Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Of all the winter holidays, I like New Year's Eve the best.  It's a time for celebrating the past and looking ahead to the future (champagne flute in hand!).  Technically, Bombshell Beauty began here - at a time in my life when I needed a creative outlet and I wanted a place to talk about plus size fashion.  But really, Bombshell Beauty began here:

This is me, age 5, wearing the best Christmas present ever: hand me down dress up clothes.  They were hand-me downs from an extremely stylish woman who worked with Grandma Kappy.  I received them because I was too tall and too curvy to fit into the dress up clothes found at Toys R Us or the Sears toy catalog.  I felt like such a lady in my grown-up shoes and dresses...and so was born a love of fashion for plus size girls! (Even if I didn't exactly know it, then).

Even during my teenage years, when I dressed to conceal my plus size body, I was still interested in fashion and expressing myself through clothes.  I think I had to go through that period in my life in which I was uncomfortable in my own skin; it was an important step to coming through the other side of self-confidence.

In college and throughout my early 20's, I continued to grow and evolve - both as a woman and in my personal style.  Again, not everything was a hit but it all led to who I am today.

I've been blogging here for almost five years now, and have surely gained so much more than I've given.  Good friends, great readers, amazing opportunities to work with Lane Bryant, Luxe Bridal, Sealed with a Kiss, LucieLu, City Chic, L'Oreal,'s pretty unbelievable.  I am so grateful for everything that's happened here over the past several years. 

I'm also looking ahead to what I want and need in my life over the next year, the next five years, and beyond.  And I'm excited and grateful for what's ahead.  I may not know what, exactly, that may be...but I do know that it's time  to focus my attention on other areas of my life.  So this will be my last post as Bombshell Beauty.  Thank you for being here with me; for leaving comments or simply checking in every few days.  I truly appreciate you.  

To all of you Bombshells, I wish you a very Happy New Year.  Filled with confidence and fabulous clothes, of course!  Cheers!

The Outfit:
Reverie Dress- c/o LucieLu
Vintage rhinestone necklace- Grandma Kappy's
Manicure- Cajun Shrimp by OPI
Red lipstick - Rouge Noir by Julie Hewitt
Chardonnay - Kendall Jackson

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

This is something I wore to out Christmas shopping last week.  I needed something comfortable and cozy, with light layers that I would keep me warm running from the car to the mall but that could be stripped off and stashed in my bag once inside. 

The Outfit:
Ruffled tee shirt- Ann Taylor Loft
Gray sweatshirt blazer- Gap
Jeans- Avenue
Blue and white striped scarf- Forever 21
Blush colored ballet flats- Avenue
Star earrings- Silpada
Christmas charm bracelet - Red Envelope

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Everyday Bombshell

Last week, I had a pretty serious "Aha!" moment, followed quickly by a "Duhhh!" moment.  I'm a big fan of eternity scarves - the scarves that are sewn into one big loop.  I don't own any, though.  So - "Aha!  I'll just tie one of my regular scarves into a loop!"  Followed by, "Duhhhh...that is so obvious!  Why did it take this long to figure that out?"  Oh well.  Better late than never.

The Outfit:
Dress- Jessica London
Scarf - Gap
Belt- c/o Torrid
Flower Ring- Forever 21
Earrings- Entourage (boutique in Athens, GA)
Ballet Flats- Payless Shoes

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Everyday, Bombshell

Last weekend, Dan and I went to an annual Christmas party thrown by a couple of really good friends.  For the past several years, it was an "Ugly Sweater Party." But this year we were encouraged to dress as our favorite holiday characters (real or make-believe).

We didn't have the time to pull together Option #1...

 The Bumble and Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

We didn't have access to Option #2... 

 The red velvet and fur trimmed outfits from the final scene of White Christmas

So we went for Option #3 (also known as the easy and accessible option!).  

Santa's most glamorous reindeer, Dasher & Vixen
 The Oufit:
Strapless dress- Lane Bryant 
Heels- Jessica London
Reindeer antlers- Twin Cities Magic & Costume Shop
Nose- Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Mahogany (this stuff did not budge all night!)
Super sparkly necklace- Grandma Kappy's

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

For the Local Bombshells- Continental Diamond Give Away

For those Bombshells who live in/near the Twin Cities, I wanted to let you know about a fun give-away that's being sponsored by local jeweler Continental Diamond (located in St. Louis Park). 

