04 July 2015

that time i outed myself as a serial killer

if you're on facebook, chances are you've encountered at least one person who's used a related app called "what would i say". i know a lot of people don't like to use apps because they collect your information and sell it to identity thieves and deposed dictators trying to smuggle money out of the country, but this one is good enough that i consider it worth the risk. also, anyone who takes on my identity is probably in for some unpleasant surprises.

the app takes your status updates and posts and scrambles them to create new things that are supposed to sound like things you might have said. often the results are nonsensical, but sometimes they are brilliant [including the nonsensical ones] in a dada way. and in my experience, they sometimes get a little too honest.

for instance, katebot is somewhat prone to over-sharing:






bad katebot. no one needs to know those things. also, it's not true. i have never worn pants.

then there are the times katebot admits to doing things that could get real kate in trouble:







those all seem like good reasons to avoid being anywhere in my vicinity.  so does this:





thanks for spoiling the surprise, katebot.

of course, she does give excellent advice:



that time she accidentally shared my to do list:



and then decided to try vague-booking in the worst possible way:



[actually, i'm not sure that isn't something i really did say. it sounds like me. but they all sound like me, which is the point. that just sounds a lot like me.]

of course, that does make one think about the "serial killer" admission from earlier. not that i'm saying i'm a serial killer. or that katebot is saying i'm a serial killer. it just makes me wonder why stuff like this would turn up from an application that tries to pick out the most common terms you use on facebook.

 

 it's like she just realised i was in the room and figured she should stop talking.



that first bit is part of a quote from hemingway. and i guess i've just chosen to specify that hemingway didn't eat people. for all those of you who've heard ernest hemingway cannibalism rumours. i know those are big on the internet now.



that can't be good for them...



with good reason if they live anywhere around me. 

so what dark secrets is katebot really trying to share about me?



probably for the best.

03 July 2015

making faces :: inspired by hydrangeas [and clinique]

i can't remember when this happened, but at one point- and fairly recently- i looked down at a flowering hydrangrea bush and thought "those things are amazing". i'd seen them around, but perhaps because i'd seen them rendered in silk on my grandmother's living room table, partially sun-bleached with ratty edges and coated with dust despite the fact that she cleaned regularly, i'd never taken much notice of them. but one summer, some time in the last ten years or so, i noticed how incredibly vivid they were, how eerily unnatural their colours were, how they seemed to glow, as if fluorescent lighting is trapped inside the petals.

i've never found anything that accurately reproduces the colours of hydrangea, because that luminosity just can't be captured. that doesn't stop me from trying, however, because that perfect mix of blue and purple, very slightly misty and cool against the backdrop of summer heat [like it would be refreshing just to touch them], is something that charges my imagination. [i will add at this point that i know that not all hydrangeas are this colour. in fact, most species have flowers that are white. however, other varieties, including h. macrophylla, the popular version that one often sees as an ornamental in north america, develop flowers that range anywhere from pink to blue. the colour of the flowers is determined in large part by the composition of the soil. the shade of blue-purple that so fascinates me is indicative that the plant has absorbed aluminum and that the soil has a lower ph level. in fact, you can nudge nature in the direction you want- more pink or more blue- if you're after a particular shade. some tips on doing so can be found here.]

for a hydrangea-themed look, i thought i'd try to capture the magic of the flowers' blue-purple shift by using eye shadows that contained visible elements of both. the idea was to recreate the optical illusion of hydrangeas in the "wild"- at least the wild of the front yard- where your eye can't definitively say where the purple ends and the blue begins.

i chose to complement the shadows with shades of cool pink, because when i see a hydrangea bush, the overwhelming impression i get is of coolness. i used an image of hydrangeas for a post on lipsticks for those classified as summers in the sci/art colour analysis system because they have the qualities i associate with that season, like the relief of dusk after a hot day. [note: i'm not a colour analyst. that's just an amateur's impression.] normally, because my complexion is quite neutral, i try to balance cool tones in one area with warmer ones in another, but when thinking of the hydrangea, that just didn't seem right.

as part of the overall look, i wore clinique cheek pop blush in "pansy pop". pansies are clearly a different flower than hydrangeas, but "pansy pop" comes as close as i think one is likely to get to the breathtaking cool and luminous shade of a proper blue hydrangea without resorting to using actual blue eye shadow as a blush. it's my first experience with one of the clinique cheek pop blushes, despite them having been available for over a year. "pansy pop" is one of eight new shades that launched this spring exclusively at sephora and based on this shade, there will be more in my collection.

