Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekend Report: His AND Hers

We women just know how to take over, don't we?  From boyfriend jeans to tuxedo jackets to wingtip oxfords - we seem to have a natural knack for taking what's traditionally not "suited" for us and making it all our own.  Well, being that I'm no stranger to this style-driven modus operandi, this weekend I plan on donning my share of testosterone influenced wares, along with a vintage piece that holds a special place in my heart.  So, if you have a few moments to spare, I'd love to give you a preview of what

This weekend, it's all about the shirtdress.  Borne out of the genuine love and comfort of wearing a man's oversized dress shirt, I believe the shirtdress to be a must-have staple for any woman who truly desires a well-rounded wardrobe.  Incredibly versatile in its styling, it can be played up or down without missing a beat.  Modified with a feminine flair, this light-blue linen frock displays a mandarin collar, rolled up adjustable sleeves and a tasseled, braided belt.

On my feet will be an offering from unisex sneaker giant Converse.  Serving up an eyeful of white from toe to heel, these monochrome, all leather All Stars will act as the perfect accent to give the outfit a laid back feel.

Weathered from years of wear, this tobacco-hued beauty has a lot of miles under its flap.  I've had it for, like, FOREVER!  It's my beloved Etienne Aigner and it's the very first purse I ever bought in my entire life!  Man, I'm so glad I was able to hold on to it for this long.  And this weekend I am going to dust it off and rock it cross-bodied, leather stretchmarks and all!

I'll be taking the minimalist approach when it comes to accessories, opting for a simple pair of frost framed sunglasses and a sugar white watch to complete my ensemble.  This arm candy from Marc Jacobs is not only laced with a little bling-bling, but is fitted with an oversized face that's traditionally reserved for men's watches.  And it's exactly this über masculine feature that makes me love it even more - it's a timepiece that's built like a man's, but "made" for a woman.

Now, I was thinking of adding a hat to the mix, but I don't know.  What do y'all think?  Yes?  No?  Eh... I prolly won't even bother.  I think I like the arrangement all on its own... but I was tossing around the idea a bit.

Well, there you have it!  That is the total rundown of my outfit for this weekend - something old, something new... nothing borrowed, but there is something blue.  I love that fashion is so malleable, especially for women.  From clothing to undergarments to hats and even cologne - what's his can easily be hers with very little editing (if any!).  Basically, WE CAN WEAR IT ALL!

So if you're ready to put your style acumen to the test and have never explored the woman-friendly world of male-oriented clothing, try it!  Better yet, venture over to an actual Men's Department and see what you find.  At the very least, you'll find inspiration.  At the most, a brand new outfit!  I don't know about you, but that sounds like a sure fire win-win to me.  #BEINGAGIRLROCKS!    

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Flashback: My Trip to Japan

You know, I really love to travel.  These past several months I've been so inundated with a load of personal tasks and chores that I haven't had time to spread my proverbial wings and go somewhere.  Oh, I've hit the road and traveled within the contiguous states, but - so far - have yet to travel travel.  Like, to a "whole different country with a whole different culture and language" type of travel.  Feeling totally derelict in my self-appointed duty of feeding my insatiable wanderlust, I started to think about the last time I was able to do just that.  Well, it was some years ago.  My friend at the time was teaching English in Japan and invited me to come visit for the Christmas/New Year's holiday and, with hardly a bat of an eye, I packed a bag and left.  And what a trip it was!  So much of it seems a blur now, but here's some of what I remember...

My friend lived in a small town on the outskirts of some of the main cities, so taking a commuter train was essential to getting around.  Insanely clean and super efficient, I remember hopping aboard the iron vessel to a city called Nara and being in awe of how quiet the ride was since most of the passengers pretty much kept to themselves.

Nara - a place where small deer roamed free, both in the designated park as well as the well-visited grounds of the temple that just happens to house one of the largest Buddha statues in Japan.  I remember the scale of the wooden temple as being quite overwhelming...

... and the various artifacts and statues surrounding the giant Buddha rich with exquisite detail and craftsmanship.  The main Buddha was mammoth, reaching as tall as the temple itself!  Alas, I tried to take a picture of it, but the photo came out dark and failed to show it in all its glory.  So above is a snapshot of one the mini Buddhas perched beside it. 

I remember going to a museum where guests were welcome to view the collection of genuine armor, helmets and other battle regalia from Japan's feudal era on full display, but had to adhere to the customary removing of the shoes first before gaining entry.

Prepared for the occasion, I opted to change into my knitted cat slippers in lieu of walking around "barefoot".

I remember going to a festival on New Year's Eve where there was a long procession of food vendors lined up on opposite sides of the sidewalk that led up to multiple temples and life-sized dioramas of feudal Japanese life.

I remember the public bathroom on the grounds as being nothing but a long, trough-like groove in the floor with a hole at the top for drainage that one would have to squat over to use.  I remember quickly turning around and deciding to "hold my water" instead of using the facilities, bumping into this handsome lion on the way out... and fondling it with reckless abandon.

I also recall literally ringing in the new year with a host of others as they lined up in front of one of the temples and bowed their heads in silent reverence as a small gong erupted in celebratory chimes.

Along with these memories, I remember the grocery store seafood being so fresh that you could actually see it writhing and breathing in their plastic packages and the streets being so clean that even a germaphobe like me wouldn't hesitate to eat off of them.  I remember green tea ice-cream (which is delish!) and all you can eat sushi that's served on a plate-by-plate basis from the convenience of an  endless conveyor belt that snakes around the restaurant's tables.  I remember taking the Shinkansen or "bullet train" to Tokyo and being seduced by the anime-like frivolity of its Harajuku district.

Yes, I remember a lot from this trip and now I'm yearning for more!  I really have to get on the ball and take some time out to go on a REAL vacay.  I want to completely immerse myself in a different culture, different language... different land!  I absolutely LOVE to travel!  And it's high time I get back to doing that which I love.  England!  Paris!  Italy!  Australia!  So many places to see and do.  And I'm so ready to do them all!  #YOLO!     

Friday, July 10, 2015

Smooth Operator

Hey, guys!  Question for you: When it comes to body hair management, do you guys prefer to wax or shave?  I don't really have a lot of hair on my legs, so waxing them was a breeze.  However, my underarms started to scar from all the ripping and the tearing involved, so I decided to ixnay the axway (or "nix the wax" for all my non-pig Latin speakers) altogether for quick and easy "old faithful" - shaving.  Previous bouts with shaving creams left my skin dry and unimpressed, but I finally found one that I'm excited about.  So, if you have a few ticks to spare, let's chew the fat and I'll give you the skinny on all the creamy goodness that is EOS' Shave Cream in Pomegranate Raspberry.

When personal care brand EOS (Evolution of Smooth) first came on the scene, the buzz was all about their colorful orbs of lip balms with the fruity scents.  Now that the novelty has somewhat worn off, there's been a slight shift in focus to their skincare products... and with good reason.  Generously endowed with moisturizing agents such as shea butter and grape seed extract, it can be used on wet or dry skin without consequence.  Not only does it leave skin feeling silky and nourished, but it also protects against unsightly razor bumps and irritation, too, with the help of aloe and oat extract.

Dispensed through a simple pump, Pomegranate Raspberry shaving cream is a thick, pale pink, custard-like concoction that smells of berries and spreads easily across the skin.  Its scent, which I found to be pleasant and not too cloying, does linger a little after shaving, but eventually dissipates.  And I have to tell you that my legs and other body parts felt phenomenally soft afterwards with not even a hint of a razor bump or adverse reaction to report.  #HOLLA!

So there you have it!  Now that summer is here and showing more skin is in, it's time to de-fleece, y'all!  The woolly mammoth look was never really my style, so if you're like me and eager to get fuzz-free AND still on the lookout for a shave cream that truly rocks... then you may want to give this one a once-over.  It comes in a total of three different fragrances and totally leaves your skin feeling protected during the process and as soft as a baby's bottom after.  Totally.   

EOS Pomegranate Raspberry Shave Cream is available at various drugstores, including Target and Walmart, and retails for around $4, depending on the outlet.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Flashback: Photo Realism

Hey, guys!  Does anyone remember this one?  I missed the initial outing of this particular quad due to my late entry into the eyeshadow game, but had heard about it through the makeup lovers' grapevine and managed to scoop it later from a well stocked CCS/CCO (Cosmetics Company Store/Outlet).  Already deep in the throes of accumulating a wealth of their singles, I believe this was my very first palette from MAC.  The residual chit-chat surrounding it was pretty positive and the colors really appealed to me... therefore, I had to have it.  So, if you have a moment, let's go traipsing down memory lane and reminisce a bit about the Photo Realism eyeshadow quad from MAC.


(Top L to R: Photo Realism, Fresh Approach; Bottom L to R: Image Maker, Grey Range)
Photo Realism is an assortment dusky greens with a pale, champagne gold thrown into the mix for good measure.  A limited edition offering from MAC, it was one of three quads that hailed from its Makeup Art Cosmetics collection.  The four colors included are Photo Realism, which is a champagne gold with a frost finish (Frost); Fresh Approach, which is a pale, seafoam green with a pearl finish (Veluxe Pearl); Image Maker, which is a clay Army green (Frost); Grey Range, which is a muted teal (Veluxe Pearl).

(Photo Realism)

(Fresh Approach)
(Photo Realism - L; Fresh Approach - R)

(Image Maker)

(Grey Range)

(Image Maker - L; Grey Range - R)

(L to R: Grey Range, Image Maker, Fresh Approach, Photo Realism)

Swatching this palette with my fingers proved to be a much easier task than trying to apply the shadows on my eye with a brush.  Although they are nicely pigmented, I found that I had to really pack on the color in order to sufficiently saturate the lid, with Image Maker being the most temperamental of them all.  Also, having a color boosting base is essential to breathing some life into this understated foursome (at least on my skin tone) and have found my NYX Horse Raddish Jumbo Pencil to be über helpful in this area.

So there you have it.  July 4th is this weekend and I'm thinking of rockin' this palette in lieu of any of the traditional red, white or blue.  You know me - I can be pretty "anti" when it comes to certain things, especially makeup.  Hey, I may not wear any makeup at all!  Who knows?  All I know is that I've got to get on the good foot and start makin' use of this bad boy.  Photo Realism is too pretty a quad to just keep hidden away... and I really am glad to have it as a part of my collection!        

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mint Sorbet

Now that summer is officially here, it's time to fall in line and get our fingers and toes season-worthy.  Color is the name... and for this go around, soft and easy is the game.  As you guys already know, I'm not a true fan of pastels, but - lulled by my latest grab's name - this romantic, pale shade of lacquer is more of a "sorbet" (self-indulgent semantics, I know, but let's just roll with it, shall we?).  Anywho, it's an all too familiar story: it was love at first sight when I laid eyes on it in the store and I just had to have it.  So, without further ado, I'd like show 'n' tell you a little bit about Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear nail polish in Mint Sorbet. 

Mint Sorbet is a blanched, pale green and hails from Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear line of long lasting, brightly hued nail polishes.  Richly pigmented, it has a nice, creamy texture and left a nearly opaque layer of color in the first pass.  I did, however, use two coats of polish and found that the lacquer dried fairly quickly between applications, which is a plus.  And while I had slight bubbling on one nail, which was totally due to "user error" as I was rushing during strokes and inevitably caught air, it did not streak.  Worn sans the aid of both a base and top clear coat (which is how I review all nail polishes), it held up well with only minor chipping at the tips despite undergoing the daily rigors of hand-oriented chores like washing dishes.  Mint Sorbet lasted about five days on my busy digits, which is about average for me.

So there you have it!  Although I don't really dig the "P" word when it comes to colors, using words like "sherbert", "sorbet", "custard", etc. help me push through my misgivings.  It's silly.  It's mind over matter, but it's all in fun.  Obviously, I like what I like.  And I really like this Mint Sorbet polish.  I can see it easily playing the perfect complement to sun-kissed skin and it wears well to boot.  Soft and easy and very pretty.  #TWOMINTYTHUMBSUP!  

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Minty Sorbet is available at various drugstores, including and Target, and retails for around $2.50, depending on the outlet.   

Friday, June 19, 2015

Crimpin' Ain't Easy

When I first started getting serious about growing my hair many moons ago, I invested a great deal of energy into protective styles (i.e., styles that required very little manipulation, thus guarding hair from unnecessary stresses that could hinder its health and growth).  Any texture-haired girl who has ever donned a relaxer knows that dealing with the kinks of new growth while trying to maintain the straightness of permed ends can literally be a "make it or break it" endeavor.  My initial, tress-saving solution was to wear my hair pulled back in a chignon.  And when I tired of that, I graduated to wearing it crimped.  Not only did it keep me from having to manipulate/comb it everyday, the style helped in blending both textures and was a cool alternative to wear during the hot summer months.  It's been awhile since I've worn crimps, mainly because my beloved crimper went kaput years ago and I haven't found a decent replacement since.  But I want to!  Like, really want to!  So, I may need a little help with this one, guys, 'cause what I've found so far in the realm of crimpers just ain't cuttin' it.

You know, I really wish I had gotten the memo on this iron.  When I saw it in the store, I figured, "Sure, why not?"  I mean, it looks almost identical to my dead and gone Windmere version, so it should perform the same, right?  WRONG!  This Conair Shiny Styles comes with a whole lotta bells and whistles like four interchangeable plates, including one for waving/crimping, but falls way short as far as execution.  It's clunky and did not leave a proper wave in my hair at all.  It's a simple plug-in and doesn't have a dial for temperature control, so maybe the heat's too low for me?  I dunno, but color me unimpressed with this one for sure.  #BOO!

Now, these foam stylers obviously aren't crimpers/wavers.  They're bendable curlers that you can find at many hair supply stores, including Sally's Beauty Supply.  They come in a range of sizes, from drinking-straw-small to Shirley-Temple-big; you want it, they offer it!  When my hair was shorter, I had no problem taking the time out to wind my strands up on these flexi-rods, sit under the dryer and wait for my style to take shape.  But now that my hair has some length to it, just the thought of the time it would take to go through the whole process (let alone how many more curlers I would need to buy to fill my whole head!) makes my stomach queasy.  A rod set would look so cute for the summer... but I just don't have the patience needed right now to even make the effort.  #NEXT!

And finally, there's my thermal crimp iron with the Marcel grip.  I have absolutely NO problem with these.  In fact, I adore them!  More lightweight than my other thermals, they get fire-hot in an instant.  The only thing is is that I don't have a ceramic stove to heat them in nor a gas stove top to heat them on (I currently use electric).  Besides, I need/want a travel-friendly option that's as mobile as I am.  So, as much as I love these, I'm still on the hunt.

Well, there you have it!  I guess I could always do the big Shirley Temples this summer, but I'm sincerely feelin' the itch to do come crimps.  Braid-outs kinda look the same... kinda, but I prefer the extra shine the heat of the iron lays on my locks, especially the ends.  I had my eye on a Conair Infiniti Pro Waver, but caught wind of it way late as it has been put out to pasture a beat and a half ago.  Therefore, my search continues.  So if any of you guys know of a crimper/waver that gives a good bang for the buck, please let me know.  I'm on a mission to find a good one... so help a sista out if you can.  #HOLLA!