Tag Archives: beauty

swooning over irises


A couple of weeks ago I was on a morning walk with Rockefeller and got really excited when I saw the first irises of the season in bloom.  I adore irises.  I don’t always take walks with my camera but that morning I did and I snapped a couple of shots:

Then yesterday I was walking Rockefeller down by the fairgrounds, without my camera, and was surprised to see a nice variety of irises planted along their chain-link fence.  The blooms were past their prime but I made a note to go back today and try to see what I could capture:

Although the irises were starting to fade, some other gorgeous beauties were having their hey day.  Peonies!   What is not to love about a peony?  Except the ants.

Back to irises.  When we got home I took some pictures of my irises.  They tend to bloom a little later than most thanks to all of our shade.

I also finally bought my annuals today.  I always buy loads of impatiens thanks to all the trees.  But they are lovely and I never tire of them.

I need to get back to that front porch quick!

Irises.  Such an elegant flower.   And I am not the only person to love them…check out Lisa’s photos.

Do you have a favorite flower?  I am not sure I could ever pick an absolute favorite.

~~Mistress Bliss~~


Filed under beauty notes, creative endeavors

simplified skin care

from my book, "beauty glamour and personality" by ern & bud westmore (1947)

(from my book “beauty glamour and personality” by ern & bud westmore 1947)

Do you ever get to the point where you’ve had  about enough?  And you just can’t handle all the hype, marketing, lies, expense involved with preserving your youthful, or not so youthful, appearance anymore?  Well, I hit that point about a month ago.  I made some drastic decisions regarding my skin care and you know what?  So far, I am really glad I did.

I’ve never been one to spend oodles of money for skin care products but some of my choices have been pricey.  I’ve done Estee Lauder, BeautiControl, Sibu Beauty, L’Occitane, etc. as well as drugstore brands like Cetaphil and Oil of Olay.  Here is what I have going for me (and this is an important point to this entire post because I know many do have issues so please don’t think I am advocating a cure-all)…I don’t have “problem” skin so I can get away with using almost anything.  What I do know, and strictly practice, is that cleansing, moisturizing and exfoliating my skin are very important.  My skin, thank goodness, has not limited me in which products I can use to follow these basic steps.  However!  I do not want to be putting crap on my skin either.  I do a lot of research before I buy into promises or products.  I can thank www.beautipedia.com for making that easy.  And the book, “The Truth About Beauty” by Kat James.  Paula and Kat are my two most favorite women in the entire beauty industry (cyber xx).  Before you buy a product, check Paula’s reviews.  If you want an excellent source book about beauty and skin care through a holistic, “start from within” approach, buy Kat’s book today.

How have I simplified my routine?  Well, I have used the Sibu Beauty products for the past 4 months.  And while I have been happy with them I certainly have not noticed the raving results I had read about through reviews.  In fact, I was not impressed with the night cream at all since I was waking in the morning to the wonder of sleep wrinkles all over my face.  Just gorgeous.  Once I realized my supply was depleting I knew I had to decide if I was going to reorder or start something else.

 My first change came with the night cream.  One night as I was prepping for bed my eye caught on my bottle of almond oil sitting on my counter.  I have used almond oil as a body moisturizer for over a year now and I will never go back to body lotions.  Why?  First, it works.  Second, it is 100% almond oil–nothing else.  You could eat it if you want.  NO CHEMICALS.  The less chemicals in my life, the happier I am especially after I read articles like this:


(yes, I know sunscreen is mentioned–sometimes we have to choose the better of the evils)

Anywho, I thought, if it works on my body why not my face?  That night the Almond Oil became my night-time moisturizer.  And guess what?  From day ONE I have seen the difference.  Starting with no more sleep wrinkles to now a more even skin tone.  Interesting, non? Take a bow, Almond Oil:

As for cleansing (I’m kind of going backwards here, aren’t I?), I decided to stick with the Sibu Beauty Cleansing Bar.  It easily washes away my make-up including mascara.  Plus I can use my sonic face brush with it for a deeper cleaning.

My daytime moisturizer has changed back to Jason Vitamin C Ester serum*.  I use that under my tinted moisturizer and the effects are wonderful.  I had used Vitamin C Ester serum in the past and loved it.  I gave it up when I started using Sibu but now I am happy to be back to it.