pansy pop

the formula on "pansy pop" reminds me a little of the rouge bunny rouge powder blush formula. it's a powder that feels rather hard, but yields a lovely, glowing [but not shimmery] colour on the cheeks. this particular shade is fairly sheer, so it takes a few swipes to build up the proper colour, which is a pink verging on lavender, or vice versa, i can't decide. that said, it layers really nicely and doesn't come close to looking powdery, so it's the sort of thing that would work on any cool-toned complexion.

it occupies a unique place in my collection, in that it's a lighter blush, but still considerably more than a highlighter in terms of colour payoff. mac "azalea blossom" is the closest shade i have [and it's close only when i focus on the lavender side of the blush], but it's deeper and more matte. mac "dame", which i think of as a cooler pink, looks almost brown/ orange in comparison. hourglass "ethereal glow", which i expected to be close, is a lot lighter.

l to r :: mac azalea blossom [l.e.], mac dame, pansy pop, hourglass ethereal glow


although i find that very cool blushes can sometimes have a "deadening" effect on my complexion, i've been really happy with how "pansy pop" has worked out. a definite keeper.

here's the final look that i came up with.




products used

the base ::
nars all day luminous weightless foundation "mont blanc"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly"

the eyes ::
estée lauder pure colour gelée e/s "arctic sky" [periwinkle blue with pink sheen]*
urban decay e/s "asphyxia" [magenta-violet with blue sheen]
mac e/s "seedy pearl" [dirty grey-tinged pink]
rouge bunny rouge e/s "alabaster starling" [oyster white with pink undertone]
illamasqua precision ink e/l [matte black]
marcelle volume precision mascara [navy]

the cheeks ::
clinique cheek pop blush "pansy pop" [pinky lavender]
chanel ombre contraste blush "notorious" [lavender-tinged taupe]*
bobbi brown brightening finishing powder "porcelain pearl" [soft white]

the lips ::
mac cremesheen l/s "yield to love" [cool rose pink]*

*suggested alternates :: arctic sky = urban decay dive bar; notorious = mac strada [lighter, warmer, pinker] or nars lhasa [deeper, more shimmery]; yield to love = armani rouge ecstasy 510 dolci

the look didn't quite have the brightness that i was hoping for, but i do think that it captured some of the hydrangea-ness i wanted. the most surprising thing to me is that the mascara i'm wearing is so very blue in the photos. in real life, it read more as a soft, dark blue-grey, a gentler alternative to true black.

so that's my take on the thrilling hydrangea. what inspires your colour adventures? or are you more a "tried and true" kind of person? please share!

02 July 2015

world wide wednesdays :: way down south

seriously, how does this happen?
looking at a map of the southern most part of the southwestern hemisphere, one could be forgiven for asking "how the hell did that happen?" i mean, not about just anything, but when looking at the land mass comprised of chile and argentina, it's hard not to ask "did this really need to be two separate countries?" national borders along a single parcel of land are always arbitrary, but the division of these two countries seems particularly off. sure, there's a range of mountains that divides them, but a range of mountains separates the west coast of canada and the united states from the rest of their respective countries. russia is carved up by the ural mountains and a couple of smaller mountain ranges, including one that effectively isolates the extreme eastern edge of the country from anything. so while mountains might make a reasonable border, there's no law that says that you have to split the country whenever there's a few peaks in the way. and it does seem a little strange when you look at the size difference.

so this week for world wide wednesdays, we're going to look at these two and pose the obvious question: are chile and argentina really so different that they just had to be two separate nations? or are they just trying to fool us?

buenos aires, argentina
on the surface, the two countries do seem to have a lot in common, aside from occupying the same land mass:

  • both are former spanish colonies and as a result, both are spanish-speaking
  • both were partially conquered by the incas 
  • both gained independence from spain at around the same time: chile declared independence in 1810, but did not achieve a decisive victory over the spanish until 1818, whereas argentina seceded as part of the united provinces of the rio plata in 1816 [but didn't exist as "argentina" until the early 1860s, following an extended period of civil war]. 
  • both score "very high" on the human development index- the two highest in south america [only one other latin american country is rated as very high- cuba]
  • both are heavily urbanized, with around 90% of the population of each country residing in an urban zone
  • both are signatories to the 1989 indigenous and tribal peoples convention- the only binding international law relating to indigenous persons [side note :: only 22 countries have ratified the convention, including spain, the netherlands, and nepal, but not including canada, the united states, australia, new zealand, or russia.]
  • both are at or nearing the tipping point of becoming an aging population, with declining birth rates and medical advances extending life expectancy. 
  • both had brutal right wing dictatorships [backed by the united states and their allies], argentina in the 1970s and chile from 1973-90

argentine patagonia
with that list, the two seem more similar than parts of, say, canada, where there is more than one language and which was created piecemeal, with only four of the ten provinces and three territories included in the original country. the snowy peaks of the andes don't seem like they should be a barrier to unification. but no one talks about unifying the two countries, and it doesn't seem like anyone really ever has. and i do mean ever.

argentina seems to have been the first to host a human population, with some artifacts dating back to the paleolithic [and, incidentally, causing all manner of problems for the prevailing theory on the timeline for the settling of the americas], but the area was sparsely populated and different groups had little to do with one another.

chile, on the other hand, was settled later, but by about 600bce, had a group entrenched in the southern part of the country called the mapuche who were a pretty fearsome lot. how fearsome? they stopped the incas progress in its tracks and, indeed, repelled the spanish. only after their population suffered a sharp and massive decline [historian ward churchill estimates it feel from roughly half a million to twenty-five thousand] were the spanish able to start incorporating their territories. in fact, the mapuche continue to be fearsome opponents, serving as a voice of conservation of chilean forests and forcing american giant home depot to revise its import policies in order to ensure that the natural ecosystems and the industry itself were protected. mapuche activists have also been prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws in recent years.

chilean patagonia
while both were colonised by spain, their relationship with europe and its effect on their population long term was very different. chile remained wild and inhospitable, a destination for only the most hardened [and possibly desperate] european immigrants. argentina, on the other hand, experienced massive waves of european immigrants following independence until after world war i. indeed, argentina flourished as few others did in post-colonial times, becoming one of the largest economies in the world, with wealth and a standard of living that rivaled the united states.

the vast majority of the populations of both chile and argentina are of european extraction and are racially caucasian, but in chile, there was a much greater tendency for immigrants to mingle with the indigenous locals, meaning that the vast majority of the population has a mix of european and amerindian genetics. there are some estimates that chile is about equally split between european and indigenous heritage, but it's rarely one or the other. in argentina, while there are certainly amerindian ethnic groups, the waves of european immigrants from spain, italy, russia, wales and other places overwhelmed the indigenous population. certainly, there are people with significant amerindian heritage, but argentinians are more likely to look like europeans. chileans often have the dark hair and eyes, broad, flat cheekbones, and high foreheads typical of amerindians, whereas it's not odd to find argentinians who are fair with light colouring. [side note :: the transnational divide is weaker in the southern extremity of both countries, where the mapuche have been less concerned with enforcing the border and even further to the south, which was largely unexplored and unsettled. in fact, argentina and chile have had ongoing disputes over the exact placement of the southern border, and over their roles in the management of adjacent antarctica. ownership of patagonia and the tierra del fuego has been contentious for over a hundred years and numerous treaties have only been able to maintain a tense stalemate.]

here's a quick look at what i mean. here are three well-known chileans:

singer victor jara [murdered by the pinochet regime]
author isabelle allende- fair, but look at the bone structure
footballer alexis sanchez. you're welcome.
now, let's look at a selection of well-known argentinians:

pope francis
footballer lionel messi
actor rodrigo guirao diaz
and of course, eva peron
yes, i've chosen people who make my point, but if you search for famous people from both countries, there is a clear overall distinction.

chile also has a much more threatening geography, being located on the pacific "ring of fire" that can bring catastrophic earthquakes to japan and california. in fact, the largest magnitude earthquake in recorded history, a literally earth-shattering 9.5 on the richter scale, struck valdivia chile in 1960. [side note :: chile can thank its centralized population for the fact that the valdivia quake doesn't come close to being the most deadly in history- valdivia was not a major centre- but it still caused a billion dollars in damage.]

argentina feels earthquakes, some of them serious, but they are sheltered from the worst the ring of fire has to offer.

