31 December 2012

making faces :: new year's yves

i'm sorry, please don't look at me that way
with all of the conspicuous consumption in which i've indulged this year, i have to say that i feel sort of guilty for leaving out my old friend yves st. laurent. it's not that he had a bad year. in fact, he seemed to have a very good year and his fascinating "glossy stains" which i've yet to get around to purchasing, despite having swatched them at every available opportunity since they launched in the spring, have to go down as one of the most fascinating product advances of the year. in fact, my inability to commit to a purchase has nothing to do with skepticism about the product and everything to do with my inability to decide what shade i want to get first. so, i'm sorry, yves, you've been unjustly ignored because you've been too appealing.

that's not to say, though, that yves has been absent from my cosmetic wardrobe this year. ysl faux cils mascara reigns supreme as the king of dramatic lash-dom as far as i'm concerned. and i've been quietly pigging out on purples, which yves suddenly has in every lip formula you could imagine.

this get-up below is actually something that i wore earlier this week, but i thought it was a really nice, slightly understated-but-effective look for an evening out. if you're planning for that sort of thing.

here's a description of what i did...

the base ::
benefit the porefessional primer
clarins everlasting foundation "103"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "01"
mac paint pot "painterly"
benefit liquid highlighter "high beam"
diorskin nude flawless perfection powder "010"

although that looks like a lot of products, i actually kept the foundation fairly light. since the clarins formula is fairly thick, i applied everything and then buffed it quite a bit with the urban decay optical blending brush. i received "high beam" as part of a set from sephora, so i've been endeavouring to try it again, despite the fact that it seemed to break me out when i first had it. it's such a perfect shade for my skin, a very light pearl with a slight pink cast, i can't bring myself to turn my back on it entirely. sadly, the results are not promising, as i do have a few little bumps where i'd applied it [sparingly!] along my cheekbones.

"painterly" continues to be my fail-safe for neutralising my eye lid colour and getting shadows to look their best. no more creasy-beasties for me!

the eyes ::
urban decay e/s "virgin" [shimmery light ivory]
urban decay e/s "buck" [warm medium brown]
tarina tarantino e/s "sawdust heart" [matte dark brown]*
tarina tarantino e/s "glinda's kiss" [white with gold frost]*
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt" [patent leather black]
mac e/l "i get no kick" [shimmery nude]*
ysl effet faux cils creme e/l "gold star" [antique gold]*
ysl faux cils mascara

looky looky! new camera makes it easier to do macro shots!



the point of this look was to do something that would complement and not distract from the tiered liner effect and so i went with a solid selection warm-ish neutrals from two of my workhorse palettes: urban decay's original naked palette and tarina tarantino's "emerald pretty". this is stone-cold basic for me, the kind of thing i could probably do in my sleep [which would probably be less disturbing than what i already do in my sleep]. the magic is all in the liner application. and the magic of that is really no magic at all. the ysl liner is incredibly smooth to apply and using an angled brush [i used the mac 266, but there are many], the flared point makes itself. for the black, i love how "on the hunt" stays glossy even when it dries. once again, the applicator does all the work with this one.

the cheeks ::
nars blush "outlaw" [bright rose with gold shimmer]

if i don't stop using this, all my other blushes are going to beat it up and dump it behind the dresser out of jealousy. it's just that it makes for such a nice pop of colour plus that beautiful glow that the shimmer imparts.

i wanted a nice pop of colour for a "doll cheeks" effect, one of my favourite things to do with blush. this involved lightly smoothing a little over my cheekbones for overall colour, then picking up a fair amount of powder with my new favourite toy, the nars yachiyo brush, and tapping it right on the apples of my cheeks. pow!

the lips ::
ysl golden gloss "white gold topaz" [opalescent purple with gold shimmer]

ok, yves, two things: 1. why "white gold topaz"? "purple gold opal" would really be a much better descriptor, but for some reason you went with "white" and "topaz", neither of which make any sense in the context of a beautiful sheer-but-dazzling fuchsia-purple gloss. 2. please stop with the fig scent. you aren't the only ones who use it, but you're the worst offenders [estee lauder, you're right behind him in line]. it's sickening. it smells like what happens when someone accidentally makes the cobbler out of the plastic fruit and tries to hide their mistake by dumping perfume and jam over top of it. your beautiful products deserve better.

moving on, i love this shade enough that i'll put up with the scent [which is cloying enough that it refuses to dissipate]. dom, who is normally a lover of opaque lip colour [on ladies] chose this above a couple of opaque options when i bought it, because it really has that magical multi-coloured shifting in the light quality of the inside of a seashell or a mother-of-pearl pendant. or an opal, like i said earlier. [note: he didn't use those words, but i know that's what he was thinking. because i always know what you're thinking dom.] there's definitely some glitter- all the golden glosses apparently have ittybitty flakes of gold inside them- but you won't come off looking like a candy-goth raver, even if that's what you're going for.

the formula is lovely- very smooth and slick, but surprisingly long-lasting for a gloss. there are heavier, tackier glosses that disappear faster.

i love the colour-wheel counterpoint of the purple gloss with the gold eyeliner. opposites will always make each other appear a bit brighter, because they "compete", but what i like about these two products together is that neither of them is terribly bold to begin with, so the dynamic "colour tension" isn't in your face. [although i suppose it is "on your face", which sounds like it would be worse, but apparently isn't.]

so there you go, yves. i have not forgotten you and, in fact, i continue to turn to you when my face is in need of some lively intervention. and i will eventually get around to purchasing one of your magical gloss stains. you can consider that my first beauty-related new year's resolution.

*suggested alternates :: saw dust heart = mac brun; glinda's kiss = mac white gold pigment; i get no kick = makeup forever 23l; gold star is still available from ysl and at their retail counters and there is absolutely no reason to skip it, because it's perfect

have fun celebrating in however you choose to adorn yourself, even if it's just your skin!