Continental Diamond has partnered with Judith Ripka to give away $25,000 to spend on Judith Ripka jewelry that must be purchased at Continental. How amazing would it be to win this prize?  I spent some time looking over the Judith Ripka collection and fell in love with this gorgeous cocktail ring:

Judith Ripka's designs remind me of the kind of jewelry worn by true Hollywood starlets- like Elizabeth Taylor.  The attention to detail in her design is just beautiful. 

Entering is simple--you must first 'Like' Continental Diamond on Facebook and then you will be asked to enter a little information about yourself (name, email address, zip code).You can earn up to 3 bonus entries by 'Sharing' the contest with 3 of your Facebook friends.

The contest runs through Dec. 22, 2011. On Dec. 22 the winner will be selected by an official of Continental and notified by email.  What a nice Christmas present that would be!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly

A few weeks ago, I was invited to come into the new Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly store at Mall of America.  It's one of two concept stores that Clinton (of What Not to Wear fame, among other gigs) has opened with the intention of bringing his brand of style advice to the masses.

Clinton is building his brand on the idea that you can't have style without proper fit. To that end, he has pulled together a team of experts who believe in the same style tenets that he does; and a team of fit experts who can provide the alterations necessary to get that perfect fit.  Services are flexible and can be completely tailored to the client's needs: an overall wardrobe assessment; help in polishing up an outfit for a particular occasion (job interview, holiday party, wedding, etc); or help in defining your particular style.

I'm going to admit something totally uncool - especially for a self-assured style blogger like myself  (ha).  I felt very intimidated by the idea of going into Perfect Fit and having someone judge my clothes.  But I know I could use a little help in pulling together casual outfits, so armed with my one and only pair of jeans I headed to the store.

There, I met Sasha, one of Clinton's style experts.  She was warm and welcoming; as were the surroundings of the store.  She invited me to change out of my work outfit (which I later admitted was something of a uniform...dress with tights, heels and a blazer) and into my jeans and top.  Sasha took pictures of both outfits, approving of the work uniform (thank God, since I own 10 variations of it!); and giving me some tips for my jeans.

Her advice sounded like something Clinton would say (bootcut jeans in a dark wash), but once I saw the pictures I completely understood why bootcut jeans would look better than what I had going on.  Sasha talked to me about wearing larger jewelry that will fit the proportions of my body type.  She also encouraged me to try wearing more structured blazers - with shoulder pads.  Before I could even glance at her dubiously over the mention of shoulder pads, Sasha was off finding a pair so she could show me what a difference they would make...and she she was right. 

Here's a little video that details more of my experience:

Sasha is an independent fashion stylist, which I found to be comforting.  She and her co-stylist are not Clinton robots who simply spout out exactly what Clinton would say.  She had a lot of great tips and advice; the most compelling of which was to dress the proportions of your body, no matter what size you are.  You might lose or gain 20 lbs, but if you are born wit wide hips and thick thighs you will always have wide hips and thick thighs.  So love it, dress it properly, and get on with your life. 

Perfect Fit by Clinton Kelly has two locations - one here in the Twin Cities, the other in Chicago.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Everyday Bombshell- Tropical Style

Hi everyone!  Thanks for hanging out with my mom last week; I love sharing her style with you, and I love that you guys interact and leave comments for her, too.   Dan and I left sunny Jamaica on December 1st at the peak of the day - it was 87 degrees outside.  We arrived back home in St. Paul on December 8th at about midnight, the low of the day - a frosty 17 degrees!  Yikes!  Talk about a transition.

We spent a week at the Couples Swept Away resort in Negril, along with 4 of our close friends.  It was as perfect a vacation as one could dream of, and I can't wait to go back!  We spent our honeymoon at this same spot 5 years ago, and it was so much fun to go back and share the experience with friends.

The resort has a variety of activities - most of which include sun, food and cocktails - so here's a selection of outfits that I wore during our time there. I strayed a bit from my usual style and embraced the idea of "island" dressing - so I wore a few tropical prints that I probably wouldn't consider wearing here at home.  It was fun and reinforced the idea of being on vacation.

