Splurge or Steal: Makeup

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cosmetics are a multi BILLION dollar industry. You know why? Because it SO HARD to walk into a Sephora without dropping $100. Their dang salespeople are so convincing and like "Hey girlfriend lets hook you up!" And I am lulled into a trance wherein I purchase things I don't need like hydrating gel. I KNOW.

There's always going to be a battle between pricey makeup and drugstore brands. Which is best? Do you get what you paid for? Are you crazy for spending $30 on mascara?

The answer is: it depends. Makeup can make you feel AMAZING, so when you spend coin on facepaint, make sure you're spending it on stuff that will really make a difference. Note that this is different for everyone. I'll tell you what I spend money on when makeup shopping, and which stuff I slum.

Foundation - Spend. Foundation is a big deal to me. It all started when I was 17 years old and realized my pores were literally the size of dinner plates. Seriously. Put a chicken dinner in those things. I like the foundation gives me a smooth surface to work with while helping the rest of my makeup to stick. My problem? I have freakish coloring. Normal makeup makes me look like a Simpson. Since I have dark hair, makeup counter girls expect me to have golden skin. NO NO NO. I have pink skin. When I finally found a good match, I was hooked for life. So it's no biggie for me to use Bare Minerals -- $25 every three months or so is worth it to me not to look like I have jaundice.

2) Lipstick and gloss -- Mostly steal. Why? Because I am FICKLE. I buy lipsticks all the time that are soon left at the bottom of my dusty makeup bag. In general I prefer bright pinks, but I like red too. Gloss is basically the same no matter where you buy it, so I don't care if I buy a $1 or a $25 brand. It'll look the same. When it comes to lipstick though, you're going for WAY more pigments. The only time I say splurge is by going into a makeup counter and trying on various colors BEFORE you buy. Purchasing a $20 tube this way will save you money over buying 9 $5 tubes that you never use at the drugstore.

3) Eyeliner - STEAL STEAL STEAL! It's no secret that I love E.L.F.'s liquid eyeliner pens. Seriously, I have them in almost color. And they are $1. I love a cat eye, and I've been using liquid liner for years. It's by far the best I've ever tried, even when compared with pricier brands. It's just super foolproof to apply, which is a must because liquid liner can get messy.

Mascara - Spend. Now, this is MY personal preference. But I think mascara makes a ha-yuge difference in my appearance and I often wear only mascara, so it's important to me that I get the most bang for my buck. A couple weeks ago I splurged for Dior Blackout. I usually wear DiorShow but I thought what the heck? The stuff goes on like liquid vinyl and makes me look like I'm wearing false eyelashes all the time. Seriously, as long as a mascara gives me Minnie Mouse lashes, I'll pay anything.

Eyeshadow - Both. When it comes to eyeshadow I only splurge on colors I wear on a daily basis. My top three colors are reddish brown, plum and gray, so I tend to buy those in singular mineral pots. Anything else? Steal for sure. When am I really going to wear green eyeshadow? Like... never. So I buy it in a huge palette to get the most for my money for colors that I wear once in a blue moon.

Blush and Bronzer: I wear bronzer on an almost-daily basis. So you'd think that I would spend a ton of money on it. Honestly? I used Bare Minerals for a while and ran out, so I switched to something I got from the drugstore and really couldn't tell the difference for the money. So I'm a cheapie bronzer girl now. As for blush, I prefer cream over powder, which can be harder to find. My favorite is Victoria's Secret of all brands, because it comes it superbright colors and in a stick, which is like 500 times less messy than a pot.

Now, before you decide what you're going to spend and save on when it comes to makeup, think about your best features. You'll notice that I spend the most money on my eyes. That's because I enjoy them and want them to stand out. If you have really pretty lips, splurge on lip products. Super awesome cheekbones? Blow it on blush. Only spend money where you need to and the rest won't have to be a million dollar makeup job. Also, don't be afraid to invest in products and colors that you use on a daily basis. Often they last longer on the skin and they become staples in your makeup bag. Crazy colors and things you just want to "try?" Go cheap first... if you really end up loving it you can purchase a pricier version next time. If you realize you look crazy, it can then go guilt-free to the place where all scary cosmetics go:

My vanity drawer.

