Notes from the Editors of The Lipstick Page Forums: A Dedication to the Art of Beauty and Fashion.

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· Beauty Notes: Cate Blanchett's hair
· Tech: Label reorganization
· Nars Collections 2003 to 2004
· Nars Spring 2008: Shanghai Lily
· Fashion Notes: Labradorite necklace
· Culture Notes: Notes on desert island films
· Culture Notes: Rave on
· Tech: New post preview feature part 3
· Culture Notes: John Lennon part 2
· Culture Notes: John Lennon part 1
· Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately #2
· Culture Notes: Rickie Lee Jones
· Fashion Notes: Sterling and sapphire earrings
· Ava Luxe: new blog
· Beauty Notes: Southern Beauty Magazine featuring Nancy O'Dell
· Beauty Notes: Our own video!
· Fashion Notes: Freddy & Ma custom handbags
· Beauty Notes: Unique Books and Hand-Decanted Perfumes
· Beauty Notes: Adventures in home hair color
· Fashion Notes: Polyvore it!
· More Nars & other porn...

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· January 31, 2008 2:54 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 31, 2008 5:08 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 31, 2008 5:52 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 31, 2008 7:36 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 31, 2008 7:50 PM by Blogger Dain
· February 1, 2008 2:43 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 2, 2008 4:39 AM by Blogger Dain
· February 2, 2008 2:34 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 2, 2008 4:14 PM by Blogger Dain
· February 2, 2008 5:16 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· February 2, 2008 8:15 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 27, 2008 10:28 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 22, 2008 9:33 AM by Blogger Dain
· January 25, 2008 9:04 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 20, 2008 2:17 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 20, 2008 3:07 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 18, 2008 8:59 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 18, 2008 9:32 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 18, 2008 4:31 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 18, 2008 4:57 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 18, 2008 8:54 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 19, 2008 3:28 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 20, 2008 1:53 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 16, 2008 2:34 AM by Blogger Audrey_H
· January 16, 2008 12:30 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 16, 2008 2:08 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 16, 2008 2:14 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 16, 2008 3:05 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 14, 2008 2:54 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 14, 2008 5:21 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 15, 2008 1:11 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 9, 2008 2:12 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 9, 2008 6:35 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 10, 2008 5:48 AM by Blogger Dain
· January 10, 2008 12:25 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 10, 2008 3:50 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 10, 2008 8:58 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 10, 2008 8:59 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 10, 2008 9:18 PM by Blogger
· January 9, 2008 1:57 AM by Blogger Dain
· January 9, 2008 2:28 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 9, 2008 2:33 AM by Blogger Dain
· January 6, 2008 9:55 AM by Blogger Dain
· January 6, 2008 1:51 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 3, 2008 4:45 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 3, 2008 9:52 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 3, 2008 11:10 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi
· January 1, 2008 9:42 PM by Blogger Dain
· January 3, 2008 11:17 PM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi

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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog: January 2008

Beauty Notes: Cate Blanchett's hair
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, January 31, 2008 1:23 AM (Eastern)

cate blanchett at the 14th annual sag awards

Simple, yet indelible. Cate may not have seen much gelt at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, but surely she was a monument to elegance. (Related photos may be found on

Even as I'm straining to get a better view of her jewelry--earrings with vivid green stones (and in other pics, a bracelet beaded with stones resembling rough rubies)--and her swank Balenciaga maternity(!) gown--what really pulls this look together is the hair. Instead of overshadowing, the way a typical awards-show updo would have done, this style is a golden frame around eyes, glowing complexion, simple makeup and deep green jewels. Imagine a stuffier hairstyle with the exact same gown and jewelry, and it's instantly aging.

Now onto the press release and products:

MATRIX Celebrity Hairstylist Dishes on Cate Blanchett's Soft Waves

Even though she didn't bring home any statuettes last night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Cate Blanchett kicked off awards season looking radiant on the red carpet with soft, beautiful waves that brought out her natural beauty and pregnant glow. MATRIX celebrity stylist, Mark Townsend, was the man behind the look and has the scoop on how to get this simple yet beautiful hairstyle.

Townsend has been working with Blanchett for nearly four years, so it doesn't take long for the pair to decide on the perfect style for big red carpet events. As soon as Cate tried on her stunning Balenciaga gown for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the entire fashion and beauty team agreed that her hair should be down and simple so as not to overpower her intricate gown. To achieve the look, Mark first took Cate's damp hair and applied Biolage Hydro-Foaming Styler all over to add a little texture, and then blow-dried her hair with a medium round brush. When the hair was completely dry, Mark used a one inch HAI Elite curling iron, taking random sections of hair from one to three inches in size sections of hair, and wrapping them around the iron. According to Mark — the trick to getting perfect waves and curls is to never actually open the iron, just wrap the hair around it while closed. When finished, Mark rubbed Biolage smooththérapie Smoothing Serum in the palms of his hands and raked it through Cate's hair to soften the curls into soft, loose waves and blend the curled pieces with the straighter pieces of hair. To finish, Mark used Biolage Complete Control Hairspray to softly set the look so it lasted all night.

biolage products

Mark's Product Picks:
Biolage Hydro-Foaming Styler, $14
Biolage smooththérapie Smoothing Serum, $14
Biolage Complete Control Hairspray, $15

Cate image courtesy

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
11 comment(s)  
January 31, 2008 2:54 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Hm, it looks a little messy and matted to me, but I agree that the first thing you notice are those vivid green earrings. My first thought was, "Oy, great color on her." I adore Cate Blanchett, truly one of the finest actresses we have today. It makes me really angry to think Gwyneth Paltrow got the oscar that one time for Shakespeare in Love and it's like, PALTROW!!!? HOLLYWOOD NEPOTISM!

