Lipstick Queen’s Mixed Metaphor

My day-to-day makeup routine has never been too extreme: a tinted moisturizer, a setting powder, a brow gel and a lipstick. And, of course, perfume, but that goes without saying: I don’t consider it as a makeup, it’s a part of my clothing. For the first six months of working from home, with just a handful of Zoom meetings that required my video presence, I almost completely quit using makeup during a workweek. And since on rare excursions to grocery stores I would wear a mask, lipsticks stayed tucked away in a drawer for most of spring and summer.

At some point, as I decided to put on some makeup for a video-meeting, I realized how much I was missing these small daily rituals. So, I thought that instead of colorless lip balms, I could probably use up some of the numerous lipsticks I managed to accumulate before they are hopelessly beyond any mentally expanded expiration date.

In my collection, I have all possible lip products of different colors, formulations and intensity, so I wouldn’t have to search hard for something appropriate to wear, but I thought of something even better!

Almost two years ago I bought a holiday edition from my favorite brand, Lipstick QueenThe Nude Album Lipstick Palette. Visually, it is a strange combination of a vinyl album and a painter’s palette. But somehow this mixed metaphor works, and the combination feels very organic – until you start thinking about it.

 

Lipstick Queen The Nude Album Lipstick Palette

 

I loved how The Nude Album Lipstick Palette looked, and those colors suited me perfectly. But can you imagine hauling around this set?! And if I were to put on one color at home and then take with me some lipstick for a touch-up in the office, why would I not put it on to start with? So, the set was just sitting in my drawer… until I realized that now when I stayed at home it was just perfect: I could apply and re-apply any of these lipsticks throughout the day, either using the same color or going around the palette. Now every day I feel a little like an artist painting those beautiful fall colors on my lips.

 

Lipstick Queen The Nude Album Lipstick Palette

 

The Nude Album Lipstick Palette is still available online, both in the US and in Europe, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wears lipsticks in these shades: for less than the price of one lipstick you will be getting 7 colors to play with. The quality is the same as for the regular Lipstick Queen’s lipsticks. And the set looks even better in person than in photos.

 

Images: my own

Portia’s Bathtime Goodies

Hi there Posse, Beauty Queens Bathe! I don’t know where I originally heard it or if it is my own invention. Either are believable. I seem to be the ONLY person on Insta who has ever used it. Thing is, it utterly describes the way I feel about baths in a tongue-in-cheek way. When you want to feel totally pampered and cleaned then full submersion with a quick rinse at the end seems perfect.

Seriously, even if it’s 1am and I’m dead tired. A good steaming hot soak in a bath full of bubbles for at least 20 minutes then sets me up to sleep deeper and wake up more refreshed, smelling gorgeous. I know it feels like a lot of work (especially at ridiculous hours) but believe me, it’s worth the effort.

Portia’s Bathtime Goodies

FRONT ROW:

Olympic Orchids Amber Labdanum Bath Oil

Want to smell and feel unbelievably gorgeous? Just a few drops in the bath. It coats my skin, and afterwards there is no need for more fragrance, especially if you are going straight to bed. You can drift off in the most delicious, lightly animal amber dreams. It also works perfectly as a fixative for and amber fragrance. I particularly love to wear Mitzah by DIOR after a bath in Olympic Orchids Amber Labdanum Bath Oil.

JOOP! Le Bain

I read a Fragrantica piece about this scent not so long ago. INSTANT lemming. So, off I went looking for some. A small bottle with shower gel was less than a regular niche 3ml decant, so I splurged. It wears like a female veering barbershop, with vanilla and flowers rather than lavender. Softly resinous and not as sweet as the base notes would suggest. I’m eeking out this shower gel because it’s so precious.

Vintage Caron Bellodgia Bath Oil

This popped up on eBay about 10 years ago, maybe more. When I bought it, I thought it was a large bottle, like 150ml. When it arrived I was totally bummed, it had been expensive and come from overseas. Then the smell hit me. O M G! One drop is all I need to put in the bath, and the whole apartment is suddenly awash in the divine smell of vintage Bellodgia. As you can see, the bottle is about halfway empty. When it’s gone, I’ll have the amazing memory of having owned such lavish luxury.

