Monday, October 25, 2010

The Hair Horrors-A Cautious Tale from an Impetuous Color Addict!

On the 30th of September, I had my hair color done by my amazing stylist, Corry. He colored over my platinum blond streak and he adorned my formerly-light auburn stresses with a rich red tone. My hair was amazingly intense and bright on the first day and like most red hair colors, the lush crimson hue began to fade quickly.  After many years of experience with 'bottle color,' I expect color loss. It is an inescapable 'side effect' of having artificially tinted hair.

Being the impatient girl I am, last Monday I decided in my "not-so-infinite-wisdom" to re-freshen my color with a blend of Special Effects Devilish and Artec Color Depositing shampoo in Red Clover.  I wet my hair, applied my mix, and let it sit in my hair for 30 minutes. I then rinsed it out and put on my Paul Mitchell Super Strong Conditioner. I rinsed again and then towel-dried. After applying a dollop of Paul Mitchell Styling Glaze and then blow-drying, I was APPALLED at the color! While the majority of my hair had a nice, cool red tone to it like before, the once-blond sections were BRIGHT RED PINK! NO! NO! NO! The porous state of the blond parts caused more color to be pulled in and the result looks so bad. I feel like such a dummy! What on earth was I thinking?!

I have been using Artec Color Deposit in Ginger Root (a warm golden auburn) to try to cover the reddish pink but it only helps a tiny bit! I have also been using Head and Shoulders (since it's known to take out color) but my hair has only faded slightly. Like poor Janet Leigh pictured above, I feel like screaming! I did this to myself and my stylist is going love it (sarcasm) for sure.

So, does anyone know if there is something I can do to further fade the red-pink from once-highlighted hair? I would like to get most of it out so I can have semi-permanent color put over it when I have my next appointment in 2 weeks.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Power of Music

For as long as I have been able to remember, music has been such a powerful element in my life. I have memories of dancing to "Shake your Booty" by KC and the Sunshine Band with my parents. The year was 1979 and I was 4 years old. I can still recall the disco beat pulsing throughout the house as we boogied on our rusty-red shag carpet. To this day, if I hear that song, I flash back to when I was 4. In my head, I instantly visualize our funky carpet and my mother's earth toned couch and love seat. It's like the 70s all over again.

When I was in elementary school, my dad would play 50s rock and roll records on the weekends. One lazy Sunday afternoon, Dad was listening to Carl Perkins in his study. I heard that rockabilly sound and I felt transformed! At that moment, I could have cared less for Salt-N-Pepa and Lisa Lisa! I wanted more guitar and upright bass!

As a seventh-grader, I knew more about Bo Diddley and Duane Eddy than I did about Poison and White Lion! (Gross!) I had no interest whatsoever in most modern music. If I wasn't listening to 50s rock, I was playing my Depeche Mode, Cure, and Echo and the Bunnymen tapes.

Putting musical taste aside, music is just one of those things that has this exceptional ability to trigger memories. Not only do I love 50s music, I cherish it simply because it reminds me of my dad and being young.

Whenever I hear any Depeche Mode song, I remember the fun moments spent with my best friend, Sunny, when we were in middle school. The very first time I had a sleepover at Sunny's house, we sat on the floor and listened to the entire "Speak and Spell" album. One song in particular, "Boys Say Go," was just totally ridiculous! I do not think the band meant it to be that way but it was funny regardless of the intent. The crazy beat combined with the inane lyrics caused Sunny and I to 'lose it!' She and I were laughing so hard that we woke up her mom and dad! Her mom knocked on the door and told us to "keep it down and go to bed!"

In 1989, my mother and I took a trip to Ireland and the UK to visit family. One of my cousins was totally in love with Robert Smith from the Cure. At this point in my life (14), I heard of the Cure but I was unfamiliar with their work. My cousin took it upon herself to introduce to their music and she lent me "The Singles" album. Again, I had another "transforming life moment." The Cure became an instant favorite.
In 1996 at age 21, I visited Breckenridge, Colorado for the first time with my new in-laws and husband. It was the first week of December when we arrived in Denver. The the sky was gray and the air was cold. The steely peaks in the western sky were covered in white slashes of snow. Their icy hues contrasted the flat and barren fields that encompassed the airport grounds. The Front Range was completely devoid of any semblance of winter. But as our rented mini-van chugged its way down I-70 West, the urban scenery slowly changed into rural views adorned with towering shards of snow-capped rock studded with lanky pole pines and fat blue spruce.

