October 01, 2012

Lisa: Drugstore Dirt

Almay Liquid Eyeliner Pen

This is everything I've always wanted in an eyeliner--it's dark, lasts but isn't too hard to take off, and goes on precisely like a liquid but with the ease of a felt-tip pen. It's perfect for retro/cat-eye stuff. Unfortunately the lid fits so tightly that I have to pry it off with my teeth every morning.

Revlon Photoready Eye Primer + Brightener

The applicator/delivery method for this product is so terrible that I can't even tell if I like the primer itself. You turn the base a few clicks and supposedly a bead of primer gets dispensed into the tiny brush, which you can then brush right onto your lids. WRONG. It takes like ten clicks to get any product to come out, and then it's a huge mess, dripping everywhere. The brush is way too narrow to be useful as an applicator, so I just brush a swipe over each eye and then use a larger concealer/foundation brush to even things out. I liked my old L'Oreal De-Crease lipgloss-style applicator a lot better, but that product was kind of...meh. Maybe it's time to pony up for the NARS.

Maybelline XXL Pro 24HR Bold

This product may be the best thing to happen to mascara since Maybelline XXL Volume+Length. Bonus points to Maybelline for finally making the primer coat black instead of white, solving the problem of accidentally gray upper lashes. In a serendipitous twist, the shorter double wands are easier than a long single wand for those of us with suboptimal hand-eye coordination, and I get less mascara in my hair.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

I clearly haven't given up my quest for the perfect lip stain, because this rave review on On the Rag Mag totally convinced me to make an extra trip to the drug store. At first, I was completely sold on the Kissable Balm Stain's texture and staying power, and I swear the first day I wore it, it was amazing. Unfortunately, this product has one major problem: as soon as you leave the house or get in a position where you're not walking past a mirror every so often and can sneak a quick quality-control peek, the color brightens from a nice dark rose (I chose "Crush") to a bright purply-pink, something like how the Smitten color looks on Tracy in that review. Now, if you choose the bright pink on purpose, fine--but if you're not expecting it, and it doesn't match whatever else you have going on, it's annoying. Now the question is if it's worth trying the Honey version instead, or if I should just go back to my not-quite-perfect-but-best-so-far Tarte LipSurgence.

July 26, 2011

Sarah: Helpful Tip

I'm reporting from the thick of wedding season with an insider recommendation: if you're attending an outdoor wedding, go ahead and assume that there will be a gravel walkway.

That means it's best not to wear stilettos with shoddy faux-cork covered heels. That covering will get stripped right off when your feet sink into the gravel.

Farewell and goodnight, nude heels.

April 23, 2011

Lisa: 2010 ornament: Dita's Sleep Mask

As you probably know, Sarah hosts a Christmas ornament exchange every year. I know she still has some to show from this latest exchange, but take my word for it--the ornaments are just getting more and more awesome and we have so much fun coming up with something and then seeing what everybody else has made. Before I let it get too much later in the year, I wanted to show those of you who weren't in my swap group what I ended up making this time.

Preface: it probably doesn't mean anything to anyone but me, but for each swap I try to make an ornament that represents something that has been influencing me in the last year--either in subject matter or in technique. The first year we did the exchange, I had recently discovered knitting and was getting excited about the crafting potential there, so instead of glass balls I made little balls of yarn, each topped with a tiny pair of knitting needles and the beginnings of a miniature scarf. Our second year, there had been a LOT of discussion about zombie apocalypse preparedness plans, and I planned to buy Blake largely zombie-themed presents. A zombie ornament seemed like the next logical step. For 2009, I got obsessed with amigurumi and nerd culture, and crocheted tiny Cthulhus for everyone.

In 2010, I started getting more into vintage beauty, burlesque, and specifically the incredible Dita Von Teese. I drove away the few male readers we had left babbling on about it, and the rest of my free time sewing dresses from vintage patterns. Sarah and I and some of our girlfriends also had fun checking out a local burlesque troupe, the Voodoo Darlings. And don't tell her parents, but a certain like-minded friend and I actually went to see Dita perform at the Crazy Horse in Las Vegas. So fun.

But I digress. When it came time to decide what to make for the 2010 exchange, I couldn't stop thinking about an image Dita had posted on her twitter feed, featuring her beautiful self holding up a glamorous Moschino sleep mask over her eyes. I decided (because I am possibly cracked) that miniature versions of the sleep mask would make awesome Christmas ornaments. The fact that I had a lot of the fabrics I needed already on hand made it an even more attractive option, since we were pretty broke at the end of the year.

I copied the shape of the mask and the style of the lashes and writing as best I could, swapping out "Dita for Moschino" with the more fitting phrase "All I Want for Christmas." I'm sure these details were hand-embroidered on the original, but in my slacker way I substituted carefully-trimmed printable iron-ons. I decided to line the back of the mask (which you can't see in either Dita's photo or the photo of my finished product) with a dark red satin, and I stitched in little loops of black satin ribbon on each side to accommodate either ornament hooks or a longer ribbon (for practical use by the very small-headed).

Once I had the system down and the materials in hand, I decided to make a few full-size sleep masks as well, as Christmas gifts for some of my friends. The larger version has sewn-in long ribbon tails instead of the little loops. I hope Dita would approve!

March 13, 2011

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 28-29

We're to the finish line! Because I doubled up on one day of the 30 for 30, we only have two more days to go.

Day 28:
That blur below is me wearing my blue button-up shirt with my grey mini skirt. Loose shirt + short skirt = Comfy Town.

What's that? You want to see more house awesomeness? How about this giant orange ampersand that my friends made for me?

They are great. It is great. You can come over and hang out with my ampersand sometime.

Day 29:
Today I went to see DeVotchka in concert. So I needed clothes that would be warm enough for waiting in line and comfortable enough that I could stand near the stage for a few hours.

Everything went pretty much according to plan. My recommendation is that you go to concerts with my buddy Mallory. She's good times. We had an awesome view.

At least, until this guy stood right in front of me. His date stood right behind me (chivalry is not dead?) and he was so close to me that I think some of his dandruff got stuck in my eye. It's okay, though. DeVotchka is worth it.

March 12, 2011

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 25-27

Day 25:
My main goal for my outfit today was to not wear anything from American Eagle.
I had dinner plans with some fine ladies to go to Vinto, and it's already the stuff of legend that when Jillian went to the same restaurant with a different friend, she lent that friend a coat so that her American Eagle sweatshirt wouldn't darken the door. True (if slightly exaggerated) story.

Outside of 30 for 30, I don't wear this sweater often. It seemed like a great addition to my wardrobe at the time I bought it, and a nice change from all of the black sweaters that I buy like an addict buys crack. But whenever I wear it, I feel like I look like a doctor in a lab coat.

Day 26:
When you wear heels and a blazer on a Saturday, it's your own fault when people say "You look ready for a business meeting!" when you walk into a party.

Day 27:
When in doubt, pose as awkwardly as possible.

But today I want to tell you about my tiny earrings. They're so small that no one really notices them, but my dad got them for me many years ago on a business trip.

I recently rediscovered them and they're still great. The guy has a good eye, right? He's also smart and funny. The arrow necklace sadly lost it's silver tip a few weeks ago, and I have not yet replaced it. I got it at last summer's Craft Lake City from someone that sold cool arrows and arrow necklaces, but sadly none of their products had their name or website.

February 28, 2011

Sarah: Winter 30 for 30, Days 22-24

We're in the home stretch, but in case you need a break from this steady stream of awkward posing and slightly wrinkled clothing, here's something adorable:

Now on to the clothes:
Day 22:

This outfit was mostly to prove to myself that I had a few more accessories that I could wear. I've decided that I like this shirt color very much. I've also decided that these jeans should be burned.
I knitted this scarf a few years ago. The yarn (or yearn, as I just typed...) is thin and shimmery and I used the biggest knitting needles I could find so that the result would be lacey. It was somewhat successful.

Day 23:

My guest bathroom and I have to stop meeting this way. You know what is comfy? Layering argyle knee-socks between your boots and tights. I suppose the argyle pattern is optional. I wore this outfit partly to justify the presence of this shirt and this skirt in my 30 for 30, and partially because I thought it made sense to wear these items for a little secret photoshoot at work. We found paper moustaches, so naturally we all took photos that looked like this:

There's not really a good explanation. Just go with it.

Spending all of this time taking photos in my bathroom (that sounds weird out of context) has been reminding me that I need to show you my favorite part of this room. It's always directly behind me in these photos, so you don't notice that proudly hanging on one wall is... Bam. My parents' engagement photo.

That is a good looking couple right there. Their wedding colors were brown and cream. I got my dad's eyebrows (Thank you, Dad!), but my mom is clearly keeping the long-shiny- flowing-locks-of-hair gene to herself.

Day 24:

I'll admit it, I was trying to recapture the magic of comfortable Day 18. The best thing about these photos might be the Mantovani record that I keep displayed on my flat filing cabinet.

