Friday, October 31, 2008

Old Navy Winter Look Book

I really love Old Navy's winter look book; the season's collection is tailored and feminine with luxurious details and fabrics. Because Old Navy's plus size shop is available only online, we can't walk into a store, check out mannequins and merchandising to get ideas for creating outfits. But their look book solves that problem. Get inspired and feel good about picking up pieces that won't blow your shopping budget. Here are a few of my favorite looks.


I absolutely love this combination. It's my favorite, hands down. The pleated satin top, featuring a rich winter rose pattern, is balanced perfectly by the slim-fitting pencil skirt for maximum curves. The ivory cardigan, which has a delicate ruffle neckline, adds a bit of brightness by the face. The model's accessories make this outfit party-worthy, from the retro heels to the tousled hair and headband. She's ready to make an appearance at a cocktail party.


Another great print anchors this casual outfit. This is something that could be worn running errands on the weekend, grabbing lunch with the girls, or for casual Friday at the office. A lot of people feel conspicuous in a print, but I urge you to give it a try. Top it with a jacket or cardigan in a complimentary color (I love how this yellow cardy pulls dashes of yellow out of the top) to control how much print is shown.

When buying a winter coat, keep in mind that it's the first fashion impression you'll make on the world. So make sure it keeps in step with your wardrobe, complimenting what's underneath. If you wear a lot of dresses and skirts throughout the season think about choosing a coat that is longer - between thigh and knee length - to keep the proportion of your look right.

Cashmere at Old Navy? Yup! And it's got cute details like this elegant neckline. Available in a variety of lush colors, you can look great with minimal effort when you choose classic pieces in cashmere and wool.

This is my second favorite look - it's cable knit done right for a plus-size woman. The cable knit detail is just that - a detail, which means a Bombshell can take part in the iconic winter look without adding bulk to her curves. This look is perfect for date night!

All of the pieces needed to create these looks are available at Old Navy right now.

Last Day to Enter Misikko Contest

This is the last day to enter a great contest being run over at Misikko. In order to provide their customers with accurate product reviews and ratings, they're asking you to send them your Before/After photos when you style your hair with products that they sell. They sell a wide range of curling irons, flat irons, blow dryers and more - so chances are excellent that you've already got one of their appliances in your bathroom. Just snap a photo of your hair pre-style and post-style, and head over to Misikko's site to upload your entry.

Three winners will be drawn randomly for either a $100 Misikko gift certificate, or one of two $50 gift certificates. Click here for more details. Enter before midnight tonight; you have a good chance of winning!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tagged

Emmelita of She's Little and Lovely tagged me. What's that mean? Good thing she left me instructions.
Here are the Rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

This'll be fun(not because I think I'm that incredibly interesting but because we'll get to learn more about some of our other favorite bloggers). Check out Emmelita's tag information on her page - and check out of the rest of her blog while you're at it.

Here are my six random facts:
1. Robson (my maiden name) family legend has it that a great-great Uncle actually invented what everyone knows as Kool-Aid. He sold the rights to it for nothing, it became huge, and he ended up in a mental institution in Nebraska.

2. I swear by soaking my nails in denture cleaner to make them bright white. My friend, Mindy, taught me that trick.

3. I cannot load the dishwasher to save my life. I mean, I can, obviously, but for some reason I can only get 7 dishes in before it's full.

4. I was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority in college - and yes, I can help ya, help ya, help ya. No, we weren't mean girls. Yes, I'm proud to have paid for some of the closest friends in my life to this day.

5. I'm afraid of clowns. Straight up scared. Have you seen the movie It? Scary. Freaking. Clown.

6. I lived in a small town in Nebraska throughout middle and high school where my parents ran a couple of local radio stations. I'm pretty sure I could get my hands on old tapes of me hosting the Bargain Counter and doing voice-overs for Taco Johns commercials.

I'm tagging D. Kendall of Hilarity Ensues, Jennie of Fumbling Toward Fashion, Carla of Product Girl, and Gracie of Gracie Fabulous.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beauty Moment- Laura Geller Baked Cake Eyeliner


Eyeliner is key to my look, especially on those days when I don't want to (or don't have time to) get complicated with my makeup. Tinted moisturizer, concealer, a sweep of blush, mascara and liner make me look ready for the day in a flash. Therefore, I'm always on the hunt for the very best version of each of my staple products. There's a new contender in line for best eyeliner: Laura Geller's Baked Cake Eyeliner in Plum Pudding/Black Forest.

