no excuse

On February 22, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

There is no excuse, really. If I’m not wearing lipstick, it’s because I didn’t take the time, because I thought something else was more pressing, more important. And sometimes there is, are, genuinely several things much more important…and sometimes I don’t care about lipstick, or mascara, or what have you, or how I look beyond basic presentability. I take care of my skin and get my hair in order in this 40 second bun thing and get to work.

Sometimes, though, I do care. I miss it. I wish I’d taken the time to do something, so I could have that feeling of looking purposeful, looking put together, not because I have managed in a rushed 15 minutes not to look not put-together, because I have literally put a selection of choices together. Because I am polished, styled. I don’t just mean makeup here, but makeup is especially powerful because faces are powerful, faces are where we connect, and if I make some…effort* on only my face while leaving everything else on autopilot, there is a difference. It doesn’t have to be much to make a difference.

*I mean this in a broad way, I mean to give it some special attention. I know my face, so small changes look quite dramatic to me. Just blush and highlighter are transforming, or just a good skin serum and mascara.

I look fine with just my skincare regimen, sure, I look fine. At moments, when I’m well hydrated and my skin is in good shape, I love this default mode. I’m so not the kind of person who won’t go outside without makeup. Most days I wear, if anything, very little, though this is not entirely by choice…there seems to be so little time.  If I had more time I would play around more, I maintain, though I can’t help but wonder if there is something hollow in that. Isn’t it just a reflection of my priorities if something I say I want is continually dropping to the back of the line? Am I not, with my actions, saying that I want something else more?

I think there’s something more, too. A certain reluctance to show others what I am thinking. The playful spirit that moves me to muck around with beauty and style is an instinctive creature, and I, though you might not guess it from the existence of a blogsitething, am a private person. I have a resolution to share more but the sharing is the part that is work for me. Creating, playing, I am doing that…but quietly. I think, too, the sharing is not the critical part of the process (the journey of creating one’s own style and one’s own self), and this contributes to my not always making the effort to do it. Sharing is good for me, though. Like talking, it forces me to make my thoughts, in the case of style my concepts, coherent in some way. Finished in some way. It makes me part of a larger conversation as well, and this is good.

Recently I did this look, after a two, three? week stretch of having no time or energy to do more than be clean. A kind of beauty binge.


NARS Train Bleu Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, so good. This hazy photo doesn’t show it but one thing I like to do is use a brighter liner under dark lip colors like this. Here MAC Nightingale gives a fuchsia halo to the dark aubergine, softening it slightly. Who are these bloggers who seem to have endless quantities of daylight at hand? They are probably in California…sounds nice.



a dollar is a dollar is a dollar

On December 5, 2013 by theseventhsphinx


I go through phases, months, wherein I can’t find anything I want.

I am a particular, picky kind of person, and I tend to want just exactly what I want…and not a substitute for just exactly what I want. Often, too, I know the category of thing I want (straight leg jeans, knee-high boots, a duffle bag, a dainty formal watch, an eggcup) but I cannot find a suitable candidate within that category, and must browse and browse, and bide my time, and wait for the right stuff to come along. I will wait for years. YEARS.

Lately, over the past year or so? longer?, the right stuff has been coming along.

[But then, too, I’ve devoted more time to browsing.]

I am sometimes wrong, in which case I return or sell or give away or just suffer [and do I learn my lesson?], but I have been getting lucky…and spending all o’ my money.

Example: I bought a rabbit fur capelet of pale blue-gray. Incredibly soft and warm, looks not of this era but out of some glamorous 1920’s winter soirée or, maybe earlier still, a light, early 19th century Russian troika wrap. Had that rare feeling that it was there for me to find; that complete object affinity.

