Posts Tagged ‘don’t believe the hype’

Sleeveless: The New Micro Mini?


The right to bear arms.

Absentmindedly, while giving myself a pedi, I was watching a show on Fashion Television, where Jeanne Beker was interviewing two sisters, who I believe were writers – forgive me,  for I only caught the show well into more than half of it. In the interview, she asked if, in their opinion, people, specifically women, ought to dress their age. This question was met with dead silence, which seemed to have lasted forever, but I’m sure in reality only lasted a couple seconds. The writers looked at each other with a bit of a puzzled look, followed by a smirk, and then a huge grin.

Indeed, a controversial topic, if ever there was one.

Should we dress our age?

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In the end, it seemed that the both writers agreed that it would be recommended, although one was more emphatic about that view than the other, expressing utter shock and horror at women ‘of a certain age’ wearing sleeveless tops… or exposing their necks.

Poor Jeanne, who was visibly shocked at the response, or perhaps I should say more so disappointed. In light of the fact as, in light of the fact that she revealed that, though she was currently wearing a turtleneck, she is, in fact, a lover of the sleeveless. It was evident that she didn’t share the same view, though, though she was aware that, in some circles, this may be considered a major fashion “don’t”, as she recalled commenting on her arms – on camera, during one of her shows. See for Jeanne, she sees fashion as more of a mindset than an age thing.

Or should we dress our minds?

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Maybe there is no black and white answer.

Perhaps we ought to dress how we wish others to perceive us, or at least dress in what we feel most comfortable and powerful in, – outside of sweats *cough*.

“Dress your lifestyle, and you’ll always be relevant.”

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If one’s clothing doesn’t match one’s lifestyle, there will never be balance, and so, perhaps the problem is bigger than the clothes.  Just my opinion.

I’d be the last to condone dressing to please anyone else, but there must be the acceptance that there is a generally understood concept – how you present yourself to the world, is one of the factors which help communicate to the world exactly which point of view you are coming from.  It’s all a part of the ‘body language’ conversation really, and less so rocket science. Though complex as individuals, as a species humans are simple – It the end, it’s all about vibes.

What vibes are you giving off?

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Side note: The writers threw out an interesting statistic – That one in three (3) things we purchase, is a mistake, i.e. it either is not flattering, or is not the best look for us, aka it’s just wrong. E. Gad, say it ain’t so.

Perhaps the whole notion of dressing your age may be related to that. Logically speaking, the older we get, the more in tune with our personal style we ought to be, and so the less mistakes we are likely to make. But of course, it’s never that simple, is it. That high-waisted, fuschia, American Apparel leggings for example that I purchased with a matching navy one, and standard black long tank comes to mind – Yeah, about that statistic, I get you.

Having it all

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Something else that caught my attention was a conversation about “Having it all’. One of the writers said that she found it interesting that at every graduation, at every turning point in young woman’s life, there is a well accomplished woman who, by all appearances has it all, (which is why I suppose she was asked to address the young women in the first place), who is usually the greatest advocator that it’s not possible to have it all. Funny. She later concluded, less often regarded fact to this discussion is that to have it all requires a great deal of hard work, sweat and perhaps more than a few tears. That, perhaps that it’s less so that it’s not possible and more that it’s not a path for the weak willed, or lazy among us.

Right about here the sister of the first writer offered her two cents – that having it all simply means that you are at a point where

“…what you want, and what you currently have are in balance.”

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Simply, it does not necessarily reflect the balance on your chequing account, the number of kids you have, or if you are married or in any sort of committed relationship or not. She then recounted a time when she had just gotten a divorce, was living in a tiny apartment, and was a struggling writer, but at that moment in her life she felt like she had it all – that is to say, she was in a place where she was happy. She was doing exactly what she wanted to do, at that point in time, and felt that she was well on her way to success on her terms.

I’ve read that success is not the key to happiness, but that happiness is the key to success. So ya, I get it. I get it now.

In the end, it always seems to come down to balance, doesn’t it?

b FiercelyFabulous

Photo Credit

5 Things NOT To Do To Your Skin this Summer.

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5 of the worst things you can do to your skin during Summer.

1. Aggressive Facials

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By aggressive I mean any treatments that involve advanced exfoliation techniques, or includes terms such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion.

Also any facial procedures involving invasive techniques – cosmetic surgeries, nips, lifts, tucks – anything that pierces the face, should also be put off until the fall or winter, unless you would be recuperating in some retreat, indoors and far, far away from the hustle of life in the fast lane where the rest of us will be. If you would be at such a retreat, gwaan on along with your treatment and please do us all a favour and, like a good friend, not mention how ‘ super awesome’ it was.

