Holiday Gift Guide

 

It was difficult to edit my gift picks as I want everything I reviewed this past year and would love to give them all as gifts. In any event, here it is, an attempt that hopefully covers reasonable price points and varying tastes to aid in your gifting pleasure.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Hedera Helix: Wouldn’t you love to receive the lovely compacts pictured above? I certainly would as they’re filled with Roxana Villa’s newest fragrance, Hedera Helix, an olfactory ode to ivy. Not surprisingly, this perfume is a leafy green chypre that has a dense and addicting note of oakmoss as its foundation. Both incarnations of Hedera Helix, solid and liquid, are a complex blend of nearly forty different essences, but I prefer the solid’s focus on the effervescent top notes of clementine, orange blossom, and grapefruit. (The liquid is much more resinous and inky and also very beautiful). The heart is full of warm beeswax and woods and the drydown is dappled with sweet rose and jasmine petals. I find this progression from chypre green to pale pink to be quite compelling and all together lovely. The mini compact is $30 for approximately 1.5 gm. If you live in the Portland, OR area, you can test Roxana’s perfumes at Spring Creek Store.

Red Flower Sweet Alyssum: Sweet Alyssum is Red Flower’s latest perfume offering which evokes the burgeoning blossoms of spring. And what better time to have your spirits lifted by iris, violet, honey and hay than in the middle of winter’s darkness? It’s a scent to daydream by. Plan that escape to a sundrenched shore, or imagine the color of that first blooming violet, heralding the new garden season. Whatever the dream, Sweet Alyssum will make it brighter. Sweet Alyssum is $138 for 1.0 oz, exclusively at Garnet Hill.

 

Alima Nourishing Lip Balm: Speaking of dreams, I can’t go to bed without putting lip balm on my lips. And I know I’m not the only balm addict out there. I bet you’re one yourself, or you know one pretty well. Alima’s Nourishing Lip Balm will satisfy even the pickiest guy or gal with its minty scent and smooth texture. Natural is sans color, perfect for bedtime or over lipstick, but I also adore Fig, a shimmering bronzy-plum that’s perfect for everyday wear. $7 per tube at Saffron Rouge.

Ilia Beauty Blossom Lady: I reviewed Ilia’s lipsticks in September and told you all how much I loved Blossom Lady. Well, I am still loving it. So much so that I need to get myself another tube. I also need to pick up a couple extras to give to friends since it’s such a flattering color. I just can’t think of a complexion this would not brighten up! More pictures and gushing are here.  $24 at Beautyhabit.com

For Strange Women Decadence and Debauchery: For Strange Women is a perfumery that I newly found this year and have been enjoying a great deal. I have a few favorites- Moss & Ivy, November, and Horse to be specific- but Decadence and Debauchery ranks high up there and strikes me as the one most people would be drawn to. It has a little bit of everything from tobacco to violet to vanilla and it’s all whipped up into one richly decadent perfume. $40 for 1/4oz bottle of perfume oil on etsy.

Aftelier Perfumes Pear Fir and Coffee Body Oil: Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes always has something new up her sleeve whether its creating Chef’s Essences®, perfumed teas, or candles. This time, she has caught me by surprise with her newest Body Oil & Hair Elixir; Pear Fir and Coffee. That’s quite a trio of scents! When I first applied the oil on my skin I thought, “Huh, that really is pear, fir and coffee.” After twenty minutes more I thought, “Wow! That still is pear, fir and coffee and I’m liking it!” Somehow these seemingly disparate notes- seemingly to me being a fragrance sniffer rather than a fragrance creator- work in concert to not only harmonize with each other but also allow each other room to shine as individual notes. This oil would be perfect for the perfumista in your life that is open to new olfactory experiences. $40 for 3.5 oz pump bottle at Aftelier.com.

Chanel No 19 Poudre: I will admit, unabashedly, that I have fallen hard for Chanel No 19 Poudre. I know it hasn’t gotten rave reviews from other perfume bloggers as it’s been deemed as a watered down version of the original, and not terribly inspired. Well, I disagree as Poudre makes me swoon with delight. The opening is a tender and sheer rendering of galbanum unlike the original which is much too cold and sharp for my taste. The iris glistens and remains steadfast throughout Poudre’s evolution, but is at its finest when it melds into the tonka-sandalwood base which is delectable! $85 for 1.7oz at Nordstrom.com.

