Archive for the ‘fashion & style’ Category

NTKOG #117: The kind of brash Blanche Devereaux type who, when she catches eyes with a man, starts tossing out compliments like Mardi Gras beads.

I am: the girl who — stepping in front of the register at Dunkin’ — takes one look at the cashier and squeals: “I looooove your earrings!”

I am not: quite so keen on extending the same charm to men. God forbid they think I’m after something other than their brains.

The Scene: Bank of America, depositing a few checks for my office. The teller behind the counter is one of those good-looking guys with an almost feminine face that he tries to mask with designer stubble; judging by his gunmetal silver shirt and Kenneth Cole pocket square, I’d wager he’s one of those guys who falls on the side of uncool only because he’s convinced he’s so extremely cool. One of those people everyone loves at first sight then likes less and less. But even if I’m wrong about the personality, I can tell he’s not my type.

As he glances down at my deposit slips, his eyes flutter for a moment and, oh, he’s got the thickest, longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen outside of a Revlon commercial. If he were a woman, I would have immediately cooed, but because he is a man — and, worse, a man who might think I’m angling to sleep with him — my instinct is to check my tongue. But hey, I’m not that kind of girl, right?

TKOG: My god, you’ve got the most beautiful eyelashes! They’re spectacular!
Definitely Not Wearing Mascara: Women always say that. They’ve been saying that my whole life.
TKOG: That’s because they’re jealous. Hell, I’m jealous.
DNWM: That’s sweet of you.

For the rest of the day, I thought all was right with the world. I complimented a man! He didn’t take it awkwardly or give me a look dripping with letting-you-down-easy! We were able to interact completely platonically on a lady-dude-to-dudely-dude level of discussing physical aesthetics!

Then it all went downhill. Over the next few days, when I came in to make deposits, he escalated our chitchat to the degree that I had to take out both earbuds instead of only one. By Wednesday of the next week, he had complimented my dress. The unpleasant encounters came to a head when I dropped off a deposit after the 3:30 rush on Friday afternoon.

DNWM: So what’re you listening to all the time?
TKOG: Oh, y’know, everything. Gregorian chanting, commercial jingles. Right now I’m listening to Stevie Wonder.
DNWM: That’s cool. I go to lots of concerts around here. I’m going to one this weekend, actually.
TKOG: Sweet.
DNWM: Do you have any plans this weekend?
TKOG: Uh, I’ve got to clean my apartment and reread The Great Gatsby oh my god look at the time I’ve got to go bye.

The Verdict: This is why I don’t compliment men. Not because I’m the type of raving narcissist who imagines any guy would fall for her immediately (HA!), but because Murphy’s Law says that any guy I’m seriously not interested in will be the like one guy in five thousand who falls for my accidental charms. That way when I tell the universe, “Dude, seriously, can you not show me some damn love here?” the universe can be like “remember that guy at the bank? geez, all you ever do is complain” and it will be technically right.

I think I’m just going to stick to complimenting women. They’re lovely creatures who smell good and know that I don’t want to hook up with them. That’s as high-pressure as I can get.

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NTKOG #116: The kind of thin-skinned neatnik who spends her evenings wearing a ruffled apron and those ridiculous yellow latex dishwashing gloves.

I am: immune to pain. You’re looking at a dude who ate a steak sandwich twelve hours after getting her wisdom teeth out. I once put an ice pick through my whole palm, then went on mixing mojitos without so much as a schmear of Neosporin.

I am not: so delicate or anal-retentive that I need hand prophylactics just to wash a few dishes.

The Scene: My matchbox-sized apartment, slaving like Cinderella over a teetering stack of bowls super-glued together with soymilk residue. After spending the past year as a kept woman in a palatial converted 1920s mansion, it was a rude awakening to move back into an apartment where the dishwasher is this guy. As a result, I strenuously believe in blasting the water as hot as possible to at least approximate machine-powered sanitation levels.

Problem: I could only wash a glass or two before my skin would scald seventeen shades of fire engine and my finger tips would start peeling off. Great for my secret life as a gentleman art thief (no prints!); terrible for pretty much anything else.

