Friday, August 31, 2012

Part two: The Summer Day Makeup/ Bleached Hair

Today, inspired by my sister Tati who just visited me last week and actually knows how to apply eye liner without fear; I actually took some time on my makeup!  Yay!
So, I know I have blooged before about my love/ hate relationship with makeup.  For the most part, I am just too lazy for it, but I also just really don’t like to have too much dirt (read: foundation) on my skin.  Solution?  Tinted moisturizer.  I actually use this stuff every day, mixed with a little extra lotion (yes, I really am that pale).  I love how it gives me an even skin tone without covering up my freckles or my rosy cheeks.  I want to look like me, only the best me possible.  Shouldn’t that be the point of makeup after all?  Other than that, I usually use a bit of brown eye shadow and some cheek tint and call it a day. 
But today I went extra glam (for me, anyway).  I not only wore mascara, I and even put on eyeliner!  I really like how eyeliner looks but I don’t like having to look in the mirror all day to make sure it isn’t smudged (again, lazy).  Then I wore my favorite lipstick; Black Honey by Clinique; and I was fully made up. 
I still don’t want to have to do this every day, but I have to admit that I do look quite lovely today. 
Here is a list of the products I used today in case you are so inspired that you want to try to look just like me (who wouldn’t really?  ;P ).
-Benefits lip and cheek tint- lovely, long lasting product
-Clinique black honey lipstick
-Bare Minerals primer- An extra step, but it really does make your makeup last longer and look better.   I also love their powder for winter when my skin needs some brightening.   
-Bare Minerals thickening mascara- for extra glam lashes use their lengthening mascara under their thickening mascara.  It is too much for every day, but looks awesome for a night out. 
-Bare Minerals “pussycat” brown loose powder.  Apply lightly with a brush, or your finger tip.
*Note:  I also love Victoria’s secret eye shadows, especially their shimmery browns.  You can apply them nicely with just a fingertip. 
-Tinted moisturizer- I use the Proactive brand mixed with Proactive lotion.  I also use their face wash products. 

Finished face-see? You can see my freckles through the makeup! 

 Next, in case you are keeping up with the saga of my bleached hair, my hair looks awesome today.  I first bleached it in June.  Who would have thought I would keep it blond for this long??? Not me.  And I’m still not sick of it! 

Today, my hair looks just the way I like, also due to a momentary lapse in my usual laziness. I have been putting off bleaching my roots because I do it myself and it is hard to get the back of my head while keeping the bleach only on my roots and keeping it off of the already lightened part (this is to avoid over-bleaching and breakage).  So, I have been touching up my roots with blond dye instead because I don’t have to worry about it touching the rest of my hair.  This has resulted in not so great (orange- ish) roots.  But, out of bleach-disaster fear, I have pretended that this is okay and not bleached over it.  Finally, after dying my roots a pretty horrible color, I couldn’t take it anymore and took the time to touch up with bleach.  It was really a challenge because I don’t want to risk breaking my hair, but it was worth it.  Then I finished up with toner to get the white shade that I like.   Maybe I need a partner to help me next time.  Also, I could afford to wait a bit longer between touch ups.  I actually don’t mind having roots once they are about an inch long, because I think they look sort of dingy and cool.  But before that point, they just drive me crazy.  Let’s see if I can go at least three weeks!   That will be my new challenge!  That I will most likely fail at.  Pretty much guaranteed.  So never mind. 

