Choosing Makeup For Your Adult Daughter, Especially When You Are Looking For Non-Controversial Ingredients


Over the years I have often bought my daughter new makeup. It’s so fun, gilding a lily. In college, gold eye shadow. Last year, red lipstick. And last week, for her 29th birthday, new all around – this time focused on minimizing controversial ingredients.*

I took her to Sephora for a free mini-makeover. You pick one feature for the makeup artist, we chose eyes. (Never fear, fierce mama managed to get advice on the full gamut.)

The artist recommended the Tarte line, for both aesthetics and ingredients. (And I know they use a lower case T in their branding but in a blog post that just makes me feel like I made a mistake.) We looked at two Tartlette palettes, the Bloom Clay and the Matte. We chose Bloom. When you’re 29 a little shimmer calls the fairies close.
Tartelette BloomWe had to steer the artist away from scary goth overkill, but eventually got to a simple light lid, dark crease, and darkest shadow lining. A little highlight on the brow. Turned those blue eyes an almost-ocean color.

Having learned for myself the value of an eyebrow pencil, I urged one on my daughter. She didn’t resist, overly. The Benefit Goof Proof #2 worked with her fair skin, red hair, and medium brown eyebrows. I love 21st century brush-on-the-other end phenomenon.

Benefit Goof Proof

Finally, I threw a tube of my faithful Dr. Hauschka, Volume version, into the birthday loot. Why keep the good stuff to oneself?

On to tinted moisturizer and blush. As a very fair, lightly-freckled blue-eyed redhead, my daughter needs very light coverage and a lot of SPF. The artist recommended both a Tarte primer/BBcream, and a brand I hadn’t heard of, AmorePacific. We chose the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion with SPF 50. This is their fairest shade. The built-in cushion acts like a Beauty Blender, and the compact itself is very nifty for carrying about.

AmorePacific Color Control Cushion

 

However, as I researched this post, I discovered that the AmorePacific product relies on 7% ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate to get that big SPF 50. Not the most suspicious sun filter, but not the best. Drat. I shipped her the Tarte BB today. Maybe she can alternate products, depending on plans for cavorting in the sun.

Tarte Tinted Primer with SPF

For blush, we went with Tarte again – this time one of their Amazonian Clay products. Although I like Julie Hewett pot blush for myself, powder blush with, again, a little shimmer, works beautifully on a young woman. We liked the coral/pink, “Tipsy.” Great for those of us who hover between warm and cool skin tones.

Tarte Blush Amazonian Clay

Finally, a new lipstick. Red, coral, she had already. Possibly also presents from her mother. So this time we got a gorgeous rosy mauve gloss from Bare Minerals. “Heartbreaker.” A final touch of shimmer.

Bare Minerals Lipgloss

How did it all work? Why, thank you for asking!

New-Safe-And-Beautiful-Makeup

Thumbs up.

P.S. We also got her new sunscreen. Redhead lyfe. Happy birthday again, honey.

*I looked to avoid pthalates, parabens and anything that acts as an endocrine distrupter. No human studies have yet reported issues, but animal and absorption studies are worrying. And, although I asked the makeup artist to recommend products, in retrospect, I should have just looked up her recommendations on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) site while I was in the store. Their Skin Deep database is an excellent resource.

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Get Out Get Going Have A Birthday, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:08am


Huddart-Park-Dean's-Trail-Hike

This week my daughter turned 29. Hoo boy. She also came home, as all her friends are getting married this summer, some of  them in Northern California.

On her birthday itself, we went hiking. In Huddart Park, in case you are familiar with the Bay Area.

Hiking-with-my-daughter

She, as always, since birth even, a glorious creature.

Hiking-Outfit

Me proving that yes, there is an outfit Ray-Bans can’t fix. Water bottle in hand.

