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Showing posts from November, 2014

making faces :: red light

guerlain have released a limited edition red lipstick with their holiday collection.

it is in their rouge g formula, the ones with the bulky but amazing packaging that includes a mirror. in this case, the casing is raspberry red rather than silver.

the shade is called rouge parade and it is red. bright red. bold red. almost frighteningly red. so very red. a red's red.

the question of tone is a bit complicated; when i swatched it on my hand in a store, it looked warmish. then i saw sara's review on colo[u]r me loud and thought it looked even warmer than i'd initially thought. then i brought it home and put it on and it wasn't really very warm at all. in fact, it leaned cool rather than warm. now i'm confused. for such an incredibly opaque shade, it seems to change considerably from one person to another.


there are lots and lots and lots of red lipsticks. unfathomable numbers of red lipsticks. how many red lipsticks does one woman even need? that is a rhetorical que…

world wide wednesdays :: speaking englishes

i don't envy people who have to learn english. sure, you have vast reservoirs of popular culture to use as research material [dominic, whose english is so flawless that he can easily pass for anglophone, credits sesame street with his success], but it's irritatingly inconsistent and defined more by its exceptions than its rules. there's also an unpleasant tendency to use the exact same word to mean completely different things. and even if the english have been decent enough to assign different pronunciations, you're pretty much up the creek if you're reading. if you read [not red] the sentence "i took the lead", you'd have no idea whether i was bragging or confessing, even if you were perfectly fluent in english. or, to be even more difficult, consider if i told you "dominic gave me a really nice bow", you'd be left wondering whether i got a girlish adornment for my hair or coat, or if i'd received a weapon, even if you heard me say…

mental health mondays [rewind] :: historical perspective

i kind of hate myself for doing two re-posts in a row, but this one is over three years old and i do think that there's some interesting stuff in here. it's kind of frightening what we have allowed ourselves to think about our own brains. at some point, you'd think that the brain would just object to being characterised in such ways. nonetheless, we have had many, many bizarre ideas about ourselves and this is just a sampling. makes you wonder which current theories will be included in such a list fifty years from now. [note :: i do not expect i will be writing that list. even if i live that long, i'll be even crazier by that point and i'll probably be trying to sell you on some of the ideas listed below.]

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when thinking about the problems of mental illness, it's worth looking at how tenuous our understanding is of the workings of the human brain. keep in mind that it was not that long ago that trained professionals felt that the only way to deal with some…

more like space greatest hits :: culinating

i got reminded of this post because it's received a surprising number of hits this week and because i just made the same basic dish for supper. also, i realised that i haven't posted any cooking-related posts since the end of "eat the cup", which was entirely unintentional. i forgot to pick up parsley, but i did add fresh parmesan, so i guess that this is a heartier [although not healthier] take on the same idea. and parmesan doesn't make it any more complicated.

i no longer work in the sticks, thank god, but i do still appreciate something that's quick to prepare but isn't prepackaged, frozen or otherwise removed from what i snobbishly term "real food". i'm using dried pasta and minced garlic, so it's more than possible to get all holier-than-thou on my ass. 

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one of the [many] frustrating things about having to commute to the suburbs for work is that by the time i get home, i pretty much never have the energy to cook a nice dinne…

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [winter edition]

it seems oddly canadian to have two posts in a row about winter/ cold/ snow, but they're obviously unrelated. after all, for most people winter is a season, but in colour analysis terms, winter is part of what you are, an effect of the different wavelengths that comprise the physical part of the thing known as "you". this might be getting a little heady for a post about lipstick. moving on...

