Category Archives: How To

It's ALL About the Shoes!

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I couldn’t figure out why I was slipping and sliding all over the studio floor while everyone else was sticking just fine… guess what? Stripper shoes have rubber bottoms and my street shoes don’t! TADA, no more slipping!

The problem is, I have crazy skinny feet. Nice shoe people call them “European feet” but in reality it just means I have a heck of a time finding anything that fits well. So I’m pigeon-holed into one brand – Pleaser.

Before… matte and blah

This would be fine except Pleaser stopped producing glittery shoes. And me, being me, I will probably dip my first born child in glitter if I can so you KNOW my stripper shoes will be fabulous. I did a little DIY work and I’m really happy with how they came out, check out the after!

 

After – GLITTER CENTRAL!

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How To: Carry a Big Bag

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As you know, I’m a weekly columnist over at The Bags Blog. Be sure to check out my latest article on how to carry a big bag (think Speedy 35) without losing everything to the space vortex at the bottom. Space vortex… I think my geek is showing 😛

Love: A Patterened Interview with Melissa

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As you all know by now, my interpreter day job means I spend most of my life in various shades of black, gray, and white so I don’t have much experience in the mixing and matching department. When I ran across Melissa from A Working Mom’s Closet, I was so fascinated by her use of prints and bright colors that I spent my lunch hour pouring over her blog. When I asked her to share some of her knowledge with all of you, she very kindly agreed to be interviewed and the following is the result. 🙂

Do you have any ‘rules’ for mixing prints?

I haven’t done a whole lot of pattern mixing but the times that I have, my thoughts are to keep the patterns within the same color family, or keep one of them black and white and only add in one other color. It also helps to use accessories as one or both of the patterns. A belt or leopard print shoes or scarf can go a long way to adding some pizazz with an extra pattern!
What do you look for when buying printed pieces?
Mostly just prints that appeal to me. I don’t have a standard print that I really like, as some others do. Some people really like stripes or polka dots or florals or abstracts…I like them all. It depends on what catches my eye and if the color scheme is suited for my coloring. I will intentionally look for certain things that seem to be trending, like the stripes and polka dots, but generally it’s just whatever is pretty. 🙂

What does your closet look like? Do you put all your prints together or keep outfits together?
I organize my closet according to type of clothing. Dresses, arranged by sleeve length, then skirts, then cardigans/jackets, then long-sleeved shirts and sweaters, then short-sleeved tops and then tanks and camis. I don’t keep outfits together because I don’t usually pick them out until I wake up in the morning!
You’re also an expert at layering, how do you build complete outfits?
Ooooh…I’ve never been called an expert at anything! Thanks! 🙂 It depends, really. Sometimes I’ll start with a basic piece like a dress or skirt and go from there, deciding which top would look best with it, if I need another layer underneath for warmth or if I want to throw another color in there for fun. I wear a LOT of cardigans, plus there’s the fact that my boss has issues with anyone showing too much in the chestal region (not just cleavage, but anything in the chest area at all!) so I have lots of camis and tanks to layer underneath.
I try very hard not to wear the same outfit twice, unless it’s one that made me feel really good, so I consider it a challenge to come up with new ways to wear the same piece (which for me only happens with layers or accessories). I have one piece that I’ve worn as a skirt the way it was made, but also as a tunic and as a tube top to work – with a blazer! Blazers and cardigans can make almost anything work-appropriate.

What are the go to pieces in your wardrobe?
My purple dress (that I desperately wish I could buy in every single color but so far haven’t found any more like it!), my black dress, my black rosebud boots and pretty much any of my belts and cardigans. I wear belts and cardigans ALL the time. It’s almost absurd how often I wear belts. I think I might have a problem.
What inspires your unique style?
Belts and cardigans. 🙂 Honestly, reading blogs has been incredibly inspiring to me. Before I ever knew style blogs existed, I never wore skirts or dresses and thought belts were ridiculous. Now you can’t get me to wear pants much and I have LOTS of belts! It’s through all of these friends I’ve met through blogging that I’ve been inspired to push my boundaries, try new things and thus figure out what *my* style is. I’m a belter, a layerer and a cardigan/jacket/dress girl. I love wearing at least one color, usually more and would like to venture more into pattern mixing territory. I haven’t done that enough or at least not bravely enough.

Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for interviewing me! I’m incredibly flattered that anyone would be interested in my answers to these questions. I hope I’ve been able to help someone push their own boundaries to find their personal style, too!

Love: 100 Words on Life

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Love: 100 Words on Life

I’ve lived a very, very long time. At least it feels like it, though those with more than a quarter century under their belts might not agree with me. Be that as it may, I still feel as though I have something to contribute to the greater knowledge of fashion, confidence and life lessons. Here, my manifesto in exactly 100 words. Feel inspired? Write your own 100 words and I’ll link it here!

When you feel like shit, put on mascara – at least it will look dramatic if you cry

Pencil skirts will forever be sexy…

…so will red lipstick

Men and women can’t ever be just friends, unless the man is gay

Garter belts are more comfortable than pantyhose, and a whole lot sexier

If you can laugh at yourself, no one can have power over you

Confidence is enticing, so are high heels

Blondes really do have more fun

It’s better to like who you are than to care if anyone else does

Cutting your hair will change your life

Want to read more? Check out these fabulous bloggers who have written their own 100 words on life:

Love: The Perfect First Date Outfit

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After extensive research this weekend, I’m proud to say that I have figured out the surprisingly sexy but perfectly appropriate first date outfit for a casual dinner or movie night. Turns out our mothers were right, it is good to leave a little to the imagination (and what does that better than an oversized sweater?) but the beater peeking out from underneath and an eye-catching statement necklace keep it from looking too sloppy or granny. Pair with skinny jeans to show off your shape and a pair of FLAT over-the-knee boots.

