Gone Style: Archer Edition

I know I said I'd post the first "Five Minute Makeover" today but I accidentally lied and it's not finished. Turns out, it takes longer than a couple of hours to orchestrate a web series. Go figure.


While I attempt to edit fifteen-minutes of footage into five, here are some of Archer's wears, as per many of your requests, with links to some of my favorite boys' clothes places. Cough, The Pajama Squid. Cough, Black Wagon.

Archer wears
(his favorite) tee-shirt (ever) by: knuckleadz clothing
jeans by: Osh Kosh (Target)
Shoes: DC
Sunglasses: 5$ cheapy from General Store in our 'hood.

Shirt by: Tea
(we love Tea. Great stuff.)
Pants by: One Kid

Fire-breathing Panda Tee: My Bird by Bird in Cambridge, MA
(A gift from Uncle David)
Booster seat: Britax

(his favorite) Hoodie: Circa/Target
Skinny Jeans*: Shaun White for Target = love
Shoes: Vans
Sunglasses: Dita (they're mine)

Shirt: Kingsley
Shorts: Target
Shoes: Converse and laces from Kicks

Sweatshirt: Ben Sherman
Plaid Shirt: Shaun White for Target
Black "Monsters Rock" Tee: Inky Dink
Jeans: Osh Kosh, Target
(Glow n the Dark Space) Boots: Hatley
(not pictured: matching Rain Jacket)

Where do you like to shop for your boys? Specifically for handmade stuff?

Lend me your links, my friends!


*I would like Shaun White to please design jeans for women/me next. Who knew he had it in him? He's a jean-designing GENIUS! A JEANIUS, I say!

Hairless Friday

...I googled and found that hair loss is a common side effect in hormonal birth controls, specifically Mirena. Before the device was installed my hair was CRAZY thick - the kind of thick I had to have thinned when I went in for haircuts! Now? It's barely styleable. In fact, over the last six months, people have asked me about "my new layers!" when, nope! No haircut! Just au natural thinning.

Except it's not natural. Not at all.

My hair (and air-drying nursing bra, very nice) in December 08, the month before my Mirena was installed:

Here I'd thought I was stressed out and didn't know it! Nope. I was perfectly stress-free and yet? My hair was falling out in clumps, clogging the shower drain like an infomercial demo. NOT IDEAL.

Ladies and Germs

This week on Momversation, we talked about germs, specifically, what your (and my) stance is regarding dousing kids with Purell and other such antibacterial products.

I for one, am against anti-bacterial products on a DAILY* basis. Here are some of the reasons why.

And here is a video in which we discuss. (And no automatic play = hooray!)

I've always been very un-cautious when it comes to germs and exposing my kids to them. I blame my mother, who let us eat dirt and play with petrified rabbit poop growing up. Then again, I have no allergies and have always had an iron-clad immunity. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or.... maybe not.

Meanwhile, Fable was roaming the mean LA streets three days after her birth and I've always been quick to pick up fallen food and stick it right back on the highchair tray no problem. I'm crazy like that. A real party animal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't wash our hands regularly and often with our household BFF: Mrs. Meyers and her lovely scented hand soaps of the NON antibacterial variety.

My question to all? At what point are we overdoing it with the bleaches and anti-bacterial thisis and thats? Especially now that more and more studies show that antibacterial stuffs can be more harmful than helpful.

Now that I'm gettin' all hot under the bra strap re: what I see is an over-cleanlicrisis, what are your feelings regarding bleach wipes in school? I say = frightening x 79823173981. A label that reads "keep out of children's reach" probably shouldn't be in a child's hands. And yet? Teachers all over the country are instructing students who are uh... children... to clean their desks using these wipes. FAIL. There's even a Clorox in the Classroom website with its own "CLEAN CLUB." Here's a hot tip, parents! Douse your children in chemicals! It's good for their health!!!

Right. And smoking cigarettes is good for mine.

Seems to me we're spending much time and resources trying to protect our kids from today's germs all the while closing our eyes to tomorrow's repercussions.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather chance a snotty nose.

Kind of like our parents did with us.

And see? We're okay.

Paranoid, yes.

But okay.


*using these items sparingly = an entirely different ball game. Hospitals, new babies, traveling - totally get why they are necessary. But antibacterials can absolutely be abused. And in many cases, they are, much to the detriment of our children and their forming immune systems. Which is upsetting. And scary as fuck.


On the count of three, let's all hold hands and jump into this video, Mary Poppins style.