30 December 2012

making faces :: my christmas face ["maestro, please!"]]

this is really my christmas eve face, since christmas day was all about going to the police station, which really isn't something you have to get all jazzed up for. [although, ironically, the makeup i threw on while i was on my way out the door ended up looking really nice and probably would have warranted its own "christmas at the police station" post if i'd remembered to take pictures of it, which i didn't, because i was more concerned with getting to the police station.] but this is what i wore for our little gift exchange and dinner extravaganza, which i've already gone on about, so i thought i'd just do this really quick post about what i was wearing [on my face, since i never comment about clothing, although i think about it quite a bit], which is turning into a nightmare of run-on sentences for no reason i can fathom except that i'm kind of excited because i just finished writing a short story, a whole story, which is something i haven't managed to do in a while and was worrying that i wouldn't be able to do again because i'd lost my mojo or whatever it is that writers have.

ahem.

as may already be abundantly clear, i chose to go with a pretty classic holiday kind of look for the occasion. in reality, though, what i was thinking was that a fairly neutral eye and a deep lip is actually very much "me". it's how the people who are closest to me are used to seeing me when i'm made up. so for me, this isn't so much about fulfilling a seasonal stereotype as it is about familiarity and being myself.

i relied on one of my favourite releases of the year, nars "vent glacé", to hold down the neutral eye duties here. it's a great option for when you want a little sizzle, but nothing that's going to overwhelm. i also love it as an option with a more matte lip, because it adds a bit of shimmery light as a counterbalance.

to get a bit of depth in the outer corner and crease, i also added chanel's "khaki vert" which is exactly what you'd think it is from that description- a deep khaki green with some shimmer to it. blends seamlessly with vent glacé and with the deep olive liner i used- tarina tarantino's "sparkling ammunition".

29 December 2012

and that's why you're not getting punched in the junk while you sleep later

scene :: chez kate and dom, dom emerging refreshed from the bath, kate stepping in to take his place, because he likes to take baths that are ridiculously hot, which inexplicably give kate panic attacks. [possibly a sensation of being turned into soup, related to a nasty past life experience and too many italian horror movies -ed.]

dom :: is the temperature ok for you? 

kate :: yeah, it's not too hot- just fine... like me. 

dom :: yeah.

this would normally be headed towards an ugly late night junk-clubbing, but dom bought me an awesome new camera for christmas, which is easier to work with than "the big camera" and probably won't chew through all my virtual photo space quite as quickly. 


that's enough to buy a few graphic violence-free sleeps around here. 

happy holidays. 

friday favourites 28.12.12

image of the week
so this is it. the final friday of the year. we've all made it.

if you're one of the people who follow me on twitter or instagram [thank you, by the way] or a friend from facebook [shouts out], you might have been wondering yesterday if i was going to make it. i was wondering that myself at the time.

you see, yesterday montreal got hit by a storm. normally, that doesn't faze us, but this was a pretty big storm. how big? the biggest storm ever to hit the city in december. so when i was going on about how i felt like i'd never seen anything like the snow we had yesterday, i wasn't wrong. the second biggest december storm actually happened before i was born. so, yes, yesterday's 45cm downfall was bad. what's worse is that, rather than just call up my place of employment and scream "i want to live!!!" into the phone, i made the trek across the city and into the suburbs. probably should have gone with option "a".

in point of fact, the commute to work took a little over two hours, so i arrived quite late and by mid-day, it became obvious that, unless we were planning on camping for the night, we should break for home forthwith.

my boss took me to a mall not far from the office- and even that much took some doing, because we couldn't make out where the ground started and where the sky ended. i'm still not entirely sure that we were taking the exit ramp, as opposed to just creating our own temporary ramp, but we did make it. and finding a bus was fairly easy for me, as almost all links between the city and the western suburbs stop there.

however, said bus got stranded on a lonely stretch of road when its tires got too wadded up with snow and ice. i don't hold this against the driver. all the bus drivers i saw yesterday were doing a pretty remarkable job. it's just that sometimes, you can't compete with mother nature.

so i'd like to thank those people who kept me laughing and, more importantly, kept me from panicking, during the hour or so i was stranded on my way home.

and folks, if the weather is bad enough that you don't know what it's like because you can't see out your windows... there are times when it's acceptable to work from home.

so here, for the final time in 2012, i bring you...

good news :: things i can't make up from around the internet

he says "she tried to kill me by suffocating me with her giant b00b$" like he has a problem with it or something.

marie osmond does dada.

meet the only guy who makes the nra sound rational.

you mean i was in the homeland of the kidnapping, child-beating santa claus character and no one told me?

replace heart with butt. non-surgically, that is.

but best of all on the internet this week was that newark mayor-cum-superhero for the downtrodden masses cory booker actually responded to one of my tweets. i was typically being asinine, fretting about the storm and how montreal would handle it when we didn't have a superhero mayor [we're lucky to have a city council at all, given recent events] to rescue us and he responded with a genuine sweetness that would trigger all my cynical nerves at once if he didn't have a history of rescuing people from burning buildings and inviting complete strangers to crash at his house while he was out working during hurricane sandy. somehow, in the midst of this, he's approachable and human enough to respond to comments from smart-ass people in other countries. my cup runneth over. [unfortunately, at the moment, it runneth over with snow. there are a bunch of ploughs playing "ice chicken" on my street as i type this.]

goings on :: stuff you can [and should] participate in

i have absolutely no plans for new year's eve. in fact, our usual plans involve calling more socially adept friends of ours and seeing if there's anything they can drag us along to. alternately, we end up sitting in front of the television with some wine, congratulating ourselves that we won't have to go looking for a taxi. [seriously, nye taxis in montreal are death matches. i heard that one girl got her arm slammed in the door repeatedly while trying to pull another woman from the car a couple of years ago. in other news, i was there first and i got the cab.*]

so for the one week of the year when you might actually depend on me to give you ideas what to do... dunno.

of course, if you're connected to the internet... shit be on sale. most notably, john fluevog has started his semi-annual sale and you can get fabulous footwear for less than you might imagine!

the new year also sees the launch of a new book of paintings by david tibet, based on a series of his own hallucinations and accompanied by a one-sided record of music by current 93. the book and record set [neither of which will be available separately] will launch on january 1st at www.davidtibet.com. but you might want to check in on facebook for further details.

and if you're in montreal... this wednesday is caustic lounge night! i don't care how cold it gets, we will be bringing the musical heat until you want to tear off your pants and jump in a snow bank. yeah, we're like that...

plus, you could check out the anniversary party of rude mekanicals, which has now been moved to january 4th. because apparently there was some kind of storm or something that forced them to reschedule...

