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The stirring is key

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Add a tsp of paprika, and stir in. The stirring is key. It is soothing. It is mindless, not mindful. Sod mindful. My mind is full enough. It is a minefield. Tonight I want to stir some stuff and stare at my hands or into nothing.

Self-Love Stew, by Jack Monroe

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The Desert is a Symbol

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“A question for you, Mr. Perkins, if I might be so bold. What destroyed the cultures of your own native peoples, the Indians?”

I responded that I felt there had been many factors, including greed and superior weapons.

“Yes. True. All of that. But more than anything else, did it not come down to a destruction of the environment?” He went on to explain how, once forests and animals such as the buffalo are destroyed, and once people are moved onto reservations, the very foundations of cultures collapse.

“You see, it is the same here,” he said. “The desert is our environment. The Flowering Desert project threatens nothing less than the destruction of our entire fabric. How can we allow this to happen?”

(…)

“We – my people – are part of the desert. The people the shah claims to rule with that iron hand of his are not just of the desert. We are the desert.”

The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Perkins

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Honey, Pecans, Baked Pears

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Last night I walked
to the sound of my sneakers,

The air smelled of honey
pecans, baked pears.

I swallowed my thoughts,
washed them down with feelings,

A night creature squawked
of longings and fears.

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Professional Make-Up: 5 Reasons You Should Say Yes

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I don’t even know how it happened. With an abruptness verging on rude, it dawned on me very recently that I’m “one of those women”. Those that, ten years ago, I’d look at askance, whispering in scandalised tones inside my own head: “She’s not wearing any make-up! Gahh!”

And here I am: uneven complexion, under-eye circles, and freckles in the summertime – for all the world to see.

Be that as it may, strength lies in knowing your weaknesses. I learned the hard way that going sans make-up to events with photographers guarantees looking very much like the Corpse Bride, so when I recently received an invitation to a coworker’s wedding, I solicited a friend – with experience as a professional make-up artist – to make me look presentable.

And peeps, it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I cannot recommend it enough. If you’ve got an important event coming up – a wedding, a formal dinner, heck, even a business meeting where you want to look and feel your best – and especially if you don’t use make-up on a regular basis, get yourself in touch with a professional make-up artist. Want to know why? Here are five solid reasons.

1. You will look amazing

I’ll admit, when I my friend graciously agreed to do my make-up, I resigned myself to the sad fate of spending the evening looking like a drag queen. (That’s how antiquated my opinions of make-up are. I mean, really!) Instead, I rather reminded myself of Isabella Rossellini in her Lancôme ads. My friend did a perfect job, giving me just enough colour and glamour to make me smile radiantly every time I saw myself in the mirror, or facing a camera. She even managed to make my nonexistent lips look effortlessly fuller – without it being vulgar or obvious that they were “amplified”. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever looked that great.

2. You will not have to think about your make-up

This was probably my favourite thing about the whole affair: once my friend had finished her job, I never needed to think about my make-up again. Only on one occasion – throughout the entire 9+ hours that we were partying – she handed me a powder that I hastily applied to my face after a rather sweaty bout of dancing. That was it. Everything stayed in place, nothing crumbled, ran, or disappeared. Even the lipstick stayed on my lips and didn’t migrate to the wine glasses, which I still can’t get my head around.

3. You will save money

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the make-up has gotten awfully complicated lately. It’s not just about patting on some foundation and applying a trio of eye-shadow, lipstick, and rouge like our mums used to do. Today, there’s contouring. There are ten different brushes you need for each square centimetre of your face. There are priming creams that go on before the foundation, and fixing powders that go on after the foundation. There are bronzers to deepen the curves of your jaw and highlighters to pop the tips of your cheekbones. There are hour-long YouTube tutorials where women spend 20 minutes blending.

Of course, you don’t have to get ALL the products. You could just pat on some foundation and apply a trio of eye-shadow, lipstick, and rouge. But then you wouldn’t get the benefits of professional make-up, which looks effortless and stays put. So, instead of dishing out a fortune on brushes and products, pay a fraction of that sum (or even nothing at all) to get the work done by a professional.

4. You will learn cool things

Obviously, people who love their jobs love to talk about them, and it looks like make-up artists are among those people. While my friend was transforming me into a glamshell (like bombshell, but more glamorous), she commented on every product that she used – what it was, what it was for, why and how she was using it. “Now, I’m putting some highlighter in your inner eye to set your eyes further apart and open up the face.” I also got to inspect her awe-inspiring collection of products, ask her about anything, and get tips on where to get the best brushes, make-up removers, and powders. (Not that I’ll be buying them anytime soon, but you never know!)

5. You will feel pampered and gorgeous

This may sound like a silly non-reason, but it’s so important! Having your make-up done is a just like getting a gentle massage, a mani/pedi, or getting your hair done. When someone takes the time and care to make you look and feel your best, those good feelings project right into you and radiate from within, making you irresistible.

* * *

Convinced? Awesome! If you’re thinking of having professional make-up done, the most straightforward way would be to look up a make-up artist in your area. (Make sure they use quality products and take hygiene seriously.) You can also get your make-up done by appointment at boutiques – places such as Sephora or MAC – either for a small fee or for free. Not least, you could ask a friend to help you out – just make sure it’s someone who really knows their ropes. (Mine had worked for Estée Lauder for two years and had made-up dozens of women.)

There’s no reason not to look your best!

 

 

 

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Four Weddings and a Tutu

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Wedding season is upon us! And with it the pleasant trouble of picking out the perfect outfit. The good news? I’ve done all the thinking for you. (Well, for myself, actually.) Be it your best gay friend’s Scottish castle ceremony, an old school buddy’s bohemian wedding in San Francisco, a coworker’s matrimonio in the Italian countryside, or you musician pal’s totally casual knot-tying on a boat, I’ve got you covered for outfits that will have you feeling at ease and looking stylish – with just one skirt.

Allow me to introduce you to Akari – a small, Czech company specialising in skirts, and especially in luxuriant, layered, rich tulle tutus made from metres and metres of fabric. I recently purchased mine and it was exactly what I’ve been dreaming of since I was 10 years old. Well made from quality material, the wrap-around concept ensuring that one size fits all, they can be dressed up or down and are absolutely perfect to wear to weddings.

And because it’s been a while since I’ve last played stylist on Polyvore, here are four different ways you can style your tutu for this summer’s ceremonies. (If you’d like a tutu of your own and don’t live in the Czech Republic, try contacting Akari here. Or, if we’re friends, contact me! We’ll work something out.)

Royal Wedding

Royal Wedding

 

Akari tutuSleeveless top / Relish white blazer / Christian Louboutin red shoes / KOTUR hand bag / Lulu Frost statement necklace / Lulu Frost post earrings / August Hat feather headband

The great thing about Akari tutus is that the layers of tulle can be puffed up for those extra special occasions when you need to look your grandest. For that über-formal wedding, pair the skirt with a glittering silver camisole top and a crisp white blazer, complemented by simple white pumps. Add oomph with a few select pieces of statement jewellery and a fascinator in the style of the royals of the Old Continent. Round off the look with a clutch reminiscent of interwar Great Gatsby glamour of the New World.

Bohemian Wedding

Bohemian Wedding

 

Akari tutuJil Sander Navy sleeveless top / Bamboo shoes / MICHAEL Michael Kors clutch / Nakamol Design crystal earrings / Margot Me beaded jewelry

Informal yet elegant, understated yet adorned. This is an in-between look perfect for any kind of ceremony. Wrap your tutu over a stylish silk blouse and pair with sexy kitten heels. Play up the basic combination with some tasselled earrings and a jingly jumbo bracelet, which will serve as percussion to accentuate your congratulatory applauses to the newly married couple. This is probably my favourite look, and one that truly puts the tutu to prominence.

Italian Wedding

Italian Wedding

 

Akari tutuOff the shoulder top / Monsoon foldable shoes / Anthropologie crossbody purse / Dangle earrings / Crown hat / Linda Farrow champagne glasses

When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s amore! I’m not sure I can think of a better place to get married than Italy. And certainly no better place to wear an outfit that compliments your curves! In the style of Gina Lollobrigida and Sofia Loren, don the full-bodied tutu to show off your waist and a cropped off-the-shoulder top to accentuate your bosom. Add dainty sandals, a lavish sun hat, and the obligatory sunglasses (not to be taken off even at night!). To honour one of the most magical ingredients produced by the fertile soils of Italy, I picked a lemon-themed handbag and earrings to complement the ensemble.

Casual Wedding

Casual Wedding

 

Honestly, sneakers may be the best shoes to go with your tutu. How fortunate that they’re also the perfect footwear for that casual wedding where you bring your own wine, hear the bridal march rendered by a tentative ukulele, and eat hot dogs and ice cream sprawled on a fragrant lawn. Add a simple striped t-shirt and a sassy clutch for a festively laid-back look.

Happy styling!

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Lemon Thyme

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  • Him [picking up a delicate herb from a fairy cake’s frosting]: What do you think this is? Lemon balm?
  • Her [tentatively sampling a tiny green leaf]: Mmm… no. It’s oregano, or thyme.
  • Him: But it tastes lemony. It must be lemon balm.
  • Her: It can’t be. The leaves are too small. It must be thyme.
  • Him: Perhaps it’s some kind of miniature lemon balm.
  • Her: I’m not at all sure about that. Here, let’s ask the waiter…