April Giveaway Leader Board

Leader Board as of April 27th, 2011

1. Meg Adams (17 posts) 
2. Jenna Cravens (7 posts)
3. Mary Rice (6 posts) 

May 2011 Monthly Deal

This month's deal is spectacular and I'm excited that my readers have first dibs on this!

For those of you who love beauty high end beauty products but hate the price tag that comes along with them this the deal for you!  In the month of May only, Mary Kay representative Jennifer Hirsch, is offering readers and followers of the Nerdy Fashionista your favorite Mary Kay products for only 40% of the retail price!  That's a savings of 60%!  Don't miss this deal - quantities are limited.

If you are interested, contact Jennifer at jenhirsch@marykay.com.

Supplies are limited.  Orders will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.  Please reference this post to receive the full discount.  Not all products are available at the discount.  

Monthly Deals

Every month I list great offers I find for my readers to be able to get more of the latest and greatest in beauty and fashion!  Check out each month to find out what's new!

May 2011  

November 2011 

June Giveaway

The June Giveaway is super easy to win.  Perhaps it's because as we enter the lazy days of summer I know that we're all wishing we had a little less work to do.  Here's what's up for grabs: 

Benefit Cosmetics One Hot Minute Bronzing Face Powder, $30

Bronzing Brush, $22 

Basically, if you're a follower - you're eligible.  Here's the catch!  We won't do the giveaway until we have 60+ followers.  Once we have 60+ followers we will do the giveaway.  If that is completed by the end of June, the winner will get a bonus gift to be disclosed at a later time.  Here's a hint...it fits in with the "bronzed" theme.  

Wedges, Platforms, and Espadrilles - Oh my!

Those sunny spring days are just around the corner, but before you head to your closet and pull out those flip flops why not head to the mall and get something with a little more edge...and a lot more height!

I've always been a wedge girl, because I love the illusion of being taller (I'm a measly 5'4" on a good day) and still being comfortable.  I can wear wedges all day long and not suffer the consequences from those mile high heels.  That's why when I was searching through all of the spring trends and realized that the wedge was the shoe of the season, I was beyond excited.

Wedges this season are not just your standard rope bottom with cotton details - there's definitely a 70s edge.  Wooden platforms have emerged with more geometry than normal.  Check out this Diane Von Furstenberg Opal Leather Wedge Heel.  I love the dimensioning on the heel and the ankle strap makes it's so slimming! Wear them with a summer dress, shorts, or even jeans.  These shoes are so versatile, which means you'll be getting more use out of them then your standard heels!

DVF Opal Wedge Heels, $295

Not too fond of the ivory color or the canvas?  No problem - this heel is available in leather and in black, beige, or dark brown.  Maybe you'll like it so much that you can buy more than one!  

Now for some of us, we may not want to invest $295 in a wedge.  So that's why I love brands like Steve Madden who offer a great looking alternative for a third of the price!  

Steve Madden Riddgge Sandal, $99.95

Here are some of my other favorites in a wide variety of price ranges from some of my favorite shoe brands: 

Stuart Weitzman Alex Espadrille, $365

Tory Burch Elastic Wedge Espadrille, $175

DV by Dolce Vita Toni Espadrille, $79

So seriously, get that pedicure, make plans for a night on the town and show off your espadrilles.  You'll look tall, gorgeous, super fashionable...and be comfortable!  Plus, all of the girls in their sky high heels will be envious of the fact that you look amazing and won't be limping to your car at the end of the night!  No one wants to be the girl without her shoes on in the club - and we've all been there!  Now look effortless and chic without the pain!


May's Giveaway

May's giveaway is all about getting the blog viral...in a good way :).

You can be eligible for this month's blog in several ways.

  1. Post my "button" (html is located on the home page) on your site or blog
  2. Recruit a friend to follow the blog (leave a comment on a blog post) 
  3. Like our Facebook page
You can choose to do one of these items or ALL of these - for a maximum of 10 entries!

One lucky winner will win a $50 gift card to Sephora.  Good luck!   

Note: This giveaway ends on 5/31/11 at 11:59pm CST.  Must be a follower to be eligible. 

Mother's Day Giveaway

Calling all lady's with fashionable mommas!

In honor of Mother's Day I will be doing a Mother's Day giveaway and everyone who participates will win something!

