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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: 'Classic Beauty' by Gabriela Hernandez

When a friend of mine recently posted a lukewarm video review of the book now no longer in print called 'Vintage Face'-I was thinking how great it would be to have a more successful book available, similar to Kevin Aucoin's 'Making Faces'- but for vintage purists. I had seen Gabriela's book on the website for her fabulous makeup line, Besame' Cosmetics. It appeared to be an interesting read so I obtained a copy and this is my review.

Not only is it an interesting read, but it's a GORGEOUS book and in my opinion, should be a 'must have' for coffee tables everywhere! A big, glamorous hard backed book with beautiful full colored photos, Classic Beauty walks you through the history of makeup in a very succinct and easy to read manner. Using time lines and gently formatted historical references, we learn about the earliest formulations of cosmetics and their usage as well as the evolution of the cosmetic industry with each passing decade.

The latter half of the book is especially well done, as it takes us through societal use of products from the 20's to the 2000's. Not only does it discuss application trends, but also we delve into the political and cinematic influences on these techniques. Popular colors for the decades are also discussed in adequate detail and each era is chock full of vintage ads and photos. I can easily see this portion of the book being a popular reference for my own use, in the years to come. The size and lay out make it very easy to find specifics about each decade quickly.

As for cons, there are very few. I do feel that the book is slightly disjointed in sections. There a few simple illustrations that seem strangely 'tacked on', as if photos couldn't be found and therefore these were an last ditch attempt to fill space. I found these unnecessary and they seem to interrupt the flow of the book. I also feel the middle sections on the development and evolution of mascara (and lipstick) seem slightly out of keeping with the rest of the book. I would have preferred that this portion, if included at all, be integrated within the other sections of the book instead of on its own. As it stands, the omission from this chapter of other makeup staples like eye shadow and foundation, seems a little more apparent and slightly puzzling. These are only small problems though, in an otherwise very successful effort.

All in all, this is an excellent book for vintage or makeup enthusiasts alike. I strongly recommend picking up a copy to add to your collection. The book sells for a rather high price of 49.95 on the Besame Cosmetics website, but includes the author's signature. Elsewhere the book averages 35.00 or so. It's easily worth that price.

My rating: 8/10-One for the shelf!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best of 2011-My Favorites of the Year!

Another year done come and gone. Can't believe how fast this one flew!
Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things this year, as a blog post. It's been a year of busy days and new discoveries, indeed!

1. Favorite Product of the Year: Blackbird Soap Body Mousse

Reason I love it: Perfect consistency. Gorgeous fragrance. Long lasting moisture.

You gotta support these great handcrafted items and this company really puts extra work into not only creating a great product, but making the label descriptions and frangrances extra delectable. See my video review below for more info.

2. Favorite Blog: Monroe Misfit Makeup

This was a very busy year and honestly, I didnt have the time to do too much reading-online or otherwise. That's why I love this blog so much. Tons of gorgeous makeup 'eye candy' and very minimal text. I have learned so much from Jodi and was thrilled to see her continuing to shell out inspirational makeup looks on her blog. I find her work fascinating...and she is downright gorgeous, to boot!

3.Favorite Book: Retro Makeup by Lauren Rennells

Like I said, I had very little free time this year so I didnt really read much. :( This makes me sad because I am usually an avid reader! That said, I don't mean to discredit the brilliance of Lauren's new book. It's such a great blend of history and instruction, paired with gorgeous photos and plenty of inspiration. See my full video review below:

4. Favorite Album: JD McPherson-Signs and Signifiers
Technically, I guess this album was released in 2010 but it certainly gained its 'legs' this year! A long time fan of JD's since his work with the Starkweather Boys, this album shows that he has truly come into his own as a solo artist as well. The popular track 'North Side Gal' stands out, for sure. I heard it played several times at the VLV Car Show in April and it's no wonder! Catchy, danceable, well delivered. The song was requested numerous times over the course of the Rockabilly Weekend and since JD will be playing the event this coming April, I'm sure his reception will be a warm one. But that track aside, the album has plenty to offer otherwise as well. The title tune is sultry and heartfelt, 'Firebug' is undeniable in its raucous appeal, and 'Scratchin' Circles' will be an obvious dance floor choice for years to come. Looking forward with excitement to future releases from JD, Jimmy Sutton, and Alex Hall-an ideal blend of musicianship.

5. Favorite TV Show: Face Off (SyFy Channel)

I'll be the first to admit being 'tied' to a number of cable dramas. But the show that gave the biggest thrill this year, when it appeared on my DVR list, was this one. My affection for youtube tutorials carried over into this big budget contest, where Special Effects makeup artists competed to win a prize (which I don't even remember at this point). It was fascinating, horrifying, and lacked (thankfully) a lot of the personal drama of these types of reality competitions. I'm sure they'll up the drama for ratings in the upcoming season-which is a shame. But the challenges and winning creations were incredibly entertaining to watch.

6. Favorite Live Musical Performance-Imelda May at 3rd and Lindsley (Nashville Tn)

I actually did see quite a bit of live music this year. And the performance that stands out the most for me was this one. 3rd and Lindsley is a great venue with excellent accoustics and Imelda blew the roof off the place! The show was high energy and the band was in their element. Granted, The Hillbilly Casino opened up the show which put the audience in a tizzy, but Imelda's performance of 'Kensington Waltz' may have been one of more moving live performances I've seen. She feels every single note...nothing is token with her! Can't wait for her to return to Nashville..

7. Favorite Movie: The Adventures of TinTin
Before you gasp about this choice: let me explain. It is the ONLY movie I saw this year. And I saw it on December 31st. haha. My opinion is that is a good movie, not a great one. The story is convoluted but the characters are well voiced and nicely fleshed out. Spielberg could have done better and I really wish I'd seen more movies this year. :)

8. Favorite Clothing Purchase: Freddies Overalls

I adore these things! Perfectly suitable to a ton of different ocassions. A feminine and retro way to wear 'jeans'. SO well made..couldnt ask for more! See my video review and link to purchase here.

9.Favorite Photo of the year

10. Favorite Beer:

I love beer. This beer is a 'rediscovery' this year. I had it with the orange slice for the first time, at Mon Ami Gabi in Vegas. Maybe it was the perfect weather, the sidewalk setting, the baguette, the french onion soup, or the escargot-but every time I have a Belgian White, I am transported back there. Deliciously sunny and fruity.

11.Favorite Moment: The Birth of My Daughter
A no brainer. Ruby Lu has changed our lives in every great way possible. And the fact that she was a 'New Year's' surprise just made it even more special.

12. Favorite Youtube Tutorial of Mine: Slim's Sleek Waves for Diamonds and Dames

This one turned out well, I thought. I was just discovering perm rods as a cold set option and really liked how they worked in this tutorial:

Favorite Youtube Video of the year: 'Biba Fever' by Lisa Eldridge

Lisa's entire 'vintage makeup' series was utterly captivating. But this one was spectacular. Not only did it showcase the Biba look beautifully and effortlessly, it was somehow very emotional. Showing the power of makeup and respect for vintage, all at once. :) Thank you, Lisa.