Friday, October 24, 2014

M.A.C. Cosmetics: A Novel Romance Collection swatches "Before Dawn" & "Midnight Storm" (feat. "Girl Trouble")

Hello loves!!  M.A.C. released their early fall collection A Novel Romance back in August, but I'm much more in the mood for them now than I was in the sultry days of late summer.  Once I was acclimated to deep, cozy colors again, I knew that I needed these because I just love the concept of this collection.  It's page-turning perfection, right on down sickeningly sappy promotional images.  Yup, nailed it.

M.A.C. A Novel Romance "Before Dawn" & "Midnight Storm" (feat. "Girl Trouble")

 I love romance novels, and found the tongue-in-cheek personality of this collection to be positively brilliant.  Romance novels are inherently cheesy and absurd, no doubt about it, but let's be honest- they are also wickedly entertaining.  If anything good has come out of this 50 Shades of Grey nonsense, it's that it provided a widely accepted, or at least, widely acknowledged, outlet for women to explore the more scandalous side of their sexuality.  But while many people seemed to think this was revolutionary, it was actually just a smuttier resurgence of the romance novel infatuation that has been a popularly derided, subversive cultural phenomenon for decades now.  The stigma, though mild, is unfortunate because the greatest social impact that romance novels have had in the later part of the 20th century has been to empower women in their sexuality, and encourage them to have higher, more egalitarian expectations for their own love lives (and by love live I mean sex life because yes, the timeline of love in most romance novels is complete bunk).  So anyways; if you were spellbound by 50 Shades of Grey (and we're all sexual creatures, so who wouldn't find it fascinating to some degree?), just know that what you're reading is simply a more disturbing version of the classic romance novel we've largely forgotten.  Yet I might postulate that the highest form of depravity found in 50 Shades is not at all the dark fantasies of Mr. Grey's wretched mind, but rather its perverse disregard for rational prose (not to mention, fluent grammar) that ruthlessly stripped the long-suffering English language of yet another layer of dignity.  *Sigh*.

A Novel Romance is not a reference to just any form of romance- more modern sub-genres including paranormal, futuristic/fantasy, contemporary, suspense, and of course, erotic- but the very first true romance novel form: the historical romance.  Oh yes, I'm talking about Viking Fabio, Cowboy Fabio, Knight Fabio, all of the Fabios.  Historical romance has adopted a quaint array of distinct sub-sub-genres, which I felt made convenient parallels to M.A.C.'s A Novel Romance nail polishes.  I've made your selection easy: simply identify your historical theme of choice, and discover your ideal love lacquer <3


Scottish romance ... "Before Dawn"
Regency romance ... "Midnight Storm"
Western romance ... "Sunset Sky"
Medieval romance ... "Midnight Strata"
Pirate romance ... "Midnight Ocean"
Viking romance ... "Midnight Sky"

Which romance are you??
Scottish? ... Regency? ... Western? ... Medieval? ... Pirate? ... Viking?

What do you think: love at first sight?

Before Dawn

"Before Dawn" is a muted lichen green with a dreamy diffusion of fern green shimmer.  The gentle earthy glow brings to mind a misty, moss-covered glade in the Scottish highlands bathed in the silvery light of early morning.  Some liken this to army camo, but I must protest, if only because the harsh association tarnishes my quiet reverie found in this color.  It's a bit cloudy and gray for camo, and therefore I shall continue to willfully project a romantic interpretation on this shade.  I've been infatuated with unusual smoky greens this autumn, so I am quite determined to re-claim this one for feminine sensibilities :)  In support of this random but very stubborn stand I'm taking right now, I just discovered that a Pantone Fall 2013 trend color was "Deep Lichen Green", and tell me that it is not the very thing!  (Lots of beautiful, woodsy wedding boards featuring this hue, by the way.)  Soft, wispy lichen, feathering through the boreal forest like little fairy pillows <3

Pantone "Deep Lichen Green" 18-0312 TCX

M.A.C. "Before Dawn"

The formula of these "cream" polishes, as M.A.C. is calling them despite the subtle shimmer, is so decadent and rich that I just want to slather it on like honey butter.  However, you really must resist the urge to do this.  I love painting luxurious, thick coats, but these were really not meant for that; I had some crazy bubbling problems before I realized that these demand thin coats!  But oh wow, they are divine that way- incredibly opaque, and self-leveling over any streaky ridges left by the frugal application.  I used two coats from habit, but one coat was actually very good on its own.  Color me impressed!

Inspired by the spackled patterns and textures popular on cheesy historical romance covers,  I ventured to do my first saran wrap manicures using M.A.C. "Girl Trouble", a lavender foil polish (and most certainly not a "pink pearl", as it is described).  This is a very easy and fast technique, and Nicole from Polish Me Please has a nice step-by-step tutorial showing exactly how to go about it.  I mattified my mani for a misty, heathered look, and then proceeded to sticker everything for something like a Highland meadow full of wildflowers.  {The stickers were given to me by my dear friends Amy, Tess, and Liz a few years ago for my birthday: Kiss Nail Artist 50931 KNA07.}

M.A.C. "Before Dawn" + "Girl Trouble"

M.A.C. "Before Dawn" + "Girl Trouble" // Kiss Nail Artist stickers

Midnight Storm

"Midnight Storm" is a luxuriant, rich berry with a velveteen veil of magenta shimmer.  I didn't think anything of this when I saw it online, but then a saleslady was digging through the nail polish for me in store, and when she pulled this one out I kind of slowly took it from her hand like "no, this is mine now".  This is a real bodice-ripping berry.  It's a regal shade that a duchess might wear to an autumn cotillion... to meet her roguish lover :O  Same formula as "Before Dawn", and same procedure on the nail art, though in this case I went with matte gunmetal studs, because every good romantic heroine has a healthy amount of sass and spunk in her soul ;)

M.A.C. "Midnight Storm"

M.A.C. "Midnight Storm" + "Girl Trouble"

M.A.C. "Midnight Storm" + "Girl Trouble" + matte topcoat

M.A.C. "Midnight Storm" + "Girl Trouble" + clear topcoat

M.A.C. "Midnight Storm" + "Girl Trouble" + matte topcoat

A Novel Romance collection may still be found online and sparingly in stores, though the nail polishes are actually found amongst in the core line of Studio Nail Lacquers on the M.A.C. website.  Anyone know if they are, in fact, to be part of the permanent collection?  Unlike the aggrandized price tags of most M.A.C. limited editions, these are the standard $12 each.  Apparently, M.A.C. lacquers used to all be $17 each a few years ago, but squawks about both the price tag and difficult formulas led to a revamp of the entire line early this summer.  Hooray!


Don't forget to pick up a good love and/or smut story to go with your ravishing nails!  Any favorites??  One that I loved recently was called The Fairest of Them All by Teresa Medeiros.  This one falls under the medieval category ("Midnight Strata"!), and took place in Wales, which was an interesting change of scene.  I love me a good Scottish romance- my darling friend Corrie and I used to have very serious book group discussions about them haha- but I have to say, the unflagging enthusiasm writers (and readers, including myself) have for this one small country as a context for endless lustful adventures really is astonishing.  The romance section is positively inundated with tartan, and is ringed with every possible permutation of titles containing the words "Highlander", "Scot", "Laird", et cetera.  Truly remarkable.

I have one final musing in what has become an unexpectedly long ramble on romances (but then, we couldn't talk about a collection about novels without some book review...right??) and that thought is on long distance relationships.  If you've ever been apart from your significant other for long periods of time, you know how hard it can be to keep up lively conversations over the phone and Skype.  After a while, it becomes a ritual recitation of the events of one's day, and then... crickets.  My boyfriend and I have come up with a few ways to keeps things interesting and engaging.  One is online games! is a good one because it's free, uncomplicated, and you can choose your playing partner.  We also watch movies, and when I was training for my marathon we would stretch together every night.  Another favorite activity is reading together.  We thought it would be hilarious if we read romance novels to each other, and it has actually turned out to be a lot of fun!  The Fairest of Them All was actually the last one we read, and has been our favorite so far; the plot line was strikingly original!  It really was one of the most sophisticated novels of this genre that I have yet encountered.  The descriptive prose, the rounded character development, the subtle mythological theme, the PASSION ohlala; highly recommend :)  Next up: a VIKING romance!  This will be a first for me, and I'm pretty excited about it.  I mean, give me a break here: I'm Norwegian and Swedish, and studied abroad in Denmark.  It's about time!

And with that, heroines, the sunset awaits ;)

Marisa + Sprinklepuff

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