Sunday, December 21, 2014

What I really want for Christmas...

It's the first day of winter and this means that in just a few days it's gonna be Christmas closely followed by New Year's!

I have no idea where the year went and so in a way it's kinda taking me by surprise. As some of you have noticed, I've been pretty much off the grid recently due to a health problem. I've been nursing my right shoulder and elbow back to their usual old selves. A few weeks ago I developed excruciating pain and just had to keep my energies for work where I type a lot and have to use a mouse. That little devilish gizmo is the worst when you have the kind of pain I had, really it is! It's not quite healed but I just had to touch base!

So with Christmas in just a few days I figured I would post my list...


... I had none but it would appear that a certain someone has been spying the blog to try to figure out what would make me tick!

Honestly at the moment there isn't much in fact this year I have no makeup on my list, only fragrances...

Serge Lutens La fille de Berlin... Probably the one I want the most. For some reason this scent moves me is a very particular way. It's a rose with strength!

 She's a rose with thorns, don't mess with her. She's a girl who goes to extremes.
When she can, she soothes; and when she wants ... !

Her fragrance lifts you higher, she rocks and shocks.
Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens Gris Clair... this smoky goodness wowed me at first try! Simply delicious! Totally grown up, it's lavender in all it's glory

 Like pollen blowing over a lifeless city.

As grey as ashes floating through a sky of sunbeams.
Lavender, then, to add grey to clarity, I added incense. I'm crazy about it! In every sense, incense makes sense to my senses.
Serge Lutens

Prada Candy... I'm not a fan of the name nor of the flacon but the juice is pure joy this time of year.

Prada CANDY is instantly seductive—pure pleasure wrapped in impulsive charm. In an explosion of shocking pink and gold, Prada CANDY takes us on a walk on the wild side, showing us a new facet of Prada femininity where more is more and excess is everything. Magnified by white musks, noble benzoin comes together with a modern caramel accord to give the fragrance a truly unique signature. 

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre... a fragrance I just can't forget, I first tried it a few years ago and every time I stop by a counter I have to spray some on.

The whirlwind of CHANCE echoes once again and reveals CHANCE EAU TENDRE: pure olfactory poetry, a fruity-floral fragrance, a vibrant yet delicate scent like a wave of tenderness... 

Guerlain Shalimar... This one needs no introduction, a classic but a recent discovery for me. Years ago I tried to wear it but it didn't suit me, didn't go with my personality but now, so yummy!

The queen of exotic Oriental perfumery, this beautifully feminine fragrance is an everlasting classic. Its voluptuous base of powdery, sweet vanilla embraces warm notes of incense and amber. Opulent and tenacious, the seductive appeal of Shalimar endures.

Here you have it!

Are there any delicious fragrant concoction on your wish list this year?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Sunday Post, Vol. 34...

Long time no see!!!

To answer my buddy Melissa's tweet this week, no, I haven't gone all MIA again!

Unlike last September this absence was totally unplanned. Oh how easy it was to blog when I was able to do it full time! These days I got full time work (which by the way has gotten real crazy this week), a daughter, cooking, "cleaning" (I ain't doin' too good with that part), a dog. a cat and a Mr J (I think I'm doin' good with that part)!

The result? Many posts written but sadly, of poor quality so most won't be published! I'll just have to re-write them. Then there's the "taking pictures" issue which is a big one! The lighting in my house is so bad it hurts and for a makeup blog it's a major handicap. Outside is not much better since I just can't seem to be able to get the sun on my side during week ends (only then do I have time to take them). I need a light box desperately and just don't know when I'll be able to whip one up. There are many tutorials out there including this one here, which doesn't require any nails or paint. Now to find a collapsing laundry bag in white! Hmm... Might ask Mr J if he could figure something out for me...

Christmas is coming...


This bit I just can't believe! Tempus fugit so fast my head is spinning... Really it is! It will be a quiet affair but this year there might be a Christmas tree in the house again but that's if Catherine and Mr J come to an understanding. I am not getting involved... not even for the lights! There! I may bake cookies and that's all I'm gonna say bout it!

Recent beauty love...

Well there are several (as mentioned a few times already) and several haven't been reviewed yet... erm some of them are amongst the ones I pointed out that will not be published, they'll simply have to be redone so for now I'll just show you my last little wallet damage that I instagrammed recently and I guess you can see what I mean by bad lighting...

Repurchased are my beloved Rouge Dior in Charnelle #459 along with Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, Caudalie Huile Divine and NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. Oh yes there is Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noire in there isn't there? Who would have thunk? I just didn't have any other option than to get a full size of the eau de parfum since I've ended up emptying so many samples... It totally grew on me and so I'll get my Cherry Coke fix on a regular basis...

For your viewing enjoyment...

Chanel Christmas 2014, Les Plumes makeup. Now I'll admit that nothing in this collection is calling my name but the promo video is positively stunning!!!

Ok so this was a quickie Sunday Post! Sorry bout that, I feel a little rusty writing but just like Mr J texted me, it would seem it's like riding a bike. Guess I got a lil' ridin' to do!

Do have a look a my buddy Melissa's blog, Kiss and Makeup, she's a riot...

Love you girl! :D

Have a great week everyone! Hélène xoxo

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The PowderPuff Girl Question, N° 8...

Nail color on your toes in winter? 

I know, I know, most of us have now put our feet in hibernation for it seems that as soon as we have to start wearing socks we give up on them!

This year I've decided to try to keep my feet in good shape and this will include not only a weekly pampering session but nail color! ... We'll see how long I keep it up! :)

For the past month I'd been wearing Dior Massaï, a beautiful darkish red and I almost went with it again last night but then I stopped myself and texted Mr J! I was curious to see if he would have an opinion and I gave him three options: Dior Massaï #853, Chanel Taboo #583 and Essie Cashmere Bathrobe! Ok so I didn't give him the names for they would have meant nothing to him. I simply wrote: dark red, dark purple (although I did mention it was called Taboo to see if he would bite) and dark grey. To my surprise he answered dark grey, the one I least expected. 