Thank you, French Navy video. I am now out the door to purchase a pair of purple tights and make-out with the first person I see wearing a beard.

32. French Navy by: Camera Obscura


Gone Style: I Dream of Josie

Gone Style is BACK by popular demand! This time I'm getting schooled by Josie Maran who is a gentewoman and a (makeup*) scholar, and was kind enough to teach me (and you) an amazing 60's inspired cat-eyed party look (Mad Men, anyone?) using her incredible non-animal-tested, all-organic, environmentally BFFriendly products.

Products used in the tutorial are...

Fiction (Blush) from Natural Wonder Palette
Pinkalicious (eyeshadow)
Magic (eyeshadow)
Pewter (eyeshadow)
Tulip (eyeshadow)
Trance (eyeshadow, from Natural Wonder Palette)
Black eyeliner
Black mascara
Lipstick - Birthday Suit (available Summer 2010)

Also, excited to announce that starting next week Gone Style will be making YOU over on YOUR budget, with a little help from Josie/Josie Maran and Sarah/Hair Thursday.

More to come, beautiful yous. Stay tuned!

rocking the "I dream of Josie" cat-eye with Josie who is Rarrr


*Coupon Alert! 20% off all Josie Maran Cosmetics with code: ggcreader at the register.

Five Years: Married

The other night, after a long, hard day of emotional turmoil regarding personal and world events, I texted Hal the following:
Hey, you. Can we cuddle tonight?
I pressed send, scurried off to the bathroom and returned moments later to find my phone vibrating like crazy across the dining room table.

Eighteen new text messages in two minutes. All from Hal.

Verbatim they read:
Halston cell: And by cuddle you mean...
Halston cell: ???
Halston cell: shave my back?
Halston cell: Eat ICE CREAM?
Halston cell: Play naked monopoly?
Halston cell: Pick out a new rug?
Halston cell: Fornicate?
Halston cell: Do a breast lump shower test and a testicular lump shower test?
Halston cell: Brush each other's teeth?
Halston cell: Hold a seance?
Halston cell: Get WASTED?
Halston cell: let the kids make dinner with sharp knives and hot ovens?
Halston cell: Make an amateur porn, upload and see what kind of traffic we can get?
Halston cell: Go to blockbuster and rent Muppets take Manhattan?
Halston cell: Try to put on a fashion show wearing our pants as shirts and vice versa?
Halston cell: Make frozen coffee bars?
Halston cell: Pack everything?
Halston cell: And drive to Canada?
I didn't respond at the time. Too busy was I changing my pants after pissing them. And so? I respond, here:
Dear, Hal. Yes, darling. Yes to all* of the above.
*Except for the one with the sharp knives and hot ovens. And the one re: xxx amateur action. (That's more of a last resort thing, I think.) And going to Canada is a major commitment we'll have to discuss at our next family meeting. Shaving your back can be arranged but probably not if you want to fornicate afterwards (especially in my current fragile state) and the breast exam, though noble, is something I'd rather do alone. Hm. Maybe we should start with ice cream and go from there?
Happy Fifth Anniversary, Hal.
I couldn't possibly love you more than I do, you wonderfulcrazy man...
...cross dress my heart.


IUD: A Precautionary Tale

womp womp wooooooooomp
This week marks my one-year anniversary with my Mirena - the IUD with a leetle beet of hormone. Hormone my OB promised wouldn't affect me at all. And I believed him. Even though he was like, "you may not ever have a period again as long as you're on it!" and I was like, "Oh! Cool! That seems natural for the female body! Stick 'er in there, sir!"

Because I'm not very smart.

And he was right! No period! No period for an entire year, now. But guess what happens when hormones fuck with your body's natural SITUATION - you aren't yourself. And for me? The casualty of IUD has been my sex drive. My poor once-hypercharged horny-for-your-love-sex-drive has been reduced to a raisin in the sun - dry as a bone. (NO PUN INTENDED! Ew, boners are GROSS!)

My poor, poor husband...
More, here.


It hailed here, today, so I thought this video was appropriate.

(A current favorite in our house because of its repeated mention of dominos.)

31. Dominos by The Big Pink


books for children, advice for adults

"If the light goes out...
wear it around your neck and go dancing"...

"If it's the last dance,
Dance backwards."...

-from If You're Afraid of the Dark Remember the Night Rainbow by: Cooper Edens

Cooper Edens is one of my all-time favorite Children's Book authors. If you don't know of these wise, whimsical books, I highly recommend looking into them. They're magical. Loved them as a child. Love them even more as a parent.

