Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Maxi Skirt Done Right

The maxi skirt is to Boho what classic pearls are to Kennedy Classic. I honestly think the bohemian look would literally shrivel up and die without the maxi skirt. But it's not just right for nature girls - those whose style trends more Jackie O than Janis Joplin can pull off a long casual skirt. Paired with a fitted top (tank, tee, your choice) you can then accessorize your way to a fun, easy spring look. A simple beaded necklace and flip flops always look right with a maxi skirt. For a more boho vibe, layer on the necklaces and strap on leather sandals.

Whatever look you're going for, with proper fit the ground-sweeping length of a maxi skirt it can make you seem taller. Or at the very least, as though you're gliding on air. It's some Chris-Angel-Mind-Freak kind of visual trick. Like this: Torrid's Smocked Gauzy Maxi skirt works because of two key fit factors:the skirt follows the shape of the hips, gradually dropping to a subtle stitched tier that hits right below the calf. And the length is perfect- right at the ankle, if not a little longer.

Avoid a maxi skirt with tiers that hit too high on the leg-line and versions with multiple tiers, like this one: This skirt will cut your body up into at least three separate blocks, making even the tallest Bombshell among us look stocky. The same principle is applicable to maxi dresses. Skip the tiered maxi dress: In favor of this more flattering version:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Black Summer Bag

Every woman I know feels guilty carrying a black purse come spring and summer. We all know we should lighten up, stash the black purse we've been lugging around since September in the back of the closet, and choose a bag in white or cream - something, anything other than black!

But you know why we carry black bags for months on end? Because it's easy. Black goes with everything. It doesn't get dirty. So how to make black more seasonally acceptable over the next few months? Easy- pick one up with an ethnic vibe. Like this: This beaded tote is part of Iman's Global Chic line of accessories. I love it because it makes a basic black tote feel fresh and funky - and perfectly acceptable May-August. The key is finding a black bag with details made of lighter materials: woven handles, light-catching beading.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Beauty Moment - Olay For You

After trying and not liking Olay's Pro X line, the company got in touch with me to see if there was anything they could do to help me get my skin back in order - talk to one of their dermatologists, etc. (A reminder that wow, people do actually read my blog). I was really impressed by and appreciative of their concern. I've never really used Olay products before, in part because their brand just isn't one I've developed any kind of attachment to. After talking with them, though, I gotta say - I've got much love for Olay. In large part because of the love they seem to have for their customers. Case in point: OlayForYou.com. It's an interactive web site that is A.) Very fun to use thanks to a pleasant-sounding woman who asks you questions much the way a really informed best friend might and B.) Tailored to you, your skincare needs, and your lifestyle.

I always assume that web sites built to help a consumer navigate her way through all the products a line carries only pretends to care. Deep down, it's purpose is to take your answers and tabulate them in some way so as to recommend 14 different products and then scare you into thinking your face is going to decompose in real-time if you don't buy everything. Totally not my experience with Olay For You. Instead, the site asked me a series of questions to get a feel for my age, skin type, skin concerns, and what kind of results I'm looking for. Then before creating my recommended product list, I was asked a few lifestyle questions. The site actually wanted to know, and seemed to care about, whether or not I'm the kind of girl who likes to use a 5-step+ skincare program or if I'm lucky to remember to moisturize before running out the door.

Being the high-maintenance Bombshell that I am, I was given a list of 4 products to consider. Then the site asked if I would be interested in hearing about one more step. Duh, I totally was. But I loved feeling as though this was optional and that it was fine if I wasn't interested. The whole experience went a long way in helping me foster a relationship with Olay - in feeling good about them and what they can do for me. Crazy, right? I guess no more so than "developing a relationship" with a brand based on the super cute packaging (something I'm no stranger to).

Here's the thing - Olay has something like 8 different skincare lines, all targeted for different skin types and concerns. That's a lot for the average girl to wade through on her own while standing in the aisle at Target. At the same time, everything I've ever heard about Olay (and have since experienced first hand) indicate that their products are really good - especially for the price. So, if you're in the market for new skincare - or if you're just not sure you're using the right kind of products for your skin - check out Olay For You. It's good stuff. I never would have found my new, absolute favorite at-home treatment: Regenerist Thermal Contour Lift.

