Saturday, January 30, 2016

Constantly Disheveled

You guys. I know it sounds like I'm always banging-on about this, but the weather here is so bad. I've been back from our trip to the Bahamas for over a week now, and have only managed to attempt getting outside and shooting pictures once. While we don't get snow in epic proportions like they do/did on the east coast of America last week, we do get gale force winds and sleet that seems to last for weeks. You really can't even go outside without having to really brace against the weather, because tiny ice pellets will go shooting into your eyes.

Yesterday we had a moment where it seemed to clear, but do not be fooled. The icy winds did not relent. I did manage to sneak over to my neighbour's back garden shed to take some pictures without losing my camera to the winds. Well, not really neighbor has the good sense to leave the country for Malaysia during this time of year. This weather is why I am a person who does not expend a lot of extra energy on her hair. Resistance is futile.

I got dressed in this outfit on Thursday thinking I was going to have to drive an hour up the road to attend a rather unpleasant work function. Like with all of my work functions here, it's kind of a balance between looking professional and being overdressed; it's a pretty casual environment here. I opted for denim and undone classic American prep staples in really nice fabrics. Even though this kind of dressing is not particularly exciting, when you put a look like this together using good fabrics and things that fit well, you feel good in it, even if you don't tuck-in your shirt or comb your hair.

My cell phone went just as I was leaving the house in this outfit - it was work, telling me the function had been cancelled, and not to drive to the venue because people were putting their cars off the road. I have never been happier to go take off an outfit and put a t shirt and sweats back on in my life, but I figured that I might as well try to take a picture of it before it went back in the closet. After all, in the context of modern life, if nobody sees it, it never happened.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Beauty Like It's 1989!

Yep. There it is. 1989 in all it's permed, teased, and Aqua-Netted glory. When I think about my high school days, I don't necessarily remember the plays, the basketball team, the band trips to Florida...okay, yes...I do remember those…two busses full of high school kids (plus an equipment truck) driving non-stop from Wisconsin to Florida to march at a Disney parade in our dark purple, 100% wool band uniforms. Non-stop to Florida from Wisconsin. When I think of it now, I just can't even. I think we maybe stopped in Ruby Falls, Tennessee and toured an underground cave for like an hour, then back on the bus! We even had two drivers per bus and they would take turns sleeping in this little bunk behind the driver's seat (lucky bastards…they had a bunk!) I mean, can you imagine chaperoning something like that!? Those poor, poor adults. The stink of two busses full of teenagers who haven't slept. What were they thinking, taking that on!?

Okay, besides band trips to Florida, the thing I remember most about my high school years are the beauty products. There is just something about an 80s beauty product that gets me every time. It was then that my fascination with a well-appointed beauty product was born. To this day, I'm a sucker for marketing; I often put sleek packaging and lofty claims before efficacy (hey, it's about the experience, okay?) I've written about my love of old school beauty before, but unbeknownst to me, I had only just skimmed the surface. Many of my old favourite products are still out there.

Coty Emeraude Cologne 

I think I actually liked the idea of Emeraude more than I actually liked the way it smelled. My teenaged mind associated that hypnotic green elixir with a rich, velvety sophistication. Emerald green was the color of sophistication back in the 80s after all, as many a present-day restaurant or country club screaming for a remodel can attest. I wanted to be the woman that could wear such a strong (and man it was strong) scent as a signature... not that I had that kind of insight at the time. It would be years before I realised that I am more of a clean, sporty, single-note kind of a perfume gal. 

Funny story. In the 80s, I found myself in Walgreens with my bestie, and decided I wanted to give the newly-launched Emeraude bath gel a sniff. I unscrewed the lid of the plastic bottle, but couldn't quite get a fix on the subtle (!?) nuanced difference between it and the namesake cologne, so to get a little airflow going (the very thing they always tell you NOT to do in chemistry class) I gave the bottle just the tiniest of squeezes…just enough to launch about a quarter of the bottle's product straight up my nose. Every part of my face immediately began to excrete velvety Emeraude sophistication, and I think I may even have been rendered temporarily blind. My friend was of no help whatsoever, although I don't see why - her tears (of laughter) were clear. I can't speak for the 2016 permutation of Emeraude, but in 1989, that shit burned

Jean Naté after bath splash was like an aftershave for your entire body, and I suppose the precursor to all of those Bath & Body Works sprays that come in weird "flavours" like chocolate sugar cake and root beer verbena patchouli rat pee. For the record, Jean Naté now comes in a spray as well…how thoroughly modern indeed!

