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Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Anniversary special: A year of hair

15 Nov

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On November 1, I turned 44. On November 7, The House in the Clouds turned 1. November is a pretty special month! I decided to put together a couple anniversary specials, starting with a year of hairstyles. Those of you who have been around for this past year know that my hair is a perpetual work in progress. In other words, it never looks the same for long. Each cut and color evolves into the next thing; there’s no road map, no destination. The only thing that is not currently in the cards is lopping it all off. It’s taken me exactly 8 years to grow it out to the length it is from the short spiky platinum ‘do I was donning when I first met future hubby.

short spiky platinum blond hair

There were many false starts. One salon processed it for so long that it broke off and after spending an entire morning crying about it, I cut it off and started again. A couple years later, one particularly dusty Burning Man dehydrated it to the point of no return and the growing out process took a turn for the worse. An emergency home dye job turned it green, the following weekend I found salvation at a highly-recommended salon. Not still out of the woods, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But it cost a pretty penny.

A couple years later an aggressive savings plan put me back in the home dye camp. While I didn’t do any damage this time around, I didn’t do anything noteworthy either. This wasn’t a memorable year in terms of color or cut. Almost all one length and mostly flat honey blonde. I have too much hair not to have it thinned out regularly. It looked like the letter “A” and did nothing to enhance my features. Then I met my future friend and hair stylist, Nicole. A genius with hair. It’s safe to say that I’ve never looked back.

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Having seen the diversity of my hair color and styles in the past year, what do you think I should do next? Do you have any particular favorites? I’m curious what you guys think.

 

 
 

FBFF Visual: The naked face.

11 Nov

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Wearing no makeup

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Fashion Beauty Friend Friday but I couldn’t pass this up. After talking up the fantasy of make-up a few days ago, I had to bare it all. I did not retouch these photos in any way, shape or form except to adjust the lighting slightly. It’s all here for you, laugh lines and everything. Some people call them crow’s feet. I say it’s just proof that I’m having fun. If I’m going to wrinkle, which is inevitable as I age, then heck, I want good wrinkles. The kind you get from living a good and happy life.

Oh, make-up, how do I love thee? A lot! It’s fun, it’s decorative, it can emphasize my big hazel eyes and downplay dark shadows below them. Ultimately, I like my face. I may wear make-up every day but I’m not embarrassed to be seen without it. I don’t think I’m uglier without it. It’s my face. Highly expressive, slowly changing with time, imperfect, forty-four years old now. Still, my face.

Franca of Oranges and Apples is hosting this week. Visit her to check out participating bloggers. Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for encouraging this topic. Fashion Beauty Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

Wearing no makeup

And a special thanks to the hubby for taking advantage of this opportunity to photobomb me. It’s no wonder I have laugh lines.

 

Transformative powers

10 Nov

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Daily outfit, mixing patterns

Daily outfit, grey wedge sneaker, grey tights, grey wool coat

Daily outfit, wearing red mini skirt, vintage cowl neck sweater with orange and grey stripes, grey wool coat, grey tights

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One of my closest friends called me the other day, my husband and I were in the car driving home. Our car had just decided to make an unsavory alarming sound, probably due to some after-market install. I couldn’t really talk over it and told my friend I’d call him right back. As soon as we got home my husband started investigating the problem while I unloaded the car. I had been at a design conference for two days in San Francisco, literally one block from Sephora. I had stopped in on the way back home to pick up a gift for a couple friends. And myself, apparently.

Unloading the car is handled one of two ways in my household. Based on the day of the week, I either dump everything on the bench by the front door and ignore until the next day or I meticulously put everything in its rightful place. On this particular Friday I chose the latter. Let me elaborate on the meticulous part — it involves the trying on of suitable purchases, such as new clothes or make-up. My reality is often intermingled with such fantastic interruptions. I had given in to the temptation of a natural eyeshadow and blush kit that barely cost twice as much as the single eyeshadow from Make Up For Ever that I normally buy. Impulse shopping at its finest.

While taking the kit out of its box, I found myself mesmerized by the silver shades and gave them a try. One thing led to another, close to an hour flew by. As I found myself snapping a picture of it to share on Instagram I remembered my friend in New York. I called him back immediately and explained the series of events that led to the delay. “I was playing with make-up and I forgot to call you back.” As we FaceTimed each other on our phones, both of us laying down — he on his bed and me on a cozy rug in my bedroom — I delved further into the female psyche, specifically mine.

Make-up and fashion are not just a form of expression, they are also a form of escape and fantasy. Those of us with a passion for one or the other, or both, understand the transformative powers they each possess. I am not a celebrity with a perfect life, I’m a woman in her forties who celebrated her birthday with tea instead of a proper cocktail because of the lingering effects of having pneumonia. I’m a woman who’s a little exhausted by the demands of work. Getting lost in the moment of make-up is a brief escape — I admit to getting completely absorbed by the precision of applying silver eyeshadow on the inside and mid-section of my eye lids, (but definitely not by the lashes or the outer areas, that wouldn’t work.) It’s similar to junk TV for my brain. There’s a Zen to it. While I pride myself in my ability to multi-task on a day-to-day basis, when I get lost in putting an outfit together or working out a new way to wear eye make-up, I get lost in the moment.

Being able to escape reality is important, it’s especially important to me to be cognizant of it. I like forgetting my troubles. I’m not neglecting them, I’m taking a break. As children we played make-believe and it was perfectly acceptable. We nourished our creative sides with fantasy, unknowingly developing problem-solving skills by thinking outside the box. It didn’t matter that we lived in an apartment. There was a farm with a dog and a cow in the bedroom, right next to the castle to the left of the bed. Imagination knows no bounds. I work in a creative field, interestingly enough, the most demanding aspects requiring imagination are not specific to design. They are more often called upon to solve logistical problems, whether it be scheduling or process driven. They further come in handy with regards to working with others.

If I can imagine the way someone else thinks and processes information, I am better able to speak their dialect. That’s a very adult thing to do with imagination. Then there’s make-up. If I can play with silver eye-shadow and make my eyes sparkle, I feel I sparkle. It doesn’t have to be a conscious intention, it just happens. The only thing I need to be conscious of is whether the transformative power is positive or negative. My friend understood and forgave me for getting side-tracked. I sent him off to his slumber with a kiss and plans to visit the following week.

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Check back in on Friday, November 11 for Fashion Beauty Friend Friday. The visual topic is for us bloggers to show a picture of ourselves without any make-up on. See me in my natural state.

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I may have only been pattern mixing in the last year but I feel like a pro with some of my bolder choices. What made this outfit work was that I kept the palette limited to only a few primary colors: grey and red-orange. The use of grey helped neutralize the impact of the red tones. Try it out! And then leave me your url in the comment section so that I can see how you styled your patterns. Remember, you’re even more beautiful when you’re having fun!

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Red mini skirt/Urban Outfitters, vintage striped cowl neck sweater/eBay, grey wool coat/Bebe, grey tights/WeLoveColors.com, wedge sneakers/Tsubo.

 

 

 

 

FBFF: DIY Manicures

12 Aug

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Daily outfit and style tip, featuring crackle nail art

Daily outfit and style tip, featuring crackle nail art

Daily outfit and style tip, featuring crackle nail art

I never truly realize my full potential for clumsiness until I attempt to paint my own nails. It would seem that the years of practice are totally lost on me, I still awkwardly get nail polish outside of the nail bed. I still proceed to slam into every surface before the nails have dried. I try to eat food. I do.

I stuck my hand earlier into a bowl of tortilla chips.

That’s why I usually opt to pay a professional. But things are looking up, my friends. I might have finally found the nail polish for me; the one that loves me back. Crackle. Camouflage for the clumsy. I can see this action making a repeat performance. I even think that next time around it will look better, they say practice makes perfect.

Daily outfit and style tip, featuring crackle nail art products

Daily outfit and style tip, featuring manicure products

I had to buy a few things to do this right. I needed a base coat, top coat and color dryer. Here’s a list of all the products I used:

  • Sally Hansen Advanced Hard as Nails Nylon + Retinol Strengthener
  • Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Snappy Sorbet
  • Sally Hansen Crackle Overcoat in Fuchsia Shock
  • Sally Hansen Nail Shine Miracle Top Coat
  • Sally Hansen Dry Kwik Nail Color Dryer

 

I basically laid a single coat of everything listed, in that order. Next time I will put two coats of the bottom color to make it richer. If you go back and look at the first picture there’s no top coat and the crackle is matte which, in hindsight, I think looks pretty cool. Next time, no shiny top coat on top of the crackle. Maybe I’ll try the shiny top coat before applying the matte crackle for extra contrast. I love playing with contrasting textures. What do you think, shiny or matte crackle?

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I’ve shared my DIY manicure with you for Fashion Beauty Friend Friday, theme courtesy of Miss Rockwell of  Lifestyles of the Thrifty and Shameless. Check out all the participants by going to her blog. I can’t wait to see what the other ladies have done, I just know there’s a lot of creativity out there. I’m just getting started, there may be hope for me yet.

Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for encouraging this topic. Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!