Monday, 16 October 2017

Life like brandy, cheese, and furry blue meatballs

A furry blue meatball with feet, on the warming plate, that's what I look like. This is another photo from the night I went to hear photo/conceptual artist Ian Wallace speak at Rennie Collection in Chinatown, where Vancouver Barbara took these next three photos. 

The next photo is one of my favourites ever. I've stepped into a Hopper painting or a scene from a classic movie. VO: "She was a shaggy dame in Shanghai Alley with a mixed up box of Cracker Jacks as Prada, looking for a two-bit schmuck with more cents than brains." (VO means voice-over)

This next one was taken in line waiting to get into the talk. My sushi sweatshirt! from you know where - My Sister's Closet - and high-waisted pants, retail, super duper discount. My sponsored posts for Look Fabulous Forever are done but I'm wearing their makeup in these shots, Sweet Pea lipstick and their eye shadows.

And what have we here? Oh, that would be me at my latest workshop!: Diva Tales of Fashion Corruption. Oh yeeeeah, such a good time. It was produced by the Style Cabal, comprised of Barbara, Deb, and Judy, from the Vancouver Guild of Fibre Arts, where I did a talk last May, and myself.

Below I'm introducing some of my favourite inspiring style bloggers. Of course, that's Judith, Style Crone, on the monitor. Note the props everywhere. Heh.

These photos are courtesy of Vivian, whom you met on my blog HERE. Huge thanks!

The Style Cabal gals joined me for a rousing Broadway number during the show. What a riot, the crowd went wild, but no one threw their panties at the stage...!? (Thank you.) [Edit: We all wore amazing crowns, which Judy made, example HERE.] And I showcased a selection of my farked clothing. People who attended also discussed and strutted their own farking and fabulous outfits.

Below, evidence that everyone was feeling me up! That's what happens when you speak to a room of sewers. We all want to touch the fabric.

I spent a couple of hours whipping clothes off and on but the time flew by. Nothing like baring your underwear in a room full of strangers to calm the nerves. Almost like those naked dreams coming true, not necessarily in the Cinderella way.

I also showcased this T-shirt that friend Suzanne Carillo made me - "Dressed to Piss You Off," which she sells HERE. So good. 

Note the chaos. And note the Freakish Yellow Skirt!! This kind of jumble freaks me out, but when you are doing quick changes it can't be helped. I carefully returned many of these things to their numbered, annotated space bags when I got home. 

This next photo was taken by artist/poet/fibre artist Y, whom I met at the Guild talk. The photo on the monitor was taken by Vancouver Barbara when we were shopping at Dressew. Of course I had to have that wig. And a new concept was born - tag as earring.

In a discussion with Y, she brought up the topic of wrinkles in the universe. The guy who "invented" them won a Nobel Prize. Doh, of course the universe has wrinkles, it's pretty frickin' old. 

But the real prize should go to the person who invents a lotion for that. Or attempts a facelift of the cosmos with our obsession to be smooth. Then again, assuming there's time travel in space, the universe can simply rewind itself any time. 

Where's my rewind button?! Would I use it if I had it? Would you?

I'm feeling slightly Mr. Clean here, in reference to a bulky, white bald man, who dresses in white and flits around our homes making our kitchens and bathrooms sparkly fresh with his products. He used to be a cartoon and then the ad geniuses turned him into a real human. Just leave it alone!, I say.

Anyway, this outfit feels so chemically white I could melt cheese on it. There's my white moto jacket. My pants were falling down for real so after these photos and before I went on my inspiration walk, I put on my unisuspender. Wardrobe malfunction narrowly averted.

Of course I'm wearing my T-shirt "I am my own brand," which should read, "I am NOT a brand." It's very Magritte of course. My online presence is brandish because it's merely a visual representation of who I am. Which makes me brandy, a good stiff drink. (That's the Cherry Red LFF lipstick.)

Must fly. Much to do. If you want me to do a talk to your group, have your people call my people. This is a thing I do now. I quite like being a ham, with melted cheese. Yes, cheesy.

