Friday, October 31, 2014

October Beauty Wrap Up

I feel like I made up for the lack of new products in last month's Beauty Wrap Up! Because my experimenting was at an all time low in September I had a lot to try out in October! Towards the end of September I received a Meme Box and I tried most of the products in it this month along with a few other things I purchased. My baseline routine stayed the same but I tried a few different masks and some new makeup.

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New Products I've Introduced:

➳ (Full Sized) It's Skin Babyface Petit Blusher in Pink - This was one of the products that came in the memebox. I gave it a go once on my face this month - the packaging was adorable but it's the wrong color! I contemplated keeping it for costume makeup or just having in my kit for when I wanted a really pink blush but in the end I just re-packaged it and added to my swap bin.  It's super pigmented so it stays on really well and really shows up, but I just can't use it with my redheaded complexion. 

Rating: 2/5 - Great pigment, but totally the wrong color for blush for my skin tone! Won't repurchase because there's only three other colors of this blush and I don't think any of them will work on my skin tone. 

➳ (Full Sized) Make Up For Ever Mat Bronze One of the things that I really love about makeup is it's ability to change and modify your face and then just wash right off and you're back to normal. I have a pretty eclectic style and dress differently based on what is going on. Some days I'm in a blazer and patent pumps and the other day I'm in a linen shift and whimiscal boots. I like to have this flexibility with my makeup, too, and bronzer, highlighter, and blush are the trio that really change the way I look even if they're some of the most subtly applied things in my toolkit.

I got this bronzer from Make Up For Ever because I wanted a matte bronzer to use for contouring. I never use bronzers to make me "sun kissed" or tanned. Sometimes I want sharp angled lines on my face, or to be able to change the structure of my cheekbones, nose, and chin whenever I feel like it so it's a product I use for cosmetic magic tricks, not an overall effect. I generally trust Make Up For Ever - I have a long standing history of success with their products and this time was no exception. With this product I got a high quality pigment that stays on my face, blends easily, and can be used in a variety of ways to change things around. 

Rating: 5/5 - Easy to use, effective, high quality.

➳ (Full Sized) Saint Peau Collagen Pudding Sleeping Pack - This product retails at $38 was the most expensive product in the Memebox. It has an interesting ingredients list (thankfully posted in English on one side of the box) including 52% collagen, grapefruit peel oil, lavender oil, cocoa extract, and lime oil. There's a lot of citrus in this product and it smells really good - like a mix of those citrus fruits with a faint hint of lavender. This particular product boasts "wrinkle care & whitening." I'm all about the wrinkle care but I don't worry too much about whitening (which I have come to approximate in Western skin care as the term "brightening" - most whitening products are not supposed to make you paler, but strive for a more even and glowing epidermis!) so I was excited to try this product. 

Since there were many new ingredients in this product I patch tested this for almost a solid week. After no issues on the patch test I put it on my face...and my face completely rejected it. I woke up to several new breakouts and it had irritated some of the Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation that I am trying to fade. This product simply didn't work with my skin so it went straight into the swap bin. 

Rating: 1/5 - Sounds promising, I liked the ingredients list, it smelled lovely, the texture was a bit funky, but my skin simply couldn't handle this and broke out. 

➳ (Full Sized) LaNeige Water Sleeping Mask Ahh...the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask... this is one of my favorite products that I've ever purchased and I'm so thankful it was as simple to buy as a run to Target now that they're carrying LaNeige products! This Sleeping Mask (as it's known in the Western market) or Sleeping Pack (as it's known in the Asian market) is generally considered a staple beauty product and I've read a considerable amount about it before I finally got around to driving to a Target that carries it. 

This Sleeping Mask smells really good and has a subtle lavender scent and when I wake up my skin is glowing! I can't explain what it is about this product that makes it do so well but the difference between the days I use this and the days I don't is huge. While it's unfortunate that the results don't last longer (a day or two at most) it's a great thing to have in my arsenal for days I know I'm going to need to wake up refreshed with great skin - days where I'm going to be photographed, have an important meeting, need a great base for the makeup I'm going to wear or my skin needs a little extra TLC because it's been out in the elements or I didn't get enough sleep the day before. Also, I use this on my neck and it's the only thing that's created some improvement on the lines on my neck. 

Rating: 5/5 - Best product this month! I'll stockpile this stuff if they ever announce that they'll stop making it! 

➳ (Full Sized) Sally's box Friendly Berry Berry Lip Patch - I've never used a lip patch before but it's essentially a mask for your lips. It's never occurred to me to purchase one but this one came in the memebox so I figured I'd try it out during my weekly ritual that consists of sitting and watching dramas, wearing a SheetMask, and changing my nail polish. It's a multiple use silicon lip patch that's infused with things that should make your lips softer and more moisturized. It's really quite thick and prone to sliding off your lips so I wear it while lying flat on my back while waiting for my nail polish to dry. I don't see much difference though my lips are a little moisturized afterwards. It does taste kind of bad, too, so if you accidentally lick your lips after using it you'll get a bitter taste. I'll probably use it until it's out and then I won't replace it but for now it's a fun addition to my weekly pamper time.

Rating: 2.5/5 - Strange. Entertaining. Difficult to breath with when on! Won't be re-buying this product. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Auburn Hills

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There's a town in the suburbs of the city I live in called Auburn Hills. I recently had to drive through Auburn Hills on the way to an errand and I understood clearly why the city is called that. The trees are ablaze with the fall colors - red, oranges, yellows, and yes, even Auburn. I found this beach in the woods out there and spent a little time running around on it all by myself.

