FAQs about NYC


Hi everyone! So as many of you know, since last I wrote, I’ve gotten a new job and moved to New York. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what’s going on, personally and professionally, and what this means for me/you/my dog/etc, so today I’m gonna answer some of them! And the crowd goes wild, I imagine!


How is New York?
It’s brilliant. Busy, exciting, gorgeous, cold (I mean, by New York standards), amazing. I love it here, and I’m so happy. The water is great and my skin has never been prettier, though my hair took longer to get used to it (this has since gotten under control). I feel like my life has actually, properly begun. Now if only I had time to unpack my apartment…

Where are you living?

How is Oliver adjusting?
Oliver had a rough few days when we got here. This wasn’t just a massive upheaval for my life; everything changed in his life, too! Luckily, with the help of Jasmine and Katja from Rufflife, he was able to get back onto a schedule and he’s now much happier. He likes our neighbourhood a lot, but he’s not so sure about bodega cats.

He’s also all about the big, low windows and the wide windowsills.


How are YOU adjusting?

It’s definitely tricky, going from working from home to going to an office every day. Luckily I work with amazing people, so I like it! The biggest challenge for me personally has been figuring out creative ways to deal with my dyslexia, which gets tricky when my attention is split–for example–between articles I’m editing and the muzak in the background. So far the best thing to do has been to listen to white noise on headphones literally eight hours a day, but if anyone has suggestions, let me know.

Other than that, life’s been great. I like New York, and even at it’s MTA-worst, the subway is better than anything we have in Chicago. Google Maps stops me from getting lost too often. And I have great friends around me to make things easier, which really helps.

So what even happened with this job?
I took a few meetings with SheKnows and the wonderful team at Daily Makeover, we liked each other and they offered me a job! It was all very fast, but in a way that was good because I didn’t have time to freak out about moving.

Do you work with Sable?
I do! We sit diagonally from one another, we go to events together, we hang out socially–sometimes we see one another seven days out of a week. It’s great.

What does a senior beauty editor do?
A lot of things! I write, I help direct and hone pitches from other writers, I edit for style, voice and clarity, I help guide our very talented writing staff. I attend events as a representative of my site. I go to meetings. I work with our Beauty Director and EIC. I make changes to things–you’ll see what I mean soon! I supervise features shoots. I have ideas. I play with lipstick. I learn about analytics. I try to keep the site organised and growing. It’s a huge job, but it’s also awesome.

Why isn’t your work for Daily Makeover the same as your work for xoVain?
Many reasons–it’s a different publication with a different audience, it has a different house style, I’m a senior level editor and not a contributor, etc. I’m very proud of the work I did for Vain, but it was time for me to move on to new challenges and experiences. I wrote a post about it here and don’t really have anything else to add, save that I’m very happy with where I am and what I’m doing. And as someone who has always gone out of her way to be kind and respectful to her readers and community, I’d hope that they’d do the same thing for me (SHE SAID, POINTEDLY).

Behind the scenes of an article I shot with Sable.


Will you still be writing for (insert other publication here)?
Nope. Even if I could, I don’t have the time.

Will you be making more videos?
I will be doing a lot of cool new things in the future! Get excited!

Will you be writing here more?
I am going to try. Cross my sparkly heart.

What’s the best thing about New York?
Everything. Especially the pizza.

What’s the weirdest thing about New York?
Realising that I actually AM here, doing the thing I’ve been dreaming of for two solid years. I went to an event and sat next to a lovely person from Vogue recently, and instead of breaking out in Impostor Syndrome, I was like I belong here. It’s amazing, and I can’t believe that I have so many of the things I want.

Also: online dating. Man, is that a trip.

Do you miss Chicago?
I miss my friends, but that’s it.


And that’s it! If you have other questions, here are all the many ways that you can contact me to ask them. Please keep everything respectful; I’m a bit burned out on internet hostility.

No BS Beauty! Episode 5: RED LIPS SINK SHIPS


This weeks question–which I have totally misplaced, by the way–is from Farrah, who wants to know about red lipstick. Her question was, if memory serves, about a few things:

  • How can I pull off red lipstick?
  • Can I wear it during the day?
  • Is lipliner still a thing? Do I need it all the time?
  • I want to do a dramatic Old Hollywood look, but I don’t know how.

I am the right person to ask about this stuff, because I have always and forever been a red lipstick kind of girl. For example, yours truly at 20, having nothing on her agenda except going to class:


My look at the time could not be described as has low maintenance. I probably spent forty minutes putting my face on, only to spend all day sitting in a lecture hall, taking notes. I could have used that time for sleeping. College students, take note!

Anyway. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been around the red lipstick block.

Red is easier to pull off that a lot of people realise. Before I talk about gloss vs matte, I’m going to talk about finding the right shade of red for you. This is also a lot easier than most people realise.

First things first: When figuring out what colour ANYTHING looks best on you, wear the right stuff. Wear a light or neutral coloured shirt and minimal, basic makeup. This is your prepared, blank canvas that will give you the best idea of how the product will look in your real life.

And I’m not saying you HAVE to wear a gigantic Mongolian lamb vest…but it doesn’t hurt.


