MusicPlaylister: From the Vault

Two days ago, my roommate got an iPod. This has been a big deal in our house! Let music be played from every room and entertain the squirrels and cranky neighbors forevermore! I let her sift through my iTunes to beef up her ‘Pod library, a process which led to a lot of nostalgic music listening and cringing at terrible musical choices from seasons past. A lot of Katy Perry was deleted, is what I’m saying. I’m not proud of any of this. 

The upshot of looking through a huge long list of songs I used to love was the simple matter of getting reintroduced to a lot of Awesome. These are songs that have stood the test of time for this pair of ears. Ya! Onward!

(After writing this list, I noticed that these songs are all incredibly different from one another and have no unifying theme whatsoever. Who cares! We’re throwing homogeneity to the wind! Take that!)

Atmosphere – “God Loves Ugly”
I’m not the best expert on rap music. Most of my listening is random at best—not because I don’t like it, but because my brain just can’t handle more than a couple albums a week and there’s a lot of great pop and indie out there to gobble up. HOWEVER. Atmosphere grabbed me young and taught me a thing or two about how beautiful and tightly woven the genre is. This song especially gets my head nodding and my fingers clicking toward a lyrics page to memorize the hell out of it. Yum!

Gregory and the HawK – “Boats and Birds”
Mmmmm. This sleepy, near whisper of a song has always struck me because of its vulnerable vocals and inventive metaphors. When I was sixteen I would drive around in my big red truck and blast this lullaby like nobody’s business. I’m a sucker for songs about heartbreak, folks. 

Beck – “Sexxlaws”
Beck’s musical style reminds me of a burrito. A really, really crazy burrito that you let your seven-year-old niece make for you while you were in the other room. You’re not exactly sure what’s in there but somehow all these random flavors come together in a symphony of magical burrito deliciousness that is unique and tasty and a little bizarre all at once. Not only is your body nourished but you come out on the other side feeling really positive about everything and with little bluebirds flying around your head. Just listen to it. 

Carmen B. 

FashionElle Fanning: The Beauty of Youth

As graceful as Grace Kelly at an age where few even know the meaning of the word, Elle Fanning is taking our world by storm. This youngster has been a Hollywood actress since before she can even remember but has remained, at the same time, a kid growing up just like everyone else. 

These photos were taken for Interview magazine and thoroughly embrace her doll like look and playful spirit. I love that they didn’t glam up her makeup too much but stuck with simple mascara and braids. 

In an interview done by Interview for their feature on her, Elle confesses this about her favorite subjects in school: 

“Science. But I love artsy stuff, too. We take art, and I love all that. But I also like science for some reason. I just like finding out why things happen.” 

I can just imagine how easy it’d be to work with someone so at ease with themselves but still so excited about the world. Watch the behind the scenes of the photo shoot for Interview to see just how graceful she really is!

And then here in this wonderful dress Elle sits with a face that every kid has made in their lifetime. I enjoy this editorial because it brings back the beauty and simplicity of youth without exploiting it. 

 Also, one more thing, catch this adorable interview of her about Somewhere her latest movie directed by Soffia Coppola. 

GeneralKayla Martell: Miss America Contestant Proves that Bald is Beautiful

The next time a bad hair day gets you down, think again. 
Kayla Martell, who won Miss Delaware this summer, has no hair at all. And no, she doesn’t have a Britney complex: she has alopecia areata, an autoimmune diases that causes baldness, usually beginning from a young age. Kayla started losing her hair when she was ten, and instead of retreating behind a plethora of hats and wigs, she wears her baldness comfortably and naturally.
According to ABC News, she embraces her baldness: “When I go grocery shopping, when I’m out with my friends, when I’m at home, I’m without the wig. That’s me. That’s the real me.” (The Huffington Post)

Not only does Kayla embrace her looks, she also encourages awareness and understanding for other people with her condition. Her pageant platform is focused on raising money and awareness for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. She also volunteers her time with children with have alopecia areata, encouraging them to look past hair loss and inspiring them with her own achievements.

