Saturday, March 31, 2012

Soapbox - Is Panic the New Black?

Greetings bloggites! Just a quick word or three before my week of poncing-about in Portugal draws to a close.

Firstly, you may have noticed that I have cleaned-up the subject tab labels at your right for easier access. Your patience with this ongoing process is most appreciated. It is especially challenging on the iPad in a foreign location, as it turns out.

Most notably from this process you will notice my Soapbox subject tab. This is where my personal diatribes, as well as where a weekly overview of important and amusing anecdotes shall live.

I have also created The Gray Area for all posts relating to the whole going gray naturally process which, as you know, I have been painstakingly getting on with for over a year now. As it turns out, there are a lot of us out there. Enough to warrant a whole section. So thank you for your support. You know who you are ( Danke). More on that to come when I get home.

And finally, the Highland Fashionista would like to leave you with a message; there is nothing in this world less chic than sheer and utter panic. And as it turns out, the face of sheer and utter panic has a new poster child.

You have undoubtedly already heard in the news that the British MP ( thats member of Parlaiment to you abroad) Francis Maude recommended ON THE AIR of a national TV broadcast interview that the good people of the UK should keep cans of fuel in storage in their garages to stave off the impending (!?!?) fuel crisis. He might as well have gone on the air and announced that a hoarde of the living dead were making their way through the Chunnel towards the UK for the panic that followed. And this is how he carries on when he is NOT under pressure. You may need to copy and paste the link, as I am on holiday, and although my righteous indignation on this topic knows no bounds, my iPad unfortunately does.

Your comments below please. At this point, I think a bit of social media justice is definitely in order.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The Highland Fashionista is going to be incommunicado during my week off. Here, why don't you enjoy this photo of a Scottish west coast sunset while I am away...

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Heart Ebay

If you love clothes, and are not looking at eBay, you are missing a trick. Yes, you have to have some time on your hands, and be the tenacious sort that likes the hunt. If your style of shopping is to plug the words "blue cashmere sweater" into a search engine and buy the first thing that comes up that speaks to you, eBay shopping may not be your bag. But then, it would be highly unlikely that you would choose to read a blog called Highland Fashionista if that were the case, so I shall continue with my diatribe.

There is a wealth of style lurking, hidden amongst the eBay listings. Here, look. These are some items that I have gotten off eBay over time.

Giorgio Armani Jacket
Single-breasted wool, lined, covered buttons, exquisitely made.
New to the blog and wondering if that is gray hair? Yes it is.
You can read about that here. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That Same Old Dress. Yes, You Can.

So I have three weddings that I have to go to in the months of May and June. That's right. Three. And I have begun (yes, already, don't judge me) the process of trying to source a new dress or two to get me through the season. But as I peruse the internet, the cost of each look I earmark, pin, or put in my favourites list is starting to weigh heavily on my mind. Do I really need to wear something new to every one of these events? Of course not. Do I want to? Of course. But isn't it a hallmark of good taste, a shrewd fashion eagle-eye, and overall high fashionista status if I actually have and wear pieces that will endure? Ones that I can carry from one season to the next and feel totally satisfied in my choice?

Then there is the matter of practicality. Pragmatism is one of my favourite things. Maybe its my German heritage, but there is something about the enduring spirit of a piece that you have had for a really long time that resonates with me. Especially when you walk into a room and instantly identify pieces on gals who were obviously recently in the local (the only) store in town that actually sells things you might want to wear.  So it is with this enduring spirit in mind that I think I am going to use a few things that are already in my closet.  With mad, cracked-out, high-octane accessorizing to keep my interest up.  Keepin' it real, people. Keepin' it real.

So I have this dress.

Ta-Daa. And it matches the paint in the extra room.
You can't even see me right now.
Jones New York

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Get Your Diatom On!

With those first few days of spring announcing their arrival, you think to yourself, aaaah, here we go.You start wearing your open-toed wedge booties again without risking losing a digit, you take your workout properly outside for the first time in months. In other words, you just basically feel refreshed. It’s not really warm yet (it is Scotland, after all), but there is change afoot.

And then you wake up the next day to this.


And it all starts again…Right.

