because I've scoured the stocks to come up with a selection of products that have been my favorites this month.

So, there's one underlying theme--hydration. For skincare, I've been slapping on the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Yes, it's back. I adored it last winter, didn't touch it come summer, but now it's become a near necessity in my routine.
Coinciding, the Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm has been my recent pick. No stickiness, just some sheen (which makes it suited for morning application) and some rich, hydrating oils that make it nearly perfect for evenings.

In the shower, I've been enjoying the Korres Vanilla Cinnamon Shower Gel. The sniff couldn't be more fitting for this time of year and it always makes my skin feels clean, yet moisturized. And I can't ignore the fact that it never fails to make me slightly hungry after every use.
I'm sure you've heard about my slight skin fall out over the past couple of weeks. Well, I think I've finally gotten it back to normal, but during the day when I couldn't load on the skincare, I relied on a hefty, yet well-placed dosage of base and concealer to hide those pesky spots and scars. The one makeup savior? The Real Techniques Detailer Brush. Part of the Core Collection (you know--the one that comes with that darn amazing Buffing Brush), this with a little dose of concealer on the end--preferably the MAKEUP FOR EVER offering--does wonders. It's known as the pinpoint method, just carefully placing concealer where you need it, but covering without the dreaded cakey look around the places where the extra coverage just isn't needed.

So I've hit all bases, so far, except one. Candles. Ahhhh, I've had a recent running obsession with the burns. This months most-loved? The Good Nature Balsam and Cedar Soy Wax Candle--it smells like Christmas trees (even though it's not that time of year just yet), is brother-approved, and balances cozy and fresh. Now, where are my matches?

So, there's the roundup. To say that I'm excited for December would be an understatement, but here's to some pine  and vanilla-cinnamon scents, real-life Photoshop action, and some hydrating heroes. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Autumnal Makeup

Alas, tomorrow marks 'Turkey Day'--Thanksgiving. A brazened bird, sweet potato fluff, apple pie, candles...more pie. And what does the thermometer read? Pretty darn cold. It seemed like the perfect time to put together my ensemble of products for a nippy, warm, and falling-leaves appropriate slap.

Let's begin where this story always takes us--the base. Because I'm practically obsessed with the Smashbox Photo Finish Light Foundation Primer*, I'll be slapping that on, followed by a layer of the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream. Not only will this combo look utterly dreamy, but the CC cream will dehydration-proof your complexion and will look fresh until you wake the next morning for the Macy's Day Parade.
Finish off the basic face with the Origins Plantscription Anti Aging Concealer for that Rudolph nose, of course, and a layer of the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder. It may not be as oil-ridding as my Hourglass love affair, but it sure does smooth over that face of yours and supply a satin finish (à la Chloé).

And then, I'm forgetting bronzer *gasp* and contour. Instead, I'll be opting for a slightly more seasonal pick--the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed. Little tawny compact, welcome back to the pages of 'Parisian To Be'; long time no see. Placed slightly higher up than the apples, it will add sculpt and color, sans the need for an additional step.
It's time for the two necessities; cue the Maybelline Full' N Soft Waterproof Mascara and the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, Hubba, hubba. Now those are two daily essentials whose spot will always be preserved.

And this is where things get funky, as I'm throwing on eyeshadow and some lippy beef. If it wasn't for the nearly perfect lip tint known as the Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie, this wouldn't be occurring, but the berry-reddish pinch and smooth, easy formula is just too hard to resist. And the same wouldn't be happening if I hadn't stolen the NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Portobello from (guess who)--ma mère. The lighter of the two shades, swept into the crease adds a hint of definition to my otherwise normal and flat looking face. And yes, I got this for her last Christmas....

Phew! You're attention span may not last through the Thanksgiving football ceremonies, but your makeup sure will. Alas, this is where I part--to find my way to that pie....

Monday, November 25, 2013

The 2013 Chic Holiday Gift Guide

Last year, I mused upon all things European--specifically Parisian and British, quelle surprise--to load a picture with my gift recommendations to wrap up for your loved ones for the holiday season. Well, this year, I'm bringing back the tradition, but with a bit more flair and variation. Granted, most of these products aren't your typical lot which you'd find in the good ole U S of A, but they'll be sure to make your devotee smile.

Aurelia Miracle Morning Time Gift Set £ $. Aurelia's Miracle Cleanser has risen in the ranks over the past month and, now, they've packed the probiotic, universally pleasing cleanser in a box with an adjoining muslin cloth, rose tea cup, and morning time tea.

