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· July 26, 2008 11:36 PM by Blogger Dain
· July 5, 2008 4:18 AM by Blogger Perfumeshrine
· July 8, 2008 11:34 AM by Blogger Colleen Shirazi

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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog: July 2008

The Weekend Blogger: Close a door, open a window
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, July 26, 2008 11:06 PM (Eastern)

Hm, there's nothing quite so magical as the hour of 5, post meridian, on a Friday. Eyes begin to sparkle, steps wax lively; there is harmony of motion, towards the elevators, towards the street, towards mass transit.

So, what have I been up to? There are masses of summer sales going on right now, just when you're being mauled by the exorbitant prices of gas, health care, water (I kid you not; after years of pissing rain around here, our municipal utility district has the nerve to cry "water shortage"), rice ($20 a bag at Costco for the good stuff), oh, what's cheaper to be a cocaine addict than to be an ordinary citizen.

Hence, the extraordinary summer sales. No one has cash to spend, so, logically, retail has to cut prices or else sit on their summer merchandise. Banana Republic, The Gap, J.Crew, Eddie Bauer, Land's End...those are the obvious have prices comparable to those of way crappy stores. Like any other good sales, you have to dig, and the sizes do tend to run from extra small to small, then jump straight to extra extra large, and the white blouses tend to be, in the words of Lloyd Cole (ask your mother)...gone, gone, gone, pretty gone.

I had this cute number in my cart today:

...a bit stunned at finding a nice-looking white top at a good price. It's rayon, not the cotton I was seeking--The Gap has some nice white cotton blouses on sale right now, but not the ones I want in the right sizes--and it is sleeveless, which is okay I suppose.

I had this number in the cart along with some stuff from their 30% off sale. The latter are not clearance items, so all the sizes are there. Plus it's a flat $7 shipping. Plus you can use the same $7 for purchases across The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime.

It's all been a bit of a shock.

Take this yellow dress:

Isn't it nice? I'm talking about for someone who isn't twenty years old. Pima cotton/modal rayon/spandex, machine wash, that sweet detail of tiny ruffles at the hem. It's really pretty darn decent.

I went to Eddie Bauer recently and got this...creamy...pima cotton tank top, with all the details: smaller arm-holes, so you don't get "side boob"; slightly higher neck, wider straps, longer length with these teeny side vents. Lovely light yellow (a killer clothing color for blondes) and a light aquamarine blue--for $10 each. The same price for dreary tank tops at Target, which don't cover bra straps, don't conceal "the vault," straps fall down, et cetera, et cetera.

That's probably it for clothes shopping for me, until cooler weather sets in. What I'd like next entails boots, possibly shoes...more planning involved. I'll likely tap the outlets in Napa for those.

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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July 26, 2008 11:36 PM, Blogger Dain said...

It's $30 more expensive, but down from $443, so a much more designery option: Madame a Paris, elegant and simple and a cool color.

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The Weekend Blogger: Bit o' honey
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, July 18, 2008 11:45 PM (Eastern)

An Earnest Sewn Co.'s invitation to A NEW HIVE

...An art installation inspired by the worldwide en masse disappearance of honeybees
by Derrick R. Cruz of Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons

Proceeds from A NEW HIVE support the establishment of beehives in public gardens, educational programs focusing on the importance of bees and the art of beekeeping, as well as research for the development of sustainable beekeeping practices.

I've often commended the labor of bees (but then I ponder the engineering of spiders). What you see is the honey, and it's simple, and you eat it. But how many bees travelled how many miles to gather nectar from hundreds of flowers, to alchemize said nectar into what you see. I prefer honey to sugar, myself.

What I've been up to...
  • Face. The Zia pressed powder of a few posts back...meh. And I seldom say "meh." If it's not the worst powder I ever tried--and it's not--still I miss my MAC Blot pressed. What's in that stuff, that can't be replicated anywhere else? I've decided to repurchase Blot after all. Not sure what to do with the Zia...I don't like returning used cosmetics even to stores which accept them...but until I update my review...meh.

  • Clothes. Made it out to the City last weekend, to visit both Golden Gate Park and Stonestown Galleria. The park has a certain amount of sentimental value; once, I lived within walking distance of it, and I've seen much of it. It's still good, though they recently decimated the children's playground, replacing funky old swings, merry-go-rounds and see-saws with sterile New Age-y constructions. I don't know what they were thinking, beyond fewer lawsuits, and fewer things for older children to play with, but it's hardly worth going to the playground any more.

    Stow Lake still rocks.