I love a tropical beach, don't get me wrong. I love the azure water, sunshine, burning sand, night time bonfires, the great people watching, and the smell of the salt and humidity. Just as much, or maybe even more than I love that summer kind of beach, though, I love an autumn or winter beach. I love the grayness, damp sand, and cold wind that speaks of an ability to rush right along the surface of the water like a gull. Most of all there's a stillness about it that's hard to find anywhere else. It's quiet and there's just the sound of the water and the wind and there's space to run around. When I find these empty beaches I run along that place where the water and the world meet with my hair down until my eyes are stinging with tears from the wind.

So, as I was running errands I found this beach sitting there, all lonely and perfect, and went out to run on it and rejoice in the fall leaves. I had my camera in the car and a good hair day so I decided to take some photos. This simple shift is the most recent thing that I've sewn - I really am on a sewing kick right now! I blame the Japanese Pattern Books for it - these things come together so quickly and are such small projects they can be completed in a morning so I can just kind of churn them out as fast as I want to wear them.

This particular shift is made in a Japanese denim that has just the tiniest bit of stretch in it that I found for sale in a fabric shop around here. It's super simple and easy to wear and has patch pockets in front to hold all your random stuff.

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Dress: Self Made

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

...To Love Many Things

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When I was teaching I had a post it note on the base of my desk lamp with a Vincent Van Gogh quote on it: "The best way to know life is to love many things."

He's not someone who made it far in his own lifetime but the art that he's created has gone forward and gone forward and gone forward even up until now. And I think to myself, sometimes, about how he could have said that and then crumbled his life away over two days into the great silence of death after an afternoon in the gold summer wheat fields.

The mind is a funny thing. Some of us, maybe Van Gogh, too, can't control whether or not the world is bathed in gold light or drowning in darkness. And there are points of time that overwhelm us and push us and it is up to us to figure out how we make it through, alone, together, or not at all.

One of the loveliest things I've done is go surfing at night under the light of a full moon. The coast was dark and there were fires on the beach, tiny far away moving points of light there to guide us in and warm us up. We paddled out as far as we could go - the ocean that night was inky blue washed with grey surf - and just past the break I sat with everyone else, backs to the expanse of the ocean and faces towards the city.

It was a strange feeling - I didn't know anyone in that group since I had gone alone and met them there - but I was a strong swimmer and very determined and could hold my own just fine that night. Before we all rode in we stopped for a short minute and sat on our boards, bodies above, legs dangling in the water below and I felt like I was eyeing the world I was living in  from a place not on Earth but very, very close by.

The waves wanted us to go in towards the beach and the push of them was getting stronger and stronger but we were not done being in the dark, warm ocean yet even though it seemed as if it was pushing us home, closing up shop for the night. We all kicked and paddled to resist it, trying to stay out to watch the fires on the beach and the stars above, wanting to stay suspended there in the darkness and the motion of the waves rocking me back and forth. Regardless of how strong a swimmer I was in the Midwest I couldn't compete with the waves as long as the company I had paddled out with. I was having a harder and harder time staying with the group.

So those strangers who had paddled out with me took my hand and linked their arms with mine. "If you want to stay we'll help you. If you want to go back in let us know. You're very stupid and brave to come out here at night," they told me. My hair was very long that summer, all the way down my back and almost to the surfboard I was balanced on, and I pushed it, salty and stringy, over my shoulders.

And then, a few minutes later, in the washing machine tumble roar of the ocean and the quiet of a nearly empty beach, we all got onto our boards, caught the break, and surfed in. Together.

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Shirt: Self Made
Skirt: Target
Shoes: Dansko
Necklace and Earrings: Michael Michaud


Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Grey Canvas Coat

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It's Autumn right now but for some reason the whole universe feels like spring to me, emotionally. I'm not sure how to explain it. It could be that we just moved and new friendships and careers are blossoming, or it could be all of the new things that I am learning and trying to teach myself, or it could just be the way I am these days, stuck eternally in spring, always growing and growing and trying to bloom. I don't know.

Moving to Michigan has been a difficult thing in some regards. My most beautiful friendships took place there. I know Denver well and the city itself provided so much comfort and adventure. I ate breakfasts in amazing places - the capital steps, Red Rocks, and I was never scared there. I always felt safe. 

We took frequent trips to Moab and Santa Fe and I grew to love the geography of the desert and the brightness of the stars to the point where it felt like the Southwest had sunk into my skin. I am altered because I was there, and I am unable to return to the person I was when I arrived. And, holding all these thoughts, I am grateful I can not go back to who I was before the dust and ash of the summer and the blueness of the winter sky and the spring and fall storms rolling over the mountains like the breath of God. 

But now I'm here and it's a good life. It's very different. The objectives have changed, the community has changed, too. But I am still content. I've never had so much time to play and work and figure out how to get a massive, beautiful project off the ground. I move slower here - there is so much time. We also have almost nothing in our house because we haven't really unpacked and I truly like it that way. I may never go back. Those boxes might stay packed forever. 

We  have come into this mindset here that we didn't have in Denver that if we want something we'll make it and that is so satisfying. I've made wallets, purses, shirts, fancy dinners, sewing tables, and even the coat I'm wearing in these photos. It takes time, this creating, and sometimes multiple tries, but the things that we've made are going to age well. And this in and of itself has taught us that the very best objects in life are the things that become perfect over time. Everything is an investment. It's worth doing it right. 

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Coat: Self Made
Sweater: Icelandic Lopi 
Jeans: Madewell Skinny Skinny
Shoes: j. crew
Scarf: I can't remember 

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