DSH Vanille Botanique: Another new fragrance launch that has garnered a lot of praise, is Prada Candy. I like it well enough, but I’m not feeling the love quite so strongly. I much prefer DSH Perfumes Vanille Botanique which also starts off with smooth caramel but with a boozy twist. I find Vanille Botanique to satisfy the same type of craving as Candy, but in a more interesting manner. It might not be the “benzoin overload” the Prada PR claim Candy to be, but Vanille Botanique is a lush cloak of tonka, balsams and yes, benzoin. And even though I just sang praises for Chanel Poudre, when given the chance, I would rather spend my dollars on, and give my loved ones a gift from an indie perfumer. $130 for 30ml at indiescents.com.

Happy Shopping! ~Trish

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More Ilia lippie pics

I visited Alder & Co. on Tuesday after having lunch next door at Gruner with my dear friend Susan who was happy to pop in with me to check out the Ilia lipstick line that I reviewed last week. I am smitten with the wearable pinkness of Blossom Lady, but was eager to test Bang Bang, their red offering. Once I applied its sheer ruby loveliness on my lips, I knew it would be going home with me.

When you look at my mediocre photos below- I tried my iPhone best- you’ll see that Bang Bang looks kind of brick reddish, but it’s not. It really is a true jewel toned red whose sheerness gives a flattering shimmer that’s day or night appropriate.

Susan picked up Shell Shock which is similar to Blossom Lady but with more warmth from its peach tone which is perfect for her fair skin and strawberry blonde hair. Like me, she also fell for Lady Blossom which I think is her favorite as well.

                                       Shell Shock above, Bang Bang below.

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Ilia Beauty. My latest lipstick love.

If you read my “about” page, you’ll discover that I am not a total purist when it comes to being green. My preference is to use only all natural products, especially perfumes and body products, but you’ll find a few mainstream bottles and tubes scattered about my house nevertheless. Lipsticks in particular are a weakness because even though I have found a few naturals that I really like, they haven’t yet moved into the love category. Like how I love my Chanel Rouge Coco Shines- I’ve got more than a couple of those- or my Hourglass Femme Rouge in Fresco.

When I first read about Ilia Beauty over at Grace’s blog, LondonMakeupGirl, I had a feeling their natural lipsticks would be impressive. Ilia’s lipsticks are packed with sesame oil, jojoba oil, beeswax and pomegranate seed oil and I was eager to find out if they feel as good on the lips as they should given those nourishing ingredients. Now that I have worn these lipsticks for myself over several weeks, I can tell you they feel great and look amazing.

Sheer, balmy lipsticks with a subtle shine are my favorites, and Ilia’s fall right into that category. They are not a gloss/lipstick hybrid, but rather a lipstick that feels like a balm with a lovely slip that’s not waxy or sticky. These lipsticks not only feel nourishing, they are nourishing.

The colors I tried were Blossom Lady and Arabian Nights, both very wearable and flattering. Blossom Lady is the lighter pink color, which against my olive skin tone reads as a bubblegum pink. It’s almost nude in tone but not quite since it is sheer, allowing for your natural lip color to add depth. I usually go for pinks that are warmer and rosier, but Blossom Lady is just so pretty. It brightens up my face on those mornings when I haven’t had enough sleep.Arabian Nights is also very sheer, more so than you might think from just looking at it in the tube. But take a peek below and you’ll see that when swatched, it’s not densely pigmented. It’s buildable if you want a richer color, but if you prefer a sheer berry lip you’ll get that with just a couple swipes.
As far as the ingredients, they are over 99% all natural and 85% organic. While perusing online reviews, I found this comment from the founder of Ilia at No More Dirty Looks regarding the use of synthetic color

The 3 synthetic colours listed are minimally used with percentages as low as 0.1% of the total formula. The majority of the shades are a combination of these with “natural dyes”, or iron oxides. Ironically, natural dyes or iron oxides dyes that come from the earth as minerals are full of metals…which our bodies are really good at absorbing and holding onto forever. It was a big decision to use a combination of the two in order to achieve more contemporary shades and provide options. There are many organic cosmetics brands that choose not to disclose the use of mild synthetic colours, yet most will have them if there is a brighter colour involved. Sharing this information was important to me, as to be completely transparent with nothing to hide. As an extra note, there is no Carmine in any of ILIA’s shades, which was a morale decision. The one colour that is completely natural with natural dye is the nude “Nobody’s Baby”. Hope this of help to you, and could write forever about what I have learned in regards to sourcing the ingredients for this one product, yet I do know where each ingredients comes from, right down to its source. If you have any other questions please let me know. Cheers! Sasha // Founder ILIA Beauty

I appreciate the transparency that Sasha provides just as much as I adore her lipsticks. I want to add that they last for hours and the recycled aluminum tubes are surprisingly elegant and close with that high end snap we makeup junkies love.
Who’s that crazy kid?

Ilia lipsticks are $24.95 at IliaBeauty.com

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Ilia Beauty. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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