January 31, 2008 5:08 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Weeellll...I saw Shakespeare in Love. It was good, there's no doubt about it. Most American actors can't do English accents, for the same reason English actors usually end up doing American Southern accents--there isn't quite such a thing as a generic English or American accent. The only way to emulate is to choose a specific region, and that takes more time to study.

There is a definite "shmooze factor" in Hollywood. Spike Lee always got passed over. It's not a reflection of the quality of work by any means.

January 31, 2008 5:52 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It's a fine movie, but the day that they pass up Cate Blanchett in favor of Paltrow is the day I stopped watching the Academy Awards.

January 31, 2008 7:36 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

To me it's like a soccer game anyway...unless you're hanging out with a bunch of people and drinking beer, there isn't much point watching the entire show. You can always catch the highlights later on. :)

There's a stone called chrome diopside that looks sort of like those earrings--at least it does on the Net. I've never seen it in real life.

January 31, 2008 7:50 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Yeah, they've been giving the wrong awards to the wrong people since the very beginning, eh? Judy Garland never got hers for A Star is Born and neither did Bette Davis for either All About Eve or Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Perhaps malachite might do? I know it's a deeper green, but...

Hm, the box I sent you should arrive in a week. I've included to tiny pearls, perhaps they could go atop a deep purpley amethyst in a similar style, though perhaps less dramatic. And in gold, since that would match better.

February 1, 2008 2:43 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I did a little digging, there wasn't much info about the green earrings on the Net. Unusual, since part of the point of having celebs wear jewelry is to publicize the jeweler. I found one article which said they were "natural jade and diamond." That's some jade!

February 2, 2008 4:39 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Playing with color combinations:
rose quartz + labradorite
lavender amethysts + amber (I like the idea of this one)
deep pink + rich blue (good on a brunette, I think)

February 2, 2008 2:34 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Ya know, the more I'm doing this, the more complicated it seems to get. Odd, because I always thought it would get simpler. The mechanical aspect of making the stuff has definitely become far easier, but the design part just gets deeper and deeper.

February 2, 2008 4:14 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I think that's probably true of anything. Look at people who design clothes, for chrissakes. Karl Lagerfeld sends a model down the runway in a denim bra and everyone's like, "Oh, that Karl. He really knows how to demonstrate the French attitude for play. Of course, he's genius. I love him."

February 2, 2008 5:16 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Eh...people can become lazy once they become successful. They tried much harder when they still had to struggle. It can backfire though. People get bored if you keep churning out the same old thing, no matter how prestigious your name has become.

It is odd though...before, I thought, all I have to do is get good at the mechanics, and come up with a few really good "templates." Then just plug in different stones. lol I have yet to be able to do that. Each stone and cut and size seems to require its own design. I suppose I should see it that way...start with the stones, then figure out what to do with them.

February 2, 2008 8:15 PM, Blogger Dain said...

What I found intriguing about jewelry design is how it's not intuitive, in a sense. You take a little bit but you can use it many, many ways. That's kind of cool, in the sense that I've always really liked jigsaw puzzles. Jewelry design is rather like that to some degree.

But I'll admit I find the idea of color combination with stones more intriguing. I mean, it's a little like playing with makeup colors, and in some sense, you need to have the stuff on hand to get a good sense, but that seems like the easiest, fun part. (Not the mechanics, poo!)

I was in Jo-Ann fabrics the other day getting a clasp for the pearl strand, and I noticed that these cloudy lavender beads would really work well with amber drops. They contrast perfectly with each other, and yet, they are slightly unexpected, no? It's interesting to me because you want the piece to look, somehow, whole, at a glance, so that you can wear them and not have to think about it too much. And yet, they should have some excellence as you draw closer in.

Ehhh... that's making no sense. Like a NARS duo. Lol.

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Tech: Label reorganization
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:36 PM (Eastern)

screenshot of labels

We are currently reorganizing, and streamlining, our blogger labels. It'll probably take a few days to come up with the final version.


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Nars Collections 2003 to 2004
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, January 28, 2008 6:45 PM (Eastern)

Nars Raw Glamour - Fall 2003
Nars Flirtatious Fantasy - Spring 2004
Nars Tropical Heat Wave - Summer 2004

These are from our now-defunct New Releases blog, and are included here for reference purposes.

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Nars Spring 2008: Shanghai Lily
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 6:34 PM (Eastern)

nars spring 2008 collection shanghai lily

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Fashion Notes: Labradorite necklace
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, January 27, 2008 7:44 PM (Eastern)

labradorite necklace

labradorite necklace clasp detail

labradorite necklace pendant detail

Working on this piece today. So far, I've switched the clasp from one side to the other. It has to do with the pendant, getting it so it doesn't flip easily.

The idea of putting anything in the back has to do with the weight of the pendant. These are vermeiled Bali sterling beads; they don't look like much (in fact they're hollow) but so far, the counterweight seems to be working.

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1 comment(s)  
January 27, 2008 10:28 PM, Blogger Dain said...

That looks really good, as nice as some of the stuff in novelty shops, if you ask me. Simple but elegant.

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Culture Notes: Notes on desert island films
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, January 26, 2008 2:39 PM (Eastern)

Heroic Trio (1993)...I saw on one of the Turner stations, TBS or TNT, late one evening. They aired an amazing total of three Michelle Yeoh movies that night, one after the next. I believe it was Heroic Trio, Heroic Trio 2, and Wing Chun.

I was entranced by the first the time Wing Chun rolled around, it was extremely late and I was falling asleep. The Heroic Trio movies are a bit like Jackie Chan's Hong Kong movies, largely action with some comedy. If you like Jackie Chan, you must get hold of Heroic Trio. This is just a trailer, and captures but a smidgen of what the movie's all about.

Heroic Trio Trailer (1993)

Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (1990) is perhaps an obvious choice: it's long and sumptuously made. Dreams consists of eight individual dreams, which capture the edges of childhood, environmental concerns, post-War Japan, Van Gogh's art...there's a lot going on here.