As we ventured further west towards the Continental Divide, the road became white with snowpack. My father-in-law was driving and he decided to slow his speed. I was already feeling restless so I reached into my bag for my Walkman and I put on my headphones and pressed "Play." "A Forest" by the Cure flooded my ears and I felt like I had my own soundtrack. Together, the foreboding lyrics and the eerie pangs of Robert's Smith's guitar seemed to mirror the somber mood of the darkening crevasse. The once-white snow turned blue as the heavy clouds consumed the last remains of sunlight.  There was uneasy feeling of danger mixed with a tranquil serenity. The snow began to fall harder as the car engine groaned in a futile effort to fight the ever-changing tilt of the road.

No matter where I am, if I hear "A Forest," I immediately see the mountains of Colorado in my mind. That song will always remind me of that snowy ride.

There are so many examples of songs that trigger memories. I could "go on and on" but I would never stop writing! Both "Feed the Tree" by Belly and "Linger" by the Cranberries reminds me of bad (stupid!) ex-boyfriends. "Whoomp There It Is!" by Tag Team brings me back to the summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. That song was played so much on the radio and MTV! I really liked it at first but after a while, it drove me nuts! Another freshman year overplayed tune was "Funk Dat" by Sagat. "Why is it that bums ask me for money, when I ain't got none?"

As I get older and the years continue to slide by, I keep adding to my 'music and memories' collection. I do not mind. In fact, I love it. Music-inducing memories indicate that I am trying to "take it all in" before it's "my time." I am looking forward to the many memories to come for sure.

So, do you have songs that remind you of special times?

Vintage-Inspired Shoe on Zappos!

Next month, I am going to Boca Raton, Florida to visit the husband's family and to celebrate Thanksgiving. Since the weather is going to be warm and tropical (yeah!), I have been trying to find a nice pair of 40s-looking wedges to pair with my wardrobe. I love the Re-Mix wedges but they are expensive! I love the "Veranda" wedges but shelling out $176.00 USD is a bit much for me right now. The husband and I are trying to save our money for our big Colorado ski trip this coming season.

Anyway, today I was continuing my search for a pair of wedges and I found these shoes (pictured above) on  I know they are not wedges but these lovelies deserve some notice! Therefore, I wanted to share them with you all!

These platforms are made by Madden Girl and they are on sale right now for $44.96 USD. The SKU # is 7680331. I love the styling and I also like the fact they are leather free! I am a pescatarian and I try to always make an effort to buy non-animal skin shoes and accessories. If I do buy leather, it is vintage.

I think these shoes would go nicely with dresses and skirts! All I need is a rayon dress, a snood, these shoes, and my look is done!

However, I will refrain from these beauties for now. I need a new pair of wedges badly! I just wish I was a dang millionaire because they are too many things I want to buy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let There Always Be Never-Ending Light- Honoring Kauri

(Photo by Cora Chaos)

On this day two years ago, October 18, 2008, my friend and tattoo artist, Kauri Tiyme of Denver, Colorado, was taken from this earth. I posted my story of her here:

Today, in honor of Kauri's passing, I am wearing all black:
 Kauri was a very positive person who always cherished happiness, kindness, intelligence, and celebration. So, despite my somber mood, I am celebrating Kauri by listening to her favorite music (VNV Nation, Informatik, Sisters of Mercy, and Type O Negative) in my office today.

I also plan on having a lovely vegan meal for dinner tonight. Kauri was a strict vegan who loved Indian food (I am pescatarian and I adore Indian too). I think I am going to have a nice feast of lentils, chickpeas, and some aloo gobi with rice and naan. (Naan is a type of flat bread and aloo gobi is cauliflower and potatoes).

I cannot believe two years have past already. It's crazy. I still miss Kauri greatly. I am so blessed to have been her friend and client. I am lucky to have her art on my skin forever. I feel like Kauri lives on in each piece she put on me.

Part of me is still angry that Kauri is gone and yet this is a side of me that has found peace knowing that she is still alive in my memories. I think what continues to make me mad is that I have so many questions unanswered. I want to know why her killer (ex-husband) did what he did.

I know that despite any desire for resolution, nothing can bring Kauri back. She is gone and like I said, I have a feeling her energy is somehow still here with me and with those who knew and loved her. Kauri's untimely end should not overshadow the beauty that was her life. I want to celebrate Kauri's legacy today so I will.

There is a VNV Nation song called "Perpetual" that talks about life, death, and the unknown. It is amazing song and it is always the last song VNV Nation performs at their live shows. Lead singer and co-founder Ronan Harris once stated in an interview that if he had anything to say when he died, he stated that the lyrics of "Perpetual" would say it all for him.

I know that Kauri is the never-ending light now. Her spirit is shining. May Kauri live and thrive in my heart forever!

