Friday, October 29, 2010

Bold Beautiful Curvy Fashion Show

Last night, my friend Stephanie and I attended a fun event here in Minneapolis. It was the Bold Beautiful Curvy plus size fashion show. The show featured a mix of clothing, ranging from wedding dresses and a couple formal options from Saks Off 5th & Second Debut; very cool dresses and separates from ArielSimone; and swimsuits fromNani Nalu. Yep - the gorgeous plus size models strutted their stuff in swimsuits. And let me tell you: these ladies were working it. The crowd was enthusiastic, in large part because the models looked like they were having such a good time.

Click below to see a slideshow of a pictures I took at the show:

Bombshell Review: C. enne V

C. enne. V is an independent plus size clothing label based out of Los Angeles. The line was created by Cheyenne Valenzuela, a plus size woman who wanted the option of sexy, stylish, well-made clothing - pieces that she wasn't seeing in stores back in 2005.

Cheyenne and I share a similar mindset about being plus size. My body is out there, everyone can see it, I'm not going to fool anyone into thinking I'm skinny. Why bother with clothes that either hide everything or just don't feel good? So the clothes made by C.enne.V are all about a body concious fit and fabrics that flow over curves and feel nice. The company was kind enough to send me a dress to try out so I could tell you what I think. I chose the Flutter Sleeve Knee Length dress in black:

Worn with the matching sash that comes with the dress.

Swapped in my own belt.

I like this dress. A lot. The fabric is substantial enough that it moves with my body instead of clinging to my hips or tummy. The drape neckline is sexy, though versatile. I experimented with pulling the neckline forward to create a plunging effect; and was also able to adjust it back on my shoulders enough to provide more coverage. I think it would fit a lot of body types really well.

I also like all the detail the site provides around the sizing chart and how the clothes fit. For example, it's noted that the Flutter Sleeve dress is more fitted and recommends sizing up if you're in between. That kind of information makes me feel confident in ordering from them. Here's what I have my eye on:

Can I just say that I've never once looked at a jumpsuit and thought, "You know what? Yes!" until now. The jumpsuit above caught my eye and I'm incredibly intrigued... Anyway - if you're familiar with C. enne. V let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you're looking for feminine, body concious clothing - check them out. And be sure to zoom in on the details of the patterned pieces. The patterns are more interesting than they appear in the product shots.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Everyday Bombshell

Layers were in order today, thanks to a serious drop in the outside temperature and blizzard-like winds (minus the snow, thankfully!). Tights and booties, a three-quarter length jacket over a snuggly tee shirt; everything works together to make my lightweight cotton skirt seasonless. I love that.

The Outfit:
Triple strand pearl necklace - QVC
Black cotton jacket- Lane Bryant
Gray layering tee - Old Navy
Plaid skirt- Lucie Lu
Tights - Target
Faux suede booties - Payless

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Everyday Bombshell

It's a rare day that I wake up and think, "I'd like to wear pants today." And yet, that's exactly what happened today. I own one pair of trousers; they're a charcoal black, slouchy, wide-legged pair from Gap. I paired them with my Kiyonna Ashley Tie-front top, made work-appropriate with a long sleeved tee layered underneath:

The Outfit:
Purple Ashley tie-front top - gifted by Kiyonna
Black long sleeved tee- Old Navy
Dress pants - Gap
Limoncello necklace- Lia Sophia
Kitten heels- Payless

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Everyday Bombshell

There's just something about knee boots, right? They have the ability to add a little spunk and kickiness to any outfit. And let me tell you - there's been a shortage of spunk and kickiness in my life lately. I firmly believe in the old adage, "Fake it 'til you make it." And these boots are definitely help me make it:

The Outfit:
Chocolate pearls- a gift from Dan (from Arthur's Jewelers)
Black silky strapless dress- Lane Bryant
Denim blazer- Liz Claiborne
Reversible belt- Gap
Brown boots- Avenue

Monday, October 25, 2010

Turn Your LBD into 3 Halloween Costumes

There are a lot of really cute plus size Halloween costumes available at costume shops, but (call me old fashioned) I like to create my own costumes with pieces in my own closet. The past two years running I've created completely different costumes using my little black dress as the foundation. And I plan to use it again this year.

