Monday, December 29, 2008

Beauty Moment- J. Lynne Cosmetics

I know what you're thinking. "Who is that beautiful Bombshell, and how does she have such flawless skin??" That's exactly what I thought when I came across this photo of Jessica Lynne Miller, the brains and beauty behind J. Lynne Cosmetics. A cosmetics brand could not ask for a better model than this girl! And the fact that she's also the owner & creator of this vegan-friendly, cruelty-free (never tested on animals) all natural mineral makeup line is all the more fantastic.

The story behind J. Lynne Cosmetics is pretty simple. Like a lot of us fair-skinned ladies, Jess used traditional makeup found in drugstores and department stores, becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the all the irritation her sensitive, acne-prone skin was going through. Jess launched her company in 2005, dedicated to creating effective, pretty makeup free of bismuth oxychloride, carmine, cornstarch, talc, or preservatives, which are ingredients sometimes found in other mineral makeup lines. There are a lot of makeup lines out there, tons of choices for you to make. I like the idea of buying makeup from an independent business owner who is cranking out small batches of her terrific products. There's a personal touch at that level that you just can't find at a cosmetic counter.

To sample, J. Lynne sent me the new Latin Rhythms blush collection. This 6-color collection ranges from petal pink to pale peach to dusty mauve and a bronzey rose. With names like Samba and Flamenco, each color is subtle, blending flawlessly into the skin, with just a hint of glimmer that makes your entire face glow. Each blush can also double as an eye color, which creates a quick, monochromatic look that feels very fresh right now. The mineral powders last all day and layer well for touch ups, if needed.

J. Lynne Cosmetics includes a complete line of color products for face, eyes and lips as well as makeup brushes. I'm excited to try out the Natural Mineral Lip Gloss; my lips love a shiny coat of color! The Goddess Collection Mineral Glow Powders also look interesting - like the soft glow of candlelight for your face. Very pretty. If your makeup bag needs an overhaul in the new year, check out J. Lynne Cosmetics for mineral makeup that looks as good, while it does good.

Beauty Moment- L'Oreal Goes Glam

You expect to find L'Oreal products gracing the shelves of your local Target or CVS. While their collection of skincare, makeup and haircare products are great, they're not exactly the most glamourous of brands. That distinction is more likely bestowed upon department store names like Chanel, Givenchy and Dior. But L'Oreal is bringing it's A-game to the Golden Globes this January with a gorgeous compact that will be given to each actress nominated for either the Best Actress in a Comedy or Drama award. Take a look: So pretty! The 18K gold compact is lined with citrine and pale green quartz stones, accented with diamonds. If you'd like to add this compact to your purse for touch-ups, you can hit up eBay on Golden Globes (January 11th) night to bid on one. The proceeds from the eBay auction will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

I love a good compact. There's something incredibly lady-like about pulling out an embellished compact from the depths of a purse, flipping it open to reapply lipgloss, and then snapping it closed. I have a mini collection of compacts from the 1940's and 50's that my mom has culled for me, compliments of eBay. You'll find unique versions, literally hundreds to choose from, at great prices. I also like Red Envelope, andEtsy for cute, affordable options. It's a great way to make touch-ups more glamourous.

New Year's Eve

For as many Bombshells as there are in the world, there are as many different ways to ring in the new year. Last week, I showed you a few of my favorite options for dressing to the nines. But not everyone likes to pull on a pair of Spanx and a cocktail dress for a big night out. Here are a few outfits to inspire you, whatever you may be doing this Wednesday. If you're hitting up a local bar with a group of friends, jeans are as essential as a table-for-four that 8 of you can crowd around. Add a little oomph to your jeans with a casual top that features a funky detail. I like this flutter sleeve top from MXM - the gold sequin insets are just glitzy enough for the occasion, without going over the top. Finish the outfit with a red lip and a cute pair of flats. For a romantic dinner with your main squeeze, pull on a festive print. This red, white and navy tunic with matching sash from Lane Bryant shows off a curvy figure and reminds me of fireworks. What more could you want in a date? Whether you're headed to the Olive Garden or that authentic Italian bistro around the corner, you'll look great - and the flowy top will let you have an extra breadstick or two! If you're staying in with friends, a few bottles of champagne, a board game and the Time's Square ball at midnight, this maroon funnel-neck sweater will be perfect. The color looks amazing on everyone, which means you'll look great in all those pictures that'll pop up on Facebook come 2009.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

What are you doin' on New Year's Eve?