*may not have happened. although there was a fight for a cab and i did win. that totally happened.

musical notes

can't keep a good man down [no matter what i pile on top of him]. dom is back with a new video for wiggler!?! and the tiny humans, filled with sarcastic wit and punk grit... here is "these aren't the drones you're looking for"



follow-up and shameless self-promotion

i think i just promoted in the "goings on" section. and in the "good news" section, where i got all braggy about my twitter brush with newark superman. i just don't have all that much to promote, people...

i would like to thank all of you for [once again!] making this the busiest month EVAH on more like space! seriously, i'm overwhelmed that so many of you think to pass by here of all the places on the internet and i'm honoured by the attention you give this little space. i hope to earn your return visits.

and, sadly, there has been no further news of my mother's wallet. happily, there has also been no news of anyone trying to use my mother's credit cards or any other i.d., which means that it's probably trapped under the wet mat of a cab somewhere in this great city.

kitteh of the week

more like space definitely needs more of my little girl...


that's all for this week. thank you again for passing by and thank you for reading! 

i'm afraid i don't have a source for that lovely image of the week... it came from the internet. actually, i think it's a shot of montreal yesterday...

26 December 2012

having failed to steal christmas, the grinch stole my mother's wallet

yeah, that's a fact. my mother was in montreal for christmas. she only does short visits, so we had a lot packed in: going out for dinner on the 23rd, presents and christmas dinner at our place on the 24th. brunch with dom's parents and his immediate family on the 25th. and on the 26th, she'd fly home.

the 23rd came off pretty well. it was a little marred by the fact that i had a festering stab wound, but other than that, it was fine. ok, it might have been less of a "stab wound" and more of a spider bite, but it was definitely festering and it could have passed for a stab would, albeit one made with a very tiny knife. the point is, that despite the always-present danger of going into septic shock, it was a pretty good night. we had a fine meal at the claremont.

the day of the 24th started off really well. my mum came over. we got to hang out and get the cat a bit tipsy, which is always an awesome way to entertain guests. presents were opened. and i managed to time everything so that i wasn't running around screeching and stabbing at things with a fork, which is usually what happens when i realise partway through the day that i've planned a menu that requires me to cook two different things on two different settings and have them miraculously pop out of the oven at the same time. actually, that's not true. i'm lucky if it's only two things.

but this year, i planned well. here's what was on our holiday menu ::

organic cornish game hen with molasses and allspice [this is the one time of year i cook meat at home]
corn custard [an annual tradition of mine; i cooked it for dom the first xmas we were together and it's become our thing]
mashed sweet potatoes with truffle and rum
beets with orange and ginger

plus, of course, there was wine, both white and red, as always happens on the holidays, because white wines give dom horrible headaches and red wines give my mother horrible headaches. we got a lovely argentinan malbec as a red- i always find these are a great option for what you pay- and a chardonnay from r.h. phillips. the latter was very nice, but i really do wish we could get their toasted head wines here in quebec. nothing says "christmas" like a fire-breathing bear, yo.

then things sort of came off the rails. somehow, my mother's wallet disappeared. the options we're going with are:

1. she left it in the back of the taxi she took to our house, because she was distracted by the fact that the driver somehow made the ride, which has cost roughly $15 every time she's taken it, cost $25. thanks champlain taxi.

2. simon stole it because she kept giving him wine and he wanted her to stick around.

3. the grinch somehow snuck in a stole my mother's wallet, in which case the grinch is way smaller than i'd anticipated and whoville may actually be the ant colony we've been periodically exterminating in our kitchen. sorry, cindy-lou.

the problem with losing your wallet on a national holiday the day before your flight home is that you're stuck with out i.d. and the airlines have gotten kinda sticky about that lately. after some digging, we were able to determine that the only thing to be done was that my mother had to file a police report- although there was no actual crime that occurred.

this would have been less surprising
so instead of going to dom's parents' house for yummy brunch, my mother and i got to wander through montreal in -15 degree temperatures to find the police station nearest her hotel. officer cyr, who had apparently drawn the proverbial short straw and got to staff community station #20 all by himself. although since he probably knows where it is, i'm assuming he didn't have the 20-minute tour of the neighbourhood that we did on the way in.

officer cyr was extremely helpful and we got the form that shows the loss was reported to the police, which is what you apparently have to show to the airline to indicate that you have a good excuse for being without i.d. it's like a very official parental note excusing you from gym class. except different.

after that, we went back to the hotel and got some lunch, which was a buffet that cost $38 a person because some of the main courses were pretty spectacular. except that my mother and i weren't that interested in the main courses, so we paid $38 a person for access to a moderately interesting salad bar and cheese plate. wine was both necessary and extra.

so that's how christmas went down. i'm kind of hoping that, friendly and helpful though the service was, this is the only time i have to spend christmas at a police station. and i hope that someday, someone will be able to benefit from this story, because they'll know what to do when they lose their wallet on a national holiday.

tomorrow, having had this utterly relaxing little interval, i get to go back to work.

