29 July 2015

DD's Style File: Fashion Fairy

I have no problem whatsoever wearing tulle, sequins and sparkly jewelry in my every day life. I, of course, consider where I'm heading and what's going on that day, but I basically feel like the unintentional Carrie in my little city on the lake.

I can't bring myself to pass up pretty things just because I can't think of when or where I'll get to wear them. Now, of course, there's a meter to this, and some stuff just doesn't make for a budget friendly sensible buy. So I mourn my loss and leave it on the rack for the next diva. But I enjoy incorporating whimsy into my life, and I'm certainly not going to pass it up because of what someone else might think. And that goes for a decadent, delectable treat when I'm on a mission to eat right or this Cinderella-esque skirt right here in a world of khaki.

And tulle is having one heck of a moment right now. I personally think that it all started with amazing and talented personal style bloggers, like KTRStyle, a while back then just caught on like wildfire. Which why I was able to troop into Kohl's a few months back and find a rack of $50 tulle skirts. I know it's not for everybody, but I'm here for it, at least for this moment in my fashion journey.

Top: ASOS - old (similarsimilarsimilar
Skirt: Kohl's (similarsimilar)
Shoes: Michelle K. - super old (similar colora bow optionsimilar style)
Purse: JCPenney - old (similarsimilarsimilar print)

Before I head off, I'm going to leave you all with the struggles of a personal style blogger. First off, on photo shoot day it got too friggin' bright out once I had my gear set up. But I was there and decided to snap what I could despite the blinding sun and ferocious heat making perspiration trickle down my back. On top of that, my heel tip almost got snatched off in between the boardwalk planks. And if the picture below looks like I lost something....I nearly did. My shutter remote slipped out of my hand and almost slid into the lake! So this is definitely a candid outtake, but my outfit angles looked good though! So I kept it in! 

Ok! I'm done with my whining!! 

The last day of my summer university course is tomorrow and I can finally get back on a regular schedule after five weeks. I'm off to do the Nae Nae in celebration!!

27 July 2015

The Struggle with Oily Skin is Real: Multi Foundation Review

Yesterday's post on Instagram got me to thinking that I could probably do some kind of beauty review on some of the foundations on my rotation lately. Well, technically, they're not rotating. I've pretty much mashed them together in an effort to create the PERFECT foundation for my skin type.

Here's the goal:
- smooths
- evens tone
- looks natural
- feels natural
- combats my oilies

I know, I know I'm asking for a makeup miracle, but here's the thing...I don't really wear a lot of foundation, which is where the desire for natural feeling coverage comes in. I have some uneven tone due to hyperpigmentation (I'm a serial pimple popper) and I have oily skin equivalent to bacon grease (like for reals). I'm sure I'll appreciate this oil factory later in life, but right now, it's more of a pain.

In addition to the foundations pictured, I also wear the Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NC45, but find that coverage works best in cooler months, though I do typically use a dusting of it as a finishing powder over my liquid foundations. 

Here's my issue... I was uber intrigued by the CoverFX Custom Cover Drops. so I had to try them out (but of course). I didn't love them, but was determined to make them work for me if only for their $45 price tag. The problem I had was that even after pouring over the shades for 2 days, my shade G60, was a tad off.  A smidge too yellow, but I don't want to buy another bottle in G70. Then of all the mixing mediums I tried, the only one I truly liked was with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizer. But after a couple hours you know I'm looking like the canola factory.

Next, I decided to try Maybelline's Fit Me Matte & Poreless. Love, love, love the formula and it addressed nearly all of my needs/concerns, especially the oil control, however the shade range sucked. There's only 16 to choose from. I chose shade 330 Toffee as the next shade. 355 Coconut. was too deep and too red for me. What I really need is a shade between those two, that still has a golden undertone. I'm going to keep wishing for that one, but in the meantime, I decided to start trying to mix my own.

Using the No7 Beautifully Matte Makeup Base as my mixing medium proved to be just what I needed for my CoverFX drops. And in order to get the oil control I need, I apply this concoction over skin on which I've also applied a thinner primer. I told y'all, this summer oil control business is real.

Grainy iPhone photo, but you get the idea...
The Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous isn't a bad formula, it just isn't high on the list and because that shade is too dark for me, I use it to add a deeper warmth to my custom foundation mix, so that it isn't so yellow. The grainy pic above looks relatively good color wise, but it depends on the lighting. It usually looks kind of 'meh' when I leave the house, even a bit too chalky. but by the time it starts to settle onto my skin an hour or so later it looks pretty darn good and I don't have to blot until about 1:30. Sometimes I'll apply Urban Decay's De-Slick to speed up the "settling" process, but I think that seems to cause early oil breakthrough, even though that's the opposite of what it's designed to do.

