Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love at First Bright

Bright colors were all over the Spring 2011 Fashion much so that people began to think we were experiencing an 80's revival!  Some examples from the runways:

While I do love wearing bright & cheery colors this time of year, I don't know that I would be brave enough to wear head-to-toe in a vibrant shade.  So, here is how I plan to incorporate this trend into my ensembles.
Why it works: A sophisticated orange silk top is made casual with dark skinny jeans, bronze snakeskin gladiators enhance texture, a bold cocktail ring & boyfriend watch add a nice dose of polish.

Why it works: A crisp white blouse is the perfect contrast for this bright purple skirt, leather bag & gold accessories warm it up, wood platform sandals give it an earthy vibe.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Feminine Pony

Sometimes all it takes is a simple, slightly different hairstyle idea to break me out of a rut. As a mom of 2 little kids, I find myself pulling my hair back into a ponytail several days of the week.  This style is one I love because it looks like I put a little more effort into it...AND there are 2 reasons why it's more feminine than your average pony - take a look at some examples:

1) It is just a bit off-center.  I wouldn't exactly call it a "side" ponytail, but almost.  This makes it more girly and less sporty-looking.  If your hair is long enough, you can pull it forward over your shoulder.  If your hair is short, you can rock this style, too!

2) There is a deep side part in front (if you have sideswept bangs, make the ponytail on the same side as your bangs; if you don't have bangs, tuck a front section of hair behind your ear as Emma Roberts did above).  This frames your face better than if you were pulling it all straight back into an elastic.

Give it a try this week when you're having a "ponytail day" and see how it changes your look!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mesmerizing Eyes

Here's a fun way to add a splash of color to an outfit AND make your eyes sparkle at the same time!  Wear an accessory close to your face in the same shade as your eyecolor.  Try a scarf or a pair of earrings in a similar hue and see how it makes your eyes pop.  Some budget-friendly items to try...

For blue eyes:
Forever 21 Tiered Pom Pom Scarf - $7.80

For green/hazel eyes:
Forever 21 Tiered Faux Gemstone Earrings - $4.80
Collection Eighteen
Twill Pashmina Scarf - $5.99

For brown eyes:
Sonoma Beaded Teardrop Earrings - $7.80
Willowbee Bronze Scarf - $19.99


Monday, March 28, 2011

Perfect Pucker ~ Nudes & Caramels

At one time or another, we have all known the frustration of buying a lipstick or gloss that looks great in the store...only to get it home, try it on & find it isn't quite what we'd hoped.  So, I am starting a new series to share with you my favorite lip products and the shades I like best.  Of course, color matters and every skin tone varies, but my choices below also made the list because the formula & finish is flawless.
Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Nudey Nude - $7.99
L'Oreal Colour Riche in Naturally Nude - $9.99
Sephora Collection Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Shiny Perfect Nude - $14.00
Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Nude Lustre - $6.99

Maybelline ColorSensational Lipcolor in Totally Toffee - $7.49
Sephora Collection Rouge Cream Lipstick in Charmer - $12.00
Ulta Super Shiny Lipgloss in Lovely - $8.00
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi - $5.99


Friday, March 25, 2011

New Product Faves

Similar to the Beauty Reviews post I did in February {here}, I wanted to share some more recent product discoveries of mine that I am loving!
1) John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer - $9.99
Not sure how I survived our NY winter without this little magic wand!  The same size as a tube of mascara, which means it will fit in even my smallest clutch along with my other essentials.  Loaded with Inca Inchi oil, this immediately smoothes down those annoying flyaways without making hair feel sticky, crunchy or weighed down. 

2) Eos Cucumber Hand Lotion & Honeydew Lip Balm - $3.49/each
This lotion is lightweight, fast absorbing & has a fresh, clean scent.  The lip balm is equally as great, not just because of the lip softening formula, but its dome shape allows you to apply to both your top & bottom lips simultaneously in one quick swipe.  Genius packaging makes it easy for me to find them both in my cluttered handbag.

3) Supersmile Whitening Toothpaste - $21.00 
Because my top front 4 teeth are porcelain veneers, using whitening strips isn't an option for me.  This toothpaste actually dissolves the protein pellicle on teeth that attracts stains & restores them (even veneers) to their original whiteness.  While it is pricey for a toothpaste, I have found the results to be worth it!

4) L’Oreal EverSleek Frizz Taming Creme Serum - $8.99
Having naturally curly hair, mine is prone to frizz.  So, I have literally tried every product out there to combat it and this one works the best!  It is silicone-free and instead uses glycerin and natural oils to smooth the cuticle and leave hair soft. 


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Softer Smoky Eye

I am a big fan of the smoky eye look - but it can be a little heavy for daytime.  That is why this new version is my current favorite.  It still looks luxe and brings the emphasis to your eyes...but it's soft, understated and totally day-appropriate.  The key is using the right colors and not being too heavy-handed with them.  You want to choose an eyeshadow quad that is in the neutral/brown/bronze family (see my pick below).

