rock on

On October 23, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Rocks are so lovely. I really like rocks. I hang-out-in-the-natural-history-museum like rocks. I like trees and plants and other things that fall under the umbrella of nature as well…but especially rocks. Rocks, crystals, other kinds of mineral deposits that harden into rock-like structures…

After all, you can wear rocks.

While I do like stones that have been formed into beads, faceted, manhandled, I have a visceral appreciation for the raw beauty of a more organic presentation.

semi precious stone necklaces

Really craving this kind of large, raw-edged, stone jewelry for the last few years. Such stones feel somehow naked and true. Anchoring.

amethyst necklace

Here is a gorgeous piece of amethyst and citrine crystals, unabashedly bulky and heavy. While potentially [ideally] imposing, I find such jewelry capable of being casual where a more ornate (“fine”) piece would feel overdressed and out of place. It’s simultaneously overstated and understated. Eye-catching and bold yet approachable, relatively inexpensive, versatile.

turquoise necklace

Turquoise I love any day of the week, in all forms. There are a number of stones available in this format of bulky puddle-stone style necklaces and I find myself drawn to them. In wearing such stones I seem to be saying, what more processing do they need to serve as worthy embellishment? None. Pull them from the ground, clean them up, drill some holes, et voilà. Fit for a queen.

There is something stately about them, too. Solemn, even. Something not at all frivolous, unlike those ubiquitous faux-stone bib necklaces, for example. Not that I can’t appreciate those but they have little stylistic weight, if that makes any sense. Even when well-played they are still merely trendy. Trendy can go far, very far indeed in our culture, but do we not want to go beyond that?

I think the word I’m looking for is fierce.

amber necklace

Love the warmth and luminosity of amber. One does feel rather like some goddess of the earth when wearing a rustic band of jagged amber, bedecked with the fruits of the underground (one’s shadowy domain? I like where this is going). I recommend it. I happen to have picked these pieces up on eBay. Others like them aren’t hard to find, and beautiful semi-precious stones abound.

x

Cali-style

On October 19, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I was recently in California, a place I love. Mainly Oakland, where I was visiting GeekOutsider, though I was in San Francisco some as well. It’s refreshing to go somewhere with such a different atmosphere, such a different look from where I live now.  [I’ve been back from vacation for a while but I’ve been working non-stop. Caught a cold, too, inconveniently, on which I blame plane air; always so suspicious and dry.]

IMG_0227

Lake Merritt

IMG_0230

Lake Merritt is lousy with ducks and cranes. I do like a good crane.

IMG_0290

IMG_0245

Farmer’s market

IMG_0242

Love this shot of the barista’s tattoos and sneakers.

IMG_0237

IMG_0268

A gorgeous market basket, carried by my hosts.

20151002_173458

Seriously, who doesn’t want a succulent wall? If you follow me on instagram you know I’m always stopping to take pictures of plants. Flowers especially. I find them beautiful and like to have them as studies for painting.

IMG_0313

IMG_0308

Murals outside historic black bookstore Marcus Books, a wonderfully curated bookstore.

IMG_0312

IMG_0319

New Zealand Christmas Tree

20151005_164020

Isn’t this pineapple situation amazing? I just found it like this…

20151008_151854

Dim sum! Guys, I had so much dim sum. So many black bean sesame balls.

IMG_0302

IMG_0315

Too bad I didn’t take pictures of the food at Elephant Sushi or Burma Love, so, so good. Burma Love or Burma Superstar: can’t go wrong.

x

the neutral mattes

On October 2, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I wear autumnal shades year round, and I wear the hell out of them when autumn finally comes around again.

Viseart neutral matte palette

The light is somewhat blue in these images, the bottom left corner shade is a true black, and the shade just to the right of that is a lavender tinged, dove gray. Imagine the whole thing warmer than shown. 

The autumn gift to self this year is the stunning Neutral Matte palette by pro French brand Viseart, whose expensive palettes are regularly sold out at Sephora. Honestly, for $80 it ought to be stunning. And it is. Beautifully chosen shades, not exactly creamy but no fall-out for me either, effortless blendability, great true pigmentation. Is it worth $80? That’s arguable, there are so many solid formulas on the market now that it is definitely not necessary to spend this much (at all) for great eyeshadow (See the Wet N’ Wild Comfort Zone palette). That said, if you are in the market to find a gorgeous neutral matte palette, I don’t think you would find this disappointing.

The shade selection reminds me a bit of the Kat Von D Monarch palette, maybe for that great sepia in the middle.

IMG_0222

Eyeshadow brushes loving at the moment, L to R: Hakuhodo J5523, Paula Dorf Sheer Crease, Hakuhodo J142, Rae Morris 7 Deluxe Point Shader, MAC 217

I’m not converted to the cult of matte everything. If anything I tend to prefer any finish over matte, especially when it comes to skin. Of my favorite matte lipsticks I like the creamiest of the crop, and I think a little shimmer in an eyeshadow makes it significantly more forgiving in application. Mattes, though, are ideal for the kind of no-makeup sculpting I often find so chic and polished. This recent Lisa Eldridge look is a perfect example of the kind of makeup I mean; minimal, clean, natural, mimicking/enhancing the existing shadows and highlights of the face. Done well, this kind of shading is virtually undetectable, done well in another way, it’s slightly detectable but who cares because it’s so lovely.

I also really like that I can see myself using every single shade here (always such a shame when a palette has duds), and with a mix of cool and warm neutrals, especially if you have a few desired shimmer shadows on the side to complement, seriously versatile. I don’t especially care about a single palette being able to do everything at once, I don’t mind carrying a couple of things around, and this palette isn’t especially small anyway, so it was never going to win a convenience battle. It’s a selection of fundamentals.

IMG_0214

Special props to the Rae Morris 7 brush, which caught my eye after I saw Morris using it in this incredible makeup tutorial, which I found inspiring as far as how to think about sculpting an eye. She outlines some techniques I haven’t seen anywhere else. This brush has a dramatic taper to a point, making it great for blending, and great if you have a deeper socket, or want to give the impression of having a deeper socket.

IMG_0218

This is the only palette I brought on vacation (I’m on vacation!), and I’m feeling good about the decision.

Happy autumn.

x