Category Archives: Style

Hump Day Hacks: Put On a Happy Face

Dear friends,

I’ve been off my writing game for over a week now, thanks to a nasty cold acquired while traveling despite copious applications of hand sanitizer and Wet Wipes.

Finally emerging from my self-imposed cocoon (and beauty purgatory), I wanted to share five quick tips for a flawless finish, now that summer’s in the rearview mirror.

  1. Prime skin with moisturizing sunblock.  I like L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur with SPF 30. Smooths out imperfections, protects from damage, easy to find and quite inexpensive. You might not even need foundation, but if you do…
  2. First, add highlights.  It’s counterintuitive to do this before applying foundation, but makeup artists swear it leaves skin glowier. Dot liquid highlighter (like the classic Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat) on brow bones, cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and the “Cupid’s bow” above the center of your upper lip. Once you add your foundation, the highlights will blend in beautifully.
  3. Get even.  This often means combining lighter and darker shades of foundation to get the right custom color.  At this time of year, you may be phasing out a tan or finding that your face and neck are slightly different from each other.
  4. Apply from the center out.  Start your foundation application with a light dab in the center of your forehead, nose and chin.  Blend outwards with a sponge or brush for a light touch that avoids the dreaded mask look.
  5. Save concealer for last. Let your foundation dry so the concealer has something to cling to, and don’t go more than one shade lighter than your base.

Stay gorgeous!

oval brown wooden framed hanging mirror

Photo by Nadine Wuchenauer on Pexels.com

Unboxing: One of Life’s Small Pleasures

I’m a sucker for a great presentation.  And what’s more enjoyable than ordering something you want or need, and having it arrive beautifully packaged? Suddenly, it’s a special occasion that’s all about YOU.

My old passport case was getting a bit ratty, and it was a dark brown, always difficult to find in my bag. I finally found what I wanted online and decided to treat myself.

  1. Plain carton arrives.  I know what’s in it so no surprise there, right?
  2. But… when I open it, a beautiful card pops up on the lid.IMG-1347.jpg
  3. Cool! This has my initials on it. IMG-13484. A box within a box…IMG-13495. And now, the box my item is actually in….IMG-13506. Safely protected in its little pouch…IMG-13517.  The perfect shade of red.IMG-13528. With lots of room for credit cards and money too.IMG-1353 (1).jpg

Why shouldn’t something practical also be beautiful? Just looking at this makes me eager to plan my next trip abroad.

Treat yourselves to a great weekend, dear readers! xoxo, Alisa

In Praise of the Bolide, a “Stealth” Hermès Bag

File:Hermès-1923.jpg

Can anything “Hermès” ever be truly under the radar?

While those of us who are familiar (dare I posit, “obsessed”?) with the brand can likely identify almost any bag, belt, piece of jewelry etc. the house makes, even someone uninterested in fashion can likely recognize a Kelly or Birkin bag, due to endless media coverage of the KarTrashians, et. al.  For some, the association with celebrities — and the difficulty of buying these styles without a long relationship with a boutique sales associate — can make these bags too “in your face” and diminish the appeal of even the most beautiful design.

What to do if you love the house but don’t want to be seen as someone who buys into the hype? In my opinion, the Bolide offers the perfect combination of Hermès history and impeccable craftsmanship in a style less likely to telegraph your income or invite unwanted commentary. It’s also a more user-friendly style than the fussy Kelly or the “I’m so wealthy I can leave my bag open and not worry about pickpockets” Birkin.

The Bolide bag has a glamorous yet practical history, dating back to 1923 when Emile-Maurice Hermès created it for his wife — the first handbag designed with a newfangled invention called the zipper.

In 1916, M. Hermès had traveled across North America. In the course of these travels, he met Henry Ford, toured his many automobile factories, and discovered an ingenious fastening mechanism used on the cloth top of a car. Hermès returned to Paris with a two-year patent for the zipper, planning to adapt this odd skeletal sliding system for use on leather goods, hand luggage, and suitcases.

By 1923, the French fashion house was ready to introduce a carryall that replaced traditional metal clasps with a zippered compartment. This simple yet innovative motoring bag kept jewelry and other valuables safe at high speeds, and could be easily stowed in the trunk of a sports car.

Originally called the sac pour l’auto, the bag was later renamed the Bolide, the 16th-century word for meteor. As automobiles became more ubiquitous and the Bolide design was adopted and customized for car, train and transatlantic travel, Hermès became associated with speed and elegance in motion.

A smaller version — a true handbag rather than a carryall or travel case — debuted in 1982 with its characteristic dome shape, single zip closure, removable leather shoulder strap and a padlock with keys in a leather covering called a clochette.

Hermès is known for its many different leathers* — some no longer produced — which give the Bolide two distinctive shapes and look. Mou, in soft leather such as taurillon clemence, tends to be more casual, while the Rigide is sturdier and harder.

Often spotted in Paris and Tokyo, the Bolide remains a timeless example of understated chic. Plus, I love the fact that you can buy online if you don’t happen to live near a boutique. With the current trend towards smaller bags, the 31cm and 27cm are perfect day sizes depending on how much you lug around with you, while the mini 1923 is a really cute evening option. The larger 35cm, not available on the Hermès website these days, is often available (and less expensive than the 31cm) on the secondary market. And if you’re looking for a larger travel or business size bag, the 45cm can easily fit a small laptop computer or iPad.

L’amour, toujours!

IMG-1363

Bleu Abysse taurillon clemence “mou”, left. Rouge H vache liegée “rigide”, right.

