It's my turn in the hotseat for The Beauty Spotlight Team's game of twenty questions, which will hopefully allow you to get to know us all a bit better, aside from our minutest preferences in eyeshadow finish... so this drivel about drivel about frivol. It's meta, see?
I took the liberty of cherry-picking our BST questions list and then added others posed by readers and makeupalley denizens. Began by attempting to impose some kind of order, soon gave in to free-associative entropy…. this should not surprise anyone who's visited in the past :D Pull up a chair, pour out a cuppa and have some snacks handy: it's an epic ramble.
|this is where the drivel happens / it is vital to alternate sweet and savoury to prolong your snacking stamina|
1. What time do you wake up in the morning?
I aim to get up an hour before I need to be out the door, which would allow a generous 10-15 minutes to apply thoughtful makeup, another 10 minutes to make neat swatches and 5 minutes of picture-taking in that great early-morning light, along with the regular-person morning-routine stuff. In practice I fall out of bed 5-45 minutes before I'm due to leave and at least once a week I'll rock the bare-faced with glasses and headband-over-mysterious-Johnny-Bravo-quiff-that-has-manifested-overnight look.
2. How do you take your coffee?
IMMODERATELY AND INDISCRIMINATELY.
I adore good coffee and on weekends will stock up on some freshly roasted single-estate beans, faff around with a burr grinder, fancy-ass water, thermometer and siphon pot, the works. Most mornings it's a few scoops of whatever I ground last weekend in a cafetière. If it's the good stuff I take it black; cream and sugar are added in increasing quantities to adulterate increasingly questionable coffee. Which I WILL still drink because addict. Will also drink: those Japanese cans of what is basically condensed milk containing maybe 0.01% of blandest 'Blue Mountain'. May also have been known to nibble instant coffee granules while waiting for kettle to boil during deadline pile-ups…
3. What do you carry with you every day? Makeup or otherwise.
Whee, I get to sneak a 'what's in my bag' tag! The contents are too boring to justify a solo post -- super dry skin ensuring no need to touch up anything else, the only makeuppy things I take are my lip of the day and a brush for it. I always have a clear SPF and a tinted Fresh Sugar balm with me, too: currently Kosé Cosmeport Pure Double Collagen SPF 20 (cumbersome name, great product; get it here) and Cherry. And my snazzy plastic apple mirror, particularly effective held up as I'm touching up a Rouge G with its useless sliver that keeps snapping shut :P
The P&J bag with some boring essentials, to illustrate size:
Boring stuff aside, I always have my kindle paperwhite with me, and two contrasting paperbacks. Because what would I do if my phone and ereader run out of juice and I'm not in the mood for one of the paper books?! Cultivate an inner life?? PAH.
4. Have you ever been "recognised" in public?
A bare handful of times. And invariably on a stringy-haired, bare-faced/failed-experimental makeup day. Readers are always lovely and gracious, I'm always highly traumatised and flaily and attempting to sink into the ground. Several sales associates/makeup artists have also recognised me from the blog -- they like to drop this oh-so-casually into the conversation juuuust as they're manoeuvring a sharp liner around my lash line or painstakingly painting my cupid's bow. >:C Y my frivolous drivel fail to strike FEAR AN TREMBLIN RESPECT into the hearts of wo/men, eh?
5. How do you approach beauty and mu when you feel down or need a pick me up?
I'm much likelier to reach for the gin, junk food, pink mascara, canary yellow blush and all teh glitter rather than lighting a scented candle and massaging the leftover organic constituents of my raw-food salad into my skin before settling down to a nice three hour meditation session. (And by 'much likelier to' I mean ALWAYS.)
