Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beauty Spotlight: What's on my Dressing Table

I have been woefully neglecting this blog, so  since it is my turn for the Beauty Spotlight "What in my ..." series, I thought I'd put up a whopper. This is primarily a pictorial post, so I hope you enjoy.

As you might be able to see from the photo above, my dressing table is also a workspace. I have a home office upstairs, but I do a lot of photo organization and editing at this table. On my Mac desktop, you will see The Unbearable Cuteness of Being. That's India, also known as Puss Kitten Meow Face. She needs no makeup to look so beautiful.

Onto the desk. Starting at the left side is a wood jewelry box, but you'll have to forgive me for not showing the contents inside. On top of the jewelry box is a container of Chanel No.5 powder under a tissue box covered in monogrammed white linen. Yes. I monogram everything. OK, not everything, but I monogram a LOT.

Moving right are two thingies to hang/organize rings, earrings, and necklaces. This jewelry (outside the box) is basic gold and some halfway decent pearls.  My parents gave me the sea glass bracelet on the far left this past Christmas, and Mr. Petals gave me the aquamarine bracelet (third from left) for my birthday a few months ago. Unfortunately, I have a lot of yellow gold given to me as gifts. I prefer white gold and platinum against my skin. I rarely wear necklaces, and when I do, it's usually the pearls.

Continuing right, I store small bottles of pure perfume in a tiny Nantucket Lightship Basket that I made several years ago, under the tutelage of my father. 

Minor tangent: My father gives classes in his workshop, which are full for months in advance. People drive up from several states away. He occasionally sells his baskets locally, and for a while he was doing business with Orvis, but he could not keep up with the demand. To give you an idea how time consuming basket making is, the above basket took me almost two days day to make, but the baskets he makes take upwards of 40 hours apiece, while items like a bassinet can take several weeks.

Most typically, he makes fishing creels, "2 eggers," and the renowned Nantucket Lightship Basket purses. He has made me a candlestick holder, bread basket, and of course, The Handbag:

Moving right along, I enjoy layering fragrance, so the result is more subtle than a big spray of perfume. I was happy to discover that Chanel No.19 body cream was available on the Chanel web site a couple months ago. The 19 cream had not been available for a very long time, though I can almost always find No.5.

Moving further right is a Lazy Susan-type organizer, which is sitting on top of a 2-drawer paper organizer that I don't use for paper.

The organizer holds a few eye creams, and a surprisingly excellent serum from Prescriptives. I rarely wear a separate eye cream, preferring to use whatever serum or moisturizer I put on my face, but I bought the Caudalie and SK-II on impulse..

I am always experimenting with hand cream. Crabtree & Evelyn La Source smells beautiful, a light marine fragrance that is not overpowering to nearby sensitive noses.

Usually dangling off one of the divided compartments in the Lazy Susan is my favorite watch, a basic Timex with a dark navy and off-white grosgrain ribbon. I have other watches--some handed down--but I love my simple Timex, always have.

Now we've arrived at my color palette.  I was analyzed as True (Cool) Summer back in December, and Mr. Petals was analyzed as Light Summer, so those are our swatch books.  I have identical fan decks in my handbag (for in-person shopping), but I keep the above near the computer, so if I am ordering clothing online, I can use the fans as a reference. 

Here is my palette, fully opened.

The most gorgeous taupes, greiges, stones, pebbles ... why don't eyeshadows/brow pencils exist in these colors?

My greys and some of my blues

My best pinks, roses, and reds

My purples

And now for my wimpy lip gloss collection. I am, at heart, a lipstick girl. I keep trying gloss, because it looks so pretty, but I just don't like how it feels on my lips. That said, let's admire the precious, shall we?

Hair tools. Nothing exciting; have had them both for decades.

A crystal glass holding my most-used brushes. All the others are tucked away in a drawer, wondering if they are going to get the heave ho at a future blog sale.

Face brushes:
Hakuhodo LAG, Hakuhodo G527 powder, Suqqu cheek, Hakuhodo S114 highlighter

The NARS eyeliner I use on my lips, as described in my guest post on LPC's blog

Yes, that is one dirty brush (Laura Mercier Finishing Eye brush), but it did its duty this morning.

My eye brushes, many of which I review in my brush post. From left to right:
  • Paula Dorf Angle used to apply brow powder
  • Hakuhodo 532BLSL, an eyeshadow sweep brush
  • MAC 239, still a favorite for its size and density
  • Shu Uemura Natural #10, the best springy brush for diffusing shimmer
  • Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush; I like this brush better than many of my Hakuhodos; it's a serious multitasker.
  • MAC 217, again an excellent value
  • Hakuhodo K005, THE perfect brush for pushing pigmented eyeshadow into the lash line for the most subtle, natural "eyeliner" look

On the surface of the 2-drawer paper cabinet are the earrings I wear all the time, to the exclusion of all others. My 7mm pearls or small white gold hoops (never at the same time; each ear has only one hole). Besides a watch and wedding band, earrings are usually the only jewelry I wear. If I put on my pearl necklace, I'll skip the pearl earrings. There's nothing wrong with wearing both--I just don't like to match quite so much.

