Curator's corner

Curator's Corner, April 2019

CC logoSeeing as how I couldn't get it together for a February recap and obviously got sidetracked over the past 6 weeks, I figured I'd start fresh with the April installment of Curator's Corner.  Here's the monthly rewind. 

- So gimmicky yet I'd love to visit this YSL pop-up.

- In packaging news, pens and pencils are experiencing a sharp increase in popularity, while modular makeup gets a Lego-inspired twist.

- Would you like some toast to go with the buttery skin trend?

- Just a gentle reminder that inclusivity in the beauty industry doesn't end with base makeup

- In honor of Earth Day:  the good, the bad and the ugly in beauty recycling and waste reduction.

- Interesting piece on how house brands are getting the "exclusive" treatment.

- Whenever I finally get around to watching the new Pet Sematary I'm going to keep an eye out for Church's makeup.

- I've read this article on digitally applied makeup several times and still can't wrap my head around how it actually works. 

- One of beauty's most infamous cult products turns 20.  Happy birthday, O! 

- Speaking of '90s makeup...

The random:

- Continuing with the '90s theme, in sad nostalgic news, the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's passing occurred on April 5, while a documentary on deceased Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. 

- Normally I refuse to spend more than $15-$20 on pajamas (Old Navy is my go-to), but I had to splurge on these adorable mermaid jammies.  There's also a shorts version.

- Despite all the turmoil on the personal front, I managed to pop up to NYC for a couple hours to catch the amazingly comprehensive Hilma af Klint exhibition at the Guggenheim, which turned out to be the most visited show in the museum's history.  It did not disappoint!

Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint

As I predicted, af Klint's work is even more breathtaking in person.  I was thrilled to have gotten a chance to see it.

How has your spring been?

Curator's Corner, January 2019

CC logoJanuary is probably my most despised month, but at least it's over now!  Here are some noteworthy links (late as usual since I'm not feeling great, and as you'll see, very cranky).

- I was saddened to hear about the death of two beauty visionaries during January.

- But there's good news - the industry is slowing moving towards inclusivity not just for cosmetics but also for skincare

- I had long suspected the story of Elizabeth Arden handing out lipsticks to suffragettes wasn't true, so I was pleased that historian Lucy Jane Santos definitively put that myth to rest.

- Must make a trip up to NYC to see Mother's new beauty pop-up in Bergdorf Goodman and Chanel's beauty atelier

- I'm not really sure what CVS's non-photoshopped ads are supposed to achieve.  I mean, great, but consumers are also aware of the difference makeup and good lighting makes in photos, not to mention these are photos of women who are gorgeous to begin with anyway. 

- Finally, someone says it:  effective skincare is a wealthy person's game.  I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with the usual advice of drinking plenty of water, wearing sunscreen and using various products and getting no results - I've discovered that the secret to good skin actually lies in much more expensive professional treatments (unless you are genetically blessed and don't require any heavy-duty intervention).  I guess the public doesn't want to read about skincare that's out of their reach, but I do think there needs to be more transparency and lowered expectations as to what a healthy lifestyle and over the counter products can do for your skin. 

- While I'm on a tear, here's a piece highlighting the hypocrisy of "Janu-hairy".  Not all body hair is created equal, er, acceptable.

- Can we just let the athleisure beauty trend die already?

- I'm all for being organized and making sure one's makeup stash gets weeded out regularly, and Marie Kondo's methods seem harmless enough, but they fail to answer the question of what collectors are supposed to do with all their precious items.

- I'll believe it when I see it.  (Has anyone had any success using more than 1 code?  Because I sure haven't).

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, The Blair Witch Project debuted 20 years ago on January, while the star of She's All That comments on the film's problematic nature on its 20th anniversary.  Meanwhile, one of my idols got her original '90s band back together - too bad I couldn't get tickets as they sold out in literally a fraction of a second.

- Speaking of music, I am over the moon that we can be expecting a new album from my favorite band this year.

