Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lipstick Rescues

Have you ever bought a lipstick and found that the color or consistency is just not going to do it for you? You looked at the color swatch online and thought, "That's gorgeous!" You wait forever (three days can seem like forever) only to find that the color is not even close to the online swatch AND not to mention it looks like a bag lady would use it! And then you think about the $25 that you put into that lipstick (not to mention shipping) and the fact that now you have applied it twice (the second time because you though you were imagining the results the first time) so you can't sell it on Ebay. Since you bought it mail order, the company promises money back even if you used it. But you know that means a trip to the post office including the long lines and inconvenient hours after you have spent an hour filling out the return packing slip, filing some form online, and finding the packing tape (that's the really hard part!). So what do you do? You keep it, and gaze longingly at it (the beautiful tube) in your make-up drawer. Why waste it? Why not rescue it? Here are some of my lipstick rescues.

I happen to have just such a color in my wardrobe. Worst yet, it happens to be a Chanel lipstick. I love my other Chanel lipsticks but this one is just NOT what I had expected. I wanted a cool orange, something with pop and summer hotness. Instead, I got a sticky, matte coral that emphasizes every line and crack in my lips. Awful. So I got a little creative with it.

1. Since my Chanel orange wasn't brown enough, I employ the use of a lip pencil, filling in for the brown color to darken up the orange to more of a harvest color. This is great for protecting the consistency of the lipstick but changing the color successfully. This is a Rouge Allure lipstick which gives good moisture and some shine. I add another lipstick, it may change what I find to be an acceptable lipstick finish. If I use a darker brown, I sacrifice some of the coral color and that is good for lessening the shock factor of what happens to be a very bright tone.

2. I bought this color because I wanted orange and that's what I got. But the tone was just too bright and vivid for me. But instead of muting it, perhaps I'd like to bring out some of the positive parts of the color. It is light and bright which during the summer is an added bonus. But the finish of the lipstick is not dewey summer finish. It is more matte than I would like, which as I mentioned above tends to show age and lines. So as another lipstick rescue, I add an overlay of lipgloss. In this case, I pick a lipgloss that has little color but plenty of sparkle. I have a Sephora pale pink that works well for this particular lipstick. I have also used Lancome Juicy tube for the same purpose - choosing a more brown neutral like Sparkling Night's Twinkle. The added sparkles and light diffusers take the focus away from the dramatic and pretentious coral. It adds a softer element to the lipstick making it not seem so hideous.

3. Change the color with a lipstick adjuster or a color changer. Use a color change lipstick and it will change the color based on body chemistry. These types of lipsticks were huge in the 80's but they could present some scary colors. However, the idea of changing your lipstick color can be put to use here. Dior offers a lip balm that changes color. Sephora has offered lipstick adjusters in the past. They have discontinued them but you can still find them on Ebay. The concept is simple. Like the lip pencil, you can add more of one tone to help the lipstick suit you better. Perhaps it's lacking in brown, or is too dark. Add a tan or white adjuster to find the right color for your complexion.

Hope these rescues help you with that finicky lipstick. Share some of your lipstick rescues with me!

