2016 Blog + Life Goals

Posted on December 29, 2015 under Thoughts

I made it back just in time to squeeze in one last post of 2015! Here are my goals for this year, which I may or may not succeed at. (I failed both of my goals last year, which were to read 25 books and to stop picking my zits. I’m terrible.)

Continue to interact with more bloggers and make blog friends

At the tail end of 2016 I started occasionally participating in Twitter beauty blogger chats, which led me to discover a lot of cool people and blogs. I’d like to continue doing this, especially because I’m a lurker by nature and tend not to comment on blogs very frequently. So this year I want to continue to be active in the #bbloggers Twitter community and comment on blogs more regularly. (You can follow me on Twitter if you want to help me with this goal!)

Post at least once a week

For prolific or professional bloggers, this goal is probably pretty pathetic. In some of my better months, I easily exceeded this goal – but, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, my blog does go through periods of radio silence when I’m busy with work or school or just uninspired. Five times a month is the bare minimum I’d like to achieve, though I’m hoping I’ll manage more than that for at least half the year.

Diversify content

I love beauty blogging, and it’s something I want to continue with. But sometimes there are other cool things in my life that I’d like to share, and I don’t want to be pigeonholed. I have occasionally shared interesting things I’ve done or places I’ve gone, though through the lens of beauty, and once in awhile I’ll talk about a book, film, or TV show – but I want to do this a bit more often, and maybe not only tacked onto the end of favourites posts or talked about in terms of beauty. So expect a wider variety of posts in 2016!

Quality over quantity

I’ve been naturally transitioning towards this philosophy when it comes to buying new things, especially makeup, but I want it to be a conscious effort when I’m interested in buying something. I don’t want to buy a cheap dress because it’s cute and affordable. I want to buy things that I will use often and that will last me a long time. This year I want to be more thoughtful about what I bring into my home, making fewer purchases that are of a higher quality. (And I’m not talking pricey here – but if I buy something at the drugstore, it has to be because I’ve researched it thoroughly and feel that it will be used and loved, not because it’s cheap!) I think I’ve flushed the “Buy a lot of things because they’re cheap and I want to experiment” thing out of my system now. I have all the basics when it comes to clothes, makeup, and general life items – so now it’s about acquiring things in a well-thought-out, slow, sustainable way.

Get into and start grad school

I haven’t applied for grad school yet (the applications for the programmes I’m interested in aren’t due until July, so I have time!), but I’m hoping to get that sorted within the first quarter of the year. After that, it’s just a waiting game. I’ll let you know when I hear more!

Read 25 books, 75% by marginalized people

I used to be a prolific reader (100 books in 2012 was my peak), but university seems to have sucked up all my time. When I am free, I usually turn to Netflix rather than a book – and I want to change that! 25 does seem paltry to me, but it’s a start. The second half of this goal is aimed at broadening my horizons and supporting writers whose voices are often passed over. Nothing against straight cis white male authors – there are many who I love. But women, LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, and any combination thereof deserve my attention to, and I’m making an active effort to read more works by people who fall into these categories. This was an unofficial goal last year and I really enjoyed it, so I’m happy to continue on with it! For the sake of fairness to myself I won’t be including any works by white men in the count if I have to read them for school, because, you know. I have to read them if I want to get my degree in June.

Learn to wake up earlier

Guys, I’m so bad at waking up in the morning. I’ve struggled with insomnia for as long as I can remember, so my sleep schedule has tended not to match up with the schedule that civil society runs on. In my entire university career I have never signed up for a class that started earlier than 10am, and 11:30am is really my preferred earliest start time. But next semester I have 10am classes four days a week, so I’d better get used to it! I also want to stop overcompensating by sleeping in late on the weekends and then completely ruining the sleep schedule I’d perfected during the week. Sleep is a big struggle for me (although it’s markedly improved over the last two years), and I want to start tackling it in 2016.

Happy 2016, everyone! I’ll see you on the flip side!

On the comfort zone

Posted on April 24, 2015 under Thoughts

I am, generally, quite adventurous with my makeup. I’ll wear a dark purple lipstick or blue eyeshadow in public. Sometimes I’ll even wear them both at once. Hell, I own black lipstick.

In the past year or so, I have considered myself a fairly adventurous person when it comes to makeup. But lately I’ve been thinking, and even though I wear makeup that a lot of people would consider adventurous (or even too much), I still have my own comfort zone. That comfort zone just happens to include several shades of purple lipstick.

