Sunday, April 27, 2014

Slapdash Sunday: All Manner of Things (Mostly Flowers)

1. A Confession

I wrote the first draft of this post last night, under the influence of two of these:

Gin, cucumber Dry Soda (which you must try, if you have access to it), and enough fruit/veg garnish that I could pretend, at least for a few seconds, that it was a week from today and I was drinking a Pimm's Cup across the Atlantic. After a few gin-infused strawberries, I seem more charming to myself than I actually am, and my writing tends to suffer accordingly. Lucky for you that I didn't write too much, and that I edited the post this morning, under the less giddy-making influence of a large coffee.

2. A 花見 (Flower-Viewing)

This week saw the last meeting of my monthly dissertation seminar in Washington, DC. On my lunch break, I walked around Capitol Hill and took photos of nineteenth-century brickwork and cotton-candy-colored lilacs:

And white pom-pom flowers (scientific term, of course):

I arrived in Washington a couple of weeks too late for peak cherry-blossom season, but my hanami was no less enjoyable for that.

3. A Fool's Errand

I've mentioned my love-hate relationship with my local CVS, which, in addition to employing people who try to dissuade me from my lipstick purchases, takes forever to restock items. (Forget about stocking new makeup collections: the Revlon Matte and Lacquer Balms arrived four months after they were first released.) Since the beginning of April, I'd wanted to buy Maybelline Shocking Coral, the warm bright pink from the deservedly hyped Vivids range (coming soon in my Lipstick Chronology). There were two tubes of Shocking Coral at CVS, both mutilated by swatch-and-run offenders. I waited a couple of weeks; those tubes never got replaced, and no new ones came in. So on Thursday evening, while in Washington, I walked at least two miles to buy Shocking Coral at a CVS near the National Mall.

Yeah, the Capitol surrounded by flowering trees, whatever; give me my damn lipstick.

But what promised to be a perfect pinky coral turned into a standard fuchsia on my lips, which pull everything darker and cooler. I returned the lipstick so quickly that I never even took swatch photos. On to the next!

4. Noisy Lady: A NOTD

Last night I painted my nails with Essie Lady Like, a pink-mauve-nude that lives up to its name, and Maybelline Nighttime Noise, which I reviewed here.

Three coats of Lady Like; two of Nighttime Noise; one of Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat.

I prefer Nighttime Noise over a brighter background, but I do like the toned-down effect of this combination.

(ETA, several hours later: the more I looked at it, the more I disliked it, and finally I removed it in favor of Chanel Tapage. This is why I usually avoid glitter topcoats: you never know what you're going to get when you layer them over another color.)

5. A Request

In just over a week, I'll be leaving the country for the first time in six years. In June 2008, I returned to American shores from my junior year abroad at St. Anne's College, Oxford, my heart broken by a ten-minute dalliance with the JCR President, my alcohol tolerance at an all-time high. I'm now going back to the UK for a five-week stay (and two academic conferences, and a short jaunt to Italy), which means new beauty brands! This is where I need your help. Which British/European brands--preferably drugstore, preferably cruelty-free--should I look into? I already have my eye on & Other Stories, Illamasqua, and Barry M, but I know there must be more.

Oh, and I might as well confess here that I plan to buy a Dior Fluid Stick at the duty-free shop in the Newark airport. I haven't seen the range in person yet, but the recent flood of blog swatches has me infatuated with Wonderland, which looks like the perfect amalgam of fuchsia and coral. I feel like Henry VIII after seeing Holbein's portrait of Anne of Cleves. How could a two-dimensional image possibly mislead me?


  1. I love everything about this post! And you are a fellow gin-swilling broad! <3 Grab a bottle of Hendricks at DF when you land here -- it MUST be tried with cucumber slices & lightly macerated rose petals & a dash of rosewater.

    Beauty recs: Sleek blushes, natch. Kiko has a London shop on Regents St now a few doors down from &OS, as it can be annoying to track down in Italy. On Italian jauntings: Diego Dalla Palma, Pupa, and Catrice.

    I promise Wonderland looks nothing like a horse.

    1. Hell yes, I am a fellow gin-swilling broad. My apartment is a regular Gin Lane. I love Hendrick's, though I've never tried it with rose petals or rosewater, only with cucumber! And thanks so much for the recommendations--I remember reading your Diego Dalla Palma reviews, and will have to track those down again before I leave.

      But will I look like a horse *wearing* Wonderland? We shall see.

  2. You got your hands on Shocking Coral! Yippee! But boohissy-fit that it turned weird on you when applied. I hate when colors do that.

    I admire many things about this post of yours, except the gin. Had an overly indulgent incident back in college and I've never recovered my taste for gin. Though have to admit that cocktail does look refreshing, but thoughts about that gin smell makes me feel instantly queasy.

    1. A lot of bloggers said that Shocking Coral looked straight-up pink on them, so I don't know what I was expecting, especially since my lips are cooler-toned than most! But today I bought another Vivid, Vibrant Mandarin, and it's much closer to what I wanted from Shocking Coral. It looks like a standard orange on the tube, but my lips turn it into a redder coral.

      Oh no, poor Belly! Forever barred from the paradise of gin! D: I feel the same way about scotch, after a very drunken evening with very cheap scotch early in grad school. Now I refuse to try even the nice stuff.

  3. Ah, a beautiful drink (I love pretty much everything with soda or tonic, and Pimms with strawberries and cucumber is a summer favourite in these parts), a beautiful (in theory) lipstick, beautiful flowers and thepromise of travel to come :-D I don't know how you can stand your life at the moment, honestly :-P Also, I hate you. Just saying! :-D

    More seriously, have you considered Kiko cosmetics? I have absolutely no idea if they are cruelty free or not, unfortunately, but they have a phenomenal range of eyeshadow colours and a very affordable price point. Where are you going in Italy? It's one of my favourite countries :-) Hooray for conferences! (I shouldn't be too envious, I have one in Dubai in June!)

    1. I'm pretty lucky, it's true! And I've had a difficult semester, so I'm trying to focus on all the delightful things to come. I haven't looked into Kiko at all, but I will now! And I'm going to Venice for my conference (SO EXCITED OMG, I was there six years ago for three days and it's the most beautiful city I've ever seen), then over to Rome.

  4. Ah, so many pretties! I love a good gin, and Pimms is always a f*cking delight. My boyfriend was on a work trip to Tokyo recently and had a hanami (am I using it right?) picnic with some new friends -- I was so jealous. Speaking of jealousy -- UK TRIP ERMAGAWD! I'll be keeping an eye out for your haul/recommendations, as I'll be moving there in a few months. Seriously cannot wait for access to all the new to me brands.

    1. Hanami picnics sound like so much fun! Everyone gets drunk, apparently. :D And you're moving to the UK? That's so exciting! Where are you going to live?

      Thanks for giving me an excuse to buy lots of British makeup: you need my reviews! And I'm nothing if not altruistic.

    2. Yes! Will (the manfriend) has been there almost a year already. The plan was for me to finish the PhD and follow... that didn't work out because of reasons, so currently writing it up as a masters but I'm mentally over it already. It will be London to start off with, then we'll see how we go after that! Did you spend much time in London?

    3. Unfortunately, I spent only one day in London! I regret not traveling more during my nine months at Oxford, but I was broke and obsessed with my schoolwork.