Two years ago, I paired my LBD with feathery wings, a halo and ethereal eye makeup to dress as an angel. Last year, I used the same dress to great effect with strands of pearls, oversize sunglasses, and a bouffant hairdo with a crystal necklace as a tiara to channel Audrey Hepburn a'la Breakfast at Tiffany's.

This year, I'll be going as a sexy Jessica Rabbit-inspired Little Red Riding Hood: black dress, ultra high heels, and a red cape. If you haven't decided on a costume yet, pull out your little black dress and get creative with extras found in your closet and at your local party shop.

Some of the accessories in these Polyvore sets are incredibly overpriced, so I'm certainly not suggesting you spend tons of money on them. They're simply illustrative of the types of accessories you could look for.

Beauty Stash - Macademia Healing Oil Treatment

The Moroccan Oil craze passed me by completely; I'm one of the few people in the fashion/beauty world who did not snap up bottle after bottle of the insanely popular argan oil blend known for making many hair types more manageable, frizz free, and stronger. I don't know why I never made a point to seek out this particular product but for whatever reason, I did not. So when I spied a small bottle of something called Macademia Healing Oil Treatment during an Ulta run, I figured it was better late than never that I give hair oil a try.

Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment is a blend of macadamia seed oil, argania kernel oil, and a couple unnatural smoothing ingredients like dimethicone. The oil smells musky and nutty, but not overpowering. It can be used several different ways: applied to dry hair as a finishing touch to your style; combed through wet hair before blow drying to increase smoothness and manageability; combined in the shower with an everyday condition to create a moisturizing hair treatment; and even applied to hair before a color treatment to make hair more responsive to absorbing the color.

I can't vouch for the hair oil's efficacy in enhancing a color treatment, but I did try all the other recommended uses for it. I really like this product. It makes my hair feel stronger and thicker, especially when I rub a pea-sized amount on the ends after styling. I did not like mixing the oil with my conditioner to create an ultra-moisturizing treatment. I experimented with different ratios of conditioner to oil and could never come up with a mixture that moisturized without leaving a greasy feel to my hair once it was dry.

One other con? There's no applicator included with the bottle I purchased (.34 oz for $6). So it takes a steady hand to pour out just the right amount of oil. I picked up a cheap little dropper from the pharmacy section of Target because I knew I'd eventually have a serious mishap resulting in Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment all over the bathroom.

So, I do like this oil for:
Combing a pea-sized amount through wet hair, pre-blow drying.
Rubbing a slightly less than pea-sized drop over the ends of my hair, post styling.

I do not like this oil for:
Mixing with conditioner to create a moisturizing treatment.

Have you tried both Moroccan Oil and Macadamia Oil? If so, which one did you like better. Should I give Moroccan oil a try?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank You

So many thanks to each and every one of you who posted a comment or sent me an email after yesterday's post. Each every one you have brought comfort to my family. Thank you for your support.

Tony was unable to attend Jess's funeral, but he was up and walking around at the hospital yesterday. It's a lot to comprehend, and we know he will get through this with the love and prayers of family, friends, and those who've not met him alike. I can't thank you enough.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No outfit of the day today, or report on what's made its way into my beauty stash. I won't be answering any questions or Polyvoring outfit ideas for what to wear to somewhere. Instead, I want to tell you about my cousin Tony and his wife Jessica. They got married over Labor Day, just a few weeks ago. I've never seen my cousin so happy. He has this huge smile that slowly spreads across his face, lighting up the room. Jessica's got the same kind of smile. They smile a lot around each other. It's cute.

They're both super achievers - Tony's a golf pro who's worked as an instructor for ESPN, and is an assistant coach for the Nebraska Husker golf team. Jess is a fundraiser for the University of Nebraska. They're both the kind of people who really live life, and it's been fun to see them living their lives together.

Last weekend, they caught a movie near their home in Omaha. Jess was driving them home; they were going to eat some birthday cake that she had brought home from her niece's party earlier in the day. They sat at a stoplight a few blocks from their house and when their light turned green, Jess pulled their car into the intersection.

At that moment, a drunk driver sped through his own red light and slammed into Jess and Tony's car.

