Paint the Town Red: Fashionably Retro

There’s been a bit of a theme to my shopping lately:red stuff 2

I took advantage of a family trip to the city and did a little shopping earlier this week. I’ve been eyeing retro pinup styles for a long time, and am slowly working some 50’s fun into my look. Sometimes I feel like a bit of a late bloomer, at the age of 37, to be jumping into trying new styles of fashion and makeup, but it’s actually a natural evolution of my love for colour, line and design. I love colour, and it just makes sense to be adding a little dramatic style to the way I look since I spend so much time playing with colour and design in my artistic life. And being in my thirties means I’m braver to try things that I would have been self-conscious about in my teens & twenties.

It’s fun to play with colour, and I’m so glad I can do it in more than just painting. It’s a lot of fun. Next up will be shopping for and sewing dresses for my daughters in full-skirted 50’s styles. We are going to a wedding this summer and we’re going there in retro-glam style!

Shoes are Giulia from John Fluevog, and they are fantastic.

Fashion Saturday

I like to think that my love of fashion and make-up comes from spending my teen years unable to pick out my own clothes. As you may remember, I lived in a remote tribal village in Papua New Guinea with my missionary parents through the ages of 12-17 and so what I wore needed to be appropriate for the culture (no pants or shorts) and since there were no stores nearby, I wore whatever was handed down to me from other missionaries or sent in care packages from home (and picked out by Grandma). I had lots of really baggy culottes and t-shirts with kittens.

I may be exaggerating slightly. But not about the culottes. Do not ever waterski in culottes, by the way. It’s the equivalent of wearing inflated parachutes and even rag-clad villagers know that’s not cool.

You can bet that I never had any dresses like this one:

Isn’t that cute? And I bought one! It’s from Shabby Apple and while the dresses aren’t cheap and shipping to Canada is a whopping $30, they have a sale on right now! 20% off storewide so if you’ve been meaning to get a vintage-ish dress or just a really classic one, you know you want to check it out. And if you use this link and order, I get a $20 gift card toward my next purchase. So you know that your shopping makes me look good – just the way I like it!

Also in New Guinea, there’s not a lot of point in wearing make-up. At least in our region it was hot and humid and would be sweated off within an hour. Or less. Here in Canada, I always wear foundation, since I struggle with acne. At my age, I know!

My mother always ingrained in me the importance of daily skin care. Twice a day I cleanse and moisturize with care. I buy eye creams to avoid crow’s feet, I moisturize my throat because that’s always a tell-tale sign of age, right? And I agonize over pimples. Hate ‘em. I’ve learned that limiting my sugar intake has a big impact on zit production, so I do my best there. Can’t always say no to jelly beans, though.

That’s why it’s so frustrating when I’m standing in the drugstore trying to figure out what to buy for my skin. Do I need a day cream AND a night cream? Do I buy what’s on sale or do I match my moisturizer to my cleanser? Do I wait a few weeks until I can get to the town with the store that sells Clinique (which I used for a few years). And I hate gel moisturizers, even that’s what’s recommended for acne-prone skin. I like something creamy and lush.

Anyhow, I just started using the Muvazi Renewal System. And I like it. No shopping, because I chose the auto-ship feature that sends it right to my door every two months, and it’s BPA and paraben-free which is comforting to know. It’s geared more toward anti-aging than acne prevention, but in the few weeks I’ve been using it I’m already seeing an improvement in post-pimple scarring and my skin has more elasticity and a bit of a “glow.” and I’m not even wearing foundation today! I got a great price on my Muvazis system, and they just sent me a coupon offering $40 off and free shipping (and if you live in Canada like me, free shipping is a very big deal).

So, if you want to check it out – it’s still pricey but it’s a high end spa-quality product and it’s just really nice (did I tell the moisturizer smells very faintly of coconut?), use the coupon code to save $40 plus shipping and mention my name in the comments – they love referrals! There’s a link in the left hand sidebar that will stay up so you can think about it for a week or two – the sale ends January 31st.

Finally I just have to share an example of my Papua New Guinea swimwear style. Yes, I can teach you five ways to tie a sarong, and how to manage two yards of fabric while swimming!


The Average Height of Supermodels Has Little Bearing on Reality.

Our little kitten Tommy is terrified of his new family. He’s the kitten who hitchhiked home on top of the engine of my van. Yesterday I brought him in the house to help him become a little more familiar with us and he found the hole in the wall where Wade repaired our shower plumbing and spent the entire day under the bathtub. He wouldn’t even come out for treats.

