28 August 2014

making faces :: made for me [or you]

all makeup aficionados go through this: there's one colour [or several] that you want, but you just can't quite find. this is how most of us end up with seventeen colours that look close enough to each other: they aren't exactly what we're looking for, nor can we achieve that exact shade by mixing what we have. it's a frivolous but frustrating cross to bear.

luckily, if you're looking for a lipstick, bite beauty can help you out. you can travel to their one of a kind lip lab, where they will work with you to come up with the exact shade you want and will mix it up right before your eyes. of course, if you can't get to the lip lab in new york city, you might be able to get a version of the experience with the bite mobile lip lab, which is currently touring sephora locations in north america. it passed through the downtown flagship store this past weekend and, of course, i took full advantage.

the experience begins with a consultation where you can look at the different shades available. these are mixed especially for these events, so they aren't a match to any available bite products. the base colours are generally quite saturated and there are a lot of options, especially in the berry-pink-red range. [it's possible i was just paying closer attention to those, since they piqued my interest.] you can choose one of the colours as is, or try a combination. my consultant jackie helped me get the right mix to achieve the shade that i wanted. i came prepared with a pretty good idea of what i wanted, but they'll also take the time to go through what sort of shade you might be looking for. jackie helped me applying different mixes until we had the right one- a combination of two shades. [to go off on a tangent for a moment, i have to mention that jackie was an absolutely textbook true winter in sci/art terms and completely owned her colours. i wish i'd gotten more photos of her, because she really was a great example of how great you can look in shades that are best-suited to you.]

the adventure starts here
you then choose from one of three finishes- matte, luminous [satin] or sheer- and a scent. they had about a half a dozen scents to choose from and i went with violet. there was also a delicious vanilla that smelled a lot like crème brulée, but i was afraid that if i took that, i'd just eat the lipstick. [which, incidentally, i could have done. bite uses food grade ingredients that are 80% organic. but then i wouldn't have had a lipstick when i got home. just pink teeth and a lot of explaining to do.]

do not nom!
a sampling of scents
jackie noted my mixture and then handed me off to the lovely lady standing behind what looked like a counter full of macarons, but which is actually a counter full of "colour cakes" alongside translucent "cakes" [i'm sorry, it's what they looked like] for finish. she mixes the cakes in proper ratio, adds the scented oil and pours the resulting slurry into a metal mold. i was surprised at how little time it takes to set- maybe five minutes, which passes pretty quickly when you have pleasant ladies who know everything about lipstick to talk to. interesting detail i picked up: everything at bite is made by hand, right down to the application of the labels. because of the success they've enjoyed at sephora [the brand's exclusive retailer], they are in the process of moving to a larger facility.

checking the specifications.
the resultant lipstick was as nice as everything i've come to expect from bite. the formula for the custom made lipsticks is closer to the deconstructed rose products than the regular luminous creme. my shade, which is, as you'll see, fairly bright, lasted about four hours [one layer applied directly from the tube] before starting to fade, which is on the long side for me. it was incredibly comfortable and slightly moisturizing. [bite lipsticks are the only ones i've ever tried which actually seem to hydrate my lips. some do a good job of keeping them soft if they start out that way, but after wearing bite lipsticks, i find my lips feel slightly better.] i experienced no feathering at all and the shade faded to a very visible stain. applying first with a lip brush and then using a layer over top straight from the tube makes the colour pretty much like a beautiful piece of armour. it extends the wear time and mitigates the fading.

almost ready!
it seems strange to talk about a colour that was custom made for me, but if you have the opportunity to visit the bite mobile lab and think you'd like this exact colour yourself, i do have the recipe and would be happy to pass it on. [i believe that the premixed colours they use in the mobile lab are always the same.]

i wanted something with elements of pink, purple and red in more or less that order, cooler in tone and a little bit more muted than really bold fuchsias like mac show orchid and lighter than something like guerlain gladys. i've named the lipstick "flora mundi", which is sort of a personal reference, but i really wanted to give it a name more interesting than "kate's personal lipstick". here it is, in all its glory:

"flora mundi" made just for me
if you want to try something similar, i thought i'd provide some comparison swatches for you. nars "funny face" is similar in terms of the base colour, but has a blue sheen that makes them look different, especially in the light. bite beauty "crimson" is darker and redder. guerlain "gladys" is darker, redder and slightly shimmery. mac "catharina" [l.e. but returning for this holiday season, apparently] is redder, warmer.