The driver is an 18-year old repeat offender. He was arrested for DUI in August and was still making his way through the system on that charge. He was hurt, too, though not seriously thankfully. He's been arrested, and so was the 28 year old adult who provided this minor with alcohol before he hit the road on a suspended license.

It took over an hour for paramedics and rescuers to free Jessica from the car. She was without oxygen all that time. She and Tony were rushed to the hospital where Tony had emergency surgery and Jessica remained in a coma. They lay side-by-side in Intensive Care for days; Tony asking everyone who came in and out of the unit to pray for his wife. Prayers pored in for the two of them; from friends, family and strangers alike.

After three days, Jessica died. She was 26 years old. She died just like she lived: with love and grace. Jess was an organ donor who gave the gift of live to three other individuals.

Tony's physical injuries are being tended to at the hospital, still. He'll be released for a few hours today to attend his young wife's funeral. And then he'll go back to the hospital, climb into his bed and continue recovering.

I physically hurt for Tony - I can't imagine what he's dealing with. Actually, I can imagine it; and what's going through my head is so incredibly scary and awful. But I believe, my family believes, there's a reason for all this. We don't know why, we don't know what's the plan but there is a reason. Maybe one of the three people whose lives Jessica saved will end up saving someone else...and someone else...and someone else in some way. Maybe they'll cure cancer.

Or maybe Jess and Tony's story will inspire someone not to drink and drive. Or buy alcohol for a minor. Or maybe it will inspire someone else to become an organ donor. And the chain of giving will go on and on. I don't know.

What I do know is that my heart is heavy and my outfit of the day today is funeral appropriate. I hope to be back in the swing of things here on Bombshell Beauty next week. Until then, hug the ones you love. Don't drink and drive. And consider becoming an organ donor, Bombshells.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Everyday Bombshell

Today, I'm going to start with the picture and editorialize after you see it. Be on the lookout for something...different. Ready?

Did you spot the "what's different?" My hair - it's red now. I love being a redhead. It's something I've dabbled in before but I've never had the confidence to really go for it until now. I kind of match my adorable nephew who is an authentic ginger (although neither of us his parents really are...go figure.) It's my personal opinion that the key to really selling a major change in hair color is to color the eyebrows, too. Have you ever made a big color change? If so, how did it turn out?

The outfit:
Gold medallion necklace - Lane Bryant
Teal wrap dress- Target (via my Mom- thanks, Mom!)
Ruched leggings - Lane Bryant
Gold bangle bracelet- Lia Sophia
Black ballet flats- Designer

Friday, October 15, 2010

Everyday Bombshell

Do you have anything in your closet that you consistently forget how much you love? For me, that piece is this reversible skirt. I always feel so good in it; probably because of the ultra-flouncy hem. Nothing makes striding down the hallway at work more fun than a swishy, flouncy skirt.

The Outfit:
Ruffled bolero jacket - Lane Bryant
White crew neck tee - Gap
Reversible skirt- Lane Bryant
Bib necklace- Forever 21's accessories store...whatever it's called
Kitten heels- Payless

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pretty in Polka Dots- Review of Lucie Lu Margeaux Dress

One misconception that I think is still pretty common among plus size women is that we don't have enough clothing options readily available in size 14+. Ok, I'll concede with the fact that we don't have as many options as our straight size counterparts. But there are so many amazing brands out there, trying to create clothes that will help each of us fully express ourselves through fashion and style. One of my favorites is Lucie Lu.

It started with the Tatum dress, which I stumbled across online a few months ago, then spied in person at Bombshell Boutique. That dress represented something that resonated with me: feminine and flirty, a little sexy, unique and on-trend but still classic. I saw it and thought, "Yes. Yes! That's me."

After the Tatum dress, I bought the Delaney skirt direct from the Lucie Lu website. I was floored by how quickly I received my order and was thrilled to receive a handwritten note from Lucie herself. One thing led to another and she was kind enough to send me the Margeaux dress to review for you guys.

You might recognize the Margeaux dress from Lucky Magazine. It was featured in the magazine a couple months ago. It's a really great faux wrap dress, made of the softest knit and adorned with an ultra-feminine ruffle detail along the neckline and bust. The dress is available in four colors: Blue Iris, Pin Dot, Autumn, and Perfect Teal.

