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Friday, June 26, 2015

French Girl Friday ~ Cheveux

   


As you know French Girl Friday posts lately have simply been me being inspired by and used as a leaping point for the blogs subject matter by the current book I am reading. This week is no different, but more on that in a moment. It originally started out as my personal journey to channel my inner French girl/woman.  I thought it would be fun  to inspire ladies who read my blog to channel their inner French girl/woman; a way to perhaps add that French touch to ones life if so desired. It seemed that many women, like myself had a fascination with Paris and the French women that reside there and wished to channel some of that into their own lives.... achieve that certain  “je ne sais quoi”. As time has passed, many books have been read and shared here, I have , as I am sure many of you have, if you are long time readers, have noticed,  that even with different authors the subject matters are the same and the information has all been repetitive, through presented differently. There really does not seem too much to learn on the subject that has not been discussed. That's why more and more as I stated above, I have been using the books simply as a spring board. I am considering after this book, changing the Friday posts theme...but that will take some thought. I have also considered no longer doing the blog and simply sticking with my FB page and Instagram, but I think I would miss having this outlet. 


I shall always be channeling my inner French Girl /Woman


With that all being said, let's move on.... Last week you learned about my makeup, the products that I use and how I use them. Before that it was my skin care. This week it is all about cheveux , which is French for hair. In reading through the chapters of "Forever Chic" by Tish Jett, this weeks chapter was how the French deal with their hair from care of to cut and styling. The typical French woman has an undeniable natural look about their appearance . Their hair is never fussy or fixed no matter their age. Unlike many older women in the states who seem to go for quite the opposite, and I see them at the salon every time I go in for my manicure, getting their weekly wash, curl and set. My mother in law, when she was still alive would go in weekly for a wash and set, and her hair did not seem to budge until her next appointment! My Mom is not of that school of thought, and practice, but she does keep her hair very short so it rather achieves the same thing. French women allow their hair to move, it can be wind blown and they do not seem to care, it is part of their  je ne sais quoi”.  I in this case I guess will never have or be like a French woman. I have always had very thick, coarse and heavy ( for lack of a better word) hair. I am also very OCD and prefer my hair to always be precise and looking as good as it can. The author says that the French women's way of allowing their hair to move and to appear natural ( even when it is not) adds to " an attitude that makes them appear young and carefree. " Who would not wish to look and appear young and carefree? Perhaps that is just never going to be me, at least as far as my hair goes. 

  


The one thing I can agree with (but have had a lot of trouble achieving) the French woman on is that  Your hair is YOU. It is important to make the time and the investment to make it look good. If your hair does not look good it won't matter a single bit if you are dressed nicely and your make up perfectly done. Even though a French woman's hair rarely looks contrived, do not mistake that for not taking the time and efforts that it takes to look that way.... they just do not want to appear, like their make up, as anything that they tried to work on too hard. They find and do their best to keep a talented stylist, see it as a worthwhile investment. A part of their care that is not to have corners cut or a dollar saved. I have worked at salons. I have had stylists that charge 100.00 for a hair cut and others that I can get a wash, cut and style for under 20.00.... I have had bad cuts etc at both and great as well. The cost does not always mean that you are going to get what you paid for, good or bad, but I do understand their point of view. I am always seeking and have found, though have not been able to keep, talented and skilled stylists. So my hair journey as far as stylists, like my hair styles and colors has been all over the place. Just when I think I have found the one ( in all those categories) I am left having to find another. It is frustrating and certainly not without constant effort. 



Length of hair is very important to the French woman's appearance. You will see a few with short hair, a few with beautiful long hair cascading down their backs, there are no hard fast rules, and it is not really about age, however the most classic cut for a great deal of French women, according to the author, the choice of length for women of a certain age, is that area below the chin and above the shoulders. I myself am currently once again growing out my hair. I have been every length. I once had hair that was nearly to the middle of my back ( at least when my curl was straitened) and I have had my hair so short, just last summer as a matter of fact, that it was not even long enough to stand strait up. Currently I am growing it out again, to what length I do not know, though never past my shoulders, or at least I do not believe it will ever get to that length again. I am also coaxing my curl to take over again and that will dictate how long I grow my hair... on what my curl and stubborn cowlicks dictate. 


