Monday, May 25, 2015

How to Apply American Apparel Glitter Nail Polish in Daisy Field

1. Spend several days wondering whether 27 is too old to wear a topcoat containing holographic microglitter and large pastel daisy-shaped glitter. Entertain paranoid visions of one of your advisors running into you in the department office, noticing your daisy-covered nails, and immediately losing all respect for you.


2. Decide that 27 is not too old, provided you layer Daisy Field over a neutral color. Choose Essie Marshmallow, which you haven't worn in well over a year.

3. Remember why you haven't worn Marshmallow in well over a year: because it still looks streaky after three coats and it takes forever to dry. %$@#@%#$!!!11!

4. 24 hours later, all three coats of Marshmallow are fully dry. Now for the fun part: adding the daisies.

5. Notice that the daisies are pink, yellow, and white, not pink, yellow, and orange, as you initially thought. This means that the white daisies won't even show up against the Marshmallow backdrop. ^%$&*!!1! How could you have taken so many photos of the bottle without observing the actual color of the polish? Have you slipped into the millennial habit of letting your smartphone camera replace your eyes? Are you looking without really seeing?

6. Glop a big puddle of Daisy Field onto your thumb, realizing too late that the puddle has none of the daisies in it. Ah, it's one of those topcoats.

7. Somehow manage to get a couple of daisies, and several layers of topcoat, onto each nail. Admire the result:


8. OH GOD IT LOOKS LIKE SHIT.

9. Compulsively peel off the daisies throughout the day, then remove Marshmallow. Back to square one.

10. Go for another neutral base color, but make sure this one is dark enough that the white daisies show up. Essie Chinchilly seems like a good option:


11. Apply three coats of Chinchilly, which is mercifully quick to dry. Next day, head into the living room at 6:30 am and stare down your nemesis. You'll master Daisy Field this time, damn it.

12. First, apply a thin coat of Daisy Field to all of your nails, avoiding the flower glitter. The first coat will deposit the smaller bluish glitter and provide a sticky base for the daisies.

13. Glob a puddle of polish onto a piece of paper. I used a handout from an academic talk given by someone I disliked, someone who would probably bristle at the thought of his very srs handout playing host to flower-shaped glitter.

14. Fish the flowers out of the clear goo and arrange them on your nails to your liking. I used a fingertip for this. Make sure the flowers lie flush to your nail; if an edge is peeking up here and there, that piece has a good chance of falling off.


15. Add a clear topcoat to seal in all in (I used Seche Vite). Note that the topcoat won't produce a perfectly smooth finish: the flowers will still feel raised from the nail and rough to the touch.

16. Hey, it worked! Take 983573 photos of your nails and post the best ones to Instagram.



17. Take a shower and notice that a few daisies fell off when you washed your hair. Replace them as best you can.

18. Go about your daily business. Damn it, there are two more daisies gone.

19. When all of your fingers except your thumbs are missing daisies, remove the marred polish and go for a simpler design: Chinchilly under a coat of Daisy Field minus the daisies. The silvery-blue glitter turns out to be very pretty on its own.


So, yeah. Daisy Field is a fussy, time-consuming product. I could have predicted this had I been used to working with topcoats containing big glitters, but I usually avoid anything that could be read as "nail art." I love seeing nail art on other people (witness all the nail blogs I follow on Tumblr and Instagram--this is my favorite one), but I always fear that it makes me look childish or unprofessional, which is absurd given that I'm a graduate student without a real-person job. I loved the effect of Daisy Field, though; I just wish all the daisies had lasted a bit longer. They're too big to lie flat on the most curved parts of my nails, so one petal or another always seems to be poking up.

I doubt I'll spend another day placing daisies on all of my nails, but I might wear them again on my thumbs for accents and use the smaller glitter on my other nails. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from buying Daisy Field; just know what you're getting yourself into.


So pretty, though. So, so pretty. And maybe the prettier for being ephemeral? Who knows.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

So You Want to Start a Beauty Blog

Since joining Instagram two months ago, I've become more aware than ever of the sheer number of beauty blogs out there. It seems like every other woman on Instagram identifies herself in her profile as a beauty blogger. The #bbloggers tag accrues hundreds of new posts per minute (granted, some of these are spammers misusing the tag to draw attention to themselves, but hey). I used to worry that blogging was a dying art, but now I'm not so sure.

