Once again, I’m bringing you something old-school, rad, borrowed and bad for your private perusal. Maybe good girls are looking for something old and something new, something borrowed and something blue—but that’s not me. Not by a long shot. So, let me take you on a tour far deeper into the exotic world of geekchic…
Old-school: Teach Me Tiger
First, something old school before we get into the rad and the borrowed and the bad. And, honestly, if you skip down to onlinekyne, I won’t be offended…
I was watching an episode of my favorite PBS shows, Call the Midwife, and noticed a song I’d heard before… well, it was a re-run, so this was my second listen. But it was that second time around that I decided I was going to look it up. It’s very whispery and seductive, very sweet and bold: Teach Me Tiger, by April Stevens. I hope it sneaks up on you and squeezes you the way it got to me.
What a great song to own. And it makes me want to gather up a collection of dreamy 50s songs for those lovely, quiet moments at home.
Now, onto onlinekyne, the guy who’s making-me-my-raddest (once those Powder Room D wigs he YouTube-recommended arrive in the mail)…
Wearing wigs day-to-day has been going on for a while in the Black community, I think. But it’s becoming more and more trendy to wear wigs every day. It’s becoming mainstream! Which is cool.
Are you thinking about wearing your wigs more casually too? Here are some solid facts about daily wig wear to get you out of the ‘well, I’m not so sure…’ gray area. It is a tacky, tacky gray area you don’t need to be in to really do it. And I’m also sharing the best instructional videos I’ve found so far, especially for people of color. If you also have videos to share, just let me know. I’d love to add them to the list…
Why You Should Get Off the Wig Fence
Get a good wig and you’re set. In his videos, onlinekyne recommends Powder Room D and Wigisfashion (less expensive) as great places to get wigs in all kinds of styles. Once you have a good, dense wig with a lace front, nothing can really stop you. If you have darker skin and/or hair and you want something in a bright color, don’t let that stop you. Just pick a wig with dark roots. These sites will also tweeze, braid and customize the wig you want (you can even make up your own) if you’d like help.
You can always part it the way you want and tweeze the hairline to make it look more natural. Sure people might notice it’s a wig, but they will have a few moments of, ‘Oh my God, I love their dye job, I so want that… wait, is that real?’ which is priceless. Use makeup on the hair part to get it to match your own skin.
It’s easier than you think to style it to your taste. Showing my own noob status here, but… after years of treating my party wigs like fine china that I was afraid to even brush, look you don’t have to live that way. You can actually style a quality wig. You don’t have to be stuck with the style the wig was in when you bought it. How? If your wig is heat resistant, try a low heat curling iron, or use rollers with a clothes steamer to add heat, then leave them overnight. You can also tease the hair, cut the hair if it’s too long, and sew in more hair from other wigs…
Plenty of fairy godmothers with instructions on YouTube: There are lots of YouTube tutorial videos out there, but, seriously, just let onlinekyne or someone else clever show you what to do. Vloggers make it really easy.
Wig Bootcamp: Watch Training Videos
Some videos to start you off…
How to put on a lace front wig and shade the hairline to match your skin tone. Featuring some really luscious Powder Room D wigs…
How to style a wig using a curling iron… This one is impressive because the lace-front super-pink wig looks a lot like her own dyed hair by the time they’re done. An LA hairstylist @PhilonHair steps in to explain things completely.
Even more how-to wig instructions: And I am a huuuge fan of onlinekyne. I first stumbled into the world of onlinekyne when I was looking for more wig instructional videos on YouTube. His videos aren’t just very useful, they’re also really entertaining. Honestly, I like his videos more than any wig tutorials I’ve seen. (And I plan to be gushing over Kyne’s cool styles in my Old School, Rad, Borrowed Bad #3.) He has a lot of great, easy tips that he explains so well. So linking his entire how-to wig channel. I also highly recommend: Steaming Wigs Without a Steamer.
“At the end of the day, my channel is about the creativity and the technique, not buying things that I tell you to buy.” – onlinekyne
Now, that’s a great attitude to pursue this craft with. Ladies and gentlemen, have fun out there, it’s… uh… windy and… judgemental, in the world? Right? But style your wig well, use a lot of hairpins, and wear your beautiful mane with confidence.
Now is the best time to visit the Hillwood Estate and museum here in Washington, DC. And as a DC native, I’ve got some tips to help you spend the day feeling like you’re floating around Downton Abbey… but in a real American great house.
So let me use my posh Julia Child voice, “Now that the last breathy gasps of summer are upon us and Washington, DC has tempered a bit, some overcast weather and temperatures just slightly beneath 85 degrees make it possible to enjoy the many lovely and historical estate houses in the area.”
And none is more fabulous, even more magical, than the Hillwood Estate in northwest DC. Walk through a ‘theater of history’ of Hillwood and explore Russian and French furniture, even royal artifacts, stroll around the soothing gardens, have tea and sandwiches, enjoy the Spectacular jewelry exhibition, rare orchids in the greenhouse, and have fun perusing super-fancy kitsch in the gift shop.
What should you do at Hillwood?
I’m a DC native, and according to my mother, I first went to Hillwood in the 80s, when I was a baby (a very posh baby, apparently). As an adult (now, I’m more geek-chic), I’ve been to Hillwood three times since. So, I can tell you, confidently, that this is a very special place that will not leave you unsatisfied. Likely, you’ll leave sure that you need to come back to Hillwood and look at something you were dazzled with but couldn’t get around to because you were so busy being dazzled by everything else.
