Saturday, May 24, 2008

perfume: not fit for polite company

Or civil conversations, apparently!

I spent an embarrassingly decadent day shopping and then eating.

I started off the day with a purchase of the Lunasol quad I posted about earlier. Yes, I have no will power. I got powder foundation, makeup primer, and skin care samples too though. Foundation samples are my favorite things lately. There's just no way to properly test out foundation without samples.

Then came all the perfume sniffing in Ginza. My friend is a big fan of Chanel so we went over to sniff the standard department store offerings. She doesn't seem to be very conscious of the differences between the various strengths - she and the saleslady both agreed that the concentrations both vary in lasting power only, while I tried to suggest that there might be slight differences between parfum and eau de toilette in terms of the scent itself. Anyway, I'm unable to appreciate the fabled No.5, and I don't like Chance much at all. I think my friend was a bit disappointed that I didn't like anything.

Afterwards, I dragged her off to Hermes to sniff the Hermessences. I happily resniffed Vetiver Tonka and Rose Ikebana, and sprayed Osmanthe Yunnan on myself, then Kelly Caleche. Both are quite nice, but for some reason my nose gets used to Osmanthe Yunnan quite quickly and I'm unable to smell it. It's a pity. Next time I'll try on Vetiver Tonka - I love it on paper. Brin de Reglisse seemed quite nice but a standard lavender during the time that I smelled it, and I didn't stick around to see how the drydown was.

It was interesting to realize that the Jean Claude Ellena creations are not her idea of perfume at all. She was quite baffled at them and said they weren't scents that she would ever think of wanting to wear as a perfume (while pointing to Poivre Samarcande, which I am not particularly drawn to either). But she's also baffled by the idea of tea scents, so... She found the Hermessences very natural and not anything that would appeal to her seasonal fragrance cravings. Apparently we like quite different things in fragrance. I was a little insulted that being light and natural should disqualify a fragrance from being "real fragrance."

My friend (who is Korean) surmised that the Hermessences were probably very popular with the Japanese public, being quite light fragrances. I found it curious that she likes Incanto Shine and all Chanels but is unable to see the appeal in the Hermessences. She also was quite insistent about staying away from men's perfumes - apparently someone told her that she smelled like a man when she tried a men's fragrance once. I believe it traumatized her. I sniffed the men's offerings anyway.

By the way, the Hermes staff were quite nice about letting us sniff all of the Hermessences and talk about them. I recommend a visit if you're in Ginza, as the only other store in Japan which carries the Hermessences is the duty-free shop at Narita airport Terminal 1.

At this point, I wasn't sure if we could enjoy sniffing perfumes together, given our quite disparate tastes in fragrances, but we were able to focus on the fun of sniffing at the Chanel boutique, where they were also quite friendly about our leisurely exploration. My friend was surprised that they had more fragrances available there than in the department stores.

I was delighted to see Les Exclusifs for the first time, and we sniffed them all. I brought home labeled cards with spritzes of all them. 28 La Pausa (eau de toilette) intrigued me but Bois de Iles (parfum) was better on skin. Sycomore (eau de toilette) was nice at first but got too resiny after a while. My friend loved No. 22 (eau de toilette), which was straight powder on paper. Apparently she loves the smell of powder. I told her she should try Caron stuff, as that's all powdery to me! Oddly enough they only had Bois de Iles, No. 22, Cuir de Russie, and Gardenia testers out in parfum concentration, and they didn't have a tester of Bois de Iles out in eau de toilette concentration. The 200ml eau de toilette is 30,000 yen! The 15ml parfum is about 24,000 yen. My friend complained about the size of the EDTs and the boring bottles - they reminded her of liquor bottles. Chanel really should make smaller sized sets. She would have bought No. 22 if it had been available in a 50ml or 100ml size, but 200ml for 30,000 was steep even for the daily wearer of No. 5.

Lastly, the food: I finally made it to Les Mignardises in Daimaru department store at Tokyo station. They have the cutest and most expensive macarons ever. I enjoy the free slice of cake you can get with each purchase. If you're special like a friend of mine, you can get a small cup of coffee too. It's worth a visit just to see their charming display and marvel at the prices.

I did a bit of browsing at Shin-Marunouchi Building where the shops close at 9pm. Kenzoki sucked me in and I found myself buying the Sensual Beneficial Water because I adore the scent of the Sensual (aka Rice Steam) line and have wanted it since last winter. It doesn't smell like rice, honestly. I'll call it perfume to justify the price. The saleslady gave me samples of the Lotion Fondante Au Riz and the Creme Qui Fait Belle and a furry little pillow spritzed with the new Bamboo Leaf fragrance. In retrospect I should have gone for the Ginger scent.

