the verdigris mani

On April 24, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

verdigris, n. a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic copper carbonate.

I’ve been wanting to collaborate with indie Cambridge nail salon Wet Paint Nail Spa for a while. Michelle, the owner, is a seriously talented nail technician, with the curiosity and creativity displayed by the best artists in every medium. I’ll definitely be featuring more of her work in the future. If you are in the Boston area I cannot recommend this salon highly enough, the other technicians are wonderful as well.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

I asked her to create a look inspired by my snakeskin clutch and makeup bag and she designed this incredible verdigris manicure, mimicking oxidized copper and at the same time reminding me of gorgeous reptilian eyes. I love every shade of copper…really all warm metallics (as evidenced by my recent eyeshadow post), and could not be more pleased with how it turned out.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

This is two coats of acrylic paint (paint! Not nail polish, painted on with a paint brush! Which I will not be trying at home.) dusted with a glittery green pigment from CND. Topcoat and basecoat from DazzleDry, both of which I am so impressed with (really quick drying) and plan to pick up immediately.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

Longtime readers will remember my beloved python clutch. The teal one above is from the same Etsy shop, linmade.

verdigris manicure theseventhsphinx

Like the tarnished silver of the amber ring with this tarnished copper manicure. I’d been wanting my nails painted for weeks (they are often bare but I crave the decoration once in a while) and now it’s a constant, beautiful distraction.

Freshwater pearl ring from Pearl Paradise, which is having their Mother’s Day sale at the moment…

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new gold

On August 20, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Remember my gold python print spirit bikini?

gold python print bikini

I just found it some sneaker soul mates. Cream, white and gold, basically all of my favorite things.

new balance gold salt sneakers jcrew

These are New Balance 620s in gold salt, a style created for J Crew. Love them?

Gotta love birthday sneakers.

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we like: Colourpop Cosmetics

On June 22, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

After months of hearing good reviews I recently picked up a few things from Colourpop Cosmetics, an L.A.-based brand that focuses on offering vibrant colors and quality formulas at a relatively low price point, ex. $5 eyeshadows and lipthings, $8 blush.

colourpop cosmetics

The first thing that stands out about this brand, aside from the fun color range, is the texture of these shadows. They are powders with a creamy mousse-like texture, such that if you press down on the shadow you make an indentation. [One upshot of this is that they can dry out.] I haven’t had much time to play with them yet but essentially if I want intense color payoff I treat them as a cream shadow and use my finger to pat the color on, and if I want a sheer wash of color I treat them as a standard powder and use a brush. Either way, quite a friendly texture, and the shades I have are all quite blendable. Some aremore pigmented than others – note the swatches, which are all a single swipe.

colourpop cosmetics eyeshadow

Straight off I give them mega points for their metallics, which, when used wet or with fingers, come off as true liquid metals. I picked up one of the eyeshadow sets (because I wanted a couple of colors that were only available in the set, annoyingly), Mondays in Malibu, and a few loose shadows as well.

colourpop cosmetics mondays in malibu

colourpop cosmetics shadow swatches

Mondays in Malibu: Sand Swoon, Gecko, Snakebite, Mirage, Hot Tamale, Prickly Pear

I wanted Hot Tamale (rusty brown) and Snakebite (gorgeous coppery gold), though Prickly Pear turned out to be lovely (lavender-mauve with gold flecks) too. Mirage (pale metallic sage) pretty as well, though not sure what I want to do with it. The others are nice but not shades I go for, and will likely find better homes.

colourpop cosmetics shadow swatches

Animal, Get Lucky, Game Face, Mooning

From the remaining extensive offerings I picked these four, which would make a great little quad, I realize now. See what I mean about those metallics? And Animal, that desert flower shimmery peach/coral, is STUNNING.

colourpop cosmetics blush pegacorn

Matte blush in Pegacorn

I picked up the blush in Pegacorn, a pretty rosy fuchsia. This blush is not as pigmented as [most of] the eyeshadows (thankfully, otherwise one would need to be quite careful), and doesn’t seem quite as…dentable, but the pigmentation is uniform.  I was looking for an aggressive pink for summer and this definitely hits the spot. It has a powder finish with the added virtue of being blendable with fingers. If you typically prefer cream blushes, as I often do, this is the powder blush for you.* I apply with either fingers or a duo-fiber brush and get a dolly flush.

*Or just get the Chanel cream blush…which is so, so beautiful. Wonderful formula.

colourpop cosmetics lippie stix and liner

Toucan, Grind

Of course I had to try a couple of lip products, so I picked up one of their Lippie Stix in Toucan, a vivid matte coral pink, and a Lippie Pencil (creamy, really nice) in Grind, a bold plum. Haven’t had a chance to wear these yet but pleased with the formulas so far, which are creamy and pigmented. Holding out for the matte liquid lipsticks they are releasing next week, which seem very promising indeed (all you Stila Stay-All-Day and Kat Von D liquid lipstick lovers, you may want to investigate). [N.B. have since heard negative reviews about it being difficult to apply two coats of the liquid lipsticks…still kind of want to see for myself.]

colourpop cosmetics

If you want to pick up some brights for summer, this is a great way to do it: these products are solid value for the money.

Are any of these colors jumping out at you? When I saw Snakebite swatched I jumped right over to their site. Give me a true metallic gold and I’m yours.

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Gold leaf? Yes, please.