Look-Up

And both of us dusty, hot, peaceful and happy. Surrounded by trees. Exclaiming at three pileated woodpeckers and a California Sister butterfly we didn’t even bother to photograph. Happy birthday honey. It is a pleasure and constant honor to be your mama.

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How To Grow A Gardenia In The San Francisco Bay Area, And Other Dialogues


Gardenia-In-The-Dark

  1. Harbor a hidden guilty love of gardenia fragrance, for 30 years
  2. In November, hire your fabulously talented garden designer to redo your backyard
  3. Respond, “Yes,” when he asks if you’d like him to put a gardenia in a pot, hidden from sight around a corner of your house
  4. Stare blankly at the resultant green and bloomless plant for months. It will stare blankly back at you. This is now your relationship.
  5. Cheer when a bunch of buds burst out
  6. Curse when said buds brown and wither and drop, not a flower in sight
  7. Go google everything you can about Why Won’t My Gardenia Flower San Francisco Bay Peninsula Gardenia Bloom Damn You
  8. Despair at the conflicting information. Apparently gardenias are notoriously reluctant to bloom in your region. Curse your garden designer and suspect him of giving you a plant he simply couldn’t bear to kill himself
  9. Continue to water said implacable gardenia plant because you can’t bear to kill it either
  10. One day, dutifully fertilizing your fuchsia with organic glop that smells of rotting fish, realize you might just feed your gardenia too
  11. Rummage around the garden supplies and find some azalea and camellia food that yes, hey, what do you know!, is also good for gardenias
  12. Follow directions. When nothing else works, follow directions.
  13. A month later, wake to the glorious sight of a flock of gardenia buds poised for flight like seagulls on shore
  14. Another week or two later, blooms. That peppery vanilla-esque fragrance is intoxicatingly yours, day or night, night or day. Juicy Fruit gum, meet Szechuan peppercorns.
  15. Take a breath. Your life has been forever changed.

Especially when you let the light reflect from a copper watering can onto one of your blossoms, early in the morning, and the drops pause, and wait, for whatever secret it is that only gardenias know.

Gardenia-In-Reflected-Copper-Light

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The Joy Of Non-Misery At This Moment, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:41am


I moved Mom Thursday.

Currently having a non-awful Saturday morning.

It’s astonishing how much one can learn from sheer dreadfulness. Horribility. Having often proceeded with one foot in the present and one foot in a shiny future vision, I’m now looking at, well, now. Turns out that an imagined happy future gilds the present, but, if it doesn’t come true, everything gets really bleak.

Lowering expectations doesn’t have to be depressing. There may be a different, smaller, grainier joy in a skeptical reality.

In any case, in this particular now, I wish you a wonderful, in-the-moment weekend. Or at least a Saturday morning. Deep breath.

What Shelter Magazine Are You? (And Wait, What Is A Shelter Magazine Anymore?)


Having examined, in the recent past, cultural identity, I thought we might move on to house style. As one does. Who among us has not undertaken Cosmopolitan and Glamour quizzes purporting to explain ourselves to ourselves? Who among us has never succumbed to a Facebook slideshow in an attempt at the same?

So, What Shelter Magazine Are You, v.2? (We’ve done this before, a while back)

How about Dwell? I love the minimal, rustic, craggy-vistaed look, but, since I don’t have a pristine grassy plateau available at the moment, I can’t say this is me. Impractical.

sailing_the_high_desert-prefab-vaction-home-narrow-building-storage-outdoor-kitchen-facade_0

Elle Decor? I love the photo below, but I realize that in this case, the outdoors makes the indoors. Insufficient chairage, if one wants to do anything other than stare out the window. For example, talk to other people. And by the way, Elle’s sourcing a Sotheby’s house tour. Guys, the world is changing.

nyc-les

Vogue Living? This image represents most closely a space in which I would want to live. A space in which the dishtowels on the oven door handle play a visual role as do the frames on the wall. Celebrate the rumple, my friends.