What I am fairly sure of, though, is that many people are getting into blogging for the wrong reasons, or going about it in a misguided way. They need some advice. Do they need my advice, specifically? Maybe not, but I'm going to offer it anyway, because that's the sort of person I am. I've held off from making this post for fear of coming off as a pompous windbag, but given that I'm training to be a full-time pompous windbag (i.e. academic), why should I hesitate? So, without further ado, some dos and don'ts of beauty blogging, drawn from my own experience as a blogger and dedicated reader of blogs.

Is this also an excuse for me to rail against everything that annoys me about the blogging world? Why, yes, but I'll try to keep it nice.

What not to do:

Don't start a blog for the purpose of money or fame. We all know about those bloggers who have been able to quit their jobs and blog for a living. Here's the thing: with very few exceptions, those bloggers started several years ago, when fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blogs were thinner on the ground than they are today. Temptalia started in late 2006 and Makeup and Beauty Blog in early 2007. These days, the blogosphere is saturated, and the blogging bubble has started to burst. Remember when fashion bloggers like Tavi and Bryan Boy were sitting front row at couture shows? Yeah, that was back in 2010 or so (and even Tavi has moved on to other ventures). Brands are no longer desperate to work with bloggers. You may be able to earn a bit of money eventually, but not enough to make a living, and meanwhile you may find yourself neglecting your real livelihood, as blogging can be very time-consuming. I would strongly encourage you to think of your blog as a hobby. That may change for you in the future, but it probably won't, and thinking of it as a hobby keeps it fun.

Don't spam other sites with links to your blog. You can always tell the people who started their blog for the wrong reasons (see above), because they leave blog comments like "Great post! Check out my blog: [link]." It looks desperate, and desperation isn't cool. Before you start scattering your links like so many dandelion seeds, think about why you want people to visit your blog. Is it because you want to have interesting exchanges with like-minded people? Or is it because you want the empty ego boost of pageviews and followers? It's fine to want both (who doesn't want an empty ego boost every so often?), but be warned: if you dedicate yourself to gathering as many pageviews as possible, it won't be long before people are commenting "Great post! Check out my blog: [link]" on your posts. And you will be annoyed.

This goes for your activity on social media sites, too. Don't make yourself a nuisance on Instagram with "f4f" or "likes for likes" requests. This behavior says, "I don't like your account enough to follow it for its own sake; I have to be certain that you'll follow me back, too." It's insulting. Just post what you want to post and follow the people you want to follow. Simple as that.

Don't make promises. You're excited about starting your blog, so you've no doubt planned out a posting schedule, at least one weekly series (a new red-lipstick review every Wednesday, or whatever), and a list of things that your readers can expect from your blog. That's great--just don't share any of this with your readers, especially not in your very first post. Your blog is almost certainly going to change as you get used to writing it, and there's no point in drawing up elaborate plans until you know what blogging is actually like and how many posts your schedule can accommodate. I try to post every three days, but sometimes a week passes between posts, because my blog isn't my job and I have shit to get done offline. I won't pretend I don't feel bad about this, but I don't feel that bad, because I've never promised regular posts. The more promises you make, the guiltier you'll feel at your inevitable failure to fulfill all of them, and the more guilt creeps into your blogging, the less fun it will be for you.

Don't apologize for your failures to post on time. I promise, no one is biting their nails and wondering why you haven't posted in five days. Feeling guilty about this creates a cycle of shame and procrastination, and nothing signals the downfall of a blog more clearly than a series of widely spaced posts beginning "Sorry I haven't posted in forever, but life got in the way."

Don't dilute your content by reviewing unrelated products.
You can probably line up some press samples of makeup if you write to the right people, but I've heard from other bloggers that those quickly become a burden instead of a pleasure. Once a brand has your address, it can send you anything and everything, and you don't want to become one of those bloggers who end up writing reviews of toilet paper. Have some fucking dignity.

At least at first, you probably won't get unsolicited correspondence from brands you recognize, but you may well get emails that sound like they were put together by a content aggregator. To quote one that I received recently: "Given your trendy beauty expertise, we would love for you to share some of your favorite looks matched up with pieces of lingerie collection! What best your favorite look?" Do not engage.

