Going Through the Motions

You know those weeks when you are so damn productive you can’t even believe it yourself? Like your home is clean and tidy, the dishes never pile up, not only are your clothes clean- they are put away. You somehow manage to channel Julia Child because all 7 of your dinners are the best you have ever made. Your child(ren) is/are not just on time but early for school/soccer/dance/piano- And your lovie is loved. You know those weeks- you got it going on and there is no stopping you…

Organized-Kitchen3

Well, that wasn’t my week last week.

stack-dirty-dishes

I was doing good to just hang on and try to survive whatever life threw at me. I did not have much going on at all but it felt like the weight of the world was resting on my shoulders. Those kinds of weeks I become a hermit- where I just kind of crawl into my shell and peek out only if I am forced. There is nothing wrong with being a hermit- it’s just that’s not my normal M.O.

But, here’s the deal- just like I need those super productive weeks- I need those down weeks. I need those weeks that I simply just go through the motions. This thought kinda seems counter-intuitive but, they give me a chance to reload, if you will.

The Alabama Music Hall Of Fame’s 13th Induction Banquet & Awards - ShowI sometimes get caught up keeping up- not necessarily with the Joneses but with what I perceive as what society expects. It can be so overwhelming taking stock of how and where I am supposed to be- it gets too heavy to carry, my mind just kind of forces me to step back- and regroup- it is most certainly a subconscious decision. It is a depressive state because I do not always embrace it but rather fight it. It is not a place in my head that I particularly relish nor enjoy and it is frightening to think that I may not emerge on the other side. But, when I do- it is like Springtime in my head.

These down days and weeks also help me understand how people can get so trapped in their own heads as to slide further and further into a dark hole. The way I help myself out is to retreat from life and try my hardest to take stock of reality. During these times, I just focus on the minimum of what has to be done- knowing that I will come back and pick of the pieces of the periphery later.

And that, in a nutshell, is what happened to me last week. Do you ever experience times like these? What helps you regroup and get a new perspective?

young love signature

Where we party 

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest

A FTTDWYW Recommendation for Vintage Hair Enthusiasts: The Gold N Hot Hair Bonnet

I’ve mentioned before my complex relationship with my hair. It has only been within the last several years that I have really developed an understanding and positive relationship with it. I attribute my hair-acceptance to three things: the internet, flat-iron advancement, and a love of vintage hairstyles. Although I certainly have favorite aesthetic eras, every bygone period has had stylistic movements that I think are applicable either to present day trends or that resonate with your individual style preferences.

"The Weaker Sex," illustration by Charles Dana Gibson“The Weaker Sex,” illustration by Charles Dana Gibson

During a period where I was teaching myself how to create finger-waves and pin curls (2006-2009), I uncomfortably slept many a wet-headed night with my hair bound and structured by varied pins, clamps, and curlers. All the research suggested that curls/styles pinned from a wet-set and air dried lasted the longest. Since this method was the only way to truly achieve these styles, quality sleep was hindered once again by curiosity/vanity. I would awaken and uncurl each curl like a present on Christmas morning. They were always merph-ed or malformed… you know… because I had slept on them. No matter how I padded, or slept with my neck kinked, I could not get the results I wanted from this method. Trying it during the day yielded some nostalgic scarf wearing, middling results, and took forever.

laydies

I remember thinking during this period, that, “if only I had an ole-timey air bonnet, my hair problems would be solved.” I researched modern stand-alone units and even found some vintage options… but all of them either took up premium space, which I didn’t have, or were too cost prohibitive when balanced against the potential passing whim-nature of hobbies. In the end, I rarely attempted the styles through that method again, because the time invested was just too precious. No longer. Problem solved.

goldorFlash to December 2014, with Josh and I waiting to be seated outside one of our favorite restaurants in Studio City– Jinya Ramen. Since almost all of the greatest restaurants in Los Angeles can be found in a strip mall, to fill the 20-minute wait time, I ducked into the Sally’s Beauty Supply next door. Scoping out the wares, I spied the Gold N’ Hot Hair Bonnet on the bottom shelf of the ‘Sale’ section. I remembered my long-ago wish for an affordable/efficient/collapsible solution. At $8, the price of admission for the experiment was right, so it came home with me– after delicious Ramen, of course.

