Posted in Howling Sea Lane, Style, Women

Underneath it All


I have a friend close to my age, whose guyfriend complained that her underwear aren’t sexy enough.  *sigh*  Really, Guyfriend?  Really?  Life is neither a porno, nor a Victoria’s Secret catalog.  I didn’t like sexy underwear when I was arguably sexy.  I certainly don’t like them now.  Now, I like underwear that give my butt a little life, my tummy a little support, and hit me at the waist so I don’t have to deal with my belly fat escaping from under the top of the bikini style panties that I trade off and on with my ladypants.  Ladypants.  Not Granny Panties.  Ladypants.

But, yes, sometimes I wear Granny Panties.  You don’t like that?  Suck it.  Sometimes, I wear great, big, cotton drawers that are cool, comfortable, and breathe in the crotch-sweltering heat of Texas summertime.  In fact, I am wearing such drawers right now.  No heat rash for me!

Listen, I always want to look my best–even when I am scruffing around the house, I am (at the very least) aware of how I look (though I might not do anything about it–I do think about it.)  But I quit buying in to the media fantasty that underwear are about anything other than keeping my bits away from the inner lining of my clothing and furniture, and smoothing out lines under fashion many years ago.  Well before I got married, in case you worry that once he put a ring on it I went out and bought the tallest pair of underwear I could find. 

I have owned a g-string or two in my time.  I even owned them back when it was visually appropriate for me to wear them.  I did not like them.  I did not like that I had a permanent wedgie–ditto and worse with thongs.  I wore them because I thought it was the expectation, and because the supermodels I idolized were always talking about how a g-string was a girl’s best friend.

I also owned tanga bikinis, Brazilian cut panties, scoops, string bikinis, side-ties, and any other filmy under-confection you can imagine.  Hated them all.

My cousin, M, will tell you about the underwear envy we had when we were little.  I always had white nylon and lace panties from Her Majesty.  She had colorful cotton panties with days of the week printed on them.  It was hilarious as adults to realize how jealous we had been of each other’s underwear.  I’d have given her the lot of my lacy undies for just her Saturday and Sunday. 

Nylon is hot.  Cotton is comfy.

When it comes to adult times, certainly my wardrobe changes.  You don’t wear your Fruit of the Looms to seduce.  I’m not worried about comfort then, but I’m still aiming for flattering.  And where a thong might have been flattering 15 years, 40lbs, and one large baby ago, now it is a sight gag in a Ben Stiller movie.  I refuse to set myself up as a punchline just because Big Media has convinced us that the Very Visual Creatures we call men cannot have happy endings unless we are wearing 3″ of elastic and polyester that cost $25 a pop, and another half pound of padding under cheap satin that costs upwards of $50 per.  Maybe if I could talk my husband into wearing one of the old flamingo g-strings for men that Frederick’s of Hollywood (whose sexy underwear is among the most comfortable, and longest lasting–I highly recommend them for your flirtier frills.) used to sell?  Then we could be sight gags together.

Flattering for sexy times.  Comfortable and supportive for the 16 hours a day that I am up and running.  I do have a motto:  You are only as well dressed as your worst pair of panties.  Keep ’em clean.  Keep ’em in shape.  Keep ’em flattering.

You have to wear what works for you.  So, to my friend whose guyfriend made her feel small because her panties were big:  Buy a pair of his and hers fishnet thongs.  If he’s willing to wear it, then go for it!  If he isn’t?  You know what you’re dealing with and where to drop him off.

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Posted in Beauty, Style

And You Tell Two Friends, And They Tell Two Friends


My friend, Chad, posted a beauty tip today, and I had to try it out.  He said:

–if you take vitamin C tablets and crush them into powder, put them into some dandruff shampoo or clarifying shampoo, leave it on your head for an hour – it will totally strip away about 3 shades of color.

Now, I’ve been struggling with getting my hair back to a more natural shade since January.  I gave myself a very bad dye job, then started seeing a great stylist, who has been working me back to normal.  I have been getting a partial foil of highlights from the crown forward, and doing a rinse over bottom back of my hair to hide the red.  But as the rinse wears out, I end up with forty different shades of hair, and it’s not nice.  I have an appointment this coming Saturday, so if I was going to try anything that would potentially do horrible things to my color, now was the time.

That’s Chad, my new beauty guru, at the bottom there. I am in the middle of a gorgeous Kimmie/Kerri sandwich. I have such awesome friends! And good looking.  I also have a huge hunk of spinach in my teeth.  Gross.

I grabbed some Selsun Blue and Vitamin C while I was at the grocery store.  Now, I could only find chewable Vitamin Cs, and I wasn’t sure how many to use, so I chewed up about 4 of them, and I think about 2.5 of those made it into the shampoo mixture.  Yes, I am just that gross.

Anyway, I put the mixture on my head while I worked on making sweet potato chips (epic failure for looks, but omg so good!) and washed it off a little while ago using my regular shampoo and conditioner.  It worked!

My highlights are as bright as their first day, the bottom back of my hair has stripped down to one chestnut shade (which is quite nice), and my hair feels like silk.  That last part is my favorite.  It’s been feeling stiff and yucky lately, so this is a very nice change!

Posted in Advice, Career, Style

The Difference 2″ Can Make


I’ve mentioned before that when I entered the workforce, my idea of the difference between professional dress and professional dress was the difference between where you plied your trade.  That is, my skirts were short, my heels were high, and I caused some ruckus for the HR group.  In fact, I was so oblivious about the hazards of my hemline, that when I was offered a little lap covering in church, I just thought it was sweet that they were giving me a blanket.  When I figured out that it wasn’t about my comfort, but the pastor’s line of vision, well, I was horrified, and my skirts haven’t been that short since.

I also learned a great lesson in kindness from the way those church ladies treated me.  No one tried to make me feel bad about my skirt.  No one even mentioned that it was an issue.  They simply offered me a solution that was comfortable to them, and comforting to me. 

You can’t really do that in a business setting–if your employee is flashing your clients, and your clients aren’t paying specifically for that privilege, you have to nip that in the proverbial bud.  But, you can do it in such a way that your employee walks away with his/her dignity*.

As far as dressing for the office goes, my personal preference is a 2″ Neck to Knees rule.  Nothing that is more than 2″ below the place where your neck meets your torso, and nothing higher than 2″ above the knee.  Nothing so tight that you can’t easily pull it out at least an inch from either side of your body.  See?  No dresses that are longer than 2″ above the ankles, and no trousers that are shorter than that (but DO NOT take my advice regarding trouser length.  That will just get you in trouble!  Ask Amy.) 

An old friend of mine had a theory about buying dresses.  “If you wear a size 6/8, then Work-Cute is a size 8.  Date-Cute is a size 6.  Always go to the larger for work, and tight-tight-tight for the date!”  She had two, identical polka-dot dresses, one in her Work-Cute size 6, and her Date-Cute size 4.  My then-work-cute-size 10 would just sigh and keep puffing alongside her as we jogged through River Legacy park.

It is fortunate that I don’t have any ego attached to how I look when I am working out because when Carrieanne worked out, she just got prettier.  She had this amazing, thick ponytail that swung like a pendulum, and she was a gorgeous tan that just flushed rosy when she was overheating.  This opposed to how I sweat like a swamp rat with my thin hair matting down to my scalp, and how when I get hot my skin turns red enough that observers frequently find it alarming.

You know, when I was a baby, my skin would turn so red when I cried, my mother actually took me to the pediatrician.  I’m telling you, when I get hot/angry/upset/laugh really hard, my skin is…  If it weren’t my own, I would find it fascinating to watch it turn colors.  As it stands, I just know I can’t play poker and that aggravates me.

 

*Ideally, dress code is something that should be covered during the interview process.  That allows a potential employee insight into the work environment, and gives him/her the opportunity to determine whether or not he/she is going to have to completely overhaul the wardrobe to adjust.

Posted in Style

The Ugly 70s


I finally finished reading Girls Like Us, and I’ve got 5 stars for it.  I won’t write a proper review of it right now because I’ve only just put it down about half an hour ago, but a little conversation I’ve been having on Facebook has outgrown its venue and I am moving it over here.  And that conversation?  The ugliness of the 70s.

This is where my Facebook conversation started:  Even attractive people were not attractive in the 70s.  It was impossible to be truly attractive from about 1970 through about 1986.  The 70s were to American style what the ages of 12 to 16 are to most children.  Awkward.  Pimply.  Greasy.  Brace-faced.  Gross.

I was born in 1970.  The year of the Dog is right.  Dog ugly.  Everything was vinyl and polyester.  The most fashionable colors were avocado, harvest gold, apricot, and brown–even in summertime!  People wore bell bottoms, leisure suits, terry cloth, and collars so long and pointed they could touch the edges of their shoulders.  Carpets and hair had the same shag styling.  Miss America looked like this and Elvis was fat.

Me. And everything that was wrong with 1975. Polyester jumpsuits–oh yeah, that was a one piece that zipped up the back. Wingtip collars. Furniture in Harvest Gold and Earth. Painted bricks.  And, as I recall, that throw pillow would have landed on a couch with a huge, sticky vinyl cover on it.  What you are missing is that when my hair wasn’t teased into presciently 80s oblivion, it was parted down the side so that I looked like Rob Reiner as Meathead from All In The Family.  Ugh.  Everything was SO UGLY.

The 70s was a sweaty decade.  Everyone always looked slightly overheated.  In part, due to the grotesquely shimmery makeup that was popular, and in part due to the fact that the most popular fabric was a non-breathing synthetic.  You couldn’t help but sweat.  You couldn’t help but look like you needed a shower.  And the hair…oh, the hair.

70s hair is infinitely worse than 80s hair.  Yes, 80s hair is large and overprocessed, but 80s hair is also largely clean–or, at least it is easier to hide a greasy scalp behind 3 inches of teased bangs.  In the 70s, with everything parted down the middle, you could just–yuck.  Okay?

And on television?  Was there an attractive man on television?  I know there were attractive women because I watched Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman with a religious fervor, but think how much better looking those shows would have been, had they been initially produced today!  I mean, Farrah?  Farrah in her prime taken outside the 70s?  She would have been too much for television.  In a way, I suppose we were fortunate that the burgundy blush, and frosted eyeshadows toned down her hotness.  We’d have been all sweaty for a different reason.

I did have crushes on David and Shawn Cassidy, Andy and Barry Gibb, and Dirk Benedict (as Starbuck–the only Starbuck, thank you.)  But even as a child I understood that their pants were freakishly tight, their hair unflattering, and their satin Members Only jackets gauche.  You worked with what you had in the 70s, and what I had was poofy-headed, tight, sateen pant wearing, hairy-chested pretty boys.

This post…  I started this post 3 hours ago, then went searching for a picture from a yearbook.  I got sucked into classmates.com, where there are yearbooks online, then ancestry.com, which is like crack cocaine to me.  I couldn’t find my Kindergarten yearbook picture, then I remembered that my picture was so bad, it was not included in the Kindergarten section of the book.  I had a massive cold sore that ran from inside my lower lip, halfway down my chin, covering the entire lower left side of my mouth.  They took my picture in profile and it was still visible.  I sport a lovely scar which is nicely apparent when I get overheated.  I guess the school didn’t want people to think they let lepers go to class.

My first grade yearbook isn’t online.  Thus and so, I give you my second grade picture, taken in 1978.  I look really happy to be there, don’t I?  Oh, there’s a story behind that one.  But not for tonight.  I need to get off this computer before I turn into one!

Top row middle. That’s me. 3rd row end. That was my adorable boyfriend through fifth grade, until we moved to Texas. And even then we wrote letters for a couple of years. The 70s were kind to him.
Posted in Friends of Mine, Good Housekeeping, how to, Style

Party On, Lane


Five months into the year, I finally kicked off my “entertain/socialize more” resolution from New Year with a little garden dessert party, which was very, very satisfying.  I know some really wonderful people, and I was happy to have so many of them gathered in one place.  I was also happy to feel like I could set up a good looking space for our dessert spread.

I showed you how I recovered my cafe table set for the party.  I recovered my patio dining table and chairs with a red-on-red tonal, print tablecloth by Paula Deen, also purchased at Ross for $4, and I used another $4 Paula Deen print as a tablecloth for a little card table, where we set up prizes and food.

I think things mixed and mismatched nicely.

 

For the party, I made brownies, mini-cupcakes, and soft pretzels.  My friend, Francine, made some amazing lemon sugar cookies, and we also had a cheese tray.  For drinks, we went through two pitchers of lemonade and some ginger ale, and those of us who imbibe had Birthday Cake cocktails:  1 part Cake flavored vodka, to 2 parts ginger ale, on the rocks.

Mini-angle food cupcake with chocolate icing (piped on with a ziplock bag that I cut the corner out of) topped with a mini-marshmallow.
And the mini-red velvet cake cupcake with cream cheese icing (same piping technique), topped with a stemmed, maraschino cherry. I based these off of one of my screen print designs. Food imitating art!
Cupcake Ninja! You can still order these, by the way. $25 for a tshirt. If you want one, contact me through lane@theoutsidelane.com.

 

So, great party!  No one cried.  No one threw up.  No one salted the earth in front of my door.  And Thor got to play with my friend Emily’s delightful daughter, who is the teensiest, most adorable, fairy-pirate I know.

Here, Thor coaches MissA on her frisbee grip.