Before and After

Monday, March 28, 2011

I don't know if all of you realize, but Kelly, who does our Monday fitness posts, is actually my cousin. Both of us grew up without sister (she has one brother, I have four) so she's the closest thing I have to a sister. Despite our 10 year age difference, we're super close. She lives outside of Toronto, so I see her every few months, whenever I can fly up there. Anyway, our favorite thing to do when I'm at home is to go shopping. You see, Kelly is a personal trainer and she absolutely LIVES in workout clothes. I'm forever pestering her to wear other clothes and generally making fun of her. We make fun of each other a lot in my family. Her poor husband has to take a deep breath whenver I'm around because it means Kelly is going to be spending a lot of money. Before she went on a trip to Europe I took her out and could have fed a small third world country. Sorry Tom. Last time I was home, she had a party to go to and enlisted my help to get her a new pair of jeans that actually FIT her ridiculously tiny body and didn't, IN ANY WAY, look like yoga pants.


This is Kelly's before picture. Yes, we were creepy and took pictures in the fitting room. DEAL. This is how Kelly is dressed for work and usually when we hang out UNLESS it's a party or something. Granted, she totally needs to live in workout clothes because that's her job. I don't begrudge her. I do make fun of her, but I don't begrudge her. (Kelly, I can hear you cackling from here.)

Now, the thing about Kelly is she has a bangin' trainer's body but is always covered up in sweats. Her request was for a pair of jeans that actually fit. We tried a few stores and I convinced her that it was time to cough up some coin for a really good, staple pair.

We were looking for a few things: dark wash, misses sizing (this is not the time to squeeze into juniors jeans) and very little spandex in the denim. We found her a pair that she loved and was willing to spend the money on:

(Jeans and top, GAP. Cardigan, shoes and necklace, Costa Blanca)

After! Super cute, right? When I was dressing her, I wanted to keep some of her sportiness, which is why I kept her top basic but added a sequin cardigan. You never want to feel overdressed in your own clothes. Then we added a pair of heels and she was ready for her husband's work party (he's a firefighter.) We also tried the outfit with flats too, so we could make sure she could wear it on a daily basis as well.

When I was snapping pictures, I went back through to have Kelly look at the before and after side by side and she was like OH MY GOSH. Having a good pair of go-to jeans makes you look slimmer and more importantly, feel better. She still lives in yoga pants and Lululemon for work, but now she knows how easy it is to throw together a quick outfit for parties, hanging out with friends and going shopping with me. (Yes, that is a hint that you should wear your jeans when we hang out in a week... just saying.)

Anyway, Kelly works hard posting her fitness tips each Monday and I wanted to give her a day off while spotlighting easy changes that you can make to your daily wardrobe.
1) A good pair of jeans that FIT WELL.
2) Basic but well-cut tops that have interest. Hubby's tees need not apply.
3) A bit of jewelry.
4) An open mind. Kelly never balks at anything I put her on. She is one of my favorite people to dress because I've never heard her say "I can't pull that off" or "I don't know if I can." She just loads up the clothes and tries them on and looks pretty. YAY KELLY.

Then I get a Cinnabon and eat it while she nibbles the edges = why I'm not a personal trainer.

Anyone else want a makeover?

Freaky Friday: Handbags

Friday, March 25, 2011

Since we covered a little bit on purses this week, I thought it would be super fun to cover handbags for Freaky Friday. Honestly, I was not expecting to find that much. Handbags are usually pretty respectable right? Super wrong actually. There was a wealth of ugliness to be shared. Aren't you lucky? The best part about these bags is that they were all wildly expensive. Happy Birthday, hope you like crap!

Wait..... you're telling me this bag is MADE OUT OF A SOCCER BALL? You are joking.

Also, I'd like to point out that I found this one a site called "Stuff Lesbians Like" (There's one for the search terms!) Stereotypical much?

My best friend used to have this habit of turning touching moments sour by making it sound like she appreciated it by saying "Awww." Then she would turn it into a pretend vomit. Like "Hey, you look nice today." "AwwwwwwwwwwUGHHHH (finger stuck down throat).

I didn't even remember that she did this until I saw this Snoopy diaper bag. SERIOUSLY? Snoopy?

Story time! So my dad is the quietest, humblest, most well-behaved person that you'd ever meet. He worked for 30 years for GM and we never heard a peep about it. Just day in, day out he'd do what he had to do. You wouldn't even know he ever needed a break except when you'd hear him in our garage, working on his motorcycle and listening to an ancient "Magic Carpet Ride" cassette tape. I don't know why... but this purse reminds me of Steppenwolf. And my dad. I highly doubt that's why the designer was going for.