Next time, I debate whether I look like a hippie or a doctor. Hint: probably neither.

January 31, 2011

Lisa: Tool of the Week

When I found out I was pregnant for a second time (yay, us!), I was faced with a bit of a (head-) hair dilemma. I didn't want to fume out the fetus with a lot of nasty chemicals right up near my (eye, nose, and mouth-type) sensitive membranes, but I also wasn't ready to grow out nine months' worth of ashy, light brown roots. I did a lot of research on more natural hair-coloring methods, including henna, but I wasn't left with a lot of hope regarding either their effectiveness or any increased gentleness.

Time passed. My roots got more obvious. Finally, in a fit of desperation I rushed into a nearby drugstore, intending to just get a box of the regular stuff and open some windows and hold my breath while I slathered it on. BUT! The drugstore didn't carry my preferred brand (or was out of my preferred color? I don't remember) and I found myself in the dye aisle, searching for an alternate solution. Enter...

(Beware, Angela Martin starts talking to you when you open that link, and I couldn't figure out how to turn her off.)

Allow me to tell you why this product is awesome/what makes it different.

1) It's guaranteed to match any brand of home or salon color, and even lists the popular brands and their colorways on the side of the box.

2) It's significantly cheaper than the regular, full-application box.

3) It comes with significantly less product. This is probably why it's cheaper. HOWEVER, this is a plus in my book. As a long-time same-color dyer, I was following the touch-up application instructions in the full box anyway. That means that after applying dye to my roots, I was supposed to finish by combing it through the rest of my hair, resulting in an unattractive ombre effect that was darkest at the ends. Also, there was so much more dye than I really needed that I was probably overapplying, in an effort not to waste what I'd bought. The Nice 'N Easy has just enough dye to apply to the roots over my whole head--no anxiety about throwing half a bottle away.

4) The dye is mixed and delivered in a different format--with a little dish and brush instead of the squeeze bottle. The little brush that comes with the Nice 'N Easy lets you apply just the amount of dye you need right where you need it. With the squeeze bottle, I found I was applying a ton of dye pretty inexactly. No more sploogeing it out past your hairline!

5) You wait with the dye on your hair for less time. The box I was using before was a 25-35 minute wait, but Nice 'N Easy takes only 10-15 minutes.

6) The dye doesn't seem to contain a foaming agent that you work into a lather before rinsing it out in the shower, like the L'Oreal did. I don't know if that's better or worse, but I haven't noticed a major difference.

7) The only slight downside I see is that the Nice 'N Easy doesn't come with the tube of conditioner that is the best part of any box of home hair dye. This isn't a huge deal for me, because I never use those up before I get a new one, and thus I have a bit of a stockpile.

SO. To sum up: less dye on my hair for less time means fewer fumes to sting my eyes and make me start worrying about hurting the baby. The lower price is just a bonus. Plus, I've been using just touch-up packs for four months now, and I haven't noticed any weird stripeyness from not dyeing my whole head in between. I call that a win.

(Edited to add parenthetical explanations for sensitive, dirty-minded types.)

October 26, 2010

Lisa: last minute costume, awesome edition

Maybe you weren't planning on dressing up for Halloween this year--a valid if unexciting choice--but then you got invited to a costume party. Don't hide at home because it's too late to put together a cool costume! If you can work a space, future, Tron, or robot costume into the party's theme, you're in luck. This might be the easiest and cheapest costume I've ever put together, and it's well within your capabilities.

1) Find a basic black dress and some black boots you already own.
2) Buy a couple of different colors of masking tape at the hardware store (usually in the paint section) and a roll of SILVER METAL-LOOKING TAPE from the area with the heating/duct repair stuff. This metallic tape is a dress-up miracle.
3) Lay your dress flat or put it on a dress form if you're a sewing dork like me, and start laying out the tape in a cool pattern. You might want to sketch out your design idea on paper first, to avoid repositioning tape too much. In my experience, the masking tape isn't sticky enough to move around, and the silver tape is just sticky enough that you start worrying about the dress underneath if you're taking it on and off.
4) Tape up your boots, too, IF YOU DARE.
5) Check the dollar store for some glow-stick necklaces or bracelets. I taped some sticks to the side of a headband so they'd stick up out of my hair, too.
6) The dollar store is also a good place to find chunky, brightly colored plastic earrings and bangle bracelets. Intermix them with glow-bracelets.
7) Dig out a pair of black tights with no holes and put on the whole shebang. DONE.

I didn't even look lamer than everyone else at Val's Future party! Proof here and here. I now pass this costume secret on to you. See you at the Tron Legacy premiere?

October 11, 2010

Lisa: hoopin'

You guys know me and traditional exercise: I pretty much hate it. But something about the current hula hooping fitness craze caught my interest. Maybe it's the retro appeal. Maybe it's because I have positive memories of hula hooping as a kid. Maybe it's because you can burn up to 600 calories an hour while looking almost like you're holding still. Who knows? But I do know the purpose of having a blog, and that is to embarrass yourself in front of a large audience whenever possible. SO. Here's a creepily silent video of me doing all the hooping tricks I currently know. Maybe in a few months I'll be posting one where I look a lot thinner and have a more impressive repertoire. It could happen. More importantly, if you saw me over on Health Month and I said I exercised, this is probably what I was doing.

August 25, 2010

Sarah: Urban Orangutan

Lisa's post about what to bring to the swimming pool reminded me that I'd learned a little about this topic a few weeks ago as well:

One of the amenities in my apartment/condo complex is a swimming pool, and I've been trying to take full advantage of this feature during the summer. Working without air-conditioning helps me stay motivated. As does knowing a cute little person that loves to play in the water. Over the course of the summer, I've spent evenings and weekends at the pool and only seen a few other residents: a young couple, a few parents with their kids, and one older lady that wanders the complex all day, watering the flower pots with a milk jug full of water.

Until now, dear reader. Until now.

I was sitting poolside on a Saturday morning when this orange-hued gentleman strolled in, supplies tucked under each arm. Don't worry, when he unpacked, I took a photo so that you, like he, can properly prepare for a day by the pool. I know, the water can be so unpleasantly wet and cool, but that beautiful, sun-reflecting pool will bring your suntan to a new level.

I call this instructional guide Operation Human Toast:

Pre-Pool Preparations:
1. A small swimming suit is a must. Black attracts heat, so that is clearly preferable.
2. Invest now in blond hair dye. Let the light yellow strands of your flowing locks be the yin to your darkening skin's yang.
3. Find a large plastic tote for your supplies. Your grandmother probably has one in her basement. Take a look.
4. Make a run to 7-11 for a Super Big Gulp. Probably diet soda. Obvs.

Pool-side Perfection: This will be faster with an illustration.

1. Suntan lotion. Bring it. If I have to tell you this one, you've already failed.
2. Cigarette. Summer in a desert state can be so frosty. Smoking will help you warm right up. Plus, your skin might not be wrinkling fast enough from the sun damage. This will help speed the process.
3. Bring Your Own Ashtray. The HOA has seriously overlooked poolside ashtrays. You might write a strongly-worded letter while you're laying by the pool.
4. Trust no one. The pool area may be scattered with chaise lounge chairs, but they're probably not good enough. Better to have a personal collapsible lounge chair specifically for tanning.
5. Bring your keys for the pool area, but keep it classy. Chanel keychains preferred, Fendi also accepted (not pictured).
6. Settle in for the long haul. You don't get this sort of burnt sienna glow by clocking in an hour here, an afternoon there. Purchase a beverage that reflects your commitment for a weekend-long tanning bender. Getting beautiful is thirsty work.
7. NOT PICTURED BUT VERY IMPORTANT: Boom box. Turn on some tunes. AM radio seems to suffice.

Invest in aloe. These words are scripture.

August 24, 2010

Lisa: infomercials can be convincing

Me: I'm thinking of buying a shake weight.
Sarah: Bolsters your biceps and your sex life. Think of all the relationship bargaining power in your future.
Me: Clearly, they are a turn-on...as are taut upper arms.
Sarah: Ha!

August 13, 2010

Lisa: What you need? Baby, I got it.

It's taken me three weeks of swimming workouts to finally feel like I'm bringing the right stuff with me and that I haven't forgotten anything. If you're swimming (and showering) at a gym, this list might help you. Otherwise, it's pretty much just here for me, so that next time I get motivated I won't have to start from scratch.

