The Gilded Aesthetic

The Gilded Aesthetic : January 2010

The Gilded Aesthetic

Monday, January 25, 2010

South Beach Power

I know I said I would report on my weight loss earlier (and I'm sure every one of you was waiting with bated breath, haha), but I decided to give it to my tenth day. And I am so glad I did.

I have lost six pounds!

The South Beach Diet is the way to go. I seriously think it's how human beings are meant to eat. Protein, veggies, and limited amounts of dairy. For most of us, bad carbs are simply not something our bodies need. Just look at how fat this country is; all we eat is carby, processed foods.

If you are looking to lose weight, try this diet. Drink lots of water, green tea, take supplements, and weight train. As the pounds fall off, muscles will appear and ripple beautifully. I also recommend yoga. It strengthens you, tones, and gives you a great sense of balance/peace.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hangover 101: Reviving Your Lusciousness

Be it due to a late night (along with a few too many salty margaritas!) or uneasy sleep, waking up puffy and lackluster will ruin your entire day. Here are some tips and tricks for salvaging your face and body:

1. Enjoy a tall glass of water. I'm talking about cool, pure H2O. Sip a big glass slowly and steadily. Water is reviving. I can't stress enough how good it is for you. It moisturizes your skin and insides, and washes away salt and toxins. It's your best friend.

2. Preparation H isn't just for your bodacious bottom; it eliminates puffiness and gives you a virtual face lift. Pat it gently around your eyes and the rest of your face.

3. Need to wake up? Stand in an ice-cold shower. This is a marvelous shock to your system. As an extra perk, it firms skin and adds shine to your mane.

4. Take an Omega 3 Fish Oil STAT! This little sucker will not only help your heart, but make you luminous.

5. Recline on a couch or bed for ten minutes with two slices of raw cucumber over each eye. Make sure to elevate your feet. After your time is up, lean over and dangle your head. Massage your scalp and enjoy as blood rushes to your head.

6. Slide some moisturizing cream over your face. I recommend Oil of Olay's moisturizing lotions. They make your skin soft, plump, and healthy-looking. They absorb fabulously into your skin too.

7. Makeup covers all sins. If you're in a pinch or too weak to do much, just swipe your lashes with good mascara, pinken those cheeks with some blush, and apply lip gloss.

8. Take some Vitamin C, either in pill form or fruit.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Gilded Aesthetic's Guide to Fake Designer Bags

I will admit I've been duped before, but that experience has only given me exceptional skills at recognizing fake designer bags. While it can be difficult to overcome the excitement of encountering a purported Louis Vuitton or Chanel for a steal, you will hone your skills at discerning fakes if you try to be more discriminating and not give in to cheap copies. Here's how you do it:

1. Consider the environment. Are the bags thrown together on wall pegs? Are they jumbled on top one another in a bin? Is the store an independent hole-in-the-wall?

2. Feel the bags. Do they feel heavy or light? Is the stitching irregular and messy? Does the "leather" really feel like leather... or plastic? You will be amazed at how quickly you can discern a replica from a real bag just by holding it. If it feels smooth, luxurious, and heavy, it may be real. If it feels cheap and light, with bad stitching and a huge logo smacking you in the face, it's probably fake.

3. Study originals. Louis Vuitton never attaches tags to their bags, nor do they have dust jackets with certain logo styles. Make sure you know how a genuine designer bag is presented.

4. Is the price too good to be true? It's fake. If you aren't shopping around for a pre-owned vintage bag, then you aren't going to get a new luxury bag for a steal. People know what they have and they won't let it go cheaply. I gave in to temptation and purchased an LV that turned out to be fake. Don't let this happen to you. You will never get a real LV for under $100 dollars unless you are buying vintage or pre-owned, and even then I advocate getting profusive assurance from the seller that it's genuine. Most sellers will own up to a bag being fake if pressed. Even then, it's highly unlikely that you will get a vintage LV for so low a price. They are super hot and people will milk this for all they can.

If you want a designer bag, budget and save. Go without the daily Starbucks. Cut back on skincare products. Save your pennies. Make a special fund for your bag. You will get it at some point, so just save, save, save!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haute Look

Thanks to Jen for sharing this on her blog!

