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DIY Party Girl Hair: Velcro Rollers & Teased Crown

The Bigger the Better: Teased Hair at Rochas

Back in my party heyday, I worked a look called ‘Gina Lollabrigida,’ named after the famous Italian actress.  I had a favourite red gingham halter dress with oversize white buttons down the front and a giant slit.  I once wore Gina on a night out on The Rambla in Barcelona.  When I did a turn to show off my look to friends, a nearby waiter dropped his tray of wine glasses and sangria.  Such was the power of Gina LollabrigidaTrue Story

My retro look was topped off with my favourite hairstyle – voluminous party girl loose curls with a teased crown.  Now that 90’s is considered vintage, I thought I would bring it back for holiday season.  This hairdo is particularly va-voom paired with some glamourous cat eyes.

Step 1 – Start with dry hair (damp won’t do as it has a tendency to lose its curl easily).  Hairdressers always recommend that you let your hair be unwashed for a day or two if you are going to get an updo because it holds a style better.

Step 2 – Using large sized velcro rollers, begin rolling hair around the top section of your head starting from the ends to the roots and pinning using bobby pins.  Use medium sized velcro rollers for the bottom portion of your hair using the same method.  Spritz all over generously with hairspray.  If you have bangs, section them off and leave them uncurled.

Step 3 –  Leave velcro rollers in for a half hour to an hour.  Kill time.  Maybe watch an episode of The O.C. on DVD or paint your nails.

Step 4 – Remove velcro rollers gently by pulling them away from your head on the diagonal.  Your curls will be fairly subtle (unlike hot rollers).  You can touch up the ends by using a 2″ wide barrel curling iron.  Spritz again with hairspray. 

Step 5 – Using a fine tooth comb, take the section of hair on the middle top of your head and begin to tease hair.  Spritz again and finish by gently smoothing over hair from the front of your head.  Do a prolonged all over spritz.

Whoa, a lot of hairspray and effort to look like you just rolled out of bed.  But pain is love my darlings.

My Italian Muse circa 1960's: Gina Lollabrigida

Drew Barrymore loves volume at The Golden Globes. Can't you tell?

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November 19, 2010   No Comments

Hostess Etiquette 101

Ooh French Country in Red: A pretty table setting from Dinner Party Wars

In an attempt to avoid time suckage, I choose to live in a television free zone.  Though having stayed at my mother’s place for a few days, I could not help but succumb to the home improvement shows on HGTV and fanciful cooking segments on Food Network.  I still quite enjoy Jamie Oliver’s lisp. 

One show in particular that had me intrigued was Dinner Party Wars, where three couples competed in a challenge to host the best dinner party.  Having been a hostess and a guest at many social gatherings, both exceptional and fall dead asleep boring, I could probably fill a novella with quips and useful advice.  With the holiday season fast upon us, I thought I could share some of these useful grains of wisdom with all of you.

Brush up on your social skills: Kate Spade Occasions

  • Guestlist, guestlist, guestlist – I once read a hilarious blurb in a book about seating people alternating funny-boring-funny-boring-etc  If it were up to me, there would be no boring!  But there is some truth to this statement that the personalities should mesh well.  When throwing an intimate dinner, the best ones have a good blend of friends and strangers who will hopefully connect on their commonalities – “Oh, you love red velvet cupcakes? OMG, me too!”  And ’tis the season for love connections.  Did you know that if you hook up 3 friends successfully, you get a green light straight to heaven?  You haven’t heard about this?  That’s because I made it up.    
  • Decorate Good Times –  I have had many themed parties – Japanese, French Wine & Cheese, Summer Al Fresco.  Even if you don’t go over the top with party decorations, a lush bouquet or some tealights helps to set the mood.
  • Greetings and salutations – A good hostess welcomes new guests into the fold by greeting, then taking around the new arrival to strangers.  A conversational starter is how they know each other and letting the individuals know if there something mutual between them ie. a similar career, a sport or activity, where they live, etc.  It’s always nice to leave a guest with few acquaintances at the party with a friend (co-hostess) who is very accomodating – this way, they never feel awk-ward. 
  • Feed the People –  Although it is not uncommon to start a dinner party late, you should have drinks, nibbles and appetizers ready for guests.  Even if you have special prepared warm appetizers, it won’t kill you to leave pretzels, nuts or chips on the tables.  They knew they were coming to a party so they have been saving their appetites.  For smaller gatherings, a fixed menu is manageable, however, for larger parties a buffet style may please more people’s palettes and food preferences. 

