Thursday, May 30, 2013

Maxi-mized







--what I'm wearing--
Top:  Loft
Skirt:  F21
Belt:  J. Crew
Clutch:  Express
Shoes:  J. Crew
Jewels:  Vintage, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters

--get the look--
Try pairing a maxi skirt with a similar color top, but go one shade lighter.  This will create a flattering ombre effect, elongating your figure as the eye travels from light to dark.  Play up the bohemian side of the skirt with eclectic jewelry, bold earrings, and a fun fishtail braid.  Remember to keep your proportions in check--add a belt if you feel like there's too much volume.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Change Your Stripes


Oh, three day weekends are the best!  Monday is actually Tuesday so I'm only 4 days away from the next weekend.  I'll take it!  Even so, life is not perfect and most of the weekend was chilly so no, there was no beach or BBQ for me.  To be quite honest, I spent the weekend cleaning the exorbitant amount of clothes, shoes, scarves, purses, and make-up that somehow wrecked havoc all over my our bedroom.  And then it dawned on me--the trick is to put it away right after you take it off.  Not wait until until it gets so bad that you have to keep the door closed to forget it's there.  What a novel idea.






--what I'm wearing--
Top:  Madewell
Jacket:  Express
Denim:  Madewell
Purse:  Fossil
Jewels:  Luxe Craving
(Scarf:  borrowed from boyfriend's closet, Espirit)

--get the look--
A leather jacket instantly adds edge to any outfit.  Switch it up from the regular black to a great taupe color for spring.  It's an easy way to dress up jeans and a printed top.  Pair it with a great bag and stacked heel booties.
A leather jacket is a great investment, but can be a pricey one.  These days there are great quality faux leather jackets on the market, like the one I'm wearing.  They look like the real deal but are a fraction of the cost.


The Skinny on Skincare

The 8-Step Guide to a Skincare Routine


Everyone has a skincare routine.  For some it's face wash and cream.  For others its a whole slew of products, each with a job of their own.  With all the options, it's easy to get overwhelmed.  Here's a basic guide to the process that will help you narrow down what you need and what you don't need for your specific skin type.  Feel free to omit and customize for your own needs.

1.  Make-up Remover:  You'd be surprised as to how many face cleansers are NOT formulated to remove make up.  It's also better to remove make up from the delicate eye area separately.  This Bioderma one is an amazing make up remover.  It won't sting your eyes and is extremely thorough at taking off face make up, as well as waterproof mascara.  I can't say enough good things about it.  Unfortunately, it is a French brand and I've only been able to find it on Amazon. 

2.  Cleanser:  Once you've taken your make up, it's time to cleanse.  A good cleanser is one that removes all traces of dirt and make up but doesn't strip the skin and leave it feeling tight.  I prefer one that lathers up, like the Mario Badescu Glycolic foaming cleanser, so I can use it with my Clarisonic if I choose.  

3.  Exfoliater:  Exfoliation is removing the dead skin cells on the outer most layer.  I usually only need to do this step 3-4 times a week.  There's manual exfoliation (small grains for buffing) or chemical exfoliation (AHA or Lactic Acid).  Neither is scientifically proven to be better than the other so it comes down to personal preference.  I use a scrub in the shower and save a fruit enzyme for evenings when I have the time.  

4.  Masks:  I'm a huge believer in the skincare benefits of using masks.  You want to apply a mask after you've cleansed your face because your pores are open so anything you put on now will get absorbed deep into the skin.  There's masks for absolutely every skin concern you may have--moisturizing, deep pore cleansing, anti-aging, etc.  Pick one that addresses your concerns and rotate them weekly.  The Steep Clean by Bliss is one of my favorites.  It's a dual pump with two separate products that combine to exfoliate, unclog pores and brighten skin.

5.  Toner:  After you cleanse your face, it's important to to tighten those pores to keep impurities out.  A toner will also help restore the natural pH balance for your particular skin.  There is a difference, however, between toners and astringents.  Toners do not contain alcohol and astringents are alcohol-based.  For many years I used an astringent because they're marketed towards oily/combination skin.  The problem I experienced was that the alcohol completely dried out my skin.  While that may sound like a solution to oily skin, it doesn't seem to work that way.  What actually happened was that my skin started to over produce oil to make up for the extra dryness.  I'm absolutely sold on Michael Todd's Blue Algae Toner--it's full of nutrients and maintains the proper pH balance without the drying effects of alcohol.

