the lipstick police

On November 5, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

I miss lipstick. I haven’t worn it for months. I suppose anything I say will sound like just so many excuses, I haven’t been committed, but here are the discouraging scenarios:

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1. I have a blemish around my mouth

Lipstick, especially red or berry toned lipstick, draws attention to redness on your face, magnifying the awfulness of any unfortunate friends who may have popped up. The problem is I don’t really like foundation, it only looks good from a distance and often breaks me out, so I avoid it day to day…which means I have a conflict, and the compromise is to wait to wear lipstick until my skin improves. This plan is dumb, however, as my skin is not at all on board, and there is no end to this waiting.

2. I am about to eat

I am kind of always about to eat, somehow! Which is fine, but you need to plan and reapply, which takes time and attention.

3. I am busy

I am genuinely, during the daytime, that kind of busy that means I do not look at my phone, barely have a chance to look in a mirror, hardly sit down to eat…I need to be better about taking time for myself to do things like put on lipstick (or just, you know, sit, eat, moisturize?? Champion exfoliators sometimes need a midday moisture fix, you know?), but it can be hard to make those things a priority when there are serious work-things to be done, often time-sensitive ones, at all times. My work is not life-and-death stuff but still there is a lot to do, and it matters to someone. And lipstick…needs a little attention. Lipstick cannot always be trusted!

4. I am not inspired

It is perhaps the result of not seeing many people, at the moment, of seeing always the same people over and over, and not very many of those…or of being in the wrong kind of mood, wherein I am not motivated to make much of an effort with my appearance, but I am not inspired. It’s not that no one would notice or appreciate an effort, people always do. And it’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate it myself, I know I would. So what is it? A low hum of unhappiness, I theorize, which requires a dramatic change in circumstances; in the face of which small joys seem especially small. I am working on a bigger change, and think I am putting my energy into that instead of the small things. The small things add up, though, which I am forgetting.

So, this is why I am not really wearing lipstick (or anything of much interest). But I am sad about it. I miss wearing it. I want to be wearing it. I am sort of bitter about the confluence of inconveniences that make it logical not to wear it. I level a disapproving glare at my life, which is so unfriendly to the wearing of lipstick, and at myself, she who is evidently not courageous enough to say to hell with it all and slap it on anyway. Too conservative? Too preoccupied with controlling the situation, surely. Too distracted by my imperfections. Too whiny.

I have a resolution in place to be better about this, to say to hell with it all! Right after this one egregious blemish heals.

day to night

On September 4, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Minimalist gold jewelry brand AUrate asked me, how do you transition from day to night? Great prompt. How to take a makeup or style look from day to night is such a useful tool to have in your belt, and one so often used, so relevant. It’s something I determine on a case by case, outfit by outfit, mood by mood basis but, thinking about it, there are a few underlying principles that simplify the process.

Let’s take this typical summer day look to start.

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A loose, high waisted pant, neutral color palette, casual bag and sandals, jewelry either small or natural in material (leather, bone beads), light, natural makeup. This lip is Colour Pop lip liner in Frida, so pretty. The blush is Becca Pamplemousse, a vibrant pink that adds instant life to the face. I love these linen pants, old school H&M.

This necklace is a constellation piece I picked up from an Ebay shop, but I like any dainty gold piece like this with a simple white shirt. Something like this clean gold bar necklace  is a great substitute (I appreciate that AUrate pieces are solid gold, which I splash out for when I can), which is the kind of piece it’s great to layer but which I also love alone, a slight glimmer to draw attention to the throat and collarbone, accessories in themselves.

For a day to night transition [if I am indeed bothering to change anything at all] I think about amping things up somehow. I often remove the more delicate or casual elements of the look and replace them with a bolder option. Sometimes, rather than remove, I’ll just layer more on. With makeup, where desired, I darken and intensify (or add where before there was nothing).

I like to change small things in a big way, and leave the big things as they are.

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Heels, an easy one. Shoes are a quick way to dramatically shift to the mood of a look. These heeled huarache sandals (Cole Haan) still feel summery but suddenly I seem a lot more dressed up, even though the basic foundation of a simple tank and trousers hasn’t changed.

Jewelry a little bigger, a little louder. Still in line with the look but with more weight, literally and figuratively heavier. That statement ring added in. Lips darker, blush brighter, eyeshadow (only wearing mascara on the eyes above, Amaterasu Silk Mascara combined with L’Oreal Clump Crusher) and liner. This is MAC Chili lipstick, a great rusty red, Becca Wild Honey blush darkening things up to balance out the lip, Charlotte Tilbury cream shadow in Bette to give a little interest to the eyes, and a purple Tarte liner under the eyes.

The liner is a little obvious, actually. I would have been happier here with the lip/blush/shadow only…but it’s fine. It’s getting the job done. A clutch in place of the tote. I’ll give my hair a shake as well.

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That’s pretty much it. I can fit everything I need to make the transition in my tote or even a medium sized bag; a few makeup bits I’d be dragging around anyway, some jewelry I can easily carry with me, a spare pair of shoes…nothing too tiresome or time-consuming, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

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What about you, any tips to make that day-to-night transition seamless?

x

the graphic print

On August 21, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

I like a geometric print now and then. This jumbo polka dot maxi skirt caught my eye recently and I’m enjoying the boldness of the print.IMG_4771

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Paired it with a simple white blouse and stacks of bracelets. A print like this is fun to pair with another print as well… a look I appreciate more than I feel compelled to wear myself. Loving the green mirrored Ray-Ban Clubmasters with these Pearls of Joy 12mm Tahitian Studs.

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This is the Jeffree Star liquid lipstick in Anna Nicole I mentioned a while ago. A stunning summer orange with just the right level of red in it.

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Nails are Essie Cute as a Button with the excellent Dazzle Dry basecoat and topcoat. Highly recommend Dazzle Dry, which was recommended to me by Wet Paint Nail Spa here in Cambridge.

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Stay cool.

x

extra-curricular activities: pottery

On August 7, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

“Why should one reject the perfect in favour of the imperfect? The precise and perfect carries no overtones, admits of no freedom; the perfect is static and regulated, cold and hard. We in our own human imperfection are repelled by the perfect, since everything is apparent from the start and there is no suggestion of the infinite. Beauty must have some room, must be associated with freedom. Freedom, indeed, is beauty. The love of the irregular is a sign of the basic quest for freedom.” – Soetsu Yanagi, The Unknown Craftsman

I often wonder what people are actually doing with their time. What are they really doing? What are they doing, and why? They are doing every imaginable thing, I suppose, and a number of other activities I can’t yet imagine…but I cannot help but be curious about the micro-level specifics here.

I wonder, too, what am I doing, and why?

Sometimes it seems to me I am not doing very much, and ought to do—somehow, in some way—more. I am surely right about this.

Here is something I am doing. I began, this spring, to take a course in wheelthrowing. I love it, and wish I had taken one sooner. I have every intention of becoming a competent potter, a title that is far away right now but achievable. [Any of you who have tried your hands at pottery will know how challenging it is, and how dispiriting your first attempts can be.] It is deeply satisfying to create a useful, beautiful object. I appreciate how tightly any art or craft is tied to a conversation about beauty/aesthetics, a conversation I have barely begun here but one which occupies me constantly.

Now, about three months in, I am…let’s call it enthusiastic. To approach a craft with discipline and high standards is a supremely humbling exercise. I thought I would show you a bit, pottery being my current vehicle for expression (expression being always, amidst whatever else it  may be, a matter of style) and the activity taking up most of the time not already taken up by work. Being so new I am still feeling out a style, trying out different ideas of what a plate or cup or bowl or vase might be and focusing on learning good technique. These are not exactly useful or beautiful (not useful or beautiful enough to even give away yet, for example) but they are drafts of those things.

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Centering, where it all begins and where it can all go horribly wrong.

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I am just now making my first attempts in porcelain. I like its responsiveness but I also like the warmth of dark, rough clay bodies.

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The glazes are another world of complication on top of the variety of clay bodies and shapes.

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Handles are difficult! I am otherwise pleased with this pitcher, with its squat, toddlerish proportions.

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I am drawn to many of the traditional Japanese glazes like this shino glaze.

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I also like a lot of traditional Japanese silhouettes, like the tea bowl.

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Lately I like to make little creamer-like pitchers. Did I mention that handles are really tricky?? I have a new, powerful appreciation for all ceramic handles everywhere.

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Things at this point rarely turn out how I imagine but sometimes there are nice surprises. That red part…I thought that was going to be green.

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Wheelthrowing involves beautiful tools and accessories.

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Trimming is an art in itself. My favorite stamp at the moment is this oak tree.

x

 

 

borrowed from the boys: aftershave balm

On June 25, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There are a number of contexts in which I appreciate a masculine aesthetic, chief among them leather goods and fragrance. [And white button-downs.] A classic dopp kit with lipstick and highlighter in place of shaving paraphernalia makes for such a chic contrast. Some of that shaving stuff I’d like to keep, too.

aftershave balm

Piel dopp kit, Molton Brown Ultra Light Bai Ji Hydrator, Korres Vetiver Root Green Tea Cedarwood Aftershave Balm, Molton Brown Black Pepper edt, Nivea Men Post Shave Balm  

Aftershave balms can be a great option for any sensitive skin, often containing carefully curated, soothing ingredients that focus on hydrating and protecting the skin. The Nivea Men Post Shave Balm, recently popularized as a killer primer by the wonderful Dutch makeup artist NikkieTutorials, finally has this phenomenon on the radar of makeup lovers everywhere. Many of us, though, have been taking advantage of lines marketed at men for years. Aftershave balm formulas are often light and oil-free, with a natural-to-matte finish (the Nivea is especially matte) that make them ideal everyday moisturizers and great for diluting illuminators and foundations. They tend to be inexpensive as well.

An old favorite is Molton Brown’s Ultra Light Bai Ji Hydrator, which smells incredible. This is not your typical vague cologne scent but one with a beautiful floral element that is still firmly in the camp of western masculine fragrance (not that it would be bad if it weren’t, just saying it is). Great for reducing redness and soothing irritable skin. I love the contrast of lipstick or a bit of a done face and a masculine fragrance.

I recently picked up the Vetiver Root Green Tea Cedarwood Aftershave Balm from Korres, which has just released a number of new scents and products in the states. Another effective option, and a nice way to add a bit of scent to your routine, guys, those of you don’t like to wear cologne but wouldn’t mind smelling nice in some more understated way. The cedarwood is the dominant note here for me (I was hoping it would be the vetiver but it’s still nice). The super light yet lovely Black Pepper edt from Molton Brown I also recommend.

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These are not complex products, they just do a couple of things and they do them well. There is so much to be said for a reliable product like that, and I happily make space for such products in my skincare routine.

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