Browsing Tag

Holiday 2015

Lips Tom Ford Beauty

Tom Ford Lips and Boys Preview Event + Beauty Look Book Picks

December 28, 2015

Tom Ford Beauty launched 25 new shades of Lips and Boys Lip Colors ($35 each) alongside 25 re-promoted colors from last year. I was fortunate to attend a preview event with my friend Rae from the RaeViewer last month at the boutique in Beverly Hills. If you haven’t visited the store before and are ever in the area I recommend stopping by – it’s beautiful inside! At the event there were small displays of lipstick testers scattered throughout the store. Rae and I had the best time searching the store for the new shades. At the event I picked out 6 colors (3 were gifted) – it was hard not to buy the remaining colors because they were all stunning! I did a bit of research over the next week and ordered 6 more. In total I’ve ended up with 12 of the new shades and am beyond thrilled with them.

First a few thoughts, impressions and more preview pictures of the store event. The 25 new shades launched this year all seem more shimmery compared to last year’s launch. Most have a smooth shimmer, a few had sparkly chunks (some of the deeper brights). Out of all the ones that caught my eye, only one is a cream (Austin). The finish of the shimmers is smooth and creamy. Smooth like the Lip Sheers but with more pigment and color payoff. The good news is all the colors are permanent!

Repromoted shades include (swatches of my last year’s picks here):

Addison, Alejandro, Beau, Cary, Collin, Flynn, Giacomo, Guillermo, Henry, Holden, Ian, James, Julian, Justin, Leonardo, Liam, Luciano, Michael, Pablo, Patrick, Rafael, Richard, Starvos, Wes, Xavier

Newly launched colors are:

Alex, Ansel, Austin, Daniel, David, Demsey, Derek, Drake, Eddie, Egon, Eric, Hiro, Jake, Jay, Joaquin, Jude, Kingston, Louis, Malik, Roberto, Rocco, Roman, Theo, Tony, Vladimir

A few more snapshots of the beautiful store, could an evening of playing with lipstick, champagne and small bites be more fun?

My picks, mostly neutrals of course with a couple brighter shades. Left to right below is Ansel, Austin, Daniel, Demsey, Drake, Eddie, Egon, Eric, Jake, Jude, Malik and Vladimir.

Descriptions of each of the colors and then a few close ups:

  • Ansel is a shimmering bright but neutral pink
  • Austin is a creamy nude pink (lighter than Addison/Pink Dusk)
  • Daniel is a mauve neutral shimmer
  • Demsey is a warm peachy shimmer (less frost and more peach compared to William/Sweet Mystery)
  • Drake is a shimmering cool mauve plum with silver shimmer
  • Eddie is a neutral beige shimmer
  • Egon is a cool beige shimmer
  • Eric is a medium warm rose, on me it pulls very warm
  • Jake is a medium rosy shimmer pink
  • Jude is a cool-toned light baby pink
  • Malik is a complex mauve pink with gold shimmer
  • Vladimir is a cool taupe nude shimmer
A few more close ups and swatches:

For skintone reference, I’m wear Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation in Bisque 4 (swatches of all colors here, review + comparisons of shade 4 here):

In case you’re wondering how the new neutrals compare to other colors, I pulled some other Tom Ford shades to compare by color grouping. There are a couple repeats in some sets. Many of these I’ve swatched before. I’ll link the previous reviews where applicable for reference. Below are six sets of comparison swatches.

My desktop clutter:


Lips and Boys in Peter was discontinued but replaced with Lip Color in Sweet Mystery
Lips and Boys in Orlando was discontinued








As a huge fan of Tom Ford lip colors in general, I’m smitten with the new colors. I think for the neutrals there’s a lot to love. I like that there are new neutrals that aren’t repeats of other existing colors. I didn’t pay too much attention to the deeper shades or brights but from what I remember swatching in the store – there is a lot that looks different from last year’s launch. From this year’s new batch of colors, my top picks:


The Lips and Boys launched this year are permanent so the good news is there’s no rush to run out and purchase a color for fear it will sell out. They retail for $35 each, or you can find some colors in the 10 Piece Set for $350 or all 50 Shades in a set for $1,950. Available at Tom Ford Boutiques and counters. Online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s.

