Thursday, July 04, 2019

Happy Independence Day!


Happy 4th of July!
May the Spirit of Liberty and the memory of our Founding Fathers guide us in the years to come.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Currently- Very End of June 2019



Book
I spent a couple of hours in the middle of the night yesterday (today, really) reading a novella by Connie Willis- I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land.  It's a quick read that pokes fun at people like me who believe wholeheartedly in digital books. I still adore the real thing in theory- smell, typeface, hardcovers- I just prefer the reading experience of the Kindle app on my iPad which allows me to read all night if I want to (I often do).

Music
I like the new Springsteen album and various other stuff, but I woke up this morning with Paula Cole's 1996 "I don't wanna wait" running through my head. It's famous, of course, as the Dawson's Creek theme song, but I think it's bigger and better than that with all due respect to Joey and Pacey.
I don't want to wait for our lives to be over
I want to know right now what will it be

TV
I added a subscription to Britbox and now we're watching the last two seasons of the UK Antiques Roadshow. The stuff they have over there makes me cry. The location, the sentimental items, and the amazing antiquy antiques one can find over there.

Perfume
Clair de Musc layered with everything.

Makeup
I'm in love with the Whale Song palette from Menagerie Cosmetics. You'd be surprised how easy these colors are to blend and wear. Either that or I'm delusional about looking like an 80s reject.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Hair clips. Also known as the Jersey Tiara.

Food
Gluten-free mini pretzels. All the fun without the heartburn.

Bane
I'm pretty sure I need a new prescription for my glasses. As well as prescription sunglasses. And I just added a x20 makeup mirror to my equipment. We'e not amused.

Joy
I can still read. And that moment when one curls up with a cat and an iPad (I know) under the blanket in a cool dark room is the epitome of joy.

Anticipation
A custom palette I ordered from Lethal Cosmetics may arrive this week. It's going to be fun.

Wishlist
I've been searching eBay for an antique brooch. Intricate silver filigree with a large aquamarine cushion-cut stone (or similar). I had one decades ago. It belonged either o my grandmother or my great-grandmother and I used to wear it on my scarves in high school or pinned to a hat (there's a story there). I kept it on a small trinket dish in my bedroom and that's where it was last seen as I was tidying my room just before a large group of friends came over for my seventeenth birthday. It was a bittersweet day for many reasons, and turned utterly sour the next morning when I discovered the brooch was gone. It never turned up. I have an unconfirmed guess.
I've been thinking about that brooch every one in a while. I wish I could find something to replace it, which is of course impossible and silly. I have a fun and satisfying vintage jewelry collection, so it's not really about the brooch. Except that sometimes it is.

Random Thought
The only reason I'm waiting for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is to buy a trio of my favorite deodorant (Donna Karan Cashmere Mist deodorant stick). It cold have been a lot worse.

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Art: Władysław Ślewiński, Woman Sleeping with Cat, 1896.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Gloria Vanderbilt (1924- 2019)









Gloria Vanderbilt quotes:

"I've always believed that one woman's success can only help another woman's success."
"The fame you earn has a different taste from the fame that is forced upon you."
"You must always have great, secret, big fat hopes for yourself in love and in life.The bigger, the better."
"I've lived a lot, lost a lot, had dreams of love and fateful encounters, and although I suspect the answer is in the seeker, I still believe that what I'm looking for is just around the corner."

Friday, May 31, 2019

Currently- May 2019

House And Garden Spring Furnishing Cover by L. V. Carroll, May 1919

I'm sneaking this one in just hours before the end of May. I waited for Game of Thrones to be over so I could exorcize it from my mind and read things other than recaps. Yes, the last two seasons should have been a full ten episode each, yes, there was no payoff to several story threads, and true- the Night King ended up being pretty lame (the actor, Vladimir Furdik, is a delight, though). Still, the ending did make sense in the grand scheme of Westerosy things, and as long as Brienne and Davos are alive and well I'm happy. Now, where did Drogon go and what's west of Westeros?

