Monthly Archives: March 2012

Bag Over My Head

Yes, this is another post about my hair disaster. After this, I promise not to blog about it again. If you don’t feel like reading about it, just skip it. I promise this will be the last time I complain about it. Really. Scouts honor.

I feel like wearing a bag over my head until I look like myself again. When I woke up yesterday morning and stumbled to the bathroom, I startled myself. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. My hair was a very light red color. It had no dye in it. I had stripped all the dye out, but the chemicals had lifted my original color from a dark brown with auburn high-lights, to a dark strawberry blond. Thankfully I have the skin tone to pull it off. It still startled me.

My children didn’t recognize me, and my mother who is visiting from Ohio gasped when she saw me. I made an appointment for 2pm to get my hair color corrected at a reputable salon in town.

When I walked into the salon, the person who was going to fix my hair wasn’t sure what I was there for. She said my color looked good. So did another stylist who came to consult. They said they’d seen much worse when it came to color mistakes. I looked at them like they were crazy. Of course since neither of them know me, how could they know this was a terrible disaster in my world.

For all my years of complaining about my hair, I do have to admit I love my hair. I have very thick, naturally curly hair. With all the curl comes coarse hair, and lots of frizz, but over all, it’s really pretty hair. I didn’t start coloring my hair until 10 years ago when my grey started to settle in. I’ve always been happy with my natural color. It’s a rich brown with auburn red high-lights. That’s what I’ve been trying to re-create over the last 10 years. I had just settled into a happy place with my first color attempt. Then I got cocky. I wanted to use professional products. I wanted to use a bowl and a brush like my stylist does. I wanted to feel like a pro.That led to the 3am color disaster.

So after conferring with the two stylists at the salon yesterday, we decided that the only way to tone down the strawberry blond look was to go a dark brown. It’s pretty, but it’s not me. When I woke up this morning I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror.

I spent $30 at Sally’s Beauty Supply to get the color, mixing bowl and brush. Then I spent another $30 at Walmart to get the Oops Color remover that turned my hair strawberry blond. I spent $90 at the salon for a color correction and deep conditioning. Total cost of color disaster was $150. Is this where I mention that I spent $70 for a hair cut on Wednesday? I’ve spent WAY TOO MUCH on my hair in the past 48 hours.

I suppose the moral of this tale is: Don’t get cocky, and be happy with what you have.

Now where is that paper bag? I might just want to wear it until I can recognize myself in the mirror again.

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Home hair color gone wrong

Well, I did it, I officially killed my hair. What started out as a great first home color in February, quickly turned into a terrible second attempt yesterday.

I was lured in by the fancy tubes of professional color at Sally’s Beauty Supply, and the assurance that it was much better hair color than what I was getting from the drug store. So I caved. I got two tubes of color, developer, and a mixing bowl and brush. I left assured that my color would be perfect.

One hour later, my hair was bright red at the roots, and black starting two inches away from my roots to the tips. It was a HORRIBLE color. I nearly started to cry. By this time, it was 9 pm at night. Too late to call anyone for help.

This is where the wash rinse repeat cycle started. I washed my hair 6 times with Neutrogena anti-residue formula. The least color safe shampoo I could think of. It did strip out quite a bit of color, but I still looked terrible. By 11 pm I made a run to Walmart to get Oops Color hair color remover. After applying that and rinsing for nearly 30 minutes as recommended for thick, long hair, I now have a light amber colored hair.

I’m not sure which color is worse. The black forest cherry, or the brassy burnt caramel color. They are both equally unacceptable. I’m waiting until the salons open for a moment to direct dial and panic on the phone with someone who knows my pain.

Did I mention that my stylist is on maternity leave, and now I have to trust my crazy hair to a complete stranger? I’m worried.

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Cosmetic must-haves from the . . . Drug Store?

Many of my cosmetic favorites are from department stores cosmetic counters or Sephora. I freely admit it,  I’m a sucker for department store products. I can’t help it.

I can easily spend hundreds of dollars on cosmetics. All I need is time. Letting me loose in Sephora is like letting my 4-year-old loose in a candy store. It’s utter delight.

My two children are the reasons I had to start checking out the drug store for cosmetic items 4 years ago. I simply couldn’t afford department store prices for everything anymore. I needed to afford diapers AND cosmetics. I remember having to make that first change from an expensive cosmetic product to the drugstore product. It was hard for me, but I was impressed with what I found. It started with a tube of mascara, and has moved on from there.

Most mascaras flake off, or melt, to leave me with raccoon eyes by early afternoon. I have tried every type of mascara. Super expensive, to the pink and green tube from the drugstore. Nothing worked. Then a Sephora employee suggested blinc Kiss Me mascara. A formula that wraps your lashes in tubes of mascara. The tubes come off easily with water, but won’t flake or smudge. It was the first time without raccoon eyes. I finally started wearing mascara again.