The Peach Orchard Pt.1

A Taxing Woman (1987)...unfortunately, the only clip on Youtube is a mishmash of promotional films for various Japanese movies. I did find a trailer here: A Taxing Woman (1987).

What made A Taxing Woman was perhaps the first movie I saw portraying a professional woman in a wholly non-negative way. The trailer implies the film centers around the relationship of the tax inspector and the tax cheat, but I didn't see it that way. I had to laugh though..."He has a yen for her, but he won't tell her where it's hidden."

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Culture Notes: Rave on
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, January 23, 2008 8:06 PM (Eastern)

Originally I was going to do a feature on songs about that we've all been Clear Channeled ad infinitum, no one sings about the radio anymore. Oh I know that's simplistic; without the Net to replace radio in the first place, the likelihood of the once-brilliant medium boiling down to muzak would have been slim.

So I got together three videos: Donna Summer's On the Radio, R.E.M.'s Radio Song, and Queen's Radio Ga-Ga.

Decided against Elvis Costello's Radio Radio...and, Costello is doing Buddy Holly, the way everyone else does Elvis. I had a sudden desire to hear Buddy Holly again.


What popped up when I was searching for Holly:

Rave On by John Lennon

So I thought I'd share this moment rather than the radio-on-radio concept. I'd never heard this cover before, in all the odd bootleg Beatles recordings I've heard over the years. Thanks icepick141!

If you're old enough to remember this song, you're probably old enough to know it commemorates the day Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson died in a plane crash, along with the pilot of the plane, Roger Peterson. It's a sad song, yet I loved it when I was a kid, and its many references to various pop bands of the time make it a bit historic as well.

Don McLean - American Pie

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Tech: New post preview feature part 3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, January 21, 2008 7:31 PM (Eastern)

Tech: New post preview feature
Tech: New post preview feature part 2

screenshot of post preview feature

I've added a new feature to the blogger labels list. From now on, all labels with 10 or more posts will automatically generate a post-preview page. Plus these labels are now colored blue.


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2 comment(s)  
January 22, 2008 9:33 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Another great little feature... Thanks, Colleen, for all your hard work!

January 25, 2008 9:04 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Always nice to hear. :)

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Culture Notes: John Lennon part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, January 19, 2008 10:18 PM (Eastern)

(see Culture Notes: John Lennon part 1)

Here I was looking for the film Imagine--I'm sure that was the name--one of those art films John and Yoko had made around the time of the album. I saw it in the theatre, where it was pretty much dissed, similarly to, say, the early work of David Lynch. What would make the original Imagine movie stand out now would be the lush youth of John and Yoko, against a fabulously verdant English backdrop, and various noodlings such as trying to morph two faces into one (predating the computer programs which do so now). And Yoko showing off her perfect figure.

Instead I found this; the entire movie is up if you care to watch it.

Imagine - The Movie John Lennon Part 1

Where was I yesterday? I've realized it's not that easy writing a piece on John Lennon. Part of me still doesn't want to believe what happened to him. Of course I remember that, I was fifteen... It is still sad.

But, it's pointless to bury someone's work. I tried finding more from Walls and Bridges, but there are only a few songs up.

Rock 'n' Roll (1975)...hmmm, there's a Wiki. (Isn't it great?)

While still encumbered with the US government's attempts to have him deported, Lennon found himself threatened with a lawsuit, by Roulette Records chief Morris Levy. Lennon had admitted in an interview that his song "Come Together" both borrowed stylistically from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me", published by Levy, and re-used one line ("Here come old flat-top") from the song. Levy sued Lennon for infringement, but agreed to drop the suit if Lennon recorded at least three songs that Levy published, on his next album (after Mind Games). Browsing Levy's music publishing catalog, Lennon found so many of his old favourites that he decided to do a full album of cover songs, by Levy's artists and others.

Rock 'n' Roll was interesting in that, as much as the Beatles have been lauded as the greatest thing since sliced bread, their chief influences were 1950's American rock 'n' roll artists such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. When I first heard the album, I found it a tad Anglicized...keep in mind I'm old enough to have heard most of the originals first (1950's and 1960's music got frequent radio play in 1970's Virginia). Hearing it now though, it sounds...fresh.

Rock 'n' Roll John Lennon

Double Fantasy came out in 1980. Here I wanted to embed Yoko's song, "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him," because it was a lovely pop tune. Unfortunately there isn't much Yoko on Youtube. I'm not blaming would be hard to go back and make videos for these songs. I'm hearing it playing in my mind right now.

Every man has a woman who loves him
In rain or shine, life or death...

Why do I run, when I know you're the one
Why do I laugh, when I feel like crying?

There were several hit songs on this record, starting with "Starting Over" (John doing Elvis :D), then going to "Watching the Wheels," "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)," and "Woman" (which was still considered an unusual feminist statement).

I remember this period as magical. I went out and bought the record and played it many, many times.

beautiful boy (darling boy)

After John died, there was this sort of hollow feeling. It just seemed incomprehensible, yet there it was.

1984 saw the release of Milk and Honey. This was my last complete year to live in Virginia, and for whatever reason, the popular songs of 1984 and 1985 reside vividly in my memory--Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," Madonna's "Material Girl," Wham's "Freedom," the stuff on U2's The Unforgettable Fire. I don't actually associate Milk and Honey with 1984 though; it just seems to float, timeless, brave, and stellar.

Nobody Told Me

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2 comment(s)  
January 20, 2008 2:17 PM, Blogger Dain said...

You know what's odd? I feel a pang too, even though he has always been gone to me. But you can definitely feel the void, it is strange. He was the rarest of celebrities, a figure of intelligence, yes, but intelligent people can be socially selfish, even when they have liberal values. But John, he always had empathy.

