Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Did you wear anything great for a holiday get-together?

I'd like to say I did, but the closest I got was trying on summer clothes to see if they still fit!  I was in the mood to stay home this weekend and get things done.  And since the weather suddenly zoomed into the 90's, getting out cooler clothes was a priority.  (No spring this year!)
I enjoy getting my summer clothes out.  I've lived most of my adult life in southern areas of the U.S., so I have a lot of fun summer clothes.  In summer I tend to live in workout clothes and dresses, for the most part.  Loose, flowing sun dresses are my summer uniform whenever I'm not thrilled with my weight.  Much more flattering than shorts! Along with ankle-grazing skirts to wear with my fun summer t-shirts and tops.
When you're getting clothes out of storage, it's also the perfect time to do some experimenting regarding new ways to wear things.  Mix tops and bottoms that you normally don't wear together.  Add some of this season's jewelry to last season's clothes.  Since dressing for summer tends to be more casual than cold weather clothing, you can be more creative.
Do you have any favorite outfits for summer?  If not, did you come up with something that you liked for Memorial Day?  Share!

Monday, May 30, 2011

What one thing is good for every skin type?

Obviously, sun protection.  But that's not my topic today.  The one thing that I'm talking about is SLEEP.  I've read this numerous times, and I've done my own informal research.  Like many women, I wasn't fortunate enough to leave acne behind when I got into my twenties.  It obviously loves me so much it can't be without me.  It did seem to improve some during my twenties, but by the time I got into my thirties it was back, worse than ever.  I went on a mission to find the best concealer and foundation, which at the time, was Laura Mercier (and arguably still is).  I started going to the same dermatologist as one of my perfect-skinned colleagues.  For some reason that we didn't question, we got microdermabrasion, glycolic peels, and facials for a $30.00 co-pay.  My colleagues' skin stayed perfect, and mine stayed littered with giant red bumps (known as cystic acne).  Nothing seemed to help very much.  Until I lost my job.  Which also meant that I started sleeping more.  Now I only occasionally get a large zit.  You might say it's because I don't have job stress, but anyone who's ever been unemployed for long and has bills to pay knows how much stress that causes.  So the only answer I'm left with is the sleep.
Try it!  It can't hurt anything, but it certainly can make you look better, and also it makes you feel much, much better.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do you have problems with your eye shadow fading?

Scene:  You're getting ready to out for the night with friends.  You pick out an outfit that looks smokin' hot on you, do your hair just perfectly, and take your time putting on make-up that matches both your outfit and the type of place you're all going.  You look great - perfect for all of the pictures that everyone will be taking.  Flash forward 5 hours.  After 3 drinks you go to the bathroom, you look in the mirror and... Oh my God!  I look horrible!!  What the hell happened to my hair and my make-up???
Oh, I've had many nights like that.  The hair is a topic for another blog post.  This one is for the make-up, specifically, your eye make-up.  There are a few tricks that can keep it from fading and/or smudging.  First, the fading problem (you know, where it all slides into the crease of your eye).  Eye shadow primer is the best cure for that.  You put it on your eyes first, let it dry, then apply your eyeshadow.  **Beware, though** most primers will make the shadow adhere better and therefore the colors is deeper, brighter, darker.  If that's the look you're going for, great, if not, use a light hand when putting on your shadow.  Experiment with it before a big night out.  Here's a photo where I used primer on one eye but not on the other.

Notice how much darker the right eye shadow is (the eye on your left).  My favorite primer is Urban Decay's Primer Potion.  There may be other good ones, of course, but theirs is the best that I've found.  Use this with either waterproof mascara, or skip mascara on your bottom lashes altogether.  Then either use a permanent liquid liner (like the ones from MAC, which will NOT come off until you take them off with make-up remover), or use an eye pencil that spreads easily but won't smudge too much.  Again, I like MAC's powerpoint line and Kohl line of pencils.  I also like Urban Decay's 24/7 pencils equally as well.  I've heard that Make-Up Forever's aqua liners are great, too, although I haven't had a chance to try them yet.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memorial Day Sale - 25% off everything

Everything in my Etsy shop is on sale!  Now through Monday take 25% of your total purchase with coupon code Mem25.  Enter the code when you're checking out and it will calculate the discount for you.
Rose quartz and opalite two strand necklace, $50.00

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dry shampoo - the best thing since sliced bread!