After my first child was born, I didn’t feel right splurging on $24 tube of mascara. There had to be something less expensive. After spending 30 minutes reading every type of mascara at Walgreens, I found that L’Oreal made a similar formula. It’s not as amazing as blinc, but it won’t flake, or smudge. And for $11 a tube, it’s a steal.

L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara

Other drug store finds that have surprised me:

Essie Nail Polish – When I think of drug store nail polish I think of Wet and Wild. Crazy colors that are more for the under 20 crowd, and not a sophisticated mid 30s woman. I was totally surprised to see such an amazing range of color, and then was sold when I tried to apply it. Nice consistency and a great brush. It’s worth $8, especially the new spring colors.

Essie Nail Color in "Ole Caliente"

Suave Professionals – I remember that my mom bought Suave shampoo and conditioner for me when I was a girl. It smelled good, but was cheap. For a 10-year-old, I didn’t know the difference. By the time I got to college, I was already into salon products. I was stocking up on Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner when I couldn’t afford Aveda. I’m not sure if it was a year or two ago when the Suave professionals line was launched, but I still remember the ad campaign.

Of course I was skeptical. Aren’t we all these days? All it took was me running out of my favorite curl creme by Garnier, (another fabulous drugstore find) that lead me on a wild goose chase for a non-drying hair product that would hold my naturally curly hair in place and keep back the frizz. After trying 8 different types of mousse, gel, and curl cremes I found that the $2.99 bottle of Captivating Curls Cream Mousse by Suave Professionals was everything I wanted in a hair product. Great hold, without frizz, drying alcohol, flaking, or crunchy hair. It was even perfectly priced. I have now started to use the Suave Professional moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I really love them. I’m surprised how great they are.

Captivating Curls Cream Mousse by Suave Professionals

I used to use Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel, but at $68 a box, it was quite pricey. I found that Oil of Olay made a great microdermabrasion and peel system as well. I’ve been able to find it for about $25 a box. It lasts as long as the Philosophy peel because the sizes are the same. I get a really soft finish after using it. I can’t believe that it’s my skin. I LOVE it.

Oil of Olay Microdermabrasion and Peel system

Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter – I just picked up one of these because, . . .  well . . . I couldn’t help myself. They were $7.49 at Walgreens. They’re smooth, sheer and just the right amount of color. I was also surprised at how long the color lasted for a Lip Butter. I was expecting it to fade pretty quickly, but it had staying power. Impressive. I would get another one. Not that I “need” another one, but I don’t call myself The Lipstick Gal for nothing. Lipstick is my downfall. I really have a weakness for it. If you were to see my collection I would be embarassed. That of course, is a blog for another day.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Sweet Tart

If you don’t already, troll the aisles of the drugstore and try a few things out. Just make sure to purchase from a drug store that has a good return policy like Walgreens or CVS. Otherwise you might be stuck with something truly unflattering.

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Just a little something beautiful today from The Tiger’s Eye. Enjoy.

The Tiger's Eye

Book:  100 UnforgettableDresses by Hal Rubenstein

This book is a feast for the eyes.  It celebrates 100 dresses that “sparked unforgettable collective memories and are directly responsible for changing how women wanted to look.”

Here are some of my favorites from the book.

The Chinoiserie Gown by John Galliano for Dior.

The Safety Pin Gown by Gianni Versace

Revenge Dress by Christina Stambolian

Safari Dress by Yves Saint Laurent

Dress of a Thousand Layers by Versace

Rubenstein includes fun little tidbits for each dress.  It’s a great coffee table book, and a fun read.

When I see a woman, I don’t think about her politics, I don’t care about her age. All I know is that she wants to look beautiful. It’s the one thing about women that never changes.

(quote by Oscar de la Renta)

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How Nail Polish Lured Me Into a Good Read

I know you must be thinking “Really, nail polish?” But yes, nail polish. I started this blog in February as an opportunity to reconnect with my pretty, feminine side. The part of me that enjoys color, cosmetics, accessories, and fashion. I stopped subscribing to fashion magazines when I bought my house 7 years ago. I traded Allure and In Style for Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes and Gardens. Then when I had children, I received Parenting Magazine. Of course by that point, I had traded books for magazines. I couldn’t find the time to read an entire book for quite a while.

This past February, I purchased my first fashion magazine in years at the checkout counter. In the pages of In Style, I was puzzled to see this ad.

What was this pink confection of a woman doing as the model for all these earth tones? What was with the crazy paper eyelashes that I had seen on sale at Sephora.com? This was the strangest ad I had seen in years. None of it made any sense. I hadn’t even heard of The Hunger Games.

