Monday, May 31, 2010

T-3 Days to LB Blogger Conference*

Thank you so much to everyone who has left comments or emailed questions that you'd like me to ask the fine folks at Lane Bryant. Really, great stuff. Several of you have asked for more details on what the trip will include. Lane Bryant put out a press release this weekend, detailing a few highlights of our trip. And the really great PR contact I've been working with (Hi, Andrea!) has said our day will include:

* a shopping trip at Lane Bryant's Elite Easton Town Center - we'll be fitted for a complimentary outfit, undies and shoes

* preview of the fall and holiday clothing collections

* round table discussion with executives and merchants (this is who I'll ask all of your great questions!)

* Complete makeover and photo shoot, wearing the outfit chosen earlier in the day

* Dinner and happy hour with the bloggers, to celebrate and squeal over our fun day

For all the really cool activities that Lane Bryant has planned for us, I'm extremely excited to meet the other girls who are attending. Some of them are familiar faces (Kimberly from Fab Finds Under $50, Allison from Curvy Chic, and Diana from Fat Chic) while others are brand new to me. It's a vast and varied group of bloggers who are all coming together - which I think is really smart on Lane Bryant's part. Each blogger has her own point of view on plus size fashion.

I've been snuggled up on the couch this morning reading blogs, getting to know everyone before we meet later on this week. Here's a list of all the bloggers - check them out; I know you'll find some new sites to save as Favorites!

The Budget Fashionista
Curvy Girl Chic
Fab Finds Under $50
Fat Chic
LinkedIn Queen
Madison Plus
Musings From My Minivan
PLUS Model Magazine
T Minus, T Plus
The Curvy Fashionista
Venus Vision

*Please note - every last part of this trip is being paid for by Lane Bryant, including all travel, accomodations, & meals. Everyone involved in this opportunity are committed to full disclosure, per FTC guidelines.

Memorial Day Weekend Fun


I attended a very fun pool party yesterday; it was one of those afternoons in which the sun made sporadic appearances before checking out permanently in favor of a thunderstorm.

I'd not taken into account the weather at all when packing my gear for the afternoon - it's a pool party. What else could I have needed besides my swim suit and an economy jug of margaritas?

Next time I'll pack these pool side extras that account for sudden changes in cloud cover:



A loose-fitting pair of cropped pants cut the chill without overheating. This pair from J. Jill is a blend of pima cotton, rayon and spandex so they can be rolled up and tossed into a pool bag before and after wearing them.



A long lightweight sweater, like this one done in a linen-blend, is a great piece to have on hand at the pool. It doubles as a cover up or a blanket -perfect for huddling in the garage while you wait out a little rain!

The clothes & photo credits:
Ruffle one-piece swim suit, Babyphat.

White cropped pants, J. Jill.

Linen-blend cardigan, AK Anne Klein.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Great Belts from B and Lu

I just stumbled across these uber-flattering belts from B & Lu. The style is everything I've been looking for - wide, but not too wide; and a special detail (like the curvy buckle) that's fun but not too much of an attention-getter. I want one in every color:









Bronte Belt, available in black, green, pink and yellow.

Photo credit: BandLu.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Big News

I've alluded to the fact that I have big, fun news to share with you guys - and today is the day! Next Wednesday, I'm heading out to Lane Bryant's headquarters to participate in their first ever Lane Bryant Blogger Conference*.

I'll be joined by a handful of our favorite plus size bloggers (which I'm soooo excited about; can't wait to meet the other girls) for a really fantstic day of meeting with the Lane Bryant merchant team, a preview of the Fall & Holiday fashion lines, a makeover and photo shoot (ok, not exactly sure what that means...but still, fun!).

Like many plus size women, Lane Bryant has been a big part of my life. I've been shopping there for over 20 years (yes, I started young). I even worked there through college, and can distrinctly remember how annoying/stressful it was whenever a corporate merchandising team would show up to reset our merchandise. (Anyone who's worked in retail knows what I'm talking about, right?)

At times, I've loved and hated the brand - loved them for their Right Fit jeans and dress pants with a long inseam; hated them for being a plus size monopoly for so long, and for creating the exact same shirt over and over in different colors. Now, I feel pretty good about their place within the plus size community and within my wardrobe. There are plenty of plus size retailers out there, both large and small, so we're not all wearing the same Lane Bryant outfit as one another.

