a few summer essentials

On June 17, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

It’s finally summer proper here in Boston, which means it’s going to be miserably hot and humid in about 8 minutes. Isn’t it a little annoying how one is meant to be so happy about summer in our culture?* Autumn so superior, at least in the northeast, at least for this coat-lover.

*Actually, marketing-wise, we seem to meant to be thrilled about all of them in turn. But with summer it is especially egregious.

Well, summer has its good points. The rise in popularity of orange and coral beauty products has always been one of my favorite parts. Sunglasses. A thinly veiled excuse to get new lipstick. Late sunsets.

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Here are a few of my favorite things at the moment.

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Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil, Glossier Rose balm.com, Dior Glow Maximizing Primer

I made this little ceramic tumbler, by the way! Will have to tell you more about extracurricular activities…

Loving the Korres face oil, kind of an oddly old fashioned rose scent but I like it. A little pricey but not so much that I hesitate before slathering (key). I’m one of those people putting oil on under or in place of moisturizer, so I have different types for different skin moods. This is a great morning oil that sinks in and feels nourishing but light. Getting a solid dewy base by layering the Dior primer over top. The Avene Cleanance Expert moisturizer is the light daytime option when I want a gentle skirmish with my skin rather than an all-out battle. This tiresome skin. The Glossier balm is nice and moisturizing with a hardcore castor oil/beeswax base. This scent has a surprising hint of oud along with the rose that makes it quite strong, likely not everyone will enjoy that. This is a thick ointment/balm that reminds me a bit in texture of the beloved Bite Beauty agave lip mask, though the more nourishing Bite lip mask is better for overnight or treatment situations.

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MAC lipstick in So Chaud, Cargo Blush in Laguna, Ray-Ban Clubmasters

So Chaud is fairly new and so has that sheen of novelty that makes me like it all the more. This is a lovely orange-red, distinctly orange but with enough red to anchor it and make it quite wearable. Matte but still really creamy and pleasant on. Fantastic summer color, I’ve been eyeing it for a few summers running now and not disappointed. Cargo Laguna is a deep, vibrant peachy coral. They aren’t much talked about but the Cargo blushes are excellent, if comically large.

I think we can blame the longing for Clubmasters on the completely beautiful Priyanka Chopra, the lead in Quantico, of which I saw just enough episodes to deeply consider this style. Then, shopping, I stumbled across completely gold ones! Not offered in the U.S.? Sorry, can’t find a link.

This is an old favorite, the current anthem. Along with the amazing new Justin Timberlake, which is just stuck in my head.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are another serious favorite. I always eat a good amount of these but I’m really outdoing myself these days, consuming astonishing volumes of citrus fruit and avocado.

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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.

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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.

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So pleased.

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

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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.

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challenge: Weddington Way

On December 24, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Bridal site Weddington Way invited me to participate in their December style challenge; creating a New Year’s Eve bridesmaid look with one of their signature dresses and accents from anywhere I like. This is a particularly appropriate challenge for me, as I’ll be a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding on January 2nd! My first time…

[I’ll show you my dress situation later.]

The dress I chose was this one-shoulder number in navy lace (though they have many other styles):

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One can’t often wear lace from head to toe without batting an eye but weddings take place on a strange fashion plane of their own, with their own rules and standards. This means certain limitations, those imposed by formality, but, turning to the vast and wondrous field of formal attire, it means a special freedom as well. Generally I want my formal looks to fit into a ‘understated chic’ category. Not too pushy about it, not too elaborate, because I want there to be that elusive effect of effortlessness.

I partly chose the navy because I so rarely style cool toned looks. I always go for gold and brown, so here is a chance to do blue and silver.

Where next? Shoes, let’s say. I like the shoes they’ve used here, actually, silver (silver?) open toe d’orsay pumps. I’d also like to see grey or taupe suede pumps here. Suede and lace, so good together. I like suede anytime, really.

Or a little glitz, as in full glitter pumps (or flats, glitter flats so adorable). This is something I like about weddings, and something they have in common with the holidays: going full on with the glitter is more than OK.

Something like…

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or

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I want to see a pearl nestled in the hollow of the throat here, not really hanging down, as there is too much danger of interrupting the clean line of the dress across the chest.  I want to keep the necklace (or there could be no necklace, and some generous shimmer splashed on the clavicle, let’s go ahead and add that clavicle highlight either way) snug around the neck. A blue toned Tahitian pearl floating on a silver chain would answer well. I love this simple design from PearlsOfJoy.

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Earrings I also want clean and simple, either diamond (or CZ, or sapphire, or whatever) studs or non-hinged dangles or Tahitian pearl studs.

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9567fbf866abc7ce235157e1505d66feOne accessory I like to see in a formal outfit is a watch, sleek or bulky depending on the look, though probably sleek and slim. Really I like to see a watch in any look, I just love watches, but I especially like to see them where one would expect them to be overlooked for a bracelet or something more traditionally decorative. Here I would want something elegant and narrow that would read from a distance [almost] like a bracelet. Really into the Danish brand Skagen, known for their wonderfully thin movements.

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I like the asymmetry of wearing the watch on one arm and leaving the other bare. Or wearing the watch and some assortment of bracelets on one arm and leaving the other bare. UNLESS you have an old school corsage. I could be talked into that.

Poking around on Weddington Way I liked some of their clutches as well. Maybe this one for the look we’re building here. White or ivory to contrast with the navy and some pearlicious studding. If you’re wondering about mixing freshwater and Tahitian pearls, light and dark pearls, big and small pearls – not to worry. All pearls love all other pearls.