Yes, I know you’re gasping. How is that possible you ask? Does she live under a rock? How could she be so cut off from the world that she missed this so completely? I have one word for you: Toddlers. The only books I read regularly are from Mo Willems, the brilliant author of the Elephant and Piggy books my daughters adore. If you are a good friend of mine and suggested sometime over the past several years that I read The Hunger Games, please don’t be offended. I heard you, but I wasn’t listening. Chances are, I was watching your lips move while shooting glances at my husband. Glances that meant “Are you going to stop the children from screaming, or am I?” If we were on the phone, I heard you while I watched my girls pull every book from the bookcase and try to beat each other with them while I was attempting to have a grown up conversation. So yes, I missed it. Big time.

This ad caught my attention in February. Then, when I walked into my local beauty supply store about 10 days ago to purchase some manicure items, I saw the colors. They were beautiful. I immediately snagged two of them, and have been loving wearing them. After wearing the olive-green color called “Argo” late last week, I decided on a whim to buy The Hunger Games on my Nook reader. I was not prepared for its captivating story and characters. I was completely sucked in. I finished the book in less than a day, and then downloaded Catching Fire. I devoured that one too. I stayed up until 1am this morning to finish book 3, Mockingjay.

It’s fantastic that my love of cosmetics lured me into a good book. Now that my kids are 2 and 4, I do get to read a bit more. I will be taking note of my best friend’s blog The Tiger’s Eye. Funny how her last blog included The Hunger Games.

Pull out your favorite nail polish this week and give yourself a home manicure, and while it dries, curl up with a good book.

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The day my world stopped

Monday afternoon was the day my world stopped. That might be a strong way to phrase it, but it’s true. No one died. All my family is fine, but my laptop isn’t.

Monday afternoon, my 2-year-old daughter who I’ve nicknamed Beans, found me asleep with my ear buds in. I had fallen asleep watching a BBC miniseries on Netflix. I must have just dozed off, and instead of touching me to awaken me, Beans decided to pour the entire contents of her box of coconut water down the front of my laptop screen. I awoke when the coconut water hit my lap, and she was still pouring. I gasped “Beans!” and she very methodically banged her box against the screen to make sure every drop was out.

At this point I was scrambling for a towel, and calling for my mother to help. My mother is visiting for a few weeks from Ohio. She is also the one who armed my daughter with a liquid that wasn’t in a sippy cup.

Vita Coco Coconut Water - The liquid that killed my laptop

My laptop screen started to flicker, flash, and then went dark. I stare at it as if it has just died. My mother came in to my bedroom and saw me staring with this horrible look on my face, and says “Sis, what’s wrong?” When I explain the entire situation, and my broken laptop she says “Oh, is that all?”

This is when I realize that my mother, who is 60, doesn’t have a personal relationship with technology. She uses technology as a tool. She’s just as happy using her land line as her Blackberry. She doesn’t care which computer she uses as long as she can check her email. She isn’t into social media. She doesn’t know what a blog is. Her life is made better by technology, but not emotionally impacted by it.

Monday evening I spent several hours looking into ways to fix my laptop. I called friends who work with computers everyday. I asked for suggestions as to what I might replace my laptop with if, heaven forbid, it was completely ruined. This laptop isn’t just a tool for me, it’s like a friend. I love the way it looks, the way it feels. I know everything about it, and the idea of having to dump it for a new “friend” made me sad. I actually cried.

I brought it to work today, and had my radio engineer look at it. He plugged it in, and had good news for me. The computer is fine, but the screen is shot. A new screen will cost about $60 online, and he is willing to tell my husband where to find one.

I’m glad to say Beans and coconut water have not triumphed. My laptop will live to see another day. Hopefully many more blogs, and BBC shows on Netflix. Now, to convince my husband fixing my laptop is a priority. Wish me luck.

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Winter to Spring Wardrobe

The weather is changing, and I’m having a bit of a difficult time adjusting. One day I need a wool coat, one day I’m in short sleeves and sunglasses. I know that the best way to handle the weather change is layers. I’ve decided to pair fun tops with cardigans. A top that would be far too chilly to wear without an extra layer. I was looking for a distinctive feature. I loved these two tops because of the frills, and the fun print.

Same Purse, two different looks
I don’t frequently wear clothes quite this dressy because I work in radio. No one sees me, so I often wear jeans, dressy shirts, and nice shoes. Yesterday I picked up a sparkly top and cardigan to go with my favorite pair of jeans. The studded top really reminded me of spring because of the beautiful nude color. I paired it with a chocolate brown short sleeved cardigan. I already have the perfect jeans, and my favorite pair of Dansko studded, heeled clogs. Here’s what I got yesterday, just ignore the bright pink top under the cardigan.
New Outfit 3-11-12
The earrings in the set are an approximation of what I would wear. Here is where I admit that I make much of my own jewelry, and all of my own earrings. Here’s a picture of the earrings I’d wear with this outfit.

