almond joy

On March 29, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

There is a definite pattern in my bodycare preferences…

IMG_9669

(and in my eating preferences, too)

It is almond and coconut all the way chez Sphinx, with only occasional forays into other bodywashes here and there (though, come to think of it, I have the Dove nourishing almond oil one, and their nourishing almond deodorant as well) or some alternate body lotion (I like Amlactin, and a number from L’Occitane, like…their almond one…and their almond oil body wash…). Even when I stray from the pure stuff, these ingredients are often in there somewhere.

There’s a definite appeal to raw ingredients, their flexibility and malleability. You can start mixing already complex products but I find the results much more hit or miss, have difficulties getting textures to blend the way I hope, and often, if I like the product, it seems unnecessary. [My sense that it doesn’t always work out, then, may be a result of messing around with products I didn’t especially like in the first place. Hm. By that point I’m convinced I can’t make them any worse, however, so I can really have at them. Example: a body scrub from The Body Shop that I didn’t find scrubby enough, added granulated sugar until I was satisfied. Problem solved.*]

*I have ruined some things, too, but it never serves to discourage future experiments.

IMG_9667

1. NOW Sweet Almond oil—there are other brands but some don’t smell very good, this one has the virtue of not smelling like much at all, absorbs nicely into the skin, acts brilliantly as a carrier for essential oils and perfumes, lovely on the hair as well. Mixes readily with other oils to create still more hair/body options. Edible. Really wouldn’t be without this.

2. Dr. Bronner’s Almond Castile soap—great all-purpose soap. I use it as a body wash and sometimes as a shampoo, and to wash makeup brushes. A touch of marzipan to the scent, which I don’t love but which doesn’t seem to linger. I prefer the peppermint scent (but not the rose one), and have been meaning to try the eucalyptus. Takes ages to finish a bottle. Maybe next year, eucalyptus.

3. Barlean’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil—there are tons of brands of coconut oil around, and most of them seem just fine. This one is especially good to eat, and I use it all over. In my hair as a leave-in or deep treatment, as a skin conditioner, to sautée vegetables, as an oil/butter substitute in various recipes, added to grains to flavor while cooking, just…to eat.

4. Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter—I’ve mentioned this before, and I don’t like it any less now. Has a bit of a chocolatey richness to it that makes it especially delicious. Very thick and moisturizing. Such  great value.

5. Sun Bum Coconut lip balm—think will be picking up some of SunBum’s sunscreen come summer. Smart branding, good, skin-friendly ingredients. Nice to find lip balms with a high SPF. This is cocoa butter, mainly, but with coconut scent, so it’s in.

IMG_9671

6. Raw almonds—I cannot begin to tell you how many raw almonds I consume.

7. Coconut flakes—anyone have a good recipe for coconut macarons? They are the kind of indulgence that is just appealing enough and just expensive enough to make me want to take matters into my own hands. I like coconut milk, too, and coconut water, certain brands of, and that So Delicious (that’s the brand, not my emphasis, though it is really good) coconut milk ice cream. The mint/chocolate one.

I really wish I had some of that now.

Coach Celia sunglasses

On March 27, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

It’s strange, the style of sunglasses I was scouring the internet for three years ago—thick but not too-thick white frames, aviators or pleasantly sculpted, lenses not too small, not too big, no nose pieces (hair-friendly)— to virtually no avail (save the Vuarnets) suddenly, when searched anew on a summer prep whim, are readily available.

Clearly I am ahead of my time.

Here is the winning silhouette from the latest search, Coach Celia sunglasses. [There’s a runner-up that may be joining the party later on, incidentally (or maybe it’s no coincidence?) also from Coach (Irma).] This gently arched shape, a softer version of a classic 50s style, has become known as the Audrey silhouette, I think thanks to Celine’s Audrey and Baby Audrey frames from a few seasons ago (and thanks to Audrey herself). It’s an easy shape, simple and I suspect flattering on many faces.