l to r :: bite crimson [l.e.], guerlain gladys, flora mundi, nars funny face, mac catharina [l.e.]
closer look :: flora mundi, nars funny face
and finally, here is the lipstick adorning my allergy plagued face. there was seriously nothing that would fix those puffy eyes for most of the week, so it's good that i had a bright lipstick to distract from them.




products used:

the base ::
vichy bb cream "light"
ysl teint touche éclat foundation "b10"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly"
mac prep and prime finishing powder "translucent"

eyes ::
mac e/s "unbasic white" [dirty white]*
mac e/s "seedy pearl" [grey-tinged light pink]
mac e/s "copperplate" [warm matte grey]
mac e/s "print" [deep iron grey]
stila sparkle liner "starry" [gunmetal grey with multicolour shimmer]

cheeks ::
dior creme blush "pareo" [bright magenta]*

lips ::
bite beauty creme lipstick "flora mundi" [bright cool berry pink]

*suggested alternates :: unbasic white = mac crystal avalanche [more of a pure white, without the grey tinge]; pareo = nars desire

the lip lab experience is a lot of fun and takes less time than you might think. any beauty lover who has the opportunity should avail themselves. the cost was approximately $35cad plus taxes, which means it's about $7 more than a regular bite lipstick, but still cheaper than prestige brands like chanel and yves st. laurent. so that price gets you a great lipstick and a fun experience.

26 August 2014

mental health mondays :: belated and brief

i feel like the last week has left me inundated with mhm material, but i haven't had a lot of chances to do any quality research, so i'm going to have to leave this short and sweet, with something that i'd intended to write about, but had my intentions changed as the story continued to unfold. 

as some of you may be aware, henry rollins penned a column about robin williams and about suicide in general recently. it got a lot of reaction, some of it positive, but a lot of it negative. very negative. although i rarely feel compelled to leave comments on pieces i read online [because comment threads are usually where the last vestiges of our humanity are butchered and their carcasses hung in the window], i did leave my own comment on this one. it's buried in there somewhere, but this is what i said: 


I think that your intentions are probably good here, but sir: you just don't get it. What's worse is that you're using your public platform to repeat one of the ancient tropes about mental illness that actually stops people from getting treatment- that people with mental disorders are in control of what's happening to them. People who are clinically depressed don't choose suicide the way that you choose an item on a menu at a restaurant. They are compelled to suicide the way that your body compels you to eat. It's not a matter of "feeling your pain", it's a matter of understanding that people who are severely depressed don't see the world in the same way you do. It's like going through your life convinced the sky is purple and not understanding why people keep insisting it's blue. 
It's all well and good that you've seen depressed people and sympathized with them and maybe you want to help, but what you're doing is damaging and if you'd paused to read up on the issue, the way you do on so many other issues, you might have realized that giving into your gut on a subject with which you're only anecdotally familiar was the wrong way to go. I've read things that you've written and seen you do spoken word performances several times. You're better than this specious, easy-bake logic. Act like it.

it was disappointing for me to see that someone who is so logical about a lot of things get thrown back to an unwise state of relying on gut feelings rather than knowledge on the subject, which is what we're dealing with here. fortunately, my disappointment was short-lived, because rollins published this statement on his website, wherein he basically cops to all the problems that i [among many others] had found with his original piece. [note: when i say he responded to the issues i had, i do not mean that he responded to me directly. he didn't, of course. i simply mean that his apology incorporated points that addressed my concerns.]

the best thing about this is that it speaks to the possibility that people- smart people- can realise what is wrong with their reasoning about depression and mental illness. feeling sorry and realising that you have reason to be sorry is a big first step. admitting that you don't understand as well as you thought is a big step. once you've made those, when you've realised [as i have about many things] that you really don't understand the mechanics of something, then you're in the ideal place to find out more about it. no one ever learned anything by staying convinced that they already know best. 

good on rollins for seeing and admitting his mistake. it's a relief to once again be able to see him as leading, rather than following. 

