30 April 2011

Hot, Hot Polka Dots

They're not just for children and itsy bitsy, teeny weeny yellow bikinis, polka dots can be hot! I have a special love for polka dots and have several bespotted items in my wardrobe. Dotted items can add a sweet touch to an outfit via accessories or be unexpectedly sexy and daring, all while giving a little bit of ladylike demureness at the same time!

If you're not a big print fan, you can try polka dots in small doses, like through the use of  hair accessories. Try a printed fabric headband on smooth tresses or tousled updos.

Alicia Keys / Jennifer Lopez

Sarah Jessica Parker

When accessorizing your hair, keep ponytails pulled low and off center, secured behind the ear at the base of the hairline which will allow the weight of the ponytail to fall on your shoulder. Then cover the ponytail holder with the loosely tied scarf.  

Lauren Conrad / LaLa Vasquez - Anthony / Jane Krakowski / America Ferrera
See more after the jump...

27 April 2011

DD's Style File - Dinner and a Movie

This will be my first post for DD's Style File, which will ultimately hold a compilation of my personal outfits that I hope you might use as inspiration for mixing up your own wardrobe.

Today's Style File entry is from my Saturday dinner and a movie date (with a little shopping in between!). I wanted to be casual enough to be comfortable in the chilly theater, but still be cute for dinner. I have to admit that I already wear jeggings on a regular basis, so I suppose that it was only natural to progress to skinny cargos as well (Lycra is my friend).

I felt that the olive tone of the pants, chain on my hip and boots gave a little edge, while the gold accessories and pale blue beads on the necklace softened it up a bit.

Cream kimono knit top - Moda International
Olive cargo skinny - Express
Whiskey utility stiletto boot - INC
Layered gold stone necklace - unknown
Oversized gold earrings - TJ Maxx
Gold dome ring - Express
Hip chain - unknown, taken from another pair of jeans
The weather was nice on Saturday, but as it cooled off I topped off my outfit with a great faux leather jacket that I picked up from Express last year:

Faux Leather Quilted Shoulder Jacket
(funny, she has my pants on too!)

26 April 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name...

William Shakespeare once said, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," and with keeping that in mind, I'd like to let all of you regular visitors know that I'm not trying to pull a fast one on you!

You may have noticed that I recently updated the name of the site and all references were changed to my new moniker, "The Dazzling Diva!" This was just to prevent any infringement on any trademarks on the previous name.

The website address and URL information have not changed, so all links will still work the same. If you've become a regular visitor, THANK YOU, I hope DD will become a favorite and if you're new to my blog, WELCOME, and please come back to visit again!

25 April 2011

A Nude Attitude

A spring trend that will give you great versatility for your wardrobe and because you'll get many uses out of it, a great return investment too, is the nude shoe. High heeled shoes in general make legs appear lengthened, but nude shoes take that illusion up a notch, making legs seem longer, leaner and leggier.

You have a lot of styling freedom with this one, as there is no general style rule when it comes to wearing a nude shoe. However, it is recommended that your pair them with dresses, skirts and shorts to best reap the benefits they provide. As far as color pairings are concerned, consider nude shoes as you would your basic black pump that can go with nearly everything, yet nude provides your outfit with a softer appeal without the boldness of black.

Check out a few celebs working the nude trend:

Amber Riley / Kerry Washington / Nia Long

Jennifer Hudson / Vanessa Williams / America Ferrera

Rutina Wesley / Tatyana Ali
Nude shoe options for you after the break...

19 April 2011

Revlon Crazy Shine!

Revlon recently introduced a new nail buffer that is supposed to give you, "Crazy Shine." Revlon touts it as a "10 second manicure" which takes only two steps, smoothing out the nail surface with the green side and using the white side to buff it to a glossy shine, that is "400% more than bare nails, with results that last for 3 days."

So, for all you divas who are short on time and wear natural nails (like me), this is for you!

