Monday, December 2, 2013

New Visions

Wants versus needs. What do you do when you're on a spending diet, but a prospective expense walks the border?

Never in my life have I felt attractive in glasses. Since my first adolescent pair they've been mere silly-looking tools. I moved gleefully to contact lenses in high school, and henceforth wore glasses very little in public.

As my pupils dilated during a long overdue eye exam this summer, I tried on a number of frames to see if I could find anything that I would be proud to wear into the world. Was it possible? My prescription had been stable for years, and my ancient lenses were literally flaking away, so it was prime time to try something new. Something with definition that would go well with dark hair, pale skin, and a vivid lip.

I tried frames that made me look too angry, or too anaemic, or too avant garde. Then I came across these Anna Sui frames. In the brown tortoiseshell they were the perfect shape and visual weight for my face -- I needed something dark yet petite, with a rounded bottom.


Anna Sui Frames Model AS559
Image via Mondottica.com


But the frames were costly. Wants versus needs, Sarah. I needed new lenses for safety, but...I didn't need new frames. I put the Anna Suis down and walked away for a couple of months, but my lenses got worse.  I had to make a decision.  I called my vision center to see if they ever ran sales on frames. It turned out that they do, sometimes, sort of. Their current sale was $100 off frames, as long as one had a doctor's exam there (already taken care of) and also purchased a set of lenses (a need). That discount made my want-item far more reasonable, and more than competitive with shady internet dealers.

I could keep my old glasses as emergency backup, too; I'd never had that security before.

Here I am taking a break from pre-Thanksgiving housecleaning. I'm trying again to master DSLR focus in mirror selfies so I can show you my new glasses in nice light without glare. I'll get it someday.


November 2013: Thanksgiving Break
Photo by Sarah Cloud Peterson


I'll have to settle for this photo for now, and work on my no-glare techniques in the future. Because I might actually want to show myself in specs from time to time...


November 2013: A New Look
Photo by Sarah Cloud Peterson


Speaking of spending diets, I've returned to drugstore brands when I need to replenish toiletries and cosmetics. The Fine Brands might work better -- a bit better, maybe even 20% (twenty percent) better -- but it's illogical to me right now to pay 200% (two hundred percent) more for that performance edge and psychological cachet.

It's been fun to return to my old pleasure of browsing the hues and possibilities of Revlon, L'Oréal, Maybelline...and sometimes a drugstore product puts a "prestige" brand to shame. (Well yes Sarah, I can hear some of you thinking.)

I've found that cult favorite L'Oréal True Match liquid foundation is easier to work with and covers better than my exorbitant Laura Mercier Silk Crème foundation did, and it comes in a wider array of hues. Let's not forget that it's a sixth the price of Ms. Mercier.

St. Ives Timeless Skin Moisturizer, at around five dollars for a generous tub, is surprisingly lovely on bare skin or under makeup. It doesn't seem to irritate my sensitive complexion, it soaks in quickly, and it leaves my face and neck feeling like apricot skin for hours.

The drugstore red I'm wearing above is possibly the most perfect red I've found for myself: Revlon's ColorBurst Lip Butter in Red Velvet. It was four dollars and change because Walgreens was running its 40% off Revlon sale. It's a perfect bit of festive wintertime crimson in a lush translucent moisturizing format. I can wear a balmy red lip all day long, even to my son's preschool or to help in the library, and not feel like Too Too Much. And I love the retro feel of the diamond quilted case. I hope they never stop making this.


December 2013: Revlon Red Velvet
Photo by Sarah Cloud Peterson


Ladies of long and varietous cosmetic experience: what other high performance drugstore products should I examine?



Sarah's wearing: Silk cotton blouse, Ann Taylor. Glasses, Anna Sui. Pearl studs, gift from husband. Gold necklace of small pendants collected since childhood.

22 comments:

  1. I love the photo of you in your new glasses! Nice work (and beautiful background :))

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    1. Thank you! The background is a hanging Dave's folks brought from Japan.

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  2. I concur--excellent frames! Perfect.
    How do you find the staying power of the Revlon lippy? The colorstay liquid lipstick I use from them is a longwear, and it works nicely (and doesn't make my lips freak out), but it has a limited color range.
    My favorite drugstore makeup product is Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips eyeshadow. I love that stuff. So many options, and colors selected to make your eye color pop.

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    1. The Revlon Lip Butter is a creamy, somewhat glossy balm experience. It can last a few hours without a touchup if I'm not eating and drinking, but I wouldn't call it long wearing. I don't mind reapplications of an enjoyable product, and it's less drying than I imagine a longwear lipstick would be.