Haute Look offers designer items at extraordinary markdowns. But hurry! Items sell out quick, so you have to jump on them immediately. They are running an Urban Decay Makeup event right now and the prices are super cheap. For the luxury-lover, there's a new Cartier event. Oh, to dream.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Twin Beauties: Violet and Daisy Hilton

I watched Tod Browning's "Freaks" yesterday, a highly controversial film from the 1930's. Browning used a cast largely comprised of actual sideshow freaks, and the film was banned not long after its release. One woman sued the film makers, claiming that she suffered a miscarriage after watching it. That's not so unbelievable; the film is shocking and I can't imagine how it affected audiences in the 30's.

I was doing a little research on the film and came across the sad story of Violet and Daisy Hilton, conjoined twins and stars of the film. They were born to a barmaid in Brighton, England in 1908. Their mother's employer "bought" the girls and proceeded to shop them around as an attraction. The girls were forced to call her "Auntie Lou" and her husband "Sir." The girls never saw a dollar of what they made and were beaten severely for tiny infractions. When "Auntie Lou" died, the girls discovered they had been "willed" to her husband and daughter. Luckily, they were falsely sued in a divorce case and taken to see a lawyer, who asked "Sir" to leave the room. As soon as he left, they begged and pleaded for help. At long last, the girls had gained independence.

After "Freaks," the girls toured around up into the 1960's. They were at a drive-in theater in Charlotte, North Carolina when their agent abandoned them with no money and no means of transportation. They stayed in Charlotte and got jobs at a grocery store, living in a trailer. In 1969, their employer went to their house after not hearing from them for a few days and called the police, who busted open the door. Violet and Daisy were dead and curled up on a heating grate in the hallway (probably to keep warm). Daisy had died first, while Violet lingered on for two to four days after.

I can't imagine such a life, nor can I imagine being attached to my dead sister for two to four days. Here's to the Hilton Sisters, who were dealt a crappy hand in life. They were beautiful girls!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

All Eyes on You! Two Makeup Looks to Master

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eye makeup is the window dressing. Your eye makeup will serve as your greatest tool when it comes to your current mood and what you want to project. There are several fool- proof looks you can always turn to, especially when you're crunched for time or need a look that will impress without a lot of experimentation and stress.

Smokey Eye (aka Mafia Queen, aka Sexpot, aka Bond Girl)

To start, select a good eyelid primer that isn't too thick and which is close to your natural skin tone. Primer will help makeup adhere to your skin for a long-lasting look. After application, choose a base shadow. If you want a more brownish, or natural eye, go for a neutral brown or taupe. It's always a good idea to layer several shadows, because this will give your eye depth. You could start with a white shadow all over the lid up to your brow bone, followed by a darker brown along the lower lid. Blend this like there's no tomorrow. You want to be careful that the white shadow isn't too heavy or pale. Some people love to follow with eyeliner, but I find that liner fades when applied to my top eyelid. Whatever works for you. Follow with several swipes of dark, volumizing mascara. I love this look for day time, and I always line my bottom lid with a rich brown. It's not too dramatic for day, but heavy enough that it looks as if you've put in an effort.

A more dramatic look for night time can be achieved with darker shadows. Try dark brown, black, and dark green. Lancome makes excellent shadows and I've found that dark green looks super sexy. You can be a little more messy with this look. Layer, layer, layer! Go heavy on your bottom lid. Beef those lashes up with some great mascara. Again, Lancome makes excellent eye makeup products.

Pinup Eye (aka Cheesecake Chic, Glamour Girl, Betty Grable)

This is a beautiful, classic look and perfect for day time. This is what epitomized "cheesecake" and pinup beauty in the old days.

Start with primer and then cover eye from lower lid to brow bone with white, light taupe, or a subtle pink. Next take a light brown and blend gently from lower lid up to mid. The idea is to make sure this blends smoothly into the lighter shade. Then take some black liquid liner and starting at the inner eye, draw a line out to the end of your lash line, extending further if you prefer. Follow with some black or brown mascara. I like to swipe my lower lashes with mascara as well, making sure to separate each lash. This will open your eyes up and make them pop!