January 20, 2008 3:07 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It was hard going back on it. It's funny, you don't think about it day to day, but some of these songs, I haven't heard in years.

I was going to do a follow-up of sorts, with Yoko, Julian Lennon, and Sean Lennon. They all have a lot of stuff up on MySpace. Maybe I'll do that later on.

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Culture Notes: John Lennon part 1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, January 18, 2008 7:43 PM (Eastern)

When I was a kid, I idolized John Lennon. I'm old enough to remember the day the Beatles disbanded...or rather, I have this tiny glimpse of the neighborhood kids and me playing on the street. I'm picturing it as summer, a bunch of kids wearing shorts and goofing around in the neighborhood. In the warmth of golden late afternoon sunlight, someone mentioned the Beatles had broken up. It sounded strange, unreal. This memory coincides with a few others of this time in my life, like the kids down the street setting up their own haunted house.

When I was...thirteen? fourteen?...I got hold of Lennon Remembers, the Rolling Stone interviews he and Yoko Ono had done in 1970, read it cover to cover...and later on, the Playboy interview (1980), which still brings a smile:

PLAYBOY: The word is out: John Lennon and Yoko Ono are back in the studio, recording again for the first time since 1975, when they vanished from public view. Let's start with you, John. What have you been doing?

LENNON: I've been baking bread and looking after the baby.

PLAYBOY: With what secret projects going on in the basement?

LENNON: That's like what everyone else who has asked me that question over the last few years says. "But what else have you been doing?" To which I say, "Are you kidding?" Because bread and babies, as every housewife knows, is a full-time job. After I made the loaves, I felt like I had conquered something. But as I watched the bread being eaten, I thought, Well, Jesus, don't I get a gold record or knighted or nothing?

From Lennon Remembers, I read about the songs on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, the first record Lennon had released after the break-up, long before I actually heard any of them. Bear in mind, the record emerged for me in 1970's Norfolk, Virginia, which is like a conservative sandwich filled with conservative meats, moistened with conservatism, and served on a highly conservative plate. Songs titled "Working Class Hero," "God," "My Mummy's Dead," etc., didn't exactly get much airtime back then.

When I finally bought the record, I was amazed how melodic the work was. For whatever odd reason, I'd had the impression of this wildly atonal explosion of radicalism, but it was really quite nice. Lennon would subsequently make lusher music, funkier music; he would do Elvis, covers of 1950's tunes, a lot of things really, given a period of only ten years...but it was the first album that was, in my opinion, the most beautiful. Even with the Primal Scream stuff. :D

John Lennon - Isolation (1970)

As much as "Imagine" the single has been played, what begins side 2 of the album Imagine (1971) is the most scintillating burst of...words, followed by a smokin' guitar solo by George Harrison.

John Lennon - Gimme Some Truth

I don't remember much of 1973's Mind Games. "Mind Games" the single was widely played on the radio, and "Out the Blue" was a nice little tune.

Walls and Bridges (1974) was better, though some of the production was pretty rough. "What You Got," for example, was a fantastic song, but the voice on it was raspy (I could probably sing as well). "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night," a duet with Elton John, was pure pop perfection. From the Wiki:

The recording featured Elton John on backing vocals and piano alongside the Muscle Shoals Horns. While in the studio, Elton bet Lennon that the song would top the charts, and such was Lennon's skepticism that Elton secured from him a promise to appear on stage at one of his performances should the record indeed hit number one. When the record did achieve that feat, Lennon appeared at Elton John's Thanksgiving performance at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974.

There was also the highly accessible (now there's a totally 70's word for ya, along with "derivative") #9 Dream. But let's play something you probably haven't heard:

John Lennon - Bless You

It's too much to cover in a single post, so I'll try to pick this up later.

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2 comment(s)  
January 18, 2008 8:59 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Mmm... thank you. You know, there are people who don't like The Beatles? It was a smart mix, Paul for the popular-catchy tunes and John for the philosophical edge. I wonder if we'll ever see anything like them again, though Radiohead reminds me of The Grateful Dead a little.

January 18, 2008 9:32 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

At the risk of sounding like a complete git, "Video killed the radio star." :D

I think radio in the West has lost its power. If I think about the 70's, or even the 80's...people were slaves to their radios and records, perhaps the same way they are now slaves to the Internet.

In that regard, it would be hard to replace the Beatles. If you wanted a new Beatles, they would have to come from a place where people are still addicted to music.

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Beauty Notes: What I've been into, lately #2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 3:14 PM (Eastern)

I think we need a label for this, somehow...a blend of favorite things and Jack Bauer and Tony Almeida at a Drive-Thru.

Anyhow. Shall we commence?

Ava Luxe Voyage earrings

ava luxe earrings

I'm not affiliated with Ava Luxe, I should mention. I just like her stuff. Here I thought this was beautiful, a binary combination of kyanite and labradorite, strung on karat gold. Sometime I will do something similarly binary...I can't wear 14KT gold earrings, but I'm hoping someone will come up with a wearable golden leverback cheaper than 18KT gold. mumbles...

handmade sapphire earrings

Here is my own stuff. Less spectacular for sure, but keep in mind, there can be a difference between making something to wear, and making something to sell. With the emphasis on "can be."

It's been on my mind lately, because I tend to acquire less for the sake of owning something beautiful, and more for that of owning something useful. Sometimes the twain meet, oh, take this for example:

nars eyeshadow duos

I've gotten the most mileage from Island Fever (far right). In the pan: a gorgeous shimmery sea blue shade, plus a medium shimmery iridescent grey. It should be pretty, but useless; something you bought on a whim because it looked nice. But it isn't useless by far. The blue shade, applied very lightly, is the most natural, unobtrusive shadow I own. It shouldn't work but it does.

Hence, the Ava Luxe earrings could well correspond to this concept. Bright and pretty, but potentially utile as well.

