Field of Dreams

Where have all the colors gone? These days, recession chic means practical clothing choices that go with everything. Often times that means neutral colors, neutrals, non-colors, muted palettes.  Which I love. But at the same time, colors make you look lovely. Little dots of joy and on beautiful summer days. One of my favorite bold colors to wear, besides red, is hot pink. With my coloring, I really can’t do a soft pink… I mean I can, but it’s not the best color for me.. Lately I’ve been noticing on my laundry drying rack, black grey, and pink for the past few weeks…

Here I’m mixing hot pink with another of my favorites (my favorite skirt) beige. You can’t really tell how the vibrancy of the pink in the photos, but it’s a nice vibrant pink.  I think it gives the a really nice balance between bold and subtle. Actually, this is just an excuse to show you this lovely top… some of you fabric people.. can you tell me what kind of top this is? Crochet? Embroidered? [UPDATE: Cut Embroidery thanks Wendygital! Lace? Either way, it’s from the flea market, and it’s absolutely perfect for summer.

Airbrushed Perfect

A few days ago on twitter I reminisced the days of puffy paint shirts. AsheMischeief brought back memories amongst puffy paints were airbrushed t-shirts. So early 90’s… or street style. Honestly, I never had a puffy paint shirt or airbrushed anything… but these days, along with tie dye, I’m also craving the airbrushed look.

German/Austrian design duo  Hartmann Nordenholz presents a post millennial solution to this craving. Ok… so they didn’t do it JUST for me, and thanks to Coute Que Coute I was able to find these delicious morsels of airbrushed goodness. I particularly like the pleating and draping… as well as the external shoulder pads.

Coveted Fashion Digest : Blogger Mannequins, Important Eyebrows and Affordable Shoes

Shop Talk

You know sustainability is making it’s way into the mainstream when the top 10 organic cotton buyers include H&M, Zara, Nike and Walmart (guess which order, as they are all in the top 5). And since H&M is slowly making their way into my good books (I still have an irrational animosity towards them)… Jimmy Choo will shoe design a collection for H&M. Oddly enough the price points, from £30 to £170 max you may be able to find if you poke around online, and you don’t even have to look that hard as you can find Jimmy Choo for Jimmy Choo pumps for £169...right now, on the official Jimmy Choo website, no H&M crowd battling needed.

In other shoe news, mid-market Nine West teams up with slightly more upscale Kurt Geiger. I’m really interested to see what kind of shoe babies they’ll have in this collaboration.

Thrifting in the Mall… Now I’ve always been a lover of thrifting, and I never thought I’d see the day when we’d have celebrity thrift shops in the mall. To tell the truth, I love it. Mary Portas’ charity pop up shop in Village at Westfields London. Mary Portas is Britain’s leading retail guru, and more recently the star of BBC’s Mary Queen of Shops’, where she turned around an unprofitable charity shop. The shop is only open for a limited time only, it is due to close on the 27th June and has been doing a roaring trade, so far £47,000 has been raised for Save The Children, Mind and Trees for Cities. Each of the days has a special theme, tomorrow will be ‘high street/Oasis day’ Thursday, the 24th, ‘Beauty day” and my favorite, Friday they’ll have home day…with brands like Habitat (I love you) Alessi and Dwell. Check out Retro Chick’s review of her shop!

Model Citizens

If you love paper dolls and you love Kate and Agy…then you’ll love these super model paperdolls. You can buy them on I love Mel. And speaking of Agy… she ain’t modeling no more… so she says, she’s now going to give acting in indie films a shot. To tell the truth, I’m not all that convinced, but she can sort of sing and look cool, so I bet she’ll probably pull it off.

On the subject of dressing up inanimate objects… did you know that Canadian Department story chain is Holt Renfruew is making MANNEQUINS in the images of bloggers??!!!!! Jane from Sea of Shoes, Rumi from Fashion Toast, Bryan Boy… and so forth. I don’t know if they are actually molding the Mannequins to look like them, but it appears that they haven’t sought permission from… but I’d really like to hear blogger thoughts on the matter.

