Friday, April 30, 2010

Swishy Sunny Going-out Outfit

I'm recently become addicted to Polyvore, especially because I've put myself on a temporary shopping ban. No clothes, makeup, jewelry or shoes until after May 26th. Just to see if I can do it. And to give me a chance to enjoy what I have instead of always thinking, "What am I going to buy next?"

Polyvore fullfils my desire to shop, mixing and matching new outfits, without actually breaking my shopping ban. Here's my latest set, made of clothes from B and Lu. It's exactly right for sitting on the patio of my neighborhood bar, sipping cocktails with friends.


Give-Away Winners!

And the winners are...
1. R Weston
2. Sammi
3. Penny

I've sent emails off to each of you, so please respond with your address by Tuesday May 4th to claim your prize.

Thanks to all who entered, and to StormSister for providing the goods!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

StormSister Haul and Give-Away

I love the fact that my local spatique/beauty emporium is a place where I can learn about new product lines and get really good insider advice about health and beauty. Do you have a place like that in your neighborhood? Check out my video in which I share a few of my favorite finds at StormSister.



Becky, the fabulous owner of StormSister, has once again offered to give-away some of her favorite products to a few lucky Bombshell readers. Up for grabs are three travel size sets of John Masters Organics products:

* Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Wash
* Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Milk
* Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair
* Citrus & Neroli Detangler

The Blood Orange body wash and milk feel really nice on the skin; the scent is a heady mix of musk and citrus fruit. The shampoo smells ahhhmazing, and I couldn't believe how silky my hair was after one use of the detangler - it ranks as my favorite product out of the four. Click here for contest details and to enter!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Prints, Prints, Everywhere!

While out (window) shopping this weekend, I was confronted by prints everywhere I turned: at Macy's, in Lane Bryant, TJ Max. I like prints to a certain extent; though I think I prefer texture and accessories to prints. Especially the wildly tropical or ikat-inspired versions that are on tops, tunics and dresses right now. It's a lot of look and one that I actually think plus size shapes pull of better than more petite women - for the simple reason that a lot of print can overwhelm small frames. Not an issue for those of us with more surface area to dress!

I think my personal challenge with an outfit grounded in a major print is that so often the overall look lacks a focal point. Anchoring a print with a solid belt, blazer or cardigan can make all the difference between visual overload and an on-point interpretation of this trend. For example:



This peacock-inspired sweetheart neckline top is a beautiful swirl of color. But I'm losing track of the model's shape - there's little definition to her curves. But cinch a wide belt around the smallest part of her torso (often, just under the bust), and suddenly it's plain to tell that she's got hips and a bosom. The same effect can be created with a fitted jacket or well-shaped cardigan:





Anne Klein belted linen jacket, Torrid triangle buckle stretch belt.

How do you feel about the print trend - yay or nay?

Photo credit: Macys.com; Torrid.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pictures from the Wedding

After asking you guys to help me choose hair and makeup for my friend's wedding last weekend, I thought I should probably post some pictures of the finished product. Except...like an idiot, I completely forgot to have Dan take a proper picture of me to share with you! No really great close up of the hair (which turned out great! Although it didn't photograph as well as it looked in real life) or the makeup (which I ended up completely switching up to better fit the rest of the bridesmaids and the bride). Sigh. Sorry. I meant to do better. As it is, here are a few shots.



Dan and I, hanging out at the reception.



At the church, surrounded by my mom, friend Kara and Dad.

It was a really fantastic event, and Ann (who is a fellow Bombshell) looked gorgeous. Seriously. Here's a shot of the bride with a gaggle of admirers:



Her dress is from David's Bridal, FYI.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Silly Fox & ABC

I'm not someone who really participates in the the social issues that surround being overweight; there are a lot of plus size bloggers who are much better at the social activism of discrimination against people who are overweight. And I've always tried to keep this blog focused on all the great fashion and style available to us Bombshells. But when I heard about the hub-bub caused by Fox and ABC throwing fits on pairing a couple of Cacique commercials in prime time, I felt compelled to throw myself behind Lane Bryant & Cacique and show them my support.

If you haven't heard about the whole thing, the Cliff's Notes version is that Lane Bryant purchased air time during Dancing with the Stars and American Idol with the intention of airing a commercial for Cacique lingerie. But for some reason, the two networks deemed the commercial inappropriate...yeah. The assumption is that it's because the women are plus size. Because the commercial's not any sexier or more inappropriate than Victoria's Secret, or Desperate Housewives, etc. I would actually rate the commercial on the tame side of television. Click here to see for yourself.

I would welcome the opportunity to see this commercial on TV, how about you?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Outfit Needed for...Dodgeball Tournament?

Yes, the most random activity of my week is going to be attending a dodgeball tournament. I'm not even playing in it (if I were, the clothing choice would not be as difficult) - I'm merely a spectator. Dan's a middle school teacher and is playing in a dodgeball tournament to support one of his school's philanthropic efforts for an organization called H2O for Life. I will be playing the role of supportive wife in the stands.

So my outfit needs to be appropriate on many levels:
* meeting/hanging out with his co-workers

* appealing to middle school kids (I would like to be the cool wife of their favorite teacher)

* allows me to quickly move out of the way of errant rubber balls flying through the air

So I'm thinking some kind of variation on the classic, kid-friendly jeans + tee combo:







It's not the most fashion-forward outfit that I'll put on this week, but I think it's still a good reflection of my style. There's nothing worse than trying too hard with an outfit - especially around 7th grade girls. Because they will totally call you on it.

The clothes & photo credits:
Free Bird tee shirt, Old Navy.

Light wash wide leg jeans, also Old Navy.

Blazing yellow Converse sneakers, from Zappos.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review of Spa Ritual Nail Polish

Check out my review of Spa Ritual nail polish; I bought mine at StormSister here in St. Paul - you can order from StormSister's web site or go to Spa Ritual to find a salon near you that carries the brand.

Below the video, I've included still shots of the polishes since my lighting didn't do them justice.

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Airhead - the soft pink with slightly lilac undertones.



Hope Springs Eternal - vibrant pink with pearlescent gleam.



Photo credits: Skinstore.com

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Running Errands Outfit

In preparation for my friend's big wedding this weekend, I have a list of things to do a mile long before Dan gets home from work and we jump in the car for a quick trip down to Southern MN. It's a pretty exciting list:

* Pack the car (ok, more like stow the bags in the back of the car but 'pack the car' sounds better)
* Pick up two gift cards and three gift card holders
* Drop off some stuff at Goodwill (to make room for those bags that need to be stowed)
* Touch up mani/pedi

Followed by the entire shower routine - the extended version that includes washing of hair, shaving of legs, etc - followed by serious primping. Because getting ready for a weekend of events is half the fun. What is not fun? Figuring out what to throw on to run those mundane errands, pre-shower and primping.

I don't want to get full-on dressed. I want sweatpants, but not sweatpants. Because I, for one, am tired of seeing all the wonderful women in the world running around Target or Hallmark wearing gym clothing/pajamas. Yes, I'm judgy like that. So what to wear?

Something ballet-inspired is always comfortable and usually looks more pulled together than shlubby sweats. And if someone happens to see me and think I just came from the ballet studio, all the better. (Yeah, that's unlikely). The key to pulling off a polished casual look is to make sure each piece fits well. Avoid anything oversized - flowey is fine, oversized is not. And even flowy pieces should have some shape to them. Light layers that move with your body are very flattering. Here are a few of my favorite ballet-inspired pieces:









The clothes & photo credits:
Tie-front Bellini top from Kiyonna
Lace trim cami from Old Navy
Comfy yoga pant from Torrid
Teva Koral Leather skimmers

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Runway Ready Video Contest

L'Oreal, in partnership with Project Runway, is sponsoring a fun new contest in which contestants create a short video how-to of their favorite, glamourous beauty tips. Out of the videos, a winner will be chosen and awarded a trip for two to NYC, a shopping spree, makeover, a meet-and-greet with a Project Runway designer, and a tour of the Marie Claire offices. Pretty fun!

