ELIZABETH AND JAMES NIRVANA: BLACK+WHITE.

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I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth and James for years now; the line has this very contemporary, edgy-feminine feel to it that always brought me back. On a completely separate note, I adore the Olsen twins. Like I want to be them. Then again, who doesn’t? Probably the Olsen twins on a really bad day, but I digress. The anatomy of the Olsen street style is a subject I am well versed in, and yet how I had no idea that two things (three, counting each twin) I have followed closely over the years were related is putting me in something of an existential crisis. ‘How could I not see this? I should have known… My life is a lie…’ and so on and so forth. Not really, but you get my drift. The Olsen twins had a clothing line. This I knew. That it was specifically E&J? Nope, I did not know that. The fact that it took the launch of a perfume years later for me to realize this is more than a little disturbing. Alas, Mary-Kate and Ashley have me covered. Their two new fragrances, Nirvana White and Nirvana Black, soothe all struggles, I promise. I snapped these two rollerballs up in Sephora a few months ago, and I can definitely say, we’re in love. Albeit we’re going through a twisted sort of love triangle, but these two scents are nothing short of gorgeous. Both are quite musk-based scents, with Nirvana White being the lighter of the two. The other notes in this more floral offering are peony and muguet, while Nirvana Black sees strong Violet, Sandalwood, and Vanilla. *I’m still working (very hard) on my fragrance terminology, so forgive any of my naiveté you might read.* In human terms, I find that the White version starts off quite fresh-smelling; it’s sweet without being garish. More of a soft, powdery floral than any Flowerbomb type scent. This one lasted around four hours on my skin, but being that it is in rollerball form it wasn’t much trouble to re-apply. Still, if you’re like me and prefer a fragrance to last all day, this doesn’t quite have the staying power. On the dark side we have the spicier scent of the two, Nirvana Black. This one had better lasting power on me at around six hours, but still shorter than I might have hoped. The scent is absolutely divine, especially if you like perfumes that have a slight masculine sort of feel to them. Never fear, things don’t get too manly with this one, as it does tend to sweeten over time. Again, very sophisticated scent that feels edgier than its sister. The real magic trick here is the two worn together, something I think the Olsen twins did really well to reflect the image of their brand: feminine with an edgy masculine kick (hence the name Elizabeth and James after their siblings). They work seamlessly to make the perfect mix of a deeper, richer floral that keeps things from getting too girly in any way. Overall, I think both scents are lovely, and I think most people will find one of the two that suits them quite well. Again, I’d like to get the smaller 1 oz size in each to be able to mix the two, but it does seem like a lot of hassle to go through for a perfume that doesn’t last well enough on the skin. In the end, I don’t think the hunt for my signature scent is quite over yet.

What are your favorite perfumes? I’d love to get your recommendations, let me know in the comments below!

JANUARY BIRCHBOX UNBOXING.

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january birchbox unboxing 3The first Birchbox of the New Year has just arrived, and I have to say, I’m a little less than excited about the products. I’ve been holding out hope for some higher-end bits since I first got my subscription almost a year ago after hearing Ingrid from Missglamorazzi raving about her subscription in her unboxing videos. Somehow, she always seemed to get great samples; I was waiting for some Laura Mercier, maybe a little Nars lovin’ to come to my mailbox when I finally realized it wasn’t happening. This was three days ago. I love shopping on the Birchbox shop; they have an excellent point system and some really great products stocked that are hard to get anywhere else, but it’s just not worth getting your hopes up for every month. So, I’ve made the decision that my March box marking an entire year of subscriptions shall be my last. I said it. I’m cashing in my points and looking for the Vegas of beauty subscription boxes. Problem in point? I can’t find Vegas. If any of you have suggestions for beauty boxes that run more on the high-end scale of things, please please please let me know below. Onto the products, this month I received deluxe samples of Fekkai’s Glossing Range Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve used these before, and while they are nice, I think they’re overpriced for what they do. I much prefer the results of the L’Oréal EverCrème Range to the slightly flat finish these left on my hair, and it doesn’t hurt that you can get both the shampoo and conditioner for under $10. I also got a sample of the Coastal Scents Revealed Palette, which was probably my favorite sample for the month. The shadows are buttery smooth and uber-pigmented, not to mention long-lasting. Burt’s Bees also made an appearance with their Day Lotion. This has a lovely cucumber scent that reminds me of summer, but feels heavy and sits on the skin rather than sinking in for a good half hour. I tried it in place of a night cream a few times, thinking it would be nice and light, and woke up with an oil-slick nose. Not exactly sexy. I can understand a bit of oiliness in the morning, both because of residue from whatever night cream I’ve used and due to my slightly combination skin, but we’re not talking a little bit of morning dew here, people. NEWS ALERT: Happening now, the BB (See what I did there? Burt’s Bees…) Oil spill. On my face. Foundations everywhere currently in mourning due to sudden breakouts.

january birchbox unboxing swatchesBirchbox seems to be smitten with Harvey Prince fragrances, and for good reason; they smell absolutely fantastic. Included in January’s box was the Journey perfume, which is sweet with a kick of blackcurrant to keep things a little spicy. So there you have it. Sadly, it’s the beginning of the end for my Birchbox subscriptions. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below with your recommendation for high-end beauty boxes!

THE LUST LIST: 2014 EDITION.

