Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maybelline Gel Liner in Forest

Let's talk about the Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner in Forest, a gorgeous blackened teal that makes an opaque line and sticks around all day. A little over four years ago, I reviewed the MAC Kohl Power in Mystery, putting it through the ultimate test: having a baby. One of my favorite things about it was the color--more so than even the staying power. The color, a rich, blackened teal, would work for any eye color. It made it through the whole labor and delivery process, too. Well, Maybelline's blown the MAC one out of the glistening blue-green water with this product.

Maybelline's gel liner in Forest has got more teal, but it's still dark enough to line even the darkest lashes without looking "off." I tend to have that problem, so I usually have to put a swipe of colored liner above a black line snuggled in against my lashes if I want to do something out of the ordinary along my lash line. This line looks like it's a soft black until the light hits it. I'm reminded of dragonfly wings.

The staying power is perfect. If I put it on in the morning, it's still there at night and, barring an incredible attack of allergies, it looks freshly applied. It's smooth and goes on with very little effort at all, especially with the brush that's included (more on that later).

The price of the Maybelline liner is kind of high unless you can get it during a BOGO or BOGO 50% off sale. It retails at around $10, but that includes a brush. Speaking of the brush, I think it's different from the ones that came out with earlier gel liners from this line. I remember those first ones being angled, scratchy, and destined for the trashcan as soon as I opened up the package. The one that came with this pot of liner is indispensable. It's soft, flat, and tapered at the tip. It's perfect for doing a thick or thin line. I like to line the outer edge of my eye with the brush turned to the thicker side, then go along the inner half of my lid and my lower lash line with the thinner edge. There's no scratchiness at all, though the brush is firm enough to withstand eyeliner application.

I love this one and I think I may want to go back and get Sapphire too, which was released within the same collection.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Marc Jacobs Daisy

Daisy By Marc Jacobs for Women Eau De Toilette Spray, 1.7 -Ounce

From what I've seen in the fashion world, the man can do no wrong. Daisy's no exception, though I do wish it would last longer. I can smell it well for a couple of hours, then I really have to search for it. It doesn't fade completely, but it is much fainter than some of my other favorites after the same amount of time. That could be the nature of this kind of fragrance since I normally like heavier oriental scents. Maybe when the weather's more reliably hot, I'll find that it sticks around more.

I bought the .67 oz eau de toilette spray because I'm both a commitment-phobe and an art lover. I didn't need a full-size bottle, but I wasn't going anywhere without that pretty plastic daisy (there's a rollerball version available for those who don't care about the flower on top). It's smaller than I expected it to be, but it's very cute. It only has one daisy on top and the bigger bottles have two.

The notes are: strawberry, violet leaves, ruby red grapefruit, gardenia, violet petals, jasmine petals, musk, vanilla, and white woods. None of those really overpower any of the others, and they mingle together so nicely it really is like you're out in a field somewhere on a non-humid, breezy summer day, wearing a sundress and enjoying a day off from real life. If I had to pick a note that stood out the most, I'd have to say it's the strawberry.

Daisy reminds me a lot of Miss Dior Cherie, a little of Ralph Lauren Romance (without that mysterious sharp note) and a tiny bit of YSL Babydoll, which smells absolutely delicious normally but was so peachy/grapefruity on me, I had to let the windows down in the car so I didn't choke my best friends with my synthetic B.O. There's no "stank" with Marc Jacobs Daisy--it's just beautiful, delicate, and unobtrusive. Unfortunately, this isn't the most unique scent in the world, but hey--it's sweet, fresh, clean, flowery--a crowd-pleaser, for the most part, and really "unique" scents often aren't.