Don't interpret criticism or disagreement as "hate."
In the beauty blogging community, most people are extremely nice to each other. This is great--believe me, I'm not complaining--but it can also foster an environment in which any comment that isn't 100% positive is dismissed as "haters gonna hate." It's important to distinguish between obvious trolling (e.g. "hey, bitch, you're an ugly bitch") and well-meant comments that might not be phrased in the most tactful way. Keep an open mind and, when in doubt, kill 'em with courtesy. Which brings me to my next point...

Don't get into online fights.
No commenter on my blog has ever been less than delightful (thanks, guys!), but I've gotten into quarrels elsewhere on the Internet, and I've never failed to regret it. If someone does try to start a fight with you, don't engage. It's never, ever worth it. No one wins, no one convinces anyone else of their opinion, and everyone gets more upset than they were before they weighed in. What I love doing, instead, is being annoyingly conciliatory to people who are clearly spoiling for a fight. "Hey, you make a really good point! Thanks for the insight"--something like that. Few people can stay belligerent when confronted with level-headed courtesy, and you'll probably irritate them, too. Win-win.

What to do:

Do leave thoughtful comments on other people's blogs.
The best way to gain new readers is indeed by commenting, but you have to do it in a genuine and well-considered way. I'm sure there are a few people who have inspired you through their own blogs. If you don't already comment there, now is the time to start. Really engage with their ideas, and resist the urge to copy and paste that precious link at the end of your comment. Your blog name will show up at the top of the comment, and that's seriously all you need.

Do reply to comments on your own blog.
I don't expect huge bloggers to address every comment (though some do, which is awesome), but if you're getting just a few comments per post, and especially if they're thoughtful comments, responding is a nice thing to do. (If you're getting "hey read my blog thx [link]" comments, that's a different story.) Sometimes you'll be too busy to reply, and that's fine, but do make the effort at least sometimes.

Do think about what sets you apart from other bloggers.
There are thousands of beauty blogs out there, and people start new ones every month. So why should we read yours? Maybe you don't know the answer yet. Maybe you just want to talk about your latest obsessions, and you don't care who reads your posts. That's fine--you'll get a better sense of what makes your approach distinctive, and what people value about your writing, as you go. Just know that if it is followers you're after (no one wants to shout into a void, after all), you need to contribute something unique to the conversation.

Do read GOMI.
Yeah, I said it. Get Off My Internets has its share of nitpickers, obsessives, and trolls, but many commenters there, especially in the forums, are intelligent, insightful, and fucking hilarious. I believe strongly in the value of satire and anonymous snark (both of which existed thousands of years before the Internet). Blogging has become conspicuously monetized in the last few years, and as long as this process continues, we need to be skeptical about bloggers who are trying to sell us something--an image, a lifestyle, an endorsed product. No discourse should become so huge as to mute all other discourses, and this applies to beauty blogging just as much as it does to politics. Take what you read on GOMI (and elsewhere, including this blog) with a grain of salt, but know that you can find some good blogging tips there.

Do proofread thoroughly.
Online publishing and sloppy editing go together like gin and tonic (can you tell that I'm drinking one now?), and the biggest sites can be the worst offenders. Given this dismal state of affairs, you might think that a small personal blog doesn't need to be proofread very carefully, but nothing makes me close a window faster than a legion of misspellings and misplaced punctuation marks.

Do make sure that blogging stays fun for you.
What aspects of blogging bring you joy? Keep those in mind, and never let them get too far from you. If your blog becomes a chore, you'll probably lose the will to continue. But also...

Do accept that your blog won't continue forever.
Knowing that it will have an end, whether next year or five years from now, is paradoxically freeing. You aren't chained to your blog. It's not an obligation. This is something you chose to do, and you can choose to stop whenever you like.

That's all I've got for now. Do you have anything to add?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

La Vie En Corail: Milani Rose Powder Blush in Coral Cove

I'm an ocean away from the product I'm about to describe, writing through a haze of jet lag. Let's see how this post turns out.