One to two times a week I exfoliate either using a microderm abrasion scrub or those multi-acid resurfacing  peel pads.  I need to research this more since I am trying to use up a product I have had for a while and I want to be informed before it has to be replaced.

So to review, this is what I do for a simple skin care routine:


Splash with cold water.

Apply Jason Vitamin C Ester Serum.

Apply either Jane Iredale or BeautiControl SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer (in the summer I add more SPF)


Cleanse with Sibu Beauty Bar

Apply Almond Oil to face, neck and decollatage (lightly in T-zone).

And that is all.

I do think lifestyle plays a big part in the aging of the skin.  So I do drink my water…lots of it…, exercise, get good sleep, eat eggs and fish weekly, lots of fruits and veggies, and take supplements like Fish Oil, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C and  CoQ10 (all these are recommended by Dr. Perricone for better skin plus obvious other health benefits–I don’t buy his brand but their equivalents).  And I have never smoked and don’t sunbathe…these are skin killers.

What do you do to take care of your skin?  Are you happy with your routine?  Is there a beauty product you absolutely swear by?

~~Mistress Bliss~~

*Jason has changed the formula of the Vitamin C Ester which I did not realize when I first drafted this a few days ago.  I thought I was going “back” to what I knew and loved.  It is different and my verdict is still out on it.


Filed under beauty notes, Uncategorized

weekly photo challenge ~~ texture


taken fall 2010

A little “texture” to celebrate Fall!


Filed under creative endeavors, Uncategorized, weekly photo challenge

the weekend involved…

…experiments in nail polish again.  It’s not Chanel Peridot but it’s nice (and only $3.99).

Rags to Riches it’s called.  Love it.

It looks great on the toes.  I did my fingernails for fun…trying color on them again.  Not as many slight panics this time around but I did try shredding them when I was tearing my basil for caprese salad.

On Saturday I received a dividends reward for Talbots.  Then they sent an email advertising 25% off and free shipping for regular priced items.  This was no time to waste or wait around to use my dividend.  I thought about what would shimmy up my minimalist wardrobe for Fall and decided on this:

(via talbots.com)

Hear me purr.

While searching I found this and thought it looked vaguely familiar:

Ohmy!  I didn’t notice those shoes until I put the picture in this post (note to self).

Besides the wardrobe, some pantry items needed replenishing.  I bought some loose leaf green tea and black tea.  The green is wonderful.  Tomorrow I may try the Provence one.

Look, they are already buddies.

I also needed olive oil.  I have bought my olive oil from a Middle Eastern specialty store in the past.  Lebanese olive oil–it is wonderful.  I decided to kill two birds with one stone and get what I needed at an olive oil bar near the tea store.  Have you ever been to one of those?  You can taste test prior to buying.  There were hordes of people doing oil shots in this store.  My Belle Fille and I were perplexed.  Who drinks oil?  I found a high heat variety, poured some in a little cup to smell and dip my finger in… I certainly wasn’t going to chug it.   And that is what I bought.  The oilholics were making me nervous so we skeedaddled out of there.  I will be going back to my Middle Eastern store in the future both for price and the fact no one is hanging around the vats throwing back shots.

Sunday I got a lovely afternoon to myself.  I watched “Bliss” (and why wouldn’t I?).  It was AMAZING.  It is a Turkish film that tells the heart-wrenching story of an assault on a young woman who lives in a crazy, old-tradition village.  It is decided by the mafia-type village leader that she must be done away with because of the shame she has brought the family.  A man is chosen to do the “offing” and that is all I am going to say about it.  The cinematography is wonderful…the old-value, tradition bound village and its people are shot in a black and white with slight hues of color (think: a painted black and white photo) and the “modern” world is in color.  I just loved it.  I had to pause it a couple of times just to relax a little bit…it’s not scary, just unbelievable and taut.  I cried in the end.   I have added it to my movie queue so that Master Bliss can see it too (it is a “play it now” on Netflix).  I also started, but need to finish, “Queen To Play”–a French film with Kevin Kline.  Very sweet story so far.  I heart Kevin Kline.  His French voice makes me swoon.

Today (Monday) is reserved for bill paying, painting (Master Bliss has done a lot of touch-up painting getting ready for the Historic House Tour) and household chores.  We did start the day with breakfast out–I think that will be our fun for today. 

