Blondes Have More…What, Exactly?

Let’s talk about John Frieda. Bless that man, really, because I am quite loyal to the brand. I use Precision Foam Color in 10N Sheer Blonde Extra Light Natural Blonde to color my hair at home, and I follow up with Sheer Blonde Go Blonder shampoo and conditioner. But the last time I bought my shampoo and conditioner, I flipped the lid and noticed a message just for me:

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It’s true that I don’t need a dance floor, mostly because I’m a pretty atrocious dancer and I only have late-night dance parties by myself where no one can point and laugh. And I certainly make friends everywhere I go. After a lot of awkwardness and silence, where I think a bunch of things but never say them, because I’m an introvert.

Of course, the marketing strategy here is not terribly complex. They’re reinforcing the stereotype of the fun, carefree, blonde. They’re encouraging people to post on Instagram using the hashtag #MyBlondeLife. A quick perusal of the hashtag shows a variety of blondes and beach, pool, liquor and (oh, hey!) even a shot of someone’s underwear-clad crotch. Yay!

My next blonde-affirming messages, picked up today:

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I am so over the blonde stereotype. Why are the messages like that? Why can’t it be about how intelligent, driven or thoughtful blondes are? I have two major reasons for being blonde, and neither of them have anything to do with being fun and carefree. One is that it suits my skin tone. The other has to do with cultural identity, since I’m Scandinavian, and my family is populated with blondes.

In my eyes, the stereotype is offensive. I have heard enough dumb blonde jokes to last a lifetime (often told by people who are–sorry to say it–much dumber than me). The worst of the blonde stereotype and the worst of the woman stereotype seem to line up: sex maniac, frigid bitch, vapid airhead, party girl.

Interestingly enough, there is no corresponding marketing for the John Frieda brunette and redhead products. I checked, because I wondered if this was a dumb idea done once, or three times.

So let’s make the #MyBlondeLife hashtag a little more real, shall we?
#MyBlonde has a PhD
#MyBlonde has agency
#MyBlonde goes out every once in a while and drinks responsibly
#MyBlonde can make a logical argument and stand her ground
#MyBlonde works hard at her job
#MyBlonde is a 4.0 student
#MyBlonde is a caring wife and mother
#MyBlonde volunteers her time in her community
#MyBlonde is Khaleesi, mother of dragons, and she will kick your ass

Am I overreacting here, or is this stupid bordering on offensive? Let me know in the comments, or just leave me a #MyBlonde hashtag!

Mutton Dressed as Lamb

“Ewe mutton without garnish is a tough bite, to be sure; but methinks she’s dished herself off to day, lamb-fashion.” –Splendid Follies, 1810

At the request of a friend who is turning 40 this upcoming week, I have decided to address the topic of “age appropriate dressing”. Just thinking about this topic, however, makes my eyes go bloodshot with anger.

Let me explain. As women, we spend 30+ years of our lives trying to come to grips with ourselves and our place in society. We get over the objectification bullshit, recognize our own beauty, discover what we’re good at, embrace our brains and personalities, and make peace with some of our demons. (Mind you, this may require a few more years, but at least we get a good start on it.) And then society steps back in and says “Congratulations on being a grown up! Now here’s a list of things you should never do with your clothes and your body now that you’re here.” It is as if a cut-off date has been assigned to your attractiveness; once you are 40 you are no longer sexually desirable, therefore you need to get in line and stop acting like you are.

I think the cardinal rule for dressing over 40 is one you should have been following through your teens, twenties and thirties as well: Dress in a way that flatters you and makes you feel beautiful.

Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani: 44

Are there fashions you should avoid when you’re 40+? Probably. But you probably know this already. It’s likely that you need to give up on anything that shows your midriff. Take a miss on rhinestones and glitter and random sequins for daywear. Avoid mom jeans. Am I giving you anything new and revolutionary here?

But maybe you, like my friend, need a little guidance. So, even though I haven’t hit 40 yet (9 more months for me!), I’ll tell you how I see it.

First of all, take a careful assessment of the way you look. I will admit, sometimes I put something on and it’s like I truly see it for the first time. I have a pair of trousers that are 12 years old that I still wear, because they are quality pants in a classic style. I also have clothes that are less than five years old that went in the Goodwill donation bin because I realized they were really not doing me any justice. Our bodies change as we get older, and maybe you need to raise the neckline or lower the hem, not because a low neckline or a short hem is wrong, but because it draws attention to things that have adjusted unflatteringly with time. However, there is no need to have a kneejerk reaction and go polar opposite of what you’ve enjoyed in the past–like lowering all the hems to the floor and raising the necklines to the chin.

Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts: 45

Second, be comfortable–don’t look comfortable. I think the best piece of advice my maternal grandmother gave me was “wear heels as long as you can.” My paternal grandmother, at the age of 95, wore silk blouses and pleated wool skirts most days. Comfort wear can be a slippery slope. Yoga pants are for the gym, pajamas are for the bed, ratty tee shirts are for gardening. Keep your boundaries intact. If you can’t wear heels, try a wedge or a cute pair of flats. If you’ve made it through childbirth/kidney stones/a mammogram, you can certainly manage to wear a pair of trousers without an elastic waistband.

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay: 50

Third, wear trends, but don’t worry about being trendy. Abandon clothing that declares its own name (your chest is not called “AE”, your butt is not named “Pink”). However, if you have your heart set on a novelty Dr. Who tee, buy it! Wear it with a dark pair of jeans and a corduroy blazer. Juxtapose classics with your trendy items. Every item you wear shouldn’t be a trend–keep it in moderation. Oh, also, if you’re going to wear a “trend” item, make sure it’s a trend NOW, not when you were young. Throw out your scrunchies and your claw hair clips. Even if stirrup pants make a comeback, leave them be.

Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore: 53

Lastly, work with the professionals. Every stylish woman, especially when she’s getting older, should have a tailor. Case in point: I fell in love with a perfect, high/low, military style coat, which had some unfortunate goth bondage-style straps on the back. I bought the coat, then took it to my tailor, who took the straps right off for a reasonable price. Just a touch of tailoring can make a cheap dress perfect or a slightly dowdy outfit flattering. I would add that it doesn’t hurt to have a good hairdresser (no Supercuts!), a nail salon where they know you, a massage therapist and a dermatologist. Oh, and a shoe repair place if you buy good shoes.

Iris Apfel
Iris Apfel: 92

I plan to not only age gracefully, but fashionably, saucily, jauntily, and even outrageously. And if I do it right, maybe someday I will be granted Iris Apfel status. If you’re shocked and don’t feel like your age, then let the world be shocked as well! Don’t believe the “rules” of the internet, but use the wisdom you have gained about what looks good on you, no matter what age you are.

Korean Skincare Part II: Put It On

I wanted to do this post yesterday, but Vimeo wanted to make me wait a little longer before it would let me upload.  But now I’m finishing off my video post on Korean skincare.

This video went by so fast I hardly had the time to say what I wanted to about my routine.  So, a couple of side notes:

  • In the still picture at the beginning of the video, I’m using the Smile Folds Care Hydrogel Patch by My Beauty Diary.  In the still picture at the end of my Part I video I’m using the Too Cool for School Glam Rock Abracadabra Eye Gel Mask.
  • Generally when you use a sheet mask, you leave it on for 20-30 minutes.  Even if you can’t read the Korean on the back of the package, usually the numbers are there to help you out.  Sheet masks are like a concentrated form of essence.
  • The Black Caviar essence I’m using also has gold as a main ingredient.  Fancy!  It’s also currently on sale at Pretty and Cute for $23.80.
  • Facial mists can be used any time.  They set your makeup, and don’t wash it off, so you can use it to rehydrate in the middle of the day or just as part of your nighttime regime.  
  • You  may notice the markedly improved quality of my video compared to my old videos on my Vimeo channel.  I shot and edited the video on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone.  After my iPhone took an unexpected bath last Christmas, I got the Note 3 and I love it so much.  Next time I’ll shoot in landscape mode, though.

Put It On: Korean Skincare Part II from Furnished Souls on Vimeo.

Again, I’ve put together a Polyvore set of the products I used in this video.  

Put It Back On: Part II of my Skincare Regime

I have plans to write more posts on Korean beauty, like what’s the big deal about BB Creams and CC Creams, more on sheet masks, and even a demo of a pudding mask. Should be fun. Any questions or comments, please put them below!

Holo Nails!

I was blogging about some rings over on my accessories blog, Bedeck, and I was asked about my nails. It seemed like the perfect subject to cover over here, too.

The base color is Zoya Song, which in itself is a beautiful blue color. The sparkle and dazzle, however, is from Orly. It’s called Be Brave, and it’s from their Pretty in Pink collection, which supports breast cancer research.

It’s a pink and blue holo bar glitter, but when light hits it, it’s all sorts of beautiful colors. It’s a little tougher to remove, but if you drench a cotton ball in remover and leave it on the nail for a minute or two, it comes off pretty easily. Plus, there’s very little tip wear; it will last a long time.

I’m really excited about the happenings over at Bedeck, so come visit me over at BedeckMe.Wordpress.com!

BOGO, Emphasis on the GO.

