Misia

MisiaMisia is violet (Chanel 2015).  I smell a bit of iris too, but mostly just violet…  At the opening, rich, semi-sweet aldehydes and violets are warm and delicious on the skin.  And with the note of Grasse rose and benzoin (among other notes) it reminds me a lot of my vintage fragrances.  In fact, if you combined vintage Chanel No. 22 with vintage Devon Violets it would be quite similar to Misia.  In the drydown the sweetness becomes almost like toasted sugar…  It’s a bit extraordinary in my opinion…

Top notes: litchi, and aldehydes.  Middle notes: peach, raspberry, Turkish rose, and Grasse rose.  Base notes: tonka bean, benzoin, iris, orris root, violet, vanilla, powdery notes, and vanilla.  

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Origins, Clear Improvement, Active Charcoal Mask is a pretty darn good mask…  It cleans out the pores and leaves the skin in a balanced, pleasant state.  It also seems to avoid irritating the skin.  Plus, it’s very quick to use…  I’ll likely be repurchasing this product at some point.

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Biore, Self Heating One Minute Mask is not quite as good as the one above, but it too is quick and effective.  It also has a wonderful heating sensation that is a bit relaxing.  I can’t say that I would buy this one…  But I can’t say that I wouldn’t either…

Sigh.

I honestly don’t think I can write anything personal without it being negative, melancholy, or complaining in some way right now…   Or just too damn personal.  So… I’m not going to say anything.  🙂

Until Wednesday…

Fascinator

2014-12-30 18.11.49 (2)Fascinator by Hové Parfumeur of New Orleans, Louisiana (Hové Parfumeur) is a largely green, strong, oak moss fragrance but I would guess there’s some jasmine and ylang-ylang,  bergamot and lemon as well.  It’s a bit indolic, earthy and a little sweet with what I believe to be orange blossom and what is certainly musk.   In the drydown it’s still a sharp, slightly bitter scent but there’s a hint of warmth and gentleness to balance the feisty notes,.  Perhaps those are at notes of sandalwood and patchouli.

Fascinator is a part of Hové’s luxury line of women’s fragrances.  It has excellent longevity and discreet but noticeable sillage.

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Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation is easily one of the best foundations I’ve ever tried.   I wasn’t expecting to like it  since I’m not a big fan of the Touche Eclat, but, Fusion Ink Foundation is lovely.  It sits on the skin but not in a bad way…   It’s more like a soft veil that covers the skin ever so gently with a dewy, natural quality.  It doesn’t seem to irritate the skin or accentuate fine lines either.  When I’m in the market for a new foundation this may well be what I pick…

And there.  I did it.  I finally posted a Monday post…   It’s been weeks since I’ve done any product reviews.  I know this week I only review one product, but I’ll get back into the swing of things…

How was your weekend?

Bright Crystal

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Versace, Bright Crystal (Versace 2006) is a burst of fruity floral crispness and then a sweet progression to the finish.  It’s strong and sharp.  There’s a faint musky sensuality to this scent too, although it lurks in the background instead of being  front and center.  It’s watery and somewhat pleasant…  Very 2000’s.

Top notes: pomegranate, yuzu and frosted accord.  Middle notes: peony, lotus and magnolia.  Base notes: amber, musk and red woods. 

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Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is intriguing.  It’s dark if you layer it, but when you first apply it it’s more like a darkish lip stain or tinted moisturizer.   I suppose that’s why it’s called “Almost Lipstick.”   But, at any rate, it’s a nice product.  It’s not as present and thick on the lips as a lipstick though, of course, so if you are indeed looking for a lipstick this isn’t the route to go.  It’s not terribly drying either…  thankfully.

Wow.   I am so tired today…  I’m sorry this post is up late.  It was a long weekend and today I have a stress headache.    It was a nice weekend, but our son was up a lot at night and we’ve just been busy…

Anyway.

Sorry if this post is not that great.  Ha!

Have a nice rest of your day, dear reader.  🙂

Dolce

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Dolce is a smooth, creamy floral (Dolce & Gabbana 2014).  With a combination of amaryllis, papaya flower and water lily it’s also a slightly sweet aquatic scent with a modern sensibility.  During the drydown it becomes powdery and a bit soft.

As a noteworthy aside, when my husband first smelled Dolce on me he liked it.  He said it was pleasant and since he usually can’t smell my perfumes that easily he thought Dolce might be promising.  However, he then smelled Dolce up close and didn’t like it…  So, perhaps Dolce has fairly strong sillage and may actually smell better from a distance then in full force.  I liked it both ways actually, but I know some perfumes actually are better when smelled from a bit of distance… Anyway, this is a pretty scent.