As a side note, you can follow with some bright red lipstick or a subtle coral color.

I love this look. It's classic, easy, and looks good on most people.

And there you have it! Two gorgeous looks, tried and tested by moi, and easily mastered.

* Don't get frustrated. Eye makeup takes time to master, but anybody can learn to get it right. Practice and experiment to get the look you love.

* Never line your inner lid (the area directly under your eyelashes) with liner. This could lead to eye infections and irritation.

* Not all shadows are made alike. There are good and bad ones out there. Good ones will be vibrant, smooth, and adhere to your skin. Bad ones will be dull, thick, and messy. Again, I highly recommend Lancome's eyeshadows.

* There's nothing wrong with using your fingers to apply shadow. Just wash your hands prior. You may find the application is easier and smoother with the pads of your fingers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Bevy of Blogs

Phew! How refreshing to find that there are other like-minded bloggers out there!

Check out Kitsch-Slapped, a blog which proves feminists really do have a sense of humor! Specializing in "bad taste," the blog offers observations on the media, relationships, and beauty. The articles are delightful. I love makeup and beauty tips from all walks of life, and this article on the beauty tricks of sex workers hit my naughty spot! Hit up the bloggers' other sites too!

Sweet, Mysterious Feast, my sister's blog, is a delightful smorgasbord of beauty, whimsy, and insightful ponderings. An aesthetical and intellectual orgasm! Oh, and did I mention that SMF is hosting a giveaway contest? Enter for a chance to win a sweet set of wine glasses, but hurry! Winner will be drawn on Monday the 11th.

Saints Marilyn, Ava, and Elizabeth! Ok, not only does this blogger like Stephen King, but she designs gorgeous jewelry. Check out Pretty Things for pretty baubles and book reviews. This blog has reminded me that I've got to get back into Stephen King. Oh, and I totally want some pie too. I could eat two right now.

Damn my acting aspirations and unattainable self-standards! Die, fat, die! To the next blog!

Speaking of the wide world of entertainment and fashion, get a gander at these two beauties. Both are devoted to fashion and regularly showcase a medley of designer duds. I dig their high fashion passion! Jennifhsieh and The Pink Boudoir regale us with wonderfully-crafted details of garments and provide us with gorgeous imagery. Perfect considering I just watched a documentary on Valentino!

Megan Fox: Our Current Idol

I've not always been a fan of Megan Fox and while I still wouldn't qualify myself as one, I do recognize that the girl looks amazing. I watched "Jennifer's Body" and was constantly astonished by how beautiful she really is, despite the perpetual smirk on her face. Her hair is amazing, her skin is beautifully sun-kissed, her eyes are bright blue, and she has a great bod. She does have the look of someone a little too manufactured, a tad too fake, but she's still gorgeous.

In my research of her beauty habits, I found a plethora of questions from girls asking how they can look like her. I also found articles on how to make yourself more like Megan Fox. Here's what I think about that:

We should all want to be as beautiful and well-tended as Ms. Fox. However, we should look like ourselves. Wanting to look like Megan Fox is setting yourself up for major self-criticism and disgust because, well, our faces are put together so individually and uniquely that you will never look exactly like her. This will make you view yourself as a failure. You will never see Megan Fox in the mirror, but you can see yourself looking fabulous and sexy.

If you want to have a similar l00k, here are my ideas:

* Megan Fox has slightly tanned skin. I used to sneer at tan skin, but like it so much now that I've purchased subtle tanning moisturizer and lotion to get a glow. Tan skin can make a huge difference in your appearance. If you have light eyes, tanned skin will bring them out (as in Megan's case). When your skin is pale, you may focus on how dark or thick your brows look. When you're tan, you can give yourself some leniency when it comes to brows. Brows should be dark if your skin is tanner. I recommend Jergen's tanning products. They make you glow beautifully.

* Exercise. Megan is in excellent shape.