Here's what to assemble:

1) Old messenger bag. It can really be any smallish bag. Dig around in the back of your closet. I bet you have something that will work. If it has a zipper pocket in front to throw your keys and wallet into, so much the better. The important thing is that you're not using this bag for anything else--you will want to just leave it packed with your swimming stuff all the time. The bag has to be big enough to hold...

a) Padlock. You probably have one kicking around in a drawer from some kind of previous gym or school situation, but in case you don't (or you didn't write down the combination), Kmart has a bunch of options. Get one in your favorite color so it's easy to spot.

b) Goggles are really important if you're going to be spending a lot of time in the pool. More important than I thought. I just got some crappy ones at Walgreens originally, but it only took me a few days to upgrade to a pair of Speedo women's Vanquishers, and I love them. Plus, I bought them at a great local swim shop (Poco Loco); the woman there was super friendly and helpful.

c) Hanging toiletry caddy, which I thought I got at REI, but could just as easily have come from ShopKo or Target. You probably got one for traveling before the airlines started making you pack everything in clear ziplocks. The exact brand or type doesn't matter, as long as it's fairly small/basic, can get a little wet without getting ruined, and has a hanging hook. Mine also has a little mirror velcro-ed into the top that has come in very handy. Stock that baby up with...

i) Travel-size containers of your face wash, toner, and moisturizer. Buy travel-size toiletries or find some tiny refillable bottles. Just test your bottles for leakage first.

ii) Travel-size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Shampoo can be from hotels or the trial-size section of the store if you're not picky about your product, or fill up an empty bottle with your favorite. The conditioner tubes that come in hair dye boxes are a good size, if you do your own coloring. I think body wash is easier on-the-go than worrying about bar soap in a box. Use a small quick-drying puff or just your hands to lather up.

iii) Disposable razor

iv) Trial-size hair gel and wide-tooth comb

v) Cotton pads, which you can use to apply your toner and then quickly sweep up your hairs that came out in the shower so you can throw them away when you get out. Nobody wants to step on someone else's hairs. I bought a little snap-closed plastic box of cotton rounds in the trial-size section, and I've been refilling it from my regular package.

vi) Small deodorant and purse-sized perfume atomizer

vii) Chapstick (Pool water is DRYING.)

d) Cheap rubber flip-flops (try Target or Old Navy) to walk to and from the pool, and to wear in the shower. Fungus is not your friend.

e) Small makeup bag (another thing you just have kicking around) containing...

i) Redness-reducing eye drops. Especially important if your goggle situation is sub-optimal.

ii) Backup makeup. If you're like me, you have a drawer of reject makeup products that you don't use every day. Dig out a passable mascara, some eyeshadow, and a lip stain (for example). The idea is to pack a bare-bones makeup kit that you can just leave packed in your swimming bag all the time. You don't want to be thinking what makeup to pack at 7 am or to find you've forgotten to bring something you need.

iii) Wisps, in case you forgot to brush your teeth before leaving the house. It was early!

iv) Feminine hygiene product of your choice. One or two should be enough for emergencies.

v) Sample-size body lotion

f) Refillable water bottle. You might not feel thirsty after swimming, but you are.

2) Plastic shopping bag. You know you have some from all those times you forgot to bring your reusable fabric bags into the store. Perhaps in your IKEA bag keeper? The night before you're going swimming, toss the underwear for the outfit you're going to wear into the plastic bag, and stuff it into your swimming bag. While you're taking your shower (in the tiny stall with no place to put down your stuff), you can hang your clothes in the bag on the towel hook so they don't get wet. Then when you've gotten dressed, roll up your swimsuit in your towel, and put the whole damp roll in the plastic bag to take home. (bonus: recycling!)

3) Swimming suit. If you have a fashion suit (like I did) you may spend your entire workout tugging it into place. I bought this old-lady skirted Speedo, and I kind of love it. I will admit that I sewed some low-profile bra cups into the lining for a bit of extra shaping and coverage. I think I saw what a difference that could make in my shirred halter-top suit, and I couldn't resist. Anyway, just wear your suit under your clothes on the way to the gym. Then you don't have that awkward moment where you're wondering if you should just get naked out in the open in front of the lockers, or go into a toilet stall ("but I'm not peeing!") or shower stall ("and I'm not showering!")

4) You will need a place at home to hang your swimsuit and towel to dry. This seems obvious, but putting on a damp suit is unpleasant. Rinse your suit out in the shower after you swim, and wash it on the weekends. Easy peasy!

May 28, 2010

Lisa: Tools of the Week

I consider myself fairly lipstick-impaired. During my formative years, the vast majority of my dress-up occasions involved playing the flute--an activity I cannot perform while wearing lipstick. It wasn't until I saw photos of myself singing with Voices as an adult that I realized lipstick is the only thing keeping me from looking like a particularly lipless decaying corpse. Unfortunately, the only decent lipstick I have owned for the last 10 years or so is an old tube of Clinique Plum Brandy that I'm sure I stole from my mom. It was time for me to woman up, do a little research, and take the plunge. Here's what I found.



The internets told me that matte lipstick is the best for vintage looks, but there aren't many drugstore-level choices around nowadays. This is a good option to try, to see if you like the effect before you spring for MAC or something even more glamourous. The color I bought is In The Red, which is a bit more on the orangey side than I expected from seeing it in the tube. I still like the color with the right outfits, though, and I love the texture, especially when I first put it on. It does get eaten off my lips pretty quickly, but I think that might happen with all lipsticks. Anyway, it's a bargain at $6 for a pack of two through Amazon right now, so you can afford to reapply as often as you like.



YouTube makeup tutorials convinced me I had to try these. At $12.50 apiece, they're not as cheap as the Revlon lipstick, but still somewhat reasonable. Plus you only use a teeny bit at a time, so the tiny tubes should last a long time. Lip Tar (which does not contain actual tar) applies wet like a gloss, but is highly pigmented like a lipstick. Both of the colors I tried (Plum and Vintage) are great: dark and rich with a shiny finish. The plum looks pretty improbable in the tube--it's really bluish--but on, it's awesome in a vampire-y sort of way. Lip Tars are really made to be mixed with powder pigments or with each other to create custom colors, but I'm not that advanced yet.

There's definitely some feathering action with the Lip Tars, which I think is more common with lustre-finish lip colors, but that can be minimized by layering over a base of lipliner. It helps with darker/brighter lips also to create a really sharp lip line with concealer and a brush on the skin around your lips. I did find that the pigment of the Lip Tar sort of sinks into the cracks in your lips, so that when the main surface of the color gets eaten off, you're left with a really bizarre Jack-the-Pumpkin-King kind of look. A little more Lip Tar or even just some lip balm smeared around to pick up and spread the remaining color can salvage things.

So. That's what I've been playing with so far. What's your favorite lipstick?

May 05, 2010

Lisa: Plain Jane or Wacky Sailor?

I just finished making a skirt with this gathered skirt tutorial from Gertie's NBfBS (which I just wrote about a few days ago). I'll put more details about my skirt-making process after the jump, in case anyone is interested, but meanwhile I have a pressing question for you. A question involving yellow-gold rickrack. And a hot pink petticoat.

Exhibit A (sorry about my ironing issues):

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Exhibit B:

I love the skirt's shape with the petticoat, but is it too much? Is it the pink that makes it too much? Or is the pink only too much when combined with the yellow rickrack? I like the rickrack because it is oversized and fun and gives some interest (and a little more fullness) to the plain skirt, but does it make the previously perfectly serviceable skirt tacky and ridiculous? I was thinking about a possible nautical vibe to go with the navy skirt fabric, but then I sort of lost control in the aisle with the gold trims. Maybe the idea of trim is good, but the yellow rickrack is the wrong choice. Or maybe I should whole-hog it and throw some gold anchor buttons on the waistband. I fear I have completely lost perspective.

Here comes the important bit: please help me end this madness and vote on your favorite version!

One of the things I liked about Gertie's tutorial is that there is no pattern to buy! You just take your measurements and plot out some rectangles. Finding some 100% cotton fabric that was around $1/yard (in the form of a clearance duvet cover at Bed Bath & Beyond) meant an almost free sewing project--the exact opposite of my usual undertakings.

Since I didn't have much to lose, I also tried out a few new techniques and used THREE specialty presser feet for my machine! Of course, I jumped on the opportunity to use my new ruffler foot. I had to fiddle around with it quite a bit and do some test ruffles to figure out what settings I needed to make the 80 inches of skirt fabric gather down to the length of my waistband, so it probably didn't save me a lot of time in this case. I wrote down the settings on my homemade pattern, though, so next time should be faster.

I also used the blind hem foot that came with my machine for the first time (following this great tutorial). My hem isn't as invisible as I'd hoped, but I think that was the fault of user error and some possibly sloppy folding. When I get the technique down better, I think it will make a very professional-looking blind hem --great for big skirts that would take yards and yards of hand-hemming.

Lastly, I pieced together my crappy-but-functional plastic invisible zipper foot and set in a zipper with this tutorial. I don't know what crafters did before the internet.

Verdict: I will DEFINITELY be making this skirt again. It's a relatively easy, flexible project, with a cute, wearable result. Maybe next time I'll use a border print or a stiff taffeta.

May 04, 2010

Lisa: sexy?

