Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monthly Favorites: April Edition

April Favorites

THE THEME: Tone-on-tone. I've been seeing a lot of neutrals and soft pastels these last few months, and not just from the ongoing ad campaigns for Johnson's Body Care in the Philippines. This month's cover of Preview has Maja Salvador sporting earthy makeup and a skin-toned cutout bodysuit; the month before that, the same magazine featured fashion blogger Rosanna Aranaz and her well-documented collection of subtly tonal color combinations in her wardrobe. In Stateside beauty news,  MAC recently premiered Pret-a-Papier, inspired by the natural textures, drapes, and shades of craft paper. All of these inspirations contribute to an earthy yet ethereal palette that's perfect for the humid summers that we have here in the Philippines. 

THE STARTING POINT(S): Since my birthday's coming up next week, I thought I'd revisit my own love of fine handbags by starting with a little Louis Vuitton: The Cuir Graine Doctor's Bag shown here actually comes from the Fall/Winter 2010 collection, but the shape and the color of this purse is practically seasonless and timeless. I've also had my eye on the white Vivienne Westwood Anglomania blouse for quite some time, as well, so I've been looking for a fresh way to style around it. Put the blouse and the bag together, et voila: chemistry. 

(At least that's how it works in the Domesticity-verse, where I'm the resident art director. In real life, though, the bag would definitely not be a Vuitton, and the Westwood top would be replaced by a beige short-sleeve blouse with a scoop neck and/or a Peter Pan collar.) 


- I've had a long-standing girlcrush on Daria Werbowy, and this makeup look - from Lancome's ad campaign for Hypnose Senses - embodies the breezy, gauzy spirit of this whole collection with earthy neutrals and see-through pastels. I also love the way that her hair is loose and undone here, which I think would work best with this whole set to keep everything from looking too retro. 

- The MAC lipstick shown here is part of Pret-a-Papier (the peachy coral Dressmaker, Dressmaker) - and, incidentally, I've found myself taking more  high-end lipsticks and glosses to work, since the high pigment content is exactly what I need when my face needs a bit more of a pick-me-up midday. 

- Thanks to Polyvore, I've also become quite enamored with, which features a lot of vintage fashions. The '70s-era skirt featured here is no longer available on the ModCloth site, but I like the A-line shape and the way that the stripes practically blend into each other without clashing against the taupe background. And what better way to complement a skirt like this than to pair them with brown suede strappy sandals?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Domesticity Reviews: Johnson's Body Care 24 Hour Lasting Moisture Body Lotion

Photo credit:
A little bit of disclosure, before we get to everything else: I actually bought this product at the supermarket. I also have a friend who works as a brand manager for Johnson & Johnson - and J&J is also an advertiser on this blog, via Nuffnang - but I did not get any samples or monetary compensation from the company for this review. 

That said, I've never really paid much attention to Johnson's Body Care until recently, when J&J started collaborating with local Filipino designers as part of their ongoing ad campaign. (Check out their most recent collab with Bayo, which showcased a lot of on-trend soft neutrals.) The timing couldn't be more perfect for me, as well, since I'm running out of my current go-to moisturizer (L'Occitane Shea Butter in Lavande) and I needed something that was just as practical and portable to take with me.

Johnson's Body Care, 24 Hour Body Lotion, 14-Ounce Pump Bottles (Pack of 4)(Side note: Many products in the Philippines may be considered "travel-size" compared to their international counterparts; for example, the Johnson's lotion I've reviewed here comes in a 14-oz. bottle in the US market. I think it's due to the fact that Southeast Asians like us don't like to buy in bulk, since we don't always end up using the whole product in the long run.)

The other moisturizer-related problem that I have right now involves my hands, which go through a lot during my workday. You see, I tend to abuse hand sanitizer - I carry a bottle with me all the time, because I'll never know if I'll encounter terrible hand soap in the ladies' room (worse than no soap at all, IMO) or pick up garbage with no time to wash my hands. This leads to hangnails and dry cuticles, which would inevitably end up getting chewed out during moments of extreme anxiety. Any moisturizer that I would have to use on the rest of my body, therefore, will need to get tested on my hands first; if it does nothing for my cuticles, it will do nothing for the rest of me.

Last night, I slathered on the 24 Hour Lasting Moisture Body Lotion (whew, what a mouthful!) on my hands to avoid yet another stress-induced chew-a-thon. The first thing I noticed was the rich fruity-floral scent, which was so inviting and delicious that it could rival anything on the Bath & Body Works shelf. The smell alone tempted me to put the whole thing all over my body right away, but the rational tester in me decided to wait it out until I could observe how it does on my hands. 

