Tuesday, 31 January 2012

five things [spring is such a tease].

Spring randomly decided to turn up today - it's 68 degrees outside at the moment!  Of course, this gorgeous weather will be gone within the next two days or so, but it's lovely while it's here. I think my cats have got the right idea, making the most of the warm sun by basking in it while they can.

all images found on we♥it... on which I now have an account.

1. lemon-scented things.
Recently, I picked up some more of Giovanni's mint lemonade body scrub at Wegman's because they were all out of the hot chocolate scrub that I so adore.  I'd forgotten quite how delightful its lemony counterpart was, though, and was super impressed when I tried it out last night!  I've been feeling some of the winter blues lately, but this scrub helped cheer me up, with its cool lemony scent and tingly mint feeling.  It's also super moisturising, which I found surprising for a salt scrub, but hey - no complaints there!  Paired with my lemon-scented soap from LUSH and some organic [gelatin-free!] lemon gummy bears in my lunch today, I'd say I'm feeling pretty peachy keen.  Except, you know, with lemons.

2. poetry.
I stayed home from school sick yesterday, with a combination of a headache and a lot of really painful muscle tension and mostly just stress.  So to relax a little, I warmed up a heating pad in the microwave and put it over my shoulders, made some tea, and wrote pages and pages of poetry.  I'll probably never do anything with these poems, as they aren't my best (I can't even remember the last time I actually sat down and wrote something, to be honest), but the act of putting my thoughts down onto paper was relaxing and creative and, most importantly, stress-free.  Maybe that's why I've been making lists so often lately, because lists help organise my thoughts too.  But poetry is more cathartic.  It's more fun.

3. eyeliner.
On my new cruelty-free make-up crusade (about which I promise I'll write a post... eventually!), I was finally able to try Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliner.  It definitely did not disappoint!  I bought it in black, because I'm not a dramatic eye make-up sort of girl, and I figured if I'm totally re-creating my makeup stash, I should start with a basic and then build it up to include some fun colours.  Because what fun colours there are!  My mother almost had to pry my hands away from Lucky, a coppery colour that I think is just gorgeous and am desperately lusting over like my friend PJ over Taylor Swift.  But, ahem, weird celebrity crushes aside, Urban Decay's eyeliners are super long-lasting, go on very smooth, and come in the best colours.  I also want to try teal and eggplant!

4. jumpers!
What can I say?  With all the weird indecisive weather we've been having around here lately, jumper-and-jeans has become my go-to uniform.  I'm sure everyone around me is tired of it, and I really need to stop by the thrift store and see what new beauties they've got in stock, but I just can't help myself!  Cardigans, pull-overs, turtlenecks... I'll wear them all, and the more ridiculous the better (case in point: here and here).  [Also, I know I'm not British but I like the word "jumper".  I'd rather not sweat in a sweather... I'd rather jump in a jumper!  So yeah :) ]

Okay, so this is obviously not actual sign language of any official variety, whatsoever... to my knowledge.  Oh well.
5. sign language.
Sign language has passively interested me for a couple years, at least.  When I was in third grade, my teacher taught our class the ASL (American sign language) alphabet, which she would have us practise in order to quiet us down when she wanted our attention.  More recently, I've done some research on BSL (British sign language) and have been practising the alphabet and simple words and phrases.  ASL and BSL are vastly different, and in my opinion BSL is a lot simpler: a great amount of the signs resemble the thing they are a sign for (for example, the sign for cat is essentially drawing whiskers on your face with both hands).  Granted, I am by no means an authority in either language, so I'm not in a position to pass judgement.  But for my own amusement and curiosity, I think I'll be sticking with BSL.  I found a couple of great websites (here and here) which helped me to learn the alphabet and a great many words through short videos - it's a lot easier to understand the motions when they're actually being done in front of you instead of shown in a little hand illustration!


Sunday, 29 January 2012

sun salutations and chocolate cake.

jumper - thrifted // skirt - Target // bird pin - vintage from my grandmother // belts - Target (bottom one) and vintage from my mum (top one) // tights - Target // shoes - Indigo by Clark's // weird lump on my right ankle - a friendship bracelet-anklet-thing from summertime

It's a Sunday evening and I have homework to do.  There is so much tension in my neck and shoulders that my mother is making an appointment with a masseuse.  "There shouldn't be this much tension in you at such a young age," she says.  "Tell that to my school," is my only answer.  Or my head, I suppose.  My life feels extremely cluttered right now and my mind isn't much better off.  Some of the clutter has to go, or I'll shut down completely and never get anything done.  When I was younger, I had a happy place, an astral temple, a mind palace.  It was bright with big windows and old, dark floors.  The rooms were mostly empty.

My combat boots are falling apart, so they are being replaced with a pair of navy Doc Martens.  If my shoes are the only part of me that have a sole, I want it to be in good shape.  Today is a bad pun sort of Sunday.