With rosacea-prone cheeks, I have a hard time using facial exfoliants without creating some seriously red irritation. The ultra-gentle creamy exfoliant in this two-step process causes zero redness while revealing soft, smooth skin. The cream warms upon contact with water, so it feels very luxurious, too. Followed by step two, a velvety smooth moisturizer that makes skin feel plump and ultra-hydrated. My skin is happy which, in turn, makes me happy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Die

I don't know why, but I'm suddenly channelling Rachel Zoe from her Bravo channel reality TV show. Like, several months too late. But from the moment I bought these gorgeous shoes about 25 minutes ago, all I have been able to do is gaze at them and say, "I die." Let me just say that the photo doesn't even do them justice.

For those of you Bombshells who do not have plus size feet (12 or above), you're probably thinking, "What's the big deal? I mean, they're totally cute and all but...you die? Really?" For those of you who, like me, have large feet - you get me, right? Finding super cute shoes in our size is a challenge. And to get them for under $40? (I did!) and for them to be comfortable? (they are!) is a huge deal. I feel like I hit the plus size shoe lottery, girls. And so of course I stopped and bought a lottery ticket (just in case).

Here's to a great weekend!
B and Lu's Wren dress desperately wants to join my wardrobe. There are so many places this thing could be worn - spring or summer weddings, date night...Click on the link and check out the back, too - it's a sexy little touch.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FInally- Isaac's Plus Line is Here

I've been watching Isaac Mizrahi's takeover of the Liz Claiborne line for the past several months and have been incredibly distressed that I wasn't seeing plus sizes. Liz used to carry a plus size line and I wondered if they'd gone elitist since on-boarding Isaac. Deep down I thought, "There's no way he's going to ignore us - Isaac Mizrahi loves women!"

I actually yelped out loud in excitement when reader Vixen left a comment about this plus size dress out now from Liz: It's classic Isaac Mizrahi - feminine and thoughtfully constructed with a touch of whimsy. The Liz Claiborne line is still Liz, complete with golf-wear (which seriously- the thought of Isaac Mizrahi on a golf course kills me) and plus petite sizes. But it's Liz with a little more panache. And who can't use a little panache, right?

Congratulations to Red

You'll be receiving a Johnson's Body Care Gift Bag!
Shoot me an email with your address, and I'll get it in the mail: Bombshellbeautyblog@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Johnson's Body Care Cause Party

Several weeks ago, Johnson's asked me to host a Johnson's Body Care Cause Party. The company wanted to commemorate the full launch of their new body products (Body Care) by sponsoring events across the country where women could get together with their girlfriends to raise money and awareness for a cause that's special to them. And of course sample the new Johnson's Body Care line.

My cause for the party was Stock the Stacks, a book drive/fund raiser to support the St. Paul public library system. The economic downturn has prompted unprecedented numbers of people to flock to their public library seeking free entertainment, education and the use of computers. At the same time, the funding that libraries rely on to keep their doors open and their shelves stocked is being cut. I practically grew up at the library, my parents would take my brother and I there once a week growing up. It instilled in me a love of books and inspired my imagination. I can't imagine the doors of my public library closing.

So, I invited a slew of girlfriends over for wine, girl talk, and the promise of a gift bag of Johnson's Body Care products. They responded in turn by bringing books and $$. We slathered ourselves in lotion and sniffed bottles of body wash. I'm a huge fan of the Johnson's Body Care line. The packaging is very simple, but the products are downright luxurious. My favorite is the Deep Hydrating Lotion - it contains a touch of Baby Oil and sinks right into dry skin. Another popular one was the Shea & Cocoa Butter Creamy Moisturizer. The lotion is slightly pearlescent and leaves a nice glow to the skin. It was a great evening - we had fun and felt satisfied knowing we'd done something good for our community.

