Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bleh - Procrastination & Hair

I am suffering through significant procrastination issues. I have THREE jobs to apply for, but all I am mustering enough energy to do is daydream (and Google, Google, Google) about the perfect haircut (my "never-getting-past-shoulder-length" style is SO TIRED) and what vintage items I can find on Ebay for fall. (Last night the beau walked in on me sniping a vintage pair of over-the-knee brown leather Frye boots on Ebay and sighed, "Not another pair of vintage boots . . ." Whatever. I will probably not win them anyway since my max. bid was so low. )

Anyway, below are some of the haircuts I am thinking about. Several things I have learned over the years about my hairstyle (which I tend to change - cut, color, style - every few months . . . except for the last year or so when I have been trying to grow it out):

- I can not have short hair on top. I had a fauxhawk for a while and hated every single minute of it. Even though people said it looked "cute-edgy", I thought my features were just too strong to not be balanced with more hair. Plus, my ears stick out too far.
- I think that I look okay with most hair colors. I have been a redhead, a blond and, most recently a brunette (with blond streaks, with fuschia streaks, and just plain brown).
- The hair cut needs to work straightened or wavy, since my hair can do both well and I would get so bored if I couldn't have the choice of how to wear it.
- I generally do better with a "less fuss" cut . . . another words, my hair has been mostly in a pony-tail or hair band for the last year or so, since styling longer hair always takes more time - and hardly makes a difference in DC's humid weather.
- I need some sort of bang because I think that my forehead is a bit too large.

I love myself most with a chin-length blond bob, but gave up the blond hair because it is SO damaging to your hair to dye it every month to keep the roots at bay. Plus, most hair colors have all kinds of chemicals that are released into our environment when you rinse that crap out. Plus, hair dye is applied directly to the scalp, nearest the root. This is where the blood supply is the richest in the entire human body, and , if the chemicals are absorbed through the skin, they can be carried by the blood stream throughout your body. Anyhoo . . . I have been dying my hair brown over the past 4 years (every 4 months or so) to, now, keep the gray at bay . . . But I use a more natural hair color and, since I do it so infrequently, my hair is in much better shape than it ever has been. Except, frustratingly, for the aforementioned TIRED hair style.

Anyway, blah. Here are the styles I am thinking about:

I loved Katie's hair before she got the short bangs.

The bottom right cut. It looks like it sort of has the texture that my hair has.

I think this is cute too. But, I might just be reminiscing about being blond. Sigh.

I've had this hair cut before and loved it. The edges were dyed platinum blond. I know, I know, ick - it is a mullet. But it just works with how I dress and my hair texture. However, I am thinking that most consulting firms in DC will probably not be so keen on something so "wild"! Sigh again.

Okay, off to write cover letters. Tootles!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sustainable Style - ON SALE!!

If you MUST to buy something new, consider these lovely AND SUSTAINABLE things:

Organic John Patrick High Waist Crinkled Linen Pants
Was: $238.00
Now: $158.90

Same Underneath Jersey Dress (I would wear this with a wide, "motorcycle chick" leather belt)
Was: $220
Now: $88.00

Murphy Bamboo Kimono Cardigan
Was: $264.00
Now: $79.20


Fun with Ikea "Hacking"

I came across this blog recently: Ikea Hacker. It features projects from people who are "modifying, hacking, tinkering, and generally doing what they like with the Swedish giant's stuff."

I mention this site not because I think we should all shop at Ikea (even though Ikea does seem to have a much greater commitment to environmental stewardship and social issues than other popular furniture retailers). But, for two reasons:

  1. Ikea comes up with some interesting designs a lot of the time that are very easy to get home and put together, BUT,
  2. um, sometimes . . . ahem . . . Ikea things break and instead of tossing the item in the landfill, perhaps this blog will give you an idea of how to re-use it for some other need;
  3. there are TONS of secondhand Ikea products for sale (cheap!) on Craigslist every day; perhaps Ikea Hacker will give you some ideas on how to meet your (storage, shelving, decor, etc.) needs in a way you never even imagined before (again, keeping stuff out of the landfill - while also coming up with something quite unique and stylish).
Here are some of my favorites:

Ikea lamp (re)style:

Snack Box into Cat Box (ingenious and so so cute):

Wine Rack into Towel Rack:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Did You Know? Did You know? Elle Magazine Goes Digital!