On May 3, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

The Camellia Nourishing lip balm was the product that turned me on to Tatcha,  a brand with skin-care at its core inspired by the simple, elegant beauty regimen of geisha. Hooked already, right? Founded by a Harvard Business School grad with extremely sensitive skin who couldn’t find anything in the market that suited her needs. The line is relatively small, mostly skincare with a few cosmetic offerings, and all of the products center around the key skin-friendly ingredients of rice bran, green tea, and red algae, ingredients featured in ancient beauty texts.

They initially caught my interest with an emollient lip balm that was, for no reason other than the beauty of it, topped with gold leaf, an elegant way of imparting gold shimmer to the balm.

Gold leaf? Yes, please.

IMG_9672I don’t even care about shimmer balms, typically, though when done right they can be subtle and nice, which this is. Doubtless there are other shimmery lip balms [as if I didn’t have enough lip balm] but I suspect this one would beat them on presentation. Heavy glass pot, GOLD LEAF.

If more brands were whacking gold leaf on top of their products I have a feeling I would be in real trouble.

Their packaging is beautiful, too, by the way. When you open the box there is a ribbon pull tab for a drawer in which the product is nestled with a detailed infoscrap rolled elegantly around (as opposed to folded into a small rectangle and relegated off to the bottom or side as in standard skincare procedure).

It’s the little things.

IMG_9673Beauty, no?

It’s so satisfying to acquire beautiful things. Especially when you (upon ordering) have hopes of their being beautiful which they meet or even exceed, as with this balm. I seem so often to be returning disappointing items that only seem beautiful from their promo shot angle/distance, and are, upon inspection, awful. By which I mean: unwearable, really genuinely bad. I am certain that I am not alone here.

I also picked up a few of Tatcha’s skincare items as well as the ridiculously beautiful (and seriously expensive) Kyoto Red Silk lipstick, which I’ll have to report back on. I’ve had them for about 3 weeks and I’m really, really liking the exfoliating powder.

Also liked this post on their blog about lessons learned from a geisha, including:

“Some of the most attractive, mesmerizing geisha I have known are the ones who were in their 70s and beyond, because they have honed the art of being an interesting person over all those decades. In the West, we are obsessed with youth and beauty, but these women have taught me that beauty is something to be gained over time, not something that is lost over time.”

So great to find new brands. Let me know any recommendations you might have!

x

 

great find: Loyal Supply Co.

On March 24, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I was returning from the Korean market in Union Square [too late to get donuts, sadly], preparing for a long Sunday wait for the bus back to Harvard, when I spied a door marked Loyal Supply Co., and next to it a window full of such miscellany as I cannot resist: small Farmhouse Pottery (which love, met their team recently at a design show and was so impressed) pieces, balsa wood airplanes, mysterious contraptions of leather and brass (keyrings? something cooler?), rustic soaps, beautiful scissors and rulers, fine pens and pencils and erasers and sharpeners, all spread out like jewels for the discerning craftsman.

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You know those shops you enter and think, what do I not want from this shop? Or, similarly, I must be a patron of this shop. Loyal Supply Co., for me, is one such place.

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Here is their description of themselves:

LOYAL SUPPLY CO. IS A DESIGN FIRM, RETAILER, AND DISTRIBUTOR OF HOME, OFFICE, AND STUDIO SUPPLIES. WE BELIEVE USEFUL, THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED PRODUCTS MAKE LIFE MORE ENJOYABLE AND PRODUCTIVE. OUR SPACE, A MODERN TAKE ON A TRADITIONAL PEGBOARD WORKSHOP, DISPLAYS FINISHED PRODUCTS AMONG THE TOOLS THAT MAKE THEM. OUR HOPE IS TO INSPIRE AND ENABLE EVERYONE WHO WALKS THROUGH THE DOOR.

Well said, no?

Especially this: useful, thoughtfully designed products make life more enjoyable and productive. Just so.

It was not easy, as my personal stock of supplies is superb and I had already spent my monthly supply budget (and then some), but I was determined to walk away with something. I settled on this lovely pencil set from The Pencil Company.

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They had me at “one carpenter, one bridge, one white wax,  one no.2, one jumbo hex, and one jumbo round pencil”

Pencil names!

A bridge pencil I did not know! [For designing bridges? Does anyone know? Pencil aficionados?] Jumbo hex!

To think I’ve been missing out on such delights for so many years. I want a life the requires such pencils as these, with their warm, old-fashioned charm and modern, artisan-revolution aesthetic. Do you not?

It comes down to these details, in questions of style. The hair, the clothes, the bag, they are pieces in a larger—and, I hope, more grand—design. To live down to your bones, down to your pencils (and your plants, and the way you walk, the way you plan and execute, the way you turn your head), in your style. Not because you had to think about it, to decide on it (though you may have had to realize it) but precisely because you did not have to think about it. Not because it has been premeditated (though that can be the case, must this be then less authentic?) but because style is instinctive. Inevitable.

Yet, I believe, inevitable in a malleable sense, though perhaps what seems like malleability is only that peculiar kind of change which is not actually change, not most accurately change, but the sloughing off of extraneous possibilities to reveal an increasingly clear identity. And style born out of instinct (unquashed, not covered up or overcorrected) cannot help but be, at least in some sense of that slippery word, good.

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Stamped in gold foil! My spirit pencils. And white. Yes. White always and forever.

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