Mar 312011

While shopping in Paris, I noticed that one of the department stores had Dior’s Mitzah Collection in stock.  This is a very small, limited edition collection that includes the Imprime Jungle eyeshadow palette (90 euros) and two vernis nail colors (in #912 Ebony and #622 Camel)(23 euros each).   The collection commemorates Christian Dior’s friend and muse, Mitzah Bricard.

I haven’t had time to play with this, but wanted to post some quick pictures.  There are not many made (each is specially numbered).

The eyeshadow palette has a cream matte base color, that can be used from lashline to browbone.  The camel tone can be used over the entire lid.  The deep brown is a gorgeous liner (top and bottom) and can be used to add a sophisticated smoke color in the crease.  This was the technique that was used during my makeover, and I absolutely loved it.
Alternatively, you can swish the colors together to make an overall lid color that is a mix of the three colors together.

The shades are beautifully coordinated and seem primarily matte in texture.  They are quite soft and easy to work with.  You can make a very sophisticated and sexy eye with these colors.  Gorgeous.


Dior’s Mitzah collection also features two nail polishes– Camel and Ebony.

I only had time to do a quick manicure with Camel, which applies well although it is a bit sheer.  This is three coats:

Overall, these collections compliment my warm, fair skin tone and so I’m pleased with the sophistication and quality of this collection.  I expect that this will sell out quickly, given the universal “neutrals with an edge” vibe that seems to make great makeup fly off the shelves.



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Mar 302011

Here are some famous Paris landmarks.  I bedazzled the pictures a little, just to keep it interesting.

I’ve been gravitating around the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, which is loosely organized around this Abbey.  It’s a beautiful area, and a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.  It is said that intellectuals such as Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir had many discussions in the cafes around this area.

One of the famous cafes is the Cafe Flore, which is a great sidewalk cafe area (even in the chilly days of March), and an Art Deco interior.  The last time I was there, the waiter told me to sit at over at the “Tabula Rasa.”  I love a timely Latin reference, don’t you?

Notre Dame Cathedral, still going strong as a working church today.  Go when it’s sunny for the best view of the stained glass.  There’s a tiny museum of church artifacts in the back.  Also, there are occasional concerts there in the evenings.   I’ve never climbed to the top, but it might be fun to try.

L’Opera Garnier.  Perhaps the best way to see this theatrical landmark is to go to an event there.  You do not need to speak French to enjoy a ballet or symphony, and the operas may be in Italian or German in any event.  You can buy tickets online here, or go to the box office.  Buy well in advance, as most things sell out far ahead of time.

The pictures above and below are of the Opera Garnier, which inspired The Phantom of the Opera.  An alternative forum is at the Bastille, a much more modern theater, where many large productions are held.

And we can’t do a Paris landmark post without the Eiffel Tower, can we?

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Mar 292011

I wanted to title this post “Why You Should Get a Makeover When You Travel,” but allowing people to find Chanel swatches by post title pushed me toward the one I did use.

However, I do want to talk about both because there’s something about a makeover in a different country that is well worth thinking about…

So many wonder about French women’s beauty secrets, or how others in different countries achieve their looks. One of the best ways to find out is to get a makeover while you travel.  Although this answer sounds quite obvious (duh!), I did not discover this fact until a few years ago when I (an American) went to a Parisian department store (staffed by French makeup artists) and sort of stumbled into a Bobbi Brown makeover (an American line).  To tell the truth, my French wasn’t strong enough at the time to decline politely.  It turned out to be a completely eye-opening experience.  Using very few products that I didn’t already own, I learned how a French woman can apply American makeup to my American face in a very French way.

We might be reluctant to ask, especially if you don’t know the language well or local customs. Well, having my pronunciation and American expectations endlessly corrected by the French (I think I’ve made every possible mistake) has humbled me to the point where I decided to get over myself and go for it.  If you do the same, I guarantee that you will expand your options well beyond your comfort zone.  You may actually love what you see.

Here’s what was used on my during a Chanel makeover that I recently had:

Notice the lack of any added eyeshadow, contour or bronzer.  The look was extremely “your face but better” but with a sheer pop of shine and color on the lips.  The Vitalumiere foundation looked very moist and glowing (but knocked down to a nice finish with the powder).  No added eye color–just an added emphasis of my natural features.

To me, that look is very French.  The skin looks flawless but natural, healthy and is really the main event.  There is only one–two at most–areas of the face with added glow (here, the lips).  The rest is intended to enhance (but never change) your natural features.   When I try the look myself, I know that I’ve done it right when people on the street ask me for directions.

One of the products used was Les Tissage de Chanel/ Blush Duo Tweed Effect in Tweed Corail ($45/ #20), a blush that I’ve probably looked at 1,000 times in the U.S. without a second thought.  It’s one of the few Chanel products that I don’t own.