Sarah sent me the following text messages yesterday:

Sarah: I can hear Rocco humping his bed and it is...intimate.
Lisa: Ew.
S: I. Know. But who am I to say stop? He deserves a fulfilling life? Ugh.
L: Ew! But...dogs don't wear condoms, so I guess it is the more responsible choice.
S: Dogs also don't have the only 100% effective form of birth control: Levis.
L: Good point.


S: Aaand I now have Showtime.
L: Your TV situation confuses me.
S: Me too! Anyway. You should come over sometime. I bet we could see some titties.
L: Who doesn't like a good pair of titties?
S: They're the Sara Lee of anatomy.

This morning during the Diane Rehm show, I heard a radio commercial I had to investigate further. It was for PajamaGrams (now including pajama jeans!) Apparently, 'the gift of relaxation' is great for Mothers' Day. For a mere $45 - $75, you can have the loungewear of your choice delivered in a periwinkle or pink organza hatbox. (Yep. Organza. Hatbox.)

The good news is that pajama jeans (essentially wide-leg "jeggings" as far as I can tell) are still a 100% effective form of birth control: not because of their sturdy fabric and construction, but because no one wants to become intimate with someone wearing a pair. And can we just revel in that trademarked fabric name for a moment? DORMISOFT. I'm not going to say that this particular garment symbolizes the downfall of society, but...it is clearly a gift for someone you hate.

May 01, 2010

Lisa: hair-suit

I have naturally wavy/curly hair, and since becoming an adult my attitude has swung like a pendulum between the extremes of 1) celebrating curly hair and decrying the media position that wavy hair is ugly and messy, and 2) forcing it into smooth submission. Recently, I tried a modified version of the "curly girl" method for a while, but now I've swung back into something more styled--using hot rollers regularly. My dad asked if I started doing my hair differently to distance myself from my billboard doppelganger, but it's probably more a case of just getting bored with having the same look every day. Plus, I've been getting more into retro looks lately, and the only decade my natural hair is reminiscent of is the 1980s. Hot rollers are actually surprisingly fast and low-maintenance. There's no tiresome (and damaging) blow-drying or flat-ironing, either; the rollers are my only straightening agent.

But...remember how I couldn't stop raving about Grey Gardens yesterday? Sarah could testify that a good part of what was making me drool with each new outfit was Drew's fabulous 1950s hair.

Barring having a team of experts on hand for styling and touch-ups, what do I need to do to get my hair to look like that? Online research suggests having my hair cut specifically for curling--the words 'wedge cut,' 'undercut,' and 'double cut' have been thrown around. But how do I convince my much trendier stylist (who seems to give me a mullet no matter what I ask for) that this is what I want? Salt Lake City isn't exactly full of salons that specialize in retro cuts.

In the meantime, YouTube is a great source for instructions and tutorials for retro hairstyles. I've been wearing a modified version of this easy pin-up "pomp" fairly often. (You can see it on Facebook here, here, and here.)

I also tried out this faux finger wave bob for Kaeleigh's Great Gatsby party (photos on Facebook here and here) and I was really happy with how it turned out and how easy and approachable it was compared to doing real finger waves. I think the key to shiny hair with the waver is Redken Spray Starch (mentioned in the video), which is tricky to find in stores these days, but gave me a much better result than my Britney concert attempt. I also didn't bother straightening first, but just brushed out pieces of that day's curly style and mashed them into the waver's hungry jaws.

Next up, I want to try some real victory rolls, or maybe this victory rolls and ponytail combo that is supposed to be good for second-day hair. But...that's not really what my hair looks like on the second day after washing at all. Maybe I need to do some more research. Or maybe the texture difference is a result of pin-curling instead of using hot rollers. I think I'll try one of these two videos to set in some pin curls, and see what happens. The part two videos from both of these channels is making me think I need to buy a new brush first, but I can handle that.

Last but not least, four blogs I've read in the last two weeks have recommended a book called Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step-by-Step Techniques by Lauren Rennells (check out her blog here). I wish my library had it, so I could check it out right now. As it is, it will probably languish on my wishlist for a while. But who knows? I may break down and need something to hold me over until Dita's book comes out.

April 30, 2010

Lisa: Glee, Gertie, and Grey Gardens

I hope the few of you who suffered through my long entry on vintage-y fashion aren't too sick of the subject. One page/idea just keeps leading me to another, and the internet is suddenly big and exciting again.

1) I love Glee. This should not be a shock to you, since a) it is awesome, b) there is singing, and c) there is dancing. There is also one adorable guidance counselor with the cutest, matchiest, most bow-adorned cardigans, blouses, pencil skirts, vintage pins, and (!) sweater clips. I'm sure the character's OCD (and having a full staff of behind-the-scenes television professionals) helps with the immaculately maintained clothing and perfect hair, but I can squeal about her outfit pieces just the same. If you want to find a whole community of fellow squealers who will tell you exactly where Emma's clothes can be bought, try What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?. There are a LOT of Polyvore sets featured, if that's your kind of thing. It is
technically a shopping blog focused on one (admittedly really great) look, so if you're trying to be frugal, stay away. Found via Go Fug Yourself.

2) Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing is a sort of Julie & Julia experiment, with the blogger talking about her journey making all the pieces in the 1950s guide, Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing. I think having a directed project like that is kind of a great idea. It gives your blog a good theme to start from, which I think would help a lot in marketing your site and getting a following. Plus, there's always the book to go back to when you get stuck on interesting things to write about or need motivation. I can't lie, I kind of have a blog crush on Gretchen right now. I love her retro-but-quirky look, and the things she sews (from the book and otherwise) are lovely. Her writing style and her brand of feminism are appealing to me, too.

If I had one tiny complaint about Gertie's NBfBS, it would be that when you click to read more of each entry "after the jump," the post opens in a new browser window. I guess you can just close that window when you're done reading and the old window you clicked in from will still be there--no waiting for that page to reload! --but when you close the wrong window, can't hit 'back,' and have to find your place in the archives all over again, it's really annoying. I'm surprised she chose that system, especially since her external links open in the same browser window and necessitate clicking 'back' to finish reading an entry. Anyway. My new-found love is not diminished by this very minor inconvenience, and I'll be checking back soon for sewing progress updates. Found via WWEPB (Gretchen is, OF COURSE, also a fan of Glee and Emma Pillsbury's style).

3) Sarah and I finally watched HBO's Grey Gardens on Monday. It's the fascinating story behind the Maysles' cult-classic documentary, and Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange were both awesome. You can read about writer/director Michael Sucsy's inspiration and process here. Engrossing story aside, the costumes Drew Barrymore wears as Little Edie Beale in the 1930s through the '50s (before things spiral out of control) are just gorgeous--and I think they're even prettier in the film than in photos.

You can see lots more of Drew's incredible costumes on Jezebel and Grey Gardens News, and there's also an interview with the costume designer reproduced here.

The Beales' house is almost its own character in the movie, and it goes from luxurious and tastefully bohemian in the 1930s to completely run-down, overgrown, and squalor-ridden by the 1960s. Visual Vamp (who actually met the Beales in the '70s) talks about East Hampton style and the movie sets. I wish I could find a better set of the National Enquirer photos that were taken of Big and Little Edie in the house at its most squalid, but there is a house tour up at the New York Times that shows the condition of the house after clean-up, when Little Edie finally sold the property.

Happy clicking!

April 23, 2010

Lisa: dress-up closet

We finally rented Fantastic Mr. Fox to watch with Nora last week, and I fell in love with (among other things) Mrs. Fox's yellow housedress. I love a vintage dress anyway, but this sunny a-line one with a tiny apple print, an adorable stand-up collar, and an empire waist is so tailored and cute. Add a brooch and a few pockets on the front for holding art supplies, and it's pretty much perfect. You can see more of it here at Design*Sponge and The Handmade Experiment.

Thinking about retro dresses naturally sent me back to the Bettie Page Clothing site again, where I've spent a lot of time lately hanging around looking at the same dress over and over. I bought this Bettie Page dress a while ago, and the quality is great. I've gotten a ton of compliments on it, too. Does it strike anyone else as odd that one of the only places I've found consistently modest but stylish and sexy dresses is a costume/fetish shop? But I digress. The only thing keeping me from just buying the rust-colored one has been the price--but when I got an email about a birthday sale (enter code BETTIE BDAY at checkout for 25% off until April 26!), I couldn't resist. Plus, Blake bought it for me as an early Mother's Day gift because he's a model husband.

Searching around for housedresses online inevitably led me to A Dress A Day, a blog about sewing and wearing vintage dresses and skirts that's been around for years, and has the clunky old blog template to prove it. For some reason I decided I absolutely had to read all the archives at once, which is taking a bit of time. I'm enjoying them a lot, and getting more excited about sewing along the way. I even posted a page on the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wiki about the pattern I used to make my dress for Jillian's funeral party, which I still intend to blog about someday...AHEM. I do wish the A Dress A Day archives were heavier on dresses Erin has sewn herself, and lighter on adorable vintage patterns that have already been snapped up by someone else. Mostly because I keep falling in love with things I can't have.

