Lumete Eyewear: A Love Story

This is a love story about a pair of sunglasses.

I will be up front with you guys. I am writing this blog post in the hopes of earning a pair of sunglasses. There is ulterior motive in my writing tonight. But like much ulterior motive, there is also deep sincerity behind it. I am writing this blog post endorsing a pair of sunglasses that I dearly, dearly miss and fervently wish back into my life.

It all started a year and a half ago with a photo shoot. It started with a tweet that was in response to Rush Limbaugh’s shaming of law student Sandra Fluke for advocating health insurance’s supplying of birth control, where he called her a slut. A lot of tweeters came out in defense of sluts, and one, @wise_kaplan, tweeted, “No sluts, no chocolate cake in the bath.” Adult film star Stoya and I both retweeted this sentiment, and then we started talking with photographer Steve Prue about recreating the tweet with a photo of us feeding each other chocolate cake in a bathtub. We scheduled the shoot together, but rather than shoot in a bathtub, we chose to shoot in Steve’s studio, so the chocolate cake in the bath photo actually never happened. (Stoya, Steve, I am still down if you are. We can still make that happen.)

Instead we showed up to Steve’s gorgeous Brooklyn photo studio and met a sunglasses designer, Clara Herrera. She was there with her collection, Lumete, and offered us each a complimentary pair of sunglasses if we would model them for her. Stoya and I, being two down-ass bitches, said sure why not.

Here's me and Stoya, in Lumete sunglasses and Agent Provocateur lingerie

Here’s me and Stoya, in Lumete sunglasses and Agent Provocateur lingerie

It wasn’t until nearly six months later that I actually contacted Clara and took her up on her offer. I’m not a pricey sunglasses kind of gal; I lose sunglasses in cabs and dressing rooms and apartments far too often, so pretty much I stick to the $10 Lolita glasses from St. Mark’s Place. But all of a sudden I needed an epic pair of shades.

I was attending the Toronto International Film Festival for a meeting with a potential investor. He was a wealthy banker I’d met in a club during one of his trips to New York. I had visited him at a party in Toronto a month prior to the festival and given him a copy of my screenplay in the hopes that he’d take an interest in it, and he’d offered to put up me and a girl friend in one of his vacant houses during the festival so we could go see films, network, party, and ultimately meet with him to talk about my script. I was also fairly certain I was going to run into a man I had a severe and devastating crush on, as I knew he’d be there. So the pressure was on. I know I look cool on the outside and all, but I was intimidated about going to a film fest and being among all the rich and skinny and beautiful actresses and famous people there, meeting both with one person I wanted to invest in my screenplay and another person I wanted to fuck, and frankly, I felt a pair of really pricey sunglasses would give my self-esteem that extra boost it clearly required.

I contacted Clara and she was ready with her offer of Lumetes in exchange for the modeling I had done. I chose the Oummaas in Cosmos Black:

Lumete Oummaa in Cosmos Black

Lumete Oummaa in Cosmos Black

They had a wide, movie-star-like lens, and engraved swirls with tiny Swarovski crystals on the side. For my purposes, they were perfect.

My first lunch with my potential investor (where he was also meeting with like, a realtor from the Middle East, or some other kind of business I didn’t quite understand but was clearly important/profitable?), I wore them while eating oysters and sipping a cocktail with a shameful watermelon garnish. We sat outside at a fancy restaurant in the Yorkshire district and I felt very fabulous.

Me being incredibly professional with a watermelon garnish in a business meeting

Me being incredibly professional with a watermelon garnish in a business meeting

I wore them pretty much during the entire trip, actually. Here’s me wearing them at a casual brunch with a Toronto friend and my girl friend who came with me on the trip for moral support:

Bathroom selfie, because that's how we document outfits these days

Bathroom selfie, because that’s how we document outfits these days

The festival was wildly successful for me. At the end of the week I met with my investor again and he said he would “back me in a heartbeat” (hence my upcoming LA move, to try and make that real), and while I only got to talk to my crush for about thirty seconds, I guess I built enough attraction with him that I sealed the deal later that month. Look, I’m not saying that a pair of sunglasses was the reason for my closing a business deal and later getting laid, but everyone has their magic feather, okay? And for me, a pair of Swarovski Louboutins, a curve-hugging Dolce & Gabbana dress, and my Lumete Oummaas did the trick.

Throughout the following year, my Lumetes were there for me, and before too long I had cast off my Lolita glasses and was wearing them almost every day:

Here's me wearing them to a business meeting back in New York

Here’s me wearing them to a business meeting back in New York

Here's me on the way to a hotel in Toronto this spring, unrelated to the film festival, off to meet a different crush

Here’s me wearing them during a business/pleasure trip to LA for the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchandising) convention.

Here's me wearing them to a poolside sushi lunch with my bestie, international supermodel Elinor Arwyn (she took the photo)

Wearing them to a poolside sushi lunch with my bestie, international supermodel/songstress Elinor Arwyn (she took the photo)

And then sometime in September, heartbreakingly and ironically almost exactly a year since I first wore them to TIFF, I woke up one day and they were gone. I actually missed an entire parkour class because instead of leaving my house to make it in time I tore my entire place apart for my lost sunglasses. You guys, I was devastated. I have never been so upset about losing a pair of sunglasses in my life.

So I contacted Clara once more, and asked her if she might give me a pair of replacement Oummaas as a barter once more, this time in exchange for my writing a blog post about the story of my love affair with my favorite sunglasses. Normally if I want something expensive like that I’ll just buy it, but I am saving for my LA move to try to make my movie dream come true, and also my cat Wesley decided to stop eating last week, which cost me nearly $500 in vet bills. (His bloodwork turned out normal, so apparently he’s just having issues. Maybe I hashtagged Instagram photos of him with #fatcat one too many times and he took it personally and joined the pro-ana community. Internet bullying is a real thing.) So I am not exactly in a position to be splurging on expensive sunglasses again, no matter how awesome they are.

My dumbass cat cost me basically enough to buy TWO pairs of Lumetes

My dumbass cat, on his way to the vet here, cost me basically enough to buy TWO pairs of Lumetes

So, help me out here, okay? Comment on this post, share it, send it to any friends who need a good self-esteem boost from something like a pair of awesome sunglasses, follow the link and buy a pair for yourself and watch how your life changes. I am 100% a convert and I am pretty sure I can never wear St. Mark’s sunglasses ever again.

Here are a few more of my favorite styles:

Vedrina in Seafoam Green

Vedrina in Seafoam Green

Vedrina in Dalmatian

Vedrina in Dalmatian

 

Templanza in Peacock

Templanza in Peacock

Attic Safari in Smoky Taupe

Attic Safari in Smoky Taupe

Attic Safari in Turquoise Coast

Attic Safari in Turquoise Coast

Dramolete in Reverse Eclipse

Dramolete in Reverse Eclipse

Oummaa in Black Cherry

Oummaa in Black Cherry

Four Kiss-Proof Lipsticks… Tested Onstage!

For the past four weeks I’ve been part of an amazing new show in New York called The Dead Dream Machine. I played a neuroscientist who strings up a man in suspension bondage and a goth seductress promoting an underground party. So, you know, typecasting.

In my second role, I got to share an amazing stage kiss with the talented actor Charlie Wilson.

kiss

You can watch our kiss in action here, at 1:03:

Because my character was a goth seductress, my stage kiss required me to wear deep red lipstick, and hopefully not get it all over Charlie. I saw an opportunity here. So for our last four performances, I tested out four different lipsticks, and I’m here to share the results!

For the first night, I wore Lime Crime Velvetine in Red Velvet. To be fair, Lime Crime doesn’t advertise their Velvetines as kiss-proof, specifically. But it seemed with its matte finish that it might be a good candidate.

charlie1a

It wasn’t. There’s quite a bit of red around Charlie’s mouth. I guess I was kind of a messy kisser. So, that one was out.

The next night, I tried out Revlon Colorstay Overtime. I’ve heard great things about Revlon Colorstay, so it seemed like a good idea. I chose the color Ultimate Wine.

charlie2a

This one was a lot better than the previous. You can see a bit of a smudge above the right side of Charlie’s mouth, where some of the lipstick hadn’t quite dried yet (I had to apply it during a fairly quick costume change). However, though the color I chose was Ultimate Wine, it ended up looking like a coral on me. Coral is not really goth so it was not character appropriate, and I resented having spent money on a color that I didn’t really like since I couldn’t test it out. Such is most drugstore makeup, alas. Also, I took it off with a makeup wipe after the show, and then re-applied it for my gogo dancing gig later that night, and between the two applications and removals, my lips were shot, swollen and chapped, by the end of the night. I swiped on a generous helping of my trusty Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment before bed to counteract the abuse I’d subjected my poor lips to.

The following night, I chose a stain: Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain, in Twilight. The color was a deep berry, not quite the deep red I’d hoped for by its packaging, but with a few coats, still a nice sexy gothic color.

charlie3a

Charlie had absolutely no discernable kiss marks on his face that night, the stain lasted well through my gogo gig later that night (including the three-course meal they fed us and a generous helping of champagne!), and my lips didn’t feel damaged, so I call this a winner. The stain goes on like a magic marker so application is super easy, even if a couple of coats are required for the intensity of color I prefer. The only downside was that in my hasty opening of it during my quick costume change, the balm side of the stick broke off. I might be an idiot and not know how to operate it but it seemed like the balm part ought to have had a twist-up but didn’t, and so the entire thing just broke off. Still, I didn’t really need the balm, since the stain wasn’t drying.

The final night I tried out MAC Pro Longwear in Lasting Lust. The packaging is similar to Revlon Colorstay Overtime, a double-sided tube with the color on one side and a clear gloss on the other, with a lipgloss-like applicator for each.

charlie4a

Again, Charlie’s face showed no signs of kissage. The color was thick and stayed true to the bright red it appears as in the tube, if a bit plasticky feeling on my lips. It also really didn’t want to come off my face, and backstage after the show with no makeup remover wipes (our producer seemed to think baby wipes were kind of the same thing, which they’re not), I ended up exfoliating it off my mouth with the ribbed part of my tube sock. (Hey, beauty emergency, don’t judge!)

So what’s my final conclusion here? I kind of have no idea why we’re still even wearing lipstick when we could all be wearing lip stains. They’re easy to apply, they feel like you’re wearing nothing on your lips, they look natural if you choose the appropriate shade, and they don’t come off your face. And you can condition your lips on top of them! Magical!

Sure, they don’t have that thick pop of color that some lipsticks have, and like hair dye, there’s no way to apply a color that’s lighter than your lips. And forget about finishes like sheen or matte; your only finish option with a stain is magic marker. But hey, you can’t have everything, and for my purposes, I’m a lip stain fan from here out.

In the meantime, if you’re in New York I hope you caught The Dead Dream Machine, but if you didn’t, don’t fear, I’ll be performing as Janet in Rocky Horror Picture Show In Concert on Halloween night at Duane Park, so there’s more spooky goodness coming up for your viewing pleasure.

Happy kissing!

My First LimeCrime Order!

In this day and age of internet precedence uber alles, it happens that a cosmetics company can run itself quite successfully with only a product line, an e-commerce website, and several social media accounts (twitter, instagram, pinterest, facebook, and tumblr, to be specific). Enough internet presence gained, and products can be sold online without IRL stockists. Lime Crime is one brand, perhaps the exemplar brand, that’s done this to great success.

The trouble with buying cosmetics online, however, is that we’re never quite sure how they’re going to look on us until we sample them. But I was feeling both brave and flush one day and decided to be adventurous. Not quite adventurous enough to try Lime Crime’s signature Easter Egg blues and greens, perhaps, because apparently the only lip colors I ever wear are red and nude, but adventurous enough to buy into Lime Crime’s enthusiastic instagram hype (man, do they have a way of getting you excited over a lip color!) and decide to order a few for myself.

I am incredibly predictable when it comes to lipstick. Unless I’m wearing an everyday translucent pink balm (usually Sugar Rose by Fresh), I’m either in my favorite vampy red (MAC Viva Glam I, which as far as I’m concerned is absolutely the only red lipstick in history that matters), or my favorite Gareth-Pugh-runway-I-have-no-lips-because-I’m-actually-a-fembot nude (MAC Honeylove, occasionally topped by their limited edition Lady Gaga gloss that you can only find on ebay nowadays). So for me to break out of my norms, it would take a remarkable lipstick indeed.

macvivaglam Here’s me in Mac Viva Glam I, for referencemachoneyloveHere’s me in MAC Honeylove, also for reference

So I ordered from Lime Crime two reds, Glamour 101 and Red Velvet, and two nudes, Coquette and Babette (the recently hyped new addition to the Lime Crime lipstick canon), with a sparkly Candy Apple gloss thrown in for good measure.

Glamour 101 is described as a deep, vampy, Snow White kind of red. I have a thing for Snow White so naturally I picked that one. Unfortunately, the rich color doesn’t have very good sticking power, so as amazing as Glamour 101 looked when I put it on, it kind of slid around my lips and ultimately ended up looking like a glossy rose, which is a fine lip color, but is not the deep vampy red that I’d been promised.

glamour101Glamour 101 upon first application

glamour1012

Glamour 101 after a few blots

So that one was out. Despite its creamy vanilla birthday cake texture and scent, I need a lipstick that is going to be wine glass- and, ideally, kiss-proof. This is Seductress Life, after all. We must be practical with our lip color.

So onto the nudes. I tried out both Coquette and its peachier cousin Babette. They’re definitely the high-gloss opaque that they promise, but I felt that their colors, despite both being nudes, were so bright that they almost made my teeth look yellowish. Lime Crime definitely delivers on its almost cartoonish portrayal of color. I was almost ready to pass them onto friends, but then I took photos of them in the mirror for this blog, and somehow in photos they both looked awesome. So now I have to reconsider keeping them, or at least bleaching my teeth (not a bad thing to do every couple years anyway).

coquette

Coquette

babette

Babette

Onto the final color, the popular Velvetine, Red Velvet. Lime Crime Velvetines achieved fame with their promise of going on like a gloss and drying into a matte, with excellent staying power. On this, Red Velvet absolutely delivers.

redvelvet

Red Velvet

Red Velvet was so awesome that it almost made me question my loyalty to my beloved MAC Viva Glam I. It’s brighter and bluer than my MAC, but it does dry matte as promised and it stays beautifully with minimal dryage of my lips. Ultimately I can’t break myself from the awesome brickiness of the MAC red, it’s just so dark and rich, and I need a red that is slightly orange-y as my particular body chemistry tends to turn most lip colors more pink/bluish once they warm to my lips, but I will add Red Velvet to my arsenal and I’m sure it will get very good use.

I took a photo of myself in the Candy Apple gloss layered over the Red Velvet, but by photo it was difficult to tell the difference. Basically Candy Apple is a gloss with tiny red glitter in it, reminiscent of the glitter that so many burlesque performers I know layer onto their lips directly from the jar but slightly more accessible.

candyapple

Red Velvet topped with Candy Apple gloss

So what have I learned from this grand experiment? With the internet coaxing us to buy products like makeup without the ability to test them out first, it might happen that we buy five lip colors in order to find the one that we truly love, and four others that sit within our drawers until we’re feeling adventurous as we were when we first ordered them. Buying makeup on the internet is kind of weird, actually. I’m not sure why we do it. But businesses like Lime Crime prove that we do, and will continue to, even if it’s just because we can no longer stand to see all their enthusiastic fan instagram pics without giving in and trying them out ourselves.

Oh, and speaking of ordering things on the internet, for the awesome Sex Geek t-shirt that I’m wearing in all the photos above, you can visit my buddy Reid Mihalko’s site ReidAboutSex.com. Unlike many internet-ordered cosmetics, it will definitely be true to color when you put it on.

tshirt2

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

P.S. Pardon the obviously iphoned pics in this entry. I’m in the process of deciding what kind of camera/lighting equipment to purchase in order to take perfect product-blogworthy makeup selfies, so if you have any recommendations, do let me know!

Hello, World!

Hi everybody. It’s me, Arden Leigh. You know me from my dating/relationship blog A Weapon Of Mass Seduction or from my organization The Sirens Seduction¬† Forum or possibly from my Twitter. Or maybe you don’t actually know me at all. In which case, hi. I’m a seduction coach and female pick-up artist. I teach women the art of seduction in order to give them the confidence to reach romantic self-actualization and fulfill their love life goals.

I’m starting this blog because I wanted a space where I can dish about beauty, fashion, health, and lifestyle, and most of those things don’t really fit in on AWOMS or the Sirens blog. Seduction takes place on the battleground of the mind, but all of us have material objects or routines that make us feel sexier or more confident, which can make the difference in whether we choose to open an attractive new potential target we happen to spot in our travels.¬† Sometimes when you change the outside, you change the inside too.

For example, I was once headed out to meet a fellow Siren at a cocktail bar downtown when she texted me with, “Could you do me a favor and bring a red lipstick with you that I could borrow? I’m coming straight from work with no makeup on and I barely feel like myself.” I did. (It was Tarte Glamazon in Wild.)

I get asked all the time about what it was like to corset-train my waist, or how I managed to non-surgically enlarge my breasts as I briefly mentioned in my book The New Rules Of Attraction. So here’s the space where I’ll be writing about the beauty routines that make me feel more like myself, or fun products I’ve tried and tested. Want me to review a product you have in mind? Write to me at ardensirens@gmail.com.

Baudelaire wrote, “Woman is well within her rights, and indeed she is accomplishing a kind of duty in striving to appear magical and supernatural. She must astonish and bewitch; an idol, she must adorn herself with gold in order to be adored. She must borrow from all the arts in order to raise herself above nature, the better to subjugate hearts and stir souls.”

Or at the very least, we can all agree that a little red lipstick can go a long way.

What products do you consider a necessity to embodying your seductress self? What kinds of things would you like to see me write about here?