Glammy Gifts on the Cheap

Thursday, December 17, 2009

With Christmas being a lot tighter this year for most people, you might not have as much cash as you want to spend on your friends and fam. Plus, you've always got those random people that you can never figure out what to buy for... your mom, sis, best friend, whatever.

Likewise, if your husband sucks as bad as mine does when it comes to buying Christmas presents (they are always good, but he is totally one of those sad guys running around at 11pm on Christmas Eve), giving him a few ideas of things you'd like can give him a hand so that you can actually spend Christmas Eve TOGETHER.

So, with that in mind, I think some good suggestion for cheap gift ideas are in order. I'd tell you to look in your latest Cosmo for ideas, but don't you hate when they are like hey! It's a steal! And it's really like, $150? SO DEPRESSING.

But, you CAN find some glam gifts for your friends, or to give to your husband to give to you and act surprised for under $20. Observe!

Arden B. Bib style necklace - $18

So I love a flower brooch, sue me. Anthropologie - $18

Hooray for crazy cool tights! F21 - $5

Perfect sparkly topper: Styles For Less: $15. I might be buying this because I love it so deeply.

Who wouldn't want an awesome red snakeskin clutch? Seriously! F21 - $15

I am obsessed with vintage-looking hair clips right now. This one is cute without being crazy and weird. Wet Seal - $4

Take that, chilly night! I shall be warm AND look stylish. Booyah. Delias - $20

Awesome. Ring. Miss Selfridge: $16

These shoes rock my world. Might not be the best for winter, but who wouldn't love to open SHOES on Christmas morning? Especially sequined ZEBRA shoes. F21 - $11

These earrings look rich, but don't break your poor little Christmas bank account. American Eagle - $12

So repeat after me. Gifts do not have to be expensive to be fashionable. And fashionable items are the gifts that keep on giving. Because first, you give them and feel good. Then the recipient gets them and is happy. Then she wears them, and the world is a more beautiful place. Soon enough, peace on earth. See how that happens?

OMG I think I just solved all of the world's problems! Moral of the story? Fancy cheap gifts = world peace. Hooray!

Ask Jae: Pencil Skirts

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I got an e-mail this week from Joy, who had bought a few pencil skirts (which were ADORABLE by the way) and wanted some outfit ideas.

Let me say that I LOVE pencil skirts. To a ridiculous degree. I think they make anyone's body look pretty insane, and we've talked quite a bit about my love for form-fitting, feminine 40s and 50s fashion. Pencil skirts are so awesomely versatile, and one good pencil skirt can see a lot of use.

Can we also talk about the fit of a pencil skirt? Remember that a pencil skirt is cut slim throughout and is meant to sit above your natural waistline, usually just above the belly button. That might seem weird if you're more used to low slung skirts, but that is the beauty of the pencil skirt.

For Joy, here are some outfit ideas for different circumstances. I want to buy them all. The skirt that I am using for reference is a stacked pencil skirt from Arden B.

For a party:

I love the idea of this blous-y (I hate the word blouse) top with a lacy bolero over top. It's so girly and festive with the bow. The top is from Arden B. as well, and the shrug is from Oasis.

YAY Pencil skirt!

Awesome shoes from Go Jane to brighten up the whole outfit.

And some super girly earrings from Nordstrom. Love these.

All together, you have a hot party or date night look with a serious pencil skirt as the anchor.

For church or semi-casual wedding.

Red satin will always look good with a pencil skirt. I feel like it's noticeable without being too ostentatious. This one is from Debenhams, a great little British shop that ships over the pond. My little brother lived in Manchester for two years, so I am prone to loving British fashion. Don't be afraid to pit a looser top with a slim pencil skirt. The proportions are just right. The only thing you need to worry about really is shirt length. I like to keep shirts on the shorter size with a pencil skirt; it emphasizes a nice, lean and long leg.

Here she is again, the same pencil skirt in a completely different outfit.

These shoes from F21 own my heart with their cuteness. My sister in law has them in red and they are so adorable in person.

And a simple layered necklace, and you are allll set! This one is from Miss Selfridge.

For work:

Pencil skirts are so work appropriate because of their length, but you need to dress them down a little to taper off the va-voom Jessica Rabbit factor.

Try doing it with a fitted cardigan. Love the color on this F21 one.

And a ruched shirt that can be tucked in and will hide any little flaws. This one could also be belted. A little gray belt would be awesome. This one is from Charlotte Russe.