Diptyque Orange Chai Candle £ $. Apart from the fact that the ten votive assortment of Diptyque candles has my heart beating at a rate of knots, their Christmas offerings are a small bit more festive. Pictured is 'Orange Chai,' but 'Pine Bark' and 'Indian Incense' also join the triad. And they also come in mini sizes for personal indulgences and midnight pampers....

Belmacz Gold Leaf Lip Gloss £ $. Renaissance inspired glosses infused with 24-karat gold. Now that's luxe. With shades as classic as translucent or as rich as ruby, all will light up your party-nights with a hit of gold.

Dr. Hauschka Daily Face Care Set £ $. Whether your recipient has an oily, normal, or dry complexion, their skincare loving heart will adore you. Each kit comes packed with trial sizes (the decent variety) of Dr. Hauschka favorites to mend their complexion.

No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O'Connor £ $. Blog turned book author Siobhan O'Connor talks to consultants and M.D.s about the harm of what we're putting on out hair, skin, nails, feet.... Propylene Glycol?

This Works The Dream Team Sleep Duo £ $. Not only have I been eyeing up this whole range for over a year now, but this set comes packed with the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray and Stress Less. You better give this to mend minds before the holidays.

Neom Three Nights of Peace £ $. Three bottles, and a bazillion natural oils--not really. But more like moroccan rose, sweet basic, jasmine, and other tranquil and bliss scents. Did someones say pamper?

Bourjois Little Round Pot Cream Blush £ $. For you UK gals, this may seem like a boring gift. And that's why they say you always want what you don't have. And I know who wants this...me.

Korres Shower Gels £ $. Some varieties are readily available in the US, but, coinciding with the previous product, the UK scents are so much better. Pictured is 'Vanilla Plum.' Mmmmm....

With everyone on your list ticked off. It's time for some personal time. Now, where's my wishlist?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

'Parisian To Be' Turns One and Giveaway Winner

Four score and seven years ago.... Just kidding. It's only been one year since 'Parisian To Be' became a verbatim term in Google, but I consider that a milestone worth celebrating. Alas, I can glare at the cringe-worthy photos and realize that it wasn't that long ago when I still hadn't discovered my cubbyhole in the beauty blogging arena.

And this is where I turn the tables--thank you. Without your support of this blog, it wouldn't be running the way it does, the content wouldn't be the same, and my self confidence would be ridiculously low. As we trudge on into the future, I only envision amazing things for this virtual niche. Most important, this is my space just as much as it is yours, so I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.

To celebrate, I'll be indulging in some serious treats--perhaps à la Whole Foods--and, for you, I'll be announcing the champion of the New London Pharmacy Giveaway. And the winner is...


Congratulations! Thank you all for entering. This is just the first of many giveaways to come. I will contact the winner via email concerning your well-deserved loot. As for the rest of you, I apologize for this series of unfortunate events, but grant you to do whatever your heart desires.

In conclusion, I'm ecstatic about the future of 'Parisian To Be' and I hope it continues to grow as quickly as it has already. Thank you, again, and kisses all around...french stylée.

xo Lillian

Friday, November 22, 2013

Surviving Hibernation

Centuries ago, rain, snow, or sun, our ancestors were more immune to the weather than their modern relatives. Now, with indoor heating, insulated maisons, and hot chocolate, we're able to stay in out homes as long as we want without having spend more than ten minutes suffering Frosty's nip (unless you're a chid and choose to roll around in the snow...like me).
And this is the moment when we resembles bears--stashing in the nuts and seeds for winter, but, since we're Homo sapiens, we're stashing beauty products.

When you're writing essays around the clock, as it seems, a few resting moments are often spent staring at your hands at your dry cuticles. To save this horrendous sight, two staples lie on my bedside table: the Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream* and a small bit of depotted coconut oil. Both manage to keep my hands feeling nourished and rather perfect. Sitting next to them is a tube of the Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm. For the past year, I've been on a loving rampage with the Nuxe tub, but there are some things that the latter golden wonder is lacking. The Mojito counterpart is non-sticky, yet ridiculously nourishing and soaks into the lips without any chapped feeling.

And then, there's skincare. Whether you choose to purchase a whole new routine or just one addition, the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask will serve you well. Slap on in the evenings for some seriously good morning glow and plump dermis--the only thing that will unconsciously, be happily plumped this season.
In the mornings, when you're skin is still looking a little bit lack-luster, throw on the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream. Hydration. in. a. tube; added radiance and glow, and it won't sink into your dehydrated pores.

