Hello, 2016: Museum goals update


In lieu of Curator's Corner today I want to take some time to discuss all the things that are in my head but will most likely not accomplish in the coming year.  I know it doesn't seem like I have any goals due to my lack of follow-through, but I have so many ideas and projects I want to work on I thought I'd share them and revisit ones from years past.  The big ones throughout the years seem to be the following:

Overhaul the website.  I've been saying this literally for the past 3 years (check my 2013 goals post for proof), but it needs to happen.  This is not a typical beauty blog but it's also not a typical museum either, so examples of existing sites are of little help, and it's tough to figure out where to begin.  However, I wanted to make sure everyone is aware that I know the site badly needs a refresh, as I began it in 2008 and the design is stuck firmly in that time period.  Oof.

Books, books and more books.  I think the reason why I don't many any progress on any of the books that I want to write is because I have too many ideas and I can't prioritize.  There's the coffee table book that I've been talking about forever, the '90s beauty book (I at least have the chapters laid out for that), art and makeup book (inspired by this publication), fashion and beauty book (similar to the art and makeup one), and while's not makeup-related, I have a book full of essays on '90s pop culture brewing too.  So that's 5 total.  I don't know which one to try to tackle first, or how to do that while working full-time and maintaining this blog. 

So many exhibitions, so little time.  Five books is nothing compared to the amount of exhibitions I have rattling about in my head.  I have, let's see *consults spreadsheet* at least 15 special exhibitions I'd love to execute eventually.  Seriously?!  Like the books I want to write, I can't prioritize.  They all seem like timely themes so I have difficulty choosing just one to concentrate on.  And the bigger ones will, like my books, require an extraordinary amount of research and resources I don't have access to.

Create an online library.  I got the idea for this 2 years ago and haven't done anything.  Again, I just don't know where to start.

Improve my photography skills (or acquire some).  Every time I research how to take better pictures the same thing always happens - I get overwhelmed and end up not doing anything. 

Establish a brick and mortar space for the Museum or have a pop-up exhibition at an existing gallery. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I've come to the conclusion that as long as I'm working full-time this is never happening. 

That's more or less it for now.  I wish I could say I'm going to make some headway on at least one of these, but it's not realistic.  And I know all the typical advice says to break down big projects into smaller steps, but every time I do that I realize there are about 1,000 steps for the projects I want to do, leading to me getting completely frustrated and defeated.  I guess the point of this post is that even as I acknowledge I won't get any of these goals accomplished, I wanted to jot down these ideas online because they're taking up so much space in my brain.  As the Dude says, "A lotta strands to keep in my head, man...a lotta strands in the old duder's head." 

What are some things you've got knocking around in your noggin?  Do you think you'll see them through?

MM Curator's picks and pans for 2015

It's just a few hours before it's officially 2016 here on the East Coast, so with that in mind, here are the Curator's picks and pans in makeup packaging/design for 2015.  I'll start with the picks.

1. PaiPai!  This new-to-me brand captured my heart when I read that for each season's collection a different artist is chosen to create the packaging.  Additionally, the line pays tribute to Mexico's cultural heritage by featuring only Mexican artists, which I think is genius.

Pai Pai lipsticks

2.  For her first limited edition/artist collab, Charlotte Tilbury did an excellent job borrowing the work of famed Vogue photographer Norman Parkinson to appear on a carefully selected lineup of face products and bags. Nars, please take note - THIS is how you team up with a fashion photographer.

Charlotte Tilbury/Norman Parkinson

3.  I squealed out loud when I first laid eyes on Paul & Joe's precious Cap'n Kitty face powder. It's the most adorable cat they've done in a while, and Paul & Joe is no stranger to putting cute cats on their packaging.

Paul & Joe Cap'n Kitty

Lastly, I'm going to toot my own horn and give an honorable mention to my own (entirely fictional) Broad City collection.  :)

And now for the pans* - items that I think could have been a little (okay, a lot) better. 

1.  I am still scratching my head over Dior's Kingdom of Color spring 2015 collection.  Apparently it was inspired by Dior's "love of color" (really, who doesn't love color?) and the items were embossed with the Dior crest.  However, I have no idea why they went with the crest for this particular collection; it sounds like their marketing team decided to slap it on everything and dreamed up a faux majestic name that weakly attempts to tie into both the crest and Dior's "love of color".  Eh.  Compared with Dior's previous releases this could have been more inspired and less muddled.  I would have focused solely on the crest or the use of vivid color in Dior's collections instead of trying to make some vague connection between the two. 

Dior Kingdon of Colors palette
2.  It was a tie between Yaz Bukey for Shu and Philip Treacy for MAC.  Both collections had the same problem: great idea, not-so-great execution.  Shu and MAC had the luxury of collaborating with some very talented designers, but their visions just weren't reflected well in the finished product (at least in my opinion.)

Yazbukey for Shu Uemura - cleansing oils

MAC Phlip Treacy powder

3.  And another tie (I know I'm kind of cheating here but again, these items suffered from the same affliction in my eyes, making them one and same):  Craig & Karl for Sephora and Keith Haring for Clarisonic.  I admit that maybe these weren't so bad packaging-wise, but I find both Haring's and Craig & Karl's work to be extremely ugly.  There I said it. 

Craig & Karl for Sephora

Keith Haring x Clarisonic(images from sephora.com and nordstrom.com)

Do you agree with my picks and pans?  Take a look through the archives if you're so inclined and let me know yours.  Oh, and you can also see picks and pans for 2014, 2013, and 2011


*I would have included the Nars/Steven Klein garbage in my most disappointing items of the year, but 1. I don't want to revisit the collection as it still pisses me off so much; and 2. I initially thought the packaging was interesting before I found out what a tool Mr. Klein is.

Friday fun: Fantasy collab: Broad City x Ardency Inn

FINALLY!  I've been waiting for months to find out when season 3 of Broad City will debut, and it's just been announced that our fearless heroines Abbi and Ilana will be back on February 17, 2016.  In honor of this momentous event, I'm pleased to share a post I've been working for a while now in breathless anticipation:  a fantasy Broad City makeup collection!  I had a tough time selecting the company that would team up with them - contenders included ColourPop, Urban Decay and of course the ever-popular MAC - but I ended up with Ardency Inn since they are New York-based and I felt both they and Broad City capture the feel of NYC so well.  Plus, one of my favorite scenes involves Abbi shopping at Whole Foods with Bingo Bronson, in which he requests that she purchase, among many other things, manuka honey ("So reasonably priced!  Buy me that, Abbi!"), and Ardency Inn offers manuka-infused eye shadows, so I think that was a sign I made the right choice.

I raided my husband's Pantone swatch book and got to work on choosing colors.  These aren't the exact shades I'd come up with, especially since they look so different on screen than in the book, but they give you an idea. All of the outer packaging would feature Mike Perry's illustrations from the show's opening credits

First up, lipsticks and eye liner.  I'd use this image for the packaging (both the boxes and tubes):

Broad City opening credits

And here are swatches.  Val About Town and Last Supper would be satin finishes, Vulvarine and Pegasoos would be matte, and Wanna Fook? and Working Girls would be glossy and sheer.  Yas Queen would be an existing product - Ardency Inn's Punker ("the world's baddest eyeliner) - to help you achieve Ilana's killer eye makeup in the rooftop party scene in the "Fattest Asses" episode.  I have pretty specific reasons as to why I chose the shades I did but frankly I'm too lazy to explain what went on in my head for every single color.  Generally speaking, I tried to pick out colors that were both wearable and fun, and that were borrowed from a beauty look one of the girls wore at one point or at least had something to do with a particular episode or scene.

Broad City fantasy makeup collection

Now, I know Ardency Inn's current product lineup doesn't include nail polishes, but I have a feeling they'd simply have to formulate something for this collection - the girls enjoy polish and getting manicures.  Shades would include Garol (sheer ivory beige, just like a spoonful of her beloved yogurt), Kirk Steele (dark silver) and Bingo Bronson (blue creme with orange and red glitter - unfortunately I couldn't figure out a way to represent the glitter in the swatch.)  Packaging and swatches:

Broad City by Mike Perry

Broad City fantasy makeup collection - nail polishes

You can also sport Abbi's "Famous Favorites" food/celebrity matchups on your nails via these cool decals.  I think Abbi would probably have a way to redesign them slightly to properly fit both the celebrity's name and food item on the decal - again, this is just to give you a rough idea.  Of course, if these don't appeal to you you can always get this set of decals; however, I think my idea is way more creative.  (I swear I didn't know Broad City nail decals were an actual thing you could buy until after I got the idea for mine...on a whim I googled and was floored to see someone else had thought of them.)

Broad City fantasy makeup collection - nail decals
(images from famousfavorites.tumblr.com)

Next up, palettes.  Adrenaline! is for the days you need an extra shot in the arm (or leg, as the case may be), full of bold, bright colors.  Nature's Pocket consists of more, well, natural shades - neutrals for a range of skintones.  Hopefully, anyway.  It's very tough to do that with only 6 colors but I didn't want it to be some kind of ginormous palette as I didn't feel like it was in keeping with Abbi and Ilana's characters.  And where would we be without the guys that also make us laugh?  So I had to do a Boys of Broad City mini cream blush palette.  I left out Trey because one of the nail polishes was named after him...or rather his, ahem, alter ego.  ;)  Outer packaging for each palette and their respective swatches are below. 

Broad City opening credits

Broad City opening credits

Broad City opening credits

Broad City fantasy makeup collection

There will also be makeup pouches to show off your fandom. One would use another Mike Perry illustration but the other would feature the map of NYC drawn by Abbi:

Broad City opening credits

Broad City map by Abbi Jacobson
(images from mikeperrystudio.com and huffingtonpost.com)

I was originally going to do a brush set too, but, again, it didn't feel like it would be consistent with their characters. I can't see either Abbi or Ilana using brushes regularly.  Abbi seems the type to use the applicators that come with the product, while, on an average day (i.e., not when she's going to a fancy birthday dinner or applying makeup to a nearly unconscious Abbi), Ilana would most likely just smear everything on with her fingers.

Broad City fans, what do you think?  Does my imaginary collection reflect the essence of the show and its ever-hilarious characters?  Would you buy any of the collection if it somehow became a reality?



Happy National Lipstick Day!

In honor of National Lipstick Day (who decides these things, anyway?) here's a little gathering of  lipstick-themed bags at different price points.

Save:  Sephora Beauty Insider tote bag - free with 250 Beauty Insider points

Sephora Beauty Insider tote bag

Here are some larger images...the bag is roomy enough to fit a full-sized Babo!

Sephora Beauty Insider tote

Sephora Beauty Insider tote

Spend:  Lipstick bags available via Society6, $22 each

Lipstick tote bags via Society 6
(images from society6.com)

Splurge:  Prada lipstick print shoulder bag, available for a mere $2,400 at Saks and Neiman Marcus

Prada Saffiano lipstick bag
(image from neimanmarcus.com)

There's also a smaller bag with this print available for "only" $990.  I have to admit that if it went on sale for, say, 90% off I'd totally buy it.  Or maybe one of these Saint Laurent lipstick print bags- the colors are a little more subtle and versatile.  A girl can dream...

Hope you're enjoying National Lipstick Day! 

Quick update

Hello.  Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware that it's been quite a tumultuous week here in Baltimore.  So I thought I'd let you know that I'd like to have been blogging but since I both live and work downtown I've been very distracted with what's going on, plus sleep-deprived.  I haven't slept well since the convenience store in my building, which we live directly over, got looted last Monday.  (I'd show some pics but that would be akin to posting my home address.)  Needless to say I was rattled by witnessing part of the building get destroyed mere feet from where I was standing, as I was in the living room when I looked out the window and saw a large group of teenagers running through rush-hour traffic towards the building.  It's very unsettling to have your home surrounded by an angry mob and feeling the floor vibrate from the destruction going on right beneath you.   The husband and I went outside about an hour afterwards to assess the damage and help clean up what we could and I saved a little shard of glass.  I don't know why.


We didn't sleep at all that night, especially as our property manager advised us to "keep the lights off and pray" and I spent the last week barely sleeping since I was terrified they'd be back to torch the place.  I'm always petrified of fire anyway so the rioting only exacerbated my fear...not to mention a guy got caught using a crowbar to pry off the plywood used to board up the store the following evening (fortunately the police were monitoring the security camera at the intersection near the building and arrested him before he he had a chance to get in.)  Plus seeing vehicles like this parked outside my home throughout the week is also unsettling.  Poor Sailor Babo - I had to explain to him that it wasn't a funny-looking ice cream truck.

police truck

I hope to get back to regular posting later this week.  Most importantly though, while I've told you my experience, it's not about me.  It's about the much larger issue of police brutality, especially towards people of color, and in this case some members of the Baltimore police force are ultimately the ones to blame for the unrest.  None of this would have happened if they hadn't, you know, arrested someone on false charges and then proceed to injure him so severely that he DIED in custody.  Combine this outrageous act with decades of poverty in certain areas of the city and systemic racism, and it's no surprise some people rioted.  I don't condone it at all, especially since some businesses may never recover, but I understand why it happened.  It's also important to remember that by and large the protesting was overwhelmingly peaceful.  But I still think the whole Freddie Gray situation was just so messed up, and I hope real change is on the way. 

Anyway, please consider donating to help rebuild the areas that were affected.  More info here and here.

MM Curator's picks and pans for 2014

In lieu of Curator's Corner today I'm doing my yearly picks and pans, i.e., featuring the design highs and lows for makeup this year (see previous years here and here, and here).  My faves for 2014:

1. Mika Ninagawa for Shu Uemura:

Mika Ninagawa for Shu Uemura, spring 2014

This was the third collaboration between the artist and Shu Uemura.  In my opinion, it was the best of the three.  The fantasy worlds she created were so colorful and crazy you couldn't help but smile when you saw them. 

2. Chanel Dentelle Précieuse:

Chanel Dentelle Precieuse palette

We've seen lace palettes before (most notably in Dolce & Gabbana's Sicilian Lace palette and Dior's spring 2010 collection) but Chanel took the lace cake this year with very intricate Dentelle Précieuse.  Moreover, I was tickled pink that I was able to find the exact pattern used on the palette hiding in the pieces from their spring 2009 collection.

3.  Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition powders:

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition highlighter

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition bronzer

The art historian in me positively swooned when I first laid eyes on these.  Yes, the coin design depicting Athena may be grossly inaccurate but it did have some basis in Sicilian/ancient Greek history and also was directly borrowed from D & G's spring 2014 collection, so I really couldn't complain.

And here are ones that I thought missed the mark.  They're all from the spring 2014 collections, which, looking back, I guess I was pretty underwhelmed by overall.

1. Lancôme Rose Ballerine highlighter blush:

Lancôme Rose Ballerine, spring 2014
(image from thestylelane.com)

Another pink rose from the brand.  Whoop-dee-doo.  I understand the rose is a treasured symbol of Lancôme and while they've done many iterations of the rose over the years, they've also made them visually interesting (see the cubist-esque Coral Flirt blush or the beautifully sparkling Rose Étincelle).  This particular rose design was completely uninspired.  It's a moot point, however, as I don't think this palette ever made it stateside.

2.  Chantecaille Bees palette:

Chantecaille Bee palette, spring 2014

Oh, Chantecaille.  You're better than this! Why do you insist on repeating the same 4-pan design?  Yes, I did buy it but really more to serve as "filler" for the spring exhibition.  Also, this is the third year in a row Chantecaille has appeared on my pans list...it's high time for them to get back in the game.

3. Clarins Opalescence blush:

Clarins Opalescence Blush, spring 2014
(image from chicprofile.com)

I was initially drawn to Clarins's spring 2014 collection, only to pass on it once I realized I had no clue what the design was supposed to be.  Colorwise it's quite pretty, but I simply have no desire to collect something with a weird abstract pattern without any explanation from the company as to what it represents.

What do you think of my picks and pans this year?  If you have some time to kill, feel free to look through the archives and see if there are any others you would include.

Quick update

Sigh.  Poor little neglected Makeup Museum!  I had what can only be described as the week from hell, which, now that I think about it actually lasted over a week.  Between everything going wrong last week for a major work meeting that I was planning (which is thankfully over as of this morning) and a truly epic stomach flu this past weekend, I've either been too drained or too sick to even think about blogging.  (The sickness might have been food poisoning - all I know is that I have not had a stomach illness of that magnitude in well over a decade.)  I hope to catch up on some more holiday posts shortly, but if not, I'm at least going to try to get up the holiday/winter exhibition as I planned to this weekend.

Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday shopping/baking/celebrating!

Behind the scenes at the Makeup Museum, part 1

In lieu of showing shiny new things today I thought I'd share a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes at the Makeup Museum.  Part 1 will cover the basics while in part 2 you'll see how I install my little home exhibitions.  

So this is where the blogging "magic" happens - our home  office.  The big monitor belongs to the husband since he's a fancy schmancy graphic designer.  I work on the laptop, which I hope to replace this year.  You might remember the Marcel Wanders table that I didn't recognize despite working at it for years.  I also just realized I still haven't removed the labels from the fall 2013 exhibition, whoops.


Our cork board, filled with silly bits of ephemera we've collected over the years:


On the adjacent wall is the Chairman - he keeps me on task, the bastard.


Here's the windowsill where I take pictures of the Museum's objects.  Yes, it looks worn...the reason is that the building is over 150 years old and the historic association fights us every time we ask about getting new windows.


I attempt to use this very nice Canon camera that I acquired last year.  I really wish I could figure out how to properly take pictures - it's a good camera but it's useless if you don't know what you're doing.  Methinks I need a photography course.  I leave the instruction booklet out with the vague hope that one day I'll actually learn to use all the settings.


As for actual writing, I am ALWAYS in my pajamas.  I mostly blog at home, and while there I'm  never actually dressed unless we have people over...plus I need to be comfy!   (The pajamas shown here are seersucker ones from Anthropologie but I'm partial to the printed ones from Old Navy.)


While I write it's not unusual for a staff member to wander in and ask me what I'm doing.


They try to help but every time they end up googling cookie recipes and pictures. 

"Typepad? What dat?"

I don't have a formal writing process.  I generally have a basic idea of what I want to say when I start typing, but it takes a while to flesh it out and make it coherent.  I will say that I have difficulty writing a post about an object without the pictures in the draft.  I'm not sure whether that's an effect of this increasingly image-based culture in which we're all immersed or whether I'm just particularly in need of visuals, but it's much easier for me to write when I have the photos in the draft post.  I'm also prone to falling down rabbit holes - researching one thing will lead me to many other things I find interesting or relevant, so it takes a fair amount of time for me to get a post finished.  Finally, I'm always reminded at how vastly different blogging is than writing an academic paper, even though I've been blogging for years.  I enjoy blogging but I would give anything to write a formal paper again.

Where and how do you blog?  And do you have any tips? 

It's here: Makeup Museum Inventory!

Hello!  That was an unplanned and certainly lengthy blog hiatus.  I don't really have any excuse besides the general malaise I get every winter, and as you may know this is the winter that won't end, which made me even more miserable and less inclined to do much of anything besides sleep.  Anyway, I finally took control of the incredibly messy spreadsheet containing all the Museum's items and made it into something that was easy to read.  I had always kept track of items purchased for the collection but it was so embarrasingly disorganized I couldn't ever write about it.  With the help of my very organized husband, I'm pleased to bring you an inventory that will be updated quarterly.  I also added most (I say most because I'm sure I may be missing a few things) of the memorabilia - postcards, mailers, bags, etc.  Click on "Collection Inventory" in the navigation bar above and let me know what you think! 

Deep thoughts: On blogging and finding balance

Tightrope-walkerToday I'd like take a step back and ask my fellow bloggers how you manage your time.  I've been blogging for over 5 years yet I still struggle with time management.  I have two main things I try to accomplish each week:  work out 4-5 days and write 4 posts.   Seems easy, right?  I work full-time, but with no kids or even a long commute, I'm puzzled as to why I still can't seem to either blog consistently or exercise consistently or both.  No matter how much I plan or schedule, I'm never really on the ball.  It's frustrating, especially when I see bloggers who are busier but can keep up without a hitch.  I guess all of the other little things add up (like seeing friends/family, errands, cleaning, keeping up with over 1,000 blog subscriptions, taking on bigger blog projects like exhibitions), plus I need some time to, you know, just relax with a book or watch a movie.  So that's a decent amount of juggling.  Still, I know I can't be THAT busy.  I'm baffled as to how I can't get more done, nor do I see a solution to the problem.  Admittedly I have a low threshold for busy-ness.  I don't like multitasking or cramming lots of things into one day. Given my disposition and personality, perhaps I'm simply attempting too much while other people can take on much more and not feel stressed...or maybe I'm just lazy.

My question to those of you who work full-time in addition to managing a blog is, simply, how do you do it?  How do you find balance between work, life, and blogging?   I'd love to hear any tips and advice!