Saturday, January 31, 2009

Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Salon Hive Gift Card Give-Away yesterday. Of over 2500 entries, the randomly chosen winner is Allyson S! Allyson, I'll be in touch to arrange the details of your prize. Have a great weekend, Bombshells!

Friday, January 30, 2009

$50 Gift Card Give-Away

Salon Hive offers a wide selection of Makeup Cases, Flat Irons, Skin Care, and Hair Care from top name brands like Farouk CHI Irons, Corioliss, FHI Irons, T3 Hair Dryers, Tend Skin, Revitol and so much more. That so much more? A $50 Gift Card for one lucky Bombshell reader to redeem on the site! That's a nice way to end the week, huh? One winner will be randomly drawn from entries received between now and 11:00 PM today. Click here to enter!

Trend Translation: Gossip Girl's Vanessa



Vanessa's style tends toward bohemian with a touch of Madonna circa Material Girl (early 80's). She mixes feminine & edgy pieces. If she lived on the Upper East Side, she'd probably dress kind of like Serena. But her regular-girl status means that her clothes are less designer, more urban. You can score this look by layering with vests, long t-shirts,a motorcycle jacket, a jumble of organic-feeling jewelry, and ankle boots. Red Gauze Peasant Top from Torrid. A flattering boot cut updates these light wash jeans, once an 80's staple. Toughen up the sweet bohemian top with a cool bomber jacket. Tote everything you need in slouchy style with a saddle bag. Layer on an armful of wooden bracelets.

Photo credits: Torrid.com; MXM.com; Alloy.com

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beauty Moment- Carmindy's Blog

Anyone spends more than 10 minutes with me knows how much I love TLC's What Not to Wear. So I was thrilled to happen upon the show's resident makeup artist/beauty author Carmindy's blog. It's called Positively Beautiful. It's packed full of advice on beauty products, application techniques and tips. Good stuff.

Isaac Has Arrived

It's clear that something fabulous is afoot at Liz Claiborne. Isaac Mizrahi has arrived, and if the online Look Book is any indication he's about to do for Liz what he single-handedly did for Target (turned it into a destination for quality and style). The clothes are classic Isaac- all American, classic silhouettes puntuated by bright greens and pinks, crisp prints in navy and white, and beautiful accessories. I have no idea if he's doing the plus-size collection, too but my fingers are crossed. Click here for a sneak peek at the Spring Collection, available in February. Even if, for some insane reason, he doesn't do a plus size line Isaac has sufficiently inspired me to re-think the way I've been mixing and matching.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beauty Moment- Hemloq Citrus Scrub

Over the past few months, I've slowly dipped my toes into the waters of all natural beauty products. It still doesn't come naturally (ha) to me, and I am still surprised every time I like something. The latest venture? Hemloq Citrus Scrub. Exfoliating is key throughout the winter months. It sloughs off rough, dry skin and encourages cell turnover. Cell turnover reveals fresh, younger skin - who doesn't want that? I usually hop in the shower with one of several thick, gritty scubs and then go at my skin with vigorous rubbing. I love the end-result, but getting there can be kind of rough. Literally.

Showering with the Citrus Scrub was a completely different experience. It's a thick white cream infused with incredibly fine jojoba beads. Rubbing the cream over my skin felt luxurious and gentle - as though the jojoba beads were trapping and removing my dead skin instead of scraping it off. The scent is very lemony. It's fresh and clean and will help you get going in the morning.

Citrus Scrub is chock full of good-for-you ingredients like chamomile and green tea, both of which are soothing. As for what it doesn't contain? Parabens, sulfate, and animal testing. You can order a generous tub of Hemloq's Citrus Scrub from their web site for $28.

Photo credit: Hemloq.com

How to Wear Stripes

Thanks to the old addage about horizontal stripes making a person look bigger, a lot of Bombshells are deathly afraid of wearing stripes. I get it; the addage is somewhat true - although not an absolute. There are a few ways to wear stripes without looking like you've suddenly expanded sideways. Striped tops lend an easy, classic chic to almost any outfit - especially when paired with turned up jeans, oversize sunglasses and flats. Here's how to get the look without sacrificing even an ounce of your Bombshell curves.