What Children's Books made lasting impressions on you as a child, have stayed with you into adulthood? What are your favorite books to read to your kids? How have books changed* for you as the reader?

Would love to hear your grand stories about grand stories.


*I recently picked up Outside Over There (my favorite book as a child) to read to Archer, realizing, as I started reading aloud, how scary it was. And yet? As a little girl, it was my absolute favorite book - more than anything else in my library. I had forgotten what the story was about (a girl's little sister gets kidnapped by goblins and she must travel into their spooky land, confuse the goblins by making them dance, rescue her baby sister and bring her home safe and sound. It's basically Where the Wild Things Are for girls with savior-complexes.) and how disturbing...

"This book's too scary," Archer said to me.

"I agree," I said. And put it away.

Peace Out, El Beez

This week on Momversation we shared some of our weight loss tips. Something I've been meaning to write about because I'm passionate about healthy eating and have recently been able to fall below my pre-pregnancy weight, thus FINALLY being able to fit back into my old prom dress with the armpit stains! Next stop? Re-piercing my navel myself with a bar of soap and a safety pin! And re-losing my virginity! Dr. Matlock, here I come!

(ED: To watch the Momversation video, click here.)

The amazing thing? I haven't stepped foot in the gym since I was in my first trimester with Fable. One of these days I'll get back in there. Swear. In the meantime? It's all about the food, yo. No processed foods. Little if any refined sugar. And to lose those last ten pounds of pregnancy weight? No gluten. In fact? I pretty much substituted all gluten-based foods with Quinoa which I eat almost every day. Mix it up with swiss chard or tofu, mushrooms, and VOILA! Delicious, healthy alternative with body slimming results. (A great recipe, here, for those who want to add Quinoa to their healthy eating roster.)

(I have since gone back to eating the occasional gluten-based carb like bread, because, duh. It's fucking bread.)

(Which means, I have since put on a few extra pounds.)

(Eh. I'm married. Evs.)

What are some of your weight-loss secrets? How have you lost and kept off the baby weight? Care to share any healthy, low-calorie recipes? What do you think of "Quinoa" as a baby name? Who is your favorite Jersey Shore cast member? Conan or Leno? Also, #Avatar #whyyouintheclub? #bieberblastbaby #Lakers?


Five Frames: Archer

"I want to do it myself!" he cries.

(but sometimes you need a lift.)

"I want to be alone!"

(You are never alone.)


crawdler will walk

Crawdler (n);A toddler-aged child who is still crawling

...It is a mother's nature to worry, especially when everywhere she turns she is handed information about other children - statistics about what is "normal" and what is not. But the second time around, worry isn't as commonplace. At least it hasn't been for me.
She likes to crawl. And this time around? I couldn't care less.

Because I know she'll get there in her own time. When she's ready. A whole life ahead of her to move forward on foot...


30. What's a Girl to Do by: Bat for Lashes


Gone Style: Plum Psyched + Military + Fin

Drooling Closet: Plum Psyched*!
(*for you Vogue enthusiasts)

Fable wears:
Blouse: Janie & Jack
Pants: Misha Lulu
Barrette : Flicka boutique
Shoes: See Kai Run


Gone (Military) Style:

I had a few inquiries re: my military jacket in last week's bang/fringe tutorial. So I wore it this week. Several times, actually.

Jacket: BB Dakota
(I'm not a fan of the way its styled on the website AT ALL. Yeesh.)
Belt: Target
Jeans: J Brand
Boots: Nicole
Tee: Fluxus
Chain Necklace: Louise Manna
(a gift from Hal who has great taste/works with stylists all day who have great taste.)



Featured Style:

(Especially in love with the belted-jumpsuit. Oooh la lady.)

click here for bigger pic. Click here for shades.

The End

So. This is my last week posting "Gone Style" ... Tis been all sorts of fun but I'm beginning to feel a bit odd posting pictures of myself striking various poses every week and I'm pretty sure I've exhausted all the hair and makeup tutorials I have to offer.

I'll be happy to take tutorial requests in the future and may create a separate "fashion" section when I redesign GGC (a goal of mine these next few months) complete with "Gone Style" web series where I get to play stylist (a secret dream of mine since always) to those of you looking for a chic ensemble for a special occasion on a limited budget. (Would that be of interest to anyone? Show of hands?)