The answer to this, as in all things, came from the charming Muscles. Muscles — as his epithet implies — has the heart of a lion, the physique of a well-groomed bear, and the hands of an 18th century duchess. Last summer, after dinner at his and Justice’s estate, he gathered up the dishes and snapped on a pair of yellow gloves.

“Dude?!” I sputtered. “You look like a promo for The Pacifier 2.”

The power of the gloves was immediately apparent: he didn’t even flicker at my ribbing, just gazed on with the smug serenity of a Bikram instructor. “They’re more helpful than you’d think,” he replied, then thrust his gloved hands into the cloud of steam rising from the sink.

My first purchase when I moved into my Boston apartment was my own pair of dorky yellow dish-washing gloves. And frig it if the ol’ guru wasn’t onto something.

The Verdict: Every time I peel off my gloves after a half-hour spell of doing dishes in 180-degree water, I gaze at my dry, unscalded hands in delight. If I were a 17th century peasant, I would burn these gloves because surely they are tools of magic and of wonder. But I am not a 17th century peasant. I am just a happily unboiled dishwasher — even if I am a slightly dorky looking one.

Also, I’ve fought the draft of this post for months now, convinced that y’all would leave me forever for sharing a story so dorky and banal. But after twenty minutes of passionately proselytizing about rubber gloves to Anglophile the other day, I realized my conviction is too great to keep bottled. If one dishwasher-less person reads this post and goes out to buy gloves, dude, this whole blog will have been worth it.

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NTKOG #90: The kind of vapid, beauty-obsessed reality TV contestant who – not content with just photoshopping every photo of her on Facebook – resorts to real-life editing, in the form of a full-body airbrushed spraytan.

I am: already extremely happy with my skin, which holds a hint of tan even in winter.

I am not: even vain enough to wear make-up on a daily basis – let alone the semi-permanent whole-body equivalent!

The Scene: Perfect Tan in Allston, where I have purchased a half-price coupon for a custom airbrush spray tan session, courtesy of the brilliant minds at Groupon. I bought the coupon more as a joke than anything: I simply couldn’t think of a less-me activity. Standing naked while a total stranger sprays your whole body with ice-cold liquid vanity? Ha. The whole T ride to the tanning salon, my heart froze with condescension, horror, and deep-seated girlish insecurities.

What I thought would happen: A taut, gleaming blonde named Kandi would glare judgmental at my paper thong and crack out – between snaps of her gum – “So, what, is your waxer like semi-recently deceased or something?” While I attempted to mumble an answer, she’d pop a cartridge of spray out of the airbrush gun. “Yeah, um, there wasn’t enough paint to cover you. On account of you being a beast and all.” As I re-dressed, I’d catch a glimpse of myself in my mirror, smeared with neon streaks of a color that can only be described as JERSEY SHORANGE.

What actually happened: A taut, gleaming brunette named Lori (thank you, universe, for sharing my sense of humor) asks if I’m getting sprayed for a particular event and, in a moment of weakness, I admit that I’m doing it for a blog and I’m kind of nervous. “Ohmigod, don’t be,” she says, her eyes round with enthusiasm. “You are going to look so good.” For eight minutes we chat about Boston and reality TV, and I forget that I am wearing nothing but three square inches of disposable fabric. The whole experience is, like, less awkward than a haircut. After she leaves, I dress jauntily before peering in a mirror and realizing – shit, I really do look … so good.

I mean, better than my previous winter pallor, anyway. The color is a natural bronze – the sort that my skin acquires after the first few nice days of spring. My limbs look thinner, my teeth look whiter, and I’ve acquired the deep, resonant glow of someone with a really good relationship with god. Or, at the very least, a time-share in St. Maarten. My fixation on the cosmetic benefits of spray-tanning hits an extreme when I catch myself staring at my own reflection in the dull metal siding of the Planned Parenthood across the street from the tanning salon.

