Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DIY Inspiration - Ideas for a Rainy Day

I'm writing this post on Monday but by tomorrow, when this goes up,we should be in the midst of a downpour. Rainy days are always my favorite for DIY projects. You don't want to go out and it's the perfect chance to do something creative. Of course I'll be working but a girl can dream.

I've found some great DIY inspirations and had to share them with you.

A bobby pin statement necklace from Glitter n' Glue
Glitter Oxfords with Ribbon Ties (Something Bleu) - Great Way to Revive Old Shoes

Keyboard Ring - Fun Gifts for Friends (I'm sure I can find and old keyboard at Goodwill)
Peacock Manicure - Colorful and Fun
Beads in a Bottle by Tulip paints - When the paint dries it looks just like beading!
The ideas are endless.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ShoeMint - The Latest Addition to the Box

Part of my Black Friday excitement involves the launch of ShoeMint, the new venture from Rachel Bilson, Steve Madden and BeachMint (the company behind JewelMint, BeautyMint and StyleMint). I'm sure you've seen the other shoe membership sites that have popped up.  I checked them out and wasn't happy with the quality, selection or the way their sites functioned.  You all know I love JewelMint and I'm very excited with the preview of the shoes I've seen so far. If their other ventures are any indication, the quality and styles available should be great.

They are running a contest, you can win a YEAR OF SHOES (contest ends today) or credits toward your first pair of shoes.
  • Sign up at ShoeMint to be entered to win
  • Increase your chances by referring friends!
  • For every friend that registers, you will receive an additional entry
  • Just by referring 2-4 friends, you automatically get $25 off your first pair of shoes!
  • No purchase necessary to enter
ShoeMint members receive insider trend reports and style tips priced at an affordable $79.98. Membership is free, returns are easy and there is never an obligation to buy.

Here is a little sneak peak of the collection.  I can't wait to get the wedges in maroon and leopard. They are fantastic!

Check out ShoeMint today and sign up for info on their great shoes (there is no obligation to buy).

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Fashion and Style Quote of the Day (#4)

Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.
-Edna W. Chase

Jackets are one of my favorite clothing items.  I love some of my jackets so much that I hate to take them off when I go inside. These jackets are standouts and cool additions to any wardrobe.

If I happened upon this jacket in a thrift store, I would pass it by.  Her combination of the jacket, hat, sleek pants and spiked jewelry is fantastic.  The mix is what turns this jacket from something the Golden Girls wore to a fun topper.

photo credit - facehunter
  I LOVE this jacket. Such a fun twixt on a traditional tuxedo jacket. It makes the outfit!
photo creidt - facehunter
 How can you go wrong with studs and leather?
photo credit - glamcanyon

This has to be one of the coolest jacket/coats that I've ever seen. You can unzip the lower part of the coat and turn it into a jacket. Fantastic!!
photo credit - Scent of Obsession

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Frugal Fashion Friday - Easy Holiday Party Staples

It's really hard for me to believe that next week is Thanksgiving.  The year seems to have flown by and the Holidays are upon us.  That means Holiday parties and events for work, family and friends. There is a party or event happening almost every weekend from Thanksgiving through New Years.  I love Holiday parties, getting together with friends and dressing up.  At lots of these occasions I will see the same faces.  It sounds a bit Hollywood but I don't want to show up in the same outfit twice. Even more important, I want to feel stylish, confident, and at ease. There are also those impromtu and last minute events where I'll need a quick outfit that will look great.

Over the years I've come up with some strategies for these events. I've bought some stand by items that have served me well and they are my go to party items. I feel polished and confident in them and they are easy to mix and match with great tops and accessories to create an easy to throw together party outfit.