Lyrics for "Perpetual:"

'Find it in you, raise your eyes
Look beyond the place you stand
Towards the furthest reaches
And to the smallest of things
The sound you are hearing
Is the symphony of what we are
Revelation will not come
With heart and mind closed and divided

No need of sun to light the way
Across the ages, we have reigned as we endured
Through the storm fronts we will ever surely pass
To stand as never ending light

Throw away the mantle
Awake from your uncertain hesitation
No way to describe or equate the feeling
No end to what is at your command
A million thoughts run through you
Concentric circles, ever greater
But you have always known
That this is not all there is
To your questions there'll be answers

Let there be, let there always be
Never ending light."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Does the Madness Ever End? -Finding Peace in Yoga and the Sewing Machine

Earlier this year, June in fact, my car was broken into by thieves. They broke a window and stole my work laptop. This all took place outside my house. I was shocked, livid, and just mad. After waiting months for my window glass to be repaired, I finally got my car back only to have it towed from my place of employment!

Since my husband and I work together, we often commute together. There are days when I will drive home with him even though I drove myself to work that day.  Sometimes, we will leave the office together for a business meeting in D.C. I never worried about someone breaking into my car overnight nor was I concerned about getting towed. Frankly, the thoughts never crossed my mind. Last night, however, changed my blasse mindset for good.

After locking up the office last night around 6:40 pm, the husband, brother-in-law (we work together), and I left to go visit our family member in the hospital who just had surgery. As we got into my husband's car, my husband noticed that my car was gone. My first thought was that my car was stolen. I was stunned! Why would someone take my car?! Then the brother-in-law stated that he spotted a tow truck earlier in our lot. We all went back inside our building to call the police.

The police dispatcher told me that cars often get towed instead of stolen. Tow companies have an hour to report to the police. At the time of my call, my car was not in the 'towed car database' and so the dispatcher informed me that they would send an officer. I was still in "la-la land" shock at this point.

Next, I called my insurance company to file a claim. While I was on the phone with an insurance representative, the police called our office and informed us that the car was indeed towed. My husband called the tow company and they stated that the car was towed per the management company's (for our building) request.

There are a couple of abandoned cars in our lot. They have expired tags and past-due inspection stickers. One car even has a flat tire! Yes, my car does has an expired inspection sticker but I recently got it back from the glass people. I have not had a chance to get it updated. My registration is up to date and I do not have a flat! I drive my car! Moreover, if any cars in the lot are not up-to-date and/or abandoned, then why weren't the other two cars towed as well? There goes that hypothesis!

I called the management company this morning and told them about my situation. They told me that my car was towed because they assumed my car was owned by another tenant/office in our building who apparently is responsible for the two abandoned cars. The management company has warned them repeatedly to move the cars. They said they dispatched the truck to tow all the cars yet Mr. Tow Dude only took my car. The cars are still out here in the lot as I type this. Grrrrrrr.

Nevertheless, the management office was very apologetic and they even covered the cost of my tow. This afternoon, my father-in-law drove me to the tow lot and I picked up my car. My little red Volvo, I call her "Starfish," looked so sad tucked away in a dark corner of the muddy, gravel lot! I was wearing a 40s rayon dress, a red hair snood, and black suede platform heels so you can imagine the looks I got as I gingerly tried to walk across the expanse of mud and rock.

Now that my car is back, I am definitely going to get 'her' inspected this coming week. I am not going to take any chances.

I am happy that my car was not stolen and that the management company was understanding. This whole scene ended well and for that I am thankful. Yet, it is moments like this that I find myself getting anxious and stressed. Things like this happen and I cannot let them get to me.

Since this year has been crazy for me and my family, I have been turning to yoga and now sewing. Until this summer, I had never used a sewing machine. I had one for years but I was too afraid to use it! Now, I find so much comfort in making pot holders, lamp shade covers, pillows, placemats, table runners, coasters, and curtains. Sewing is not only fun, it's so relaxing! I am learning a lot and one day I hope I can sew well enough to make my own clothes.

As for yoga, I have been a student of Anusara yoga since 2003.  One day, a friend of mine suggested I join her for a class and I have been hooked ever since. However, due to work, life, being a running nut, and trying to just keep my head above water, I have been neglecting my yoga and I can tell it's affecting my spirit.

As of late, however, I have been forcing myself to take time out for yoga. No excuses. I just roll out the mat, get my wool yoga blanket, get my strap and block, and I do it. An hour of quiet and 'letting go.'

When I was starting to taking classes on a normal basis, I had an amazing teacher named Kelly. She always told her students to leave the anxieties at the door and to release all the negativity with each exhale. "Breathe in the positive, exhale the negative." Kelly also said, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is the present and there is no greater gift than that of the present."

