Hair Woe

I don’t know how much of this has been obvious – my photographs tend to be at a distance – but I have been having some huge hair problems the past few weeks/months.

I don’t even know when it began. I have a lot of issues with most shampoos, because SLS breaks out my skin pretty badly. I used Lush’s one SLS-free shampoo, I Love Juicy, for awhile, but it’s not meant to be used daily. I looked to the drugstore for SLS free options. I started using Garnier Fructis this fall, and I think my problems started after that. When they became noticeably worse in December, I switched to -ology, which was on sale at Walgreens and was all about being SLS and paraben free. Nope. Bad bad bad. It went from, “This isn’t great” to “This is horrible!!”

Basically, my normally well behaved hair had turned into a greasy oil slick. Even just after a shower, it wasn’t clean. When I’d touch my hair, it felt waxy and left residue on my fingers! My brushes and combs were a messy, sticky, white mess. I was so confused. I hadn’t changed anything – I’ve never used product. I don’t even use conditioner! – but I worked harder to rinse it out. I used less. I started skipping days for hairwashing. Nothing worked.

I wondered if it was scalp issues – in years past, I’ve flaked so badly I couldn’t wear black, but that hadn’t been an issue this year. Still, I did some research and found Trader Joe’s tea tree shampoo and started it.  Dude, check out the ingredient differences between it and -ology!!!!

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Clearly there are other chemicals that my body can’t handle! After a few weeks, it was maybe better – less white stuff on my combs, still waxy to the touch.  It was pretty distressing. Research has netted some suggestions on why – stress, hormones, hard water – but not a lot of solutions.  In desperation, I decided to follow the “no-poo” regimen. I washed with a sludge of baking soda and water and then did an apple cider vinegar rinse.

And glory be, my hair is back!!! I don’t know if I want to stick with it as my main regimen, but maybe once a week? Or maybe I’ll mix some baking soda in with my Trader Joe shampoo once or twice a week? I’m certainly not using GF or -ology shampoo ever again – lots of complaints online about Pantene doing this, but never those brands. Still, they clearly don’t agree with me.

Of course, now that I’ve managed to get all buildup out of my hair, it’s super flyaway!! My poor, poor bangs.

I got a little nervous today when my bangs/crown seemed oily again, so I added some baking soda to my shampoo tonight. I guess we’ll see what happens. Fingers crossed.

 

Julep!

Julep has long been sending me emails about the Maven boxes. I love the idea, but that’s a lot of nail polis being sent to me. I was intrigued by their chemical-less formulas, but $14 for a tiny bottle made me cringe.

Then came their post-Christmas sale! Tiny bottles for $2, $3 or $4? Bring it on!!!

I’ve been looking for a sheer-ish champagne color since the Lizzie Bennet Diaries last spring. Enter Ellie and Lois.

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Lois is the browner shade on my fourth nail, Ellie is on the others. They are very similar in color. Lois only took two coats and has lasted a week with no chipping and a tiny bit of wear. Ellie took three or four and has major chipping on my right hand and a tiny bit on my left hand. I didn’t use top coat, though.

I wanted a bit of sheen and shine that wouldn’t show chipping for my adventure this week, and this was exactly what I needed. I do love them both – I think Ellie especially looks best with short nails, which I don’t often have, but I plan to use it anyway. I think it’ll go better with touch ups (I didn’t bring the polish with me) and top coats along the way.

Now, would I pay $14 for these? Unsure. I’ll let you know after I’ve tested the amazing copper penny color I also bought, to test out pigmentation.

Lush! JCrew!

First, a revelation. You GUYS. Sebacious Filaments are a thing. They are not blackheads! They are permanent and not actually a problem. (Google image examples.) This sort of blows my mind and changes my perspective.

Last time I was at Lush, I grabbed a sample of of Dark Angels for my mother and I. I used Angels on Bare Skin for a very long time and it always was lovely. This is a little stronger, a sort of sugar scrub, and it did a fabulous job exfoliating. (Also, a sample pot gave us at least 4 uses, which, wow. You don’t need a lot.) I don’t think this is a good every day for me, but once or twice a week? Wow. Good things for my skin. It did even more for my mother’s.

I also grabbed some Sacred Truth, which isn’t my favorite fresh mask (either Love Lettuce or BB Seaweed), but it does a great job cleansing and moisturizing. I love Lush.

So I hit JCrew at the outlet mall last week. I’ve always liked the look of their matchstick jeans, but didn’t think that they’d fit me. I was sort of right, but not really. I first grabbed 30s, and they fit, but so well that they’d probably be big as they stretched through the day. I also thought they widened too much at the ankle. I tried the matchstick cords and preferred the cut but they puddled at the ankle (and they were cranberry and I wondered if they were too 70s). I think in the end, a 29 short would have worked in either, but I did not find those and I was getting annoyed.

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Matchstick jeans

I also hit Famous Footwear and found boots that I loved, but they felt too tight in the ankles. The ANKLES! I mean, wtf? They were so cute.

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Santana boots in taupe and cognac.

I also tried on Aerosole Roller Rink heels I’d been eyeing for awhile, on sale for $50, but I wasn’t totally sold on them. I think I’m going to try and replace the insoles of my current Aerosole mary janes before replacing the shoe entirely. We’ll see.

And then I hit Coldwater Creek and this dress looks way better in the photo than it did in real life:

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And in the end, I bought yoga pants and two pairs of tights. Sigh.

Dressing Room!

I did this a few weeks ago, actually, and haven’t gotten around to putting this post together. Since I’m headed back this weekend for their fashion show and at least one item is coming home with me, I figured I should finish up!

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Sunstream Eyelet Dress, size medium

So cute! Definitely runs true to size and was very comfortable. I am not generally a fan of cut out dresses, but this works for me. The back still has structure. Not easy to tie yourself in solo, however, and the white underlay looks vaguely bra/underwear like.

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Here and There tee in black, size medium

SO MUCH LOVE. I have loved Scotty dogs since I was a tiny little thing, when I would buy little Scotty everythings at our school Christmas fair. This is pretty much guaranteed to come home with me. I love the fit and style, and it’s a Scotty!

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Here and There tee in navy, size medium.

And the tea cup navy colorway (which is mostly black, I think). Less cute, at least on me. I want to try wearing patterns more, and having fun with silly patterns like this, but this is not the place to start, I guess. I mean, it makes me look flat chested! And as I am a D, verging on DD, that’s quite a feat.

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Espaliered Tunic, size medium

Good gravy, what an atrocious name. I am never, ever going to remember it. I tried this on and fell in complete and total love. The color is so amazingly rich, and the sleeves are awesome and similar to the twirled bow tunic – I love how they look. The lace back is going to look fabulous all summer. I want to wear it now, but I know that means covering up the cute back for a few more months. Sigh. I love what it does to my chest, but I think I need to sew in little snaps for a bra holder.

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Novelty Collar tee in black and white, size medium.

Not my pattern? Or is it just so out of my wheelhouse that I can’t get used to it? It’s funky, and relatively cheap, but I am hesitant. Again with the chest disguising, but the pattern amuses me and I love the collar. Hmm.

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Swing Peplum top in red, size medium

Again with the love! I love a good sweetheart neckline and the color is really bright and cheery. I am afraid that the waist is just a skosh too high for me, though – I feel like it cuts my torso. Thought? I might try it on again.

Things I have my eye on to try this weekend:

Lark Hi-Low Dress * Sparkle Hem Peasant Top * Tiller Top *Peaked Pointelle Sweater * Drafted Petals Romper (I know I know I know!)

18 and 19 March: Please Let Winter End

I love snow. I love cold. I am SO OVER it. It was 20* today! That was acceptable in February, but we are days away from meteorological spring and it needs to end.

Also, I find myself sick of all my winter clothes. But because I need them, I find myself buying more. Really need to curb this! But modcloth had their surprise mystery sale yesterday – $15 and you get a random garment, shoe or accessory. They sold out of shoes quickly, so I went garment. Wish me luck.

Meanwhile!

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Gap empire top, Old Navy skirt, Forever 21 phone booth necklace, tights, BoC Canty Booties

This top often veers towards too lowcut, so I don’t often wear it. But I needed to mix things up a little.

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anthropologie Space-Dyed Cowlneck, Old Navy Rockstar Jeans, Me Too ballerina flats

New top! I got it on sale half off, but it’s back in stock full price in a spring colorway. This is a medium, and it’s lovely, but I might have sized down into a small – I bought this online, so went with my typical size.