Top notes: papaya flower and neroli.  Middle notes: narcissus, water lily and amaryllis.  Base notes: musk and cashmeran.

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La Bella Donna Liquid Eyeliner Pen can be purchased (as you see above) at The Detox Market, a somewhat chic online store that carries popular natural brands like RMS Beauty.  I had high hopes for La Bella Donna Liquid Eyeliner Pen.  I really did…   There are two colors, brown and black.   I bought black.

First of all, it’s not black.  At least, it doesn’t really look black.  It looks more charcoal or dark gray.  Secondly, it came already almost dried out, or if it isn’t basically dried out you have to press really hard to make much of anything appear. And because of those two issues it just doesn’t look like liquid eyeliner.  It looks like a pencil and doesn’t have much definition (the photo below is as dark and bold as it gets)…   I won’t be buying it again.

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La Bella Donna Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Black

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After loving Yves Saint Laurent, Volupte Tint-In Oil, in Cherry My Cherie but not being able to find it anywhere I bought it in Pink About Me instead.  I’m not unhappy.  I like Cherry My Cherie more, honestly, but Pink About Me is charming.  It leaves behind a pretty stain after the gloss has departed and it smells fruity and a little sweet while it’s on.  I may find myself buying more than a couple of these.  I have a suspicion that they’re all fantastic…

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Volupte Tint-In Oil in Pink About Me

How has your Monday gone so far?  Well, I hope.

We’re having lovely weather here and it’s been wonderful…  Hopefully there will be time to be outside and enjoy it.

Hmmm.  I guess I don’t have much to share today.  🙂

But thank you for reading.  🙂 I appreciate it.

L’Homme Sport

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Sweet, leather-like citrus notes comprise Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme (Yves Saint Laurent 2014).  This is a powerful, manly, sexy and clean scent.  It’s instensely fresh and more than a bit dapper.  L’Homme is meant for a man who isn’t afraid of making an impression – there’s a great deal of sillage and it lasts for a moderate to long amount of time.

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Top notes: verbena, bergamot and aldehydes. Middle notes: coriande, woody notes.  Base notes: cedar and amber.

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La Roche-Posay, Effaclar Duo is a delightful product for the occasional pimple or two…  If you’ve been stressed, etc.  and have a breakout applying this product overnight works wonders.  You don’t have to use much and it doesn’t dry out your skin.   If you’ve heard the hype about Effaclar Duo, as far as I see it’s all true.

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You may or may not have read my review of Avène Eau Thermale, and if you did you may recall how I raved about it.  Well, if you too are a fan of Avène Eau Thermale and live in the US and find it hard to keep up your stock since it’s not sold everywhere and often has to be purchased online, then perhaps La Roche-Posay Eau Thermale is a good bet.  It’s sold at Target and as far as I can tell works as well or at least nearly as well as Avène Eau Thermale.  It soothes the skin, and is also a bit hydrating just like Avène.  It’s also very refreshing to spray on the skin during the warmer months of the year or after exercise.

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And here go some personal ramblings…

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a Christian (for lots of reasons).  And one of the things I struggle with most is how judgemental people of my faith can sometimes actually be and other times just seem

What does it mean to be judgemental anyway?  Well, it’s tricky isn’t it?

Two stories from my personal life come to mind.  They both involve cheating – something most people consider wrong.

When I was in college I worked with a guy who was very artistic and intelligent.  We had lots of great conversations but he had a girlfriend and I knew that so I purposefully tried to just be his friend.  However, on one occasion he gave the impression that he wanted to be physically involved with me.  I had been cheated on by my first boyfriend around that time and I was not flattered.  I was livid actually, although I didn’t let the guy I worked with know it at the time.   Instead, I was really rude to him whenever I saw him and at one point even made him cry (I cringe at the thought I feel so bad).  Looking back at that I’m ashamed of myself.  I’m pretty sure you could consider my behavior towards him rather judgemental, although at the time all I could think about was his girlfriend and how hurt she would have been if something had happened between me and him (as I had been by my first boyfriend).  I made a ton of assumptions and even if some or all of them were correct it wasn’t my place to be the hand of justice…

