Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Slow Dog Head Tilt

An Introduction and a Non-Kitty
Have you experienced a moment when it feels like your little world tilts slightly off its axis and ends altering something essential in you?  Don't worry!  We're talking makeup so I'm not mulling over anything deep.  (Although, there was that time when I learned Hello Kitty wasn't a cat...

A recent New Yorker cartoon in this very serious and heady topic:

)

The Events That Were a Trigger
Very recently my sister Liz from So Lonely in Gorgeous stuffed a box full of makeup (and assorted delicious things) and sent it to me from Japan.  I was keen in filling out my collection of THREE eye shadow quads as well as get grabby with the new SUQQU palette EX-21 Murasakisuishou.  (All thanks be to Liz for yums and makeups!)
from my Twitter account.
And of course it's been a week of deliriously slathering on all the things on my face.  Of course.  Lately I've acquired quite a tidy amount of new things and while I'm okay with the expense associated it, I was noticing a distinct hrmmppphhppffpppttt feeling.

For instance, when I opened up the new SUQQU palette, I was awash in zingy feelings of teh happy at how pretty the colors were.  But as I played with it, layering this and that combination, I wasn't truly moved.  (Of course we're talking about makeup.  Makeup moves in a way the makeup "moves" which is make me swoon about the shades, the shimmer, the complexity, blah blah)

Tried one placement and then another (washed out phone camera pictures):

 There are 8 shades in that sucker.  I suspect I can be wearing this in different combinations for the rest of my life.

A Realization:
The rest of my life.

Then it struck me, as I thought about this octet and about all my recent purchases (and past purchases) which are all variations on neutrals in every shade, texture and combination of shade and texture.  I have enough already.

As a person purporting to run a beauty blog for personal purposes (ha!  such a bad bad sentence!), I can't possibly buy yet another neutral eye shadow for these supposed personal purposes.  Can I?  *insert dog head tilt here*  I will do a fuller post shortly on the SUQQU EX-21, because it is very beautiful and deserves a post with nice pictures, wordy text, et cetera.  However, as I started formulating thoughts on what I wanted to write in that post, I realized I can say things like:
  • "this is a great palette for someone building a collection of beautiful shimmery neutrals"
  • "add a few neutral mattes and you are set for life"
  • "it's Hammer Time."
Made my inner dog tilt its head and made me ponder why a person like me (with GOBS of makeup, mostly neutrals) needed to add this particular pretty into my collection.

I think I am at a point in my personal collection where I'm looking for the really infinitesimally small aspects that make a particular beauty product more special than others.  (darling, your mileage my vary as we all have different preferences in pigmentation, texture, pricepoints, blabby blabby)  Also, based on my preferences, I've culled back and edited and purged a ton, including beautiful Burberry and Addiction eye shadows.

And lately my hunt for new things tend to me things even more rarified (also tends to be more expensive) than what I already own.  I have recently been hovering at the Serge Lutens counter again, pretty sure I was going to buy eye shadows and the vampy lip color palette.  But none of those felt exceptional to me (certainly not for the prices!).
Serge Lutens vamps!

Have I truly and completely maximum overload in neutrals, fancy lipsticks?

If I gaze deeply into myself and into this blog (again makeup, not life!), a personally motivated blogger does not need one more eye shadow and probably one more anything else.  I can continue down the rabbit hole looking for the most perfect things like:
  • best foundation color match ever.
  • best lipstick formula in a perfect vamp color (I can see this going on for years!)
  • more skincare experiments because my skin keeps changing and being all a pain in the ass
  • the very enticing hunt for more fancy Japanese brushes.
  • other luxury brands to fall in love with.
  • and on and on
Whew!  That all looks really tiring and tiresome.  Since I am at the point where, for me, I have mostly what are the "best" of everything, obtaining any small measure of improvement over what I already use/own/featured on the blog, would be a very dull exercise indeed.