What else is this money for? What have I been saving it for if not to acquire the ingredients I need to evolve? I absolutely need this ring shaped like a pair of lips. [Who loves lipstick and kisses more than I do? I cannot tell you the depth of my love for this ring.] I cannot tell you the complete absence of doubt surrounding the purchases I have been making lately. And the more I acquire, the more categories I identify (a bulky semi-precious cocktail ring: simple yet ostentatious, a men’s blazer, another Jean-Claude Ellena fragrance, various things in oxblood suede (a jeweler’s drill?!)), and the more discerning I become. I can almost feel the process of refinement underway, like an intelligent system of gears that grows sharper and more precise with use. I am improving across the board, too; thinking up better and better gifts for friends and family.  When I am generous toward myself, I am generous toward all.

…it is getting a little out of hand, but when you find just the right thing…what can you do?

It has happened that I was unable to get just the right thing*; the moment was lost, and I could never find it again. This one Tang-style, silk-embroidered jacket with a regal collar at an arts fair 9 years ago haunts me still. I remember you, silk-embroidered jacket.

*just-rightness includes being affordable, in my view

So I have learned my lesson. I do not get things I cannot afford but my definition of what I can afford expands when I am smitten, as does my definition of what I need in other areas of my life…and what I can sacrifice to facilitate further expansion. This is on my mind because I basically reached the limit this month (’tis the season), and there is much sacrificing and conserving of funds, which gives me time to reflect.

The question is always, is it worth it?

And I think my answer is most often…yes. I would rather have the item (or the food, the experience, etc.) than the value of the item back.

Which is as it should be.


SKIN LOVE: the things I do for my skin [face]

On February 8, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I decided a long time ago that one of those things I want in life, one of those things I will do whatever it takes to achieve (insofar as I can achieve it with the raw materials) is beautiful skin.

[Probably because mine is, in its natural, neglected state (and in its ineptly handled state), pretty awful.]

Beautiful skin is, to me, beauty. You know, the kind that is not on the inside.

So, I:

  • drink water
  • change my pillowcase every other day, or more
  • sanitize my phone regularly
  • buy it presents
  • eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts
  • cleanse gently and thoroughly, taking my time with lots of massaging
  • treat with products tailored to how it feels that day, spot-treat dry or spotty areas
  • use various masks as inspired, for different effects
  • use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily
  • take birth control (this is a drastic step but has made a tremendous difference in the quality of my skin, which is prone to hormonal acne. Probably the single most effective step in combating my problem skin, and nowhere near the most expensive. Luckily I don’t experience any negative side-effects)
  • take vitamins to strengthen and nourish skin. On rotation (not every day): lysine, flaxseed oil, biotin, evening primrose oil, vitamin C, vitamin D, coconut oil
  • nourish with vitamin C serum at night (topical vitamin C and other citrus products make the skin especially sensitive to the sun), and various nourishing (alcohol-free!) toners in the day
  • drink more water
  • nourish additionally with various natural oils (see face oil post)
  • make decisions about which products to use based on the premise that my skin is sensitive (though it’s technically not in the way that skincare companies mean…really all skin is, particularly the face, neck, and chest), and should be treated gently whenever possible
  • avoid touching unless hands are freshly washed, and even then
  • clean and sanitize any tools or products that touch my face as needed (with makeup, work clean, and sanitize where relevant)
  • exfoliate gently and regularly and
  • treat with products that promote cell-turnover and regeneration to avoid congestion of the pores (my skin needs help with this)
  • treat with products that lighten or break down the melanin of hyper-pigmentation and balance skin tone
  • add extra oil or moisturizer if I it is especially cold, dry, or windy, or if I know my face is going into harsh conditions
  • ask what it needs, and watch for signs of distress
  • drink more water

Now that these are all habits I don’t consider them laborious but, writing them out, I guess it is a lot. I find it easy to keep up with regimens that show definite results, however, and each step has a purpose (and concordant logic). One thing I enjoy about skin is how individual it is [Naturally your skin will not need everything mine does.], and how attention to detail is rewarded. Give your skin what it needs and it will show.