Fancy A Spot of Tea?

I don’t know about you guys, but I love a good tea party.

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As a little girl, I hosted them on the reg. I had a miniature table and chairs in my bedroom solely for that purpose, and had no fewer than 6 different tea sets on rotation at any given moment. I would serve “tea” (Sunny Delight) and “crumpets” (cut up Toaster Strudels) to my distinguished guests; a rotating cast of my favourite toys du jour. Regulars included:

  • my Cabbage Patch doll Celine Ilse (apparently she was French Canadian??);
  • a talking Teddy Ruxpin, that, looking back was completely terrifying;
  • an incredibly sexist Teen Talk Barbie that said things like “Math is hard!” and “Will we ever have enough clothes?”;
  • myriads of My Little Ponies;
  • Quints;

Remember these weirdos?

…and just to add a little masculinity to the mix, several of my brothers’ G.I. Joe figurines.

Yep, it was a real equal opportunity affair. 

Since apparently throwing lavish gatherings for your stuffed animals is no longer “socially acceptable” after the age of 12, I’ve experienced a marked decline in the number of tea parties I attend in my adult life. 

That’s why I was beyond excited when one of my coworkers invited me to an afternoon tea party at her house last weekend. With real live humans!!

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The invitation indicated that the dress code was casual, but that “Fascinators were encouraged”.

Challenge: accepted. 

Somehow, despite being neither British nor fancy, I have managed to accumulate a sizeable collection of obnoxious head pieces over the years. (I don’t know what this says about me as a person. I don’t care to find out.)

I thought about pulling out this one from the tickle trunk:

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But instead opted for this more understated headband variety:

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….paired with a giant (faux) fur vest and a fancy-ass brooch with a horse on it.

What? Don’t be such a neigh-sayer. 

I also upped my accessory game with my new bracelet stack; because nothing screams
class  like 18 lbs of gold-plated joo-ree you bought from the Shopping Channel.

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I arrived,dripping in elegance, to discover that the hostess had prepared an amazing spread of treats:

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Seriously-  it was insani-tea!! (Sorry. I’m done with the puns now).

Besides all of this glorious food, she also brewed some delicious loose leaf tea which she served in these fancy little cups.

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There were seven girls in attendance, and we snuggled up in the living room and spent a few cozy hours munching on macarons and dishing about men. The weather outside was terrible and rainy, but I didn’t really mind, because it sort of made me feel like Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby.

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Because I am delusional.

………..And then the Chardonnay came out. And I think my story ends here.

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to a tea party? High Tea?

Road Tested: TopBox.Ca

So today, I’m going to talk about beauty products.

beauty

Guys, I’ll give you all a minute to peter out slowly.

All gone now? Ok, good. Now I can feel free to post this highly unflattering/terrifying picture of myself:

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Yah, I went there.

Let me back up a minute. About a month ago, I signed up for this service called TopBox (I know- the name is a bit unfortunate. Especially if you’re a 15-year-old boy like I am) where for $12 a month, you get sent four beauty products to try out from a list of great brands.

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Pretty sweet, right? TopBox is only available in Canada, but there’s a similar service in the States called Birchbox, so no need to feel left out my American friends!

About two weeks before my first box was scheduled to arrive, I got an e-mail asking if I’d like to choose from one of the March “specialty” boxes. One was a collection of Aveda samples, another some Jurlique products, and something called “Lippy Girl” which I think was lipgloss. Anyone in my family will tell you that I’m lippy enough already, so I decided just to go with the standard four product mix.

I got home from work on Friday to this lovely little gem in my mailbox:

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I thought it might be fun to test out the products and do a little review of my experience- so here goes.

L’Oreal Mythic Oil

I was really excited about this one- mostly because I thought it was some sort of actual magic potion.

mythicMy initial excitement waned a little when I found out it was just a hair product, but I was still willing to give it a try.

According to the website, this product “leaves even the finest hair looking shiny, feeling nourished and supple.” I did as the instructions said and put a few drops in post-shower/pre-blowdrying.

Before:

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After*:

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*I may have edited the after pic slightly. Slightly.

As you can see, it really did leave my hair feeling softer and shinier. It also smells wonderful. I wish you all could scratch and sniff the screen right now. Not sure if it’s as great as Moroccan Oil, but I’d definitely try it again.

MaskerAide Hydrating Facial Mask

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Given that this product is described as “Pre-Party Prep”, it’s only fitting that I used it on a night when I was doing absolutely nothing at all. Gotta look good for my books, peeps!

When I took this mask out of the package it had the weirdest consistency- gelatinous and a little slimy. It reminded me of something you’d eat at Chinese Dim Sum. I did my best to just ignore that and put it on anyway.

Looking in the mirror with this thing on was a truly horrifying experience- like Friday the 13th meets The Skin I Live In.

Quad_Skin I Live In_AW.indd

I did, however, enjoy texting the pic of me above to all of my friends and freaking them out.

The instructions said to leave the mask on for 10-20 minutes and relax, so I did just that. I lit a candle, put on some Youth Lagoon, and read a magazine. I was so relaxed, in fact, that I completely forgot I had that sh*t on. It must have been like, 40 minutes before I realized. Panicked, I ran to the bathroom, expecting to find my face completely disfigured a la Freddy Krueger, but luckily, all was in tact. I was a little red the next day, but I’m not sure it was because of that or just because I have sensitive skin. Either way, i don’t think this made much of a difference, but it was still kind of fun to try.