What Does This All Mean?!  Is There a Cheat Sheet for This?
It's like my blog is telling me it can't go on!  I'm very good at ignoring voices in my head though.

Other option can be to say blog for blogging sake and feature all the new releases, the new formula breakthroughs in whatever and keep at it!  I think that would fundamentally change the nature of this "dinky" operation though.  I can see how other bloggers have quit.

Damn it, the blog is experiencing an existential crisis!  Feh!

I'm going to lie down and think long and hard about this.

45 comments :

  1. Anonymous pizza-loving fan here!

    I think that I enjoy your blog, not for the NEW SHINY LUXE moments but rather for your thoughts and personality for which the discussion of cosmetics acts as a scaffold. I know that beauty blogging is your métier, but if you want to diverge to other paths and thoughts... why not?!

    (Also, this season is all nudes and neutrals and the return of the 90s, so yeah.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I require additional infusion of clam pizza for sustenance so I can carry on with this blog. ;)

      90s! Maybe instead of the vamp, I need to go on a search for my brown lipstick now.

      Delete
  2. I have a lot of very similar feelz and deep thoughts - how many more cosmetics can one person accumulate?! Even though I can honestly say I've been editing more than collecting recently, I still have SO much. And there are things I could infinitesimally improve on and I'll probably continue to do so, but it's going to be a slow process, because I refuse now to buy new things before finishing the old (unless they're truly useless). And then on the other hand, fewer and fewer new releases excite me these days :/ But product reviews are not all a beauty blog can be. I don't know. A bit sad times.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I feel your melancholy. There's always little beauty related quests and improvements to run after and blog about, but as a regular person (not a pro blogger), there's only so much one can consume with sanity. Claire makes a valid point that cosmetics technologies evolve over time and there's lot to explore, though.

      Delete
  3. Do your thing, pretty mama. Let your freak flag fly! Admittedly I read this blog for the noms and your delightfully blithe perspective of the mundane and makeup. I'm not a neutrals fan at all, but you can still count me as your neighborhood stalker under the disguise of devout readership. I'm still dreaming of fried chicken and grated ginger. Somehow this homemade shortbread cookie hardly suffices. MUA and the blogsphere has a new hype product every week or day, and those are always neat and shiny, but it gets exhausting. I like my small edited stash, and I'm not sure if you're like me, but I still haven't unlocked the full potential of my makeup. So many layers, combos and techniques to master. It's like cosmetics pokemon here! Just do you.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hey Aisling, don't knock any homemade cookie! A shortbread with a cup of tea would be really nice about now for me. It is challenging (and exhausting!) to keep up with all the new stuff that people on bulletin boards and blogs rave about. It's also $$$ to try to keep up buying and then posting blog posts about it. I seem to be running into some logical end point. :) But as you say, there is a lot to explore maximizing makeup in terms of techniques. There is a great deal of fun in that.

      Delete
  4. Well, I love your blog no matter what you're talking about. The fact that you love neutrals and vampy lipsticks is pure bonus. I love seeing the new formulas that are emerging, I think it's an exciting time right now in cosmetics. And I think I need a new HG foundation every other year or so, it's just in the nature of getting older and changing skin + new formulations. So there's that. However, follow the Isley Brothers, baby: it's your thing/ do what you wanna do
    xoxoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree on needing to evolve HG foundations every once in a awhile! My skin has changed so much even since starting this blog (much more drier than it ever has been). Lately I'm pampering myself with much more hydrating skincare as well as color makeup that sits better on my skin as well.

      Now I have IB song in my head. And then last night husband was singing Ebony & Ivory. Both are stuck in my head. Send help!

      Delete
  5. That sounds like a fabulous package to get! I hope you love it all, and it proves to be exceptional :)

    (I recognize that Visee quad! I hate the packaging, but those eyeshadows remind me of Burberry neutrals. Love them.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to depot my Visee suckers into a Z palette soon. Lovely eye shadows, eh?

