Sunday, June 28, 2009

Are you reading Young, Fat and Fabulous?
If you are indeed any of those three things, you should be. Gabi has a really fun point of view on how plus size women can source their own style. She's young (duh) and so are her outfits - but no matter how old you are, you can't help by feel inspired by her spunkiness and willingness to adopt mainstream trends with the plus-size clothes on hand. Check it out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Want. So Bad.

This is, quite possibly, the sundress I've been looking for. The Crepe Cotton Drawstring Dress is part of Forever 21's plus size line, Faith 21. Available up to size 2X, I'm a fan because of the bright sunny color and all the little details - scalloped hem, 70's-inspired applique, light cotton lining. I also like the placement of the drawstring - so often that design element hits plus-size women at a weird place, like across the waist. This one creates a really flattering empire silhouette.

I would style this with either barely-there metallic flats or super-chunky leather sandals. Bustier Bombshells could add a simple cotton cami underneath, if the dress were too bare. Delicate silver or gold jewelry would pair nicely with one pop of contrasting color- maybe a coral colored bracelet.

Like Forever 21, Faith 21's clothes cheap - this sundress is less than $25. Not great for wardrobe staples, perfect for trendy seasonal pieces.

Photo credit: Forever21.com

Note

Hey Bombshells-
A reader question about whether or not I was paid for posting about Chapstick (see previous post if your lips are as air-conditioned dry as mine!) prompted me to let you all know my policy for product reviews.

Although I'm occasionally sent products from PR companies for review, I buy and try the majority of what's reviewed here. I have no obligation to any of the companies who send products (monetary or otherwise) to post a positive review. If I don't like a product, I just don't say anything - who wants to read a blog made up of reviews for products that are terrible? The exception to that rule of thumb is when a product's getting a lot of buzz in magazines or on other blogs; in that case I'll weigh in with my opposing opinion.

The FTC is considering the implementation of laws around bloggers disclosing whether or not they're paid to review products. I'm not opposed to this at all; I think it would be great to extend these laws to print magazines, too. Transparency is good.

Bombshell Beauty was created out a passion I have for plus- size fashion and beauty products. I want to connect other plus-size women with resources for great clothes, and inspiration to develop their own individual style. And, while I appreciate the opportunity to work with PR agencies to receive up-to-date information about brands and products, those relationships are not the foundation of this blog. The real foundation is the shared love of plus-size fashion and beauty between myself and all of you.


Sara

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beauty Moment- Chapstick True Shimmer

I always expect dry lips in the wintertime, but am completely caught off guard by the condition come summertime. I sat at my desk all day today, licking my lips, wondering what the heck was going on when it hit me like a lightening bolt - air conditioning. Duh. (I swear, I'm usually a smart girl). Obviously the air conditioning is drying me out.

I raced home to apply copious amounts of Chapstick; I'm partial to their new True Shimmer line. Available in four flavors - Tropical, Botanical Berry, Peppermint Rush and Blended Fruit Sherbet - this glitzier version of the tried and true Chapstick formula is good stuff. Super hydrating, melts into lips quickly, tastes great and leaves a light shimmer on your mouth. No color, really, just a hint of gleam. I love Tropical, which tastes like a pina colada, and Peppermint Rush, which tingles in the most refreshing way. Peppermint Rush and Blended Fruit Sherbet aren't available in stores until August, but you can snap up the other two flavors today wherever Chapstick is sold.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Get in the Pool

I was telling a co-worker about my quest for a super-cute swim suit when she shook her head and said, "I avoid swim suits entirely. I don't need to put my body out there for everyone to stare at." I was completely aghast.

For one thing, it makes me sad whenever women of any shape or size avoid fun things, i.e swimming, pools, swimming in pools (or other bodies of water), sunshine (with SPF of course), etc because of the way they feel about their bodies. For some reason, I feel even more mentally liberated in a swim suit than I do in any other item of clothing. (Granted, it's got to be a cute swim suit) Why? Because for once I'm accepting what everyone else can see all the time - my body is round and curvy, there's a roll around my stomach, my butt is flat, I have cellulite on my thighs...

I spend just as much time as any other woman does dressing to play up my assets (nice legs, good arms, curvy hips) and play down whatever else. But when I throw on a swim suit, I feel like I'm throwing all my insecurities out the window in favor of a good time at the pool. Here I am, in my swimsuit, having a great time. And you know what? There might be a few people looking at me, judging my pancake booty and tummy. But for every one of them, there are three who are more concerned with their own body issues than mine. Don't miss out on summer fun...find a cute suit and get out there, Bombshells! Tartan plaid tankini top from Torrid. I like the molded bra cups and halter (easy to untie for minimal tan lines). I'm not so much a skirted bottom girl - luckily Torrid has a swim short and swim brief available to mix and match with tankini tops. I love this one-piece for chesty Bombshells - the faux-plunging neckline is sexy, but the backup panel means you won't accidentally over-expose your goods. Miraclesuits do a great job of holding all your jiggle in without cutting off circulation. I can't put my finger on why I love this - the Sanibel style - so much. The sorta-sweetheart neckline? The polka dot pattern? I don't know - or care, I just want it. I had to share this swimdress with you for two reasons: 1.) It's a swim dress that doesn't look all matronly - it's got to be the most divalicious swim dress I've ever seen and 2.) Its name is hilarious - I.F. Plus Size Slender-Thighs swimdress. Seriously.

If these suits have inspired you, but their price tags make you want to jump in the deep end, check out Target and Marshalls for a good selection of cute suits at even cuter prices.

Photo credits: Torrid.com; Nordstrom.com, Macys'.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Totally Tousled Hair

I like imperfect hair. The kind of style that looks like maybe you've been up to something naughty. Or at the very least that you have more important things to do besides slave over your hair. Like this: Everyone knows Heidi Klum is busy - if she's not chasing after her 8 kids, she's working on her skin care line or telling aspiring designers to get off her damn runway or designing jewelry for QVC. Seriously - she's busy. And her hair says, "I'm busy. And naturally sexy. Deal with it."

Up until now, my way of dealing with it has been scowling at every photo I see of Heidi, jamming yellow corn tostados in my mouth and muttering, "How do you get it to look so perfectly undone? HOW?"

But no more. Thanks to Herbal Essences, I've been able to perfect my own perfectly imperfect hair. Seriously! Herbal Essences. Not to be confused with the original Herbal Essence (singular, not plural essence) which is what always springs to mind when I first hear the name: Nope, Herbal Essences is plural now - and it's better than ever. The brand has evolved to encompass a variety of cleansing and styling products that specialize in pretty much every hair need possible: straight, curly, colored, dry...and all with very fun, kitchsy names. I love kitcsh in my beauty products.

Tousle Me Softly is the latest line to join the Herbal Essences family - and it's perfect for creating the Heidi look. Undone but alluring. Begs to be touched. Easy, perfect for almost any occasion.

I was sent the entire line to try out, and I gotta say - love it. The Tousle Me Softly products smell amazing - a happy combination of wild violet and pomegranate that's neither too floral nor too fruity - and work really well on my unruly hair. I, like a lot of women, have hair that is neither curly nor straight. It's kind of wavy - more so at the roots than the ends. It usually requires at least 20 minutes face time with a curling iron or a straightening iron.

The shampoo is pretty straightforward - it cleaned my hair. The formula's a little runny but does the trick. The conditioner is delightfully thick; my locks felt sufficiently hydrated and smooth. After towel drying and running a wide-toothed comb through my hair, I rub a nickel-sized amount of Finishing Touch Cream through the ends. It's a light-weight cream that tames frizzies and helps keep wavy hair from getting out of control. Too much of the cream near your scalp can lead to a case of the greasies - but keeping it concentrated on the ends it perfect. You can also add a little more once your hair is completely styled to spot-check any frizzies.

