I struggle with adult hormonal acne. FYI. As a result, I end up wearing a lot more makeup (foundation) than I probably need to, because I’m constantly battling red and ruddy skin. Being fair-of-skin is no joke – it often means your skin is prone to rosacea and the resulting blushing, scaliness, and red patches. It also often means your skin is super sensitive, and will react if you even THINK about putting product on it. BOO! Being “old enough to know better”, I had hoped this would go away, but I know that I need to be proactive in treating it.
While we’re working on the hormones and regimen that will make my skin pretty again, I’ve found a seemingly magical remedy for those big, deep, bad-boys that pop up under your skin. It’s calming, and soothing, while drying out pimples (but not overly-drying my skin). What is it??
It started when we took a little trip out to the San Juans – specifically, Friday Harbor. On the island there’s a little place called the Pelindaba Lavender Farm. I’d been recommended a trip there by a friend and since I love the smell of lavender, I picked up a little roller bottle of lavender oil (to be used as perfume, or whatever), and a spray bottle of lavender body mist (AKA: Floral water or hydrosol; basically just the oil mixed with a binder and water).
There was a little card attached to the body mist that said, “Use as a general body fragrance, as well as to rehydrate dry skin, cool sunburn, and soothe minor irritations. For a special summertime treat, keep cold and use as a facial refresher.”
Of course, it had been hot and sticky, so as I was going to bed, I sprayed some of this mist on my face – hoping it would a) be refreshing and b) would have magical powers. I patted it in, after my moisturizer and went to bed.
In the morning I woke up and the giant pimple on my chin, that had been there for the last week had dramatically subsided. In the interest of science (kinda) I decided to continue this same remedy the next night. By the morning of day 2, the blemish was almost gone – and with none of the ill effects of slathering crazy chemicals on my face, trying to beat it down.
I’ve tried this again since then. Once a big ol’ zit pops up on my face (usually just a large red lump), I squirt a little of the lavender water on a cotton pad, swish it all over the area, and wait (after cleansing of course). By the next morning the lump is almost gone and doesn’t hurt anymore. If it’s a really bad blemish, I’ll put a little of the full strength oil on my fingertip and pat it into the bump.
I did a little research on the stuff and found out that the reviewers at Makeup Alley LOVE lavender oil for this same reason – giving it a 4.6 out of 5 for facial treatments. The research I found noted that lavender is one of the gentlest essential oils – one of the only oils that can be put on the skin, undiluted, with very few negative side effects. It’s both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can be applied neat on acne or bug bites – which works really well if you’re like me, and are super allergic to bug bites. For spot treatment, just dab a little bit on with a finger, or q-tip. For larger areas, mix a drop or two of lavender oil with a little bit of lotion, and rub that shit in!
I’m not doing anything different in my routine than I have been doing – the other products I like to use are Lush’s Aquamarina (cleanser), Dermalogica Microfoliant (exfoliant), and DDF’s Moisturizing Dew (moisturizer). I generally use tinted moisturizer by Smashbox during the day, although sometimes my skin calls for something a little heavier – like a powder foundation. We’ll see how well this remedy continues to work.
Have you ever tried lavender as a facial treatment? Did it work? Did it give you hives? Let us know in the comments!
A play on the chicken and the egg (and inspired by Ashe Mischief’s Finance and the Fashion Blogger posts)…
I got to talking with Ashe this morning about fashion bloggers and the money we’ll spend on the things we find worth spending on. She mused, “… Do people get expensive tastes from being bloggers or have [expensive tastes] and then become bloggers?”
Ashe mentioned that her mom always bought the best she could for the best value – growing up with quality over quantity, she notes, is one of the reasons she has such a good eye. Out of a lineup of 20 white oxfords, her “eye will like the most expensive pair best, without knowing the designers or cost”.
Thinking about it – part of being a fashion blogger, for me, came from an obsession with what I couldn’t have, while inspirational style images peered out at me through the pages of catalogues and magazines, not to mention MTV. My parents didn’t buy name-brand clothing (with 3 kids, who can!?). We thrifted – and with the idea that things would be worn by at least 2 girls, even our thrifted pieces needed to be quality. I was also involved in theater and costuming (you know, Thespian Troupe President, and my senior portraits were voted most theatrical since I had old-timey photos taken instead of the very-posed norm). I learned to sew. I read books on costume history, researched vintage clothes and was always, constantly inspired.