Turns out that I didn't have to wait that long, because the lotion -  lightweight, without being runny - melted pretty quickly into the skin, leaving practically no residue behind. A few minutes later, I checked how it did on my fingertips, and I was surprised: No hard hangnails, no peeling cuticles, and practically nothing to pick on, no matter how tempted I got to do so. 

12 hours and several hand washings later, the scent has faded - but my hands are still as soft as they were on the first application, and I still can't find a single crack that I could pick on. In fact, if you shook hands with me right now, you might even say that my fingers and palms are practically "baby soft" - as opposed to overworked and under-manicured. I've even put a few drops on my ashy elbows, and they went from sandpapery to touchable with barely any rubbing at all. 

It's rare for me to start raving about a product after just one use, but Johnson's really did it for me this time - and for the price that I paid (PhP68 for a 100 mL bottle, or roughly US$1.50 under the current exchange rate), it was the best value for my money that I've ever seen. If you love department store body lotions for their rich formulations and fragrances, but can't pay the extravagant price tags for them, Johnson's would be the best bet for you. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Last Song Syndrome: Wonky Business

Wikipedia categorizes Dan Black's music as part of the "Wonky Pop" movement in the UK, putting him on the same slate as electro-pop artists like Sam Sparro, Passion Pit, Little Boots, and Mr. Hudson. That alone eliminates any need for me to compare Dan Black's music to all of the above, whom I adore dearly.

(Mmmm, Mr. Hudson. Hot damn that boy is bloody fine.... but that's for another entry.)

That said, I wouldn't be remiss if I told you that "Symphonies" is wonky to the point of being awe-inspiring. How else can you explain lyrics about drug addiction (seriously: read 'em and weep) nestled with soaring strings, a droning melody, and a dead ringer for the backbeat from Rihanna's "Umbrella," for good measure? And how else can you explain the presence of Kid Cudi as a surprisingly viable collaborator on the US remix?

And if you thought the live version above was awesome, you should see the actual video:

I already have the regular album version of "Symphonies" on my iPod, along with a Cudi-less version of the video above... and yet I can't get enough of the insanity that is the US remix. Like "everything" bagels and "kitchen sink" cookies, it's more addictive that you could ever bargain for, and way more than any kind of human logic can handle.

PS. Can we talk about Kid Cudi for a minute, BTW? I'd already written him off last year because "Make Her Say" totally underwhelmed me - even with the Lady Gaga sample that carried the chorus - but between "Symphonies" and "The Pursuit of Happiness", I think I'm ready to give him another chance. Guy reminds me a lot of Kanye West before he went off the deep end; let's just hope that Cudi doesn't end up with the same fate.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's Your Fantasy: Vigilante Outlaw Edition

I'm not ashamed to admit that this was the first time that I was exposed to Christian Kane.

The movie, I could take or leave... but, let's face it, the hair and the voice really worked their wonders on me ten years ago. (Heh.)

I admit that I skipped out on him when he showed up on Angel, but that's because I don't dig vampire shows in general. So you could imagine how I reacted when I found out that he'd turned up on a cable show called Leverage... and that the early reviews for said show bemoaned Mr. Kane's lack of a decent haircut.

But that was before I saw the actual show.

Yes, his character really needs to be reintroduced to the concept of shampoo... but do I care? No. Leverage is still one of my favorite shows on this planet, and I can't imagine any other actor playing that token hardened-goon-with-a-heart-of-gold character without a good measure of Christian Kane's charm. He's pretty enough to be believable when he's rescuing victims in distress, and still possess the right amount of menace when it comes to unleashing copious amounts of whup-ass on bad guys. 

That said, it still doesn't hurt to post a picture of him without the country-western outlaw hair. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Please Stand By

Yes, I've had these shoes for a while... but they are AWESOME. :) 

Some housekeeping issues for this week: There won't be a lot of blog entries for the next few days because I'm preparing for an out-of-town trip this weekend (licensure board exams, dontcha know)  and I'm back to doing English-language instruction at the university starting this coming Monday, so my brain won't be in chatty-blogger mode for a long while here. 

While we're on the topic of "housekeeping issues" for this blog, I just noticed that Blogger now has a function where I can create separate pages. I'm definitely flirting with that idea right now, since I'm thinking about coming up with a more comprehensive bio and/or a space for legal stuff/ disclosure issues/ FAQs and stuff like that. 

