Month: October 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #6

My god! It just occurred to me that I have gone on and on on this blog about my love for makeup and even music, but I have neglected my other love: SHOES. (Well, other than the Chloés…)

And I do love them. In all colors, materials, heel heights (but preferably high!). Which is why I am still lusting after this pair, having tried them on in a Joie store a month on a half ago (while getting myself a sample of Folle de Joie).

f_sks-1281_black_angleMeet the Raquel Heels.

Despite the fact that they are weather inappropriate.

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DIY—Make your own lipstick swatch book

Well, as about DIY as I get. I may knit, but I’m not usually a crafty person.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve been able to tell, but I’m a bit of a lipstick hoarder. 😉 And you know what? I am not ashamed in the least. I have no regrets.

I just have slight confusion, sometimes, when I’m trying to figure out which color I want to wear. (Okay, to be completely honest, sometimes I even forget that I have certain colors.) I can’t remember exactly what shade of fuchsia NARS Funny Face is, or what color coral I had custom made at the Bite Lip Lab, or what undertones MAC Red has and how it’s different from MAC Absolute Power.

I decided that the thing to do was to make a reference book of my colors, kind of like how you swatch them on your hands when you are shopping for a new color. But I wanted the swatches to be available to me all the time.

So I went to an art supplies store. I had initially thought of buying a sketchbook or a watercolor book, but while I was there, I realized that I had overlooked the perfect thing: A Pastel book.

DSC_1046 Canson Mi-Teintes Pastel Paper: Wire Bound Pad, White Paper and Glassine, 9″ x 12″, 16 Sheets

Pastels are creamy and greasy, just like lipstick, so I figured paper that was good for one should be good for the other. The one thing I was worried about was the lipstick staining the back of the previous page, but I found exactly what I needed in this pad.

DSC_1047

I had been contemplating possibly putting parchment or plastic in between the pages, but this is even better. There are what they call “glassine pages” over each page, so that the colors are protected.

Without further ado, here is (some of) my lipstick collection, swatched for all our references.

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Music Monday #5

I briefly flirted with the idea of changing up the nationality of my music post this week, but considering it’s Scotland In New York Week!!!, I’m going to keep going on the theme. Thursday night, Frightened Rabbit will be playing here, but before that happens, I get to see one of my favorite bands to come out of the British Indie Rock explosion of the mid aughts (2005 and on), Franz Ferdinand. (I know they’re not all Scottish, but they met and started up in Glasgow, and Glasgow has been a huge part of who they are.)

From the very first second your toe started tapping to “Take Me Out,” you knew Franz Ferdinand were here to make you dance. And make us dance, they have. Starting with their ubiquitous debut album, Franz Ferdinand, and continuing on with their subsequent albums, You Could Have It So Much Better, and Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.

I’m happy to say, their latest, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action sees ze Franz doing what they know how to do best. Try and not tap your toes.

However, today I’m going to share one of my favorite songs from Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, because I really hope they play this when I see them on Tuesday!

What music are you enjoying lately? Any shows coming up you’re excited about?

Beyond basics—My everyday beauty routine

Salut tout le monde! Hi everyone! J’espère que vous avez un bon week-end! I hope that you’re all having a good weekend!

Continuing the request for my basic daily beauty routine, today I’m going to tell you nothing, because I am naturally beautiful and don’t need any makeup.

Ha, I wish! I really do envy those women who wake up and are just beautiful. I need to put a little more work in, but, hey, I also enjoy the process. If you have to do it, at least love what you do!

Disclaimer: I know it looks like a lot, but I don’t use all of the things pictured all of the time. So relax. 😉

DSC_1013Clockwise from top left: Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
SPF 15, Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer, Benefit Stay Flawless 15-hour Primer, Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit

I need to start with the 2 products I feel have really changed my life. With my oily skin, I have not only tried all the skincare I could to control my oil, I’ve also tried pretty much every mattifying and/or oil-free foundation out there. And then I read about Hourglass cosmetics and their Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, I read the reviews, and I went to the Barneys counter to see for myself.

