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Life of Colleen: October 2008

Posts This Month
·· Happy Friday! Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
·· Dr. Hauschka shampoo review: Nasturtium and Lemon, part 1
·· Cydwoq meanderings
·· P.S. An interview with Cydwoq founder Rafi Balouzian
·· Skinbotanica.com order arrives
·· A warning about Avalon Organics Lavender shampoo
·· Wardrobe meanderings
·· Teeshirt meanderings
·· Quote of the day
·· My skinbotanica.com order
·· Jes MaHarry earrings
·· Internet: Blogs of the day
·· Sundance Catalog Corte Madera store and skirts reviews
·· Sundance Carnegie Skirt part 2
·· Posted in my beading blog...
·· On finding the right lipstick, and Dr. Hauschka lipstick review (#09 Dolce)
·· It's pretty funny
·· Sundance b & m store is open, and henley review
·· Wardrobe meanderings part 4
·· Happy Friday!: Patsy Cline
·· Wardrobe: Cardigans
·· Wardrobe: White Shirts!
·· Wardrobe: Rack solutions
·· Wardrobe meanderings part 3
·· Wardrobe meanderings part 2
·· Wardrobe meanderings part 1
·· Happy Friday!: Bobby Darin
·· Pursebuzz reviews Nars eyeshadows
·· Internet: Shoetube!

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Happy Friday! Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-31 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

A Message to You, Rudy

I, ah, wore a porkpie hat back in the day. lol This was a Specials song, not a Clash song.

I Fought the Law

"I Fought the Law" is a much-covered song originally recorded by Sonny Curtis and The Crickets (post Buddy Holly) in 1959. The song was famously covered by Bobby Fuller Four, who recorded a more successful version of the song in 1965, and by The Clash, who recorded a punk rock version in 1978. (From Wikipedia)

Shaktar Donetsk

Thought I'd throw a new one in there. :)

White Man in Hammersmith Palais

Midnight to six man
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and Leroy Smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator

Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae
With backing bands sound systems
And if they've got anything to say
There's many black ears here to listen

But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right
Charging from the bass knives to the treble
But onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel
Onstage they ain't got no...roots rock rebel

Dress back jump back this is a bluebeat attack
Cos it won't get you anywhere
Fooling with your guns
The British Army is waiting out there
And it weighs fifteen hundred tons

White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution

Punk rockers in the UK
They won't notice anyway
They're all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha you think it's funny
Turning rebellion into money

All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They'd send a limousine anyway

I'm the all night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
I'm the white man in the Palais
Just lookin' for fun

I'm only
Looking for fun

Many more here: Aristotlekh

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Dr. Hauschka shampoo review: Nasturtium and Lemon, part 1
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-30 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

dr. hauschka nasturtium and lemon shampoo

Day One.

First sniff: health food store. The faintly sweet, herbal-y, mysterious scent of all health food stores, from Charlottesville to Berkeley.

Commenced to use it...like most non-sulfate shampoos, you don't get tons of lather. There's a trick to it; you mix the shampoo with a bit of water, on your hair, to get it going. But don't use too much shampoo in order to get more bubbles; the usual amount is fine. This stuff produces a denser, almost creamy lather instead of the foamy airy sort.

Nasturtium & Lemon began to smell rather soapy, more than herbal or lemony. Quite pleasant; perhaps a bit more utilitarian than mind-blowing.

Hair: easy comb-out (I use a separate conditioner on ends, but hair wasn't stripped), and fluffy when dried. I didn't jump to conclusions, since switching shampoos usually produces fluffy hair at first anyway.

Scalp: seems less irritated and itchy, actually. I didn't expect it to immediately work 100%, for the same reason I don't expect good skincare to work 100% right away. It's usually a sign the product is too harsh--you get instant results and believe the product is working, but it's really screwing up your skin over the long run.

Day Two.

Yup--classic eau de health food store. Today Nasturtium & Lemon seems to have worked even better.

I've had this itchy, irritated scalp for a long time actually. Before, I used to get it only in winter, and speculated whether it was caused by indoor heating drying out my scalp (I get dry itchy skin in winter in general).

This year, irritated scalp seems to have expanded into a four-season issue. It appears to flare up when I've spent long periods of time indoors, i.e., no sun on hair...which would also explain the winter flare-ups, since I tend to remain indoors in cold weather.

Research on the Net netted the usual skin-problem gibberish: no cure, no information as to the cause of the problem, and a recommendation to use mainstream medicated products. Since I already went through all of this with my adult acne, I don't have much faith in this type of advice.

I'll post an update when I've used it more.

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Cydwoq meanderings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-29 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

cydwoq concert

I still need to buy my Cydwoqs. mumbles...

It's not the price that bothers me. I hardly ever buy shoes. The idea of purchasing a pair of shoes that will last year after year after year, pleases my cheapskate heart no end.