Laura Geller's product line is based upon her key differentiator in the market - baked products. She begins the formulation for her powders, shadows, and liners with a liquid base that is infused with multiple colors all swirled together. The formula is then baked in terra cotta pans to ensure the final product maintains a rich texture and color vibrancy. No two products are exactly alike, but from what I've seen during her many appearances on QVC (it's amazing how much of my life leads back to QVC. And by amazing, I mean sad) her products provide great coverage and a natural finish. The Baked Cake Eyeliner is the first of hers that I've used. Available in 4 different color combinations, I tried Plum Pudding/Black Forest.

The cake is divided right down the middle - one side is a really lovely reddish plum shade, the other is an inky black with just a hint of shimmer. The cake looks like a pressed powder but feels really silky and smooth when rubbed onto your skin. In fact, I created a smokey eye by applying the plum liner as a shadow on my lid, right up to the brow bone. Then I lined my eyes with the black liner - it was gorgeous! I love the fact that this product multi-tasks as both shadow and liner. The plum color looks great on a bare lid, lined close to the lash line. The color is subtle enough to keep me from looking too made up, but boosts the lash line and adds a pop of color to my eyes. And, along with the included mini angled brush, the black shade creates the perfect Bombshell (think Brigitte Bardot) cat eye. To give the liner staying power, I run the tip of the brush under water and apply the liner wet. It's seriously budge-proof.

You can find Laura Geller products on her site (which I found to be hard to navigate), on QVC and in Sephora stores nationwide. If you'd like to get your hands on Laura Geller's Baked Cake Eyeliner in Plum Pudding/Black Forest for free, you'll have that opportunity when I launch my Cornucopia of Beauty contest in November. More to come...

Photo credit: Sephora.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beauty Moment- L'Oreal Double Extend Mascara


A couple weeks ago, I saw the commercial for L'oreal's new Double Extend Beauty Tubes mascara. What first caught my attention is that the campaign's spokesmodel is Linda Evangelista. With today's over-saturation (in my opinion) of girls wanting to become the next face of supermodeldom, I think it's exciting that so many of the original supermodels are back at work to show them how it's done.

The second thing that caught my attention was the technology on which the mascara is based - the creation of tiny tubes of mascara that encase each eyelash. Purportedly, the tubes extend beyond the natural tip of each eyelash, making them appear longer and more lush. The tubes are also supposed to be smudge-proof, removable only with soap and water. This isn't new - Too Faced and Clinique (among others) have already created products with tube technology. L'Oreal's Double Extend differentiates itself on two planes, though - 1.) the price-point is signficantly lower (around $10 at Target and other discount retailers) 2.) This product comes with an ultra nourishing base coat (which, if you recall, was the trend du jour of mascara 2 years ago). This base coat protects your lashes and creates a foundation upon which to build those tubes.

I'm a sucker for makeup trends and as a contact-lens wearer, I'm always looking for non-irritating mascara. So I was delighted to receive a tube of Double Extend Beauty Tubes mascara to sample. Thanks, L'Oreal. I wish I could say that I loved it. I certainly didn't hate this mascara - unlike other white mascara base coats I've tried, this one actually seemed to boost the thickness of my lashes. And the black mascara covered the white base really well. My lashes looked...fine. The formula didn't run or smudge under my eyes. But the tubes were really hard to get off, even with eye-makeup remover - I had to do some serious eyelash soaking to clean them which ended up irritating my eyes.

I can't put my finger on the exact reason this mascara didn't blow me away. The build up - Linda Evangelista, tube technology, applying two products to each eye...the payoff just wasn't worth the build up. I was back to my Define-a-Lash within the week. Reading over the reviews that other people have posted on Double Extend Mascara, it seems as though women with stubby lashes got the best results with the product. So if that's you, give it a try. Or if you've had a different experience with this mascara, let me know.

Photo credit: theBeautyAlchemist.blogspot.com

Better Get on It

And by "it", I mean boots. I learned the hard way last year that waiting until after Christmas to buy boots doesn't work out well. What can I say? Minnesota didn't really hit its stride with the snow until January. At which point all the cute, warm boots in my size (12W) had disappeared off shelves to be replaced with pre-spring shoes like peep-toes and shooties. So I ran around the freezing cold Twin Cities in my tennis shoes. Bad for my tennies, bad for my frozen toes, bad for my style. I will not let that happen again.

