Friday, February 26, 2010

Ooooh

I want this sleek purple trench for many reasons, including:
* it would mean I can trade in my stupid winter coat for a springy topper
* this is the trench done right: crisp lapel, wide belt, effortlessly chic
* I don't own enough purple



Viv Vivienne Tam trench, available up to size 3X.

New Bombshell Site: Vogue Curvy

The Milan-based version of Vogue has launched Vogue Curvy, an online site geared toward Bombshells. While I was hard-pressed to find features and photos of truly plus sized women, there are a lot of really fun features to the site like Daily Suggestions - which provides head to toe outfit ideas. I also like Curvy Icons, which provides a glimpse inside the lives and fashion sense of gorgeous gals like America Ferrara and Christina Hendricks.

Like I said, the site features Hollywood's version of plus size (i.e. anyone over a size 8). But I appreciate the effort and the visibility that Vogue Italia is putting into the plus size market. In my opinion, the American version of Vogue couldn't be less relevant to the fashion world - but it looks like her sister publications across the globe are keeping up!

Last Call for Entries!

Last call for entries in my N Perricone Cold Plasma give-away! Click here to leave a comment if you haven't already. Winner will be chosen today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Dark Side

I know so many women who tell me that black is a wardrobe staple, a uniform of sorts that makes getting dressed easy and conveys a sense of effortless cool. And while I understand the idea, I myself have never mastered the whole head-to-toe black look. I love color - can’t help it. On several occasions, I’ve tried to wear an all-black outfit. But right before I hit the door, I feel compelled to loop a bright yellow scarf round my neck, or clip on necklace of cherry red beads.

I think I’ve diagnosed my problem, though - while I do have several black separates (pants, tops, etc) I don’t have enough variety in texture and style to really create a chic all-black look. So, here’s my virtual stab at it. For those of you who have the look down pat, fill me in on your style secrets to looking cool instead of clueless.



Cropped cargo pants are a cute foundation thanks to a couple of well-placed details: the roll up hem and ruffles around the pockets.



A hip-length flowing tank top layers really well into the outfit; the swing will create some visual interest and keep the look from appearing too flat.



Without defining the waist, curves can get completely lost in all black. A cropped jacket will do the trick.



Chunky, strappy leather sandals ground the outfit and amp up the style quotient.

Photo credit: Torrid.com, Norstrom.com, OldNavy.com, Forever21.com

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The New Wardrobe Staple: Boyfriend Blazer

Long cardigans have been in heavy rotation with my wardrobe for several months now. I wear them over springy dresses and tights, belted over cozy tees and jeans, or slung over my tank top and yoga pants after the gym. They're starting to look a little ragged and, truth be told, I'm tired of the look. For the rest of winter and well into spring, I'll be swapping out my cardis for a new wardrobe staple - the boyfriend blazer.

What makes a jacket more than just a regular blazer, but a boyfriend blazer? The overall fit is a little longer, looser, slouchier. The idea is to look like you've borrowed your BF's clothes. That's just a theory for many Bombshells, since a lot of us are with guys whose clothes we are not going to be borrowing anytime soon. But that doesn't mean we can't fake it!

I love the boyfriend blazer because it creates a cool, modern look without sacrificing the warmth and fit that cardigans are known for. In fact, thanks to buttons and strategic seaming often not found on a cardi, a boyfriend blazer can be even more flattering on a plus size woman.

To find the right fit, make sure a blazer hits the top of your thighs, can be cinched in at the waist with buttons (or a belt), and doesn't pull or gather across the shoulders or under your armpits. As for how to wear it, I say roll the sleeves up and pop it on over anything you'd normally top with a cardigan.


Lane Bryant's Sateen Boyfriend Jacket


Avenue's Cuffed Boyfriend Blazer


Gibson Knit Boyfriend Blazer

Photo credit: Lanebryant.com; Avenue.com; Nordstrom.com

Friday, February 19, 2010

Random Cuteness



How cute would this dress be with:
* Black tights & heels (maybe patent leather, or in a bright red) + a black leather cropped jacket
* Flats + denim jacket (sleeves rolled up)
* Chunky metallic jewelry + strappy sandals



Although you can't go wrong with a black biker jacket, a gray version is just as cool and a bit more unique. I like to pair tough-chic pieces like this with something decidely feminine like a frilly blouse or skirt.



Floral prints are everywhere as spring nears; I like this floaty chiffon top. It would look really pretty paired with skinny jeans and a cardigan or blazer.

Photo credit: Missphit.com, Evans.co.uk, Torrid.com

Thursday, February 18, 2010

N Perricone Cold Plasma Give-Away

If you've been under a rock for the past few days, you might need a reminder: today's my 30th birthday! And to share the love with you wonderful readers, I'm partnering with N Perricone to give away one jar of Cold Plasma.

From everything I've read in magazines and other blogs a good neuropeptide cream can work wonders on your skin: protect it from free radicals (which break down collagen), reduce dark circles and discoloration, and just generally revive dull, sallow skin. Cold Plasma contains many ingredients that are found in neuropeptide creams, as well as DMAE to firm skin, L-tyrosine for brightening, and DHA which helps keep skin hydrated. All very medical sounding to me, but it sounds good.

Those of you with sensitive skin shouldn't be afraid to enter this give-away because Cold Plasma does not contain parabens, fragrance, sulfates, mineral oil, artifical colors or fillers.

To enter, leave me a comment finishing this sentence: I want/need Cold Plasma because...
I need Cold Plasma because my skin is seriously blah. So dull. Ugh. Please help.

I want Cold Plasma because it costs over $100 and there's no way I could afford to buy it on my own, so I really hope I win it here. Also? My skin is super blotchy.

I need Cold Plasma because I just turned 30 and am a little afraid my skin is suddenly going to look 130 years old.

You get the picture. Let the commenting begin!

*Give-away is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only (sorry International friends!). A winner will be randomly selected by the method of my choosing from those comments left before 5:00 p.m. on February 26th. Winner will be announced on Monday March 1, and will have 24 hours to email me with her/his mailing address. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, a second name will be chosen and so on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Countdown to 30 (almost there!)



I know, I know - that sunburn! About 30 seconds after this picture was snapped, someone said that it actually hurt to look at me. I'm assuming they meant my crazy sunburn was painful, because I know they weren't talking about my cute sundress! I bought that dress at Lane Bryant right before sailing off on a post-college graduation cruise with my BFF Kimi. We went to Mexico and the locals thought I was total chopped liver compared to the lovely and uber-blonde Kim. Whatever. I still have that dress, somewhere...



Alas, I wish I still owned this surplice polka dot tank top. I wore the hell out of that top the first few years out of college. It was another LB find; the polka dots just made me so happy. It also made me look kind of busty. :)



And finally...here, I think I'm 19. A total sorority girl (check out that 'I'm trying to be blonde' hair!). Granted, I was in a pretty cool sorority, as far as sororities go (we greeted our new members one year by picking them up on motorcycles). They key fashion element here is the pair of jeans I'm wearing - my absolute favorite pair of flares. Do you guys remember Venezia jeans before they added stretch to them? Yeah, these are vintage. Also, yes - that guy's keys are hanging off his nipple. And my friend, Ann, is stroking the other guy's looong goatee. Geez.

So, this concludes the little fashion retrospective of my 20's. It's been fun (for me, anyway!) to look back and see how my sense of style has (and hasn't) changed. It's also made me feel even more excited about what's next - in my life and in my closet. Thanks for all the super sweet birthday wishes, guys! As a gift back to you - we're going to celebrate my big day with a special give-away from Perricone. So check back for details on Thursday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love this Blog!

I became aware of Curvy Girl Chic about 93 seconds ago and couldn't wait even a full two minutes to let you guys know about this blog. Great photos, great style, and a very fun read.

Countdown to 30 (cont'd)

Looking through pictures made me realize how often I wear this one green cardigan that I've had forever. Seriously, it's everywhere:



Over my vintage Joey McIntyre tee-shirt (pulled out of retirement...a.k.a storage at my parents') for the NKOTB reunion tour.