Tabu

OK, I know. This is not a big ticket item. Reminds you of great aunt Agatha who you despise. Stop your bitching a get some. FragranceNet has this regularly for under US$5 before coupon. It smells like a soft version of vintage Tabu and gives excellent bubbles. Another good base for all your ambers but also works beautifully with woods, resins and leathers.

Reem Acra

This fragrance came out to general acclaim by perfumistas in 2012. Radiant white floral with enough bells and whistles to make it interesting as well as lovely. You can buy a bottle at FragranceNet of the perfume for peanuts nowadays and stock up on Shower Gel US$4 and Body Lotion US$7 before coupon! Remember to GOOGLE FragranceNet Reem Acra 90ml and follow the link to get the 35% discount code applied. Currently you’ll get a 90ml EdP, Shower Gel and Lotion for around US$25! (Not affiliated, just LOVE DISCOUNTS!)

L’Occitane Neroli & Orchidee

The only one on my shelf I’m yet to use. It was a birthday gift, and I loved the fragrance when it came out. Will be very excited to have myself a bath in these bubbles.

BACK ROW:

Guerlain Champs Elysees Bath Balls

These are PRECIOUS! A gift from my mate Scotty a couple of years ago. I have only had two baths in them, and the smell is so damn glorious. Every time I go to use them though my TOO PRECIOUS button kicks in. Just seeing them and having them is enough.

Cuir Vetiver

Bought on one of our holidays. Can you believe Yves Rocher isn’t in Australia? I think it was a stand alone store in Budapest, and I went a bit crazy. Their product is super affordable, smells great and makes excellent gifts in a world of multinationals. One of the downside to being able to get almost everything is that it denigrates the fun of shopping overseas for friends. What’s not to love here? Leather and vetiver with a few extras for cohesion. Perfect base for Penhaligon’s Halfeti Leather, vintage Trussardi donna and YSL Jazz.

L’Artisan Premier Figuier

I seriously wish I’d bought 100 of these bottles when I saw them deep discounted as they were being phased out of Australia. I did buy about 20 with a few Chasse and Amber in the mix and then gave most of them as gifts. NOW I’m kicking myself because they are so beautiful. Fig is in a few of my favourites like Premier Figuier & Extreme, Neela Vermeire Ashoka and Mugler Womanity.

L’Artisan Caligna

I just bought a pre-loved bottle of Caligna off a friend’s FB sale doc. I’m yet to wear the fragrance over the shower gel but have high hopes for extended longevity. This is the old style bottle that I bought at the discounters a while ago. The plastic wrap had started to come apart on the box, so I took it as a sign that it wanted some use. Another fig-centric fragrance but this time with lavender and woods. This also works beautifully as a base for CHANEL Boy and Caron Pour un Homme.

LUSH Rose Jam

You all know about this ridiculously beautiful rose shower gel? It is virtually free! Of all the LUSH products Rose Jam is by far my favourite and most used. It is a rich, jammy rose and amps any rose fragrance or can be worn alone as a soft rose wash that lasts a couple of hours by itself. I’ve lost count of how many bottles of Rose Jam I’ve gone through but it must be 10 or more.

Tabac Original

This was my fathers fragrance, and this year marks 30 years since he died. When I saw this freaking enormous bottle for sale, I bought two. Of all the money spent over my life on fragrance and accoutrements Tabac Original is still one of the best scents around. Not only does it smell fantastic but nowadays it is also a rarity to smell someone wearing it. Barbershop done right.

Sea Salt Mimosa

I have a mate, Andrew, in the USA who I send stuff to, and he repacks and forwards it on. TBH I have no recollection of where I bought this and a couple of other C O Bigelow shower gels from. They do some really interesting scent combos though and give huge bubbles in the bath. This one is salty mint. YUM! The fragrance doesn’t last on skin though spa my enjoyment is bath only. This is a good thing if I don’t want my bubbles to wreck my fragrance later.

 

As you can see, I have a formidable arsenal of potions. Part of my lavish bathing adventure is picking the scent.

What do you bathe or shower with?

Portia xx

Fantasy Vacation Scent

Last month one of the NST’s community projects was Fantasy Vacation Friday: “pick a destination and wear the scent that takes you there.”

It reminded me of a couple of products I wanted to tell you about that fit into this topic – even though those weren’t perfumes.

