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. 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. 

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, and he refuses to compromise on the quality of his work. 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. His workshop has some authentic baskets that would make your head spin.

Most typically, he makes fishing creels, "2 eggers," and the renowned Nantucket Lightship Basket purses. He has made me a candlestick holder (which I could use to tote wine), bread basket, and of course, a 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 doesn't come around that often, though you can almost always find No.5.

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

I have a few eye creams hanging around, as well as some surprisingly excellent serum from Prescriptives. (I have at least 10 samples of the Px, enough to last several months, and I am glad; it's good stuff, and I will buy the full product when these are gone.) I don't often 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, they are not objectionable, so I will eventually use them up or throw them out if I have not done so within a year.

I am always experimenting with hand cream. Crabtree & Evelyn La Source smells beautiful, a light marine fragrance, but the cream isn't that rich.

Usually dangling off one of the divided compartments in the Lazy Susan is my favorite watch, a basic Timex with a dark navy and cream grosgrain ribbon. I have other watches--some quite nice--but I love my 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. I know what colors I like, but they aren't always the best colors on me, so it helps to remind myself that I need to keep things 100% cool or I will look very wan and haggard.

Here is the fan, splayed out, showing different sleeves.

The most gorgeous taupes, greiges, stones, pebbles ... ever!

My greys and some of my blues

My best pinks, roses, and reds

My purples

Moving right along ... we arrive at the sum total of my lip gloss collection. I am, at heart, a lipstick girl. I keep trying gloss, because damn, it looks pretty. But I just don't like how it feels on my lips. That said, let's admire the precious, shall we?

My comb and brush. Nothing exciting; have had them for decades.

To the right of the Lazy Susan in a crystal rocks 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 excellent 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 Mikomoto pearls or small white gold hoops (never at the same time; each ear has only one hole). Besides a watch, earrings are pretty much the only jewelry I wear, and if I wear pearls at my throat, I definitely skip the pearl earrings.

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.

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

OK, now we're on the table surface under the iMac. 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 one below is NOT it.

Enough clock talk. Here are my summer perfumes:
  • Bobbi Brown Beach
  • CB I Hate Perfume Mr. Hulot's Holiday
  • Prescriptives Calyx
  • Hermes Elixir des Merveilles
  • Jo Malone Assam & Grapefruit
  • Chanel No.19
Missing from the lineup is Dior Eau Sauvage. It has temporarily gone missing.

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

If you look to the right in the picture above, you will see a window. The following image is what I see through it. I realize it's not "in my ..." anything (other than in my yard), but it's part of the whole dressing table experience and it makes me happy. The photo is of one of the cottage garden I planted four years ago. I ordered seedlings, put them in the ground, and waited around 2 years to really get an idea what I was going to get.

Be advised it's still early in the season in zone 5B, and 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, 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 gunmetal compact holds my beloved Jane Iredale PurePressed foundation, and to its immediate right is a backup pan of my color in Ivory. Behind those and 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 my 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 don't wear nail polish on my fingernails very often, though I have done so for nail polish reviews on this blog, 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. Bunny thinks they are cute.

The roses shown below are my most cherished 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 occasionally wear on my fingernails, but only a single coat. Chanel Rose Insolent is a most excellent hot pink, which looks even better when I wear my Eliza B flip flips with Kelly Green grosgrain ribbon. I also like 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, which I almost never wear, pretty as it is.

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).

And we arrive at the sum total of my remaining eyeshadows.  Not a whole lot of color excitement going on down there. Just one cool neutral after another, and it's pretty clear that I tend to favor a very small selection, so I could probably quite easily let most of the rest of it go. But not yet.

Prescriptives has been a true favorite for many years, since 1989 in fact. The first two colors I bought back then, Mushroom and Rose Powder, are still sold, and they are generally the only "colors" I wear on my eyes. It's an excellent bargain, falling in the middle of drugstore and department store prices.

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 are especially kind to aging eyelid skin that is becoming slack and crepey.

Laura Mercier Topaz, Sable, and Twilight Grey

Neutral swatch heaven:

Swatches identified by color.

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.

Inside it holds more than you 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 describe contents of the drawer dividers. Let's get the slightly boring, utilitarian one out of the way first, the one that holds non-lipstick and non-pencil products.

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 my NARS Rue Bonaparte pencil got left behind in the brush cup, and was described earlier.

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

Powder eyeshadow I like to use as eyeliner for its subtelty: 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 ... pointless. I just match my lips and then I can wear anything on top. Prescriptives Dusty Rose is slightly lighter than my lip pigment (and, as it turns out, too warm), and Julie Hewett Hue 011 is pretty close to perfect, though I almost never use pencils, preferring a more soft, natural lip without obvious borders.

My favorite lipsticks. Currently, anyway.

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 (been around for 30 years!)
  • 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 (presently one of my MLLB shades)
I accidentally left Lipstick Queen Jean Queen out of the photo lineup, but that's because it wasn't in the drawer. It is my #1 lipstick, so I  always carry it with me and 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.

But for all of the above, it is the products in the picture below that I use every single day, though I do not line my eyes all the time, and I often skip mascara, so I left it out. I should have included Mercier's Deep Night eyeshadow in the lineup, but by the time I got to this picture, my eyes were crossing.

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