Uhmm... this purse has a shoe. Or this shoe has a purse? Deep.

Just in case you ever wanted to know how it would look to have a jellyfish dangling from your arm.

A bag that says "I'm not a woman.... I'm a mom."

What hurts me the most is that diaper bags are SUCH big money. Like you NEED a big, fugly bag to stash your diapers in. Embroidered with another baby? So obnoxious.

Ooh, it's an EDGY diaper bag. I'm not like other moms, I'm a COOL mom.

Have you ever heard that a pig in a tuxedo is still a pig? Just sayin'.

Just so you know... this purse is $52,000. I'm assuming because it has like, 10 designer bags sewn together like Frankenstein. What a lazy designer MARC JACOBS. "Hey Marc... we need you to design our flagship bag this year."
"Aw crap... can't we just use last year's bag? Wait a minute...."


Also... if you step on its toes... do you have to say "sorry?"

Ugh... now my mind is spinning with ugly bags. I think I'm going to go downstairs and talk to my handbag cupboard for a while. They will console me with leather and hardware and promises of shopping.

From My Closet: It's in the Bag

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I have a sick, sick obsession with handbags. I mean, it's not as bad as my sick, sick obsession with shoes, but it's up there. I have an entire set of cabinets in my laundry dedicated to my bags, which I dutifully hide from my husband. Because if and when he ever goes to that cabinet, I'm definitely going to be forced into a trip to Goodwill. I don't like that. I mean, I like charity... but I don't like parting with my stuff.

The funny thing is that I'm not one to switch bags according to outfits. I usually search out one bag per season and that's it. I will carry a clutch for events and I have a fancy schmancy designer bag that I'll take on the occassional date, but otherwise my bags are poor workhorses. I thought I'd show you my current bag and what I schlep around on a daily basis. Uncut and uncensored. OK FINE I took out the old receipts that have a tendency to collect in the bottom of my bag. But only because I don't want you to know how often I shop.

Alright, here's the dirty mess of my bag right now. Here's a rundown on what I carry and must have with me at all times or I develop tics.

The bag: Right now I'm carrying a dark blue Roxy bag. I initially bought it because it had only one strap and I hate double strap bags because one is always falling off your shoulder. I also loved the hardware. Now I'm kind of getting sick of the large black hole-ness of it. I'm in the market for a white bag. Any suggestions?

My wallet: I got it from PacSun I THINK. I went through a zipper phase last year and I loved it. Inside you'll find very little money, my green card (do you know that immigrants must carry their card at all times? I'm so ethnic) pictures of my fam and like a million punch cards for various businesses.

Tissues and wipes: Proof positive that I am a mother. An intolerant mother. There is nothing grosser than a dirty face on a child. I swear, even of a spot of ketchup on my kids' faces gives me the heebie jeebies.

My iPhone: That's the pink striped thingy up here. I had to get the most flamboyantly feminine cover to keep my husband away. I am in love with that stupid little gadget. I used to leave my old phone all over the place. This one is kept firmly at my side at all times. I play Words With Friends with my brother and it's bad.

Lightning McQueen: Yep, I have a son who is a psycho in stores. Lightning gets a good three minutes of quite time.

Sunglasses: I never leave the house without them. The sun is obnoxiously bright here and I love me some aviators. Plus they hide baggy eyes when I don't have time to do makeup. The ones here are Marc Jacobs. I had another pair but my lovely son snapped them in half. He's just an angel, isn't he?

CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain: Yeah these are like cracksticks. I think they are so cool. They go on like markers and while they don't stay forever, they do give my lips a pinky tone for a long time. The one I have is the darkest red possible. I like it because if I'm not wearing anything else, I can use it and look "done." Ideal for running into stupid ex-boyfriends and not being embarrassed.

Pen and Cheques (YES I SPELL THAT THE CANADIAN WAY): Please note that I never carry my own cheques, only my husband's. From his account. That's how I make guilt-free purchases. I paid for my last haircut that way. Mua ha ha.

Maybelline Pure Makeup: This is my emergency stash. It's a super, super sheer foundation that makes me look awake in a pinch. It's my insurance when I head out of the house makeupless or forget to pack my makeup when going away for the weekend.

Keys: I lose them on an almost daily basis.

I am actually really excited that my kids are getting older and I don't have to carry so much for them anymore. My son is old enough to even forgo the emergency diaper (although I know that's tempting fate.) So I get to carry my bare necessities without being bogged down with like, an extra pair of clothes, diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, the kitchen sink, etc.