Giving shape to an otherwise sack-like tank top, with my mom. (Check out those bright yellow nails!)



Me, doing God only knows what while wearing the very popular sweater with my favorite jeans and plaid Converse sneaks.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Countdown to 30

Yep, I'm turning 30 this week - on Thursday, to be exact. And I have to admit: I'm really excited. My parents will tell you that I've been waiting to be 30 since I was 12. It's an age which I always thought to be ideal because it seems young enough to still go out and conquer the world, but old enough to not be stupid about it. At least, that's what I thought when I was a precocious tween, reading Cosmopolitan magazine and trying desperately to grow up NOW. As the golden age looms ever closer, I've realized that it probably won't feel a whole lot different than 25, 26, 27...then again, maybe it will.

What I know for sure is that my personal style has definitely evolved over the past decade. I entered my 20's as a college senior at the University of Minnesota, where sorority sweatshirts (Delta love!) and flared jeans ruled campus. I made a lot of style missteps as I transitioned into the workforce, unsure how to appear professional yet hip (ok, I still struggle with that). At the time, I had more 'going out' clothes than work clothes and had to learn that the two don't mix. Now, I find myself with a closet full of business casual pieces...and not a whole lot else! I'll address that problem in my next decade.

Just for the heck of it (and because I'm trying to jam 5 days of work into 3 at my day job so I can take 2 celebratory days off at week's end, and can't quite find the motivation to pull together really informative, useful posts for you guys) I'm going to count down the next three days by sharing a few of my favorite outfits from my 20's.



My wedding dress. (Sigh) I've never felt more beautiful as I did while wearing this dress. And isn't that the way it should be? The dress was from David's Bridal.



I found this blue sundress at a Gap Outlet a few years ago. Frankly, I was shocked that it fit (hello, it's the Gap) because according to the size on the tag, it shouldn't have. It's one of those dresses that really can go anywhere in a pinch, like Madame Toussoud's Wax Museum in Las Vegas (shown with me, Dan and J-Lo).



I promise, I do have friends besides my husband; I guess he's just the one around when I'm wearing my favorite clothes. Anyway, you can't see the entire outfit here but I felt so cool in this. A little saucey, like I could possibly get out of hand at any moment but it would all work out because my outfit was so awesome. (Please tell me you have clothes like that, too...) It's a knee-length, strapless purple cotton dress under a thigh-length cardigan, black flats and a couple of drapey necklaces.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Power of Positive Thinking...

I know that positivity has its limits...is it possible that I can will the sun to shine and snow to melt by thinking warm, summery thoughts? Yeah, no. But that's not going to keep me from dreaming of lazy days by the pool and all the accessories that go along with that daydream: frozen daquiris, the coconutty scent of sunscreen and these -



Miraclesuit Pandora one-piece



Zebra halter suit with purple ruffle



Blue dot tankini



Tie-shoulder cover up



Color block sunglasses

Photo credit: OldNavy.com; Nordstrom.com; Evans.co.uk; Torrid.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Anna Scholz Black Label

You guys have to check out the new bridge line from Anna Scholz. Her 'Black Label' is a more affordable off-shoot of her premium line (now referred to as the 'White Label'), with more focus on younger, cooler day-wear. To illustrate the price point, dresses in the White line start around 265 pounds, while the Black line is around 129 pounds for a dress.

I'm so excited about the pieces that are in the Black Label right now because I love variety within plus sizes. I think the number one complaint that I hear from my fellow Bombshells is that there aren't enough options in our sizes. Anna Scholz brings the options...before I go into full on gush mode, I'll just shut up and post some pics.



Heart print jersey dress



Striped cotton silk cardigan



Lightweight polka dot jacket


Photo credit: AnnaScholz.com

New Source for Size 12 Shoes

How did I not know that J. Crew offers shoes up to size 12? (Ok, so the fact that they don't carry my size clothing probably had something to do with it.)

