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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Science Fair for June 22nd-28th

What a weekend I had! I'm usually a huge homebody, so a double-header of weekend outings is CRAZY TIMES. We made the trek out to Coney Island on Saturday, and it was a strange mix of amazing and sad, not to mention dirty and probably hepatitis-ridden. Since I'm a wuss who is afraid of dying on roller coasters (have you see how rickety that Cyclone is?), I only made it onto the Wonder Wheel, which was an incredible view of the whole park but totally sick-making as the cars swung wildly back and forth. Phew. Was I glad when that ride was over! Sunday, I went out to "royal" tea at Lady Mendl's salon in the Inn at Irving Place, it was lovely and delightful despite the torrential downpour we were caught in. I am a huge sucker for those tiny tea sandwiches and chinoiserie!

Now, off to this week's Science Fair:
-I'm always searching for little, easy ways to make my diet healthier. Surely the trips to Nathan's Hot Dogs and pizza nights don't help, but I'll take any hints or encouragement I can get. If you're just starting out on a healthier lifestyle, or looking to renew your efforts, here are some nice, simple tips for healthy eating.

-Are you feeling lucky? You'll need a little more style than luck if this Urban Decay vegan cosmetics contest, but it goes without saying that our readers are OBVIOUSLY super-chic all the time. Let us know if you enter, we'd love to see your submission!

-I've just discovered a new site out of the UK, HippyShopper, that's a great resource for green, stylish products. Most of them are available in the UK, but I'm sure with a little Google effort, you could find them near you.

-Tastespotting is back, thank goodness! I wish I could be so talented at food photography as these people...wow. Warning: DO NOT LOOK AT TASTESPOTTING WHILE HUNGRY.

-From what I observed at afternoon tea yesterday, I suspect a fascinating psycho-social study could be made of how young ladies like ourselves just love to pretend like we are fancy, fancy debutantes and socialites. You can, too, with a couple of recipes for finger sandwiches like radishes with butter and mint with cucumber. Lovely! If I could re-do my life up until now, I might go into nutritional anthropology/culinary history like Deb Duchon.

-New York City is going through a huge food crisis of the fatty and delicious kind right now. It's got to be tough to make your pies flaky and cannolis light and crisp without artery-clogging grotesquerie. Truthfully, I haven't noticed any changes--fatty food is still fattening, with or without trans fats!

I'm back to beautiful, smoky California in two weeks, so off I go to eat myself silly in Manhattan! Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, June 27, 2008

This Week in Total Beauty: June 27

Happy Friday! We've been having a lot of fires in the Bay Area lately, which is awful. The sky is grey like it's going to rain, but it's 68 degrees and sunny according to my weather widget. The air's smoky and the whole thing is scary and sad and is totally throwing me off. I almost wish it would rain, which is funny because months ago I was staring at this grey sky wishing for summer...

Here's this week's round-up of Total Beauty bloggers! Have a great weekend!

Are you ready for a Warm Chill? Roselyn from Makeup Makes Me Happy™ is raving about the latest limited edition collection from MAC Cosmetics. Here she gives us a fabulous makeup tutorial featuring the cool blue hues from MAC's Cool Heat.

Who is the THEVI Woman? Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog introduces you to the new line of cosmetics for the NEW ethnic woman.

Does the T3 Plump Heat-Seeking Liquid Hair Plumper give Makeup Bag hair like Serena Van der Woodsen?

Alison of the Advice Sisters Guide To Life, Success & Happiness Blog visits with Redken's color consultant, David Stanko at the Angelo David Salon in New York, and answers the question: Are In-Salon Treatments Really Worth it?

Viva Woman compares compact, mineral and loose powder foundation and finds out which is better based on coverage, skin type, formulation, convenience and affordability.

The Muse saws open her Urban Decay Potion Primer and finds out how to make the most of it!

Meredith at Daily Dose of Coffee finally checks out MAC's Tendertones and thinks that it's a product worth keeping in your makeup bag.

Beauty's Spot is tangled up in shades of orange this summer as Nars Lip Lacquer in Capucine has stolen her heart.

Beauty Anonymous reviews Corioliss Pro Black Flat Iron!

Tink at Casual Lavish provides a step by step Beach Waves hair tutorial. Get your summer groove on with some fun waves and have fun!!

Monique at Beauty Girl Musings has discovered a new, more grown-up scent that she adores!

Top 10 Celebrity Hair Stylists Hair Tips by Talking Makeup.

The girls over at Beauty in Real Life got a chance to interview celebrity makeup artist Fatima Olive, click here to read her fabulous makeup tips.

Come join The Life of a Ladybug's no!no! giveaway! All you have to do is enter your name and e-mail address and you have a chance to win a brand new no!no! hair removal device!

Jeanne at Periodic Style is dealing with a self-tanning mishap...

Summer heat doing a number on your skin? Beauty411 shares how the new June Jacobs Cooling and Soothing Masque can help you beat the heat and improve your skin!

Makeup Junkie shares a new Makeup Obsession and it's not lip gloss!

Beauty Tyrant is virtually poreless now, thanks to her Pore-fect Idealist. Find out how this product makes it to her Holy Grail.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The best sort of vintage...

... is the kind that's handed down.

We've been remodelling our house again, and so we've had to clear out the basement (our house is so old we have a basement). While my mom was down there, she found these two pairs of shoes that were my late grandmother's. Since they were found with my aunt's baby clothes, I'm assuming they're from the early 1950's.

I love them. My feet are too big for them. My grandma had tiny feet -- these shoes are labeled as 6 1/2 AAA... in 1950's sizes. I used to wear my grandma's old patent-and-cork heeled sandals when I was in middle school (for a costume, not every day!), and then I outgrew them. That and they broke a little. So needless to say, I don't have a problem with wearing vintage shoes.

How interesting that I still really love the aesthetic qualities of these shoes -- the leather, the peep toe, the slingback. (I don't currently have a shot of the shape of the heel, but it's a good heel, too -- not too skinny or clunky, not shaped funny, just a good heel.) I love cork heels because I had that ultimate pair of cork heels.

Is it a twist on nature versus nurture? Do I love these aspects in modern shoes because they are so classic and attractive, or do I love them because they're part of my history?

I really wish I could wear these shoes, I really do, but instead I can sit and sigh over them. All I know is that last weekend (with the skirt and the streaky tan), I wore a pair of leather peep-toe slingback shoes (wedges, though, and I got awful blisters out of it) and those were the only shoes I wanted to wear.

I guess the question is, what draws you to certain elements of a piece of clothing or accessory? Is there any sort of nostalgia for some things, or is it pure aesthetic? I'm curious to know!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hints for Health and Vigor, #4! Aka the triumphant return!

4. Be aware of the ways in which you could be exposed to toxins every day.

I never paid much attention to the kind of plastic bottle I use, if I throw away a plastic bag, or if I eat something that turns my tongue redder than a firetruck with sirens a-blazing. Until I started checking out websites like MedHeadlines, Science Daily, ProMedMail (subscription-only), Nature, and HealthMap, the only things I worried about in terms of my health were 1) anemia, 2) chronic fatigue syndrome, and 3) heavy metal poisoning. I think the first two are self-explanatory, since most girls who feel tired and weak assume they have one or the other. I used to think I had heavy metal poisoning because my fingernails had funny vertical striations--a little bit of nail buffing took care of that, problem solved.

These days, though, I'm seeing a lot of outcry over toxic substances in the products we use every day. You know that "new car" smell? It's actually potentially toxic off-gassing from the roughly 250 pounds of industrial plastics used in cars. Who doesn't get a thrill from new car smell? It's one of those times, like sitting around smelling markers, when your internal judgment monitor says, "I want to stay here and smell this forever, but I'll bet you a hundred dollars this is pretty bad for me." It's balancing precariously on the line between pleasure and pain. That new shower curtain smell (PVC off-gassing), new mattress smell, and that torturous "will this delicious smoked, grilled slice of ham give me cancer?" quandary.

What's more deceptive, though, are truly the most mundane things--water bottles. The biggest worry right now is specifically toxic BPA release from baby bottles, but big, grown-up kids like Jeanne, Kati, and I still use bottles every day. I try to buy glass bottles of tea and re-use them at the office because I hate to wash sturdier ones, but the plastic kind are absolutely everywhere! Since I lived in Japan, I've tried to pay attention to the little number inside the recycle symbol on the bottom of bottles to avoid toxic BPA. (Note: looking at my Dasani bottle right now, it has a 1.) The scary thing is, almost every college student in America is using those ubiquitous Nalgene bottles, and those are some of the worst BPA offenders! I can't tell you how many times I've filled up a Nalgene with warm water and a teabag to make iced tea--I thought I was a genius, but it turns out that I could have been exposing myself to toxic chemicals! Yikes.

Even Tupperware products have some dangerous BPA, and you're encouraged to microwave those. I like to use Pyrex and glass containers with rubbery lids instead of all-plastic tupperware, you can remove the lid for microwaving and it keeps the contents nice and sealed. Plus, a glass container makes a sad lunch at your desk feel like you're eating out of a real dish, not a half-melted piece of junk.

Since we're on the subject of food now, remember to be careful of unpasteurized cheeses, specifically soft cheeses like brie, bleu cheese, and queso fresco. Listeria monocytogenes and Mycobacterium bovis bacteria are regularly found in contaminated, unpasteurized queso fresco and burrata, particularly the delicious homemade kind. Listeria bacteria cause listeriosis, which can be fatal to fetuses in utero, causes premature labor, and severe symptoms in the immune-compromised and healthy alike. Mycobacterium bovis, on the other hand, is the causative agent behind a particularly nasty and ancient strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis, currently making a comeback in California. My own mother still won't eat soft cheeses or cheese with mold running through it--too bad for her, Point Reyes bleu is local and delicious!

For those of you interested in potentially toxic beauty products, look no further. The Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia (that's in Canada!) has an amazing Guide to Less Toxic Personal Products, from tampons (toxic shock, ladies, you can never be too careful) to acrylic nails. Interestingly enough, they list dioxin as a toxic chemical commonly found in beauty products. Just recently, Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko fell victim to dioxin poisoning
--deliberate espionage or not, the jury is still out. Did you see his before and after pictures? Not a great makeover, I'm sorry to say.

What are you ever so careful of? Do you use any special products we should know about?

Monday, June 23, 2008

WorkWear Daily, June 23rd, 2008

Finally, I have created an outfit for work that I feel proud to post here! It just took a little shot in the arm to revive my wardrobe. Nothing like rediscovering an old-but-now-new (do you know what I mean?) skirt to revv up the ol' outfit stamina.

When I set out my clothes last night, I was so proud of myself--the bow, the lovely pleated skirt, the tying in of the colors in the Target flats, the femininity of it all! Well done, me! I got a compliment on my "colors" from an Italian colleague who rocks the best comfy-business-casual style ever. Silvia is always sort of lovely, soft, and rumpled, she has an adorable two-year-old daughter who puts her through her paces.

Anyway. I thought I'd pull out the blue and brown from the shoes and try out a little retro vibe with the almost full skirt and nipped-in waist. This would have worked better with heels, as the skirt length is a few inches below the knee. I love the Japanese pop flowered shoes, they are great with pedal pushers (I also love the 1950s, can you tell?) and knee-length skirts. The necklace is a moonstone on a silver chain, a gift from my parents.

