Older Girl Beauty

Pretend French Vacay

Pretend French Vacay, Pt. 7: Welcome home! What’d you bring me?

Welp, we are back home from our pretend vacay to the City of Lights. We have to go back to work tomorrow and resume our normal lives, which isn’t nearly as fun. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have on this pretend trip. This series was a ton of fun for me to write and I want to thank BellaSugar (*twice!), KarlaSugar (*Ha! No relation.), OnSugar Blog (*Okay, related to the first Sugar), Karen, from Makeup and Beauty Blog (*can we be related? please?) and even the Ethiopian Review (*whaa?) for sharing it with their readers, too.

I told you there would be souvenirs at the end, and there are for these 10 lucky folks:

  • OneGreatSmile
  • Anna
  • Robin
  • DJ
  • Dana
  • rcnmail
  • woodgirl
  • Shelli
  • Valerie
  • In Her Makeup Bag

They have all won a tube of Talika Lipocils Expert. I have passed all of their info on, save for one (*looking at you rcnmail!), so they should be getting a chance to try it out for themselves shortly.

Again, thanks for playing and I hope you stick around to see what else I can ramble on about. Bisous!

Pretend French Vacay, Pt. 6: A Book To Bring You Home

As you travel to and from your vacation destination, you generally grab something to read, be it a trashy tabloid (*LOVE!), something from your bookclubs summer reading list or a NYTimes Bestseller List selection. For this trip, we are grabbing a bestseller – Kelly Cutrone’s “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You”.

I picked this book up earlier this year and didn’t put it down until I was done. It’s People’s Revolution founder Kelly Cutrone’s memoir, that tells how she grew up, got started in the Public Relations business and what she thinks you need to be sucessful in whatever you choose to do. The most important thing is to find your “tribe” – a group of people that do what you want to do and whom you respect; these are the people that will encourage you to reach further than you thought you could.

I am behind this 100%. Kelly (*I’m calling her that not because we are bff’s *callme*, but because Ms. Cutrone just seems too stuffy for her, imo) puts a name to a feeling that I have about my experience with this site & all of the lovelies that I interact with now because of it and twitter. It is because of these lovelies that I have been able to do so many of the amazing things I have done (*hello, NYFW?) and met so many of the amazing people that I have met (*can NOT even start to name them all) and just experienced everything that I have so far related to this stuff of “beauty”. I mean, I’m somebody’s mom from Oklahoma that wears Chucks and can’t even braid her hair for fucks sake – I’m not supposed to be doing any of this stuff. It’s out of the realm of possibility. But I don’t let it be – I ‘do’, with a lot of support from my “tribe”. And it’s wonderful.

So, knowing I was going to be in NYC in May for The Makeup Show, I took a shot and asked Kelly (@peoplesrev) on twitter if she would be kind enough to autograph my book while I was there. She replied that she would, but was with family & didn’t know if she would be in town then. But, that I could leave it with Andrew (*yes, that Andrew you see in “Kell on Earth”) and she would sign & send it back. Score!! Unfortunately, her father passed away and she wasn’t in town when I was there, but she was generous enough to write in my book and send it back to me. (*I had left a postage paid envelope with my note and the book, so, don’t everyone think that she throws her money around like that – my book, I paid.) It says:

Dear Paula, Welcome to New York. So glad you came by. Happy to hear your tribe is flourishing – keep it growing and flowing! Love, Kelly

*dead*. I’m a giddy fangirl when I read that. But, I’ll contain my squeals to outside, too. Fact is, I’ll take her words to heart and hope that I’m included in others tribes so that I can encourage them as I feel encouraged in mine. Oh, here are a couple of shots of graffiti that I saw in a doorway near Peoples Rev that I thought were pretty awesome:

Have any of you read this book? If you haven’t, you should definitely check it out. If you have, lemme know what you thought of it – I’d like to hear what you took from it, too.

Pretend French Vacay, Pt. 5: The History of Beauty: Chanel No. 5

photo credit: Beau Wade

Before any vacation ends, you always have to see the defining monument that is famous to that location. In the case of the city of Paris, it’s always the Eiffel Tower. In the case of French Parisian beauty, it is Chanel No.5. And I was lucky enough to be gifted a bottle for Christmas last year.

