Monday, January 31, 2011

Everday Bombshell

Today's outfit is a casual look, worn to work and out to dinner with my in-laws. It looks pretty basic, but features a surprising twist...

Casual Jeans Outfit

I know...you're trying to spot the "twist." Here you go!
Lace-back Gap Cardigan

Love this pretty lace-back cardigan.Don't worry, guys - I snipped the tag off right after seeing this picture. And one of my favorite necklaces tops it off.

Lemoncello Necklace

The Outfit:
Cream lace-back cardigan- Gap
Black drapey tank- Lane Bryant
Lemoncello necklace- Lia Sophia
Dark wash jeans- Gap

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beauty Moment- Smashbox All Day Beauty Kit

I'm having fun discovering and playing around with Smashbox cosmetics. Here's a little overview of my thoughts on my first major Smashbox purchase- the All Day Beauty Kit. In the video, I mention several great reasons for ordering online from Smashbox.com...but I forget to include that shipping is FREE in the US. All the time. No code necessary. No minimum.



In the video, I also call the kit the Day to Night Kit..oops. Same concept. It's really called the All Day Beauty Kit.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Great Stripe Experiment

A couple weeks ago, three of my favorite plus size style mavens and I were chatting over Twitter about the latest mini magalog that arrived in our mailboxes from Lane Bryant. It included coupons (yay!) and shots of their newest arrivals.

We all oohed and ahhed over the selection of striped sweaters, and a fun idea was hatched. The four of us bought similar striped sweaters and decided to share how each of us styles the piece. I love this idea because it really goes to show that every woman can put her own spin on an article of clothing.

Kimberly (Fab Finds Under $50)



Kimberly's wearing the long-sleeved v-neck sweater in blue and white. She's paired the sweater with jeans, creating a fun casual outfit. Love the touch of yellow lace peeking out of the bottom of the sweater which adds some visual interest and extra texture. So cute!

Tina (T Minus, T Plus)



Tina's wearing the asymmetric double zip sweater in tonal blue on blue (it's also available in black and white). I like the way Tina used her striped sweater to put a really cool, graphic spin on the ultra-feminine dress and heels. Very stylish, indeed.

Maddy (editor of Plus Model Magazine)



Now, like many of you, Maddy was not too sure about the whole horizontal stripes thing...I hope she's had a change of heart after this! Maddy chose the same V-neck striped sweater as Kimberly, only in black and white. She looks classic and cool, pulling her stripes on over a crisp button down blouse and black pants. This is easy chic at its very best.

Me



Does my sweater look familiar? Yep, I too picked the asymmetric sweater in blue. I pulled mine on over a purple A-line dress, cinched with a belt, and knee-high boots. The stripes make my tailored dress look a little more playful.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Dan told me this morning that my outfit is kind of "50's poodle-y." I'm quite sure he did not mean that I look like a poodle, so I'm taking this as a compliment.



This 1950's-esque outfit came together piece by piece. I knew I was going to wear the skirt, which Tina sent me last week, but wasn't exactly sure how. I pulled my hair up into a bouncy ponytail because, frankly, it was a little limp and I didn't feel like pulling out the styling tools. The skirt looked best with a top tucked in...and a large belt..and voila! Suddenly it's time do the bunny hop or something.

Here's a close up on my earrings which may actually be from the 1950's. They were my Great Grandma Midge's.



The Outfit:
Clip on earrings - Great Grandma Midge
Boatneck tee- Target
Belt- Lane Bryant Outlet
Gingham skirt- from TinaKitten heels - Payless

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Look! I got a new pair of jeans. That brings my current total pair of jeans to...2. Hurray!



I paired my new jeans with an older favorite tank and a new tuxedo jacket. Check out the shiny lapels.



The jeans and jacket came from Gap this weekend. Did you happen upon the crazy "50%-off-already-clearance-priced-items sale?" It was a complete surprise to me - in the best possible way!

Now, Gap is a tough place for me to shop. The overall aesthetic is right up my ally- tailored with feminine details. However, the folks at Gap do not design for my curvy body. Their clothes are by and large intended for women who lack a butt, hips and breasts (or at least the ratio in which those features appear on my body). That's just the way it goes - not every retailer designs for every body type. So I go in, try on anything made of stretchy fabric and call it a day.