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Faire du lèche-vitrine

Things on the homefront lately have been a bit frustrating and less than thrilling in the personal and job-hunting departments. So yesterday I decided that instead of wallowing at home in my sad, unemployed, broke state (and, worse, looking online and finding more things I want!), I would take a field trip to Barneys so that I could at least play with some of the items I’ve been coveting in person. The next best thing to retail therapy is window shopping (and I’ve spoken of my love for the French term for it, faire du lèche-vitrine), and window shopping doesn’t hurt, right? (Until you fall in love with something and have to walk away…)

Naturally, my first stop was at the Surratt counter to see the goodies I’ve been lusting after firsthand. I had a demonstration of the Autographique liner, and the calligraphy-like mechanism, and I have to say, it looks so amazing, it almost did break my heart to walk away from it. The eyeshadows felt buttery soft on my fingers, but I didn’t actually try any of them on. Yet. I’ll save something for a different day.

I did make sure, however, to seek out the Automatique Lip Crayon in Alluring. I also was struck by the Automatique Lip Crayon in Mégalomane. To anyone who is familiar with MAC’s Ruby Woo and Russian Red and the differences between the two, Alluring and Mégalomane are the Surratt counterparts. Alluring is the brighter, lighter sister, like Ruby Woo, and Mégalomane is the deeper, more classic Hollywood red, like Russian Red.

Unlike Ruby Woo, though, and even MAC’s other matte lipsticks, these felt sublime on. The application and feel and wear is truly extraordinary. They go on completely matte, but you don’t feel a thing on your lips. They are not dry, they do not tug on your lips. I did not get a chance to see how long they wear, but I am in love enough to know that I need both in my life. (I actually did an experiment to try and help me pick just one: I put one on half my mouth and one the other half, and kept moving my hand from side to side to try and figure out which color I like better. But I’m not picking. You can’t make me.)

I would really love to try more of the line at some point, so a return visit is entirely necessary.

My next and last stop (I can only tempt myself so much!) was at the MAKE counter. A friend had told me that she heard their Silk Cream Lipstick in Scarlet was the holy grail red, and I had to find out. Despite just trying on 2 red lipsticks. (You have to be dedicated to the mission!) Buying in person, MAKE donates 10% of retail sales to the nonprofit organization We See Beauty Foundation (even more when you buy from them directly), which benefits women-run, worker-owned cooperative businesses.

At the MAKE counter, I was helped by the gorgeous and adorable Kimberly who also has a blog and who also has my Rebecca Minkoff Colin Camera Bag! I hope to come back a different time and have her do my face, because her makeup looked amazing.

The Scarlet is a lot more orange leaning than I was expecting, but it really brightened up my face. I used to be certain I could only wear orange-leaning reds, and then suddenly I realized I have pink in my face and blue-toned ones look good as well. Besides for the shade, I’m always on the fence about whether I like my red lipstick to be creamy or matte, and this was definitely on the creamier side (although it seems they have a matte version as well). I’m wearing it in the photos below. Let me know what you think!

DSC_1032

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The skin I’m in—My basic skincare regimen dissected

Someone asked me to do a post (someone asked me to do a post!!) on my basic daily beauty routine, so I thought I would start with my skincare.

My oily skin has been the bane of my existence since I was a teenager. My favorite joke about my skin is that there is enough oil on my face when I wake up in the morning to solve the energy crisis. (There really is.) When women talk about wanting a foundation that makes them look “dewy,” I know that with me, all I have to do is put on foundation and wait an hour and POOF! Dewy.

Much like my perfume-buying habits, I’ve been through practically every oily skin line of skincare trying to find the holy grail of mattifying moisturizer (or cleanser or toner). My conclusion: There is no such thing. The companies will claim to eliminate all your shine, but if you’re as oily as I am, you’re always going to be a little bit shiny. The thing that you can work on, though, is how shiny you’re going to be.