Step 1: Cover your entire lid from lash line to crease with a bronze or taupe shadow.  Brush the same shade lightly across your lower lash line.  Use the lightest shade in the quad to highlight from your crease up to your browbone.

Step 2: Line your upper lash line with a chocolate kohl pencil.  Then smudge in small strokes upward, blending it into your eyeshadow.

Step 3: Dab a peachy/champagne shadow on the inner corner of your eye and in the center of your lid.  This brightens your eyes and makes you look more awake.

Step 4: Rim your bottom inner lash line with dark brown pencil for definition and finish with two coats of black mascara.

Products to try:
Revlon CustomEyes Eyeshadow in Naturally Glamorous - $7.49
Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner in Brown - $8.59
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Blackest Black - $4.99


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Obsession: Blazers

I have a serious addiction – I admit it. I’m not sure exactly when this started. Maybe I could blame it on the fact that before I had my kids, I wore a suit almost daily to the office. Or maybe I just naturally gravitate towards a more tailored silhouette. Whatever the reason, over the last 2 years, I have been on a mission to expand my collection of blazers.

Why do I love them so much? They instantly add structure to an outfit, they're more sleek and refined than a cardigan...and they can hide a multitude of flaws. Check out the examples below and you'll see what I mean.
With a dress or skirt:

With shorts or jeans:

The possibilities are endless, as are the combinations. I personally think everyone should have black, khaki and navy options. They go with everything and are seasonless. I like to roll up or push up the sleeves on mine to make it look a bit more casual for spring and summer. 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Embrace the Braid

I am always looking for easy, cute hairstyles that are simple & relaxed for the spring and summer months. And since I am currently growing out my bangs, this is the perfect solution for me.  As you will see below, this is one for women of all ages and so much more fun than your everyday ponytail.

One of the other things I love about this style is that it’s so versatile. It’s perfect for a day at the beach or for a date night out! The key is not to make it too perfect – tease the crown, pull some pieces out around your face and loosen it up. Make sure to secure it with a clear, thin elastic. The added bonus? When you take it out, you have soft, subtle waves.


Monday, March 21, 2011

My Makeup Bag ~ Tools

This is the last in my series, but I'll be starting a new one on lip color next week. Here are the tools I use every day - some may be on the higher end in terms of price. But, I am only willing to spend more money on a product if I know that it works better than anything else out there. And these are no exception:

1) Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler - $19.95
*No longer sold in the US, but you can still find it online – gives you a realistic looking curl every time.

2) Tweezerman Slant Tweezers - $20
*The absolute best and worth the money – plus they sharpen them by mail for free!

3) Sonia Kashuk Limited Edition Straight from Nature Powder Brush - $19.99
*My personal favorite – big and fluffy for applying powder and blush.

4) Sonia Kashuk Limited Edition Straight from Nature Eye Brush Set - $19.99
*These are the only 3 brushes you’ll ever need for creating a beautiful smoky eye.

5) Arbonne Mattifying Powder - $18.50
*A colorless powder that absorbs shine better than rice paper blotters.

6) Sonia Kashuk Clear Brow Gel - $5.99
*The last step to perfecting & setting your brows.

7) Paula Dorf Perfect Illusion for Lips - $24
*Put this around the edge of your lips first to keep lipstick & gloss from feathering.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Creating Balance

As much as I love feminine pieces with tiers of ruffles and pleats in flowy fabrics...there is nothing worse than a too-sweet look that lacks balance.  So, it is important to pair something loose and frilly with something more structured.  It's the yin & yang of fashion 101 - putting feminine with masculine; precious with bold.  The juxtaposition of the two is what makes for an interesting outfit.  Some examples:
Why it works: A girly blouse is balanced by dark skinny jeans, sleek accessories and edgy leather sandals. (You could also add a cropped jacket on top for even more structure.)

Why it works: A pleated ruffled skirt looks sophisticated with this form-fitting sweater, tribal necklace and cutout peep-toe booties.

See how the pairing of these outfits works?  But, if we had put the blouse with the skirt, it would have been a bit too much.  Also, pay attention to the little extras.  When you're wearing an item that is super-feminine, it's better to pick accessories that are bold with a modern edge.  The same goes for your hair - if there are alot of ruffles up top, you probably don't want to curl your hair into ringlets.  Better to have it straight and sleek to balance the fullness of the ruffles.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Makeup Shelf Life

If you’re anything like me, you have a drawer (or two) full of makeup that you only use “sometimes”.  Unfortunately, these things don’t last forever.  So, here’s a quick guide on the shelf life of your typical makeup products – but, keep in mind these are estimates and different products will vary.