Two more things to share that I found really funny over the past few days:

1)  Rockefeller was bugging me when I was in the middle of trying to accomplish some sort of greatness (probably shopping for vintage handbags on Etsy).  For as long as we have had him, he is pretty ambiguous about letting us know when he needs to go out.   We have hung a bell but he never caught on.  He doesn’t go sit by the door and bark.  He doesn’t scratch at the door.  Nothing.  So I just regularly take him out.  Well, apparently I must have waited too long and him pawing at my legs wasn’t triggering any response so he figured out a new way to let me know:

Boy did I laugh at this.  I grabbed a bag, leashed him, opened the door and was dragged to the backyard where he promptly plopped and pooped.  Was it a flook?  Time will tell.

2.  I got a flier from Estee Lauder.   For some reason I am not tempted to buy their cosmetics:

Liz was on the front cover–with a black eye.  I think they need to offer a better concealer.

OK–that’s a wrap.

How was your weekend?


Filed under beauty notes, doggy "tails"

fall “look book” circa 1957


picture credit


Isn’t she lovely? (and looks a lot like Sela Ward)    A couple of weeks ago I was searching for something else (no idea what) in an antique store and as I was breezing through the store, she caught my eye.  How glamorous!  What a fantastic outfit.  If I could dress like that every day, I believe I would.  She was gracing the cover of a catalog.  She needed to come home with me…and of course she did.

I have read a lot of excitement with other bloggers about it being September.  A new season, change in the air.  “Vogue” came out with their infamous September issue so we can all be tantalized by the new fashions (we can’t afford).  Some of us have new goals set for our wardrobes–minimizing, accessorizing more, adding key core pieces–all of which create a buzz of energy and frenetic happiness (well, at least it does for me).  I’ve decided to shop for my ” fantasy wardrobe” from this catalog.  So on Fridays, through the month of September, I will be sharing some of my favorite finds in this “look book”.

First of all, let it be duly noted, that women’s sizing has changed drastically.  Sizing starts with 10 and goes through 22.  I can only guess that a 10 of 1957 would be a 4 or 6 today?  I wonder why they have changed the sizing since then?  If we were all wearing double digits, don’t you think there would be more peaceful relations between women?  I think it would bring about greater camaraderie– stronger sisterhood!  “Would you look at that rail thin model?  Can you believe she is a size 10?”  Seriously, doesn’t that sound better than 4?  I think I could totally support the anorexic look if I knew it started with size 10 (and for the serious readers without a sense of humor, NO I don’t support anorexia at any size).

It’s no secret that I love accessories and this little grouping really tickled my accessory funny bone:

love that cognac brown with the turquoise blue scarf!

Although not cognac, look what arrived today for Mistress Bliss:

Darling Vintage Oxblood Leather Boxy Satchel Handbag

(picture credit)

Are you noticing the similar lines and style?  Will I carry this regularly?  Yep.

As great as the arrival of September is, it does bring the distant thought of colder weather coming just around the corner.  So of course we must think of warm outer wear.  Could you see yourself in any of these?




I don’t know about you but I am in love with dark plum (or eggplant), burgundy, grey and brown for this coming season(s).  The coats above are stunning–I heart them tremendously.

Another cool weather favorite is a sweater.  September/October are perfect for lighter weight ones for easier layering.  Check these out:


I adore the middle pink one.  And I love how most of them look to be 3/4 length sleeves–that’s my favorite for cool weather.  Brilliant!

As I mentioned, I would love to add more grey to my wardrobe:


“Glamour begins with grey”–I can work with that.  The dark charcoal grey suit with the red accessories would be just the ticket for my style/body shape.   The next dress caught my eye because of its green jewel tone–it would be very striking…a great fall frock.


(there’s that gorgeous “Sela” gal again on the left)

So there is your first “sneak peek” at my “look book”.  At the end of the month I will reveal which catalog these glorious finds are from.  In the mean time, I would like you to shop along with me.  If there is something in your real life that you are hoping to buy this fall, share with me what it is and I will try to find it’s 1957 equivalent in this catalog.  I will also tell you how much it would cost you.   And it doesn’t have to be just clothes–even household items, jewelry, make-up.  Just leave what you would like to find in your comments and I will take it from there.

Have a great weekend everyone!!


Filed under beauty notes, vintage finds

weekly photo challenge – up

I don’t think I look “up” enough.  When I do, I am often surprised, if not overwhelmed.

looking up in my back yard last fall–“mosaic” fall 2010


Happy Monday!