When wearing horizontal stripes, make sure they're no wider than a knuckle on your finger. Small stripes are much easier to wear than wide stripes. When picking out a color combo for your horizontal stripes you can't go wrong with black/white, navy/white, gray/white, red/white, yellow/white. Notice a trend? Balancing a color with white keeps the look slightly nautical French. And nautical French always looks good. Feel free to add a wide belt, if your proportions call for one. Make sure it's wider than the shirt's stripe. Or choose a top with some sort of detail that gives the eye a place to focus, like this Henley with contrast neckline. Use stripes to add some whimsy to your outfit; choose stripes that are on the bias. This wrap-around effect is fun, although you'll probably want to create a focal point of some sort with a belt so your shape doesn't get lost. Or add a solid scarf to pull the attention up to your face. Speaking of scarves, accessories are a fun place to put stripes. The rules are a little more relaxed as far as stripe width when you're playing with scarves. Bonus- Look at how elongating the striped scarf can be (above). Get kicky with a pair of sweetly striped sandals. Again - narrow stripe = narrow-looking foot. That's an especially good thing when you're slipping on a shoe sized 10+.



Photo credits: OldNavy.com (Striped Henley Tee)
UrbanOutfitters.com (BDG Striped Linen Scarf), Payless.com (Seersucker Slingback).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Beauty Moment- Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara


I cannot stop looking at my lashes. It's a miracle that I didn't get into a car accident on the way into work this morning; I kept glancing into my rearview mirror to check out my lashes. They are long and fluttery, defined and glossy black. In short, they're amazing. Thank you, Maybelline Stiletto Lash mascara.

I'll admit to initially scoffing at Lash Stilleto, thanks to its terrible ad campaign. Anytime I see a commercial or print ad for mascara where the model's lashes are so clearly fake, I am equal parts annoyed and skeptical of the macara's actual ability to make my non-fake lashes look good. The lashes in Lash Stiletto's ads are beyond ridiculous (super long and thick and pointy), to the point where I found myself wondering if the model had to do eyelid strengthening exercises to keep her eyes open. Probably not what Maybelline wanted me think about during the 30-second spot. Luckily, Maybelline and my lashes have a great track record (Full & Soft was my go-to for years), so I decided to give Lash Stiletto a try. Features include:

1. The Grip & Extend brush grasps each lash and coats from every angle
2. Elastic formula stretches lashes for provocative length
3. Pro-Vitamin B-5 formula conditions and smoothes for black-patent shine
4. Contact lens safe and Ophthalmologist tested

The tube is fun - it's shaped like the stiletto of a black heel. The mascara promises to do for lashes what stilettos do for legs - make them seem miles long and super toned. Ok, I'm not sure about the toned part. But miles long- yes. After curling my lashes, I used the classic spool brush to sweep the dark black mascara from the base to the tip of my lashes. Then I held the brush vertically to coat the little lashes near the inner and outer corners of the eye. My lashes were evenly coated (no clumping), dark black and shiney. Love it! Get yours wherever Maybelline products are sold.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Saturday Style

I love getting dressed on the weekends. Although they are usually as jam-packed as my weekdays, there's more time to play around with clothes, mixing and matching, creating just the right look for wherever I'm headed. Grocery shopping and running to the bank may not be glamourous activities but they might be a little less tedious if you look super cute. And the other schlubs in line behind you will appreciate having something nice to check out at the checkout.

Caslon Twin Print Tee Caslon "Lola" Stretch Jeans Gap Mesh Striped Scarf Big Raindrop Earrings> Airwalk Allie Bow Flat

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spotlight on: Dereon

It's no secret that the fashion market is somewhat saturated with celebrity lines: I was at Kohls a few weeks ago and saw that the store carries a line inspired by Vanessa Carleton. Huh? When was the last time Vanessa Carleton inspired anyone to do anything other than turn the radio channel when that one song of her comes onto Lite FM? (I don't know why I'm so crabby about Vanessa. Anyway. Back to celebrity lines). One of the few celebrity lines that interest me are House of Dereon and the lower priced bridge line, Dereon. Both are the products of Beyonce and her mom. I'm not exactly sure in what capacity Beyonce or Tina Knowles are specifically involved at this point, but I do know that if you like the urban feel of BabyPhat you will love Dereon's line for plus-size Bombshells. Check it out: This is the Phi Beta Short-sleeve Tee ($44). And this is the Velvet Rope Leopard Sequin hoodie (On sale, $49.98). It's fun, cute stuff if that's your style.

Most of Dereon, like much of Babyphat, is not my style. But there are a few pieces that could be integrated into the most conservative of wardrobes to add a fresh touch. Like this: The Ruffle Crop Jacket would look really cute with a slim-fitting skirt or over boot/wide-leg dress pants. You know you would feel just a little diva if you were out strutting around in this jacket. I actually really like the Satin Fury 3/4-Sleeve Top (although I'm not sure what it's so furious about). The shape is nice, and the attention to detail makes it feel worthy of the $62 retail price. I absolutely cannot get behind Dereon's selection of jumpsuits. Yeah, I said it. Jumpsuits. Behold: What you can't see in this picture of the Glacier Bay Jumpsuit? The sparkling stud fleur de lis design on the butt.

