ACL 2013

It’s not a party until high schoolers yell at you, you lose your keys, sweat out all your body fluid, spend $8 for a tamale, get a blister, and there’s a massive flood and everybody gets a refund. Austin City Limits was a party.

First entry in our survival log: Heat stroke setting in.

First entry in our survival log: Heat stroke setting in.

I'm wearing a vintage sundress and my boyfriend is wearing my Albertus Swanepoel hat.

I’m wearing a vintage sundress and my boyfriend is wearing my Albertus Swanepoel hat. Thanks for the multicultural background, Rosetta Stone marketers.

Beauty note: I only managed to avoid looking wartorn by using Maybelline shine free foundation and NYC lip stain.

The dress above was much better festival wear than my Day 1 outfit. A chiffon maxi skirt with a destroyed sweater, wooden flatforms, and piles of gypsy jewelry looked chic, but it really weighed me down. I could hardly blame the majority of girls there wearing a few square inches of shorts and crop tops. I was just throwing shade because there was none.

Accessory energy level: Day 1.

Accessory energy level: Day 1. 

Accessory energy level: Day 2.

Accessory energy level: Day 2.

The cancellation of Sunday’s shows was a widespread bummer (No Divine Fits, Tame Impala, Neko Case, or The National!), but there were still a lot of great acts.

Here’s a playlist of some crowd pleasers, no poncho required:


Style Shoot with The Beauty Jar and AzulOx

I first collaborated with The Beauty Jar and AzulOx on this creative shoot a while ago, but I figured I’d share some of my favorite photos. The work of a hairstylist who can tame my shape-resistant hair and a photographer who can make me look tough deserve extra documentation.

I had fun putting together a few edgy outfits and mean-mugging for the camera. The sweltering heat and public set (a mural-coated parking lot downtown) posed a few challenges, but it was worthwhile from the first heating of a crimping iron to the victorious Gatorade chugging as we packed up to leave.

Here, the little-black-dress-and-wild-hair combo done three different ways:


Josh has a way of making his subjects feel super comfortable and getting the best shots out of them. It was hard to keep my angry model face because we were laughing half the time. Get a peek at his creative process on his blog.

If you’re in need of some primping in Austin, I definitely recommend The Beauty Jar. The whole staff is sweet and welcoming. Auralia works magic on hair. Seriously: she molded it into that architectural orb in like five minutes. Brizy does gorgeous makeup and individually applied lashes that will turn you into a living doll. Check ’em out.

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:

noname-2 noname-3 noname-5 noname-6noname-9noname-4noname-7noname-8 noname-11 noname-12 noname-13 noname-14 noname-16noname-15 noname-17 noname-18 noname-19 noname-20 noname-22 noname-23 noname-24 noname-25 noname-26 noname-27 noname-28 noname-29 noname-30 noname-31

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.


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.


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


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.



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.

The Glitter in the Dark

The glitter in the dark
Tomorrow’s forecast predicts a high of 82 degrees, so I’ll have to stretch the definition of fall fashion. The bad news: my wool cape, scarves and leather gloves haven’t been pulled from the closet yet. The good news: I can keep dressing in floaty, sheer layers. Slap on some embellishments, and I do believe it’s what they call holiday dressing. Above are some confections I gravitated to immediately after watching Bat for Lashes’ video for “Laura.”  I judge musicians by how earnestly they can say “superstar” without me wincing. So, I think I’m in love.

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.

In a Word, Pink

Pretty much pink

Erin Fetherston silk dress, £236 Alexander McQueen platform high heels, $750 Valextra envelope clutch, $1,320 Benefit cosmetic, $29 Revlon nail polish, $5.49

“I believe that there’s always going to be a group of girls who still want to look pretty and feminine. I think you can be directional and edgy and not look like you’ve been dragged through the gutter.”

-Erin Fetherston

Pretty-Stuff-of-the-Month Club

Beauty Bar is fancy. The cosmetics retailer is so fancy, in fact, that you have to pay for samples. But, for some people, joining their “Sample Society” may be the most economical way to indulge in the newest beauty products not coming to a Walgreen’s near you.