Filed under creative endeavors, weekly photo challenge

weekly photo challenge – flowers 2 (why not?)


Here is another “flower” offering.  Redneck Princess said I could.  And since I have NO TIME to write about anything else, at least you will all know I am still alive and kickin’.

"lush"~june 2011


If I could have a fresh bouquet of these every week–color me deliriously happy! (the sister photo is on my “about” page)

Hope your week is going well!  I will be having lots to say soon about life as I know it…soon.


Filed under beauty notes, creative endeavors, weekly photo challenge

weekly photo challenge – flowers

Oh my.  Flowers is the theme this week.  This could be a problem.  HOW CAN I PICK JUST ONE FLOWER PICTURE?  I really do not think it is possible.  I have so many pictures of flowers on my hard-drive.  If my computer ever crashes it will be from flower overload.   OK…if I am picking just one here it is:

“last one standing” spring 2010

WordPress, could we do this theme again?  Please….

Happy Monday!


Filed under creative endeavors, weekly photo challenge

friday feature: fashion finds


I have indulged my girlie-girl side lately.  A couple of weeks ago I purged my cosmetics drawer (again).  This time I did not keep anything I don’t wear regularly.  Some of the excess went in the trash, most went to my belle fille and three great Estee Lauder lipsticks went to my BFF (who will always be an Estee Lauder model in my world).  I have also recently run out of some staples.  So it is time to restock–but sparingly.  I don’t want a drawer full of items that aren’t used which means wasted money and resources. 

There have been some great posts over the summer from fashion forward ladies showing off their new nail colors.  I have seen PERIDOT, YELLOW, METALLIC BLUE and thought they were all lovely.  But here’s the deal…I really don’t like to polish my nails.  I like nail polish on my toes in the summer but NEVER do I paint my fingernails–preferring the natural, short, FRENCH WAY (because it is often times the best way) of keeping my nails.  Plus, I am scared of chemicals.  Seriously.  I have searched for the non-toxic nail polishes but when I have seen them, they look like they are marketed for little kids…and the quality looks like one step up from finger paint.  I decided to throw caution to the wind, buy some nail polish and let my digits express themselves.  Et voila:

a metallic masterpiece? not so much.


The above color was borrowed from my belle fille.  Wearing this polish on my fingers has not been working so well.  It is a nice neutral but I can’t tell you how many times I have been freaked out in the last few days.  I have tried shaking “something off” my fingers forgetting I put that “something” there.  More than three times I thought circulation had ceased to my hands and my fingernails were turning blue– resulting in a slight health scare.  Master Bliss raised his eyebrows as he noticed the polish when eating the other night.  He didn’t say much.  Prior to wearing this color, I had done my nails the previous week in a nice, translucent pink (with a touch of sparkles) which worked great–neutral, clean, polished.  If I paint them again, I will have to stick with the latter option.  And regardless of what color I wear, whether on my fingernails or toenails, I have to avoid reading articles like this one.  Creepers.

The picture below summarizes my other beauty buys over the past couple of weeks:


nail polish, lipgloss, blush and more--oh my!


Soon after purging my cosmetics I attended a Beauti-Control party.  I took a list with me of what was “needed” and I stuck to my list (because it is the SAVVY thing to do).   I bought the nail colors (in WHO’s Gorgeous? and Raspberry Truffle), the eyeshadow palette (“Downtown Chic”) and the Cell Block-C SPF 20 (to replace my recently dried up bottle of Jasons Vitamin C serum).  If you haven’t tried Beauti-Control, I suggest you do.  They really have top quality stuff.  The Josie Maran concealer is wonderful–I found out about this product thanks to Jennifer’s review.  It is creamy and covers well–plus with two colors in the compact I can blend if needed.  The blush is from Physician’s Formula and is called “Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush” in “ROSE”.  I haven’t noticed a huge change in my mood when using but I do like the blend of colors and the cute little hearts.  It makes me happy when I pull out the compact to use so maybe the mood booster does work if only for a few moments (I found out after buying it that it is not recommended by Paula–oops).  The REVLON Lipglosses  (in Pearl Plum and Pink Afterglow) are my faves.  I am a huge fan of gloss but I am very, very picky about wear and feel on my lips. These are great!  Goes on smooth, not sticky, even color.  Love, love, LOVE!  (currently buy 1 get one 1/2 off at Walgreens).  Revlon just needs to offer more colors.  You might have noticed that I research products before I buy them on Paula Begoun’s site so I know I am getting a good product at a good value.