I picked up two at Walgreen's for about $3.50 each, so I'm giving you my unbiased opinion. I took a little longer than ten seconds, but I agree that if you're just doing a "refresher" buff to reenergize the shine then it should take only a few seconds on each nail. I certainly think that it gave my nails a glossier shine almost like I was wearing a clear topcoat.  You can also use the white side to revive the luster on your nail polish, though I have not done this yet because I haven't given myself a painted manicure in a while. I'm not sure how long the buffer lasts, which is why I bought two, but I definitely would buy it again. After filing to shape my nails, then using the Crazy Shine buffer and adding a quick dab of cuticle oil, my nails looked well kept and more presentable. And it's something you can use to keep you hands looking nice until your next manicure appointment. It's also convenient, so you can do your nails while on the go, like during your subway commute to work, without worrying about juggling nail polish.

Another great thing is that as the shine wears off, you don't end up with chippy nails that look unkept, the shine just eventually reverts back to natural.

Check it out!

18 April 2011

Casual Friday

Okay...so, it's no big secret that I'm no fan of the early part of the work week. Actually, when you get right down to it, my favorite day of those five days is...Friday! (but you couldn't have known that, huh...). In celebration of my favorite day, I'm going to chat a bit about casual Fridays. A lot of workplaces give their employees the freedom to dress down a bit on Friday and throw on a pair of jeans, but some people take that freedom just a tad too far.

Now, I'm not talking to all you divas out there, but nonetheless it needs to be said:

Ladies, casual Friday's no way implies that you should dress like Beachy Saturday or Lazy Day Sunday. Unless you work for an employer in the creative industry that allows a lot more leniency, like mini skirts, the rest of us must abide by a few rules:

1. No rips or tears in jeans
2. No specialty wash, i.e. acid
3. No butt crack jeans
4. No worn out, over worn, shredded hems
5. No denim tuxedo, i.e. denim on denim
6. No words, or extreme bedazzles or sparkles should be emblazoned on your behind
7. No jeggings, i.e. leggings made from denim or denim-like material

Wearing jeans provides the opportunity to show your style in a more comfortable way than business casual or corporate attire allows. Start off by picking the right jean for your body type and making sure they are the proper length for the shoe you plan to wear (for reminders click here). Light washed denim has definitely made a reemergence and can look great with the proper styling, however I am a huge supporter of the dark denim wash jean. Not so dark that it's black, but a nice indigo blue will do. It can make you look fresh, pulled together, and even dressed up when paired with the right items.

When wearing jeans you can go either more casual, yet still office appropriate, or more dressed up, so that you still feel professional simply by altering the style and height of shoe and clothing pieces like cardigans and blazers. Along with the few rules I listed above there are some others that go hand in hand, like no flip flops and/or sneakers, no T-shirts (unless used for layering) and no sweatshirts and/or hoodies.

For those of you not lucky enough to work for an employer that allows jeans, all hope may not be lost. It's possible to find a chambray pant that could provide a jean-like option for you. It is typically a woven fabric in a lighter weight than jeans that is offered in denim-esque shades, from light to dark. I recommend the deeper to darker blue tones. I personally own several items made from chambray from button up shirts, to dresses and a couple pairs of slacks. When it comes to the pants, what I find to be best about chambray is that it isn't restricted to Fridays only! Because of the material being more like a slack, depending upon the style of pants, I can wear them to work for other days of the week as well.

A couple recommendations:

Read more about them: http://surpriseitscotton.thefabricofourlives.com/

My personal favorite:

Express Denim Columnist Pant

Casual Friday ideas:

DD's Hot Spots to Shop!

It's sale time, ladies! And here are a few online sales I think are definitely worth checking out!

NY & Company:

30% off ALL Dresses
All Tops and Sweaters, Buy 1, Get 1 50% off

Add on Free Shipping for orders of $75 or more with Promo Code 4920


Ann Taylor:

40% off Everything (In Store & Online)
Use code SPRING40

Free Shipping on orders of $150 or more, No code needed! 



Mid Season Sale! Up to 70% off

Please note, this is a UK retailer, however they offer:
FREE Shipping and Returns to the U.S. with NO minimum purchase!!

It's no risk girls!



Spring Sale!
With 50% off American Living Dresses

Free Shipping on orders of $69 or more with code SHIP69



Buy More, Save More Sale
Starting at $10 off $50 up to $50 off $200

Free Shipping on order of $99 or more, No code needed


Seventh Door:

30% off with ANY order with Promo Code SAVE30

Free Worldwide shipping on ALL orders!