I just found out that Elle Magazine has created a digital version that you can subscribe to and download. As I was renewing my lapsed subscription, I stumbled upon a "Digital Subscription" link. My, my, my, my! How unexpected! I must look into this further. Here is a brief blurb about it from the website (read more here):

What is the digital format, and how is it different from the print format?
We've partnered with a company called Zinio to provide our magazine in a powerful, new digital form with the same layout, text, and advertisements as the print version. Zinio magazines offer a paper-like reading experience, as well as many advantages possible only with digital, including:

  • Immediate subscription starts. Get your first issue right away, rather than waiting several weeks for your print version to arrive.
  • Automatic delivery of every issue directly to your computer via the Internet as soon as it is published, often before you would receive your magazine through the regular mail.
  • The ability to read your magazines anytime, anywhere – even when you’re offline.
  • A hyperlinked Table of Contents that takes you directly to the articles, features, and sections of most interest to you.
  • Quick links to advertisers’ sites and additional editorial content on the Web.
  • Keyword search that helps you find a topic or name in seconds – across all issues on your computer or in our online store.
  • The ability to highlight text and add “Post-it”-like notes on a magazine’s pages.
  • A “Send to Friend” feature that allows you to share free digital copies of your magazines with your family and co-workers.
  • Paperless archiving. Keep back issues on your computer for fast reference and easy storage.
Hmmm . . . I am not sure how I feel about this. I love seeing my mailbox stuffed with magazines every month! I love the glossy pages and scrutinizing every last detail of a fashion image an inch from my face. I like the perfume inserts. I like having a stack of magazines at my desk to look through. I like cutting out inspirational stylings . . . But, it is just SO MUCH GREENER to read it digitally (save trees, toxic inks, transport, etc. etc. etc.). I will check it out and let you know what I think!!

So exciting!!

But wait! I just Googled "digital Elle Magazine" and found that you can actually get plenty of magazines digitally. Look here. Magazines like Outside, Town & Country, Cosmo . . . Playboy.

One Small (re)Style: Kitchen Towels

Hey, you! Paper towel user!

Do you go through paper towels like they weren't made of precious trees, manufactured on machines powered by fossil fuels that spit out all kinds of bad stuff (greenhouse gas emissions, toxins, local air pollutants), and didn't cost an arm and a leg? If you do, consider switching to some colorful kitchen towels.

Things you could easily use kitchen towels for instead of paper towels:

  • wiping your hands after washing them;
  • wiping down the counter after cooking;
  • random spills;
  • wiping down the top of the range.

Plus, they are convenient for when you need to pull something hot out of the oven and can't find the oven mitt. And, you can just throw them in the wash when they get stinky.

In our kitchen, we have "nice" towels specifically to wipe justwashed hands (they are the really pretty ones) and then other towels to wipe up spills or wipe off the counter/table. If I use a towel to clean up the counter or tables, I will rinse it (or rinse any bits and pieces off of it) and hang it outside on my back porch to dry (but hanging it on a hook on the wall will work just as well). When they are too stinky (stinky=bacteria), I throw them in a bag near the washing machine for laundry day. However, if you can hang your towel in the sun to dry, it will kill a lot of the bacteria for you - but you should still probably launder it.

Sure, there are times when a paper towel comes in handy (pet accidents, for instance), but there are just so many opportunities to use a cloth towel instead.

And you don't need to buy anything new either. If you have old bath towels that have stains, just cut them up for use in the kitchen. There are also often plenty of vintage towels at thift stores - so check it out. Or, I have been fortunate to find plenty at yard sales.

But, if you must purchase some, here are some suggestions (these are all hand-made or made from sustainable materials):

Eco-Cloth microfiber towel. Microfiber towels are great because they are super-absorbent (no myth) and last almost forever (more info here). Yep, they are the ones that car washes have used for years because they work so well. They also are great for cleaning without chemicals. Buy them and read more here. $17.98 for 2.

