Category Archives: fashion & beauty

on societal standards of beauty, etc. etc.

It being fashion week and all, I have been thinking about this a lot…

I did a pretty strict cleanse for about a week and ended up losing some weight (most likely–I don’t own a scale but I can usually tell anyway).  After this, my brother asked me ‘if I’d been sick’ because ‘I looked frail’.  Now, firstly, I think this is kind of an offensive thing to say–but it was, after all, my big bro, so I let it slide.  Secondly, though, upon bringing this up to roomie, she told me that I looked fine to her.  On the bright side, I feel as though this justifies the extreme gluttony I plan to engage in this weekend. :)

But these interactions caused me to consider two things: one, why do women have a different definition of an appropriate weight than men, and two, the fact that many of us are probably thinner than we would be at our “natural” or “baseline weight” (I can’t really remember what it’s called?).

Ms. Moss

Although retrospectively, I realise I grew up in an environment where thinness was emphasized, I don’t think it was something I was acutely aware of until college–perhaps partially due to the freshman 15, which I learned is no myth.  I have a perception that my uni was above average in terms of social pressure regarding appearance, due to my own perceptions as well as hearing those of friends who attended other institutions…whether or not my perception is accurate I do not know.  However, I can say that jokes that our university was filled with ‘anorexic cokeheads’ were nearly ubiquitous–both within our student body and with students from surrounding schools.

As for me, I actually like to be very thin, aesthetically speaking I find it to be the most pleasing look to me.  However, I’m also quite concerned with health, so I would not put my health at risk to suit my aesthetic preferences.  I’m not crazy about it or anything…but like I said, I like the appearance of very thin women; I have a girl crush of epic proportions on Kate Moss, as I think she’s incredibly gorgeous–and we all know girlfriend is quite thin.  The odd thing is, sometimes when I am happier with my body, I see photographs of myself and think I look awful.  Do other women feel this way?  It really is quite ironic because I really like the “heroin chic” look on other people, but when it comes to myself, I hate looking at myself and feeling that I appear as though I’ve just finished a four-day bender and am on the verge of death.  Haha, well that’s a bit dramatic, but you know what I mean, don’t you?  If not, here are a few photographic representations of my aesthetic preferences, courtesy of the fashion industry:

A shot from my favourite Chanel ad campaign (I think it was spring/summer a few years ago)

A shot from my favourite Chanel ad campaign (I think it was spring/summer a few years ago)

A Prada Advertisement

A Prada Advertisement

Kate Moss again, in a YSl ad

Kate Moss again, in an Yves Saint Laurent ad

The irony is of course that no one does “heroin chic” quite like Kate Moss, but that it should be called cocaine chic in her case, because she obviously hits the booger sugar quite often, a fact that has been relatively well-documented.

Also, I don’t really care what anyone says, I sincerely doubt that any high fashion model follows a healthy diet–perhaps they are naturally thin, yes, but to be 6 ft tall and weigh 110 pounds is probably only genetically possible for a infinitesimally small slice of the population…so I don’t buy the notion that models and the fashion industry are selling anything other than unhealthy lifestyles, despite constant proclamations to the contrary.

Perhaps this makes me a bit of a hypocrite, as I more or less fit the very definition of the word perfectly in the sense that I don’t “practice what I preach” in this arena, because I think a lot of our culture’s ideas about beauty are seriously f*cked up…but I adhere to them anyway–to a certain extent at least.  It is quite cliché to say, but I truly cringe for the young women/teenagers that are confronted with this.  I often put serious thought into ways I can positively influence my younger family members in such a way so as to counteract the extreme messages the media subliminally, and sometimes explicitly, delivers to their impressionable brains.

The other strange thing, though, is that women’s ideas on body type are much different than those of men–I can’t tell you how many studies I have read that indicate men consistently prefer a more “curvy” body type than the average women holds as her ideal.  That is just strange to me, and the context of it says a lot about the pressure on women in our society, as well as how we as women view each other, and ourselves.

It’s also incredibly odd to me that most (I think it’s more than half now, statistically) Americans are overweight and a very large percentage are obese…and we are greeted in the media with images such as these which not only fail to represent most people, but also are basically the antithesis of “most people”–I should say that I somehow doubt the statistics, because I can’t say that the majority of the people I encounter are overweight, although I think some of this could be geographical (as I tend to think overweight people dwell more in the Bible belt and associated areas), but nonetheless, one has to wonder what these things mean from a sociological standpoint.  But perhaps that is a consideration for another day!