You may also notice that I’ve cut my hair and dyed it a bit darker. I feel like a new woman!

For me, basic makeup is concealer (MAC Mineralise, YSL Touche Eclat for under my eyes), blush (NARS Desire), eyeshadow to fill in my eyebrows (Sable, by Studio Graphics I think?), grey eyeliner under my eyes and mascara (both discussed here). Your mileage may vary. DO YOU.

Obviously, red is never just RED the way black is black or white is white. Though red is a primary colour, other colours go into making the different shades–which is how you get this, this, this and this–and they’re all still red. When it comes to choosing a lipstick, the dimensions you’re going to want to consider are warm vs cool and dark vs bright. These may have technical names, but I have no idea what they are, so whatever.

Warm reds are red lipsticks that have a lot of yellow or orange in them. If you go to a makeup counter, you’ll probably hear them described as “true red,” “tomato red” or “brick red.” Cool reds–these are my jam–have more blue or purple in them. These might be described as “natural red” or “raspberry red” but I always call them the pinky-reds, ’cause that’s what they are.

I don’t think there are particular skintones or hair colours that look best in warm vs cool reds, because there are too many variables for that. So no shortcuts: you just have to try both and see which one you like the best.

How dark or bright is another factor to consider. Do your want your red deeper, like a crimson, or brighter, like a poppy?


That’s MAC Red on the left and So Scarlet (discontinued) on the right–two cool toned reds, one bright and one dark. Totally different.

So now you know what colour red you like. Now let’s talk about attitude.

The trick to pulling off red lips is confidence. It’s a bold look, and you have to be bold YOURSELF to carry it off. Luckily, confidence isn’t hard to fake–just tell yourself how fantastic you look and go about your business like nothing is different on your face. A lot of people tell me they think other people will think they look stupid with a bright lip. In general, people don’t really spend much time thinking about others because they’re too busy thinking about themselves, so don’t worry. Nobody will throw rotten fruit at you on the street because you did something different.

That said, there are a lot of ways to ease your way into a red lip. The first is with a red gloss.

My favourite red gloss is Starlit by Smashbox. You get really great colour without having to go as heavy as lipstick, and you get some shimmer but not like you ate a mouthful of glitter. This particular red is warmer (more yellow) than I usually wear, but it looks so good that I don’t even care.


Because this is a gloss, it’s going to come off pretty quickly. That’s the price you pay for shine. Though you’ll need a mirror to reapply, it’s got a wand applicator and is basically unfuckupable. This particular gloss really earned a place in my heart for not being too sticky or having a gross smell or taste. CRUCIAL.

If you’re nervous about looking “too much” for daytime but still want to look like you’re wearing makeup, I’d recommend a red gloss like this one. It’s light, reapplication is easy, it doesn’t get on your teeth, you don’t have to think about it too much.

And now let’s talk about the big guns.

My favourite red lipsticks–and now I’m talking actual lipstick, the kind of things you think about when someone says the word–are two from Mac and one from Dior. They all have pretty decent wear and decent shine, but because they are high pigment they come off on literally everything. Don’t kiss anyone unless you want to leave evidence behind, is all I’m saying, and check your teeth frequently.


MAC red has been my go-to for years. So Scarlet was discontinued a few years ago, which is a mega bummer, so look for any deep reds described as having a burgundy base to copy it. Fireworks (sorry, there’s an ‘s’ on the end there) is a replacement for my deeply beloved Flamenco Red, which Dior also discontinued and was my ultimate forever favourite. Fireworks is lightweight, shiny and lasts well–it feels almost like a gloss, but looks like a lipstick. Plus it doesn’t smell, which is AMAZING in my book. (Still, RIP Flamenco Red)

Now a word about lipliner: Don’t wear it with a gloss. You don’t have to. If you’re wearing a thicker, more colour-heavy lipstick like the three above, you will need it. Putting on lipstick straight from the tube is not really an exact science and it can look really messy if you aren’t careful. I know a lot of people tell you to do the liner FIRST, but I always apply the lipstick first, THEN neaten up the borders with my liner. You don’t need a seperate liner for each shade of stick, either. I only have four colours of lipliner, all of them from the drugstore, and that’s basically all I need: A bright red, a dark red/burgundy, a bright coral/pink and a colour pretty close to my natural lipcolour. If you get a selection similar, they will serve you well.

If you don’t want to mess around with liner and lipstick, and you want something that is going to stay on your mouth for ages, why not combine the two into one? And why not make it the closest thing possible to a universally flattering red? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to NARS Dragon Girl.


It has the best name in history. It comes in a chubby pencil and it’s really easy to use. It stays on forever and doesn’t dry out your lips (even though it’s a very matte finish and sometimes that’s the price you have to pay). This colour looks good on so many skin tones and hair colours, it’s insane. It also doesn’t kiss off all that easily, which my boyfriend appreciates. And it is my absolute favourite ever ever EVER.

Because it’s so bright and so matte, I usually save this for nighttime outings. But it also looks spectacular on the beach, with a plain white tshirt, while walking your dog, etc. The sky is the limit when you’re a Dragon Girl.