Smokey Quartz Briolette earrings with silver wire

So if you’re looking for a good way to transition from winter to spring, think of a fun, eye catching top with a cardigan. Don’t be afraid of color, and remember to layer. Spring is my favorite season. I can’t wait.

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Beauty Supply Run

I don’t know how I managed to miss it, but there is a beauty supply store less than a mile from my house. I drive past it several times a day on my way to and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from just about anywhere I want to go in town. On my way home from work on Friday, I pulled in and decided to check the place out. I felt like I walked into nail heaven. I swear I could hear the angels singing as I walked in. Really.

Might I just say, that reading other amazing nail blogs on WordPress like Polish You Pretty have really made me start aspiring to new nail heights. As I walked in to my beauty supply story, I was armed with a list of thing to look for. There were basic tools on my “need” list that quickly got added to my shopping basket so I could start trying some simple nail art at home. First, I picked up a few new China Glaze colors. Liquid Leather (black) Peachy Keen (coral peach) and two of the colors from the Capitol Colors collection. I picked up Hook and Line ( silvery grey) and Argo (sparkly moss green). I also got Seche Vite top coat. Every nail blog I read raves about it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

As I walked the nail aisle, I was tempted to buy so many things. I did walk away with a $5 sable brush. I’ll admit it, I don’t have the steadiest of hands when polishing my nails. I inevitably get polish on my skin or cuticles. I finally figured out the trick of using a sable brush dipped in acetone to clean up the excess polish.

$5 Sable Brush with Acetone

I used to use a manicure pen, but after a few uses with dark polish, it stopped working well. It also lost its sharp chisel point, and got gunked up.

Manicure Pen

I also got lots of stuff on the “Basics” page from Polish You Pretty‘s blog. I have a glass nail file, cuticle butter, and a dotting tool with a fine brush tip. I still have to find the time to do the nail art, but I now have the tools to try. Time is harder to come by that it used to be, with two toddlers and my parent’s visiting for a few weeks.

I also need to make sure and say a huge thank you to my friend Freya from Furnished Souls. If she didn’t share her love of nail polish with me, and remind me that polish wasn’t just for toes, I wouldn’t be blogging about this today. I have 6 times the nail polish I did in November and I blame/thank Freya!

Here’s my China Glaze Peachy Keen just waiting for some nail art.

China Glaze Peachy Keen

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Out of my Comfort Zone and Loving it

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I’m out of my comfort zone and loving it. I’ve never worn blue nail polish before. I’m a huge fan of red, raspberry, burgundy, coral, pale pink, and sandy nudes. Last year I started wearing grey polish. It was a great nude tone that wasn’t beige. A wonderful color for fall and winter. Now that spring is coming, I’m starting to look for pretty spring colors. I quickly fell in love with this blue from Zoya. It’s called Skylar. I wasn’t sure it was going to look good on me, but after getting a nail plate with the entire True nail color collection on it, I fell in love.

I realize that the more and more I try different colors, the more and more daring I become. Before you know it, I’ll be sporting some amazing nail art. I’m not sure it’s for me in the long run, but it sure is fun right now. If you like to polish your own nails, and need a little inspirations, check out this blog I stumbled upon the other day. You’ll love it! PolishYouPretty.com

Try something new. You might be surprised by what you like. I know I am.

Rebecca

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Toddler’s Birthday bash

I’m the mom of two girls. They are adorable, and about to have their 2nd and 4th birthdays. My oldest daughter was born on March 5th, and My youngest was born on March 10.

Every time their age difference comes up in discussion, people ask me if it was planned. NO. Sometimes I wish they weren’t this close in age. My first experience trying to get pregnant was that it took some time. We had to try. The second time, we didn’t. I thought we’d have the same process again, but no. That saying about “Once is all it takes”. Now I understand that saying.

So, all that aside, I was up late last night decorating a cake for a birthday bash for the girls. My oldest daughter asked for a Candy Land cake. I asked my youngest what she wanted, but the minute she heard “candy” from her older sister, she was sold. So candy is our theme.

I’ll admit that I love to bake. I always make the birthday cakes for my kids. This year is different. I have pneumonia, so I decided to take a little help from the store. I bought a plain white sheet cake from my local Safeway grocery store, along with some white butter cream frosting direct from the bakery section of the store. I spent 3 hours last night decorating it, and had a ton of fun.

I’ll admit this has nothing to do with beauty or fashion, but it is what one sick mom is willing to do for the girls she loves. Wish you could be here to enjoy a slice of cake with us. It’s a pure sugar bomb.

Candy Land cake for my daughters' birthday party later today.

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