Saturday, September 28, 2013

CHANEL Rouge Allure Velvet Lip Color in La Câline review + swatches

           As the autumn chill descends upon the windy city, I've been reaching for the richer, thicker garments in my wardrobe, à la woolen knits and fleece. Likewise, I've been favoring richer lip textures to complement my toasty togs, like Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet lip color in La Câline!

            If my French serves me correctly, La Câline translates to 'The Cuddly'. It's a rather fitting descriptor for a velvet finish lip color, don't you think? The muted red-pink lays down rich pigment in one swipe and has a soft matte finish, as suggested by its 'velvet' texture.


          CHANEL Rouge Allure Velvet in La Câline is a warm, muted reddish pink. I've drawn up some comparison swatches to give you a better idea of the nuances in CHANEL Rouge Allure Velvet in La Câline. It's worth noting the swatches may be a bit darker in person. Too Faced Cinnamon Kiss (see all Too Faced La Creme swatches here) is the most similar, although it's glossy and brighter in tone. Bobbi Brown Brownie Lip Color is similar in intensity, but much browner. Bobbi Brown Blondie Pink Lip Color is lighter, more beige, and less red-pink. Finally, NARS Dolce Vita lipstick (reviewed here) is sheerer and less red-pink than La Câline.

          CHANEL Rouge Allure Velvet in La Câline is a beautiful basic color to tint your lips in cool weather . I'm thinking it's going to fit in well with my 'cuddly' sweaters in the upcoming months! I really enjoy the finish of the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet formula; I only wish it was available in more colors, especially those on the lighter end of the spectrum!

         Thanks for reading! Have you tried any colors from the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet line? What pieces from Chanel Beauty have you been loving lately?

Love, Dovey.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Diptyque Philosykos Eau de Toilette review

          When I was but a sapling, my family and I lived in the heat of California's San Joaquin valley. Known for its fertile soil and bountiful sun, the valley is home to thousands of acres of fig trees, with their gnarled, twisting branches reaching upwards and outwards like giant parasols shading the valley floor. Historically, the trees were brought to California and planted in small numbers by settlers during the gold rush. With the introduction of caprification (a method of artificially pollinating fig trees) in the late 1890s, the fig industry in California exploded! Today the overwhelming majority of US-grown figs originate from the San Joaquin valley. The trees thrive in the dry 104 degree summers, perfectly adapted to the heated climates that supported ancient civilizations.

         Though I've since moved from the fig center of the United States, cartons of fresh figs are always on my grocery list when in season. However, I realize that in modern times, many have never experienced the cool pleasure of a fresh fig. While the readily available Fig Newtons do have their own classically delicious charm, the real experience is quite different. Herein lies the beauty of Diptyque Philosykos; it is a perfume that evokes the fruit of Ficus carica as enjoyed by the ancients, for the pleasure of the modern day palate!

Mr. Lovey spotted this little fig tree on our recent trip to the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden!
          The story of Diptyque Philosykos is that of the cool, milky fig amidst an airy rustle of leaves and the slight warmth of dry wood. The scent opens with the exhalation of a light green curtain of leaves shielding our moist fig from the scorching sun. Fig is absolutely central to Philosykos; its green, earthy, and milky tones are all beautifully intertwined within the composition. One can even appreciate the nuttiness of the seeds that are an archetypal trait of the fruit. Coconut water adds just the right touch, adding the feel of delicate dusty skin that just a slip of a finger will crease. Over time, as the scent 'ripens', the fig dries down to a more fibrous green fragrance. It becomes slightly sweeter and more jammy (perhaps a la 'Newton). A soft dry wood buoys the base.

          I've noticed that some reviews have overemphasized a supposed sense of 'cool/moist soil/bark/earth' of a figurative fig grove in Diptyque Philosykos. Much to the contrary, I found Philosykos to be a remarkably fig  fruit-centric scent, with only a soft contribution from the tree itself. (Not to mention, the oft-described cool, damp forest is biologically incongruous with the hot, dry habitat of Ficus carica.) While the aforementioned scent signatures are present, the 'cool earthiness' of Philoskyos belongs to the fig fruit itself, not its arboreal mother!