 

*Current Bolide leathers, per the Hermès website:

Volupto calfskin (1923 Mini)

A transparent, very sensual, delicately satiny heritage leather similar to the leather used for clothing. Its extreme suppleness and minuscule, barely visible grain are the result of a long drumming procedure.
First appeared in the collections: 2013
Appearance: Quite smooth; satiny; mottled; clearly visible natural characteristics; subtly contrasting wrinkles
Feel: Silky and slightly waxy
Hand: Very supple; no roundness; richly sensual; full
Change over time: Softens; acquires a patina; darkens; becomes shinier in areas most handled. Gains resistance as patina develops

Swift calfskin (Bolide 27)

This extremely supple, sophisticated leather is named after Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, to highlight its resemblance to Gulliver calfskin, which no longer features in today’s collections.
First appeared in the collections: 2004
Appearance: Almost smooth with a delicate shine; lightly marked grain that is sometimes hardly noticeable
Feel: Soft and tender
Hand: Supple and generous
Change over time: Becomes even more supple

Taurillon Clemence leather (Bolide 31)

Named in tribute to the daughter of the designer who introduced it into the collections, this leather was developed for luggage and is the ultimate example of a grained leather that has been drummed. This process softens the skin and brings a generous grain to the surface.
First appeared in the collections: 1992
Appearance: Semi-matt, generous and irregular grain
Feel: Soft and smooth
Hand: Yielding
Change over time: Becomes more supple

Taurillon Novillo leather (Bolide 1923 – 30)

This leather has a tiny marked grain and is appealingly responsive at heart. In Spain, where this leather originates, “novillo” means “bullcalf”.
First appeared in the collections: 2015
Appearance: Tiny, uniform grain and a satin effect
Feel: Waxy
Hand: Supple, full and responsive
Change over time: Becomes satiny and more supple

 

Beauty Misadventure: The No-Show

Ladies (I presume you gentlemen will not have an opinion), I could use your advice.

I’ve been seeing the same esthetician for several years — A tints and shapes my brows and tints my eyelashes — and she usually does a terrific job so I’ve stayed loyal, even after she left the salon where I get my hair done to go out on her own. It’s less convenient but I like her.

Today I was scheduled for an appointment that had been rescheduled when A got sick a few weeks ago.  I’d received an email reminder as well as an auto-generated text confirmation, so I had every reason to expect business as usual.

I show up at A’s studio, which she shares with a Pilates instructor in a funky older house.  Something is off.  There’s still a painted sign on the curbside stucco ledge advertising Pilates, so I haven’t gone to the wrong address.  But I do seem to have wandered into the Twilight Zone. The doorbell is taped over and dangles from a dingy cord. And not only is A not there, there’s no sign of life inside.

Peering through the frosted glass door I see that the studio on the left has been dismantled. In place of benches, free weights and exercise bands there are several  washers and dryers — is it turning into a laundromat? A’s room is in the back of the house so I can’t tell if it’s operational. Surely she would have said something…. like maybe yesterday?

I text, and then call, thinking maybe A is working out of her apartment, as she’s sometimes done in the past. But I don’t have that address and she never responds.  After waiting a half hour I leave one more message, give up, and head back home with unkempt brows, faded lashes, and no time to get them fixed before we go out of town this weekend.

As of tonight, I still haven’t heard from her so I’m concerned. Has something happened to her? To her beloved dog? Someone in her family? This is most unusual, even though hers is not a completely untroubled life.

But here’s my more selfish question:  This is now the second time in recent weeks that our appointment has fallen through. To be honest, it’s becoming a pain in the ass. Should I give her one more try? Or maybe start getting these services done at a salon where there will be back up if someone runs into a personal issue?

What would you do??

close up photography of person s eye

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

Hump Day Hacks

These two ideas are simply genius.

  • Prevent silver tarnish:  Don’t toss those little silica packets that come in bottles of  vitamins, supplements etc.  Instead, put one or two in a closed bag with your silver. The desiccants help prevent corrosion by absorbing the moisture which reacts with sulfur in the atmosphere to create tarnish. This hack also helps keep gold jewelry shiny and bright.
women s silver necklace

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

  • Easy jar cleaning: When you’re stuck with jars of sticky stuff like peanut butter and honey, try this process:
    • Scoop out as much as possible
    • Add a teaspoon of baking soda and fill jar with hot water
    • Put the lid back on and shake vigorously
    • Let it sit for 10 minutes, then dump out the dirty water.
    • Reuse or recycle!
teapot and teacups with tea and honey on tray

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

 

Drama at the Hairdresser

Generally speaking, a visit to the hair salon is relaxing.  Sure, people might get a bit tense if someone cuts their bangs too short, but I don’t think of it as a high-stress environment.

Well, earlier today I got my hair colored and cut and when I got there, the salon was abuzz.  Apparently, a client had gone more or less berserk only a few minutes before I arrived.

It all started when this woman started ranting at the person doing her hair, stating that she “hates lesbians and Americans.” Umm, ok…. not sure what provoked the outburst, but she continued in that vein.  The stylist said that she didn’t appreciate being yelled at, whereupon this woman started swearing, jumped out of the chair, knocked over a sign in the entryway, and then proceeded to swipe all the products off the shelves onto the floor, before storming out of the salon… with hair dye STILL in her hair.  Hoo boy.

Clearly, this poor woman has issues and is perhaps someone who should be under a physician’s care.  I doubt she’s homeless because this isn’t exactly El Cheapo Haircuts and she’d been there before.  So where are her family? Friends? Neighbors? Co-workers? Can’t anyone in her world see that things are just not right and help her? I mean, the woman is running around in public with dye on her head.

Hair-raising.