27 June 2013

DD's Style File - The LAD (Little Aqua Dress)

Wind and dresses really don't mix... And I'm going to get a little real with y'all - if I was someplace secluded trying to take these pics, I wouldn't have bothered to fight the wind at all. I would've just let it have it's way with me, because trying to keep London and France under wraps while setting up my tripod and whatnot was no easy task...

Teal dress- Jennifer Lopez for Kohl's
Multicolor pumps - Nine West
Neon yellow bib necklace - The Limited
Coral bow bag - ELLE for Kohl's
Gold encrusted bracelet - The Limited
Gold teardrop earring - Express

 You know ladies, I think it's probably a sign that you have too much stuff when you have pieces that you love, but end up completely forgetting that you have because it somehow manages to get lost in everything else. For me, that's this dress (amongst other things). I wore it for Easter last year and one other time, then it got packed up in some strange place during the move last August and I hadn't seen it since. Didn't even think about it actually, until last night when I was trying to lay out my clothes for the next day.

That nightly planning session usually goes something like this:

1. Check weather app on iPhone
2. Check calendar for any meetings the next day
3. Dive into the closet...walk back out thinking, "Where the heck is my....?"

After that, a mini panic might ensue as I try to figure out if said item is dirty, at the cleaners or just completely MIA.
This time, during my search I happened upon a mini treasure trove of forgotten dresses. Apparently, my mother had stuffed a bunch of items into a suitcase, which got put into a storage room (read: junk room). Thanks Mom...I think. *smile*
No, seriously though, I need to rifle through that thing and see if I can still fit stuff. Luckily, for me the fabric for this dress is forgiving.


When you ladies discover that you have much too much stuff, what do you do? Swap parties, donate or clothing resale stores?

25 June 2013

DD's Style File - Fashion Passion with the Kardashian Kollection

When I first saw this top on Kourtney Kardashian on Instagram (where you can follow me), I knew I absolutely had to have it! It was so me. The only issue was that it was somewhere at the early onset of winter and the release of the spring collection was nowhere near the radar.

So I stalked Sears.com and waited, then waited and stalked some more.

When it finally became available online, it wasn't available at my local store, which always seems to be the case. Now, prior to this I'd never even tried on a piece of the Kardashian Kollection. What I had seen up until that point rarely wowed me. On the off chance I did see something with potential, it was always sold out in my size. Womp womp.

But this little gem I had to get my hands on. Now, Sears obviously has not gotten with the program that consumers like sales, coupons and coupon codes, or at the very least, free shipping. Seeing that every blue moon that I've ordered from them, they always got every dollar they could get out of me. But I sucked it up this time because I wanted that shirt!

Naturally, more waiting ensued as Mother Nature took her time turning winter into summer, but I'll forgive her this time....

Fashion print top - Kardashian Kollection for Sears (similar)
Black peplum pencil skirt - Target (similar)
Black sandals - Jessica Simpson (similar)

Green clutch - mark for Avon
Gold & black bracelets - Charlotte Russe
Gold & black statement ring - JCPenney

Are any of you fans of the Kardashian's clothing line or have got your hands on a can't miss piece? I'd love to hear about it, please post your comments below.

20 June 2013

DD's Style File - Get Striped Up

A few people thought today's outfit was a dress, instead of actually two separates. Funny enough, although the pieces came from the same retailer, I didn't actually buy them together. I purchased the skirt first and then purchased the top a month or two later, only because it was on clearance and it put my cart at a coupon eligible price point.

Orange stripe top & chevron skirt - The Limited
Cognac platform sandal - Simply Vera for Kohl's
Olive studded belt & earrings - The Limited
Necklace is extension strap from a clutch
 Once it arrived I found that next to the skirt it was the same, but different. And I rather liked that. It made it matchy-matchy, but not!

I have to tell y'all, I'm a bit disappointed by these photos, but posted them anyway. I ended up in what turned out to be a very peculiar location that made me feel very weirded out setting up a tripod and taking selfies. Think, reverse goldfish...

I was trying to beat the incoming rain, so there wasn't anytime to pack up and relocate. But at least I was cute though, right! *laughing*

Have a great weekend, divas!

18 June 2013

DD's Style File - Walk on the Wild Side

I really do love a dress. I mean it just makes getting ready in the morning super easy. I find that the fit and flare style dresses are ladylike and are flattering on my body type. And if it has pockets - even better!

Animal print dress - Target
Black ankle strap sandal - Jessica Simpson
Red patent belt - The Limited
Tri-color necklace - The Limited
Gold hoop earrings - The Limited
Ok, so yeah don't judge me, but I actually bought this exact dress in this print and four other colors as well. I mean, why not? I can wear them all year round, this style works on my body, they were affordable and machine washable! Can't. Beat. That.

