Monday, June 27, 2011

Chanel Fall Nails: Graphite, Quartz, and Peridot

Chanel's Fall 2011 collection Illusions d'Ombres includes three nail shades, Graphite: a highly metallic and sparkly blackened silver, Quartz: a shimmery, smoky beige/taupe, and Peridot: an antique bronze-gold with a green patina (duochrome). 

The chemists at Chanel did a great job creating these colors to closely resemble their namesake minerals: 

Graphite: Graphite is a black-silver mineral commonly referred to as lead, although it should not be confused with the toxic metallic element of the same name. Graphite shares the same chemistry as carbon (as diamonds do), but with a very different structure and properties. It is used in the steel-making and auto industries, among others. You and I are perhaps most familiar with graphite through our use of pencils.

Quartz: "Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust, after feldspar...Varieties of quartz have been since antiquity the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewelry and hard stone carvings." (Source: Wikipedia ) A few commonly available varieties of quartz are: Citrine, Rose Quartz, Amethyst (a personal favorite), Aventurine, Onyx, Tiger's Eye, and Carnelian.

Peridot: According to Wikipedia, Peridot is "one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on how much iron is contained in the crystal structure, so the color of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow- to olive- to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green." It is the official birthstone for the month of August and is thought by some to have powers of healing, and may bring the wearer prosperity and balance.

Wow, look at the edges of Peridot! You can really see the duochrome here.

Graphite really does resemble graphite! Here is the real thing below in this sculpture made entirely of natural graphite. (This was a gift from a client to my boss years ago but I have it at my desk You can even write with it on paper, just like a pencil. A friend of mine thinks it's creepy, but I think it's pretty cool!) 

The tone of Quartz is almost a perfect match for the natural smoky quartz below:

Well...I don't have any real Peridot to show here...but it does remind me a lot of these cut crystal beads on a bracelet of mine -- they have a similar bronze/green duochrome effect.

Shown above in flash lighting 

You can see by the photos below that the appearance of Peridot really changes in different lighting conditions. It comes across generally as a bronze-gold with a green tinge that is most notable along the edges. In flash lighting it has a pretty, lit-from-within quality. It's an interesting color and is perhaps the most unique among the three but may not be the most universally wearable, depending on your skin tone and personal taste.   

In shade above, and flash below

In low indoor lighting above

In full sunlight

So, any favorites? I haven't decided which one I like best yet! Below are some links to additional posts with more information, photos, and comparisons: 

Have a great week everyone - and thanks for visiting!

Chanel Fall 2011: Epatant and Illusoire

I purchased just two of the new Illusion D'Ombre shadows from Chanel's Fall 2011 collection: #83 Illusoire -- a metallic smoky plum and #84 Epatant -- a metallic pewter. I enjoyed the detailed reviews at The Beauty Look Book and Cafe Makeup and planned to get a couple to test before splurging for more shades. I wasn't sure what to expect texture-wise, but when swatching them today I was impressed. From what I've seen this far, these just might bump my favorite Armani Eyes to Kill into second place. The Illusion D'Ombre product has an interesting, spongy cream texture (as opposed to Eyes to Kill, which seems to be more like a loosely pressed pigment). 

love both of these shades and look forward to testing out the other four shades available (EblouiEmerveilleFantasme, and Mirifique) when the collection arrives at my local counter. The shimmery peach shade, Emerveille, is definitely next on my wishlist!  

Left to right: Epatant and Illusoire

Left to right: Illusoire and Epatant 



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Makeup for your inner kid: Hello Kitty "Memoirs of a Kitty" Palette

I bought this palette a few weeks ago and thought I'd share a few photos before I start using it. I had debated whether or not to get this one, but in the end I couldn't resist the allure of the pretty cherry blossom case along with the wearable neutrals inside. This would make a nice gift for a young person just starting out with makeup, or for those who are not-so-young but wouldn't be embarrassed to be caught pulling a Hello Kitty palette out from their bag (closet Hello Kitty-lovers can keep this one safely hidden away at home--it will be your little secret!) Currently available at for $35. 

There are two layers to the compact. There are no brushes included, which helps to keep the overall size fairly small. The top tier has four eyeshadows: 
  • light shimmery pink-beige
  • slightly darker shimmery brownish-pink
  • shimmery honey-gold
  • dark neutral matte brown with subtle gold sparkles
The bottom tier contains two blushes: a rosy pink, and a peachy-coral, both with subtle shimmer.

These are nice neutrals that make for quick, no-brainer looks and should be flattering on a wide range of skintones. 

Both blushes are well pigmented and only slightly shimmery. These flattering coral and rose shades are great basics to have on hand. 


Flash lighting

I would say this palette is not a must-have of course, except for the serious Hello Kitty enthusiast -- but it really does include quite a nice group of shades and could be very handy to use when getting ready in a hurry and for travel.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sea & Sand series conclusion: MAC and a visit to the beach

"Aquamarine" is a sage green in the jar that goes on light silvery-seafoam green. 
From MAC's Surf the OceaCrushed Metallic Pigment stack 

"Pearl" is a shimmery, pale pink 
From MAC's Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment stack. 

To wrap up this summer series I thought I'd share some photos from a visit to Matheson Hammock in Coral Gables (Miami, Florida) below. I've been going here for many years and it is a peaceful spot to spend some time near the ocean when you want to avoid the crowds on Miami Beach. When I was a child my family and I would see many hermit crabs and even took a few home and kept them as pets (admittedly, probably not the best thing to have done!). Sadly they seemed to have vanished over the years, although there are still plenty of fiddler crabs and many species of birds. This is considered more of a family-friendly beach and has a man-made atoll for swimming. There is a nice little restaurant in a historic coral-rock building on property, with a view of the beach and the water. On the day I visited a couple of weeks ago there were a few windsurfers out making the most of the windy weather.

(Click on any of the smaller photos to make them larger.)



Morning view

Evening view

Red Fish Grill restaurant

Cute, black sea-faring ducks - anyone know what the scientific name is for these little guys? 
Cormorants (a thank you to Amber for identifying them!) 

A nice spot for a picnic

Entrance to a fiddler crab's hide-away

Dreaming of a vacation home by the sea

Lots of seafoam and seaweed 

The American White Ibis

Didn't run into any crocodiles! 

Mangrove trees

A view of Biscayne Bay

Squirrel crossing

Deep inside a mangrove thicket



 Hope you enjoyed this virtual trip to Matheson Hammock. Have a great summer everyone!