September 10, 2014

Apartment Updates

IKEA Hemnes dresser Micke desk vaity

...Hi. I haven't updated this blog in an awkwardly long time. I'm sure my three readers are devastated. I've acquired a lot of new shit though and I want to talk about it. So, standard sorry for not blogging for 4 months, yadda yadda, but I would just prefer to pick up where I left off which is with shopping and rubbing makeup on my arms and taking pictures of it.

By far, the most important purchase I've made in my absence, or in all of 2014, is this rug:

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green
Look at it!! Not only do I love this rug for who this rug is but it's just such a massive upgrade from the previous situation.

old rug black gray stripes
That was the rug I had between my bed and dresser for about a year and a half. Gray and darker gray stripes. It's not offensively ugly. There's nothing wrong with it. It served its minimal purpose as something to disguise the parquet but that was it. It was just really aggressively not my style and would look a lot better in a masculine setting. I can't even express my disdain for that rug and how much I hated looking at it every day. It was just jarring to look at in the space and it brought everything down to its uncolorful level. It was the main thing that brought color to the bedroom section of my apartment and the color it brought was just drab non color.

I had been eyeballing rugs for literally an entire year on Rugs USA which is the most fucked up online rug retailer ever in that they pretty much just give their rugs away. They have 70% and 80% off sales all the time for no reason. Like, it's Arbor Day, have a rug for $400 off! I purchased mine for 70% off during their Labor Day sale and it's probably the best deal I've ever gotten in my life. The rug is something like 5.5 x 8.6 inches and it was $102. $102 for a huge, quality rug and the shipping was free. The shipping was seriously stressing me out, though - I ended up having to call UPS because they would bring the rug to my building after the package office was closed and put the rug back on the truck and take it all the way back to Maryland instead of taking the elevator up two floors and walking five steps to my apartment door. I was refreshing the tracking updates like a lunatic and was about a day away from having a cerebral hemorrhage when it was finally delivered.

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

I debated down to the wire about what rug to get and ended up choosing this purple overdyed Turkish kilim rug. It looked much more purple in the photos and far less green but I'm much happier with how it actually looks in real life. It's not overwhelming or overly saturated purple and the green areas add some softness. I was kind of worrying about how I would incorporate a deep indigo purple rug into a new apartment but I feel a lot more comfortable working with this color palette.

Rugs USA offers this rug in a ton of other colors, including really vibrant looking yellow and pink. I think the site even got a shout out in September's issue of Glamour for their astoundingly reasonable prices and wide selections.

Even though I still live in a studio (with a boy), I feel like I'm living in less of a decorating nightmare now that the "bedroom" looks so sectioned off and is just my space. Call it shallow but it makes me so happy to just exist among all of my crap on display. Everything past the bookcase just feels feminine and cozy and is covered in art. The purple rug just ties it all together.

rugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple greenrugs usa windsor overdyed grove rug turkish kilim rug purple green

I went to IKEA the same week the rug delivered, fueled by this Moschino ad I found in my dad's Art Forum magazine. I saw it and immediately decided to frame it. I'm just all about it. I love Moschino and especially love their McDonald's inspired collection. Italian fashion and motherfucking McDonald's. I'm embarrassingly passionate about McDonald's - it's really stereotypical fat girl of me but I can't help myself. I would easily kill someone to eat McDonald's breakfast every day and not gain weight. I would kill again to have any piece of the Moschino McDonald's collection - like, yes, I absolutely would carry around a purse shaped like a happy meal box. I would do so with a smile on my face. But, let's face it, never will I ever have $2,000 to drop on ready wear, witty McDonald's handbags. I have to settle for this ad which I absolutely love. It's a cropped version of this photo:

I just think it's beyond hysterical and it's just my aesthetic to a T. The seemingly heart shaped sunglasses that are actually McDonald's style M's and the fountain soda that's really a purse looped around the model's neck? Too much.

I'm kind of refraining from taking a close up picture of it because the ad is about a half inch too small for the frame and I had to back it with printer painter so the overall look is kind of... a mess. In my professional opinion, it looks real not good. I found the silver Ribba frame on the IKEA website about a week before I went to the store with the express goal of purchasing it and wanted to bash my head against the wall when I saw just how ever so slightly too small the picture was. Math confuses me so I didn't understand how wrong the whole thing would look even though I knew the dimensions before I bought the frame. Maybe I was just hoping for some kind of divine intervention on account of being a devout follower of the "Maybe God exists? Maybe he doesn't? I don't think about it!" religion. Who knows what the fuck goes on in my head. I think the silver frame works with it so perfectly so I'm in the process of figuring out how to blow up the ad. I just need less than an inch of white space added on to the edges and it will be perfect. Honestly, though, it's like outside forces are trying to say, "Vanessa, maybe it's a little too fucking ridiculous to prominently frame a McDonald's themed Moschino ad?" but those forces are Soviet Russia in Rocky IV and I'm Rocky. I am unstoppable. This weird ad is going to live in a giant frame and everyone is going to have to cooperate and make it happen somehow.

I also purchased those two little succulents and depotted them into empty glass candle jars. I've had the genius idea to pop out the last of my candle wax and put them into wax warmers to be extra frugal and get every last scent/cent out of my candle purchases. I had so many excess candle jars that I had to throw a few away and almost forgot to save two of those little guys. Pinterest is telling me that succulents are virtually unkillable which I'm hoping is true. I was kind of a crazy plant lady in my college years but I had to get over that quick because this apartment slaughters plants. There's no sunlight since the only window faces another side of the building. Hopefully the succulents will be able to persevere because I like the little bit of green they add. Really brightens up the hideous air conditioning unit.

As for nightstand changes, I got this lamp from TJ Maxx on a whim. Weeks later, I was browsing my own Pinterest boards because I'm really self involved and was surprised to spot it in this photo from an Apartment Therapy home tour which I had pinned months before:

The heart wants what the heart wants, I guess. That lamp just pinged something in me on two separate occasions. It was meant to be. I also swapped out the knob on my dresser for this blue one simply because it was on sale for $2 at Anthropologie. Spending $2 at Anthropologie is a once in a lifetime experience. I was half hoping the salesgirl checking me out would be proud of me or something.

I also picked up this beaded and sequined pillow because, as a woman, I was feeling uncomfortable about the lack of frivolous pillows in my apartment. I'm kidding, it's because I'm still 13 years old and my bed had zero sparkly elements and I was jonesing for a fix. The back of this pillow is stark white so of course there's already a giant iced tea stain on it.

On the right of my bed is the bookshelf. I've moved all of my books to my side of the apartment and the Expedit shelving kind of let me compartmentalize the books into categories. The top shelf needs some work but my (woefully small) collection of art books just barely don't fit into their cube and spill over into my miniature history section, half of which is Kennedy books. I'm working on building up my book collection after years of using the library. In my dream home, I have one bookshelf of this size filled exclusively with my alphabetized collection of art books and then a separate bookshelf for my biographies, Russian history books and fiction. For now, with the size of my apartment and bank account, this is more than good. I'm especially thrilled with the fact that I have an entire book on degenerate art from the Neue Galerie since that's my all time, desert island favorite period of art history AND that I own it because I got to see a show at the aforementioned gallery on it. My Francis Bacon book is similarly special - both are not only on my respective favorite artist and movement but are mementos from some of the most incredible art shows I've had the privilege to see.

This is the current spread on top of my dresser. My dresser is another item in my apartment that's screaming to be replaced but can't happen until I have more square footage. It only has three drawers, one of which is full of so many t shirts that I'm honestly fearful of opening it. That bottom drawer is also unfixably broken, likely because this is a piece of IKEA furniture that I've been clinging to since 2009 and through at least 5 moves. My next dresser is going to have at least six drawers for me to shove all my lazy clothes into because simply owning less clothes to be lazy in is unthinkable and you hate me if you even suggest it.

The big ticket item right now is my television, which doesn't look very bloggery but I have to stay true to myself. I'm a woman who likes to watch Netflix in bed at all hours of the day. If my TV has to take up 3/4 of my dresser in order for me to live that kind of life then so be it. The TV is a Netflix only kind of deal - I'm just starting my first month without cable like a proper millennial - but it's hooked up to a Google Chromecast which is a gadget you need to buy immediately. Basically, the TV is plugged into the wall and hooked up to nothing but the Chromecast. No gaming console, no cable box. With the Chromecast you can open up Google Chrome on your laptop or phone and "cast" the screen to the television. It works for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, you name it. You can even watch YouTube videos or just pull up whatever tabs you're browsing on your laptop and it will appear on the TV just as it does on your personal screen. It makes the TV less of an eyesore too because the Chromecast will slideshow nature photography while it's idle. It's much nicer to look at the Golden Gate in the fog or a close up of rain droplets on a flower than a plain old blank screen.

I have all my jewelry shoved to the side because of my TV situation and the other half of my jewelry collection lives in a drawer of my IKEA Alex. I try to keep my most worn pieces on this surface not just because I reach for them the most but because I like looking at them. The jewelry box is falling apart and is equally as old as my dresser - my aunt gave my cousins and I pieces of our grandma's jewelry in these matching jewelry boxes the Christmas after her death so I'll probably keep and display this even after it completely falls apart. It's grab during a fire level important to me. My dad got me the glass blown ring stand in front of it from a Chihuly exhibit's gift shop. The butterfly cup holds all of my hair ties and I've hung all of my favorite chandelier earrings around the edge of the jam jar that holds my sunglasses. My favorite is still my paint palette plate which I still can't believe I was lucky enough to find twice in Nordstrom Rack.

