Video Madness with Rylee and Hudson (and a quick pic of Kai and Evanna)

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So first of all, I got Kai and Evanna in yesterday, and was hoping to film them today but have run out of time. So, reviews probably won’t be posted until Sunday. However, I took some quick pics last night (sans makeup) and I want to go ahead and show them. Spoiler alert: they are both great wigs!

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Kai in Mocha Brown

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Evanna in Mocha Brown

I have to say, I’ve never tried Mocha Brown before, and it is MUCH darker than I expected it to be. The base color (which is almost the entire wig) is darkest brown – like ROPs Dark Chocolate – and the highlights are only at the hairline, and are some odd color of brown that looks OK, but is a bit hard for me to describe. It is a nice color, but a bit dark for my taste. My first instinct was to put them both back in the box and return them for a lighter color – Caramel Brown, maybe? – but of course, I couldn’t resist putting them on and playing with them until I realized I was gonna have to keep them.

I will say, with Kai in particular, there’s nothing about the wig that feels like an ROP. Kai is a lot like Haute by Renau, without the HD fiber, or High Society by Gabor. On the plus side, this wig is not poufy at all and sits flat against the head, as opposed to how big and round older ROP styles always were. The downside of course, as I’ve already mentioned, is the silky hair fiber that has been replaced with something drier. But, in these two styles, that isn’t a problem – it’s just weird to put on an ROP wig and feel like I’m wearing a Renau or a Gabor. The cap is lighter and stretchier, which is nice, so this is not all a loss. And it’s good to know that out of the four ROPs I tried, only two were a total fail. That’s just still higher than ROPs usual average, IMHO.

So, videos will probably be up for these two sometime Sunday. In the meantime, enjoy some bizarre little videos I made while attempting to turn lemons into lemonade with Rylee and Hudson. You know me – if I can’t actually wear a wig out of the house because it’s too awful, I can always find a way to create some art out of it! Enjoy (don’t worry – each vid is 20 second long, at the most):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Wig Review: Rae by Rene of Paris in Melted Marshmallow

I don’t think this style looks all that great on me now that I’ve seen the video, but I still think it’s a cute style and a great little wig. It’s odd to me that ROP, which usually excels at long styles while the short ones are often too poufy, has come out with two long wigs I hate and a short one that I love. Here’s hoping I also love Kai when I get that one in.

Video Wig Review: Hudson by Rene of Paris in Melted Sunset

For what it’s worth, here’s Hudson.

I will say, I don’t hate this one like I do the Rylee. It’s just very unimpressive in my opinion. But, it can probably be worked with if you’re up for it.

Also, I had no idea how weird this color was from the back and sides until I watched the video. It’s…interesting, to say the least.

An ROP SOS

OK gang, I have to post an update here. I will still film reviews for these wigs, but I feel the need to warn you all about these wigs ASAP.

I’ve gotten two more of the new Rene of Paris styles in – both long styles – and while I hate to say this about my beloved ROP, it has to be said. They look like crap.

Rene of Paris was always considered the ‘fashion’ line among the three linked brands (Rene of Paris, Noriko, and Amore), so the styles were always a bit more trendy, the caps were basic, and the prices were lower. ROP raised their prices across the board, and have been doing so with new styles for awhile now, but so far all three lines have maintained the level of quality as they’ve added features like lace fronts and monofilmament parts. So, I’ve never been bothered by spending more money for them.

One of the primary reasons I’ve always loved ROP so much is their hair fiber. Their colors have always been lovely, and their fiber has always been the best. Silky soft, and natural looking, even if they often overdid it on the volume. I never would have even guessed that they would be capable of cranking out long wigs with hair fiber as crappy as what I’ve received this week.

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Hudson by Rene of Paris in Melted Sunset

I didn’t expect Hudson to look great on me because even in the stock photos, that hairline looked a little weird. But I wanted to try. When plopped on my head, though, it was even worse than I suspected. It’s incredibly thick at the hairline and crown, and without any layering around the face, it looks like that guy hair grunge dudes rocked in the 90’s where they just let their hair go long and never did anything to it, so it fell around their faces like curtains. But a bad style can be fixed, and while some layering or thinning would help this one, just look at how fake the fiber looks. It’s very shiny, and yes, it’s blonde, which tends to be shinier than browns, but it’s also really dry. So, OK ,I thought. Maybe the shininess and fakeness is due to a bad color AND too much PT that needs thinning out. So maybe Hudson isn’t horrible, just a wig in need of some work.

Then, I got Rylee in the mail.

