Monday, September 13, 2010

Moderate Excess, Volume One

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.
Gwyneth Paltrow

There are some things in life I can't get enough of. I thought it might be fun to give you a peek into a few of them.

I confess, further, that these are things I have obsessed over since childhood. In my pre-literate days I was fascinated with color. I'd line up the Mobil Travel Guides or McCormick's Cookbooks and stare at the spines, spellbound by the way they were all the same and yet different colors.

I have trouble when things come in colors. How can I choose just one? What if, one dreary day, I want something different? Or what if that old compulsion to line them up and just LOOK AT THEM overtakes me? You can imagine how long it took me to pick out and iPod shuffle. (In the end I opted for red.)

So anyway. Somewhere between being a ground in, denim clad tomboy and my big hair high school days, I discovered makeup. I found out that I could look at pictures in magazines and copy the way makeup was put on. In the 80's this was not hard, since the application tended to be of the paint-roller variety and the color contrasts were pretty stark. Every woman on Dynasty looked like she was one gold-beaded headdress and a g-string away from Carnival. But I was in the fourth grade, and my makeup collection was limited to giant stick glosses the size of a peppermill in various flavors like grape and cotton candy. I'll admit now (since I believe that the statute of limitation on sisterly beating has passed) that my earliest experimentation started with creeping into my sister's room when she wasn't home and parking myself on her vanity bench.

These days, I'm a makeup connoisseur, but not a makeup snob. I'm just as delighted with a cheap thing that works great (hello, NYC Color and Wet & Wild) as I am with my Smashbox and Tony and Tina. But my ALL THE COLORS thing hasn't abated. If anything, its gotten worse.

I start with the lipstick case.
My lipstick used to be neatly ensconced in the Tool Box. (We'll get to that.) But it quickly overflowed its allotted portion of the box, crowding the other neighbors and causing complaints. Well, maybe I should just show you.
Its hard to fit it all in to one picture. What we have here is a seperate compartment for champagne/beiges, one for lipliners and sharpeners, one for pinks, and one for fiery reds, for those days when only a retro hair roll and a bit of burlesque-queen black eyeliner will do. What you see in the middle is the entire collection of NYC Color Extreme Lip Glider Lip Gloss, including the three special edition colors that weren't in the NYC display but I found then anyway. Oh, and seven Chapsticks. And a Blistex in Raspberry Lemonade. And some Rosebud Salve.

Don't judge me, but sometimes I lay in bed in the wan predawn light, thinking about what color I'm going to wear that day. Then I build the rest of the 'look' around it. I take issue with Gwyneth on one point; beauty is being comfortable in your own skin and believing that you are worthy of a kickass red lipstick. Lipstick says, hey, I decorated myself today, and I'm happy with the result. (Red lipstick says a few more things but I'll leave those to you to figure out.)

In our next installment, we'll venture to the Tool Box, where we'll examine such pressing issues as:
Is there a place in your life for yellow nail polish? (Perhaps)
Does one really need five completely different types of eyeliner? (You bet your sweet bippy)
Ulta: Delightful retail establishment, or dangerous makeup crackhouse? (You be the judge.)


Lin said...

I find that wearing lipstick every day drives other women NUTS! As in, they hate that.

I wear lipstick every single moment of my life--not because I want to be beautiful, but because my lips dry out so darn fast and I hate that feeling. So, while I was sitting watching a little league baseball game, some little kid walks up to me and asks why I always wear lipstick. You and I know who was asking. I just told her that I look beautiful that way.

I hope her mom was sufficiently annoyed with that answer. ;)

Oh--I am very jealous of your collection, by the way.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I've found that makeup makes me feel good, and that on days when I don't feel like it, those are the days that its the most important. I have nothing against simplicity, I just prefer a credo I heard declared by a very fabulous drag queen who joyfully proclaimed "Honey, if it sticks out, decorate it!"

Celestial Charms said...

