the rain run

On July 5, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s been pouring rain here in Cambridge.

But I don’t mind a bit of rain.

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Even a lot of rain…

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I don’t actually run with my hair down (that would be silly/disastrous) but doubtless you have been wondering, what does a sphinx’s hair look like when it is wet? You see how I am always thinking of you.

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Here it is freshly washed, with a bit of conditioner and oil in. This is the stage just before it goes into its habitual bun. I will leave it down now and then (to air dry – blow driers are impracticable) but it’s always something of a crapshoot, how things will turn out (especially good days live on in memory).

I’ve historically kept such a tight reign on my hair that I need to make a conscious effort to let it be, and embrace the chaos. It’s a good exercise, though. And after all, if it seems messy in a way I do not like (as opposed to strategically messy, within a range of what seems to me to be acceptably, stylishly messy), no one cares. I’m not even sure it’s an observable distinction for others. The inexorable familiarity with oneself seems always to be causing such discrepancies.

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I was decidedly damp by the end of this little documentation session.

Ever since I started playing tennis a few years ago I’ve come around to the virtues of proper activewear (as opposed to, say, retired pajamas). There are so many brands making good, fashion-conscious activewear now. Yet another arena in which one need not suspend one’s style to participate.

I’ve been on the lookout for a pair of bright sneakers (to encourage the wearing of said sneakers, and the activities when wearing) but haven’t found one I like yet. Isn’t it always the way. It is just one quest after another, this life.

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Climawear top, New Balance sports bra, Soffe shorts, Saucony sneakers, Adidas Duramo watch.

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Great running track: Cut Copy – Lights and Music

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winging it

On March 31, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I often don’t take the time to do structured eyeliner but I often like the look, and keep meaning to wear it more. I especially like it with an otherwise bare eye (except for some mascara maybe, but no liner on the bottom lash line), and I like it more still with an otherwise bare face.

I like gel liner and a fairly stiff angled brush for winged/cat-eye liner. This is MAC’s Dipdown gel liner, a dark brown, and a bit of a plum Tarte Smoldereyes pencil on top of that (these pencils are great, super soft and blendable).  There can be some trial and error getting the flicks more or less symmetrical but I tend to do what I can and clean up/shape them up after with a cotton bud. I really could not manage makeup at all without cotton buds.

I like doing a smudgier, softer version with a soft pencil, too, or just eyeshadow. Or doing it in gel liner first and running over with a pencil or shadow to soften (or hide imperfections in a substandard line). As for the philosophy of the flick, I think there are so many shapes that can look good (even a poor execution can look good with enough smudging, a smudging brush is a good investment), and it’s just a matter of practice.

Part of the reason I don’t bother with winged liner, I think, is because it seems like I have to put such a lot on for it to be visible. The flick has got to be pretty dramatic or it is just lost in the crease of my eye somehow. Then there is the issue of time. I really enjoy makeup, and enjoy the transformation and the playfulness of it, but I’m not always (or even often) willing to take the time. It’s an interesting piece of data: that I could look basically as nice as I please (as polished, as well made up, as presentable), if only I would take the time to do it. And I guess kind of interesting too that I usually won’t bother. It’s as if, if I know that I can look really nice, what does it matter if I do?* As if looking like you could look better is as good as actually looking better. Is this the key to the charm of ultra-casual, messy-chic looks? The emphasis on the quality of the raw canvas? [Which may itself be an artificial effect? i.e. no makeup makeup, or stylized disarray?]

*Which is a valid question. Which gets at the question of the motivation behind making any effort at all. Which is reminding me to reread bits of The Feminine Mystique, which I recommend highly.

But I digress…

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These earrings are white glass cabochons made from tumbaga, and ancient alloy of gold and copper. Found them in a cool little jewelry shop in Harvard Square that carries handmade jewelry by Latin and Latin American artisans.

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It rains in Boston. 

Kamik rain boots, Banana Republic trench (thrifted), Mulberry bag, Zara scarf. I really like this trench but I think I’ll replace the buttons with those of a darker color for more contrast.