Since you'll no longer be spending time mowing the lawn (as if I ever did....), you'll have time to take a soak. Ahhhh. Light a candle--my current favorite being the Balsam & Cedar Soy Wax Candle from Anthropologie (darn, they have good candles). It smells like Christmas trees and is brother approved.
Then, when the candles nearly at the end of its wick and you've drained your warm abyss, smother yourself in the Fresh Sugar Body Oil. It's lemony scent isn't overly sweet, but manages to keep you moisturized and imparts baby smooth skin.

So, winter is upon us and I'm already prepping for hibernation. Drink water, empty the shelves of tea like an extreme coupon-er, and crack out the holiday lights. Is there snow on the forecast?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Autumn Winter Beauty Trending

Burgundy, wine, knits, boots, Christmas jumpers, and snoods. Perhaps these are just some of the few image that pop into your mind when 'autumn/winter trends' is whispered into your ear. And then, there's the beauty front. Stereotypically, souls a like crack out the deep lipsticks and winged liner, but, perhaps a little read and you'll be looking more trend on than your trendy friend.

Occasionally, the cold weather-flow is more made for model faces than our own, but with a little bit of play, a few notes can become your own. Just read below.

Matte and satin skin. In years past, we've embraced the glow--packing on highlighters and luminizing bases. Albeit, currently, on the runway, it seems as though more time is spent on perfected skin than on the clothes themselves. For your daily base, crack out the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint--a satin finish and good coverage will leave your skin looking nearly on trend. But add a layer of the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder to become even more on point. Add it's pore concealing, hydrating properties, and slightly matte, yet natural finish and you've got a sub-zero temperature favorite. And it looks like snow, too.

Red nails. Spotted, at Valentino. Yes, the brand practically copyrighted the bloody-chic color themselves, but add a hit to your tips. I'm sure we all have variations of the shade lying around (Essie Aperitif, comes to mind), but I'll be painting on Essie's Lollipop.

Feature brows. Okay, okay, I lucked out on this one. It's time to cancel your threading appointment and embrace your natural visage forest. Whether it's already too late and you really need to draw each hair on or just add a few touch-ups here and there, the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil will serve you through.

Blush-free faces. Both English-roses and flush-free femmes alike should stash the blusher. If you're like me and feel the need for some added face definition, reach for the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder. Grey-toned and resembling most closely to a natural shadow, hit the pan for model-esque cheeks.

Purple and red metallic shadow. Perhaps you're heart rate is pumping after reading the previous flush-free proposition. But we already bought a new autumn blush palette. Well, instead of dishing some more cash for some one-year-trending eyeshadows, employ your plum and red-toned blushes for eye duty. My choice? NARS Luster--not too red to make you appear hay-fever-ish, a shot of gold for a wearable touch, and a warm tone to make you look spot-on.

Petal stained lip. Since you're downing all that water (just pretend), it comes in handy that stained lips are in radar. The Model Co. Cheek + Lip Tint in Rosy Red, patted onto the lips means a berry-pink tint without any mistletoe mishaps.

Alas, you'll be ahead of the crowd with enough info to last you all season. Next time you see that plum blusher you just 'must have', save some cash. You'll look more fab without it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

L'Oréal EverCrème Nourishing Conditioner | Review

Once autumn rolls around, there's one word that pounds the pages of editorial articles, blogs, and newspapers: hydration, or some synonym of the like. Whether you choose to slap the recommendations on under running water, on damp skin, pre-cuddle, or ante running-out-door, chances are a variation of moisture will hit your noggin sometime within the next few months.

And then there's hair. Heat, wind, nippy weather, or whatever you have in your surroundings, it will take a beating. Because I'm nearly out of my Bumble and bumble Surf conditioner and I've pulled the cozy knits out of the archives, I figured it was time for a new offering. With trends such as veganism and the fact that everything these days is linked to cancer, perhaps these seemingly-exclusive offerings are closer than you think. Ponder--at your nearest drugstore.

And this is where the L'Oréal EverCrème Nourishing Conditioner makes its entrance. One hundred percent vegan, sulfate free, paraben free, sans heavy waxes, and marketed as 'concocted from botanicals'.
Addressed first, the nourishing factor. If you have thin, limp hair like me, this could be hit or miss. Is it as hydrating as the claims? Ooo, yes. But so much so that it brings out my natural texture--stick straight (something I normally try to texture-up) and can weigh down your lengths.
Nevertheless, if you're a common lover of volumizing shampoos, then this may float your boat to add some much needed moisture and minimizing the too static-like effects. And consider this your fair warning: you may contract an obsession with hair-petting.

Despite it's earth-friendly claims, this offering may not be as tree-hugging as you may think. We can both agree that the marketing claims aren't a hoax, but the formula continues to contain chemical ingredients such as propylene glycol (commonly found in foods; also used to winterize vehicles). But, considering the ingredients, it is a lot more promising than other chemicals hair products.

As for the vanilla scent (supposedly 'camelina'), it's nice, but too artificial for my liking (coming from added fragrance--read the ingredients). Albeit, at around seven dollars, chances are you may get along with this product, if not for the results, for the price. And that's one hydrating product checked off your list.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Get Ready With Me

I know--right now you're probably pressing the starry-eyed emoji, but you're seeing things correctly. The video sensation deliverance is hitting Parisian To Be, blog stylée. It's Sunday, my favorite day of the week, and I documented my morning routine so that I could share it with you.
So welcome the first 'Get Ready With Me' post to the blog, with a hint of autumn edition flair.

The very first thing I do when I arise from the dead is either grab my computer (because we both know that the only reason I woke up is for Vivianna's once-weekly video) or to wobble down the stairs to get some sustenance in my body. Today, I feasted on a stack of apple protein-buckwheat pancakes topped with cinnamon peanut butter, hazelnuts, and a touch of maple syrup. And I totally would have taken a photo, but I was just too darn hungry. Of course, I poured my self a carafe cup of coffee...and then brought it upstairs.

Then, since Sundays are my blogging days, I took some photos, devoured my YouTube feed, and typed some posts (don't tell me I'm not good to you). 
Then, I realized that I should probably get ready because I can only get homework done at Whole Foods (long story...) and I couldn't show up in my pajamas. 

So, this is where the skincare ballad begins: cleanse with Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, tone with the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant, roll the Kate Somerville D-Scar Diminishing Serum, take care of my eyes with the Origins No Puffery Cooling Roll-On, and moisturize with the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer. Simples.

As for makeup, I normally commit to a lazy-girl routine...but I just can't stop slapping it on. Base was made up of consecutive layers of the Smashbox Photo Finish Light Foundation Primer *, Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream (blended with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush), Origins Plantscription Concealer (mashed around with the orange-handled Contour Brush counterpart), and a layer of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light patted on with the MAC 129 brush.
The cheek-bone amp came from the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder and a pat of the Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Color in Peach Whisper (both applied with the same MAC brush). And, alas, the finishing touches went to some Blistex Lip Medex (thanks, central heating), a slick of the Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie (from the archives), a layer of the Maybelline Full' N Soft Waterproof Mascara, and a roll of the TokyoMilk Dark Chance 18 Rollerball *.

I threw on some comfy, yet chic--I hope--weekend get-up: True Religion Jeans (kids size, and ridiculously old), Abercrombie baseball tee (again, old), Zara Boots, and Zara (kids) Coat...I told you I'm small.
And the finishing touch went to a shed-load of spritzes of the Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray...sans brush. 

So, somewhere in the midst, I brushed my teeth, but you get the jist of my morning routine. Hit? Miss? You relay the reaction, as perhaps you'd like to see a peek into my night routine, weekday routine, or...hold on--I have to get my notebook.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The No Regrets Beauty Purchases

It's happened far too many times--the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream, REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, Stella McCartney Stella EDP, etc. It's not that they're bad products (why do you think I bought them in the first place?), it's just that I have a guilty conscience mostly associated with money-spending anxiety--and I know it's hard to believe--and that of an indecisive mind. Luckily, Sephora has a good return policy....
Nevertheless, there are a fair few products that I have never grabbed the receipt for. And here they are.

Skincare is where I find most of my returns to be made. Not only does my high end picky taste send me back to the till, but how a product reacts in unison my skin also can seal or break the deal. Unfortunately, both of the non-regretted skincare wonders happen to be extremely pricey...but I choose to pay the dough, anyway.
First, the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask. Hubba, hubba. Gentle and effective; it calms redness, soothes breakouts more than any other mask in my stash, is practically made for all skin types (including sensitive), and never fails to leave me with a clearer complexion.
Then, Estée Lauder Advance Night Repair Serum. If you need proof, I'm on my second bottle of the stuff and onto the second version. Nevertheless, I still think it's awesome. Consider dehydration, scarring, breakouts, Rudolph redness, and the rest of the lot soothed and taken care of. In fact, I'm too scared to test any other serum, that's how good it is.

Minimal maven? That's me. Consider the fact that a gal can only slap on so many products at once and the fact that I don't use much when I do, and you really have to wow me to add a new addition to the stash family. Concurrently, I've got five tinted moisturizers sitting in my drawers as we speak; and no foundation. I've got the high(er) coverage offering, the dew-giver, the matte-inducer, and long-lasting babe. Then, we have the all-rounder, otherwise known as the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream. It can eek out a dewy or natural looking complexion, smooths over the skin, looks divine, covers redness, has a buildable coverage, and a good long-lasting tint.
On days where a tad more longevity is needed, I bust out the primer. Okay, okay--I basically apply the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light* on the daily. But it's just so good. It's the middle-ground between a silicon and water based initial layer to smooth over the skin, control oil, butt out shine, and maintain your daily war paint past the eight hour mark.

For blusher, I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Color in Peach Whisper. The shade is nearly faint-worthy and the texture is buttery perfection. I flit between other flush-inducers, but this one reigns supreme.
I picked up the Maybelllie Full' N Soft Waterproof Mascara in the midst of my makeup discovery days, said it was 'good', and moved onto other options. Well, it's back, and it's back vengeance. Consider a 'your lashes, but better' look nailed with a balance of length, curl, and volume, without a crunchy, clumpy, or overboard appearance.

That reminds me, I do have a return to make, but I'll add the savings to the jar for a new bottle, tube, compact, or whatever other set of my 'no regrets' purchases--sans guilt.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Perfect Cheeky Brush

Anecdote. My blush just wasn't looking as good as I had dreamed. I experimented with different textures, hand application, and blamed the lot upon the product itself. In fact, it wasn't too frustrating to me; as a cheek obsessive, a new blush a month wasn't too taxing. Nevertheless, an epiphany of the sorts made me realize that my makeup brush stocks were lacking, and, thus, my blush-applying brush wasn't serving me well.

I did the research, looked up the range to my Real Techniques love affair, browsed the budget options, and decided on the choice recommended by my makeup artist idol--Queen Lisa Eldridge. The decision? The MAC 129 Brush. A tapered, oval shaped set of bristles, perfectly designed for popping on any cheeky color, fitting right onto the cheeks.

The natural brush hairs (although against my ego) cling to powder or cream perfectly to deliver the ideal amount of pigment. The rounded tip also means that, depending on your face composition, anywhere from quick blob to a sudden stroke will complete your cheek aesthetic.

Blusher aside, I've incorporated the brush into the rest of my application, as well. It's not too big, yet not too minuscule size means it blends and applies contour in a breeze (and I'm saying it's dreamy with the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder) and it's also great for applying powder just where you want it. For small-faced gals, you may like it for applying bronzer, as well, but I prefer more of a fluffy action in that situation.

So, it's fair to say that my blusher brush void has been sizably filled. Except, now I don't have any excuse to buy more cheeky products....

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Tamed Brow Duo and Tricks

Things are about to get slightly dirty here on Parisian To Be as we talk about hair. Yup--I've got the stuff growing. With enough of it on my forearms to battle that of my male comrades and some bushy brow situations, the latter I can control more easily with the equivalent of three products to pluck, rid, and fill. Cara Delevigne arches, here we come.

The first order of business is cleaning those babes up. Some turn to waxing or threading to get the job done, but  for minor touchups (or a night in to rid of all those hairs), a pair of tweezers will serve you well. For my minor days when I would sneak into my mom's baignoire to steal her set, I've now invested in my own pair--initially, a ninety-nine cent set, then a Revlon alternative, but, alas, I've got a set of Tweezerman Tweezers. Yes, they're pricey, but so worth it in the long run. Sharp and stray hair grabbing, they reduce the bloody situations where some skin grasping incidents occur in lieu of the hair ridding ones and their high-quality make means they'll last you ages. And they come in nice colors and patterns, as well....

It doesn't take a genius to realize that tweezing is p a i n f u l. I've learned over the years, and my brow skin has become a little bit thicker, but if there is one tip for sharing, it's to reserve any arch-ridding processes for post-shower duty. Why? The skin tissue has softened, and it's ridiculously less painful. Just take my word.
And then, I must address the fact that my brows are sometimes too deep in warlock land to dig them out...so I turn to my razor. The ones of the leg shaving variety. It sounds scary (and I'm a little fearful to share it with you, too) but a steady hand through the middle, and over the tops rids of excess locks and means that your plucking duty is far less time consuming.

