Skin Care Finds

Over the past year, I went through a listacles phase, especially Buzzfeed, for their quick and easy lists tailored to any number of interests, like skin care or cool home gadgets – usually with links to super-cheap items you ‘can’t live without’ that you can find online. I was particularly interested in the skin care lists, since over the years sun damage and Father Time have been showing up more and more, and as much as I’ve never given a whit of attention to all the miracle claims skin care products tend to make, Buzzfeed’s lists usually included products that were cheap enough for me to be willing to try. And lo and behold, some of them really, really helped.


The DermaRoller!

OK, hands-down, this has been the best product I’ve tried all year. I got the idea from my plastic surgeon, from whom I get Botox every 3-6 months. I asked her what treatments were available for sun damage and hyperpigmentation of the skin, and she recommended something called microneedling, which is expensive and requires recovery time. I researched this online and it did seem to produce excellent results, but the cost and the downtime from the procedure both put me off, and in the process of doing that research I also came across DermaRolling, which is much milder form of microneedling you can do at home. I found a kit on Amazon with the plastic handle and three extra rollers for $30, so I figured I’d give it a go, not expecting much, but willing to try it out for the price. And holy cow – the results were noticeable after using it just one time. I’ve been doing it a few times a week for several months now, and it has significantly reduced the hyperpigmentation and evened out my skin tone, as well as giving my skin a healthier glow in general.

There are a ton of videos on YouTube about how the process works and why, so I’ll just summarize it quickly: before starting, you should apply a serum to your skin; it really doesn’t matter what serum you use, so I will link to a few I like below. The roller has tiny needles on it, as you can see in the picture above – and no, they don’t hurt – and you simply roll the roller over your skin in an up-and-down and then a back-and-forth motion, working in sections. I roll my forehead first, up and down and then back and forth, until the skin turns slightly red, then I move onto my nose, both cheeks, and end with the upper lip and chin. Then, because I have a lot of sun damage on my neck and decollete, I also do the same process in those areas. It’s important not to overdo it – when the skin turns pink, move to another area. After you are done rolling, you apply another round of serum, and then whatever night products you put on your face, and you’re done (oh yeah, don’t do this process in the morning; it’s definitely a night-time treatment).

According to dermatologists I’ve watched on YouTube or read online, the main reason DermaRolling works is because it allows the skin to truly and deeply absorb the products you put on  your face before and after you use it. That seems to be the main benefit. It has not only worked wonders for me, but everyone else I’ve recommended Dermarolling to has also been impressed – even my sister, who has acne scars from her teenage years. She even told me shortly after she starting doing it that she is no longer ashamed to go out without makeup on because her skin looks so much better. It did not completely erase my sun damage – no product will do that, I don’t think – but it has improved it so much I don’t notice it anymore. And as I said, I’ve also noticed that when I take pictures, I don’t need the heavy foundation I needed before; I can use my regular tinted moisturizer and it works just as well.

Here are some of the serums I’ve used with the DermaRoller and quite like:

Valjean Labs Facial Serum, Combo Pack of Hydrate, Glow, and Firm 

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum for Face

Elizavecca Hell Pore Control Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum

In addition to the DermaRoller, there are two masks I’ve tried recently and really love. But honestly, if you only try one thing I recommend here, go for the roller. It is by far the most effective.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask


Before I discovered Botox, I used to go get facials once a month, and my technician often used a pumpkin enzyme mask that I really loved, and Buzzfeed reminded me that such a mask exists. This is pricey in my opinion – about $60 – but it can be used sparingly and still be effective. The way I use it is in the morning, before I apply any other products, and I don’t use it every day, just a few times a week because it’s quite strong. The smell is amazing, though! I wet my face, scoop out a dollop of the mask, spread it over my skin, and then – this is an important step – I re-wet my fingers and work the mask in a little with wet hands. I have found that if you don’t re-wet the mask after applying it, it is too harsh and can burn. I don’t know why. I guess it dilutes the product a little. Then, I only leave this mask on for 3-5 minutes, which is the recommended time limit – this is why it’s easy to use in the morning to freshen up the skin. I do NOT recommend leaving this on any longer than five minutes, though, because as I said, this shit is strong. Once time is up, I just wipe it off with a damp rag, follow up with a splash or two of water, and move on to rest of my morning routine.

Aztec Secret – Indian Healing Clay 


This stuff has a huge cult following, and rightly so – it is a serious, old-school beauty mask, and it makes your skin feel amazing. It’s only $10 for a big old tub of the stuff, and I see it at my local grocery store as well as on Amazon. It’s a bit messy though – it is in powdered form, and you can mix it in a little bowl with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar (which is what works for me) or, if the vinegar is too strong for your skin, you can try it just adding the water. I use the water with vinegar concoction, and it creates a paste that I smear all over your face and then wait for the magic to happen. I call this an old-school mask because it’s the kind that dries on your face, unlike the pumpkin mask which stays moist, and you look like a zombie and will scare your dogs while you leave it on. How long you leave it on depends on your comfort level; my skin is not overly sensitive, so I leave it on until it’s completely dry OR my skin starts to feel too tight (you will feel a tingling/tightening sensation that personally I find pleasant, but it may bother others) and then I scrub it off with a rag followed by a splash or two of water. Now, your skin may be quite red when you take this off (one reason why I recommend not leaving it on too long the first time you try it) but not to worry – it fades quickly and your skin will not be red when you wake up, at the latest. But because of the redness, this is another product you only want to use at night. If you check out some of the before and after photos on Amazon, you’ll see some pretty amazing results. I am never sure how much to trust such things, but I still do notice great exfoliation from this and I love how my skin feels afterwards. I also think it has contributed to the lightening of my hyperpigmentation, so there you go.

Now, a moisturizer that is super-affordable and that I feel has also REALLY helped with my sun damage:

Pond’s Correcting Clarant B3 Dark Spot Skin Cream


Amazon lists this moisturizer at $14, but I’m pretty sure I pay a lot less than that at my local grocery store. I use this every morning and night on my face and neck. While I can’t say that this product alone has helped do reduce my sun damage, because I tried all these products at about the same time, I am willing to give it credit for helping; especially since it’s a very affordable moisturizer that is easy to find, includes sunscreen, and doesn’t bother my skin.

Other than these staples, I’ve tried a TON of other eye creams (not found one yet that does anything to reduce dark circles, although I found a few that I liked), serums, masks, and moisturizers that have had varying degrees of success. But most of these are things I either keep around and use because I just like them in general, or discarded and did not re-purchase because they didn’t thrill me and I saw no real benefit. However, can I just address one product I did try that has a huge following and that baffles me completely?


Jade face rollers are huge THING that the internet swears by, but for the life of me I just do not see any difference when I use one of these things on my skin. It does feel good at first, because the jade is cold when you roll it across your face, at least until you’ve done it enough for it to warm up, but other than that – nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. No bueno. I know people who swear by these things, so clearly they work for some people, but for the life of me I don’t even know how (In fact, I kept trying to convince a friend of mine to try DermaRolling, and she kept refusing because she thought I meant JADE rolling, and she too had tried it without noticing any effect to her skin at all. We got it straightened out quickly enough, though). 😉

So, there you go. My little recent skin care wonders/recommendations. You’re welcome. Happy Sunday.


Summer Stuff

I’ve had a light summer of tutoring, with the past two weeks having no students whatsoever, so you’d think I would be busy taking advantage of all the free time to do things I don’t have time to do during the school year. But, you would be wrong.


For the most part, I’ve been incredibly lazy, napping every day and sleeping late, while occasionally hopping into the pool. But I’ve had a few moments of activity here and there, just enough to keep me away from the blog, I suppose.


For starters, my older sister and I have taken a few little day trips over the past several weeks. It started when I was staying in a hotel during the last few weeks of our mold remediation; I figured since I was in a nice hotel and she and I both love hotel rooms, she should come on over and hang out with me for a while. She spent one night with me and we spent the day shopping at the nearby mall and eating in the restaurants surrounding the area.


I thought this was the town hall in Hallettsville, TX, but my sister thinks it’s a church. I still have no idea. 

That led to us getting another hotel room in Clear Lake City so we could visit my brother, who lives in Dickinson, when he threw a graduation party for his two kids. It’s a long drive out to Dickinson from where we live, even though technically it’s all still “Houston” – especially since Dickinson is off the main freeway to Galveston Island and the party was thrown over a holiday weekend. Traffic is always horrible on I-45 in the summer, so my sis and I figured we’d get another hotel room, check in at the graduation party, and then spend another nice night hanging out in a hotel on the water instead of making two traffic trips in one day. I forgot my camera, though, so no pictures of that little jaunt.


Another Hallettsville shot

Most hotels were booked in Clear Lake for the weekend, though, and we ended up staying in an older Hyatt hotel that had a lovely view overlooking the bay, but had horribly thin walls and those old, adjoining rooms that I don’t think newer hotels even do anymore – and the first floor we stayed on was so poorly insulated and populated with small children that I swear my sis and I kept opening the door to the hallway to try to find out where the large gaggle of children was playing in the halls, only to realize that they were the kids in various other rooms that we were hearing as if they were right outside our door. We ended up moving to a higher floor, where they apparently don’t let kids stay, and that reduced the noise level quite a bit. But lesson learned, no more stays at the Clear Lake City Hyatt. It also must have been moldy, because after having no breathing issues for several weeks, I woke up coughing like a maniac the night of our stay, and it took me another week or so to recover. Moving on.


Then my sister wanted to go spend a few days in an incredibly tiny little Texas town called Hallettsville, which is where all these pictures are from. It’s a bit convoluted, but my aunt and uncle bought a tiny little country house there, on about 4 acres of land, where they plan to retire someday, and my sister, who is close to my aunt, has a key to go stay out there whenever she wants (I’m not as close to this aunt so I had never even been to this house before). Sounded like a nice free vacation to me, so we loaded up her car and headed out there for a few days in June.


When I say Hallettsville is small, I do mean small: Wikipedia lists its population as just over 2,000. Even though we were wandering around their little town square on a Saturday afternoon, there was still almost NO foot traffic, and I have no idea how anything aside from the factory supply store manages to stay in business there. The house my aunt and uncle bought is small, also – almost claustrophobic – but it’s actually a nice enough place to retire if you want some land and a Dairy Queen to visit on occasion. I was a bit fascinated by this little walkway leading up to their front porch though, and fortunately I’d remembered to take my camera so I could do some quick levitation using it as a background:


That’s the walkway leading up to their house, and as you can see, it just sort of stops for no reason in the middle of the grass. I’m assuming someone at some point had intended to put in a driveway or something and then never did…? I dunno. But anyway, it inspired me as some sort of launching pad to a magical dimension, so there you go. The house is right behind me here, and you can see their little stretch of land with some decent trees and a pleasant view to look out over from the front porch. Not bad, if you’re into that sort of thing. Not sure I could do it long-term though.

Fun little detail: my aunt and uncle keep a golf cart on the property so they can tool around a little, and my sister loves to just hop on it and drive around on the grass, so we did that a few times. I am not as big of a fan of this, because I HAAAAATE flying bugs, and as soon as you start cruising around on the grass all of these CREATURES leap out of the grass and into the cart. So, my sis was really enjoying driving around and listening to me scream. Then, she accidentally ran over a cow pie (that’s cow shit, for those of you not familiar with the term) and it splattered all over my leg. Two more reasons I probably should not retire in the country: cow pies and flying bugs. Moving on.


In other news, I have new little beauty obsession – fake nails, the kind you glue on and can buy at the CVS.I wore acrylics for years, but really got tired of all the filling and drilling involved, so about a year ago I had those soaked off and just got shellac manicures for about another year. But, since my husband and I are both wanting to work less now, I am trying to cut back where I can, and shellac manicures are rather expensive where I live ($50!). So, the last time I went to the salon I just got a plain old manicure and left it at that. But, not being one to just leave well enough alone, I decided to try out these Lime Crime “Pop On Nails” I saw on their site a while back. I’d never been able to try them before, because of the aforementioned acrylics, so I figured while I had naked nails would be the best time to try.


I’ve never tried press-on or glue-on nails before, and I was actually nervous about how these would turn out. I held onto them for several weeks, but then my sister and I decided to make one more hotel trip out to the Woodlands to see Chicago and REO Speedwagon (shut up, I’m old) so I figured that was as good a time as any to give these a go. I was really surprised by how nice they looked. I had to shorten and file them a little because they were pretty long, though:


I don’t drink; that was actually my sister’s glass of wine

I loved them so much I ended up buying all the other available colors of them I could find online (they were limited edition at Lime Crime) but before I got them all in, I discovered some nails I like even better – the ImPress brand you can get at any drugstore or even (in my case at least) the grocery store.



I actually prefer these ImPress nails because they are much easier to apply, and they hold up better. The Lime Crime ones look amazing at first, but they have to be applied with nail glue and the first time I applied them I used WAY too much and spent about an hour melting them off my fingers with acetone. The ImPress nails actually have adhesive already applied to the nail, so you just peel the backing off and stick them to your nails.

Photo Jul 09, 7 42 03 PM

I have always had seriously wrinkly fingers! When I was a kid classmates would call me “granny hands.” Kids are assholes, BTW. 

Both brands stayed on for a week (the ImPress ones are still on as I type this) but I must say that after a few days the color was starting to flake and peel off the Lime Crime nails, and every little scratch or scuff showed on the surface so that by the end of that week, they looked a lot worse for the wear. So far, the black Impress nails aren’t showing any wear and still look like new. I haven’t tried to take these off yet, so I can’t speak to how hard they will be to remove, but all the reviews say they are easy enough to do and I know I didn’t overdo it with adhesive this time. I’m so pleased with these nails, especially since the ImPress ones are easy to find, are inexpensive (around $7 for 30 nails) and are quick to put on. I never liked getting my nails done, although I do still get pedicures (ImPress actually makes press on toenails, too, but I just can’t go there), but I always loved the look of the acrylic nails, and these are a really practical and nice alternative.


Another thing I’ve done recently is volunteer to be a Democratic precinct chair for my precinct. I do not yet know what this means, but there is a meeting for all of the Democratic chairs for Precinct 3 this Wednesday, so I’ll find out my duties then. With the mid-term elections coming up, I am sure it will entail a lot of phone calls and block-walking, which I do not look forward to, but the opportunity was there for me to fill an empty chair and even though I didn’t really want to do it, with everything going on right now I felt it was important to do it anyway. Especially being here in Texas, where so many of these immigrant families are being torn apart. By the way – our city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, is awesome, and in no way supports these policies the Trump Administration has tried to implement and bungled so stupendously. He and our city’s police chief Art Acevedo are both very strong, progressive voices for reasonable immigration policy and gun control; Acevedo in particular has gotten a lot of attention lately for his outspokenness on both issues. Houston, even though it’s deep in heart of red, red Texas, tends to have Democratic mayors, and Fort Bend County – which is the county where I live – is statistically the most diverse county in the country. A lot of Fort Bend is more purple than red, except for – you guessed it – precinct 3, where I live, which is the reddest area out here. So block walking for the Dems should be an adventure. If I get shot, well, I can’t complain. I’ve had a better life than most…only partly kidding about this!


I also discovered Venessa Arizaga’s jewelry lately, which, if you haven’t checked her out, you really should. I know a lot of her stuff looks insane, and her prices aren’t cheap, BUT the pieces look much better on that they do just sitting there against a white background, and if you get on her mailing list she has major sales ALL the time. I got a TON of her stuff during a recent 50% off all sale event, and things like that bracelet above I got for a steal. It was already reduced to  $27 and I got it for 50% off that, when it was originally fifty bucks! I now have a ton of her necklaces and bracelets and they are just what I like. I actually don’t care for metal jewelry, and much prefer necklaces and bracelets made of leather or cloth material, which is pretty much her thing. And everything is made to be worn with other items and really layered together, like so:


It all is very light and works well together – although I will say, I bought one of her shell chokers and it was literally choking me; I had to buy a necklace extender just to fit it around my neck. That one also isn’t very comfortable; the shells are heavy and the material is itchy. But other than that, everything I have bought from her I’ve loved.


Oh, and I have a few other things I’m keeping busy with right now – for starters, I am really trying to learn Spanish, and so far am having little luck. I’m using Babel, and there a few damn verbs I just can’t get a grasp on (those damn ‘to be’ verbs are killing me) and trust me, if I were taking this as a class I’d be failing right now. But using the app is actually helping me understand what it’s like to struggle with English grammar and spelling, which helps me with my tutoring, so it’s all good, even if my Spanish never gets up to snuff.


The thing I am more excited about than that, though, is that I am learning how to sew. I haven’t officially started yet, because my sewing machine doesn’t arrive until tomorrow (I tried to borrow one from my mom but hers was broken), but I’ve got a good book to work with that jumps right in to working with simple patterns like making headscarves and simple skirts. I’ve been wanting to learn how to sew forever (I was forced to take sewing in high school, and in a fit of misplaced feminist rage I refused to learn anything. This worked against me because not only did I not learn how to sew but I failed the class, which was less than impressive on my transcript. I failed cooking too, for the same stupid reason). I figure that most of the clothes I love to wear are loose, light, and pretty damn simple; I dislike zippers and buttons and fancy details, I tend to wear things I can easily pull on and off, and I don’t even like to wear prints, so how hard can it be to sew this stuff? Plus, I have so many things I don’t wear but would if I could just alter them a little, and let’s not even talk about the COSTUMES I could create for my photos! I really think I am going to love this new hobby, and hopefully, I will be better at it than I am at speaking Spanish.


As you can tell, I’ve also managed to take some photos too – so this all sounds like I’ve been way busier than I feel like I’ve been. Especially when I mention that I am taking one more trip with my sister at the end of the month to Galveston, but honestly, most of these trips I’ve taken have been her idea, and she’s done the planning while I’ve just tagged along. I promise there has also been a LOT of nap-taking, TV binging, and Candy Crush playing going on this summer, too. In truth, I’ve actually started to get bored and look forward to getting back to tutoring my students again in August.

