Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oh, How Times Have Changed

If your skin is anything like mine, it flakes mercilessly during the winter months. I'm talking constant flakey nastiness, even when I take extra pains to moisturize it. I have been vigilant about it this year, however, and have pretty much eradicated the dry skin from my face. Here's what I've been doing:

* Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream. This is major TLC for dry, parched skin and it has the loveliest scent! If you're not a fan of rose, check out some of their other scent options. This cream can make you a bit greasy, so be sure to use a small amount. I've even been putting this on during the daytime to keep my skin moist.

* Omega 3 supplements. I take these twice a day. I feel like I'm lubricating myself from the inside out when I take them, and they're also great for brain and heart health.

* Neocell Collagen supplements. These may not help so much with moisture, but they keep your skin looking smooth and fabulous!

* Phytoceramide supplements. These are nourishing to the skin.

* Honey and ACV in hot water. I feel like the honey lubricates from the inside out, much like the Omega 3 supplements, and works as an internal remedy for all-around health and vibrancy. The ACV is just miraculous for a host of concerns or ailments.

* Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater. This doesn't have a completely natural list of ingredients, but I find it does help to moisturize my skin. Especially when my skin is on the dry side and my makeup emphasizes this fact. I like to spray this over my face after applying makeup.

Unfortunately, I am still trying to find a way to keep the rest of my body from dry, itchy torment with little luck so far. Any lotion I apply tends to break me out, so I'm stumped. If anyone can recommend a body lotion that won't cause acne, please leave a comment and help a gal out!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Skinny Bigots

The offending physique. Ugh, tell "Jabba" to get back to Tatooine!

     Skinny Gossip is a pro-skinny site for people who are either blessed enough to be rail-thin naturally, or push themselves to extremes to be so. They recently did a feature on Kate Upton that was hideously cruel, insensitive, and indicative of an alarming level of hypocrisy when it comes to weight in the western world. After all, the majority of people walking around are not skinny. In America there's absolutely an obesity epidemic and while I don't condone unhealthy living, and have at times looked at obese people with wonder, I'm certainly not callous and mean-spirited enough to target a perfectly lovely 19 year old girl in an article.

     Kate Upton has put on some weight. She's not obese by any means, but she's curvier than most in the modeling world. Obesity is certainly an issue and not one society need accept as normal, but the writer of said article can rest easy: Upton's probably already being shamed into whittling herself down to an unnatural weight for her height. There's no reason to spit such vitriol, to be so resentful of another's weight gain. If the writer of the article is fortunate enough to enjoy a naturally skinny figure, she ought to concentrate less on attacking other women and more on counting her blessings. It's not viable for most women to be that thin. Some have thyroid disorders, others have larger frames. Still others have issues in life more important than striving for anorexic proportions. And (gasp!) there are even more who concentrate on maintaining a healthy weight for their height without trying to look like Jack Skellington.

     If these Skinny Bigots want to maintain that only underweight people belong in the fashion world, that's fine. But don't make out like perfectly normal and attractive people are disgusting gluttons outside of it. The focus was Kate Upton's weight and while she does work in fashion, the article's insinuation for the rest of womankind is sick.

Friday, July 6, 2012

F. Scott Fitzgerald

               I have been enamored with the era of the flapper and silent film, what F. Scott Fitzgerald lovingly dubbed the “Jazz Age.” It’s not merely for the fashions of that time, as I’ve never been a clothes hound, but for the carefree, luminous atmosphere in which women bobbed their hair and danced till dawn with dapper men. Resplendent actors mingled with writers like Fitzgerald, Wilson, and Glyn. Music was metamorphosing into something called jazz, no longer stuffy or sedate with echoes of long ago battles or lovers dead, but rhythmic and wild and ebullient.  Music that was sad was sexy and explorative, touching on emotions that people had beforehand experienced, but were too repressed to admit. These passions were no longer to shame them before themselves, but to positively wallow in.

                I recently finished The Great Gatsby and while I was largely unimpressed with the story itself, excepting the pitifulness of Jay Gatsby and his dream unfulfilled, Fitzgerald’s writing struck me as beautiful and unique. He had an original spirit and I’d never encountered a writer capable of surprising me with such stunning prose. Ask an average man to describe a summer picnic and he’ll say that it was nice because the sun was out and there were good things to eat. Ask Fitzgerald and he’d tell you so many different things and see a million beautiful intricacies in people’s faces and the surrounding scenery. Not only would he tell you about details you’d never notice yourself, but he’d describe them such a way you’d feel you were not imagining a commonplace event, but something elevated or spiritual. Just beautiful writing!

                Since Gatsby, I’ve been eating my way through Fitzgerald’s short stories. Most are from Flapper Magazine. Some of them deal with commonplace subjects, but all are wonderfully composed. I assume he wrote these more to support his family and less to create literary triumphs, but they’re entertaining and lovely. I’ve just procured two of his novels, The Last Tycoon and This Side of Paradise. I plan to tear into these as soon as I’ve finished his short stories.

                Some writers don’t infuse their writing with pieces of themselves. They prefer to create imagined situations or characters. Fitzgerald seems to have put so much of himself into what he wrote, his ideals and passions and hang-ups. Echoes of his relationship with his wife, Zelda, are apparent in one story, Head and Shoulders. I imagine she touched even The Great Gatsby, though it’s obvious Daisy Buchanan was based largely on a first love from his college years, a girl who turned down his marriage proposal with the words “Rich girls don’t marry poor boys.” This heartache stung Fitzgerald, but he took it and polished and reworked it to the benefit of millions of readers. It’s his romance that touches me most of all, the adoring reverence with which he wrote of women and love, his unabashed surrender to his feelings. He was a woman’s man and men often disliked him, but he found indelible pleasure in the glow of feminine company.

                One delightful story, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, was written in response to his younger sister, who wanted advice on attracting boys. Bernice is a pretty, but boring girl who is visiting a popular cousin. Her cousin instructs her in how to appeal to men, and one of Bernice’s methods of teasing the boys is to hint at having her hair “bobbed.” This was something only wild, free-living women did at the time (flappers!) and the story culminates in the unfortunate Bernice being coerced into the barbershop for a cut. I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll say that it put a smile on my face.

                Fitzgerald once said, “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” Fitzgerald was a hero of the literary world and wrote his own tragedy through a series of bad decisions. He lost his popularity and marketability due to alcoholism. He lost his wife to insanity. He alienated and frightened associates, friends, and lovers with his increasingly erratic behavior. Gin was never far from his side. He worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood for a time, but never gained prominence in that role. People who saw him remarked that he was the pale, quiet, and forlorn man in the corner, sadly nursing a soda in lieu of gin. He tried to curb his drinking while in Hollywood, but to little avail. Fitzgerald had lost his perfect world with the Crash of 1929 and it’s as though he moved through the remaining years of his life as a ghost, a stranger in a world in which he couldn’t function. In 1940, he suffered a sudden heart attack and died at the age of 44, forgotten and uncelebrated.
                I've been immensely touched not just by his writing, but by the beauty and elegance of his person. Here was a beautiful person who wrote beautifully. There are old stories about fairy children who mistakenly wander from fairyland into the human world, and unable to find succor languish until death. Fitzgerald wandered into a new world following 1929, the bright lights and laughter of the free-wheeling flappers lost behind him, and tried dazedly to gather his bearings. He wasted slowly, but died untimely.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Senseless Death of Olive Thomas

          Olive Thomas burst onto the scene at the age of eighteen, a violet-eyed brunette with delicate looks and a zest for life. She won New York’s Most Beautiful Girl Contest and from there joined Ziegfeld’s Follies. Olive was by all accounts sweet, funny, and a natural bon vivant. She married Jack Pickford, Mary Pickford’s brother, and the two endured a brief, though turbulent marriage.

            Movie star couplings were oftentimes stormy. Despite the puritanical atmosphere in America during the early 20th century, stars led wild and debauched lifestyles. Popular leading man Wally Reid battled a morphine addiction. Fatty Arbuckle hosted alcohol-fueled orgies, one of which led to the death of actress Virginia Rappe and a highly-sensationalized murder trial for Fatty. Chaplin married nymphettes; Garbo was rumored to sport with other women. William Randolph Hearst shot a man on his yacht over Marion Davies. For all the propriety and decorum of the silent film, the realities behind the camera were shocking.

            Jack and Olive fought constantly. Jack himself was rumored to have a heroin addiction and Olive certainly had her own demons.  She was an alcoholic who loved to cavort with other stars at parties and events. She nearly killed a child with her automobile and survived several other wrecks, but wised up enough to hire a chauffeur. Despite their epic tangles, Jack and Olive loved one another fiercely. They were described as gay and wild “brats,” two beautiful youths who made up as passionately as they came to blows. They licked one another’s wounds with lavish and magnificent presents. Olive was making at least $3,000 dollars a week from her contract with Selznick, and life was good. Or so it seemed until the alcohol wore off, the party was over, and Olive grappled with career dissatisfaction.

            The problem was that Olive felt she didn’t fit in as other starlets did. She despaired of not having a “type,” and worried about her future marketability. In those days, most actors played a certain type of role film after film. Jack’s sister, Mary Pickford, was known for playing young girls. Pola Negri was a vamp, sexy and sultry. Jack himself played affable young boys. Olive didn’t feel she fit into a type. In today’s acting world, this would be somewhat of a gift. Back then, it was important to have a type. Olive’s fears may or may not have been unfounded, but she didn’t live long enough for the world to find out.

            Olive and Jack felt they’d never had a decent honeymoon, so in August of 1920 the two headed for Paris. Some accounts, such as Ken Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, maintain that Jack wasn’t even there when Olive died. He was finishing work on a film and planned to follow Olive, who’d gone ahead to shop and explore Paris, when his work was accomplished. Other accounts maintain that Jack was in Paris with her. Whatever happened, Olive spent her time in Paris partying and living it up. She visited bistros and cafes, shopped to her little heart’s content, and on the night of September 5th, accidentally or purposely ingested mercury bichloride. This liquid was a topical treatment for chronic syphilis, with which Jack suffered, and thereby supports the theory that Jack was present at the time.

            The label on the bottle was in French, Olive was exhausted from a long day, and it’s believed she assumed the bottle contained a sleeping aid. She was taken to a hospital where she died several days later, Jack and actor Owen Moore at her side. Olive was 25 years old. Jack never recovered from her death and considered her to have been the love of his life. He remarried several times following Olive’s death, but passed away in 1933, an emaciated and ruined man.

            Olive never attained enduring stardom. She’s one of the lesser known silent film stars, but she was one of the first starlets associated with the term flapper. Olive was high-spirited, gorgeous, and generous. She adored a good time and lavished love, attention, and gifts on her friends and lovers. She stood out onscreen and could have been a great talent of the era.

The tragedy in this case is not that someone “great” passed away so senselessly, but that someone passed away before any potential greatness in them had an opportunity to unfold. Olive Thomas was a victim of her lifestyle, as well as the directors, producers, and other moguls of the entertainment industry. These vampires created a beautiful, romantic facade for the public, but they built it on the life’s blood of their stars. They offered these gifted, attractive people what was so scarce in an average American life of that time, the illusion of comfort, security, and love. “You’re gonna be a big star, baby, they’ll love you! You’ll never worry about anything again!” Needless to say, there was a lot of compulsory sex in those times, though thankfully this has long since died out.

These puppet masters smothered the talent with drugs, liquor, and sex. Many of the early film stars came from impoverished or lower-class families, like Olive Thomas. Some of them were foreigners ushered into a country of which they knew little, Rudy Valentino and Pola Negri as two examples. Still others came from parents with stark mental problems, like Clara Bow. They stumbled into a world of beautiful people, cosmopolitan fashions, and a gushing stream of money that lasted only as long as their sanity, popularity, and looks held out.

The death of Olive Thomas was senseless, but not extraordinary in an industry that sold dreams and illusions to a soul-starved public.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fabulous Femme: Tura Satana

     I was introduced to Tura Satana via her work in Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, a cult film from 1965. I found that film after watching Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, another crackpot movie of Meyer's, which remains one of my favorite older films because it's stupid, colorful, and bizarre. It had nothing to do with the original Valley of the Dolls storyline, nor was it based on the book. It is a cautionary tale of sorts, but has little to do with actual reality and what feasibly happens when you lose yourself to drugs and fame. Rather, the film goes to crazy extremes and includes a hermaphrodite, paralyzation, and murder. It's clear it was influenced by the Manson Family murders.

     I like Tura because she was beautiful in her unique way, outspoken, and wild. She played Varla in FPKK, a violent and confident gangleader/go-go dancer. She wasn't a great actress, but if you have any familiarity with Meyer's films you know acting was never a priority.

     Tura was tall, voluptuous, and fabulous. Her Japanese, Cheyenne Indian, and Scots-Irish blood gave her an individualized, fiesty beauty. She worked as a burlesque performer throughout her early life and in later years developed quite a fan following based on her work in FPKK. A fun fact is that she and Elvis Presley dated, but Tura turned his marriage proposal down and kept the ring.

Tura passed away from heart failure on February 4, 2011.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Misikko Dream Package Giveaway

       How I love a good contest! The beauty mavens over at Misikko have launched a new contest giving three people the opportunity to win up to $350 in free products! I almost screamed when I found out about this! I fell in love with the Corioliss wand a while back after the good people at Misikko gave me the honor of reviewing it, and I'm eager to get my paws on some new products. Here's a rundown of the rules:

  I recently had my hair highlighted and it still hasn't completely recovered from the trauma. What I wouldn't give to have this Moroccan Oil Restorative Gift Set to pamper my tortured hair. The reviews are excellent and I've heard the best things about Moroccan Oil! Le sigh! I long for the days when I can run my fingers through healthy, silky hair.

I've been hurting for a good dryer for years! My current one barely does an adequate job, but this sleek beauty comes with rave reviews. It dries hair fast and even improves the look of hair. With all the dying and fussing I do, I could sure use a salon model Solano. Love the design, too! My locks are begging for this dryer!


    Goodness, I'm greedy! My last two coveted items would have to be Opium Perfume for Women by Yves Saint Laurent AND the adorable Burberry Perfume for Women by Burberry.

   I've loved Opium ever since my grandmother gave me a half-empty bottle when I was 16, not to mention since I saw that gorgeous ad with Sophie Dahl! She looked like a marble statue! My sister absolutely adores Burberry and she hasn't the ability to pamper herself lately, so I would love to be able to give her a bottle!

   Thanks to the experts at Misikko, I'm going to be dreaming and wishing and longing and sighing for this dream package for weeks! Three people will win and I'd better be one of them, but get cracking on your post and dream of this luxury package! I'm already salivating!