Catching Fire Capitol Couture Collection

Everyone and their dog is obsessed with Catching Fire, me included. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the second and third books, but the movie? Oh the movie. It’s AMAZING. They did such an awesome job. Personally, I love the times when they’re in the capitol. People there are totally crazy! Their hair, makeup, and clothes are pretty much an awesome haute couture runway show for me. Love the capitol yourself? Well, now you can own a piece of the action. That’s right. Net-A-Porter partnered with Trish Summerville to release a small collection centered around that very capitol and the Games they’re obsessed with.

So what I find cool is that this collection has everything from athletic wear to really nice dresses and even a jumpsuit. My favorite is this patent leather dress with a seriously cool neckline. How much will the dresses set you back? They’re between $500 and $1000. Then there’s the faux-fur trimmed wool coat that’s $700, and the jumpsuit with a cut-out chest is about $400.

The thing is, none of these items are totally Catching Fire. I mean, they are, but they’re more interpretations made into pieces that people in the 21st century could wear. But if you want pieces that are more like what they wear in the movie, they might not exactly cut it. Well, lucky for you there is a leather jacket and a couple pairs of pants reminiscent of Katniss’s go to outfit when she’s home. They cost between $280 and $700, but remember, they’re leather. Also, they’re not just any normal leather. The jacket has some really cool arrow details that will make you feel like a huntress.

To continue reading and view pictures go to: http://convozine.com/fierceandfreefashion/36975

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The Most Flattering Hairstyles For Your Face Shape: Round Faces

So I’ve been promising that I’d write an article on each different face shape and the best hair for it for a few weeks now but other stories keep coming up. Well, there was another story that wanted to be written this week, but I told it that it had to wait. I have a promise to keep. I mean, I didn’t post all those pictures of me because I’m narcissistic. I posted them to segue into articles for each face shape. Honestly, it was really difficult for me to post pictures at all, let alone some of my worst ones of all time. I’m a writer, not an actress, which means I like to be in the background where nobody can see me. You see, I’ve always had what I like to call “a basketball head,” AKA a round face shape. The shape that I always thought was least attractive and totally unphotogenic. But really, I think I mostly thought that because I didn’t know what hairstyles go best with it. That’s why I’m going to start this series of articles with my own face shape. I need some good ideas for the upcoming holiday season.

 

First of all, let me tell you what a round face shape is so you know whether you have it or not. It’s honestly pretty easy. Is the length of your face about the same as the width of it? Do you lack any corners to your jaw? Are your cheeks wider than your forehead and jaw line? If so, then congratulations, you have a round face shape!

 

Now obviously I’m trying to make it into a positive. Since I’ve always looked down on my own round face, it’s not exactly easy to look at it with a good light, but I’ve gotten better. It all kind of changed when I hit 30. I noticed that people around me were starting to show their age by losing the plumpness of their cheeks. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that because angular cheekbones are seriously awesome, and looking your age definitely has its advantages. I don’t look my age (31) so I don’t get taken as seriously. Of course, since I can still pass for my early to mid-20s, which feels nice. I honestly think I get better looking the older I get.

 

So why do I still look 24 or so? It’s because round face shapes, though not considered the best face shape in younger years, becomes a coveted face shape in later years. We sort of have the gift of youth longer than most other shapes. If you don’t have a round face, don’t take this as saying your face shape isn’t coveted, because honestly, they all are for different reasons. You always want what other people have, right?

 

Okay, so now that you know whether you have a round face shape, let’s move on. That’s not the only factor that should determine your hair. Obviously, your hair type and texture makes a big difference as well. That’s why I’m going to go through all sorts of hair types and lengths to really give you a variety of ideas. You’re bound to find at least one that you’re in love with.

 

First I’ll start with short. Now even though I didn’t really like short hair on round faces, I still chopped all mine off in high school. Having a pixie was a ton of fun. Of course, back then they weren’t “in” yet so nasty jocks at my school decided to spread rumors that I was a lesbian. Though I have nothing against lesbians, I’m not one, and the way they treated me caused me to pretty much sluff an entire semester. Let me branch off for a second and just say bullies suck. I feel bad for people who really are gay and get treated like that for years, possibly by people they thought were their friends. Mine only lasted my senior year and yet it did a lot of damage to my psyche. So let’s totally stop bullying and judging.

 

To continue reading go to this link: http://convozine.com/fierceandfreefashion/36937

Do Child Models/Actors Grow Up Too Fast?

Since the beginning of time, children have had to fulfill adult roles. If you search on Wikipedia for Child Rulers, there are literally over 450 of them, most likely more because who knows how many didn’t go down in history. That’s 450 children who were given such a huge responsibility as running a country or tribe, no matter how small or large it was. Most of these child rulers are rarely talked about by the modern masses, but a few of them have become some of the most famous rulers in all history. Rulers like King Tut, who ascended to the throne at the tender age of nine or ten. Unlike so many adult rulers, King Tut changed the entire face of Egypt in his mere nine years of rule, from which city was the capital and smaller things like that, all the way to the very main god that they worshipped.

