Mannequin Avenue

Featured

Dang, I have been busy with these mannequin heads, y’all:

jasmine4

First of all, I got the idea to stick a bunch of fake fruit to one of my mannequin heads. I really don’t know why this idea came to me, but once the thought occurred to me to do it I had to give it a go.

GrapeNecklace

I used double-sided tape to stick some fake fruit to the mannequin; I actually don’t have that much fake fruit – I used Photoshop to duplicate the grapes and stick’em all on there.

GrapeMohawk

I call this “The Grapehawk”

This one is my favorite of the fake fruit shots. Somehow my edits ended up making the mannequin’s face look so real, it’s almost creepy:

PearHead1

What should I call this one? The Pear Devil? 

I also gave her a grape beard in one shot:

FruitHead8

Now, some of you may remember that when I tried out all those Oribe products, I mentioned how shiny and metallic silver the Silverati shampoo is, and how much I wanted to take pics of it running down my face. That would have been pretty messy to do, but when using a mannequin as a model, it was just crazy easy:

Oribe4

I really only took pictures of one mannequin. I composited this shot and changed the face a bit on one of the images so they didn’t look exactly the same. 

These mannequin heads are so ridiculously easy to work with. The have these perfectly smooth, proportioned faces and they’re easy to manipulate as well as glue stuff to or smear crap all over. When I was done, I was able to just wash the old gal off with a rag and call it a day.

Oribe2

The perfect “skin” tones on these mannequins make them super-easy to overmanipulate in processing. I don’t have to worry about uneven skin tones that don’t match up – and this all led to an absolute photo-editing frenzy. I started out simple enough, but as time went on I started to really go to town with the color and shading:

Oribe6

See what I mean? The mannequin is such a great ‘blank’ canvas for some awesome edits and I can really cut lose in all sorts of ways I’ve never done before.

Oribe5

Not to mention how easy the setup and breakdown is. I managed to shoot all these photos this morning before heading out to tutor in the afternoon. Usually that’s not even remotely possible – it takes me at least an hour to put on my makeup and then after the shoot is done, I have to wash it all off again. Not to mention how much longer it takes me to shoot myself as opposed to a perfectly still doll head.

Oribe1

And I didn’t even need any fancy lighting, just my camera with my external flash. Heaven!

Oribe7

I am sure eventually I’ll get bored with these mannequins, but then again, there’s all sorts of mannequins out there with all sorts of faces, and they do whatever I want them to do without complaining. The perfect models!

Oribe8c

I can’t believe how many photos I was able to take as well as edit today, while also eating two meals, tutoring a student, and swimming for half an hour. I’m over the moon with this new direction!

 

Hello Dolly

Recently I was in the Goodwill store by my house when I came across one of those big doll styling heads kids sometimes play with:

Photo Jun 01, 2 29 34 PM

I’ve photographed dolls before, but never ones that were so big I could put my wigs on them and really play around with the facial features in post. Needless to say, it made a difference:

sasha2

sasha3

sasha1-1

All three of these shots came from a quick photo where I just stood the doll head on a table and took a snap. I used my Portrait Pro, PhotoToolbox, and MakeupDirector software to alter the doll’s face to look different in each shot. Then, after seeing how easy she was to work with, I started to get more creative with my shots, adding wigs and wind (of course, because you know how I love hair that blows about) and taking pictures from different angles:

sasha4

Same wig as the shots below, I just put it on the doll head backwards

sasha5

sasha6

I was having a hard time getting the wig to blow around dramatically, however, because I had to sit the doll head on a table and could only get the fan to hit the hair fiber from certain directions. I wanted to be able to get the fan up under the doll as I thought that would create more interesting shapes with the wigs, and then I remembered that I had two wig mannequin heads that have holes in the bottom so they can be put onto a stand. Bingo!

jasmine2a

Jasmine1

I have many ideas for where to go from here, and putting wigs on a doll head is WAY quicker to set up for and easier to shoot than putting the wigs on, and photographing, myself. I also feel more free to go crazy with the processing, since the subject isn’t a real human to start with, and I’m having fun working with some filters I don’t normally use, like Topaz’s Impressions filter, which transforms photo into faux-paintings or sketches.