      Delete
  6. i do enjoy your blog but i also enjoy these self-actualization moments too. im sure there's still enough beauty to blog about w/o presenting new and newly bought items all the time. actually i'm getting to be the same. lately nothing has really justificied itself as being different enough to really merit being bought or a 'must try'. a lot of things fall into my radar but about 98% of the time, i tend to forget about them. though there is still the small handful of items on my wishlist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've continuously rampaged through alllll the items on my wishlist that I really wish for very little at this point. There are certain brands (in specific seasons) that always catch my eye, but my tendency to love neutrals make me purchase too many things that are too close to what I already own. :) I know! I have such a FWP.

      Delete
  7. I enjoy the totality of your blog. The beauty bits, the brooding bits, basically all your belly bits. (I don't meat hat to be nearly as creepy as it sounds.) I'm happy to read what you write about, whatever it might be.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ARGH! And I totally didn't mean to write "meat hat" while assuring you of my non-creepiness. "Mean that" NOT "meat hat"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need a meat hat. We all need a meat hat! :) Don't you just detest that you can't edit blogger comments? The awesome thing is when these weird typos become such a hilarity. I laughed so hard when I read this I may have peed a little in my stretchy elastic waist band pants.

      Delete
  9. I do feel that my collection consists mainly of neutrals. Maybe some has a twist/two, but those are within what I know would work for my skin. When a collection is so.. plush, adding another feather in an already-plush pillow won't make the pillow plushier.
    With that said, I think I do update my collections from time to time. Before, my e/s consisted of Bobbi Brown (I owned the Chocolate Palette, Rich Chocolate Palette, Triple-dip chocolate palette, caramel-covered chocolate palette, you name it), until Burberry was released and I thought the technology, texture, twist of color, pairings, etc. are more modern than BB's 90s vibe that I actually get rid of all my BB palettes (I have none now, no regret whatsoever). Now I'm happy with my Burberry/Chanel/other neutrals that I owned. In the future, I feel the need to, I can see myself revamping my collection to something more modern, sophisticated, better technology etc. which is why I think Suqqu would fit the bill, for example.

    I don't see a problem of purchasing the same variation of makeup with the purpose to upgrade, so to speak. Neutrals now have different vibe than BB circa 2000 (where everything WAS neutral but in a brownish sort of way). Bobbi's felt modern then.. yea like almost 20 years ago! If you think SL is an upgrade from your Suqq-collection, perhaps it is the direction that it should go. There will always be an audience for more product reviews. I think the key is not to get trapped of keep buying more just for the sake of buying (which we all are easy prey).

    ReplyDelete
  10. O.k. I know I've yakked a lot so I keep this one short:

    Have you/anyone else ever noticed that the big beauty bloggers NEVER/RARELY mentioned/discussed/touched about the subject buying/purchasing/purging/lemmings, etc. etc.? It seems like they always buy & review, buy & review, repeat & rinse? I wonder if this is the key to having a long-lasting beauty blogging, just be a deep, massive, rabbit hole of never-ending purchase/product acquisition & review? (Not that I'm not thankful for those bloggers, heck, I do! They are the ones who saved me money)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha! Sometimes the correlation beween price & quality doesn't hold in the case of the SL eye shadow palettes. Have you sometimes had the experience when you swatch in the store, eye shadows feel so much richer, smoother and more pigmented? I think when products gets finger swabbed repeated at a counter, it takes on those properties (make oils? ew!). The SL was oddly patchy, dry and sheer despite showing signs of repeated handling. That's when I realized it and I were not meant to be together. :(

      I totally agree with your assessment on the changes in neutrals over time. I also owned a fair amount of BB singles and palettes and then as I started to explore other brands, both the esthetics and the quality failed to compare favorably to the other ones I've tried.

