home about youtube links contact
"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Diamonds and Dames Does: Kate Nesbitt

I am enjoying blogging again...both reading and writing them. It's sort of a 'back to basics' thing that I can't help but embrace in the light of all the mayhem on Instagram and Facebook these days. I mean, is it just me, or are people getting to be especially sensitive and quick to offend? Enough about that though...

Last week, I posted a 'pre-haircut' video, showcasing a hair tutorial that I received a request for all the way back in 2009!! Can you all believe how long my channel has been going? (Speaking of the haircut, I still need to do a blog entry about that too!)

Anyway, this installment of Diamonds and Dames was dedicated to the lovely platinum locks of Rachel McAdams in 2007's Married Life. The style is one I've wanted to do for a while but in playing around with it, I discovered that I really didn't enjoy the look of it when I set my hair in a heated option. Something about that side curl was laying too flat or something. So I chose instead to make it a 2nd day style, using the remains of a foam roller set that had initially been quite a tight curl.

A little about the movie:

Married Life (2007)

The story involves a love triangle between Harry Allen (Chris Cooper), Richard Langley (Pierce Brosnan), and Kay Nesbitt (Rachel McAdams) and is modeled after 1940's film noir in the setting, the styling, and the way it plays out. Harry is a gentle man in a loveless marriage, who can't help but be swept away by the stunning Kay. Rather than subject his wife, Pat (played by Patricia Clarkson), to a humiliating divorce, he begins to toy with the idea of murdering her instead, and confesses his plans to his friend Richard in hopes of obtaining some worldly advice. Richard seeks out Kay to confirm whether or not she might actually be worth such a sacrifice and ends up falling for her himself, which of course leads to even more conspiring and plotting. For all intents and purposes, the movie mostly succeeds, mainly due to the professionalism of its cast and the general look of the piece. The direction by Ira Sachs lacks passion, but remains poised and interesting. I saw this years ago on television and honestly remember very little about it, other than McAdams' exquisite loveliness. Therefore, by way of review, I'd say that is a very pretty movie, if not especially memorable. Cooper and Clarkson are always standout, in almost everything they grace, but I do recall being pleasantly surprised by McAdams and how easily she slipped into this traditionally stoic sort of femme fatale, when compared to the very modernized 1940's girl she played in The Notebook.

My Rating: 6/10

The Tutorial:

For this episode of Diamonds and Dames, I decided to take a little different approach by recreating the style in a more traditional 1940's way. The film being modern, a heated set seems to have been used in the hairstyles Rachel McAdams sports, much like her styles in The Notebook. Her hair was a platinum blonde for this one though , and naturally the curl seems to be more pronounced. If you didn't know, Platinum hair is supremely easy to style since the lightening process makes it more malleable.

The style I enjoyed the most, in the picture, was the one Kay sports in the diner/bar/whatever-sort-of-establishment-that-was when she meets up with Richard. The sides are swept back into simple pin curls (not really full victory rolls), and the top is simply styled.

I also really enjoyed the simple waves of the following look:

Therefore, the style I created in my tutorial is based on both and would be considered an 'asymmetrical' style of the 1940's. While hot rollers were probably used for the hair in the movie, and could undoubtedly be used for this one as well, I actually created my look with 2nd day foam roller set. The foam roller setting can be seen in my last Pin Up hairstyle for Youtube, inspired by Gil Elvgren. To preserve the curls from this pretty tight set, simply wrap them in a hair net at night and sleep gently. Or, if you're a tossy-turny type of person and you tend to sweat at night, wrap the dry curls up into large pin curls and then cover them up with a net or scarf before bed. In the morning you'll have a softer, wavier version of your initial set, even if you have stick straight and fine hair like me!

For this look, the technique is fairly basic and can be seen clearly in the tutorial. Of note would be the slightly different way of constructing the side pin curl since our natural tendency is to part the hair farther back and form a full victory roll. For this look, only a slim section is used, and the pin curl is placed over the TOP of the smoothed side hair, which creates a very different aesthetic.

Three cheers for Rachel's hair stylist for the film, FRANCESCA PARIS.

Enjoy the video, and let me know, as always, if you have any additional questions Dearies!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Things to Love About Memphis

Sometimes, when I say I live in Memphis, I get an admiring and fascinated look. Usually this comes from folks overseas who have an affinity for soul, for Elvis, and for history. For those who live in the States, especially the neighboring southern states, the reaction is entirely different. Memphis has a reputation, admittedly founded in some truth, for being a violent city, a city of unrest, a city of poverty and lots of petty crime. The last time I checked, on the City Data website, the crime rate was as high or higher than almost any other US city. Many are bent on getting out of the city, opting instead for the outer edges which are considered 'safer', such as Collierville, Cordova, and Germantown.