For the longest time, I avoided any hint of orange in my face makeup. My desire for knowledge of colors and undertones turned into a harmful strictness, and I assumed that because I was relatively cool-toned, I should wear warm colors sparingly. I kept buying vivid blue-red lipsticks, ignoring my suspicion that they looked a bit off against my complexion. They were cool-toned and I was cool-toned, so they must be my most flattering colors, right? Right.

In the same spirit, I wore my warmest blush, Sleek Life's a Peach, only occasionally until this spring. One day, on a whim, I applied a little more Life's a Peach than usual before putting on Urban Decay Streak, and I was shocked at how the milky peach blush and lipstick lit up my complexion. Part of the reason was no doubt that I'd finally put on an appropriate amount of blush instead of dusting a few particles across my cheekbones, but also? Peach looked good on me. It was a revelation.

I still didn't think I needed more than one peachy blush, but that changed last week, when one of Milani's new rose-shaped powder blushes caught my eye during a CVS run.


I left it on the shelf, thinking that between Life's a Peach and Face Stockholm Paris, I was covered for warm pink blushes. But I made the mistake of posting the above photo on Instagram, which somehow cemented my desire. Funny how that happens, isn't it? I read a few reviews, all of which agreed that the formula of the rose blushes had vastly improved since last year, when they were released as limited-edition products. I believe the new ones are permanent, and there are three colors: Coral Cove, a bright peachy coral; Romantic Rose, a mauvey nude similar to Illamasqua Zygomatic; and Tea Rose, a midtone cool pink. It didn't take me long to succumb to temptation and bring Coral Cove home.

As you can see, it looks softer and more orange in natural light than it did under the harsh fluorescent lights at CVS:


What this photo may not make clear is that the rose blushes are absolutely massive, at 17g (0.6oz). By contrast, Illamasqua blushes weigh 4g, NARS blushes are 4.8g, and my second-largest blushes, by Sleek, are 8g. The packaging of the rose blushes is hefty and sturdy, and I wondered briefly if the thick plastic made up some of that 17g. But the FDA mandates that the weight listed on the label of a beauty product "must accurately reveal the quantity of cosmetic in the container"; in other words, if I understand correctly, the 17g is all blush. Buying a Milani rose blush is something of a commitment: not a monetary commitment (I paid just under $8), but a more metaphysical commitment. For us beauty addicts, the satisfaction of using up a product is a close second to the satisfaction of buying it, but I know very well that I won't hit pan on this anytime soon. Not even if I adopt the Meadham Kirchhoff SS12 aesthetic:


The good news is, that rose pattern won't be worn away for a good while. I left Coral Cove unopened for days because I was so afraid to swatch it and ruin the pristine design, but this blush is built to withstand more than a tentative swatch.


Speaking of which, here's Coral Cove swatched between Sleek Life's a Peach (left) and Face Stockholm Paris:


In both temperature and intensity, Coral Cove lies almost exactly halfway between those two. (Making these swatches reminded me how infrequently I wear Paris, which never seems to flatter me as much as I thought it would when I ordered it. I might just blogsale the thing and have done with it.)


The photo above gives a slightly better idea of the textural differences between the three. Coral Pop is the most matte, but it's also soft and finely milled, which makes it sit quite naturally on my skin. Here I am wearing it with Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin lipstick, a new dress from Urban Outfitters, and post-shower frizz:


And with Urban Decay Streak the next day:


Due to its intensity, Coral Cove stands out on my complexion slightly more than Life's a Peach does, but I don't think it looks unnatural.


Because of its size, I decided not to bring Coral Cove with me to England this week, but now I'm kind of regretting it. Then again, the current weather doesn't exactly make me feel like adorning my cheeks with coral:


I did not pack warmly enough for this nonsense.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Beauty Abroad, Part 15: Inglot Eyeshadows in 08 and 433

In the last couple of weeks, I've been a bad early modernist: I've watched the BBC miniseries of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall without first reading the books. I did start reading Wolf Hall two years ago, but I just couldn't get into it, despite my childhood obsession with Tudor history. There's something about grad school that makes one averse to novels set in the time period one studies. (My own research interests lie in Stuart, not Tudor, England, but the early 16th century is close enough.) However, I didn't have any trouble getting absorbed in the BBC version, not least because of its aesthetic richness. The indoor scenes are filmed in deep shadow to evoke an era before electricity. The costumes and hairstyles make me feel like I'm watching Holbein portraits come to life (indeed, Holbein makes a cameo in the fourth episode). And while the makeup is historically accurate, i.e. barely there, I can still find beauty inspiration in the colors that the characters wear. The standout shade for me is Anne Boleyn's signature greenish yellow--a cross between mustard, chartreuse, and bronze. Ignore the reflection of my melon head below.