Love this post and the comments along with it. Yes, darling, lipstick too is my best friend. Long ago, in the 80's and 90's, you wouldn't catch me throwing out the trash, without a full made up face. Now, I have scaled down to just lipstick. Every color, every shade. What wonders just lipstick does. Easy to transport, quick to apply, and "wella" instant glam, poutiness, and style. I too have the dry lips thing to deal with, and my favorite lip glosses are the organic ones that have the pepperminty blast feeling to your lips going on. When I was in college, all my girlfriends would be amazed how I could go through the day and not have to reapply my lipstick. My secret...sip my coffee through one of those small red stir straws, and don't eat anything. I also had a technique for smoking cigarettes that never left lipstick residue on them. I'll save that tidbit for another day. No, I don't have that nasty habit anymore. ;) Yahoo for lipstick and gloss!

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I sometimes do the 'way scaled down' thing where I just deal with my dark circles and do the lipstick, or I just do mascara, but some days I want the full monty. Then, of course, there's 'work makeup' vs. 'fun makeup'. I don't do the full Dita Von Teese treatment on a workday.

JD at I Do Things said...

If I wear only one cosmetic item, it must be lipstick. And yet . . .

I own only one lipstick.

It's some kind of Covergirl Outlast thingie. It's not the two-piece applicator, just a regular lipstick that really does last all day and even all night, sometimes. And the color doesn't change. It's the only color I like. If they stop making that, I may be paying you a visit.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I don't have much of a clothing wardrobe, but I have a lipstick wardrobe....sometimes I just want a real natural shine, sometimes a little earthy tone, and sometimes I just want to wear RED. I used to be afraid of vibrant colors but embracing one's inner fat and fabulous diva requires them. Absolutely.
Now if Beth Ditto would dress me I'd be a big ol' bowl of awesome sauce.

cardiogirl said...

Absolute favorite image: "Every woman on Dynasty looked like she was one gold-beaded headdress and a g-string away from Carnival."

Lo. Ved. Dynasty. I never missed it even though I was in high school and it aired on a week night at 10 pm.

Onto Lin's sitch: I'd want to pop that little punk in the head next time she asked. But I wouldn't. I'd still want to, though.

I feel the same way about lipstick alone. When I want to feel better about myself I wear lipstick. I don't do that often (don't know if that's good or bad) but when I do my kids always ask, "Why are you wearing lipstick?"

And I say, "Because I want to."

erica said...


Coveting the lip tool kit.

kathcom said...

Love your lipstick vault. It's so neat! I have a gazillion lipsticks, from Lipstick Queen to Chanel. The thing is, they're all pretty much the same shade.

I had this one lip balm, Dirty Girl by Blue Q, that was my absolute favorite. It got discontinued and I scoured stores and websites and bought every single last one I could find. I'm down to my last three and the search for a suitable replacement continues.

And I have a bunch of magazine pages of the "smokey eye" looks that I'm planning on copying. I've never gotten over that habit. Alas, I still won't look like the models but without their lipstick and face paint, neither do they!:)

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Cardiogirl: Thats why I love lipstick so much...because people assume it has a MOTIVE.

Erica: There's more to come....I'll be photographing the whole Snap On toolkit of love that holds all the rest of my colors, and we can discuss my nailpolish issues.

Kath: LIPSTICK QUEEN. I didn't know.
Just cruised the website. Want, want, and want. If I'd found that sooner it wouldn't have taken me five years to find a true red.

KJ Callaway said...

I think this may be my new fave webbie. And yes Syracuse is Rough, but try being born and raised in MINNESOTA!

KJ Callaway said...

Just found your blog and am going to link it to mine. I have the circles but try to wear tinted balm or gloss everyday. I am a nail polish queen.

My nails are always at the very least clear coated.

And yes Syracuse Cold weather is ROUGH. But if you think this is rough try Minnesota where I was born and raised!