Lips in Bloom: Pink and Coral Lip Colors for Spring

As I mentioned before, springtime has me eschewing my usual red lipsticks for lighter, sheerer shades to match the lightening of the days and warming of the weather. While sheer pinks and corals are a bit less fraught with the need to find just the perfect shade, there is still a joy in finding something that fits you well. Here are a few of the shades I’ve been enjoying lately. Unfortunately, adhering to my recent lack of time to invest in blogging, I haven’t had a chance to photograph swatches of these products, but look for swatches on Instagram this weekend!

Pinks are a shade that I’ve been wearing since I started wearing lipstick. Most of my pinks are of the “My Lips But Better” variety. I tend to get sheer shades that let my own color peek through. One of my earliest go-to shades was Gabriel’s Sheer Rose. It’s a very warm pink, and almost borders on coral. But lately, my absolute favorite pink is Urban Decay’s Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Ladyflower. It’s a lovely rose pink, gives a subtle blush to lips without being either too unnoticeable nor too bold, and the lilac-colored metal tube just fits the whole aesthetic of a spring lipstick. Plus, the formula has a somewhat sticky emollience that stays on my lips and doesn’t leave me reaching for lip balm after a few minutes.

Coral is a color I’m trying to like. I like the shade in and of itself. The set of the play I was in last year was painted a rather garish salmon-coral-pink shade that I mocked along with the rest of the cast, but secretly loved. But I’ve had trouble finding a shade I like on my own lips. My first foray into the shade was Nyx Cosmetics’ Life’s a Beach, which is fabulous and bright, and people say looks lovely on me, but I feel like it makes the rest of my face look washed out. It’s veering into Malibu-Barbie territory, which is not bad, but not me. I feel not-tan enough to carry the shade off, and that is a situation which is unlikely to change. In order to ease myself into the idea of coral on my lips, I’ve also found Wet ‘n Wild’s Balm Stain in Coral of the Story. It’s nice and sheer, but provides a lovely pop of coral and really helps get me used to seeing orange on my face.

While I don’t reach for full-on red lipstick as often, I do still like my cherry lips during spring. And what a perfect time to try out a Korean lip stain! I’ve recently tried Etude House’s Fresh Cherry Tint in RD301, a somewhat warm-pink, softened shade. It looks red at first, but stains the lips a popsicle-red-pink shade that looks healthy and lush. It will cling to the center of my lips and wear off unevenly if I’m not careful, but it has a lovely feel and color for casual weekend days in spring. I especially like it for Sunday morning coffee dates because it does not transfer much, if at all.

(Please not that all products were purchased by me and none of the links are affiliate links)


Five Things I’ve Been Enjoying Recently

I still have a backlog of photo-editing and post-writing to deal with since I’ve been busy and stressed, so here’s another quick, unplanned post. Spring has definitely sprung in the city! Trees are fluffy and pink and white and yellow and purple. There are hyacinths and daffodils out on my walk from the train station to my office. And it’s even getting a bit warmer. So I thought I’d share some of the things that I’ve been particularly enjoying the last couple of weeks as we move into spring.

  1. Magnolia Oolong tea from Simple Loose Leaf: I’ve talked about this before, but this really is a lovely tea. It’s the same Jade Oolong I reviewed a while ago, but with a very light magnolia floral scent and flavor added. I love it as a daily cup when the weather is warm, but not hot, and the sights and scents of spring are everywhere. It’s very seasonally-appropriate and helps remind me that the rich, warming black teas of winter are no longer needed.
  2. Hada Labo UV Perfect Gel: Sunscreen, guys! Since it is now fully light for both my morning and evening walks to and from work, it’s the perfect time to mention my new favorite sunscreen. It’s Japanese and unfragranced and sinks in beautifully. It does leave a bit of shine initially, but I give it 20-30 minutes before applying makeup and it settles right down. It’s a lovely gel texture and I think the hydrating ingredients offset the alcohol that gives it its lovely texture and ability to absorb weightlessly into skin.
  3. Pink and coral lip products: I love a red lip. But lately, I’ve been reach for spring-y lip colors, which means pinks and corals. Coral has been tricky for me, as I’m not generally a fan of orange, but I’ve found some products to help ease me into the look. I’ve also been loving sheerer lip colors for the spring, as it’s a much fresher look. Plus, my lip color matches the azalea bush that’s already started sprouting buds: Coral Bells.
  4. Pink clothing: I own a lot of black and dark-colored clothing. It’s rather a go-to color for me. But the warm weather has me feeling light and youthful, and to me, this means pink and pastels. I wore a pink chiffon dress from Mod Cloth the other day to work and got so many compliments, I wore it again a couple weeks later!
  5. Veggie noodles: One of our most unexpected holiday gifts was a Veggetti from Boyfriend’s parents. I’d looked at spiralizers before, but never decided to actually buy one. So when we got this, it seemed like a neat way to try spiralized veggies without shelling out for an expensive machine. But who wants to eat a lot of raw veggies in the dead of winter? Plus, a lot of the good veggies for spiralizing aren’t available until spring. Well, the zucchini and cucumbers are here and I’ve started spiralizing. We had a spiralized cucumber salad with sushi on Saturday and spiralized zucchini and carrots as a base for grilled chicken yesterday after a heavy Easter lunch called for a light dinner. It’s a lovely way to eat raw veggies, especially now that the warmer weather has me craving fresher food.