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Add favorite rings (oh, or this pearl solitaire, which I love). Hair up, hair down…you do you. Mine would be up and not too neat, though that’s easy for me as natural curls are inherently informal in our culture no matter how they are styled. A bit of that J Crew-esque undoneness can go a long way toward looking like you didn’t try too hard. You tried, but not TV news anchor tried. Not prom queen tried. Not BRIDE tried. Or pick one other thing to give a casual air, doesn’t have to be the hair, but hair is a good one as it’s so powerful and can control so much of the tone of the look. Going with that idea that if your hair is looking fabulous you can wear anything, by the same token your hair can provide the balancing stone to harmonize the look by being more or less formal.

A blingy nail polish could be in order, something like Essie’s On a Silver Platter, maybe. This would be an awesome New Year’s Eve polish no matter what look you’re doing.

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I’d like to see a soft taupe eye with this, strong brows, big lashes, a sheer or soft neutral pink lip. Maybe the ultra-gorgeous Dior Cuir Cannage eyeshadow palette and Bite Beauty Luminous Creme lipstick in Fig. I haven’t had a chance to properly praise these lipsticks yet but I love this line.

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I think there is a danger when playing with glitter (not unlike playing with fire) of trying to apply the glitter principle to too many aspects of the look. Sequin dress? Then maybe, maybe a touch of glittery shadow to the center of the lid, not a full on glitter eye (unless you are doing a different kind of look, in which case power to you). A neutral brown eye works with anything, and smoking it out with a violet-taupe shade adds drama without being overtly matchy. All about finding that harmony, however you manage it.

Hm. I wouldn’t mind seeing a really narrow glittery belt here, either. Or a belt that is basically a chain of tiny CZ gems? Or a belt of tiny pearls? Or a belt of both? Or not. I think I’d have to see it and decide. A white faux fur or maribou stole (or capelet!) would be bitchin’ and keep you warm on that winter’s eve.

I think that does it. What do you think? Are you seeing it? I’m liking it. I actually want to do this makeup look, now, and pull out my Tahitian solitaire again. And get another Skagen watch. I really do want one…I have my eye on a few.

Don’t need to go to a wedding? Weddington Way’s selection of little black dresses is worth a peek.

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the autumn/winter palette

On November 30, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

So-called autumn colors are consistently my favorites, regardless of the season. Deep jewel tones, warm earth tones, any color a leaf might conceivably turn, the dark, sophisticated cousins of their spring/summer counterparts. There’s a lot of overlap between classic autumn and classic winter shades and I don’t make much of a distinction, though if forced I would say it is the warm, rusty, browned shades that dominate the autumn palette, and the winter palette substitutes that warmth for still more heavily saturated jewel tones.* Ex. the turn from the oxblood lip to the deep, blue-toned red lip (or burgundy to bordeaux). Ex. the turn from copper and gold to amethyst and jade.

*Jewel tones meaning (at least, I mean) colors somewhere on the spectrum of a true gemstone color, just darker or lighter, paler or more vibrant. A questionable phrase as the terms jewel and gem are hazy, and could really be said to include every color thanks to the diversity of minerals, but when we talk about beauty and fashion we understand the term to mean saturated and vibrant, often dark colors. So, OK, fine. Jewel tones.

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I like this transitional period wherein it’s not too late (I mean, it’s never too late) to evoke the rust and copper of autumn, and the muted violets, rosy reds, and deep greens of winter are fair game. I’m especially into plummy, bordeaux shades this year. Definitely another burgundy/bordeaux lip round up coming soon. Will be telling you more about some of my favorites pictured here as well, mostly quite new, and some real beauties.

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Really the only thing to do with piles of beautifully colored objects is to arrange endless configurations of them. Right? I, at least, never tire of this.

For me makeup is only fractionally about the medium/texture/formula, and primarily about the color. I am not even shopping for a category, sometimes, not a blush or a lipstick or a shadow (many of these can be multi-purpose, anyway), I am shopping for a color. An excellent formula is then a happy bonus. I have a few lipsticks that are lovely in texture but a little eh color-wise, and they don’t get much love. On the other hand I have some mediocre shadows that I make work because I like the colors so well.

Color is also the most dangerously effective justification for getting another thing, makeup-wise. I think I may accurately blame much of my stash on color preoccupation.

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plaid & leather

On November 3, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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This is MAC Living Legend lipstick, from their new The Matte Lip collection, much blotted. Their matte formulas are not my favorite (neither my favorite matte formula (NARS velvet matte lip pencil) nor my favorite MAC formula (creamsheen)), they can be patchy and drying at their worst, but they are mostly good (you have to asses on a case by case basis, not uniform in behavior, which is usually the case anyway no matter the brand). For the right color, more than good enough.

[I’ve only just noticed how well it matches my bag! This is what happens when you consistently go for the same shades regardless of context.]

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I like the plaid contrasted with the leather here. Especially such a bright plaid with black leather.

This is not a bad formula for an interesting outfit: put together two very different outfits, each reflecting a uniform aesthetic, wear half of one and half of the other. Or put together three, or four, and so on.

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This is an Essie polish in Dressed to Kilt, a dark blue-toned red from their fall 2014 collection. Once you find a red lipstick you like, try to find a nail polish in that color (or vice versa), odds are good you’ll like it on the nails as well. I should do a post trying to match a lipstick to this. Don’t let me forget.

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Allsaints leather jacket, J Crew oxford plaid shirt (I kind of went to town in the J Crew fall sale…you’ll see), Express tuxedo leggings, New Balance Stadium Jacket sneakers, Free People tote, double-sided faux pearl earrings (eBay, originally a Dior design. Quite cool, I think, though maybe better to wear only one at a time).

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