Earth Tones # 3, North Woods, is Neil Morris's tribute to the forests of Maine. Notes: basil blossom, heather, fir needle, sweet pea, fig, cut grass, cedar, oak, redwood, myrrh, labdanum, oakmoss, and vetiver. This is a vault fragrance. If the rainforest is an emerald, the forests of Maine are dense malachite. Mr. Morris has captured utterly the scent of the Maine forest on a late spring day, before the berries and wild grapes fill the air with winey goodness. You might imagaine yourself on a flat rock beside a whispering, stony stream, under a canopy of green leaves so thick it obliterates the sun. The scents of fir and balsam are heady and hypnotic. Those secret flowers of the deep woods--sweet flag, steeplebush, lady slippers-- give forth a sweetly gentle perfume. The barks of fallen trees are pungent and dense with earthy richness. The moss is velvety and vegetal. Wild grasses smell at once honeyed and bitter. This is the smell of bear caves, fox dens, and streams fed by snow still melting in June. There is a whisper of granite in here, to remind us that the Maine forest is mirrored beneath her soil by tourmaline crystals the colors of spruce, sunrise, icy pools, and of wet bark. Magnificent. OJ Woman lovers should try this.
Spirit of Water is a Neil Morris Vault fragrance. Its notes include: wisteria, water lily, jasmine, poppy, musk, and tonka bean. This fragrance was inspired by an experience at Walden Pond, in Concord Massachusetts, where, of course, Henry David Thoreau wrote his memoir, which became "Walden." I attended high school in this wonderful town and spent my summers swimming in Walden. I was anxious to try this fragrance. I must say that the initial spritz rendered an aroma so heart-wrenchingly beautiful, so ethereal and wistful, that I surrendered to it utterly. It is a haunting, spiritual floral that parallels the keening sweetness of a mournful Celtic ballad. Think of TDC's Osmanthus blended with Etro's heliotrope. Initially, I was hard pressed to sense any connection to Walden. But, ah, Spirit of Water spoke to me, in the voice of the Lady of the Lake. This is what you wear when you are gliding oarlessly in a rough hewn barge, through the mists of Avalon. But please, Mr. Morris, I beg you. Do something to make this astounding work of beauty last longer. And I will offer you 5++++ lippies.
Posh's notes include: Plum Blossom, Patchouli, Vanilla, Jasmine, Blue Musk, and Fruit Notes. This is a Neil Morris Vault fragrance. Posh is a yin yang juxtaposition of earthy patchouli and lunar jasmine. The patch enters first, singing its somber bassoon-like melody, but quickly gives way to the silver flute trill of sweet jasmine, which is not the least bit indolic. This jasmine lingers, but the patch rears its head unexpectedly from time to time. My morning spritz lasted until dinner time. Imagine yourself standing outside a walled garden, dedicated to the goddess, Diana. The horns of the crescent moon pierce the night sky. You gather the hem of your homespun chiton, and like her sacred hind, you spring over the wall. There at her feet grows her beloved jasmine, which you pluck from the ground with much rich soil clinging to it. In exchange you leave an offering of dates and grapes, as you blow a kiss toward her unseeing marble eyes. This is Posh. It is that magical. I wish I could bestow a 4.5 rating. I missed the Blue Musk note I was anxious to experience. It has eluded me.
This parfum's notes include: aldehydes, raspberry, rose, plum blossom, lotus, narcissus, peony, amber and musk. It is a Neil Morris vault fragrance. Those tired of linear scents, look no further. Described as an aldehydic flower, it nonetheless bloomed in a jammy way on my skin. For me, the top note was a full-bodied plum; I would describe it as tiny blue Italian plums macerated in Japanese plum wine. This accord is rather sweet, but quite natural. It never quite goes away, but surrenders dominance at several points. Within a half hour, the aldehydes come in like a snow squall, and tingle your nose like a quaff of extra dry ginger ale. In the dry down, there is a soft incensey accord that is caressing and subtle. Finally, the musk settles in, close and soothing, like the pelt of a wild thing who has rolled in fallen leaves. Symphonic.
Lipstick -Jemma Kidd Makeup School - Lipsticks - All
darkharbour 9/2/2008 10:23:00 AM
This is part of the new Jemma Kidd line at Target. It comes in a pretty black case decorated with red graphics and costs $16.00. Colors are mostly beigey neutrals, but there were two reds. I chose the lighter, more tomato like red. There is no scent or taste at all. The texture is a bit draggy and the finish is somewhat matte. When first applied, it feels rather thick and gummy. Overall, a bit too dry for me. Lasting power was so-so despite the matte texture. No bleeding around the mouth.
Confession: My name is Darkharbour and I am a Paula Begoun addict. What that means is that I read all of her stuff because it is a useful perspective in evaluating products; especially skincare. She has trashed products I have liked, and she has lauded products I did not like. Unlike some others, I do not have a problem with her having her own product line; I do however, have an issue with her reviewing it in her book, and giving each and every product a "Paula's Pick" rating. So yes, I will continue to read her books, buy (some of) her products, and peruse her site. She offers a valuable perspective when I evaluate products. Sort of like listening to National Public Radio and then listening to Fox News -- you get both sides. As for makeup, I tend to disagree with her findings fairly regularly, and for some inexplicable reason, she will praise a product in one edition and trash it in the next. I guess formulae do change, but it gets confusing. Some of her skincare information is invaluable, such as her critique about adding irritants like some plant extracts and oils to skin care items. I give her high marks for pushing the UVA/UVB sunblock issue long before others jumped on board. This is a huge book -- and paradoxically, it does not cover every product line. The latest edition, for example, omits Serious Skin Care, a top seller on HSN. It also omits Milani, a MUA favorite and one Paula should love -- a decent, inexpensive drugstore makeup line.