Yeah I said tanLINE because guess what dudes DISPOSABLE THONG FOR THE WIN. (Also, the disposable thong is still in my purse because I was going to take pictures of it, but now I forgot and will probably just end up selling it to someone on Craigslist.)

Lame before and after cobbled together from iPhone pics, because I'm at work and even though my company is lax, I think they'd frown on my locking myself in the bathroom to take fifteen billion MySpace pictures of my tanline.

Later, The Ex compliments my tan as I sat gazing with liquid adoration at my clear, lustrous skin. “I know, it’s great, right? I only wish I’d gone a shade darker,” I fret, not for the first time.

“Whoa, babe,” he says. “You went from non-tanning to tanning, and now you’re obsessed with going darker and darker? You’re two steps away from running around town in blackface.” (Yes, this is the man who won my heart.)

The Verdict: Man, there is nothing I love more than being COMPLETELY WRONG about a NTKOG. It’s the kind of thing that reminds me exactly why I started this blog in the first place. I walked into the salon prepared to feel self-conscious and ridiculous, and to emerge looking like a refugee from Dr. Moreau’s island. I came out feeling recharged from the crappy winter weather, and psyched beyond belief for Sunday’s no-pants Metro ride.

I’m not sure I’d ever pony up the full $40 to get airbrushed again, but I did sign up for the parlor’s mailing list, and will definitely go again any time they offer a great coupon. Or if I have a big event coming up. Or if I just need a little pick-me-up. Goddamnit, I want to go back right now.

So, dude, where’s the TMI Thursday, you ask me? After I got my tan, Lori warned me I couldn’t get at all wet — no showers, no gym, not even crying — for eight hours; The Ex came to town a few hours later. If you couldn’t guess, we had a very, very friendly break-up. Aaaafter we said hello, as it were, I ran to the bathroom to check on my tan.

You know that phrase “bed head”? Yeah, I have a new one for you. Spraytan back. Yikes. Do not try at home, kids. Or at least put down your second-best sheets. (But worry not, my tan survived and still looks awesome.)

TMI Thursday! Go to Livit, Luvit for more TMI Thursday magic! By now I’m sure you know the dang routine!

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Today, I’m excited to be giving over my blog reins to one of my favorite 20something bloggers, Fabulously Broke, who writes a blog called: Fabulously Broke in the City, which is a lifestyle blog with a focus on personal money management and debt. She is also the author of The Everyday Minimalist and Style on a String.

And if y’all are missing me (I know, I know), feel free to check out my post at Secret Society of List Addicts, where I’m the new Wednesday blogger!

NTKOG Guest Blogger: The kind of girl who would think olive oil would be something good to put on her combination skin, as a cleanser.

I am: Not shy when trying back to basic beauty recipes like washing my hair without shampoo, coating shea butter on my legs, or using baking soda as a cheap, very gentle and effective facial scrub.

I am not: Willing to let this method go even if it sounds weird, if it will be better on my skin in the long run, and taste pretty good if it runs into my mouth by accident.

The Scene: My apartment, the test bathroom for all of my crazy going green ideas. Luckily, I have a wonderful BF who is VERY low maintenance, and totally supports my going back to basic beauty experiments.

I scoured the internet using my trusty Google skills to read up more about it.

Why they say it works:

Basically, your skin produces oil. Everyone knows that.

If you cook, you know that putting water into a pan with oil is NOT a good idea (and yes, I have done it by accident a number of times). Since oil doesn’t mix with water and wash off, it’s why we use a facial cleanser that has something called surfactants in it.

These surfactants grab those little oil molecules and hugs them with their white foamy lather so that when you rinse the lather off, the oil molecule goes kicking and screaming down into the drain, in a tight head lock by those lathered suds.

At least, that’s how I imagine it works.

Now that your skin is stripped of all the oil (both good and bad) and you will have to put back some sort of water-based moisturizer so your skin doesn’t feel tight and start to over produce oil to make up for the dryness of your skin.

Now for the recipes I found.

Method #1

The recipe: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Castor Oil. If you have dry skin, use more Olive Oil, and if you have oilier skin, use more Castor Oil.

The method: Take extra virgin olive oil, rub it into your face, and then using a warm wash cloth, gently rub and wash the skin, while slowly removing the oil. This is the decidedly messier option, as the oil may never completely rub off, they say.

Method #2

The recipe: Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The method: Take extra virgin olive oil, rub it into your face to mix with the bad oil that produces pimples and clogs your pores. Gently rub it off with a warm wash cloth, and finish with a facial cleanser.

This last part never made much sense to me with the finish of the facial cleanser, but I suppose it’s like putting oil onto your skin FIRST, and then when you clean it off afterwards, the oil has somehow absorbed into your skin beforehand, and built up a little olive barrier?

Either way, I was finishing with a facial cleanser, and my whole goal was to NOT use a facial cleanser if this method worked.

The Verdict:

No go for me.

I broke out within the first week of trying method one. Pimples popped up on my cheeks, and on my forehead. No go.

Method two, felt the same as when I washed with a facial cleanser. Just with an extra, messy, oily step.

While it doesn’t work for me and my skin, I hear it does wonders for others. I guess my skin is just extra sensitive to oils, and olive oil is just too heavy for it to handle.

I think I will stick to what I have been doing before — if I don’t wear makeup, I’ll just wash my face with just plain ol’ water and dabbing it try.

If I wear makeup that day, I’ll just use a good facial cleanser with some baking soda mixed in it to get everything off my skin.

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NTKOG #88: The kind of spontaneity-embracing girl who assaults public decency and public transportation mores by taking place in a group display of public pantslessness.

I am: modest; not prone to getting naked around strangers without at least a drink or two in my system. (This upcoming Thursday’s post notwithstanding).

I am not: actually wearing pants now either, since you mention it.

The Scene: Alewife T Station, around 12:40pm. No Pants Day is a national event spanning some 40 American cities, all of which featured pantsless Metro rides today; Boston’s chapter was organization by the Boston Society for Spontaneity who, it turns out, are Boston Sticklers For Punctuality. The Ex (he’s in town) and I, despite taking a cab to the Harvard Square Station in an effort to save time, missed the sign-up and registration tables.

“Damnit, we missed it,” we heard a girl hiss on the bus. “I’m wearing cute underwear for nothing! Are we just going to go home?!”

SUCCESS! Another group of girls wandered the platform dejectedly, wearing sweatpants and apparently not psyched about it; not far from them, a group of MIT boys wearing silly shirts and kneesocks, with not much in between. The Ex and I introduced ourselves and asked whether they’d like to join us and become a renegade group of no-pants. And, I mean, who could say no to an offer like that?

The first rule of No Pants Day, per its creators, is that you don’t talk about No Pants Day. You also don’t giggle, exchange significant glances, or pose for risque photos in the T you’re supposed to be pantskrieging. But apparently giggly girls didn’t get the memo, so we were less than subtle for the first few outbound stops on the Red Line train, and older folks looked at us with only wry amusement.

On the way to Park Street, though, the train filled up, and the new riders commented with some discomfort on the pantsless trend. As far as I could tell (though I was distracted, listening to music and playing Text Twist, a game so riveting that for twenty minutes I forgot I wasn’t wearing pants), reactions fell into three categories: 1) younger people who just didn’t even care about the massive pantslessness; 2) middle-aged men trying very, very hard not to look; 3) older people (especially women) who literally clutched their hearts and muttered about rapscallions.

Oh glory friggin’ be, guys, I am NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING about the last one! The Ex had the fortune of sitting next to a sixty-something woman on one train and according to all reports, she spent the entire ride glaring at his thigh, making sure not so much as a hair touched her stockings. Amazing. When I walked up and stood in front of The Ex, the lady stared at me and started muttering under her breath. Which might have something to do with the fact that, unlike the other girls on the train, it didn’t occur to me to wear boxers, so I looked like I was wearing a hot pink silk blouse, snow boots and a fedora. Period. Kind of yikes, right?

