How To Get Robbed In The City Of Chicago

  • Realise you’re almost out of obscenely expensive Argan oil. It’s actually doing awesome things for your skin, so you choke down the price and make a Sephora run to replenish your supply.
  • Get distracted by shiny things at Bendels.
  • Take the escalator two floors to Sephora. Feel someone bumping up against you; assume it’s garden variety sexual harassment and ignore.
  • Stroll in, look at some lipstick, go to check what time it is.
  • Realise your bag is unzipped
  • Realise your phone is not in its designated pocket.
  • Nor anywhere else in your purse.
  • Feel your heart fall through your butt.
  • Congratulations. Your phone has been stolen.
  • Dump the entire contents of your purse out on a counter; go through it with a fine tooth comb.
  • Get two Sephora employees to help, in case you’ve suddenly gone blind or something.
  • Try to call your phone from the store’s landline; realise your hands are shaking so badly that you can’t dial.
  • RUN, do not walk, back down to Bendels.
  • Wild-eyed and fighting back a panic attack, ask the frightened shopgirls if maybe you left your phone there?
  • You didn’t.
  • Realise your makeup bag is gone too, which contained all of your favourite stuff, including your favourite Dior lipstick that has been discontinued.
  • Burst into floods of angry tears.
  • Security arrives. Give a statement.
  • Call the Chicago police to file a police report. REMAIN ON HOLD FOR 35 MINUTES.
  • Two actual police officers arrive; they cannot help you with a police report as they are on foot, not in a car, a distinction which turns out to be very important.
  • Learn that the Chicago police are no longer dispatching officers to scenes of non-violent crimes. If you’ve been robbed, you have to file a report over the phone. Okay. One understands that the cops cannot be everywhere at once.
  • Call again to file a report under the instruction of the two officers who are there with you, and who are also very nice. REMAIN ON HOLD 45 ADDITIONAL MINUTES.
  • Give up.
  • Stop service on phone.
  • Change gmail password from computer at Best Buy, thus effectively locking out the thieves.
  • Realise you’ve cried off most of your makeup; adorable gay boy tells you that you still look good.
  • Head to boyfriend’s place.
  • Get lost on streets you have seriously been on a million times, you are so upset.
  • Walk past herd of teenage boys. Overhear one say “Is that Taylor Swift?” and they all stare after you.
  • Smile in spite of yourself.

So guys: if you’re out and about in Chicago, hang on to yo shit! I learned from the very nice officers who were helping me (and who were just as pissed as I was at the logistical impossibility of, y’know, actually reporting a crime) that there are some A-grade pickpockets running around the city lately.

I mean, the joke is ultimately on the thieves because my phone was about four years old, heavy as a brick and worth about three dollars. But that doesn’t mean I wanted it taken. Likewise, as shitty as it was that they stole my makeup, at least they didn’t get my wallet. And since my makeup bag looks very much LIKE a wallet, I count myself doubly lucky.

Still. I hope those thieves get anal prolapse, because this has been really annoying.

lovesyou

Perfect Eyeliner in 8 Minutes or Less: A No BS Beauty VIDEO!

NobsheaderGuys. This is an exciting day. Today I’m getting my feet wet in the exciting world of MAKEUP TUTORIAL VIDEOS.

Do you know what this means?!

  • I get to teach you things! Makeup things! THE BEST KINDS OF THINGS!
  • You get to learn stuff from videos, which are easier to follow than pictures sometimes.
  • I get to indulge my perfectionist tendencies with the precision clip trimmer in iMovie.
  • You get to hear my confused accent! If you can come up with a better description than “You sound like a CNN correspondent,” you win a prize.
  • I get to play with makeup AND make storyboards. Post-it notes everywhere!
  • You get a Video Alle in your house whenever you want, teaching you how to do your makeup. Pour a glass of wine and it’s basically like we’re hanging out.

Plus, you can observe the range of totally insane faces that I make all the time for no reason.

multiplicity

I know the makeup video market is pretty saturated. I’m not a professional make up artist, an eighteen year old supermodel or an incredibly gorgeous drag queen. But I know how to make the most of my features. I know how to use makeup to ENHANCE, rather than CHANGE. And I know how to make my face look awesome with maximum efficiency and minimal fuss. No BS Beauty means makeup for the real world, not just for Instagram photos or the dark lights of Da Club.

So, as I learn to navigate this medium, this is my first video. It is actually three mini tutorials in one–Basic (“The dotted line”), Intermediate (“the push and wiggle”) & Advanced (“Dramatic cat-eye”). So let’s all learn How To Get Perfect Eyeliner in 8 Minutes or Less. The other 49 seconds is just me dancing around. Literally.

Just in case you can’t see my shining face in the video above, you can also watch it here.

I was going to include a full list of all the products I used, but I forgot. So here it is!

And now, a few other things I wanted to mention…

  • I use grey eyeliner under my eyes a lot because I’m pale as a vampire’s ass, and black can look too harsh on me during the day. If grey doesn’t work on you and you want to use black or brown or neon green–do it! Substitute away! (But if you’ve never tried grey liner before, you might like it.)
  • Eyelash curlers are something you might want to spend some dollaz on if you’re going to use it every day. I used to have a really cheap Revlon one and before it broke, it would pull out my lashes on the regular. OW. I’ve had the same Japonesque one for about seven years now and it continues to serve me well. You don’t have to buy a hundred dollar gold-plated model, but you don’t want something that’s going to hurt you or snap in half after three weeks.
  • DON’T DO YOUR MAKEUP WITH A WEBCAM, IT IS WAY TOO HARD. Now I understand why so many people spend their tutorial videos looking slightly to one side (there’s a mirror there!). Next week I buy a mirror on a stand like an adult.
  • Seriously, put your contacts in first. Best advice I can give you.

I hope you liked my first attempt at a video. I’m only gonna get better at these! What should I talk about next week? Getting perfect eyebrows? Trimming your own bangs? Would you like to hear a rant about bears? I’m open to anything. Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

lovesyou

No BS Beauty! Episode 2: MASCARA

Hello everyone! It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another edition of…

NobsheaderLast week we talked about liquid eyeliner, and we crowned the undisputed winner of Greatest Liner Alive. I feel like the rest of the products we talk about are going to be a little more subjective. Everyone in the world wants liquid eyeliner to do the same things, whereas other makeup is more complicated because there’s more variation in both what the product DOES and what people WANT IT TO DO.

Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to mascara, which is what we’re going to be talking about today.

Mascara is my magic product. When my lashes are dark and ready for battin’, I feel like the best, foxiest version of myself. But I’m an especially harsh critic of this product because my eyelashes are super light and require some drama to look the way I like.

There are sixty billion types of mascara. And despite what commercials tell you, they all do the EXACT same thing: paint your eyelashes darker. But this is also a product that suffers severely from a case of Magical Advertising, because every ad for mascara promises magic that it straight up cannot deliver. All mascara ads feature fake lashes or lash extensions, because the reality isn’t that dramatic. No mascara ever in the world is going to make it look like you’re wearing multiple pairs of extra-long fake eyelashes. Por exemplo:

mascaracollage

These are all fake lashes. In fact, the Natalie Portman ad at the end (for Dior mascara) was banned in the UK for being misleading, ie: for using falsies. So then Dior said, Oh no, we just PHOTOSHOPPED her eyelashes. Which is not much better. So don’t believe the hype.

Here are some things that mascara won’t do:

  • Make your eyelashes thicker, except in the sense that certain types of paint are thicker than others. It won’t change the thickness of your actual lashes or “promote growth,” because then it would be a drug and you’d need a prescription for it.
  • Make them longer. I’ve tried six of the mascaras that have those little “microfibers” or “microtubes” for length, and none of them have made my lashes noticeably longer. They have made them clumpier, though. Regardless of who makes the product or how expensive it is, the microfibers always flake off and fall on your face like tiny black scabs. So skip it.
  • Make them super-curly. Just use an eyelash curler. It’s more reliable. Plus if you wear glasses, curling your lashes will stop them from brushing up against your lenses. I hate that.

So. If you want crazy long Telenovela lashes but your natural ones are short, or thin, or really straight, buy a really good pair of fake eyelashes. Mascara is only going to enhance what you already have, not drastically change it.

So! Mascara is one of the things that you don’t have to spend a tonne of money on to get a good product. The one that I like the best in the bargain category is Maybelline Full N Soft.

fullnsoftThe last time I was travelling & forgot to take any, I picked up a tube of this at a Walgreens and it was just like I remembered from college. It comes in your basic colours but I only ever buy it in black, and the brush is big and puffy.

A lot of people want a lot of things from their mascara. This is a good all-rounder. It’s dark right away, stays on well and takes multiple coats without getting gross looking. It doesn’t go on clumpy, dries fairly quickly and seldom makes you look like you have spiderlegs for lashes. Plus it’s under $7.

It does have some cons, though. “Drying fairly quickly” doesn’t mean “immediately,” so if you blink while it’s still wet you’ll end up with little black blobs on your face. The waterproof version doesn’t seem any more waterproof than the normal kind, but does seem to have a weird smell. I hate weird smells. It also wears a bit unevenly. It stays on just fine on my top lashes, but after a day’s wear the bottom lashes have almost no product left on them.

So if you need a mascara for under $10, this is the one to choose. It’s not perfect, but it’s quality. You can buy it here, or basically anywhere else.

Now we’re going to get into the products that I use, and the ones I recommend most often. Yes, productS plural. You’ll see why in a second.

This is MAC Plushlash. I use this on my top lashes. Pricewise it’s a middleweight–$16–but even the really expensive ones I’ve tried haven’t been as good. A $32 mascara is not twice as amazing as a $16 one–it’s basically the same. Diorshow & Lancome, you overrated bastards, I’m looking at YOU.

plushlashThis mascara has the best brush. It’s big and fat, but the tip is quite thin which lets you get the little lashes in the corner of your eyes. One coat of this is like two coats of any other product I’ve tried, which is awesome if you’re a multiple-layer girl or if you want to just do one swipe and run out the door. It dries really fast; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten blinkmarks on my face from sneezing or something before it dried. It isn’t gunky or flaky. And it stays on all day.

As for cons, you need to clean the brush on occasion or else your lashes will start looking a little spidery. Wipe it with a dry tissue and it’s fine. A lot of reviews I’ve read talk about this mascara “curling” your lashes–I have long but very straight eyelashes and it doesn’t curl them at all, so I call wishful thinking on that one. It’s also not waterproof, so if you’re having an allergy day or a sad movie date, this isn’t what you want to wear.

I also use another MAC product, Splashproof Lash, on my bottom lashes. I love this guy, but for a very different reason than his partner above.

splashprooflash

I know what you’re probably thinking: Two separate mascaras? WHY?

Well, because I need these two products to do very different things. My top lashes I want to look long and thick and luscious, so I use a product with a thick formula and chubby brush. For my lower lashes, I want a product that will stay PUT. And “Splashlash” as I’ve abbreviated it, STAYS FUCKING PUT. It doesn’t rub of, smear off or migrate south and make my dark circles look even darker. It just makes me look like I have impossibly long, naturally dark lower lashes.

I am so serious. This has staying power. I’ve worn it to the beach, to pools, to Lake Michigan, in the shower, while having sex, while having sex IN the shower, onstage, while suffering with a cold, at weddings in outrageous heat–it will not melt off. The skinny brush and thinner formula makes it a more “natural” looking mascara than the Plushlash, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And there is no better waterproof mascara on the market, period.

However. That staying power is also a con, because it’s hard to take off. You really need a gentle oil-based remover, and even then you may need to rub. Honestly I don’t wear this on my top lashes all that often for this exact reason, and also because I have a heavy hand with mascara which makes it exponentially harder to get off. So that’s partially my problem, not Splashlash’s.

Anyway, here’s proof that the system works. Here’s what my peepers look like without mascara (and what my face looks like without any makeup at all because I forgot to take pictures until ten o’clock at night):

lashes1

Fine, but not all that impressive. You can hardly tell that I have any eyelashes, let alone that they are super long and pretty.

This is with two coats of Plushlash on top and one of Splashlash on the bottom:

lashes2

BAM. This is why it’s my magic product.

In conclusion, mascara is a product that is sold based on magical thinking and outright lies, but I love it anyway. Maybelline Full n Soft is the best mascara under $10, MAC Plushlash is Best In Show and MAC Splashproof Lash is the best waterproof. You shouldn’t waste your money on anything more expensive than those two products, because after the $16 mark mascara is just diminishing returns.