I just had to vent my thoughts on this, as it has been on my mind today and I’m trying to avoid doing work, as usual.  I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday!! :)

xx Charlee

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rampant materialism (and how to know you’re officially in your twenties)

In the midst of my online shopping frenzy today, it occurred to me that some of my purchases were things I never would have purchased two years ago, or perhaps even last year!  Even my personal style is much different than it was just a short time ago.  This reminded me of a “gosh, we’re old” anecdote:

A few weeks ago, a girlfriend made dinner for a few of our friends and I, and afterward, we were putting away the leftovers when two of my friends remarked on how fabulous a piece of my friend’s Tupperware was. This led my other friend to promptly retort that we “officially know we’re in our twenties.”

It’s true–it makes me feel a little old to be so into dinner parties, decor, and kitchen gadgets, but alas, my life can no longer center around push-up bras and hot lingerie (though they are still a pretty big part of my life, obviously).

Anyway, all the sitting around time I had to deal with today led me to fill the time in one of my most favourite ways–shopping!  Hell yes.  What recession?

This was actually very good for me, because the absence of drinking and cigarettes (I think I would literally sell my soul for one) and food (!!) in my life has left me feeling very under indulged and cranky–not to mention I have been playing shopping nazi with myself for a long time, so I went a bit crazy with the shopping, but it was entirely necessary in my self-centered, overly self-indulgent world.

Yes, it is good to be young and perhaps a bit too selfish.

(And just a little disclaimer–I am choosing not to fall victim to my perpetual problem with “spending shame” today, due to my desire to share my fabulous finds with others.  Therefore, my altruism is overriding my desire to hide my materialistic tendencies, so don’t hate! (-:  I know…I deserve an award or something for being so selfless.)

So, I shall share with you some cool finds I scored today, almost all of which were on sale (hooray!!):

Free People Cashmere Leggings

Need I say more?? I am so amped to wear these, cashmere is my favourite thing ever, ever, ever…and leggings are so comfortable!  In other words I will probably be wearing these a bit too often.

($99.95 down from $128.00 at freepeople.com)

Free People Wishbone Necklace

I thought this was way cool.  I usually wear a few necklaces and this one looks good for layering, not to mention I’m getting more into wearing mutiple kinds of metal (I’m generally not a gold girl) so I thought this was cool.  Plus, it reminds me of pulling on the wishbone at Thanksgiving as a child.  Who doesn’t miss that?!

($49.95 down from $198.00 at freepeople.com)

Anthropologie Suspended Pearl Ring

I think this is so cool.  I’m crazy about pearls and this is a funky/interesting piece that incorporates them.  I’m super into it, and it was also super on sale! Yippee!

($79.95 down from $138.00 at anthropologie.com)

Random Other Stuff From Anthro Which I Cannot Find Photos Of, But Which Are Awesome and I Encourage You To Check Out

(Alternative Heading: Evidence That I Am Old)


Spice Mill$12.95 down from $34.00

Very pretty and also quite reasonably priced!

Giraffe Measuring Spoons$19.95 down from $28.00

These are so effing cute I just could not resist!  Also, I am a pretty big baker but also quite lazy, so I usually refrain from measuring ingredients, which probably isn’t the best idea.  So, I think purchasing measuring spoons is a step in the right direction!

Vine Perfume Bottle$7.95 down from $28.00

I have such a weakness for pretty little things, and probably none more so than perfume bottles.  Anthropologie always has beautiful ones, and I just couldn’t resist this one at such a great price!

Parisian Cafe Apron$32.00

Okay. Make fun of me all you want.  I know this a really suburban move, not to mention the fact that “I’m not old enough to wear an apron” (quotation courtesy of Marley)…but I like it, and I do not like getting flour/sugar/etc. all over myself whilst baking.  So, get over it.  Or, better yet, embrace the uncool.  (This is my general modus operandi in life, fyi!)