If you'd like to win one of the gift bags Johnson's provided (pictured above), leave a comment below telling me about a cause you care about. One winner will be randomly chosen after 11:59 p.m. tonight. Also, check out a few snapshots of the party. And think about throwing your own version of a Cause Party. All you need are a handful of friends and someone to help out! LH, enjoying the wine and 24 Hour Moisture Lotion. DK tries to get some quality reading time in. KF flashes a nice smile. LN was our token male at the party. He was probably the most familiar with Johnson's products.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Searching for Saucy

You know what the best feeling in the world is? Saucy. Yep - that combination of life forces (be it the clothes you're wearing, the angle at which the sun is shining, or the song on the radio) that infuses you with a sense of "I can do anything, be anything, and look amazing all at once." Love that. And I'm pretty sure this dress would elicit a whole lot of sauciness. It's Igigi's Emelina Two-in-One dress, $108. The dress is sexy in that iconic Bombshell way, with the high-waisted skirt and cinched belt. It's a great style for anyone with some tummy because the belt will make the most of existing curves (or create some that aren't already there) and the full skirt floats away from the body without becoming shapeless. And I think the pocket placement will actually work for a plus-size woman on this dress - I don't think I'm the only one who has trouble wearing dresses with pockets. (Right?)

Since this dress is not yet a part of my wardrobe, I'm off to scour the closet for something saucy to wear to work today. There's a lot to look forward to on Bombshell Beauty this week - I'll recap a really fun beauty party that I threw for some friends this weekend, compliments of Johnson's Body Care. With the shift in weather and the purchase of a certain new CD, I'm feeling very low-key boho - and want to find some new clothes to fit my new vibe. And I'll fill you in on an amazing site by Olay that helps you choose which of their products will be best for your skin. Happy Monday, girls!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Add Some Edge to Your Work-wear

I work for a large Fortune 100 company and am fully entrenched in corporate culture. I'm a big believer in dressing the part (I know, you're shocked right?) which means looking polished and put-together Monday through Friday. In an office where it would be easy to wear black trousers and a cardigan every single day, nothing shows a little personality and spunk like mixing up the old office stand-bys. Which is why I LOVE this outfit from LB: At first glance it's business as usual - dress pants, a fitted jacket of some sort, a splash of print. But look closer.

The asymmetrical zip up jacket could just as easily turn up on the back of a motorcycle, but somehow looks just right in a conference room (and it would look ah-mazing over a flirty little dress on date night!). And the splash of print is a fun graphic tee that adds a touch of playful artiness to this suit alternative. But, for me, the pants really pull it all together. It's pretty much impossible not to feel 8 feet tall and bullet-proof in a pair of great-fitting wide leg pants.

Photo credit: LaneBryant.com

Beauty Moment- Abrione Red Wine Body Scrub

I love it when my favorite things come together: peanut butter and chocolate, hot dogs and crescent dough, pencils and sharpeners. Imagine my delight at coming across Abrione' Red Wine Body Scrub. I love red wine. And I love body scrubs! It's like they read my mind.

Abrione' is a natural skincare line based out of Arizona. All of Abrione's products are rooted in scientific research around how to get the most out of natural ingredients. For example, Red Wine Body Scrub relies on the natural anti-oxidant properties in red wine to protect against aging factors found in the environment. Menthol and peppermint create a really refreshing tingly feeling that also increases circulation. And even after the scrub has been rinsed off, grape seed extract makes your skin feel hydrated. I like the earthy, clean scent of the scrub. Red Wine Body Scrub's grit is very fine, so even delicate skin will be able to withstand a little exfoliation. After scrubbing away all your rough patches, you can follow up with Red Wine Essential Oil. I haven't tried the oil yet, but I do love a matching set.