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 12.52.04 PMWhile I have several New Year’s resolutions concerning all things beauty, limiting my shopping list is not one of them. I realize the above photo shows an abnormally expensive roster of things I probably don’t need, but I wanted to share the items I’m hoping to be holding hostage in my room come December 31st. I’ve heard scads of bloggers raving on about the Oribe Maximista thickening spray, and I don’t thing I’ll be able to resist any longer, despite the price tag. The same goes for the Chloé Roses de Chloé fragrance; big fan of the original, big fan of roses… how could I possibly not be a fan of their baby? The Nars Yachiyo brush has been calling to me for a while now, and I think now is the time to act. In my defense, I’m planning on using it with the next product on the list, Tom Ford’s blusher in either Flush or Love Lust, which I’ve heard to be über-pigmented and require a light hand. I’m in desperate need of a new wallet, and Kate Spade has a stunning selection of reasonably priced offerings, this one being the Harrison Street model. In the high hopes of going on holiday in Europe this summer, I’m saving my pennies to throw myself a “treat yo-self” day (any parks and rec fans out there?) and pick up one of the Céline micro luggage totes at the original store. After hearing Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup raving on and on about the Malin+Goetz Dark Rum candle, I’m pretty positive I need it in my life, possibly more urgently than a Diptyque candle. Lipstick Queen has the stunning Big Bang glosses out, which I’ve been madly swatching at my local Ulta, so I’m hoping to pick up the shades Infinite and Time one of these days. Charlotte Tilbury’s Eyeshadow Quad in Dolce Vita has me absolutely dizzy, I want one so badly. You have no. Idea. I won’t go on about it, but yes, I’ve been stalking swatches, and it’s beautiful. Done. Now, I use a Nikon D5000 to photograph here on succhisimples., but I’m thinking it might be time to switch to the Canon EOS Rebel T5i. I’ve sampled Balenciaga’s Florabotanica quite a few times and am beyond head over heels in love. It’s floral, feminine, but just grown up enough. I’m also in need of a new round brush, and I’m mulling over the idea of investing in a $50 Ibiza one, but haven’t worked up the nerve to pay up just yet. Lastly, Kerastase’s Elixir Ultime is on my list to try when I run out of my dearly beloved Morroccanoil (though I’ll probably end up buying both just so I never have to be without the stuff). So there you have it! The year’s lustworthy items, simples.

What are you lusting after? I mean beauty/fashion related objects, people… Let’s try not to get too scandalous here 😉

THE LUST LIST #1.

As a professional wishlist maker, I’ve had one of these “Things To Buy” checklists running since before I turned seven. True, it has evolved ever so slightly in the past decade or so, but the habit remains. It’s probably not the best thing for my bank account, but I digress. Onto the products.

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 12.20.09 PMFirst up, the Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil, retailing at $36 a pop. Yes, it’s pricey, but after obtaining a sample from my local Sephora a few weeks ago, I have to say, it’s well worth the price tag. This stuff smells incredible, melts makeup right off, and leaves skin silky-soft. Again on the cleansing front, Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Quite the mouthful. Birchbox has just introduced this one to the states, making it readily available via their website (if you don’t know what Birchbox is, check back soon for an unboxing and intro to the subscription box!). The last skincare-ish lustworthy item on the docket is the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm. A favorite in the British blogosphere, I’ve been wanting to pick this baby up for ever. Next up, the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder. I first heard about this product from Estée, or essiebutton‘s videos. I’ve been looking for the perfect powder to wear with just a bit of concealer for no makeup-makeup days, and this one seems to tick all the boxes. Whilst in Sephora the other day, I finally got the chance to test out Josie Maran’s watercolour cheek gelées, gorgeous little pots of gel blusher that glide on the skin like butter. After hearing all the hype on blogs, this one is definitely wantworthy. And now, succhisimples’ most wanted, public favorite number one, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette. I’d been lusting after the shade “Dim Light” for quite some time, but after seeing this pop up on Makeup And Beauty Blog, I fell in love. No joke. For $58, you get three ambient lighting powders worth $45 a piece, including the limited-edition shade “Incandescent Light” and the warming “Radiant Light”, and a 0.16 oz. sample of the Mineral Veil Primer, which I’ve been dying to try, worth $18 alone. Great bang for your buck. Godwilling, she will be mine. Of course we’ve all heard of Diptyque from our über-chic british blogging friends, but the brand is, to say the least, elusive with regards to its presence in the American market, having only one store in the States located in New York City. The “Eau Duelle” Eau de Parfum is described as a “sensuous bourbon vanilla paired with a pod infusion for a rich fragrance with depth. It’s underlined by the amber animality of cistus and the warmth of ambroxan.”I adore warm vanilla scents, and I think that this one will be perfect for winter. I’ve heard great things about the YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking mascara; I’ve actually never tried a super high-end mascara before, so I thought this would be a great place to start. Last but not least, we have the Nars Pure Radiant Creamy Concealer. It could be that I’ve simply been unimpressed with nearly all the drugstore concealer offerings I’ve tried, or that I’m just a snob when it comes to base products; either way, I want this. I’ve been in need of a good concealer for blemishes for a while now, and while this isn’t cheap, I’d really like to try it and see what all the hype is about.

So that’s it! My current most lusted-after items. I’m going to try to post one of these every month, so stay tuned. I’m also challenging myself to put up a post every day this month, so check back for more! What products are you lusting after this month?