Here's what to do:

  1. E-mail a picture of your mother looking extra snazzy to  info.thenerdyfashionista@gmail.com 
  2. In 1-3 sentences tell me why you think your mom is/was the ultimate fashionista 
  3. Provide your full name and contact information 
All entries must be submitted by May 2nd @ 11:59PM CST.  The Saturday, May 7th post will be devoted to all of the wonderful moms!

April Giveaway

The April Giveaway is a big one - and therefore it requires a little extra effort on your part.  Let's talk about the good stuff first.

Here's what you get:

Benefit Cosmetics Radiance Skincare Line (includes moisturizer, cleanser, and eye cream)
Smashbox Perfectly Polished Lids Set (cream eye liner, eyeshadow trio, eyelid primer, and mascara)
Express Turquoise Wristlet
Forever 21 Spring Scarf
Aldo Pink Coral Dangle Earrings 

Worth over $100!  

Here's what you need to do in order to be entered to win this awesome giveaway.  Some time during the month of April, share a post from the Nerdy Fashionista on your social media page.  This could include but is not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Personal Blog.  Please leave a comment on the post you have shared.  The more you share - the more entries you get.  The winner will be announced on May 1st.  Good luck :) 

Congrats to Meg Adams, Jenna Cravens, and Mary Rice for winning the April Giveaway prizes!  Check out May's giveaway to win a Sephora gift card!  

Monthly Giveaways

Every month the Nerdy Fashionista does a giveaway that could be worth anywhere from $20 - $100+.  Here are some guidelines to be eligible for giveaways:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must be an official follower of the blog 
  • Must adhere to all stipulations discussed in the monthly giveaway
June Giveaway

May Giveaway

Mother's Day Giveaway

April Giveaway - Update! - Leader Board

Looking for something crafty?  Check out Evelyn Kate designs for other exciting giveaways and tutorials! 

Monthly Favorites

June 2011
Chic Backpacks
White Watches
Braided Belts
One Shoulder Tops and Dresses
Frilly Skirts

May 2011
Neutral Pieces
Colorful Bottoms
Crocheted Pieces
The Messenger Bag
The Sleeveless Button Down

April 2011
Rain Boots
Twenty 8 Twelve by Sienna and Savannah Miller
Trouser Shorts
Bright Separates
Maxi Skirts

March 2011
Airy Blouses
Spring Scarves
Colorful Bold Earrings
Summer Inspired Wrislets and Clutches

February 2011
Brian Atwood Maniac
The Structured Bag
Rose Gold Watch

Fashionista Spotlights

Celebrity Fashionista Spotlights
January 2012 - Michelle Williams
June 2011 - Emma Stone
May 2011 - Reese Witherspoon 
April 2011 - Kate Middleton
March 2011 - Hailee Steinfeld 

Real Fashionista Spotlights
May 2011 - Whitney Cooper 
April 2011 - Mary Rice 
April 2011 - Ashley Downey

Fashionista Blog Spotlights
April 2011 - Bex...a Style Diary

About Me

I was always fashion forward growing up.  For some reason, I just always wanted to be different than my friends and I tried to exemplify that through fashion.

When I graduated from Rose-Hulman in 2008 with my bachelors in Biomedical Engineering I entered the work force and was immediately immersed into the corporate culture that exists at so many companies.  My mind began to bulge with all of the standards, regulations, and processes that I had to follow on a day to day basis.  I realized that I had lost some of my creative edge, and wanted to find something that allowed me to express my passion - fashion and beauty!

This started out as something fun to do in my spare time, and has grown to become part of my daily routine.  Now it is my job to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest in fashion and beauty - and I take it very seriously.

In my spare time I enjoy hanging out with my husband Grant, my two dogs Rufus and Snickers, and visiting my friends and family.  I have a long bucket list of places I would like to visit and things I would like to do so we're trying to mark some of those off before we settle down into old married life!

Additionally, my dream is to work for a shoe line who aims to be fashion forward, functional, and ergonomic.  After some experience in the shoe world I would love to start my own shoe line doing just that - allowing the working woman to look and feel great - without being in pain at the end of the day!

If you have any suggestions or want to know more about me or anything that I post please feel free to contact me at info.thenerdyfashionista@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting!

XOXO, Allison

November Deals

Sephora: Save 20% on all products from 11/10/11-11/14/11.  Use code VIBDREAM

Macy's: Treat Week from 11/6/11-11/13/11.  Get more free gifts from your favorite beauty brands!

Lace Accents - Not just for Lingerie!