Did you pick up any of the new shades this year?

Three of the Lips and Boys shades featured were gifted, the remaining purchased by me.


Byredo La Sélection Parfum Set – Holiday Discovery Collection

December 26, 2015

For Christmas, I had the Byredo La Sélection Parfum Set ($145) on my wishlist so my husband ordered it for me as a gift this year. I’m one who adores exploring new perfumes and I’ve had so many from Byredo on my wishlist but it takes me forever to use up an entire bottle and I switch things up frequently so this little set is the perfect way for me to enjoy a lot all at once. This set comes with six fragrances all 12 ml/0.4 fl oz each (made in France). These are the same size vials as the Travel Spray Trios ($110), so I consider the set a value.

There have been other discovery sets launched from Byredo but I don’t believe they had spritzers. I adore perfume sets because they allow you to try a lot of different scents over time, but the downside of some is that they don’t come with a pump to spritz. I’m one who doesn’t like to dab – I find it gets messy. The set comes in a beautiful white box. The presentation is clean, crisp and just stunning in its simplicity.

There are six scents in this set. I’ve owned Black Saffron and Gypsy Water in the full size bottles before and the Bal D’Afrique in a rollerball version:
  • Blanche is like fresh clean linen floral to me. It’s a lightweight white floral that has a slight powdery feel. This one is hit or miss with the fragrance for me, sometimes it feels too powdery. I really like it in the Hand Cream and have been tempted by it in the roll-on oil version. Now that I have the spray it will give me some time to test.
    • Top notes: white rose, pink pepper, aldehyde. Middle notes: violet, neroli, peony. Base notes: blonde woods, sandalwood, musk.
  • La Tulipe is another fresh spring floral. It also has a very clean feel with noticeable freesia notes. It has a similar vibe to Blanche, but La Tulipe is more floral feeling.
    • Top notes: rhubarb, cyclamen, freesia. Middle notes: tulip. Base notes: blonde woods, vetiver.
  • Bal D’Afrique is amazing, it’s a sweet mix of musk, violet, amber, cedar and smells like it has a hint of peach. I have this in the roll on oil and have been spritzing this since I got the set. I like this one so much, I indulged in the Body Cream (review soon).
    • Top notes: bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, bucchu. Middle notes: violet, jasmine petals, cyclamen. Base notes: black amber, musk, vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood.
  • Gypsy Water is one I had a few years ago. It’s the most amazing mix of sweet vanilla, berries and sandalwood. It gave me a horrible migrane if I didn’t spray it just right  – I found I had to spritz it in a very fine mist. I’m going to give it another go – I’ve since acquired some sample minis from a few visits to the counter and tried them. They seemed to be ok, I’ll report back.
    • Top notes: bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper berries. Middle notes: incense, pine needles, orris. Base notes: amber, vanilla, sandalwood.
  • Black Saffron is one I own in the full size. It’s my favorite berry fragrance. Review here.
    • Top notes: pomelo, saffron, juniper berry. Middle notes: black violet, accord cuir, cristal rose. Base notes: blonde woods, raspberry, vetiver.
  • Oud Immortel is the one I thought I tried at the counter and hated. I must have mixed it up with a different one because I just spritzed this one and it reminds me of Tom Ford Oud Wood and Jo Malone Oud and Bergamot, both of which I had and adored as unisex scents. My husband disagreed and said it was too masculine for me and decided to borrow it for himself instead lol. I asked a girl friend for her input and she agreed that they were both too masculine so I decided to acquiesce. I’ll have to wear this one more to see whether or not I can pull this one off, but it smells amazing.
    • Top notes: limoncello, incense, cardamom. Middle notes: patchouli, papyrus, Brazilian rosewood. Base notes: tobacco leaves, moss.