I chose the Pin Dot print, which is black with a black on gray polka dot pattern along the ruffles and sash.

I felt amazing in this dress; very powerful in a sexy librarian way. I played it safe for this first wearing, pulling on a pair of nude heels, Grandma Ruth's pine cone pendant and sporting a twisty ponytail. This dress is ripe for a variety of styling options: a brightly colored long sleeved tee and heels; a punchy cardigan with tights and boots; and different jewelry will all go a long way in extending its versatility. I can't wait to play!

Dear Bombshell...

Hi Sara-
I've always thought belts on plus size girls was a total no-no. Just like tucking shirts in! But you wear belts a lot and so I was just wondering if there are any rules or advice to follow for wearing one.

Thanks! And you look so cute.
Kate P.

Hi Kate-
I thought the same thing you did for a long time - that I couldn't wear a belt without drawing attention to my stomach rolls and hips. Wrong! Belts create curves and add shapeliness to any body type!

The key is to find a belt that proportionally fits your body. I don't look my best in super skinny belts, and I tend to think many plus size women will find that to be true for them as well. I think of it like this: On my body, with my surface area, a belt has to be substantial enough to hold its own or its impact will be completely lost. This is, of course, not a hard and fast rule so be sure to try a skinny belt out for yourself.

I like the way a medium-width or wide belt look on my figure. When cinched right around my rib cage, which is the narrowest part of my torso, a belt defines my waist and makes me look more balanced. Belts are essential for a plus size woman who doesn't want to appear too boxy, or who wants to wear flowy tops & dresses.

If you're just starting a belt collection, I recommend buying a reversible leather version first. It's like two belts (black on one side, brown on the other) in one. Then branch out into various colors and textures - red, stretchy, metal, etc. Once you start buying belts, you'll be amazed at how easily they incorporate into your wardrobe!

You can find belts in sizes 14+ at most plus sized retailers these days, including Torrid, Lane Bryant, and Target. Here are a few of my favorites:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Everyday Bombshell

A touch of animal print is all it takes to transform an outfit of neutrals into something fun and chic. Must add more animal print accessories into my wardrobe. For now, the zebra print belt will have to hold down the fort:

The Outfit:

White ribbed tank - Gap
Navy linen dress- Old Navy
Zebra print belt- Target
Black cashmere cardigan- Gap
Kitten heels- Payless
Amethyst necklace- Grandma Kappy's

And also a look at my makeup. I went minimal today, choosing to wear only five products:
1. Under-eye concealer
2. Face powder
3. A bright pink blush
4. Mascara
5. Pink lipgloss

If you've never believed it before, these pre-and post-makeup shots are convincing proof that just a little makeup makes a big difference!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beauty Stash- Gift Baskets

I have a soft spot for Martha Stewart. I'm not good at crafting and I'm not even close to a perfectionist, but there's something incredibly appealing to me about all things Martha. I caught her on Oprah last week and it was a great episode. I mean come on - Oprah actually asked Martha, "Did you get my letters in prison?"

Martha presented Oprah with an amazing gift basket packed full of home made jams and Mario Badescu products. Here's a snippet of that segment, in case you missed it:

Isn't that a gorgeous presentation? Who wouldn't want to receive something like that? I love giving gift baskets because they have such an, "Ooooh-ahhhh" factor that's fun for the recipient (and the gift giver!).

With that in mind, I came up three different beauty-product packed gift baskets I'd like to give. I like to use tin pails instead of wicker baskets - I think it's a nice, modern twist on the traditional basket.

For Mom-

My mom likes her beauty rituals to be quick and fuss-free. So the products I picked for her all multi-task and pack a lot of punch without a lot of effort:

For My BFF:

My best friend works like crazy and has a super-busy life. Taking time out for herself to recharge is essential. So I picked products that are as luxurious as they are fun to use:

For a Hostess
It's a really nice gesture to show your appreciation for a hostess's effort in pulling together a party by bringing a gift meant just for her, once all the guests are gone. I chose a collection of neutral beauty products that will make a fun treat for most any hostess: