Formula X For Sephora - Grandeur



gran·deur
ˈɡranjər,ˈɡranˌdyo͝or/
noun
  1. splendor and impressiveness, especially of appearance or style.
    "the austere grandeur of mountain scenery"
    synonyms:splendormagnificence, impressiveness, glory, resplendence, majestygreatnessMore
    • high rank or social importance.
      "for all their grandeur, the chancellors were still officials of the household"

On nails: 2 coats of Formula X For Sephora- Grandeur



You might have noticed that I am a nail polish fiend lover. Formula X For Sephora nail colors have consistently impressed me with their quality and lasting power so I have been gradually adding them to my collection.

Grandeur is a deep and moody blue-green cream.  It was opaque in one coat, but two were applied for good measure. Wear time on the hands was a full 7 days with minimal chipping. I love the name and color on this one. I think Grandeur is a great option for when you want something a little more interesting than your standard black polish. What do you guys think?



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Hickies



Well hello there. Yes, I know what you were thinking but this isn't that type of blog. Hickies per their website here, is a no-tie, flexible and customizable responsive lacing system. 

I was wandering around the wondrous internet one day when I happened upon a picture of some sneakers with Hickies. I was immediately intrigued. I googled may way to their website and several easy clicks later I had a couple packages of Hickies on the way to me. It was $14.99 for a package of 14. 



I decided to play it safe so I went with the basic colors of black, white and silver. This is what they look like straight from the package. You loop them through the holes in your sneakers the way you would regular laces and then put the end with the hole over the the end with the knob so they meet at the middle of your shoe. 




It looks like this when finished.  It took me about two minutes to get it right. There is a You-Tube video that walks you though the steps if you have any problems.

When it comes to exercise I do Pilates, run, lift weights at the gym, yoga and stumble into a spin class ever other blood moon. I wanted to try Hickies on my weight training and running shoes. 



First up we have my well loved Ryka sneakers. I use these when I'm lifting weights at the gym. I picked silver because I wanted a color that was closest to the original laces. 


I used six Hickies per shoe. They were snug enough that my foot felt supported but flexible enough for me to slip my foot in and out easily. I love how sleek they look on these shoes.

On the nails: OPI Tiramisu for two 
My running shoes pictured above (ASICS Women's GEL- Cumulus 12) were a different story. I've had them for a while so I forgot that they don't have the traditional side to side eyelets throughout the entire shoe. You can see in the picture by my thumb that some of the lace inserts are actually tabs on top of the sides of the shoe. As such, I could not get Hickies to work for them.


It's still all good though because I love everything about Hickies. I always hated having to tie and untie my shoes every time I go to work out. I also take my shoes off before I enter my home so you can imagine how much of a pain that is if I'm wearing something with laces.   


I bought some for my mother who liked hers a lot as well.  Her feet are pictured above with Hickies in her Asics. She said she felt they dressed up her shoe and she loved that she now could just slip her sneakers on and off when at the airport. 

I couldn't figure out from their website exactly how long Hickies have been around. The earliest review they had posted was done in July of 2014, so it seems it has been over a year.  Have you heard of them?  Have you tried them? What do you think about a no tie lacing system? 


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Comida de San Juan, Puerto Rico


Coconut Pancakes

Mofongo(fried green plantains)

Portobello Gnocci 

Avocado with curried vegetables


It took everything I had not to title this post- I came I saw and I ate.  Also known as- What I do every time I go somewhere. I don't consider myself a foodie but a quick glimpse of this blog will show you that I have yet to meet a carbohydrate that I could not get along with.  

The internet tells me that Puerto Rican food is a blend of Spanish, African, Taino and American influences. I can tell you that every menu I looked at had avocado, rice, beans, and plantains.  I did a lot of eating but I also did a lot of walking up and down the cobbled streets of San Juan. I think it was fine balance for a good trip. 

Have a great week!