For size comparisons and reference, below the 12 ml vial next to the 7.5 ml Roll-On Oil and 50 ml Bottle:

Held in the hand – you can see the bottles give you a decent amount of product for a proper sampling (on the nails Burberry Military Red Nail Polish):

Comparisons to a few other minis:

Byredo Roll-On Oil in Bal D’Afrique
Jo Malone Mini Cologne (from the Cologne Gift Set)

Bottom line, this set = love. I think it’s a great sampler set for those new to Byredo or anyone who has been wanting to try a bunch of scents but doesn’t want to spend the $145+ on the full size bottles just yet. I still have a long ways to go before finishing my Black Saffron, but after this set is used up I suspect I will be splurging on Bal D’Afrique.

Did you find any good perfume sampler sets this holiday? If so which ones? The Jo Malone Cologne Collection and Cologne Intense Sets are always great each year. I think it was awesome Diptyque launched one this year as well. I’m happy to see more lines offer these sets and hopefully next year more will incorporate the spritzer because I think it makes all the difference.

You can still find the Byredo Discovery Set at a few retailers, I do suspect it is limited-edition for holiday as their sets usually are. Online at Net-A-Porter, Barney’s New York and Lucky Scent.

Diptyque Holiday Gift Guide

Diptyque Advent Calendar Reveal Part 3

December 25, 2015

Today is the last reveal of the 2015 Diptyque Advent Calendar contents from Days 19 through 25. Several of you have mentioned you were surprised that Baies hadn’t made an appearance yet, but Diptyque saved the best for last and on Day 25 they calendar reveals a small Baies Candle. For those who missed the previous posts you can see Part 1 and Part 2. The Diptyque Advent Calendar was launched this year in extremely limited quantities. Being the die-hard fan that I am I tracked one down even though it was extremely spendy at $390. To recap on all the contents, it contains:
  • 15 (1.2 oz) mini candles in Ambre, Feu de Bois, Santal, Genevrier,
    Opoponax, Vanille, Cypres, Noiseter, 34, Oud, Geranium Rosa, Pomander,
    Figuier, Rose, Benjoin
  • 1 (2.4 oz) small candle in Baies
  • 6 (0.34 fl oz) perfumes in Oud, Florabellio, Do Son, Tam Dao, Philosykos, 34
  • 1 (15 ml) mini Precious Oil
  • 1 (15 ml) mini Rich Body Butter
The 15 baby sized candles are ones that are typically the ones with gift with purchases or in holiday sets like the 5 Piece Set (still available at Barney’s New York) or the 10 Piece Set (Nordstrom Exclusive). 

Size comparisons reposted here for reference:

This week from Day 19 to 25 the contents revealed candles in Roses, Baies, 34, Noisetter, Pomander and Benjoin and one fragrance Tam Dao. I’ve owned all the candles in the full size with the exception of Pomander.

Out of all the Diptyque candles I’ve tried (I haven’t tried them all, but I’ve tried quite a few), there are only two that I am not crazy about Benjoin and Feu de Bois. If you’re new to Diptyque or don’t have a store near you to smell the scents in person, I think the 10-Piece Set or this Advent Calendar is the best way to try the most without having to splurge on the full sizes which range from $32 to $60. Buying the individual smaller sizes at $32 each is more economical than splurging on the $60 standard size, however not all the scents are available in the small size.

In hindsight, I think the calendar was a luxurious splurge and I am really happy I was able to track one down however, given the fact that I’ve already tried most of the scents (candles and fragrances) I can’t say that it was something that allowed me to discover lots of new items – although there are quite a few that I hadn’t repurchased in a while so it was a nice way for me to rediscover some items. I did try two new body products that I hadn’t tried before which was nice. I will use them up to the end as they are minis but probably will not repurchase in the full size (still a fan of the Diptyque Shower Gel though).
In the end, did I think it was worth it? Yes it was worth it to me – the presentation is beautiful and it was really fun to open up a new item every day this past month. Do I think it was a good value? I do think it’s the best set yet as a way to try a little bit of everything from Diptyque, but in terms of value or savings, I don’t think I could say this was a good deal. Will I be tracking one down next year? I don’t know – it depends on the contents. I think it would have been nice if they included a sneak peek of upcoming launches for the next year, but I do understand some brands don’t launch items or information ahead of time.