Organic Cotton kitchen towels. Come in 4 colors. Find them at EcoKitchen. Towels are $7.99.

Super cute Swedish motif towel. Find it on Etsy. $8.

How can you not love these little tractors? Hand printed on linen towels (def. the "clean" hand towel). Find it on Etsy. $12.

Not just for the holidays! Choose a different colored thread and let the world (or at least your housemate and cats) know what kind of mood you're in today. Handmade in Atlanta. Find them here on Etsy. $20.

Look at is as an opportunity to up the style quotient in your kitchen.

(first pic of towels and basket from here.)


Artists are Not the Like the Rest of Us

I really admire creative people whose imaginations define their living spaces - quirky furniture, hundreds of different colors and weird little knickknacks, things a little out of whack and unorganized.

I am not one of those people.

I obsess about the alignment of every piece of furniture in the living room, lining up couch legs with the boards in our floor. I like my living space to be filled with neutral colors that are relaxing . . . with a few bright touches to add energy (like our vintage orange Bloomingdale's corduroy armchair and orange silk pillows with bells). And, even though I like my little tchotchkes (Yoda bubble head, Yoda Pez dispenser, 1980 Moscow Olympics bear), they are contained in small, designated areas.

However, even though I am slightly anal about my surroundings, I just don't buy into the whole Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel thing. Where everything is perfectly matched. Where everything (or most things) have been made in a foreign country, most likely with toxic chemicals and unsustainable production methods. Where things are brand new, but are made to look like you found them hiking in some forgotten land. That is the worst! New stuff made to look like it is old.

Having a piece or two from such places seems to be inevitable (two of our book cases are from Ikea b/c we just needed the storage ASAP and couldn't find anything used). But, it drives me nuts when I walk into someone's home and it's like I stepped into a catalog. Bleh. How boring . . . and as non-eco as you can get. Buying secondhand or vintage furniture keeps perfectly usable furniture out of the land-fill and reduces the resources that are used to make all that new stuff (less trees cut down, less chemical run-off from the factory, less greenhouse gas emissions from the production, you get the idea). Also, another thing to consider is that manufacturing facilities in places like China and India don't always have the most efficient energy infrastructures. So, another words, the energy that is expended (and the associated emissions) might be much higher per new couch than if that said new couch was made in the US (or was not new!). Not to mention all that energy that goes into shipping the new stuff over here!

Sure, it takes more time to buy good, secondhand or vintage furniture, but it is so worth the effort in personal style points.

Along those lines, I was strangely inspired by the living spaces of the artists, writers and designers highlighted on this blog: The Selby (via Design Sponge). Besides having lovely intimate portraits of his subjects in the most intimate of places, the photographer shares views of their homes - another words, their lives. Perhaps some of these interiors will make you squirm a little (um . . . if you are a bit anal like me about organizing things), but perhaps some will inspire you to hit your local thrift store (or Craigslist) for some interesting accessories - or at least stop obsessing about perfectly folded clothing. Here are some of Todd Selby's photos (I hope he does not mind me posting 4 of them here):


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Buy My Stuff on Ebay

I finally posted two pieces from my growing vintage Goodwill habit on Ebay. Bid away! (Click on images to be taken to the bid page.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Buy Less, (re)Style More

Yearning for something new, committed to something old? . . . . here are a few projects to help you turn things that you already have into things that you might actually wear (instead of having them sit in the back of your closet, silly). I think these are so easy to do (even this dorky, uncoordinated blogger thinks she can muster enough precision to get it done). Although you need a sewing machine for these, there are ways to get similar results with just a needle and thread.

(re)Style your t-shirt:

"Chaos" T-shirt restyle tutorial (posted at SuperNaturale) by the Compai ladies who brought you "99 Ways to Cut, Sew, Trim, and Tie Your T-Shirt into Something Special".