I definitely walked around swishing my skirt all day and feeling girly, a fairly big achievement for a tomboy like me! Does anyone else find it difficult to pull off those soft, flowy princess looks without looking lumpy and blah? I need structure, pleats and pintucks and horizontal stripes! My day of girly coquettishness is ending with me sitting in a coffeeshop typing this in my gym clothes and my badass teal distressing jacket from H&M. Ah, well. It was good while it lasted.

Misadventures in Self-Tanning

I have pale legs, and generally, I don't self-tan -- not even the gradual "build-a-tan" lotions. I don't like having to wait to put on clothes or sit while it dries or worrying about it getting on my sheets if I apply before bed, I don't want to wear gloves or stain my hands... and so I wind up wearing pants all summer long because my legs are pale. And they stay pale. The cycle continues.

Anyway, I was sent a bottle of L'Oreal Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist (breathe, breathe, it's not that long of a name) by Total Beauty, and so I decided to give it a shot. I was heading to a fancy brunch on Saturday and I was going to wear a skirt, so why not try out the self-tan stuff the night before? Good idea, right?

They tell you to never try something new right before you go to something important, like "never get a facial in the days before your wedding" and so forth. There is a very good reason for this.

So I sprayed it on my legs after shaving (which, um, kind of stung? So -- don't do that!), put on a skirt, and went out for the night an hour later (as the can said it would start showing up in an hour). As I was leaving, my mom said, "Your legs are so PALE," and I replied with, "I put self-tanner on them!!" But even so, I noticed no real difference in my legs, no evidence that I'd sprayed well or evenly or anything...

...until I woke up the next morning, when it was immediately clear that I had NOT sprayed well or evenly, including a big long drip mark down my left shin. Oh. Oh no. Oh, this was bad. It had been so incredibly hot the day and night before that it could have been sweat, or it could have overdeveloped while I was sleeping, or something. Either way, it was Not Good.

Luckily, I had my DuWop Revolotion, which is a tinted moisturizer with SPF, to disguise my poor blotchy legs. If you didn't know that I'd had a mishap with self-tanner, you wouldn't have noticed it -- and as far as I know, no one at the brunch did notice. Or at least they didn't say anything to me if they did.

Yeah. I remain a total self-tan novice, and I don't think I'm going to attempt to get any better at it. I mean, now I'm wearing pants in the summer to hide my pale AND orange legs. I just have to ride this out until it goes away...

In conclusion:

funny pictures

images from totalbeauty.com and icanhascheezburger.com

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Science Fair for June 15th - 21st

This weekend has been incredibly brain-meltingly hot, starting Friday and going through yesterday. Hopefully today will be cooler (that's what they're telling me), but it's still early on. I would loooove to take off and go swimming today, but alas, I don't have a pool to go to, and the beach will be packed before I even get there. So I'm out in the backyard (hooray for laptops!) instead!

- This is primarily for Karen, my partner in loving vintage glasses: So THERE, Dorothy Parker!

- Have you discovered the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee? CUTEST KITTEN PICTURES EVER. I wish I lived in the Tacoma area just so I could take one of these cuties home with me, but I don't -- and I know there are just as many adorable kitties waiting for good homes everywhere. Foster/adopt and spay/neuter!

- The Park Bench gives a few reasons as to why I'm being the way I am. Generally for me, it's #4 -- I tend to have lack-of-protein meltdowns. You know, like I'm three.

- I know I'm trying to stay away from MAC (I do not need ANY MORE), except Specktra just posted these swatches of the fall collection and I think I need to have it. (Sigh.)

- I am probably super-late to the party, but if you aren't already reading Trend de la Creme, you are missing out on some truly awesome work. And her column for Coutorture is fascinating.

Have a great week, and keep cool!

Friday, June 20, 2008

This Week in Total Beauty: June 20

Happy Friday! I am quite relieved that it's Friday, but it's still going to be a long day for me!

While I dive back into my pile of work, check out the latest and greatest from the Total Beauty bloggers, and have a great weekend!

Meredith at Daily Dose of Coffee attempts to stop the ravages of time on her face with L'Oreal's Skin Genesis line. Find out how it works and what she thinks.

Viva Woman invites you to check out her updated tips on sunscreen protection and application this summer.

Advice Sister Alison at The Advice Sisters Guide to Life, Success and Happiness Blog discovers a luxe, multi-tasking face treatment by Chanel called HYDRAMAX + ACTIVE TEINTE Active Moisture Tinted Lotion SPF 15. It's truly a Skin Saving Wonder and it's Advice Sisters Product of the Week!

Tink at Casual Lavish explores the nail polish watercoloring technique.

The Muse reviews Bourjois Paris Hi-Tech Rouge before it even hits US shores!

If you never try anything else Beauty's Spot recommends (which would be incredibly foolish) you must try this Honey Heel Balm by Farmhouse Fresh. It will change your feet!

Beauty Anonymous thinks Anna Sui Fall 2008 Makeup Collection is adorable!

Summer skin got you down? Beauty411 reviews a new product from REN that will jumpstart your skin and leave it looking like you just had a facial!

Beauty in Real Life has great summer makeup tips from a celebrity makeup artist.

Jeanne at Periodic Style wants to get buff this summer...

Talking Makeup: How To Give Your Skin A Natural Glow by Celebrity Nutritionist Oz Garcia.

Monique at Beauty Girl Musings shares a new product to help control those fly-aways!

The Jet Set Girls try out L'Oreal's latest self tanner.

Joy from the Makeup Junkie dishes on her night out with Cover Girl!

Discover which skincare line is loved by celebrity moms andA Mom in Red High Heels alike!

Toya from The Life of A Ladybug proves brown girls can and should wear orange in her Electro FOTD!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tag this, suckers!

