Monthly Archives: September 2017
What I’m reading: The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett. This 1920s novel is set at Mount Rainier and is part of the author’s Vintage National Parks series. I love it so much that I plan to interview the author at a later date. Stay tuned!
What I’m listening to: Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy podcast. Because hope springs eternal.
What I’m grooving to: The “Classical Plus” track on the Focus at Will app. Classical instrumentals with no lyrics is the best music to keep my focus and concentration levels high.
What I’m going to: Saturday at 4 EST, the awards gala at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference. As the event is taking place in Dallas and I am in Idaho, I’m attending by live-streaming. (My book is up for an award in the Debut Novel category–your prayers are appreciated!) In lieu of an evening gown and strappy high-heeled sandals, I’ll be wearing comfies and my favorite penguin slippers.
What I’m working on: A Christmas-themed short story. Still. Plus a couple of editing projects for clients.
How’s your Friday going?
I’ve been enjoying a Canadian series on television that’s certainly not new (it’s on something like season 11), but it’s new to me. Set in the 1890s Toronto, Murdoch Mysteries features a bright young detective who solves gruesome murders using tactics from the field of forensic science, still in its infancy–techniques we take for granted today, like fingerprinting.
I must admit, I don’t enjoy “gruesome,” and the term is apt in many episodes. However, the stories are well told, the solutions are interesting and keep me guessing, and the characters are well established and mostly likeable. William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) is a serious, even brooding detective, an Irish Catholic recovering from a past heartbreak. Medical examiner Dr. Julia Ogden (Helene Joy) is, somewhat conveniently, a woman, equally bright and more than able to stomach the morgue procedures she performs with relish. There are hints of a budding romance between these two (no spoilers, please–obviously I’m not very far along in the series yet). Inspector Thomas Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) veers between doubt and awe at Murdoch’s unconventional methods. Bumbling constable George Crabtree (Jonny Harris) has the wide-eyed clumsiness of youth, but is a good-hearted chap, eager to be of service and learn the ropes from his mentor.
What else I like: The series mixes in real history, like storylines involving Nikola Tesla and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is fun. And of course I love seeing the detailed settings, costumes and props depicting Toronto in the late-Victorian era.
I understand Murdoch Mysteries is based on a series of novels by Maureen Jennings. I must seek them out.
What I’m reading: Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan. If you like the small-town charm and warm friendships of Jan Karon’s books, give this series a try. Life in Chapel Springs is the fourth book in the series (after Chapel Springs Revival, Chapel Springs Survival, and Home to Chapel Springs), but IMO you don’t need to have read the earlier books to enjoy this latest one.
What I’m listening to: The Write from the Deep podcast by Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young. Thoughtful inspiration for creative minds and a regular reminder of why we do what we do.
What I’m grooving to: The soundtrack to Chicago.
What I’m going to: Tonight: Stamp Camp at Cocolalla Bible Camp to exercise creativity of a different sort (and maybe get started on my–gulp–Christmas cards). Tomorrow, brunch with friends to catch up on what we’re writing, reading, and learning.
What I’m working on: A Christmas-themed short story. No matter how hard we apply the brakes, the holidays will be here before we know it.
How’s your Friday going?
I don’t do a lot of product reviews on this blog (well, except for books, lol) but I feel compelled to share something that has gladdened my vintage-loving heart, and I thought some of you might get a kick out of it, too.
It’s a cosmetics company called Bésame, out of California. Founded by artist and cosmetic historian Gabriela Hernandez, Bésame produces cosmetics that replicate shades and formulas from the early- to mid-twentieth century (updated to today’s product-safety standards, and all products are cruelty-free and paraben-free).
I’d heard about Bésame a while back, but held off purchasing because the prices seemed a little high for my admittedly modest make-up budget. But I joined the mailing list, and it turns out they offer some great deals now and then that let me try some products without straining the piggy bank. I suppose I should mention here that I have no connection to the company, and any product I review, I purchased with my own money.
The items came packaged with a fun faux-“newspaper,” the Bésame Bugle, that describes not only the products and how to use them, but other newsy tidbits. For example, an article introducing their 1937 “Snow White” collection explains how the color palette was chosen based on the original animated film. Another article tells about Adriana Caselotti, the teenage Italian-American opera singer who voiced Snow White (described as “the perfect mix of child-like innocence with a strong operatic singing voice”). There’s even a word-search puzzle that had me hunting for “Evil Queen” and “True Loves Kiss”! Be still, my heart. These “newspapers” are a great example of how a company can promote its products and philosophy without being sales-y.
Back to the products. First off, the packaging is lovely–burgundy and gold in an Art Nouveau floral motif. Just looking at them on my shelf makes me happy. Two shades of lipstick I’ve tried are Victory Red (a vivid patriotic red–I believe it was a special edition, as I no longer find it on the website) and American Beauty (a softer berry red). The formula is more matte than glossy, which is good for me because gloss never seems to last too long on my lips. The instructions explain how to apply with the angled tip and blot with a tissue, which is exactly how I remember my mother applying her lipstick, back in the day.
I also remember my mom using cake mascara before the advent of the applicator-in-a-tube. Hers came in a little red box from Maybelline and was applied with a tiny brush that looked like something a doll would use. Bésame’s comes in a red-and-gold tin containing a cake of mascara and its own tiny brush. So far I’ve been a little too clumsy with the brush to make a success of it on my lashes, but I’ve found that I love using it as eye liner. I wet a narrow brush with water, brush it over the cake, and apply a thin line right next to my lashes. Works great!
Next I tried Cashmere Foundation in True Beige. It comes in stick form and takes a bit of blending, but I like how well it covers the redness in my face. I tend not to apply it all over, just in the areas where it’s needed, and I blend, blend, blend (sponge or fingers work well). Then I set it with Vanilla Brightening Powder, which comes with it’s own darling little puff. although I prefer a fluffy brush. It’s a finely-milled powder in a light, translucent color with a delicate vanilla scent. There are, of course, multiple shades to choose from, even color-correcting rose and violet. There are several cream and powder rouges available, too, but I usually skip rouge because of the aforementioned redness.
Finally, I picked up a sample set called “Decades of Fragrance.” The set contains six sample-size vials of colognes named–get this, vintage lovers–1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, and 1960! According to the company website, each scent “uses familiar ingredients from each period to create an impression of a decade of time.” (Note: The vials came packaged in a small cardboard box, not in the red velvet bag shown in the photo above. The bag is my own–but what a cute way to package them for Christmas, dontcha think?)
To wrap up, I feel like this company really “gets” me, as a customer and a fellow lover of all things vintage. I’m eager to try other products as needs arise and the coffers allow. Even if I’d just bought one lipstick, I would have enjoyed feeling transported back to the grace and elegance of an earlier era, connected somehow to generations of ladies who came before us. If that sounds like your kind of travel, visit Bésame and check out what they have to offer.