Thursday, March 29, 2012

New York Shopping Ramblings

I've got a ton of posts heading your way in the next few days/weeks, but I thought I'd start the deluge with this one!

I had a marvelous day of shopping in NYC on Sunday and managed to pick up a few products as well as sniff some perfumes, spot a makeup celebrity, and get a makeover. Herewith, some musings on the stores and my experiences:

We went to Bergdorf Goodman first, since it's home to Le Métier de Beauté and a Guerlain boutique, as well as a slew of other beauty and fragrance counters. The beauty section is on the lower-level, and the design is rather different from typical department stores, with lots of smaller rooms (connected by open archways) which made the shopping experience much more intimate. The LMdB counter is right at the base of the escalator going down, so that's where we went first; the saleswoman was nice enough, if a little distant, and I ended up picking up a couple of items: Corinthian eyeshadow, the Queen of Taupes, and a Lip Crème (Fraise!) for L, my shopping companion.

We then walked around the store and checked out some of the other counters (though not Clé de Peau, since I cannot afford anything at their counter). I made us stop by the Guerlain boutique, which supposedly has the full range of their fragrances (300 in all, though from the looks of it, they're not all displayed) and cosmetics. I sprayed the pure parfum versions of L'Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, and Nahéma on blotters just for kicks (and to see if the two former smelled noticeably different from their edp formulations; to my untrained nose, they did not, which I'm going to say means I don't have to order the parfum version from The Perfumed Court, at least not until I get really obsessed with fragrance, if that ever happens!*), though I think I should perhaps have stuck with the edt of Nahéma, since I quite disliked the parfum. I also sniffed the bottle of Vol de Nuit, though I was starting to suffer from some olfactory fatigue by that point, and also swatched a few of the Rouge Automatique lipsticks (Guet-Apens is in my future!) and tried the Kiss Kiss gloss upon L's recommendation, only to deem it, as usual, "too sticky".

We walked by the Edward Bess counter and I was apoplectic to see that EDWARD BESS WAS THERE. But he was helping another customer, and I was entirely too awestruck/poor to dare to venture to the counter (if I'd checked out the products, I would have wanted to buy something, and that would have put me over my budget!), but I did poke L several times in excitement. We also checked out the new Sunday Riley counter, where the saleswoman was incredibly nice and helpful and gave me 10 skincare samples (2 packets each of 5 different products) fo free, which was great, and I'll be reviewing them once I've tried them out. L bought a lovely pink jelly sparkle polish from Paul & Joe (only $14!), and we finished off by rotating back around to the Chanel counter and frying our noses on Les Exclusifs de Chanel. I ended up deciding that I need to just order samples of them from TPC in order to properly experience them, but any time spent sniffing pleasant things is time well spent! Bergdorf also had counters from Tom Ford, By Killian, Creed, Annick Goutal, and a JAR boutique (which is supposedly there, but I didn't actually see? Also, with perfumes costing upwards of $500, I have no interest in smelling any, since I would have to sell my soul should any of them strike my fancy), all of which have scents I want to try, but I decided they, too, would just need to be ordered. If only I lived in New York and could spend my days sniffing! Sigh.

Then we wandered over to Saks to check out the Bond No. 9 counter, where L tried the new Andy Warhol scent (quite revolting to start with, but settles down to a nice patchouli-incense base, though as L said, there's no point in getting a perfume whose first 30 minutes you loathe), and ogled the other makeup counters there (including a huge Chanel boutique!).

I wanted to get a Rouge d'Armani lipstick, after having read nothing but rave reviews about them online, and after telling the SA that I liked plums and berries that aren't too dark, she swatched a few on my hand before sweeping me over to the chair and applying the one I thought would work best, Plum 600. I'll have a full review of that up soon! She also applied the Gloss d'Armani in Plum 600, which was quite a bit lighter and nuder than the lipstick, and while it wasn't too sticky for my tastes, I'd read that it gets progressively stickier over time, so I knew I didn't want to buy it. After mentioning that I was interested in being foundation-matched, she applied their Luminous Silk foundation in shade 5 on me before deeming it too dark and moving up to 4, which I still found a little dark for my tastes (it didn't match my neck), but not unforgivably so. The foundation felt very nice on, very lightweight, and covered my imperfections admirably. She then applied their powder blush in shade 2, which was gorgeous and now on my wishlist (at $42, it's going to stay there for awhile), and did a wash of the Eyes to Kill Intense eyeshadow in 4 Pulp Fiction, a lovely cool purpley taupe, before finishing off with a coat of Eyes to Kill mascara. I asked for a sample of the foundation, but she said they didn't do samples, which is…weird, to say the least, but whatever (besides, at $59 for 1 oz, it's way out of my price range, even if I did fall in love with it!). I ended up walking away with the lipstick and mascara, the latter of which I had no intention of keeping, since, oh right, I hate mascara, only to sadly find myself madly in love with it. Damned $30 menace! I'll be reviewing it soon, too. 
My first full-face photo! Post-Armani makeover.

I wore the full face of makeup until late that night so I could test for wear; the foundation held up admirably, as did the blush, but the eyeshadow creased like mad on me. I guess my lids are the exception to the 12-hour crease-proof fade-proof wear that everyone else seems to get from the EtKI shadows, just as they were for the Chanel Illusion d'Ombres and L'Oreal Infallible shadows. At least I didn't spend the $32 on it to find that out! 

If I'd had infinite time and energy, I would have loved to have been able to check out more of the counters, but as it is, I'm quite pleased with what I found! I also managed to walk away well under my makeup budget; I'd allotted myself $150 to spend (max, my "real" budget was $120) and made out at under $100. There was a lot of stuff at Sephora that I got to play around with the next day, but I knew I could order that online (and get Ebates money back), so that definitely helped keep me under budget!

Other stores I would have liked to have gone to: Henri Bendel, Barneys, and Frederic Malle. If you've been to any of those (or Bergdorf or Saks!), what did you think? Any other places in New York for shopping that you can't pass up?

*So, I can understand if you think that I am well and truly into "obsessed" territory, especially after you've checked out my spreadsheet. But after reading many perfume blogs, I think I can safely say I still have a ways to go before I'm really there, since I (as yet) have no burning desire to hunt down the vintage versions of classic perfumes, or comparison-smell the various strengths and reformulations of perfumes, or collect discontinued fragrances, or haunt around garage sales and flea markets for pristine old perfumes. See? I'm totally not obsessed. Now excuse me while I go spend far too much money on fragrance notes to train my nose, and work on expanding my collection of must-smell perfumes (Fracas and Joy and Chanel and noch mehr Guerlain, oh my!).
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