Concealer: 12-18 months
Powder: 2 years
Blush & Bronzer: 2 years
Cream blush: 12-18 months
Eyeliner pencil: 2 years
Liquid eyeliner: 3-6 months
Powder eyeshadow: 3 years
Cream eyeshadow: 12-18 months
Foundation: water-based = 1 year; oil-based = 18 months
Lip liner: 3 years
Lipstick: 2 years
Lip gloss: 18-24 months
Mascara: 4 months
Nail polish: 1 year

*Makeup brushes: any brush you use for liquid makeup should be cleaned every day.  For other brushes, you should clean them every 2 weeks.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wardrobe Essentials ~ Spring

Every season, there are key pieces of clothing and accessories that I believe are essential to have in your closet.  So, with that in mind, I thought I'd share my must-have items for spring.  For brevity's sake, I narrowed it down to ten(though I had to leave out belts, handbags & jewelry).  Take a look at my picks below and notice how many different outfit combinations you can make...

1) Classic trenchcoat
2) Espadrille wedge sandals
3) Floral print skirt
4) Ballet flats
5) Cropped trousers
6) White button-down shirt
7) Spring dress
8) Lightweight cardigan sweater
9) Sleeveless silk blouse
10) White jeans


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bold Bags

Another trend seen across spring runways that I am loving is brightly colored handbags.  It not only adds a pop of color to an otherwise neutral outfit, but it's so cheery & fun!  Some examples for you:

My penny-pincher picks:
Laurel & Sunset Clevelander Hobo - $25.00
Merona Small Blue Satchel - $ 19.99
Angie & Lola Yellow Perforated Hobo Bag - $20.00
Linea Pelle Pink Hobo Bag - $29.99


Monday, March 14, 2011

My Makeup Bag ~ Eyes

Adding onto my last post in this series, here are the items that are my favorites for eyes...and the order in which I use them:

Step 1 - Revlon Luxurious Color Satin Eye Shadow in Nude Slip - $4.99
*A great neutral everyday color with just a little sparkle.

Step 2 - L’Oreal Wear Infinite Eyeshadow in Morning Light - $4.99
*I use this vanilla shade as a highlighter, from the crease of my eyelid & up.

Step 3 - Estee Lauder Artist's Eye Pencil in Softsmudge Brown - $19.00
*My favorite kohl eyeliner – the chocolate brown brings out my blue eyes and it has a rounded sponge on the other end for smudging.

Step 4 - Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Blackest Black - $4.99
*I have tried a million different types and this is still my favorite. I buy the one with the curved brush to help lift my lashes up more.

Step 5 - Revlon Brow Fantasy in Light Brown - $7.49
*I used to be almost platinum blonde, but have recently gone back to my brunette roots. This is the perfect shade to match my natural brows.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Mani/Pedi Mix

As I have talked about before, the concept of matching accessories to one another can make you look outdated. In the same way, so can matching your manicure and pedicure. I love the idea of mixing it up, but still having the colors compliment each other. Here are some different combinations to try next time you are painting your nails & toes:

  Lilac & White

  Try: Sally Hansen Lively Lilac & Essie Marshmallow

  Melon & Nude

  Try:  Essie Carousel Coral & OPI Barefoot in Barcelona

  Fuschia & Silver

  Try: Revlon Fuschia Fever & Sonia Kashuk Smoke & Mirrors

  Crimson & Peach

  Try: Sally Hansen Red Zin & Sephora by OPI Nonfat Soy Half Caff


Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Little Secret

I love to shop for clothes, but also have to respect our monthly budget.  And while I have found some great pieces shopping clearance racks, I have recently discovered the joy of shopping on eBay.  Many of the clothing items offered are from people, just like you and me, who go up or down a size and are trying to clear their closets of clothes they barely ever wore or no longer fit.  
If you are looking for something very specific, it may take some time of daily searching, but I have found the money-saving results to be well worth it.  It also helps to know your exact measurements, as different brands can vary greatly (as can clothes that have been laundered or dry cleaned). 

Once you set up your account, you can save specific searches and they will email you when new listings are posted that match your criteria (like your own personal shopper)! 

There also are amazing stores on eBay – companies who get items brand new with tags from Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Gap, BCBG and Ann Taylor…and sell them for a fraction of the price. Here are some of my favorites:


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pretty Half-Up Hair

Brigitte Bardot made this her signature look back in the 60's. So, it's not a new idea by any means. But, it's something that I don't do often and everytime I do, my husband comments on how much he loves it. It's soft & romantic, but effortless at the same time. And it pulls everything away from your face, so your features stand out.

There are many different variations, as you'll see in the pictures - you can choose to tease it some on top (just don't do the Snooki) or have it slicked back more like Jennifer Lopez below. I have to use a clear rubberband or a flat clip because my hair is so thick...but criss-crossed bobby pins work well too (no claw clips, please!).

