A print from hubby’s dresser drawer

I guess it’s the cabin fever, but I’m already looking ahead, past the 8″ of snow, and into the sunny future. Here’s one item that sparked a warm weather print obsession for me, I literally can’t stop thinking of new ways to wear this.

…Because I never thought I’d ever really fall for camoflauge print, or “cami” as it’s called in our house. My hubby, former Marine, wears it regularly. My sons both love cami. It’s one pattern I see plenty of, and yet? This XCVI brand, full-length skirt stole my heart, why? I don’t know.

The fabric is silky smooth, and the ruched panels add a delicacy to the masculinity of the print — I do like to play with blending masculine and feminine in my wardrobe. And I can’t seem to get away for long from my love of a long hem, be that a maxi dress, or a skirt like this.

First, I imagined myself in my black camisole, black & chunky Candies sandals, and my bright yellow Choo purse. Or my black ankle booties, a white wife beater, and a black purse. Then, I imagined my thin yellow tshirt over a white camisole, and yellow wedges with a white purse.

And that’s about the point that the beauty of cami finally hit me. It can be worn with nearly any color, not just a “jungle palette,” and you can make it work. I guess I’m channeling my inner Gwen Stefani (circa 1994).

It’s the only camoflauge I’ve got in the closet for me (so far) but I have to admit to loving it, for some odd reason, right now. Urban chic? Military street wear? Not usually my cuppa. Curious, I looked up more info on the designer.

Here’s a quote from the XCVI website, “Itching to expand her horizons beyond theater direction and acting, Gita Zeltzer began conceptualizing XCVI in the mid 1990s. She was influenced by the multi-layered cultural element of Los Angeles, California, and she saw the “urban chaos” as a muse. …It was in 1996 (or XCVI, in roman numerals) that Gita introduced the first season of XCVI from a storefront on the famed Melrose Avenue.”

Well, I do love to find new designers. For now, I’ll stick with just a hint of cami in the closet. (Although, I was daydreaming today of a harem pant/drawstring capri in cami. Something I could wear to show off my calves and high heels? Pair it with a halter style top?)

When I can’t stop thinking about it, that tells me something.

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 11:19 am  Comments (3)  

Almighty results?

It’s officially one month since I began my skin care experiment. Results time! My goals were:

  • 2 15-minute sessions with the Almighty daily
  • Morning and evening facial scrubs with Pond’s cold cream, using my electric spin brush thingy
  • GNC’s Hair, Nails and Skin vitamins daily
  • L’oreal’s Revitalift skin lotion twice daily
  • 32 ounces of water (cheapest, but hardest for me to stick with)
  • I’ve faithfully used the Almighty — usually one 15-minute session a day, sometimes twice — and only missed 2 days in the past month. The results fom my $40 LED wand were more impressive at 4 weeks, which is disheartening, but I still see improvement, so not so disheartening that I’ve discontinued use. However, with the wand, I would place it directly against my skin, and I bask in the Almighty’s light, about 6-8″ from the lights themselves. This could lessen the results, but I’m sticking with it. (Click the pic for the best ebay price I could find, if you’re in the mood to shop).

    The Pond’s cold cream and electric spinning brush ($24) is by far the most effective part of the regimen. I credit this for my really smooth, velvety cheeks and brighter complexion. The spinning brush is a wicked good buy, I’ve had mine for over 2 years and it’s still going strong.

    The GNC vitamins do seem to be working, but I’m noticing hair growth and slightly stronger nails more than anything. Bravo ho HannahM got me all excited about the power of biotin, and after these vitamins run out, I’m gonna try plain, OTC biotin vitamins. But, my hair is brushing my forearms again!

    L’oreal’s Revitalift lotion is interesting. Love that it moisturizes without causing breakouts (as usually happens when I use facial lotions regularly). Maybe the Almighty’s blue LEDs are working too? Dries light on the skin, not greasy. But, I don’t love that there’s no SPF, so I can’t use this for on days I’m going outside.

    And water? Sure it helps, but can you quantify how water helps? I didn’t think so either, but I still know it’s good for me, and for my skin. I know, I should drink more than 32 oz. a day, but give me credit for trying.

    What’s next? I’ve gone to my dermatologist for my tri-annual mole exam, and updated my Tretinoin (generic Retinol) facial cream prescription. Last time, I used the lotion for all of 2 weeks before finding out I was pregnant (and Retinol products are a HUGE NO NO during pregnancy and nursing!) So let’s hope this time I can use it long enough to see good results. Tretinoin is known to show modest results in only one month, and continuous improvement for up to one year.

    Overall? Minor wrinkle diminishment (not as much as hoped). No breakouts, no zits (which I expected, so pleasantly surprised there). Big time improvement on clarity, brightness and texture though! And, my experiment has helped me set better daily habits that I hope to continue with throughout the year.

    As for the Almighty? I’m still using it! And still glad I bought it, even without the drastic 30-day results I hoped for. But I’ll check back in at the end of February and let you know.

    (And yes, poppy… I’m looking less blowzy too. I’m not acting any less blowzy, though).

    Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 11:23 am  Comments (8)  
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    Chanel No. 5, a love story

    The perfume that launched a thousand ad campaigns? Perhaps, but Chanel No. 5 has been in continuous production since its 1921 launch, and the company estimates that somewhere in the world, a bottle is sold every 55 seconds.

    It was the Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, who introduced Coco to the perfumer Ernest Beaux in 1920 on a trip to Cannes, where the couple visited his laboratory. Originally intended as a Christmas present to her best clients and limited to 100 flacons, Chanel understood the marketability of exclusivity. The hard-to-find scent soon became the most coveted perfume for her devotees, and bottles poured off the production line.

    The bottle’s shape was a departure from the norm, as most perfumes of the time were packaged in ornately decorative bottles shaped as birds, or flowers. Chanel’s art deco minimalism has never been changed, and it is purported that the flacon’s origination was inspired by a men’s toiletry item belonging to Chanel’s only love, Arthur “Boy” Capel.

    Why the 5? Some say it was the 5th concoction during testing that ended up being the right combination of scents for Chanel’s taste. Others insist Chanel herself chose 5 because it was her lucky number — she staged her fashion shows on the 5th day of the 5th month.

    The scent — a mix of jasmine, May rose, ylang ylang, iris, sandalwood and vetiver — remains one of the most recognizable in the world. Perhaps the most famous Chanel No. 5 quote ever was uttered by the legendary Marilyn Monroe. When asked what she wore to bed, her response was, “Five drops of Chanel No. 5.” And it was Coco herself who said a woman should wear her perfume “wherever she wishes to be kissed.”

    (This blog entry is dedicated to my first bottle of Chanel No. 5, received last week, and my instaneous infatuation for it).

    Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 7:23 am  Comments (2)  
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    Glycollic peels? Mud masks? What if you could do both with just one inexpensive, organic, centuries-old ayurvedic product?

    Since I’m obsessed with skin care this month, I’m sharing another of my home staples — amla, the Hindi word for the plant called Indian Gooseberry, and I’ve been hooked on it since my 2007 introduction at a henna conference.

    Unlike henna, when amla is mixed with water, it does not dye the skin but uses the power of the plant’s vitamin C to slough off dead skin cells, encouraging cell turnover. The plant’s ascorbic acid works gently, and is safe enough to use daily, if desired.

    When I do an amla mask, I mix about a tablespoon of powder with hot-warm water (heat helps the acid release faster into your “mud”). Typically, one can wear their mask for 10-15 minutes, but I leave the mud on for about 45 minutes — a time period I stumbled upon by accident when I received an emergency, hand-holding phone call from a girlfriend one day, and didn’t rinse off the mask as quickly as usual. It does turn my face a slight pink from the long exposure to the acid, which didn’t happen at 10 minutes of wear, but I find the results are worth the time and it has never burned my skin, nor made it feel overly sensitive (unlike a few spa-induced glycollic peels in my past that burned and nearly scarred me!)

    Amla can be hard to find, and is sold most often as an herbal cure in caplet form. You’ll want the powder form for facial masks, but beware of boxes in herb stores, they may be several years old & like any plant or spice, potency decreases with time. Like henna, amla is sold as a hair conditioning product, but unlike henna, it doesn’t dye your hair. (And no, I’ve not tried it on my hair because I henna my hair every 4-6 weeks, and that’s enough hair-mud in my world).

    Henna Caravan is a great online supplier, if I’ve peaked your curiousity — one $7 box can last for months. Wicked good & insanely cheap! What’s not to love?

    Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 9:58 am  Comments (1)  
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    House of Chloe

    In 1952, Jacque Lenoir and Gaby Aghion opened the house of Chloe with a vision of deluxe, ready-to-wear designs that would epitomize modern femininity. Five years after the introduction of Dior’s “New Look,” the timing was ideal for a new vision in women’s fashion, and while feminine designs have always been the company’s bon mot, the designers for the house have changed the expression of their company’s vision extensively over the past five decades.

    Perhaps their most notable designer, Karl Lagerfeld, took Chloe in new directions and popularized the line tremendously during his tenure. In the early 70’s, having become the chief designer, Lagerfeld’s “hippie couture” vision of slip dresses, flowy blouses and long skirts brought customers flocking. Lagerfeld left in 1983, but returned in 1992, and his resurgence of hippie couture fit perfectly with the decade’s resurgence in 60’s nostalgia. Using prints that harkened to the bygone era, Lagerfeld’s vision introduced Chloe to a new generation of fashionistas.

    Upon Lagerfeld’s departure in 1997, Stella McCartney took the position of lead designer. Her distinctly romantic touches such as using antique lace and glass buttons, while still maintaining the sharper lines and modern tailoring consumers craved, brought Chloe back to the hearts (and into the closets) of many.

    Chloe’s vision was taken into an entirely new evolution of design with the appointment of Paulo Melim Andersson as creative designer in 2006. Andersson describes the new Chloe girl as “angry, but funny-angry.” Whether his vision of Chloe will continue to impress consumers remains to be seen.

    Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 7:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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    Project Runway season 7

    The new season of Project Runway is about to start this week, and I almost forgot. That should sum up my feelings on the matter, entirely.

    Most of the fans that I hear from agree. Last season was so borrrrring, and moving back to NYC for this season may put Tim Gunn in a better mood — Tim was downright *cranky* being forced to live in L.A. and the horror of capris, not to mention subjecting himself to wearing flipflops, even for the beach shoot, which must have been a first. It may also result in Michael Kors and Nina Garcia showing up more often for judging, instead of random celebrities and Marie Claire editors.

    But, will it be enough to save the show from the brink of catatonia?

    We shall see….

    …I sat here another 4 minutes trying to think of more things to say, but honestly? Ennui, baby. ‘Nuff said.

    Published in: on January 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Almighty Photon Tender Skin

    ‘Tis the season for self-improvement, and I’m about halfway through my own skin experiment. For Christmas, I ordered a red/blue LED light anti-wrinkle, anti-acne gadget and upon opening my present, I found it came with some amusing directions.

    I really love reading pamphlets written by non-English speakers. You know it’s gonna be a good read when the name they use for the device you’ve just bought is: The Almighty Photon Tender Skin, a.k.a. “The Almighty” by hubby and I. One of my favorite skin conditions you can expect to be rid of, according to the directions, is the mysterious condition they call “blowzy face.”

    I have no idea what blowzy face is, but it’s become my new favorite word. As in, “Here comes Ole Blowzy Face!” or, “Well, am I looking less blowzy yet?”

    I’ve resolved myself to a strict skin care regimen for the next 30 days, with the hopes that the results I’m sure to see in are the kind that I can keep up with.

    • 2 15-minute sessions with the Almighty daily
    • Morning and evening facial scrubs with Pond’s cold cream, using my electric spin brush thingy
    • GNC’s Hair, Nails and Skin vitamins daily
    • L’oreal’s Revitalift skin lotion twice daily
    • 32 ounces of water (cheapest, but hardest for me to stick with)

    I’ve even made a chart to fill in every day with tallies for the items I managed to complete, to help me to stay motivated. I started on Christmas day, and so far I’ve seen smoother skin within a few days, and a brighter complexion within one week. The wrinkles look a wee bit lessened, but it’s too early to tell.

    Down With Blowzy Face! Love thy Almighty!

    Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 8:46 am  Comments (1)  
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