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Showing posts from January, 2014

making faces :: says who?

one of the things that i consistently read about wearing makeup is that you should stick to neutrals at the office. to that i say: pshaw. [which, interestingly, is still accepted as a word by spellcheck even though it hasn't been used since long before the advent of spellcheck.]

i mean, i understand. i know you don't want to be the girl [or boy] who gets known for having the interesting makeup in the office, because then that kind of defines who you are, so that you can never be the smart one, or the creative one, or the one to go to in a crisis. trust me, i did a stint as "the one with the cool clothing" in the office. that's a synonym for "the one whose opinion is never taken seriously".

but that doesn't mean we have to consign ourselves to neutral neverland! [although, actually, i really love neutrals. but that's another blog post.]

i say, onward ladies [or gents, if you're bold] who want to spice things up a little! furthermore, i truly …

culinating :: soup is good food

i did promise that i would write more about my kitchen adventures...

one of the great fallbacks of the time-constrained chef is soup. what's not to love about something that can be made by throwing the contents of your kitchen into your blender? ok, i exaggerate. there are things that need to be done and you probably shouldn't throw everything into your blender. keep a ladle and a pot safe, at least.

the great thing about soup is that once you've mastered one, you've basically mastered a whole category of soups. they all kind of work the same way. and they're all incredibly forgiving about making substitutions and even the order in which you do certain things.

for instance, i made a big batch of carrot soup with ginger recently. the way this would normally be done is to sauté garlic and shallots [or onions, or nothing if you don't like those sorts of things] and the vegetables [carrots, in this case, but you could use turnip or squash or... well, you get the i…

mental health mondays :: a share of the blame

one of the trickiest parts of treating mental illness is the sheer number of patients who are "non-compliant". that means that once their doctor prescribes a regimen of treatment and medication, it isn't followed and, unsurprisingly, the patient doesn't improve.

there are a lot of reasons given for the particularly high rate of non-compliance, including a lack of tangible results, intolerable side effects and the stigma of being on psychiatric medication and/ or being told that the problem is psychosomatic. other reasons include not being able to afford prescribed medications [particularly in the united states] and simple forgetfulness, particularly if the regimen is complicated.

these all seem pretty straightforward, but i was interested to find a slightly different perspective reading this article from 2007, that takes a slightly different perspective. while acknowledging that most patients are responsible for their own patterns of non-compliance, the article also …

the crying of page 45

there's been this thing going around facebook all week like some sort of social media herpes. everyone i've been in contact with has had it, or at least a lot of them have it goes like this: you're supposed to open the book nearest you and turn to page 45. magically, the sentence will explain your love life.

i figured i'd give it a shot, since some of the answers were interesting in an "i'd never thought of it like that" way. unfortunately, if i go by strict proximity to my body in the office, where i have my computer, things get a little weird. because almost all the books are in the living room, or possibly in the bedroom if i'd pulled them out to find a basis for me to win an argument look up something in particular.

it turns out that the shelf closest to me is actually the one where i keep my cookbooks. but rules are rules. the winning book turns out to be [appropriately enough] a taste of the maritimesby elizabeth bailey, which is a wonderful so…

making faces :: what bunnies do

you've heard the similes. the expressions. bunnies are known for two things:

1. being absolutely adorable
2. proliferating

and it's true, that's what happens. you let the bunnies in and suddenly, every time you turn around, there are more of them. what i didn't realise is that this is true not just of the animal kingdom but of my cosmetic drawer. [singular? -ed.] i was seduced by the adorable bunnies, i tumbled thither and non down the rabbit hole. and now, every time i turn around, there are more of them.

i wish. i know exactly where these bunnies are coming from and it's no accident. they ventured from europe because i ordered them direct from the rouge bunny rouge web site, which is incredibly easy and fast and gives you access to the full rbr range. the only downside is that they ship via dhl, which means you can expect to have an extra 30-40% extorted from you when the goods arrive. seriously, i have had perhaps ten packages shipped to me via dhl in my entire …

culinating

one of the [many] frustrating things about having to commute to the suburbs for work is that by the time i get home, i pretty much never have the energy to cook a nice dinner- the kind of dinner i like and that will make me happy. dom helps whenever he can, although the state of his health means that he doesn't have the energy to do a lot of prep work in the kitchen either. besides, i'm the one who loves to cook. during times [very few and far between, sadly] when i've been working closer to home, cooking a good meal at the end of the day was something i used to look forward to. but after having spent the better part of a year and a half telling myself that i would eventually push through and would arrive home with boundless energy. [the optimistic part of me has a weird sense of timing.]
in the meantime, i've compromised with a lot of prepackaged foods and ordering takeout more than i should, but i think i'm finally ready to face my problem head on. i need to unc…

making faces :: the creme de les cremes with chanel and dior

cream products and i have a rocky relationship. well, not exactly. more often than not we have no relationship. despite my love of rich, unctuous products for the lips, i really hesitate when it comes to cream colour products anywhere else. i just haven't had good results.