Tousled hair needs a little bit of volume, which is why I pull one palmful of Mouse for Easy Tousling through my roots. It provided lift without getting crunchy (as some mousses can). If you're not a fan of mousse or you need more frizz control, give your roots a blast with the Tousling Spray Gel.

At this point, I'll dry my hair with a diffuser and then wrap a few random sections around a 1" curling iron. Shake hair out, spritz all over with Flexible Hold Hairspray and go forth- looking as much like Heidi Klum as is genetically possible.

I'm a fan of the Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly products for two basic reasons - 1. They create a style that's pretty and versatile without as much work as I might expect and 2. They smell so good. Seriously good. The Touch Hold technology that Herbal Essences is touting with Touch Me Softly seems to be the real deal - my tousled look lasts and lasts without getting sticky or gunky.

Not every product that I'm sent for review earns a rave - but for the price and output of Herbal Essences Touch Me Softly I would recommend this to any Bombshell whose hair is thick, wavy, and in need of some taming. It might not be the best bet for those with thin hair or super curly hair - but for those of us in-betweeners, I say give it a try.

No

Rompers are...just...no.

Photo credit: Applebottoms.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

College Days

I received an email this weekend from a reader who is going to college this fall. She was checking out St. Paul in preparation and asked for a few shopping ideas. Corresponding with her got me thinking about my own college days - it's been almost 8 years since I graduated from the University of MN. When I was in high school, thinking about college and all the great things it would bring (freedom from rules, the ability to "find" myself, exposure to new people and circumstances) I never could have imagined that those 3.5 years were just the beginning. College certainly did bring me newfound freedom (staying up all night, making new friends, going to parties, discovering Van Morrison, falling in love), and it was then that I started to find out who I am. I was extremely surprised to find out that who I am really wasn't all that different from who I'd been all those years before. College gave me the self-awareness to make that realization, I suppose.

After all the experiences I went through (experiences not unlike the ones you probably had, or will have) some things lasted longer than others - my first love is long gone, replaced by my fantastic husband who is the love. Many of my friends are still in my life; the sense of independence and confidence I gained are even stronger than back then...but I don't have even a single article of clothing from back in the day. Nothing. The core of "me"hasn't changed but (good Lord!) my wardobe certainly has. And the selection in plus size clothing has most definitely changed since 2001!!

I was in a sorority during college, which meant I wore a lot of khaki pants and was peer pressured into matching my purse with my belt and shoes. My sorority sisters would have been jealous of these really cute Flap-pocket Twill khakis from Old Navy. Available in four colors, I would have lived in them had they been around back then.

I dated a guy who was not (how to say this nicely...because he was a pretty nice guy!) exactly stylish. And, being an 18-year old girl who hadn't quite figured out that conforming to a guy's taste is the ultimate no-no, I dressed down just a little bit. This Ruched Yoke Gypsy top from Evans of London would have fit the bill for a date night with the BF - and by date night I mean hanging out in the dorm with a bunch of friends followed by a late-night walk to Perkins.

Although I really DO NOT want to admit this, I'm going to. Like many (many!) a college student, I did find myself running across the Washington Avenue Bridge to my 8 AM German class in my pajamas. A few times. I wish I could say they were this cute. They weren't.

And finally, one accessory that every college student can't live without: the book bag. I went through a lot of book bags throughout college, never quite finding the perfect one that was both functional and expressive of my personality/style (probably because I was still working that out). If I knew then what I know now (that comfort is key, as are organizational pockets, and the ability to fit three books the size of encyclopedias + a makeup kit) I would have chosen this one: Seriously, you can't go wrong with Jansport. Sure, it's not as glamourous as the leather satchel that strangely sophisticated girl in Art Appreciation carries...but this is about you. When you're hiking across campus, you'll be happy to have extra padded shoulder straps.