3_D_Straight_Book_VH_with_reflection_Layers_Christmas__34930_1420843905_500_659

I pulled my dog-eared copy of the gold-standard tome Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step-by-Step Techniques by Lauren Rennells. If you are a vintage hair enthusiast, then you probably already know all of this, but for those interested in vintage-hair styling her book and blog are pretty flawless. For my experiment, after washing my hair,  I chose a basic, 40’s-style, peek-a-boo bang pin-curl pattern and got to  work.  Whether you are using a curling iron, hot-rollers, blow-dryer, or magic, if you want uniformed curls, you are going to spend SOME time prepping each curl.  Pin curling, once you get the hang of it, is just like those other methods.

gold2editAs I have an unreasonable amount of hair, any kind of styling takes me longer, just from the sheer density. Once I got my hair prepped and pinned (20 minutes), I slid the Gold N Hot Bonnet over my head with the elephant trunk end going over my hair dryer. It quickly inflated warmly around my head, sounding like a wind tunnel and reminding me of younger times spent under many a chair of the finest hair-stylists in Franklin County. Josh insisted I take a picture to document the ridiculousness. Hey! I’m also sporting a failed proto-type, for this t-shirt mod!  Proving once again, never practice a t-shirt mod on a shirt you LOVE. And, if you look hard, you can peep my lamp shade cover from here!

I decided to take the blow-drying time to write for the blog and prep a Fun Foto Friday segment. After 45 minutes on my blow dryers correct setting, I felt my curls to see if they were dry. I was extremely skeptical since some of my curls in the back (the hard to reach areas) were probably thicker than suggested. Surprisingly, still pinned, the curl felt dry. Though, my head was never uncomfortably hot. Having learned that the secret to any hair-curling success is to wait until the curl cools to set it, I let my hair cool down.

Like a fine piece of meat, or a cake from the oven, after 10-minutes, my hair was cool enough to handle. I gently removed the pins and unrolled each curl– without styling (below, left). I then styled it appropriately through careful brushing and was so tickled with my results (below, right).

curl collage

Apologies for the weird lighting. To continue the food analogy, this method of hair-curling is like braising: lower temperature for longer duration yields delicious results. The curls lasted for well over a week (I shower regularly, but wash hair every other week-ish) and also like braising, each day, the leftover curls kept getting better and better. In telling my mom about my curl success and my usage of an air bonnet, she revealed that she also had a hair-bonnet dryer in the sixties… proving, once again, that what once was old is new again.

Are you a vintage hair enthusiast? Do you like t-shirt mods? Is there a style from a bygone era that catches your fancy? As always, let us know in the comments!

signaturexo

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest

Be Your Best Valentine

I want to share with you a conversation I had with my BFF about a week ago- the topic of conversation was the cover of the new Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Have you seen it?

Hannah-Davis-2014-SI-Swimsuit-cover-

 

Hannah Davis is a beautiful young woman- seriously. The swimsuit she is rocking is pretty cute. I really like the black lace over colored fabric detail- whatever it’s technical term.

But.

But. I can almost see her vagina hoo-ha! Now, I know this 2015 and her body is bangin’ but- I mean, this is a little much. She is dangerously close to a wardrobe malfunction! My BFF and I talked about how we would feel if that were our daughter… and we even talked about the image it projected for sons. There is no doubt that sex sells.

Playboy-January 2As a reference, I looked to see what the January 2015 Playboy cover looked like… Now, this is another example of a beautiful scantily-clad young woman, Rachel Mortenson. She is topless- dare I say that her arm covers as much as the typical string bikini? Yes. And her hoo-ha is pretty well covered. And this is Playboy.

I have to clarify that my BFF and I are not prudes. We are totally open to women flaunting their bodies. Sexy is sexy. We both have been known to show a little skin ourselves- but, neither of us were okay with how precariously close Ms. Davis came to a public display of her hoo-ha.

So, I have been thinking about this conversation off and on for the last week or so- and thinking about what it means to love your body- no matter the shape or size. Two things- 1. I think there is a separation in loving your inner self and loving your outer self. 2. It must take a world of body image confidence to pose for any magazine in a bikini (or less) for any magazine- especially one like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. For Reals.

