Friday, April 29, 2011

Dressy Shorts

Shorts are a must-have item for the warmer days headed our way.  And though it's easy to go with your classic khakis, sometimes it is nice to have a couple pairs of dressier shorts for grabbing coffee with a girlfriend, a date night out or just running around town.  You want to look for a cut that is flattering and fabric that is rich looking.  Some ideas to inspire you:

Why it works: A cool color palette makes a sophisticated statement, strappy sandals lend some edge, bold statement jewelry gives it some shine.

Why it works: A flowing print top balances out sleek suede shorts, the vibrant red handbag adds a pop of color, leather wood platforms keep it young & fresh.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hair & Beauty Finds

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know I regularly post my reviews of products I try & love (here and here).  Some of these below are new to the market and some have been around for a while, but are recent discoveries of mine.  All of them have impressed me & made me a believer.  

1) VS PRO Smooth FX Lip Scrub & Balm - $14
A favorite of super-models...use the sugar scrub first to exfoliate away dead skin cells & then top off with the moisture-rich lip balm for soft, supple lips.  Use alone or before adding your favorite lipcolor.

2) Bumble & Bumble Texture Hair (Un) Dressing Creme - $26   
A truly amazing product - creates perfectly undone "bedhead-y" looks while adding volume and a tousled, shine-free finish.  Works great for beachy waves or a loose updo.

3) Nailtiques Formula 2 Nail Protein - $18.99
I have tried them all & this is the absolute best for soft, peeling & brittle nails.  It bonds the nail layers together to help weak nails grow thicker, stronger & healthier.  A little pricey, but totally worth it!

4) RoC Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream - $19.99
I have very sensitive skin, but believe in the power of retinol for its anti-aging benefits.  This cream uses retinol & hyaluronic acid to reduce the appearance of crow's feet & under eye wrinkles...but has a gentler formula that doesn't irritate or redden my skin.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Right on Target

I am not ashamed to confess my unwavering love for Target.  One of my favorite things is their collaborations with top designers.  The latest being with Calypso St. Barth...coming to stores May 1st through June 11th.  Just in case you haven't heard of this luxury lifestyle brand before, I've put together a little sneak peek for you:

The clothes vary from boho-chic to upscale Hamptons attire and will have you itching for a vacation just to have an excuse to wear them!  This affordable limited-time collection also includes kids clothing & home decor.  Something tells me these pieces won't be on the racks for long, so take a trip to your local Target this Sunday before they're gone!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

eBay Deals

As I have mentioned before, I am a frequent eBay user.  I not only find it useful for selling clothes that my kids have outgrown, but also for getting great deals on brand-new or barely used items from others.  To show you the savings that are possible, I thought I would share a few things I have purchased through eBay over the last couple months:

1) Banana Republic Silk Blouse - retail $60, bought for $8
This will be gorgeous with my white jeans and metallic espadrille wedges!

2) WHBM Tribal Print Silk Skirt - retail $80, bought for $10
I'll wear this now with a little sleeveless top...and I can pair it with a sweater and black tights come winter.

3) The Limited Straw & Leather Clutch – retail $40, bought for $6
A fun little clutch for spring/summer; great for adding texture to an outfit!

4) Banana Republic Geometric Stone Bracelet - retail $50, bought for $12
A great statement piece with a modern design that is both classy & edgy.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Intensifying Tricks

When it comes to makeup, it's important to keep your look balanced.  You should keep it all-over natural or pick one feature to make the focus - a bold red lipstick with simple eye makeup or a smoky eye look with a pale, nude lip.  But, more often than not, I choose to play up my eyes - so I thought I'd share with you some tips that I use for intensifying the makeup & tools I already have.
Wet your shadow
This can transform any shadow into a deeper, richer color.  I use a little plastic dish to put a small amount of water in, then I wet my eyeshadow brush and put it in the powder eyeshadow.  Swirl it around until you can see the powder and water starting to mix.  This makes your eyeshadow more pigmented and gives it incredible staying power...without the crease-ability of a cream shadow.
Heat your curler
Take your blowdryer, on the "hot" setting, and shoot it for 10 seconds on your eyelash curler.  Test the metal with your finger to make sure it isn't too hot (so you don't burn your skin).  Then, curl your lashes as usual.  I find that it not only gives it more curl, but it lasts longer.  It works great if done correctly...but PLEASE take care when trying this one!!

