#StuddedKiss and Kat Von D

French historians often refer to “lieu de memoire” – people, places, things, even events that remind you of something significant.  For instance, whenever I see black stilettos or pointy boots, I think of my husband.  Our first date happened on a busy Spring day nearly a decade ago, but in preparation, I sat in my shared apartment with a roommate and her boy-of-the-moment and ten different pairs of black heels.  Each one inevitably worked with my dress, but I wanted the perfect one.  And I remember this scene vividly, including the puzzled look on the gent’s face as to why I didn’t just go with Shoe #1.

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A pet peeve of mine: billboards with missing letters. I need more “T”s … don’t shoot me!

I imagine this similar search for perfection was experienced by the team over at Kat Von D Beauty, who have just finished reformulating the Studded Kiss Lipstick.  I’ve been a fan of the tubes for a while, especially the shades “Noble” and “Homegirl” (which are on sale for $12 at Sephora to make room for the new launch, btw).  Yet, my excitement was tantamount to the thrill of a first date when my mailman delivered a pre-launch of “Cathedral” … so much for my Project Pan goals, since this baby is getting first priority for the next month.

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Notice that the new formula has a monochromatic tube, instead of the silver of the original

The best way to describe the new formulation would be to stress that it’s creamier than ever and potentially even more pigmented.  I’ve usually lost my color after the first Starbucks run of the day, and “Cathedral” lasted me from 9-5.  It also seems to be set to retail for $19, which I believe is cheaper than the $21 price tag I’m used to.  That is a steal, since the closest lipstick I could think to compare the creaminess to is Tom Ford.

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Shade & Light Palette is clutch, although my SIL bought Saint & Sinners – the colors!

I am so stoked for this launch that I begged my hubby for a date night.  We’re in luck that Restaurant Week is about to start in our little town.  With snow on the ground, my pointy black boot choice is set, but I don’t know which Kat Von D shade I should go with.  Help me out?

Project Pan: January Beauty

As I was pondering New Year’s Resolutions, I tried to focus my attention this year not so much on what not to do (grab McDonald’s after work, binge on Chipotle, buy another candle), but instead of what commitments I could make to simplify my life.  Ideas manifested in similar forms: transition to a Capsule Wardrobe, only buy sustainable fashion, focus on a more plant-based diet.  I felt like 2018 was bringing a shift in so many specters of my life, and in order to embrace that I needed to declutter my world-space.

This is the first year, then, that I’m attempting Project Pan.  If you’re new to the beauty world, it’s essentially a model you follow in which you tackle your overflowing vanities by selecting particular products to use, with the overall goal of moving them out of the collection.  Now, that sounds somewhat chore-like, but hear me out.  I like to view it as an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with products you love (you purchased them at some point, right?) and also to evaluate your collection for gaps (which will make themselves more readily apparent as you clear out space).

I did two things to begin the process.  First, I tackled my storage by grabbing a basket and tossing anything I didn’t feel excited about.  Hair products that I don’t use? Out.  Lipsticks that I bought on sale at Target?  Out.  Nail polish that was separating?  Out.  You could almost say this was a Kan Mari of sorts.

Second, I pulled everything I had been using in December and loving and stashed the rest.  I figured that this was a great way to establish essentials, and as I used them regularly, I could determine if I needed other products to meet my needs, or not.  My goal is to consistently use these chosen picks.  There is one, at least, that I can hit “pan” on by the end of the month.  Here we go:

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Skin:  If you follow on Instagram, you might remember that I tried a sample of Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer last month, but held off on purchase because I had just started using  the Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer.  I really committed to Smashbox last January and have been using a primer from the company ever since, although I tend to switch between types with the seasons.  The perk of this product is that it’s a primer and moisturizer, so it cuts down on the need for extra steps.  That being said, the weather has been cold, dry, and windy, so I’ve been starting off with The True Cream Aqua Bomb by belif since I had a deluxe sample.  I don’t think I’d buy the full-size, but it works for me and is worth finishing up.

Face: Let me gush a little here.  The Glossier Stretch Concealer has changed my life.  I didn’t think I could ever like a concealer more than Nars, but I’ve been persuaded.  This little pot has amazing powers.  I’m also starting the year with a new-to-me foundation: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk.  I had avoided this in the past because it’s not sold in-store at my local Sephora, so I have to buy online (which is tricky for color matching).  But it’s wonderful so far, and I appreciate that it comes in a pump.  Finally, I’ve married myself to the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer.  This product is so fantastic that I bought a mini-version for my sister-in-law’s stocking.  I mean, erm, Santa did.  Sorry, Santa.

Eyes: I keep it simple with my eye routine, especially in the winter when I wear my glasses more than contacts.  I use Glossier Boy Brow and now that Sephora has started to carry itCosmetics (yas!) I’ve discovered Brow Power.  Even the packaging is sleek on this product – love it!  I believe the true power lies in the shape of the crayon, though.  Whoever designed this little gem is the real MVP.  Finally, perhaps to repay the beauty-karma I earned by sharing my bronzing love, my sister-in-law (aka Secret Santa) gifted me the H&M Colour Essence Eye Pencil in Raw Umber.  Seriously, this is probably my favorite gift, despite only being a $6 investment.  I live nowhere close to an H&M, so I can only justify the online purchase if I think to add it to an additional order, and I honestly don’t purchase much else from the retailer (probably due to exposure, so H&M, if you’re reading this, think about relocating, yes?)