Exposure to UV rays already increases skin’s sensitivity. No need to make this sensitivity worse by dousing your face in glycolic acid. This combination can result in your worse nightmare, including, but not limited to blisters, darkening of skin areas and disfigurement.

2. Skipping moisturizer

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Typically most skin types are more oily during the summer months. Those of us with naturally oily/ acne prone skin tend to forgo moisturizer altogether, thinking that this excess oil means that the skin moisturizes itself on it’s own. Increased oil production is usually a sign of dehydration, therefore it is important to replenish water levels in skin by increasing the amount of water you drink yes, but it’s said that only something like 10% of the water we drink actually make it to the skin. This is not something that you can quote me on, but considering that most of us barely pass the 2-glass mark daily for water, anything less than 115% absorption of this water we drink is cause for concern.

Therefore, applying a water-based, oil free moisturizer can help replenish the water levels in the skin. These types of moisturizers usually are labeled as such, may be referred to as a ‘gel’ or ‘fluid’ moisturizer and usually list ‘Water’ as the first ingredient.

Stay clear of anything that is labeled a ‘cream’, passes the ‘Dairy Queen’ test (you can turn the opened jar upside down and the contents not fall out), or contains mineral oil (or any such oil) in it’s ingredient listing.

3. Showering less

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“So many fun things to do, so little time!”

No papi. Not so fast.

It’s summer. It’s warm, and it’s humid. Bacteria are in love. They breed, and they multiply, which inevitably results in an odour. YOUR odour, aka B.O.

Hygiene in general needs to be thrown into high gear, and on autopilot. Automatic. Noone wants to out more fires than necessary at the BBQ lime.

Let’s remember the Summer watchwords – Shower & Shave.

4. Not exfoliating

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Closely related to #3, exfoliation of the body helps to remove excess oil buildup that may occur during the day. It helps skin to breathe, look instantly refreshed and ‘glow’, as manually exfoliating the body increases blood circulation.

You can cop one of those kazillion commercial body scrubs on the market and and get it on in the shower. However, I find most of them oily, and hardly worth their cost as most contain very little exfoliating ingredients.

Alternatives?

Dry brush your skin using a dry body brush before you shower, brushing in strokes that lead toward your heart (the direction in which your blood flows). I’ve read that dry brushing, among many other benefits such as shedding dead skin cells, rejuvenating the nervous system and assisting in lymphatic cleansing to name a few, also assists with decreasing the appearance of cellulite… could be as good a reason as any to try it I’d say. Hey, I’ve done more for the promise of far less.

I find dry brushing more effective than brushing your skin in the shower (wet brushing I presume, though this term makes me feel like I need handcuffs), as  the bristles of the brushes, shown to the left, get softer in the shower.

I prefer my massage-pressure firm though, so if you are more of a light-pressure person, perhaps an in-shower brush-exfoliation may work. I do this twice a day – morning and evening.

For good measure, once a week I also do a body scrub, using a combination of cornmeal, honey and, for some slip, a bit of whatever body wash I’m using at the time.  Sometimes I just use ground coffee beans and body wash. Whatever is convenient. For more on body exfoliation see Smooth Criminal.

5. Not using sunscreen

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To my melanin-challenged folks, we aren’t all skin-kissed, bronze goddesses, I get that. But that is no reason to opt to play Cancer Roulette. Besides, sun-burns aren’t sexy, no matter what reality TV says. If wanting a tan is your reason to ride the sun-wave buck nekked, get a sun-less tan. There are tons on the market. I’m familiar with the brand Fake Bake – it’s fairly easy to use, it’s sold where I work, doesn’t leave you looking like like you belong on the Jersey Shore cast, and so this particular brand comes to mind, but there are many other brands. Try that route.

For those of us who are doing backstrokes in the melanin pond, don’t believe the hype that “Black Don’t Crack”. Not only can it crack, it can get mad spotty and unslightly – dark spots, light spots, uneven skin tone – you name it. Skin damage is not known to discriminate.

Be responsible with your skin, and, for wrinkles sake, use sunscreen.

Party on!

b FiercelyFabulous

image credit

Spring Clean Your Sunscreen.

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To be brutally honest, yes, I am aware that this post maybe a tad late – about a month or two. If I knew exactly how late it was, I probably would have uploaded it on time. BUT, to my defense, I was actually waiting for Spring to arrive; A concept that worked a lot better penned in my journal than executed. I was sitting idly by, all freezing, awaiting Spring. Seeing that I am now sitting, idly by, all …misty… , with umm… *mist* beading down my calves, awaiting Spring, I figured that, perhaps, it would be a good idea to discuss it now.

