sunday musings & the role of the artist

“perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.  that all men are, when the chips are down, alone, is a banality – a banality because it is very frequently stated but very rarely, on the evidence, believed.  most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world.  there are, forever, swamps to be drained, cities to be created, mines to be exploited, children to be fed.  none of these things can be done alone.  but the conquest of the physical world is not man’s only duty.  he is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself. the precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”

james baldwin, the creative process

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i came across this passage when studying for a recent exam, and it touched my very soul.  now i am not inferring that i am an artist in any way, shape, or form, but baldwin’s words speak to me.  i get what he is saying.  i feel what he is saying.  i am blessed to live in a home virtually surrounded by beautiful art and to have visited famous museums throughout the world.  art is an incredible thing to me.  the idea that so infrequently we are touched by a certain genius, and the physical manifestation of that genius.  and then there is that other side to the genius, the side that is almost always unstable, alone, dark.  this is not true for all artists, of course, but often these incredible individuals struggle with a madness that, in the end, allows them to produce such unspeakable beauties.  and baldwin puts this into words in a way that i could never imagine – in showing that the artist manifests his own darkness and, perhaps unintentionally, brightens the world not for himself, but for others.

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sunday musings & the role of the artist

the skincare routine

bb nighttime skincare update.jpgthis was originally an instagram post, but i thought it would be better as a quick bonus blog post instead.  so, this is tonight’s skincare routine, as well as what my routine is going to look like for a while thanks to some killer new products (excluding the mask, which is just a once a week treat these days)…

🌿wash: mix of stark skincare aurora cleansing balmglossier milky jelly cleanser // i emulsified the balm in my hands and then added a pump of mjc.  these mix beautifully to offer a moisturizing cleanse that is easily rinsed off with warm water.

🌿mask: milk makeup x urban outfitters urban defense mask // you all know i love this for a quick (3-5 minute) boost.

🌿spray: evan healy lavender hydrosoul // always!

🌿serum: previse nutrify 1-6 hyaluronic acid serum // i ordered this through the beauty heroes shop to replace my deciem hylamide low molecular ha serum – this is thinner in viscosity but feels the same on the skin and is a nice, quite basic serum.

🌿oils: indie lee squalane & stark skincare midnight regenerating // i picked up the indie lee oil this week in california during the anthropologie 20% off sale.  i’ve been researching squalane for a while and was so pumped to actually test this in person.  it’s a lightweight, extremely moisturizing oil that my skin is completely drinking up.  the stark mr is exactly what it says, a nighttime oil that works to repair and nourish the skin.  these work in combination beautifully.

🌿eyes: living libations all seeing eye cream // i’ve been using this for a few weeks now and am really enjoying it.  i haven’t seen immediate effects, but i also wasn’t expecting to.  very hydrating and i like knowing i have a specific product for my eyes now.

please note: this is a lot of skincare, especially for me. but through some extensive research and trial, this is what my skin needs and wants. as far as the stark skincare items – i have completely fallen in love with jess via her youtube channel, and her products are just as amazing as she is.  seriously, i have been getting a full on education about green beauty and skincare (and skincare in general) and just love her.

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the skincare routine

makeup for a minimalist: this or that?

as i’ve slowly worked to transform my makeup bag from chemical-ridden to chemical-free, it’s been a fun challenge to find natural versions of my favorite items.  and truthfully, it hasn’t been that hard to do!  it really is amazing how many eco dupes there are for so-called conventional cosmetics.

