30 April 2012

DD's Style File - Peachy Keen

I think that meetings at work call for a bit more polished look, so this was my take on a more conventional business look. I went for a palette of soft pinks and beige grounded with a chambray blue blazer. 
Chambray blazer - Old Navy
Soft pink tank - NY&Co
Beige pencil skirt - The Limited
Pink snake peep toes - Payless
Light coral bag - Coach
Silver hoop earrings - The Limited
Chunky turquoise necklace - The Limited
Metallic silver belt - Vera Wang for Kohl's
Nude fishnet tights - Hue
And one thing I've learned since I started roaming about taking pics with my tripod, is that photos taken away from the isolation of your front porch or backyard can be...interesting.  In this photo for instance, there's some random dude a ways off on my left yelling, "Hey baby! Wanna take a picture of me!"

*laughing*  The adventures in public photo capture...

27 April 2012

Colgate Optic White vs. Crest 3D Vivid White

I'm a bit of a fanatic about white teeth. The whiter the better, though I'm wise enough not to tread into Chiclet territory. I used to use Crest Whitening Strips, which I think really get the job done in little to no time, but I unfortunately started experiencing tooth sensitivity which prompted me to start looking at methods that would provide close to equal results.

Within the last year or so, both Colgate and Crest introduced new whitening pastes, Optic White by Colgate and 3D White by Crest. I was super curious, but wasn't sure which one to try. I'd read an article where Optic White had received Glamour magazine's vote of approval, so I made a mental note to look for a tube on my next trip to Walmart.

I didn't have to look far.

As soon as I walked in the entrance there was a twenty foot long display with nothing but rows and rows and rows of Optic White's eyecatching red boxes. Ok, so decision made.

After about two weeks of twice daily use, Optic White wasn't getting my vote. It wasn't terrible or anything, it had great foaming action and my mouth felt fresh after brushing, but it wasn't performing any noticeable differences in the whitening department. It didn't seem any better than my regular whitening toothpaste (Mentadent).

So, next I decided to give 3D White a chance. On the down side, I don't think it produces enough foam, so I often find myself wanting to apply more paste. But I do think that it makes my smile look brighter. Not Whitestrips bright, but healthy teeth white. And shiny. I will admit that I was a bit lazier on the Crest test, so I didn't brush twice a day all the time, With that being said, I'm thinking that I'd be just that much more pleased if I used it like I did Optic White.

Needless to say, Crest gets my vote.

25 April 2012

Philosophy Divine 5 Piece Lip Gloss Collection Review

I do wish I could find a staple lipstick, but for the time being I'm a lip gloss girl. And with that being said, I guess I should mention that I have dozens of glosses. I think I probably carry three or four in my purse at the same time. And most times, the color payoff is pretty much the same for all of them. Not very much. They just give varying degrees of glossiness or shine and I like or dislike them based on the formula consistency and the maturity factor (i.e. I don't do gaggles of sparkles).

A few weeks ago I was once again lured in by the host at QVC as they showcased the Philosophy Divine 5 Piece Lip Gloss Blockbuster. A bunch of glosses, that sound like a bargain, and sold for a limited time in that set - sign me up!

The glosses were all full sizes and arrived in their own individual boxes:

The shades were advertised as "rich, neutrals" that would work for "any occasion" and "skin tone." During the live presentation, they actually looked quite pigmented on the models. The colors offered in the collection (shown from top to bottom):

Lilac Rose, a pink lilac shade
Dazzling Mauve, a copper mauve shade
Plum Lily, a sparkle plum shade
Blushing Bubbly, a sparkle golden pink shade
Divine Kiss, a golden pink shade

On the swatches, they each have a more or less distinct difference, minus maybe the last two. But on my pigmented lips, they all more or less looked about the same after 15 minutes. And the look wasn't very flattering. I would say of the collection I preferred the glassy look of the two most true neutrals, Blushing Bubbly and Divine Kiss. And the formula isn't overly sticky or tacky. However, it doesn't seem to wear off well, leaving behind a residue that reminded me of a MAC Lipglass I used to wear

Colors shown from left to right

And during the broadcast the Philosophy rep mentioned that the applicator brush would be stiff on the first use. Well, I thought it was stiff as a twig the first, second AND third use. And I'm curious as to why they didn't go back to the drawing board with that instead of marketing it as a "we know it's stiff, but it's ok" situation. That's corny. They may have well just gone with a regular ol' doe foot applicatior and called it a day.