UPDATE: Lovely EJ noted that it the mannequins are indeed a collaboration…

(that’s Jane on the left)

Fashion Scenes

The Day Before... sounds like an apocalyptic action film, but really the only thing apocalyptic about this is the chaos that fashion designers go through before the big runway shows. Sundance Chanel will air a 4 part series documenting the 36 hour period before major fashion shows like Sonja Rykiel’s 40th anniversary show in Paris, Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld in Milan, Proenza Schouler and Gaultier’s haute couture show. And I’ve heard there’s panic and ego unleashing. Sweet. The Day Before airs Sept 9.

If you haven’t seen the Coco Avant Chanel trailer… watch it right now… it looks awesome. Those of you in the UK can watch it July 31, in the US, September 25, So I guess we’ll all have to take a trip to London next month!

In other news…

I could have been looking at a more ‘respectable’ site, but I generally don’t waste my time with those… thanks to D-listed, we can all snicker at the eyebrows of Alice in Wonderland.

And last but not least… to quote a Head & Shoulder’s commercial… You never get a second chance to make a first impression… Linsay Lohan & Ryan Seacrest are working on a new reality tv show about giving people a second chance in life, like the most annoying home show ever…. ‘Extreme Home Makeover‘ I’m just wondering shouldn’t LiLo be working on her own second chance on this one?

 

Everything is Beautiful Like a Rainbow

Everything is beautiful. Especially if you’re in this cartoon sci fi meets reality mindset. I thought I was over with all things nu-rave, but elements keep coming back to me like a caffeine addiction. I love all the drippy black peeps have got going on now, but I miss splashes of color, bright colors. Ruffle of Hearts Little Snots on Etsy fill this void of color where sensibility crept in. Multi-color swimsuits that cover all the right places, out of this world geometric body suits and prism detailed dresses, many of which in true Etsy form can be made to order. I’m beginning to think that Etsy is by far one of the best value for your money apparel sites out there. Not to mention how fun it is to read some of the clothing descriptions:

‘I feel weird. I feel good. Im like: I have no fucking idea why its taken so long to release a new RHLS dress but the moment appeared like a perfect drip of morning dew, on the horizon of a Red Hook dilapidated sugar mill crane.’

Now that is beautiful.

Inspired Lashes

I had such a fun time the other evening. I attended a delightful shu uemura cocktail party at their San Francisco boutique. It was a birthday celebration of the first shu uemura boutique that opened in Tokyo 26 years ago. The event featured the stunning new Lashes in Nature Collection. shu uemura comes out with the most amazing false lashes. They take lashes to the next level and then some, with brilliant creativity and high-impact drama.

Lashes in Nature Collection

The Lashes in Nature Collection includes nine sets of lashes designed by four makeup masters inspired by flowers, forests, oceans, and sky. The showstoppers are the four extravagant “premium” sets – works of art that definitely make a statement. Each pair is $79.

Fleur-Ever (top) emulates the tail of a bird with exotic purple plumage accented with white flecking. There are petal-like forms inside the lashes meant to evoke a bouquet of peonies. The designer says these “exude feminity and are the ultimate expression of one’s individuality.” This set is one of my favorites. These reminded me of both flowers and butterfly wings.

Goldglam Leaf (second from top) is handcrafted with real skeleton leaves drenched in glimmering gold (how cool is that?). This set features transparent crystals evocative of droplets of morning dew. This is also one of my favorites. I love how they put the lashes just on the bottom and accented the model’s skin with lots of gold and bronze.

Marine Tide (second from bottom) features a unique curl design to echo the undulating roll of the ocean’s tidal cycle. These lashes are woven with a variety of shades of blue – from sky blue to deep turquoise – and accented with a sprinkling of white foam.

Snow Twist (bottom) includes delicate clusters of tiny, translucent crystals evocative of snow. Each lash is made from thin, milky white wires. There are frosted pink teardrop crystals along the lower lashes.

The five other sets in the collection (three are pictured below) are more affordable ($18-$29) and less dramatic but still highly unique. They include decorative “statement” and everyday “accent” lashes. My favorites are the Lavender Bloom ($29, below on left), which are purple-toned lashes made of soft, fur-like materials, and the Farfallina ($29, below in the middle), which have triple layers of brown and black tones with different levels of curl and longer lashes toward the outer edge. I also love the super cute Mini Star Glitz set ($22, below on right) with its twinkling stars.

The collection is available at shu uemura boutiques and counters nationwide, and at shuuemura-usa.com.