    Stonestown was surprisingly lovely. I got a couple of items--a sky blue hoodie, and an aquamarine blue skirt.

  • Perfume. Still using up samples. I retried Annick Goutal's Les Nuits d'Hadrien EDT, after reading Dain's review of the EDP (I doubt they smell different, particularly, but the Annick Goutal EDT's don't last well).

    I can smell more clearly these days. In Les Nuits... there lies the same exquisite lemon-and-cypress heart of Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien, only prettied up with frills of more traditional perfumery. I haven't smelled Eau d'Hadrien in ages, but there was something geometrical about it, the way they managed to trap sunlight and evoke whitewashed houses, narrow streets, lemon groves, and pretty dark-haired girls, in a scent perfume mavens don't seem to particularly care for lol

    It's a good thing I don't do decants. I think I'd end up with a hundred, easily.

Not much else to add; I may go to a bead show this weekend, although I'm not sure.

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The Weekend Blogger: Happy 4th of July!
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, July 04, 2008 10:04 PM (Eastern)

You'll really like this song.

Now that I've rejoined the 9-to-5 culture, I can admit this holiday has become, well, okay, a paid holiday, yet it is still Independence Day of course, and let it ever remain the magnificent celebration it is.
  • Jewelry. Today we did what we do every year; we went to the Fourth of July Fair. I don't buy readymade jewelry that much anymore, but I always find something at this fair (I have for years). Particularly rings, since these cannot be made without metalworking. People have made lovely rings with wire, and I've made them too, but it's not the same.

    I got a ring of heavy silver set with a rough ruby. I like this style; they also use rough emeralds. By "rough" I mean a fairly low-grade stone, translucent at best, but somehow, I just like it. I also got a spectrolite ring and a blue topaz ring, both for my daughter.

  • More jewelry thoughts. Making jewelry has now become almost too easy. lol! Okay it's not actually easy, but I've become better at it. For one thing, I've gotten accustomed to the idea that even a simple piece of jewelry can take all day, two days, or longer to make.

    And the same piece usually has to be redone several times. Unless you're copying an existing design, there are quite a few variables at play, and no hard and fast rules about anything. You have to go with the materials at hand (I've long given up the romantic notion of having everything you need at hand, because that never happens), so you need to be versatile enough to bend half-hard wire as easily as soft, and use whatever gauges you have.

    Tried my hand today at making post earrings. Not intentionally--I had the idea of making a hammered silver spiral to cover the ear lobe, and hanging something underneath it. I've felt in a rut; most of my earrings are french wires or hoops. I have tried my hand at making kidney wires (and should make more), and have used argentium silver leverbacks, but anyway...I made the spiral, and realized it would never sit right unless it had a post back, rather than the french wire style I had originally.

    It was a matter of cutting the french wire and straightening it, and digging up some earring backs, and getting them to fit the wire (I used a piece of stiff heavy wire to enlarge the earring backs slightly).

    For the spirals, I couldn't use too-heavy wire (this works for necklaces but not for earrings, where you need more delicacy and less weight). But I decided to hang teardrop-shaped hoops from the spirals, and these should be heavy wire. I used 18 gauge but would have been happier with 16 (as I say, you have to use what's at hand, otherwise you'll never make anything, but I have plans to try thicker wire later on).

    It's a sort of...gestalt (I'm envisioning dudes with elbow patches and pipes, bear with me). The spirals would be wrong without the post, or made in heavier wire (or lighter for that matter). The hoops would be wrong without the spirals (I've tried many times to make heavy wire hoops, to no avail). The shape of the hoops can't be too perfect (which would make them appear prefabricated), nor too crude (making them look amateurish, by someone who can't intimately bend wire, with tools including fingernails, mandrels, the handle of the chasing hammer). It's crossed my mind I love nothing so much as working with metal. It's my dream to do metalworking someday (silversmithing is more attractive to me than goldsmithing, though the latter would be more lucrative). It's the sheer physics of it.

  • Face. The Zia pressed powder I bought last It's not as good as MAC Blot pressed powder, for all-day oil blotting goodness. Yet it's not bad enough that I'd toss it and head out to the MAC counter, either. It's a decent pressed powder, better than a Dior one I have in ability to suck up oil. More coverage than MAC Blot pressed (not something I look for in powder though). I got the "Smoky Quartz" shade; it's definitely darker than my MAC Blot "Medium," but then Medium was getting too light anyway. (The "Quartz" shade might be more similar.)

    I'm not likely to repurchase it, but have decided to use it up.

  • Clothes. One of my favorite dress shops bit the dust, just like that.

