Giovanni & Pileggi Salon: Hair TLC

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.42.02 AMI’m openly admitting here, to all of you, that I abuse my hair. Hardcore. It is not something I’m proud of, in fact I find myself making open promises to treat it better on the regular. Unfortunately, I quickly fall back into awful habits of not getting it cut for months on end, but dying it too regularly, promising to turn down the temperature of my flat iron to lower than 450 degrees, but instead just keeping it at that temp because my hair gets straighter faster. I mean … I’m the worst. 

It wasn’t until I found myself standing in insanely bright lighting, highlighting how badly my color had grown out, exposing all of my wretched gray hairs that I said maybe, just maybe, my hair deserves a little TLC. And if there is one place that knows how to treat hair with the proper care it deserves, that is Giovanni & Pileggi Salon in Philly. 

I first went to them late last fall to try out their new hair color that is all organic and actually conditions your hair instead of making it straw-like and brittle. I’ve been through the ringer when it comes to people dying my hair. Between not giving me the color I wanted, burning my scalp leaving me with actual scabs (hey, how about that visual), I was willing to try anything. Maraes (the name of the color they use), changed my life. Free of harsh chemicals, gluten-free (who knew gluten was bad for your hair, by the way!?), and all organic … I left the salon that day feeling like I was in some cliche haircare commercial. 

So months later, with lots of gray hair, and a tired look, I went to Giovanni himself, bright and early on a Saturday (the Saturday before Mother’s Day … which I probably wouldn’t do again, my mistake), for relief. I’m beginning to call him my color savor. 

While my color, again, turned out fantastic this time around, so much so that I was desperately wishing for a large gust of wind to come by so I could whip it around Beyonce-style, I have to say the styling that happened after made me swoon even more. 

Giovanni & Pileggi is now using styling tools by GHD from curling irons, flat irons to blow dryers, which you can purchase in the salon, that actually makes your hair healthier, shinier, and doesn’t allow you to burn your hair due to temperature control (GASP, I know right?!) While flat irons and curling irons may look like actual torture devices, these products are a little less intimidating because they are designed for you to not be able to damage your hair.

I was skeptical, for sure, because I’m a TOTAL flat iron snob, but I sat in the chair and let them go to town on my hair to see what this brand GHD was all about. And I have to say, when I turned around and looked at my hair after they finished, I was straight up giddy. Like I almost giggled out of extreme happiness … and I don’t giggle. After hours of dying and styling … my hair had never looked healthier, shiner, or happier. Yes, my hair actually seemed like it was smiling for once. 

The things we do to look fantastic … my GAWD. But sometimes we have to give ourselves a break, and that includes our hair. GHD is a a great compromise for a styling tool snob like me as it gives me the same great look in the same amount of time, but doesn’t leave all the damage. I mean … sign me up. 

And per usual, I left the salon strutting my stuff down 12th street with “Whose that Lady” blasting in my head … pretending the people I walked past were all, “OMG look at her hair … I wonder where SHE is going!?” Unfortunately I was going home to watch a Will & Grace marathon on my couch with some sushi … but hey, at least I looked absolutely fantastic whilst doing it! 

A ridiculously big thanks to Giovanni, Colin and the team of fantastic people that made me look and feel utterly fantastic to the point of giggling … and for showing me the amazing ways of GHD. 

If you torture your hair like I do/did, get your ass to Giovanni & Pileggi … they will give your hair the extra care it deserves without sacrificing the style … and no they didn’t pay me to say that. :::Drops mic:::

Spring Shoes: Woof

af557433c196b9a2aaf06140a5454486Has anyone noticed how fugly shoes are this spring? I feel like I jumped into some weird time machine and zoomed back to my days in the 90’s when I would have sold my mother to have a full wardrobe from Delias (RIP).

Usually I’m over-joyed with the articles outlining the “top 10 must-have shoes for spring” as I fill my virtual shopping cart. And as it gets fuller and fuller, I contemplate ways of how I could afford them all including selling my body (just kidding … kind of … sort of :::shifty eyes:::). 