Aveda Caribbean Therapy Moisturizer

I’m usually a big fan of Aveda products. I get my hair done at an Aveda salon and love their shampoos and the fancy Aveda brand tea they give you in the waiting area.

That being said, I thought this moisturizer was kind of whack.

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The texture was thick and clay-like and the colour was very unappetizing. (Go ahead, say it: TWSS). It also didn’t spread very well and left me feeling like I had covered myself in baking grease.

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delicious

Despite my subsequent deliciousness, I would still classify this as a non-buy.

Marc Jacobs Fragrances

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This cute little case contained samples of Daisy, Daisy Eau so Fresh and Lola by Marc Jacobs. Of course, being the genius I am, I broke the Lola one because I thought the top twisted off when clearly it was a spray cap:

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So I never got to try it. But the two daisy ones were nice and fresh. Not sure if either will be my new signature scent though. Choosing a fragrance is a big deal: just ask Snooki:

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Overall, I was a little disappointed with this month’s selections. I was really looking forward to there being some makeup products and I was kind of bummed it was all hair/skin stuff. That said, it was still really exciting to get this package in the mail. It reminded me of when I was a kid and used to buy those $1 Grab Bags at the corner store. You kind of knew everything in it was going to be crap, but there was still the thrill of the unknown. I also had a lot of fun reviewing everything (this is literally how I spent my Saturday night), so if you guys are game, maybe I will do another post for next month’s products?

Question of the Day: Have you tried out any new products lately that you love? Any bad ones?

…. or are you low maintenance and think I am incredibly vapid and vain. Because that is also a fair assessment.

Who Keeps Stealing All My Hairbrushes? And Why?

I lost another hairbrush today. That’s two so far this month. Three if you count back to December.

Hairbrush

I keep forgetting them at the gym; leaving them behind after I’m done getting ready. By the time I go back, they have inevitably vanished- the lost and found box holding nothing but bitter disappointment.

This concerns me for a couple of reasons:

  1. Who is keeping these? And why would they want some random stranger’s hairbrush? Isn’t that kind of gross?

……Unless he or she is using it to make a hair doll in my likeness. In which case, this may be the last post I write to you.

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But more importantly,

2. Because it exemplifies a broader pattern of behaviour.

While I would like to blame these missing items on some sort of mystical, nefarious hairbrush elf, I have to admit that my general lack of conscientiousness is probably part of the problem. A quick mental tally reveals that over the past few months, I have left all of the following items at the gym:

  • Two bottles of dry shampoo
  • One pair of iPod headphones
  • One MAC eyeliner pencil in “Ebony”
  • Two earrings (alas; each from a separate pair)
  • One bottle of Dermalogica face wash (I cried real human tears over this one. Sh*t is ex$pensive)
  • Three single socks
  • A banana I planned to eat later that afternoon
  • One glove.

I now moonwalk everywhere.

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This list doesn’t even include the pair of perfectly broken-in Saucony’s I left at my local YMCA in 2003. I’m still pining over those bad boys.

Sadly, this is more than just a gym-related problem. I’d lose my head if it wasn’t permanently glued to a reality TV show. (Or however that expression goes.)

While jewellery, clothing and personal items all seem to vanish under my watch, I have a particular knack for losing really important documents. When I get an official looking letter in the mail, I immediately take this as a cue to haphazardly discard it onto my desk. It invariably gets buried under a stack of US Weeklys, or old concert tickets I planned to file in my Museum of Innocence (aka: my memory box), never to be seen again.

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Doing my taxes then becomes a nightmare, as I have to call every single person who has ever given me a T4, Student Loan, or charitable tax receipt (ha. Just kidding, I don’t get any of those) and ask for a new one. Sometimes, I try and be all “well you never sent it to me in the first place” but they never buy it. They’ve seen my kind before. We’re flagged in the system.

I also have no idea where my birth certificate is. But I do carry my Passport around with me at all times. Even when I go to the bar. I’m basically an identity theft victim waiting to happen.

I guess I take after my mother, who is a bit of a Linda Loses-sh*t herself. She misplaces at least 5-6 Christmas presents every year, and the whereabouts of her reading glasses is a perpetually unsolved mystery. She will spend hours frantically looking for them, only to find them dangling inconspicuously from the chain hanging around her neck.

Come to think of it, that chain thing is sort of a good idea. Maybe that’s what I need: a series of tethers attaching all of my worldly possessions to various parts of my body.

Like this, only instead of the pole, it's my body. And instead of the ball, it's all my stuff. Napoleon Dynamite may or not be there.

Like this, only instead of the pole, it’s my body. And instead of the ball, it’s all my stuff. Napoleon Dynamite may or not be involved.

I might look a little weird, but at least I won’t lose any more sh*t.

And to the person who stole all my hairbrushes: I forgive you. I understand that the lure of an impeccably coiffed mane can be nearly impossible to resist. But should you ever change your mind and decide to return the treasures you have taken, know that I, and my limp, lifeless hair, will be eternally grateful.

Yours in styling,

BreezyK

Question of the Day: Are you a Linda or Larry Loses-Sh*t? Or are you more of an Organized Ophelia? A Conscientious Connie?