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Rylee in Honeycomb Brown

I’m not sure these photos accurately show how bad this looks. But we’re talking a very dark brown here (except at the ends, obviously) and I’m telling you, it still looks terribly shiny, and it’s still really dry. Both the Hudson and the Rylee look like Forever Young quality to me, NOT Rene of Paris. They just lay on my head like they gave up as soon as I took them out of the box. If wigs had feelings, both of these would be depressed.

And yes, that color is awful – but it’s also the color that’s in the stock photo, where it looks fabulous:

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Yeah, this is supposedly the same wig.

I’ve worn ROP wigs since my first day of wig-wearing, seriously. My first ever wig was a Rene of Paris. Never in a million years would I have expected to get not just one, but two wigs with this kind of shit fiber from this brand. I can honestly say that these are just not worth the money at all. In fact, they aren’t even worthy of carrying the label Rene of Paris, and that’s a damn shame. Do better, ROP, do way better – or I am done with you. Yuk.

Kai is the only one I have left to get in, and since it’s shorter, MAYBE it will be OK. I never would have guessed these two would be so bad based on the quality of the Rae, so we’ll see. Purchase these at your own risk, I guess, and definitely get them on sale!

ETA: Two other wig wearers have also received Rylee in the mail, and they both said theirs were awful, too. So, it’s not just me, unfortunately.

Rene of Paris Rae – Quick Pic

Hi there – so far, I’ve only gotten one of the four new Rene of Paris wigs I ordered last week; since filming videos is a big production for me, I’m going to hold off on reviewing this one until I have the others in, so I can film them all in one go. But, for anyone who has been wondering about the style, I did snap a few quick pics with my phone to share. I am a terrible iPhone picture-taker, so these are not very good at all, but you can at least see what it looks like in reality.

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The color, Melted Marshmallow, is a new one for ROP, and it’s quite pretty. Only the tips are platinum blonde, and the roots are a medium brown color. There appears to be a touch of gold blonde in there, too, somewhere around the middle, but I am terrible at determining wig tones so just use the photos as a guide and don’t put too much stock in how I describe it.

The cut is cute and looks a lot like the stock photos right out of the box. It reminds me of a shorter Zuma. It has a lace front and a monofilament part that you can’t really see here, but it exists. The cap felt roomier than some older ROP wigs, and also it felt lighter (probably due to the lace front which has replaced that super-thick rim ROP caps used to have).

Overall this is a promising start to my new ROP wig adventure. We’ll see if the others turn out as nice as this one did.

Reviews News!

I don’t wear wigs except for fun in photos and on rare occasions out of the house, so the ones I normally buy nowadays are less expensive and far more costume than wigs for daily wear. But I do love the internet equivalent of window-shopping – I will sit in bed at night with my iPad in front of me while I watch TV or listen to an audiobook and scroll, scroll, scroll through the new wig releases from time to time, and honestly, I have not seen much of anything in the way of new wig styles in the past few years that has motivated me to even consider spending my money. Jon Renau, Raquel Welch, Envy, Estetica, or whatever – the styles don’t look all that different from what’s been released in the past, and the colors generally aren’t all that new or exciting, either. But of course, the huge rise in prices over the past five years has a lot to do with that, too – especially when I’m not wearing them full-time anymore.

However:

ROP 2018

Damned if every time Rene of Paris comes out with new styles I don’t want them ALL. Why is this? I think one reason why is because each time ROP comes out with new styles, they also drop at least one or two new cool colors that really think outside the box – like the new color on the Kai (only pic on the bottom row) or the Hudson. And where all I feel like I see when Renau or Welch comes out with new releases is a few long wavy wigs, one bob with bangs, and a few short shags in the same colors that they’ve been pushing for years, I always feel like ROP’s new styles are truly something new. Maybe that’s because the ROP line isn’t nearly as vast as Jon Renau, so there’s less to compare the new styles to, but also, it feels like ROP will release a good mix of styles – a curly one, something long, something short, and at least one that’s just really funky. Or maybe I am a sucker for the more interesting photos they use instead of the same four women in the same four poses in front of a white background, who knows.

Anyway, what is the point of all this? The point is, while browsing around Friday morning as I drank my coffee, I wandered over to Vogue Wigs and these new styles were the first thing I saw. AND O.M.G. I immediately wanted, wanted, WANTED THEM ALL. Yes, these price points are way higher than back in the days when I could easily snag an ROP wig for between sixty to eighty bucks, BUT these retail prices are still significantly below the sticker shock of a $400 Jon Renau synthetic, and as any good online wig-shopper knows, if you search around and wait for sales and/or know where to go, you’re going to snag even a brand new style for a good thirty percent less than Vogue Wigs or Wigs.com is going to sell them. I bought four of these five new styles – every style but the Dakota – and each one was between $160-$170, which I feel is reasonable for a wig with very nice synthetic fiber in a gorgeous color (which ROP really excels at).

