Batty for Braids

It’s not news, but braids are everywhere. I’ve been a major fan since the days when Mommy had to break a sweat trying to drag enough strands on my head together to create a plait. French, inside-out, fishtail, miniature, hidden, side-of-head, nape-of-neck, wrap-around… On babies and big girls and everyone in between, I love a braid.

It wasn’t until last week that I discovered my boyfriend loves them too! I was racing to get to an event and despite having flat-ironed my hair, a portion in the front was not settling right. I had to work the red carpet that night, which is fast-paced, hectic, and sadly one of those times when you need to look perfect. Crunched for time, I formed a quick mini braid on one side, tucked the end under the rest of my hair, and voila, utter chic in a matter of moments. I feared Josh would find the look somewhat juvenile, but he loved it! The next time we hit the town, he even requested that I fix the locks just that way. Yay!

Right now, Sparkles & Fun is based out of LA–I’m stationed at a hotel off Beverly Boulevard for the next week and a half on Oscar and other missions. Missing New York, but loving it here. Anyway, there is definitely a bit of a hippie-chic air to the people here and I find it so intriguing. One of the assistants in our LA office came traipsing in this morning completely undone, wearing simple leggings and tunic, nothing glam. Yet she had this wonderful little surprise tucked into her hair that caught my eye and made me melt.

Subtle little feather braid… ❤

One tiny, tight little braid started at her crown and wove subtly through her hair, only really visible because of the four colorful feathers attached halfway down the hair shaft. I am obsessed! I am jealous! I am in possession of her stylist’s card… and I am posting photos this weekend when I finally manage to steal away from the office for an hour and get my own little feathery delights done.

Here are some very bold versions
These are mine!!
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Welcome to La La Land…

Monique and I arrived in Los Angeles way later than we’d hoped. Due to crazy winds, the flight was delayed and after a long and arduous journey, we arrived to discover our rental car was not ready. Two sad, tired New Yorkers in sweatpants and driving mocs stood stranded by the side of the highway near LAX, bogged down by baggage both emotional and of the Tumi variety. We captured a taxi and camped out for the night at a cheap hotel by the airport, managed to catch some sleep… and woke up this morning to find sun streaming through the windows.

Mo made quick work of digging her favorite romper from the depths of her suitcase and I delightedly called the front desk for a temperature quote–booya, 72! Clad in a plaid linen t-shirt dress and my favorite flats, I grabbed my mini-colleague and off we went for a busy, yet beautiful day.

It’s going to be a crazy work week and my posts will be few and far between. But needed to share this, as I found it so fitting. I love LA on so many levels, but you need to have a little bit of humor about it, no? We found a black car and slid inside. What was waiting in the seat-back pocket for all the executives who get driven around town?

Hard news, my friends. Hard news. Welcome to La La Land…

An Image to Go By

Words are my passion. They swirl around in my head, the best ones for the circumstance shimmering brightest while others hold on to be used another time. They spill out of me onto Starbucks napkins, the edges of other people’s notebooks, and into some of the world’s longest emails.

I have always loved words and that will never fade, but more and more I realize the impact of a strong visual. I’ve decided to dedicate one blog a week to a beautiful found photo, or one I take myself, or one supplied by a reader. If you have visuals you’d like me to post, please email me here.

Here is Week One.
In a much less destructive, dysfunctional way, my relationship with my little brother reminds me of what Andy & Edie’s was–in the golden days. Today was a very important day for him and I could not be there in my cropped black fur jacket, hair straight as he likes it, tottering around on crazy heels in support of him. This shot is for my little Nernel. Stay fabulous, my darling.

How to Nail It

If you don’t know it yet, you soon will–I am a nail addict. When I have cash available, my favorite splurge is a manicure. When my pockets are empty, I do my own happily. Nail polish at the house of Jensy is stored in an antique dressing table. The entire collection of polishes has reached over 100 bottles and is mainly comprised of Essie but there are beloved Chanel and Dior hues from my days as a beauty editor as well. I save those for special occasions. This treasure trove is also replete with emery boards, clippers, buffers, primers, remover, cotton swabs, and cuticle tools. But my favorite thing to do is leave the house, head down a couple blocks, pick a color, and relax for an hour.

Oh, Le Vernis,
how I do love thee…

The trouble with manicures, though, is that they never last. Especially when my nails have had a chance to grow long due to summer sun, extra vitamins, or a little less typing/dishwashing than an average week, they become that much more susceptible to breakage and chipping. It kills me to watch as the perfectly filed and painted masterpieces crumble to a chipped, stubby mess in a mere 48 hours. And in my line of work, having a crappy manicure is never a good plan. What’s a girl to do?

My mother has always been my go-to for all beauty advice. She is a life-long adventuress in this department, and I truly trust her advice. In the early 70’s when long, straight hair was the only acceptable look, she would do her homework with her long waves rolled up around empty soup cans to straighten them, holding perfectly still beneath a stand-alone dryer like those you see at salons to this day. She’s been blonde, auburn, chestnut, dark ash, golden medium, and every shade in between (BUT NEVER GRAY). She tried the Keratin smoothing system before I did, turning me into an avid supporter–though we’ve both quit recently, due to chemicals. Mom has had every type of facial there is, becoming a connoisseur of creams, serums, and masques. In the early 90’s she tried gel tips on her nails, but the result left her cracked, short, and sad. And recently, Mom fell in love…

Now, there is a lot of nay-saying out there today about the modern UV Gel polish manicure. Apparently letting your nails dry under that UV light can lead to cancer and a host of other issues. But, then again, so can drinking from a styrofoam cup, standing too close to a microwave, talking on a cell phone, and walking down a New York City street, if you believe everything you hear. So, I was willing to take the chance and give this mani a try–especially after watching my mother get through Thanksgiving and then Christmas with one perfectly intact manicure a month despite the baking of several pies from scratch, the washing of countless loads of dishes and clothes, the typing of numerous client-related letters and personal emails, the snapping on–and then off–of doggy coats and leashes, and the list goes on and on. She rejoiced, she raved, she encouraged, and then she put $40 in my checking account and told me to see for myself.

The first time I got my gel polish manicure, I was a little annoyed. The process took about an hour and required a turn in the UV dryer after each layer was applied. But then–like magic–the final coat was rubbed down in lotion, and I was sent on my way. No need to sit and wait, no risk of smearing or having to come back for a touch-up, just out of there. Brilliant. And the color was like nothing I’d ever seen. She took a layer of delicious lavender and layered over it with a multi-hued glitter that made my nails sparkle and shine in the sunlight like no other polish could. I got compliments everywhere I went, and the best part–it lasted for about three weeks. The ONLY reason I went back for a do-over was that my nails had started to grow, creating little crescent moons at the cuticle. My second one was a blood-orange so show-stopping that it pained me to final replace it.

I am currently in week two of my third gel manicure and happier than I’ve ever been with my nails. Due to the protection the polish provides, my natural nails have grown so long and healthy, so strong, that I find myself constantly staring at them in wonderment–Are you really my nails?? Are you truly this long and gorgeous? Eek!

You can discover the glory for yourself, too, at almost every walk-in salon in the city. My favorite brand to date is the OPI system, as they utilize little pots of paint and a narrow brush that eliminate any room for error. No matter what the brand, have fun experimenting with layers. Any glittery shade over your color of choice will turn heads, and a bold red is a come-hither favorite that will bring your man on his knees. Have fun, ladies, and thank my mom when you find yourself on week three of your manicure with miles to go before your next appointment.

Game Day Chic

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m not a huge sports girl. But I do love to rally around with the crew once a year and watch (or at least drink my way through) the Superbowl. Last year I felt like a fish out of water in a little brown Calypso dress, black tights and Frye boots –I was trying to be “rustic”– when the other girls were rocking jerseys and *gasp* in some cases, even sweats.

This year I decided to throw in the towel and wear something team-themed (even though my team is not in the game), and was especially inclined to do so in honor of the Packers after catching a matinee of “Lombardi” today. I wanted a great little top like the ones they carry on the NFL website, but nothing was to be found. Josh and I roamed the streets from west to east and stopped into every appropriate store in on the way. We almost hopped in a cab and headed all the way down but after calling our desired spot, it was determined that no Packers gear existed–especially in small, cute sizes–anywhere. In the end, Josh found me a cute kid’s tee at Modell’s and tomorrow I’ll rock it with some black leggings. Not a bad solution!

Victoria’s Secret PINK carries the cutest NFL gear and I wanted one of their bedazzled jerseys or fitted little pants with “Packers” written across the tush. After trying the location near Josh, we did journey to the 34th Street location but they had niente for tomorrow. But I did pick up a great pair of comfy blue Giants sweatpants that will come in handy next year 😉

Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself…

Truth time. I had a moment the other day while leisurely spending an hour or so in front of the bathroom mirror analyzing the state of things. Pores, lines, irritations, split ends, etc. I found something deeply disturbing and I am sharing it with you now, dear readers, because the goal of this blog is to be honest. Three sad little hairs poked out at the crown among the deeper browns, the ash browns, and the few precious golden strands. They were not brown or blond or even amber… they were silver. A color I love so dearly in any other context, now rendered gut-wrenching, shocking, and tragic. Taken over by vanity and impulsiveness, I reached for my tweezer and took care of the situation instantly, at least for now. The most troubling thing is not that I found a few gray hairs. I am 26 and it could be a lot worse. But what really gets me is my golden rule about hair accessories, and I’m concerned I might have to rethink it, or sadly start to follow it.

Adore this sequined wrap
from Eugenia King, $99,
shopbop.com

Headwear is an essential part of my wardrobe. It’s the accessory I love more than anything. Belts are great but leave me frustrated and uncomfortable by day’s end, and look simply awkard if loosened. Bags are wonderful but don’t remain a part of the outfit once you’ve sat down at the desk or the dinner table. Shoes are sexy but seasonal and (sometimes) painful after a while. But the headband, the glorious headband, is the perfect accessory to polish off any look. It can hide day-old hair, masque roots, and elevate any outfit to a new level. I have so many and am always acquiring more. Just last weekend in Utah I picked up a fabulous one with a huge rabbit fur bow on it. As someone who doesn’t typically sway toward the avant garde in clothing items, I like using headwear to make a statement, without having to reach too far outside of my comfort zone. What’s the problem, then?

With Pookie at a casual engagement party
last summer… this is a favorite of mine in
mint green glass beads. Etsy.com

About a year ago I saw a woman on the subway who was starting to turn gray. Her outfit was chic but she wore a headband–complete with a large side bow–and with those gray streaks poking through, the look was just off. Something about it made me sort of sad. It was an attempt at a youthful look, I think, and it just was not working. I vowed then and there that if ever (!) my hair should turn in that direction, I would ditch the headbands. But I never imagined I would find myself at the crossroads so early in my fashion journey. Three measly strands is nothing to head to the colorist over, right? But if I reach the point where I need to start coloring to cover, what of it then? In short, I am bringing out the headgear in full effect while I still can. Sprinkled throughout this post are some of my favorites from my own collection. And some you need to get to the store and purchase ASAP.

 

Sometimes the simple addition of a
satin ribbon as headband is perfect
This is a big, floppy cotton bow and it always yields compliments…

 

 

And here is Pookie in my big, floppy bow

 

New Year’s Eve 2009 in a net-ribbon-bead-pearl extravaganza
nabbed at Nordstrom’s (and my friend’s hat was pretty
great too, right?) What a night!

 

Juicy Couture now ON SALE for $29
revolveclothing.com