I've already purchased one pair - yes, I know they look like Uggs but may actually be worse than that (trend-wise) because they're knock-offs. 1.) They're warm. End of story. 2.) Uggs don't seem to come in my size. So I have to wear knock-offs. Leave it alone.

This pair is from Avenue - I ordered them online because my local store doesn't carry them. They're on sale right now for $51.

This faux suede boot is also at Avenue and it's gorgeous. They look lush and expensive and beautiful (especially in the gray color which is unexpectedly luxe). Avenue specializes in wide widths for both the foot and the calf. If you have a hard time getting boots up and around your shapely legs, check them out.

I'm positively obsessed with riding boots. They look perfectly casual and effortless with jeans or a denim skirt. They look chic and edgy paired with tights and a dress. If I had an extra $300 in my pocket, I'd pick up this pair by Geox.


Photo credits: Avenue.com; Nordstrom.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Coat Collection

I just bought a really cute winter coat from Target; it's a knee-length gray wool number that will look great going to and from work and won't look out of place on a dressy occasion. However, it does look a bit ridiculous with jeans and other casual-wear. The length is just a bit much for tossing on and running to Blockbuster on the weekends. So I find myself in search of a less formal, more casual yet equally warm coat that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Here's what I've found so far:

Merona Wool Pea-Coat in plaid, available at Target for just $54.99. The plaid print on this coat elevates into fun territory, while the classic shape ensures an overall pulled-together look.

I know that puffer jackets get a bad wrap for those of us who are larger than a size 14 - they are puffy and add extra volume to our curvy shapes. You know what I say? So what? Especially when attention to detail has been paid to a puffer jacket like this one, also from Target. The princess seaming draws the eye down, and creates a nice line within the puffery.

Alloy's Fleece Hooded Jacket is great for layering over a bulky sweater or a couple of tee-shirts. It's got the exact laid-back, casual cool look I'm going for. And for less than $45!

Photo credit: Target.com; Alloy.com

Stila Girl of the Week

I'm so excited to have been chosen as this week's Stila Girl of the Week! To celebrate, they've given me a 20% discount + free shipping to share with all of you. If you've been trying to decide what to buy from Stila, make up your mind quick because this discount is only valid between now and October 30th. Upon checkout, enter the discount code: 4SARA.

Need a few ideas for what you'd like to buy? I've got some suggestions:


I love Convertible Eye Color. One end is an eyeliner, the other is a smudging tool and the center houses a coordinating eye shadow. Quick and easy to use.



I always get a little itchy for glitter around the holidays. Glitter Eye Liner adds an extra dose of shine to the eyes, without looking silly.



I wouldn't want to live without Longwear Lip Color - it goes on creamy smooth and lasts for hours without drying out my lips.

Photo credit: Stilacosmetics.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Concert Tees for You & Me

In honor of tonight's New Kids on the Block concert, I thought I would scour good resources for concert tees in plus sizes. My search kept leading me back to one place: eBay. Sure, I found a few at Torrid (although does anyone else have a hard time with their tees? They're so short on me!) - including a couple of classic NKOTB tees, but eBay seems like a veritable concert tee jackpot for those who need more than a size large.

You'll find vintage and previously owned shirts and new ones, too. I had the best luck by typing in the name of the group I was looking for along with the size. For example: New Kids on the Block XXL. Here's just a sample of what I found:

Garth Brooks tee...didn't he have some kind of kooky alter-ego? Wonder if I could find a tee-shirt of that.

Billy Idol - my parents banned me from watching his Rock the Cradle of Love video on MTV back in the day. Contemplating kids of my own, I can see why.

Win Prizes from Misikko

Our friends over at Misikko are holding a Before/After Photo contest. You can win one of three prizes- up to a $100 gift certificate to Misikko! - by entering between now and October 31st. Click here to learn how.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beauty Moment- Stila Steals

In addition to creating some of the most fun, most wearable makeup in the market Stila also puts together some of the best deals on its web site. Behold:
For the incredibly (crazily, ridiculously!) low price of $30, you can buy the Blue Orchid palette which contains four exclusive eye shadow shades in Sunkissed, Nectarine, Venus and Mohagany; Cheek Color in Quaint; Lip Color in Melissa and Apricot Lip Glaze; a tube of Major Lash Mascara in Brown, and a Lip Glaze in Peach Cobbler.