I'm alive! It's been a crazy time the past few days, I was trapped in one of the worst thunderstorms of my life in Brooklyn trying to wade towards the Renegade Craft Fair (tragedy!), ended up in another thunderstorm at an airport with a postponed then cancelled flight, forcing me to spend another night in the cookie-cutter anony-mall world that is northern Virginia (why does it all look the same?), which ultimately turned a 24-hour business trip into a 56-hour torturous ordeal. Oof. I hate layovers, it's so stressful and yet so boring at the same time, what's a girl to do?

Jeanne posted this little meme a few days ago, and since she tagged both me and Kati in turn, I thought it was about time to catch up! I filled it out while enjoying a bit of German peppermint chocolate. Post-gym, of course, I do try!

What were you doing ten years ago?
Probably at school, coming home and watching Strangers with Candy and Kids in the Hall on Comedy Central (back when it was great and not skanky)! Good times! That or being forced to watch traumatic foreign films by my mother--a great education, but emotionally scarring.

What are five things on your to-do list today?
1. Install my new shower curtain--the old one got all mildewy! It was pretty gross. (I feel like they make mold-resistant shower curtains these days...yeah, a quick Google search points to yes, but they're just not as cute as the patterned ones!)
2. Start writing my thesis. Oh, god.
3. Stop using the computer and take a shower.
4. Start packing up my winter clothing. (I bought travel vacuum bags today, that's a step in the right direction! Those things are miraculous.)
5. Finish writing up my background reports on anthrax hoaxes for work.

Snacks you enjoy?
God, I love salty food. If I could eat only salty food for the rest of my life and not die of rickets or scurvy, I'd totally do it. Tortilla chips are my Kryptonite. Nabisco makes the most delicious Pringles-like, but far more light and crunchy and flavorful than Pringles, chips in Japan only--CHIPSTAR. I have yet to find Chipstar in the U.S., despite my many forays to all kinds of Asian markets and snack food emporiums. Little fruit tarts tug at my heartstrings, too, particularly pear-almond cream ones...oooh...

Places you've lived?
Mostly the San Francisco Bay Area, with a few years of Japan (Narita and Tokyo--Narita totally sucked ass, but I was a wee toddler back then), Maryland, Massachusetts, California's Central Coast, and now New York City. Did you know I went to four different elementary schools? We moved around a lot when I was little, thanks, Dad.

What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. Donate to charity internationally, specifically to rebuild infrastructure and homes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Sudan to support resettlement and community building. (This is assuming that all this money would come with a magical power to resolve the security situations in all those countries, obviously.)
2. Donate to charity domestically in the U.S., to support reproductive rights, pre-natal care for women in need, historical preservation in America's small towns, etc. etc.
3. Buy a crazy sweet penthouse apartment in the East Village and put money aside to eat out all the time in New York. That's a cool billion gone, right there. If only New York didn't smell like feces all the time...
4. Buy a little cottage somewhere charming, just for the hell of it. Maybe even a small island? We're talking billions, right?
5. Sit around and do nothing all day, maybe with some dogs, in either of those two properties.

People you want to know more about?
Lee Pace. Specifically, does he have a girlfriend, and does he know that I am the perfect woman for him? Ditto for Edward Norton. I just can't put a finger on what it is with the two of them. I might include Clive Owen in there, but I am no home-wrecker! On a more grounded level, I too would love to know more about our readers--how did you find us, what do you enjoy the most about this blog, and what do you want to see our takes on?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coffee (Tea) Talk

I am absolutely swamped today, and will probably continue to be so for a while yet -- July is coming up fast. But I'm still going to be posting... I just don't have the time for a full-on post today. Sorry!

So! Open comments day! You can ask questions of us, talk about things, whatever you want. The comments are your place to say/ask whatever you want. I'll pop in and answer/discuss with you, so if you leave a comment, check back! I'll give you some jumping points!

- So You Think You Can Dance! Are you watching it? What do you think of the Top 18?

- The return of Project Runway in July! It's the final season on Bravo... I was kind of underwhelmed by the last season, but I always come back. (This is what happened with me and ANTM, too.)

- Summer movies! What are you looking forward to seeing? What have you already seen and loved?

- Any music recommendations? I always want to find new music.

- Are we still feeling the gladiator sandals? Because I am, and I didn't think I would be at the start of the summer, but... (j'adore couture's gladiator wedges at the Coutorture meet-up are still on my mind...) That said, I'm pretty picky about them. What do you think?

- And, something I'm going to touch on in a future post: what's your current beauty addiction? What can you just not stop buying even though you have enough? (Is there ever enough?)

- Whatever you want to talk about! Got a specific question? Want advice or a recommendation? The email's always open for that, but you can go ahead and ask here too!

- Peanuts: neither peas nor nuts. DISCUSS.

Monday, June 16, 2008

In the Buff

A couple of weeks ago, I lost the fight with the nail polish I'd been wearing for about two and a half weeks. And instead of going and repainting them (as I'd been planning on doing), I stopped and thought I needed to give my nails a bit of a break. So I buffed them -- I got out a little nail buffer block and buffed my nails smooth and shiny. And I got to thinking -- does anyone actually buff their nails anymore?

I first started buffing my nails when my grandma (this should tell you something, yeah?) gave me a little nail buffer along the lines of this one -- shaped like a nail file, with one side having the first two steps and the second side the third and final "shining" step. And so I, being ten, thought this was awesome. While I haven't been keeping my nails buffed consistently since then, it's always been somewhere in the back of my mind.

Anyway, I thought I'd find some fun buffing products, especially since summer is the time to get smooth, and, uh, buff. So here we go!

- The Red Flower Japan Rice Buff is a bag of rice bran with aloe vera and various scented oils. I'm a huge fan of Japanese-inspired products, obviously, but at the same time, I don't know if I'd pay $24 for a bag of rice bran that's good for about seven washes (about $3.50 per wash!). Even if it is cherry blossom-scented. Still, I do like Red Flower's products in general; I'm just not super-sure about this one.