Green Destination Olive 8 Seattle

I spent a lovely weekend at MedFest 09. For those of you who are unfamiliar with bellydancing, that is Middle Eastern Dance Festival 09. It was a blast. When I started planning this weekend back in January, my thoughts were to make it a nice getaway for hubby and I. It came to my attention during the spring that Hyatt in Seattle was opening a LEED green certified hotel called Olive 8. A neat name, it's really the location of the hotel but hey, it's green, right? I was excited. After the past few years of staying in subpar hotels, I was ready for some luxury. And why feel guilty when you are saving the planet too? There is a slick online interface for the Olive 8. It emails you with confirmation, an online check-in link, and even an online checkout link. You can get a paperless bill upon checking out too thus saving a tree. The email is fast which is a relief and so is the checkout. We checked in with the delightful lady at the desk after the valet parked our car. There are relatively few parking options. The only way to use Hyatt's garage is to allow the valet to park your car. Street parking in Seattle especially in this part of downtown is really not an option. It is $33 for the night unless you have a hybrid in which case you get a 20% discount. This is part of the hotel that I really didn't like. I felt that the parking should be included in the room price or at least validated if you used some of the hotel's services like the restaurant, spa, or gym. Plus a gratuity is expected as with all valet parking. We did not leave one not because the valets weren't responsible or enjoyable but because I was already cringing at the bill just for the storage of my car.
Entering the Olive 8 is very unprepossessing. While beautiful and stylish, it is not overwhelming or grand is scale. The desk is to the left and free of any ornamentation. The restaurant, Urbane is straight and to the right. The elevators are tucked away and out of sight. The style is very organic in nature with polished stone tabletops, metal table bases, modern upholstery (some of which seemed recycled or vintage in nature). This hotel is not for the rabid environmentalist. Hyatt does very little to advertise the green building techniques in the hotel. It takes an educated person to realize the very subtle methods of operating in a green manner. For example, the staff will change the bedding if you request it during your stay. Otherwise, they make up the bed with what is there. However, the lovely desk lady did explain to us some of the finer points of operating the room. On the ride up in the elevator, the television panel does describe some of the green ideas of the hotel including the 25,000 square foot green roof garden. I thought that was really cool. It saves rainwater, can change the roof from a hot zone to a cool, more equitable environment. Not only that but it appeared from the picture that there were many types of plants in the garden, encouraging bugs and birds to partake in what is usually an unforgiving urban environment. I would have loved to see it but we were incredibly busy during the weekend and I forgot to ask the concierge if it was open to the public.
Like other green hotels, the Olive 8 uses an electricity system that requires your key card. The lights in the room will operate as long as the key card is placed in the holder by the door. Once you remove the card, the lights eventually turn off. However, you can still charge your phones, Ipods, or plug in a light. One of the bedside lamps was plugged in and made a nice night light without the key card so you do not enter in darkness.
There are few plastics in the room, no plastic shower curtains. Designers opted for a panel of glass instead which is stylish and conservation thoughtful. The toilets have a multi-flush system which seems nifty but I found myself using the larger flush button more often than not because the toilet was stubborn. Natural products are offered in the bathroom. I was surprised that the bath products were not organic. They do boast of natural essences including lavender, citrus, and white ginger. The bottles are made of recycled plastics. The downside is that the spa experience from these products is ruined by the bubble gum scent. Having tried Portico before and enjoying the products, I was surprised to find that this lot failed to provide that experience. My theory is that it was the white ginger in the soap that was smelling a little bit sweet because the lavendar citrus lotion does not have the bubble gum curse quite as much. Either way, I like Portico because the product itself is eco-friendly and does the job but their scentology needs a little work.
This is the first room ever where I was provided an Ipod docking station. Even my remodeled hotel in New York last year didn't give me one so I was pretty excited. I'm sure that hotels are moving in this direction for the future comfort of their wired customers. T-mobile provides the standard hotspot and it was easy to connect. The furnishings in the room are very modern and stylish. There are some subtle details that may be for conservation but they are not explained so I could be wrong. For example, the bed is covered with all the necessary sheets and blankets but the most interesting thing is that the coverlet is extremely short. The assumption here is that most people tuck the coverlet in over themselves after folding over about two feet of extra fabric. If this is the case (I don't know that any studies have been done on this but I suspect there are), then most hotels probably waste yards of fabric or create too much fabric in order to have it unused by the average consumer. I had thought that the mini coverlet might be a disaster. After all, I am one of those sleepers who likes to tuck it in around my shoulders and it didn't reach there. However, I was able to tuck in the down comforter and slept an absolutely divine sleep (which says alot for any hotel, doesn't it?).
If you are looking for a green hotel that brags at every turn about it's green features, this is the wrong hotel. Every effort seems to be made to make you not aware of the LEED certification. Instead, it just seems as though you are staying in any luxury hotel.
If you are looking for a great deal, this is the wrong hotel. It is average in price (for a four or five star hotel). We didn't try the restaurant or coffee bar because the menu prices seemed a bit extreme. There was a 25% discount on room service for the weekend. I wanted to try it but even at %25 the pot of coffee for $8 seemed horribly overpriced when I could walk to Starbucks and get a coffee for a few dollars. There is coffee in the room for free if you are so inclined in the morning. Another green feature is the small pod coffee system that brews it cup by cup so that very little water is used. But beyond that, very few amenities are provided in the breakfast area. Perhaps five star hotel customers do not expect any breakfast features.
To conclude, the Olive 8 is a nice place to stay. The staff are friendly and helpful. However, it feels as though Hyatt is a bit stingy on some of the amenities considering the price per night. I would stay again. The location is extremely convenient to downtown and Westlake mall. We walked everywhere. But for a luxury hotel, this one seems to be slightly lacking in the pampering experience.

Monday, July 13, 2009

O.P.I. "You Don't Know Jacques"

Here I am sporting O.P.I.'s "You Don't Know Jacques". I had been looking for more of a summer Khaki while shopping on Saturday but found this color from the Fall 2008 France collection instead. It happened to match my dark brown Khaki's. No matter what I do, I seem to come back to O.P.I. as a standard. If anyone follows my twitter, they would know that I had a failed manicure this last week (not with any O.P.I. polish) and so it was a relief to toss on a few coats and have it look fantastic. Well, mostly, my skill level with manicures in rather rusty right now. And after a few days, I have very little chipping despite doing the dishes and laundry which usually takes a toll on my manicure. I do have one scratch in the my thumbnail and not sure how that got there!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Current Library List

As I can't afford to buy the big beautiful fashion books, I have taken to checking them out at the library. Well, it also hinders me that they are big and I don't have the shelf space.

1. The Golden Age of Couture Paris and London 1947-57 by Claire Wilcox - Or perhaps this one should be more appropriately renamed, "Why we love Balenciaga and Christian Dior." Fantastic picture of YSL at Dior's funeral in 1957. Great pictures of the evolving world of fashion. Behind the scenes photos of designers at work, fabric swatches, and a well-written detailed history of fashion at the cusp of something glorious.

2. Mommy Dressing, A Love Story, After a Fashion - By Lois Gould, this memoir by the daughter of fashion designer Jo Copeland seems dysfunctional and yet captivating. The few passages that I scanned caused me to spontaneously add this to my pile as we left the library.

3. Strapless, John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis - After I saw Madame X in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was captivated. I had seen the work in books but to see her in person, um painting ;) and hear the juicy story behind her saucy shoulders and cleavage, I had to know more. I stumbled across the book and felt it might make great summer reading.

That's just the tip of the iceberg!