14-remy-renzullo-house-tour

Other sites host an aesthetic clearly not my own. BHG, I don’t know why but I don’t care for text-based decor.

1-Jennifer-Hadfield_Tater-Tots-Jello

Southern Living, love the furniture, but what do you have against a nice pale blue, or navy, or, say, silver to add to this palette?

2163906_2013i0112

Beyond pure aesthetic then, the shelter magazines themselves are suffering from something of an identity crisis. Those who get the usefulness bit right, either in content (i.e. how to decorate with random non-beautiful art),

quirky-bathroom-colorful-hollywood-hills-home-sun-0216-xl_1

or online user interface,

Lonny Bathroom

often seem to lack the resources for top-notch styling and photography.

The perfect shelter magazine, for me, would have Vogue and Dwell’s aesthetics, combined, along with Sunset’s practical but creative thinking, and Lonny’s modern user experience and technologies.

In the interim, although I don’t do much on Instagram per se, I’ve begun to follow designers for inspiration. Bruce Shostak, Orlando Soria for sophisticated interiors, Christian Walker for architecture and design, Daniel Nolan (recommended by one of you) for gardens. And on HGTV I read articles by my friend Lauren.

You?

Ah well. Nobody ever said that finding oneself was easy. And nobody ever said these quizzes have to really be anything more than fun on a Wednesday morning.

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If I Were Shopping At Nordstrom Today


A long time ago I bought this dress. It’s by Eileen Fisher, the only piece from that line I’ve ever owned. (It’s not dissimilar to this, available today.)

Cape-Cod-Outfit-With-Sunglasses

I still have it. But it’s self-belted, and looks one notch below polished.

Recently, no longer feeling like someone who wants to wear seersucker ankle-tied wedges, I bought these shoes. (Marked down now from $395 to $264)

4c2e351d25f29f7cde07f75f2e64a207_best

I still have them. They are perfectly polished, in a naked leather 70s-referent kind of way.

So finally, I feel ready for the dress to come into its own, and get ironed for heaven’s sake. I want it to act like a lady, albeit of a Northern California persuasion. A lady who has replaced her Costco sunglasses with RayBans.

I’m thinking about this belt.

_11438958

Thinking hard. The Nordstrom Anniversary sale is in the Early Access phase. Of course, Sue’s the Nordstrom expert, and I urge you to hightail it on over to her site for the real story. But if you happen to own a navy linen dress, and a pair of light tan leather block-heeled sandals, you too just might want a navy quilted belt. Alternatively, a tan one with chain detailing, if you’re feeling wild.

It’s possible.

 

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The Alarms Of Care, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:32am


On Thursday, we moved Mom’s furniture, again. Why? Well, we’d originally set up a room in the Memory Care unit of her current facility. We kept it while Mom’s been on the Skilled Nursing side, as we hoped she’d move back in. Instead, this week we will be moving Mom to another place altogether.

Never mind. I wanted to tell you about beeping.

Moving the furniture required that we prop open not one, not two, but three alarmed doors. When open, the doors beeped, or chirped, or buzzed. Loudly. So loudly. There were three of them, all with slightly different sounds, all on slightly different timers. You could turn off the noises, for about 30-60 seconds at a time, by pressing a 4-digit code, but each door had a separate code box.

The movers carried furniture. I disarmed.

Imagine, if you will, a woman walking quickly from door to door to door, along a 30-foot hall, pressing a code rapidly at each station. Repeating the whole thing at, let’s say, 3 minute intervals, to intermittent very loud noise.

And that was the optimized process.

I wanted to tell you that at one point I thought, “These doors and this beeping is a metaphor for our whole experience with Mom’s care.” I might have used a silent expletive. I surely laughed. You may have gone through something similar.

See, when the alarms first started beeping I panicked, overwhelmed. Then I started responding with adrenaline every time something beeped. Then I sat down and pouted because I hated it all. Then I started, reflexively, trying to figure out the pattern of the beeps. Then I played a game, “Can I  keep these effing things quiet? Which one buzzes first? How long do I have before I have to push the code again?”

