day to night

On September 4, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

Minimalist gold jewelry brand AUrate asked me, how do you transition from day to night? Great prompt. How to take a makeup or style look from day to night is such a useful tool to have in your belt, and one so often used, so relevant. It’s something I determine on a case by case, outfit by outfit, mood by mood basis but, thinking about it, there are a few underlying principles that simplify the process.

Let’s take this typical summer day look to start.

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A loose, high waisted pant, neutral color palette, casual bag and sandals, jewelry either small or natural in material (leather, bone beads), light, natural makeup. This lip is Colour Pop lip liner in Frida, so pretty. The blush is Becca Pamplemousse, a vibrant pink that adds instant life to the face. I love these linen pants, old school H&M.

This necklace is a constellation piece I picked up from an Ebay shop, but I like any dainty gold piece like this with a simple white shirt. Something like this clean gold bar necklace  is a great substitute (I appreciate that AUrate pieces are solid gold, which I splash out for when I can), which is the kind of piece it’s great to layer but which I also love alone, a slight glimmer to draw attention to the throat and collarbone, accessories in themselves.

For a day to night transition [if I am indeed bothering to change anything at all] I think about amping things up somehow. I often remove the more delicate or casual elements of the look and replace them with a bolder option. Sometimes, rather than remove, I’ll just layer more on. With makeup, where desired, I darken and intensify (or add where before there was nothing).

I like to change small things in a big way, and leave the big things as they are.

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Heels, an easy one. Shoes are a quick way to dramatically shift to the mood of a look. These heeled huarache sandals (Cole Haan) still feel summery but suddenly I seem a lot more dressed up, even though the basic foundation of a simple tank and trousers hasn’t changed.

Jewelry a little bigger, a little louder. Still in line with the look but with more weight, literally and figuratively heavier. That statement ring added in. Lips darker, blush brighter, eyeshadow (only wearing mascara on the eyes above, Amaterasu Silk Mascara combined with L’Oreal Clump Crusher) and liner. This is MAC Chili lipstick, a great rusty red, Becca Wild Honey blush darkening things up to balance out the lip, Charlotte Tilbury cream shadow in Bette to give a little interest to the eyes, and a purple Tarte liner under the eyes.

The liner is a little obvious, actually. I would have been happier here with the lip/blush/shadow only…but it’s fine. It’s getting the job done. A clutch in place of the tote. I’ll give my hair a shake as well.

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That’s pretty much it. I can fit everything I need to make the transition in my tote or even a medium sized bag; a few makeup bits I’d be dragging around anyway, some jewelry I can easily carry with me, a spare pair of shoes…nothing too tiresome or time-consuming, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

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What about you, any tips to make that day-to-night transition seamless?

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playtime with Sephora

On March 1, 2016 by theseventhsphinx

As far as I’m concerned, Sephora has always been about play. Play and skincare. Makeup for me is about playing, fiddling, experimenting. Trying.

This I think is part of why I was interested when I heard they were launching a subscription box, though I have not purchased any of the myriad boxes on the market (popular for years now), nor do I feel any inclination to do so. Boxes have the appeal of presenting you with (potentially) new products and brands but, after watching/reading dozens of reviews, they are full of random junk, too. I have enough random junk, thanks, I prefer to be more discerning in my acquisitions. [Or, I like to imagine I am. I mostly am, with lapses.] In the main I like the process of research, reading reviews, comparing swatches, thinking, deciding. I don’t want that done for me, and I certainly don’t want it done for me for $20, $30 a month, and I certainly don’t want it done worse than I could do it for $20, $30 a month.

The beauty of the Sephora Play! subscription box is that it is $10. It’s breezy of me but this seems like an easy risk. A mere $10! At even $15 I might begin to squint and doubt, but $10, it might as well be $5 in my mind. Marketing geniuses. Earlier today I was at a shop selling cookies for 50¢. Who even sees that symbol anymore?! Damn straight I bought a cookie.