I am slowly rediscovering the "art of letting go," being positive, and realizing that most things that stress me out are trivial. I need to respect my inner dharma and just be. Smile, laugh, and just be.

Winter Vacation Essentials!

Having been inspired by this week's ski post and Brittany's of Va Voom Vintage cold weather essentials post, I wanted to share my must-haves for winter/skiing vacations and basics for winter in general. You can see Brittany's fabulous post here:

When winter comes around, my ski fever kicks in big time! The winter weather here in the Mid-Atlantic is normally non-eventful (i.e. no snow). Moreover, the mountains are (in my opinion) too small. So, what is a vintage-loving, ski freak gal like myself to do? She goes west to Colorado! Every year the husband and I stay at our condo in Breckenridge for two glorious weeks. And, it is our goal to live in Colorado permanently one day!

Nevertheless, I have some tips and must haves for winter/ski travel that I hope you find useful!

When packing for a winter ski trip, you need to take into account the number of days you plan to be away.  You can bring multiples of small items like undergarments, socks, camisoles, tees, base layers, turtlenecks, leggings etc. But when it comes to bigger, bulkier items like sweaters, ski pants, jeans, or skirts, you need to limit them. Most airlines charge passengers per bag so try to keep your wares to ONE suitcase.

Most ski resorts and/or condos have laundry facilities. Take this into account when packing. You can bring less because you can wash.  However, items that cannot be washed like wool sweaters or ski pants should be limited. For example, I will bring one Norwegian wool sweater for ski days and one pair of ski pants for ski days. I also pack four sweaters to mix and match with a different separates.  Even though I wear things multiple times,  I just 'change things' around.

For instance, one day I will wear a black turtleneck and vintage 50s wool plaid pencil skirt with a pair of leggings. A couple of days later, I will wear the same turtleneck with a pair of 50s rolled jeans. Then I will wear the 50s skirt with a red wool cardigan another day. Then I will wear the red cardigan with the jeans a few days later. Be creative with your limitations!

Packing some accessories like a few scarves, barrettes, earrings, bangles, and necklaces can give more mileage to the variety of outfits. I always bring some fun rings, bangles, and earrings for nights on the town. For example, the first day I wear the black turtleneck, I will put on a pair of glass and rhinestone cherry earrings. The second time I wear the turtleneck, I will add a bangle and wear different earrings.

Ski pants and thick sweaters tend to take up a lot of space. I have found that placing these items in plastic grocery bags helps greatly! I put an item neatly folded in a bag, I tie it shut, and then I smoosh the air out. This causes the item to become more flat and compact. Now I have more space! I also use same grocery bags for laundry. I simply untie the bag, store away what's inside, use it for dirty clothes. Then I take the bag(s) down to the laundry facility. Easy!

Now, if your condo does not have its own washer and dryer, the building will more than likely have a guest/tenant laundry room. You will have to pay about $1.50 for washing and $1.75 for drying. You will also have to pay for detergent and fabric softener. I bring my own. I pack a few fabric softener sheets in a ziplock bag and I use the Purex Laundry Sheets. These sheets contain detergent. Simply throw a sheet onto the wash! There is no need for powder or liquid soap! I normally pack 5 sheets in a ziplock. I then place both ziplocks in an outer zip compartment on my suitcase.

When it comes to packing your toiletries, you will need to have these items:

-lip sunblock
-reddness gel or cream (this is vital for skiers! Exposure from wind and cold do a number on delicate skin!)
-travel shampoo and conditioner
-toothbrush/toothpaste/floss/mini mouthwash
-bobby pins
-mini hairspray
-mini styling products
-makeup remover or cold cream
-travel cleanser and toner
-travel facial moisturizer
-travel body lotion (the cold, mountain air is very dry!)
-mini hairdryer (most condos' hairdryers are sub-standard)
-curling iron or pin-curl clips
-feminine items (if needed)

When packing your cosmetic bag, keep it simple! Have one day look and a one night look. Bare in mind that you cannot really wear cocktail attire or fancy evening couture in a cold, snowy environment! Therefore, your makeup should reflect your needs.

In most ski towns, the dress code is typically very casual, even in upscale bars and restaurants. When I was in Breckenridge in  January 2005, I wore heels to dinner one night and I fell many times! The sidewalks and streets in ski towns are normally covered in packed snow. There can even be patches of ice. As much as I prefer vintage rayon dresses and velvet heels, I stick to pencil skirts, leggings (instead of stockings), and insulated combat boots with lots of traction when visiting Colorado in winter.