My Go To Party Items
  • Tuxedo Jacket - They are available in all sizes, styles and price points. You can wear it with a skirt or a pair of jeans and look polished.
  • White Dress Shirt - Pair it with your tuxedo jacke or your satin skirt, ala Sharon Stone (see below).
  • Great Tee - A simple, well fitting t shirt in a neutral color can dress down your maxi skirt or be a blank canvas for your tuxedo jacket and statement necklace.
  • Stand Out Shoes - Choose a pair that fit your personal style, taste and comfort level. I have a pair of heels and a pair of flats, I choose based on my mood and need for comfort.
  • Statement Necklaces - I have several but if you only want one, pick a version that suits your personality.  You can wear it to a party or to dress up your jeans and tee.
  • Satin Maxi Skirt - I love my satin maxi skirt. I have worn it so many times to different events and it's my go to for evening weddings. If satin isn't your style, try chiffon, or silk.
I found all of the items listed above at a bargain.  By checking department store outlets like Saks Off 5th and Nordstrom Rack, I scored the satin skirt ($40) and tuxedo jacket (Gianfranco Ferre, $60) for a steal. I also own a men's tuxedo jacket that I bought at Goodwill for $6. My white dress shirt is a no iron shirt. It makes it easy to wash and care for. A t shirt with stretch in a fabric like Tencel or Modal will keep its shape and drape beautifully.  I used to select party shoes just for their looks but after suffering through many parties in pain, I've changed my way of thinking.  I now own a few pairs that look great but feel great as well. I even own a pair of party shoes that are flats. Statement Necklaces can be found in every price point.  Check out discount retailers like Target and Kohl's for amazing bargains.  A satin or dressy maxi skirt can be your go to for many fancy events and parties.  I've worn my to fundraising dinners as well as evening weddings.  It's a simple palette that can be dressed up or down. In searching the web I found them in every color (mine is black) at bridal retailers for less than $50!

I mix and match my tuxedo jacket with jeans, skinny pants, and skirts.  I've worn the skirt with a white dress shirt, t shirt, chiffon blouse and more.  Pairing them with a statement necklace, stand out shoes and a fun bag can take these basic staples to the next level.
Many celebs have mastered the art of amazing party outfits.  My favorites are those that mix the fancy with the simple. Here are a few of my favorites.

Sharon Stone in her GAP t shirt
at the 1996 Academy Awards
Sharon Stone wearing
her husband's white dress shirt and a Vera Wang skirt
at the 1998 Academy Awards 

Olivia Palermo wearing a tuxedo jacket, flats and cigarette pants
Basic go to pieces are the key for me when dressing for parties.  It takes the stress out of deciding what to wear or buying a new outfit every time.  New outfits are fun but my budget doesn't always allow for that extra purchase, especially during the holidays.

Tuxedo Jacket, $10 Sequin Skirt, Bargain Stand Out Shoes (Details Here)

T Shirt and Statement Necklace
(also wearing my satin maxi skirt, not pictured)

What's your go to party ensemble?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Inspiration - Country Wedding

I consider myself a city girl but my extended family lives in a rural area and my parents retired there (it's their childhood, country home).  Several years ago they sold my childhood home and moved.  Since then that area and house have become home to me and love visiting. I spent lots of time there as a child on holidays and over the summer. I've even thought of having our wedding in that country setting. Maybe it's the romantic in me creeping out.  Reality is that it doesn't fit our lives, guest list or our personal style.

When I saw these photos today of Lauren Bush and David Lauren's wedding (yes, her name will be Lauren Bush Lauren), I swooned.  It took me by surprise because as I've said, I'm not really a county girl and I'm not a lace girl either. The details of the dress are stunning. It's vintage and modern at the same time. Your wedding dress is guaranteed to be beautiful when your father-in-law is Ralph Lauren.

It's scary. I may have to check myself because if I'm getting the sappy Bride flu, I need some medicine. Regardless of my personal style, these photos are stunning and great wedding inspiration.

photo credits: VOGUE Magazine

These photos and more in the December issue of VOGUE.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BeautyMint - The New Word in Skincare

A few months ago, I heard about a new beauty and skin care line by the company that broughy us JewelMint and StyleMint. This new company, BeautyMint is a collaboration between skin care expert and aesthetician Nerida Joy and Jessica Simpson.