The color is a soft color with a touch of brown.  There is a gold shimmer overspray that disappears after the first few uses.  Although the blush has a sheer effect, the toned-down coral has a definite impact.  The color glows, but the softer coral tone mixed with a slight brown undertone knocks the color down and keeps it looking young and natural.  In other words, this is not your mother’s coral.


The above swatch is applied far too heavily for normal use, but necessary to show the color in the picture.  Applied that heavily, it does look a little bit like our mother’s coral, so don’t do that. Instead go soft, sheer and glowing.

Do keep in mind that every makeover that I’ve gotten in France has been with different color palettes and using different products.  Not all would come out this same way, of course.   I did enjoy this blush enough with Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Monte Carlo that I thought it was worth picking up so that I can recreate the look at home.


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Mar 292011

Here are more lovely moments from Paris….

From Shakespeare & Co.

Near the Notre Dame Cathedral, this bookstore is literally stuffed to the ceiling with English-language books.  Most Mondays and Thursdays, there are author nights and other gatherings–the events are listed on their website.  The shop has a rich history of supporting both readers and writers, and is well-known for this inscription on the second floor, “be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.”

From the Pompidou Center, an exhibit of the work of Jean-Michel Othoniel

Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre Museum

A collection of bee-themed perfume bottles at Guerlain on the Champs-Elysee

Laduree window

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Mar 282011

Chanel Soft Touch Eyeshadow in Fauve (Ombre Essentielle No. 90 Fauve) is a shimmery mauve-taupe released as part of a small collection.  Currently, this is available outside the U.S. (Chanel has not responded to my email about possible availability in the U.S.).

The texture is high-shimmer.  Here, you can see Fauve swatched next to Chanel Taupe Grisee, which is much deeper in tone and more satin/matte in texture.

To my eye, Fauve seems more mauve and more shimmery than Chanel Safari Soft Touch eyeshadow.  Unfortunately, I do not have my Safari with me for a direct comparison.

I was pleased to see that the sparkles in the pan seemed to smooth out nicely when properly applied with a brush.  The texture is slightly harder than Taupe Grise (which is an extraordinarily soft texture).  If you’ve read this blog, you know what my advice is with respect to harder textured shadows–push harder or use a stiffer brush.  Problem solved.

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Mar 282011

Thank you to everyone who has been so kindly commenting on my Paris posts.  Here are a few more that I thought you might enjoy.

An antique shop window that looks like a blend of magic and science:

Souvenir and home decor shop window (which belongs perhaps in London, not Paris).  And, yes the raised hands are attached by springs that wave back and forth in the royal way:

I wonder whether they have any lipstick in those purses?

This is a bridge that leads across the Seine from the Louvre Museum.

The grated sides are covered with locks, proclamations of love from those who’ve visited the bridge over the years.

These seem to be from all over the world.

I wonder where the big, red heart-shaped one is from?

The lovers write their name and sometimes the date on the locks:

A street vendor sells extra locks:

A typical French flower stand.  These are always so beautifully arranged.  I miss them when I’m not here.

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Mar 252011

Those lovely light, creamy confections are everywhere–usually in two sizes. These are the larger–

Some of the most prominent sources:

  • Laduree – Most of their locations seem to have both an enormous selection, as well as a restaurant for tea or for a girly lunch.  Very “white tablecloth.”  I always love to see the gorgeous scarves, handbags and the little dogs that the ladies bring.
  • Paul – These are scattered throughout Paris.  They have wonderful breads, quick sandwiches (on tiny baguettes), quick little quiches and various desserts.  Their macarons are usually sold out by mid-afternoon.
  • Pierre Herme – Their confections are perfection.  Elevating the taste of a macaron with an impeccable presentation.
  • Lenotre – Extremely fine gourmet food source.  Yes, they have macarons, sure.  Their food goes well beyond desserts to gourmet meals.  Some of it looks like fine architecture.

Aside from these larger sources, on any given day you can pass by a dozen small bakeries with gorgeous things inside.  You can see that things have been made by human beings.  Here’s a secret about those little bakeries–they are a source of incredible “fast food”–for about 5 euros you can get an amazingly large sandwich (half is way too much), using amazing cheeses and meat on a fresh little baguette in under a minute.  Add a little more for water, and you begin to question why fried fast food exists.  If you see a line outside one of these, get into that line.

These macarons are from Angelina, an historic restaurant on the Rue de Rivoli in central Paris.  I’ve heard that Coco Chanel used to drop by for tea, as it is just down the street from her shop on the Rue Cambon.  Recall that one of Chanel’s Rouge Coco lipsticks is named for Rivoli?  Yes, this is that Rivoli!   Although the meals are not much different from standard cafe fare, the desserts are noteworthy.  Angelina is best known for its Mont Blanc dessert (reviewed here), but that’s insanely large. Here are their macarons (here, the small size):

I found Laduree’s dessert cookbook in a bookstore, and found several macaron recipes inside:

The recipes are in French and the measurements are in metric.  I don’t care–I will learn!

