Lip Stains - Actual Long Lasting Color and Shine...Who Knew?

While some fashionable people might not admit it, a lot of the knowledge they have on fashion and beauty comes from those around them.  I will be the first person to say that I have always relied on the help of others to point me in the right direction.

If there's a void in beauty, it's definitely lip products.  No, I'm not talking about making them bigger (I think you're at the wrong place if you're looking for that) I'm not talking about finding the right color that shines and lasts for longer than 5 minutes.  My theory with make-up is that I want to apply it once and not have to worry about it all day...and in my experience you can't find that in lip products.

Enter my BFF and fellow fashonista Sarah.  Sarah is perhaps the one person I know who has more products than I do (she recently revealed to me she has 6 different shampoos in her shower...) and so I definitely trust her opinion when she lets me know about something she really likes.  This weekend she introduced me to YSL's latest creation, the Glossy Stain.  If you've been a long time reader you know that I've had a lot of success with YSL.  It's definitely a quality product (just look at the price) but well worth it!

Glossy Stain, $32,

While we were getting ready on Saturday, Sarah told me I had to use her new product before we went out.  Never one to pass up trying something new (especially from YSL) I obliged.  The stain goes on like a gloss, but here's the can't rub the stain in or smack your lips for approximately 30-60 seconds to let the stain seep in and dry.  I counterintuitive, but the results were proof that this product is exactly what I have been searching for.  Sarah had two shades - coral and berry - which I adored...really great colors for the fall.  And here's a secret that you may not realize...berries and violets that have blue in them actually give the illusion that your teeth are super white!  Kill two birds with one stone.

So thanks to Sarah I'm hoping to hit up Sephora this weekend in Indianapolis and pick a few up for myself.  I liked it better when I was making her buy new products...I'll be billing you later Sarah!

Fashionable, Fun, and Gadget Friendly Accessories - a MUST!

As I sit here in the library waiting for my student (I tutor in my "free time"; what can I say, I'm a person of many talents...and in need of shopping money) I'm concerned by the upcoming generation.  Seriously, I could not tell these kids apart if you asked me to.

Off to the corner sits the group of girls who are obviously "cool" but are trying to demonstrate that they are "too cool" to care if they are "too cool."  All of them are wearing your standard pair of hooker sweatpants...yeah you know, the glittery pair that says PINK all over the derrière and costs you an arm and a leg.  All I know is that in the 90s there were sponges, and puffy paint.  Just saying...

Any way, it made me consider how much I hate having the same stuff that everyone else has.  Granted, in Fort Wayne, Indiana it's not too difficult to stand out fashionably considering most wardrobes consist of your standard pair of Wrangler's and a NASCAR t-shirt but I simply hate when I get something new that I'm so excited about and then I see 3 people with the same thing - the nerve!  

Well, when it comes to gadget accessories I am always searching for something that makes me stand out as individual.  I'll pass on the bedazzled cases or the branded cases (in my opinion, you are wasting a lot of money to prove something whom, I'm not sure) or even the bulky cases that swear to protect your device until the end of eternity.  Yawn.  Give me something fun and enticing that most people won't have.  Your accessories should show off your personality, not demonstrate that you are a brand freak or like too much glitter.  

I currently am rocking this Petunia iPhone case and I love it so much.  It's simple and elegant and it goes with everything.  It's bold without being BOLD and to be honest, I think the case protects my phone just as well as many of those other cases (otterbox anyone?).  I mean, if I dropped $50 on an ugly case, why not drop $35 on a case I actually like! 

As you probably already realize, I'm also a big fan of anything Kate Spade.  She is so clever and comes up with some really fun and retro designs.  Here is one of my favorites from her line: 

Kate Spade Word Search Case, $40

Kate Spade Ipad Sleeve, $50 

A little steep for your budget?  Sign up for e-mails and as a new customer you get 15% off on your first purchase!  Stock up and save!  

Want to show off your alma mater or sorority without overdoing it?  Check out Lilly Pulitzer for some fresh takes on sororities with their new sorority patterns.  I'm a huge fan of the Chi Omega print (Go Chi-O!) and have been contemplating a purchase for several months now...