I also wanted to write about lip stains and how there’s only one awesome kind, but the one I wanted to write about got stolen a few weeks ago and I haven’t gotten around to replacing it yet. ANOTHER TIME.

As for a glamourous Old Hollywood Look, I’d pair a bright red lip (Dragon Girl or MAC red) with some cateye liner (review the technique here), and either loosely wave my hair, Veronica Lake style, or pull it back and tease it into a big ol’ beehive. If I was feeling more Silent Movie Vixen, I’d use the deep red (So Scarlet) on my lips, then do a super smoky eye by smudging some black eyeshadow into my lashline (top and bottom). I’d straighen my hair and wear lots of long, ropelike necklaces.

And it would be fabulous.

Do you guys do the red lips thing on the regular? What are your favourite reds? Should I bring back the spiky black bob? Tell me everything in the comments or on Twitter.


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.

On dog adoption

I’m writing this post because a lot of people have messaged me one way or another about shelters and dog adoption. The biggest thing that I want you to take away from this is that YES, YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY ADOPT A DOG FROM A SHELTER. It is probably one of the best things you will ever do.

The second thing I want you to take away from this is that my experience isn’t universal. Every dog-owner pair will adjust to one another differently, depending on about a million things.

And the third thing I want you to take away from this is everything else.

The first picture I took of Oliver.

I decided to adopt a dog when everything else in my life had fallen down around my ears. I mean that very literally. I felt more out of my depth than I’d ever felt before. I was isolated and worried and scared out of my mind.

So it made perfect sense to throw another variable into the mix.

Oliver–or as he was known at the shelter, Spike–had been brought in a month before. He’d been thrown out of a moving car and thankfully picked up by one of the employees. He wasn’t fixed, had a paw injury and an eye infection and had probably never been to see a vet in his life. He was barely two years old.

When I met him at the shelter, he walked into the room, looked at me, and then totally ignored me while he sniffed every inch of the floor. We didn’t immediately recognise something inherent in the other. We didn’t immediately fall in love. But I liked his independence, his huge radar-dish ears and alert foxlike face. The adoption counselor told me that he didn’t warm up to everyone immediately; you’d have to work for it. I liked that, too.

The paperwork went through and Spike, now named Oliver, came home with me the next Tuesday. That day I learned a few other things about him that nobody had told me. He wasn’t housebroken, for one thing. He had no house manners and didn’t know basic commands, nor how to walk nicely on a leash. He was food aggressive and nipped people. He was terrified of his crate. He wouldn’t walk on grass. He’d get hysterical around other dogs. His skin was dry and flaky under the fur. He wouldn’t get so much as a toe wet. It was clear he’d been abused and neglected by whoever had owned him before.

Hell of a list, right? Correct! But every single dog in the world–even purebred puppies from breeders–has a list just like it. If you want a pet that fits right into your life with no issue right from the word go, get a fish. But if it walks on four legs and has fur, there’s going to be an adjustment process. Moreso if said four-legged fuzzbucket has dealt with trauma, because then you’re not just training; you’re rehabilitating.

You’re also taking pictures of goofy faces.

Training is a process that never ends. This is true no matter where your dog comes from and no matter how old they are when you get them. Your dog has to learn how to get along with you, and YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO GET ALONG WITH YOUR DOG. Compromises in some areas must be made! For example: Oliver eats underwear. I can’t stop him from doing this, so I don’t leave underwear where he can get it. Ta dah!

Here’s another: Oliver is a short guy. When I work at the dining table he can only see my feet, which annoys him, which makes him get all growly and crazy. You know what stops this? Sitting him on his own chair at the table so that he can see me. Then, since he’s no longer anxious that I’ll disappear through the ceiling, he curls up and goes to sleep. Compromise.

You may think I am kidding. I am not.

But as I’m telling you to compromise, you also have to know when to hold the line. Dogs are creatures of routine and habit. They don’t like uncertainty or novelty; they do like firm limits and simple cause-effect transactions. This is true for any dog no matter where they come from, but it’s especially important for dogs coming from a rescue situation: rules and boundaries and a strong, loving master make them feel safe. Feeling safe and secure is the #1 thing you have to provide, because a secure dog is happy, and a happy dog is one more likely to do what you tell him or her.

This is hard to do sometimes. It was hard for me. I was scared for a while that Oliver would think I was mean because all I was doing was saying NO and STOP like a broken record. But then I realised, dogs don’t look at things the way humans do. He isn’t going to hate me because I won’t let him bark at gardeners, he’s going to learn that it’s a behaviour that I, the boss, do not allow.

When it comes to sorting out behaviour problems, start with the worst, most potentially damaging ones and work your way down to the annoying but minor ones. For me, the number one MUST FIX issue was housetraining, because obviously you don’t want your dog using your entire house as a toilet. I put Oliver on a strict going outside schedule, and he picked it up quickly. Like, within a day quickly. Your mileage may vary.