I would expect the palette alone to cost over $30. And I can attest to the fact that Stila's shadows and blush are perfection - the blend well, layer like a dream and last all day. Click here to purchase.

Virtual Shopping Spree

Sometimes, it's just not fiscally possible for me to shop as often as I'd like.  A girl cannot live on clothes and lipstick alone - she also needs electricity, basic cable, and a cell phone.  So for those times when I want to shop but need to pay bills, I choose a store and shop virtually.  Anything that looks enticing is clicked into my shopping cart and then when it comes time to check out, I don't.  

This little game is actually a lot of fun because my funds oftentimes inform my purchases.  When shopping for real, money in hand, I sometimes shy away from or don't purchase pieces that are outside my normal style - what if those neon yellow shoes end up languishing at the bottom of my closet?  What if I wear that mandarin-collar top twice and realize it's just not me?  When shopping virtually, I'm more open-minded and usually end up with a a few items in my shopping cart that would add a fun twist to my wardrobe.  

Someday, after one of my virtual shopping trips, I'm going to click the next button on the check-out screen. For now, check out what I  "bought" at Alloy - lots of cute, casual separates!
I am fully on-board the headband bandwagon.  Love this one!  It's very 1920's flapper without looking costumey.  It'd add a funky touch to a shift dress or a button-up and jeans.  
Sometimes a big cowl-neck, cable knit sweater is too much (too heavy, too bulky) but this sweater vest might be just right.  It looks cute and modern.
Short Sleeve Turtleneck, available in more colors, up to size XXXL.  This is a really great layering piece (under jackets, under tanks and sleeveless dresses to get through the seasonal transition) at a really great price- just $14.50.  
Varsity Raglan T, more colors available, up to size XXXL.  This tee shirt does a masterful job of using the contrast stripes on the sleeves to shape curves on the body of the shirt.  

Photo credit: Alloy.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rethink Pink

I have a  girl crush on Pink.  

I know.  Kind of odd.  Outwardly, she's everything I'm not - irreverent, bad-girl, rock-n-roll.  She somehow looks more feminine with a faux-hawk than with long hair. The list goes on.  Here's the thing - I saw her in concert once (thanks, Stephanie!) and she kicked serious ass.  She's funny and doesn't take herself too seriously and that girl can sing her pants off (which might explain why she sometimes forgoes pants for bodysuits.  I guess).  She's one of the best straight up singers I've ever heard.  I (heart) Pink.  

I can't really get on board with her sense of fashion, but then I don't think she's all that into it anyway.  I always get the feeling that she's kind of making fun of "fashion" by wearing outrageously outrageous outfits.  So instead of finding clothes that mimic her style, I'll instead offer up a few items that pay tribute to the spirit of Pink.  A spirit that Bombshells can embrace to kick some ass of their own, without actually having to sport denim hot pants.  
I think Pink would throw a punch or two for a pair of studded boots like this pair from Payless
Pink's hard-core rocker image contradicts her silly side.  Get your contrast on with these Babyphat Hipster Embroidery jeans that feature contrast topstitching.  
Not ready to commit to some ink of your own?  No problem- just throw on this Miami Ink Winged Heart Tee from Torrid.  Instant street cred.  Sorta. 
Start a bar fight in this butterfly print halter, featuring a banded waist and metal chain straps.  From MXM. 

Photo credit: Payless.com; Babyphat.com; Torrid.com; MXM.xom

Beauty Moment- Korres Basil Lemon Body Scrub

Korres Natural Products is a Greek company whose passion lies within creating beneficial and safe hair care and body products via scientific research into both modern and ancient ingredients and uses.  They replace synthetic ingredients like mineral oil with more natural (but equally effective) alternatives.   I happened upon Korres Basil Lemon Body Scrub while frantically searching for a scrub at Ulta that cost less than $19.63 (all the cash I had on hand at the moment).  

I like this spa-worthy scrub because it polishes away dry, itchy skin without feeling abrasive.  Ground bamboo and jojoba beads combine with a creamy base to exfoliate and hydrate.  It also features a blend of multiminerals that work to restore energy to skin cells - I think that means it penetrates your skin, jazzes up your skin cells and makes your epidermus feel soft and smooth.  The scent is subtle, light, luxurious.  I can smell more of the bamboo than basil or lemon - although there is a brightness to the scent that reminds me of yellow (a.k.a. lemon).  It clings to your skin but doesn't interfere with lotion and perfume.  