Except those jeans...Gap jeans are a tough fit for me, too. But this pair was calling my name from the clearance rack. They're an even, dark wash (no fading or whiskery accents), they're LONG which is hard to find in stores, and I just generally adore them. They're also 2 sizes larger than I typically wear at other stores. Which is a great lesson. Who cares what the tag says if a garment fits? Don't go into a store and grow discouraged if your usual size doesn't fit. Just size up and get on with the business of looking fantastic.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring Ahead with Shoptranslated

As winter peaks & spring begins to sloooowly unfold before us (beginning with the end of sub-zero temperatures, one hopes) so too will the clothes we reach for evolve. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for color. And prints. Colorful prints, please.

More and more spring-inspired pieces are popping up in stores, though with them comes a more immediate issue of how to justify throwing down $$ for clothes that are more appropriate to sunshine and sandals than boots and layers. The key to getting the best of both worlds is choosing accessories that up the versatility of whatever you're going to wear now and later.





These two dresses are part of the INES Collection, available on Shoptranslated and in finer boutiques. Shoptranslated is an online retailer specializing in really gorgeous, body conscious clothes in sizes 10-30. Most of the clothes are fitted to show off a curvy body and accentuate the waist, and include a selection of cozy sweaters, unique tops with interesting details, and silky mini and maxi dresses.

Shoptranslated is offering 40% off orders of $75 or more through the end of the month. Just enter coupon code jan2011 upon checkout.

Look 1
INES Sleeveless Dress - compliments of Shoptranslated

Look 2
INES Meridian Print Dress - compliments of Shoptranslated

Is Plus Size "One Size?"

I came across this video on Facebook and wanted to get your take on it. At the Just My Size style symposium that happened in NYC this fall, a few of my favorite bloggers were asked to address the question, "Is Plus Size One Size?"



Those of us who fall into that particular category may feel one way or another about the term "plus size." It doesn't bother me, personally, but I do think that a lot of less understanding brands who attempt to offer plus sizes look at all of us as one size.

Think about the spreads that a lot of mainstream magazines put together, showing how to dress different body types. They typically showcase a variety of body types like straight up and down, large bust, curvy hips...and then they'll throw in the very general "plus size".

That's nice and all, but I'm not just plus size. I'm plus size with curvy hips and a small bust. Oftentimes, I'll find the token plus- size suggestions to be less helpful than the more specific advice offered to those other body types. Instead, I find myself skimming over the plus size suggestions, appreciating them more for the fact that I'm seeing a plus size model in print alongside straight size models. Then I go read the style advice for the straight size model whose body best fits my proportions, adapting it to better fit my size.

What are your thoughts? Do you understand your own body shape? Or do you choose clothes simply by what fits?

Beauty Moment- Stila's Adventurous in Aspen Palette

This past fall/winter, Stila released a series of palettes that I immediately glommed on to. Each one includes 4 eyeshadows and one convertible color (for lips and cheeks).

The palettes helped me break out of a makeup rut that I'd been in for a while - using the same shades (even if I bought them at different counters!) over and over, in the same way over and over. I learned a lot about how the shades in each palette, while appearing overly dramatic at first glance, are extremely wearable when blended together. Case in point? The Adventurous in Aspen palette.





The convertible color is a very pale, sheer pink shade called Rosy. And from the top left, the eyeshadows are:
* Glisten - burnished gold
* Snow Angel- glimmery lavender
* Ajax- gold flecked black
* icicles - navy blue

I looked at this palette and thought, "Uhm...how do I make purple/gold/navy blue work together?" It was a lot easier than I thought:





After evening out my complexion with Bobbi Brown's foundation stick, I covered up my under-eye circles with Bobbi's Corrector & Creamy Concealer. Then I dotted the Rosy convertible color onto the apples of my cheeks and blended the color up toward my temples with a fluffy powder brush.

For the eyes, I patted Snow Angel onto my entire eyelid. Then I pressed Glisten onto the inner half of my lower lid, starting from the tearduct and stopping just about my iris. I tapped Icicles into the crease, focusing at the outside corner of my eye. Then I put a little Glisten onto a fluffy shadow brush and swept it over my entire lower lid to help blend all the colors together. Ajax was my liner shade, defining my upper and lower lash liner.

I swiped a touch of Rosy convertible color on my lips, then topped it with a very pale pink gloss. Voila! Intimidating colors mastered.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that my friend Tina sent me a big box of clothes that she'd accumulated and ended up not working out for her. She had lots of really cute pieces that I can't wait to show you; the first of which is this sweater dress. This is the dress that prompted her to put together a package for me - I'd mentioned how much I want one but hadn't been able to find the right. Lucky for me, she had the right one sitting in her closet!