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Listening to this Herman Dune track, a good song for a rainy day:

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waiting for rain

On May 24, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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♪ ♫ Def Leppard – Hysteria ♪ ♫

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I like the contrast of shorts and long sleeves together (and vice versa). Also the look of rather short shorts and knee socks.

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[ants]

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No rain.

Turtleneck sans neck by J Crew, Paris Blues shorts, American Apparel knee socks, Kamik rain boots, Nautica umbrella. On the lips: Revlon Balmstain in Lovesick.

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on the street: rain boots (mostly)

On April 15, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I love the rain. Especially when I have my rain boots on.

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I liked the accent of neon pink on these Air Jordans worn with all black.

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Bricks look so good in the rain. And anything set against them, it seems.

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Bright things look brighter. Marathon runners everywhere.

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Mother-son matching. Couldn’t see if the baby was wearing teeny Hunters. One can only hope.

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It’s a little monotonous how many people wear black rain boots. But contrasting liners help.

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I mean, at least they aren’t black.

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In a sea of black and brown, I saw these red boots several blocks away.

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Yes to this whole scenario.

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Two-tone with tweed. More tweed is needed, I am thinking.

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My rain boots (Kamik).

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smell this: winter 2013 fragrance picks

On February 1, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

The cold weather makes certain heavy scents particularly appealing to me. The molecules aren’t as mobile and stay closer to the skin, evaporating more gradually, and a fragrance that would be deadly or cloying in the summer is rendered subtle and fine.

Here’s what I’ve been wearing:

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Montale – Red Vetyver. Just gorgeous. Pricey, but do you want to smell like a sexy, resinous tree or not? A little like Chanel’s Sycomore.

Lalique – Encre Noir (pour homme).  This actually does smell a lot like black ink, the kind you would buy for calligraphy or what have you. Like ink + a dark, earthy vetiver. Great on a man, better on a man with stubble, but maybe better still and more charming/unexpected on a woman.

C.O. Bigelow Musk perfume oil. A little goes a long way, but great to mix with a body oil to dilute and slather away. Rich, powerful musk that isn’t too…fecal. I also like to put this on as a base and temper with something sweet and light, like a simple floral like

Tea Rose by Perfumer’s Workshop. Olfactory equivalent of a photographic representation of a tea rose, or, to me at least, a wild rose. Simple, light, refreshing (not a dark, syrupy, honeyed rose), and so inexpensive. Men, try this on. Plays well with others. Mix it with Guerlain Vetiver and you become just about effervescent. This will be great for spring as well, but winter is when I miss florals. Same idea behind

CB I Hate Perfume – M2 Black March. [not pictured as I only have a sample vial] This smells precisely like a handful of freshly turned earth with crushed flower petals and roots mixed in. Incredible. Not cheap. Lovely old-school apothecary packaging. Get the perfume absolute if at all, which is a viscous oil that lasts on the skin for hours. Also great in the rain. Or give it to a gardener.

L’Occitane – Eau de Vetyver. A creamy, rich, slightly dirty vetiver. Cozy and enveloping.

Paloma Picasso EdP. A kind of sparkling chypre (which genre I usually don’t like) from the 80s that is often marked down at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. Not for everyone, but a wonderful respite from the saccharine fruity-florals that dominate the market. Give it a while to develop on the skin before you veto, as it starts out a little green and screechy like Grey Flannel or Halston I-12 (both of which I also like in winter, but like more so in the rain). Points to guys who give this a go.

Bulgari Omnia. Now discontinued, it is superior to all of the flankers it spawned. Lactic and nutty with a distinct note of cinnamon, this will make you smell like a gorgeous, sophisticated chai latte.

Some fragrance resources:

Not familiar with vetiver yet? Get familiar.

http://www.basenotes.net/ (reviews, descriptions, note lists, and a good place to look up the year a fragrance launched or the perfumer behind it)

http://theperfumedcourt.com/ (try fragrances on your skin first if you can, blind buying full-sized bottles is risky business)