Friday, May 29, 2009

Choose Smashbox's Newest Makeup Artist

Smashbox cosmetics is known for its crack team of makeup artists. Their makeup artists have a lot of input into the development of the line itself, which means Smashbox products are incredibly user-friendly. One of my favorites is the Untamed Waterproof Shadow Liner Trio in Savage (golden olive, bronze, neutral beige). This trio of shadow liners goes on smooth, can be blended together to create a custom color, and wear for hours without creasing. Line your eyes for a natural, daytime look - or add more below the crease of your eye for intense drama.

Smashbox is on the hunt for a new makeup artist to join their team, and they're taking it to the people. You can search through the portfolios of artists who are vying for a spot in the semi-finals. The top 20 contestants who get that far will then be judged by Smashbox. The contest runs through 6/21, and you can vote for your favorite once every day. I'm a fan of Mariah Herndon - she shows a wide variety of looks in her portfolio. I got a bunch of great ideas from her work (am suddenly obsessed with purple eye shadow, thanks to her!). Click here to check her out . Along the top of the page, click on Makeup Artist, then Highest Rated, and search her out.

Photo credit: Sephora.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sunglasses that Flatter Your Face Shape

Sunglasses are one of the season's most important accessory. Not only do they block harmful rays that can increase eye sensitivity and cause wrinkles around the eyes (from all that squinting), they can set the tone for your overall look. Just as shape and fit are important when choosing clothes, they're also important when choosing sunglasses.

The most universally flattering frame is square - it looks good on a variety of face shapes: oblong, diamond and round. Many Bombshells are able to get away with large frames like the classic Jackie O's or aviators. Make sure your frames fit the proportions of your face. Avoid frames that are too thin, like skimpy wire granny glasses. Click here to check out Instyle's helpful gallery of sunglasses on different face shapes.

Building a wardrobe of sunglasses ensures your look will always be complete and cohesive. And you can find great knock-offs of designer looks just about anywhere - Target, a truck stop, a mall kiosk. Check out a few of my favorites to get you started: If you're going to have only one pair of sunglasses, pick a timeless style like Kate Spade's Meryl frame in tortoise. Ultra glam, featuring scratch-resistant lenses, this pair of sunglasses compliments most face shapes. This pair of aviators from Ralph Lauren combines the sleekness of gold wire and the glamour of tortoise into one very cool frame. The arms of standard aviators can look too delicate on a plus sized woman. The combination of wire and plastic strikes the perfect balance, both stylistically and from a fit perspective. Channel your inner Gwen Stefani with this pair of sporty glam frames.

Photo credits: KateSpade.com; SunglassHut.com; Sunglasswarehouse.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beauty Moment- Best Summer Eyeshadow Palette

If you've been poking through your makeup bag, wishing something new would magically appear and make application fun again, head to the nearest Estee Lauder counter and pick up the Limited Edition Bronze Goddess Sand & Sea eyeshadow palette. A collection of gold, bronze and blue shadows, this $38 palette is a great bargain. You get six shadows that work together to create a myriad of looks - all capturing the colorful, easy lure of summer beauty. And if you're a little scared of the two blue shades, don't be. They are incredibly wearable, especially if you smudge them into your lash line for a subtle pop of color.

Photo credit: EsteeLauder.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Golf Gear

I'm a fan of almost any sport that calls for costume changes: team uniforms, accessories (like shin guards, for example), and most especially clothes that really aren't necessary but make the game more
fun. Like golf gear. Does anyone honestly need to wear a golf shirt or pants to win the game? No. And while golf spikes are certainly useful (and required on some courses), I've seen people do just fine in a pair
of sneakers.

But I believe that golf outfits make the game more enjoyable. And that it's a lot more fun to sit in the 19th Hole afterward, drinking wine coolers and replaying each hole in a cute outfit and visor. It just is. Here are a few of my favorite pieces of golf gear: Dockers Mira Truly Slimming Capris. I love these capris, not so much for the promise of looking slimmer but because they feel amazing on. They've enough stretch to allow you to bend over and pick your golf ball up out of the cup (you know, after you sink that 25 foot putt), but they keep everything very compacted. And I swear my butt looks a little perkier in these pants. Available in up to size 24, in a variety of colors. Any golfer worth her scorecard has a pair of plaid shorts in her closet. I like this pair by Lee because the print compliments Bombshell proportions and is ultra flattering - notice how they drop straight down from the hips? Yeah, that looks good. Polos are always appropriate on the links, but why not show a little more personality? This lace up stripe tee shirt is just as comfortable (and appropriate!) as a cotton polo shirt, but not nearly as forgettable. Modeled by a skinny chick but available up to 3X. How cute is this golf glove? So cute.
Women's golf shoes typically end at size 10 (maybe 11 if you're lucky). So if you're like me and have plus size feet, don't despair. You can find cute men's golf shoes, like this pair. I was told on good authority that gay men like golf too - which is great because that means cuter shoes for Bombshells buying mens' sizes. If you're buying a men's shoe, choose one that feels lighter and is cut low on the ankle. They'll pass for women's shoes once they're on your feet.

