belated Halloween

On November 7, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Belated but….

Yuuuuuup.

Lana Kane Halloween 2015

You know what I realized just after taking these?

I forgot to put the belt on! [Hard to imagine when else I will ever wear that belt…]

What a shame.

Lana Kane Halloween 2015

Still, one recognizes Lana Kane, no?

Lana Kane Halloween 2015

Lana Kane Halloween 2015

Kind of digging this 60s wig. American Apparel dress, Coach boots. Wearing MAC Velvet Teddy, Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate, itCosmetics CC cream, Charlotte Tilbury powder, MAC prolongwear brow set, Lorac PRO palette on the eyes…a lot of makeup.

Lana Kane Halloween 2015

Lana Kane Halloween

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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.

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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.]

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Lake Merritt

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

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Farmer’s market

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

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A gorgeous market basket, carried by my hosts.

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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.

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

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New Zealand Christmas Tree

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Happy autumn.

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NARS Audacious lipstick: Vera

On September 22, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

You know that feeling when you get to the cash register and the total is less than your rough mental calculation? The simple appeal of unexpected good news? I had something like that feeling when I tried on the NARS Audacious lipstick in Vera for the first time.

NARS audacious lipstick in Vera

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This is a beautiful lipstick formula, for the most part, extremely pigmented and creamy. [Check out Temptalia’s overview for an idea of which shades to avoid here. It’s a shamelessly massive collection of 30 lipsticks.] This is a lovely deep burgundy shade, bold and saturated. I put a shade like this on and think, simply, yes. If only I could be so effortlessly pleased with more purchases. No doubts, no debating. Just yes.

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Paired here with MAC blush in Loverush, a plum shade given to me by the beautiful Marianne when we were getting ready one night and I admired it in her makeup stash. One of my favorite ways of losing and acquiring makeup. Hi Marianne!

For quick comparison, here it is (far right) swatched with (L to R), Lancome Rouge in Love 391N Fiery Attitude (long-time favorite) and MAC Rebel lipsticks. Distinctly ruddier than either of those more plum shades, Rebel is more sheer. That said, the effect of this color is similar, namely a vivid lip that offers an impression of darkness while maintaining a punch of brightness.

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This is not quite dark enough for full-blown oxblood territory* (it’s on that path, though), and remains in the color category of, say, a spectacular bruise. And of a lot of warm-toned red wines. It is still under the umbrella of an earth tone, for me, is a large part of this shade’s appeal (in a way that the plum tones are not). There is a presence of brown that I find anchoring. This is like the red equivalent of a nude lipstick, maybe, in my brain. Especially in its muted, blotted form it looks…not natural, but not so far outside the boundaries of natural, either. Perhaps the word I’m looking for here is the often drab ‘wearable’, though I’m comforted that many would contest the characterization. There is a purple element to it as well, too, so it’s a versatile shade.

*For which I have acquired the shade Olivia in this same line, a stunning oxblood. Fully autumn-worthy. Love that name, too (also really like the name Vera, incidentally). Going to have to get to that later.

Fades gorgeously, btw, and is very english rose when worn as a faintly smudged-in stain, which is a technique I highly, highly recommend trying out with dark/darkish lipsticks. Smudge it on with your finger (don’t want precise edges), blot nearly everything off, and see what happens. For that, though, the exact shade hardly matters, and nearly every red-like lip thing medium to dark in concentration will do something nice.

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