  


Care of hair in the French woman's life is not fussy or time consuming either. Most, again, just going based on the author Tish Jett's observations, only wash their hair twice a week, deep conditioning about every fifth shampoo. In this I guess I already have been channeling my inner French girl/woman. With curly hair it is too drying to wash the hair too often. I think I do it more like three times a day, and during the hot months I am forced to do so more often, but the rest of the year two times is more than enough. I deep condition every other week. I have bought pricey products as well as less expensive products, and any more like high and low stylists there are good products are both ends of the spectrum. One that does not cost much at all and is wonderful for deep conditioning is coconut oil.. it does wonders for my hair and is so easy to use.... just scoop, melt in the microwave, run through the hair, cover in a shower cap and relax for awhile then shampoo out. I think it is great for all hair types. I also use a curl cream. I found this great one by Garnier , and in using a dollop about the size of a quarter run through my damp hair, leaves me with nice bouncy curls and the best thing is each morning all I have to do is wet my hair again with my water bottle and scrunch and it wakes the curls up again. I would be lost without it! I no longer blow dry my hair, except my bangs, which I prefer strait as they can be unruly.... and recently been skipping the flat iron on my bangs, so my hair is feeling better and better.  


Do French women color their hair? And again most of the French women referenced are Parisian, the answer is YES. Again most, not all, but most, go out of their way to make it look as if they do not. They pay to have it look as natural as possible. There are those that choose to stop coloring their hair, Christophe Robin a stylist that the author references in her book , states that gray hair "...takes guts to make that decision..." ; it is one that I actually have had the guts to do several times, and well I have also chickened out and re-colored my hair. Robin goes on to say that the decision is an "intellectual" decision and he states " I think gray hair can be so modern and it shows enormous confidence. it gives a woman new freedom....it requires an attitude. It's part of an emotional dress code. Going gray or white is another affirmation of femininity and, of course, deciding not to be a slave to your hair." I like how this guy thinks. I started noticing gray/white when I was 22, it might have been there before, but I had been coloring my hair since I was 13! I only took a break when I was pregnant. Like I mentioned I have gone gray several times and then regretted it. I think I am ready this time to stick with it, it might help that gray is in! Young women all over the states are going gray on purpose. My own daughter tried, sadly it did not turn out as she expected or hoped so she died it back. I am actually really enjoying it and I do get many women complimenting me, not only that but apparently it is not aging me as I always feared ....they even ask if it is natural and where did I get it done. I do still color my bangs... just a hint of pink and purple... not very French/Parisian, but it sure is fun!! 


If you want to read more in depth everything Tish Jett uncovers and shares with the reader about the French/Parisian woman and their hair including tips and upkeep practices be sure to go to your local book store or to Amazon and purchase Forever Chic. It is " Ruby's Musings Approved" and recommended! Next week I revisit, inspired by this book, "The Art of Eating Well" . I hope you will join me.  


I hope if you enjoyed this weeks post you will leave me a comment below or visit with me on FB and Instagram and let me know. I would love to hear from you!!! Plus if you have ideas for a new Friday theme be sure to let me know as well.... would love to hear the suggestions! 


Till next time... remember to enjoy life!
Especially the little things.