IKEA Virserum gold

I tore out this Damien Hirst butterfly collage out of the same Art Forum magazine where I found the Moschino ad. It's the perfect fusion of my 13-year-old girl love of butterflies and my love for art and Damien Hirst. I know I have a magazine clipping of For The Love Of God somewhere and I'm hoping to give that the same treatment. The "Pink Is For Girls" print is also an ad from the 60's that I tore out of a book I got on my trip to Italy. I love how graphic and pink it is, yet how totally forlorn the retro girl looks at her surroundings. I've had that print framed kind of haphazardly in an extra IKEA Ribba frame but I like these two ads framed in gold much, much better. They're IKEA Virserums which sounds like some kind of illegal potion from the Harry Potter universe. I'm hoping to hang them on an actual wall in my next apartment next to the polyptich I got in Venice which also has a distressed gold frame.

A close up of my palette plate which holds dangly earrings sans hooks in the little wells and all of my most worn bracelets (and bracelet sized earrings) in the big compartment. It's pretty much just become a holder for my roll on beaded bracelets which I borderline obsessively buy for my best friend and I wherever I see them. A few a from eBay but others are from art galleries in the city, shops on the Point Pleasant boardwalk on the Jersey shore and little shops in Venice, Italy. My current favorite is the blue and gold one which reminds me of the Ukrainian flag.

Finally, I taped up some postcards above my vanity. I was wary of doing this in an apartment at first but eventually couldn't help myself. The wall was too bare and I have too many postcards. The top row is abstract expressionism with a Kline and a Pollock and the bottom is just some visually similar, neutral toned shots of women looking over their shoulders - Peggy Guggenheim, my idol, playing dress up, the infamous Madame X by John Singer Sargent and a photograph from the Neue Galerie's permanent collection. All my other postcards have just become layered on top of each other in my ribbon board and are just a totally incohesive mess. The towel over my chair is also new and was purchased from TJ Maxx because it reminded me of some kind of budget Missoni print. I keep it over the chair because I'm a disgusting pig and routinely wipe my makeup brushes or lotiony hands onto it.

I feel like I'm as happy with my apartment as I could possibly be given that this place has been "temporary" for a year now. Like, do I like how all of my storage, my dresser and my vanity are cramped together against one wall? Do I like how my mirror isn't centered above my dresser? Do I even necessarily like my furniture? Definitely not. There's a ton that I'd like to change but I'd be wasting my time since I've been ready to move out for months. I hate having plain off white walls but why should I paint when I may only be here for another month or two before I have to paint it back or risk forfeiting my security deposit? How should I buy new furniture when I don't have the space for it and won't for the foreseeable future? It sucks to buy and design around a temporary mindset but it's just more practical this way. Hopefully a one bedroom is on the horizon which will be a place where all my design dreams can come true.

May 7, 2014

Miscellaneous Maybelline Review

This post is about as miscellaneous as you can get. Lip products, face products, eye products. There are no rules up in here right now. I hope you've prepared yourself.

Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches ReviewMaybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
Color Whispers are advertised as "translucent color washes" but this one is more like a color shout. It's a bright magenta that looks glossy, yet still feels light, on the lips. It feels  pretty moisturizing on, too, and kind of stains your lips after you take it off, as if you've been eating popsicles all day. I really love the in your face color combined with the subtle, soft feeling on the lips.

Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
Do you have a moment to learn about the gospel of DreamLumi Concealer? I think this is easily the best drugstore concealer in existence. It's illuminating so it does a great job of hiding my hereditary undereye circles. I also love it's click up pen form, not dissimilar to Stila's Lip Glazes. It makes it super easy to throw in your purse and go. However, it can make you a bit accident prone if you've had a drink or two:

 Not that I would know.

Finally, in my mind, this concealer is great because it comes in both pink and yellow undertones, a feat that's apparently difficult for most drugstore brands to accomplish. It's really a blessing to have the option to spend $8 on a concealer if you're as yellow toned as I am. I feel included.
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review

The one downside to this product is that you pretty much go through it like toilet paper. It's sold in 0.05oz tubes which never last me more than a month. The above picture is a brand new tube vs one at the end of its life which wasn't that long.

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
I have warm, olivey toned pale skin but I threw my hands in the air like I just didn't care and bought this frosty pink cream shadow anyway. This looks a lot like the Revlon cream shadows I'd smear all over my lids in 8th grade when I was troubled and knew nothing about makeup. In my mind, if it worked for my blonde, blue eye friends then it would work just as well with my coloring. Fast forward a decade later and I'm using this as a base for purple or red toned shadows to enhance their color. It works great as a base under most of the colors from both the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette and Urban Decay's Naked 3. Word to the wise, if you're 12: don't smear this all over your lid alone. Also, sending boys Simple Plan lyrics over AIM is a bad way to get them to like you. You don't even know what AIM is, you're 12. God, I am old.

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
Maybelline ColorSensational Color Whisper Lipstick in Berry Ready Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlightening Concealer in Ivory Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Metal Eyeshadow in Inked in Pink Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer Swatches Review
I'm going to give you this upfront: there's a lot of reasons this product could not work for you, the main reasons being:
1. Your skin is oily. This product has a greasy formula and will turn your face into an oil slick and probably turn you into a bit of a pizza face on top of it. I have dry skin so I haven't experienced any kind of breakouts. Yet. Sounds ominous but I don't want to jinx myself into a zit. That's the worst kind of jinxing yourself.
2. Your foundation is water based. This product is silicone based and needs a silicone based foundation to go on top of it. Otherwise, you'll end up with separating foundation and it's going to look like shit. Luckily, my foundation (Make Up For Ever HD which I will praise until the end of time) works well with it. Just make sure to double check the ingredients so you don't get fucked out of your $7.

If you fall into the none of the above category, I recommend checking this primer out. It's a supposed drugstore dupe of Benefit's The Porefessional. I haven't tried The Porefessional because of its pinky tone that's almost synonymous with Benefit that's sure to make my yellow toned skin look dirty and sickly. I like this clear formula a lot better, especially since a little goes a long way. It definitely "blurs" my gigantic pores just enough for the effect to be noticeable. I also don't know of a primer with a better price point which is good enough for me for the time being.

That's all I got. All of these products are pretty top notch, and not just for a drugstore brand. Maybelline is really solid these days and worth your dollars, in my opinion.

May 1, 2014

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches Hybrid Moments Mezzanine Transition Glasswing Melancholia Black Milk Lifelike Lunar Lights Lucid Graphic Nature Tornay Entombed
I kind of impulse bought this rainbow palette. In my defense, I've been trying to work more color into my eye makeup. I have only about 10 separate neutral palettes and it was time for something outside my comfort zone. Plus, the packaging was really, really adorable. Who loves butterflies more than me? The answer is Mariah Carey, END OF LIST.

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches Hybrid Moments Mezzanine Transition Glasswing Melancholia Black Milk Lifelike Lunar Lights Lucid Graphic Nature Tornay Entombed

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches Hybrid Moments Mezzanine Transition Glasswing Melancholia Black Milk Lifelike Lunar Lights Lucid Graphic Nature Tornay Entombed
I also LOVE how the shadow names and a map of which is which is printed on the back of the palette. Those flimsy, clear, plastic sheets that a lot of companies use for this drive me insane. This is a much better alternative because who cares about what's on the back of an eyeshadow palette otherwise?

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches Hybrid Moments Mezzanine Transition Glasswing Melancholia Black Milk Lifelike Lunar Lights Lucid Graphic Nature Tornay Entombed

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches Hybrid Moments Mezzanine Transition Glasswing Melancholia Black Milk Lifelike Lunar Lights Lucid Graphic Nature Tornay Entombed
Another feature that I love about this palette is that the highlight shades are extra large ala what Too Faced normally does with their palettes. The 3 larger eyeshadows are 0.095 oz. each and the 9 smaller eyeshadows are 0.049 oz. each. So, the highlight shades are about double the size and will probably last you twice as long. You can see the proof with your own eyes in the photo above.

These eyeshadows are gasp worthy soft. I was just swatching and gasping, just running my fingers over the shades and gasping almost every time. These shadows are incredibly soft and buttery. Some of the formulas were a bit more chalky than the others but only about 2 or 3 of the 12 shadows fell victim to this. Those powdery bitches could not hide in the swatches below. Sorry for being so god damn pale, by the way. About 3 of these shades barely showed up against the fleshy underbelly of my arm. Life is rough.

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches Hybrid Moments Mezzanine Transition Glasswing Melancholia Black Milk Lifelike Lunar Lights Lucid Graphic Nature Tornay Entombed
From left to right:
Hybrid Moments is a matte, dark, red toned purple. As you can see, this is one of the more unmanageable, chalkier ones. As a rule, it seemed like the matte shades were the duds in this palette. Mezzanine is light pink purple with shimmer. Transition is pearly mauve. Glasswing is a medium, yellow brown. This was by far the best matte shade and is one I'll probably use to help blend out the other colors in the palette. Melancholia is a kind of antique silver which reminds me of Urban Decay's Maui Wowie and NARS Kauai #1. Black Milk is a cool, matte shade and also had a fairly blendable, manageable formula.

Kat Von D Chrysalis Palette Review and Swatches Hybrid Moments Mezzanine Transition Glasswing Melancholia Black Milk Lifelike Lunar Lights Lucid Graphic Nature Tornay Entombed
From left to right:
Graphic Nature is described as a cool, pewtery charcoal. Entombed is shimmery, sapphire blue. Tornay is a matte navy and probably one of my least favorite shades in the palette because of its crappy formula.

The final 3 shadows are the bigger guys at the top of the palette, from left to right:
Lifelike is matte cream and apparently the exact color of my skin. Lunar Lights is a gorgeous frosty pearl color. Lucid is a soft, sparkly baby pink.

This palette is $46.00 and available from Sephora. There's also a neutral palette called "Monarch" if that's more of your bag. I really recommend this one, if you have to pick between the two, for the variety of shades and finishes. Aside from a few chalky duds, this palette is the whole package and will probably make you feel like a butterfly. You know, in case you weren't lucky enough to be named after one like I was.

