12 December 2014

Bean Style: On Spies, Fashion Museums, and 7 Year Olds

Oonce spy Elsa was eating Brecfist when she hirde her alarme go oof. She got her close and throo them on. Then raste to her spy car. She called her sid-kick. Thay meet at the parck. Spy Elsa sead that thar was trable in the fashin-Mosem in new yorck city. Thay hoped in thar cars and speed away. Elsa was driving with nenae. When thay got thar thay rast in. They saw what was [...]

This is hers. All hers, characters, plot, syntax, grammar, spelling, and all. She likes Quiet Time best, she says, in her 2nd grade day. Behind recess, of course. She writes and writes, her teacher says. Nothing could make me happier to hear.

It's an odd thing, though, to hear your child is gravitating towards the things that make you tick yourself. It's a joy and pride, and it's a worry. I worry that because I'm sharing things with her that I love, she wants to love them, too, just because they're mine. I worry that she won't be her own person, that she just wants to copy me. I worry that she won't find her own joy.

It also makes me worry what I'm going to give her that she doesn't need: my issues, my quirks, and even some of my fears.

But then I read what she wrote, and I listen to her teacher. I watch her scribbling away at a story, a song, a poem, or a sketch. She's been scribbling since her beloved easel arrived for Christmas when she was 2. Now there's an art center, her own development, that encroaches on our dining room from its huge picture window spot. For the light, you know.

But then I listen to her and watch her, and I know she's her own person.

For the record, when she's a spy? Her cover will be fashion designer. So if, in, say, 2034, Women's Wear Daily reports about the newest edgy designer with a penchant for secrecy? Well,...

Also for the record, I asked the 7yo who doesn't always want me to post a picture of her anymore if it's ok to put her writing up on my website. I asked, then I let her think about it for a few days, then asked her again, making sure she knew she could say "no."

05 December 2014

Rocker Chic: Good Friends Mean You Don't Give a Flying...

Video via

I walked into our apartment last night, barefoot from 14 hours in sky high heels (after months of nothing beyond 3"), and H had this video on his laptop screen. He does that. He'll get on the internet and go down a rabbit hole. Last night, The Doors movie started it, and he ended up with Bon Scott as a schoolgirl. I didn't ask.

"The best thing about this," I said, watching it over his shoulder, "is that they don't give a flying [expletive]."

There's an unadulterated joy in this video. Sure, could be it was helped along with, um, substances, and sure, they're bona fide rock stars in the early days of video (when really, they were the best. ever.) in too-long hair and too-tight clothes. But underneath it all, they didn't give a shit and they were having an absolute blast. There was no pretentious strutting, there were no googly eyes at the camera, and there was nary a selfie in sight. The way it should be.

Photo courtesy of the nice man Rosana asked on the street, then Allie edited on her phone. Because I suck at that shit.

Despite having an electronic record of our togetherness (but we did ditch the selfie and actually asked a passerby to snap this pic, which had us in stitches for 100 reasons), that's precisely how I felt about last night. Last night, I met up with two women I met on the internet. We met because of perhaps the most pretentious industry out there. At any rate, fashion is the most vain, concerned always about appearances. It is appearances, defined. We talked about our industry. We lamented our missing compadres. We shared thoughts large and small. We had chipwiches.

The defining moment of our night came maybe the night before, when we were messaging to confirm plans, when one of us wrote how glad she was to be meeting up with us and how awesome it was to not think a lick about what she was wearing or how she looked. With "fashion people." Heck, with anyone, nowadays, it feels an incredible luxury to be one's self, open and unguarded, unconcerned about appearances. It's pure gold when you find it.

Don't you worry, now, we three looked positively respectable. We even peeked into a fashion event. But that wasn't the point of the night. Instead, we connected, we snorted (with laughter), we consoled, we planned, and we fed off of each other in the most delicious way. And it's all because we don't give a flying [expletive].

Bon Scott, you late star you, I think I'll borrow your look next time we're out.

28 November 2014

Holiday Style: Finding Joy in the Madness

In the aftermath of turkey, I'm sitting quietly in the guest room at my mommy's house. The window is cracked to the cold, snowy air, and the music of a bubbling extended family trips up the stairs.

In a few hours, we'll pack up our little family and head into the village where I grew up for apples, cider, and The Best Cider Donuts in the World.

As we roll over the Chester County hills and back roads, I'll probably fight back a tear or two. Or maybe I won't fight them. Maybe I'll just pull down my sunglasses from their perch atop my head and let them fall.

I can't really imagine living here, where I spent my entire childhood, any longer. This place, though, is part of my fabric. Its historic elegance and grit push their way into your being - anyone who's lived here knows - and won't let go. There were battles, writers, farmers, and artists. There were captains of industry and civil movements and heroes. There are, still.

We're not partaking in any of the Black Friday hubbub. It's not deliberate, it's just how we are. We've never pounced on the deal. We've always spent time together over the malls. We will head on to the local university town later, where my vintage "dealer" has a few gowns on hold for me (coming up to gala season, I've already worn the ones I have around the people I'll see at the next few events). Even that shopping, though, as good as it promises to be, is a connection to here: owner Malena is a childhood friend of my sister's, whom I've known since, well, for a long time.

