Tuesday, September 3, 2013

-Bump and Grind-

Things have been less than tame in the House of Magnolia. The last six months alone I have cycled through four bosses, three different locations, trapezed around Vegas, met Todd McFarlane, had an absolutely amazing photo shoot with my absolute favorite photographer (which I just found out the results of which will be hanging in an Italian gallery next month) and adopted a fur baby demon kitten.

However, in all that time I have still not managed to decide whether to return to my vintage ginger or my natural raven. It truly is the age old dilemma: Joan or Dita?

Until I commit to such a monumental life choice, I've instead chosen to learn how to do some vintage hair styles, and so I present my very first attempt at bumper bangs:

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This was actually surprisingly quick and easy and is a nice alternative to my long thwarted desire for Bettie bangs (I have a prominent cowlick), all you need is a hair rat, more bobby pins than a dog has ticks and a little bit of patience, also, a snood helps since by the time I figured out the bumper my patience had run out and it's a fantastic way to polish a look without a lot of effort. On a side note, I have very thick hair, but if you don't happen to a teasing/rat comb and a spritz of hairspray will go a long way to helping you pull off the look.

Here's Cherry Dollface's video tutorial to show you the easiest way to completing this look:

Also, in glamor cheats, I've developed a new found obsession with imPRESS Nails from Broadway. They are so tacky and simple and totally bring me back to days growing up in the South with my aunt and thinking that press on nails and those weird puffy star sticker "earrings" were all I needed to look like a real freaking lady. I first caught wind of these from Sara M Lyons a long while back but only just now got around to giving them a whirl and I've gotta say, homegirl was bang on with this rec. They don't look too obvious, so dumbed down and easy to use it's impossible to get it wrong, you can trim them to whatever size you want if out of the box is too much and they come in a whole rainbow of colors and patterns.

Plus, they're helping my natural nails grow out again stronger since they aren't getting trashed at work anymore.

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I'm currently wearing their French manicure set, but I also have Vamp it Up and Casting Call ready to go. They're fun and tacky and for $4-7 cheaper than hitting a salon or even buying a new bottle of lacquer in some cases. I've found them cheapest, but with the least selection, at Walmart, but Walgreens and Target both host a bigger range of the line closer to the $6-8 mark. They also have a pedicure variant for about $10 but I have yet to try it.

Until next time, folks. But before I go, any opinions on the Massive Lady Problem I'm facing?

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Monday, May 13, 2013

-Where We Discuss Moscow, The Elder Gods and My Own Sloth-

Next year is a landmark for me and as such, I have my eyes set on a trip to Moscow. So, while my penny pinching begins, I'll watch more episodes of The Americans, dream of Lake Baikal and treasure my little babushka themed trinkets curtesy of my lovely friend Lisa.

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She also sent me a Cthuhlu and a flamingo. Not Russian themed per se, but definitely what you'd call Sam themed.

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Confession time- I've been a straight up slacker lately when it comes to style choices. Between my work regulated polos, jeans and sneakers, it doesn't leave much time to snazz it up and get all gussied like I would like to. My uniform the last two weeks has pretty much been black leggings (I know, I know), a V-neck and one of 85 cropped jackets.

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That said, I'm absolutely loving my little nude and rose gold ballet flats.

Forgive me, it's summer. It's hot. And this look allows me to randomly pop développé whenever I damned well please. Also, sorry about the bright orange stucco. I'm working on a new shooting location since I moved. For now I'm happy my ass is actually posting something. Score!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

-Blue Over You-

While much of the world is eagerly awaiting the turn of spring into full blown summer, here in Florida we maintain only two season: Summer and Nuclear. As such there are three items that will get you through it- Sunblock, shades and cotton. A smear of red lipstick doesn't hurt either.

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This Kills shirt is one of my all time favorite pieces of clothing and it gets a lot of wear. I honestly don't know how all those vintage tees from the 70's survive three decades to still see action because I live in terror that I'll destroy this one and I've only had it for two years. For a while there red was my signature color, and while I still have copious amounts of it, I've been vibing pretty hardcore on blue, specifically cobalt, this year. I picked this sheer gauzy number up at Nordstrom Rack a bit ago and bought a companion piece in black as well. Long skirts have been my weak point lately and the trend doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon. But who doesn't love a little drama?

Speaking of NR I managed to find these fantastic color blocked Vince Camutos there around the same time. I've been off my heels for a little while since I've taken up walking just about everywhere but I miss them like pancakes and for $30 I was swooning pretty hard.