Book
Johan Harstad- Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in all that Confusion?
It's a Norwegian novel from over a decade ago (I've had it on my Kindle app forever), about a young man whose hero is the second man on the moon instead of Neil Armstrong.
There's something about the sensibility of some  Scandinavian literature that makes me want to hop on a plane and spend midsummer over there.

Music
Erik Scott- The Invisible Wand




TV
We just watched the first season of A Discovery of Witches. Like the books, it's not bad. With the added charm of Matthew Goode. Who doesn't like Matthew Goode?

Perfume
Dodo by Zoologist. Actually today I'm wearing the brand's Chameleon, which is a marvelous musky skin scent, but Dodo is has completely captured me with its joie de vivre. I need both, and thankfully they're sold in a travel spray form.

Makeup
Metallic pencils in light colors on the waterline and smudged a little under the lower lashes. I can't do a full dark smoky eye, but a bright copper or an antique gold work well and go with the season's marine blue trend.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Well-supported sparkly ballet flats by Fit-Flops. Pretty and comfortable shoes. Who woulda thought?

Food
These days I'm all about getting a lot of my nutrition via fresh smoothies. I'm even willing to have kale in my green ones, and kale has always been my line in the sand.

Bane
There can be no banes after a day spent on the shore.

Joy
Central a/c.

Link
Are you a J.Crew fan? I've been shopping there for decades, buying decent basics I could mix and match with vintage pieces or higher end designers. But something has definitely changed. Vanity Fair is trying to analyze the evolution of the brand and its future.

Anticipation
Right now? A much-needed nap. Also, a chocolate lava cake. It's all about the small but delectable things today.

Wishlist
A cherry tree.

Random Thought
All the HMOs and other healthcare providers should have SPF stations on every beach and hand over free sunscreen. It's so much cheaper than the alternative.


How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The One- Makeup Items That Always Work

Photo of Mary Chesebro Phipps Applying Makeup by Constantine Joffe for Vogue, June 1951

For me, that is.

Which is why I'm not mentioning any beloved skin care products because you may be as allergic to my tried-and-true as I am to your coconut oil-based cleanser (I'm talking serious reaction here. I get deep cystic acne as well as full body rashes from coconut oil Including, unfortunately, eating it). So this is just a quick list of makeup items that never fail me and I know I can use without hesitation no matter what else I'm doing with my face or how distracted I am. No need for mastering a special technique or employing extra tools. Slap, smear, blend, go.

The first thing that came to mind here was Lancome Artliner. I've been using these pens for thirty years and always have at least two or three in different colors. Artliner has been changed and redesigned a few times over the years, and the current  extra long felt tip iteration surprised me at first, but an Artliner is an Artliner, reliable and easy to use. Their brown shade is not only my perfect brown but also a go-to daytime favorite. The definition it gives my lash line is strong without too harsh a contrast, so it's a good companion to a very colorful eye look.

One more Lancome recommendation is their mascaras. I'm a believer in the holy trinity of lashes: Lauder-Lancome-Clinique. But Lancome is my go-to for my no-brainer. I like all of them, from the classic Definicils that gives only the most basic and natural look to the modern Monsieur Big (kind of an Instagram look, if you ask me) and the various Grandiose mascaras with their no lash left behind technology. But the Hypnose family is where my heart and lashes are. They're a classic "before and after" mascaras and the quality is superb.

Eye Shadows
MAC Satin Taupe single.
I could end it here and stop, which says plenty considering the endless eye shadow options on the market. Palettes as far as the eye can see, singles in unique colorways from indie brands big and small. But there's only one Satin Taupe bothin terms of color and texture that allows you to pack, blend, and use it as an all-over one and done color. I know not everyone actually looks good in taupe (it feels like heresy, but the fact is that no color is truly universal), and I suspect Burberry Pale Barley would do the same thing for the taupe-resistant crowd). It's also a good reminder of how good MAC permanent line is and has always been, beyond the oft redundant and sub-par limited collections.

Palettes. My first thought was "No way. I can't. Don't make me". But there has to be a way to make sense of the endless supply (I think of it as miles and miles of color, as far as the eye can see and beyond. And that's just my own collection). I won't attempt an "if I could only keep one" because it's pointless. Even in high school I had a handful of quads, duos, and two larger palettes. But here are one perfect palette for natural looks with some versatility, and another is a chic luxurious way to create more colorful combinations:

Viseart Neutral Mattes (a 12 pan palette) requires no effort in creating a look and executing it. The textures seem to work for most, and while the colors seem to lean more warm than true neutral you soon realize that you can actually pick and choose the cooler tones and never look ashy. Their small Theory palette, as nice as they are, do not give the versatility required for "The One". They're a one or two look pony each. Here's an alternative, though: Chanel has upped their eye shadow game to new heights over the last couple of years, the crown jewel for me being the new(ish. First released last year for spring) nine shadow formats. I've shown you the first limited edition one, Afresco, but have since added the second colorful one, Quintessence (still available, $70 at Chanel.com and select department stores) as well as the brand new all-brown Les Indispensables. Any of the colorful palettes will give you an incredible range of options which I don't always find in larger palettes that have a few too many redundancies.

Blush. To my surprise this was the hardest category. I have many incredible go-to blushes from brands across the price rainbow. A beloved La Prairie as well as a fantastic Makeup Revolution little thing. As in many categories there's a classic Lancome Blush Subtil that I've been repurchasing for decades (Aplum), along with a couple others. But what's a blush you're almost guaranteed to use daily and successfully with no clown moments, mismatches just before an event, or the occasional uneven blotchiness? Surratt Blush Artistique. And I'm as surprised as you are. Troy Surratt's brushes are fantastic but overpriced (buy Hakuhodo or Chikuhodo instead). The eye shadows Do.Not.Work.For.Me. I gave my entire stash of them to my eldest niece, and I wasn't sure she was too impressed, either. Some people swear by them and I have no idea why. Still, the blushes are from another world. I have five and even the one I bought rather tentatively (Duchess, a beige apricot) has proven to be a staple. They all look like a wash of pretty color on one's cheek more than a "blush". In an alternate universe I'd just own all of them and forsake all others. I live firmly in this dimension of reality, so not yet.

Cream and liquid blushes aren't as popular, I suspect, but I have to mention one because it's better than all the others I consider great (NARS, Glossier, etc.). Daniel Sandler Watercolour Liquid Blush. It's not a new product but since it's a UK makeup artist brand it tends to fly under the radar around these parts. They ship internationally (free shipping to the US on orders over £30) and best of all: you can buy little sample bottles. I tend to buy one full size every time and a bunch of sample colors, which are also amazing for travel. The combination of meld-with-the-skin texture, natural finish, and thoughtful pigments make Daniel Sanler blushes (Chelsea, Spicy, and Angel are my go-tos) the one.

I almost skipped highlighters because there are too many of them around, they're often overused, and like many makeup-crazed people I could probably live with 10% of what I own and not notice. Except for one. Which makes it suitable for this "The One" edition of carefully chosen recommendations. Essence Pure Nude Highlighter. It's a baked formula in a medium beige/sand/ champagne tone that leaves no particles or streaks on the skin and simply imparts a natural glow. Remember when highlighters were about that?  So, yes, this simple compact (currently on sale at Ulta for the princely sum of $2.69) is The One with one caveat: I'm not sure how the color looks on women of color whose skin tone is very dark and/or has a pronounced red undertone. If you know please comment.

Lips
NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien.
A jumbo pencil lipstick in a dusty rose pink and a satin finish. If you're very pale it's somewhat dramatic. If you're dark this is probably your nude. for me it's the everyday color I carry everywhere and probably the only NARS lip product that I keep finishing and repurchasing before it goes rancid. I gave one to my mom, what else can I say?

