Saturday, April 25, 2015

Seriously Easy Curls: (for real, they're super easy)

    My hair has changed a lot as I've aged, which means I have to keep changing the way I style it.  The trouble is  I.  Hate.  Doing.  My.  Hair.  I always have and I only see more of the same in my future.  I've had my hair all different lengths and colors, but I've never been interested in styling it.  I want to wake up and have it look great each day.  That is how my hair used to be in my teens with thick natural curls, and it may have ruined me.  All the other girls I knew were learning to crimp, curl, spray, mousse, and flat iron.  I just washed it and let it air-dry and it was gorgeous.
  
   Alas, the curls and much of the thickness have gone, but I'm still looking for an easy out on styling it. I'm frequently searching pinterest and youtube seeking advice and tips from others.  What I find more often than not is something labeled "easy"  or "quick" and it turns out to be anything but quick or easy and it never looks like the instructor's.  But, I. Hate. Doing.  My. Hair.  I'm not good at it, or just too lazy to get better, or both.

If you can relate then behold my truly easy and somewhat quick fix for soft curls.

    I wash my hair right before bed with just shampoo.  I don't usually use conditioner or styling products since they tend to weigh my hair down.  Use your best judgement on whether or not to use them yourself.  I have had good success with just shampoo followed by a dollop of Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Definer.



    Then I divide my hair into about six sections.  I don't put them in any kind of a grid pattern because I want the curls to look natural.  I also put them up higher on my head so that they'll be easy to sleep on.  Nothing at the center-back of my head or at the sides near my ears.   I do a very loose twist which wraps into a loose curl.  If you twist your sections too tightly, they may not dry over night.  Then I put a bobby pin through one side to the center.  The next morning I take the pins out and run my finger through the curls a bit to separate them.  I don't like using hairspray unless I'm heading out to some event.



    These pics were taken six hours after I took the curls down, with no hairspray and I love how bouncy and soft they still look.  You'd never know I was sick the day before and spent this day doing laundry and getting organized before another week begins.




If you try these curls yourself, send me pics and I'll post them here!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Applique Bouquet

    Confession:  I was a huge fan of What Not To Wear on TLC.  I only got to be a fan for about a year and then the show ended.   But, true to its name, this Learning Chanel show really taught me some things and I'm extremely grateful for the advice and how-tos from the hosts and more importantly the empowered "you-can-do-it" feeling I got from sharing in the transformations of women who felt just like me.

    Now, that's the big picture.  Let me zoom in for a minute.  In the last season I saw an episode in which a "nerdy" scientist needed to update her look from college to professional.  She tried on this stunning teal dress with ivory floral embroidery at the center...and she passed on it!  She really did need help!  I determined then and there to find that dress and make it mine.  I feel I need to note here that I saw another woman try on the same dress and go home with it in a later (I think) episode, and literally applauded her for her good taste.  Fast forward about two years.  I had long since given up finding the dress when it found me.  I was on Ebay looking for a mint green dress (see my post titled Winter Mint to see what I finally found)  when Ebay suggested some "similar items."  Low and Behold.  There it was...blink...blink...the long desired dress.


 
    It took another four months and some price negotiating with a cooperative seller before I actually bought the dress, but oh my, oh my, I'm so glad I did.  In case you're searching, this dress is by Studio M and was made in a turquoise color (shown above at the left and middle).  And, while I have found a photo of this dress in a minty green (above right), I haven't seen it for sale anywhere, so it may just be a monitor color difference.

  
    I had lots of ideas for this dress, so many that I may do another post at a later time.  For now I'll show you my fave four.

Dressy:
 For this outfits I used a lime green cardi by August Silk (from my local mall), nude peep toe wedges, and layered pearl necklaces from Forever 21.  Pearls dress up anything!