What cheeses me is finding places to try them on. There are stores around here that carry them...I tried Rabat of Berkeley and they had only Carry and the Command ankle boot. I didn't dare try on Command, because I knew I would want it, and it's probably not the most practical color (grey-green)--in this matter I insist on being annoyingly practical--I want dark shoes, don't wish to fret over every little scuff. Their Carry was nice--black, with a green "tear"--but (fortunately?) they didn't have it in my size.

It's not that I didn't like Carry; it looked great on me...I just want to be able to try on more options. Having choices is extremely important to consumers, as it is in life in general.

There is Bulo Shoes in the City. It's a hassle for me getting there...I don't live in the City anymore, don't miss it either...yet...what if they have tons of Cydwoqs? hmmm?

image courtesy www.buloshoes.com

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P.S. An interview with Cydwoq founder Rafi Balouzian
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-28 at 10:05 PM (Pacific)

FN News - Arts & Crafts

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Skinbotanica.com order arrives
posted by Colleen Shirazi at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

dr. hauschka #09 dolce lipstick

That was fast! Everything was to spec: the Dr. Hauschka #09 lipsticks and their Macadamia & Orange shampoo, and Nasturtium & Lemon shampoo. They chunked in two samples as well: La Roche-Posay Nutritic Ultra-Fine Cream and Dermalogica oil control lotion (clearing--presumably the same as the "Clearing Mattifier" on the site).

When I was registering my account, they did ask what skin type/problems I had, and carelessly I declined to fill it out. Bleh? Better to fill it out next time.

Anyhow, quite pleased. I'll review the shampoos later on when I try them.

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A warning about Avalon Organics Lavender shampoo
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-27 at 1:30 PM (Pacific)

avalon organics lavender shampoo

Don't use this shampoo if you're going anywhere directly afterwards--while your hair still smells strongly of lavender--that has honeybees.

Yesterday I went out in the back yard right after washing my hair (I don't blow dry), and a honeybee landed on my head and wouldn't go away! I thought it was attacking me, and I killed it. I'm afraid to have aggressive insects in the yard because they might attack my kids.

Poor bee. It was attracted to the smell of my hair (honeybees adore lavender). I feel terrible. Hopefully someone can learn from my experience.

image courtesy vitacost.com


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Wardrobe meanderings
posted by Colleen Shirazi at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

sundance catalog skirts

Listening to: Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Blitzkrieg Bop (This song is cute with an English accent.)

Okay, so I finally got my fall/winter skirts. I just took the olive velveteen one out in fact, to look at (it's not cold enough to wear it yet). It's beautiful. In natural light, it morphed back to olive-dusted brown (had appeared greener in the shop).

The genius of this skirt is that it can be washed at home. That's one thing that struck me when I discovered J.Jill (the skirts are from Sundance Catalog, I'm just saying): the genius of J.Jill is that most of the items can be machine, or sometimes hand, washed. Granted you take a cut in fanciness. But, unless you're independently wealthy or are paying someone to take care of your clothes, time and money are key factors in building your wardrobe. I don't care to be either, so hey...

The only other fall/winter skirt I've been tempted by is from J.Jill in fact, but it's insanely difficult to find. I've never seen it in the b & m stores. It was on the website briefly before vanishing; I've spotted it in two print catalogs. It's a sort of grey herringbone gored skirt. Eh. I'm not in a rush.

What I really need now are shoes and boots. Those I want to spend money on, so I'm really not in a rush here. There are now many relatively inexpensive, comfortable-looking, decent-looking shoes about. And I could get those. But I've never been into owning a variety of shoes. What I like is owning one or two pairs of shoes that I'm totally crazy about. The shoe has to exist in a vacuum; it has to coordinate with my clothes, of course, but for me it's not a matter of matching particular shoes to particular outfits, if that makes any sense.

My next pair of shoes will have been made in the U.S. I decided that long ago.

I'm frantically in search of a sale or coupon code lol

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Teeshirt meanderings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-26 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

ll bean supima cotton tee shirts

My tee shirts are wearing out, slowly but surely.

Last time I bought, I tried the Mossimo tees at Target (which now, apparently, go by Mossimos "Black" and "Red"). Not bad, actually, but not "it." My ideal tee shirt lasts years, several at least, without looking ratty. The lifespan of a Mossimo tee is about a year, certainly less than two. For the price, they last as well as you could reasonably expect, but I'd rather pay more and not have to replace as frequently.

Decided to try L.L. Bean's Supima cotton tees. It was either those or Land's End Supimas, and Bean has better and more colors, plus boatneck, turtleneck, and stand-up neck styles, all rendered in cuddly Supima cotton knit. (Still debating whether a stand-up neck looks a bit silly, as if you didn't have quite enough fabric to make a real turtleneck.)

In Land's End's favor, they carry Supima sweaters--cardigan, boatneck, turtleneck, etc.--which Bean does not. But let's talk tees for now.

