Sunday, May 25, 2014

Snapshots: Currently Loving, May 2014

[Products were purchased by me, except for *, which was a gift from a friend]

Some beauty and non-beauty things I'm loving lately:

Guerlain's Terracotta Le Parfum, limited edition for Summer 2014. I have a soft spot for white florals, and this is so pretty. So, so pretty. I splurged on this and I have no regrets. It's a creamy white floral with a feminine, whisper-soft vanilla-musk dry down. It's gorgeous. If you are going to indulge in a summer perfume, I highly recommend this one.

And MAC Lady Danger...I don't think it needs much of an explanation, does it? (Best of all? Shouting "I'M LADY DANGERRRRRRR" at S. Hahaha). Also, white or pastel or neon nails. LOVE. Some of the ones I've been wearing lately: Zoya Marley, Zoya Purity, Dior Spring BallSaint Tropez, Electric Blue.

I've also been experimenting with simple, metallic bobby pins (cheapies from Goody) in interesting ways - trying to actually do cool things with all this long hair, now that I have it. Any fun tricks to share? I've also been playing around with a cheapy Conair curling iron - it's quite fun!
Clarins 02 Candy cream blush* is a warm pink that looks really natural and lasts all day. I wasn't crazy about it when I first received it (from a charming friend), but I've been reaching for it more and more lately.

The Sonia Kashuk illuminator is the answer to my search for a liquid luminizer. You have to shake it vigorously, but it's nice. Not too frosty. Not too cool. Review in a bit.

I've also been shopping. I've been doing some closet cleaning, getting rid of items that were too big or scraggly or things that I never wear and wanted to keep around anyway...for whatever reason. I've been loving bright shades (most of my wardrobe at the moment is black, beige, navy blue...) and I've been dabbling in neon corals and pinks and sea greens - colors I've always loved, but never thought to wear, for some reason.
Strawberry daiquiris at home (with vodka, not rum), some orange/coral beauty items, and new clothes from Express. The dress is for a wedding I need to attend (as are the Vince Camuto shoes in the above photo).
Lastly, we always like to eat well chez nous, and we are indulging in the new summer fruits and cool summer beverages. Orange/coral/strawberry are the colors of summer, obviously.

What are you loving lately? Any great recipes or finds to share?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Quest for an Orange-Red #2: MAC Lady Danger

[Purchased by me.]

I guess it's not really a quest if I go and buy every single one that I try.

I blame all of you. Especially Liz and Denise. The worst.
Hardest things to get color-correct. Rouge d'Armani 400 is my standard for "true red." Dior Trafalgar is not matte and actually it's much warmer - it almost makes MAC Lady Danger look more pink and cool in person. Clearly, I need both. Ahem. 

But, what can I say? I love matte lipsticks, and I think orange-reds are really growing on me lately. Thankfully, with Dior Trafalgar and this one, I think I'm pretty full up. So, uh, anti-climatic ending - quest over. BUT I'M LADY DANGERRRRRR.
It's so bright. Eye-searing. But I love it. I like to use a clear lip-liner like Dior's to keep lip edges clean. Also, it does kinda make teeth look yellow. I should maybe do a Crest treatment thing again.
Worn the way I like it best: with well-defined eyes and plenty of bronzer. It's dry but not super drying, which was surprising. I always thought these old school MAC lipsticks would just suck the moisture from my lips, dementor-style, but thankfully that's not the case.

It's permanent so there's no need to rush out to buy it, but it's worth thinking about, especially if you want something HIGH IMPACT BOOM for summer. Or fall. Or whenever. We can be LADIES DANGER together!

Do you have this classic MAC shade? What are your other favorite matte lipsticks?

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Wear Lipstick to Lecture

This is more of an essay than a proper beauty blogger post (with the pictures and the lipsticks and the sparklies). It was inspired by an eloquent post by Auxiliary Beauty, detailing an experience of graduate school in the humanities. I talked about my graduate school experience once, here, but I thought I'd hop to the theme and talk about the experience of being a female scientist. It's a topic I have strong feelings about (and about gender equality in the workplace and in the world), and I would also like to invite you all to share your experiences as well. I apologize for the length of this post.