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Lips: I’ve already made quite a dent in my Glossier Coconut Balm DotCom thanks to early mornings in wintry frost.  I’ve been pairing it with a deluxe-mini of Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  (Doesn’t that name make you want to curl up with hot chocolate and a classic movie?)

Fragrance: I’m actually using up a sample of Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream, which has been my signature fragrance for some time (I have the full-size).

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I’m looking forward to seeing which of these products are still going in February, which have been used up, and if any new favorites make the cut.  If you’re committing to Project Pan, let me know – I’d love to cheer along.

Nefelibata, or Walking {on} Sunshine?

This week has been frigid, and dreary weather combined with holiday fatigue certainly makes indoors seem enticing.  I am a bit of a Wild Heart, however, and I get Cabin Fever pretty quickly.  Thus I forced myself to venture out into the world today, and it was the perfect excuse to don a casual “It’s Cold AF” outfit.

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Okay, really, I’ve just been wanting to show off my new Vans.  It took me a while to find the perfect pair.  I tried the traditional Old Skool version, but they were really too heavy for my feet and felt clunky with my non-skater choice of attire.  Then I considered some of the more fashion-forward colors, like those currently on display at Madewell, but my New Year’s goal is really to transition to more of a Capsule wardrobe, and I wanted a neutral or basic that would get some real use.  Old Skool Lite seemed like the perfect compromise, and are totally worth the extra ten bucks for the comfort and fit.  They make me want to go balance on things and climb a few buildings.

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No, really.  I legitimately get pumped to climb buildings when wearing Vans.  I did so today.  I feel like the philosophers would approve.  There’s this Portuguese term: Nefelibata, which translates roughly to “cloud walker”… I actually have it on a denim jacket, which I happened to wear today.  Usually, I reserve this jacket for witty repartee regarding Coehlo’s ‘The Alchemist’ (which, unlike the rest of the world, I don’t think is as brilliant as it’s made out to be.  See instead: Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse.  Same idea, more profound).  Paired with a knit sweater, it’s actually warm and efficient for outings while temps are in the 20s.  Win-win?

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This is a hot water pipe.  I’m clinging to it for warmth more than leverage.

Vacation is almost over and it will be time to get back to office looks and conformist expectations, but I hope you’ll spend a few more days enjoying 2017 and not rush the New Year.

 

Homme for the Holidays

Christmas is here and with it our yearly holiday trek to see family and make more gingerbread cookies than should be allowed.  I vowed to myself that I would attempt to wear “real clothes” instead of pajamas for at least one full day on this vacation, more out of respect to the Spirit of the gathering than anything else.

This seemed like the perfect weekend, then, to bust out my Mom-jeans.  I had been consciously avoiding this style of denim, despite its recent rise in popularity, not out of a true aversion, but simply because I wasn’t ready to retire cigarette pants.  There’s something to be said for a tailored leg, am I right?  However, I found a great pair in this cut from &OtherStories, in a perfect blue wash that feels and wears like classic denim.

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Mom-jeans can be worn detrimentally – there, I said it.  Usually, I like to pair this style with a chunky heel and a top in a cool material and silhouette (think: Madewell’s velvet tee … in champagne … yes!)  I find that it’s hard to balance proportions.  But then my mind whisked away to days of YSL “Le Smoking” and a time when women in pants was still a faux pas and thought, “Why not go ‘homme’ for the holidays?”  At this point, what’s more American than classic denim?  Isn’t Christmas about tradition?  Could I channel John Wayne?

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I paired my jeans with a silk Equipment blouse (another closet staple), and some Calvin Klein loafers.  I wanted to pay homage to the Christmas palette without stealing the show from Mrs. Claus, so my red top is actually a snakeskin print.  A Prana hat finished the ensemble.

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Now I’m off to another Christmas task: expressing my culinary skills in the making of roasted tomato soup.  Happy Holidays to you and yours.

In Search of Truth and Beauty

Whether you are of the philosophical bent that beauty is objective, or aesthetically subjective, one thing can be agreed upon: beauty is personal.  In 2012, I walked into a Sephora and entered a long-term, monogamous relationship with the beauty starship.  Sure, I was adventurous and tried new things: a Nars obsession branched out to YSL, Marc Jacobs lip coiffretts graced every empty space of my vanity, and Smashbox primers became non-negotiable staples.  It’s no surprise that as friends began to whisper of a new line of beauty products I didn’t give the susurrations much heed; I assumed if the finds were any good, they’d show up next to the latest K-Beauty finds at my mecca.

Chalk it up to a six-year itch, or maybe some sort of “I turned 30” crisis, but I began to cheat on my amour-maquillage and try other merchandisers.  This included diving into the world of Glossier and … well … the truth of the matter is that I am enjoying this little triste.