I was asked by BeautyMint to review the main products in their line.  The line launched on October 31 so I was thrilled to be one of the first to try their products.  I’ve been using them for about two weeks now.  I wanted to give them a real try out before posting a review. Based on information from dermatologists, two weeks isn’t enough time to see the full benefits of a new skincare regimen.  I’m going to give you my feedback so far and in a few weeks, I’ll do a follow up.
BeautyMint asked me a few questions and sent products to me.  However, I decided to register, just like you all will do if you decide to join BeautyMint.  I started by completing the skin consultation. The consultation asks a detailed list of questions.  The only drawback I saw was that my answers may have been a combination of a few answers.  Checking more than one reply wasn't an option.
I found the results and recommendations to be accurate to my needs and skin concerns.  I received the comprehensive 4 piece system ($39.99 + S&H).  The advanced 5 piece system includes eye cream ($49.99 + free shipping). The 4 piece system included Essential Cleanser, Stregthening Hydrator, Sculpting Treatment, and Ultra Replenishing Serum. 

The BeautyMint Products I Received

I've been using the products daily for about two weeks and I like the way my skin is responding so far.  Fine lines are my biggest worry and they sent me the related products.  I am seeing some smoothing which is a good sign. You all know that I wear spf daily and I was happy to see that the daily moisturizer included spf.

Cleanser - clear with no perfumes

Sculpting Treatment - Gel like liquid

Ultra Replenishing Serum - An opaque serum with moisturizers

  • The products were free of perfumes and dyes. I loved this because I have sensitive skin.
  • Natural ingridients like aloe and marine collagen are used in the products.
  • My skin is responding well to these products.  I like the way the make my skin feel smoother.
  • The Ultra Replenishing Serum is my favorite. The intense moisturizer instantly hydrates and it works well at night and under make up.
  • There is a 30 day money back guaratee. If you don't like a product or products you can return them within 30 days for a full refund (minus S&H).
  • I would like a higher spf in the Strengthening Hydrator.  Based on a recommendation from my Dermatologist, I used spf 50, daily.
  • Products can't be ordered individually.  I know the products are meant to be used together.  However, I would like to be able to order individual products if I run out of one item or want to try another item. 
  • I would like to be able to order both eye creams individually instead of having them bundled with the skin care regimen.
As you can see most of my cons are not about the products themselves but about ordering and obtaining products.  I know I'm not the norm when it comes to spf use and spf 15 is the standard for most over the counter moisturizers. Overall, I thought the products were good and like the way they worked with my skin. If you want to try a new skin care regimen, BeautyMint  provides good skincare products at a good value.

I will continue to use BeautyMint for the next couple weeks. Most skin care recommendations say that you should give new products at least 4 to 6 weeks to see results. I'll let you know my final results in a future post.

NOTE: BeautyMint sent me their products and kindly asked that I review them on RGR. The opinions
expressed here are my own and are not influenced by BeautyMint.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Frugal Fashion Friday - Favorite Bargain Sites

Shopping is one of my favorite past times but truth be told I haven't been doing much of it lately.  I have tightened my budget and am being extremely frugal with my purchases. I've started recycling and revamping some clothing and shoes that I had stored away.  When shopping was an option, I've been hitting the thrift stores.  My stellar luck lately with finding not one but two pairs of Ferragamo heels, helps to keep my eye on the prize.  The goal is to save for and pay for a great wedding without going into debt.  My Honey and I both agree that wedding debt is not an option.  If we can't pay for it with savings or through the generosity of loved ones, it won't happen. Hence the reason for tight budgeting.

Clockwise from Top: Dress from ASOS, Pradas from DSW, Jacket and shoes from Talbots,
Bracelets from JewelMint, Rainboots from Forever 21

My purchases are frugal and well thought out.  Frugal doesn't always mean the least expensive option but it does mean a quality option for a good price. Cyber Monday is coming up soon and I'm sure there will be lots of bargains available.  I thought I'd share with you, some of my favorite online shopping sites and the reasons I love them.

Trendy Items - Forever 21  
F21 has a great selection of clothing, shoes and accessories at amazingly affordable prices.  They even sell plus size clothing. Bargain prices are always mandatory for trendy items, ones that I will most likely only wear for a season or two, at least for me.  I just don't see the point in paying top dollar for an item I'll be tired of or that will look dated by this time next year.