The Business of Nails

As far as girls go, I’m a little high maintenance. I can say this definitively, having recently discovered I have more beauty appointments per month than social engagements.

I spend a solid hour getting ready in the mornings, and use so many different gadgets, lotions and potions that sometimes, I feel like I’m performing a series of magic tricks alone in my bathroom.

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I’m not very good at it.

My most recent beauty obsession, however, is Shellac nail polish.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar, Shellac is a manicure technique that gives the same effect as gel or acrylic nails, without all of the damage. It goes on your nails just like regular polish, and then is “cured” by sticking your hand inside a little UV light box for about two minutes after each coat.

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When you’re done, you get a sweet manicure that lasts for up to two weeks.

Since Shellac was first launched about two years ago, a multitude of similar products have been released trying to capitalize on its success. The one I’ve been getting lately is called Artistic Nail Design. It has more colours than Shellac, a shorter drying period and uses an LED rather than UV light. (It still looks like a microwave to me.)

The shellac or shellac-type manicure is great for a few reasons:

  • It’s really shiny. What? Like you came here for deep thoughts.
  • It doesn’t chip. Somehow, I always seemed to chip my regular manicures within one hour of leaving the salon. This literally brought me to tears once. It had been a very long day.

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  • It dries immediately. No more sitting around, watching TV on closed caption while you get yelled at to “be very very careful!!”

But Shellac also has its downsides. For example, I used to use my fragile lady nails as an excuse to get out of unwelcome/arduous tasks, like washing dishes, opening pop cans and placing keys on a key ring.

Like a modern day Lisa Turtle

Like a modern day Lisa Turtle

Now, at brunch, I have no choice but to open my own miniature jam and creamer packages myself.

The other downside to shellac is that you have to go back to the salon to get it removed.

Since it’s made from the blood of 8,000 glamour unicorns who sacrificed their souls in the name of beauty, it’s almost impossible to get off yourself. You have to go back to the salon, where they place little cotton balls soaked with acetone on your nails, wrap them in tinfoil, and let them soak.

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I will admit, it sort of makes you feel like a crazy homeless person trying to pick up radio signals.

But just imagine how those poor unicorns felt.

Soon you’re done; and you’re sitting there looking at your jaundiced, scraggly-assed nails, when suddenly you spot the little plastic colour sampler on the table next to you. I didn’t know they had tturquoise! You think to yourself. That would totally go with the new circle scarf I got for Christmas!

……. And BAM. You’re $40 in the hole again.

In the words of the great Prophet MackLemore “I call that getting swindled and pimped”.

Yo! $50 for a manicure?

Yo! $50 for a manicure?

But you know what?

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Because anyone who comes up with a kick-a$$ business strategy like that deserves the money we suckers pay.

I’ve been going through the whole shellac relationship cycle for about 8 months now; and while it’s ruining me financially, my nails have never looked better.

Currently, I am rocking this extremely professional shade of Easter Egg Purple:

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Umm.. can you say promotion??

My nails have also been growing like weeds. I brought this up with my manicurist the other day, and she told me that your nails actually grow faster with nail polish on them. Apparently they don’t like foreign substances on top and try actively to “push it off” by growing.

I find this idea somewhat distressing. Here I thought my nails enjoyed being a fun, vibrant colour. I thought they appreciated the creative statement they were making. But apparently, I was wrong. They hate it so much, in fact, that they will their little nail hearts to grow at an accelerated pace just to be rid of it.

I’m not sure I can keep exploiting my nails like this. When it comes to the price of beauty, the buck’s gotta stop somewhere.

Question of the Day:

Ladies- Do you get your nails done regularly?

And in the unlikely event that any male reader has made it this far, first off, I apologize for the incredibly first-world-problem that was this post. Secondly, I applaud your resilience and tenacity.

So I will now ask you this:

Have You Ever had a manicure? Would you?

What to Do with All That Leftover Yarn (and other helpful holiday tips)

The holiday season is filled with a plethora of emotions: from the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve, to the rush of Christmas morning, to the inevitable food coma and the boxing day hangover blues. (Stick close to your Russell Stovers for this one, folks.)

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When all is said and done, you’re left with that long stretch of  idle time between boxing day and New Year’s, where the days  feel 80 hours long and it’s a struggle just to get out of your PJS, let alone think about anything besides those delicious scotch cookies your mom hid in the downstairs fridge (ostensibly, from you).

Don't eat me, Breezyk!

Don’t eat me, Breezyk!

So what’s a girl to do with all of this free time on her hands? I tried filling the empty space where Christmas used to be with  daytime TV; but I could only watch Kathy Lee and Hoda drink so many glasses of pinot grigio before I got too jealous tired of it. Then I tried watching Holiday films, but they just made me angry.  Like, what classifies The Sound of Music as a Christmas film anyway? Cause I’m pretty sure it’s about Nazis.

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And why there is so much conflict in the Polar Express? I tried asking Tom Hanks this directly on twitter, but he never got back to me.

Weird?

Thankfully, I’ve found a new way to occupy my time: by perusing my mother’s seemingly endless  collection of  women’s magazines.

Women’s World, Chatelaine, Best Health, O. Her collection is enough to make Martha Stewart weak at the knees.

I decided to begin with the December 24th edition of First for Women magazine, since it featured my #3 life model, Marie Osmond, on the cover.