I've never been big on colored tee shirts per se. My concern for hue selection has more to do with the turtlenecks, and styles other than your basic short sleeved tee. I end up reaching for a plain white or black tee more often than not.

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Quote of the day
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-25 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy.

--Spike Milligan, courtesy Wikiquote


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My skinbotanica.com order
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-24 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

dr. hauschka lipsticks
#01 Amoroso, #09 Dolce

Several days ago, I ran out of my Dr. Hauschka #09 Dolce lipstick. Research showed that tube was purchased May 27, less than five months ago (okay, it was a matter of pulling up an old blogger post).

Given the lifespan of this lipstick, logic dictated the purchase of two tubes at a pop, not one. No longer a casual endeavor, not to be done in haste. I decided to try replacing #09 online, in hopes of a better price.

Enter...my own blog. :D My Internet label is a "bookmarks" tag, to keep track of potentially useful sites. I'd posted earlier about a sale code for a site carrying Dr. Hauschka products, namely SkinBotanica.com, so I checked there to see if they had the Hauschka lipsticks (which aren't that hard to find anymore; drugstore.com carries them too).

SkinBotanica is not a small site. They feature a slew of "natural" brands besides Hauschka--John Masters Organics, Jane Iredale, NVEY Eco, REN, Eminence, Juice Beauty, many more...

And it's linked to two other sites, Skin Care Rx and AnneMichele.com. (The Banana Republic-Gap-Old Navy-Piperlime concept, where you put everything into one cart with one flat shipping fee.)

I realize this post smells like a spam sandwich right about now, but I'm not affiliated with SkinBotanica, and would certainly say so if I were.

Skin Care Rx carries La Roche-Posay, ah, a bunch of other skincare brands...I'm not into topical skincare much, but there are quite a few if you are.

AnneMichele.com carries Jurlique, Etro, Annick Goutal, Laura Tonatto, Zents, Nuxe, bunch o' other brands.

What's sweet: free shipping on $49 orders, and I found a coupon code for 20% off both SkinBotanica and Skin Care Rx (didn't seem to work for AnneMichele products, but worth a shot):


They deducted the coupon before calculating shipping, so I had to throw in extra product to avoid paying shipping (don't laugh--adding the last item made the total smaller).

I decided to try two Hauschka shampoos, on the reasoning: a.) They're actually not that expensive--$13 for 8 oz.; b.) "Washing hair" is two separate entities: washing hair and washing scalp. My scalp has been irritated lately, and I'm wondering if the Hauschka shampoos are as good for problem scalp as their skincare has been for problem skin.

I have contemplated trying Nizoral in fact, but years of adult acne make me leery of harsh chemical treatments for skin problems. They don't work for acne, that's for sure; the tendency is either "works at first, then stops working" or "works by destroying your skin." The better way is long-term, gentle products with boatloads of research behind them.

So, let's see how these guys are! I already got the two shampoos for $8.72.

(42 * 1.0875) vs. (42 + 26) * (0.8)

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Jes MaHarry earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-23 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

sundance catalog spirit hoop earrings
sundance catalog save the ice caps earrings

I saw both of these when I visited the Sundance store in Corte Madera last weekend. The images don't do either pair justice, particularly the pearl set, which looks almost ordinary online.

In person, the pearls are quite large and more oval or oblong than round, while the solid gold hoops glow above, carefully hammered and worked into thickish arcs o' gold. That's the kind of work I want to do; it's my ideal interpretation of metal. The earrings have just enough "roughness" to show they were made individually, yet they're smooth and deftly formed...just enough breadth to show gold, yet versatile enough to wear with just about anything.

From the site: Jes MaHarry will donate 10% of proceeds from each purchase to combat global warming.

The top pair also struck me as glowing of gold...they're daintier than the pearls (and more affordable).

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Internet: Blogs of the day
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-21 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

I stumbled across these charming blogs whilst googling for folks writing about the Sundance catalog.

Rural Fashion: An homage to women who live down dirt roads but dress for 5th Avenue.

From its arresting cover image (corn!) to text from a random post: "A message for Jonathan Saunders for Target: The 90s called. They want their clothes back." to the sagacity of Murphy's Law of Fashion--it's all-around fashion blogging goodness.


A fellow Southern expat (don't you loathe that word? is "expatriate" that long?)...

"Let me remind you that I hail from the great land of North Carolina. Gun toting Republican land. Confederate flag waving land. And I'm filling out my vote on a bubble sheet in pencil?!"

...yep, she's a real Southerner. This is, as the name suggests, a design blog, filled with original slants.

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Sundance Catalog Corte Madera store and skirts reviews
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-20 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

I journeyed to the Sundance store at Corte Madera this weekend. Actually it's not that far, and I'm beginning to warm to the Corte Madera mall itself. Yesterday I sighted a buffed security guard with a bicycle in the parking lot. I felt gratified, not only because he was buffed and had a bicycle, but because of the visible security.