23 December 2012

yes, cynics, there is a rudolph

msnbc host and my perennial girl-crush rachel maddow made my holiday merrier and brighter this year by proving the science behind rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. too cute not to share. [applies to both rachel and the reindeer.]

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


happy holidays everyone!

21 December 2012

friday favourites 21.12.12

image of the week
the first thought that occurred to me this morning was that the world hadn't ended, which meant that i had to get up and go to work like usual.

the second thought that occurred to me was that maybe the world had ended and that what we're going through now is the afterlife. so, basically, the afterlife is exactly our previous, except that we're all dead and don't know it. think about that.

ok, you can stop thinking about it now, because it's time to move on to other things. it's been a while since i posted friday favourites, but even though i'd missed a week, i just couldn't bring myself to think about funny, flip things last friday. in fact, the saddest part about the whole thing was that in the links to suggested other posts, there was a link to the friday favourites i did the day after the massacre in aurora colorado. thanks for the added creepiness, blogger.

this week, though, i do think it's important to focus on things that have brought some happiness. we're lucky we can, because it means that we're alive and that we haven't given up on the world yet.

and so i bring you...

good news :: stuff i can't make up from around the internet

in most places, doing really amazing special effects gets you a job in hollywood. in canada, it could get you a jail sentence.

turns out that guy who felt you up playing doctor was on the right track...

96 bags of faeces, urine and vomit on the moon, 96 bags of urine and faeces and vomit, if one of those bags should happen to fall... we'd rather not think about it.

we got the beets, we got the beat...

you know what improves any classical architecture? dozens of sculptures of giant blue snails.

special for xmas only :: nra whacko week in review!

i've spoken about my feelings on americans and gun ownership and i think i've been clear that i don't get its importance. but you have to sit up and pay attention when there are dozens of plaintive tweets circulating that all say something like "please, i'm a gun owner and these #nra nutjobs don't speak for me". there were a lot of those this morning. let's look at why that might have been...

"you know who needs more guns? drunk people and power-hungry warlords."

apparently, obama's not doing anything about gun control in his first term is actually an elaborate conspiracy to lull gun owners into a sense of false security so that he can win a second term and take every gun in america away... OMG! IT'S REALLY HAPPENING!!!

today's top 10 crazy quotes from wayne lapierre. that's just today, remember.

a lot of people- including responsible gun owners- took to twitter today to declare that the nra had "shot itself in the foot". luckily wayne lapierre is here to remind us all that that is their constitutional right.

goings on :: stuff you can [and should] participate in

it's christmas, yo. shit is shut down. however,

if you're in montreal... you could always check out the cagibi xmas horror night double feature, as hearing wham's christmas song on endless loop everywhere you went wasn't horrifying enough.

once you're holiday'd out, you might want to check out the one year anniversary party of montreal's "rude mekanicals".

if you're in north america... and you're a beauty fan, mac cosmetics is following its established tradition and launching two parallel collections on boxing day. yeah, no one wants to go shopping on boxing day, except the millions of people who do anyway, but these collections have been small but mighty in the few years they've been doing them.

other than that, my lovelies, you're on your own. [don't forget, if you have an event you'd like listed- in montreal or anywhere else, don't be shy to let me know.]

musical notes

happy winter solstice all!



kitteh of the week

sometimes, you just need to find your own little spot, away from the world...


today's image of the week shows the phenomenon known as "frost flowers" and is taken from this article from npr, which has a convenient explanation of how they work. as i tweeted earlier this week, i need to figure out how to assemble a bouquet of them for my wedding.

20 December 2012

making faces :: the completely indecisive, random guide to holiday party looks

always claim the element of surprise
libras are supposed to be indecisive. it's a thing with us. and i honour that thing by never being able to make a solid decision about things that other people would consider trivial. seriously, i get praised [and occasionally chastised] for having strong opinions and confidence in my decisions when it comes to large projects, but you should see me trying to decide what movie to watch. back in ye olden days, when people used to go to stores and choose a movie to take home for the night, a lot of my friends refused to go with me, because they knew that they'd likely end up spending more time in the store making a choice than actually watching the movie. when i was a child, it was a matter of great concern to me which sock went on first. there was a decision to be made and i didn't feel i had the objective information available to formulate a solid opinion. i don't remember this, but my mother does and, as she very sweetly told me "i didn't think you were indecisive, i thought you were retarded."

so that's me. i'm minor-decision retarded. [and if you think it's insensitive of me to use that word, i encourage you to look up its origin. i think you'll find it's highly appropriate.]

that manifests today most frequently when i'm forced to make decisions about what to put on- clothing, makeup, accessories. there are relatively few situations where it really matters what i look like, particularly because there's not a great divide between casual me and formal me. i don't swing terribly far in either direction. on the other hand, at this time of year, when i generally have different sorts of events on my schedule for work and family, i feel there's the chance that people will actually pay attention to what i look like and that there's a bit more pressure on me to make that elusive "correct" decision. [although they probably don't care about the order of my socks.]

it's all very puzzling. it's a time of year when things that sparkle are in, when we're encouraged to wear red lips, when we're supposed to highlight and powder ourselves so that we sparkle like a field of fresh snow. shades of gold and green are everywhere. lustrous textures dominate. and the occasions for all of these take place at different times, with different crowds of people, who have different ideas about what does and doesn't look good. or appropriate.

this is a libran nightmare.

so in the end, i decided this year that i'd try to put as much distance between each holiday look i did and to indulge my love of colour by trying out as many different options as i could fit in to my social schedule. here are some of the ideas i came up with. feel free to borrow, alter or suggest your own.

tried and true



i did a whole series on red lips last year and i actually thought about doing another one this year, with completely different reds. but that seemed predictable.

however, if you have some place to go, there really is no substitute for the uber-basic red lip with a neutral eye. so for a first family gathering, i opted to go for the classic. in this case, i chose one of my all-time favourite colours [supposedly limited edition from last fall but still available!], rouge d'armani 608. it's a nice choice for a family party, because it's festive, but not overly bold. it's more of a muted plum-red, with a glorious smooth finish. it's everything i could want in a lipstick, assuming that i would want only one lipstick.