One of my all-time favorite Ella Fitzgerald songs. Seriously, it's a good one. And it's one of the few songs about New Year's Eve, you know? Anyway - a better question, Bombshells, may be what are you wearing on New Year's Eve? My husband just had surgery, so we'll be staying in. Which means I'll probably be wearing this:
Courtesy of Old Navy's loungewear section. And you know what? That's ok - I think it's good to have a down year every once in a while. Gets you more excited for going all out the following year. If this is your year for going all out, draw a little celebratory inspiration from these festive cocktail dresses: Igigi's Josephine Jewel-Necked Cocktail Dress in green. This fully-lined, hand-beaded dress certainly is a jewel. I love everything about it, from the bracelet-length sleeves to the rich color. It's like a little black dress (and indeed, it's available in black) but the green really elevates the whole look from safe to sophisticated. It's not too late to pull out a red-hot scarlet dress. Kiyonna's Flaunt Cocktail Dress in red is a beautiful combination of form and function. Note the plunging neckline that allows for a comfortable, wide-strapped bra (no yanking at a strapless number for you). And while you'll still need to pull on a pair of Spanx, the ruching across the tummy will hide any funny business that might otherwise make you think twice about sampling something decadent at the buffet. You'll spend the whole night swishing the skirt of this Sheer Sequin Dress from JC Penney. And why shouldn't you? The model is tiny, but this sparkly number is available up to size 24.

A fancy night out not your thing for New Year's? No worries. I've got lots of great ideas for Bombshell outfits that fall somewhere between my pajamas and the dresses above. I'm also rustling up a bunch of outfits inspired by my favorite 20-year old high school students - Gossip Girl.

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Beauty Moment- Sephora Swirl Bag Collection

The ranking of my favorite things to shop for is as follows:
Organizational products
Cleaning products

I think you guys are well aware of my love for items 1, 2 & 6. Sometimes #3 (Organizational products) spills into the clothes & makeup realm. I love wooden hangers. And I also love this bag set from Sephora:

These vinyl-stitched bags feel glamourously retro in a Mad Men kind of way. The large handle bag is especially roomy, featuring a large inside pocket and three good-size individual bags on the inside. The three inner bags are great for separating out your makeup - eyeshadow in one, pencils & mascara in another, blush & foundation in the last. Or whatever makes sense to you. Regularly $16-38, the bags are on sale for $8-19. A total steal. They're available in a wide range of colors, but I'm loving all things bronze these days.

Available in store and online.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't be mad. It's really not my fault. Resort-wear is in all the pages of this month's magazines. I can't help it if I've fallen prey to the whims of the fashion world in which it's perfectly natural to begin planning a spring wardrobe in December. I think you'll forgive me once you see the object of my affection. See? Isn't she pretty? Talbots' Peony-print Skirt is all I can think about. The fully-lined cotton concoction is everything I love about spring - crisp, slightly preppy, sort of mod. So cute with sandals and a simple tee.

Although, who's to say it couldn't be a nice addition to my early-winter wardrobe? Warm it up with some tights, knee-high brown boots and a cream sweater...ahhh, the art of justification. This skirt is mine.

Talbots peony-print skirt, available in sizes 12-24, $79.

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Beauty Moment- NARS Dolce Vita Set

NARS manages to combine equal touches of artistry, quality and glamour into all of its products. The shadows blend easily to create a light wash of color, and they come in colors that would otherwise be outrageously unwearable. Their blushes appear to be highly pigmented; in fact they glide on smoothly and last all day. And their lip glosses are some of the best in the industry. Long-wear, moisturizing and incredibly sexy.
Whether you're new to the brand or have a makeup bag full of NARS products, I can't recommend highly enough the Dolce Vita set. It's comprised of a blush duo (Albatross, a light golden sheen and Lovejoy, a shimmery bronzed rose) that can also be worn on the eyes; and the cult favorite Dolce Vita lipgloss. This dusty rose started the mauve craze two falls ago and has stuck around as a newly crowned classic.