Toe nails now have Cashmere Bathrobe on! Do excuse the quality of the picture, the sun has been a no show for a while and this is poor indoor lighting. In real life they all are a smidgen darker.

Oh and Mr J did thank me for asking! How sweet is that?

So, do you keep on pampering your feet in winter and if you do apply color, how do you go about in choosing which one it will be?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Going almost nacked with Dior Nail Glow...

Before we start do know that I'm not an exhibitionist, truly I'm not! I love buttoned up blouses and they're what I wear most of the time but once in a while I can show a little cleavage... hmm now that doesn't count now does it? Joining a nudist colony? No way baby! First I don't think I'd enjoy the view(s) and as for myself, I'd need a portable Photoshop beautifying chamber!

Ok so joking aside, for the past few months, well actually for almost four months now, my nails have been in rehab! For some reason I just can't get them back to the shape they were in before. My index fingers and thumbs keep splitting and cracking at the ends! :(

The cracking and splitting are likely due to me wearing colors on them for so long so I've stopped! *cries* I miss my dark claws! This Kitty ain't happy but hey, I gotta do what I gotta do to get them back into shape!

Now no color is boring but naked nails are flat out depressing! To the rescue...

Dior Nail Glow...

Oh how I love thee! This baby is part of the Dior Backstage Essentials Collection and yes, I can truly say it is an essential, for me anyway. It's a clear high gloss polish with a rosy tint that instantly illuminates natural nails. I never apply more than one coat, really it's enough and the beauty of this little wonder is that if you don't have time to redo every few days or so, it fades evenly, really a no fuss product. This is what makes it different than any other clear polish I've ever tried. It doesn't peel or flake away, it just fades evenly.

Notice the poor state my index finger nail is in! :( 

I know some prefer to go all dressed up or flat out naked... on the nails I mean, but mine have a yellowish color that makes them look neglected in a way. Could be due to my nail shape I just dunno. Dior Nail Glow is like instant Photoshop for my nails, love, just love!

This is my right hand, nakked nails! Not an option! 

So, if like me going nakked isn't an option, go grab this baby, really it's a great beautifying product to own!

Now what do you like, colored, naked or a little somethin somethin... on the nails?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Olfactive Memories, The one that Seduced Me...

Fragrant memories...

I know some don't believe in that phenomenon but trust me when I say, I was literally hit by lightening the first time I saw André! I was getting in the elevator of the building where I lived accompanied by both my parents... I froze! Dang did I feel like a girl! Oh wait! I was a girl! I mean that first time I saw him I was six months shy of 18!

Wow! Just wow! The dude lived in my apartment building and yes, I almost did *faint*.

In French we call it: Coup de foudre and yes, I was hit hard!

The classic tall, dark and handsome dreamy looking guy! Always well dressed with a lil' somethin' extra... Well as we got closer the following spring that little something extra was, among other things, his fragrance...

Christian Dior's Eau Sauvage...

The first men's fragrance from the house of Dior was created by Edmond Roudnitska who was also responsible for Diorissimo and Diorella. Launched in 1966, it's an uplifting juice composed of strong notes of lemon, rosemary and spicy lavender for it's opening and closing with the sexiness of oak moss, musk, vetiver and amber.

Illustration: Gruau for Dior

A classic! 

This was the fragrance André wore that first summer we were together! Manly but yet romantic. Virile but not in a "in your face" kind of way. He had self confidence to spare but was never ever condescending, always respectful of others, especially of me...

Compared to some of the popular men's fragrances today, Eau Sauvage could appear to be a little too tame, unadventurous and even a little old school but back then it was extremely popular, a top seller! Me I only cared about the way it smelled on him! After all, what did I know about men's perfume at 18!

He was my guy, he was my love, he was my life!

Today would have been his birthday and yes, both Catherine and I miss him for he was the center of our universe! Truly he was!

I didn't think it would but yes, life does go on! Catherine is doing great and he would be so proud of her. She's becoming a beautiful young women with a good strong head on her shoulders. She's smart, considerate, respectful of others and yes, like her dad, she's very self confident! Quite amazing at 15!

As for me, well, he will always be in my heart and I'm thankful for the fact he has left me with beautiful memories. Thinking about Eau Sauvage has reminded me of so many!

Yes Eau Sauvage seduced me but let's be honest, it was the man wearing it that made it memorable!

Bonne fête mon'amour! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Sunday Post, Vol. 33...

Ooo now it's been a while since I wrote a Sunday Post so here we go...

New man...

Oh yesss!!! I did post about it yesterday so I will not get into it again but I do want to thank you for the lovely comments, Seems I got a few people on my side coz I also got great reactions from co-workers as well. I'm floating so please bare with me! Lucky is what I am and well yes, so is he, after all I ain't so bad myself! :)

First date...

No we didn't go to a fancy shmancy restaurant! I've had my share of those and honestly I can do without and no we didn't go to the movies either which is also a good thing since nothing interesting is showing these days. What we did do is go hiking at a beautiful spot barely 10 minutes from Montréal called Île Charron. It's a protected area, a small island where nature is free to run it's course and it's positively dreamy! Maps are available on site so you can decide which trail to follow but since Mr J had already been there a few times there was really no need for one but for the first timer, it can come in handy. We walked for a total of 2:30 hres and figured we had covered about 7 km which is pretty good. Along the trails are benches to either catch your breath or admire the view. The weather was so beautiful that day it was positively perfect!

I've already posted a few pictures on my Instagram, here, but here are a few more. On the island there are picnic areas and you can also rent a canoe as shown on the second picture. Truly a great place to visit, even if you're not into hiking.

Recent makeup love...

This past month one of the shade in my Clinique All About Shadow 8-Pan Palette has been my everyday base and Black Honey did receive a lot of love. That one is perfect for green eyes and the hold over NARS' primer is just amazing! Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst is da bomb and I've worn it at least three times a week since I purchased it. Of course Dior Velvet is still one of my basics and wow does it go well with Amethyst!