Now I’m staring at my computer screen making a really ugly face (think of an ugly cry face but without the crying) and quietly exclaiming to myself, “WHY.” Seriously. I’m in no way shape or form running out to get a pedicure to expose my feet in all of these eye sores. I’ll keep my over-the-knee boots zippered up, a-thank you very much.

What happened to the days of Carrie Bradshaw when shoes were like candy, huh? The ones that were sparkling, colorful, sky-high, and made you feel like a model running around the city. Now I just feel like everyone is going to be walking around this spring recreating a failed Spice Girls video. GAWL POWAH! I don’t know who these fashion editors are kidding, thinking I will put my shower shoes from college back on (yes I wore platform sandals in the shower in college, we didn’t have a great drainage system), but I shant. I SHANT, I say.

So without further adieu, let me activate your gag reflex because, well, misery loves company, am I right? And don’t even bother clicking on them thinking I’ll send you to the link because why on God’s green Earth would I do that to anyone? You’re we,come.

No.

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Stop it.

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Insert Emoji Vom Face

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Dear GOD why?

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Seriously? My eyes.

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Please, no more.

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Experiencing Miss Philadelphia 2015

CaptureOne of my favorite past-times as a child was watching the Miss America pageant. My mom would get me takeout and I would park myself in front of our tiny little box TV, bunny ears and all, and marvel at the beautiful gowns. Let me make it clear that I had no aspirations of becoming a beauty queen myself, but I just adored shiny, beautiful things. Somethings never change, I suppose.

So you could imagine my delight when one of my best friends, who is now Co-Director of the Miss Philadelphia pageant (mama is OH so proud), asked me to volunteer at the 94th annual Miss Philadelphia pageant this past Saturday. Now, because of movies like Miss Congeniality and horrific reality shows detailing the lives of actual beauty queens, you immediately think big hair, huge egos, and of course, world peace. Naturally I was terrified that an underfed beauty queen high on Aqua Net would verbally abuse me to get her an Evian spritzer or something.

But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. No tantrums. No crazy stage moms. No freak outs. No praying in the corner and overly thanking Jesus. No Vaseline on the teeth (I mean maybe, I wasn’t like all up in their bidniss when they were getting ready). These ladies were the real deal. And I gotta say, oh so refreshing. I was expecting to see Barbie Doll clones that were so beautiful and perfect, that you couldn’t look at them directly or your face would melt off. Instead you saw real women of all sizes, colors, personalities. Aspiring doctors, Master degree holders, all talented and lovely in their own way.

These girls defined “beauty queen” in a modern way … the way beauty SHOULD be defined. Each one, especially the contestants for outstanding teen, which made me feel really bad about myself for not having my shit together like these ladies do at such a young age. And everyone was so calm and nice, even under all the pressure. It was almost scary. For me, the idea of prancing on a stage in front of hundreds of people in a God damn bikini as they judged me would make me curl into the fetal position and cry for my mommy. Yet these girls walked around waiting to get their hair and makeup did, treating everyone they came across with respect like, “meh … all in a day.”

It takes balls to be a beauty queen, let me tell you. While I don’t fully agree with pageants and find them to be a little dated, these girls were educated, smart, and just there to better themselves and the community they adore so much. If that meant strutting their stuff in four inch heels (clear heels sometimes, which I was told is a “pageant thing”) and a bikini in order to get that chance, well, so be it. And yeah … the crown. The crown is rad. What lady wouldn’t want to wear a crown, for crying out loud. Hell, I did. Oh yeah, I tried that shit on before the show. It was glorious.