Needless to say I'm not keeping this almost $50 "blockbuster" for two shades of gloss that I could find at my local CVS.

I'm not a Philosophy girl yet because they haven't quite been able to win me over. I keep giving them a try though I usually end up sending the stuff back, so I only regularly use a product or two from their line (loves Divine Illumination Highlighter). But for this one, I'm going to have to give them a thumbs down for overall execution and delivery. Maybe they should stick to the body wash business...for now I'll keep reaching for my Victoria's Secret Brilliant Lip Shine in Rock Me.

23 April 2012

DD's Style File - Weekend Chic

I don't get to do a lot of "weekend wear" posts, so here's one from Saturday's date night. Took in the MJ Cirque Du Soleil show - which I loved!

When I saw this skirt's bold contrasting stripes in a stretchy knit, I knew I had to have it. But I'm proud of myself, I held out until I was able to get it on sale with a coupon and a reward. Same item + cheaper price = me loving it even more.

Cobalt blue tab sleeve top - Marshall's
Black & white stripe knit skirt - The Limited
Mint sandals - Seychelles
Yellow woven belt - Target
Feather bead necklace - Papaya
Black drop earrings - unknown
Black & white square clutch - vintage
Gray sunnies - Charlotte Russe
And since I've been hoping, wishing and praying for a pair of mint shoes, these are definitely at the top of my fav spring purchases list. I rarely buy chunkier heels, but I swooned when I saw these lovelies and knew I must have them. And they're rather comfy to boot!

For me this look was all about color and contrast and oozed my personality, it was a win, win, win all the way around!

20 April 2012

Shoe Crazy! (And a Shoemint Review)

I'm sure you all have heard of Shoemint by now, if not, it's one of the latest shoe-of-the-month clubs. Shoemint launched fall 2011 and are being marketed by celebrity, Rachel Bilson.

As much I as I adore shoes, I was not interested in the whole shoe club thing. Until I saw a blog post somewhere advertising this particular shoe:

The Hattie in colorblock. I felt an immediate and intense urge to make them mine. It felt exactly like what my wardrobe was missing. And it's a flat! Can you believe it?? Well, here's the rub...apparently this particular shoe club is really only beneficial if you join right before the first of the month, since they roll out their new styles at the beginning. So me, being completely oblivious to any such rules, happened to join somewhere around late mid-month. So, those lovelies that drove me to their website were completely sold out in my size (in all sizes for that matter).

However, being the shopping girl I am, I waitlisted, waited and checked back occasionally. They finally sent me a "come and get it" email at 8PM on a Friday evening, which I did not know I'd received until 11AM Saturday morning. And guess what? Too late, all gone. Again.
Naturally, I waited some more. Perused their FAQs. Eventually contacted customer service for help (I pretty much got the blow off). Feeling defeated and all, I then went in search of something to appease the need for these flats.

I found these, a comparable style in different colors.

I would've been pleased enough with those, if only....they'd had my size. Yep, all sold out. This retailer provided no response to whether they were planning to restock.

So the hunt began, since now I've seen something that I want and have convinced myself that my closet needs. And then I found these:

Can't get any closer than that, can ya? Apparently, Shoemint's idea wasn't all that original (we've discussed my opinions on that), since this is Zara's flat from spring 2011. But hey, I'm NOT complaining! Thank you Zara, thank you Shoemint and thank you eBay seller for still having my size. The shoe thirst has been quenched and all is right in the world. *smile*

One last note, since this is a semi-Shoemint review, obviously I can't say I'm really feeling the love for Shoemint, but I'm patiently waiting for another winner.  I've refrained from canceling my membership, though outside of the Hattie, their collections just haven't moved me to reach for my wallet.

What about you girls, has Shoemint been good to you?

19 April 2012

The Work Travel Challenge - Outfit 3

Here we are, at my final post for the "work travel challenge," and I'm closing it out with a simple look. A magenta ruffled top and an inky blue pencil skirt (I know it looks black in my poorly taken pic), topped off with my white cardi from outfit one.

Today, I paired studs with the necklace, which I fastened a bit higher on the neckline, and a couple rings.