And maybe in the future we’ll talk about eyelash curlers and combs and all THAT fun stuff! What do you think? Do you have a mascara I should try? Am I totally crazy for hating on “lengthening fibers”? Do you have OPINIONS? Let me know here or on Twitter!

lovesyou

Introducing…No BS Beauty! (Episode 1: LIQUID EYELINER)

YOU GUYS. It has come to my attention via certain ladyblogs that there’s a lot of Stuff floating around about makeup, specifically: Why You Need To Buy These (Probably Really Expensive) Products.

The method for delivering this message seems to vary. Sometimes a cosmetics company partners with a specific blogger, and suddenly all you’re reading is how amazing everything from this brand is. Sometimes beauty writers will straight up regurgitate product advertising, framing it as editorial. To me, that’s the worst. There’s no shame in wanting free stuff, but there IS shame in using your platform (whatever it is) to lie to your readers in order to GET free stuff.

So here’s what’s going to happen. Every week I’m going to talk about some cosmetic stuff that I’ve tried and really like, or stuff that I’ve tried and isn’t worth the money. I’ve bought all of it with my own dollaz and am not taking one single tiny cent from any company in any way to talk about their wares. IF THAT CHANGES, I WILL TELL YOU STRAIGHT UP WITH WORDS (but I’m pretty sure it won’t change, because I like being able to write whatever I want here. I am beholden to no-one!).

I am really picky about cosmetics. I want them to do what they say they’re going to do without fucking around or lie-telling. I want them not to have any weird smells, or dry out my skin/make it break out/give me a rash. I don’t want sticky or greasy or cakey. I don’t think that’s a lot to expect. I also don’t want to waste time and money on products that don’t meet my standards, and I don’t want YOU to do that either! So I will tell you the truth about everything I try and together we will have awesome faces.

So I’m calling this No BS Beauty, starring me as your very own non-lying beauty editor! Let’s get to talking about MAKEUP.

Liquid eyeliner isn’t something I use every day anymore–ain’t nobody got time for that–but a fabulous cat-eye is absolutely part of my “look.” So of course one of the things my friends ask me about the most is what kind of liquid eyeliner is the best.

Now, many of you will say “Well, it depends on what you’re looking for, blah blah blah,” but you are wrong. There is only one answer to this question, and that answer is Lorac Front of the Line PRO.

loracpic

BUT FIRST, let’s talk about the Big Man On Campus: Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Liner. This is apparently the liquid liner to beat.

Simply put, NO.

More longly put, I have tried this liner and it’s not worth it (on it’s own merits, not just in comparison with the Lorac). I have no idea why people like this so much. To begin with, you have to buy a brush that costs more than the eyeliner itself, which then gets stained by the gel and cannot be used for anything else no matter how much you clean it. Then you have to fiddle around with getting the right amount of product and freehanding your liner, which sucks if you’re doing anything other than jamming the brush into the base of your lashes. I am a freehand liner expert, and getting my favourite cateye was a challenge with this setup, even for me. It takes ages to dry & claims to be longwear but isn’t; it washes off pretty easily with water, or if you sweat a little and rub your eyes.

So basically, Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner: REJECTED.

bbgeleyeliner

Now that this is out of the way, let’s talk about why exactly the Lorac is so great.

lorac

I’ve tried this liner in both black and charcoal (grey) and it is GLORIOUS. It’s a thin silver pen with a cap that doesn’t fall off in your makeup bag. The silver metal body is easy to hold. The applicator is a long, delicate, marker-style brush that makes it easy to do a delicate fine line close to the lash OR thick Winehouse-style wings. Whatever you want!

You can see an example of what I’m talking about in the first two pictures below:

loraccollage

I’m a sucker for a good applicator, but the formula is where this liner really shines. It dries immediately, so it won’t end up all over your eyelid if you blink. It’s a little shiny, but not overly so, and it’s not shimmery or glittery. The black is also super, mega, absolutely black with one application, so you won’t ever have to go over it (and over it) to make it darker like you have to with a lot of liners (Penultimate Liner by Mac, I AM LOOKING AT YOU).

It’s also waterproof, as you can see in the pictures above. The last photo was taken after running my hand under warm water for 30 seconds, then rubbing it with my thumb for another 30 seconds straight (I timed it). As you can see, it’s faded a little but hasn’t smudged, run or vanished.

I’ve worn this liner while working out, and after an hour of sweating and wiping my face, it still looked like I’d just put it on. I’ve also worn it onstage at a show where I was dancing under hot lights, then to a club where my friends and I danced until 5am. It stayed put. Observe; these pictures were taken at 2am & 5am respectively.

linercollage

Also pictured: Purple hair, Charles, Lorelei & sweaty bangs.

So obviously, you need eye makeup removed to take this stuff off–but again, this is where the formula delivers perfection. I just use the L’oreal stuff in the blue bottle (ie: nothing special), and with very little rubbing, it’s gone. I don’t have to scour my face to remove it, nor is my undereye area tinted grey with the ghosts of eyeliner past.

I’ve also recommended this liner to two of my fussiest, most perfection-oriented friends. Cait and Emily are just as obsessed with beauty products as I am, especially eyeliner which is a crucial part of our respective looks. Both of them absolutely RAVED about this liner. I’m pretty sure that if it turned out Lorac was grinding up fairies and kittens to make it, we’d all do mental backflips to justify our continued use of it.

The cons: Minimal, but they exist. This liner is kind of pricey. $23 bucks is quite a bit to spend on eyeliner, even if it is The Most Magical Liner In The World. Also, I’ve found that sometimes the packaging is marked incorrectly. The first time I bought it, I picked up the box that said “black” but the pen inside was the charcoal. Be sure to open it up and make sure you’ve got the right shade.

In conclusion: Lorac Front of the Line PRO is the greatest liquid liner in the entire world, and you should absolutely spend your money on it. ACCEPTED. You can buy it here or at Sephora.

loracaccepted

Have you used this liner? Do you have another favourite? Do you have OPINIONS about Bobbi Brown’s stuff? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

lovesyou

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: An ethical guide to casual banging

fafiirina(Picture: Fafi!)

So yesterday, the New York Times got all upset about how OkCupid means that dating is over. OVER, you hear? Pour yourself a glass of wine, resign yourself to dying alone and being eaten by your nineteen cats, single people! There’s no hope for you!