What's also pretty fun is that those of us who aren't interested in making our own videos still get to participate in the contest. Go to site to view the uploaded videos, get some beauty tips, and vote for your favorite. So far my favorite is by Michelle Shore in Los Angeles, CA because she equates going to work with being on the runway, admits to always being late to work, and even shot her video in the bathroom.. at her office. Also, she uses the word sexy about 3 times in 2 minutes. Very funny.

Click here to view the videos, vote and for more details on how to enter yourself.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sick

The amount of shopping I've done over the past several weeks is akin to an illness. I don't usually go crazy like this. I'm going to blame Lane Bryant because they keep sending me coupons for $25 off a $75 purchase. And I can't just throw away $25 free dollars!

That's my justification anyway.

But seriously. I'm going to stop. The American Express is going back into the safe. It will be paid off by the end of the month. And I will not buy anything else for a long time.

And by long time, I mean a few weeks. At least.

I seem to go through peaks and valleys of being obsessed with one store at a time. I went through a serious B and Lu phase. Followed by an "I can't get enough of Igigi!" moment. And, while LB is definitely a stand by, it's been treating me really well lately.

I went in to LB tonight, thinking I was going to love this ruffled linen jacket:



But up close, it was just so very linen- i.e. wrinkly. Hated it. So sad. Then I spied the sateen blazer that I've seen over and over on the Lane Bryant web site and have passed on over and over because I thought it would be boring and bland and could possibly make a scritching sound whenever I moved in it.

Raise your hand if you remember those sateen pants from LB, circa 2001, and know what I'm talking about.



Surprise- I love this jacket. Bought it in white AND black. Because they were on sale for $20 off, and I had that stupid coupon. I'm kind of mad about it but also deeply happy. It fits so well through my shoulders and chest (although I will be removing the shoulder pads, ASAP). I went down a size because it looks really cute as a fitted jacket and seemed just a smidge large in my normal size. I'm going to pair the jackets with jeans, sparkly tanks and heels for date night; skirts, basic tees and major jewelry for work; and sundresses with sandals for errands on the weekend.

Make me feel better about this shopping mania that I have going on: what item (s) have you been unable to stop yourself from purchasing recently?

Photo credit: LaneBryant.com

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And the Winners Are...

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on which hair and makeup styles I should go with for my friend's wedding. After much consideration and mulling over of your comments, the winners are:



Neutral brown eye, pink cheeks and lips. However, I am going to incorporate the suggestions I received to go a little heavier with the application so my makeup photographs well. I'm going to smoke out the eyes a bit and choose a deeper lip color.



This soft updo was an almost unanimous choice by you. And by me. I'll admit that this is the hairstyle I've favored from the get-go. So thanks for validating my choice!

Review of Revlon Photo Ready Foundation



I'm surprised how much I like this foundation; I certainly wasn't holding and high hopes that it would work out as well as it has. A really great find, for just $13.99. It rivals my favorite foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin.

An Open Letter to Payless

* This blog post is completely self indulgent. If you could care less about my very painful break up with Payless Shoe Source, I won't be offended.

Dear Purveyors of Cheap Footwear-
As a woman blessed with a 12/13 shoe size, I once thought you were the answer to the prayers I sent up to the shoe Gods asking for cute sandals and funky flats made for my big feet, sold for less than an arm and the leg to which said feet are attached. I thought Payless was going to quell the jealousy I felt toward smaller-footed friends who could pop into DSW or Target and emerge with three boxes of on-trend, seasonally appropriate shoes. I blogged about the cute shoes I found on the racks in your stores and on your website. I thought we were happy, Facebook Official even (to borrow a term from the kids these days). Looking back on those blissful, care-free days I couldn’t have known our love would fizzle and die a painful death.

What once burned inside me as passion for your footwear now burns as fury for your poor online customer service. Your online search methods are ridiculous – when I filter by shoe size, do not show me a bunch of shoes that I desperately want only to find upon clicking “Add to Bag” that they don’t actually come in my shoe size. That’s just mean. And annoying. And time consuming.