Then once I was seeing a guy who couldn’t decide how he felt about being with me.  At first he said he loved me madly but eventually he didn’t seem as sure, and then he did and then he mostly didn’t but did sorta…  and on and on.    I never knew whether I was coming or going with him…  (I’ve told this story before.)  And then one day I saw something he likely didn’t intend for me to see that was hurtful and I felt betrayed.  While he was somewhat seemingly honest about almost everything at first, eventually he became much less transparent about many things and I began to suspect a deep lack of genuine romantic interest in me and a longing on his part to be with other sorts of people (or so it seemed – he was very confused at the time)…  So I lied, and pretended to have found another boyfriend out of a lot of frustration and hurt, he seemingly finally confessed his real feelings for me (or lack thereof) and that we had no real future together, and we stopped talking to each other shortly after that.  To this day I am quite sure he thinks I was and am an evil or at least weak, immoral woman for finding another guy while we were still involved (even though he didn’t want to actually be with me anyway)…  I’m almost positive he “judged” me.  I probably “judged” him and misunderstood him too though.   And, fyi, and note to self, revenge is rarely a good idea.

So, I guess, basically, to me, being “judgemental” means taking a grain of truth (or perceived truth) about a situation and then getting “carried away with it.”    I had good intentions in feeling bad for the girlfriend from the first story, and she may indeed have been very hurt had her boyfriend done anything with me.  Making the “judgement” that cheating is wrong was ok and necessary I believe, but when I became “judgemental” the way many people perceive Christians as being, was when I assumed I knew all of the facts and put myself a notch above that guy in my mind, or at least treated him like he was beneath me.  And, from that place of false superiority and ignorance, when I decided it was my personal business to correct his actions that also was being “judgemental”, of course.

It’s so hard to avoid being judgemental every once and a while though, I think, for most people, not just Christians who fall unwittingly into negative stereotypes.  If you are capable of being hurt I think you’re capable of being “judgemental”…  Sigh. But perhaps some people do tend towards it more than others for whatever reason…

And I shouldn’t judge that.

Mantrap

2014-12-30 18.10.58 (2)Mantrap (Hové Parfumeur 1930’s) is a very flowery, musky, intensely vintage fragrance.  According to Hové, Mantrap is a, “…heavy oriental..” with, “heavy resinous notes…”  but I think it’s a bit more crisp and almost green than that description allows.  I also experience it as  more of a floral chypre than an oriental, but they, of course, are the experts and have the full list of notes…  I just feel like Mantrap has more of an aromatic, spicy floral complexity that is more Aromatics Elixir than Shalimar, especially at first.  However, that could just be a trick of my chemistry and relative inexperience.

In any case, it’s a very unique, beautiful perfume.  It has great sillage, and decent longevity.  I will never tire of recommending Hové Parfumeur…  Never.

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Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation has received numerous raving reviews and is quite popular.  It supposedly is a special sort of foundation that works small miracles.  I was fortunate enough to receive the above pictured sample from Sephora a while back…  And, to be blunt, I’m not impressed.  Based on my experience it doesn’t seem any better than almost any other high end foundation I’ve ever used.  Matter of fact, I can think of three companies that make foundations I like more (Clinique, Chanel and Lancôme).  So, needless to say, I will not be purchasing Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation.  Maybe it has something to do with my skin though?  Who knows…  If you’re curious, of course I recommend trying it for yourself.

2015-04-16 12.00.01Dior Diorshow Mascara is pretty fantastic.  This mascara lives up to the hype.  It thickens my lashes considerably, lengthens them and adds definition.  Essentially, this mascara is basically perfect, except it does flake the tiniest bit and that’s sort of annoying, but it’s so darn good otherwise that I almost don’t care.  It smells good too…  I might not say that it’s the best mascara ever, but it has to be one the best.  Definitely.  I may very well buy it again.  And again.

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Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat was a total disappointment.  It caused breakouts and didn’t do a thing to “highlight” my skin the way it is supposed to.  I also tried using it as concealer and that wasn’t terrible, but again, it caused my skin to erupt in tiny pimples – not pretty.  I know a lot of people love this product, but I would never recommend it, especially if you have skin that still has the occasional pimple.  I think that the attached brush is part of the problem because unless you remember to clean it with your other brushes it just keeps getting more grimy every time you use it (of course).  Ugh.

—-

This week I’m looking forward to a visit from my in-laws.  I’ll be making a linguini with white clam sauce, my husband will make fresh bread and we’ll have blueberry pie for dessert.  And, on Sunday I’ll be attending a family wedding.  I’m already planning what to wear…  I’m thinking a vintage lavender dress with sandals, and a matching Schiaparelli rainbow tourmaline crystal bracelet and necklace would be best.  We’ll see.