Rarely have I ever seen lace look as pretty and fashionable as it has this season.  It is one of those details that can either be really good or really bad.  Let's face it, unless the lace is super nice it seems like it's hard to make it appear luxurious.  However, brands from every spectrum of the price range have come up with some really great looks that don't always break the bank!

Now some brands are going with all over lace, while other brands are offering a touch of lace.  For example, I love this J.Crew top.  I'm not too keen on how they styled it, but I know that they want to show you the whole look.  However, when I see this shell (which is available in all black, navy, olive, and this pink shade) I'm thinking about how versatile it could be!  Throw it under a blazer for work and then pair it with some skinny jeans for a night on the town.  It looks luxurious, and right now it's on sale at J.Crew.com for $29.99 (plus an extra 30% off!).  Seriously, this is a piece that even if you wear it only one season you won't feel bad because of this great deal!  

J.Crew Lisette Lace Shell

Lace accents have also been making appearances on shoes...  

Valentino Lace Ballet Flat, $545 

When I saw this Valentino Flat I was in love!  However, I am not going to spend $545 on a shoe that I won't get much use out of.  I started bargain searching, both on ebay and other sites to see if I could get a a great deal on these shoes - and it just wasn't happening.  It's a gorgeous shoe - but not in my price range for what I get!  

BP by Nordstrom Frankie Flat, $59.95

That's why when I found this flat at Nordstrom I got really excited!  For 20% of the price of the Valentino flat, I get a great looking shoe that still has the same lace effect.  Sure it may not be as luxurious, but it's still adorable and captures the lace trend amazingly!  

And lastly, the LBD (little black dress) of lace dresses.  I love a twist on the LBD, and the lace trend gives you just that - a little something extra to look fabulous at that next wedding or a night on the town. My favorite is this style from A.L.C.  

A.L.C. Scarlett Ruched Lace Mini Dress, $395

I love the ruching detail on this dress, it definitely adds a slimming factor and also allows you to change the length of the dress.  For some of us that are getting older, we might prefer a little more length!  I also think that this dress could be worn on numerous occasions - for a night on the town with your girlfriends, a nice dinner with your sweetheart, even to some winter weddings.  The style makes it possible to be seasonless, therefore you can wear it all year round without the appearance that it's for spring or fall.  

So there you have it, my take on the lace looks of the season.  If you're still not sure, start small like the shell from J.Crew...or opt for a shoe to give a classic look a little something extra.  However, I'm not sure that you'll be able to resist the look for long - it's so luxuiorus and gives your classic pieces a twist.  After all, lace doesn't have to be just for the bedroom!  


The High Waisted Jean - Love it or Hate it?

Even though the skinny jean is still making appearances on young celebrities the latest trend is the high waisted jean - and the higher the better!  It's available in almost every style, but it seems like the most popular is the 70s bell bottom.  If you have long legs this is the jean for you.  Throw on your wedge shoes and peasant top and you are ready to hit the town!

Now some women have issues with the high waisted jean, and I used to be one of them.  For some time I thought the lower the rise, the better.  However, I'm not 21 anymore and being an engineer I'm moving around a lot in tight spaces.  Therefore, I'd kind of like a few things (mainly my undergarments) to remain unseen!

One thing I can't shake is the shade of the jean.  I love a dark rinse, it's slimming and it looks great on anyone.  Some brands are really pushing their lighter styles and although they look amazing on the models, I would really ask yourself if you think you will get a lot of use out of them before you purchase - because lighter jeans don't have that slimming effect that many dark rinses do.

If you want to start small try the Joe's Jeans High Waisted Boot Cut Visionaire.  At $168, this jean still gives you the high waist fit without looking like you are wearing your "mom" jeans.  The distressing of Joe's is exceptional and lengthens the leg - making this a great option for the more petite crowd looking to venture into the high waisted jean genre.  High waisted jeans look amazing with some of those shorter jackets - therefore allowing you to still look professional at work and then fashionable during a night on the town!

For more of the risk taker, is the J. Brand Kiki Jean.  At $185 this high-rise flare is definitely giving you more of that 70s hippie look.  I love the way that net-a-porter has styled this look.  The model looks so fresh in a simple white top, wedge shoes, and that amazing Chloe bag.  It looks effortless and chic without being cheesy.  And it's a great way to jump on this season's 70s them bandwagon.  

So if you're like me and that low waisted jean just isn't doing it for you anymore, try the high waisted jean.  As long as you choose the appropriate size, you'll avoid the muffin top (a la Jessica Simpson) and appear very slim and long limbed.  And when possible, pair with a shoe that adds a bit of height to enhance that effect.  Embrace the 70s and be the first of your friends to try out this comeback trend - it's so groovy!  


