Cosmetics shopping in Montreal

Montreal Skyline

Montreal Skyline

Imagine that you’re going to pick up some prescriptions or personal care items, only to find that you’ve entered a beauty hall like what you’d find at a department store. You have to go upstairs to get to the pharmacy proper.

That’s what you’ll find at Pharmaprix (link to map) and Jean Coutu (link to map), both on rue Ste-Catherine in Montréal.

Pharmaprix (link to web site) is called Shoppers Drug Mart outside Québec. Its exclusive brand is Quo. Bourjois, especially its Little Round Pot blush, may be found at Pharmaprix. Canadian brand Lise Watier may also found at Pharmaprix. I picked up Quo manicure scissors and nail board and Revlon tweezers – I forgot stuff because I hadn’t traveled in a long time. I was waited on by a sales woman who had a multi-colored tattoo of flowers on her upper arm. Both my husband and I were impressed by her knowledge and recommendations.

Pharmaprix’s Optimum rewards program enables you to collect points toward free stuff and take advantage of special offers.

By taking a very short walk on rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, you arrive at Jean Coutu ( link to web site). Its exclusive brand is Personelle. Like Pharmaprix, it carries Lise Watier. It also carries mass-market Canadian faves Marcelle and Annabelle and hard-to-find brands such as Pupa Milano (but not their kits!) and Jean d’Estrées skin care. I picked up Annabelle eye primer and pillowy lint-free cotton pads from Personelle, the likes that I hadn’t seen before. Like Pharmaprix, Jean Coutu has knowledgeable staff. One staff member answered my questions about Pupa Milano products.

Jean Coutu participates in the AIR MILES rewards program, which enables you to earn “miles” (points) from other participating stores as well.You may redeem your miles in cash or exchange them for Dream Rewards, Including gift cards, household items, show tickets, trips and more.

If you would like to read reviews of Quo, Marcelle, and Annabelle products, then visit the Sparkled Beauty blog.

Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

I’m not into texting – in fact, I avoid mobile telephony because it’s invasive – but when I saw Jane Eyre (my favorite novel) in the title Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, I went to my local public library to check out the book.  Here’s my review, as posted on Goodreads:

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary CharactersTexts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Texts from Jane Eyre elicited snickers but not guffaws.

Mallory Ortberg’s knowledge about literature is impressive. I particularly liked the text conversations for Jane Eyre (my favorite novel), Wuthering Heights, and the Allegory of the Cave (514a–520a) from Plato’s Republic.

HT Claudia

View all my reviews

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion!

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion is a liquid blush that comes in a convenient pump dispenser.

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion

The web page  describes it as:

The ultimate wake-up makeup. An Innovative complexion pick-me-up in a universal and ultra-flattering shade of peach with golden undertones for radiant, glowing skin in an instant. Buildable [color] that blends and buffs seamlessly into the skin.

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion is an excellent choice for “women of a certain age,” as it adds warmth to the complexion. Beauty industry veteran Andrea Robinson says that older women should go for golden in her book Toss the Gloss. MUA Robert Jones recommends peach blush and bronzer for mature women in his book Looking Younger.

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion is easy to apply. Spread it into a thin layer on your fingers, dot the cheeks, and blend with a moist Beautyblender or the Real Techniques dupe. Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion has become one of my standbys, along with Revlon powder blush in Fleshtone from its 1997 “In the Flesh” collection (hey, as long as a product’s good – in this case, 20 years – I use it :-).

Read The Style Page interview with Grace Fodor, founder of Studio | 10.

Grandpa’s home

This satellite image of the Fertile Soils of Serbia reminded me that my paternal grandfather came from what is now the Vojvodina region of Serbia:

Vojvodina_Serbia-300x271

satellite image of the Vojvodina area of Serbia

The Vojvodina region has changed hands many times. Once it was among the most ethnically diverse regions in Europe (that’s a whole story in itself!). After Prince Eugene of Savoy conquered the Ottomans in 1699 and grabbed a lot of  Eastern Europe in 1699,  the Habsburgs resettled people from the rest of Europe.  My ancestors migrated from Alsace-Lorraine, now in France. My grandfather remember that his grandmother still spoke French.

My German-speaking grandfather came from the town of Begaszentgyörgy, as it was called when the Vojvodina region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Begaszentgyörgy is a Hungarian name: confused yet? In Serbian, the town is known as Žitište.

I enjoy putzing around with ArcMap, a map making tool from Esri.  The satellite image inspired me to create a map of the Vojvodina region of Serbia:

Vojvodina

Map of the Vojvodina region of Serbia

This map of the Vojvodina region is scaled with respect to its location in Serbia. You can view the course of the Tiza River, which was shown in the satellite image above and where the Tiza River joins with the Danube River. I’ve also shown Žitište. My paternal grandmother came from Biled (also shown), a town now in Romania.

