one note: ginger

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I wrote today’s post as a guest for the Boston food blog kathycancook.com (she’s my sister!). Want some recommendations on how to add more ginger to your life? You can find the full text there (or just follow the link below).

I like ginger a lot.

A relative of turmeric, cardamom and galangal, this spicy rhizome can play for both the sweet and savory sides. Compelling and versatile, it is available in many forms, most of which I have in my life.

Here are some favorite incarnations:….read more

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lipstick: keeping things organized

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top row: Maybelline, NYC
bottom row: NARS, Lancôme, Shu Uemura, MAC, Lancôme

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Rimmel, Revlon, Origins, Korres, Clarins, Victoria’s Secret…

I’d been sticking all of my lipstick in this drawer from a stackable set I got at Target (in a manner not quite but something close to higgledy-piggledy) but at a certain point it was more than a drawer is inherently designed to handle.

One night I got out the scissors and came up with this setup. It’s not the sleekest thing, using chopped up cardboard, but it was free (I am totally cheap about certain things), and it is effective.

Can you tell that I really like the Kate Moss Rimmel collections and the Revlon matte lipsticks? Ditto the Wet 'n Wild semi-mattes.

Can you tell that I really like the Kate Moss Rimmel collections and the Revlon matte lipsticks? Ditto the Wet ‘n Wild semi-mattes.

I’m pretty pleased.

I’ve seen instances of people standing everything up and being able to get at the individual bullets that way, but the drawers would have to be just the right height to avoid wasted space, and it sounds kind of troublesome to keep everything in a grid, not everything is the same height/size, etc. You can get those quite nice looking acrylic grids, but those cost the money.

I briefly considered organizing by color but that’s not how it works in my mind, so I went roughly by brand/price point and consistency. Is this quite dull? I can never tell with this kind of thing. I never tire of seeing how people organize stuff.

acquisition: Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate palette

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Intensity 01

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Intensity 01

I really like the way cream products blend naturally into the skin, and have been wanting a cream contour for a while. It’s great to hold off acquiring, so when you do finally go for it you get just what you want, and haven’t wasted your funds on stuff it turns out you don’t like. This also helps [me] to justify selecting an expensive option, as this certainly is.

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Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Intensity 01

If I’m only going to have one contour cream, I’m glad this is the one. I like to mess around with creating/enhancing/transforming the architecture of my face. I have the palette in Intensity One, the lighter shade, and find it wonderfully natural and subtle. It’s quite transparent, and–great for makeup amateurs–hard to mess up, in a way. The highlight cream is similarly subtle. I do have other highlighters, cream and powder, and none are so finely milled and undetectable as this. When it comes to face products, undetectability is my main priority.

Chic packaging doesn’t hurt, either.

I feel like finding a paintbrush akin to the one designed to go with the palette [prohibitively expensive], and seeing how that applies.

Watch brilliant makeup artist Lisa Eldridge using it here in an androgynous look, which I am so going to try. And here it is being used for a sculpted Kate Moss look.

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history: grooming is my favorite pastime

Sure painting and drawing, sure knitting and crafts, sure cooking and organizing and shopping and eating, sure hanging out with friends and writing and photography, sure calligraphy and wine and Shakespeare and the 19th century novel…but what I really love? What I do whenever I get the chance? What I find maximally calming and therapeutic and satisfying? What I put hours of attention and effort into, and investigation, and all the money it takes?

Grooming.

I groom.

O how I groom. O the tools. O the unguents. O the potions. O the experimentation. O the time.

No centimeter of my body escapes care.

Like weeding a garden, editing a text (I find editing to be a fitting metaphor for much of my life), cultivating a path through the wilderness…

This means clipping and trimming, oiling and treating, masking and exfoliating, cleansing and brushing and smoothing and massaging and just…addressing in the most comprehensive way.

I liked what I heard someone say recently, if you had only one suit to wear for your whole life, imagine the care you would take with that suit. I like this way of thinking about the body, particularly the skin.

into: lip balm

the stash

the stash

Ah. Lip balm. I have a thing for lip balm.

I love all formulas; waxes, ointments, creams, butters, oils…

I clearly don’t need any more lip balm, but I like to have options (options, options, everywhere) and I always want to try something new (and lip balms are a great way to reach the free shipping threshold…).

Some standouts:

Dior Crème de rose – the latest and most luxurious addition to the stash. Expensive but loving it. After all, nothing is too good for my lips, is how it goes in my mind.

Boots No. 7 Protect and Perfect lip cream – creamy and entirely non-oily, this feels like putting moisturizer on your lips, a lot like the much more expensive Clinique All About Lips, but I think better (and cheaper). In this same vein, many eye creams make great lip conditioners, and some inexpensive eye creams are cheaper than expensive lip conditioners…

L’Occitane shea butter – great multi-purpose skin conditioner. Especially long-lasting effects. This is one I keep by the bed.

Kiss My Face ginger and mango – this flavor is a favorite. I have a powerful affinity toward ginger. This is an especially buttery/soft and smooth stick formula that is great for winter, when a tiny bit of tugging can mean a cracked lip. The Yes to Carrots balm has a similar consistency, and neither is as waxy or firm as the standard Burt’s Bees.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve – it’s basically petroleum jelly with a nice fragrance (I also like the minted rose but do not like the Brambleberry), but I love petroleum jelly, and these ointment-like balms. I forgot to put Vaseline in the picture, but I use it all the time. These products don’t condition but sometimes protection is all that is needed. Aquaphor also good for this. I don’t find the Kiehl’s balm to be much different. I would also put the Murad lip care and  Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream in this category, though they are more nourishing and long-lasting than a plain petroleum jelly. They can all also be used to add shine to eyebrows, lashes, eyelids, cheekbones… versatility.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm – thick, entirely unique texture that requires a lot of working in, but conditions wonderfully. Expensive but…if you are obsessed with lip balm you will understand how one comes to own these things.

Dr. Lipp nipple balm – basically medical grade lanolin (which I also got some of, not pictured, and which, aside from smelling medicinal, works great), which is protecting and healing. Great for cracked, chapped situations. Note that it is extremely thick. The Molton Brown and Laura Mercier lip treatments (both nice if you can find them on sale…too expensive if not) are somewhere between Carmex and this in consistency.

Carmex – I am virtually never without Carmex. Smells medicinal, I know, and is possibly causing my addiction to lip balm…but I don’t care.

Nivea Olive Oil & Lemon lip care – this is a great stick formula. The texture is a lot like the pai bergamot lip balm, a hard oil that melts on contact and leaves a very thin slick on the lips. No tugging on the lips like with waxy formulas (the Mario Badescu lip balm is the same texture, but the scent is an awful species of herbal). I also like this kind of packaging a lot, and find it much cleaner than the standard chapstick tube. Sidenote that I don’t like the new Nivea lip butters at all, and find the flavors cheap and synthetic.

Korres lip butters – if you can find them on sale and choose a flavor you like (I don’t like a lot of them), the texture is gorgeous, and the tints are high quality (not patchy, surprising color payoff). This is the only product called a lip butter that I actually think is similar in texture to butter. These are superior, though, because they are less oily than butter (which I suppose you could use, but it would be a little Handmaiden’s Tale). I like the guava and wild rose flavors.

I’m really liking the cheapo Wet ‘n Wild juicy lip balm I just got, too. Actually one of the better tinted options I’ve used, though the pricier MAC lip conditioner is also excellent (Oh, they seem to have discontinued the tinted ones…fools).