"The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion, but cosmetics are easier to buy."
                                                                                              —Yves Saint Laurent

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Also, check out the blogsale.

· Consumer Diaries: March 2010
· Beauty Notes: A Full Set
· Perfume Notes: Chemistry
· Beauty Notes: The Beautiful Bruise
· Fashion Notes: Black with Brown

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Consumer Diaries: March 2010
by The Kindly One


There has been exactly one season of America's Next Top Model that I've missed. Otherwise, there has not been one moment that I've missed, and the mayhem has gotten even better with the addition of Andre Leon Talley, who has become my New Favorite Thing.



I've recently gotten back into reading American Vogue. It's something I fall in and out of touch with. The last couple of months have had more interesting articles and editorials to me than in the previous months. Plus, I think that step away made me appreciate it more. I get Vogue now. It's not meant to be taken seriously, really. It's meant to be some reportage of the real world of very privileged people saying very frivolous things and 90% fantasy, an exploration of what happens when you combine very fanciful, exquisite clothing with an Upper East Side sensibility. Because let's face it - even when Vogue does street, it's Lily and Serena van der Woodsen's* idea of "street," not Jenny's. Or even Vanessa's.

This image, sadly, is from Vogue Italia, which promotes captivating cover art, and not American Vogue, which does not.



Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colour in Burnished Copper ($22) has turned out to be a sleeper hit in my stash. I probably swatched this color for the first time a year or two ago and fell in love with its complexity, with hints of gold and orange suspended in shimmery red brown. I did not fall in love with the price or the likelihood of it's having very poor lasting power on my very oily lids. I finally caved on it a few months ago and find it's now one of my very favorite toys to reach for. I've found that using the smudger side of a cheap Sephora brush to thinly line my top and bottom lashes works beautifully to give a either a crisp, opaque line or a smudgier, sheer finish, depending on how I work the brush. I then either leave the line as is and tightline with black liner or add NYX's Eggplant or Red Bean Pie on top of Burnished Copper for a vibrant, shimmery pop of purple (the purple side of NARS Eurydice works well, too). The key to the look is Too Faced Shadow Insurance, which gives Burnished Copper lasting power and opacity (it's too sheer otherwise).



I'm really not a fan of leggings as outerwear. I think they lend the wearer to laziness and are largely unflattering. However, I had to break down and buy some when my tights failed to keep me warm in an unreasonably cold, bleak winter. I ended up getting these brushed leggings from Gap ($19.50) in athletic grey and black on sale (which look like they've sold out, leaving only navy). I get it now; there is nothing more comfortable than wearing something formfitting, soft and soothing on the skin. I leave mine under clothes or for loungewear, though.


I have a job that requires me to sit in front of a computer eight hours a day. It is very tedious and very boring (and so are my coworkers). To get through it, I listen to YouTube videos all day long. My favorites are cosmetics reviews and Ricky Gervais podcasts/radio edits. This is one of my favorite Karl Pilkington stories. I just like how he takes something somewhat commonplace and normal - the discussion of cloning - and weaves it into this bizarrely fantastical tale that has its own sense of the commonplace and ordinary to it.


This could take an age.


I knew I was in trouble when BleachBlack's Kristin posted this ring a couple of weeks ago. The site's coauthors have extended their collaboration with Urban Outfitters to include this ring. Though I typically don't wear jewelry, I think I could make an exception for something this stand-out and unusual, particularly as it is only $18 and I have a 10% UO code.


I've been excited about MAC's upcoming Art Supplies collection for a couple of months (US release date April 1; international release later in month). The collection features new Pearlglides and Pro Longwear Lipstain Markers, both of which I wanted to invest in heavily. I love Pearlglides; as I've discussed extensively with Dain, Dorothy, and Anne, my eyelids are too oily to keep on any gel pencil liners except these, which have the requisite grit to stay through the day. I was also excited to try the Lipstain Markers, having grown to prefer lip stains over gloss and lipstick. I'm a bit disappointed by the initial reviews, none of which are impressed with the color range of the Lipstain Markers, with some even saying they smell bad and taste weird. However, everyone's in agreement: the Pearlglides rock. I'm going to get mine on April 1 (I'll be damned if I miss out on these). The ones I'm particularly interested in are Undercurrent, a teal base with gold and green flecks, and Almost Noir, a browned-out plum.

While I'm at MAC, I'd also like a 208 Brow Brush ($19.50). I've never had a brush specifically made for the brow area, and let's be honest, some days it shows.

