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reading: Durrell, Ellis, Bettelheim, Vaughan/Guerra

On October 19, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Clea, Lawrence Durrell — The last book of Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, a vivid and beautiful series. I find Durrell highly musical, though not always pitch perfect (as I often find, for example, Nabokov). I remember being amazed that he mentions in his Paris Review interview writing these books in some incredibly short amount of time, and they have a fast fluidity about them. Good.

American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis — I haven’t seen this movie but was drawn to the book after 1, hearing this Bookworm interview with Ellis, who came across as sort of thoughtful and interesting, or I think it was this podcast, and 2, being directed to the business card scene in the movie, which is entirely worth your time. Christian Bale so fitting here. The book is fascinating if you are into first person narrators and doing strange things with them, and presents a surreal juxtaposition of minutely detailed hyper-consumerism with excessively violent homicidal mania, all dotted with bright insightful moments. Parts of it were nearly too gruesome to read, for me, and I don’t have any wish to watch more of the movie, being possessed of an impressionable imagination. I really still wish I hadn’t watched The Exorcist. Still. It’s interesting. Especially if you are a writer.

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, Bruno Bettelheim — I love stuff like this. Really can ingest no end of it. This is I guess popular in child development circles but I find it engaging in its own right.

Y The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra — Such a great, thorough, thoughtful (often creepily believable) execution of a thought experiment; what would happen if (almost) all the men died? Totally riveting, in parts, and Agent 355 is such a badass [black! female!] character. Recommended. My geek friends have only been telling me to read it for 5 years or something. You were right, geeks, you were right.

on the menu: spelt waffles

On October 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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These might be my favorite waffles yet. Flavorful, good texture, froze well…good waffles. I’ve been playing around with spelt flour lately with great results. It has a light nutty flavor and substitutes well for all-purpose, so it’s easy to experiment.

I read about six recipes (here’s the closest) and then did this, with the approach of maintaining a 1:1 ratio of dry to liquid ingredients:

1 c spelt flour

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c wheat flour

1/4 c almond meal

2 T bran flakes

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cake spice (nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, clove blend)

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs sugar

1/2 c yogurt (greek)

1/3 c coconut oil

1 c milk

1 mashed ripe banana

2 eggs

2 Tbs cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat and grease waffle iron (I preheated to a higher temp than I cooked, cooking finally at setting 3 of 7), mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, stir wet into dry and let batter thicken 2 minutes. I like a consistency like quite thick cake batter.

Add heaping 1/2 cup of batter to iron and cook until golden, repeat. Makes about 8 waffles.

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This recipe is receptive to substitutions.

Enjoy!

x

sick day

On October 17, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

“The loose hair strands of beautiful women don’t have to be combed.”

                                                                — Rumi

Have a cold. Feeling like:

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Here’s my going to get orange juice ensemble.

IMG_6217I can’t believe we got up from our nap for this.

Madewell jeans, thrifted shirt, Libeco Home linen scarf (linen a great weight for early autumn), Skagen watch. Actually really liking this ultra-sheer lipstick, Lipstick Queen’s Medieval, about which not surprised at all given that it is the darker cousin of my can-do-no-wrong Jean Queen and was on top of this recommended by Lisa Eldridge in her gorgeous natural Downton Abbey makeup tutorial (ft. Laura Carmichael, Lady Edith), which: worth a look.

I put a little on my cheeks as well (a great success, texturally), and that’s all we’ve got going on here today.

On the bright side, I wore my new kicks.

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New Balance Stadium Jacket 574s. Really liking this quite green shade of turquoise since last summer or so? Or since forever or so.

x

the bordeaux lip

On October 15, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

A bordeaux lip is always fine by me. The deep violet reds of cabernet sauvignons, malbecs, and merlots are easy favorites for autumn/winter. Many of my top choices in this shade range have a sumptuous darkness offset by a hint (or a shove) of fuchsia.  These shades are so versatile, arresting in a full on application and completely subtle and lush when smudged on and blotted. This is how I like them best, I think, applied in a berry-stained haze that leaves the precise boundaries of the lips ever so slightly in question. [I should do a video about this! I just made a note, just now. I'm probably going to lose it though.]

Or full on. I can’t decide.

I like swatches in this context, a selection showing nuances within a shade range. It can be interesting (possibly also sobering) to see what shades I have, maybe not even quite consciously, chosen consistently over the years.