i paired that with one of my beloved hourglass visionnaire eye shadow duos, something i've only recently picked up- "suede". when i first saw these, this was the one of the duos that struck me as eminently passable. didn't it have tons of clones everywhere? it was just a beige-ivory and a soft taupe. there are millions of those.

but they aren't "suede".

i'll admit to the embarrassing truth: despite its understated, almost commonplace appearance, this is probably my favourite hourglass shadow duo. it's a little less shimmery than the others, but it just seems to make my eyes come to life. for someone with a red/ dark lip fetish, it's the perfect straight man- giving a luminous texture and subtle definition without distracting. the quality is such that it's nearly impossible not to get a flawless application.

i decided to give myself some rosy cheeks, courtesy of guerlain's rose aux joues blush in "red hot". cool-toned ladies take note: this appears very warm in the pan and swatched, but look how it blends with the natural tones in my skin. gives you that perfect, fresh look without having to go stand in the wind which, let's face it, can be pretty unpleasant this time of year.

this is the ultimate foolproof, undisputed champion of holiday party looks. it's timelessly elegant and about the only thing you could say against it is that it might not be the most memorable thing you wear. but sometimes, that's also a benefit.

razzle-dazzle



i kind of love the fact that people in my office take the opportunity to get gussied up seriously. we're not an exceptionally casual lot in general, but there's not a lot of pressure for people to look a certain way when they come to work. the company xmas party is the time when everyone pulls out the stops. it's not excessively formal, but everyone does treat it as a special event, and dress themselves accordingly. so, yes, i felt the need to up my game a little.

since the party was being held in a room with low lighting, i felt like i could really bring the shimmery, sparkly holiday lights to the fore. and there is no better place to start with that than with ellis faas eye lights. i've already shared my thoughts on "bronze", which was my first purchase, but for this look, i went with "silver" [e301]. much as "bronze" is much more complex than its name would indicate,"silver" goes way beyond the normal connotations of a metallic silvery shade. it has a distinctive touch of gold to it, although it's a very light gold, so the overall effect is a shimmery platinum or white-gold shade. it's less opaque than "bronze", although the colour can be built up, but generally, the effect is softer. i smoothed this all over my lids, but concentrating on the inner third. on the inner corners of my eyes, i applied armani's eyes to kill #19, a silver-gold mixture that's whiter and brighter than the ellis faas variation. these two are made for each other.

to give a bit of drama to the eyes, i went back to a summer collection- armani's. i mixed "obsidian black seaweed" on the outer angle with a bit of "jade" from le metier de beaute over the outer third of the lid. then i highlighted along the brow bone with "madre perla". since everything in this combination has some kind of sheen or shimmer, it can be very eye-catching and very effective in situations when you want to make the most of limited light. the best part about this is that both the ellis faas and armani products will survive anything short of nuclear war. my eyes looked more or less the same when i came home as when i left.

to give myself a bit more highlight power, i mixed in benefit's "high beam" highlighter with my foundation and just to take things completely over the top, i used nars "new order" blush. what you're seeing, of course, is not what i wore. the dress that i wore had some decolletage accident going on, so i also dusted "new order" over my shoulders and down my neckline for that extra bit of oomph. to give nice shadows and perfect cheekbones [as perfect as i can get] i contoured my cheeks with chanel's "notorious"- truly one of my smarter cosmetic investments this year.

i wanted a lip colour that would show up well, but not overwhelm everything else, so i opted for armani's rouge d'armani sheer lipstick in "black lacquer" a sheer grape purple. because, if you're going for a fun look, nothing is more fun than purple. [ok, maybe fuchsia.]

i have to say, this look- particularly the sparkly eye- garnered me a lot of compliments.

down to earth



i had another family function on my schedule and i figured that, since it was more scaled-down than the earlier one, i'd put more effort into the eyes, assuming that a bold lip would seem out of place. [i was wrong. my sister-in-law showed up wearing an incredible coral-red lipstick that kicked cosmetic ass and yet seemed perfectly in keeping with the festivities.]

personally, i figured i'd keep the lip neutral, so i chose "dark juices", one of my favourites from rouge bunny rouge. although they describe it as blue plum, i'd really say it's more of a cool-leaning deep neutral with fine silver shimmer. actually, what i'd say is that it's hard to describe with any exactitude.

the emphasis for this look is on the eyes, which i chose to do in green and gold. well, "gold" in this case being the divine green-tinged gold of mac's "old gold" pigment. although i've been frustrated with some of mac's recent launches, their pigments truly remain on a pedestal for me. the dimension of the shades, the colour payoff, the value for money [even after they shrunk the containers a few years back] are hard to beat. there are a thousand imitations of this colour, but this remains the standard.

for greens, i went with some other favourites from my collection: rouge bunny rouge "whispering ibis", blended on the inside and outside of "old gold", nars "blade runner" and "night porter" in the outer coner and crease to add depth. and i even used the warm mahogany shade from "blade runner" along my lower lash line. these are all rich, slightly yellow- [rather than blue] toned greens that are pretty easy for anyone to wear. and although there are a lot of colours involved, they blend so easily together that it doesn't take long.

i warmed up the overall look with mac "my highland honey" blush [a muted tan-orange from their 2010 holiday collection] and mac "by candlelight" mineralize skinfinish for a nice shimmery glow.

honestly, i still feel that there are things that i left out, which is good, since i still have a few functions to get all tarted up for. i'm already thinking about this in advance, so that i don't spend an hour wondering "what do i do?" i need that time to figure out which sock to put on first.