Ok, so not everything in the Dereon collection is a winner. But it's another source for cute urban gear if that's your style, and a resource for a few funky pieces to diva up almost anyone's wardrobe. Dereon is sold at Macy's, online at Dereon.com, and other select retailers.

Photo credit: Dereon.com

Kiss My Face Winners

Congratulations to Stephanie S. and Kay F. - the randomly chosen winners of the Kiss My Face SOS collection. Stephanie's going to receive the gloss set and Kay will receive the balms. Thanks to everyone who registered!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trend Translation- Gossip Girls' Blair


If there is one word that describes Blair Waldorf's style, it's ladylike. She combines elements that are very young (mini skirts, mary jane heels, headbands) with those that are very refined (skirts and blazers, lace, pearls) to create a look that is all her own. Unless, of course, it's yours too. In which case, draw some inspiration from these very Blair-pieces made just for us Bombshells over size 14. A bow tie is part of Blair's school wardrobe - great for school girls, but easily translatable for grown-up girls too. The bow neckline adds a dash of proper lady to this work-appropriate dress. Available up to size 24, it's pretty and functional. Blair would trade out the included black patent belt for a pop of color like this one: This purple ruffle belt from Torrid adds an edge to Blair's femininity. An edge is very often a good thing - it keeps proper from being too proper. And the Queen Bee herself looks fab in royal purple. When I think of Blair's shoes, I always picture her in Mary Janes. These glossy patent leather t-straps are a grown-up version of the school-girl classic. Headbands have seen a huge resurgence in popularity, thanks very much to Ms. Waldorf. Her signature headband features a huge satin bow, but I like this double strap nude flower version. Flowers are, naturally, a big trend this spring. And while the huge flower on this band is a statement, I think the nude color makes it super wearable (though not for the faint of heart). A coat is as much a part of your outfit as, well, your outfit. Stand out in an all American trench-turned-hip thanks to dramatic lapels and a look-at-me plaid print.

Beauty Giveaway!

January stinks. I mean, really. It's cold. The sun is on vacation somewhere fabulous and never sends postcards. It's cold. I've given up trying to justify wearing my F-Uggs (that's fake Uggs, people) and just slide them on with great resignation every day. I've misplaced pretty much every tube of lip balm that I've purchased over the past 2 months. And I officially have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD to those who know what I'm talking about). Which is why this is the perfect time for a beauty give-away!

Kiss My Face, the very fabulous beauty company that is as committed to the environment, natural products and not testing on animals as it is to quality ingredients that make you look as good as they feel, has generously given me two sets of their new SOS lip products to give to you.

Sheer Organic Shine is a selection of 6 really pretty glosses. I like the fact that the tubes are packed full of high shine color made of 91% organic ingredients. And with no parabens, SLS, phthalates or synthetic flavors, I feel fine about liberally coating my lips at will. My favorite shade is the very lucious-looking Amethyst; it's a berry-grape hybrid that looks gorgeous with black mascara and pink cheeks.

Sheer Organic Shimmer is an absolutely adorable little stick of faintly shimmering color. This balm shares a lot of the same characteristics as the Organic Shine gloss (environmentally & animal friendly, natural ingredients, etc), but the twist-up tube delivers just a light wash of pearlescent color. Your lips will feel moisturized and will look naturally glowey. In the Shimmer balm, I like pearl - it's just a hint of color that makes me look just a little more polished.

You cao win one of two prizes - a set of six Sheer Organic Shine glosses or a set of six Sheer Organic Shimmer balms. This give-away is a quickie - the contest ends tonight at 11:55p.m. Click here to enter!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mod Bombshells


Are you guys watching Mad Men, AMC's breakout hit drama? It follows the ups and downs of characters associated with a 1960's Madison Avenue ad agency. The men are incredibly suave and cool a'la Rat Pack, while the women are passionately repressed and a study in glamour. The show is an interesting historical look at the times, and a fun source of inspiration for the wardrobe.