- I use Bliss skincare and love it, but I mostly keep it to my face -- I haven't branched out into their body stuff, really. They have a carrot and sesame body buff spa set that includes a scrub and a moisturizing foam thingie. I sniffed the scrub at Sephora and wasn't totally thrilled (maybe I just don't really like the smell of raw carrots?), but I've heard good things -- the Non-Blonde loved the scrub. I would rather get the Lemon & Sage scrub, if I had to have a Bliss scrub, but I'd rather get another Product Body scrub anyway. Mmm, Butter Scrub...

- Benefit makes a lip gloss called "Streakin'", which is described as "buff nude". Oh ho! I very much like Benefit's glosses, and a good neutral lip gloss is always good to have. (Which is why I have, like, a bajillion of them.)

- When I was in Vegas, I picked up a "Buffy" bar, which I think used to be called "Buffy the Backside Slayer". Clearly there was a name change...

- Speaking of our favorite Slayer, if you haven't already started reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, you definitely need to check it out. It's the continuation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer after the TV show ended, written by Joss Whedon; because it's a comic instead of a TV show, so much more can happen that would just be impossible to put on TV... (And actually, my favorite slayer is Faith, who doesn't show up until No Future For You (Volume 2), which I haven't picked up yet. But apparently she is awesome. Would you expect any less from her?) For a preview of Season Eight, check it out at DarkHorse.com.

Have you ever buffed your nails, or am I the only one who does this? (I've never seen any other beauty bloggers refer to it, at least that I can remember.) Any favorite buffs/scrubs you want to share? Or any favorite Buffy moments? And are you looking forward to Dollhouse, the new Joss/Eliza Dushku collaboration? (I'm not sure yet, but I'll probably be checking it out...)

images from drugstore.com and darkhorse.com

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Yikes, tagged!

I've been seeing this interview/meme thingie floating around, and so I was surprised when I got tagged by Beauty 411!

I know I'm supposed to follow the rules and all, but I don't think I'm going to tag anyone besides Karen and Kati, who will probably answer in comments. (Cool with you guys?) And if you want to take it yourself, by all means!

Anyway, reposting the rules because that's part of the rules. (Rule #1: No water. Rule #2: No fire. Rule #3: In case of fire, disregard Rule #1.)

* Post rules at the beginning of the post.
* Answer all the questions.
* Tag 6 people, and go to their blog and leave a comment to inform them that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. (If you want to, you can! Everyone gets to play!)
* Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing ten years ago? Summer vacation! Man, do I wish I still had summer vacations...

What are five things on your to-do list today? (Considering it's already after 6:30 pm, I'm going to make this tomorrow's to-do list.)

1. Take care of the dogs and water my tomatoes.
2. Take the train and BART up to the city.
3. Maaaaybe pick up something at Sephora or Bloomingdales. Maaaybe.
4. Meet up with Elle for lunch!
5. Come home and spend some time with the family for Father's Day.

Snacks you enjoy? EVERYTHING. I have a major sweet tooth and a major salty/crunchy tooth. Chips, cookies, fruit (or, um, fruit snacks), cheese, tofu, edamame, whatever.

Places you've lived? SF Bay Area and Oregon. That's it!

What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire?

1. Leave my job so I could write full-time. (Although I do like my job! But I would love to be able to write full-time and not worry about publishing advances, etc.)
2. Buy real estate in a couple of places -- particularly San Francisco, New York, and London. (Aaaand there goes my billion, right?)
3. Travel! And no more of this staying-in-youth-hostel stuff. I would want to spend a long, long time just relaxing in Hakone, Japan, for example.
4. Be an angel investor for friends who need start-up capital -- those who want to start a new restaurant or music venue or art studio or just need a cushion so they can work on their projects without worrying about making rent.
5. And I'd definitely give large chunks to charity. I mean, come on now.

People you want to know more about? Our readers! You're welcome to answer this in comments, too!

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Week in Total Beauty: June 13

Dun dun DUN! It's Friday the 13th! I've had some middling-to-not-so-great luck the past two days (particularly involving public transit, yay), so today, being Friday (at last!) should be a good one. Right? Right. (Fingers crossed.)

Last week I left for the airport so early that I didn't have time to submit and post the Total Beauty web round-up, so we're back on track this week. (And if you feel really strongly about the round-up, whether you love it or not, could you let me know?)

So here we go!

Meredith at Daily Dose of Coffee gets a makeover and checks out the new Stila summer collection eye shadow palette.

Fifty-Cent Head reviews the 2008 Readers' Choice Awards in two posts, because there are so many (and so much to say!): Part One and Part Two.

Viva Woman takes a close look at ingredients in mineral makeup that can cause irritation to your face.

Who couldn't use a little stress relief? Beauty411 raves about Johnson's Melt Away Stress line; check it out and enter the contest to win a free assortment of Melt Away Stress products!

Beauty Anonymous loves Chanel Levres Scintillantes Glossimer for lips!

Talking Makeup loves Smooth Indulgence Concealer by Dermablend.

Alison (aka. "Advice Sister Alison") of The Advice Sisters de-mystifies beauty product labels.

Kitiya from Mischo Beauty invites you to enter her “Mischo Beauty Johnson & Johnson Melt Away Stress Giveway!”

The Beauty of Life welcomes in the dog days of summer with an assortment of cocktail-inspired beauty products!

Bare Escentuals' Warm Radiance has passed muster with Toya of "The Life of A Ladybug!" Come check this out and the rest of her "Bronzers for Brown Girls" series!

Hair Therapy continues for Monique at Beauty Girl Musings!

Jeanne from Periodic Style is back from her Vegas vacation and wonders what to do with her winnings...

Beauty in Real Life has the scoop on the soon-to-be-released, fab new colors for CoverGirl Eye Enhancers.

Joy from Makeup Junkie is wondering if no! no! is A No-No? Check out Week 1 of her review!