In our small town, there was no GAP or Express. I remember receiving Delia’s catalogues, and I bought all the teen-appropriate fashion mags I could find, circling looks and outfit pieces in each one. This might be why I still flip through the Vicki’s catalogues, circling things and drawing moustaches on the models. These catalogues showed me the clothes that weren’t available to me and the styles that I coveted. I became kind of.. enamored with branded stuff. As I grew into my tastes, I was able to weed out the styles that didn’t suit me, but have always had a soft spot for the inspiration in a well curated editorial – whether or not it was “my style”.
I worked retail when I first moved to the big city. Through that experience, I learned about thread count, different fabrics, and differences in quality. I saw how once-coveted items fell apart at the seams – literally. With new shops to explore on every corner, my tastes evolved along with my paychecks. I was still buying a lot of stuff on the cheap (often, quantity over quality), but I got tired of having to repair everything I bought that wasn’t well-made.
I find that now, I have priorities that I’d gladly spend money on. It’s been a lot of trial-and-error, but I also a labor of love. As I see the glint of my Tiffany heart pendant in my monitor, I realize I’ve always liked having “nice things”, not just because of the quality, but also because of the status involved. Did blogging give me more expensive tastes? Maybe, but I also worked in retail for years and spent a lot of time repairing cheaply-bought items and coveting things that had a certain aesthetic. I was also exposed to so much more because I was in a more metropolitan area.
It wasn’t till I started truly blogging that I started to fill out what I thought my style should be. Again, exposure was a key part of my growth as a blogger. I realized that style is something you can tailor and create. I went back to fashion magazines for inspiration, and dug out all my vintage pieces and acquired tastes. I looked to other bloggers around me, found pieces that appealed to me and wanted things I thought I’d never afford. Over time, I began to make more money, and my tastes evolved towards the wider market available to me. Blogging does influence what I think is fashionable – seeing girls carrying it-bags, looking ever so stylish is an inspiration to look for my own it-bag. Of course, I’ll always do it in my own style, whether the bag is vintage, or merely it-bag inspired.
So what gives? Does being a fashion or style blogger instantly mean you have expensive tastes? Or do expensive tastes turn you into a fashion blogger? Or do your tastes and your paychecks and your style all grow together. Does the fashion blogging world push us to spend more? Or do we spend more to keep up?
My answer – all of the above. A little of everything. I’d be interested in hearing your point of view, readers. Did fashion blogging inspire you to have expensive tastes? Or did having expensive tastes lend to becoming a fashion blogger.
For Bonus Points, read The Chicken or The Egg Debate Between Fashion and Art
Staying stylish isn’t necessarily about carrying around that latest Marc Jacobs handbag (mmmm pretty) or knowing exactly what’s on trend. At a recent party, I was talking to a francophone friend of mine who mentioned my Style and the Sartorialist article. She pointed out how inspiring French ladies are with their limited means, even on their day off – because they know, almost innately, how to add a dash of flair to an otherwise every-day outfit. I thought about it a bit and it dawned on me that anyone can be that stylish by just adding a bit of their personality and quirks into their every-day look. You could be tomboy chic, and girl next door glam – as long as you add a touch of your personality to your style, you’re instantly more mesmerizing.
This unexpected touch of personality gets a lot of reactions – for example, I love turbans for their classic (40′s) style and because they’re more quirky than throwing a hat on, or tying all my hair up in a twist. The thing is – the turban is such a classic piece, but nobody would expect it with, say, denim and a silk vest thrown over a long, floaty tee. The vintage touch adds a lot of me into an otherwise every-day outfit. People are instantly drawn to and amazed by it. For me, it’s a good way to cover up bad hair.