You can find Korres products at Ulta, Sephora, and other specialty stores.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lace Lust

I am so in love with this dress:
I have a thing for lace dresses - there's such an innately feminine, retro appeal to lace done right (and a Grandma's doily problem when it's done wrong...) - and Kiyonna is my source for sophisticated, thoughtful lace concoctions.  This one is called the Retro Glam Lace Dress.  It's got a beautiful 1940's sensibility to the fitted bodice and flared skirt that begs to take part in a song-and-dance act.  It features a removable satin sash adorned with a sparkly brooch that is divine.  

The Retro Glam Lace Dress is an LBD done right - lace should always be black, only black (in my opinion) - in such a way that it reminds us all that if you're going to do a little black dress, make it unique.  Other favorite black lace creations from Kiyonna include:

Photo credit: Kiyonna.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beauty Moment-L'oreal Lips


I'm a huge fan of Collier Strong's. Not sure who that is? Then you must not watch Project Runway (and given the past few seasons, I can't blame you). He's the L'OReal Paris makeup artist who helps pull together the PR designers' look for the runway. I've learned a lot watching him and have given L'Oreal makeup a second glance thanks to his tips and tricks.
Admittedly, I don't have a lot in my makeup bag that wasn't bought from a department store. That's just how I roll. I prefer to test my makeup out before purchase. I do like to roam the beauty aisles at Target, though, and I've been keeping an eye out on L'Oreal. Their HIP High Intensity Pigment line is by no means new, but it does continually put out some of the most innovative drugstore products. This line reminds me of MAC. I've been testing out a few HIP products over the past few days, and one that I really like is the HIP Jelly Balm.

Jelly Balm truly feels just like its name - the consistency is thick like jelly but the texture is smooth like a balm. The gloss provides a slick pop of color that layers well over lipstick or looks naturally pretty on its own. The only thing I don't like about Jelly Balm is that it's in a pot - I don't like dipping my finger into color. Where to wipe the excess? (Maybe that's just my neurotic issue).

I'm equally enthusiastic about a nourishing gloss from L'Oreal's Bare Naturale line- Gentle Lip Conditioner. Maybe even more so because it's dispensed from a tube; similar to Stila's Lip Glaze, you click the color up through the tube. Bare Naturale's "thing" is that it's derived of 96% natural ingredients (Mineral bandwagon? Thatta way!). The lip conditioner is thinner than the jelly balm, the color a notch more subtle. You get more of a neutral wash of color and shine than the Jelly Balm provides. Thanks to Almond Oil and Vitamin E, your lips will see a cumulative softening effect. It's replaced my tinted Burt's Bees stick.

I'll let you know in a few days what I think of the other HIP products that I've been testing . In the meantime, let me know what your favorite L'Oreal products are and why.

Monday, October 13, 2008

LBD Replacement

Since going to Las Vegas last month, where every woman was dressed exactly the same (little black dress, gold earrings, and cleavage up to the chin) I've been waging my own mini war on the LBD.  And by war I mean looking for alternatives.  

I've found some pretty cute replacements, but not many that could take on all the best parts of an LBD:
  • Easy to throw on, doesn't require a lot of accessories
  • Versatile - can be funky or elegant or casual-ish
  • Makes a woman feel beautiful and powerful and just "right."
Behold, my next LBD replacement:
Evans calls this the Red Bead 3/4-Sleeve Dress.  The name doesn't do it any justice. This dress is ornate and interesting without going over the top. It's flowy and flirty in an elegant bohemian kind of way.  Wear it with tights and boots for a more funky look; elevate the dress with bare legs and sky-high heels; or go casual by pairing it with skinny pants and flats.  I can't imagine feeling self-concious or twitchy in this dress.  It seductively whispers, "You know you wanna..."

You'd better watch your back, LBD.  

Photo credit:  www.evans.co.uk

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bombshell: Adele Adkins

Liz over at Anna Scholz was telling me the other day about a few of the famous Bombshells who love Anna's line, and one of them stuck out at me as someone I'd never heard of: Adele Adkins.  Adele's a British singer - kind of a pop/jazz/soul combo, not as aggressive as Amy Winehouse though the Brits have called her Amy's replacement - who's come up via a grassroots effort through MySpace. Adele's voice is gravelly and low, and she makes the most of her range on Etta-inspired tracks like Crazy for You and First Love. You can find her album, "19" on iTunes.  It's good stuff.