24 August 2014

like a unicorn pooping rainbows of pure happy

for once, i am starting the week on a positive note.


also known as:

omgifinishedwritingsomethingforthefirsttimeinmonthsandi'msogoddamnedhappyicanbarelystaystill!!!

yeah, i wrote something. *struts mentally*

i mean, obviously, having a blog, i write things all the time. i even [sometimes unwisely] publish them. but recently, i'd been fretting because i'd been unable to just start a fictional piece and work through it until i felt it was complete. [meaning a piece of fiction writing. the things that i started weren't fictional, although since they weren't ever getting finished, they might as well have been.]

what's worse, i found that the few things i had managed to complete showed a rather frightening trend.


i was trying to deal with the concept that i might actually be destined for a life of writing fortune cookies, but instead, i decided to just sit down and try to get myself in the correct frame of mind.


doing this involved basically ignoring everything that was going on around me, strapping on a pair of headphones, putting on something that most people would find objectionable and opening a document into which i could vent my frustration and fears.

lo and behold, within a few minutes, i came up with an idea that i wanted to try. at first, it was just another passing thought that i believed might yield one more piece of micro-fiction and push me further along my path to fortune cookie super-stardom. but as it turned out, it blossomed into something that appears to be a draft of an actual, honest-to-god short story, almost four thousand words in length, which might not seem like a lot to some people, but short stories are my thing because novels are really hard and so i'm plenty happy with having written a thing that doesn't fit on a postcard.

truth be told, i hadn't realised just how afraid of losing my ability to write [fiction] i was until after i'd finished this piece. reflecting on it, it occurred to me that i'd had no idea how to reignite my relationship with the muse and this had been causing me a lot of background stress that i hadn't acknowledged. the immediate result, though, was that i wanted to stand up and punch the air, because doing something that you think you've lost the ability to do makes you feel like a god in your own home.


now that i've broken through the wall, i know that i can finish something with a plot and structure and all that. so i've moved onto worrying about my ability to write anything that can't be completed in a single sitting. because something must always be worried about.

but don't follow my example all the way. take pride in something you've done this week. take huge, emphatic, out-of-proportion pride. and know that you too can vanquish your demons, no matter how much they seem to have insinuated themselves into your life.

21 August 2014

making faces :: tripling down

part of me wishes that i'd just been all piggy and grabbed all the hourglass ambient lighting blushes the day they came out, however i take great pains to ensure that that part of me is never allowed near the credit cards.

as a result, i'm reviewing these as i get them, at a measured pace, although i have to say that every new one that i bring home is just making me eager for more. most recently [which i have to admit wasn't all that recently now], i brought home "diffused heat", which is a supposed to be a combination of a warm poppy red with the "diffused light" ambient lighting powder.

some of you might recall that "diffused light" was my favourite of the ambient lighting powders. there is something about it's sainty white, warmed by just a hint of cheery yellow that makes my heart flutter and, more to the point, makes my complexion nearly perfect. it was a deliberate choice on my part to hold off on "diffused heat", because i didn't see any way that it could live up to the glory of its predecessor.

and it doesn't completely, but that isn't to say that i don't love it, more just an indication of how glorious the original is.

HOW NICE IS IT? CONTINUE READING...

17 August 2014

making faces :: purple please!

after i'd written my initial review of armani's new eyes to kill pressed powder eye shadows, i found out that some, but not all, of the shades supposed to be unavailable in north america have actually been made available in north america. most importantly, one of the futuristic purple shades that i so coveted, "moon jelly" [#21] was on the list. my initial experience with the formula was mixed, i really couldn't resist the idea of a proud purple made by armani, so needless to say, i succumbed to the urge to give this one a new home.

i'm happy that i did give the formula another chance, because "moon jelly" was a somewhat more positive experience for me than "écailles". of course, it swatches beautifully, but it also applies really nicely and true to the colour you'd expect both from the pan and the swatches. it's less sparkly and more shimmery than "écailles" and while there is some sheerness to the base, that seems to make it easier to blend with other colours. i've tried it with a few brushes and was always able to build the colour up to be opaque with very little effort.

the one area where the formula still slumps a little for me is with longevity. i found that the colour lost its distinctive sheen fairly quickly and faded a lot within the first three to four hours. after that, it "stabilized" and hung on for the rest of the day with no further change, which is pretty much what i experienced with "écailles". what you're left with at the end of the day is a very stripped down version of what you started with. it's a definite drawback, especially with a shade like "moon jelly" that you're buying because it's vibrant and crazy and fun.

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