 

Sunset on Maui

 

When it comes to buying perfumes, I’m easier persuaded by a sale (15-20% off) than by a Gift with Purchase option, because usually I do not need those additional goodies that are offered with perfumes in which I’m interested. But it’s a completely different story if we’re talking about skincare and other beauty products: I love getting GWPs there.

I keep using the same products for years, so unless one of the trusted sources recommends something especially enthusiastically, I rarely try anything new. Even less so in the recent couple of years, since following our big fires in the region, I developed strange sensitivities and allergies that cause me to be especially cautious with anything new I use (because from time to time even proven products cause my skin to react with itching and not that attractive puffiness).

Probably because of that I’m usually tempted by those skincare GWP from department stores that feature many different products. This is my chance to try something new without risking wasting money on something that I simply cannot use (see, I’m not even talking about products not delivering the promise).

Also, it works well with those products that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. For example, having longish fine normal to oily hair, I would have never even considered trying Moroccanoil Hair Treatment. If it weren’t for a small sample that I got in one of the GWPs.

 

Moroccanoil Hair Treatment

From the brand’s website:

Moroccanoil Treatment is the original award-winning hair product that created the worldwide buzz on argan oil and pioneered oil-infused hair care. Rich in antioxidant argan oil and linseed (flax) seed extract, this iconic hair treatment instantly nourishes and helps strengthen hair, leaving it shinier and healthier-looking with each use.

We all know that it’s nonsense, right? Nothing that you apply “from mid-length to ends” can do anything meaningful to your hair other than temporary mask some imperfections or help with styling. But that “treatment” smelled so wonderful that I kept using it from that test bottle. And once I finished it, I bought a full-size bottle. And then another one.

 

Moroccanoil Hair Treatment

 

And then I realized that since I was mostly attracted by the scent of the product, it didn’t have to be something I use for my hair… And that’s how I discovered Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil. It has exactly the same scent and it nourishes my skin.

I brought Dry Body Oil to my last Hawaiian vacation, and it was just perfect: with all the swimming, sweating and showering, I had enough opportunities to enjoy this scent, apply my beloved Bronze Goddess, and still wear other perfumes for evening meals.

 

 

I do not know when I will be able to get to Hawaii again, so from time to time I spray Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil right after shower, and the scent memory vividly reminds me of great vacations I had in Hawaii. I wouldn’t want to wear this scent as perfume, but it’s perfect as a body product. So recently I added to my self-care ritual one more product from this line – Moroccanoil Hand Cream.

Now I have a perfect set to go on my fantasy vacation whenever I want.

 

Moroccanoil Products

Images: my own

The (Last?) Two Queens

Lipstick Queen is one of my favorite lipstick brands. It isn’t the only brand that I wear but it’s one that is heavily represented in my lipstick wardrobe and on my blog. I won’t reveal the total number of tubes from the brand, but I’ll say that there are at least three shades that I bought repeatedly, some even more than twice.

I’m not sure what attracts me in these lipsticks the most: I like their names, I enjoy strange colors, and their formula (especially the one they use for their sheer lipsticks) works great for my lips. So, whenever I would come across the next release, I’d get curious and often end up buying it, even though my lipsticks collection is running over the space I designated to it, similar to my perfumes wardrobe.

 

 

I have a bad feeling that I might need to start looking for another favorite. First, at some point, I suddenly realized that I haven’t heard for a while about any new quirky names/collections from the brand. Then there was a slew of their products on sale at different outlets (I took advantage of some of those). Then I noticed prices going back up for several of those lipsticks that I keep an eye on planning to replenish once the lipstick in use is done. And then I went to the Lipstick Queen brand’s site to discover that it shrank to a couple of pages: no online shopping, no information about the new and existing products – just a store finder. It looks like the company that bought Lipstick Queen in 2011 lost interest in the brand soon after the original owner had left it in 2017.

I decided to tell you about two lipsticks I added to my collection last – while those are still available, if anyone wants to play.

 

Lipstick Queen Queen Bee Lip Treatment

 

I saw some sites calling Lipstick Queen’s Queen Bee a “lip treatment.” I’m not sure: I bought it as a lipstick, but as well I can imagine that I’m “treating” my lips because it doesn’t provide too much color anyway. As much as I love the idea of a golden lipstick (and have probably a couple more tubes from different brands to attest to that), my skin is too fair for it to wear on its own other than for those hot days when a real lipstick would feel too heavy, but one would like to add some shimmer to lips. Hawaii is a perfect place to wear Queen Bee (and to take a picture of it). Otherwise, it goes well on matte colored lipstick if I want to brighten it a little.