So, the point – WIG REVIEWS COMING SOON! I haven’t made any videos in a few years, so they won’t be great or anything, but I will review these when I get them in, because for the first time in years I’m excited about getting some new wig styles. So stay tuned! 🙂

Marey January

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It’s been awhile, huh? First I got a few weeks off, and got really lazy. Then, I went back to work and got ridiculously busy right away. In neither circumstance did I do any blogging, or much picture-taking – not that the ridiculous amount of photos that are in this post are any indication of this.

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I took a fair amount of photos in December, but never got around to sharing them here, or anywhere, for that matter. I keep forgetting to log on to my Flickr account to post photos. Days will go by before I realize I haven’t shared anything anywhere, so a big-ass backlog of photos has piled up. It’s weird to look at it all now, since I haven’t touched a camera in weeks. My schedule has gotten all turned around, because once school started up for my students they all had to change their appointment times around due to extracurricular activities, and everything is flipped and flopped and I’m still not used to the new hours.

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I’ve worked basically from 3-8 Monday through Thursday, with Fridays off and a few appointments on Saturday, for a good solid year now. But all of a sudden, my students are scattered all over the place. Whereas before I saw three kids each evening, now I see two on some nights, only one on others, with no entire days off except for Sunday. And, I’m seeing students in the morning on Saturdays now, which I’ve come to learn that I dislike immensely. I don’t know how I ever taught high school all those years when the first class started at 7:30 AM – right now, I have my first morning appointment at 10 AM, and it’s miserable. Of all the changes I’ve made to my schedule, it’s the morning appointments I dislike the most, and as soon as I get an opportunity I intend to change it so I never start tutoring before 1 PM again.

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I’ve had other scheduling issues in the past that I didn’t like – I don’t mind having several hours between appointments, but getting stuck with, say, one hour between two sessions really sucks, because it’s not enough time to do anything other than sit in my car or drive around aimlessly – so one thing I’ve learned is not to sweat the unpleasantness too much, because my schedule is always changing. I’d say the longest I’ve gone without any changes to my work schedule is three months, so by now, when I run up against a schedule I don’t like, I just suck it up and bear with it until it changes again. So, I’m pretty much doing that now with the Saturday morning thing.

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Also, the weather has been bananas here lately. Just this last week, Houston was hit with temperatures well below freezing for two days in a row (Tuesday and Wednesday), with sleet and snow and roads iced over everywhere. I know people who live in cold climates love to make jokes about how a warm Southern town like Houston shuts down in weather that wouldn’t make anyone blink in, say Boston, but the fact is no one who lives here is equipped for such weather, and our city isn’t well-equipped for it, either. None of us natives have ever seen a snow tire, and we are generally hard-pressed to even buy heavy sweaters, much less coats and warm boots and the like. So yeah, the city was basically shut down on those two days, which are also two of my busiest tutoring days, so I’ve spent the rest of week cramming in all the appointments I missed wherever I could to make up for that. And, get this: it’s now Saturday of the same week where the entire city iced over and froze on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it’s currently about 60 degrees outside. My sinuses don’t even know what to do anymore, and trying to decide whether I need to wear a winter scarf or summer shorts is a daily ritual. Usually I just wear both.

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One thing I’ll mention about my photos: I’ve made a conscious decision to use less Photoshop on my portraits. Don’t get it twisted – I still use a lot of Photoshop, but I’ve really backed off the portrait editing software that can alter my face shape. It was fun for quite a while to try to make myself look as different as possible, but the thrill of that has worn off for me now that I’ve basically pushed that as far as I can, and I’ve dialed it way back. I still love to add makeup and I do still even out my skin tone and smooth it a bit, but I’m doing a lot less in that department than I was doing for a while. Obviously I’m still using wigs and makeup, though – that’s probably never gonna change.