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I was immediately struck by how this publication seemed to really identify with, and understand the plight of today’s modern woman. It contained so many helpful time-saving tips! Not to mention all of the groundbreaking,  empirically proven, scientific studies and weight loss plans.

And since many of you are modern, self-actualized women yourselves (or at least have one in your life) I knew I had to share to share them with all of you.

So let’s get started, shall we?

First off,  if you’ve been searching for a way to remedy that dusty holiday wreath of yours, then look no further, Cause First for Women has got you covered!

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A paper bag and a salt shaker! Who knew?

If you’re anything like me, then while doing your daily 8 hours of lady-cleaning this Holiday season, you’ve thought to yourself: “Gee, I wish I had a festive use for all these piles of extra yarn I’ve got lying around!”

Well sister, you’re in luck- because I’ve got not one- but THREE festive uses for that yarn for you!

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A picture frame! How delightful.

And it doesn’t stop there. First for Women is FILLED with time-saving tips: from Stain-Proof recipe cards, to 10 brilliant uses for orange peels, to decorative napkin folds, to a selection of “OH WOW! Holiday appetizers”, these tips will save you so much time, you’ll finally be able to get back to all of your other important lady tasks: like pumping out babies, honoring your period,  and talking about your vaginas.  Just think of how much  more time you’ll have for Pinterest!

Not only does First for Women contain countless household time-savers, it also features some fail-proof diet plans.

Looking to shed a quick 5-7lbs to squeeze into that holiday dress of yours? Try the “Grapefruit diet!” So simple it’s foolproof; this involves eating nothing but grapefruits for several days. But won’t I get hungry? You might be asking.

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Not according to Dr. Al Sears! “A grapefruit fast is surprisingly easy to do,” he assures. “Since grapefruit contains a fulfilling combo of carbs and fibre, I’m totally satisfied on 3-4 hours a day!”

There you have it ladies. And if grapefruit’s not your bag, how about the “Christmas Cleanse”? This involves drinking nothing but a combination of unsweetened cranberry juice, water and cloves for 24 hours before the big event. You might pass out after your first cocktail, but the results will be worth it!

There’s also a Q&A section, targeting some of your hardest-hitting women’s health issues. Like “What’s Causing my Itchy nipple?” and  “Do PH-balanced tampons really make a difference?”

There is even a  fashion section, featuring countess Holiday glam looks that can be achieved with items right from your own closet!

Like this timeless fab look, for example. Just start with “your own monochromatic pantsuit” and add some chunky accessories!

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The only problem will be narrowing down which of your monochromatic pantsuits to choose from! I’ve got 8 just in the purple family alone!

Off to get started!

Question of the Day: How have you been combatting post-holiday boredom?

The Transformative Power of Lipstick

A few weekends ago, some of my girlfriends and I decided to plan a big Girls Night Out: Dinner, drinks, dancing, the whole shebang.

Excited to cut loose for a night on the town,  I began my getting ready process several hours in advance. (What, you think I just roll out of bed looking this good?)

I had taken a bath, painted my nails, put my makeup on and was just debating whether grey suede platforms or studded leather booties better complimented  my peplum top/skinny jeans combo when my friend Dominique called.

“Hi,” she said, forlornly.

Uh oh. This didn’t sound good.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I think I might just stay in tonight,” she sighed. “I don’t know if I’m up for going out.”

I started to panic. If Dominique pulled the ‘chute, then what if all the other  girls did too? I had already spent 30 minutes applying the perfect smokey eye- I was not about to let this night go down in flames.

“Come onnnnn,” I begged her, “It’ll make you feel better to get out! Just jump in the shower, get dressed, and put some lipstick on. Lipstick has amazing transformative powers.  I promise.”

This cat knows.

Reluctantly, she agreed, and an hour later, picked me up in a cab wearing a  bright hue of glossy red. “Is this too intense?” she asked, nervously. “I think I look sort of like an enraged Snow White.”

I examined her flawless, pale, complexion and the bright stamp of scarlet painting her lips. “Yeah.” I agreed, “Maybe a little. But it’s working for you. More importantly, how do you feel?”

“Powerful” she responded.

There it was.

We discussed our lipstick theory with the other girls over dinner, and found that we were not alone in our feelings about the product.

One of the girls even recounted a story she had heard about a box of red lipstick that was mysteriously delivered  to the prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen during the Second World War.

In an excerpt from the diary of one of the first British soldiers to liberate the camp in 1945, he said that no one knew why this lipstick was sent along with the supplies, as the prisoners of were in need of much more pressing items, like food and medical supplies.

But once the lipstick was distributed, its purpose became clear. The women were ecstatic, immediately putting it on and wearing it around the camp proudly. These women didn’t have proper clothing, food, or showers, but they had red lipstick, and with it a little bit of hope. It reminded them of a life outside of the camp; a life where they could be women; individuals-not just the number stamped on their arms. That lipstick, the soldier noted, gave them back their humanity.

Now, I know I just went a little Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on you guys there, but I think this story is one that many women can relate to. While most of us have never walked a mile in their shoes, we’ve all experienced times where we’ve felt low, been degraded, or felt like just a number… and we’ve all wanted a way out.

While some people see makeup as superficial or unnecessary, I see it as a form of self-expression. A fun, creative outlet.