You can find this color and its relatives in a number of Renaissance paintings, including Holbein's 1540 portrait of Henry VIII:


My love for old gold, or whatever you want to call it, is nothing new. NARS Paramaribo has been on my eyeshadow wishlist for well over a year, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Abyssinian Catbird recently joined it, thanks to Belly's RBR roundup post. Most shades of yellow do my complexion no favors, but yellow with hints of brown and green can be surprisingly flattering--look how well the shade suits another pale, cool-toned, brunette AB:


So it's no wonder that on my trip to Toronto's Inglot store with Liz last week, I gravitated toward the antiqued-looking olive-gold #433, though not after a good deal of heart-eyed browsing. Despite its small size, the store was overwhelming. So many eyeshadow and blush and lip palettes to be created!


I almost emulated our beloved Sylirael, who went for a blue-purple lipstick duo on her visit to Dubai's Inglot store, but I've been trying very hard to limit my lipstick purchases this year. In fact, I haven't bought a lipstick since Milani Matte Naked in late February--and if I've received another as a gift since then, well, that wasn't my fault, even if I did request it. And lip liners and glosses don't count as lipsticks, right? Right. Time for a paragraph break!

Anyway, I opted for an eyeshadow duo instead. (Liz displayed more restraint and bought a single taupe shadow.) Inglot's "Freedom System" requires you to buy a palette separately from the makeup you want to put in it. I paid $9 CDN for the empty duo palette and $10 for each shadow, which came to $24 in American monies--not cheap, but $11 less than a NARS duo. (In the US, each shadow is $7 and the palette is $8: you Canadians are right that Americans have it easy.) If you want the makeup itself, you get a lidless metal pan, which can be inserted into a Z Palette or whatever. This is ideal for serial depanners, but I found it a bit annoying, since I don't own a magnetic palette and had no choice but to buy the Inglot palette to hold my shadows. Oh well, the experience of choosing the colors was worth the extra $9. After much dithering, I settled on #433 and, as a highlight shade, pale gold #08. (I own almost no highlight shades and dislike the ones I do own, like the frosty white and bright yellow-gold in theBalm's Nude 'tude palette.)

Here are all the components in their boxes:


Unboxed:


And nestled in the palette:


The lid is held to the pan with those two tiny magnets. This arrangement looks nice but doesn't feel terribly secure. I wouldn't travel with this duo unless I held the lid in place with a rubber band or hair tie, and even then I'd be wary. To access the shadows, you must either remove the lid entirely or use one of the magnets as a hinge, like so:


I am a spastic, clumsy individual in general, and I always experience a twinge of fear when I start to push the lid to the side. I am 90% sure that at some point in the near future, my hands will shake while I'm reaching for the palette and send the eyeshadows, pan, and lid flying every which way. For now, though, let's leave the realm of paranoia and enter the realm of product photos.

Here's the duo in sunlight, which makes 433's olive tones come through:


08 and 433 swatched in shade:


In direct sunlight:


Each of these swatches has been built up somewhat--the eyeshadows are on the light, powdery side. As I've said before, I don't actually like hyper-pigmented, hyper-opaque shadows, but I do wish these had a little more opacity.

Here's 08 (right) next to theBalm Snobby, the aforementioned yellow-gold. As you can see, 08 is cooler and paler, which means that it pairs more harmoniously with my favorite eyeshadow colors. Granted, theBalm's formula is better than Inglot's (that's one pass of Snobby vs. two or three of 08), but I'm not sure I've ever worn Snobby out of the house, so.


And here's 433 with a few bronzey shades, plus one olive. Left to right: Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, theBalm Seductive, Inglot 433, NYX Iced Mocha, and Kiko 270.


433 is by far the goldest (is that a word?) of the three. Unlike Snobby, though, it has an antiqued, almost decayed quality to it. I love this color, guys, and I don't even know what to call it.