Fashionable Finds at a Fraction of the Price - Online "Outlets"

The newest trend in "discounted" fashion has come from several sites that offer a variety of high end designer products at a more reasonable price.  Depending on the site, products could range from Puma athletic wear, to Kate Spade purses, to Kitchen Aid kitchen appliances.  Some of these businesses even offer deals on weekend getaways and furniture.

Over the past year, this trend has taken over the internet and every day it seems that there is a new discount outlet site available.  Most of these sites work the same way - every day they release a new sale that has several online "boutiques" from different designers.  The sales are normally only available for a short period of time, usually 24-48 hours.  As a member, you are able to purchase any of those items as long as they are still available (depending on the product some items sell out very quickly).  You do not possess the item until you have paid in full, and you get a confirmation.  Sometimes you'll find that pair of shoes that you loved in the store but never got around to buying them for 50% off - what a deal!  Most sites release their new daily offers around lunch time for us eastern standard time individuals...I normally get a swarm of e-mails from 11am-12pm.

Some of these sites are better and offer more of a selection than others.  My three favorites are: Rue La La, Beyond the Rack, and Gilt.  I've purchased something from each of these sites and have been pleasantly surprised with the product.  From Rue La La I purchased my living room rugs - retailed at $1000/piece for only $150/each.  From Beyond the Rack I purchased my husband's Burberry cologne for $49 instead of $95 in stores.  And at Gilt I purchased some DVF flats for $99 when retail was $300.  Every time I received the items in a reasonable amount of time, well packaged, and the brand or quality that they assured me it would be.

So far these sites are getting rave reviews - and if you haven't joined yet do so now!  Below is a list of some sites that I belong too.  I haven't used them all, but I try to watch out for some of my favorite brands and what they offer.  Most of these sites require a referral or tell you that they have to review your application, but more than likely you will get an e-mail a few hours later telling you that they have approved your membership.  These groups desire to appear exclusive even though in most cases everyone is welcome.  If for some reason that doesn't work, let me know and I will send you a referral!

Those are the main ones that I check out on a regular basis.  I'm sure that there are others out there, and make sure if you know of one - you share with everyone!  After all, we all could use a great deal in our lives!


Tinted Moisturizer - The New Foundation

There are some events where you need more coverage than others, especially those where you're going to be in front of the camera a lot.  However, most girls don't want to wear a high coverage, heavier foundation for day to day activities, which is why the new alternative is tinted moisturizer.

I've been on the tinted moisturizer bandwagon for quite some time now.  Mostly because I am not fond of heavy foundation.  For one thing, it seems like I break out more easily, and I hate the creases you get after a long day.  That's why something lighter and more natural is sometimes a better alternative.

In the last few years, most make-up lines have released their version of the tinted moisturizer.  Fortunately, that makes it easier for women with all different skin types and preferences to find a tinted moisturizer that best fits their daily routine.

There are 3 lines that I use/have used and have been very happy with.  They are the Kiehl's, Laura Mercier, and Philosophy.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturizer, $24.50, www.kiehls.com

The Kiehl's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturizer is a good option for someone who wants something with a little more coverage.  Although it only comes in 3 shades, the natural pigments allow for the tint to match any skin tone.  While using this foundation, I have used both the light and medium shades, depending on the time of year.  A little bit goes a long way, and this foundation will last you quite a long time!  Great for combination skin.   

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $42, www.sephora.com

Laura Mercier is a more expensive alternative to the tinted moisturizer, but the finish is phenomenal.  Like the others, it is a light formula.  However, the application with this is much smoother than any other tinted moisturizer and provides the most natural finish.  However, with a more natural finish also comes less coverage.  Therefore, if you have break out frequently this may not be the tinted moisturizer for you.  The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is available in 10 shades.

Philosophy Hope in a Tinted Moisturizer, $38, www.philosophy.com

One of the newest lines to emerge with a tinted moisturizer is Philosophy, and as always they have brought a great option that is the same quality as the rest of their line.  It's in the middle of the price range, and is offered in 8 shades.  It provides sheer coverage and is heavily moisturized.  If you have dry skin, this is the best option for you.  

