"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Age I Deserve


"A woman has the age she deserves." - Coco Chanel

Change is good. And I guess this is a natural next step in my life's journey - first exercise, then diet, then fashion, now makeup. I'm working on getting to the age I deserve ;-)

Today I had to take another step away from my beloved drugstore cosmetics counter, and I'm not sorry that I did...

Two things made this change happen:

1. My local drugstore cosmetic counter not only no longer carries my brand of illuminator, they've stopped carrying ANY illuminators. They've also discontinued carrying my undereye concealer, and my blush - oye! I've found my concealer and blush on Ebay, but I knew that I had to find a new and better illuminator - it's one of the 5 items I use daily, can't live without it.

2. This morning, as I finished my toilette, I took a good look in mirror - EEK! The first weeks of December and May are especially hard on me. They are at the tail end of my university semesters. That means I'm up 'til the wee hours (and still getting up and out to classes the 'next' day) correcting 50+ papers and organizing my copious piles of notes to help me determine the final grades for my latest batch of students. I keep running notes on each of my students. And though I keep them brief, there are 50+ sets of them. Add to that two glorious magazine deadlines due at the same time, and all you can do is sigh.

Burning the candle at both ends, for an extended period of time, is hard on a 40something Diva. Even worse my healthy summer outdoor glow (honestly earned on baseball/football fields and tennis courts) is long gone and is even worse by May. Yes, even us Brown girls get pale and pasty from lack of sun!

So when I looked into the mirror this morning, what looked back was a face with tired eyes and a matching set of dark circles that stood out beautifully from a pasty dry haggard looking face. Again EEK with a heaping side of EEK EEK! This just won't due - oh hell no. Of course, the only true fix is 2 solid weeks in a beach cottage in the Caribbean - toes in the surf, Margarita in my hand. In the meantime, lots of sleep and H2O, a Merlot mask and soaked tea bags will fix most of the damage. In my 20s that would have been enough. But fabulous and 40 requires more. Time for some serious big girl cosmetic/skincare intervention - to the internet!

Makeup counters, heck makeup, can be pretty intimidating. There's so much: eyes, cheeks, lips, skincare, etc. Well I think I've found the cure - do your research before you walk in.

Cafe Makeup is completely and totally devoted to sampling and reviewing high end luxury cosmetics, skincare and fashion. This blog is an amazing encyclopedia! An organic encylopedia  (ever growing/evolving). Their are categories like: Bronzer, Georgio Armani, Pigments and Brushes and Tools, and Chanel. I can take my time, investigate, learn, make a list then I can walk up to a makeup counter fired up and ready to go.

You know that I'm loving the Parisian theme (down the the Eiffel Tower in their logo) but that's just a coincidence - really!  The reviews are comprehensive, very detailed and are accompanied with beautiful photographs. Amy even tests several different brands of the same product on her arm; she calls them swatches:

Amy's Illuminator Swatch - I like the Soleil Tan de Chanel the best ;-)

Amy and Liz even have a drugstore cosmetic counter sweet tooth of their own. Check out their Dollar Menu

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters - from Cafe Makeup review

Cafe Makeup is not intimidating, like magazines like Vogue are. They're not stuffy or snooty. Amy and her partner Liz write in a friendly easy-going, yet informative, style that just pulls you in. I spent a pleasant hour rummaging around and was interested in everything I came across. When I found myself taking my sweet time reading about Chanel's Paris-Bombay Metier D'Art show, I knew that I was hooked!

I love this look from Chanel's show!

Maybe it's because I've now got 40 something skin, but I'm finding that certain drugstore counter items are not working for me. But my time at Cafe Makeup and other 'net research has given me food for thought and has encouraged me to try a few high end cosmetics. I don't wear a lot of makeup, maybe it's time to splurge on the few items I do use - but I'm not giving up my Revlon mascarra! And exploring Cafe Makeup was not a chore or overwhelming, it was fun. Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up my drugstore counter love (for now), but I think it's time for me to expand my horizons ;-) I'll keep you updated on what I find.

One of the reasons I first started going to drugstore cosmetic counters was that it was a pain in the hiney to take time out of my busy working mom day to schlep to a department store cosmetic counter. That has not changed, now I'm seriously making the change to high end. That's where the cosmetic chain store Sephora comes in...

*Did you know that Sephora is French owned (by the Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennesy conglomerate, based in Paris)? I didn't until I did my background research for this post - really! See, even when I don't try or look for it, Paris finds her way into my life ;-)

Anyway, all of the major high end cosmetic companies allow you to buy their products on their own 'sites. What's great about Sephora online is that I can get all of my cosmetics and skincare items in the same place. They also sell fragrance, bath and body, and hair products - one stop shopping online - c'est parfait! So I can cultivate my new high end cosmetics endeavors and not have to schlep! Though I think I will visit the Oakbrook store now and again, it's a few steps from Mon Ami Gabi (my favorite State side French restaurant). Two birds, one stone and all that.

Well this is an adventure that I didn't anticipate or plan on - but I'm looking forward to it. Until I looked in the mirror this morning, and started researching and writing this post, I had not realized how stuck in the past I've been. You know, like a 50 year old woman who still wears the same hairstyle she had in high school. Exploring Cafe Makeup has re-introduced me to a part of Diva life that I've long neglected and I'm glad. Change is good. And I guess this is a natural next step in my journey - first exercise, then diet, then fashion, now makeup. I'm working on getting to the age I deserve ;-)

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


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