Some challenges are worth it.

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Mar 242011

Sublime de Chanel (29 euros/) is a new mascara released in France, designed for “infinite length and curl.”  Like Guerlain’s Le 2 mascara, Sublime de Chanel delivers a very clean, intensely curled, combed, and nicely lengthened lash.  In fact, the Guerlain is the only other mascara that I’ve tried that delivers such an instantly curled lash (no curler required).

The packaging is very similar to the Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss–a square tube with a gold “CC” top, although the mascara packaging does not feel as heavy.  Part of the miracle of Sublime de Chanel is the performance without clumps.  Once opened, the brush is very sharply swiped by the tube.  Although the brush is far from dry, the mascara forms a good, thin film on the brush without any clumping.  Honestly, you’d have to work at it to get this mascara to clump.  I certainly wasn’t able to.  Here’s a picture of a freshly pulled-out Sublime de Chanel brush:

As you can tell, the brush is a series of combs that keep the lashes very clean.  The effect on the lashes is very much like the model in the picture.  I have a hunch that the model in that picture has some pretty nice lashes to start with.  Now I’m going to go out on a limb and guess–I think those lashes in that picture aren’t photoshopped.  That’s pretty much the effect you get–long, separated, curled, clean lashes. Of course, if your lashes are shorter to start with, you won’t get that length, especially without a few layers.

This leaves my lashes feeling pliable but still curled throughout the day.  No smudges, no flaking.  It performs like a great high-end mascara.  I love it more than Chanel Inimitable.

Here’s a delightful little video at’s French website–> watch it, it’s adorable.

My thanks to Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book, who located this video from Vogue Russia. If you go about 1 minute it, you’ll see how the makeup artist applies Sublime de Chanel with a slight wiggle motion.  If you go to the end, you’ll see the final effect with this mascara.  Although the video is in Russian, I suspect that most Chanel makeup lovers will follow along just fine:







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Mar 242011

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks ($32 each) are due to release in the U.S. soon.  You can see my reviews of some of the colors (Boy is here, and Bel Ami is here).  Along with my wanderings in Paris, I picked up two more shades (Monte Carlo and Bonheur), plus a sample card of the shades that are most heavily promoted here in France– in addition to Monte Carlo and Boy, Liberte and Adventure.


Based on playing with these so far, my favorite picks for my NC15/Chanel Cameo coloring are Adventure and Bonheur.  For my warm coloring with mauve undertones, Bonheur is really quite nice.  I suspect that Liz would strongly prefer Adventure.

Here are more thoughts:

  • Monte Carlo– a sheer, shiny red-coral.  It looks awesome with Chanel Tweed Duo blush in Corail, by the way.
  • Boy- A very sheer, soft blue-pink.
  • Liberte- A soft, orangey-peach
  • Adventure– A medium-toned, crowd-pleasing pink.  You can’t go wrong with this color.
  • Bel Ami- A sheer grape with a touch of brown.
  • Bonheur– A soft red with a touch of mauve.  This one packs a little more color than the others.

All from this formula are sheer and balmy.  Boy is the sheerest.  Of the ones that I’ve played with, Monte Carlo and Bonheur have more pigmentation than some of the others, with Monte Carlo coming in a close third.  This line is not intended to  give the pigmentation or have the lasting power of the other Chanel lipsticks (Rouge Allure or Rouge Coco), rather these are easy, casual colors that can be swept on for a touch of shine and moisture.

Swatches in sunshine (yes, don’t hate me but it’s sunny in Paris today):



In shade:

By the way, check out this sweet gift with purchase at a Parisian department store.  In addition to the swatching card, I got a Chanel No. 5 perfume sample and a good sized Sublimage Creme, the new formula.  Now, that’s a gift with purchase….

By the way, the fabric you see in the background is an enormous scarf I got for around 10 euros.  I swear, you can get such big, gorgeous scarfs so inexpensively here.

All images are mine, please link to this entire post. Do not copy or hotlink the images. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

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Mar 232011

At Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royale, I purchased a lipstick in #6, Mauve de Swann ($70).  I tried on another color, a deep red, and was very tempted, but decided to go with this neutral instead.

The bullet is encased in a deep red-brown hexagon, and refills can be purchased separately ($55).  The line has a range of ten colors:

My wonderful contacts at the boutique were kind enough to provide this sample card to me, which includes six of the shades to swatch for you:

As you can see, these six shades include three reds and three neutrals:

  • Mise a Mort:  A warm red
  • Roman Rouge:  A deep, cool red
  • Pourpre Maure:  A deep plum
  • Or Perle: A sheer gold cream that is very moisturizing
  • Rose des Glaces:  A soft cream-rose
  • Mauve de Swann:  A soft mauve-pink

To see the swatches, click “continue reading”….

Continue reading »

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