I can (AND WILL) have this reproduction Vogue pattern Erin mentioned, though! Isn't it cute, with the little pintucks on the front and the big, full skirt? I started thinking about possibly making it in a cotton batiste, and some idle online searching led me to Belraf Fabrics. I clicked around on some prints I liked, and almost before I knew it, free batiste samples were winging their way to me through the postal service. For free. DID I MENTION THE SAMPLES WERE FREE? Very exciting.

Another site I dug up in the Dress A Day archives is StyleShake, which I want to try out next time I'm feeling flush. They let you design your own creation (using quite a few possible building blocks) and have it made-to-measure for around $100. StyleShake would be great also for outfitting your bridal party in coordinating dresses that they can customize to work for their tastes and body types (sort of the next logical step from the David's Bridal-type mix-and-match styles). I really like how the photo galleries range from classic to trendy to avant garde.

Somewhere along the way, I came across Vintage Vivant. I don't know why it surprises me when I find something new (to me) on the internet. Don't worry, I got caught up on all her archives, too, so it's just like I've been reading all along. Amelia wears vintage every day, and has a tattoo by Sunny Buick, the artist behind the most beautiful tattoo of all time. Looking at the hilarious embroidered slips Amelia sells in her Doublespeak Etsy shop also got me thinking about vintage slips as a possibly awesome lengthening tool/modesty enhancement for some of my summer dresses that are a tiny bit on the short and skimpy side. Or maybe I could make or embellish something with my new ruffler foot. You non-sewing, non-wearing-used-underwear types might be interested in the (possibly-Utah-based?) Vintage Hem.

Thinking about vintage slips reminded me of What I Wore Today (which I used to read religiously a few years ago, and just now figured out is still going strong!). Whether or not you like Kasmira's style, I think she'll make you braver about wearing dresses and skirts, pairing unexpected pieces, layers, and colors together, and remembering to accessorize.

Speaking of accessories, it's really hard for me to look at dresses without thinking about the shoes that will go with them. You know how everything on Modcloth goes out of stock in about two seconds? Well, I did manage to grab these green retro mary janes with cone heels a few weeks ago that would be perfect with a vintage silhouette. Unfortunately, now I've also seen these even more retro metallic Veronica t-straps with even cone-ier heels. Of course, Modcloth is sold out, but maybe I will save my pennies and order them right from the Seychelles website.

Unless I'm too busy donating all my time to orphans and developing new mathematical theorems, of course. Or cleaning the baseboards (in a dress). You never know.

February 09, 2010

Lisa: feather earrings

Mallory's present was another one that could have used a bit more advance planning.

I decided to make her some crazy feather earrings, which I've seen around a lot (most notably on the lovely Jillian), and I just grabbed some feathers and jewelry findings at the craft store and figured I'd wing it.

Luckily, I tried on my first attempt before wrapping the box. They went down past my boobs. Now, maybe if you are Jillian you can pull this off, but I think it takes a certain level of commitment to accessorizing that I wasn't sure Mallory shares.

I ripped them apart carefully, cut the feathers down several inches, and tried again.

I didn't take a photo of my third version, which came about because I remembered after wrapping the box that Mallory doesn't have pierced ears. Luckily it's not hard to swap out hooks for clips. If you think about these sorts of things before you start, though, this project is easy and fun! I want to make a pair for myself now.

August 14, 2009

Lisa: got my hair did

Twitter and Facebook are good times and everything, but I must admit they have contributed to the lack of posts around here. Luckily, I felt the following Facebook interaction deserved a little pictorial embellishment.

Lisa: New haircut: might be awesome, might be Three's Company.

Sarah: HA! I can't wait to see it. [Sarah knows that Three's Company also means Janette from SYTYCD, whose haircut I HATE.]

Angie: Might be Indigo Girls?

Lisa: Might be Kristen Stewart playing Joan Jett.

Dear readers, I will let you decide for yourselves.

May 27, 2009

Lisa: Tool of the Week (cheapo edition)

I'm sure only the most die-hard readers of our site remember when I featured Proactiv as a Tool of the Week back in aught-six. I still love Proactiv, but I've had a few problems with it that I thought warranted looking around for another option.

1) I never finished all three bottles of the set at the same time, and buying individual bottles at the mall kiosk in an attempt to even things out is insanely expensive.

2) They seem to have difficulty working out certain billing issues, which is important when their system is based on automatically deducting funds from your account and delivering the product right to your door.

3) They recently doubled the price of the regular 3-piece set, and justified the price increase by calling the same size of bottles a 2-month instead of 1-month supply.

The first imitation I tried was AcneFree, which does seem to have the same results as Proactiv. I found the textures of the products just different enough to be a little unsatisfying, though. The Proactiv cleanser is a little gritty and exfoliating, and AcneFree is not. The repair lotion is different, too--more opaque white and thin. Also, the bottles are identical in size (and design) to Proactiv, so I run into the same problem using them up unequally.

On my next trip to the skin care aisle, I decided to try Klear Action, another Proactiv clone. The slightly sketchy-looking cashier swore Klear Action works just like the real thing, and so far she's right. Plus, the set is sold with a bigger toner bottle (which should help even out the quantities) and the textures are much closer to the originals. Yay!

Both AcneFree and Klear Action are about half the price of Proactiv, and are available at my local RiteAid.

April 10, 2009

Lisa: Mmm! The invigorating scent of "you may have vomited recently!"

Dear Crest,

Congratulations on Vivid White--a triumph, really. One question, though. Instead of Invigorating Mint, don't you think you should just come right out and say wintergreen? Then the people who wish they could brush their teeth with Pepto Bismol would know right away which tube is for them.

Oh, and would you mind passing on a message to your friends at Secret? A squishy goo that is pushed up through a grate when you twist the base can't honestly be referred to as a Conditioning Solid, am I right? Let's try to stay away from outright lies in our product copy.


Sensitive Gag Reflex

January 25, 2009

Lisa: diet

I ate hummus, which is totally good for you (+1)
On tortilla chips (-1)
By spreading it onto each chip individually with a knife (+1)
(My chips kept breaking (-1))

Eh. A draw. I think I've earned some cake.

January 08, 2009

Lisa: Loves getting a little lacy.

Ah, Victoria's Secret Semiannual Sale catalog. How I love thee.

For a mere thousands of pennies, I can send a box hurtling toward me through space containing something naughty, something nice, the very good, and the very bad. And by very bad, I mean horrendously pun-tastic catalog copy.

To wit: "The lace is on for frill seekers."

December 11, 2008

Sarah: The price is nice

Today I'm wearing my new shrug from Anthropologie. It was the last one on the sale rack and didn't have a tag, so I got it for $20. Originally priced at $118 (the site says $88, but the cash register said differently)! It's nice to look like a girl once in a while.

November 25, 2008

Lisa: a cardigan is not enough

I don't care how good her legs are for her age. You shouldn't let your grandmother go to the grocery store without pants.

November 20, 2008

Sarah: Christmas Wish

What are you guys wishing Santa will bring to you on Christmas? Some lovely items I've been lusting after include:

Feather headbands seem to be getting increasingly popular. They're so unusual and dramatic, I think they'd make a great conversation piece or an unusual twist to a basic black tshirt and jeans.

Screenprints, Letterpress prints, photographs, and small scale (think postcard-sized) paintings are an affordable way to give someone a truly special gift and expand their art collection. Two paintings created by my dad, a photo by Mallory, and posters I've collected proudly adorn my walls. Prints of someone's favorite classic work are great, but I think an original work by an as-yet-unknown artist is intimate, creative, and an investment.

Rob Ryan makes some amazing paper cuts. He also has a book that would leave me inspired.

What about you? Are you eyeing some earrings? Do you have a long list of books to read in the new year? Are you yearning for leather driving gloves? A smoking jacket? Tell me in the comments below what you'd most like to receive for Christmas.

Oh, and this year, as with any holiday, I'd encourage everyone to Buy Handmade. Support independent artists and crafters and think outside the big box store.
I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

November 10, 2008

Sarah: Haircut

With winter now upon us, I obviously had to make room on my neck for my ever-growing collection of scarves:

Old hair:

And yes, that is a hilariously oversized pen from Japan. Sorry it's not a good hair picture, I seem to have been avoiding the camera lately.

New hair:

An improvement, no?

July 03, 2008

Sarah: Shod

Are these any better?

[Edited to add: I thought they coordinated very well with Nora's and my shoes. -- Lisa]

June 19, 2008

Lisa: I said who do you think you are

I went to the hair salon on Tuesday.

Stylist: "What's that paper? Aw! Did someone bring a picture?"
Lisa: "Um. Maybe. No making fun!"
S: "Let's see it! What do you want?"
L: (Hangs head in shame, unfolds printed-out Word document and thrusts it at the stylist.) "Pob me."
S: "Hee. All you had to say was 'Posh Spice.' Wow, you even cut and pasted these in here and everything! You're serious!"
L: (Laughs uneasily.)