I can easily set up and shoot some wig shots this way every day without it being a big ordeal, so expect to see more doll shots coming soon! I am, of course, already on the lookout for more heads – the wig mannequins are definitely easier to use, but damn they are expensive, as opposed to the wig-styling kids’ toys that can be found used for around three bucks. I’ll be hitting up eBay for mannequin heads today, and we’ll see what I find. 😉 There are also some really freaky mannequin heads out there, so finding some of those for cheap would be a real bonus.

 

Up and Running

I’ve brought the blog back up, but the wig reviews are still down. At this point, I don’t think I will bring them back, but you never know with me. I’m definitely done reviewing any new ones, since at this point it just doesn’t seem worth it to me when all people who watch them can do is nitpick and complain. Let all those people who find fault with everyone who tries to share their opinions about wigs via video step up and make some for a change, is pretty much where I’m at with it at this point.

fireplace

We got in all the photos I had printed to hang around the house, so I thought I’d share the final result of that. In this photo, which we put on our fireplace mantel, the original had a purple curtain in the image, which I changed to gray to make it match more with our decor. This is one of my favorites that we got printed onto canvas.

front room

This one is in our front room – not sure how I feel about this one, mostly because although I got it printed on the largest canvas the company had, it still gets dwarfed on this wall. All the furniture in this room is pretty old and mish-mash, as well, but I found some small rugs online that I threw over the settee and chairs and it actually doesn’t look half-bad. None of the furniture is very comfortable, though, so I ended up getting big floor pillows to sit on when I spend time in there. Strange little-known fact about me: I have always preferred sitting on the floor to sitting on furniture. Who knows why.

gold balls

office 1

office 2

And yes, I did hang pictures of myself in my office, thankyouverymuch. I know it looks vain and kinda weird, but I love a lot of my self-portraits and movement/motion/costume shots, and I wanted to print some up and hang them somewhere – and the room where I do my photoshoots seemed like the logical choice. I had a few more I really loved and wanted to print, but I would have had to put them in other parts of the house to do so and it did seem like overkill to hang big prints of myself all over the area. So, I stuck with these and called it a day. You may have also noticed that a lot of these prints are a bit crooked or off-center – and I totally admit to not caring about that. I never have, and it makes a lot of people (like Doug) crazy that to me, just getting close to straight is enough for me.

I also think I hung these too high on the wall, but again, I don’t really care:

pet wall

I call this our “pet wall;” it’s upstairs in the loft which functions as my husband’s office (hence the mess everywhere – he’s even more sloppy than I am). In spite of how much I love color in my shots, I transformed a lot of them into monochrome for printing, just because when hung side by side they tended to clash – that happened with the pet shots and the photos I hung in my office, too.

bedroom

The bedroom has had a few issues – at first I bought all white bed linens, because I loved the look, but since our pets run the house and deposit themselves on all of our furniture, that lasted about a month before I had to make a change. I refuse to spend a lot on bed linens, though, because of the aforementioned pet issue, so I found this new comforter set on eBay for $60 and I actually like it – even though I still prefer the look of the solid white.

I finally set up a photoshoot yesterday and took new pictures, so I’ll share more of those in a later post. At least the major house stuff is finally done!

House Party

OK, so. It’s all been a challenge, but the major home renovations are finally done.

Before and After shots – the ‘before’ is on the left

There’s still a lot to do – we are going to print my photos to hang on the walls, and there’s still furniture to replace or move  – but the main, really destructive stuff is done.

I tried to come back home once the floors were installed, but there was so much construction dust everywhere that my lungs got very irritated again – so I spent the last week while the house was being painted at a hotel.

We took out all the seriously outdated wallpaper, and replaced it with a soft, subtle beige by Sherwin Williams called “Kilim Beige.” You can’t see it really in this shot of our living room, but above the wainscoting it’s actually beige, and below it is white. The contrast doesn’t show up well in the photo, and it’s pretty subtle anyway. Truth be told, the paint ended up being lighter than I thought it would be, but it is quite pretty, and our house is old which means we have small rooms, so anything much darker would have kept the rooms feeling small and cramped, so in the end it’s fine.