 

Lipstick Queen Queen Bee Lip Treatment Swatch

 

If to borrow terminology from photography, while Queen Bee is a like a warm filter that can be applied to one’s lips, Ice Queen is a cool filter. It also provides shimmer but it’s rather silver-toned. Most likely, I’m influenced by the name and packaging, but with the same sheer coverage I still consider Ice Queen a winter lipstick. Counterintuitively, my lips and complexion “tolerate” this cold shimmer on its own better than the golden one. But I still wear it mostly over darker colors to add festive stardust to my lips during the holidays season.

 

Lipstick Queen Ice Queen

 

Poppy King, the creator of Lipstick Queen, was planning her comeback with her third lipstick company and a new line Femme De Poppy. Last year she launched it at Barney’s… It doesn’t look like the new owner, Saks, picked it up. Today the new brand’s site is even less informative than the Lipstick Queen’s one. But I signed up for the updates and look forward to trying whatever Ms. King comes up with next. I’m really rooting for her not only because she created those great lipsticks that both work well for me and amuse me (wearable blue, green, black lipsticks named Hello Sailor, Frog Prince and Black Lace Rabbit with well thought-through packaging), but also I feel like I can relate to her: we’re almost the same age, she has fair skin, and she gets her inspiration from her kitty cat Meowsy. On the other hand, unlike her, I’m absolutely not entrepreneurial. I’ve just ordered and plan to read her first book (not an affiliated link) – Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Finding and Developing the Great Idea That Can Change Your Life – not that I plan to change my life but I’m curious.

 

Rusty and Lipstick Queen 3 Minis

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Lavender, Take II

It’s not exactly true: I think I found my perfect lavender perfume – Lieber Gustav 14 by Krigler. Since I published that Take I post, I finished the decant of Serge Lutens Gris Clair and bought a bottle of it. And I’m still contemplating getting Fourreau Noir if I ever get somewhere where I don’t have to pay $300+ for the bell jar. Maybe I should go for a travel spray.

    

Rusty and Lieber Gustav

 

But lavender is still on my mind, and I seek it in many different forms. Earlier today, for example, I had a cocktail with lavender syrup. It was probably the best part of the dinner.

For the recent 3-4 years I kept planning to go to a lavender festival. But every year I was either traveling somewhere else at that time or would remember about it only when I saw some lavender at a store – and it was already too late for that year: the main flowering time would be over.

Before I proceed with my story, I want to remind you (if you haven’t read it before and/or didn’t follow the link I shared above) that lavender came into my life relatively late, so I wasn’t really familiar with many aspects that probably would be obvious to those of you who grew up in countries where it was widely used.

 

Lavender

 

A couple of years ago I bought a lavender bunch at a local farmers market and, as I do with other flowers, put it into a vase with water. It smelled nice but a week later it started dropping buds and, what was even worse, the stems were rotting. I cut off everything that was in water, fasten the remaining stems with a blue rubber band, and put that improvised lavender sachet into my linen closet. Unlike it happened with Le Labo’s Rose 31 (if you weren’t around 5 years ago, see my post Know-how [not to]: Freshen up a linen closet), this haven’t fended me off lavender, though, as it was drying, it kept losing its petals, which made it a little messy… But I put it on some napkin and kept moving that napkin from place to place when I needed to take something out of the closet or put in.

 

Rusty and Lavender

 

The next year, when I got another lavender bunch, I was smarter: I hanged it to dry in the spare bathroom and then, once it was dry, I used one of a bigger organza bags that I’ve got either with a purchase of something else or from a swap with a perfumista friend to put the bunch in to prevent a mess.

 

Lavender Sachet

 

You can’t imagine how proud I was coming up with that novel idea! What’s more, my vSO was very impressed with what I’ve done. I was (and still am) using it in our bed putting it between pillows during the day. By now I have probably half of it just bouncing in the bag loose, but it still smells nice though very faint. I bet Rusty can still smell it strong.