Other great pantsless occurrences: one of the giggly girls decided she was hungry, so we pantslessly stormed the Dunkin Donuts at Boylston, where a car ran a red light in the street while looking at us; I sat in a train next to a very old man who whapped my calf repeatedly with his cane to edge me away; we ended up meeting the whole group at the end, where a bunch of MIT boys took grave interest in The Ex’s London tube map boxers (how appropriate!) and Nexus One; afterwards, pantsless pub assault, where the hostess took a look at forty pantsless dudes flooding the bar, and asked only: “Shit, did you have a reservation that we lost?”

Amazing day — hard really to capture all of the magic. And so, let us put to the test that thing they say about words and pictures. you know, the one where math is involved.

Also, check out my kickass spraytan. Doesn't it look ridiculously good? Details on Thursday.

I've never had a T rider voluntarily leave so much room between us. This lady was NOT AMUSED by my pantslessness.

The pantsless look kind of seems less impressive on guys. Or on anyone with boxer shorts. Bathing suit bottoms for the win!

Stormin' Dunkin Donuts like it was Versailles or something.

Asking random people to pose for pantsless pics: not that weird on No Pants Day.

Pantslessness and cowboy boots! Now why didn't I think of that?! A slammin' combination.

Taken during the pantsless bar crawl. The Christmas-themed boxers in the middle belong to Giggly Girls.

We all felt very close to each other by the end of No Pants Day.

The Verdict: Goddamnit, guys, it’s going to be impossible to get me to keep my pants on after this. (Which if, if you’re counting, the third time I’ve disrobed on public transport for an NTKOG.) As The Ex and I were leaving the bar, I turned to him: “Wanna take our pants off again?” He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “It’s cold. Let’s do it on the way home.” Dudes. Dudes. I cannot take any responsibility for my further pantsless actions.

Also, A+++ for seeking out events with like-minded strangers (er, emphasis on strange) in this sometimes tight-laced city. I’ll definitely be checking out more Boston SOS activities. Even the ones that, lamely, do not require public nudity.

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Guys! The mystical powers over at Random.org have spoken, and of the 156 entries in the giveaway, the winner of my giveaway is #19: Dani, from She Laughs Too Easily & Cries Too Hard.

Congratulations, Dani! Email coming in a minute. I’ve got to admit, I’m dying of curiosity to find out whether Wodehouse, soap or sex toys will end up with the winning vote…

Also, thank you marvelous people so much for all the entries and wonderful comments! I was quite frankly overwhelmed by the quantity of submissions and especially with the quality of recommended NTKOGs! I’ll definitely be trying many of them in the coming months (and will remember to give credit where it’s due.)


Okay, that said, I have no NTKOG goodness for you today, but, because I am the most popular person on the internet, have TWO GUEST POSTS UP on wonderful blogs!

First: a guest post up at The Secret Society of List Addicts describing the top five headaches that regularly send me reaching for my Excedrin. My personal favorites? The “my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend” and the “holy shit, when was my last tetanus shot?!”. Two endearing migraine classics. Third favorite? The SHEER JOY-graine you’ll get when you inevitably read the rest of the archives over at Secret Society of List Addicts. Seriously, love it.

Second: an article about statement necklaces over at Her Southern Heart, which is a great site to check out if you love looking at pretty things. (Not that I would know. Currently: google imaging skin diseases and writing erotica about them.) I’m nobody’s fashionista, but seeing as how I regularly rock the meat cleaver necklace, felt it my duty to pass my love for statement necklaces onto the general pop.

I have no idea why it looks like I'm not wearing clothes in this photo. I am indeed wearing clothes. Well, a sundress and flipflops, in mid-December, with a meat cleaver necklace, while photographing myself in my bathroom. So. Maybe naked isn't actually the weirdest interpretation here.

Just to up the random factor on this grab-bag post, a blurry photo of said meat cleaver necklace. Isn't it magical?!

Happy Wednesday, kids!