I've begun shopping at Lane Bryant more often over the past year, and I have to say: It feels good to shop there because I want to, not because I have to. Which makes this trip all the more exciting. I know I have a ton of questions I want to ask, and I'd love some of those questions to be yours! So let me know - if you were having a sit-down with the big wigs at LB,what would you want to talk about?

You can follow me while I'm there on Twitter (@bombbeauty5), on Facebook, or here- I'll be providing live updates throughout the day.

*Lane Bryant is paying all expenses for this trip. I'll remind you of that, per FTC regulations, by adding an asterisk to the first reference of the conference on all subsequent posts.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One Favorite and One Regret

I was going to put up a Youtube video about these two products, but then I exercised and was all sweaty...and then I showered but didn't have the inclination to do my hair and makeup. So, no video. I bought one product about 6 weeks ago, and the other I bought last Wednesday. Should we start with the new favorite or the regret?



New favorite, it is! I picked up the Bare Escentuals Pink Delicious 4-piece mini lipgloss set at Ulta last week. It was $26 - a great deal for a whole new wardrobe of lipglosses. I had to toss almost every last one of my glosses two weeks ago because they'd exceeded their shelf lives (as evidenced by a weird scent and an even weirder taste!). The shades from left to right are:

Cupcake - rose pink
Birthday Cake - fruit punch pink
Strawberry Shortcake - pink lilac
Layer Cake- pink mist

I love everything about this collection - the tubes are small enough to carry in most any purse, the consistency is smooth with a high-shine gloss, the color payoff is great, and they all taste like...cake. (Shocking, I know, given their names). So far, I've been using Strawberry Shortcake the most because it's the color of my lips but better. My second favorite is Birthday Cake because the color is vibrant, yet wearable. However, I know I'll have each of these glosses in heavy rotation all summer. In addition to Ulta, the set is available online at QVC. And now, for my big regret:



Benefit's concealer set, Confessions of a Concealaholic. I'm so disappointed that I hate this set. I really, really wanted to like it. Unlike many purchases, I did not buy this on a whim. I looked at it for months, going back and forth - should I, shouldn't? Finally, I broke down about 6 weeks ago and bought it at Sephora. And I've spent the past 6 weeks trying to convince myself that it's not all that bad. Except that it is all that bad. At least, for what I wanted it to be. I wanted this set to be the one stop shop in my beauty bag to create perfect skin. What I ended up was a kit that required a lot more effort with a lot less pay-off in the long run. So sad.

The products, from left to right are:

That Gal brightening face primer. My face doesn't look brighter or feel smoother. It does look and feel oilier.

Erase Paste concealer. The packaging for this product made me believe this was an allover concealer. But upon further inspection/research - it's intended for under the eyes. It's extremely creamy and blendable, which I love. I also love the velvety texture that it dries down to. But the color is extremely peachy - kind of like Bobbi Brown's corrector but even more pigmented. Of all the products, I like this one the best. But probably not enough to repurchase.

Boi-ing Concealers in shades 1 & 2. These concealers are drier in consistency than Erase Paste, and are meant to even out the rest of one's complexion. Neither shade fit me well, and I had a really hard time blending them together. I would perhaps like this product if the colors fit my skintone a little better.

Eye Bright. This sheer pink cream goes in the corner of the eye and right under the brow bone to create a well-rested, lifted effect. I thought this product did actually make a difference in the way I look, and I might consider buying this in its usual pencil-form.

Lemon-Aid. This yellow cream is meant to color-correct one's eyelids. Which it does - right before it slides off the eyelid. I could not get this stuff to stay on my lids! It was so irritating.

My final gripe with Confessions of a Concealeholic? The packaging. This square box is much deeper than it really needs to be - which makes it bulky and difficult to carry around all day for touch ups. And because the packaging isn't air tight, the two Boi-ing concealers, the Lemon-Aid and Eye Bright dried out.

Have you tried either my new favorite or my regret? If so, what did you think?

Photo credit: QVC.com; Sephora.com

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Joy of Pre-packing

I'm lucky enough to be going on a fantastic trip next week, one which I'll share more details about later on this week as it's directly related to Bombshell Beauty. I'll be flying out of town for three days which means...I have to figure out what to pack.

Please tell me I'm not the only freak in the world who pre-packs. As in, pulls out her suitcase and decides what to take with her based on how much will fit into that case. Pre-9/11, packing for air travel was no big deal. There were no checked baggage fees or crazy restrictions on how much body wash one could bring on the flight. Air travel, now, is less than desirable.

I'm not a checked-baggage girl by nature because I've found the baggage carousel to be a magnet for screaming kids and enough heat/humidity to transform my hair from great to Gilda Radner in 30 seconds flat. So I will be cramming two days' worth of outfits/shoes/accessories/makeup/toiletries into my carry on. I realize that two days' worth of stuff doesn't sound like much. But this trip is a fashion thing. So of course I need a reserve outfit or two. So, pre-packing is essential. I leave next Wednesday. And will begin to pre-pack this evening. I can't wait. The planning of a trip is always at least 30% of the overall fun.

If you have any wonderful tips or tricks for how to jam 99% of my closet into a Delta Airlines regulated carry on bag, please let me know in the comments.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Awww, Thanks!

Many thanks to the very wonderful Pale and Pallor Princess for bestowing upon me:



To keep this award going, I'm sharing it with a few of my favorite bloggers (in no particular order):

1. All the Weigh
2. Curves and Chaos
3. Half Her Age, Twice Her Age
4. Curvy Girl Chic
5. StormSister Spatique
6. Fab Finds Under $50
7. Frocks and Frou Frou
8. Lollipop26 Writes

I love finding new, sassy blogs to read. What are your favorites?

Natural-Glam Makeup Look

I could watch Bones, the science/crime dramedy on Fox, for about 22 hours each and every day. I'm incredibly disappointed that one of it's stars, David Boreanaz, admitted to cheating on his wife because like 99% of the TV-viewing population I choose to believe the stars of my favorite shows are, in fact, their characters. And Booth would never cheat on a woman. But I digress.

Anyway - I love the makeup that title character Bones, as portrayed by Emily Deschanel, wears on the series. It's always pretty and clean, polished but not bland. Much like Emily's look at an industry event:



This natural-glam look is really easy to recreate:

1. Even out your skintone with a mattifying foundation, like Revlon Photoready foundation or Bare Minerals Matte. Apply only as much as you absolutely need to cover redness or blemishes.

2. Dust a sheer rose blush over your cheeks. Once the blush is on, use a fluffy brush to buff the color into a natural flush. Blend, blend like crazy.

3. Line eyes, upper and lower, with a light gray eyeliner. I like to use Bobbi Brown's eyeshadow in Steel. Get the tip of an angled eyeliner brush damp. Dip it into the eyeshadow and carefully line. Keep the line as thin and close to your lashline as possible.

4. Sweep a gold-toned shadow from lash line to just above the crease of your eye. Rather than choosing a shadow that's sparkly or super-pigmented, choose one that really enhances your eye color. That's where the focus should be! I like Estee Lauder's Pure Color eyeshadow in Ecru Matte.

5. Apply false eyelashes. This step is pretty critical in the glam factor - trust me, they're not as difficult as you may be thinking. I'll be posting a review of my favorite falsies, along with application tips.

6. Last step - lipstick. Go for a creamy lipstick/gloss hybrid in a pink that matches your blush. Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick in Baby Baby is a good choice.

Desperate Housewife of St. Paul

Now, I'm not technically a housewife (I am married, which is more than several of Bravo TV's "real housewives of wherever" can say) and I'm certainly not desperate. But I'm feeling inspired by the concept of housewife. Especially a young, kind of funky housewife which is totally the variety I would be.

Here's my vision of my pretend housewifely self:




The dress reminds me of an apron. And if you're cooking, you need to pull your hair back; hence the dusky rose colored rope headband. I would of course want to dress up a bit for my husband, so the swirly bangle bracelet is my "effort." Quirky flat shoes that are practical yet cute, and a matching bag with plenty of space for coupons and shopping lists. Voila! Housewife chic, Bombshell style.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aaaand It's Over

The shopping ban is officially over. To be honest with you, it was unofficially over on Mother's Day weekend. I made an impromptu road trip to spend the weekend with my mom. Of course we went shopping. Of course we did. I justified it by reasoning that my mom actually bought me a few things - I did not buy them myself. But...it still counts. And then I officially gave up today by purchasing an unnecessary bottle of nail polish. That's right, OPI Chicago Champagne Toast was the end of me and this little experiment.

