Sunday, August 9, 2009

And it continues....

My eye condition that is. I had posted about it before, and it has been something like 3 weeks now.

Because of eye contacts that were not the right size for me and fit very tightly, a whole slew of problems ensued, and I am now on three (!) prescriptions, all topical. To avoid any further problems I haven't been wearing my contacts, makeup (no mascara?!?!), and I even contemplate going with facial moisturizers and SPF (gasp!) I am just afraid something will get in my eye and irritate it further.

People have been asking what happened, what is wrong with my eyes, etc. I am glad people care enough to ask, but I always feel the need to explain I am not contagious.

People also tell me I look tired a lot. How do you respond to that one? Thanks for letting me know?

Anyway, it is improving, albeit very slowly. And I will be back testing makeup before you know it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hair care- part 2

Yesterday I discussed at length my choices for shampoo and conditioner. I also plugged Aubrey Organics, my choice for all things hair-related. I want to continue that today because I have some other great finds from the site. What good does a good conditioner do you if you hair still needs taming from styling products, right?

I am a curly-haired girl (and I refuse to straighten it- not everyone looks good with straight hair. I just end up looking like a chubby cheeked version of Cher.) So some form of hair gel is a must. But I am very picky- I don't want crunchy or crisp hair. I don't want the wet look even when my hair has long been dry. I want soft, shiny, defined curls that look healthy. And frizz must be kept to a minimum.

Tall order, right? Well two products from Aubrey Organics deliver. B5 Design Gel is a "Styling gel and conditioner in one! Herbal gums and vitamin B-5 (a natural hair thickener) offer body and hold, and Organic Rosa Mosqueta® and other herbs deep-condition and help protect hair from sun and blow dryer damage," according to the website. Mandarin Magic Ginkgo Leaf and Ginseng Root Hair Moisturizing Jelly contains "eight hair-nourishing Chinese herbals, plus hair-thickening vitamin B-5 and herbal gums add up to one superb styling product that moisturizes as it holds. Adds body and shine without weighing down the hair."

It may sound like the Moisturizing Jelly is like a true hair gel, holding the curl, but it is the other way around, in my experience. The moisturizing jelly does just that, it moisturizes and makes my hair super soft. The B5 Design Gel provides a whole lot of hold though. In fact, at the beginning when I experimented with these products for the first time, I went overboard with the B5 Design Gel and got a mild case of helmet head, where each curl was crunchy and crisp. Not cute.

So now, I have determined the perfect combination/ratio of the two (for me and my hair, anyway.) I put a quarter size-half dollar size amount of the Moisturizing Jelly in my palm, add only a dime size amount of the B5 Design Gel, and mix together before applying to my hair. I do this a total of 2 - 3 times, depending on weather conditions, humidity, and how much time I feel like spending on my hair. I also disperse it evenly by working on SECTIONS of hair (like top/front, back/sides, and then I flip my hair over and get the bottom/underneath.) It sounds time consuming, but my hair literally only takes 5 minutes in the morning, and most days I am happy enough with it.

Curly hair is tempermental regardless of how you style it, but if you take good care of it, treat it well with good, natural products, and lay off the heat styling and straightening, it tends to behave better. Another important factor is how much you touch/play with curly hair. When styling, don't run fingers through hair- it separates the hair into smaller pieces, creating more volume. (That is, if you have problems with excess volume, like me.) Once it is styled, touch the hair as little as possible- touching will break the curls up, contributing to frizz. And any curly-haired gal will tell you that frizz is the enemy.

Oh, and Aubrey Organics offers all sorts of styling aids- from hairspray to leave in conditioner to curl activator- to style any kind of hair. And you don't have to be a curly head to use the Moisturizing Jelly, it would also work (in smaller amounts) as a leave in conditioner for other types of hair as well.

Do you have curly hair? Have you been hiding it because you just can't get it to look healthy and frizz free? What do you use (whether curly, straight or somewhere in between) to style and care for your hair?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hair care- part 1

Going natural and organic is important, but it can be so expensive. It leads you to wonder, where do I begin? I will be the first to admit, there are more inorganic/unnatural things in our cleaning regimen (for both house and body) than there are organic/natural ones. But I make it a point to try an all natural method or product if it is cheaper or comparable in price to the one I was using. I stick with it if it turns out as effective or more so than the method/product I used previously.