People watch me funny when I say that it’s hot outside. I can only imagine that is because, of course, being a child of the Caribbean, I should be accustomed to the sun. But, dare I say, there is a difference between the Caribbean sun and the sun a country where the mere presence of it indicates a change of season.

For starters, there is no sea breeze. There is no sight of beachy paradise, and there is, on average, 14+ hours of it, everyday. My grandmother used to tell me that “Too much of a good thing is good for nothing”, and I do believe that that phrase can be applied here.

I will preface this by saying that that, I am in no way complaining about Summer. I love Summer in TO, at least the concept of it. My Prince gets a [welcomed, no doubt] break from the Velvet Hammer, and gets an all-expenses-paid vacay with his dad and grandparents, who he, quite politically, loves equally. “No favourites” he maintains. With any luck, I too will posses said tact one day.

There’s lots for a girl to love about summer in TO too. She gets to eat on patios with people whom she’s never met, and probably will never see again in life, so any fear of being judged because of any preferences regarding, eating with fingers, enjoying the taste of well-seasoned bones, or that fact that she may find people-watching, for hours on end while sipping herbal tea, entertaining. She can eat, or be otherwise entertained for free, go out on weekends, [or week-nights] and not have to be back before 6pm. Hell, she doesn’t have to be back, period. Why? Because apparently these are just some of the many options available to single folk. Or so I’ve heard. How novel.

So ya. Summer does have it’s perks.

But, right now it is rass hot, Period. When the weather man said this morning “a high of 32, but feels like 42″ he wasn’t lyin’. Then, you blink and it is too rass cold for that strapless-frock-and-thong-sandal that you decided to don because it is actually above zero today.  HOLLA! Made sense, at the time sure. I mean, 32 degrees? How often does that happen? Just the thought transports one into a state of orgasmic euphoria. Must be, because some of the things that I see Grown people wear because it’s ‘Summer’ blows my mind. Three words when considering your kit:

  1. Size
  2. Disposition
  3. Age

The phrase “You’re as young as you feel” is misleading, don’t believe the hype. Please dress responsibly. Just because you feel like a 10 year old girl doesn’t mean you should dress like it, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation.  There’s enough fodder in that thought for another post - probably why I can sit on a patio all afternoon and “sip herbal tea”.

But back to the sunscreen. In all of our spring cleaning efforts – too warm or too small clothing, too dark or too long hair, too much extra weight, too flabby muscle, too much idiot or stupid people, do remember to renew your sunscreen.

If you purchased the sunscreen that you are currently using this time last year, REPLACE IT.

Chemical sunscreens, sunscreens that list active ingredients such as Homosalate, Oxybenzene, Octisalate, Avobenzene, Octocrylene or anything of the sort, are considered drugs, and as such, have an expiry date – usually 12-18 months after opening.

Indeed, exposing such products to summer heat, for example when stashed in beach bags, or in cars, can cause a chemical breakdown of the product, which may result in a shortening of its shelf life; In other words, the product spoils faster. Applying expired sunscreen to your skin can result in anything from increased skin sensitivity/ breakouts to sun burn.

For further explanation on the difference between a physical and a chemical sunscreen, see previous post, Sun and Skin type.

It is said that ‘one shot glass’ (1 oz.) of sunscreen is needed for a full body application. However, well, my body and your body doesn’t necessarily equate to the same ‘body’, so If you think that your body is a “little bigger than average”, then apply a little more. If you think your body is “more bigger”, well then apply more still. That’s all.

Regarding the face, a quarter sized amount of sunscreen should suffice. And yes, your foundation or loose powder may contain sunscreen, great for you. However, it’s not nearly enough in terms of real time protection from UV rays, especially during summer, so… gets to squirting.

Think sunscreen isn’t for you? See some common myths regarding sunscreen are discussed in the post Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photo: Africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Documentary | “Food Matters”

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“You are what you eat”

We hear this time and time again, but what, if anything does it really mean to us.

Came across a documentary,  Food Matters, which goes into some fair depth (it’s 77 minutes long!) and gives some insight into the relationship between nutrition, health and our relationship with food here in the western world.

Among other things, the documentary also looks at:

1. Our [western] society’s “Taking a pill to cure an ill” approach and it’s obsession with use of drugs.

2. Methods of cleansing the body and the concept that “Food can affect your mood”

3. Cancer and the war against it – how it works and the ability of the human body to fight it… or not.

4. “Education” vs. “Medication”

5. “Superfood” diets – The argument foroOrganic, plant based, and raw foods

I’ll admit, it does come across a bit “The Secret”-ish in the way it is presented, BUT it does highlight important points -

1. Why is it that most of us pay more attention to what we wear than what we eat and

2. That a healthy diet is an important component to us feeling our best and achieving happiness.

See direct link to documentary here.

