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The Eyes Have It

I am a self-admitted Bare Escentuals junkie.  I can't even tell you how many of their eyeshadows and lip glosses I have.  I still have not tried the pressed eyeshadows mainly because I was a little depressed that they decided to change the product line and go that way, but I'm slowly being swayed by all of the great reviews, so I promise I'll try it soon.  I've been experimenting with a lighter eye with different eyeshadow combinations, and this is the latest version using Butterfly, Refresh and Starlit Leigh Ann eyeshadows.  Doesn't the back yard look marvelous?  Just kidding.  We were at the Huntington Library that day.  More pictures to come soon.


Get Your Sparkle On

I am usually the worst at holiday dressing.  No I don't mean the kind you put inside your turkey.  I mean the, "Oh it's time for holiday parties, and cocktails, and desserts.  Wear some fancy clothes."  Now I really like to dress up and go out, but super sparkly, holiday clothes are always a dilemma for me.  Since I spend the majority of my time working, the majority of my clothing budget goes to work clothes.  When I'm not working, I'm generally going out and about with the fam which also does not require a huge investment in sparkly clothes.  So when it comes time to go out for holiday parties, I'm always scratching my head and wondering if I should just cave and buy some party gear.  This year I decided to sort out some party outfits in advance.  They've come down to the "suitable for work but party friendly" and "full-on get dressed for a night out" modes.  This is the latter.  The dress is really comfortable although a little clingy around the mid-section.  I'm much more comfortable and better coordinated (believe it or not) in heels, but I decided on them because of the jewels.  Even with all the sequins on the bottom of the dress, the outfit was a little too black and needed something else to catch the eye.

Jacket: Jones New York; Dress, Shoes: No Name; Purse: Victoria's Secret; Earrings, Ring, Scarf: Unknown; Necklace, Bracelets: Silver from Mexico


Black and White Enforced

I've mentioned that a few weeks ago, the company which owns my soul hosted a black and white party which the husband and I had to attend.  It was a formal affair with a black and white theme.  Now knowing that the majority of my wardrobe consists of this color combination, you would have thought I could have just gone to my closet and pulled something out, but nothing dressy had the right balance of black and white.  Honestly, I don't own anything formal-party dressy in black and white.  Lots of solid black, some red, and even cream, but no black and white.  I do have a tuxedo jacket, so I went on the hunt for a white or black and white dress that I could wear with it.  The biggest issue was since I felt forced into going, I didn't want to spend a fortune on the dress.  Lucky for me, Ideeli came through with a great white brocade dress.  I spent the afternoon before the party at the Macy's in South Coast Plaza having my makeup done at Dior Beauty.  They did a great job (although my eyes are a little too glittery, I think), and I've already mentioned that the makeup artist gave me some amazing tips about my skin that made a difference within days and didn't take any new products.  Overall, we ended up having a really enjoyable time much to my surprise although I forgot to put on any jewelry.  How does that happen?


Falling Leaves

This is one of my mother's favorite dresses, so I decided to wear it on Thanksgiving.  I did decide to go with comfy fur boots instead of the normal pumps I wear with it.  N told me I was going animal, but it's actually a pattern of leaves which although black and white, I felt was perfect for the autumn holiday.  It had the added benefit of having no waist, so I ate as much as humanly possible.  There are no diets on Thanksgiving.

 Dress: Saks Fifth Avenue; Purse: Kenneth Cole; Boots: No Name; Earrings: Bespoke; Necklace: Tiffany; Bracelet: Unknown; Ring: Vintage



This year I'm giving thanks for my family and the life we have together.  Every day I learn something new from the people around me.

Scarf worn as belt: Daks London; Wristlet: Coach 


More Hair

You know the other great thing about your hair?  It gives you another place to add an accessory.  I generally like small things I can almost hide within my hair, so they don't overwhelm and become the focal point.  Here I curled my hair with hot rollers and only clipped back the top section with this jeweled barrette.  I think it may be time for a cut.  Getting way too long.