argentine grasslands
in the years since their liberation from dictatorship, chile and argentina have taken very different paths. chile, perhaps expectedly of a country threatened by natural disasters, capped by an arid desert and increasingly vulnerable to the needs of an older population, has been a model of conservative fiscal management. with keynesian prudence, they banked a portion of the money they made from the commodities boom that saw their mining industry post record profits. their embrace of free-market economics and floating currency made them an appealing trade partner for the united states among others, which has allowed more money to flow into the country, although it has created significant environmental concerns. there are some signs that chile may be on the verge of clamping down on some corporate benefits, with increasing demands to raise businesses taxes and put the money into strengthening the nation's welfare programs [particularly pensions], but by and large, chile has flourished by imitating the american capitalist model.

chilean coast
argentina, on the other hand, has been something of an economic disaster area. since 1930, they have declined significantly from their world class status and have been subject to a roller coaster ride of boom and bust finances. governments have repeatedly intervened to manipulate the country's currency, both before and after it was pegged to the u.s. dollar to try to establish a modicum of stability. bank runs, currency devaluation and loan defaults have scared off a lot of international investors. most damning, argentina is perceived as corrupt. chile, by comparison, rates very highly in terms of transparency and good government. while it is certainly possible to respect argentina's willingness to stand up to creditors, the government has done little to improve the plight of most citizens. poverty is a huge problem in argentina, with up to 60% of the population living below the poverty line. chile, in contrast, has maintained a relatively high standard of living, albeit through emphasizing individual responsibility and limiting government support.

santiago, chile
the heads-versus-tails story of flourishing chile and floundering argentina is both a cautionary tale on the importance of medium-to-long term financial planning and a reminder that the united states and its corporate interests continue to exert a massive influence on both countries. chile has been rewarded for its championing of the free market with lucrative trade deals and significant investment, while argentina has been punished for asserting sovereignty over its resources and economy. international finance has achieved with a more subtle hand what repressive government was once tasked with achieving.

the final verdict? the world's third longest shared border, a common language and similar histories before modern times does not a single nation make. chile and argentina exhibit significant differences that date back to pre-colonial times and leave them distinct in terms of genetics and political culture and their proximity belies a geological schism that goes beyond what's experienced in north america. so yes, while it might look a little strange to have a narrow strip of land form a separate country along the spine of a much larger neighbour, it is sensible and even required.

you can see the spirit of competition between the two nations on display this weekend as chile and argentina face off in the final of the cope america. chile is the host, while argentina are the heavy favourites to win.

and they're both so beautiful, here's just a couple more photos: 

wildlife in the mountains, chile
tierra del fuego, argentina


29 June 2015

summertime scheduling

i am not here. or there.
greetings and salutations! i expect that many of you are starting to claim those precious days known as summer vacation and will be traveling to faraway and exotic locations, or else retreating to somewhere familiar and comforting in order to recharge your batteries. i am not. i'll be right here, blogging away for the foreseeable future, so please spare me a thought when you're off having the time of your life.

however, with the weather taking a turn for the warmer and with the city offering a wider range of things to do, [as well as work picking up, which is the opposite of what's supposed to happen, but i'm not complaining] i have somewhat less time to blog and less time to research. during a recent battle with the bubonic plague [i won! although i still don't feel back to my normal, healthy self], i had to skimp a bit on content, which i hate doing. however, it did made me think that with my commitments and the various things i want to do, that some temporary changes are in order.

to that end, mental health mondays will be taking a vacation until september. world wide wednesdays will continue to appear and there will continue to be a paranoid theory of the week, which will normally be posted on saturday or sunday. i'm opting to give mhm a vacation because it's the feature that's been running the longest, which means that it has the largest archive of old posts that you can consult if you really, really need to get your crazy on [or off]. so you get to read all this stuff and i get to publish two research-based posts a week while still being able to have a life away from the computer. everybody wins.

please remember that we're also accepting submissions from anyone who wants to share their mental health stories, so if you'd like to contribute, please see this post and get in touch!

i'd also like to take a moment to thank you- yes you in particular!- for stopping by this space. in just over a month, more like space will have been around for a decade. it's changed a lot during that time, as have i, mostly for the better [both of us]. i take some time every day to marvel at how many people from how many different places visit more like space every day. the idea that i'm doing something that connects with readers in germany, russia, malaysia, chile, india, australia, italy, england, the united states, canada and iraq [all of those in the last few days!] is deeply thrilling to me. i've said such things before and i truly mean it: i wish i could meet each of you and have tea or coffee or an alcoholic beverage and chat.

so if you are heading out on vacation, i hope that you have a lovely time. if you aren't, i hope you're having a lovely time anyway. i'll be here, manning the cyber fort over the summer months, just with a slightly less proscriptive schedule.

p.s. :: if there's anything you particularly enjoy seeing, or anything you haven't seen but would like to, please feel free to let us know. 