What are your thoughts?

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photo: Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parabens and YOU

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Parabens. Parabens. Parabens.

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I’ve just cursed you in skincare language – 3 times too. Ha!

Parabens have received a pretty bad rep in skincare recently, resulting in large part from a UK study back in 2004 that looked at paraben-containing deoderant and it’s relation to breast cancer.

But before we get into that…”I know they are bad but…”

What ARE Parabens?

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Parabens are preservatives that are commonly used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industry to guard against bacterial and fungal activity, and prevent the growth of other possible organisms such as mold and yeast. They are widely used because they have been found to have the least ability to sensitize (cause redness and irritation, among other reactions) the skin in preparations that are left on the skin.

Parabens are easily identifiable as they would normally contain the word ‘paraben’, as in methylparaben, ethylparaben, etc.

Why use preservatives cosmetics?

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Well… let’s think about it for a second.

Take your everyday skincare cosmetics – Your cleanser. Your toner. Your moisturizer. – Chances are water is listed somewhere on the ingredient list.

This would be the case unless of course you are using something that contains no water at all, like 100% of an oil based substance – 100% Shea Butter for example, or perhaps loose powder (or ‘baby’ powder) which is basically 100% talc – no water present. We’re not talking about these. No water means no disease carrying organisms to worry about.

Think about mixing a concoction of different (edible) ingredients from your kitchen with water in a container, covering it and putting it away on a shelf. Then think about opening this container 12-24 months later. Would you drink the mixture? If not why not?

Cause it will be wrenk that’s why. Eww.

Bacteria and fungi have a field day and multiply in water (with the presence of oxygen), unless there is something, in this case some ingredient present that inhibits it’s growth.

The same concept applies regarding water-based skincare cosmetics – basically different ingredients suspended in water.

Therefore, it is important to use a preservative(s) in these cosmetics when it is required that they remain safe for use after sitting on a shelf in a store, on your dresser or worse – under the face-basin in your bathroom for a year… or two.

Okay… But what’s the deal?

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So back to the initial sentance, the real jibber-jabber with parabens came around 2004 when a UK-based study looked at the use of parabens in deoderants, and it’s connection to the development of breast cancer.

The Issue: Parabens have been shown to have estrogen-like qualities and they’ve also been shown to be absorbed into the body when applied topically, hence begging the question – Are they somehow cancer causing?

Studies and tests have shown that:

1. The estrogenic effects of parabens are thousands times lower than the most estrogenic compound in the body and that

2. Once they enter the body, parabens are incapable of imitating estrogen. The U.S Food & Drug Administration [FDA] has also stated:

“FDA is aware that estrogen activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer. Although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have must less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occuring estrogen.”

Moreover, the Milady’s Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredient’s Dictionary indicates that plant substances including but not limited to soybeans, strawberries, sage, dong quai, pumpkin, red clover and rosehips are considered to have natural estrogenic effects 1000 to 1,000,000 times stronger than parabens.

Righto. I type this as I inhale a bowl of fresh strawberries I just copped for 99c a carton.

So with no solid proof that parabens are related to [breast] cancer then…

Why the controversy?

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Who really knows?

There’s not nearly as much fuss over the use of tanning beds and its relation to skin cancer, and it can be argued that the case is much stronger for that link.

Perhaps, as with most other skin care myths, it’s just a marketing strategy, which means that the ‘controversy’ is being fueled by the skin care manufacturers – Those who have replaced the use of parabens in the skin care cosmetics with some other preservative, never mind they don’t state exactly what that preservative is, other than stating “Paraben Free” on the label.

Given that parabens were shown to be the least sensitizing, could it be that the replacement preservative(s) is/ are more sensitizing/ dangerous than the use of parabens?

Or perhaps, I don’t know, the replacement preservative used is less effective than parabens and therefore puts the user/ user’s skin at more risk if the product is either used past it’s safe-by date (which usually goes unchecked), or after having endured unfavourable conditions, like being out in the sun for example.

I can ponder forever.

Definitely something to think about while you sip your overpriced soy latte after making a trip to the local tanning salon.

Just sayin’.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photog: Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s Official | Look Like Your Ex for $69.50

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The madness is now official.

Meet the Levi’s “Ex-Girlfriend Jeans”

Product Description:

“Remember the girlfriend with the great style? Here’s a tribute to her — a fit that’s super-snug allover, an update of the five-pocket classic that’s as skinny as it gets. Made with plenty of stretch.”

Shown in Mask and available at a Levis Store near you.

Or if you really can’t wait, shop here.