European Style - ASOS
I've sung the praises of ASOS many times.  Their selection of fashion forward European style is fantastic.  I find great bargains and they have free shipping both ways (if you need to return).  Their selection of shoes, jewelry and plus size clothing is amazing. They only negative is that it can take a little longer for your items to arrive but they are coming from Europe, after all.  It's worth the wait.

Jewelry - JewelMint
The quality and amazing design of JewelMint jewelry has made me a loyal customer.  Each piece is $29.99 but many times, there are sets available where you get multiple pieces of jewelry for that price.  If you like them on facebook or follow them on twitter, you can also get discounts on single pieces and multiples. You've seen me wear JewelMint many times. They have something for everyone and a great price.

Classic Clothing - Talbots
If you are looking for beautifully tailored classic style, Talbots is a must.  They sell clothing is all sizes (petite to plus) and most of the items they sell are timeless.  I love their outlet stores but many of the items in the outlet stores are also being sold online. I've purchased amazing skirts and tops for less than $20!  For an item that I could wear for years, that is truly a bargain.

Plus Sizes - Fashion to Figure
There was a time that if you were in the plus size range, you could forget finding any dress that didn't look like a tent.  Times have changed, my friends, thanks to amazing stores like Fashion to Figure.  They sell fantastic clothing and there is nary a muumuu in sight! The clothing is stylish, fashion forward and affordable. It flatters women of all shapes and sizes (from 12 - 26).  I'll be doing a review of their clothing soon. I'm in love!

Shoes - DSW
Their selection and range of options is great.  They have great sales and you can use up to three coupon codes on one order!  Returns are a breeze because you can return an item via mail or to a store. Many of the items online can be found in their stores and vice versa.  I always check the sale pages before I go into the new items.  I've gotten some great bargains, including my find of the century, navy blue satin Pradas (pictured above).

These are just a few of my favorites.  Which online shopping sites do you love and why?

I set this post up in advance because I'm on a long weekend trip with my Mom and sister to The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.  I'll be posting pictures all weekend on facebook and twitter.  Be sure to follow me.

Happy Friday Real Girls!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fashion and Style Quote of the Day (#3)

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
Coco Chanel

I love this quote by Coco Chanel because it sums up my fashion philosophy.  To me, classy means pulled together and stylish.  Fabulous is all about personal style.  Keeping those thoughts in mind, you can't go wrong.

Most photos of Coco Chanel show her in a tailored suit and hat. They are indicative of her style but the photo above is one of my favorites. She's in the country (with her dog), wearing tailored pants and the Breton striped top that she made famous and fashionable. It's an easy outfit that is polished, classy and fabulous. Just proving that you don't have to be dressed up to look amazing.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Well Color Me Happy!

Pantyhose and I have never been friends but I LOVE TIGHTS!  Any style, color or pattern, they can really enhance an outfit and make it memorable.  For today's challenge over at Everybody Everywear, I'm showing you some of my favorite looks with tights, specifically colored and patterned tights.

Colored Tights | Everybody, Everywear

Do you love tights as much as I do?  A pair of mustard colored tights are on my list for this year.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day Blogging Break

I spent this past weekend, last night and am spending parts of today working for the election of great representatives. Today is election day in many places and I'm very active in the local Democratic Party.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those women who came before me.  They worked so hard and gave so much to get women the right to vote and I owe them every gratitude.  I live very close to the what used to be known as the Occoquan Workhouse.  It was at this jail that a group of women who protested the White House for the right to vote were jailed and staged a hunger strike.  These women and their fight were profiled in the film Iron Jawed Angels.

Of course I had to include some pictures showing these amazing women as well as the fashion of the time.

In honor of the women jailed at the Occoquan Workhouse, I am also working with others in the area to build the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. On the website, you can read about the women and the plans for the memorial.

If you live in an area where it is election day, I urge you to get out and vote.  It's an honor and a privilege that I am incredibly thankful for.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Fashion Frugal Friday - Wedding Inspiration on a Budget

I haven't posted much about weddings and wedding ideas since I became engaged.  The last thing I want is for this to turn into a wedding blog.  But I'd love to get your feedback on my ideas and inspirations.