Apparently it’s all the fault of “hookup culture.” Because being okay with sometimes having casual sex means that you have no idea how to say “Hey, would you like to go to dinner this Friday?” and then make conversation over some spaghetti. That’s all dating is; talking to and getting to know someone. Millenials are absolutely capable of doing that. The fact that they aren’t doing that as much as some people would like does not necessarily mean that young people are trapped in a sea of meaningless sex and can’t escape to Proper Relationship Island.

What’s more, I am so sick of the media painting casual sex as this horrible, soul-destroying experience that will turn your sons into flaky sex pigs and your daughters into consumptive French prostitutes. Because you know something? Casual sexual relationships can be really awesome and fun! Yeah, I said it. I have been there and done that, and three cheers for hooking up!

Let’s get this out of the way: Casual sexual relationships aren’t everyone’s thing. That’s totally fine. But there’s also nothing shameful, degrading or wrong about them. Consenting adults having fun naked times together is awesome–as long as you treat the other person properly. And this, I think, is the problem that a lot of people experience with “hookup” relationships: they don’t know how to behave or treat each other. Are you friends? Nodding acquaintances? Do you act couple-y? I know that I’ve struggled with this a lot in the past. There really aren’t many social scripts for interactions with people you occasionally bang!

UNTIL NOW.

Allow me to proudly present Alle’s Ethical Guide To Casual Banging. This is how I treat the people I see naked, and how I’d want them to treat me. It’s served me well so far. Consider this everything you need to know to prevent yourself from accidentally being a jerk, or allowing someone else to be a jerk to you. It’s all about being considerate and treating people right; about being ethical, if you will. So without further ado…

Address your own issues with sex and sexuality

(This part is gonna be reeeeeal heteronormative. Bear with me.)

Repeat after me: Women who have sex are not whores. Sex does not erode our “worth” because women are not antique coins. It does not mean we don’t have sufficient self-respect, or that we have issues, or that we’re desperate to hook a man. Sometimes it just means we want to get laid.

I am not just talking to men here. We ladies are sometimes very judgmental about other girls “being sluts” and that shit has GOT to STOP. If an adult woman wants to take a guy home for consensual banging, it’s her business. The only thing you should ever have to say about it is “Have fun, be safe.” That’s it! No talking shit, no drawing lines between “good girls” and “whores.” All that does is reinforce the belief that women who have sex are bad or damaged in some way, or that they are incapable of making decisions about their sexuality. Being judgmental about other women brings us all down.

Likewise, guys. If a woman is having sex with you, YOU are also having sex with HER. You don’t get to say things like “Oh man, what a giant whore, she banged me right away” afterwards as a means of depersonalising the situation. Because YOU ALSO banged her right away, and you don’t think YOU are a giant whore, do you? Get the double standard out of your head. Women are capable of making rational choices about sex. Deal with it.

Like the person/people you’re sleeping with

You should not dislike or feel contempt for the people you’re getting naked with. You don’t have to be truly madly deeply IN LOVE with them, but you must like them as a person. Casual sex doesn’t mean you get a free pass to hatefuck someone intolerable or someone you’re embarrassed by. All that will do is make you feel bad about yourself in the end.

Don’t put up with bullshit because the sex is good

Treat the other person/people you’re banging well, and expect they’ll treat you well in return. Don’t let them be a dickhead to you and justify it by saying “Well, the sex is good.” No sex is so good that it’s worth being treated poorly for. Period.

Be honest and upfront

Let the other person know what you want. This can be as simple as saying “Hey, can we keep this as a just sex thing? I’m not looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner” or as complicated as saying “I’m really enjoying getting to know you, but I’d like to keep this casual. You’re free to see other people, and I care about you. A serious boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever situation just isn’t what I’m looking for right now.”

If you know you’re not going to be monogamous, be clear about that. If that’s a dealbreaker for the other person–or if they only want to have sex within the confines of a serious relationship–then it’s a dealbreaker, and you go your separate ways.

Be honest about what you want (I)

Don’t lie to yourself. Look, it’s not 1893. You don’t have to get into a serious relationship with every person who sees your genitals. If you want to keep things casual with another consenting adult, it’s totally okay. You don’t have to do mental gymnastics to convince yourself that this person is your soulmate when what you’re really after is their sweet, sweet body.

Obviously relationships can change over time. But if you have to lie to yourself about the nature of what you’re doing right here, right now…it’s probably an indicator that you’re not REALLY okay with it. Soul-search accordingly.

Be honest about what you want (II)

What do you do if one day you end up having Special Feelings for your sex friend? Be an adult and tell them. Don’t keep it bottled up and hope it goes away, because that has never once worked in all of human history Having feelings is okay. Humans are humans and sometimes we get moony over people we see naked. Tale as old as time.

If you’re mature enough to have sex, you’re mature enough to talk about your feelings. Nobody can promise that the other person will return those feelings–but being honest and brave will produce much better results than being scared and silent.

Don’t lie to get what you want

A pox on people who lead others on with talk of a future that will never come and promises that will never be fulfilled. A plague on people who say “If I just don’t mention that I don’t want a relationship, it’s his/her own fault for assuming that I do.” Outright lie-telling and lie-telling by omission to get laid is a fucking blight on humanity, and it needs to be stopped. And the only way to stop it is by being a straightforward, non-manipulative person.

Look, I get the appeal of manipulation. You get something you want AND ALSO you get the thrill of being smarter than someone else. But why bother manipulating people (so much work!) when you could get the same result EASILY by being honest? If nothing else it’s working smarter, not harder.

Mostly, though, you shouldn’t do it because people don’t like to be lied to and manipulated. Not for any reason, but especially not so that someone else–probably someone they like–can have an orgasm. Getting naked and squishy with someone is an experience that always leaves one slightly vulnerable, and nobody should have that vulnerability exploited.

Establish and respect boundaries

Talk about what you want and what you don’t want. Talk about it WITH WORDS, FORMED BY YOUR MOUTH, SO THAT THE OTHER PERSON HEARS THEM. Do not go on auto-pilot and assume that the other person can read your mind, because they can’t. They never will. And expecting them to somehow intuit what you want sets up up for tears and bad times.

For example, how much emotional intimacy is too much or not enough? How often do you want to see each other? Are you looking for something in particular in the sack? What are your sexual boundaries? Are you both having safe sex (please say yes!) and when were you last tested for STDs? Will you be friends on social media? Do you tell your friends about each other? How much do you want to know about the other people they are seeing? This list can go on and on, because even casual relationships are complicated. It’s the human condition.