Basically, I saw Lizzie Bennet wearing a lovely turquoise cowl neck top. I asked the actress where she got it (best blog idea ever, bless her), it was anthro, and I realized that my friend Melissa actually owns it, too! And it was older, out of season. So when I saw this very similar style, I had to buy it. BECAUSE  I AM A DORK. But at least I admit it? The cowl was a little rough to set up, there are a lot of ways it does not look good, but I figured out a way I liked it a lot. The color is really amazing – you can see the flecks of deep green in the threads and it all catches the light beautifully.

My mom’s salon sells their opened bottles of nail polish half off, which means I can get OPI for under $5. Last time, they had just put in a liquid sand from Mariah’s collection, The Impossible, and I had to try it. It’s a sweet pink, plus glitter and stars, and I was quite curious about liquid sand.

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It goes on so easily – the brush is a little wider and flatter than normal, which is amazing, and it dries incredibly fast. I’m guessing the hell will come in with taking it off. 😉 I really love it – I keep running my fingers over it, hee. It’s a fun, springy Barbie pink, and looks less gristled than it appears in the photo. Mostly the sandy effect just catches the light and shines. Super fun!

Also, I was playing with the site at lunch today – it’s easier to share/save pics (hopefully) and I updated some things.

Snow Manicure!

Well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway! I’ve seen a lot of pinterest pics with glitter tips and glitter bases, and somehow, I only own one glitter. So I picked up two at Walgreens this week – a chunky red/green/gold from Wet ‘n’ Wild, and a silver/blue from Sinful – silver base with blue flecks. I am a sucker for silver and blue all winter long.

So the manicures all seemed to be about a concentration of glitter at top or bottom, fading to no glitter and basecoat only, like this. Sounded easy enough, I thought! I chose OPI’s Slushied from the Glee line as my base and topped it with Sinful’s Ice Dreams.

For a cheap Sinful polish, it is LOADED with glitter. That’s one coat of glitter. There was no fading this, it was glitter or no. So, not exactly what I thought it’d be, but I love it. It makes me think of snow against a bright December sky, and that makes me a very happy camper.

I’ve also tried doing gradient manicures, painting stripes onto a make up blending wedge and stamping it on – I need to work on finding better colors to blend, and stamping precision, but it’s a fun technique. I ended up having to restamp with all one color, and the resulting texture was cool. I’ll give it a try again soon, see if I can get better shots.

Anthropologie Mega Post

My friend Liss joined me for about an hour of anthropologie this week. It mostly involved me walking around going, “This. This. Uh, really? This. This,” as I gathered up items and she took them from me to put in a dressing room. Like I said, my response to stress was to try on ALL the things! Or at least 15 of them. Thanks, Liss.

Sorry about photo quality – stress also meant forgetting my camera. :/

Away we go.

Peplum Ponte Tank

I actually loved this. The material is the same as the Noon and Night and Basketweave dresses. I love the fit and the flow and the adorable wavy peplum. This is a medium, so it fits true to size, too. What I didn’t love is that the back is scooped lower than the front, which is not a good look for me. Sadness. It’s so cute and such a lovely color.

River School Skirt

I’ve been intrigued by the photo fabrics going around lately, so I had to try this. (First I grabbed up one not on the site, which was like a patchwork of photos, saying, “How often can you wear flowers and a castle at the same time?!” Melissa pointed out there was a reason for that.)

The colors are super bight – almost neon, really. I’m not sure what I could wear with this. I tried on the 6, which fit pretty well, although it tugged a little. In the end, it was cute, but not really something I could see in constant rotation.

Sunblaze Lace Skirt

Again size 6, again true to size. I love the color of this, although the fabric reminds me of upholstery and I didn’t like the waistband. The beige background is pretty much the exact color of my skin, and I felt naked in this, even though I knew I wasn’t. Not for me.

Tied Illusion Pullover (Hi There from Karen Walker made-in-kind)

Look. I realize it’s goofy and cheesy and retro in an odd way, but I don’t care. I loved this. It’s so 70s, in a way I actually enjoy. I’ve been trying to find a sailor top that wasn’t boxy and sheer for ages, and this is so close to what I wanted. The gold trim is very sparkly, and while many reviews call it itchy, I didn’t notice. This is a small, so I’d recommend sizing down. The reason it didn’t come home with me is because while it’s not sheer, it is boxy. I see that it is available in an extra-small, which probably would have fixed the waist issue, but possibly caused problems in other areas. Sigh.

Sequined Migration MiniSkirt

The love I felt for this skirt cannot be described. It’s a shimmery gold material, very thick and sturdy, with gold embroidered birds all over. It’s the perfect holiday skirt – if Meg and I were doing our annual holiday jaunt through Chicago this year, this is what I would wear. But – it was $150, full price. If it was $88, I’d have been all over it. But it came down to this and another item that was on clearance, and I had to go with the other item, knowing I could get it later. BUT. It’s not on the website! Only paired with other tops. This strikes terror in my heart. I was going to be responsible and wait for sale, but if it’s not on the website by next week, I may have to drive back over and buy it full price. (YAY it’s listed now!!) I’d kick myself if I missed it – I can see so many ways to style this all fall and winter. Anyway, size six, true to size.

Pilcro Stet Slim Straight Colored Denim

I had thought I’d grabbed one in 29 and one in 30, but I somehow missed and they are both 29. There is something about red denim in general that lacks stretchiness –  I feel that the turquoise didn’t look bad in a 29 (although I would like to try them in a 30), but I feel the red need at least a 31. Hello, knees!

I really loved these, though. Both colors are so vibrant and lovely. I cringe at the idea of spending $98 on jeans, however, so they are wishlisted for sale time. I don’t even know which color I would choose – the turquoise is amazing, but I’ve been wanting to have red pants for awhile now.

Jojo High-Waisted Shorts

So adorable! So retro! So not me. I had to size up into an 8, which fit my waist and hips fine, but the inseam is just too short. It made me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps a 10 would have solved that, too, but I didn’t think it was worth trying. Great style for me to admire on others.

Revisionist Impressionist Dress (Tracy Reese, made-in-kind)

So, yeah. Can you see my face? This is what came home instead of the gold skirt. The patterns on these dresses vary, but I think this one is perfect. Great balance of colors, and the pink flowers almost form a belt line. I hadn’t quite realized how busty I look, hmm. Oh, well. The neckline is going to require me to fiddle with bra straps – either pinning them in or sewing in my own loops to keep them in place – or wear cardigans. Which I’d probably do anyway – it’ll look great with at least 5 of the ones I own. And it’s probably a bit too dressy for work otherwise – not that it’ll stop me.

I sized up into an 8 and the chest is a tiny bit roomy, but not too bad. I love the cut of the fabric and the shape it gives me. There’s a little crinoline in there for poof, which I adore. Buying this almost makes up for not getting the Mompos Dress last year. And, perk, I now have a very good idea of what size to hunt down on eBay if it ever goes below $200!

Best of all – thanks to my parents and friend Rory for gift cards, plus it being on major sale, I got a $300 designer dress for $75. Thanks, guys!

Akebono Halter Dress

Love it. The fabric is cheery, it’s well constructed, it’s not too low cut and it fits true to size. If I could make it work appropriate, I’d be all over it.

Colorblocked Shirtdress

I wanted to love this so much. It’s got the peter pan collar I’ve been wanting, it buttons up over my chest in my normal size and the skirt is a great color. But it’s so short waisted! It’s practically a babydoll dress. Not attractive at all. Total disappointment.

Frothed Dots Dress

I can’t find this one on the site yet, but it comes in blue and yellow and runs about $160. That feels wildly overpriced for what is basically a white cotton dress with a gauzy overlay. Still, it’s growing on me. I love the sleeve detail and the neckline. I think it’s a little short waisted for me, though. Maybe worth another look come sale time.

Dressing Room: Ugh

This anthro store had more sale items than new items, and not a lot of either. SO SAD. I only saw a handful of items from the new arrivals page in store, and a lot of it felt so dark and autumnal. Not fun for July.

I remain on my quest for shorts, but I feel like I’m just going to have to give up after this. I had pinned my hopes on the Pilcro Denim Rollups, because all review mentioned them fitting thigh, but alas. Nope. I tried on three sizes:

30: fits waist, nowhere else

31: Fits hips and maybe thighs, but don’t look good.

32: Plenty of room for thighs, can’t keep them up.

Cut-offs forever. Sigh.

I can’t find this skirt via Google or anything, rats. It was $29 on sale. It looked adorable on the hanger, but poofy and fairy dress up on me. Total bummer.

Gust Striped Chemise in white, medium. I loved this – it felt so soft and lovely (jersey), was super comfortable and draped perfectly. Mad love. But alas, this is the back:

So cute! So not work appropriate! Although props for covering the bra entirely. I don’t have any back cut-out tops, but I’d been thinking that the style could work with a contrast color camisole under it, to make it work appropriate. Unfortunately, the only thing I had to test that was the white tank:

Clearly not a winner. But maaaaaaaaaaaaybe with a lower cut and narrow camisole? Thoughts?

Vinca Minor dress, in medium. I wanted to love this dress – if it worked, I was ready to bring it home with me. I adore the blue and the lace, and it’s a great silhouette. The bodice has the solid blue lining, and the skirt is something of a plaid. And you can’t tell me this isn’t like wearing a Tardis:

The Tardis is totally peeking out.

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t great. It’s three layers: a petticoat, the blue lining and the outer netting. Both the petticoat and outer netting are scratchy and both irritate the skin. (The outer netting is longer than either of the inner layers.) It also didn’t lie right on me and made me so wide. So it looked bad and it felt bad, and I was never able to tie the back up anyway:

Blergh.

There are SO MANY cute dresses on the site right now (Colorblocked Shirtdress! Ink-Set Blooms Dress!) and none of them were there. Woe. I have to get back soon – I have a giftcard and it wants to be used!

28 June 2012: Heat Wave

It’s 94 degrees before noon. It’s not posh frock Friday, and I don’t care. It’s birthday dress time!

Anthropologie Melora dress, Gap flower headband, Me Too ballerina wedges

Just check this back:

Reasons to love the Melora dress:
1. Pockets.

2. Bra strap holders sewn in (a retro touch that I wish more tops had)

3. Polka dots!

4. Fancy back! With crochet lace!

5. It makes you feel like Betty Draper.

Let’s talk review. First off, it runs a wee bit large, I think. I first tried on a 6 and the side zipper is so hidden that I didn’t realize it existed and tried to pull it over my head. It was a tight fit (DUH) but I actually got it pretty far on before I realized and unzipped. The 6 looked okay, but a bit baggy. When taking it off, I realized there was also a button inside, right at the waist, to help zipping. Once I undid that, dude, SO easy to get off. (I’m a bright cookie, clearly.)

The 4 is a little snug around my chest and the arm hole is cut deeply enough that a bit of my bra does show.  I decided that I’m okay with that, it’s a close enough shade to my skin color and you really have to be looking there. Which, you know, most people don’t. The zipper is a bitch and a half to get up on your own – it involves some contorting and then yanking due to stickiness. This makes me nervous that the zipper will break, but it’ll be easy enough to get another in there, I think.

I love it. It’s twirly and beautiful and my favorite silhouette. I had three women go out of their way to walk over to me and compliment the dress, on a four minute walk this morning. It’s more gold than yellow, no matter what my pictures say, and while that’s brighter than I normally like, I think it looks great with my skin tone. This is my dream sundress, hurrah! I just need to figure out a cute hairstyle to go with it next time.

It’s also available in red, as the Sweet Enticement dress, and I am trying hard to use my $50 gift card on something useful and not a duplicate of this dress, hee.

Lemon Lime

New manicure!

The green, Sage in the City, is a near dupe for OPI’s Gleek Out (Kurt Hummel) shade, but only needed two coats for opacity instead of three to four. It’s a little thin and chippy, but went on well enough. It was either $1 or $2, so you get what you pay for.

The yellow is Unicorn – very milky, kind of streaky. This is two coats, and it probably could have used a third. I’ve had to touch up the colors every day so far, though.

I love how the colors look together (the ring finger on each hand is in the yellow accent), but a little more work will be needed to make these long term polishes. For a few days of fun, they work well enough.

I picked up a Sinful hot pink, Folly, which I love, and looks great with both of these colors, too. It’s currently on my toes, a near dupe for the OPI I got with my birthday pedicure. Love it.