6. Are your family/friends supportive of your blogging?
Definitely, as the latest in a long and ongoing string of hobbies, but in a teasing way, again with the whole never-being-taken-seriously thing. But really, my nearest&dearest have bought me makeup, posh camera equipment, let me test formulas on their skintypes/tones and make them over to try placements, waited patiently while I swatched an entire beauty department while offering the occasional pep-talk / shoulder massage / squirt of isotonic water / scooby snack as I passed them on my laps…
7. Do you find blogging about your interests to be a joy or a burden?
Never a burden or I'd stop. I've come to actively enjoy every step of the process (though picture-taking remains my least favourite and most often frustrating part, as my lack of actual skills makes me highly dependent on the vagaries of natural light) and I love interacting with my fellow bloggers and reading every single lovely, thoughtful comment someone leaves me. For me, keeping things quite amateur/personal seems to be key -- the minute I start setting up posting schedules or try to get all slick and churn out reviews of alltehthings, it would tip over into work and become a burden quite quickly, I think.
Some of my other hobbies seem less conducive to being blogged. With knitting/sewing/dance, I prefer to just get on with it. Fragrance, food and media (books, telly, music etc.) are hobbies I share with many people in my offline life, so I tend to be talked out about those before settling down to type. Makeup seems to be uniquely communicable through a combination of words and pictures that makes for a fun, varied blogging experience. Not to mention the truly awesome community of interesting, passionate and just plain strange folks. :D
8. What was your first real job?
Discounting the tutoring/dance-teaching/waitressing gigs I had through school and uni, my first real job, which I thought of as The First Rung Of The Ladder To A Glittering Career In The Field was at an indie fashion magazine, so new then that I had a hybrid writer/stylist/PR/gofer role.
9. How has your relationship to beauty products changed since you began blogging?
I was afraid I might turn into a consumerist vortex using the blog to justify all the purchases 'For Science!' but I think I've actually become more critical and less willing to shop -- it'd be adding another 'to review' item to the pile, after all, and I'm always already running behind i.e. have you heard me talk about any of the products featured in the topmost pic? Exactly. I already feel a bit guilty for posting repetitive looks, so 'but I've already blogged something similar' is most often the deciding argument against acquiring another red lipstick whose minute difference in tone from the dozen I already own my camera will probably fail to capture. I always have and probably always will fall for genuine refinements and advances in texture and formula, though. And blogging has made me a much more regular blog reader, which means I'm far more aware and humbled by the extent of knowledge/skill and variety of approaches out there, and much better at pulling a greater variety of looks out of the products I already own.
10. Is there a category of products you like (or dislike) blogging about in particular?
Eyeshadow palettes are my favourites! There's just so much more room for
wank finest discernment of exquisite detail, and clowning creative experimentation with placements and combinations to draw out its potential. I'm rarely inspired to write about skincare or non-colour makeup -- behind my current 'back to basics' series lurks a cunning plan to have a few key posts I can link to in future thus avoiding the need to address those topics ever again….
11. What niches of makeup or beauty products do you feel are currently underserved by today's offerings?
Genuinely pale foundations. Especially formulas for dry skin -- even in 2013, it seems that whiteness is most often achieved through chalk. It also feels like the unctuous textures and delicate finishes that work for my uber dry skin tend to come in mostly brown-toned, muted colours, while the garish clown shades that please my tacky heart are mostly to be found in formulas barely differentiated from actual crayons, chalks and craft glitter. I want bridges, dammit!
12. Are there any colours/products you WON'T try?
….No. :D The above whinge aside, I'm irritatingly optimistic by nature and will still play with every new matte yellow eyeshadow (however heavily dandruffed in its own powder fallout), every neon terracotta foundation labelled 'porcelain shade #0000' (lies, lies!!) and every new shade of a waxy-sweaty chubby lip crayon going. I'll also wear anything at all out and about, and have, including but not limited to red lip gloss all over my eyelids (man, that was not a fun blinking day).
13. How did you acquire/develop your current sense of aesthetics?
(Clearly subconsciously hate myself as seem to be placing these questions in highly pointed order…)
The most recent seismic shift happened when I fell down the Japanese makeup rabbit hole around five years ago. Their OL styles were incredibly helpful as I was trying to adjust to a more grown-up, professional way of self-presentation six days a week (Sundays will always remain holy clown days) -- they seemed to allow more room for creative, thoughtful but still wearable looks, with lots of geeky minor variations of placement, finish and tone, than the Bobbi Brown / Laura Mercier schools of bland 'polish'. And learning to navigate and work with those thoughtful and constantly renewed Japanese textures, of course.