I know that establishing “ground rules” ahead of time seems really unsexy and awkward. And it is, a little, but ask yourself what’s worse: talking about stuff ahead of time, or freaking the fuck out because they’ve posted a picture of them kissing someone else on instagram, or finding out they’ve been banging a bunch of other people without protection?

Exactly.

Have fun

Seriously, this is the most important part. Sex is so much fun! Enjoy your body, enjoy the other person’s body, be respectful, be safe and have a blast.

And now I want to hear from you! Am I right? Am I wrong? Are you a fan of keeping it casual, or not so much? What’s your best ethical banging tip? Tell me in the comments or on twitter!

lovesyou

Resolutions

2013

In 1999, I was 15. Some of my friends and I celebrated the new millennium running back and forth from a hot tub to a cold pool, dancing to Love Shack, then climbing a hill to watch the first sunrise. It was one of the best New Year’s I’ve ever had. That year I made a resolution: “No more New Year’s resolutions,” and that was that for about ten years.

dom

But as I’ve gotten older, the truth is that I LIKE resolutions. A new year is a new page, one that has no mistakes in it yet; what better time to strive towards something you want, and make changes that you can be proud of?

Here’s what I’m going to be working on this year.

  • Be nicer to dudes. As I mentioned a little in my 2012 roundup, my relationship style could be described as “benign neglect” at best, and “regular neglect” if you were being totally honest. If you gave me a choice between “falling in love and being happy” or “not getting emotionally hurt,” I would pick “not getting hurt” every single time. I never expect anything to work out, so I look for reasons why it won’t and then run away as fast as I can. This is bullshit. I’m keeping people out and I’m punishing dudes who haven’t done anything wrong (except like me). So in 2013, I’m going to work on looking for reasons why things WILL work, and fighting my natural urge to run, and generally being less avoidant and guarded and weird. Not only will this make me easier to get to know, but I think I’ll also be happier.
  • Live less in my head. I love my mind. I am always safe in there. Nobody else can get in or know what I’m doing (probably imagining what Oliver looked like as a puppy). And that’s kind of the problem. I’d rather be in my head than anywhere else, but by it’s nature it is a solitary place. Gotta spend more time with actual people in the real world, not hide away in my brightly coloured bomb shelter.
  • Be less sarcastic. I mean, not MUCH less, but a little. Because as it is, people can’t tell when I’m being genuine and when I’m being a huge asshole. And it’s like…if I’m going to take time out of my day to be a jerk, I want everyone to know that I’m being a jerk. But mostly when I say something nice, I don’t want my nearest and dearest wondering if I’m mocking them.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. I’m not really an optimist or a pessimist; I’m a realist, but that in itself can be kind of depressing at times. But I mean, I get it. Life is hard, and there are a lot of circumstances in mine–like in most people’s, probably–that make me really wish that things were different. But instead of looking at what I don’t have, I’m going to work mush harder at being thankful for what I do. Like Spongebob says, “I’m thankful for the life I am livin’, who knows how long I will have it?” Spongebob is way existential, you guys.
  • Create more. I love this blog, and I love writing, and I need to make time to do more of it. I know I have the excuse that my life has a lot of moving parts and I’m always super-busy, but I need to have the outlet of doing what I love. Also, full disclosure: I meant to publish this last week and then I got distracted, so I am not exactly off to the best start.

I love the feeling of working towards something, especially when I suspect it’s going to make me happier. I don’t even mind that none of these things are going to be easy, just as long as they’re worth it.

Happy New Year, y’all! What are your resolutions? Tell me all about it in the comments or on Twitter.

lovesyou

The Year in Review: 2012

Time to look back on the Year That Was…and what a fucking year it was! Forget you, 2012. You are rubbish.

drowning3

I was much too far out all my life / and not waving but drowning.

1. What’s something you did in 2012 that you’d never done before?

I adopted/rehabilitated a dog, which is the most important/best thing I have ever done. I learned the ins and outs of the mental health system. I took a bash at actual journalism. Tabloids took a bash at me. I ombred my hair. I dyed my hair blonde. I dyed my hair purple. I went hiking a lot. I danced onstage at a concert. I learned to make bread! I got back into ballet. I taught a dog how to swim. I was financially responsible. I busted bad guys. I got a little bit famous. I started writing a book (and have made very little progress, sorry about that). I made helloalle.com a thing! I had some very minor surgery. I started commenting places. Mostly I became an adult. It was a very pressure-filled year.

2. Did you keep your new years resolutions, and will you make more?

Last year, I wrote: In 2012, I’d like to at least be ready for a relationship. I will continue working out (five days a week, I CAN DO IT!), I will settle myself in a new place and ready myself for adult life. I will be the best friend, daughter and Auntie Alle that I can. And I will put this year, and everything that’s happened, behind me. I’d also like to learn to play the ukulele which I bought in a fever-induced fugue state on Christmas night.

So how did I do? Well, a couple of times I THOUGHT I might be ready for a relationship-slash-was getting into one whether I really wanted to or not. But I really wasn’t ready, and I absolutely DID NOT want to get into one so everything crashed and burned around my ears. Which was actually okay. I wasn’t there yet.

I had secretly planned to move back to Perth in 2012, but family issues put a stop to that pretty quickly. At some point I realised that adult life was pushing in on me no matter where I lived or what I was doing, so I might as well just accept that & deal with it wherever I am.

I was a good friend, daughter and Auntie Alle. Not to mention all the other things I have to be. Victory on this front. I put 2011 behind me, only to realise that the worst, hardest stuff was actually still in front of me. And I didn’t learn how to play the ukulele because I didn’t have time. Balls. But I do work out five times a week, so yay to that.

In 2013, I’m resolving to fix my romantic relationship style, which could be described as “benign neglect” IF YOU WERE BEING GENEROUS. It turns out that throwing up lots of barriers may prevent you from getting hurt–this is absolutely my M.O.–but it also really hurts the other person, and all they want to do is get to know you. So I will practice being less avoidant and weird, and who knows, maybe it’ll make me happier!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Jen and James had the gorgeous, the fantastic, the handsome, the hilarious King William, aka: Wreck-It Will. He is THE MOST ADORABLE.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

One of my colleagues did. It was very sad.

5. Did anyone close to you get married?

My friend Natalie married her handsome man Peter. Mez got married. And a metric fucktonne of friends got engaged, so 2013 is shaping up to be a very busy wedding year.

6. How many countries did you visit?

Just this one!

7. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 11?