Then there’s Henry VI of England who succeeded to the throne at a mere nine months old. Two months later he also became the king of France. Yes, he was too young to actually rule, only officially doing so after his mother died when he was sixteen years old, but still, I can’t imagine growing up never having known life before being king. If you think that was young, Mary Queen of Scots was a mere six days oldwhen she became queen.

To show how much respect some of these children were given, one child ruler was even canonized by the Catholic Church. That was Louis IX of France, who became king at a mere twelve years old. In 1908, a two years old Henry Puyi became emperor of China. Unlike most emperors, he was basically kept a prisoner his entire life. Knowing that, I’m not sure how much he actually ruled versus just being forced to be the face of an empire, but still, it’s impressive. The most modern of child rulers that I could find in my research was in 1939, when a fifteen-year-old became the esteemed Dalai Lama, ruling all of Tibet.

Then, if you think about it, for every child ruler, there are probably thousands, perhaps millions, more children who have to make their own money, whether for their families, or for their own survival. Children who never knew the innocence of childhood. Children who are slaves to those who take advantage of them. Some of these children did, do, or will have to work harder than most of the adults I know.

As people live longer, healthier lives, there seem to be very few child rulers, if any, but now children have other responsibilities. In numerous families, like my own, both parents work, forcing the older siblings to raise the younger children. Of course, if these older siblings are anything like my brothers were, then they’d really just play the computer while the youngest took care of themselves. Being raised that way made me so independent and responsible that, even at a very young age, I stayed home alone. Basically, I raised myself.

For me, that’s not a bad thing. I really enjoyed it. I liked doing whatever I wanted to do whenever I wanted to do it. I’m still like that today, which might be bad now because this is so engrained in me that I literally can’t date a guy for more than a couple of weeks. They just want too much of my time and I don’t want to give it to them. It’s like, “You want to see me this weekend? AGAIN? I just saw you last week!” So, instead of going forward and making a relationship, I pretty much just stop answering their calls and texts until they get the hint to leave me alone.

Growing up doing whatever I wanted wasn’t always easy. There were times—probably more often than not—that I had to hide what I did from my parents so they couldn’t tell me to stop. My siblings and I would always make up stories of what “happened” to tell our parents so they wouldn’t know the trouble we got ourselves into. Like the time when my brother was sliding down the banister from the top floor, hit the wood on the main floor with his socks, and proceeded to fall down the stairs to the basement. He shattered his jaw and spent a few days in the hospital, and then months after with his mouth wired shut. Our “story” was that he just slipped on the wood and fell. And of course we all stuck to it.

Another time we had to come up with a story was when we were playing with an ax. Yes, an ax. It was me and my two brothers closest in age to me. My older brother was probably nine, I was seven, and my little brother five. We were playing in the woods with a neighbor my older brother’s age, whittling trees, when my little brother walked up behind us and got the back of the ax in the head. I can’t remember the story we came up with, but we all agreed to keep the ax a secret. Not just so we wouldn’t get in trouble, but also so we could play with it again. Hopefully without taking a chunk of my brother’s forehead with it.

We have so many of these stories; so many injuries. Honestly, I don’t know how we all made it to adulthood with all our appendages intact. Well, yes, my brother practically cut off the tip of my thumb with scissors once, but they were able to sew it back on. I don’t really have feeling in most of it, but other than a deep scar and a slightly deformed fingernail, it passes as normal. We’ll just say this. . .we got good at making our own stitches out of the sticky parts of Band-Aids so we wouldn’t have to go to the doctor. My mom even popped my dislocated elbow in by herself once and my dad scrubbed all the gravel out of my elbow to knee road rash by himself. . .after first having me soak in a hot bath that felt like it was shredding my road rash open. I literally hated him for a while after that.

But all in all, no matter how independent we were, we were also allowed to just be kids. We didn’t have too much responsibility. Enough, through chores and such things, but not so much so that we couldn’t just go outside and play from dawn to dusk.

The same can’t be said for so many children today. In the late 20th century, the numbers of beauty queens (and kings), child actors, and child models started to grow exponentially. And so many of these children become the breadwinners for their families. It literally blows my mind. I’m not sure how many of these children choose this life themselves and how many are forced by parents living through their children. Either way, it seems like some of the most famous people today are children.

To continue reading, go to: http://convozine.com/whatsupwiththat/35159

The Fashion from the 2013 Country Music Awards

So there have been a lot of events lately with some really awesome fashion. This week I’m going to talk about the 2013 Country Music Awards. This article will be different than ones in the past because I’m going to ignore the bad and questionable to really highlight the positive.