I had an amazing day today - completely rocked a big presentation at work - the sun was shining, I left work early and really wanted a special treat to celebrate a job well done. So, I headed over to the Trade Secret across the street from my office and picked up a bottle of polish. So, that's that.

I didn't make it to my designated cut off date of May 26th - but I have learned a lot about myself and the sorta, kinda unhealthy relationship I have with shopping. Much like Lays potato chips, I use shopping as a crutch for when I'm bored, tired, sad, mad, happy, bored, bored, and bored. As I mentioned before, shopping was such a habit for me. I was constantly thinking about what to buy next. I received no fewer than 23 (!) emails each day from my favorite retailers with news of sales and deals and limited time offers. And thanks to the shopping ban (abbreviated as it was) I can honestly say that I've turned this behavior around.

For those of you thinking, "Wait a second...didn't you just say you bought nail polish to celebrate an accomplishment? Way to turn things around, Sara." I say that yes, I did that. But I am much more aware of my shopping habits. I feel a little freer now because I don't have the need to buy everything I see. It's pretty great.

I thought that when the ban was over, I would go crazy buying (or thinking about buying) all the things I've not purchased over the past three weeks. Suprisingly, there's nothing I'm rushing out to purchase. We'll see how long that lasts.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Play Up Your Favorite Features

I'm feeling inspired by a post I just read over on Everyday Wear. Written by the uber-gorgeous Veronica, the post is all about turning the old addage "dress to hide your flaws" on its head. Instead, dress with the sole purpose of playing up your favorite feature.

I love that because pulling together outfits to camoflage my veiny legs, double-roll tummy, and kinda flabby arms is boring and demoralizing. I would much rather dress to show off my features, wouldn't you?

So let's make a pact - let's forget about the bad and focus on the good. Because the bad probably isn't as bad as you think it is, anyway. And the good is sooooo good. Who's with me? Let me know what your favorite features are and how you're going to show them off this week! Here's mine:



This beautiful tank features cut-away shoulders the scoop low on the neck - perfect for showing off one my favorite features: my collar bone. I always feel pretty and lady-like when this part of my body is on display.



I'm not the bustiest girl you'll ever meet, but I do like to show off what I have (within my own definition of "reason" and "tasteful" - to each her own!). This high waist dress fits the proportions of my body really well - and the plunging neckline lets me control how much to show off.



I love to play up my eyes - especially with eyeliner and full lashes. I flick my liner up at edge of my lash line, creating a more defined eye shape and flirty lashes. I use Smashbox Jet Set Liner in black to achieve the look.

The clothes:
Kische sequin detail tank from Nordstrom in Lake Blue.

Black and white lace-bodice dress, from Torrid.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Strange Outfit Inspiration

Ok - stick with me here. Even when, in a few sentences, you're pursing your lips saying, "WHAT the heck is she talking about???" Stick with me.

Yesterday, I headed down to the cafeteria at work. I was in search of something delicious, because what I'd brought for lunch was decidedly frozen and bland and not delicious. So clearly, I needed something better. And I came across...strawberry rhubarb pie. It was sooo freaking good. The strawberries and rhubarb mingled perfectly, creating a sweet/tart flavor combination that was delectable. The crust? Perfectly crisp graham cracker, with a hint of butter.

Long after I had finished the pie, I was still thinking about it. Not necessarily wanting to eat more, but I just kind of wanted to be around it. The fact that such an amazing pie existed in the world made everything great. So I started to wonder, "What would a strawberry rhubarb pie look like if it were an outfit?"

It would be:
* Sweet, in a wholesome, girl way
* Tangy, with an unexpected twist
* Pink, obviously. Varying shades of strawberry and rhubarb pink
* A little bit country. My Grandma Ruth makes the best strawberry rhubarb pie in the world; she lives in Nebraska. So it would taste wholesome, like Nebraska.

And here is my visual interpretation of strawberry rhubarb pie:











The clothes:
Tunic from Avenue
Cropped cardigan from Old Navy
Classic capris in truffle brown from Old Navy
Michael Kors gladiator sandal
Sunset necklace from J Crew

Friday, May 7, 2010

Loving What I Have

One of the biggest reasons (you know, aside from saving money) that I decided to take a 30-day breather from shopping is that I got tired of always thinking, "What am I going to buy next?" The next lipstick, pair of shoes, dress, jacket...I felt as though no matter how much I loved whatever I'd just purchased, I immediately began to wonder what I should pick up next. I've been amazed at two things:

1. How much of a habit shopping is for me. I receive so many emails from my favorite brands and retailers, every single day, enticing me with offers.