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Speaking of wigs/hair, I was considering growing out my gray hair for a minute there, but I abandoned that idea and got some ombre-ish highlights put back in. I wanted more of a contrast than I’ve had before, so my stylist kept the base color quite dark and close to my natural color, then worked in some very blonde ‘panels’ underneath the base color and on the ends. I really like the look, but in my current state of laziness I haven’t taken any pictures of it except for a few crappy iPhone photos. I also got about an inch cut off – the first time I’ve taken off any length in several years – because I really felt like the ends were getting scraggly, and I wanted to get a really blunt cut. For the most part, I’ve been planning to let my hair get as long as possible, since I’ve never had long hair before and I thought having hair down to my waist would be amazing, but lately I’ve been noticing that it’s about as long as it needs to get right now. In fact, the longer it got, the scragglier and thinner it was starting to look, and too much length doesn’t do my long face any favors, either. So, I figured losing a little bit would give it some much-needed bounce, and I plan to keep this length for the foreseeable future. I’ve also been slowly going heavier with my bangs each time I get them trimmed, but keeping them pretty short, and I’m really liking the look right now, even though I lost enough length that pulling it up into a bun is a little tricky now.

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I am also on a big Oribe product kick. I’m still trying out a lot of the line although I’ve used one particular Oribe gel for years; I am not far enough into my experimentation to write about it, but I am determined to make this stuff work for me because the price is ridiculous. I’m impressed with the shampoo I’ve been using so far; it definitely is luxurious and makes my hair silky smooth, but the problem is that my hair is so baby-fine that silky smooth also = flat as hell. So I’m trying out some volumizing styling products to see if I can’t get a good system going with this stuff. We shall see. But I will say, if you have thick or coarse hair and you struggle with frizz or dryness, Oribe shampoo and conditioner just might be worth the money for you. It smooths out my hair so much that even when air-drying (which is all I do anymore) my hair turns out almost straight. Even five years ago I would have loved this, but I am really into wearing my hair wavy now, so it just isn’t floating my boat at the moment.

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So maybe at some point I’ll write up a review of everything I’ve tried and what I think about it all. But for now, I’ve got to wrap this up and get to bed, since I have yet another round of early morning tutoring to do – still making up all the sessions I missed during our two-day winter of 2018.

 

Well Red

Recently I’ve been playing around with my makeup. A lot. In fact, every morning I watch CNN in my bathroom and spend about an hour viewing YouTube videos and learning how to apply my makeup better or style my hair differently. It’s actually become a fun part of my morning routine, and for someone who has NEVER had any skill at makeup application, well, I guess finally figuring it out at age 48 is better than never learning at all. I know it’s not time spent making the world a better place or anything, but it puts me in a much better mood for the day, which certainly isn’t making the world worse. So there you go.

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Some of the cool things I’ve learned recently are how to effectively apply winged liquid eyeliner (the key: pull the eyelid way out and extend the line so far out that it looks ridiculous, because when you let go of the lid it will just barely extend past the outer corner of your eye and look amazing) and how to apply a fairly decent red lip (still working on this one, actually). In fact, on my recent trip to my local MAC counter to pick up a few more bright lipsticks, blushes, and shadows, the makeup artist actually complimented the eyeshadow I’d meticulously applied that morning, and having never, EVER been complimented on my makeup application before, that thrilled me to a ridiculous degree.

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Now, before you get too confused, keep in mind that most of the makeup I have on in my photos has been Photoshopped to perfect all the blending and application flaws I always make. My general method is to apply a ton more makeup than usual, just so it all shows up, and then pull it all together when editing. And as much as I love using bright colors for my photos, in real life I’ve never, EVER worn anything other than neutral makeup shades. I’ve tried on occasion, but always felt terribly overdone with a bright red lip or a multi-colored eyeshadow trio on my lids. My general palette for the past 15-20 years has basically been neutral, golden browns on my eyes, cheeks, and lips, with foundation and powder – period. But, it’s finally happened – my skin has reached that stage where it really does call for more color, and all those neutrals were starting to wash me out. Not only that, but they were also starting to bore me, and lately I’ve been wanting to have way more fun with my face. So, here I am.

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I’m also loving my new pink backdrop! It was pricey, but worth every penny.

Aside from some of the nice, bright eye shadows and blushes I’ve purchased to pop up my look, I’ve become obsessed with getting a good red lip game going. And, in typical fashion, I’ve attacked this by over-purchasing makeup products and then taking pictures of all the new shades to justify the ridiculous expense. So, lucky you – you now get to scroll through photos of NINE of the TWELVE different red lipsticks I’ve purchased over the past two weeks! Why only nine, you ask? Well, because three of the colors just didn’t photograph well for various reasons. Being me, I couldn’t just quickly take photos of all the different lipstick shades while wearing the same outfit, because that would be boring, so I made a costume change with each new color, and in one of them I wore a blue top that made me look washed out and horrible (I’ve discovered quite recently that blue just isn’t my color, but sometimes I still forget). In another one, the outfit was a mess because after about the seventh costume change I was starting to run out of ideas, and the third color went bad because, after applying and then wiping off eleven different red lipsticks, most of which were a long-wearing liquid formula, my entire mouth and chin were a disaster. On the plus side, I currently have the most exfoliated lips in history. But I digress.