Face
I didn't intend to include a base product here because just like skincare there are too many variables involved. But there's one products that multitasks and outperforms most expectations, though it's sometimes hard to define what exactly it's supposed to do. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter is a glossy pigmented liquid that has a surprising amount of coverage. You're supposed to use it as is, mixed with other face products, layered under or over your base, or invent a new method that's all your own. The result depends on the variables I've mentioned, so I can' say do this and not that. Try all and see for yourself. The reason I will need a new bottle sooner rather than later is that I use over naked skin on the points of the face. The shade I have is 4 Medium - neutral golden yellow for medium skin tones, which would have been a hair too dark for me were this a tinted moisturizer. But the Hollywood Filter is sheer and glossy, thus more forgiving, so the combination of light coverage and clear shine is exactly how I love my base to look (I conceal where needed but prefer the minimal amount of coverage I can get away with most days). It's not exactly a "glass skin" product, since it has quite a bit of pigment (the gaps between the shades and dearth of very dark, very pale and true olive undertones are not very 2019). It's just a brilliant concoction that will work in many different ways for most, because you can mix it with much darker products.


What's your sure thing? Do you have products that have been your companions longer than your spouse?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Doris Day (1924-2019)








Doris Day quotes:
"I've never met an animal I didn't like, and I can't say the same thing about people."

"Wrinkles are hereditary. Parents get them from their children."

"Party all night? Oh lord! No, no no! I don't even like parties."

"I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that's all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy."


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Currently- April 2019



In which I try very hard not to make it all about Game Of Thrones and barely succeed.

Tomorrow, Friday the 26th of April, is the thirteenth anniversary of this blog. It has to mean something, I’m just uncertain what exactly. It’s amusing to read my very first post, though. Some things never change.

Book
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro. The subject matter is fascinating to me since I've been doing a deep-dive into my own family's roots, and Ms. Shapiro has been a favorite author of mine for nearly twenty years. I easily recommend everything she's written.

Music
Think Quiet by Rare Dm.  I like the entire album (Vanta Black) well enough but several of the songs sound too similar to each other. This one is my favorite and it's enough.


Also, this. Obviously.


TV
For the next four weeks there's only one show I care about. Sorry.

Perfume
Posting about my occasional weird perfume choices seems to have cured me for the most part. Today I'm wearing Santal Noble by MPG and last night it was Piper Nigrum by Lorenzo Villerosi That's more like it.

Makeup
I'm incredibly boring. I've used the 20% Ulta discount on the most basic skincare and personal care items, and will do the same with Sephora's Rouge coupon. However, last month I preordered the Whale Song palette from Menagerie Cosmetics, so I can continue my current theme of blue and green. I have their older two palettes and love working with them, creating both neutral and colorful looks. The texture is fantastic and the beautiful packaging doesn't hurt.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
Spring's the season I never know what to wear and always get rained-on. I rely on a rotation of very soft faux-leather jackets that drape nicely and go with both jeans and little silk dresses.


Food
Wehani rice. It's a reddish whole grain rice that takes a while to cook (an hour and a half in our rice cooker) and has a spectacular aroma, flavor, and texture. Goes well in a stir-fry as well as with beans and guac.

Bane
I can't complain. The banes are small enough to let them go and move on.

Joy
Rebooting the blog and letting go.

Link
Anne Bloeyn on Twitter. She says it so much better than I could.

Anticipation
Going to see Trevor Noah on tour. And, yes, also- whatever comes after the battle on Wintefell.

Wishlist
Other than for Brienne to survive the battle (no chance, I know)?  Ruffled dresses need to go away. Extra volume is the work of satan.

Not-so-random Thought
(spoilerish)
Either all the mentions of the Winterfell crypts safety is a rain of red herrings, or we're going to see several interesting undead. I know that most TV writers and commentators predict things we would really want to unsee, but I have a different take.  If we think back to the pre-season tease that has shown s the crypt, remember how all three dead voices were talking specifically about Jon Snow. Lyanna demanded that Ned protect her son, Catelyn lamented that her inability to love Jon was the reason of the calamities that befell House Stark, and Ned himself reminded Jon that they're of the same blood. So what if...?

Truly Random Thought
What takes up the most space on the internet? The husband claims it has to be porn. I'm convinced he's wrong. It's all about cats, right?

How are you? What's on your list of loves and banes? Any wishes and recommendations?


Photos of spring flowers by my sister, Shiri Hilton.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Winged Eyeliner For Deep-Set Sunken Eyes

Not like this.  Just so we're clear.
Kevyn Aucoin for Vogue, model Toneya Bird.