I'm a little out of the loop about the new collections but reviews are starting to pop up about what will be available for the holidays. My bloguerette friend Sara from Color Me Loud just posted one about Chanel's new palette Les 5 Ombres Oiseaux de Nuit, here, which will be available soon when the Plumes Précieuses 2014 Holiday Collection launches. In fact I think it's out now but I haven't checked it out. Seeing her review has inspired me to bring out last year's beauty, Charming and yesterday I had a bit of fun with it. I think it will be my main go to this week.

Lips have started to go a little darker thanks to another Clinique product, Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. I like its sheerness but I also enjoy giving it a little more intensity so I guess I'm taking baby steps back into darkness... :)

What I have my eyes on...

Would you believe nothing much! Really! I've steered clear of makeup counters this past month since I've purchased some new items of clothing including black skinny jeans... Never thought I'd go there but my weight loss made it possible and I must say I feel pretty dang good wearing them! *swoon* :)

Ok back to beauty, as I was saying there isn't much I'm contemplating except Guerlain Les Violines and a few lipsticks like one of the new NARS especially Brigitte and maybe one of the new Dior balms but then I have yet to repurchase my beloved Rouge Dior in Charnelle.

For your viewing enjoyment...

A great treat! The new Chanel N° 5 ad campaign with Gisele Bündchen (even sans Le makeup the woman is just gorgeous) and directed by Baz Luhrmann. First the behind the scene and then the film...



Sorry I got no makeup pictures this week, I'm still catching my breath! I'll probably end up brigning you a double dose next week!

Have a great week everyone! Hélène xoxo

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What are the chances?

Before I resume with the regular programing of Icaria's, I needed to share this personal update...

What are the chances of meeting the one person that will make your life better and more complete? To get to live it once is the most amazing thing but to get to live it twice, now that is just beyond incredible!

I was lucky, oh was I lucky to be loved by a man for whom I was the center of the universe, till the end. André was the most amazing man and I miss him every day. He was the one mainly responsible for who I became, the person I am today and I will always be thankful. He left me my daughter Catherine and for that too I will always be thankful.

The emptyness after the loss, the insecurities, what did the future hold for me have kept me up so many nights...

The Crystal Ball
John William Waterhouse (1902)
Private Collection

I can still vividly remember last year when after his death I had to pick myself up and think of the future, the stress of finding a job to be able to provide for my daughter in the way she was accustomed was just maddening. Oh the pain! At times I didn't think I would make it. There was of course my beautiful bloguerette friends but two people were largely instrumental in helping me get through the darkness, my web friend Laura and my neighbour, Mr J.

Laura was "there" that long winter during which André fought his ultimate battle and to my great despair, lost. She was there to console me and to encourage me. She was my one confidant, the one who knew all about my frustrations, anger and deep sadness. Then in April I started to have little chats with Mr J, a neighbour, who would stop by the fence and kindly chat with me when getting home from work. Those little bits of conversation made my summer slightly more bearable. He was my only human contact besides Catherine.

This past spring the chats with Mr J resumed after a long cold winter. Tall, handsome and extremely charming, he knew I wasn't looking,..

Because of the strong love I had for André I wasn't looking to find someone, I thought I wasn't ready and in fact every time I would start to think about meeting someone new there was always a feeling of disdain, a recoil of sort... no just no... No way could I be with someone else!

A month ago it all changed... Mr J gave me a hug, a simple comforting hug. He too knew all about my sadness, frustrations, anger and loneliness. He knew André, knows how much I loved him and always will. In my heart is where he belongs now... He's my past and it would seem that Mr J just might be my future...

Sadly some of us never get to experience deep love, the kind of love that comes out of passion yes but mostly out of respect for one another, consideration and oh, tenderness...

With André, passion brought us together, with Mr J, friendship was the culprit...

It would seem that I was born under a lucky star for I do believe I'll get to experience it twice!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I'm Back!!!

Ok that's it!

I got my blogging mojo is back and I couldn't be happier about it. Over a month!!! Unreal but I did need it both physically and mentally. Stepping away from the web was difficult but had to be done due to the fact that I've had to deal with unpleasantness which caused great amounts of stress. Real life simply had to come first because bottom line, I just couldn't concentrate and I had total writer's block.

I had to recharge my batteries and I so did, in a big way...

So September started bad but October appeared with a bang!!! A big one and I'm keeping it to myself... for now!

Catching up...

I'm so out of the loop at the moment it's just plain pathetic but hey, I won't stress about it. I have kept track of what my bloguerette friends were up to and wow, just wow, such great posts!

A huge thank you to a few fantastic ladies (you know who you are) for your incredible support, kindness and friendship. I know I've said it many times already but I just don't know what I would have done without this great community, the beauty blogging community.

Way more than pretty faces with artistically applied eye shadows, perfect lashes and sexy vampy lips, the ladies who make it real, are much more than perfect canvases for the latest makeup collections, they're a group of smart, super smart women! This is something I truly never expected.

So, no makeup talk today, just a little hello and thank you for your patience.

Regular programing to resume shortly!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Sunday Post, Vol. 32...

Last week as I had just finished writing my Sunday Post something happened that took me completely off guard. I don't want to go into details but let's just say that for me it was big and so there was no way I could concentrate on blogging and honestly, I can't much at the moment either. I just need a little time to get my things in order so I hope you'll bare with me and stick around.

Thank you for your emails guys, you know who you are... amazing! I have no words to express how thankful I am and can just say that the beauty blogging community is awesome, just plain awesome!

Although I haven't been writing nor have I left many comments on my favorite blogs I have been keeping track during the day and in the middle of the night (insomnia's a b...). Phone and tablet aren't the best for commenting and in the evening I just didn't have the energy to open my lap top. If you want to know what I've been reading have a look at my blogroll and at Wondegondigo's. Yes I stalk Belly's blogroll! :)

Oh and by the way, any idea on how an Instagram tag works? I was tagged yesterday by my friend Sara and have no idea how to complete this. I guess it would have to be with either my tablet or phone since it's kind of not working on my lap top but still I just dunno how to do this. 

This week's beauty...