Why do I feel a burning desire to tag this under “skin damage”?

Perhaps, the reason she left you was because you kept taking her isht?

Food for thought.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Dodging Fashion Roadkill | The Maxi Dress



S2011 | Micheal Kors

As long as there are women, there will always be the Maxi dress. Designers must find this fact annoying because, perhaps in an effort to relieve their boredom, they’ve decided to inject different textures and structures into this spring/ summer staple. The possible result? An epic miss, with some of the most unflattering combinations known to man… or in this case, woman.

The word “Maxi”, as it applies to a dress (or skirt), refers to either length (usually floor grazing) or fullness  (voluminous) – either way there is a whole lot of fabric. The goal of a Maxi dress is to create the illusion of easy sophistication, but this punchline can easily get muddled when designers run with such wild abandon in the park of imagination,  that they miss the mark  totally.

Most of trends for this Spring/ Summer 2011 (S2011) may be seen somewhere on a Maxi Dress near you. Beware of the pitfalls.

1. The See-Through-Maxi

S2011 Trend: Lace/ See-through Fabrics


S2011 | Giorgio Armani

The issue: Visible underwear, isn’t Sexy. [Visibly] going without underwear, tramp style, is worse.  No-one is interested in seeing your ‘titillating’ ‘assets’. This dress will flatter noone with an ounce of flesh. Much more than the sheer fabric will be… bouncing… in the wind.


S2011 | Givenchy

The solution: Go sheer without going bare. Printed sheer materials can offer less translucency that plain coloured ones. Also, well placed detailing can detract, or conceal, areas of perverted interest. Depending on the dress, you can wear a (modern) slip.

2. The Bright, Boxy, Structured, Maxi

S2011 Trend: Bold Colours/ Menswear/ Suits



S2011 | Jill Saunders

The issue: Your waist called. He misses you.

May be laid back,  but this look is definitely not sexy. All that’s missing here are the potatoes, which is ironic because that’s probably the last thing that’s available  on that menu.

Proportions. Proportions. Proportions. An hourglass shape, or the illusion of one, is the key to classic style. Also,tThe overly structured look of this dress defeats the purpose of a Maxi dress.


S2011 | Lanvin

The solution: The bold colour rocks. Keep the structure to an asymmetrical neckline and a belted waist.

3. The Retro Maxi

S2011 Trend: Retro/ 60s Ladylike/ Red carpet glam


S2011 | Vivienne Westwood

The issue: More like 60s/ Ladylike Prom, and looks like the dress equivalent to helmet head – Untouchable.


S2011 | Lanvin

The solution: Switch up the fabric. Interpret the retro ladylike, rather than raid your mother/ grandmother’s closet. Similar silhouette, different reaction.

4. The Graphic Maxi (I)

S2011 Trend: Floral Prints


S2011 | Jill Saunders

The issue: Large prints, like this floral overwhelms petite frames. The dress’s voluminous nature around the waist area also does not complement a woman’s figure.


S2011 | Marc Jacobs

The solution: Choose a floral print that is proportional to your size – larger frames are better able to carry larger prints. Add interest to a floor grazing floral number with a contrasting detail in a complementary colour at the waist. Peek-a-boo skin, unveiled through a v-neck, gives balance to a potentially, visually dizzying number.

5. The Graphic Maxi (II)

S211 Trend: Bold Colours/ Geometric Prints/ Asymmetrical hems


S2011 | Vivienne Westwood

The Issue: An effort is made to highlight the waist with a twist-tie, but the  over-sized vertical stripes + no structure + peculiar dress length + bold colours+ excess fabric = Please Stop. My head hurts.


S2011 | Marc Jacobs

The solution: One voice at a time. Keep silhouettes, to dresses in busy fabrics, simple. The ruching detail in the right places breaks the monotony, and gives a flattering look to even the no-no horizontal stripe rule.

6. The White Maxi

S2011 Trend: All White/ Minimal/ 60s Ladylike


S2011 | Chloé

The issue: The abundance of fabric on the top half, in white no less, coupled with a gathered waist would make for an excessively commodious, unflattering look on most humans.


S2011 | Chloé


S2011 | Chloé

The solution: A wrap dress, or one that mimics it, is universally flattering, even in white, as it breaks up the details, as well as highlights the natural waist.

Tip: A V-neck works better than a round neck for fuller and/ or curvier figures.

7. The Unfinished Maxi

S2011 Trend: Asymmetrical Hems / Metallic/ Sheer/ Unfinished Detailing


S2011 | Vivienne Westwood

The issue: The first issue is the trend itself – Unfinished garments. Unhemmed garments, unclipped trimmings. A frayed, fuzzy look with thread dangling everywhere. Why? I’ll file this in the juvenile section, right next to destructed jeans.

