Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Features Clothing Co

Please go check out my son Spencer's new clothing company "Features Clothing Co" - he launched his first collection today!  All the caps in his line are made here in the US.

We're all so proud of him, lots of wonderful things are happening this year!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Purchase a Suitable Wedding Ensemble: Achievement Unlocked

First off to answer J's question about a date:  There is no date yet.  There is one very important thing that needs to happen before we can set a date- Honey needs to get his K-1 Fiance visa.  We're gathering all the information, filling out all the forms and so on and so forth and plan to petition for it soon.  I'm not going to detail everything that we're doing, but I will keep you all posted on highlights.  I'm not even going to hazard a guess at a time frame as you never know what happens with these sort of things until they happen.

The most important thing that needs to happen when Honey receives his visa is that we have to marry within 90 days of him entering the US with it.  When it does happen, the wedding will go down as quickly as possible because there are a boatload of other things that need to go down immediately after the wedding too.  Because of this, I am trying very hard to get as much of the "little stuff" out of the way as soon as possible so that when we do get notice of the visa, we can move quickly on the more important things like venues, flights, and getting family and friends from all over to the wedding.  To simplify things as much as possible, we're having a very small wedding.

So far, we have the wedding rings.  Priorities, priorities - with those and a license, we can run off to the court house if we need to do that.  I think our collective families would kill us though.

Anyway, back on topic now please.  The most important of the "little stuff" for me personally is having something nice to wear.  I have never had an easy time buying clothes for my shape.  My torso is rather potato shaped so it is usually hard to find things that not only fit, but are comfortable and don't look like, well, a potato sack.

Side Bar! 
I know what I like and I know what "used" to look good on me when I had a shape way back in the day a few years before I got pregnant.  Fitted bodice, fitted skirt.  Once upon a time, I had a true hourglass figure for about 2 years.  In my mind, I still see myself with that hourglass figure.  But that was 20 years ago and now age, perimenopause, sloth and so on and so forth has perpetuated the spud look I sport now.  I had to reign in the fantasy and think of what I could actually wear with my current shape.  I decided to look for something with just a tiny bit of shaping to keep it from looking like a fancy sack.

Yesterday Antonella, Spencer and I met up in the City to spend the day shopping for dresses.  I was set for a rather trying day.  Quite honestly, I expected to be reduced to tears in a dressing room somewhere by the time the day was over.  Much to my surprise, we were very successful very quickly.

Bam!  The third dress tried on at Macy's (the first store we went into) was purchased.

Bam!  The shoes bought at DSW match the dress perfectly.

Just for the record, that has NEVER happened to me. EVER!!!!  Here's the way it usually goes down when I need to find something "nice" to wear.  Go to every store in town, try on everything in my size, go home empty handed.  Cry myself to sleep and whine that I'll never find anything.  Repeat several times until finally it is the day before the event (sometimes a few hours before the event), try on something that mostly fits, buy the damn thing and be extremely uncomfortable the entire time wondering if I took off all the tags and hoping no one will notice that it really shouldn't be a maxi-dress but I didn't have time to hem it up and I hope the safety pins keeping the v-neck from revealing all can't be seen.

Anyway, we were done by about 2:30 pm and we went off in search of iced tea and to sit and chat and relax while I pinched myself over and over because I could NOT believe I already had a dress that I LOVED and shoes that I LOVED and both of which FIT and were comfortable - and within budget.  No more nightmares that I would be wearing a new t-shirt from Old Navy and a new pair of jeans while my Honey was in a suit.

All I will say here about my dress is what my Honey is allowed to know so he can get a coordinating tie.  It's silver.  He says he's getting a silver tie to wear with his dark grey suit.  He'll look awesome, and for once, so will I because I'll be COMFORTABLE.