Walking was much harder because it involved more crazy-triggers. Other dogs, squirrels, trucks, strollers…almost everything made Oliver totally flip out. Plus he’d yank my arm out of the socket and drag me everywhere, wouldn’t respond to commands, would chase things, etc. Some of this was breed-related (high prey drive) but still, it was awful. I started to hate walking him because he was so uncontrollable.

The terrier in him means he is on HIGH ALERT all the time.

I know I talk a lot about The Gentle Lead, but this thing honestly did save me. The first time I put it on Oliver, he was a different dog. Because he couldn’t pull against it, he wasn’t aggressively posturing at other dogs, which meant they were nicer to him, which meant he was nicer to THEM. Bye bye, scary dog aggression. Also bye bye pulling, dragging and sudden stops. He very quickly–and by that I mean “within two days”–learned how to walk next to me and how to listen to my commands. Things I hadn’t been able to teach him in WEEKS with a collar or harness lead. It felt like a miracle.

It’s been six months since I brought Oliver home, and in that time he’s fallen in love with his vet, learned to love his crate, learned a bunch of basic commands (and some not-so-basic ones like “HIGH FIVE!”), made friends with other dogs, gotten used to being alone for periods of time, cuddles of his own volition, tolerates baths and learned how to swim. When I think about the progress he’s made I want to explode with pride. He’s a happy, healthy, well-adjusted boy and you can see that in every wag of his tail and flick of his giant ears.

I had no idea what I was doing when Oliver came home. I’ve never had a dog before, let alone one that needed so much care. But I figured it out, and you will too. And I know this sounds lame, but he gives me so much love every single day that I feel like my input was nothing compared to what I get back.

Right now he’s sprawled out next to me, head resting on my knee. It makes me so angry to think that somewhere out there there’s a person who threw this little guy away like he was garbage, when all he wanted was someone to be kind to him. If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, know that it’s not always easy. But oh my god, is it ever worth it.

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life (in the first week of June)

End of the week! Finally!

Getting shit done. This week I had some crazy-ass deadlines, including one for a story that turned out to be very hard to write. The research I’d done bummed me out so hard that I couldn’t bring myself to put it all together. But I did. And I’m really, really pleased with the way it’s turned out. No spoilers on the subject, but you’ll be able to read it next week!

Blue Steel. The cutest baby in the whole world, King William, is now four months old and serving up some serious Zoolander realness.

As I said to Bee (also pictured and also gorgeous), I am gonna cuddle him SO HARD.

Beautiful weather. I grew up in the Australian desert, and I’m always really happy when the temperature starts nudging ninety. The humidity I could do without, but alas, it is the price we pay in Chicago. I’ve been living in my “just leaving dance rehearsal” summer outfit for the last week: dark grey jorts, a too-big tank top and a bright sports bra, and I couldn’t be happier.

True Blood. It’s back, and I’m really optimistic after last season’s suckfest (no pun intended). Wondertwin and I are such perves, we’ve been sending each other pictures of shirtless Alcide for weeks now. We can’t help it. Boy is FIIIIIINE.

Plus he’s in that Magic Mike movie as a character called Big Dick Richie. So, uh…yeah, I’m going to have to see that.

Bread. For some ungodly reason, I woke up this week and decided to learn how to bake bread. Yeah, I don’t know either. Anyway, after getting frustrated at the internet, and I suppose at bread itself for being so fucking hard to make, Melissa sent me a recipe for refrigerator bread. It’s like 90% easier than even the simplest other recipe I found, and I am determined to make it. I’ll report back on Monday.

Red Mango. Fuck you, Pinkberry. You don’t have exploding liquid Mango balls.

Heh…balls. (I never said I was mature)

Big decisions. So if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I’ve got some Important Life Choices to make. A lot of the time I’m not super-psyched about change, as ‘change’ basically means ‘the unknown’ which is scary. But, I don’t know, I’m kind of excited about it! I get to make pro/con lists, for one thing. That’s pretty good news.

Flowerstagram. This tag is my jam, yo. I am all about flowers!

If you’re down for a lot of colour, you can follow me on Instagram: helloalle.

Writing, writing, writing: All year I’ve told myself that I have to write more fiction, and I’ve finally started. It’s awesome and recharging in a whole different way! I have an entire book planned out in my head, and seeing it on paper is an awesome feeling…but I suspect it’s going to be even more awesome-feeling when it’s done. Who knows, maybe somebody else will even want to read it? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

And now, the Week In Oliver: Little Sweet Potato has not been loving the hot weather, although I probably wouldn’t either if I were always wearing a black fur coat. He’s also been trying to get very involved in work, and by that I mean “trying to prevent me from doing any.” This generally means stealing my chair when I work at my dining table, or flopping across my lap so that I can’t use my laptop if I’m sitting on my bed.

Hmm…why can’t I get into my iTunes? I’m gonna have to take this in to the Apple store.

Right now he’s sitting at the foot of my bed, protecting me from a spider he saw on the wall last night. Best dog ever.

And that’s the week! What’s been making you happy in the last seven days? Tell me all about it in the comments, or drop me a line on Twitter.

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life (in the last-ish week of May)

It’s the end of a beautiful week, weather-wise, but I am feeling extremely sorry for myself so it may as well be storming. But there’s no better way to cheer myself up than with a happy list! Isn’t that what these are for?

