Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I'm not dying for beauty ...

I don't wear much make up but when I do, I don't want to wear something that will cause me to have cancer later on in life. So, I've started checking out all my skin care and make up items at the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database almost religiously (www.ewg.org/skindeep).

Needless to say I have thrown away about $300 worth of facial cleansers, moisturizers, lotions, toners, make up, hair care, sunscreen and other skin related items. I simply was uneducated on what exactly is in the products I slather on my skin and hair.

I'm all for the phrase "beauty hurts" when wearing shoes that are too tight for a little while or a dress that is a bit snug for an hour or two. But I draw the line at "beauty kills" (whether that be killing me or killing animals some companies test on)!

So, in my quest to be beautiful while also being a responsible and compassionate human being on planet Earth, I have found just a handful of safe products to refill my beauty and toiletries shelves.

Skin cleanser
Threw out: L'Occitane Foaming Facial Cleanser
Restocked with: MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Cleanser

Threw out: Jergens Daily Moisture Dry Skin
Restocked with: Alaffia Everyday Shea Butter Lotion

Threw out: Covergirl Lash Exact  Mascara
Restocked with: Jane Iredale Longest Lash Thick Mascara 

Threw Out: LancĂ´me Rouge Absolu

Threw out: Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo

Powder (facial)
Threw out: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Powder 

Bottom line: I will endeavor to stick to only products tested by the EWG's Skin Deep team and that has a rating of 4 or less.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'm turning Parisian!

I recently read the book, How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are, by three fabulous ladies named Anne, Audrey and Caroline. I think I love them already. I had only gotten to page 8 when I realized I am already 95% Parisian. The title of the page is "Things you won't find in her [a Parisian woman] closet." I read the list carefully, taking a mental note of what was in my own closet, and I only have one item described (it has a * beside it below and I only have one pair because the Bollywood in me comes out every now and then). So, I guess that makes me 95% Parisian and 5% Bollywood, not bad for a backwoods girl from Alabama.
  • Three-inch heels. Why live life half way?
  • Logos. You are not a billboard.
  •  Nylon, Viscose, Polyester and Vinyl will make you sweaty, smelly and shiny.
  • Sweatpants. No man should ever see you in those. Except your gym teacher -- and even then. Leggings are tolerated.
  • Blingy jeans with embroidery and holes in them. They belong to Bollywood.*
  • UGG boots. Enough said. 
  • A skimpy top. Because you're not fifteen anymore. 
  • A fake designer bag. Like fake breasts, you can't fix your insecurities through forgery.
Can't wait to read the rest of this delicious morsel!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Equal Opportunity Accessories ...

No, this designer will not be at #LHW but it is a cool hat don't you think?
I am so excited about London Hat Week Oct. 6-12. The schedule will be announced May 20 (Friday) and I am giddy thinking about who will show designs. But it got me thinking, why does London get all the fun? Where is the New York Hat Week or Milan Hat Week? Is it too much to ask for other countries to host a hat week? And while we are on the subject, where is the Shoe Week? Or Purse Week? I mean let's be fair to all accessories right? Well, until that happens, check out #LondonHatWeek at www.londonhatweek.com

Friday, May 13, 2016

Etiquette is contagious ...

This is pretty complex but its worth studying.
The little "b" is for bread = your bread plate in on the left. The little "d" is for drinks = your drinks are on the right.

I recently went out to dinner with some girlfriends to a relatively nice restaurant (cloth napkins, three courses, charger plates, etc.). I used to think that I was at a stage in my life where nothing shocked me but apparently I have a long way to go. I guess I just don't understand how people who can afford to buy $1,000 purses can't afford to have some basic table manners. My friends did some of the most uncool dining things ever: drank out of another person's water glass, used the wrong silverware, snapped at the waiter and left their cell phone on the table. I took the opportunity to help them with their dining skills :-)
  • Drinking out of another diner's glass: Look at the photo above of the two "ok" symbols using your hands. If you notice when you make the "OK" symbol with your hands, the left hand makes a little "b" and the right makes a little "d". Use this trick to remember that your bread plate is on your left and your drinks are on your right. 
  • Using the right fork (or spoon, or knife): I can't help you with this one except to say study the graphic above to emblazon it in your head which utensil to use. You should use the outside utensils first working your way in, usually. Sometimes the restaurant will throw you a curve ball and serve salad at the end of the meal. But trust me, if you are in a high quality restaurant with trained staff, they will always take away utensils you don't need or supply you with ones you do (e.g. lobster hammer or escargot tongs) when you need them.
  • Calling for the server: Never snap, yell or wave at a server! I don't care if you're in Applebees or the Ritz. If you are in a place like Outback Steakhouse, simply raise your hand (not like you are in kindergarten and have to go to the bathroom). If you are in an upscale establishment, trust me, you need only look in your server's direction and they will come to you. Servers in high-end restaurants are trained to pay attention to their table and read your cues (cues like the fork and knife together to the top right of the plate, they know you are finished).
  • Where to put your cell phone: You are out with friends because you want to spend time with them. So spend time with them, not your phone. Put your phone in your purse or pocket and perhaps check it the next time you go to the restroom. If you are at a work dinner and maybe you have a sick child at home you can keep your phone on vibrate in your lap or pocket then excuse yourself from the table to take the call in a quiet place (where you won't disturb other diners with your conversation -- most likely outside) if you feel it vibrating.
I'm not trying to be difficult but having proper table manners is not about you, its about showing respect to your fellow diners. If you don't care about your fellow diners then go ahead and display those horrible manners. But if you do care how people watch you eat, brush up on basic etiquette (I suggest www.gourmet-food-revolution.com/dinner-table-etiquette.html)

