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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | December, 2010
Archive - December, 2010

Happy New Year!

From: Twistie, Manolo, Raincoaster and the whole Manolosphere.
To: All the wonderful ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year! May it bring us more love than we can handle, more luck than we deserve and more overeager houseboys than allowed by state law.

Gin and Tonics,

Miss Plumcake

P.S. I’m taking off next week, Mama needs to have a little come undone. See you on the flip side!

The Big Question: It’s Not Me; It’s You Edition

Today is my little brother’s birthday. Blithely ignoring his HIGHLY questionable sartorial decision making skills–lest we forget the pinstripe gangster suit, complete with patent pleather faux spats and stupid bifurcated goatee– he is my favorite person.

It wasn’t always thus.

As a child I was sardonic, standoffish and prone to plumpness. He was athletic, charming and had the metabolism of a coked out whippet. He would say horrible things about my size. He wasn’t alone.

My great grandmother’s final words to me were “Have you always been that fat?” and my grandmother had a long and glorious career of telling me I was fat, in case it had escaped my attention every single day of my life since I was nine years old.

My mother, who had her own struggles with weight, called me “Fatso Fogarty” a name made all the more vicious because I remember her complaining bitterly about how much she hated being called that by her parents.

So what’s the point of all this dirty laundry?

Forgiveness.

Here’s the thing: People say stupid stuff. I say stupid stuff all the damn time and I’m one of the more thoughtful people I know. I’m sure I gave as good as I got when I was younger.

I’m not saying it’s okay and especially as adults we ought to know and thus do better, but it happens and I think it happens even more to fat women because weight is a huge (as it were) bugaboo for many many people and odds are some of those people are going to be in your family.

If you internalize that stuff, if you hold onto it and nurture it, it will poison you from the inside, and poisoning is only good when you do it to rats…or that lady who took the LAST fuchsia cashmere cardigan in your size even though there is no way on this or any other earth she could possibly wear fuchsia even HALF so well as you. Because seriously, with her coloring? It is to laugh. Sleep with one eye open, you sweaternabbing harpy.

But anyway, you’ve got to get past it.

Let’s switch gears for a second. My grandmother in Nashville loves gin and one night when I was out to dinner with my favorite uncle and his groovy wife at Equinox, I ordered a gin and tonic. He laughed and said I came by it honestly.

It’s been my experience that people come by their fat hate or disordered eating honestly.

It doesn’t make it okay to say hurtful things, but I’ve found that by understanding the backstory, it makes it easier to go “okay, well of course that’s what she’s going to say. That’s about her, not about me.”

The woman who grew up starving in the Depression might very well equate hunger and thinness with virtuousness, the woman who remembered being teased and miserable in school for being a fatty fatty boombalatty might be a leetle too invested and easily triggered when she sees her young daughter filling out a bit more fully than the rest of the kids.

As we complete the old year and look forward to the new, I invite you to think about a problematic relationship you’d like to resolve in 2011. Resolution can look like many things, not just hugs and lollipops. If you’d like to, put the information in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

Five Great: Long-Lasting, Waterproof Products

I don’t actually tend to wear a lot of makeup.

My skin ritual is pretty intense, especially with the blood of virgins being so hard to come by these days, but as far as daily cosmetic application goes, it pretty much begins and ends with me slapping on some lipgloss-type thing on my way to work.

Of course sometimes I get inspired by something on the catwalks or a new campaign and I adapt it for day, but for the most part any serious makeup application I do is for evening and generally doesn’t have to last more than four hours, which is why it doesn’t often occur to me to buy waterproof or “long-lasting” makeup.

Plus, and I don’t feel like I’m revealing the Ark of the Covenant here, but a lot of that 12 hour or supposedly waterproof stuff? Sucks.

The lip color is dry and flaky or it peels and is gross, the mascara is clumpy and impossible to remove without a wrecking permit and a half tub of Vaseline plus you blob it on your cheek anyway, and the eyeliner either peels or just doesn’t stay put.

BUT, what with the All Suffering All The Time theme we seem to have going at stately Chateau Gateau, it became clear that I needed at least a few products I could slap on my face and not think about for the rest of the day, even through massive crying jags. Thankfully I’ve found a handful of great products that not only can stand up to a tsunami of tears and ladylike dabbing of eyes, but also feel good on.

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner
There are a lot of great gel eyeliners out there but generally Clinique’s Brush-On liner or MAC’s Fluidline are considered the gold standard by makeup artists. This is as good, if not better, than Clinique’s and on par with MAC, with the bonus of being longer lasting and more smudgeproof.

The application of this is a dream, creamy and featherlight with absolutely no drag so it’s perfect for beginners or folks whose hands aren’t steady enough to draw a classic line with a more traditional liquid liner. It comes with a surprisingly decent brush and I got a perfectly respectable line out of it, but obviously use a professional brush for even better results.