[Edit: Just heard back from Dani, and she quite cleverly chose the sex toy! What would y’all have chosen?]

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NTKOG #62: The kind of girl who channels her inner diva and hits the town with obscenely platinum wannabe-starlet locks. In wig form, natch, ’cause who really has the IQ points to burn for bleach?

I am: a brunette, through and through.

I am not: especially desiring of attention through the way I dress. Unless it’s for something stupid-awesome like my machete necklace or pipe-smokin’ fedora.

The Scene: Saturday night, early evening, on the heels of my non-disastrous date. Remember that time I put on a Lady Gaga-ish blonde wig and slipped out into the sunset? Okay, so, for the cinematic date exit, that was a stroke of genius. For the duration of the T ride over to my wig-themed pub crawl? Aaaaaawk.

Yes, I took this with my iPhone in a bar bathroom. Because I am ALL CLASS, y'all.

Yes, I took this with my iPhone in a bar bathroom. Because I am ALL CLASS, y'all.

The walk over to the T station, I was trailed by a few high schoolers who kept whispering and giggling just out of my auditory range. Stop obsessing, I chided myself, but by the time we all stood at the T platform, it was obvious that I wasn’t just making it up: they were definitely commenting. Whatever, guys. You’re in high school. Talk to me when you don’t still think handjobs are cool.

Then, when I took my spot on the T, people’s attentions grew more intense. The people around my handhold polite-awkwardly averted their gaze (no doubt wondering why my social life is so much cooler than theirs). But the worst was a leather-tanned WASPy lady on the other side of the car, weighed down by dozens of boutique carrier bags and flanked by a few botoxic minions. Gossip Girl: The Minivan Years, is what I’m getting at.

She sat there staring at me, then nudged each of her friends in turn and shot them significant glances at me. At one point, she caught my eye and shook her head in slow motion. The breaking point was when a total stranger stood in front of her, and she violated all rules of T etiquette by nudging the stranger and mouthing “Look!” over in my direction. Being TKOG, I strode across the car and grabbed a handhold close to the lady.

TKOG: So you seem to be admiring my hair.
Serena Van der Bitch: It’s very unusual.
TKOG: I’m not sure what you think is so weird about this. I mean, I’m in the flush of my youth, it’s a Saturday night and it’s drinkin’ time, soooo…
SVdB: Oh. I was wondering if–
TKOG: Dude, did you think it was a chemo wig? Look at this raggedy mess.
: No, I was just wondering–

But at that point, the train came to a stop, so I shot her my best Mets-steps bitchface, spun on my (four-inch) heel, and stormed off haughtily.

Not long after, I was sipping my first beer at the wig pubcrawl and a gorgeous girl in a similarly platinum array joined our group and squealed: “Do I look okay? I must look horrible! The whole ride over on the T, I was convinced everyone thought I was a drag queen.” I immediately assured her that she was so feminine, no way anyone would ever–ohhhhhhhhh shit.

Searching and fearless personal inventory of my look: Platinum blonde Anna Nicole Smith hair. Broad shoulders. 5’11” in heels, with another few inches of teased roots.

Shit, dudes. Shit. I guess that explains why she was staring. Man, though, I wish I’d known what the T-bagger was thinking at the time, ’cause I totally would have started hitting on some straight-laced business men in my best husky drag queen voice. That really would have given her something to talk about.

The Verdict: Hey, so you know my little rule about how you’re not really the center of the universe so quit obsessing over yourself because nobody even notices all the weird stuff you’re doing in public? Um. That doesn’t apply to accidental drag, apparently. Awk. But I’d totally do it again because, dude, if there is one thing TKOG is down with, it is the blurring of gender roles. And pushing boundaries for uptight on-lookers!

As for the wig crawl, on the other hand, I’d scarcely advocate it. A few sips into my second beer, it became apparent that the girl I was talking to was in fact gorgeous-insane, and halfway through her second blow-by-blow description of her breast reduction surgery, I returned the baby blue swarovski crystal headband she had slipped onto my wig (without my permission!) and beat a hasty retreat.

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