There's a tower where you can climb up (endless, at my age) flights of steps--to a spectacular 360-degree view of azure sky, sparkling Bay, rangy Richmond Bridge, and dark hills.

The Sundance store itself is lovely. Friendly service, no pressure to buy. They don't have the full range of online items, but that's to be expected; they did have the skirts I'd come for, to whit:

sundance carnegie skirt
sundance carnegie skirt

I'm including both images because the skirt is a cross between the pure green-olive of the upper one, and the olive-dusted brown of the lower. Basically it's an olive green skirt with a brown undertone. The construction...I can admit I was hoping it would be lined, which it isn't, but the construction seems sound. The cut is forgiving for middle aged figures. And the fabric is as soft as you'd imagine.

The red version of the skirt was quite orange. On the site it appears strong red with an orange tone, but I feel it's almost as much orange as it is red.

The sizes for this run a tad large; you might go a size smaller. The 8 fit me, where on the chart I would have dithered between 10 and 12.

I also tried the corduroy one, which is currently on sale:

sundance long-lined corduroy skirt

The green was of more interest to me than the deep chocolate brown or the butternutty golden brown one. The green was a fantastic blend of celadon and grey, with a subtle hint of blue...sighs. It really would go with just about any top or sweater in my 'drobe. But it just wasn't right.

It was long, as described. I'm 5'5" and on me, this was officially a long skirt. Not sloppy-long, but the right length for someone that height seeking a long skirt. I wouldn't recommend it to someone much shorter than that. (I don't wear heels, which could be a mitigating factor.)

The fabric feels washed, totally flexible, with none of the stiffness corduroy is prone to--so color, fabric and price are good.

The cut though, imo you need a nice butt to fill it out, otherwise you look as straight as a ruler. If you've got the butt for it, you might want to try it. I was afraid it would be too casual, what with the back pockets and front buttons, but it isn't. The fabric and colors are nice enough to make it office-appropriate, at least for a business casual workplace. If you wore a sweater with it, in fact, you wouldn't see either anyway.

The sizes are truer here and the 10 fit me.

They had the black and espresso brown versions of this one (they might have had the olive green, but I didn't catch it):

sundance nightfall cargo skirt

Argh? I'm too old for this length of skirt. It's too bad; I love the idea of practical cargo pockets paired with lush cotton velveteen, and the shades offered were useful.

I didn't bother trying it on, because of the length...these aren't inexpensive clothes, so "almost right" won't do it.

Finally, this:

sundance twill skirt

This isn't as green as in the image; it's as much grey, if not slightly greyer than green. The twill isn't thick and stiff as I'd feared, but rather thinner and soft. I hesitated some and didn't buy it Saturday, because I wondered if it wasn't too casual for the office. I wouldn't pay this price for a casual-only skirt. But it bothered me all night that I hadn't gotten it. I checked the site and saw only sizes 4 and 16 remaining (in this I need a 10).

Its charm lies in the godets...I barely recalled what a godet was and had to look it up, but it's the triangular piece of cloth sewn in at the bottom of the skirt. It's different from a gore, which is a tapered piece of cloth rather than a triangle; many skirts are gored, including this one, but godets aren't as frequently used.

Here it all just looks engineered, and the cut is flattering and even subtly sexy (at least it is if you're an engineer lol ). Grey is one of the more ideal neutrals: not harsh like black, easier to maintain than white, a bit more versatile than brown, more formal-looking than khaki.

I ended up getting the Carnegie skirt on Saturday and the Twill on Sunday. Which concludes my fall/winter skirt shopping, at least in this price range--hopefully for some years.

It's more money than I'd normally drop, but these are not impulsive purchases. Cheapskates seldom impulse-buy, and will spend money only if they think it means spending less in the long run.

I didn't buy wool skirts--much as I crave a stylin' wool plaid skirt--because the weather here is temperate enough to make wool moths an issue, as well as negate the actual need for wool skirts.

Machine washability is key; the cost of drycleaning should be factored into the cost of the item, and most wool is dryclean only. I went out of my way to find office-friendly clothing I could wash myself.

And, I feel a skirt should be special. If you have a suit job, it makes sense to regard skirts the same as pants: "I need a pencil skirt" or "I need a black skirt"--and then buy the best-quality one you can afford. But non-suit skirts are parallel to dresses, in personality and individuality.

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Sundance Carnegie Skirt part 2
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-18 at 12:02 PM (Pacific)

sundance carnegie skirt

Just a quick note here...the "brown" skirt I'd posted about earlier turns out to be, ah, much greener than originally depicted.

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Posted in my beading blog...
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-17 at 10:07 PM (Pacific)

I've been a bit busy lately, but I do have a post in Beading Blog - thebroadroom.net.