Spending time with my best friends. Working long hours and being constantly stressed makes it feel like having a social life is totally impossible. At the end of the week, I’m tired and worn down and I just want to flop on my bed with my dog and watch tv. But this week I made some serious time to get together with Charlotte and Lorelei and catch up. It was so fantastic, and it’s reminded me of how much strength I draw from my friends.

Street art. Wander around Wicker Park for ten minutes and your eyeballs are spoiled by all the awesome stuff to look at. A couple favourites:

Birthday! Birthday! May 19th was my Mama’s birthday! We all went out for martinis and way too much delicious Italian food, and then had icecream cake for dessert.

Dairy Queen, man. It’s the best. I’d kill a man for the frozen whipped cream alone.

Material Girl #1. I ordered this awesome bracelet last week and basically could not wait for it to arrive. It’s a silver engraved cuff from House of Harlow (I KNOW, I was surprised too) with two curving claws and OH OH OH. I love it so much.

The best part about it is that even though it’s heavy and the metal is thick, you can still shape the cuff. I like to wear bracelets midway up my forearm–I HATE when they bang around my wrist–and so being able to custom fit it is amazing.

Material Girl #2. Apparently I’m the only one calling bandage dresses “slut dresses”? I mention this because when I got excited and told everybody that I got a really great slut dress, they were universally confused. Here is a picture so you can decide for yourselves; please pay no attention to the mess going on behind me.

Although this dress is great and fits like a dream, I really need to complain about vanity sizing for a minute because this shit is out of CONTROL. I know what my measurements are, and I am fine with them. Designers and stores don’t need to lie to me about what dress size I wear. This dress that I am wearing, for example, is a size zero. And okay I’m thin and I’m tall, but ON NO PLANET am I a legit size zero. I modeled; I know what that looks like. I think I speak for all women when I say GET SOME CONSISTENCY, PLEASE. All we want is to pick up a dress in a size we know will fit us, rather than having to consult a fucking oracle to discover what random number should be on the clothing we want to buy. Thanks!

Liquid luck. I was out looking for a good makeup primer (which I found) when I saw this…

I bought it without really knowing what it’s for, because it looks like a really chic vial of Felix Felicis. I’m pretty sure that when I put this on my face (as a highlighter, maybe?) I will win ALL the Quiddich matches!

Summer neons. It’s no surprise to anyone that I love me some superbright nail polish. I wear it year round, but the especially awesome colours come out in the summertime. Essie, who seriously makes most of my favourite polishes, has (mostly!) knocked it out of the park this season.

Lights is a neon fuschia. Camera is a super bright coral red-pink (I’m wearing it in the picture with the Felix Felicis). Action is a seriously, seriously bright yellow-orange. Bazooka is…fine. It’s a red-orange, not really anything special. But for real, get the first three. You’ll love them enough to rock them year round, I assure you.

Climbing trees. There are some things that you outgrow as you get older. Pigtails. Playing house. Dolls (I hope you outgrew dolls anyway, they are scary). But there’s one thing that I’ve never outgrown, and that is the desire to get as high up trees as possible. I’m a really good climber, which surprises a lot of people. They don’t know that it’s basically how I spent my entire childhood…and my teen years…

This tree wasn’t especially high–the branch I’m in is maybe seven feet off the ground?–but there weren’t any branches to hold onto, so I had to awkwardly pick my way up the trunk and hope I didn’t slip and knock out all my teeth. And speaking of things one probably should have grown out of, I got that tshirt all the way back in 1998 for a dance contest my school was entered in. Rock Eisteddfod, HAAAAAAY! Teenage dream steez!

All my shows are over. OH WAIT THIS DOESN’T MAKE ME HAPPY AT ALL. My only consolation during this difficult time is that Pretty Little Liars is coming back in like two weeks, and True Blood after that. And there’s still some Mad Men and Game of Thrones left. But ugh! Bereft! Mama needs her stories!

Guess who? Here is me trying to take a not-horrifying picture of myself…and here comes Oliver, who decides that it cannot POSSIBLY be a good picture without him.

And you know what? He wasn’t wrong. I love this little wiggle-butt.

So what’s been making you happy this week? Alternately, what’s made you want to hide under the covers and yell “LEAVE ME ALONE TO DIE”? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!

Wind It Up: A bunch of lists about the ONE BIG THING that I love (in the first week of May)

It’s Friday! Instead of doing a Ten Happy Things this week, I’m going to make some lists about the number one best thing in my entire life…Oliver.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a dog blog. Hopefully.

