Party Season Looks You Haven’t Tried

I thought I’d committed to a once-a-month post, but turns out I literally couldn’t get through party season without a round-up of some current favorite going-out looks. And beings that this week I’m running the holiday party gauntlet (and you may be too), it’s the perfect opportunity to share some serious get-ready inspo. Bring on all the color, glitter, and texture!

If you’re craving a retro moment …

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While the Gucci gown is really what keeps this look centered on the 1960s (and of course we’d all love to wear it to our next party), Dakota Johnson’s hair and makeup here are the perfect inspiration for a retro beauty look. She’s probably got some extensions going on to beef up her ponytail; the outcome is glorious and something I aspire to in all my retro lounge dreams. The smokey cat-eye paired with a bare lip is textbook, as well. Hair by Mark Townsend, makeup by Mélanie Inglessis.

If you’re tired of eyeshadow but don’t want a lip-forward look …

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This look on model Woan Ni was created by Kara Yoshimoto Bua using Shiseido’s newly revamped makeup line. White eyeliner was never a look I cared for much, but I think it’s because I’ve never seen it balanced out well with the rest of the face. This look is so beautifully balanced with a good brow, a shimmery, rosy cheek and a stained, blurry lip. So natural but still so party ready, right?

If you’re feeling classic Christmas but, like, extra …

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Oh, snap! Like, Merry Christmas Batman right?!? And of course, it’s Pati Dubroff (THEE queen makeup artist) for Margot Robbie on her way to the UK premiere of Mary Queen of Scots. The Pati-Margot duo was already blowing me away last year during awards season for I, Tonya and Margot’s premiere looks for Goodbye Christopher Robin. I love just the pat of glitter on the center of the lids- so modern. Pati hasn’t listed what she used yet so everyone’s guess is as good as mine, but who cares?! Go crazy! Use whatever! Recreate your own version.

If you want to focus all your energy on makeup and just get hair over with …

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Over at IntoTheGloss, Tom Newton took some fabulous photos of EmRata featuring some quick, lovely updos by Jennifer Yepez. This one using a claw clip was my favorite; a curly/kinky version would be workable and just as romantic, if not more so. As told on ITG: “Start with a middle part. Leave a few pieces out in the front, and gather the rest into a low bun, leaving the ends out for a more modern feel. Clasp it with your clip and bobby pin as needed to prevent strays from popping out. And then make sure it stays in place all night by giving it a healthy spritz of hairspray (Jennifer used Laque Couture). If you have curls, don’t worry about straightening all of your hair. Just focus on the front pieces by blow drying them straight, followed by a quick run with a flat iron.”

If you’re still bored …

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Don’t let boredom or lack of creativity force that red lip on you (or at least, a red lip with no other interesting details)! What’s a color you’d never associate with this time of year? Got an idea in your head? Good, now find a way to wear it! Or take Katie Jane Hughes’ countless colorful, glossy, glittery looks as a treasure trove of inspo, including this stunning lavender glossed lid. This is literally lip gloss (or anywhere gloss, really) on top of eyeshadow. And how do you keep it from creasing, you ask? You don’t! That’s part of the fun. It creases; just let it. Reapply if you want but enough with the set-in-stone, gotta-last-48-hours makeup. Let texture and skin be the real showstoppers.

If you’re still stumped on the hair question …

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Space buns! Like it’s 2002! I mean, how good is this? And people just don’t really do this anymore so it’s like the cutest Spice Girls throwback and a guaranteed conversation starter. The face framing pieces on Constance provide perfect balance, but I think you could even get away without them. And bonus: this look can probably be pulled off with any hair texture. Hair by Molly Greenwald.

If you’re sick of sequined sweaters …

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This whole shoot of Taraji P. Henson for the latest issue of InStyle is genius. Rip a literal page out of this mag (on newsstands now) and go with a direct Mary Tyler Moore reference for your party outfits. Short jumpers, miniskirts, graphic prints, power suits, flared pants, silk neckties- Moore’s playbook provides the right amount of inspiration for both dressing sharp and using color creatively. Because the holidays deserve so much more than just red and black sparkly sweaters.

xo, MR

All images are screenshots from Instagram except for the image from IntoTheGloss, taken by Tom Newton. In order of appearance: @melaniemakeup, @woanster, @patidubroff, Tom Newton, @katiejanehughes, @constancewu, @instylemagazine

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Vacation all I ever wanted.

I’ve just returned from a near-perfect vacation.  What I love is the fact that I barely had to travel to really feel a sense of escape for this getaway- I live in Orange County, and we traveled no more than three hours at a time for a four-day trip to Santa Barbara.

The first 48 hours consisted of beach camping at the El Capitan State Beach with my husband’s college students, and then it was a stay in town on State Street for our anniversary (with just the two of us … don’t worry).  One of the week’s most glorious moments consisted of our day on the shore with the college group.  It had been foggy and gloomy for the previous twelve hours on the campgrounds, and we feared that our time on the beach later that day might bring more of the same.  Don’t get me wrong- I think dreary beaches are actually gorgeous.  However, I’d packed my swimsuit (and not my coffee mug and blankie) and it had just been so, so long since I’d had one of those quintessential California beach lay-outs.  Well, maybe that’s a lie.  I had gone to the beach near home by myself one week earlier, but unbeknownst to me I had only enough quarters for an hour!  *sobs* Help me I’m poooooor!!!!  So needless to say, I was ready for the kind of sunshine that doesn’t fool around, and I was ready to plant my patooty in the sand and not budge for a good while.

And, come one-o-clock in the afternoon, that’s exactly what we got.  The skies didn’t have anything to offer but pure, unmitigated supply of Sweet D for a good five hours, and I was in heaven.  But let me ask you something … What is heaven without hair color to go with it?  Tell me!  TELL ME!

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I only wish I’d gotten a picture of the out-of-control awesome braid my friend Jourdan whipped my hair into for our beach day, but alas, I was too distracted pretending to be a mermaid.  Thanks Jourdan!  I was only too excited to play around with my hair this week because the color had just been refreshed in the most delightful of ways thanks to my trusted stylist Justin at Salon 9.  And I’m at the point where I can conclusively say that I do indeed prefer my hair with some lightness to it.  It’s just happier.

But regarding this image specifically, here are my locks as they were after I had them blown out at the 1329 Salon and Spa on State Street.  I have this vacation tradition that I started during my honeymoon that involves hunting down a random salon and having either a pedicure or my hair blown out.  I just love meeting different stylists and checking out how different salons do their thing.  I remember the salon I stopped by on my honeymoon was super swanky and only used Kerastase products, and the staff had recently styled hair for New York Fashion Week as a team.  But then, on a different occasion, I stopped by somewhere a little out of my way for a blow-out around Christmas and the salon I happened upon was really old.  The product selection was a little piecemeal, the floors were checkered black-and-white, they had oldies playing on a radio, and I honestly couldn’t understand what my sweet stylist was saying half the time.  But I walked out with the most incredible blow-out!  You just never know what you’ll find.  And that’s the fun of it.

1329 Salon is only two months old, and my stylist, Jenna, had only been there for about five weeks (and they’re looking to hire four more stylists, so if you’re licensed in the SB area, here’s your chair!).  I’d been walking up and down State Street doing some shopping and I literally just walked through the door and asked if anyone could take a walk-in client for a blow-out.  Jenna used a flat-iron to create loose waves in my hair, and she tried to tutor me as best as she could so that I could mimic the technique myself (and we used my favoritest picture EVER of Jessica Biel for inspiration).  Jenna got me blushing though when she kept going on about my new precious highlights.  That’s always a major win for both you and your colorist:  when another stylist takes a moment to look through your whole head of hair while saying “Oh yeah.  Oh yeah.  These are great.”  *happy squeals*  So needless to say (because the shameless selfie says it all), I was more than happy with my experience.  Cheers, Jenna!  I hope you read this!

So, I’m home now.  And my vacation is now nothing more than memories and Instagram files.  But part of me feels like I get to keep vacation with me in the form of my hair as it is now (I know, that sounds creepy like I constantly have something hidden in my hair … Don’t worry, the most you’ll find is probably some bobby pins or a bird).  And tell me, who doesn’t want vacation hair?!  xo, MR

Chronicles of the Amazon Shampoo Hunter

I haven’t posted in well over one week.  That seems like forever ago.  A LOT has happened within this past week, but I’m feeling quite cozy and pleasant now that it’s Friday and the week has come to its end.  It was finals week for the kiddos at school and the Friday after is always a day off for them,  and therefore a day off for me too.  So what does one like me do on a rainy Friday off?

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DRIVE FAR TOO MANY MILES IN PURSUIT OF THE GREATEST NATURAL LUXURY SHAMPOO!!  DUH!  WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS? A BLOG ABOUT SPENDING TIME WISELY?!

No but really.  I don’t have kids yet, and I’m not the one grading the finals yet, so you can bet your mother’s rump that I’m going to suck the juice out of this free time while I can.  No excuses.

So I’ve been using my John Masters Organics Evening Primrose shampoo for quite some time now, and as happy as I’ve been to find a truly safe, plant-based shampoo for my precious locks, I’d been hearing through the grapevine that I could do even better.  It’s been particularly dry out lately (I mean like lips-cracked-and-bleeding-dry), and so while I know that dry scalp may be a consequence of this, I’ve been noticing that the John Masters has been leaving my own scalp feeling, um, stripped at times?  Of course, that’s nothing a healthy dose of conditioner can’t help, but you know me.  If I can do one better for my hair, you know I’ll try anything and you know by “anything”, that includes the possibility of going all Rambo on a few choice endangered plant and animal species.

The latest rumors have it that the very best in natural hair care (and don’t get me wrong- John Masters is still up there) is a name called Rahua (pronounced RA-WA as far as I know).  The key to this line is a potent restorative oil previously known only to the women of the Quechua-Shuar tribe in Ecuador’s Amazonian rainforests.  CAN’T MAKE THAT UP.  A couple blogs that I keep up with every twenty minutes have frequently boasted the name of Rahua, and so my itchy scalp and I decided to get along down south to the only location I know of that carries the line- a Planet Beauty on Bristol and MacArthur just off the 405 freeway in Newport Beach (or am I in Irvine?  Where am I?  We’ll just say I’m in a rich peoples’ shopping center).

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This Planet Beauty is huge.  It’s a legitimate planet.  Apparently it’s the original location as well, and to my surprise it had no shortage of the rare, luxury brands that I’ve been reading about for years now.  Many of them I still cannot afford and dare not spend the tuppence on, but it was still weird finding them.  It was like meeting a celebrity, like running into Alan Arkin at a Souplantation or something.

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Rodin’s Olio Lusso is the stuff of the gods for celebrity skincare.  It is literally thee product that famed makeup artist Tom Pecheaux massages in Victoria’s Secret models’ faces before applying makeup for their annual fashion show (because I’m sure they all need more pampering … dem poor widdle models!).  Rodin’s site lists the special oils that the stuff is comprised of, but at $150 per 1 fluid-ounce bottle (make sure to clean up the floor now that you’ve spit up your lunch), I have a funny feeling that there’s some other ingredient Rodin ain’t letting us in on.  TINY BITS OF JERKED SNOW LEOPARD, RODIN?!  OR THE TEARS OF THE JOLIE-PITT TWINS?!  You can’t keep secrets from the American public for long!

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Here we have the full line of Tata Harper skincare, sitting right at the front entrance like it’s no big deal.  I once used a free sample of her Reparative Moisturizer and I have to say, I got a nice case of Doutzen Kroes face for the day.  It was great!  What was even better?  Wasting my Doutzen Kroes face on five classes of freshmen who literally could not care less because they’re too busy popping their own zits.  I’ll be saving that sample for when I do something swank next time, like when I go to Mother’s Market and order a juice.

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This Planet Beauty location also carries the full lines of Sonya Dakar and Dr. Hauschka skincare, with the latter known for being very natural and very potent.  Jennifer Aniston is known to use Dr. Hauschka’s products, along with various other celebrities that can do things like buy horses for fun (unlike us lay-folk, who buy horses for transportation).  Even Madonna itself uses Dr. Hauschka’s line, and look how well-preserved that thing is!

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And finally, I happened upon this- the full line of Kerastase hair products, save for the one product from the line that I use.  Of course!  But I was still quite overjoyed to see the rest of the full spread here, which is typically so hard to find.  And this photo doesn’t even cover the whole selection they had!  I will also say that I got to feel like quite a professional for one minute as I gave a customer the run-down on the whole line and what each color family is for.  But what product did I ultimately sell her on?  My amazing Rahua shampoo harvested straight out of the rainforest!  Let’s hear it for the natives!  Did I tell her I haven’t used the stuff yet?  No!  Did I tell her it’s awesome and she’ll be amazed by the glorious Kate Beckinsale-like results?  Yes!  Who loves lying?!  ME!

There were countless other luxury brands crammed into this tiny little gem of retail space- Philip B., Mustela (a line of great baby products that make Johnson & Johnson’s look like chemical waste), Kai, Juliette’s Got a Gun, the entire Davines line, Rene Furterer, and a billion more.  I would have to say that it’s been a Friday afternoon well-spent (and fear not- I’ve balanced out my super fun times by doing a little work and reading for my thesis). I’ll be letting you know how my Amazon shampoo turns out, and hopefully it’s a success and I don’t have to fear the wrath of that stranger I sold it to.  xo, MR