I want to thank the Miss Philadelphia Organization for welcoming me into their world for one day and getting to experience the beauty queen lifestyle. It was lovely meeting all the past queens, as well as the ones participating. Especially our reigning Miss Philadelphia, Julia Rae, who isn’t just straight up talented and gorgeous, but such a sweet heart. Her state of zen before the show was mind blowing. Again … I would be crying for my mommy. So congrats to all the participants. I was happy to eat all the carbs for you back stage so you didn’t feel the need to. You’re welcome, ladies, you’re welcome.
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The Real Story Of Having Curly Hair

sarah-jessica-parker-hair-curly-short-08When I tell people I have curly hair, their jaws usually drop to the ground, or they call me a dirty liar. But the truth of that matter is, I have mad curly, thick hair. And it hasn’t seen the light of day for almost a decade, because I have dedicated my life to learning all the techniques for making it as straight as possible, so people don’t have the slightest idea that my hair is curly. Because when my hair is curly, I get murderous rage. Don’t ask me why, I just do.

You can then understand my disdain for the Dove commercial giving big ups to curly hair. It’s not like I have a phobia of curly hair or anything, or want to throw things at people who have said curly hair. The commercial just fails miserably at depicting a “real” girl with curly hair. For example, I want to say 85.7% of people who have curly hair, don’t have curls that look like this:

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Ads like these used to drive me mad as a teenager. I would make my mom buy me all of these ridiculous hair products that showed models having these tame, beautiful curls that made it look like you could do anything with them. I was desperate since when I would let my hair curl, I would loose about 40% of the length and end up having this massive bush of frizzy chaos to deal with that barely went into an attractive looking bun.

Whenever I would get my hair cut, I would have my hair dresser make my hair “Asian straight,” (his words, not mine) and it would last for about a week. It took him 2 1/2 hours to do it, and 2 assistants to help, but he made all my hair dreams come true. During said week, I would pretend I was Britney Spears, flipping my hair around and around. I would try different hair styles, actually getting to enjoy butterfly clips and not have them get lost in the jungle of my hair (can you tell it was the early 2000’s?) My hair would literally be a grease slick until my mom would be like, “hey, dirt ball, maybe it’s time to let it go.”

Sigh … but the girls with straight hair. The ones who would “kill for a little bend.” The ones who can literally do anything to their hair from long, luxurious pony tails, blunt bobs, BANGS, for Christ Sake, BANGS! And my favorite, being able to sleep on it, wake up, run a brush through it, and be done with the hair conversation for the day. You know what happens when you try to wear your hair curly two days straight without washing it? THIS:

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I want to applaud Dove for putting a campaign out there that allows women to embrace their beauty. I really do, because, as a lady, I believe that is the most important thing. But if MTV were to make a “True Life: I have curly hair,” episode, I wouldn’t suggest they reference Dove, as I just don’t feel like they are doing the whole thing justice.

 

Get Choo Smize On

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Photo credit: http://www.zap2it.com/blogs/tyra_banks_antm_turns_into_a_super-smized_infomercial-2009-09

A co-worker recently told me I look like I want to cut someone, compared to another girl we work with whose “eyes seem to smile.” To which I wanted to put my hands on my hips and say, “HEY!” but then when I REALLY thought about it said, “meh, you’re probably right.”

Apparently there is this thing called “smizing” or “smiling with your eyes,” that the model turned model mentor turned talk show host turned (what the hell is she up to now? Anyone know?) Tyra Banks coined in her TV show, America’s Next Top Model. I only caught the first two seasons out of, what, the 95th season that is currently running? So hence this term being so very foreign to me.

When he alerted me to the fact that my face had murderous rage for no reason (I was actually in a chipper mood that day), even though I knew he was right, I wanted to adjust my eyes to see if this “smizing” thing could work for me. But, alas, turns out I ended up looking more like a serial killer than ever. Apparently making your eyes wider and batting your eye lashes is SUPER creepy.

But did you know, there is an app for that?! WHAT?! :::mind blown::: And no I didn’t dare download that crap to my phone. In fact there is a God damn WikiHow page with steps on how to smile with your eyes. BUT WAIT! If that wasn’t enough, there is a YouTube video of Tyra Banks showing her minions the difference between staring and SMIZING. It’s insanely weird, I suggest you click the link and watch it immediately.

After much research on the topic (not really), I found that the difference between staring and “smizing” involves an ever so slight head tilt. Yep. That’s it, kids. And when I did this, I STILL looked like I wanted to straight up stab someone … probably more than ever.

