What's On My Face Today

I got the foundation as a sample with my recent DuWop order, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. It probably won't replace my regular Elizabeth Arden/Guerlain foundations, but I may get a tube anyway. It blends well, sort of melts into the skin. I'm writing this four hours after applying and it still looks nice and fresh.

The cream blusher was also a part of that order, and I don't love it. I'll be honest - I got it because of the packaging. However, the color I ordered looks nothing like the sample on the web site - Luz de Luna is more of a coral than a rose pink - and it had mostly faded after about an hour, even with powder to set it.

Fragrance Review: Assam of India

I got this as a sample, and as soon as I spritzed a little, before I had even read the description, my immediate thought was "tea and soap!".

And so it is - the top notes are black tea and a hint of citrus, with a base of sandalwood that turns a little soapy on me as it dries down. (That's soapy in a good way - with the lingering lemon scent, it felt clean and fresh, like I'd just stepped out of a shower where I'd lathered up with incense.)

I love that the notes are clear and simple - I find it really satisfying when I can identify them so readily. On another level, I love being able to drink in the individual elements of a scent rather than getting lost in a heady, complex concoction. (Don't get me wrong, those concoctions have their place - occasionally you come across one that's like a whiff of magic, but the layers are so deep that you'll never unravel the secret of what's in it.)

Assam is a black tea grown primarily in the Assam valley in northeast India. It's known for its malty taste and aroma . That smooth, caramelized flavor is why it's often used in English or Irish breakfast teas, so don't be surprised if this scent reminds you of breakfast.

Maison Berdoues is a French perfume house that's been operating out of the Toulouse neighborhood of Paris since the early 1900's. In fact, one of their earliest creations - 'Violette de Toulouse' - is still one of their biggest sellers today. 'Assam of India' is part of their Grands Crus collection, which features scents inspired by fine ingredients from around the world. I'm looking forward to trying 'Somei Yoshino' (Japanese sakura blossoms), 'Selva do Brazil' (woods and greens from South America) and 'Peng Lai' (Chinese osmanthus).

For now, though, one of the things I love best about Assam of India is its lasting power. It gets high marks for sillage - just enough that you can smell it on yourself as you're walking around, but not so much that you're gassing passersby. The top citrus and tea notes took a good four-five hours to fade completely on my skin, and the sandalwood hung on for at least another two after that.

I should point out that I'm very picky about what I buy full-sized when it comes to fragrance. I get decants or samples, sometimes rollers, when I can (and that's probably a topic for another time). I already have a large enough fragrance collection that I worry I won't be able to finish some of them before they go bad, so I try to be judicious about what I add.

That said, this worked so well for me that I've already got a full-sized bottle on the way. The delightful elephants all over the glass are NOT the reason I'm buying (but it's an added bonus that they'll look super cute on my vanity).

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My Favorite Beauty Bloggers

As I get my own blog up and running, I want to give a nod and a wave to some of the other beauty bloggers who've always inspired me. These women work so hard to bring the rest of us the latest reviews and information (and look like they have so much fun doing it!).

  • Makeup & Beauty Blog - Karen, the proprietress of Makeup & Beauty Blog, is one of those writers whose personality just jumps off the page. She seems like she'd be so much fun to hang out with, never takes herself too seriously, and makes me seriously homesick for the Bay Area when she talks about her home. She has great taste, is honest about what she thinks about products. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, there are sometimes cat pictures.
  • The Beauty Look Book is all about quality over quantity. That is to say, she doesn't publish that often. When she does, though, her honest reviews and thorough, well-lit swatches make it easy to see what colors and formulas might work for me. I always look forward to her posts, although I'm not sure I should - I always find myself tempted by the most gorgeous gorgeous high-end products.
  • Temptalia - Christine over at Temptalia runs her blog like a business. In fact, it is her business - she has a tech staff and everything! It shows in the comprehensive collection of swatches and comparisons she's built. If you hear about a new product and want to get an idea of how well it might work for you, visit Temptalia first - Christine has probably swatched it already. Another bonus is the engaged community she's built around the blog.
  • Hot and Flashy is actually a vlog on YouTube, part of a new wave of makeup artists celebrating mature women. It's so nice not to feel left out anymore! Angie has a charming, upbeat personality and has honest opinions about everything she reviews. And I, who thought I didn't have anything left to learn about makeup, have gotten so many new ideas and techniques from her!
  • The Non-Blonde - I do read a lot of fragrance blogs, but Gaia Fishler has the only absolute must-read on my list. Her love of scent brings out the poet in her, she really does have such a way with words. She only posts at most twice a month, but when she does write, I can count on being transported by her descriptions. And I've learned so much from her encyclopedic knowledge of the perfume world. Go, follow, you'll be glad you did.