April 30, 2014

My Vanity

This is what a fucked up joke my makeup table has been for about six months.

 Ikea Lack Coffe Table Makeup Storage

That's my coffee table which is also my dining room table which was also my vanity.

My boyfriend is a gamer. You're probably thinking you understand and that your boyfriend is too and he was totally addicted to Grand Theft Auto V but you probably don't understand. My boyfriend and I moved into our apartment a week before our stuff got here. We only packed the essentials aka what fit in his mom's SUV and drove it down and moved in like that. No furniture, no cable, no internet. Aside from our clothes and toiletries we had the stuff for our bathroom, an air mattress and our TV so we could watch Netflix via my boyfriend's wireless phone tether. That, and my boyfriend's enormous desktop computer, two monitors, speaker system and the rest of his equipment. We went to IKEA the next day and got three things - our Expedit shelving unit, my Alex drawers for my makeup, a desk for my boyfriend and a cheap desk. For a week our apartment was literally an air mattress laying on the floor in front of a TV, an empty Expedit and Alex pushed off to the side and my boyfriend's desk with his dual monitored desktop computer. He had his gaming computer totally and completely set up here before we had our couch or our bed.

His computer itself is so big it's practically a piece of furniture in this apartment. We're just unfortunate to each have a hobby that requires separate pieces of furniture. A lot of boyfriends don't have girlfriends who have two separate drawer systems to hold all of their makeup and nail polish, you know? That's not entirely normal.

So, my makeup space has been suffering for years, plural years, at this point. I've mostly been leaning over my dresser which got old pretty fast. The standing, the leaning, the makeup scattered all over the top of my dresser, all of it. So, about six months ago, I moved all of my every day makeup, hair and nail polish stuff to the only place I could - the coffee table. The whole thing was so messy. My mirror was just sitting to the side of our couch on the floor and there were always products all over our coffee table, sometimes while we were eating dinner. 95% of my products were across the room in my Alex and I never used them so things got basic pretty quickly. Just doing my makeup and my nails and my hair at the coffee table/dining room table every single day for six months. The coffee table is also $40 from IKEA so it's not necessarily made to withstand so much weight which is why it broke, as pictured. All of our furniture, literally all of it, is IKEA. Don't worry about it.

My boyfriend finally cracked along with our coffee table and became a man possessed with getting me a little desk. The table broke and he just stood up and was like "WHERE'S THE MEASURING TAPE, WE CAN FIND ROOM FOR A DESK FOR YOU, THIS IS RIDICULOUS." and drove us to IKEA at the first possible opportunity. We picked up a Micke white desk for about $50.

 IKEA Micke Desk Vanity Makeup Storage

 IKEA Micke Desk Vanity Makeup Storage

 IKEA Micke Desk Vanity Makeup Storage

It's by no means stylish because we only had room for literally the tiniest desk they sell and had to wedge it in the corner. All of my furniture is just kind of in a cramped line against a wall and it's incredibly obvious we shoved something new in because things on the wall aren't centered against the furniture anymore. Whatever, temporary apartment. Everything in our "bedroom" aka everything beyond our Expedit shelves is just pretty obviously mine at this point. My dresser, my makeup and nail polish drawers, my vanity/desk, a girly bed and my nightstand. I've decided this means it doesn't matter if I replace our lamps on this side with whatever I want because these lamps are the worst. I told my boyfriend this and he was like, "What's wrong with this lamp?? We got it at Ace Hardware!" Exactly.

These are going to be the new lamps.

Target is so next level with their adult 13-year-old girl collection. I just assume that's what it's called because that's what it is. Everything is pink or purple or flowery or gold and I want all of it. A gold, foil butterfly lamp??? wherehaveyoubeenallmylife-rhianna.mp3!!

This hot pink tufted bench is part of it and my ass would be planted on it right now if it were possible. All you single ladies better take advantage of this kind of stuff. Having someone who loves and cares about you but also likes leather couches is the worst.

 IKEA Micke Desk Vanity Makeup Storage
I'm just dead over my little set up. I haven't had a desk in three to four years. I don't even care that it's small or shoved into a corner or that my chair is black and about $10 (from IKEA, of course). I'll be able to have a bigger space eventually. I just love having a space that's mine. I can sit and do my makeup!!!!!! I can leave all my makeup lying around. I can make the area so feminine that your testicles will retreat up into your body when you look at it. I can hang up all the art that creeps my boyfriend out.

Pretty much my pathos. Just my being. A Barbara Kruger postcard against a frivolous Kate Spade tag that says "all that glitters". Barbara Kruger would hate me.

I'm sitting here right now in my fluffy Hello Kitty pajama pants, drinking coffee out of my Hello Kitty mug, listening to music on my pink headphones and typing this up on my pink computer. Just living that Julia Allison life.

 IKEA Micke Desk Vanity Makeup Storage
The best thing is the drawer which holds so much that I don't know what to do with it. I full on cleared out two drawers of my Alex and fit it in here. All of my palettes are in here now which is great because they'll actually get used now instead of me just reaching for my Nakeds over and over. I have all my palettes, Nars shadows, blushes and eyeliners and I could fit even more if I wanted to.