Lilly Pulitzer Chi Omega Case, $28

And if those don't make you happy try making your own!  Nothing says is as unique as a one-of-a-kind piece - maybe you'll make it a business.  I hear Etsy calling...

Blake Lively - Celebrity Fashionista of the Month

In honor of her recent nuptials (kudos to you, Mrs. Ryan Reynolds!) it's hard to believe that Blake Lively has not graced us with her presence on the blog.  Let's face it, when Karl Lagerfield and Christian Louboutin think you're the 21st century version of Grace run with it.

It's her striking appearance that has allowed her to grace the presence of every fashion house's campaigns and spring runway shows...however, it's her charm that has won over the hearts of everyone who matters - including little old me.

Blake has definitely been the breakout star of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Gossip Girls series, and it appears that she isn't going anywhere soon.  Ms. Lively (or Mrs. Reynolds...who knows what she is going by these days!) is gorgeous dressed up or dressed down...and her cellphone is definitely filled with the right contacts.  I definitely don't think we'll be seeing her on the Worst Dressed List any time soon...

Argan Oils and Balms - the Miracle Product for those dry months!

With the colder weather approaching and the lack of moisture in the air I can already feel my skin drying up...yuck!  I don't know about you, but there's absolutely nothing I hate more than dry, cracked skin.  Not only is it painful, unbecoming, and a mess (flakes - yay!) but it causes every lady to have to change up their beauty regiment.  However, don't you get tired of having to buy several products to cure the same thing?  You need something for your face, your body, your lips...that adds up fast!

Well, I recently came across a new product put out by supermodel Josie Maran's cosmetic line that was infused with Argan Oil.  If you're a nerd like me, you originally read the title wrong and were concerned to see a product with Argon (you know, that noble gas that's actually an asphyxiant...i.e not good) in it, but after I reread the title my nervousness subsided.  I decided to look into this "Argan" which is actually the name of the tree that the oil comes from in the land of Morocco.  Apparently it's liquid gold there, so I figured it couldn't be that bad...

While I am sometimes skeptical to buy a product endorsed by a celebrity, I have to admit that when it comes to beauty products I figure that models have probably seen their fair share and must have good idea of what works and what doesn't.  So, I decided to give a few of the products a try.  However, my favorite go to product is the Argan Oil Balm.

The balm is the perfect combination of soothing moisture without the greasy nature of some oils and lotions.  What I like best about it is that I can use it everywhere...I carry one with me in my purse to help my hands and elbows as well as my lips.  I also do a ritual before I go to bed where I make sure my feet, hands, and lips stay moisturized.  It's not cheap, but 6 months later I'm still on my first container of Argan Balm.  All-in-all, I'd say it's one of the best beauty investments I've ever made.

Argan Balm, $42,

And, if you're into the whole natural, organic, cruelty free, recycle thing...there's that too.  All of the products from the line are certified organic and made with love.  (No, says that).

So consider this your fair warning - stock up before it's too late.  Even though winter is a great time to...hide some of those imperfections, you never know when that Miami Beach trip is around the corner...always be prepared!

To New Beginnings and Boots Galore!

Hello my faithful friends and followers - it has been some time since our last discussion on the latest and greatest in fashion.

For those of you who know me personally, you know that 2012 has not exactly been my year.  My track record for hospital visits continued to grow (even out of state!) but lead to two medical diagnoses that were years in the making.  This in turn caused me to adjust my life and begin a gluten free lifestyle and focus more on being very health conscious...which has had its ups and downs.

However, the big shock came most recently when my husband of 2 years and I separated after an indiscretion on his behalf.

I have to admit, it's been a pretty dark year but I'm starting to see the possibilities that come with a fresh start...and there's certainly something that could use some revamping - my closet!  Over the last year, the medical visits and stress of every day life definitely put my fashion forward attitude on the bench for a few games - but now I'm ready to get back in and give myself the makeover I deserve.

I've always adored the classically chic look of a good pair of boots - seriously, they give any outfit a boost.  However, I have been cursed with these calves that any gymnast would envy...oh, and did I mention I'm probably 5'4" on a good day?  Basically, I'm not made for the look that I so envy on every lady with legs for days...grr!  Fortunately for me, the Fashion Gods and I were aligned for this fall season because shorter boots and shall I say, "booties" are back!  Thank YOU!  I might finally have a chance...