At any rate, I don’t have much to say today that’s of a personal nature, but again, and as always, thank you for reading…  🙂

Bottega Veneta

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Bottega Veneta, Bottega Veneta (Bottega Veneta 2011) is a sweet, watery floral bouquet. It’s a bit spicy too.  Actually, it’s quite spicy…  Pink Pepper is very especially detectable at first, and patchouli emerges as a strong note in the drydown.

Longevity is weak to moderate and sillage is also weak to moderate (at least on me).  This is not a cold weather fragrance. Unless you project your perfume very easily I would suggest wearing this on a warmer day.

Top notes: pink pepper, bergamot.  Middle notes: jasmine.  Base notes: leather, oakmoss, and patchouli.

And ode to mineral oil…

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The often demonized mineral oil, and other petroleum by-products, found in cosmetics are hard to avoid.  However, being a person who tries, defiantly at times, to avoid “bad” ingredients in almost any and everything I’ve managed fairly well to abstain.  This past winter though I broke down.  I read one too many articles written about the safety of certain products due to the high level of processing they put their petroleum by-products through.  And it was so cold, and so dry and Vaseline started looking tempting…  After doing research on ewg.org and reading Paula Begoun’s take on it, I bought some.  Ever since then I have less of a black and white view of mineral oil and try to assess products containing petroleum by-products on more of a case by case basis.

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Vaseline Original is simply fantastic.  I use it to coat my eyelashes before going to sleep (my lashes are actually thicker and longer – no joke).  I slather some on my lips before sleeping too, and in between hair cuts I mix it with coconut oil to deep condition the ends of my hair.  And it lasts forever, and works!  I mean, sure, it’s not actually moisturizing, but it’s a great emollient.  So, when combined with a moisturizing product it helps the other product work overtime.  It also prevents the skin from drying out even if it doesn’t actually moisturize (on my lips at night).  And, you can use it for soo soo many things (baby bottoms, cuticle cream, lip gloss, etc.).  This stuff is irreplaceable.  Just make sure you buy the actual Vaseline brand because they supposedly have strict standards for their petroleum by-products and other companies might not be as safe.

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Ok, so I might not recommend Carmex Original Lip Balm based on ingredients, but man, it works…  I try mot to use this classic lip care product too often, but when my lips are really dry or I just feel like having super soft lips this product comes in handy.  Within a relatively short amount of time my lips are basically transformed.  Perhaps limited use combined with “safer” lip products is a reasonable option.  So, basically, use Carmex to treat the lips and then follow up with something more benign (i.e. Burt’s Bees).  And really, even the packaging of this product recommends limited daily use…

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Smith’s Rosebud Salve is still being made in the same way it was since the late 1890’s.  It’s a classic.  It smells like rosebud petals, is smooth, slightly tinted with a pretty pink hue, and is free from parabens and phthalates.  It does, however, have petroleum by-products…  And frankly, I just don’t care.  I’m guessing that they’re the safe variety, and even if they aren’t it’s so darn safe in other ways that I feel it “evens out” so to speak.

This stuff is fabulous. It can be used as a very slighty tinted lip moisturizer (my favorite use), hair smoother (in a pinch), or a moisturizer for your hands or cuticles.  And really, it’s just so darn cute in its pretty little tin.  It’s one of my new go to products (even though it’s been popular for quite some time).

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I can’t believe it’s already almost June.  But, I’m glad…  I’m ready for summer.

What are you looking forward to this summer?  I’m looking forward to being outside as much as possible.  For whatever reason, I’ve been craving nature lately…

At any rate, I hope your week is starting well. 🙂

Midnight Fleur

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Midnight Fleur (Nest 2012) is a sugar sweet floral.  However, at first Midnight Fleur is more than just a “sugar bomb,” with the pretty and vivacious notes of vanilla orchid, exotic woods and black amber.  It’s like tropical fruit at its peak – ripe, fragrant, and colorful.

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Top note is jasmine. Middle notes are vanilla orchid and exotic woods. Base notes are patchouli and black amber..

Sadly though, by the late drydown the sweetness becomes a bit overpowering with my chemistry and it goes the same way as Gloria Vanderbilt, Gloria Vanderbilt – it smells like an expensive mixture of Play-Doh and maple syrup.  I may try to wear Midnight Fleur with a green scent or a vintage balsamic fragrance and see what happens.