  

Friday, June 19, 2015

French Girl Friday~ Makeup





This weeks French Girl Friday blog is "tous du maquillage " (all about make up) .... my make up, well how I do my make up. So you are asking "what makes this a French Girl Friday post??"  In all reality it isn't, not exactly. As I mentioned I am using the book "Forever Chic" by Tish Jett as my inspiration, I will leave it to you to read her wonderful book. It is as I put it on Instagram "Ruby's Musings Recommended" . This weeks chapter was titled "Le Maquillage" , again translated, maquillage is makeup in French. I really expected all the same information that I have read in the other books that I have read about channeling your inner French girl/woman , the whole yes they wear make up, but worn in such a way that they do not look like they are wearing make up; and there was that. This chapter contained so much more than I was expecting, and I was delighted. Included in the chapter was not only a mini history of the art of French make up, but also wonderful tips from both a famous French makeup artist, but also that of the author and what she learned while living in France. There is a lovely section on perfume as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the chapter! 

I loved learning the makeup practices of lovelies 
such as Marie Antoinette. 
Marie Antoinette, age 12, painted by Martin van Meytens 
In the 1950's the "doe eyed" look was fashionable.


I have in past years, though it has been a long time shared my make up tips, favorite products and a couple of times my step by steps. I have done my make up in different ways and styles as well as colors over the year, but it has always had a basis in years far before I was even born, be it a 1920's flapper look to a 1960's Mod girl. My most favorite and the one that I come back to is my take on a 1950's pin up. I adore a cat eye, from subtle to very bold, defined brows and a "painted" lip, red is my favorite, but I dabble in nearly all shades of pink, especially during the Spring and Summer time. I play with all shades of eye shadows, from soft neutrals to bold blues... just depends on my mood. I have various levels of applications of make up as well, from a five minute face, just the basics, to a more heavy and complete application for nights out or for taking photos for the blog etc. I do not try to hide my age, or fine lines or freckles ( I love my freckles) though I do try to soften things such as sun spots, and old acne scars. You can tell I am wearing make up, but hopefully not in a bad way. I do not wish to look clownish, so I am always adjusting things to adjust for changing skin texture and age, after all I will be 49 next month. I adore makeup and trying new things and products to make my routine easier and quicker but with the same results.... CVS loves me *giggle* Anyway, I thought it might be time to share a day in my make up application via photos. 


Been fascinated by pinups since girl hood.
From the blue shadow to the red lips and of
course the beauty mark!
*artist ??? can anyone help? I will add the
credits later. 

When I do my makeup I always keep an image of a
young Elizabeth Taylor in my minds eye.

Maquillage
  


The supplies. 
Ok, yes, I own a fair amount of makeup. I try all price points, but most of mine can be bought at CVS or any drug store or at the very least Ulta. You will notice my make up towel, I use this to wipe my brushes and my fingers. It is one of my most important tools; it helps to use it to tap off excess shadow or foundation off of my finger tips.  The nude pallet, from Maybeline is my new favorite, I use it on my eyes as well as my brows.... again always looking for short cuts. I always use primers, from face, eyes even my lips and see that pink stick that says "borderline" (? ) ,that is a clear stick that keeps the lipstick from feathering.. key as one ages and gets those fine lines around the lips. I use two eye liners, one felt tip to get the basic line and then a liquid in the pot or at times a gel over it to finish. What you don't see is my collection of blushes, which change throughout the year depending on the amount of color on my face and my two drawers of lipsticks! I like choices. 

Brows are done...now for the primers... see not hiding anything... just softening. 
I forgot to take a photo while doing my brows, but the basics are, brush them up, fill in with powder a shade or two lighter than the darkest of your hair, brush through them with a spoolie ( looks like a mascara wand w/o the mascara) and then finish off with a pencil in a close shade to fine tune the outer lines, top and bottom. You may be wondering why I would do them first, well I do this, and I it is unique to me, because if I make a mistake I can easily correct it and not have to do my whole face again, plus when I put on my finishing powder over my whole face, it does help to soften them just a tad. Typically pin up make up and vintage make up based on the 1950's does feature a very defined, bold brow. I do not do this daily, I most days do a much more natural brow.  The dots on my face are concealer. I flip back and forth between doing this step before my foundation and after. It really depends on if I am going to do a powder foundation or a liquid. If I do liquid it is done last, otherwise it ends up coming all off... but with powder it stays put.  Anyway once the dots and lines are in place, I blend with my finger. That's why my towel comes in handy. 

It's all about the eyes. 


I have already by the time you see the above photo, I have applied foundation powder, just on my T zone and blended. Now on to the eyes... I am using a soft rose on the lid, a taupe brown  ABOVE the crease as it helps hide the droop/hood that comes with age, and then I use a soft vanilla as the highlight near the brow, to the outside of the eye and below the eye as well, which helps brighten the eye. You will see also the line from the bottom of the eye that goes towards the brow.... I use the felt tip liner, in soft black, to get the basic lines both the tail and the outline on the lid, then I go back over it with the darker black to fill it all in. I then set it with transparent powder. I have also added a soft rose blush on the apples of my cheeks.

 Below is me applying mascara...not easy to do a selfy and do this to say the least. I have two mascaras, both Physician Formula. I use one that is supposed to make your lashes look like falsies and the second is to help achieve a great cat eye effect with your lashes. I like them both...one is a lighter formula, but does a nice day look on my eyes and yes like thin, light falsies, the second creates a nice, thick and lush lash and is my favorite...both I use the wand and wiggle it in to the base for the first coat and by coat two or three I use the tip to help separate, shape the lashes up and out. 



This was on a day where I did a 5 minute face, no shadow, just liner and mascara and of course brows... done just a tad less bold and then just a swipe of pink lipstick. 



LIPS! Next to last step.
So above, you can see I am nearly done with my going out face. I first apply the primer to my lips, I also have outlined with the clear pencil to prevent feathering, then I use a liner in the same or close to the color of the lipstick to line and partially fill in and then apply my lipstick. I use three coats. I apply the first with a lip brush, and then pat my lips on a tissue, then apply a second coat same thing only then with a powder applied through a tissue with a brush, and finally a third coat, same step of blotting with a tissue and then I touch up with the pencil. Sounds like a lot I know, but it does make regular lipstick last all day. IF I am using a long lasting lipstick or one of the new matt types, I skip a lot of these steps and just apply liner and one coat of lipstick and blot.

Same basic make up as above, but taken on another day and done with a slightly
lighter hand on the brows and using the PF Falsies mascara.
My final steps .....
So there you have my personal makeup routine... in the above photos, such as the lippy photo, you will notice the thicker, heavier lash look, that is the Sexy Booster Cat Eye mascara from Physicians Formula, it comes in a really cute red and black tube with a little shoe hanging from it.  The second is their lighter formula, a falsies effect and comes in a pink tube.  All the other make up is the same. The final step is to check for any fine tuning, then I apply high lighter cream in the inner corners, and brow line, as well as the cheek bones, half way down the top of the nose and the cupids bow of my lips.... as you age adding a bit of the light catching highlighting creams really help to give you a little lift here and there. I then use a makeup mist and set... I love this, I just close my eyes and do a couple sprays and it feels cooling and sets my make up all day... and it adds a bit of dewiness to my look. 

I may not have a totally au natural look ala the modern day French woman, and that is where being an American girl/woman departs from the French woman, but I do what feels natural to me, and I still as I mentioned in the beginning, allow my freckles, fine lines (and the deep ones too ) to show through, so it's me, just better; After all that is what brings it back around to channeling my inner French girl/woman where they wear makeup, but only to enhance their looks not change them. 