Nothing very exciting in the top drawer of the 2-drawer paper cabinet, but I said I would show everything, so here are a bunch of perfume samples that I will almost surely never use and should probably throw away so some other item can use this space.

Bottom drawer. Nothing much to see here except the reading glasses I now need to read the tiny print on makeup packaging and various small office tools.

Back to the table surface. I have a small Braun travel clock, which is a backup for my beloved Braun AB30 sl. I still have the original two that I purchased in 1996, but I live in dread of the day they die because they are no longer manufactured. I don't mean to go on about a silly clock, but the AB 30 sl, which was designed by Dieter Rams & Deitrich Lubs, is a beautiful thing for such a tiny clock. Its battery-check system monitors the battery’s voltage level. When the battery’s energy drops below a certain level, the second hand moves in 2-second intervals, indicating that the battery should be replaced. It also has gentle, crescendo alarm, and an 8-minute snooze! The white clock below is merely a time piece.

Enough clock talk. Here are my summer perfumes:
  • Bobbi Brown Beach
  • CB I Hate Perfume Mr. Hulot's Holiday (androgynous)
  • Prescriptives Calyx
  • Hermes Elixir des Merveilles
  • Jo Malone Assam & Grapefruit
  • Chanel No.19 (favorite) for day and No.5 for night
Missing from the lineup is Dior Eau Sauvage. It has temporarily gone missing. I've also been known to wear Ralph Lauren Polo--the original one in the green bottle. The way I keep the strong scent from overpowering me is to spray the air, wait a second (so it's not face level!), and then walk through the mist.

In the following pictures are the scented lotions I like: Chanel No.19 and Crabtree & Evelyn La Source.

If you look to the right in the picture above, you will see the edge of a bay window. I realize a window is not really part of "in my ..." anything (other than in my yard), but it makes up for the whole dressing table experience, as looking out the window onto my gardens makes me happy. It's still early in the season in zone 5B, so the colors are not yet riotous. What I have so far are lavender, huchera, geraniums, filipendula rubra, helleborus, lady's mantle, foxglove, and daisies. On its way is bee balm, anemones, poppies, delphiniums, campanula, asters, flox, violas, yarrow, hollyhocks, astilbe, sweet william, pea, and many many other perennials and self-seeding wildflowers.

Dragging our eyes back inside, if you refer back to the first picture in this post, you'll notice that below the table is a 6-drawer Ikea Alex. The top two drawers hold just a small portion of product I am releasing in the upcoming blog sale. Consider this a sneak peak. I also have at least a half dozen filled boxes tucked under the piano. This one is going to be a doozie, which is the primary reason I haven't done it yet. It's a huge amount of work. (Click pictures to enlarge.)

Then we get to The Drawer, the items I use all the time ... or at least the products that haven't gone into the Purgatory Drawer or Box, which I will show soon. I will break down my daily goods by section and show it all to you.

On the far left is some unexciting face stuff. The round, gunmetal compact holds my Jane Iredale PurePressed foundation. To the left is Jane Iredale Powder-me SPF, a dry sunscreen, some empty Julie Hewett palettes (which are the perfect size for depotted Chantecaille pans, both blush and eyeshadow) and Make Up For Ever High Density powder, which I use with its brush and carrying case, even if it's been shown that celebrities should proceed with caution.

Moving inward are my favorite nail polishes. I almost never wear nail polish on my fingernails, though I have done so for nail polish reviews on this blog--mostly because I had not yet discovered nail wheels. When I wear polish, I usually wear it on my toes only, and I was NOT about to show you my ballet-destroyed feet. Only Mr. Petals thinks they are cute.

The roses shown below are my favorite toe shades. I like colors that don't compete with footwear, and each color below complements my skin tone, so it almost blends in with my feet ... if that makes any sense.

The winners for toes are butter LONDON Dahling and Sally Hansen Rose Run

That color at top left in the photo below (Ballerina) is the only one that I wear on my fingernails, but only a single coat. Chanel Rose Insolent is a most excellent hot pink, which looks especially snazzy when I wear my flip flips with their Kelly green grosgrain ribbon. I love Revlon Teak Rose (bottom row, second from left) for late summer-into-fall, which has been such a reliable color throughout the decades I wrote a sonnet for it. It's like lipstick for toes.

Cheeks: NARS blush in Gaiety, Chanel Poudre Douce Soft Pressed Powder 30 Rosee, which I use as very subtle highlighter, and Chanel Joues Contraste Tumulte.

Brow stuff, some of which is discussed here and here: Laura Mercier Brow Definer, Prescriptives Groom Stick, and Clinique Brow Shaper (depotted with a magnet stuck to the bottom).

Eyeshadows. Just a rolling wave of cool neutrals. It's pretty clear that I tend to favor very items, so I could probably quite easily let most of the rest of it go. But not yet.