We also replaced all that nasty wall-to-wall carpet with laminate flooring, FINALLY. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but we were too cheap and lazy to get it done.

The color in some of these photos also looks more pink or red than the wall paint is in reality. Oh well.

My health is slowly on the mend – I am still coughing a lot, but at this point I just think it’s going to be a slower recovery than I would like. It still wakes me up at night sometimes, but not regularly, and I am seeing a pulmonologist regularly who says my lungs are clear and there’s nothing else going on but inflammation, and I’m just going to have to keep taking my meds and being patient. I also screwed up my back sleeping on the floor for the two weeks I tried to stay at the house, and my sciatic nerve is a mess. But I’m seeing a chiropractor for that and limping around for now while that recovers.

Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal, and I have a lot of life and work stuff I need to get in order since everything has been all over the place since early March. But I am definitely ready to get back to normal and not live out of a suitcase anymore!

Black Mold, Texas Tea

After two and a half weeks at my sister’s, I came back home today to a house that’s still ripped apart, but has been given a clean bill of health and has been scrubbed into submission. We had out air vents cleaned out also, and I swear you can actually SMELL how clean it is in here.

Photo Mar 26, 4 54 05 PM

The entrance to our bedroom

Within the next day or two, all the sealed areas should be opened, and our furniture will be HEPA-vaccuumed a second time and placed back into the bedroom. The floor has been ripped out, though, so in about two weeks we will have to take all the furniture back out again to replace the floors. We are going to go ahead and replace all the nasty carpet on the first floor and get wood laminate for the entire downstairs area, which ultimately will be awesome and is something we should have done years ago, but keep in mind our completely shitty home insurance is not covering a dime of this, so it’s going to cost us a ridiculous amount of money. We also have to get the sheetrock re-done again (most of it is sheetrock we already replaced once, right after Harvey before we knew about the mold situation). Then, we are going to go ahead and rip out all the wallpaper in the areas where we still have it (the kitchen, the bathrooms, and our front living room – yeah, we’ve been living with serious old-school decorating in this house for decades) and get all the walls repainted (some of which we also JUST re-painted right after Harvey).

Photo Mar 26, 4 53 31 PM

One of our built-in bookcases, which also had mold. It wasn’t the black mold we had in the bathroom, but it still has to go. 

But here’s the thing: EVERY TIME I try to get back to normal as far as getting out of the house, going to tutoring sessions, running errands, etc., I get sick again. Even trying to have a simple conversation with someone on the phone sends me into a coughing fit within twenty minutes. It’s as if the only way I feel well is if I sit in bed all day, don’t speak to anyone, or do ANYTHING. And it’s really pissing me off. I have been canceling tutoring sessions for three weeks now, although I’ve managed to squeeze in a random one here and there before getting worn down and miserable again, for the most part I’ve gone weeks without working with most of my kids. Everyone is being really great about it, but I’ve worked really hard to build up the client base that I have, and I hate to risk losing it.

Photo Mar 26, 5 28 34 PM

After packing up all my things and my dogs this morning and driving us all back out to the house, I ended up with another massive coughing fit that just broke me down into tears. I was so frustrated having to cancel on my students again, and to not be able to get back to normal health-wise. I also have now pulled something on my left side from all the coughing, and I’m just really worn down, tired, and disappointed that I can’t get well. I had a chest x-ray done, and while it shows hyperinflated lungs due to asthma, it’s not like there’s any congestion in my chest or anything else going on. It’s just that nothing we’ve tried so far has worked to control my asthma, and we’re pretty much at the top of ladder as far as the escalating steps you take to get asthma under control. I’m honestly not sure what we’re going to try next, unless we add daily breathing treatments and perhaps get allergy tested again to see if I’m reacting badly to something else other than the mold. Especially since the damn mold is gone now and our house is probably the cleanest one in Houston – although the pollen is out of control in the area right now which I am sure isn’t helping.