Look, when I’m staring at the computer, walking down the street, doing anything that involves thinking about what I’m doing, bitch I’m in the damn zone. Nobody got time to smize when they are in the zone, am I right? I actually took the time to work on my smize (behold the creepiness of my eyes below). Oh yeah. I did. I found out a couple of things:

1. (and I NEVER say this about anything concerning myself) I have really amazing eye lashes. Thanks parents for this one aspect of myself I can raise the roof about.

2. I hate taking selfies. Like really hate it. I wanted to punt my phone.

3. Smizing is complete and utter nonsense. If you’re happy and you know it clap your damn hands. They don’t say in the song, “then your smile will surely show it,” for nothing. Stop making your eyes do something they physically can’t do. Eyes. Can’t. Smile. Freaks.

So for all you poor souls out there who look me in the eye and think I want to cut your ass, I don’t. Really. My eyes say murder but my soul says, “hey friend, come and give me a hug.” Unless you are a classless, rude, immature human being … then yes, my eyes do want to cut you. But I never would. I promise. Pinky swear, in fact.

Got 99 Problems, But A Product Ain’t One

CaptureI love products. I love samples. I love samples of products, I mean who doesn’t?! They are just so adorable I want to pick them up and exclaim, “HI MEEM!” (which if any of you know me is my exclamation when I see something cute … dogs, cats, boys, anything). And, you know, it’s great to try out a product before pulling the trigger and buying a full bottle, am I right?

That is why I originally adored the concept of Birch Box. The opportunity to get a bunch of sample products delivered to you in a box based off of a profile you made of yourself? I was head over heels from the packaging and the cute way they announce your name on the box, “the dazzling Kate Concannon,” to the little extras they would throw in. Swoon.

Until one day I looked at my makeup table and realized, “holy shit, I’m about to get straight up swallowed by products.” They were ev-er-y-where. Overflowing out of my makeup drawer, falling off the side of my table, balancing on top of one another. I mean everywhere I looked, there they were (the pictures in this post are an actual representation). And the worst part? I probably had only tried 5% of them. So they just sat there like little multiplying minions all, “Try me! Try me! Me next! Me next!”

Never once really have I tried a product from my Birch Box and had to have it. Actually, I lied, I gave an anti-aging serum to my mom, SHE loved it, went to buy it for her for Christmas and realized it was like $100 for a thimble of the stuff. Yeah. No. But besides that, the sample size is good enough for me. When I get the urge to do a face mask, it is awesome that I can go to my makeup table and choose from 15 different samples. I just wish I didn’t have 15 of them, and then an extra 5 exfoliators to follow suit.

And it doesn’t help that I’m cheap. So when I’m at a makeup counter, or like that time I went to Ulta and they hooked me up with literally a bag full of a samples, I just cannot say no. I’m too busy doing a happy dance and Instagramming my goodies. But instead of finding the ones I like, or gifting away the ones I don’t want or know I won’t use, I just end up hoarding them until my makeup table is more like a sanctuary to tiny bottles of shit that were never opened.

I need to go to samples anonymous, and as much as I love getting that awesome box each month (which happens to come at the most opportune times … during a mental break down, happen to be in an extra stabby mood), I think Birch Box and I have to part ways for a bit. I’m not hating on you, Birch Box, because you have brought me so much joy. But alas, I think I need to become one with the samples I already have, and hell, who knows, maybe pick up a new product I like. I mean isn’t that what it is all about?

For the person who needs a new beauty regime or just needs a little spice to their look, definitely dive into Birch Box. But if you are a closet makeup/sample hoarder, stay away. Far away. And in fact join me at Samples Anonymous. I’ll be serving tiny bottles of Diet Coke and gummy bears and we can talk about feelings.

This isn’t even half of it …

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Screw Snow, My Mind Is In Paris

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Photo credit: http://fashionreverie.com/?p=10599

As much as I love the non-humid, great hair days, the reason to stay in bed or on your couch and snuggle, and the perfect excuse to not have to exist with the general population … fuck this winter, pardon my French.