…….And a way of being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.

My love for makeup is immediately apparent when you walk inside my bathroom. Brightly coloured pallets, compacts and brushes spill from every shelf, including dozens of lipsticks. Each has a different name, and with it a different feeling and a different sense of identity.

“Lady Danger” for example, is an unapologetically bright orangey-red that I bust out on nights when I really want to step out of my shell:

I sort of feel like Anne Hathaway in The Dark Night Rises when I wear it.. only without the whole Kung Fu-in-stilettos business.

When I want to channel my inner pop diva, I put on a little “Nicki”, MAC’s signature colour inspired by Nicki Minaj .

VaVa Voom Voom

When I’m feeling mysterious, I unleash my inner Soviet spy with “Russian Red”:

My friends call me Natasha

Or, when I hit the town for a glass (or 5) of wine with my ladies, I go with “Girl About Town”:

Line? What line? I’m VIP B*tches

…and if I’m feeling a little girl-next-door I choose “Angel”, a muted pinky-mauve that says “hey, I’ll totally geek out with you over video games and foreign films”.

I bet Joey wore Angel. Before she got all into scientology.

My most recent acquisition has been a frosted 80′s pink called “St. Germain”. It’s about as dated as shoulder pads and teased hair, but I love it because it brings me back to a time of economic growth, environmental unawareness, and coca-cola classic.

Aaah. the good old days.

With all of the inhibition-releasing power of wine, minus the hangover, lipstick is the perfect way to cut loose, forget your problems, and be somebody else for a night. So ladies, go slap on a little Enraged Snow White and have some Fun!

…….But just be careful you don’t  pull a Condoleezza.

Cause no one wants to see that sh*t.

Question of the Day: Ladies, do you wear lipstick? Men: do you like your ladies in lipstick?

A Hairy Situation

Here’s the thing about my hair: I have about 4 ounces of it.

Literally. I’ve seen newborn babies with more hair than I have.

Stop showing off, baby.

Unlike the biblical passage suggests, my hair is by no means my “crowning glory”. Fine, limp, and impervious to growth, it’s really more of my cross to bear in this life. In fact, I’d probably rank it #3 on my running list of nemeses (nemesi?), right after stairs and the subway turnstile.

When I was a child I had no hair at all until I was 3 years old. Seriously. I’d show you a pic, but no one wants to see that sh*t. Trust me when I say it was freaky. A walking, talking, bald-headed human-child, I was sort of like Stewie from family guy. Only without the british accent. Or the evil genius.

Eventually, after being the recipient of enough horrified glances and people running away screaming, my mom got wise to the situation and sprinkled some chia seeds on that noise, allowing me to sprout out a few, feeble spaghetti-like strands and to make it through the rest of my childhood without being mistaken for an alopecia patient.

Exhibit A: Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

But it was never ideal. Paper thin and mousey brown, I remember envying all the girls in school with long, thick beautiful hair and wishing I had been similarly blessed.

Eventually, after almost 20 years of trying, my hair finally grew long when I was in university. Must’ve been all that non-exercise and balanced diet of wine coolers and frosted mini wheats.

For a few years, I was in the hair sweet-spot:

Exhibit B: Long, flowing locks. I also apparently grew a third hand.

But for some ridiculous reason, in third year I decided to cut it all off.

Like choosing milk on a hot day, I immediately regretted my decision, and left the salon in a puddle of tears and anxiety.

Exhibit C: What was I thinking

For the next 2.5 years, I tried desperately to grow it back, while at the same time dealing with the awkward aftermath of a short haircut (All those in-between stages? yikes.) But it’s still nowhere near the length it once was.

Fearing that I was destined to spend the rest of my life looking like that sad, “before” girl in the Pantene Pro-V commercials, I decided to get to the root of the matter (pun intended) and explore some new methods of getting my hair to grow:

#1. The Shank Braid.

At my last hair appointment, I told my hairdresser about my plight and she suggested that I try braiding my hair while running, rather than tying it back in a ponytail, as it is much easier on your hair.

Sounded like a good idea. But here’s the problem: Given that I can’t even look at a treadmill without sweating like a wh*re in church, halfway through my run my braid got so heavy and water-logged that it became somewhat of a weapon, swinging back and forth on my head and hitting my fellow gym goers with a powerful sweat-blast every stride I took.

Exhibit D: The Shank Braid. You’re welcome for this beautiful pic of me in my sweaty gym clothes, by the way.

Back to the drawing board.

#2. The Friend-Repeller.

A little internet research told me that for fuller, healthier hair, you should cut down on the number of times per week you wash it. This appealed greatly to my lazy side (aka: my only side), so I immediately rushed out to Sephora and picked up some dry shampoo.

Now, although this method works quite well at making your hair fuller and more voluminous:

Exhibit E: Day four, unwashed. So dirty, yet oh-so bouncy.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t help the fact that you’re a dirty mofo the entire time.. and even Oscar Blandi can’t get the stench of four days worth of smog, oil, and run-sweats out of your hair.

What else we got?

#3. Diet.

It’s no secret that diet can affect hair growth, and the fact that I’m a seafood-vegetarian with chronically low iron could be impacting my hair in a negative way. Google tells me that salmon, beans, and leafy greens can help this, so I’ve been eating nothing but Salmon/Kale/Lentil smoothies for every meal. The verdict? I hate my life. But I swear I can already feel the hair growing.