Photo Mar 26, 4 53 48 PM

Our bedroom furniture, which has been HEPA-cleaned and sealed.

Reluctantly, I took the entire week off and cancelled all my sessions, and as much as I hate to do it my plan is going to be to sit at home on my ass and just. do. nothing. I’m going to go back to the doctor on Thursday for a check-in and I hope to God by next week to be able to get back to normal as far as my health. This sitting around coughing and hacking and feeling exhausted is for the birds. And I haven’t worked out in weeks and am gaining weight. So overall, I just feel sloppy and lazy and nasty and totally blah.

Oribe! Oribe!

I thought since I’ve spent a small fortune over the past several months trying out a ton of Oribe hair products, I’d go ahead and write a review of the different things I’ve tried and what I think of them. I don’t have any photographic evidence of how this stuff affected my hair, but I think I can use my words to describe how it all turned out.

First of all, I will say that using the Oribe shampoos and conditioners does mean my hair air-dries into a bit of a mess. It’s all natural and lacks all of the sulfites and other stuff that’s supposedly bad for your hair, so while it leaves my hair feeling soft and silky, “soft and silky” on baby-fine hair often = frizzy mess. In that sense, if I wanted to just air-dry my hair without any future styling, I’d be better off sticking with the Goldwell or Moroccan Oil products I use that have the more traditional formulations, because they weigh my hair down more and give me more curl and definition, as well as less frizz. But, since I enjoy styling my hair anyway, I do find that when combined with heat-styling this Oribe stuff is amazing, and in the end my styled hair has less frizz and some really nice wave. Also, I recently added a LOT of blonde highlights to my dark hair, which changed the texture somewhat, and also makes it more necessary to style it than it was when it wasn’t highlighted. Moving on.

I’ve tried a few of the shampoos so far, and here they are:

Oribe Silverati Shampoo and Conditioner

oribe-silverati-shampoo-and-conditioner-102941193_sq

I got this stuff when I was planning to grow out my gray, and continue to use it at least once a week on my blonde hair now. I don’t know that it really makes my blonde look any blonder, but the highlights haven’t gotten brassy or anything, and there’s a cool factor here because the shampoo and conditioner are both shiny silver instead of the usual purple tint. If this stuff didn’t cost $50 each, I’d dump a bunch of it over my head and take pictures, because it really does look like liquid metal coming out of the bottles.

Oribe Beautiful Color Shampoo and Conditioner

s-l1600

I also bought this stuff to use on the days I don’t use the Silverati. Both of these lines smell and feel amazing, and do not take much at all to lather up and get to work. Again, they both leave my hair feeling amazingly soft and silky, the only downside being that I must style my hair to add some weight and curl to it since it turns into a little puffball without the usual goop to hold it down. Is it worth the money? I think so – if only because it’s so gentle, it smells amazing, and when used with other styling products (oh, so many styling products in my case) my hair really does turn out great, and continues to look great for 2-3 days after shampooing. With my Goldwell or Moroccan Oil, I can’t stretch a shampoo for three days without looking greasy, but with Oribe I can. So that’s something.

Supershine Moisturizing Cream

51f5IhfG0mL._SL1000_

I’ve found that when going full Oribe, products which add moisture are essential for me. My baby-fine hair tends towards looking dry and frizzy, which is interesting, since when using more traditional products with sulfites and other chemicals my hair gets weighed down and greasy, and I tend to have to wash more often. I’d never dream of using so many moisturizing creams and things on my hair before switching to Oribe, but the overall effect is still hair that feels smoother and lighter than when using heavier products. So, this cream is a real must-have for me; I work it into my wet hair right after stepping out of the shower, and can sometimes add a bit to my hair when it’s dry if it looks a bit frizzy.

Oribe Matte Waves Texture Lotion

51oJoWdELkL._SL1000_

Another cream-based product to put into my hair would have sounded insane before Oribe, but here we are. I didn’t get how to use this stuff at first, and combined it with a few other gels which was too much – now, I just put this on after the Moisturizing Cream and scrunch it into my hair and it’s good to go. It doesn’t add a lot of extra texture when air-drying, but I find that it makes my hair very easy to heat-style into waves the next morning and creates a touchable hold that lasts all day.