While Sephora carries dozens of brands, there is a comforting sense of curation in the chaos; I am confident of recognizing the brands represented and likely to be interested in them. Then, too, as it’s obvious how many eyes will be on the box, and how many brands eager to participate, they are fools if they don’t make it solidly good. And the machine behind Sephora…it is no fool.

Sephora Play subscription box

This is the February 2016 box, the program launched last September. I’m not exactly blown away by this stuff but I’m not disappointed, either. The Tom Ford perfume is a little trendy/obvious/boring but not bad, the MUFE lipstick is a crowd pleasing rosy nude shade, the Tarte mascara I’ve been curious to try, the Lancome eye pencil I don’t care about but don’t mind, would happily give away to someone who uses eyeliner more (or maybe I’ll try it?), and the BareMinerals lip oil balm thing* is the surprise favorite here, a creamy, sheer pigment that gives a luscious, semi-glossy, balmy look to the lips. Oh, there was a Bumble and Bumble dry shampoo, too, which I will gladly give away. Dry shampoo, it is not for the likes of me.

*I am also really liking the new YSL tint-in-oil, which leaves a plush, soft look to the lips while being so sheer as to allow the true sense, the natural shape and texture of the lips to come through. A lovely, sensual effect. More liquid than the BareMinerals one, which is more like a lip balm and more opaque…maybe I am slightly preferring the YSL one but it’s close, I like both. The YSL smells like ultra tropical guava candy, which could put some off on application, but that doesn’t linger.

For me the more lip products the better, but just being pleased with 3 out of 6 I’m feeling I got my money’s worth. Am I being too generous? This is partly because I have a system in place for diverting beauty stuffs that won’t work for me to better homes (everyone must have such a system, no?), and partly because I have a play budget, in my mind, which this does not exceed.

Not planning to cancel anytime soon, even if it is annoying to have punctuation built into a product name/title.

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keeping it minimal

On January 8, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

My style efforts of late are not much to speak of. The coldest days of the year are upon us here in the northeast, and staying warm is the prime directive. But look! I put on some false eyelashes. Short individuals. It’s hard to see on camera but they make an incredible difference in person. For one they are dark, and my lashes, while healthy enough, are pale, and don’t announce themselves. They are nice but, you know, no one is writing sonnets about them.* I can see why people speak of becoming addicted to false lashes. The effect, even of short, modest ones with only one coat of brown mascara, is, basically: BOOM.

*Not one sonnet. It strikes me I hardly know any of the right people in this life.

Eyelashes, those quintessentially female attributes, shorthand for femaleness in all manner of cartoony contexts. As everyone knows, though, full, heavy lashes are appealing on absolutely everyone, at every age. I don’t know why I can’t bring myself to be very interested in mine, though I suppose there’s no logic behind what does interest me, either. Sometimes I learn that I can make some moderate effort to achieve a pleasing effect and I’m delighted, and adopt it immediately, and sometimes I am untouched. Eyelashes are like that for me. I amp them up as a novelty now and then and I like how it looks, think it looks better in a sense, even…but evidently do not care about looking better in that sense. Like when you have some power at your disposal and it is the possession of the power that matters, not the wielding of it.

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J Crew cashmere hat, Old Navy sweater

Most days my face is something like this. Probably a bit more boring than this, even. Or a lot more boring, though maybe you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference…who can say with faces. This is the Glossier face tint, which I like very well so far, high in silicone so it feels like a primer, extremely sheer but really the closest I’ve seen to something undetectable on the skin. Reminds me in texture of Armani Luminous Silk foundation. It doesn’t cover much (not sure how buildable yet) but that is rarely my intention anyway. What I want from a foundation product, if anything, is a gentle evening of skin tone without some dreadful sacrifice of skin-like texture.