below are the natural product replacements i’ve found for some of my favorite makeup items.  i won’t be getting rid of all of these dupes as i detail below, but some of them just have to go.bb eco dupes taupe eyeshadow.jpgburberry pale barley eye shadow (top) vs rms swift shadow tt-73 (bottom) // pale barley is probably one of the most hyped up eyeshadows in the beauty world.  it is a sheer taupe with a hint of shimmer that is perfect for every day wear.  the formula is beautiful, but truthfully i’ve always been disappointed in the lack of pigmentation.  i much prefer the rms shadow, which is a hair darker than pale barley and still sheer, but in a better way if that makes sense.  it is smooth, buildable, and long lasting and i’ve been wearing it every day since purchasing. bb eco dupes brown matte.jpgurban decay naked eye shadow (bottom) and mac wedge eye shadow (middle) vs jane iredale cappuccino eye shadow (top) // i’ve waxed lyrical about all of these shadows before and they basically are all the same.  i always have naked hanging around as it’s just that good, and i purchased wedge as a potential replacement when i smashed my previous cappuccino to smitherines.  i would say that naked is slightly warmer and more yellow, while wedge and cappuccino are equally cool and slightly stone colored. the price of jane iredale single shadows is $22 which really is expensive, especially compared to the $6 price of mac replacement shadows, but i know it’s worth it.  this palette is especially great (also a potential dupe for the urban decay naked basics palette?), even though the price was steep (~ $50).  it’s worth it to me to spend money on more natural options, so cappuccino is the winner here for sure.bb eco dupes cream eyeshadow.jpgmac painterly paint pot (top) vs gressa neve eye tint (bottom) // now these shadows are clearly not the same, but i find the effect to be nearly identical.  i love painterly, really it’s my favorite mac eye shadow, and the fact that it neutralizes and brightens my lids in one swipe of creamy goodness.  the gressa shadow works in a similar way for me because of my super fair skin, but i think on darker skin types it might appear too white.  i am going to keep painterly around, but i like that neve offers a similar, if brighter, effect.  plus the gressa eye tint formula is stunning – there is so much pigmentation in one tap of the product, and it’s a cream to powder that stays put all day with no creasing in sight.bb eco dupes cream blush.jpgclinique chubby stick for cheeks in ample apple (top) vs tata harper lip&cheek in very charming (bottom) // different application, almost identical colors.  i am a huge fan of cream blush, and these two are no exceptions.  i love the application of the chubby sticks, it really is so easy, but i like the formula of the tata harper offering slightly better.  it’s more hydrating while the clinique is slightly more sticky.bb eco dupes pink lips.jpgbobbi brown lip color in sandwash pink (top) vs bite beauty amuse bouche in meringue (bottom) // these are both little samples i got from sephora, but i think i can speak for the full sizes as well.  not only are these colors quite similar, but the formulas are as well.  both are creamy and hydrating, and offer a long lasting finish.  meringue is just a hint peachier, while sandwash pink has a touch more brown/plum.  bite fig is also similar, while erring on the pinker side of the spectrum.bb eco dupes brown lips.jpgnars velvet matte lip pencil in bahama (top) vs bite matte lip pencil in glace (bottom) // oh nars, why do your matte pencils have to be so gorgeous, but formulated with parabens?!?!?!  fortunately, these two colors are virtually identical.  they are both a gorgeous pinky brown, with fantastic staying power.  bite is slightly more hydrating, which is definitely a bonus.  goodbye nars, i love you.  (plus i got the bite stick as a 100 point perk at sephora, so it was free.  winner!)bb eco dupes red lips.jpgnars velvet matte lip pencil in dragon girl (top) vs mahalo red my lips (bottom) // dragon girl is my all time favorite nars pencil.  it’s a stunning pinky red that looks amazing patted into the lips.  fortunately mahalo’s offering has an identical color tone with that same blotted-in effect.  mahalo is a creamier finish but lasting power is, again, amazing and i like that it is slightly more sheer at first, meaning i waste less product compared to the nars, which i basically completely remove for a lighter look. bb eco dupes powder.jpgbare minerals original foundation in fairly medium (left) vs rms un-powder in 0-1 (right) // now i only have a sample size of the rms powder, but it’s too obvious of a dupe not to share.  i’m a big fan of mineral foundations, and both of these are no exception, with the bare minerals being my first introduction to the category.  now this is not to say that the bare minerals has super problematic ingredients, because it really doesn’t.  plus it has the perk of sun protection.  but for the purists, the rms is a great alternative.  this shade is slightly more yellow, but there is a much smaller color range than bare minerals.  i love these equally and will be keeping them both in my makeup bag.

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please note: my images are edited, so colors may not be true to real life.  artsy, ya know?!  my images, please credit if taking.

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makeup for a minimalist: this or that?

talkin’ trash 01

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glossier moisturizing moon mask // i’m so impressed with this mask.  i started using it probably exactly a year ago when i was at the height of my acne and really didn’t get it.  but as my skin got better and drier from the topical creams i started using, this became an instant refresh for my skin (it did burn slightly at the beginning of each application since i was so fragile, but this quickly went away).  now i love using it alone or after a more drying mask – usually the origins charcoal or friedman’s mint and lemon clay masks – as well as a restoring hand mask.  i haven’t gotten around to purchasing a new one but i already miss it so i’m going to get on that.  verdict: will definitely repurchase, visible effects.

evan healy lavendar hydrosoul // can you believe this is my third finished bottle of this stuff?  it is my favorite facial spray ever.  the lavender is ultra soothing and hydrating, and gives my skin the oomph it needs.  i use it as a toner as well as a make up setter and refresher.  at first the scent super freaked me out but i have grown to love it.  this is pretty pricey as far as mists go, but i think it’s worth it.  i have tried a sample of another evan healy hydrosoul – can’t remember which one unfortunately – but there’s just something about the lavender that i can’t get enough of.  i just purchased a new one the other day! verdict: will always repurchase, great ingredients, great effects. 