My own life that doesn’t revolve around totally taking care of other people who CAN but DON’T take care of themselves.

8. Is there a date from 2012 that will remain etched in your memory and why?

February 26th, the day I had my brother committed for the first time. And the March 13th, the day I brought my Oliver home.

9. What was your greatest success?

Helping catch a bad guy. It’s always a good feeling.

10. What was your greatest failure?

Basically everything to do with my family. I am trying so hard, but no matter what I do it’s never enough or the right thing.

11. Did you suffer serious illness or injury?

I had some nerve damage in my left arm, which was weird. But hopefully that’s going to get better now. I also broke a couple of toes, but that’s not exactly something I’m unfamiliar with.

Oliver, on the other hand, has had a VERY ENTERTAINING YEAR in illness or injury. He ate goose shit and made himself sick. He ate a bee, which stung the inside of his mouth. He stopped eating because he is a stubborn jerk. Generally, having a dog is like having a toddler who will never learn to talk.

12. What was your best purchase?

The best money that I spent this year has been on Oliver. Whether it was his adoption fee or vet bills, buying him nine million toys that he destroys within the hour or trying to find a food that he likes, all the dollars have been dollars well spent.

13. Whose behaviour should be celebrated?

Quite a few people reached out to me this year in the DEPTHS OF MY DESPAIR. The usual suspects were my rocks: Michael Davis, Bee, Char, Taters, Jamie, my godmother. But then some people I wasn’t SUPER close with came out of the woodwork to be there for me, and that was amazing too. Like my “big bruv” Stephen, who really lived up to the title this year. And like a totally different Steve–we’ve known each other since we were 16, but now I have seen his butt covered in frozen vegetables, so we’re obviously besties. You can never predict who is going to be there for you and how, but it’s always exactly what you needed.

14. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

My brother and my mother. As ever. As always, probably.

15. Where did most of your money go in 2012?

Prescription medication. Jesus Christ is that shit expensive, and it’s not even mine.

16. What did you get most excited about?

I got really excited/terrified about getting a dog. I was also excited about The Hobbit coming out…AND I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN IT YET. What is wrong with me?

17. What song will always remind you of 2012?

The Motto, by Drake, because YOLO. Also how can we go past the glory that is CALL ME MAYBE?

18. Compared to last year, are you…

Happier or sadder? Sadder. For real, who even knew shit could get this dreadful?

Thinner or fatter? I’m about five pounds thinner, generally, than I was in 2011. But right now I’m heaver because I ate ALL THE EVERYTHING over Christmas and I regret nothing.

Richer or poorer? Eh.

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Having fun with my friends. Actually, I would even settle for having NO fun with my friends, as long as I was WITH them.

20. Done less of?

Worrying. Yelling at people. Forcing pills down people’s mouths like you’d do to a badly behaved dog.

21. How will you spend Christmas?

I spent Christmas sick at home, watching Star Trek TNG on the couch and cuddling with Oliver. It was fantastic.

22. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?

Who even knows?

23. Did you fall in love this year?

I love my dog. That’s good enough.

24. Have any one night stands?

I am deleting this question for next year because I have never once answered it honestly. NEXT.

25. Best TV show?

Here’s where you all learn how much I honestly love tv.

Best new show: New Girl.
Best new show about dancing: DANCE ACADEMY (honorable mention: Bunheads).
Best new show that is terrible but has Vanessa Williams in it: 666 Park Avenue.
Best show that needs to COME BACK, ALREADY: Community.
Best everything, ever: Breaking Bad.
Best screaming fit: Mad Men, “Surprise! There’s an airplane here to see you!”
Best show that I watched all of and fell in love: Parks and Rec.
Best shows that are ending and will leave me totally heartbroken: 30 Rock, Fringe.
Best show starring Pacey: Fringe again.
Best show where I have no idea what’s even going on anymore: Pretty Little Liars.
Best hatewatch: Revolution.
Best WTF: Homeland, always and forever.
Best speeches: Friday Night Lights.

26. What was the best movie of 2012?

I saw a lot of movies this year, surprisingly. I really liked Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, Chronicle, Hunger Games, Brave, Magic Mike, Dark Knight Rises (Bane voices galore!) and Frankenweenie. I also saw a movie called Beginners, which was OMG SO GOOD. You absolutely must see it if you haven’t already, and not just because there’s a dog in it.

27. Best book you read?

Everyone freaked out over Gone Girl this year, and I liked it, but I got more out of my first yearly reading of Lord of the Rings. It really helped me through a very tough time.

28. Best music?

Taylor Swift, Red. Shut up.

29. Do you hate anyone that you didn’t hate at this time last year?

The best thing about my life now as opposed to when I was 24 is that I don’t hate anyone. It’s amazing. So freeing! I recommend you all try it.

30. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 28 and did absolutely nothing. Oliver chewed up a pair of socks. That’s about as good as it got.

31. One thing that would have made 2012 more satisfying?

Being an only child.

32. What did you want and get?

A fantastic friend and furry, four-legged companion.

33. What did you want and not get?

It does no good to dwell on this stuff.

34. What was your fashion concept in 2012?

Auntie Mame meets Holly Golightly; eccentric but streamlined.

35. What kept you sane?

Friends and dogs and the fact that Spongebob is always on TV somewhere.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election happened, and as always the buildup was crazy. But Obama won, which I’m happy about. Let’s keep moving forward.

37. Who do you miss?

Everyone, all the time.

38. Who is the best new person you met in 2012?

Everyone? No-one? I can hardly remember any new people this year, though obviously I must have met them.

EDIT: Nicole! The Agentourage! HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN.

39. Best news story of the year?

Higgs-boson. AWESOME.

40. What’s a valuable life lesson you learned this year?

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. Mostly the me.

41. One song lyric that sums up 2012?

From Fiona Apple…

And now I’m hot, too hot and oh
I don’t cry when I’m sad anymore, no no
Tears calcify in my tummy
Fears go inside the bottle
How can I ask anyone to love me
When all I do is beg to be left alone?

And that’s all she wrote. Happy 2013, everyone!

lovesyou

Wind It Up: Thanksgiving Gratitudes 2012

Today is Thanksgiving. It’s my favourite holiday, mostly because you can cook a lot of desserts and drink champagne and not have to worry if so-and-so likes the present you got them.