      I do see the smaller blogs discuss the topic, but don't see much mention of the rinse/repeat cycle on the big blogs. I do think that the ennui of this cycle is often what makes blogs go kablooie. You know what I mean? The tedium, the expense and sometimes the soul-sucking nature of it makes it hard to keep going.

      Delete
  11. Who says that a beauty blog has to record and celebrate endless acquisition? You seem to think that your deep thoughts and your feelings of satiation are signs that you should stop blogging, but to me, they're signs that you should keep blogging. Tell us what you think a well-edited makeup collection should have, how to know when you have enough, how to use what you've collected in a variety of ways. OR stop blogging if that's best for you right now! Don't let us pressure you into writing if you'd rather not. But know that for me, product reviews are the least interesting aspect of beauty blogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) No one dictates a particular model of beauty blogging (endless buying, swatching, posting allll the new things) but it seems to a very prevalent model no? And I'm too lazy & lacking innovation to think about all the different ways of posting. Do you know what I mean?

      And I am SO not well-edited and not to the degree where I can even think I have a right to state so. In essence, I am a big acquirererer of pretty & pricey things because that is the nature of Belly...in essence!

      Delete
  12. Hi Belly
    Once again you have pulled my thoughts straight out of my brain...... I think that blogs that as you put it are personally motivated do run in to this wall of continual want/need/ pleasure/creativity hamster wheel cycle -I know I am continually on it -I do truly love this crazy world of informal beauty blogging and love the everything about it but once again you have actalualised what I feel -I am coming to lie down with you -with my new Japanese brush of course!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jo, come over and let's talk deep thoughts about all the undeep things (makeup & buying lots of it)! I bet a lot of what I say resonate so strongly with you and with others like me/you because it is an essential truth: there is a natural end to personal makeup buying/blogging because we run out of money/interest/face space to keep at it! :)

      Delete
  13. The people who take away all our money will always come up with something.

    You should never leave! There's not much 'dinky' blogs around. I'm ok if eventually posts become few and far apart. I hope you don't leave for good.

    PS. Totally being selfish here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am totally sure companies will continue to trot out their best new show ponies to make me go ooh and aah! I lack complete immunity from marketing assault and pretty colors and cases! :)

      I have so much non-makeup stuff to say! What makes it easy about makeup blogging is that a standard template for posting already exists and is easy to fall into and use.

      Delete
  14. Love your blog, love your deep thoughts. I can't stand the superficial breathless excitement of some blogs with endless product parades, everyone fighting over the stupid and misogynistic Tom Ford drips and drabs....I say, do what you feel like doing.
    I for one have been a contrarian, mostly because I developed an allergy to my Chanel lipsticks, so I've been testing in store and got some smooth and soothing Guerlain glosses and Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadows, which nobody seems to talk about. Makeup is fun, but when it's a chore, dump it!
    I do hope you stick around, and post more foodie items...like a bacon cake? LMFAO!!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. With fall rapidly approaching, I am GOING to learn to bake a pie. Maybe instead of bacon pie (baconnnn), I post apple pie of the month.

      Urg! Sorry to hear about your allergies! I am thankful I don't seem to have any particular allergies to a cosmetics ingredient (that I can tell), but it does give you a nice excuse to try out all the pretty lip things! Dump the makeup..! Dump the blog! :DD

      Delete
  15. Belly, I enjoy reading your blog BECAUSE of your ramblings. They make me think and they make me laugh. Remember on Seinfeld how after each episode Jerry would do a one minute dialogue about something you could totally relate to in real life? Each time I would laugh & think, "YEAH, he's right!" You are the Seinfeld of the makeup bloggers world honey. We need you to keep it light & make us laugh. =D

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    1. :) I blog about nothing! I shall give you a celebratory two hand shove a la Elaine!

      Delete
  16. Nevermind, I'm sure that as long as you like makeup you'll end up purchasing new things, although more spaced in time. And meanwhile I'm sure you'll discover nice product combinations that you want to share with us. Enjoy :) !