Henna from Canadian Beauty found a gloss that really lasts - find out which one she's using!

Laurie at Beauty's Spot sacrifices her perfect tan to bring you the skinny on L'Oreal Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Airbrush Self Tanning Mist.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Beautiful Fall

I think I'm probably the last to talk about the passing of Yves St Laurent almost two weeks ago now. While I feel like a Jeanne-come-lately to the whole thing, it's only been really recently that I've been realizing the impact.

The first real exposure I had to YSL was through fragrance, through my mother's bottle of Opium perfume. It was the first scent that I knew by name, by bottle, by smell. Back in the day, when the coolest restaurant I knew (okay, it was Planet Hollywood -- also, I was in elementary school) had bottles of perfumes for you to touch up, Opium was the one I recognized, the one I wanted to spray onto my red paper napkin rose, and the one I proudly brought back to my mom as "Look! Opium! You have this!" and sniffed constantly through dinner. I haven't smelled it (the fragrance, not the paper rose) in years, but just thinking about it, I can remember it.

I have a stack of fashion books to read through, and I'll be writing more about them, but the one I took to Vegas and read through the airport, through the flights, and in my downtime at the hotel was The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris, the story of the rivalry between YSL and Karl Lagerfeld. Susie Bubble did a fabulous review of this book early in 2007, and this book had been on my list since then, but I only got around to reading it just this past week. (I'd had it since, oh, February or March, but my stack of books just keeps growing lately.)

And the passing of YSL definitely colored it -- reading about the relationship between YSL and Pierre Berge, of course, but particularly about Lagerfeld's own fear of mortality. Lagerfeld didn't attend either of his parents' funerals, and sure enough, he didn't attend YSL's, either. And I definitely felt a pang of sympathy -- how awful it must have felt for him, to have mortality stare him right in the face like this.

And while I don't always agree with everything Lagerfeld does or says (like when he takes over the Manolo's blog), I know that he, like a lot of people in fashion, is a wounded person. It's like Drake says at one point -- fashion attracts people who want to be consumed by something, and that's what it does. (Does it still? Have things changed enough?) But he's made it in the industry for over 50 years now -- and he's paid a lot of prices for being able to.

The book itself is an amazing piece of journalism -- I even read through all of the sources and notations, which had some excellent adventures briefly alluded to. (I would definitely read a book just on the research process for this one.) I was sometimes surprised and giddy that I was "in the know" when I picked up on name drops and brief passing references -- I've learned a lot since my days of red paper roses.

image from yslbeautyus.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lucky Number Seven

I've returned from Vegas, and I came out winning -- well, not so big, but that's okay! I came home with $7 in winnings. Wooo, $7! So I got to thinking, what could I spend my big money on? Here are a couple of things I could have bought if I hadn't spent $5 of my $7 on frozen yogurt yesterday. (It was hot!)

First off, there's the classic Rosebud Strawberry Lipbalm/Salve. I already have the original Rosebud Salve, and it's not bad, but I'd definitely switch to strawberry if I ever used up the tin of salve I already have. $5.59 from Drugstore.com.

Secondly, remember how I was so excited about the new Lush in Las Vegas? Turns out it was right there in my hotel (Mandalay Bay)! Even better! The staff was super-nice, and I did come away with Hot Milk?, a bubble bar for my large hotel room bath (among other things, of course). $6.65 at Lush.com.

I'm a nail polish fiend lately, as you may have guessed, and there will definitely be more on nail polish later. One of the places I've been lurking about lately is Head2ToeBeauty.com, where you can find Essie nail polish at $3.50 each. $3.50 each! For Essie! (They also have several other brands, including China Glaze and OPI, for equally good prices.) Essie isn't Big 3 free yet, so if that's something you're concerned about, now you know. (And how awesome is it that AllLacqueredUp is the first Google hit I got when looking for Big 3?)

My hair is probably long enough to take a hair clip now, but I'm going to get it cut on Thursday... so there goes the hair clip option again. Still, I think everyone should check out these vintage plastic hairclips on Etsy; they're colorful, fun, and cheap! $3.25 each (!!).

And finally, check out some of the crafty things at FancyFeast.etsy.com, all under $5. There are beads, pins, pendants, and they're all girly and cute and want you to take them home. I picked up a pair of these bad boys for $5 (including shipping) -- awesome.

So hey, $7! Not bad for someone's who's fairly new at the game. And there's plenty of cool stuff to be had for $7.

What would you spend your Vegas winnings on?

image from head2toebeauty.com

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Science Fair for June 2nd-7th

This week, I'm avoiding the extreme weather by catching up on TV shows I've missed out on in the last few years, like Freaks and Geeks and Gordon Ramsay's plethora of programming. I just can't get enough of that John Francis Daley and the abrasive but strangely pleasing Gordon Ramsay, my goodness.

I haven't had a lot of time lately to catch up on my favorite blogs or really contribute to this one, but I have discovered a few new favorites to share--isn't that the great thing about blogging? No real content, just "hey! check out this interesting so-and-so!" I love it.

-First up is the newly discovered Midtown Lunch, which as you can imagine, covers only one thing: where to find great food in Midtown Manhattan. It's my new guilty pleasure at work when mornings are slow (or I'm just slow in the morning, it happens) to check out what everyone else is eating in midtown. Seems to me that Midtown East, where I work, is even more of a wasteland than everywhere else! Still, I've found some great places for lunch, gathering intel from Yelp and even from a lady in line for the Treats Truck.

-Second is the ingenious Ikea Hacker. As many of us youngsters do, I furnished my first apartment with all Ikea furniture and scrounged from my family a bit. I'm not so creative with furniture--barely able to put together the furniture as it comes--but the hacks some people submit are crazy! Hidden TV screens, moving room dividers, chairs out of bathroom sinks, lamps out of wastebaskets! Truly inspirational, if you love design and tinkering.

