Wednesday, May 25, 2011

{Suit Up}

I'm slightly a bathing suit fanatic. I probably own at least a dozen, but who's really counting? There may be something to be said about my unhealthy habit of planning ahead to the days I will (hopefully) be vacationing on white sand or just plain living on white sand. Clearly, I'm in denial. Anyhow, I'm not throwing in the towel just yet. I've begun to warm up to the idea of mixing & matching pieces (let's not get too crazy though) and even possibly wearing a fashionable one-piece...but as I was going through my People Style Watch yesterday, I came across the following picture dubbed as the "it" one-piece:

Image via Google
Rihanna & Diane Kruger in We Are Handsome - The Amazon Scoop Back

Ummm...what? Just because an A-lister or two wears this, does that make it fashionable...or even attractive? Well, since I was appalled by the first glance of this bathing suit...I did some research on the Australian label. Turns out, I was quite taken by their collections (though I am not ecstatic about the about-to-pounce-on-you cat face). Those creepy yellow eyes should only be allowed to appear on a Broadway playbill. Just sayin'. However, check out these other cool We Are Handsome swimsuits I found:

The Hollywood Scoop Back

The Los Angeles Bandeau

The Bahamas Zip Suit

The Yosemite Bandeau

The Kinaree Zipsuit

The Dreamer Zipsuit

But not without more creepy cats...

The Africa Scoop Back

Well, there you have it. A new twist on swimwear. Not exactly what I was expecting for a new summer swimsuit fetish, but interesting nonetheless!

 Images via We Are Handsome

Monday, May 23, 2011

{Flighty and Fabulous}

I love color. I love that which is vibrant. And I really love having fun with my makeup once in awhile. So when I was at the mall the other day picking up this adorable handbag I've been eyeing at a sale price I couldn't refuse, I happened to wander over to the MAC counter with my spare change. Hello color mascara!

I was a bit skeptical at first, but couldn't take my eyes off of the green; commence makeover by wonderful MAC rep. A little bit of orangey/brown eyeshadow and green mascara later, I was sold...but not enough to walk away with the product in hand. I was told this was a limited time offer, but didn't have that "you better buy it now or else" feeling.
Until the next day...

I made my girl's night start a smidgen earlier by stopping back to make the purchase and was told that all of the stores were now sold out of the mascara's. DISSmissed. However, I'm a determined lady...and all options were going to be tried. Now commence the wonders of online shopping on my iPhone + coupon gouging = two colored mascara's with free overnight shipping at the same total as if I was in the store (all under 10 minutes time). Bring 'em on!

I'm all about the pop factor, and I think this collection offers several fun colors for your summer palette without making you look like a drag queen. I have yet to try on the blue, but I'm hoping it turns out as nicely as the green! I'm not quite sure what "overnight shipping" means to MAC because it has now been two days since my purchase and I haven't even received my shipping confirmation, but I'm not fretting too much because it was free. If I've been scammed, you'll be the first to know (along with the unfortunate soul who receives my phone call). No worries though, because Sephora also has a selection of color mascara's as well!

It's always good to have something to look forward to on a Monday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

{Billion Dollar Empire}

No, I wasn't signed to a be a promising TV star at the age of six months with the potential of running a billion dollar empire by the age of 25...unfortunately. However, I give a big hip hip hooray to two young women who not only entertained my younger years but continue to amaze me with their style, grace & business tactics. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are the most famous twins that I know of; they are also geniuses. Bravo to the parents who made sure that MK & A were very involved in everything they set their mind to, whether it be acting, attending college or fashion design. I read parts of their latest book, Influence, a long time ago and, after seeing it again recently, cannot wait to buy my own copy; it is a composition of the girls' personal reflections on what they have learned and the people (specifically in the fashion industry) who impact their continuing work.