For those who don't already know, I have a doctorate in chemistry. Though I have observed and heard of other types of experiences, my personal experiences in school have been mostly positive. I had a boss (professor) who is extremely fair and focused on educating his students, as well as cultivating their research skills. My research group was a good size, with a good mix of genders and cultures. I felt very comfortable, at all times. However, I do live in a large, ethnically diverse city, so there is that.

In terms of environment, it was common to see most people show up looking like they just rolled out of bed (and they probably did). Graduate students (at least in the sciences, I can't speak for other disciplines) keep a range of hours. Some students work 80+ hours a week in the lab, some students work 40 hours a week in the lab, and that can also range from a more orthodox 9-5 schedule, or 11-7, 12-12, etc. Most people tend to figure out whether they're morning, erm, sparrows, or night owls, and depending on how much freedom your boss gives you, you stick to a schedule that suits you. Of course, you have to show up for group meetings and presentations (we only take classes in our first year here) and meet your teaching obligations if you have them.

There is a lot of emphasis on lab safety, since we are chemists (or physicists or engineers or microbiologists - there is a lot of interdisciplinary work going on in most science groups, because it takes all kinds of people to make progress in a field), and on days where I was working in the wet lab, I stuck to jeans, covered shoes, safety goggles, lab coat. On days where I was working with machines (no chemicals) or in my office, I wore whatever I wanted to - within a loose dress code, of course. In the summer I wore sandals and skirts, but I always tried to keep it loosely "office appropriate" because that's what I'm comfortable with. So tank tops were okay, but not cropped tops. It's a weird sort of thing, because we're not undergraduates (and not all graduate students enter straight after completing their undergraduate education - many people enter after working for a few years, or traveling the world, or whatever it is - so we have a range of age groups), but we're not professionals, either.

In terms of makeup, I wore a full face (well, foundation and eye makeup and blush) from the get-go. I wore nail polish. I was never made uncomfortable about it, by anyone I worked with or for. There were other female students in my year and in my program; some of them wore makeup and occasionally wore skirts and dresses and cute boots, and some did not. I was friends with many of them, regardless of their fashion choices. Some of them asked me to help them dress for events. Some of them didn't care. If they didn't care, I didn't care. Do I think everyone should be dressed neatly? Yes. But beyond that, my standards for how I want to dress myself only apply to myself.

I wish everyone had a similar philosophy. We recently went to dinner at a friend's house, and he has roommates; a handful of them are chemistry graduate students in the same program I graduated from. It was very obvious to me that one of these students - a woman - was the kind of person who would, as S. described it, probably treat me as a "floozy" if she wasn't aware that I had a Ph.D in a "hard science," because I wear makeup and jewelry, I dress on-trend (or attempt to, ha), and like to carry cute bags that may or may not have labels on them. I don't really understand that kind of behavior. Why would you cast another woman down because she wears blush? I don't mean that we should be part of some elaborate, sensitive sisterhood simply because we share a gender, but with all of our current struggles to be accepted as equals in this field (and in the world), why? 

I know what all the stereotypes are for women in science and tech fields, and they're charming. I won't list them all here, and I don't understand many of them. Does wearing lipstick really have a bearing on how well we do our science? Doubtful. Are we simply used to responding to men as the people in command? Perhaps. Maybe all it takes is for women to keep showing up, dressed as we are, confident and clear about where we stand and what we can do.

(Lastly, I wanted to comment on the fact that I am aware that there are more lines drawn in the world than the one between those who identify as men and as women, but I can only tell you about my personal experiences. I think the the quest for equality is universal.)

Enough wordy wordiness. Thanks for indulging me, and please, I'd love to hear about your experiences, science-y or not.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Daily Tray Update: May 2014

[Products were purchased by me, except for *, which were gifts from friends.]