More than the hems, the statement is undone in this crinkly, scratchy, bed-head looking kit, the draping of which also makes for an unflattering profile. Besides, if you are going to tote all of this fabric, and still have a peep show, why not just don a fitted, loosely crocheted dress instead? Oh yeah, that’s also a don’t.


S2011 | Micheal Kors

The solution: Just because the fabric has a metallic finish, doesn’t mean it has to look like it will cut you. Switching up the fabric to a touchable knit, (one that is also less sheer), and tightening the silhouette a touch, gives the still-asymmetrical look an easy-going, figure-enhancing flow. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

8. The Body Concious Maxi

S2011 Trend: Body Concious/ White/ Lace/ Sheer Fabrics


S2011 | Emilio Pucci

The issue: The combination of the above trend may make for a body conscious, but not a body flattering combo. Perhaps this would be better worn as resort wear, in the form of a beach cover-up.


S2011 | Emilio Pucci

The solution: Emphasize your curves in one trend. Either in lace/ sheer fabrics OR a body hugging silhouette.

OTHER USEFUL TIPS

1. DO give unexpected skin via a high slit or an asymmetrical hemline to give overly voluminous , or excessively lengthy dresses a modern edge, as Emilio Pucci does here.


S2011 | Emilio Pucci


S2011 | Emilio Pucci

2. DO play with the Military trend with ‘sober’ colour choices – e.g. olive green, navy, combined with subtle masculine detailing.


S2011 | Lanvin

Whoever said that Power can only be unleashed in a pant suit must have never experienced the Power of a Maxi.

b Freakin’Fabulous

The Science of Valentine’s Day Gift Giving


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For some of us, the only thing more challenging than making it through Saint Valentine’s Day (V-Day), is getting the gift correct. Let’s face it, when it comes to V-day gifts, there are the OOOOOOOOOH!!!!“s, the “Oh….“s, and the “OH.“s.

Yes, V-Day is commercialized (what isn’t), and perhaps a bit overrated. We can go on forever and ever about that, but, if, at the end of all your boo-hoos and wha-whas, you are still going to give your special someone something, it has to make the grade.

A lot of pressure? Absolutely.
Especially if you only remember to get a gift the night before, and the only thing that is open is the pharmacy.

There is a science to V-day gift giving. Saint Valentines Day is a very unique day of the year. Though, like a Birth day or Christmas Day, it occurs every year, it carries a different sentiment. altogether There are no norms or customs. There is no onslaught of gifts from family and familiar faces. There is no expectation from anyone, but one, and that one, is YOU. Therefore, it is important that your gift does not flop.

That sad, solitary rose broadcasts that you forgot, and so do gift cards. You are better off getting a blank card, and filling it with all of the things that you don’t find yourself saying on a daily basis.

Gift cards are impersonal, and scream that you either didn’t have time to get a real present, or that you don’t know the person well enough to figure it out. There is a reason why the gift card business makes money – It is only useful if you remember that you have it. I have a Sephora gift card floating around for the last 4 years, and I’m a Beauty-product Junkie. Let’s work that math out.

A friend recalls her best V-day gift.

“… the biggest, fluffiest, white and red teddy bear, a bunch of 24 long stemmed red roses, and the most beautiful pair of gold earrings….‎​was sent to me at work…delivered by 3 [uniformed] guys, all dressed alike…”

I cannot begin to count the fantasies in there. The 3 uniformed guys, showing up at the right time, could have been a present enough. “Heeeyyyyy!”

To date, the best V-day gift I’ve ever received was a heart-shaped, diamond ring, ambushed by long-stemmed roses. It was the best gift not because it was the most expensive thing that I’ve ever received, it was the best gift because I didn’t expect it. I was in high-school,  he was as hot as Hell itself, and it was the first possession that I can recall actively hiding from my parents. Now that I have had some experience with men, I should have probably kept him around.

All that to say, the key to V-day gift giving, is that the gift need not be expensive, nor dramatic, It just needs to be memorable.

So what’s hot for 2011?

TECHNOLOGY

Technology is the new bling. The best thing about this gift idea is that it works whether your partner/ significant other/ FWB, is male or female.

If you are running low in the cha-ching department, Apps are good idea. There are millions to choose from.

Another cool yet manageable tech idea getting upgraded phones. And why not? You don’t have to measure for size, wonder if s/he will like the scent or colour as you would if you were buying cologne, a tie, jewelry or of course, the guy’s fav… socks.

Already both have smart phones? Get an unlimited data plan so that you can sexy bbm whole day, or perhaps ones with video talk options *blink*. What you do with those options is your call.