Despite the fact that MK & A seem far removed from us (the general public) due to their celebrity status, I think they are two of the most relatable fashion designers us American women can appreciate. They are young, spirited, and attempt at finding the balance between enjoying life and working hard at it; hence, the birth of their fashion labels. An entire industry was born out of Ashley Olsen's mere desire to create "the perfect t-shirt" when she couldn't find one that fit the bill. But wait, isn't their line, The Row, extremely expensive compared to Elizabeth and James or Olsenboye? How relatable is that? Well, true...I, personally, will not be going on a Barney's New York shopping spree anytime soon (or ever), but let's look at the three distinct lines and break down the ideas beind the Olsen twins Dualstar conglomerate.

1. The Row is a high end, luxury brand embraced by seemingly older women, from business executives to the first lady, that started out with Ashley's search for the perfect white t-shirt. What began as a line comprised of t-shirts and leggings morphed into cashmere sweaters, fur jackets and leather pants that one would pay a pretty penny for. Unlike many designers whose target audience are those who wish to cling to their younger years, The Row's customers are largely made up of middle-aged women. Why? Well, the Olsen's appear to embrace the power and promise of maturity. Instead of encouraging women to revert to their younger years, The Row relishes the idea of indulging in their most productive ones. The line is all about evoking a professional yet luxurious persona. Make note: besides handbags and certain knits produced in Italy, the Olsen's firmly believe in manufacturing their line in New York & L.A. Not only is the line glamorizing hard-work, but it is putting revenue back into the American economy.

What is TOMS doing in a post about the Olsen's fashion sense? Oh, yes...TOMS shoes and The Row are collaborating on a line for Fall 2011 that will range in price from $98 to $150 and include plaid, herringbone and cashmere. If you've kept up with this blog, you know my love for TOMS and its cause! For every pair bought, a pair is given to a child in need. Maybe the clothing from The Row is out of our league, but I will be looking forward to seeing this collaboration come to life.

2. Elizabeth and James is a contemporary sportswear line named after MK & A's younger siblings. The line is actually based on a relationship between a boy and a girl, in which the clothing is supposed to carry out their story. It is a clash between femininity and masculinity, consisting of blazers, skirts, leather jackets and other casual wear. While the line is not as expensive as The Row, pricing can range from $150-$725; not exactly chump change. One might argue against the belief that this line is for a sophisticated individual who understands fashion and designer products but doesn't want to pay designer prices...but at the same time, don't we support the notion of paying for designer quality at a more afforable price?

3. Olsenboye is a clothing line created exclusively for JC Penney, inspired by stylish cities around the world. It is the most affordable of the three lines, featuring an array of clothing and accessories. Interestingly, social media is a big part of the marketing behind the line; there are a series of web films that revolve around different girls chosen to act as brand ambassadors. Each girls represents a specific style and look, and the films portray the different Olsenboye collections via storytelling. To take it a step further, each girl has her own respective blog, which not only allows the customer to visually gain ideas on how to wear the collection, but also gives insight into that girl's personality. Direct interaction between label and consumer? Cue in, Smarty Pants Dance.

Their badass, beautiful & brilliant. These two ladies have stayed away from being a Hollywood cliché; they keep their lives & work under wraps as much as possible, focusing solely on what their good at and banking on that very thing. Even when the tabloids exploited MK for a period of time, she seems to have proven that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Successful women who can shine in the spotlight yet still be humble? America, we need more of these role models!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

{Target: Hit or Miss?}

Recently, Target has been on a designer kick, collaborating with different labels to bring exclusive designs for clothing and home furnishings to you at an affordable price. Currently, Target has teamed up with CALYPSO St. Barth, a global luxury lifestyle brand, that is all about wearing upscale resort wear and bringing an exotic destination feel right into your living room. The designs are bright, colorful and full of patterns that literally make you feel like you are vacationing along white sand beaches and crystal clear water.

I think it is great that Target collaborates with designer labels to help out us fashionable yet money savvy individuals. However, the designer slated for this fall has people both ecstatic and up in arms simultaneously. Some people take their favorite designers a little too seriously, and perhaps they should...after all, many of them dish out the most money for their brand name items. The next designer collaboration to hit Target in the fall is...wait for it...Missoni.