But I first fell in love with makeup as a very young, stage-struck kid, and being on the professional ballerina track until my very late teens, the philosophy and language if not the exact grammar of stage makeup still forms a significant influence even on my blandest, simplest, worksafest looks -- a consideration of overall effect in colour-story and shape, theatricality, escapism, and play, a strong dislike of 'signature' makeup. For more see this early (and early-morning :P) blog manifesto. For more coherence and a very readable social history from someone who gets it, check out Carol Dyhouse's Glamour; obviously Dyhouse and I are both English so sit cosily within a long tradition of fostering and indulging this particular kind of eccentric amateurism -- I'm not claiming to be some kind of mould-breaking original here!
14. What are your beauty pet peeves/greatest annoyances?
My scattershot wanderings through academia (ivory tower, bouncy castle, same as…) would probably all fit easiest under the 'cultural history' umbrella so nothing annoys me more than ahistorical definitions of what is 'flattering' or 'beautiful' makeup -- words even worse than 'in/correct' which at least acknowledge their own social arbitrariness. 'Full, naturalistic brows = the best brows' is a frequent current bugbear, but even supposedly obvious things like 'base should mimic skin' make me twitch -- er, not when the chalk-white-powdered look was the only socially acceptable face and anything else would genuinely look 'wrong'. We are by definition blindest (literally) to the most binding and unspoken aesthetic rules in play in our time, and it's rankest arrogance and idiocy -- like declaring yourself 'trend-free' -- to deny that.
15.Which historical period do you identify with the most for fashion/makeup?
I would never give up the postmodernist perk of being able to cherry pick and reappropriate all of the things! I do have an affinity for periods/areas of concentrated and self-aware change, so let's go with 1920's-30's Shanghai in full melting-pot modernist swing.
16. If you were attending a costume party, who or what would you dress as?
My lazy thrown-together-from-existing-wardrobe costumes for that last-minute, "...wait, this is a costume party, wtf?" realisation are Wednesday Addams; Guybrush Threepwood, mighty pirate (yes, I do have a rubber chicken); or random period extra from the '50s/'60s (hey, I give good subversive Stepford) or from the '20/'30s (effect largely achievable through makeup) as on last Halloween.
My favourite recent costume was Beau Brummell -- I'd found the perfect frock coat in a charity shop and got to stick sideburns on and talk in camp aphorisms aaaaaall night. I also had fun going as Utena in this here wig with my BFF as Anthy swooning into my arms on the regular.
17. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Not really :D I am pretty open/shameless about all my pleasures be they '90s anime series, geeky adventure games or terrible teen J/K-dramas. Bit embarrassed by how susceptible I am to Arashi and their damn hooky choons, though.
18. What are some of your favourite movies?
I'm more of a TV series girl, and hate picking favourites, but my most often rewatched include: My Neighbour Totoro, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess Bride, Bringing Up Baby, Some Like It Hot, Singin' In the Rain, Fargo, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Life of Brian/Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Clueless, Mean Girls, and Heathers. Which is going to be A MUSICAL soon, well fuck me gently with a chainsaw.
19. What kind of teenager were you?
Stroppy, is there any other kind? I was a very annoying (again, is there any other…?) oh-so-knowing dabbler in all the subcultures going, who communicated pretty much exclusively in ironic quotations and pop cultural references, i.e. is there any other…
20. What would your dream job be?
Apparently, 'book doctor,' because my heart skipped a beat when I saw a National Health Service recruitment ad for one. Sadly, this turned out to involve prescribing the correct self-help manuals/workbooks from an approved selection to patients with diagnosed mood disorders in the queue for therapy, and not, as I thought, finally getting paid to dispense random book recs to all and sundry, which is already my favourite activity tied with respiration.
There! Anyone who made it through can have first scoop of my bibimbap:
There! Anyone who made it through can have first scoop of my bibimbap: