Friday, July 29, 2011

What I Want Now

Have you noticed...fall is slowly making its way into our fashion magazines, onto the websites of our favorite retailers, and is popping up in-stores across the mall. Although it's 100 degrees out, the fashion world is ready for 65 and a bite in the air.

I'm so ready for that, too. Based on the early fall offerings that I'm seeing, here's what I want now.

Lucy Caped Jumpsuit by Monif C

I can't see myself wearing this cotton sateen jumpsuit. Ever. In a million years. But gahhh! I want to. That is the perfect shade of camel for fall. And it's sooo 1970's fabulous. This is something that Alissa, from Stylish Curves, needs to wear so I can live it vicariously through her.

Military Crop Cardi by City Chic

I can't get enough of cropped cardigans and jackets, thanks to the way they visually cinch in my waist. This military-inspired version is a great fall staple that would add a little edge to the most feminine of pencil skirts and full dresses.

Riviera Style Kimono top by Shop Translated

Fall fashion is all about ladylike looks that are understated, but sexy. Could there be any more perfect description than "ladylike sexy" for this lace kimono top?

Sash Waist Cotton Poplin Dress by eShakti

Fall means rich jewel tones, like this gorgeous emerald green dress. Made in a crisp poplin, it's the perfect transition dress. Light enough cotton in case of a late September heat wave, but substantial enough to stand up to layering a thin black tee underneath. If you're not familiar with eShakti- prepare yourself for a serious obsession. You can have their designs custom fit to your exact seriously low prices, considering.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sale at Sealed with a Kiss!

Take 25% off these items through this weekend. Enter promo code Oohlala at checkout.

Everyday Bombshell

This dress wrinkles terribly. But even knowing that by noon it'll look like I ironed horizontal pleats across my waist doesn't deter me from wearing it. I just love the crisp navy on white combined with the full, fluttery sleeves.

I had a little fun with my eye makeup today, too. While flipping through a back issue of Lucky magazine, I came across an early summer advertisement for Sephora. The model's eyes were double lined - closest to the lash line was a bright royal blue; a lighter pool blue was lined right above it. The effect was striking and pretty. I wondered if I could pull it off...especially for work. Guess what?

I did! I choose two shades of green eyeshadow, since I don't have a dark blue eyeshadow or liner. I used Peacock and Dragonfly, both by mark. I kept the rest of my makeup subdued because I didn't want too much color going on for a day look.

Peacock is in the top left corner, Dragonfly is the second from right on the bottom.

I brought the dark green shade (Peacock) down under my eyes, lining halfway to the inner corner. Then I took the light green shade (Dragonfly) from the mid-point to the inner corner.

The Outfit:
Contrast Cap Sleeve Dress- Forever 21+
Zebra print belt- Target (Merona brand)
Nude Comfortview Carrie sandals- Jessica London
Silver monogram necklace- Tiffany & Co
Sapphire & diamond earrings - gift from Dan (via Arthur's Jewelers)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trends I Just Don't Get

I love the fact that there are so many options in plus size clothing. Honestly, I do. And I also love to see women strutting their stuff in styles that differ from my own. But there are some trends that absolutely puzzle me.

Flared Jeggings

Dark Wash Denim Flared Jegging - Lane Bryant

By definition (according to what I know of fashion and a legging is a close-fitting pant. And a jegging is a made-up fashion word which combines jeans and leggings- i.e. a legging that looks like tight jeans. So where the heck does a loose-fitting flared jegging fit into this picture? I really feel like Lane Bryant is trying to pull one over on me with this one. Or capitalize on the fact that women are more interested in buying jeggings than regular, old flared jeans.

Harem Pants

Jersey Jogger Capri's- Forever 21

I don't understand the proportions of the harem pant. Baggy around the crotch and through the legs, then cinched in at the thickest part of the leg. It's just...incongruent. I'm most perplexed by this trend being translated into sweatpants, which I'm seeing more and more often.