I first talked about my "daily tray" in January, but since then, I've switched some of my items out, so I thought I'd do an update. These are my basics - everyday items.
  • DiorSkin Nude Compact in Medium Beige: Powder foundation of choice right now. 
  • Armani Sun Fabric Bronzer in 400 Heat
  • MAC Fix+, travel size: I don't use it every day, but it's nice to have it here.
  • Shiseido Sheer and Perfect O20 foundation: current liquid foundation of choice.
  • Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous*: highlighter of the moment.
  • Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach: favorite product for under eyes.

  • Shu Uemura Mint and Vanilla palette: nice mattes in neutral shades. I like Shu Uemura shadows a lot - I should have discovered them a lot sooner.
  • three Sephora liquid liners: black, shimmery dark brown, and blue. I find the brown less harsh against my hair color, but sometimes you gotta have black. And, erm, bright blue.
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks in Khaki, Sandglow, mini Rosegold, Sugar Frost, Pink Opal, Amethyst: I use these as bases and on their own - I love the variety of neutral shades that make for easy daily eye looks. My favorite pairing is Rosegold all over the lid with Amethyst in the crease.
  • MAC Blue Brown pigment: Not something I use daily, but I like having it here. Every so often it catches my eye and I ditch the boring neutral look I had planned and pat this on instead. 
  • NARS Smudge-Proof Shadow Base: when I want to use pigments or want colors to pop (or really need a look to be absolutely smudge-proof), I use this instead of a Caviar Stick as a base for shadows.
  • MAC Brow Finisher, Brow pencils in Strut*, Spike: current brow things. I'm going to do a brow post soon.
  • Clinique High Impact Curling mascara. 
  • Shiseido Lash Curler
Seems like a lot, but it's not really. I pull out the Caviar sticks a lot, which is why they're all in there. There are also some items (like the BB cream and Sephora liner) that I rotate through more frequently as I play with new/old things or samples. I also wanted to mention that the Maybelline concealer is really good for blemishes, redness, etc, but it's unfortunately not paraben-free. Still, I'm impressed - don't have to shell out for NARS after all. I'll probably pick up another Maybelline concealer if I can find a p-free version.

What's in your daily tray? How often do you rotate items out?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bronzed But Not Orange: Armani Sun Fabric Bronzer 400 Heat

[Product was purchased by me.]

I'm a bronzer newbie.
Armani Sun Fabric Bronzer in 400 Heat.  There are shimmers. It's not sparkly on the face, though.

I've tried a handful (mostly thanks to the lovely Tracy), but many of them are too orange or ruddy - they make me simply look dirty. I also could never really figure out what to do with bronzer. I know you're supposed to do that 3-shape business, but I was just bewildered by the whole thing. And then I thought, if I used it all over my face to warm it up, won't my face not match the rest of me?
Closed compact. There is a brush in a compartment under the bronzer pan, but it's not very good. I use a fluffy Sonia Kashuk brush instead.
But I fell in love with this gorgeous bronzed look, and summer is coming. I wanted to make it work. So I stopped in to see the Armani Sun Fabric bronzers. I walked around with 100 on one side of my face, and 400 on the other side.
Swatched with a finger, you can see lots of sparklies. But I use a fluffy brush to apply.

Both the SA and I agreed that 400 was better (100 was too orange - I think the Sun Fabric Bronzers have different undertones, which seems very obvious, but is hard to find). I liked the warmth it gave my face, without looking too obvious or harsh; the red undertones keep it natural.
Base makeup: Origins CC Cream (sample).
I use it all over my face, and it doesn't look odd or out of place. I like it a lot. It doesn't instantly show up as a smear of brown (I use a fluffy brush - Sonia Kashuk No. 101), but can be built up to the color I want.



Here it's built up a little more, and focused on cheeks as well.
Ack, hair errywhere. Also, this is what happens when you don't wear foundation...freckles galore.

