Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Join me at SaraBartlett.net

Hello everyone! Hope you've had a great couple weeks. I've been busy, busy, like you. One of the projects I've been working on is refreshing www.SaraBartlett.net - and that work is now complete. Hurray! And although I won't be blogging over here at Bombshell Beauty any longer, you'll get the same plus size fashion and beauty over there...plus more!

At SaraBartlett.net, you'll be able keep up with all the things we love:
  • Plus size fashion/outfit ideas
  • Beauty
  • Books
  • Twin Cities Live segments
  • News on my books
  • NEW blog: The Pretty Intellectual
It's all really fun stuff, so head over there right now to check it out. You can subscribe to my monthly newsletter and follow The Pretty Intellectual. It's a great little space and I can't wait for you to join me there.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

As Seen on Twin Cities Live - Trash It or Try It

On today's Twin Cities Live segment, we talked about products that I think are worth trying - and those worth trashing. It was a fun one to prepare for; there are so many products that go through my makeup bag and for every treasure, there's at least one (probably two...or three!) that wind up in the trash.

Watch the clip below and then scroll down for bonus recommendations of products to trash or try - including several that came from you guys. I asked for your product picks on my Facebook page and got lots of great input.

Click on the photo to watch the clip.

More Trash Its
  • The Rocket Volume Express mascara by Maybelline (trashed by Carol L)
  • Cover Girl Bombshell Shineshadow cream eyeshadow
  • L'Oreal Visible Lift CC Cream (trashed by Kimberly B)
  • John Frieda Luxurious Volume All-Day Hold hairspray
  • Dry shampoos of any kind (trashed by Fashion Fix MN)
  • Almay Shadow Softies 
  • St. Ives Fresh Hydration Lotion Spray

More Try Its
  • vegan lipsticks by Elixery (suggested by Amy H)
  • haircare products for curly-hair, DevaCurl (suggested by Discourse of a Divine Diva)
  • Jamberry Nails (suggested by Jessica A)
  • sulfate-free shampoo by Pureology (suggested by Stephanie S)
  • Burt's Bees Radiance Skincare line (suggested by Amy L)
  • Elta MD tinted moisturizer (suggested by Diana B)
  • Boots No. 7 eye cream (suggested by Carol L)
  • Tarte BB Cream (suggested by Jill B)
  • Baby Lips Dr. Rescue lip balm (suggested by Kimberly B)
  • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (suggested by Erin S)
  • Crack Styling Leave-in Treatment (suggested by Kristin C)
  • Shany Cosmetics (suggested by Louise V)
  • INtelligent Nutrients Stem Cell skincare (suggested by HAMMS Event)
 Is there anything missing from either list? If so, let me know in the comments. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Give-Away! United Way WINGS Flight of Fashion

It's always especially satisfying when two wonderful things come together at once - case in point, the melding of fashion and charity in the United Way WINGS Flight of Fashion event. WINGS is an acronym for Women Investing in the Next Generation, and their mission is to provide education and assistance to women in the Twin cities who want to earn a liveable income and stop the cycle of poverty in their lives.

Flight of Fashion revolves around a fashion show produced and co-emceed by stylist Grant Whittaker and local shopping expert/writer Allison Kaplan.  I attended this event last year and it was pretty entertaining. I met lots of women who are dedicated to the cause of uplifting women in our community - and felt inspired, myself, by the work they do. If you're looking to network with high profile women in the Twin Cities, this is a great event to attend.

The fashion show was very Midwestern with  fashions shown that were accessible and wearable (in my opinion).  I don't mean that as a negative thing;  we're not New York or Paris or Milan - although Grant sure tried his darndest to convince us otherwise. Commentary by Allison was as witty and spot-on as her column in the Mpls St. Paul Magazine. Grant was as kooky as the outfits he styled for the runway were amusing. Not bad for a philanthropic night out.

What: WINGS Flight of Fashion
When: April 11, 2014, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Where: Radisson Blu Hotel, Bloomington MN
Why: To raise money to support efforts to end poverty among women in the Twin Cities + enjoy a fashion show
Tickets: Range from $50-85, click here to order

Want to win 2 FREE tickets?* Head over to SaraBartlett.net to enter!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant

*This post includes affiliate links.

Several years ago, Lane Bryant  produced capsule collections of upscale, fashion-forward designs - pieces that were not designed for the everywoman. I owned a couple pieces but will admit that the line's higher price point and trendy aesthetic weren't for me. Well, weren't for a lot of women actually because when I visited the Lane Bryant headquarters their leadership team revealed that the line was being pulled due to lackluster sales.

Fast forward four years and the Lane Collection is back, plus a high profile collaboration with renowned fashion designer Isabel Toledo. Toledo designed at one point for Anne Klein, but her mainstram breakthrough came when First Lady Michelle Obama sported a fantastic chartreuse coat from Isabel's line back in 2009.

From what I've noticed of Toledo's work prior to her collaboration with Lane Bryant, she seems to have two very specific design principals: ultra structured fabrics or layers and lots of movement. From the outset, both ideas would fit a plus size woman's curves well. How did the idea turn into execution?
Click the photo to watch the full fashion show
I have mixed emotions about this collection.  On one hand, I'm thrilled that Lane Bryant is using their clout in the industry to produce something different - something unique - options! That's what we, as a collective community need and deserve - options.  I'm always going to advocate for the existence of options, even if not every option is something I personally like.