when it comes to the eyes, the problem is that i've had allergic reactions to the majority of formulas i've tried, which makes it a little risky to keep trying new ones. mac paint pots are agreeable enough and i've managed to use some cream-gel eyeliners as shadow bases, but a lot of other types just haven't worked for me. i can wear benefit's creaseless cream shadows occasionally, but if more than once a week and they start to make me itch. mac's ill-fated "big bounce" shadows made my eyes swell nearly shut. the one time a makeup artist tried the illusion d'ombre formula from chanel on me, i ended up nearly scratching my eyes out to get rid of it a couple of hours later.

cr…

mental health mondays :: #bellletstalk 2014

despite my issues with them during my time as a customer, i salute bell canada for their work to promote awareness of mental health issues. in 2014, they'll once again be sponsoring "let's talk" where they will be donating money for all the text messages and calls made by bell mobile customers and all the tweets made using the hash tag #bellletstalk. you can find the details here. bell is also sponsoring a number of initiatives for workplace mental health and made a record donation to the kids help phone.

i've said this before, but it takes some fortitude to make mental illness a cause. most companies prefer funding disease research, children's charities or something with less of a stigma. so whatever you think of bell otherwise, they deserve some respect for the work they're doing in this field, specifically encouraging open discussion of mental disorders and an end to the stigma surrounding them.

here are some statistics on mental health in canada [mos…

making faces :: a second swing around the kaleidoscope

i didn't expect that it would be this long before i did a second review of products from armani's stunning fall kaleidoscope collection, but i allowed myself to become distracted with the splendour of, among other things, their new rouge ecstasy lipsticks and i can't very well put my entire makeup purchasing budget towards armani. [can i?]

the good news is that the products from this collection are hanging around. the limited edition cheek and eye palettes continue to be available on line and at some counters, as do the lipsticks and the eyes to kill shadows. in fact, on the armani web site, which i take to be the 'bible' of what is permanent and what is limited, both the eyes to kill shadows and the rouge d'armani lipsticks seem to have been shuffled over to the permanent collections, which is tremendous news for beauty fans everywhere. armani is definitely one of the pricier brands out there- on par with yves st. laurent, chanel and guerlain- so it's alwa…

making faces :: cheeky!

here's a quick post for you about one of my cosmetic experiments. i am by no means a professional, but i have assembled my own little laboratory...

[un]fortunately, i don't have an assistant to use as a guinea pig subject, so i have to work on myself. this is how tesla got started, i'm certain.
most makeup looks focus on whether to put the emphasis on the eyes or the lips, but i started to wonder: what if i lead with my cheeks? not those cheeks, perverts! [please never change, though.] rather than making the boldest element of a look my eyes or my lips, i thought that it would be fun to have blush be the star and the eyes and lips more supporting players. 

well lit :: of makeup and maquiladoras

i'm not in the habit of making resolutions with the changing of the year, since they seem like one more way in which i'm likely to disappoint myself, but i did quietly tell myself on january 1st that i want to read more than i have in the last couple of years. i feel like i haven't been keeping pace.

also, a friend of mine posted a list of nearly fifty books he read in 2013 on facebook and i felt ashamed. shame is way more motivating than it gets credit for.

to start off the year, i have re-committed myself to roberto bolano's 2666, which is sort of like saying you want to get more exercise and entering yourself in a triathlon. it is a great undertaking in several senses: i'm enjoying it greatly, it is an extraordinarily well-written and it is massive. i'd started reading it last year, but it fell by the wayside when burnout and depression started to get the better of me. i've since realised that staking out ground for things that engage my mind is a way o…

embracing our worst selves

i was bullied when i was in school, between about the ages of nine and thirteen and it was hell.

i've never said that before, or at least i've never said it in exactly that way. i've told people that i was 'unpopular'. i've joked about my outcast status in retrospect and wear it as a badge of honour. i've laughed it off as a sign that i felt superior to those people who made me miserable. i've spoken dispassionately about that period of my life as being uninteresting, an empty space before i started going to a school large enough and diverse enough that i was no longer an obvious target. i've talked about other students being mean to me. but i'd never called it bullying.

at the time, calling someone a bully would have been laughed at, because it was assumed that children being mean to each other was just something that happened, something that toughened you up for the rest of your life, but something that was no big deal. bullying now is unders…

making faces :: spring back

now that all the spring 2013 collections are popping up like crocuses in the soil of beauty counters, i figured that it's about time i got around to reviewing a couple of items that actually came out last spring. i'm not as slack as all that, i only recently managed to get my little paws on these two, but there's no excuse for that, since they're so absolutely magnificent that they deserved to have been snatched up as soon as they were released. wait, did i just give a spoiler of my own blog post?