 IKEA Micke Desk Vanity Makeup Storage
I also adore my inspiration board that I'm constantly adding things to. This is how my vanity looks right now. Because I wrote the rest of this post in February and forgot about it. Oops. I tried to deceive you all but I think its best to be honest. Not updating or editing to make it fit with my current life. I'm sorry. I moved my lipstick holder and added a little Linus storage bin from the Container Store to keep all of my daily essentials. I'm also constantly trying to rotate the drawer out. I've discovered if I keep ONE palette inside the drawer along with my essential Naked palette then that ONE palette will actually get some use. My Alex drawer system also serves its intended makeup storage purpose this way.

This vanity/desk is my little oasis and I love it. This little corner is like my own little hideout. Like my version of a giant underground hideout filled with sharks who I feed my enemies to. Except all I do is put on makeup and read ONTD and blog.

April 28, 2014

Art in Rome, Florence and Venice, Italy (+ More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About How Much I Love Art)

Art and I have been in a relationship for as long as I remember. Always. Always always always. I feel like this is an expection rather than a rule with people who are into art. A lot of popular art history bloggers talk about how a college class sparked their interest and they got hooked and most people I've met had a similar experience or took art history as a requirement because they were more exclusively into creating art. I, on the other hand, am not a creative person whatsoever. I was president of art club and took all the art classes in high school but I was never good and never created "art" in the way you'd think of it. I just did technical pencil drawings of sheets and fruit and things like that. However, I was just always into art. Despite all of this, I've been into art for as long as I can remember. My dad was and is into and I was just raised around it.

It's hard for me to comprehend that people don't "know" themselves and things like that because so much of my identity had always been defined by my appreciation and love for art, ever since I was little. My brain is just more inclined to artsy things. I don't know if I like art because I think this way or if I think this way because I always loved art. I'm sure I would be entirely different as a human if I didn't basically begin my life appreciating art in the way I did. It boggles my mind when people say they're good at math or like math because it just makes sense (ie there's only one right answer) because math or science has never made sense to me. As early as first, second, third grade. Like, I was in that gifted and talented bullshit and was one of TWO kids in my school who was in gifted class but not in the gifted math class. This was out of at least 50 kids. 96% of those kids were better at math than I was. I had to google that percent out!! My mind does not work that way. Math is gibberish to me. Art is what makes sense. I just get symbolism and things like that pretty automatically. My mind works in that way and not in a logical way. And trust, this is not intended as some kind of humble brag. It sucks because the word revolves around the opposite way of thinking. Like, what's a skill in the real world, balancing a checkbook or analyzing a Whistler? But, as Ke$ha says, we r who we r and there's nothing I can do about it short of marrying some kind of accountant who is very insistent on handling the numbers himself.
I was probably going to art exhibits since I was five, at least. Growing up in New Jersey meant there was always easy access to the city but I really only ever went FOR an art show. Never to see the city itself or something. Just there would be a show that I or my dad would have to see and we'd wander around afterwards. Art is the draw of NYC to me, not NYC itself. I feel that way about most places. If I had an hour in any city on earth, I would probably go to the city's art museum. Whenever someone mentions traveling to somewhere, even if it's to fucking Detroit or something, I'm always thinking of the art they have there and what I'd like to look at there. I could go to a museum for one thing. I could just wake up one day and feel the need to look at one specific piece in the NGA or another DC museum, hop on a bus, go look at that singular piece for an hour and leave. That's satisfying to me. Most of the time, I don't feel the need to look at every single piece a museum has to offer. I'm just kind of immediately drawn to things and pay special attention to them, even if it means bypassing other things in the process.

I feel like it might be slightly weird to be as into art as I am. I sort of feel like that art is a lot more casual for most people. That those who know about and appreciate art just know and appreciate it on a sort of back burner in their minds. That they can recall and reference it and appreciate it but it's not the only thing. Art is the only thing to me. I relate things back to art instead of vice versa. I live and die by it. Art makes me believe in past lives because I feel like I must have loved it for centuries to love it as much as I do right now. Art is my soul mate, most likely. It just worms its way into everything I do. I started this blog as a beauty blog to show nail polish on my fingernails and eyeshadow smeared on my forearms but here I am, talking about art, because this is what art does to my life. I feel like I'm dumping my innermost feelings out on here like it's my 9th grade livejournal and all I'm doing is discussing what art means to me.

I feel that art and art museums as some of the most special things that we as a society have. I don't get offended by book burning or flag burning or any of that but the idea of art being destroyed is uniquely awful in my mind. I think it's awful that so much art is tucked away in private collections. Obviously, I'm green with envy but my eccentric billionaire plan would be to collect all the art I wanted and leave it in some spare home I owned, open free to the public (with security personnel and shit, of course) so that it could be appreciated by any one who wanted to see it. You can't experience art without seeing it in person. I've always felt that way but I feel it TWENTY FOLD after this trip. All art that you've ever seen should be seen in person, IRL, before you form any kind of opinion on it.

Which brings me to the art I saw in Italy which was just so unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I've been very fortunate to live in close proximity to New York and in actual Boston and DC. My eyeballs have seen so much art, more than so many people get to see in their lives because of this. And Italy blew this all out of the water. OUT OF THE WATER. So, without further ado, here are my most favorite art related things I saw while in Italy. I'm trying to narrow it down to ONE thing or ONE museum because to try and include it all would be way too much of a tl;dr situation and I'm be up until 2AM typing it all out.

The Vatican

Aside from the obvious classics, the Vatican had a very cool collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings, multimedia, etc of all periods and genres of artwork. The one unifying theme was religion. Just an unbelievably cool collection and something I definitely never expected to see in the Vatican. The only theme you could really do a collection like this with is religion which was obviously THE biggest theme in art for centuries. The purpose of art for centuries, even. Then, even after all this time, artists are still confronting and portraying religion through art. For hundreds and hundreds of years, just all different kinds of artists from so many different countries and races and backgrounds, all using different mediums and techniques to describe the same thing, their relationship with God and faith. It was endlessly fascinating to see the juxtaposition of modern art vs pre Renaissance stuff and how different it looked even though the driving force and ideas behind the works were the same.

An example of one of the modern pieces on faith.

Also included was one of Francis Bacon's screaming pope paintings of Pope Velasquez (an artist who might just be my favorite ever) which I felt was a pretty radial choice for the Vatican to include in their collection.
This collection is just before the Sistine Chapel so a lot of the guided tours skip right over it. It's really, really worth seeing, though. My dad was really disappointed he missed out on it due to being chauffeured around by the tour guide.

 But, of course, THE REASON to visit the Vatican museums is the Sistine Chapel and the Papal Chambers.

My feet standing in the papal chambers in front of Raphael's School of Athens. Just to document that I stood there, in front of it, in real life. This is something that you have studied e n d l e s s l y if you've studied art history. You have most certainly had this on a quiz or a final or something like that. You've had to reference it somehow in someway. It's so surreal to actually see in person after that. Just something you've looked at over and over and over but now it's in front of you and real instead of on a slide or in a textbook. Cannot believe I was even in the same room as this after so many years of memorizing Aristotle's and Plato's hand movements and Raphael's use of perspective. Art history education staple. DONE AND SEEN.

On that note, I feel like I have a personal relationship with this fresco after a semester long Michelangelo course and a final paper on this work. Literally was just thinking of enlarging tiny sections of this on my computer in Boston to try and suck every last detail out of it on my chair in my corner of my library. I was comparing it to Dante's Inferno and just the amount of time I spent with this work made it feel like I was seeing an old friend. I spent a good 10 minutes just staring at this. I can't believe I've finally seen this shit after 23 years. Michelangelo is probably pissed with me for giving so much of a shit about his paintings rather than sculptures WHATEVER YOU SMELL ANYWAY YOU TALENTED OVER EMOTIONAL IDIOT. Everybody from that time period smells, it's true.

The amount of time you hear "SILENCO, NO PHOTO. NO PHOTO." in here is unreal but whatever, ANARCHY FOR VATICAN CITY. I stayed in the Sistine Chapel for a very, very long time. I sat on a bench so I could kind of lean lay myself down and just stare up at the ceiling. There are barely words, really.

Botticelli, especially Birth of Venus, at the Uffizi
Medieval and Renaissance art can kind of blur together for me. I feel like it does for most people aside from people who really specialize in it. Renaissance art can get kind of monotonous for me when you're only seeing it in print, like while browsing the internet or in a textbook. Botticelli fell victim to that for me. Botticelli always seemed like a standard painter from that time. Dude painted Roman themes but H O L Y S H I T his work in person was so good. I thought Birth of Venus was very overhyped before this, like a Hopper's Nighthawks kind of thing or something where I don't really understand why that particular work is one of art history's standouts. I was so, so wrong. Botticelli is underhyped. It sounds so vague to describe a piece of art as just beautiful but that's what his stuff was. Just cut and dry beautiful and serene. It was really breathtaking and very, very, VERY hard to walk away from.
I have no photos because they're not allowed in the Uffizi but it's not like they could do it justice anyway.
 Botticelli's Primavera

 Botticelli's very famous Birth of Venus

I loaded up on Venus souvenirs in the gift shop but I'm just overall bummed out because it's not the same. I want to just barf over how good it was. I lay in bed thinking "Wow, I saw something truly spectacular today" when I was falling asleep that night.
My Birth of Venus lipstick holder. I was debating getting a pill case which I need a bit more for my purse but obviously I have to have the goddess of beauty on something that holds beauty supplies instead of Allegra. 

