Thursday, May 30, 2013

Better off Red


There's nothing more iconic in the beauty world than a set of shiny, blood red lips.  In fact, I believe a woman can go from merely pretty to absolutely drop dead gorgeous with a single coat of red lipstick.  It adds instant sex appeal and transitions the girl next door into a blockbuster bombshell.  Just think classic Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor--timeless beauty!

I enjoy eclectic fashion and cosmetic looks, and I often change my aesthetic with my changing mood.  This morning, I was feeling the 1950s retro vibe, so I donned my favorite fit-n-flare cherry dress with matching red heels and a sweater.  I decided to step out side my cosmetic comfort zone and trade my everyday bronze-tone lipstick for a come-hither red to complete my old school look.

Why is it that every time I attempt to emulate a perfect crimson pout right out of the pages of Glamour Magazine, I end up looking like a tanner version of the Joker?  Perhaps driving while applying doesn't help!  (Yes, I'm one of those women--although I only do my lipstick in the car.  Nothing else, thank-you-very-much!)


My point is this: countless other women can pull of magnetic red lips, so why can't I?  Is it because I'm not used to seeing such eye-popping color on my kisser, or does it simply not suit me?  I sincerely believe the former is the answer.  In an ideal world, anyone should be able to pull of fire engine red lips--and honestly, anyone can.  It's just that I'm not used to the dramatic color on my lips.

In order to create the perfect red lip, it takes skill and lots of practice.  First, you should line your lips to prevent feathering.  I personally use a flesh tone reverse lip liner from Cargo, which is used to trace an "invisible" line just outside your natural lip line.  It helps keep your lipstick from traveling and subtly highlights the edges of your mouth. 

Cargo reverse lip liner
                                                       Find it at

Second, I advise using a lipstick brush to paint on color--either from a chubby crayon or tube of lipstick.  It allows for precision.  A lipstick tube is just too bulky to trace the exact perimeter of your lip line.  Blot any excess from the inner rim of your mouth to prevent getting lipstick on your teeth and be sure to wipe your hands thoroughly, lest you end up with the stained hands of a serial killer.  Finally, add a dab of clear gloss at the center of your bottom lip for a hint of shine, and voila!  You now have the lips of a 1960s pinup girl.         

Should you decide this bold look is just not your thing or that you too, end up looking like Batman's nemesis, simply wipe it off with a dab of makeup remover.  It's makeup, people--it's not permanent!  Have a little fun--take a risk or two.  Who knows?  You may permanently adopt scarlet lips as your new signature look.  Besides, a lady in red never goes unnoticed! (wink, wink)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Willie Nelson--a Living Legend

I'm currently sitting here listening to an eclectic span of music as it shuffles randomly from song to song on my ipod.  Just now, when the song Old Friends (a duet with the legendary Willie Nelson, late Roger Miller and also legendary Ray Price) popped up, I was inspired to give a shout out to my old friend, Willie. 

Having grown up on the songs (both those written and sung) by the Red-Headed Stranger, I feel it's my duty as a fellow musician to pay homage to such a living legend in our time--especially since it's been mere weeks since Willie celebrated his 80th birthday.

I really have my dad to thank for introducing me to Willie's music at such an early age.  In fact, I still laugh about the time Dad took my brother to a soccer game on picture day, and they were asked to fill out Cody's player information on the back of his photo trading card.  They put his team name, number and player position, but neither Dad nor Cody knew of any famous soccer pros to list under the "favorite soccer hero" category.  To this day, every time I see that trading card with Cody's goofy grin and his favorite soccer pro, Willie Nelson, it makes me laugh out loud. While Willie may not be a soccer pro, he's certainly a hero to many musicians spanning all genres of music--and rightly so.

I think one of the reasons Willie is so well respected by his peers and adored by his fans is because of his realness.  With Willie, what you see is what you get.  When he started his early music career as a struggling young musician in Nashville with a clean-cut appearance, he wasn't getting to produce the kind of music he wanted.  So Willie decided the Nashville scene just wasn't for him, and he moved to Texas, grew out his famous braids and decided he just didn't give a shit about what others thought about him.  He wrote and played the kind of music that satisfied the true artist within--and perhaps by accident, started a whole new musical movement in the late 70s (alongside Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash) called the Outlaw movement.

Not only is Willie recognized for that unmistakably twangy voice, he's also known and nearly worshiped by songwriters everywhere. I know how difficult it is to write a song, and the fact that Willie has hundreds of songs--and amazing ones at that--under his belt, leads me to respect him even that much more.  If it weren't for Willie, Patsy Cline's rendition of Crazy would be nonexistent--as would the sentimental value that song still holds for me this very day.