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On finding the right lipstick, and Dr. Hauschka lipstick review (#09 Dolce)
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-15 at 6:23 PM (Pacific)

dr. hauschka #09 dolce lipstick
dr. hauschka #09 dolce lipstick
"Same roof, different climates."

It took me years to find a lipstick I cared to use up and repurchase. To be fair, lipstick has a mess o' variables, beyond the obvious shade (which itself can appear very different depending on the natural color of your lips and skin). Factors include texture, taste, scent, lasting power, versatility, transfer, tendency to bleed, moisturizing properties, packaging, price and availability, and--seldom mentioned but quite key--how well this lipstick suits your personality.

In the art of lipstick-seeking, the Indian makeup blogs deserve mention. They seem to fully appreciate the toil of choosing the right lipstick--and the rewards in doing so.

A gem mined from a quick google on "indian lipstick blog":

The Indian Make-up Diva: Besame Noir Red: Deep, Dark Red Lipstick

Is it killer or what?--lipstick, photo, and clarity of prose. It's a rather general search, to pull up something completely useful.

And a quote which has lingered in my mind for years--"Manners maketh a man but a lipstick maketh a woman!!"--was also from an online Indian makeup article, predating the blogs.

Serendipity found "my lipstick" for me: an exceptional Dr. Hauschka PR rep sent some samples to me. In those days, I was still wearing MAC Sophisto and Viva Glam V. That summer, I tried Hauschka's #01 Amoroso lipstick:

dr. hauschka #01 amoroso lipstick

...and ended up scrapping it in favor of their #09 Dolce, as the latter proved far more versatile and less seasonal (Amoroso was too much color come winter). As I write, I'm nursing the last sliver of my second tube of Dolce.

#09 has a certain level of brown as well as its sheer coral-toned rose. It doesn't look much brown on me, but then most lipsticks don't. It's a bit shimmery, and has an odd herbal Hauschka scent.

If I could fault it, it has a certain amount of transfer, but that would be nitpicking. (It's not as smeary as, say, a Clinique Butter Shine I owned before.) Dolce lasts reasonably well on (I refuse to use any lipstick requiring more than three or four touch-ups per day), and they give you a fair amount in the tube. Packaging isn't that crucial to me, but the simple brushed gold-toned metal tube is pretty decent.

It costs about as much as I'd care to pay for lipstick--$21, the same range as Chanel and Nars.

My second choice would have been Chanel, on the basis of their Moiré lipstick, which I've tried in sample form. The two shades are not dissimilar: both decidedly warm (Dolce more so than Moiré), blended with dibs and dabs of brown and rose (Dolce more to the coral, Moiré to the plum, with an interesting brick red tone), both with a scrim of shimmer.

Moiré is more "lipsticky" than Dolce, if that makes sense, and it's a cooler, more elegant color. Ultimately I was more attracted to the warmth and "brightness" of Dolce (as well as to the more natural Hauschka formulation).

That is the personality factor, which I feel is lacking from most "how to find the right lipstick" articles. Much has been penned on coordinating lipstick with skintone and hair color, but there is always a wide range of lipsticks to match those.

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It's pretty funny
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-13 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

"Ooh Girl!" - An Honest R&B Song

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Sundance b & m store is open, and henley review
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-12 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

sundance store open

They finally opened the Sundance store at Corte Madera. It's the second b & m Sundance shop, though it's in the works to open fifteen more over the next few years (according to my Net noodlings anyway).

I haven't gotten out there yet; just as well, as likely the opening was crowded. I don't mind crowds, but I loathe shopping in one.

Some time ago, I bought this Sundance henley online:

sundance henley

This is a truer image than the one they used for the henley alone. :p Still...doesn't this appear to be a cream-colored shirt? Off-white, even? It's actually as much grey heathering as cream background.

And the sizing is...weird. I dithered between trying medium or large, based on the size chart. I can do medium as long as the bust is cut "generously"--to me it's not particularly generous, but many garments today seem cut small there. (If I were cynical, I'd say the makers were being stingy with fabric.)

So I went for large. How large could it be? It's cotton, so I could always fry it incrementally in the washer and dryer (if you try this, it's at your own risk!)...or just fold up the sleeves (years of borrowing men's clothes have made this rather mundane to me). But if I went for medium and the bust shrank, I'd be stuck fiddling around with snaps, which doesn't always work perfectly.

The large henley...the sleeves are the main "large" part. They're hella long. Even after I fried the shirt, they were still a bit long. I'm too lazy to put them up; it's a casual shirt, and has buttons on the cuffs; I should be able to get away with a small fold.

The bust just fit--not tight at all, but not sized in proportion to the sleeves! I'll venture the medium wouldn't have done it.

The rest of the shirt...a bit shorter in length than I would have liked, but not "too short."

So...I had this shirt, of an odd grey-cream mixture, sleeves a tad long, and I wore it.