Ultimately, I'm still working this out for myself, but hope I've given fellow oily girls some recommendations that you may find helpful, especially if you're not AS oily as me. But if you have any tips, tricks or foundation recommendations I'm all ears!

Have a great week!

22 July 2015

DD's Style File - Tulips & Florals

According to the fashion gawds, florals are in for spring and summer... So let's chat about one of my fav floral inspired shapes - the tulip cut.

Tulip cuts offer a sexy, covered alternative to more revealing tops. Where you only get a peek of skin if the wind blows just the right way. I honestly think that one part of the appeal is that the top itself mimics the shape of a swing tops and dresses. They just have a certain kind of sway to them.

I thought the cut and length of this top worked perfectly with these pants, which I don't get to wear nearly as often as I would like. And pairing complimentary solids with a busier print is a great way to highlight the print in a cohesive way.

Top: Marshall's (similarsimilar)
Pants: Forever 21 (similar)
Shoes: Kohl's (similar)
Clutch: The Limited (similar)
Earrings: Burlington Coat Factory (old)
Watch: ALDO (similar)

Like I mentioned in my previous post about paisley, I'm honestly not typically a floral girl, but the right print done the right way can really work. But neither is a print that I think you'd find much of in my closet.

If you know a brand that really executes floral prints well, I'd love to hear about it!

15 July 2015

DD's Style File - Perfect Paisley

I have been a baaaaad blogger lately... I'm so behind it's terrible. But I blame it on the nice, suddenly summer weather! It doesn't help that I've been taking a summer college course since the end of June and by the time my "day" ends, bedtime approaches super quick.

Daily demands aside, you would think that sunny days would be all the encouragement needed to head out, tripod in hand, ready to take some blog photos. On the contrary, lately I've felt more prompted to simply enjoy those days. Especially since, as luck would have it, they seemed to fall on the weekend.

And I won't let my guilt eat me up about it. As much as I love blogging, here in the northeast we see waaaay more gray, dreary, cold days than we do hot summer ones. And in December, I'd rather not look back and think that I missed out on a walk with my pup and playing at the park with my nieces because I was taking photos.

But I'm working it all out! Even if at times, to me, it feels more like clumsy juggling!

While on the topic of those summer days, this dress seemed to epitomize that whole summer chic thing!

I, personally, never went gaga over Lily Pulitzer, even with all of her girlish whimsy. But for whatever reason, the blue/pink paisley print of this dress kinda gave me that lightweight perfect for summer in Capri feeling that Lily gives off. The fabric is breathable, the fit is comfortable and it is easily one of the most stylish things I've probably ever snatched out of my closet.

Dress: The Limited
Shoes: Seychelles - old (similar color options herehere, here, & here)
Bag: The Limited - sold out (similar style)
Necklace: The Limited - old (similarsimilar lengthlonger styleanother option,)

I'm sure I've gone on about my love for the shift dress before (as a matter of fact, I'm positive, here and here), so it's obviously an easy outfit recipe I stand by. But if shift dresses don't quite work for your figure, have no fear! An essential wrap dress could certainly stand in it's place.

The point is truly all about having a dress with a silhouette which you find flattering to your shape, and having that work as a tried and true piece to build an outfit around - shoes, bag, statement necklace/bracelet or earring and you're done! Seriously!

For me this dress was just plain fun! It wasn't a print that I would typically gravitate too, and it was actually something really different from any other pieces in my closet.

On the flip side, I also recently got a fab-u-lous staple wrap dress in black that I think you all would love too. I plan to do a post about that just as soon as I can get some good photos (black can be hard to photograph). It's a super dreamy weight, but it has sleeves, so the day I actually wore it had that what-kind-of-summer-is-this type of weather. Which was not at all optimal for photos! But stayed tuned!

09 July 2015

DD's Style File - Urban Jungle

Have you ever seen an item that was so stunningly lovely that it instantly incited the grabby hands?

Case in point: This maxi skirt.

It arrived in my mailbox on the cover of a store mailer and I rushed to the site immediately. I had nothing like it in my closet and the vibrant yellow screamed summertime beach vacation (or city street staycation) and I had to have it.

Once it arrived, it was it was bright, flowy, ethereal elegance... *sigh* And I couldn't wait for my first chance to wear it! But since I bought it in the spring, the weather in the north is just starting to cooperate.

I try to steer clear of color pairs like straight black and yellow, or even green and red, because they can create distinct object or seasonal symbolisms. Instead I'd create color combinations versus color pairings, by adding in a third color.

Now, black aside, I certainly could've easily paired this skirt with something white or ivory which is fine, but I do really like unconventional color and print combos. And both of these happen to be two of my favorites! I'd like to think of it as feisty meets fanciful lol!

