Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Feel P(r)etty, Oh So P(r)etty

Dear Colleague:

I just want to let you know right off the bat that I don't think you're a bad person. Really. In fact, I actually think that you're fun to hang out with outside of class. Lately, however, I was beginning to worry that you've become quite a pill. I understand that you may actually have a legitimate reason to be frustrated. I also understand that it's OK if I don't seem to agree with you about everything. But I think I've finally hit on the real reason why I've been frustrated with you lately:


Sure, maybe you do think there's nothing wrong with your eyebrows - but let's face it, your eyebrows have been arched quite severely, to the point where they do make you look angry and in major need of Botox. Not to mention that they've been colored in such a way that they almost - ALMOST - look tattooed. It doesn't make you look sexy so much as it makes you look like an angsty drag queen.
Which is even more sad, considering the field that we're in as teachers. Our students aren't asking us to be model-perfect every time, but they're pretty good at reading faces - and if they can look at you and see somebody they can trust, the satisfaction you get from that is almost as good as a salary raise. Many of the teachers I know - and some you probably know as well - have built careers out of creating that kind of connection with their students, even if they sometimes suck at creating the same relationship with their peers and administrators. So when you find yourself in a class where you think you've got a good classroom going, and suddenly you get a picture of yourself as the Wicked Witch of the West... it's heartbreaking.
So why your eyebrows? Because, combined with your personality, your features, and the way you carry yourself, they seem to put across a very negative image of yourself. Come on, you say, I've seen teachers with worse eyebrows than me and they have a better time than I do. That's true... but these same teachers also make a point to smile once in a while, make a few jokes, and don't always come across as whiny even when they do have negative things to say. And I know you're going to bring up the "just-because-I'm-not-local" point once again, but again: irrelevant. And all because of an aesthetic decision that, literally, makes you look like a very bitter haole.
That's why I have to break the news to you. That's why I want you to go above and beyond what you're already dealing with on the eyebrow front. If they're all your handiwork, you'll need more than the $10 job that you're likely to get at Supercuts or the nail salon. You'll need an honest-to-goodness makeup professional to look at you - seriously - and tell you what you really need to do with those eyebrows. Or if you think you can't afford to have that kind of service, haul yourself to Sephora and get yourself an eyebrow kit - the store's house brand has a decent eyebrow kit for $35. Come to think of it, while you're out there, go grab yourself a bronzer and a lip gloss to perk you up a little bit. There, there, isn't it all better?
Take care now,


Friday, August 10, 2007

Domesticity Retail Roundup: Or, Thoughts on the Ongoing Neiman Marcus Shoe Sale

Before I go into another litany about Shoes I'll Never Buy While I'm Still A Little Broke (and suffering from foot blistering) let me say that there is nothing in the world that makes me smile like the pretty, pretty shoes. So it's no wonder that wandering into Neiman Marcus' sale made me happy.

First of all, is it me or are we going through a moment for red patent leather? These wedges (Tulam by Robert Clergerie) reminded me of something I'd definitely find in Margie's closet (although I have a feeling she would've wished they were pumps). I got to try these on, and they were quite comfortable on my tootsies - though I wasn't sure about the ankle straps, which don't seem to hit me where my ankles are at their thinnest. I swear, after I saw these, I went out looking for red patent shoes at Payless and Slipper House.

I also fell in love with these sandals from Kork-Ease...

..but then I could so totally hear my mom and my sister chirping, "Didn't you ALREADY have those in your closet?" And now that I think of it... well, yes, I did, about five to ten years ago, when I wore maxi-skirts and hippie dresses without a care in the world. And those sandals may have cost me less than $100 from Nine West, which is renovating as we speak. But then I wasn't going to school on a campus built on a steep incline, and I didn't have a job that involved hauling 30 lbs. of school supplies back and forth.

Which then brings us to this spirited update of an all-time favorite...
Thank goodness Converse had the good taste to snag John Varvatos as a guest designer. This shoe in particular stood head above shoulders over the other wannabe Chucks in the shoe aisle (I'm glaring in your direction, Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu) for being comfortable and stylish. I mean, look at the way the grommets are arranged for the shoelaces - don't they remind you of little champagne bubbles? And the laces themselves are made of superstretchy, bungee cord-like material. But even if I had the $47 to spare that day for these lovely babies, it just wasn't meant to be... because these Chucks did not come in my size, unfortunately, and the ones I tried on were either too short or too big.


Speaking of feet: I'm still looking for the Band-Aid Active Flex Blister Block Stick, which is supposed to go on your feet to prevent blistering without being slippery. After looking at the ingredient list, though, I realized that maybe it's not such a bad thing that I couldn't find it in stores - especially since I'm putting shea butter on some of the more tender, tortured parts of my feet before I go to bed, which helps a lot.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Underneath It All

This morning I finally went out to the post office to pick up my package from Lane Bryant, which was a pleasant surprise for me - imagine, all these years of shopping on the Internet, and it's only now that I've received a package in less than a week, from a Mainland merchant with no retail outlets in the Islands. Awesome.

