Sunday, December 30, 2012

Party Time!

It's that time of year where we are expected to go out, and look good too. Why not ask us to move a mountain? I don't know about you, but by the time I'm done getting ready, I have no spoons left for going out!

So here are some quick ways to look party ready, and still have energy left for the party itself!

Messy Up Do
I can't remember which designer decided this was a "thing", but bless them. The beauty of this, is it works better if you haven't washed your hair in a day or two. What you need:
Dry shampoo
Bobby bins
Teasing brush or comb
Hair spray (preferably aerosol)
Optional: hair ornament of some kind
Start with your hair a mess. Spray in some dry shampoo for extra texture. Starting halfway back on your head, spritz sections of the top and sides with a little hair spray (just a spritz). Back comb a bit for a little poof. Pull your hair up in a series of small buns in the back. (You can do one large bun, but I find with small buns I can pin the hair further from my scalp and have it stay put. This keeps me from getting bobby pin related head pain.) Add your hair ornament wherever you like.

The caveat here is if you do this style you have to look otherwise pulled together. You know, dressy clothes, bit of makeup, etc.

Dressed Up Pony
Another great style sweeping the runways that is über easy to do. This can be messy (but you have to be dressed) or super sleek, which let's you be a little more relaxed. For a messy pony, follow the instructions above, only instead of buns, tie your hair back in a pony tail (no scrunchies please!) and add your hair ornament to the base of the pony. For sleek, here is what you need:
Gel or styling creme
Pony tail holder
Optional: Hair ornament
This will work best if your hair is damp, but definitely doesn't require washing. Put a small amount of gel in your hands, rub together to warm, and put in the top of your hair. Comb into however you want, all back, deep side part, center part, eyc. Add a little gel here and there as needed to make it smooth, but not crunchy. Pull hair back into a pony tail. Either smooth it down with a little more gel or flat iron *or* for a little edge, mix a smooth top with a teased bottom! Fix your hair ornament at the base of the pony tail. And we're done.
A note here, don't think a pony tail has to be centered. Side pony tails look great and a little more stylized.

Red Lip
If you follow me on Facebook, you saw this as a quick tip. A red lips led everything look pulled together and elevates any outfit. The two things you want here are nice looking skin and black mascara. For your skin, even a tinted moisturizer and little pressed powder will do. You just want it to look finished. For mascara, the blacker the better! My all time favorite is Lancôme Hypnose Drama, but a great drugstore option is Loreal Voluminous.
My advice is to stick with stains. This way you don't have to spend all night in the bathroom touching up your lipstick. There are a lot of great high end stains (Josie Maran and Yves Saint Laurent are outstanding), but why break the bank? Revlon Just Bitten and NYC Cosmetics are fantastic, and available in the drugstore for under $5-$12.
There is a red for everyone. If your undertones are pink, go for blue based reds. If your undertones are golden, go for orange or brown based reds. Yes, red lipstick is a little scary at first, but it's a fabulous feeling when you wear it!  (I'm wearing Josie Maran lip stain in Foxtrot)

Nothing says party like sparkles, but unless you're under 25 big hunks of glitter are not your friend. The good news is glitter has grown up. You can now find loads of eye shadows and lipsticks with subtle, super tiny flecks of glitter that are suited for adults. Again, no need to break the bank here. Revlon, E.L.F., and Wet'n'Wild all make great eye shadows at great prices. If you want to play it safe, get a color you wear normally just in an iridescent version. Or go bold and get out of your comfort zone and see my next suggestion....

Just one bold sweep of color can make blah look BLAM! I love a bright shadow or a bright lip. Notice I said "or". Don't do both. Have blue eyes? Pick up a teal shadow and watch them pop. Hazel eyes? Try green. Brown? Go gold. For lips, any bright color will do. Fuchsia, pink, tangerine. If that's too much, try just an eye liner. It's a small suggestion of color, and a great way to break into the trend. This is another one of those things that makes everything else you do look "on purpose."  (I'm wearing E.L.F. Endless Eyes 32 color palette in Brights, six right and one down.  I have no idea the name of the color, but it's a great shade of teal.)

Doing any one of these, especially the make up, will make you look like you spent a lot more spoons getting ready than you actually did.

Now, strictly speaking, my blog isn't about fashion, but I'd be remiss if I didn't give you a couple of tips here.

Black Dress
When in danger or in doubt, go Little Black Dress. I own at least half a dozen. When I have to go somewhere and look good, but I feel lousy, I put on a black dress. The LBD always looks good, is always in style, and can be dressed up or down. I like a plain shift dress or a wrap dress.