    I was in the neighborhood and decided to drop in and look around. Cripe! They used to have two solid aisles of dresses, each aisle comprised of stands, each stand with four kinds of dresses...and yet more dresses, further in. All they kept was the aisle bordering the display windows, and this aisle was sparse, buddy, it was sparse. I used to grab ten dresses at a pop to try on, and walk out with two or four. This time there was one that looked nice (sheer layer with a print, over a solid layer of the same print; the interplay was interesting), but I hesitated, as it was similar to dresses I already own. But that's it. One dress in the "tempting to try on" category.

    To replace the dresses, they'd put separates...crappy separates (this shop never had good separates, only good dresses).

I hate to finish on a sour note, but I've run out of things to say.

Have a great holiday!

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Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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July 5, 2008 4:18 AM, Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

Happy 4th to you!

It was very interesting reading about making jewellery: I love the finished product although I haven't much invested in actually trying to replicate. You make it sound fun though :-)
And enjoy your new found little trinkets!

July 8, 2008 11:34 AM, Blogger Colleen Shirazi said...


There's a point where making jewelry becomes insanely fun. As soon as you can make one kind, you want to make something more difficult. It takes time to get where you want to's a long term project...but at least you always have something cool to wear in the meantime. :D

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Beauty Notes: I Like This
Posted by Joy Rothke, 9:44 PM (Eastern)

Saaf Organic Enriching Hair Oil

Saaf is a new product line developed by Dr. Mah Hussain-Gambles, a UK-based homeopath and pharmacologist. Her Hair Oil ($54.95/3.4 oz.) is part of a skin and bodycare line designed to be "Highly Effective, Totally Organic, Utterly Ethical." All products are vegetarian, alcohol-free, non-irradiated, free from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), Halal and Kosher.

The hair oil is represented as being for fine, flyaway hair and split ends, but I found it especially effective on my thick and dry hair. I rub two or three drops between my hands, and apply it to the length of my wet hair. It adds softness, defrizzes and absorbs quickly. Ingredients include Mustard Seed oil, Sesame oil, Neem extract and natural Vitamin E; Rosemary, Bay Leaf and Ylang-Ylang essential oils. While this oil is pricey, it's quite concentrated, and I'd estimate my bottle will last at least a year.

Beautorium, a new online beauty boutique, is the exclusive US distributor for Saaf. They also sell a variety of hard-to-find, organic, international products--and offer wonderful customer service.

Parissa Natural Hair Removal Systems

Waxing isn't fun, but Parissa's Express Wax Strips ($9) are easy to use, virtually painless and get the job done.

The Express strips are designed for face and bikini; I've only used them on my face. Each box includes eight double-sided wax strips and a vial of azulene oil. You separate the strips, press against your upper lip chin or brow line, and pull off. Each strip can be reused several times to get rid of any errant hairs, and any wax left on your face can be easily removed with the azulene oil. It's fast and takes little to no expertise.

Parissa also sells a variety of other waxing systems for the rest of your body.

Lily Gulch Soaps

Until I discovered artisan soapmakers like Lily Gulch, I hadn't used bar soap in at least 15 years, finding it poison to my dry skin. Of course, the only bar soap I'd ever used was the junk from the supermarket or so-called "glycerine" bars I bought at various places. I didn't know that those soaps weren't soaps at all, but detergents. I just knew they didn't work, and I stuck to gels.

Lily Gulch has been producing old-fashioned, handmade, cold process soap in Evergreen, Colorado since 1995. They sell dozens of scented and unscented bars, and I've been testing their best-selling almond soap ($5.50/4.5 oz.) for the past couple of weeks. Tucked into my Soap Cinch, I'm enjoying the subtle almond fragrance as well as the fact it cleans well without leaving my skin dry and parched.

The Soap Cinch

I refuse to keep my artisan soap in a soap dish, unless I'm interested in washing with a slimy, melting mess. Soap Cinch ($6.85) has come up with a new take on a soap keeper. It's a hemp bag that holds most sizes of bar soap and doubles as a washcloth/exfoliator. There's an elastic tab at the bottom that allows you to connect two or more Soap Cinches to form a back scrubber.

Supracor Stimulite Bath Mitt

The first time you see the Supracor Stimulite Bath Mitt, it looks like it's made of some sort of bubble wrap, but it's actually a proprietary material called Stimulite® Honeycomb. It's available in a variety of lifestyle and medical products, including bath mitts and facial sponges.

Stimulite® is naturally anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. You can use the Bath Mitt ($32) wet with soap or shower gel for cleansing, or for dry brushing of your skin to encourage cell turnover and lymph system stimulation.

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