The super structured clothes featured on Mad Men can be sort of difficult for plus size girls to wear - a lot of the jackets are boxy and stiff and the skirts can be unforgivingly straight. But there's a lot to love in this genre (a tasteful emphasis on womanly curves!), if you keep balance in mind and mix updated classics in with vintage 1960's accents. This satin belted blouse from Catherine's captures the elegance and grace of the decade perfectly, while creating a flattering shape for women of almost any shape and size. The shawl collar is reminiscent of the 1940's (which were still an influence in the 60's), while the 3/4 length sleeve with French cuffs is very Jackie O. This would look lovely paired with a pencil skirt and cardigan. Speaking of that perfect pencil skirt, a lot of Bombshells run into issues with a simple straight skirt. The combination of voluptuous hips and rear + slim skirt can = a whole lotta look! Don't be afraid to find a more figure-friendly alternative to the pencil skirt, like this trumpet skirt from Spiegel. The slim fit through the hips and thighs is evocative of the pencil shape that was so popular in the 60's. But the flared hemline creates much needed movement and balance for plus size women. Elegantly restrained jewelry adds the perfect 60's touch to the outfit. You can't go wrong when you tap into the ultimate source: Jaqueline Kennedy Reproductions jewelry from QVC. (Quit laughing. Seriously, I love this stuff.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trend Translation- Gossip Girl's Serena

(Collage from CollegeFashion.net)

Serena's style is a sporty combination of all-American classics and luxury bohemian. She looks luxe and laid back all at once. This girl layers like nobody's business - knee-high boots over skinny jeans under a tunic and belt under a jacket and scarf with a huge bag. The key to pulling off this ultra layered look is in proper fit and proportion. Skinny jeans compliment a flowing top. The flowing top is fitted throughout the chest and sleeves. A shrunken jacket or vest gives some shape to a loose top. A scarf or necktie or layers of necklaces are carelessly (yet carefully) draped around the neck. It's all so perfectly imperfect.

For nighttime, Serena amps up the glam factor by choosing classically cut dresses - tanks or sheaths - with grand details. She switches up those details, going from rock and roll studs one night to eye-catching green tights the next. She's not afraid to take risks with her accessories - remember the black gloves she wore with the floor-length tiered floral gown for her mom's wedding to Bart? Risk. Taker.

And finally, day or night Serena likes to show off those legs! If you'd like to take a few style cues from Serena, here's how you can pull together a plus size version of her Upper East Side rock chick look.

Skinny jeans are the foundation of Serena's look - she wears them casually for daytime and then adds edgy accessories and heels for night. I like this pair from Babyphat's plus line because they are made to fit a woman with curves. They have just the right amount of stretch and give to make them truly wearable.

What's a skinny jean without a great pair of boots to pull on over them? Serena would love the Geox Kink 11 boots because they're artfully worn in and feature interesting details - the buckle at the ankle and the lace up back.

Untie and unfasten most of the buttons on this sheer tunic to reveal a camisole underneath; all the better if that cami features an unexpected print or is a contrasting color.

Add shape and texture to your flowy blouse with a fitted tweed vest, like this one.

Serena's clothes and accessories are less matchy-matchy and more funky-complimentary. Take this leather hobo bag - the shape is loose and effortless, while the color is neutral enough to go with almost any other hue but offbeat enough to pop.

A layered necklace adds that final, unique touch.
Just like Serena, turn heads in a boldly printed dress and show off lots of leg. Keep accessories to a minimum - tights if you must, and sky-high heels.

Must Have: Lots of layers, pops of color, bohemian accessories
Avoid: Outfits that match head-to-toe, low hemlines, anything prim and proper
Best Brands & Stores: Michael Kors' plus size line (available at Nordstrom & Macy's), Evans, Babyphat Jeans

Photo credit: Babyphat.com; Evans; Torrid.com; Betsey Johnson

Beauty Moment- Smashbox HALO


I am, admittedly, not overly familiar with Smashbox's line of makeup. I know that it's an upscale, professional line from Max Factor Studios. Aaaand that's about it. However, while browsing the aisles of Sephora this weekend, I came across Smashbox's newest product: HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder. According to Sephora's site, the powder contains the powerful antioxidant Gogi berry.

The powder is also infused with encapsulated water to hydrate and refresh your skin on contact. That's pretty interesting because my number one complaint about loose powder(especially powders as foundation) is that it's so freaking drying. My second complaint? It's messy (I'm looking at you, Bare Minerals). But HALO also seems to have addressed that issue. The compact contains a brick of powder; you turn a dial on the compact to shave off just enough powder for a single application (about one crank). This delivery method provides the convenience of carrying a pressed powder AND the fresher, lighter look of loose powder. Genius!

HALO is free of talc, parabens and oil; it's available in four shades ranging from Fair to Dark.

Photo credit: Sephora.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snowbound!