My little hoops (these are the most conservative earrings I've made thus far) would be more like this:

nars mambo eye pencil

Nars Mambo, the unsung eyepencil. I paid $19 for you at Sephora, and momentarily felt a complete idiot; you can buy a perfectly decent deep brown eyepencil at Longs Drugs for four bucks. Then I started using you.

Mambo is deep brown, yet possesses hints of purple and red--making it subtly ideal for green or blue eyes, and making it go with everything. Thereby replacing brown, purple, and bronze pencils for me. No, you don't swatch particularly well, but on, you are a minor genius.


The Scented Salamander follows up on the Bond No. 9/Liz Zorn Perfumes story:

Trademark Questions Over The Use Of The Word "Peace" / Q & A with Laurice Rahme of Bond No.9, Liz Zorn of Liz Zorn Perfumes, & Sarah Horowitz -Thran of Creative Scentualization

Dwelling in lawyer-infested California, I suspect the entire thing was less of a shock to me. And I found some people seemed to turn it into a girl-on-girl fight--not good for business, for either party. Oh well. I see Zorn has some samples on her site; you might want to check them out.

aspirin mask screenshot

And finally, for your perusal--Michelle Phan, aka RiceBunny, demos the aspirin mask (here with honey): RiceBunny's Xanga Site - Aspirin = Beautiful Skin

No, I'm not into this myself. I'm far too lazy. But the idea of using aspirin and honey as a mask makes perfect logical sense. You are exfoliating. Exfoliating is good.

Have a great weekend!

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January 18, 2008 4:31 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I've been trying "just notes" for random things, but I'm not sure how it might work.

I like labradorite; from a design perspective, it would go with so many things. Pearls, watery green amethysts, mm... it's just pretty to look at.

I think the reason why the blue might work is the fact that it may be a perfect contrast. A perfect contrast works better than a near match. Someone with brown hair, for example, might do well with green.

Hm, it's interesting that she was able to get an interview with Laurice Rahme. I don't really buy it, though, it is insincere. But I'm tired of the issue, and I still think Bond is a silly brand, just from a purely aesthetic standpoint. It is really the sort of thing that could go back and forth forever, and I think it was very wise for Liz Zorn to drop it.

January 18, 2008 4:57 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yeah...I just didn't want to leave it hanging. There was a big splash about it, then nothing. From the article, it would appear this sort of thing happens fairly regularly...and from what I've seen of lawyers, I wouldn't be too surprised.

Every few months in California, you get something in the mail informing you there is a class-action lawsuit you might be able to participate in. At first I thought hey, great...then I read the thing. Usually it boils down to, you sign a form and mail it back. By signing, you agree the settlement is final, yadda yadda...and if the suit is successful, you are entitled to a $15 voucher toward, say, renewing your contract with your wireless phone company for another year...or $50 toward the purchase of a new stove.

It's a joke! The settlement "terms" are invariably next to worthless. It's clear to me that lawyers simply file these "class-action lawsuits" against major corporations...the corporations probably settle (cheaper than taking it to court)...whoever bothered to sign the form gets their $15 gift certificate. And the lawyers collect a fat percentage of the settlement. If I were cynical, I'd say they split the take with the lawyers for the major corporation, but I'd like to think they're far too honest for that. lol

January 18, 2008 8:54 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It seemed absurd to me at the time because in cosmetics, people copy each other all the time, and it's not something trifling like names, it's like, NARS makes a gold-pink-peach blush with a clever title, and everyone from Chanel to Milani has something like a year later. It seems like copycatting in this business is a given.

Oddly enough, it has come up in fashion, too. I was just reading an article on Marc Jacobs' derivativeness in W today. Apparently, it caused quite the furor, and all things considered, it must have been far nastier. Fashion is bitcher than even Hollywood.

January 19, 2008 3:28 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I think that gold-and-sapphire earring is especially rich. The colors kind of resonate with each other in a way that the silver doesn't. If it doesn't get too heavy, some vivid green drops at the bottom would add some extra intensity.

January 20, 2008 1:53 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Mmmm...the gold ones did come out prettier. I got some 14KT gold beads to try usual, the cost per bead is relatively low, but they go so fast. Suddenly every piece "could use some of those." rolls eyes

I've found it's entirely different buying jewelry, and making it. If you're buying, then I can see jewelry minimalism. That's when you would want to get the most impact out of your pieces, because you have to pay the markup.

If you're making it, there's no point to minimalism. That's when you want to experiment and develop your own designs--which tend to be specific to you. When I'm making anything, I don't tend to lay it out, I tend to put it on. I'll try it on as I'm making it.

Now if you're selling it...that's when the design itself would take precedence. Because you have no idea who's going to wear it.

I have some tiny emeralds actually, I got them at the same time as the sapphires. It's amazing how tiny these things are. Imagine cutting and drilling them.

I was going to make something similar to these hoops using emeralds...but also thinking of combining the stones somehow.

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Culture Notes: Rickie Lee Jones
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, January 15, 2008 8:35 PM (Eastern)

Rickie Lee Jones - Coolsville

I loved Rickie Lee Jones from the time I saw her on Saturday Night Live (where, in fact, she sang this song). As much as people associate the 1970's with excess--disco balls, parties and cocaine--there was a spare coolness to it as well. Or perhaps I'm just being sentimental, because I loved all of the female icons of that time...sensed a restless power and strength, behind the prevailing stereotypes. I mean when this record came out, I'm reasonably sure "ring-around-the-collar" was television's conception of female power and strength. lol

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January 16, 2008 2:34 AM, Blogger Audrey_H said...

Ahhh, Rickie. She's great. "Chuck E's in love" has one of the grooviest beats ever. :) I love her "Pop pop" cd too, where she sings jazz standards in her own way, accompanied by jazz musicians. I heard her live in 2001 - a great show. She's just as good live as "on tape".