After that experience, I'm seriously considering whether or not to dine out with these friends ever again or meet up for drinks only in the future.

Monday, May 9, 2016

VA Gold Cup virgin ...

One of the very few good things about #VAGoldCup May 7 -- this awesome bagpiper.

I went to the Virginia Gold Cup this weekend with some lovely friends. It was my first Virginia Gold Cup and I was excited to see all the beautiful hats, great horse racing and spend quality time with friends in a beautiful central Virginia setting. I went to the #VAGoldCup this year because I couldn't get to the #KentuckyDerby. Wow, was I disappointed! I didn't think my expectations were too high. Here is what I expected:
  1. Civilized people enjoying a day of horse racing 
  2. A beautiful setting in Virginia with nice facilities
  3. Ladies and gentlemen wearing their finest clothes and accouterments
This is what I got:
  1. 90% of the attendees were in drunkfest, relive-my-intoxicated-college-days mode. I can't tell you how many vomit puddles I had to maneuver around all day. And as for the horse races, I don't think anyone watched the races until the winners were announced and they could cash in their bets. I thought it was going to be a great day because there were police and state troopers and attendants to help guide you through the gates and park -- that was just a facade. And if there were civilized people in attendance they must have been in hiding because even the corporate tents on Members Hill were full of loud, tipsy people. I felt like I was back at a family reunion in my home state of Alabama during NASCAR season.
  2. I like tailgating as much as the next person but when there is just car upon car wedged in tiny little parking spots and people crammed together like sardines coupled with cheese and meats baking in the hot sun for hours and drunkards not handling their liquor well, the smell is atrocious. I couldn't believe people brought their little children to this kind of thing! I will forgive the event sponsors for the muddy mess (it rained the entire night before) as it wasn't their fault but I do not forgive them for the horrific state of the port-a-potties (I felt sorry for the tents and tailgaters whose assigned spots were near these big green stink bombs). When you put that many drunk people in one place, you better have an army the size of Sparta to patrol the potties! 
  3. There were very few ladies and gentlemen at this event but plenty of trashed juvenile girls and boys in the best outfits $20 could buy at H&M. I've not seen so much spandex and polyester in one place since I last visited Wal-Mart's Halloween costume display. I understand you don't want to get your $500 #Gucci dress destroyed at a big muddy field but come on, put a little effort into the ensemble. The hat contest, not even judged by any real fashion pros might I add, was a joke (Anna Mott at #FashionattheRaces would be appalled)! And worse, I was absolutely flabbergasted that I saw more boobs and butts hanging out of clothes than I have ever seen at the club on Friday night. I thought I was really risque by wearing an animal print plunging neckline dress but my outfit was as tame as a week old kitten compared to many.
It wasn't 100% bad -- still it wasn't worth the time it took to drive out there and the effort I expended to get my fashionable ensemble just right. A few of the good points were:
  • There was a great bagpipe player and a drummer both in full Scottish costume entertaining at one corporate tent
  • I met a few really nice people
  • I got to spend time with my friends and people watch 
  • Some of the hats and outfits were really nice
  • I got asked about a dozen times for people to take their photo with me and my gorgeous hat and parasol
  • It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day
  • The horse races were very well coordinated (better than the outfits)
I understand that its not Ascot and that people want to have a good time but VAGoldCup shouldn't advertise it as some premiere horse race with all these hoity toity events if its just a booze-fest. Advice to other #VAGoldCupVirgins, take all the money you would spend on a great outfit and the tickets to the event and spend it on booze while hosting a backyard barbecue and watch the horse races on pay-per-view on your home TV.

Monday, May 2, 2016

#FridayFashionFind 2 -- the purse

I was meeting a good friend of mine for tea at Union Station in Washington DC (@UnionStation_DC) and was killing some time milling around the shops in the train station until she showed up. Not intending to buy anything, I perused the Accessorize shop (@Accessorize_USA) and found this precious little pleated square clutch purse that goes perfectly with my Marchesa Voyage dress for the @VAGoldCup I highlighted last week. I also found this fabulous glittery square purse for a charity gala -- Fashion for Cure To Support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society -- I'm off to this week. I love getting #FridayFashionFinds even if I do forget to post it until Monday :-)