Often, throwing the unexpected into an outfit creates a lasting impression. And just like with your personality, the more unique and expressive, the more intriguing and magnetic your style will be. Love shiny things? Add rhinestones to an otherwise boring outfit. Love the beauty counter at your local department store? Do yourself up while dressing down. Love the comfort of yoga pants? Wear them under a long, floating top with fun sandals for a lazy day outfit. Want the ease of that 70′s boho style? Wear a long printed dress under a motorcycle jacket, or pair it with a giant floppy sun hat while lazing about. Need to add some brights to your blackblackblack wardrobe? Try bright bags, or colorful print shoes. Whatever trend you embrace, often the simplest way to make an outfit shine is to play off your own quirky personality.
How do you add a touch of your personality to your day-to-day style?
I bought Style Statement as the ultimate lifestyle guide/workbook. Danielle LaPorte and Carrie McCarthy put a lot of time and effort into this book and gal pals raved about it. Nothing but glowing reviews and two-word revelations about how people I knew had found their true selves. So when I became so suddenly unemployed, I thought, “Let’s give it a try!” I wasn’t sure where I was headed or why… and I was hoping this book would put that all into perspective.
I sat down with the book and a notepad, and diligently followed a few of the exercises. Was I “this” or “that”? Was I “matte” or “glossy”? Was I “round” or “square”? How do I feel in a bookstore? How do I spend my free time?
As I wrote, I began to notice that I was writing the same things over and over – not one or two words, but whole lists of words written out like punishment on a chalkboard. Soon enough, I stopped writing. I would gloss over the questions, and read others’ responses. Playful Casual… I liked the sound of that. Dramatic Contemporary… I like the sound of that! Cultivated, Magic, Frivolous, Vintage, Connected, Cherished, Feminine, Cosmopolitan, Treasure, Vibrant, Curated… Full-time Dreamer. Motherfucking Starchild Odyssey.
And as so many of these words kept popping up, I realized that I just like words for words, and that I couldn’t boil my life and experiences down to just 2 words. Sometimes I feel like Cultivated Magic. Sometimes I feel like Connected Treasure. Sometimes I feel like Frivolous Vintage. I looked at my closet, I looked at my house. I looked at my art, I looked at the treasures I collect. I looked at these little slices of my life and all of them were different, and intertwined and just as much a part of me as the next.
At this point, I haven’t been able to nail down two words that define me. 80% here, 20% there. I haven’t been able to hit that magic number and I think it’s because I often feel like I’m more than a ratio. The whole “trying to fit my existence into two words” felt a little like surpressing all the other words I wanted to or could possibly be. And I know that that’s the point – once you figure out those magic two words, your life falls into place, you realize who you are and what path you’re on and all the sudden the Universe magically opens and you can rename your blog and your cat and your purpose in life.
Unless you’re like me… in which case, all of that happens without having just two goddamn words.
I have to give it to Style Statement’s authors. They genuinely made me think, and I’m not sorry I bought and read over half the book. And I think someday, I’ll probably plow through the rest and realize what I’ve been missing. Eventually, maybe, I’ll find that magic definition (Ooh… that’s a good one, right? Magic Definition?!) that I can’t quite nail down because my brain is a maze of letters and pictures and stars and numbers. I tried so hard to want one of these statements but the Childlike Wild-Thing (Is that one? I dunno… I think that’s 3 words) inside me cannot commit to one set of ideas. Objets Magiques, Strange Treasure, Random Clarity… my brain fills up with all the words I could be – words just spilling right out of my ears, there are so many – and somehow I’m comforted in knowing that somewhere inside my head I’m already defined.
As my Notes from the Universe said the other day: “Insisting on details, Birdie, always limits you.”
Holy. I’m editing the photos from Banyan Branch’s 2nd birthday and I found this cool piece of decor that I’d absently snapped a photo of…
FISH BUBBLES! That’s totally what they’re called and they’re kind of awesome. The blonde in me wants to ask, “How did they get the water in there!?!” (There’s a trap on the top, of course) and the 6-year-old in me is like, “Cool, they look like space fish, or something from Star Trek”.
Now if I had some wall-space, I might make Mister buy me a Beta fish.