18 December 2012

paranoialmanac

screw the davinci code, or any of those other pop fiction mysteries that have enjoyed a moment in the spotlight. if you, like me, enjoy a novel that fills you with the sense of creeping dread that comes only from the sensation that vast, powerful, alien forces are controlling your life and your destiny, here are a few choice fiction bits that you must check out!

charles palliser :: the quincunx :: the fastest eight hundred pages you will ever read. this story of inheritance in all its forms, set in nineteenth century england is remarkable not just because it is such a compulsive read, but because palliser manages to fold so many mysteries into the story under the guise of just one. the first time i read it, i thought that i had everything figured out, but subsequent readings have revealed more, once i was able to divert my attention from the main storyline. don't be fooled when it seems the answers are very obvious. it's often a ploy to distract you from something else. dickens may have mastered the art of the orphan's tale, but palliser manages to make it just a little more compelling.

thomas pynchon :: the crying of lot 49 :: i don't usually say i have a favourite book, but a lot of people who know me will say this is my favourite book and i do have a tattoo related to it, so it's safe to say that it's pretty high up in the pantheon. pynchon's boundless imagination always makes for a staggering read, and he always makes it seem like there is something holding all the threads together just over the horizon, but this is probably the best example of his world operating at once on levels hilarious and sinister.

umberto eco :: foucault's pendulum :: when i read "the davinci code"i immediately dubbed it "foucault's pendulum for dummies". this is the real history buff's tale of hidden codes and secret societies- in fact it deals in depth with some of the issues dan brown glazes over. because so much of the novel is so dense, it's easy to miss that much of it is dryly humourous, but it's impossible to miss the perfect human-ness of the ending, which haunts me after many years.

franz kafka :: the trial :: truly, the only commentary here should be "duh". the prototype of all twentieth century angst- and paranoia-ridden classics. sure, someone probably forced you to read it in high school, but go back to it as an adult. it probably has more to share with you now.

and if this sort of literature tickles your fancy, might i humbly suggest that you peruse my own little tale- inspired by some of these classics- "a definable moment in time"? it is a work in progress, freshly updated [today!].

first part
second part 

17 December 2012

making faces :: guerlain hits high notes with liu

for their holiday offering this year, guerlain has taken liu as their theme. liu is the name of a classic guerlain fragrance, inspired by the heroine of puccini's opera turandot, his final work, left incomplete [but "fleshed out" with an ending by franco alfano two years afterward] upon his death. guerlain's interpretation of liu was that she was a servant girl who dies to protect her lover, the prince calaf. 
that's one way of looking at it. 

another way of looking at it would be that liu is a slave girl in love with the prince calaf who could give a shit about her existence because he's hell-bent on marrying the ice princess turandot. turandot is renown for refusing the advances of all men, as a tribute to her ancestor lou-ling, who was raped. in particular, turandot has a habit of promising to marry men who can solve riddles that she tells them and then killing them when they inevitably fail. 


calaf, though, solves the riddles and, apparently having no sense that he's lucky to still be consuming oxygen, tells the princess that she can still get out of marrying him if she's able to guess his real name [which, of course, he hasn't told her]. although you'd think a prince would be fairly well-known, this one apparently isn't, and he's even kind of cocky about keeping his secret, despite the fact that liu and her blind father, who have been standing around the whole time, are perfectly aware of who he is.


turandot gets into a froth, especially when she finds out that liu knows the prince's name. she orders that liu will be tortured until she coughs up the moniker, which she is, to the point where she kills herself because she can't take it anymore. 


calaf does scold turandot for being kind of a biatch with the whole torturing innocent girls thing, gropes her, tells her his name and, thus wins her love. the end. 

not quite so romantic when you look at it that way. in fact, in the operatic genre, already a rather bloody and macabre one, turandot has got to be one of the least pleasant stories that audiences are subjected to. but apparently guerlain could still find beauty in it, both at the time, when the house introduced the perfume "liu" and now, when they take take the opera and its characters as inspiration for their holiday collection. 

all of the items included are limited edition, as is normally the case with guerlain's holiday collection and, here's the potentially bad news: all of them are fantastic. i would have purchased every single item if my budget would have accommodated, even the fantastically expensive lou-ling finishing powder. as it is, i grabbed two palettes and a lipstick and feel like i came home with the bare minimum. 

first up, we have the turandot eye shadow palette. it's contains four shades, just like the regular shadow palettes that guerlain offers. i'm not sure what they've been doing differently, but even though i love the standard palettes that were introduced last fall, the ones that have come out with recent collections have upped the quality ante. with the fall collection, you had the fiery combo of "les fauves". turandot is likewise a warm group of colours and the pigmentation, texture and lasting power are the best they have offered. 

SWATCHES GALORE AND SO MUCH MORE...

14 December 2012

friday favourites 14.12.12

favourites? are you kidding me? what a horrible day to be a human being!!! and the worst part is that the massacre of elementary school children seems like simply the next step down the ladder to hell. it's shocking, stunning and at the same time, it's sadly not something we can say we never imagined could happen. anyone who has observed the united states has at some point thought that what happened today was exactly where things were headed. and, if the current powers continue in their frustrating impotence when it comes to dealing with the dual issues of [lack of] gun control and mental illness, i fully expect that the next time our minds get raped with images like what we've seen today, it's going to be when someone goes on a killing spree at a children's hospital.

perhaps i'm a little bit overwhelmed by the void at the moment. i'll admit, my head was in a strange place anyway. i've been plagued by some of the most bizarre and unpleasant dreams i've had in years and my latest reading undertaking has been roberto bolano's 2666, a massive series of interconnected tales centred on the city of santa teresa [his fictionalised version of ciudad juarez], scene of an ongoing femicide [sadly in both fiction and reality]. and fyi, f**k you, blogger spellcheck for refusing to recognise "femicide" as a word.

suffice it to say that i don't really feel like i'm seeing the world in its best possible light at the moment.

there are still things that make me happy. there are still many, many positive, hopeful things that are happening all around me. but at the moment, i'd just like to hold the people [including feline people] that i love and try to envision a way that i can protect them from everything else that's out there. because it does seem like that darkness can occasionally be overwhelming.

the image of the week is taken by gregory james wyrick.

faint hope for the people of juarez: apparently they were edged out this year as the world's most violent city by san pedro sula in honduras. why don't i feel better?