Cream & gold bracelet - Charlotte Russe
Pewter & gold bracelet - Marshall's

In the words of InStyle Magazine's Secrets to Style:

The pants that fit your derriere just so, the T-shirt that feels smooth against your skin and falls    close to the body, the dress that makes you look impossibly tall - these rare and wonderful items deserve to be bought in every color you can find.

Amen to that!

13 June 2013

Move Over Bare Escentuals! There's A New Beauty In Town

If you're a regular visitor of this blog (or happen to know me personally) then you know of my open love for Bare Escentuals cosmetics - as a user, supporter and outright pusher of the products. Which is why my close knit circle of beauty folks may be a wee bit surprised to hear that I've fallen off the wagon! *gasp*

Ok, well not exactly all the way, but I'll get to that in a moment. However, the core foundation products for my face have changed. It's bye-bye mineral foundation, sayonara mineral veil and scooch on over BE brushes...and hellooooo tinted moisturizer and HD powder!

My new Fabulous Four!
 As a woman with very oily skin and a frequent fighter of clogged pores, I've had my fair share of issues with tinted moisturizers in the past. Even regular moisturizers in general can give me issues. So imagine my elation when I found a tinted one that didn't!

Summer was coming and wanted to shave minutes off my swirling, tapping and buffing to get out of the house sooner and mineral veil wasn't exactly giving my warm weather oily skin the glow that I wanted anymore.

So after much scouring of user reviews, I settled on NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. An even bigger bonus was that it has sunscreen protection of SPF 30. I want sun protection anyway, but especially on my face, given my regular battles with hyperpigmentation.

The NARS tinted moisturizer covers smoothly and evenly and the color match was really good. I had a difficult time choosing my shade at first, unable to choose between Malaga and Seychelles. But thanks to Sephora and their sample giving ways, I eventually settled on the shade Malaga, a medium dark with warm caramel undertones.

I'd purchased the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush a while ago, thinking I could use it dampened with mineral foundation. Not so much. But since I found that the tinted moisturizer didn't really spread as nicely as I'd like with my hands ( and given that I don't really like touching my face with my fingers), I found the Expert Face Brush to be it's match made in heaven.

In order not waste product, I do first apply a squirt of moisturizer to the back of my hand and apply a single dot to the four quadrants of my face, before buffing it on with the brush.

This is probably the best place to explain that I haven't completely given up my love affair with BE. Beyond still loving their brushes and Prime Time Eyeshadows, I've also developed an affection for the Bare Escentuals Correcting Concealer with an SPF of 20 in Dark 2.

To put it simply, I love it.

Didn't think I would, and was reluctant to trade in my Mally Beauty Cancellation Concealer, but I had a gift card to Sephora so I gave it a spin. And never looked back. Although it feels light, the coverage is good for my dark spots and its supposed to contain ingredients that actually decrease the appearance of dark spots and discolorations, which in my opinion actually works.

So, I dot this on and blend it with my e.l.f. Studio Contour brush before applying the NARS moisturizer.

 The final piece of my fab four is the e.l.f. High Definition Powder. I'll admit that I'm a little late to the HD powder party. But sometimes I prefer it that way. My initial purchase was almost for the Make Up Forever brand of powder, but when I heard about this waaaaaayyy cheaper alternative, I figured what's the diff? *Kanye shrug*

Six whole dollars later, though my socks had not been knocked off, I was pleased and preferred the HD powder finish to my mineral veil. And I definitely feel I noticed more of a difference as the day wears on and the glow my skin has. Now, it doesn't keep the oilies at bay, I still have to blot around noonish and maybe again around early evening if I'm out and about, but the finish looks soft and it hasn't given my skin any additional problems.

Ultimately, I did also end up purchasing a travel size MUFE HD powder for my purse (which I use with a BE kabuki brush) and I like it, but don't notice much difference between the higher end and more affordable brand.

I'm still an advocate of BE, and now I push their concealer to unsuspecting beauty cuties, plus it's still a part of my beauty kit for doing makeup on others, I've just found something else that works as a better foundation routine for my skin now.

(And I would like to add that I really did send a suggestion email to the Bare Escentuals company suggesting they get into the tinted moisturizer business before I jumped ship).

You ladies have an awesome weekend!

11 June 2013

DD's Style File - Strawberry Limeade

Some color combinations I truly love pairing, and this citron pant and popping pink peplum top ranks right up there with my favorites. I did a bit of a milder version of this pairing once before (if you can call a neon yellow dress "mild") and really liked the bright effervescence.