Oh, and one more thing – in trying to spend less, I recently opted to not renew a LOT of the features I’ve paid for in the past for this blog. I am honestly not sure what some of the stuff was I was paying for, so things might randomly go wonky here if I actually canceled something I should have kept. If that happens, I’ll figure it out eventually and get things back to normal. 🙂 It just seemed like I was spending lots of money every year for a blog I only post on about once a month now, so in a fit of frugality I canceled all the extra features. We’ll see what happens!

Hair Fray

Another hair post! Just what you were waiting for, I’m sure.


Not my real hair.

After completely abandoning my latest attempt at using the Curly Girl Method, I was a little stuck on what to do next with my ‘do. I’d been growing out my bangs for a few months, but was undecided about whether to cut them in again or keep growing them out. In looking for ideas on Pinterest, I kept finding photos of this one particular woman whose hair I loved:


Her name is Sophia Amoruso; she was the owner of a company called Nasty Gal that I think is no longer in business. Whatever, more power to her – and to her hair!

When I showed my stylist some of the pics I’d found, just to show her the bangs, she asked me if I wanted to also color my hair as dark as the photos. In looking at all these pics of women with long hair and baby bangs, I’d gotten used to looking at the style on dark hair because for some reason there seemed to be more brunettes than blondes in this style, so on a whim I said sure, why not.


I wouldn’t mind having her lips and decidedly younger skin also, but you can’t have everything.

I’ve always found going from light hair to dark more jarring than doing the reverse; the difference always feels more drastic and takes a bit of getting used to; but this time I could tell right away that I liked it. The style really does work well with dark hair, and even though it’s been several years since I’ve worn my hair in my natural color, so far I am loving it!


Right after I got it colored and styled

I’ve been playing around with how best to style my hair as usual – Pinterest really isn’t good for one’s hair-esteem at all. Everyone has these perfectly formed waves that I could never attain; I get that the pics on Pinterest are professionally styled and all that, but it doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying. The thing about my hair is that it has just enough wave to kind of go beachy, but not without some extra curling involved, and when I try to curl my hair I always over-do it and end up looking over-styled. If I let my hair totally air-dry it will have wave but it looks a bit unbrushed and it gets frizzy; I can blow it dry straight but then I need to take a flat iron to it to smooth it out, and since my hair is fine that makes it super straight, like nineties-style straight, and it gets kind of scraggly on the ends. In the photo above, my stylist had blown it dry, so it looked a little better than when I do it, but still pretty straight and flat as is its way.


I felt like I didn’t look like myself in this photo, which is why I liked it. It totally looks like my grandmother, in a good way. 

What I really wanted was the sort of slightly mussy, I-woke-up-like this wave that Sophia’s hair had – but as I said, whenever I try to do it myself with my curling wand I end up looking TOO styled and air-drying alone doesn’t get me there either. But, trial and error led me to a process that works, and now I am going to share it. Exciting, right?


For starters, I usually do blow my hair dry because it gets it smooth and looks less frizzy after styling. As you can see in the shot below, that leaves me with hair that’s fine, but pretty flat.


Sorry I’m so yellow in this photo. Great bangs though, right?!

So, how to take this and add in just enough wave to make it look soft and natural? After plenty of experimenting, I eventually tried pulling my hair up into a ponytail on top of my head, and just curling it from there in several big sections, like so:


 Pulling it up and giving it a curl with my wand

Then, when I take the ponytail out, I’m left with a perfect amount of wave. I usually have a few places I need to hit with the wand for consistency all the way around, but this whole thing takes maybe five minutes, tops, and gives me just enough wave to make me happy.


But I’m not quite finished – here comes the product placement! A friend of mine sent me a link to a styling tool called Voloom – it’s basically a fancy hair crimper that you use to add volume to your hair. It’s expensive, and I thought it was probably too good to be true, but I watched some YouTube videos where it really seemed to work and be easy to use, so I figured what the hell, and tried it out.


For all my wig-wearers out there, this thing basically adds perma-tease to bio hair! I think any hair crimper would work, but there are some benefits to this one: it isn’t hot against your head, the heat is adjustable, and it heats up super-fast. It comes in two sizes, and I mistakenly bought the petite size when I should have gotten the regular one. No worries, this one’s working fine, at least for now. All you do is lift up your top layer of hair, then crimp the underlayer of your hair right at the base. I just clamp down on it three times for each section of hair; starting right against my scalp and clamping down for just a few seconds and then moving it down a little and clamping again. I do this three times, and when I’m done the hair definitely has more lift. It can’t take super-flat hair like mine and turn it into Jennifer Aniston’s, but it does add some noticeable body and fullness. And it only takes maybe 2-3 minutes for me to do.


Some people have said that the crimped sections of hair show through the top layer, but maybe this is more of an issue with lighter hair or something, because it doesn’t show through at all for me. You also have to be careful not to crimp any of the hair around your face or it will look weird; this also isn’t something I’ve had issues with. It basically worked for me from the first time I used it, which is rare for me-it took me months to figure out how to use a curling wand, for example. But this thing really is a breeze to use.


The final result 

The volume the Voloom adds will last until I wash it again; I can also brush it and it maintains its lift. It’s a great little product – and again, I do think if you don’t want to spend $170 on it, it would most likely work with any hair crimper as long as you use it properly. Let’s get a full before and after, just because I like them – from blown-dry straight, to curled in a ponytail, to the final result after being ponytail-curled and Voloom’ed:


Overall, I am loving the bangs, and the color, and the style. This is more length than I’ve ever had as an adult, since I’ve generally worn it pixie-short, and as I mentioned the darker color seems to make my hair look thicker. I’ve found I do need to wear more makeup, which may be the style as much as the color. Oh and one more thing – I’m thinking of actually cutting in some short bangs on one side, like this:


…But I think it might be too close to mullet territory to be a good idea. What do you think?

A Hair-Waving Scheme

DISCLAIMER: Since writing this post, I’ve abandoned most of the process I list below. I’m leaving it there in case anyone wants to try it, but in the end there are things I prefer to do that the Curly Girl method frowns upon (namely, not brushing through the hair after washing and not using any heat) and I wasn’t seeing enough of a change in my hair to stick with it. I do really like the products, though, and am going to continue to play around with how best to use them.

As mentioned in my last post, I went back to the George Ranch Historical Park to finish up the tour I didn’t get through the week before, and I took more pictures. Not that I really needed to; I took enough the first time out to have easily filled a second post without going back for more, but I wanted to fit the rest of the park in before it got too hot outside to be able to stand it. But before I do that, I thought I’d give a little hair update:


No curling irons used here – just my natural wave pattern

I’ve written a lot in the past about using the DevaCurl line of products, mostly because after I got that perm back in 2014 their stuff really worked to control the frizz and give my curls some definition. I also mentioned at that time that I’d tried the whole Curly Girl method before, back in the early 00’s right after it came out, and that I didn’t have much success with it. However, back then my hair was quite short and I was in the process of growing out a pixie cut, so I don’t think my hair would have looked great no matter what method of cleansing and styling I was using. Since my hair has gotten quite long now (for me, anyway) and I quit blow-drying it straight once I quit teaching, I realized that I do, in fact, have a decent amount of wave to my hair and that perhaps I should give the whole Curly Girl ‘method’ another try. Ironically, I made this decision about a week after finally boxing up all my old DevaCurl products and shipping them to a curly-headed friend, so I had to buy all new stuff (which turned out to be a good thing, because in the years since I last used their line they’ve come out with some better products for my particular curl type so I ended up with more appropriate stuff for my hair anyway).


Curl close-up – not sure why I look so pissed here

As soon as I started using the special conditioner and cleanser made for wavy hair, I noticed a nice change in my curl pattern; while I will never have hair I could actually call curly, it does have a pretty clear wave to it, and when using the DevaCurl shampoo and conditioner without sulfites and all that other jazz, I felt like the waves had a bit more fullness and bounce (I started out trying the full-on No-Poo products, but those are much better for tighter curls, like I had when I had my perm). I also switched all my other styling products to either DevaCurl or another brand that had no sulfites or alcohol (I find alcohol drying on my hair, and although a lot of people who follow this method worry about silicones, I actually like them and don’t try to exclude them from anything I use). I got my hands on some more of the DevaCurl mousse I always loved, and the same spray gel I used before; my Moroccan Oil that I have loved for years still gets used, and I found a spray wax without alcohol to use as a finisher (although for some reason, the DevaCurl Set It Free finishing spray that was a huge fail when I had my perm suddenly works like a charm on my non-permed hair, so I haven’t even needed to use the spray wax that often). I also still use a dab of the Mirror Curls because it adds definition like nothing else, and I got another ConAir bonnet hairdryer to sit under to dry my hair without blowing in a bunch of frizz (links to all this stuff is at the bottom of the post, if you’re interested).