I played it pretty safe for this first wearing, opting for my lime green scarf shot through with silver threads and leggings. I have lots of ideas for future wearings, though. I also wore my cocktail ring which got me thinking...I should get more cocktail rings! Funny how you can suddenly attach to something and decide, 'Yes...I need more of this in my life.'

The Outfit:
Gray cableknit sweater dress - Old Navy Plus (via Tina)
Green scarf- from my friend, Beth
Black leggings - Lane Bryant
Suede booties - Payless
Silver bangles - Karma
Cocktail ring - gift from Lane Bryant

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Whaaat?

Tina recently introduced me to a new blog, The Clothed Commuter, written by the very fun and funny Tiffany. She's refreshingly real and lacks the vanity that would prevent her from posting pictures of herself caught in the act of doing some funny things like dancing on the fireplace. Love that.

Tina, Kimberly and I decided to do a sort of homage to Tiffany by copying what Tina has dubbed her "farting in the fireplace" pose. Welcome to the blogging community, Tiffany. We already love ya!*

View the original here.
View Tina's homage here.
And here's mine...



Note - I don't have a fireplace, so I had to pose next to my own heating source...the wall furnace.



The Outfit:Gray sweatshirt blazer- Gap
Lace trim tunic - LucieLu
Leggings- Lane Bryant
Jeweled belt- Lane Bryant
Black kitten heels- Payless
Filigree earrings- Fred Flare
Cuff bracelet- Lia Sophia

*I was lazy and excerpted portions of this post from Tina's.

Everyday Bombshell



I had fun mixing up a few patterns with today's outfit. Despite the fact that I have stripes, a floral-esque pattern (in the red sash) and a sorta-animal print all playing together, this works because the two main patterns are within the same color pattern. They're also grounded with the black cotton cardigan which helps tie it all together. I felt pretty saucy walking around all day in this one.

The Outfit:

Striped tee - Apt 9
Black cotton blazer- Old Navy
Printed ponte knit skirt- Lane Bryant
Red sash- Target
Gray flats- Payless
Mixed metal necklace- Lane Bryant
Black metal bracelet - Lia Sophia

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

It's been a very ruffle-y week so far. Might as well keep the streak alive. In fact, how about ruffles on ruffles?


This black dress is another new addition, thanks to a massive closet clean-out that Stephanie did back in December. (Uhm, if you'd like to clean out your closet again...just saying!). It's the softest cotton that will transition really nicely into spring and summer by stripping off a few extra layers.

The dress is also a bit shorter than I normally wear. But I've been thinking lately that I'd like to venture into short skirt territory. I'm only 30. Nothing wrong with showing off a little leg. Granted, this is a short skirt paired with tights. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

The Outfit:
Black ruffle dress- Alfani, Macy's (via Stephanie)
Purple ruffle top - Gap
Tights - Merona, Target
Ballet flats- Designershoes.com
Believe necklace - Red Envelope
Hammered hoop earrings - Lia Sophia

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Everyday Bombshell



Clearly, I've been all about the leggings this winter. Which has been quite a surprise to me. I was late jumping on the legging bandwagon, not owning a pair until last spring. I'd always thought I hated the way leggings cut off at the ankle..."Who wants to show off her ankles?" Or, God forbid, at the calf.

But this winter, I've eschewed tights in favor of leggings because I really like the ballerina look that they lend to outfits like this one. I feel very, "Oh, just threw this on to leave the dance studio." Nevermind that I've not been inside a dance studio since 1995 when I had to take private ballet lessons in order to cure a tendency to slouch around in a most awkward, ungraceful fashion (shout out to Leslie Wood's Dance Academy in York, NE!).

The Outfit:
Ruffle wrap dress- gift from LucieLu
Black layering tee- Old Navy
Leggings - Lane Bryant
Mary Jane heels- Payless
Mixed metal necklace- gift from Lane Bryant
Gold metal cuff bracelet- Lia Sophia

Monday, January 17, 2011

Best of the Golden Globes (According to Me)

Big trends on the red carpet last night included sparkles, tulle,defined shoulders, black, matching dress to skintone, and emerald green. Why is this important to all of us regular Bombshells? Because these trends will influence the colors and clothes that start popping up on our racks in the season or two ahead.