Makeup this week was on cruise control and so there's nothing to mention but I do have a bit of skincare news, well an experiment I'm planning. A colleague brought back a tin of Germain Nivea from Portugal for me and so I plan on doing a split face testing of it and the Mexican version. So many comments and reviews have been written about the differences between the two that I figured I'd do my own non scientific comparison. I don't know how long it will last, my guess is about a month or so unless one or both break me out so stay tuned. 

German on the left, Mexican on the right.

Bath & Body Works finally opened a store down town Montréal!

About dang time too! I wonder why it took so long but hey better late than never I guess. Of course on Friday I had to go have a look. Stacey from Expat Make-Up Addict has mentioned their candles so many times that I went with one idea in mind, buy a few! Sadly I came out of the store empty handed. Opening day wasn't a good time to go. When The Face Shop opened a month ago there was a bit of a hoopla but here with Bath & Body Works it was chaos! Below is a quick pic I took and I had chosen Aunumn the white one on the left but had to put it back because there were too many people waiting in line to pay.

Fear not, I shall return and get my candle(s)! :)

For your viewing enjoyment...

Give it to Dior to have great promos! In case you didn't know the iconic brand has revamped it's entire quint collection called 5 Couleurs and they are gorgeous, every single one of them. I've had a bit of a swatch party recently and there are a few I would love to get my hands on but at $61.00 CAD I'll do a bit of thinking before taking the plunge and there is that Guerlain Écrin 4 Couleurs, Les Violines, that I so want! Sara (the Instagram tagger) from Color Me Loud has already reviewed a few and so far I think the one I like the most is Trafalgar reviewed, here.


Have a great week everyone! Hélène xoxo

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Sunday Post, Vol. 31...

It's back to school time...

Fall sadly, is definitely at the door with the weather slightly cooling and kids of all ages getting ready to hit classrooms everywhere. Catherine got her class schedule on Friday and she was pretty happy about the fact that she got the science class she wanted. A few notebooks and a new backpack were all she needed... feww!!! Erm... Of course there are other essentials that will have to be purchased but nothing too crazy.

My posting schedule may become even more erratic due to the fact that something real unpleasant happened today to me personally, it's not work related. Just as I was catching up on blogs and was about to take the time to respond to all your comments of the past two weeks I find myself having to deal with a huge task. Just as I was starting to think things couldn't get any worse they did. Call it remnants of André's passing (for those who don't know read the about me tab). I don't know how I'm going to get through that one but I guess I have no choice in the matter, again.

This week's makeup love...

Well, it's been Laura Mercier Caviar stick in Amethyst all week!!! Love the color which reminds me a little of Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Fatal but with no glitter. It is on the shimmery side and if applied dark can appear metallic but swatching it on your hand is definitely not the same as wearing it. A year ago I wouldn't have looked at it twice but now I'm really glad I took the plunge. I've been wearing it with Bobbi Brown Caviar Ink gel liner and I've even used a little gold from my Illamasqua palette for extra glam... Imagine that, me going metal crazy!

Since I've been doing more of a dark smokey eye look I've been keeping the rest of my face pretty neutral with my faithful Guerlain Terracotta and NARS Dolce Vita for lips.

Fingernails have been happy this week with Dior Glow and I think they will continue to enjoy it for a while since now both my index fingernails are in pretty bad shape. That's the price to pay for wearing colors non stop for two years! :(

What I have my eyes on...

While on the subject of nails, I'm still considering Chanel Le Vernis in Atmosphère for a lite shimmer since I can't really do dark at the moment and I have to admit none of the new nail polish collections are really calling my name. Dior and Chanel are on the boring side for me (except for the one mentioned) and so is YSL. I haven't seen Guerlain and in fact, being a little out of the loop at the moment I don't even know if they have new nail colors for fall. Last year they had the smashing Madame Batifole which I enjoyed a lot with an amazing formula. My guess is once the Back to School craziness is behind me it'll be all about eye shadow palettes and a few lipsticks.

For your viewing enjoyment...

Want the perfect pout? Have a look at this simple NARS tutorial for how to get that perfect red lip or any color for that matter. Using a lip crayon as a base not only gives more depth but also helps with long wear. After Rouge Dior, NARS lipsticks are my favorites (Tolède and Dolce Vita are HG of mine) and they've just launched a new range of fabulous colors called Audacious. I have my eyes on Brigitte and Juliette. They should be available at counters on September 1st and you can see them on NARS' website, here.

Now here's a bit of music for you... I've seen if first on Color Me Loud when Sara reviewed the new Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipsticks and this morning on Kiss & Make-up where Melissa created a beautiful Black & Gold eye look. Never heard of it before and it's been out since 2008, got a Grammy in 2009! After seeing it twice this week it's now stuck in my head! Oh and the dude is Australian. No clue as to why I'd never heard this song before! Read Sara's post, here and Melissa's, here.

Have a great week everyone! Hélène xoxo

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Face Shop, Mango Seed Cleanser and 3 sheet masks...

About five weeks ago a branch of The Face Shop opened at the Eaton Centre in Montréal and I was pretty excited about it, why you ask? Simply because it was new to discover, I knew nothing about the brand! A beauty junkie just had to do what a beauty junky does... try a few offerings!

I purchased a cleanser (I needed a new one) and three sheet masks, these I was really curious about.

Mango Seed Cleansing Foam...

This cleanser was about $12.00 if I remember correctly. In need of a new one I figured why not give it a shot plus, it smelt soooo good in the store.

How does it perform? Ordinary.

This is a weird foaming cleanser. Going from Vichy to this one gave me the opportunity to compare the textures and The Face Shop is kind of gooey and somewhat harder to rinse off than Vichy. On it's own with only my fingers it's not that effective. With a small manual brush it does an ok job but wow does it lather! I barely use a pea size and have to rinse and rinse and rinse... Then there's the tightness! I have combination skin which means my t-zone can be pretty oily and it gets worse when it's hot. The Mango Seed Cleansing Foam made my face feel dry like no other even on my t-zone!

Do I recommend The Face Shop Mango Seed Cleansing Foam? Depends entirely on your tastes and skin type.