And because this is one of those days where I can't afford to be bothered by The Annoying People of the Internet, this needs to be said: I already use Nuffnang and Amazon Associates for advertising on this blog; all other inquiries must be sent directly to me using that tiny "Email The Author" link at the end of every entry. Also, comment moderation has been enabled for this blog, so consider yourself warned.

Thank you, and I'll see you on the other side of the tunnel.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Week in Screencaps

From Go Fug Yourself:

Oh, Anna Maria. Forget Monique Lhuillier, my dear - what you really need now is to get in touch with Mich Dulce, who can at least teach you how to 1) dress like a classy hipster and 2) wear a hat without looking like an heiress to the Massengill fortune. Sure, Mich can look like an eccentric auntie sometimes, but wouldn't you rather look like a madcap socialite than a desperate starlet who can't catch a break? (And, no, pretending to be one of Demi Lovato's head-bobbing minions does not count as a "break.")

Also: Unless you're looking to join the rumored Asian-American version of Jersey Shore, there really is no excuse for you to keep rocking the Snooki-esque hair. Just sayin'.


From Amazon, via my inbox:

Heeeeyyy, a Joan Jett Barbie - just in time for The Runaways! Also, I think those Tippi Hedren and Carol Burnett versions would totally be at home here at the Hacienda, next to my old Fisher Price house and my homemade origami cranes. And we haven't even gotten to this piece of awesomeness:

Barbie 80's Cher Bob Mackie Doll
Yep: Barbie as Cher, from the video for "If I Could Turn Back Time." Wonder if this one has tattoos on her butt?


And now, for some unpaid plugging: 

I admit: I am easily distracted by shiny, shiny objects. So when I heard about Ringspotters (which is, BTW, run by school friends of yours truly) I just had to check it out. Mind you, I am the furthest thing from being engagement-minded right now - and candy-sized rings look like tumors on my tiny hands - but I really do enjoy looking at all these gorgeous jewels all the same. The heirloom rings are my favorite, since I'm a big fan of vintage jewelry. Love it!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Once Upon a Looklet: Viv and Vigor

Personally, I'm actually quite happy that Vivienne Westwood is alive and well, and still making important contributions to fashion and culture as we know it.

And I say this as someone who has only started to appreciate everything about Dame Westwood, after years of finding her too weird for my taste. She may have been a goddess among punks, but her aesthetic grows along with her, finding as much inspiration in art and tradition as she does in the political and the personal realms.

It's that juxtaposition between tradition and transgression that really gets to me about Westwood. Who else, after all, would still have the gumption to exaggerate the female form with bustles, corseting, and platform shoes? There's just something about the way she cuts her fabric to work with the body, and the way that both move through time and space.

Here's the item that got me started on my Westwood obsession:

The way that this wrap top appears on Looklet does not do it enough justice, I believe; we're looking at layers of lightweight silk here, so you can imagine how it would drape along the actual curves of the body when it's in motion. If I were this model in real life, I would totally want to wear this with a simple knee-length skirt and no jewelry whatsoever, since the draping of the fabric is so dramatic that it eliminates the need for bling altogether.

And if I had the same body problems as, say, Christina Hendricks, I would probably consider rocking this when I'm feeling a bit casual:

The big flower on the head may be a bit debatable, but that's part of the charm here; I just wanted to summon up the whole "madcap tea party" vibe that the Westwood top evokes here. I've examined this look from every angle on Looklet, too, and I just love that it's designed to be regal, formal, and casual all at once. I chose to anchor the whole thing with a neutral skirt and some platform shoes to play up the more classic aspects of the top's design; anything else would just look tacky next to those strategically juxtaposed stripes.

The obsession doesn't stop with Looklet, either. Polyvore has a very extensive collection of Westwood designs, as well, including those from the Anglomania and Red Label lines. It's all worth a look, if only just to witness fashion history unfolding before our very eyes.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Where'd All The Good Barbers Go?

From this week's iTunes USA Store homepage comes THIS:

Putting aside all jokes about how the recession's been affecting Hawai`i - and barbershops on the North Shore, in particular - I am on the fence about the hair. On one hand, it does make Jack look more Hawaiian... but on the other hand, Jack has always rocked the crew cut for as long as I've been a fan (i.e. for the entirety of my twenties), so imagining him with any other kind of head-suit is like imagining him in a live duet with Lady Gaga: in a word, eeek.

Anyway, Jack Johnson's new album is now available for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon, and should be available just in time for the summer. Dig it.

PS. For those of you non-Jack fans who didn't get it, I got the title from the song "Good People."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Somebody Please Explain This To Me

Curtis Stone showing up on Celebrity Apprentice? Baffling.