         In Diptyque Philosykos, we experience a pendulous fig magically alight amongst broad leaves: a cool oasis sublimated by the efforts of a scorching sun. It's a simple delight that transcends time. One bite (or rather one spritz) of this sweet milky fruit transports me back to the sunbaked California valley of my childhood and even further, back across the timeless generations to cradle of life where figs were first savored by human lips.

       The beautifully crafted fragrance in Diptyque Philosykos is wonderful for fig aficionadas like myself, and also an intriguing scent to those yet unfamiliar with the unique flavor of the fig. As Philoskykos is among the more 'simple' delights in Diptyque's lineup, it's a great starting point for those looking to explore Diptyque perfumes!

       Thanks for reading! What Diptyque perfumes or products have you tried recently? Do you have any favorites? Have you ever tried fresh figs?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. For more of my Diptyque reviews, take a steamship voyage with Diptyque Volutes, roam the exotic jungles of Diptyque Eau Moheli, and take a break in a cool cafe with Diptyque Eau Duelle.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A few of my favorite things - September 2013

        It's been a perfect confluence of seasons here in Chicago; I've been soaking up summer in the skyline-piercing midday sunshine and feeling fall in the cool Lake Michigan breeze. Transitional months are always a fun time to people-watch; some reach for sandals, while others can't wait to don sweaters. Personally, I like to revel in a mix! Today I'm sharing seven of my favorite pieces this September; they're all quite versatile and perfect for the changing seasons!

1. J.Crew classic link bracelet - This classic piece of J.Crew jewelry adds a little oomph to monochrome ensembles. Look closely and you can appreciate the unique asymmetric detailing in each link! I've been sporting this bold gold bracelet with anything from my casual J.Crew Kiss Kiss tee to my creme colored Tippi knit.

J.Crew Classic Link Bracelet
2. CHANEL Double Perfection Lumière foundation in B20 - My love affair with this foundation is still going strong. It's quick to use and provides the perfect finish! With healthy skin, a dusting of powder is all I really need.

3. Butter London Tea with the Queen nail lacquer - Nude pinks fall in my 'signature shade' category, and this is one of my favorites.

4. Butter London Pink Ribbon nail lacquer - I always feel chic with a coat of sheer pink!

5. My MAC palette - I love popping and swapping colors in and out of my MAC palette. My current color selection includes Vex, Satin Taupe, Electra, and Concrete. Each shade is gorgeous alone or custom blended with another!

6. NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia - This gorgeous coppery brown is my go-to everyday eyeliner. It has a glowy warmth that works in summer as well as fall. Check out my comparison swatches here.

7. Georges Seurat 'A Sunday on La Grande Jatte' notebook - I love collecting cute notebooks and stationery. This little notebook was a gem of a find while discount hunting; the Seurat painting on the cover is a quintessential piece from Chicago's Art Institute! My La Grande Jatte journal is the perfect place to jot down Inspired by Art ideas during my museum trips!

On top of my Georges Seurat 'A Sunday on La Grande Jatte' journal, clockwise from top: MAC Vex, MAC Satin Taupe, MAC Concrete, and MAC Electra.
        September is one of the most beautiful times of the year --- I almost feel as if I'm living out the idyllic scene in Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte! With complementary conditions marking the transition to fall, I continue to be inspired by glowy shadows, natural pinks, and beautiful art. It's a very 'me' kind of combination!

        Thanks for reading! What colors and accessories have inspired you this month?

Love, Dovey.

Monday, September 2, 2013

MAKE UP FOR EVER Artisan Brush Collection 2013 (#102, #106, #132, #148, #214, #236, #244, #258, #302, #412) review + photos

          By now, most of you know that art has been a longtime passion of mine that both fuels and complements my passion for beauty. Whether in the form of my original Inspired by Art series, the smatterings of my own artistic creations (see one here), or even in my photography, my love for art touches every aspect of Cute and Mundane! Although all beauty products contain the spark of art, every so often I find a product that truly encapsulates this ever-present dichotomy of spirit. Among these, the MAKE UP FOR EVER Artisan Brush Collection really stands out!