#4. Weird Foreign Remedies.

Yesterday over brunch, I was describing my hair-woes to my girl Karen, and she suggested I try the traditional Indian remedy of coating your hair in extra virgin coconut oil. She’s even going to bring me some to our next date brunch meeting.

She tells me it feels gross, smells awful, and that I won’t want to be around anyone for at least a few days afterwards. I can’t wait!

Question of the Day: Do you have hair troubles?

.. or are you all like that smug baby in the first picture. Just don’t even bother answering if so.

PS: Thanks to all of my new followers and for those of you who read, commented and liked my TIFF post that was Freshly Pressed last week! You guys are seriously jokes. (<;– I don’t know what this means but I heard someone say it the other day and liked the way it sounded. I think it’s a good thing.)

Shopping for Skinny Jeans: The Good, the Bad, and (Mostly) the Ugly

One of my favourite scenes from the movie Grease is when Sandy agrees to let Frenchy pierce her ears at the Pink Lady sleepover. The two girls are in the bathroom, needle poised to earlobe, when Sandy suddenly starts screaming and begging Frenchy to stop.  In response, Frenchy simply shakes her head and says:

“Sandy, Sandy… beauty is pain.”

While in that scene, Frenchy may have been referring to having one’s ears pierced with nothing but an ice cube, a virgin pin and a prayer, to me, she could just as easily have been talking about skinny jeans.

Skinny jeans: they can be a woman’s best friend, and her worst enemy. Sure they look great, but both  finding the right pair, and getting the damn things on (or off) in the first place, can be a struggle.

I bought my first pair of skinny jeans about three years ago, and while I have repressed most of the memories surrounding that shopping experience, I recount just enough to know that  I was in no hurry to do it again. So much so in fact, that when the seams of my beloved skinnies began to fray, and the belt loops, weakened from continuous hoisting over my ever-expanding muffin top, ripped off, I continued to cling to those bad boys like  Rose Dawson to an old door frame. I simply could not face the prospect of doing it again.

Well this weekend I decided that enough was enough. No more excuses. No more waiting till I lost those last 5 pounds. I was going jean shopping.

As I neared the store, I gave myself a little mental pep-talk.  You can do this, I said to myself. A pair of  jeans do not define you. But all of that quickly flew out the window when I walked in and was accosted by 10 different long-haired, 19-year-old, sales associates, all asking me if I  “needed help with my denim “

You have no idea.

Two salesgirls quickly took me by the arm and led me around the store on a whirlwind blitz, piling pairs of jeans into my arms.  It sort of felt like the makeover scene from Clueless. 

Before I knew it, I was in the dressing room with  a dozen pairs of jeans to try. I  decided to start out with something called “jeggings”.. which are basically a lightweight jean that can be worn almost as a legging. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, as soon as I put them on, I thought so too. I felt like I was wearing pajamas. In heaven. And they looked great, too…….. from the front. Unfortunately, as soon as I turned around… well let’s just say they took the expression “business in the front, party in the back” to a whole new, unwanted level.

Since the junk in my trunk precluded the possibility of jeggings, , I had no choice but to move onto the standard denim. In an effort to preserve my fragile ego, I had decided to try every pair in a size bigger than I normally wear. But even then, getting these death traps on was still a huge ordeal.  My calves were having none of it, and let me know this by fighting their denim captors every step of the way. Finally, after a bit of wiggling and yanking. and a lot of prayer, I finally got them on.

“They look good” said the sales girl. “but you’re going to want to go down a size, because they stretch out”.

DOWN a size?? Are you f*&*king kidding me??

I stood in the changeroom, sizing up the smaller pair like a welterweight about to face Muhammad Ali. Knowing I was going to have my ass handed to me, I considered throwing in the proverbial towel. F*&k skinny jeans, I thought. Sweatpants are so 2012. But then I heard Frenchy’s words, spinning through my head like a  dream reel: “beauty is pain, Breezy… beauty is pain….“.

Armed with my new (and probably f*&ked up) mantra, I yanked those bad boys off the hook, and began the encasing process. To say it wasn’t pretty would be an understatement. I won’t go into all of the gory details, but let’s just say that a lot went down that day. Fabric was negotiated with. Zippers were coaxed. Tears were shed. Water breaks were taken. By the time I got to mid-thigh, I was sweating so much, I worried my perspiration would cause premature dye-transfer.

Finally, in a tornado of limbs, sweat and fury, I yanked the curtain back and emerged: hair soaked with sweat, pride laying somewhere on the floor. Expecting to look like a product of Oktoberfest,  I braced myself for the onslaught of my own reflection.

Huh. Not half bad. I thought. I mean, if you ignored everything above the waistband, and of course my face, which was already beginning to exhibit signs of PTSD. “I’ll take them”. I declared. “But can I wear them out? Because if I take them off, it might be another 3 years before I get them back on”.

Question of the Day: How do you handle jean shopping?

How to Win Friends and Look Super Fly at Your Holiday Office Party

Well, folks- it’s that time of year again- where holiday cheer and good tidings are served up with a nice big helping of awkward as you put on your schmooze-face and attempt to navigate the holiday party scene. I hope you’ve all dug out your ugly christmas sweaters (for that really originally themed party you were invited to) and have been massaging your livers in preparation for the inevitable onslaught of rum-spiked eggnog and shots of hard liquor you’ll be taking just to deal. 