Sometimes it is just about adding a touch of
French flair to your life and routine, not
trying to become French. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

French Girl Friday~ La Toilette Française*

To care for one's skin, inside and out
can help you channel your inner French
Girl and "
éclat " (shine)

I know that I have shared this type of post again and again on French girl Friday, but it is an important one to post, to encourage and well I am asked quite often about this subject when I ask my readers over on FB what they would like a post about. I have been reading Forever Chic by Tish Jett and most of the information is not new to me either, or my readers, but it is presented in a most pleasant to read format. I am really enjoying the book, the authors stories and her own journey through channeling her inner French girl so to say.  This weeks chapter was on caring for one's skin from the inside out, head to toe ;something that comes naturally to a French woman and which is a very important part of each of their days.  There was some great reminders, points and suggestions made.  The author stated that she learned to care for her skin from her Mother originally (learning more once she moved to Paris) , I really did not have that, my Mom.  God love her, my Mom was and has never been as much of a girly girl as I, in that area, and it was always me who encouraged her with the use of sunscreen, creams, lotions and potions and to visit her dermatologist...not sure she ever felt it was as important as I did/do. I did have good examples growing up all the same tho. Both my Grandma and Grandmother had their tips and I followed them through most of my life and added some of my own to my daily routine as well as learning from friends and through reading books/articles on the subject. 

  

A lot of my readers on FB keep complimenting me on my skin, how perfect it is.... confession time, a lot of that is tricks of lighting and good make up coverage or even when that is not a factor, just how it seems to come across online in photos and my videos that I post on my companion page for the blog. I will say this, my dermatologist says I have nice looking skin, nice to hear from a professional, however I fear if she took a photo with those special cameras that show sun damage it would be a different story!! To the naked eye and without make up on, I have red blotches, brown sun spots, broken capillaries, crinkled skin and puffiness under my eyes and deep lines between my eyes as well as around my mouth. I still at nearly 49 years of age break out, and have always had acne issues that have caused serious scaring and texture changes to my skin....so far from perfect. That all being said my skin is in better shape than a lot of women my age and I look younger, or so I am told than many of my counter parts. So what are my rituals??? 

Daytime...

My mornings are quite simple. I apply my sunscreen and then my firming cream before either leaving the house as is, or applying my make up. I then put on some powder to have something that helps keep me a bit more dry... I have some I had made for me through a vendor on Etsy, it smells like roses and honeysuckle! That's it. easy peasy!! 


A new favorite combo...one for the body and one for the face.
Never leaves me greasy and make my skin nice and moisturized.

I may have an oily T zone still, a perk as far as keeping
wrinkles at bay, a curse as far as breaking out still,
but my cheeks, neck and chest still need to be treated...
I buy these sample sizes at CVS and love them! 




Evenings.....


Each night I cleanse my face. I rarely go to bed without doing it. I will say that I do "wash" my face, unless I am in the shower. I hate cold water on my face, preferring warm and with the drought going on, running the water till it runs warm ( except during the hot months) wastes water, so what's a girl to do?  Well, I used to use makeup wipes, even if I was not wearing makeup, mainly cause of all the dirt, grime and perspiration that comes with living in the city and being outdoors a lot. recently however, and I shared this on another post, I discovered a very French product, developed because the water is so harsh in France, micellar water! I use the Simple brand, but there are a few more that have come to the states recently and most are affordable. I love this stuff, and even if I have used a wipe or washed my face in the shower and then use it, it pulls a lot of grime out of my pores! It leaves my skin feeling great too and on a hot night, it is refreshing! I can not rave about it enough! You can find it at most drug stores.

The great thing about this product is
that a little goes a long way, and
you do not have to rinse!

Often if I am wearing a lot of mascara, I do have an old school thing I do first before using my "water", and that is baby oil. A simple cotton pad with some oil on it breaks down the mascara. I let it rest on my eyes for a few seconds and then gently wipe away, then I finish with the cleansing water. So very easy and I can use the back of the pad to remove my long wearing lipstick too!  A great tip is that olive oil or the now popular coconut oil work just as well and a real plus most people have one or the other in the kitchen cabinet!! I look a hot mess after doing this step, but the cleansing water quickly takes care of all that. 