Top: Forever 21 (similar)
Skirt: NY & Co. (similar, similar)
Shoes: Kohl's (similar)
Necklace: JCPenney (similar)
Earrings & bracelet: The Limited (similar)

But I gots to be frank with y'all... For my shortish frame (about 5'3"), it IS a lot of fabric to carry. Especially in flats and when getting in and out of the car (wrinkles be damned!). But when wearing it, I strut like these legs are five feet long on their own - so for me to feel that fabulous, it's worth it! ;-)

Hope you've had a amazing week!

07 July 2015

Mini Haul: How I Paid $1.31 at Macy's

I consider myself a budget conscious shopper, I love an awesome deal. Which is typically a coupon on top of an already great sale. But deep down in my shopping recess is another, more aggressive budgenista. She's more of an extreme couponing type who is thrilled at the idea of getting a bushel of items for a few dollars.

This past weekend I had one such occasion at Macy's, where I purchased these pieces totaling $189, but walking out of the store paying only $1.31 out of pocket!:

1. / 2. / 3. similar, similar / 4. similar, similar  / 5. / 6. similar, similar / 7

So, how did I manage that?

Let me start by saying that it doesn't HAVE to be Macy's, if you can make it work with other retailers who offer similar coupons and deals. But it does take some effort on your part,

Step 1: Sign up for store coupons - In this case I had a 20% off coupon

Step 2: If you're able to join a store rewards program, it's worth signing up, especially if you shop there often - I am a Macy's/AmEx cardholder and earn rewards points on all my purchases, so I had a $25 reward certificate. I also signed up to earn Plenti rewards and linked my Macy's card to the account, which earned me another $25 reward.

Step 3: Sign up for online surveys (here's some of the effort I was talking about) - I am signed up to complete surveys through e-Rewards which I can cash in for gift card, so I had a card for $25. This site is by invite only and not all retailers offer this. But I also recently joined Swagbucks.com, and they offer similar options.

Step 4: Credit card rewards: Keep a major credit card that offers rewards, and keep it at a zero balance. When you plan to make a purchase using cash, charge it to the card instead to earn rewards, then use the cash to immediately pay off the balance. I earned a $50 gift card through my Discover card.

Step 5: Now, my final method is a bit unique and unconventional and isn't as widely accessible. The company I work for allows employees the opportunity to earn points for things such as outstanding teamwork or exceptional work, which can then be redeemed for gift cards or a variety of other options. I was fortunate enough to have some of these points to cash in, so I got a $25 gift card.


Before you brush me off because you don't have access to my last option, don't forget the cash options that are available to you! If you just set it aside, you can treat it as "shopping money" versus money out of your paycheck. Better yet, use the cash earned from these options to buy yourself a gift card in order make sure the funds stay toward your fun money reserve.

Cashback sites: If you're an avid online shopper, like myself, it's is definitely worth signing up for Ebates. It doesn't matter if you're buying shoes or shingles, contacts or cable knit sweaters, you can get cashback on your purchases! And some stores even allow you to order online and pick it up locally.

Poshmark and eBay: Don't forget these old standbys! Great condition items you don't want or no longer need can be used to bank you some cash to set aside for those shopping hauls!

So, as I mentioned earlier, all of this takes effort and a bit of diligence on your part. But I bet you buy things every day. If you simply find the best way to make those everyday purchases work for you, then you can reap some benefits from it.

Trust me! It's so much fun when you pass the associate a buck and some change in exchange for a bag full of goodies!

If there are any other "shopportunities" that you ladies know about, please feel free to share in the comments section!

01 July 2015

DD's Style File - Moody Blues

Rain, rain go. ah. WAY!!

This weather in the northeast is trying to seriously trying to put a stop to my fabulousness... I can barely catch the sunshine out long enough to take photos, luckily there was a bit of a break is the dreary weather so I had a chance to snap these.

I'm pretty sure a downpour moved in about an hour afterward...

Now, this top is one of those items that almost didn't make it home with me. I picked up, thought it was unique and kinda cute. Then put it back down. Circled the store, came back to it and picked it up again. Decided it was a maybe and bought it. Then it sat in the closet for a while.

I purchased this in late fall/early winter so they first time I pulled it out I put it a blazer on top and found that it added the perfect amount of sparkle. Since this "summer like" weather has been a bit cooler, I was able to pull it out now to, and it's like a dressed up t-shirt - comfortable, with minimal effort. Perfect!

Top (old): The Limited (similar stylesimilar style, similarsimilar)
Skirt (old): The Limited (similar, similar, similar)
Pumps: Nine West (similar)
Necklace (old): (similar, similar
The dressy t-shirt. It's an item I now firmly believe every closet should have. It is a way to zhuzh up your basic top and pencil skirt. Offering a modern twist on the whole matchy-matchy thing, by creating clean lines while the pops of metallic serve as visual interest.

I would suggest keeping the foundation outfit color neutral - navy, black, tan - which will allow the splashes of metallic to sparkle.

So, what say you, are we loving daytime sparkle for the office??