15 April 2011

Diggin' Trenches

Trench coats no longer have to be the oatmeal colored raincoats that some of us used to think they were (ok, maybe that's just me...), now a spring trench can be a stylish way to top off a great outfit and jazz up your coat collection, especially if you pick one in a vivid hue. Trenches are great for those chilly mornings that transition to warmer afternoons, and for those days that the sun won't stay out and its brisk out, topping it off with pashmina or lightweight scarf adds a bit of insulation and flair!

Although retailers now also offer hip length, trench-like jackets, I'm personally more of a fan of the traditional three quarter to knee length coats. Especially if you're 5'5" or shorter, the three quarter length will probably work best for you. These lengths are obviously a stylish way to top off work wear, but they can also pull together dressier attire on evenings out or casual wear for weekend errands and even walking the dog!

I know I often talk about color, but who doesn't love black? And some ladies are just more comfortable in black. As long as you are sure to get the length and fit that works best for your body and stature, you're guaranteed to look chic! And for those of you who are more into the traditional neutral tan, there are plenty of coats with interesting necklines, sleeve details or an adorable ruffle trim that are sure to keep it from looking so 1990's. Navy also offers a nontraditional color that still lends itself as a neutral, but grabbing a bright green, yellow, red or even a deep purple is definitely a great way to brighten up those rainy April days!

I'm a collar popper, so when I'm working my trench you're certain to find my collar turned up and my eyes covered in oversized shades....

"I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille!"

My purple trench I scooped at Target for $25:

Trenches, celeb style:

Selita Ebanks / Angela Griffin / Rihanna / Kim Kardashian

 Playing dress up:

14 April 2011

DD ♥'s: RetailMeNot.com

There is nothing better to me than a bargain. If I can use a coupon on top of a sale, that is like music to my ears! The idea of me getting a substantial sum of dollars off of the retail value of a purchase just makes my day! And because this big city, little town in which I live has little to offer me anymore when I make trips to the mall, I became an avid online shopper. I mean to the point that I hate the thought of even driving to the mall.... The only thing that usually requires me to do so is an immediate need for an item or to shop for jeans (which I passionately hate to shop for).

Because of the vast world of online shopping I began to utilize, I soon associated myself with an awesome site that offers a variety of reliable coupons. There are many, but this one happens to be my fav: www.RetailMeNot.com.

I've made visiting the site a must before any online purchase. Even if I'm certain they probably won't have a coupon, I check anyway. I believe that they are a reputable site and very seldom have I ever had a coupon code not work, unless it was the kind that had restrictions and the retailer did not allow stacking. I also appreciate the comments section from fellow "coupon clippers" that allows people to add a few more deets than just the fact that the code worked or not.

And fear not if you're a brick and mortar kind of shopper, because if you're headed out for a bit of weekend shopping and lunch, there is also a printable coupon section so that you can check your area for coupons that may be available prior to venturing out.

The site is extremely easy to use and you don't have to become a member or anything (even better!). RetailMeNot boasts a database of over 65,000 retailers that range from fashion to food to software and many, many things in between, so it is definitely worth a few moments to check out prior to placing an online order.

Happy shopping!!

13 April 2011

Fashionable & Flat

I openly admit to being a slave to a stiletto, but as spring approaches and the time comes to put away the snow boots it's a chance to pull out cute flats for shopping on Saturdays with jeans and a cardigan and making the commute to work just a little chicer. (I'm totally opposed to sneakers with work clothes unless you're power walking at lunchtime and I have to admit, I'm personally not a fan of a flip flop either...)

A couple years ago I was on a ballet flat obsession and bought up as many different styles and colors as I could get my hands on. My favorites became the patent black, a metallic silver and the perfect yellow. Which all need to be replaced now! A metallic works great as a neutral, so if you're looking for a subtle way to punch up an outfit, instead of reaching for a pair in black, try silver or gold.