Like, there aren’t many colours I will wear on my eyes. Anything that could be reasonably classified as a neutral, check. Purple, check. Blue, check – but generally in small doses. Red, orange, yellow, green? Anything neon? No way.

I generally avoid wearing false eyelashes, because I feel overdone with them on. I hate that feeling, that people think I’m trying too hard, that I’m wearing too much makeup, that I have something to hide. And for some reason, false eyelashes make me feel like that. Wearing red lipstick to class does not make me feel like that, and it makes no sense. It’s the same damn thing! It’s indulgent, it’s unnecessary, it’s a noticeable alteration to my appearance. But, even though I think false eyelashes are fun, I just cannot abide by them for myself.

And lipstick – well. Lipstick is where I have the fewest boundaries. While I’m still tentative about adding colour to my eyes, I rarely go anywhere without a bold colour on my lips. But survey my collection and you’ll find a variety of colours – but only one orange, and one warm red (which is sheer). No peach, no coral, no beige-y nudes, no browns. I do not do warm colours on the lips, hardly ever. I’ll do them on the eyes, I’ll do them on the cheeks, but I will not do them on the lips.

And why? I look good in my orange-red. I look good in my straight-up orange. But those colours are just not in my comfort zone, and so I avoid them. How many times have I worn my orange lipstick in half a year? Maybe three. And yet it’s sitting there, alongside so many other lipsticks, and it looks just as good on me as plenty of the other colours I own, and I ignore it because it scares me a little bit.

So I guess I’m as much in my comfort zone as anyone else. Because even if it’s bigger than other people’s, it still exists. And it’s always hard to get out of your comfort zone, because even though I have that orange lipstick and I can put it on just easily as any other colour, it’s tragically underused.

One of these days, I’m either going to have to use that lipstick or give up and get rid of it. It’s sure as hell not doing me any good sitting stagnant and unused.

The Makeup and Style of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Posted on April 04, 2015 under Thoughts

When I was in London last weekend, I had the chance to see Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert museum (for free, thanks to Aisling‘s membership). I’d heard incredible things about the exhibition from those who had seen it at the Met in New York, and I was incredibly excited to go.

It did not disappoint. The exhibition was unbelievable – so well-curated and presented. Alexander McQueen was a visionary and his work speaks for itself, but the presentation of the exhibition was incredibly tasteful and atmospheric, lending itself to enhancing the garments without distracting from them.

No photos were allowed inside of the exhibition hall, but Aisling bought the accompanying book and I have some pictures to share from that, which I hope will help to capture the feeling and scope of the show.

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For someone who is incredibly interested in the creation of an aesthetic sense of self, I found the show absolutely inspiring. McQueen’s imagination seemingly had no limits, something that’s obvious when you wander through room after room of extravagant, wild, and ultimately beautiful clothing. I’m reminded of when my friend Ashley said that “looking at textures, patterns, and colors in runway clothing is a great source of inspiration; I like thinking about how to recreate a certain mood.” All the pieces displayed throughout the exhibition were indeed incredibly moody, and I think would lend themselves well to beauty inspiration.

Aside from the idea of translating clothing into makeup looks, there’s also the hair and makeup itself. The book is chock full of beauty inspiration, from the soft and ethereal to the almost grotesque. There’s something for everyone, makeup-wise. I often love runway makeup for the same reason I love haute couture collections: there is no constraint of “wearability”, which allows us access to some of the most unrestrained creativity and artistry on the planet.

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I love this graphic cut crease. I think it could be translated into a more wearable look!

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I love these overdrawn black lips with the center not filled in – there’s something so unexpected about the fleshy colour in the center of the harsh geometric black.

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Another very wearable look – a 60s-style modular cut crease.

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I adore the shiny blood-red lips that go far past the natural lip line. It’s so animalistic. This makeup is the definition of “savage beauty”. I love that idea that if makeup and femininity are so tied up in each other, this look is about femininity going out of bounds, refusing to adhere to expectations.

There was a piece in the book about the makeup of the Alexander McQueen runway shows, which I found fascinating. It read almost as a visual analysis that you’d find in an art history or film class, deconstructing the makeup choices, their symbolism, how they contributed to the collections they were a part of, and what these choices say about femininity.

The show was amazing in itself, but as someone who obviously has quite an interest in beauty, I found it particularly inspiring.

The show is on at the V&A Museum in London until August 2. Tickets cost £17.60 (free for V&A members) and can be booked online. If you have the chance to go, I heartily recommend it – you won’t regret it.