Light your liner
Before applying your eyeliner, use a lighter or a match and hold the flame to the tip of your liner pencil for just a few seconds.  This helps the pencil glide on easier and it makes the color more intense.  Don't hold the flame there for too long or you'll have a mess on your hands.  And, again, be careful not to get it too hot so you don't burn yourself!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Walk on the Wild Side

Leopard prints are such a fun way to add some glamour to your wardrobe.  I love them because they're a very neutral print and it's something that NEVER goes out of style. 

However, it is a very busy pattern and can easily look tacky if you go I veer away from pants or skirts and choose one smaller piece to punch up an outfit with.  Some styling examples:

Frugal options to try:

New York & Company Spotted Animal Scarf - $19.95
One of my favorite accessories & so chic when paired with red lipstick.

Fashion Addict Leopard Print Skinny Belt - $10.45
The smallest touch of print eases you into this trend but still makes a statement.

Old Navy Leopard Print Blouse - $25.99
This shirt stays classy thanks to button-down style and a relaxed, loose fit.

Charlotte Russe Leopard Print Ballet Flats - $19.50
Simple flats can add just the right amount of vintage glamour to a LBD or skinny jeans.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Undone Bun

By now, you know what I fan I am of quick & easy hairstyles that still look like I put some effort into it.  And sometimes, pulling all of it back is the best solution for my bad hair days. 

I love this style because it's more sophisticated than a ponytail, but not as perfectly polished as a ballerina bun.  And because it is intentionally "undone", it's okay for pieces to fall out through the day and for it to not look perfect.  Some examples:

5 Simple Steps:

1) Loosely pull all of your hair back into a low ponytail (you can choose to do this right at the nape of your neck or up a little could also move it to the side slightly). 

2) Secure with a clear elastic or one that matches the color of your hair. 

3) Twist your ponytail and wind around the base, forming a traditional but loose bun. 

4) Holding the bun in one hand, use the other hand to secure pieces of hair with bobby pins.  Work your way around until the look is complete.  (It helps to use a small hand-mirror and check the backview as you're working.)

5) Spray all over with a flexible-hold hairspray.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring for Sandals

One of my faithful blog followers requested I do a post on affordable modern sandals for the coming season.  So, here they are...I've included several different styles for various outfit options and they are all less than $35!

Bongo Meena Woven Thong - $9.99
Charlotte Russe Chain Embellished Sandal - $22.50
Miss Me Crave 20 Gladiator Flat - $29.95

Apt. 9 Augusta Sandal - $33.99
Dolce Vita Gold Wedge Sandal - $24.99
New York Transit Fortune Treasure Sandal - $32.49

Mossimo Posie Rope Sandal - $26.99
Forever 21 Knotted Espadrille Wedge - $24.80
a.n.a. Loretta Sandal - $32.99


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Become a Fan

Hey gals, I have finally created a fan page on Facebook to make it easier for you to follow me!  So click here and come "like" me - you will get all my new blog posts, plus sale alerts for your favorite stores and great hair & makeup ideas!  It will also be an easy way for you to comment on my posts, ask questions and make suggestions for future blog topics.  Look forward to seeing you there!!


Look for Less ~ Skinny Cargo Pants

When these pants first started cropping up everywhere, I wasn't sure I was quite on-board with the trend.  But, after having tried a few pairs on, I found they are a great option for spring.  They are lighter weight than jeans, super comfortable and the ultimate cool-girl staple.  At first I didn't think they would be flattering on me, but as with most clothing, it is all about finding a great fit for your body type.  Some examples:

As usual, I was biding my time until a frugal opportunity came my way.  And I finally got the chance to snatch some up at a low price this past weekend.  These will be great to wear now...and they will be perfect when fall rolls around!  I love that I can dress them up with platform sandals and booties OR I can pair them with gladiator flats for a more laid-back vibe.
The Limited Skinny Cargo Pant - retail $70; bought for $8.99

Details I love: Dark olive green is more slimming than the faded-wash versions, perfect pocket placement makes for a flattering fit without adding bulk to my thighs, side ankle zippers give them some edge.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Mixing Prints

When it comes to pairing pieces together, I tend to lean towards the "safe" combinations.  I don't take a lot of risks when mixing colors and prints.  But, sometimes a dash of the unexpected is just what's needed to elevate an outfit from ho-hum to interesting & complex.  A simple combination to start with is stripes & florals.  Stripes are almost like a neutral and are the easiest to pair with other prints without clashing.  Some examples:
Start small with a classic nautical tee and scarf - easy to pair with jeans, khakis or shorts for a casual look.
If you're feeling more bold, try a fitted striped tank with a flowing a-line skirt for a fun & playful style.