too faced hangover primer // i have mentioned quite a few times (my bad) that i got a travel size of this product at ulta in the fall.  i had never used a primer before, so this was a great entry point for something extremely hydrating and that would make my makeup last longer throughout the day.  this performs beautifully and i love the packaging!  the travel size is a perfect option if you just want to try it or don’t think you will use it very much.  i went through this pretty quick because i’ve taken to adding it over my moisturizer, even if i’m not wearing any makeup that day. anyways, when i realized i was almost done with this and wanted to save the rest for an upcoming trip, i upgraded to the marc jacobs coconut primer, which is basically the too faced with a little more oomph.  the too faced, however, is more travel friendly in terms of packaging and better for the wallet in terms of price.  verdict: might repurchase in the future, high price, good benefits, bad ingredients.

mario badescu facial spray with rosewater and herbs // this is an ok facial spray.  it’s refreshing and soothing to the skin, and the heavy rose scent dissipates quickly.  the packaging is travel and purse-friendly, it comes in multiple sizes, and the price point is great.  is this comparable to the evan healy hydrosoul?  no not really and the ingredients in this really aren’t great.  but this is a good choice if you are traveling or need an inexpensive but reliable and simple spray.  it just strikes me as rather chemical-y.  i am, however, currently trying out the new mario badescu aloe, cucumber, and green tea spray, available only through ulta at the moment, and while again the ingredients aren’t great i like it better than the rose version for sure.  verdict: won’t repurchase, great price point, ok ingredients.

aveda hand relief hand lotion // it really doesn’t take much time for me to completely use up a hand lotion if i’m honest.  i liked this for the majority of the time i was using it, but then i went to use the last few drops the other day and it was just so greasy.  if i’m going to spend this much on hand lotion, i’m going to get the kiehl’s hand salve or the elizabeth arden 8 hour hand lotion which both sink into the hands immediately and take away redness and cracks extremely well.  verdict: won’t repurchase, too greasy, high price point.

weleda sea buckthorn hand lotion // i really like the weleda brand and this hand lotion is no exception.  i learned about this via celina of the celution (this post specifically) and i’m glad i picked it up.  the scent, in my opinion, is incredible.  it has very earthy, natural tones which i personally love, and it brings to mind memories of southern california family vacations.  this product sinks into the hands beautifully and doesn’t feel greasy.  i just picked up the pomegranate regenerating hand lotion to try next!  verdict: will repurchase at some point, great ingredients, great price, great results.

lashfood sample size // i got this 1-month supply size of lashfood lash serum at ulta.  it came with their eyelash/mascara primer as well, but i haven’t been as consistent in using that since i was mostly purchasing for the serum itself.  i was really looking forward to trying this so the sample size was kind of the perfect tester.  i have actually seen some results mostly in thickness of my lashes, but i’m not sure if i really want to spend almost $80 on the full size product.  but i’m glad i tried it out and now i know for the future!  verdict: may repurchase in the future, decent results, high price point.

shea moisture hibiscus&coconut body wash and body butter // ahhh i love these.  i mentioned them here in more depth.  i’m definitely more partial to the body wash than the lotion, which was nice but not necessarily worth a repurchase.  i’m moving back to my fave dr. bronner’s bar soap for the shower, but i will definitely repurchase from the shea moisture line.  plus, these rate pretty ok on ewg, a 2 if i remember correctly.  verdict: will repurchase at some point, often on sale, aromatherapy, pretty good ingredients, fair trade.

pixi hydrating milky mist // another day, another spray.  i tried this pixi spray since it has such amazing reviews and felt ok about it.  the spray is extremely fine which is part of its great reviews, but i actually didn’t like that!  i decanted this in a glass spray bottle and i much preferred it with a little bit of a stronger mist, for whatever reason.  this is nice and i like pixi a lot, but nothing that special in my opinion.  verdict: probably won’t repurchase, good price point, no visible benefits.

bb talkin trash 3 bronzers.jpg

these last three items are not empties per say, but they are going into the trash for various reasons that i will explain below:

benefit hoola bronzer // ah an oldie and a goodie.  i have been wearing hoola bronzer since high school and it was definitely one of my first sephora purchases.  this particular container is older than i care to admit and i have a sizeable dent in the middle.  i’m just over it i guess!!  i’m really trying to not only edit down my makeup but also move into cleaner formulas, and i’m ready to let this guy go.  the w3ll people bio bronzer is such a perfect bronzer for me that i don’t feel like i’m going to reach for anything else for a very long time.  and if i do, it is going to be a lot better for me.

