Monday Morning Madness: Birthday-Filled Weekends; Children’s Books, Cocoa Butter, and Cardigans.

Morning Loves. Hope your weekend was a dear.

This is a spastic post. Mainly because I was all over the place this weekend, and well, pretty much altogether.

For starters, my Monday morning was an early one. I’ve been up since seven and it wasn’t the most relaxing morning, or weekend for that matter. For sure.

The weekend was met with exactly three birthdays, and looking back, it almost seems I haven’t been anywhere but a car for the better part of all of them. So to the parent’s house I went, partly because one of the birthday’s included my Father’s 72nd birthday, which still seems crazy to me! I can never quite grasp he was born in 1940, but his history has made a big impact of my own life, and so for that I will forever be grateful.

However, to add to the madness, there were a lot of question marks as to what random ideas I would pull together for a gift, but, there is one thing my father does adore. Food (as any man, of course). So I found some knicks and knacks of sorts which perhaps might help you if you’re in a crunch during a loved one’s birthday, as I was;

1. Sarabeth’s Strawberry-Rhubard Jam; Which may I say I had this a.m. and it was delicious/highly recommended.

2. This fancy Grapeseed Oil for high-heat cooking, plus the company itself seems pretty awesome.

3. Oh, so salty, Capers for Fall-inspired recipes.

4. Garlic-Basil Oil for bread dipping/quick appetizers.

5. A large ice-cube tray for cocktails- it’s great because the ice melts slowly so your drinks don’t become too watery!

5. And, an awesome versatile (stove top, oven, microwave!), Italian Terracotta, cooking pan. Which also helps because it’s Green. ūüôā

After the present was already given, of course, I realized a good coffee would have been another great addition. Then again, there is still Christmas’s steady approach. However, all in all, it¬†was kind of a perfect assortment because both my Mom and Dad could use it, which made me feel like I didn’t leave her out. So that was nice. Anyhow(www)…

Even in the hectic last-minute birthday cake runs, present searching, and deciding on an either¬†funny or serious card (another dreaded decision!), laughter filled a lot of the craziness in. Which isn’t too hard because I have one of the funniest people in the world around a lot of the time, my boyfriend (aww, haha.),¬†but,¬†this book made for a pretty good competition. Have you ever heard of SkippyJon Jones? My niece’s fourth birthday was this weekend and I looked high and low for a good children’s book and came across this absolute jewel. We read it on the way to their house and…hysterical. Seriously, I haven’t laughed at a children’s book since I was a child myself, and for any parents out there/crazies like me whom love funny randoms…this book is too cute and hilarious!

 He kind of reminds me of Ciel, my precious pup. Whom Liddy (my niece) is obsessed with. She was her baby for the day, below. Too precious (haha!).

 Happy (now belated-ish) Birthday!

Another high, the weather. It was a chilly cool which called for two essentials; 1.¬†Jason’s Cocoa Butter (heart, heart, heart!) because my skin seems to be switching to dehydration mode (<—post I’ll touch on very soon!), 2. and a little more layering. I wore a light beige J.Crew chunky cardigan I bought last year and practically lived in it yesterday. It was pretty much amazing. Aside from my makeup-less face and non-strategical ‘messy hair’ look, but whatever.

On that note, this rainy morning is definitely calling for a latte. Au revoir, my beautifuls. xoxo.

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Skin Trip: Somewhere Over The Rainbow; That’s Where I’ll Be.

Let’s talk wings in the fire.

This weekend is my (beautiful) niece’s birthday, she’ll be four. ¬†So, on a lovely Friday afternoon, I decided to tote myself to the mall to find a present for her. Most people think this is a normal task, however, shopping visits are extreme, that is, to me. Take anything you want, but shopping is not ‘just shopping’ for this girl. It’s not all about the buying or ‘giving in’ to marketing schemes (that I for one, know exist in extremes). It’s an experience as any other activity should be. It’s being a judge in a world full of dreamy stores, lined with vibrant colors and wishful thinking. Perhaps if you truly think about it, it’s a world where everything is possible. There was a comment by a woman in ‘The September Issue’ documentary, who said Anna Wintour was the most powerful woman in America. It might not be so far-fetched.

You can be an idealist, realist, socialist, dictator, communist, naturalist, narcissist, healer, dreamer, protagonist, antagonist-there is room for it all- but only a tiny box that can fit everyone. The beauty and fashion industry is the most diplomatically, un-diplomatic, place there is. Sometimes I wonder if secretly they, indeed, do hold all the worldly power. It’s actually quite an interesting subject if you reach beyond what it seems to most people.

¬†Here is where today’s Skin Trip comes about. If you’re one to say fashion and beauty have no power, perhaps you’ve overlooked MAC’s new line. As I was walking past Nordstrom’s neatly lined pathway of make-up artists, all painting gorgeous hues of candy-coated madness on their subjects, I thought their Fall 2012 Campaign was very…Feministic? Or was it? I applauded such an action, or, un-action. It’s called ‘Office Hours’ with some of the prettiest pinks I have ever seen in a make-up line. There is a vivid 50’s to 60’s inspired photograph of a woman trying to aid her nail polish in drying, while handling an office phone call. I can’t decide if it was her office, or just a¬†office.¬†Her makeup is, of course, done to perfection and looks so neat and blissful, cool and calm, I almost wanted to be her.

The presentation-statement of the line goes like this; “She’s a glamorous go-getter with nothing temp about her! Full-time, overtime-her makeup, like her day, goes on and on.”

