Whenever I look at the moon, I wonder at her celestial beauty, and the fact that 47 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on it. I also wonder what we’re immersing into the atmosphere, what we’re crafting as orbs of the night (ah, how lovely those words are to me) dip into new waves. It is certainly a cup of tea very different from the norm I know, but self-reflection is something that should still be done. Often. Or, every once in a blue moon.

Fragrance is more unexpectedly straightforward than you would believe, so much so, that I urge you to avoid the modern mainstream ‘pop scent’, and follow your own perfumed tune. Mine, well, it’s just an offering of sorts, it doesn’t burn brighter than all the shadows cast across it, it just feels homemade, which it kinda is, not in a way this is unsettling as homemade things can be, but in a way that feels rooted in reality.

So by now you know I’m fickle with fragrance. Sure, I always come back to certain scents, but I spend a lot of my time trying to add to a repertoire that could only be described as schizophrenic. Layering fragrances is like a Rubik’s Cube; it’ll drive you crazy until you happen on something that you know you’ve never smelt before. A once in a blue moon mix. The big plate of pomme frites I’ve been alluding to.

Try this, and it’s a definite that you’ll get you a cacophonous chorus of “ooooooh, what you wearing missus?!” You just play—and play it really is—with Santa Maria Novella’s Tobacco Toscano and Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Ambre du Nepal in any spritz-order you see fit. Close the redolent circle with a drop of vanilla oil behind your ears, on your wrists, the small of your neck and just between your collarbone—C.O. Bigelow’s lasts for an eternity.

Frédéric Malle, the architect behind Editions de Parfums—a collection of nineteen original scents created in collaboration with the world’s top noses says, “Perfume is not an intellectual thing. It’s very primal. You have to use what you already know about someone, but you also need to trust your instincts.”

I think this mix will make you feel humid, narcotic, a bit unsettled even, and I think you’ll like it. Caution: Marinate for a good half an hour before stepping out.


215New York cabs are for kissing. Or shouting. Or both. And their insides serve as spurious ambassadors to the smells of the city. I rarely encounter a backseat that tickles my olfactory senses, until yesterday that is, when I took a ride with a gentleman who imparted some serious fragrant wizardry. It was all babies and antiseptic and roses. I felt happy and oddly soothed. He told me that everyday before his shift starts, he wipes his seats, door handles and upholstery with a mixture of rubbing alcohol, pinesol and rose water. ‘I never get sick anymore’, he exclaimed with such glee it was contagious, or I was high on the ethanol. I ran to the nearest Duane Reade, bought the ingredients and poured them into an empty water bottle to use on anything in need of ‘future disinfecting’ – I’m thoughtful like that. Me being me, I added some bergamot, geranium and jasmine essential oils for a little extra somethin’ somethin’. It’s a pretty damn lush concoction.

I’m always amazed at how smells can trigger the most intense, complex memories instantaneously. When I’m in New York I’m blindsided everyday (even if I don’t always inhale deeply). Think top notes of unmistakable $1 pizza (even at 8.30am), and lingering hints of incense, sweat, exhaust, and – on a good day – weed. Noxious on its own, but just an allusion can be, well, alluring – that’s the perfumer’s dirty secret isn’t it? Something almost ‘nasty’ used in minute traces to give the addiction and the wanton aspect ultimately makes the scent and its trail literally irresistible. If you’re in any doubt, look up the ingredients of the magnum opus of fragrances, Fracas. And then, just sniff.

 

source: helena carrington


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If I had to describe my dream study it would go something like this – mahogany floors, shelves filled with copious jars of herbs and bath salts that reach all the way to vaulted ceilings. In between working I could go and brew a chamomile tea say, or mix up a packet of Love Potion No.9 soaks for a friend. Then I’d pull down a book on The Language of Flowers for a quick mosey, spray myself with any of the Australian Bush Flower essences and maybe take a few drops of astragalus tincture to boost my immune system. Sound far-fetched? Could be, but Flower Power in the East Village is the living, breathing embodiment of all these fantasies come true, just in a blaze of incense and candlelight. If there is an olfactory equivalent to Tennessee Williams ubiquitous “A Streetcar Named Desire,” it’s the nostalgia-laced scent of my favorite New York city apothecary, a fragrance of note played on repeat all throughout the year. Too much of a good thing can be, well, too much some say, but inhale of any of the lush aromas found in vessels, decanters or tiny bags around the store and you’ll be transported. Utterly. My day is infinitely better if I have the time to mix and play with their oils, which I know sounds indulgent, but who doesn’t want to choose the metaphorical horse on which they ride on from sunrise to sunset? As it’s cold, I’m all about a little frankincense, myrrh, rose and geranium because it’s warming and holy (and I think that’s what Bethlehem would have smelt like), which seems powerful. I keep on imagining the endless possibilities.

Flower Power // 406 E 9th St, New York


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Apparently it’s called Columbusing, when you “discover” something that’s existed forever. Just that it’s existed outside your own culture, nationality and neighborhood. Bonus points if you tell all your friends about it. I’m pretty much all or nothing, so I’ve told everybody about garam masala, the Indian “signature” of a great cook. In case you wanted to know, the word garam means hot and masala means spices, so the mixture’s traditionally one that heats the body according to the Ayurvedic system of medicine.

I was following a Hemsley And Hemsley chicken curry recipe that uses the unspoken flavor passed down through generations of (amazing) cooks and I couldn’t get enough of the aroma and the way it made everything taste. Apparently when you buy it off the shelf, the commercial mixtures often cut down on the more expensive cardamom and fill up with the cheaper coriander and cumin. So I thought why not make my own?