My "most dented" pans are by Prescriptives and Shu Uemura. Though not as worn, Chantecaille is another favorite brand for its excellent, subtle neutrals and sheer washes of color. Laura Mercier also makes some of the best eyeshadows on the market, as she believes less is more when it comes to women's faces. Both brands are especially kind to eyelid skin that is beginning to show signs of age.

Laura Mercier Topaz, Sable, and Twilight Grey

Neutral swatch heaven (or hell, depending on your color preferences):

Swatches identified by color (several of which surprised me by their warmth against white paper).

Sometimes you can get lucky and snag an excellent Gift with Purchase, such as the tiny Bobbi Brown eyeshadow compact below. I placed it next to a Chanel Rouge Coco Shine for scale. It's about the same size as a credit card and barely twice as thick.

The compact holds more than I would think possible. In this case, a worthy selection of cool neutrals. The Bobbi Brown web site often has great gifts like this if you sign up. Laura Mercier and Chantecaille promos are far less frequent, and the gifts aren't always as good. Actually, Chante's can be great, but they often require a minimum purchase of $200.

Swatches of the Bobbi Brown eye compact

Now I'll show contents of the drawer dividers, getting the more boring, utilitarian one out of the way first.

It's a catch-all for my glass nail file, extra lip balm, clear brow gel, tubing and regular mascaras, highlighter/concealer, tweezers, various skincare samples and treatments, and a magnifying glass.

Here's the pencil compartment for both lips and eyes, though the NARS Rue Bonaparte pencil was left behind in the brush cup, and was described earlier.

My favorite Chanel eyeliners are shown below, but to be fair, I most often use Laura Mercier Matte Eyeshadow in Deep Night (powder/pushed against the lash line), because the color matches the navy-grey rims around my blue irises.

Powder eyeshadows I use as eyeliner for their subtlety: Shu Uemura M Grey 943 (discontinued) and Laura Mercier Deep Night and Twilight Grey.

Lips!! My favorite makeup ever and my "desert island" product without question.

Julie Hewett Camellia Lip Balm.  I have it in the tube (clear), which is shown above under the pot in the plain black case, and I also have the potted version, in both Rose (below) and Ruby. It's FANTASTIC, and I am forever spoiled for other lip balms, which just don't measure up.

My lip pencils are not exciting. They match my lips. I don't bother trying to match lip pencil to lipstick; I find that ... overwhelming. If I match my lips, I can wear anything on top. Prescriptives Dusty Rose is slightly lighter than my lip pigment (and, sadly, too warm), and Julie Hewett Hue 011 is pretty close to perfect, but it has a hint of shimmer. Boo.

My favorite lipsticks. Currently, anyway. (I'm fickle.)

Top left, clockwise:
  • Laura Mercier Gel Lip Colour Sweet Cherry
  • Prescriptives Colorscope Lipstick Social (discontinued)
  • Clinique Butter Shine Fresh Watermelon
  • Clinique A Different Lipsick Raspberry Glacé
  • Prescriptives Rosemarine (discontinued a decade ago but duplicated via Three Custom Colors)
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Bonheur
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Antigone
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Romance
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Fétiche
I accidentally left Lipstick Queen Jean Queen out of the photo lineup, but that's because it wasn't in the drawer. Even though I think it is a little too warm, it's become my #1 lipstick because it's so sheer and soft. I'll show it in a later photograph, at the end of this post.

Closeup of my beautiful roses and reds--most of them completely sheer

And finally, another catch-all compartment. This one holds Paula Dorf Transformer (described, in brief, here), an empty bottle cap to mix the transformer and eyeshadow (to use for eye lining), and various samples I am experimenting with.

That container also holds a few other miscellany, such as blotting papers, heavy-duty moisturizer that I use on elbows, knees, heels, and cuticles. and real concealer, which I hardly ever use, preferring the light-diffusing products, like Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat, which also got left out of this post because it was in my handbag. Maybe I need to do a "What's in my purse" post soon!

And lest I forget, here's the Purgatory Drawer. It holds items I am not currently using but don't yet have the heart to get rid of it, as well as items I don't use often, like pencil sharpeners, empty compacts, more specialized brushes, bamboo curlers, and oodles of samples. (I also have a Purgatory Box that lives under the bed.)

Despite a near avalanche of product, I really do tend to reach for the same items every day. I should have included Mercier's Deep Night eyeshadow in the below favorites, but by the time I got to this picture, my eyes were crossing.

I love makeup and I really enjoy beauty blogging, but I do love my simple basics.

NARS Gaiety, Estee Lauder concealer, Chanel Gris eye pencil, Paula Dorf Eye Primer, Jane Iredale PurePressed Foundation, Prescriptives Rose Powder an Mushroom eyeshadow, Clinique Brow Shaper, and Lipstick Queen Jean Queen

That's it! I hope you enjoyed a peek into my drawers.  If you have any questions or comments, please post away. TTFN.