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San Juan, Puerto Rico: 18.4500° N, 66.0667° W










I've always felt that Puerto Rico was an underrated vacation spot. If you are based in the US it's most likely a short plane ride away, and because it is a US territory you can use your dollars and your cell phone with no problems. The island has rain forests for the adventurists, malls and outlets for shoppers, and quiet beaches for the romantics single or paired.  Then there's the amazing food. I had so many pictures of my meals I decided to save them for another post. 

My favorite part of Puerto Rico is Old San Juan with its cobble stone roads, colorful buildings and museums.  I drive all the time when I'm at home so I like places like Old San Juan where most of the attractions are within walking distance. 

I had a strange experience while I was there. I was enjoying a great meal thinking about what my word was going to be for 2016.  I like to pick a word to inspire me for the year. My word for last year was bold.  In a muddled kind of way the words go, move, get and do were popping into my head.  All of a sudden I saw all of the men in the restaurant running out the door. I looked up and saw an elderly man with a two hand walker standing in the street, and an elderly woman on the ground with all of the men from the restaurant around her. It seemed like a scene from a movie.  From what I was able to gather the woman somehow fell as she was walking towards the restaurant.  The guys helped the woman get up and helped the couple into the restaurant. The waitress seated them right in front of me. They were both impeccably dressed and seemed fairly well to do. If I was a betting woman I would bet that they were husband and wife, and that they came to this restaurant every week around this time. I watched the man try to soothe the woman who kept rubbing the back of her head and was visibly shaken. He kept stroking her hand and telling her not to worry.  I low-key scoped them out until they finished eating and watched the waitress escort them back to their car. 

I stayed in the restaurant a while longer thinking about how getting old is not for sissies. I thought about how the longer I live the more I realize that there is no point in putting anything off.  I thought about how scary it must be to one minute be walking and then have your feet give out from under you the next.  I thought about how I wish I knew how to say I think you should go to the hospital because you might have a concussion in Spanish. 

That happened on my first day in San Juan and the rest of the trip was uneventful.  I left the island with not one word to inspire me for the months ahead but four: go, move, get and do. I have a funny feeling that it's going to be one hell of year. 

Have a great week and as always thanks for stopping by! 


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A Little Life

Let me just say up front this book gutted me. If you are looking to start the new year with a light fluffy read please look away now.  **Trigger Warning: Please note that this book contains graphic depictions of physical and sexual abuse. 

A Little Life is the epic(it's 734 pages) story about the lives of four men who have been friends since college.  I think that you will recognize at least one of the friends from your own relationships. The ambitious one, the damaged one, the uncertain one, the liar.  The story is set mostly in New York and spans decades as the friends attempt to navigate their post college lives, while attempting to maintain the bonds they once shared.  The author leaves no emotional stone unturned as they experience dazzling highs and utterly, absolutely soul crushing lows. There were plenty of times I wanted to throw my phone(read it on my Kindle app) across the room in despair. So, did I like it?  Ultimately, yes I did. I tend to avoid anything that is not shiny and happy in my own life like the plague so there were sections of the book that were very draining to me.  But, when I finally finished it I couldn't stop thinking about how much I had to be grateful for in my own little life. I also thought a lot about how important it is to get to a point where you can start each day without the weight of your past accomplishments or trials, and how for some that might be impossible.

According to the internet A Little Life was short listed for the Man Booker Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. If you have read it I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. I would also like to know what you're reading now. I just started A Brief History of Seven Killings which won the Booker Prize in 2015.

Happy New Year from this little corner of the inter webs.  Thank you for reading.  All the best for 2016!

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Diptyque Candles: Figuier, Noisetier, Tubereuse, Ambre & Baies

From left to right:
 Figuier- 10.2oz
Noisetier- 6.5 oz
Tubereuse- 2.4oz
Ambre- 1.2oz
    


 6.5oz candle inside a photosphere

Diptyque Candle Snuffer and Wick Trimmer
2.4oz Candles

View from the top of the photosphere
                                                                                          
  
I think one of the first things you notice about the Diptyque Candles is the distinctive scrambled lettering. Co-creator Desmond Knox-Leet designed the signature labels using his background as a message decoder during World War II as an inspiration. I thought that was pretty cool too!

