Thursday, May 22, 2014

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson: on "The Graduate," folk music & the open road

Katharine Ross, star of The Graduate. Photo Source:

This evening, I'll board a bus bound for Boston armed with cat eye sunglasses and an attitude. When traveling alone, I like to create a story in my mind of who I am and where I'm going, and for some reason (perhaps it's the gray, water-colored sky that always makes me a bit nostalgic; perhaps it's that buses are ubiquitous in the film), today I am channeling Elaine Robinson played by Katharine Ross in the 1967 film The Graduate. Ross' makeup in this film embodies why I love 1960's glamour. There's something about a bold eye paired with nude face & lips that's so clean yet dramatic, and just feels right.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Adele's Makeup: A Glamorous, Sculpted Look

In a recent post, someone commented that I looked like Adele, so I thought I'd see how close I can get! I paid tribute to Lauren Bacall in March, making this the second post in which I attempt to transform myself into a beauty icon. They're a lot of fun to do, so let me know what other celebrity's makeup you'd like to see me recreate! This look was a challenge because Adele's makeup is always so flawless; looking at it now, I think I could've gone even thicker on the cat eyes and contoured closer to my mouth. I also, of course, love Adele's music, and based on interviews I've seen with her, she seems like such a fun person to be around.

Adele's look is very classic, and the highly defined crease and cat eye recall 60's glamour to me. I chose her gorgeous 2012 Vogue spread in which she rocked dramatic eyes, a highly contoured face and nude lips as my inspiration. I used absolutely no shimmer and all neutral products, because Adele's face is like a marble statue in these images, all luminosity and smoothness. The cat-eye-with-defined-crease look is also a fantastic everyday look, but this version is just turned up to 11.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Essentials: My Skincare Do's and Don'ts

Can you tell which (crinkly) product is the most used & loved?

I want to start this post by clarifying that I am not a trained dermatoligist or esthetician, so if you're experiencing serious skincare issues, please visit a professional! These are all techniques that have worked well for me. Also, it's important to spot-test new products before using them on your face, because you never know what you could be allergic to.

Just to quickly sum up my daily skincare routine: In the morning, I splash my face with water & use a moisturizer and sunscreen before applying makeup. At night, I remove makeup with Bioderma, followed by a cleanser, Clarisonic every other day, moisturizer, eye cream and acne spot treatment as needed.

Below, I've listed my Do's and Don'ts of skincare; the Don'ts are things I used to do, thinking I was doing my skin a favor, and the Do's are the corrections I've made to those misguided routines. My skin mantra today is "exfoliate, moisturize, exfoliate, moisturize..." A friend recently told me that my skin was glowing, so I think it's going pretty well!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Experiment of the Week: Kandinsky-Inspired Makeup

I was hesitant to make this look because Vasily Kandinsky's paintings, though at first glance may seem chaotic and random, are actually extremely precise and rhythmic. Kandisky admired musicians and in many of his most famous paintings he sought to visualize music. I chose to focus on Bauhaus-era Kandinsky, when he taught at the famous German institution from 1922-33. This is the time when he experimented most heavily with a variety of purely geometric shapes, and I very much wanted to explore how these kinds of shapes can sit on the face. Also, the German post-WW1 and pre-WW2 world swirling around him at this time was particularly explosive, culminating in Hitler's 1933 closure of the Bauhaus and Kandinsky's move to France.

Photo source:
I use the photo to the left as an example of Kandinsky's work because it includes such a wide variety of shapes and colors (and intersections of the two). However, as you see, I formed a much simpler composition on my face for the sake of balance. My process with this makeup really got me considering the jump from having a blank, flat canvas on which to arrange a composition to having a blank face, which brings its own pre-existing features and three-dimensionality into consideration. But, that's a longer thought for a different post!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Stella, I Love You: My Fragrance Love Letter to Stella by Stella McCartney

An appropriately romantic sunset with my one and only fragrance

I first experienced the magical mixture of rose, mandarin and amber that is Stella by Stella McCartney when I was about 15 years old. I was in a Sephora with my friend Liz; I think she had smelled a sample of it in a magazine and wanted to try it. I immediately fell in love with it, and strangely recall a strong sense of envy and possessiveness at the idea that Liz might buy it (sorry, Liz! true life confessional blog post here). A bottle of Stella was too much of an indulgence for me to buy when I was 15, but you better believe that when I was 18 and had some of my own money to spend, this was one of my first purchases.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

5 Simple Ways to Spice Up Your Makeup

Anyone who wears makeup daily can attest that sometimes you find yourself in a cosmetics rut. You reach for the same black liner, the same sheer red gloss, the same peachy blush day after day. You may be too busy in the morning to try a different technique or anxious about trying something new, but wouldn't you rather your daily makeup application feel like an adventure than a chore? Join me in a tour through the looks I myself wore to work last week and see if any of the tweaks I made to my routine resonate with you. Some are definitely not for the faint of heart (or the corporately employed!) but I think the looks I wore on Tuesday and Thursday can work for any makeup comfort level or work environment!