Thursday, February 25, 2010

For 48 Hours Only - Rescue Beauty Lounge is Having a Sale!



Before you get too excited, the Rescue Beauty Lounge is only on 7 polishes: Shimmer Pink, Sheer Pink, Opaque Pink, Lulu, Sheer Natural, Ani, and Square Pants. The set will sell for $50, which is a great discount! Out of those, I only own Square Pants and I love it! So if you're into pinks, nudes and soft colors take advantage of this sale!

Edit - meant to say 48 hours on the title. Keyboard key must have slipped erased my change. Sorry!

Polish - Zoya Gwin Cured My Winter- Blahs!

Ever since @Zoya_NailPolish tweeted their advertisement for the Riverie collection and I asked what color the model was wearing in the picture I have wanted Gwin. She landed on my doorstep on Tuesday. Here she is in all her Winter-Blah-Killing Glory!

Seriously, I have such a case of the Winter Blahs Gwin was exactly what I needed to remind me that there are things like "Sun", "Warmth" and "Oranges" in the world.

Here's the cool part - my picture was taken after shower, sleep, and an entire day of work. For me and my peeling nails, you know that normally my polish doesn't last that long with so few chips. What did I use? Zoya Ridge Filler, Anchor, Gwin (2 coats), Armor, and OPI Drip Dry Drops (my bottle of the Zoya drops broke after the first use). Awesome system when all things are working together!

Color
Gwin is a little more red-orange than I was expecting her to be. She's very loud and the exact opposite of my comfort zone. The duochrome is more apparent on the bottle than on the nail, but it does give Gwin more vibrancy. The finish of this polish almost looked plastic to me. Could be an effect of how it dried with my OPI Drip Dry Drops.

Application
2 Coats and totally opaque. No streaking!

Wear
As I stated earlier, I used the Zoya Color Lock system this time. I am totally impressed. I applied this Tuesday night, I'm still wearing it with few chips (it is now Thursday afternoon). That's awesome for me!

Bottom Line
Gwin is a good buy if you like the color. But if you're looking for duochromy goodness, I don't think the effect is strong enough to satisfy you. Still, she's a great pick me up for winter!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quest For My Pretty: Food Diary - Day 7

Last Day of the Diary. After this I'm going to go back over my responses and give what I think I should improve on. Please feel free to share any advice you have as well. Just remember - this was my week not trying to alter my eating habits (too much).

Breakfast - Kwick Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Egg and Cheese Biscuit
  • Tropicana Orange Juice - 12 fl oz (Yes I know, but it's so hard to drink half!)
  • Medium Coffee with skim milk and 2 sugars
Lunch - Kwick Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Turkey and Bacon on Wheat bread - with lettuce, tomato, swiss and mayo
  • A snack bag of White Cheddar Popcorn - trust me, fewer calories than the chips they sell!
Snack -home
  • Nutella and 5 Vanilla Waffers -not much of either.
Dinner - Brought home by Husband from The Red Onion
  • Chicken Caesar Wrap
  • Onion Rings - split with husband
  • Chips - split with husband
Incidentally, I ran 5.61 miles on my elliptical this evening, finishing out the last two episodes of Alias Season 5. I ran about 950 calories worth, according to the stats on the machine. That's a personal best for me. Now my legs feel like jello and I'm drinking water like a fish!

"You beat death Arvin, but you couldn't beat me!!!" - Jack Bristow, Alias

Polish - Nars Purple Rain

This will be my second polish that shares a name with one of my favorite songs by Prince...


Color
A metallic deep dark purple. You know I had to get it. These are my favorite types of polishes! But at once glance you know it's going to have at least one dupe. In a previous post I compared it to Zoya Yasmeen and found that to be true. But I don't really care. It's a good color. Honestly, I can see myself using this one a little more than the Zoya - the color is just a smidgen more rich. Both Zoya and Nars say their bottles contain 0.5 fl. oz.

Application
Opaque in two coats. No problems.

Wear
Pretty good on my nails. Didn't chip overnight (at least compared to what I'm used to with my horrible nails.

Bottom Line
Great color, but not original. Go for Zoya Yasmeen if you want a similar look for over half the price.

A Word About Dupes...
Many people seem to use "Dupe" as a bad word. I don't think it really is. If you find a dupe in a brand you like more, go for it! If you're iffy on the color or can't afford the high end, go for the lower end. It just gives you options.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quest for My Pretty: Food Diary - Day 6

Feeling quite wobbly (and hungry) after the hour on the elliptical yesterday. Not sure if I'll get in today, but I hope I will. It's a little tricky because I have a business dinner tonight and I don't want to go there smelly and I probably won't get out early enough to hit the elliptical before bed time.

Stove is still on the fritz by the way.

Breakfast - Kwik Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Oatmeal - with brown sugar and milk
  • Medium Coffee - with skim milk and two sugars
Lunch - Kwik Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Veggie Burger on Wheat Bun - with lettuce and Mayo
  • Side Salad - with mixed greens, Parmesan cheese, chow mien noodles, dried cherries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and edemame with Apple Cider Vinegar for dressing.
  • Diet Cherry Coke
Snack - home
  • 2 pot stickers left over from yesterday
  • Some aged Gouda cheese
Dinner - At Bravo Italian Restaurant
  • 1 piece of bread
  • Small Caesar salad, dressing on the side
  • Scallops with spinach on Gnocchi
  • Wine (don't ask me how much - I just don't know. I think about 3 glasses worth)
  • 1 blue martini - I had this first.

Look - Easy Eye for a Monday using "Shadowy Lady"

I was in the mood to create a look using Mac Shadowy Lady. I may have done something similar to this before, in fact I'm sure of it. But really this was a 5 minutes or less eye look and easy.


I love it when my mascara is "new".

Eyes
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • MAC Shadowy Lady Eyeshadow - used as liner upper and lower lashes, very thick line
  • MAC Satin Taupe Eyeshadow - on lid, blended with shadowy Lady
  • MAC Next to Nothing Eyeshadow (LE) - as brow highlight.
  • MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack

Look - Using Parrot (thanks to @karenmbb)

The other day I was on Twitter and saw karenmbb of Makeup and Beauty Blog post something to have us guess a bunch of MAC shadow colors. One of them was Parrot. I mentioned that I love Parrot but still have no idea how to use it. She responded:

"Try it on the lid with your favorite brown in the crease. Just be sure to blend it out really, really well so there aren't any harsh lines between Parrot and your brown!"

I decided to give it a shot...

My eyes came out a little uneven, which I blame on nearsightedness.

Breakdown

Eye
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • MAC Parrot Eyeshadow (LE) - on lid.
  • MAC Mulch Eyeshadow - in crease
  • MAC Showstopper Eye Shadow (LE) - mix with Mulch
  • MAC Shore Leave Eye Shadow - As brow highlight and inner corner highlight a little
  • Urban Decay Oil Slick 24/7 Liner
  • MAC Plushlash Mascara in Plushblack

Face
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid NC15
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • MAC Strada Blush (Discontinued) - to contour
  • MAC Stray Rose Blush (LE) - on apples of cheek

Lips
  • MAC Dervish Lip Liner - Karenmbb was also looking for combos with Dervish Liner so she's inspired me to start using it again.
  • MAC Tender Tryst Lip Stain (LE)
  • MAC Viva Glam VI Lipglass
Now the funny thing, of course, is that I wore this look to the salon. One of my salon services that day was brow waxing. Of course, that ruined the eye look. But hey, I'll have nice clean brows for a while! Though not this picture obviously.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quest For My Pretty: Food Diary - Day 5

So today I intended to cook a meal at home, but as my luck would have it, our double burner decided that it was no longer going to obey the knob and cycle on-off the entire time no matter what the setting is set to. So we had to shut the entire stove and oven off from the circuit downstairs while we await a replacement infinte switch.

Breakfast/Lunch - The Rusty Bucket
  • Pot Stickers - ate four, saved two for husband later
  • Char Grilled Chicken Salad - ate the entire thing, I was so hungry.

Dinner - Bravo Restaurant Take Out
  • Double Caesar Salad - I always put the dressing on the side and dip my fork in it. I end up using extremely little dressing, but then again I like the cheese better the dressing anyway.
  • Chicken, Bacon, Spinach, Artichoke Flatbread - split with my husband. This is really a paper thin pizza with a lot of stuff on it. Very good, and probably better for me than a lot of things on that menu.
  • Chocolate Cake - split with husband. It's small and built like a volcano cake. Ice cream they give is minimal. Too little to be satisfying when splitting, too much if you're eating it alone...
Ran for an hour on the elliptical giving me about 4.2 miles according to if I divide my strides per minute by what it should be for a mile on an elliptical. I'm exhausted.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quest For My Pretty: Food Diary - Day 4

Did not feel good after yesterday. Slept in really late and went to the hair salon for some fun. Husband is up in Michigan for a bachelors party so I'm fending for myself for food. I am so not a cook!

Breakfast - at home
  • Quaker Instant Oat Meal Maple Brown Sugar 2 packets
Snack - at the Salon
  • Two coffees with sugar and cream
Lunch - at home
  • Kraft Easy Mac - hey, the salon was expensive as hell so I needed a cheap lunch
Snack - at home
  • 2 slices of light 7 grain bread with Nutella
  • Some Aged Gouda cheese

Dinner- Elsa's
  • Shrimp Fajitas
  • Chips and salsa
  • Bad Juan Magrarita - I love these and having only one is an improvement

Just having a bad weekend I guess... But this diary isn't for a diet, just to analyze my habits. I have REALLY bad habits!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Quest for My Pretty: Food Diary - Day 3

You have no idea how much I'm thinking about what I'm eating now that I'm writing it down. However, I got really derailed at lunch...

Breakfast - at Kwik Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)

  • Bagel with some kind of berry cream cheese - no the best choice, but it would have been this or Grits (yuck), or breakfast sandwich made with a bun instead of a biscuit (yuck).
  • Medium coffee with skim milk and 2 sugars.
Lunch - at Kwik Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Fish & Chips - but didn't eat all the fries. I know, I said I wouldn't eat fries but I just couldn't help myself. How can you have "fish" without the "chips"?
  • Diet Dr. Pepper.

Happy Hour - my house
  • 2.5 Sam Addams Noble Pils
  • Carrs Table Water Crackers
  • aged Gouda Cheese
Dinner-my house
  • Lean Cuisine Ginger and Garlic Stir Fry with Chicken


Did not get on Elliptical today, but I think my legs will than me for it. I worked too hard my first time back. Anyway we all have bad days. This is s good example of a bad day for me.

Ideeli Dolce & Gabanna Sale - Awesome Prices!b

Now you know I can't fit into these so I won't be shopping, but boy do I wish I could! Check out the prices on these Dolce & Gabbanna dresses on Ideeli today!

All images from Ideeli.



That last one sort of reminds me of the Dolce & Gabbana dress Carrie was going to wear for the fashion show before it was given to Heidi Klum on Sex and the City. Fun!

And from their D&G Ready to Wear line...


I'm such a sucker for plaid! Here's the same dress in a turquoise color...


Not into fitted?


And this one looks fun too... This is probably my favorite look.

I want the shoes. :) Oh wait... those are available too!



First tier begins at 11 am, and for those of us who aren't paying extra for an hours earlier access, Second Tier begins at 12 pm.

Don't belong to Ideeli yet? Get an Invite through me!

Polish - Nars Pussy Galore

What kind of trouble am I going to get in for writing a post with the "Pussy Galore" in the title? Hee Hee!


You know I had to have this one just because of the name, right? Honestly, "opalescent pink" doesn't come to mind when I think of the character portrayed by Honor Blackman but that's ok. What offends is that it's a rather mediocre polish.

Color
Sephora's site calls this "opalescent pink", and that's very accurate. There's a blusih-pink pearl in here that sits above the base color, which can actually look a little more peachy on the nail depending on the light. It's such a light color that if your nails aren't perfectly trimmed, perfectly clean, then it isn't for you - which probably means it's not for me either.

Application
Two coats, though it was pretty thick with one coat. You wouldn't know it by looking at the polish in the bottle but this one is fairly well pigmented.

Wear
I don't think this one played well with Seche Vite. I had tip wear the next day. Plus, I applied it after removing a dark color (which never is a good thing).

Bottom Line
Great name, but you can skip it. It's not as fun or as cool as it should be for being named "Pussy Galore."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

(Finally) My Designer Education - Alexander McQueen

Old news by now but Alexander McQueen is dead at age 40. So in that respect, this post is very self-indulgent. I've been taking my time on writing this post, simply because I was, well, oddly very sad about this. I remember back when Kurt Cobain died and my friends in High School were so distraught. I didn't understand how anyone could be that broken up over a death that wasn't an immediate family member. Well, guys, I get it now. My therapist says "it's human" It's irrational... but it's human. I can accept that. (Yes, I actually spent time talking to my therapist about how I thought it was strange that I felt sad about this death - I am a little silly like that).

I first heard this news when Vampy Varnish sent out the tweet around 10 am. I was a little shocked. Like many, I think for a second I couldn't breath. Then had to bottle it up for a meeting (I was already emotional, having just been to my husband's grandmother's funeral a few days before). The rest of my day I was sort of on edge, wanting to learn more about this man, and at the same time looking forward to going home and getting very drunk. This event was momentous and huge! And very tragic. Luckily I had about 1/3 of a bottle of Sake left - my favorite drink when I just want to drink. My husband calls it Jet Fuel. Anyway...

I've known about Alexander McQueen for a good long while, longer than I know. I remmeber exactly when I was was aware that I was aware of Alexander McQueen... It was when Kenley on Project Runway essentially copied a McQueen dress for her final runway show. I remember seeing her dress and thinking "OMG! I know that dress! That's a copy of a McQueen dress!" And I have really no idea how I knew that... I just sort of did. I didn't follow fashion designers that much back then (I still don't, really, but I do it a lot more now). But I had an awareness.

Regardless, the moment I knew that I knew of Alexander McQueen was simply hillarious. I still look at photos of Kenley's dress, love it, and can NOT believe she didn't know she was copying something. Some designs I can buy that on. I really can. But a feather wedding dress??? I'm just not sure. Then again, I don't know Kenley so maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt.

To remind you of that incident...


Alexander McQueen (left), Project Runway's Kenley (right)
Image from Bestweekever.tv

Anyway, my knowledge has sort of been a bit nebulous like that. I've been able to look at designs and say "that looks like something that Alexander McQueen did..." and I was right. There was a certain style there that was just evident. But I had no real knowledge. It wasn't like learning about the existance of Chanel - I remember that exactly. I learned about Chanel when my mother told me the story about how Marilyn Monroe used to put Chanel #5 everywhere she wanted to be kissed and then would take a bath in it. I was in elementary school at the time - it's not the sort of story you forget. But I didn't know any such stories about Lee McQueen or his line. So to me that means I need to do some research. Designer Education... Oddly enough, the best synopsis I found of his life and work was on Zappos.com. Also Wikipedia. And of course during the past week there have been numerous life recaps. Go Figure. Here's what I've learned:

Zappos describes Alexander McQueen as "a master at the mythology of the creative craft." He was 16 when he left school to pursue fashion. I learned from Wikipedia that he was the son of a taxi driver and was the youngest of six children (SIX CHILDREN!!!). I guess if you are the youngest of that many kids you have to establish yourself in some way. What a way for Lee McQueen to do it, eh?

Aside from the feather dress Kenley ripped off, here are a few other designs from McQueen I think are rather gorgeous. The first one I love because it reminds me of white stags and elves. I totally want to write a story about it. This is fashion that inspires me to be creative!



Image from Wild At Heart blog via Google Images

And I found the following from a forum topic called "The most beautiful dress I've ever seen" on The Fashion Spot. So I might be sketchy on the exact location of the images...


Style.com according to poster on Fashion Spot
(Very Princess Leia, don't you think?)


Style.com according to poster on Fashion Spot
(Always thought this was a haunting look on Gemma...
see below for the full dress, which I don't like that much)


Style.com according to poster on Fashion Spot

Style.com according to poster on Fashion Spot
(hate the makeup, love the dress. Totally could see myself wearing it)

Now on to some silly stuff. Because while I was looking up everything I was looking up, I learned some VERY silly stuff! And one of the best ways I know to feel better when you're feeling upset or sad is to laugh at the silly things. Thank you, McQueen, for leaving me with plenty to smile about.

What's a Bumster?
Image (right) from Style.com
Wikipedia says McQueen is known for the Bumster. What the heck is a "Bumster"? Apparently, it's a pair of pants that show your bum to the world. So now I know who we can blame for that whole movement. I definately know that is NOT a look I should ever purposely try to go for, though many of us have a tendency to not realize our cracks are showing when in fact they are. Incidentaly, I think the model used for this look on the runway (pictured) was supposed to be a plus size model. Yay!

The "Profanity" Incident
Also amusing was Wikipedia's anecdote about McQueen sewing profanity into the lining of a jacket for the Prince of Wales. I wonder if it was simply the word "profanity" (my husband is font of writing "profanity" in strange places) just to be silly. But wouldn't you like to see the lining of that jacket? Well, according to glbtq.com it read "I am a cunt". Ha! Can anyone verify that was really what it said? Because that totally takes guts, you know?

Nipplegate
Image (Left) from Welt.de via Google Images
Sumo also sent me this wonderful SFGate article. I had no idea that Janet Jackson's most infamous wardrobe malfunction (you know, the Superbowl nipple ring disaster) was one of McQueen's designs. Absolutely no idea. I guess I was too focused on how blank her face looked when the nipple disaster occurred. An accident? Yeah right!


Makeup, My Love!
Alexander McQueen and MAC



Image from Fashionrat.com via Google Images

Those are some seriously blue eyes! Not to mention the extremely heavy, maybe harsh, brow. It's beautyiful. Striking. In my opinion, pretty unwearable if you're taking the look straight from the runway (check out Padmita for a much more wearable version of this look).

Although this collection was beautiful, I think the only thing I purchased from it was Feline Eye Kohl. I took one look at the colors and thought there was no way I could wear them. Upon reflection, having looked again at Temptalia's swatches I realized something that this MAC collection did which I haven't seen others do - they matched paint pots with corresponding eye shadows. Now that makes so much sense! Why in the world hasn't MAC continued to do that?

I guess at this point I don't have too much more to say, and you're probably thinking I should shut up now. I know this post wasn't very educationaly but I did have a lot of fun going through old images and videos, reading articles, etc. If I didn't have a real job, I could have done a lot more work on this - this is that interesting.

Incidentally, back when my mom promised me she'd buy me "one of those dresses" I like if I were to lose weight and get down to size, I was thinking seriously about something McQueen. Think I can drop about 60 lbs overnight before the good stuff disappears from eBay?

Alexander McQueen,

You made an impression on this hopeless fashion-deprived Midwestern chick. I am sorry that your life had so much pain in it that you felt it was necessary to take yourself away from this world. Thank you for everything you've given us. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for making me laugh.

-Styrch

Quest for My Pretty: Food Diary - Day 2

Guess what? My husband was nice enough to go out and get me a DVD player for downstairs while I'm on my elliptical. Last year, the only time I ever got on at home was during Survivor or the Amazing Race (great shows to work out to). But this year, since there's less of a chance I'll get into the gym at work, it made sense. I have one season of Alias left to watch in my Rambaldi box set - maybe I only watch Season 5 while I'm on my elliptical?

Anyway, on to the food...

Breakfast - At Kwik Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Breakfast Sandwich - egg, cheese, biscuit
  • Medium Coffee - with skim milk and two sugars
Lunch- At Kwik Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Small Salad - Mixed Greens, dried cherries, chow mien noodles, cucumber, edemame, and apple cider vinegar for a dressing. (I am terrible at making my own salads, but this sort of tastes like trail mix so I like it).
  • Salami Sandwich - Salami, lettuce, tomato, swiss cheese, mayo on wheat bread
  • Diet Dr. Pepper - I know, I said I'd try flavored water but I looked at what they had and it was so unappetizing. It'll take me some time.
Dinner
  • Leftover Beef Stew - still good the next day and full of veggies!
  • Sweet Potato Chips
  • Two Bread Rolls
Desert
  • Ben & Jerry's Tripple Carmel Chunk

I should add - I did finally, for the first time since May or so, get on the elliptical for 40 minutes today. Yay!

Diesel on Rue-La-La Today - Just say No to THIS Vest, Men!

I popped in to Rue-La-La's Diesel boutique hoping to catch a glimpse at some awesome denim but instead I saw something else. I had such a strong negative reaction to this I just had to share...


Diesel Smassimo Olive and Turquoise Vest Stripped Vest - $69 on Rue-La-La
Image from Rue-La-La

No! No! No! No! I think it's just the way a knitted vest looks on this guy. But seriously - NO! And on top of what looks like a hoodie, with light colored jeans. Why does this look like three pieces of clothing that belong with totally different outfits to me? Maybe the vest would look good under something. Maybe the Hoodie would look good with different jeans. Maybe those jeans should just be tossed out...

Not to mention the model is doing the "underwear" pose that idiot pretty boy Bianca liked from "10 Things I Hate About You" demonstrated. Ugh.

Just my opinion as always...

Window Shopping - Bluefly says "Knits are a Hit"

Bluefly interrupted my email this morning with a "Knits are a Hit for Spring" email. Well, you know I love knits so I had to take a look to see what they are offering.

Let me say that when I hear "Knits" I'm usually thinking hand knits, so that's where Bluefly and I differ. But that's ok. I still found some things I thought I would share...


Autumn Cashmere Peacoat FairIsle Buckle Vest - $178

It's a little 70's to me, maybe early 80s. but it caught my eye because it reminded me of something I saw on the Knit-along Little Doggie blog a while back. Check out Cambria's blog. The project she worked on could easily be made in a similar colorway and probably turned into a cardigan - if you're a hand knit fan, that is. Super work Cambria!



CO2 Cashmere's Black Koi and Butterfly Hoodie - $126


You know I'm a sucker for the Tatoo-like art. Well, here it is in a knit! Would be something fun for a rainy t shirt-and-jeans day.


Acrobat Grey Silk-Cashmere Open Cardigan - $64

Being a girl with a naturally large belly, I'm loving the open cardigan movement. I suspect that this cardigan would be rather flattering on a variety of body types, provided the sizing is correct.


Autumn Cashmere Black Leopard Cotton Cropped Cardigan - $92

I don't usually like too much animal print, but I saw a friend of mine wearing a similar cardigan recently and it suited her so well I couldn't help but add this to my list here. If you can get away with cropped items, think about this sweater and accessorizing it with something girly - like great heels!

I was really hoping to see some skirts or other pieces in their list - maybe I didn't browse enough. But oh well. I am optimistic!

All images are from Bluefly of course.

Polish - Comparison: Zoya Yasmeen vs. Nars Purple Rain

Once again, I thought I might have a dupe. Figured this could help someone:


Zoya Yasmeen (Left), Nars Purple Rain (Right)

Oddly, the close up picture of these two make them look more alike to me than they did from far away. The Zoya is definitely more red than the Nars. Purple Rain is a bit darker that Yasmeen. For someone unfamiliar with both of them, I think they could be mistaken for each other though they are not true dupes. Price-wise, Zoya is far cheaper at $7 while the Nars is $16.

I'll have a full Nars Purple Rain mani coming soon. Just wanted to get the comparison out there first and satisfy my own curiosity.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quest for My Pretty: Food Diary - Day 1

As I mentioned earlier, for this week I am going to be recording what I eat all day long and report it. While this won't be interesting to some of you, it will ensure that I actually DO this task. I also know many of you have good advice (and have been giving it to me on an ongoing basis) so I am hoping to get your feedback. (You can yell at me about how much junk I eat - I am asking for it!).

Breakfast - At Kwick Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Breakfast Sandwich from Work Cafeteria - Biscuit, Egg, cheese
  • Medium Coffee - skim milk, two sugars
Lunch - At Kwick Bytes (Work's Cafeteria)
  • Chick -Fil -A sandwich with may
  • Redskin and Sweet Potatoes side
  • Diet Cherry Coke
Snacks
  • 2 "Thanks-A-Lot Girls Scout Cookies (150 calories for 2)
  • 2 large Garlic and Chives crackers
  • 1 Jazz Apple
  • Aged Gouda Cheese

Dinner - at home
  • Homemade Beef Stew - substituting Daikon for potato

Desert - probably should have skipped
  • Small dish of Ben & Jerry's Tripple Carmel Chunk


Not the best day, I will admit. But hey - it was Chick-fil-A day at work.

Relieved - My Favorite China Glaze Color Actually is NOT HTF!

So I was checking my blog stats and discovered I'd been getting a bunch of hits off of MUA lately. I had no idea why - I haven't really been active there for a while. So I searched the boards to see what happened...

Apparently my post about China Glaze Awakening from a long time ago caused some distress to someone who found it. Like me, it was one of their favorite colors and they were worried about it's availability, as was I. According to one MUAer, Awakening was part of an LE line a long time ago - but that's not where the story ends. Scrangie noted that she thought it was one of the regular line and China Glaze's website confirms it. I have no idea when this happened, but I'm so glad it did!

So - Awakening, aka Princess Leia and the Gold Bikini, is SAFE and I am relieved and happy that I was wrong.

*BIG SIGH OF RELIEF*

It's Back! The 80 Miles in 40 Days "Quest for My Pretty" Challenge

As you may remember, although I'm not a particularly religious person, I decided to participate in Lent. Instead of giving up something, I decided to add something: Exercise. I challenged myself to run 2 miles a day for 40 days, for a total of 80 miles. Upon completion of this goal I was going to purchase myself a new pair of shoes (the ill-fated Nannette Lapore Heartbreakers).

last year I kicked the crap out of my goal and did over 100 miles in 40 days. I am not confident I can do that again. So what am I going to do this year? Pretty much the same thing. I haven't been in to the gym since last April, so this is a challenge for me.

What will be my reward? I really hope it will be a smaller dress size this time.To that end, I'm going to begin recording everything I eat for the 7 days, then start looking at what I can do better. This will be a learning process for me, and I hope that you will help me improve. Therefore, this food diary log will be PUBLIC and I'll do my best to check in with it every day.
Together we can add "Food Goals". I know one I'm going to add right away:

Food Goal - Eliminate French Fries and Cheese Sticks from diet.

Now on for the familiar ticker...

The Ticker!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Look - My Alice in Wonderland Palette Does Fat Tuesday!


It's Fat Tuesday and we had a 2 hour delayed start into work. That means lots of fun with Purple, Green and Gold. What a perfect color combination for the Alice in Wonderland palette from Urban Decay! Here's what I came up with today:


Don't I look like a freak in this picture? Oh well. I like the colors much better when my eye is closed and the flash of the camera isn't going.

Breakdown

Eyes -Urban Decay Alice In Wonderland Palette Shadows
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Urban Decay Underland/Flash Eyeshadow - Used this on outer third on top of Ransom 24/7 liner.
  • Urban Decay White Rabbit/Polyester Bride Eyeshadow - Upper lid, outer corner just a bit., Urban Decay Wonderland/Maui Wowie Eyeshadow - Inner third. Also used to blend
  • Urban Decay Curiouser/Grifter Eyeshadow - Middle of lid.
  • Urban Decay Absolem/Homegrown Eyeshadow - Lower lid on top of Graffiti 24/7 liner.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liners in Zero - Lining upper lid
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Graffiti - Used as base for lower lash line.
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in El Dorado - Lower lash line
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Ransom - Used as base for upper lid close to lash line.
  • Mac Plushlash in Plushblack.

Face
  • Mac Studio Fix Fluid NIC15
  • Mac Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • Mac Strada and Springsheen blushes
Lips
  • MAC Ping Treat Creamstick liner
  • MAC Lollypop Lovin lipstick (LE)
  • MAC Sock Hop Lipglass

Also decided to bring the festivities into work a bit. My husband I went around looking for Paczki but since there are no good Polish bakeries in Dayton we had to settle for Dorothy Lane's King Cake (pictured at top).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Project Runway Finally Got Smart! - No More Spoilage For Us!

Don't worry - there's no real spoilage in this post because Project Runway suddenly got smart!

The Final Runway show for Project Runway was today at 9 am. Being stuck in Dayton, the day of the Project Runway show I am usually actively refreshing gettyimages.com awaiting designs to start filtering through. This is a little trick I learned from Tara a few years ago. It works amazingly well. I get to see the designs, but I never know who the final contestants are. Sometimes you can guess who they are by the style of the clothing that goes down the runway - often it's not that easy. But it's still exciting.

This time I decided to get creative and chose to follow Twitter for the show. And low and behold they threw a curve ball: 10 of the 11 remaining designers showed their designs on the runway this time.

Now isn't that special. I can learn practically nothing by following Twitter, Getty Images, or stalking the internet. You just made it impossible. Yay Project Runway! You got smart!

So things I learned from this (which isn't much and I won't name names):
  • Who the guest judge is (yawn)
  • Who gets kicked off next (mild boo)
  • One of my favorites has a dress that falls apart on the runway (oh no!)
  • A collection featured models who looked like the Addicted to Love girls (awesome)
  • "Color Me Bad" was the name of a collection, so was "Back to the Future" (LOL)
  • One designer with a strong aesthetic doesn't stray from his/her aesthetic and the pieces sound like they are "expected". (another yawn)
  • Based on comments, I will be SEVERELY disapointed if I never see the collections of two of the participants - one I am surprised about.
Now the commentary on Twitter seems to be this: If 10 contestants got to show their collections, what makes the final 3 so special? "Everyone gets a trophy." I say "Boo". What do you think?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Look - "Underland in Wonderland" - The Alice palette has you covered!

Proof the Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Palette has you covered for every occasion!
I wore this look to a Wake of all things...


I wasn't feeling very happy this day - my Grandmother-in-Law, Rita Valade, passed away due to complications from a stroke she suffered several weeks before. She was an incredible amazing woman. I didn't really realize how amazing until hearing her priest and family talk about her at her funeral. Of course, you never find out the truly cool things about a person until their funeral - that's just how it goes. But anyway, Alice got me through it! Had to have some fun with makeup on such a sad day, right?


Breakdown

Eyes
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Urban Decay White Rabbit (Polyester Bride) Eyeshadow - All over lid
  • Urban Decay Underland (Flash) Eyeshadow - outer third and a little bit of crease
  • Urban Decay Vorpal (S&M) Eyeshadow- mixed in the outer corner
  • Urban Decay Jabberwocky (Oil Slick) Eyeshadow - mixed in the outer corner
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero
  • Mac Plushlash Mascara in Black

Face
  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC15
  • MAC Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick in Nectar - Ok, hands down one of my most favorite things I have purchased recently. Seriously think about getting it if you're fair skinned like I am. It's not to pink, it's not too orange, it's just perfect!

Lips - I totally killed this lip look. I love it! I think I found a new favorite combo
  • Mac Pink Treat Creamstick Liner
  • MAC Dainty Cake Lipstick (LE)
  • MAC Valentines Lip Gelee (LE)

Incidentally, I think the Ulta at the Dayton Mall still has the Alice in Wonderland Palette. You might try giving them a call if you are still looking for it. I saw piles of them there on Saturday before leaving for Michigan for the funeral.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pretty and Project Runway - Styrch Meets Althea Harper from Season 6!

As you may recall, as a small birthday present to myself I snagged a couple of tickets to the Althea Harper Meet and Greet at the Dayton Art Institute on January 30th. Due to a whole lot of stuff getting in the way of writing my recap of the event, I'm writing it now... so bare with me. I did voice record the session on my iPhone, but sometimes the crowd got in the way of getting a good recording. And what a crowd it was! I'd estimate probably around 75ish.

The tickets were $20 a piece. I was very fortunate to attend with my mother and a friend and former colleague Cat (that's her name - she's not a little ball of purring fur). The three of us got up very early and went to this gorgeous ball room in the DAI and snagged us a couple of seats.

DAI if you're reading this you should know that $20 a person should probably buy us more than a chair with crappy coffee and crappy danish. But given that I was so excited to hear this speaker, I'm not complaining too much.

How the Session Was Run
The first part was mostly Althea talking about her experience in school for fashion design, the road that lead her to Project Runway, and a little bit about what has happened since Project Runway. The moderators gave us little cards to write questions on for Althea to answer. They were then given to Althea, and she got a chance to answer most of them (see below).

Althea's Background
Althea credits the beginning of her design career with having an interest in drawing. While drawing she tended to draw people. The natural extension of drawing people is drawing what they wear. She went to University of Cincinnati for her degree mostly because of instate tuition, but she stated that they had great co-op programs. These co-op programs gave her the ability to travel to london and New York, working for Zac Posen, Anna Sui, and Alexander McQueen. She took on internships for zero pay- but she said it was worth it for the experience that it gave her.

Being able to go to London taught her about the difference between US fashion and European fashion. She says Europe is far more about art than it was about clothing, and she highlights McQueen's extravagant looks as an example. While he makes many designs, only a few ever go to market due to how over the top they can be. US design by contrast is more designing "in a box" because it has to sell. She recommends anyone here who is thinking about becoming a designer should go to Europe and get some experience just to have that different experience.

Althea took the experience she gained in her internships abroad and in New York and created her styles for her final thesis. She thinks due to her experience, she created a crazier collection than what her instructors expected the students to create. This taught her about how you can't expect a positive response every time. You can work your butt off and not get the response you want. But she says there is always going to be someone out there who appreciates your work, so don't get hung up on the criticism. This negative reaction actually propelled her to go on Project Runway, because she thought it would be the right audience for her work.

Project Runway Experience
Althea actually tried out for Project Runway Seasion 5 and didn't make it. However, they powers that be called her back for Season 6. It was only a short time after she graduated college, that she got the opportunity.

Of her experience on project runway she said this: The lack of family and friends she was the hardest thing to deal with, that she's usually used to bouncing ideas off of them. She calls the whole experience "Design Boot Camp". She talked about having to design without the support system, the difficulties of living with your competition, and the lack of sleep she was able to have during her time on the show.

She contrasted her Project Runway experience with her school experience. She says when you're in school it's all about yourself and that it should be. But Project Runway you have to design for someone else and see what they respond to. Because of this experience having to design to the tastes of others while incorporating her own design aesthetic she was able to decide where she wanted to go as a designer.

After Project Runway
After Project Runway Althea did what any sane person would do: She packed up and moved to New York and got the heck out of Dayton. She is currently living with Carol Hanna and Malvin (?!? OMG! Egg man!), though their lease is up soon. Althea is getting ready for her third time showing a collection at fashion week. The first was for Project Runway. The second was for the spring following her season on Project Runway - this was the first time she showed by herself. This February she will be showing again (this week???). However she stresses that even though she had the Project Runway experience, it hasn't been a walk in the park. While it may seem like she's been handed a lot of opportunities, she has had to work for them.

The Question and Answer Session
(I hope it's ok that I'm posting this).
As I mentioned before, I audio taped this using my iPhone so that I could give you the most accurate answers possible. Sometimes I couldn't hear. Sometimes Althea rambled. So what you see below is very condensed. I did my best. And yes, I noted which questions were mine.

Why do you think fashion is important?
"I think fashion is important because I think it's how you express yourself every day... For example when you get dressed up and feel good about yourself no one can take that away from you. You're taking this fabric and draping it and creating an art form, yet it's functional and you can wear it every day. It's very accessible, and it's art that you see every day."

How can the choice of materials positively or negatively impact the environment?
"I think that's great and there are a lot of things being pushed right now, for example like the shows and you want to get a grant that will take money off if you use natural fibers or fabrics that can be recycled, then you can get more. I try to use them because they look better. Natural fibers I think are a better quality and to me it is worth investing a little more money in something that is natural because it's better for the environment of course and it's also just the look and feel. It's a better quality garment." She goes on to talk about polyester melting under the iron - I think we've all had that happen at least once to us, right? She also talks about being a positive force in the industry.

Do you prefer socks or stockings?
"I would say I think, you know it depends on the shoe. But especially right now it's socks of course because it's freezing in New York." She rambles on about socks being more comfortable and the weather.

What are you currently working on?
"I'm currently working on my own line. I am 100% into that." And by the way, she mentions that her collection will be available on her website!

"What's my favorite type of music?
"I think it's all about the mood, really."

Are you watching this season of Project Runway and who's your favorite?
"I've been so busy I'm never ever home and I don't have a tv in my apartment."

Is Tim Gunn actually as awesome as he is on the show?
"I think Tim's a good guy. He gives good advice." She goes on to talk about him being impartial and having a lot of good things to say and that he's definitely a "good guy". She does stop short of saying he's the God on Earth many of us think him to be.

If you weren't a designer what would you be?
Althea gives a very vague answer here about being in business but she doesn't really know what she would do.

Do you still stay in touch with anyone from Project Runway?
"I'm living with Malvin and Carol Hannah so I obviously still stay in touch with them." She also mentions Logan, Ra'mon and "people in New York".

What was my favorite design I made on the show?
"I really like my suiting look." Then she talks about really being into separates.

If you could invent your own Project Runway Challenge what would it be?
"I can't think off the top of my head! I think maybe a swimwear would be kind of cool." She talks about the beach challenge they had a no one had any idea was going on, and talks about some of the design ideas she would have for such a challenge.

(my question) Why did you choose to return to Dayton to design your collection and what effect did that have on the outcome?
"You're given a certain amount of money so for me it wasn't realistic to move to New York, and pay rent when you're not really being paid. It's just the support, I have family here and friends here. It was great to have that support... And I got this huge studio - I would have never been able to get that size in New York. And in New York it's so easy to get inspired by other things." She talks about how too much inspiration can be a bad thing. She credits the effect of having so many separates on being in her location in Dayton. And she talks about how "crazy" the prices are that people pay in New York for a garment. "Dayton is a very creative place. There's so much going on."

(my question) "I keep reading your Tweets. Can you give us details on your upcoming show?
"It's going to be in New York for Fashion Week. I have a really great gallery space. I was really inspired by the futurism movement. My clothes are very contoured. I always pay attention to the body. It's always something I'm thinking about. So this collection is all about the seaming. The seams are all flattering for how they would look on a woman. So I sort of got this whole Femme Fatale Robot meets the future and it's really cool and very modern. It's a strong collection of separates." Follow Althea Harper on Twitter!

(my question) Any advice for us in Dayton on how to be fashion forward?
"I would say like... I think it's important to keep up on trends." She talks about having "awareness" but not buying something because it's the big thing. "look at who you are as a person, what things do you want to show off about yourself, what things do you want to downplay, then taking what's trendy and what's now and incorporating it into you. I think that's fashion forward.

(my question) How do you keep handmade designs from becoming kitchy? -
"I can totally understand the problem. Don't do top stitching unless it's really essential to a design. As far as prints sometimes... they have to be wearable. Just pay attention to little details. Make it something very simple." She talks about how the little details you wouldn't really even notice can make a difference.

How does it feel to be famous?
"Well I wouldn't really know. I do feel very fortunate for all the support I've gotten."

What advice do you have for a 10 year old interested in fashion?
"I think that's great and you should feel very fortunate that you have such a strong interest in something at such a young age. I would say it's necessary that you learn how to sew." She talks about how Carol Hanna loves to sew and she (Althea) loves to design and doesn't like to sew. She emphasizes taking "actual classes" in sewing and "getting the basics out of the way". She says you need to do that before you can get creative. She also emphasizes learning different languages because "Fashion is SO international."

What advice would you have for someone who only wants to design one of a kind pieces and not mass market?
"The first thing you've done is that will make you successful is that you realize what you want to do. So now you have to think about how you're going to brand yourself and advertise yourself." She talks about setting up a website, getting to know the individual person you're designing for.

(then there was a question I couldn't hear so I'm skipping it)

If you didn't get the response you wanted, how did you respond to it?
"Well first of course you're going to be a little dissapointed. The thing is everything happens for a reason and when one door closes it opens up so many more.... Take a step back and realize the good things that are going to come of this."

How many years did you study fashion?
"Well, my school at UC was 5 years because it was a co-op program."

How would I explain your fashion?
"It's very sportswear. It's not necessarily evening. Separates. Laid back. Sometimes it can be a little androgynous..." Then she talked about how sometimes that doesn't look good on everyone, taking the idea of mens tailoring and turning it int a woman's pattern. She admires Stella McCartney (she mentions).

What's your favorite thing about fashion designing
"It's being creative, express myself."

What questions do you ask when you meet another designer?
She talks about how she talks about how they run their business. She's confident in her design skills, so she asks about how they got their business going.

(another question I couldn't hear, but the answer was much the same as some of the other ones so I'm skipping it again).

What other cities in the US are good for fashion design?
"There are opportunities everywhere." She talks about New York and L.A. because they have fashion factories, but that you can run a business from everywhere, and emphasizes online sales.

Is Irena really as mean as she seems?
(lots of laughter) "I'm not going to say too much. I hear her saying 'Oh it's just the editing'. Actually I think they gave her a nice edit." (more laughter). I totally wanted to ask this question but felt it wasn't a good direction to go in. I was happy someone else asked it. To whoever you are out there who did ask this question THANK YOU!

(couldn't hear the next question because people were still laughing over the Irina question but it definitely had something to do about models and body image)
Her answer to the question talks about having curvy models because it emphasizes her shape. She wants to change the image with models. "in order to make a difference you have to have enough people who are interested in you to make a difference." Basically, her answer talks about using real women but not being able to do that until you actually can because no one will take you seriously if you're not a big name. But she emphasizes she is not going to hire a super skinny unhealthy model. She's not established enough for people to listen to her on this topic. "I have to get to a certain point where I'm respected and my business is respected and the buyers respect me so I can make that difference. That is something I really feel strongly about."

Who was your favorite teacher at Oakwood High School?
"Mrs. Murphy was my favorite teacher." (obviously, the teacher asked this question). She goes on to talk about how there were many teachers that were inspiring.

What are your favorite bargain brands?
"I really like H &M, but they aren't really here." She talks about how she used to go to Forever 21 but she doesn't have anything from there anymore. She talks about going to thrift stores to find real treasures that sometimes haven't even been warn before for super cheap. She also talks about using the Gap for basics like t-shirts. She thinks the Gap t-shirts are expensive, but they last. And then buy things that are special from places like BCBG. "Invest in a nice jacket and then boots." (I like her!)

That was it really. Afterward I charged up to get my picture taken with her and to get the hell out of the way of everyone else. But I wasn't going to let her escape before I got my chance to get my pic snapped with her! Really, I found the whole experience to be very inspiring.

The only question I really didn't get an answer to was my mother's question: "Did Althea ever think about becoming a model herself?" The woman is truly gorgeous!

Me (left), Althea Harper aka Tall Blonde Amazon Goddess (Right)
Notice how totally star struck I am. :)

Polish - China Glaze Sci-Fi

And here's a new addition to my collection of "Polishes that Make Your Nails Look Like the Robot Chic from Superman 3":

My husband picked this polish out for me when we were at Ulta the other (yes I actually got him into Ulta). I had previously passed on the Chrome collection from China Glaze - I wasn't really feeling it. Now I think I may have to get a few more because these have a pretty blingy/chrome finish!

Color
This is a strong silver polish, but there is also a hint of lilac and a hint of pink in it. It looks far more lilac in the bottle than it does on the tips of the nails. I managed to capture a bit of the lilac in with this picture. Depending on how strongly the light shines on it you may not really see the purple at all.

Formula
Oh boy, if there was ever a need for a buff and a ridge filler base coat it's with this polish. This polish will show EVERY FLAW in your nail. You are forwarned. That being said, it's a thick polish and your second coat will be primarily for smoothing things out.

Wear
I used Zoya Get Even and Orly Bonder as a base, topped it off with Seche Vite. It's wearing like a dream right now. I am happy.

Bottom Line
I still think this polish is skippable, but if you absolutely must have a polish that makes you look like the robot chick from Superman 3 then this is for you! And it's just fun.

A Blogging Friend in Need: Vampy Varnish's Crusade Against Victoria's Beauty

If you read Vampy Varnish or follow Kelly on Twitter chances are you've heard about her current predicament. It's not a new problem - etailers have been stealing pictures from various polish and beauty bloggers for a good long while now. It just so happens that dear Kelly is getting ignored by the most recent culprit: Victoria's Beauty.

Now this isn't just a problem that is plaguing Vampy Varnish. Victoria's Beauty has also stolen several other polish bloggers images as well. Apparently, Victoria's Beauty takes the the images, slaps their own logo on the image, and does not even credit the blog from which the original image came.

If you are a polish blogger I suggest you check their site out and see if they are stealing from you as well. You never know. I never thought in a million years someone would steal one of my pics but low and behold, there it is.

If you want to get involved, Vampy Varnish suggests you contact Victoria's Beauty at:

Victoria’s Beauty
Bart & International
855 Bayway Blvd. #103
33767-2626 Clearwater Beach, USA
727-461-3090
opinails@gmail.com
victoriasbeauty.com

http://www.facebook.com/VictoriasBeauty

Read about the entire topic on Vampy Varnish.

Note: In the process of writing the above post, I discovered that like Kelly, I too am a victim of Victoria's Beauty stealing pics: If you want to see an example, here's where they stole MY picture of China Glaze's Strawberry Fields! And my China Glaze Cherry Pie... Bastards!

Free Lippmann Addicted To Speed Top Coat - Any order for the next 3 days

Just got an email from Lippmann Collection - apparently, for the next three days (through 02/12/10) you can get Addicted to Speed top coat with every order. I loved my Addicted To Speed top coat, so if you're thinking about getting any Lippmann colors I would say this is a pretty good deal.

The only thing I didn't like about my Addicted to Speed top coat was that I found it became "goopy" quicker than other quick dry top coats I've used. But while it was still good to use, it was fantastic - so getting it free is the way to go!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Polish - Nars Tokaido Express


As promised, here she is in all her beautiful plummy glory. The first time I went hunting for Nars Tokaido Express my local Sephora was out of stock. But when I went to purchase my Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland palette I took the opportunity to snag it up.

Color
As I mentioned in a previous comparison post, I had hoped this would be a dupe for my beloved Lippmann Good Girl Gone Bad. It is not. Not even close. It's darker, more pigmented, and the glitter is smaller. They are like distant cousins. It is a must have for me because I love polishes like this. Nars describes it as a dark Amethyst flecked with gold. I would say that's a lie -the color is more of a wine-plum than an Amethyst which is usually a blue purple stone. They would have been better off comparing it to a garnet if they really had to choose a gem stone for the description.

Formula
Nice thick polish. I did use three coats here because I had some unevenness in application. But overall it wasn't bad.

Wear
Very nice. I have chipping after a few days, but this mani has been through hell, traveling and packing for a funeral. Suitcases and manicures do not go together, let me tell ya.

Bottom Line
The polish may be overpriced, but I don't consider it a waste of money to have picked up this shade. It is wearable and will be nice on a lot of skintones.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Romeo & Juliet Couture Blowout on Hautelook Right Now!

Just wanted to let you know, Romeo and Juliet Couture is having a "blowout sale" on Hautelook right now. Really good prices, and I R&J for some interesting things to pump up your wardrobe. Great pieces to add interest, I think.

For example look at this T-shirt:


Available for $23.60

But what is interesting is the back...


And this skirt I would love it they had it just one size larger!


Sequin Skirt for $26.22

And I have several very good friends (Sumo, Kara, Tara I'm looking at you) who could rock this dress!

Sequin Dress $44.40

And since we've been talking about leggings and jeggings...


How about Latex Leggings with Zippers for $21.60?

Here's what I'd pick up for myself for Work...


Ruffle Front Blouse $34.50

So what are you waiting for? I can't buy because I'm not skinny enough, but I'm sure many of you can!

Not a member of Hautelook? Get an Invite through me!



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