It's a testament to my love that I wore this duo for three days in a row this past week, each time in the same placement and with the same accompanying makeup: Illamasqua Zygomatic blush and Milani Matte Naked lipstick. I realized the other day that I haven't posted a makeup look on this blog since April 13, a full six posts ago, so allow me to rectify that lack with a surfeit of my face. In all the photos, I'm wearing 08 on the inner 2/3 of my mobile lid and 433 on the outer 2/3 and along my lower lashline.


The Inglot SA assured me that the combination would set off my eyes, and I think she was right:


Ooh, shiny:


Now, what to call this duo? I'd like to give it a place name, along the lines of most of the NARS duos--this is the poor man's Paramaribo, after all. Something that evokes Renaissance England, I think. Whitehall? Hatfield? Help me out here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Beauty Abroad, Part 14: Notes from Toronto

Many thanks to everyone who gave me Canadian beauty advice! As it turned out, I bought three beauty items in Toronto, none of them from a Canadian company: an American Apparel nail polish, a Face Shop sheet mask, and an Inglot custom eyeshadow duo.


I almost never wear glitter topcoats, but I made a (possibly unwise) exception for AA's Daisy Field. I'm glad I live in a world where one can wear blossom-shaped glitter on one's nails.


I'm very pleased with the Inglot duo, which comprises a pale gold and a dark greenish gold (it looks olive here, but it's much yellower on the eyes). Expect a review soon!


Those of you who commented on my last post seemed to agree that there's not much difference between Canadian and American beauty offerings, except that Americans have it easier price-wise. By and large, I found this to be true. There's far more overlap between CVS and Shoppers Drug Mart than there is between, say, CVS and Superdrug or Boots. I did hope to track down some Joe Fresh lipstick or nail polish, but the brand was curiously elusive. It's sold only in Loblaws and dedicated Joe Fresh stores, neither of which I happened upon during my 48 hours in Toronto. But I got my hands on some Canadian makeup nonetheless: when I met up with Liz for brunch and some beauty shopping, she kindly passed along a bag of goodies that included a few Canadian products, like a Joe Fresh nail polish and an Annabelle eyeshadow trio.


Thank you, Liz, both for the makeup and for being a delightful brunch-and-Inglot companion. <3


Speaking of brunch, I was very impressed with the food in Toronto. Standouts included squash fritters and tofu pad Thai at Khao San Road, an insanely popular Thai restaurant (our wait time was an hour); eggs and smoked salmon on a cheddar biscuit at the Queen and Beaver Pub; and, at Woodlot, a dinner of nesting-doll dishes. You know: those dishes that look simple but feature so many components that you have to glance back at the menu periodically while eating to remind yourself what you ordered. In my case, this was (I quote from the menu) a "Clash of Kings" cocktail ("Lazzaroni Amaretto with Angostura 1919 rum/aromatic bitters and wild cherry"); "shiitake and smoked potato sourdough ravioli with balsam fir butter, mushroom cider glaze, dandelion and parmesan"; and "super dense chocolate cake with passion fruit curd, toasted coconut marshmallow and mint." Jesus.


Did the balsam fir butter make a difference? Did it matter that it was mushroom cider glaze and not just cider glaze? Hard to say, but everything was delicious. I especially loved the cocktail (all the drinks had incongruous Game of Thrones-themed names), but I failed to take a photo because I am a bad blogger and a worse Instagrammer. Suffice to say that I should use amaretto in my homemade cocktails more often.

Of course there were simpler culinary pleasures, too, like my first Tim Hortons donut, eaten while hastily revising my conference paper:


And a mimosa and bowl of oatmeal from the O&B Canteen, where I had post-conference brunch with the other presenters on my panel. The menu promised apple preserves as a topping, but I got peanut butter and banana instead. This would have been a problem if I were allergic to peanuts; luckily, peanut butter is one of my favorite oatmeal toppings. A good friend once described herself as living "a very, very cinnamon-oriented lifestyle"; I feel the same way about peanut butter.


This was a great weekend on pretty much all fronts. The weather was perfect, we ate delicious food with friends old and new, I heard a k-pop song playing in public for the first time in my life (a song by one of my favorite girl groups, no less), and I got to investigate some of the distinctive Edwardian brick architecture along Palmerston Boulevard.