The photographs above are from Tuesday.  Tuesday was really a Monday because there was no school on Monday, and every other day felt like Friday.  I don't like weeks like that.  I keep on planning for the future by buying things like hand lotion and dried fruit, but what I really need is a notebook to write down all the lists in my head.

Maybe if I can make some order on paper out of the chaos in my head, I can function properly and even get to sleep tonight.


Saturday, 28 January 2012


striped shirt - Kohl's // houndstooth dress - thrifted vintage // scarf - actually a sarong I bought at the beach years ago // tights - Target // combat boots - Kohl's // satchel - Cambridge Satchel Company

Greetings from Super-Crazy Pattern-Mixing Land!  I wore this a couple of days ago when my eyes were really red and irritated by my contact lenses, in hopes that the mad print-mixing would distract people from my otherwise demonic appearance.  It didn't work as well as I'd hoped, but I've been having a lot of fun with mixing patterns lately anyhow - and I can't wait to continue it into spring!  I'll admit, I felt a little bit like a preschooler in this outfit... but hey, I had fun in preschool.  It's not a bad thing.

I originally put the 3-D glasses on because I wasn't going to take outfit pictures, I just needed a photo for my 366 (not 365, it's a leap year) photo project - one photo every day for the whole year.  But after a couple of photos, I realised that it would be silly not to take outfit pictures, seeing as I already had the tripod out and everything.  Se here they are, 3-D glasses and all!  Maybe with these glasses on, my red eyes are less noticeable.

The satchel you see in these photos?  The beautiful black one that looks a little bit navy and a lot bit gorgeous?  It arrived the day before these photos, all the way from the UK!  I had been lusting over one of these amazing handmade bags for months, so when my grandmother sent me money for Christmas/Hanukkah, I used it to buy myself this satchel from the Cambridge Satchel Company.  It's their classic bag, size 15", and it even fits [nearly] everything I need to bring to school!  Which is, by the way, impressive in the extreme.  It's a little stiff right now, as leather tends to be, but I know it'll loosen up with use, and I'll be carrying this beauty around for years to come.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

five things [in which I like animals more than people].

When I was in third grade, I was teased for having this backpack covered in slogans announcing "Meat is Murder!", "I Am Not a Nugget!", "Love Animals, Don't Eat Them", and various other catchy phrases from PETA's shop.  I was quite the little activist, and I was exceptionally unforgiving in my views.  In fact, in going through my closet I found several mostly-empty notebooks; one such notebook had scribbled in it "I HATE J. CREW AND THE CHINESE FUR TRADE!!!" in my boxy elementary-school printing.  I don't even think I knew what J. Crew was at that point, only that I hated them because they sold fur.

So when faced with the opportunity to shop at J. Crew this weekend, I did my research first to assuage my inner child/activist's concerns.  Happily, I found that J. Crew no longer sells real fur, and I proceeded to buy two shirts from their outlet store.  (You'll probably see them in upcoming posts!)  

My family and I aren't as strict as we used to be about checking the products we buy for "Not Tested On Animals" or "Cruelty-Free" labels, but it's always been something I'm conscious of.  Like my deeply-ingrained mistrust of PetCo (though I hear PetSmart is the one to hate now, for buying from cruel puppy mills), I habitually avoid buying Johnson & Johnson products if I can help it, and I never eat Jell-O (though marshmallows and gummy candies, I can't be held responsible for).  However, researching J. Crew's status as a cruelty-free place to shop rekindled my interest in supporting animal-friendly companies.  I figure, if they're nice to the animals, they're probably nicer to people too.

Going through my make-up and hair products when I got home was tough.  Really, excruciatingly painful, and I don't think that's a hyperbole at all.  It was an unpleasant shock to see that the majority of the products I use every day have been tested on animals!  CoverGirl (owned by major animal-testers, Proctor & Gamble), Maybelline (owned by L'Oreal), Herbal Essences, and Aussie (both also owned by Proctor & Gamble), to name just a few.  Eeeks!

The good news is, neither MAC nor Revlon test on animals, so I get to keep my favourite lipsticks :)

So my mum and I made a plan to do some replacing of the offending products via a trip to Sephora (YAY!).  But in the mean time, I feel pretty guilty about using these products every day, knowing that bunnies and other cute animals were hurt in the process of making them.  To help diffuse my guilt, I've made what replacements I can.  I'm no longer using Aussie shampoo and Conditioner - I've switched them out for an Avalon Organics shampoo and a (divine-smelling) Yes To Carrots conditioner.

Where on earth is the five things post, buried in all of this?  I thought I'd share with you some of the fruits of my research, and spotlight some of my favourite cruelty-free brands and products!

Monday, 23 January 2012

journey to narnia.

It's so tranquil in my house...

...until my brother jumps in and attacks my photos!

Oops, distracted by my tea!

You can't normally see all these freckles I have... but they're there!  I guess that's what happens when you're an Irish-Jewish hybrid creature, haha :)  Along with the fact that I'm not wearing make-up in these photos.
This is my closet.  You can only see a little bit of it.  There also used to be a ton
of crap on the top of that hanger thing, but I took it all down and now it's spread
over my bedroom floor, yay!

I have quite a lot of clothes.
I also have quite a lot of crap.

It all has to be organised if I want to ever be able to find anything.
pyjama shirt - Victoria's Secret // jeans - American Eagle // knock-off Uggs (I used to have real ones... when I was five... but they no longer fit :( - Costco?
[As soon as I finished editing these photos, I sneaked my mother's (real) grey Uggs out of her room, haha.]

...or at least to the back of my closet!

For someone who loves clothes, my closet is depressingly (and somewhat terrifyingly) disorganised.  The layer of debris coating the floor is so thick, the entrance to Narnia really could be hidden back there and I would be none the wiser.  So on this fair Monday, when I had no school and way too much time on my hands, I took it upon myself (well, at my mother's insistence) to make sense of all this craziness!


Yeah, I'm only about halfway done, even after spending all day on it.  Also, my room is a big giant mess now.  But that's okay, because after this project is finished, my mum and I are going to install some new shelves/hanger things/storage spaces and maybe I'll have a teensy bit more organisation in my life!  God knows I could use it!

For the art of closet-cleaning, one must have an outfit suitable for sitting around and flipping through old notebooks and sneezing whenever old bags are full of dust!  That's why I only about halfway "got dressed" - I'm still wearing my pyjama shirt, Ugg boots, and no make-up, I just slipped into a pair of jeans to convince myself that I was actually awake this morning.

I guess, since I'm doing this now, I'll be exempt from the dreaded "spring cleaning"?



Thursday, 19 January 2012

oh, a post script.

By the way....

I just changed the name of my blog (and the url as well) to painted magnolias.  My poetry blog of the past few years had this name, and I've always connected more with it than with "what the mirror saw".  Having newly acquired the knowledge of exporting one blog's information and adding it to an existing blog, I realised I had all the tools I needed to merge my poetry/writing blog with this one.  So, I did.  And now they're together under one name, which conveniently matches my Chictopia and Lookbook usernames anyway.

Just thought I'd let you know, so you aren't taken too much by surprise!



Tuesday, 17 January 2012

orange eyes protest your censorship.

My eyes look strangely orange today.  How odd.

five things [on a testing tuesday].

Today marks the start of midterm exams at my school!  The good news is that we get half-days all week, which is lovely, but the bad news is... well, exams.

All images found on Pinterest.

1. knitting.
I've known how to knit for years, but the actual act of knitting is something I don't often have time for.  My inspiration for whipping up hats and gloves and scarves (never socks) comes and goes in waves, and I've amassed quite an extensive collection of yarn!  And yet in a yarn shop we visited while in Alexandria, I just had to pick up a few more skeins.  This yarn is really gorgeous, though - it's thick, bulky alpaca, super soft, and the most gorgeous deep purple.  I'm working on turning it into a hat, presently!  You'll probably see photos of it on my head once it's completed.

2. wall decorations.
The walls of my house are mostly empty.  Now, I can appreciate the simplicity of a bare wall, but I really wish we had more framed things hanging around the house.  Part of my mum's dream to perfect our house is to hang up all our old (and some new) photographs, but we just haven't really gotten around to it.  [I have a special interest in this because my parents want to print some of my photography and hang it up, too - hey, they did it with my fingerpaintings when I was three!]

3. menswear.
Tweed, bowties, oxford shirts, brogues, fedoras - I absolutely love the menswear trend that is happening [and has been happening for a while...] now!  It's super simple, but endlessly classic and chic.  I think a tweed/plaid jacket is definitely a necessary addition to my closet - maybe one from Zara's?

4. fairy lights!
Not just for Christmas - I really need some more strands of these to put around my room year-round.  I especially love the idea of putting them around a mirror, like in the left photo above.  Double fairy-power!

5. hand-written letters.
My father and I were in CVS because I wanted to pick up some new lipstick (which you'll see in tomorrow's post!), and while I browsed around the make-up aisle, he looked through the sympathy greeting cards (as a doctor, you've got to have those on hand).  It just reminded me of how much I dislike pre-made greeting cards - they're just a convenient replacement for letters, because people can't be bothered/don't have time/don't even remember how to write proper letters any more.  I'd rather take a blank card and write down my congratulations/sympathy/happy birthday, and I'd definitely rather receive something someone put thought into, and didn't just sign and stick in the mail.  Letter-writing is a bit of a lost art, don't you think?

So... now I think I'll go write a letter to someone.  Au revoir!