Now that the removal topic is out of the way, we can talk about makeup. Over the years, I've experimented with the multitude of products, but nothing makes my brows look better than some arch definition and added length. I'll admit that brow gels didn't quite work for my likings, and I'm not the biggest fan of the Anastasia Tinted version, but I've found a pencil to reign supreme. The Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil--a cool tone rivaling the epitome of my own lock shade, a waxy perfect texture, the perfect nib, and a spoolie on the other end; it's a brow tamer's dream. I've got the shade Dark Brunette, but I reserve no doubts that, despite there being just three shades, you'll find one to suit you, whatever your hair color.

Three methods to your brow dream. Remember--reserve your plucking duty for post-shower, rely on a razor for lazy days, and invest in that wicked brow pencil. Now, let me pull the comparison photos between Cara and I. It's a close call.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tokyomilk Dark Chance 18 | Review

Nearly all my dreams include my (soon to be....) apartment in Paris. Think big windows, a white interior with hints of grey, a few candles--okay, more like a million--and a tray flooded with my fragrance fittings. Ahhhh.... 
Nevertheless, this is a dream, after all, but I'm planning for the moment by pinning some decor inspiration, dosing my free time in the 'French to English' dictionary, and conquering the world of scents one bottle (or rollerball) at a time. I've made some dents, but I've added a new addition to my make-believe tray.

TokyoMilk Dark Chance 18*--a blend of floral and earthy, with a chic shot of musk in the lace. The earthy base of fresh bamboo, tea leaves, green fig, crushed cedar, and osmanthus take a dose of blood orange and sugared grapefruit, followed off by a sniff of soft, white musk. 
Part of the TokyoMilk Dark Fate and Fortune Collection, perfumer and designer Margot Elena's beautiful fragrance line takes a darker path with new depth, allure, and edge--designed in Paris (how coincidental) and packaged in sleek, matte black tube, and delivered in a glass vial topped with a cork.

I'm sure you all know that I'm such a fragrance floozy, and can barely be bothered to spritz or roll the stuff on, despite however lovely the aroma may exist. Nevertheless, TokyoMilk's Chance has me a l i t t l e sous le choc under the spell of those notes. Consider it your all-year-round fragrance; floral enough for summer, but musky enough for autumn. Either way, luckily, the punch lingers around for a few hours so you're still encircled.

Chanel suit? Prada bag? Café au Lait? Office off the Champs Elysée? Oh right--you're still here. Obviously I've been sniffing this rollerball for too long....

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Nail Dud and Love

Sometimes, we're experimental. As much as I attempt to conjure a feeling of excitement into an acid-base titration in Chemistry class, experimenting with beauty is so much more fun. When a product runs out, I ponder: do I repurchase or do I try something new?
When my testing-sized pot of the Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream ran out, I pondered this exact thing. In hindsight, I decided the latter--to get my emotions together and take a random grab at another cuticle nourisher that may impart  my nail-beds looking better than ever.

The quickly snatched-up, product in mention was the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil. Alas, in reality, the decision was split between this orange bottle or the Essie Cuticle Pen, but fourteen dollars for a mechanical-pencil sized wand was just not practical. So, guess which one I parted with....
To say that I was excited to test out my most recent apricot bumph would be an understatement, so, in no time, before I hit the zzz's, I slapped the stuff on. First, I noticed that the brush application-method wasn't my favorite and required a steady hand. Second, the oil didn't sink in that quickly either, so I was required to be careful in keeping my hands out of the sheets. Luckily, though, the aroma was dreamy, resembling that of the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask that everyone raves about (although we both know the love factor is down to the scent).

Come six-fifteen in the morning, the jury was out on whether I thought the stuff was good. And...my cuticles looked no different than the dry condition they were the night before. *Boooo* I've tried and tested it again, but I continue to have no luck. So there goes the dud title.
As for the love, the Burt's Bees pot has sucked up my heart. I didn't realize how great the stuff was before, but it always takes a bad experience to notice the good. The aroma may not be as dreamy, but it's fresh, nonetheless (how else do you describe a lemon scent?), but the thicker texture means my arms won't freeze as I drift to sleep and it's more nourishing, hydrating, and dry-ness ridding than the oil purchase. It's love.