On the tube it's described as "A moisturizing cleansing foam that helps eliminate impurities without drying the skin"... One would think it would be good for normal to combination skin but not so if you ask me. In fact I'm not sure I would recommend it for someone with oily skin. Over drying could only mean overproduction of oil. When stripped, the skin overcompensates and this cleanser just might have adverse effects but that's just my opinion based on my experience.

One more note, used on a daily basis this tube will start looking horrible in no time since the information is not printed directly on the plastic but on stickers glued on it.

The Face Shop Mango Seed Cleansing foam will end up in either the shower or in a pump for hands in the kitchen. Sadly it's a no go for me.

The Face Shop Sheet Masks...

As mentioned I purchased three, two of which were $2.00 and the third $4.00. Now I don't remember which one was the most expensive but let's just say, it's not that important.

So far I've used two and I'm not sure I'll be trying the third anytime soon. I didn't like either the "wetness" nor the fact that I had to lie down 12 to 20 minutes with a cold dripping cloth on my face. Now I know why The Face Shop sells extra sheets because it's clear that in each packet you have enough product for two sheet masks.

The Face Shop Blueberry Face Mask...

"This nourishing mask sheet contains blueberry extract with softening properties for younger-looking skin."

Here goes for my first experience... I removed the mask from the pouch quite surprised at how much product/serum was on it. A few seconds after placing it on my face it started dripping in my hair and down my neck. A weird feeling came over me and I realised after a few minutes that I didn't like it. I didn't like the the cold wet sensation, there I said it!

I kept it on as directed, 12 minutes and was I glad to remove it! Then I proceeded to gently massage my skin to get the last of the serum to help it penetrate but after what seemed like too many minutes I went for a tissue. I left my skin as is, not applying any moisturizer over it since I figured it must have gotten enough of that. My face felt slightly sticky and it did so in the morning as well due to the glycerin which is way too high on the ingredients' list if you ask me and then there's the castor oil and yes you do feel it's thickness on the skin, even the next morning!

The Face Shop Firming Mask Sheet...

"Contains black malt extract to improve skin elasticity and clarity"

My second experience... Not much different than the first except maybe it felt a little more greasy and I had to keep it on 20 minutes! This one had less serum in the pouch so it is a one use deal and I didn't like it much either. It felt pretty similar to the Blueberry mask but with a more herbal fragrance.

The Face Shop Red Ginseng...

"This mask sheet contains red ginseng extract to energize and nourish tired skin."

This one I haven't tried! I don't feel like it, not one bit! I used the first two in the same week, the first on Monday and the second on Friday if I remember correctly and by Sunday I had two clog pores and a little pimple on my right upper cheek close to my nose stuck around for days! I almost never break out and as for clog pores, they are a rare occurrence. I still have those two pesky clog pores and they don't seem to want to go away two weeks after using them. Since these masks were the only new thing in my routine I know where these imperfections are coming from.

My skin doesn't like glycerin when it's high on an ingredients' list and as for castor oil, well, given the fact it's highly clogging for many let's just say I tend to stay away from it. Then there's the algae extract in the Firming Mask... Not the best either for some.

The Red Ginseng sheet mask also contains glycerin which comes second and again with the castor oil... Not gonna try it anytime soon. One thing is sure I'll wait for my skin to be completely clear and even then I'm not sure I'll risk it.

With these few purchases I wasn't wowed by The Face Shop which reminds me in a way of Yves Rochers boutiques but with a fewer offerings. I may eventually try other items but for now my curiosity's been satisfied.

Have you tried any skin care or makeup from The Face Shop, if so, what did you think and/or liked?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The PowderPuff Girl Question N° 7...

How important are packaging and presentation when you purchase a lipstick?

For me? Real important! Now of course the formula has to be good otherwise what would be the point? Still a good formula in a meh casing won't last with me, I'll just get bored!

Taking out a good looking lipstick from my purse makes me feel good, it's like a pick me up! Hey my first lipstick ever was a Dior. Most of you are too young to remember but mine was the white with navy details and the color was a frosty bubble gum pink. What can I say, it was in at the time and I was about 19 so I guess it was all good! :)

In July, in one of my Sunday Post I mentioned making my friend purchase Dior Nude Blush #459 Charnelle. Well, as soon as she was done at the cash register she got straight to a mirror with the intention of putting it on right there! Ok I do get that but, and this is the big one, she was about to do it without taking the time, the time to admire the beautiful cannage pattern on the casing and the stunning bullet adorned with the iconic CD!!!

I'm sorry but I just had to STOP her!

I know my reaction made her smile inside but what can I say, a new beautiful lipstick brings me such pleasure that I guess I wanted her to start feeling the same. You see we're all just so busy doing and buying things for others (I'm looking at you Catherine!), the way I see it, getting a new beautiful lipstick is for us, just for us. A little tiny moment of joy that can be replicated every time we put in on and I don't think it's a beauty blogger thing since I've always felt like this.

Oh and by the way, there are some beautiful options at the drugstore so this is not about price, not one bit. I just happen to mention Dior because of that first purchase and I guess you could say it's been a long lasting love affair that was reignited last year, the formula being as good as ever.

So, do you take the time to admire that new lipstick or are you the type to just pay and rush to a mirror to put it on? Now I know many of you are beauty bloggers and so do wait to take pictures before having a go but if you were not, what kind of "new lipstick buyer" would you be?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Sunday Post, Vol. 30...

The return of my makeup mojo...

I think it's coming back! I really do!!!

Super boring makeup summer that's what it was for me! I think this was mainly due to the bad day job schedule I had combined with my waking up in the middle of the night at least two to three times a week. I chose the easy makeup route most mornings which was fine but hey, boring!

Work schedule is finally easier to live with so I'll keep my fingers crossed for the insomnia. Since I'll be home most nights by 6 pm, I should be able to do some blogging in the evening once I get used to the new hours... I hope. I feel like I've been out of it for a while with not much social media presence but I'll sure try to catch up.

I'll also be able to keep up with your comments, thank you so much for hanging in there you have no idea how much your feedback is appreciated.

This week's makeup love are all blurred up with my new additions...