Some people may say this is a "young" scent, but I feel completely at ease wearing it and I'm almost 30. (I was also born 50.) haha  I think any woman who wants to feel light and carefree without venturing over to the dark side of Victoria's Secret's fruity-florals would love it. Sephora's description says it's sophisticated with a hint of whimsy, and I think that's a good way to sum it up. It's work-friendly, daytime-friendly, and if you do wear it at night, you probably won't get kicked out of bed.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road (Movie Tie-in Edition 2009) (Vintage International) This book left me unable to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down for a few weeks. Though I'm still not giving it either, per se, I feel that I've processed it enough to form an opinion at this point. It's dark. It's dreary. It's post-apocalyptic, and unfortunately it never says what really happened to cover the world in ash and leave some good guys and some bad guys to trek along eating their own kind or scavenging for canned goods and soap in deserted basements. The main characters have no names; they're "the man" and "the boy." They're some of the few people left, and they're trying to make it across the country (or at least a big chunk of it) to the sea.

Because I read the book, I will not see the movie. There are two main reasons:
1. The book is written so beautifully, it's like 200+ pages of sheer poetry. McCarthy paints his bleak images with words as skillfully as Dali painted his vibrantly colored clocks dripping down the page with oil paints. I wasn't completely sure I was going to buy it even though I'd heard good things about it, so I sat down in the play area with Ramona. She played with trains and I started down the long, long, LONG (there are no chapter breaks) path that was The Road. I was instantly locked in, moved by the language. I'm a sucker for language. Before I knew it, I was 15 or 20 pages in and Ramona wanted to leave. So I bought it.

2. Because the imagery is so good, I have no desire to see it "in real life" on the screen. What's in my head is enough to haunt me. I think they must leave the baby boy roasting on a spit out of the movie, but they don't leave out the basement of people who are trapped and waiting to be eaten. I haven't heard one way or the other about the pitiful, desperate old man the main characters leave in the road to die, naked, after he tries to steal their cart full of goods and even their shoes. (I can't say that I blame the dad for being so angry at the man, because if the man had succeeded in taking their food and shoes, they'd have died. I still understand the old man's perspective as well.) There's no reason for me to reinforce any of these images in my mind.

The most action in the book is when the dad has to pull a gun on a guy who threatens his son. There's also the basement part. Most of the book makes you feel as if you're trudging along beside them, except your stomach may be full. There's not a lot more. They're walking, you're reading. You may even feel guilty for seeing an odd beauty in the destruction (thanks to the word choices) as you drag your feet along with them, a little off the main road.

The father-son relationship will bring you to tears at points. They each try to give up things so the other can have them. The dad makes himself a cup of hot water and sprinkles the last bit of instant hot chocolate in the cup for his son, pretending that he has some too so that the son won't feel bad. Typical parent moment in the midst of the desolate world. Sometimes the boy is the father's conscience when the father is too hardened from trying to protect and feed his son and himself.

I'm not disappointed that I read it or sad that I bought it. I do wish there was more of an explanation about what happened, a few more "action" points, and maybe one more ray of sunshine through the ash. It was depressing, but after a stint of reading the Pretty Little Liars books, it was almost a welcome change. Almost. If you love language and you don't mind a gruesome image here and there that may stay with you long after you've closed the book, I recommend it. If you don't like heavy reads that illustrate what could be a very real future, stay away.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fun Activity for Kids: Painting Shirts

My friend and I decorated our own t-shirts last week and let Ramona in on the action. She loved participating (we used paint pens for less of a mess). Getting her to wear it, however, was a different story. She thought it was "dirty" and refused to wear it until we "got all the 'paink' off of it." I bribed her with a lollipop this morning, so she put it on. She kept saying, "I don't like it, I don't like it..." but now she doesn't seem to mind so much. Here she is right after her bath, talking about just how much is wrong with it:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Swimming and Writing

I can't swim. I hate having water in my face, and sometimes even watching other people underwater on movies causes me to panic slightly because I feel as if I'm drowning, even if the person on the screen isn't. I love water--on the shallow end. Hot tubs, showers, ocean waves, a quiet pool, the sounds, the feel...I'm actually a little obsessed. But I cannot swim, so there's a level of fear there. Not a fear of water per se, but a fear of failure IN that water. If I fail to swim when the water gets over my head, I die.