My eye shape isn't very common. It's a result of a bone structure that has the highest point of my cheekbone (actually it's the zygomatic bone, if I'm not mistaken) sitting not at the far out perimeter of the face pointing towards the temple, but an inch and a half closer to the center of my face and protruding straight ahead, casting a pronounced shadow on the entire under-eye area, as well as the very deep crease typical to regular deep-set eyes that comes with a very visible mobile lid.

My attempt at illustrating (copy/pasting various parts and lines, that is) my general eye shape.

This is what happens when trying to do a regular flick/wing. My sharp crease breaks the line and the colors actually pools inside.


This face situation has various consequences when it comes to makeup. Contour placement is extremely tricky if not completely useless. More frustrating than that is how my eye makeup needs to account for an under-eye shadow that can be slightly brightened but not erased. Nowadays it's fairly common to use fillers under the eye to make the area flat. However, I'm utterly freaked out by procedures this close to my eyes. My sight has been going downhill at an alarming pace and I'd rather not take any unnecessary risks, even the most remote and unlikely. I already know to expect cataracts in both eyes by the time I reach 60 (genetics. Thanks, dad and grandpa). I'm not happy about it, so I'm letting my eyes be until they need real medical intervention.

More than you've bargained for. No filters and no makeup other than a hint of concealer (Etude House BB Concealer) around the nose and Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Filter across the cheeks for the sake of dimension.

Back to makeup. the only color makeup I apply under the eyes is light and bright, never a full-on grungy black smoky eye.  Also, since my mobile lid sits so low (deep) under the bone, I can't just run a line from the lashline to the brow bone. A regular wing or a cat-eye simply can't work because the start and finish points would never align. Still, I wear eyeliner, and quite a bit of it. I even like to cheat a winged look quite often. One way to do it is by placing a few clusters (or a chopped strip) of false lashes right at the outer corner of the eye and curl them up to outer space (actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler who shares a similar eye shape to mine* has worn this look on several red carpet occasions). I do that once in a very blue moon, but  can't say I enjoy messing with the glue and placement. What I do is draw the faux wing on the mobile lid itself using either a liquid or a liquid pen eyeliner (gel and an angled brush also work. It's just a matter of preference). I take advantage of the large space of my mobile lid and take the line up as far out as I can, so it's visible when the eye is open.

An action shot attempt. You can see I'm straining to control the various elements from the remote to the eyeliner wand, but the point is to show you where to take the line and how far one can go.


A key to this technique is using a magnifying mirror and turning my head slightly to the side opposite the wing while looking towards the eye I'm lining. This way I can see exactly how far I can take the wing. Once it's up I look straight ahead and fill the gap between the eyeliner and lash line as accurately as possible, then clean up mistakes where I've colored outside the line with a makeup wipe and blot it with a tissue. That's it. All done. The key, as with most things in life is not to hold one's breath while drawing your eyeliner. It's true no matter the eye shape or technique, because the second you involuntarily exhale your hand will move in the wrong direction (best case. Worst case is stabbing yourself in the eye).




In this demo I've used a bold color (Nyx Vivid Bright in Vivid Envy, $4.90 at Ulta, and now I finally know what possessed me to buy it. It definitely stands out even in bad lighting), so you can see exactly what I'm doing and where the line goes. Obviously it's the same thing with a black eyeliner, just without evoking Kermit the frog. The other eye makeup I used here and above (except in the  pre-makeup shot are a light champagne eye shadow all over the lid and a light/medium brown in the crease.  Both are from Chanel LES 9 OMBRES Multi-Effects Eyeshadow Palette in Quintessence ($70, Bloomingdale's), but obviously anything goes and this is not a full or even planned eye makeup look. I also used one coat of Lancome Monsieur Big mascara for balance and contras against the green.

That's my trick for a slightly more dramatic eyeliner application for a truly difficult eye shape. This basic line can be the finishing touch for a sophisticated eye shadow placement and go with a elongated shape created with a medium-dark eye shadow color, tightlining or a cut crease.


*Jamie-Lynn also had a similar nose to mine, but she took care of that early on, circa the second season of The Sopranos. Good for her.