American society does not always laud the beauty of those in the plump to round category. Everything I have is plump to round! We are indoctrinated to know that slim and trim is beautiful and anything else is not so beautiful. So, it can be a struggle for me to love my outer self. And it can be a struggle not to constantly be striving to get into, ahem, a smaller size pair of jeans.

I read this article several months ago and recently came across it again- Things No One will Tell Fat Girls… So I Will by the Militant Baker. The article is great and her Body Imagine Project is beautiful. It displays women as they are- but, I am in no way trying to glorify being overweight- no more than I am trying to glorify being slim and trim. Neither is the Militant Baker. At the end of the day- I am trying to glorify getting comfortable in your skin and loving yourself as you are- and. It’s really in everybody’s best interest to strive to be healthy- mentally and physically.

Just like the scantily clad cover models, I am the most beautiful when my confidence flows from the inside out. It is in this way that I can be my best Valentine. Sometimes that means being okay wearing a size clothing I never wanted to wear again or that not every hair on my head is in place. I guess, cutting myself some slack. So- I totally encourage you to think about being your best Valentine- maybe cutting yourself some slack.

young love signature

P.S. What did you think about the new SI Swimsuit issue? How would you feel if that was your daughter?

P.P.S.

a Valentine

Where we Party! 

 

 

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest

Stuck Glass Lifehack: Better Living Through Science!

science

During a recent spate of particularly uninspired dish washing, I stacked a glass into a mug to make more room on the counter. When I finally got around to doing the dishes, I found that no matter how I tried, I could not get the two unstuck. As the mug was one of my favorites and the tumbler was the last from my first set of glassware in college (Polo Club, whatWHAT), I did not want to just toss the conjoined monstrosity. After manhandling the pair to the point where I was afraid of breaking one/the other– or worse–slicing my hand open,  I soaked them in hot, soapy water hoping to lubricate the situation. No luck. Somewhere in the back of my brain, an echo of a memory about the trick having something to do with temperature fluctuation fluttered to the surface, and I placed the mug/glass in the freezer hoping the cold would constrict the glass allowing for removal. Again, no dice. To the internet, I went!

Turns out, I was soooo close. I just needed to combine the cold and hot. The awesome website Lifehacker (filled with all kinds of goodies) took me to a link from the good people over at Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen (a trusted purveyor of kitchen/recipe wisdom– seriously, buy their cookbook).

If you don’t have time to watch the video, Lifehacker.com summarizes it thusly:

“Most of us just kind of wiggle them a little until we break the seal and then slide them apart, but there’s always that tense moment when you’re worried you might break them. America’s Test Kitchen has a better way: fill the top glass with a little ice, and then put the bottom glass into a sink or bowl of warm water. Give it a second or two to work, and the difference in temperatures between the two will cause the bottom one to expand a little and the top one to contract a little. (This is the same principle behind why running a stuck jar lid under warm water makes it easier to open.) It’s not much movement, but it’s enough to get the two apart safely, without much force and without worrying about breaking glass.”

Sure enough. I filled my top glass with ice and added some water to speed the chilling and poured warm (not boiling) water from a recently used tea kettle into the bottom mug and presto… within 8 seconds, the pair separated!

You guys know how much I love a good lifehack, so I just had to share! Isn’t science the best! Do you still have pieces from original sets? What tricks have you used to get something unstuck? As always, let us know!

sigedit

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest

DIY Star Costume for Baby Bub

Y’all. I don’t write very often about Baby Bub because I am no where near qualified to give parenting advice! However, there are some really awesome bloggers out in the blogasphere that blog about parenting that are so awesome- so relate-able and so on point. As always, Pinterest is a great platform to find these bloggers.

However, I had a parenting quandary and after trolling Pinterest and rewording my search over and over, I could not come up with a tutorial that I could do. I think I have gotten ahead of myself. First things first- Baby Bub started going to pre-school in the Fall. It was the best decision for everybody involved. Seriously. He started in a home daycare and ended up transferring to a parochial preschool. We love his school. We love his teachers and we love the director. Baby Bub currently goes 2 days a week but starting in the Fall, he will go 3 days a week.