Things I call my dog other than his name:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Pupster
  • Wiggle butt
  • Mister Wiggles
  • Boo-boo
  • Handsome boy
  • Mister Handsome
  • Little face
  • Little feet
  • Big ears

Commands Oliver knows and percentage of time he obeys them (approximate):

  • STOP, 100%
  • SIT plus treat, 100%. Minus treat, or minus feigning treat: 50%
  • COME, 80%
  • STAY, 80%. If I am leaving the room, 30%
  • QUIET (non-verbal), 75%. For longer than ten seconds, 30%
  • BED (non-verbal), 90% at night, 20% if I’m leaving the house during the day (panic ensues)
  • UP (on bed or couch, etc), 100% before 8pm. After 8pm, 0% (must be picked up & carried)
  • OUT, 90%. If raining, 0%
  • HIGH FIVE, 100%

Things I do with Oliver that I swore I’d never do to a pet:

  • Use silly voices to talk to him.
  • Alternately, talk to him like he’s a college professor.
  • Make up songs about him (including one where he’s a pirate).
  • Buy clothes for him (including a raincoat, because he hates getting wet SO MUCH).
  • Kiss him on the face, but not on the mouth because that’s gross.

Things my dog will eat, surprisingly:

  • Plain greek yogurt (prescribed for an upset stomach, now LOVES it).
  • Romaine lettuce.
  • Heartworm medication.
  • Goose shit.
  • Raspberries.
  • Scrambled eggs.
  • Pasta noodles.

Things my dog will not TOUCH, no way no how don’t even think about it:

  • Raw chicken.
  • Raw meat of any kind, actually.
  • Spinach.
  • Anything flavoured with peanut butter.
  • Bacon, or anything bacon-flavoured.

Things I have learned about dogs since having one that nobody ever tells you about:

  • There’s a reason people take their dogs to groomers.
  • Dogs have gross habits and no sense of self-preservation.
  • Squeaky toys get annoying after about three hours.
  • Dogs imitate other dogs. ie: the other day, Oliver tried to Beagle-howl. It was adorably misguided.
  • Training isn’t just for the dog, it’s for the owner too.
  • Training is more than “don’t chew my shoes.” SO MUCH MORE.
  • Dogs don’t just bark. They have a very big vocabulary, even mostly silent pups like Oliver.
  • They can also scream and hiccup. The latter is adorable.
  • No matter what medicine you use, your dog WILL get the occasional tick.
  • Ticks are DISGUSTING.
  • Cats aren’t the only animals that stare at nothing and freak out at it.
  • Cats also aren’t the only ritual-obsessed animals in the domestic kingdom.
  • Dogs would rather make a nest out of the tshirt you wore than sleep on their memory foam bed.
  • You will learn so much patience.
  • You will have sleepless nights.
  • It’s totally awesome.

They also don’t have any concept of personal space.

Oliver is so great. Why I haven’t had a dog all along, I’ll never know.

Happy weekend! Am I the only person who gets really psyched for May? It just feels like summer is right around the corner, you know? It’s the best.

Wind It Up: ONE BIG thing that I love about life (in the last week of March and for always)

I know that my Friday list usually has ten things in it, but honestly? There’s one thing that is truly so awesome that it blows away everything else. And here he is:

Meet Oliver Blackwell, Esq. He’s a two year old Minpin/terrier mix who I adopted last Tuesday. He’s twelve pounds of black and tan kisses and cuddles, as long as you aren’t a squirrel or look like you want to hurt me. In which case, he’s the most ferocious guard dog. With gigantic ears.

Oliver’s story is a sad one. He was thrown out of a moving car onto a busy street by his previous owners. Luckily, someone saw it happen and stopped their car to pick him up. He wasn’t hurt, but it was clear to the shelter that he’d been neglected and abused for a long time.

I’ve never had a dog, and although I was set on adopting an animal from a shelter, part of me was a little worried. I didn’t know if he’d have behavioural problems from being mistreated. I didn’t know if he’d like me, or if I’d bond with him. I didn’t know if I’d be able to teach him how to behave. So I spun my wheels and stressed out and made some lists.

Turns out that my worries were baseless, as they almost always are.

Oliver cuddles his favourite stuffingless toy. This is the only soft toy that has lasted longer than 20 minutes; highly recommended for the discerningly destructive terrier.

He is the best. I know most people say that about their animals, but I really mean it. Within the first day, he was housebroken. Within two days, he was crate trained. I’m still working on the whole “walking politely on a leash without freaking out over squirrels” thing, but hey, some stuff takes time. Every day he learns new commands, sometimes without me even explicitly teaching him. I’m constantly amazed.

The silliest thing of all was that I worried he wouldn’t like me. He put THAT to rest within twenty minutes. Oliver’s prime directive is “Never let Alle out of your sight, not even for a second” and now I see why people name their dogs Shadow. If I’m working, he’s laying next to me. If I get up for a glass of water, he follows me to the kitchen. If I’m having a shower, he’s outside guarding the bathroom. Yesterday I was working out and he pushed opened the door–I, mid-plank–and was SO HAPPY TO SEE ME AFTER TWENTY MINUTES that he headbutted me.

Headbutts aside, he’s sweet, he’s loving and he makes my life better in so many ways. But, you may be asking, is he also hilarious? OHO YES.

I honestly didn’t realise dogs slept so much or in such weird positions. The things you learn.

Sometimes I get really angry at whoever threw this little guy away like a piece of garbage. How could anyone be so horrible? All that Oliver wants is a soft blanket to cuddle in, a person to follow around and the occasional treat. But at the same time, I’m so happy that he’s here with me. I love him so much, and I know I’m going to give him the best life imaginable.