Photo credit: Kohls.com; Golfsmith.com

Monday, May 18, 2009

Beauty Moment- Clairol Perfect 10 Hair Color

I am inherently mistrustful of at-home hair color. I colored my own hair all through college and have the pictures of brassy, uneven, just vaguely "off" hair to prove it. I defined "adulthood" as (among other things, of course) being able to scrape up enough money every 8 weeks to have my hair colored professionally. And I truly love my hair stylist. She's amazing - a veritable magician with hair color. It always looks natural and grows out just as beautifully as the day it's done. But my stylist is in the midst of a difficult pregnancy (twins!) and I cannot in good concience ask her to stand on her surely swollen feet just because I have an unhealthy preoccupation with my roots. So I am back to coloring my own hair. Just until she has the kids, gets some rest, and is ready for me.

I wanted to go a little darker without completely erasing the gold highlights already in my hair. Oh, and I wanted to cover the grays. And not have to stand around in my bathroom for 40 minutes, accidentally flinging hair color all over the walls, stepping out in the hallway every few minutes to get away from the fumes. I assumed this was all too much to ask. Until my friend Kara let me in on a little secret: Clairol Perfect 10 Hair Color.

Ok, so apparently it's not much of a secret. Perfect 10 is loved by professional colorists and regular women alike. It's been featured in all the mags. The two major selling points for me were
1.) 10 minutes to natural-looking, glossy hair color
2.) The box specifically promised to deepen my brown hair color without picking up red or brassiness. This is huge!

And you know what? Perfect 10 lived up to the hype. Kara (whose own hair is gorgeous and glossy, by the way) gave me a couple tips which I'll pass along to you: ditch the comb thingy that comes with the applicator bottle. It's messy and doesn't distribute color evenly at all. Instead, snap on the nozzle, hit your roots first and then feather the color down your hair shaft about half an inch with a fine toothed comb. Wait five minutes, then apply the color to the the rest of your hair. This technique ensures even coverage. Since the tips of your hair are naturally drier than the roots, they'll suck up more color. Letting your roots percolate first will keep your hair from becoming too dark at the tips.

The product is a little runny - not a big deal, but just something to be aware of. Tip your head back slightly when coloring your hairline, or risk some drippage onto your face. I'll admit to cursing a little throughout my at-home coloring session. And to not wanting to make it a habit. But I'll also admit to being really happy with the results. I used the online shade-finder tool and found it to be true in the recommendation it made. And the deep conditioning treatment that comes in the box? Smells amazing. Feels amazing. Would love to buy it on its own. Are you listening, Lady Clairol?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

As Seen in Glamour

I have a lot of magazine subscriptions. My mail carrier and husband might say too many. I might agree. (I have a subscription to Town & Country. Seriously? Because I am so not the target demographic for that one.) The funny thing about my Glamour magazine subscription is that I didn't subscribe to it. I subscribed to Domino, which folded and Conde Nast figured that Glamour would fulfill the remainder of that subscription. Sure. Ok.

To be honest, I'd never really given Glamour much thought. But I really dig it. There's more beauty than editorial, and more editorial than wacky fashion spreads, and just enough humanitarian awareness to make me feel a little more informed once I put it down. And the Do's and Don'ts? I can't get enough of them.

This month, Glamour features a couple really cute plus size dresses in an article called Knockout Dresses for Every Body (pg 80). My favorite tidbit is the Don't that features the plus size suggestion: Don't obsess over skinny...Chic has no size limit. Not that we Bombshells need validation, but thank you Glamour. Check out the slideshow here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dodged a Beauty Bullet

For weeks now, I've been worried about my favorite beauty brand, Stila. Just like the rest of us, Stila ran into some money issues. Their web site was down. I began to ration my Luminizing Tinted Moisturizer. It was a little scary. Thankfully, the company is back on its feet. The web site is up and running (and looking better than ever, I might add). And to thank its customers for sticking with them, Stila is offering a free tube of 24kt Luxe Lip Gloss with every $25 order from their site. Just enter the coupon code APPRECIATE upon checkout.

