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"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


Monday, January 25, 2016

Pixie Grow Out- Six Months


As most of you know, last summer I decided to take the plunge and get myself a Pixie Haircut for the first time. It will probably be the last time since I am a gal who loves versatility. But I loved it and since my express purpose in getting it was to grow it out, I decided to chronicle the six months I had it, in pictures, for those of you who might like to try it but who feel that it's too big a step. It's really not, especially if, like me, you have fast-growing locks. For the heat of summer, it was absolutely perfect. And I loved all of the transitions along the way, that allowed for such a wide range of vintage looks.

So here was my hair on the day it was cut. A nice Audrey Hepburn length, that hugged my head nicely. My stylist, Robin Tucker, said my hair was pretty difficult to cut because I have some cowlicks and skull dents (yep, dents) that made it hard to get truly consistent overall. So make sure if you go for the pixie, that you have a renowned stylist. They will not typically be found at your local 'Great Clips' and they will likely cost a pretty penny. But believe me, you don't want so-so technicians giving you a drastic cut.


When I got home, I decided to give myself a little bit of wave with a flat iron. It was pretty hard to use anything but heated tools on my hair at this stage and I do hate that because my hair became much more damaged than I'm accustomed to over the course of the time it was this short.

Eventually I began to play around with styling it away from my face. A few weeks after the initial cut, the bang portion was long enough to sweep back into a single bobby pin and I enjoyed the sort of chic change.

By August, pin curls were more easily accomplished. I focused only on setting the top hair, using a flat iron or small curling iron to slightly curve the back. I showcased this style in a video, which was part one of my Pixie Grow Out series on Youtube.



Next, I featured a roller set, after a few more weeks had passed. The look is entirely different and ended up being a fun favorite as well. By this point, the hair over my ears was becoming something of a 'beginner bob'.


Around this time, I decided to go red again...possibly because the blonde hair at the length it was made me feel a bit like my mom. Not that I don't think she's beautiful; I just began to really miss my red hair. My first style with the red hair was pin curled waves.


I also began to play a little with a center part, as my bangs grew long enough to give this a go. I enjoyed it a lot, especially with a feminine hair flower. Keep in mind that as of this point, the only cutting that I'd allowed to my hair was a little trim to keep the nape hairs from becoming a bit too 'mullet-y'.


I decided to tackle the pin curl finger waves for a video at this point. The hair had grown quite a bit and I really prefer this look to a traditional water wave because straight hair tends to take to it better.


Headbands become a very handy accessory at this grow-out stage, as the bangs become too long to style without setting.


So that brings us to the bob. And I decided I missed my bangs so I went for that too. I really am enjoying the Louise Brooks thing going on here.



Anyway, that's a six month grow-out for you. It was surprisingly easy and a really fun challenge! I look forward to doing more videos for you as it continues to grow and please let me know if you have questions or concerns about taking the plunge yourself!!

xoxo,
Ashley


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Classic Cats

It's amazing how many great photos you can find of Old Hollywood fellas and their cats. I mean, seriously...google 'actors with cats' and you'll be shocked at the number of swoony photos there are of our favorite actors snuggling their favorite feline. Here are ten of the best...Oh, and by the way, notice how many seem to prefer the Siamese variety...must have been a trend at the time.

1. Stan Laurel


2. James Dean (I believe his kitty was named Marcus.)


3.James Mason (There is also another one where he's in bed snuggling an award and two white persian cats. It's highly decadent.)


4. Paul Newman


5. Anthony Perkins (although, cats on the table are forbidden in our house)




7. Marlon Brando


8. Clark Gable


9. Raymond Burr


10. Lawrence Olivier


and Cary Grant...


Oh well, they can't all be cat lovers....


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Temptation Tuesday: The Top 5 Items On My Winter (Vintage) Wishlist

Now that winter has officially set in, here in the Southern US, I find myself faced with the very real fact that I need some warm items. Although adding a pretty cardigan and a snazzy pair of tights to a summer ensemble sometimes works well to accommodate the season, lows in the sometimes-20's do require a little more thought. Below are the five items I've had on my wish list for some time, that I finally feel I need to make a concerted effort to obtain. The interesting thing about these items, is that although they're meant to be worn as an outer layer, they very much feel like an elegant ensemble. It's like you are sporting two outfits: one underneath, and one on top. And hey, let's face it, that's fun stuff.

So without further ado, here are the items at the top of my list:

1. A Princess Coat.

Princess coats are fitted and usually long. The 'skirt' of the coat can be either a-line or quite full. They work beautifully over full skirts and lots of layers, but they still nip in the waist, sort of like a belted trench without the belt. Although new ones can be obtained, I still find the best ones to be had are vintage. You can find them quite often in local vintage or thrift shops, and sometimes the fit might be off but an alteration would be well worth the expense. Many times, especially in warmer climates, they were in someone's attic, largely unused, and still in excellent condition. They're usually extraordinarily warm, made of wool, and lined. The lining can be replaced if it's in bad shape.