- As a sort of follow-up to my Ramses compact post, the restoration of King Tut's tomb has been completed. 

- This story of an 80-something self-taught artist presenting his first solo exhibition gave me hope that it's never too late to do what you want.  Well, not really, I'm still pretty hopeless.  But it was nice to see.

Bad kitty!

What's up with you?  How did the first month of 2019 treat you?

Curator's Corner, December 2018 (plus a quick blog note)

CC logoHere are December's links, some of which are yearly recaps.  Enjoy!

- Allure takes a look back at the year's wackiest Instagram fads, while this article highlights how the notion of "inclusive beauty" (a.k.a. the "Fenty effect" was 2018's standout trend among beauty companies.  Plus, I'm wondering if 2018's influencer drama has anything to do with beauty consumers' waning interest in social media

- As a sort of follow-up to my MM Musings on wasteful beauty packaging, it seems more beauty bloggers are speaking out against excessive packaging.

- I'm always interested in taking a peek in other people's makeup bags.

- Another ugly side of the beauty industry is the predatory nature of cosmetology schools.  With the success of these and other for-profit schools, along with the crippling debt of student loans for basically anyone who isn't wealthy, I'm not hopeful for a solution any time soon.

- I'm loving the return of lip gloss, although in my '90s nostalgia-addled mind it was never really gone. 

- Also super excited for Pantone's 2019 Color of the Year - coral is my go-to makeup shade.

The random:

- It might seem like nothing good happened in 2018, but here's proof that it wasn't a total dumpster fire.

- I think I might have experienced Stendhal Syndrome on more than one occasion (and  I fully believe it can occur outside of Florence). Fortunately it didn't culminate in a heart attack like it did for this poor man who was recently overcome by Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.

- Did you know you can also be overwhelmed by cuteness?  I know I live with the urge to squeeze the fluff out of Museum staff 24/7.  It's very hard not to hug them too hard!

- "He was small in stature, but of the utmost symmetry of form."  Speaking of too cute, I was mesmerized by this Roman sarcophagus that holds the remains of a very fancy pug named Harlequin.  I only wish there was a painting of him so we could see his little squishy face and curly tail.

And finally, a quick blog note.  I'll be returning to my usual slow schedule of about 1 post per week.  I'm not sure if you noticed, but I ramped up the volume during December in order to cover all the holiday collections I wanted to before the actual holidays.  Doing so came at a price:  I had no energy left to do a holiday/winter exhibition.  I'm also scrapping the idea of a 10-year anniversary exhibition, since honestly I'm feeling the same way I did this time last year and also felt that a decade of not getting anywhere wasn't exactly a good reason to celebrate with an exhibition (and one that wouldn't have turned out the grandiose way I wanted it to anyway.)  Lastly, I'm going to continue blogging because I still enjoy collecting makeup and writing about it and because I have no identity without blogging - if I'm not a fake curator of a fake online museum who am I? - but I will no longer be banging my head against a wall trying to get an exhibition or physical space for the Museum, nor will I be pursuing any of the book ideas I've had over the years.  In short, I have thoroughly given up on any projects outside blogging and maintaining the Museum's collection.  Having said all that, I'll still do my best to research and provide information about various items given the scant resources I have available to me, and I'll still be doing my sad little seasonal bedroom exhibitions and putting them online.  So that's the plan for now.

How were your holidays?  Any plans, goals or resolutions for 2019?

Curator's Corner, November 2018

CC logoHoliday madness is in full swing around the Museum but before I get on with the rest of the collections, here are November's links.

- Yay, CoverGirl!  Now we just need every other company to get on board.

- I was fortunate enough to visit both Armani's and YSL's NYC pop-up shops around this time last year, so this season I really wish I could get to Chanel's.

- I'm siding with Allure on this new makeup line for kids.  It's not that I don't think children shouldn't enjoy makeup - I just bought some as a Christmas present for my 9 year-old niece (per her request) - but as the article notes, I'm uncomfortable with the marketing and bigger issues that go along with the makeup itself.  The fact that it even has "pretty" in the name is troubling.