But I was checking out their accessories today and saw that they carry size 12 shoes - plus size shoes, if you will. They're pretty spendy, so it's not as though I'll never buy another pair at Payless (thus far my main go-to for large shoes), Nordstrom or DesignerShoes.com But it's nice to have options. Like these:







In addition to the shoes, here are the cute accessories that had me perusing the J.Crew web site in the first place. I really like the uber-feminine pieces in pale, muted pastel shades of off-white, peach, pink and lilac.



With the addition of a little extra ribbon to lengthen this flower sash, I love the idea of this accent in place of a belt.


Nouveau gem necklace; to keep it from looking too serious, I would play up its costumey effect by pairing it with a casual crew neck tee, jeans and heels.

Photo credit: J.Crew.com

Monday, February 8, 2010

IN Balm Winners

Thanks to everyone who completed my Valentine poem for a chance to win a tube of IN Balm from StormSister Spatique. Every one of the poems made smile, and quite a few had me laughing out loud!

The two winners, randomly selected, are:

Rebecca who wrote -
Roses are pink, daffodils are yellow
I know I'm gorgeous, even on the days I feel like a marshmallow!

Kimmers who wrote -
Roses are pink, daffodils are yellow
I know I'm gorgeous, just look at me...hello!
Ha! :)

Rebecca & Kimmers, please email your mailing address to me at BombshellBeautyBlog@gmail.com; if I don't hear from you by Thursday @ 5:00 p.m. central time, I'll go on to another winner.

Thanks again to Becky Sturm of StormSister for partnering with me on this give-away!
I wish I was wearing this today:



It would look great with my dark jeans and black heels. The top has an old Hollywood, 1930's feel to it with the combination of lace & silk, and the dolman sleeves. Simply Chloe Dao Silk Blouse, available up to size 3x.

Photo credit: QVC.com

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review of Sigma Travel Brush Set

A couple weeks ago, I told you guys about a set of makeup brushes that I really wanted to try: the Sigma makeup travel brush set in Nice. Since then, I bought the set and wanted to let you know how it turned out.

I'm going to cut to the chase - I love this brush set, for so many reasons. I'm going to start from the beginning which is Sigma's customer service. I ordered the brushes on a Wednesday morning, and they were at my door by Friday afternoon. And no, I didn't pay any extra for speedy shipping. Compare this to a MAC order that I placed around the same time...that box of goodies (which actually didn't turn out to be that good because I returned all of it...anyway) took about 9 days to arrive.

When I opened the box, I found:



How cute is that presentation? I really appreciate when a company makes that kind of effort, instead of just tossing my products in with a wad of bubble wrap. And for what was inside the packaging:



In addition to the set I ordered, I was also sent two free gifts: a matching foundation brush and a single eye shadow. The shadow is a shimmery brown/taupe called Indian Girl. That was a great addition because after trying this shadow, I am definitely interested in ordering more. The powder shadow is very creamy (as in, it's well pigmented and doesn't feel as chalky and dry as many powder shadows), and the color pay-off is great.

As for the brushes, well - they absolutely exceeded my expectations. They looked exactly as described on the web site and the quality is outstanding, especially given its low price point. At $49 for the this set, each brush works out to be $7 per brush (not even accounting for the free brush). The bristles are soft, yet precise in their color application. The blend like a dream, and I've had zero issues with the bristles shedding.

If you're familiar with MAC's pro-quality brushes, Sigma's are as good, if not better. And if you're just beginning to build a brush set, you should definitely think about going all in with this travel set. I haven't been this excited about a beauty purchase in a really long time.

Cover Girl Simply Ageless Line Expands

It's a well-known fact that I love the Cover Girl Simply Ageless line; I use the foundation on days that I need a little extra moisture and coverage on my skin, and I wear the cream blush (in Royal Plum) every single day. The blush goes on very sheer for a natural, pretty flush. It's also buildable so you can dab on a couple layers of color for a more defined cheek. My mom also uses the foundation and blush which says two things to me:

1.) The formula (which is enhanced with Olay serum) is great for different skin types -Mom's is dry, while mine is combination.

2.) My mom doesn't like to mess around with her makeup, while it's practically a hobby for me. So the Simply Ageless line is user-friendly, no matter your comfort level with makeup.

I was soooo excited to hear that Simply Ageless added Corrector* and Concealer* for the eyes to the line. The company was nice enough to send me samples so I could test them out and let you know what I think. Which was a good thing because every time I've been to Ulta in the past few weeks, their display for the product was completely empty! (Apparently, I wasn't the only one who was excited to give it a whirl).

I'll say right off the bat that the color selection confused the heck out of me. I've been a long-time devotee of Bobbi Brown's color theory for concealing under-eye issues. Bobbi's correctors are all based on peach tones, to cancel out the blue and purple undertones of eye circles. Her concealers, then, are yellow-based just like her foundations.

The Simply Ageless corrector is yellow-toned, and the concealers are peach-based. Now, I will say that I don't have really prominent under-eye circles. And sometimes I use Bobbi's corrector only, sometimes the concealer only, and other times (when this one blue vein under my left eye pops out all crazily) I layer concealer over the corrector.

I tell you this because I think it explains why I think the Simply Ageless versions worked for me. I have no idea how they might work for someone with serious under-eye circles. But, for me, both products worked out and I'd tell anyone to give them a try. At this price point (each product is about $10) I think it's worth some experimentation. If you decide to go for it here are a few general thoughts:

* Make sure your under-eye area is well hydrated before you put on either product. It makes a big difference in how the product lays on the skin.

* If you feel like your under-eye area looks a little dry, post application, pat a little eye cream over the products. They won't budge (unless you really goop the eye cream on!) but will look a little fresher.

* If you use the Simply Ageless foundation, choose the same number for the concealer. (For instance, I'm a 210 in foundation and concealer). The concealer color seems to be formulated a little lighter than the foundation, which is what you want in an under-eye concealer.

* The corrector comes in one shade.

As of this posting date, the Simply Ageless line is on sale at Drugstore.com, Buy 1 Get 1 Half Off. Just in case you're interested.


Photo credit: Drugstore.com

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Valentine to Your Lips, from StormSister

Beauty guru Becky Sturm, of the very fantastic spatique StormSister, has a sweet treat for two Bombshell readers.

INtelligent Nutrients USDA Certified Organic Lip Delivery Nutrition (IN balm, for short!) is a luxurious, super emollient lip balm. The ingredient list is comprised of things you can pronounce and identify like beeswax, coconut oil and super anti-oxidant Intellimune seed oil complex. Becky is an ace at selecting products that are good for your skin from the inside out.



For a chance to win, leave a comment by 5:00 p.m. on February 8th completing this Valentine's poem:

Roses are pink, daffodils are yellow
I know I'm gorgeous, ___________________

Two commenters will be randomly chosen to receive one tube of IN balm.

If you don't win, don't worry - you can order a tube from StormSister's online boutique. StormSister is stocked with lots of wonderful items, all of which would make great Valentines for yourself (or, you know, someone else). I like the heart-shaped Bodylish Bath Bomb in I Heart You (a cozy sandalwood scent) and the delightfully girly Principessa Bellisima bars.

Photo credit: StormSister.biz

Casual Friday Outfit

I learned long ago that anytime I may think I can slink into the office in a pair of jeans, sneakers and a hooded sweatshirt is the day I'll bump into my department's VP on the elevator. Or something equally opportunistic in which I'll immediately curse myself for not putting in my usual Monday-Thursday effort. So...here's my take on casual Friday:



For me, the accessories are what makes it look like I've put some thought into the look: cute plaid Converse sneaks, big dangly earrings, a soft cotton scarf looped around my neck. And the tailored blazer adds that last bit of office chic to the whole thing. I'm comfortable and feel confident enough to chat up the higher ups at my office.

What passes for casual attire at your workplace?

P.S.- Quit laughing at the expression on my face. I'm still working out this whole "posing for the camera thing."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lust

I loooove this:



JC Penney calls it a Grecian Ruched Drape top, which makes sense. I think what makes this top so appealing is that the drapey sleeves are a little grecian/geometric...something. In any case, it's very unique.

At first glance, I thought these sleeves were capped which look consistently terrible on me (and many other plus size women). Cap sleeves cut a woman's arm off at the most akward spot ever - usually at their thickest. Evil. Anyway, upon closer examination these sleeves are not capped. They're more akin to thick straps.

Can you imagine how gorgeous this top would look with an a-line skirt and espadrilles? Or boot cut jeans and leather thongs? I would go easy on the accessories so as not to detract from the simplicity of this shirt - gold dangly earrings and a slick of red lipstick would be perfect. Ok, my lust is officially in overdrive.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This is pretty cool:



I think this sheer-lace shrug is one of those pieces that could really define a look. You get the coverage of a cardigan without resorting to yet another cardigan. And I like how the ultra-feminine lace looks a little tough thanks to the square cut of the piece. It's another piece from the new Asos Curve line.

Beauty Inspiration - Anna Karina

There's something about Anna Karina that I find incredibly beguiling:



She is a Danish-born actress who made her mark in French New Wave cinema throughout the 1960's. I love her signature look, circa 1963-ish: heavy bangs, sultry doe eyes, and a peachy glow topped with orange-tinged lips. I can't do the heavy bangs (please, if you can - rock them! I'm so envious of anyone who can pull off a strong bang), but the doe eyes/peachy combo I can handle.

To achieve the sleepy-eyed look that Anna wears so well, assemble four things: an eyelash curler, your favorite mascara with a large round wand, a gel eye liner and eye liner brush. Very gently trace the gel liner (which resists watery eyes and smudging the best) over your waterline. Your waterline is just above your lower lash line - it's the skin as close to your actual eye as it's possible to be. Like this:



If you have actual, working tear ducts chances are excellent that your eyes will water a bit as you apply the liner to your waterline. This is normal. Burning, constant itching and redness are not - if you experience these after effects, this makeup trick might not be for you. In that case, just line your eyes as close to the lower lash line as possible.

Draw a thicker line over your upper lash line, flicking it up just a touch at the outer corner of the lid. You should be able to see the thick liner when your eyes are open. Connect the upper and lower lines at the very outer corner of the lid as well. Curl your lashes and coat well with a volumizing mascara - a large, round mascara wand will create the fluttery look we're going for. Benefit Bad Gal mascara does the trick for me.

Most women I know naturally gravitate towards pink makeup, so going peach may seem like a reach. (No, I didn't rhyme that on purpose). It's really not; like any makeup tone, you just have to find the right intensity of peach for your skin. Choose a peach blush that goes on sheer; Anna's look is very fresh, not overly made up. I like Cover Girl Simply Ageless Sculpting Blush in Plush Peach. Dip a blush brush into the pot of cream blush, smile and swirl it over the apples of your cheeks (the part of your cheeks that push up when you're smiling).

Finally - lips. Choose a matte or cream lipstick for the most authentically Anna finish. I like MAC's Amplified Creme lipstick in Morange. It's very bright, so fair-complexioned girls like myself should apply a very small amount. Apply the lipstick straight from the tube, then use your fingers to smudge it around your mouth. The idea is to color your lips, but not perfectly. It should look like you've just been kissed!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Color. Please, Give Me Some Color

Dan and I went window shopping this weekend and were both so incredibly bored by the clothes we saw! Everything was gray, black, or gray & black. I'm so tired of dull winter neutrals. I want baby pink, daffordil yellow, cobalt blue, grass green, and crisp white. I know February is one of those akward transitory months, where stores are sloooowly putting out the first of the spring collections while still trying to push what's left of their winter inventory. But there's no way I'm buying anything new until I start to see some color in the shop windows!

The outlook is a bit brighter online, with these perk-me-up pieces:



This SC by Sara Campbell overlay polka dot dress in light pink would make winter-pale skin look creamy, not pasty. It's also available in a cheery chartreuse green.



This lilac plaid tank would lighten up a business suit. I'd pair it with a short-sleeve cardigan and sandals once the weather warms up.



Ooooh, yes please. Lovely People 'Lilly' flat.

Photo credit: QVC.com, CityChicOnline.com, Nordstrom.com