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As with any new relationship, I decided to stick to the essentials.  I made a list of basic needs that would replenish year-end empties in my collection: concealer, brow tint, lip balm.  Once on the website, I realized they actually had “phases” of products that helped you purchase necessities.  The “Phase 2” set ($40) came with both the Stretch Concealer (I chose “Light”), and the Boy Brow (I chose “Brown”), as well as an additional lip product (I chose “Cake” and plan to gift it for the holidays).  With two of my checklist needs met, I searched for lip balm and settled on the Balm Dotcom Trio ($30) – I’m a sucker for witty puns.  In was a hard decision, but I chose Coconut for myself, and Cherry and Mint to gift.  At this point, I considered my dalliance a success and became distracted by the cute sticker app (you won’t regret giving it a download).

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My infatuation grew once my order came.  The order arrived with travel-friendly pink bubble pouches.  Two thumbs-up to the packaging design team, am I right?  I’ve already stored this away for my Spring break trip to Belize.

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However, I did have one huge regret.  If you’ve followed my Instagram, you know that I tested a sample of the Priming Moisturizer … and it was magical.  Alas, I had just purchased the new Smashbox Primerizer, but I’m dreaming of the day when I can be reunited with this buildable hydrating creme.  My face felt like fluffy clouds in a unicorn municipality.  If you can’t imagine what that would be like, try it for yourself.

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Faux Fur-losophy

Kant once boasted: “Give me matter, and I will construct a world out of it!”  This is actually a paraphrasing of Descartes, but in essence, he is attempting to explain gravitational forces.  There is one thing that I tend to gravitate towards in my own little fashion world, and that’s fur.  Unlike Michael Kors and his newest “no-fur” pledge, I’m going to be honest in the matter and admit that I have worn, and still own, real fur.  In consideration of ethical consciousness, going the vintage route is certainly the best way to source such items.  For those of you who have stumbled upon this confession and are aghast, rest assured that my most recent obsession is faux.

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The one item I’ve allowed myself to invest in this winter season is a new coat.  I have always gravitated to traditional wool jackets with a 1920s vibe.  However, in recent years, I’ve bolstered my wardrobe with the ubiquitous puffer, a pink trench, and a swing coat.  It was time to purchase a basic that would serve as a foundational winter piece for years to come.  I found the perfect item by my favorite Paris Atelier and could not have been happier.  This particular coat has a removable (yes, REMOVABLE!) faux fur collar, which means I could fulfill my fashion needs while still ensuring my pick could be worn anywhere, on any occasion.  You can never go wrong with a solid navy.

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Pros to a fur collar: I could look like Tinie Tempah, the added weight on one’s shoulders is comforting, it negates the need for a scarf, and who doesn’t like to pet themselves?  Cons to a fur collar: ………..

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I do admit that traditional pieces can seem dated at times, so I like pairing mine with a suede ballcap to up the modern vibe, and add just a bit of a heel for height since a longer style can shorten one’s silhouette.  How do you wear your (faux) fur?

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Something Worth Gossiping About

Remember those teen years, when it seemed that minor blips in your daily adolescent experience were picked up on the radar of others?  A generic comment in passing suddenly became a pointed statement that blossomed into a need to magnify and dissect hidden meanings or, worse yet, rectify situations that existed only in your own imagination.  As Taylor Swift attests: “Another day, another drama, drama.”

The most beautiful aspect of being in your thirties is that you start to leave behind the dependent parts of your personality.  The insecurity of teen years and social transformation of the twenties evolves into an era of loving yourself for you who are without caring about what others think.  It’s time for some self-appreciation!

I’m reminded of the wisdom of Socrates, who taught that when it comes to gossip, there is a Triple Filter Test to follow: is it True, is it Good, or is it Useful?  In the case of my recent trinket infatuation, I believe we can safely check-off the triumvirate.  So let’s gossip a bit about affordable luxury, shall we?

Mejuri for Christmas

I was drawn to Mejuri for two reasons.  Firstly, the brand is founded on the feminist idea that women should be empowered to make their own jewelry decisions, and buy fine jewelry for themselves, instead of waiting for them to be gifted. (Not to say that the hubby shouldn’t be encouraged to expand my collection because let’s be honest, that should totally happen.)  The brand also supports independent designers and ensures that all of its diamonds are ethically sourced.

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Top: Solo Black Diamond Ring; Left: Beaded Ring; Right: Twist Ring

Since I don’t wear much jewelry, I especially love the understated minimalism of the designs.  My go-to wardrobe editions are a three-piece stack and a simple black diamond necklace.  Black gemstones are beautiful in contrast to a traditional yellow-gold and can be paired with most color palettes, so they are the perfect addition to any beginner collection.

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These rings also give me serious Tolkien-vibes.  My precious.

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I’ve already added a few additional Mejuri items to my Christmas wishlist, so Santa, if you’re reading this, hook a girl up and I promise not to spill your secrets.

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