When it comes to dressing for flats, skinny jeans seem to be here to stay and always look great with flats. But if you're more of a boot cut or flare leg kinda girl, just make sure the hem falls just long enough to skim the top of your foot on the front, yet not drag on the ground in the back...that is a total DON'T. Length also has to be considered when wearing career pants. If you're short like me, I have to get a lot of my pants hemmed and I get them done so that I can wear a high or mid height heel, which doesn't always work well with a flat. Lucky for me, my commute doesn't require walking too far. Flats look feminine and girly with skirts, especially an A-line or full cut. Clam diggers and capris, like skirts, also offer great lengths to highlight an adorable shoe as well.

If the basic, plain shape of a ballet flat isn't for you these days flats come in a variety of stylish cuts, hues or prints. From a more angular shaped toe, to ruffle or stud embellished and even an open toe, there's sure to be something cute, flat and foot friendly out there for you. I do encourage you to try a flat on and walk around a bit to ensure a comfortable fit on your foot.

A few flat styles to add spring to your step:

1. Charles Albert Meggie 
2. charles by Charles David Carnival Leopard Satin
3. Wanted Alley Silver Snakeskin
4. Dr. Scholl's Graduate Magenta Patent Croc
For those ladies out there who aren't into ballet flats, there are definitely alternative options. Boat shoes have made a revival and oxfords have also become popular in recent seasons for the trendsetters among us!

1. French Connection Dana 
2. Sperry Top-sider Montauk 1-Eye in Platinum
3. Steve Madden Trouser in Gray Leather
4. ALDO Zulaiga in Tan Leather

12 April 2011

Cheating on Fashion, with Furniture!!

Decorating your home is definitely another way of expressing your personal style. And nothing says a need to redecorate like a new, affordable and fabulous diffusion line from Target! Because I personally love Target, I'm super psyched about the new home and clothing collaboration launching May 1st: Calypso St. Barth from Target.

This brand is all about bringing the design aesthetic of exotic locales, like Bali and Marrakesh, closer to home, making them more accessible to fashionable ladies with Madison Avenue budgets. With this Target collaboration, they are now making a bit of their luxury lifestyle even more accessible (and affordable) for small town, mid city every day divas like you and me! Expect breezy bohemian resort wear and elegantly eclectic, colorful home decor with this launch.

I'm sure that the pieces can be intermingled with current items you own and used as a way to liven up a living room with candle holders or to a bedroom with throw pillows or go all out and remake your bathroom into a sexy sanctuary, where a diva goes to decompress after a long day. Either way, if you're looking to add a little spice to your current decor, this just might be for you!

09 April 2011

A Sea of Translation!

Ok, so my bestie was kind enough to let me know that my post a couple days ago on nautical-esque fashion wasn't fully encompassing. I caught her drift (no pun intended) because I'd inadvertently highlighted styles that featured stripes and stripes are not a print that is universally flattering on all body types and sizes. So I'm here to redeem myself for the rest of my ladies out there who like the trend, but who may not even like stripes!

For any of you girls who has ever watched seasons of Project Runway, you know that the great thing about having a style inspiration is that it can be loosely translated into an outfit that works best for your body by sticking to a few basics. The first season winner of Project Runway took inspiration from the Chrysler Building and created the dress seen here (keep in mind this was almost five years ago...), and although it may be a dress that only Carrie Bradshaw would wear, the construction of the dress was well executed and the inspiration remained clear.

Sticking to a few basics by incorporating the typical nautical color palette and gold, I've created four various looks that could work on a variety of body figures, so you divas can use these as a guide to loosely translating this trend to work for you:

08 April 2011

Warm Weather Color Co-Op

I certainly appreciate the chicness of a little black dress, but I have an open love affair with color. Pink, yellow and turquoise are all regularly incorporated into my wardrobe, especially in the spring and summer. And I even have an occasional rendezvous with vibrant shades of Kelly green. My new love is coral, which also happens to be one of this season's trends, because of that it has been a lot easier to find pieces to mix up with my current items.

I love the fact that there is a broader scale of color coordination than there were many, many moons ago, so it's much easier for a diva to create nontraditional color pairings that further accentuate one's personal style! But it isn't always easy to know what color compliments another, besides your basic neutrals like blacks, whites and tans. Just ask my mother, who I've regularly scolded about being too "matchy matchy!" It's best to either stick with tonal combinations of the same shade family or Google a color wheel and pair colors from opposite sides.

Color palettes that I'm looking forward to trying out this season are coral and seafoam blue with tan and yellow and tangerine paired with crisp white.

Boldly paired spring looks have certainly been found on the runways, and I encourage you to find your comfort zone and try some new pairings yourself. Just be sure to reach for bright shades as the weather warms! Simply donning a color popping shoe or vivid handbag to finish off a neutral toned outfit can also be a showstopper. Even better yet, a brightly hued dress with neutral accessories.

Looks from the runway:

Katy Perry and Rihanna pull off color mixing fabulously for their appearances in Elle and Seventeen:

Here, Rihanna pairs opposite colors from the color wheel:

Runway inspired swatch combos:


07 April 2011

The Glamorous Life

Nothing says Hollywood glamour to me more than fabulous lashes - long, lush lashes giving you sexy come hither eyes. However...although I have nice lashes, they are certainly not Hollywood glam. So, I rely on a little help on work days and especially on social evenings. I've used mascara over the years, but over time my lashes decided to become unruly and sparse (due to me plucking the unruly ones...), so recently I began using false lashes. Which now, I love!

I normally don't wear falsies to work, so I still rely on mascara for that. During the day I prefer a more natural, lush lash so I wear Maybelline Full N' Soft Mascara or bareMinerals Flawless Definition Volumizing Mascara. Neither leave me with clumpy, crunchy lashes or melt under my eye through the day. Both also come in waterproof formulas.

To deal with the sparseness (which at my lowest point was so severe I had a visible gap in my lashes where an entire section had been plucked out!), I use L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum. Which is a more affordable, accessible product, like Latisse, that you can find at your local drugstore. And let me tell you, cupcakes... It made me into a believer! It helped refill that gap in about a week and all of my lashes looked fuller and longer with continued use. I should also mention that I had no strange side effects, like burning, tingling or irritation.

When it comes to false lashes my favorites are by Sonia Kashuk found at Target. I initially purchased one of those tong like things to help with application, but personally found it to be a bit cumbersome and instead chose to use my fingers. I apply all my makeup first, then tilt my head back (like I'm looking down my nose) and apply the falsie as close to my lash line as possible. What I found works best for me is to use a toothpick to apply the glue and wait a few moments for it to get a bit tacky before putting them on, otherwise they slide all over the place.

If you so choose, you can cut them in half and apply them to the mid to outer section of your lash line. This may work better for you if you have small eyes or want to bring the drama down a notch or so. I have not yet tried individual lashes, so I can't comment on those, but if I do I'll be sure to let you girls know my thoughts. One final tip to use with any lashes is invest in a " practice" pair to fool with for a couple of evenings before your big lash debut, the time and few extra dollars spent is definitely worth it.

06 April 2011

Vintage Vanity

Ok, so for us budget minded ladies out here 'vintage' is a classed up way of saying, "making old things new again." Since I personally cannot purchase a vintage Chanel bag, I find other miscellaneous items to expand my wardrobe. It can be as easy as diving into your mother, grandmother or aunt's closet and digging out leather handbags, car coats of midi skirts. I got into buying vintage things a few years back and was sort of addicted to it for a while. Since my excitement has quelled a bit, I've taken on more of a thoughtful pick and choose method. I think vintage shopping can be great for finding unique items that really express your personality and pairing them with more modern finds. A lot of my vintage pieces tend to become my favorite pieces because of sentimental value based on who I may have received them from or just the fact that they are a true expression of my personality and being one of a kind I know if I spill red wine or something on it, I'll never be able to find another!

For you divas who live in metropolitan areas I'm sure there are an abundance of vintage shops to pick from, but even regular old second hand stores, like the Salvation Army, can surprise you with pieces you can find. There are vintage shops galore online and of course, sites like eBay and Etsy are always great places to shop for vintage pieces, just be sure to take your measurements because sizing for vintage items can be different and shopping online does not provide the advantage of a dressing room or returns.

If you're interested in adding some vintage pieces to punch up your style, but you're not quite sure where to start, you can always begin slow with a clutch, scarf, brooch or other piece of jewelry.

Some vintage pieces:

A couple of my own vintage items:

Reconstructed vintage piece purchased onliine
about $45

White clutch from grandma's closet

Skirt purchased from eBay, about $30