OOTD: Celebratory

Tank top, Old Navy // Skirt, Francesca's (similar) // Sandals, Target // Coach Willis bag (classic style still available)

During my birthday last week (more on that later!), Eric took me on a shopping trip as a present. Now that the weather's warmer, I realize a lot of my breezy clothes don't fit right or look their best anymore, and someone I won't name (Carlos!) "joked" my clothes are dated, so yes, to the mall we went!

This pencil skirt at Francesca's made me go "Oooh!" out loud. I love how the print is different in the back. I was eager to do a post with it so that I could share shopping details on it with you guys, but unfortunately, it is nowhere on the website, and the closest approximation I found is more than double what I paid. I tried, dudettes. I tried.

Pencil skirts are so the thing to feel womanly. The skirt, shirt and sandals are all from my birthday haul, and I wore this get-up on our wedding anniversary. I love how gladiator sandals toughen up anything you wear. And they add a somewhat scandalous edge to miniskirts.

So. I'm 26 now. I'm thrilled to be in the latter half of what's proving to be a challenging decade! I feel eternally 23. You know no one likes you when you're 23. The last few years have been this molten metamorphosis when I've burned and cooled into almost but not quite the same form, the changes imperceptible to the casual observer but foundational to me. Maybe now I'll solidify into something radically different.

I know, I know. I'm such an a-hole.

Anyway, on my birthday, Eric and I had a picnic. I don't get outside much. It was lovely. We fed geese. Would you believe me if I told you I've never done that before? It's true! I felt like a little kid. It's pretty intimidating when they start squawking and closing in on you and flying over each other to get more bread, catching each other's feathers in their beaks in the process. I'm wary around birds sometimes because I think my hair reminds them of a nest. 

We were going to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, but postponed it for our anniversary. Talk about feeling like a little kid! I was bouncing in my seat. The X-Men have been a major part of my life ever since I watched the cartoons. I got into the comics when the first movies came out, and now, revisiting that world feels like a nerdgasmic homecoming. I loved all the clever winks for the fans. I LOVE the ending and what it means for the franchise. And while my girl Jennifer Lawrence was killer good, the standout character for me was Quicksilver, with his cool and mischievous persona and that genius, slapsticky slow-mo action scene. Seriously, go see it. Do it.

P.S. The movie not only made me want to head to a comic book store to catch up, it also made me want to re-watch the first two seasons of Skins. Nicholas Hoult will always be Tony Stonem to me.

Beauty stuff that makes me way too happy

I'm a beauty nerd. Obviously. But some beauty moments make me disproportionately giddy, including but not limited to:
  • When my eyebrows are full and symmetrical enough that I don't have to fill them — just a swipe of clear mascara and I have presentable brows!
  • Extend that to any time I look in the mirror and my skin can get away with just a dusting of powder and blush.
  • The rare times that I can actually go to the other extreme and do hardcore fake lashes and red lipstick and feel totally glamorous. You know, before glasses. Ugh, I miss fake lashes. They're magical.

  • A thick new petal of Coalface soap from Lush. Coalface deserves Holy Grail status. My skin loves it.
  • Curl definition in my frizziest spots, at the top of my head. I've been giving the Curly Girl method a try, and while I'm not convinced I can or should live without sulfates and silicones — I realize how many shine serums have the banned cones, and that stuff is crack to me — its tips for styling make a world of difference. Flipping, gelling and scrunching the hair just so, then leaving it the hell alone until it's dry and fluffing out the gel crunch makes my hair look amazing.

  • Getting compliments on my perfume. I'm so alert to how people smell that being ranked among the pleasantly fragrant means I've met a life goal. I feel like a contributing member of society. (P.S. I'm in the market for a sexy floral perfume. Preferably with a hyacinth note. Nothing tweeny or air freshener-y.)
  • Post-exertion glow. 

  • Researching what lipstick a TV character is wearing. Bonus points if I guess the brand and shade correctly. Declaring myself queen of everything if it's a shade I own or a dupe for it.
  • Painted nails. For the blissful full hour until they chip.
  • My kid sister's mad makeup skills. I know my way around a shadow palette, but this kid has a natural aptitude for theatrical makeup that is genius. I'd love to post this awesome picture of her in zombie makeup, but it's buried under the million selfies and inspirational shit my mom puts on Facebook. 


Once Upon A Time Season 3 finale recap

Holy crap. Emma broke it. Or should I say, froze it.


All curls, all the time

"I'm sorry that I have magnificent hair that requires products and appliances!" I told my husband when he complained about how much space my hair stuff uses.

"It's a drain on resources!" he said.

We have these joking arguments about my hair. He says we need two bathrooms. I say, "No, we need three. One for me, one for you, and one for my hair!" The truth is, my hair doesn't take that much work since I've stopped relaxing it. It's much healthier and stronger since I quit chemicals and constant flat-ironing.

But I have yet to find the right styling methods and products, that magical combination of elixirs that will give me frizz-free, defined ringlets without crunchy ends. What makes my hair go BOING one week makes it go WHOMP WHOMP the next.

I'm not used to having curly or short hair. I just got it cut again, to even out the sides where I'd left it longer and with a few straggly relaxed ends yet to be chopped. Now it's a short little bob. Vast improvement so far. At this length, the trial and error cycle starts all over. Towel or T-shirt to dry? Gel or mousse? Moisturizer, serum or some combo of all the above?