It’s a cathartic, sensual process grinding seeds down with a mortar and pestle and the results are akin to a sort of potion that can be rubbed and sprinkled on pretty much anything. I made a Hyderabadi version (because it was the first recipe that came up on my google search), an amalgamation of Mughlai, Turkish and Arabic influences and my goodness, it’s truly scrumptious.

Hyderabadi Garam Masala with Saffron and Black Cumin

2 tspn saffron threads, 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup black cumin seeds, 1/4 cup cloves, 1/4 cup cinnamon, 1/4 cup green cardamom seeds (adjust the proportions to suit your preferences)

 

source: mydarlinlemonthyme


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I used to think black lipstick required a certain amount of chutzpah on the part of the wearer. How do you pull off an uncompromising, unmissable shade of onyx? Turns out it doesn’t have to be gothic or matte. At least for me.

I’m crazy for formulations akin to my magical green mood lipstick from Barry M that reacts to your body chemistry, and turns a pinkish-reddish hue depending on how hot you are. Just kidding. MAC has something similar; a true-black Lipmix that you can blend with any color you love for a customized, darkly romantic vibe. Try it under a shimmering scarlet or eggplant like Obsessive Compulsive Lip Tar in Black Metal Dahlia. Black shot through with metallic is epic. Truly.

If as dark as you got was with that perennial classic, Clinique Black Honey, then you should definitely try Lipstick Queen’s Black Tie Optional as a layering piece under any shade, but with red, oh my. Think of it like a pair of the best black lace stockings you ever got.

 

source: zsazsabellagioblogspot/Sung Hee Kim by Lee Kyung Ryul for Harper’s Bazaar Korea 2013

 

 


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I don’t know about you, but everything is a bit swollen at the moment; eyelids, cheeks and lips. Maybe it’s the Arctic temperatures, maybe it’s the cold I’ve been nursing for a week. It would seem counter intuitive to rub freezing cubes of ice over my face wouldn’t it? There’s actually nothing better to de-puff, drain blocked sinuses and sculpt hidden cheekbones. And if they’re colored, well then all the better.

All you have to do is steep green tea bags for a few minutes in hot (not boiling) water and then pour the mixture into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. When you want to use them, take out the cubes and run them quickly under water to prevent any sticking – they should glide smoothly over your face. P.S I don’t cover them in a muslin cloth before rubbing with them, but you can if you find them too cold to hold.

I give myself my own version of a lymphatic massage by applying pressure with the cube and sweeping it in upward and outward motions, pretty much all over. I’m convinced this works the majority of toxins out of my skin and everything suddenly looks plump and rosy. Warning: once you’ve succumbed there’s no going back.

 

source: henryhappened.com

 


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I have naturally curly hair: sometimes you’d know it, sometimes you would never. I like that just by dunking my head underwater, I can look completely different. One day it could be wild and undone, another, sleek and pulled together.

It is said that the hair on our head and all parts of our body for that matter, is an extension of our ‘sensitive field’. Maybe that’s why, when left to their own devices, my curls remain undefeated. They are like little antennae feeling out the world for me. I love the voluminous kink and carefree whimsy that comes with going natural. Not always the case. In my uneducated Jew-fro days I was a mess.

If you’re a self-confessed curl hater, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learnt along the way that may just make you embrace the allure of your whirls and twirls like I did.

  • Don’t let a hairdresser near you with thinning scissors: curly hair is finer than most and thinning can make it weak and brittle. I get dry cuts so whoever cuts my hair can assess how my curls fall and where layers are needed.
  • Every curly hair girl should try Bumble and Bumble’s Curl Smoothing Conditioner (for the “spirally blessed”) and then post-rinse, use the brand’s Defining Creme mixed with a tiny bit of Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Camellia Oil for loose and languid loops.
  • Kerastase’s Oleo-Curl Intense Masque is the bomb. Literally. It’s jam-packed with anti-humidity oils and we all know that frizz avoidance is the number-one objective for us curly gals.
  • To lengthen tight curls, Aveda’s Be Curly curl controller works a treat and dampens down any unnecessary volume.
  • When in doubt, coconut oil, coconut oil, coconut oil! It’s cheap, softening, smoothing, defining, smells like Tahiti, keeps your scalp supple and leaves a glossy hold.
  • If you’re near a beach I recommend doubling up on Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse and Caudalie Divine Oil. Put a few drops of each onto wet hair and air-dry for subtly perfumed waves that get better and better as the night goes on.
  • Don’t brush it. Ever. Well, just comb gently through when it’s wet.

source: vinnieh.wordpress.com


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Natural doesn’t just mean flesh-coloured, especially when there are seemingly thousands of nude shades to paint onto lips. I’m not a fan of anything glossy so it can be difficult to find a color that doesn’t look deathly pale – the lightest chromatic palette has blue undertones after all. I’ve started playing with Nars Lipstick in Honolulu Honey because it has a satin finish that looks like a golden concealer, but somehow glides on sheerly so you can build-up to a desired intensity. The only caveat? Baby-soft lips mandatory! Smooth away any chapping by rubbing your mouth with a pinch of sugar and salt, removing any granules with a hot washcloth, and then applying a thick coating of Givenchy Le Soin Noir Rituel Levres Lip Balm which comes with an effective exfoliator (if you’re not prone to beauty DIY) and gives Lucas Pawpaw a serious run for its money.

 

 

source: prettystuff.tumblr.com