So I’ve decided…if the sun will not come to Scotland, Scotland is going to have to have some sun shipped-in. It’s that simple. That’s why I have just used up all of the unused credits in my Moda Operandi account on this.

Equipment, Fall 2012 RTW

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sparking a Revolshoetion

Has anyone else grown as tired as I have of looking at shoes like this?

Shoe photos courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue NYC

Granted, I have nothing against platforms. Covered platforms, even. As sky-high heels go, they are probably more comfortable than their stiletto brethren, but I’m afraid that still isn’t enough to get me over my ennui. I get what they do for the legs. Lengthen, define the muscles, blah, blah, blah….but what they also do is render your feet all of the grace normally reserved for a pair of cloven hooves.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Peplum - Turning Up The Volume

I have decided that I am going to be brave and try peplum. Normally, bravery is something that I am not in short supply of, but there is something about the flounce around the waist of peplum that makes me feel like I could easily revert to myself-conscious fifteen year-old self. Is it sticking out too much? Does it make my butt look big? Fashion-forward or silly? Will it look like I am wearing a child's floatie inner-tube around my waist? 

At first I thought that peplum would bea huge departure the from things that I am normally drawn to; simple lines, simple lines in vibrant colors, simple lines in crazy prints, simple lines layered on top of one another…you get it. But last year, with Raf Simmons’ spring collection for Jil Sander, I had an epiphany that simple lines and the flounce of a peplum are not mutually exclusive items.

Jil Sander Spring 2011
Courtesy Women's Wear Daily

Friday, March 16, 2012

Road Test - Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks

Road Test; the Highland Fashionista trials a bunch of makeup products so you don't have to.

Today it's all about the rouge. I'm rouging for science. I am road testing a product that I already know works for me, that has gotten nothing but awesome reviews from beauty editors, and that certainly does not need my help in the popularity department. Why bother, you ask? Because I like it. A lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Pale Pink. This is a fantastic product, despite the unfortunate naming of it. I have always felt a bit funny about the word rouge used in place of blusher or, in this case, a tint you can build. The word rouge seems dated, and brings to mind a little-old barfly/housewife who wears quite a lot of coral-hued rouge, sits on the Davenport in her polyester shift, and drinks Highballs and Singapore Slings until the early bird buffet at four-thirty.

The inimitable Phyllis Diller in "Omar of Omaha".
In fact, check out this Wall Street Journal
article on Hal Rubenstein's book 100 Unforgettable Dresses

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Personal Trainer

I have an amazing personal trainer in my house most days of the week. He is the strong, silent type, able to communicate what he needs from me with a mere glance, or maybe even just a wee touch. He usually lets me get on with it at the beginning of the workout, choosing to observe what I am doing from afar. As I progress to abs, mat work, or yoga poses, he then seems to descend upon me, as if out of nowhere.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Malaga Street Style

One of the great joys of frequent travel is the experience of stepping off of a plane and finding oneself in a completely changed environment, from the geography to the sartorial choices of the locals. I find people watching to be a fantastic barometer of how a city moves and grooves, the level of individualism present, or even as a mirror to my own sartorial choices (as in...hmmm..maybe its time I ought to put that cropped leather jacket away for a season or so....NAH! One more year!!)

Hubby and I have recently returned from the Spanish city of Malaga, where we enjoyed a lovely four days of relaxing, nosing-around, eating, and loads of people watching. Malaga is quite a good city to observe street style, as it has that wonderful European "pavement culture" (as my husband calls it), and the outdoor cafes, restaurants, and bars are full of life well into the wee hours. 

It is no surprise that the threshold for what is considered "warm weather" varies drastically from one part of the world to the next. So even though when we landed,  the days, though breezy, were between 18-22 degrees Celsius (that's about 65-72 degrees Farenheit), the locals were still very much wrapped-up for winter. The nights did get chilly, right enough, but if you live in the Scottish Highlands, 65-72 is about as good as it gets. Any hotter than that, people here actually start cracking-up with heatstroke. No kidding. I've seen it. 

If, however,  I were pressed to boil Malaga's  street-style from last week into one word....


There were boots everywhere. Predominantly tall boots, equestrian-style with and without heels, but there were also a fair amount of over-the-knee boots as well, which, you will remember exploded onto the scene in 2009. 