I think it turned out OK, though.

Sorry about the mirrors--it's surprisingly difficult to photograph the back of your own head.

May 08, 2008

Lisa: Strawberry 100%

From the back of a book I checked in this morning:


The hero (me, Junpei Manaka!) sneaks up to the roof to see the sunset. When he opens the door, he startles a mysterious beauty. She panics and runs away, but not before Junpei has caught sight of her adorable strawberry print panties...in EXTREME close-up. With that vision forever burned into his memory, Junpei embarks on a quest to find the girl, and the panties, of his dreams!


Oh, Junpei. We've all been there. May your quest for the perfect strawberry print panties be fruitful.

April 21, 2008

Sarah: The Hids

The ugliest shoes I have seen, to date: Gladiator Jelly Sandals. Seriously.

I challenge all of you guys to find a clothing or shoe abomination even more tragic than the one linked above. I will bring back a prize from Europe to whomever out-uglies those shoes. Good luck and godspeed.

January 31, 2008

Sarah: Open Letter

Dear Express,
Curse you for seducing me with your new selection and your email coupons. I hate how much I love you. I just can't quit you. You had me at hello, etc.
But this? Stirrup pants? I cannot abide these abominations, Express. Sure, leggings were one thing, but I still have nightmares about fourth grade and stirrup pants. How could you?!

But it looks like you have some cute new dresses, so I'll see you this weekend?

Always and forever,

December 04, 2007

Sarah: Tool of the Week

When I went to Seattle most recently, Marci and I spent some time wandering around Sephora. One thing I tried and loved was


There are many different kinds and brands, but each one blends weightlessly into your skin, making it feel even, soft, and smooth. The idea is that you put this primer on before any other makeup and it creates a smooth base. It made my skin feel amazing and glowy, and I'm so sad I was too broke to buy any.

October 30, 2007

Lisa: Tools of the Week

#1: IUD


Target didn't have the annoyingly-packaged silver Pure Pigment Shadow Stick I usually get, so I bought Molten Metal in Scene Steel-er to try instead. It is AWESOME. The packaging is totally pleasing, with a lipgloss-style foam tip applicator. You shake together two layers of clear liquid and silty pigment, and then swipe it on. It's shimmery but not too heavy, and stays on all day. I'm totally converted--no more scratching my eyelids with the plastic edge of the Shadow Stick!

October 19, 2007

Lisa: your secret is safe with me

Lisa: Can I just say that big sweaters cinched in with little belts never looks good in real life? Just on the models in the Victoria's Secret catalog.
Sarah: Yes.

Sarah: Lisa. I might buy leggings soon. I'm apologizing in advance.
Lisa: NO. SARAH.
Sarah: I CAN'T HELP IT. I'VE BEEN RESISTING THEM FOR OVER. A. YEAR. They've slowly broken down my defenses.
Lisa: It is a slippery slope!
Sarah: What if I never wear them as if they're pants? What if I wear them with little shrugs and heels, and cut little holes in the backs where they rest on my calves?
Lisa: You are sentenced to watching Chocolat again to remember the flattering timelessness of 50s fashions, because blousy shirts and skinny jeans/leggings are NOT FLATTERING.
Sarah: NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT BLOUSY SHIRTS! I would not wear leggings with a long shirt. I hate you for suggesting that. This conversation is over. Just know that when i show up somewhere with leggings, you were warned beforehand.
Lisa: What are you going to wear them with?
Sarah: I would wear them with dresses, not blousy shirts, bitch.
Lisa: What about opaque tights instead?
Sarah: Opaque tights run. Plus, you can't wear open-toed shoes.
Lisa: Um. Leg coverings are worn in winter. Winter is not the time for open-toed shoes. I am just saying this for your own good.
Sarah: I am not fighting with you anymore about leggings.
Lisa: I was only fighting you because you ASKED ME TO A YEAR AGO.
Sarah: Okay, well now i am just saying that it might happen and there's nothing more to be done.
Lisa: OK. You have released me from my obligation. Also, what are your feelings on sweater dresses?
Sarah: Ummmm, I like them in the VS catalog, but they can be lump-magnifying.
Lisa: "Pleated cami has a luster so bright you'll radiate at every angle." I don't think that is a good thing.
Sarah: No. Not unless you're that one super hot model. Not Giselle, the other one. The brunette! Who's super hot! But not Adriana Lima, she of the huge lips.
Lisa: Hee. Oh, THAT one.

Lisa: Can i just say that a tube top should not have pockets?
Sarah: Now, with extra middle-widening!
Lisa: Also, an easy way to pull the top RIGHT OFF YOUR BOOBS.
Sarah: hee
Lisa: Do you know how many times i have almost bought that oxford shirt bodysuit?
Sarah: So many times.
Lisa: It's wrong. I know. It has a thong bottom.
Sarah: My question is, do you really want your nice oxford shirt to be wedged in your ass crack all day? I think not.
Lisa: I know! Thank you. But...it looks so cute and sleek and stays tucked in to your low-rise Marisa-fit butt-lifting pinstripe pants!
Sarah: I'm not arguing that with you. But...the ass crack. On your shirt.

August 16, 2007

Sarah: Tool of the Week, a cautionary tale

Thank you,


for teaching me that all shine serums are not created equal. You smell tasty, but make my hair almost instantly greasy. You are being demoted from behind-the-mirror storage to green-tupperware-of-bathroom-products-never-to-be-seen-again. I'm sorry. It's not me, it's you.

I worried that it no longer existed, but was happy to find that the superior shine serum,


still exists. Glass makes my hair silky smooth and shiny, but without feeling product-y and greasy after I style it. A curly haired girl needs a fair amount of help to get straight hair that doesn't feel like straw, and Glass does the trick. I love you, you tiny vial of expensive magic.

Yes, I even like it better than AFTERPARTY, as plugged here.

May 01, 2007

Sarah: Boy, Is my face red.

Nearing the end of my workday, I took a quick break to use the restroom. While washing my hands, I glanced in the mirror to check the frizz levels of my hair (assessment: Threat Level Yellow) and lip gloss shine factor (assessment: 0 shine remains. Bummer.). Then I noticed a pinkish spot on my cheek. It felt slightly puffy and sensitive to the touch. I decided that it could be nothing other than a flesh-eating bacteria. Obviously I needed a second opinion.
I walk briskly out of the restroom to consult Marci.
"I have a flesh-eating bacteria on my face. See? See??"
I stand on my toes to lean over the front of the reception desk. Marci soothes my paranoia and tells me that she doesn't see anything on my face. "Right here! It's eating my face off. I saw it on America's Next Top Model. Marci, I have a flesh-eating bacteria."
"Sarah," she smiles, "your face is fine."
"I have a bacteria! Look! The spot is right there!"
I twirl around to head back to the bathroom mirror for confirmation.
And then I see something.
A man in a suit sitting in the conference room, waiting to speak with my boss.
"Oh. Hi. I have a flesh-eating bacteria."
He smiles, nervously.
Just then, the president of the company walks past.
"Sarah, stop scaring people away."

"I have a flesh-eating bacteria on my face."

March 27, 2007

Lisa: dude looks like a lady

Is it possible that hot rollers induce mannishness? One would assume that artificially curling one's hair would result in a more feminine appearance. Strangely, no. Each time I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface, I am somewhat stunned by the incongruous man-face peering out from the center of a soft cloud of curled hair. A dark day for all of us.

March 17, 2007

Lisa: checking in

  • baby - lemon-sized

  • uterus - grapefruit-sized

  • breasts - two glorious California oranges

  • ass - don't ask

  • belly - sticking out even more than usual (Yep, that's a maternity dress.)

  • puke - less frequent

  • heels - holding steady

  • lust for life - intact (If you can still bring yourself to accessorize, all is not lost.)

  • March 13, 2007

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    During these early spring days I use


    An application every other day,
    Takes the ghostly pallor away.

    March 09, 2007

    Lisa: Tool of the Week

    Over the last 15 years or so, I've tried a lot of mascaras. Luckily, I wasn't makeup-age during the era of the colored lashes, but I've tried every tube my mom ever bought (Clinique, Arbonne, and various other high end stuff), every brand they sell at the drugstore, and some things in between.

    By far, the best mascara I've ever used is...


    The tube is divided in half, with one end being a whitish "lengthening primer" and the other end the black top coat. No lie, this mascara does make my lashes look significantly longer and more full. My natural eyelashes are barely average, but when I started wearing Intense XXL...

  • My mom (who historically only comments on my eye makeup to say that it makes me look like I've been crying) said my eyes looked very glamorous.

  • Defying husband stereotypes everywhere, Blake told me my lashes looked "long and luxurious."

  • A woman I was helping at the library told me I should be an EYELASH MODEL. No, really.
  • This is obviously no ordinary mascara. Try it! And tell me about your favorite beauty product in the comments!