Normally, it’s not something I’d admit, but I’m loving all things white right now. Of course, trying to work white into my closet can be quite a challenge. I admit, I’m a fan of stripes, and I definitely embrace white when it’s mixed with other colors in my wardrobe. But white – solid white – makes a bold statement that I’ve never really been able to use. Solid white would be a great graphic addition to the darker colors I wear, but the color itself is intimidating. White makes you instantly visible. I worry that wearing white will make me look ruddy, or will wash me out. I worry about looking sallow and sick, or that my makeup will look overdone while wearing white.
White is virginal and I have a tendency to sometimes be a slop. White is prone to stains and spills. I’ve seen a lot of white done wrong – especially in too-light trousers. In the past, it’s been easier to not buy white, just to avoid the challenge of keeping it clean. I’ve often opted for light grays, light blues, light greens, even black and white or red and white stripes – anything to avoid committing myself to a solid color that makes me somewhat uncomfortable.
But there have been a few accessories I’ve coveted this spring that have made white a little more accessible in my wardrobe. Along with the accessories, the second Bloggers Do It Better challenge really turned me on to the idea of white done well. There were lovely lace skirts, slim trousers, and ladylike dressing. It’s still intimidating (and I’ll admit, I bowed out of the white-out challenge)… but I’m working my way up to wearing white.
For example, this pair of Chanel sunglasses did me in. I spied them while wandering around Nordstrom, waiting for a friend. The sunnies were a little out of my budget but ultimately gorgeous. I tried a pair on and was hooked. They’re not too wide, not too hip; it was love at first glance. And they looked great with the red and gray outfit I was wearing.
And since then, I’ve found myself drawn to things like this white crackled leather bowler bag at Rice and Beans Vintage…
Seeing all this white done well gives me a desire to do away with all the winter black and gray – or at least use white to add contrast to darker outfits through accessories and wardrobe staples. I’ll be adding large ropes of white or ivory pearls to everything. I want white, dangly crystal earrings to complement little black blazers, and big white sandals to stomp around town in. In my fashionable day-dreams, I would love to rock white cigarette pants with a loose, darker-colored top.
Are you embracing the white-trend this spring? How are you wearing it?
I don’t know how many times in the last couple months this thought has run through my head. If I had the cash, I could spend money on this and write about it… if I had the cash I’d do more online browsing… I’d do more in-person shopping… I wonder; Does having a couple extra bills to drop make it easier to blog about fashion? Is fashion for the “haves” versus the “have nots”? And ultimately, how does one become inspired by, and write about fashion if they aren’t necessarily an avid consumer?
I don’t think fashion is necessarily a money game, even though it seems hard to be fashion forward without buying seasonally. As Ashe Mischief’s “Finance and the Fashion Blogger” series shows us, a girl on any budget can be inspired by and have some serious fashion impact. And it’s not some frivolous game for vapid girls who have nothing else going for them. As Mary Quant said, “[Fashion] is part of being alive today.”
So what’s a girl to do when she’s on a limited budget? How do you become inspired by fashion – how do you write for the fashionable masses – when you don’t have the funds? If you feel you’ve lost your fashion mojo because you just can’t keep up with the stylish Joneses, think again.
Look to your favorite fashion mag. You know women only wear about 30% of what’s in their closet, which means that hidden among the hangers, there’s probably a whole Elle Style outfit waiting to happen. Who cares if it isn’t designer, or if it’s not spot-on? Inspiration doesn’t have to be perfect. Personally, I love sitting in the sun, tearing out looks I love from thick magazines. When I’m done, I have a collection of looks and tears that I liked, just waiting to inspire me. And if it’s not the whole look I love, I go through with a silver sharpie and circle the pieces I love. I write thoughts and phrases on the pages as they come to mind – so that when I’m feeling uninspired, the images + words recreates inspiration in my noggin.
Look at old photos of yourself. Maybe there was an outfit you just loved 2 years ago – figure out how to make that current. Chances are you still have one of those pieces in your closet, so get a little bit creative and put those pieces to work for you. But don’t just pull out your midriff sweaters, Docs and tartan minis to wear to work à la Empire Records. Get creative and pair that little sweater with a high-waisted, ladylike skirt and appropriate shoes; you’re recreating the feel of that bygone outfit.