The highlight for me in finding Jean Naté again was reading the product description, which Bluefly refers to as "the designer's notes".
Launched by the design house of Revlon in 1935, Jean Nate for Women is recommended for evening use.
Ahhh yes. The Design House of Revlon. I remember fondly sitting in my PJs with my 80s school mates on a wintery night, the air thick with the House of Revlon's Jean Naté as we delicately nibbled crispy pointes de Doritoes and washed them down with a robust 1986 Chateaux Monsieur Pibb.

Oh, and it's recommended for evening use. Snort.

Flavored Lip Balm in a Tin

While I don't think that this is the original lip balm in a tin company, Tinte cosmetics has done a reproduction of the lip balm in a tin of my youth, right down to the flavors. Pre-teen classics like bubblegum, root beer, and my personal  favourite, cream soda. We used to have a rather off-label use for our lip balm in a tin; we'd put the tins on top of this vintage potbellied wood-burning stove that was in the neighbourhood's outdoor ice rink warm-up shed and reduce the contents to a liquid, then make wax lips.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub

Swiss Formula St. Ives Apricot Scrub is all the proof I need to reinforce my theory that Switzerland is not, in fact, a neutral country - this exfoliating scrub was very clearly an act of war. 

One part your Grandma's cold cream, two parts fibreglass insulation batting, this scrub felt a lot like you'd covered yourself in Greek yogurt, put a bag of angry bees over your head, and then sat down and allowed the situation to percolate naturally. 

"But I feel something…so it must be working", we said to ourselves, tears running down our blood-stained cheeks, taking with them bits of razor-sharp apricot pit shard, which cascaded into the sink with the soft splat, splat, splat of unfulfilled dreams.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

So Tacky It's Good

The past few weeks, I was very sneakily away to Southwest Florida and The Bahamas for a 50th birthday celebration followed by some odds and ends we had to take care of for our Florida property. Didn't even know I was gone, did you? 

Be that as it may, because I wasn't working, I felt the urge to paint my nails. While I am a huge fan of all manner of wacky polish on my toes, I generally dislike crazy polish on my fingers, opting for neutral colors, or maybe a deep red if I'm feeling extra-fancy. Usually I only last about a day with polish on my nails before it makes me antsy, or I just go digging around in the dirt and ruin it. 

I'm not sure what made me pick up this taupey-pink sparkle polish, but I thought I'd give it a go. Something different and fun, and okay..completely OTT tacky in a teenaged bubblegum-perfume-wearing sort of way. 

Turns out, I kinda love it. I think it's the color I chose, but it actually came out much more subtle that I would have thought. Added bonus: it stays on really, really well - through boogie boarding and open toed shoes for three straight weeks. Even when it did chip slightly, it wasn't very noticeable. I guess for people like me who can't keep polish looking good for more than a day, adhering tiny bits of metallic shrapnel to your fingertips with a clear epoxy is the way forward. Who knew?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Shearling For A Steal

I found this suede shearling coat on my last trip to the States; I found it lurking in the local Goodwill in my hometown, quietly just sort of sitting there in perfect condition. It was twenty dollars, which by Goodwill standards, makes it one of the more expensive items in the shop. It's completely lined in (faux) fur, and is so cozy and warm to wear that I abandoned the jacket I had brought with me to the states for this one the minute I got it home. It's in perfect condition, so whomever owned it before me was obviously not wearing it much.

I'm over the moon that I found this nice jacket for a song, because I would never buy something like this for myself while I am living here in Scotland. The weather is just too wet to want to spend a lot on leather stuff, but for $20, I think I'm willing to take a chance that it may get a few spots. But I suppose with a jacket like this, a few spots and defects will only give it more character. After all, clothes are meant to be worn. If it gets a bit weathered-looking? Meh. I'm not going to get all precious about it.

Thrifted suede jacket, similar / Levis high-rise skinny jeans / Schuh booties (out of stock), similar / Target sunglasses / ruby zoisite necklace (old), somewhat similar

Thursday, January 14, 2016

More Safe Sunscreens

Greetings again fashionphiles! Last year, I trialed a few of the Environmental Working Groups top-rated sunscreens on a trip I took to Greece, and came up with a few solid favourites. I am pleased to announce that a few months ago, I did the same thing on a trip to Southwest Florida, and have a few more names I can add to the mix if you are looking for some top-rated, safe sunscreens.

As my husband and I have purchased some property in Florida and will be back and forth for the foreseeable future, this is going to be an ongoing theme, so in the interest of sharing my experiments in sunscreen with you, I have created a separate icon at the right hand side of the blog where you can go straight to the "sunscreen" tab. All of these posts in which I trial EWG's top-rated sunscreens should come up when you click on the link, and you can waste no time in selecting a few of these and trying them for yourself. Getting your sunscreen game right is becoming more and more important by the year, so hopefully this will help you find something that works for you, as it has for me.