January 16, 2008 12:30 PM, Blogger Dain said...

What a beautiful video. I'm also a fan of "Chuck E's in Love".

January 16, 2008 2:08 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

It's nice to see Rickie fans! I was afraid she'd gone into obscurity.

I had the first record, Rickie Lee Jones, I played it to death when I was a kid. One of my favorite songs was Danny's All-Star Joint, where she describes having thirty dollars in her pocket--her friend wanted to give her a free cup of coffee--and then some other guy comes into the restaurant and asks for money.

The conclusion: "If she offers it, take it...but don't give it away honey if he don't appreciate it." That was great.

January 16, 2008 2:14 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Ah here it is...

Cecil gives me coffee
And he won't never take my coin
I say, "I got thirty dollars in my pocket!
Whatchoo doin'? "

I holler, "Come on, Cecil, take a dollar!
Come on, Cecil, take a ten!
I've finally geared up into a whole lotta big ones
And you're actin' like I'm down-shiftin'"

The kid say, "I ain't got no dough, I just want some OJ"
And I said, "Don't look at me" (cuz he was lookin' my way)
Cecil wink upon him some juice and some green
And the kid walks over and puts the quarter in the pinball machine
And he says, "Come on, Cec, gimme a dollar
Come on Cecil gimme five
I'm in a halfway house on a one-way street
And I'm a quarter past left alive"

January 16, 2008 3:05 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...


Come on Cecil, take a dollar
Come on Cecil, take a tip
Do yourself a favor If she offers it - take it
But honey, don't give it away if he don't appreciate it

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Fashion Notes: Sterling and sapphire earrings
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, January 14, 2008 2:49 PM (Eastern)

sterling silver and sapphire earrings

Here is my weekend project...and part of the idea I had for this year, that I would make fewer...few, even...better pieces. (My next step is metalworking, but that isn't going to be this year.)

I used the Midori Jewelry hoop design, with a slight twist. When I did these hoops, for some reason the wrap at the top wasn't tight. If I grabbed the short end and tried to pull it out, it pulled out. I went through all the niceties of pressing the wrap with my pliers, nothing worked...finally, figuring I had nothing to lose, I put it on the block and started hammering the wrap with a metal hammer. Voilà!

For the sapphires, I went with grade over size, so these stones are really quite small, but translucent, with areas of transparency. Most precious stones you see in handmade jewelry are opaque, for obvious cost reasons. In the sense I had to use a lot of them to make an impact, but I think it was a good decision. The color in the finished piece is unmistakably sapphire blue.

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January 14, 2008 2:54 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I'm mired in a project too, though not as much fun. I'm tailoring my skirt to fit properly, and velvet is not happy about being sewn.

And hey, those hoops on the bottom will you give you more places to attach stones, should you want it, so I'd say it's a good design if you ask me.

January 14, 2008 5:21 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Poo, "I'd say" and "if you ask me" are redundant. Too bad you can't edit comments.

I had a (very) small brain wave. If there was some way to add a horizontal bar across the big hoop, across which you could hang the little ones? That way, you'd have them more evenly spaced since they're hanging vertical, and they'd be inside the bigger circle. You'd still have a similar effect, but you'd have much more control over the placement of the stones.

January 15, 2008 1:11 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

On this design, no...the hoops are too small to do anything inside them. I tend to make bigger earrings, but these were deliberately small. The challenge was to get the stones to show up on small earrings, and have them show with the "hair factor"...hence, the idea of putting the stones on the bottom.

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Ava Luxe: new blog
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, January 12, 2008 12:26 AM (Eastern)

Ava Luxe

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Beauty Notes: Southern Beauty Magazine featuring Nancy O'Dell
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, January 09, 2008 1:57 PM (Eastern)

southern magazine featuring nancy o'dell

I (regrettably, really) passed on this brand new mag's lush Jennifer Love Hewitt cover, the other month. Nothing personal; I happen to like Love Hewitt, thought she was handy with Jackie Chan in The Tuxedo amongst other things, and there is ever a common thread which runs through all Southerners (I represent Norfolk...thank you, thank you). So, to make it up to y'all, here is an excerpt from Nancy O'Dell's interview with SB:

On how her beauty regimen has changed after the birth of her baby girl, Ashby:
"Having the job I have, I have to do a certain amount of maintenance— it is just less now. And my beauty regimen has also changed due to breast feeding... there are certain lotions and potions I cannot use because I am nursing. Hopefully my skin has a natural glow from the happiness my baby girl has brought me."

On the beauty products she can't live without:
"Clinique tan gel and Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. I grew up in a beach community, Myrtle Beach, SC, so I am used to having a tan. I don't want to go out in the sun, so this is the safest way. I just rub or spray on a tan!"

On how women can be successful in today's working environment:
"Don't ever compromise your values."

On how living on the West Coast differs from living in the South:
"I grew up with everyone speaking to you wherever you go in the South. Here, people tend to stick to themselves. I go to the grocery store and ask the checkout person how they are doing. They look at me like I am crazy."
[Editor's note: this is so true.]

On the meaning of "Southern beauty":
"Classic, natural and fresh beauty which comes from the inside."

On feeling beautiful:
"I don't think I would feel beautiful at all if I couldn't do something to help others. Beauty is defined by how you treat others."


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January 9, 2008 2:12 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Lol, people on the West Coast keep to themselves? Coming from the dog-eat-dog Northeast, I look at the West Coast and think, man, people are so much easier and nicer there, if somewhat less educated, as a whole.

January 9, 2008 6:35 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Well...Southern society is unique. I've been to the Northeast, the Midwest, and I've lived here and in Washington State for a while. The one place I've never been is the center of the country...Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado...when I came out here, I drove across the Southern part of the country.

