rough & tumble

On November 25, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Rough & Tumble is an independent company in Maine making artisan totes and handbags (they sell some other things, too). Their concept is ‘rugged & understated luxury’, and I think they do it well. The understated luxury part resonates deeply with me, and the branding is clear and focused. They work mainly with waxed canvas and leather, creating durable bags with clean architecture and classic style.

rough and tumble hobo pack

I can’t quite remember how I stumbled across them now. Instagram, I think. Simple, beautiful leather goods consistently catch my eye, and I determined that their perfectly slouchy hobo pack needed to come into my life one way or another.

I got the medium size of the hobo pack, which I’m wearing in the previous post, for scale. I’m so pleased with the quality and style of this bag. I often lament how hard it is to find a handbag that isn’t woefully encrusted with studs and logos and general frippery. Seeing a bag like this, so wonderfully clean, is like a breath of fresh air. This style comes in a number of other tempting colors, like the pale oat color I wanted very much. It was definitely the practical part of me that decided on black, encouraged by the fact that nearly every other bag I have is some shade of brown.

I love brown.

rough and tumble hobo buckle detail

This is a thin lambskin with saddle details. The buckles here serve a genuine purpose, which I applaud, and the leather is luxuriously supple and soft. I treated it with a stain protector and it’s had no problems in the rain or getting splashed with mud on the back of my bike. I need a bag that can survive my life. Seeing how well it handles weather, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose one of the lighter colors they offer.

The pricing seems fair and I’m all around impressed with this brand. Lately I’ve been browsing their small pieces section (I will always check the subcategory ‘small leather goods’, and I will pretty much always find something I like. Ex. this tassel thing from Cuyana). Surely I could find a use for one of these little cross body bags or pouches?



bootie call

On November 17, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Ah, boot season.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Spring is OK for boots but not sufficiently dry for the suede styles that are my clear favorites (if acquisition is any indicator). This, among so many other reasons, is why autumn reigns supreme. Another reason might be the predominance of plaid, for which I have always harbored a weakness. Perhaps it is my rural upbringing?

ugg ankle boots

In particular I am craving the extremes of thigh-high and ankle boots. Booties. Bootlets. Much browsing and buying and returning before I discovered these charmers from UGG (which lacks romance but there it is). These have a great cowboy silhouette in the toe, minimal yet sculptural detailing, a great pale wheat color, and the slightly tapered chunky heel that I am drawn to these days.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

Isn’t there something wonderfully pristine about a bare, unadorned throat? 

Ripple pearl drops from Pearlescence, Chanel Rouge Noir Illusion d’ombre smoked out with a sepia shade from the Viseart neutral matte palette, MAC Peaches blush (new, loving), MAC prolongwear brow set, Wet n’ Wild Megalast lipstick in Bare it All with Urban Decay 24/7 lip pencil in Naked, which is almost a perfect match, some other stuff you can’t really see…

In the hair I’ve been using the deep repair mask (as a leave-in treatment) and the styling cream (for definition) from the Carol’s Daughter Tiare line. Smells amazing and I like how soft yet defined my hair is. Doing pretty well with my resolution to wear it down more.


On the nails: Zoya Taylor. Basically a realistic concealer shade for me thanks to a touch of peachy warmth. Really nice color, though the whole time I’ve worn it I’ve wanted to add gold glitter to liven it up. The formula I find OK but it cracks on me within 48 hours or so.

j crew plaid flannel shirt theseventhsphinx

J Crew flannel shirt, Obi-style leather belt (eBay), Express leggings, Breil Milano watch, Ugg boots, Rough & Tumble bag (more on this bag later, loving this).

I have a few of these obi belts and find them so versatile and sleek. Though I could also like this look without a belt at all, loose and casual, to me the belt is doing so much here to amp up the style factor. The power of a good belt.

Get thee a good belt.


coming soon…

On November 15, 2015 by theseventhsphinx



looks to try right now: earth tones

On November 14, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

While I often find a makeup look interesting or beautiful, it’s relatively uncommon that I actually want to recreate it on myself. I’ll make a mental note of elements I like here and there, which notes presumably accumulate in my unconscious to manifest at some later time, but usually don’t want to just copy the exact look.

Unless it’s this gorgeous.


This is the work of Victoria’s Secret makeup artist Hugo Vanngo [as featured in intothegloss], who obviously does restrained elegance well. The article was about a fresh take on earth tones, and I really love the first two looks he created (full article here).

The contrast of the deep garnet lip with the minimally contoured eye is so chic. The eye makeup is almost undetectable, with most of the focus going to the enhanced brows and rosy cheeks. Key that he didn’t bring the blush too far toward the center of the face, which keeps the look grown up. Imagine a vertical line coming down from the outside corner of the eye, this blush only slightly crosses that line, and only at the hazy edge of the zone of color. Compare this with a youthful blush look centered on the apples of the cheeks – a distinctly different look (urge you to try this at home).


This second look is LIFE. I love everything about the colors on the eye here. A prune lid with a rusty brown, fairly graphic crease color. Defined lashes but still natural (not doll drama, which I personally don’t like on myself). The faintest presence of bronzer and a peachy nude lip to allow the eyes to dominate…perfect. Shades of violet look lovely with every eye color, and if a crayola purple is too much for you, this kind of muted jewel tone (amethyst tempered with taupe, violet tempered with brown) is a beautiful way to go.

Will have to remember to document trying these looks out.

images via intothegloss

smell this: Byredo Rose Noir

On November 12, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I find my nose increasingly sparing with its praise. Once you smell a few hundred perfumes, you’re not so easily charmed as perhaps you once were. This is I suppose the development of some kind of discernment or taste, and I tend to think it’s for the best. It often strikes me as vulgar to like too many things [as I undoubtedly do], aside from merely liking things everybody else likes. I don’t want to eradicate vulgarity but it is something I want to display in moderation.

So, then, impressive fragrances stand out all the more. Anything that makes it into the category of beautiful stands out all the more. I was delighted to be so effortlessly pleased with Byredo’s Rose Noir.

Byredo Rose Noir parfum

If you don’t like the scent of rose, I guess forget it. The rose is a true lush damask rose, and she does not smell cheap (she is not cheap). It opens with a super ripe yet still sour grapefruit note mingled with a vague white floral (evidently freesia, a scent with little character in isolation, light and inoffensive) that remains as the rose comes gently forward. There is a poignant, woody richness that I tend to associate with oud (which I generally do not like, finding in it something sickly, rancid, like the oversweetness of rotten wood). It works for me here, providing a savory anchor that balances the full-on rose, much like black pepper does in The Different Company’s spicy Rose Poivree and Le Labo’s stunning Rose 31. I’m pretty sure I like it here because it’s not actually oud but cistus (labdanum(resin)) and musk creating that same sense of a faint neon glow. [Probably some aldehydes contributing to this as well.]

This balance is critical for me. While its boozy headiness is beautiful in its own right, damask rose isn’t a scent I want to wear. It’s too much. Though rose is by far my favorite floral, really one of the only floral notes I take much interest in (with the exception of Tiare flowers/Tahitian gardenias), I want it in combination with something. Vetiver (L’Artisan Parfumeur Voleur de Roses), incense (Caron Parfum Sacre), citrus (Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose)…something.

The sour grapefruit lingers (as does its brightness) and the resin has an intrinsic sourness/savoriness that prevents the sweetness of the rose from ruining the show. This is a wonderfully sophisticated scent. It reads clearly as a floral and a luxurious one yet isn’t especially heavy or dark. Not one of those rich roses suitable only for evening. The musk is gentle and sparing, and far in the background. All other notes play a supporting role to the rose. It could be accused of being too simple, not exciting enough, especially given the pricetag and that Noir, but being solidly pleasant is success enough. If it were somehow more exciting…I imagine the balance would be off and I wouldn’t like it anymore.

The junction of floral/citrus/musk reminds me a bit of Chanel Mademoiselle, which I also like, though this feels like the older, less obvious, more mysterious sister. The one who doesn’t care whether you like her or not. Harder to make her smile, and so more satisfying.

The edp is lovely for autumn/winter but I could see wearing this anytime. I expected it to be slightly stronger (esp. with that ‘edp’) but actually I like this concentration. I don’t think I’ll be getting a full size of this, I’m still longing for Profumum’s Victrix, but I think this is beautiful, and enjoy wearing it.

If you want to investigate other rose fragrances, this L.A. Times article mentions some great ones.