This house had three balconies and a crenellated tower:


One of Palmerston's cross streets is Herrick, which caused my boyfriend and me to geek out and take photos of each other next to the street sign, because we both love Robert Herrick. I assume the street is named after a different Herrick than the author of the Hesperides, but who knows? (I'm sure someone knows.)


Since coming home, I've been sorting out various things (a chapter draft, a summer job, housing for next year), so I haven't had much time for blogging. I predict that the blog will be pretty quiet for the next week or two, as well: I'm flying to the UK on Tuesday and have a lot to do before then! I'll review my Inglot duo in the next few days, though, and continue sampling my way through the makeup that Liz gave me. I'm currently wearing Butter London Bossy Boots, a beautiful pistachio green with a hint of gray:

 

As you might be able to tell from the quality of the light, summer arrived almost without warning--much like the end of this post. See you soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AB Goes to Toronto (What I'm Bringing + What Should I Do/Buy?)

How's that for a convoluted title? Anyway, I'm going to Toronto for the first time at the end of this week! I'll be presenting at a conference and will be in the city for a mere 48 hours, so I won't have much time for sightseeing (though I have a couple of meals planned with friends who have ended up there over the years). However, I know I have a few Canadian readers, and I'd love some advice on what to do in Toronto--I'll be staying downtown in the theatre district, but I might have time to go elsewhere.

What I'll almost certainly have a chance to do, however, is duck into a drugstore and look at all the Canadian makeup, so let me know if you have any recommendations! I'm planning to check out the Joe Fresh lipsticks, and I've heard good things about Annabelle and Lise Watier makeup as well. Overall, though, I'm pretty ignorant about Canadian brands. Please enlighten me! What is not to be missed? What should I skip entirely?

Also, since I usually pack my makeup at the last possible second, I thought I'd use this post to do some planning for once. I'm not going to be too strict about limiting my makeup stash, since a couple of extra eyeshadows and lipsticks won't make much difference in terms of weight, but in terms of dignity...well. I hope that making a list beforehand will keep me accountable. I'm planning to bring enough makeup for one cool-toned look, one warm-toned look, and one neutral look.

Eyeshadow: I know by now that I almost never feel like putting together elaborate eye looks while traveling. NARS Lhasa, ColourPop Bill, and theBalm Nude 'tude Palette will be more than enough for neutrals (I also use one of the Nude 'tude colors for brow powder). For a point of interest in this expanse of taupe, I'll throw in Kiko Stick Eyeshadow #16, a shimmery dark purple that I've been enjoying wearing on my outer lids and lower lashlines recently.

  
Blush: One easy-to-apply neutral cream (Illamasqua Zygomatic) and one bright warm powder (Sleek Life's a Peach).


Lipstick: I like having options, so I'm resigned to bringing more lipsticks than I'll end up wearing. To lend some interest to the black-and-gray dress I'll be wearing to deliver my paper, I'll wear a bright, long-wearing lipstick, either NARS Mysterious Red or NARS Angela. I'll also bring a few spring favorites for variety's sake (subject to change, of course): NARS Dolce Vita, Urban Decay Streak, and Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin. These three are also comfortable to wear on dry lips, which I'm sure I'll appreciate after my two flights in three days. Damn it, I hate flying, so why am I always getting myself into transatlantic relationships and international conferences?

Counter-clockwise from top: Streak, Vibrant Mandarin, Mysterious Red, Angela, Dolce Vita. Not that you need a guide: you've seen all five far too often on my blog.


Other: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla, CoverGirl spot concealer, Vaseline Rosy Lips, Palmer's Cocoa Butter lip balm, Milani clear brow gel, Fresh Citron de Vigne rollerball, CoverGirl LashBlast Length mascara, and whatever nail polish I'm wearing when I leave on Friday, plus Seche Vite topcoat. Currently on my nails is Essie Play Date, a medium blue-toned purple, but I know that it's chip-prone--as in, I applied it last night and it's already begun to wear off. I'll probably replace it tomorrow with a longer-wearing polish like Formula X Enigma. Or OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries, which also matches NARS Angela. Decisions, decisions.


Finishing this post means I can no longer put off finishing my conference paper. Sigh.