Monday, October 31, 2011

Viva Halloween: Las Vegas

Many of the indie perfume oil companies put out special limited editions for Halloween (and other holidays) and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is certainly no exception. This year, a special blend was announced to celebrate the company founders' wedding anniversary, Halloween: Las Vegas.

The notes were intriguing: "The aftermath of piratical nuptials: walls smeared with red and black frosting, copious amounts of spilled red wine, the leftover contents of three full bars, dry leaves and desert flowers crushed into carpet, tobacco smoke, and champaca incense in a cloud of body-heat amped Snake Oil and Dorian."

When I first read about this one, while loving the overall spirit of it, I assumed it wouldn't work on me. I love foodie smells, but find they often go plastic on my skin, don't love incense or tobacco smoke, find wine turns sour on me, and am a little scared by the intensity of Snake Oil, a BPAL signature fragrance that combines Indonesian oils with vanilla (though their other popular fragrance, Dorian, with musks and sugared vanilla tea, is wonderful to me). The more I thought about it, though, the more it intrigued, and I ended up ordering a bottle unsniffed. Then I received a small sample and WAS HOOKED.

I get a boozy, smoky tobacco (not the smoke, the delicious rich leaf) at first, then a winey grapiness that's neither too sweet nor too sour. The cake and frosting swirl in, as do the incense, Snake Oil, and Dorian components. "Swirling" is the best word I can come with for it -- there truly is a sense of many things happening all at once, as if you're going through a room with a big party in it and encountering different smells along the way. It ends up with remnants of red velvet cake -- that perfect blend of vanilla and cocoa -- and the wonderful dregs of the party.

It's sexy, it's delicious, it's rich, smoky, and heady, but all without being overpowering. I ordered more, I want to have this around for a long, long time.

P.S., it was a great fragrance to wear to a Halloween party last night, dressed as Joan Holloway from Mad Men. What better way to capture the spirit of that series than with a fragrance combining booze, tobacco, and sexy perfume?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm a Painted Lady!

I've been following for some time now Sheila Arkee's wonderful and informative beauty blog, Painted Ladies. I really love how Sheila and her posse of beauty mavens combine professional tips with an acceptance of the reality that we all have stressful, busy lives and are just trying to bring a little beauty and glamour into our days with the judicious application of a bit of gloss or shadow. I was blown away last year when Sheila pulled off an amazing feat -- to create and post a gorgeous eye look with a list of all the elements she used to create it every single day for a year -- and as a single mom to a toddler to boot!

I recently gathered my nerve and applied to become one of the beauty mavens, and was thrilled to be accepted into the ranks. So as of today, I am proud to be a Painted Lady myself! Looking forward to reviewing products and providing some thoughts on this wacky world of makeup.