26 June 2015

making faces :: another fuchsia followed me home

a couple of months back, i reviewed three of the four lipsticks released with the armani "fuchsia maharajah" collection and mentioned that i hadn't seen the fourth at either of my local counters. but my habit of haunting counters until i get what i want served me well and, eventually, one of them did get a few units. another fuchsia-pink rouge ecstasy? you'd better believe that's coming home with me.

the fourth and final lipstick in this collection is called either "pink blush" or "pink bliss". all of the promotional material i saw used the former name, but the packaging of the lipstick uses the latter. it's probably easier to go with calling it "511", which isn't quite as exciting, but is at least consistent from one place to another. as mentioned, it's one of the rouge ecstasy formula lipsticks, which are supposed to be long-wearing and offer skin care benefits to the lips. the colour coverage is said to be full, which it is, although it's never 100% opaque. the fullest coverage in the armani line belongs to the original rouge d'armani lipsticks. [as a side note, i can't help but notice that the colour offering of the rouge d'armani line has been dwindling both at counters and on line. i suspect that something is afoot and i hope that the rda line is being revamped and not just discontinued. there is still absolutely a place for a very full-coverage formula within the brand offering.] as far as the skin care benefits, i don't have a monogamous relationship with any lipstick formula, but this is the only lipstick that i can wear in the depths of winter. so how much of an improvement you get might be a little difficult to discern, but there is something to the claim that they are kind to your kisser.

"pink blush" is a brighter shade than that name would lead you to believe. it's a bold, clear pink that leans cool, right on the border between pink and fuchsia. compared to rouge ecstasy 512, "maharajah", it is a bit muted, a little lighter and definitely less red. it's a little more daytime friendly, although it's still the sort of shade that is going to make a statement.

511 pink blush, or pink bliss... your choice

i found that the formula on this one was just a little below what i've come to expect from the rouge ecstasy line. it was a little difficult to get the colour even [although not to the degree i experienced with "urban nude"] and the wear time was noticeably shorter. neither problem is huge, but it's perplexing. i can't figure out why this one should be even a little less incredible than the others.

for comparisons, the closest shade i have to "pink blush" is a limited mac shade from 2010 called "pink burst". although it's somewhat difficult to see in the photos, "pink burst" is a frost shade, with a lot of silver and white shimmer that makes it look both lighter and cooler, whereas "pink blush" has no shimmer. that means that, while the base colours are indeed similar, they look quite different in use. mac "catharina" is deeper, more saturated and redder.

l to r :: mac pink burst [l.e.], 511, mac catharina

and also for comparison's sake, here's a look at all the shades of lipstick from the "fuchsia maharajah" collection.

l to r :: 511 pink blush, 512 maharajah, 604 garconne fatale, rouge d'armani 513 maharajah

finally, of course, it wouldn't be a "me" post if i didn't share a look that incorporated the product i'm reviewing. so here's a look at "pink blush" along with some of her friends.




products used

the base ::
nars luminous weightless foundation "mont blanc"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly"

the eyes ::
armani eyes to kill e/s "gold hercule" [muted gold with a grey-green cast]*
le metier de beauté e/s "jade" [rich emerald green]
mac e/s "dazzlelight" [shimmery neutral highlight]
illamasqua precision gel e/l [matte black]
dior new look mascara

the cheeks ::
hourglass ambient blush "incandescent electra" [cool peach]

the lips ::

armani rouge ecstasy l/s "pink blush 511" [bright cool pink]

*suggested alternate :: gold hercule = armani eye tint #6 "green iron" [darker] or mac gorgeous gold [brighter, yellower]

all of the fuchsia maharajah collection is limited, but a lot of counters and online retailers still have stock [even if they don't have testers out, it's worth asking]. even though it's not quite the best example of the rouge ecstasy formula, "pink blush" is still a solid choice if you're looking for a cheery summer shade that's bright but not loud.
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