Now I don’t listen to country really so I don’t watch this show, but I still thought I’d check out their red carpet. Man am I glad I did because the women had some really amazing dresses!

Believe it or not, but I do actually know the names of a few of these ladies, but then there are the ones I have no clue who they are so please don’t hate me! I’m more a hard rock kind of girl (can I say obsessed with Breaking Benjamin and his growling and grunting, as well as awesome guitar riffs and deep lyrics?).

So obviously I know who Taylor Swift is. I’m not THAT out of touch with reality when it comes to country artists. She wore this amazing, full-skirted Elie Saab Haute Couture gown, the perfect amount of beading to really draw your eyes to Taylor, who always looks so beautiful.

Next was Carrie Underwood. I don’t know what designer she wore, but it was beautiful. Colored close to her skin tone with lots of sheer areas and then blinged out, it was one of the best dresses of the night. Now I know who Cassadee Pope is. Not only do I watch The Voice, but I also knew her from Hey Monday prior to that because my sister was obsessed with them. Her dress was cool, giving her this amazing shape that really made her look like a woman. Now I know she’s been a woman for a while, but maybe I’m still thinking of her as the girl from Hey Monday. This dress kind of squashed that image. I can’t wait to see what she wears next!

To continue reading, click on this link: http://convozine.com/fierceandfreefashion/36879

Psychoanalysis of Cain

I don’t know how much most authors get into their characters, but I become them as I write. I cry when they do, I get angry when they’re angry, and giddy when they’re happy. I feel more like my stories and characters come from outside of myself and I just put it down onto paper. I don’t know what that says about me. Perhaps it means I’m crazy.

I do that with every character, but there’s one in particular that I’ve been really surprised I can write. That’s Cain. He’s angry, selfish, crazy, and lashes out in really mean ways. He does things that I honestly had never even thought of before I wrote them. They kind of just came out of my fingers, shocking even me with their cruelty. You see, I’m not a cruel person. I just don’t think that way. I prefer to be the positive, nice person who tries not to engage with bullies, even when they’re attacking me in front of everyone. I just don’t think they’re worth it. So to have someone like Cain and his darkness come out of my mind in a totally subconscious way, it kind of makes me wonder what I have deep down in my depths. Like the way he murders a very famous queen in the second book. It’s totally psychotic. It’s amazing that it came out of such a sweet little Mormon girl.

I always wondered what Cain would be diagnosed with. Is he a sociopath? What would be his diagnosis? I didn’t go to school for that kind of thing so when a fan who is in the midst of that very thing did a psychoanalysis of Cain from my series, The Cain Chronicles, I seriously thought it was the coolest thing ever. It feels right on the money. Check it out!

“As for Cain, he’s a tough nut to crack. The best diagnosis for him is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That would be what I thought of as the prevailing issue. I say this because of the experience he had when he jumped off of the cliff and was pinned under the water for an unknown amount of time and kept drowning over and over and how that stripped away so much of his humanity. He also has abandonment issues due to his perceived rejection by God. This aggravated the resentment he already felt towards his parents and brother Abel because of how he felt so dismissed and overburdened by their constant reliance and simultaneous complete disregard of him. It’s interesting, because he had a natural sense of responsibility, a need to take care of things and keep order. He felt this even before Hara, and did well to keep a balance through the Mokolios.

Even when he was ‘evil’ he still had a strong sense of right and wrong. He did everything to get God’s attention, but not really to best Him, to get Him to finally speak to him again. He really wanted to finally get somebody’s approval and unconditional love. Once he got it, though, he didn’t know what to do with it, he couldn’t trust it because he had never had a time where he’d felt he had it before, so he had no frame of reference on how to allow it to do what it was supposed to do: heal him.”

So what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Have anything to add? I’d love to hear your opinions! If you haven’t read it yet (or know someone who would like it), it will be on sale tomorrow (November 12, 2013 starting at midnight PST) through midnight November 19, 2013 in the U.S. The first two books are out and the third comes out this winter so it’s the perfect time to start reading it. And no, though it’s about Cain (as in Cain and Abel, the son of Adam and Eve), it’s not meant to be a religious or Christian series. People get that out of it if they’re looking for that, but those who aren’t looking for that usually don’t see it as such.

United States: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Cain-Chronicles-Book-One-ebook/dp/B009KAM0FO

 

It’s also for sale in all other countries where Amazon has a site. Here are a couple of links for those.

Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Mark-Cain-Chronicles-Book-One-ebook/dp/B009KAM0FO

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Mark-Cain-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B009KAM0FO

Isabel Marant for H&M

I know I was going to write about hair this week, but then I remembered that H&M has a special collection in collaboration with Isabel Marant coming out next, Thursday November 14, 2013, to 250 selected stores worldwide, so I’m pushing it off a week. I’ve always adored  Isabel Marant’s collections, though they’re not really my style. I’m more the rock and roll, edgy, leather, studs, and spikes girl and her pieces are more bohemian with ethnic touches and tons of fringe. I might not like them for myself, but I love them on other people!