Ice Breaker Dress–$119.95 down from $228.00

This is a great brunch dress, or perhaps a party, with the right shoe.  I think it’s really refreshing architecturally, and I like it because it’s fashionable without being overly sexy. I’m a pretty busty chick and sometimes it is difficult for me to find dresses that don’t look too sexy (i.e. show a tacky amount of cleavage) on me, but that are still stylish and not frumpalicious (adj. frumpily delicious–except not).  So this is cool without being too revealing, in my opinion.


Victoria’s Secret Vest

Victoria’s Secret Suit

I actually really like their suits.  I know my mother would gasp at this notion, and some may find the idea tacky, but I say don’t knock it until you try it. Obviously, when it comes to suits, quality is a issue and therefore Victoria’s Secret is probably not the *best* choice…that said, I feel that for my age, some of my nicer suits come on too strong.  These suits actually have a nice silhouette and with the super cheap prices, you can have them custom tailored (and have the buttons changed), which is uber-important and does a lot to increase the quality/look of the suit.  Moreover, I would highly recommend going with the color black, because the fabric quality with these suits isn’t really the best, and I think that is far more noticeable with lighter colors.  All of that said, I really like this suit (I’m very into the slouchy/extra-wide-leg look), and the vest, and am excited it was such a steal!

(Vest-$19.99 [!!] down from $59.50 @ VictoriasSecret.com)

( Blazer–$29.99 down from $178.00, and Pant–$19.99 down from $88.00 [!!]–link here)

Victoria’s Secret is not my favourite lingerie place (I’m totally a trashy lingerie girl) but I did purchase a lot of stuff on sale…because I’m that girl, the one who buys lingerie even though she has no one to wear it for.  Ha!  I need something to force me to keep going to the gym, after all.  However, I am not going to post it on here, because that would be simply indecent!  But here is a link to the lingerie they have on sale–and there’s a lot! (Hint, hint to the men out there–if you are a slacker and have not already purchased something for V-day for your lover!)

Of course I also had to hit up my ultimate weakness, aka American Apparel, but I’m not going to post the stuff because it was sadly not on sale nor exciting! However in the interest of any men out there who may be looking for a Valentine’s Day present still, I will post one of my favourite products of theirs:

They have the BEST thigh-highs ever.  Why?  Because they are socks, not stockings.  Ergo, they are crazy comfortable!!  I wear these all the time because they are super cool ways to stay warm during the winter/in dresses and they are seriously so very comfortable.  However, they also have a second purpose, which is in the bedroom as BC is quite crazy for them–whether or not they are as sexy as true thigh-highs, I do not know, but they are definitely infinitely better in my opinion, because sexy + practical is awesome. :) :) :)  They are $17.00 @ americanapparel.net.

For those not familiar with American Apparel, I am a huge fan of it because although the prices are a bit high, this is for a very good reason–their clothing is American-made and their company has very ethically rigorous policies.  Aside from the fact that I passionately support their ideals, their clothing is also very high quality, in my opinion.  I don’t want to inject any unnecessary seriousness into this delightfully frivolous posting, but it is a really wonderful company and I strongly encourage you to purchase something from them!


Alright this concludes my shopping binge/ADHD coping mechanism, and I hope someone out there enjoys some of the deals I have found today because they got me quite excited.  Just don’t tell anyone–I have a reputation to protect which does not include my materialistic tendencies!  (Hah, that is a joke.  Mostly.)

Writing this post has been a welcome distraction from the piles of work I have neglected this weekend.  :( I am very sad that I now must rouse my brain from its brief holiday!

I will update you on my super fun weekend at a later date! As if you care! Hah…(sorry still a bit loopy from my ‘medication’)

Enjoy what is left of the weekend, people!! :) :) :) :)

xx Charlee

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Filed under fashion & beauty, ps: i'm a shopaholic

these are a few of my favourite things!

Booo…my boss is here at work today, so that means I must “work” all day.  What a bummer, right?  Of course being the slacker that I am and caring as little as I do about this job, I’m obviously “ordering restocks” by way of doing whatever I want online and killing as much time as possible–on the bright side, my email inbox is finally getting the attention it deserves!

So I found this fun little site, “polyvore” and insomnia and boredom mean that it is my new best friend!

I made this petit collage of some of the random things I love, and I thought I’d share! :)

And a final word on the kindergarten-esque sharing of my virtual art project/favourite things: Don’t judge me.