When I place an order, do not ship the order short a pair of shoes…with zero notification beforehand…and then tell me in a canned email response that due to a system glitch I shouldn’t have even been able to order the shoes…and then not offer some kind of coupon to make it up to me.

And most certainly, do not repeat this entire process again the very next time I order! AND THEN – do not delay 3 weeks to bill me for my order. It is incredibly inconvenient to have to mentally subtract from my special Shopping Checking Account the cost of the shoes I’ve been wearing for almost a month. I feel as though you are specifically waiting for me to miscalculate a couple cents here or there. At that exact moment is when your bill will go through and I will get to pay an overdraft fee (basically the equivalent of the shoes that your system let me order even when it shouldn’t have).

And your selection of product actually available in store? Please. Don’t get me started. Hello – I can SEE all the cute shoes available in other sizes. But not available for me to purchase and wear same day. Ugh. You are dead to me. I’m serious. You can kiss the $11,000 I probably would have spent on your shoes over the course of my lifetime (assuming I live until I’m 80) goodbye. Don't call. Don't write. It's not me; it's you.

Hatefully Yours,
Sara

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Best Crops

Bombshell reader, Kenz, reminded me recently in saying that she'd just picked up a new pair of cropped pants that I don't have a single pair of crops myself. I tend to favor cropped jeans. I like the fact that there are as many styles of cropped jeans as there are full-length pairs: casual boyfriend versions (rolled and beat up a bit), wide legged, dark wash, light wash, fitted and skinny, etc. Here are a few pairs I'm considering for this spring/summer:



While not exactly cropped pants, I like the versatility of Asos Curve's boyfriend jeans. Wear them long, wear them short, whatever you like. They look sufficiently worn without going overboard and look really cute cuffed and rolled to show off a killer pair of teetering sandals.



Tommy Hilfiger's cropped Memphis style jeans look like the perfect pair of "throw them on any time, with anything and look great" crops. The wash is casual, the cut is classic but not bland. And the straight fit that drops down to the bottom of the calf from the hips will flatter most Bombshell body types.



I like that this pair of crops by Caslon fits like a pair of denim trousers: side-slant pockets, a tailored cuff and evenly dark wash throughout. I would wear these to the office, paired with a graphic tee and heels.

Photo credit: Nordstrom.com; Macys.com; Asos.com

Monday, April 5, 2010

Help Me Choose- Hair Style

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on which makeup I should go with for my friend's wedding (I'll reveal my choice on Friday). Now, I need your opinion on an up-do. Here are the two contenders:

Look #1: Soft Knot with Braids




I like this option because it's a little unexpected, with the braids, but not completely out there. My hair will be out of my face and totally low maintenance.

Look #2: Sultry Chignon



I also love this look...it's sexy in a way that seems appropriate for someone else's wedding. I'm also a complete sucker for any variation on a side ponytail. The only downside - I know that the cool swooping piece at the front will end up tucked behind my ear at some point.

So - what do you think? Soft and romantic (look #1) or sultry chignon (look #2)?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Help me Choose!

Next week, I'll be a bridesmaid in the wedding of my good friend, Ann, and her fiance', Steven. Ann lives in a small town in southern Minnesota, and she's kind of the perpetual Homecoming Queen of the place. Therefore, the pressure is on to put my best foot forward and not show up to any of the wedding events looking like a hot mess.

This is where you come in: I've been playing around with makeup looks and, while I'm no makeup artist, have settled on two that I think I like the best. Leave a comment letting me know which look you favor. In the coming days, I'm going to ask you to help me pick an outfit to wear to the wedding rehearsal & dinner, and a hairstyle for the big day.

Yes, I know this is not my own wedding. Therefore, it doesn't really matter what I look like. But...the pictures are going to last a lifetime. That alone is my motivation for picking just the right look.

So, the relevant details you need to know in order to help me choose are:
* wedding is in the evening, at 6:00
* our dresses are floor length, strapless, black

Look #1: Silvery/Blue Smokey Eye with Bronzey Cheeks and Nude Lips





Look #2: Neutral Brown Eyes with Rosy Cheeks and Pink Lips