Worn to the airport - I wanted to dress in layers that could be easily removed once I hit warmer temperatures.  And the hat is something I needed to pack for sun protection on the beach, but wouldn't fit in my suitcase so I threw it on and wore it while traveling. 
Worn during one of my visits to the spa- I was having an aloe facial (to soothe and heal my skin after a little too much sun!), so I wanted to be comfortable but cute.  And yes, please note the glass of wine in hand.  It became something of an accessory during the week...

 Worn to dinner at a Thai-inspired restaurant called Lemongrass.  This was one of the first nights we all decided to get a little glammed up, so I added tall wedges and my flower-accented headband. 

 This is what I wore during a shopping excursion off the resort, into downtown Negril.  Again, accented with a flower - this one was left in in an arrangement in our room by housekeeping.  It looked really festive, so I popped it into the high bun I'd fashioned with my hair.

This pale celedon green dress really highlighted my tan!  Whew...I am so unused to seeing myself with any color at all.  I wore this to a casual dinner with the whole gang.  Don't worry; I did put on shoes.  A pair of patent leather flip flops. 

This was worn to dinner and a beach bonfire on our last night at the resort.  By this time, I'd contracted some kind of eye irritation (thanks a lot, sunscreen/sand) that prevented me from wearing my contacts.  Highly unusual for me to wear my glasses outside of my own bedroom!  I want to show you my accessories for this outfit, too because they're kind of sentimental:

Beaded earrings that I made with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law during an outting last Christmas.  Literally, never worn until now!

Dan bought me this palm tree charm the first time we were in Negril, and I'll admit that I never wear it.  Just not my usual, every day style.  I brought it with me this time around, expecting to wear it with my Close
toYour Heart Necklace; and then was inspired to layer the charm with a silver bangle for an ultra-customized necklace.
And finally, my favorite of the swimsuits I brought with me.  All of my new suits were purchased at Avenue, and I was thrilled with the fit and fashion of each one.  This is a black one-piece featuring a ruched tummy and interesting straps - one thick black strap, and a skinnier gold chain strap.  This Christmas tree suddenly appeared on the beach during the last sunset of the vacation, so Dan and I were all over it as a photo prop!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Everyday Mom, Everyday Makeup Routine

Sara always shows you HOW to put on makeup; I won’t make you watch a video of me putting on makeup but do want to share the new products I’m using since we last talked.

My entire makeup routine, which is all done in the morning, consists of: 
  1. Wash my face (yesterday’s remaining makeup) with a wash cloth & warm water
  2. Splash really cold water on my face
  3. Slather (Sara’s term) L’Oreal Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition on my face & neck – this is not a commercial but this stuff really works - I’ve been using it for about a month and truly can see a difference in the lines & especially the smoothness of my skin. A trip to Ulta with Sara always results in something good & in this case less expensive than the product I had been using.
  4. Also new is my foundation (or primer or whatever those of you who understand fashion lingo are calling it now days) Again Sara came into play when she set me up with Mark® products. The bottom of the compact says “min-a-real” if that helps. But for me the best part is not only the cover & feel but the compact itself. Now instead of twisting off the lid & flipping out the sponge pad, just one handed flip & flip – much better packaging than the brand advertised on tv that I used to use.
  5. Next comes a big smile (what better way to start the day than smiling at yourself) to make those cheeks big & a quick brush of blush. Again I’m using Mark. I felt it was a little too pink so have been very lightly running the foundation pad over each cheek after applying the blush.
  6. Last but not least - mascara also by Mark. I use the eyeliner only for special occasions and applying usually requires a q-tip and spit. Again I just love the packaging of this product – mascara on one end, the eyeliner on the other. I tend to keep mascara too long – well it still has some left - since this appears to be a slightly smaller size maybe I’ll need more sooner & won’t get an eye infection!
But the best products I’m using are for my hair! Not sure how long ago it began but no matter what my hair looked frizzy. So as Sara & I were walking into Ulta I casually asked what could be wrong with my blow dryer that it didn’t even move my hair around anymore but the air was still hot. 

Sara’s response was, “It’s broken! You need a new one!” So we found a smaller one that folds, has a recoiling cord & attachments (diffuser & direct aim). The Conair 1875 ($25) is now my hair’s best friend. No more frizz. Apparently the ions or something scientific that it shoots keeps frizz away – fantastic item. 