Oh college...good times. And bad times. Kind of like life - college is a complete crash course in real life. As long as you don't fall into the mental trap of believing that college is real life (because honestly, there is no way you'll be able to wear pajamas to an 8 AM meeting in the real world), you'll probably come out unscathed. A little older, wiser, and hopefully more confident in the Bombshell that you are.

Photo credits: OldNavy.com; Evans.co.uk, Jansport.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Close...But Not Quite

I've been clicking back at this dress all morning long, alternately really digging it and then feeling confused by it. Do I like it? Yeah, kinda...I like the saucy contrast between the solid black top and disco-riffic gold bottom. But the built-in necklaces are totally tripping me up. Probably because I'm an earrings girl. Still undecided...which probably means that deep down this is a no go.

Photo credit: Applebottoms.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beauty Moment- L'Oreal HIP Kohl Eyeliner


I've been eyeballing the small vials of L'Oreal HIP Kohl eyeliner for the past several months. I alternately thought, "Wow, that eyeliner looks intriguing," and 'Wow, that eyeliner is probably an absolute mess." Turns out, I was right. This eyeliner is equal parts intriguing and mess.

We'll start with intriguing. This loose powder eyeliner comes in a great range of colors, all of which are highly pigmented (because that's the HIP line's thing). I tried Gold Kohl and Navy Kohl, and I loved the final look that both of them created. Gold Kohl looks great as an accent to soft brown eye shadow. It's more concentrated than sparkly, which I thought was a nice twist. So often gold liners end up looking harsh and disco-ey. Navy Kohl is absolutely amazing. Navy is softer, though no less effective, than black. I worked both day and night looks with this eyeliner - for day, I smudged it close to my lash line and added mascara. It made my eyes look bigger and brighter (always a good thing during boring meetings at work). For night, I drew a thicker line with the Kohl and added lots of mascara. The result was a Bombshell-worthy "come hither" effect.

Nothing good comes without a price, though, and the cost of this Kohl isn't just the $13 you'll shell out at the drugstore to buy it. This stuff is a mess. The vial of loose powder features a screw-top applicator that was hard to get used to. The applicator isn't quite a brush so much as a hard piece of plastic that's moderately flexible. Drop down is a given with loose powders, so be prepared to wind up with kohl liner all over your face. By the third day of using it, I'd begun to apply the eyeliner first and then put on the rest of my makeup. It was no less messy but at least I wasn't ruining 5 minutes-worth of makeup application.

In the end, I went back to my trusty gel liner. Although not as smoldering as L'Oreal HIP Kohl eyeliner, the effect with gel is almost the same. And application is not as trying. I'm still a big fan of the HIP line - if you've been thinking about giving it a try and aren't sure where to dip your toes in, I love the HIP Color Presso Lip Gloss. Can't go wrong there.

Photo credit: Lorealparisusa.com

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beauty Moment - Crazy Libellule & the Poppies Solid Perfume

The name alone had me going, "Wha-huh?" Crazylibellule & the Poppies is a cult-classic Parisian perfumer, now available at Sephora. The beauty emporium carries Crazy's super cute (and portable) solid fragrance sticks. The scents are unique, and the sticks are formulated without Parabens, synthetic dyes, phlalates, GMO or triclosan.

I know a lot of women struggle with wearing perfume during the summer because their signature scent can become heavy or muskier in combination with warmer body temperatures. If that's the case for you - or if you love to create your own signature "No one else smells like me" perfume by mixing a few together - give solid fragrances a try.

Scents are different to every nose but I found Crazylibellule & the Poppies' perfume sticks to be pretty potent. But the great thing about a solid is that you can swipe the tiniest amount on your pulse points - no accidentally spritzing too much liquid perfume all over the place. And the stick makes freshening up throughout the day a cinch - no worrying about spillage inside your purse.

I have two favorites: Poule Luxe Vanilla Pom d'Amour is a mix of red fruits, rum ,vanilla, peach, tangerine & licorice. It smells bright and juicy from the start and then deepens (thanks to the vanilla/rum combo). The peach and tangerine keep it from getting too musky, making a great day perfume.