I played with my new Illamasqua palette (see below), wore a new purplish/pinkish lipstick and went to work with no eyeliner on Thursday! By mid day I felt like I looked like death! I guess that's what happens when going from black to nothing! On Friday I brought out my beloved L'Oréal Infaillible liner in Slate and felt oh so much better! By the way, sorry about how weird the picture above looks but I had no time to redo it and noticed too late my hand showing in the mirror of the NARS duo.

New additions...

Illamasqua is leaving the North American market! Almost one year to the day the brand was introduced at The Bay (Canadian retail stores) it's calling it quits! Sad but in a way I'm not surprised since there weren't that many special events or promotions. In Montréal it was located in a nice looking boutique but in a corner, in front of Armani next to YSL. A quiet spot, a little out of the way which for a brand that isn't that well known is kind of a recipe for doom. Last week everything went down price wise, 25% off! I just had to take advantage of the markdown and so got a palette, lipstick, a mono eye shadow and went back the next day for a nail polish.

I finally got the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst I'd been coveting for so long. Hey at $34.00 a pop it did take some thinking about it. It's love! It's the perfect little boost for my green eyes. Combined with my beloved Diorshow mono in Velvet and Slate eyeliner it produces a great polished daytime look.

Yesterday I went shopping with Catherine and of course I just had to stop by Sephora, again... and as I was planning on getting a Dior Glow lip balm I was side tracked by the new Nail Glow...

Guys, you have to get one! Stat!

These past two weeks I've been getting a little lazy with my mani and there's also my left index that seems to have a hard time to get back to its normal strong self which means that I'd been using an illuminating base coat from Nicole by O.P.I. It was ok but the finish, being a base coat wasn't that shiny. Dior Nail Glow is Da Bomb! One coat, high illuminating shine... It's the perfect every day finish for when you don't feel like color, really it is!

What I have my eyes on... 

I'm still undecided about Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush... I swatched it... again... I'm not seeing it! Am I missing something, will I regret not getting it?

I'm not a blush person, I find them pretty but honestly I've always gotten away with a few colors. Coral, pink and wine have done good by me for everyday but for some reason that Dior Rosy Glow is calling my name but every time I swatch it I'm like, really? It's soooo lite and almost feels powdery. I almost purchased it yesterday, almost!

So tell me, should I, really???

For your viewing enjoyment...

Dior does it again! Talk about timeless beauty, that lady Robert Pattinson dances with is a Babe! I can only hope to look that happy at that age, hey I can only hope to get to that age! Getting older isn't fun but we have to make the best of it! I don't own a car which means I walk a lot and I know it keeps me in reasonable shape and I sure am not planning on not curling my lashes anytime soon! Not having André to tell me I'm beautiful and loved everyday for the past year and a half has been hard, real hard but in a way I've always taken pride in my appearance for me, to feel good about myself.

Aches and pains are starting to be more of a regular occurrence, neck is starting to fall and don't get me started about my eyelids... Still, I don't intend on looking like I'm letting myself go nor do I plan on starting to try to look like a 20 yrs old. Taking public transportation I see women of every ages and so many look drab and sad that it makes me want to get up and give them a makeover on the spot while others look fantastic!

The way I see it, it's not a money thing, it's a willing thing.

And speaking about timeless beauty, go have a look at The Beauty +, the new baby of Jane / British Beauty Blogger celebrating the "getting older" thing. Yes it is a thing and whether you consider it good or bad, well, that depends entirely on you. Since we have no say in the matter, might as well make the best of it.

Have a great week everyone! Hélène xoxo

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Summer Roses...

Last spring I wrote a post, Searching For The Perfect Rose, here, and while I'm still strongly considering Rose de Chloé, I've fallen hard for Serge Lutens La fille de Berlin, a brilliant mix of rose and pepper which makes it oh so not Innocent! Yes I liked it even more than Sa Majesté La Rose but if I could I would get all three, really I would!

*Le Sigh*

So, while getting even one of these wasn't an option this summer I was still on the lookout for rosy scents. My first find was a candle I purchased for myself for Mother's Day...

Voluspa Yuzu Rose Stonecrop...

The first word that comes to my mind to describe this rose is capiteuse... Ok so it's in French and I actually had to look for the translation because this adjective has never crossed my mind in the few fragrances reviews I've written so far... Capiteuse means, heady/intoxicating...

What's surprising is that none of it's components hint to this. It's a smart mixture of yuzu (Korean citrus fruit), Tuscan roses, stonecrop (this I had to look up and recognised as sedum which if my memory serves me right isn't very fragrant but I guess this is what gives it it's faint "greenness"), lavender and tart white strawberries.

One would think these elements would create a somewhat old school fragrance but no, the result is a rich aroma. This rose is warm and beautiful and I've been falling asleep every night with her. The throw is perfect and I've even tried some spilled wax on my wrists. Beautiful!

Made of a coconut wax blend with a 100% cotton wick, it burns slowly and evenly. Honestly, some nights I don't even light it and still enjoy the scent. Like I said, I've been falling asleep with her.

Roger & Gallet Rose Eau douce parfumée (Gentle fragrant water)...

I stumbled upon a small size of this a few weeks back and it's truly perfect for my summer rose fix! Fresh rosy goodness that's what it is! Simple, no beating around the rose bush to figure out it's components. If you want to wrap yourself in a fluffy pink cloud this is one to consider!

From Fragrantica: mandarin and rose petals at the top, Nepal rose, peony and white flowers in the heart, almond and warm amber keeping the base warm.

I personally don't really get the almond and warm amber but the mandarin, Nepal rose and peony are sure making me happy every time I spray this little baby on. It's sillage is on the soft side and it lasts about four to six hours on my skin which is just fine by me for a summer fragrance. Very affordable the small size, 30 ml, was just under $20.00 but do note this is likely a promotional size. I don't know if I'll purchase the larger one once I'm done because the prospect of getting one of my top three is quite strong. :)

What smelly goodness have you been enjoying this summer so far?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The PowderPuff Question N°6...

OT but then just know that the PowderPuff Girl question can be so...