    March 06, 2007

    Lisa: well-heeled

    Sometimes people question why I spend time or money on 'unneccessary' grooming procedures. Other people ask, "how can you stand to walk in those things" or, "why are you always all dressed up?"


    Excellent grooming goes a surprisingly long way to make up for a lack of natural beauty. Our friend Jennifer Aniston can testify to that. "Excellent grooming" means a regular regime of waxing or shaving, moisturizing, finger- and toenail care, hair upkeep (cut and/or color), daily hairstyling and makeup application, and making sure that whatever clothes you put on constitute an "outfit." You don't have to spend a lot of money on any of it, and it shouldn't be overdone (if all the makeup you need is lipgloss and mascara, great), but it has to be done. I've talked before about showing respect for your body by taking care of it, and I hold to that, but I think for me it's mostly about being prettier.

    Why skirts and heels? Well, quite simply, I think the Fifties look of heels and a skirt with a nipped-in waist is just the most flattering for a traditional female figure. Plus it's easier to pull off a classy, old-school glamour thing than to follow trends--especially when you're no longer 16 years old, over 98 lbs, or don't maintain the figure of an 11-year-old boy.

    Heels look feminine and graceful. They make your legs look longer and more shapely, and change the contour of your butt for the better. Plus, you look like you're putting just THAT much more effort into looking nice.

    Like all of you, I wear pants when the activity calls for it. However, for a woman with hips, a skirt is more flattering than a pair of pants EVERY TIME. And contrary to popular argument, I find that skirts are often more comfortable than pants, due to the lack of restriction around the lady bits.

    Yes, you have to be slightly more conscious of your body when you're wearing heels and a skirt. Wearing a skirt forces you to be ladylike--keep your knees together or risk exposing yourself a la Britney. THIS IS A GOOD THING. What's so bad about comporting yourself like a lady? Sitting with your legs wide apart in jeans still looks vulgar, even if your panties aren't technically visible. Walking in heels, feeling a skirt brushing against your legs--it makes you feel your femininity. Own it.

    I think I dress like a 50s TV housewife for another reason. Even though I consider myself a feminist, deep down I still think I should do (or at least be able to do) everything June Cleaver did. But...I don't really cook much. I'm not the best housekeeper. I'm not always sweet and kind and unruffled, waiting, martini in hand, for my husband to get home from work.

    But I CAN look the part. I can be the best at walking in with a skirt and heels, a smart-looking coat, and a pretty bag. And you know what? We can eat take-out. We can hire someone to clean our house. But it's still frowned upon to pay someone to be sexy for you. So...I figure I picked the most practical of the three.

    February 28, 2007

    Sarah: Tool of the Week

    You know what goes great with lovely waxed eyebrows?


    It goes on smooth and dark, but you have more control over the thickness and general application than with my old eyeliner.

    And no, there's nothing wrong with being ignorant to the wonders of a common beauty product until one is 22 years old. Why do you ask?

    Edited to add relevant links to past Two Loose Teeth entries.

    February 27, 2007

    Sarah: The Good, the Bad, the Excessively Snowy

    The Good:

    For Christmas, Santa put this lip balm in my stocking. I have just recently started using it, and I love it. The Mint Julep flavor tastes like an actual mint leaf, the lip balm is very silky (like the Burt's Bees lip balm I usually use) and stays on for a nice long time. Savannah Bee products are carried locally at the adorable Liberty Heights Fresh. I want to try something in Orange Mint. That sounds delicious.
    And speaking of lip balm, I also want to try this gloss/balm. So log that away.

    The Bad:

    Even with all of my faults, I've never been tempted to smoke. Sunday night, however, I had a very stressful dream.
    Social complications and major life decisions rattled in my brain. So what did DreamSarah do to calm herself? She took a few delicious drags from a cigarette. I breathed in the smoke deeply. I felt my brain clear. The cigarette cleansed and purified my body and mind. My lungs expanded with the smokey air and life seemed immeasurably more manageable.
    So I guess the point of me telling this to you is: Um. Why? Why did my unconscious mind want so desperately to smoke that sweet, sweet cigarette?

    The Excessively Snowy:

    More snow! Can't it just be spring already? My car was fine when I drove to work this morning, but was covered by several inches of snow by lunch time. I'm ready to wear shorts and read a book in the park and go barefoot! Oh well.

    February 26, 2007

    Lisa: I'd like to thank the Academy

    Helen Mirren always looks amazing at awards shows--gorgeous and sexy but age-appropriate. I'm so glad my favorite act of the Oscars recognized her hotness too. Here's to aging gracefully! I don't know about you, but I plan to stick a picture of Ms. Mirren to my bathroom mirror.

    February 13, 2007

    Lisa: hint, hint

    Normally I hate Valentine's Day with the fire of a thousand suns, but don't you think these would make a great V-Day present?

    Besides, if you have to wear this knit jersey tent, the least you can do is put on a pair of kickass sexy red heels with it, right?

    January 03, 2007

    Lisa: Wax On

    Factoid: it is surprisingly difficult to take a picture of your own eye. But aren't my brows fabulous?

    Today on my lunch hour I went to the spa for a bit of judicious waxing, and I got to thinking about why more people don't wax. Here are the common obstacles I see:

    1) It hurts.

    Well, yes. It does hurt. BUT BEAUTY IS PAIN. No, I'm just kidding--if it was too painful, obviously it wouldn't be worth doing. Look at it this way: have you ever groomed your brows with tweezers? You know how much it hurts when you pluck just one hair? Well (and if you haven't waxed, you'll just have to trust me on this), if you yank out a whole section of hairs at once, it hurts about the same amount as plucking just that one hair.

    Admittedly, most of us do not go after our bikini lines with tweezers, and that skin is certainly more sensitive--but what's the alternative? Shaving, with the associated razor burn and immediate prickly regrowth? Waxing the bikini line hurts, a lot, for about one second per cloth. That's six to ten seconds of pain, total, for two weeks of clean skin. Compare that to one or two days of clean skin followed by a week of itchy discomfort.

    There's also anecdotal evidence that each time you wax, it hurts less. I don't know if that's from gradual desensitization, or because there's less hair to deal with each time (pulling hair out by the root often damages the root and a new hair won't grow there), or if it's just less scary because you know what to expect. Your mileage may vary.

    1.5) Something will go wrong and it will RIP OFF MY SKIN/BURN ME/AIIIIIIIEEEE!!!!

    Well, I guess if you were bleaching your own hair you could potentially give your scalp a chemical burn and your hair would all fall out. This is why we leave it to the professionals. Your waxer should be a licensed aesthetician who has gone through hundreds of hours of classroom training and clinical application.

    2) I don't want someone else all "up in my business."

    Okay. That can be kind of uncomfortable--but it's not as bad as going to the gynecologist. For one, you get to keep your panties on. And your waxer will be super professional; if she wasn't, she wouldn't get any repeat business.

    2.5) I am embarassed to have a stranger see what I look like.

    Trust me, your waxer has had clients who are much fatter and hairier than you are. Also, if you DO wax, those areas will look better and you'll be less insecure the next time!

    3) It costs money.

    Yes, services cost money. Just as you can dye your own hair or paint your own nails, you can wax your own brows or whatever area suits your fancy. There's going to be a quality tradeoff, though, due to inferior commercially available products, a lack of expertise, and your not being a contortionist. Also, I personally have never had the guts to do my own waxing--but a stranger won't chicken out before ripping off that strip!

    Any hair-removal regime is going to cost something, whether it's razors and shaving cream, depilatory cream, or waxing supplies. You have to decide if the benefits of going to a professional are worth a few more dollars from your budget.

    4A) My brows look fine naturally.

    Yeah, maybe they do. But...they could look better. Even if you stay with your natural shape, there will be hairs that are "outside the lines." Get closer to the mirror. Yes, other people can see those. Brows are one of the most overlooked facial features, but one that can make a huge difference to the appearance of your eyes and your whole face. An aesthetician can help you determine a brow shape that will flatter your face, and will help you achieve that shape without overplucking.

    4B) No one sees my bikini area anyway.

    Maybe no one sees you naked. But what if you get invited to go swimming or hot-tubbing? What if you get in a car accident and the doctors have to cut off your clothes?

    More importantly, YOU see your bikini area. Just like wearing pretty underwear that no one else sees, you will know when you are well groomed and you'll feel sexier and more confident. Plus, that pretty underwear will look even prettier without unsightly hair sticking out of it.

    And...ladies, it must be said: if you are married or in a committed sexual relationship, then sack up. Your husband/boyfriend sees your bikini area, and even though he loves you no matter what, he will appreciate your grooming efforts. Keep the romance alive!

    4C) Only sluts wax their bikini lines.

    No. Clean and well-groomed women who have respect for their bodies and take care of them wax their bikini lines. You don't have to go Brazilian, and you don't have to shave in your boyfriend's initials. Your lady bits are not inherently dirty. Admitting that you have a bikini area and taking proper care of it doesn't mean you're showing it to all the boys.