Look to your friends – chances are, they’re more stylish than you think! This works for 3 key reasons.
1. They’re instant inspiration in what they’re wearing. Don’t go all “single white female” and copy their every move. Instead, look at how they’ve paired things, maybe ask where she got that sweater that you love. Watch what they do with proportions. My favorite friend look is Mitzi’s “Long batik dress + Boots + Structured jacket”. I don’t personally own these very same items, but I have flowing skirts that I can pair with structured tops and jangly jewelry to get that same structured-boho look.
2. They can often help your style woes. You don’t know what to wear with this? Ask that pretty Laura, who will tell you a ladylike way to dress it up. Don’t know how to pull off studs? Ask Scarlet – because she’s the queen of rock ‘n’ roll chic! Shorts plus cowboy boots? Pull a Kirsten and pair them with black tights, a rock tee and a granny sweater for a fun, hip look.
3. They will trade wardrobe orphans with you. Pair of shoes that doesn’t quite work? They’ll take it! Need a belt to go with that dress? They’ve got it! Wardrobe swaps are the way to go when you’re on a budget and if your friends are into the idea, trading out pieces can be the perfect inspiration for your look. Even if you don’t end up swapping anything out, you may learn a few new ways to put those pieces together. Instant inspiration.
Other obvious inspirations: Celebrities, store windows, your favorite TV characters, reading up on fashion history (Mary Quant for example!), history books, movies, runways, people watching… the list is long…
Fashion doesn’t have to be about the cash it takes to stay current. There’s a world of inspiration waiting, and you’re more fashionable than you think – just fatigued from standing in front of your own closet with “nothing to wear”. And if you’re truly not feeling it, don’t force it – chances are, it will come to you when you’re ready! (CHEESY: If you build it, they will come)
How do you get inspired by fashion, on a budget?
Last Friday, my good friend Mitzi invited me to the Nordstrom Spring Fragrance Festival. It’s an amazing event – she promised me – with bubbles and snacks and all your favorite scents. You try, and buy, and usually get a big bag of samples while you’re there. Of course, it sounded like an interesting event and I had a couple scents in mind that I wanted to try, so I dolled up and hit the town.
I found out that there are a few rules when attending this event that one might follow if one is so inclined… Actually, we made these rules up for giggles (why so serious!?).
Fragrance Festival Rule One – you pay $25 to be there. Therefore, we decided it’s equitable to drink at least 5 drinks and taste every snack that comes around to break even – even the rhubarb pastries. (I don’t generally eat rhubarb, but these were pretty good.) By the end of the night you’ll be having a hilarious time with the lady you met in the bathroom who totally just bought the Dior scent you’re wearing. Or you could just purchase a yummy new scent and get your money back on the purchase! Everybody wins.
Fragrance Festival Rule Two – Make best friends with the ultra stylish, very awesome guy who’s working the Chanel table – he has the hook up. While they have the best scents, they don’t always offer gifts with purchase. But because your Chanel guy is a sweetie, he may slip a trial size Chanel Rouge Coco lip color in Mademoiselle into your shopping bag if you pick up a bottle of No 5. This is my new favorite lip color. OH and did you know that the French government reports that a bottle of Chanel No 5 is sold every thirty seconds and generates sales of $100 million a year? Also, he might let you set your bags down while you go retrieve another drink from the bar.
Fragrance Festival Rule Three – Are you a blogger? Did you bring your camera? Leave it in your bag. I took ONE lousy photo. LOUSY. The lighting is no good… But the film grain on the Chanel bottles looks romantic, right? Trust me, don’t even try. However, do carry cards because there are a million billion interesting people to talk to. Also, you’re more interesting when you’ve got a drink in hand, right? You know the bar is free? (And it’s nice to discreetly tip your bartender).
I made this photo extra small so you couldn’t see the horrible lighting/graininess of the photo.
Fragrance Festival Rule Four – Try and buy. But try it on a card… or spritzed in the air or… anywhere not on your bod. Trust me, if I had let them actually spritz me I might have hurled after about 10 minutes. There’s a LOT of fragrance in that little room and you don’t want to spray something on you that might turn sour in an hour. Oh, and if you think you like it? Just put it in your bag (along with all the samples and free gifts). You can sort it out later when you’re a little buzzed and trying to add up just how much cash that bag of pretty bottles is going to cost.