So what does that mean for me? Do I want to look effortless, perfect, and pink? Do I want to be so cool and calm and collected, that I can handle my big-name job, while still applying a coat of nail polish? While wearing fish nets? Because we’re women, and we’re sexy, and we can do it all, no-fuss. We can be all these things and not be analyzed by your stereotypical mess, you judgmental society. I think looking glamorous is completely acceptable wherever, whenever, and I would fall in love with the idea of this campaign, if that is what they are trying to say here. However, I can’t help not play devil’s advocate; Or, does she just not have a lot going on. Does she have a secretary job? Which would make all the sense in the world, given the era-look they are going for. Are we neat and effortless and blase- because that’s what women are supposed to look like, and act like, everyday at work? Is that what ‘women-at-work’…look like? I mean, aren’t we trying to steer clear of what women were going through during this time, don’t we want better jobs and equal pay?

Perhaps we can say it’s just a makeup line campaign, with no real significance behind it at all. Perhaps I beg to differ, perhaps I don’t. I do know, on the other hand, that a company so geared towards, us, women…should want to have our best interests at heart. In all the senses of that statement, including how we are represented in society with such a mass, looked-over and up to, makeup line.

Yet, that’s also where I become a dictator in the sense that MAC makeup is very (veryyy) synthetic, and I don’t recommend ever using any of their products on a daily basis. I will never tell a woman it’s a good skin care decision to put such heavy, toxic, ingredients on their faces,¬†even if there is that flawless illusion that MAC pulls off themselves, so very effortlessly.

I’m still in-limbo as to what MAC was trying to say. To speak for myself, I’m mostly a dreamer, an equal-ist, ¬†and idealist to extremes. I love nothing more than the idea of beauty and fashion at its’ rawest, and in that matter, I suppose the Libra in me will constantly go back and forth on my scales of weighing.

So my dears, a lot of my original purpose of this post was to create the understanding of how the modern beauty industry is very hard to say “no” to. As I was walking by yesterday, it’s not like any of MAC’s makeup artists were some slasher-film-like villains, unable to spare any victims. They were actually very eccentric, eye-drawing, and appealing- the beauty of the beauty industry (no pun-intended.) It’s just not many people are aware of the dangers of modern cosmetics and the real consequences using products such as these can have on their well-being. There is a certain ‘Gandhi-approach’ that still has to be ever present to express these concerns. I like to think of myself as playing the part of the journalist, a watchdog presence, over the attention we give to such company’s everyday. I think my own approach in trying to make people aware of today’s beauty industry, is the realization sometimes you have to let your guard down a little. I have my wing in the fire a lot of time- I love beauty and fashion too much not to embrace a lot of the chaos and corruption that goes on behind closed doors. It’s more about knowing what doors that should stay closed.

I’ll leave you, my loves, with this; What do you think? Does any of this have any significance? Has a younger generation lost touch with feminism? Are we the new kind of ‘feminist’? Is the fashion and beauty industry a underground, world-power?

xoxo til’ again.

Monday Morning Madness; “Crazy? Oh girl, that’s all of us interesting people. The rest are bores.”

 Bonjour, My Lovers.

Sometimes, you just need a change, anything will do.¬†To get up and go somewhere just for a different view. Something new and bright. Places can become stale to me if it’s the same for too long. Do you ever think that? Sometimes I think I’m the only one with an addiction to change, I absolutely love it. Anyhow, that’s pretty much how I feel today, a mini-trip to the mountains, a quaint little town to walk through with fun shops (Asheville, Asheville, Asheville!, see below), perhaps even a Zoo visit (I can be a child for a second) would do to fill that void. Just something. To my lovely surprise, mother nature on the other hand, has finally decided to turn on the stepping stones to Fall. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And, I guess after I walked outside to come across such¬†a milestone, my complaining has to take the somewhat back seat for now. The trees were breezy and the sun was just there for that brilliant, Fall-tinted, illuminating light, which seems so perfect when mixed with the coolness. It reminds me of my absolute favorite Sex and The City episode, where Carrie has to bring out a blanket because the crisp air is starting to make its’ way into the city, and Big is about to break the news he’s moving California, and inevitably going to break her heart. Reminds me that, every and any change, when simmered down- is somewhat bittersweet.

The other half of my morning was spent catching up with one of my best friend’s since we were in kindergarden. Is it too much to say that I’m pretty prideful in that statement? That’s a pretty long time to still have a friendship, we’re 23 now! It’s funny to see how she is, and where she is, in her life. We’ve both changed so much, which is beautiful really. Friendships that last that long have such a mirror-aspect to them- you see where you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to be through a person who has pretty much seen the best, and worst of you. She lives in lovely Asheville, North Carolina (one of my favorite places, ever!) at the moment, and on a lighter note, she gets the absolutely best view of Fall. Below I posted a few pictures of the drive up to her place and Asheville itself. The Blue Ridge Parkway is pretty much one of the prettiest places ever this time of year.

Obviously, the title of this post was a quote in our conversation. So true, don’t you agree?

  

¬†It’s a pretty sweet place. It’s funky and fun, and really works around the idea of ‘local’…it’s not just a buzz-word there. Cough, cough, most of America. Plus they have one of my absolute favorites lines, Evan Healy, which I can never find anywhere but there! I used to use her French Rose Clay Mask, but now that I’m in Charlotte, it’s either head to NYC or Asheville to fetch it! Check out her site! She has wonderful advice, and a reason why I have gotten so into holistic skincare. Definitely an absolute jewel in the beauty industry!