Click here to see if Abrione' products are sold at a spa near you. Or just click here to order online.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Splurge or Steal

As we head into the weekend, let's decide: splurge or steal? Calvin Klein Spaghetti Strap Denim Dress ($119.50) topped with Calvin Klein Long Cotton Cardigan ($99.50). This super cute dress could become your summer staple because it can be accessorized to fit a million different occasions. And for those unexpectedly chilly evenings, sitting on the patio having drinks with friends, the cotton cardigan is cozy and stylish.

If you'd rather go for the steal, pick up this Mixed Crochet Cardigan (shown in Antique White, but available in pure White too) - the crochet detail is flirty, and the cutout band under the bust will do great things for your figure. And it's only $33.90. For just $32.50, you'll find this linen blend shoulder-tie dress to be as versatile as the pricier Calvin Klein version. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beauty Moment- Pocket Rocket Lipgloss

How hilarious is this? Urban Decay's Pocket Rocket lipgloss combines two of (some) girls' favorite things: gloss and guys. Each gloss is named after a different guy; your gloss's guy is pictured on the cap, fully clothed...until you tilt the cap, at which point your guy strips down to his undies.

Although "type"-wise, I'm kind of a Timothy (a little preppy - and a creamy coral shade with pink glow) I like the color of Jesse - a sheery sparkly blackberry shade (even though Jesse himself does nothing for me). Pick up your favorite guy at your local Sephora - or pick them all up, if you're that kind of girl. I'm not judging.

Great Tanks

Dressing a large chest has its challenges, especially during the spring and summer months when everyone sheds a few layers. Lots of my Bombshell friends have told me that tank tops are especially tricky - most tanks are somewhat skimpy and don't look great over a supportive bra.

Worn alone or underneath a spring-weight cardi or jacket, these tank tops are stylish, just bare enough and feature straps wide enough to be worn with a regular bra. And even if you're not as busty, the darts and shaping details will work for a lot of body types. Scoopneck Tunic Tank, available in three colors. Ponte Knit Tank. Bouson Tank, available up to size 3X in black or white. Matte Jersey Shirred Tank.

Photo credit: Spiegel.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Beauty Moment- Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired By Carmindy

I'm not even going to say anything cranky about the extremely long name of this makeup line. I'm going to avoid mentioning that a makeup line with a name that long is just asking for ridicule. I'm not going to dwell. Instead, I'll get to the good stuff - the actual products. Behold the product that I never, ever want to live without. Luminizing Face Primer costs less than $10, yet outperforms primers with triple the price tag. I'll even stack this baby up against the original holy grail of all primers - Smashbox Photo Finish. Why do I love it so much? The clear serum smoothes easily over the skin, sinking in immediately and leaving the face feeling even and velvet soft. It makes the application of foundation easier and helps it last longer. Oh, and the luminizing factor - the lotion is infused with a touch of micronized pearls which make you look lit from within. I know that sounds cheesy - lit from within - but it's truly gorgeous. I'm also loving the Instant Definition Eye Shadow Palettes (I have the Metallic palette, which is right on trend for the bronzey look summertime always brings). The palettes feature three complimentary colors: a base shade that goes all over the eye lid, a deeper contour color, and a highlight color for along the brow bone. The powders are finely milled which means they go on easily, layer well so you can build the color and intensity, and they last a long time. And last but not least - lipstick. I like one that makes a big impact and lasts. Because as much as I believe in the power of lipstick, I'm not one to spend all day re-applying. Color Comfort is an interesting gel-cream hybrid which helps the color adhere to the lips without getting all dry and flakey. Topped with a coat of Natural Shine Lipgloss, you're guaranteed soft, shiny lips. Try Soft Orchid Color Comfort Lipstick with Sparkling Champagne Natural Shine Lipgloss for a springy combo.

Yes, it takes a little to get over the ridiculous name (one more time: Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy). But try. Carmindy wants you to. I want you to. You'll be happy you did.

Up Your Style Quotient

I receive a lot of questions from you Bombshells, questions that range from "Can a Bombshell really wear skinny jeans (yep; it's all in finding the right fit for your body - click here to see what I mean)" to one of my favorites: "How can I make my style seem more...stylish?" There are three sure-fire ways to take your basic style and turn it up a few notches.