Cinder Block Shoes

Jeffrey Campbell 'Zealous' Pump- Nordstrom

I'm all about shoes that make you seem taller, longer, more imposing. But I'm not at all about shoes that look heavy as cinder blocks in order to achieve the effect of great height. They're so incredibly stumpy, cutting off right at the ankle. Unless I'm being fitted by the mob for a swim with the fishies, I'll forgo this trend.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

My friend Stephanie gave me a hard time about this outfit. I emailed her at work saying, "Guess what I'm wearing today?"

Jeans! You guys know I rarely wear jeans or, for that matter, pants of any sort. Stephanie's reaction made me laugh. Instead of commending me for finally wearing a pair of jeans, dammit, she replied back..."You choose to wear jeans when it's 90 degrees out?" Fair enough. But I wanted to wear my new Laura top. Its billowy shape that flares out under the bust calls for something fitted at the hips. Jeans seemed like a good choice. And so they were...just not in 90 degree heat.

On the upside - new shoes!

These espadrilles have been on back order at Jessica London for ages, and just finally arrived. They were worth the wait.

The Outfit:
Laura top - c/o Sealed with a Kiss
Dark jeans- Gap
Pearl earrings- York Jewelry
Comfortview 'Madeline' espadrilles - Jessica London

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Need Some Inspiration?

The dog days of summer are officially upon us. I don't necessarily know why they're called "dog days..." but I do know that excessive heat + humidity = a lack of motivation and desire to do anything other than lounge around in the air conditioning.

If you need a little inspiration to get up, put something cute on and go outside (or at least relocate to air conditioning outside of your own home) - check out the City Chic Blogger Look Book. Packed full of outfit ideas from many of my favorite bloggers, as well as several new-to-me faces, this has seriously jump-started my creative juices.

(Yes, that is me within the look book. Rocking the upholstery dress. Thanks for including me, City Chic!)

City Chic has recently renovated their web site to include a ton of really fun, interactive content like Chic TV, CC Spotlight, CC Runway, and a very useful Fabric Guide. I love it when my favorites make themselves even better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Remember a few weeks ago, when I was whining about having a hard time getting dressed every day because of a variety of reasons? And one of those reasons was that I wanted to wear separates when all I have are dresses? about these separates?

Ever since my major epiphany around tucking in shirts into skirts, I've been experimenting more and more. And loving it! I suddenly feel like I have options - lots of options. And I don't mind getting dressed anymore. Thank goodness.

The Outfit:
Emmylou Top - c/o Sealed with a Kiss
Black ribbed tank - Gap
Purple belt- Target
Freesia Eyelet Skirt- c/o Sealed with a Kiss
Blush jewel-encrusted flats- Avenue
Celtic necklace- gift from Kiki
Earrings- very first present Dan ever gave me

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on which outfit you thought I should wear to Dan's birthday party. Did I manage to get a picture of myself in the winner? Or course not. But I can tell you that I went with option #1. It was perfect. Comfortable, cute and very festive.

Another thank you is due to the fine folks over at Sealed with a Kiss...they've asked me to be a guest blogger for their site! I've loved Sealed with a Kiss's clothing since discovering them a couple years ago, and I'm really excited to blog for them. You may recognize the other two bloggers who will be part of the SWAK here to find out.

And lastly, kind of a bummer. I didn't get to experience the John Frieda Salon Tour stop here in the Twin Cities last Friday. It was raining like crazy (I should know, since I got completely drenched attempting to get to the salon bus at Mall of America) and the salon was closed for several hours. I didn't have time to wait around for them re-open, so I missed out. Did any of you go? If so, how was it?

This is a killer week at work, but I'll back to regular posts within a day or two. Until then!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What to Wear: BBQ Birthday Party

I'm throwing Dan a birthday party on Friday. He's a little less enthused than one might hope about turning 36. So I thought it would be fun to bring all his favorite elements together to help celebrate: BBQ'd meats, southern sides, 30 of his friends & family, a backyard on a beautiful evening and whiskey. It's going to be a really fun night. But as hostess of this shin-dig, I've got to figure out what to wear!

Outfit requirements:

* Cool - it's going to be 90 degrees here on Friday and the party is outdoors
* Show off my bust- a peak of cleavage will be one of Dan's birthday presents
* A bright color - I always think it's nice for the hostess to stand out in the crowd just in case someone needs something.
* Moveable - we'll be playing yard games and I'll be refilling drinks & food. Moveability is essential.

Here are three ideas that might fit the bill. What do you think?

Strapless embroidered dress
- Forever 21

Multi-color crystal earrings- Lane Bryant

Plus Aside wedge sandals- Jessica London

Purple graphic maxi- City Chic

Butterfly Sunglasses- Forever 21

Plus Aside wedge sandals- Jessica London

Belted Lace Trim Top - Loop 18

Capri Goucho Pants- Sealed with a Kiss

Stretch Ring- LucieLu

Sperry Topsider Southport slingback - Nordstrom

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Do you remember the first time you were told that pink and red clash? I was young - maybe 5? I had a friend, Sarah Poles, with gorgeous red hair. It was long swishy and the most interesting shade of red that my little kid eyes had seen. I was at her house and we were playing dress up in her older sister's closet. Sarah had on a bright pink top and her sister declared, 'Red and pink don't go together!'

(I might have made this whole thing up...but I'm pretty sure it happened!)

Well guess what, older sister of Sarah...

Red and pink DO go together. For me, the key to pulling off this color combination is to keep the red warm (like this burgundy tone) and to pair it with a cool, soft shade of pink.

I decided to splash some color on my eyes, too, and was quite pleased with the results.

I smoothed Bobbi Brown's Longwear Cream Shadow in Orchid over my entire lid, right up to the brow bone. Then I swept just a touch of mark I-Mark Custom Pick Eye Shadow in Picadilly in the crease. I used Picadilly as an eyeliner, too. It's office-appropriate smokey.

The Outfit:
Gloria Dress in Burgundy- c/o Sealed with a Kiss
Open Cardigan in Dusty Rose- c/o Sealed with a Kiss
White ribbed tank - Gap
Black belt- Gap
Nude Comfortview Carrie Sandals- Jessica London - Fashions for sizes 12-32
Silver oval drop earrings- Lia Sophia

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beauty Stash- John Frieda Collection

I was invited to attend a really cool beauty event this Friday here in the Twin Cities - the John Frieda Salon Tour bus is pulling into the Mall of America to provide style guidance and expertise to the women of Minneapolis & St. Paul. John Frieda's team of expert stylists will be on hand to offer up style solutions and make product recommendations, right from their own style-tastic bus! (If you live in the Twin Cities and want to come check it out, details will be below).

In preparation for the event, I thought I'd pick up a few John Frieda products to re-acclimate myself with the brand. I used a lot of John Frieda products during college because I thought the line was affordable and yielded salon-worthy results. I was absolutely obsessed with a Sea-Spray that is no longer was the best product for creating soft, beachy waves. When the product was discontinued, I pouted my way right out of using the entire line. Petty, I know. But that's me.

Fast forward to present time, and I've been religiously using John Frieda's Frizz Ease Take Charge Curl-Boosting Mousse and the Brilliant Brunette Shine Shock.

Curl-Boosting Mousse
Ironically, I've not used this mousse to boost curls. Not even once. Instead, I apply it to wet hair before blow-drying it straight. This mousse is lightweight, with an equally lightweight fresh-floral scent, but embarks fantastic hold. It helps maintain my chosen style (straight with a bit of curl at the end) perfectly. I've never really realized before how essential mousse can be.

Shine Shock
I knew this gel would be a winner the first time I squeezed a pea-sized dollop into the palm of my hand. It's clear with visible (although extremely tiny) flakes of glitter in it! Now don't start sighing and saying, "Sara. You are over 30 years old. WHY are you putting glitter in your hair??" It imparts just the prettiest shine- not 13-year old glitter. Promise. I apply a tiny bit to wet hair before blow drying, then follow up with a little more once my hair is styled for added ooomph.

For my Twin Cities Bombshells, stop by the Mall of America this Friday from 12-8p.m or Saturday from 11-7p.m. The consultation is free and is guaranteed to be a fun time. I'll be there on Friday at 1:00- hope to see you then!