As we roll into the shopping season, I'm not going to preach staying home and abstaining from shopping. I'm not gong to recommend DIY or freecycled gifts. There's just too much joy in finding that perfect something for loved ones. What I will suggest, though, is that find a way to find little joys in your preparations. Perhaps there's a half hour you can browse a new store and discover a new favorite. Maybe there's a trip to your old neighborhood to wander for a few and take in the decorations. My personal favorite? I love to wander an outdoor shopping area in the crisp air, little surprises filling the bags I'm carrying, and listen to the piped-in carols.

Find the little joys in the hustle and bustle, and the craziness of the season will settle and part, maybe even reminding you what is so special about this time of year.

18 November 2014

Healthy Style: Pretty Is as Healthy Does

I believe strongly that we each have to find our fit, healthy, happy point, and I believe strongly that it looks so different for every body.

But somewhere in the social media universe (ok, on Instagram), when documenting and sharing my #healthyme journey out there, I started using a hashtag: #prettyisashealthydoes. It just popped into my head recently.

It's true, for me. I feel better, I look better, end of story - for me, that is. But I don't want to push the idea of being skinny. I don't want to push the idea of beauty only. I want other women to feel strong, confident, and beautiful for themselves. It's part of why I started this blog in the first place (the other reason being my writing love).

It's such an odd place to be in, that our confidence is tied so closely to our physical appearance. It makes me uncomfortable. We're not supposed to want to look pretty, but we spend time with makeup and such. We spend loads of money on it, and clothing - as a culture, anyway, and some of us as individuals.

Maybe I'll look back in a week, a month, a year, and think "what was i thinking?!" for now, though, I feel like this is it. Pretty is as healthy does.

image via

13 November 2014

Ageless Beauty: Beauty Tips from the "Advanced" Set

She's always got a show tune at the ready. If you're lucky, maybe a little soft shoe, too. We run into her, usually, when we're on our way back in from our after-school activities, and she's all dolled up, ready for dinner before a show. "An avid theater goer" would be a glorious understatement for our friend Aunt Dottie.

I had another post in draft, just about ready to go, and then I ran into Dottie at our front desk. It's cleaning day, and I offered commiseration, since H and I spent most of our self-imposed 4-day weekend cleaning and organizing. My nails and hands are shot, I shared.

"Oh, you know what's good?"

Dottie and I started swapping natural and home-remedy beauty tips (ok, she shared, and I agreed on the few I know and use). I promised her I wouldn't reveal her age. But let's just say that, well, you wouldn't guess it.

She really is a fashion plate, even on cleaning day. That's some serious (and probably purposeful, knowing her) pattern mixing, never mind the nonchalant cleaning rag in her apron pocket.

1) Fix Those Winter Hands: For hands that are as torn up as mine, and to prevent them getting worse whilst cleaning, track down a pair of white cotton gloves (I kinda like these, because they have "inspection" in the name, as if my house is clean enough for one). You've heard it, the spa and nail place have done it, but slather up your hands with your favorite thick lotion, then don your gloves and go to bed. Note: you will have to adhere to that other bit of advice about not using social media in the bedroom to do this.

2) Fix Your Cuticles: I am not one to worry about them, but when they get so dry they crack and split, well, maybe it's time to do something about them. Dottie says to put plain white vinegar (go ahead, get the big bottle, then check Pinterest for its infinite uses) in a little spray bottle, and spritz throughout the day. She keeps them on her kitchen counter. Office-bound? Keep them on your desk, especially with this adorable atomizer. My own tip, for folks who might see other people during the day and don't want to smell like salad dressing? Add in a little essential oil, say...lavender (my favorite).

3) Keep Your Cuticles: Now that you've fixed them, use up that evening TV time (or whenever else you can sit without touching thing) by using a lip balm (she recommends "the one in the metal tube at CVS," but Chapstick will do, too, she says), and pushing the balm into your fingertips.

4) The Best Lotion: Dottie swears by the big tub of thick Cetaphil ("it's a little expensive, but it's the best"). However, so you don't contaminate your tub with your icky hands, put some in a smaller jar (these are a package of 6, but I'm sure I can find a use for 5 more) for everyday use, then try to use a little spoon or spatula to scoop it out (how cute are this spoon and this spatula?). Also, see #1 and use it on your dry, cracked feet (also like mine).

5) Hydrate and Alkalize: To stay hydrated (and if you look at her skin, there's no way you can argue with this), mix 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 of honey into a paste, then mix into water. Drink at least three glasses a day. From my own experience, especially with my cleanses with Ellen Kittredge, CNC, try raw apple cider vinegar and raw honey (but any old honey will do).

6) Your Face: Forget the fancy creams, at least a few times a week, and use either the aforementioned Cetaphil or good, old-fashioned Vaseline. Slather your mug with the stuff, use an old, clean men's T-shirt (but don't bleach it, because that's not good for your skin) as a pillow case to save your shams, and get a good night's rest.

7) Avoid Stress: It's simple, and easier said than done, but this was her parting thought to me (after I tried to explain about this blog as a website so I could get her permission to post her pic and tips). Rid your life of as much negativity as you can. It just doesn't do a body good.

Oh. And one she forgot, but I've learned from knowing her nearly 16 years: learn a few show tunes by heart, and break into song on a fairly regular, but unexpected basis. There's one for just about every situation.

What are your favorite beauty tips and at home remedies? What are the ones you really, actually use (and didn't just pin to your "Must Try" board)? Leave a comment and tell us - and tell us who told you!