If you haven't tried tinted moisturizer, check it out.  Although the "shade" is not as important as it may be with other foundations due to the blending effect, you still need to visit your local make-up counter to get the best fit.  Especially for Laura Mercier and Philosophy.  If you don't use any foundation at all - this is a great option for you on days when you want a little something different.  And if you are using a heavy foundation that you're unhappy with, give tinted moisturizer a try.  Application is easy (I use a foundation brush still but many women use their hands) and the results are very appealing.  I couldn't believe how the finish looked and felt - I didn't feel like I had any make-up on, yet I still had the coverage I was looking for.  Just remember that a little bit goes a long way.  If you put a layer on and decide you need a little more, just use more.  Always start small!  

So the next time you have a little time at the mall, approach one of these counters or your favorite and try some tinted moisturizer.  The results are amazing - and they even provide SPF.  It's the fastest way to show your natural beauty without faking it!  


Shoe Dazzle - Now you can be trendy and savvy!

Don't you hate when you find a pair of fabulous shoes that you love, but you know you won't get a lot of use out of?  I always love the bright colored pumps or the sky high wedges, but I know that in my line of work (I wore steel toed shoes 75% of the time in my last job) that I won't have much use for them.  In the cafeteria I would always envy the sales reps who were able to wear there heels at work and look oh so fabulous as I meandered through the sandwich line in my tennis shoes or flats.  It just didn't seem fair!

When I go to the mall the only time I would splurge on a pair of shoes was if it was something classic and comfortable.  I have so many pairs of Cole Haan, Tory Burch, and Vera Wang ballet flats.  I always tend to go for neutrals or blacks and browns...a pair I know that I will get a lot of use on.  If I am going to spend money on a glittery flat or a fantastic heel it better be on sale and I better have an idea of something in my closet that I can wear it with.  I've just fallen into the "salesperson" trap too many times.  You know, when you have doubts but the salesperson convinces you that you can't live without that shoe?  Well, let me tell you...as pretty as it may look on my foot, it ends up in my closet many more times than on my feet.  And, when I finally decide to wear them, I want to get out of them the minute I'm back in the car or on the dance floor.  Seriously, it's hard to justify spending a lot of money on something I won't get a lot of use out of!

That's why I was really happy to find out about Shoe Dazzle.  It's an online club with shoes that are all $39.99/pair.  I initially was turned off to the membership fee - $39.99/month.  For this fee they promise to give you a monthly showroom filled with shoe styles that fit your style profile based off of a set of questions that you ask while signing up.  However, when I realized that the $39.99 is a credit that allows you to buy one pair of shoes a month and you can skip months or cancel at any time - I was ready to give it a try.

Since joining in September 2010, I've purchased 5 pairs of shoes - 2 pairs of heels and 3 pairs of flats.  The flats are a bit louder than styles that I would normally choose in store, but they go great with jeans and dress pants and for $39.99 I don't feel as guilty if I only wear them 1-2 times a month.  The heels that I purchased came in bold styles that I would normally never buy, but that I thought would be great for a night on the town.  If you're comfortable in heels, these are great for you.  However, if you're more of a flats/low heel girl or need something with more support I would not recommend the heels to you.  They are cute and have unique styles, but they are definitely not high quality and are very painful after only half an hour or so.

There are definitely periods when I am not impressed with my showroom and decide to skip a month or request more styles.  Even though it's only $39.99, if you there isn't something you want there is no use getting charged for the month.  However, if you forget to skip (this has to be done by the 6th of each month) your account is credited and you can use this amount towards future purchases.

I'm not going to lie to you, Shoe Dazzle isn't for everyone.  However, if you don't have a lot of difficulty with shoe sizing and you want something unique and flashy to spice up your shoe collection it is definitely worth looking into.  And with a celebrity spokesperson like Kim Kardashian and plenty of experienced fashion stylists contributing to new styles...it certainly provides plenty of options for almost any girl!  So the next time you are looking for something special to match that pink dress you've been dying to wear...check out Shoe Dazzle.  You'll look fabulous and you won't feel guilty when you don't wear them every day...and unlike some other inexpensive options like Payless and Target...not everyone on your block will have them!


Avoid the winter dryness and get Kissable Lips Overnight!

One of the many downsides to living in Indiana is the weather - I hate how much the weather changes around here.  During the spring and fall my allergies are out of control, the summers are incredibly humid, and the winters are so dry that my skin feels abused!

As bad as it is when my hands and feet feel cracked, I really hate when my lips are dry and bleed at the smallest movements.  Last year I had enough and decided that I need to invest in something other than the drugstore lip balm.  So, I went to my go to skin care line (Philosophy) counter and explained what was going on.  Immediately, the salesperson recommended, "Kiss me Tonight" - an intense lip therapy that you apply before going to bed.