One of Kayla’s biggest fans and supporters is also her mentor child, five-year-old Liliana Hakim. After four years in the MIss Delaware competition, Kayla was about to throw in the towel. Liliana, however, encouraged her to give it one more try — fifth time was the charm!
Kayla says of Liliana:  “…Thinking about her just makes me smile. For a five year-old girl to walk around without a wig and disregard the stares and whispers with a huge grin says so much about her personality. Adults could learn a lot from her! She is a beautiful and strong girl, and I am blessed to be her mentor.” (From
Kayla is now in the competition for the title of Miss America 2011 in the 90th anniversary of the pageant‘s inception, and she has been allowed to forgo the wig during the competition if she chooses. I am excited to see what she will do!
Take a peek behind the scenes of Kayla’s surprisingly normal life and her preparation for the Miss America Pageant:

This really makes me appreciate my bad bang days and frizzy curls a whole lot more. In the end, it just goes to show that beauty really comes from within. What an inspiration to us all!
The pageant airs January 15, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST. Will you be cheering for Kayla?

FashionHow to Wear Neutrals: So Little Can Say So Much

Neutral colors are one of the hottest trends this season because of their natural and soft effects, creating the ultimate girly and chic look. Nude hues are perpetual fashion staples that give us a sophisticated look and will never go out of style. 
 From ivory and pale pink, to nude and taupe, we absolutely love these fresh hues and the maximum impact they give our wardrobe! Neutrals can be worn for every occasion, but the key is how to wear them properly in order to create this fresh feminine look. Here is how to master the art of wearing neutrals:
1. Be careful not to wash out your skin tone. Women with a lighter complexion should wear darker shades of neutrals such as coffee brown or black. On the contrary, women with a darker complexion should wear pale colors such as pink and ivory to make their natural features stand out. 
2. Pair similar hues that complement one another in order to highlight different textures and styles.
3. Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Another way to highlight neutrals is to pair them with bold colors. This highlights your features, while adding some flair to your look. Neutrals also go perfectly with pastels, which are all the rage for this upcoming spring season. 
4. Even make your nails go neutral! Nude hues look as great on our fingers as they do on our clothes. Other awesome shades to wear on your fingers are cute pastels. Try “Mint Candy Apple” and “Lilacism” by Essie!
5. Embrace nude footwear. A pair of nude platforms or pumps elongate your legs, making them the perfect flattering touch to this naturally beautiful style. Two great options from Lulus are the Go Max Ashland 13 Grey Pastel Patent Pumps, and the Go Max Ashland 13 Natural Patent Pumps.
Embrace your natural side this year and add some neutral pieces to your wardrobe so you never go out of style! Besides, who doesn’t want to show off their natural beauty?
Here are some adorable products from Lulus to jump-start your neutral line:

What are your favorite ways to go neutral?

MusicMusic Must: British Sea Power “Valhalla Dancehall”

Y’know how you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover? I figure there’s probably some rule like that when it comes to albums too. Well! I do not care! As soon as I saw the wild horse galloping in a neon fury on the cover of British Sea Power’s Valhalla Dancehall, not to mention the album name itself, I knew I had to give this record a shot. I’m so glad I did!

British Sea Power’s musical style is approachable indie that reminds me of if Against Me and Arcade Fire got together and started drinking Merlot and talking about current events, then got so stirred up about it all they went and recorded an album rightthatsecond in a neighbor’s garage. Valhalla Dancehall has a sort of drunken, dreamy urgency to it’s political and social commentary-ridden tracks, with frontman Yan crooning ,“Sometimes I wish protesting was sexy on a Saturday night.” Me too, Yan. This band melds beautiful melodies and sweeping guitar and keyboards with caustic lyrics that’ll give you pause for thought. 

British Sea Power “Who’s in Control?”

British Sea Power “Luna”

If you’d like to stream the album, The Guardian will be hosting it for now! Give this yummy album a listen y’all!

Carmen B.