I feel like I need to state that one of the problems with taking care of oily skin is that in an attempt to eliminate oil, we sometimes strip away too much oil. Doing what? Causing your skin to produce more oil to compensate. So don’t forget: some oil good, too much oil bad. I use moisturizer even at night, even though it seems counter intuitive.

I had a fantastic run from March to April this year, where by the end of the work day, I just had a slight sheen, and just needed to dab a bit before going out. I had started a new skincare regimen and also discovered a new line of foundation (that I’ll talk about in the follow up to this post).  What was the magic combination, you’re wondering?

DSC_0999Clockwise from left: Lush Ultrabland, Tea Tree Water, Grease Lightning, Enzymion, Fresh Farmacy Soap

I have friends in Scotland who are big believers in Lush, so I decided to go in and buy a skincare system and see how it worked. The routine was, take my eye makeup off, then use Ultrabland to take the makeup off the rest of my face. This step was something new to me. I had never taken my makeup off my face before cleansing, or, double cleansing. It feels completely counter intuitive to put Ultrabland on oily skin, because it feels oily (and is in fact made with essential oils), but seeing how much dirt came off my face when I used the Tea Tree Water on a cotton pad to take it off, I was amazed. I also did not break out more because of it, and rationalized that it was probably good to be putting some oil back into my face (see factoid above). The Tea Tree Water smells fresh, feels refreshing, and is really a great product. The person who helped me told me she even sprays it on her face during the day to help mattify and refresh her skin (I haven’t tried that for fear of my mascara running, heh).

Next step was to wash my face with the Fresh Farmacy Soap. She chose this cleanser because I do have some pimples, but don’t need an exfoliating cleanser since I use a Clarisonic Mia brush. Fresh Farmacy is made with calamine, so it’s the same color as the old mosquito bite remedy. You can smell it, too. It kind of feels medicinal, but in a good way.  At night I (still) use a prescription retinol on my face, generic Retin-A. During the day, I uses Grease Lightning for oil and pimples. Then I used Avibon (which is a French skincare secret: pure vitamin A retinol, used by French women to keep wrinkles at bay) under my eyes and whatever eye cream in the morning I was using at the time (probably some sample I got), and then moisturized with Enzymion. I’ve heard that they do demos of this moisturizer on people’s hands, showing how it sucks up oil. I’m sure it does, and like I said, it worked really well for a spell. It smells citrusy and fresh, which is especially nice in the morning.

In April, I went to Spain for a week and a half, and I don’t know if it was the traveling, the change in regimen while I was away, or the changing of the season, but when I got back, my skin did not respond to this routine as well. Quel disappointment! So what’s a beauty product addict to do? Go find some more, of course!

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Celebrity fashion lust #2

How just DARLING is this Temperley London skirt that Anna Friel is wearing?! (Let’s ignore how scarily thin she’s looking and focus on the skirt!)

Anna-Friel-in-Temperley-London-Virunga-London-Screening1-600x480 But, Chuck, where is the Piemaker?! That’s all I want to know!!

I am literally dying at how freaking adorable it is. I have always loved how darling and feminine and retro Temperley clothing is. One day. One day when I’m rich and famous. Or get lucky on eBay. 🙂

Dollars and Scents – The Perfumes I’ve Known and Loved

I have a confession to make. I’m what you might call “promiscuous” when it comes to perfume.

DSC_0988The usual suspects, old and new.
(clockwise from front right: Petite Chérie, La Petite Robe Noire, Portrait of a Lady,
Pear Cassis, Un Jardin après la Mousson, Manifesto, and Orange Sanguine)

I’ve spoken at large about my obsession with makeup (especially lipstick, these days), but I’ve kept mostly mum about my embarrassingly large fragrance stash.

Growing up, I knew what a signature scent was in theory, but in practice, it seemed as abstract and unreal as the Yeti or Loch Ness Monster. It also had an allure that I seemed to lack, a girl growing up in Brooklyn. A signature scent seemed to evoke a chic Parisian woman who walks by and you turn your head because she smells so good and you don’t know what it is. And, bien sur, she won’t tell.