If I hadn't had so much confidence in Philosophy I probably would have been apprehensive to spend $20 on a small bottle of what appeared to be Vaseline.  However, because I had so much success with other products in their portfolio I decided to give it a try.  I was surprised at the immediate effects that took place once I woke up in the morning.  My lips actually didn't hurt and the visible appearance had improved vastly.  TheSaving...y were smooth and the color seemed rosier.  Like most products, I figured this was possibly just because of the newness of the product on my lips, but a year later and I still use this product every single night before I go to bed and I am officially no longer walking around embarrassed of how my lips look.  My husband of course likes it because I am more willing to give a kiss now that it's not painful!  

I know that winter is almost over...and some of you probably wish you had heard about this a few months ago, but seriously this is a treatment that should be used year round.  I've found that the more consistently that I use it the better the quality of my lips are...and the more willing I am to put on some flashy lipstick and hit the town!  


February Favorite - the Brian Atwood Maniac

For those of you ladies out there who think that the mile high heels aren't for you...I hope to change your mind by the end of this post.  Up for discussion is the Brian Atwood Maniac Pump, a February favorite that's classic style is sure to stick around for more than a season!

I have always been a heels girl...but as I've gotten older, I've realized how much damage a pair of poorly made heels can do to your body.  In fact, in the past few years I've steered away from these slimming beauties and have opted for more "ergonomic" styles like the ballet flat and the wedge.  Of course I still try to be fashionable while doing so, but nothing says sexy like a heel.  

Well, I thought it was a feat when I could walk in a 4" heel, but these days 6" is the new 4".  Heels are sky high almost as if it's a challenge to see who can wear the highest pair.  When I used to see women in them, I would think, "she must be going somewhere special" or "that is probably for pictures."  I couldn't imagine that the every day woman would want to risk permanent damage to her body by walking out in the season's latest trends.  

About a year ago, I realized that these heels were here to say, and I thought, why not?  Being a savvy shopper, I wanted to go for a classic style and some of the other brands like the famous red-soled Louboutins didn't seem to provide that edge as much as one heel - the Brian Atwood Maniac.  

As you can see, this is a versatile shoe - especially if you purchase it in black or nude.  However, there are also some more colorful options that make this shoe stand out even more.  Now I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that this shoe is as comfortable as that pair of flip flops you won't get rid of - ever.  But...they are more comfortable than many of the styles out there.  The reason?  The hidden platform trend.  The way of elongating the legs while still allowing you to walk without the appearance of intoxication.  After all, who wants to be the messy girl who can't walk in her heels!  Now for those of you who need the facts, here it is.  The heel is 4.75"...and the platform is 1.25"...therefore this compares to walking in a 3.5" heel.  

Depending on color and style this shoe can run you from $540 to $600 plus.  However, if you invest wisely this shoe will definitely not be getting dusty in your closet and you won't be regretting it months later.  It's a great shoe, that can be paired with jeans, a spring dress, or even a more formal look.  I love the style and get very excited when new colors come out.  The use of materials, colors, and detail work allows you to buy more than one maniac pump without someone asking you if you bought the shoe in every shade.  These are my two favorites - the Classic Patent Leather Pump in black and the Cotton Covered Manic with Eyelet Detail.  Both are great, and offer something different for your individual style.  

So ladies, I encourage you to give your wedges a rest and make room for a hot pair of heels!  They will make you feel amazing - and they add a little something to any ensemble!  


Ambre Glow - My Favorite Moisturizer with something extra!

Okay...so who of all of us has tried to use a shimmer lotion and didn't get the effect you were looking for?  Normally, my hands end up really shiny and the rest of my body leaves my clothes feeling and looking terrible.  It's a nightmare to clean, and it makes you look fake!  After all, most of us are looking for a natural glow...not to look like a Christmas tree!

Well, I think I finally found something worth trying - and it smells wonderful!  It's called Ambre Glow.

I came across Ambre Glow while I was getting ready for my wedding last year.  I was fortunate enough to land a make-up artist from Eyemax Cosmetics - a great cosmetics company and studio opened by Kiralee Hubbard in Indianapolis.  After doing my make-up (which looked fabulous - I highly recommend them!) the make-up artist handed me the Ambre Glow and said, "Try this.  It will give you a great glow and it will look awesome in pictures."  At first I was hesitant, not being very impressed with "illuminating lotions" in the past, but I was surprised about the effects.  I had an amazing, natural looking glow.  A few of my bridesmaids tried it and I was surprised that it looked great on any skin tone.  It doesn't matter if you are fair, tan, or have an olive skin tone...this moisturizer really brings out the best in all skin types and shades!  The best part?  It has an amazing smell - Ambre Essence which is also available in a oil/perfume.  

