#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.


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.


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.


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:


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?)


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).


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.

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.


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).


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.


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.