Meet Atelier Bloem

Atelier Bloom is a fragrance line founded by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, better known for their skin care line (MALIN + GOETZ). Atelier Bloem is inspired by Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market, located in Amsterdam.

Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam

Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam by zak mc [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I was surprised, but delightedly so, to receive 2 full-size (3.4 fl oz/100 ml) bottles of Atelier Bloem’s William and 1614 fragrances.

First, a few words (notes?) about fragrance notes. Notes are scents that can be sensed with respect to time after application of a fragrance. Top notes are sensed immediately. They consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. Middle notes, also called heart notes, emerge in the middle of the perfume’s dispersion process. Base notes refer to the scent of a perfume that appears close to departure of middle notes. They consist of large, heavy molecules that evaporate slowly.

Adapted from Wikipedia

William by Atelier Bloem

William by Atelier Bloem

William is inspired by the Dutch Royal Family, known as the House of Orange. It is a neroli scented perfume distilled from the blossom of the bitter orange tree and the wood and leaves.

* Top notes: Neroli Petals, Nectarine, and Lavender
* Middle (or heart) notes: Orange Flower, Freesia, Sambac Jasmine, and Blond Wood
* Drydown (or base notes): Amber, Vanilla, Musk, and Sandalwood

1614 by Atelier Bloem

1614 by Atelier Bloem

1614 is named for the year Andrew Goetz and Matthew Malin’s home away from home in the Hudson Valley was founded.

* Top notes: Black Pepper, Bergamot, and Neroli from Tunisia
* Middle notes: Sambac Jasmine, Sweet Clover, Rose Water, and Orange Blossom
* Drydown (base notes): Teakwood, Sandalwood, and Musk

One 3.4 fl oz/100 ml bottle costs $195 US.  You may purchase Atelier Bloem fragrances through Barneys. Earn cash back awards through Ebates.

PS The photo of the Bloemenmarkt inspired my flat lays. The Delft Blue Miniature Houses that flank the perfume bottles represent old Dutch houses situated along the canals in Amsterdam. These houses are presented to Business Class passengers on board KLM flights. The miniatures contain Bols jenever liquor. We have not broken the seals on these miniature houses!

The Style Page interview with Grace Fodor of STUDIO I 10

Grace Fodor is the founder of STUDIO | 10 Beauty, which recently had its official US launch. STUDIO | 10 offers age- and skin-perfecting ‘quick fix’ beauty solutions for women.  The Style Page interviewed Grace about Studio | 10 on the occasion of its official US launch.

Grace Fodor of Studio 10 | Beauty

Grace Fodor of Studio 10 | Beauty

1. According to your Linkedin profile, you served as Director, Jemma Kidd Make Up, where you “Developed [the] brand, proposition and IP as well as setting up company, funding, teams, infrastructure and operations.” Why and how did you strike out on your own?

Studio | 10 is my passion I’d reached a point in my life where I was looking for a makeup range designed for women as they age – to tackle the issues that older women face. I needed more than products with just added anti-ageing ingredients, but that specifically disguise, cover and correct the signs of ageing. I wanted to explore the ‘aesthetics’ of professional artistry, and develop a range that would give women the ability ‘to look younger’ as part of their daily routine. I wanted a range that did a ‘job of work’ for me!

I felt that there was a clear opportunity to launch Studio | 10 and even though the cosmetics market is crowded, the lack of ‘dedicated’ attention given to the needs of older women means that we can operate in a relatively ‘fresh’ space. We are a very small, dedicated team that has worked hard to make sure that formulations are 100% right; we’ve worked hard to source formulas, textures, pigments and colours that specifically suit more mature skintones.

What we’ve tried to develop is an innovative range of age correcting and skin perfecting makeup essentials. Problem solvers and professional fixes for 10 years younger results in an instant.

2. I’m always interested in the challenges that beauty entrepreneurs face. When I’ve asked other movers and shakers in the beauty industry about challenges they faced when starting out, I’ve received different answers: financing, finding suppliers, production schedules, and just simply eagerness and impatience to get the products to market. Your experience at Jemma Kidd Make Up must have given you a leg up when you started Studio | 10. What challenges did you face in starting Studio | 10?

Being such a unique brand did create some issues and challenges as everyone from investors through to retail had to be encouraged to see a new light. My other key challenge was ensuring the formulations were 100% right, the textures were suited for ageing-skin and had the finished result I was looking for. At the same time, we had tight timelines and needed to make sure that we launched on time.