As you've probably already realized, I have great taste...which just happens to be very expensive as well.  I swear if there were a table of boots my favorite pair will always be the pair with a few more digits than I find necessary for my bank account.  Why do beautiful, supple, gorgeous boots have to be so darn expensive?

One brand of boots that I am always drawn to is Frye.  Seriously, this brand has got it all right...I mean, can you think of many brands that can combine a cowboy, classic, edgy style into one boot without you  thinking the boot has multiple personality disorder?  There's just one con...these boots are investment pieces.  If you're like me, you care for your closet like it's your first born child...and therefore you get a return.  For me, a classic boot is a good investment because I know I'll get my money's worth...but emphasis on the classic.  Here's one of the pairs I've got my eye on...

Frye Shirley Strappy Short Boot, $298

Here's the reason why I love these boots - not only are they unique but the possibilities are endless!  The color allows for combinations with most palletes, and the height and strap allows you to dress them up or down.  Whether you pair them with a dress, leggings, or jeans they are sure to make a statement.  I feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.  If only there were like...half the price.  Sigh.  

When if comes to getting a good deal on a fashionable and trendy boot, I like to go for certain brands that I know won't break the bank - Nine West, Jessica Simpson, Steve Madden, and Big Buddha to name a few.  Normally these brands offer a selection of styles that will work for most wardrobes without causing you to miss a meal...or seven.  

Rocket Dog SoundOff Boot, $59

Big Buddha Willo Boot, $59.95

Madden Girl Prittyy Black Boot, $59.95

Nine West Smitten Boot, $99

And if you can't get those Frye boots out of your head like me, just wait until the end of the season...when the prices are slashed in half.  Let's face it...with the holidays coming up all I can think about are those fantastic sales - nothing like a good deal to get this Fashionista fired up!  

So hopefully you'll continue to join me on my fashion journey as I rediscover all of those items that I just can't live without...or at least not this season!  

Beach Baby - Old Navy Accessories for Fun in the Sun!

Recently a few friends and I received the opportunity from Old Navy's Style Council to peruse our local store for the latest and greatest in beach accessories.  Not only were we supposed to critique the selection and like ability of the line, but we also got to take some goodies home.  It was a great day, and I just couldn't wait to show you what we found...

Sarah (below) has an easy breezy bohemian meets romantic style mixed in with a little boldness.  As you can see, she is an accessory queen!  So, this task was made for her.  I love the oversized sunglasses she chose - they are bold and are actually navy blue!  Not everyone can pull that style off...  I'm also a big fan of the bag she chose.  On the hanger I wasn't so fond of it, but we all agreed it grew on us in outside in the light (plus it looks great with her dress).  And how could you forget Old Navy's staple flip flops?  Sarah went with bright pink...definitely a fun shade!

Vic has a very classic taste with an edge.  I love that the accessories she chose actually go well with her current outfit...except for the crossbody bag.  One downfall to our "take home certificate" was that you were unable to take home any items on clearance and it just so happened that most of their beach bags were just that...on clearance.  We originally opted for straw totes like the one below, but she ended up having to go with the woven crossbody in the picture.

In the end, the crossbody may be more functional for nights on the town, but not quite as beauty!

And of course I can't forget my picks.  My style could probably be described as simple with a twist.  I adore bold prints but prefer to pair them with pieces that can be mixed and matched with just about anything.  I went for this fun chevron beach towel, woven hobo, and neutral sunglasses.  All of these items (besides the beach towel) are probably pieces I wouldn't normally pick out at a higher end store - which is what makes Old Navy so great because you can take more of a risk without the blow to your wallet.  

But since I hate to rub it in that we had such a great time finding all of these goodies, I can't leave my readers empty handed.  So...if you want to win the bag below just comment on this post as to why you should receive it!  Winner will be announced on July 1st.  And in the mean time, check out Old Navy for some great buys in summer attire and accessories.  

Taking Care of your Pairs - the best stuff for denim!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out Woolite's Extra Dark Care detergent through Crowdtap.  (Side bar, but if you haven't joined this site yet - please do.  You get to network with some awesome brands and try the latest and greatest stuff for free!)  Any way, Woolite has been campaigning recently about the Extra Dark Care detergent and how great it is for preserving your favorite denim!