6.  Serums:  The order in which you apply your products after you tone, should correspond to the weight.  You want to go from light to heavy--so serums before creams.  You can use as many serums as your skin can handle.  Since I get oily quickly, I can't afford to put anything extra on my skin.  I like the Kate Somerville Antioxidant Serum because it's like a multi-vitamin for your skin.  Also, if you're applying any kind of wrinkle cream, whether it be for treating or preventing, it should be done before applying moisturizer as well.

7.  Moisturizer:  If you do nothing else for your skin, cleanse and moisturize.  It's that important.  Contrary to popular belief, ALL skin types need moisture, even the oily and acne-prone (especially if you're using other anti-acne treatments designed to dry out blemishes).  For any skin types, I'd recommend finding one that is oil-free and not meant to clog pores.  If you're dry/normal, you've got it easy in this department and can choose from hundreds of options on the market.  If you're oily, there's more than a few good options for lightweight moisturizers meant to control oil production.  My top two are Vichy's Normaderm Pro Mat and Michael Todd's Moisture Lite.  I should also mention SPF at this point--finding a moisturizer with added a built in SPF is the easiest way to protect against sun damage.  Nothing ages you quicker than exposure to sun.

8.  Eye Cream:  Speaking of aging skin, that delicate eye area is the hardest to protect.  While there's a million different reasons we get wrinkles or dark eyes or puffiness, a good eye cream can aid in the prevention and treatment of these problem areas.  A lot of eye creams can be gimmick-y and ineffective.  I've found that the Bobbi Brown Eye Repair Cream truly does help with my dark circles and especially the puffiness.  I don't think there is a miracle product out there that's going to magically fix my dark circles, but over time I have noticed a difference between when I use it and when I DON'T use it.  (Here's a small tip:  on the mornings when you're eyes are extra puffy, stick your eye cream in the fridge.  The cold cream will visibly reduce the bags!)

Skincare is really like a chemistry experiment.  You have to read and research ingredients and then see how well they react to your skin.  Obviously what works for me may not work for you.  You certainly don't need this many products or you may need more products than these.  Depending on your skin type and concerns, you can pick and choose the types of products you need to use.  I understand that not all the products I've mentioned are budget friendly so stay tuned for other options I'd recommend soon.  Hope that was helpful!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Aweigh We Go


I'm not really sure when this nautical craze will end--but I'm not fighting it. In fact, I'm embracing it wholeheartedly. Mainly because I have anchor shirts and necklaces and bracelets and even an anchor coffee mug.  Clearly I've invested a lot into this.  This top is probably the first nautical themed anything I bought.  The miniature anchors got to me, those little cuties.  This was quickly followed by buying white denim, boat shoes in an assortment of colors and literally anything with navy and white stripes. 

Yup, there's no turning back now.





 --what I'm wearing--
Shirt:  J. Crew
Shorts:  Express
Shoes:  Aldo
Purse:  Kate Spade
Hat:  Madewell
Jewels:  J. Crew

--get the look--
This season is all about classic sailor inspired garb (think nautical stripes, high waisted sailor shorts, and crisp white).  You'll see nautical influences absolutely everywhere.  An easy way to incorporate this trend is simple by working with the traditional color palette:  navy, white, red.  For a less-traditional route, switch out the red for pink (see here).  Or you can just as easily work with the different nautical motifs like anchor prints, stripes, a straw hat and a good pair of boat shoes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beat the Heat


Oh em gee, it's hot out! Like that gross, humid kind of hot--you know, the kind of heat where it's just too hot to move.  So naturally I'm allowed to leave the dishes for another less brutal day.  All I want to do is cool down with this pint of caramel cookie dough gelato.  In all honestly, I was only supposed to go to the supermarket for cheese, coffee and dish soap (the essentials, of course) but somehow, I ended up in the freezer aisle.

Weird, right?

And also, I forgot to get the cheese.  Fail.