Have a great weekend everyone, and wear sunscreen if you go outside!  :)

Part One: The Summer Day Dress/ the Rut Continues

I am about to take a much needed weekend trip after work today, and I couldn’t be happier to get away for a few days!  I have blogged about this dress, hat, and even shoes before, but I really loved how they look together on this lovely before-a-three-day-weekend summer day. 
This Hazel dress is really a dream to wear, and it was also lovely to sew.  It is one of my favorite dresses that I have made so far because it has stood up better than some, I think because I used better fabric for it.  Also, the seams are bound with protective bias tape, and I really took my time on this one and followed all of the boring steps I may have skipped on some others.  Wearing it today is kind of reminding me that if I take a little more time with a project, it really does pay off. 
Although I have a lot of half started projects on my sewing table (too many to admit to), I have been completely uninspired by my latest creations.  I blame the little French Wiggle Dress, which looks beautiful on, but is so tight that I never ever want to really wear it.  Also, even after alterations, I still don’t like how the darts came out around my bum (maybe I will add a bustle to cover the problem?  Hummm….).  The one exception to my recent sewing woes is a beautiful navy and white polka dot dress that I made for my sister Tati that turned out beautifully.  I really made it for myself, but decided to give it to her while she was visiting, and it looked so cute on her!  I am hoping she will take a few pics at home that I can post here at some point. 
In an effort to rekindle my passion for sewing, I recently got a new Collette pattern that I haven’t had time to use, and then out of the blue, my friend Kimmi bought me some beautiful fabric that I can use with it!  So maybe that will get me out of my rut.
I also purchased this beautiful book several months ago, and it came in the mail last week.  I am not quite sure I am ready for some of the advanced patterns in the book, but I am getting inspired by just how beautiful the photos of the finished products are that I might just give one or two a try anyway. 
I have been reading Gerite’s blog at: for some time now, and I highly recommend it, not just for seamstresses, but really anyone that is interested in fashion or body image too.  I don’t agree with every point she makes (not really buying the idea of wearing corsets as a feminist rebellion, but she makes an interesting case anyway), but I still like reading what she has to say.  She is just beautiful, cute, and just plain fun to look at, and she is a good writer to boot!  not to mention the to die for dresses she features.  Just amazing and inspiring.  I am doing more reading about sewing lately, then actually sewing, but that can be worth while too.  You can't learn if you don't get inspired!   
So, what do you think?  Don’t I look ready for a great warm weekend?  :)  Maybe I’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle some new projects when I get back from my trip. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Curvy is beautiful too!

Okay, I hate to sound like I am a part of the bitter sounding club that spouts “real women have curves!” as if thin woman are somehow fake.  Real, beautiful, women come in all different shapes and sizes!  BUT when a former plus sized model (Crystal Renn) writes a book about getting over an eating disorder and learning to love her curvy, lovely self, and then immediately shrinks herself down to a strait size?  Not awesome.  She doesn’t even look like the same person, and in my personal opinion, she was so much more beautiful before!  Thank god I didn’t buy her book when I first heard about it. 
Crystal Renn then…
And now. 
Unfortunately, this type of conformity in the media is nothing new.  The second that I find a small shining example of an actress or model who is anything over a size two, they go and shrink themselves down to conform to the size norm that we are used to seeing in the media  (does anyone even remember how smoking hot Lindsey Lohan used to be when she was curvy?  Yowza! I forgive Ginnifer Goodwin for slimming down from her formerly more curvy self, but only because she always has such cute short hair cuts for me to look at).  Come on guys, we have enough role models for the skinny girls!  Just leave the world with a few examples of healthy, curvy women who are closer to an average girl’s size.  Please, please, please! 
Yes, some people really are predisposed to being skinny, even very skinny.  However, the majority of people that are represented in the media are dangerously underweight, not simply thin.   But we are so used to looking at images of women who are impossibly small that we don’t even recognize what a problem this is and how it affects our society as a whole.  Another problem?  We actually have more examples of overweight women than average, healthy weight women in the media, which I think is a shame.  It is as if you are really heavy, then they know how to label you, and if you are thin they know how to label you, but if you are in the middle you should probably just give in and choose a side already so we know where to put you!   All sizes should be represented, but why can’t healthy weight women be represented as the beauty ideal a bit more often?  P.S.- thank you Kristina Hendricks and Kat Dennings for giving two beautiful examples of hot in-between size ladies, but seriously we need more! P.P.S.-for a great example of a blog that celebrates the inbetweenies of the world, go to Style Has No Size. 
Healthy is beautiful, and healthy comes in many different forms.  But let’s face it; someone who is predisposed to be a size 8 is just not going to look as good at a size 0, and probably isn’t getting there in a healthy way.  Conformity is boring, and when I watch TV or movies or read magazines, I am bored with only having one body type to look at, especially because I cannot relate to it. 
Let me clarify.  I am not a big girl and I know that.  It also know that it annoys some people that I consider myself curvy, as if that word should be reserved only for really heavy women.  But the truth is that I relate more to plus sized bodies than I do to the skinny women that I am bombarded with every day in the media.  I sometimes want to label myself as a “healthy “size, but I think that could also be taken as a way of covertly calling myself fat, or worse could imply that people who are naturally thinner or heavier than me are not as healthy which is not necessarily true.  There simply isn’t a word to describe woman who aren’t skinny and aren’t plus sized, so I prefer to think of myself as curvy rather than just failing to pick a side. 
This issue of lack of size diversity in the media is exactly the reason that I started this blog in the first place.  I love fashion, but 90 percent of the blogs I follow are plus sized fashion blogs because there simply aren’t a lot of blogs that represent those of us who fail to fall into either category.  Beauty and style come in all shapes and sizes!  Let’s celebrate who we are and try not to let ourselves be swept up in conforming to the media norm.  We were all made to be different, and that is good! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sins of Fashion