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I received a sample of Make Up For Ever, Smoky Extravagant Mascara, and Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural No. 9 from Sephora a few months back.  The Smoky Extravagant Mascara is average.  It didn’t make my lashes that much longer, more defined or thicker but it didn’t flake either.  It’s an intense black and sadly it didn’t compliment my coloring (warm brown eyes, neutral skin, and cool/neutral blond hair) all that well.   I’m not sure if it was too black or the wrong black (too warm or cool).  In any case, it was only a so so mascara.

Rouge Artist Natural No. 9 is not drying.  It doesn’t run.  It’s easy to apply and feels good on the lips (it smells pleasant too).  However, No. 9 is an awful and I mean awful color for me so I’m definitely not going to be ordering it.  No. 9 is extremely close to my natural coloring but it’s off just enough in a way that makes my face look pale and dirty.  It’s bad. And, frankly, while it’s a creamy, semi-moisturizing formula it isn’t any more rich or luxurious than an average drugstore lipstick (in my opinion). So, perhaps, for all its merits, Rouge Artist Natural No. 9 is something you want to try first if possible.

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Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural No. 9 swatch

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Beauty Without Cruelty, Extra Gentle Eye Makeup Remover is great.  It’s a fairly safe product to use and it works just as well, if not better, than many other makeup removers I’ve tried – it really removes makeup well.  And, it doesn’t leave behind any oily nonsense either (as it says on the bottle).  BWC Eye Makeup Remover just feels nice on the skin.  I will definitely repurchase this product.

L’Origan

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In 1905, Francois Coty debuted L’Origan.  It was considered very advanced at that time (this is before the sinking of the Titanic and World War I of course) due to it’s use of synthetic materials.

I’m blessed to have found a very old vintage bottle of L’Origan (Coty 1905).  Using it is a treat…

It’s a particularly warm and spicy fragrance.  L’Origan is heavy yet delicate and reminds me of cinnamon sticks mixed with flowers, and the scent of burning wood.

Smelling it is like taking a small trip back in time because it’s extraordinarily vintage – it is nothing like anything one could easily purchase at present. During the drydown it becomes bright and effusive, but still maintains it’s heavy sensibility.  Again, I can’t think of any scent that so brings to mind an era when quality, romance and elegant ornamentation reigned supreme, as a very vintage bottle of L’Origan.

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My bottle came in a box with L’Aimant.

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Top notes: bergamot, coriander, orange, pepper and peach. Middle notes: nutmeg, spices, jasmine, violet, rose, ylang ylang, and African orange flower. Base notes: benzoin, Virginia cedar, incense, musk, sandalwood, vanilla, civetta, and coumarin.

I also am trying a few samples I recently acquired from Guerlain.  So far, I’m very happy with almost everything.

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However, my favorite item has been the Super Aqua-Serum.  It’s an anti-ageing, skin plumping intensive moisturizer meant for everyday use.  While it is heavily scented, the scent is far from offensive (it’s Guerlain after all) – it smells light and airy, and it lives up to it’s promises.  My skin is definitely softer and more refined when I use it.  It really does seem to “plump up” the skin.  My only complaints are that it’s a bit greasy at first, and of course, the ingredients aren’t exactly natural.  But, overall, I quite like it.

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Two of the other samples were Guerlain, Exceptional Complete Mascara and Guerlain, Secret De Pureté, Crystal Lotus Flower, Eye and Lip Make-up Remover.  The mascara was also very fragranced, but again, it was a nice scent – it smelled like lovely roses.  I think I detected a slight blue tint to the black shade I was using, but it was flattering.  I was slightly miffed that the mascara seemed to clump a little bit, but it was lengthening in a way that I’ve simply never seen before, and it created brilliant definition.  I was pleased, and apparently the actual mascara comes with it’s own mirror, as depicted in the ad attached to the tester box.  Of course, be aware, it’s not a mascara made from “natural” ingredients.

The Eye and Lip Make-up Remover was less satisfactory, but it worked. That’s the thing though, it just worked. It didn’t do anything remarkable, and actually it only worked once I used it over and over again.  Perhaps with time I would notice more of a difference, but sadly this product might not be worth the price since there are less expensive options that work just as well if not better.

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black cashmere sweater – Hayden, jeans -old, vintage earrings found on Etsy

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I love these earrings – they’re made from 1930’s camphor glass. I found them on Etsy.

So, I hope your week is starting off well.  It’s the last Monday of 2014, and then it will be the last Tuesday of 2014, and then the last Wednesday of 2014…  And then it will be Thursday of 2015.  And then Friday and the day after that will be Saturday.  Then comes Sunday again, just like yesterday was Sunday and then Monday is the day after that.  😉