For the most part, the overall vibe of Malaga's street style is quite a lot like this.... 

AHA! But first, A warning! I am NOT Tommy Ton. My subjects are not models standing outside of fashion shows, clambering for a bit of my lens,  or members of the fashion editor's elite. In fact, they don't know that I am there with my iPhone at all. Or so I hope. Hence the blurring-out of identifiable features. I must protect the innocent. So where was I? Ah yes, street style in Malaga. This is the photo that I think captures what Real Gals of all ages are wearing on the streets of Malaga. 

Tall boots, billowy scarf, short cropped leather jacket or blazer.
The colour palette was either neutral browns, camel, or black.
This look was absolutely everywhere. 

When I say this look was absolutely everywhere, I mean ev-ery-where.  As looks go, I like this look. I wear a version of this myself when I am out and about in my natural habitat. I think that boots provide us with a type of armour against the harsh environment of poor weather. (Again, its all relative. 65-70 Farenheit....sigh....). 

Incidentally, you know what else is used as armour against the environment? Mobile phones and texting. See the gals in the photo? They are both messing with their phones. Go to any major style blog where they are photographing people on the street, and see how many are either texting, on the phone (or pretending to be on the phone), or even just holding on to the thing, as if to infer that at any moment it might ring, and it will likely be Monsieur Lagerfeld himself inviting you to his yacht in St. Tropez for the after party.  Remember in the 90's, when texting and tweeting didn't exist as they do now, and the only thing that people used as a social awkwardness detractor was smoking? 

Right. I guess people still do that too. The Highland Fashionista really wants you to quit smoking, by the way. It is a really, really, terrible way to make yourself ill. Trust me on this one. I work on the inside. Anyway. Clothes. 

In addition to the tall boots/scarf/blazer/leather jacket look, which I suppose is a sort of variation on a preppy theme, was another variation on that same theme. This one. Sorry, I wasn't able to get a real photo of this one without risking my cover.

Ralph Lauren
The Ralph Lauren thing is still going strong in Malaga, mostly spotted on the late 30s-40s and up crowd. Many of them were also wearing these.
Neck Scarves. Not something I have seen in a while, but the look is classic, albeit maybe a bit buttoned-down for the Highland Fashionista's tastes for a night out on the town.  Which is where I saw two gals dressed in this very combination. Sitting at the very same table, which happened to be the table next to ours, no less. They wore near matching Polo Ralph Lauren oxfords with white collar and cuffs, and a silk neck scarf. Then the next day I saw a woman wearing a coral blazer over a pin striped oxford and a neck scarf. Very smart look, actually. SO. Even though I couldn't get a photo in this instance (without getting EspaƱol is not good enough to try to explain my American-Scottish-fashionista take on things, and I don't know the word for blog....although it's, anyway, I though it was worth a mention. 

The going-out at night crowd were a wee bit younger, perhaps college student-age, and if I could have summed up the look that is popular with this crowd in one word it would be......

denim shorts. 

Okay, two words.  Pictured hereis a more sedate version of the nighttime look that dominated the streets.

Again leather jacket, boots (short this time)
And denim shorts. With tights. Spotted ones. 

There were shorts all over the place, especially at night. Lots of tights under shorts, stilettos with shorts, boots with shorts, and shorts that were really more like hot pants. You know, club wear....the kind of shorts that look like diapers only the pockets are hanging below where the jeans have been cut-off? Yeah, like that.

There is an interesting article in the US edition of Vogue magazine this month (the one with Adele on the cover) about this very topic. The author, who I cannot remember at the moment and unfortunately I finished the magazine and left it in the hotel... anyway, the author states that shorts are a way for younger women to wear something that they know older gals can't get away with, and that is why it is so popular with 20 year-olds. It's the because I can theory. Although I agree that diaper-y shorty-shorts are mainly the domain of the teen and twenty-year-old set and certain entertainers, I disagree with her stance that it is essentially a way for younger women to "stick it to" gals of a certain age. That implies an inherent competitiveness among women, and I think that, even though there are plenty of women out there who think that way, that, my friends, is a great big heap of baloney. My theory? For most of us, our tastes simply change as we get older.  Do I want to wear a denim diaper  like the 20 year olds? No, I do not. But would I wear this? 

Jenni Kayne suit.
Yep, I probably would. But not with tights. I did that in the nineties. Especially not with patterned tights. Makes you look like you have a condition

Finally, the boot-loving streets of Malaga seemed to have an extraordinary number of over-the-knee boots roaming about. 

Over the knee boots are difficult. I really wanted a pair about two seasons ago, but never got a pair, as, like I said, they are difficult. When they work, they are awesome. Here. 

Rachel Zoe courtesy
Here, Rachel Zoe is working those boots. I think this works because of the lightness of the palette, and that she is wearing loose and covering things on top, and actual trousers on the bottom, even if you can't see them. These boots really do look best with skinny jeans or trousers underneath, lest you risk the Pretty Woman trap. 

The hooker with the heart of gold and her
over-the-knee boots.
Courtesy Wikipedia
Conversely, an attempt to temper your over the knee boots with a flat heel may render you thusly.

Robin Hood, Pirate, or Adam Ant?
You decide.

That is why they are difficult. There were so many pairs on the streets it was hard to whittle them down. Here is one that made quite an impression on me. 

Working several of the local trends at once: denim shorts, over the knee
boots,  tights.  For me, though this is not completely over the top,
this doesn't quite work either. Its just too easy to stray too close to
Pretty Woman territory in over the knee boots.  

I have to say, I think the gals on the street I saw getting it right were pairing their over the knee boots with something loose and casual on top to balance the edginess (like Rachel Zoe did)...something like an oversized fisherman's sweater. But overall, I maintain that over the knee boots....they're difficult. 

So there it is, a quick and oversimplified look at the last week's street style in Malaga, Spain. If you are planning a visit, make sure to eat out, the food is great! The people are friendly and elegant, and the people-watching is fantastic! 

And if you see this guy....

Smile Honey! 

That's my husband.  If you see him in a city near you getting his picture taken, smile. I'm probably looking at you. 

Road Test - Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40+

Okaaayyy....back from our trip. Happy to report that the flight back from Malaga was a lot more civilized than the flight over, even though it was largely the same cast of unruly characters. And that is civilized with a "Z"...this British-bought computer keeps changing my spelling to British spellings. I am American and though I live in the UK, my writer's voice demands that I spell things in the American way...I want to spell things like civilized with a "Z",  defense with an "s" instead of "defence". I know Americans, I still can't get used to that one either.   

Anyway,  I even dared to use the airline toilets on this return flight, that is how well-behaved everyone was this time around.  Not that that stopped the guy who went in the toilet before me to not lock the door, causing the little "vacant" sign to be showing, causing me to open the door on him while he was in there, then when I quickly shut it and apologized (with a z), he .....did nothing! He still left it open. Gross. And, as my husband very astutely pointed-out later, when the door to the airline bathroom is not locked, you are basically in the dark. So this guy was totally happy to be in there, in the dark, with the door unlocked. Gross! And sadly, yes, this type of thing was indeed an improvement from the overall passenger behavior witnessed on the flight to Malaga. So. Anyway....okay, I have to say it. March 11th, Ryanair 14:20 flight from Malaga to Prestwick....dude, lock the door. This is not that type of flight. Seeeeriously. 

Okay, right. Seeing as though I am fresh off the plane (there is no such thing as being "fresh" off a plane; doubly true for Ryanair flights, by the way) I thought I would tackle the easy stuff first. Not that I am belittling science by calling this the easy stuff. Some serious research went into this next road test. 

Josie Maran Argan Moisturizer (with a Z, dammit!) SPF 40+

I decided to give this a try based largely on some good reviews that I had seen on it from Allure magazine, as well as "Cosmetics Cop" Paula Begoun in her bestselling cosmetics guide*. I give special attention to anything Paula Begoun puts on her smiley-face list, as she uses actual science in the testing and reviewing of the bazillions of products on her site, and not the half-assed variety of science that the Highland Fashionista
engages in. 

And speaking of half-assedness, lets run through my testing methodology quickly. As you may remember from a previous post, the Highland Fashionista has a bit of difficulty following product-label directions. And this was really no exception. In fact, I still have not read the instructions for this product, but I already know that I like it. A lot. 

We all know that in order for a sunscreen to work its best, you have to reapply after so many hours to get the benefit of the...blah, blah, blah...boring! The Highland Fashionista takes a more realistic approach. Yes, if I were swimming, sweating, or out for a really long time I would reapply. But this was Malaga, on the Mediterranean, in early March. Not quite warm enough for the above activities. Just warm enough to be on the beach, but not in the water. So. I applied it once in the morning, under my go-to holiday product Bobbi Brown illuminating powder foundation (Sheer! Breathable! Has an SPF 12!).  The Josie Maran formulation is surprisingly light and sinks in quickly, leaving a silky finish. I thought I would turn all white, the way you often do with titanium dioxide / zinc oxide sunscreens, but this did not do that. In fact, I would, and will, totally use this as a daily moisturiser when I know I am going to be outdoors. The smell is lovely (yes, there is a smell. A lovely smell), and the active ingredients, apart from the active sunscreens, are all things I recognised (i.e. could pronounce) like argan and jojoba oil. Basically, it is a really lovely, chemical-free alternative to the chemical sunscreens that dominate the market, or the white, ghostlike zinc and titanium sunscreens of yore. 

 So. I put it on. 

Then I just forgot about it, left the hotel for breakfast, and then we spontaneously headed to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. Not exactly good sunscreen practice, and if you are not olive-skinned like me, don't try this at home. I did, I hasten to add, have on regular sunscreen on the rest of my body.

So anyway, I did some of this. 

Yes, I KNOW its bad for you, but I live in Scotland, for goodness sake! It started
raining in MAY last year and it is still raining as I type this, so
BACK OFF...a girl needs her vitamin D. 

And I did a little of this.

Yes,  that is a was an impromptu beach visit,  and that was what was on offer.
After all,  one would hate to be rude. That's my story and I'm stickin'  to it.
And yes, that is US Vogue. I get it sent over. I missed my Anna W and my Life with Andre.

Did you know you can use your Adidas Stella McCartney Jacket as a beach pillow?

Sorry Stella...needs must. 

Yep. You can. And when you finally wake up and remember to take a photo....for science.....

I know I look all yellow, but I assure you that is the exposure, and
not fake tan, jaundice, or, most importantly, a sunburn.


Not burned! Not at all! 

I give this product my full, scientific endorsement, and will likely order a few more of Josie Maran's products on the back of this experience. Such is my method. If a product works well for me, in spite of me, its a winner. And this one is. 

I will be using it religiously as my daily outdoor moisturizer. With a Z.

Interested in perusing The Bible of makeup review manuals? Check out Paula Begoun's Guide Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. I consult it religiously.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Last Day Away

Aah yes. Back to reality tomorrow. Back to healthy eating, exercise, and work. Highland Fashionista has been conspicuously absent while on her mini-holiday, and for that she apologises. Stay tuned for some thought-provoking street style from Malaga to come. (Preview: over the knee boots....edgy, Robin Hood, or hooker with a heart of gold?) I also feel compelled to do a piece on leggings, as much as it pains me ( thought that was a local phenomenon.....I thought wrong). Anyway, it must be done. Apologies in advance.Also upcoming, I have done preliminary road-tests on two new products by Bobbi Brown and Josie Maran, all I need is the photographic evidence edited to complete my case study. As I've said before, this is science people.So that's what's up and coming for this week. That is, if I survive the plane ride home. The way here from Glasgow Drunk guys on holiday rendering the bathrooms unusable before we even took off. A group of about 10 gals in leggings, matching t shirts, and pink boas and stilettos going for a bachelorette weekend who....never.....stopped.....talking....the...whole....flight. Ryanair from Prestwick to Malaga, y'all know who you are. We can talk about the leggings later.Anyway, off for a last day of wandering. See you back in the balmy Scottish sunshine. Snort.HF

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Interview with the Chicken

The Highland Fashionista is very excited to have conducted her first trans-Atlantic celebrity interview, with internet blogger-extrordanaire and lifestyle expert The Yoga Chicken. If you haven't checked-out the Yoga Chicken, you really should. It is a blog full of musings and spiritual incentives to help you achieve balance in your day-to-day routine. I caught up with the  Yoga Chicken via the internet. Yoga Chicken was sitting in a sunny Minneapolis studio as we sat down for a cup of coffee over cyberspace.

