Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

January 21, 2011

Fat Foot Week! Five Great: Tall Boots for the Fatted Calf

Filed under: Boots,Five Great...,Wide-width Shoes — Miss Plumcake @ 4:52 pm

You know what? “Wide calf” boots can just go ahead and bite me. They SAY “wide calf” but are like, 16″ instead of 14″ and it makes me insane. I do not have freakishly large calves and they are almost pure muscle –which is what happens when a girl genetically predispositioned to muscular calves goes to college built into the side of a mountain– so WHY is it so damn hard to find boots that fit my damn legs?

I get SO. MANY. EMAILS. asking for a good pair of knee high boots for under $100. Honestly I think that’s aiming a little low for a real leather boot, even if it is made in China, but it shouldn’t be impossible to find an at least marginally better than average quality solid leather –I HATE those stupid elastic panels– boot for $200.

Which brings me to the subject of Good Boots.

There are some shoes where you can cheap out. Fabric evening shoes? You can get a nice pair of Nina’s for $60 and no one’s the wiser, but boots take up too much visual space and attention to go cheap and cheap boots look cheap. Which isn’t to say I didn’t wear the hell out of my white stretch vinyl boots when I was doing burlesque-flavored go-go on the weekends (good times) but that is not this.

Obviously you could go with calf-fit boots from Duo. Right now they’re having a HUGE honking sale so this might be your best bet if you’re looking to buy boots right now.

That being said,  I also have been Less Than Impressed with the Duo customer service. I ordered two pairs of boots on January 1st. They warned that shipments to the US might take a bit longer than the seven day delivery thanks to slowdown in customs. But it’s been 15 business days since I ordered them and they haven’t even made it through customs. Not only did they not send a tracking number automatically (and doesn’t EVERYONE do that these days?) when I contacted customer service they were not especially polite or friendly.

They finally provided me with tracking numbers. Turns out my boots haven’t even made it through customs yet, and I find it awfully unusual that I can get a pair of shoes shipped from Italy and have them get through customs in two days, but these boots from England are taking the better part of a week.

And interestingly, when I asked where exactly the boots were made, the response was “Our boots are made in small family owned factories throughout Southern Europe, using leather sourced from Italy.” and that sounds juuust a little shady to me, because to me when you say Southern Europe instead of Spain or Italy that means Turkey and Croatia and I’m just not super comfortable with the idea of boots being made in non-EU European countries. Anyway, I had two DUO boots listed as recommended, but they’ve left a bad taste in my mouth, I’m taking them off until I get the boots (and they had better be PERFECTION).

ANYHOODLE let’s have some boots, shall we?

January 20, 2011

Fat Foot Week! Five Great: Heels for Day

Filed under: Five Great...,Stuart Weitzman makes 'em wider,Wide-width Shoes — Miss Plumcake @ 3:00 pm

Day heels are a big blind spot for me. I mean sure I’ve got ’em, I’ve been bouncing around all day in a pair of 4 1/2″ DVF peep toes that I can wear for 8 hours without a pinch and I wish I’d bought them in every color, but when it comes time to drop bank on shoes, I’ll usually pass by the day shoes because they’re not special enough to justify that sort of money. Don’t let this happen to you. Splurging on top-quality day shoes is an excellent investment as your cost-per-wear is lower and as we all know, an expensive shoe can make a bargain basement outfit look posh, but a cheap heel will ruin your head-to-toe Dior.

I like to err on the side of basic when it comes to a day heel, particularly if I’m wearing it to the office, because it’s more about polish than fashion. I’ve found if you go too capital F Fashion at most offices you run the risk of the Fabulous overshadowing the Competent.

On to the shoes!

The first offering that’s About The Look and not about the shoe is the Stuart Weitzman “Bonjour” in a lovely slightly gilded taupe leather with a 3″ heel and half inch platform.  I’m not usually a bow girl. Even most of my Valentinos –and Valentino is known for them– are sans bows, but the bow here makes the shoe special, and provides visual interest without being too twee.  Also, when you’re dealing with this sort of leather, a scuff here or there actually adds character to the leather, so you can abuse them a bit more than a pair of delicate kid kicks.

One good Stewie deserves another, and I am All About these Stuart Weitzman “Mocup” heels (on BIG sale). Listen, I don’t know how Stewie does it, but he makes THE most wearable high heels I’ve ever worn, and honestly at this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve worn every major designer so I’m not just whistling Dixie. Once upon a time I had a pair of Stewies with what must have been a 5 1/2″ heel and I swear I could traipse up mountains in them. There’s something about the  way they balance the heel. It’s amazing.

These have a 4″ heel and a 1″ platform with ample padding. They’re available in black patent, a deep olive suede,and a tobacco leather, all worth having.

Okay, that’s enough of the spendy shoes, let’s go to something a bit more cheap and cheerful.