It’s worth it if you:

1. Like to try trendy things but don’t want to gamble and waste money on ones that don’t work

2. Can hardly finish a bottle of anything without it expiring or losing its appeal

3. Think mini things are cute and surprises in the mail are fun

4. Want a free year-long subscription to Allure magazine

How it works:

They charge you $15 (includes shipping) at the beginning of the month and send you a box with a mystery mix of five travel sized perfumes, makeup, hair and/or skincare. The selection is somewhat customized to your preferences according to a short survey you complete. The package also comes with a little booklet of tips and a coupon worth $15 off your $50 purchase of any of the brands featured. I probably won’t use it, but if you love one of the products and decide to buy it, the whole set pays for itself.

And, of course, you can cancel whenever. “It’s a free country,” as they say.

What you’ll get:

No ketchup packets of moisturizer here. Every sample is large enough to use regularly for at least a month. Here’s what my first package contained:

allure beauty bar

Neato owl bookends and boring books not included

1. Fekkai Olive Oil Glossing Cream– No, it doesn’t smell like olives. I once coated my hair in actual olive oil for an at-home treatment, and I smelled like a salad even after two shampoos. Unlike most of the stuff in your kitchen cabinet, I’d recommend this for frizzy hair. It’s perfect for when you’re wearing your hair down and don’t need the hold of a gel.

2. Ren Glycolactic Peel Mask– I’m intimidated by the word “glycolactic” and hadn’t tried an acid peel before, but at least this one is natural. It smelled and felt like putting apricot jam on my face. At the prescribed 10-minute mark it started to burn a little, but my skin felt fine after I rinsed it and my complexion was better than usual in the following week.

3. Oscar de la Renta Esprit D’Oscar roll-on perfume- smells sort like baby powder, but more sophisticated. I didn’t love the scent, but it grew on me. Plus, the thing’s exceedingly portable.

4. Skyn Iceland Relief Eye Pen– This is a magic wand for hangovers. My body may still be on strike until I get a breakfast taco and Vitamin Water, but at least this helps my sleepy zombie eyes.

5. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant– You shake a bit of this powder onto wet hands and it dissolves into a paste with which to scrub. It wasn’t scratchy or even grainy, so I was surprised at how well it exfoliated my skin. It was as smooth as I’m gonna assume dolphins are. People with sensitive skin should check it out.

The Witching Hour

Sometimes it’s a pleasure to dress specifically for nighttime. I’d look overly dramatic traipsing around at noon in this witch-y skirt. It felt just right when toned down with a cotton t-shirt and neutral platforms for a casual night out. No accessories, just houndstooth nails and Wet’n’Wild lipstick (wine-stained lips for cheaper than a glass of wine!)

Glamour Kills t-shirt, American Apparel chiffon skirt, Payless wedges

Hopefully the amount of American Apparel I wear (a lot, since I work there) won’t get boring too quickly. I got this skirt for, like, $6. I’m sure I wouldn’t have bought it under normal circumstances, but at this point, I love it. It’s kind of a double dare because it’s very sheer (I’m wearing shorts underneath it) and very long. It’s crazy that it took a couple years of maxi-skirt popularity for me to stop fearing them. Done right, even a 5’3″ woman can wear them without looking frumpy.

My definition of “right” is having one too-sexy-for-schoolteacher attribute, like fitted or sheer fabric or buttons running down the length of it, and preferably paired with heels.

I’m also hesitant about shirts with text, but the photographic suburban sunset on this one won me over. Plus, the phrase is satisfactorily oblique and set in a font that reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are.

Temporary Insanity

Why shouldn’t I get a tattoo? Because I own too many pencil skirts to rule out the possibility of a high-powered position in a major corporation.

Kidding. I just wouldn’t be able to make up my mind about a permanent design. That’s why temporary tattoos are perfect for me (and children.) Plus, you can enjoy admittedly dumb tattoos for a day, such as this little owl with a heart where its belly should be.

If there’s such a concept as vintage temporary tattoos, this belongs to it. I managed to hold on to a collection that I had as a kid (How Tavi of me!)

There’s hope for non-hoarders, though. Temporary tattoos specifically for adult women have been made by Chanel and Temptu. Rationalization: Check.

114 tattoos for $5!

Or mayhaps you just want to adorn your nails? I really like Sally Hansen nail polish strips, even if the prep and application steps take me at least 30 minutes.

Sally Hanson Salon Effects strips in Laced Up, $7.20

I’m happy they’re coming out with new designs seasonally now (the point of solid colors was lost on me) and that other brands are popping up. I might have to try these next:

Butter London Nail Skins in Black  Blue Wallpaper, $10

If you’re not decorating your nails with tiny crows, what are you doing with your life?