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See? Told you I'd get an outfit post up soon. Let's see if I can manage another one in a couple of days. If I don't, expect the worst. I've been killed by alligators or scuba ninjas or something.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

And it's time again for a lazy product update! The truth is, I haven't been wearing anything too interesting due to work (and the polos and jeans that go along with it) but that will hopefully be changing soon. For now, I figured I'd toss up a quick post about some of the awesome drugstore finds I've picked up lately.

I have a habit of skulking around Sephora and Nordstrom when it comes to finding beauty care and make up and that practice can pulverize your funds pretty quickly. Also, my mother, who shares my Sephora addiction just moved to a rural area and she's been reduced to hopping into the local duggist to find her toilette. I found all these items at Walgreens and so can you (and her)!

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1. Neutrogena Night Calming Make Up Remover Wipes - In the past, I haven't been the biggest fan of Neutrogena's products. In my teens they had a habit of irritating my skin, but given the bizarre chemistry fluxes that accompany puberty, that's not exactly shocking. Luckily, my skin has grown past that and has fallen twitterpated with these wipes. They're incredibly soft and gentle and carry with them a wonderful hint of lavender. One of my favorite impulse buys to date.

2. L'Oreal Nail Polish in Violet Vixen - I probably have about 85 different incarnations of the shade magenta and hold absolutely no compunctions about continuing to add to the clowder. It's ladylike without being a sissy, it's bold and graphic without being obnoxious. Magenta is a fabulous color and everyone should have a few versions of it. Or 85, as the case may be. This particular shade is a creme based that gives complete coverage in about two applications and looks killer and glossy after tossing some Seche Vite on top.

3. Lubriderm Advanced Therapy - This one has been around forever, but I'd never given it a second thought before last week. My hands have been a mess lately due to work, climate changes and general neglect. Over spicy tuna rolls and mochi ice cream, my glamour doll buddy, Kaitland announced we were going to Walgreens. I thought we were going to look at clearance makeup and maybe buy some Red Vines. Reality rode in when upon walking into the store, Kait made a beeline straight for the lotion section and tossed me a bottle of this stuff. My dirty shame had been noticed. My hands were a wreck. But luckily there was a cure. But seriously, this stuff is fantastic. Excellent coverage, absolutely no residual presence, absorbs quickly into the skin and the soft powdery fragrance that it has coming out of the bottle disappears almost the moment after it hits your skin. It's a life saver. Also, an elbow and cuticle saver.

4. Cover Girl Lash Blast Clump Crusher - Another friend rec, this time from my girl E. I don't think most girls give up searching for that perfect mascara. I'm famous in certain circles for asking beauty counter clerks to make me look like a street walker when it comes to my lashes. I love big, dramatic, ridiculous lashes but I am both too lazy and too damned incompetent to apply falsies properly. Ergo, I keep lusting after this fool's dream of a mascara that will do this for me straight out of the tube. It's never going to happen, but I've come close a couple of times, the first time is with Dior's Diorshow New Look mascara, which supplies the look, but has a sticky formula that takes forever to dry and smudges pretty readily. The second is with this Cover Girl in the green tube. I'm quite taken with it and really like how clean my lashes look after application.

5. Revlon Just Bitten in Crush - I've tried this line of stains before and wasn't too impressed, however, I think they've changed their formula because it no longer has the dried out chalkiness that I experienced with my previous stick. I'm always hunting for a good stain and love the idea of one that is in stick form as the liquid ones tend to have an uneven application and are generally just a pain in the ass. It's a great alternative to lipstick since I refuse to go bare lipped but loathe hearing bellyaching over getting lipstick on someone I've just kissed. It's a sheer berry color that doesn't look too far afield of someone's possible natural lip shade and to me that's just perfect.

I'm hoping to get a proper outfit post in here soon, guys, but for now, I share with you the fact that I have gone red:

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Friday, March 22, 2013

-skin skin skin-

Your best fashion accessory is always going to be your skin. So take care of it for fuck's sake. Over the years skin care products have become one of my favorite indulgences.

Growing up, my mom swore by Oil of Olay and Noxzema, which later became Oil of Olay, Noxzema and sun block, which later became "For the love of God, child, put on sunblock". And she was right. Having breached her fifties, my mom still has minimal wrinkles, a damned miracle for a woman who has spent the bulk of her adult life in the South Florida sun. That said, my own skin care regime isn't nearly so fixed as my mother's and I have a habit of trying out new products on impulse and recommendation but there are are a few items that always stay in rotation and here they are:  photo magnolia003_zps8805e404.jpg

 1. Two of my favorite items are from Kiehl's and the first one up is their Abyssine Cream which is a fantastic little eye cream and a little goes a long way. Apparently, some researchers in the Galapagos noticed some iguanas and tortoises strutting around the beach looking wrinkle free and investigated and came up with the abyssine molecule. The great thing is it's super hydrating without making you sticky or slicked up like some sort of BP spill out in the Gulf.