2. How freeing it is to know that I cannot buy anything until the end of May. I've even slowly begun to unsubscribe to those "SALE" emails...well, from the brands that I don't really care about, anyway.

I've been able to appreciate the things I have so much more, to enjoy them and rediscover some old favorites. Here's a collection of some of the things I've been loving lately:



I have a nail fixation as of late. The color I'm wearing the most is Essie's Splash of Grenadine. It's the perfect lavender pink shade, one of those that I'm asked constantly, 'What color are you wearing?" I picked it up right before the spending freeze - and it was actually free! I redeemed my Ulta points for it.



This is my mom's Mother's Day present. I've had it wrapped and sitting on our counter for over a week now because I'm so happy with the wrap job! The paper is something I unearthed in our hall closet - pretty sure it was bought at Target. The polka dots make me really happy. I hope the contents make Mom very happy!



I picked up this really great tank dress on super clearance from Lane Bryant a while ago. It's not yet been worn (note the tags still on it!) because I'm saving it for something really special coming up in June. More on that soon, but in the meantime I love to pull it out and look at it.



While shopping less, I'm reading more.



And drinking more. Just kidding! Ok, well in all seriousness - I do love chardonnay.



Dove sent me two sticks of the newest additions to the Light Radiance line of deodorant*. I know, it's kind of funny that deodorant has made my list of things that I love. But anyone who's read this blog for a while has noticed my well-documented appreciation for Dove deodorant. What can I say? I'm appreciating the little things. They smell great - I've been using Light Radiance & Sheer Silk - do everything deodorant should do performance-wise, and I've noticed less irritation from shaving.



I've rediscovered a love of Kate Spade bags, right within my very own closet. I bought several Kate bags right out of college. They've been true work horses of function and style for me. This is one of the newest bags I picked up, again right before the freeze. The punchy orange color makes me so happy, and I swear I could fit a baby and a watermelon inside. It's that roomy!



Studded black flats from the store which shall not be named - they go with everything in my closet.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

YSL Gloss - Worth the Splurge?

I have maintained a pretty strict rule about not shelling out lots of cash on lipgloss or lipstick. Foundation, eye shadow - no problem. I'm happy to pay more money for them because I believe I really do get what I pay for: better color pay-off, longer lasting formulas, and lots of use. But lipgloss and lipstick are so easy to use, then lose. Or what's a favorite color one day isn't the next week. However, I've been noticing women (in random places) who have really great, gorgeously glossy lips. Like:

Dina, from the Real Housewives of New Jersey. (I told you, random). Last night, QVC offered a special 3-tube collection of YSL Golden Glosses and I had an epiphany. After watching the sort of pedestrian host of the program completely change herself into a glamour-puss (ok, sort of) with one swipe of the gloss I realized that this product might be the answer to the lips I've been looking for!

But - this gloss is $30 a pop. $30. That is about $21 more than I usually pay. So, I'm taking it to you Bombshells - is it worth it? Who's used YSL gloss and can provide me with a complete overview?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Two Pina Coladas, Please

I've been watching a lot of classic films lately and I think it's influencing my idea of the perfect summer. I envision myself in the spirit of Rita Hayworth, slathering on sunscreen while lounging next to a clear blue ocean as a cabana boy brings me a pina colada every 30 minutes. A vintage bathing suit makes the most of my plus size curves, while easy to throw on pieces make getting dressed for a day at the beach or night on the boardwalk simple and glamourous. These separates come together to illustrate my vision:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oh, People

And by "people", I mean People magazine. A few days ago, I received from Cover Girl's PR rep the exact same photo People magazine has published online. The funny thing about it is that People claims Taylor herself shared this "exclusive" shot with them. It's nice to know that I am just as connected and exclusive as People magazine! (Insert smiley face here because....yeah. I'm not that connected.)

The perpetual 15-year old in me does have a soft spot for Taylor - she's very pretty, of course, and seems like a really nice girl. I think it's interesting that her campaign with Cover Girl is for a new, luxury line of products. I won't really know what that means until I see it, but I am curious as to whether or not a more upscale line will do well for them. I tend to believe that if I'm spending $15-20 on a product available at the drugstore, I might as well just save up a few more dollars and hit the department store or Sephora. How about you?