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Because I actually have never gotten much into makeup and I get easily overwhelmed by the limitless array of choices available, I tend to stick to the two or three brands I know well when it comes to trying new things. I may venture out a little when I feel the need to change my foundation or some other more fundamental product (and I did, actually, change my base recently as well; I figured if I was going to change things I might as well go for broke – I went with Chanel’s Ultrawear Flawless Foundation, but I’m not wearing it in these pics because I have special, heavy-duty foundation I use for photos) so the only two lipstick lines I tried here were by MAC and Lime Crime. I’ve worn MAC since my 20s, and all my blush and eyeshadow still comes from them even though I moved on from their foundation long ago; and I’ve always liked Lime Crime’s aesthetic even though they’re more outrageous than I’ve ever worn in public – I’ve been wearing their lipsticks and shadows in my photos for years. I’ve always liked both of their long-wearing liquid lipsticks, but always took issue with the more neutral colors from both lines. In fact, I’ve always found neutral long-wearing formulations problematic; while the brighter colors maintain their pop in long-wearing lipsticks, I feel like the neutrals just go flat and gray and muddy on my lips. The only one I’ve ever liked is one I found about a year ago – Kylie Jenner’s King K (see photo above) – and it’s still my favorite neutral lip in the world which is why I have about ten unopened tubes of it in my lipstick drawer; I want to have it on-hand forever (it’s currently sold out and I don’t know if they will be re-stocking it).  And it’s still the color I wear when working; I tried wearing a bright red lip ONCE to my tutoring sessions, and when I got home in the evening after my three tutoring sessions and looked in the mirror, I was mortified. At some point while teaching and talking and driving from place to place, without any real time to look in a mirror or touch up  my makeup, that bright red had slipped completely off my lips and settled into my chin as well as my upper lip, leaving only a weird, dark red line outlining my cupid’s bow. I hate to say it, but my first thought when I saw my reflection was that I looked like I’d had a quickie in my car between sessions; it was THAT bad. I looked insane. So, I’ve never worn a red lip to a tutoring session again. But I digress again – let’s get on to the lipsticks!

#1: Psycho by Lime Crime (Velveteen long-wearing liquid)

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I played around with my eyeshadow and skin tone as I always do in these photos – but I do want to point out that I left the lipstick colors alone, so they should be pretty true to how they really look. 

One of my issues with red lipstick has always been that, on me, it always seems to turn pink when I put it on, even if it doesn’t look like it has blue undertones in the tube. So, I was careful to stay away from shades that had any sort of blue or pink in the color descriptions. Psycho, however, is about as far away from a blue undertone as I could go – it’s pretty much flat-out orange, and in real life it’s too bright to work for every day. But it’s fun, and it will work for photos, and I can see wanting to wear it every once in a while. I knew this one was a longshot when I bought it, but as with all the lipsticks I tried I got it during the Black Friday sales so I was feeling more adventurous due to the added savings.

Oh and speaking of Black Friday sales, the reason I am just now getting these colors reviewed for you when I bought them two weeks ago is because UPS had a complete meltdown after Black Friday, and took forever to deliver my packages. Here’s just one little snapshot of the sort of insanity they had going on while I waited, fairly impatiently, for my deliveries (keep in mind this is the tracking for just ONE package; I had three that were lost in the UPS loop for days and days):

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Allow me to explain.

First of all, I ship most of my packages to a shipping business that rents mailboxes; usually shipments to a business will arrive way earlier in the day than shipments to a residence, and I like knowing when a shipment is out for delivery that I will get it by 3:30 instead of at 8 PM (even if it means I have to drive up to my mailbox to get it). I also like that if something needs to be signed for, I don’t have to worry about it, because there’s always someone at my mailbox who will sign for it. So, that first reschedule above was legit, because the business was closed the day after Thanksgiving. After that, though, things just got ridiculous. There actually was NOT an adult signature required for this stuff, because IT WAS A BOX OF MAKEUP, and MAC has never required signatures on anything. So that was just a flat-out UPS lie. Then I got the dreaded “due to operating conditions” update, where “operating conditions” means “untrained, inept, and overwhelmed UPS drivers.” Then, it just goes Out For Delivery for a few days in a row without ever showing up, then it was back to requiring an adult signature again…you get the idea. Also, make note of the times of those delivery attempts – 9:42 PM, 9:35 PM, 7:55 PM. The office where I rent my mailbox closes at 6:00, and is supposed to have a shipment guarantee with UPS that all shipments will arrive by 3:30. Sigh.