The coat below is currently available on Etsy, at a hefty price, but I'd wager you can find a similar one at your local shops or estate sales and the seller might not know what they have. I've seen them as low at 15.00!



2. Beautiful Mary-Poppins-ish Boots.

I detest Uggs. I profane of Frye. And I'm bored to tears with riding boots, possibly because I work at a department store where these are all the rage. That said, I surely wished I'd had a pair of boots yesterday when I had to walk in 30 degree temperatures through the streets of an impossibly windy downtown Memphis. And I remembered these from my list of a few years ago. They're discontinued I believe, but they are still available in some places. And this is the style I love to see with a vintage coat or trench. In my opinion, Miss L Fire still carries the prettiest boots, but similar styles can be found elsewhere. The style below is currently offered at a cut rate here.


3. A Plethora of Patterned Tights.

I collect tights, I guess you could say. I have virtually every solid color, thick black fishnets, nude fishnets, argyle, plaid, floral, and striped options. The ones I get the most compliments on are graphic florals. Usually a two toned, somewhat abstract floral pattern, is the most eye-catching. And they add some girth to thin legs so it's a win-win. Sock Dreams has some amazing offerings, so make sure to check them out. Also, department stores have sweater tights and regular microfiber ones at slashed rates after the 1st of January!


4. Felted Wool Hat.

I noticed that cloche style wool hats were on trend this year, in a big way. Make sure to check your local department store for sale items because these can keep your vintage style alive even on the coldest days. If you prefer more of a brimmed hat, Etsy has lots of great milliners who will be happy to oblige. This one stood out to me as a great style for long or bobbed hair particularly.


5. Pretty Gloves.

I have always been the one who gets those cheap-o one-size-fits-all dealios from Wal Mart, and immediately regrets this when it's wet or super cold since they do next to nothing to keep your hands warm in such situations. I did this because I lose gloves so often and was hesitant to spend more than a couple of bucks for them. I have noticed though that when I invest a bit more in a better quality pair, I tend to hold onto them a little tighter. Who'd-a thunk? So find you a pair of pretty gloves that compliment or match your coat and feature fur lined cuffs, bows, or pretty buttons. You'll feel better about hiding your hands! And hey, these have a text-tab too, so you won't have to remove them to play on your phone.



So what are your winter-wishlist items? Share with me! And I hope your 2016 is off to a great start!

XXOO
Ashley


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Starlet Series Episode 2~1921

For those of you who didn't know, I am pursuing a project right now that involves quite a little bit of leg-work...creating a hair/makeup tutorial inspired by each year of cinema, starting with 1920. The first installment of this series is discussed in detail back in my November Post featuring that video. 1920's re-creation was dark and dramatic, inspired by the first horror film (debatably), The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. This one was no less daunting however, since it was inspired by another signature look of the decade.

1921 saw the monumental success of one of the world's first 'epic' films, Orphans of the Storm, starring the beautiful and precocious Gish sisters. The wan, almost feline face of Lillian Gish was especially appealing to me as was the dramatic makeup application that captured the youthful determination of the girls. The hair was another integral look of the decade, long untamed locks that hung in sausage-like ringlets at the ends.

About the Film:


Orphans of the Storm is set during the onset of the French Revolution, and plays out in a sweeping scale over the course of almost two and a half hours. Lillian and Dorothy play Henriette and Louise respectively, sisters who are suddenly orphaned and left to fend for themselves in a small village outside of Paris. Although they bear a striking resemblance, Louise is actually a child of the aristocratic class, who was abandoned by her mother during infancy. The sisters are as close as any fleshly sisters could be and depend on one another entirely, especially since Louise is blind.
Upon hearing that there may be a doctor in Paris who can possibly cure this affliction, Henriette and Louise journey to the city, where they are immediately taken advantage of and separated amidst the eruption of the Revolution. Henriette befriends a young man of the aristocracy, Chevalier de Vaudrey, who becomes infatuated with her and promises that he will help her find Louise no matter the cost.
As the world literally burns around them, the two sisters must decide whom they can trust and pray for salvation from the chaos that follows.
_______________

D.W. Griffith directed this movie with the same unique style that served him throughout his career. It's bold and daring...epic in every sense of the word. The sets are enormous and beautifully detailed, the costuming is elaborate, and the cast is huge. While some films of this kind, especially during the silent era, have a tendency to be long-winded and difficult to follow, Orphans does not fail in this regard. The title cards are placed frequently throughout the film, where needed, but not so often that they break up the flow of the moving story. He also capitalizes flawlessly on the popularity of Lillian at this time, giving her the largest, meatiest role. On multiple occasions, the camera zooms into her beautiful face and takes full advantage of the gift she had for conveying emotion with a look or a slight tilt of her coquettish mouth.