In my makeup bag I have:
-NYC Color SPF 12 powder foundation
-2 blushes
-MAC eyebrow pen
-clear eyebrow gel
-NARS eyeshadow primer
-MAC Opulash Mascara
-2 shades of red lipstick (one warm and one blue-based)
-2 matching lip pencils
-my MAC pro palette containg 4 nude/neutral eyeshadows
-MAC Paint Pot in Painterly
-MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study
-MAC Liquidlast Liner in Point Black (great for doing cat eyes for a night look)
-a travel size loose powder (I fill an empty, small-sized, plastic sifter jar from MAC)
-a few of MAC makeup brushes tucked away in my MAC brush roll. (I have so many so I just pack the ones that I tend to use the most).

If the resort/condo has hot tubs on site, be sure to pack a bathing suit and a pair of flip-flops. There is nothing more amazing that slipping into a hot tub after a long day of skiing! It relaxes tired muscles and it's neat to sit in an outdoor tub while it's snowing!

Be sure to pack your ski gloves, ski hat, scarf, and goggles. Since it is usually cold when the husband and I arrive in Colorado, I do not pack my ski jacket in my suitcase. I keep it with with me so I can put it on after leaving the airport. My jacket is insulated and waterproof and I wear it on and off the slopes. I also keep a pair of insulated gloves and a scarf in my carry-on bag.

If you bring your own skis and boots, make sure your skis and poles are stored in an airline-approved ski bag. You can find a variety of styles at most ski shops. Also, I have noticed that if I try to pack my ski boots, they usually need their own suitcase due to their size. Since the airlines have gone "nickel-and-dime-crazy"  when it comes to baggage, I put my boots in a large carry-on bag.

So, I hope this winter is going to be cold and extra snowy! I cannot wait to cut fresh tracks and take in that clean, mountain air!

Here's to winter!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trying to Keep My Red Hair From Fading!

Here I am this past Saturday, wearing an H&M vintage-inspired button-up (camp) shirt. I am also wearing rolled jeans and saddle shoes. I was about to head out to Whole Foods for some goodies. My stylist Corry, changed my hair color to a deep, true red two weeks ago. Even though it is still bright, I can already tell the color is starting to fade.

Red is THE most difficult color to maintain. In order to better preserve the intensity of my red, I use sulfate-free shampoo along with Aveda's Madder Root shampoo and conditioner. I used to use Artec's color depositing line but they got bought out by L'Oreal Professional and now the entire collection has been discontinued. I especially loved the Cherry Bark and Red Clover! These two color depositing shampoos did wonders for maintaining shades of intense red.  I recently tried to google for online stores that carry the Artec line and I found a few but they were charging up to 49.00 USD for an 8 ounce bottle! I used to pay 11.00 USD when it was available in mass. Talk about crazy! I hate it when products that actually work get discontinued!

The Aveda color line is okay. I know that without it, my red would be less vibrant. However, unlike the Artec that slowly intensified/ripened color, the Aveda seems to wash out each time I shower. I feel like I need to use it daily. The Aveda shampoo is a bit drying and I cannot use the color conditioner every day because it can cause build-up. Basically, my hair feels coated and looks dull.

I use color-safe and color shampoo but my hair is still fading. I know that washing (i.e. water) is *the* main culprit of color fade. Color loss is going to happen and "thems the breaks" when it comes to having dyed hair. I also try to cut back on weekly washings. I use dry shampoos and hair scarves on days I do not shampoo in the shower.

So, for those gals out there that color their hair, what methods and/or products do you rely on for maintaining brightness and intensity?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Thrill and Joy of Skiing-Guidelines and Tips

First and foremost, I would like to apologize for being 'off-radar' for a couple of days. I have been busy with work and a family member is having surgery today. I know all will be fine with them and being busy is normal.  But hectic moments like this remind me that I need a break! Oh, what I would do to be on vacation right now! It's October and soon the ski season will be here. Even though part of me longs to bask in the Caribbean sun, I am ready to hit the slopes!

Every year for two weeks (usually in January or February), the husband and I visit Colorado for skiing and winter fun. As a daughter of a Norwegian ski champion, skiing is literally in my blood! My dad taught me to ski when I was a kid and I am lucky that I continue to have the opportunity to enjoy the sport.

When I first set out on my skis, I was trying so hard not to fall and remember what my dad told me. Despite my futile efforts, I still fell and there were several times I wanted to quit! Being the stubborn mule I am, I refused to give up and thus, I kept trying. After some time, I found myself letting go of the "rules"  and the 'proper way' to place my skis, and before I knew it; I was actually skiing well. Skiing became fun.