Split End Seal

_13378971

This is the product I’ve been using up the most; it’s a smaller bottle so that has something to do with it, but it’s a great little cream that I like to put just on the ends after heat-styling. I often throw some on them when it’s still wet, too; my chemically-treated hair needs help, y’all, and I do think this cream delivers. I also like that it weighs down the ends of my hair a little, which helps since it’s so fine; the ends of my hair can look stringy even without all the highlights, and anything that adds some weight to them combats that.

Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Oil

9349730_fpx

I was hesitant to commit to this oil at first, still loving my Moroccan Oil as much as I did, but I eventually gave in to the lovely bottle, the great title, and the desire to go full Oribe. It’s an oil. It’s in a lovely bottle. Like everything Oribe, it smells amazing. And in case I haven’t yet mentioned it, my hair is frizzy, y’all, and it loves hair oil. It drinks this shit up. I sometimes dab a bit on, concentrating on the ends, while it’s still wet, sometimes not – but I always apply it last after putting a ton of other products on it after heat-styling. It adds a touch of sheen and weight that makes my hair look and feel silky even though it’s loaded with expensive goop. Good times.

Oribe Balm d’Or Heat Styling Shield

US300024696_ORIBE

First of all, aren’t all these bottles just gorgeous? I love to just look at all this crap on my shelves. This was another one of those if-I’m-going-full-Oribe-let’s-really-go-ALL-OUT purchases, but I really ended up preferring it because it’s also a cream, and I feel I can really saturate my strands with it better than the spray form most heat protectants take. Also – and I don’t know why this is – but most sprays I put in my hair end of making it frizzy and dry-looking, including heat-protectant sprays. This stuff doesn’t make my hair crispy or dry at all. And like everything Oribe, I don’t have to use much of it for it to work.

Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray 

61tTMIT9b0L._SL1000_

First of all, another gorgeous bottle! And, this is one of the few sprays from Oribe, or any brand really, that I feel I can actually use. It’s pretty light, and it does what it says it will do, which is add some volume and texture to my waves. I don’t use it when my hair is wet, though, even though the instructions say you can – this just gives me frizz for some reason, so I stick to using it as a finishing spray, after I’ve air-dried, heat-curled, and applied the Split End Seal, but before I use the Anti-Humidity Spray and Gold Lust Oil. I just flip my hair over, spray some on, and scrub it in, and poof – a little added texture and volume. Voila!

Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray

_13388284

If I feel my hair needs it (and living in Houston, Texas, my hair often needs it) I will add this anti-humidity spray to my daily routine. I also keep a small bottle of it in my purse. Unlike the oilier shine spray from Oribe that I tried and did not like, this one smooths out frizz without making my hair look flat and greasy. I don’t use every day, but I use it often enough to know it works to reduce flyaways on high humidity days without dragging my hair down or flattening it out.

OK, so far, everything I’ve discussed is stuff I use regularly – but I’ve also tried out a lot of items that I don’t use as much because they’re either treatments you use less often, stuff I just bought and am still on the fence about, or stuff I just don’t care for. Here we go.

The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo and Essential Antidote Replenishing Conditioner

BC-Oribe-Cleanse-Clarifying-Shampoo

Wow, ladies. This stuff is amazing. I’ve tried a few shampooing/conditioning products by Oribe that don’t even look like shampoos or conditioners – both of these come in cans that look like they would distribute mousse, and in fact both of these have that consistency, more or less. Hell, I don’t even know if they do a good job clarifying or conditioning my hair, but the absolutely luxurious feel of these two products almost makes me not care. The shampoo foams out into a rich, fat-ass lather that actually was WAY more than I needed the first time I used it, so now I know to press that nozzle lightly. Honestly it feels so good I kinda want to lick it after I foam it into my hands; it’s already in a lather as it goes into my hair and overall it just feels (and of course, smells) delicious. It’s also this bizarre silvery, shiny color that matches the bottle, which – how do they do that? It’s amazing.