Since this isn't a music review site, though, you know there's something else I love about Adele.  Ok, two things:  one, her Bombshell attitude about her curvy size 14-16 self.  I read an article in which she talks about the criticism she's received for being plus-size.  She said that she's always been fine with her size and would only lose weight if it was affecting her health or her sex life.  Adele also mentioned that the folks in the U.S make a much bigger deal of it than everyone over in the U.K.  She thinks the Hollywood culture is the reason for the U.S.'s preoccupation with her size.  

The second thing I love about Adele is her style.  She's young - 20, I believe - and her clothes speak to her youth and bohemian lifestyle on the road.  Her style vascillates between a retro-glam (above) and a more earthy "scarf layered over dress layered over leggings" look.  Super cute. Photo credits: Bumphershine.com; annersdesign.com

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Anna Scholz Autumn/Winter Collection

We've been hearing a lot about mavericks these days. Dictionary.com's definition of maverick is:

1.Southwestern U.S. an unbranded calf, cow, or steer, esp. an unbranded calf that is separated from its mother. 2.a lone dissenter, as an intellectual, an artist, or a politician, who takes an independent stand apart from his or her associates.

I would add Anna Scholz to the definition - she's one of few premiere, truly innovative top designers who creates high fashion in sizes 12-28. If I could, I'd wear her autumn/winter collection day in and day out (alas, high fashion comes at a high price). The pieces she's designed for the cold-weather season is a blend of ultra-feminine silhouettes and edgy prints. It's kind of a womanly glam-rock vibe. If Gossip Girl had a plus-size character, she'd wear Anna Scholz. This character would probably pick up her Anna Scholz at Harrods, but the rest of us can find her stateside at Neiman Marcus. Click here to view her look book.
I love this pleated skirt/jacket combo - it's more interesting than a typical skirt suit. It's the perfect blend of feminine powerful.
The styling of these two dresses are spot on, from the slouchy boots on the left to the hot pink tights on the left. So fun and funky!

These two pieces make me yearn for print. I could die happy if I owned the Bird Silk Split Sleeve Dress (on the right).

Photo credit: AnnaScholz.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Beauty How-to: Wear Foundation

I think the trickiest, yet most essential, product to apply is foundation.  Harder than perfectly smudging a quad of eyeshadows, getting your mascara to adhere only to your bottom lashes (and not the skin below), harder even than creating a budge-proof red lip is using foundation to create the illusion of perfect skin. A lot of women simply over-do it; or they feel overwhelmed by the process and don't even try.  Which probably explains the sheer volume of women walking around with a visible line of demarcation at the jaw or with blotchy, uneven skin tone.  

Choosing the right color, the right formula, and then slapping it on in a way that looks natural can seem extremely daunting.   Let's make it simple, yes? Most women will jump right to choosing their shade.  I say, choose your formula first.  Your goal should be to wear as little product as possible to achieve an even, natural skin tone.  
  • If you have pretty good skin with only mild discoloration, choose a tinted moisturizer.
  • If you have dry skin, choose a creamy formula.
  • If you have oily skin, you need an oil-free formula; cream to powder works well on oily skin and allows for buildable coverage. 
  • If you have combination skin, again cream to powder is a good choice; you can also try an oil-free liquid formula. 
Most everyone should avoid matte formulas - who actually has matte skin in real life?  If you have oily spots, prime your skin with matteying lotion in the areas that really need it.  But don't try to cover and hide every inch of your true skin. 

Once you've got a formula picked out, test two or three shades that look pretty close to the natural color of your skin.  Draw one vertical line along your jawline with each shade.  Blend each shade lightly - whichever color fades into your skin and is no longer visible is the right choice for you.  Your face and neck should blend together - your face should not be lighter or darker than your neck.  

Now, application.  Some people say you have to use a sponge.  Others say the only way to go is with a foundation brush, while still others tout the benefits of your fingers.  No one technique is right for everyone.  I've found that your application will be lightest with a sponge, a little fuller with a brush, and the heaviest with your fingers.  Choose your tool based on how much coverage you need. 

Very few women actually need a full face of foundation.  Apply it only where you truly need to even your skin tone.  For me, that means a good coating on my nose and a couple of dabs along my chin and my hairline.  Again, the goal is to use the least amount of product possible to get the job done.  Seal the deal with a light dusting of powder to help keep it in place, and you're good to go.  Not so intimidating, right?  

