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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | March, 2012
Archive - March, 2012

What’s Up In the Fatosphere

Well, my little chickadees, I didn’t win last night’s Mega Millions six hundred freaking millions jackpot, so I guess it’s back to work for me today, isn’t it?

Oh well.

Don’t worry. I’m not in need of an intervention. I spent a whole two bucks, which I could just as easily have spent on a decent quality bar of chocolate or a small espresso drink.

What? A girl’s gotta dream sometimes.

Anyway.

Back to it.

It’s been an exciting couple weeks in the Fatosphere. There’s been a lot of good stuff going down, and here are a few examples.

Deb Burgard PhD did a lovely post at the Health at Every Size blog analyzing a recent study done on the Jenny Craig program by the folks at – you guessed it! – Jenny Craig. The title? How to Photoshop a Research Study.

The Fat Nutrutionist has been doing a fabulous series on eating without drama that is a must read. She published the seventh lesson, Finding Fullness, the other day. If you haven’t read it, I suggest doing so now… as well as the other lessons in the series, particularly the one on giving yourself permission and the one on nutrition agnosticism.

Back to the Health at Every Size blog, Dr. Linda Bacon has some great tips for de-stigmatizing your workplace.

Not actually a codified part of the Fatosphere, but I loved this article by Kate of Eat the Damn Cake on her musings about Fifty Shades of Grey. Oh, and while you’re in the neighborhood, check out her gallery of women eating cake. Beyond delicious.

Five Great: (Very) Personal Care Products Under $12

Aside from Catherine Zit-a Jones, my monthly pimple pal, I’ve had relatively unearned luck when it comes to the body’s largest organ.

It seems along with her pointy chin and penchant for morning martinis, my grandmother –who subscribes to the Keith Richards school of nicotine and alcohol consumption and looks a full twenty years younger than she is (which is forty years younger than she has the right to)– bestowed upon me her preternaturally good skin.

Unfortunately, stress and a complete environmental change have let slip the dogs of clogged pores and your previously porcelain pal Plummy has found herself in need of some serious skin care.

So too has Hot Latin Boy, whose flawless smoldering face has gone all Vesuvius.

He insists he never had so much as a blemish before he met me.

I assured him it was probably a result of his hormones going into hyperdrive from all the sweet, sweet lovin’ he’s been getting and the best course of action would be to cut way back on the international relations. He backpaddled so hard he nearly tripped over my dog.

Despite evidence to the contrary –last night I plucked an unusual yellow fruit the size of a jumbo olive from a neighbor’s tree and blithely popped it in my mouth before realizing I had no idea what that particular morsel was or whether in fact it was edible– I’m not much of a risk-taker when it comes to my health so I opted to order from drugstore.com where I knew my potions would be approved under the boring-but-important FD&C and FPLA (Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, respectively).

For all I know, Mexico could be just as strict as the US when it comes to their equivalent of the FDA, but I don’t especially want to take that risk quite yet.


Nivea Creme Travel Tin

I think I’ve mentioned these pocket-sized wonders before, but they deserve all the praise my freshly moisturized hands can throw at them.

I buy them by the dozen and stash them everywhere.

There’s at least one in every handbag, in all of my coats, a few in the car and one by my bed. What makes them so brilliant is their portability. They’re slim enough to keep in your pocket or bag without taking up much room, and since it’s a tin and not a tube, it’s virtually leak proof.

Recently I’ve been using it when I go to the beach to protect my face against chapping in the wind and to replenish the moisture lost in my hands from all the salt air. They’re also dead handy to have around when I want to partake in street food and either have to use my own disinfectant wipes (harsh) or the combination powdered hand and dish soap (harsher) provided by the taco joint in question.

That way I can have clean hands and still enjoy my taco without my cuticles painfully turning into papyrus. Plus they’re dead cheap and seemingly last forever. What’s not to love?


Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleansing Pads

I’m a little sensitive to both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, two of the most common active ingredients in OTC acne treatments. Nothing especially terrible happens, I don’t develop leprosy or break out in hives, just a little peeling, but I still try to avoid them when possible.

Tea tree oil has always been good to me as has witch hazel; these little astringent pads contain both.

They are outstanding.

What they’re not, however, are cleansing pads. I always think of cleansing pads as something to replace your face wash. These are more like Oxy pads for grown ups, and I’d use them in place of a toner or astringent.

I really like the pads themselves, which are just scratchy enough to feel like you’re getting a good rigorous bit of exfoliation, and although the witch hazel/denatured alcohol/tea tree oil does tingle, it feels reassuringly strident without making my skin peel or go red, even if I forget to moisturize after.

It’s pretty good bang for your buck too, 50 pads will set you back just over five smackeroos and they can be used as middle-of-the-day skin refreshers too.

Alpha Hydrox AHA Enhanced Anti-Wrinkle Creme

Man this is great stuff.

I remember back in the day you could go to Walgreen’s for your middle-of-the-night PMS run (spice drops, Coca Cola and beef jerky) and get a nice-sized vat of Alpha Hydrox creme for like six bucks on sale.

I would slather it all over my body and then do a dry brush/salt scrub whenever I was feeling particularly crusty and gross.

It worked like gangbusters and I’d emerge from my bath looking just as fresh and pink as a pig in buttermilk.

They’ve either discontinued or reformulated that particular product, but this moisturizer with 10% pure Glycolic Acid –an alpha hydroxy acid naturally found in sugar cane– holds its own when it comes to gently reducing fine lines, spots and improving the tone and texture of your skin, even on delicate petals like me.

HLB has been using this in combination with the tea tree wipes for two weeks and his complexion has almost completely cleared, plus the dark spots blemishes leave behind for a month after a breakout have faded considerably.

I’ve mostly noticed an improvement of tone in my skin and the few fine lines that appear in my forehead whenever I’m particularly stressed or dehydrated have vanished.

I’ve put these last two products behind the jump because they’re a bit intimate in nature, but I get a surprising number of emails about products like these, so here we go.

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Whisky Tango Foxtrot: The Shbootie of Darkness

Happiest of humpdays, friends and lovers!

First of all, great big globs of appreciation go out to everyone who helped with my query yesterday.  I think the easiest plan of action is to bring her a dress that’s very similar to the one I want –albeit with a slightly different neckline– and have her copy that. I’m also up to my ears in fantastic fabrics, so I’m not sure whether to curse or kiss each one of you.

But my love/hate relationship with cotton lawn is not why you’re here. No, you’re coming for the Whisky and staying for the Tango Foxtrot.

I’m not going to lie: If these Sophie Gittins offerings were court shoes instead of peep-toed shbooties I would probably actually like them and, were they on serious sale, I might even add them to the Advanced Fashion Novelty division of the Plumcake Permanent Collection.

Don’t judge me.

But they’re not, so I won’t.

(you’re still judging me, aren’t you?)

What I WILL do is ask you for the situation where these shoes would be the only possible solution to your wardrobe emergency. I’ll be awarding extra points to anyone who includes references to Apocalypse Now or, for my fellow classicists, Heart of Darkness. No “The Horror” though…too easy.

DIY Dames: Miss Plumcake Needs Your Help

Unless you’ve lived in a developing nation –and having been here for almost four months I’m clearly an expert– it’s almost impossible to understand the depth and pervasiveness of poverty in a third world country. If you think the line between the haves and have-nots are drawn distinctly in America, they’re hacked apart with a machete here south of the border.

Work is hard to find here, especially for those who didn’t have access to a high school education, and doubly so for women, many (most?) of whom are responsible for raising at least one if not several children, not necessarily just their own.

Many women here learned how to sew out of necessity.

Farther south on the mainland the embroidery done by Oaxacan women is beautiful, intricate and justifiably spendy but almost any abuela will be able to whip up a simple dress in her kitchen using a treadle machine (they still sell those here).