Dessert served up on these Natural World plates from Anthropologie. Bugs and grenouilles never looked so appetizing!

  • No Prohibition – Never let the drinks run dry.  Always top off glasses but offer water when you notice people crossing the line into OOC (out of control) territory. 
  • It’s a Party – Parties are meant to be enjoyed, by everyone including the hostess.  Let your guests get involved if they offer.  Allow them to bring out plates of food, refill wine glasses or help you put dishes into the dishwasher.  You should be giggling, clinking glasses and dancing too!  What’s the point of having a social if you’re going to be a party pooper and boil over like a stress pot?  A memorable party is one where everyone has a great time.  Remember, a happy hostess sets the tone. 

Careful now! Don't cry over spilled wine...unless it's red and your couch is white. Busted, so obsessed with Anthropologie.

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November 14, 2010   2 Comments

Tulle Time

Classic Carrie Bradshaw: The pink ballerina tutu

Ah November.  Is your social calendar filling with invites to birthday soirees, holiday parties, and BFF dinners?  My favourite after-dark attire is ‘Cocktail,’ not only because it alludes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages but because in my books it’s the most fun look to pull together.

The ‘Cocktail’ hour bridges the truly formal (black tie) and ready-to-wear (skinny jeans).  In your wardrobe, ‘Cocktail’ is the life of the party.  She’s ready to get down with a few rounds of champie, dancing shoes and she’s not ready to come home until the break of dawn.  You like her already.

This party season, I am throwing my support behind Tulle.  Tulle everything – in dresses, in skirts, in your hair!  Voluminous tulle in a fine gauze or larger open weave adds a flirty and youthful playfulness to any outfit.  All of a sudden, Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ sounds off in the background.  It’s the rustle of a petticoat, the use of your hem as a dance prop, the way a tutu makes you galavant carelessly in the street.  Tulle is the absinthe of fabrics, a party aphrodisiac.  Let’s get drunk, shall we?

Alice + Olivia Tulle Party Dress: If you saw this girl in the room, you know she's gonna have a good time. One shoulder & jagged edge hem. Seriously!

Wearing this BCBG Tulle Tutu in blush pink is like pirouetting down a sidewalk singing Mandy Moore's 'I Wanna Be With You' a la Center Stage. Did you get my obscure 90's teen ballet movie reference?

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November 12, 2010   1 Comment

Summertime Hostess Gifts

The summer time is waning but there are still a few weekends for outdoor bashes or pool parties.  Even though you are attending a casual affair, social etiquette dictates you should still recognize the time and effort of the hostess with the mostess.  After all, depending on the size of the gathering, she has probably spent considerable time and effort: cleaning, setting up, preparing food and cooking.  Not to mention during the party, you will notice the hostess rarely eating, prefering to mingle and ensuring the comfort of her guests.  (Well, I am describing the ideal hostess like my good friend J). 

Remember it’s the thought that counts.  You should always try to consider what the hostess’ tastes are and her needs.  Otherwise, your gift might end up in a future garage sale.  Here are some delightful ideas for hostess gifts she’ll love

Babushkups, like little Russian dolls these nesting cups would make morning OJ even more delicious.

Contemporary take on Betty Draper: I would bake all day in these Anthropologie aprons.

Dashing florals: Mix hues of roses with gerber daisies and starbursts. The more colourful and exuberant the better! Photo courtesy Martha Stewart

A small selection of treats from Dufflet Bakery. She can savour them later whilst reclining on her couch, watching True Blood after a long day of hostessing.

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August 13, 2010   1 Comment

Adornment Chola-Style

Gwen's nod to Chola's of SoCal (Southern Cali (fornia)): "Shhhh, or i'm gonna pop you bi-atch." Love the use of double short form/acronym/bracket.

The other day as I was getting my long overdue pedi, I came across some ridiculously fun samples of nail art.  While the girl in the adjacent massage chair had requested the embellishment of her big toes with a crazytown pattern, I had a momentary tinge of ‘should I?‘  An internal debate raged on in my head (felt like an eternity, lasted only 30 seconds);  I ended up deferring this time around.  My resolution being that next time I have a party/social, I would choose something wild for my finger nails as a ‘conversation piece.’ Plus, who the heck’s gonna look at my toes?  Maybe the one closet foot fetishist in the room.  Dramatization:  I point at random things and hold my champagne flute at eye-level.  “Oh my nails are inspired by Modgliani’s Reclining Nude and I decided to go tribal ikat with my pinky fingers.”

The song that best matches these fingers is Notorious B.I.G.'s Hypnotize.

There’s a quality about Nail Art that is kind of borderline tacky-gangstah.  I won’t lie.  I kind of love it.  It reminds me of Chola style and hip hop.  What is a Chola, you ask?  I kid you not, an excerpt from The Urban Dictionary:  “Hardcore latina gangbangers. They usually have thin, arched, angry looking tattooed-on or penciled-on eyebrows, brown or dark red lip liner, ‘Monroe’, eyebrow and nose piercings, tats, Converse or Nikes, flannel shirts, lots of gold jewlrey (with their name and crosses), crunchy gelled or moussed hair either down or gelled in a high perfect ponytail either straight back or gelled in a design, and they go out with cholos… It is much more common to just look like a chola, and not act like a chola.”  And while I don’t necessarily recommend leaving the house in head-to-toe Chola (unless you want to be the latest Crip or Blood recuit), there are some fun styling homages that I do suggest.

Two-Finger Rings – Of late, there has been a huge influx of two or three finger rings.  I don’t think they are very comfortable but fashion has never been about comfort, has it?  The sensation feels like your fingers are crazy-glued together at the base.  I think the look is reminiscent of knuckle rings, used to pack a powerful punch and kick the crap out of someone in a fight.  These days you can find them emblazoned with your name (a la Carrie Bradshaw nameplate necklace)  or with dainty birds or flowers. 

LC's gold nameplate ring. Don't mess.

Mega-bling Gold – Chunky gold necklaces are pretty major.  I can’t get over the look which has been going strong for a few seasons now.  The necklace can be very street flashy when the gold link has a bit of toughness to it and is oversized almost to the point of parody.  When you wear one, you can refer to yourself as your street cred name.  ie. “Holla!  Miss X-tina in da house, papy cholo.”   

Editor’s Note:  I just read this post again and to answer the question lingering in your mind: “Yes, I am a lil’ bit loco (English translation – crazy) funny.  And I do talk a lot of smack (crazy-talk) in real life.”

Intense! Kenneth Jay Lane gold chunky link necklace.

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July 8, 2010   No Comments

Get In It to Win It: Dress For Success!

This time of year calls for merriment, champagne popping, tunes non-stopping.  Perhaps I shall pursue a new career in rapping? 

My wardrobe has a disproportionate amount of cocktail and party frocks.  It’s an embarrassing 4:1 ratio dresses to pants.  Truth be told, girls at holiday parties always want to be one of the most sparkling and radiant diamonds in the bunch.  It’s social mortification (“Gasp! OMG, she is wearing the same dress as you!”) to show up with the exact same outfit as someone else.  This inevitabley leads to consciously staying by the punch while she is on the dancefloor.  Too much labour!

I would like to share a few thoughts about what makes a striking statement dress that will get you “High ROC’s” (return on compliment) in the Snapbox (a la Elle Woods, Legally Blonde 2).   

Put your hands up in your hair for Alice + Olivia's LBD

  • Little Black Dress – Truth:  I am not a big advocate of party dressing in black.  If you really must LBD it, pleasex3 make it interesting and exciting by adding rhinestones, some leather and a heaping serving of tulle.  Subtle does not exist in my fashion dictionnaire.  This version is so fun and flirty, you will be KB-ing with your choice of suitors in no time.  And why not punch up your dress with some flashy stilettos in a cerulean blue or a layered ruffle fuschia?

Robert Rodriguez sequin floral dress

  • Colour Me Gorgeous – Bright solids like this cobalt blue chiffon assymetrical mini dress from R-Rod will make a statement.  Colour is one of the easiest ways to flatter your skin tone.  With sequin appliques and an interestingly slouchy dolman sleeve, people will take notice to your attention to details. 

Violet BCBG: Swag me in mauve fabric

  • Grecian goddess – BCBG is my go-to for the best cocktail dresses.  Here we have a lovely pale mauve ruched mini dress with one-shoulder and rhinestones appliques.  Super flattering and you don’t need much jewellery because the dress is fairly embellished in a bib necklace style.  Draped chiffon is so pretty in photos, especially in action shots.

DVF Maxi Dress: It's a party on my dress!

  • Beach Optic Floral – If you keep up with the resort trends, floral prints will be in bloom for Spring.  Pardon the cheesy pun.  Be the first fashionistah on your block to sport the look in a Pop Art, colour kaleidoscope, graphic maxi, like this version from Diane von Furstenburg.  If you are fortunate enough to spend the holidays away on vacation, this one should be packed in your suitcase.
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December 22, 2009   No Comments