-Third, I have new glasses! Well, truthfully, new glasses and new sunglasses. I was in desperate need for new sunglasses since the frames I got two years ago at my HMO optical place are absolutely crap-tastic. Now, I have these frames from LaFont for my regular, everyday glasses and these from L.A. Eyeworks as new sunglasses. I am still getting used to the LaFonts, they are definitely different from my one-of-a-kind, vintage-inspires grey and black cat's-eyes I've had for two years. Glasses do wear out, though, and I am so ready for a change!

-Fourth, I love Ciao Bella gelato. I get quite excited when I see it in the grocery store (and it has to be a bit of a fancy grocery store, which is also exciting for a pretentious glutton like me). They have new flavors out for the summer, in addition to my old favorite, their green tea with white chocolate chunks. Yum yum yum. I am a big ol' softie when it comes to graham cracker crusts, not to mention cookie crusts or even just regular pie crust. Mmm. So, of course I have gone out and tried Ciao Bella's two new cookie flavors for Summer 2008 for you, dear readers--the Key Lime & Graham Cracker Swirl and the Maple Ginger Snap. The key lime is not as tart as a key lime pie filling, but is a pleasingly smooth, creamy combination of sharp citrus notes and good old fresh cream. The graham cracker swirl is more of a well-distributed graham cracker dust, which is delightful for my inner child, who wants every bite of her food to have even flavor distribution. The Maple Ginger Snap is great, all warm and spicy, I bet it would be amazing on some apple or pumpkin pie a la mode, just to be decadent. Look at me, this heatwave is making me into an ice cream connoisseur!

-Fifth, I've had a tragedy involving my stove/oven unit this week. Long story short, the gas to my stove and oven has been shut off, so all I have to work with is a toaster and a small rice cooker. (No microwave! Damn sublet, who doesn't have a microwave in this day and age?) Obviously, I can just eat out all the time, but seriously, I am not made of money. I'm stuck making salads, sandwiches and rice for the rest of the summer, unless you can help! Any ideas for no-cook meals?

-Sixth, Newsweek has put out an intriguing feature article on the influence of the economy on fashion, and vice versa. Time to dust off that basic econ course you took way back when, but use it to think about mini versus maxi-length skirts! (This week's edition also has an interesting piece on Afghanistan's lost treasures, for those of you who, like me, harbor secret dreams of being archaeologists.)

-Seventh, this new Tokyu Fukutoshin subway line in Tokyo is totally exciting. You have no idea. Like Gwen Stefani (homegirl gaffled my styles), my heart lives in Tokyo--I seriously have three t-shirts with "I <3 [insert district of Tokyo here]" printed on them. Tokyo Metro was just breaking ground on the Fukutoshin Line when I was studying in Tokyo in 2004, part of the new line will replace an old rickety rail running from Ikebukuro through Zoushigaya (where I used to live! In a dorm!) and south to Shibuya. It's going to be amazing. The best part about all the new subway lines is the shiny new cars--last summer, half of the JR Yamanote line was covered in cherry blossoms for the special-edition cherry blossom-flavored white chocolate Kit-Kat. (The matcha flavored Kit-Kats also taste like baby angels made of clouds and sunshine.)

-Eighth, are you neurotic? Reading other people's nervous tics and obsessive-compulsive habits has me torn between feeling totally normal and nervous that I am, in fact, bonkers. I think the only neurotic thing I do is worry about the number of stairs in a staircase--I have long legs, and like to go up stairs two at a time--so much so that when choosing colleges, I counted and tested the staircases on campuses. Obviously, I chose the college with an even number of steps, and it pleased me immensely.

Well, I'm off to watch more television and prepare for another work week. Have a great week, everyone, try to stay cool!

Jazz Age Lawn Party, Governors Island

Oh my god, I am absolutely melting from this huge heat wave we're having in New York right now. It is absolutely hellish. Luckily, there is Tasti D-lite and Mr. Softee ice cream to be had all over the city, so I've been busy chasing soft-serve trucks and iced tea from Wall Street to Fort Tryon Park.

Case in point, my friend S. and I took a little picnic basket out to Governors Island yesterday despite the sweltering heat, and it was positively idyllic. Except for the heat. Coincidentally, this weekend was the Jazz Age Lawn Party out on Governors Island, so we spread out our blanket and watched couples dancing the Charleston, oohed and aahed over the vintage cloche hats, and generally wished we could live in the 1920s. This is one of the many times in my life when I have expressed a deep, passionate desire to travel with the Doctor more than anything in the world, and I think you know which Doctor I'm talking about.

Anyhoos, we hopped on the ferry (LOVE ferries, so industrial and charming) and who do I see running around the lawn party but none other than The Sartorialist! Unfortunately, my black and white plaid skirt and grey tee combo didn't impress him enough to warrant a photo. Sigh. At least my picnic lunch menu was a hit--smoked salmon with herbed goat cheese and mesclun on baguette, Middle Eastern cucumber/tomato/olives/feta salad, and my summer specialty, mixed berry salad with mint. S. provided the necessary cheese, crackers, sparkling lemonade, and pleasant company. We missed the pie-eating contest, but it was still fun to watch all the girls with their cloches and parasols, the young men in their suspenders and soda-jerk hats.

The fascinating thing about Governors Island is that it used to be an Army fort back in the day--when the ferry docks, you're greeted by an array of old cannons positioned on a bluff. You can take a tram ride around the island to learn the history, rent bikes, or just stroll about (with parasol and paramour in suspenders, of course). A couple of the gorgeous brick buildings are open to visitors, repurposed as galleries--I'll admit I was more interested in the old houses and their interiors (servants' entrances!!) than the art itself, but definitely a plus for watercolor fans.