Curtis Stone showing up on Celebrity Apprentice with THIS haircut, on the other hand?

Credit: Screencap taken from Television Without Pity

This makes me wonder:

- Does this mean American audiences will finally be exposed to Surfing The Menu - or any variation thereof involving Australian food? (Please please please please please make it so!)

- Considering that Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution just started running around the same time as Celebrity Apprentice, is there some kind of unknown clause that prevents two messy-haired blond chefs (with matching accents and Oprah-approved credentials) from showing up on American network television at the same time? And if this clause does not exist, does that mean that we can finally have Jamie Oliver and Curtis Stone in the same room without the risk of the universe imploding unto itself?

- Speaking of Jamie Oliver, and apocalyptic scenarios: Does this mean Anthony Bourdain will start raining insults on Curtis Stone for being the hunky embodiment of Everything That's Wrong With Cookery These Days? And if so, will said insults involve graphic descriptions of grievous bodily harm? (Remember, kids - there used to be a time when your Uncle Tony was a big meanie.)

- Will this serve as a sign for Guy Fieri to get a new look

- Can we start the betting pool on how long it will take before Curtis shows us his lamingtons on television? (Hee hee, I said "lamingtons.")

- Between this and the entire roster of this season's Dancing With the Stars (Evan Lysacek, how could you?) have the casting directors for celebrity-packed reality shows been smoking some industrial-strength hallucinogens lately?

- And the most pressing question of all: What, was Sandra Leeway too busy for Celebrity Apprentice?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Packaging FAIL: Or, When Hotness Detracts

In a just world - or at least the same "just world" where dark chocolate has more antioxidant properties than fat grams, and Manny Pacquiao does not have a singing career (oh, wait) - the DVD packaging for that one great season of The Unusuals would've looked a little like this:

Part of the reason why people like me watched The Unusuals (besides the slight chance of seeing Jeremy Renner with no clothes on) was that it was an honest-to-goodness ensemble show. No single character or actor dominated the show; everyone had the chance to steal a scene or two, and the stories were quirky without being way too precious - like Pushing Daisies, but with more guns and less pastry.

So it comes as no surprise that I'm not alone in decrying the actual DVD packaging for this series:

The Unusuals ( Exclusive)

Repeat after me: The Unusuals was an ensemble show. ENSEMBLE SHOW.

It was never about Mr. Studly Cop (Who Happens To Look Like The Guy From The Hurt Locker) and His Damsel In Distress Partner (Who Used To Talk To God) - it was about a crazy precinct full of deeply troubled characters, each of them fleshed out beautifully between the writers, actors, and all-around episode direction in general. The relationship between Walsh (Renner) and Casey (Amber Tamblyn) was actually as platonic as it got on television; Walsh was already sleeping with somebody else in the precinct, and Casey was a rich kid in the middle of an ongoing love/hate relationship with a family lawyer (or was it her former trust-fund manager?) who looked like Don Draper Jr., so it was closer to an office bromance than a Soulmate/ One True Love OMG!!! pairing.

Side note - and spoiler alert for those of you who didn't watch: One of my favorite episodes has Casey scheduling a date with Draper Jr. [my nickname for the character], which becomes disastrous for both of them as the day's events lead to a violent shootout. The end of the episode has Casey going to Draper Jr.'s apartment first thing in the morning with a box of pastries and this declaration: "I came here to have sex with you. Now get out of my way." Clear, direct, to-the-point... and surprising enough for me to not want her to end up with Walsh.

That the packaging would emphasize the pretty "leads" and leave out the rest of the excellent cast - up to and including Adam Goldberg and Harold "WALT!" Perrineau - is annoying, if not downright criminal.


Anyway, I am of two minds about the way The Unusuals ended: On one hand, I was sad to see this show get unceremoniously cancelled without having a chance to say goodbye - or at least steer everyone to the inevitable moment where everything and everyone blows up, irrevocably. On the other hand, there's probably a good reason why it ended when it did; maybe it was a good thing that we we didn't have to watch the TPTB-mandated hookup scene with Renner and Tamblyn, just as we probably would not have survived watching the Goldberg and Perrineau characters face their (seemingly) inevitable deaths.

Perhaps, like the last remaining episodes of Pushing Daisies, it was better to end things unfinished, just so the rest of us could fill in the blanks as we pleased.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter 2010 from Domesticity!

Seriously, there's a cat in my back yard who looks exactly like these guys.

And also: LAMBS!

Credits: Lambs from; bunny photos taken from a forwarded email about pets who look like bunnies, and vice versa.