I still have a year and half before we are planning to get married.  Truth be told, I've done very little planning.  Weddings can be expensive and we have been working on our budget and saving.  We both agree that throwing an amazing party for our friends and family is what is important to us.  We will be spending the bulk of our budget on food, alcohol and a band.  Those are the things that are most important to us. 

Since we know where we want our money to go, we won't be spending a fortune on our wedding attire. I don't begrudge girls who spend thousands on their wedding gowns.  If that's what makes them feel amazing on their wedding day and they have the budget, I say, go for it. I want a beautiful dress but spending thousands of dollars on a dress just isn't for me. Many of my inspirations are the high end versions but I'm working on getting the same look for my meager budget.

My Inspirations

From Top Left:  Vera Wang Bridal Fall 2011, Bridal Sash - Sarah Morgan Bridal, My Mom,
Christian Louboutin Marine Glitter Platforms, Peacock Headband - Kaang Accessories

I love the flower skirt of this dress but Vera Wang dresses are in the $10,000 and up range.  The Art Deco style of this sash is just my style.  Even on etsy sashes such as this one go for around $200 and up.  My Mom borrowed her wedding dress but bought a Brussels lace mantilla. I've always thought I'd wear it on my wedding day. I fell in love with these marine blue glitter Christian Louboutins.  They aren't available any longer but at over $600 a pair, they weren't in my budget. I'm not really a tiara girl but somehow I'm smitten with the idea of incorporating peacock feathers in my hair.  What do you think of my inspirations?

Budget Ideas

From Top Left: Peacock feathers, Sew-on crystals, White by Vera Wang, My Mom, DIY Glitter Shoes - Teresa Does It

As luck would have it, Vera Wang now has a bridal line at David's Bridal.  This dress, similar to her couture dress is $1400.  I'm planning to borrow my Mom's mantilla.  My DIY skills will come in handy.  I'm going to try my hand at making my own glitter shoes.  I've also thought of covering them in Swarovski crystals. With my jewelry skills, making my headband and sash shouldn't be too hard. It will take some time but I know I'll love them even more if I make them myself.

I haven't even gone to stores and begun trying on dresses.  Once I do, I may change my mind completely.  I've collected some other dress ideas and I'll post them sometime to get your thoughts. Thanks for indulging me.


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inspiration - Street Style Leather Edition

I'm so happy that the weather has turned cooler and I can wear my leather (and faux leather) jackets.  They are so easy to wear with everything from jeans and a tee to a frilly dress. I love them styled in every way imagineable.  There are so many great style inspirations to be found.

I love this outfit because with the exception of the sheer skirt, I would wear this and I have (seen here). It's such a comfortable and easy look but also polished.

Models Off Duty
I just purchased a hat similar to this one. My came from Target for only $8.50!  I can't wait to style mine in a similar way.

Cats and Rocking Chairs

The mod pattern of this skirt and the cool jacket are a fantastic combo.  But what else could we expect from Marie Claire fashion editor, Zanna Roberts Rassi.

Zanna Roberts Rassi

Skinny pants, booties, moto jacket, cowl scarf, long gloves, and chain strap back, all in black.  This outfit is so chic there are hardly words.  I can't wait to try this out myself.

Come Over to the Dark Side We Have Candy

Sweet tulle ruffles and a tough leather jacket are opposites that work together.  I will have to try a similar look with one of my dressy skirts.

Vintage Lollipops

The added fun of the color of this dress lends even more to this similar ruffles and leather outfit.  So cute.

Keiko Lynn

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brights and Sparkle to Warm Your Winter - OPI Nicki Minaj Collection

OPI is partnering with flamboyant singing sensation Nicki Minaj for their January collection.  Nicki's style is bright, sparkly and over the top. She has a penchant for brightly colored wigs and crazy costumes.

The collection suits her style well and will bring some brightness to those dark winter months. It contains six shades, including two glitter shades and a new shatter shade.

Purple Shatter

Did It On 'Em


Metallic 4 Life

Pink Friday

Save Me

My personal favorites are the Purple Shatter, Fly, and Metallic 4 Life.  I love the idea of layering the Purple Shatter over silver.  The charcoal glitter of Metallic 4 Life will be a staple in repertoire and Fly is a fun new take on the teal/aqua trend.

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