For night, I really like Shanghaijava Ananas Imperial. Its top notes are also pretty bright - peach, pineapple, lemon & lime - but blackcurrant, musk and jasmine give a sultry twist.

Crazy's perfume sticks are priced right at $18 a pop. Get them online or at your local Sephora.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lucky-inspired Outfit

While clicking through the online pages of Lucky magazine last night, I stopped dead on this photo: It strikes all the right notes for a cool, spring/summer office look. To recreate it, I need to find plus size versions of:
1. Frilly-sleeved shite t-shirt/blouse
2. Ruffley vest in a light color
3. Slouchy, wide-legged khaki trousers
4. The only part of the outfit I don't love is the shoes. So I need to find a pair that I like better. Pleated Flutter Top from Old Navy. Effortless Silk Pants in khaki from J. Jill. Purple ruffled top from by I.N.C. at Macy's. It's not exactly like the picture from Lucky, but it's a fair swap. And I love purple! Also love these Michael Kors cutout flats in gold.

Photo credit: Luckymag.com; OldNavy.com; JJill.com; Macys.com; Nordstrom.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Igigi Launches New Site

Igigi has added a few new bells and whistles to the web site, including a widget called Shapestylist. The feature runs you through a series of questions that help it label your shape into one of seven possible options (I'm an Inverted Triangle who may also fit into Rectangle of Hourglass styles). You're given a list of "What to Wear" and "What Not to Wear" ideas. Then you can click on one button and see all the different clothes on Igigi's site that might be a great fit for your body shape. I didn't think it whittled down my options much - I was shown pretty much the exact same clothes when I clicked on Inverted Triangle as when I chose Rectangle and Hourglass.

No matter what your shape, if your style is structured American sportswear Igigi will have something you'll fall in love with. Just try to hate the Alana Jacket, with its open neckline and princess seaming. Wear it alone over pants, as shown. It would also look so pretty over a pencil skirt or a full, swishy-type skirt. And if you're one of those "day-to-night" types, pull the jacket on over a shift dress for the office, take it off for cocktails after 5:00.

Photo credit: Igigi.com

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary, L'Oreal!



L'Oreal Paris celebrates its 100th anniversary today - no small feat these days within the saturated beauty market. The diverse brand began 100 years ago with founder Eugène Schueller's ground-breaking semi permanent haircolor. Today, the brand can be found lining the shelves of almost every beauty aisle: makeup, skincare, haircare and body products. A few of my favorite L'Oreal products include Infallible Never Fail Powder, Colour Juice Sheer-Juicy Lipgloss (in Grape Soda), and Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Airbrush Self Tanning Mist.

To celebrate their anniversary, L'Oreal is offering discounted prices on some of their most popular products throughout the month of June. Find them at your local drugstore or discount retailer:

True Match Super-Blendable makeup collection $5.99 (reg. $13.95)
EverPure haircare collection $5.99 (reg. $6.99)
Revitalift skincare collection $9.99 (reg. $19.99)
Voluminous Volume Building Mascara $4.99 (reg. $7.95)
Colour Riche Lipcolour $4.99 (reg. $8.50)
Excellence Haircolor $5.99 (reg. $8.99)

And click here to enter a huge sweepstakes give-away: one hundred days of pretty prizes, and one lucky girl could find herself getting a make-over in Paris!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I always struggle with finding "going out" clothes - pieces that are funky and fun and would not transition at all into my work wardrobe. So I get really excited when I come across something like this: While it may not work for busty Bombshells, it's a great look for those of us with smaller chests. Did you notice the cut-out neckline? Sexy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Saucy

Check out this saucy dress: I love three things:
1. The flouncy hem is a beautiful detail that makes me think of dancing in a moonlit garden.
2. The super-shaping effect of the criss-cross bodice. Love that silhouette.
3. The chest is open without being vulgar. It's kind of a peek-a-boo effect. As in, you're showing some skin without being vulgar.

Photo credit: Nordstrom.com