The deep dark plummy reds:

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L to R: Revlon Black Cherry, Julie Hewett Sin Noir, Lancome Rouge in Love 391 Fiery Attitude, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balmstain in CrushIMG_8898

 Revlon Superlustrous lipstick in Black Cherry — Good old standby. Good old Revlon. Great merlot color, and actually, on the lips, not a bad substitute for the much more expensive

Julie Hewett Sin Noir — Lovely, lovely, lovely. This is a popular shade, I understand, and I can see why. Picked up another from the line after trying this shade, then I bought this one again for a friend. The house red.

Lancome Rouge in Love 391 Fiery Attitude — I’ve worn this a few times on the blog, and every time I do I’m thinking, I love this. I should wear this all the time. Why don’t I wear this all the time? (ex. this) This formula is so good. So good! Really good. So, so good blotted away to a faint raspberry cloud. Let’s talk about violet shades later.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balmstain in Crush — this swatch looks so sad because my crayon is all mooshed. An unfortunate case of the packaging not being quite as good as the product. I really like this, though, as a sheer, plummy malbec option, and I can make it work.

Continuing on:
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L to R: Kat Von D Motorhead Studded Kiss lipstick, NYX Matte lipstick in Aria, Bite Beauty Cashmere lip cream in Sancerre, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 88 Esprit

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Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick in Motorhead — still testing this formula out but I really like this color. Quite close to the Revlon Black Cherry, but a drier, more long-lasting formula. How cute is this little tube? Sephora mini set.

NYX Matte lipstick in Aria — a great matte formula for the price (I also really like the color Perfect Red), and this color is just the right balance of brightness and violetness (without quite, for me, tipping into the spring color it would be if just a fraction of a shade lighter/brighter than this). Imagine a young, gemlike syrah held up to the light.

Bite Beauty Cashmere lip cream in Sancerre — opaque like woah. Like the Stila liquid lipstick and the Kat Von D Everlasting Kisses liquid, it is opaque in one swipe and stains to some degree (and needs some care in the application). Not as long lasting as the other two but more luscious. Incredible visual impact with this kind of saturation.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 88 Esprit — an ideal sheer berry/wine shade. Has she been eating berries? Has she been drinking wine? Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s…Chanel. I think this formula is genius, which I‘ve said before. As close to foolproof as you are going to get with this kind of pigmentation (sheer but distinct). Foolproofness isn’t at all critical for me (if anything I seem to prefer the fussier formulas) but I can appreciate it nonetheless, and I can see vast gift potential.

If you know your lips are going to be wine-stained anyway [I do like red wine, especially going into the colder months], why not get a head start? Or, if you know your lips are not going to be wine-stained, like mine this week, as I have a cold and am working like a dog, why not take matters into your own hands?

Let me know if you have any recommendations. I keep wanting to try out Clinique’s Black Honey, too, in this vein.

x

rosy lips

On October 11, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I was pawing through the lip balms recently and realized that the rose-heavy pattern I noticed previously is going strong, and expanding. This is what my patterns of interest and preference are like, they tend to run long and deep, playing out over months or years. I don’t mind repetition, either. I still haven’t gotten sick of this Fitz and the Tantrums track.

I use and enjoy all of these, special mentions to Smith’s Minted Rose, Dior Crème de Rose, and By Terry Baume de Rose.  These last two are the most expensive but also the most emollient. Right now my favorites are the Dior and the Smith’s Minted Rose and I switch up depending on if I want a cream vs an ointment texture. The By Terry is really nice but it’s a little too dear for me given that I like so many less expensive alternatives. That said…I kind of want to try one of the tinted versions of this Baume de Rose formula, the Nutri-Coleur line.

Also pictured:

Korres Wild Rose lip butter — beautiful deep red tinted balm, love this color

Smith’s Rosebud Salve — cult classic, the smell of this is attached to so many phases of my life that it triggers a complex nostalgia, in a good way

Jurlique Rose Love Balm — firm, wax-based, very nice light rose scent, not too glossy so it gives a very natural look to the lips

Vaseline rosy lips — sweet candied rose smell to this, but I like it, as I like plain Vaseline now and then. They totally get me with those teeny tubs. Gah! So cute.

organic Rose Petal Balm — this one is from a friend of the family in Maine but a number of etsy sellers (and indie beauty chemists all over) make essential oil infused balms like this, and I wouldn’t hesitate to try anything with this beeswax/jojoba/shea or cocoa butter base (though I know that my skin doesn’t have issues with any of the popular essential oils). Hard to go wrong.

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