For $50, you get the container above...and a little bit goes a long way!  I've had mine for 6 months now and I still have over half left!  I don't use it every day, but I do use it any time I'm going out, or am looking for a glow.  I've been really impressed with the effects so far and think that it's a great way for a girl to enhance her beauty without looking fake!  Who doesn't want that amazing glow?  

So check it out!  It's hard to find a moisturizer I like...and now that I have one that gives a little something extra it's even better!  


Online Shopping...Not as scary as it used to be!

For those of you who know me well, you know that 2011 has had a bit of a bumpy start and I am back in the job market after 4 years with Eli Lilly - a great company but not a good fit for my background.  As a biomedical engineer, I was yearning to get back into the device world and not work for a pharmaceutical company that dabbled in devices.

Any who, as important as I have realized it is to go work for a company with a job that really interests you, I've also realized how important being near a pretty big city is to me.  I've grown up just 20 minutes outside of Indianapolis about 80% of my life.  Although Indianapolis is not what many consider to be a thriving metropolitan area, it has so many nice things - it's affordable, clean, and has some awesome shopping and places to eat.

Well, recently a few positions have emerged that I am very interested in...but I can't stop thinking about how scary it might be to move to a new area.  As exciting as it probably is for the first few months, I have a feeling that the newness will eventually wear off and I'll be bored...especially if I move some place without the proximity I need to all of my favorite malls!  My husband (who is more of a risk taker than I am) laughed at me when I wanted to justify where we would go based off a few stores: Sephora (my favorite beauty store), Nordstrom, J.Crew, Saks - these are just a few of my favorites things!  He couldn't believe that I was literally google mapping the location and searching nearby for these stores.  Had I really gotten attached to having these places at the touch of my fingertips?

As I grew more and more concerned about the thought of memorizing more mall directories my husband looked at me and said, "Allison, you do 60% of your shopping online anyways" - and for one of the first times in our marriage - he was right!  In fact, as time has gone on...I have been shopping online more and more.  For one thing, the selection is fantastic.  I find items online at Nordstrom.com that the two locations close to me sometimes don't have in stock.  And when I find a pant that I like at J.Crew, I peruse the site almost every few days to see when it goes on sale so I can justify picking it up in a few new shades.

Companies have almost made it impossible to resist online shopping.  Most online sites offer free shipping on all orders or when you spend a certain dollar amount.  And almost every site provides free return shipping.  The other great thing about online shopping?  It's the easiest way to compare prices on the same item.  For example, I fell in love with these pumps when I saw them at Nordstrom a few weeks ago.  However, after doing some research I found the same pair at Piperlime.com for 30% off!  Definitely worth the trouble!
Sure, there are some obvious risks with online shopping but sometimes there are better deals online.  For example, the days of Black Friday might be limited.  More and more people are staying home to prepare for Cyber Monday when they can get pick up amazing deals online.  Some stores are even exclusively online now or offer certain styles that are online only.  The saving grace of that?  If you want to exchange it in store most will let you!  I love shopping online when a store has a rewards program.  Many places offer double the points on certain days - online only!  When you get special gift certificates for these promotions, twice the amount of points adds up fast!  Hate the annoying site e-mails?  I do too, but as long as you keep up with your e-mail, you will come across some amazing deals that you might not catch in store.  Just the other day I found a cashmere sweater online at Neiman Marcus that was 70% off - a fabulous deal on a soft and classic sweater that I will get a lot of use out of!

So, what are you waiting for?  If you're one of those people that "has to see it up close" what's the risk?  With free return shipping, customer reviews to give you information on size and quality, as well as online chat services most companies are making their online sites so robust that you'll be able to shop in your pjs 24 hours a day.  No more long lines, no more trying to find a parking spot, no more getting ready!  In the comfort of your own home you can peruse whatever website you want.  Don't like it?  Take it back!  Just be careful about great bargains - some sites (like J.Crew and shopbop) offer final sale items...so be sure you're in love.  And if it's a great deal, try it out!  If you don't like it try to sell it on ebay or craigslist, or even pass it on to a friend or sister who would look fabulous in it!  It's good karma to share the love!