To jazz up my jewelry wearing, I bought this necklace:

simple loveliness


Isn’t it darling?  It goes with everything.  Je l’adore!

Besides another vintage handbag coming from Etsy (no, I don’t know why–every minimalist wannabe has her weakness that’s all I know), that’s really all I have bought lately.  It looks like a lot but I did need to replace items that had run out.  Guilt free spending floats my boat.

Have you ever wondered which fashion beauty icon you are?  Take this quick, fun quiz and find out.  Tell me who you are in the comments (if you wish).  I am Audrey Hepburn–which was unexpected.

Have a wonderful weekend!



Filed under beauty notes, french twist

a “scent”sational discovery


(photo credit)

What I love about blogging is that I learn so, so much from so many wonderful women out there.  What I hate about blogging is that I learn so, so much from so many wonderful women out there.  Many times a whole new world of information has opened up to me.   Enter: Jo Malone Fragrances.

The other day I posted about finding my new signature scent for the summer.  And while “Cutter” is a very effective summer fragrance for ridding myself of unwanted mosquito bites, it is not really the chic thing to wear.  Through many blogs/writers I have learned of Jo Malone.  Truthfully, I had not heard of her before last fall when I believe I read a post by Fiona praising the beautiful scent of Jo Malone candles.  Soon after, Rebekah was making mention of her perfumes, as was Jennifer.  Hmmm. How could one name command so much adoration?  How good, or better, can these perfumes be over anything else considered as fine fragrance?

I needed to find samples somehow.  In searching out for samples, I began to understand why I wasn’t familiar with the name in the first place.  There is nowhere ” ’round  these here parts” that sells, carries, promotes Jo Malone anything.  Hmmph.  When I have asked, “Do you sell Jo Malone perfume here?”  at perfume counters in various stores, I would often get not only a , “no, I am sorry, we don’t carry her” but more frequently just a blank stare leaving me to wonder if I had asked the question in French (again– I hate it when I do that : ) ).   So my uneducated olfactory senses were not so because I have been living under a rock…evidently all of Western Michigan IS the rock.

I mentioned my unrequited quest in a comment under the aforementioned post.  The lovely Cupcake suggested I try getting samples through Ebay.  I was baffled as to why in heavens I hadn’t thought of that but praised her surpassing savviness.  Sure enough, a simple search on Ebay yielded all sorts of options.  I found a seller who would let me choose the five fragrances I wanted to try.  This is what I decided on:

Vintage Gardenia

Red Roses

French Lime Blossom


Orange Blossom


the line-up

Thinking I knew myself so well I decided I would try the one I was sure to love (remember, this is the hunt for a summer scent that can hold its own against Cutter).  My first try was the “Grapefruit”.  Surprisingly, I did not like it.  But as part of my “trial”, I would not allow myself to smell the other fragrances until after a shower or the next day.  One at time to see how they would react with my chemistry.  After being a bit disappointed about “Grapefruit”, I was anxious to try “Vintage Gardenia”.  I adored it!  So floral, fresh–evoking pleasant childhood memories.  The third trial was “Red Roses”.  Again, it brought back strong memories of something in childhood (I think of some floral scented stationary I had at one time).  But I didn’t fall in love with it–neither did Master Bliss.  The following day I wore “Orange Blossom”–very lovely, lighter than the “Gardenia”.  Every time I got a whiff of it during the day, I smiled.  The last one to try was the one I thought I would like the least, “French Lime Blossom”.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I loved it too!  My test results:

Vintage Gardenia was the best–even Master Bliss asked about it after a couple of days of not wearing it…”what was that one you wore that I really liked?”.

Orange Blossom and French Lime Blossom tied for second.  I honestly could never choose between them–I would have to have both.  Not good.

Red Roses I might reserve for my old age.

Grapefruit didn’t move me at all.


So now I must save my pennies to be able to purchase my first bottle of Jo Malone’s “Vintage Gardenia”.  And because there are not stores in my area that sell Jo Malone, I will have to shop for it online…and prepare myself for sticker shock.

Are you a Jo Malone fan?  What are the candle scents like?


Filed under beauty notes, Uncategorized