D.’s 2014 Resolutions

I love that because of LoH I can check my resolutions from last year. I did okay. I definitely walked a ton more because a. I stopped having two jobs and b. I signed up for Classpass which means I walk for 45 min. a day to get to and from my fitness classes. But the real lesson here is that working less for the same amount of money makes your life better. The dirty secret of self-improvement is that everyone who makes less than $40,000 a year would be happier if they made more money. Done, the end.

My other resolution was to wear more winged eyeliner. I have totally failed on this front because winged eyeliner is THE hardest. But, 2014 was the year I learned how to contour and that is good enough for me.

So in the spirit of LoH’s endless quest for self perfection (with reasonable qualifiers about the limitations of self reform in the long shadow of The Man), here are my 2015 resolutions:

1. I will put on clothes everyday. For many of you this might seem obvious, but I spend many days in my pajamas or in workout clothes. The workout clothes one is really pernicious, because it easy to feel like you got dressed when you have changed out of your pajamas and into a new outfit. But for the sake of my marriage, my dignity, and the cause of women everywhere, I commit to wearing a zipper or button everyday.

2. I will commit to dealing with my hair at least once a month. I don’t mean get a full-on haircut because those cost a million dollars. But even if it means walking into the terrifying russian barbershop (or the even more intimidating black barbershop in my neighborhood) to get my duck-tail trimmed once a month, I will do it. Because nothing makes me feel worse than ugly hair compounded by the feeling that I will have to wait for three months for it to be less ugly.

No resolutions for fitness or food because those are mostly self-hating. Also everyone eats healthier once Christmas ends anyway.

Oh also, 2014 is the year I discovered the power of glitter nail polish. This is not about looking professional, ladylike, or sexy. It is about having an ombre glitter spectacle on your hands to look at all day. So, more of that!

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-D

C.’s Hair: the Crowd Responds

I love the Emma Stone option, but here is the thing: when I think of you I think of long side bangs. The fact that you don’t already have them is confusing to me. So in the spirit of reinvention, here are some other ideas:

Why not pull a Vivianna razor chop?

http://www.viviannadoesmakeup.com/my-new-haircut-the-razor-chop/

From Vivianna Does Makeup

Or go even shorter:

But I have another idea that might be better for your goals of only getting a haircut once a year: The Haim haircut!

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Really long with only layers at the bottom. I see a lot of beautiful girls in Brooklyn with this hair and it appears to be the kind of hair you rarely wash, always air-dry, and let get kind of naturally curly at the ends. I personally am terrified of middle parts, but I actually love the way this hair looks with a side part. It is kind of young adult heroine ish. See, Kristen Stewart:

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Also, just ’cause I mentioned KStew, let this sweep over you and then follow it up with THE TRUTH:

 

-D.

Crowdsourced Haircut

I need some help. My husband has thoughtfully gifted me a spa day and I’m going to get the first haircut since…um…the summer of 2013? I can’t remember. Suffice it to say, my tresses are dying for a trim. The question is–what kind of style do I get? Unfortunately, because it’s easier to maintain than short styles, the hair needs to stay long for the next six months or so. I was thinking of getting longish bangs again, ala Emma Stone:

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And I’d like to get layers, but I want to avoid this sort of lame-ness:

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Any advice would be appreciated!

-C

Lucky Lady

A really important perk of having friends is that you benefit from their great taste come the holiday season. It would never have occurred to me to get this scarf for myself, but once I opened J’s package, I was like, “I will wear this thing until it is in tatters.”* Similarly, I’ve never worn a nude-y lip color, but after I tried on D’s gift–MAC’s Lustre lipstick in “Patisserie”–I was all, “This works.” Sadly, the image below doesn’t quite convey how pretty the lipstick really is, but until I have a Vivianna-level blog career, I’ve only got my phone camera to work with.

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-C

*Which won’t happen for about 100 years because, quality.

Facts for Ladies

An amazing guide to ladyness, recovered by The Lore of the Garden (also one of LoH’s three readers!)

The Lore of the Garden

Facts for Ladies, by Mrs. Amy Ayer Kinsley, with Dr. Robert A. Gunn, was self-published in 1890 and turned up on my mother’s shelf. It was her mother’s and I commandeered it.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

It is a surprisingly thorough and forthright work, and discusses everything from “displacements of the womb” to how to decorate a “model gentleman’s den.” (Which was model, one wonders, the gentleman or the den?)

The ideal reception room The ideal reception room

There are beauty tips — such as homemade toilet water made of barley meal — and the insistence that “beauty cannot be maintained without daily bathing, preferably two or three times a day.” Featured are inspirational “Portraits of the Queens of Beauty,” among them actresses Ellen Terry and Lily Langtry (who, like Cleopatra, is said to have bathed in milk).

 Lily Langry Lily Langtry

Among the beauty advice, there’s a formula to get rid of freckles:

1-1/2 oz. Bitter Almonds
15 grains…

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Do you think she knows how sad this seems?

2014 Gift Guide

I am perplexed by the gift guides that seem to pervade the media at this time of year. Do men really want “the perfect whiskey cup”? And why would they only want one? That is, except for the GOOP gift guide, which is a gift in itself. It combines the excess of the FAO Schwarz catalog and the storytelling pizazz of the J. Peterman catalog in the nineties. Actually GOOP’s good-but-minimal copy plus a jumble of shiny images really just borrows from the genius of US weekly, now that I think of it.

