The junk food of fashion magazines … and I’ve been eating it forever.

I have kept every single issue of People StyleWatch magazine since December of 2006 . I don’t know why I’ve done this, but I have.

This was the first magazine that I gravitated towards when I started taking style seriously. I can’t say I was taking fashion seriously yet, because I didn’t really care about designers, pushing the boundaries of fashion aesthetics, and craftsmanship (this all came later), but I did begin to truly care about style.

This magazine afforded me the opportunity to look at the clothing that celebrities were wearing and to then try and recreate the look for myself. It was certainly a cheaters way to build my own taste, but there’s no need for shame. I had no clue who I was in terms of style six years ago. I had to start somewhere, and you may as well start by finding out that you love how Jessica Biel dresses and then attempting to replicate her looks. It’s a way to initiate and to shop with intention, to begin looking for specific pieces on your shopping trips as opposed to just mindlessly heading for the mall and hoping you run into some random garment that you like. From that point I began to branch off. I began to choose pieces that I felt Jessica Biel may perhaps wear, but that I would definitely wear. And from that point, things have just continued to evolve. I can tell you with all certainty that People StyleWatch magazine changed my life. It may sound cheesy, but it is, without a doubt, true.

Even today, I continue to purchase every issue of this magazine. Admittedly, it’s kind of the junk food of fashion publications, but I don’t care. It’s fun. And it sure does balance out my hefty Harper’s Bazaar reading. The September issue will be on stands at Wal-Mart this Wednesday! Woop! xo, MR

Concerning my hair, and how much I used to hate it but now do not.

It’s true. I really, really hated my hair up until perhaps two years ago.

During high school, I wanted long, straight hair. Well, perhaps with a little wave, but I thought the most beautiful hair was blown-out, flat-ironed hair. I remember finally getting a flat-iron for Christmas that had legitimate power (as in, you could fry a piece of bacon with it by just passing it through the plates once) and I was so excited. Finally- no more weird kinks, no more untamed baby hairs at the front of my face, no more frizz.

And so that’s how it was for me for like, six years. When I had the time, I’d blow out and flat-iron my hair until I was satisfied with it’s texture. And because I barely knew how to properly proceed with such a task, it would take me forever. The real problem, however, was the fact that my hair is nowhere near naturally straight. It’s wavy, verging on curly. Add to this the fact that it’s not terribly thick, and you’ve got dry, somewhat delicate hair … not ideal for frequent frying (say that five times fast). On top of that, I’d spend all this time trying to control my hair into what I thought it should be only to have it zap back into its natural state once any ounce of humidity hit. It was a grueling era of fighting against my genetics.

And then in mid-to-late college, I discovered the curling rod. Oh, the curling rod. At that point I’d gone from desiring pin-straight locks to wanting Kim Kardashian’s Disney princess length and perfect waves. I’d even given thought to getting extensions (a thought that doesn’t pass through my mind anymore … perhaps more on that later). And so, again as a result of not knowing what I was doing, I’d wind each section of hair around and around that rod, until my head was covered in brown spring-coils (and it didn’t even look like Kim Kardashian). I thought it looked good, my friends may have thought it looked good … but looking back, it didn’t look that good.

But something happened between that point and now. I began to lose the luxury of a little something called time. I was working at a coffee shop (and do I still work there? I’ll never tell …) and teaching high school social science all within the same days, and there were just too many days where I had to just get up and go. Toss my hair up in one of my beloved topknots or just leave it the way it was. I’m not a good waker-upper, and so whatever my hair looked like when I got out of bed … was pretty much how it was going to stay all day. But as I would peruse through one of my fashion publications, I’d be surprised to see how much messy hair was being sent down the runways. Or how much easy hair, I could say. And then, on the beauty blogs I’d read, I’d always see these beautiful French women with clear, luminous skin without makeup, but paired with undone hair. It would look so, “I don’t give a damn but I know I still look fine”. And that’s when my idea of beautiful hair changed.

Beautiful hair has texture, versatility, and health. Beautiful hair is like an art media that can be molded into what you want. You can curl it, straighten it, color it, style it sleek, style it rumpled and messy, or just do nothing with it. You can just leave it be when you want, because beautiful hair doesn’t need to be controlled. It is well taken care of, and left alone when it needs its alone time. Beautiful hair is loved in its natural state.

Sometimes I make some waves in it, but most of the time I let it air-dry. I’ll blow it out every once in a long while, but most of the time I just let it be. I am a deep-conditioner addict (as in I leave it on for twenty minutes or so and I do it every third wash), and I only wash it twice a week. I’d perhaps like there to be a little more of it and maybe a little thicker, but I find myself satisfied with the fact that when a hairstylist gets hold of it, I frequently get compliments on how easy it is to work with. If a stylist is giving me the thumbs-up, that’s all I need. Here, a look at the products that keep my hair at its best-

I’ll give a breakdown on why some of these are my favorites later, but you can probably at least tell that I like to take the more natural route when it comes to my hair. And I prefer the natural look, as well. I’m not looking for overdone, I’m not looking to add to what’s already there, and I’m not looking for Kim- I’ve got me. That’ll do. xo, MR

Why I’m giving up on this magazine, and why you probably didn’t like it in the first place.

While this blog remains dedicated to beauty, one thing you should know about the, um, blogger of this blog is that she is obsessed with fashion publications. I refuse to simply say ‘magazines’ because I don’t want you thinking Cosmopolitan or UsWeekly. I want you thinking Elle, InStyle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, and People StyleWatch (can’t say I’m a regular Vogue-er yet … it’s still just a leeeeetle too highbrow for me). So let’s get this straight- when I say that I like ‘magazines’, I specifically want you thinking of fashion publications, and the easiest way for me to communicate that is to, well, say it just like that.

Bottom line: I am a fashion publication-aholic and I will be writing various posts about said fashion publications because I am a fashion publication-aholic. They may be related to my greater topic of beauty, but they may not be. Nevertheless, I believe you will find them highly useful. Deal? Deal.

So anyhow, I also must admit I have a thing for reviewing stuff. What do I mean? I mean I’ve got a TripAdvisor account, Yelp account, and Amazon account, and I use them all to write pointlessly extensive reviews of places and products. I enjoy it. It’s a thing.

Here’s where it all comes together- my latest adventure in online-reviewing has consisted of baring my soul regarding the fashion publication known as Lucky.

Now, I’ve been a very faithful reader/subscriber of this magazine for three to four years. It’s been fun and has inspired many unnecessary purchases. However, I’ve recently decided that I’ll be quittin’ ole’ Lucky once my subscription runs out this December, and I feel I’m quite justified in doing so. Care to know why? Well, just help yourself to reading my full Amazon review I’ve posted here entitled “It’s time I put ole’ Lucky out to pasture. Let me tell you why.” ……

‘LUCKY’ IS IN NEED OF A SANDWICH …… in other words, it’s getting thinner and thinner and isn’t looking too healthy these days. In fact, it’s been kind of a junky for a while now.

I keep up with magazine and publication news, and for a couple years or so ‘Lucky’ has been the sadder part of the news. Its numbers have been going down, and this current September 2012 issue is one of the thinnest September issues I’ve seen in a really long time. This isn’t for nothing, though- I’ve subscribed for about four years and I’ve got to say, ‘Lucky’ is really no longer worth subscribing to. Come December, I think I’m done.

Ever since they switched up their editor-in-chief (used to be Kim France), things just haven’t been as strong for the magazine. Don’t get me wrong- I’m a die-hard, so-badly-wish-I-lived-in-NYC trendy hipster fashion slave. I love it all and I read almost all fashion publications on a monthly basis. But I really feel like the editors at ‘Lucky’ think its readers are robotic numbskulls. It’s become almost nothing more than a glorified catalog, and there’s barely any meaty content now. I understand that instant gratification is the name of the game these days in fashion publications, and that it’s kind of a genius strategy to tell your readers exactly what to buy (with the item styled in a cute editorial shoot on the same page!). ‘People StyleWatch’ employs a similar technique. But I feel ‘Lucky’ has pigeonholed itself into catering to one specific kind of reader- someone who WORKS IN FASHION, LIKE THEMSELVES.

It’s like the folks at ‘Lucky’ are working to create a publication simply for people EXACTLY like themselves! Same looks, same sense of taste and style, SAME PAYCHECK, same type of job, same type of living conditions (hip, urban), etc. Any time they do a feature on a ‘Lucky girl’ or some ‘real person’, they always seem to work in fashion, advertising, or are the owner of some fabulous salon. Oh, or perhaps they’re a recording artist showing this year at Coachella, or they’re the star of a film out this month. They always seem to live either in New York or Los Angeles. There are no teachers, no office workers, no folks from the mid-West, no one that just knows how to shop and dress damn well and WITHOUT the million-dollar budget or high-profile career. And AGAIN, don’t get me wrong- I am a fashion fanatic. However, my budget is, well, budget-ish. I can’t identify with the ‘Lucky’ reader anymore because she doesn’t seem to have a budget and she doesn’t seem to be able to say “No” to advertising. I’m sure I could still subscribe to ‘Lucky’ for another year and suck the juice out of it, but I am just at the point where I feel insulted doing so. EVERY SINGLE PAGE is listed with attractively-styled items and their given prices, along with a sometimes-ludicrous description of each. Example- “Bonjour, Cleveland! Rose-gold jeans feel so French rocker.” I mean, ok. I get it, I like to write too. But you just feel like they’re trying SO HARD to convince you to just BUY. Not to be inspired, but to buy. And they will shamelessly pitch that item to you, no matter what the price tag may be (frequently upwards of $500 … BUT YOU’LL LOVE IT FOREVER!!!).

While some may argue that ‘Lucky’ is trying to provide fashion inspiration, let’s face it- the point of ‘Lucky’ is to inspire SPENDING, and almost nothing more. Each month, I at least find myself at the drugstore buying some new body wash they recommend in each new issue, and I just don’t need that right now. I understand that ‘People StyleWatch’ has the same thing going but I feel they do a much better job of catering to lesser incomes and helping you restyle your own wardrobe. They have their niche with their specific focus on celebrities, and everyone can name a celebrity whose style they like. ‘Lucky’ just leaves you feeling overwhelmed and as if you need to be one of the “cool girls” in order to relate. Your evidence of this problem lies in the fact that their issues have been growing increasingly thinner; they’re losing readers and they’re losing ad pages.

If you’re not Olivia Palermo, pick something else to subscribe to rather than ‘Lucky’. You’ll enjoy it more in the long-run.

p.s. I do like their “City Guide” feature, with a shopping guide to a different major city each month. I tear all those out and keep ’em. Oh, and an extra star for Jean Godfrey-June as their beauty editor.