The Essence of Winter…and the Holidays

What is the essence of winter, you ask? I’m sure it’s something different for everyone. A cozy blanket, a roaring fire in the fireplace, a mug of hot cocoa, a walk in the snow with someone you love, baking cookies with your Grandmother…all bring up wonderful visions of winter. They also share something: scent (okay, maybe not the blanket, unless it’s right outta the dryer and smells of Downey…mmmmmm).

As I’m sure you all know, scent is the most powerful sense linked to memory, and one whiff of a particular scent can take you right back to a vivid memory–for example, Estee Lauder’s White Linen always reminds me of my sister, when she was in junior high school (and I was in elementary)…and that reminds me of crisp polo shirts, satin hair ribbons, Bass penny loafers, add-a-bead necklaces and my first cassette tape (Missing Persons “Spring Session M,” which I got for Christmas some years later…when I was in junior high).

Last Holiday season, I visited my salon for my quarterly brow grooming (don’t freak–I pluck in between sessions). While I was waiting, I browsed the selection of Holiday product arrivals. A collection of soy candles, er’go caught my eye (and then my nose), and I couldn’t stop sniffing. One in particular, entitled Winter Wreath, kept stirring some deep, childhood memory that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. But I knew it was somehow comforting and good….

Meanwhile, I was summoned for my brow-job. Thirty relaxing, bliss-filled minutes later (if you’re brow artist doesn’t make you feel this good, there is something wrong with her–I’m serious…my brow lady’s hands are so tender, you would never know she was ripping hair out of your head), I headed directly back to that er’go candle. And it finally dawned on me what it reminded me of. When I was five years old, I had a Holiday Winnie the Pooh Scratch ‘n Sniff book, and one of the scratchies smelled exactly like this candle! Well, I scooped up two Winter Wreath candles right there and went on my merry (Merry Christmas to me!) way.

Bonus Alert: To give you an idea how long er’go‘s soy candles last, I still have at least 1/2 of one of the ones I bought last year and it still smells just like the day I bought it. You might think that $20 is expensive for a candle…but I’d say, “Nah…this is the essense of winter and that…well that’s just priceless.”

You can purchase er’go candles directly from their website, but I recommend finding a retailer in your area (which you can also find on their website) because you have to smell–I daresay, experienceer’go for yourself.

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Thank you, Elke, and to all the members of The Beauty Blog Network for consideration of GirlPaint for inclusion in this fantastic network of the BEST, fun and exciting beauty-related blogs. I am completely thrilled to be one of it’s newest members, along with Brain Spam (hysterical name–great blog). As a regular visitor of the “Network” and its member blogs, I am honored to have GirlPaint included.
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Perfect Skin Alert!

jane iredale® Amazing Base® Loose Powder - Warm Silk
Okay, so I decided to jump on the mineral makeup bandwagon (actually, I tried bare esentuals several years ago, but I didn’t fall immediately in love with it like everyone else on the planet, apparently) and try a mineral foundation.

Since I had tried out some samples of jane iredale® and really like them for their unsurpassed texture and colors, I went with jane again. I did a little research and ended up choosing the Amazing Base® Loose Powder in Warm Silknormally I would choose a cool or neutral shade, but in the winter I tend to be more sallow than usual, so I thought I could use a boost of warmth…and Warm Silk is perfect, not “yellow” or “orange” as can happen with warm shades. The texture of Amazing Base Loose Minerals is so fine, described as “a highly-sophisticated blend of minerals and pigments that are micro-pulverized, using proprietary technology and processes to form microscopic flat crystals.”

I buffed on a layer. My skin was immediately smoother, but tonally I was still seeing some unevenness. jane iredale® recommends applying in thin layers, so I applied another layer. No caking, no streaking are evident as the layers build. Very cool!

Lastly, I picked up a smaller contour brush and dusted a little bit of Amazing Base under my eyes, around my nose and anywhere else I needed just a bit more coverage..and there it is! Perfection.

My skin has that “poreless, airbrushed” look that mineral foundations are known for. But jane iredale® goes it one (or two) further. “Known as The Skin Care Makeup, the jane iredale® line is so safe and beneficial to use that it is recommended by Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists throughout the world.” In addition, they have been awarded the coveted Natural Health Beauty Award.

I must say that I am glad I gave minerals another go. And doubly glad I chose Jane Iredale’s Amazing Base® Loose Powder. Let’s hear it for perfect (looking) skin! $35.50 at (SpaLook offers free shipping for a limited time on ALL orders. To take advantage, enter code FSFreeShip when checking out)

I received some items from the jane iredale® New Collection; stay tuned for reviews of Flushed Powder Blush (with REAL 24K gold flakes) and Joy Lip Color (named for the lovely Joy Bryant).