Regardless, hopefully some of you picked up a few makeup/hair/style tricks these last two months. Thanks for being positive and not making fun of me (too much) to my face.

It's been real.


Brothers and Sisters

She watches him play for several minutes until she decides to make a move. Picks up a toy and grins at her brother, inviting him to play. But he's not in the mood. Not now. He's in the middle of arranging his cars in a very particular way and she is ruining it.

"You're ruining my pattern!" he yells before yanking a car out of Fable's hand, pushing her down.

She screams.

"It was an accident," he says but it's not true.

"You're the oldest. You have to set a good example. Tell her with your words that you don't like that. We don't hit or push our little sisters down."

"I don't like that Fable!" he yells, both of them crying in each of my arms.

Until Archer stops, releases the toy clenched in his hands.

"Here, Fablela," he says, sniffling and Fable smiles. "But only if you let me teach you."

So he shows her, tries to show her, how to make a pattern with the cars. But she doesn't understand his directions and he gets frustrated.

"You're not doing it right! You're doing it wrong!"

Fable studies his moves, tries with all her might to keep up with him.

And I, in turn, study her. Wonder how it feels to be a little sister. A student looking up with eager hands and question-mark eyes full of worship, wonder.

Like Archer, I was the eldest. Spent my childhood looking down at my siblings, never up. So was Hal. Three of four of us, first-born.


My earliest childhood memory was the night my brother, David came home from the hospital. I didn't want a baby brother. I was just fine on my own, thank you very much.

But time changed that. He became my best friend and although we scratched and punched and drop-kicked each other in the face every now and then, I was his protector. His guide. Beyond our companionship there was something visceral lurking beneath our hide and seek. I was shy and powerless in school and beyond the home but with my brother, I was the leader. I had found my follower, one who would do and speak and play as I said.

Because I'm the big sister, David. I'm the boss of you."

Being the eldest made me feel needed. A protector but also one who wielded all the power. The responsibility, too, but mainly power.

At the time, it wasn't so sinister. But in retrospect my dependence on him was far greater than his on me.

I learned to lead by his want to follow.

"Sit here, David and I will teach you about girls and music and how to dress."

Same with my younger sister.

"Sit here, Rachel and I will teach you about boys and music and pretty clothes."

Age changes things, though and eventually the boss becomes the bitch. No matter how good her intentions be or how hard she loves. Power confuses people. Confused me. And in our teens we grew apart.

... Perhaps because they had no desire to follow me anymore.

So they forged paths of their own, in directions of their own making.


They wait in the window, together, side by side, their noses cold from the glass and hands touching, their heads pressed together like conjoined twins. Archer speaks to her softly.

"Daddy will be home soon, Fablela," he says. "We'll wait here together and see him, okay? Okay Fablela?"

And then...

"Fablela! Look! Our daddy's here! Let me show you!"

And she follows his fingers out into the night, where the cars race down the street faster than the speed limit and she stays like that for moments, until Hal's face appears and the two of them jump up and down side by side until she collapses head first into Archer's arms and he holds her, squinting.

"I'm your big brother," he says to her.

"Right mommy? I'm the big brother and she's the little sister and she's so small and I'm humongous."

"For now."

Hal jumps out from behind a bush, and Archer cracks up. Fable, too, until their giggles combine, tie knots in the moment, his and hers.

When they laugh they sound exactly the same. So do their faces look when they smile.


We're in Michigan visiting my sister who is performing her senior flute recital at the University of Michigan. Its the first time we've been away together, our family of five, without kids or significant others in years. The last time was our road trip to Yellowstone when I was seventeen and my brother was fourteen and my sister was ten.

It was on that trip that we lost power in our middle-of-nowhere Motel room, and my brother hit me in the face with a pillow, tore my nose-ring out of my nose. I said a lot of horrible things that night - made him feel bad for an accident. Because I was angry and in pain and wanted him to feel bad. I didn't let him come with us to the hospital and for the rest of the trip, refused to speak to him.

I still have the scar. And every once in a while my brother brings it up, which makes me think he still has his, even though we laugh about it now.

That summer would be the last time I was ever the tallest of the three. David grew almost a foot the following year.

Towering above me he was no longer my little brother. I would never look down on him again, only up.

Still, he called me for advice and I gave it to him. Made him mix tapes, bought him books I thought he should read, like.

Some of them he did. Some of them he did not.

Until he started making me mix tapes. Buying me books he thought I should read. Like.

I loved them all.