As I've mentioned before, denim is one of those investment pieces that when you find the right fit - you've got to get them.  I have $20 to $200 jeans...but if they are my favorite I want to wear them forever!

My latest pair is this super comfy pair of Jag Jeans.  What I love the most about this denim is that they are casual enough for the weekend, but are professional looking so that I can wear them to work.  Part of the reason for that is the awesome wash - which is dark enough to create a perfectly slimming silhouette.

So in comes Woolite Extra Dark Care.  Since I had the free sample, I figured I should make use of it.  And...I was pleasantly surprised to see the results.  Where I normally get some run out or areas where the dye is no longer consistent, my jeans looked brand spanking new.  A little bit goes a long way!  

If you're like me, Woolite is an expensive product, and you only want to invest if something works.  Well, this is the stuff!  If you really love your denim, you need to pick up some Woolite Extra Dark Care.  And...I have a few extra samples the first 3 people to comment on this post will get a free sample of the Woolite Extra Dark Care!  Then you can pass on the good news - that this stuff keeps your darks looking well....dark! 

Skincare - One of the Few Places You May Want to Spend a Few Extra Bucks!

These days it's overwhelming to pick out a skin care regiment.  With random celebrities promising you brand new skin overnight and new fads popping up every single day it's hard to know what's best for your skin.

Recently, a guy near and dear to my heart, came to me because he had the breakout blues.  However, like most guys he wasn't willing to go run to Sephora to get an expert's advice - he was just using whatever stuff he could find at the local grocery.  Don't get me wrong, the grocery store has some great finds, but many skin care products just aren't cutting it and he was seeing no change in his skin.

Fortunately, he came to the right person.  I have had flare up skin since probably the 4th grade, and have probably tried every skin care line you can think of.  What I've found is that most don't work for my combination skin - they either don't get rid of the oil or dry me out!  So, after years of experience here are my do's and don'ts on skin care products - with a list of many of my favorites.  Don't let the price tags fool you...if you use many of these products the right way they can last for 6-months to a year.  And...that's a whole lot of piece of mind!

One of the first things I asked my friend was if his face wash or toner was turning his towels strange colors.  He replied that they were definitely turning colors.  Well, what most people don't realize is the secret to many skin care lines is lots of bleach and alcohol.  While these won't hurt you, in most cases they don't get rid of your acne by treating it, but seek to dry out those pesky zits.  Problem?  Yeah, they do that to your entire skin.  It dries your skin out so much that once your skin gets a little oil guess what?  The zits are back.  These products will strip your skin and cause redness and puffiness.  So, read the labels!  While words like "organic" and "natural" may have caused you to steer clear in the past, they may actually be worth looking into.

Secondly, make sure you use products in the right order.  Someone recently told me they didn't understand why they couldn't get rid of their acne.  However, after questioning them they had the right products but weren't using them as directed.  It sounds silly, but if you pop a zit and then try to use your toner to calm down the inflamed region, you're only spreading the bacteria that just came out of your pore.

Lastly, if you are a lady, invest in make-up remover.  It doesn't have to be top of the line make-up remover (I actually prefer Sephora's totally affordable $10 bottle below), but you do need some.  Why? Well, if you have heavy eye make-up on and simply try to use your cleanser to remove it, you'll end up using twice as much cleanser and won't fully clean your face - causing a breeding ground for bacteria and oil to get trapped and have a zit pop up by morning.  If washing your face isn't your strong suit, then invest in a face brush.  While I have not tried the over-the-counter brushes, I love my Clarisonic and the best part is that any product can go on the brush.  You'll get a deep clean and softness that you won't feel after just a quick wash.

Sephora Waterproof Makeup Remover, $9.50 for 4.2oz bottle

If you're looking for an all-in-one cleanser, try Philosophy's Purity.  It's one of the most affordable cleansers and the `6oz bottle will last you a year if you use it two times a day.  This product is the perfect every day cleanser for the person who wants to keep it simple.  

Purity Made Simple, $32.50 for 16oz bottle

One of my favorite natural brands available at many drugstores and groceries is MyChelle dermaceuticals.  When I found out I had Celiac's disease, I had to get rid of a few of my favorite products and turned to this brand for some gluten free relief.  I'm a huge fan of the White Cranberry Cleanser - it's gentle and controls oil which is perfect for summer weather.  And, at a totally affordable $10/bottle it won't break the bank! 