1. Add a print. When you take a basic silhouette - like the ultra flattering wrap dress, below- and incorporate a print, you're excelling on so many levels. First, you're showing the world that you're not afraid of a little pattern and print; that you're beyond basic tonal dressing and are confident enough to pull off a print. Second, prints are the best camouflaging device, ever. If you're got a bit of a tummy that bugs you, divert attention by draping your curves in a print.

2. Layer. Many women claim to be terrible at layering. It's confusing. What goes with what? How to avoid looking like you tossed on every item in your closet all at once? Why bother? Layering adds depth and texture to an outfit. It gives you the opportunity to put your own personal stamp on wardrobe basics like a white tee shirt and jeans. And layering is not just for those bohemian types.

Getting layering right isn't as difficult as it may seem - just be mindful of proportion and keep all of your layers fairly light and thin. Start with a simple foundation - like the aforementioned white tee and jeans. Pull on an oversized black cardigan. Add a wide, bright red belt to define your waist. Forget the belt and the black cardigan. Pull on a tissue thin, baby blue sweater. Loop a colorful scarf around your neck. Add some hoop earrings. As you get more comfortable with the concept, experiment with different patterns and color combinations. Things don't have to match - they just have to "go" together. Pieces within the same color family or in complimentary colors "go" without being matchy-matchy. For some visual inspiration, visit Fab Finds Under $50 - this girl knows a thing or two about layering.

3. Pop of color. One of my personal faves - the pop of color. It's fun, it's sophisticated, it's incredibly versatile. Choose one of your best features and draw attention to it by adding a pop of color. This is especially useful for women who don't generally feel comfortable wearing color. By adding a red shoe to your black ensemble, you're showing the world that you're a little saucy and fun. Take any neutral colored ensemble and add a colorful purse, or belt, scarf or chunky necklace, a headband or bracelet, or even a shocking shade of lipstick. It's uplifting and oh so stylish.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Casual Clothes

The one time I get a little tripped up when pulling together an outfit is on those casualest of Saturdays, when I'm running errands and getting things done. My wardrobe is full of work clothes, going out clothes, workout clothes - but is a little sparse when it comes to casual clothes. I came across this paparazzi shot of Emily Blunt (creepy, I know- sorry) and think she's wearing a great little outfit - comfortable flats that add a pop of color, grayish-black jeans and a slightly rumpled (though certainly not frumpy) button down. They key to this outfit is the proportion - her top is a little oversized, but fits well throughout the arms and shoulders; the skinny jeans keep the clothes from overwhelming her shape; and the red flats step up the style quotient. Here's my own Bombshell take on this casual style: Grey studded straight leg jeans, Evans of London.
The print on this Floral Roll Cuff shirt from Avenue follows the same basic idea as Emily's plaid shirt while giving a nod to the spring floral trend. Red Ashlyn Flat, Payless. Head over to Fred Flare to pick up faux-Wayfarer sunglasses in almost any color you like (for $11!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Beauty Moment- DeMert Nail Enamel Dryer

I don't know how many times I've seen this red aerosol can, perched on a low shelf in the nail area of Ulta or Wal-Greens. It's one of those things that's always been there, but I've never thought of buying. Not until I found myself in the middle of a manicure, realizing I was running late and worrying about being able to let my nails dry before having to rush out the door. The woman who'd painstakingly painted my barely-there nails (shortest nails, ever), grabbed the familiar red can from underneath her workstation, sprayed a fine film over my nails, dug into my purse for my car keys and shooed me out the door. I cautiously opened the car door and cursed out loud when I accidentally scraped one finger across the steering wheel. Surprised doesn't adequately describe me upon seeing that my nail was not ruined. It was glossy and hard and perfect. Just like the other nine. Shocked. Mystified. Overjoyed. My nails had dried completely in as long as it took to stand up and walk out the salon's door. I picked up a can of DeMert's at Ulta - this magical nail-drying potion costs less than $4 - and used it at home tonight after painting my toes and nails. Worked like a charm.