Anyway, on to Lipstick #2, which is: Red Velvet by Lime Crime (Velveteen long-wearing liquid)red velvet

This is one of those reds that went pink on me; it’s described on the website as “reddest red,” which I figured probably meant it would be a blue-red, and I was right. However, I Googled all these lipstick shades before I bought them, and overall I did love the way it looked on other people, so even though I knew it was a longshot I figured I’d give it a go (what can I say – probably the Black Friday sales getting the best of me again). It’s pretty, but definitely no orange undertones in this one that makes it too pinky for my taste. It’s really too bad that in my frustration waiting for my wayward shipment with this color in it to arrive, I actually went online and placed a second order from another website in the hopes I’d get it sooner (or actually get it at all,  because I was pretty convinced that the shipment had actually been lost and was never going to arrive), because now I have two. Moving on.

Lipstick #3: Pumpkin by Lime Crime (Velveteen long-wearing liquid)

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Ah, Pumpkin. I really like this one. It’s orange, but not bright, and in more of a brick-red kind of way, so it works as a neutral red I can wear with all my neutral-toned clothes in tan and gray (I’m also working on incorporating more color into my wardrobe, but hey, let’s take this one expensive step at a time, OK?). By the way, this is probably a good time to talk about the formulation of Lime Crime’s Velveteens (the name of their long-wearing liquid lipstick line). As with all long-wearing lipsticks, these are quite dry, and in fact I find them drier than the MAC Liquid Matte lipsticks I tried. And I will say it was a Lime Crime lipstick I was wearing the night of my disastrous red-lip tutoring fiasco, so, there’s that. But, I wouldn’t say Lime Crime’s formulation is the driest I’ve ever tried, or is so dry it’s unwearable. I think it’s more that the MAC formulation is less dry than the others I’ve worn, and Lime Crime’s are the usual amount of dry, if that makes sense. I purchased MAC’s Lip Primer as an afterthought and have been wearing it underneath all of these the past few days, and I do think it helps a little, but dryness is just part of the deal with all of these matte, long-wearing, liquid lipstick lines. And although Lime Crime didn’t survive one of my marathon tutoring sessions, the truth is, nothing else I ever wear makes it through five hours of teaching, talking, and driving – not even my stand-by, still-loved King K. When I’ve worn Lime Crime out of the house for anything else, like shopping, or visiting friends, it’s held up just fine. So there you go. And while we’re at it, I might as well finish up the Lime Crime lineup all at once, so on to the last one of that batch. This one also happens to be my favorite lipstick of them all!

Lipstick #4: New Americana by Lime Crime (Velveteen long-wearing liquid)

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I. Love. This. Lipstick. 

As far as colors go, this one wins, hands-down. The color is GORGEOUS. It’s very bright, but since it maintains the orange undertone I love so much instead of leaning pink, it really makes me happy.  I have to say, if I were ranking these lipsticks, I would knock off half a star because I know the MAC formulation isn’t quite as dry, and dryness is my one tiny complaint about this one. But I think if I tried to wear something this bright and red in a non-longwearing formula, I would be a mess within twenty minutes, so overall this is a big win. As long as I get it applied right, and have time throughout the day to check myself in the mirror and touch it up now and then, it doesn’t end up all over everything (although you’ll still see some of it on your coffee cup) and stays in place. And the rich, red color is really stunning.

Which wraps up our Lime Crime reviews, and as we move on to MAC I’ll start with the red from them that I think is closest to New Americana.

Lipstick #5: Fashion Legacy by MAC (liquid matte)fashion legacy

Fashion Legacy is from MAC’s Liquid Matte line of longwearing lipsticks, and as I already mentioned, these are a little more moisturizing than Lime Crime’s Velveteens. That said, I notice a bit more color transfer onto my coffee cup with these, but they can still endure a lunch date while maintaining most of their color by the end of the meal. Fashion Legacy has the same nice, rich brightness of LC’s New Americana, but as you can see it’s also a bit more pink. Honestly, I didn’t really notice the difference all that much until I put these two pictures side by side, and Fashion Legacy can probably do anything New Americana do – but it doesn’t do it any better, to quote the song. So, this is a great one to wear if for some reason I’m wanting my lips to be more moisturized than they would be with Lime Crime’s version, and for that reason I’ll give this one four and a quarter stars (I’ve got to give New Americana my highest marks, even if it is just slightly).

Lipstick #6: Quite the Standout by MAC (liquid matte)quite the standout

Look out Westworld! I chose the black hat. 

