Monday, January 18, 2010


I wish I had thought up something more poetic and glib for the title there, but I've just surfaced from the pool and am shriveling inside at the to-do list that's tallying up in my head. Summer hair is difficult. If you have a lot of hair it doesn't cooperate--it frizzes and curls up, or if you're like me and desperately attempt to coax your strands into curls, it falls straight and does nothing. It sticks to your neck and the sides of your face. Ponytails, refreshing and clean, get boring fast.

Braids are a solution, but it's hard to get them right! Is it harder with thick hair? I feel as though it is. Instead of delicate, winsome braids, I end up with thick sturdy things that could certainly (with some growth) serve as a proper rope into an upstairs window.

I think I've figured it out though. I still curl my hair, since that way it's alright if an end pokes out here or there because then it's a little pretty curl. These pictures are from second-day hair--I found it came out much better the day before, it was a little flat to work with the following day--but it makes me happy. I'm very low-maintenance with my hair. I cheat with pincurls (I curl the hair first and just pin the existing curl to my head), and if I can't manifest an up-do in less than 5 minutes it just isn't worth it.

My process for this is as follows:

1.) Curl hair. I like curlers, because they give you a loser, more romantic curl (I use tinier ones though, since big curlers don't give much shape).
2.) Place headband in hair. This is important, because I want it to help with the shape of the hair as it wraps around the head. I stick it in the middle so that hair hangs down in front of it.
3.) Being two messy French braids, low on the head just behind your ear. I'm talking really messy. Totally loose and not even. Braid to about half the way down your hair.
4.) Pin one braid so it doesn't unravel, and work on the second. When both are finished, just kind of grab them and twirl them together into a loose bun. Think, generally, that you want a chignon kind of look, or a bun, and just move the hair around until you estimate it looks like that. Bobby pin the crap out of it. Don't look at in the mirror till you're done, or you'll fuss over it too much and it won't look careless and breathy. Or something.

I feel odd talking about this sort of thing with any authority, but there you go. I've worn my hair like this for 4 days in a row, and it just makes my life. It hasn't been really hot here, so I guess that would be the real test, but it's working for me at the moment.
I think it's safe to say, with only the tiniest bit of hesitation, that we've somehow slid into official summer weather. It rained and rained for days. Even as someone who always proclaimed that I faithfully adored rainy weather I started to feel downtrodden, barely able to throw anything on besides some jeans and a tank-top with a cardigan. Rain is charming, but there is something insulting about rainy summer days—particularly here where the humidity practically squashes you onto the ground so that everyone is roaming around like snakes on their bellies. Flattering, yes. I also chastise myself every time I start a post in my head and the weather is one of its subjects. Could there be anything more boring or typical? But, I mean, it doesn't really matter, in the end.

At last I was able to wear something summery yesterday. Despite all my bragging about wanting the intense summer heat I did find myself more than a little exasperated and fatigued from it. In the shade it was lovely—there was a light breeze—but walking in the sun was almost a nightmare. I should probably also learn to stay out of the sun generally as much as possible. I forgot my hat!

Today promises to be hot also, because of the weather channel, but also because of the weird, hot morning we've got going on so far. I'm crossing my fingers and toes and hoping that later its hot enough to go in the pool!

I'm also still trying to sneak stockings and hose in somehow. Yesterday I wore some flesh-hued fishnetty things, which worked out rather nice, but I'm not sure how much longer I can keep up that charade. It's nice for these early days of summer, when my patience hasn't worn out with the heat and when I'm still less-than-confident in my thighs.

I like aprons. I think they add something to an outfit. I don't know, is that a weird thing to say or think? I think it might be. The thing is, I always have. Aprons, besides their innate knack for being twee and quaint, are one of those strange garments that kids like. I mean, I remember that aprons were somehow cool as a child, for part of dressing up, one of those mysterious garments like night gowns that are practical and weirdly romantic. That's not the right word, but I assume you know what I mean (I also don't particularly want to deal with any kind of arguments here about domestic spheres and patriarchy and whatnot—it's there in some ways, and I know that talking about the aesthetics of something like an apron is representative of certain other things and values, and of course it can't be separated from that, but I'm also thinking about it purely from a practical point of view. Or something, I don't know, this is all a very poorly constructed line of thought).

Like slips and dainty vintage lingerie, aprons are one of those things that I always wanted to have as a kid when I found them at garage sales and thrift stores but usually never bought (especially as I got older, stopped literally playing dress-up) because why? We had a few at home, mostly neat ones that my mom made and a few white ones with lace that I used to abscond with to my room and try to fit into some kind of outfit, because it had lace on the edge and was pretty and there had to be a way to make it work. Most of the time I just used cheesecloth dishtowels or tablecloths in an effort to be more French.

These days I have to wear an apron at work. They aren't particularly adorable—functional and certainly nicer than the average—but it becomes a weird part of the outfit. I rather like it. It works for me because I have a nice little waist (if I do say so myself) that such an item works to show off. It sort of encapsulates an outfit, like a little shell, snugly keeping everything in place. I like them. They keep skirts from flying all over the place and make jeans and a t-shirt mildly precious.

I guess the point is, even though there isn't really a point that I'm working towards in any defined and planned manner, I like aprons. I'm not entirely comfortable wearing them with normal outfits—although why would anyone ever say anything about it anyway—but there has to be a way to do it. I have a pretty, delicate one I got at a garage sale two weekends ago. It's totally impractical—why would anyone make a sheer apron out of a delicate linen-type fabric? They wouldn't. Not if they were going to use it in any real sense of the practical anyway (how many times can she use the word practical in one entry?). I thought I would wear it over other sheer things, other sheer dresses. It's nice, and quite pretty and ethereal in its own way, but it's still an apron and everybody knows it. I will find a way to disguise it, I think. The key to it, perhaps, is in two ways: either figure out a way to make it less obvious, so that it is simply another layer in an effortlessly perfect outfit (as though that's achievable), so that it's hidden and a surprise, or to be perfectly obvious about it and wear it in the most obvious apron-y way.

I keep thinking about more always and nevers! It's a funny way to categorize things, also kind of pointless, but it's weird to think of things that way. When there are only two options the littlest things—although it seems it would be the easiest of answer—become huge objects to contemplate. That makes these next things seem much more meaningful than they are, but if there is anything I am working to believe in, it's meaning in the frivolous. I think this explains why I had such a terrible time with my paper on Thoreau.

One of my other always items is a beauty item. Maybe it's a beauty secret—I'm not sure. My mother and I use A&D ointment for everything. I am convinced that it heals any skin ailment ever. I might not put it on a zit, but it's good for those last few days of a breakout when it's just red and irritated and wounded instead of all sad and infected and grotesque. For skin that is red, dry, irritated in any manner, this fixes it. Hands down, it is the best stuff ever. Bacitracin comes in at a close second for most necessary skin-care (I use that on break-outs as well. It sounds weird, but I swear by it). Mostly though, I use A&D for makeup removal. I think it's better than vaseline, for some reason, and I use it every night to get my mascara and liner off. It is especially handy since I've started using MAC's liquid last liner, and that is some in-tents stuff!

(Photographic evidence of the process.)

Essentially, this is a pointless post in which I abuse comas like it's my job. But, you know. I just felt like sharing :)

I'll be out-of-town for the weekend: family reunion! We've never had one before, so it should be interesting. I got a new dress for the event, but it has some staining on it I didn't notice so I don't know if I'll use it. I'm going to wake up early and try and dye the entire thing with some tea—which has worked before so cross your eyeballs that it works this time as well! In the meantime, have some pictures of my attempts to capture the strange light thing that happens in my room at night.

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