Last night as I was unplugging the dishwasher Catherine yelled, "Mom, Robin Williams is dead!"

I felt numb! Speechless!

I dropped everything and went for the TV and switched to CNN.

It was true, confirmed, the greatest comic of his generation was gone due to depression. I felt sad, very sad!

For me personally this is the first time since André's death that I'm so touched and troubled. No I never met Robin Williams, almost did once but for some reason let go of that opportunity. He spoke French! He was a gracious, polite and well spoken man. I liked him and so did André... a lot! He was one of the few actors he would agree to watch in English. You see André could be rather lazy when watching a movie, preferring dubbed versions in French to my great despair. Maybe they will meet... up there in heaven.

One of André's favorite movies, What Dreams May Come (1998) in which Williams plays a man who "wakes up" in heaven... I must admit this movie I've only seen once. For some reason it spoke to me too loudly.

My favorite Robin Williams movie? I have none I like more than the other, truly! In fact what I liked the most were his interviews. Some may have been prepared by him but the reactions of the interviewers were priceless. I can only imagine what a movie set felt like when he was present.

First sight of heaven? From What Dreams May come.

Catherine's favorite Robin Williams movie, Jumanji (1995)

Aladdin (1992) Yes Genie, you're free!

Nanu Nanu

Thank you for your comedic genius, for the laughter, for the movies. I can only hope that some will wake up and take a second look at their loved ones who may be battling depression. To think there is still a stigma attached to this is beyond me.

Tonight's program, Jumanji with Catherine in our pyjamas and yes, we will have ice cream!

Do you have a favorite Robin Williams movie? If so, which is it?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Sunday Post, Vol. 29...

Warning, this is a long one! Better go grab another cup of coffee or tea and make yourself comfortable! :)

Oh how I needed this little break...

My lazy week is almost done and so it's back to work tomorrow... We didn't go anywhere and that was fine by me. It was a slow moving week during which I did a little house cleaning, a little blogging, a little makeup experimenting, went to the movies, to the museum and... we had haircuts!

Wednesday I took my girl to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for a special treat! Fabergé*! This was her first visit to the museum where I spent so much time while at university and for the life of me I don't know why it took so long for me to take her. It was also her first viewing of a themed exhibit and what a delight!

Fabulous Fabergé Jeweller to the Czars**...

One quick note, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the museum aloud visitors to photograph these wonderful artworks. This was a first for me because back in the day it was strongly forbidden. I felt weird using my phone and took most of the pictures in haste, I almost felt like a thief.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fabergé and his workshop, know that it's history is intrinsically linked with that of the Russian Imperial family, notably tsar Alexander III and his son Nicholas II and as the Russian Revolution ended the Romanovs rule it also took possession of the Fabergé house. The eggs are its most famous creations but Fabergé also created fabulous jewellery as well as numerous every day items all worthy of any royal family. From silverware, glassware, playing cards boxes to cigarette cases all adorned with pearls, precious stones, gold and silver often deposited on a beautifully colored enamel support.

Here is a stunning example with a beautiful Compote...

Compote (about 1914-1917)
Fabergé workshop, Moscow
Silver, cut glass

The Tsarevich Egg was probably Catherine's favorite piece and notice on the background of the picture... That's her! This was not planned and when she saw it she was a little annoyed but she agreed to let me show it to you. Notice how her cheek is glued to the audio-guide. I love it!

The story behind this egg is quite touching. Alexei the young prince, was born with hemophilia and so was practically kept in a bubble preventing him from playing like any regular boy would and it was thought he would die from it. Once, everyone believed his final hour had come and so a death certificate was drawn. Fabergé who was one of the few aware of the tsarevich' condition, created the egg for Czarina Alexandra Fyodorovna to commemorate the miracle of her son's survival.

Each Fabergé Egg contains a surprise and below you can see the Tsarevich Egg's surprise, a miniature frame with a picture of the young Alexei at age 9.

Henrik Wigstorm (workmaster)
Lapis lazuli, gold, diamonds
Surprise: platinum, lapis lazuli, diamonds, rock crystal, watercolor, ivory

One of my favorite pieces, the Elephant Box which had such lovely details and notice the soft rounded lines. What struck me here is the trunk of the animal, it's down. This is something we rarely see since usually elephants are represented with their trunks up, to bring one good luck. Given the fate of the imperial family who was murdered in Yekaterinburg in 1919... I don't want to give objects special powers but it's what popped into my mind when I saw it.

Elephant Box, (before 1899)
Mikhail Perkhin (workmaster)
Nephrite, ivory, gold, silver, rubies and diamonds

Here is my ultimate favorite piece, the Pelican Egg. Most Fabergé eggs open to reveal a surprise which can be displayed next to it. Here the egg opens up to reveal a series of height miniature oval frames which can be seen below. Looking at the egg up close it's hard to see where it opens. The smoothness of the surface and the intricate details are so perfect that I just couldn't figure it out and believe me I looked at it and looked at it...

Pelican Egg (1898)
Mikhail Perkhin (workmaster)
Johannes Zehngraf (miniatures)
Gold, diamonds, enamel, pearls, ivory, watercolor, glass

Adorned with a beautiful miniature Pelican feeding it's young the surprise is these beautiful miniatures on ivory of the different orphanages or schools for which Dowager Impress Maria Fedorovna was a patroness.

Of course there was the mandatory exhibit related merchandise in a specially set up boutique with lovely offerings. Below is what I would have loved to get had there been a more affordable option...

 Beautiful Matryoshka dolls and yes, the price was $985.00! :(

I had a great evening with my girl and after our museum visit I took her to Dunn's a Montréal landmark for a smoked meat sandwish... She had a burger! Sacrilege! Oh well, maybe if I take her to Reuben's next time she'll cave in. :)

If ever you visit Montréal this is a must stop, really it is!

Catherine and I had haircuts on Thursday! We both went from mid back to shoulder length!