I am not one of those people. Living in Midtown Memphis has spoiled me for those generic outer-edge towns, and I'll admit to being something of a snob about it.

Yes, I have children and some people feel that I am crazy for conscientiously choosing to raise my family in a city like this one. But along with some great vintage photos of my hometown, obtained mostly from the wonderful 'I Love Memphis' blog, I thought I'd give you a few reasons that I love the city where I was born, and to which I returned after years of small-town living in Middle Tennessee.


In Midtown and Downtown Memphis, history is largely respected and preserved. There is a resurgence in restoring buildings and landmarks to their original splendor and keeping development in its place. Gentrification has its drawbacks, and these are roundly and understandably debated by those who are affected, but when it comes to appreciation of the past, most Memphians (a term that auto-correct is insisting doesn't exist) are in agreement. Midtown is known for it's gorgeous historical district and there are scads of businesses and residences that have remained largely the same since Hector was a Pup, that is, for generations. Street signs are allowed to deteriorate but not fall apart, signage is left in its peeling, faded state...but usually cleaned and maintained. Some of the reflective glass is still visible in the oldest buildings, which still boast intricate Art Deco design. The trees are enormous, and sometimes dangerous in storms, but respected for their age and allowed to grow old gracefully. They stand surrounded by beautiful flowering children in the form of crepe myrtles and lilac trees, some of which barely reach the knees of their stately elders. New construction exists, but must meet strict guidelines that will keep with the flow of the surrounding historical buildings. It gives me such a kick to be able to send my kids to a school that doesn't blend in with the low-lying, windowless cement buildings that are common in the rest of the country. Give me a mossy wall and peeling paint any old day.


I admit to sometimes be puzzled by the lack of attendance at local shows, when it comes to touring acts. But that said, the city is militantly defensive of its own musical history, of its contribution in that regard, and passionate about the local flavor. The summer's yearly concerts at the Shell, in Overton Park, are widely attended and local acts still get the warmest reception. Although I do hope that Memphis goes the way of Nashville and eventually gets its act together when it comes to supporting and promoting traveling bands, I have to concede to the fact that we will always embrace what is our own...sometimes to a fault. Museums for Stax and Sun Studios show only a taste of what we have to our credit. Graceland only skims the surface.


From the time I walk out my door to the time I come home in the evening, delicious smells fill the air. Generation after generation of local chefs continue to crank out barbecue, greens, fried chicken, and even organic vegan cuisine that rivals the best in the world. And the local smorgasbord is by no means limited to West Tennessee's classics, but also blended with cultures and flavors from all over the globe. Kwik Check deli, a local favorite, serves standard deli fare with a Korean twist. OSHI Burger, downtown's Asian Fusion diner, offers burgers and alcoholic milk shakes that rival anything I've ever tasted. La Michoacana is a Mexan owned and operated ice cream shop, boasting purely unique and fully decadent flavors that keep it bursting with patrons on almost every day of the week.

Local southern cooking is not to be overlooked, however. Payne's and Roxie's Grocery are located in parts of Memphis that most people would feel they need to avoid, but they'd be missing out on some of the best barbecue and burgers in town. Central Barbecue and The Rendezvous are world famous for a reason. The food trucks are becoming legendary as well, one of which specializes only in grilled cheese. Let's just say, there is something to be said for reputations.

Speaking of local favorites, I can't finish this entry without mentioning the breweries of Memphis as well. Memphis Made, Wiseacre, and others have made a name for themselves and rightly so. Some of my favorite beers were brewed here, crafted using local ingredients, contributing to the South with all its heart and soul in one of the best ways possible. But I'll admit to being biased...after all, that Memphis Artesian well water has to have some bearing on the taste.


In spite of its gritty notoriety, Memphis has held its own when it comes to the arts. Museums, art walks, art schools, centers for the performing arts, festivals dedicated to the creativity of its citizens...these are things that, not only exist, but abound. Coffee shops showcase the art of Memphis on their walls, murals are plentiful and encouraged. Film-Makers and performers don't just stop in our city as they move on to greater things; they call it their home, grow roots, and help it develop. Some of the best productions I've seen have been the local ones, even though Memphis also takes pride in it's grand theater, the Orpheum, and theater touring groups are warmly received.

All in all, I feel very proud to live here and to be exposing my children to what the city of my birth has to offer. They are not shielded from the negatives, and yes, there are negatives that require caution. But I can honestly say that my feelings about Memphis are definitely not simply based on a necessary adaptation to my surroundings. I am happy to help build it up in the minds of those who would tear it down and I will continue to call it my truest 'home'.

Home Sweet Home...and all that jive.