The romance of fragrance still feels very French to me as an adult. I still assume every French woman has a signature scent, something that is not available in the United States, and that they keep the name as secret as their internet passwords.

I can’t even say that it evoked a sophistication I didn’t have yet, as a teenager (or even now as an adult, big geek that I am), and that’s why I shied away from one. Honestly? I just liked smelling different every day. It was fun. It was like playing a different person every day. (I still do this with my makeup. I rarely look the same from day to day.)

So I was the girl buying every new perfume when it came out, desperate to get my hands on the latest and greatest. There was Pleasures and Trésor and Happy and my cherry-blossom-smelling G Gigli and my wear-in-winter-only tuberose Fracas. There were the two scents that just smelled so damn good on me, Eternity and Chaos. And let’s not forget Samsara and the summer I wore only Sexy Graffiti. Or the first time I went to Paris, and I followed Suzy Gershman’s advice and went to the most amazing duty-free perfume store ever, Catherine (which has since closed down, lucky for my wallet). I think my sister and I walked away from there with 4 new perfumes (in addition to the Spring Flower I had already bought at Creed), including a 3.4 oz tester of J’adore that was pure perfume (parfum!), not eau de anything. (For only $100!)

And, yes, I spent all that money. Because, as you know, perfume don’t come cheap. I actually feel faint when I think of the money I’ve spent on perfume over the years, especially considering how many of them it turned out I couldn’t wear.

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Well, hello there!

And welcome!

I just wanted to say that I’ve been seeing visits to this little blog from all over the world, and that excites me so much! I just wanted to extend a personal greeting and to thank you for taking the time!

(Pour mes visiteurs belges: mon père est né à Anvers, donc je suis à moitié belge. 😉 [Is that the correct way to say it??] )

I’d love to hear from you, in any language!

Bisous! x

Wishlist Wednesday #5

Hello, again, and welcome to another edition of Things Shani Wants But Can’t Afford (Right Now) Because She’s Unemployed. Today changes things up a bit, in that I’m not just going to write about a single item that I’m lusting after, but an entire new makeup line.

I recently read this article about celebrity makeup artist Troy Surratt‘s new makeup line, Surratt, which just debuted at Barneys New York (sadly, not all the items are available online right now).

I think we all love perusing Japanese stores such as Muji for their interesting and ingenious products . Surratt took all that innovation and injected it into his line, and some of the items inspire unnatural amounts of lust in me.

For example:

Surratt describes his Autographique liner (liquid liner) pen as being inspired by calligraphy pens, and contains a similar capillary system. The point is fine and made of nylon, not felt. And—get this!—the tip is refillable! So instead of throwing out another whole pen, you can just replace the tip. I think this is a brilliant idea, and I really want to try it. (I have liquid eyeliner dysfunction, so anything that may help me with my eyeliner applying skills…)

502978764_product_1 Autographique liner

Another Japanese influence Surratt drew on for his line was the difference in brow pencils, making his harder and more powdery. This gives the pencil more of a graphite pencil feel, and allows it to fill in between the hairs of the eyebrows more naturally. I’ve been trying to find a good one, and this sounds pretty excellent. (And it’s also refillable!)

502978770_product_1 Expressioniste Brow Pencil (This is just a link to the refill—the pencil seems to be sold out online.)

The article says that his line has a look-good-on-everyone red, and of course, I, in my search for the perfect red, NEED to try it. It’s the Automatique Lip Crayon in Alluring. The product description says that it has a non-drying, suede-like, matte finish, which sounds just right for a red. And it looks pretty stunning to me!

502978588_product_1 Automatique Lip Crayon in Alluring

Another great feature of the line is customizable palettes, which, if you’ve ever had a pre-made palette with colors you just don’t use, you know is a godsend.

In general, the line looks amazing (see here, here, and here).  And it doesn’t hurt that the man himself replied to my tweet! 🙂 As soon as I have some money, I am hightailing it to Barneys to try all of these out for myself!

Do any of these tempt you? What are you wishing for this week?