- There were lots of "big picture" articles on beauty this month, from Temptalia's Christine pondering the ever-quickening pace of new beauty releases to Nylon's state of the industry in the U.S. Along those lines, while we're making slow progress towards racial inclusivity, we still have a long way to go.

- Glamour has more on the "death" of mascara.  I can honestly say I don't think this product will ever go away unless we genetically engineer everyone to have naturally long, full, dark lashes.  Not everyone has the money and time for extensions or Latisse.  (I use the latter and still feel the need for mascara, as another delightful side effect of aging is that the tips of my lashes aren't as dark as they were.)

- "It’s clear that some Korean women weren’t doing a double-cleanse simply because they wanted to, and that now they’re fighting back."  The Cut has an interesting piece on Escape the Corset, a Korean backlash against ridiculous beauty standards.

Why should your eyes, cheeks and lips have all the fun?  Let your teeth in on some color play.  

The random:

- We have official premiere dates for two of my favorite shows, which is helping me cope with the thought of enduring the cold dark winter days.

- This is a really good idea and I'm wondering how I could implement something similar for the Museum.

- I wasn't the only one who had a big birthday in November.  One of my idols celebrated her 50th!  Her latest venture is pretty amazing (of course) so make sure to check it out. 

How are you?  Are you ready for the holidays?

Curator's Corner, October 2018

CC logoAs you've probably already guessed, there won't be a fall exhibition this year.  However, I'm working away on the Museum's 10-year anniversary exhibition and as well as the holiday one.  ;)  More on those later but in the meantime, here's what was in store around the interwebz in October.

- I was so pleased to be interviewed for and quoted in not one but two beauty-related articles during the month. *pats self on back*

- Talk about inclusive:  Herbal Essences's new shampoo and conditioner packaging features "tactile indentations" for the blind so they can tell the bottles apart.  I think all companies should start including these - and on shower gels too!

- On the not-so inclusive side, I'm glad someone is finally mentioning that the over-30 crowd is being left out.  For all the talk of inclusivity, I'm kind of taken aback (and annoyed) at how many brands continue ignoring us.  With my 40th birthday quickly approaching, I'm more aware of it than ever.

- I wish I could have gone to Sephora's very first beauty festival, Sephoria - it sounded pretty fun!

- The Cut had an interesting series of essays on lipstick.

- I'd like to hear your thoughts on this Bustle article.  As an owner of one of the original Revlon Fire and Ice ads, I must say I have a completely different take on the campaign. 

- We know glitter is bad for the environment, but I had no idea child labor was involved too.  It's very disappointing that something so sparkly and fun is actually quite sad, so we need a solution ASAP.

- As a sort of follow-up to my post about beauty packaging waste, here's the latest development in the fight for more environmentally-friendly products.  Maybe blue beauty can save the mermaids?

- Allure simply loves to name hair color trends after beverages, which apparently doesn't sit well with In Style.  Personally I'm siding with the latter on this.

- Happy Halloween!

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, TV show Charmed and Britney Spears' hit "Baby One More Time" turn 20, along with New Radicals' "You Get What You Give".  However, nostalgia is all well and good until you start messing with classics like 1995's Clueless - seriously, a remake?  As if!

- On the art front, Banksy pulls off what is possibly one of the greatest stunts in art history, only for it to be immediately monetized.  Then again, it's a good alternative if you can't afford a shredded $1.4 million painting.  Also of note:  doctors can now prescribe museum visits - I always knew art was good for your health! - and a statue in Georgia gets a very silly modification.  Normally I shudder upon seeing vandalized art, and I'd be super pissed if someone ever messed with the Museum's collection should it ever be available to the public, but for the life of me I cannot stop laughing at it.  Finally, unlike the Museum of Pizza and Cheat Day Land (will this ridiculous fake "museum" trend never end?!), the Disgusting Food Museum actually seems to have some educational and historical merit, albeit on an unappealing topic.

- Is it bad I'm looking at holiday things the day after Halloween?  Me and the plushies are still in a candy coma, but we're already excited for many more holiday/winter treats.


How was your October?  Are you gearing up for the holiday season?

Curator's Corner, September 2018

CC logoAaaaaaaaand we're back!  Hopefully.  I'm not sure if the domain registration issue I had during almost the whole month of September is completely resolved, but for now the website seems to be functioning.  Of course, it threw off my schedule entirely so I'll do my best to catch up on some fall posts.  First, here's a look back on September.

 - Glamour offers another thoughtful view of the Fenty effect, which no doubt influenced MAC's upping the foundation shade ante to a whopping 60 shades

- "Is it in any way preferable for the term 'anti-ageing' to become taboo while all its apparatus remains intact?" An article at The Guardian points out the beauty industry's hypocrisy in marketing skincare for, ahem, mature women.

- Along those lines, wouldn't it be nice to for brands to regularly show un-Photshopped pictures of products on their models? 

- I'm in total agreement with this author on the sexualization of mascara names.  Unfortunately one of my favorite makeup artists hopped on the bandwagon...but I'll let Mother slide this time.

- I Need This Unicorn shared some vintage Too-Faced items and the history behind them (plus a shout-out to the Museum!)  I so wish I had any items from the '90s and early aughts.  They are surprisingly hard to come by.

- Does this sound, like, super creepy to anyone else? 

- Sad that this is still happening in 2018.  But at least animal testing seems to be on its way out in the U.S.  Let's hope other states follow suit.

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Google and two fairly huge '90s albums turned 20 in September, while one of the most legendary celebrated a quarter-century.  Ditto for the premiere of The X-Files and Dazed and Confused.  I must say while I'm not a fan of the latter - too much bullying for me - I will say that "Wipe that face off your head, bitch!" is one of the most hilarious lines ever.

- Problematic thought it is, as Pulp Fiction remains my favorite movie, this is easily the best thing I've seen online since Decorative Gourd Season (you know it's not fall unless I link to it!) 

- Speaking of liking problematic pop culture, I must confess that me and my sister used to watch Sixteen Candles on repeat - we can still recite it verbatim.  In recent years I've been navigating the guilt I feel over having enjoyed one of the '80s most racist, ableist, rape culture-supporting movies, so I'm grateful to Vox for the timely reminder of just how wrong it is.  #whatwerewethinking

- On the art front, I need to get up to NYC to see these new exhibitions

How are you?  Are you feeling fall yet?  It's still fairly warm here and I'm not happy about the ever-growing lack of daylight, but I have been enjoying some PSLs.  :)

Curator's Corner, August 2018

CC logoAnd so we say goodbye to summer.  Here's the August rewind. 

- I'm delighted that Madam CJ Walker will be getting a Netflix series devoted to her, but recent news shows just how much more work needs to be done in terms of recognizing non-white beauty pioneers as well as ensuring the industry understands the beauty needs of people of color.  Between badly photoshopped swatches and racist YouTubers, non-white people are still being left out and verbally attacked.  As Meli of Wild Beauty thoughtfully points out, there's racism in every industry, but beauty is one where it's especially harmful.

- Speaking of beauty "influencers," I'm sadly not surprised by the dishonest tactics that some of them use, along with the fact that there are companies paying them to do so.

- I'm happy to see that this new all-genders line is eschewing retouching their photos, but like MAC's Nico Panda collection and Crayola, there doesn't appear to be any models over the age of 25.  Hopefully these new (old?) beauty gurus will force makeup companies to acknowledge that women over 40 exist and maybe, you know, regularly use them in their advertising. To my knowledge, only a handful of companies have featured "mature" women, and the campaigns were very short-lived. 

- On a lighter note, I also wouldn't be surprised if Olive Garden did end up releasing a real makeup palette given the rabid enthusiasm for it.