On the other hand, as a plus size woman, it's easy to fall into the "grateful trap." As in, "I'm just grateful that someone important is willing to design for sizes 14+, so whether or not I actually like the outcome is irrelevant."  It's not irrelevant. And for the most part, I don't love this collection as it was presented at the fashion show. 
The flowy nature of Toledo's vision looks frumpy on curvy bodies. I admit that my perception (flowy and shapeless is unflattering on curves) is borne out of my own preference - I like to see what a body looks like. I feel best when I'm wearing clothes that show my curves and don't look oversized. So there's that.
On the flipside, I expected to like the more structured items in the collection. But they appeared untailored and extremely stiff in motion. Based on my thoughts up to this point, you've probably assumed that I don't like this collaboration. Not entirely true. I think this is a classic case of "runway" style vs. "real life" style. After checking out the clothes in person and online, there are several pieces I like and think could fit into my everyday Bombshell style.
I really like the jackets within this collection. This eyelet belted jacket evokes a more ladylike, updated version of a spring trench coat.
See? I don't dislike everything that's unstructured! I think this wispy, chiffon tunic would be great for a warm date night - paired with colorful heels or sparkly flats and major jewelry.
This menswear-inspired shirtdress could be cute belted or worn open over a body-con dress.
So what do you think? Can you see yourself wearing the Isabel Toledo collection from Lane Bryant? If so, which pieces? If not, what do you think of the collaboration in general?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Plus Size Spring Trends on Twin Cities Live

I loved yesterday's segment on Twin Cities Live - although my day job kept me from participating (dang it!) I tuned in online to see what Sara Rogers, Trend Expert at Mall of America, had to share on spring trends in plus sizes.

*Side note - I want to give credit to the producer on this segment, Kelli. The modeling agency the show worked with sent over two models who were not plus size.  Rather than going ahead and including them in the segment, Kelli asked me to reach out to a few plus size models I know to see if any of them were available. So often - too often - retailers and the media try to pass off straight size women as plus sized.  The fact that Twin Cities Live doesn't buy into that is just one of many reasons I love being part of their show. 

Click the picture to watch the segment.

Sara brought in four models, each dressed from a different store at the Mall of America: Nordstrom, Forever 21+, Macy's and Torrid. I love that, instead of pulling looks together from one plus sized store, she showed the range of styles and stores that are carrying plus sizes.

My favorite trends from the segment included:
  • Anorack jacket - I bought this style of jacket, myself, a few weeks ago and love to pair it with dresses and skirts. It adds a dose of casual chic to any outfit.
  • Embelllished neckline - Makes getting dressed so easy! No need to accessorize when the sparkle is already built in to a dress or top.
  • Turquoise - Such a crisp, lush color for spring; it looks amazing on most skin tones, too.
  • Pattern mixing - Pairing different patterns in similar colors/scale is a really fun way to show a little style savvy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Plus Size Style - Everyday Bombshell

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Bombshells! Whether you're truly Irish or not - I'm lucky enough to be - I hope you embrace the hearty, happy spirit of the Irish today. And I sure as heck hope you're wearing just a touch of green!

These Irish eyes of mine could be smilin' a little brighter...
but this picture was taken at 5:45 AM.
If today's not a day for pistachio green nail polish, a shamrock pendant and Claddaugh ring...
I don't know when is!
The Outfit:
Navy/green striped shirt - Cynthia Rowell, via TJ Maxx
Black pencil skirt - Worthington, via Arc's Value Village
Gold belt - Target
Tights - Avenue
Leopard print shoes - Nordstrom Rack
Claddaugh ring - gift from my brother
Shamrock pendant - York Jewelry

That shamrock pendant is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry - it was given to me by my dad when I was in college.  So I'll leave you with the Irish lore of the shamrock:
For each petal on the shamrock,
this brings a wish your way-
Good health, good luck and happiness
For today and every day. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Everyday Model - Luxe Bridal Couture

Ok, it's not everyday that I get to play model - but that's what I did this past Sunday. I modeled a gorgeous plus size wedding gown for Luxe Bridal Couture in the Twin Cities Bridal Show's runway fashion show. Luxe is a multiple "Best of" award winner in the bridal industry, and is a destination for plus size brides all over the country who want a first-class experience in saying yes to their dress. I'm always happy to lend my time to something that Luxe has going on - especially when it includes getting glammed up for a few hours.

I call Luxe's owner, Shayna, the plus size wedding dress whisperer,
because she knows exactly what will look great on every figure.

Bridal trends for spring 2014 are more soft and romantic than in seasons past. Although structured column dresses are still popular (and very wearable by plus size brides!), I noticed that gowns are not covered in head to toe bling and sparkle. Instead, embellishment is more precise-  along a strap or on a belt. I like this use of sparkly accents to define a waist or call attention to an open neckline. 

Check out the details on these dresses- lace, tulle and ruching. All gorgeous!

Luxe's lineup of models featured a variety of sizes, shapes and dress styles.

For as much fun as it is to slip into a wedding gown, I was all about the makeup. I had a nice chat with the makeup artist who applied my look, and she let me poke through her kit to see what kinds of products she uses. 
I'll take one of each of these palettes, please!

The look that the makeup artists were instructed to give each model was, oddly, not at all spring-like: dark smokey eyes, super contoured cheeks and dark plum lips. However, the makeup artists that I spoke with all agreed that this spring's bridal beauty trends will include a strong brow/lots of lashes combo, a soft smokey eye created with light purple and gray shadows. 

Check out this segment from Twin Cities Live to hear more about what I learned - and how you can apply a few of those trends to your makeup this season (bride or not!). 

Are you getting married this spring? If so, tell me what your makeup will be like!