18 April 2012

The Work Travel Challenge - Outfit 2

This morning I went for what I'd like to think of as "relaxed chic." Pairing a bold black and white dotted pencil skirt with the casual fabric of a chambray button up shirt.

To balance things out a bit I added the necklace with all the beaded baubles and the hoop earrings instead of studs, along with an abstract silver ring on each hand.

And with that, I'm on my way to another exciting day of class! (...sense the sarcasm?)

17 April 2012

The Work Travel Challenge - Outfit 1

I had a little break, so it's a good a time as any to post what I wore from my travel bag today.

Instead of the cigarette pant, I went with a high waisted pencil skirt because the temps were going to be warmer than I initially thought. So I squeezed this skirt in right before zipping up my bag.

16 April 2012

The Work Travel Challenge - Part 2

So I reached the final part of my packing challenge and had to tackle my plethora of beauty needs. It was definitely a challenge...trust me. But I have to tell ya, I was ashamed to post this pic showing all the stuff I use on the regular in order to make myself look presentable, but here goes...the "before":

These pictures include the majority of my items, running the gamut from products like body wash, hair conditioner and moisturizer to tools like blackhead removers, tweezers, and obviously, a gang of makeup brushes. Now, I will say that there's no way that I use all this stuff every day, but over a period of three days, the possibility is much more likely. Hence, the challenge. Even more than feeling almost too shame to post pics of all this stuff, is that I hate to say that it probably only covers ninety percent of the arsenal. Terrible, right? I know, but what's a girl to do.

So taking on the task at hand, I had to whittle down all the necessities I might need over this three day period and find a way to pack them in. Because the only thing I hate worst than packing, is getting to said destination and realizing that I forgot something.

Enter the "after":

The difference may not be as apparent between the two pictures initially, but upon closer inspection you'll notice that I have all my makeup compartmentalized in my orange makeup case ( on far right). The middle section of that bag is actually holding my little silver brow kit from the "before" photo. I have my body wash, shampoo, conditioner, face cleansers and whatnot rationed off and transferred into tiny bottles (at left of the makeup case). The remaining serums, lotions, potions and acne treatments that couldn't be sized down were tossed into my little zebra bag from Victoria's Secret. Finally, I took my daily used makeup brushes from my much larger BareEscentuals brush roll and  made use of that cheap, flimsy brush case from my e.l.f. studio brush set. Since it's smaller and more compact I can tuck it in the middle of my orange makeup bag. Whaddya know, it actually came in handy after all...

My Clarisonic, hair brush, etc. have found a home in one of the spare pockets of my travel bag.

So, I feel pretty confident that I have everything, but I won't get overly excited, since I won't know for certain that I was truly successful until I get there and know I haven't forgotten anything.

I hope that some of you get a few tips from my "challenge" posts, I will also try to update my blog with pics from the outfits I pull together while I'm away.

Let's make this Monday a happy one!

13 April 2012

The Work Travel Challenge - Part 1

Ok, I tackled the first part of the Travel Challenge and started with my wardrobe. I switched up the goal to stick with black as my foundation color and added a print and an ink blue skirt. I'm also taking a basic cardigan that will work for two of the outfits. All the pieces I picked should travel with minimal wrinkling and iron quickly.

Since I'm going to a class and not some kind of conference, I decided to leave my blazers and white button ups at home. I was initially afraid that I was going to look like a stuffier version of myself, ending up with a palette of predominately blacks and neutrals with little color (and it truly started out like that...it was frightening). But I'm prit-tee happy with the end result, which are pieces that are stylish, yet professional. It's more or less like a mini version of my home wardrobe.

Ink blue pencil skirt - The Limited
B/W polka Dot pencil skirt - Alfani for Macy's
Black cigarette pant - NY&Co
Magenta ruffle front top - The Limited
Teal chiffon dot blouse - Papaya
Chambray button up - JCPenney
White cardigan - Merona for Target

The other high points were that I succeeded in my goal of taking one multipurpose pair of heels and minimal jewelry. Though instead of black, I settled on my camel Charles David's.

For accessories I chose one versatile statement necklace and for a little variety two pairs earrings - silver hoops and black studs. To keep things easy, I plan to carry my black B. Makowsky handbag.

So onward I go to muddle through my beauty goods, hoping to change a mountain into a molehill!