But for the first week or so, I was still using my curling wands to add curl to my hair in places where I felt it fell flat – mostly on my right side around my face. However, I always had a bad habit of not stopping with just adding curl where it needed it – once I get started, I end up curling everything which takes a lot longer and doesn’t really need to be done. Not to mention that I bought this super small-barrel wand that can give me the sort of tight springy curls I’ve always wanted, which made curling my whole head extra-tempting. But I was curious if the assertion the Curly Girl book makes was true – that the longer you go without using heat on your hair (bonnet dryer excepted, the method considers bonnet dryers an acceptable way to use gentle heat so I swear it’s not cheating) the more curly your hair will become. I’ve never actually believed this claim; as I mentioned earlier, the first time I tried to use the method I found it added some curl and bounce right away, but it’s not like it improved over the months at all, and in fact it ended up being more trouble than it was worth, but mostly because I was growing out a short cut as well and my hair was just a mess in general. Then when I had the perm, that idea didn’t really apply because my curls were chemically-induced and were therefore outside the purview of the Curly Girl method entirely. I don’t have any real reason for not believing this claim is true, I just kinda doubt it. But, I decided I might as well experiment with this and give it a shot.


So, I’ve decided to use no heat styling on my hair for one month and see if, in fact, the flat parts of my hair get less so, or if any other hair miracles occur. One thing has happened already; when I really stopped forcing my hair to do anything I noticed that on the right side of my head – the side that tends to fall more straight – the curl pattern is actually curling towards my face rather than away from it (as you can see in the photo above) but on the left side, the side that always looked nicer and more curly, it’s curling away from it. Now, I don’t know anyone who heat styles their hair by curling it towards the face – it’s fairly common practice to curl the hair to move away from it.



And, even when air-drying my hair, I would sort of nudge the curls on the right side to move away from mine, which was part of the reason why those curls would look a bit flat – I was forcing them to curl against their natural pattern. I can still use heat to curl the hair away from my face quite easily, but since I’m trying not to use heat for a month, I was just going to have to live with these weird curls on one side of my head that went the ‘wrong’ direction. But, I did come up with a bit of a solution, and moved my part from the left side of my head over to my right side, so that more of those forward-moving curls have now been shifted to the left side of my head where, of course, they are now magically moving away from my face! This has helped my wave pattern look more even, but as you can see I’ve still got one side of my head with curls waving forward instead of back. Oh well.


I took this shot earlier, when I was still using the curling wand. I think I even used the small one here to get tighter curls. It REALLY works and is so tempting…but I’m determined to give this a month!

I’m also trying to grow out my bangs a little right now to see if I prefer having longer ones when wearing my hair curly; I am torn between doing that or getting some micro-bangs that are even shorter than what I’ve been wearing. In the end I think I do need some sort of bangs framing my face – I have 2b waves, which means the hair is flat up top and the curls hang close to the head, and when combined with my long face I still need something to reduce the appearance of length and bangs are the best way to do that. But I’m thinking if I get these bangs a bit longer they can curl up and be cute; they’re already starting to form little ringlets if I don’t do any straightening, and I think I will like the effect.


I could see my bangs doing this...


But I dunno, this is pretty damn cute  too…

To sum up, for anyone with waves like mine who wants to know what I’m doing and using, here you go:

  1. Cleanse with DevaCurl Low-Poo and One Condition
  2. Add DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam
  3. Scrunch dry with t-shirt, then spritz in some DevaCurl The Curl Maker Spray Gel 
  4. Air-dry and sleep on it as normal (I don’t pull my hair into a ponytail, but I do sleep on a silk pillowcase)
  5. In the morning, I re-wet my hair until damp, then scrunch in some Garnier Nutrisse Wonder Waves Hairspray (I don’t know why this stuff works so well; it does leave the hair crispy but other products I follow up with soften it. It really adds curl for me and always has, but it’s a hard product to find now.)
  6. Scrunch in the TINIEST dab or two of DevaCurl Mirror Curls (if I put this stuff in my hair right after washing, sleeping on it will add frizz; but using it the next morning reduces this).
  7. Sit under my Conair bonnet dryer for about 20 minutes or so while I drink my coffee (this is so oddly comforting and to be honest, I’d sit under it the night before too if my husband didn’t complain about the ridiculous amount of energy this thing uses)
  8. Once the hair is dry, smooth in a dab of Moroccan Oil and finish with the DevaCurl Set It Free spray

For day two hair, I am still trying to figure out what works. Some mornings when I wake up it looks fine and I should probably leave it alone, but being me I end up messing with it anyway and making it look less than fine. So far, it appears that if I’m going to do anything, I should just wet it down a bit and scrunch in a touch more Mirror Curls – that does the best to add some definition and bounce back when the waves have gone flat, but damn does it also give me frizz! I may try out some of DevaCurl’s dry shampoo that I found too greasy when I had my perm; like the Set It Free it may work better for me now.

So what do you all think about the fringe? Do you like the longer curly ones, or the micro-bang? Let me know in the comments below! More park pics coming soon!

From Hair to There


Some of you may remember that I recently wrote about wanting to change up my haircolor again (because it’s been at least six months since I’ve inflicted any real damage on my tresses, which is unacceptable). At the time I wrote about it, I shared the following photo as my inspiration:


As you can tell from the pic of my fringe at the top of this post, I didn’t quite get there, but allow me to explain (and share more photos)!

This photo was pretty unfocused originally, and I had to work hard to get some clarity out of it, but I liked the view of the haircolor so I made it happen.

The stock photo of the haircolor is from the Goldwell Color Zoom 2017 collection – my stylist had just returned from some big hairstyling shindig when I flipped through the Goldwell lookbook she’d brought back from the event while waiting to get my hair cut about a month ago. I’ve always wanted to do really crazy, unusual color, but I’ve never been able to due to the jobs I’ve held. Well now I work for myself, so I can do what I want – but I still wanted to ease into it and do somthing that incorporated wild colors but still appeared acceptable while meeting with potential clients or particularly judgmental family members (I actually don’t have any family members like that, in fact on my side of the family everyone will love it and possibly go out and get the same thing to done to their own hair – but my father-in-law, who isn’t particularly judgmental, also is not very fashion-forward, as you can imagine, so he might have something to say). So, I thought something like that photo might be a nice place to start, since when you look at it you see some wild colors but it’s so blended it comes off more interesting than outrageous.

This photo is a total cheat; I layered a different picture of the bangs over this one because in the original photo they were parted in a funky way, and I actually layered a second copy of my hair over the first one because my hair is so fine and flat and I wanted to give it some volume. Terrible I know, but I couldn’t help myself.

You can see that the end result doesn’t look too terribly much like the advert photo, but that isn’t really a problem for me because I didn’t expect it to. I understand that photos I show a stylist are merely guidelines and that everyone’s hair is different and will therefore look different from a photo; not to mention that if anyone understands how much editing goes into a picture before it gets seen by the general public, it’s me, so there’s that. Who knows how many Photoshop and lighting tricks they did to get that much depth and and drama out of the original result. But my biggest surprise upon sitting down in  my stylist’s chair yesterday at 10:00 AM to get going with this was that the Goldwell book, which included instructions regarding the proper hair dyes to use to get the look, did not in any way mention any sort of blue color. I was convinced the hair in the photo had blue in it, but my stylist pointed out that the hints of what appeared to be blue were actually silver, and she showed me the instructions to verify that. The colors used were neon red, neon yellow, and silver (I don’t remember the actual color names, but I’m sure they were awesome as all color names tend to be – bright papaya or nuclear lemon or something like that). So, no blue. Okay.

I must do blue hair someday; or maybe green. Or both, more likely.

One thing that has always baffled me a bit about hair stylists is how they often – at least in my experience – don’t explain well the consequences of the choices their clients make when they come in with an idea about a cut, color, or other process they’ve chosen to undergo. Or maybe it’s just me, and everyone else knows to ask for such information. I always end up thinking of that scene in Death Becomes Her when Meryl Streep has just chugged the magic, youth-inducing potion down and Isabella Rosellini tells her there’s just one warning, and Meryl looks at her in her fabulous Meryl way and says, “NOW a warning?!” When I got my may-or-may-not-have-been-a-good-idea perm, I was told after it was done that I shouldn’t pull my hair up or back or out of my face/off my neck IN ANY WAY for at least 48 hours, and if possible to go longer than that. I don’t know, that just seems like something I should have been told before we got started, mostly because it sent my mind reeling to think what could have happened to my perm if the stylist had forgotten to off-handedly throw that  little nugget of vitally important information to me as I walked out the door (I mean really, I came so close to not being told something that could have resulted in me wearing ponytail-head-looking hair for the next six months. Really?!). Or getting a ‘custom’ short cut that entailed getting regular trims every two weeks if I wanted the ‘structure’ that was, in fact, the ‘custom’ part of the equation (‘structure’ in this case was the magic word that made the difference between looking like I had a super-cool, edgy short style or hair that had been gnawed on by wolves). You know, stuff like that.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my ‘custom cut’ of 2011.

Well, what I wasn’t told this time was that the process of getting these “very thin little highlights of color” woven into my hair would take four hours. Now, I love my stylist (whose name is Gracie, by the way), and give or take a few years here and there where I cheated on her, I’ve been going to her for close to 15 years, so this isn’t so much a complaint as it is an observation. And I do think the process took longer than even she expected (because again, everyone’s hair is different and will take or lift color differently), but when I finally asked about how much longer it was going to take, she explained that to do the funky colors involved stripping the hair first of color, and going through the entire bleaching process and then doing another entire coloring process (which involved coloring, washing out, toning, etc) after that. Perhaps I should have known this, but since the only color I’ve ever done involved adding dark brown to cover gray or bleaching a bit to get some highlights, I had no idea, so a process I expected to take, an hour and half, tops, ended up taking four, and since I got there at 10 AM I was absolutely starving by the time we got done around two o’clock. I was also pretty irritable, which is not usually an emotion I feel when visiting a salon. If I’d known it would take that long, I would have been better prepared. And brought snacks.

So okay, if you’ve read this far you probably kind of have had the experience I had of waiting four hours for my hair to be done. You’re welcome.

See the little peek of silver in the fringe? And my husband pointed out to me that I made my lips look ‘enhanced’ in this photo with too much editing. I tried to fix the problem, but much like real plastic surgery, it could not be repaired. Whatever, I still like the way it shows the color, even if it gives too many of my Photoshop secrets away. And yeah, if I wasn’t both cheap and chicken (and married to someone who’d divorce me if I did it) I’d plump the hell out of my real lips too. 

The end result is not quite as dramatic as this photo, as I’ve done two things here – Photoshopped the color vibrancy, natch, but I also shifted my side part from the left to the right to really show the color. Gracie did a great job weaving the color into my hair so that when it’s parted properly, you get hints of interesting color rather than being bombarded by it, but if the wind blows or I change the part to the right side (which I never do) you can see the bright colors lurking just below the surface. The end result is pretty darn cool, although overall it came out far more  red-and-yellow than I expected (if I allow my mind to wander, this takes me to some dangerous places such as McDonald’s, OR the school colors of my former workplace, which are, you guessed it, red and gold – so I shut that internal dialogue down quickly). The silver is there, but it’s quite subtle – in the pic above you can JUST see a hint of it in the fringe, and there’s a long strip of it going down the left side that you can’t really see in any obvious way unless I pull all my hair over to show it off. I realize this was the point, and that I explicity told Gracie to work the funky in in such a way that I could still pull off looking ‘normal’ from a distance (and I do like the idea that if I really want to go for funky I can just part my hair to the other side) but it is a bummer that the silver, which is soooo pretty, doesn’t really show unless I try very hard to show it. That is what I asked for though, so I’m not complaining.

Another little peek at the silver streak

Anyway, this definitely introduced me to the world of truly funky color, so from here who knows where I’ll go. I do think I’d like to do some blue at some point. And another fun side note – my husband didn’t even notice the change. As long as I do not cut my hair short again, he really doesn’t care what it looks like. I do think I had Gracie cut the bangs too short this time; I thought with the new funkier colors I’d like an edgier cut, but as usual I had her go a touch too short and the end result isn’t the best on me (I am terrible about this – any time a stylist shows me a haircut and asks if the length is OK or if I want to go ‘a little bit shorter,’ my answer is ALWAYS ‘a little bit shorter.’ It’s not so much that I want shorter hair as it is my frugal side kicks in and I think, well shorter means I can go an extra week without needing a trim. So there it is).

Color TOTALLY enhanced here. Like, times ten.

In the end, I like it. It’s a bit more ketchup-and-mustard than hip-techno-mermaid like the original photo (okay, so it’s a lot more ketchup-and-mustard), it’s still something fun and different, and it’s opened me up more to the possibility of doing something really fun and crazy somewhere down the road – who knows what I’ll do next! As long as I don’t cut it short, apparently, at least my husband won’t complain.

In other news, I have more wig reviews to edit and upload, I finally landed another client for tutoring, and I’m heading back for a short weekend retreat to the Ruah center tomorrow. Happy almost the weekend, everybody!

Pause for Gauze

Last week I mentioned that I’d become obsessed with an online store called Oh My Gauze, and at the time I said I’d take some pics of my new outfits eventually, so here’s part one of me fulfilling that promise. I’m also going to link to items when I can, so you can go check them out if you want (some of the pieces I bought were discontinued and are no longer for sale through the store, although many times you can find them on eBay). You’re welcome.

Photography nerd alert: this is a composite shot – my upper body is from one photo while the lower body is from a different one.

I say part one because I seriously bought a lot of pieces from this store in the past few weeks. About 8 items are at the tailor right now, because in tops and dresses especially OMG clothing tends to run a little large on me. I’m skinniest in my shoulders and torso area, so with the generous sizing of this brand those things can look sloppy even though they’re already intended to be loose. Pants and skirts, though, are generally fine, although I did take one skirt in for alterations as well, because the balloon hem combined with big pockets made it a little heavy and it was pulling the skirt down (the waist was a little big, but it wouldn’t have mattered had the skirt not been on heavy side).

I will say that my outfits were a big hit at the tailor’s; it was a holiday here today so a lot of parents were taking their kids in for alterations on this or that (no idea what sort of kid-events go on in October, but there sure were a lot of people there) and as I kept coming out of the fitting room with more artsy, funky outfits, women began to notice and ask where I got all this fabulous stuff. I told them, of course; I have no need to keep a good thing secret. Since my last beloved baggy-clothing store, CP Shades, shut down, I certainly want to send OMG as much business as I can so I don’t lose another manufacturer that I love.

This past Sunday I decided to throw on some of the new clothes and shoot some photos; but pictures of me just standing around in outfits isn’t of much use to me beyond this blog, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and do some jumping shots I could have more fun with. Little did I know how fabulous these clothes would be when they are in motion! Sure, I knew they were made to move and flow, but they created such amazing shapes I almost jumped myself to exhaustion playing around with it all. If you’ve followed my blog or Flickr page at all, you know how much I love using fabric in my movement photos to create interesting shapes, but most of the things I wear in those photos aren’t things I’d be caught dead in day to day. With OMG I have finally found a clothing line that works wonderfully in jump shots but that can also be worn out of the house! Heavenly.

Yep – right after the shutter snapped that shoe hit the ceiling

Those pants are called the Ida pant and they are a new style to the store. I about died when I saw these, as I’d seen pants like them all over the Lagenlook boards I’ve been following on Pinterest, but as I mentioned last time, usually this stuff is pretty expensive. The Ida pant is only $63, though, so they were really affordable. They are amazing, and in spite of their general craziness they look great on; not bizarre at all, just interesting, and almost like a skirt if you don’t look closely at them. Comfortable and fun and no one else I know is going to have a pair of these. Moving on.

The top is called Vanna and I have two of them; as I mentioned earlier, OMG’s tops can often be big on me, and even when altered their slouchiness can weigh me down and make me look like I’m drowning in clothes, so a top like this is perfect for me. A flowier top balances my skinny torso out with my bigger hips, and this one with the cropped length gives me a waistline. It’s also very easy to wear; like most of OMG it’s a throw-it-on-and-go affair.

Some of their items, though, are not so convenient:

PS – I had NO makeup on during this shoot as I’d spent the whole day in the pool, so I thought some funky glasses would detract from that. Not sure if it did or not.

OK, this is another new piece from them called Jeane; they call it a dress but it’s actually more like harem-pant overalls. Some of you know how much I love overalls and have been lamenting their lack of cool-factor since the 90’s, so a combination harem pant and overall seemed to be a slam dunk for me. However, the entire jumper is resting on those tiny little straps, which are basically shoestrings that tie in the back, and they are not up to the job, in my opinion. First of all, I despise anything that ties in the back (bathing suits come to mind; I love the look of a halter-style bathing suit top but they almost ALL tie at the neck and I just can’t stand that. And yes, I’ve been looking at a lot of bathing suits lately, too) and secondly, those skinny little straps don’t feel resilient to me at all. Plus, the first time I washed this one of the straps came ‘unthreaded’ (not sure what else to call it) and I had to use tweezers to force it back through, so they are not secure at all. I started to send this one back, but then I took these photos and realized how amazing the whole thing is, so I took it to the tailor and asked her to replace the shoestrings with something more sturdy that I would not have to tie. I don’t think I can get the straps in the same green, but I told her black would also be fine.

See what I mean, though, about the pictures proving that I really need to keep this piece? It takes some amazing photos – only one of which I’ve had time to edit (trust me there’s more):

My eyes went really wonky in this shot, so I ended up actually copying the left one and pasting it over the right one, then flipping it horizontally. I still look weird here, but not nearly as weird as I did before. Sorryboutit.

The shoe match here was great; those are from Urban Outfitters and are always on sale two for $20. I have a ton of them and find uses for them all the time, aside from photos (I learned long ago that bare feet are not the business for jumping shots unless you have pretty ones and can point your toes well; shoes make for a more flattering photo without the distracting dragon toes or, in my case, super-long skinny feet that look awkward). This was one piece people at the tailor’s place today were really freaking over how cute it is. Really unique; I just hope she can fix the straps to make it more manageable.

And while I’m thinking about it, I want to link here to another fabulous clothing discovery I recently made: Sleevey Wonders. I’ve always hated having to wear full-length tops under sleeveless dresses and things, but I also am not a big fan of sleeveless things (I just like being more covered than not; I’m not modest, I just think covered arms are prettier). Sleevey Wonders give you, well, sleeves, without the bulky top attached. Brilliant! They aren’t cheap, but for me they’re worth it. So far I have a blue mesh one and a white jersey, and I’m going to be picking up an ivory one soon. I wear the two I already have all the time – including in the pictures above. Moving on.