* Sauna. Megan has very sleek face and body structure. Sweating profusely will get rid of any puffiness in your flesh and skin, making you appear sleeker. It will also make you as soft as a baby's butt.

* Your hair should be long, thick, and shiny. The look can be either wavy/curled or straight and sleek. Carol's Daughter products are some of my favorites. Garnier also makes a good shine serum. If you really want to get the MF thang going on, darken your hair.

* Your makeup should stand out. Megan's lashes are hella long, so either use falsies or find a good serum. Use several coats of volumizing mascara. Shadow should be neutral brown and always use black or brown liner. Megan often wears pink lipgloss, which looks AMAZING with tanned skin.

The Top of the Shops

One of my guiltiest pleasures is online shopping. Shopping on foot just can't compare to the ease and comfort of purveying the internet's treasures. With my recent acquisition of a debit card, I have gone slightly bonkers. Fortunately, I haven't completely depleted my coffers and am on the way to rebuilding them, but I still like to look for future purchases.

Forever 21 is great for cute, well-made, and inexpensive items. I've bought two hats and several undergarments from them. Their accessories are ridiculously cheap and you can always find some articles of clothing for less than $20 dollars. Check out this adorable Bow Accent Beret for just $6.80!

Skin Store is one of the best places to order beauty products. They have great prices (often cheaper than Sephora) and offer a diverse variety. I've purchased creams, hair masks, and scrubs from them. Their holiday promotional deals were excellent! I'm lusting after this Philip B Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo. Looks luxurious! Unfortunately, I can't justify spending over $100 dollars for shampoo!

Etsy is a diverse collection of vintage and hand-made items. You can find everything from jewelry to corsets to designer bags (I'm eagerly awaiting a Fendi bag in the mail!). Artists and craftspeople can showcase their work, and there are tons of vintage goodies. I bought my purse and a gorgeous pair of earrings for my sister from Etsy! Check out this beautiful coral necklace of a horse and foal. So delicate and pretty!

The Vermont Country Store is an underrated gem! They carry all sorts of rare beauty products, tools, toys, and candy. Their specialty is tracking down beloved items from the past. If a customer loved a specific shampoo in the 70's and enough people want to see it brought back, TVCS will find it and sell it for ridiculously reasonable prices! This Rosebud Salve looks like it will give you a pretty pout.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Gilded Aesthetic's Guide to Fantabulousness

Here are some ideas on cultivating an air of fantabulousness.

* Study yourself. What do you like about your face? Which angle makes you look the best? Are your brows as groomed as they can be? Should they be thicker for a dramatic look, or thinner for glamour? Should you embrace your pale skin? Or should you nurture a tannish glow? What colors would complement your features and complexion? Is your hair long or short? What color? Would it look better with another style or a different length? Consider all the possibilities for showing off and enhancing your best features. Your face and body belong to you. Make a fun project of showcasing them!

* In the same spirit of showcasing yourself, play around to find a signature "look" or "staple" that makes you unique and individualized. It could be a tan, a hairstyle, a certain piece of jewelry, a hat, acrylic nails, a designer bag, a streak of gray through the hair, a ribbon around the neck, a particular perfume (mine tends to be Angel by Thierry Mugler) a funny t-shirt, buccaneer boots, red lips... The possibilities are ENDLESS! Even if you feel like your self-care and image are lax, if you find an identifying "beauty badge" you will not only have something to build a look around, but something unique that people will admire about you. For example, I work with this girl who wears the most amazing vintage peasant blouses every day. She combs through thrift stores and her attic to find these things. She found an old muumuu, liked it, and had her grandmother take the bottom off to make it a shirt! Umm, is that not amazing? Love a specific designer? Let that designer serve as your Beauty Badge (if you're lucky enough to afford them!) . There are so many things you can do!

* Sometimes we let the drudgeries of life cloud our perception of ourselves and our fantabulousness. We have to deal with work, financial worries, family, our health... We sometimes feel dumpy and unattractive. Beauty and glamour can seem like an entire other world we can't take part in. Fight these feelings! Create your own space. Nay, create your own temple. Your temple could be your body, which you pamper and nourish, or your home. Take a nap, sweat in a sauna, luxuriate in a fragrant bath of hot water (but not too hot! Remember my lessons about hot water!). Surround yourself with candles, good food, good scents, good books, and good movies. Turn your bedroom into a sexy boudoir. Strip naked and drape yourself in your finest jewels! Create an experience for yourself.

