Last summer I fell in love with Ranna Gill's "Back View Dress" for Anthropologie.  I saw it in the catalog and thought it was colorful, funky, and unique.  Plus, it had sleeves!  Most dresses that I like are sleeveless or strapless and then I just end up wearing a cardigan over the dress, so to find a dress that I could wear as-is, sans cardigan, peaked my interest.  And so I fantasized about it for weeks: flipping open to its page in the catalog, visiting the anthro site obsessively to read the reviews and see pictures of different women wearing it to see how I might look in it...  And when I finally committed to buying it, it sold out in my size.  Of course.  But popular items on anthro sometimes get a second or third shipment, and that was exactly the case with this dress.  Nearly two months after first seeing it, it came back in my size on the site, and I ordered it immediately.

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Ranna Gill's Back View Dress for Anthropologie 2011
I didn't love it at first when it arrived.  It was shorter than most things I wear.  The cape top was really different from anything I've ever worn.  There's yellow in the print, and I never wear yellow.  But I loved that it was so interesting and fun, and I'm not one to shy away from color and prints, so I kept it.  And boy-oh-boy has it grown on me.  It's become a staple for parties, dinners out, a day out shopping, etc.  I wear it with or without a belt, with sandals, with heels, with knee-high boots and tights in cold weather, with a cardigan (even though it doesn't need one!) for a different look, with or without a cami underneath, etc. etc.  Now I wish Ranna Gill would make a similar style just in a different print.  I'd snatch it up immediately! 
Last fall I started having allergic reactions that do really lovely things to my face.  Swelling, redness, and bruising around my eyes that make me look like a mutant.  My allergist couldn't identify the source of the attacks since my allergies to horses and cats didn't seem to make sense given that I hadn't been around any horses or cats.  In my paranoia, I threw out all of my makeup and replaced it with a limited stash of items.  The attacks continued.  So I stopped wearing makeup for months with the exception of my trusty and well-loved Size Queen mascara.  The few times I did wear makeup for special occasions, I would sometimes have reactions.  And then I wondered if it wasn't the brushes.  I've always used Bare Escentuals brushes.  I have several, and they run a pretty penny apiece.  And they're made from animal hair, I believe.  So I just pitched my costly stash of brushes and bought a kit of synthetic brushes from Shany Cosmetics for $18 off of amazon.com.  I didn't have high expectations.  I expected cheapo brushes with coarse hair to arrive in plastic sheeting.  Pleasantly surprised!  They're the brushes shown in the picture above to the left.  They came in a roll-up case, their handles are made from bamboo, and I would never guess that the brushes are synthetic.  They feel as soft and the application is as smooth as with the BE brushes.  For a fraction of the cost.  And perhaps...most importantly...they won't give me an allergy attack!  So makeup is back in my life again!  Until........well, we'll see.   

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