After what was supposed to be a quick jaunt to Nebraska to visit my grandparents this weekend, I was snowed into Des Moines on the way home. Not the worst thing in the world, as my parents live there, but still - there's nothing like an unexpected delay on your way home to make you want to get home even more desperately! Some of the desperation was due to the fact that I had run out of face moisturizer. Dry + super cold- moisturizer= red, chapped face! Yow. In a pinch, I slathered my face with the St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter moisturizer that is usually slathered all over from neck to toes. I crossed my fingers, hoping the ultra thick lotion wouldn't irritate my sensitive skin & cause a massive break out. Lucky me - the lotion soothed and moisturized my face, no zits. Whew.

After ice, snow & blizzard-like wind (along with many hours of the Food Network with Mom), I'm back in the Twin Cities today. It was a great weekend with the family, but I'm not going anywhere until spring.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beauty Moment- Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain

Cover Girl has added a new member to the Outlast family - Outlast Lipstain. Joining the ranks of Outlast All Day Lipcolor (a long-lasting lipcolor and a tube of moisturizing lip balm) and Outlast Double Lipshine em>>(a dual-ended wand of long last lipcolor and high shine gloss), Outlast Lipstain differentiates itself with a pen-like applicator and a soft-matte finish.

Outlast Lipstain's applicator is just like a felt-tip pen; great for outlining your lips with precision. If you move quickly, you can smudge the line along your lips for a softly defined lip. Fill in the center of your lips - that's it! The lipstain feels much less drying than the other two Outlast products (both of which seriously need their topcoat counterparts to prevent dry, itchy lips). You can top it with a balm for extra moisture or gloss it up if you like. But the soft wash of color is really nice on its own, too.

I'm a big fan of Cover Girl Outlast Lipstain - it's nice to slap on some lipcolor and not have to think about it for several hours. I was able to make it through 5 hours, which included 2 cups of coffee, a whole bunch of water, and a chicken salad wrap. Not bad. The color also wore of pretty evenly, so I wasn't left with a ring of color around my lips. For less than $8 at your local drugstore or Target, give this new lip product a try.

Resolved

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I did not start out this new year with a list of resolutions. But I did come up with a list of things I'd like to fix about my closet. Beginning with the clothes in it that I don't wear. I know a lot of Bombshells who flip through the pages of InStyle, see Kimora Lee Simmons's closet packed full of enough jeans and cashmere sweaters to clothe every woman in Montana and think, "Yes! I want that!" Not me.

I look at such closets not as the ultimate extravagance& something to aspire to but as my own personal nightmare. How the hell would you ever get out of the closet and into the office before noon every day with that many choices? And you know that Kimora Lee (I have no idea why I'm fixated on her of all people, but let's just go with it)falls into the same routine the rest of us do with our less populated closets. That old 20/80 rule of clothing - most women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time.

I've resolved this year to clean out my closet so that it contains only those items that I love to put on - the tops that everyone says make my eyes look greener, the dresses that make me feel like I can conquer the world, and the jeans that don't make me feel like I should probably just put something else on. I will not buy another article of clothing just because it's 30% off and I have a coupon for 15% off and I'm sure it'll look fine underneath a cardigan and over a pair of Spanx (sorry economy). Here's how I'm going to do it:

* Clean out closet; purge what I don't absolutely love
* Make list of items that need to be added to my wardrobe; spend the next year finding them.

I'm going to draw some inspiration for those essential items that need to be in my closet from Mr. Tim Gunn. His list for the 10 essential items every woman should have in her closet has opened my eyes up to the fact that if you have one pair of great-fitting black pants, you can toss the other nine pairs that don't.

Once I compile my list of "look for" items, I'll let you know. And as I check them off, I'll show you what makes the cut.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bombshell Skiwear

I'm not a skier. I tried it once, back in 1987, and that was enough. My feet just couldn't seem to master the whole "snow-plow" thing where you point your skis together in order to stop. And I sure as hell was not going down a hill without knowing how to stop. I ditched out of my ski lesson as quickly and quietly as possible to shop for ear warmers in the chalet. While I hate the sport, I love the gear - the cool girl snow pants and jackets, walking around with your skis slung over your shoulders. In short, I like dressing up like a skier without actually skiing (Is anyone surprised by this? Anyone?).

Finding ski gear for snow bunnies over size 14 can be challenging, though. I've never bought anything from Beautiful Skier, but have spent hours lusting over and trying to justify purchasing these cool bibs:

Or a ski jacket like this one:For those of you who do actually have cause to buy and wear ski gear, check out Beautiful Skier. And keep your eyes open for a cute pair of ear muffs for me, ok?

Photo credit: Beautifulskier.com