And if you thought the service from LB was awesome, imagine my delight when I got to wear what was inside the package itself:

This, my friends, is the stretch-cotton, full-coverage underwire bra from LB's Cacique line of underthings. Say what you will about Lane Bryant, but I can't think of any other brand or merchant that does affordable, high-quality bras for the generously endowed among us. I did order the style pictured here in the "Fresh Floral" print, which in reality is a riotous '60s-style floral print on an avocado-green background with hot pink trim. Pretty wild.

And because this bra was on sale, I also didn't resist buying another bra in the same style during this sale, this time in what Lane Bryant calls "Rockstar Yellow" - though quite frankly I'd rather think of it as the same shade of yellow as the Beatles' submarine. This yellow bra was the one I wore to work today, and I have to say that it's one of the better bras that I've tried. It's not exactly The Bra That Will Change Your Life, but it's soft and comfortable, generously lined (no more peek-throughs under tight shirts!) with a good measure of support from the underwire to keep "the girls" in place all day without pinching. At the end of the day, I didn't even want to take my bra off - it's that good.
In any case, I can't recommend Lane Bryant enough for coming through on this so beautifully, in every single way. Excellent!

Monday, August 06, 2007

This Month's Makeup Bag Contents

For some reason I still have most of the makeup I carried in this bag for months, especially the eye and lip pencils. But recently I made a few changes in the existing makeup bag not only to reflect my new retail job, but also to fit my newly literal get-up-and-go schedule. (Seriously: I have to get ready as soon as I get out of bed!) Some of these additions are actually new to the bag, so there you go.

- Physician's Formula Solar Powder SPF 20 in Translucent: I do a lot of walking outdoors for work, and this covers all the bases that my usual everyday sunscreen doesn't.

- Physician's Formula ColorEyes stick eyeshadow in Champagne: It was only $2.99 at Longs. It might have been discontinued. The consistency is more crayon-like than creamy. So why do I have this? Because when you only have mere minutes to go before your shift and you want to look presentably awake, the precision of this stick eyeshadow is exactly what you need.

- Cover Girl Volume Exact Mascara in Black: I just tried this one today, and... what can I say? It's everything I loved about CG's Lash Exact mascara, but with greater ease when it comes to reaching all those tiny lashes in the corners (thanks to the pointy brush end). This mascara delivers as promised, with staying power to boot. No clumping, no drag-queenish spidery mess - and my lashes were nicely curled, giving me a wide-awake look.

- Maybelline ShinyLicious Lip Gloss in Cola Float: This looks bronzy in the tube, but on the lips it comes off as a frosting-like lip color with serious sheen. Not that it's a bad thing, because on me this turns into a peachy-bronze nude shimmer that's incredibly sexy, especially with not much else on the face. (I call this the "put me on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue" lip gloss for that exact reason!) Note: Unlike most glosses, the Shinylicious works best with the sponge tip that comes with the tube; I tried using this with another applicator and I wound up with way too much gloss.

- Bronzer. Rimmel for everyday; Bare Minerals for the "why, yes, I did have a good weekend - why'd you ask?" look.

- Fragrance. Or at least something that smells great on me, so that I'm not repelling any customers (or co-workers) while keeping my spirits up.


In other shopping related news: I just ordered some lingerie from Lane Bryant, and it looks like it might already be here. Will keep you posted as soon as it arrives.

Friday, August 03, 2007

If I Was a Dancer

Today I had a moment of weakness where I - struck by my usual bouts of indecision - found myself at a dance store on University Avenue, browsing at ballroom dancing shoes. Granted, I was still stewing over my decision over whether or not to take the salsa-dancing classes I keep putting off for the longest time (stupid, sexy budgetary restrictions) but something compelled me to start browsing for some decent leather-toe shoes.

Luckily for me, the lady who ran the dance store was super-gracious and really nice about recommending shoes for me - not only did she get that I have wide feet (I blame Dad for that), but she was able to recommend a good sensible shoe for this beginning dancer. Something along the lines of these...

Don't be fooled: The Capezio Student Footlight may not look like much in 2-inch heels and tan leather (though they also come in white and black), but they are supremely comfortable. Not that I suggest you walk in them (best to ruin that leather sole on a proper dance floor - and I speak as someone who was initiated on salsa dancing while wearing wood-platform sandals at a darkly-lit dive bar in Aiea) but this is a good shoe for ballroom-dance beginners who only need the requisite leather shoes for proper initiation to technique. Best of all, they come in wide widths; my 8.5 feet fit effortlessly into a 9W without any shifting or bulging. Zappos sells these for $61.95, but the dance store sells them for $57. A good thing to remember, especially after you've looked at the sparkly, stiletto-heeled professional-dancer shoes with suede soles and narrow sizing.

As for my ballroom-dancing aspirations... well, I don't want to say that they're still on hold, but I'll get around to it. Someday.