Perhaps we do a bad diaper bag Freaky Friday? I like it!

Guest Post!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hey friends,

Check out my guest post over at What Would Angela Do. It has some tips on what things to look for when dressing for spring. It's totally stuff we've covered here, but there's also INTERVIEW QUESTIONS. Yay I love talking about me!

Happy Monday, folks.


Walk Your Way to Health

This past week was March break and we were fortunate enough to have a couple days of really great weather. When you get a couple of days of 15 and 16 degrees you can't help but get excited for the warmer weather. Now that spring is here officially it's easy to start thinking I want to get out and enjoy it.

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise there is. It is low impact so anyone can do it, it's easy, fun and can be done anywhere.

Benefits of Walking Just 30 Minutes a Day:

1) Natural Activity. It is a natural activity that we can all do, and with no special exercise equipment there really is no excuse not to do it.

2)It is the least expensive activity. It can be done anywhere, anytime.

3)Do it with a friend and form a lifetime of happy, healthy habits.

4)Strengthens the major muscles including core muscles which are very helpful for getting and maintaining good postural alignment.

5)Increases overall bone density.

6)Reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease, and helps to lower blood pressure.

7) Burns calories which is essential for weight loss and weight management.

8)Reduces stress.

9)Elevates Mood and energy levels.

Schedule your walks. Start with 10 minute walks and work your way up to 30 minutes. Make it a part of your every day routine. You will feel better, look better and be doing something healthy everyday. Even better, get your whole family involved and enjoy good health together:)

Committed to your fitness success,

Freaky Friday: More Etsy

Friday, March 18, 2011

I had so much fun last time I did a FF Etsy post I thought I'd do it again. Don't get me wrong. I love me some Etsy. I could spend hours browsing at the cute jewelry and headbands and whatnot. But venture into clothing and it's another story. There are a lot of basement designers and while some make gorgeous clothes... others make freaks of nature. Then we poke fun at them. YAY!

Introducing Arm Warmers! .... also known as sleeves.

I picture this as a really bad infomercial. "Are your arms freezing cold, yet your torso and shoulders are blazing hot? Sweaters can be a hassle."

Most depressing picture of a bum ever. The shorts say "I like to party," but the slouching says "Kill me now this is not what I signed up for when I went to modeling school."

Smile! You're homeless.

I saw this and immediately broke into Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Did I ever tell you that I was in my school's production of Joseph? Yeah, I was Potiphar's wife, the loosey lady that tries to get it on with the servant boy. I had high standards and even better acting chops, I tell you.

But it also comes in orange. It's subtler, I think. Also, these coats are like, $600. So start saving your pennies if you want to flounce around in one of these babies.

For when your arms are cold, and your CHEST is cold, but your upper arms are just right.

I've sat here looking at this dress, trying to figure out what I'm looking at. I'm afraid it's a uterus and a brain OR a sad plant. You be the judge.

I love that even the model is like WTH? This thing was clearly patched out of every green sweater that I had as a child.

Hey! I have one of these too! It's called a Snuggie.

This dress was listed as "goblin style." That's funny, I must have missed that episode of "Say Yes to the Dress."

"How would you like to look on your wedding day?"
"Um, like a creature from the underworld."


I will say that I found some swoonworthy clothes on Etsy too. Let's just say it was a bad Freaky Friday for my credit card.

Spring Trends and How to Wear 'Em 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yes, it's that time again! Time to sift through the year's spring trends, get rid of the terrifying ones (sack dresses? sheer shirts? Um, no thanks) and find out what is actually wearable in real life. Remember my usual disclaimer: just because I post about these clothes here doesn't mean you should run out and buy anything trendy, ever. Take the general ideas with you when you shop and invest in a few pieces that make your staple wardrobe look new. I already have my eye on a few items. Let's get to it!

Long Skirts


Remember how all last year it was all about the maxi dress? Well, you're in luck, because maxi dresses have come back with the warm weather. My husband breathes a deep sigh of relief, since I spent a lot of money on maxi dresses last year. But along with maxi dresses comes longer skirts and I am super psyched out of my mind about them. The trick to wearing longer skirts is to avoid looking like Laura Ingalls and wearing a more streamlined, modern top. The other day I wore my long white tiered skirt with a fitted tee and a little track jacket and it was just the right amount of modern to offset the length of the skirt. Don't be afraid to show a little skin! The best part about long skirts is that they are uber comfy. Look for flowy, stretchy material that you can move around in. Also, check your car door before you leave like, two feet of skirt flapping around as you drive. I did that last year.

Blue Shoes


If you want to spend money on a pair of shoes that will look new and trendy, definitely go with blue. I think you'll see it a lot this spring. The trick with wearing blue shoes is to do it with nudes. The pop of color looks fresher with beige than it does black. My cute friend was wearing an outfit almost exactly like this one the other day and I died. Then I came back to life. It was fun. Also, I don;t mind a little blue in the accessories as long as they aren't the exact same shade of blue. So fun and pretty!



YAYAYAYAYAY I love wedges so very much. I have plans to wear my fave python wedges tonight and I shouldn't be so excited, but I am anyway. I am just glad that the comfy alternative to the heel is back. I can still add three inches to my freakishly small stature without being uncomfortable. (Have I ever told you that I have four brothers and they are all gargantuanly tall, yet my parents are small? I thank my lucky stars every day that I got the small genes. Because then I get to wear five inch heels!) ANYWAY, we already talked about flared jeans and trousers, so definitely pair your wedges up with them for a vintage look that is super now. OMG I'm talking like a Cosmo editor, shoot me.

Graphic Prints


OK, so with the whole 70s revival thing happening, bright prints look fresh and spring-y and I love them so much. Look for floral numbers, or cute butterflies like this one here. Doesn't it just make you smile? It's a pretty brilliant way to wear your winter boots for a few more months, especially if you just snagged some on sale. Super cute with gray riding boots and you can be brighter and bolder with your accessories. A thin silver chain will be absolutely SWALLOWED by this outfit. Orange beads layered with a red watch? I think so!

Preppity Prep


As a total side note, have any of you ever read the book "Prep" by Curtis Sittenfeld? It's pretty much my second fave book of all time. Just don't read it in book club... it's super offensive on like 90 levels. But it's so addictive. Maybe my love for the book explains my love for the style. I just love dressing like my name is Bitsy and I play tennis at the club. When picking preppy pieces, look for boat shoes, drawstrings, polka dots and stripes. Anchor a bold outfit like this with neutral shoes, so it doesn't look SO all American. Pair it with unfussy hair and you're ready for the next benefit at the Stockington-Fairchild's estate.

So what's the verdict? Doable? I know keeping up with trends can be overwhelming, but the trick is to add pieces to your existing style. Don't be a trend whore. For instance, I'm in the market for more graphic floral prints that I can wear with my signature skinny jeans and brown boots. It's still Jae, just springier.

I swear, if it snows again I'll light the weatherman on fire. I am SO ready for warm days and baring a little more skin. I am SO white you guys. Bronzer can only go so far.

***And on a completely serious note, please click here to donate to the Red Cross for relief for the Pacific Tsunami. Every little bit will help to send aid to Japan, where thousands of displaced families are in need. Thanks, guys! ***

Pain Management 101

Monday, March 14, 2011

Did you know that at least 45% of all Americans seek professional advice for persistent pain due to an injury or other physical problems at some time in their lives? Studies have shown that more than 150 million workdays are lost annually due to pain and pain relief medication is a multi- billion dollar industry.

I know I have mentioned in earlier posts that I am currently training for a 30 km Around The Bay race. Not three weeks into my training I started feeling massive pain in my foot. Of course I felt it in a lesser degree before hand but my mind said "work through it"..not advice I would give.

What is pain?

It is your bodies way of protecting itself. Something is wrong and your body is trying to cope with it. I ignored my pain, and if I dealt with it right away, it probably wouldn't have gotten to this state and maybe even be healed by now.

Knowing my own clients, I know that many of them live in mild to moderate pain on a daily basis. Some I can relate to, some I can't. I can't say I've chronic back pain, but I've suffered my fair share of sprains, strains and torn ligaments.

Here are some facts about pain to keep in min as you participate in your physical activities:
1) Bone mass decreases up to 30% for females and 15% for males by age 60.
2)90% of all injuries involve slow and wear and tear, strains, sprains or inflammation.
3) 8 of 10 adults suffer low back pain at some time in their lives.
4) By 60 years old many can expect a 25-30% increase in body fat.
5) By age 40 or 50, many will have cartilage damage caused by wear and tear, and injury.
6) A decrease in muscle mass, less mobility in the joints and lower cardiovascular efficiency is common as the body ages
7) All of these factors lead to a loss of body balance and flexibility. This affects the ability to perform daily functional tasks, including workouts.
(source: American Council on Exercise Oct./Nov. 2001)

The best advice I can give is not to wait til it gets so bad you can't stand it. I did that with my plantar fascitis. I ended up getting orthotics and I'm definitely on the road to recovering.

Committed to fitness success,
Kelly Parker

Freaky Friday: The Clothing Equipment for a Lullabye

Friday, March 11, 2011

Since Wednesday's post is all about conservative clothes, I searched high and low of yawnworthy stuff. I'm not gonna lie, you should probably read this post in bed after you've taken a Tylenol PM because you are going to crash. This is how NOT to dress conservatively.

Just when you thing UGGS can't get any worse, they totally do. With rubber.

The other day I used Clarks shoes for inspiration but this goes to show that not all Clarks are fashion forward. These shoes look like they should be named "Agnes" and be filled with orthopedic gel insoles.

I can't wait for summer, because YOU KNOW we're going to have another debate on the wearbility of capris.

Go ahead... try and tell me they are flattering. Please. Especially when worn with bandage shoes and embroidered flowers. I dare you.

WHY are they still making these dresses? I totally had one in 1992. I was cross eyed. It wasn't pretty.

OMG does this not remind you of Paula Deen? I don't even care about her cooking, something about her nasal voice makes me want to crawl into a woodchipper.

If you want a really good laugh at Paula Deen's expense, check out this website: Paula Deen Riding Things. It is hilarious, y'all!

What's worse than wearing Americana? Wearing Americana WITH A BEAR. How old are you? I just... I just don't even know anymore.

From the decidedly not sexy librarian fantasy. I like my librarians old and smelling like overpowering dusty perfume. OW OW!

Seafoam green denim with nude boots? SIGN ME UP.

I thought this $200 sweater....scarf.....jacket thigy was pretty conservative. Until I saw the tights. OH THE TIGHTS.

Emo guy thinks you just don't understand.

Well, I'm off to go snowmobiling at our cabin for the weekend. So my weekend wardrobe will consist of yoga pants, old sweaters, boots and my pink helmet. Gotta love spending two days smelling like exhaust. It's my dirty little tomboy secret. Hopefully you're dressing better than I am!

Dressing Conservatively -- Not Yawnworthy

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I understand that not every mom stays at home with her kids. It makes some people crazy. I know that if I didn't work while I was at home, I would lose my sanity and lie on the floor, eating Playdoh and singing Raffi songs psychotically all day. I'm not saying that's what you do. That's just what I would do. I love keeping my connection to my old, professional self. So I get working moms. Whether you do it because you have to or you do it because you want to, you're already a step ahead of me because you actually get to shower every morning. AMAZING.

I have had a bevy of weird jobs that all required certain dress codes. My first "real" job was with one of my best friends in high school (Hi Katie!) She and I decided that we would split the job of a receptionist at a home improvement company. My job consisted of answering phones, talking to my boyfriend on Yahoo Chat and gossiping with Katie from 4 to 8 every night. The dress code was whatever I happened to wear at school that day. It was the best job ever. About a year later and once I'd graduated, I was hired by a recording studio and media company as an administrative assistant. I was the only female in the office, which meant I was able to push the dress code a little. Seriously, once I came to work in a velour sweatsuit. And it was totally fine. My next job was as an office manager at a home company where my husband worked. I finally had to start dressing a little more conservatively because I spent a lot of time with clients. My last out-of-the-house job was in a real estate office, where I had to dress very conservatively... for me. I actually didn't mind it because I got to play dress up a lot and act very important. When I finally decided to ditch the office and work from home in 2006, I had amassed a MASSIVE conservative wardrobe that I still can't bring myself to get rid of. But WHEN will I ever wear pinstripe pants again? WHEN!?

As much as I love dressing in trendy outfits and piling on accessories and wearing sky high heels, if you're working in a corporate environment, you're probably not going to have the same benefit. One reader emailed me with this very question. How do you dress conservatively without looking like a total yawnfest?

This advice doesn't have to be just for working moms. Anytime you're invited to an event with a business casual dress code, this applies. Which is why I keep my pinstripe pants. I wonder if they still fit.

I'll be right back.

THEY DO!!! I shall wear them forever.