The thing is this: this is the most comfortable shirt I've worn since...hmmm...ever. It is preternaturally comfortable. Our climate (San Francisco Bay Area) is supposed to be temperate, but it's not that simple...it'll alternate between hot and cold, from day to day or even hour to hour. On the day I wore the henley, I had a leather jacket and cotton sweater over it. The day prior to that, it was tank top weather.

This goes to my pet theory that fibers are key, and the difference is not always obvious, nor reflected in price. I bought this shirt because: a.) I needed to replace my white henley; b.) this looked similar--nicer even, what with the rows of iridescent shell buttons; c.) it was very reasonably priced and d.) I wanted to give Sundance a shot.

When I saw the shirt, I wasn't impressed, but when I wore it--homina homina homina!

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Wardrobe meanderings part 4
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-11 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

What's your favorite shirt, the one you reach for first after doing your laundry?

I've come to believe a favorite shirt is akin to a signature perfume or a "go to" lipstick. There's something eternal about it. Even if you move on to some other fragrance, lipstick or shirt, it's well to go back periodically and review.

For several years, my favorite casual shirt has been a plain white long-sleeved cotton henley. It goes with everything, is the right weight for most weather, can be layered over virtually any camisole, tank or tee, and is easy to care for. And it always looks...right.

Prior faves:
  1. A military-style olive green long-sleeved henley. Olive green goes with just about anything; it's only slightly less versatile than the white henley.

  2. A blue-grey 3/4 sleeve cotton boatneck top from Banana Republic (back when BR still made incredibly durable shirts).

  3. A black v-neck 3/4 sleeve BR tee, when such a creature was far more obscure.

Now that I have a 9-to-5 again, I like this off-white cotton-silk sweater:

banana republic sweater

The website image is inaccurate: the neck is much scoopier, and the necklace craps up the lines. But the actual sweater is lovely. (This jpg is a swatch from one of my Photoshop document files.)

At the bottom of the swatch, you can see the cotton henley I'm trying as a replacement for my white one. I bought the former online, and was initially dismayed to discover it wasn't as white as depicted, rather more of a greyish oatmeal hue, if that makes sense (and doesn't sound too unappetizing).

But then I maintain a white shirt needn't be snowy. I have a range of "white shirts," from ivory to cream to, well, light greyish oatmeal. If I can plug the oatmeal shirt into the outfits in which I wore the white henley, it's okay with me.

As far as the olive green henley, I haven't found a replacement. My old one was a man's shirt from the Gap. But I am sort of looking (and suspect the replacement will also be a man's shirt, since army green is harder to find in the ladies' section).

I'm happy to skip trying to replace the blue-grey 3/4 sleeve boatneck, but I am planning to buy a boatneck tee. Along with the v-neck, I find the boatneck most flattering, but v-necks have become quite common. (It's well to note I'm never without a black v-neck fitted tee though...echoes of an earlier favorite shirt.)

LL Bean has a boatneck tee on their site that looks good, but the color range is limited. American Apparel's color selection is wide, but their boatneck is sheer jersey--not the look I'm after. Mmmmm....haven't decided yet, but it's not a priority, the way replacing the white henley was.


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Happy Friday!: Patsy Cline
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-10 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

I can admit I pretty much suck at country music appreciation. They played it on the radio when I was growing up, and some of it was beyond greatness, but it's like anything else: much mediocrity, and then something extraordinary, but you have to know where to look.

Cline's career "makes up in height for what it lacks in length." Even given the short span, I love how she evolved from a genial, cowboy-boot-clad country girl, into a sultry, torchy Woman with a capital "W"...and then, into a Frank Sinatra or Bobby Darin: an all-around singer, whose voice gilded every song she sang.

Patsy Cline-Walkin' After Midnight

Patsy Cline - Leaving On Your Mind - 45 rpm

Patsy Cline ~ San Antonio Rose

Patsy Cline - I Fall To Pieces

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Wardrobe: Cardigans
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-09 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

The Cardigans - Explode

Cardigans are also a handy layer. I'm still working on mine...had three lovely lambswool cardigans from the Gap (from when the Gap still made good clothes), but lambswool tends to depend on drycleaning and a dearth of wool moths. And I had three longer cotton ones from (old) Gap which simply fell apart after years of washing and wear.

Do ya really need three cardigans? It's not a bad number. One essential in our Bay Area climate is a light-colored cotton sweater...bone, ivory, tan or whatever lighter shade you like. This works when the weather suddenly turns hot, in the middle of the day; a darker-colored garment would look and feel sweaty. Yet it's cold in the mornings, so you still need something.

One cardigan should be your favorite color, I think, since much of your wardrobe is in that range anyway.

The third...eh...as I say, I'm still working on my cardigans. :) Been experimenting with alternative materials, like the cotton-silk-viscose blend of the dark grey and blue-green models below (upper right corner):


Both are darker than depicted, especially the blue-green one. The fabric is soft and almost lambswool-y (has a minor amount of cashmere in it), but I'm wondering how well it'll wear. Oh well, wait and see.

As usual, the J.Jill items are next to fug in images, yet amazingly beautiful in real life (and typically vice versa!). The ivory cotton cardigan has carved buttons of varying sizes; I bought it at least in part for the buttons. (Three-quarter length sleeves might be good for a white sweater too, since it's the long-sleeve edges which look grubby first.)

The purple-toned blue one...looks nothing like the photograph. With Banana Republic, you can sort of shop online, but with J.Jill you really shouldn't. Anyhow, the blue cardigan is a blend of cotton and acrylic yarns. I'm hoping it'll reasonably sub for wool (until they develop a wool that doesn't shrink nor get eaten by moths coughs).

Still toying with the one at the bottom. It's Supima cotton, comes in a multitude of shades (save dark grey, drat it) and is reasonably priced. Since I don't need more cardigans, I'm happy to wait for a sale.

Kurt Cobain turned me on to cardigans, by the way.

Nirvana - About A Girl Live In Seattle '91

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Wardrobe: White Shirts!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-08 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)


This was from an invitation, so I painted out the invitation info. What intrigued me was the concept. White Shirts...what I've been griping about for months. The fact that, much of the time, what you want is a white shirt, and one that doesn't look too ordinary.


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Wardrobe: Rack solutions
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-07 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

If you've got rack issues, you'll want to have some of these in your kit:


These are actually jumbo snaps, from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics of Berkeley, but I couldn't resist. I passed by their shop because I was early for an open-source project open house, which was located in an obscure part of Berkeley:


Stonemountain looked intriguingly busy as I peeked into their window. :)

Anyhow, back to the snaps...I have a set of regular-sized ones handy in my sewing kit. You never know when that fabulous top or dress is going to shrink in the wash. The "tiny safety pin solution" is inferior, because it's a hassle. Once you have snaps sewn into place, you can wear the item without fretting.

Use as few snaps as necessary; the thing is the weight. And the snaps need not be positioned equidistant between the buttons. Sometimes placing the snap higher is more effective.

There are times when snaps are a bugger to use, because the gap is too much to really cover. That's when you'd start poking around the sides of the garment, to see if there's enough material to let out. If there isn't, don't worry too much, go ahead and sew the snaps anyway. You can always finagle a sweater as a top layer or something like that.

snaps image courtesy www.stonemountainfabric.com


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Wardrobe meanderings part 3
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-06 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

the clash on the cover of rolling stone magazine
The Clash on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

Embedding disabled by request

This image, perhaps beyond all others, has influenced my idea of "what to wear." It's not that I wear literally these items, but the photograph was a revelation. The cover was printed in 1980, arguably the peak of The Clash's popularity...and what they were wearing could be found anywhere, at any store. I mean I had Levi's like that. It was a matter of putting it together and acting cool.

On a side note, I've had two "brushes with greatness" in my life, and one was with the late, and great, Joe Strummer. (The other was with Jerry Brown, but it's far less interesting.) I was fifteen or sixteen, really can't remember, and had gone to see The Clash in Virginia. I was up at the front of the stage, and it was packed...but Clash audiences, at least in the U.S., tended to be very nice. At any other rock show, someone was always trying to grab your butt, but that wasn't true here.

So I was jumping up and down, and I lost one of my shoes about half-way through the set. At that point all I could think of was finding my shoe. I started asking the other fans if they'd seen it, and they started looking for it, in the midst of the concert...and then some of them spontaneously launched me up onto the stage.

Here's the brush...Joe Strummer looked at me in this really friendly, natural way, like the guy next door, and did this little "bump" thing with me.

After that the roadies came and got me off the stage, but nicely; it was all fantastically civilized. I managed without the shoe, but after the concert, I found it. And I put on my shoe and went home.

I'd say I believed far more in the connotation of an outfit, than in anything else, after seeing that picture. If you see a girl in a floaty white dress and simple sandals, you're not likely to care if she's wearing Chanel or Prada, or if the outfit cost $5000 or $50. What you see goes beyond that--if it's done right. (Okay, you can tell I don't have stock in Chanel or Prada. rolls eyes)

Tommy gun
You ain't happy 'less you got one
Tommy gun
Ain't gonna shoot the place up just for fun
Maybe he wants to die for the money
Maybe he wants to kill for his country
Whatever he wants, he's gonna get it

Tommy gun
You better strip it down for a customs run
Tommy gun
Waiting at the airport till kingdom come
And we can watch you make it on the nine o'clock news
Standing there in Palestine lighting the fuse
What you want, you're gonna get it

Tommy gun
You'll be dead when the war is won
Tommy gun
But did you have to gun down everyone
I can see it's kill or be killed
A nation of destiny has got to be fulfilled
Whatever you want, you're gonna get it

Tommy gun
You can be a hero in an age of none
Tommy gun
I'm cutting out your picture from page one
I'm gonna get a jacket just like yours
And give my false support to your cause
Whatever you want, you're gonna get it!