I don't honestly know of a single country musician who would claim they hadn't been influenced by the famous twang, heartfelt lyrics and undying passion of Willie Nelson in one way or another.  The man is truly a living legend indeed, and I'm humbled that I received the chance to meet him and open a concert for him when I was only a 20-year-old college student with big dreams of making it in the music business.

Though I only got to meet Willie for a mere several minutes, it was a life-altering opportunity for me.  He seemed a tad bit quiet, but incredibly nice as his fans eagerly waited for a handshake and a photo opp.  I was absolutely flabbergasted when Willie even asked me for my autograph, and I thanked him profusely for the opportunity to open the show for him.  I got him to sign the first print ad I had written for Martin Guitars in college, which pictured Willie with his old pal, Trigger (his well-worn guitar), and it still hangs proudly on the wall as part of my ongoing autograph collection.

When I kissed Willie on the cheek and caught a slight taste of weed lingering on his beard, it made me smile a bit.  Willie is a genuine person to whom God has granted a boatload of talent and perhaps even more magnificent life experiences, which he effortlessly weaves into the lines of his songs.  If you ever get a chance to see Willie up close and personal--and witness the lines on his face, symbolic of a full, well-lived life, and see the gentleness in his knowing eyes--I hope you realize you're standing in the presence of greatness. 

So Willie, I wish you the happiest of birthdays and hope for many more years to come...and I look forward to seeing you somewhere on the road again.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Pistol Annies...Smoking Guns

This morning, I've been rocking out to the catchy tunes of the Pistol Annies, Miranda Lambert's side project, an all-girl band.  I have to admit, simply listening to their girl-power anthems on my ipod makes me feel like a badass.  Maybe because it's Friday or maybe because I'm just in one of those don't-mess-with-me moods today, I'm totally digging the in-your-face lyrics and haunting background music of Hell on Heels and edgy toe-tapping Trailer for Rent.  I'm grooving to the beat and nodding my head like a gangsta rapper. 

Ever since the Pistol Annies made their live television debut, I was obsessed with their 3-part harmony and raw, emotion-filled lyrics.  There's just nothing cooler than a feisty girl with a guitar and a willingness to say what she has to say, no holds barred.  The more I listen to Miranda's unique, twangy voice, the more I enjoy her music and her message.  I think perhaps it's because I see a bit of myself in her. 

A born and raised Texas girl, I grew up on real country music and cut my musical teeth on the records of Patsy Cline, Randy Travis, George Strait and Willie Nelson.  Growing up with an older brother who beat me up on a regular basis (only some of it was well deserved), I  quickly learned how to fend for myself.  Once my parents saw right through my Oscar-worthy fake-crying performances, I was on my own.  So I guess you could say I was full of piss and vinegar at an early age.  My innate stubbornness also played a factor in my unwillingness to take any $#&^ off of anyone.

Combine that hard headedness with my passion for music and you get the kind of tunes Miranda and her Pistol Annie cohorts effortlessly produce, quickly shooting them to fame, fortune and yielding sold-out concerts and millions of album sales.  If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to their stuff, check out their debut album, Hell on Heels and download their newly released Annie Up. You'll soon be tapping your foot, bobbing your head to the beat.  After a drink or two, you may get to feeling invincible and perhaps even have the urge to start a bar fight. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hey, Sailor!

I don't know about you, but lately, I'm absolutely loving the red, white and blue nautical look.  Call me patriotic, but there's nothing like a bright pop of red and clean white mixed with a classic navy blue. It almost makes me want to break into a chorus of America, the Beautiful.  Perhaps I've been on a few cruises too many--or maybe I just like a traditional, all-American look.  Either way, I can't seem to get enough of striped tops and sundresses these days.

With summer fast approaching, and along with it, Texas's infamous 100+ degree temperatures, the nautical look couldn't be more appropriate.  Whether you layer a red cardigan over a white blouse with dark skinny jeans or rock a flirty striped navy/white dress with a red belt, you'll be totally on trend for the season. Keep it fresh with clean lines and dichromatic patterns, and then throw in a third color for an eye-catching pop.

J. Crew Coral Pencil Skirt, Zara Striped Tank, Pink Bubble Necklace - Stripes and Bubbles - Layla Asgari

Speaking of eye catching, as I wandered through the shoe department at Dillard's recently, I was drawn to these Gianni Bini T-strap sandals like a moth to a flame.  I couldn't put them down, and of course, once I tried them on, I was hooked.  I even adore their imitation Louboutin-esque red soles (since this may be as close as I ever get to owning a red-soled shoe). I typically pair them with a striped top and skinny jeans. As soon as I strap them on, my spirits are immediately lifted.
Gianni Bini Traci T-Straps

If you haven't already, set your sails on a red, white and blue nautical-themed outfit this summer.  Maybe even slap on a bright red lipstick for a retro, pinup-girl finish.  You don't need a private yacht to pull this look off--but it will sure make you feel like a million bucks.  Anchors aweigh!