Stage Life

Our house is on the market later this week, which means it has to look perfect. We have stunt flowers and stunt towels and stunt soap. I once worked with a guy whose house was photographed for a shelter magazine and they provided him with a stunt dog for the photos. Thankfully, we've not gone quite that far; we've simply recruited a body double for Serena while she hangs out chez grandparents.

In fairness, all of the houses we looked at looked perfect too. It's the real estate circle of life.

The stager gave me lots of suggestions for depersonalizing the house. Not everyone has Deyrolle on speed dial so we had to tone down the taxidermy, but they did allow me to keep my butterflies. The House of Hackney and Scalamandre cushions are tucked away. Evidently hunt scenes and sloths smoking hookahs are not everyone's cup of tea. Who knew? 

Now my place looks less Nicky Haslam and more HGTV. That's ok, I can run amok in the new place! 

The most stressful part is having strangers wandering through my house, forgetting to lock the doors. I'll have to have the Staffordshire dogs remain vigilant. 

I ironed my pillowcases. I know lots of people do this weekly, but it's a first for me. 

Please send quick house sale energy our way! Hope you are having a peaceful start to spring and have some fun plans on the horizon. 

Excess Baggage

Thank you for the brow tips! I have some new makeup ideas to chase.

Right now, I am up to my ears in boxes. This is my 6th move in 8 years and thankfully I run pretty lean as a result. Still, I like a layered look to my decorating and delayering for the staging process of selling my house is a big task. I'm doing a heavy spring cleaning at the same time so it's a lot of physical work, which helps me burn off nervous energy. (This is a very happy move but I've had lots of unhappy ones and there is some phantom trauma coming through at times. )

The painting is all finished now and the house looks nice and polished. Now, we just need to keep little fingers (and dog noses) off the walls! 

In non-moving news, Serena passed the test to be a therapy dog. Part of the test involved someone pushing a broom and I was sure she would fail (she likes to eat brooms.) Happily, the test environment was very much like the dog show environment of her youth and once she was in the ring, she was a little star. She always makes people smile, so I thought it would be nice to take her into hospitals and nursing homes. This will be a fun volunteer activity this spring. 

I don't have much time for reading, but I'm enjoying Tara Mohr's Playing Big when I come back from taking the little ones into the city on the train. I treated myself to a Starbucks latte the other day since I was fascinated with how the chain can provide espresso drinks to busy commuters during rush hour. It's quite the exercise in efficiency! (Before I got my Nespresso machine, I had a daily or twice-daily Starbucks or Whole Foods latte habit; it has genuinely saved me a lot of money.) 

I took a break from packing to see Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. I loved it. I cry in almost every movie I see and this one was no different. I love Tina Fey and Margot Robbie so it was quite a treat. I now have a new mantra: embrace the suck and move the f*** forward. Amen to that. Plus, I may or may not have had a movie-sized Aero bar during the film, which is absolute heaven.

I hope that you are having a lovely March and are doing something more exciting than putting all of your earthly possessions into cardboard boxes! 

Moving and Makeup

After years of living side by side, Mr. Dwell and I have bought a house. In order to fetch our price, we had to agree to a quick sale so we get possession in early spring. 

It's exciting but it means that my house has to go on the market soon. I've started to pack so that my house looks like nobody lives here, and the painter is busy giving the place a fresh face. 

The transformative power of paint never ceases to amaze me, whether it's on the walls or on one's face. (If you doubt this, read Babe Paley's dialogue in The Swans of Fifth Avenue.)

The other evening, we were going to a fundraiser and I wanted to make sure my warpaint was intact lest I run into any hostile creatures at the crossroads at midnight.

This was my battle plan:

I hate foundation, so I avoid it like the devil.  (If I must attend a full-slap occasion like a White Tie dinner with the President, or anything that people from my high school will be at, I wear Chanel PERFECTION LUMIÈRE VELVET in Beige Rosé as it's the only foundation I can stand.) 

I slap on concealer like aloe on a sunburn. I like Chanel CORRECTOR PERFECTION in Beige Rosé as it's super blendable with a concealer brush. I put it on anything that looks amiss. Canadians can get it at Hudsons Bay, selected Shoppers Drug Marts and Chanel stores. In the US and Europe, it seems as though it's available on every street corner: lucky things. 

I slap on Bobbi Brown's Tinted Eye Brightener in Porcelain Bisque because it's what Nigella wears to look like this:

You don't fool around when you get chance to channel Nigella.  

If I still have under-eye circles, I use Benefit Eye Bright in the corners. You should have to have a Hogwarts diploma to pull that sucker out: pure magic. 

I then throw some Chanel highlighter in 12 COUPS DE MINUIT (discontinued) on the tops of my cheekbones and forehead and some Chanel Healthy Glow bronzer in 25 on the sides of my face like all of the beauty bloggers recommend. I use the Guerlain Météorites brush because it's so pretty! 

Blush is my very best friend in the world. I usually use Chanel Les Beiges HEALTHY GLOW SHEER COLOUR STICK in 21 as my blush base and then brush on Nars Orgasm over top. I blend with the Chanel PINCEAU FOND DE TEINT ESTOMPE BLENDING FOUNDATION BRUSH #7.

I've been a fan of tight-lining my eyes ever since seeing Daily Connoisseur Jennifer Scott's everyday makeup tutorial. I use Laura Mercier's Tightline Cake Eyeliner in Brown Mahogany for day and Black Ebony when I need to channel my inner Clémence Poésy. 

For eyeshadow, I like Bobbi Brown's Nude on Nude Eye Palette. Any colour is perfection.

I use whatever mascara I got for free with some purchase. Bobbi Brown and Nars are both good and are handed out like candy these days.

I'm still figuring out a brow fix. I have my grandmother's Swedish (read, non-existent) brows so I have to do something. For a long time, I went to the salon to have them tinted, but they always make me look like Ernie or Bert on day one and then my brows are barely visible by the end of the week. So far, I've tried Bobbi Brown, Radford, Benefit, and Joe Fresh mascara-like brow tint. Joe Fresh in the darker tint is the winner so far and it's only $12. Pencils are too fussy and the other ones go on like a Sharpie, giving me that Uncle Leo look. If you have any brow tips for mouse brown/grey/dyed ashy blonde highlighted hair, I'd love to hear them.

Lips depend: I tend to like classic red or beige. I'm into a pale gloss right now by Victoria Radford in Cloud 9. It's very pretty and gives me back a bit of that Kim Basinger lip thing I had going when I was much younger.

The whole thing takes about 5 minutes (unless I do red lips because that requires a steady hand). I find the good brushes and blendable shades are what allow me to do good makeup fast.

Hopefully you do not have to engage the makeup arsenal, but if you do, hopefully this makes it a little quicker....

Are any of you watching the Bachelor? What is Ben doing? Everyone KNOWS you don't say the L word to multiple people. That's, like, a RULE! I suspect JoJo's formidable brothers may be opening up a can of whoop-ass on Mr. Higgins next week. I'm so glad that this is now the biggest drama in my life!

I hope you are all having a good start to March. Ours came in like a lion with a bunch of snow. The busses are cancelled, but given that I have drop cloths and paint trays all over my house, I made sure my SUV made it to the school. Let's hope the month goes out like a lamb!

Take care kittens,

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