*In a total aside, perhaps Lily and Serena are the creepy Stepford, less cool, parallax universe version of Judy and Jane Aldridge?

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3/27/2010 [2]

Beauty Notes: A Full Set
by The Kindly One

This video is actually a very good resource on how to achieve full, separated, natural-looking lashes. It might seem easy on the surface to apply mascara - just swipe it on and go. In reality, though, unless you are born with naturally thick, long, curled lashes, achieving that effect takes real effort and technique. When done masterfully, it's an art form, just like applying red lipstick, and I like that this video nods to that.

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3/16/2010 [1]

Perfume Notes: Chemistry
by Dorothy

Like most of the Internet, I love this Old Spice commercial:

So archly funny and, unlike the craptastic Brut ads from last year, it plays on the "manly man" concept without being misogynistic, homophobic, or 10 years behind the times (mocking boybands in 2009? Really?).

Except that the premise of the ad, useful as it is from a marketing perspective, is flawed: in my experience, it's not that easy to stop a man from smelling like a man. Men and women apparently sweat a bit differently, but I've smelled a number of men just out of the shower, having used various girly bath products, and they still smell like men, not women. My boyfriend uses Dial almond body wash, which smells like a very low-rent take on Hypnotic Poison, and he still smells like a man. And I don't smell like a man, even when wearing Pour Monsieur, Guerlain Vetiver, or Troisième Homme.

(Of course, since North American culture still generally mistrusts femininity in men, it's far more socially acceptable for me to wear Pour Monsieur than for my boyfriend to wear Hypnotic Poison. More's the pity.)

Having this background, I was surprised to read in Turin and Sanchez's Perfumes: The Guide that skin chemistry doesn't affect perfume, or affects only the top notes, as this isn't my experience at all. Not only do women smell different from men, but we vary as individuals: plenty of people report that their skin amplifies some notes in perfumes and "disappears" others.

On my skin, most roses turn sour and boozy, even those that have a reputation for softness. Jasmine and tuberose have to be quite strong and indolic not to turn metallic and irritating, like the feeling of aluminum foil between one's teeth (hedione is apparently not my friend); green florals frequently turn into syrup or potpourri. But the real demon is melon. Le Parfum de Thérèse, widely loved for its jasmine and fruit salad aspects, smells utterly vile on me, like watermelon-flavoured Jolly Ranchers sucked on and spit out. And yet this is a very well-regarded scent: I have to conclude that it's my skin or my nose altering it this way.

This is what's especially difficult about writing about perfume, I think: most of us can see the same basic range of colours and call them the same things, and even guess, based on looking at each other, which makeup will flatter and which won't. But noses and skin chemistry are individual and not easily predicted; perfume really has to be tested.

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3/10/2010 [1]

Beauty Notes: The Beautiful Bruise
by The Kindly One

I've recently developed a strong appreciation for the combination of brown and blue eye makeup. It's an unexpected pairing. One wouldn't think it would work so well, but the blue adds dimension to a brown smoky eye, as well as a vibrant pop. I am particularly fond of the blue glitter liner used here by Xteener. It's a beautiful shade of blue, and the pairing with the brown keeps the whole look sophisticated rather than tacky. Personally, I've never had the personality that could carry glitter liner, but if you can wear it and rock it, I say go for it, particularly if the end result is as refined as this. For a more subdued look, though, you could also try brown shadow paired with sky blue, as seen at Elle's Video Star.

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3/09/2010 [2]

Fashion Notes: Black with Brown
by The Kindly One


As with most other fashion rules - no white after Labor Day, always wear hose with dresses and skirts, no shorts after summer - the rule against wearing black with brown has been thrown out the window. The pairing of black and brown can create a very rich look. The trick is to choose a brown that has some depth. Flat, matte true browns without depth cannot create a contrast against black, causing the colors to clash. Browns with depth, meaning those that feature an undertone color, create the illusion of depth and contrast with black, allowing the colors to work in concert. There are no particular undertones that must be paired with black, though I find medium-to-deep browns with warm undertones work best as they provide the most contrast. Should you wear a couple of brown items with black, there is no need to match the browns. The more depth, the better. Rather than getting hung up on specific shades, though, it's more important to focus on the visual depth you're creating. If the outfit has depth, you're on your way. If the brown and black you're wearing seem to clash, you probably need to find a more complex brown.

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3/02/2010 [0]

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