Following close behind the blow dryer as my hair’s best friend is this great rinse Sara gave me so long ago she doesn’t remember giving it to me which I had not used until recently since I don’t usually have the patience to put something in my hair & wait 3-5 minutes to rinse it out but… after the first time I used it, I’m willing to waste (I mean wait) 5 minutes. For the first time in years my hair feels really soft and looks healthy. Oh yeah, the products name? L’Oreal Ever Pure Moisture Deep Restorative Masque.

Okay this post is way too long but everyone with frizzy hair go buy a new blow dryer & if it doesn’t work for you maybe I just got lucky.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Everyday Mom

My LBD turned grey this fall. Okay it didn’t turn grey, as in fading, I just bought grey to use as my multi purpose dress for the season. It’s the perfect length for someone my age, sways a little, is lined so no static cling and goes with everything.

I bought it two days before (did I tell you I hate to shop?) a fall wedding. By changing the belt to one with sparkle, heals, black pantyhose (yes, I dug into that drawer of things I might need someday & found a still in the package pair that I’m sure were older than the bride), silver hoops, silver bangle (is that what you call them?) bracelets, my diamond cross necklace and my mother’s diamond ring (she loved weddings or any party for that matter so I make sure something of hers goes with to special places) the dress was wedding ready.

The very next week I wore it to my Aunt’s funeral. This time I wore the stretchy belt that came with it, black tights (the panty hose were in the trash oh about 15 minutes after the wedding was over), boots (heels are not good in a cemetery), simple diamond earrings, the cross (appropriate for both occasions) and mom’s ring (it was her sister-in-laws funeral after all) but left the bracelets at home (too much noise for the occasion).

And now the Holidays are upon us and grey always looks good with red or green or blue or … so once again switch out the shoes for red, add all my ruby jewelry (necklace, earrings and ring – mom stays home this time) and replace the belt with a red scarf and it’s party time!

Sorry I can’t list where all the items came from but the dress came from JC Penney – you’ll note most of the clothing in these posts came from there, mostly because at our mall I can park right outside the door be in and out of there in 15 minutes (I did mention I don’t like to shop right?) and it’s reasonably priced so if I make a bad choice it doesn’t cost me much. The red shoes came from Sara. My husband, Tom, has great taste when it comes to jewelry so almost all of the items worn were gifts from various jewelry stores.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Everyday Mom

Good Morning! Or at least I assume you are all like me & the first thing you do in the morning is log on to check out Bombshell Beauty.  Sara’s in Jamaica wearing swimsuits while her dear mother (me-and please note I did not say dear “old” mother) is stuck here in Iowa wearing wool & pleather.


 Yes, pleather or at least that’s what I call the black jacket since my husband (Sara’s Dad) thought it was leather when I brought it home. Once we both saw the label that said “machine wash” it’s been my pleather jacket. 

Oh yeah and the red plaid skirt isn’t really wool either since it too says “machine wash” but it made for a better opening line. Paired with tights (Sara finally got me to try them – love them) and a solid red very soft long sleeve shirt and boots it’s great for the office & meetings. I know the veteran readers of Sara’s blog know I like easy, so the fact that everything is machine washable & doesn’t need to be ironed really works for me and my life style. 

For those who are new to the blog, you can click here to see the first of a series of posts I did this past May.   (Since I’m just positive you really want to know more about me & I wouldn’t think of boring those who remember the May post by repeating myself.)
No close ups of the jewelry this time as my photographer was busy making dinner when these shots were taken. But I’m wearing my ruby earrings &   ring with this outfit – no necklace since the jacket has so much going on & I find it very difficult to keep a necklace on the outside of my shirt when I wear a crew neck.  

Pleather jacket – JC Penney
Red plaid skirt – JC Penney
Red shirt – Target
Boots – Payless

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Off on Vacation

Just wanted to let you guys know that I'll be offline for the next 10 days or so - Dan and I are heading down to Jamaica today for an anniversary vacation.  Perfect timing since St. Paul is supposed to get its first snowfall today!

I have some pre-written content that will go up over the course of the week; and my mom has graciously agreed to step in with some Everyday Mom outfits.  I hope you have a great week and I'll be back in action the week of December 12th!