Now this next item is also unusual, and I was uncertain whether or not I’d like it, but in the end I’m glad I tried it out:


This is a color I’d generally never wear, but OMG is having a sale of discontinued colors right now that’s up to 50% off, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy this in a more wearable color (for me, anyway) and pay twice as much. So, chartreuse it is. I paired it with a pair of Chico’s Black Label satin cargo pants and a long-sleeved tee from Ann Taylor Loft, and bingo – I really like this look. It’s especially nice how well all this stuff goes with so much of what’s already in my closet – it’s not my first time at the artsy-flowy-fashions rodeo, people. Remember my Free People obsession of about a year ago? Most of what I bought from there works great with this stuff too, so my wardrobe has literally doubled over the past three weeks. It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s all good. This can also be worn on it’s own as a dress, by the way.

Also good for leapin’ – YEP!

Speaking of overwhelming, I had to quit editing outfit shots after these last two, but believe me, there’s more where this came from.

The hair is Laine by Rene of Paris, by the way

The top here is called Lynn, and it’s a narrower cut that didn’t require alterations for me. They also make a short-sleeved version of this called Grace that is great under other things. The whole line has some really interesting hemlines – there’s lots of angles and asymmetry that makes layering really eye-catching. The pants are pretty fabulous – they’re called the Osprey and I kept resisting buying them, because the price was around $85 and I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much when the sale pants were around $30 – finally they also went on sale and I snatched up two pair (in this color, called Fig, and also in Bone). I will say these pants looked AWFUL right out of the box, and I thought I’d made a mistake until I washed and dried them and they fell into place. The shoes, by the way, are another pointy-toed flat slide from Free People that I bought recently – so comfy and so unique with the shiny fabric. Love them.

Simon is also impressed

I have a lot of really fantastic jumping shots to process later, and more outfits for a future post, but I did want to go ahead and show off some of this stuff now. I think I’ve calmed down on the purchasing for awhile, but I definitely plan to go back often and add to my collection when I can. Dressing has been so much fun the past few weeks, and I think you can see why – this stuff was made for me. And comfy, and easy to clean (machine wash and dry), and affordable! Love.

I’ve also got some self-portraits to share that I’ve edited recently, but I’ll upload those later. For now, enjoy the rest of the week, and I hope you have as much fun getting out of bed and putting on clothes as I do!


OK, that title is gonna seem so awesome in a second, I swear.

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve become obsessed with a certain designer and it’s where my money’s been going the past few weeks. I want to talk about it here since it’s on my mind at the moment, but I’m going to have to do it without sharing any pictures of myself in the new clothes I’ve acquired. Bummer, but I haven’t had time to take photos yet – I will do so soon and share a few outfits in another post in the near future, I promise! Moving on.

It’s not so much a designer I’ve become enchanted by as it is a manufacturer, I think – and the manufacturer relates to a certain “look” I discovered a few weeks ago called Lagenlook, which is German for “layered look.” How I discovered it was rather random, as these things often are; my husband and I got into an HBO show called “Grace and Frankie,” which stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston. The show can be twee and sitcom-y. but come on, how often do you get to see a sitcom with awesome 70-year-old actors in the starring roles? I’ll take the twee since it comes with the awesome, and fortunately Doug agreed. We had fun binge-watching Season 1, and I became obsessed with Lily Tomlin’s attire as the hippie-dippy Frankie.


Some of her outfits were too crunchy and bizarre for me, but more often than not she was trouncing around (stoned, usually) in stuff I just loved. Then one night Frankie wore this awesome, bubble-hemmed pinafore-style linen funky number, with some baggy pants underneath it, and a blue mesh long-sleeved top underneath all that, and I finally just said to myself, that’s it. I have to find out where she’s getting all this cool stuff. I went on a Google search to find out (and yeah, I was bummed when I asked my husband which of these two women I’d be when I was in my seventies, and he said, “duh, Jane Fonda.” Which personality-wise, is totally true, because there’s no way I’d ever take peyote or smoke dope and meditate my blues away and Fonda’s character is the one that wants everything to be exactly like she wants it or she gets pissed off, so yeah. But I don’t want Grace’s wardrobe – although holy hell Fonda looks freaking AMAZING) .

Hee hee – okay, not this so much

Frankie’s style on the show reminded me so much of another company with clothes I used to love called CP Shades. I’m not sure how I discovered them, but soon after I did they made up my entire wardrobe. Their stuff was mostly washable linen, with some rayon thrown in here and there and velvet during the holiday season, and it was all big, loose, flowy, and very relaxed. And, it was pretty expensive. Back in the early 2000’s, when I discovered them and started wearing their stuff, $98 was a hell of a lot for a pair of pants; even though I’d still rather not pay that much for them now, it certainly isn’t as unheard of to me as it was back then. But still, I’d suck it up and pay because I loved them so freaking much, and their clothing was well-made and would last forever (and was also made in the USA at their own factory in CA). They’d have huge sales twice a year where everything in the one store that existed in Houston would be, like, twenty-five bucks, and me and everyone else in the city, it seemed, would line up outside at five in the morning and wait to rush the store as soon as the doors opened so we could all stock up.


Ads from the 90’s, I think


Now, the one little store my city had was in the richest area of town (River Oaks, you know – where they filmed Terms of Endearment, and where the notorious murderer Robert Durst lived), and it was generally a slightly older clientele than my age at the time  (I’ll never forget the time I was trying things on at the same time a woman in her late 60’s was in there buying a TON of linen items, all in white, and when I asked her if she didn’t get nervous wearing all that white clothing, she responded ‘oh no, I just wear all this when I garden. That way when it gets dirty I can throw it in the wash with some bleach and I’m good to go.’ We’re talking at least five or six hundred dollars worth of clothes she was buying – to wear while she worked in the dirt in her backyard! I was duly impressed). I was in my early thirties, and I was generally about 10 years younger than most of the women spending money in that store – but I didn’t care. Well, I cared about the high price point, but about the fact that most of the women buying these clothes were a little older than me, I didn’t care about that at all. Because I was in clothing heaven. It was all so comfy, and it was all long and oversized, and it all FLOWED. Anyone who’s seen my photos knows how obsessed I am with long, flowy fabrics and fluid shapes, and CP Shades had that in spades.


Sadly though, the company, I suppose, had overextended themselves, and the downturn the economy took after 9/11 did them in. They managed to stay open until about 2004 or ’05, when they shut down all but their original stores in California and even – much to my dismay – shut down their online site where I could buy online. For the next few years I could find stuff on eBay, but eventually that dwindled down to nothing, and I did my best to forget they ever existed since it was impossible to get their stuff for quite awhile. I never did totally quit looking for them online, but over the years their styles have changed quite a bit, and their prices have gone even higher, so they’re no longer making anything I want to wear or pay for even when I do find a site online carrying their new stuff. It’s mostly plaid button-ups now, from what I’ve seen, instead of the lovely kurta tops and tunics they used to sell.

You can’t really see it here, but she has on this blue dress that’s amazing, with a longer black and white striped skirt underneath. So cool.

Fast-forward to Grace and Frankie. I found exactly one online interview with the costume designer for the show, and she threw out a couple of names as references for Frankie’s style. I looked those names up, and although they were all very obscure European designers with astronomical prices, somehow I eventually drilled down to a very affordable option – a store called Oh My Gauze, which specializes in, you guessed it, gauze clothing. And, the prices were really affordable. Oh joy! They even had a sale going on when I found them, and so I bought a ton of stuff for around $30 per piece, on average. I don’t think the photos on their website really do their clothing justice – they’re small and awkward and not put together to show entire outfits as much as individual pieces, which doesn’t give the right effect – but there are lots of other photos out there that show them off nicely:



I bought this dress in brown

I also discovered the term Lagenlook, which I’ve used to start up a Pinterest board where I’ve collected some of my favorite photos so far; as you can see, when they say it’s a “layered look,” they mean it – pants under dresses, shirts under other shirts, long-ass vests over long-ass skirts – and yeah, I know. It’s kinda crazy, and borderline weird, and possibly frumpy, and WAY too much if not done properly. When I wore this stuff back in my CP Shades days, there were some people who hated it terribly, and thought that I was dressing “old.” This is a style that is usually called “artsy,” and I guess it’s associated with women of “a certain age,” but I’ve never given a damn about that and I’m not likely to start now. I freaking love this stuff, and I’m thrilled to see and know that it’s an actual style with a name and everything.  Besides, I’m probably the age now that those “older” women were back when I shopped at CP Shades anyway. Believe it or not, I actually think it’s all quite lovely. It’s definitely more common in Europe than in the states, but I was always able to pull it off fairly well, and even now I’ve gotten compliments on what I’ve worn so far. I do have to be careful not to take it to the level of costume, but I’m a pretty good self-editor when it comes to clothing, and I think for the most part I can pull it off like I did before. The dresses are my biggest love right now – which is interesting, since I generally do not wear dresses at all, and stick to straight-leg jeans or pants. But I find these dresses so unique and interesting and yes, pretty, that I can’t get enough of them right now. Even if they keep throwing pants under them in the pictures.




As I said, I just started getting my stuff in the mail, and I am still trying to figure it all out as far as how it’s best for me to wear, and what works best on my frame, but I do want to take some of my own photos eventually. And that last photo was just posted on OMG’s Facebook page a few days ago, as a new style dress they don’t even have up for sale on the site yet, and it’s called – this has to be a sign – the Planet Cynthia Dress, so yeah, More purchases are coming for me soon.

In Stitches (Stitch Fix Pix)

Hey everyone! I’ve not done much in the way of photography, and haven’t done anything relating to wigs (in fact, I went ahead and sold the last wig I bought to review – Stevie by Amore in Chocolate Frost – because I knew someone who wanted it and it was going to take me way too long to get it filmed) because I’m knee deep in work at the moment. But, in a good way. I’m enjoying things so far and finally feel like I’ve got my groove back after going back to work three years ago. Had no idea it would take this long, but whatever. At least the worst is behind me.

However, I did get a new Fix in the mail last week, and Sunday afternoon I finally got a chance to take some quick photos. I do mean quick – I had no makeup on in these shots but did my best to add some in Photoshop, so while I look a little weird, at least my face isn’t naked (Sunday was the first day in awhile that I didn’t have anywhere to be, so I just wasn’t in the mood to put on my face). I not only kept the entire Fix this time, but I upped my shipment frequency from once a month to every 2-3 weeks; Stitch Fix has become the main way I buy clothes now and I hardly ever go out clothes shopping anymore, so I figure why not get my Fixes on a more regular basis. Because why spend money on clothes once a month when you spend more often? I knew you’d understand.

This Fix had a maxi skirt, two sweaters, a circle scarf, and a button-down top. Both of the sweaters were beige, which immediately made me think of Susan Sarandon’s character in The Banger Sisters:

Aside from that, I really like beige sweaters, so I kept them both. I won’t be able to wear them until November, probably, except that every building I walk into, including the school where I work, is always freezing, so I can at least carry them around and throw them on from time to time. Here’s the first one:

Collective Concepts Wulf Open Cardigan, Gilli Allison Printed Maxi Skirt, Ann Taylor Loft Woven Hem Tank in Seafoam, Necklace by Free People, Seville by Noriko wig in Macadamia-LR. “Fang” Double Buckle Flatform sandals (which you can’t really see) by TopShop.

The Allison maxi skirt is also from Stitch Fix; it’s the typical Gilli knit with that awful fold-over waistband that I can’t stand but have learned to tolerate because it’s unavoidable (unless you are tucking in your shirt or wearing a crop top, it just makes your waist look bigger; seriously I don’t get the appeal); aside from that it’s great. It’s very long, and comfortable, and the print is terrific. It’s got a slight A-line so even with my pear shape I can pull it off. The Wulf cardigan sweater is a fairly open-weave knit that’s pretty light and definitely comfortable. Yeah, it’s beige, but I’m sure I’ll wear this one a ton. It also looks interesting from the back:

I’m not sure what happened to my face here – Photoshop, what can I say. 

Next up is a little top I almost sent back, then decided to keep so I could get the 25% discount. I’m not a huge button-down fan, but tops like this are good for work so what the hell.

Fun2Fun Mallorca Henley Top; Ribbon Skirt by Athleta; “Fang” Double Buckle Flatform sandals by TopShop; necklace from Stella & Dot; “Stream” wig by Ellen Wille in Flame Lighted.

The Mallorca top has a pretty narrow cut and it’s a little short on me; it has a shirttail hem that shows my skin on the sides if I lift my arms; the neckline is also a little low for work so I’ll wear a cami underneath it to remedy both issues. It’s a nice print, though, and will go with everything, and although it’s very light it’s not see-through, so you could go without the cami if you wanted to. Due to the narrow fit, it’s a bit hard to get off and on unless you undo the buttons, which I hate doing – my long stiletto nails are fabulous but not very practical for shirt-buttoning. Moving on.

Here’s the other beige sweater:

RD Style Calandra Side Button Hooded Poncho; Alzora Zig Zag Infinity Scarf; Leggings by Hue; Hopewell Moccasin by Free People in Brown; Angelica wig by Noriko in Macadamia-LR. Also, enjoy a rare sighting of my headless cat, Simon – appearances from him are rare, since, as you can imagine, he has a hard time getting around. 

The Hooded Poncho has a bit of an acrylic-sweater feel, but it’s lightweight so it’s not too bad. In fact, it’s so light I thought it might need a cami underneath, but I don’t think it’s quite light enough to be see-through; it’s probably fine without one. The infinity scarf is fabulous; I love the colors and the print, but it’s pretty heavy sweater material and I couldn’t get it to look right doubled and just wore it long. I’ll have to work on that. Plus, it’s August in Texas and hot as hell, so between the sweater and the wig I was already sweltering and couldn’t stand the idea of wrapping any more of that scarf around my neck. Those shoes are fabulous, by the way – Free People still sells them and I’m considering getting two more pair since they’ve come out with some new colors.

All in all, a nice Fix to start of the school year, with a bunch of keepers this time around. We’ll see what the next 2-3 weeks brings…I think I’m due for another box around September 3rd.

Batting an Eye(lash)

Well, we can add a new chapter to my never-ending quest for frivolous, over-priced beauty enhancements. But this time, the results were less than impressive; in fact, they were almost disastrous. Because this time, I decided to try out getting eyelash extensions.

Pretty much the only way I’ll wear extensions again

Usually I have good luck with these sorts of procedures, but of course, I usually do my homework and read up on the possible complications ahead of time so I can make an informed decision. When I finally decided to perm my hair last summer, it was with full awareness that I might fry it to hell and back, or end up looking like a deranged poodle; I’d weighed my options long enough to feel comfortable with whatever outcome I might encounter. I’d also researched the steps needed to provide me with the best chance of success – don’t go cheap, ask questions of the hairstylist and be sure he or she did perms regularly, have a consultation first, etc. I did the same amount of research before getting Botox, or fillers (only did that once and didn’t care for it), or hell, even highlighting my hair a month ago. I know the risks, and I know what to expect when I sit down in a stylist’s chair or doctor’s table. So, while I may not get the results I’m hoping for, at least I’m not surprised by what transpires.

However – about a week ago I read an account from someone I know who’d gotten eyelash extensions, and although I’d heard of them I’d never considered them before. But hers looked so wonderful, and I’d never been able to make glue-on falsies work on me, that it gave me the itch to try them. Remember that word itch, ’cause it’s important later on.

I did do some Googling about them, and mostly read pro-and-con type blog posts about how great they looked, but also how time-consuming and expensive they can be to maintain. Well hell, maintenance isn’t such a big hassle to me if it’s something I really want, so after a few hours of reading I decided to book an appointment at my regular salon to give them a go. My nail salon is a pretty upscale place, so I felt confident that I’d be getting a qualified technician to do the job. The price also indicated professionalism – $200 for a full set, and about $75 for each refill.


The technician was incredibly booked, so I snagged the only upcoming appointment I could get, which was a Tuesday at 5 PM. This just so happened to be two days before school started up for the fall semester, so I knew I’d be really busy, but the thought of having lovely, fabulous lashes for my first day of teaching (the day we also take photos for the yearbook and our staff IDs) was appealing enough for me to set that time aside.

I met with the nail tech, and we discussed maintaining the lashes and what to expect during the procedure. I mentioned to her that my eyes could be sensitive, but usually weren’t, and she told me it was normal to feel a little burn from the glue while the lashes were being applied,  but if the burn turned into real pain I needed to let her know. I agreed to do so, then laid down on the table under a bright light, so she could get to work.

Now – here comes the first part of this process that I had not anticipated: in order to ensure that none of my lower lashes accidentally got stuck to the upper ones, they had to be covered with a pad. After mashing the lower lashes under the pad, which is done by pushing it right up against the waterline, I was to close my eyes so the technician was working with only my upper lashes, which would be resting on top of the white eyepad. However, we had to try six times to get the pad to fit under my eye in a manner that didn’t cause me great discomfort and irritation, as well as making my eyelids flutter and water instead of staying closed.


It was at this point I realized that hey, I really did kinda jump into this without doing my research, because I never get surprised by a part of the process when I try out cosmetic enhancements like this. And this time, I just didn’t bother to do good homework, because I never even saw this coming. How anyone can keep their eyes closed while mashed down on what felt like a piece of paper pushed up against the waterline is beyond me, but the technician said most women don’t have a problem with it. I really was thinking that if I’d known I’d be lying on my back for two hours with pads shoved into my eyes I would have re-thought the entire procedure, but there I was, so I decided to soldier on.

My eyes never did stop watering, not once during the two hours I was getting each individual synthetic lash attached to a real one. I also noticed that I was far less relaxed, and much more chatty in nonsensical, nervous kind of way, than I usually am. I was also wiggly, and uncomfortable, and very nervous – again, not my usual demeanor when doing stuff like this. And the eyes watered on, and yes, they did burn, but that tingly little burn you sometimes get when you apply regular lash glue, the kind that irritates a little but stops when the glue dries, and isn’t that big of a deal.


The last 45 minutes, though, were pure torture. I was thinking things like, OMG I am going to have to insist that she stop now, and asking her repeatedly how much longer we had to go. I was even apologizing constantly for being one of “those” clients who spent the entite time on the table whining and nattering on. It was just…weird, and I kept visualizing the woman sneezing or something and sticking me right in the eye with her little needle. In short, I was freaking out.

When she was finally done and showed me the results in the mirror, I was awestruck. The lashes were gorgeous. I was so pleased I managed to convince myself that my red-ringed eyes would calm down, just as she told me they would, and that the fact these gorgeous lashes felt a bit like pine needles scratching my lids would subside, but once again, I was really doubtful, and nervous, in a manner I am usually not. several times I asked her if they were supposed to feel this way, and she reassured me once again that different people experience different level of discomfort at first, but that in an hour or so it should be fine. She did tell me to be sure and come back in if I wanted them removed, and not to do so at home.

I must admit, they were gorgeous. For about an hour.

To make this already too-long story shorter: I was uncomfortable all evening, and even swallowed a few Benadryl to try and relieve the swollen lids and itchy eyes; but when it came time for bed I found it too uncomfortable to close my eyes. I could just feel those suckers poking at me and scratching my skin.  Then I made what may or may not have been the worst mistake of the night: I Googled “lash extensions irritation” and was bombarded immediately with images of women sporting puffy, swollen-shut eyes, and reading horror story after horror story about the dangers of the procedure.

Normally, even when something doesn’t go the way I would have liked, I accept that and move on in whatever way I must do; this time, I went into a complete panic. My heart was racing, I hyperventilated, I got dizzy and terrified. I calmed myself down by making plans: OK, in the morning if you’re really swollen, you can call in sick and get to a doctor or back to the salon right away, if you’re just still feeling a bit off you can make it through the day and then decide, or maybe you’ll just wake up with these gorgeous lashes and the irritation will have gone away. By running through the options in my mind, I finally calmed myself down enough to fall asleep around 12:30. But then, at 1 AM, I leapt up out of the bed with distinct feeling that my throat was closing up. It was so intense that without even fully waking I ran out of the bedroom into the den where my husband was still up watching TV, panting at him with what little breath I had left that…well, that nothing, because by the time I made it into the den the sensation had stopped, and while I could breathe again, I was panting like a madwoman and clawing at my own chest like I still thought I might die.


I muttered something to Doug about a bad dream, and some mascara I couldn’t wash off (I didn’t tell him about getting the extensions for no real reason except that it didn’t come up, and in hindsight I am so glad I didn’t because he would have given me hell for weeks if he’d known, in light of what happened). I remembered that the technician had said not to get the lashes wet for 48 hours, so I figured that meant it would break down the glue and the lashes might come off; straight to the bathroom sink I went to stick my face in handful after handful of cold water and slowly rub those suckers off. In my Googling before falling asleep I’d read that anything oil-based might also cause them to fall off, so I used both some oil-based makeup remover AND olive oil from the kitchen to weaken the glue further (Doug did not even ask why I dashed into the kitchen for a bottle of olive oil to take with me into the bathroom, which leads me to believe he thought I was experiencing some sort of bizarre sleepwalking episode he didn’t want to interrupt).

It only took about ten minutes, but I managed to snap off every single one of those $200 worth of false lashes – along with most of my natural ones. My eyes were red, puffy, itchy, and ugly as hell all the next day, but honestly I did not even care. The five hours I had those lashes glued on were the most beautiful and excruciating hours of the life of my damn eyes, and I would have done anything after that horrid panic attack to get them off. I managed to get back to sleep around 2:30, then had to get up at 6 AM for work – let me tell you, I looked a hot damn mess that day, but again, I did not even care, because I have never been so relieved to get rid of false eyelashes in my life. I kid you not when I say that I thought those things were going to kill me.


So, it’s off to bed I go again, so I can get up for the first day of school tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to put some makeup on my eyes tomorrow to conceal the lack of lashes, but if not, I’ll just show them the picture of how great I looked for about an hour before it all came crashing down. Let me be a warning to you people – don’t get lazy about doing your research before getting anything done, no matter how simple and harmless it might appear to be. And trust your instincts, not your technician! If it doesn’t feel right, just get on up and tell them no thanks. Your eyelashes will thank you for it later.

PS: I typed this up really fast, so I apologize for typos and lack of clarity or eloquence. I think I’m still shaking off the effects of my brush with death. I also realize the pictures are cheesy, but again, I was in a hurry.

Grin and Hair It

I posted this briefly yesterday, but it was too whiny, so I am trying again this morning. I know there are a lot of people who follow my blog and have hair loss, so I am going to apologize upfront about this post to all of you: I am going to complain about my bio hair  I don’t have hair loss, and I realize it must be obnoxious to hear women without hair loss complain about their perfectly good bio hair, but I am still frustrated, so I apologize for being obnoxious about this.

In fact, I think wigs have spoiled me a bit when it comes to dealing with my own hair. I always wore my hair pixie-short, until I started wearing long wigs; then I realized oh wow, I can look really good in long hair! So, I started growing mine out. I’ve spent several years doing it, too, and all along I’ve been telling myself that when it gets to some certain, magical, future length – it will start to look as awesome as, say, Angelica, or even something more tame like Star Quality. The reason it didn’t look amazing yet was simply that it hadn’t gotten long enough.

Except that, it really is a length now where if it was going to look amazing, it would by now, and it doesn’t. It’s not horrible, but it is baby fine, and it’s limp. It’s hair that would definitely look better if it were shorter than it currently is. So, okay. I have fine, limp hair, that would look much better short but I am not yet willing to cut all this length I’ve worked so hard to get (if not cutting one’s hair for five years can be considered hard work). So I don’t like that my shoulder-length hair looks flat instead of full and has no bounce, but I can accept it for now to keep some length and have something different for awhile.

But, my hair is also very dark, and I know from my wig wearing that I look better with lighter hair – so surely that’s something chemicals can correct, yes? So, Tuesday I went to a hair appointment that I’d been looking forward to for a week, because I was going to say to hell with keeping my hair natural and color it to death. I found loads of beautiful photos of caramel-and-blonde highlighted brunettes, showed them to my stylist, and we set to work. Allow me here to show you the photo that best represents what I was hoping for – color only, obviously:


And by the way, yes, that does look like a rather complex collection of colors on one head, but this stylist is one I’ve known for at least ten years, and although I have not colored my hair in the past five, when I was coloring my hair all the time she is who I used. She was always very skilled with color and my hair came out at least this amazing every time, if not more so. She put some fantastic colors on my hair over the years. Moving on.

It took about 45 minutes just to get all the dye slathered on, and about 30 minutes later we washed it out. I am blind as a bat without my glasses, and of course I take my glasses off while my hair is being cut and colored, so I didn’t get the big reveal until everything was over two hours after sitting down in her chair. Allow me to show you first what my hair looked like before the cut and color:

Photo Jul 21, 1 14 19 PM

And now, the after:

Photo Jul 21, 5 07 11 PM

Yeah, you’re seeing that correctly. It looks exactly the same.

Since my hair was virgin hair (no dye or other chemicals), my stylist believed she could treat it like hair that had never been colored before, and go easy on, I dunno, whatever it is colorists go easy on when dying virgin hair. And it did not take at all. So, she cut and styled it while I sat there blindly thinking everything was going according to plan, and it was a HUGE disappointment when I took my first look and saw not only the same color but what appeared to be the same cut as well.


Photo Jul 21, 5 39 01 PM

I actually don’t think the cut is too far off, really; the model is probably 21 years old at most, with much fuller hair, so something may have just gotten lost in translation to my baby-fine mop and it didn’t do anything to give it a boost. And hair dye often changes the texture of fine hair and makes it more coarse, so it has added body, and I guess since the dye didn’t take I didn’t get any benefit from that either. So this was seriously disappointing all around. But, I’m going back Friday so we can try again, so this will all be corrected soon.

Anyway – the point of all this? Is that I had NO IDEA how surreal it would be to sit in a salon chair for two hours with no inkling of what’s going on only to finally see the results and be starting back at THE EXACT SAME PERSON I was before you sat down. It was so bizarre, I actually looked around for the hidden cameras. Where did all that hair dye go? What was all that snipping and blowdrying about? Am I dreaming? Have I gone insane? Granted, it would have been much worse to see the big reveal and have it be fried, or bright orange, or cut up over my ears on one side, but that is at least a story we’ve all heard before, and have probably experienced ourselves once or twice. This? Was just too freaky for words. And I couldn’t help but over-analyze, just a bit, why it was so disappointing to look into a mirror and just see me. Sheesh, what a downer! I mean, it was only because I was so built up to see something different, but still. I had to check in with my self-esteem for a minute to be sure I wasn’t suddenly spiraling into self-hate. But no, I just wanted pretty highlights, and I didn’t get them; I think my self-esteem is still OK.

Anyway, I’m looking forward now to Friday, when I get to do this whole process over again and, hopefully, come out the other side with a different look. Shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll see how it goes.