I also like it because it’s an actual date on the calendar that forces me to reflect on the good things in my life. And oh boy, is that sorely needed THIS year. This year hasn’t felt like anything other than a trudge down a muddy road in grey, foggy misery. You don’t know where you’re going, or even if you’re ever going to get there. It’s easy to get stuck on that, and I do a lot of the time. I forget to look at the good stuff in the world because all that’s in my immediate view is the bad. And that sucks!

So this is me being less of a miseryguts and counting my blessings. Beginning with this picture, which is both thematically appropriate and also a blessing to the entire world.

Amazing. But now I’m forced to wonder, ARE turkey fezzes cool?

  • The thing that I am most thankful for, this year and probably all the years to come, is Oliver. He is a tiny ball of sunshine wrapped up in a furry coat, and the ways in which he makes my life better are literally innumerable. He is so good for my brain. The day I brought him home from the shelter I had no idea how completely my life was going to change, or how I would change along with it. In addition to the unconditional love, cute face and constant affection, Oliver has cracked open my heart and shown me what was in there. It’s hard for me to make emotional connections, and sometimes I’ve wondered if maybe loving is just another thing that isn’t in my toolbox. Oliver has shown me that it is. I love him so much, and I can’t imagine my life without him.
  • I am thankful that I am a strong person. In calmer days I looked back on some of the more notable train wrecks of my life and thought “Man. I know all of this is probably building character, but how much character can one person possibly need?” The answer is, a lot. A lot more than I had, a lot more than I probably ever WILL have. Life really is hard! Everything that’s terrible makes you stronger and more resilient. I’m thankful that even when things are THE WORST, I know that I can count on my vast reserves of inner strength to get me through.
  • I am thankful for the results of this election, especially all the creepy “rape isn’t rape” dickbags getting thrown out on their asses. I am even more excited about marriage equality scoring decisive victories all over! The world is changing, and things like this make me feel like it’s changing for the better.
  • I am thankful for drugs like lithium and basically all the atypical antipsychotics. They help keep me sane, even though I don’t take them myself.
  • I am thankful that all of my friends and family on the east coast are safe after Hurricane Sandy. It was a white-knuckle couple of weeks as we waiting to hear if my cousin and her family were okay, and they are, even though their house was destroyed. I know that not everyone was as fortunate.
  • Now more than ever, I am thankful for technology. Thanks to skype and kik and facebook, I can keep up with the daily lives of my friends who live tens of thousands of miles away. Even though I’m not there physically to cuddle babies or go look at tiles for new houses, I still get to see videos of kids standing up for the first time and weigh in on decorative pillars. Distance is no thing anymore. I love living in the future.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful, astonishing support system. I have some awesome friends and family members. I know a lot of people say that they wouldn’t be where they are today were it not for the support of their loved ones, but honestly not only wouldn’t I be where I am, I don’t even know where I would be (only that it wouldn’t be good). I love you.
  • I am thankful for good tv, and not-so-good tv, and tv I’ve already seen and tv I’ll never see just on principle. Basically I love tv. It’s my medium of choice.
  • I am thankful for my health and my body, which does everything I ask it to and then some, PLUS it looks good in jeans.
  • I am thankful for a job that is both incredibly challenging and incredibly interesting. I am thankful for the people who look out for me and also for the ones who don’t, because both of those situations teach me those Valuable Life Lessons everyone is so keen on. I am thankful that I can support the people who depend on me and occasionally have a day off for some fun.
  • I am thankful for the new Taylor Swift album.
  • I am thankful for feminism, birth control and having rights over my own body.
  • I am thankful for sunny days and misty mornings.
  • I am thankful for long hikes outside with Oliver.
  • I am thankful that I can dance every day.
  • I am thankful for a million amazing opportunities.
  • I am thankful for this space to write in, and I am thankful for you for reading it.

What are you thankful for?

How To Survive The Holidays Without Burning Anything To The Ground

The holidays, they are upon us. Most people in these United States, me included, look upon this time of year with a mixture of excitement and dread. Excitement because there’s family and dessert and wine; dread because…well, basically the same reasons.

But holidays don’t have to be stress-filled nightmares. That’s what the rest of the year is for. Keeping that in mind, here are my best hints for how to survive this silliest of seasons without committing a felony.

  • Avoid the people who give you stress-headaches. I don’t know who these people are in your life. Aunt who makes comments about your weight? Cousin who extreme coupons? Super-conservative grandpa with halitosis? Mother who has one glass of wine and weeps about how you’ll never give her grandchildren? Whoever! I DO know how to deal with them, which is: say hi, hug, then go and find someone else to talk to.

    It’s that easy, and it works for any size of gathering. For example, my brother would give me a migraine a day if I let him, and our holidays usually involve family parties of six to twelve people. I spend no more quality time with him than on any other day of the year. If he tries to engage me with nastiness, I smile and walk off to find someone else to talk to, or something delicious to shove in my food-hole. I don’t have time for bullshit; these deviled eggs won’t eat themselves.

  • Say the magic words. If you find yourself pinned down by one of these people, extricate yourself by saying “Excuse me,” and leave to talk to someone else. Will they think you’re a little rude? Maybe! I can’t read these hypothetical people’s minds! But personally, I think that being “a little rude” is better than “being made to feel shitty about yourself, potentially for a long time after the encounter is over.” Take care of yourself, even when you’re in the midst of family. ESPECIALLY then, actually.
  • Find a hidey-hole. Mine is always the guest bathroom on the first floor (don’t tell anyone). But if there are just way too many people and it weirds you out, or if stuff gets too intense–like it did the year I said that college football coaches probably shouldn’t get paid more than the President of the United States, apparently a controversial opinion–I run in there and just hang out for ten minutes. It helps. Sometimes all one needs to deal with lots of people or coordinated shouting is some alone time.
  • Don’t get too drunk. Sometimes the only way to make people tolerable is to drink about them. But you can drink about them without getting blackout wasted, and this is what I recommend. When you’re a little drunk, you can think “Man, Mean Aunt Agatha’s fake eyelashes are halfway falling off her face, aren’t they?” and we amused by it. When you’re TOO drunk, you’ll say something about it and possibly start World War Three. Plus, we are all getting older. Hangovers are not as easy to deal with as they used to be.
  • Wear something that makes you happy. This is the time of year that magazines and blogs start trying to sell you HOLIDAY DRESSES TO HIDE YOUR HIDEOUS MISSHAPEN BODY! And it’s like, sigh, we are all just brains in hermetically sealed fleshbags; why do we constantly have to be made to feel shitty about how our particular fleshbag is horrible? Oh right, because creating insecurity sells.
    Basically, fuck all that noise that tells you your ____ is too big/not big enough, or your ____ is flabby. Don’t feel obligated to buy a hideously unflattering outfit covered in cheap gold sequins because some editor called it “Festive.” Wear a dress or a suit or jeans that make you feel like a million bucks, and to hell with anyone who says it’s not “Dressing for your body type” or “Makes you look wide” (that last one courtesy of my own mother, four years ago). As cheesy as it is, the holidays are a time to be thankful. Hopefully you have a body that is healthy and strong, and that does all the things you need it to do. Big deal if one of those things isn’t “Looking like a Victoria’s Secret model in a bandage dress.”
  • Go into it with the right attitude. Do you know how often I’ve gotten in a fight when I was actively looking for one? One hundred percent of the time. It didn’t have to be over anything especially important, although sometimes it was–mostly what mattered was the attitude I brought to the table.You can’t go into any holiday, no matter how you celebrate it, by spoiling for an argument. Or you can, but I bet you one million dollars you won’t be pleasantly surprised by how nice of a time you have. If you look for a shitshow you’ll find one, and I’m pretty sure you can think of a better way to spend your time than by screaming about politics. That is not a fun way to reflect on all the good things in your life!