They always say that home is where the heart is, and now I've learned that shopping is where my computer is.  With just a click I am able to purchase the perfect pants for that interview coming up - and I'm able to watch the Purdue game with my husband.  Plus, who doesn't love getting mail?  I love the excitement of waiting for that new pair of jeans.  Everyone wins!


The Perfect Cream Eyeshadow - Finally!

Okay, where are my girls at who hate the creases that you get after wearing your eyeshadow all day?  For me, I have very small eyes, and I tend to squint a lot.  This has not been a good combination with eyeshadows...especially those that are cream based...until now.

One of the things that I have searched for time and time again at every make-up counter is a good base.  I want a way to make sure that my eyes look just as fabulous at the end of the day as they do at the start.  I'm an active person, and I don't have time to retouch my make-up even once a day, let alone two or three.  So when a make-up artists even suggests that to me, I'm not convinced.  I want to put it on once, and be done with it!

I stumbled upon the Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow at Sephora a few months ago.  Some of my friends have had lots of success with this line, and having tried a few of their products before...I figured that the product might be worth trying.  I purchased the product in the "birthday suit" shade thinking that it would serve as a good base.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow/Liner, $19

When I got it home and used it for the first time I was surprised with the consistency.  Just a very small amount goes a long way, and it had a silky texture.  After putting in on my eyes I was surprised at how easily it went on and how light it felt.  Other cream shadows I have tried have had to dry before any additional eyeshadow or liner could be applied.  However, this went on and was immediately ready for me to finish my look.  But I knew that the true test would be to look at it at the end of the day.  

At the end of the day, I was surprised to see how in tact my eye make-up was.  Even though the rest of my face needed a touch up, my eyes looked phenomenal - almost exactly the same as when I had applied it nearly 10 hours before.  It was amazing.  The best thing about this product?  It doubles as eyeliner!  Therefore, when you have a great angled brush (this one from Sephora is a great value) it applies easily as a great eyeliner that lasts all day!

Sephora Collection Professional Angled Eyeliner Brush, $14

I now own this eyeshadow/eyeliner in 6 shades.  I have a few of the darker shades (strut, tidal wave, and smoky denim) to use for eyeliner and a few of the lighter shades as a base (get figgy, birthday suit, and busy signal).  It is definitely worth the price and will last for quite a long time.  It also works with so many looks...one shade might serve as your daily eyeliner and be used as your date night look.  With it's versatility...it makes it a product worth investing in.

So come on ladies...not all eyeshadows are created equally - why not invest in one that has more than one function?  I've tried a lot of cream bases and this one is by far the best one.  Now all I need is for benefit to come out with some new shades so I can expand my collection!


My new favorite blog - and no it's not mine!

Last week I stumbled upon a new blog on accident and now I can't stay away from it - just ask my husband!  It's called Celebrity Fashion - The Celebrity Fashion and Style Guide (http://celebrityfashion.onsugar.com/) and let me tell you it has made my life easier!

It all happened when I got the latest issue of Cosmo in the mail the other day.  Have you seen it yet?  Excuse my language, but Damn!  Lea Michele is looking fabulous on the cover!  I especially loved the ring that she was wearing and was disappointed that the magazine didn't have any additional information besides the brand.  I started perusing online, and found Celebrity Fashion.  One of the aspects of the blog is Outfit Identifier - it breaks down the outfit by telling you who designed what and wear you can find it online.  For example, did you know that her sexy top is actually this Oscar de la Renta swimsuit?  I had no idea!

Obviously, as with most web searches, I got totally sidetracked and ended up being on the site for an hour!  I loved looking through the pictures of the celebrities and wear to find their looks - and it wasn't just magazine covers or award shows.  There were pictures of them out on the town in a great pair of skinny jeans and boots, or at lunch in an adorable dress.  Plus, with links to all of the items it made shopping online for that perfect new pair of heels so much easier!  And looking at their look gives you the opportunity of what (or what not) to pair the item with!

There are plenty of other sections that offer great advice!  Do you like the article in US weekly called "who wore it best?"?  Well - Celebrity Fashion put a spin on it called Celebrity versus Runway where you can see how the designer styled the look and how the celebrity (or stylist) did.  It's a great way to find new ideas and quickly see what's new in fashion!

So...when you've got some free time - check it out!  I love seeing how magazines, designers, celebrities, and fashionistas everywhere come up with new and innovative ways to put their best foot (or heels) forward!