- Chanel is introducing a makeup line for men.  On the one hand I don't believe makeup should be gendered.  On the other hand, I'd love to see more guys wearing it so if this is what it takes, it might not be such a bad thing.  There are even oh-so-manly makeup brushes that may be put into production.  Right now men in China are getting more on board with wearing makeup, so I'm really hoping eventually it'll catch on in the Western hemisphere.

- Good reads:  Amber's excellent history of cult makeup classic Maybelline Great Lash and this interview with makeup artist Linda Cantello.  It was honestly a little strange how close her general outlook to makeup these days is to mine - there was not a single thing she said that I disagreed with. 

- For trends, so-called "cold brew" and "flannel" hair colors, cloud eye makeup and any product with a jelly texture are pretty big right now.

- Remember this guy?  Now he's doing beauty tutorials.  *heart-eye emoji*

The random:

- I was in my '90s glory due to the A.V. Club's epic 1998 series.  Also, Y necklaces have made their triumphant return.  I really thought no one else but me remembered them and was curious to see if they'd make a reappearance along with all other manner of '90s fashion, and here they are!  I must dig through the stuff at my parents' house and see if I have any left.

- In other pop culture news, The Wrap's Emmys edition had some great interviews with Amy Sedaris and Derek Waters, who host a couple of my current favorite shows (and I will always love Amy as Jerri Blank).

- Between Domo Kun, Gudetama and Peko, I'm endlessly fascinated with Japanese mascots.  This Vice article digs deep into their world.

- More on the rise of the Instagram museumMakeup companies are also starting to get in on the action, further proving my point that these are not actually museums but rather a mash-up of eye candy and commercialization.  At least Winky Lux is honest about their new space being a "retail concept" and doesn't try to market it as a museum.

- This new study provides evidence of a theory I've had for years.  After all, I completed a marathon mostly as a way of getting revenge for the horrors I suffered during gym class.

- Still way too hot here for me to get a PSL, but me (and MM staff) are intrigued by these PSL cookie straws

- On a personal note, the husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary and a total of 18 years (!) together last week.  Did he pick out the most perfect card or what?

anniversary card

How was the end of your summer?  Are you looking forward to fall?

Curator's Corner, July 2018

CC logoHere's the monthly rewind for July 2018. 

- Allure had an interesting history of Armenia's beauty industry, while Racked has yet another piece on makeup for incarcerated women.

- Lots of somewhat unsurprising industry news but still worth a mention:  fast beauty suffers the same problems as fast fashion; Sephora continues to dominate sales even in more niche categories once cornered by smaller, indie brands; and if companies won't stop animal testing for the animals' sake, they should at least do it to meet consumer demand.  Finally, congrats are in order for Mother, whose company's value has surpassed that of "self-made" (LOL, nope) billionaire Kylie Jenner.

- Despite this report, I highly doubt mascara is going anywhere...especially for those of us who don't have the time/money to regularly splurge on lash extensions or tinting.  This sort of privilege goes hand in hand with the no-makeup trend.  Who needs foundation when your skin is flawless from expensive dermatological treatments?

- On the manicure front, '80s-inspired jelly nails are, like, totally rad.  And if your mom won't let you have press-ons, you can DIY them with clay like this 10 year old.

The random:

- Doesn't get any more '90s than 311 and the Offspring covering each other's songs, or explaining all the lyrics to Barenaked Ladies' 1998 irritating but admittedly catchy hit "One Week".  Plus, make way for a Spice Girls exhibition.

- Ooh, here's another fun way for me to pretend to be a curator besides blogging. 

- If we ever find a house, I will definitely be using this wallpaper in some capacity.

- Bawling.

- As for my summer vacation, unfortunately my annual 3-day trip to the Jersey Shore got rained out so I missed having any beach time, but I did have fun hanging with my parents at their house.  The plushies were very content as my dad always fully stocks cookies and other sweets.

Dessert feast!

Polishing off some brookies and brownies

How did July treat you? 


Curator's Corner, June 2018

CC logoWelcome to yet another format of Curator's Corner.  As I noted previously, I don't want to completely abandon this feature, but it's still too hard for me to keep up so I decided to try a "monthly rewind" of sorts.  Here's some notable news from June.

 - Yay!  Sephora is now offering makeup classes especially for trans people.  Perhaps they should start carrying this line?

- An interesting piece at Refinery29 covers the world of beauty treatments and makeup within prison walls.  It's different angle than the Racked article we saw back in January.

- Call it the Fenty effect: more brands are offering at least 40 shades of foundation, including the new Flesh line created by former Allure editor Linda Wells.  The line is getting a lot of buzz, not just for its color range but for the product and shade names that are only appealing if you're a cannibal.  (Apparently the "uncomfortable" names were intentional.)

- More info on the expansion of J-beauty...although I still bristle at it being called a "comeback". 

- had a nice little history of face powder.  I only wish I was writing their makeup history series.

- Ever wonder how your makeup is actually produced?  In addition to animal testing and potentially dangerous ingredients, new light is being shed on the issue of human rights abuses within the beauty industry.  It's a sad topic but one that needs to be addressed and remedied immediately.

- On a lighter note (sort of), check out this gigantic (2,000 lb!) bath bomb.

- I'm not crying, you're crying.

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, 20th birthday celebrations are in order for the premiere of Sex and the City as well as The Truman Show.  Meanwhile, Daria is getting a reboot and Stereogum catches up with Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz (don't pretend you don't know all the words to "Mr. Jones"!) Finally, I greatly enjoyed this oral history of one of the funniest shows from the decade, short-lived though it was.

- Speaking of TV, I've been watching probably more than is healthy and looking forward to new shows.  I'm currently obsessed with The Staircase and can't wait for new seasons of The Terror and American Horror Story (especially after 2 incredibly lackluster seasons of the latter.)  However, I am gutted that one of my favorite shows has ended. Desus and Mero will live on via Showtime, but it just won't be the same.

- If you follow me on Twitter you know I've been wrestling with insomnia.  I'm curious about this Sleep Stories app that features Bob Ross, because his show is one remedy I've found that works most of the time.

- On the domestic front, I'm taking advantage of berry season big time.  I made raspberry muffins and a strawberry pie.  I have zero food photography skills but trust me, both were very pretty and quite delicious if I do say so myself. :)

Raspberry muffins

Strawberry pie

And brownies and lime sea salt chocolate chip cookies - no berries involved in either of those, but the cookies are a summery twist on traditional chocolate the Babos loved them. (And subsequently landed themselves in a cookie coma.)

Babos with cookie dough

Babos feasting

cookie coma

And that about wraps up June!  Do you have any fun plans for the rest of the summer?





Curator's Corner, 5/13/2018

CC logoIt's link time!

- There is no one more deserving to sell her makeup at a world-class museum than Pat McGrath.

- Here's an interesting piece on the rise of the transgender sector within the beauty industry, and another on how millennials are embracing one of the oldest approaches to beauty

- "Green" and "natural" don't mean much when it comes to beauty labels, but fortunately Sephora's new "clean" section makes it easy for consumers to identify products that lack certain potentially harmful ingredients.  In other words, it's now possible for you to go paraben-free without getting a migraine from reading an extensive ingredient list in tiny font.

- These nails are so incredibly unsettling...I much prefer this glitter trend, even though 1. we've seen it before and 2. I'd never partake in it.

- Speaking of glitter, great news!  Soon I'll be able to stop worrying about plastic-based glitter killing all the mermaids and their underwater friends.

- Lady Gaga is the latest music star to come up with her own makeup line.  Will it be as popular as Fenty?

- Meet Usage, a new beauty magazine that seems artsy but not so weird/pretentious as to be inaccessible.  I'm excited to check it out.

The random:

- Thank you, NBC, for rescuing one of my favorite TV shows from cancellation.

- Dying to see this colorful exhibition.

- This Mother's Day, remember that child-free women like me can be maternal too (but it's okay if we're not!)

What's new with you?