Sunday, April 14, 2013

Did I mention I like shoes?

my station
It has been a busy month. 1240 Salon & Spa is gearing up for a makeover. I'm really excited because I have been there 5 years now which is the longest I have ever stayed in one spot. I have always liked the current decor, it was one of the things that drew me to the salon, the elegant meets rock and roll vibe. But since I'm used to moving around, change is always exciting to me. And Nicolla (the owner) has really great taste. I won't give anything away, I'll take pics when it is done, and maybe some before pics. I have about 20 articles started but nothing finished yet.
the breakroom

So, on to shoes. I came out of the womb a shoe fanatic. I didn't actually have a lot of shoes as a kid, or even really nice ones. The folks believed that kids only needed a minimal amount of shoes, and mom had really bad taste. I didn't get to really start to indulge my shoe obsession until I had a job. I'm not a designer shoe junkie, to be honest, I don't drool over jimmy choos, manolos, or loubitans. I am just as happy with a really fierce pair from Payless or Target. I like, heels. I like flats. I like checking out the latest trends and scouring vintage stores for old shoes.

 I finally scored a pair of Springolators. I have been wanting a pair for months. I honestly didn't know what they were two years ago, but I read a lot of vintage blogs and had become obsessed. But it's not always easy to find a pair in your size and when you do, it's bound to be expensive.
 I had given up ever having a pair of my own. Then out of the blue I popped into my neighborhood vintage store, and there they were, like Cinderella's slippers, real Springolators. I had seen pics online but never a real pair in person. In my size. Tried them on, fit like a glove. I was scared to ask how much, but I scored them for the insane price of $40. Ask anyone who is into vintage, that is dirt cheap.

My latest desire, A pair of Highbury regency shoes by American Duchess.
I've written about American duchess footwear before. What I love about the shoes, is that aside from being one of the few places to find comfortable accurate historical footwear, is that even if like me, you don't own any historical type clothing, these shoes would look great with modern clothes. I would rock these with a pretty sundress. The shoes actually come without the ribbons (the shoes have ribbon loops inside in case you want to add them like  in the picture), The Highbury is available for pre-order, reserve yourself a pair now.
The Duchess, being the generous chica she is, is having a giveaway. I really want to win a pair of these, if you do too, then head over to her blog.
<a id="rc-6a65890" class="rafl" href="" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gibson Shoes

America Duchess astorias


So after sending off that last post I was settling down to read one of my favorite fashion history blogs, American Duchess. I am obsessed with clothing. I love modern fashion but I also really dig historical fashion. I have been obsessed since I was a little kid with what folks wore throughout history and what folks wore throughout the world. I love costume and playing dress-up. I adore vintage. I prefer living in modern times but would love to dress up in the past. If I could afford the clothes or knew how to sew, I would be game for attending living history events or re-enactments just so I could dress up. So it should come as no surprise that many of the clothing blogs I read are historical fashion or historical costumers blogs. This is like crack to me. Seriously, I could spend hours drooling over 19th century bustle gowns and 18th century Polonaise. I have spent the last few years trying to learn historical hairstyles. These blogs are usually done by women who sew thier own historical clothes ( I hate using the word costume. it makes me think of cheap nylon halloween costumes when what these ladies make is actual garments that can be worn).

American Duchess Shoe Buckles

 First, I really enjoy looking at the things they make and as someone who deosn't sew yet, I am seriously in awe of the talent involved.

American Duchess Gibsons

 Second, I have to take my hat off to these seamstresses. In addition to all the physical work of making the garments, they spend mucho hours on research because 95% of the time they are striving for historical accuracy. They not only research the actual style of the item but what materials were used in that era, what colors would have been worn, what type of trim to use, how the garment would of been fastened back in the day. They frequently design thier own patterns.

American Duchess Kensingtons

Third, I have learned so much about clothing history from reading these blogs.

American Duchess Pemberly

Fouth, I have found a lot of really tight hair tutorials on thier blogs.

American Duchess Pompadours

And last, if I ever do learn to sew and want to make some of this stuff, I will learn a lot about construction and problem solving from following the posts. Many times the start to finish is shown for the stuff they make.

American duchess Tavistock

So I got hooked on American Duchess' blog because in addition to making beautiful garments was that she also has her own company designing and selling historically accurate footwear. My friends will tell you that I am a shoe fanatic. So it goes without saying if I am obsessed with historical fashion that has to include shoes. I haven't had the spare cash to buy a pair, I just click over to her online shoe store and drool. But from what I hear, not only are the shoes beautiful they are easy to walk in, very comfy, and easy to dance in. She designs her shoes with dancing in mind. I also like the fact that the shoes are all dyeable. If you buy a pair, you can dye or paint them to match your dress. I have seen on other folks blogs how they have customized thier American Duchess shoes. The Duchess herself has some tutorials on her blog on coloring your shoes.

American Duchess 23 skidoo
In addition to the shoes, she sells shoe buckles (her 18th century shoes can be customized by changing the buckles), decorative shoe clips, 18th century style clocked stockings, a button hook for fastening tiny boot buttons, and even shoe painting supplies.

American Duchess Button Hook
Even though I don't actually own any 18th, 19th, or early 20th century clothing I would rock all these shoes with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt. I can see myself wearing some black skinny capris with a peplum top and a pair of American Duchess Pompadours.

American Duchess stockings
American Duchess is getting to release thier newest shoe, The Gibson Edwardians. They come in black, ivory, and tan and like all her shoes, you can custom paint these. They have a low french "Louis" heel and are made with fine calf leather . They are taking pre-orders now. To celebrate the launch of the newest shoe American Duchess is holding a giveaway for a free pair of Gibsons. To enter the giveaway or learn more about these gorgeous shoes click here.......


The Invisible Woman

Well, it's been awhile. I never meant to be gone so long. I started my blog with the intention of posting regularly. Maybe not daily, but at least once a week. When I was at Women Of The World poetry slam last March I had a whole slew of posts lined up. I meant to finish my haircare series. I meant to finish sharing about the trip. But I got very busy. And a little lazy. In a nutshell, here has been my last year.

In addition to working 5 days a week at the salon, if you read the last post you also know I am a poet and spoken word artist. In addition to writing, competing in slams, and performing at open mics, I am an active member of the committe that handles poetry slam in my city. We had an opportunity pop up when I got home from WOWps (women of the world poetry slam) to join forces with 3 other cities in the Bay Area to create and send a joint team to that summers National Poetry Slam. Usually each city sends it's own team and we hadn't planned on sending one in 2012, for a whole slew of reasons. But this was a great opportunity. It required a lot of work though. And a lot of it last minute. San Jose had to host a semifinals and before that, a last chance compettion. And we only had 2 weeks to get the first show together, 2 weeks after that to get our semi finals done, and then help out with the Bay Area finals. In addition, I was approached by one of the poets competing who asked me to be her coach. It was an amzing experience, I learned how to put together a slam, and the woman I coached took first place in the semis. But it left no time in April for this blog.

In May, we had one more show and the slam finals, which meant more coaching time for me. Plus, there were many hours spent promoting these shows, which meant going to a lot of shows, practicing my poems for the shows. I had also been approached by a friend's daughter about teaching aweekly poetry workshop at the youth center she hangs out at. Which involved putting together a program, running it by the head of the center, backround checks and finger printing. The actual workshops didn't get off the ground til Sept but there was a lot of prep work involved. So blog ignored in May.

We spent most of our (my husband and I) free time in June getting the house ready for my stepkids visit in July. I have the awesomest steppies. They were bringing a friend with them and I realized that our apartment looked like crap. It hadn't been properly cleaned in months (due to a shoulder injury), we had way too much clutter (lookin like an episode of hoarders, and the walls were so overdue for paint. We only succeeded in painting the bathroom (purple w/lt purple ceiling and door. god bless landladies who give artistic freedom in exchange for never having to do ish). Which turned into practically a remodel. We cleaned every square inch of this place and went through every closet, drawer, cabinet trying to downsize our junk pile. Did you know I had 50 mannequin heads in 3 cartons? Neither did I, haha. It made sense while I was teaching, but since I no longer did education for Redken I just didn't need so many. I kept 12, donated the rest. Gave away enough bags of clothing to dress a small army. Even after the purge we had enough junk to require getting a storage unit so the kids could actually walk in the spare bedroom. So, no blogging for June.

July, kids visit. Too busy having a great time to blog.

So pretty much every month after that something came up. I lost 40 pounds since the kids left. I was at my heaviest ever weight when they were here. Had to endure the embarrassment of having to get off a ride because the rides safety harness couldn't be buckled over my tummy. I swore that by next summer I would be able to go on all the rides with my kids. But that's another story for another post. I still have about 50 to go but I'm feeling a lot healthier. I will say what I have lost so far has given me a big shot of confidence, enough to brave Halloween in a pretty sexy costume.
 What better choice for a vintage loving hairstylist than a 1940s cigarette girl.
I have a better pic of the victory rolls somwhere.
So, enough excuses. I want to really get back into the blogging thing. I have tons of topics for hair articles. A few ideas for non hair beauty related posts. Some clothing/fashion related posts. And over the course of time, share with you all some of the blogs that inspire me. I was asked last year about doing hair tutorials. I don't really have the equipment or video editing skills to make my own, but would love from time to time to share some other folks amazing hair tutorials. And hair stuff, lots of hair stuff.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

WOWps: Day One

Hello Gorgeous,

This week I take a break from hair posts, I am in Denver. Today is the official start of  WOWps, but quite a few of us arrived yesterday or the day before. I am kicking myself for not taking any pictures. I am really bad about that. I get so caught up in enjoying the moment, that  I forget to pull out the camera. Which is a shame, because poets have some style. I will really try and remember to take pictures the rest of the trip.

It's been fun so far. Last night was the "Last Chance Slam", which is a chance for poets who didn't originally qualify to win a spot in this weeks competition. There  were some powerfull poems last night, and a little bit of comic relief, and mostly a chance to see old friends.

Last night after the slam, Chantay and I suddenly got a deep craving for dessert. I love that this woman is a food lover like me. Diets have no place on vacation. So we wandered around Denver trying to find somewhere open late with dessert. It took a bit, but we found a little 50s style diner with amazing wings and berry coblers (the baileys and coffee was nothinbg to sneer at either.) We had the cutest little waitress, cheerfull, attentive. And she had cute hair. We took a pedi-cab ride home. It was really fun even though it was colder than a witches boob in a cast iron bra.

Only thing I'm not loving is the cold, dry air. My skin is not looking it's best. I normally have very oily skin, and right now, it is so parched. I feel like It looks cracked and crinkled. I am going to have to overdose on my moisturizer. I also need to make a serious drugstore run. I discovered when I was unpacking at the hotel that I forgot my makeup bag. I keep a small one in my purse, but it only contains powder, chapstick, black eyeliner, nude lipliner, and about 6 lipsticks/glosses. I can pull that off for day, but I really need to pick up some inexpensive make-up and brushes to get me thru.

Make-up free morning, yes, I go down for the free breakfast in my pajamas, no make-up, I have no shame.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Just a little quickie

Hey folks,

Sorry I haven't had time to finish part 2 and 3 in the haircare series. I've had a couple of late nights at work and tonite I only have about 5 minutes tonite before I get ready to go hit an open mic downtown.
I will try and finish part 2 and 3 before I leave on my trip Wednesday.

Wow Lynn, where are you going? I'm glad you asked. I will be spending 5 days in Denver with one of my dearest sisterfriends. It is an annual girls trip we make because we all live so far apart. It's hard enough finding the time (and cash) to visit each other individually, so much harder to get the whole gang together. So we chose an event and decided that every year we would go. Husbands, boyfriends, sometimes girlfriends (unless they are involved in the event too), kids all get left behind. So what is the event, you ask? WOWps (Women of the World poetry slam), is a national spoken word poetry competition featuring some of the most bad-ass female poets in the nation. Our little crew met years ago through our mutual interest, formed an artist collective, and a non-profit org, and these women have become like my true sisters, I miss them like crazy all year long. For 5 days it's like one big slumber party. As an added bonus, we also get to see WOWps, which is the most mad, crazy, dope, fly, awesome poetry slam on the planet. Over the years I have made friends with so many poets across the country and many of these chicas come every year either to compete or watch. I have never competed there yet, but our sis Succinct has competed twice, and last year our baby-sis Safia not only competed but made it to finals. During each night the actual competition takes place. In the daytime the host city has open mics, just for fun slams, workshops.
Me and the lovely Legacy from 2010

2010 WOWps champ Eboni

Succinct, Legacy, and Ms. Scorpiana X (a.k.a. me)

doin my thang at an open mic

finals night after party

imani & me

me, legacy, mani, and safia

dinner with the detroit contingency

Attending a large poetry event like this, is a lot like going to a hair show. You get a hotel full of crazy artistic types. A lot of serious partying. And fabulous hair. I love checking out everyone's hair and outfits, poets have just as much style as hairdressers.

As you can see from the pics, I don't wear vintage everyday, and when I don't, I usually have some variation of this choppy layer, somewhat emo haircut, flat-ironed, the lighting didn't do the color justice.

On to something more hair related. Like I said, I don't do vintage everyday, partly because I don't have enough vintage clothing, but mostly because my style is too ecclectic to rock the same look everyday. I maybe wear a vintage/retro looking outfit about once a week. But even in modern styles, I will mix in a vintage hairstyle and red lipstick about 2 to 4 days a week. Like today: skinny jeans, t-shirt, lace-up military/doc marten style boots, shrunken cardigan. The hair: rolled fake bettie bangs, curls, victory rolls, and a red and leopard print hairflower.

I think my first tutorial will be on how I did the bangs. I know there are a ton of tutorials on these type of bangs, but my hair has a unique challenge that i'm sure some of you also face. My real bangs are too long to be real bettie bangs, and most videos of the rolled under bettie/bumper bang are done by girls that either have no bangs or long,long bangs. My bangs arent long enough to roll up properly, even using a rat, so i have to kind of pin the rat in place, comb the bangs over, tuck the ends under the bottom of the rat and use a million pins. It's really very ghetto, but unless you get up close, it works.

Also coming this month: in addition to part 2 and 3 of the haircare series, I have had some topic requests, which I will hit in the order I recieved them. I did promise months ago to do some curly hair articles, so I want to do at least one. I've been asked for a post dealing with Sun In (yes, they still make that crap). And a request dealing with safely bleaching the hair. I won't be showing you how to bleach at home, in all honesty, I believe that should be left to us professionals (and yes I know some of you may have succesfully bleached at home, but at most maybe 10% of home bleachers do well. If you are one of the successful ones, that means you have the potential to be an awesome hairdresser, and might want to consider a career, the industry can always use more fresh talent) but i'll give you tips on how to keep the hair healthy, what to ask your stylist, and how to tell when your stylist has no idea what they're doing (so you can run).

So now I'm off to find a phone booth to change from mild mannered (ha) hairdresser Lynn Brooks, and into superhero poet Scorpiana X


Monday, February 27, 2012

Haircare Regimens (part one)

Have you ever wondered about the difference between conditioner, deep conditioner, and leave in conditioner? What's the difference between a rinse out treatment and a leave in treatment? Are leave in treatments styling products or haircare? What should my regular haircare regimen be?

Have no fear, Auntie Lynn is here to sort it all out. This will probably be a picturless post, I would really rather share some great info than spend time hunting up pics, and since tomorow is a hairwash day, I need to get up early. On the days I have to wash my hair my shower can take about 30 minutes, and it will take me an hour to blow dry, grrrr, the curse of thick hair.

So to break it down, there are 4 basic types of haircare products:shampoo, conditioner, treatment, leave-in.
Redken Color extend shampoo

1) Shampoo: so we all know what shampoo is for, but in case you have been living under a rock, shampoos sole purpose is too clean the hair. Cleansing the hair removes residue, dirt and oil, and enables treatments to penetrate better. For most of us, we want to shampoo everytime we wet our hair (there is an exception for curly haired folks, but thats another blog post)
Redken Time Reset Conditioner

2) conditioner: This is usually the last step in the shower. The main purpose of conditioner is to close down the cuticle of the hair shaft and bring the hair back down to it's proper PH level (both water and shampoo have a higher ph level than your hair, if you raise this level and don't bring it back down. While many conditioners do moisturize the hair and make it feel soft, mostly we want to lower the ph, and lay the cuticle back down so hair detangles easier, and we want to hold in the active
ingerdients in your products. You want to use a conditioner every time you get your hair wet.
Redken Smooth Down Butter Treat(my hair drinks this like crack.

3)Treatments: Treatments are designed to treat the hair, whether to address a specific problem, or just to keep the hair healthy. Most people should have treatments as part of a regular regimen, but these should not be done every time you wash your hair, too much of a good thing can actually cause more problems with your hair. These are usually products that will be rinsed out of the hair. Most treatments are done after the shampoo but before the conditioner, although there are some treatments that are applied to the hair before you shampoo. The two main types of treatments are protein (a.k.a. reconstructing treaments) and moisturizing (a.k.a. deep conditioner). Protein treatments deal with repairing the hair and adding strength back in. Hair is made up of 70 to 85% protein. Imagine that inside your hairshaft there are these spiraling ladders made up of protein, when the protein in the hair is damaged imagine rungs being broken off these ladders. The more protein you lose, the weaker your hair, until it breaks off. These protein bonds can be broken thru perms and chemical straightenening, haircolor and bleach, swimming in chlorine, excessive heat styling. Protein treatments help to replace the damage done and keep your hair strong. Regular protein treatments will also help your haircolor take better and last longer. Moisture treatments help replace any moisture loss we suffer from chemicals, heat styling, sun exposure. Hair is made up of 10 to 15% moisture. Even if you don't style your hair with heat, or get chemical services done, if your hair is naturally dry, you will benefit from regular treatments.
There are also treatments for smoothing hair, refreshing color, adding body, etc.
Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil

4)Leave-In Products: These are products that are usually apllied to towel dried hair. The purpose is to further support whatever your hair needs. For example, if you have very dry,frizzy hair, a leave-in made for your hair type will give extra moisture and frizz control to your hair. They also help with detangling. Also, if you don't like using styling products, leave-ins will give some protection from the sun and heat styling.

So that's the basics. Part 2 will deal with finding the right products for your hair. Part 3 will deal with how best to use them.

I apologize for the science lesson (boring I know), but I feel it's really important to understand your hair so you can make the best choices as a consumer. I actually held back on the chemistry a bit. But for any of you chem heads out there, here's a quick science/hair lesson.

The composition of hair:
*70-85% Protein: adds strength
*10-15% Moisture:softens and adds flexibility
*3-6% Lipids: keeps the hair supple (oils)
*1% Pigment: this is where the color comes from
*.05-.5% Minerals:attracts and binds the proteins together(a good reason to take your vitamin and mineral supplement)
*.1-.5% carbohydrates: Intercellular cement that binds moisture and protein together.(another reason why low carb diets are bad for you, we need carbs.

And with that, I am off to bed.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The aches (and a coming trend)

So, I have yet to get this blog off the ground. I have a head full of topics, but things keep cropping up. I strained a muscle in my shoulder, neck, and arm right after New Years. Sitting down to do a blog post has been pretty painfull. But yesterday I finally made it to the doctor, and with the help of vicodin, I should be back in the swing of things.

Today will be a little teaser about Spring Hair Trends. Last week I was flipping thru the March issues of a few fashion mags and the recurring theme I kept coming across was vintage hairstyles. Now for those of you that know me, I looooooove vintage, and while I don't do vintage everyday, it is one of my passions: the clothes, hairstyles, hats. I started teaching myself vintage styling a little over a year ago and seeing it as a mainstream fashion trend has me turning cartwheels (well, I would if I wasn't injured).

The thing I really like about this current take is the variety. I have seen hairstyles from the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. I have seen them done very authentically, and I have seen modern translations. For spring and summer, we will be seeing variations on 1920s and 1930s fingerwaves and fluffy brushed out waves. 1940s victory rolls and pompadours. Swingy 1950s ponytails, rolled under fake "betty bangs". "Mad Men" inspired beehives, the Bridget Bardot teased crown (not to be confused with the tacky Snookie Pouf". There's even a bit of 70s disco glam complete with frizz (yes, frizz is now acceptable).

Once my shoulder heals, I'm hoping to throw together some tutorials. Possibly some links to hair tutorials from some of my favorite vintage bloggers. In the meantime, if you want to start playing a bit, there are a ton of tutorials on the internet. All it takes is a little practice, some product, and a few tools. The dollhead pics are my own, sometimes when I'm bored I like to style up my dollheads and do photo shoots.

part of the hat collection

 To get you started, for products, you should have a jar of pomade (my favorite is Redken Water Wax 03), a can of hairspray, a thermal heat protective spray (if your using heat appliances).
one of my many vintage looks

For tools, I recomend a curling iron, if you have rollers, you can practice wet setting your hair. long and short bobby pins and open pins. single prong roller clips (for pin curls), a rattail comb, wave clamps, teasing comb, wide tooth comb, a flat bristle brush. If you can get your hands on some foam hair donuts and hair rats, grab those too. There's a ton of other stuff that can be added to your styling kit (I like to refer to it as my hairstyling wardrobe), but this should give you a good basic starting point. Sally's Beauty Supply is a great place to find inexpensive updo and vintage styling tools
My Grandma Eva in the early 1940s doing her pin-up cheesecake, she just knew she was fly.

Grandma Elsie with her half-sibs. The photo wasn't dated but I'm assuming this was late 1920s

Hope you all had a good valentines day!