if you've perused the other entries in this series without finding something that really spoke to you [figuratively- lipsticks shouldn't actually speak to you- get help], you may belong in one of the winter seasons. winter, like summer, is cool in tone; like spring, it is saturated; like autumn, it is dark. that combination of elements creates a colour palette [or three] that reads as very "strong" to most. and on people who aren't part of the winter group, such a palette would look severe. the point of finding a palette that reads "correctly" on you…

world wide wednesdays :: you don't know from snow

buffalo, new york has apparently called in the national guard to deal with their latest snowfall. a lot of times, canadians like to scoff at our southern neighbours and how panicky they get at what we'd call a flurry. that ignores the fact that, if your city doesn't budget for plows, salt, sand, disposal, etc., because it doesn't normally need such things, any amount of snow is a pretty big deal. most cities can't afford to hold tight and wait for the situation to resolve itself. more importantly, it also ignores the fact that the united states is home to a lot of the snowiest places on earth. in fact, when it comes to places that accumulate the white stuff, america kicks our frozen behind, whether you're considering it from the perspective of individual locations with the highest snowfalls or cities with the highest snowfalls. really, there is only one country that should have the right to scoff at the united states and their snowfalls: japan.

more specifically, …

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [fall edition]

after the brightness of spring and the coolness of summer, we come upon autumn, a season of warmth, lower saturation and relative darkness. saturation actually increases as fall moves towards winter, just as it decreased when spring moved towards summer. generally, though, autumn shades are rich, warm, with a golden amber core, as opposed to spring's bright daffodil yellow. i tend to associate spring colours with fruit and candy, whereas fall colours are those of the vegetable garden and the spice market. [i'm not sure if that will make sense to anyone else, but i'm just putting it out there.]

as you might expect, the fiery tones of autumn foliage all live here- flame reds, burnt oranges, ochre yellows. blue options are limited, but instead of spring turquoise, autumn leans towards teal.it encompasses a wide range of colours, all of which, i find, speak of the comforts of the season, ranging from lighter shades with the softened finish of brushed cotton to the delicious ri…

mental health mondays :: doubt and dissociation

a friend of mine posted a link last week about the controversies surrounding dissociative disorders and how they are treated. i've posted in mhm before about the phenomenon of dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder, but there are actually a number of different types of dissociative disorder. multiple personalities is just the most extreme and the rarest of them. there are other forms of dissociation, which basically means a break with reality of some sort. some are extremely mild [and not considered signs of a disorder] and others are more serious. one thing that they share is that they are controversial and the more serious the dissociative episodes, the more controversial they become.

one of the reasons for the controversy is that they are difficult to prove. most dissociative conditions aren't a full-time thing. the symptoms can wax and wane, there is no true diagnostic test [although that's true for most mental disorders] and there is always g…

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…

time out

occasionally, you have one of those days where you worry that your brain is just going to explode and run out your ears. this has been such a day.

it's not anything to do with my day personally. i got a little work done around the house, watched team scotland win a football match, got some swatches done for future instalments of "a lip for all seasons" [finished the swatches, in fact], picked up some stuff needed from the grocery store, watched some of the tiny kittens live feed [we're on eleventh hour kitten watch for dorothy], felt guilty about not getting any writing done. about average, really.

nonetheless, i've spent much of the day in white-lipped fury, over a mass media rag that i haven't taken notice of in years. time magazine. why has this recycling bin staple suddenly gotten me so angry? it's because of a little user poll they're conducting to choose the one pop culture word or phrase that needs to be banned in 2015. among the candidates ar…

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [spring edition]

for the most part, all of my colour analysis posts have been extremely self-centred. [other than the time i analysed dom. and the time i analysed the cats.] at the same time, i know that one of the reasons people start looking into theories of colour analysis is so that they can make sense of the plethora of options offered to them at the makeup counter. i suspect many of them want to try to make sense of the fact that despite the plethora of options, the things that should work somehow don't and yet random things seem to light up your whole face. i feel your pain.