Rules to follow when mixing prints:
- Make sure they are in the same color family or at least one of the colors is   consistent in both prints.
- Go for smaller or muted prints so it isn't overwhelming.
- Pair loose prints (florals, polka dots, animal print) with structured prints (stripes, plaid, abstract).


Friday, April 15, 2011

At-Home Shopping

Normally, I am not a fan of online purchases.  One reason being?  You have to pay shipping, which is absurdly high these days.  But, when it comes to accessories, there are some great deals to be had on the internet...things that you won't find browsing through your local mall.  Case in point - home shopping networks. 

Now, I am not someone with hours of free time to just sit around and watch these channels, but I have found some incredible sales on their websites.  While you may still have to fork over the $ for shipping costs, sometimes it is worth it to get something a little more unique.  See my picks below and then go take a peek at their clearance items:

Tori Spelling Textured Leaf Necklace - $14.95
Twiggy London Military Chic Belt - $11.90
KJL’s City Chic Hoop Earrings - $20.72


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Parting Ways

Want a quick & easy way to change up your look?  Simply switch the way you part your hair.  If you are normally a down-the-middle gal, try a deep part on one side.  If you usually have a side part, try it in the center instead.  This one change can bring a whole new look to your face and enhance different features. 

Center parts give a more relaxed vibe & typically flatter those with round or oval face shapes.  Side parts can help make your hair look fuller & best suit heart-shaped or square faces.  Some examples to inspire you to give it a try:


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Your New Best Friend

Unless you were blessed with perfect proportions, you know the frustration of finding an exact fit right off the rack.  My personal challenges?  Broad shoulders, a smaller chest and curvy hips.  I’ve been able to find certain brands that fit me better than others.  But, when it comes to dresses and blazers, it is almost always necessary for me to have them altered.

The first time I took something to a tailor was our 10th wedding anniversary and we were renewing our vows in front of family and friends.  I had found the perfect little white sheath dress, but it was too large in the chest and waist.  So, I found a nearby tailor and showed her what I needed to have done.  She was amazing – a sweet little Asian woman who was seriously talented with her sewing machine.  Not only did she do a great job, but she was very affordable.  

After the success of my dress, I began going through my closet and pulling out other items of clothing that I loved, but had never quite fit me right.  A skirt, a blouse, some blazers…piece after piece I took to her and she worked her magic.  I couldn’t believe I had never done this before!  And I discovered how much better & more expensive my things looked when the fit was absolutely perfect.  If you’ve never done this before, I encourage you to give it a try.  You will be amazed by the results!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Little White Dress

While most of us have an LBD in our closet, many women shy away from white because they think it isn’t as forgiving of a color. But, give it a chance and you may find it's even more versatile than your black version.  This multi-tasker can go from lunch with friends to church to a date night out.

There is something so refreshingly simple about a dress in this snowy hue.  And because white is the ultimate neutral, it serves as a blank canvas for any accessories or other colors you wish to add…making it an easily adaptable piece for your wardrobe. Some styling examples:

The key is to look for the cut that is best for your body type. A classic straight-cut sheath is flattering for most (as long as it fits well) and is easy to accessorize with a belt or blazer. A flowy a-line dress is great for those who want something more relaxed and pairs perfectly with a brightly-colored cardigan and sandals.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Perfect Pucker ~ Corals & Reds

This is the last in my series on lip shades!  I hope you have been inspired to try some new colors and that you've been happy with the results.  Here are the best I've found in the coral/red family:
L’Oreal Colour Riche Golden Nectar - $5.99
Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss
Sunset Peach - $7.49
Ulta Silky Wear
Sheer Apricot - $8.00
NP Set Lipgloss
Mauritius Peach - $15.00

Revlon Colorburst Coral - $8.99
Maybelline Color Sensational
Coral Crush - $7.49
Sonia Kashuk Ultra Shine Sheer Lipgloss
Cheerful - $8.99
Benefit Ultra Shine Lipgloss Spiked Punch - $18.00
Rimmel London Lasting Finish Alarm - $5.19
L’Oreal Colour Riche True Red - $4.99
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream Amsterdam - $5.99
Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss Starlit - $18.00


Friday, April 8, 2011

Cobalt Crush

After seeing this color in magazines and stores, I am now on a mission to add a beautiful cobalt piece to my closet.  I love it because it is modern, it brings out my eyecolor & is flattering against my skin, whether I am winter pale or summer bronzed.  Some items to consider:
#1: Go all out in a solid bold dress - stunning when paired with lemon yellow accessories (try a statement necklace or dangling earrings).
#2: Get a bright skirt - the combination of delicate, feminine white eyelet lace with this strong hue is supremely chic.
#3: Just a splash - pick one blue piece to accent your look and add interest to any outfit.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Loose Beachy Waves

On days when I have more time and I'm not doing a quick & easy braid {seen here} or ponytail {seen here}, this is my go-to look.  It is flattering, unfussy and works with my hair's natural texture.  Take a look at some examples and you'll see that regardless of your length, this style can work for you...