I arrive at my sister's house in Ann Arbor, the first time I've seen her living outside our childhood home. It's wallpapered with music, its floors covered in clothes. We share her bed while I'm there - also a first since we were kids on summer vacation when we trekked across the west by way of mini-van and ninety-nine-bottles of beer on the wall, ninety nine bottles of beer...

We giggle and spoon and talk about boys. She helps dress me for the cold because I have no idea how to dress for twenty degrees. And at night, my brother and I sneak away to share a cigarette in the freezing cold. Inhaling each other's secrets and news, exhaling advice and congratulations.

"Hey! Where'd you guys just go?" my parents ask, when we return the table.

"Nowhere," we say, crossing our fingers.

The next day, at Rachel's senior recital, I help her dress, do her makeup, then step off the stage. Sit down next to my brother and parents, wait.

Rachel rehearses

Until she comes out on stage, bows, begins her performance - plays songs way beyond my comprehension level, radiating confidence and talent. Genius, really. And a kind of fire that I've never recognized before. I watch her and laugh and cry and listen, learn.

"Hi, I'm Rachel's sister," I say after the recital, introducing myself to her friends, professors.

"Older or younger?" everyone asks.

"I used to be the oldest," I joke and we all three laugh, them towering above me, dwarfing me in height and intelligence.

Our laughs sound eerily similar. So do our faces look when we smile.


I call Hal from Ann Arbor, ask him how the kids are doing.

"Are they getting along okay?" I ask.

"Yes," he says. "They're getting along great."

I find out later that while I was on the airplane flying back to L.A, Archer accidentally pushed Fable so hard she bumped her face into the window ledge and her mouth poured blood for fifteen minutes

Archer was so upset he hid under the table and Hal didn't know what to do.

"I was so mad at him," Hal said. "Even though it wasn't exactly his fault."

He knows how it feels to be the older brother. Always getting into trouble. Everything's your fault even when it isn't. The temper and the frustration and the want for everything to be perfect. Neat little matchbox cars in a line.

I remember, too.

"But they're okay now?"

"They're great.

On the way home from the airport, Archer and Fable hold hands in the back-seat. Fable's mouth isn't bleeding anymore and Archer hums softly. He sings and she listens. He waits for her to close her eyes and then, so does he. He is her keeper, I think.

For now.

When I tell my mother, she says I was the same way with my little brother. I held his hand in the back of the car.

"You used to read Rachel stories every night before bed. Until she was old enough to read them herself."

I remember that. But I also remember the unpleasant things I did. The horrible things I said. The meanness. The manipulating and bullying and bossing.

I wish I could take back all the times I pushed them down. Tried to keep them there so I could tell them what to do, how to behave, who to be.

They can read their own stories, now. Dress in their own clothes. Grow up without my guidance.

Now they lend me books. Dress me in their clothes. Teach me about music. Show me the way.

It took parenting siblings for me to finally understand my place and purpose as the eldest, my responsibility, not unlike a parent, to let my siblings grow up, step off the pedestal so that they can take my place.

For now, it is Archer who gets to be his sister's keeper. Her motivator and teacher, greatest influence, guide.

Someday she will grow up and return the favor.

And it will blow his mind.


27, 28, 29/100

Three songs today but only because I couldn't decide which of the two videos to post. I'm a sucker for wedding dresses worn in city centers and non-ironic double-decker bus rides.

And windblown hair on grey days.

And mothers who smile at their sons while they take photographs.

And keychain salesmen.

And Paris.

And (as I've said at least a dozen times) music in the streets.

27. Lisztomania
28. One Time Too Many
29. 1901

... all by: Phoenix


what I did on my blogcation: in pictures

Thanks for bearing with me (and my old posts) these last few weeks. I gave myself a much needed vacation from blogging and all similar work-type things and it felt amazing. Here are some of my favorite moments caught on jpeg.

with my pregnant cousin, Erica and brother, David - Christmas

Hal and Fable in her Christmas best.

Archer bowls for the first time. Gets two spares.

playing chess on my mom's old chess board

"how big is Fable?" "Soooooo big!"

Archer helps my mom bake cookies

Gingerbread house, Christmas Eve

with my siblings, Torrey Pines beach

playing with friends, Carlsbad

Archer's first remote control car

walk along hwy 101, Sunset

surfers stretching at dusk, Swamis

Fable and my hand print circa '92, my parents' driveway

the last sunset of 2009, Moonlight Beach

lunch in Nana's garden

Fable and Archer watch the fountain, New Year's Day