Head over to your local Sephora, roll up your sleeves and dive into the testers. You'll come away with a face full of makeup and a bunch of new faves- I'm banking on it. And don't forget to snag this gorgeous set on your way out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Go for Glitz

You only have a few more weeks to wear shiny, glitzy clothes and accessories with abandon. If you're still looking for that perfect glitzy piece, here are a few of my new favorites for inspiration:

I love Jessica Elliot's young-chic take on jewelry. The large cut-out bangle in nickel makes a statement without coming off as over the top. Wear it with an ornate dress that needs a little something extra, but can't support a necklace.

I love this shimmer stretch taffeta dress because it's something unexpected. The key to looking fabulous instead of frump is in the fit. This dress is too big for the model in the picture - make sure that a dress with a lot going on from the hips below fits perfectly throughout the bust and waist. Don't be afraid to wear something different - 'tis the season!

Wrap yourself up as a present with this shiny red leather bow belt. Cinch the waist of your favorite dress (doesn't have to be black - green, anyone?) for an instant makeover. You can find lots of cute, plus size belts at Torrid.

Forget silver bells- paint on silver nails! I like O.P.I's Brand New Skates (a gun metal silver) for toes. Seek out CND's Silver anniversary for a lighter sweep of silver on your fingers. Both available at Ulta.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beauty Moment- Dior Deluxe Travel Palette

Dior's Deluxe Travel Palette
is my absolutely perfect mixed palette. I tend to avoid palettes that include lip gloss because I hate the way eye shadow and blush flakes get into the color. It's a personal thing. Dior gets me. It understands that, yes, I want six gorgeously blendable eye shadows, a subtle bronzing powder to ward off winter palor, a glowing blush to perk up my cheeks, it's renowned mascara AND a beautifully neutral gloss in a tube. All for $70. Thank you. Head to Nordstrom to get yours.

Cozy Up in Cashmere

The ultimate in luxury and warmth, cashmere has not always been readily available and affordable for Bombshells over size 14. Not so anymore - you can slip into the heavenly-est of knits without breaking the bank, courtesy of Macy's.

Cashmere is one fabric that truly follows the "You get what you pay for" adage. At this price point, you have to take extra good care of your cashmere- wash only when necessary, hand wash when you have to and keep an eye on pilling and fading. With due diligence in the care of your sweater, it'll last (and feel fabulous) for years to come.

For a few extra dollars, you can score this amazing cowl neck cashmere sweater at J. Jill.
Available in four beautiful colors, up to size 4X, you'll elevate your casual, bumming around in jeans look to one of pure elegance.

Inherently easy to pull on, a hoodie goes glam at Old Navy thanks to 100% cashmere. It's substantial enough to wear alone, but lightweight enough to layer under a jacket.

If you're looking for something to splurge on, there'll be no buyer's remorse with this Eileen Fisher silk & cashmere tunic. Choose from three colors up to size 22; belt it over a pencil skirt or slim-fitting pants. Or be decadent and sleep in it. You'll definitely have sweet dreams!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Duh...Why Aren't You Shopping

I received my weekly magalog from Lane Bryant today, and staring up at me from the cover is this shot:

Is it just me, or does the model look like she's mad about something? Or at the very least, slightly perturbed? Like, in her head she's saying, "Duhhhh....why aren't you at Lane Bryant (or the very least on RIGHT NOW buying the outfit I am modeling?" After flipping one page and seeing this super cute jacket, I could understand where she was coming from.

Additional favorite highlights that make me think I'll have no problem redeeming the included $50 gift cheque include:

So...what are you doing right now? Why aren't you shopping? Check out for more info on new arrivals.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The snow has been piling up here in St. Paul, and the largest factor in my outfit each day is how warm I'll be. Here's a selection of outfit-making warm additions that I'm loving right now:

This Michael Kors convertible cardigan is the perfect piece to keep at hand for those times when you can't decide if you're hot or cold. Made of a cotton blend, the three-quarter length sleeves ensure that you won't be sweating within moments of pulling it on. And the soft shaping will drape beautifully across your curves. One size fits sizes 12-24.