 

Rusty and Lavender Sachet

 

And then one day Robin from the NST posted in her Daily Lemmings this:

 

Diptyque Lavandier Wand 2018

 

I was gobsmacked: it was so beautiful, so elegant, so… in a different league compared to my creation. I don’t remember if it was still available when Robin posted it, but by the time I thought of getting it, it was sold out. And since it usually means that it isn’t coming back, after researching it online and discovering that, even though there were many similar products offered, nobody does it exactly the way Diptyque did, I started planning on trying to make one myself next time I get a lavender bunch.

I studied instructions, found ribbons to use (2 different sizes and colors!), and was waiting for the lavender season… It must have happened this summer, right? Every weekend I was on a lookout for the main ingredient for my DIY project – without much success. I don’t know how but I managed to miss it again. I blame my work schedule. I should try again next year.

Meanwhile, I keep adding from time to time a drop or two of lavender oil into my sachet. And I also found and was enjoying Lavender Lip Mask from Bite Beauty – a brand that makes my favorite Agave Lip Balm.

 

Lavender Bite Lip Mask

 

Images: all but Diptyque’s wand – my own

(Pillow) Talking myself into buying perfume

I like makeup but do not wear it much, so finally I persuaded myself to stop buying eyeshadows, eyeliners and other products that I never finish up or even use enough before I feel they are too old to touch my skin.

So, not to tempt myself, usually I do not read magazines, make-up-focused blogs or groups and do not watch YouTube tutorials and such. But from time to time I can’t help being exposed to some cosmetics-related news. Over years I noticed that one of the most effective marketing moves with me is reading that something “iconic” is back in stock.

I do not have a good explanation why it affects me – after all, I didn’t care about those products when they were popular and still in stock. But it’s a fact: I immediately feel like I need to at least try that product.

This was exactly what happened to me with the Charlotte Tilbury’s lipstick Pillow Talk: a couple of years ago I read that it was being finally re-issued. Before than I’d never heard of either the brand or that lipstick but for some reason it sounded (and looked on pictures – ha!) really appealing.

 

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick Ad

 

If it weren’t for years of resisting the urge to blind-buy perfumes, I would have bought Pillow Talk lipstick online months ago. But I thought I should try it first. Time passed, and I either couldn’t remember the brand name when I came to a store, or that store wouldn’t carry the line. Then recently I almost payed a double of that lipstick’s price for a set of the lipstick, lip liner and gloss from that collection in the last Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale but others beat me to it (hopefully, knowing what they were buying), so I finally made an effort, found and tried it at Sephora.

I’m almost positive that had I tried it on my own before reading anything about it and hunting for it for that long, I wouldn’t have bought it. But I was conditioned, and I couldn’t resist.

 

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick

 

I’ll spare you my attempts at swatches: you can find a lot of those online if you’re curious. It is a nice lipstick that doesn’t suit me completely but I wanted to get it, I did, and I’ll use it up. Eventually. But it directed my thoughts toward perfumes: do I ever do the same there?

I think with perfumes I exercise better restraint, and a news about any perfumes being re-launched, if anything, would rather make me more skeptical since I’d suspect reformulation at play. And reissue means that it’ll be available for a while… so why to hurry? But when I hear about perfume being discontinued, that’s when I suddenly get anxious and start talking myself into grabbing a bottle while I still can. A couple of days ago, after learning about Parfums DelRae closing, I sifted through four or five pages of search results looking for perfumes that were still available. I knew that a couple of perfumes that I wouldn’t mind getting were sold out long ago (I tried looking for them before), but I found 3 perfumes that were still available, and only after that I checked my database for what my impressions of those were. To my surprise, one of the perfumes that I could still get was the one that I previously tried and liked a lot – Coup de Founre. The “surprise” part comes not as much from the fact that it was still available but from reading my thoughts on that perfume from four years ago (that’s when I tested it last): I liked it and thought that I needed to test it from a spray bottle… but then I never did because the only store that used to carry the brand in our area – Barneys – dropped the line a while ago. Had it not been discontinued now, I would have probably never got to buying it. But facing the complete extinction of Coup de Founre, I pounced.

 

Rusty on a Pillow

Will you miss any of DelRae’s perfumes?