GirlPaint recommends the following for enhanced application and best results:

Paula Dorf Cheek Brush, handcrafted from Blue Squirrel (it’s softer than Sable) for the smoothest possible application. This brush is specially contoured so it “fits” the contours of your face and neck. The best makeup brush investment I’ve ever made. $42

BECCA Line and Pore Corrector to minimize lines and pores even further. A beautifully textured, silky primer is packed with anti-oxidants, including vitamins A and E, and essential fatty acids like Linoleic Acid to promote healthy skin while smoothing and protecting. around $34, depending on the exchange rate

Clear Pores and Smooth Skin…No Waiting

I had the good fortune of receiving a sample of Paula’s Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Gel, and I must say I am impressed.

My first use was pre-bedtime; during the day I will definitely follow with a sunscreen (I recommend the same for you, too). Immediately after cleansing (using Korres Milk Proteins with a few drops Murad facial cleanser mixed in), I applied this clear gel. Expecting the usual stinging associated with AHAs, I was a little surprised that it went on with no incidence…no redness, no burning…it actually added moisture, too, which was very nice. I followed the gel with my usual battery of serums and my moisturizer.

When I woke the next morning, my skin was so smooth. It didn’t necessarily feel softer, but it was definitely clearer. I had started seeing some red bumps on my right cheek (uh-oh, Thanksgiving stress side effects–my cheeks are the first place I break out) and when I woke up, the blemishes were much smaller and much calmer. And my pores were tighter and smaller.

Now, I am used to using AHAs–by the buckets, mind you, “if it doesn’t sting, it’s not working,” is my motto–so I really thought this measly 2% BHA gel would simply make my skin point and laugh. But after doing some research I found that 2% BHA is a high concentration for a BHA leave-on treatment and that BHAs can be used at much lower concentrations than AHAs (typically between 5-10% in a leave-on treatment). I also found out there is a typical “drop off” for all AHAs and BHAs, which means they will exfoliate (usually more effectively than mechanical exfoliators!) until they reach new skin and then will stop. Of course, another feature of AHAs and BHAs (like retinoids, aka Retin-A and Differin) is that once you stop using them, your skin reverts to its previous bad behavior. So all that wonderful smoothness, tightness and clear skin lasts only as long as you implement the use of these wonderful skin-surface improving actives!

What all this means is, I am going to keep using Paula’s Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Gel to keep my skin smooth and clear…without pain and without waiting.

Professional Tips from Elke


  • Have a too blue based lipstick? Mix a dot of yellow concealer into your lipstick, or apply a yellow-based loose powder on clean lips, and apply lipstick on top. There will be just enough warmth in the product to take the edge off a too cool/blue shade.

  • Want to update your lipsticks to the new cool blue based tones? Apply a navy blue eye pencil, or eye shadow on lips and apply your lipstick on top….just a little will do and you’ll have a new shade. A soft, brown eye shadow applied on lips first will darken any too light shade.
  • Make your own deep lipstick color by mixing blue eye shadow and red blush on your lips. Apply a lip balm on top and you’re set. The most fun part is that every time you try this, you can experiment and get a different version every time.
  • Use your shimmer highlighter sticks from spring/summer to highlight lipsticks. Apply on a clean mouth first, and then your dull lipstick on top. An instant frosted shade.
  • The color of the moment is the ‘bitten’ lip look. Just take your rosy blush and apply dry on lips. Apply your Vitamin E stick, or gloss on top with a lip blush. Gel cheek colors work great for this too.
  • A quick dusting of shimmering body powder or an iridescent eye shadow over the high points of the face, (cheekbones, chin, top of nose, eyelids, across forehead..) a quick day to night look.
  • A model told me this trick! She runs a Gold Shimmer stick through her blonde hair! Instant shimmer and highlights, especially around the face….
  • Use a Concealer Pencil on your lips first, fill in, and then apply an old, dark lipstick. The concealer pencil lightens up the lipstick by about 3-4 shades….
  • A warm brick eyeshadow is the perfect all over color for lips, cheeks, eyes and a little lip gloss on top and you’re off!
  • Find a blush brush that perfectly fits the size of the apple of your cheek when you smile. Anything bigger than that and you’ll get blush where you don’t want it. You really don’t need a huge blush brush for color, those are meant for shimmery powders………
  • Pick up your blush by lightly tapping the blush with the tips of the bristles. If you are sweeping the brush across the color, you’ll pick up about 10 x more color than you need, and you waste a lot of product. Just tap the ends of the bristles about 2-3 times onto the color. Shake off any excess. You should barely be able to see the color on the brush. Don’t worry, you do have enough on!
  • When applying blush, don’t “sweep” or “stroke” the color across the cheeks. You’ll usually end up streaking the color on, and then having to go back to ‘correct’ and ‘blend’. Instead, smile, and tap on gently going across your cheeks. By tapping the color onto the brush, and then tapping in onto the cheeks…….. you’ll avoid excess color, streaking and more. Tapping on blends the color for you and you can always add more if you want.
  • Always swipe your blush brush across a Kleenex to clean off any excess, or pick up your powder brush (with no extra powder on) and sweep over and blend your blush into your skin. You’ll get a softer, more ‘real’ look to your blush.
  • OOPS! Okay, you look like a clown, wrong color, too much…… what? Easy! With a clean dry beauty sponge, pick up a light layer of loose powder and ‘erase’ as much off as possible. Too bright or too dark? Take a slightly dampened sponge and clean off as much as you can. The water will pick upand ‘dilute’ the color………it just may be enough to fix it and look ok! “Blush!”–