MyChelle 2.1 oz White Cranberry Cleanser, $9.69

If you're looking for oil control in the t-zone or all over there are a few products that are great.  Depending on how oily your skin gets, you want to proceed with caution.  I use some of my deeper cleansers or exfoliators just 1-2 times a week so I don't dry out my skin.  One of my favorite lines for oil control is Kiehl's White Clay - the Deep Pore Cleanser is a God send.  You will definitely feel this product working, and at only 1-2 times a week it will last forever!  Just remember a small bit goes a long way!  

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser, 5oz, $22.50

One of my other favorites for oil control is from a high end line called La Mer.  This product was recommended to me by one of the ladies at Nordstrom, and if I had known the price I probably would have never purchased it.  However, 6 months later I've used only 1/4 of the tube and love how it control my oil.  The best part?  It's a cleaning foam that works great with a brush system or just a little friction from your hands.  I use 1/2 a dime size and have enough for my whole face - one of the best investments I've made!  

La Mer Cleansing Foam, $65 for 4.2oz

And lastly, for an every day cleanser that smells great, feels great, and does great things try Fresh Soy Face Cleanser.  This gentle cleanser leaves your face super soft - and it's French!  Ooo la la!  

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, 5.1oz bottle for $38

Still not sure?  Check out the travel or trial sizes of many of these products.  It's a great way to see if it's the right cleanser for you without breaking the bank! 

Just remember, even if you have genetically flawless skin (like my mother, ugh!  thanks, dad!) you still need to take care of it!  Damage to your skin is irreversible so treat it well!

Outfit Breakdown - Race Day!

Calling all race fans!  Race Day is just around the corner and just because some people will be sporting...less clothing than normal...doesn't mean you can't look flawless but be comfortable at the same time.

Now even if you have someone to impress, Race Day is not the time to break out those new wedges you've been dying to wear...but you may not want to show up in your Jeff Gordon get up either (plus, he's Nascar...duh!).  What you'll want to do is dress for the occasion...and be sure that if your clothes did get dirty or sweaty you're not going to yell at your neighbor in the in field "Hey this is dry clean only!"

Below I've put together a great race day look for just under $75.  By looking at some of my favorite affordable retail shops, I've combined some basics (that you may already have in your closet) with a little pop of color to keep you looking fresh all day.

I'm a huge fan of these shorts from Old Navy, and the bow detail and fresh navy color make it a staple for your summer wardrobe.  This style can be dressed up or down, so for race day throw on your favorite racerback tank for more coverage and lots of comfort.  I love this style from Penney's because the straps aren't too thick - making it less likely that you'll end up with super crazy tan lines!  

Instead of your usual flip flops, opt for a sporty espadrille like this version from Airwalk for Payless.  There will be lots of traffic off the track as well, so you'll want to protect your tootsies (and your recent pedi) as much as possible!  

Lastly, throw on some fun accessories to give your outfit a twist.  I'm a big fan of these rubber Ray Ban Wayfarer knock offs from Target - only $12.50!  Then you won't have to feel bad if the bright color doesn't go with everything (although I love my bright shades!).  For all of the "food and drinks" you may be lugging in, pick up a shopper's tote like this one from Forever 21.  The fun print adds spunk to any outfit, and for $1.50 you won't be discouraged if you leave it behind.  A great pair of earrings (I recommend studs so you don't lose them) and a fun bangle like this one from Forever 21 gives you the extra edge so that makes you look effortless.  

Comfort?  Check.  Inexpensive?  Check.  Ready for racing?  Oh yeah...

Got the Blues?

Blue tones are everywhere - especially for your nails!  And I have to say, I'm loving the way they look on everyone's skins.  Whether they are jewel tones or baby blues, these colors are adding a little flare to every outfit.

My favorite?  I love "Go Overboard" from Essie's 2012 Summer Collection.  The color is so rich, and a little bit goes a long way.  The way this pictures looks shows it with more green tones, but it's actually much darker than shown here.  I'm in love...

If you've got a good tan go for something more demure like Coat Azure or Barbados Blue.  They will bring out the bronze your skin is showing off in the summer months.  

