Monday, May 30, 2011

Shirt: secondhand Downeast Outfitters, $3.50 from thrift store
Necklace: secondhand, $4 from consignment shop
Skirt: Ross, $15
Shoes: secondhand, $8 from thrift store

This was Sunday's outfit. I liked it so much.

Sweater: Banana Republic, $25
Necklace: Etsy shop, $12
Shirt: Gap, $6
Skirt: Ross, $15
Shoes: secondhand, $12 from consignment shop

This is today's outfit. I don't like it quite as much, I think because there's too much similarity between a loose, long top half and a loose, long bottom half. The outfit I wore yesterday was much more comfortable and flattering, but such is life. I will press on. And thus ends my Weeklong Remix of the brown maxi skirt. You can see my other looks here, here, and here. (And PS: For whatever it's worth, I wore the skirt two additional times this week without blogging about it, so this item has gotten a LOT o' love recently. It needs a nap.)

Something I've been thinking about lately: mantras. A mantra can be a word, a phrase, a syllable -- any speech that you use as an instrument of thought. In Hinduism and Buddhism, mantras carry sacred symbolism and embody some kind of spiritual power, so the repetition of a mantra is a religious practice. I've read about mantras many times before and always liked the idea. As an English major and literary-type person, I totally believe in the power of words. That said, it was just a cool idea and never something I really intentionally used.

In the past few weeks, I've noticed that I use "mantras" frequently, except they're not the spiritually uplifting or helpful kind. I imagine that most of us get into habits of negative self-talk from time to time, and I sure fall into that trap. The harmful things I say to myself aren't planned or wanted, but they're with me nonetheless. I just fixate fixate fixate on what's wrong, so the mantra becomes "_______ sucks" or "________ makes me feel so horrible" or "_______ is always falling short."

On Friday, I had some menstrual cramps going on, and I decided to implement the positive power of words to deal with that. Whenever the cramps would sort of surge or become more distracting, I would repeat this mantra to myself: "This is a productive pain. It's nothing to worry about. My body is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, and it's doing it very well." Know what? It really did the trick. The pain was reduced, and the pain that remained wasn't scary or unbearable.

I'm trying to find a mantra or two that I can use for the emotional woes rather than the physical ones. Any suggestions? I've found some success with "It's okay to feel hurt" and other things to that effect, reminding myself that it's totally normal to feel upset when things I care about aren't quite right, but I don't think I've struck gold with my perfect mantra just yet. If you have any advice for things you say to keep things in perspective or make yourself feel better, I would lurve to know.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Scarf: Van Heusen, $7
Shirt: Banana Republic, $15
Giganto flower scarf: secondhand Divided by H&M brand, $4 from consignment shop
Pin: Michael's Craft Store, $3
Skirt: Ross, $15
Sandals: Downeast Outfitters, $12

This scarf I'm wearing over the skirt is ENORMOUS. It's more like a picnic blanket or a wall-hanging than anything else, but considering the pretty pretty floral print and four dollar pricetag, I couldn't pass it up.

In other news, my hair appointment went very well. Tyrel gave me some strawberry-blond-ish highlights that give more dimension and flexibility when it comes to root touchups. Having a few hours to catch up with an old friend and be pampered within an inch of my life? That wasn't bad either. If you live in the Salt Lake area, you can visit him at Landis Aveda and get something wonderful of your own.

Hair Like a Dust-Bunny's

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunglasses: secondhand, $2 from thrift store
Necklaces: one from Downeast Outfitters ($8), one from Wal-Mart ($5)
Shirt: secondhand and probably hand-dyed, free from clothing swap
Watch: Roxy, gift
Bracelet: vintage family heirloom, free
Skirt: Ross, $15
Sandals: Downeast Outfitters, $12

Whenever I'm getting my hair cut or colored, I have a dilemma to consider: Do I do my hair in the morning, before heading to the salon, or do I leave it messy? Messy hair is easier, and if it's all getting reworked in a few hours by the hairdresser anyway, it seems silly to put much effort in. Messy is usually my chosen approach. But then I get to the salon, and all the stylists there have rad, well-done hair; by comparison, I feel like a dust-bunny someone swept out from under the couch. The memory of this feeling is what makes me second-guess my decision to go messy the following time. Le sigh. I've made my bed and will proceed to lie in it.

Going to the salon hasn't been a regular part of my life until recently. My mom cut my hair all through my growing-up years, and when I decided to start dying it as a senior in high school, she handled that as well. I think I really got tuned in to the power of a well-timed, well-done change in the hair department after my first big breakup (only big breakup, actually). It seemed a fine time to go short for the first time in my life, and go short I did. I felt like a new woman (a new woman who shortly thereafter fell in love with her future husband, I might add -- coincidence? I think not). Behold, from early 2008.

One of my dearest, oldest friends on God's green earth, Tyrel (the man responsible for the afore-mentioned short haircut), is taking his hands to my tresses this afternoon. I hope to have something lovely and new to show off for you tomorrow.

A Work of Understanding

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Necklace: Forever 21, $5
Shirt: Old Navy, $8
Skirt: Ross, $15
Belt: secondhand, $2 from thrift store
Watch: Roxy, gift
Sandals: Payless, $15

Guess how many pieces of fried shrimp I ate for lunch today. Did you guess more than 20? Then you're probably correct. I had a mighty craving and didn't bother to keep count of my munching.

Today is the day I'm bringing back The Weeklong Remix. Over the next seven days, I'll be incorporating this brown maxi skirt into at least five outfits. Isn't that EXCITING?!

Before bidding adieu for today, I wanted to give a plug for an online resource I've been digging into lately. A fellow named Brent Kerby has just self-published a book called Gay Mormons?: Latter-day Saint Experiences of Same-Gender Attraction, and the full text of the book is available online. All things that are offbeat and Mormon appeal to me, so the topic of homosexuality within my church is nothing new, but I haven't ever seen it treated in quite this way. Brent collected individual stories from lots of people, including gay Mormons, gay former Mormons, and spouses in mixed-orientation marriages (a gay man married to a straight woman or vice versa). The stories are all so different from each other, but Brent just presents them as they are in an effort to show the diverse experiences that exist in this community. His intent was clearly to offer help and understanding, not to make a political point, and I think that's wise in terms of allowing these stories to do the most good. I can imagine so many kinds of people reading an experience from this book and feeling peace from it.

I wanted to pass this resource along for everyone's use and benefit, most notably for all us somehow-Mormon folks. My feelings on this topic are deep and wide, but I'll try to summarize by saying: any pain that exists within my faith community is a pain that I take personally, and there is so much work to be done to eliminate the schism that often separates our gay brothers and sisters from feeling part of the whole. I think the work is a work of love, a work of understanding, and considering how insanely likely it is that each of us will have a gay child/niece/nephew/cousin/aunt/uncle/grandchild/parent/sibling in our lives at some juncture, the work of understanding is urgent. I hope you'll read Brent's book, bookmark the stories you like, and pass along the things you find most important.

Flickr? I Don't Even Know'r!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Headscarf: Eddie Bauer, $10
T-shirt: Old Navy, $8
Other shirt: Gap, $5
Denim leggings: gift from my mom
Shoes: secondhand Polo Ralph Lauren brand, $12

Earlier today, I emailed Kirstin at Crimson Rosella and Tieka at Selective Potential to get their advice about how to improve the picture quality on ye olde blog. They both got back to me really quickly and were such sweethearts, and as it turns out, they both suggested the same thing: Flickr. Flickr is an image-hosting/image-sharing website that I've known about for a long time, but I've never used it much. For this blog, I've just relied on Blogger for my image-hosting needs by uploading them to the post directly. Since Kirstin and Tieka both recommended this course of action, I deemed it worth a try, and so far? So good. All I had to do was create an account on Flickr (free), upload my images there, then get the link locations for use in the actual post.

Since it has been exceedingly cloudy and dark in my town lately, I also messed around with some settings on my camera to allow for longer exposure time, which equals more light. I'm learning all kinds of goodness today.

So, fellow bloggers, take this Flickr suggestion and run with it. That's straight from me to you. Another piece of free advice: if your blond roots are becoming more and more evident, making you appear more and more bald with each passing day, a scarf wrapped 'round your hairline is an easy fix. And you look very bohemian by accident.


Headband: Charlotte Russe, $3
Necklace: gift from my mom
Shirt: secondhand BCBG Max Azria brand, $10
Sweater: Modcloth, $17
Skirt: second Penguin by Munsingwear brand, $10
Leggings: Target, $3
Boots: Rocketdog brand via Macy's, $35

I wore this to church yesterday, and when Craig saw my get-up, he said that I looked like a mix between a hippie and a flipper.

"A hippie and a flipper?" I asked. "You mean ... the dolphin?"

"Oh. I meant flapper. Like from the 20s."

That makes more sense.

What do I have to do to get some clear pictures on this blog? I mean, these aren't horrendously blurry, but they could be better. Check out Crimson Rosella, my edit., E. from academichic, and Selective Potential. See what I mean? Those pictures are sharp. as. tacks. So what's my deal? Is it some setting on my camera? A sketchy lens? Do I need to use a better photo-editing program? Is Blogger slowing me down? I shall investigate.


Church was mediocre yesterday. Craig and I have the job of teaching a Sunday School class every other week, and while I enjoy the calling in lots of ways, there are some occasions when it's like I'm speaking Swedish to a classroom full of Spaniards. For example, I'll say, "What are some things we need to do to gain eternal life?" It's a deep question, I know, and I get a bunch of blank stares from the class members. After a sufficient number of awkward silent seconds, Craig will pipe up and repeat the question: "What are some things we need to do to gain eternal life?" When he asks it, lightbulbs appear around the room. Hands raise. People have something to say. ... Did I mumble my way through the exact same words so that no one could understand me? It's a confusing thing, and I feel like a very poor teacher. I've got some solid thoughts in this noggin of mine, but darned if I can translate them to a teaching situation. And that's probably okay, except for every other Sunday.

Oh Make Me Over

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hat: TJ Maxx, $10
T-shirt: Fruit of the Loom brand via Big Lots, $5 for 3-pack
Necklace: secondhand chain from yard sale ($2), pocketwatch from eBay ($9)
Watch: Roxy brand, gift
Skirt: Old Navy, $15
Sandals: Downeast Outfitters, $12

You know, it's interesting what stays in a lady's makeup bag over time. I was getting ready this morning and came across a tube of lipstick that I bought back in 2005 (everyone say it with me: ewwww). It's this bright red from CoverGirl, and I picked it up for a Halloween costume. Most unflattering shade in the world for me, but for whatever reason, I've kept it around.

Finding this old lipstick felt like a little encouragement to go through my makeup bag and get rid of what no longer belongs, and doing that inspired me to share the products that I love and use all the time. Behold:

There's some good stuff here. Let's take it from the top.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub (any variety will do; this is the Blemish and Blackhead Control) -- using this is like giving my face a massage with a cat tongue that smells good. My skin is pretty dry, so exfoliating is a once or twice a week thing.

Clean & Clear Morning Burst Skin Brightening Facial Cleanser -- I use this morning and night.

Pond's Dry Skin Cream (my tub is almost empty!) -- I haven't tried many moisturizers, so I don't know how this one measures up, but I like it fine. I use a light layer in the morning before I put on any makeup, then I use a heaver layer before I go to bed.

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 -- I picked this up at a grocery store last year to fight some persistent acne. It's okay.

Maybelline Fit Me Blush in Light Rose -- This is the first blush I've ever used, and I've only had it for a week or so. I. LOVE. IT. But that might say more about the concept of blush than this product in particular.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation 120 -- I haven't ever used a foundation that I like more than this. Highly recommended.

Almay Smart Shade Concealer in Light -- The area under my eyes is in need of concealer most days, and I have really liked this brand. It claims to magically adjust to the right shade for your skin, which I'm not sure I believe, but it does look all right and lasts through the day.

Lancome Eye Shadow in Sensational Effects (aren't makeup names cool?) -- I don't use this very often, but it was free with a lipstick purchase. What's nice are these gold and pink shades that will be nice in the summertime.

Almay Intense I-Color Powder Shadow for Greens (meaning, for green eyes) -- This is the eye shadow I use every day, in some combination. Using that light pink shade is easy and always looks subtly good, and the other two are a bit more dramatic. Compared to other eye shadows I've used, it has good staying power through the day.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in Turquoise Tempest -- I'll be honest with you: this color does not look very good on me. But I still try to make it work sometimes, and that's why it stays in the bag.

Eyelash curler, tweezers, and eye shadow brush. Nothin' special.

Lancome Definicils High Definition Macara in Black -- This is the best mascara I've used, and I got it free with a lipstick purchase, so I am all about it. Great definition.

Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in Navy -- This was such a great eyeliner that I'm reluctant to let it go even though it's pretty tough to get any more use out of this particular pencil. I should just buy a new one.

Wet n Wild Coloricon in Charcoal -- I use a light layer of this pretty much every day, so it comes out looking gray rather than black (which is how I like it).

Avon Smooth Over Eye Definer in Dark Brown -- I love having an Avon lady for my mom. This is a really great shade for me, and it goes on smooth.

Almay Bright Eyes Liner in Cocoa & Pearl -- This was a good eyeliner, but the pencil's too old now. Another one to put on my shopping list. But I'm throwing this one away.

Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in Hazel -- Thanks to some overzealous, ill-advised eyebrow tweezing in my younger years, my eyebrows are not all that I might hope (who's with me on this?). I've used this eyebrow pencil a handful of times; sometimes it works and sometimes it looks silly. I think that's more to do with my application than anything. Anyhow, the color does last and doesn't smear, and the brush on the lid is helpful, so I recommend it.

Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker -- I will still be using this stuff when I'm 80, provided that Bonne Bell is still making it. Smells good, feels good, gives a little color, fits in your pocket, and survives the washer/dryer with ease.

Avon Sweet as a Kiss Lip Balm in Deep Berry -- I keep this tube around to smooth and even out my lipstick application, and it works really well.

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick in Rose 24k -- This lipstick claims to have real gold in it. It's pleasantly pink and feels very moisturizing (not sticky), so I use it pretty frequently.

CoverGirl Lipstick in Classic Red -- This was the old tube of lipstick I referred to earlier. It's hardly used, but for good reason. I really don't like it. Into the trash it shall go.

FLIRT! brand Lipstick in Wicked (purchased at Kohl's) -- Now THIS is a red lipstick I like. The color's great, but the downside is that it starts to fade pretty quickly, so you end up with a rim of red around the edge of your lips. And that is not what you want. Anyway, I only use this rarely and when I can bring the tube along with me for touch-ups.

Maybelline Super Stay Lipcolor in 744 -- This one was tough to get the hang of (you have to dab the color on gingerly, wait for it to dry without touching it, and then apply the conditioning balm on top), but I love the color. It can get a little sticky, though, so this is more for pictures than practical, daily use.

Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Lipstick in Tulipwood -- I was running errands one day and decided it was IMPERATIVE that I find the perfect lipstick. I drove to the mall and hit the Lancome counter in Macy's. Ten minutes later, I came out with this Tulipwood. It's really, really good.


Going through this list of beauty products, I admit that I feel a little sheepish. Is this what I'm reduced to, this list of products that I evidently need to use? No, but is this what's important? Well, kind of. It's not what's most important or even close to that, but I think there's meaning in our daily rituals and in our incidental possessions. Material culture plays a role in deciphering history and in sharing the reality of our lives. Maybe it's stupid or lame to list and elaborate on my makeup. That's a maybe. But you know what's certain? I would love to come across some list like this from any of my female relatives, any of my ladyfriends. I'm interested in this junk. And if I care about myself in the way I care about these other women in my life -- and I do -- then I'll probably love to come across this list of my own one day.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the subject.

Red Hat

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hat: secondhand from consignment shop, $10
Sweater: Polo Ralph Lauren brand via TJ-Maxx, $30
Pants: Kohl's, $20
Shoes: secondhand Cole Haan brand from Salvation Army, $2

Weather report: Provo cannot make up its mind. Today is chilly and windy, when just a few days ago, everything was lightness and brightness and warmth. I've only kept a few cool-weather clothes in my closet (put the rest in storage), so hopefully things will shape up soon. And a red hat is good in any temperature.

My dad is an elementary school principal, and on Friday night, he received this very prestigious, very ritzy award to honor all the good he's done for his school and community. The whole family (including my parents, grandparents, my brothers, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, and my husband) got to enjoy a dinner in honor of my dad and the other award-winners.

As my mom said when we pulled up to the event: we really can't escape our inner white-trash. We're a kooky bunch, but we think we're a hoot.

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