As with the other reveals, I have one last giveaway for the year. One lucky winner will receive a $100 e-gift card to Nordstrom – enter via Rafflecopter below. It’s open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to enter. The giveaway runs today through 1/1/2016 and winner will be selected randomly through the Rafflecopter widget and contact by me via e-mail. All Terms and Conditions are listed through the widget as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!



MAC x Ellie Goulding Cremesheen Lipstick and Plushglass Swatch Comparisons

December 21, 2015

Above, left to right: Without Your Love, Only You, Explosion and Goodness Gracious

Here are some swatch comparisons for the MAC x Ellie Goulding lip items. For the Cremesheen Lipsticks in Without Your Love and Only You, I picked out some I thought could be similar:

MAC Huggable Lipstick in Touché (swatched on lips here)
MAC Lipstick in Creme Cup
MAC x Ellie Goulding Lipsticks in Without Your Love
and Only You (lip swatches here)
MAC Lipstick in Cosmo
Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Nude Pink (on the lips here)
Buxom Bold Gel Lipstick in Guilty Angel (reviewed here)
Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Bitch Perfect (lip swatches here)


For the Plushglasses, in case you can’t do tingly plumping lip products, a few alternatives below. The Buxom Lip Polishes are tingly/plumping but not as strong as the MAC Plushglass.

MAC x Ellie Goulding Plushglass in Explosion (on lips here)
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Ibiza Nights (swatched here)
NARS Lip Gloss in Greek Holiday
Burberry Kisses Lip Gloss in Pale Nude (lip swatched here)
MAC Mineralize Lipglass in Sheer Coincidence
MAC Mineralize Lipglass in Lovingly Yours
MAC x Ellie Goulding Plushglass in Goodness Gracious (swatched here)
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Sweet Stiletto (swatched here)
Chanel Glossimer in Giggle
Buxom Lip Polish in Dolly (on the lips here)


Even though I suspect MAC Without Your Love and Only You are both similar to other colors, I’ve deemed them both must-haves. They are light neutrals that are flawless and just work. Both are limited-edition and retail for $18 each. I bought mine at Nordstrom.

MAC x Ellie Goulding Collection – Holiday 2015

December 21, 2015
MAC x Ellie Goulding
The Ellie Goulding for MAC Collaboration is something I’ve been eagerly anticipating for months ever since sneak peek photos surfaced. I ordered almost everything sight unseen from Nordstrom thanks to the great swatches and reviews from other bloggers and am beyond thrilled with all the colors. They are perfectly natural and glowy without being too light or sheer – the Cremesheen Lipsticks in Only You and Without Your Love are the kind of colors I want to wear everyday. I was worried they might be too pale (like Creme Cup) but they are surprisingly wearable on my super pigmented lips. All the items are limited-edition so I suggest ordering soon if you’re interested. I picked up all the new color items and Revved Patentpolish (repromoted color that I didn’t have). I skipped Innocent Patentpolish since I already have it (and find it too pale, swatched here).

What I hauled:

Up first are the lips. Patentpolish Lip Pencil in Revved is a sheer peachy pink with a tiny bit of shimmer. It has a glossy finish. On me it’s very peachy, if you want something similar but more pink, try Kittenish (it’s a lovely pink).

I think the highlight of the collection are the two Cremesheen Lipsticks. Without Your Love is a lighter neutral pink (what I wanted Tom Ford Blushed Nude and MAC Creme Cup to be). It’s surprisingly wearable even though it’s on the lighter side. It’s super creamy and feels moisturizing but MAC lipsticks tend to dry my lips. I’ve found adding a bit of balm underneath or primer helps. I’m still obsessed with the MAC Prep + Prime Lips – if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you do. Only You is deeper and warmer but still neutral. I do think they are different enough to justify both, I can’t pick one favorite over the other.