Cat looks absolutely gorgeous! I'd been wanting this style for her for the longest time (almost two years I think) and finally this week she agreed! No more crooked pony tails that in a way made her look bland. Now she looks like a beautiful polished 15 yrs old girl. I'm very proud of the fact that she's self assured and confident which shows in her walk. Quite surprising in a girl her age but I guess she gets that from her dad. He would have been so proud seeing her with what he would have called "les petits cheveux" (short hair).

As for me, I wanted a longish bob but it turned out shorter than I expected. I honestly feel a little lost without my long mane but since I had a lot of breakage it's all good and it will grow back. I was blessed with thick strong hair that grows fast (I do my hair color every three weeks!) so it should look the way I want by mid October. Since the weather was capricious on that day (rain, sun, rain...) I decided to embrace the curls and my hairdresser showed me how to go natural without the frizz. I loved it so I intend to repeat. I posted a selfie on Inatagram, here. When I showed the picture to Catherine she said I was becoming a selfie addict... I think not. It was just to give you an idea of the hair. :)

New hair, new makeup...

To go with the easy looking curly hair I've decided to try a "no makeup makeup look" that actually takes me five minutes to do!!! I had the hardest time yesterday taking pictures. I don't know what's wrong with me but I can't seem to be able to get the correct colors. Both the Bobbi Brown palette and Tarte blush are lighter in real life.

Base is with my Dior BB, Rimmel concealer, The Body Shop's Honey bronzer in 02, NARS Laguna bronzer and Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty. For the eyes from Bobby Brown Navy & Nude palette I use Twilight Pink on the lids define the outer corners with Slate and use Cement on upper lids (you can see this will likely be a repurchase) you can see these colors in a better light, here. Two coats of mascara, done! No liner!!!

I went from a thick line of black last week to no liner these past few days!!! I think I'm loosing my marbles but I like it, I really like it!

Oh and NARS Dolce Vita on the lips!

For your viewing enjoyment...

A better look at some of the Fabergé pieces Catherine and I were able to admire with a little historical background. I didn't post any pictures of it but we did get to see the Red Cross Egg with the miniatures of the grand duchesses. Catherine liked that one a lot once I made her notice the beauty of the finish. I also have more pictures on Instagram, posted just before the hair cut. :)

Tomorrow, back to work! *Le Sigh* Oh well, at least now I'll have a more normal schedule which will make a world of difference. 

Have a great week everyone! Hélène xoxo

*To know more, Fabergé.com and Wikipedia here and here.
**About the exhibit, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Maybelline Color Tattoo® Leather Eyeshadows...

The first Color Tattoos were way too shimmery for my taste, the matte were to stiff, hard to swatch and didn't seem very smooth so I passed despite the hype.

These I figured just might have the right texture so...

...Yes I went for them and purchased three!

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Creamy Beige 80, Deep Forest 85 and Vintage Plum 90...

This was almost an act of faith since there were no testers and I hadn't read any reviews (only saw pictures on Instagram), but the colors just seemed so right. I first purchased Vintage Plum and before even trying it on, the next day went back for Creamy Beige and Deep Forest.

The textures... Both Vintage Plum and Deep Forest feel slightly dry and take some getting used to to work with but Creamy Beige is just dreamy! Creamy as it's name states it goes on easily and truly has that gel like texture as advertised.

Long wear... Over NARS Pro-Prime reviewed here, they all stay put all day with no creasing but do note I didn't try them on their own.

One more thing that's to be noted, I tried a powder shadow over Creamy Beige and it was a little hard to smudge properly. I wanted to deepen it with a dark blue and although the final result was ok it wasn't as flawless as I would have liked. Next I'll try with Diorshow Fusion Mono Matte in Nocturne reviewed, here, which I haven't used much to be honest but I think they should work well together for a classic look with liner.

Here is yet another lame attempt at swatches...

Indoor on the left and in the sun on the right. I think you can get an idea of how both Antique Plum and Forest Green appear a little dry compared to Creamy Beige which shows a faint shimmer. Now of course it will look different on the eyes since on my arm I swatched them over a little foundation. So far I haven't tried them with a brush preferring my fingers. In fact, I'm not sure a brush would work well with Antique Plum and Forest Green because they seem to go on more easily warmed up a little, almost like a stiff concealer.

Do I recommend Maybelline Color Tattoos Leather? Yes.

These for the price are pretty good, especially Creamy Beige. Both Antique Plum and Forest Green require a little more practice to appear smooth but I can work with them and although I haven't purchased any of Maybelline's Color Tattoos from the matte line having only swatched in stores (of course those may have felt dry due to the constant opening of containers), I do think the Leather formula looks more natural, less cakey.

Tempting but I will not compare these to the easy almost buttery texture of Laura Mercier Cariar sticks (I own Khaki reviewed, here) although Creamy Beige is almost there. LM go for $34.00 a pop while Maybelline Color Tattoos are around $10.00 each. That's a third of the price and I have no idea how long I'll be able to use them for I'm sure they will dry up over time but I guess I should be ok using them coming up fall and winter. I give them about a year which is fine for such a cheap thrill. :)

There are two more colors available, Chocolate Suede 95 a deep warm brown with gold specs (for some reason I think that one will have a texture similar to Creamy Beige) and Dramatic Black 100 which appeared similar to the Dior I already own.

Have you tried any of the Maybelline Color Tattoos yet? If so, what did you think?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The PowderPuff Girl Question N°5...

Today I thought I was gonna be a rebel and go makeupless! I got up at 8:00, had a café au lait, relaxed and at 10:30 what was I doing you ask? Putting on makeup! 

I realised I had some experimenting to do with products I recently purchased and since this week I have time I figured why not. 

Ok so this was for blogging duties but honestly, I'm not sure I would have resisted the urge... seems it's like an addiction!

Somehow I just don't feel right without my liner, mascara, bronzer, lippie.... Below is an example of a minimal face for me although I can easily skip the blush since I use my Terracotta and would probably switch the Laura Mercier Caviar stick for a powder neutral eyeshadow which is faster to apply.

So, are you one of those sirens who can go out without a smidgen of makeup? I mean nothin', nada except maybe lip balm. 

Or are you like me, unable to go about your day without a few staples?

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