And that brings me to my shampoo and conditioner. There are people who buy drug store brands because price is all they care about, those that are loyal to certain brands (like Pantene, Garnier, etc) because they think they work the best, and those that only buy salon brands, convinced they are more effective. I have been all these people.

Then, sometimes those people get fed up with the poor results they are getting with all of the above. Maybe they are intrigued by claims made by people who have gone all natural. But when you get to this point, as I did, you aren't sure where to get REALLY all natural products for hair care. Oh, there are plenty of products claiming to be all natural in drugstores, but reading labels is key. Chances are, if you can't pronounce it, it isn't naturally-occurring.

Having given up on products I had tried from the store, I searched the internet. That is where I found Aubrey Organics.

I have dry, coarse, curly hair with frizzy tendencies, so I chose my shampoo and conditioner based on that. However, they do have choices for oily hair, straight hair, normal hair, etc. Every kind of hair under the sun.

I wanted the products to calm my sometimes itchy scalp, clean off any residue from styling products, moisturize and detangle, and provide daily nourishment. The ones I have tried did all that. I am a huge fan of the White Camellia line, as well as the Jojoba and Aloe Desert Herb line. Both smell clean and herbal- nothing too strong. They rinse clean but still leave my hair soft, and de-tangled. Everything on the ingredient list is recognizeable. I am also quite satisfied with the price, considering the change in results I have seen since switching my products- most of the shampoos and conditioners are $10 for an 11 oz bottle, which lasts me forever. That's another thing about all natural products- since they get the job done right, I don't have to keep masking any damage done to my hair with more conditioner, styling products, etc.

What kind of shampoo and conditioner do you use? Do you buy and use them as a matching set? Do you try to use all natural/organic products?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

If you like my thinking here....

If you like my thoughts on fashion and beauty, you should read about my thoughts on food, nutrition, vegetarian and vegan fare, raw food and much more! Visit my other blog, here!

Friday, July 31, 2009

I might go see Bruno!

So since we are on a spending freeze so we can do some major renovations on our house, both Chris and I have cut any unnecessary spending, right? Well, then he asked if I would want to go see Bruno on Saturday, and now I am thinking it might be an unavoidable expense. I mean, I blog about fashion, and Bruno is about a crazy fashionisto, right???? See the official trailer here.

What do you think, should I go see it? Have any of you seen it? Is it worth it? Is it dumb and not funny and offensive? Or is it just some light hearted comedy? Do tell :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Troll beads

What would you pay for a bracelet you can make all your own? You can literally have a different bracelet everyday, just by changing the beads on it.

Well that is what a friend and co-worker of mine does. Terrie bought Troll Beads in countless designs, the bracelet to put them on, as well as the necklace, and she has more beads on the way. The middle bracelet on her wrist, pictured above, is made from these beads.

Every night she creates a new outfit, including her jewelry- and it shows. Terrie never seems to wear the same thing twice, and now that is literally true for her jewelry.

But there is a price to pay for individuality. Troll beads are not cheap- the glass beads range from $25-35. Gold beads go for $140-1130! They sure are fun though!

Terrie had lots of great jewelry, however- even long before Troll Beads came along. Just look at this amethyst necklace of hers:

Now THAT is a statement necklace.

Do you like big, colorful jewelry? Do you pick out yours to match your outfit at night before bed? (I wish I did, it would make for less harried and stressful mornings!) Do you like these Troll Beads? Will you be ordering some yourself? Say so in the comments!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Give me a little daily moisture, please

I always have lotion on my desk at work. I drink so much water so I must have to use the facilities something like 10 times between 9 and 5, and all that hand washing wreaks havoc on my skin. So I make it a point to always follow up with lotion when back at my desk.

Well I was using this stuff:

Burt's Bees is awesome- they use all natural ingredients and most are organic too. But this one is pretty strong smelling and has a greasy feel. It would be fine at home at the kitchen sink, but I don't want greasy fingers all over my keyboard and on my work phone, etc.

I also wanted something with an SPF- your hands are often overlooked when it comes to sun protection. You apply SPF 15 moisturizer all over your face and body in the morning, but throughout the day you (hopefully) wash your hands a lot. And you probably don't reapply that moisturizer afterwards. Hands often show age long before anything else so sun protection is important.

A week or two ago (before the spending freeze) I was at Walmart over my lunch break picking up some produce so I figured I would get a few other things. So, I got more hand lotion for my desk and I went with this one:

Perfect! It has a light, clean, pleasant scent. It absorbs quickly and makes my skin super soft. It is gentle. And it has the required SPF 15 for me. Just one pump is all I need for my hands after washing. Oh, and it is cheap. Love!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not at my most stylish....

Lately (the past week and a half) I have had to wear my glasses and not wear much makeup. The reason: my eye. Last week it was really sensitive to light, but the sensation came and went. Over the weekend, it got pretty bad, and the burning kept me awake. My eye is red and irritated-looking, but no, it is not pink eye or anything else contagious. I have a few theories: a blood vessel popped from stress or not getting enough sleep, or (as Chris suggested) I accidentally poked myself in the eye and scratched it.

I know, what does this have to do with style, beauty, fashion, etc, right? Well, I have had to wear my glasses, which only brings back memories from high school of feeling like a nerd. And to stop anything from possibly causing further irritation, I haven't been wearing any makeup. No foundation, as it could get in my eye. No mascara. Nothing. So I kinda feel.... naked.

Last week, I thought maybe I could use the need for glasses as a reason to dress like one of those sexy librarians. I wore a satiny frilly top with black trousers and heels. Not only did I not succeed with feeling sexy, I was also really warm and uncomfortable whenever I left the extreme air conditioning of my work environment.

Ever have days like this? How do you deal when you don't feel like the best version of yourself? The good news is that it seems to be getting better.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spending Freeze

You know to what I am referring. No spending, no buying anything unnecessarily, unless it is grocery shopping, I will not be entering any stores.

Not that I did a whole lot of shopping before. I mean, compared to some of my counterparts, I am tame. But it has been declared out loud this time. Other than bills (and savings) no money will be leaving the checking account. And all because...? Because a lot (A LOT) of work is going to be done to the house in the next month. The kind of work that involves knocking down walls. Raising roofs. (Literally.) Ripping fixtures out. And all that takes money.

Normally I will not even realize when it has been a long time since I last bought something frivolous. But when I declare a spending freeze on myself, I become painfully (PAINFULLY!) aware. Suddenly, I NEED purses. Shoes. Sunglasses.

I know, I know. All in my head. And it's for a good cause. My house will look better for it in the end. Yea yea.

Having my house in disarray will not help matters, of course. I will be looking for any reason to get out, and shopping won't be an option.

Petty? Probably. Whiny? Mhmm. Petulant? Definitely. But hey, at least I can admit it, right? And I can tell myself that while I am not making myself more stylish, I am making my house more so!

Do you ever put yourself on spending freezes?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bruno on the Today Show

All I have to say is wow. Check it out:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Flirty little summer dresses

One of the best things about summer is that getting dressed is so much easier. Just throw on a little summer dress and go. You can dress it up or down depending on what accessories you choose.

One of my favorite places to look for summer clothes is none other than Victoria's Secret. Well, the website anyway, as the store is mostly about what goes on under the clothes.

I did some virtual window shopping and came up with a list of looks I would love to add to my closet right now. Here are just a few dresses every girl needs:

A white dress- so fresh and clean looking. Great with any skin tone, and can be worn during the day or at night.

A shirtdress- a look that screams "borrowed from the boyfriend," which is right on trend right now.

The one shoulder- also right on trend. This one is a no-brainer for date night, weddings, basically anytime you want or need to knock someone's socks off. It bares a little skin without being revealing, and the options for accessorizing are endless.

Peasant dress- you all know how I feel about the boho-chic style. This kind of dress fits right in with that look.

The sporty dress- who doesn't love a built-in bra? This is the kind of dress you can run around, play and flirt in, but it still looks super cute!

So there you have it, my choices for must have dresses. While some of these looks are particularly in fashion right now, I think these are styles it is good to keep around. They can all be reworked easily in order to look more of the moment.