13 December 2012

making faces :: how i learned to stop worrying and love the brown

i survived the nineties. i mean, i survived the full impact of the nineties. i went through most of the seventies and all of the eighties, but i was sort of shielded from a lot of what was going on then because i was young. the nineties were all about being a young adult, that bizarre period where you generally have no money, but are still part of the group that is setting all the fashion and cultural trends. in my case, that meant nose piercings [for some reason, when looking for something other than their ear to pierce, everyone went for the nostrils as a first option], plaid shirts year-round and brown lipstick.

at the time, i didn't much like any of those things and today, there are still two of them i don't. if you want to look like a lumberjack, that's your business, but if you insist on funking up my atmosphere by wearing flannel in july, i reserve the right to think you're a tool. and no matter how common it becomes and no matter how much i find piercings can enhance one's look, having something through your nose will always look like an errant booger to me.

but i have finally come around to the idea that brown is beautiful. at least it can be. done wrong, brown lipstick looks like, well... "brown lipstick".

done properly, it can actually look quite elegant, or natural, or edgy, or dramatic. or like anything, really, because there are a lot of different shades of brown out there. the trick is finding ones that work for you. what can make it challenging is that brown isn't a really natural shade for lips. even women of colour don't tend to have brown lips- there is usually a healthy dose of pink, red or plum, even if your skin is brown. so the wrong brown, like the wrong neutral, can make your whole face look kind of monotone and drained. not generally the reason you use cosmetics.

what has impressed me is the range of browns that have come out recently, like the cosmetic world is desperately trying to apologise for making us look like we smeared poop on our faces twenty years ago by proving that there are lots of really cool things you can do with a brown base. it took me a while to warm up to this, or, rather, it took them a while to cool down to me, since a lot of older browns were too warm-toned for me to pull off. much like reds and neutrals, it helps to keep in mind whether your undertones are more golden or pink.

unlike in the 90s, when you had your choice between deep mocha brown and "natural" pinky-browns that looked like no one's natural lips ever, you now have shades to suit virtually every skin tone. here are a few of my favourites...

AFTER THE BREAK, THAT IS...

11 December 2012

marketing strategies 101

you may have noticed that i don't write about spam nearly as often as i used to. or about nuisance calls. apparently, everyone from bell canada to god to the people who are receiving error messages from my windows computer have all received the alert that it makes my life better to make their lives worse. in fact, i get very few spam messages or nuisance calls any more.

except...

i have been finding a fair amount of spanish spam in my mail filter. which would be interesting targeting, if i actually spoke spanish. but i don't. i speak english and french and enough german to say please and thank you and 'do you speak english or french?' but i've never learned spanish. still, what meagre trickle of spam i get is all in espanol these days.

i'll admit that, while i work in marketing, i never went to school for it, so maybe i missed the course about how it's very modern and edgy and daring to market to people through a text-based medium using a language they don't speak. maybe it's a sort of a lifestyle-lure and i'm supposed to simply feel what they mean when sending me promises of "chorizo grande", but i'm just not a good enough consumer to pick up on their messages.

on the other hand and without sarcasm, my boss showed me this video she found and i think that it's the most interesting marketing document i've ever seen. it also explains the buying habits of everyone i've ever met, instantaneously. and probably everyone i haven't met, too.



what planet are you from?

08 December 2012

dj kali and mr. dna @ the caustic lounge 05.12.12

i'm desperately late getting this up since the last two days of the week have been entirely taken up by a workplace annual meeting for me. it already seems like a very long time ago that i was playing music for the masses [insofar as the masses can fit in the front room of a boho-hip montreal cafe-bistro].

my set was largely a tribute to play it again sam records, which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary recently. although the label is a completely different beast now than it was when it was founded in the early eighties, i am glad to see that it's still alive and kicking. far too many have been lost. for me, the label will always be associated with the eclectic mix of releases it put out in the eighties, from bands who were difficult to classify in any one genre and collectively made for a sound that was like no one else. as disparate as they were, the artists did have a sort of outsider commonality that's difficult to describe in concrete terms. although some of the label's releases veered a mite too far into pop territory for my tastes, i also thank them for pointing me in the direction of several other labels whose quirky avant-pop sensibilities shaped my tastes and helped make me what i am today. in fact, i included some of those artists to whom i was lead by PIAS in the set.

so i was happy to do a PIAS set- one of the only themed sets i've ever done at the lounge. of course, i do think it surprised dom, especially when i sent him a text message proudly announcing "i figured out what to do tonight! i'm going to do  PISS set!"

glad that little announcement didn't end up circulating...

dj kali's PIAS [not PISS] tribute set

shockheaded peters :: i, bloodbrother be
the pop group :: she is beyond good and evil
trisome 21 :: some twenty-one miles from the coast
clair obscur :: pilgrim's progress [instrumental]
disappointed a few people :: dead in love
hula :: at the heart
click click :: the vacuum shop
legendary pink dots :: rapunzel
the klinik :: black leather
the neon judgment :: awful day [dedicated to grumpy cat]
front 242 :: agressiva
the young gods :: jimmy
pailhead :: don't stand in line
pop 1280 :: bodies in the dunes
foetus :: a prayer for my death
novy svet :: en possession de te

every year dom and i go through this. he threatens to do a xmas set in december or, as he puts it, says he is going to do a holiday set, adding that there's no reason i should be considering it a threat. adn every year he does something seasonal and i'm forced to admit that it really isn't as bad as all that. this year, i truly have to admit that playing "find the highly atypical tie-in" during his set was pretty fun.