Why, hello pencil skirt! Nice to see you again!

K, so your shoes can be a little naughty secretary, but that's it! ModCloth.

And pin on a little flower for a low key accessory, and you've pretty much got it.

If you don't have a pencil skirt, get one!! I love scouring for all sorts of designers. Just head over there and type in what you're looking for. Buy one for sure. No matter what size you are, I love the way they lock and load you and make your curves look kickin'.

Maternity Monday: It's all in the face.

Monday, December 7, 2009

In high school, I had perfect skin. We're talking maybe one small zit every few months. I didn't own concealer because I had nothing to conceal. It was awesome.

Then, I got pregnant. And my pores obviously hated me for it, because they exploded into raging, red pustules.

You know, acne is one of the great ironies of pregnancy. The fact you are "with child" should mean you've finally reached full-blown womanhood, yet your face looks like you're enduring the throes of puberty. Frustrating as all get-out, if you ask me.

Add the teenage pizza face phenomenon to the dark circles you've now got under your eyes from getting up nine times a night to pee, wrinkles from worrying, and a host of other skin problems that may have crept up on you (ruddiness, dryness, blackheads): it's pretty much a fool-proof recipe for low self-esteem. Which is the last thing you need as a pregnant woman.

So, what do you do about your complexion issues? Here are some tips that will help you achieve that elusive "maternal glow" everyone is always talking about (which I am convinced doesn't really exist without effort):

1) Start with good hygiene. You need to cleanse your face regularly to remove oil, dirt and build-up. Look for a cleanser that's non-drying and non-irritating. I use Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser and I really love it. It contains natural ingredients and it's soap-free, oil-free, hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic (which means it won't irritate acne). Plus it smells great.

Also, avoid anything with scrubbing beads in it. You should exfoliate once in a while (perhaps weekly), but every time you wash your face is too often. It's going to cause more irritation and dryness than you had before. Your daily cleanser should be smooth and gentle.

For dryness, use a non-irritating moisturizer. If your face is super-dry and flaky, you'll want to use a heavier moisturizer. Otherwise, find something a little lighter. I use Lancome Primordiale Optimum, which even has SPF 15. So that's awesome, too. Some people swear by Mary Kay or Neutrogena.

If your acne is severe, you probably need to use a medicated face wash or ointment. Talk to a dermatologist about what is best. You don't have to suffer through pizza face just because you're pregnant.

2) Use concealer. Most of us grown women have wrinkles, bags under our eyes or ruddy areas on our faces. And that's OK. A good concealer can take care of them. It's amazing how a little concealer under your eyes will wake you right up. Like Botox, without the needle and weird paralysis. I also use concealer around my nose because I tend to get a little red there.

This article has a lot of good tips about using concealer.

Be careful not to use it on your blemishes, though. I know it's tempting to hide them, but they aren't going to get better if you cake them with make-up. Be patient while they heal.

3) Mascara is a must. Unless you have naturally dark, full lashes (lucky), you ought to use mascara. If applied correctly, it will enhance your beautiful eyes, making you look and feel amazing. I happen to own both waterproof and regular mascara. I use the waterproof one if I know I am going to be out and about all day, but I use regular mascara if I'm only going out in the evening. That way, I don't have to spend a ton of time and effort removing mascara I only wore for a few hours, since regular mascara is a lot easier than waterproof to take off.

4. Lip gloss. I know Jae loves a good lip gloss, and I do, too. Lip gloss is your secret weapon to looking hot even when you feel horrible. I heart Lancome's Juicy Tubes because they are super-shiny, stay on all day and come in a variety of fun colors. I have a more neutral one from Smashbox that I like as well. Neutrogena has some good ones that double as lip moisturizers, too. You don't have to spend a ton on lip gloss and you'll still reap the benefits of it. Pucker up!

5. Put some color into it! If your face seems pale and lifeless, liven it up with a little pink blush on the apples of your cheeks. Not too much, though, or you might look like an overdone news anchor. And trust me, I've seen my share of overdone news anchors (male and female alike).

Bronzer is fabulous if you want a more sun-kissed look -- just be careful not to apply too much or you'll look like a freaky victim of tanorexia. You're going for subtle glow, not radioactive.

So, that's it! Try these simple tips and see if you don't feel better about yourself. I guarantee you'll feel more confident.