Random Favourite Things:

The Office- I enjoy both the US and British versions, and this is the only television program that I actually make an effort to watch (tv rots the brain, after all.)  Of course, I have seen every episode several times!  However, it never ceases to make me laugh out loud–even the episodes I’ve seen so many times.

Chanel Nuit De Russie Nail Polish–This is my absolute favourite shade of nail color–I feel that black is a bit played out and a bit much, so an almost black shade of blue is awesome in my book.  Moreover, I’ve been very, very into Russian culture since I discovered it by way of reading Tolstoy a while back–that caused me to explore Russian literature and in terms of world literature, it is probably my favorite genre.  Thus, I have a great fascination with the culture there and the fact that Chanel has incorporated this into their latest work is BEYOND amazing to me because it combines two of my favourite things…but more on this later, because I have a lot to say about this exciting occurrence!

Flintstones Vitamins– I keep these in my purse for when I want something in my mouth but don’t want a mint–I’ve tried to quit chewing gum, and since I’m not smoking, I need something else, and why not a vitamin?  I always forget to take them though, so keeping them with me helps me remember to chew one when I see fit.  Plus, adult vitamins are such a bummer and make me gag when I try to swallow them.  I guess these just make me irrationally happy, what can I say other than I am a very nostalgic person–I get teased pretty badly for carrying them around/randomly pulling them out, but still, I love them so very much!!

Laughing Cow–I love this stuff.  Of course, I pretty much love any and all cheese, but my love for this is especially abundant due to my attachment to it–my friends and I went to Paris when I was 18 and it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.  Obviously, we wanted to spend our cash on booze, partying, and shopping rather than food, so we’d usually just have a baguette and laughing cow for breakfast and a bangin’ lunch and dinner–needless to say, I ate a lot of laughing cow on that trip and eating it now reminds me of it and associated craziness–not to mention it is tasty as hell!

Nietzsche–This one pretty much speaks for itself, but I’m a gigantic fan of homeboy–I could honestly read Nietzsche all day.  I think he’s so incredibly brilliant and I’ve always appreciated a number of his philosophies, although it seems that my appreciation for them has only grown since I became familiar with him several years ago.

Hallucinogens–Hah, I think this one also more or less speaks for itself, but I love them, what can I say?  Truthfully, my days of being a stoned slacker are behind me for the most part, but I still have a great appreciation for hallucinogens (mostly weed) and perhaps I shall write about it at some point because it is something I have strong feelings about.  Of course, I would never advocate for irresponsible use of drugs, as I think there is a certain level of maturity that one should have in order to experiment!

Givenchy Thigh High Boot–I’m sooo in love with these.  For Christmas, the only thing I asked for was a pair black thigh-high boots, and I was so lucky to receive these!  I kind of wanted flat ones so as not to look like a hooker, but alas, they were apparently hard to find, and I think the heels on these are pretty chill.  They’re really versatile and really sexy–so versatile in fact that I think perhaps some day they will come in handy in the bedroom…or perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part!  I love them so much, I probably wear them a bit too often, but I don’t really care–they make pretty much any outfit infinitely cooler.

Chanel Inimitable Mascara–This mascara changed my life!  I tried it more or less by accident (overzealous sample lady) and it instantly became one of my favourite things.  My eyelashes suck, generally speaking, and due to this amazing product, they no longer cause me to fret!  Hooray!  Seriously though, I probably never would have purchased this if I hadn’t tried it as it is a bit overpriced, but it is entirely worth the extra cash, trust me on this.

Notebook Paper–Pretty self-explanatory.  I like to write. :-)

“Catcher in the Rye”–I haven’t read this in such a long time, and I’ve read literature that has really deeply affected me since then, but perhaps none more so than this book.  This was the first book that I deeply connected with and enjoyed reading.  It really opened my eyes to the beauty within literature and the ways in which it could lead to self-discovery.  I probably read it in about 8th or 9th grade and ever since then I have counted it amongst my favourite books, because if it weren’t for this book, I doubt I would have discovered any of the others!

Smith’s Rosebud Salve–Another beauty product that changed my life.  I use this for everything, but it is the best lip product I’ve ever found.  It makes my lips so very soft, yet not sticky/overly shiny and doesn’t feel too thick or goopy.  It also has a very pleasant light rose scent.  I put it on extra thick at night (if I’m sleeping alone anyway, which I usually am!) and whenever my lips are feeling dry–I also sometimes use it as a skin moisturizer.  Yes, it does everything!  It’s also super cheap–always a plus in my book!