Best stop now. And you'll be glad that I followed the rule of making very SOE-friendly blog titles. I know I'll get tons more traffic with the words "furry blue meatball" in there.

I'll link up to Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine at "I will wear what I like!" at Not Dressed as Lamb.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Look fabulous forever? Of course, darling.

This is a sponsored post - don't faint! But believe me, the opinions expressed, as you'll see, are 100% Mel.

My lipstick is getting down to the nub, one of only two lipsticks in my life to do so - so when I got the offer to test-drive some cosmetics from Look Fabulous Forever (LFF), based in England, I thought, what the heck? The products are cruelty-free and the company was launched by Tricia Cusden when she was 65. Right on!

I've been dabbling in these products since they arrived in mid-September. I had two big do's on my calendar, one a cocktail party, Silver Foxes and Vixens, for Fluevog shoes' new season reveal, and one, front row at a day of Vancouver Fashion Week, both of which would require heaps and heaps of cosmetics.

First up, the lip and eye primers. I decided to try them with my existing makeup as a control group; I already know how well/hard they are to apply/remove.

I love the shiny foil bubble pack for shipping

Existing problem: Migrating & hard-to-remove lip liner

I wear lip liner and lipstick almost daily and I can't stand it when my liner migrates. It's like my lips are the Amazon and the wrinkles around them the tributaries where many a British explorer has gone missing. It makes me think of the movie African Queen too. Yes. So my goal was to erect a little dam around my lips with LFF lip primer.

I admit, I didn't have high hopes - I know too well the supernatural attraction of lipstick to wrinkles, like red wine to shag carpet. I opened the package and traced the outline of my lips with the slender spongy wand, like the kind that comes with lip gloss.

These are all the products I received. This photo was taken after I had tested everything.

Test 1: Application

The primer is clear like gloss but slightly more viscous, which worried me
I always use matte lipsticks and liners because they tend to be dry - you almost have to scrape them off - meaning staying power in my mind. 
But this primer felt wet
I actually dabbed it with a tissue to make it hurry up and dry. 
And then I put on my regular lip liner.

Alarm! My matte liner glided waaay too smoothly over the primer. I thought, no way will my liner stay put on that. Already I was frantically wondering how I could write a review that LFF wouldn't despise. Too late now. I applied my lipstick and went out. Silver Foxes and Vixens, look out!

Photo courtesy of Judith of  blog/IG - Silver Foxes & Vixens party hosted by Fluevog.
Left to right: Judith, Judith's Handsome, moi, Su, Vancouver Barbara

That's what I wore to the cocktail party. The shoes are Fluevogs from the late '80s.

Well, I had far too much fun at the party to stay neat and tidy, so when I got home I expected a mess of clogged tributaries. And guess what? The dam held! No tributaries! No more lost explorers! I love you Mr. Allnut! (referencing the movie African Queen) Hurray!

Of course I didn't believe it - so I tried it again the next day.

Again, all explorers accounted for. Winner!

Test 2: Removal

Often the lip liner gets buried in the surrounding terrain and I have to stretch my face to get in there with olive oil for removal. The primer created a barrier that prevented my lipstick from leaching into those ditches in the first place. Removal was far easier. Brilliant.

Existing Problem: Stubborn-to-apply shadow that fades, then won't come off

With one success I was nervous to push my luck, but Vancouver Fashion Week was calling and my eyes needed major cosmetic doing.

You may know how I loathe removing eye makeup. For days after I wear it, I must go spelunking to dig out the runaway bits. So the eye primer would be another real test.

Test 1: Application

I dabbed some spots on each lid, again with a spongy wand applicator, and smeared it around with my finger. It's flesh-toned in colour, much like foundation. Then I applied glittery fuchsia eye shadow from my old stash, very stubborn stuff, which, !!!, went on smoothly and evenly. It was noticably rougher to apply in an area I had missed with the primer. Check. A+.

Off to the fashion show I traipsed in my sky-high black glitter platform booties.