the two shadows in question come from british-russian dream-weavers rouge bunny rouge and if you know anything about me, you know that there was no way that i would be content with limiting myself to two eye shadows when i haven't ordered anything from the brand in months. so this review will touch on a handful of products that have recently come into my collection and, at the risk of repeating the spoiler, yes, everything is delightful and you should go out and buy all …

mental health mondays :: when the right makes two wrongs

i don't put a lot of stock in arguments from the nra as to why factors other than the ludicrously lax gun laws in america are chiefly responsible for the amount of gun violence there. i believe that the only way to effectively reduce gun crimes is to limit the number and power of weapons available to the general public and that the men who wrote the constitution and the bill of rights never envisioned their second amendment being used in the way it is by the pro-gun lobby. that's my opinion and while i believe it's correct, it's clear that there are other opinions about this, particularly among the right flank of american politicians.

one of the latest scapegoats/ explanations for gun violence in the aftermath of mass murders in colorado, connecticut and at a military base near washington is the country's method of dealing with mental health issues. and for once, the right wing and i are in agreement that something needs fixing and that having more comprehensive gu…

making faces :: best of 2013 [the third annual more like space shrunken head awards]

yes, it's that time again. actually, it's past that time. most people have already done their lists of what they loved most this year, which leaves this one a little beyond its best before date. sort of like our mascot.

for those of you who are shocked by her but not so shocked that you've run away, i inaugurated the shrunken head awards in 2011 as a tribute to the notion that it beauty is both fleeting and skin deep, a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement that beauty is temporary, but also has the power to make us feel like something precious, like a work of human art. also, i just love the idea of having a shrunken head trophy. many thanks to dom for doing some work on her this year, to make her even more special.

looking back at 2013's beauty offerings, i feel a little overwhelmed. i'm not pleased to see that a number of brands are starting to lean towards the mac cosmetics new and limited collections in rapid succession model. it makes things exciting, yes, but also…

making faces :: never enough nakedness

i was late hopping onto the naked palette bandwagon, but when i finally got one, i have to say, i understood why something as obvious as a palette of neutral eye shadows was so popular. i mean, i understood that they were easy to wear, but a well-priced palette of a dozen shadows was a boon for traveling, rushed mornings, and all those other times when you don't want to hunt through your collection for certain colours, but you still want to be able to play around a little. i never ended up grabbing the second instalment of the naked series, which is odd, because it was a little more neutral than the first palette and, as such, would likely have been more suited to my complexion. i did, however, jump when i saw the release of "naked 3", which came out just before the holidays at sephora.

many of you have probably already seen swatches and reviews of the palette, but i figured that it was still worth adding my two cents [which is, interestingly, now an impossibility in the…

mental health mondays [addendum] :: it's the most horrible time of the year

i'm somewhat embarrassed to have found this out only after i posted mhm, but i couldn't possibly let the day go by without mentioning that today is blue monday, the sobriquet for the most depressing day of the entire year. the day has been a moveable feast, but this year, it's been determined by people who get off determining such things that january 6th is the absolute low point. so while you might be feeling pretty low at the moment, keep in mind:
misery loves company and misery will never have as much company as it does at this very moment
statistically speaking, tomorrow is going to be better. 
the amount of daylight per day, a crucial factor in mood, has already started to increase. 
you're welcome.


mental health mondays :: craziness for the kid in all of us

a friend of mine posted this on facebook this weekend and while the concept has been done before [for the muppets as well], i really do love the visual aid that was included.


of course, no one on these shows actually discusses mental disorders, but there is that underlying message that eccentricities of various sorts are not merely acceptable but can be endearing. regardless, they are things that are accepted in the "friend-sphere" of the shows, which strikes me as a pretty positive way to start a new year of mental health mondays. there will be plenty of opportunity for more weighty discussions as the year progresses. let's take a moment on this first monday of the new year to smile a little.

the full accompanying article that goes with this reference chart can be found here.

making faces :: the fallback face

one of the things i like about doing posts on what makeup i wear is that it sometimes forces me to think outside the cosmetic box [who are we kidding- boxes]. it keeps me experimenting with techniques and colours that i might not otherwise use.

but the fact is that there are still a lot of days when i go into default mode and start pulling out the same group of products, or at least grabbing from the same shade ranges and for all the experimentation i might enjoy, those colours have been very similar for the last ten or fifteen years. the individual shades in the palette have varied- they still do- but we're talking about the same basics. and since i hadn't shared what those are before, i thought i might as well do so now.

everybody, this is the kate that most people see on a daily basis at work, out shopping, even lounging around the house writing blog posts and playing with cats.

SHE'S HIDING JUST AFTER THE BREAK...

we made it!

if you're reading this, congratulations, you're ALIVE! that's actually an accomplishment, since several the holiday season is actually the deadliest time of year [thanks a lot drunk drivers and high-fat dinners]. so if you're alive now, the odds are slightly higher in favour of your surviving for almost another year.
studies have shown that

of course, if you've been living in the corner of the world where i am, or really anywhere in the extended neighbourhood, chances are that you've thought death would be an improvement at least once already this year. yes, it's cold. and i know everyone says that, but i really mean it. it's deathly cold over a great swath of canada and the united states, enough that our brains have frozen up and are unable to contemplate anything other than how extremely cold and miserable it is. you've heard the comparisons about how parts of canada have been colder than mars. [winnipeg has been the measuring stick, but honestly…