My steps to creating perfectly loose waves:

1) To damp, towel-dried hair, apply a volumizing mousse from roots to ends.  I use Victoria's Secret Body & Hold Volumizing Mousse

2) Blow dry hair completely and then apply a heat protecting spray all over hair.  I use Redken Thermal Setting Mist.

3) Holding a 1.5" curling iron vertically with the clamp open, wrap small sections of your hair around the inner part of the iron WITHOUT using the clamp.  Hold for 15 seconds and release. When you reach the sides and front of hair, make sure the hair is wrapping out away from your face.  (If you're used to using a curling iron the traditional way, this technique may take some getting used to.  But, it creates beautiful s-shaped waves, instead of ringlet curls.)

4) Let hair cool and then run your fingers lightly through it to loosen, so the waves aren't too perfect.  Spray with a flexible-hold hairspray.  I use Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Grab & Go Clutches

Whether you are getting all dolled up for a night on the town or going to brunch with your girlfriends, this is an absolute must-have accessory.  As much as I love my big handbag that I can fit everything in, sometimes you don't need the extra weight.  And, let's face it - clutches are cute and fun! 

I have been growing my collection over the last couple years and now have enough to go with just about anything.  I recently found a red patent leather one that I love for adding a pop of color and a woven straw style that is going to be great for spring & summer. 

My frugal finds:
Forever 21 Leatherette Chain Clutch -$17.80
Dorothy Perkins Blue Pyramid Clutch - £15.00
Murval Naples Clutch - $20.99
Gretta Snake Embossed Clutch - $27.18


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Look for Less ~ Tweed Jacket

I know this may be a little out of season, but I was so excited about my recent purchase that I just had to share!  I have been wanting a little cropped tweed jacket forever and have been patiently waiting until I could find one that met my criteria AND was within my budget. So versatile for the fall/winter, they pair easily with a shirt & jeans or with a blouse & skirt.  But, I also think they can work for spring (assuming they are not too bulky) when layered over a tank and dressy shorts.  Some examples of styles I liked:

When I wasn't even looking for it, I came across this during one of my eBay searches.  I was specifically looking for Zara items (because I love that brand) and there it was.  Thankfully, no one else bid on it, so I snatched it up for a very low price.  When it arrived, it was in perfect, like-new condition (it was only worn once for a photo shoot) and fit like a dream.  I am so giddy about this one and will be wearing it to death!  This picture doesn't even do it justice...
Zara cropped metallic tweed jacket - retail $200; bought for $22.95

Details I love: Subtle metallic thread adds a touch of glam, pleating detail on shoulders & waist makes it modern, black chain trim toughens it up.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Perfect Pucker ~ Pinks & Berries

Continuing on with my lipcolor series, here are my favorites in the pink/berry color family:
Pale pinks:
Maybelline Color Sensational in Plaza Pink - $6.95
Boots Botanics Lipgloss in Erica - $7.99
Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss in Pink Ice - $6.99
L'Oreal Colour Riche in Gilded Pink - $8.95
Hot pinks:
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in San Paulo - $5.99
Revlon Super Lustrous in Love That Pink - $5.99
Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain in Wink of Pink - $5.99
Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss True Color in Fame - $18.00
Ulta Brilliant Color Lipgloss in Pixie - $8.00
NYX Sheer Tube Lip Gloss in Brilliant - $5.99
Ulta Lip Crayon in Date Night - $8.00
L'Oreal Colour Riche in Blushing Berry - $8.95


Friday, April 1, 2011

Nail Color of the Month ~ April

When I think of April, I think Easter.  And while normally I would gravitate towards a pale pastel similar to those colored candy-coated chocolate eggs, I couldn't resist the warmth & perkiness of this coral polish.  It goes with just about everything and looks good against my *still* pale skin.
Essie Chubby Cheeks - $8.00