Country Club:
First of all, Yes, I did have to look up what "country club" style meant, because I've only been to a country club once.  I was there for a wedding and spent the entire time chasing a toddler while balancing a baby on my hip.  As a result, I have no idea what anyone wore.  So, basically I'm using it to describe an outfit that's a little too dressy to be casual but a little to casual to be dressy.   I swapped out the pearl necklace for a pearl beaded cardigan in a lovely light peach color.  A bit more casual than the necklace and I love pairing turquoise and peach.  Closed toe wedges and a peacock print scarf complete the look.  I'm doing a bit of print mixing here with the scarf and dress.


Mixing Prints:
I really jumped in to mixing prints for this one.  I wanted to use my tribal print scarf from Charlotte Russe since the teals are the same in the dress and scarf.  I used my ivory crop cardi and some raspberry peep toe heels since these colors are also in the same palette as the scarf and/or dress.


Casual
With the bright Turquoise color and all the applique, it's hard to call this dress casual.  But when I wear it with a cropped denim jacket and beaded sandals, it's suddenly a very relaxed, Saturday afternoon dress.  If you don't have a little jean jacket, I highly recommend acquiring one; they're a versatile addition to your wardrobe.



Dress Review:  This dress originally sold for $128 but all the listings I've seen on Ebay have it at around $50.  The material is 100% cotton and very light and flowy.  The waist is a bit narrow and the bust is too low for me, so I'll have to make some adjustments there.  The applique accents the narrowest part of the waist and the skirt has a nice flare.

    At the time of this post, there are three of these dresses (one size small and two size medium) still listed on Ebay and all in New condition (one size medium has a defect, so read the listing before buying), and all have Buy-It-Now options.

Ebay Studio M Dress Size Small 

Ebay Studio M Dress Size Medium

Ebay Studio M Dress Size Medium with Defect 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Posey Does It Dress

ModCloth regularly comes out with sweet little dresses for around $50 but they rarely come in my size.  So, when I see one I tend to pounce before it's sold out.  Posey Does It dress is light weight and a lovely mint with a pink, white, and blue floral print.  The pleating at the neckline is kind of a beast to iron, and it definitely needed to be ironed!  But really that's my only complaint about the dress.  The colors are so versatile I can create lots of different looks with this dress.  It's also the right length to pair with tights without looking frumpy.

Posey Does It Dress at ModCloth $54.99


I'll show you the two styles I've already tried with this dress, but I have several more in mind.  For this first style I wanted to bring out the bright blue by pairing the dress with a crop cardi and raspberry flats by Aldo.


For the second look I used my Magenta Charter School Cardi and some beaded sandals from Target.com  for a casual look.



Shop the Outfit:
Charter School Cardigan in Magenta at ModCloth.com  $34.99



Women's Evelyn Thong at Target.com $29.99

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Let the Sunshine In: How to Wear Yellow

    Yellow is one of those colors that most people seem to avoid.  I've heard so many women say, "oh, I can't wear yellow."  Why not?  Just a little?

   A make-up consultant once told me that women have red and yellow pigments in their skin and whichever of those two you have in abundance is the color you can wear.  She told me that I have more yellow in my skin and should therefore avoid red...and I did for years.  Then one day on a whim I bought some red lipstick and suddenly all those years of going without seemed to be a waste.  I now own and enjoy regularly wearing several things that are red as red can be. 

    It's the same with yellow.  If it's one of those colors you think you just can't wear, reconsider.  Now I'm not suggesting head-to-toe yellow (that's the other extreme to which people go and it's worse than just avoiding it all together).  But a little bit here and there adds such visual interest that it's worth at least owning a piece or two.   It brings such a pop, a burst of sunshine to an outfit.

A few examples from my own wardrobe:
A scarf here, a belt there and suddenly the whole feel of the outfit becomes much sunnier!  Here are a few more cheery picks to brighten your style.


Nina Forbes Canary Peep Toe Satin Heels $78.95 at Zappos.com



Ana Luiza Necklace $88.00 at Anthropologie.com



Kingdom & State Color Block Bombshell Swim Top $58.00 at UniqueVintage.com


Thank You Cherry Much Sweater in Lemon $34.99 at ModCloth.com



Sunshine State Crossbody Bag $248.00 at Anthropologie.com