But I still hope the people who hurt him get anal prolapse because fuck them, seriously.

There are far better advocates for animal adoption than me, but I’m sharing this story with you guys in the hopes that if you ever do want to get a dog or a cat or whatever, you’ll look at a shelter first. Not only will you get a great friend–and Oliver is a GREAT friend–but you’re giving an animal a shot at a good life.

The first night I had Oliver, he wouldn’t sleep in his crate. He slept pressed up against my chest, waking up with a start every few minutes to make sure I was still there. As I write this, he’s the definition of content; sprawled out at the end of my bed, dreaming twitchy little dog dreams. I’m happy because I know he’s happy. There’s precious little of that to be had lately, so I’m taking it where I can get it.

Wind It Up: Ten things I love about life in the third week of January

To say that last week was nuts would be an understatement. To say that THIS week was nuts would be an even BIGGER understatement. You can have everything under control, and then BAM, you’re trying to schedule a photoshoot on a day’s notice. Life is so wacky and wonderful, and I’m trying really hard to go with the flow. But oh man.

Anyway. I missed it last week, but I’m not missing it this week. It’s time to get happy!

  • I’m a STAAAAR, I’m on TOP! If you live in Western Australia, get your hands on this weekend’s Sunday Times. There’s a big feature about yours truly in the STM, talking all about my awesome ex-pat life. Marvel at my ability to lean against walls in weather-inappropriate dresses and string sentences together!

    Ten million thankyous to Emily Austria and Isaiah Tweed, my creative team, who came out on a freezing balls day to take pictures of me and tell me to brush my hair. They are champions beyond reckoning. Now, SOME-BO-DY BRING ME SOME HAAAAAAAM!

  • For a relaxing time… I don’t have a lot of time to myself, and sometimes that catches up to me. Yesterday I overslept by three hours, somehow managing to ignore both my alarms and four increasingly hysterical phone calls. I wasn’t mad at myself, I was mostly impressed. But it is a reminder that I haven’t yet evolved past my need for sleep, and taking care of myself is just as important as getting things done.
  • What, were you raised by wolves? This comic by Vera Bee is amazing.
    You should definitely read it (or not really, it has no words) if you have five minutes.
  • Weirdo magnet. It’s long been an established fact that, when left alone, I attract wackadoo loony people. This week I was hit on by someone who, though seeming normal, claimed to have met six species of alien, travelled through wormholes, could disprove evolution and was able to do calculus in his sleep. Amazing, right? He was cute, but not cute enough for me to overlook his tenuous grasp on both reality and science. Another hilarious story for the vault.
  • Iris Apfel for MAC.
    As well as being a boss bitch of the first order, Iris’ MAC makeup collection is totally awesome. I’m really loving the neon-bright lipsticks, especially Party Parrot & Pink Pigeon.
  • Fleece-lined tights. YOU GUYS, these are my ultimate cold weather secret weapon. They’re like wearing a delicious warm fuzzy blanket on your legs at all times. Utterly magical. The only problem is that they only seem to come in basic colours like black and navy blue. Snore. Hey, We Love Colors, are you paying attention? UNTAPPED MARKET!
  • ALL CAPS. Sometimes you just have to write in them. The occasional email that says “WHAT THE CRAP I CAN’T EVEN” is fun to send, and very therapeutic. Bonus points if you really mash the keyboard when you type.
  • FINALLY! Can you say RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 4?
    I feel like I’ve been waiting A MILLION YEARS for this show to come back, and on January 30th, all my dreams come true. When the cast was announced, I definitely started freaking out because Miss DiDa Ritz is a friend of mine. If the rest of the queens are half as beautiful and talented as DiDa, it’s going to be a hell of a season. START YOUR ENGINES.
  • Happy birthday, Michael Davis. It’s my favourite person’s birthday today, and although I would like nothing better than to bring him birthday orange juice, he is Home and I am here. But still, it’s a day of celebration because I honestly don’t know what I’d do if he hadn’t been born. Happy birthday, Watson. This is for you, again:

  • Sherlock, OH GOD. Okay, full disclosure: This did not, strictly speaking, make me happy. This entire season, my friends and I have been looking at each other and saying “Reichenbach is coming” like someone from Winterfell who’s really, really obsessed with TV. The Reichenbach Fall, which aired on Sunday, made me cry so hard that I got a headache. I am not a crier; half the time I’m not even sure that I have normal emotions. But this made me have feelings. All of them. At once.
    Just thinking about it makes me want to slowly collapse in a heap. Traumatising.
    It was a wonderful episode, both of the show itself and of TV in general. I’ve been a fan of Holmes and Watson since I was very young, and I didn’t think I could like the characters any more than I already did. The fact that I’ve gotten more invested in them through this show (rather than cross at all the things wrong, cough RDJ, cough) is the mark of great, rather than merely good, TV. I’m not even mad that we have to wait a year for season 3, because Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be in The Hobbit AND Star Trek 2. Be still, my extremely nerdy beating heart!
    And then excuse me while I swoon my head off.