All in all, absolutely love. Bronzer has found a place in my heart. BRING IT ON, SUMMER.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Giving Them Twist-Up Pencil Doohickeys Another Chance

[Product was purchased by me. No affiliate links.]

I am a liquid liner girl, because gel liners are fiddly and pencils are just smudge-city. However, I like colors, and while my favorite liquid liners do come in fun shades, there just aren't enough. So I looked at the other offerings, and found these Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliners, which come in 22 shades!
Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in 05 Green. The back is a foam-tipped smudgey thing. 

I picked green. It's described as a "shimmering jade," and it's a pearlescent shade. It's very pretty. The tip doesn't have that fancy "ever-sharp" magic nonsense going on, so it will get flat with use, but retractable > manual sharpening.
One swipe.

And the important thing is that it lasts all day. No smudging, no transfer. No green raccoon eyes. Of course, I only really wear it on the top lashline. (I also wore it on the lower lashline in this post; most of it was gone from the bottom by the end of the day, but I don't take it into the waterline, either.).

I want a warm copper for summer so I'll probably pick up another eventually. Maybe even one in black, so I can pretend to be all sultry and smokey-eyed, with the smudged out liner.
Here, I did a sort of "double wing" with liquid black liner on the bottom. It's a bit brighter in person.



If you're looking for a good pencil liner in a pretty budge-proof formula, I'd recommend this one. I am often frustrated by the lack of versatility with liquid liners (you can't really smudge it out without looking like a hot mess), even though I love them for their crisp, precise strokes. So, these are handy to have. Have you tried these? How do you feel about pencil liners? What's your weapon of choice?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sweet Anthem SA List: Summer 2014

[Purchased by me.]

The summer season of Sweet Anthem's SA List arrived, and here are my thoughts. I'm more of a crisp, clean spritzer or creamy white floral girl in the summer, but I found that these told stories of summers in other places, ones that are actually closer to home for those of us in the PNW.

Cooper: "What are these magnificent trees?"
Notes: Fir needle, coffee, teak, vetiver.

Confession and disclaimer: I do not like coffee as a perfume note. I find coffee scents cloying and odd and usually they remind me more of sugary drinks than coffee beans or strong black, steaming cups. Cooper definitely smells like coffee, so I can't love it. But it is a well-balanced scent. If you like stories, well: I can picture a man in plaid, out at a cabin in the woods. It's dark, stars are out, and he's cradling a steaming mug in his hands. Breathe in, and you can immediately smell the coffee - black and deeply fragrant. But then you stand there, taking in the stars, and you can start to smell the spice of the trees, and underneath that, the warm woodiness of the earth. That, ladies and gents, is Cooper.
Walden Pond.
[source]

Walden: "Heaven is under our feet and over our heads."
Notes: Petit Grain, White Pepper, Vintage Florals, Ambergris, Oakmoss
This vaguely reminds me of Caroline, an older, Sweet Anthem fragrance (still available). It's green and paints a picture of the eponymous pond (I had to read Walden in high school...oh man oh man) - woodsy and wet and carpeted with oakmoss. Like Cooper, I find Walden to be a rather atmospheric scent, more field than flowers, drenched with dew. It's a scent that carries the coolness of summer heat in the woods and in the mountains - because even though we forget it, summer happens in other places besides the beach. Summer for us means hiking in the beautiful PNW mountains and along rivers, and this is a perfect snapshot.

As summer offerings go, they're different and interesting, and if you're tired of white florals and beachy aquatics, this duo is something for you.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

GOLD, BABY: Shiseido GD817 Athena Lacquer Rouge

[Purchased by me.]

This is the last one I have (right now, *cough*) - you can see RD311 here, RD319 here, and BR616 here.
Single swipe of GD817. It's so pretty. I love eye shadows this color.