Southerners are very social. If you're taking a walk...which is what we used to do over there, there wasn't anything else to would say "Hi" to everyone you passed on the street. Of course that wasn't true in the bigger cities, but even then, there was this sort of social acknowledgment...if you didn't actually say "Hi," still you sort of acknowledged the people on the street.

It's hard to get used to not doing that. Californians do keep to themselves.

Well...on the entire East Coast, North and South, people tend to judge you by what books you've read. That's not really true out, people tend to judge you by what you've done. I think it can be said people come out here, rather than being born here (it's a generalization, bear with me)'s a kinetic place, people expect you to pursue your dreams, whatever they are.

For example, you could say software was pioneered out here. Why here? Why was Hollywood developed out here? If it's something new, chances are, it will begin here. If it's something established, like advertising or literature, it's bound to fare better on the East Coast, because of the longer history.

January 10, 2008 5:48 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I dunno if it's so much that people judge you by the books you read, it seems to me that in the Northeast people judge you, period. There's an atmosphere of sophistication and money and education compared to the rest of the United States, but I daresay it is mostly because it is so much older than the rest of the country. At its worst, people are extremely critical of each other, and very jealous of what they have.

January 10, 2008 12:25 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...'re going to get some of that everywhere, although I think I know what you mean.

It can be a good thing about California...for two reasons. One is that people come from everywhere. It's difficult to have one standard for anything, because which standard are you going to use?

Two is the earthquakes. People can, at times, live for the moment. can be an age thing. Younger people tend to measure themselves against everybody, they feel compared. The older you get, the less you do that. Or, the less you should do that. You should have your own concerns by the time you get to be my just want to have a regular job, you take the money home to your kids.

January 10, 2008 3:50 PM, Blogger Dain said...

I think you're right about the age thing. That may be it. You know, the "boarding school" mentality.

January 10, 2008 8:58 PM, Blogger Dain said...

You know, I had a thought. The great American virtue, if you could boil it down, is that sense of possibility, that crackerjack sense of entrepreneurship. That, more than anything, brought all the great talent from the world over, which built up the capital that gave America power. But now, America has power.

I don't know, I am very young, and I look at my options:

(1) Academics? Such bullshit. I can understand elitism, hell, I'm an elitist, but I really despise most academics. There is such an inflated sense of self-importance, combined with raging insecurities that drive people to intense criticism of each other. Agh... It is hard to explain. There is an attitude (which intensifies the higher your degree) that one is above the human condition, by virtue of brain, clean and removed from the mess of the masses. And yet they are so snipey about each other!

(2) Work. Sounds even more bleak. At least I wouldn't be bored in academics. Or required to keep natural bedtimes.

(3) Volunteer. I am simply not a good enough person, I think.

(4) I guess I may just have to be a starving artist after all.

Ja, ja. I think America has lost its urge for potential, for possibility, though this is a very generic statement. It's decadent: it laughs at change and seeks novelty instead, and it is really frustrating, because one buys into the myth.

Some of the charm of Southern culture is that it hasn't lost quite all of its fantasy. New York, evidently (I refer to the "furor"), is quite a different matter.

January 10, 2008 8:59 PM, Blogger Dain said...

Oh, and I forgot:

(5) Marriage. Gah! No!

January 10, 2008 9:18 PM, Blogger said...

I'm afraid our blogger account isn't publishing. You can add comments through this form of course, but the comment count on the posts won't increment. has been devalued in our modern-day culture. Say ten years ago, people talked about work, all people seem to talk about is getting rich. It's not the same thing.

I do feel America is a great country, but in an experimental sense. It's not always easy to have faith in experiments. We do things differently; sometimes people agree with it, sometimes they don't. I think, what makes us great is the simple fact that anyone can be an American.

That is not true everywhere else...if you move to just about any other place on Earth, you will be an outsider. Your kids will be outsiders. Depending on the place, your descendants may never really belong. What really is an American? Nobody can say.

So it's like...if everything craps up for you, you can still try to emigrate to America. Your life here is what you make it to be.

No, don't get married until you make your own money.

Oh, the South... We lost the war. We had only one war and we lost it. After that, we had to carry on. So Southerners have an inner strength. And, either an extreme cynicism, or extreme belief, which are two sides of the same coin.

--Colleen, too lazy to log in

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Beauty Notes: Our own video!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:51 PM (Eastern)

Home hair color stuff

I had to figure out a way of converting analog tape (VHS and mini DV) to digital. I got the device (it's monumentally simple, all you need is either the red, yellow and white cable connection, or S-video) and tried it out on a mini DV camcorder.

The capture is straightforward, but the editing software (Pinnacle) requires more memory than I have on this computer. Not to has a patch (which you must download, since it doesn't work if you don't)...less memory makes the program slightly slower when you're running it, but as you can see, it does work.

This is what I switched to when L'Oreal discontinued the only light beige shade of the Feria color liquids. It's supposed to lift four levels, not the customary two or three, and these people aren't kidding. The color looks dark when it's still in your hair, but my hair came out lighter than I was planning on. Oh well, live and learn.

I haven't bought color kits in years; not only are the components much cheaper, you can easily mix the exact amount you need.

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January 9, 2008 1:57 AM, Blogger Dain said...

Hehehe... Pleased to meet you!

January 9, 2008 2:28 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

lol! Yeah, I think it is kind of weird to see someone on video after all these years. :)

I hope to make more useful videos at some point; I think the potential for them has yet to be reached. Much of what you see is formulaic. I like Asian Beauty Blog's stuff, Pursebuzz, Michelle Phan...I can't think of too many others in the non-corporate category.

January 9, 2008 2:33 AM, Blogger Dain said...

I thought the same thing... There might be a lot of possibilities in this.