What is everyone else loving for spring?

On Burnout and the Rest Cure

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in two weeks. Well, I’ve had a phenomenally busy couple of weeks. I’ve also felt less-than-inspired. That’s not to say I’ve had nothing to write about. I’m still gleefully trying out new skin care products from Korea and Japan, as well as some handmade things. I’ve started tweaking my hair routine. And just after my birthday a couple weeks ago, Boyfriend took me on a lovely outing, during which I took many, many beautiful pictures that I have yet to download from the memory card of my camera.

It’s daunting to tackle, to say the least. And I’ve been tired, mentally and physically. Rehearsals have started running later, and I’ve gone and gotten myself cast in another show already, so I have the looming prospect of double rehearsals again that preemptively paralyzes me.

And so I decided to just step back. I know that posting regularly is good to keep an audience, but I’m sure readers prefer quality posts to harried ones. Even this post was a gamble, as I have nothing really new to share with you. Just my musings on “self-care” and forgiving yourself for not meeting arbitrary goals.

And maybe a few tantalizing hints at things to come. So here’s a future attractions:

  1. I will finally get my birthday outing photos processed and do a big post about that. Probably picture-heavy, and they will be lovely pictures. Spoiler: it involves flowers.
  2. A possible theater update. I’m currently rehearsing a show set in the 20s, and just got cast in a late-Victorian-era piece, so it fits in well with my preferred vintage aesthetics.
  3. A skin care update, though this will be a long time coming. I’m still testing and hope to have a routine finalized (at least for now) by the end of April.
  4. A hair care update. Again, this is a work in progress, but I have a more concrete regime in place right now, despite the potential changing of exact products.
  5. Of course, I will be musing about springtime. The cherry blossoms and tulip magnolias are blossoming and soon I hope the wisteria will be out as well.

So that is where I’ve been lately. I hope to be back soon with more updates!

A Floral Treat for Dry Skin: The Mamonde Flower Essence Rose Moisturizing Mask

This is just going to be a little review of a mask I tried last night and loved. As those who read my blog know, I’m a sucker for florals, especially roses. My signature perfume is rose, I have roses on my desk, and I wear rose earrings. And I love any kind of rose-scented skin care. Sadly, I’ve recently switched from my lovely Andalou 1,000 Roses day cream to CeraVe PM as a moisturizer, so I don’t get my daily dose of rosy loveliness. And Sephora seems to be phasing out my favorite rose sheet masks (which are overpriced anyway). So I was excited to get some recommendations for rose sheet masks from Asia.

I decided to order a 5-pack of the Mamonde Flower Essence Rose Moisturizing masks from Amazon, which came last week. The package immediately appealed, with a simple picture of softly pastel pink roses and simple writing. Mamonde seems like a company that melds well with my own personal aesthetic, in addition to having some widely-liked flower-based products. Last night, I decided to do a full facial routine, so I settled in for an hour and a half of real pampering. I double cleansed and then applied my salicylic acid serum, which I let sit for 20 minutes. Then, I did a clay mask. I just used a little hydrated Redmond clay. This I washed off after 15 minutes, then toned with some alcohol-free witch hazel. Then, the rose mask.

Immediately upon opening the packet, I noticed that the essence was thick and creamy and smelled lightly of roses. It was not a heavy or cloying scent. It smelled like walking past a cluster of rose bushes on a spring day. As I put the mask on my face, I noticed it was a nice, thick material, but not so thick it slid off under its own weight. Perhaps the thick lotion that soaked the mask helped it adhere. I found myself utterly relaxed. I sometimes have trouble with boredom while masking and generally leave a mask on only 20 minutes sometimes. This mask left me so blissful, I found 30 minutes had passed before I realized it. I checked and the mask was still quite moist, but I had to get to bed, so I removed it. The leftover lotion was almost sticky, like a thick moisturizer rather than an essence. I didn’t feel the need to do most of my routine after that, so I just applied my facial oil to lock in all the hydration.

The real surprise came this morning as I walked down the stairs to go running. As I turned on the light to find my shoes, I caught a look in the mirror and was amazed. The few residual spots leftover from a monthly breakout were completely gone and my skin had a bit of a glow, rather than the sheen of leftover oil and nightly sweat. All in all, this is a lovely mask.