Image via Google

Now, I'm not a huge Missoni fan...but I've gone through the clothing racks enough to know that many people are not ready for Missoni's classic zig-zag and striped patterns to be sold for mere pennies. Of course, I still have no clue why one would spend hundreds of dollars on a sweater or skirt....but I also do understand the importance of keeping a renowned designer somewhat sacred. Missoni will be (hopefully) inundating Target this September-October with multi-hued housewares and flashy clothing. Sure, no one is certain whether or not the upscale label will translate well into the Target franchise, but I think this might just be a smash hit for both brand's in terms of accessible design.

Image via Google

I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what kinds of products will be a result of this collaboration...and pray that Target knows what they are getting themselves into. No one likes to wait on a backordered let's cross our fingers that not only will we like the collection, but that it will truly be available when we want it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

{Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me}

Hello, Sunshine! I've decided to share my short list of favorite body products to keep handy while out enjoying the sun & warmth. However, before I do, I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day. It is quite nice to have a day to enjoy all mother's; I feel fortunate to have such a friendly, loving, compassionate, driven and honorable woman to be an example of all that I aspire to be in some way, shape or form.

Thank you, Mom, for every single day of love,
For being true to who you are,
For being my rock, best friend & biggest fan,
For embodying inward beauty (it always shows!),
For being my sunshine...always.

Having beautiful weather was just the icing on the cake for Momma's Day. I cannot wait for the end of the work day to come around so I can get outside & enjoy the nice weather. Confession: my attendance to the gym has gone way down; my attendance to Chipotle, however, way up. Yes, it is a scary truth...but my gym attendance seems to take more breaks during the summer (like last year) due to the fact I cannot imagine suffering through a gym sesh indoors when I could be outside! Le sigh. It is what it is, and I will take any amount of sitting on my deck in the sun while reading a book I can get. I've blown through Emily Giffin's series and am about to wrap up The Help; excellent so far!

While the days of sunbathing during the summer weeks may be over for most of us, I still think it's best to protect yourself out in the midst of that big ball of fire as much as possible. There are some products that I think do a great job at keeping you in tip-top shape before, during & after being outdoors. I'm always on the lookout for new things to try, but here a few body products I have come to love:

I love how light & non-greasy this sunblock is! I need constant reapplication when it comes to lotions, and I find that this works best on my skin. Also, it's lightweight enough to wear as a moisturizer under makeup for an after-beach dinner or happy hour. I recommend going to BJ's (or a comparable store) to pick up this product because you can get two (or more) for the price of one!

Now, I always have a chapstick on hand for lip protection, but I have come to crave this moisturizing lip balm for any time. I love Pink Sugar (left); it leaves my lips feeling moisturized for extended periods of time and has a pink tint to add a pop of color.

To say I'm obsessed with this spray is an understatement. I love it so much, I've been skipping out on conditioner and just spray a little of this on my hair post-shower. 10 Things It Does: maintenance of keratin straightening treatments, increases styling & manageability, is perfect for all hair types, replaces lost protein, protects the natural keratin in hair, protects against heat, restores hydration balance, detangles, defrizzes & adds shine, strengthens hair structure, seals cuticles for extra silky hair.

I've tried other moisturizers, but this is my Old Faithful. Currently, I'm testing out one from Neutrogena, but I just don't think it will beat out Cetaphil for first place. I love how this is a light but powerful moisturizer and has the SPF protection you need year round. I've been using it for years, and the product has always proved to take care of my skin without any side issues.

I don't care what brand, bottle or color it is (unless you have an allergy to dye), aloe is probably the best thing you can do for your skin. I like using cocoa butter as well, but during the warm months I slather on the aloe. It absorbs into your skin quickly and is a natural remedy, providing excellent nutrition & moisturization for your skin.

I've become a fan of the OPI Avoplex Moisture Replenishing products, including this on-the-go cuticle oil! It smells divine & instantly works. Also try out their nail & cuticle replenishing oil and high-intensity hand & nail cream. All are great in my book!