We all commit them from time to time.  And just like any other so-called sin, what is and what isn’t fashion blasphemy is widely debatable.  What I consider to be my fashion sins are almost all born out of my extreme laziness in my everyday life leaking all over my sense of style.  Not acceptable! 
I find that a lot of the things that I do and do not fuss over can appear contradictory.  Although I obsess over clothes and hairstyles I love, I also consider myself relatively low maintenance which can be kind of opposing elements.  I don’t like to take too much time to get ready in the morning, or even on the rare occasion when I go out.  I like make-up, jewelry and accessories, but I don’t tend to think of them as necessary for every day, even though I do view a well put together outfit as completely vital.
My poor hair gets the most attention since I love to try new things with it, but I seriously cannot stand to blow dry it or use heat products on it, especially when it is short, so I leave the house each morning with wet hair and hope for the best.  But lately, I have been committing an even worse fashion sin then letting the world see my wet stringy hair- I have not been adding tonner after I bleach it.  Yikes.  I think maybe I have a slightly off-mark gauge of what I can and cannot get away with, and I blame my loving husband for that.  It’s his fault, I swear, because he has made me believe that I look great no matter what.  However, no one looks “great” with bright yellow hair, no matter how you style it. 
My other worst fashion sins include: not caring enough about whether or not my bra strap shows (hey!  I always wear pretty bras at least!), leaving the house in rumpled clothes (I don’t even own an iron), and wearing the same pair of beat up teal shoes every single day no matter what I am wearing (I love them and they are so comfy!). 
Inspired to try harder, I still left for work this morning in a wrinkled dress and the offending teal shoes, but I also brought in my bag a pair of beautiful vintage heals to slip into once I got into the office.  It is the second day in a row that I have forced myself into heals, and I already feel my confidence rising! 
From this...
To this!  :)
Secondly, lucky me, I recently found a shampoo that actually has tonner in it!  I tried it for the first time today with awesome results.  Laziness has won, but I can still look great!  Yay!  Here are some photos of me at work today looking awesome with nicely toned hair color (so modest, I know). 