What do you all think? Have I forgotten any?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I have chic friends

At a recent party for a friend's engagement I was wowed by the style some of my friends have. Just look at these outfits:

Above is Tiffany, and she gave me the lowdown on (almost) her entire outfit.
Dress: Free People
White corduroy jacket (pictured on her below): American Eagle
Purse (a lookalike of the timeless Coco Chanel chain shoulder bag): Etsy

Can you believe Tiffany scored this purse on Etsy for only $12?? It is vintage and real leather. Love!

I am unsure about the shoes and belt, but she is right on trend for this season with both. Wedges and espadrilles made of natural materials always work for summer, but there is definitely a focus on them this year. The belt is brown and leather, and is perfect for giving this sweet and girly flower print some edge.

On the right is Candice, who always manages to look beautiful. She obviously knows you can't go wrong with the little black dress. I forgot to ask her where she found it, but it looked great on her, especially paired with her sky high strappy platforms!

This is Brittany, our host and the guest of honor for the event. She said the dress is BCBG, and the shoes are Manolos. Aren't they beautiful??? I wanted to rip them off her feet!

Do you have stylish friends too?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I tried it- Mixing patterns

I think Michelle Obama has GREAT fashion sense. Whether you agree with her husband's politics or not, you can't deny that. Take this look for example:

The rule used to be that mixing patterns was a definite no- that it would look too "busy." But as The Girls in the Fashion Department put it, "This is such a simple, wearable way to do the pattern mixing thing. She sticks with one color palette, keeps it summery and fresh, and doesn't complicate things with the rest of her accessories."

I wasn't going for the exact same look, complete with pearls, however. I wanted my outfit to have a bit more edge.

I wore a loose, flower-print spaghetti strap blouse from Old Navy, bermuda shorts from Old Navy, and the striped cardigan is New York and Company. Wedge sandals are from Nine West, bangle bracelet is from NY, and the skull-and-bones ring is Lucky. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SPF in triple digits!

My friend and co-worker Kelly and I talk about skincare (and other things) a lot. It is no wonder, after all- she sells Avon! She does buy and use a lot of products from Avon, but she is not exclusive to them. She also complains of sensitive skin that reacts and gets irritated by facewashes and lotions easily (a problem many of us have)- so when she finds a product that she likes, she tends to highly recommend it.

She took my recommendation of Cetaphil from a previous post seriously, and she says it helped to calm her skin. Yay! In return she told me about a little find she made herself. :)

Finding a good, high SPF sunscreen or facial moisturizer can be hard when you break out easily or have a tendency to get shiny. Believe me I know. I haven't found a good one above SPF 15 because it seems that the higher the SPF, the greasier the feel.

Kelly claims this is not so with one particular product from Neutrogena. She put it to the true test when she went to the Maryland shore for the weekend. According to her findings, it was not greasy, but it was also waterproof. It didn't cause her to break out, but it didn't budge the whole time she had it on. And she didn't need to reapply. She even had to wash her face more thoroughly to ensure it all came off. Those are some pretty great user results to back up their pretty big claims!

According to the website:
"Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 100+ with Helioplex® offers the highest combined UVA/UVB protection. SPF measures UVB burning rays, while PFA measures skin-aging UVA rays. Now, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® SPF 100+ is the only sunblock proven to protect skin from over 99% of UVB sunburn damage. Plus, with an unbeatable PFA, nothing provides better UVA protection. Infused with a light, fresh scent, this elegant formulation is fast-absorbing, non-whitening, waterproof and lightweight. Neutrogena's Dry-Touch technology provides an ultra-light, non-shiny finish and leaves skin soft and smooth."

I may need to pick some up myself now- I am almost out of my higher SPF sunscreen (for when I am out in the sun for longer periods of time) anyway.

Anyone else use this one already? What do you think of it? Use something else you think works even better? Share!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nutrition for your skin!

My friend Alberta came to visit for the weekend, all the way from Mt. Vernon in NY. Along with eating out, getting ice cream, watching the new Harry Potter movie, and playing dominoes, she and I talked skin.

