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Lipstick Queen.

My obsession with hot-orange-red lipstick (previously well-documented here) has shown no signs of letting up over the past six months, and now that we’re moving into warmer months, I’ve been determined to find a glossy, sheer substitute for my beloved MAC Lady Danger, which is very matte and very opaque.

Last night I was killing time wandering around Bigelow Pharmacy before meeting up with a bunch of awesome women (more on that later) for dinner, and I happened to catch sight of Chinatown Glossy Pencils (named for the incredible Polanski movie of the same name) from Poppy King’s Lipstick Queen line. It was the Genre color in particular that drew my eye—a nearly neon, screaming-bright orange. I gave it a swipe on my hand, and to my surprise, it went on sheer and shiny, but with enough pigmentation to look more substantial than regular lip gloss. Exactly what was looking for.

It helps, of course, that the packaging for Lipstick Queen is top-notch. How gorgeous is that pencil? And the box is pretty, too. Because the pencil is so large, they include a properly-sized sharpener. I think that’s a nice touch, especially since it would never have occurred to me to buy a sharpener separately, and then I’d have been sitting there with an X-Acto knife trying (and failing) to whittle it into a fresh point.

This morning I tried out my new pencil, and I’m really, really pleased. Because the pencil is so forgiving, there’s no need to even look in the mirror when applying. The texture is smooth, flavorless and tasteless, and the color is buildable. Perfect, really. I can’t say it’s particularly long-wearing, but it doesn’t disappear immediately or fade/dry weirdly, either.

Several years ago, I designed the cover for Poppy King’s book, Lessons of a Lipstick Queen (it looks much prettier in person than it does in images online—I had it printed on gold paper, and the poppies that border the bottom edge of the book are rendered in a transparent glossy film), which was released just she was launching her Lipstick Queen line in 2008. It’s an inspiring read if you have any interest in starting your own business or becoming any kind of entrepreneur, or even if you (like me) just enjoy reading about people who take initiative and believe strongly in what they do every day. Funnily enough, though, I’d never bought one of her products until yesterday. I already liked Poppy’s voice, and now I like her lipstick, too.

Speaking of people who believe strongly in what they do, last night I had a wonderful dinner at Gobo Restaurant with really great group of women—Victoria from SFGirlbyBay and her friend Joni, Grace from Design*Sponge, artist Lisa Congdon and her partner Clay, Kelly Lynn from Little Paper Planes, Jaime from Design Milk, and Hijiri from Heartfish Press. It wasn’t a “blogging convention” or a networking meeting or anything, it was just fun and food and laughter. I’m very lucky to have met so many amazing people online over the years, and it was a real treat to have a chance to hang out with a bunch of them in person. (And yeah, they’re all as cool and pretty and nice as you imagine they are!)

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  • Reply jbhat May 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    You look WONDERFUL. The color is perfect and it sounds like it was tailor made for you. Go Poppy!


  • Reply Bre May 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Ohhhhhh boy, looks wonderful! 🙂 I love lipstick and that color is so pretty on you!


  • Reply Katie May 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Yes! I just got the same pencil, and let me tell you, I’m really not a lipstick kind of girl but this color is amazing! It’s so light and so much like chapstick, but adds just the right amount of color to make me feel like a lady. Love it.

  • Reply Adam May 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Sweet lipstick- love the color and the packaging! Glad you had such a wonderful time out last night with some lovely and talented people, it’s nice when things work out that way. Can’t wait to see you sometime this summer!

  • Reply Townerson May 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    SO obsessed with oranges and orange-reds on lips right now! I just got my Shiseido Day Lily in the mail (it’s not available in Canada, apparently) from Hong Kong, and like it all right, but wouldn’t call it perfect. Your nails in that photo look (on my screen, at least) just about exactly the colour of mine, which is THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT orange-red…The Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It by O.P.I. It makes me want to gesture wildly all the time, like a huge nerd…”Errbody look at mah haaands!”

    • Anna @ D16 May 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      I forgot to mention the nail polish color! It’s Essie Geranium, and it’s pretty fabulous. 🙂 I’ll have to check out that OPI color, too!

  • Reply Laura May 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Like you, I still haven’t gotten over the lipstick and nail polish in that JCrew catalogue (last fall?). Here’s my WAY cheap recipe: Covergirl NatureLuxe gloss balm in Anemone (smells so good) over top CG Outlast lipstain, 425. Poppy King is so cool! Saw her on some HGTV show years ago talking about lipstick and never forgot it.

    • Anna @ D16 May 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      She’s so passionate about it, that’s what makes her great!