Best Old Hollywood - Hope Davis
Best Shoulder Definition - Melissa Leo
Best Sparkles- Amber Riley
Best Emerald Green - Milla Kunis
Best One I Like for No Particular Reason - Jayma Mays
Best in Tulle - Mandy Moore
Best at Matching Her Skin (and Hair) Tone - Tilda Swinton
Best in Black - Eva Longoria
Best Tux- Kevin McHale
Best at Being Herself - Helena Bonham Carter
Best Over 50 (which isn't entirely fair because she looked great, period...but I couldn't think of any other title) - Jane Lynch
Best Princess Dress- Olivia Wilde



Whose outfit did you like best?

Everyday Bombshell

I'm so excited to show you what I wore this past Friday. It's one of my new favorite outfits:



I've worn several variations on the lower half of this look (denim skirt, leggings, my slouchy boots), so the top is clearly what I'm in love with. It was another hand-me-down from my ultra stylish friend, Stephanie. I love the icy lavender shade of this sweater, and the ruffled shoulders are so unique. I didn't realize until a few days ago that the top is from Victoria's Secret- surprise! Had no idea their clothes would actually fit me.

The Outfit:
Purple sweater - Victoria's Secret (by way of Stephanie)
Purple belt - Merona, Target
Denim skirt- Old Navy
Leggings - Lane Bryant
Boots - Payless
Gunmetal earrings - Lia Sophia
Bracelet - Lia Sophia

Friday, January 14, 2011

One Dress, Two Looks

For as luxurious as it might be to have a closet packed full of pieces worn exclusively for either casual or dress-up events, that's just not me. For one thing, I don't have the closet space. And for another, I demand more out of my clothes - versatility is a must if you want to earn a spot on one of my hangers.

Here's a great example of finding ways to convert pieces that you might not consider workable for both day and evening. Both looks are built around a very saucy dress from City Chic.

The dress features a sexy plunging neckline and body concious curves - perfect for date night or a cocktail party.



But with a few simple swaps, this dress is a great day option for work. A long belted sweater covers up any extra cleavage and skin, effectively creating the illusion of a striped camisole and pencil skirt underneath. Red flats and a whimsical bangle bracelet add those extra casual touches needed to really sell the outfit.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beauty Moment- All About Serums

Skincare has become a top priority for me since I turned 30 almost a year ago. Since then, I've become much more aware of moisturization, sunscreen, and have dipped my toes into the realm of "anti-aging" products...just a bit. One product category that I've heard a lot of buzz about is serum.

There are tons of skin serums on the market these days, and I've tried a couple but will admit that I didn't really understand what the products were doing or what was in them. So I of course got tired of that one extra step in my skincare routine and quit using them.

As my 31st birthday looms before me (next month), I thought I'd revisit serums (just in case they really are the key to eternal youth...not that I want to look 30 when I'm 50). But this time, I decided to arm myself with a little more information before slapping one on.

I went to a great resource at my favorite skincare brand, Mario Badescu, for the scoop on serums. Nicole Darmanin, spokesperson for Mario Badescu Skin Care, sat down and answered all the questions I could think of about serums.

What does a serum do that really makes it worthwhile to add one more step to a skincare routine?

In general I think the word serum is most often associated with anti aging products; however there are many serum formulations on the market that address other skin issues. Most often serums are formulated to penetrate deeper into the skin than a moisturizer and are intended to be applied to the skin before the moisturizer. If you have a skin issue that needs special attention, like fine lines, acne, extreme dryness or discoloration a serum could take your skin care routine to the next level.

At what point should someone start using a serum? Are they more or less beneficial to people at different ages?

There is no specific age to start using a serum, it all depends on what your skin care needs are.

Mario Badescu carries 7 different serums. Of these, which would be best for someone in her 20's, her 30/40's, and then beyond?

20’s – Anti Acne Serum, adults can have acne at any age but many 20-somethings still experience the same breakouts that they had in their teens.

30’s- The Herbal Hydrating is great for a person in their 30’s, it helps to balance the skin’s moisture levels, and since there is no oil in the formulation it doesn’t congest the skin. It’s great for frequent fliers and for skin that is unbalanced due to pregnancy.

40’s and 50’s- For those who have visible sun damage in the form of discoloration, dullness and fine lines I would recommend the Vitamin C Serum. For those who are noticing a loss of elasticity in the skin I would recommend the Cellufirm Drops.