mr. dna's annual foray into the jingle jangle jungle

run-dmc :: christmas in hollis
devo :: snowball
the dickies :: silent night
buzzcocks :: what do I get?
the gruesomes :: santa claus
pixies :: into the white
ramones :: merry christmas
the clash :: brand new cadillac
fear :: fuck christmas
mudhoney :: this gift
the vandals :: oï to the world
minutemen :: no exchange
deja voodoo :: bugs for christmas
fugazi :: merchandise
descendents :: christmas vacation
dead kennedys :: holiday in cambodia
the yobs :: 12 days of christmas
gang of four :: return the gift 
the durutti column :: one christmas for your thoughts
the smiths :: shoplifters of the world unite
severed heads :: hello donald, merry xmas
my bloody valentine :: soft as snow (but warm inside)
white hospital :: white christmas
the sisters of mercy :: driven like the snow
the cure :: the holy hour
spacemen 3 :: walking with jesus
stereolab :: au grand jour
elvis costello & the attractions :: miracle man
patti smith :: gloria
the flaming lips :: jesus shooting heroin

04 December 2012

making faces :: twinkle like a star

you probably don't know how important holiday cosmetic collections are to public safety.

every year by about this time, i feel as if demons are gnawing at my insides, because i have heard so many holiday carols, been told too often that 'tis the season for any number of things and have had my prized fluevogs stomped on by over-eager shoppers. and the only thing that stops me from going on some bloody hate-fueled rampage is that it also happens to be the time of year [notice what phrase i didn't use there] when i get to plan and create a lovely festive dinner and when gilded eyes and scarlet lips rule the world. take away the latter and it puts a lot of pressure on my corn custard and compote to see me through.

in canada, holiday collections generally start raising their heads around the beginning of november, which is fine, but a lack of decent lighting has meant that i really haven't had much opportunity to photograph my recent acquisitions for sharing. but now, finally, i got enough feeble sunlight to capture some of the beauty of chanel's holiday offering, a symphony of soft, reflective sheens, like seeing candlelight against a polished tabletop.

chanel makes me happy
there is some of the typical holiday sparkle, but it's a very chanel type of sparkle- refined, understated, something that you notice during the course of a conversation rather than from a few blocks away. think lustre. think luminosity. that's the path we're headed down with this collection.

strangely, i chose to pass on the one lipstick in the collection- a limited dark red in the rouge allure velvet formula- despite my normal adoration for dark lips, since the shade doesn't actually show up all that dark and looked too similar to other shades that already exist. also, chanel has recently revamped their entire line of regular rouge allure lipsticks, which means that the holiday shade has to compete with an entire family of colours, one of which tempted me more.

WHAT FOLLOWED ME HOME?

02 December 2012

killing you loudly

last night i woke dom up about seven times screaming bloody murder. that really has to be some kind of record. 

every time, he'd jostle me until i was awake and tell me i was having a nightmare, to which my initial reaction was "duh" because i was the one having it, so i'm perfectly aware that what was happening wasn't pleasant. it's just that i kept going when i fell back to sleep and gave me more reasons to yell. also, being interrupted meant that i'd actually rewind and start certain bits over again, which means that id end up having to watch the scary parts again almost immediately and... well, you can probably guess what happened. 

now, although i've always had some pretty epic nightmares, i have noticed in the last few years that the waking up screaming thing has become more frequent. kind of alarmingly frequent for me and probably anyone in my general vicinity. so i thought i would try to find some pages on line that might explain why i'm having these episodes and what i might do to avoid them. 

if you've experienced this problem and are thinking of doing the same, let me save you a google: don't. it's among the most useless searches you'll ever do, right up there with "how do i search for something on the internet". 

here are some of the awesome tips of advice on offer: 

"If its bothering you that much and its reoccurring, I wouldn't even bother posting this online. Go see a psychiatrist."

aside from the rather cheap shot of responding to someone's question by telling them they shouldn't bother posting about it when they clearly already have, this answer really falls apart with the first word. what do you mean if it bothers me? well, ok, it honestly doesn't bother me that much at all. i just go back to sleep. it does, however, bother people around me, like dom, my cats and the neighbours. so i guess if i want to be a total dick about it, it isn't really bothering me too much at all, so i should just leave it. 


but that came from yahoo answers, where reasoned discourse goes to die. so i tried a site modestly titled allexperts.com. eat it, internet. we have all the expert. 

this is the response from one of their experts to a woman who complained she had been waking up screaming and feeling as if she couldn't breathe. 

"I you wake up feeling short of breath, it could be because you have sleep apnea, which is sometimes accompanied by snoring, sometimes losing even 5 pounds helps. Also sleep with 2 pillows."

thanks, dr. douchebag, that's really sweet of you. this woman wakes up screaming and panicking, so clearly she is fat. except that she's not really screaming, it's just a unique kind of snoring. also, might i suggest that you consult one of the other experts on your site? one who specialises in grammar and spelling? 

this one from psychcentral.com is definitely one i'm sharing with dom:

"Do not intervene. Let the person scream it out."

because i know that if screams from the person next to me wake me up in the middle of the night, i'll be perfectly happy to let them just keep screaming for however long they want to. after all, isn't everyone just the picture of rationality and patience when they're woken up late at night? 

what's most disturbing to me is that almost every piece i could find was about children between two and six years old having "night terrors", which are distinguished by waking up and not remembering what happened, which isn't what i'm going through at all. i know perfectly well that last night i was having a dream about investigating a murder and coming into contact with a religious group that was an extreme offshoot of mormonism that was conspiring to kill people who had left their flock for reasons i wasn't able to work out because someone kept waking me up to tell me that i was screaming. 

also i am not between two and six years old. 

as far as i can tell, the remedy for this problem is to buy earplugs for both dom and the cats for xmas. because it's not really a problem at all. unless you need sleep.



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