3. What gap did you see in the beauty market and how does Studio | 10 fill that gap?

Beauty is my passion and I felt that something was missing in the market. Personally I was looking for a makeup range designed for women as they age! There are a lot of products with added anti-ageing ingredients, but I felt there wasn’t a brand specifically tailored to my needs that could do some hard work!

Studio | 10 Anti-aging collection

Studio | 10 Anti-aging collection

4. Studio  | 10 is sold in the UK by Marks & Spencer department store and Cult Beauty. How did you enter into partnership with M&S and Cult Beauty?

We wanted to work with retailers that have a good ‘brand’ and customer fit, in terms of demographics, age and interests. But almost more importantly to us, we are looking to build ‘close and personal’ relationships with our customers with real building relationships, understanding, trust and loyalty. Choosing retailers that do that really well is key for us.

cultbeauty.co.uk is a perfect fit for us in this sense. They house so many fantastic cult, niche brands with a loyal and trusted following, it seemed the ideal place for us to begin building a close relationship with our customers.

Marks & Spencer is also a great retailer for us as their customers are our customers. We’ve built a really good relationship with them and constantly do in-store events to entice new customers and get our brand out there! Their beauty department is expanding and we wanted to be a part of it!

5. What are your future plans for Studio | 10?

Studio | 10 have exciting and ambitious plans for the year ahead! We’re expanding our range and distribution over the coming months, which we’re really looking forward to. Creating innovative new products that really make a difference to women is at the very heart of what we do and nothing makes us more motivated.

We’re still young but we’ve been humbled by the amazing interest in the brand. We launched with Sephora Australia a couple of months ago and we’re in talks with a number of other international retailers…I couldn’t be more thrilled!

6. Studio | 10 is targeted for women in their mid-30s and older, although your website says “a number of the perfecting fixes have become ‘must have’ problem solvers for younger women.” What are the biggest makeup blunders that older women make and how do you correct them?

Prepping the skin is vital for applying makeup effectively. Always start with a moisturiser and it’s good to use a primer – it gives the perfect base for concealer and foundation to blend seamlessly. Use colour correctors to even the skin tone and correct dark circles, blemishes and discolouration. Always make sure that you blend or buff! It’s the way to make sure your makeup looks ultra-natural and it’s worked well into your skin. You want to avoid any visible or harsh lines.

As you age stay away from powder – it sits on the skin. I strongly suggest that you use creme or liquid makeup – they tend to be much more flattering and youthful, giving the skin a dewy ‘lit from within’ appearance. They also help to avoid the heavy and ‘cakey’ effect which is so ageing.

In terms of contouring my biggest tip is not to use a bronzer – so many women try contouring with a bronzer and it doesn’t look natural. Bronzing powders add warmth to the face whereas natural shadows are dull and ashy toned in comparison. Be careful with colour also – it’s about wearable colour; choosing the right colour and formula is important!

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion

Studio | 10 Plumping Blush Glow-plexion

7. Would you like to share some beauty tips with our readers?

Makeup should never be about masking and covering but correcting and enhancing. Focus on priming the face and use colour correctors, rather than heavy concealers and foundations, to counteract any discolouration and even the skin tone. You’ll then find you only need a minimal amount of coverage to create a flawless finish. And make sure you always have the perfectly shaped brows, you look ‘put together’ even without any make makeup. Groomed brows shape the face, create balance and add definition to the eyes. They’re also a quick-fix eyelift – without any surgery!

8. When you’re not working on Studio | 10, what you enjoy doing?

Running your own company there is always something else to do, which means it is hard to totally switch off, but I take time to run regularly as well as doing yoga and meditation classes. I also love taking long walks with our dog and every weekend I arrange flowers for the house – I find it really therapeutic!

9. Are there any parting remarks you would like to make about beauty?

Never allow yourself to be defined by someone else’s definition or stereotype of beauty. It’s all about accepting and making the best of what you have and ‘looking like the best version of yourself’.

Eight reasons why I didn’t support the #WomensMarch

  1. Women’s March co-organizer Linda Sarsour has links to Hamas and supports Sharia law.  If “intersectionality” involves finding common cause with Sharia, I don’t want any part of it.
  2. Modern feminism objectifies women as female sexual organs. But wait, that’s unfair to people who self-identify as women but don’t have vaginas!
  3. Using young children as props is child exploitation.
  4. Young children shouldn’t be exposed to vulgarity and obscene language.
  5. Pussyhatters are not worthy to be heirs to the legacy of Susan B. Anthony and other first-wave feminists.
  6. Abortion is not a reproductive right.
  7. While I support birth control and the freedom it has given to women, its unfortunate side-effect has meant sex without commitment.
  8. Today’s feminists conflate womens’ health with funding of Planned Parenthood.  I refuse to accept that Planned Parenthood is the only game in town for services such as pap smears, mammograms, and contraception.