And that’s that! Don’t you feel less likely to commit a homicide now? I know I do!

In all seriousness, every single one of us has something to be grateful for–not just this time of year, but all the time. At the very least: You are reading this, so that means you have access to the internet. When I was a kid I used to daydream about a magic room that had every book ever written in it, so I could learn anything, anytime. Now we have that, and OH MY GOD THERE ARE CAT VIDEOS IN THE ROOM TOO. And every friend I’ve ever made, even if they live far away from me. And there’s music. And there are new friends to make. And movies to watch. We live in the future, people! And it’s fucking fantastic! At the very least, even if life is shit, that is something to be thankful for.

What else are you thankful for?

Things to make and do: Braid Crown!

A few weeks ago, I went to the Renegade Craft Fair and posted this picture of my hair to Instagram.

And lo, the heavens did open up with THAT IS SO COOL and HOW DID YOU DO IT. Nobody would believe me that this style is actually super easy, so I’ve decided to force you to believe it.

OKAY. Braid crowns–or Heidi braids, they have a lot of names–are AWESOME. They’re good for the dickhead days of summer when you’re too sweaty to do another ponytail, or in the fall when your scalp hurts from one too many fashion topknots. Braid crowns can be fancy or casual, and once you know how to do them you can fuck around with the details as much as you want. Fishtail braid crown? Awesome! Teased and braided crown? Go for it! But for now we’ll keep it basic, and this is what you’ll need:

1. Hairspray. It was rainy out when I did this so I should have gone for something with more hold, but oh well.
2. Two small hairties. I like the clear ones, but whatever floats your boat.
3. Bobby pins. The thickness and length of your hair will determine how many/what size of these you need.

Not pictured: nosy dog who kept trying to eat the hairties. You really don’t need one of those.

Let’s talk raw materials. This is how long my hair is.

Your hair doesn’t have to be boob length (and you also don’t have to make this face). It’ll work on any length of hair past the shoulders. There is a limit for how long it can be to work, and honestly my hair is probably right at that limit now, but if you’re sneaky with the braiding there are workarounds.

Now. Let’s prep.

a. Brush your hair. I’m not happy about this because brushing my hair makes it fluffy. If your hair is curly and you want to see that in the braid, skip this and move on to…
b. Part your hair loosely down the middle starting at the crown and going all the way to your back hairline, so that…
c. Your hair is now in two equal sections. How perfectly equal the part is will depend on how obsessed with straight lines you are.

Then you want to deal with flyaways. Just give any rogue baby curls around your ears or the nape of your neck a quick blast of hairspray and then comb them into the rest of the hair.

This ultimately proves fruitless for me 98% of the time, but I wanted to show you how to do it in case your hair is more obedient.

Next we start the braids. I assume you already know how to plait, but if not, please go find the nearest five year old girl obsessed with ponies and get her to teach you, I guarantee she will be delighted.

Split the first half into three equal sections and braid loosely. Make sure that the top of the braid is really tight and that the back is also tight and smooth. You don’t want big lumps later.

Secure the bottom (heh) with one of your little ties, and then do it all over again on the other side.

Bonus points for haughty 50’s model bitchface.

Anyway, you should end up with two perfect plaits and a selection of cartoon stars about your head.*

* = not required.

A programming note: The flat front of the braid should face out sideways, like it’s pointing away from your ears. It should not be twisted so that the flat part faces forward like Wednesday Addams. This is because we want the pretty braid part to be visible when we pin it over our heads, so think out, not forward.

Woohoo! You’re like halfway done! Now all you have to do is grab, flip and pin which is exactly what it sounds like.

Grab your braid. Flip it across your head, making sure to keep one hand at the base to make sure there aren’t any lumps (lumps are your enemy). Finally, grab your bobby pins and start pinning it to your head. Start from the center and work back to your ear, putting a pin every couple of inches (alternating from the back to the front so that the braid is pinned on both sides) until it’s secure.

IMPORTANT FOR GIRLS WHO WEAR GLASSES: Don’t put too many pins near your ears! The arms of your glasses will press on them and you will get the mother of all headaches. Measure two fingers above the tip of your ear, and that is seriously as close as bobby pins should get.

Trust me on this.

Now you do the other side. Second verse, same as the first: grab, flip, pin. The second braid always goes behind the first, so make sure they are really close together. When you pin this time, you’ll only be pinning the back side of the braid because the other side is lying right next to braid #1.

Now grab the ends and tuck them under the chubby body of the opposite braid. Pin ’em under.

And you’re basically done. Now shake your head like crazy to make sure everything is really secure.

If you need more pins, add em. Then spray it with the hairspray, just to keep everything in place…

And VOILA! Braid crown! Mug for the camera!

I like my crown to be a little messy, which is good because my hair is disobedient and I don’t have much choice. If you want yours sleeker, you can pin in the little escaping ends or use hairspray on each section of hair before you braid.

And that’s all she wrote. Go forth and wear your crown!

Bonus: a picture of Oliver, “helping” with some pictures. Do you know how scary it is to think your dog has eaten a plastic hairtie? EXTREMELY.