--what I'm wearing--
Dress by Raviya
Shoes byExpress
Purse by J. Crew
Jewels by J. Crew, Madewell, Vintage

--get the look--
Don't overdo it when it's warm outside.  Stick to breathable fabrics and leave the chunky jewelry (that can make you warmer and stick to your skin) at home.  No one looks cute when they're uncomfortable!  Color is your best friend so be bold.  If you have a warm undertone (think J.Lo, Eva Mendes) then warm colors, like corals and oranges, will suit you best.  On the other hand, if you're cool toned (Carmen Diaz, Anne Hathaway), you may want to try blues and purple.  It's hot--you're not going to wear a face-full of make up so playing up your natural beauty is key.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Prepfection


You don't need an accumulation of many things to make a statement.  One bright (hot pink) accessory is you  all need.  Keep the background relatively neutral, but make it interesting with a different texture or a playful neckline.  Sneak in a print with some fun striped flats and there you have it--prepfection.  






Dress:  Anthropologie
Purse:  J. Crew
Shoes:  J. Crew Factory
Jewels:  Madewell, J. Crew


Monday, May 20, 2013

Rain Check


I have secretly been hoping for some inclement weather.  It's not every day that I can get away with wearing red rain boots and frolicking around with a sailboat umbrella.  And yes, there was a legitimate amount of precipitation that warranted these extreme measures.  

Don't believe me?  Take a look at my hair--hair and rain do not get along.  It's all one big frizzy mess that reminds me that days like this are best spent in bed.  I just figured out what this outfit is missing.

A hat.







Shirt:  J. Crew
Jacket:  Urban Outfitters
Skirt:  Anthropologie
Purse:  Kate Spade
Boots:  J. Crew
Jewels: J. Crew, Vintage, Madewell

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Drop A-line



Please ignore the couple making out behind me. 

New York is the strangest, most magical place I ever did see.  How can so many different things be going on in a 22.7 sq. mile area?  In the seven hours I spent in the city, I witnessed all kinds of sights and sounds and smells.  People-watching is the greatest.  I could spend all the time in the world watching the most fascinating human beings, with the most fascinating sense of style, rushing about around me.  I know I'm sounding like a tourist, but actually I live only a few miles out and even worked in the city for awhile. 

But it just never gets old.

For a casual day off, I always go for comfort first.  An a-line skirt with a white tee is an easy look to pull off--just make sure that the tee is fitted.  And if it's not fitted, you can tailor it to give you shape--either tucking it into the skirt or tying an off-center knot.  






T-Shirt:  Madewell
Skirt:  J. Crew
Bag:  Urban Outfitters
Shoes:  Steve Madden
Jewels:  Anthropologie, J. Crew, Fossil

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Orange Rush

 

It's too chilly for May!  Also, I somehow managed to convince myself that it's Friday.  The harsh reality of a Wednesday was a serious blow.

So I put on my happy shoes.  Sometimes I feel like we are always talking about do's and don'ts in fashion or keeping up with trends.  Who comes up with these trends anyway? (Anna Wintour, I know it's you).  Well, I'm here to tell you that the Fashion Police only exists on the E! network.  You are entitled to wear what you want.  So if a pair of funky, be-flowered wedges are going to get you through a cold Wednesday then so be it!

...I'm half hoping you, dear reader, will leave a comment below--something along the lines of "Silly girl, IT IS friday!"

Happy, happy hump day :]






Jacket:  J. Crew
Scarf:  J. Crew Factory
Denim:  Madewell
Shoes:  Bandolino
Purse:  South Moon Under

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Com-pleat Look


Allergy season is kicking my butt right now.  The closest I can get to a flower is this floral print dress.  And all I want to do is have fresh, spring flowers all over my house.  But then I'd be one sniff-ly, itchy-eyed mess and that probably doesn't photograph well.  

(I'm rambling.)

An outfit is a head to toe kind of thing.  You have to look at the big picture and more times than not, it comes down to the details.  An easy way to complete a look is simply by matching your accessories.  Pulling a shade of pink from this floral number, I matched it in my jewelry, purse, and shoes.  It may sound redundant but since the dress is a multicolored print and I have a light cream breaking it up, it doesn't look too matchy-matchy.  

Yes, that's a GIRAFFE on my necklace.  He's a cutie :]





Dress:  F21
Jacket:  Urban Outfitters
Shoes:  Sergio Rossi
Purse:  J. Crew
Belt:  Madewell
Jewels:  J. Crew