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's a Party with LucieLu

My affection for all things LucieLu is well documented on this blog. It's a line that resonates with me because of its feminine spin on everyday, totally wearable pieces that perfectly fit my lifestyle. Known for super-soft separates, like tunics and cardigans; as well as perfectly pretty day-dresses dresses, Lucie toed into something a little more formal this past winter with her Lace Party Dress.

Originally available in a wine overlaid with black, and a dark blue overlaid with black, she's now updated the color selection to fit the warm summer season. And the new summery colors are just as beautiful as the winter collection. Lucie has added dove with black overlay, palest pink with gray overlay, and my favorite - mint with gray overlay.

Isn't it so pretty? It fits perfectly, calling attention to the bust (although in a very demure way, thanks to the soft lace) while cinching in at the waist. The skirt is twirly without adding too much bulk. I love it.

Although I have big plans for this party dress (a romantic date night with Dan next month, a wedding in October, then it'll definitely be in rotation this December for holiday parties) - I couldn't wait to wear it. So I decided that an average day at work should become a party-dress kind of event. And you know what? I did feel very festive, running to meetings and making photo copies.

The Outfit:
Mint Lace Party Dress- c/o LucieLu
Black velvet belt- Not sure where it came from
Black Jessica London Comfortview 'Eve' Slingback"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Animal Instincts by City Chic

I clicked over to City Chic this afternoon and became completely wrapped up in their latest collection: Animal Instincts. There are few prints sexier (and more iconically Bombshell) than leopard print. And it's one of those prints that is always in-style. Sure, it ramps up and makes the "trend" list every few seasons. But it's never wrong to pull out a great animal print.

When it's done right, animal prints are eye-catching and sultry and add immediate interest to even the most basic black top or jeans/tee shirt combo. And I think City Chic has done better than just right.

I've never been a "save the best for last" kind of girl so I'm going to start off with my absolute favorite piece- the Animal Print Kaftan. This chiffon kaftan is THE piece to get, if you're trying to decide. Toss it on over jeans and sky-high heels for an effortless night-out look. Belt it over a pencil skirt and red flats for the office. Or, throw it on over your yoga pants and tank top after a workout for instant, post-gym glam.

My second-favorite piece is the Sexy Animal Skirt. Seriously, it doesn't get easier than this. Since the skirt is curve-hugging, you can go with a structured button down or an over-sized tunic. I feel like it's the kind of skirt that will automatically make you strut a little, you know?

And finally, although the Leatherette Biker Jacket isn't technically an animal print it is inspired by animal hide - and it's gorgeous! I love the fact that this jacket is cropped, so it'll hit at the perfect spot to define curves. It features really great zipper details and would be the coolest topper to any outfit- dressy or casual. Very chic. (And only $68!!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Every once in a while, I have an Oprah-worthy "Aha" moment about how to wear something in a new way that seems, all at once, revolutionary and ridiculously simple. I keep asking myself why it took so long for me to figure out to wear my favorite blue skirt in a way that really shows off my shape.

With its ruched, scrunchy waistband I can't believe it never occurred to me to tuck tops into this skirt. I suppose that, like a lot of plus size women, I'm a little leery of tucking in tops. But this skirt looks so much better when I hike it up to my natural waist and show off my curves by tucking shirts in. Proof positive that sometimes what you think you're concealing is actually less flattering than showing your shape.

The Outfit:

Striped tee shirt-Kohl's
Blue essential short skirt- c/o Sealed with a Kiss Designs
Black patent flip flops- Avenue
Charm necklace- Forever 21

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New! Shop My Closet

In order to make it even easier for you to shop for the pieces you see in my closet, I've added a new page to Bombshell Beauty - aptly called Shop My Closet. You'll find it at the top of the site, along with my other informational pages. Here, you'll find pictures and links to all the clothes, shoes and accessories that make me feel like an Everyday Bombshell.

It'll take me a while to get my whole closet catalogued, but I'll let you know whenever a batch of new items are added. In those instances when a favorite piece is no longer available, I'll include links to similar items that will help you create your own Bombshell look.