Can't Seem to Learn

I've been dressing my body for...well, a long time. So I should know by now what works for my shape and what doesn't. I mean, I do. So why do I always reach for this style when I'm out at the stores: Alloy's Swiss Dot Dress, available up to 3X.

I do the same thing when it comes to tanks: Old Navy Floral Burnout Cami, up to size 3X. I know the boxy, shapeless style of the dress and the tank don't work for me. While they look cute and flowy on some girls, they just make me look boxy and shapeless. And yet, time and again, I reach for them on a rack of clothes. I go into the dressing room. And have that, "Oh, yeahhhh. Not for me," moment. Over and over again. It's like every time I see a swing-styled garment, I have momentary amnesia. Do you do that? Is there a color or style you repeatedly forget doesn't work for you?

InStyle Special Hair Issue

I just finished paging through the InStyle Hair Issue - it's definitely worth picking up! I'm borderline obsessive about my hair - kind of. I don't obsess over making it look "just so." on a daily basis. But I'm always looking for what's next - what's my next style, color, product? The magazine is packed full of pictures (great for tearing out and taking to your stylist for inspiration), product and styling tips for every type of hair.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I think brightly colored jeans are a really fun, warm-weather trend. Colored denim was everywhere last year, and I think it still feels fresh and wearable this year.

A lot of women are hesitant to wear bright colors on the bottom half of their bodies (in pants or skirts), but it can be a really flattering (and unexpected!) look. This trend may not work as well on Bombshells whose lower half of their body is significantly curvier than the upper half. But that's not to say it won't- give it a try.

Let the colored jeans be the main focal point of your outfit. Pair them with a solid colored top - neutrals like white, cream, or navy blue are great options. Keep your accessories understated for day. If wearing colored jeans out at night, you could ramp up the accessories with a bib necklace or a pair of tall, strappy sandals. Red jeans by Svoboda, up to size 28 St. John's Bay Classic Stretch Jean in Pistachio, up to size 24

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Create Drew's 60's Mod Look

Drew Barrymore has been everywhere lately. She's promoting her HBO movie Grey Gardens and has pulled out all the stops, lookwise. While what she has going on here is certainly a whole lotta look - and probably not entirely translatable into something I would wear on the street - I do like her makeup. The matte pink lipstick and va-va-voom eyes are a modern take on the iconic 1960's look.

What keeps the makeup from wandering into "dated" territory are the formulas - matte instead of frosted lipstick, and a smoldering eye that is clean and well highlighted. This makeup would look great at prom, an afternoon/evening wedding, or a night out with the girls. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started:

1. Start your eye makeup with an eye primer. This will keep the darker colors on your lids, where they belong. I like Urban Decay Potion Primer or MAC Paint Pot (in Painterly).

2. Line your eyes very carefully, then go over the liner with an eyeshadow that matches. Use a sponge-tip applicator or a liner brush to keep the line ultra-precise. This will deepen the look of the liner and make sure it lasts.

3. Avoid going too dark with your eyes - keep much of the darkness focused near the last line. Highlight right under your brow bone with a light eye shadow, like Stila's Kitten.

4. Finish the eyes with mascara. I've been using one from Max Factor 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper. It's great for putting your lashes at center stage. The wand is much like Cover Girl's Lash Blast, but the mascara itself is very different. It creates feathery lashes and doesn't smudge.

5. The lips really pull this look together. They don't compete with the dramatic eye makeup, but they also don't fade into the background. Another Max Factor product, Vivid Impact Lipstick in Number 4 (also called Pinup Pink). It's a very saturated pale pink that lasts. The look is matte, but the lipstick is very moisturizing - an unexpected bonus.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Thing About Linen...

While out shopping this weekend, I kept running into linen. Everywhere I went, I'd spot a cute top or dress and rush over to it only to discover the garment was made of linen. My hand would drop in disgust in my heart would drop in disappointment. I realize every spring and summer, linen pops up taking the place of crisp cotton and heavier fabrics. I get that it's breathable. But it's also wrinkly. Perpetually wrinkly. I just can't deal with that. Which is a shame because I love these looks: Old Navy Linen Blend Ruffle Dress. Old Navy Pleated Linen-blend Top. Lane Bryant Pinstriped Gaucho Pants. Lane Bryant Tab Front Linen Trouser. How do you guys feel about linen? Am I spot on as to how un-wearable this fabric is? Or should I get over my wrinkle issues and embrace linen?