    ReplyDelete
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    1. :) Thanks Hue. I suppose this blog will do what it will do: be it slow down, stop, change directions. I go with the flow.

      Delete
  17. "I think I am at a point in my personal collection where I'm looking for the really infinitesimally small aspects that make a particular beauty product more special than others."

    This is absolutely the stage I'm in. I want to start really USING my makeup. I want it to fit in a small amount of space (because, c'mon, I'll never be rich), and I want it to suit my needs without me having to fuss over five different lipsticks. Do I really need 5 blue-based reds? No, I can find the best of those!

    I don't think it has to end your blog, though! People love purging posts. And if you can do a thousand combinations with that palette, I wanna see them!

    Also, blogger hates me lately, so sorry if a similar comment pops up twice. :/

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Blogger and comments are just so crappy! Blogger eats my own comments on my own blog!

      You have such a iron-willed discipline with purging, but I am really wishy washy. It's very easy to get rid of things that are true dud in color and quality aspects, but I'm really attached to all my pretty things!

      Delete
  18. Hey Sis,

    Do I have to go to all the beauty counters at Isetan and purchase one of everything to keep you going? Don't make me fly to New York and give you a bad makeover! Remember, I know where you live, I have enough frequent flyer miles, and I'm not afraid to use them :P

    You may just be going through a early midlife beauty crisis. With all these encouraging comments, it's apparent that everyone enjoys your blog, your writing style, and most importantly, you. Don't get me wrong, I love reading your thoughts on new items, and seeing your beautiful looks, but I tune in to read whatever it is you have to express. I hope I'm making sense. I've been up since 3am, had a long day of work, it's 10pm, and I'm about to pass-out with a face full of makeup.

    You don't have to buy new things to keep the blog going. Revisit your existing collection, create looks with them and share.

    Heck, for all I care you could do a post of whether you prefer plastic or paper grocery bags :P

    Okay, I'm getting delusional. Let me know when you can skype. You are the best!

    xoxoxo

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    Replies
    1. LIZ! You've susses out my ulterior motive. Can you fly out immediately from Japan to visit me and give me a makeup re-do on my face! :DDD That would be so fun! I don't even care if you make me look like the scary clown in Poltergeist because I can say you did it.

      I am going to message you so we can set up our skype date. xoxo

      Delete
  19. Dear Belly, I think we have established the fact that people love your ramblings.. only you can come up with euphemisms like your inner dog head tilt, and "a person purporting to run a beauty blog for personal purposes"! So yeah, as Liz says, go write about paper or plastic grocery bags, or even make me gain pounds just by looking at your cooking... just for god's sake, don't stop. Need-random-doses-of-belly!

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    Replies
    1. :) You are very kind, Linda. I go plastic and reuse plastic bags until they start falling apart. And then I stick them into recycling. Paper is good, too, when the store gives a little discount on bringing my own bag. :D I am full of lots of random thoughts, that's for sure.

      Delete
  20. *Lies down next to you...and lets out a small fart* Pfff...ffff…ffffff…What's an existential crisis without some cathartic release of the mind AND body? :D

    In all seriousness, *waves away fumes* , I encounter a similar problem when trying out new makeup, since many of the new innovations don't live up to the quality and performance of my already aggressively edited, albeit tiny, makeup collection. So, in this respect, I completely understand the mismatch of expectation and reality, which can turn into boredom and eventual frustration when looking for makeup improvements! Write about what you love, not tolerate! Besides, I am totally content with your non-makeup posts. After reading your post on Seoul noms, I promptly wiped away my saliva and bought a packet of Perilla seeds with the intention of raising an indoor Perilla patch soon…Please wish me luck, since my thumb is rather fleshy in color and far from green :O! *HULK SMASH*


    -Josie

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    Replies
    1. HEHEHE! >.> What's that smell?!