  • Reply Mamma Biscuit May 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Anna, I can always rely on you to incorporate some pretty fantastic colors with your make-up and nail polish! You were wearing that combination gray/lavender nail polish before anyone else I knew and now I see it everywhere! And that green nail polish you were sporting weeks ago while working on those wedding invitations—I still think about that color (would it be strange to admit I wanted to actually reference it last week when I was setting type for a cover I’m working on?) LOL

    This orange red lipstick goes really well with your skin tone and hair color—obviously you already know that but I love how modern it looks! I’m still trying to understand the tip of that pencil and how it works but overall, I love the size and packaging. It’s like a giant pavement crayon! Should we try this color on Mamma Biscuit’s black lips? I hope it’s smudge proof because Mamma has that tongue issue!!

    • Anna @ D16 May 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Indeed, I do like to coordinate my nail polish with my current design jobs! It’s just that extra touch, you know? Perhaps I should start brushing a dab for color-matching onto the markups when they go to production…

      I think Mamma Biscuit might need a more long-lasting formula. (Have you considered tattooed lipliner? No.) She may also need to prime her lips with a flesh-colored base first. 😀

  • Reply Melanie Richards May 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Wow, that color is awesome! And I love how designers use X-actos for everything 🙂

  • Reply heather May 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    A perfect color on you! This has been on my list to try for a while – I’ve been looking a looooong time for a nice sheer orange red.
    The nail color is gorgeous too.

  • Reply Lisa-Marie May 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I have just discovered they have this brand in Space NK here. I use a tint and gloss combination at the moment, this seems like it could be a simpler replacement!

    On friendship with bloggers – I’ve never been to a blogger convention, but I have friendship circles I have made through blogging, and they are lovely. They are my friends who blog, not blogger friends.

  • Reply Holyoke Home May 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I am always looking for the perfect true […] red color for lips. Viva Glam #1 has come the closest, but it is SO opaque as to leave me looking…..really really odd. You know what I mean? It’s like the more you put on, the weirder your lips look.

    I’m gonna check this out.

    I really love the book cover.

  • Reply Lisa May 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    You look gorgeous in that photo!
    Like the lovely Mamma Biscuit says, it’s perfect with your skin tone and hair.
    I’m so envious!!!
    I’ve never been able to find a lip colour I feel good in.
    I have the weirdest pale but piggy pink complexion, but with hazel/ brown eyes, very dark eyebrows and nearly your hair colour.
    That nearly sounds exotic, but I just look pasty and flushed at the same time, and like I’ve tried to go drag queen on my eyebrows. Thanks ancestors for that messed up Swedish genepool…

    I’m sceptical against “colour analysis”, but maybe I should go for one.
    Or suggestions what might suit a pink pig with black larvae eyebrows?

    Love the book cover!

    • Anna @ D16 May 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Black larvae eyebrows!!! HAHAHAHA. What a description!

      Well, I have very pink skin too, and also know that pasty/flushed thing very well. I think you should give this gloss a try—it’s in the coral family, and in in general I find corals universally flattering. Give it a shot, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • Reply maggie May 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Love that color! I really like the orangey reds I’ve been seeing but I’m not sure if it will work with my yellow skin tone and besides that I’m kind of lipstick challenged. Maybe I need to try this non-lipsticky lipstick pencil.

  • Reply Kathleen May 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I’m officially inspired to quit biting my nails for good. It’s a nasty habit I’ve mostly quit but it still haunts me from time to time.

    • Anna @ D16 May 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      I wear my nails really short! I like bright colors on short nails. (But yes, biting nails = yuck. I’m so glad I’ve never done it, because I’m sure it’s really hard to stop!)

  • Reply moparbrownstoner May 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    The color looks smashing on you. Funny to learn you designed Poppy King’s book cover — it’s a very memorable cover.

    Were all those bloggers in town for the Brooklyn blogger conference? So is Katy Elliott. I regret I couldn’t go but I have deadlines this week.

    • Anna @ D16 May 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm

      Some of us live here, some were on vacation, some were here for ICFF, NSS and/or Surtex. I don’t do any of that stuff myself. 😉

  • Reply Sarj May 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I can’t believe you designed her book cover!!

    I remember absolutely loving Poppy King’s first range, called just ‘Poppy’ when it first came out. I thought she was amazing and I was always strutting around with my red Poppy lipstick on. Then she kind of disappeared over here (Aus) – will have to seek out this new label!

    • Anna @ D16 May 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Yes, she’s based in NYC now!

  • Reply Laura May 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Thank you for this recommendation. I am seriously clueless about lip color and am on a mission to finally figure it all out, but have been disheartened after hours at sephora trying on colors without success and wasted money on several drug store varieties that were just no good. This seems like it might fit the bill – easy, a bit of color but reasonably sheer, no fancy stuff like shimmer (which is upsettingly ubiquitous). I’m excited to check it out at one of the shops that carries the line here in Seattle!

  • Reply Momo May 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Great colour for you, Anna!!! I will have to check if Poppy’s lippies are gluten-free and try it myself. If you want more coverage, I have just discovered that NARS’s Heat Wave is a lovely orange-red.

  • Reply Jo in NZ May 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Fab lippy. And that restaurant looks divine!