 

Images: the first one – brand’s ad; the rest – my own

Healing Bite

Biting your lips is one of the common causes of chapped lips. As well cold weather is. It’s never cold where I live, and I do not bite my lips. Nevertheless, I constantly have a feeling that my lips are dry. I’m not sure of the real to imagined ratio of this problem, but since it feels real, for the last many-many years I’ve been using one product or other to keep my lips moist.

I am more or less covered during the day (you might say, literally) since I wear lipstick and do not mind re-applying. But at night it became a hassle: I’d put on some lip product before going to bed and then would wake up a couple of times during the night to use it again.

Up until 7 month ago I’ve never heard about the BITE Beauty brand. And then either as a GWP or a birthday gift from Sephora I got a set with mini lipstick, lip crayon and a dime-size double-packette of lip scrub and lip balm. Both make-up items did not work for my skin tone, so I quickly re-homed them with a friend, but I kept treatment samples for “maybe one day…”

“One day” occurred soon when I misplaced the regular tube from the night stand. Since it was late, I didn’t feel like sending the search and rescue expedition downstairs, so I just applied some from the sample and went to bed.

When I woke up early next morning, one of the first conscious thoughts was: “My lips still feel not dry… Wow.”

Next I did what I often do with perfumes when I fall in love with them: I bought a full product even before I finished the sample.

Bite Agave Lip Balm

From the brand’s site:

It’s handmade with natural and organic ingredients, including agave nectar, shea butter and Madagascan vanilla CO2 extract, to help deeply hydrate. And, its nurturing base, made with lanolin and beeswax, helps seal in moisture.

Agave Lip Balm is just amazing. In six months I’ve been using it I had to re-apply it during the night just a couple of times but usually I just use it once before going to bed. It doesn’t feel greasy or sticky. It is not shiny, but lips do not look completely naked. Agave Lip Balm has a very faint vanilla scent. At $18 for a regular tube, it is the most expensive lip balm I’ve used so far, but I think it’s worth it. I’m on the second tube now (it lasts for 3-4 months of nightly use), and I plan to get the next one before the current one is done.

If only I could find something like that for hands…

Image: My own

They had me at “Hello” – and now “Goodbye”

How was that for an attention grabbing headline? But if you think about it, you’ll appreciate me not using just the last part (I was tempted a little but then I thought of all that wolves business and decided not even to joke about such serious matters).

But back to the topic. It is true: Lipstick Queen had won me over when I saw online the first (for me) lipstick from the brand – Hello Sailor. I liked everything – the color in the tube, the name, a pin-up-girl-style packaging and, as I confirmed later, the tint on my lips. I’m on my third lipstick now; and once it’s finished, I plan to get the next one.

 

Lipstick Qeen Hello Sailor

 

In four years since I said “Hello” to the first sailor, I found several more colors that I liked and adopted (see Black Lace in Tropics and Frog Prince(ss)’s Kiss). Both of them enchanted me with the name and the color in tube but after that I tried them first and then bought.

Recently one more lipstick from this brand caught my eye. Since now we have a Lipstick Queen counter in one of the close-by department stores, I went from testing and liking the color to appreciating its name: Goodbye.

 

Lipstick Queen Goodbye

 

Describing a lipstick’s color is probably an undertaking comparable to describing perfume’s scent. Though I’m not good with either, I’ll try. Goodbye is darker than my other Lipstick Queen favorites, with more pigment – so it covers lips better than more sheer colors – but it has a lot more shimmer than my other darker gloss sticks (such as Laura Mercier’s Black Orchid), so it is more forgiving, and it gives a more even coverage. The color on the lips is dark berry or plum with brownish undertone and bluish sparkle. One coat gives enough hue to the lips; and then with each additional swipe you can build it up to a darker color.

Either a tube or swatches’ pictures do not do the lipstick justice. But I showed you the former, so now I’ll show you the latter as well (in comparison to two other lipsticks I mentioned in the post).

 

Lipstick Queen Goodbye swatch

 

Other than with perfumes, do you pay attention to products’ names before you buy and use them?

 

Images: My own

Frog Prince(ss)’s Kiss

Did you grow up with the Frog Prince or the Frog Princess? Not only I (and my whole generation, I think) grew up with the female version of this character but I don’t think I heard about the existence of the other one until I was in my late twenties. It’s especially surprising because we had other Brothers Grimm’s tales translated and published. It might be that the local version – The Princess Frog (or Tsarevna Frog) was one of the popular and loved folk tales: there were books, movies, animated films and predecessors of the modern audio-books – vinyl records. There even was a painting by the famous Russian neo-romanticism artist Viktor Vasnetsov.