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    2. That plum-tinged Shimmer Strips Smoky Eye set looks tempting. I'm so set for eyeshadow for the forseeable future, though. I get tempted by new hues, but at the same time, I'm...so set. And I'm trying to simplify the makeup drawer anyway. I had Revlon's peacock-hued Photoready "Muse" palette in my basket at Walgreens during their Revlon sale, but I made myself put it back on the shelf. It was a "that's purty" want, not a need.

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    3. I always get distracted by palettes of shadows. I want them all. This is also my problem with nail polish. I can never have enough (which is why I particularly enjoyed my recent birthday present! :)

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    4. Yay. :-) I figured your polish drawers could use a little rebuilding after the Incident. I recently found a rainbow stash of polishes from the early 2000s. Oddly, many of then are still fluid and functional, so I may experiment a bit more, although I enjoy the ease of keeping my fingers champagne or clear.

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  3. Also, what color True Match are you, if you'd care to divulge?

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    1. With the days getting shorter, I'm at their N1 (lightest neutral) shade. I also have a bottle of N2 -- I used it straight up in summertime, although it was still a little too dark, and then I began to blend in the N1.

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    2. The last time I was in the market for foundation, I was actually scared to try the True Match because my skin is awfully difficult to place. Now, I've been so happy with Lush's light pink that I haven't needed another option. But knowing your color helps me guess mine! :)

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    3. I'll bring the N1 and N2 to Michigan and you can try them on your skin. I usually end up happiest in neutral colors in general -- not like tan and grey neutral (although those are fine), but colors that are warm-cool balances, like teals, cherry reds, aubergines, and burgundies.

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  4. I'm mostly a total make-up snob, but I've tried a lot of drugstore brands too. I am devoted to Maybelline mascara. For decades it was Great Lash, but the last few years I've been wearing Falsies.

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    1. I've found some great high end products, some of which are still serving me well after more than a year. Good color payoff so I don't need to use much, and sturdy packaging, so the product lasts and lasts. My Naked 2 palette; various MAC lipsticks; my tiny pot of Laura Mercier brow definer which will last me for *years*. I also love Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer. Fortunately that lasts and lasts, too, so I don't need to weigh buying more anytime soon!

      But I'm glad to find trusty drugstore options for things that vanish more quickly -- like mascara, powder, face cream, and foundation.

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  5. Also, I LOVE your new glasses! I have a collection of LaFont frames that I've found for a good price on ebay that I then take to Costco to put my prescription in. I have come to love glasses more than contacts.

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    1. Thank you! You, in glasses, have actually been an inspiration to me over the past few years. *So* smokin'.

      I love the idea of finding good frames on Ebay then having them filled by trustworthy professionals. I'd have to be that lady trying on frames in stores then waiting to find them on Ebay, though -- I'd have to see them on my difficult face before I bought!

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  6. You look fantastic in your new glasses, and good going getting them on sale! You'll be interested to know that I'm trying to drastically cut back expenditure on all things clothes and beauty related now we have a large Victorian flat that is in desperate need of renovation. So I'm glad to have a kindred spirit as company in having to budget. I'm actually on a beauty and make up ban!

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    1. We're not alone -- I've noticed a few other blogfriends on spending lockdowns and diets. It gets easier as the months roll along, I find. The stuff I already have does well for me, and I can find everything more easily with less clutter of new things to paw through. And I have more creative time when I'm not spending hours shopping for the perfect new pumps or moisturizer!

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  7. I just ordered the same frames! Believe it or not, your picture is the only one online of an actual person wearing them. I scoured the internet because I was concerned the lens height was too tall and would overwhelm my face, but they look stunning on you. So I ordered!

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    1. Hi, Katherine! I'm glad you found my photo, and I hope you find that the frames suit you, too. It can be a challenging quest. I have found these frames dark and weighty enough so I don't look washed out, and they're not overwhelming -- especially if I do my usual basic makeup. They're a nice medium size.

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  8. Have you ever tried Ipsy or Birchbox? They are a fun and inexpensive way to mix higher end samples in to your makeup and skin care regime. I get both. It is a $20/month ($10 each) splurge that feels like my birthday every month and adds things I would never think to try had they not shown up (literally) on my doorstep.

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    1. I'd looove to try one of those subscription services -- especially Glossybox -- but I just can't permit myself even a $10/$20 month splurge right now. Need it all for some lingering medical costs from last year. A friend subscribes to Ipsy, though. She recently sent me a nice collection of new items that she didn't think would suit her, so I'm having a lot of fun trying them myself!

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