Perfect First Date

Perfect First Date by jennaw featuring gray boots

What do you think? Is this a look you’d wear on a casual date? What would you wear to something a little fancier? Post your Polyvore sets in the comments!

How to: Turn a Bookself into a Glam Display Case

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One of my favorite fashion searches is to see how people keep their closets organized while displaying their designer wares. Maybe it’s for inspiration or maybe it’s the same thrill that keeps my mom and I peeking into open windows while we drive by houses at night. Either way, I never ceased to be amazed by the numberways creative fashionistias store their good.

Once my collection started to really take off I couldn’t keep it all on my dresser any longer, and I didn’t have the amazing walk-in closet I do now, so I went to Target (the answer to all life’s problems) and bought two folding bookshelves to stack on top of each other. 

I loved this solution because it kept everything in one place, the shelves were large enough to store my bigger bags (note the Louis Keepall 55 on the bottom) and I could easily see what I had when I was deciding what to wear. Since it was actually two bookshelves stacked, I used some black electrians tape to hold them together and make the unit a little more sturdy, but I’m pretty sure it would have been fine on its own.

Close-ups of the shelves after the break for the super nosey (like me!)

Read the rest of this entry

Love: How to Buy Authentic Handbags Online

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I’m so proud of my latest post over at The Bags Blog!

Everything you could ever want to know about buying handbags online and avoiding fakes 🙂


Love: The Perfect Friday Night

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I so admire the beautiful image posts so many bloggers offer, so I thought I’d try a little editorial photography of mine own. I know that I need a LOT more work and probably a more professional camera to get images that look like they were pulled straight out of a magazine, but everybody has to start somewhere, right?

The perfect Friday night…

So what do you guys think? Something you’d like to see more of? Should I stick to how-tos and lust, love, lose posts? Feedback is always most appreciated 🙂

Love: Products for Blonde Hair that Really Work

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In case you can’t tell by now, one of my biggest fashion pet peeves is stringy, nasty, over-processed blonde hair – mostly because there’s just no need for it! A few amazing products will keep your blonde hair gorgeous and feeling great no matter how much 20 volume bleach your hairstylist says you need. Even better, not a single one of these products retails for over $10!

Without a doubt, the GOD of bleach blonde products is Clairol Shimmer Lights ($7). It’s not expensive, smells amazing, and works wonders at keeping brassy orange tones at bay. Use it once a week in place of regular shampoo (rinse, lather, repeat and let the second wash sit 3-5 minutes) and you’ll see the difference as soon as you step out of the shower. Fair warning though: it does create a purple murder scene in your bathtub.

Garnier Fructis 3-Minute Undo ($6) is a miracle for dry hair – I use it once a week when I do my Shimmer Lights and let it sit 3-5 minutes (can you tell it’s my longest shower of the week?). If you’ve got a serious case of the dries, you can wet your head, slather it on, wrap your head in saran wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. You can also snag those great little bottles of conditioner that come with box dye from your friends, because you would never box dye blonde, right? Right??

When it comes to an everyday purple shampoo, I’m not entirely convinced that all products aren’t created equal, but I’ve had good luck with John Frieda Sheer Blonde Color Renew Tone-Restoring Shampoo and Conditioner ($8/each). I pick it up whenever Ulta has a sale and use it between Shimmer Lights and Garnier treatments. If you’re using Shimmer Lights once a week, you can probably get away with about any shampoo in between as long as it doesn’t have a red or yellow dye in it (some do to make the shampoo pretty, ex: Bath and Body Works in Sweet Pea).

That’s really about it, everything I use to keep my blonde hair in shape between bleaches. Inexpensive, easy to use, and leaving no excuse for nasty burn-out blonde ever again.

Looking at going blonde? Check out this post for details!

How To: Go Blonde

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Ever since I changed my hair, I run into someone at least once a week who looks in astonishment, reaches over to feel my hair that still feels like hair and asks “how did you do that??” Here’s the thing: there is no magical answer to blonde except to find an expert stylist who knows what he or she is doing and can work with you to get the color you want with a routine that fits your life and budget.

This is the color I was when I sat in Jayme’s hair and decided I wanted to be Marilyn Monroe blonde, a natural medium brown with some red undertones that I had put in with box dye:

When I went in to the salon that day, I thought it would be a one and done, I fully expected to walk out a blonde bombshell. Little did I know that going blonde (and still having hair at the end of it) is a time consuming process.

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One: find an expert stylist and ask to see pictures of their work, ask if they have experience lightening people to blonde, bring in pictures of what you want, and work together to come up with steps and a timeline you can both agree on.

Two: start with highlights, increasing the amount of hair you highlight each time. With Jayme, I started at about 20% highlights, then around 40%, then 60%, then 80%: you can see my process in these pictures:

Three: time for a full bleach blonde! The best color comes from a two-step process: first bleaching and then toning. Until the toner goes on, your hair will be a strange orange-yellow color, take the Hitchhiker’s Guide approach and don’t panic! Plan to make this appointment an all-day event: my process took about four hours to go from ultra-highlighted brunette to full-on blonde.

Four: take better care of your hair than you ever have. I use Garnier Fructis Three-Minute Undo once a week and a hot oil treatment once a month. I also limit the amount of heat tools I use on my hair and go for trims once a month to keep the ends healthy.

With some careful planning and a great stylist, even the darkest brunettes can find a blonde that works for them. Here’s my end result, a level 9 blonde:

Have any questions about going blonde? Want to share your experiences? Post in the comments below!