So, if you fellow skiers out there and for those of you who want to learn but never have, here are some tips and must-dos.

1. If you have never skied before, take lessons. If you prefer a group or private one-on-one setting, lessons will help you in so many ways. Think of the lessons as an investment: the more knowledgeable you are, the more you will enjoy skiing for a lifetime. The lessons are like building blocks that will help form the backbone of your skill-set. I DO NOT recommend anyone going out with friends or family who want to take them down a ski run without any understanding of what to do! You CAN get seriously hurt, if not worse!! Start slow and learn how to ski correctly. Even the pros can get hurt.

2. If you have skied before and/or if you have not skied in a long time, take an intermediate or refresher course! Again, you can do this in a group or private setting. I have been skiing for over 20 years and occasionally I will take a refresher too! Not only do I build confidence, I learn things that improve my skiing. Last year, I learned how to carve down an expert trail (black diamond) and let me tell you, it was work! When I was younger, the skis were straight and I now have a new set of shaped skis. Talk about a HUGE difference!

3. Do not ski outside of your knowledge and confidence! Again, you can get hurt! Skiing is about enjoyment. It's not the Olympics.

4. If you are skiing with friends and/or family, always have a cell phone or a two-way radio in case you get separated or lost. Garmin makes a wonderful radio that clips onto your jacket or backpack. It also has weather information channels and a GPS.

5. Follow the rules of the ski resort/mountain. They are there to keep you and others safe.

6. Have a map of the ski trails at all times and study the map for the best routes that meet your skill level. The map will also be helpful if you get lost.

7. If you ski often, be sure to take your skis to your nearest ski shop for annual adjustments. Do this before your trip if you plan to bring your own skis. The rates for ski maintenance in resort towns can be high.  Getting your skis adjusted or "tuned up" can prevent your ski bindings (the place where the ski boot "clicks" onto your ski) from becoming loose. Imagine if you were skiing and your ski boot separated from your binding! Not good!

Also, make sure the bottom of the skis get re-waxed during routine care and maintenance. Re-waxing will make skis glide better and if you have skied over bare rock or ice patches during the previous season, a new coat of wax and compound will smooth out any rough edges or chips. If your skis are rough, they can catch and drag which can cause injury.

8. If you plan to rent skis, ask the pros in the shop. They are there to help you! Also, do not feel like you have to 'fudge' about your skiing abilities. None of us have to be like be Lindsey Vonn! Let them know about your proper skiing level and what type of skiing you are comfortable with.

For instance, I am 5'3 and weight 127 pounds. I am an intermediate skier who prefers an average skiing style (i.e. I can go faster or slow but not lightning speed). Therefore, I am best-suited to a pair of 152 centimeter length skis with a moderate release setting ski binding.  However, the husband, i.e. the expert, fear-nothing crazy man has a pair of 184 centimeter skis with a high release setting. Again, ask the pros!

9. When it comes to ski clothing, be sure to dress in layers! Layers keep you warm and you can remove layers if you get hot (especially during the warmer, late-winter/early spring months). Always wear a base layer like body-skimming 'long-johns' or a lyrca blend top and leggings.

The modern base layers look and feel like slightly looser-fitting Spanx or shapewear. Base layers need to fit like a second-skin but they should not be restricting. Turtlenecks, cotton or poly-blend go great under wool sweaters or fleece tops. Ski sweaters or fleece tops should fit nicely and not be bulky. Remember always to account for movement! Ski jackets should be insulated and WATERPROOF! Do not buy anything labeled "water resistant." This means water can eventually soak in after a while. The key words you need to look for when it comes to ski jackets and ski pants are waterproof, insulated, 'Thinsulate,' and wind-resistant. Again, ski jackets and pants should fit nicely but not be bulky.

When you go to buy ski jackets and pants, try to wear a sweater and even leggings to get a 'real-life scenario' fit. There is nothing worse than a jacket or pair of ski pants that are too tight! For example, in 2005 I went skiing for my annual trip. I weighed 155 pounds and I accidentally bought a pair of ski pants that were a size 8! They were on a hanger labeled 12 and like a dummy, I did not try them on until the husband and I were in Colorado. They were tight but I could still zip them up and button them. Well, when I fell a few times, the button popped off and the zipper came flying down! I nearly lost my pants at least three times!

10. Even though skiing is a winter sport, the sun WILL get you, especially when it's reflected off the white snow! Therefore, wear at least 30 SPF sunblock and lip block. Even on days the clouds seem more prevalent, the sun, especially at high altitudes, will burn. I wear ROC SPF 30 sunblock moisturizer and NYC Color powder foundation in SPF 12.

11. Due to the heat of the body counteracting with the cold air, you will need anti-fogging ski goggles with UVB protection. I have tried to wear my 50s vintage cat eye sunglasses but I usually find that I have to keep them at the condo and wear my Roxy goggles instead. Sure, I do not look and feel vintage-fabulous but it sure beats being blinded by condensation on my lenses.

12. When it comes to ski gloves, you will need an insulator and a waterproof shell. Many gloves are now made with both features. Make sure gloves have a proper fit and dexterity! You need to be able to move your fingers and also be able to grip your ski poles. If your hands are prone to getting cold no matter how advanced the glove technology, you can buy chargeable, heated gloves. These are amazing and I have a pair. I wore them for the first time in January and they allowed me to stay out longer! You can also buy air-activated heat packs that go between the glove insulator/liner and the shell. Most packs last about 4-8 hours but they take about 20 minutes to warm up.

13. If you plan to visit a ski town or resort that is over 7,000 feet above sea level, you need to account for the fact there is less oxygen. If you are already active, increase your cardio workouts weeks (at least a month) before your departure date. If you are not active, try walking or biking to build your lung capacity. Many people experience "high altitude sickness."  You can read about it here:

Also, please note that when you are at high altitude, you need to drink lots of water! Get plenty of rest, especially after activity and limit alcohol! The very first time I visited Breckenridge, Colorado (elevation 9,600 feet) in 1996, I had two beers during my first night and I felt I had an entire six-pack! This symptom does subside after a couple of days but due to the dryness of the high altitude air, be sure to drink lots of water for the entire length of your stay.

14. If you plan to bring skis on board an airplane, please note that most airlines will charge you an "oversize baggage" fee. However, if you fly first class, the airlines will usually waive this cost. Airlines have their fees listed on their websites.

15. When it comes to skiing, just enjoy yourself! Do not fight falling, drop your poles when you fall, have a sense of humor, and smile! It can only get better!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Etsy Shop Now Open!

Hello, girls! I decided to 'bite the bullet' and sell some of my hand-made and vintage wares on Etsy! Right now I have a pair of barely worn, gold glitter pollys and a few resin pendants I made! The necklace above is another one of my creations (the bird is from another necklace I bought). I have not listed it yet since I need to measure its length.

I am going to be selling some resin bangles, some chiffon scarves, and a few of my hand-made hair flower barettes! I am excited!

Here is the url:

Just for Fun: Go Ahead and Ask me Anything!

Simply because I cannot think of anything to post about, I thought I would open a forum where you can ask me anything related to vintage clothing, makeup, hair color, hair care, or vintage home design.

If you have a question about where to buy vintage, or have a query about vintage sizing or fabric care, ask! If you want to know about what lipstick colors/brands are good for creating a vintage face, ask me! If you want to know what eyeshadows are great for creating the 40s eye, I can help!

This is intended to be an informative and fun post so feel free to post questions if you have 'em!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The History of Shapewear

For as long as "fashion" has been in existence, women (and even men at various times) have relied on undergarments like corsets, waist cinchers, girdles, briefers, and pettipants to help transform, slim, and shapen their figures.

Until the early 1920s, corsets made of whale bone and steel were commonplace in haute couture. Fabrics used ranged from canvas, brocade, silk, and summer-weight cotton blends. From the late 1800s to the early 20th century, the "wasp-waisted" corsetry was in vogue:
The severity of this corset design often caused deformities to the ribcage and even was culpable for damaging organs due to displacement from prolonged wear. During the early teens to the 20s, longer, straighter-cut corsets became popular:
After World War I ended, corsets began to fall out of fashion. In addition, scientific advancements in rubber manufacturing ushered in new technologies, one many being the creation of the girdle. The girdle smoothed the wearer's form and secured her stockings while providing more comfort and freedom of movement.

From the 20s/30s to the 60s, full girdles with open bottoms were wardrobe staples for most women. Ladies also wore pettipants, body briefers with snap crotches, and girdle panties for shape control. Most shapewear made during this time came with garters attached for nylon stockings.  In the 1960s, the invention of pantyhose slowly replaced stockings and thus, girdles.

By the 1980s, most shapewear looked like flesh-colored bathing suits with no places to attach stockings. Name brands like Olga, Playtex, L'eggs, Underalls, and No Nonsense offered ease of wear and convenience.

In the 1990s, Victoria's Secret and Wonderbra continued the evolution of modern lingerie/shapewear. Both companies strived to give women cleavage with bras that boasted "cleverly angled" padding with inserts made from foam and even silicone. Nancy Ganz "Body Slimmers" introduced lyrca-infused undergarments that promised shaping and control:

As the 21st century dawned, Spanx became the must-have for both the office professional and the Hollywood A-lister. Spanx makes shaping hosiery, leggings, panties, camisoles, bras, and even shapewear clothing.

Spanx's creator, Sara Blakely, has taken the undergarment world by storm and as a result, is a millionaire. I wish I would have created Spanx! I could be living in Maui and drinking Mai Tais every day! Wouldn't that be nice?

Even though I love my vintage girdles and pettipants, I have to admit that I am a 'true believer' when it comes to Spanx. Even though I lost 33 pounds almost 5 years ago, I still rely on my Spanx Power Panties to improve my shape, especially on days I am wearing a pencil skirt or pants. I was skeptical when I first heard about Spanx 7 years ago but after I shimmied and wiggled into a nude-pair of butt, tummy, and thigh-reducing panties that resembled bike shorts, I am telling you, I felt transformed. Gone were the 'saddle bags' and 'muffin top!' I wanted to strut down the street like Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever!"

So, in an era of Spanx and silicone 'cutlet' bra inserts, what is a vintage-loving gal to do? Do we wear vintage but forgo the bullet bra, ditch the nylons, and avoid the girdle?

I, for one, wear bullet bras. I do not like underwire after switching to the bullet bra. Not only it is more comfortable, I feel like my breasts look better. Ever notice that the wire bras seem to make our breasts sag prematurely? The wire pushes/digs into our breast tissue. I am convinced this is part of the reason.

I also wear a full, open-bottom girdle most days of the week, especially during the fall when stockings are more comfortable during cooler temperatures.  In the summer months, I prefer panty girdles. I can remove the garters and thus, I can smooth my figure without having to wear nylons.

Speaking of nylon stockings, I love them, especially the ones with back seams! I refuse to wear pantyhose. I do not like the way they feel or look. Whenever I see them, all I can think about are those goofy Underall and L'eggs commercials of the 1980s! Even the hose color names were bad; "Suntan," "Smoke black," and "Barely Sand!"

In my opinion, I think wearing vintage (even vintage repro) shapewear and nylons makes my vintage wardrobe look better. This is especially the case when I am wearing a 50s button-down dress with a cinched, belted waist and a full skirt.  Since I only wear nylons, having a girdle (full or panty) with garters is a must.

Shapewear also gives me more confidence. I feel womanly and ladylike. There are days I want to put on a pair of rolled jeans and saddle shoes instead of wiggling into a girdle. There are even days all I want to do is 'bum out' in my "Morrissey"  tee and pink pajama pants. Yet, when it comes to wearing vintage daily, for me, shapewear is a must-have.

So, girls, what is your take on shapewear? Do you wear it? Like it? Not like it?

We Have a Winner! MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme Giveaway!

This past weekend, I mostly did housework and laundry while he husband worked outside in the yard. The fall temperatures and sunny skies were in full abundance. The cooler air was a welcome change since it had been in the mid-90s the previous week.

Part of me is sad that summer is gone. I already miss the heat and my cotton sundresses yet I feel I am ready for the wool cardigans and tweed coats that accompany falling leaves and shorter days.

Now that fall is here and the weekend is over (I hate Mondays!), I am happy to announce that we have a winner for the MAC Lipcreme giveaway! And drum roll please...........

The winner is...........................................

Clare (Dolly Cool Clare)! Congratulations, Clare! You are my first international winner! Please e-mail me your physical address at so I send your new MAC lipstick!

To all the lovely girls who entered, thank you SO MUCH for participating and for following my blog! I really appreciate it! All of you who follow and comment on my blog truly make this experience just even more amazing!

Now that I have 100 followers! Whoo-hoo! I am going to have a first 100 followers giveaway in the next week. I still have to figure out what I want my giveaway to be! I want it to be something fun and unexpected!

Again, congrats to Clare and thank you to all who entered!

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Giveaway Time! MAC's Pro Longwear Lipcreme in Prolong!

It's time for another fun giveaway! This will be my third one and I am REALLY EXCITED! So, without further ado, this giveaway is for a brand new (in the box and never used) MAC's new Pro Longwear Lipcolor in Prolong! I reviewed this product a couple of weeks ago. You can read it here:

This lipstick is wonderful and I really like it! The color is vintage-fabulous and it lasts a long time without drying or bleeding.

The giveaway will start today, Friday, October 1st and will end on Sunday, October 3rd.  Entries will be drawn on Monday morning and the lucky winner will be announced on Monday, October 4th.

To participate, all you have to do is follow/join my blog (if you do not already) and post a comment to this entry.

Good luck and have fun, girls!!