A few of my favorite foundations include:
With SPF 20 and just a hint of color, Vincent Longo's Light Canvas Tinted Moisturizer provides just enough coverage to make your skin look like you, but better.  Wear alone if you have a touch of redness or discoloration, or layer under a fuller-coverage foundation if your skin craves extra moisture.  
Lancome's Color Ideal foundation is available in 20 shades, so your ideal shade is bound to be found here.  I like the way this choice blends and covers redness like rosacea.  It feels weightless and lasts all day.  
Some Kinda-Gorgeous, by Benefit.  This creamy formula goes on with a sponge and dries down to a powder finish.  You can build the coverage and touch-up throughout the day without getting a cakey, overdone look.  Also available in deep. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Aspiration: Bathrobe

There's something inherently romantic about a woman in a bathrobe.  It evokes lazy mornings, lounging around in bed, eating bagels with extra cream cheese and reading the newspaper with your lover. (Not to be 13 years old, but the word lover kind of makes me cringe...why?  I don't know)  It's an article of clothing that says, "There's no point in getting dressed because I may need to be completely undressed at any moment."  

My mornings are usually a flurry of coffee and earrings and shouting at my husband from the bathroom that I won't be home in time for dinner and where the hell did he put my hairspray, why can't he buy his own hairspray, oh there it is, yes please make me a Poptart.  And I'm typically running around in my underwear and a t-shirt.  I prefer the bathrobe morning and figure the first step towards obtaining that dream of a start to the day is in buying a really cute bathrobe.  
This beautiful cotton turquoise robe, featuring a ruffled neckline, is the perfect combination of comfort (hello, soft cotton!) and sophistication.  You'll look effortlessly pulled together, no matter what you're wearing (or not wearing) underneath. 

What says, "Do me and then make me toast" better than this thigh-grazing black satin kimono robe?  
Sexy in a cute-girl who can't be bothered to try being sexy.  And you're covered enough to actually answer the door, if you must.   Pink star supersoft robe from Evans. 

Photo credit: Kohls.com; Torrid.com; Evans.co.uk

Beauty Moment- Best Eyeshadow Palettes

Eyeshadow palettes make my heart beat a little faster and stir up the kind of stomach butterflies usually reserved for my husband.  Like a Pussycat Doll gravitates toward spandex and mesh, I am drawn toward just about any palette that looks cute.  But sometimes the cute packaging is all an eyeshadow palette has going for it - the shades are either incongruous, uninspired or wear off faster than my affection for Katy "I Kissed a Girl" Perry.    Here, my favorite tried and tested eyeshadow palettes (plus one thus far untried, that I'm totally lusting for).  
My friend, Ally, always has really pretty eye makeup long past bar close when the rest of us are wiping our raccoon eyes away.  She told me her go-to product is Revlon's Illuminance Creme Shadow palettes.  She's got them in every color - the shades go on smoothly and layer with each other and powder shadows.  So pretty.  
Clinique was the first brand of "real" makeup that I started wearing, way back in 1993.  As I got older, I began to experiment with and branch out to other, more "grown up" brands like Bobbi Brown.  So I sometimes forget just how great Clinique's products can be.  Take the Color Surge Eye Shadow Quads - a selection of 4 fool-proof shadows that won't flake or fade.  I think Spicy (shown) creates a great neutral look, appropriate any time of day.  And the slim compact fits into even the most over-stuffed bag.  
I find Stila's eyeshadows to be the easiest to blend and some of the longest-lasting shadows in my collection.  The brand has a number of shadow palettes (as well as empty palettes for you to fill with your own selections) but my favorite is the Smokey Eye Palette- the Sapphires.  There's something both daring and intriguing about using blues to create a sexy smokey eye- blue makes every eye color pop.  This particular combination of light and dark blues is gorgeously wearable.  And the palette actually talks you through each step of the smokey eye - a definite first!
And the one palette I can't personally vouch for, but desperately want to.  Look at the gorgeous embossed print on each bar of shadow.  And speaking of those shadows - what a beautiful combination.  This is one of three Shimmery Sparkling Eyes Tribal Quad Shadows from Global Goddess.  This collection of plummy mauves,  called Arusha,  would create a pretty day look or a more sultry night look.  

Photo credit: Revlon.com; Clinique.com; Stilacosmetics.com; GlobalGoddessBeauty.com