The best part of my ensemble is that I can lose weight, gain a pound or two, or even bloat up like a balloon and the dress will still fit.  In other words, I can continue on like I have been for awhile now and I'll still be able to wear my dress.  It has just enough shaping to NOT look like a potato sack, but enough ease to cover my potato torso.  Oh, and there is a very lovely, very light jacket that hides a multitude of sins.  If by some miracle I actually manage to lose weight, a tailor can still take in a bit here and there and it won't detract from the original shape of the dress.  On anyone taller, it would hit at the knee, but because I am short and wide and needed to get a larger size, it comes down to about mid-calf on me.  I don't mind it, so it will not be taken up.

I can now concentrate the dress energy back towards hair and makeup.  Lord knows that needs a LOT more work and I still need to find a good lipstick.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


So I promised this past week that I would start practicing with the makeup this weekend.

Well, I did.  Let me tell you, if you want to make yourself feel like you have no coordination at all, start wearing makeup when you are 49.  I usually don't have much coordination lately anyway, but this really pushed me over the edge.  I think this task is worse than me trying to use a blow dryer and a brush.

It didn't help that I can't see a thing without my reading glasses.  I was fine putting on the powder bits around my face but when it came time for my eyes.  Yikes.

I put a bit more stuff on one side of my face than the other, but I'll get better with practice.  The eyeliner came out a bit too thick and I believe I got carried away with the under eye concealer/brightener stuff, but oh well.  The eye shadow didn't look right either.

And that is EXACTLY why I'm doing all this now and why I specifically went to a counter and had someone do it for me and then show me how to do it.  I needed a LOT of help and I need all the time I can get in order to get this all down.

I could actually just have someone "do it for me" on the day of the ceremony, but that's not what I want.  I don't want to feel like I have theatrical makeup on... I've been to a LOT of weddings in my time and I didn't like what I saw...I mean the brides were absolutely beautiful and flawless, but it all seemed a bit thick on them.  I don't know, I just don't want that for me.  What I do want is a natural look on the day, and still be able to use that on any other day before or after the wedding as well.  I'm not looking at this as a one time thing.  Once the hot flashes stop, I may be able to do a bit less, but this seems to be good for me at the moment.

While I had my hair pulled back during my practice session last night, I noticed that there needs to be some coloring going on here sooner rather than later.  I checked my calendar and have a reminder set on Wednesday night to do just that, but I might need to bump it up to Monday night.  I'll call my stylist in the morning and see if she can fit me in after work...hahaha.

I promise that all my blog posts won't be just about wedding prep stuff.  I have other things I want to write about too - I have some finished objects to post!  All this wedding prep stuff is letting me see a different way to be a woman though and to me that is very interesting.  Some of it I like, some of it I don't, but will do it for the wedding, and it's all just damn awkward because I'm not used to doing any of it.  Most of it I'll keep in my arsenal of knowledge for when the time comes that I need to get all fancied up.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

My Fair Hair and Nails

Well now.  A woman's hair.  Speaking from my own experience, I have always had a love/hate relationship with my hair.  Some days I LOVE it, some days I absolutely HATE it so much that I threaten to shave it all off.  Yes I have threatened it, no, I have never pulled a Brittany Spears.

OK, so now on to what I have been doing with it lately.

As many of you may have realized, I am starting "the Change".  For those readers who have no flippin' idea what the heck that means, I have started down the road to menopause.  The official term right now for my 'condition' is perimenopause.  Which could probably supply enough material for a whole other blog.  Or two or three.

Anyway... Menopause, hormones, and all the crap that goes along with it really messes up things.  Mainly - everything.

One of the more obvious things is the damn hot flashes.  They have been going on for over a year now and seem to intensify as the months roll on.  It has NOT been fun.

The other obvious thing is my poor hair.  First of all, I color my hair. That alone stresses out the tresses.  I use an ammonia-free hair color  that comes with an awesome after-color conditioner to minimize the stress as much as I can and I love it.  My grey hairs turn a bit reddish in the sunlight - it is a cool effect.  The brown is just a shade lighter than my natural color and the grey is gone, what more could I ask.  And yes, I do it myself.  It is not easy lately, but Honey promises to help once he moves over here.  Just one of the many reasons I love that man.  (Hi Honey!)