Pink peplum top - JCPenny
Relaxed neon pant - H&M
Multi color pump - Nine West
Green sunnies - Unknown boutique

I personally think that this neon greenish yellow hue works best paired with other bold choices, like cobalt blue or a beautiful Kelly green.

Hot pink clutch - The Limited
Gold bracelets - JCPenny & The Limited
Lion head pendant necklace - The Limited

And can I just tell y'all that these pants are the best! Uber comfy and breathable, but totally stylish. They kind of have a relaxed pajama-ish feel to them. I rank them right up there with harem pants - and yes, those are my fav style of pants right above boyfriend jeans (are you noticing any similarities).

All I can say girls, is don't knock 'em til you try 'em, you just might be surprised!

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!!

06 June 2013

DD's Style File - I Got the Monochromatic Blues

It's rainy and gray (but warm) and kinda blah out, which can be a damper on the spirit, however Mother Nature's got nothin' on my blues! To punch things up I went with a monochromatic look of all cobalt blue.

It was bold, bright and bubbly, but as I took that final self check in the mirror before dashing out the door, I kind of felt like I had to be brave as well. I've done monochromatic looks in neutrals, and black of course, but to go with an intense tone like red, yellow, emerald green, or in this case, a saturated blue, you've got to go hard or go home!

But in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this outfit.

Polka dot clutch - ALDO
Turquoise pendant - The Limited
Pearl & crystal bracelet - The Limited
Silver crystal bangle - Cära for Target

The rules of monochromatic dressing used to dictate that all shades should be exactly the same, in order to keep the look cohesive, you'll often see it executed on the runways this way. But we all know that style is about coloring outside the lines, so although my blues happen to be pretty close in shade this time, I've certainly seen looks that are pulled together from tones in the same color family. I've played with this before in shades of oatmeal and beige, and plan to try my hand with more colorful pieces too.

Another awesome thing is that this kind of styling can transcend seasons. Just switch things up and go with deeper jewel tones in fall, throw some thick tights into the mix and you're good to go.

Cobalt blazer - The Limited
Cobalt layering top - The Limited
Cobalt cuffed crop pant - Express
Cobalt sandal - Steve Madden

Silver hoop earrings - The Limited

Mixing in a print or adding one different pop of color is another way of making the look your own. And if you're not yet ready to dive in with head to toe color, remember that all black or all white is always effortless and chic.

04 June 2013

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself...


I have to admit, I'm super excited today because I'm considering this my official Dazzling Diva reintroduction post!

I've quietly been under construction and today, I'm premiering the makeover. It feels so much more like home! *big smile* Much love and a big thanks to KVaughnDesign! 

Also, if you hadn't noticed, Dazzling Diva has acquired it's own domain name: www.thedazzdiva.com. Yeah, I'm a dot com, y'all! If you do happen to have a favorite saved for www.d2ddiva.blogspot.com, no worries, it will auto redirect to the new address.

Now, moving on to some more newness...

You may have noticed that my hair's a whole new hue. So, yeah, I wanted to go light again, after about 4 years of my natural dark hair color. I mostly just needed a change, but I'm still trying to find the shade I want, so the hair's a work in progress. Stayed tuned for developments....

Navy stripe dress - The Limited
Yellow bow belt - The Limited
Magenta bow pump - Nina shoes
Coral & gold bag - Nila Anthony
Gold teardrop earrings - Express
I'm also very pleased to introduce the world wide web to my lil' boo, Toonchie!

Ok, so truth, he's not technically new, as I got him a few weeks after I moved, but he's a new presence here on Dazzling Diva, where I'm sure you'll find him photo bombing in future pics. (personal side note: Toonchie is my first dog ever, so becoming a doggie mommy has been a hell of a learning experience...)

This is a Style File post, so I must not forget the dress. Yep, it just so happens to be new too! Totally not planned, but it fell into place anyway. I do love a good nautical look and when I saw these navy stripes done in a flattering, A-line shape, I was all over it.

Though I suppose you could say that I went a little anti-nautical in my shoe and bag pairing. I wanted stray a bit and make it more of just a cute striped dress and less "ships ahoy." We'll save that for another day.

And last, but not least, my final piece of new-new (and a disclaimer)... Because I want to continually improve the overall experience for my visitors here at Dazzling Diva, I also invested in a DSLR (used) and a photography class in my aim to enhance the quality of the photos I post.

So please pardon the boo boo's you see as I go through this learning experience (like one bunched up sleeve seen above). Theses shots were my first attempt at selfies and it was a challenge with a heavier camera, a remote and an excited dog while trying to look casually fabulous!

I think we managed well, but if any of you have suggestions on using a DSLR by yourself, please post a comment below. I'd love to hear any tips and tricks you have!