fortunately, there are blogs that give some tips on finding proper makeup colours. christine scaman has both product suggestions and detailed descriptions of what you should be looking for. truth is beauty has extensive lips for sale for each season. i don't have the knowledge of either of those women when it comes to sci/ art analysis, but i figured that it couldn't hurt to offer my opinion. because what fun is…

world wide wednesdays :: lest we've forgotten

i thought i'd indulge in a bit of a departure this week, in remembrance of what i firmly believe is the defining event of the twentieth century: world war i. it's certainly arguable, but i've thought about it a lot and i'm pretty firm in my opinion. because the second world war was better documented and made a better story [good versus evil], it has overshadowed its predecessor and this has done us all a great disservice. the "great war" as it was known [or, more optimistically "the war to end all wars"] is responsible for a staggering amount that we now take for granted. so today's world wide wednesday will take a look at some of those.

rosie the riveter and her world war ii colleagues might get all the glory, but it was in world war i that women first moved into the workforce to do the work of men sent off to the front. their work greatly advanced the cause of women's rights and the suffrage movement achieved their aim of having the fr…

mental health mondays :: talk about it tuesday

a few weeks ago, i was contacted by the american recall center, who are conducting a campaign to help start a conversation about medicines: personal experiences, side effects, any details that people should have before starting [or stopping]. more like space was invited to participate in talk about your medicines, with the focus for this blog clearly being on the drugs being used to treat mental disorders. i've expended a lot of pixels here talking about the different types of medications that are available to treat various conditions although, as i'm fond of stressing i'm not a professional and i don't know what i'm talking about in any scientific sense. that said, i do like to research such things and if i can make it easier to understand for anybody else, then i consider it a job well done.

one thing i've never done on the blog, however, is talk about myself. as much as i've written about the state of psychiatry, the prevalence of mental health issues, t…

the great leap forward

this morning i had the inevitable thought: i've done it again. i've screwed up and i've been putting writing on the back burner and i've lost an entire week of na-no-wri-mo. i haven't even put any effort into thinking of something that i could do for my own na-sho-sto-wri-ha-mo. i'd doomed myself to another year of failure, as i watched jubilant updates fill up my twitter feed from people who were obviously way better in the self-discipline department than i am.

what's worse, is that i just let all this happen. last saturday, the first, i had a halloween-themed supper to go to. that meant that i had to get a costume ready, which took a large chunk of the afternoon. sunday there was soccer to watch and i was feeling a little the worse for wear anyway. monday i had to do mental health mondays and i absolutely was not going to let myself recycle an older column when i so wanted to talk about jian ghomeshi. tuesday was all about american elections- the coverage…

making faces :: fade to grey

ah, november... halloween has past, the leaves have grown sparse and darkness falls so early. it's a month of feeble light and steely skies as we creep towards the winter solstice once again. i've often expressed a dislike for gloomy november, but i'm finding this year that it's been pleasant enough, if you can get over the perpetual cloud cover. nice walking weather, even. so i've tried to re-imagine the month as the natural transition between the fiery displays of fall and the cosy darkness of the december holidays. as such, the palette of november, it seems to me, would be dominated by greys, cloud tones and smoke, the cool silvery-taupe of bark from bare trees, the rusted brown and dirty gold of the last leaves of the season. it isn't the sort of thing that would necessarily catch the eye, but there's still beauty to be found in it.

giorgio armani tagged their fall 2014 collection "fade to grey", a clear reference to the new wave song, which w…

world wide wednesdays :: the tale of tibet

tibet has long been a poster child for occupied territories worldwide. their cause has attracted a number of celebrity spokespersons because of its intimate connection with gelug or "yellow hat" buddhism, whose spiritual leader, the dalai lama, lives in exile and is perceived by many as a powerful figure of peace and restraint in the face of aggression. shortly after the chinese takeover of tibet in the early fifties, the current dalai lama, the fourteenth in a succession that dates back to the fourteenth century, fled his homeland in 1959 followed by eighty thousand of his closest friends and established a government-in-exile.

i should really have described that as "the latest chinese takeover of tibet", because there is a long-established history of tensions between the two, which has resulted in periodic annexations by china. the mongols also had their turn ruling the territory during their period of imperial grandeur. in fact, the entire history of tibet is a …