Speaking of terrified, did I tell you I’m emceeing our church’s ladies Christmas banquet? While I won’t need to share deep personal reflections or an inspiring speech, I am on the hunt for a few good jokes and I’m hoping I won’t hyperventilate like I do when making announcements on Sunday morning. Also I am going to shop for a new top today to wear with one of my four black skirts – new clothings and high heels always make me feel a little more confident – I have a long stride which is one of the benefits of being 5′ 9 1/4″.

I used to always add that “and a quarter” to my height when asked how tall I am. My height was more noticeable when I was eighteen and still a coat hanger. Somewhere I had read that the average height of a supermodel was 5′ 9 1/4″ and so being exactly that height had a certain cachet. Now I find that 5′ 9″ is not eye-catchingly tall – if I shop at Tall Girl stores I am likely to need to hem my trousers, but I’m a little too tall for regular length jeans and skirts can be tricky – nothing like having them land at the bottom of my knee when they were intended for mid-calf.

So once I stopped entertaining dreams of modelling (which I would have hated), height mostly became handy for reaching things on high shelves, walking quickly and not having to adjust the vehicle seat after my husband used the van. Wade is the same height as me, and doesn’t mind if heels make me taller. And I get to have tall children. Sassy gets a lot of attention for her height – she is only a couple of inches short of five feet and not yet nine years old. And Scooter and Wecco are both tall for their ages as well. Scooter has the most beautiful dainty hands and feet despite her height.

I’ve also been thinking how awesome it would be to adopt a “look.” I think the steampunk and rockabilly styles are so fascinating, though not really me.

It was actually quite hard to find non-racy styles to show you in both styles.

But I love this funky illustration of rockabilly style — wonder if I could get Wade to dye his hair black and adopt a pompadour?

Again, I could do without the tattoos.

If I were to adopt my own era-specific look, it would be forties style, I think. Think Katharine Hepburn without the angular face.

Amazing wide-leg trousers, and tailored dresses.

What I’ve decided is that I’m going to buy one piece to start my little forties collection, and if all goes well, the collection will grow! Wade would love it if I wore skirts more and I suppose I would learn to live with the chill or track down a good source of tall sized wool tights.

What’s your fashion dare dream?


Frivolous But Not Frizzy!

Life has been one long series of good hair days lately. Except during soccer. I keep hoping my stellar soccer skillz will make up for my frizz-bomb ‘do, but, while my soccer is better than my game-hair, I’m really not a great soccer player.

My hair was straight for most of my youth, and since I grew up in the 80’s & 90’s, this was not a good thing. Perms were in, especially the much-coveted spiral perm, and after a succession of perms that never did for me what they seemed to do for everyone else, I decided to embrace my hair’s innate straightness and never perm again. Little did I know that around the time I started having children, my hair would change from straight to curly, and I would get to embrace that!

The thing about having curly/wavy hair is the unpredictability of it. I often have spiral curls underneath half-hearted kinks, topped with a skiff of frizz. I’m not great at using a diffuser to blow-dry it into curls and generally end up scrunching my wet hair with a bit of mousse, clipping a bit back out of my face. On really lazy days I clip the whole thing back with a fakkare clip. (Just Googled to find out what that type of clip is called!)

I hate heat styling – my hair is so thick it takes a long time to blowdry, and don’t even get me started on how long it takes to style using a curling iron or hair straightener. Just let me say I feel a lot like Moses, needing someone to support my arms over my head that long. So I was thrilled to stumble across a video on styling hair into gorgeous waves using no heat at all! It’s such a simple technique that I have been using it almost every day, and getting hair a lot like this:

Apparently I don’t know how to smile and photograph myself at the same time. My Nikon is heavy!

Anyhow, here’s the tutorial, if you want to try for lovely waves yourself. Even if your hair is straight this should work  for you, and it’s easy enough that it’s worth a try, right?

Seeing as we’re talking beauty here, I must tell you about my exciting latest purchase! I raved about my favourite perfume over a year ago, and long since the tiny bottle of Harajuku Lovers Sunshine Cuties Lil’ Angel perfume ran out. When you get about a teaspoon of scent in a bottle, it doesn’t last long. A couple of weeks ago, I found the tester size bottle online! The tester bottle is a 34 ml size and so nearly six times the size of the retail bottle. And it smells just as heavenly as I remembered. Mmmm. I’ve decided that perfume is one of those personal indulgences – if we were scenting ourselves for a man’s approval, we’d be making bacon, axle grease or sawdust scented perfumes. Or we’d all be wearing New Car Scent air freshener trees. Wade would enjoy “Eau de Dragstrip,” a bouquet of burned rubber with undertones of asphalt.