I could wax and wan all day about why preschool is so awesome for us- but, that’s not what I want to do. I want to say, that Baby Bub’s preschool did a Christmas programs that was so precious and Baby Bub (along with his entire class) was a star. The school sent word home that the parents were responsible for creating the costumes. Okay, Baby Bub is my first (and only) child and this is my first time at bat on this costume business.

My neighbor, Alece- her youngest son is in Baby Bub’s class too. So, she had to do a star costume for him too. She texted me one morning saying she was going to Wal-Mart to get the stuff for her son’s costume- that afternoon she was texting me pictures of her little lovie in his absolutely fabulous star costume. Seriously. He looked like a million dollars!

So, I went back to trolling Pinterest- very little inspiration on the star costume front! I asked Alece is she minded me copying her idea. She gave me permission to copy-cat her. Now, I did not follow her idea to a T- she reinforced her costume with duct tape- I skipped that step. Also, she has amazing art skillz (she’s all-over awesome)- and although I am crafty, I am not artsy. But, I do think Baby Bub was a bright and shinning star- I am biased though.

I want to share this star costume idea- all you basically need are 2 thick poster boards, Christmas tree garland, scissors and hot glue and hot glue gun. Wal-Mart had this brilliantly sparkly thick poster boards and it was Christmas time so they had the garland as well. I just free-hand drew a star and well, it wasn’t perfect- I was okay with that. After Alece finished laughing at my stars, she said the way to draw a perfect star is to use a circle. Now, I know. :)

star cut outs

And then I just used my hot glue gun to hot glue the garland to the edge of both stars.

edges

And when they were both outlined, I flipped them over and used garland to create 2 shoulder straps.

upside down stars

Now, there was a hat part of this costume but Baby Bub would have no part of it- I did find another model though.

hat model

And I have to say, that Baby Bub’s costume worked just great— considering he was not 100% on board with wearing it!

Star Costume

 

Have you entered the wonderful world of making costumes for school yet? Does your child(ren) like to dress up? What are some of your best costume ideas? As always, we want to hear about them.

November signature

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest

Be Calm, Lovers of Casabella Gloves… For Now, at Least…

spongeI’ve made no secret of my love for Casabella Waterstop Premium Gloves on this blog– in fact, I have proclaimed quite loudly my undying brand loyalty. Which is why, when rumblings of a Casabella Waterstop Premium Gloves shortage started, I freaked out and went in search for answers.

I caught my first whiff of the rumors through the comment section on my original blog post, “A Glove Letter to Casabella“.  As it turns out, I am not alone in my obsession with these gloves (which I love). People started reporting them missing from the shelves of their local Bed, Bath, and Beyond store. I thought, “surely not! Hadn’t I just seen them at mine?” Turns out, I guess I hadn’t. After checking my local store during the holiday shopping season, I, too, found them missing. While checking an Amazon.com Wish List of a friend for a Christmas present, I noticed that she had the gloves on her list– which I took as a compliment as I had introduced her to them some years earlier. I was horrified, though, when I saw the price from the gloves ranged from $32-$66/a pair. They normally retail for $13, so I knew something truly was up. Comments started coming in claiming rogue websites offering the gloves (which are now also out of stock) and eBay prices upwards of $90. After checking their website and finding them listed as “Currently Out of Stock”, I went straight to the horses mouth.

After publishing my original blog post (September 2013), I tweeted the link to Casabella’s Twitter account in a blatant attempt of blog-promotion and in genuine appreciation for such an amazing product. They responded and I’ve been following them ever since. And, sure enough, after inquiring about the glove shortage, they promptly alleviated any concerns.

casabedHuzzah. In fact, their Twitter account tweeted about the outcry from their glove-lovin’ fans just today!

cas

*breathes sigh of relief then immediately tweets them*

After using Playtex’s inferior, subpar knock-off over the holidays at home, I can say that these gloves can’t come back soon enough. Now that I am back in California, I am using my last/current pair of Casabella gloves delicately and with great caution. These gloves are truly sponge-worthy!

Are you a diehard fan of a particular product? Do you like Seinfeld references? Have you used Casabella products? As always, let us know in the comment section!

piersignature

 

Pin ItFollow Me on Pinterest