I did a thick 60’s winged line to get that classic cat-eyed look and it stayed on flawlessly and with minimal transfer (transfer is when your eyeliner leaves a half-moon on your upper lid from when you blink) through gales of tears, and when I woke up the next morning, having forgotten to wash my face, it would’ve needed only a slight touch up to be presentation ready. It also stays in place on the waterline and leaves a dark, intense line. 10/10


Maybelline The Falsies Waterproof Mascara

Having given myself a few months off of lash extensions to let my natural lashes grow (and I was getting slightly bored of the look and the way it limited my makeup choices) I’d relied on some freebie Sephora mascara. It’s nice enough but runs if you look at it funny.

Since Maybelline’s brand was launched when a young man saw his sister mixing Vaseline and coal dust to enhance her lashes it’s really not a surprise they’d have such a good collection of mascaras. It’s a wetter formula than I’m used to, and unlike most of the waterproof mascaras I’ve known, you don’t wait until the first coat is dry to build up product. I didn’t have any clumps and the payoff was satisfyingly intense, not so intense as they’d actually be confused with false lashes, but still pretty darn good.

It would definitely benefit from a lash curler beforehand and a good eyelash comb after –then it might look like a false lash treatment– but even just a regular application looked pretty great. It did take more than a few seconds to dry so it’s not one I’d put on in the car –not that you’d be doing that anyway– but the spoon-shaped brush worked like gangbusters on the lower lashes, where it built up product but didn’t create spikes or clumps. It smudged a little after about 8 hours of considerable tears and tissues, and in the morning they were a bit clumpy, but an eyelash comb and a little clean up under the eye would’ve made it as good as new. 8/10


Sally Hansen Prep & Perfect Lipcare

I don’t think it’ll surprise anyone when I say I’ve got a lot of mouth. I’ve got big lips with a dramatic cupid bow shape, so I have to be careful when it comes to what I put on my lips because when it goes wrong –peeling or balling or chewed off– it goes wrong in a big way. Also I’m a big baby and I hate hate hate the way most long-lasting lip products feel.

I picked this up a few days ago because it was 75% off (I hope this doesn’t mean they’re discontinuing it!) and I thought it couldn’t hurt to try. Basically it’s a sort of cream base your put on your lips before applying color. It’s supposed to even out the texture of your skin and lock in color, effectively making all lip color long-lasting. I didn’t really have high hopes.

I figured it was either going to be gross or ineffective or both. Surprisingly, it’s tremendous.

You apply a thin layer with a little doe foot wand and let it set for about 30 seconds. It doesn’t feel like you’ve put anything on, or maybe a very light coating of creme lipstick. Then just apply your normal lip color or gloss. That’s it. I’ve used it under a lipstain, a creme lipstick, a traditional light gloss and an intensely pigmented gloss and it’s worked brilliantly under all of them.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that it makes a gloss last twelve hours, but it significantly lengthened the lives of all the products, and when I ate and drank it faded more evenly instead of looking splotchy or chewed-off and leaving that horrible ring. I used it under a creme lipstick and topped it with a highly pigmented gloss and the look stayed put with zero feathering for well over 12 hours. 9/10


Makeup Forever Mist and Fix Spray

Not waterproof or long-lasting per se, but rather a fixative that lengthens the life of your makeup application. I think I’ve recommended this before and it does work wonderfully.

Just spritz it over your finished makeup, or once you’ve done your foundation and again after you’re finished. However, a while ago I started experimenting with using it as a solution, mixing it with powder shadows or pure pigment for a sort of wash of color either on its own or as a base for a deeper color application.

It’s pretty spendy and I’m not sure I’ll get through the entire big bottle any time soon, but there’s a small travel-size bottle available that would be worth every penny.


Makeup Forever Aqua Cream Eyeshadow

Oh this is great stuff. I’ve only used the eye products, but this stuff feels like nothing, doesn’t crease and doesn’t budge.

Plus you can layer it so if you just want a light wash of some neutral just to look polished but not painted, you can do that. But if you want to build up to an intense color, either using another layer of the product or a powder on top that’s easy too.

I really like the #12 soft copper when I’m either doing a statement lip and need something to balance my face without going full-on show girl or when I want to focus on a defined liner look as opposed to an all-over smokey eye.

It sets in about a minute so if you’re doing fancy blending, be quickish about it. I used this when I did my heavy black liner the other night and it stayed put all day. 10/10

Remember, even on Christmas…


Nice girls don’t wear cha cha heels!