In a pinch, I might be able to thrash around and keep my head up until help comes. I could probably even float on my back once I got over the eerie, isolating sensation of cold water drumming in my ears as long as I  managed to keep my legs up rather than trying desperately to touch bottom in the murky (or clear) water--at least with one big toe. However, I can never seem to find a rhythm in the depths. I can never find catharsis in a swimming pool or a lake, no matter how much I love the water or how much I want to swim with confidence. I can never feel the beautiful strain of muscles working from head to toe as I cut my arms through the cool, welcoming liquid and kick as if I have fins and not feet. I can never teach myself to blow water out of my nose below the surface, creating a bubble stream back to the top, where I will shortly reach for more air. I'm afraid of submersion. Again, afraid of failing in something so deep you can't see the bottom from the top.

Just as I long to work my muscles, pushing against the urge to just float there in the sun and wait for help, I long to write and work my mind. I want to go deep, so far into a character's mind and heart that there's no clue of which way is up or down. I want to push myself and find every little detail that can enrich a scene for my readers. Yet somehow that inability to just let go and write without inner criticism gets in the way. It's getting harder and harder to stick my head under the water and blow bubbles through my nose. It's getting harder to go down there to check out the life on the floor or even get a closer look at the bright white bottom of the pool. I'm afraid of failure here, too. Without successful writing, though, I'll die. It'll be a different sort of death than drowning in a lake, of course, since I probably won't actually stop breathing and my heart will go on beating. But it's death all the same.

My goal for this summer is to do more than flail around until help comes because life is in the way, or float on my back because it's easier to write solely on superficial topics than to really take the time to teach myself to come back down below the surface without panicking. I really enjoy writing about beauty and fashion, too, don't get me wrong (these topics pay the bills!), but I really want to go deep below the surface to inspect human emotion and personality, and to sculpt characters that you don't want to say goodbye to when you close a book after reading the final page. 

Maybe I'll learn to swim this summer, too.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Update on Benefit PosieTint and High Beam

The short answer: It's hard for me to make myself use any other blush or cheek highlight. It doesn't matter if I'm pale or sporting the sunless tan.

One thing I have noticed, however, is that when I try putting PosieTint over my mineral makeup, it sticks to it right away, so I was walking around with a pink circle on each cheek (not completely noticeable because I saw it and tried to blend the heck out of it without redoing my makeup). They work best on bare skin or over liquid foundation.

Anyway, still lovin' them both. :)

Spell Cosmetics Online Makeover Results

Some of you may have seen me comment about Spell Cosmetics so you know how awesome I think they are. Recently, Elle posted on the Spell blog that she would like to do free online makeovers for their Facebook fans. All you have to do is send a photo of yourself, tell her what kind of look you're going for, and colors you don't like on yourself. You don't just get product recommendations, you get step-by-step instructions--and a VIP discount of 25% that lasts for 48 hours after the consultation. 

Here's what I sent:
I'm most interested in a day-to-day but slightly dramatic look. I don't care if I look like I'm wearing makeup, but I don't want a full-on black smoky eye at 10 a.m. either (I have been known to do that though). LOL I just want to look pretty and maybe a little sexy/mysterious.

Colors I don't like on myself: Deep greens, teals, most blues (I use hints of blue sometimes and that's okay), yellows...I prefer neutral or pink lips and play up the eyes most days.

Her recommendations included:
Antiquity, Sepia, and Triple Strand shadows with a little Bronze if I want something extra
Goddess Glow blush
Ingenue Gloss
Black liquid liner

I had a color that looked kind of close to Sepia, though Sepia's probably a little darker, so I didn't use that in these pics. I was also drinking coffee while taking these pics, so the lipgloss had worn off:
I love all of the products, but I think Triple Strand is especially amazing. It's pearly and livens up my eye area without depositing a lot of color. 

Disclaimer: I purchased these products myself. The "makeover" was free.