A few years back, there was a popular song whose refrain contained the lyrics, "I smell sex and candy." The songwriter may have been around a lady wearing Angel. The initial notes are rambunctiously and tooth-achingly sweet, redolent of laboratory-produced gummy chews and cheap Easter chocolate. Then, smack across your chops, comes this rank, perverse, but compelling odor of dirty panties. Your nose twitches, and your mind spins in this bipolar frenzy trying to figure this mess out. It stays and stays, and smells nothing like you would expect from looking at the star-shaped bottle and blue juice. Officially, it contains bergamot, hedione, helional, "dewberry", honey, patchouli, chocolate, caramel, vanilla and coumarin. There is a cumin-like note from whence we get the body odor undertow. It would appeal to Nabokovian heroine; or perhaps her obsessive pedophiliac seducer.
Lotions/ Creams -L'Occitane - Tomato Olive Hand Cream
darkharbour 8/5/2008 12:08:00 PM
75 ml tube, gorgeous olive green tube, gold cap, with a red label. Scent is dry/crisp/herbal, and not really like bruschetta, but quite plant-like and leafy. The lotion is rich, a wee bit tacky in humid weather, but quite effective on dry skin.
Top/Base Coats -Nailtek - Foundation II - Ridge-filling
darkharbour 7/27/2008 12:07:00 PM
Lifetime sufferer of thin, weak, fragile, peeling, splitting nails here. This product, combined with taking Biotin and lots of fish oil, really made a difference. I have long nails now -- really. So long, I am having trouble keyboarding.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - The Different Company - Bergamote
darkharbour 7/8/2008 9:23:00 AM
This is a wonderfully refreshing scent for a hazy, hot, humid day. The citrus top note is dry and bracing, and even a bit bitter. No sugar-sweet lemon here. More like unripe lemons. The crisp green undercurrents remind me a bit of the scarlet bee balm which has taken over my butterfly garden -- pithy, puckery, crisp and vegetal citrus. A snapping stem sort of freshness. Like some citrusy scents, you begin to taste it after wearing it a while. A bit like 1950's hair tonics or eaux des colognes from time past, there is something about bergamot that smells vintage. Layer it with TDC Osmanthus to add depth. DB lasts longer on me than it does on some others.
Superb. Deeply, deeply moisturizing without weighing my hair down. Utterly dirt cheap. Found it for $1.99 at the dollar store and I may have to clean them out. Less thick than you would expect. Smells good, sort of like old fashioned hair care products, not fruity. White semi-lotion, semi-cream mask in an 8 ounce jar. Contains cones. I have coarse, wavy-curly hair prone to frizziness, which has been colored treated and foiled.
Mascara -Almay - Intense I-Color Volumizing Mascara- Raisin Quartz
darkharbour 7/3/2008 1:19:00 PM
The best part of this should be the color. Think Black Honey liner from Clinique in a mascara -- actually, more black honey than Clinique's mascara! This is a brownish-plum (not purple!). And better than Clinique's, formula-wise, but that is not saying all that much. This does tend to get a bit gloppy on the brush, and can go on a bit clumpy. If you are willing to comb through, you will get decent thickness and some length. It helps to wipe the wand. When dry, it reads like a brown mascara, (I have brown lashes, so perhaps the color would be more dramatic on a redhead or blonde), and thus did not really pop the green much in my eyes. Update: I am liking this more and more. The formula is less messy when it dries out a bit and I am getting quite a lot of length from this.
I have these in every color. Superb. The texture is sublime -- not at all sticky and gunky. The scent/taste is mild and pleasant. The colors are fantastic -- sheer,usually shimmery, but with true color payoff. I wear these more than any other brand and have them in several colors. I reach for these before Glossimer.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - the Different company Osmanthus
darkharbour 7/1/2008 8:59:00 AM
What a tease. This is so lovely, in a heart-breakingly celestial and pure way. Like many of Ellena's creations, this is sheer; very sheer. The top note is Ellena's signature bergamot, crisp, dry and citrus peel like. Then in rush the aldehydes, less peachy-apricoty than I would have hoped, and more like a very soft version of Rive Gauche. It reminds me of of the Ice Blue Secret roll-on my mother used to wear. Very, very pretty. Delicate and almost angelic. And gone as quickly as dandelion fluff on the breeze.
This is packaged like many other mineral products, loose, in a small jar, with a sifter. So, the first thing I did was repackage it so as to use it the way I like to use loose powder colors. (See my notepad.) This powder is soft and silky, and much more sheer than you might expect. It is a bright gerbera daisy coral in the jar, which buffs to a soft apricot-coral on the face. It has some shimmer, but does not "read" shimmery on the skin. Highly pigmented, the color lasts and lasts. I am an NW15-20. This is a lovely warm shade for summer skin, and gives depth to the color achieved with my self tanner.