It turns out a simple dress is exactly what I need.

Were I not completely hopeless when it comes to all needle vs thread endeavors, I bet I could draft the pattern with relative ease.

A fitted sweetheart bustier-style bodice with thick straps –adjustable to either tie as a halter or attach criss-cross at the back via hidden buttons– would give way to a wide set-in waist and blossom out to a very full skirt just below the knee.

Something like these from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2012 rtw show, except you know, not see through or a two-piece. Okay, at least not a two-piece.

Yes, I realize I could get this made in China for practically no money.

Heck I could probably buy it off eBay for less than the materials might cost me, but there’s a wonderful woman I’ve come to know here and when it rains her whole family sleeps huddled together because it’s the only place where the corrugated tin ceiling doesn’t leak.

Much.

She has agreed to make me some dresses, I just have to provide her with the fabric.

I’m not sure whether she’ll want a pattern as well, I assume she does, which is why I’m coming to you.

Will someone, anyone, point me in the direction of a true plus-sized pattern that fits my specs? Heck, will someone point me in the direction of any plus size patterns at all that aren’t unendurably mumsy and frumped out? I know they’ve got to be out there. Vintage reproductions maybe?

Barring that, does anyone have a place they particularly like for apparel-quality fabric?
I’m particularly looking for retro or novelty prints. A girl’s got to have a sense of whimsy, right?

I’d be forever in your debt.

Inspiration/Realization: Something’s Gotta Give

Poor sweet Norma Jean died before completing the 1962 romcom Something’s Gotta Give, but not before leaving behind a few tantalizing test shots, like this wardrobe test featuring the radiant Miss M in a black and white bombshell dress.

The equally divine Miss Charles Busch admitted he had Marilyn’s dress in mind when he asked Michael Bottari and Ronald Case to design the famous black and white number for his smash satire Die, Mommie! Die! where he plays aging star Angela Arden whose career is as dead as her husband is about to be.

and now Coldwater Creek (I know, no I know, but I went through the whole catalog without coming down with early-onset menopause, maybe I’m just lucky) is offering a very pretty variation on the black and white floral theme.

This can easily be a four season dress. A pair of sweet heels and a clutch in sherbet colors makes it perfect for Spring. Little sandals for Summer, pumpkin skimmers (and maybe a thin ivy belt?) for Autumn and Winter is a no-brainer with screaming red stilettos and coordinating cardi.

 

Excuse Me, But I Didn’t Order a Side of Body Shame With That

When Mr. Twistie and I eat out, we have a few tried and true places we tend to go to. These are places that have good food at reasonable prices, and where we feel taken care of. In fact, the place where we breakfast every saturday morning is just two blocks from our home and everyone there knows our names, as well as what we’re going to drink with our meals (latte for me, iced tea for him). For the past two years I’ve even baked the proprietor’s birthday cake. She adores lemon pound cake.

So when we’re eating out, we usually are in very safe waters where we know what to expect.

For one reason and another, though, we’ve found ourselves going out to some less familiar places of late. Some have been fabulous. There was the little Brazilian place where the owner greeted us like family and the seafood risotto was a dream. Some have been… less fabulous, but at least not a horrible experience. And let’s face it, not every restaurant can blow me away with the food they produce.

Then there’s the phenomenon I’ve run across several times in the past few months that really gets under my skin.

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Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Getting’ Jiggy Edition: The Results

How do all you out there in Big Girl Land! I hope your week was fun.

Anyway.

Last sunday, I thrust this deathless image under your very noses and instructed you to inhale deeply without question:

Three of you came back swinging with captions for it.

They were all good. They were all funny. But in the end there can be only one winner. This week the winner is the inimitable Rusty for this paean to good attitudes in bad times:

Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids aren’t letting the recession bring them down…

Congratulations, Rusty! And thanks to everyone who played.

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