Top Shop–If you live in New York and have not been to London, then do I have a surprise for you!  This is literally my favourite store ever–it is quite reasonably priced and very fashionable.  I used to be so very sad that I could not go to London more often to acquire their precious goods, but HOORAY because Top Shop has migrated to US–the United States, that is.  Check it out, I assure you, it will be a shopping experience unlike any other!

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Perfume–I’m a big perfume person–I just always feel more put together and polished when wearing perfume, and this is my absolute favourite one.  It rocks. (Of course–beauty tip–a very small amount is perfectly adequate, particularly with this perfume.  There’s nothing worse than someone who smells too strongly–yuck!!)

7 For All Mankind Jeans–There’s nothing like a great pair of jeans, and what they do for the derriere.  I’m not so much a fan exclusively of these jeans, although I do love them, but I am a big advocate for buying good jeans–it’s all about the fit with jeans, and unfortunately, it is hard to find pairs that fit properly.  This is why I do not mind spending extra cash on good jeans, and 7 for all mankind are great–I’m also a big fan of true religion and paige premium denim.  Jeans are definitely one of my favourite things!

Portrait of Thom Yorke–This is a rad portrait,  and Radiohead and Thom Yorke are two of my very favourite things!  Lately I have been noticing a lot of people being into Radiohead, which is cool with me, but I also get annoyed that people don’t realise they have a rather large body of work and it isn’t best represented by “In Rainbows” alone.  That said, if you haven’t checked out the album, it is amazing–and free!  So I recommend giving it a listen. :)

Louis Vuitton Bag–This was a gift and not something I requested because a) I’m not too into Louis Vuitton and b) it was horrendously overpriced.  That said, I love this bag a lot because it matches everything and is gigantic (I’m all about the gigantic bags)–not to mention, it holds sentimental value.  It is one of my favourite things for these reasons yet I think I love it slightly more because I don’t really use it often because I’m too embarassed to do so with the economic climate being as it is–we’ll see if things change when the economy gets better or I lose some of my consumerist guilt.  It’s all good though, I’m into keeping my guilty pleasures under wraps (or relatively–because of course I can share them with you my lovely blog readers) and loving on my material goods in private.

DuWop Lip Venom–Another product that changed my life!  This lip gloss “stings” your lips, causing them to swell. Haha, that actually sounds really painful and weird, but it isn’t painful at all–it causes a cool tingly sensation and I swear it makes me lips look bigger.  Seriously, this needs to be tried–and guys, I’d encourage your lady friends to purchase it because the sensation it creates is quite interesting, in more ways than one.

Stop Animal Cruelty Sign–Yeah, self explanatory.  I’m not a crazy PETA person but I’m pretty passionate about the fact that a lot of cruelty towards animals is swept under the rug and ignored, and it is completely and utterly fucked up.  When I became a vegetarian, it was because I saw a video of animals being tortured and chickens living their entire lives in cages–I don’t necessarily think it is wrong to eat meat or wear leather (you might have noticed the several leather goods on this very list), but I think the inhumane manner in which these products are produced needs to be seriously re-evaluated.

Pearl Earrings–I’m pretty into pearls–they’re pretty, not too overdone, and go with everything.  I also think they are somewhat unexpected for most people, so that adds depth to any look.  Did I mention they go with everything?  I love pearl earrings because I can wear them everyday without having to worry about it.

Frank Lloyd Wright–I think he’s a genius.  Enough said.

Kurt Halsey Frederiksen work— I discovered this artist when I visited an art house in Philadelphia a few years ago–he’s a local artist, but his work captures the innocence of youth and in myself at least, evokes feelings of nostalgia.  It’s very “cutesy” type stuff but that is what I like about it.  Stylistically, I also identify with his work.  He’s one of my favourite little-known artists.

I think that’s everything. Haha, of course I have many more favourite things, but these were easily accessible in creating my awesome collage and were the first things that came to mind!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

I may be writing again later if my boss continues to expect me to pretend to work…

xx Charlee

(also, sorry if excessive exclamation point usage bothers you–I know it can be annoying, but I am in a great (!!) mood today and had several shots of espresso, so making numerous exclamatory statements is the order of the day!)

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