    • Anna @ D16 May 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Gobo is great, Jo! We had our wedding reception there in 2004. 🙂

  • Reply Kimberley Baudelaire May 19, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Wow, what a cool product. I haven’t had a Poppy King lipstick in years but thanks for reminding me she still exists! I am total sucker for makeup products that can be applied sans mirror, I actually just blogged about it yesterday!

  • Reply Hijiri May 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

    It was sooo lovely meeting you, Anna! Wanted to talk to you more… and I wanted to tell you that I read and adore your blog so much! If you ever come to DUMBO to visit your hubby’s office or anything, let me know! 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 May 19, 2011 at 10:15 am

      Hi Hijiri! I know, I wish we could have sat in a circle—the two ends of the table were so far apart! It was really nice to meet you, though, and I will definitely know if I’m headed out to DUMBO. 🙂

  • Reply Bright May 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I LOVE that color on you! You look absolutely amazing and it’s so inspiring to see someone wearing exactly the shade that they want to wear, no matter how bright. One of my professors wears St. Germain (MAC) lipstick and has grey hair with bits of blue, pink, and purple in it…and it made me really look in the mirror and consider turning myself exactly into the person I want to be.

    • Anna @ D16 May 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      I highly recommend that approach to life! Rebellious teenagers are on to something. 😉

  • Reply Rachel May 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try some of her lipsticks, and these crayons look fantastic!

  • Reply Fenke May 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    mmh – this is exactly what i’ve been wanting (didn’t know before i read this post :-)) i have an orange lipstick that i love, but it is kind of too bright and intense for everyday. hopefully, i can find this somewhere in berlin…

  • Reply Mónica C. Welton May 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I love your blog, and that lipstick it’s great!

  • Reply Mae May 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Ha! I’m obsessed with tangerine lipstick. It looks pretty good on you though 🙂

  • Reply JacquiBee May 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I am so happy to see Poppy is thriving. I remember when her lipsticks first came out back in Melboune and we were excited with the matt finish and great colours. Girls I knew had been wearing stage makeup red stick as lipstick to get that matt look and here was this great range of perfect lippys. You look terrific!

  • Reply Kimberly May 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Love it on you, in the early 80’s Dior made a great orange that I had to have. I think I need to try this crayon! Haven’t tried an orange lipcolor in 30 yrs. but this is too pretty to pass up.
    Great job on that book cover! :o)

  • Reply Melissa May 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Wow, you designed the Poppy bookcover – I remember picking the book off the shelf at the library because the cover looked so gorgeous. I bought Poppy lipsticks when they first came out – but haven’t tried her new range – very tempted too now. The packaging alone looks so good & the colour on you looks lovely.

  • Reply Kyli May 20, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Gorgeous colour. Especially on you. Growing up in Melbourne (aus), I loved hearing inspirational stories about Poppy and her business. Had no idea she had launched a new range. Must check it out.

  • Reply heather e. May 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    i bought poppy king’s “medieval” lipstick last year for my wedding — i LOVE it! it’s the perfect red, but it’s also mostly sheer; i think it would look fabulous on just about anyone. and it lasts, too, because i wear it all the time and have had it for a year now! that shade looks great on you; might have to pick that up for the summer…although my hair isn’t as dark, so i’m not sure it would look as striking. the entire line looks pretty awesome, though.

  • Reply Kelly Lynn Jones May 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    It was great briefly meeting last week at dinner! Sad I was on the opposite side of the table, would of loved to of chatted! Next time we should all switch sides!
    PS. Love the red, its my new color, I used to only do neutral glossy lips, now its all red baby.


  • Reply Autopsy Jude May 23, 2011 at 4:32 am

    I loved reading poppy king’s book. she is amazing! knowing that you designed her book cover made me start reading it all over again! such an inspiration 😀

  • Reply Sherisa (Lélephant Rose) May 28, 2011 at 3:40 am

    OMG I was such a GOBO junkie when I lived in NY. Ate there every Friday. You must have their fresh juice if you didn’t already. That book sounds super interesting–I’ll have to buy it. I don’t know if it’s the photo or what, but the new lip color seems to match your nails.

  • Reply Sherisa (Lélephant Rose) May 28, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Okay–so I just read that you had your reception there. FANCY! It’s such a beautiful place really. So you know exactly what I mean about that place being awesome. XO

  • Reply Amy@Pikaland June 3, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Hi Anna, I had no idea that you designed the book cover! I absolutely loved it when I saw it (two years ago?) It belonged to an acquaintance though, and I haven’t been able to see it anywhere since.

    Major bummer, but I’m so glad to have stumbled upon it again here! 🙂

  • Reply Miss B. June 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    When I grow up I want to be you-beautiful, smart + creative as all get out!

  • Reply brianne July 24, 2011 at 2:44 am

    my lipstick queen came in the mail yesterday (from Barney’s – I bought the color ‘crash’) and I am already obsessed with it. Thank you so much for the heads up – this is exactly the type of product I’ve been looking for!

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