Reading is Sexy. It is especially if you are reading from a Nook, Kindle, or, Helleeeer, an Ipad. An eReader is a good option if you have a little extra cash to spare.

CLASSIC MENTIONABLES

These take a little more thought, and may require more planning time. However, there is more mileage on the impression left.

A wellness service for two.

Gift cards for wellness services seem to be very on trend. Yes, we do all need to de-stress, but very few of us like to leave our house to de-stress alone. Whether your significant other takes you, or a bff, a couples massage, for example, will go a lot longer than one meant for… well, one.

Magazine subscriptions.

For a magazine that s/he actually reads, of course. Inexpensive but appreciated, s/he will be reminded of you for at least a year.

Entertainment for two

Tickets to a show that s/he likes, or to a sports game for a team that s/he is a fan of. Or what about ones to that jerk Trey Songz’ concert, because she’s been dying to see him for like… forever. So what if you think he’s gay?

You may not be a fan of the activity, but suck it up, get them, and go anyway.

You really shouldn’t do something because of the kick-back, but you never know how that favour may be repaid.

I’m just sayin’.

The Romance Option

For a real mojo igniter, how about a romantic overnight stay at a hotel, with a dinner for two, and a breakfast in bed option for the next morning? Or perhaps a weekend getaway to a city of your choice. Feel free to insert a Spa in-room couples massage here as well. You’d get at least a couple free passes out of the dog house for this one right here, let me tell you. Oh, unless you are aiming for company in 9 months, be sure to walk with your family planning kit.

Jewelry, with a customized twist

Up the jewelry ante by getting something with a special date or name inscribed in it. *Dark Vader’s Pookie Bear* on the back of that beautiful Micheal Kors Baguette-Bezel, Rose Gold, Watch. No judgments, just suggestions. Do you.

His & Her Clothing

His and her leather jackets. Fab.

Switch it up guys.

Take a walk on the wild side and visit your local Victoria’s Secret, or similar store, with your significant other. Again, go with her. Please, do not play hero and try to figure out the fit based on your sizing up of the sales person’s figure/ size. Yes, it’s a great thought, but doing so may very well result in a great thought that flopped, epically, in its execution.

The possibilities of this novel idea flopping are endless.

1. Since she has to wear it, it would help her mood if she likes what she is wearing, and of course if it fits well. There are very few things as uncomfortable as ill-fitting, non-stretch lace. I’d wear shoes that are too small for a day and a half, over doing that.

2. The last thing you would want to purchase for a woman is any clothing that is either overly big or overly small. This can result in an awkward silence, questions, or worse, just one question, the answer(s) to which you will never, ever be qualified enough to answer.

“You really see me as THIS BIG???”

or the thought…

***Wow… I guess I’m bigger than he thinks…***

They both suggest an issue with weight, which is, of course, not the response that are looking for. You shall be sleeping with yourself that night… on the couch. Not fun.

3. Regardless of what porn tells us, not all women feel sexy in lingerie. For these types of women, lingerie is then more of a present for you than for her, so maybe you can save this gift idea for your birthday. VS sells a myriad of things. Going with her enables her to get something that she actually wants – pampering beauty essentials, or even swimwear. Yes, I it may be still winter outside. A jump start on fashion on someone else’s dime? Always Fab.

b Freakin’Fabulous

If you do one thing for the Holidays…


.

There are two types of people in this world. Those who fuss about the holidays, and those who don’t.

You know, the ones who stress themselves out about what everyone else will think, only to stress and bicker some more that the people who they were fretting for didn’t give a rat’s behind. Then there are those who live on the flip-side of this planet – the ones who don’t so much as buy a card for nobody, including moms.

If you do one thing to prepare for the holiday season, DETOX. Physically and mentally.

The festive season is usually a time of great excess, so prepare yourself for it in order that you don’t overindulge, over do, and over be, only to then be pressured into setting unrealistic goals for yourself. Goals of which you do not express loudly of course, because, nowadays, telling people that you’ve set ‘New Years resolutions’ for yourself is soooooo last decade. *Goooooosh*.

It’s all about the winging it, innit? Forget the goal setting, just freestyle the next 365 days of your life. Brilliant!

I digress.

The Holiday Season.

Excessive food.
Excessive conversation.
Excessive drinking.
Excessive spending.
Excessive skin teet.

Prepare your body and mind for it. Eliminate the the current build up of toxins, before you open up and indulge in new ones, so that come 01022011, you don’t feel chock full of bile and regret. Allow yourself enough psychological and physicial space to properly deal with excesses drama that don’t belong to you; the stuff that messes with your zen and makes your year start off with a *Pfffft* rather than a *How you like DEM apples!” kinda thing.