I like this one. It’s a great orange-red, nowhere near as bright as LC’s Psycho but much more so than the brick-ness of their Pumpkin. I will get a lot of wear out of this one, even though it doesn’t make my heart go pitter-pat like New Americana does – and by the way, how great are all of these names? I even love just saying “New Americana” over and over. Quite the Standout? Fashion Legacy? All so much more lovely than the $60 Chanel foundation I just bought in “Color 40.” And speaking of names…

Lipstick #7: Lady Danger by MAC (matte lipstick – non-liquid)

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Lady Danger – how’s that for a great lipstick name? This one is one of the handful of non-liquid, non-longwear ones I tried; I thought maybe I could make a more moisturizing red lipstick work on tutoring days without coming home looking insane, but I haven’t tried it yet. I do like this color, even though I can’t tell much difference between it and Quite the Standout aside from perhaps a touch of coral in this one; since I really like how Standout looks on, what I may do is carry this one with me when wearing Quite the Standout out of the house as I could use it to moisturize my lips while adding some color if they get too dry. I don’t know; I’m really not sure why I bought this one other than to try out some non-liquid reds while I was on my Black Friday lipstick-shopping kick. I tried a few others that aren’t so entirely similar to something I already had in liquid form, but a few of them were in the batch of photos that didn’t work out, so I don’t have anything to show of them yet.

Lipstick #8: To Matte With Love (MAC Liquid Matte)to matte with love

That’s right, you guys – I even tried a pink. Me, in PINK. In a PINK LIPSTICK, y’all. Me, who never ever even wore pink in high school in the eighties, when pink lipstick was basically the only available color in the drugstore. I figured if I was trying out new things, I might as well try a pink or two, and again – BLACK FRIDAY SALE MADNESS. Plus, this one looked quite pretty and not obnoxious at all, and I actually quite like it. Not sure how much I’ll wear this one, but since I also bought some bright, deep pink eyeshadow and an awesome bright lime green, I could see putting that all together and making it work.

OK, last one for now, and it’s not all that thrilling, quite honestly:

Lipstick #9: Dangerous (MAC matte)dangerous

Why do I look so much like Jared Leto here?

First of all, this is the last lipstick I photographed, and it really shows. By this time, all the scraping and wiping I did on my lips had taken its toll; you can see how much the other colors had kind of faded into the skin around my lips here. Plus, Dangerous really doesn’t have much pigmentation at all; I think it’s buildable if you want more depth, but on its own it is rather sheer. This isn’t a bad thing, but because of that it looks more coral on me than I’d like, and I feel it’s an odd color for such a sheer formulation. For now I don’t feel like I have any real use for this one, but who knows. It might grow on me.

So at last we reach the end of this massive lipstick post. Keep in mind I still have three other shades I didn’t even review! Which one of these did you like best? Do you agree with my #1 winner, or do you like another one better? Let me know in the comments, or don’t, it’s up to you. But if you made it to the end of all of this madness, at least drop me a line in the comments and say hi, so I can thank you for your dedication. 🙂

Thanksliving

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Penny says hello

The past few weeks have been a bit of a stressful blur – I went from having 4 clients to 11 in three weeks’ time, and adjusting to the added workload took a while. Once I had a chance to step back and look at my schedule, though, I found some ways to make things flow more easily from day to day, and that helped. I went through a period of time where I was getting phone calls from interested parents daily (after a round of report cards went out, apparently, and people started to panic), and I ended up just slapping them onto my schedule wherever I could fit them. Going from tutoring two kids per day to three doesn’t sound like a big adjustment, but when you factor in drive time between sessions (I don’t have an office and meeting at libraries isn’t my first choice because they get so crowded out here) I went from working between 3:30 and 6:30 each day to not getting home until around 8:30 PM, which is a pretty big change. Add to that the fact that daylight savings time ended right as my schedule was starting to fill, and I ended up feeling pretty tired and out of sorts while I tried to manage all the new students.

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Simon is not bothered, though.

One thing I was able to do after the dust settled was look at my new schedule and find ways to maximize my time. For example, I’d ended up tutoring two kids who lived just a few blocks from each other, but I wasn’t seeing them on the same day. And somehow I ended up scheduling myself an hour break between two of my sessions, which, when you don’t have an office, ends up being just enough time to get restless and irritable between sessions, but not enough time to do anything about it other than sit in your car and check your phone. So, I moved some students around and re-arranged some of my session times to make my schedule more manageable. I’m still getting used to driving around for my last two sessions of the day in the dark, which still feels odd, but the days will start lengthening out soon enough, and it’s starting to feel more normal now than it did when all of the this started up a few weeks ago.