          When it comes to painting, different media require completely different sets of brushes. Water and oil don't mix, and neither do watercolor brushes and oil paint!  Similarly, the myriad textures and compositions found in makeup require specific and specialized applicators. The brand new MAKE UP FOR EVER Artisan Brush Collection does an amazing job of addressing the needs of both beauty enthusiasts and professionals with seventy-six well-crafted tools. It's worth mentioning that the dark wood-grain handles evoke the feel of actual artists' paintbrushes!

          The coolest part of the MAKE UP FOR EVER Artisan Brush Collection is that all the bristles are specially designed synthetics. These innovative bristles come in a variety of combinations of diameters and textures: thick, thin, wavy and straight. The variations in texture mimic natural fibers, giving much more versatility than your typical straight synthetics. As an animal lover, I try to stick to synthetics as much as possible. Plus, I find that they're more hygienic and better at enduring the rigors of vigorous washing.

          The MAKE UP FOR EVER 100 series consists of complexion brushes. The #102 Foundation Kabuki Small ($36) has a full head and picks up both powders and liquids well. It's great for working bases around the nose or other delicate features that larger brushes might miss. #106 Foundation Brush Medium ($36) is your basic paddle-shaped foundation brush with straight fibers. #132 Powder Flat Kabuki ($55) is a unique flat brush with very supple wavy fibers. It's great for a sheer dusting of powder. #148 Blending Blush Brush ($55) (seen in first photo only) is a duo fiber with both long straight and short wavy bristles meant for use with cream products. It's soft and bendy and excels at light application.

          The MAKE UP FOR EVER 200 series consists of eye brushes. The #214 Precision Crease Brush Small ($25) has bendy straight fibers that are good for precision work or for those of us with small creases or lids. I find it really handy. #236 Precision Blender Brush Large ($31) is a full dome-shaped brush made up of wavy fibers. It's my favorite of the bunch and works incredibly well for depositing even amounts of eyeshadow over large areas. I want one in every size! #244 Precision Shader Brush Large ($31) is a flat paddle with straight fibers that works well for depositing more color. #258 Precision Eyeliner Brush Large ($24) has a small short paddle-shaped head that's similar in concept to Bobbi Brown's Ultra Fine eyeliner brush. You can apply liner using the thin or thick edge depending on the desired line.

          The MAKE UP FOR EVER 300 and 400 series consist of lip and artistic specialty brushes, respectively. The #302 Precision Lip Brush ($21) is a small flat brush that can deposit lip color precisely. #412 Paint Brush, Medium ($43) is a pro-artist's brush that can be used to deposit creams and liquids on large areas of the body. It looks a lot like a paintbrush, and it's a fun addition to my brush collection.

           The MAKE UP FOR EVER Artisan Brush collection pleases both the artist and aesthete in me! I love the gorgeous dark design, the great performance, and wide variety of brushes in this collection, especially in a landscape where high-end synthetic bristles are hard to find. I'm particularly fond of the innovative 'wavy' synthetic bristles and the quality of the eye brushes.

           My favorite brushes from my set are #214, #246, and #132. The #214 Precision Crease Brush is wonderfully convenient for working on a smaller lid space. The #236 Precision Large Blender Brush Large is my favorite brush of the bunch. As mentioned above, it deposits shadow smoothly and quickly over a large area. I've been using it in lieu of a typical eyeshadow brush. The #132 Powder Flat Kabuki is a fun, unique brush. It's great for when I want a sheer layer of finishing powder.

           I can't wait until the full collection launches at Sephora and MAKE UP FOR EVER boutiques in September 2013. There are a few brushes I'd love to add to my collection! Thanks for reading! Which brushes stand out to you? Are you planning on exploring the collection in stores?

Love, Dovey.
Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own.