IMG_8844

They don’t seem so rare, do they? But I tell you, I couldn’t find a pair of sunglasses like this a few years ago for anything. Giant bug glasses, blinged out aviators, yes, but something simple like this, and something simple like this for ~$100: crickets.

IMG_8838

So pleased.

Zara scarf and coat, MAC Velvet Teddy lipstick (favorite nude of the moment), Dior-dupe double ball earrings (eBay).

IMG_8817

Oh, and I’ve been wearing eyeshadow! Sometimes! Was completely inspired by this genius guest tutorial with Matthew van Leeuwen on celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder’s channel (be sure to watch both parts). So many good tips here, like focusing the crease shadow slightly above the actual crease, right on the orbital bone, such that the shadow isn’t simply lost in the crease (as it is on my hooded eye). Instantly converted to this approach after the first try.

x

 

great find: Loyal Supply Co.

On March 24, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I was returning from the Korean market in Union Square [too late to get donuts, sadly], preparing for a long Sunday wait for the bus back to Harvard, when I spied a door marked Loyal Supply Co., and next to it a window full of such miscellany as I cannot resist: small Farmhouse Pottery (which love, met their team recently at a design show and was so impressed) pieces, balsa wood airplanes, mysterious contraptions of leather and brass (keyrings? something cooler?), rustic soaps, beautiful scissors and rulers, fine pens and pencils and erasers and sharpeners, all spread out like jewels for the discerning craftsman.

IMG_8790

You know those shops you enter and think, what do I not want from this shop? Or, similarly, I must be a patron of this shop. Loyal Supply Co., for me, is one such place.

20150203_120405 (1)

Here is their description of themselves:

LOYAL SUPPLY CO. IS A DESIGN FIRM, RETAILER, AND DISTRIBUTOR OF HOME, OFFICE, AND STUDIO SUPPLIES. WE BELIEVE USEFUL, THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED PRODUCTS MAKE LIFE MORE ENJOYABLE AND PRODUCTIVE. OUR SPACE, A MODERN TAKE ON A TRADITIONAL PEGBOARD WORKSHOP, DISPLAYS FINISHED PRODUCTS AMONG THE TOOLS THAT MAKE THEM. OUR HOPE IS TO INSPIRE AND ENABLE EVERYONE WHO WALKS THROUGH THE DOOR.

Well said, no?

Especially this: useful, thoughtfully designed products make life more enjoyable and productive. Just so.

It was not easy, as my personal stock of supplies is superb and I had already spent my monthly supply budget (and then some), but I was determined to walk away with something. I settled on this lovely pencil set from The Pencil Company.

IMG_8793

They had me at “one carpenter, one bridge, one white wax,  one no.2, one jumbo hex, and one jumbo round pencil”

Pencil names!

A bridge pencil I did not know! [For designing bridges? Does anyone know? Pencil aficionados?] Jumbo hex!

To think I’ve been missing out on such delights for so many years. I want a life the requires such pencils as these, with their warm, old-fashioned charm and modern, artisan-revolution aesthetic. Do you not?

It comes down to these details, in questions of style. The hair, the clothes, the bag, they are pieces in a larger—and, I hope, more grand—design. To live down to your bones, down to your pencils (and your plants, and the way you walk, the way you plan and execute, the way you turn your head), in your style. Not because you had to think about it, to decide on it (though you may have had to realize it) but precisely because you did not have to think about it. Not because it has been premeditated (though that can be the case, must this be then less authentic?) but because style is instinctive. Inevitable.

Yet, I believe, inevitable in a malleable sense, though perhaps what seems like malleability is only that peculiar kind of change which is not actually change, not most accurately change, but the sloughing off of extraneous possibilities to reveal an increasingly clear identity. And style born out of instinct (unquashed, not covered up or overcorrected) cannot help but be, at least in some sense of that slippery word, good.

IMG_8791

Stamped in gold foil! My spirit pencils. And white. Yes. White always and forever.

x

cart unity

On March 19, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I enjoy the process of shopping, whether physically or virtually adding items to the cart (and removing items from the cart, this also key), and find it especially satisfying when there is some harmony or narrative to the cart, as when, in the grocery store, purchasing ingredients that complement one another, seem conspicuously to belong with one another,* reveal precisely what you intend to make with them.