From the beginning Chanel No. 5 has always been exclusive. It was first released in 1921 as a Christmas gift to Mlle.’s best customers and was limited to only 100 flacons. When these customers started coming back, asking for more, it was officially launched as “Chanel Nº 5” in 1922. Word is that this scent was the No. 5 bottle out of 10 samples presented to her, and that when asked how she would name it, she replied, “I always launch my collection on the 5th day of the 5th month, so the number 5 seems to bring me luck – therefore, I will name it Nº 5”.

Coco was never a big perfume fan. In fact, it’s said that she thought that “women perfume themselves only to hide bad smells”. Things seemed to change after Coco’s lover, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, took her to Cannes and introduced her to perfumer Ernest Beaux and toured his lab. It was here that he presented Coco with his 10 samples, numbered 1-5 and 20-24. He became forever known as the man who created Chanel No. 5.

Coco was also known to have said, “I want to give women an artificial perfume. Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don’t want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition.” To that end, Chanel Nº 5 became famous for its overdose in synthetic perfumery raw materials, the aldehydes (*don’t worry – I read that, too, and still didn’t understand it either.) in the top note. When the scent was released for public sale, it came in three strengths: Extrait Perfume, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Cologne. (*The Eau de Cologne was discontinued in the 1990’s and replaced with the Eau de Parfum.) Only the Extrait Perfume contains rose oil and jasmin absolute from the Grasse region, and is sealed by hand. So concerned to keep the scent as true as the original, Chanel has signed exclusivity agreements with the largest flower producer in Grasse, the Mul family, to provide them with the finest jasmine & roses.

Now, you might think that having “the world’s most legendary fragrance” (*in a bottle that was created in 1924 by Jean Helleau, that is itself iconic, and has been on permanent display at the MoMA in NYC since 1959 AND made into a poster by Andy Warhol) would make you richer than sin, right? Not so fast. Turns out that in 1924 Coco signed over the rights to No 5 to Pierre Wertheimer and Theophilus Bader, owners of Galeries Lafayette, with the shares divided that Pierre received 70%, Theophilus got 20% and Coco got the last 10% (*they created Parfums Chanel to distribute, hiring Ernest Beaux to be their chief perfumer). Now, that sounds bad, but remember, this was before she became famous for her LBD in 1925 and she needed their connections, money and distribution capabilities. Of course, this ate at her and she felt taken advantage of, so she decided to go back to Ernest and created “Mademoiselle Chanel Nº 1”, to be sold exclusively in her shops. Well, the French government considered that “Counterfeiting” and prohibited it. However, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Neiman Marcus in Texas, in the US, kept on selling it. After the customers were all puzzled, Pierre ended up raising Coco’s share. They eventually made nice, to the point that when Coco wanted to restart her couture house in 1947, Pierre financially backed her. However, all niceities aside, for the rest of her life she still felt like she had been shafted out of a huge sum of money.

As for the smell, I’m not even going to try to describe it myself, because I have told you guys I am not one to know “notes” or anything like that to be descriptive. I will say that there are legions of fans, including Marilyn Monroe who, when asked what she wore to bed, famously said, “Five drops of Nº 5.” And, I will quote others who have tried to describe it:

According to Luca Turin, author of The Secret of Scent and, with Tania Sanchez, the recently published Perfumes – The Guide: “Those who have been brought up on stunted, suburban fragrances must find it hard to accept the existence of such a regally beautiful thing,” he writes. “The top notes surprise every time: a radiant chorus of ylang and rose floating like gold leaf on the chalk-white background of aldehydes. Curiously, this most modern of perfumes evokes an image of great antiquity, perhaps a Scythian jewel on a white dress. “The drydown fades the way white flowers do, slowly becoming soft and flesh-coloured. And to get an idea of No 5’s quality, smell it on a paper strip after 24 hours. Now try this with whatever else you’re wearing. See?”

New York Times perfume critic, Chandler Burr: “Chanel No 5 hits you like a bank of white-hot searchlights washing the powdered stars at a movie premiere in Cannes on a dry summer night. If you haven’t smelled it in a while, do so again. It’s great to bathe in that light.”

Get it now? It clearly rises above simple description. If you haven’t had a chance to smell this, please take the time to stop by the Chanel counter and take a whiff then come back here and give me YOUR description of this iconic scent. If you have this, what do you think? Do you think the descriptions are accurate? Let me know!