I stopped at my favorite quiche place - Le Jardin Gaulois and bought 4 1/8 pieces of quiche and a slice of their duck terrine. I'll try the terrine out tomorrow.

Then I stopped by Le Ligne Point (or something like that) for their hard galettes - yummy and only 200-300 yen for one. I need to try out that crepe recipe I got from a friend years ago.

For dinner I tried the ochazuke (rice with a choice of a topping like fish or chicken or mentaiko (spicy fish roe), over which you pour fish broth) shop nearby.

All in all, a very decadent day.

For an interesting guide to Tokyo, check out gilda's blog.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kat DeLuna

I'm enjoying Kat DeLuna's song "Run The Show." You can hear it at her site and also the True Colors tour site. It's a good song to start the day with.

Quite a lot of rain tonight!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

materialism: to buy or not to buy

I'm contemplating a purchase of Lunasol's Sheer Contrast Eyes eyeshadow quad in EX01 Blue Green Coral. The shimmering sea blue is a gorgeous color that can be layered on for intensity. The pale green and dark silvery brown (as Rouge Deluxe put it) are lovely colors too. However, the shimmering white shade is a standard highlighter of which I have far too many already. Still, the blue and brown are quite gorgeous so I'm debating a purchase (5250yen).

Shadow Customize, Majolica Majorca's individual eyeshadow line, has a lovely shimmery blue-green shade BL724(熱帯魚 tropical fish) that is similar but not as blue as Lunasol's color. Considering how much eyeshadow I own and how much I would be able to use the Lunasol quad, EX01 is really not a justifiable purchase. The quad is also limited edition, so it couldn't be a permanent part of my stash.

This minimalism thing is quite difficult. Or rather, finding the perfect items that would allow me to be minimalistic is quite a time-consuming task.

image from

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fantastic W cover

The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog has a post about Charlize Theron on the cover of W (high end [inaccessible] fashion magazine). Check it out! It's an interestingly-composed picture with perfect light exposure and impeccable colors. Theron looks fantastic.

Update: my comment on exposure was probably redundant - any good photographer can get perfect exposure - whereas there's something about the color balance and saturation that enhances the burnished effect. A washed out yet rich image that makes me feel like she's in the desert.

The photo fascinates me so I'm spending an inordinate amount of time trying to put it into words :P

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hermes Hermessence line

Someday, I'd love to get the Hermes Hermessence Discovery set (4 15ml bottles). The ones I've tried at the Tokyo Narita airport's duty-free store have been quite lovely. Ambre Narguile is a warm, foody scent. Vetiver Tonka smells of musk and coffee yet remains light. I have a fainter impression of Rose Ikebana - citrus. Osmanthe Yunnan is one that I would like to retry in particular.

awadzuke soy sauce at Seijo Ishii supermarket

A while back I posted about a soy sauce that I quite like: Awadzuke Soy Sauce. I finally found that Seijo Ishii Supermarket carries it, so quickly snapped up a bottle. Amusingly, I have 3 bottles of soy sauce right now. I'm almost done with one bottle, but still, 2 bottles seems a little excessive. They have different uses though, so it's ok.

quiche in Tokyo

Yes! I have found tasty quiche in Tokyo. Le Jardin Gaulois has multiple locations in the Tokyo area, but I only discovered them yesterday at Shin Marunouchi Building near Tokyo station. I got their assorted quiche plate. Delicious! The texture of steamed eggs. I'll post a picture later.

fragrance: L'Artisan Parfumeur, Les Parfums de Rosines

I sprayed on a few Rosines yesterday. They all have a similar base; very pretty rose, but I guess I'm not that into rose. I have a small decant of Un Zest du Rose, which I like but am not often inclined to wear. It comes out when I attend weddings.

I got a chance to play with the L'Artisan fragrances available in Japan, and I am quite a fan of Premier Figuier. A very nice, quiet fragrance with a bit of green. It would be quite easy to wear. However, I don't really feel any pull to wear it. Ananas Fizz came 2nd to Premier Figuier, and I was not drawn to La Chasse Aux Papillions.

So far, Barbara Bui's fragance is probably the most likely purchase for me. I did get a chance to try Sarah Jessica Parker's Covet (why don't they bring Lovely to Japan?) and it was quite nice, but I feel no pull.

Friday, May 02, 2008

About You Now

This song by the current incarnation of Sugababes is quite addictive: About You Now. The contrasting melody and harmony are clean and simple.