On behalf of Twistie, The Manolo, your pal Plummy and the whole darn Manolosphere: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

All I Want For Christmas

A Special Scarf

A few weeks ago I wrote about my totally healthy and in no way worrisome or restraining order-worthy obsession with “The Special One” Real Madrid manager and total silver fox Jose Mourinho and the puppet satire SpecialOneTV he inspired. I bemoaned my inability to find a Jose Mourinho bobblehead doll. Well, I found one, but it doesn’t have the Special Scarf. and what is a Special One doll without a Special Scarf? Nothing! I’m hoping one of my knitting friends will recreate for me a charcoal gray Armani wool muffler that would fit Jose. That’s healthy, right?

Candied Grapefruit Peel

Back in the heady days of 2008 a young Miss Plumcake very nearly got herself all married up to a French chef. Thankfully I received a stay of execution (although Andre was and shall remain a lambkins) but I still find myself yearning for his candied grapefruit peel. Working at a restaurant, plus the whole being-French thing means that he often rolled out of bed at the crack of noon and didn’t eat much in the way of breakfast. He kept a glass dome of little nibbly things on the kitchen counter. A few madeleines, a miniature palmier or two and several little stacks of candied grapefruit peel he made weekly. There is something about the almost mentholated coolness of the grapefruit oil with the crunch of the sugar and the chew of the peel. I’ve never been able to get them just right at home, so if you’ve got a tried and true recipe that will rival my Frenchman’s, put it in the comments!

Xabi Alonso

I don’t really need to explain this one, do I?

A Waffle with Scotch on It:

It’s a waffle. With Scotch on it. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate or rich old guys and Texas strippers. Some things just go together. First you take a proper waffle –I’m not talking Eggo or something made from a mix– and while your waffle is getting all gorgeous and golden brown, you melt some butter and a decent pinch of salt. When your waffle is ready, pour a respectable quantity of melted butter all over it. Then pour an equally respectable portion of your favorite Speyside single malt Scotch. I use a 10 year-old Macallan. Top off with just a drizzle of hot maple syrup (the real deal, of course) and if you’re feeling ambitious, some toasted pecans. I have this once a year, usually around this time and it never does me wrong. The butter/salt/Scotch/syrup treatment is also delightful on pancakes and steel-cut oats.

A Suitcase and a Satchel from Saddleback Leather Company

I don’t want to overstate it, especially since the Angel of Death has clearly rented a condo in my familial zipcode as of late, but I might actually D.I.E. DIE if I don’t get my covetous little mitts on a piece of Saddleback luggage. It’s possible I’ve revealed this about myself before, but I’ve got a Rugged Individualist streak as long as the Pecos and twice as wide so deliciously rugged objets like this, which appeal both to my aesthete (gorgeous leather, beautiful construction, elegant classical lines) and my inner John Wayne (boot leather, 100 year warranty, no breakable parts) get my motor running in no small way. Plus it gets better looking the more you kick it around.

So what are YOU hoping to find in an bearded guy’s sack? Put it in the comments!

‘Tis the Season for the Pinup Queen


How To Be a Pinup Model – Release Your Inner Bombshell!– Hair, makeup and posing tutorials (just for fun!) from two gals who have made their careers in cheesecake.

Bonjour Roll-Up Skinny Jean – Get double duty out of these jeans. Keep them long and wear them with your knee-high boots (though NOT to a funeral!) or French cuff them into the classic pinup pant. Wear with heels and prepare to devastate.

Red and Black Lace Shaping Slip – How hot is this? So hot you’ll forget it’s shapewear.

Thick Strip Eyelashes – Any burlesque queen worth her pasties will tell you the MOST important cosmetic element of the pinup style is a nice thick set of false strip lashes. Go for a thick fringe of more or less uniform length. This might be the ONE time I’ll tell you to model yourself after Katy Perry, not Liza “spiderlashes” Minelli.

Be sure to check back at the main ‘Tis the Season page to look back on profiles you’ve missed and look forward to ones that are soon to come!

‘Tis the Season for the Animal Lover

Lillibed Unbreakable Porcelain Bowl – Remember how I wrote a few days ago about not having stuff that you don’t just love? Well, that includes dog bowls. This one is lovely and –at least theoretically– unbreakable.

Waifs and Strays Document Capsule -I’m not much into animal faffery (except that time I put Dozer in an Hermès scarf because it was all sweaty and gross and I thought he’d enjoy it) but this is an unusual and elegant alternative to pet tags. The little inch-long leather and brass capsule holds your pet’s information. Actually, it’d be a pretty good little pill bottle for your own key chain.

Cece Kent Pet Carrier -If you’re doing to be one of Those People you might as well do it tastefully.

La Cinopelca Leather Short Lead – A good leather lead is worth its weight in gold. This is a quite short one, for when you’ve got your animal in your arms or an open-top carrier. However their longer leather leads (say that five times fast) are quality as well.

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