The Plushglasses are both semi-sheer on the lips.  They have a plumping ingredient that makes the lips tingle. Fortunately they don’t cause an allergic reaction on my lips (they are super sensitive) but I’m not a fan of the numbing sensation they give. I swatched a number of comparisons and alternatives which I’ll have uploaded later this afternoon in case you have sensitive lips and can’t wear them. Given the sheerness I think I could have passed on both of these.

MAC x Ellie Goulding

The Halcyon Days and Halcyon Nights Face Kits are very glowy neutrals. They are double-tiered compacts and the top portion slides out to reveal a face product underneath. There is a decent amount of product in each of the compacts – I would have liked to see the top tier flip up and a pan of product that spans the entire size of the compact in the bottom simply because it would be easier to dip a brush inside.

Halcyon Days is a face kit with a Blot Powder and four Cream Color Bases in Wish I Stayed, Tint, Every Time You Go and Root. I have and adore Tint and Root as creamy cheek bases to layer powder blush on top of. The other two shades are new and pretty on the cheeks. I find them too emollient for the eyes although they can work if you layer powder shadows on top.

Halcyon Nights has a Cream Color Base called This Love which looks bronze but goes on a champagne shimmer on me. There are four eyeshadows called Starry Eyed, You My Everything, Saddle and Hanging On. The four eye shades create the perfect glowy warm eye look.

I’ll Hold My Breath Bronzer Blush Duo is a lovely duo that adds warmth and life to the face naturally. The bronzer is slightly shimmer for a very natural warm glow. The blush is a coral pink that has a slight sheen but looks more satiny. I’ve added swatch comparisons to other colors.

Swatched below:

MAC Bronzer in Refined Golden
MAC Bronzer in Bronze
Chanel Blush in Vibration (reviewed here)
MAC Blush in Fleur Power
MAC Blush in Hipness

Bottom line – the Ellie Goulding for MAC Collection is perfect for the no-makeup makeup look to add a gorgeous natural glow of color to the face. It has a lovely resort feel and I love that everything is slightly warm to give life to the complexion. Highlights for me are the Only You and Without Your Love Cremesheen Lipsticks, I’ll Hold My Breath Duo and Halcyon Nights Palette. The Halcyon Days Palette is nice to have if you like creamy tints (I really like the Cream Color Bases) but the pans are pretty tiny so using a face or cheek brush is going to be hard (I have to use fingers). I could have passed on Revved Up Patentpolish Lip Pencil – it’s pretty and a nice formula, I just prefer the lipsticks. Out of everything I hauled the only two items I am iffy about are the Plushglasses – I just don’t like the way they feel on the lips although the colors are really pretty.
I think MAC is killing it this holiday season. The All I Want Mariah Carey Lipstick and Berry Black Friday Patentpolish are both amazing. I just picked up 6 shades of the new Huggable Lipglass (on the swatching agenda). Also the Faerie Whispers Collection just launched online and the Foiled Shadows are calling my name.

You can find the Ellie Goulding x MAC Collection at all MAC counters now. All items are limited-edition. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s. Did you pick up anything from the collection?

Diptyque Holiday Gift Guide

Diptyque Advent Calendar Reveal Part 2

December 18, 2015

I have a quick post today revealing the contents of the 2015 Diptyque Advent Calendar for Days 8 through 18. I’ve been good on this one and have opened one each day although I’ve been tempted to cheat and open all the days at once (I already did it for one other beauty calendar, lol). In case you missed Part 1 of the series, the Diptyque Advent Calendar retailed for $390 and sold out at lightening speed. I was lucky to find one even though I was waitlisted. Full contents listed in Part 1.

I haven’t burned all the scents yet, there is one in this week’s reveal that I actually haven’t tried yet which is Cypres. I keep sticking to my favorites Baies, Cuir, Figuier, Noisetter but this sampler set provides a nice way for me to branch out and try other scents.

There are two mini body products this week and I think I have finally found one product from Diptyque that I’m not head over heels in love with. The Rich Body Butter is indeed very rich and moisturizing but I’m not a fan of the scent. It’s very floral with notes of Byzantine rose and Turkish delight. I am really picky with rose scents and I find there is a fine line between a good soft floral and floral overload. If you like rose scents you will probably like the Body Butter. For me it’s too strong.