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Fashion Notes: Freddy & Ma custom handbags
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Sunday, January 06, 2008 2:54 AM (Eastern)

This is a post from our deprecated Fashion Blog. I started to miss it, so am reposting it here.

freddy&ma custom handbags
freddy&ma custom handbags

freddy&ma custom handbags

This is not a press release (although they do have one). It's pure word-of-mouth, or word-of-Net these days; I got this link from another board.

thanx for making us look good
Gabrielle Union with freddy&ma handbag
image courtesy

They do have a completely interactive bag-designing website...which I can admit I thought would be a bore. I'm not a bag person, I loathe all-Flash websites in the main, who needs to spend time designing a cetera.

When I got there I realized the bags were good. Started out with the fine intention of making a bag from each designer on the site...about six bags in, I realized this was not a good idea at 3 o'clock in the morning. So, the samples above are just from the first 8 designers.

They have solid colors too, will soon have more selection...all-leather bags and so forth. They have some special bags to benefit charitable causes. I will emphasize again that there are many other designers and their patterns, many ways of putting together "your" bag. You may email "your" bag to your friend for her to critique, as well.

Most intriguing of all, according to their press release, these bags are made in the U.S.A. I had to read that two or three times for it to sink in. There is not much about that fact on the freddy&ma site, which I think is a mistake. There is an enormous, not-talked-about-much sentiment for Americans to "buy American." Not just American designers (but thanks anyway), but especially American labor.

The price range is in the two to three hundreds, which admittedly is more than I pay for a bag; however, I will guess the quality of these bags is up there with the (far more expensive) imported designer bags.

I will leave you with a size description from the charming copy on the site:

Dims: 14.5" x 13" x 4.5"
Carries: new gossip rags, afternoon protein bar, new blouse you bought during your afternoon 'dentist appointment'


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January 6, 2008 9:55 AM, Blogger Dain said...

These are fun to browse, but I wish they offered customizable leather bags. But I suppose that's much harder to do and more expensive.

January 6, 2008 1:51 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Definitely. I don't do cloth bags myself, they don't wear as well as leather, they tend to get dirty easily... I think their original idea was to use designer prints, but it wouldn't hurt to develop custom leather bags.

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Beauty Notes: Unique Books and Hand-Decanted Perfumes
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, January 05, 2008 10:57 PM (Eastern)

Eiderdown Press: Unique Books and Hand-Decanted Perfumes

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Beauty Notes: Adventures in home hair color
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, January 03, 2008 3:25 PM (Eastern)

loreal mega blonde developerloreal mega blonde color liquid

So L'Oreal discontinued one of the Feria color liquids I've used for some years. I tried buying it twice: the first time, I thought it was out of stock, but the second, I asked and discovered they weren't going to reorder it. mumbles... (You can purchase developer and color liquids a la carte at beauty supply shops such as Sally's.)

I could either search the four corners of the Earth seeking this liquid (it was the sole beige amongst the lightest Feria shades), or I could switch to something else, so I got Preference Mega-Blondes instead. This involved a different developer and proportions, so I also picked up an inexpensive plastic bottle with the pointy cap, and half-ounce markings on the side.

It's what I'm doing right now! Please keep your fingers crossed for me. The only time I ever switched formulas mid-roots was when I went from Preference to Feria to begin with, and Feria does have a reputation for being difficult to color over. Since I'm just doing the roots, in theory it should work.

images courtesy

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January 3, 2008 4:45 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

This is amazing, it won't publish.

January 3, 2008 9:52 PM, Blogger Dain said...

That's too bad. I hate it when companies discontinue stand-bys. Maybe it is a sign to explore a new color? Far be it from me to divert anyone from a signature hairstyle, as I've been wearing the same bangs for years, but might as well take a fortuitous turn to cosmetic disasters, I dare say.

January 3, 2008 11:10 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

I tried out the Mega Blondes today...I had it in my hair when I was writing the post. :) It seems to have come out well.

The thing is to see how long the color lasts. Feria lasted better on me than Preference, but then I never tried Mega Blondes, and it's been years since I used Preference anyway. It could have been reformulated.

I think with L'Oreal, they almost always replace whatever they "discontinue" with something very similar. It gives you less reason to switch brands even though you have to go through the aggravation. But if they keep this up, I'm thinking of trying Wella instead. I've read on various boards they have superior haircolor, particular for red.

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Fashion Notes: Polyvore it!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 2:17 PM (Eastern)


Okay, it's not can capture just about any image on the Net, but some images won't work inside the sets. Still, once you have a virtual model up, you can shlep on quite a few things.


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More Nars & other porn...
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Tuesday, January 01, 2008 12:30 AM (Eastern)

Happy New Year!

I'm not exactly sure what attracts me to Nars. I seldom feel like buying a lot of it...because...I just don't. It's well to be judicious about an expensive brand; a few carefully-chosen items from such a brand will be cheaper, over the long run, than quantities of less expensive makeup, even at a lower overall cost: the better stuff works better. But you will lose that edge if you acquire many expensive items. Then it becomes the same as buying masses of cheaper stuff,'ll be way more broke.

And yet...I really like Nars porn. (There are some other brands there too, such as YSL, Bobbi Brown, Majorica Majorca, et cetera.) There's something a bit touching about someone carefully setting out their Nars and taking tender photographs of it. If I'm honest I'll admit I don't like makeup porn in general, only Nars (and you will note I don't link to makeup porn in general).

Anyhow enough preamble, bring it on!

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January 1, 2008 9:42 PM, Blogger Dain said...

"There's something a bit touching about someone carefully setting out their Nars and taking tender photographs of it." lol

January 3, 2008 11:17 PM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...

Yeah sometimes you can feel the love. :D

MAC porn tends to be prosaic, practical, like a picture of...wrenches. It's great if you need a wrench. But Nars porn has that odd intimate feel to it. I'm not sure there is such a thing as an objective photograph of Nars.

It's not the cost; Chanel porn is just as wrench-like as MAC imo.

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