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Every Valentine’s for as long as I could remember – or read – my father would send me a card. He’d always deny it mind you, but his handwriting, swirly and distinguished, gave him away. There would be nothing inside except a heart (hand drawn) and a K (for Kayla) next to it. I think it became a game of the soul. Him, knowing my glee upon receipt and me, knowing that he took the greatest pleasure from the simplest act of love. And maybe it was just a kindness. Because I think that’s what love is all about. If you look up ‘kind’ in a thesaurus, all these palpable synonyms come up; affectionate, compassionate, understanding, tenderhearted, benevolent, humane and gracious. Mighty, mighty words. But in essence, just kind. And every letter bursting with love.

When once we stumbled on a poetry book together and found my now favorite E. E. Cummings verse, I realized that carrying someone else’s heart was the greatest and luckiest responsibility we could ever have. So for all the lovers (in whichever way love is for you right at this moment) I hope this makes you fuzzy and sparkly. It does me.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

 

source: present&correct

 


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When I was 13 years old I discovered the first perfume I ever fell in love with. It made me feel like an adult and yet I was just on the cusp. It was juicy, opulent and so grownup. Let me try and describe Amarige for you. The opening is a knock-your-socks-off neon bright white floral (think tuberose and gardenia) with some fizzy peach that dries down to a hot smokiness, like glowing embers on a campfire. It doesn’t smell like a campfire, just hints at the feel, but it’s more the slightly slutty, spicy scent of a women with a secret. You’re left wearing a lingering trail of something so gloriously creamy and lush, akin to warm sun-kissed skin. How good does it sound?

More than fifteen years later when I started playing with some Frederic Malle Editions – Carnal Flower, Portrait Of A Lady and Vetiver Extraordinaire – I discovered that their creator Dominique Ropion was the magician behind Amarige. A full circle moment, amplified by the nearly empty bottle on my dresser that still releases a faint but ever present scent, a reminder of the girl I was and the woman I wanted to be.


 

 

Maybe it was because it was electric pink like Hubba Bubba or Calamine Lotion, which I always tried to paint myself with, or maybe it was because my nanny brushed with it and I wanted to use what she did (especially her Clinique 3 Step). Plus she always smelt spicy when she talked and that was reassuring.

The first time I ever tried Euthymol toothpaste I thought I’d burnt my tongue, and couldn’t wash it out quick enough; it tasted like cloves and cinnamon and antiseptic. As I got older and started living a little it tasted exactly like Root Beer, which might sound odd to Americans. But it was a guilty pleasure and I kept on going back for more just to see if it still burnt as much. Invariably it did, but I became accustomed to the medicinal tinge. In an era of whitening toothpastes and icy striped brushes, I think squeezing out Pepto-Bismol colored lines of paste is much more interesting, not to mention deeply nostalgic – I still feel like a little girl trying something again for the first time, especially when I spill it down my pajamas.

The box it comes in advertises its contents as ‘a scientific dental preparation’, and it’s still packaged in aluminum tubes as opposed to the modern plastic ones. I think they might be the most ironic as well as chicest squeezies, and have become a template for an imaginary cosmetics line appealing to all my visual and olfactory senses. Psychologically I also am convinced it does things to my teeth and gums that normal toothpaste just doesn’t, and that’s half the battle. Yes, it has to work, but if you feel like it does, then the stars align and a product goes from being something ordinary to something extraordinary, transforming the activity of teeth brushing from the mundane to the sublime. And I taste a bit spicy.


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As in Roald. This is one of those quotes that gives me goosebumps and makes me beam.

” A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” 

 

source: irishpaintings.com


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Wrapping things around my neck, draping my nape and kissing my collarbones got me thinking. Historically only two groups of people had anything around their necks; slaves and the hanged. Right? The American newtwork news broadcaster Linda Ellerbee is quoted as saying: “If men can run the world, why can’t they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a noose around your neck?” I’ve always loved ties, but thought upon them as the ultimate fabric hazard for ravenous people like myself: soup, spaghetti and steak. Need I say more. Or maybe just: dodgy nightclub owners.

Some anthropologists have called the tie a phallic symbol which calls into question what one’s head represents. Same for chest-skimming lariats, a universal form of adornment, and my favorite kind of jewelry to wear – preferably covered in rainbow stones of great meaning. Side note: the lariat is also a loop of rope designed as a restraint to be thrown around a target and tightened when pulled, a well-known tool of the American cowboy. Don’t worry, I’m not into strangling myself. I really love the way they move on me when they’re tied long and low on a bare décolletage, swinging softly – the best kind of cacophony.