11 April 2012

The Work Travel Challenge

Ok ladies, I'm preparing for my first work trip and I'm tasked with packing three days of work worthy fashions and my arsenal of beauty products into my compact cheetah print travel case.

It's a pretty decent sized bag, with plenty of space on the inside plus pockets for toiletries and whatnots - I just don't know if it's quite enough for me.

In order to make this a successful trip, my goals are:

1.  Pack black. Use black as my foundation color, so that I can easily mix pieces and maybe incorporate a statement top for a pinch of pizazz.

2.  Travel friendly. Pack mostly fabrics that are fold or iron friendly.

3.  Size down. When it comes to my products, I gotta have my stuff, but I'll be taking smaller bottles and travel sizes of my most essential beauty needs.

4.  Back to basics. I plan to rely on my palette of neutral shadows, basic jewelry pieces and black pumps, so that I can use them for all three days.

Can she do it, ladies and gentleman?!

Stayed tuned for my travel challenge posts to see how a notorious over packer makes out with one bag and a tote!

09 April 2012

DD's Style File - Yep, More Polka Dots

Are you sensing a theme with dots here? My last three style file posts have all consisted of outfits with polka dots. It wasn't on purpose. Honest. It just worked out that way.

I can't even tell you divas how in love I fell with this top when I spotted at my local "new and improved" JCPenney.  I thought it was ladylike, feminine and unlike anything else I own. There was only one left, it was like it was waiting for me. The blouse is actually quite sheer, so layering is a must.

Bisou Bisou is a favorite Penney's brand of mine, and I know without a doubt that prior to their revamped pricing approach it would have run me ten to twenty dollars more than it did.

Peach polka dot blouse - Bisou Bisou for JCPenney
Black knit pencil skirt - Forever 21
Polka dot tights - The Limited
Coral/gold multichain necklace and
flower stud earrings - The Limited
Black suede pump - Two Lips
Funny story though...had I saw this top online, I probably never would have ordered it unless the price just got the best of my curiosity. But the shape, when worn, is different than advertised. Even bigger than that, is in person to me this top is a black design on a peach/coral-ly base. According to the manufactuer that's not the case - it's navy on porcelein rose. Really??

06 April 2012

DD's Style File - Polka Dots & Leopard

I didn't really have any major objectives with this outfit...basically I was tired, but obviously didn't want to look it.

I grabbed this sweater a couple weeks ago on a random walk through the mall. Loved the softness of the fabric, ah-dored the buttons down the sleeves and the milky creamy color. Didn't so much love how it hugged my midsection. However it was too late though, since I had already snatched off the tag...

I didn't want an entirely neutral palette, so I tossed on red pants instead of black. My favorite leopard pumps play like a neutral for me, so when I stood in the mirror for one final look, I felt...umm..incomplete. No necklace seemed to work or give me quite the finishing touch I was searching for, then I remembered this scarf from a winter purchase that's been tucked away in the collection.
Cream button sleeve sweater - Bisou Bisou
Red ankle pant - The Limited
Leopard pumps - Guess
Yellow dot scarf - The Limited
Sunnies - Nine West

And voila! I felt totally pulled together and not overly accessorized. And the final look has a smidge of the 1950's, which I liked too.

If you like the mix of this palette, check out my post on Spots & Dots.

02 April 2012

DD's Style File - Bright Spots

This is one of my favorite shirts, for obvious reasons - bubblegum pink with polka dots! I wanted the look to be office appropriate, but still fun, so I added the basic white button up underneath to bring the casualness of the sweater up a notch or two.

As an aside style note, when I layer, I typically try to use a sleeveless top underneath in order to alleviate bunching and excess heat. So, even for you ladies who aren't a fan of your upper arm, keep in mind that all kinds of basic sleeveless tops work well for layering under sweaters, cardigans and blazers.

Bubblegum pink sweater - Old Navy
Denim dress pant - NY&Co.
White button up - JCPenney
Sunshine yellow bag - Jessica Simpson
Gold metallic pump - Steve Madden
Green dot navy scarf - The Limited
Colorblock aviators - Charlotte Russe
Since I was rocking such a mix of colors and the metallic pumps, I kept the jewelry to a minimum as to not contend for attention, choosing to wear just a small pair of yellow and white gold hoops.