Also, I made this dress!  I still need to blog about it some day.  :)
The truth is I like wearing nice clothes, but I also like being unfussy with my looks and generally assuming that my confidence will help me pull off whatever choice I have made.  I don’t want to obsess about every single line in my dress any more than I want to agenize over the ones that appear on my face.  Still, there is a fine line between being relaxed and giving up on yourself, and I refuse to do that ever!  Like I always say, fashion is not important, it is for fun.  Period.  But isn’t it a tad more fun to like what you see in the mirror each day?  I think so.  It takes roughly the same amount of time to dress down as it does to dress up, so why not put in just that little extra effort to do the things that make you feel the best about yourself?  For me, that is never going to include foundation, but it may (occasionally) include foundation underwear.  I can’t make myself fret over a peek of bra, but underwear lines are not meant to be crossed. 
So what do you consider your worst fashion sins?  Which ones do you accept about yourself, and which ones do you aim to change? 
When it comes to fashion, remember to be brave and never ask for permission!  Your confidence is the most beautiful thing that you will wear today. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sewing Book Review

I have not been super happy with how my sewing projects have been coming out lately which has left me a little uninspired.  My French Wiggle Dress is beautiful, but the fit is just not quite right.  I also haven't been feeling well, which makes me feel less inclined to dress up and care about how I look.  So, I decided to focus on learning to sew a few less-fitted pieces that I can wear around the house rather than just for getting dressed up and going out.   I started with a 1930's jumper pattern that I put a lot of time into but it ended up being pretty disappointing in the end.  Maybe some day I will be inspired to get back to it again and try to make it a little more wearable, but for now it is going in a drawer until I am feeling the inspiration to work with it again.   

So, I decided to buy  the book Chic & Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes.  You can find the book on Amazon, and I'm sure many other places.   What appealed to me about this book was that it came with 20 easy looking patterns, all for pretty loose fitting dresses, tops, jackets and more.  Best of all, each project looked quick to make and had no zippers or button holes to sew!  My hope was that having some sewing success with easy to make tops and dresses I can wear lounging around the house might be just the boost I needed to get out of my sewing rut.  

I got this book last week, and although the patterns in it are lovely and easy to sew, I am not sure I would recommend this book to others for a few reasons.  First of all, the directions are pretty horrible and hard to understand.  If I had never sewn before, I think that this book might have confused me so much that I might have quit sewing after my first project.  But, if you are a pretty experienced sewer and you can figure out these patterns based on experience, this book is probably not for you because these patterns will not challenge you.  Also, there are almost no diagrams, which are what I find the most helpful.  

Lastly, it really bothered me that the patterns only came in three sizes: S, M, and L, and the largest size fit my measurements, meaning that anyone over a size 8 is too big for this book.  In fact, the largest hip size recommended for the Large pattern size was 39", and mine are 41".  Even I am technically too big for this book!  This cuts out a lot of beginner sewers who would have probably looked really great in these fashions as they don't seem to be designed with really tiny girls in mind in the first place.   

Still, I am excite to try several of the patterns out, even though I am a bit nervous that I will get lost in the construction stage.  A lot of the patterns are connected and variations of the same dress or top, but that doesn't bother me one bit as they are all pretty cute, and I don't mind sewing variations of the same dress over and over again (as you may have noticed with the Peony Dress, that I have featured here several times, and also made for three of my friends!).   

So, the first pattern I have attempted is the Baby Doll Top.  It is closed at the back of the neck with a snap (the book suggested using a hook & eye, but the snap looked better to me).  

I changed the pattern just a bit by making the sleeves extra puffy in an attempt to mimic 1940's style sleeves. The effect came out pretty great in my opinion.  :)  Actually, I like how this shirt turned out quite a lot.  

I am excited to try more patterns in this book, and even if this shirt is the only thing I can figure out how to make, I am still glad I bought it.  However, if you are new to sewing, I would still recommend The Colette Sewing Handbook, or really any pattern marked "Beginner" from their site.  The clothes are lovely  and the directions are easy to follow, PLUS they use great diagrams to show you each step of the sewing process.  Maybe I just got spoiled by using their patterns first, but it has been a challenge for me to find any patterns that I like even half as much.