And while you are detoxing yourself, why not clean up your environment?

Schedule a Fall cleaning.

Declutter your space and make room for everything that you will and hope to receive in the new year.

SORT OUT YOUR *ISH.

Give the lightly used, clothing or otherwise, to charity, to someone you know, or to a family in need. For some of us, the unused stuff that you got on clearance because it was a ‘deal’, and paid no mind to the fact that it neither fits, nor compliments your shape nor anything else in your closet for that matter, also qualifies. Let’s face it, if you haven’t used it in a year, worse if you live in a climate that does NOT change for the entire year, then chances are you aren’t using it for a reason.

“Fabulous” fits and flatters. “Unfabulous” doesn’t.

Do yourself and the public at large a favour and give unfab away. Freely.

And while we’re getting busy with it…volunteer.

So you can’t buy something for everyone that you know is in need, but you can give of your time, your energy or perhaps of your experience. It is said the the less time that you spend focusing on yourself, the more you appreciate what and those that you have, especially when you spent your time with people who are less fortunate than you are.

Theory of relativity.

That’s like me stressing out yesterday about having lost my son’s bag, and his entire ‘LIFE’ along with it on the subway.

Stressful? Sure. I guess someone got an early Christmas. But when I think about the fact that I could have lost him???… well, losing a fun-filled knapsack ain’t so bad in the grand scheme of things. Go ahead and enjoy.

b Freakin’Fabulous.

Photo credits: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Inappropriate Much?

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I was privy to a child of about 8 years old dressed in the same outfit as her mother.

Umm. Why?

I find this disturbing. Porque? Because that mother should have some sense not to dress her child in a Halter top and matching short, shorts and boots. It’s bad enough on the mother, who managed to look like a stuffed sausage in stilettos, but the child, dressed in what was an obvious attempt to appear cute, just looked like a little Jon-Bennet on steroids.

What mother in their right minds would dress their little precious like a hoochie mama from Murray street corner? How is that cute? and lemme at the person who invented children’s shoes with high heels! There are medical reasons why children should not wear high heels, the decision to wear them is purely an adult one, as the repercussions range from mild discomfort to bunions and back pain. Have we taken leave of our senses?

Gone are the days of those cute little dresses with the frills that actually said “little girl here”. The days of the T-Shirts and jeans that didn’t cup the buttocks, the ones with the pony tails and ‘My Little Pony’ skirts.

Not to mention children today don’t even look like children physically. I happened to see a little one the other day. Was that the beginning of boobs? Hips? a butt?

“But wait!”

I wailed to my sister.

“She’s only 8!”

This could not be happening. But it was. It is. I have realised that the time is now if we are going to grip the bulls by the horns and start to teach our daughters that the human body is a temple. That should be treated with respect. It’s now.

I’m really disturbed. If we as mothers are not teaching our children, by word or deed, to respect themselves, then are we really so surprised when they don’t know their own worth and accept other peoples disrespectful treatment of them?

This is a trend that is getting worse as the ‘little girls’ are getting younger and younger. Babies are toddling about in leggings and t-backed tops or pint sized bikinis for the beach… 15 year olds are dressed like show girls from las Vegas to go to Prom/Graduation.

Where does it end? You can’t dress your little one like an adult and then go off the deep end when she mouths off on you – she thinks she is a little adult and so she’s confused when you smack the teeth out her mouth ( which is incidentally the correct response for back talk – forget the police, send the army cause I’m about the bring it like Saddam.)

And these days these little children are coming out with their hands on their hips and a “NOW WHAT?” attitude, the days of little bobble head babies are long gone – these coming out with swag.

All the more reason to let these children be children for as long as possible.

Teaching respect for oneself is something that is taught by actions, the everyday living of it, not the talk.

As it is right now I am fully aware that there are crazies out there who can get high off those baby commercials where the baby is licking a spoon.  EW.

So how much more will they be triggered by the sight of your sexily dressed little one?

As adults we can handle the results of our actions, and so its much more acceptable if you want to wear a nice pair of (tasteful) shortpants that flatter your shapely legs. Good for you if your halter show’s off your baby soft skin , and boobies to make a priest cry.

But We’re adults. And therefore more equipped to handle any weirdos that may blow our way.

As Parents we must protect our children as much as we can. Chances are we wont see when the weirdo passes by, casing out the joint looking for his next victim. Chances are we won’t even see his face. But we should be damned if we make his choices any easier for him.

Children should look like children, and dress like it, and I believe that this goes across the board – from zero months – 12 years, they should look like children. Teens are a different story – but the same thought process applies. If they are treated like teens – then they will act like it.

Forward ever…

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