You know what? I’m not even going to waste your time discussing how “snowmaggedon” didn’t show its face, because if you are anything like me, you are so exhausted of people bitching and complaining and dissecting the weather that all you want to do is shove two thick down pillows over your ears to drown out the sorrow.

And as I was trying not to slip and die on my way to the train, and thinking about the snow day that could have been, I decided, enough! Enough bitching. Enough complaining. Why not transport myself to a better place, with better people, and better clothing, and better champagne? Oh yeah … I’m talking  Spring 2015 Couture Fashion Week.

If these images below don’t get your engine revved for spring, then you are probably dead … or soulless … either or. It’s truly so mystical and dreamy and … well … anything goes. What in life gets better? I’m beyond in to it. So fuck snow, or lack their off, fuck the frigid temps … my mind is in Paris, if you need me or it.

Valentino

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Chanel

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Dior

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Margiela

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Aura Tout Vu

Aura Tout Vu

AuraToutVu2(All photos from NYMag.com)

The New Evil: Showering

1960-PSYCHO-001As if we don’t have enough problems in this life, war, inequality, terrorism, disease, now all of a sudden showering every day is harmful to our health? Which leads me to tilt my head and quietly exclaim, “what the fuck?!”

I’m more of a “shower the night before” type of gal. But I, for the most part, minus a few lazy moments, shower every day. And mostly because I want to. For the love of God, I take public transportation. Especially in the summer months, the first thing I crave when I get home is to wash the filth from the general population off my body. Nothing like mixing your sweat with the left over sweat from some stranger who sat in the same seat before you, am I right?!

Listen, just because some hot shot doc all of a sudden felt the need to tell the world that by showering every day we are losing important bacteria and drying out our skin doesn’t mean much to me. Why do you think Sephora sells $200 bottles of moisturizer in a thimble? Dry skin is curable, people. Very curable. There are about 1,001 solutions to dry skin. And good bacteria? Please. By “good bacteria” do you mean the strands of new viruses that are probably being organically bred on the seats, handles, and doors of all train cars? And let’s not forget the petri dish called your office.

Showering is relaxing to me. I get in, wash off the day, clear my head, get out, moisturize, and feel so fresh and so clean clean. Nothing is better. Well, not true, when I have to shave my legs, that showering experience isn’t so grand.

What is even more laughable is that the solution to only showering every three days, which apparently is the appropriate amount to shower, is wiping yourself down in areas that may start to “smell.” Umm, seriously? Am I high right now? Is this real life? Because the idea of giving myself a sponge bath in front of a perfectly fine working shower makes my head want to explode. Jesus … the effort alone.

Direct quote, dermotologists recommend you wash the “the grossest parts of your body” with a washcloth. Kindly define “grossest parts of my body,” please. Because I don’t find wiping down my lady parts, which I assume would fall under the “grossest parts” category, and most importantly during that lovely “time of the month,” with a washcloth pleasant in any sense of the word. Bring on the cleansing of “good bacteria” any day.

What I’m saying is, shame on this doctor for instilling this idiotic fear in people. We have enough shit to worry about then alone getting in our showers to remove the stank of the day. Am I right? Listen, I’m not a clean freak or a “germaphobe,” and yes I believe exposing yourself to bacteria is a good thing as it helps your immune system, but when it comes to showering … well … I’ll leave you with this:

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A Life Without Mirrors

CaptureAs I got up this morning, feeling like I got 2 hours of sleep when in reality I got a solid 8, and desperately hating the fact that it was Wednesday, I starred at myself in the mirror hating even more that I had to make this :::waving hand in front of face::: look acceptable for human beings to see.

Then I thought about how different life would be without mirrors. I think I was inspired by the Dove Beauty commercial that challenged women to use Dove for 7 days without mirrors. Literally a team of dudes came in and removed all mirrors from their homes. During that week you see these women washing their faces, and instead of standing in front of a mirror picking apart every flaw on their body, they were just enjoying the feel or their skin. Kind of idiotically … but I mean without mirrors what else would you do, right?