The Diptyque candles are offered in a large (10.0z/$90), standard size (6.5oz/$60), mini (2.4oz/$32) and during the holidays they usually have promotions that include the cutest itsy bitty candle (1.2oz) that is not sold separately. You can also get a candle snuffer, wick trimer and photospheres as accessories for their candles.

My favorite Diptyque candles so far are Ambre(spicy/woody), Baies(roses/blackcurrant), Noisetier(hazelnut) and Tubereuse(just like the flower).  I love coming home after work and unwinding with some candles and a cup of tea. I look forward to that ritual even more now during the hectic holiday season as the traffic seems to have increased exponentially around my way. I have two words for anybody that might be still holiday shopping. The Internet. Get into it. You will thank me.

How do you unwind at this time of year?

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Diptyque: Do Son Eau de Toilette & Philosykos Eau de Parfum



Do Son Label- Drawing of beach/harbor in Vietnam where one of the co-founders lived as a child
Mani: Day 6 of Rescue Beauty Lounge- Au Chocolat

Do Son eau de toilette (3.4fl oz/$125) here
   Philosykos eau de parfum(2.5floz/$145) here



Two weeks ago I went to an event at Nordstrom for Diptyque lovers. It was an intimate gathering where a representative from the brand shared information about Diptyque's origins, products and company philosophy.   I love brands with a clear, creative vision and great products so I was very eager to learn more about them. There were snacks, games and fancy seltzer water.  I loved it. I took some notes during the presentation(yes I'm that girl) of some things I thought were really interesting. I'll share them in this post and the follow up post I have planned on some of their candles that I love.
 
Diptyque is a popular fragrance company that offers an amazing array of perfumes, room
sprays, candles and related accessories. The Diptyque story started in Paris at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain with friends Desmond Knox-Leet, Christiane Gautrot and Yves Coueslant in 1961. Christiane was an interior designer, Desmond a painter and Yves a set designer. The three friends opened a store at 34 boulevard where they originally sold fabrics, wall paper and other beautiful things picked up during their travels. The name Diptyque was inspired by the two display windows in the original store that resembled a diptych- a painting made of two sections that can be folded together. They created their first eau de toilette, L'Eau in 1968, inspired by a potpourri recipe. From 2000 on they have used a single perfumer for each of their fragrance projects. The perfumers are given a story, a memory or a concept and then use raw materials to bring the fragrance to life.  The whole process takes approximately a year. They are reportedly skin worn and not tested on animals. Currently my two favorite Diptyque scents for the body are Do Son and Philosykos. 

Do Son was created for Diptyque by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin in 2005.  I do not consider myself a floral note lover when it comes to perfume, but I loved Do Son from the very first time I smelled it. It's sensual but still light and fresh. If you are not a fan of tuberose then I would recommend you skip this one. If you lean towards spicy floral scents with a hint of musk then check this one out. 
  • Inspiration: Co-founder Yves' memories of the flowers his mother bought at the market when they lived in Vietnam. Do Son is the name of a beach in Vietnam they frequented. According to the Diptyque rep the scene on the label when you turn the bottle around as pictured above is the area in Vietnam from Yves' childhood memories. 
  • Raw Material:   tuberose

Philosykos was created by perfumer Olivia Giacometti in 1996.  I am constantly trying to get a whiff of myself when I have this on. I'm sure it will be very embarrassing when I get caught. To me Philosykos is warm, woody, nutty masterpiece. I love this scent! 
  • Inspiration: The fig tree and the warmth of a summer in Greece. Founders Yves and Desmond spent time in Greece. They brought back some leaves from a fig tree in an orchard they had to pass on their way to the sea. Years later when they opened the box with the leaves they were still scented. 
  • Raw Material: fig leaves

Scents are such a personal thing. At the event they passed around testers with the different fragrances and it was hilarious to hear what notes each person could pick out. One lady thought she smelled pepto bismol for one of the fragrances. The rep graciously advised her that wasn't a note in any of their perfumes.  If you are already a Diptyque fan I would love to hear about some of your favorites.

Take care. 




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