On the cheeks my favorite, favorite blush of the moment, Tarte cheek stain in Natural Beauty, a deep rosy color that does look natural on me, about like the color my cheeks actually turn in the cold. Also undetectable if I’ve done a good job, which if I take more than 8 seconds I usually do. Fewer and the results are sometimes questionable.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara, which liking as well despite the plasticky/silicone wand (these I typically do not enjoy). MAC Fanfare lipstick, which so glad I picked up recently! A faultless nude pink that isn’t too pale, like so many popular nude pinks are on me. It’s one of the colors my lips often simply are, one of their more flushed shades…they have many shades, depending on humidity and hydration levels, blood flow, etc. All nice, it should be said. All just what they should be. But a girl likes to have options.

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Isn’t winter exhausting? I seem busy (working), cold, and so tired all of the time. I am not dull, but I can appear so in such conditions.

Innocent winter, so little deserving of blame here.

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getting cozy

On November 15, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

It’s getting cold here, time for the serious sweaters. This cozy Donegal wool sweater with its simple, speckled design was a great find in the men’s section of J Crew. Another fisherman’s sweater.

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I love these colors. It’s rare to see a mix of grey and brown done well.

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Sometimes  simple clothes can provide a clean frame for a complex face, I mean a distractingly made up face, but sometimes simple clothes call for a simple face.

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It’s strange the extent to which thinking about my identity is equivalent to, parallel to thinking about my face. Or not strange, rather a combination of natural, the face being how we identify one another, being the feature that evolves with us, and arbitrary, the face being one of many, many things we do not choose about ourselves. Strange that it is what everyone sees but means nothing, in a way. Serves only to identify, and it’s not so simple to pin down just what it is identifying.

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9-10mm metallic freshwater pearl studs from Pearl Paradise

My own face gives me so much grief, its troublesome skin. And maybe it’s on account of eating so many sesame bagels lately but it seems especially round, like its childself. To you it looks always the same, perhaps, but to me it has so many moods. Looks so different depending on the angle. Is at times inexplicably (or perhaps totally explicably) unpleasant, ghastly, at times unexpectedly fine and radiant. Now irritates me with some quirk or asymmetry, now charms me with another. Is of endless interest to me, for good or ill.

It feels like it is mine, which I will say for it. It feels like a reflection of me…or part of me, as it can be deceptive as well. I wonder how much I am a reflection of it, rather than the other way around. Like names, faces can shape destinies.

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This ultra natural look is Tarte cheek stain in Blissful (love), MAC Nude on Board ProLongwear Bronzing Powder (I really like this, LE but findable), Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, and the teensiest lashing of mascara. This is how I look most days, with my hair in a 10 second bun, or some harried version of this.

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Stay warm.

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the beachy nymph

On August 22, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I was determined to wear a garland before the summer was out.

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This kind of easy, beachy look is a good example of a summer uniform for me: bikini top, loose sleeveless thing over top (if there can be an ancient Athenian garb situation going on, so much the better), trusty gladiators, piles of rings and bracelets, tote-scale bag.

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This is a simple, no makeup makeup look, using a few new favorites and a few old favorites. Bioderma Photoderm, a tinted moisturizer/spf,  is very sheer and natural, a bit like Origins VitaZing in texture. There is a regular (untinted) version that is also really nice, lovely texture. MAC Huggable lipcolor in Love Beam (already sold out it seems, quelle surprise), much blotted, Tarte cheek stain in Blissful, a peachy pink that adds instant freshness to the face (mine is so well used nearly all the text has worn off, and this is the old packaging because these things last forever). Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer, my current favorite highlighter, which is saying a lot given the formidable competition, which competition includes this MAC bronzing powder Nude on Board (also sold out but available here). More on highlighters soon.

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American Apparel drawstring dress, garland from Etsy, Seafolly Neo Tribe bikini (new, really incredibly tiny on the bottom, Brazilian-style, I like. Not looking like it’s going to see a beach this summer, unfortunately), French market basket, Ray Ban aviators.

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