A dollar store bottle of baby oil
lasts forever!!
My next step is to tone my skin as I do have that oily T zone and something very French is Rose Water. It smells wonderful and leaves my skin nice and toned and dries up just enough oil... and I have been breaking out less when I use it. I bought mine in the liquor section of all things, but you can find it in the international foods isle quite often and on Amazon too. It was not expensive and it goes a long way. You could make your own, but though not hard, it is time consuming. 

  

Once I am done with my face, I then put on lotion or in many cases body buttercream. I have a lovely rose scented one that between the rose water and using it makes me smell like the garden on a hot Summer's day and leaves my skin so very soft. I also use a lip balm to keep my lips from chapping...my faves are any of the EOS brand.



  


Daily, no matter what I spritz on scent, sometimes several times a day, of course shower and use a wash cloth with moisturizing body wash, such as Oil of Olay on it... and every week I exfoliate both my body and my face, the body with a sugar scrub and the face with a scrub made for doing so. Every two weeks I treat myself to getting my nails and toes done; I know the perfume and the mani pedi do nothing for the skin, but it is part of my routine for taking care of myself. The number one thing I do for my skin is loads of water  and or decaf tea, something that keeps me visiting the restroom, a lot, LOL, but it is worth it! Water/clear fluids helps with keeping me slim too as it keeps me from over eating. I take vitamins and especially vitamin C, oh and my tea of choice each afternoon is jasmine green tea, both have antitoxins... very important for the skin.


Very non- French of me, I do not have a single scent, a signature scent, I like choices
depending on my mood, but all my scents are floral, and most have rose as one of the
floral scents included. 

Not a French way of doing nails, they prefer
shorter, natural, neutral or classic red.... I enjoy that
too, but sometimes you just want to have fun! 
So that's kind of it. I know it sounds like a lot to some people, but really it does not take me long at all... a few minutes at night and most days the same in the morning unless I am wearing make up which I have my 5 to 10 minute face and my more involved 20 minute face.  I visit the dermatologist every six months ( after having skin cancer) and I exercise, both also very important for my skin.... but the walking helps push toxins out and I feel it helps with how my skin looks. I never see all of it as work or a chore, it is simply the way that I take care of myself, nurture myself, and assure, at least I hope, that I keep a youthful appearance , not that I am ashamed of my age, but I would rather look young for my age than older! So I guess I channel my inner French Girl Woman ( French Girl Fridays flow better than French Woman Fridays *wink*) and embrace my American woman all at the same time and I would not have it any other way. 


Breast Lift update...

Officially at 5 weeks now, healing is going well, I have had my tape and any lingering stitches removed and next week I can get out of the surgical bra and wear a NON under wire bra, start to do housework and lift light weights again. I go back in two months for the next check up. I am still uneven. It would seem that I have a lot of scar tissue in my right breast, the one that had the drain in the longest and it is causing it to be tight, hard and sit higher. I have been instructed to massage my breast several times a day over the next two months and then will get further instructions. The hope is to break up the scar tissue, and hopefully the breast will soften and "drop" so that it is similar to my left breast. I apparently do not have much swelling left, so I am officially going to be a B cup. I had thought, as did the doctor that I would be more of an A, but he really does not think they will come down much more.  I was a D cup with my implants in and so basically I lost two cup sizes. It is not the flatter chest that I thought I would have so no going around in nothing but petals under my tank tops, but I am ok with that... I can wear bralets... you know those stretchy little bra tops they sell for cheap at most youthful clothing stores, so that is fine, and great for walking to wear under a loose T or like today my tank top so my nicer bras do not get all ruined in our hot Summer weather. I am hoping and praying that with the massaging and time that I will even out a bit more. I do not expect Twins, but sisters, instead of cousins would be so much better and go a long way with how I feel about how I look in and out of clothing. If there are any revisions to be made, unfortunately I am told it will be a year from now before that is discussed....so the journey continues. 


In love and appreciation... blowing kisses your way..
XOXOXO
* title taken from a chapter in the book Forever Chic by Tish Jett
available on Amazon