For more beauty tips, Advice and cosmetics – visit with a wide
range of top brands and cosmetics to fill your need for beauty.

Article by: Elke Von Freudenberg a top editorial makeup artist and hair stylist, based in New York and Los Angeles. Her clients include Calvin Klein, Paul Mitchell Hair Systems, Aveda, Rolling Stone Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Allure, Neue Magazine.

COPYRIGHT 2001 by All rights reserved.
COPYRIGHT 2001 by All rights reserved.

Perfect Perfumes Revisited

As an event planner, I typically work on Saturdays. So, today I was getting ready to head into town (and incidentally capped off my morning shower with Jaqua’s Pink Buttercream Body Butter–ohhhh, heaven in a jar!) and off to work…

Anywhooo, for some reason, instead of grabbing my bottle of classic Fendi, I reached for the little bottle of perfume oil in the back. Rolled it on. Wow! Very nice. What is this? I looked down at the label. And, oh yeah. I forgot I had this. In my hand I held Perfect Perfumes Bliss Perfume Oil.

Bliss is a luscious, lightly floral, wonderfully tropical scent. I dabbed another touch behind my ears and on the nape of my neck, and ….it was like being whisked away to a wedding in Fiji! Romantic and sensual–and quintessentially feminine. I felt so girly, I was even inspired to put on my pearls. Want to know what? It’s now (at least) 16 hours later, and I am still experiencing a state of Bliss…it’s still on my skin. So warm and pretty, I think I might wear it again tomorrow (and stay in bed).

For those of you who have never heard of the Perfect Perfumes line, they were created by Sarah Horowitz at Creative Sensualizations. If you have heard of them, then you already know that each of the Perfect scents is truly unique and beautiful. However, if you don’t find one you love (barely believeable, but it happens), Sarah and her talented team will take you on A Fragrance Journey on which you will divulge your hopes, dreams, memories and desires and they will create “your perfect scent.” Can you imagine? Your own true fragrance–made especially for you? Talk about the best Holiday gift ever!

My New Favorite Blushes…Cheeky!

Tarte The Good Life Mini Cheekstain Set

The Good Life! What it is: Three of Tarte’s famous mini cheek stains. What it does: These three cheek stains are sure to give you that perfect girly glow that’s mixable, blendable, and super natural.

Tarte’s The Good Life Set includes Cheek Stains in Tipsy (sheer peach shimmer), True Love (sheer watermelon pink), and Glitzed (sheer rose with gold glitter) in a cute, glittery gold pouch for just $30.

Scents of Desire for the Holidays

Vera Wang has captured desire in a bottle for the Holidays! The fragrance is a modern, floral bouquet. The first encounter is a flirtation that begins with Bulgarian rose, calla lily, and mandarin flower. The flirtation is followed by a passionate kiss of gardenia, lotus, iris, and white stephanotis. The fragrance is wrapped in a final embrace of sheer musks, white woods, and precious floral nectar. The style is altogether elegant, feminine and sensual. Shipping is included at Sephora! Vera Wang The Fragrance Holiday Edition 3.4 oz Eau de Parfum Spray

Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas from

Shop Stocking Stuffers for Her>
A number of great stocking stuffers for your best friend, sister, mom, aunt or even your sweet granny!

Sue Devitt Holiday ’06 Gift Set, Limited Edition
Sue Devitt’s famous sheer lip glosses, in purse-ready mini sizes. Muscat is a shimmery blackberry shade, Marthas Vineyard is a perfect pink and Costa del Sol is a warm, mocha shade.

LipFusion Sweet, Sexy, Kiss Holiday Set
Nothing is sexier than a beautifully sweet, full-out kissable pout. Sweet Sexy Kiss delivers three of LipFusion™ Micro-Injected Collagen™ Lip Plump Color Shine’s best-selling shades in convenient, go-anywhere minis – wearable shine for shopping all day, irresistible shimmer for Holiday nights. Sweet is sheer natural light pink, Sexy is sheer natural soft red and Kiss is sheer natural golden pink.

NARS Sheer Lipstick, Roman Holiday
This pretty pastel pink gives the most delicate hint of color…very Audrey Hepburn. Unlike most shades of its kind, this color won’t appear “pasty” or heavy.

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