We've moved! We are now at genmaicha.tumblr.com.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fashion Fixes on the Fly: Rubber Bands, Safety Pins, and Nail Polish

Let's talk fashion disasters.

I'm not talking about something that would pop up on Go Fug Yourself or a Worst Dressed List. I'm talking "zipper busted, run in tights, walked out of the house without a belt on and now my pants are gradually falling off" disasters. You know, the kind of thing that always happens to me, and while I'm fretting about it, NO ONE ELSE HAS NOTICED.

And let's face it, I don't carry around a sewing kit in my bag. I just don't. I don't even have safety pins on a regular basis. (I should fix this.)

So, just for fun, here are a few of the fixes I've done with what I've had handy.

- The too-cold cardigan. This past weekend, I was walking around with a deep-V cardigan that left my chest really cold, and my mind was racing as to what I could use to hold it shut -- sticks? rubber bands? How about that pink balloon I found randomly on the street; could I let the air out of the balloon and use that to tie the top closed? (The balloon was dirty, so I didn't do it. BUT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT.) Later I found a safety pin at my boyfriend's and used that to pin it closed, but I was digging in my purse and found that I did have a badge-style pin AND a hair tie in there, both of which would have worked.

- The loose button. I have that lovely Brooklyn Industries trench coat, which has a loose button. Instead of pulling it off and resewing it, I dabbed some Russian Navy (I know, blasphemy, right?) nail polish on the thread in hopes of securing it a little better. I think I still need to resew it, though. But as a quick fix, nail polish (either colored or clear) is a good thing to have a lot of when something's unravelling, whether it's a ribbon or your tights or what have you.

- The belt substitutes. All of my belts are from thrift or resale stores because I never really go out shopping for belts -- it's more of a DESPERATE NEED FOR BELT that drives me to get a new belt. I have pants that will be fine on Day 1 of wearing, but around day 2 they start to mosey their way on down. So while I now have a nice little batch of belts, there have been times that I've had to improvise. Here are some of the things I've tried and used:
- a chain of paper clips (didn't work)
- a chain of rubber bands (sort of worked? but they would sometimes fling off)
- satin ribbon (worked)
- telephone cord (also worked -- the plug-in-to-the-wall cord, not the curly receiver-to-set cord)

- The busted zipper. In high school, I had a pair of jeans where the zipper pull fell off and the zipper wouldn't stay up. So I looped a safety pin into the fly, zipped it up, and then had to pin it to the front flap of the fly because it would still slip down if I didn't pin it. Somehow I had a decorative safety pin with beads on it (probably from some crafty experiment), so that became my zipper pull.

So what have been your nearly-avoided disasters, and how did you fix them? What's in your emergency kit -- or what would be in your kit if you actually had one?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bringing it on back - Retro LUSH!

We are LUSH fans here, but at the same time, I feel like I've gotten onto the bandwagon a little late -- like there's been a whole bunch of stuff that I've missed and never knew how awesome it was. Meanwhile, the people who've been with LUSH for years have been mourning these awesome-but-not-forgotten things that completely missed my radar.

So it's been fun to see the Retro LUSH Town products popping up online -- look at the old labels! Look at all of the THINGS I never knew existed that I could try! It's enough to make my limited edition loving heart ache for things I... probably don't need. I still have so many regular-stock LUSH things that haven't been used (or used up), I don't need to add to the stash. And then there's the whole "I used it, I loved it, it's... gone forever. Dang." aspect of limited edition stuff, which I'm constantly bumping up against.

As an additional wrinkle, they're all only available online, which means I can't go sniff the shower gels (I really want Chai, but am concerned about it) or test out the perfume. (It's sixty bucks! I would at least like to try it once before I plunk down sixty bucks on a full bottle!) I've heard tell that there are some products appearing in brick-and-mortar stores, but they all say "online only", so I can't guarantee that.

It also looks like a lot of them are already out of stock, unfortunately -- snapped up by those who missed and loved them, I'm assuming! Still, I'm going to hesitate, peek into the Powell St. LUSH on Thursday (before I get my roots fixed), and see if there's anything old-school hanging around in there. (And, you know, browse around. Just a little.)

Still, it's pretty cool to poke around! Let me know if you wind up trying anything, or if any of your old favorites have returned... and are worth getting before they're gone (again!).

image from lush.com

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Science Fair for July 21st-27th

A bit of a baby Science Fair this week, too much overtime!

-Olympians to watch The summer olympics are almost here! I'll probably be missing most of them this go-round, since I work nights, but I will remember fondly the past couple of Olympics, hanging out with buddies, knitting and drinking beer. Tres athletic, I know!

-Shark yourself! And it's also almost Shark Week! Now, I'm not much of a shark fan (unless it involves cinematic masterpieces such as Spring Break Shark Attack, come on now,) but I do love me some Discovery channel (probably because it's one of the few channels everyone I know can agree on and is on basic cable.) Plus, who doesn't like fooling around and making themselves look ridic? Win win!

-We can't be friends because your girlfriend says so. I probably shouldn't be posting that, but f-it. I'm not normally a Jezebel reader, but this entry hit home for me, so I'm posting it.

-Gossip Girl has started bombarding the media with new ads and previews for the Second Season. Who's excited? That's right, ME. I can't wait to see what they're going to be wearing and what music is going to be playing. Oh, and how soon Blair is going to kill Chuck. My bet's on by the third season. ;) Who wants to bet that Bart Bass is going to kick in in the second season finale? I mean, he does look identical to Caleb Nichol.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Crazy for Mad Men

Guess what tonight is!


Mad Men is quite possibly the best show to come along since, say, House, or if we're talking AMC, Hustle. These are the gems of television today, my friends, and if you aren't watching Mad Men, you're out of your damn mind. Christina Hendricks is ON FIRE as Joan Holloway, she gives new meaning to the words "fierce" and "work it." Peggy Olson (played by Elizabeth Moss) is pretty much my shy, gingham-check and frumpy cardigan-wearing hero. Jon Hamm as Don Draper is just delectable, you could eat that man with some steak sauce and be happy for the rest of your life. Of course, it's not just the looks, the clothes, or the style that's unbearably wonderful, it's the dramatic tension.

Every time Don Draper goes home to his perennially diaphanous-nightgown-wearing wife Betsy (January Jones, winner of the Best Name Ever Award), you think, "Oh my god, does she know he's a sexy, sexy philandering bastard? Is he ever going to tell her about his parents?" Let's just say it's Gossip Girl for adults. I want to languish in my fantasy artists' loft smoking cigarillos, drinking scotch while watching Mad Men.

So, even though luminaries like Jezebel and New York Magazine's Vulture section are going crazy over Mad Men, I know what the true test of a great show is.

My PARENTS love Mad Men. They can't get enough of it. These are educated, book-reading, NPR-listening people. They wear glasses. They drink wine, rarely. Sure, they're Baby Boomers, no more than 10 or 12 at the time of Mad Men (1960), but they devoured the entire first season like it was manna from heaven and were doubled over in laughter and reminiscences every second. The glasses! The clothing! The Bob Newhart record! The cars! Keeping a plate in the oven for your husband! The office old-boys' club! (Note: My father remarked after the first episode that when he worked for a summer at Merrill Lynch in Manhattan in the mid-1970s, it was the callous treatment of women by male executives that turned him from big business. Good man!)

My one grievance, one nitpick, one little historical inaccuracy, is when Betsy Draper fleetingly mentions that she was in a sorority at Bryn Mawr. Bryn Mawr is a women's college, just like my glorious, Ivory Tower-ish alma mater, and obviously, single-sex institutions don't have the Greek system. The whole place is a giant sorority. You may have so-called "societies" on campus, for young ladies interested in the arts or in having afternoon tea (Smith College, adorable), where girls get to be legitimately uppity and snobbish. Those were the days, my friends, when proper young ladies went off to women's colleges to graduate with their Mrs. and a bright future in the suburbs. If you're nostalgic and/or curious about those days, definitely check out Mad Men tonight!

I'll be there in my giant plastic costume jewelry and pedal-pushers, lounging on the Taos sofa.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gaming for Girls

So here I am, procrastinating writing my paper until the very last minute, sort of half-assedly playing cute little games online and reading about the glorious 100-year history of the FBI (love it). I just wanted to share with you all the amazing Flash-based delights offered up for your pleasure at Miniclip. Yes, Miniclip, home of the blessed Sushi Go-Round and Samurai Sam games, an ironically racist pair of games I played tonight out of curiosity. Sushi Go-Round is not bad, obviously made straight from the original Japanese version (remind Jeanne and me to tell the world about Princess Maker 2 someday), it sure makes me hungry. Samurai Sam is a more intense version of those awesome, old side-scrolling Mario Bros. games. All in all, entertaining.

Still, curiosity always gets the better of me, so I decided to investigate the rest of the site. Hmm. They happen to have an entire category of games titled, "GIRLS." Fingers crossed and hoping it wasn't going to be a completely embarrassing deluge of inappropriate up-skirt games, I clicked on said link.

Lo and behold, it was a whole matrix of games somehow geared towards girls! It's a pretty exciting thought, until you look closer and the list includes games about our perennial, girlish favorites--gardening! Show-jumping horsies! Love! Small animals! Taking care of babies! Is it just me or are these all enforcing gender rules on girls that we've been fighting for generations now to change? All girls LOVE to fall in love, play with horses, kittens, and raise babies! Check it out and tell me you don't find it just a teensy bit sexist. The alternatives are shoot-'em-up blood and gore ninja games, hooray for boys!

For full disclosure, I did play a few of the games--turns out the otherwise innocuous-seeming "Flatbread Express" is sponsored by Lean Cuisine. Because what do girls love more than babies and horses, but...DIETING!
As for me, I have quite a bit of previous experience in the realm of videogames pigeonholing girls into social stereotypes--growing up with an older brother, I was regularly told, "Karen, you can sit next to me with your baby doll and pretend you're married to one of the baseball players in my game. And that's your baby! Fun, right?" Truthfully, I always enjoyed fighting games more than playing pretend, and more often than not beat my brother hands-down playing as Chun Lee in Streetfighter. Oh, those were the days!

Screencap of Princess Maker 2 from dosgamesonline.com, game by Gainax.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Out and About: July 26 and 27

So I'm not at Comic Con this year, which is fine, even if I'm peeking in every now and then at the Twitter search results to see what people are saying/seeing. (Besides, San Francisco gets APE in the fall -- definitely going to be there -- and WonderCon in the winter. It's okay.)

Anyway, this weekend has some fun San Francisco events located in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. If you're not already familiar with Bottom of the Hill, it's a pretty cool venue; I've only been once (with Karen! and then we went to Denny's), but it's definitely been popping up more and more on my calendar, including this weekend. So I will be there.

Secondly, the Indie Mart won't be at 12 Galaxies this month, but is instead at Thee Parkside, another excellent space. (They've got delicious french fries -- trust me when I say that, for french fries is high on my list of Things Jeanne Loves Most, possibly even before cupcakes... even though there will also be cupcakes there.) Thee Parkside is a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon anyway, so spending it with awesome vendors is a bonus. As Thee Parkside puts it, "The best in local designers, vintage, unique finds and more... Drink specials, cheap beer and BBQ!" I AM THERE.

What are your plans for your weekend? What's cool and exciting around your neighborhood?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BlogHer by the numbers

In lieu of an actual post, here are some of the numbers and "facts" from this past weekend at BlogHer.

- 5 days my fingernails went without chipping (!!!). Considering I came away with paper cuts and scuffs and bruises and nicks, I'm super-surprised and pleased by this turn of events. It's been over a week now and the chipping is still minimal. (The color, by the way, is China Glaze in "Tree Hugger", and I used Essie 3-Way Glaze as both base and top coat.)

- 4 pairs of shoes I packed.

- 2 pairs of shoes I wore.

- 0 shoes that were sneakers.

- 1 pair of silver earrings from WilloToons, worn every day.

- 10 hours spent in my hotel room over two nights.

- 2 out of my 6 Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencils brought and worn (Lust and Covet; I also have Zero, Lucky, Dime, and Deviant).

- 1 new MAC mineralize eyeshadow (Fresh Green Mix -- it's awesome; my other recommendation would be Odd Couple, because it's close to my beloved Mercurial, which also came with me).

- Almost 20 hours my eyeliner and eyeshadow lasted on Friday -- from 3:30 am to when I took it off at 11 pm. Thank you, UDPP!

- Many awesome bloggers and women I met (and re-met), including Beka of ReLYME, Wendy of Glossed Over, Jamie of oh! how lovely, and, of course, Susan Wagner of many projects, including Beauty Hacks.

- 3 and a swig alcoholic beverages consumed, all on Saturday night, all very tasty and shared with great company.

- 1 giant red bow headband from Sweet Rococo, worn every day.

- 2 co-bloggers I wish had been there, even though I would have had little to no time with them.

- Less than 1 hour from being told I had Monday off to booking an appointment at Bliss San Francisco for a 75 minute Blissage.

- Countless blog posts I need to read, comment on, and, uh, write now that life is back to "normal"...

image from chinaglazediva.com

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Science Fair for July 14th-20th

Happy Sunday, everyone! I am safely back in beautiful California and drinking up the breezy, 70-degree days while my friends in New York are sweating out every drop of moisture in their bodies. Oh yes. To celebrate my summer of juicy, fresh fruits, swimming pools, and walking around the neighborhood without fear of crazed crack-smoking homeless dudes, I give you all some food for thought for the week ahead!

-As we all know by now, I love Doctor Who. I can't get enough of that David Tennant, the man is just one tall drink of...definitely nothing bland like water, let's call him a nice, cool drink of scotch and soda. If you haven't heard already, Doctor Who as a full series is on a break until 2010, and Monsieur Tennant is starring as Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon through November this year. Matthew Sweet explores the mysterious and manifold connections (or should I say 'connexions'?), from Patrick Troughton to David Tennant and back again.

-Also out of the United Kingdom (a country I am mildly obsessed with but have never been to), at Agent Bedhead there is a proposal offering the 'chav' as the world's newest and greatest cultural stereotype. I believe we call that 'downwardly mobile' in the United States, but that might be phrasing of a previous generation. Is class warfare still a viable topic today, or is this blog not serious enough with discussions of a social nature?

-For something completely different and more in line with Jeanne's musings of the purchasing of a vintage sun dress pattern, Erin at Dress A Day provides us with an explanation of the oft-ridiculous pricing of those wily vintage patterns. I bought a pattern for a vintage 4H silk pleated-skirt, belted and Peter Pan-collared dress for $5 at an antiques shop many moons ago for the pure kitsch of it. The dress itself turned out rather cutely despite my meager sewing abilities! That was certainly a finals period well spent.

-Moving on to one of my other favorite subjects, home decor, I've just discovered It's (K)not Wood, a blog all about fake-wood items. Vases that look like tree branches, faux-woodgrain placemats, you name it! I think it's glorious.

-Have you seen Linda Evanglista's June photospread in Vogue Italia? It's lush, lovely, and co-stars PUGS. Gotta love those smooshed-nose little pups!

-If you're a crafty sort, check out Amy Butler Designs, not only are her fabrics super-cheery, but that business card holder is a great way to personalize something that's otherwise soul-sucking and robotic. Birdie the Cat is just about the cutest little thing I have ever seen, and would be a great gift for a baby or a toddler!

-This just came up on CHOW for me, there is a Slow Food Nation 'Meat Up' coming to San Francisco over Labor Day weekend. I do believe a few of us Periodic Style ladies will have to make an appearance, food-loving gluttons that we are!

-Last but not least, let us take a moment to celebrate the life and musical gifts of Miss Jo Stafford, b. 1917 in Coalinga, California. Jo Stafford passed away at the grand old age of 90 years this Wednesday, generations of big band and jazz music lovers mourn her passing.

Have a great week, everyone, listen to a little Jo Stafford, feel a little crafty, and enjoy the lovely weather, wherever you may be!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's like waiting to grocery shop until you're starving.

Hello my lovely blogging friends! How is everyone? Did you miss my blogging while I was in the pit of despair (aka I can count on one hand the number of days I have had off each month for the past two, and I'm leaving for work in ten minutes for more overtime!)? I missed you all, and right now I miss Jeanne too, since she's off gallivanting at BlogHer, hopefully with some of you lovely readers too!

But I didn't come here to chat about how much overtime I've been working, no. I came here to discuss a far more serious issue.


Now I know that word strikes fear into the hearts of even the most confident girls, as well as the girls who have been working so much overtime that they've dropped a pants size. I hate bikini shopping so much that I have had my two bikinis for over three and five years, respectively. (you can see one of them above!) But there comes a time in every bloggers life when she has to bite the bullet and start looking for a new one.

That point for me came about two weeks ago, when the weather finally warmed up to around 80 degrees, instead of in the 60s where it was for most of June. Imagine my surprise when I went bikini shopping on one of my rare days off, and what did I find? A bunch of fall sweaters and clearance bikinis.

Now I'm generally okay with the weird seasons in retail, because after all, it doesn't really get that cold or hot where I am, so most of what's sold whenever can be worn whenever. But bikinis? On sale two weeks after school gets out, and stores crowded with back to school stuff when school doesn't start out here until September?

Something is wrong with this picture.

And now that I've added my two cents to our ad nausem discussion of the downfalls of retail, let's pick some cute ones off the sale rack, shall we? Because what's better than cute bikinis? Cute sale bikinis!

(For those of you that prefer a little more coverage, I'll be picking out some cute one-pieces and tankinis next week, stay tuned!)

Speaking of unseasonal things... this Cute Nautical Halter Bikini from Delias. is not one of them. There's something that always says Summer with a capital s about blue and white stripes to me.

Polka dot halter, also from Delias. I'm not entirely convinced on boyshorts for swimsuit bottoms-- I find they make most people's thighs look chunky-- but these look like a cute compromise between boyshorts and bikini bottoms. Plus, tiny little polka dots! So cute.

And then there's this ruffled suit from Victora's Secret. I would not personally wear this suit, since my D cups would look ridic under all those ruffles, but I think it would be adorable on one of my smaller busted friends, and it's actually interesting. Most bikinis are just the same old, same old, but I like occasionally taking risks, and a ruffled top is one.

And finally, Victoria's Secret has come out with a cute line of mix-and-match bikini stuff this year. If there's any place I trust to buy a well fitting swimsuit from, it's the place were I personally find the best fitting underwear. (...don't get all up on me, everyone, I know that it doesn't fit everyone perfectly. We are all about finding what works for you personally here.)

So! Where did you buy your bikini this year? Or did you forgo swimsuit shopping entirely since it's July and they're already on the clearance racks?

Image from periodicstyle.blogspot.com.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wedging Out

Let's talk about appropriate shoes for summer. It's just about mid-July, and I own maybe two pairs of sandals, both are flimsy and as realized while dressing this morning, don't fit very well. Like Jeanne's fruitless search for summer dresses, it's a seasonal issue that affects us all, like having to look for new fall-winter boots that don't bunch up at the ankle but also don't make your legs look like they're stuck in two steampipes. I always have trouble finding seasonally appropriate shoes, so I end up wearing Converse or Keds flats all year long.

I have an irrational fear of stepping on a pebble, twisting my ankle, and falling down--just like that, in too-high wedges. I am somewhat of a tall-to-middling height girl, so my ideal wedge/sandal is something not too high, not too strappy, and with lots of support for my high arches. Is that too much to ask? I started thinking about espadrilles, classic, beach-ready, with a hint of the 'Why yes, I summer in Montmartre and winter in Aspen' vibe. A little perusal of the internet revealed several interesting options...what do you think? Try Googling "arch support espadrille wedge sandals" and tell me if you come up with anything better!

First up is the Kitta style from Oh! Shoes, a brand that purports to be orthopedically comfortable, stylish, sexy shoes--Photobucket
I like the navy-blue ribbon effect, the cushioning does look comfortable, and the rubber traction sole is a major plus for klutzes.
It still looks orthopedic to me, and no significant arch support to speak of! It's like a pale shadow of a true espadrille wedge--strong effort, Oh! Shoes, just not ideal.

Second, "Silvia" by ever-comfortable, super-cushioned shoe brand Born:Photobucket
Look at me! I am an adorable, candy-striping sailor ex-brownie troupe member who wears seersucker cropped pants and Blair Waldorf bows in my hair! Seriously though, I am digging the white canvas ribbon detail and the white rope-y low wedge. If only I wore more pink stripes and fewer black and white polka dots! (What am I saying, I happen to be wearing a pink and white striped button-down blouse today!)

Third is the "Sunny" espadrille by a mysterious brand called Comfortview, off of a site for plus-size ladies' clothing:
Talk about the perfect marriage between a functional flat and a summer espadrille! In stripes! With bows! My far-walking, kitten-heel-wearing nature is more drawn to these. I may not be plus-sized, I'm just glad to see someone makes cutesy little flats like these for the everywoman!

You know, call me crazy, I just don't believe in unduly suffering for fashion in the summer. Summer days are for enjoying the sun's warmth, walks on the beach, languid swims, and plenty of fresh fruit, lemonade and hot dogs. I don't want to have to worry about my heel getting caught on a subway platform, or have to stumble around in overly complicated strappy stiletto sandals! I want shoes I can walk a mile in, then kick them off on the beach and feel the sand between my toes.

What do you think, should I just suck it up and keep on keepin' on in my Keds, go for the delectable candy-striping mini wedges, or give up and get a pair of $5.99 rubber flip-flops?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ooh La Wha? French manicures and how we do 'em

I realized yesterday as I was standing in front of the nail section in my local Longs that I've never given myself -- nor ever had -- a French manicure. (I've never had a French pedicure, either -- I like my toes fully covered in color; right now they're Dating a Royal and tomorrow they'll likely be Bermuda Shorts.) I've had a professional manicure all of twice, and both times I wanted full single-colored nails, not a French.

So I was alarmed when I couldn't find the nail tip sticker thingies on said nail wall. Sure, there were lots of press-on French manicure (and pedicure!) nails, but I just wanted the stickers. I'm planning on trying out a reverse French manicure in bright colors tonight, and so obviously I didn't want to do the white polish pen thing. And since my usual method of operation is "go for it and wipe the extra polish off your cuticles", I wanted the help of the stickers because I tend to go a little, uh, loose and free with the brush.

Luckily I found them -- on the bottom row, hidden behind some glue-on nail-bling. And they weren't even Sally Hansen, which I've got pictured there -- they were Nailene, which I couldn't find online. Why so hard to find, nail guides?

Is that we are a. getting so good at doing our own French manicures that stores don't stock the nail guides anymore b. relying heavily on things like the white polish pens and the press-on nails or c. going to get them done instead of doing them ourselves? While my instinct was to go get my nails done, I also ought to give myself the benefit of the doubt and go for it. And if I mess it up really badly, then I'll deal with that bridge when I get to it. (I am hoping I don't mess it up really badly, myself.)

What do you think the reason might be? Are you a French manicure/pedicure kind of person, and if so, how do you do yours? Am I weird for missing something I've never needed or used before until now?

Hopefully I'll have a picture of my successful manicure to show later...

image from sallyhansen.com

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Science Fair for July 7th - 13th

Happy Sunday! And Happy Oh Man What a Busy Week I Have Coming to me.

- From the New York Times, Gossip Girl is fashionable. We knew this in November.

- "I'm not here to make friends!! I'm here to win!!"

- The San Francisco Chronicle discovers steampunk.

- Do you know about the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats? It is an awesome comic strip featuring "the exploits of one Meowlin Q. Kitteh (a sort of cat hobo-raconteur) and his young hapless kitten friend, Pip." If you love LOLCats and internet memes/in-jokes as well as excellent artwork, you will truly appreciate the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats.

- I love Mental Floss magazine -- so much random goodness! It's on the web too, of course, and they have a running blog of miscellaneous trivia and knowledge. For example, here are eight fairy tale endings that aren't so happily-ever-after.

Have a great week!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Out and About: July 12th and 13th

So I don't have the Total Beauty Web Tour this week -- sorry if you were looking for it today! But today I do have something neat and possibly recurring (but not every week, of course) -- neat San Francisco events that I'll be checking out this weekend!

Tomorrow is the Mechanicrawl -- a 2.4 mile walk/bike/adventure along the San Francisco Bay, stopping at various attractions from the Musee Mecanique to the USS Pampanito submarine. Lots of cool things to check out, and it should be a good time! I've never been to the Musee Mecanique; I really wish I'd been around to visit Playland, the old amusement park in San Francisco that closed in 1972. (Maybe there will be a pit stop for It's Its on the Mechanicrawl...?)

Also tomorrow and Sunday is The Renegrade Craft Fair at Fort Mason! There are so many awesome vendors who'll be there, including Art School Dropout and her amazing Juxtapose necklaces, as well as Bathing in Luxury of the Great Deodorant Hunt! I'll be swinging by on Sunday to say hello and thank you to both of these rad ladies. (Plus, I have a gift certificate to Greens, which is also in Fort Mason, and is delicious.)

What are your plans for this coming weekend? I do have to say that a good part of my plan is to go to bed early tonight and sleep in as much as I can tomorrow, and I'm sure I'll be doing some work as well, but I'll definitely be spending some time out enjoying myself and letting off some steam.

Whatever you do, have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Retail needs therapy.

I have been insanely busy, everybody -- in fact, I think we're all insanely busy right now. Karen's leaving New York this weekend and coming back to California, Kati's been working overtime for the past few weeks, and I am all in a fluster this week and next.

This week has been scorchingly hot, and so I went with my mom to Macy's to look for cute cheap summer dresses. We went to the ladies' dress department to see what they had in terms of summer dresses. Now, I may not be sixteen anymore, but I'm also not really ready for the ladies' department either, especially if I'm looking for something lightweight for wearing on brain-melting hot summer days.

And I was really disappointed at what I found, which was a whole bunch of nice AUTUMN dresses. In the first week of July! I know I've been getting emails about "end of season sales" and bikinis going on final sale -- in late June! Since when does bikini season end in June? Doesn't it START in June or, okay, Memorial Day? When it's the first week of July, it's not time to start bringing out the fall stuff, especially when there's a heat wave going on, all right?

Plus there's that whole issue of nothing ever fitting right. Lately more and more I've been going to shops and having the desire to buy something, but everything fits so poorly and is so non-standard fitting that it just frustrates me more. I tried on a dozen dresses and only two fit. I then tried on a pair of shorts that I couldn't even fasten up. Awesome. Oh, wait, no.

So I'm there presumably to find something cute, and I was just getting more and more frustrated at the whole thing -- the lack of selection, the dresses that didn't fit, and just the experience of being in a dressing room in general always kind of gets on my nerves.

It got to the point where I was standing in the dressing room grumbling, "I should just SEW IT MYSELF." Sewing isn't at the top of my crafty list (that would be knitting), but I can do it.

And so I got to digging around looking for vintage patterns. Lanetzliving.net has an incredible selection of patterns at great prices, plus they're searchable by bust size (which is awesome). I've been obsessed with shirt dresses lately, so I ordered a pattern for one (alas, once patterns are bought, the pictures come down). Some other shirt-y dresses I love are this zip-up jersey dress and this collared dress/tunic (it also comes with wide-leg pants!).

Needess to say, Etsy is also a great resource for finding vintage patterns too. I ordered three from gremlygirl.etsy.com, including a cute romper/jumpsuit pattern (WHAT, I KNOW, OKAY. The heat we've been having lately makes me INSANE). Another seller with excellent variety is vintagevice.etsy.com. Lots of good stuff to be had on Etsy!

I've also been really interested in the works of Machiko Kayaki, the Japanese designer whose dresses and skirts are so beautiful and simple that I feel like I could actually do it. Here's a Flickr pool of some of the Kayaki designs that bloggers have done, including Mariko of Super Eggplant. Mariko also explains how to work with Japanese sewing books, which is a lot of help even to someone like me who knows Japanese.

For something that doesn't require translation, I've been highly tempted by Sew U, the Built by Wendy book. I know it'll take a lot more thought and work than just cutting out a pattern and going for it, but it would also be an interesting project (because that's all I need right now, another project!). That said, now that they've opened up a boutique in the Mission, I may very well just go there instead. Either way, I definitely want to check it -- the book, the boutique, or both -- out.

Are you feeling flustered with retail lately? Is it the sizing, the weird seasons, or the whole experience of it? What's your solution, if you're not thinking of running to the sewing machine (and Britex) like me?

image from lanetzliving.com

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Great Deodorant Hunt of Spring 2008

All right, everyone -- let's talk deodorant. It's summer, it's hot, and I'm running around like crazy, so deodorant's something that's on my, uh, mind.

This spring, I was running out of my usual deodorant, which is (was) Dove Radiant Silk. It was fine, but it was old and I wanted to try something new, preferably . Since both the Non-Blonde and Karen of Makeup and Beauty Blog were testing out deodorants earlier, I was all for finding something new too.

First off I tried JASON deodorant in lavender. I like lavender, and I like using natural products... but, uh, I also like products that work. And this one didn't work for me.

I just want to clarify here that I don't smell bad. Just so you know (and so I can defend my honor). And I don't work out as often as I should, so most of these deodorants were tested just by a regular day of working around the office, walking to and from lunch (so maybe about ten minutes total), and I'd check in on them mid-afternoon.

I then decided I'd go with Dove Sensitive Skin, which is unscented. ...Yeaaaaah, that didn't go so well either.

I bought Radiant Silk again, but was still searching for something else. Luckily, I happened to go to the Mission Indie Mart in late April, and right inside the door was Bathing in Luxury selling handmade bath products... including deodorants. (You may also know Bathing in Luxury as Soap.Etsy.com!)

I was skeptical, but getting to talk to her about the deodorants and her promise that if it didn't work for me ("I have customers who are construction workers using them and they don't have any problems, so you'll probably be fine..."), I should definitely email her and let her know. After sniffing them and thinking about what I wanted, I decided to give Pink Sugar a try. It's based on the Aquolina Pink Sugar perfume... but I actually like the deodorant better than the official perfume! It must be something about the solid versus the spray and how the notes come forward. While it's not an anti-persperant (doesn't prevent sweating wetness), the scent lasts through the day and there's no, uh, "breakthrough" like the others I've tried.

Plus, as a bonus, there's no aluminum in it and it's not a powder -- it's closer to a gel -- so it doesn't leave white streaks on my clothes. Since it's kind of gel-like, it does take a little bit of time to dry, but if you're used to using gel, you probably already have your routine down.

I really like my Pink Sugar deodorant, but I'm also excited by the whole list of scents that're available -- Yuzu, one of my favorite scents/flavors (I actually got to eat an actual yuzu in Japan, which was awesome), is one of them, so that'll likely be my choice the next go-round.

...Is it kind of weird to be excited about deodorant? What do you find to be your favorite deodorant, or are you in the market? Are you particular about the products/brands you use, or will any old deodorant do?

image from soap.etsy.com

Friday, July 04, 2008

This Week in Total Beauty: July 4

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! For me in particular, it's Happy Three Day Weekend! Boy, was I glad to sleep in today! Right now the neighborhood block party is going, the band is playing, and I'm sure the barbecue is going, too. Later I'll be going to watch some fireworks with friends and family. My toes are royal blue (and so will my eyeliner be, once I pull myself together!), and it looks like I'll get some sweet sweet downtime this weekend.

If you're taking it easy this weekend too, take some of that time to check out the excellent things going on around the Total Beauty community!

Beauty's Spot visits another Anastasia Brow Studio at Nordstroms. Check out the results!

Viva woman reviews the different types of concealers and finds out which works best.

Alison of the AdviceSisters Guide to Life, Success & Happiness Blog finds that UnWrinkle Powder by Peter Thomas Roth has true star power: "Get Smart, style."

Come aboard The Makeup Divas and set sail for the Mac Naughty Nauticals review!

A Mom in Red High Heels has found another multi-tasking super star in the world of cosmetics. Find out what it is!

Beauty Tyrant finds comfort in a multi-tasking blush. Can Global Goddess' Chai Cheek Color really do the trick?

Fabulous Over Forty reviews another Sonia Kashuk product. See if you should have it in your makeup bag!

Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog provides The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of growth factors in wrinkle creams.

Beauty Blogging Junkie test-drives Kate Hudson's and David Babaii's collaboration, David Babaii for WildAid Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner.

Beauty411 shares her new summer fragrance. Check it out!

Beauty Anonymous brings you Paul & Joe Fall 2008 Makeup Collection.

Jeanne of Periodic Style poses a tough question: lip gloss or nail polish?

Another one in The Life of A Ladybug's Bronzers for Brown Girls series: MAC Bronzer in Refined Deeper Bronze and Loose Iridescent Powder in Golden Bronze!

The Jet Set Girls preview this fall's Hottest Nail Color.

How to lighten your eyebrows by Talking Makeup.

The girls over at Beauty in Real Life are having another giveaway! This time it's a basketful of Olay products valued at over $300!

Monique at Beauty Girl Musings shares her first, but not to be her last, experience with Smashbox Cosmetics.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bright sneakers for summer

It's summer time, and so it's convention time! I've been going to various cons since 2000, and I've worn a lot of different shoes at them -- mostly heels, but sometimes flip-flops and lately sneakers. This summer, while I'm not going to Comic-Con (maybe next year?), I am going to be at BlogHer, and I'm going to be on my feet for most of the day, so I won't be busting out the heels. Comfy cute shoes ahoy!

I've already decided what I'm going to be wearing on my head (my Sweet Rococo headband) and my eyes and my nails (yeah, I couldn't sleep last night), but shoes I'm still thinking about. I want something comfy but cute and colorful... and not Converse. Sigh! And I don't really want them to look like shoes I would dash off to the gym in, either. I want a sleek, streamlined sneaker, because I don't like it when they're puffy and make my feet look big. (This is the major problem I have with my Sauconys.)

I've been thinking about the Adidas Gazelle 2, because it's definitely something I could and would wear. On the other side of the spectrum, because it makes me giggle, are the Puma First Round S, which look more like a boxing shoe and are pretty awesome in their brightness. However, I wouldn't really wear them on a regular basis, and for $90, that's a lot of money for a shoe that makes me giggle. (I also think my desire for brightly-colored high tops is because I've been seeing a lot of Sam Ronson lately, who I think is pretty adorable.)

Karen pointed me to PickYourShoes.com's selection of Nike Dunk shoes, which features some Liberty print Nikes like geometricsleep wrote about yesterday -- while I don't think they're exactly the same, they're still incredibly cute. While my first instinct is to dash for the navy, that's not what I was hoping for when I was thinking "bright and colorful". That would be more like the yellow, but I worry that they might be too clunky -- and at $100, will I really be wearing a pair of yellow and floral sneakers around a lot after BlogHer? ...Maybe!

What do you think? Do I go for the floral Nikes and roll with 'em, or do I stick to something a little more streamlined but maybe not as impressive like the Adidas? What would you pick, if you were in my boat? What sneakers are you rocking this summer?

image from zappos.com

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You Must Choose! Lip Gloss or Nail Polish?

Everyone has their "thing" that they have too much of. It's that one where no matter what, you can always justify picking up a new one.

For the longest time, that was me and lip gloss. I could (and, um, can still) always think of a reason to pick up another lip gloss or another lipstick. I guess this is why they call it the leading lipstick indicator or lipstick index.

But lately my head has been turned. As much as I love lip gloss and lipstick, I can't always justify another "your lips but better" or red or hot pink or even coral lip gloss. I have so many, and the shelf life of a lip product is only so long. If I keep adding new ones into the rotation, the older ones are going to go bad with me barely using them because I keep swapping them out for the newest color. Not so great. Plus, again, how many colors can I really wear on my lips, and how many colors are they really going to put out? Could I wear a royal blue creamy-matte lipstick, if a company actually made it available? I don't think I could, and they wouldn't -- couldn't -- sell it anyway.

So lately my thing, in case you haven't noticed, is nail polish. It comes in all sorts of colors, lasts for days instead of hours, and is, generally speaking, much cheaper. It's not uncommon for me to swing by a beauty supply shop (there are two on my way home! two! and that doesn't include the drugstores!) and take a peek. Plus, as I said, with the color range of polishes out there now, I don't have to limit myself to pinks and reds (though I do love them) -- I have a growing collection of blues, greens, purples, yellows and oranges, and several different metallics in gold and silver and copper. And the amazing colors just keep coming!

But nail polish has its drawbacks too -- I always wind up smudged (if I hit my nails in the first, oh, DAY) and chipped, plus there's the chemicals, the smell, and the time it takes. Lip gloss you can apply in seconds, plus it smells and tastes better. (I have never actually tasted nail polish. In liquid format.)

If you were to decide between the two -- lip gloss versus nail polish -- what would you pick, and why?

images from beauty.com

Related Posts with Thumbnails