Now, unfortunately, I've tossed the packaging to the Essie oil--so I can't get my money back. And another product get's tossed to my mom.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kiehl's Skin Rescuer | Review

We live in a day and age where faster is better (example: when we scream when it takes more than five seconds to load our email), where more effective is king, and where we rush, rush, rush. Perhaps choosing a McDonald's Big Mac over a home-prepared quinoa concoction, to follow the principle, isn't necessarily good for our bodies, but when it comes to skincare, more effective always reigns supreme.

Take my previous morning moisturizer, for example--the Origins Vitazing Moisturizer. Talk about a multi-tasker. A tint, SPF protection, and a dose of moisture. Despite the wicked power, I just wasn't feeling the love anymore, as some real skincare oomph was lacking, and it's multi-wonders were being disregarded anyway, as I always followed with another SPF and another base to cover up the tint.

So I tried something new--the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer Stress-Minimizing Daily Hydrator. It's promises? To "[address] both the short-term visible signs of long term premature aging effect that stress can have on skin...[to] help minimize skin's visible response to stress" and to provide a barrier to shield and maintain skin to promote recovery. Sounds pretty promising, non? Well, Kiehl's also knows how to utilize some serious logos and provide that "clinical results showed that 100% of those tested showed a significant improvement in overall skin quality, dryness and blotchiness."

As I tested the green-bottled goop out, the first realization was the scent...typical. In fact, it doesn't smell very nice at. all. (think Elmer's glue, but less potent). As I expected an herbal, wonder aroma, I was a little disappointed. Then, one to two pumps covered the whole of my face, but you have to work fast, as this stuff sinks in über quickly. The quickly absorbing properties may sound like a faff, but it's definitely a god-send on busy mornings, as I can immediately slap on the day's war paint with no waiting time.
Since I've been using this each morning for the past couple of months, I can finally relay the results. I do believe that it has helped reduce a little bit of the redness from my face (but no dramatic results) and supplies an awesome dose of moisture that doesn't leave my skin feeling parched.
If you've got dry skin, I don't think that this would be enough for you,  but normal or combination gal's would definitely reap the benefits.

So, is it the best moisturizer? No, as the selection is still out on that one, but, if you're a sucker for mint green things like I am, with a little effectiveness thrown in, then I think this is for you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Coconut Oil Wonders

Do you remember the days when I thought Origins Vitazing was multi-purpose? Ha--well, those days are gone and the bronze-inducing number been knocked out by coconut oil.
It seems as everyone has gone nuts for the stuff (literally). You'd be hard of hearing if you haven't heard of it and nearly blind if you haven't read about it. I've spotted it in nearly dozens of nutrition essays and articles, and I'll touch on this ego soon, but, as of right now, it's strictly beauty and we're talking the uses of coconut oil.

If you're buying the right stuff, coconut oil is hard at room temperature, but melts as the temperature increases. Similarly, the aroma is h e a v e n l y. The New York Times famed it's cooking uses for supplying a nutty and sweet, vanilla flavor. What if I told you it smells like it sounds?
Now the uses are endless, but I've noted a list of my tried and tested and am spilling on the deats.

First--a cleanser. It removes makeup in a pinch and massages nicely into the skin, as well. The only problem? It's %$*& hard to get off, but if you're a dry-skinned gal, you and this one-ingredient coconut cleanser would get along nicely (and also consider using it as a moisturizer).
For those of us who can't quite deal with the heavyness on the face, we can reap the moisturizing benefits on out limps, feet, nails, hands....

Come bath time, a tablespoon chocked into the tub fills the room with that same knee-knocking aroma, a nourishing lipid layer, and an imparted sheen that remains once you part your warm abyss.
While you're soaking, run some from roots to tips of your locks for a shine-enhancing, soft-ness inducing hair mask (also good for irritated scalps).
Consider coconut oil a better cheaper version of the L'occitane Shower Oil everyone raves about. With the same slip, same scent (I won't say it again), and even a shed-load more of the moisturizing properties, it works as a good shaving emollient.

Just as I recommended its use for an facial moisturizer, the same goes for your limbs, knees, and toes. In fact, consider it your all-purpose balm. Slip some over cuticles (which is far more effective than my other nail dud coming on Friday) or over hands for a softening concoction.