If you've got a hectic schedule and don't always have time to wash your hair when you want to, the new dry shampoos can be your best friend.  Seriously.  They'll buy you an extra day, at least, of looking good, smelling good and feeling clean.  And most of them come in a small size that will fit in your gym bag, as well as a larger size for home use.
My favorite so far is a spray by Klorane.  If you live in California you should be able to get it at Planet Beauty.  If you can't find it at a local store, Sephora carries it online.  Oscar Blandi also makes a good one named Pronto, now in dry powder form and spray, with a nice, lemon scent.  Renee Furterer makes one that I've heard is good but I haven't tried it yet.  The one that I have now is a dry powder from Ojon.  I like it a lot, and I think it has the best smell of all of them.
No more bad hair days or wearing a scarf or something to cover up my greasy roots!  This is truly an essential part of my beauty arsenal now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What color looks best on you?

I don't mean what is your favorite color, I mean what color of lipstick, eyeshadow, or clothing looks best on you?  Do you know?  To be honest, I'm not positive.  I know what my favorite colors are, but sometimes when you look at pictures or video of yourself, you discover that those colors don't always make you look the way that you want to look.
The way that you want to look is the biggest thing - how do you want to be perceived?  Fun?  Sophisticated?  Casual? Smart?  There are endless possibilities, and how you want to be perceived can change several times within one day.  How I want my fellow yogis to see me is different from how I want a co-worker or lover to see me.  Some days I feel confident and want a bold lipstick color, and some days I honestly just want to blend in with the crowd, so I go with a subdued color.
This is where experimenting is essential.  If you've never played with different looks, especially with your make-up colors, I highly recommend it.  For example, I love dark lip color, but I know from looking at pictures that they make my lips look smaller and can make me look severe, especially if I'm not smiling. Sometimes, for instance if someone has made me angry, that look is fine.  In general, though, I want to look approachable and attractive.  So if you always stay with the same colors, try some different ones, in your make-up, your jewelry, and your clothes.  Take pictures with different color combinations and look at them objectively to find out if how you feel on the inside is the same as what you show on the outside.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

beware the side-effects of prescription medicine

At this point in my life I am, unfortunately, about 40 pounds heavier than I want to be.  If you are ever taking a prescription medicine and start to gain weight, check to see if its a side effect of your medication immediately.  Even if you haven't been exercising much, or you've been eating more fattening foods than usual, don't assume that those are the reason.  Most Doctors won't tell you that a side-effect of the medicine that they're giving you is weight-gain because no women would want to take it!    But if you flat-out ask them, they'll tell you.  If not, search online.  Once my ob/gyn put me on a new birth control pill to try to get rid of ovarian cysts.  I started having horrible migraines, but I assumed it was related to stress on my job and worries about cancer.  It took me months to figure out the pill-migraine connection.
Also, I have never gained so much weight so fast as I did when I started taking an antidepressant for insomnia.  I didn't put 2 + 2 together until I had already gained almost 2 sizes in a few months.  Believe me, this is not something you want to have happen if you can possibly avoid it!  Once I had gained so much weight that literally NONE of my clothes fit (not even my "fat jeans"), I decided to quit taking the medicine & try to find another way to sleep through the night.  I hoped that the pounds would come back off as quickly as I'd gained them.  No such luck.  I haven't gained anymore, but haven't lost much at all.  What I have lost is due to careful dieting.  And in order to really get rid of the 30 to 40 lbs., I think it's going to take a mega exercise program.

It's soooo much easier to avoid it in the first place.  If you start a new medicine and also start having a new physical symptom, do some research.  Don't be paranoid, just use common-sense.  Save yourself.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Build enjoyment into your life wherever and however you can

Today's post isn't directly about fashion, jewelry, or beauty, but indirectly it is.  I went through a phase when I lived in Southern California where I was obsessed with buying  make-up.  I had always bought my make-up at the drugstore, just like my Mom and sister and everyone else in my hometown.  But then I discovered MAC stores and Sephora.  Walking into a MAC store was like heaven for me.  All of those colors, all of the possibilities...  I felt good as soon as I walked inside of the store (especially the one at South Coast Plaza).  Often I knew that I didn't need another lipstick that was 1/4 shade different from one that I already had. But I'd buy it anyhow.  I assumed that most of my obsession was because I had gained weight, & since I didn't like my body at that time, I was focusing on my face.  That might have been a small part of it, but now, years later,  I see the bigger picture.