First of all, I would like to say that if you have no children in your family currently, or if they are too young to know what Christmas is, consider not giving presents at all. It only works if everyone really agrees to it, but the effect is lovely. A general level of stress dissipates and suddenly the whole family can really focus on what matters = the movie you can all go to on Christmas day because there are no presents to open.

But if you are forced to do Christmas gift-giving here are my suggestions.

For your husband: This is a tough one because it actually requires you to have been paying attention all year. What did he say he wanted but he didn’t buy for himself because he is responsible? I don’t know. Ask for a list. Don’t be a hero.

For your best friend: This is so easy. Whatever you want for yourself! Duh. But the obvious answer is Women in Clothes.

For your male best friend: Whiskey (try Four Roses–cheap and good)

For your nieces and nephews: MOney$$$$$$

For your children: An FAO Schwarz catalog! Give them the gift of flaneurship in hard copy. Teach them early that wanting is always more satisfying than having.

For your mom: Whiskey (try Buffalo Trace–reasonably priced and sweet)

For your dad: Whiskey (try McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt–delicious, obscure and really more like a Scotch)

large-Clear Creek Mccarthy's

 

 

Stages of Lady Development

Beginner Lady:
Apply sunscreen
Own belt
Own black dress
Wash face at night
Eat crudites with drinks at all receptions
Consult drugstore aisle for skin problems
Walk
Wear earrings

Intermediate Lady:
Apply moisturizer
Paint nails pail pink
Use dry shampoo and anti-frizz hair goop
Visit dermatologist for skin problems
Establish actual foundation color
Own black blazer
Eat full plate of crudites before drinking
Stretch
Own bag made out of leather
Wear necklaces

Advanced Lady:
Paint nails greysh (a lavender/grey color)
Take off nail polish when chipped
Blow dry hair with brush
Use hair curler for “soft-waves”
Pin-point conceal blemishes
Contour eyeball with dark crease shade
Own clean blending brushes
Combine retinol with other active and yet not irritating skin care ingredients
Cross-train
Own two blazers (one winter weight, one summer weight)
Walk in high heels
Go to dinner and have a full meal before attending reception
Own handbag, tote, and clutch
Wear cuffs and “stacking rings”

Countour/Bronzer

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The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow compact and the Women Clothes book were both gifts. I can say with confidence that both have changed my entire lady game. The compact, which was a gift from C. was one of the most thoughtful gifts that I have ever received.

1) I would never have bought it for myself ($$$)

2) As an object, it is a piece of art

3) It so sweetly references our mutual love of Vivianna and our mutual confusion over “bronzing” and “contouring”

Now that I own this I think we all need to be bronzing and contouring. Suddenly my face is a face. It has dimension and warmth. I wore it to dinner with my brother and he said: “D. you look so skinny! Are you ill?” Which is basically the nicest thing you can say to a woman.

 

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Contouring and bronzing are two different things, but what is nice about this product is you can kind of do both at the same time. The highlighter is totally buttery and gorgeous.

For a cheaper option you could also try The Body Shop’s Honey Bronze in light matte and buy a different highlighter like Top Shop’s Glow Highlighter. Another option that costs way too much money but is similar is Nars Contour blush.

Women in Clothes

My parent J. gave me this amazing book that is a collection of interviews with women about clothing. 1) I can’t stop reading it 2) I want to be a part of it. It is fascinating in an anthropological sense but it has also helped me understand my own clothes anxieties/joys in a kind of self-help way. I wish I was friends with the authors.
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Here are my answers to their questions (their website has all the questions, but I have only answered the ones that interest me):

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

At my exercise classes when I am all spandexed out in my Nux leggings, colorful sports bra, a drapey tank, and my bright pink running shoes. I think I actually have a great body but in normal clothes I feel like I am always fighting with my shoulders, butt, and thighs. In workout clothes I feel most like myself and really confident because I am proud of the push ups I am doing. I also think that I look fierce when I sweat intentionally.

2. Do you notice women on the street?

I notice women in my neighborhood because that is when I am less likely to be tuning out the world. I notice lots of women of an ambiguous age in high heeled clogs, wrecked jeans and impressively soft sweaters. But to be totally honest I am noticing how skinny they are and feeling envious of how great disheveled clothes look on skinny women.

3. What are some other things you admire about how other women present themselves?

I really really admire sleek looking ladies in sack-like clothes. I think there is nothing more chic than an artfully draped sack. I also admire the way these women offset their sacks with delicate and giant jewelry.

6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others?

I only wear 2 and 1/2 heels on my shoes, I never wear true flats with no heels because my legs just loose any shape and my feet hurt.

7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?

Very recently I had a really good clothes therapy session with my husband. We talk about clothes all the time and he gets tired of hearing me spin out about my body, my lack of interesting clothes, my latest solution (silver bullet). So he really sat me down and helped me figure out that I like dressing boyishly with a kind of Garence Dore’ french girl spin. This helped me understand that my love of makeup is about the way I want the femininity of my face to play off my short hair and boyish clothes.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

Last year at my professional conference all my lady friends and I were getting ready to hit the conference center and I realized how amazing and similar all their outfits were. Black blazer, black jeans, silky tops, jewelry for days, flats for day, heels for the party at night. This look was so great that I have totally adopted it as my professional outfit. And we all look awesome as a matching crew.

19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?

Thermal socks, harem Lululemon sweatpants, a ratty J. crew t-shirt, and my Patagonia fleece from 2002. My hair is just washed so it is still calming down from the trauma of shampoo and I am wearing cat eye glasses and no makeup.

20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?

So important!! Why do I think about it all so often and yet look good so rarely. This is a true conundrum.

 

-D

 

 

 

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