And that’s been my week. I can’t believe how much has happened and how much has changed in just seven days. Who knows what’s going to happen in the next seven? Maybe this time next week I’ll we writing from Buckingham Palace where I’m drinking gin with the Queen! THERE’S NO WAY TO KNOW!

Halloween 2011: The Halloweeniest!

Happy slightly belated Halloween, everyone! I hope you had an altogether ooky Halloweekend. I did; In fact, I’m pretty sure that 2011 goes down in history as the BEST HALLOWEEN EVER. And guess what? I have photographic proof!

It’s been a long-ass time since I’ve been Out. Most of this is because I’m terribly busy and important, but also because as a result of my busy and important life, I’m kind of too scared to leave the house sometimes? Anyway. Charlotte and I made plans to do something, in public, for Halloween weekend. And so I pulled on my big girl pants (which are apparently bright green skinny jeans, FYI) and away we went.

And not that I’m bragging…okay, I’m bragging. Our costumes were kiiiiiind of amazing.

I was Hipster Ariel, and…

…Charlotte was Hipster Ursula.
(Oreo was dressed as Sebastian for a minute.)

We looked REALLY good.

Here’s Lorelei doing Tom’s makeup at Greg’s apartment. Debonair’s 5-year anniversary called for a special show and so spandex bodysuits were purchased and a supergroup was formed.

Here’s Greg, who we were calling Gestapo Dad around this time last year, looking very scary with his skeleton face on. He actually got scarier later, but it had nothing to do with his makeup.

As she was skulifying Greg’s face, Lorelei said “I wish we had some wine. White wine. Wouldn’t that be perfect?” And LO AND BEHOLD, A HALLOWEEN MIRACLE.

She asked the universe for it, and it appeared. The Secret is real!
(Also my glasses in combination with the wig and the headband were giving me a murderous headache. I was finding that drinking made it hurt less, which probably should have been a warning.)

Hard lovin’, straight thuggin’.

And then we went to Debonair to finish show preparation and eat pizza.

And Elias told us stories about his VD guardian angel.

So as you can see, the dudes were wearing spandex skeleton suits. This meant that up close, one could see a lot of wang outline. This was totally hilarious, of course, because it’s not often you get to see your friend’s dicks. Greg’s package was especially visible for some reason and he kept threatening us with it. I realise that sounds weird, but it was actually really fucking funny.

Lor made Chadwick look like Ian Curtis. The final effect was super eerie, she did a fantastic job.

And then it was showtime.

Char made groupie signs for us to hold up. Greg’s banana boner is still getting picked on (no it’s-kind-of-a-reach-pun intended).

My friends are such babes.

Even when we’re doing things like this…


And this.
To be fair, we were drinking mimosas out of pint glasses by this point. As I mentioned, I found that booze made the tension headache from my costume go away. Not to mention the yawning emotional abyss threatening to open up inside me, inside us all, at any given moment. So…Hooray for bottle service!

Pizza and Dead Gaddafi. Totally amazing costumes.

Did I mention the drinks? Because they were instrumental in things starting to happen.

Things like me photobombing an otherwise cute picture of Crystal.

Things like Charlotte trying to undress Lorelei.

Things like Mike stealing sunglasses from dead dictators.

Things like me shakin’ mah wig so hard that I lost my headband.

And also things like kidnapping a complete stranger and making him hang out with us for the rest of the night. Sorry Dave! We want to be your friends, but not in a Stockholm Syndrome-type way!

Also, do you know one of the reasons I love Lorelei so much?

Because she will always, always dance with me. Even at Flatiron, which isn’t really a dancey bar. She also picks me up when I lose my balance on my tall shoes and fall on my ass.

Mat wore Crystal’s pizza hat. And then told me that I had ladyhands, which was both lovely and confusing.

Anyway, long story short, we closed down two bars and then went to Greg’s place for the after-afterparty. It was fantastic; we had our kidnapped boy, some Taylor Swift and most importantly…

We had pizza cooked for us BY pizza that was wearing a pizza hat.
Tell me that isn’t the best thing you’ve ever seen. I bet you can’t.

After that, we obviously couldn’t improve on the evening so we went home. And also it was 6am. Because AWESOME, that’s why!

The next day, we spent a full 24 hours lying on couches, eating caramel apples and watching Halloween movies. It was pretty much the best way to deal with a hangover that may have actually been a very lingering drunk EVER.

We’re all REALLY over caramel apples now, by the way.

I also decided to be a total creep and take sneaky pictures of Char and Lorelei, then send them as picture messages with captions like “I’m watching you!” Because ugh, I’m a treat I guess? Then we all started texting each other, even though we were right there, because…oh god, I don’t even know. It was the apples. The apples made us do it!

Look at all that sugar. TELL ME that wouldn’t make you loopy.

So, do I even have to say it? This was the best Halloween ever. Even when we were standing in the back room of a bar with pizza ovens behind us (pizza was really a motif of the night, now that I think about it) and dirty mopwater to the right, I couldn’t have been any happier. Because I was out with my best friends, having a blast and wearing a wig.

What more can you ask for, right? Damn right.