Hair Do's and Don'ts

I was most shocked recently when someone told me I have "rich girl" hair.  I didn't know whether that was a complement or an insult, so I asked for details.  I was assured it was a complement and meant that my hair looks thick, shiny and healthy.  I had never heard this expression before (maybe it's not in my over 40 vernacular).  Here are some things I do for my hair.
  1. I don't wash it every day.  As a matter of fact, I usually only wash it every 3 - 4 days.  This started because I just have so much of it (see #2) that it is a pain and takes hours to wash and style.  Now you read pretty much everywhere that it's better for your hair to let the natural oils come out.
  2. I was lucky enough to be born with really thick hair.  Which is a really good thing, but my really thick hair is also kind of coarse, so when I do wash it, I make sure I use a really deep conditioner.  
  3. I always let my hair air dry.  This is another reason I don't wash it every day.  It takes 3 - 4 hours for my hair to air dry.  I generally wash it at night about an hour before I go to bed then I tie it up and sleep on it.  When I wake up in the morning, it's damp but not wet.
  4. I never use heat on wet hair.  I do get a professional blow out occasionally, but I blow out my hair at home when it's already dry.  This sounds counter-intuitive, but I am the worst blow dryer in the world.  Doing it dry takes away most of the frizziness, takes less time, and gets a better appearance than I would get trying to do it myself from a wet head.
  5. I always use some other kind of hot tool.  I am an equal opportunity ironer, and I will even do hot rollers.  I think heat adds to the shine and the softness.
  6. I am a dry shampoo addict.  I start spraying at the first sign of oil.  I have found that the cheap brands are not as good as the more expensive brands such as Oscar Blandi.  

This is typical day 3 hair, washed, air dried, blown out, a deep side part and curled with a large barrel curling iron.  I did use hair spray here, but I think it's always sticky and hard, so I don't often use it.

What are your hair secrets?


It's the Details

 Pretty, Shiny, Sparkly is hosting another Bloggers Do It Better Challenge, and this time it's something I do all the time: military.  I especially love military jackets including this one from BCBG Max Azria which has that nice roomier fit across the back I've been finding necessary lately and lots of the military details that I love such as the buttons.  I paired it with a gifted Calvin Klein dress, one of my vintage Coach bags which I've noticed others including La Perle a Paris toting around lately, my huge Tinley Road ring which I'm getting far more use out of than I expected to, and a vintage bracelet.  To participate in the challenge, check out Kristina's post here.


Blue Jean

I'm not sure what appealed to me when I was buying this jacket because it's not really "me," but I've been wearing it a lot lately, and I'm glad I have it.  I've noticed that one of the places on my body that is a little more "fluffy" than it used to be is my back.  A lot of clothes pull a bit tighter than they used to across my shoulder blades.  Now I've always been a little broad of back due to the sports I played when I was a kid. Now I'm even broader because of this extra twenty pounds.  This jacket is cut quite generously across the shoulders which makes it roomy, but the waist still has a good fit.  How have you had to adjust the fit of your clothes or are you lucky enough not to have had to?


Sample Sale Alert

If you are in the area this weekend, Black Halo and Burning Torch are having sample sales.  Black Halo's Jackie O dress is a very classic, fitted Mad Men-esque pencil dress and is going to be available at the price of $149 from its normal $345.  There are also going to be amazing deals on tops and skirts in the $20 - $40 range that normally are priced $195 - $220.

I love Burning Torch's lace dresses that look like they are from another era and are so on trend for Fall.


Sorry, Not a Fan

I recently had the pleasure of having my makeup done by Dior Beauty at Macy's in South Coast Plaza before we went to the black and white party.  While doing my makeup, the artist told me he thought I was over-exfoliating, and he recommended I cut back to only once a week.  It has made a difference already in my skin texture, and he swore to me it would help with the elasticity as well.  I've been really anxious not to undo this improvement, so I decided to try Origins' Modern Friction.

Billed as "Nature's gentle dermabrasion," it promises to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and to minimize pore size.  You apply the product to a clean, dry face and massage in a circular motion eventually adding water to lather.  I found it to have a gummy texture probably due containing rice starch.  The first few times, I felt I was using too much product, so I reduced the amount to a very minuscule dime-sized dab.  I found none of the promised aromas of lemon, bergamot or peppermint to be very apparent.  This didn't harm my skin in any way, but I found no noticeable difference in my skin.  Although it caused no damage , it would have been nice to get some improvement.  


I Succumb

To the one-shoulder phenomenon.  I thought I was going to let this trend go quietly, but then I found this cashmere sweater on sale for an amazing price at Neiman Marcus.  I actually didn't realize it was one-shouldered until I was walking away with it to gloat about my find to my husband.  I almost put it back when he pointed it out to me (okay, so he's the one that showed me it was one-shouldered; I was in shopping daze).  I think the thing that pushed me into it was seeing a woman my age wearing a black one-shouldered dress to the black and white event we went to a few weeks ago.  She looked very chic, so I thought, why not?


Everyone Loves a Parade

I mentioned that the family went to a reception at Tournament House last weekend.  Our house backs up to the end of the Rose Parade route, and on New Year's Day, the floats will be parked in our neighborhood for people to view.  This means that several thousand people will be trying to park in and walk through our neighborhood.  When we moved into this house this year, we didn't really take that into consideration.  We've lived in this area for 14 years, but never this close to the parade.  This was the first time we've actually been inside the Tournament House mansion.  It was built by millionaire merchant George Stimson and completed in 1914, but he never lived there.  He sold it to William Wrigley, and the family owned the mansion until Mrs Wrigley's death in 1958 when it was given to the city of Pasadena with the purpose of being the home to the Tournament of Roses. The Rose Parade began in 1895 as a marketing tool to bring mid-Westerners to California by showing them the temperate climate which allowed fresh roses to be available in the middle of winter.  The Rose Bowl football game was added to the festivities in 1902 as a way to help pay for the parade.

We had full access to the mansion which has the original ceilings.  The dining room is the only room in the house which still has all of the original furnishings.  Upstairs is a small museum dedicated to the game including one of the original Rose "Bowl" trophies.  The girls enjoyed "wearing" the Rose Queen's crown.  We left the house in a pouring rain and hail storm which made the perfect opportunity for us to take pictures as we waited for it to stop.


Lightning Never Strikes Twice

I cannot do my hair the same way twice even if my life depends on it.  You would think after 40+ years of doing my hair, I would have a system that was repeatable.  But I don't.

The family went to a Post Rose Parade Resident's Reception at the Rose Bowl Tournament House last weekend.  That's a fancy name for the Parade Committee trying to thank us (bribe us with free hors d'oeuvres and wine) for having our neighborhood invaded for three days by hundreds of thousands of people at the end of the year.  I spent almost an hour doing my hair.  Which I am positive, I could never recreate again but which gave me a grand opportunity to wear this suede flower in my hair.


Grey is Good

If you aren't following @PiperlimeBrand on Twitter, you should just so you can participate in the Think Inside the Box Contest they run occasionally on their Fresh Juice blog.  The Matt Bernson boots I'm wearing here c/o Piperlime were one of the prizes in a recent contest.  They are so comfortable and perfect with skinny jeans and the Loft plaid shawl I bought awhile ago just waiting for the cooler weather to arrive.  I bulked up on several of my breast cancer awareness bracelets and a bracelet that my sister made out of a silver spoon for me when she was just out of high school as well as on old brooch of my mom's. This is my favorite time of the year and my favorite kinds of outfits really start to come out now.   We spent a beautiful, cool day walking around the Cal Tech campus.  Can you tell I'm laughing at a squirrel who tried to make friends with us but starting chirping at us when he realized we weren't going to feed him?