Then, there’s the conditioner. It also foams out into the palm of your hand, but it feels – I swear to God – like warm honey, and smooths into your hair like butter. So, honey butter for your hair. Need I say any more? I used these both after a major-heavy product-trying day, including one product I seriously over-used to the point that I had a big knot of product at my scalp, and everything rinsed out easily and my hair felt soft and squeaky-clean. Love.

Oribe Bright Blonde Radiance and Repair Treatment

715sltvBe1L._SL1500_

This is for use in the shower instead of a regular conditioner about once a week; it’s in a pump form, and the treatment is purple-tinted like a lot of blonde treatments are. I didn’t notice anything majorly different about my hair after using this, but my husband did ask me if I’d gotten my hair highlighted any more because it looked blonder after I used it. So, there’s that going for it. It’s fine, but it doesn’t do anything noticeable enough that I would re-purchase it.

Soft Lacquer Heat Styling Spray

_100114736

This was the first heat-styling product from Oribe that I tried, and remember what I said about heat protectant sprays leaving my hair dry and frizzy? Yeah, that happened here. When I mentioned to my stylist that I didn’t like this spray because it left my hair feeling crunchy, she laughed and said, ‘Girl, when a product has lacquer in the name it’s gonna be crunchy,” which I probably should have figured out on my own, but whatever. That said – and this is probably going to make me sound a little crazy – I actually do use this product every day, but only on my bangs. Yes, I am very picky about my bangs, so much so that I use a teeny little half-inch flat iron on them every morning to get them just how I like them (otherwise they curl up and I don’t like them) and for some reason, this laquer spray works with the heat to give me perfect bangs every time. Go figure. So yeah, this big old bottle is only used on my bangs and no where else on my head. As is the little flat iron (in fact, I use three different hair irons to style my hair. It’s a process, y’all).

Shine Light Reflecting Spray

61vMxfvdvFL._SL1000_

Nope. One of the few utter fails from my Oribe experiment. It just leaves my hair looking and feeling greasy. I kept trying it day after day as a last-minute afterthought, thinking my hair still looked a little too dry, but it never did anything but kill all the good I’d gotten out of the other products and tools I was using. When I discovered I could use the Gold Lust Oil, Moisturizing Cream, or Anti-Humidity Spray and get better results, I was done with this one. Doesn’t even work on the bangs!

Swept Up Volume Powder Spray

US300026968_ORIBE

If you’ve ever tried Big Sexy Hair’s powder spray, then you know what this stuff is – I was always a bit amazed at that product, but the application of it eluded me. I’d always end up with this big WAD of that powder in my hair that I couldn’t distribute through it, so I’d have one blob of sticky, weird, volumized hair somewhere random on my head. This feels like the same product, with a catch – it’s a pump so you can spray the powder onto your head instead of coming in a shaker you have to shake onto it. Turns out (go figure) this makes a huge difference, and I can actually spritz a little of the powder onto my scalp to give my hair a boost without feeling like I’ve put glue in it. But be careful – it’s a powerful little spritzer, and if you aren’t prepared for how much powder comes out with one little pump you’ll end up with glue-head again. It kinda sucks to pay so much more for what’s essentially the same as a $10 product, but form factor matters, people, and trying to shake sticky powder into my hair like I’m salting and peppering myself for supper was never gonna work in my favor. So Oribe it is.

Star Glow Styling Wax

_13482830

I’ve been a fan of KMS’s Spray Wax for years, as I’ve often used it in lieu of hair spray as a finisher because it’s softer and more malleable, so what could be better than a spray wax but a non-spray wax, because sprays generally don’t work for me? So I decided to give this one a try – it’s described as a “gel-wax” which, whatever, but it is odd – it looks just like honey and is as hard to squeeze out of the tube as honey can be to boot. I’m still not sure what I think of it, because I’ve only used it once and I’d over-used the spray powder already, so it didn’t stand much of a chance once I’d blasted my scalp with glue. But as hard as it is to get out of the tube, I’m not sure how useful it’s going to be. I literally had to crush the damn tube with both hands to get anything to come out, so I’m wondering if I got a defective bottle or something. More on this one later. I got it in the hopes it could add just a bit more texture to my curls, so that’s how I intend to try and use it.