Keep in mind that these are generalizations, we have plenty of clients in their 20’s who use the Vitamin C Serum and clients in their 40’s who use the Anti Acne Serum. It really depends on the individual’s skin type.

If I've never used a serum before, what should I look for? A specific ingredient or benefit?

The best advice I can give you when shopping for any skin care is to consult with a skin specialist. There is truly no one size fits all in skin care. Mario Badescu offers a consultation service on www.mariobadescu.com . All you have to do is fill out a short skin questionnaire and we will send you a complimentary sample regimen of products to try.

So there you have it - everything you need to know about serums. Since I use Mario Badescu products, I went through the questionnaire Nicole referred to, and my recommended serum was the Herbal Hydrating Serum. So I'll pick up a bottle and give it a go. Even if you don't use Mario products, I'll bet you could get an idea for what type of serum you should be using by way of their questionnaire; then you could take your results to whichever brand of skincare you do use for product recommendations.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Everyday Bombshell



I love a good print, for so many reasons. A print with a solid accent around the bust and waist can do wonders for defining curves. It's something interesting to look at. And a print can draw the eye away from my red, chapped, "I've-been-blowing-my-nose-for-three-days" face. Well done, print.

The Outfit:
Printed wrap-style dress- Alfani (via my friend, Stepanie - thanks, Steph!)
Black cotton cardigan - Lane Bryant
Black leggings- Gap
Pointed toe kitten heels- Payless
Gold "Believe" necklace- Red Envelope
Gold dangly earrings - Fred Flare

Dear Bombshell

Dear Bombshell-
So, last year, Lee bought me a cobalt blue, small, patent leather Coach bag with light tan leather straps. I love it, but I don't carry it much since it feels fancier than what I wear normally. I know Lee would love it if I used it more. What is your take? Is it okay to carry a fancy little bag on an average day knowing the type of dresser I am?

- Kimmers


It's certainly not out of the question to carry a smaller, more elegant purse during the day. In fact, I'll often tuck a smaller purse into the large cross-body bag that I carry to the office on a daily basis. It's nice to pull out the small bag and run to lunch or pop over to the mall with just my keys, wallet and cell phone.



I happen to know that this is the exact purse in question:



So cute! I'm guessing that what might be tripping you up is the fact that this is not a purse that'll fade into the background of whatever you might be wearing it with. And I think that's a good thing! Blue is a surprisingly neutral color in that there aren't many other colors that it clashes with. It "goes" with a lot of different color palettes.

And while the shiny patent leather might seem difficult to work with, it's actually a really great way to work a little texture into an outfit. And if you recall, adding texture is one of my fashion new year's resolutions! My one suggestion would be to avoid pairing the patent leather bag with any other patent leather pieces, like shoes. That would be a bit much.

Here are a few outfit ideas that I've put together, inspired by the classic-yet-casual looks I know you favor.



My best advice? Just take a leap and start carrying the purse. You'll get more comfortable with it in due time. Let me know how it goes, Kimmers!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Carmakoma - Boost Your Carma

"Size is a number, confidence is a choice," fuels Carmakoma's short film in which a gorgeous Bombshell playfully starts her day with some really fabulous clothes (and hair...and makeup). I call this Bombshell eye-candy because it's always a boost to see a plus size woman depicted in film; especially when she's being shown as beautiful while going about her everyday business.



Carmakoma is a plus size brand that has mastered the utilitarian chic look. The line is largely comprised of black separates that, while styled on the site as very modern and edgy, could easily melt into a more feminine wardrobe. After combing through their spring Look Book, I've found no fewer than...oh, 75 pieces I'd like to play around with. Carmakoma has a massive sale going on now to clear the way for all these new spring items, so click here to shop now.

Stylish Curves pulled together a look at Carmakoma's Spring Look Book, so click here to check it out. But beware...you're going to be aching for spring to get here once you see all these cute clothes!

Everyday Bombshell

Instead of starting with the entire outfit today, I'm going to first show you my favorite part of what I'm wearing:



In getting dressed today, I started with the purse. It was a Christmas present, and I've got to say this bright blue leather bag makes me smile. As for the rest of the outfit?



Not bad, either. I felt especially saucy in my booties. I might have even caught myself strutting once or twice throughout the course of the day.

The Outfit:
Purse- Tignanello Perfect 10 Studded Shopper
Long sleeved black tee- Merona
Denim zip up dress- Lucie Lu
Black leggings - Lane Bryant
Print print scarf- Old Navy
Black fold-over booties- Payless