Night time skin care to be exact. Alberta has great skin naturally, but she has recently changed up her night time routine. A friend recommended a few products to her, which she has been using a few weeks. She loved the results, both immediate and over time, and has thus passed the recommendation on to me.

Two nights in a row, I patted Garnier Nutritioniste Skin- Renew Daily Anti-fatigue eye cream gently around my eye. Alberta told me she noticed a difference in her eye area the first time trying the product. So did I! The dark areas were brighter and fine lines were slightly diminished. It was a very slight difference, but improvement nonetheless.

She also had me sample her Garnier Nutritioniste Skin- Renew Overnight Regenerating Cream both nights as well. I immediately noticed it sunk into my skin, instead of sitting on top of the skin and feeling greasy. This is an issue especially in the summer for me- oil, humidity and clogged pores are a recipe for disaster. If a night cream sinks into my skin instead of just leaving an oily layer on top, I am a happy camper. The next morning, my face still did not feel greasy- a feat in itself.

If you are looking for a good eye cream and/or night cream, put these two on your to-try list! Thanks for the tip Alberta!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I tried it! the boho- hippie look

I got this dress for- get this- $20. Yes, twenty dollars. TJ Maxx is a treasure trove.

The little bolero jacket is from The Limited- I got it forever ago, but it has served me well.

The bangle bracelets are Aldo Accessories- I wanted some color since the rest of the outfit was black, white and gray.

I wore my gladiator sandals and my purple fringed purse, natch. This is probably the most comfortable outfit I own!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gypsy girl

I wore this skirt because it is so damn comfortable. And the volume is very... "forgiving." But I knew I needed to balance out the volume by wearing something more form fitting on top. I wore heels in hopes of giving me some height and lengthening the legs, but I may have picked the wrong ones. I wanted a nude colored shoe, but these are more pink. What do you think?

I wore a cocktail ring, some chandelier earrings you can't see in the picture and my watch and wedding rings. My husband says I should have gone a little crazy with the accessories, and looking at this picture I kind of agree. I just didn't want to overwhelm my frame since the skirt was so big to begin with, haha.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Nail Colors!

It was time for a new manicure and pedicure. My hands and my feet (especially my feet) look like they have had it lately. For my hands, it is because I haven't been as diligent as I usually am with lotion, especially after hand washing. For my feet- well, you know how summer and sandals can be.

Please excuse the bad paint job, especially on the toes. I painted them on my lunch break at work in my car, haha. I went with OPI's "I'm Not Really A Waitress" for my hands, and Essie's Glamour Do for my toes. The Essie one was a free gift from Glamour! It is super pretty, but super sheer. I used something like 3 coats because I was afraid it just looked clear.

Somebody at work commented that I don't match the nail polish on my toes and fingers. I don't do that because I think it looks too... staged maybe? Besides, I think the notion that you have to do that is outdated.

What do you think of these colors?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I tried it- the boyfriend shirt

I love the trend of stealing your boyfriend's (or husband's in my case) clothes- I think it looks so easy and casual, and not like you are trying too hard. Almost as though you just woke up late, needed to find some clothes quick and run out the door.

I had such a morning last week, and figured it was as good a time as any to try the trend.

Here is how it turned out:

Now here is my train of thought for the look: I like how Rhianna tucks hers into skinny jeans or shorts. However, I can't wear shorts to work- it just wouldn't be appropriate- and when wearing something loose on top I try to keep things tight or form fitting on the bottom, and vice versa. It is all about proportions and balance for me, especially since I am only 5' (and a 1/4 inch) tall!

So I wore mine with leggings. But then I belted the shirt so it wouldn't look like a tent. I wore flats because I thought heels might hint at the first time this kind of look was around- the 90s- and I wanted it look more up to date. My husband suggested heels would help with the proportions though, so I am going to play around with that more next time...

I am also going to play around with the accessories/jewelry. I only wore stud earrings, my watch, and my wedding rings. I want to layer on more, as Rhianna did here.

I wanted to do a makeup look that was similar to Rhianna's- very simple and light- except for those bright red lips. The lip color here, in case you are interested in trying it out, is Nars Bloodwork. Next time, I think I am going to try a more defined and matte lip.

I got one compliment on the outfit at work, but tons more on the lip color!