Monday, 26 March 2012

Something Simply Fantastic

Okay, after a long absence and a LOT OF STUFF, I'm back and I'm in love.

With an iPhone case.


I love the color combination of black and white ... which means both of these are perfect for my newly replaced white iPhone!  Yes, you read that right.  Replaced.  It was a challenging 3 days dealing with everyone saying it wasn't their fault and blaming someone else but, that aside, here they are!

from HERE

and this from HERE

Okay, now let's be honest - is Chevron just a trend?  Well, in a way, yes.  It's been around for forever but only came into vogue in the past year.  If I put this on my phone now, will I have to change it again soon after?  NO WAY.  Not only has this print been around forever - it's clean, classic, and in a tasteful color scheme.  Doing a chevron in a neon though would probably force you to change when the trends change ... unless you use that color to make it easy to find in a purse.  In that case, more power to you!  I've done that before but couldn't handle an ELECTRIC PINK cell phone case for long.  It might have also been influenced by the fact that my old android was the worst android on the planet.  No joke.  Hands down.  Worst.  

That being said, the first case is just plain AMAZING.  It's made from a super durable plastic that makes the shapes really pop.  Also DOUBLE DUTY - the design makes it easier to grip!  I've had my share of slick cases and, though they sometimes look prettier (LESS FUSSY, CLEAN LINES) they often don't last long.  This one really should!  Plus it comes in a pink that I absolutely love (but feel might be too feminine for me) and white (don't get me started on that - the white might not match perfectly and drive me nuts) so pick something that works for not only your taste but for your everyday life.  If flowers are not your thing, other graphics are available like "planks" and "houses."  These are also amazing but I'm personally IN LOVE with the flowers!  

Can't I have both???

Thursday, 3 November 2011

I'm just cold right HERE.

A scarf, though not really a necessary clothing item unless you're in hiking Everest, has the most utility out of any clothing piece.  

That might seems like a pretty big generalization but, in reality, a scarf can help in the best of times and in the worst of times: keeps off the chill on a fall day, can cover up a bad hair day, and can even take an basic outfit and turn it into an attention grabber.  Scarves also set the mood for the season since scarves can come in so many different prints and textiles!  Be it breezey and soft for the spring or a heavy knit for the winter, there's a scarf for that.  

One great example for fall is a scarf I picked up at forever 21 for under $10.  It has PERFECT fall colors in a somewhat complicated pattern but isn't overwhelming to the eye or the wearer.  
It's like fall fashion cameo delivered from the textile gods.


I mean, these colors are perfect!

Pink and peach rarely go together and to find an instance where it has been done right is amazing!  The white, grey, and black were great supporting colors that blended well with the overall image intended for this print.  

Going back to utility, I have to talk about the scarf that probably helped me keep my sanity while I was in England for 5 months:

I call it my "blanket."  It's huge, plush, soft, and crazy.  Pretty much everything I look for in a piece of clothing that I know I'm going to use a lot.  

For this piece, we're going to need some background on the situation - the main way to get ANYWHERE in England (or cities in general) is to use public transportation.  Be it a bus, the underground, a commuter train, or a flight, in Europe you can travel for cheap.  The downside to this is that sometimes it takes a bit longer to get places since flights are not as popular.  In that case, you need to get sleep!  How do you get good sleep while traveling on a dime and with as little baggage as possible? USE ANYTHING YOU HAVE AS A PILLOW.  

Using a coat is a tried and true method to double as a pillow but sometimes the air while traveling is pretty cold and you need to keep it on!  To get that sleep without having to sacrifice your body temperature is to buy a super oversized scarf.  After my first trip, I learned all of this the hard way after almost going crazy from the cold and lack of sleep.

I found this scarf in a store called River Island and payed less than 20£ for it.  It was so worth it.  It then came on every trip with me as a pillow and a fashion statement.  Regardless of any of the teasing my family and friends to do me when I bust this out, I know I'm the one getting the last laugh since I'm living in comfort and shocking with my style!  It also helps that this scarf has details like a fringe and an understated aztec pattern with neutral colors.  

What's not to love?  

Grow your collection to satisfy every need there could ever be and find that one that will make your life complete.  I found mine but you never know, another "blanket" could be around the corner! 

Live and comfort and shock with style.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Take a Walk in MY Shoes? It's gonna hurt ...

At the tender age of 12, my arches fell.  Years of ill-fitting soccer shoes with little support took their toll and POOF, I lost almost a half inch of height.  For those of you who do not know, if you arches are being pulled downwards, to compensate, your knees get pulled in.  When your knees get pulled in, your spine compensates by taking some of the stress and pain away from the lower half.  Pretty soon after, you hurt from head to toe and have to visit the doctor in anger.  It's a personal butterfly effect!  To compensate, wear shoes with proper support for your heel and your arch.  It's amazing how good you feel after!

Backing up though, because I needed support in my shoes, I felt that sandals were no longer a thing I could enjoy ... so I wore them anyway and took LOTS of tylenol.  LOTS.

Finally when I was in High School, I was introduced to Birkenstock sandals.  Needless to say, my outlook on sandals changed.  Not only do they look cute but they have support and, due to the cork and leather, shape to your feet!  

my fabulous silver gizeh birkenstock stock sandals

My mom learned that the hard way.  I've had these shoes for almost 6 years!  They look their age too ... leather is ripping, cork is almost gone in spots ... they're kind of a mess that I refuse to toss out.  

One morning, my mother tried to wear my sandals out to get the mail.  It looked as if she was walking barefoot on top of rocks.  Unsteady on her feet she yelled, "THESE ARE THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE SHOES EVER."  Thanks mom, now you know how custom these shoes can become/how much support my feet need!  

Since these sandals are the cheapest of the adult birkenstocks at around $80, I realize the need to replace them but will probably wait until next summer since that $80 should go towards some sweet riding boots for winter.  Priorities people.  If I bought new sandals now I'd want to wear them in a foot of snow.  I must resist the temptation!  

The moral of this story is, take care of your feet, only occasionally do something bad for your feet (cause after a while, your body will pay), and if you try to walk in my shoes, it's going to hurt.  A LOT.

Live in comfort and shock with style!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Essentials Kit ... Sort of.

Sorry for the delay!  It's been a crazy week and a bit draining to this just passed me by.  To make up for it, as I watch a RHONJ Reunion, I will write about some of my favorite beauty products.  Before we start, I have to say, I generally wear the same makeup everyday: brown eyeliner, black mascara, blush, and foundation.  THAT'S IT.  But since I don't wear a ton, that doesn't mean I don't use some of the greatest products out there!  

For just that reason, here are my favorites: 
clockwise starting at the top: 
Urban Decay - "24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil" - Zero
Clinique - "Naturally Glossy Mascara" - Black
Vera Wang - "Princess" - Roller-Ball
Bourjois Paris - "Lip Stain Pen" - Rose Prefere 
Nars - "Lip Gloss" - Orgasm
Nars - "Blush" - Orgasm

I've attached links to everything I above except for the lip stain pen since I cannot find a place to buy it in the US!  TRAGIC.  As for what I've listed, the things I use EVERYDAY are the mascara and the blush.  Those two will go a LONG way when it comes to getting ready in the morning and looking good with little effort since I'm convinced they both make you look good and feel good.

Here's my break down for these items:
Urban Decay - "24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil" - Zero 
     This pencil works great, glides on smooth, and holds it's pigment well.  I mostly use this when going out at night or for special occasions since black eyeliner with my coloring tends to look a little harsh unless done right.  Otherwise, I love this and it's size means it's going to last a long time!

Clinique - "Naturally Glossy Mascara" - Black
     I've been using this product for years!  Unlike a lot of mascaras out there, this one actually gets all the lashes without any crazy promises and looks totally great.  I use it everyday and often as a base to other more vamp-y mascaras before going out.  It's not kidding when it looks natural.  I LOVE IT!

Vera Wang - "Princess" - Roller-Ball
    Though possibly buying a roller-ball is less effective cost-wise, but it's utility goes through the roof. It's super portable, doesn't take a lot of space (literally the size of a sharpie), and the perfume goes exactly where I want it to!  Sometimes fabrics don't react well with perfumes so being able to minimize clothing contact but maximizing scent, is the name of the game.  Also, to spice things up, other than just wrists, make sure to apply some to your collar bones!  Collar bones are close enough to the neck to take advantage of heat it radiates.  To clarify, the quickest way to cool someone down or heat someone up is through the wrists and through the neck since vessels are closer to the skin's surface.  Strange but true!

Bourjois Paris - "Lip Stain Pen" - Rose Prefere 
     I'll be forward with this: a big part of the reason why I love this lip stain is because it ISN'T pointy.  Strange request but, for me it's easier to handle since the tip is a similar shape to a lip gloss wand.  The shade of this is also pink without being too feminine and layers well.  The other perk is that it doesn't dry out lips too much so it can be worn alone (and fool people into thinking that's your natural pout).  Win-win, right?  I'll keep looking online for a vender but the last time I saw these products, I was in a Boots in London, England ... I'll keep my eyes peeled!

Nars - "Lip Gloss" - Orgasm
     Everyone has heard the hype around NARS' Orgasm line of cosmetics ... and it's all true.  The color is a peachy-gold and looks wonderful!  I love the way it looks, it's not sticky, and it matches my blush without looking too matchy.  (It also looks great layered over the previously mentioned lip stain pen!  I like to make things my own.)

Nars - "Blush" - Orgasm
     I owned this blush before I owned the gloss and I believe it's made all the difference in my beauty routine.  This blush, since it has gold tones, kind of does the job of both blush and bronzer for your cheek bones.  It's a great shade that illuminates your face in any light and makes you look flawless.  It also has a great feel to it and never feels heavy and goes a long way.  One note: don't over do it though!  Going into clown-zone is kind of hard with is product but not impossible.  My only negative is, though this color is so universal, sometimes different colors look better on different people in this line.  For example, my mother, who is paler than me with darker hair than me, has NARS Blush but, after trying orgasm, found that "sin" looked so much better since it had more red tones in it.  The moral of this story is, don't be afraid to try different colors on a range that has rave revues ... we're all different so maybe average doesn't work for everyone!

As a final note, don't be afraid to play or try on products in the store.  Shop around and see it in different kinds of light!  Don't settle for a shade off when it would take you just an extra hour to establish the correct one.  

Also, as a key for perfume, before you buy, spray a sample on yourself then walk for a while and see how you smell then. Sometimes perfumes don't always interact with our skin oils correctly and with some perfumes being $100+ you want to make sure you get it right the first time!

Live in comfort and shock with style.

PS. I'm currently trying out a set of 5 full-size Tarte Lip-Stains in some universal shades ... the set was $29 when to buy 5 individually is over $120 so I feel pretty good about it.  Find the deal online on the Sephora site!  They look great, smell great, and are made of natural ingredients.  I couldn't pass it up!

Monday, 26 September 2011

When Too Much Is Not Enough

Between all the things I love, be they vacation, shopping, cooking, reading, or hanging out with friends, they all have one thing in common ... opportunities to wear sunglasses.  Sunglasses are the best thing since sliced bread.  I swear I'm not joking.

starting at the top left: betsy johnson, a.j. morgan, 
charming charlie, charming charlie, and american eagle

In this photo we see only a small cross section of my sunglass collection.  I became obsessed with sunglasses at a young age when I could only wear prescription sunglasses in this weird marble/blue color while I desperately wanted to wear cat-eye-hot-pink-cinderella-glitter sunglasses.  I'm sure you can see the importance of wearing a pair like that.  

Though some people think it's odd to wear sunglasses at all times while outside, you honestly should.  It's not just for people like Rachel Zoe, a pioneer of wearing sunglasses in dark places.  (She took Corey's words to Hart ... pun intended.) Why pay tons of money every year on anti-aging products for your eyes when you can buy a pair of sunglasses that will last years AND look super stylish.  The trick to this is wearing them when you're outside, every season, and splurging on classic pairs.  The sun still shines in the winter!  If you follow this advice, the only lines you'll have are laugh lines, not lines from squinting or sun damage and a life-long fashion staple.  (Think about the bragging rights after you've had them for 10+ years?!?  I mean, once you're over 5 years, you're golden.  Example: I haven't had Taco Bell in at least 9 years.  That's kind of impressive if you knew where I went to school.)

Going back to our amazing, non-expiring, compliment inducing, anti-agers, just like with sunscreen, you need to make sure with sunglasses that you have proper spectrum protection!  They only work if you wear them and have the proper amount of UV screening.  

CARDINAL RULE: Only buy sunglasses marked with either 100% UV protection or over 400 UV lenses.  

There is never a reason to compromise this rule since, regardless of how cute the frame, you're wasting money on a product not at it's best.  It's like buying a shirt that was ripped in half: though you can probably learn to make due with it and get it for a great price, you're still getting damaged goods.  If you buy a product at 95% UV protection, the sunglass maker is only out to make a buck, not actually provide a good product.  

All this being said, I also recommend glasses that have pretty consistant shading to them.  Though having it fade to clear towards the bottom might be stylish, your delicate under eye skin probably would not be getting the same amount of protection your eyebrows would be getting.  It's also helpful while driving since having a such graduated lenses can be distracting.  

Now, back to lighter topics, don't these glasses make you think of Harry Potter?
I bought these A.J. Morgan sunglasses for under $2 about a week before the second deathly hallows came out.  I was neck-deep in potter mode.  This is also probably the best deal I EVER got on sunglasses ... though I'm always looking out for the next pair!

My next tip: you don't need to spend too much on a pair of sunglasses to get a great pair.  If you still want that designer look, I totally recommend going to Stein Mart where they have brands like Michael Kors, Betsy Johnson, and Jessica Simpson on super sale.  No one needs to know how much they really cost!  It can be our little secret.

Last piece of sage advise: only buy a super expensive pair of sunglasses if you know you're going to wear them A LOT/they are a classic frame that will never go out of style.  Case in point: I asked for and was gifted a pair of medium ray ban wayfarers in black for my birthday.  I, without exaggeration, wear them everyday.  That means, to date, I've worn them over 430 times.  This pair is my go-to pair.  They go with everything, look stylish, and have SUPER dark lenses.  Sometimes, I'll even have 2 paris of sunglasses in my purse at a time: stylish sunglasses to wearing around and my ray bans for the serious stuff!  Always be ready for anything!  I mean, my purse is often times large enough to fit an entire sunglass hut inside so there's no reason to be caught fashionably off-guard.

Hope this helps everyone with their own sunglasses collections!  Too much is ever enough when it comes to this accessory and, if you want to try a trend, try a cheap (but fully UV protected) pair from a place like Forever 21, Charming Charlie, or Stein Mart.  

Live in comfort and shock with style!  Also, don't get crows feet before you have to.

PS: If a pair dosen't fit all that great/too tight but is cheap, break out a sander and sand down the sides so they open up more.  I've done this countless times since my noggin is the size of a basketball ... I also do this sort of DIY with all my clothes.  I'm the straight girl of mad fashion mistakes (though I do love the "Gay Macgyver of High Fashion").

Monday, 19 September 2011

These are a few of my favorite things ...

With this post, I have quite a bit to talk about ... namely, one of my favorite outfits in my closet now.  That doesn't sound too surprising at the moment but wait until you hear what inspired this outfit ... cause the beginning inspiration was True Blood.  You read that right.  The HBO show True Blood.  

Questions you may be asking:
Where's the sex?
Where's the red?
Where's Alexander Skarsgard?  
Are you on crack?

Don't need it.
Don't be literal.
Seriously, where is he?
No, not crack but I am taking some pretty stiff allergy meds at the moment.  The Ohio valley is where people come to suffer seasonal allergies.  

What really inspired this was the final episode of Season One titled "You'll Be The Death Of Me," which, if you've seen the show, makes total sense.  Towards the end when Sookie is laying in the living room recovering from events earlier in the day, it looks like she is wearing the most comfortable denim shirt in the world.  As the credits rolled and the song "Ain't No Grave" covered by Crooked Still played, I thought to myself, "I WANT THAT SHIRT."

       (said inspirational music ... it's really good!)

The next step was to actually get up the courage to buy a denim shirt, something I've often associated with Kentucky Tuxedos and missing teeth.  Finally, after wandering a Kohl's for the better part of an hour, I found said denim shirt, groped it to see if it felt as good as it looked, and bought the sucker.  Boy, did I feel good after that purchase!  Not only did it look and feel great but there were also few witnesses since it was like, 10AM.

After that ... WHAT DO YOU WEAR IT WITH?!  I fought it works with so many different pairs of shorts!  The first few times I wore the shirt, it was with aqua shorts and grey flipflops.  Needless to say, I wasn't lookin' too good but honestly didn't care.  Finally I found some great olive green shorts on Forever 21's website and they were only $14.  ONLY $14.  Yes, it was meant to be.  

Thankfully and sadly, earlier in the summer, my old grey convers with a double tongue covered in sheep kind of bit the dust and I was in the market for a new pair.  I finally bought an original pair of black converse, a pair I had wanted for at least five years, and broke those out.  I wanted to give my denim and olive combo some edge!  

BUT WAIT.  I looked a bit unfinished ... what was missing?  JEWELRY.  I decided to dress it up with a spike necklace from Forever 21 that was less than $7.  Why spikes?  Why not.  The necklace looks like it's worth more than it was and is a bit unexpected.  Not only do I wear this necklace with this outfit but I love pairing it with things I believe are a bit too feminine or with v-neck shirts.  V-Neck act like a frame for a great piece of art with this necklace!  To be honest, a v-neck looks good with everything as long as it's not a thick choker (those always look like a bad interpretation of Cinderella's wedding jewelry at the end of the movie) so go wild.  Literally.  

Not only do I love this outfit but, the day I finally got it all together was also the day I wore it with PRIDE.  Later that day, I went with a friend to get sushi.  She was wearing a denim skirt, olive shirt, black sneakers, and big earrings.  We essentially matched.  Woops.  Neither of us decided to change and decided that olive and denim look friggin' sweet together and great minds thing alike.  

I still love this outfit and it looks like a perfect combo to go from summer into the fall.  

I'm also going to look forward to finding some olive skinny jeans with some kind of subtle cargo pocket detail for when it gets cold outside.  A girl can dream!

Live in comfort and shock with style.  With this outfit, that saying couldn't be more true.  Seriously.  

Monday, 12 September 2011

Boots NEVER Go Out Of Style

Do I love boots?  YES.  Does the world love boots?  DOUBLE YES.  And by boots, I don't mean the pharmacy (another love of mine) but, rather, something everyone has worn for forever and ever and ever.  Seriously.  Even Robin Hood wore boots.  If he were real.  Here's proof: Robin and Little John rockin' booties. You're welcome.

As for the more recent history, we'll start in America: for the past few years, it seems that hooker/witch boots were in style with serious pointed toes and #2 pencil graphite thick heels that towered past Babel.  I'll confess that I owned (still own) a pair that I will not picture here.  Thankfully, the women of Europe got wise ... and knew what the rest of the world needed: thicker heels, semi-loose fit through the leg, and cool metal accents.  When that style seriously hit the US, every woman's arches sighed in relief!  You mena we can be comfortable!?  YES!  

Thus was born my new shoe addiction.

Shown here are a pair of short boots by Gabriella Rocha.  

This pair was less than $50 (including the cool skull laces from Charming Charlie) on Zappos and even have a side zipper making it super easy to adjust any pants/socks/tights you might wear to complete your ensamble.  

To personalize these a bit more, I added the aforementioned skull laces from the boutique Charming Charlie and did realize that the laces are black and the boots are brown.  Who cares?  Regardless of what someone says about colors and seasons, I believe you should wear what you think looks good and, if you're confident, everyone will love it (or in my rent's situation, get used to it).

Finally, I want to talk about the heels: I am a firm believer that you don't have to break your back for beauty ... possibly go through a bit of pain, but never to the point of suffering.  I, like any girl, love what a good pair of heels can do to my lower half.  I just don't like what happens after a couple of hours of standing.  The moral of my story is: be reasonable to the situation and respect your body.  I personally believe that everyone should have some kind of heel or arch support.  It would probably change you're life!  If you mess-up your feet, like dominos, the rest of your body is hurt!  Example: if your arches are falling, to compensate, your body pulls your knees in and, since your knees are pulled in, your hips get pulled ... then the process goes up the rest of the way to your neck and you're buying stock in tylenol for the rest of your life.  Dont' let it get to that point!  

Live in comfort and shock with style.  My new words to live by :)

PS. Boots can last forever if you take care of them so make sure to polish (if you can) and, when the time comes, get your heels/soles repaired.  Who wants to toss their favorite boots when it takes half the price to make them look new again?  Seriously, think about it.