Photo courtesy of Stella of IG @stellarpanagiotidis - Vancouver Fashion Week (she invited me)
L to R: Designer Giovanna Ricci, Model/Art Enthusiast Stella, moi, Ms. Canada Universal Tetyana Golota 

What I wore to VFW. I upcycled an oversized vintage tartan jacket into this little bolero.

Test 2: Staying Power 

Much eye candy ensued over the next four hours, but would there be eye candy all over my face or completely gone when I got home? I approached the bathroom mirror with trepidation. Gaaa! Everything stayed bright and right where I put it. Success!

Test 3: Removal

I pulled out my spelunking gear: olive oil, cleansing pads, and soap. I shut my eyes and hoped for the best. When I opened them again, my shadow had come right off. The primer sealed my skin to prevent deep-penetration of the shadow. Clearly this product is an absolute gem!

Problem: None - except for stubborn removal (now eased with primer). Playtime!

I received Sweet Pea, which is a frosty pink/violet, and Cherry Red. After applying lip primer, I did an ombre lip, with the outline and sides in Cherry and the centre part in the lighter Sweet Pea. Neither of these colours was matte finish so their creamy smoothness felt pleasant but unfamiliar. They also smelled like the lipsticks of my childhood. 

The frostiness of the Sweet Pea was unexpected; the online colour swatch looked matte, but when you click it, the pop-up photo clearly shows the sheen. Note to self: click the photo! But I was pleased with the soft, feminine look it gave me. Definitely, I can incorporate Sweet Pea into my outfit repertoire.

Both the Sweet Pea and Cherry Red also have a shine uncharacteristic of the mattes I'm used to wearing, but I enjoyed the change.

I used the lip/eye brush from LFF to apply the lipstick as a liner. 
It will take me a while to get the hang of, not because it's hard, but because I am not very patient. It may be worth the effort because the results are cleaner and more precise than my pencil.

Problem: None, except for stubborn removal (now eased with primer). Playtime!

I received Aubergine, Charcoal, and Cream powder shadows. Using my fingers, I applied the Aubergine to my lids and along the outer bottom lash line.

Then I applied Charcoal to the crease and bottom lash line, blending with the Aubergine. Using the cleaned lip brush, I lined my upper lids with Charcoal too.

Finally, the Cream I applied just under my brows and inside corners of my eye.

I am definitely not a great makeup artist, fearless maybe, but not pro.
And this is what the makeup looks like applied in my usual slap-dash manner. 
I took these photos in natural light with a black velvet backdrop. 
I'm not wearing foundation or face powder.

Pay no attention to the scraggy brows - I like them like that. And I added bloodshot to the eyes for extra drama. Heh. The mascara and brow eyeliner are both from my existing tool box, although LFF sells these products too.

And there you have it!

I'm wearing LFF makeup in the photo below when I went with my friend Vancouver Barbara to an exhibit of photo/conceptual artist Ian Wallace's work. She took this photo. She told me to look sad. Heh. Maybe it's the frosty lipstick that made me reach for these beige Missoni pants at the last minute, to complete this bad-ass-ish lady/man vibe going on. I like it! You may have seen this photo before.

Photo courtesy of @vancouverbarbara - taken at Rennie Collection

By chance, I went back to the gallery days later for an evening talk by the artist, and Barbara took this next shot while we were standing in line. I'm wearing all LFF eye makeup and Sweet Pea lipstick with red liner. 

The lipstick may be sweet/feminine, but it definitely works with a misbehavin' tower hair outfit as well. 

Photo courtesy of @vancouverbarbara - taken near Rennie Collection

My verdict
  • The lip primer and eye primer are absolute winners! Must-haves that solved many of my makeup issues.
  • The lipsticks are creamy and the colours are gorgeous. I shall definitely use them when I want to add softness to a look. I'll also wear them on top of my matte lipsticks for extra depth and shine.
  • The shadows are more powdery than the ones I am used to, the colours are beautiful, soft yet dramatic, and they have staying power. The Aubergine is a particular favourite and works well as a smudgy bottom lash liner. I would wear Cream on my lid with a primer base if I want bright eyes. 
  • The brush is a great tool for detail work, although I would want more than one so no cleaning is necessary when switching eye to lip. LFF has a range of brushes. This one was hardy.