I would like to thank you, Yoga Chicken, for taking the time to speak to me. As you may know, Highland Fashionista is mainly a beauty and style blog, although I do occasionally stray from that format. Although it may seem cliche, I simply must ask.... what are you wearing? 

As it's morning over here in our time zone, I'm currently wearing my bathrobe.  And as it's a Saturday as I write this, I may be wearing this all day.  

Is Yoga Chicken your real name? 

Yoga Chicken is my pen name. 

But so many people know me as Yoga Chicken now, that I think I may have my name legally changed.  And I think it suits me.  And anyway it's hard to talk about spirituality and your personal journey and have people take you seriously when you sign off as "Brad".  So it's Yoga Chicken.  So I guess the real answer to your original question is, "yes."  Or at least it will be on Friday, when I can get over to city hall.  

You say on your blog that you are on a quest to find spirituality through yoga and yoga-related things. Can you explain to the readers at Highland Fashionista what is entailed in the Yoga Lifestyle?

That's a big question, and not one I'm sure I can answer in its entirety.  But basically the yoga lifestyle, which doesn't need to be capitalized, is the practice of acting mindfully and staying in the moment in every moment.  This, as you can imagine, is very difficult for someone with a brain the size of a walnut.  I'm easily distracted.

 As a chicken, sometimes I can get sidetracked with all the stories I tell myself about what is going on.  So the challenge is to still those thoughts, or whatever.  I'm told if you succeed, it's like being in a very peaceful, spacious, tidy white room.  And I'd have to admit, the room I'm in right now is more like a small laundry room where you sort of forgot which was the clean pile and which was the dirty one.  But it's all a process.  You can pick up the clothes and paint the room white, if you know what I mean.  You can also bring the washer-dryer to a bigger room upstairs.  One with windows.  

The other thing I'd say is that the yoga lifestyle requires clothing that allows you your full range of movement, which I like.  There's a lot of stretch pants involved.  

What part does personal style and fashion play in the yoga (uncapitalized) lifestyle?

Oh gosh.  Well, I suppose the stretch thing is a big part of it.  Like, you'll never find yourself doing yoga in skinny jeans.  And if you did, you probably would not get very far.  There's a movement I've noticed in yoga of late, to bring yoga clothes "off the mat", as it were.  Sort of like what you women do when you have a work-to-cocktail dress that magically transforms by rearranging the way you wear the sweater on top.  I hope that wasn't condescending.  It wasn't meant to be. All I'm saying is that there is a future for yoga clothes, if a designer came along who really took cotton/spandex blends seriously.  For example, I have a number of blazers these days that are made out of sweatshirt material.  I could wear them to yoga, and then go to a halfway decent restaurant for brunch afterwards, and nobody would bat an eye. 

 We're in the early stages.  But I think we're going to get there.  

So, gosh, I don't know how to ask this, but based on your response to my last're a guy? I mean a male...male chicken? Oh God, is that offensive? I'm sorry. Its just so hard for me to tell by the photos and have a comb.... 

If you're asking if I'm gay, the answer is no. And yes, I am a man.  That is, a male chicken. And no I'm not dating anybody.  That's usually the next question.  Does that mean I'm bi?  No.  Does it mean I dislike men and women with equal measure?  Yes.   PS, please don't call me a rooster.  I find that offensive. 

Um....moving on...there is a kind of stereotype attached to what people see as a holistic, yoga lifestyle; The image of a dreadlocked, hemp-wearing, patchouli-scented person with hairy armpits comes to mind. Is it possible, in your mind, to straddle both the realm of the yoga lifestyle and the more mainstream (or commercial if you like) world of fashion?

Another big question.  Let's tackle the stereotype first.  Yes, there are those hippie types in yoga.  No doubt about it. But yoga is not nearly as "fringe" and "counter-culture" as it was at one time.  Now, the fringe might be, what, hipsters? 

By far the more common yogi I see in class is the somewhat affluent, attractive woman in her 30s or 40s.  She is most certainly showered, often has blonde highlights, and is sometimes even wearing makeup and a spiritual sort of necklace.  Or one of those strings of beads that they sell at Tibetan stores for just under 100 bucks.  It's a look. 