If you’re not a morning person, I recommend arriving around between 1 p.m.-noon. If you time things just right, you’ll be able to do things in the following order: the introductory film; a guided tour; tea and a walk around the gardens before you hit the gift shop. Ask when the guided tour and film begin at the Visitor’s Center when you arrive. And get ready to put that awesome little ‘fabulous!’ badge in just the right place on your shirt…
My mother and I saw the Hillwood introduction film that helps you place Marjorie Merriweather Post in recent history as the sole heiress to the Post fortune (think Grape Nuts cereal) who traveled around the world, was presented at the English court (yes, you read that right—just like Lady Rose on Downton Abbey), became a superior collector of rare French and Russian pieces and purchased the Hillwood Estate with the intention of cultivating it into a museum after her death. I can’t not say this—the effort and success she achieved is rather a lot like a pharaoh, like Cleopatra herself, building her pyramid her whole live through.
Our Guided Tour
The film and our tour guide (definitely get a guided tour if you can) helped impress upon us that Post was a great celebrity in the early 1900s, the richest woman in America during that time. So imagine a Kim Kardashian or Angelina Jolie type of celebrity, wandering all over the world collecting art, the paparazzi documenting her every move, every husband she marries, and all the best people coming to her home to see her desk once owned by a German princess, Marie Antoinette’s own brown leather swiveling dressing chair, a diamond-and-ruby-studded pocket watch belonging to Catherine the Great, czarina of Russia… And Post’s excellent taste in jewelry inspired styles later worn by other high society women, including Princess Diana herself. (This was a sparkling bracelet, part of the Spectacular! Exhibition of jewelry that’s been advertised all over DC this summer.) This is the legendary experience you do not want to miss at Hillwood.
Hillwood is the penultimate experience for anyone who likes shows like Downton Abbey or even wolfing down juicy historical articles on Wikipedia. I got into this funny habit lately of reading about the scandalous romantic lives of historical figures (you know, pull a name out the hat, like Mozart, and skip down to the ‘marriage’ or ‘life’ section of the Wikipedia article, and ontop of that, click on the names of all the people they have their affairs with—highly recommended), so I really enjoyed hearing about how strange Peter the Great was, and Catherine’s coup to throw him over when she was absolutely done with their ‘ghastly’ marriage… her lover helped, and then she went on to have, I think, eleven more lovers… and there a lot of great juicy stories inside of Hillwood, tied to the pieces Post chose to have in her collection. It is said to be a very feminine collection—furniture, dinner services—in that these are objects to enjoy close up and be adored for their details. Hillwood evokes a warm feeling, it is a home after all. It certainly does not have the feel of a cold museum.
So… Otakon just happened. This blog is all about expanding your horizons and trying things, geek-chic things that you might not really be familiar with. So let me ‘splain-to-you-the-Otakons…
Otakon came stealthily into DC like a ninja and maybe even alarmed some people who weren’t aware of this giant, Japanese pop culture-themed (really, anime is the biggest draw) convention that’s been in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area for a long time now. For years, it was in Baltimore.
Sadly, scheduling didn’t work out for me so I wasn’t able to go this year. Though, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that, at the least, I made it to the afterparty. I cosplayed as who else but Lottie Person from Snotgirl! Not an anime, but I swear that comic has serious anime vibes and is just waiting to get picked up by a major Japanese production group. My version of Lottie involved a Powder Room D wig (thanks for the tip, Onlinekyne!) and some accessories I already had at home, so it’s not an exact match. More of a… if Snotgirl was a geek-chic girl hanging out in DC version.
If you’re unfamiliar with Otakon and it sneaked up on you like it did me this year, I can answer some typical questions about it and cons (conventions) in general to help you get ready for next year…
You remember that one episode of The Simpsons, right? Where Homer loaded up the car with the Tetris theme playing in the background? He moved packages, and later baby Maggie and even folded his tall wife Marge in order to fit everyone into the car.
Well, if you do it right (and not break anybody’s neck or long blue hairstyle in the process) there’s some real value in approaching life like that…
You know, like Tetris! *doom music*
If you keep the Tetris theme song and a Tetris mindset close at hand whenever you face a repetitive task, I think it can calm you down and even add some humor to whatever it is you’re doing. Kind of like putting a smiley face sticker, a Hello Kitty, or an amusing hashtag on your real-life moment. (Wait, I hope there isn’t a #real life? Now THAT mess should be illegal; that’s taking hashtags too far…)
Why does Tetris make everything better? Well, other than its cultural context–a super-happy game that almost all people have loved playing for decades, now… Tetris is made for that in any case. Tetris is the original fidget-spinner, the original addicting portable game. People were obsessed with playing Tetris on airplaines and in the office before you could even put games on smartphones. And that was before smartphones or even mobile phones ever existed. You can thank Nintendo (you know, the Legend of Zelda and Pokémon GO people?), for that. Their easy-to-put-in-your-bag Gameboy system made it possible. And then, there was the Tetris-splosion that put Tetris on everyone’s computers… After growing up as a kid in the 90s, an insanely fun game like Tetris is never far from your consciousness.