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Pretend French Vacay, Pt. 4: The History of Beauty – Le Rouge Baiser – "Red Kiss"

On any vacation there is usually a stop at a museum or something that has some kind of historical significance, where you can find out about something you may not have previously heard of before. For our version of that on our Pretend French Vacay, we’re going to learn about an almost mythical lipstick – the “Rouge Baiser”. I say “mythical” because getting information on these cult status lippies is as easy as getting a picture of Nessie in the Loch at sunrise on a Tuesday – damn near impossible. Now, I’m not saying it’s not talked about, I’m just saying that I couldn’t find an official page for it at it’s parent company, Deborah Milano, nor any other really informative pages out there.

But it exists. I know that it does, because I have *3* of them. (*Thank you Christmas!)The “Rouge Baiser” was created in 1927 by a French chemist named Paul Baudecroux. It was the first “indelible” or “kiss-proof” lipstick. In fact, it “dyed” lips so much that it was pulled from the market because it was so hard to remove.

There are multiple finishes, and the three that I have are all different. From left to right:

  • 207: Rouge Evidenmment Cr`eme Satin Ultra Comfort Lipstick
  • 302: Mademoiselle Authentique Comfort Long Lasting Lipstick
  • 405: L’Authentique Ultra Long Lasting Lipstick

I can tell you that these don’t go anywhere – my hand was stained after taking these swatches off – after using multiple removers. If this is how these lippies last NOW, just imagine how they strong they were when they were pulled off the market due to “dyeing” the lips so much it was so hard to remove.

Besides being the first long-lasting lipstick, it also has the distinction of having an iconic ad to sell it. French artist Rene Gruau used his style of “a few ink lines and blocks of color, often red and black” to create the image of a blindfolded woman with red lips. This image became synonymous with “Le Rouge Baiser”. Rene worked on many couture ad campaigns, including Pierre Balmain, Jacques Fath, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Rochas & created the image for “Miss Dior” by Dior. He also created the recognizable posters for the “Moulin Rouge” nightclub.

As you can imagine, I hoard these lovelies in a special place, esp since I can’t pop over and just pick up some more. In fact, I have only found one place online to purchase any more, a UK site called “Be Beautiful Boutique”. Of course, if you happen to be in Paris, feel free to drop by any Monoprix and pick yourself up one or three or more. I think the mystique is worth it.

Pretend French Vacay, Pt. 3: A brush with greatness

Every time I go on vacay to some place busy and popular, I always hope to spot a celebrity (*be aware, my definition of celebrity is *very* loose). Very rarely has this ever happened. But, sometimes it *does* (*How you doin’, Harold?). Usually its a case of hearing other people’s brushes with fame.

On this part of our Pretend French Vacay the closest we are going to come to a celeb is in a makeup artist’s kit. In my Christmas Paris pack was a bottle of MUA’s fav, Bioderma Sensibo (*previously Cr`ealine) – a cleansing water that takes almost all makeup, including waterproof, except for the hardcore not going anywhere makeup that you would use an oil based cleanser on anyway. (*Yep, I talked about a different cleansing water yesterday when I talked about the Nuxe Cleansing Water with 3 Roses. Are you seeing a pattern here? I want the most effective cleansing method with the least amount of effort – some may call that lazy, I call it maximizing my…yeah, I’m lazy.)

When I say you will find this in most MUA’s kits, I’m not playing – this has truly reached cult status. It is famously used by MUA’s during Fashion Weeks, where the models are going from show to show, changing makeup each time & in trying not to tear up the models faces by the scrubbing off of the makeup, they use this gentle, but effective, cleanser to calm and clean the face. This particular line of Sensibio is Bioderma’s “Sensitive Skin” line – which is specifically for the dry, red, itchy skin that needs some extra gentle TLC. They also have lines for Oily/Combination skin, Irritated/Damaged skin and even a line for baby skin, among others.

So, while we may not see any celebs on our Pretend Vacay, we can at least feel like a celeb by using what is used on them with this – without having to deal with the paparazzi. Ha! Have you guys tried this, or any other cleansing waters? If so, lemme know what you think about them. I’d like to know if I’m the only one that is lazy, yet somewhat effective, in their cleansing at the end of the day.
(*I just remembered I had made a video to show you guys how the Sensibio works. See? I really like it.)

(*Don’t forget to go back to Pt. 1 and enter to win a tube of Talika Lipocils Expert for yourself. And, did you read Pt. 2 of our Pretend French Vacay?)

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