 2. That said, having great, nourished, lovely looking skin won't mean jack shit if you spackle over it with cakey looking foundation. BB creams have been making a big stink all over the place for the last two years and while the Western versions bear little resemblance to their often superior Asian counter parts, a lot of them really are fantastic and my go-to for a while has been Smashbox's Camera Ready BB Cream which one of my best lady friends turned me on to. It's incredibly light and has great coverage without making you look all Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, plus comes equipped with a  35 SPF. (On a side note, another shockingly great foundation I've found is Dior's Airflash Spray Foundation. However, I really only bring this one out for special occasions since it really does require a lot more effort to apply evenly, but a great choice if you are having pictures taken or attending an event.)

 3. I've mentioned Philosophy's When Hope is Not Enough before and for a reason. I really do love it for all of its firming qualities. After a long night, a hard cry or just for use as a good preventative, it can't be beat. Growing up, my grandmother used to caution me that women always pay so much attention to their face and the signs of aging there but always neglect the back of their hands which age just as fast and that's exactly where I dab this one.

4. Kiehl's second spot on this list is their Midnight Recovery Concentrate which was another heads up from the same friend who told me about the Smashbox BB Cream. Apply it with a light hand, fall the fuck to sleep, enjoy not looking like a hag in the morning. It's that simple, ladies.

 5. My grandfather ran a pharmacy for years and my grandmother was notorious for handing out beauty advice, both solicited and not, to patrons. One of those recommendations was to put rose water in a misting bottle and spray in the morning before you apply foundation and at night after you take your make up off. It works as a toner and close your pores giving you a smooth appearance. It also comes in just about every price range imaginable, but I've been using Melvita's Eau Florale de Rose for a while now. That said, do a patch test with this as some people are allergic to rose and with the goal being to look like a flower you don't want to end up being a tomato.

 6. Which brings me to an alternative to rose water that I have been addicted to for sometime is Pangea' Organic's facial toner, which is something that I've also mentioned before. Fumehead that I am, I am truly smitten with the fragrance white is green mandarin and sweet lime, so it's very fresh which is exactly what it does to your skin. I bathe very hot which dilates your pores for exfoliation so I spray a cloud of the toner and walk into it right afterwards to close them back up.  photo magnolia001_zpsd7e3030d.jpg

 Besides sun block, exfoliation is the massive key to skin care. And for that, an exfoliation brush should live in your bathroom. You can always go and buy one of the fancy motorized ones, but really, why? Just go to Walgreens or Sephora and pick up one of the basic ones you use with your own damned hands for under $5 and go to town. To aid in that I go back to that family secret of Olay. I was a huge fan of the Definity pore scrub, but since it's been discontinued I've switched to their Total Effects Refreshing Citrus Scrub and get roughly the same effect.

 A while back someone gave me a crapton of these packets of Precious Eye Balm from L'Occitane and eventually I'll run out and actually have to go buy some for myself, but for now, I'm enjoying it's biggest boon - it dramatically reduces dark marks under the eyes. I'm an insomniac and that fact definitely takes its toll out on my face, coupled with the fact I'm pale to begin with exhaustion bruising is unfortunately something I have to contend with and this product helps me win that battle.

 Lastly, it's rather obvious that a lot of these products work best from the comforts of your own home and not so much when you're out and about on your day, and let's face it, your face is going to get oily and while I know the impulse is there just to use a compact powder to cover the fact, it's better to just keep a back of blotting linens in your purse, they absorb any shine that can appear and also double as a blotting tool for excess lipstick as well and I personally dig these green tea ones from Boscia. They come in a nice, handy little envelope and, really, what else do you need?  photo 60430_1608376687495_6161337_n_zps01701d96.jpg

Monday, March 18, 2013

-Back in Black (and red and blue and green and etc...)-

New and improved Magnolia coming soon. Now with freaking lasers.  photo gunstain002_zps20d47878.jpg

Sunday, March 25, 2012

-Don't Waste Your Waist-

Two massively different looks. One for a Saturday, one for a Sunday.

I went to see a friend's band play and while debuting my new Southwestern mini skirt I came across an olive military style cropped blazer I totally forgot I owned. I'm loving it because it cinches in and let's me show off my waist, which I'm loving.

My Sunday look is actually my dress for the season premiere of Mad Men. After two and a half years, this is an event to celebrate, so, fittingly, we're throwing a cocktail party in its honor. This one is actually a one piece color blocked dress with a neutral bottom and a neon coral upper half bisected with a great little belt. I'm especially proud of the heels I got to go along with it. You can't really see it in the picture shown but they're platform stiletto ankle straps in the same color palette.