Believe it or not Croatia is the mother country of the modern necktie but archaeological evidence of the use of ties goes back to the Chinese and the Romans almost two millenniums back. The earliest known version was found in the mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Shih Huang Ti, who was buried in 210 B.C. Desperately afraid of death, the emperor wanted to slaughter an entire to army to accompany him into the next world. His advisers ultimately persuaded him to take life-size replicas of soldiers instead. The result is one of the marvels of the ancient world. Unearthed in 1974 near the ancient capital city of Xian, the tomb contained an astonishing 7,500 life-size terracotta replicas of his famed fighting force. Each figure is different – except in one respect: all wear neck cloths. Historians say other records indicate the Chinese did not wear ties, so why the emperor’s guards wore carefully wrapped silk cloths remains a mystery. In 113 A.D., one of Rome’s greatest Emperors, the military genius Trajan, erected a marble column to commemorate a triumphant victory over the Dacians who lived in what is now Romania. The 2,500 realistic figures on the column sport no less than three different styles of neckwear. While Roman orators often wore cloths to keep their throats warm, soldiers did not cover their necks. In fact, writers such as Horace and Seneca said only effeminate men covered their necks.

Necklaces have been an integral part of jewelry since the the Paleolithic Era and pre-date the invention of writing – in South Africa they excavated a cave that had over 41 mollusks that were strung as possible neck jewelry nearly 75,000 years ago. The oldest necklaces were made of purely natural materials – before weaving and the invention of string, durable vines or pieces of animal sinew left over from hunts were tied together and adorned with shells, bones, teeth, colorful skins of human prey animals, bird feathers, corals, carved pieces of wood, seeds, stones and naturally occurring gems. Short or long, choker or sautoir, gold or diamond, the emphasis here is on trends, which have for the most part followed the style of lowering necklines.

History, tradition, provenance: all these should be celebrated. Men and women wear things around their necks for the sheer pleasure of it, to espouse the idea of ‘hanging out’ (ok, maybe that’s just my take). Everywhere, that is, except the clerical establishment of Iran, which banned (oft ignored) the sale of the tie (and maybe even the adorned necklace) after the 1979 Islamic revolution deeming it a symbol of western decadence. Explains why former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad always looked like a stressed out middle manager in a suit sans tie.

I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t be pulled by my big phallic symbols into a passionate embrace. Do you?

 

source: glamradar.com


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Rosh Hashanah’s got me thinking about what I’m opening my heart to this year. Yesterday’s solar eclipse and new moon heralded major completions and the beauty of beginnings, which really has amplified this religious/spiritual holiday’s energy for me and helped me set my intentions. I’m Jew-ish after all.

I’ve always been a list maker of note (how I get through them is another story). Finishing a list is akin to finishing a thought so to speak, pulling up or getting rid of memories and putting rest to a major or small story.

So I thought I’d share a way in which you too could poke around your insides (lovingly) and make a list for what you want to usher in or let go of this New Year, whether you’re Jewish or not. List making is liberating, fun and complete, the kind of act I like. A lot. I want to know if you can unleash your magic, creativity and vision, because I want to know if I can too.

Shana Tova!

source: Jojo Filler-Cooper/plentyofcolour.com


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Anyone who knows me knows I’m batty for, prone-to-going-weak-in-the-knees, crazy-in-love with scent. I’d take perfume over makeup any day. I like or dislike people instantly based on how they smell. If I fancy a guy though I can never remember how he smells and it’s really the only time olfactory amnesia sets in. Anyway, I’ve been on a little reminiscence of late which happens every now and again. I yearn to smell my favourite memories. Maybe it’s a form of self-comfort living in a new city, but I’ll be damned, and it’s a pretty effective nostalgia-evoking beat.

Remember when every girl at school wore that Body Shop Musk oil? I’ve been craving it. The saccharine, almost condescent-like glow it radiated from shiny clavicles, multiple-pierced lobes and uncooperative hair. It was so vastly different from the mad array of floral scents in the 90s which made it a bit dangerous.

In an attempt to recreate that time in my life I started mixing some oils at home, but the combinations kept turning out too polished. I wasn’t actively looking for anything when I happed upon some pretty vials of amber liquid in the vitamin section of Wholefoods. Musk Amber, Nemat Vanilla Musk and Tropical Bouquet (kinda like that other BS classic Dewberry) – which I’m not sure accurately give the pictorial evolution of the kind of woman I thought I wanted to be – however they made their way into my basket.

Later, when I mixed them all together (very sparingly) on top of a copious double-coat of Johnson’s Baby Lotion and Olay Quench Body Lotion, the effect was pretty epic. I was back at The Body Shop, an innocent time in my life, but now I’d upgraded to a sexier medley that was still comforting and smelt like the best version of pure, unadulterated skin without flecks of hormone-fueled teenager. I sigh a lot every time I wear this.

 


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I’m trying a low-slung relaxed ponytail for a change instead of long and ever so loose, a look that tends to work best when hair hasn’t been washed for a few days which gives it some guts and body. If you haven’t got thick hair, gently backcomb the crown for root-lift, gather the rest of your hair and secure it low at the nape of the neck. Wrap strands in something pretty – Valentino’s tiny golden shells and starfish for S/S15 are what I’m coveting. I think this incarnation works best with a slightly off-parting and if bits fall out, all the better. Looking for some more inspiration from the shows? My favourites were Orlando Pita’s nape-grazing styles for Gucci, bedhead-ish at Giambattista Valli and Odile Gilbert’s luminously neat neck-grazers for Jason Wu.

 

source: musungsinfemininity