Vasnetsov Frog Princess

Just in case anybody is curious, you can read The Frog Princess in English. For the rest I want to mention that, interestingly, there were no kisses involved as well even though, as you can see, the heroine of this tale is older than characters of Grimm’s version. But our folklore also had that kissing frog theme played out in many ways.

***

Lipstick Queen is one of my favorite brands: I love their quirky names and colors (I previously posted about Hello Sailor and Black Lace Rabbit), and I’m constantly on the look-out for their new products. So when last year I saw their Frog Prince lipstick (since then they’ve launched two more product in that line), I had to have it!

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince

While I liked the idea of a green lipstick, and from my experience with the lipsticks mentioned above I knew that on lips they do not stay blue or black, I wasn’t sure what color I’ll get from that green beauty, so when I saw the holiday set of mini-lipsticks, one of which was Frog Prince, I leaped.

Lipstick Queen 3 Lipsticks

The first thought that went through my mind when I looked at the swatch was that mini-size was a good decision: with my pale complexion green lips would look rather unhealthy. But since it was in my hands I had to try it. The transformation was amazing! On my lips it became pink – sheer but with enough pigment. That frog clearly needed a kiss to reveal its true self. I can see more princes in my future.

And since I can’t show you the results of that transformation, at least I’ll leave you with the picture of Rusty trying to paw that frog.

Rusty and Lipstick Queen 3 Minis

 

Images: my own

Black Lace in Tropics

If I were to name the best material for tropical clothing, I would be choosing between cotton, linen or silk, and I would be looking at it from the point of the comfort of wearing it in the heat and aesthetic. But, as I discovered, in the beginning of the last century there were serious debates in the Great Britain on that subject from the prospective of health and hygiene in tropical climates. People were writing serious articles in the Journal of Tropical Medicine arguing pros and cons of those fabrics that I mentioned above plus wool, about which I wouldn’t even think despite the existence of the term “tropical wool” (now I actually know what it means). The best color for tropical clothes was also widely discussed: wearing less heat-absorbing white/light colors was supported by one camp, while the other one advocated the idea of mimicking “black” skin (for the health reasons).

Also, it was interesting to learn that Burberry was producing and advertising clothes for working and traveling in the colonies, and that those weren’t cheap back then either.

Burberrys' Tropical Clothing Ad

From when I was a child, I knew that skin doesn’t “breathe” in clothes made from synthetic fiber (one of those wisdom that is passed from the older generation and usually isn’t questioned). A couple of years ago I had a chance to actually prove it to myself: as I was using a steamer on the clothes I had with me on a trip, I noticed how great it worked with my wool sweaters and my vSO’s cotton shirts but was completely useless for my blouse made of one of rayon’s variations.

It pains me to see that more and more summer clothes are produced from the synthetic or semi-synthetic materials. I understand that it’s cheaper than natural fabrics but how greedy are those companies that charge $100+ for a “summer” dress made of polyester?!

So why would I bring a black lace with me on my tropical vacation? I wouldn’t have if it hasn’t been … a lipstick.

Lipstick Queen Black Lace Rabbit

When I read about the upcoming release of Black Lace Rabbit, which was “playing on the idea of “going down a rabbit hole where nothing is what it seems” (a nod to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), I immediately felt drawn to it. And since I love Lipstick Queen‘s Hello Sailor (I’m finishing my second lipstick and plan to buy the third one), I ordered Black Lace Rabbit online without trying to find it in a store first.

In a tube Black Lace Rabbit looks solid black with golden flecks but on lips, unlike those cheap Halloween makeup lipsticks, Black Lace Rabbit is just a sheer and slightly shimmering tint – like a veil over the natural lip color. It seemed very appropriate for the tropical evening attire.

Lipstick Queen Black Lace Rabbit and Hello Sailor swatches

As I was taking pictures of Black Lace Rabbit, a perfectly color-coordinated with my photo session local cat visited our lanai. I think that with his third eye he perceived how much by that time in our vacation I was missing Rusty…

Maui Cat

Images: Burberrys’ ad – from the article referenced above; others – my own