All in all, it was a lovely day with a good friend. Here, the heat continues...I'm off to the gym, but oh my lord, was that a huge thunderclap I just heard?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The white skirt/dress conundrum

I have talked about my love and desire for white summer dresses and skirts before. I think they're adorable and great for summer, except for one issue:

More often than not, they're see-through.

I wouldn't say that I'm ashamed of my body, because I'm not really, but there are things (like, oh, underwear) that I'm not comfortable flashing (literally) either. So I go around sticking my hands under skirts (AT STORES, not actual people's skirts!!) and seeing if I can see my hand through it before I even take it to the dressing room. And generally I can see right through that one layer of fabric (sometimes there's an equally thin lining, if you're lucky), and I sigh and I walk away.

With a white top, I'll wear a camisole underneath, no problem. And I do own slips -- I did theatre in high school and college, and if you think a skirt will be see-through walking down the street, it'll really be see-through when you've got a spotlight on you. (And, you know, sometimes your costume itself is a slip. Just saying.) But at the same time, if I'm wearing a cute summery white skirt, do I really want a polyester slip on? Not really, no.

Last year I bought a long chemise in Creme to wear under a white-skirted dress (that, uh, I still haven't worn), but maybe I should consider getting a miniskirt to wear just as a slip. But again, I don't think of summer as a time to layer up on skirts, do you? (Plus do I really want to give Dov Charney more of my money? Not really.) I could get an actual cotton slip, but it kind of rankles that I have to think about it at all.

So I'm stuck. I love white skirts, I don't want to wear slips. I can coo over the Gap's ruffle skirt or a cute Forever 21 skirt online, but I know that if I actually walk into the store and hold them up to the light, I'll be disappointed. (Plus that kind of happens with Forever 21 stuff all the time anyway.)

What do you think? What are your tricks for making white skirts and dresses work for you, or do you avoid them altogether?

image from gap.com

Monday, June 02, 2008

Viva Lost Wages!

I have had an extremely busy weekend -- there was excellent thrift luck to be had in the Mission, an awesome tech party on Saturday, and CupcakeCamp on Sunday. (Here's an elusive photo of me sans sunglasses with my newly thrifted jacket and a tiny delicious cupcake.)

Needless to say, while there's always something neat going on in San Francisco/Silicon Valley, I'm going to be heading out of town again! This weekend I'm headed down to Las Vegas with my family and the boyfriend, and I'm pretty excited! I've only been to Las Vegas once, and I was nineteen -- alas, too young to really take part in Las Vegas. I don't think I'll really be gambling much, though -- my concern is the shopping! (Las Vegas Sephoras are open until eleven PM or midnight! Amazing!!)

And, as we're really heading into summer, everyone's talking about packing for traveling! The newest edition of The Beauty Ideal has a whole bunch of articles on beauty on-the-go, especially the ones written by
Jamie of The Beauty of Life and Lilan of Daily Cookie. There's also hints on packing a carry-on at Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog today, too. (She recommends the Bliss Travel/Trial essentials, which I have and I love. Definitely going in my bag.)

So I know I'm squared away with my beauty products, but what about fashion? The last time I was in Las Vegas, I packed one pair of flip-flops. Total. And they broke. I had to go to a Rite-Aid (!) and buy a pair of platform (!!) backless (!!!) sneakers (!!!!) in order to have a non-broken pair of shoes. As the Manolo would say, Ayyyy! So I'll definitely be avoiding that this time. (I don't even know where those shoes are now. Long gone, to say the least.) Still, I don't know what the weather will be like (besides, um, hot), and shoes are still going to be an issue, as I don't want to clomp around in sneakers or break my ankle (or a flip-flop).

I'm also thinking of getting a new swimsuit, since I do plan on spending a little bit of time by the pool, but a. I don't really need one and b. I could use a little help with some ideas...

What do you suggest for jetting off to Vegas for a weekend? I'm thinking cute sundresses, but I'd love to hear what you have to think, especially if you have experience with Vegas in June. (I also need some suggestions on new toenail polish colors!)

And if you're thinking of going to Vegas yourself, check out LUSH's new Viva LUSH Vegas contest and gift set -- if you buy the gift set and redeem the code that comes with it, you can be entered to win a trip to Las Vegas for a LUSH opening. (And even if you don't win, you now have a shiny box of LUSH stuff! Which is just as good! Maybe!)

image from usa.lush.com

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Science Fair for May 26th - June 1st

Rabbit, rabbit! Today's June 1st! Here's hoping for a great June! If you're getting ready to graduate this month (or have already graduated!), congrats!!

- Want to know how to craft an effective marketing email to bloggers? Jena from Modish tells us what everyone appreciates -- knowing important things like, oh, the blogger's name(s), what they write about, and not flooding with things we don't need like too many pictures.

- This awesome tutorial for button pendants reminds me of the necklace I bought at Maker Faire for my birthday giveaway. (FYI, someone here at PeriodicStyle is having a birthday this month...)

- In more crafty news, the San Francisco Chronicle tells us all about delicious homemade jam and how to make it ourselves. These all sound awesome. (I haven't had breakfast yet!!)

- And in even more delicious news, the Beauty Brains tell us about beer beauty myths, and come to the conclusion that beer is, ultimately, for drinking.

- Got a lot of spare time and a lot of, well, nerdiness? Check out the amazing Secret History of Star Wars. It's a book in PDF format that's over 500 pages long and talks all about the creation of the Star Wars mythology. Seriously fascinating stuff, if you're into it (which I am).

- Finally, have you heard about Brightkite.com? It's like Twitter, but location-based -- you "check in" to a location, and you can see other people who check into your location. You can also post pictures to it as well. Anyway, if you're at all interested (and at all frustrated with Twitter's downtime lately, ahem), I've got 5 invites, so drop me a line at periodicstyle at gmail dot com if you want to try it out!

Have a great week!

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