Using color on a daily basis, layering for interest and using trends without being "trendy" will serve you well at work. You'll also notice that all of the shoes are the same brand. That's because I wanted shoes that would be super comfy for work, yet still cute. Also... they're closed toes. Always closed toes until your office permits open-toe. If you're not sure how far you can push the boundary, take a cue from your supervisors.


First, trouser pants are totally exciting right now with the whole 70s revival things that we talked about. When you pair them a neat blazer, the effect is like a suit without being so manly and businesswear-ish. You can also make the total effect more girly by adding pretty jewelry. I also like a big, structured bag for work, especially if you're schlepping work home.


You can totally wear a skirt at a conservative workplace, so long as it reaches the knees, please. Unless you work at like, the offices at Vogue ala The Devil Wears Prada. But you probably don;t. If you do, I'd like a job as well. But that's besides the point. Keep the look neat by tucking in your top. Wear the shirt higher on your waist for a more vintage, Mad Men look. It's totally fine to wear a flirty, non-matchy heel, especially if they are comfortable.


Dresses can be your best friend at the office. I know they were mine. They are versatile and easy in the morning... hello! One piece. Also, adding a belt can help a dress look less cocktail and more business. You can also up the ante by wearing boots instead of heels, just look for ones that have a bit of a heel and aren't all sloppy and slouchy. I'm very into shorter boots lately, which look super current. But knee highs are still awesome too.

See? Easy principles. Even if your evil corporate job dictates what you can wear, they can't tell you how to dress. And THEY'LL NEVER TAKE OUR FREEDOM! Sorry, I used to watch a lot of Braveheart with my brothers. If you dress super conservatively, try introducing things slowly. A pair of heels one day, a bit of color the next. Soon you'll be the stylish girl at the office and people will be offering you promotions and whatnot. Trust me.

Brilliant Idea Time!

Monday, March 7, 2011

My gawgeous friend Charity is the best at find stuff at thrift stores and garage sales and making them look beautiful. I am so jealous because I am the least crafty person on the planet. I just can't do it. I know my limits.

Anyhow, today she posted this awesome idea for a jewelry tray and I MUST STEAL IT. My jewelry is always in a forlorn little heap and come accessorizing time I'm left yanking things apart. Also, my jewelry box has a magnetic closure and my necklaces are always getting stuck. Charity's idea is a heck of a lot prettier and more functional. Wish I'd thought of it first!

Thank me later.

You're awesome, Charity!

PS I covet your Audrey print.

Get Sexy, Shapely Shoulders: 3 Simple Moves

Years ago when I started working out seriously, I noticed how quickly I saw changes in my shoulders. It was awesome. One of the reasons for this is as women we tend to have more fat in our hips,butt and thighs, so when you begin workout out muscles like your shoulders which have less fat, you tend to see some pretty great results fairly quickly.

Nice shapely shoulders also help to make hips, glutes and thighs appear smaller. As you increase your muscle in the deltoids or shoulders you help to balance the lower body.

When you work your shoulders, you will quickly see that you do not need to use a lot of weight before you start feeling "the burn". As you perform the following exercises focus on your speed. When lifting the weight do it in a one count, as you lower the weight, focus on a slow, controlled movement that is a good two to three counts.

1. Barbell or Dumbbell clean and press:
(OK, this is actually me doing an overhead press, ok, so it's a little bit simplistic but you get the idea)

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and pull your belly button in towards your spine. As the weight hangs in front of you, inhale and exhale as you lift the weight up to your shoulders. Then press the bar or weight overhead straightening the arms but not actually locking the arms. Be careful not to arch your back. Bring the bar or weights back down to your chest and then lower to starting position.

2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press:
You can sit or stand for this exercise. Start with a weight in each hand, your palms are facing forward. You want to press your hands up above your head. Return your arms to start position. Be sure to exhale as you push your hands up.

Bentover Rear Delt Dumbbell Row:

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Lean forward from your hips until your back is parallel with the floor. Be sure to not let your back round. You want to stick your chest out and keep your back flat. Hold the weights in each hand and let your arms hang in front of your body slightly. As you exhale, pull the weights up until your arms form 90 degree angles. Squeeze your rear delts together and return to the start position.

Working your shoulders can be very rewarding. You will get great looking delts in a relatively short period of time.

Committed to your fitness success,
Kelly Parker


Powered by Blogger.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blog contents © How Not to Dress Like A Mom 2010. Blogger Theme by Nymphont.