(re)Style your skirt:

Make a regular skirt into a cocoon skirt, with directions care of Kingdom of Style (she's so creative!)

More to come . . .


Monday, July 21, 2008

More Fun, Less Stuff!

Did you know that Capital Fringe Fest is going on this week in Washington, DC?

What!!??! You don't know what the Fringe Fest is? Fringe festivals happen all over the world. They are events that bring unjuried performances to local audiences. The performers are often local and, because the festival is unjuried, there is an opportunity to see some funky, experimental stuff. DC joined the Fringe family in 2006 and the organization - and number of performances - has grown steadily ever since.

If you are interested in the growing cultural beat of the DC scene, you MUST check the Fringe out. Plus, everything is METRO ACCESSIBLE! You know I love that.

I especially recommend MANIFESTO! at the Source Theater on 14th Street . . . a slightly surreal presentation by Happenstance Theater that will make you think and make you laugh. Be prepared to hear the words of Karl Marx (and others) presented by dada clowns . . . with slow motion fights . . . and audience participation . . . "what does dada do? eh!" (Read the Washington City Paper review here.)

Have fun! (And don't forget to get your button, if you do go!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Loving Now: Kingdom of Style Blog

I have been obsessing recently over ways to restructure some of the clothing that I already own. I definitely have enough clothing that I don't really wear to make a lot of clothing that I might actually wear. So, I have been looking at sites that help you do that.

I just recently came across this Brit blog: Kingdom of Style. I love that the author loves to restyle "charity shop" finds (Brit-speak for thrift stores) and she shares her how-tos with her readers. Plus, she has such an eclectic, mature sense of style. American style bloggers have a proclivity toward the "cutesy" - which I like, as well - at least in some moods. I always love to look at poofy skirts and dresses . . . but, for years, my going out uniform has been muscle shirts and jeans. I like that this blog's style is edgy and a little outrageous. She has done so much just by changing how things are buttoned. It's really brilliant. Here are some of her more recent restyled looks.

I Wish I Knew How to Quit You, Hot Shower

I try to live as "green" a life as possible. I do. And I try to talk about it a lot here. But, you know what, I am just like most people - there are things that I know that I should do differently, or not do at all . . . but there are just some things I can't get myself to quit doing:

  • Taking a nice, long, hot shower. I know I should conserve water, but my Moen Rain Showerhead feels too damn good first thing in the morning.

  • Keeping my laptop on overnight. So, yes, its in "sleep" mode, but it still uses significantly more energy than if it was OFF. But, it takes too long to boot up after being turned off (or, maybe, I am just too impatient).

  • Planting pretty flowers that need a lot of water. Although we have maintained a fairly colorful garden in our front yard with minimal watering this summer, my backyard pot garden (since, um, my backyard is CONCRETE!! so I have to have everything in pots) needs water every day. I know it isn't a lot of water, but it irks me anyway.

  • Buying Sparkling Poland Spring water in big, plastic bottles. I love that stuff! I like to make faux mimosas with it - just pour over ice and juice. Yummy!

  • Washing my clothes in hot water. Look, my high efficiency washer kind of sucks. There. I said it. It may be Energy Star compliant, but, it does not get my whites white and it takes a lot of effort and pre-treating to get the simplest stains out. I swear, I should just buy everything in black from now on.

  • Leaving a window open while the air conditioning is on. Yes, that sounds sorta crazy, but I really like the fresh air. Even a bit of DC's version of "fresh air" is better than being stuck in a house of recycled, stale (yet cool) air.

  • Using too much water to hand-wash pots and pans and stemware. I go camping. I know how to wash things with the smallest amount of water possible. But, it's just too easy to use too much in the kitchen.
Sigh. That is my eco-sin list. I know there are probably more things that I am not thinking of. My point is that everyone has things that they can do better. We just all need to keep trying.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dancing Dancing Dancing in the Streets (with Listopad)!

The Listopad ladies are up to their tricks again - doing a sidewalk sale (and DANCE PARTEEE!) on the streets of Adams Morgan (okay, so, mostly just in front of Red Onion Records). Come out for drinks, vintage pretties, fun folks and the DJ sounds of DJ Baby Donut (aka Allison Wolfe).