Gel Serum

_100114746

This was the first Oribe product I ever tried and it was at least five years ago; it was one of those times I was at a salon checking out, and I realized I needed some hair gel, so my stylist recommended this one and I tossed it onto the counter without looking at the price tag. I was shocked when it ended up costing $65, but I bought it anyway, and that one damn bottle ended up lasting me four years! You don’t need to use much of any Oribe products at all because they’re all highly concentrated, and this is a good, sturdy hair gel with a nice, medium hold that does the job nicely. It was good enough that I did re-purchase it, but I don’t use it every day, only at times when I feel a little added hold is needed. I’ve found the Texture Waves Lotion to be my primary ‘foundation’ styling product, but this gel pairs with it fine when I want a little extra hold. Plus, it literally is loaded with little gold sparkly flecks, if you’re into that.

Curl Gloss

Oribe Curl Gloss

This is another gel that’s fine, and I use it on occasion, but only paired with other products like the Gel Serum or the Texture Lotion. On its own, it’s just too light to really give my hair the hold it needs, but at times I throw it into the mix and it doesn’t hurt anything.

Dry Texturizing Spray

_13432539

This stuff gets raves from everyone, but for me it’s just meh. As a texturizer, it’s a little drying for me, and as a dry shampoo it doesn’t tend to make any difference – but dry shampoos have never worked on me that well anyway – because again, it’s a spray.  Out of this one and the Apres Wave spray I tried, I find the Apres Wave is less drying and gives me better volume without frizzing. This is fine, and it hasn’t ever made my hair look awful, and you can read tons of raves about this stuff from other people online, but it isn’t a huge winner in my book.

Maximista Thickening Spray

_13387355

Spraying anything into my hair when it’s wet has always been a fail for me, and this one is formulated to be applied to wet hair. It failed.

Volumista Mist for Volume

517Dig8pohL._SL1000_

Same.

 

OK, so. That’s everything I’ve tried. I didn’t put prices on any of this stuff because it’s all stupidly expensive, and please don’t anyone add up how much I’ve spent on all this crap. I will say, unlike previous hair product obsessions like DevaCurl that I’ve had over the years, I’ve ended up using almost all of the Oribe I’ve purchased on a regular basis, with quite a low number of fails. Most of it I can still use on occasion even if it’s never going to be in regular rotation, and overall I am really impressed even with the things I’ve tried that haven’t worked out. It’s a huge line of products, by the way, and even as much as I’ve experimented with barely scratches the surface of what they offer, so there’s definitely something for everyone – if you’re willing to cough up the cash.

 

 

 

 

Mold Maid

There are so many words that rhyme with ‘mold,’ I had a hard time choosing one for my title. Hope I didn’t disappoint.

kai1

Wearing my ROP Kai in Mocha Brown and what looks like a mop but is actually a sweater

Mold remediation starts on our house tomorrow. I am still staying with my sister, and although I tried the first few days to stop by the house each day for a while, by Wednesday I just couldn’t do it anymore. First of all, my sister doesn’t live nearby, so it was a lot of driving, and with the hacking cough and other allergy symptoms I’ve been dealing with for 7 months finally taking their toll, I just felt too worn down to keep up all the traveling. I even canceled all my tutoring gigs for the rest of the week so I could hide out at my sister’s house and just rest.

evanna2

Wearing ROP’s Evanna in Mocha Brown

It seems to be helping. Last night I actually went all night without coughing, and for some reason today I was just ravenous – I ate an ENTIRE PIZZA by myself for lunch and God knows what else. Usually this would be a bad thing, but I haven’t had much of an appetite lately so I took it as a sign that I might be on the mend. My allergies starting giving me hell around 4 PM or so, but given the pollen situation in Houston right now that’s not terribly surprising. Once your immune system starts freaking out due to black mold, it’s gonna be hypersensitive to everything for quite a while, so this is the sort of spring I’m going to get this year, it seems.

blah1

Wearing Rae by ROP in Melted Marshmallow, and Maybelle SuperStay Matte Ink lipstick in Ruler.