For a Limited Time

Each year, shu uemura introduces a beauty item to celebrate their anniversary. This year they’ve come out with a limited-edition compact (in center of display shown below) that fits four eye shadows or two eye shadows and a blush, or two blushes.

The compact is complimentary when you purchase the products to fill it. There are 75 shadows and 30 Glow On Blushes to choose from. The special compact is available at shu uemura boutiques in Boston, San Francisco, Costa Mesa, and online at shuuemura-usa.com. This special appears to be available at other stores. I saw it at a Nordstrom in San Francisco, too.

Do Tell

Do you have any shu uemura lashes? What do you think of the new collection? Where would you wear them? Do tell.

How to Tame Your Wild Bangs

I have fine hair that blows in the wind. Or, even minor changes in the movement of air, my hair will move. I guess that’s great for some things, but for having bangs, wild hair has its disadvantages. For years, I had no idea what my bangs would do as soon as I stepped out the door. So, I talked to my hairdresser about my issue, and he gave me some inspirations. He didn’t tell me to do what I do, but he did make a recommendation that inspired me to try this method of taming my wild bangs.

Hint: It’s all in the roots.

 

On Career Changes & Sustainability: Amour Vert

When it comes to fashion, we all know about the guilt. No, I’m not talking about spending money we should be saving. I’m talking about sustainability. Now, I haven’t been the best when it comes to only getting sustainable brands, though I’m becoming more conscious about the clothes I do buy over time. Opting for quality as much as possible. But I’m not going to lie, how much something costs does affect my choices as much as anything else (that also goes for buying cheap things that fall apart after a few wears– turning out to be expensive in the end.)

However, there are brands that have sustainability in mind without that extra price tag. That hit that sweet spot between great quality and price that’s not sooo precious ($80-$275).

San Francisco based Amour Vert is a brand that has hit that sweet spot. Amour Vert started  by Linda Balti and Christoph Frehsee in their living room in 2010 to be carried by Nieman Marcus, Shopbop, Bloomingdales and Piperlime, and earlier this month, they opened their first brick and mortar store in Hayes Valley San Francisco.   With a range of every day Contemporary clothes, you can style the label’s pieces into your wardrobe, even if the rest of your clothes aren’t eco-friendly. (Guilty!)

(Linda Balti)

Linda Balti the creative force behind the brand (Christoph is the business savvy) was once a computer science engineer for a defense company. She missed working with people and wanted to do something creative, at the same time Christoph, and entrepreneur just sold a company and they both decided to tour the world to figure things out. During that time Christoph applied to the Stanford MBA program and got in, and Linda upon reading an article in Newsweek about how fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, decided she wanted to change the way she dressed. Back in 2008/2009, the eco-fashion movement was really just starting to get out of their hippie stage, and Linda noticed there weren’t many brands making clothes she liked to wear everyday.

“I started because I had a need, but I didn’t know if anyone else felt like I did. It was super exciting to see retailers responding to her product. Because at the end of the day, who needs another fashion brand?”~ Linda Balti

Sustainability is in the DNA of the brand. Amour Vert’s fabrics are produced in Los Angeles, even the fibers are original in content to the brand. Linda mixes wood pulp and organic cotton and finds low-impact dyes and vegetable based-dyes which create a unique texture to the fabrics. The softness of the fabric, I can attest to, the tee-shirt are stretchy and super soft! The clothes are produced in San Francisco. Not many people realize that this town is home to over 100 sewing factories, once home to  The Gap and Levi’s.

Visit them online at AmourVert.com or if you’re in town, visit the shop at 437 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

(Me ogling a cropped trench above, and rocking a look in Amour Vert below.)

Top photo via Racked SF, all other photos by my secret friend

Three Excellent Tinted Lip Balms

I used to be a huge lipstick junky. Wearing bright red, bright orange, hot pink, bold any color. Then, I don’t know what happened, but all I wanted was a perfect “nude” or effortless makeup. I’d like to blame it on the baby, but, it was before the baby.

Being a nude lipstick newbie, I have to say that it wasn’t easy finding the perfect shade of “nude.” All the nude lipsticks made me look sick, or they were boring, or they were just plain “off.” I had found a few lipsticks that I liked ok, but nothing I really loved. Then one day at brunch, Natalie from Coquette showed me her Clarins tinted lip balm crayon. I knew then that lip balm was exactly what I wanted. Something with just enough color to not look sick, but not so much that it said, “Hey, I’m wearing lipstick!”