To sum up:

* Know thyself.

* Distinguish thyself.

* Indulge thyself.

A Sweet, Mysterious Giveaway!

Hop on over to Sweet, Mysterious Feast to possibly score some gorgeous wine glasses! This is Frasier's first giveaway and the glasses are sublime, so what are you waiting for? Enter for a chance to win these beauties! Or I'll curse you with chronic acne and saggy bosoms! I'll do it, too. Just watch.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gomatta Girls

Ladies, I have died and gone to mob-girl heaven!

From the bullet-shaped buttons to the "Hitlist" (mailing list), this shop has it all for the discriminating mafianista! I had dared to dream there may exist such a place and lo, here it is. You'll find it all: beautiful clothing, shoes, accessories, personal care products, and an awesome blog. I am simply in love with both the idea and the items! Shop here and Adriana La Cerva won't have nothing on you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mafia Couture

Virginia Hill definitely had a hand in it. Debra Gravano, perhaps. And Carmella Soprano? She brought it to us on a weekly basis. That's right, ladies, I'm talking about Mafia Couture.

Say anything you want about Mafia ladies, you can't deny they've got STYLE. Perfectly coiffed, faces expertly caked with makeup, sparkling bling, designer dudes. These women craft and maintain an impeccable image. While they can look tacky, at least they take care of themselves. Mafia ladies, or any well-to-do guidette from New Jersey (or its affiliate areas), generally look like a million bucks. They epitomize glamour and high maintenance perfection, not to mention they excite us with their close association with dangerous mobsters.

"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" is one of the best of the television phenomenon, coming second only to the New York series. You have Caroline, Dina, Jacqueline, Teresa, and Danielle. The first two are definitely mobbed up, despite their protestations. Their father-in-law was executed in a mob hit! Teresa carries thousands of dollars, COLD HARD CASH, on her person at all times and her husband has a "construction business." Yeah, sure. Danielle was involved with a corrupt cop and was a major figure in a book written about said cop. All five women live in massive homes of marble, onyx, and crystal. And lest we forget Caroline's reference to "the family" every ten seconds.

Regardless, they're all fabulous and highly comical. Teresa and Dina are my favorites, the former flaunting her wealth at every turn, as well as a tight, tanned body she claims is completely natural. This Mafia Queen doesn't work for what she's got, it's just perfect as is. She does, however, possess a chest as flat as a pancake. This calls for a visit to the ps and a new set of "bubbies." Dina, the only blue-eyed blonde, seems to be the most down-to-earth, friendly one of the bunch. She is devoted to her daughter, as well as a children's charity she works on tirelessly (I'm a facebook fan of both these women. Teresa updates constantly with daughter Gia's modeling assignments, while Dina asks for donations and attendees for her charity events).

They may be superficial, tacky, and oftentimes belligerent, but they are hella fun to watch. Mafia Couture to the extreme.

If you want to look like these women, here are some ideas:

* You must always take great pains with your makeup. Eye makeup especially should be heavy.

* You gotta get your nails done. You have two options. You can either go the goomar route and have colored, or otherwise flamboyant nails, or you can emulate a mafia wife with a basic french, or lighter hued nails. Whichever you choose, your nails MUST be long. Longer than necessary.

* Go to the salon. Hair must be big! Either piled on top your head or voluminous around your shoulders. Some blonde highlights won't hurt. For the dedicated, a perm may be in order.

* You must be tan. Any self-respecting mob girl is tan. Even if she has naturally dark skin, she goes to the tanning bed. Or applies tanning lotion at home.

* Wear your finest bling. Have a few sparklies on both hands. Big earrings.

* Dress well. If you can't afford Versace, you can still look like a high roller.

There you have it. Throw in some wine, antipasto, and a man in a track suit. You'll be singing "Mambo Italiano" in your sleep!