So, those are the only uses I've got going now, but definitely send over your other notes (and I'll bring my list). But, next time, we'll be discussing nutrition *rubs hands*.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Giveaway from New London Pharmacy | CLOSED

If you're an international lover, beauty obsessive, pharmacy luster, and in need of a cozy place to steal a few hours, New London Pharmacy is where your dreams come true. I spoke of my latest visits here, with a lengthy rave about the four-thousand square foot place, and here about what was swinging in my New London clad bag as I left. I no longer abode in New York *tear*, but, luckily, I can carry on with my New London shopping in the comfort of my real home.

Luckily for allllll of you, the lovely ladies (and gentlemen, of course) have offered a giveaway for all of you Parisian To Be readers. The winner will receive loads of wicked beauty bumph straight from New London Pharmacy. Warning--they've been very generous and are offering up a serving of:
A REN gift set containing the Rose Otto Body Wash and Rose Otto Body Cream
A Skincando Combat-Ready Balm--an all purpose concoction to heal any woe
Thymes Lotus Santal Triple-Milled Soap
Fluff Shop Jetsetter Large Makeup Bag--adorned with a French poodle and Eiffel Tower; fitting
Soligen First-Class Manicure Set
Jane Iredale Iced Mocha Pure Gloss
Jane Iredale Toffee Pure Gloss
Jane Iredale Pecan/Chocolate Pure Pressed Eye Shadow Duo

All products are full-size and sound l o v e l y, in my opinion, don't you think?

As the site, explains: "The overall mission at New London Pharmacy is to provide maximum health-care benefits through traditional medical services, homeopathy, and natural remedies or a combination of all three. The balance of body and mind is essential to optimum healthcare. We provide these services in a comfortable, informative, relaxed and friendly environment.
[The] goal is to incorporate personal care, attentive personnel, and professionalism in a trusting and continuing relationship. The core of out success is inspiration, dedication, education, and a value driven mission that continues on a daily basis.
Extensive international research and travel has afforded all who visit us an extensive variety of personal care products that are sure to please the most discriminating customer. Indulge yourself with beauty products for the bath, body, and beyond."

You can visit the site for a massive list of all the brands that they stock, but, at a glance, they include RMS, REN, Aesop, Dr. Hauschka, Caudalie, and Nuxe--just to name a few. If you're like me and wish to stalk the New London site and immerse yourself in the rest of its glory as well, be sure to check out their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages (oh--do I love some 'pinning' action).

Now, for the part you've all been waiting for--to enter.
The giveaway will run from today (November 3, 2013) until November 20 at midnight, and, unfortunately, is open to the US only (don't worry international gals, I have something coming up for you). All you have to do is sign up for the New London newsletter (follow this link here) and punch your info into the Rafflecopter box below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck and enter away!

*This post is sponsored by New London Pharmacy, but I am receiving no compensation and all my words are honest and my own. Read my full disclaimer here for further information.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray | Review

It's obvious; beachy hair is the best hair. For those of us who live in landlocked territory, the natural (and most $$ effective) option is far from obtainable, so we spritz to get us to our goal. Whether you want more volume, wave, shine, matte texture, grit, etc. there is a mist for you.

The most recent addition to my haircare stash is the Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray--a purchase to fill the void of my diminishing sea salt mist placeholder. At around twenty dollars for a travel-sized, mere seventy-five milliliters, this stuff doesn't come cheap; but since I'm a Leo and don't mind some luxe payments, the price didn't stop me.
The aerosol packaging does make it slightly difficult to control how much comes out of the bottle. The scent isn't particularly pleasing, as well, as the regular hairspray-ish scent leaves a bit to be desired.

As for the formula and the beach dose, the Après Beach mist packs the biggest punch in the volume category, literally putting an air hose to the head and blowing up the hair. As for the wave inducing front, it ticks the box here too, which is remarkable considering my hair is as stick straight as straw. As for the shine, beacon initiating part, I don't find it too light reflecting, but a little pinch here and there means that healthy hair is on the way.

Don't think I'm being a Debbie downer, but this review doesn't sound promising does it? Well, here's why. I like my Bumble and bumble Surf Spray a  l o t. It's not nearly as volumizing, but I'm not quite after that category, but I continue to lust after the more gritty, matte, and piecey texture that the Surf Spray initiates. The lasting power continues to be better, as well, but a little hair fluff with the hands when the Oribe lies in the tresses doesn't fail to perk the style up again.

The luxe aesthetic of the Oribe offering has me a little wobbley knee-ed, but the formula doesn't quite do the same. Nevertheless, if I'm having a particularly flat day, I'll know where to reach...the United Airways site to book a trip to St. Tropez.
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