I wanted happiness.  I couldn't afford large expenses, so I bought lots of little things.  It was my attempt to balance my life.  My job was stressful & isolating, and it didn't pay enough to match the exorbitant cost of living in Southern California (BEFORE the housing bubble burst). When I had time off from work  I spent most of it cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, & running errands.  Not exactly fun things, but they were all things that I felt I "should" do before I did fun things.  I was trying to play by the rules for success, and unwittingly making myself miserable.

I had recently gotten out of a long, unhealthy relationship with an alcoholic, so I needed to take a break from dating, I had no family on the West Coast,  & only a few friends since I'd just moved there.  My biggest source of enjoyment was my friends, and one of my friends' favorite things to do was to go shopping.  Of course I wanted to go with them.  Then I would spend more than I'd intended, not have enough to pay my bills, and the cycle of stress and unhappiness continued.

I now believe that if I had more pleasurable _activities_ in my life, I wouldn't have needed to buy THINGS in order to feel good.  (Or at least not as much.)  Since then I have had to take a hiatus from work, and as a result I've had time to do creative hobbies again.  I've gotten so good at some of them that I'm looking into doing them full time as my own business.  All of that brings me happiness.  I enjoy creating things, I enjoy learning about running a small business, I enjoy having some choice about how I spend my working hours.  I wonder what my life would have been like if I'd known these things long ago - to make fun a priority, and to make enjoyable, self-esteem building activities a core part of my life.  I think I would have been happier sooner, spent less money, had less debt, less stress, and maybe less make-up.  Just a little less.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I don't get dressed up often enough to buy that

My sister is a great commentor on my Facebook fan page.  It seems that most of my fans are mute or they don't know how to type, but I can always count on my sister to Like or Comment on my posts.  Recently she made a comment that I'll bet a lot of others think.  I had posted some photos of a multi-strand beaded necklace that I'd just finished.  She wrote "they're so beautiful, I sometimes wish I went somewhere where I could get dressed up enough to wear these".   I understand that.  I've been in one of those life phases where I don't go anywhere that requires dressing up very often, too.  The gym has it's own dress code, and jewelry isn't a big part of that.  I normally run errands the same days that I go to the gym, so I wear the same clothes.  I'm working from home, so pj's are my outfit of choice there.  But even if you're like me, you can find occasions to wear something a little fancy that you love.  And trust me, it will make you feel great while you're wearing it.  If you go to dinner or even meet a friend for coffee or cocktails, you can get dressed up without going overboard.  No one wears cocktail dresses to Starbuck's, but you can wear nice jeans, funky boots or shoes, a cool shirt with a jacket or knit sweater layered on top of it, and some great jewelry.  You won't look out of place, and you'll certainly feel better than if you played it safe with jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweatshirt or sweater.  Below I have a picture of one of the necklaces that my sister talked about, and how I wore it in a casual way when we went to dinner last week.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The sum of all parts really is greater

Wrapping up my experiment regarding which one thing makes the biggest difference in a woman's looks, I still believe it's eye shadow.  BUT, that is only when you're looking at just the face.  If you look at a broader prospective, I'm guessing clothes or hair are more important than any cosmetic when it comes to a polished look.  That, of course, is the purpose behind all of the fashion magazines, blogs, web sites, etc.  And deservedly so. 
I went to dinner with my sister last weekend.  I didn't have time to flat iron all of my hair, so I did only the bottom layers & pulled the rest up into a nice chignon.  For clothes I went with a dressed up casual look, with jeans, a coral cotton shirt, and a black jacket.  I prefer to get more dressed up but I would have been overdressed if I had.  And then the small detail about my having gained so much weight last year that I have very few clothes that still fit!  The bottom line is that I do the best with what I have, because to me, pulling it all together and looking good makes me feel good.  It's worth the time.
MAC gold metallic eyeshadow, MAC purple liquid liner, L'Oreal voluminous mascara, Make-up forever concealer & mat velvet foundation, MAC Blushcreme in Posey, MAC lipstick Impassioned.

The before picture

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Next in my experiment, no more pores!

Or in my case, Dr. Brandt's Pores No More primer?  Let me first say that I absolutely LOVE it.  I can put it on, and then just a bit of concealer, and my skin looks great.  That's something that I could never do with tinted foundation.  I get mine from www.Sephora.com, although I'm sure that it's available at other places as well.  I still think that eyeshadow makes the biggest difference in my look, but this is a staple for my daily "face".

Dr. Brandt's Pores No More primer and MUFE concealer

No make-up at all