All we needed to perfect the care metaphor was a huge machine of metal and red light calculating dollars for every bit of beep, on one side, and the changing face of my mother on the other. Bewildered, cranky, beaming, lost. She is so innocent in this process. I am so responsible.

And then I wondered, “Wait, does it work if I press the codes PREVENTATIVELY?!?!” Yes it did. For a couple of go-rounds I walked quickly from alarm box to alarm box, keeping the beeps at bay.

Then I decided I just couldn’t care any more. So I disarmed at what felt like a reasonable rate and hoped we finished soon.

All of which is only to point out that a sense of humor and a desire to find meaning and mastery in any situation can do a lot to prevent overwhelm. Also, hence my absence. Beep beep beep. Have a good weekend guys.

 

Even High WASPs Hug Sometimes, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:44am


The world is on fire. Or so it seems.

Anything I can say that isn’t political is just a truism. Why don’t people like each other better? Are we not all human? Life is sacred. Oh I wish.

I do know that pockets of humanity remain. Are probably prevalent. Neighbors stop by and volunteer to care for toddlers, people hug strangers, we sing happy birthday.

You here are one of my pockets of humanity. I hope you feel the same. I’d say have a good weekend, but that does feel like a singular privilege this morning. So how about a big virtual totally non-High WASP hug? Communal sorrow.

Cultures can evolve, with any luck, for the better. We can inhabit our selves and widen boundaries at the same time. Include.

Include, include, include.

Include.

Estate Sale In Santa Barbara This Weekend, And Then A Large House With A Beautiful View To Rent


Santa Barbara Panorama

If you like estate sales, and live close to or in Santa Barbara, the estate sale for the furnishings of my mom’s house is being held this weekend, July 9-10. I use the passive voice, against my writerly preferences, because it’s accurate. We are not holding the sale ourselves, we the children. We’ve hired a firm to do it.

Living-Room

As such, the firm will sell the house goods along with some other pieces they’ve collected from other sales. That’s how the living room looked, the last time everything was still in place.

Guest-Bedroom-Mirror

That’s an upstairs guest room. The prints are illustrations from Alice in Wonderland.

My stepfather took a fair amount back to Sweden for himself and his family, we brought a few of my mother’s family pieces up here for Mom’s room in memory care, but if you’re in real need of a George III mahogany table that can seat 12 (with its extra leaves), or, maybe an antique chandelier, or a perhaps Tiffany table clock, this is your moment.

Tiffany's Clock

How about a mid-century Scandinavian “mushroom” lamp? Some vintage designer duds and a baleful of cashmere? Vintage iron pool furniture? I understand that stuff will most likely sell for a fraction of its appraised value.

Dining-Area

A detail from the guest house.

If you’re interested, you can contact The Clearing House for information. Alternatively, send me an email at skyepeale dot yahoo dot com, and I’ll be happy to send you the address.

Oh, and should you be looking for a summer residence in Santa Barbara, one with a pool, a guest house, and a stunning view of the Pacific and a couple of islands, Vista del Mar – for so the builders named it back when – will be available for rental soon.

Mom was cheerful yesterday. We read nursery rhymes in the sun. And so life goes on.

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Cultural Signifiers, Whatcha Got?


swallows-and-amazons-flags

Here in North America, we’ve just emerged from a brief flurry of national insignia-waving.  (Hey there, Canada!) Which made me think, what are the signs of our micro-cultures?

Forthwith, the High WASP Cultural Directory, Northern California Regional Variant

I could go on. But one shouldn’t.

How about you? How would your list look? Feel free to post the entire thing, or not. Pursuit of happiness and all that.

 

Were you to click on a link, you might then generate a commission, as it were, for the author of this blog. Image up top via the website of the Arthur Ransome Society.

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