My Botticelli mug. I'm kind of put off by the schmatlzy writing on the side (unseen in this photo) but I'll just turn it around on the shelf so no one will ever know aside from me. Not even you, blog audience. Aka 2 people.
I also got a magnet and a postcard. I was just loading my arms up with shit. I was so possessed by Botticelli's work that I had to own everything possible. It was like I was a kid in a Disneyland gift shop. I stopped just short of a poster because a. IT WASN'T EVEN CLOSE TO THE REAL THING HOW COULD I LIVE WITH MYSELF and b. I already have way too many things to hang on my walls. My theoretical gallery wall Pintrest board is a mile long. I can't be spontaneously buying things that captivate me. I need to be saving spare dollars for my actual plans.
This is the kind of art shit that makes me sad because I so genuinely wish people felt passionately aout art and I feel like they could, maybe, if they had the chance to see things in person like that. Like, Botticelli? Not even a blip on my radar before seeing his work in person. Sandro WHO? But just spending some quality time with his work has me stanning for B. I want a biography. I want to see all of his paintings in person. I bought a postcard and a mug and a lipstick holder and a magnet. I have elaborate fantasies about tiling a bathroom wall with The Birth of Venus as a mosiac in a future home. All Botticeli everything.

Your opinion on art or an artist can totally change through exhibitions. The last time I felt this way I was maybe 15 or so and too cool for Van Gogh until I went to an exhibit on his drawings at the Met. It blew me away seeing how much his line work emulated his painting style, as if the ink was textured or something. I loved Van Gogh after that and I love Botticelli after this. It just goes to show you can sit in a class room for hours upon hours and make little flashcards and pour over Google images of paintings and feel like you really know an artist but none of it compares to just taking 20 seconds to stand in front of one of their works and take it in.

The Peggy Guggenheim Museum

The Peggy Guggenheim Museum killed me dead. I originally only wanted to go as a modern art cleanser for a trip that was going to be filled with pre 18th century art. Now, I think this museum is up there with Piazza San Marco in terms of must sees for Venice. It's a gorgeous building on the Grand Canal with a sculpture garden where Peggy Guggenheim is also buried.

 Peggy Guggenheim was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim who famously died on the Titanic and the niece of Solomon Guggenheim who is pretty famous for this:

Peggy was a heiress who became an ex-pat in her 20's and was socializing with famous artists and writers in Paris when she was, oh, my age. By her 30's she was opening her own galleries, collecting contemporary art and basically lifting the careers of many artists out of the dirt. Man Ray photographed her. Calder made a headboard for her bed and earrings for her to wear on her body. Ernst married her. Pollock's name is what it is today partially because of her. She collected 40 Ernsts, 10 Picassos and 8 Miros AMONG OTHERS in 7 YEARS.

She later bought the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on Venice's Grand Canal, filled it with her art collection and just lived among it and basked in her own fabulous, occasionally allowing other museums to borrow parts of her collection so the public could see them. 30 years she lived like that. 30 YEARS SLEEPING UNDER A CALDER HEADBOARD. Now, her former home is the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and it's pretty much perfect in every way.

Just to review:
  • Her whole job was "socialiate art curator"
  • Like, that was the whole thing she did. Spent money. Went to parties. Bought and lived among fabulous art. Made friends with artists and obtained more art.
  • Socialiate. Art. Curator.
  • 3 husbands, one of whom was MAX ERNST
  • Had so many affairs that writers started claiming she slept with their fictional characters, too
  • Had such a great eye for art that she launched Pollock's career
  • Buried in her art filled garden next to this laundry list of her dogs. Literally about 11 dogs. And the plaque says she's buried with her "beloved babies" or something like that and I was reading along being like, "WOAH, bummer, she had a lot of kids live until only 4, that is FUCKED UP. Wait, why did she name her kid Peacock? ...Dogs."
Like, fuck. FUUUUCK. What a life. What a legacy on top of it all, to have you personal collection on view and envied almost half a century later. I feel so much jealousy towards this deceased woman that it's almost actual hatred. What a bitch. How dare you have a life that sick?

I bought this postcard so I can have a visual reminder of all you can possibly achieve in life because I both hate out of jealousy and completely idolize this woman, now. My eccentric billionaire fantasy is to have a dizzyingly fabulous art collection and live among it before being able to share that kind of artistic wealth (both literal and figurative) with the world. I die.

Among other postcards I got is this Francis Bacon one of a chimpanzee. This postcard about sums up why you need to see art in real life at least once. This painting is so flat and bland and uncomfortably filled with negative space on the postcard. In real life, it was gorgeous and I stared at it forever.

 I had to settle for a postcard version of Peg's Calder headboard because I can't have the real thing. I should just take it above my bed to just make it all the more pathetic.

I also picked up these Man Ray and Duchamp postcards. In an alternate universe where I never want to have a professional job I have Duchamp's similar "Nude Descending a Staircase" tattooed as a half sleeve on my right arm.

Unfortunately, there was no postcard of this beyond incredible Magritte painting which was both my mom's and I's favorite. I'm obsessed with how he toyed with light in this.

So, there you have it. That's my cathartic experience with Italy's art museums and more than you ever possibly wanted to know about how art and I are pretty much soul mates.