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A few weeks ago I got in two new photography tools that I was excited to work with: one was a pink popup backdrop that was rather pricey – pink isn’t a very popular color for these backdrops, so I did end up paying quite a bit for this one – and the other was a fairly inexpensive ring light for portraits. Unfortunately, the ring light turned out to be more challenging than I remembered it being  -I had a cheaper one years ago that could only be used when attached to my camera, and it broke after a few months of use – and my first pics with the pink backdrop didn’t turn out as good as I’d hoped they would because I was also trying to figure out the best way to use the ring light at the same time. But, I did manage to get a few good ones, which I’ve shared above.

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A REALLY RARE decent selfie I took with my phone

I’ve been trying to be active on Instagram again since leaving Facebook, but I completely SUCK at phone selfies, and I was hoping the ring light would help with that. Here, it worked out great, and this was a real one-off, barely-planned photo, so I had high hopes it would always be this easy to use. But so far, that’s not how it’s going. Yes, it creates a lovely catchlight in the eyes, which is one of the main reasons it is used for portraits, and if you get it just right it can also create a lovely halo of light on the face, BUT for me that’s turned out to be trickier than I imagined, and I’m still not sure how best to use it to get this effect every time. Another issue seems to be that to get this effect you have to be VERY close to it (and therefore, the camera) and I don’t do a lot of super close-up photos since I like to show the hair/wigs and usually the head and shoulders to show off an outfit. You can see in the pink backdrop collage above how the shots where I’m closer to the camera worked better than those where I wasn’t, and even then, the ring light blasts out a lot of the nice soft shadows I like my portraits to have. So, I’m still working on how to use this thing best, and it may not end up being a big part of my normal shooting gear. Fortunately this one wasn’t expensive either, although I did spend more on it than on the previous one (around $80).

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So anyway, about those Instagram selfies. What I’ve done so far is use one of my DSLRs to take the selfies, then use Instagram’s filters to edit them before uploading. It’s not totally in the spirit of IG, but my iPhone selfies are literally the worst I’ve even seen and I just don’t have the skill to improve them – they have always been horrible with the exception of that ONE ring light photo. For the most part, though, even though I am still taking these shots with a DSLR, I do them quickly, with whatever amount of makeup  I have on at the moment, and wearing my own hair and pretty regular clothes and standing wherever I happen to be standing at the time. So, they are still way more ‘candid’ than the stuff I post on Flickr.

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All of these were taken around the house

I am hoping that through Instagram I can also get back into photographing outfits and fashion-y shots like that. But I’m SO picky about them that we will have to see how that goes. Using a DSLR instead of my phone already ups the amount of time photos take to shoot, and since I really prefer the full length shots to have good lighting that would require even more prep time, which isn’t really in the spirit of what I’m doing. I’m going for another photography avenue that can be more spontaneous and take less time, and even though I think I’ve found a way to do it with portraits and still be happy with the results, it remains to be seen if I can pull that off with full length photos.

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Another random thing this photo makes me think to mention: the last time I went to get my bangs trimmed, I had my stylist cut them blunt and without thinning them out or making them look piece-y. I felt that a heavier bang might look better and so far, I am liking the results, although they still need to fill in a bit. Then, once I started playing around with hair looks and got my new cat-eye glasses in (from Zenni, of course) I started playing around with my makeup to create a more Rockabilly vibe (my new favorite thing to do, since I have the time in the morning, is to shut myself in my bathroom for an hour, watch CNN, and play around with my makeup and my hair). In order to do this, I’ve gotten into really pigmented, colorful lipsticks – something I have never done before. As much as I’ve always loved the look of a dark or bright red lip, I never EVER felt comfortable wearing it myself. My lips are quite thin, first of all, and the darker or brighter a lip color is the thinner the lips will look. But it’s more than that – for all the talk of how women over ‘a certain age’ shouldn’t wear bright red lips, I am actually finding that I really LIKE wearing it for all the exact same reasons the fashion industry says more mature women shouldn’t. To put it another way – I really do think it ‘ages’ me – but in a way I really like! I do think I look older in a dark or bright lip color as opposed to something pale and neutral, but in an “I’ve earned the right to wear this” way and not in an “I shouldn’t be wearing this” kind of way. To me, it looks really sassy, confident, and yes, mature – so I’m having lots of fun with that right now.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you that will celebrate it this week. I am looking forward to slowing down and catching my breath since I only have two students to tutor, then it’s off on the mad dash to the winter holidays!

Oh, and if any of you want to follow me on Instagram, this is me: Instagram. Just don’t be an asshole or I’ll block you.