 As for fashion,  There is some quite-fancy (or at least quite expensive) yoga clothing out there.  And a yogi who tries to wear socks in class is quickly let know that this is not okay.  Same with having gross feet.  If you can, you should get a pedicure.  At least this is true for women.  For men, it's more lax, as you can tell if you take a look at my feet. 

So yes, there is some fashion involved in yoga.    Whether the residual hippie yoga types are down with that, I'm not sure.  
Please share with us some of your favourite products and items of clothing that you rely on to maintain your lifestyle.

Well, candles for one.  I used to have a bunch of real candles, but they started to scare me so I switched over to a big white battery-powered one that I can keep on all night.  Oxo also makes some rechargable candle things that I'm fond of, although I don't have a set yet, myself. Like this:

See?  Click on that and it says currently unavailable.  They're hot items.  But anyway, the point is, ambient lighting.  No overheads.  Overhead lights are like a shark attacking my soul.  I can't have it. 

Clothing-- well I have all my clothing tailor-made for my body, since it's sort of an odd shape.  I have a woman in Eau Claire, WI do this.  Did you know that's where Justin Vernon of Bon Iver is from?  And he still lives there?  True.  Eau Claire is becoming the South of France of the Upper Midwest.  Anyway my point is that I don't know if I could suggest stuff that would fit other people.  I will say, however, that I have heard good things about "Hard Tail" yoga pants-- even though I hate to even say that because I hate their name: 

Hard Tail Yoga Clothes
   Agreed. That is an awful name. So bad it's practically     

And I myself can't tolerate funny colors in yoga pants.  Black, or dark gray or dark blue, and that's about it.  Tight pants have a hard job as it is, without having to also fight a novelty color.  And I am somewhat aware that printed pants are coming back in, but I just absolutely refuse.  Did we learn nothing from Zubas?  

The other thing I will say about yoga pants:  please no drawstring and please no flared bellbottom-type pants.  Both of these things will get in your way when you least expect it. The bells could make you fall down.  And the drawstring, at times, can cut off your circulation.  Especially in twist poses. 

Hmm, what else?  Well, I like cork yoga blocks.  Hugger Mugger makes nice ones.  All of their props are pretty good, actually-- mats, straps, the whole deal.  Oh, and recently I bought this foam roller device thing that helps stretch out your hips.  It's in the corner.  But now that I mentioned it, I may get it out tonight.  Mine's like this, except it's got ridges on it.  

Hugger Mugger Foam Roller

I could go on and on.   But I'll end by saying that I once saw one of my favorite yoga instructors head home wearing a full-bodied snow suit.  This was in New York, and it was about 40 degrees outside.  He couldn't tolerate that kind of cold.  Then again, he had a perfect body and was a former dancer, so he probably knew a lot about keeping the body warm and flexible, and was willing to go to great lengths to do it.  

He was also wearing huge snow boots

There's a lot more to say on this topic, most notably the difference between sweatpants and yoga pants.  But I'm taking up too much space already.

     Ah yes, the Highland Fashionista could go on all day 
     about sweatpants. Well, Yoga Chicken, I would like to  
     sincerely thank you for your time, as well as your 
     insight and tips on how to achieve a more balanced, 
     yogi-like existence. I would also like to leave you with 
     an open invitation to visit Scotland any time. We can 
     hit the mat together. Any last sentiments?

Just this. I love this photo.

Tiny brain, big world

You can visit The Yoga Chicken's Blog at

Want to try Hugger Mugger Yoga Products for yourself?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Road Test No.1: In The Name of Science

Is there anything more soul-destroyingthan looking in the mirror halfway through your day, and seeing ashiny, raccoon-eyed, spotty rendition of what you thought was yourwell put-together self? You’re sure that you left the houselooking like a million bucks, seamless-looking skin, blusher just theright amount of rosiness, lips all plump and ready to take on yourfirst latte of the morning. You’ve been running all over the place,having professional conversations with other humans all day long, andnow you can’t help but wonder if they were staring at that shadowof a shadow of a former zit on your chin peeking through your fadingfoundation, or wishing they had a pair of Ray-Bans for the blindingoil slick that is your T-zone. Yeah, me too.