      I would love to grow my own perilla leaves, too! They are really expensive when you buy at the Korean market and I think they grow really well. They are so delicious seasoned and pickled or to wrap up all the delicious bbq stuff as ssam. I will definitely need to grow this! :D HONGRY NOW.

      Josie, maybe I've explored enough of all the nooks and crannies of makeup related things as I can handle that I've maxed out on $$$, space, and even interest. I think that is totally possible.

      Delete
  21. I decluttered myself down to a scary point -- I'm not quite at a capsule makeup collection yet (HA), but I managed to go from 200 to 30 polishes in the last year. Honestly, little by little, as you use your collection, you'll learn what works, what you truly love, and what products will make their way back around. I'm tempted by EVERY single blue polish, lip-perfecting gloss and olive foundation, but of those three, I would only purchase the foundation. While Olive foundations are rare, there will always be another blue polish I can't get enough of, and a million glosses that give me that perfect shine. It's counterintuitive, but the more you purchase, the more you learn about what you purchase, why you should/shouldn't purchase it, and it will change the way you interact with all future products.

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    Replies
    1. I recently read your post with how you organize your stash and OMG! You've really whittled it down! I envy your ruthless purging prowess! You are fierce!
      I've become very educated over the years (through the blog & otherwise) about what I like and what works, but I am always curious about the new & the next so hence my collection is GIIIIIINORMOUS! :) I see your blue polish and raise you a neutral eye shadow!

      Delete
  22. Oh, hello! Yes, I'm alive. But my absence clearly shows that I very much relate to your musings here. I've been struggling to keep up my blog along with an insane day-job schedule, and also have started questioning how much new makeup one person can possibly buy (without hope of ever finishing what she already has). I'm in a quandary, and I heartily feel your pain. I have barely had time to even read blogs lately, but I always enjoy yours. If that means anything. :)

    Shani x
    She Dreams in Perfect French

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    Replies
    1. Hello Shani! So lovely to see your comment and seeing your recent new post. :) It is a tough thing to keep a beauty blog chugging along for all the reasons you state.

      Delete
  23. @@ how did I miss this belleh post!
    Every time you talk about de-cluttering your stash or when I see the gems in your blog sales, I'm always in awe at how much determination and strength you have to get rid of all those pretties... then I sigh at my lack of iron steel balls to just do whats necessary!
    I think tastes and interest change and rotate constantly, so perhaps you're just in a lull with regards to all the makeups (I did get a feeling you went back on a want-to-buy-makeup moment last month).
    Perhaps you needn't think of your blog as a beauty blog, but just a personal blog for personal purposes ;) I'll remain an eager stalker whatever you want to post!

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    Replies
    1. Stalk away! I purge a lot of items that I see end up being highly coveted (Tom Ford Enchanted, Burnished Amber, etc), but unless I use them, I need to lose them. I am definitely a collector, but I need all those things in my collection to get at least some use. I also learned a lot by comparing one similar product to another and eventually, I want to have the best of the best (for my preference). :) Also, I end up buying big duds every once in a while.
      I bought a lot of skincare recently and filling in my THREE collection a bit, but seriously, how much neutral shimmer does one possibly need...you know, personally? :D

      Delete
  24. This is why I'm a minimalist, Belly. The edited stash is a natural progression from the avid collector. If you're any kind of empiricist you can't help recognizing patterns in your acquisition, and if you're any kind of neurotic, the redundancy starts to feel like clutter. Some people see minimalism as a zen approach: not true. If anything it is more involved and finicky and detail-obsessed, even more deeply mired.

    ReplyDelete

I would love to know what you think! What say you?

Feel free to link to your own or other blogs posts that are relevant to our discussion here. That is always encouraged. I love finding new great blogs to read! Relevant is the key word here! I reserve right to delete!

But for all our sake, no promotions or referrals to your blogsales, swaps, contests and the like.

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