Once upon a time, I said that I would lay off talking about Zoya polish. We all know that’s not going to happen. I can’t stop. Now they have jellies, and frequently they have sales. And right now they’re having both. BOGO sale for those with an existing account! Here’s what’s on its way to Casa Freya:

More Zoya

The polishes are Ray, Song, Monica, Toni, Noot, Paloma, Katherine, Harley and Yara. Obviously fall and winter are on the way, based on my color choices.

My friends say I have an addiction. I guess there are worse addictions to have…

Brand Loyalty

Many years ago, my roommate was a Mary Kay lady. She had the parties, did the makeovers, and our answering machine often had orders for Satin Hands on it. Of course, her den mother (or whatever Mary Kay mentors are known as) wanted her to recruit others, and I was the first and obvious choice. Now, I love me some Satin Hands, and I took advantage of all the freebies that my roommate had, but I couldn’t be a Mary Kay lady. Not just because I suck at sales, but because I couldn’t, in good conscience, go out and tell women to buy things from one brand. The Mary Kay lady has to wear the product and claim that Mary Kay has the best EVERYTHING. I couldn’t give up my MAC eye shadow or my Clinique lipstick.

Yes, it smells like peaches.

I am not brand loyal. I choose what works for me on a case-by-case basis. The only exception, it seems is Zoya nail polish, where I feel like I am the brand ambassador. It is a great product overall, but I feel disloyal when I look at other nail polishes. Which is precisely why I can’t say I’ll use one product exclusively. It becomes too much of a moral dilemma to “cheat” on that product.

So…

Are you beauty brand loyal? If so, what brand? If not, do you have “go-to” brands where you look first?

(This is one of those posts where I really want you to comment! So please…TO THE COMMENTS!)

Funny Face

While in New York, I took a little trip to a big Sephora store in Union Square.

I think my favorite thing about this particular store was all the nail art stations. They had video tutorials and the tools and polishes for various looks, so you could try it out. I tried a matte topcoat (which wore off really quickly, but that could be because I put it over my regular shiny topcoat) and a dotting tool.

What I should have bought…Illamasqua Rare neon yellow.

The thing about Sephora is that you’re surrounded with all those mirrors, and you can see exactly how your makeup is wearing throughout the day. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of not looking enough, and just taking it on faith that my face looks okay. This has led to crazy-smudgy-eye more than once. However, since the heat and humidity was pretty high during my entire trip, I had a sense that I probably wasn’t holding up like I’d like, and the Sephora mirrors confirmed it. My fashionable friend was showing off her NARS Heat Wave lipstick, and suggested I freshen up with something from the NARS range.

NARS Heat Wave

I decided on a fuchsia. I picked NARS Funny Face, and immediately put back what I was going to buy and bought the lipstick instead. It is a beautiful, wearable semi-matte lipstick. It is blue-based, but it looks warm and lovely on. It is the perfect summer bright if you’re a lipstick lover, like myself.

NARS Funny Face

It is not for the faint of heart, I will say, but it’s not costume-y either.

Here’s me wearing it outdoors (my porch is a mixture of sun and shade):

And indoors (I look a little vacuous here for some reason):

At $24, it’s a little pricey, but definitely worth it.

Anyone else have a favorite summer bright? Or a NARS lipstick they would endorse?

Kimono Three Ways

I obsess.

I find something I like and I want to listen to it, read it, or watch it over and over again. Right now I’m obsessed with these things:

Fun. Some Nights

Electric Guest This Head I Hold

Green Wing on Netflix

and Tamsin Greig (as Caroline Tod) in particular.

And right now, I’m kind of obsessed with Girls on HBO. I am not sure I actually LIKE any of the characters, but I find it compelling. So I have to watch.

A lot has been said about the fashion (or lack thereof) on Girls. (Check out Vulture’s Girls paper dolls!) I am kind of digging Jessa’s personal style, which tends to the Boho. I’m all about Boho this summer–I think it’s the maxi dresses that bring it out in me. In particular, Jessa’s kimono in the park outfit has stuck out. I wouldn’t ever wear a bathrobe out in public (which is essentially what she has going on–robe, tank top, Uggs), but I love the idea of a kimono, a topknot, and dark red lipstick.

She uses her employer’s lipstick without her permission, which seems so audacious and even upsetting, which is so part of her character. Bold lip, bold personality.

I came up with a “kimono 3 ways” set. An all-out costume-y kimono, a bathrobe-style kimono (like Jessa’s), and a wearable kimono-style dress (that you could even put a tank top under). Dangly chain earrings, hair up, MAC Russian Red lips, and you’re doing a passable Boho Jessa impression.

Kimono 3 Ways

My own personal bit of Boho today? (Aside from my maxi dress…) My vintage 1976 Egyptian scarab reproduction ring. It was sold at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the first tour of King Tut’s tomb in the USA. And it swivels. Awesomeness.

So…Boho? Kimono? Or just plain no? Also, any obsessions right now that you want to share?