Break from Hiatus

I’ve spiffed up my blog again (i.e. changing the theme and adding a header with my anonymized quads by the English seaside). I was fiercely loyal to a fashion-focused Instagram account during the interim,  but quite simply got bored of looking at myself. Rest assured, this will still be a crevice of the internet for one girl’s style and the selfies that entails, but I’ll make it more of a variety show.

I had to take an Insta-break after exploring my own love-hate in an article I wrote for Thought Catalog. But in the interest of catching up, here’s a series of snapshots from this summer:

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I Narrowly Escaped Keratin Hair Destruction

What’s cooler than smoothing your hairs with an at-home keratin treatment? Finding out a day later that the product was swiftly discontinued and is now the target of a class action lawsuit. Oops.

suave-30-day-smoothing-kit

I guess that’s what I get for using a cheap drugstore replacement for a chemical protein-restoring treatment that generally runs from $150-$300 at salons. It sounded like an economical way to tame my long, haystack-esque hair. Plus, the ingredient list excused it from the formaldehyde controversy already surrounding the popular service.

I wouldn’t have tried it if I knew it was allegedly making people’s hair fall out. Luckily, I didn’t have this side effect. I’m pretty careful in the presence of anything that smells like chemical warfare and requires gloves for safe handling. I repeated the instructions in my head like Hail Mary’s and timed each step with my phone’s timer.

The mild results: hair that felt like cornsilk. A week later, it still looks a bit smoother and straighter than before.

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Sometimes wind blows at exactly the right time. Wearing: American Apparel lace tee

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Because the smoothing kit was discontinued – not recalled – I assume there was a high incidence of user error. The website says customers who already bought the kit can still use it, but reminds them to follow the directions closely and make sure the product is appropriate for their hair type. People with permed, dyed or otherwise damaged hair were warned to steer clear.  But aren’t women with “damaged, brittle, breaking or dry” hair precisely the market for a frizz-smoothing product? It’s kind of like selling cold medicine that’s dangerous to take if you have a cold.

I asked Suave why they discontinued the product and got this response:

Hello Kayla,

Thank you for contacting us regarding Suave Professionals Keratin Smoothing Kit.

We are committed to ensuring our consumers have an excellent experience with all of our products.  After receiving a greater-than-expected number of hair-related consumer complaints, we evaluated the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30 Day Smoothing Kit and decided to discontinue its retail sale. 

We recommend trying the rest of the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Line, including the shampoo, conditioner and the serum.

We don’t have any plans to reintroduce the product at this time.

 

Sincerely,

Your friends at Suave

Okay, Suave, I guess you can still be my “friends,” seeing as my hair isn’t breaking off in chunks.

The moral of the story is to ALWAYS FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. It will get you far in life and might even result in good hair.

Call My Agent

So, this past summer I bumbled around in front of a Super 8 camera for the following music video. Watch it, and you will glean two things: I fidget with my hair too much and this is exceedingly pleasant music. 

If you think you like Burywood (and you’re probably right), please stream/download/buy his album, Sum Kinda Golden Age.

Austinites can catch the band’s next show at Headhunters this Sunday, 9:00 p.m.

Wearing: Forever 21 shirt, American Apparel shorts, vintage boots

Oh Yeah, Fall

 

Wow. I haven’t posted since I returned from France. (Can you blame me for finding home a  little less photogenic?) The past couple months call for a recap via photoessay. Find more fashion photos on my Instagram, which you can follow @aesthetic_etiquette.

McKinney Falls: Its natural beauty is not even diminished by people sitting on rocks with their pool noodles.

I captured and was captivated by snails. Did you know that when two snails mate, both snails get pregnant and become each other’s baby snail daddy?

I moved to a new apartment with my more conventional pets.

I attended the Austin Film Festival for the first time, and my only record of it is this photo of me juxtaposed with a stranger’s artfully decorated truck. The fest was a lot of fun. But, like SXSW, I’d only recommend shelling out for passes if you’re luxurious and have the whole week off work.

 

Moonrise Kingdom, 60s movie extra, Beetlejuice. I had additional silly costumes. This is how much I did Halloween.

 

New cosmetic dependencies: Organix Moroccan Argan Oil haircare and Clinique lipstick in Red-y to Wear.

Trends move in cycles. Every four years, it becomes really popular to participate in government.

As an avid thrifter, I was almost angry that I didn’t know about Austin Antique Mall until this month. The place is enormous and crammed full of amazing furniture and home decor. I refrained from buying anything but a pair of elbow-length brown leather gloves, but I’m destined to return for one of the reasonably priced fur stoles. Raise your pinkie to that!

I’m trying out a subscription with Greenling, a local produce delivery service. They drop off a mystery box of veggies at your door weekly or biweekly. I like the element of surprise, and I like knowing where I stand on specialty radishes.

Paris

Paris, dinner party

Ambulance sirens and graffiti thicken upon approaching Paris.

I’m staying in the attic of Hugo and Jon’s uncle’s house. Their cousin Clément and his girlfriend Sylvia are living here currently. The place is a dream. You can tell the family has been here for a long time. The walls are insulated by paintings and piles of books. There are two floors, the attic, and a basement filled with aquariums, all connected by creaky spiral staircases. A friendly cat lives in the garden and apples fall from the tree when the wind blows.

We barely have time to throw back some Indian tonic before walking to the top-floor flat of another cousin. A table on the balcony is set for dinner. More food and alcohol keep arriving to the table. Everyone speaks a little English, so I don’t feel too excluded from the conversation. They laugh so hard and often that I want to understand every word. Far below us, a car crashes into another. I get quizzed by a French nationalist who (playfully?) wants to pin me as a dumb American. Thankfully, I know Sarcozy from Hollande and the corresponding scandals. They know more about American TV than me.

Several blocks away, another complex is on fire, plumes of black smoke snarling against the twilight. They are reasons to cringe, but we have so many distractions. Cocktails, olives, roasted black-eyed peas, salad, curry, baguette, chocolate, espresso, wine, rum, strawberries, cheese…

Paris, tourisme

Sunday mornings are for flea markets. The first one is typical, with vendors hawking the costume jewelry of deceased grandmothers. I leave with a yellow pleated sundress for €5.

The next market has an amazing assortment of antique and mid-century furniture. I feel like I’ve died, been mistaken for Jane Aldridge’s mom, and gone to heaven. There’s even a shop tucked into a corner that’s full of vintage Chanel and other designer clothing. I spot a white leather Versace motorcycle jacket that makes my knees shake. I nearly try on an ancient Dior dress, but the price tag has too many digits for me to risk breaking a zipper. I settle for a few vintage postcards.

I hope I never make enough money to afford all the taxidermic animals I want.

After a “quick lunch” (I learn there is no such thing in France), we’re ready to take the metropolitan downtown.

From the city’s intestines I climb out, into the blitz of it, hoping for vin, vie, and verisimilitude.

Here comes the double entendre: I could get lost here…

My obligatory Eiffel Tower portraits turned out completely bleached. We’ll call it artistic.

How long can anything in the world be beautiful before the pickpockets and cotton candy arrive? Still, the Eiffel Tower is magnifique. The neighboring museum hosts an exhibit of great architecture spanning the ages.

Some statues were like…

Then I was like…

And then we high-fived.

On the Champs-Elysees, a small glass of soda costs about $7. There aren’t many shops I desire to visit or can afford. Judging by the line, everyone has the same idea: Save your money for a box of pastel macarons from La Durée.

Along the Seine, a few couples sit with picnics (some with wine and sushi, others with beer and Pringles). Small apartments overlooking the admittedly beautiful river of mostly sewage go for about €2,000 a month. I stare into the murk and wonder what it would be like to call Paris home. What would you pay to have your real life and all its monotonous moments framed by famous stuff and caught in tourists’ frames?

Rennes and St. Malo

Rennes, arrival 

There should be a word for that feeling when one sees a familiar face after a day of being shuffled around with massive amounts of complete strangers. Relief comes close. Hugo picked me up at the Rennes airport after my 18 hours of travel. It had been an awkward ballet of failed sleeping positions with no intermission.

He took me to the apartment where I’d be staying, which used to be a suite in a very old hotel right next to the city center. I spent the afternoon fighting off jet lag, reading and touring Rennes on foot.

For a day, I felt sick to my stomach and could barely eat anything. I slowly replaced my bloodstream with Coca-Cola Light (suspicious of the tap water by this point) and some God-given medicine called “Spasmocalm.”

Sounds dumb, but really: It hits like a drug, the realization of how far away I was from anything I knew.

 

St. Malo, beach

There is so much mica that the beach looks like two parts sand to one part glitter. Rows of algae coated tree trunks stand ready to break breaking waves that could wash over the street. The ocean is freezing, but it’s a welcome jolt after the long walk from the only quasi-legal parking spot left thanks to hoards of French folks ready to bask in the high temperatures.

Vintage sunglasses and earrings, A wear sweater, American Apparel shorts, Bisou Bisou bikini

 

Seagulls swoop, I read a few chapters of Into the Wild, get covered in sand and freckles, etc.

I wish I could claim responsibility for this sand fortress.

In the time it takes to walk into the city, peruse shops, eat two crepes (one crispy, with finely chopped vegetables wrapped in a black flour pancake, one sweet with a caramel unique to the Brittany region), and saunter along stone walkways, the shoreline has receded 50 meters, accommodating more sun bathers.

If the sea can come so close to lapping at the city streets, only to take it all back, I’ll be a little fickle, too.

Fort St. Pere, music festival

La Route Du Rock has a pretty great set-up. The music runs from about 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Who shows up to these things at noon, anyway? It helps that noise ordinances mustn’t have been too strict at the makeshift venue, which was accessible by long dirt roads through wheat fields. The camping area had rental huts with locks available to patrons with interests such as sex and not being stolen from. The first few hours were shadeless and therefor kind of miserable. I heard it would be cold here. The first band is some bad electro group that America back-washed. In fact, all the music (except for an excessive set by Dominique A) is in English. Alt-J puts on the best show.

Here’s some good footage from Rennes TV, though I can always do without musicians denying they have a genre and analyzing the “internet age.”

 

Between sets, I affectionately watch the interactions of a group of drunk teenagers. The most outgoing girl kisses everyone, but saves the public make-out session for the boy she (presumably) likes most. They grope in a sunny, open area right by the stage. I’m smiling to myself, but the next time I look over, a visibly wasted girl has taken their place and is trying to vomit with the disturbingly involved encouragement of two friends. Maybe 18 is a bit young for the legal drinking age, after all.

As soon as the sun sets, it gets very cold and I can’t ignore how exhausted I feel. A photographer comes by. I smile broadly because I like the idea of looking ecstatic in a French magazine I’ll never see.

Rainy Day Linen

 

I’m glad I spent the 90s too young for belly button baring, because I just couldn’t do it. This is as daring as I get with midriff tops: simple and paired with something demure, like this linen wrap skirt. Suede oxfords and brass jewelry make for a look that’s, um, Southwestern Hippie Schoolteacher.

Top– American Apparel

Necklaces- vintage

Cuff- Forever 21

Skirt- vintage

Shoes– American Apparel