Happy shopping!

Beauty Stash

This mark palette is making me so happy. Look at all the colors!

The colors aren't as vibrant on camera as they are in real life.

I chose 8 shades of mark I-Mark Custom Pick Eye Shadow to fill my Snap To It Mega Palette.

The shades are:
(Top Row) Retro Peacock (dark emerald green), Wink Wink (pale taupe), Luvstruck (pink), and Stellar (gold)

(Bottom Row) Picadilly (dark eggplant purple), Pool (pale turquoise blue), Dragonfly (soft pistachio green), Glitterati (silver)

At just $5 each, I decided it would be fun to branch out from my usual eyeshadow colors (browns, greys). I'm surprised at how much I use these vibrant colors. Retro Peacock is my new favorite liner shade - it adds a really pretty depth to my eyes. Luvstruck really brings out the green in my eyes. I'd say that I use at least one of these fun colors every single day.

Here's a really simple day-look that I created using Glitterati (all over the lid, up to the brow bone) and Luvstruck (swept on the corner of my eye in an inverted v-shape).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Here's another Forever 21+ find - a very cute, sort of twee little number with a round collar and a heart print.

It feels very Zooey Deschanel to me, the combination of little-girl print and 60's details. Isn't she cute?

The Outfit
Heart-print dress- Forever 21+
Purple belt- Target, Merona
Hoop earrings- Lia Sophia
Purple snakeskin heels - Jessica London

Saturday, July 2, 2011

4th of July Sale-abration!

There are so many good reasons to go shopping this weekend.
1.) It's hot out. Which is nice unless you're incredibly fair-skinned and maniacal about avoiding a tan (like moi').

2.) Our economy can use the boost (I'll never get over using that as an excuse to shop - hello! It's patriotic.)

3.) There are a TON of great sales!

Here's a round-up of my favorite sales of the weekend, plus my picks for what should be in your shopping cart.

Sealed with a Kiss
I love supporting small businesses and, while Sealed with a Kiss is a little bigger than a neighborhood boutique per say, they're still a smaller company with a passion for beautiful, affordable plus size clothes. Which is why it's such a big deal for them to offer 30% now through Tuesday.

Use coupon code FIREWORK to snag a few of their everyday basics and their latest & greatest:

The Pocket Drape Dress is so incredibly flattering... and who doesn't like pockets?? I'm a big fan of any dress that will conceal what's going on in my tummy area AND let's me carry around lipstick and a credit-card (sans purse).

The Amber Shrug looks good over anything - tanks, sleeveless dresses, tee-shirts - without looking like an after-thought.

I'm sorta obsessed with the Emmylou Top. Boho chic is SO not my look...but this shirt has the perfect combination of bust-enhancing/tummy concealing features that I can't stop thinking of ways to work it into my wardrobe.

City Chic
Of course I'm a fan of supporting brands that are made in the USA...but it's also a very American thing to do to show a little love to our allies. City Chic is one of my favorite brands, and the fact that they're Australian just mean they're a little more laid back and more prone to sales.

Their fabulous clearance sale persists with such gems as the Striped Cowl Neck Top.

Love a good Contrast Trim Cami underneath a cardi or a blazer.

I know High Waist Shorts might seem intimidating, but I like them because they keep my tummy in place. I don't tuck shirts in with them; I just appreciate the extra control in the mid-section.

30% off at Kiyonna is nothing sneeze about - the quality is good, they styles are classically Bombshell, and that means a discount can be hard to come by.

I own an older version of the Caycee top and can attest to the fact that it is so easy to pull on over jeans, shorts or a pencil skirt...and walk out of the house feeling confident to the n-th degree.

I adore (x1000) the Catalina Swimsuit Coverup. How glamorous!!

Kiyonna's Bellini Cardigans are their most popular items, and their also often imitated by other designers. And for good reason- they're flowy, the perfect weight, and can make even the most casual outfit look polished. Normally $74, this one is a freaking steal at $37.

Other Notable Sales:
50% off at Jessica London
Buy 2, Get 2 Free Bras at Lane Bryant
15-25% off at Macy's