And so, in the spirit of solidaritywith Real Gals throughout the globe who work long hours, run aroundlike maniacs all day long, or just cant be bothered to touch-up theirfaces fifty thousand times a day, the Highland Fashionista hasdecided to dedicate a running piece to us all. Readers, I present toyou:

Road Test; the Highland Fashionistatrials a bunch of cosmetic products so that you don’t have to.

Road Test Vol. 1: De Slick Oil ControlSetting Spray by Urban Decay

I have had this product in my cabinetfor a while. And I had wanted to buy it for a lot longer than that,but hadn’t. Largely, because it costs $29.00 at Sephora. Ithought that was a lot to spend on something that really, reminds mea lot of pointing a bottle of Windex at your face and pulling thetrigger. But in the name of Beauty, I persevered.

Here is the list of ingredients for DeSlick spray, provided by the Urban Decay Website:

Aqua(Water),SD-Alcohol 39-C,Polyhydroxystearic Acid,IsononylIsononanoate,Ethylhexyl Isononanoate,Sodium CocamidopropylPG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate,PVP,Phenoxyethanol,CaprylylGlycol,Methyl Diisopropyl Propionamide,Methyl Methacrylate CrossPolymer,Dimethicone PEG-7 Phosphate,Gluconolactone,SodiumBenzoate,PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate,Glycereth-5 Lactate,AloeBarbadensis Leaf Juice,Fragrance

At this time theHighland Fashionista would like to point out that, despite a verylengthy and expensive stint in graduate school, the only words sherecognizes here are aloe,leaf,and juice. Okay, and maybe phosphate,but in my professional realm, we generally save that ingredient foran altogether different purpose.

So. There is avery specific way that one is supposed to use this product, and for awhile, when I first got it, naturallyI didn’t read the directions. Yes, something that is as simple as aspray bottle comes with directions, as it turns out. But I and myexpensive graduate education promptly apparently felt that we wereabove said directions and I took to just spritzing my face with theproduct after I had applied my makeup (as the magazines have alwaystold us to do with those mineral water spritzers). Apparently thatis totally wrong, and perhaps explains why it didn’t seem to make ablind bit of difference in the appearance of my makeup.

So apparently,the correctway to use this product is as follows; before putting on your makeup,hold bottle 4-8 inches away from your face and spray 2-4 times. Applymakeup, then do it again to set.

And with thoseexplicit instructions, begins the ultimate test of any makeup productever made. The twelve-hour shift.

After showering,I put on my usual antioxidant serum and let it soak in. I also use alittle extra moisturizer under my eyes. Spritzed, put on makeup,spritzed again. And behold.

7 am. And I've really got to so something
else with my eyebrows.

If you’llexcuse the shiny moon-face closeup, this is the end product. Thefirst-out-the-door, no-makeup-makeup look (kudos Bobbi Brown). Wethair and ponytail elastic not included.

After five hours.

Not too shabby. Still plenty of product on my face,
and no oil slick!

After eighthours.

Not much change. A little shine on the forehead now.
Some fading of the blusher. But all things considered, pretty good.

I do confess, however, to doing a wee bit of a touchup at eight hours, after this photo was taken. Not anything drastic, just a wee bit of powder and some gloss. Anyway, This has now essentially lasted a workday for most normal people who work more civilized hours. Also, I did notice at this point,  some cakey bits under my eyes, and had to dab them with a bit of water to get them to blend. 

After thirteenhours (anyone who works twelve-hour shifts knows that it is actuallymore like a thirteen and a half to fourteen hour day, really.) So. okay, thirteen and a half hours. 

Blusher faded, Still pretty much shine free, but what
on earth is going on with my hair!?  I look as if I have been plugged-in!
Note to self: frizz balm.

So, at the end of a very long day, is Urban Decay De Slick a pass or fail. Pass. Mostly. 

I do think the product works, but I think due diligence must be paid in order to avoid the eye area when you apply it initially, lest you end up with cakey zombie-eyes later in the afternoon. It is perfect if you are going to an event, or know that you are going to be running around shopping or the like for the afternoon. Will I use it every day? Nope. And most likely, nor will you. I just don't have it in me to add any more permanent steps to my routine.  But I will reach for it as and when I need it.  

Until next time,