    4D) I am a dirty hippie.

    I can't help you there.

    November 04, 2006

    Lisa: Turkey Dinners

    Background: Sarah has the charming but somewhat inexplicable tradition of buying Christmas panties from Old Navy every December. She wears them all year round. I think it is obvious to everyone that I, as part of my sisterly duties, am obligated to tease her about said Christmas panties.

    Lisa: I am so sorry about your baggy wedgie. You should stop at Old Navy for some Thanksgiving panties.
    Sarah: I hate you.
    Lisa: No, I was serious! You should! And I'm sure the Halloween panties are on supa sale.
    Sarah: Dude... DO YOU THINK THAT OLD NAVY WOULD HAVE PANTIES THAT HAD A FAN OF MULTICOLORED FEATHERS ON THE BACK?? Because that would be cute. Plus, then you could shake your tail feathers. I'm just saying.
    Lisa: HA! That? Was brilliant. Victoria's Secret sells holiday panties with like Santa fur and stuff on them. They should totally sell Thanksgiving ones with feathers.
    Sarah: And they could also sell a... sexy pilgrim hat? A bra with some sort of pilgrim collar?
    Lisa: Heeeeeee. Besides, Puritan lingerie is the ultimate oxymoron!
    Sarah: Yes, like someone says "is nothing sacred?" And we say NO!
    Lisa: Do people really care about keeping the Puritan tradition sacred? Just wondering.
    Sarah: Lisa. We could make a whole line of Thanksgiving underwear. A pair could just say across the butt, "You SHOULD be thankful!"
    Lisa: Or it could say, "Thanks but no thanks!" Or, "No, thank YOU!" Or, (OR!!!!) "Thanky Panky."
    Sarah: I hope you are saving all of this somewhere.
    Lisa: Seriously.

    November 03, 2006

    Sarah: Emergency

    Warning: I discuss underwear in this entry. Some links will lead you to photos of underwear. I realize that some people might view models in underwear as somewhat scandalous. If this is offensive to you, do not click the links. Thank you.

    I would like to take a moment to talk about Emergency Underwear. Maybe you think I'm referring to your days-of-the-week underwear that you keep near the back of your underwear drawer. I'm not. Because even though you feel a bit ridiculous wearing blue cotton panties with a smiling giraffe and "Tuesday" printed on the front, there is at least that moment when you are getting ready and you glance in the mirror and then start dancing in your bedroom to the radio playing Sexy Back because really? Your butt looks SO cute in Tuesday.

    No. I'm not talking about those panties. I'm talking about your laundry day panties. The underwear that you keep telling yourself to just throw away, but then all of a sudden, you have no clean underwear left, and it's either wearing your emergency underwear or nothing at all. You know the panties I mean. They are white, they are high-waisted, and they kill a small part of your soul every time you are forced by the dirty laundry gods to wear them.

    My emergency panties look like this. I bought them thinking they'd be kicky and fun. They would eliminate panty line and be comfy and lounge-y. Plus, look how they look cute on the model. Right? WRONG!

    These are horrible monstrosities. Best case scenario, the underwear is too loose. Worst case scenario, the "legs" of the shorts bunch up under pants and create an indescribable effect that is much, much worse than panty line, yet the overall effect is still sort of loose. No, not loose. Breezy. The shape of the underwear indicates that they should sit on your hips a few inches below your bellybutton. Placing the garment in the appropriate location, however, leads to an uncomfortable lack of bits-hugging fabric. Regardless of the cut of underwear you prefer, certain parts should be covered. My emergency underwear? DOES A SORRY-ASS JOB OF COVERING THOSE PARTS. My point is that these are very bad emergency panties. And I wore a pair yesterday. And another pair today.

    I need to do laundry as soon as possible so that I can get back to underwear I like. Like these. My good friend Marci, she who holds all underwear knowledge, encouraged me to get them, and they are hot. Hotter than they look on the model, if you ask me.

    October 19, 2006

    Lisa: Tool(s) of the Week

    I don't find infomercials to be a particularly pleasant or effective marketing technique, but I must admit that there are some good as-seen-on-TV products out there. Especially...




    It's hard for me to admit, but Jessica Simpson and Diddy sold me on Proactiv. That ridiculousness aside, now that I've tried it, I don't think I'll ever go back to another skincare regimen. My skin is softer and clearer and more glowy than it ever has been, and new boxes magically appear on my doorstep when I need a refill. The only downside is that my purple towels now have giant pink bleached spots from the benzoyl peroxide--but it was time for new towels anyway, and I was already planning to replace them with white. Problem solved!

    It's only been a few weeks since Marci introduced me to Turbo Jam, but so far I am loving it. The routines are relatively easy to pick up, go by quickly, and leave me completely sweaty (which I figure has to be good). I can't wait for my "ripped, rock-hard abs."

    Lisa: there is beauty all around

    Some days, the little things feel extra special.

  • I don't think there is any better feeling than hitting the snooze button and hopping from the cold room back into the warm bed, especially when you have enough blankets so that the covers feel heavy but not hot and the pillows are arranged in a perfect cushy nest. It's not really conducive to getting to work on time, but we all have our priorities.

  • I have been lusting after Aveda Rosemary Mint shampoo ever since I became an instant addict with the little bottles at the Hotel at MIT. Like a good girl, I used up all the shampoo in the house before stopping at Rutted (a salon between my home and work with a very unfortunate name but, on the bright side, selling Aveda products) to buy a liter of Rosemary Mint and a pump. I used it this morning and IT IS AWESOME--just as good as I remembered. It is all minty and tingly and refreshing and the rosemary is kind of savory smelling and not too girly. It's good for my hair, too. Plus then I used my new hair gel, which smells like Nerds candy, and it was like a match made in heaven. Two great tastes that (surprisingly) taste great together.

  • The 2007 Knitty wall calendar came out today, and I was idly clicking through the pictures used for each month when I happened upon this:

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is what is called nerdy hot. Do not underestimate the power of the nerdy hotness. Do you see those garters? The miniskirt? Who can say that knitting is just for grandmas now?
  • Edited to add a link to this adorable knitting animation, found via Heather. For those of you at work, it can be watched without sound .

    October 14, 2006

    Lisa: When she was good, she was very, very good

    Yesterday I got a real haircut and it was AWESOME. Ann Marie at Sacred Roots was recommended as someone who specializes in curly hair, and for good reason. She first looked at my hair when it was dry, paying attention to my hair texture, type of curl, and which areas were more or less curly than others. She cut the general shape of the desired style while my hair was dry. [For those of you who don't have curly hair, this is important because sections of hair with different amounts of curl can be cut to the same length when wet (and straight), but bounce up to different lengths when the hair is dry.] Then she shampooed me (complete with head and neck massage!) and neatened up the cut on my wet hair. Then she dried my hair with a diffuser, all the while giving me tips on styling and products. Ann Marie had read the books and websites I had read, and was familiar with the anti-shampoo philosophy--but encouraged me to do whatever worked for me. She is even going to a workshop in New York with Lorraine Massey next month. Plus, Ann Marie was super nice and the right amount of chatty and kept telling me how great my hair was. It was like a beautiful dream.

    As an added bonus, afterward I got to put on a fancy dress and eat fondue at The Melting Pot for Molly's birthday. It totally made up for the four hours I spent cleaning on Friday morning (yay, me!). The question now is what should I do tonight when Blake is out with the guys? Block the sweater I finally finished knitting? Paint the sewing room?

    Edited to add this picture of my haircut, taken the day after I posted this entry:

    September 05, 2006

    Lisa: Labor Day (It's a Holiday)

    Sarah, Marci, Mallory, and I spent most of the lovely Labor Day holiday shopping. I promised Marci I wouldn't post the picture of her holding up a giant pair of tummy control panties, but I'm sure she won't mind if I post this super cute picture of her at lunch instead, right?

    Isn't Marci the cutest? Don't you want to date her? I know I do. Here I am with Sarah:

    I promised Sarah I would crop out any evidence that the camera flash rendered her shirt transparent in this one. Plus, seriously? Stop trying to ogle my sister's breasts. It's creeping me out.

    But enough lunch. There were shoes to be salivated over!

    Thanks, ladies! You're the most fabulous friends a girl could have.

    August 02, 2006

    Lisa: haircut

    On Sunday I went insane and hacked off a bunch of my hair. Sarah helped me even it out, and this is what we ended up with:

    Could be worse. Oh, I colored it myself on Sunday, too. Feel free to psychoanalyze my sudden need to change everything about myself. Or my ongoing need to take pictures of myself.

    P.S. Happy anniversary, Blake! I love you.

    February 04, 2006

    Sarah: I just want to wash my face.

    I apply astringent to my face every night with cotton balls. After looking more carefully at my bag of cotton balls, however, I'm not sure I'm qualified to use them: They are "for the adventurous, exotic, sensuous, free spirited woman." I don't need that sort of pressure from my cotton balls.