 
Isabel Marant was born and raised in Paris. After graduating from the famous Studio Berçot, she started her own jewelry line. Later she added knitwear (which is what I think of when I think of her) and then she launched her first full collection in 1994.
I didn’t know who she was until she came out with the Willow sneakers, hidden wedge tennis shoes reminiscent of the ‘90s. I obsessed over them for years, buying four pairs of Skechers the moment they made their own versions. At the time they weren’t available online and were only in one store in the world so I called and ordered them. Now hidden wedge sneakers are everywhere (yay!), but I will always remember Isabel Marant as the one to start the trend.

 
I also recently discovered H&M. I’d never been because I wrongly assumed they only had sizes for skinny girls. Well, now that I know differently, I’m totally converted. It’s now my absolute favorite store. So put together one of my favorite designers with my favorite store and I’m seriously having clothesgasms.

 
Isabel Marant for H&M is everything you could want in a fall/winter wardrobe. And unlike some designers who do cheaper collaborations, the collection still feels very, very her. It’s heavy on the knit and wool, ethnic touches and patterns on almost every piece. Fringe, sequins, silk, and leather also play prominent roles. In her normal collections, I’ve noticed that she likes to do a lot of lacing down the sides of pants, so it’s no surprise that her leather pants have that same touch.

To continue reading go to http://convozine.com/fierceandfreefashion/36824

Becoming Normal

For over a year I’ve been deaf in my right ear and hard of hearing in my left. I have this extremely nasty disease called Meniere’s Disease that eats your inner ear. As you can imagine, I have a difficult time understanding people when they speak to me. And if they have an accent, forget it, I won’t catch most of what they say. When it comes to watching movies, I’ve needed the subtitles on for years. Of course, I did adapt. I learned to make up a conversation by the few words I catch, and to laugh or nod or look sad depending on the other person’s facial expressions. I feel horrible about doing that, but I can’t ask someone to repeat every single thing they say eighty times.

This past summer my doctor finally told me that I needed hearing aids. That I really had no choice anymore. Problem is that insurance doesn’t pay for them and they aren’t cheap. At $2,500 a pop, I’d have to come up with $5,000. As an indie author whose debut novel wasn’t even coming out until October (and let’s face it, you don’t make money with a debut novel, even if you have a publisher), and with a job as an office manager for a start-up biotechnology firm, I just don’t have that kind of money. However, my audiologist mentioned to me that perhaps Vocational Rehab would be willing to help. I wasn’t sure that they would, but I made my appointment.

I remember the moment I got the letter that told me I qualified for help from them. I honestly started crying I was so happy. I had hope. Hope that I would be able to hear again. You see, my biggest fear is going completely deaf where not even hearing aids will help. It took months, but finally last week I got my hearing aids. The first moment I put them on, I could already hear. In fact, everything was extremely loud. All I could pay attention to was my audiologist’s chair squeaking. It was like someone was bashing my head with a hammer, the sound was so explosive.

At first the sound also had a robotic quality and I remember thinking about how if that’s what things were going to sound like then I wasn’t going to like having hearing aids. But that only lasted a little while. Everything was still loud, but at least it didn’t sound electronic anymore. My audiologist kept telling me that my hearing was at the “normal” level, even though it sounded as loud as fireworks. That’s how deaf I am. That “normal” hearing made me dizzy and gave me a headache.

I forgot all the little sounds that my brain tuned out the more deaf I became. I forgot that my pants make a sound when I walk. I forgot that my dog belches when she eats too much. So many little things and now I could hear them all. It overwhelmed me. I was sitting in my house and I thought someone was ringing my ancient doorbell that buzzes instead of rings, but it was someone opening a garbage can thirty feet away. I thought I hit something with my car, but really it was only a CD case sliding across my backseat. So many things stimulating my ears now bombarded me from every direction. I thought I’d go crazy. But just as I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle it, my brain started adapting. Yes, everything is still loud and my own voice sounds odd in my deaf ear, as though I’m plugging my ears and speaking, but they say that will go away as soon as my brain relearns how to process sound.

I don’t know how long it will take for me to completely adapt, but I’m really excited for it. So far my life has changed so much in just a few days. It’s nice to hear all the things that make your life worthwhile. Like hearing my dog make her cute little noises as I pet her. Hearing music and TV, since those both inspire me in my own writing. Being able to hear what my boss is saying to me since he speaks in this tone that I always had a difficult time understanding. Not getting yelled at when people get frustrated that I don’t understand them. My life is changing for the better. I’m becoming a normal person again. And for that I can’t wait.

(I actually wrote this in January of 2013 and will write a follow-up post soon).