I went out and bought the Clarins crayon, but wanted more colors, and to try out more formulas. Don’t ask why, I’m just a nerd like that. I went to Walgreens and found the Revlon version of the Clarins crayon, in a more sheer “natural” color. This balm is the closest to nude I’ve ever really liked. It’s barely there, but it moisturizes and stays on really well. I would almost go as far as to say it stays on just as long as the Clarins but at $7.99, a fraction of the price.

Finally, while researching tinted lip balms, the Burt’s Bee’s tinted lip balm kept popping up on the forums. Some were saying that it was a “dupe” to cult favorite Clinique’s Black Honey Almost Lipstick. Do you remember Black Honey? Well, like everything in the 90′s it’s made a comeback, and for a fraction of the price, you can take a trip down memory lane just by using Burt’s Bees. I like this one because it has a dewy texture and sheer color that you can build up. Also, it is great for moisturizing your lips.

Sorry to show you my mug so close, but here are the different lip balms on my face, so you can see the difference..

First up, Clarins Lip Balm Crayon, Delicious Plum ($20): Even color, rich texture. Gentle scent and flavor, so you’re not tempted to lick it off.

Next is the Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, Rose ($6.99): Ultra sheer color, which I actually really like. It somehow looks more natural.

Revlon Color Burst Tinted Balm, Inguene ($9.49): The most nude lip balm, but actually stays on quite well.

Are you into tinted lip balms? Which are your favorites? Do share!

What’s the difference between Selfies and Self Portraits?

The first “selfie” I took was in 1999 with a Polaroid camera. I’m not sure why I wanted to take a photo of myself. My husband at the time was/is a photographer, and he took a lot of photos of me. Yet, for some reason taking a photo of myself was different. I had control over my own image. It wasn’t that the photos I took of myself made me look “prettier” because they seemed to be more emotional in expression than the ones my ex-husband took. Perhaps those polaroids said more about how I felt about myself than they documented a face.

Polaroid taken of me with the same camera by my ex-husband. Obviously, I look way prettier here than in my selfies.

I never forgot those Polaroids. At the time, I described them as “self-portraits.” They were, indeed photos I had taken of myself. Held at arms length, at random times of day, I didn’t put all that much thought into the composition, or the lighting, or anything really. The act of taking my own photo felt strange enough.

In 2013, the word “selfie” earned the honors of becoming the “Word of the Year.” Never before in history, has there been so many people taking photos of themselves, at arms length or in the mirror, though not with a Polaroid, but with a digital camera. But these “selfies” are not self-portraits, or are they?

…anyone who’s seen selfies out there can tell you that some people put A LOT of thought in the composition and lighting.

Self-portraits are generally thought to be works of art, either by an artist or photographer. Selfies are not considered art, and sometimes considered works of narcissism. Some say that self-portraits incorporate thoughtfulness to composition, lighting and the subject. However, anyone who’s seen selfies out there can tell you that some people put A LOT of thought in the composition and lighting (and subject matter). Others say the difference between self-portraits and selfies boil down to intent. Are you just snapping a photo of yourself? Do you have an artistic intention? Whether your photo is any good doesn’t matter, it’s what you mean by it.

Are you just snapping a photo of yourself? Do you have an artistic intention? Whether your photo is any good doesn’t matter, it’s what you mean by it.

I’m not so sure it’s any of it. The division between creating a self-portrait and a selfie is the latest in linguistic elitism. Art and craft. Fashion and street wear. Photography and pictures.  Eroticism and pornography.  On one side you have a class of people who create on an artistic level, and then you have what everyone else creates. Art is a painting; craft is paint-by-numbers, unless it’s Andy Warhol’s Paint by Numbers, then it’s art again. How the Fashion gods decide what is “Fashion” and what is “Street Wear” I’ll never figure out, except maybe, “Fashion” is who shows at Fashion Week, and “Street Wear” is who shows at trade shows.

Zinaida Serebriakova self-portrait in 1909, wouldn’t be out of place today as a selfie.