*Conversely, also deeply satisfying when they seem conspicuously not to belong with one another, when the cart contents are markedly odd and unexpected as a unit.

Not every vendor carries a sufficiently broad range of categories to make interesting juxtapositions, though, too, I’ve been pleased with certain combinations of just shoes or just paint brushes – it needn’t be a precisely logical harmony. It’s not that the items would necessarily be used together, though perhaps that might be the case, or it might be fun to imagine it as the case (say, a skirt and a pair of sunglasses), but more that they are aesthetically compelling together according to whatever quirky beauty-logic is currently reigning in my head at the time.

Here’s a recent J. Crew cart I found pleasing, somehow more appealing to purchase these items together than it would have been to get any given element singly.

IMG_8789

Here we have: two neutral silk camisoles, Garance Doré stationary, notebooks, notecard, Troi Ollivierre lipstick in Parker.

See what I mean? Love this largely cream palette with gold accents and that single pop of berry pink. I like the range of textures, too, metallics and silk, paper and cream. What would also have been fitting in this cart is these great cream and gold New Balance 620’s (really like their various brand collaborations, for the record, some great color combinations). Really similar to a pair I was jonesing for last year but couldn’t find from a vendor that would ship to the U.S.

ff2a094853b00ca800df06229c490ab9

 

Only of course they are sold out of my size.

Hm. I’ll try to show some other examples later (do you like seeing what people buy? I’m often interested to know this kind of mundane data, and it’s not a bad way to learn about new products). Definitely doing some spring shopping at the moment.

x

loving: these heels

On March 14, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I cannot get enough of this photo. I love everything about this look, a street style shot from the US Elle roundup Paris Fashion Week (a pleasantly long slideshow of some 300+ looks, I recommend).

dsc_8694

This deep plummy shade, the layers of the skirt, the texture and masculine cut of the jacket, the lush softness of the scarf, even the positioning of the head and arms, the hair…and those shoes.

These heels have that elusive balance of structure and delicacy, giving the foot shape and interest while being absolutely minimal and unobtrusive. The sleek, isolated triangle toe-box of a d’orsay pump is sublime. So often they are done poorly, shapeless with the foot swimming about, or set at an awkward angle. And this dainty shoelace-thin ankle tie, this is so light and understated. Not too much string or wrapping (not multiple strands going around and around, over and through, or up the leg, as is growing increasingly popular, and is often, to my eye, too busy), and no bulkiness. Though I can like a thick (or just thicker) ankle strap, I am particular about the proportions, which are usually slightly off, creating a stilted, unflattering effect.

I cannot express to you how many shoes I do not like. Really hardly any shoes. When shopping for shoes it feels like wading through an endless sea of ugliness. For $40 or $400, there are eyesores at every price point. When I see, then, a design that seems elegant, and not only elegant but personally wearable, desirable, this is a breath of fresh air, a shock.  I want to try that shoe on (so many do not pass that test, either…).

Style is personal in every sense, and shoes are somehow especially so. It seems not only possible but likely to be able to agree with someone on many levels of style and then, suddenly, to disagree entirely about shoes, and what constitutes an appealing shoe. Why is this? Because feet and feelings about feet are so personal? Because walking and carriage is so personal?

I wonder if it has something to do with shoes being, for the mainstream, a relatively adventurous category of fashion, where it is, in a sense, safe to make bold or unexpected style choices, and therefore to infuse more dramatic levels of personality. Where by safe I mean something like, acceptable, perhaps near the edges of yet within the boundaries of expectation.

I don’t think of myself as being particularly into shoes, but I am into things I find beautiful, and once in a while a shoe pops up in that list.

So, does anyone recognize these shoes? Seriously I’ve been looking around and haven’t found anything remotely close. If you find something similar, let me know…

x

photo via elle.com

Pages:1234567...96»