Of all of these festive gatherings, perhaps the most difficult to maneuver is the office party. So many variables- so many opportunities to mess the hell up.  What should I wear? How much should I drink?   Should I take that novelty mistletoe hanging above my boss’ head literally?? 

Well, friends- I’m here to save you from yourselves (or at least from all of your ill-advised fashion choices) by giving you a list of do’s and dont’s for dressing for the  office party.  And for all you fellas in the house- while I could tell you what I like on guys, I have a feeling you’re probably not going to wear Skinny Jeans and a band t-shirt to an office party. So instead, I’ve enlisted my friend and co-worker, the ever-stylish Mike, who has recently started blogging over at Tremendously Tremendous,  to drop a few tips for the lads.

So lessssgo!:

For the Ladies: 

First and Foremost–> DO: Remember that it is office first, and party second. This is not a Vegas nightclub, ladies.. nor is it the Jersey Shore. DJ Pauly D will not be spinning any fresh beatz while Snooki and Deena grind in the background. Make sure that whatever outfit you ultimately choose is still work appropriate- and can be worn during the day with a cardigan or a blazer thrown on top. Also make sure it’s comfortable, the girls are firmly in place, and not too short or too tight. If you find yourself wondering “is my ass hanging out of this dress right now??” Then I’ve got two words for you: MEATBALL PROBLEMS!!!

 Secondly, DO: Amp up the accessories. A little bit of  bling can go a long way. Throw on a chunky necklace on top of a black sheath dress, or a statement pair of earrings. Hell, go a little crazy and spring for a big cocktail ring. .. but DONT: Overdo it. The last thing you want is to wear so much floss, you’re mistaken for T-Pain. Stick to one statement piece, or stagger your accessories- don’t just pile everything you own on at once like an Italian Nonna. And remember- if you are lucky enough to be sporting a grill: then that is allllll the accessory you need.

So, just to recap:

DO:                                                                                             DON’T:

      

Thirdly- DO: Experiment with colour/texture.  Try out a bold pair of tights, a printed shoe, a velvet blazer.. you can even get into the spirit by adding a little sparkle, or something red…  but DON’T go overboard with your interpretation of the word “festive“. Just because it’s a “holiday” party doesn’t mean you need to wear the shit out of a Swarovski crystal-embossed cocktail dress, or don some novelty Christmas Tree earrings.  Make your outfit “inspired” by the Holidays… not a walking, talking nativity scene. And please, please god- if it has any kind of picture on it- just do yourself a favour and burn that shit.

DO:                                                                                        DON’T:
 

    

 

And finally DO: Go a little more dramatic with your makeup. A smokey eye or a statement lip colour can take a corporate looking outfit into a new stratosphere… but DON’T: go for synthetic hair extensions,  fake eyelashes,  or a spray tan. Save those for that Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 3 wrap party you were invited to.  (And p.s. hook a sista up with a plus one, would ya??) 

DO:  The Smokey Eye                                          DON’T: The Courtney Stodden

 

 So there you have it, ladies- just a few tips to keep you looking superfly and mad profe$h at this year’s office party. And just remember: when in doubt, the answer is  yes…. yes you DO look like a two-bit hooker making the rounds at your friendly neighbourhood Appleby’s. Now put some clothes on, woman!!

Now… For the Gents:

A word from the Tremendously Tremendous Mike Mando

It takes advice from a fashion aficionado to look Tremendous at your Corporate Holiday Party. It just so happens that my ensembles have been complimented by numerous coffee server girls and bar maidens, so I feel confident in throwing some style tips your way for the Holiday Party season.

BreezyK Ed. Note: Say what you want about Scott, but boy does that man know how to rock a skinny suit

DO: Wear Slim Fit Everything (unless you’re more than a Deuce). Slim fitting suits and shirts hug and caress your body. The jacket follows your torso lines to give you a fit look. Slim cut pants accentuate your legs in a virile, “I-do-P90X” type way, and the tighter ankles draw attention to your shoes, which should be a focus point of your outfit. Keep this in mind, fellas: Shoes are usually the first thing a woman notices about a man. It’s science. Slim cut shirts show off your pecs and guns….and who doesn’t want that. Note- Slim fit DOES NOT mean airtight. Vacuum pack seals are for food and storage, not people.

 DON’T: Wear the Moore’s Box Cut Special (…Ever). Gentleman, think of the message you send when you put these monstrosities on. It says, “I don’t love myself enough to put effort into my wardrobe”. It’s not being metro to look good…and no one looks good when your suit jacket cuts you like a milk bag and your legs get lost in the over sized, swishy, billowy regular cut pants. And your shoes? What shoes? You can’t see them from beneath that bell-bottom. 

DO: Groom. I know this seems basic, but make sure your coiffe looks sharp. Get a trim and use product. If you’re going for a messy-but-pro look, use paste for a matte finish. If your hair is a little longer, and you want to look Don Draper-esque, use a gel (with the appropriate hold) for a sleek and slick (with a touch of shine for good measure).

DO NOT: Groom like an Idiot. Using the inappropriate hair product can be devastating. The messy spiky-pro look discussed above can quickly turn into the let-me-grab-my-glow-stick-and-hit-the-rave look. Don’t be that guy.

Another note from BreezyK on behalf of all the ladies out there: Absolutely DO NOT

 DO: Accessorize. Stick to basics for a classy look. Match belt to shoes, pocket square to shirt and/or tie. Wear a watch…and not your TIMEX. You’re going to a Holiday Party, not on a deep sea diving expedition. The band on the watch should match your suit. I opt for a black leather band and circular face for formal/semi-formal events. For a little added pizzazz, try ONE frill. A matching vest for a three-piece, a skinny tie as opposed to a normal one, or (dare I say) an ascot!! (NB: ascots should not be taken lightly. You better feel damn comfortable with yourself to pull off that look)

 DON’T: Accessorize like a Fool. Wedding bands, Stanley Cup and Super Bowl Rings are the only rings always acceptable for a man. Anything else is uncivilized (unless there is religious or cultural meaning, then scrap that comment). Necklaces must be worn beneath your shirt. You are not a mobster. Your watch should be proportionate to your body and outfit. Drawing attention to your watch is good sometimes, but not if it’s weighing down your arm. Then, you’re just a douchebag.

I pity the fool who wears this much bling to his corporate Christmas Party

 Follow these basic tips, and you will look Tremendously dashing for your Holiday Party.

Thanks Mike for the great tips!! Now Go and visit his blog for some more tremendousness :)

Question of the Day: Do YOU have any  tips for holiday office party fashion??    

 

Don’t Save Your Best Self until Saturday

Giving a shit can be really hard sometimes. Particularly when you’re tired, or have been working a lot of long hours, like I have been lately.  The last thing I want to do when I get up in the morning these days is spend an hour making myself look pretty for work- missing precious moments of sleep while I attempt to apply the perfect amount of eyeliner to look presentable yet unfloozylike; and agonize over life-altering questions, like “Can I wear this black skirt with these brown shoes?” (Answer: Yes. They are both neutrals. Just ask Stacey London).

This was not always the case for me. I used to care- I used to care a lot. When I first started at my job, I was so excited by the prospect of dressing up for work- mixing fashion pieces and cool accessories with “business” dress- I’d even lay awake at night planning my outfits for the week. But as time went on, and the number of hours I worked increased, my ability to care about what I look like (along with my resolve to live) weakened.  Slowly, I began trading in my  cute pencil-skirt and jewel toned blouse combos for  oversized dresses and pants, so as not to restrict the slow and steady expansion of my mid-section (a byproduct of a  regular diet of firm food and stress-induced Hagen Dazs/Fuzzy Peach binges). 

It looks this good on me when I wear it too, I swear!

I describe the fact that I wear almost no makeup to work anymore as  “an effort to be more professional”, and the fact that I’ve grown accustomed to throwing my second-day unwashed hair in a high-bun as “inspired by Kourtney Kardashian” – when really both of these choices could be more accurately characterized as “bitch just gave the hell up”. Often, I lament the fact that I’m not a boy. They just have it so much easier. I mean, sure they’ve got the whole  tie thing to contend with (Windsor? Or Half-Windsor?) …  but still, I’d take that over nylons and hair torturing devices anyday.

I have rationalized my recent choice to stop trying with the fact that my line of work involves intense hours, and can be extremely isolating. Often the only person I’ll see in a day is the woman who cleans my garbage out after everyone else has gone home for the night… and while I’ve been trying  to get her to notice my emerald green nail polish for about a week now, bitch ain’t biting. I find myself wondering-  is it really worth torturing my tired eyes with  eyelashcurlers, pointy pencils and threatening mascara wands if no one is ever going to see it?…. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it even make a sound?

I have a friend who has been going through this same thing  and recently told me about her efforts to overcome it by taping a note to her bathroom mirror that says “don’t save your best self until Saturday”.  She says this always  inspires her to try to look good in the mornings now. I’ll admit I questioned the effectiveness of this as a  motivational tactic at first- but  this morning, facing my dull and world-weary reflection in the mirror, I thought to myself: “Really, breezyk? what have you got to lose here?”.

I ran over to my desk and scribbled those 7 profound little words on a post-it note, and stuck it deliberately onto my mirror.  I looked at it long and hard, willing myself to feel something- some kind of desire to try harder. But unfortunately all I felt was an overwhelming desire to punch it. 

I ripped the note off, threw it in the garbage and sighed. Obviously some contingency planning is in order here. Maybe I should just do a full-on style makeover and become an indie girl. They don’t try. Actually, I bet they do try. I bet they try really hard to make it look like they don’t try. Sigh. Beyonce, I think you have it right on more than one level:

 

Question of the Day: How much effort do you put in for work in the morning?

Boys- Do I have it right? Do you really have it easier?

P.S. Thank you all for your awesome entries on the Lucky Charms Contest! You bitches LOVE marshmallows, and I love it.  There can only be one winner tho- and that is (drumrolllllllll)

Margie!!

Margie said in response to my marshmallow question:

 “I like to eat them with every bite. That way every bite is just as good as the first. Love your blog!”
 
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Flattery will get you EVERYWHERE. (Jokes, it was a randomized selection, but seriously Margie. Keep the compliments coming.) E-mail me at thecamellife@gmail.com with your address so I can send you your prize!
 

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