The thing MOST stressing out my hair is the hormonal fluctuations and the hot flashes.  My hair has run circuit of dried out to straw-like strands,  then not held color, then frizzed out, then gone stick straight (my hair is naturally curly), then been uber greasy.  My poor defenseless hairs have been there, done it all.

It got so bad at the beginning of last summer that I stopped coloring my hair and got a super short cut.  My hair needed a break.   I also started taking a supplement specifically for hair, skin, and nails.  I suffered through way-too-grey hair for a few months until I couldn't take it any more.  I was terrified to color it again, but I eventually did.  I also kept it short for a while longer to give my hair a chance to absorb all the stuff in the supplement and get strong again. The short cut really helped during the hot mess that was my summer.  Hot flashes and hot summer temperatures do NOT equal a fun time.

The supplement works great for me.  Not only did my hair grow faster, it seemed 'stronger', I stopped losing so much of it, the small bare spots that were starting to form filled in, my nails grew faster and got stronger and my skin sort of evened itself out.  My nails had always been healthy, but when all this meno crap started, they got weaker and split.  I also never had issues with dry skin all that much, just in winter.  Now I was having very nasty dry patches in the middle of summer - in random areas all over my body.

Anyway, it took a long time (months even) to notice most of the changes that resulted from adding the supplement to my daily vitamins, but change things it did.  Some people don't see any changes at all, others see changes immediately, some people it takes a while.

I am just happy it is helping.

OK, stop blabbering and bottom line it already.

Hair Bottom Line:  I am growing it out again.  I get regular trims so it keeps as good a shape as it can and I color it regularly followed by that great conditioning treatment after.

Nails Bottom Line: I occasionally trim, shape, and buff them.  I like keeping them natural, they are a very healthy pink with rather whitish tips.  When they are buffed, they have a natural "french" manicured look.  I have some cuticle specific cream I occasionally put on when I remember, but my nails really don't take much work.  It's the same with my toenails.  Easy as pie, and I've always treated both this way all of my adult life.

But what is going to be happening with the hair and the nails for the wedding?!?

Nails:  Want to keep the hands natural.  I have problems keeping a manicure looking good more than an hour, so going to keep it simple with a clear coat or two and let their naturalness shine through.  Toes will be done in a neutral polish.  I love to have a bright color on my toes most of the year, but will do something simple for the wedding.

Hair:  Not quite sure what I'm going to do with it style-wise yet.  I do know that it will be colored Medium Golden Brown. hahaha  I'm just going to keep letting it grow and once we get closer to actually knowing when things will happen, then I will start my PANIC about what to do with it for the wedding.

Next up, things I have been learning and looking at as far as dresses and accessories go.  And that is all we'll do is talk.  Or rather I will talk.  Honey can't see any of it so I will talk you all to tears. :) 

Bet you can't wait to get into my head and see what is going on in there concerning dresses and stuff.  Don't say I didn't warn you, but it can be a scattered, chaotic, dillusional place.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

What is the "My Fair Lady" label all about anyway?

It is quite simple.

I am getting married soon.

I am not going to get married in an Old Navy t-shirt and jeans with uneven skin and wild 'n crazy hair.

Enter "My Fair Lady".  You can follow along with me as I go from jeans and gym shoes to a fancy dress and heels.  All that is missing is a flower stand...

So...what have I been up to?

First we need to see what needs to be done for this major transformation: hair, makeup/skin, clothing, shoes, accessories.  What a coincidence that all this is what brides usually obsess about...  The only difference in this case is that I don't usually give a rat's patooty about any of it, so I am starting from scratch.

OK, now for what has been done.

Ummmmmmmmm.... I bought makeup and I look at it every day sitting on my dresser.  That is about how far I've gotten. I haven't even broken the seals on any of the containers yet.  Sigh.  I will start practicing how to put it all on this weekend, I promise.  I have the makeup, I have the notes on how to apply it and what goes where first and so on...and most importantly I have my new friend at Bare Minerals on speed dial.  I just need to lock myself in the bathroom and go for it every weekend.  Putting makeup on before I leave for work just will NOT happen - I'm not going to get up any earlier than 6am - so nights and weekends are it.