My lunch-bag hand bag with the Cherry Red lipstick and charcoal eyeshadow

I felt like a scientist trying out these products, which was fun. When I was testing the lip primer, I kept asking my friends, how are my lips? how are my lips? are they leaking? Heh. If you decide to buy anything from LOOK FABULOUS FOREVER, I hope you like them too. 

And if you're struggling about how to apply your makeup, Tricia Cusden has a series of easy-to-follow makeup videos and other materials that should help. Me? Well, I'm always flying by the seat of my pants, BEIGE in this case! Or madly patterned too for that matter.

Monday, 9 October 2017

From the boudoir to faux France

From the boudoir to the garden with huge honkin' plants. The leaves seem to embrace me, clearly unable to resist my vintage neon hot-pink robe by "Rhapsody of California made by Glazier," a phrase which must be said aloud with a haughty drawl each time I don this luxurious furry confection. I also memorably worn my Rhapsody when Shelley came to town in May 2016, post is here

"I am One with the Big Leaves" Photo by @vancouverbarbara

Now and with Shelley I was surrounded by big green vegetation wearing the Rhapsody. Are there strange forces at work with this robe - beyond its general fabulousness - that I don't know about?! Could this robe be opening some warped telepathic channel to our Jurassic herbal past!? Now I'm afraid to say the label name backwards. Who knows what would happen?

Shelley (Forest City Fashionista) and I goof around while feeling fabulous

The blouse is a chartreuse-y colour, very silky, with huge gathered sleeves, of course not visible here because they were smooshed in my robe. And I wore this awesome stretch floral maxi skirt and super-soft stretch leather booties, both from My Sister's Closet at one time or another.

But oh no! Do you see it? The huge honkin' camel nose? What are the odds? Giant leaves. Giant camel nose. And camel without the "ca" spells mel. Gaaaa!

Not only that, the nose's brand is - dah-dah-dummm - "totem." Is my spirit animal a camel nose? A Jurassic camel nose? Whoa, things are getting out of hand here.

In its undercover life, this is a mere courier bag. The long body strap is an upcycled seat belt, and the short handle on the flap is also seat-belt strapping. My laptop fits perfectly in there. Clever, right? Nothing suspicious there.

Of course I wore my magic loupe, which O made me. I never leave home without it. If you want to get louped like me, use the link in my sidebar to go to his Etsy store. His cool rings are there too.

You may now be asking yourselves, who let Mel into the peyote? Don't worry, I sobered up real quick when I...

...put on a little faux-French, which also required flattening my hair. This dress might be considered dour, drab, matronly or simply gross if it weren't for its extreme boxiness, which elevates it to the level of haute couture faux-French. Boxiness is a sure sign of $$$.

The dress came from My Sister's Closet. The bottom skirt half, with a single knife pleat on one side, a pocket on the other, and five gold buttons, is picky wool, and the top half is another kind of wool, yes, also itchy, but that's part of the iron discipline one may require to wear haute faux-French, n'est-ce pas?

I think this dress was made from two vintage pieces sewn together. There are no labels or notions, except for the buttons, to research. I bought another very similar dress a few months before this one. The top half looks hand-knit, black wool, and the bottom half is dove-grey Crimplene. Dreamy. But I think I'll upcycle it into a coat. I'll show you later.

I carried my toolbox hand bag, swiped from O after he removed the height gauge, opaque black tights, narrow men's pointy shoes in taupe/brown - they are much pointier than the picture above suggests. And I took my teacup carrier made from a wooden matryoshka. The sunglasses are Lagerfeld, darling, a gift.

That's all for this week. Not much to say. I am preoccupied. I'll tell you about what after Thursday, which is when I'll put up my next post.

I'm going to link up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb, #iwillwearwhatilike.

See youse guys later!! Get back to work!! Heh.

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