Fragrance Festival Rule Four… The Sequel – The one thing you DO want is that bag with the Donna Karan Cashmere deodorant in it because it’s hot, and you’ve been drinking, and I felt the need for an emergency application about halfway through the night. I know nobody will notice, because you’re in a room full of perfume, but peace of mind is priceless.
Fragrance Festival Rule Five – Bartering… that might work? Maybe if I retrieve a drink from the bar for this nice lady standing next to the Gucci table….
Rule Six – You’re never going to be able to use all the little samples you got, so share them with your friends! Mitzi hands them out at parties (and I’m in the process of giving a bunch away). Sending out gifts? Great addition if you know someone’s signature scent.
So, tell me – whats your favorite scent?
“… A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere, it’s the life you’re living in the dress… the sort of life you had before, and what you will do in it later.”
Diana Vreeland was a wise woman with those words. Wiser still was the realization that I CAN turn summer dresses into wintry spring wear, with very little effort. And you can go out, laze around in the park with your dog, have fun lunch adventures, and the world will smile as you walk by because you’re a fresh breath of air in a cute summer dress.
So here’s how you do it. Toss on some leggings under a little white ruffled tank dress. Throw on a cute sweater with covered buttons… Put on a light colored boxy jacket, to offset the rest of your bodycon outfit. Wear big sparkly jewels, and cute heels.
What I wore to lunch with my friend David, and then later to get smoothies and hang out in the park talking about how people should meet people in real life….
- Leggings – American Apparel
- Symphony Pumps – Miz Mooz
- Little white ruffle dress – H&M
- Gray covered-button Cardigan – LOFT
- Little gray boxy wool Jacket – Thrifted (a gift from Deco Modiste)
- Various rings – Thrifted
- Sparkly heart necklace – Tarina Tarantino (LOOOVE!)
I think it turned out well, and it’s a great way to turn any summer dress into something you can wear right now. It’s also a great outfit to do the Charleston in your livingroom…
Who doesn’t get dressed up to dance around in their livingroom? What’s your favorite way to wear your summer dresses in the still-winter weather?
Edited by Fajr of StylishThought.com
With so much going on in the world, the Japan earthquake, the upheaval in Libya, the aftermath of John Galliano’s actions and the social phenomenon that is Charlie Sheen, it’s great to see the fashion blogging community talking about the issues and bringing a little light with the fancy of fashion! Included in this week’s amazing links: Shopping to Aid Japan Relief, an outfit post for Charlie Sheen, exploring the new neon trend and behind the scenes of how Hermes scarves are made!
Links à la Mode: March 24th
- Arash Mazinai- Bling Bang: Exploring the Blood Diamond Trade
- Cheap & Chic Living- For Japan with Love
- Dress with Courage- Do you dress older or younger than you really are?
- Fashion Evolution- Ups and Downs in my Fashion History
- Fumiko Kawa- Two Patterns of Minimalism
- FOTW- When did Fashion become porn?
- Juliette Maxwell- How to Take Runway Pictures
- La Rouge- How to Live in Two Places at Once
- Missemmamm- An Ode to Charlie Sheen
- Miss Viki- Chat with Russian Art Illustrator Lena Ker
- My Heart Blogged- Blogs from the Heart: Citizen Rosebud
- Obsessive Coolness- Should Talent be Boycotted in Favor of Morality?
- Snappy and Snazzy- Rules of Flattery
- Style Bizarre- Beware of what you Wear
- Sugar Coated Style- Cherry Blossoms in the Breeze
- Tres Awesome- Hermes Festival of Craft
- Try It On Me- The Bright Stuff~ A neon color palette brings back memories of 1990′s fashion and fun!
- The Button Owl- DIY Fishtail Braid Tutorial
- The View from 5 ft 2- Aldo x Julian Louie x Spring/Summer
- Stylish Thought- 5 Fanciful Frocks for a Swinging Spring