All that is left for the makeup portion of the transformation is practice - and a good moisturizing lipstick.  I didn't like the formula from Bare Minerals.  Anyone have any ideas?  When I have a hot flash, my lips go dry.  I mean DRY.  I'm not into shiny lip gloss or sparkly stuff, just a nice creamy, matte moisturizing lipstick.  I need something that won't crack off my lips when all the moisture gets sucked out of them.

Now for skin.  My skin is in pretty darn good shape, thanks to some good genes handed down by Mom and protecting myself in the sun.  I'm not worried too much about wrinkles - lucky me, I hardly have any at all.  Again, THANKS MOM!  The only thing that bothers me is my uneven skin tone and large pores.  Combine that with the occasional red or purple splotches during a hot flash and well, there you go.  YIKES!  I have been using Boots No. 7 (I get mine at Target) intense face and eye serums and night cream ever since I went for my first visit to England to see Honey.  I had asked him to ask round to see what was the best skin care line for lines/wrinkles/aging and the answer was Boots brand.  I couldn't afford any of it direct from there, but when they came out with a formulation for the States, by golly I jumped on it and have been using it off and on (mostly off to be honest) ever since Target first put it on the shelves.  I had tried other products in between, but they were too expensive once the trial sizes were gone to continue.  Boots No. 7 works just as well as the others and is very budget friendly - as long as you don't buy EVERYTHING they have of course.

My beauty "regimen" for face - every morning and every night:
  1. Wet textured towel with very warm, but not hot water.  Hold on face a few seconds, wipe face and neck.  Rinse towel and repeat as many times as you need.  I usually "wash" twice, rinse the towel really well one last time and leave it on my face a bit.  The warmth feels sooooo good after a long day.  I have not used soap on my face for a very long time.  As a result, my skin is soft and I very rarely break out.  My face gets clean without the harsh soap or chemicals.  Imagine that.
  2. Apply eye serum, being careful to not pull the skin, it is especially delicate in the eye area.  I put a tiny bit of the serum on my ring fingers and gently dab it round my eyes until it is absorbed.
  3. Apply face serum using recommended amount in an upwards motion.  I heard once that putting on creams and lotions in an upward motion gives your skin a bit of a lift.  Does it work?  Don't  know, but it feels good.  Also apply some to your neck and decollete, don't forget to use the upward motion thing.  You get wrinkles there too (and everyone sees that every day just like your face), so why not?
  4. Apply small amount of the face cream all over face, neck and decollete.  Yes, I do actually use the "night cream" in the morning AND at night.  Nothing says you can't.
Skin Care Bottom Line:
Very simple regimen and it only takes a few minutes.  My skin is smoothing out, I can see a bit of a difference in my pore size and my skin tone is beginning to change for the better too.  It is amazing what a little extra attention to yourself will do, isn't it?

Back to makeup for a bit now.  I chose the Bare Minerals makeup because I like a 'natural' look and I didn't want to cake layer upon layer of this that and the other thing onto my skin.  I do however want pretty, natural looking, even skin with a glow that is not PURPLE when I have a hot flash.  The mineral powders are light, my skin doesn't feel clogged, and the coverage is amazing considering the VERY tiny amount of product you actually use.  Most importantly, the coverage is SO good, that I had a hot flash while I was there and the only reason you could actually notice is because my ears were BRIGHT red.  Going to have to do something about that for the wedding I think...

Makeup Bottom Line:
Don't go buying willy nilly all over the place.  Doesn't matter that you can return makeup you don't like at CVS and so on.  Take the time to visit an actual makeup counter of a line you are interested in - or ALL of them if you want!  I found the experience relaxing, eye opening, and a good way to spend some time either with a friend or just yourself.  There was no pressure to buy at that moment either.  If you are older, make sure the young person (most of them are VERY young)  behind the counter understands your needs as someone who is most likely old enough to be their mother.  Skin needs and coverage change, sometimes daily for those of us experiencing "the change".

Next up: Hair and Nails.