One Big Accessory
This is another thing, like the red lip, that elevates any outfit and looks really "on purpose." Be it a big bracelet, big necklace, big ring, big earrings, any one huge hunk of jewelry will make any outfit awesome. You can pick things like this up anywhere these days, Target, Walmart, any store at any mall that sells clothes (Forever 21 is a great place for awesome but dirt cheap accessories.)
Or shop your closet. Do you have more than one necklace? Do you have more than one bracelet? A broach maybe? Then you have more then enough to make your own statement piece. Take two or three necklaces, hook a broach (or two, or four) into the necklace. Or just pile on every bracelet you own at once.

Those are my two big pieces of fashion advice: black and big shiny things. But it works. Pair a plain black dress with a bold cuff bracelet, spend five minutes on a sleek pony tail, slap on a bright lip. Or a black dress, bold necklace, messy updo, red lip. Look at that, you just got party perfect with minimal spoons.

Looking fabulous doesn't have to be exhausting. You can look great and still have enough energy to enjoy the party. As for staying up all the way until midnight, well..... My other party secret? Take a nap first!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Skip the Shower

(The meme is courtesy of Chronic Illness Cat. If you're not already following this page on Facebook, I highly recommend!)

How true is that? I don't know about you, but showering takes a lot more spoons than I normally have. So I skip the shower. A lot. I really do wish I could shower more, but it usually comes down to showering or eating dinner. I don't have spoons for both.

And I know I'm not alone. Bathing isn't really a priority for the chronically ill. So first, let's take a moment to rationalize, shall we? As I mentioned in my post on dry skin, daily bathing is a big no-no in the winter. It will strip your skin of natural oils and dry it out. Plus, skipping the shower is ecologically sound. A fifteen minute shower uses roughly 105 gallons of water, so by missing a day or two, you're being "green". Because we're doing it to conserve water, right?

Excuses aside, not bathing is just a reality of being chronically ill. Standing up is tiring, bending over hurts, and showering is just too much effort most days. But the products here are good for non-spoonies too. Woke up late? Just hit the gym? Use some of the things here to save some time.

Secret Outlast 48 hour deodorant

I've been using Secret deodorant as long as I can remember, but when I saw this at my last trip to the drugstore I was intrigued. You hear about a lot of products that last 24 hours, and that's nice but I don't shower that much. Forty-eight? Now you're speaking my language. This really does what it says. I put it on after a shower and I really don have to refresh for two days. I find with deodorant it's less about days than the number of times I've put it on. It seems like after the fourth or fifth application, it just gives up. This deodorant really goes the extra mile. It has been well over 48 hours, and I'm still powder fresh!

Gigi Slow Grow

This is a really cool product I had totally forgotten about until I was reorganizing my bathroom cabinet the other week. It slows down hair growth, so you don't have to shave as often. You won't find this in a drugstore, but you'll be able to get it in just about any beauty supply store. I put it on once after my shower, and it makes one week growth look like two or three day growth. Anything that keeps me from shaving as often is good in my book!

Charmin Freshmates Wipes

I looooove these for many reasons. The obvious is you can use them for a quick tidy up in lieu of a shower, just like a baby wipe. The other reason is a little grosser, but let's be real here. Being sick is gross sometimes. I like using these after I go to the bathroom because it helps me feel cleaner in general. And we're not talking about a quick pee here. Just another thing I use to keep the "oooh I'm soooo ggrooosss" feeling away for another day or two so I can skip my shower.

Psssst Dry Shampoo

This is another magic thing. There are a lot of dry shampoos on the market and I recommend this one for two reasons. The first, it was originally designed for the elderly and ill so it's not overly perfumed. The second, it is actually the best. I've tried everything from drugstore to high end, and this one out performs them all as a dry shampoo for removing oil at the scalp, and as a hair styling product (you can use it for texturizing). Spray this at your roots, rub in with your fingers, and it absorbs the oil in your hair, giving you another day of decent hair. Dry shampoo is also a great way to preserve a blow out for a few days. But mostly I use it to avoid bathing.

Ready Bath Wipes

These are the big guns. You have to order them online, because they are technically a medical supply, but you should. These are like baby wipes on steroids. They are made to wash the disabled, the bedridden, etc, and they are great. They are a shower in a wipe. I use these when I know I need to be around people and want to make sure I'm not stinky. They have a light fragrance, but also come in fragrance free. The package even has instructions on the "hot spots" you should hit with the wipe. These will really and truly clean you.

Regardless of all these products, I'm still not going to shower much. These just help me feel a little less disgusting about it. And remember, we're not being gross. We're conserving water. We are doing our part for the environment!