Or maybe it was that I just watched Divergent for the first time and decided that I totally would be in abnegation because the idea of only getting only a certain amount of time to look in the mirror really excites me. Literally. The mirrors have timers. Why don’t I live in this world!?

Sure, mirrors are great for doing makeup and your hair. But they also are a trap for starring at yourself, and if you are anything like me, wishing so badly that things were different from your eyebrows that you wish looked like Cara Delevingne and hair follicles that look nothing like Kim Kardashians. I mean don’t you hate FaceTime for this reason? Because I do. Instead of connecting with friends and relatives across the country, I’m too busy trying to find an angle that doesn’t make me look like a gargoyle … duck facing through it all.

I wish I could honestly say I don’t check myself out in anything that gives off a reflection from televisions to train car windows, but I do. Simply because I want to ensure I am at my best self … and honestly who the fuck knows what that ACTUALLY means. Do I have anything in my teeth? Do I have an alfalfa hair sticking up? Do I look like Kate Moss yet? How about now? I mean have you ever looked at yourself in the window of a store, not thinking there were actual people inside, but in reality you know there are people inside shopping and looking at what a vain asshole you truly are. Yeah … join the club.

Dove Beauty has a point. When was the last time you looked in a mirror at your own reflection and said, “daaaaaaaaaaamn, bitch, I look good.” I mean … that is not what they are saying, but you get the drift. The honest answer to that is never. I never look in the mirror and internally give myself compliments.

So Dove, my answer to your question of #BeautyIs … being able to wake up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “daaaaaaaaaaamn, bitch, I look good,” even if I resemble a gargoyle. It is about accepting the unacceptable. You is who you is, and there are places Sephora for enhancement purposes.

I challenge you, sexy reader, to avoid glaring at yourself in a mirror that is behind your friend in front of you who is trying to tell a story. To stop checking yourself out in anything with a reflection. And to give yourself a compliment once a day. Like today, my accessory game is on point. There. I said it. Now … your turn:

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Marsala – Pantone Color Of The … What?!

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Photo credit: http://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21163&from=hp

I have a long list of words that I loathe. Number one on my list is a word that rhymes with “hoist”. You know what I’m talking about :::shutters::: and never will you hear the word escape my lips … NEVER, I say, NEVER!

So when I heard the Pantone color of the year was “Marsala,” my mind immediately went to my favorite Italian restaurant, a big plate of chicken marsala, copious amounts of carbs and wine, and a rather large food coma to follow. Which immediately made me cringe. Sure, chicken marsala is delicious … one of my favorite Italian meals as a matter of fact. But thinking about it in terms of fashion and home goods … well … woof.

By now I’m sure you are aware that I’m not a HUGE fan of color, especially in my wardrobe. Never once will you see me frolicking down the street in a hot pink sweatsuit. While “marsala” doesn’t scream, “HEY! YOU! LOOK AT ME!” I still can’t help but feel I will be walking around with a huge pasta stain on my shirt if I rock said color. Do you know what chicken marsala looks like?! It ain’t pretty, but my God, sure is delicious.

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Photo credit: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Chicken-Marsala

Marsala, well sure it has a cool name, but I just don’t think it knows what it is. It’s like trying to be ox blood (which was so 2013 … am I right?), but like kind of wants to be brown, but isn’t sure and doesn’t want to commit. Perhaps sticking its pinky toe in beige. It seems more of a follower color than a color that owns it shit, like orange. Orange knows what’s up.

And quite frankly I don’t want to walk into Sephora and have some stylist tackle me and try to make “Marsala” happen on my eyes. It happened to me once during the Pantone color of 2012, Tangerine Tango. I went to Sephora trying to get a new “look” on my eyes and walked away looking like a tangerine has vomited all over my face.

Marsala personally isn’t my cup of tea, mostly because I will feel like a huge tool walking into a store and asking them if they have anything in a “marsala,” teeth clenched and all. Sure it would look nice in an accessory … a scarf for the ladies or a tie for the gents. Other than that, I’m going to think of marsala in one way and one way one … in the delicious chicken form.

Mmm … shit now I want chicken marsala.