Radio Drama Love: Welcome to Night Vale

I’ve spoken before about my love of radio shows and podcasts (the radio show of the modern era). Well, podcasting has managed to blend my love of this vintage-appropriate art form with my love of science fiction and fantasy writing. Similar to The War of the Worlds, my new favorite podcast blends realism with surrealism and presents a weird, fantastical, unlikely world in the mundane format of a community news show.

Welcome to Night Vale brings us Cecil Baldwin, the voice of community radio for the desert community of Night Vale. But very early on in the biweekly podcast’s first episode, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems it should be in Night Vale. From the menacing advance of the glow cloud to the pecularities of local government, things go from weird to really weird quite quickly, and yet each episode brings a new weirdness to pile onto the weird layer cake of this little show.

Perhaps my favorite part of the podcast is the jovial and unfazed manner with which Cecil reports even the most bizarre occurances. His silky voice maintains an air of casual reporting, indicating that even the very bizarre is simply business as usual in Night Vale. Which makes for all the more impact when he reports on something that is odd, even by Night Vale standards.

The show also has an interesting and subtle commentary on real-world community politics. Despite being set in a place where time has no meaning and sometimes it rains small-to-largeish animals, there is still that guy who is the local agitator, and the subway system still has delays and track work. In fact, listening to the episode about the public transit system while commuting to work on the train nearly sent me into fits of conspicuous mirth while my fellow passengers zoned out on their devices. In such a strange world as Night Vale, the aspects of life that ring true only serve to point out the absurdity of real life.

I highly recommend you check out the podcast. It’s difficult to explain without lessening the experience of hearing the episodes for the first time, so I won’t try to explain further. Suffice to say, it’s weird and delightful.

[The Night Vale logo was created by Rob Wilson and was found on the Welcome to Night Vale website,

On a More Subdued Lip

I’ve made no secret of my love of red lips. In fact, I have an embarrassingly large collection of red lipsticks and it grows every month. I still need to share some of my latest finds, but this is not where I plan to do that. Today, I want to talk a little bit about what I wear when I’m not wearing a red lip.

What? I know, I’ve said before that I consider red lipstick exempt from “no-makeup” days, and some days I will wear not a stitch of other makeup, but will make sure my lips are an enjoyable shade of crimson. But some days, I really wear something else. Of course, something else can mean a full-coverage, traditional lipstick in another color, like plum, berry, or rose, but other days, I like to wear a subdued lip.

Lately, I’ve gotten interested in tinted lip balms. I like the ease of a tinted balm for weekends, when I really don’t wear makeup, or for events where I know food will be a focus and I won’t want to fussily check and reapply lipstick (even my longest-wear options will not survive some foods). Or if I’m going to an event where I want a polished, but low-maintenance-looking look. And sometimes red lipstick with jeans looks just a bit too Taylor Swift for someone north of her thirties.

The tinted balm I’ve been enjoying recently is Revlon’s Colorburst Lip Butter. Now, some of the shades are quite pigmented, but the finish is still glossy and sheer. I can see my lip color variations through it. The brightest one I have is Lollipop, which I actually bought thinking it would be sheerer than it is. It comes out a very bright pink, but settles to a nice shade that isn’t too powerful. For Sunday morning coffee dates, I like the shade Berry Smoothie, which is my quintessential “my lips but better” shade. And for a bit of fun, I got the neon orange Juicy Papaya. It goes on a sheer but bright coral color on my fairly pink lips and is a nice way to get some orange into my life with spring and summer coming up, without going full coral lipstick. The Revlon lip butters smell a bit fruity to me.

Another reason I like tinted lip balm is that some of them also have sun protection. For days when I’m going to be outside a bit, I use Maybelline Baby Lips in Quench, which smells slightly citrusy and provides a light layer of moisture and protection, under my lipstick. But I can’t really reapply often when I’m wearing lipstick, which limits the effectiveness of the SPF 20.

If I’m going to be spending the day outside, I reach for L’Oreal Colour Riche Balm, which combines sheer color with SPF 15. The low SPF is alright because I will reapply a sheer balm often. And the two shades I have work for a range of situations. Plush Plum is a slightly more pigmented plum-berry color that looks like a “done” lip. I’m wearing it to work today because I felt like wearing a softer lip. For a sheerer, MLBB look, I reach for Rose Elixir, which looks bright in the tube, but is quite sheer. Both of these would be ideal for my lake house vacations when I spend much of the day outside reading a book, but still want to look presentable when we go out for brunch or dinner. I find the L’Oreal balms smell of burnt sugar.

Sadly, I haven’t gotten pictures of these, but they are widely available at drugstores, Target, or Ulta, so I encourage you to check them out! Also, I have not received any incentive to write about these products; I just purchased them and liked them.