The most surprising thing about having curly hair is something I've read on all the blogs. Your curl pattern varies. The front of my hair is more S-shaped, and the back is spirally. I still use the Curlformers in the front to get the shape I like.

I'm also surprised every day by how much I love my curls. I'm driven to distraction pulling and twirling that one perfect, springy curl a few inches behind my left ear. YouTube and Pinterest have me fantasizing about big, long hair. I love how ombré looks on little ringlets, and I have more freedom to experiment with color now that it wouldn't be chemicals on top of chemicals.

I haven't gone crazy with spending money on aforementioned products and appliances, but oh, I could. I've got my eye on a Q Redew hair steamer (although I don't know that it would be much better than just using a spray bottle!) and already bought a cheap blowdryer with a diffuser that apparently won't be much use to me until my hair is long. I want to try some Deva and Ouidad products, but don't know where to start. I'm fascinated by the concept of a Deva Cut, where your hair is cut curl by curl to best emphasize the curl pattern — but people complain because then they flat iron their hair and, surprise, the ends are uneven. So it really requires a commitment to the curls.

I'm excited about learning how to make my hair awesome. Grow, hair, grow. I want to play with you!


FOTD: White gold

I use my MAC Fascinating Eye Kohl all the time to brighten my waterline, and I wanted to play with using it as regular eyeliner.

For my base, I used the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach, which is a godsend for my dark circles, Smashbox CC Cream in Light/Medium, Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation in Cashew Beige for extra coverage, and some MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark to set.

I lined my upper lashes before doing anything else. To try to up the opacity, I used the white shade from the LORAC Pro Palette on a wet brush, and then added more over top. I couldn't get it as intense as I wanted to, but it did help a touch.

Next, I patted some metallic Maybelline Color Tattoo in Gold Rush to the center of my lid, then swiped the light bronze shade from the palette in the inner corner and the gold shade from the center out. I lined my top and bottom lashes in a black Maybelline gel liner. I wanted to add some contrast against the white without adding liner on the lid, and I like that it makes my lashes look darker and fuller. For mascara, I used my baby love MAC Prep + Prime Lash and Lancome Hypnose Drama (of which I own a mini from a Macy's free gift with purchase deal). For brows, I've reverted back to the NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Charcoal.

My finishing touches were ELF Studio Blush in Pink Passion and Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Lovelight, a glittery peach.

I really like the gold and white together. It's sorta disco and Foxxy Cleopatra with my little baby fro!


Thoughts on "Gone Girl"

I've had some time to process Gone Girl, and to try to scrape off some of the ice clinging to my skeleton about it. It is the most disturbing book I've ever read. I'm keeping this brief (for me) and spoiler-free (at least as far as what I'd term spoilers) because I really want to encourage anyone who hasn't read it to pick up a copy.

Gillian Flynn's novel is a masterpiece. It's a suspenseful, psychological mindfuck and in a really twisted and probably intentional way, a love story. Because you can't destroy and manipulate someone as masterfully as Nick and Amy do if you don't know them to their core.

The book has been described as the story of a marriage gone horribly wrong. It is certainly that, but when I reached the end, there was so much that I hadn't been able to sort into truth or lies that I couldn't tell you exactly how their marriage went wrong. And as I've already said, there's something about this toxic union that reads like a love story. Nick and Amy may just be perfect for each other ... even though Nick may or may not have murdered her.

That, of course, is the question. It's why you pick up the book, because of the mystery of Amy's disappearance and the near certainty that her husband, who counts the number of lies he's told police, is behind it. But he doesn't count the number of lies he's told you.

Being betrayed by a narrator is a strange sensation. You get used to first-person narrators being biased and unreliable, but liars and tricksters? That's novel. I managed to guess one of the major twists, but Flynn outsmarted me every other step of the way. Every time I thought I understood the game, she dropped a tornado on the game board. Every time I thought I'd understood the depth of her deception, I tripped down another cliff.

The story unfolds from New York to Missouri, against backdrops of abundant, romantic times and bleak, hateful times, for the couple at the center of the tale and for the world around them. It'll be interesting to see how it translates to film. Director David Fincher did Fight Club, another complex book adaptation, so I believe it's in good hands. Ben Affleck is dead-on casting for Nick. I'm less sure about Rosamund Pike as Amy, and the trailers show very little of her other than empty gazes. I'm most curious to see how they handle the dueling internal monologues and Amy's diary, which is integral to the plot but that could be tricky to put on screen.

The book delves into the idea of identity, one of my favorite themes. We think we know who Amy is, but that might be a shaky concept even for her. At one point that seems to resonate with a lot of readers, she talks about how women try to be the Cool Girl, because that's what men want. “Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl," Amy tells us. "Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding." So basically, a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. In a novel loaded with unsympathetic characters, I sympathize so much with Amy trying to meet other people's expectations, trying to be a triumphant ideal and looking around asking herself, so, why is this supposed to be fun, again?

I lost sleep reading this book and more sleep thinking about it in the days after I finished it. I hated the ending so much. I desperately want Flynn to write a sequel. There's so much more I want to know and and she's acknowledged that she knows the ultimate fates of her characters and that the possibility of a sequel exists. I love her writing style. Even her ugliest, meanest sentences, the ones meant to make you cringe, show artistry and craftmanship. I wanted to keep living in these characters' sick, sad worlds a little longer.