ThinkSport SPF 50+ Sunscreen

This is the "sport" version of the sunscreen that is made by the same people who make the ThinkBaby sunscreen, which was the trip favourite of my last sunscreen review post. To be honest, I didn't notice that much of a difference between this formulation and the ThinkBaby formulation, but that may have been because a lot of time elapsed in-between. Perhaps the ThinkSport was very slightly drier (and therefore thicker), but that may just have to do with the age of the product or shipping exposure and whatnot. Overall, I would definitely purchase this one again, and found it very effective, although I am not entirely convinced that it would hold up to "sport" the way I engage in sport. I have yet to meet a sunscreen that will not run into my eyes while running or sweating on the tennis court. Grade A+

Raw Elements Eco Formula SPF 30

This was my husband's favourite sunscreen of the trip, his criteria for it being that by far it was the easiest formula to blend-in; something that can be quite a chore with natural sunscreens and can really make or break your experience with them. Although I agree with his assessment, I thought that it didn't soak-in as readily as some of the others I'd tried, leaving you a bit shiny and "wet" for longer that I'd like. However, that didn't stop me from ordering 4 more bottles for our upcoming trip to the Bahamas, because it worked really well, and at the end of the day, that's what matters. I will also add here, that despite the "fragrance free" formula, there is a very distinct fragrance to it (likely form the natural ingredients) that I liken to the smell of the inside of a health food store. It's not unpleasant, just rather different.  Grade B+

Beyond Coastal Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

This one was my favourite of the trip, so naturally it is also the most difficult one to find - especially in the UK. This one had good spreadability, a light formulation, lasted all day long (yes, I know you're supposed to re-apply…don't judge!), and best of all, it soaks into the skin within minutes of application, making it easy to get dressed again and get on with your day. It was my intention to grab a bunch of these for our Bahamas trip (to add to the three ThinkBaby sunscreens we already have), but I left it too late what with all the holiday-related bank holidays they have over here. One note, if you want to try this one, be sure you get the "natural" sunscreen version. They make some chemical and hybrid sunscreens too that while really good, are not top-rated like the natural one.  Grade A+

Monday, January 11, 2016

Best Hot Dog Ever

My first dog was called Paddy (may he rest in peace). Paddy, like my current dog Fergus, was a Bearded Collie; as smart as they come, and a very savvy wee man. One morning on our walk, he found a cooked hot dog lying in the grass just near the sidewalk. It was just sort of lying there, as if it had made a last ditch jump for freedom as its captor lifted the bun to his or her lips. Needless to say, Paddy quickly gobbled the hot dog up before I could even think to intervene. Every single day after that, Paddy would return to the exact same spot during our walks, just to see if there would perhaps be another hot dog…hey, you never know, right? 

Why am I telling you this? Because this top…this is my hot dog. 

You are looking at the pièce de résistance of my secondhand shopping adventures from my last trip to the States. This is one of my favourite things I have ever found in all my many years of haunting secondhand shops and websites. Things like this are the reason I keep going back. I found it in a shop I do not normally frequent, but you can rest assured, now that I have found a hot dog, I will be going back, and often. 

This is a Prada (yes, that Prada) fitted-wool, cap sleeve top. It is fully lined, the wool has a bit of stretch, and it is exquisitely made. There are seams coming out of places I never even knew you could put a seam, yet the top fits perfectly and the overall look is cohesive.  I really like that this top gives a bit of shape to the body by adding just a hint of curve. This top is a testament to the kind of figure-flattery that good design can impart when applied to the human form, which in my case, is shaped a lot like a hot dog….okay…maybe more like a bratwurst...or a kielbasa.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Reviving An Older Handbag

My sister gave me this awesome Botkier handbag that she had found at a secondhand store. I absolutely love the color, but felt that it needed just a bit of an update. Luckily, the bag had the kind of straps that have a clasp on the end and can be changed-out without too much difficulty.  Here is what the bag looked like with the original strap attached. You may remember this photo from this necklace post that I did.

I am really loving that cross-body bags have made a comeback, and decided that this bag would benefit from having a longer, cross-body strap. I chose a heavy chain strap (purchased off of Ebay for around $28), and think that it updates the bag nicely. The bag's existing heavy gold hardware goes perfectly with the chain I selected, and I am enjoying the slightly more "dressed" appearance that the chain strap gives the bag.  Now I just have to resist the urge to do this with all my old bags…

Botkier bag (old), similar / rag and bone jeans / Oscar De La Ranta blazer (thrifted), similar / Gap flats (old), similar

              Shared with: High Latitude Style