GD817 is the oddest one, because it's a coppery gold. And now I know you're thinking, "But Larie, what would you possibly want with that?"
GD817, worn very sheerly on its own.
Well, I like unique shades. Some perversity drew me toward it for that alone. And also, the idea of playing artist. I think it was created to experiment with - to amplify other shades and to turn them into new shades, as well. I'm not usually one to layer lip products (I'm lazy), but sometimes I want a specific color, and this is one way to achieve it.

Here are a few combinations I've tried:
Under Dior Enchanted Rose lip gloss. This is one of my favorite combinations - great low-key, healthy rosy nude lip. Other face makeup: Origins CC Cream (sample), Armani Sun Fabric Bronzer in 400. Eyes are Laura Mercier Rose Gold, Sugar Frost, and Amethyst Caviar Sticks, plus liner. Please excuse fluffy hair.

I love wearing it under gloss - like Dior Enchanted Rose. Favorite summer combination so far, I think (and it's not even summer!). It's also good under YSL 103 Opium Persan. Or any gloss, really - one that's not too metallic.
Lightly blotted in the center over Shiseido RD319 Pomodoro. Adds a bit of dimension.
It's also, of course, made to wear over the other Shiseido Lacquer Rouges. I like to wear it both over or under BR616, or lightly blotted in the center of lips for a bit of shine and dimension (like above). I can't wait to buy RD607 Nocturne and rock that combination in the fall/holiday seasons.
Over NARS Carthage. (Do I miss my fringe? Ho hum. I'm such a waffle).

Over a matte, bright pink lip? Check. It's transformed! Although I can't wear this shade of pink any more, guys. Look at that clash. *pulls paper bag over head*
For the upper lip, I applied Maybelline Signature  Scarlet first, then dabbed Shiseido GD817 over it and blended with a finger. On the lower lip, I reversed the order - Shiseido GD817 first, lightly applied all over lips, and then Maybelline Signature Scarlet over top. I prefer the second method (lower lip) - the applicator for the Lacquer Rouges lend themselves more to being a bottom layer under fluid glosses. It's less of a problem if you're applying them over mattes.

And last but not least, paired with a brilliant red for that holiday effect. This is with Maybelline Signature Scarlet.

Do I think everyone needs it? No. But if you're prone to experimenting with lip colors and like having a fun shade to change things up, it's hard to beat this one. Since it's not as fluid as a gold gloss, I feel like it's easier to control and use sparingly, which is key (although hey, bronzy gold lips could work on the right person - that person is just not me, haha).

If you have this one, let me know your favorite way to wear it! Even if you don't, what else should I try with it?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Brights for Eyes: Shiseido YE406 Revisited

A few of you asked about the bright eye look I was wearing in this post. As I mentioned, the SA had actually done that one, to play with some bright eye looks, but I had that trio, so I decided to see if I could replicate it. I think I actually ended up with a brighter look, if that's possible.

She originally used Shiseido Cream Eye Color in Moss to make the green pop, but I found that I could achieve the same brightness by laying down NARS Smudge-Proof Shadow Base.
Apologies for the messy palette. I use it. 

With a shorter, dense, flat brush (Sonia Kashuk No. 112), I patted down the green shade of the trio just over the lid, taking care not to extend it too far past the lid. Then I took a slightly fluffier brush (RT base shadow brush) and patted the yellow past the lid, overlapping only slightly at the crease. I blended out the overlapping area (the crease) very lightly with a fluffy blending brush. I finished with black liquid liner.

On the lower lashline, I used Laura Mercier Sandglow to line and then smudged the fuchsia shade of the trio on the outer half of the lower lashline.

I actually got a lot of compliments on this color combination, both times. So, even though it seems super bright, people seem to think it's still pretty wearable. Several of the SAs in Macy's told me that people seem interested when the SAs wear it (and ask what they are wearing), but once they see the colors in the pan they flee. That's a shame. In my original review, I wore the shadows more sheerly, so they don't have to be KAPOW. But you know, they can be. For spring.