The other body product is the Precious Oil for Bath and Body. I will need to test this one more, I haven’t tried it in the bath yet, but on dry skin it’s emollient without being greasy. It is scented but it’s a fresh citrus scent (thank goodness it’s not floral). I’m not sure that I would wear this one with perfume as I think it would interfere with other fragrances. If you’ve tried this let me know what you think.

There are three fragrance minis in 34, Do Son and Oud Palao. I’ve tried all three in minis before and I’m not a fan of the Oud – it’s too masculine and heavy in my opinion, but I have a few close friends who are fans of Oud so I’m regifting it to one of them. I really like Do Son and 34 – I’ve accumulated several minis from previous gift with purchases so I’ve never bought the full size even though the bottles are so gorgeous.

As promised with my last reveal, I’m doing another giveaway. This time it’s a $50 e-Gift Card to Nordstrom. It’s open internationally but you must be 18 years or older to qualify. Simply enter through the widget below. Deadline to enter is 12/21/2015 at 11:45 PM PST. Winner will be selected randomly via the Rafflecopter widget, announced on the widget and contacted by e-mail (from me) within 5 days after giveaway entry period ends. If you’re a selected winner and a non-US resident, you may opt to receive $50 USD via Paypal instead.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! 

Beauty Gift Guide: The Luxury Edit

December 17, 2015

One last gift guide for the year sharing a roundup of this season’s most luxurious beauty gifts. If you’re looking to splurge on someone extra special (or yourself), here are 18 ideas for the beauty lover.

Out of all the gift options this season, the one line that I think embodies the epitome of glamour is Charlotte Tilbury. There are a number of gorgeous gift sets at all prices – and I love that they have color coordinated sets for lips, sets for the face and full look sets which come packaged in a beautiful luxe box. Of course you can’t go wrong with anything from Chanel whether it’s a luxe perfume or beauty set. The Lower the Shades Set has one of my favorite fool-proof quads in Tissé Rivoli.

If makeup, fragrance or skincare are too hard to pick out for the super picky, beauty tools or cases are more universally appealing. T3 has some amazing new releases. The PROi Professional Hair Dryer is phenomenal (review soon), it’s quite the splurge but it’s the only dryer I’ve tried that gives a blowout that is salon quality. If you remember the Featherweight Compact Set I reviewed in July, well, it’s now available in a White + Rosegold Version at QVC. The Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Case is also extremely pricey, but it’s guaranteed to impress and will be used and well-loved.
  1. Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Luxury Lipstick Wardrobe ($305, swatches of neutrals here)
  2. Trish McEvoy The Power of Organization Purse Organizer and Makeup Planner Collection ($235, set contents $455 value)
  3. Chanel Coco Noir Eau de Parfum Spray ($98 to $130)
  4. R+Co ODYSSEY Essentials Set ($266)
  5. Armani Luxe is More Palette ($140, review here)
  6. Clé de Peau Beauté Makeup Coffret – Collection Bal Masqué ($210)
  7. By Terry Gold Jewel Lip Kiss Palette* ($118, review here)
  8. Chanel Double the Delight Lip and Nail Set ($320)
  9. Frédéric Malle 15th Anniversary Collection Box ($590)
  10. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit ($80)
  11. Tom Ford Lips and Boys 10 Piece Color Collection ($350)
  12. YSL Kiss & Love Edition Complete Make-Up Palette ($95)
  13. T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand ($270)
  14. T3 PROi Professional Hair Dryer* ($350, review soon)
  15. Dior Backstage Pros Gift Set ($150.50)
  16. Diptyque Baies + Photophore Set ($160)
  17. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set ($110, swatches of all 3 versions here)
  18. Wayne Goss Anniversary Set* ($225, review here)
A few more ideas:

I hope you’re having a great week so far, it’s almost the weekend! In case you’re looking for other ideas at different price points or categories, here’s a list of this year’s gift guides:

Press samples featured indicated with a * above.