I can't get enough of these Calvin Klein wide-leg jeans. Seriously, your butt will thank you for making it look so amazing. This pair has some stretch, but is also pretty substantial. You won't feel the wind whipping across your legs.

I know, I know - Uggs are gross, Tim Gunn hates them, etc. etc. I'm not going to disagree that there is absolutely no reason (fashion or otherwise) for the girls from The Hills to be traipsing around L.A. in Uggs and shorts. That is so unnecessary. But for traipsing through the snow? There's nothing better. I like that the Surfcat Laceup boots accomodate wide calves.

Indoor scarves are absolutely not just for Grandma. Layering a scarf over a basic tee shirt is a great way to stay warm all day and add a splash of color & texture to your outfit. The key to pulling it off with style, as opposed to looking like you forgot to take your scarf off with your coat, is to stear clear of bulky wool or fleece versions. Choose a lighter-weight cotton option. I like this Echo Pleated scarf.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Beauty Moment- Wet & Wild MegaGlo Face Iluminator

In the January issue of Lucky magazine, one of the beauty assistants shares her go-to product for casting off the mind-winter palor that her fair complexion takes on: Wet & Wild MegaGlo Face Illuminator in blushing. It caught my attention because the color is very close to Benefit's cult-fave Highbeam. And the fact that the cream costs a mere $2.99 also had something to do with my sudden need to have it. The verdict? Love it.

Highlighting products are not a part of my usual beauty routine - or I should say, they weren't. I've never been sure if the juice was worth the squeeze. Does a highlighter really make a difference? Won't it make parts of my face look like there's either an oil slick or a spot light shining directly onto it? I dabbed the silvery-pink MegaGlo cream right under my brow bones, at the top of my cheekbones, down the center of my nose and right along my cupid's bow. The cream is incredibly sheer, not glittery in any way, just a little gleamy. And then I went about my business: hanging out with my husband, a party with a group of friends, etc. All of them had the same reaction to me: head slightly cocked, a slightly puzzled look followed by, "You look really fantastic...why?"

MegaGlo is not easy to find - at least not in my neighborhood. I had to hit up both CVS and Wal-greens before finally laying claim to the very last pot of cream. Luckily, the pot is huge so it'll last forever. Even if it is new addition to my daily routine. You can choose from blushing - the aforementioned Benefit Highbeam doppleganger - or rosy, a deeper pink shade if you have a darker skintone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Beauty Moment- Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm

My lips cannot get enough of Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm. The balm is soft, so it slips right over the lips, leaving a thin coat of moisture that doesn't feel waxy or thick. Packed with beeswax, shea butter, almond oil and honey, the balm is incredibly soothing. For maximum impact before bed, I gently brush my lips with a toothbrush and then liberally apply the Honey Balm. I wake up with smooth, plump lips every morning.

Available wherever Burt's products are sold, for about $2.99.

Online Jeans Sale @ LB

Now's the time to stock up on jeans at Lane Bryant! Online only through December 7th, you can snag a perfect-fitting pair of jeans for just $29.99. I'll be picking up a pair of my Right Fit Reds, for sure.

Monday, December 1, 2008

On the Hunt- Denim Trousers

I think denim trousers are the way to go in most any situation. They're the perfect combination of classic, tailored shape and crisp casual that denim provides. The look is a winner. I found this pair at Nordstrom, and was pleasantly surprised by both the price and fit. At $74, Jag Jeans' Louisa Stretch Denim Trousers are a borderline steal considering the kind of wear you'd get out of them. As for fit, I like the high waistband because it draws attention to the smallest part of most women. It also curves subtly around the hip before dropping the leg to the floor. Your legs will look 10 feet long in these pants. Available in store and online.

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Congratulations, Bombshells!

3,440 entries in the Cornucopia of Beauty give-away later, and we have three winners. Congratulations to the two runner-up prize winners Tisa and Jenny. And a super congratulations to the grand prize winner, Deanna. Thanks to everyone who entered!