Give it a try this week and see if you get some compliments, too!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Look for Less ~ Peep-Toe Booties

I’ll be honest, I was on the fence for a long time about this trend.  But, the more I saw it, the more I began to see the appeal.  Now, there are definitely styles out there that are over the top.  So, for me, it was all about finding some that were modern, but still flattering…AND they had to be ones I would wear time and time again.  Also, 4 inches or higher is a must for me!  Because my motto is: if it isn’t tall, it isn’t worth it. J Some examples I liked:

I have to admit, it wasn’t a whole-hearted search.  But, this was one of those times when I felt like they were there waiting just for me.  These were a limited release – the only pair of its kind on the clearance rack (and they just happened to be my size!)  I can't wait to wear them with my skinny jeans, cropped cigarette pants & floral skirts.

Vera Wang Saville Peep-Toe Booties – retail $79.99; bought for $23.99

Details I love: hidden platform makes them more comfortable than they look, neutral gray pairs perfectly with spring’s pastels, back zipper detail adds some edge.


Monday, March 7, 2011

My Makeup Bag ~ Face

I’ve gotten several questions about the products I use, so I am starting a series to give you a peek into my bag to share my tried & true favorites and the order in which I use them.
Step 1 - Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer - $16.00
*Key to minimizing pores and prepping the skin for makeup. A little goes a long way, so I usually buy the travel size, because it lasts quite a while.

*Made from all natural ingredients and includes SPF 15. I love the way it blends right into my skin and doesn’t feel too heavy.

Step 3 - Physicians Formula Circle Rx Concealer in Soft Yellow - $8.99
*The yellow tone neutralizes the circles under my eyes - its key ingredient is  Haloxyl, which helps lessen darkness over time.

Step 4 - Max Factor Erace Concealer in Fair - $12.99
*This concealer is my favorite, but has been discontinued. For now, I am still able to find it online through Amazon and eBay - but once supplies run out, I’ll have to find a new one. L

Step 5 - Arbonne Translucent Loose Setting Powder - $26.00
*Perfectly lightweight – it dissolves into my skin and is all natural.

Step 6 – NARS Blush in Orgasm - $27.00
*The best shade of blush I’ve found – flattering on all skin types with just the right amount of sparkle.

Step 7 - Benefit High Beam Highlighter - $24.00
*Also known as “supermodel in a bottle”. I've already done one post {here}
on the importance of this step. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should…it is life-changing!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Color Combinations ~ Part 2

Adding on to my previous post about color combining, I decided to give dressier examples in neutral palettes. Whereas last time I showed you how to add pops of color to your outfits, these are more monochromatic in nature and show less contrast. The result: subtle sophistication.

Peach & GreyWhy it works: Peach color near the face warms up skin tone, cool grey grounds the outfit, a snakeskin clutch adds texture.

Blush & Taupe

Why it works: A simplistic blend of neutrals looks elegant & luxe, the bold clutch & cocktail ring lend some edge, nude pumps elongate the leg.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ballerina Bun

With the success of Black Swan in theatres and at awards shows, ballerina-inspired style has shown up everywhere. In addition to the classic ballet flat and tutu pink nail polish, buns have made a big comeback – take a look below...
This is a quick and easy style, which is great if you’re like me and don’t have a lot of time in the morning. But, it also looks effortless and chic, allowing your face to be the focus.

Unlike a real ballerina, you want to keep it loose – tease the crown a little bit to add some volume on top, pull some pieces out and secure the rest high on your head with bobby pins that match the color of your hair. You don’t want it looking too slicked back or too perfect. I also like to add a drop earring, as Sienna Miller did above, for some extra drama.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Basic Tote

Every girl should own one, whether you're going to the beach or need a bigger-than-your-purse carry-on for the plane.  Or if you are a new mom and don't like the usual diaper bag designs.  Whatever the occasion or reason, it is great to have a large casual tote that is functional, but still stylish.  And because it is something that may get a little more beat up than a handbag, I like to pick one that is affordable.  Here are some that fit the bill:

Poppie Jones Large Tote - $24.94
Bueno Snake Travel Tote - $24.99
Murval Capri Metallic Jute Tote - $29.95      
Merona Tan Tote - $19.99


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nail Color of the Month ~ March

What could be better than spring? The temperatures start to warm up, flowers are blooming and there’s that “something” in the air. Even though I live in one of the coldest parts of New York and I can’t break out my spring clothes until at least mid-April, I like to paint my nails in cheery, bright colors. It helps lift my spirits every time I look down at my hands and reminds me that spring is right around the corner (even if there’s still snow outside my window). So, this is my color pick for March – a bold and beautiful pink that’s perfect with any skin tone:

Revlon Fuschia Fever - $4.49