nars laguna bronzer // most of the above is true for laguna as well.  as much as i want to continue using laguna since i’ve already hit the bottom, the bio bronzer has a similar look on me.  and this guy is OLD, like older than hoola i think.  i do have a mini version of laguna that i keep in my purse in case i need it for some reason throughout the day – i will probably keep that around just for emergencies.  or maybe i’ll decant some of my w3ll people bronzer since it is in mineral form.  anyways, bye guy!

phsyician’s formula butter bronzer // i love this bronzer, but i can no longer stand the smell.  it’s so strong and so artificial, and it’s like a constant reminder that i’m putting shitty artificial ingredients all over my face.  gorgeous, but it’s gotta go.

finally, a not-quite-but-close-to-being-empty:

hylamide low molecular ha serum // i am actually shocked/impressed that i am almost finished with this already.  but i am pretty heavy handed and use this morning and night.  i have only tried the glossier super bounce so i don’t have a lot of reference for hyaluronic acid serums, but this is absolutely great in my opinion!  it sinks in fast and doesn’t leave a sticky residue, plus i really do feel like i’ve seen positive effects from this.  i am looking into more eco hyaluronic acid serums, so depending on what i find and the price points i’m seeing, i may or may not return to this.  but i have to say, i looked up all the ingredients on ewg and almost all of them are pretty good, except for the inclusion of phenoxyethanol which is a preservative that is often used as an alternative to parabens.  it’s not good, but it’s also not as bad as parabens.  this ingredient is included in a lot of those products that say they don’t have parabens that are also not completely eco – glossier and milk makeup for example – but it worries me more in this because it is literally sinking into the deeper layers of my skin.  you know?  so basically i am going to look for something better, but won’t be terribly worried if i go back to this.  verdict: may repurchase in the future, great price point, great product, pretty good ingredients.

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talkin’ trash 01

warm weather bound

tomorrow me and (part of) the fam are headed to one of my favorite places…california, duh!  you know i love a good travel post, so here’s what i’ve got coming along with me >>

makeup:bb warm weather bound makeup.jpgnothing too exciting, but i’m bringing along the usual nars creamy concealer in vanilla, w3ll people bronzer and brightening powders, gabriel eyeshadow in sable, rms swift shadow in tt-73 (side note, i haven’t talked about this shadow but it is amazing.  so soft, so beautiful and is glowy instead of shimmery.  i’ve been wearing it every day since purchasing, even with nothing else on my face.  total love), tata harper volumizing lip&cheek in very charming, gressa lip boost in bare, mini bite beauty lipstick in meringue, shu uemera eyelash curlers, real techniques powder and expert face brushes, meow meow tweet baking soda-free lavender deodorant, and ursa major deodorant.  plus some hair twisties and clips, of course.

side note, does deodorant count as makeup or skincare?  probably skincare, but i’m bucking the system as per.

skincare (&liquids):bb warm weather bound skincare.jpgagain, the usual suspects with some fun stuff thrown in.  for example, i got a new sunscreen since my other one is too big for travelling and i’m not comfortable taking it out of its container and exposing it to sunlight.  so: mychelle sun shield, cetaphil lotion, mini trilogy mist, mini trilogy cleansing balm, dr tung’s floss (sexy), maison louis marie no.4 bois de balincourt perfume oil, weleda skin food, go-to face hero, dr. bronner’s hand sanitizer, living libations all seeing eye cream.

and the rest:bb warm weather bound plane bag.jpgthe other stuff in my plane bag includes another of the miss fisher series by kerry greenwood, the bookshop by penelope fitzgerald, and the house at the end of hope street by menna van praag.  just picked up those last two the other day and am really excited to start reading them.  wallet is from minor history, sunglasses from ray-ban, and headphones from bose – a lovely christmas from my sister quite a few years ago now.

jewelry: bb warm weather bound jewelry.jpgpretty pared down (for me) since i never end up wearing what i pack on trips anyways. tiffany silver bangle (my high school graduation present – it says dream a little dream), thin gold rings from various etsy shops, gold ball chain that can be worn as a necklace or bracelet, mermaidbyhand (now eliza sloane jewels) abalone ring, beaded earrings that were a gift from my sis, sarah chloe monogram necklace, salt&summit turquoise ring, vintage turquoise flower earrings which were a birthday present a few years ago, gold ear pins from etsy, and anthropologie gold ear jackets that were my birthday present this year.  dude, my family gives me good stuff!

so there you go my lovelies.  what are your travel must-haves?  what am i forgetting?!!

warm weather bound