If there’s any plus side to all of this, it’s that we’re finally going to fix up some areas of the house that have needed it for years. Our floors have been in terrible need of an update, but we were too cheap and lazy to get it done. Now, we have no choice, so we’re going to pony up the cash and do it right this time, instead of on the cheap like we usually do when it comes to home expenses (because we hate how much this stuff costs). Same for replacing some really old, desperately in need of an update cabinets and painting the walls (and finally removing the ridiculous wallpaper that hasn’t been in style in over 20 years, but again – lazy and cheap). I might actually not mind taking photos or making videos with my house showing instead of the backdrops I always use – but we’ll see about that. I do love my backdrops.

GreenRylee1

It’s like I was trying to run away from Rylee but it wouldn’t let me go. Damn, that’s an ugly wig. 

I tried to at least use Rylee and Hudson in some photos, but honestly, those are still two ugly-ass wigs and they didn’t even photograph all that well. And both of them are ready for the trash after one photo session – I have $30 wigs that have outlasted these monstrosities in a photo shoot!

hudsonbutterfly1

I had to edit the color of Hudson here, because that Melted Sunset was just too stupid-looking. The lipstick is the Maybelle SuperStay in Ruler. 

After playing around with the Kai and Evanna, though, I’ve actually discovered I like them both better in the Mocha Brown, which was the original color I bought them in. So I guess I didn’t really need to get those two others in the Marble Brown and the Caramel after all. Oh well.

EvannaFlowers1

Evanna in Caramel Brown, and SuperStay Matte Ink in Protector

The only other thing I wanted to mention was discovering the most amazing long-wearing lipstick I’ve EVER tried: Maybelline’s Super Stay Matte Ink. I love the idea of long wearing matte liquid lipsticks, but they are so tricky to wear; I grabbed a tube of this in the Fighter color at the grocery store, mostly just because the packaging was cool and flashy and caught my eye, and it wasn’t expensive so I figured what the hell. As the reviews will tell you, this stuff doesn’t dry as quickly as other liquid mattes; it will stay a little tacky for about ten minutes, which can be annoying but actually lends itself to less dryness even after it finally settles down. I actually don’t mind the tackiness as the dry-factor is my one big complaint about these lipsticks – and OMG y’all. This stuff LASTS FOREVER. Seriously. I put Fighter on the next day around 9 AM, ran errands, ate lunch, tutored three students, drank a coffee on the way home, AND washed my face around 10 PM – and I’m not lying when I tell you that after all that, it was STILL ON MY LIPS without retouching once. Even when I woke up the next morning – IT WAS STILL THERE. Miracle.

pod1

I look insane here and I am not sure why. That’s my real hair, BTW – yes, I ombre’d it to hell and I like it, sorrynotsorry. And I’m wearing the Fighter Matte Ink here – one of my favorite colors.

I have, of course, tried like 10 different colors already, and there’s a handful I really like from the neutrals line (Fighter, Driver, and Seductress are my faves). It’s hands-down (lips-down?) the BEST longwearing liquid lip I’ve ever tried, and I’ve spent some serious coin on longwearing lipsticks over the years! So check it out!

evanna1

OK, this about catches me up for now. I’m in a bit of a wig mood since reviewing all those ROPs, but as much as there are some others I’d like to try (damn that Sarah by Jon Renau is tempting) they’re all just too much for me to spend when I don’t wear them out that much. So I will keep an eye on the clearance sales and perhaps snatch something up again soon for a future review. Anyway, time for bed now *cough, cough*

 

 

 

 

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

earcage2

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.

memphisbloos1

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.

skyflower

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.

trashcan

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.

pinkflow1

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.

earcage1

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.

luscious1

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.

Photo Jan 12, 8 41 23 AM

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.

oribe

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.

neck flower 1

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.

closeup shawl

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.

big sleeves 1a

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.

61vmRbu4WoL._SX355_

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)

psycho

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):

UPS

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)

pumpkin

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)

new americana

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)

lady danger

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. 🙂