Speaking of DJs, I was at a music festival this weekend (much more on that later) and saw DJ Bassnectar perform. Holy Cow! As the kids say, son, that sh*t was off da chain (or sumthin').

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beating the DC Heat: Style will Save You.

Oh, the DC heat! Building a city on top of a swamp was never really a good idea - and we all are paying for it. (I won't even start on the mosquitoes . . .)

But, do not despair. There are many ways to beat the heat without overdoing the air-conditioning (well, okay, you need a little air conditioning).

Watch what you wear. Wear less - leave the long sleeves and long pants in the closet. Wear lighter fabrics that allow the very limited DC breezes to get in and opt for lighter colors. And my favorite thing for summer months: backless tops. I realized the other night, as I watched Caddyshack (which, if you haven't watched it recently, really is the hipster fashion bible), backless tops are so amazing. Here are a few eco-friendly versions that I found (with links to where you can get them):

Larsen organic cotton dress. At Shopbop. $216

Bamboo jersey dress by Ryann. Avail. at Fashion Ethic. On sale for $215.

Cute! Vintage Backless Dress. Ebay. Bid currently at $88.00

I have always loved open-backed tops and dresses, but I never knew what kind of bra to wear with it. I just don't like going bra-less anymore and those adhesive bras never seem to work for me. But, I just came across this "revolutionary" backless bra from Maidenform. It looks like it could actually be comfortable.

More tips to come . . . stay cool . . .

Friday, July 4, 2008

Some Red, White and Blue . . .

Happy Independence Day, y'all! Here are some red, white and blue vintage lovelies for your viewing (or buying - click on description to be taken to Etsy) pleasure.

Sexy, higher-waist skirt. $40.

CUTE! white romper (check out the romper worn by Rachel of Project Beltway in the new issue of DC Magazine.) $34.

This is How I Roll . . . I Mean, Bike.

Biking as your main form of transportation often involves dressing for your particular event in a way that allows you to also bike in it. Unfortunately, in my case, my bike precludes my wearing anything "skirty". (Sigh. I need one of these restored Bull Dog Bikes with the girl-bar, like the Zebra, for the really girly outfits.) In any case, here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to be comfortable and stylish, while riding your bike.

  1. ALWAYS wear a helmet. Seriously. DC drivers are not the smartest bunch - esp. when you add into the mix all the tourists, many of whom have not had the fine experience of sharing a busy, narrow, city street with a bike. It has been a bummer to see all the new bikers around town not wearing a helmet. Seriously, your hair will not be that messed up. And if it does get a little mussed, you can always be cool and say that you are sacrificing your hair for the sake of the environment. You might get a date or two for being so chivalrous.
  2. Wear comfortable bottoms. "Comfort" is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. I have definitely ridden my bike in tight jeans, faux leather pants, etc. But, I find that the best, most comfortable bottoms to wear are those that have a bit of stretch. They are often the kind of pants that also look good on your bottom. Also, since you will have to roll them up on the right hand side (to avoid getting fabric stuck in the chain - like many of us have experienced . . . even Marissa) choose pants that will not wrinkle too much from the fold. This is exceptionally easier in the summer since most of us wear shorts or cropped pants.
  3. Choose the right shoes. This is definitely an area of personal preference. I have ridden my bike in high heels, in boots, etc. I would just wear shoes that you feel comfortable with peddling in and comfortable in stopping at a red light. And I suggest avoiding shoes that are slip-ons - unless they are very sturdy. For instance, flip-flops are sort of dangerous to bike in.
  4. Choose a purse that will not slip off your shoulder as you ride. I have several bags that have long straps and that I wear messenger style. This is very comfortable. Or, if I want to take a small bag, I have sometimes been known to clip it to my top with a binder clip (see pic below).
Well, that's about it. Here is a pic (with a fun Photoshop effect I have been playing with) of me going out to meet a friend from London a few nights ago. And a pic of my binder clipped bag. Whatever it takes, man.

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