January 18, 2011

Fat Foot Week! Five Great: Flats for the Fat of Foot

Filed under: Five Great...,Flats,Wide-width Shoes — Miss Plumcake @ 12:55 pm

Okay, well it’s Fat Foot Week and there’s no better place to start than the bottom. Flats. Love ’em or hate ’em, a girl’s gotta have at least a pair. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have any personal experience with most of the brands we’re going to be dealing with today, so caveat emptor and whatnot.

First up are these little “Neve” ankle-strap skimmers from Gabriella Rocha. I’ve never worn any of her shoes, but they’re pretty cute and modern-looking, with good lines and fun colors. We’ll be seeing more of them this week.

Next is the Geneva from Romantic Soles. They come in a mess of colors, but the beige looks very much like the Chanel and Delman flats with the sculpted leather flowers on the vamp, both of which I’ve always liked.

Speaking of Chanel, you can definitely see the Coco influence in the cap-toe “Buffy” by Fitzwell. They’re all man-made materials so these might be a good pick for those of you who don’t like to wear leather.

Also animal friendly are the “Gable” slip-ons from Annie that come in wide and double wide. They come in five colors, but I like the purple velvet suede treatment the best.

Finally we have the grossly misnamed “Burlesque” from Hush Puppies. These are the exact sort of shoes that people go nuts over because they think they have some sort of “naughty librarian” thing going on and I just have to shut up and try not to make faces because I just.don’ But here they are and they come in narrow, medium, wide and double wide so have at ’em.

December 28, 2010

Five Great: Long-Lasting, Waterproof Products

Filed under: Five Great...,Makeup — Miss Plumcake @ 10:03 am

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

December 24, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

Filed under: Five Great...,Food,Holidays — Miss Plumcake @ 2:36 pm

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!

October 29, 2010

Five Great: (Mostly) Lost Albums for Halloween

Filed under: Five Great...,Holidays,Music — Miss Plumcake @ 2:39 pm

You’ve got your costume. You’ve got your thematically creepy snacks and signature cocktails with dry ice and bat-shaped ice cubes. You’ve got six dozen raisins and toothbrushes to hand out to trick or treaters because it’s never too early to learn that life is about disappointment, oral hygiene and screwing with future generations. All you need is the music.

Allow Miss Plumcake to make a few humble –by which I mean unerringly awesome– suggestions:

1. Flametrick Subs – Undead at the Black Cat Lounge

Crucial tracks:
Tijuana Cat Toss
Creepy Dead Folk
Lie Detector Machine
Life-Sucking Voodoo Women

2. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Cow Fingers and Mosquito Pie
Crucial Tracks:
Little Demon
I Put a Spell On You
Alligator Wine
There’s Something Wrong With You

3. The Cramps – Psychedelic Jungle
Crucial tracks:
Rockin’ Bones
Voodoo Idol
Under the Wires
Goo Goo Muck

4. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
Crucial Tracks:
Big Black Mariah
Cemetery Polka
Tango Til They’re Sore
Walking Spanish

5. Shivaree – I Oughta Give You a Shot In the Head

Crucial Tracks:
Cannibal King (Tri-Delt sisters will recognize this one immediately)
Bossa Nova
Goodnight Moon

July 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Howard Webb (and also me)

Filed under: Five Great...,Holidays,Sports — Miss Plumcake @ 7:52 am

So remember how on Monday I said I was ALMOST finished talking about World Cup? That’s because I wanted to wait until today to go out with a bang. See, today is English referee (and South Yorkshire police sergeant) Howard Webb‘s birthday. He called the World Cup Final between the Dutch (ptui ptui) and the Spanish.

It is also my birthday, which marks 31 glorious years of Plumcakedom and the beginning of the feast of Plumcakemas, a month-long liturgical season wherein pretty much everyone has to be nice to me and buy me drinks because those are the rules I, uh, made up in my head.

Which brings me to my Birthday List.

I am surprisingly unmercenary when it comes to birthday boums, and though I am grateful for the birthday presents I get, I don’t really yearn for them as a rule.

This year it’s different. I’ve been yearning in a big way and here is my list of requests:

1) A Watermelon Shark

2) All The Toast I Can Eat

3) “You Really Got a Hold On Me” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, played with lots of pedal on a big pipe organ just for me

4) Fortuny fabric wall treatments in the original “Uccelli” print (in gold and rust please, not the cream and amethyst)

5) I want to rub a pat of butter on Howard Webb’s head.

Oh c’mon pleeeeeeease? It’s not weird or anything. It’s just, uh, one grown adult rubbing a pat of butter onto another adult’s shiny shiny melon just to see what it’d be like. I promise I’d go organic. And you don’t have to LIKE it, but please? It’s my birthday too, you know. Just this once?

Aww thanks Sarge, you’re a pal.

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