Oh, also ... if you think there's no way you can do any of this make-up stuff on your own, find a friend or family member whose make-up looks great and ask them to help you. I am sure they'd be more than happy to! Or, if you're more of the anonymous type, head to the cosmetic section of your favorite department store. Most will do free make-overs and they'll show you how to achieve good results when you're applying your own make-up.

Freaky Friday: Top Ten Reasons for Clearance Bins

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hey, I love a good deal as much as the next girl. See my Black Friday post for how insane I get for sales. But some things are on sale for a reason. Not because it is the seasons, just because they are horrific and no one will ever buy them. Well, hopefully no one will ever buy them.

In honor of my recent foray into shopping and sales, I give you the Top Ten Reasons for Clearance Bins, all items I found in the clearance section on websites that shall remain unnamed.

1) They make you look like a character from the Wizard of Oz.

2) They look like a horrible science experiment gone wrong. WHY?

3) It makes you look like you have a weirdly hairy chest.

4) It makes you look like your neck got hungry and decided to eat the rest of your shirt as a quick and healthy snack.

5) They. Are. Horrifying.
(Blank stare)

6) It makes you look like you were mauled by an urban leopard. (And really, is the beret necessary?)

7) It is positively guaranteed to make you look pregnant.

8) It makes you look like a server for TGI Fridays. Yeah, don't look so smug homegirl. You're going to be fired for not having any flair.

9) It looks like it was constructed out of your child's K'NEX kit.

10) It ruins my life and goes against everything I stand for. $6 MOM JEANS. Have I taught the world NOTHING? Going to jump off of a building immediately.

So, find sales. Good ones. But when you find an item on clearance, take a moment to ponder WHY it might be on clearance. It might be a fashion pariah that will make you look crazy.

Black Friday Spoils

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hey guys! I'm back from the shopping abyss that is the Black Friday weekend. On the actual Friday, I usually stick to buying stuff for my family only, because it makes me feel greedy to go out at 4 am to buy things for myself. But on Saturday, it's my husband's family's tradition to go shopping in Salt Lake sans children, and so all bets were off. Turns out, when you don't have kids with you, you can try on ever so much clothing and subsequently buy it all. We went to a few department stores, and then hit the mall with the giant, double decker Forever 21 and I was in LOVE!

Anyways, as promised, here are some of the things I picked up!

I bought this tunic in red to wear with skinny jeans and flats. I was thinking it would be a good choice for a casual holiday party or just shopping around. It's so soft!

This shirt breaks my horizontal stripe rule, but it fits like a glove and I have a weakness for boat necks. So I bought it anyway and plan on wearing it today to bring my baby to the doctor's office. It's an errand running shirt! Sadly, I only bought two things from the giant F21. It was the first store in the mall we went to and I felt like I had to pace myself.

I lo-hove this vintage leather jacket from Sears. The frills complete my life and the tie makes my waist look teensy. Can you imagine this with some dark jeans and a pointy heel? Perfect. It will officially be my date night jacket. Especially because I own two other leather jackets that are similar. I didn't want this to fit because I knew I would buy it if it did. Alas, it was just my size.

Got this cuteness to wear with a pencil skirt. The shape is awesome and totally flattering. I am all about faking a perfect body with well cut clothes. I also found this at Sears, alons with the world's ugliest sock monkey for my baby. I'm so excited!!

Bought this one at Kohls to wear with my jeans and cowboy boots. I love me a banded shirt. See the thick band at the bottom? It brings the shirt in tight so that the rest of the shirt totally camouflages everything. Plus, the random pattern is good too.

My sister in law and I agreed that this shirt was "weird" but that I had to wear it anyway. I wore it with boot cut jeans and flats while we made Christmas stockings, and it was just right for casual wear; cute but flowy and comfortable.

I made the people at Charlotte Russe strip this cardigan off the mannequin I loved it so much. It's sparkly! And has a rose pin! And is red!! Already declared it my official formal holiday party sweater. I wore it already, unbuttoned with the shirt below and a gray pencil skirt. I was in love.

Most flattering shirt OF LIFE. Also from Charlotte Russe, check out the paneling. It totally fakes it like your body is within the tiny stripe of flat fabric inside the ruching. And if it matters at all, this was my husband's favorite item. Which is saying a lot, because when I came home with all of those shopping bags I may have had to restart his heart.

I also picked up a few basic items, a few tanks, an argyle sweater (ARGYLE!!) and some well fitting tees. All in all I am very happy with myself.

Did anyone else brave the crowds for their own selfish pleasure and get some good stuff?


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