Summer is in the air and it feels so good...

Fashion Star - Worth the Hype?

For over a year now we have been hearing the hype about Fashion Star, NBC's latest reality series with a Project Runway-esque vibe.  While I was skeptical (Jessica Simpson as a fashion mentor...not exactly my idea of Tim Gunn...) I still had to watch - thank goodness for DVR because this lady can't make it past that 10pm hour.

First of all, I have to give the creators a hand for at least trying to diversify themselves from other fashion shows out there.  Let's face it, when Bravo sold Project Runway to Lifetime and decided to revamp the show they may as well have called it Project Runway 2.0.  However, Fashion Star looks more at how an item will actually sale in the retail world by having buyers from 3 pertinent stores (Saks, H&M, and Macy's)  bid on items that the store would be willing to sale.  This year's competition took place last summer and I was so confused as to why that was.  Then I realized - it was so they had time to manufacture the clothes!  That's right, the items that the buyers bid on are available online and in stores the next day - my favorite aspect of the show.  Don't you hate on Project Runway with Rami has draped the most exquisite cocktail dress and you never see it again?  Boo!

All positives aside, I must say that Fashion Star should be more like "Amateur Hour" in my opinion.  Perhaps it's because the show is only on its first season, but most of the talent seems new to the fashion world and very few have been consistently successful.  Those that have though, have earned their spot in the final 3.  My favorite?  Kara Laricks.  Not only is her story unique (she was at one time a closeted lesbian elementary teacher) but her design esthetic of menswear inspired pieces manages to have just the right touch of modern details.

And who could forget Ronnie Escalante?  Named by John Varvatos as the "dark horse" Ronnie has come up in the past few weeks as the buyers and mentors favorite designer.  Me?  I'm not so sure.  While I usually like the cut of his pieces, he seems to have trouble picking fabrics?  He did a women's suit this past week in a floral print that looked like it belonged more on the windows then on your bottom.

Nzimiro Oputa is the last finalist, and while his designs were strong initially, I believe he is in the finals because he brings a menswear perspective.  His style is very Brooks Brothers with a European twist, and most men I know wouldn't be wearing what he's selling...but then again, I do live in Indiana...

The finale airs next Tuesday, May 15th on NBC.  Before then, check them out their designs at H&M, Macy's, and Saks.  The winning designer is supposed to be able to appeal to all retailers, which as you can see could be pretty challenging for three places known for completely different options.  Either way, I'm interested to see how the show turns out and if it will come back.  Personally?  I say they clean house.  The only mentor I'm impressed with is Nicole Richie...she has really made her stamp in the fashion world and those 15 minutes last for days!

Here are some of my current favorites selling, both from the finalists and past designers.  Snatch up these one of a kinds (err...most of them) while you can.  Some of these designers are worth a second glance.

Colorblock Dress by Orli Shani, $295,

Suit by Ronnie Escalante, $208,

H&M Top by Kara,

Designers you Love at Affordable Prices!

I don't know about you, but I love a designer collaboration when it saves me some dough.  Recently, many stores have started offering special limited time collections from your favorite high end designers at a more affordable price.  Here are a few that are on my radar that I couldn't help but share with all of you!

Trina Turk is known for her vibrant colors and classic cuts that makes going to work fun!  In June, Trina and Banana Republic will be launching a 60 piece collection available at Banana Republic stores nationwide.  With pieces ranging from $50 to $250, be sure to sign up for e-mails to ensure that you catch the latest coupons.  Nothing will make that purchase better than 40% off!

Trina Turk for Banana Republic

Rachel Roy has been designing a line for Macy's for a little while now, and it offers easy silhouettes is bright colors that can be worn to work or a night on the town.  Like Banana Republic, Macy's is always having a sale, so be sure to hit the store when these great pieces are discounted.  

Romper, $109

And who could forget QVC?  While you may not have a chance to try on these items before you purchase, why would you need to with styles from Rachel Zoe, Isaac Mizrahi, and the Kardashians.

Rachel Zoe Military Jacket, $132

Isaac Mizrahi Crossbody Quilted Bag, $148

K-Dash top, $52.32

Big style, great designers, and more affordable prices?  Yes, please.