In the Middle Ages, when mirrors became cheaper and more accessible, artists started painting themselves, mostly as marketing pieces to show off their skills to potential patrons. Before the 20th Century, women were not allowed to practice painting nudes of other people, so they painted themselves. Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo used self-portraiture to depict their intensities and emotional pain. Cindy Sherman, in her early work, used self-portraiture to identify female archetypes in film.

Cindy Sherman Film Still

So, what of bloggers who take selfies to market their beauty or fashion skills to their potential readers? I remember how I started The Coveted as a street style blog, only to find that taking photos of myself was easier. There are those people who dress up in costume for their selfies, and others who share their emotions. Even though my early Polaroids show raw emotions, there really wasn’t much thought put into them. I just wanted to capture a moment.  Yet, those Polaroids feel less like “selfies” than other selfies that incorporated more thought and intention.

Whatever the reason, we have this impulse to photograph ourselves. Maybe it’s just that impulse that is at the heart of Art itself.

What do you think? Is there a difference between self-portraiture and selfies?

 

7 Simple Ways To Take Care Of Yourself

Whether you’ve ever had other people tell you that you need to take better care of yourself or not, you might recognize the validity of this statement. With the buffet of tasks you must complete on a daily basis, doing so might seem impossible. However, taking better care of yourself does not need to pose a major challenge. Instead, you can implement seven simple solutions to being a happier and healthier person.

1. Have a regular sleep schedule. 
If you struggle to sleep, you likely know how frustrating the mornings are. You may fight to get through the day. As Harvard University notes, having a regular sleep schedule can seriously help you. To go to bed at the same time each night, consider setting an alarm about 30 minutes before so that you can begin your unwinding routine. Then, make sure to wake up at the same time each morning. Integrating these habits can take some time, especially if you currently have an erratic schedule. Consider making small changes that will then turn into big ones. For example, you can start by waking up a little earlier than you usually do.

2. Eat and drink well. 
While letting yourself have a treat on occasion is not generally a problem, you must make sure that these special occasions aren’t happening every day. You’re probably thinking that it’s not so simple to suddenly just start eating right and getting in enough water, and you’re right. However, you don’t need to make massive changes all at once. Instead, try to increase the amount of water that you drink by one glass and work on cutting one potentially harmful product, such as soda or cake, out of your diet at a time.

3. Use sunscreen. 
It’s possible that you lather up when you head to the beach or the pool in the summer but forget about this product the rest of the year. The sun is always there, and the sun is always powerful. To protect your skin from damaging rays that can lead to serious health problems such as skin cancer, you should choose a sunscreen that is right for your skin type and tone. If you suspect that you already have damage to your skin from years of abuse, you should seek the guidance of a dermatologist.

4. Have regular doctor’s appointments. 
Going to your doctor doesn’t have to become a weekly or monthly event, but if you can’t even remember what the inside of the office looks like, it’s time to schedule an appointment. While you should speak with your doctor about how frequently you need to visit, usually going around once per year for a physical is standard. Making the first appointment after some time away can definitely feel scary. Once you’re back in the routine though, you will likely remember why taking this step is important.

5. Take a class. 
When humans are young, they often have many opportunities to take classes, practice their talents and receive positive feedback. As the years go on, this routine often goes away. Enrolling in a class can help you to feel good about yourself, and many communities offer a wide range of classes. For example, you might opt to take a weekly painting class, or you may sign up for a one-time cooking seminar on how to make sushi. You could also take classes at the gym, which is a step that has many other benefits as noted by Time.

6. Build bonds with positive people. 
The people who are around you can have a serious effect on your well-being. For example, you may have so-called friends who are always canceling plans or who never ask how you’re doing or acknowledge important events in your life. You should ask yourself why you continue to nurture these bonds when you’re receiving nothing in return. Instead of putting all of your attention into dying connections, focus on the people who do care about you.

7. Have a hobby. 
In today’s world, so much energy is put on the end goal. In other words, you may feel as though you should not waste the time on any activities unless they have some sort of tangible benefits, such as money or a promotion at work. However, having activities that you love to do merely for the pleasure that they provide is so important. Pursuing a hobby is also an important reminder that your needs, passions and interests are important.

Taking care of yourself is pivotal no matter what anyone else says. Following these suggestions can help you to make yourself a priority.

totop