Orphans of the Storm should definitely be seen by any who have a love for the epic period-piece since almost all films of this genre were inspired by it.

My Rating: 9/10

________________


The Tutorial:

At the ripe old age of 40, I'll admit it was a bit difficult to capture the childish beauty of the Gish sisters, but hopefully the tutorial proves to helpful for all ages.


The secret of the look is the feline look of the eyes, while still keeping the lips distinctively small and the skin fresh. 'Fresh' is relative in this case, of course, since the look of the day was obviously on the pallid side. But that said, there is a youthfulness that is important to the aesthetic of this style, so starting with an illuminating and moisturizing base was important in the makeup application. For the hair, I utilized the 'Tressmerize' extensions again, pre-rolling them in small rollers and only brushing out the tops of the sections so as to blend them into my own hair, which was also rolled in small rollers and released carefully to preserve the locks. When styling the hair, please refer to the technique in the video, which focuses on preserving the outer curls and harnessing the natural frizz at the roots.

Product Info:

For the base, I applied Clarins Instant Light Skin Perfector, which is a radiance boosting base. A full coverage foundation with a satin finish is a good option. For this one, I used Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundation, in the shade Ecru. Set with Original Dermablend Setting Powder-no substitutes here, please.

My eyeshadows were all matte, and not brand specific. Any good quality shadow can be used for this tutorial and will have a similar effect. Eyes should feature waterproof eyeliners and mascaras, however, since the application must be somewhat heavy to mimic the look of the era. However, any brand will suffice.

The same goes for lip and cheek products, which are only going to be based on color and finish at this point. A recommendation for a good deep red shade would be Julie Hewett lipstick in Sin Noir. It's a long time favorite of mine for the classic vamp lip.

The video is linked for you here...enjoy and let me know if you have further questions about the film or the look.

xxoo,
Ashley




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!


XXOO
Ashley






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.


1. A LOVE FOR HISTORY



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.


2. LEGENDARY MUSIC

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.


3. FOOD, FOOD, AND BEER:

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.

4. A REGARD FOR CULTURE

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.



Friday, April 24, 2015

The Ultimate Gift With Purchase!!

I posted a brief link about this on Instagram today but the details might be a bit confusing so I'll clarify here and share it to my social media. :)

I've been given a challenge by Dillard's to use my social media contacts to promote our yearly spring 'Sensational' or 'SUNsational' event, which will this year focus on summer/vacation beauty routines and ways to revamp your makeup and skincare for warmer weather. Clarins, the counter I manage, is especially focused on these subjects since sun and skincare are what we specialize in.

Therefore, I'm reaching out to all of you by offering the 'Ultimate Gift With Purchase' to one happy customer who purchases two products from me before May 1st. The gift basket is summer skincare themed and includes over 300.00 worth of Clarins products, including a full skincare regimen AND suncare/self tanning collection!!



The products in the basket will be suitable for all skin types, so no worries there! And let me just say, that SPF 50 UV Plus/Anti Pollution fluid is unbelievable!!

Okay so here are the rules:

1. You must order two products at a 40.00 total minimum purchase price. Orders over 50.00 though, will be FREE SHIPPING, so keep that in mind.

To order:
a. Call me at Dillard's before May 1st...I am off on Tuesday the 28th, but I'll be there Saturday through Wednesday of next week otherwise. The number is 901-685-0382 ext 5016. My hours vary but anyone who answers should be able to tell you when I'll be in for that day. You MUST order from me to be eligible for this offer since I am the one hosting this particular giveaway.

b. If you can't reach me, simply email your contact info to lisafreemontstreet@gmail.com. I will call you or text you lickety split!!

2. You may order any two products from any two brands, to qualify. The brands we carry at my location are:

1. St Tropez Tanning
2. Strivectin Cosmeceuticals
3. Osmotics Cosmeceuticals
4. XEN Tan-Self Tanning
5. Philosophy Skincare
6. Anastasia Brow Products
7. Deborah Lippman nail products
8. Studio Gear Cosmetics
9. Napoleon Perdis Cosmetics
10. Stila Cosmetics
11. Clarisonic Skincare
12. Murad Skincare
13. Clarins
14. Clinique
15. Estee Lauder
16. Lancome
17. Elizabeth Arden
18. Fashion Fair

We also carry most designer fragrances.

3. This offer is open within the US only, no international orders can be accepted (unfortunately).

4. Your payment will not be processed until the 1st. Orders will ship on or around the 2nd. The drawing for the giveaway will take place on the 2nd of May.

5. A free gift will be included with EVERY order. However, one of you will also receive the gift basket, which means that if you need products anyway, this makes it a special deal!!

Let me know if you have any questions via email at lisafreemontstreet@gmail.com

I hope to speak to some of you in person very soon! I'm excited about this and know you'll love every flippin' thing in this basket!!

xxoo,

Ashley