Boats and tanks and planes, it's your game
Kings and queens and generals learn your name
But I seen all the innocents, the human sacrifice
And if death comes so cheap
Then the same goes for life

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Wardrobe meanderings part 2
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-05 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)


In our capitalist society, we tend to get two diametrically opposed dictates about style and fashion. One is that we are to be individuals, and know ourselves intimately, and choose only items which flatter. Sounds great, but everything we're bombarded with in our media is based purely on sales, and has little if anything to do with the individual. In fact we are pushed to conform, by the majority of what we see.

It occurred to me at one point, whilst drooling over some fashion magazine image--that outfit looks great...on the model. If you picked it apart--the actual items of clothing--and imagined yourself within them, it wouldn't work.

Further, the thought occurred the majority of fashion doesn't work anyway. Individual items and styles, colors and fabrics, can work brilliantly and inexpensively, but it's not simple, it's a synergy.

So it's like, what do you put on in the morning? You need to own enough pieces to assemble a different puzzle each day, yet the puzzles should be consistent, comprised of the finite set of components which meld with, ah, you. Your hair, your eyes, your figure, height, profession, lifestyle, budget, time allowance for shopping and clothing care, yadda yadda...

Here are some questions I've asked myself, because the object has always been to narrow...not reduce necessarily, but to be able to get up every morning and look good for that day.

Pants or skirts?

Pants are more fashionable now, or else the ubiquitous pencil skirt. I don't wear either.

Mind you I can dig either, on someone else. I work in a heavily male-dominated field, so it's like everyone wears pants. Pencil skirts are cute, but for those you need the entire look--the right kind of shoes and blouse--and that look is too formal for my job. So for me, both are out.

I went for a longer skirt, below the knee, and I have a couple longer ones too. This is a looser, flared fit. I'm enough of a sucker to have bought patterned skirts...love 'em, and they're easier to find...but they're much harder to match to blouses. A good, solid-colored skirt is worth a lot more than a good patterned one imo.

So, it's pants or skirt, length of either, material of either, fit of either, and what it goes with.

If you went with the skirts--tights, stockings or bare legs?

Stockings are supposed to be totally out of fashion. Why? Who cares? Again it's about making decisions for yourself.

I've worn stockings since I was a teenager, and they've been in style since there were stockings, except in the late 1960's - early 1970's, when the "hippie" look reigned, and jeans or tights were "in." So I need not worry about stockings...I like them, history has favored them, and in a few years they'll be back in fashion anyway.

I do have my eye on these tights:

sundance smartwool tights

They're $42, not an impulse buy--but again I don't wear tights often. If I bought these, they would remain pretty pristine for a long time. What intrigues me is the "SmartWool" they're fashioned from. Like Supima cotton, it's a specialized fiber, and I'll be interested in "non itchy" wool. These are machine washable too, which makes them even more tempting, but I'm happy to wait for a sale.

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Wardrobe meanderings part 1
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-04 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

I'm too tired to make much sense tonight, but I'll bet you haven't seen this video. It's pretty cool.

Here's what I started to write:

In our capitalist society, we tend to get two diametrically opposed dictates about style and fashion. One is that we are to be individuals, and know ourselves intimately, and choose only items which flatter. Sounds great, but everything we're bombarded with in our media is based purely on sales, and has little if anything to do with the individual. In fact we are pushed to conform, by the majority of what we see.

...yeah but, what else is new? Have a great evening. I'll try to come up with something better tomorrow.

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Happy Friday!: Bobby Darin
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-03 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

Bobby Darin Dream Lover

Raining by Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin "If I Were A Carpenter" Live 1973

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Pursebuzz reviews Nars eyeshadows
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-02 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

NARS Eyeshadow Review

I realized at some point this evening, I didn't have much to blog about. I have my eye on a few things, some opportunity shopping...but my big purchases (shoes, boots and fall/winter skirt) will wait until I find the price I like--or until it gets too cold, whichever comes first.

So I continued my Youtube hunt for good makeup videos. I hadn't looked there in quite some time, and was a bit fascinated by how many plain ol' product review videos are up now. The product review video would appear to have eclipsed the photographic product review, which in turn had overtaken the...well, the review we used to type into the BBS text box.

This is different from makeup tutorials, which have been pretty much played out imo. Once you get your set of brushes and figure out your brand(s), after all, most of the work has already been done.

Anyhow--thanks, Pursebuzz. I genuinely enjoyed this video and learned something new.

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Internet: Shoetube!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2008-10-01 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

cydwoq coupe shoe


Yes, they have videos...and shoe-based blogs, and other shoe-related features. Even though the only shoes I've ever been crazy about are Cydwoqs. :)

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